Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
THE BIG PROTEST
Oshiomhole: Labour has right to protest Analysis SEE PAGES 2-10 Catholic bishop leads Ekiti protest Ebonyi workers shun strike Troops deployed in Warri, environs Labour shuts down Abuja Achebe, 34 writers back action Police warn Kano protesters Southsouth leaders back Jonathan Amaechi meets marketers
VOL. 7, NO. 2000 TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH
•The rally addressed by activists, professionals and entertainment stars at Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, Lagos ... yesterday PHOTO: DAVID ADEJO
SHUTDOWN Protests ground Lagos, Abuja, Benin, Akure, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Makurdi, Jos, Owerri, Bauchi, Enugu, Ilorin, Osogbo, Kano, Abeokuta, Ado-Ekiti, Warri, Calabar, others Five dead as petrol price marches turn violent Dialogue remains best option, says Federal Govt
•INSIDE: NINE PICTURE-PACKED PAGES ON THE BIG PROTEST
•A protester jumps over a bonfire set up on Ikorodu road in Lagos ... yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE PROTEST (DAY ONE) NEWBIG YEAR MESSAGES
Protests paralyse Nigerian cities
IGERIAN cities were groaing yesterday under a crushing weight of strikes, protests and rallies to force a reversal of petrol prices. The protests were staged in more than 30 state capitals and towns. Professionals, activists, workers, students, artisans and ordinary Nigerians hit the streets, carrying placards and singing anti-government songs. They heeded calls by the Nigeria labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which asked workers to shun work indefinitely, in response to the sudden withdrawal of subsidy on petrol on January 1. The government’s action sent petrol price jumping from N65 per litre to between N138 and N200. The government said the cash to be saved from the subsidy that has been withdrawn will go into infrastructure, jobs and diversification of the economy. Labour disagreed. The seat of government in Abuja was grounded by the protesters who prevented government officials, including ministers, from getting to their offices. The rally was addressed by labour leaders. In Kano, the protest was hijacked by hoodlums, who attempted to break into the Government House. In the ensuing melee, a 15-year-old boy was reportedly killed. Many others were injured, hit by stray bullets, it was learnt. Four people, including three in Benin City and one in Lagos, died. Two ex-governors - Balarabe Musa and Hamid Alli-led the protest in Kaduna. Protests and rallies were held in Abeokuta, Minna, Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Osogbo, Awka, Enugu, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Makurdi, Bauchi and Gombe and Oyo, among other state capitals and cities. Businesses were shut down in Lagos. Airports and seaports were grounded. The economy lost billions of naira. The Federal Government pleaded for peace, saying dialogue remains the best way to resolve the matter. In Lagos, the Labour team took off from the NLC Secretariat in Yaba with a fairly large crowd, which grew as they trekked along, sensitising the people on the reason for the protest. The team was led by NLC Deputy President Joe Ajaero. TUC President General Peter Esele was represented
By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu, Kayode Thomas and Joke Kujenya, Lagos
by Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) President Sunday Olusoji Salako. A Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) ambulance with registration number FST 564AA followed the crowd. The crowd was massive but it was little compared to those already at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, where the long walk terminated and speeches were delivered. The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) organised the rally at the Gani Fawehinmi Park. The crowd gathered there as early as 8.00am. They moved through Ojuelegba to Jibowu, Fadeyi and Palmgrove, where a group of hoodlums tried to cause trouble, pelting the protesters with stones and other objects. But they were prevented by the police who employed force to stop the protest from being hijacked. Save for the face-off with the hoodlums, the police were civil as they accompanied the protesters. The SNG team was led by Pastor Tunde Bakare, the vice presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in last year’s presidential election. Apart from Bakare, there were prodemocracy activists, such as Lagos lawyer Femi Falana, activist Yinka Odumakin and Dr. Joe-Okei Odumakin, Chief Dele Momodu, elder statesman Tunji Braithwaite, Mrs Ganiat Fawehimmi and her son, Mohammed, among other activists. There were musicians and actors – its members. Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Wasiu Ayinde, Ras Kimono, Dede Mabiakwu and others. The crowd was so large that it stretched as far as the Maryland Bridge. Ajibola Wahid, a lawyer, could not understand why the government could not arrest its members. “I am protesting because the government cannot punish us for its inability to arrest 41 Nigerians who are behind the subsidy rackets.” There was a huge podium from where the leaders addressed the crowd. A big electricity generating set was installed. The protesters threatened to remain at the Park for days to come, should the government fail to
revert petrol price to N65. At a point, a helicopter hovered over the crowd of protesters. But they were unmoved. Songs of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was booming from the giant speakers and the crowd sang along. Bakare said with or without subsidy, poor Nigerians would still lose out. He urged the government to tell the people how much the country is making from oil daily and make available the cost of daily production. He said successive administrations paid for Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of refineries with nothing to show for it. “The problem is corruption. More than 70 per cent of Nigeria’s earning is spent on their salaries and emolument. The corruption has to be removed,” the pastor said. Salako said he could not say how long it would take but he knew that the people’s will would prevail. He warned banks against opening during the protests. To Ajaero, reversal to N65 per litre is not negotiable. Lagos Lawyer Femi Falana, accompanied by his son Folarin, said the people are angry because successive administrations have denied them the benefits of democracy. He said if they resolved to revolt, nobody can stop the revolution. He insisted that the people have the right to protest, saying inspite of having to address protest rallies for over 35 years little had changed in the polity. Elder-statesman and Second Republic presidential candidate Dr. Tunji Braithwaite said “the revolution has started” and it cannot be stopped”. “We have been ruled for a long time by mosquitoes. It is not only about fuel price, what about corruption. This is going to be a mother of all revolution. We will re arrange our affair,” said the 76-year old lawyer. The widow of the late activist, Chime Ubani, Ochuwa, also attended the rally. There were also leaders of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Air Transport Workers, among many others.
•LAGOS: The ambulance of the medical team on Ikorodu Road, Lagos... yesterday
Dialogue only option, says Govt
INISTER of Information Labaran Maku said yesterday that dialogue remains the only option to resolve the deadlock over petrol
subsidy. The minister reacted to the nationwide protests in a statement by his Press Secretary Joseph Mutah. He reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to civil liberty and the protection of human rights of Nigerians, he said. All security agencies have been directed to enforce the
From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
fundamental human rights of Nigerians. The Federal Government, he said, would continue to implement policies that will expand the economy in order to improve the social well-being of Nigerians and create more job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth. “He reassured Nigerians that very soon they would feel the impact of the deregulation policy. He appealed to workers to call off the strike and support the President in his determination to return Nigeria to the path of sustainable development and economic growth.”
•LAGOS Eminent Nigerians such as Lagos lawyer Mr Femi Falana, Pastor Tunde Bakare Fawehinmi Park, Ojota...yesterday
Senate fails to persuade labour to call off strike
TTEMPTS by the Senate leadership to persuade the Organised Labour to call off its nationwide strike failed yesterday. This followed a two-and-half hour meeting between Senate President David Mark and the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwaheed Omar and President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele. The meeting was held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja home of the senate president. However, Mark and Omar, who
• We had useful discussions, says Mark From Onyedi Ojiabor, and Sanni Onogu, Abuja
addressed reporters after the parley, said they had useful discussions. Omar added that though labour had “very useful and frank discussions with the Senate leadership” the resolution of the impasse still lies with the executive. Mark said the resolution of issues in contention was in sight. Omar said: “We have had very useful discussions with the leadership of the Senate led by the
distinguished Senate President himself. The discussions went very fruitfully and very frankly and you know that these issues are on the side of the executive. “We received assurances that the Senate leadership is ready to offer intervention so that we have amicable resolution of the problem. “Asked whether he is calling off the strike, he retorted: We said we are appreciating the intervention of the Senate leadership. So these consultations are on-going so that they can also reach the executive to
also do some consultations. “What happens tomorrow (today) is that we have to continue with our strike until something new comes up but we are appreciating the efforts of the Senate leadership. He said:“Our position is clear, revert back to N65 per litre and that is the basic condition of Organised Labour. The strike continues tomorrow. It is our hope that there should be solution. If we were in a position to proffer solution I think by tomorrow morning everybody will be laughing.”
On those shot by the police during Monday’s protests, he said they were still collating reports especially since there were some unconfirmed reports. “We want to confirm from our people exactly what happened but certainly there are deaths. We are also aware that the police officer that committed the crime has been arrested. We are calling on the Nigeria police to exercise extrarestraint because unarmed people should not be attacked or use very heavy guns on them. These are peaceful protesters and we have every right to protest without molestation.”
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE)
, Lagos... yesterday
•OSOGBO: Two men allegedly hit by the convoy of an ex-Governor in the Osun State capital...yesterday
•LAGOS: Physically disabled protesters on Ikorodu Road...yesterday
•LAGOS: Protesters, with a placard urging government to initiate a policy on free education
a, Pastor Tunde Bakare, ace musician Femi Anikulapo-Kuti and Mrs Ganiyat Fawehinmi at the Gani
•ABUJA: A police helicopter parading the FCT
•LAGOS: Protesters, with a placard demanding an end to wastages in government PHOTOS: NIYI ADENIRAN , SOJI ADENIYI , ADEJO DAVID , ABIODUN WILLIAM AND NAN
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE ) NEW YEAR MESSAGES
•Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole (right) receiving a protest letter from NLC chairman Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun in Benin...yesterday
•Protesters at Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota...yesterday
•EMPTY EMPTY: Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos...yesterday EMPTY
•A physically challenged in Lagos...yesterday •Osun protesters
•Activist Sheu Sani (right) and Kaduna NLC officials...yesterday •Ikorodu road...yesterday
PHOTOS: OMOSEHIN MOSES, NIYI ADENIRAN AND NAN
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE)
Jonathan grapples with expanded protest agenda
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has not only united his opponents against himself in a way no president or head of state before him has done, he now faces the distinct possibility of either being impeached or swept away through a revolutionary wave of popular protests. From Lagos to Abuja, Ibadan to Kaduna, and in many other cities in Nigeria, West, North, East and South, hundreds of thousands of protesters stormed venues designated for rallies against the removal of what the Jonathan government described as fuel subsidy. The protests were both remarkable and eye-opening, not only for the revival of Fela’s music in Lagos, and its restoration to its place of genius and primacy as protest music, but also for the seething public disdain for government’s ineptitude. The call for change was less strident in Abuja than in Lagos, but it was no less meaningful and poignant. From Femi Falana to Tunji Braithwaite, from Ganiat Fawehinmi (Gani’s widow) to Pastor Tunde Bakare, and to hundreds of well-todo professionals, musicians, and Nollywood actors, the message was the same, as if by a prior consensus. Braithwaite and Falana put it very eloquently and forcefully that the protest had gone beyond the reversal of the fuel price to N65/litre. It was time to reclaim the people’s mandate so that power could reside with the people, they thundered. From one speaker to another, it was call for Jonathan to resign. If the call takes root, Jonathan may find himself fighting battles on three fronts – Boko Haram, fuel price hike, and calls for his resignation. In Abuja, though rally speakers were more restrained in calling for the kind of revolutionary change that is sweeping through the minds and sentiments of the Lagos protesters, they left no one in doubt that their frustrations with the inertness of the Jonathan government were equally volatile and intense. There
By Kunle Fagbemi
NEWS AN AL YSIS ANAL ALY seems to be a sense of apprehension in both Lagos and Abuja that the Jonathan government had misread the mood of the moment, and might also have underestimated the anger of the people. Speakers drew attention to the government’s subsidy arithmetic and undermined its basic assumptions. They followed this up by pointing at the very many contradictions in the system, the decadence and laxity in government, and they then summed up their presentations by demanding the restoration of subsidy before any negotiations could take place. The mere fact that the protest rallies were attended by mammoth crowds of the young and old, and male and female everywhere it held should underscore both their popularity and the depth of alienation in the system. The Jonathan government obviously failed to appreciate and measure the anger out on the streets. Many government officials reportedly poured scorn on analysts who condemned Jonathan for poorly timing the fuel subsidy measure. But it is now clear that the burgeoning menace of Boko Haram terrorism and the yet-to-abate Arab Spring have deeply influenced and inspired the Nigerian protests. Many speakers in some of the rallies made references to both Boko Haram, which is on the verge of instigating a civil or sectarian war, and the Arab Spring, from which the battle cry of Occupy Nigeria was coined. If Jonathan heeds the House of Representatives motion asking the president to reverse the price hike, he may still be able to douse the incipient calls for his resignation. This is, however, only a possibility; it is not assured. But if he fails to take the window of opportunity opened by the Reps and decides to stick to his fuel subsidy plans, the call for his resignation or impeachment, which is still limited to whispers in many rallies, could start to blossom into
non-negotiable calls for the fall of his government. The massive protests have presented Jonathan two terrifying and unnerving dilemmas. First, if he fails to revert to the old fuel price, it seems clear he will not be able to govern well again or at least do it in an atmosphere of calm. He was really never in his elements even in time of no protests, what with series of goofs and gaffes. In times of crisis, he has even more difficulties. Worse, if the protests continue, his government may very well be swept away, for even now, the organisers are finding it difficult to keep a handle on the protesters who are yearning for a firmer and more assertive show of force. Second, if Jonathan reverts to the old price of petrol, the positions of members of his economic team would become untenable. The reason is that leading members of the team have sworn that without subsidy removal, the economy would crash. With the return of subsidy, it would sound contradictory to entrust the management of the economy into the hands of those who have concluded that the economy could not be salvaged without subsidy removal. Just as no one could tell where the Arab Spring would lead when it began, it may be difficult on this first enthusiastic day to determine how it will all end for both the protesters and to the increasingly unpopular Jonathan government. It is, however, beyond doubt that the massiveness of the protest in some parts of the country showed the popularity of the cause. It is indeed a historical first to find Nigerians from all professions and from all corners of the country unite against an unpopular policy, and to some extent, an unpopular government. Jonathan has not inspired anyone; it is hard to see anyone inspired to defend him when the chips are down, for in the end, the people have drawn a line between Jonathan and democracy.
Ministers stranded as protest shuts down Abuja •50 lawmakers join action
HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday shut down the nation’s capital in protest against the removal of fuel subsidy. Ministers and top government officials were stranded as they had to attend to issues personally. Workers stayed away from offices; all filling stations, markets, shops and other businesses were closed. Despite the presence of about 15,000 policemen, workers, led by the National President of the NLC, Abdulwaheed Omar and the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, converged on Julius Berger Roundabout in the Federal Capital Territory at about 8am for the mass protest. In the presence of armed policemen and soldiers, the protesters sang solidarity songs and danced to the tunes of the late Afro-maestro music, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. But the five-hour mass action was peaceful although workers were restricted to some routes. Although some of the protesters had mounted an emergency settlement opposite the Eagle Square at about 6.30pm on Sunday with their tents and blankets, the police and other security agencies disallowed them from gaining access to the
From Yusuf Alli, Sanni Onogu, John Ofikheuna, and Gbenga Adanikin
place. It was gathered that at about 3am yesterday, security agencies came to evacuate the protesters. The Square was cordoned off by armoured vehicles and security agencies to prevent workers from accessng it. The siege, however, did not deter the protesters from marching on Zone 5, Zone 6, Wuse Market to the AP Plaza in Wuse II. The highpoint of the rally was the involvement of some past and present members of the House of Representatives, women in purdah, and physically challenged persons on wheel chair and roller skates. Others who participated were lecturers, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), civil society groups and power bike riders. Some of those at the procession were the NLC General Secretary, Owei Lakemfa; ace activist Prof. Toye Olorode; a pop star, Charly Boy; a member of the Police Service Commission, Dr. Otive Igbuzor; the National Publicity Secretary of CNPP, Osita Okechukwu; Clement Nwankwo; Ezenwa Nwangwu; the President of Human Rights Writers Association, Emmanuel Onwubiko; the President of the National Youth
Catholic bishop leads protest in Ekiti From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
HE Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaye, donned the cassock to lead anti-subsidy removal protest in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, yesterday. The Bishop marched with protesters who took off from Ajilosun through Okeyinmi and Ojumoshe, and stopped at Fajuyi Park. He and a coalition of labour/ civil groups addressed protesters. The protest was peaceful, although there were bonfires on Fajuyi-Adebayo Road and Danimo-StadiumRoad, where some youths converted the roads to football fields. Ajakaye said President Good-
luck Jonathan was running a government of deceit. He said: “We expected Mr President to react briskly to the security challenges in the nation, the same way he quickly removed the oil subsidy and we urge him to use the money being used to finance prosubsidy campaign to transform Nigeria. “I am a Nigerian and I am interested in the Nigerian project. I can’t fold my arms because I am a Bishop and allow my people to suffer. “We need to be visionaries and pursue causes that would not make Nigeria fall apart “The power of the people is mightier than any government. It is sad that our leaders don’t have listening ears. President Jonathan said he did not have shoes and he is trying to take our pairs of slippers off our legs. “As much as I support that there should be no war in our dear nation, this policy is worse than a civil war, but with one voice we shall surely overcome.” Also, State chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) Ayodele Aluko and Kolawole Olaiya and leaders of other civil society groups and trade unions addressed the gathering. Others who spoke included Mrs Aduke Seriki (Council of Iya Lojas), Dr Ayan Adeleke, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Tope Agunbiade (Save Nigeria Group/ Campaign for Democracy), Dr Wole Ogundipe (Nigeria Medical Association) and Adeolu Oyebode (students’ representative).
Protesters loot bureau de change in Edo
NTI-FUEL subsidy removal protest yesterday turned violent in Benin, the Edo State capital, when hoodlums started looting shops and attacking individuals, who were going about their businesses. The hoodlums took advantage of the closed shops to loot property worth millions of naira. Places affected included the bureau de change on Sakponba Road, Lagos Street and New Benin. The hoodlums broke safes and stole foreign currencies, motorcycles, gold and anything they could lay their hands on. At Lagos Street, they set fire to a generator set which almost burnt a mosque. Anti-riot policemen fired tear gas and shot into the air but the hoodlums responded by stoning them. Several persons were, however, arrested. The activities of the hoodlums
From Osagie Otabor, Benin
made the protest to end abruptly at about 11am. Brigade Commander of 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen Abel Umahi appealed to the hoodlums to stop the harassment and face the issue of fuel subsidy. Brig-Gen Umahi warned the hoodlums not to allow the country descend into anarchy. A Benin High Chief, Osamede Adun, said he rescued some persons, who were injured in the attack. From 7am, members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), civil society groups and commercial motorcycle riders gathered to protest. Commercial bus drivers went about their businesses, despite being harassed by some protesters. Many residents, however, stayed indoors.
Troops, police deployed in Warri, environs From Shola O’Neil and Wilson Egufe •A protester in Abuja ... yesterday
Council, Comrade Ajani ; a human rights activist, Kayode Ajulo; Tunde Aremu and a former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lanre Ogundipe. The lawmakers who took part in the protest were Dino Melaye; Abdulmumuni Jibrin; Bamidele Opeyemi; Patrick Obahiagbon; Aminu Suleiman; and Babale Musa. One of them said the House members who took part in the strike action were up to 50. The star of the procession was Obahiagbon, whose grammatical bombshell and coinage enlivened the protest amid shouts of “we want more, we want more.” •continued on page 61
OZENS of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and several platoons of soldiers yesterday engaged in a show of force in the twin cities of Warri and Effurun in Delta State. Over 20 APCs and 500 soldiers were involved in the military exercise. Although the Joint Task Force (JTF), which deployed the soldiers, said it was to check Boko Haram and other security threats, there were indications that it was not unconnected with the nationwide strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). It was gathered that the troops combed the cities, ostensibly to scare protesters off the streets. JTF spokesperson Lt Col Timothy Antigha, however, maintained that the heavy presence of military personnel was not “necessarily because of the NLC strike.” Speaking in a telephone conversation, Antigha said the show of force was a routine military manoeuvre in line with prevailing security challenges. Hear him: “Strike or no strike, we still would have done this. “You are aware of recent happenings in the country, we just want to assure law-abiding citizens that their safety is our priority .” But the National Coordinator, Forum for Human Rights Defence, Oghenejabor Ikimi, said the troops deployment was to intimidate the NLC and other protesters.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE) NEW YEAR MESSAGES
•LAGOS: LAGOS: Protesters at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota
•ABUJA: Protesters ...yesterday
•RIVERS: Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Chika Onuegbu, addressing protesters at the Isaac Boro Park on Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway...yesterday
Achebe, 34 writers back
GROUP of 35 Nigerian writers including Prof Chinua Achebe, mainly in the Diaspora, have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to reduce the petrol price and address insecurity in the land. They spoke through a statement titled: “Statement of solidarity with the Nigerian people.” The statement reads: “We are troubled by the turn of events in Nigeria, and hereby call on President Goodluck Jonathan and the rest of the country’s political leadership to take immediate steps to tackle the state of lawlessness in certain parts of the nation and address the trepidation and rage that has reached dangerous levels within the Nigerian populace. “Nigeria is witnessing a new escalation of sectarian violence, culminating in explosions that have killed or seriously wounded scores of people at churches and other centers of worship and local businesses. “As a people who lost two million citizens in a civil war, Nigerians must bring an urgent sense of history to the gloomy events. The country’s leadership should not view the incessant attacks as mere temporary misfortune with which the citizenry must learn to live; they are precursors to events that could destabilise the entire country. “We applaud President Jonathan’s declaration of a state of emergency in certain local government areas in four states. However, we have seen little indication that the country’s se-
THE WRITERS •Chinua Achebe •Okey Ndibe •Nduka Otiono •Helon Habila •Akin Adesokan •Pius Adesanmi •Tess Onwueme •Obiora Udechukwu •Yinka Tella •Richard Ali •Chiji Akoma •Paul Ugor •Tolu Ogunlesi •Samantha Iwowo •Idowu Ohioze •Offiong Bassey •Chido Onumah •Bunmi Aborisade •Omolade Adunbi
•Mahmud Obeamata •Mahmud Aminu •Nasr Kura •Gimba Kakanda •Obioma Nnaemeka •Sonala Olumhense •Ikhide Ikheola •Isidore Okpewho •E.C. Osondu •Ogaga Ifowodo •Maik Nwosu •Herbert Ekwe Ekwe •Chimalum Nwankwo •Uzor Maxim Uzoatu •Ebenezer Obadare •Ahmed Maiwada •Madina Shehu •Hussein Abdu •Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
curity and law enforcement agents are up to the task of protecting the lives and property of citizens in all parts of Nigeria. “Clearly, the sophistication and deadly impact of the terrorist attacks suggest an agenda to create widespread fear and, possibly, to foment anarchy or war. President Jonathan has no greater duty than to ensure that Nigerians are safe wherever they live or visit within the country.
•LAGOS LAGOS: Activist lawyer Femi Falana (middle) addressing the rally at Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota...yesterday. With him LAGOS are Biodun Sowunmi (left), Nollywood actress Bimbo Akintola, Pastor Bakare (third right) and Yinka Odumakin (right)
“He should demonstrate his recognition of that solemn duty, in our view, by doing the following: • Outline both short and long term plans to comprehensively address the scourge of terror, •Appoint competent and committed officials to head the various security agencies, and •Serve as an agent to heal the many divisions plaguing Nigeria, and per-
•OYO:: Labour leaders protesting on Bere/Mopo Road, Ibadan
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE )
•LAGOS: TV presenter Funmi Iyanda (second right) with protesters on Ikorodu Road
action suade all well-meaning people to enlist in the fight against festering violence. “President Jonathan’s decision to remove fuel subsidies in the country at this time was ill-advised. Coming at the advent of the New Year, and barely a week after the gruesome Christmas Day attacks on worshippers, the policy has forced many Nigerian citizens to perceive his leadership as one that is both insensitive and possibly contemptuous of the mood of its people. “We stand with the Nigerian people who are protesting the removal of oil subsidy which has placed an unbearable economic weight on their lives. “This action has clearly imposed an untenable and unfair burden on those segments of Nigerians who are already impoverished - subsisting on less than $2 a day. “We call on President Jonathan to immediately change course. By reverting to the old prices of petroleum products, the President can work to diffuse tension in the country and exemplify the true servant leader who not only serves but also listens to his people. To insist on having his way, and to deploy state security and legal apparati to crush growing popular uprisings is to stamp on a highly valued tenet of democracy – the right to peaceful assembly – and to inadvertently promote greater violence in the country.”
Southsouth elders unite for Jonathan
OUTHSOUTH Elders and Leaders rose from an emergency meeting in Abuja, yesterday, in defence of President Goodluck Jonathan. In the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting held at the residence of the Second Republic Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, the forum warned of possible break up of Nigeria in the light of sustained killing of southerners in the North by members of Boko Haram sect. The group said it believes in one united Nigeria which must be based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, equity and Justice. Addressing reporters after the meeting, Clark said the recent development in the country with the menace of Boko Haram and the threat to the government has necessitated the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference for Nigerians to determine whether or not they want to remain as a nation or face a break up. He said Nigeria should avoid towing the path of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Sudan and Angola in its journey to nationhood, saying the rest of Nigeria would no longer sit back to be made second class citizen in their country, as he declared, “Enough is Enough” Clark added:“The Southsouth leaders wish to warn that no ethnic nationality is a sole repository of violence. The people of the Southsouth will not tolerate any untowards ac-
From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
tion or plan against our son, whose action though seemingly painful in the interim are geared towards repositioning this country for the ultimate good of its future. Clark, who read the communiqué said: “The Southsouth elders and Leaders condemn in its entirety the recent spate of bombing of places of worship and the ultimatum to Christians and people from the South to leave the northern part of the country. “We urge the security agencies to step up efforts to rekindle the confidence of the citizens in their ability to safeguard the lives and properties of all Nigerians irrespective of tribe or region. “The Southsouth Elders and Leaders have it on good authority, plans by some prominent individuals to wreck havoc and inflict unimaginable destruction of both institution and the leadership of the country. These subterranean moves to destroy the fabric of unity of this country at a time the leadership of the country is entrusted to our son is treacherous, callous, divisive, ill-conceived against the spirit of our collective union as a country. “The Southsouth Elders and Leaders call on those who are beating the drums of war and balkanisation of the country to desist from such acts forthwith as the consequence could be unbearable and unimaginable and will do no section of the country any good”.
•ABUJA: Charles Oputa a.k.a Charly Boy and an activist...yesterday
•EDO:Police dragging some protesters into their van in Benin...yesterday
Anambra State Governor Peter Obi addressing labour leaders in Awka...yesterday PHOTOS: AKIN OLADOKUN, ABAYOMI FAYESE, BISI OLANIYI, OMOSEHIN MOSES, CLETUS OBI, NIYI ADENIRAN AND NAN
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE)
•Security operatives, hand-to-hand, cordon off a road at Wuse District of Abuja during the protests…yesterday
Women’s group backs Jonathan From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja
•Minster of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina (left), addressing a solidarity rally on fuel subsidy removal by women from different organisations in Nigeria in Abuja…yesterday. With her are: Mrs Bola Dera, founder, Mother Theresa Orphanage (middle), and Mrs Nkechi Mba, President, National Council of Women Societies. PHOTO:NAN
Labour has right to protest, says Oshiomhole
DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole yesterday expressed solidarity with the labour unions and civil society groups over protests against the removal of fuel subsidy. The governor said they have a right to stage peaceful protests against any policy they feel aggrieved about. Addressing protesters at the Government House in Benin City, the state capital, led by the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labaour Congress (NLC), Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, and Trade Union Congress (TUC) Chairman, Comrade
Joe Aligbe, the governor noted that the government feels the pains of the people following the subsidy removal. He said the issues would eventually be resolved through dialogue Oshiomhole said: “I appreciate the challenge arising from the increase. I appreciate the hardship the people are going through and, therefore, I appreciate why people have come out to protest. I want to assure you that I will convey the letter dutifully to the President.” To the unions, the governor said: “You have a duty to ensure that in line with our tradition that those
with political motives, with ethnic motives, with religious motives do not come under the legitimate protest to play up certain sentiments that will divide our people.” Oshiomhole argued that Nigerians are one and the same in prosperity or poverty, adding that they are free to choose where they live. The governor urged labour unions and civil society groups to ensure that the protest is not distorted by those with selfish motives. “This is our country. We cannot run away from it. Let me use this
opportunity to reassure the people of Edo State that government is aware of the challenge confronting them as a result of the changes in prices. I am confident that the Federal Government and the leadership of civil societies would resolve these issues around dialogue,” he added. Ademokun presented a letter to the governor for delivery to the President. The labour leader urged Dr Jonathan to revert to N65 per litre, adding that the hardship of the subsidy removal was biting hard on the masses.
Banks, others shut as thousands martch in Port Harcourt
ORT Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and its environs were shut down yesterday. Thousands of protesters marched on the streets of the Garden City to express their opposition to the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. The protest, which began at the Isaac Boro Park, on the ever-busy Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway, was carried to the major roads and streets within the capital city.
From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt
It was co-ordinated by civil society groups, comprising the United Action for Democracy (UAD) and Ogoni Solidarity Forum (OSF), among others. Banks, courts, markets, the state secretariat, seaports, offices and the Port Harcourt International Airport, among others, were shut. There was no flight, as the protest, co-ordinated by the Rivers State chapter Chairman of the Trade Union Congress
(TUC), Mr. Chika Onuegbu, brought all economic activities to a halt. Addressing the protesters at Isaac Boro Park, Onuegbu said the protest, organised by state chapters of the TUC and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), would take off today with the initial mobilisation done yesterday. He added that this is to ensure total compliance and complete shutdown of the state. Another labour leader and senior civil servant, Mr. Tony Ochiagha,
urged the Federal Government to return the litre price of petrol to N65. The civil society protesters, who sang anti-government songs, carried placards and banners bearing various inscriptions. They urged the Federal Government to revert to the old price. Some of the placards read: “N65 per litre of petrol or nothing more”; “Cut government’s wastes”; “Fuel subsidy removal is evil”; “Remove corruption, not fuel subsidy”, among others.
HE National Concerned Women Cooperative Society of Nigeria (NCWCSN) has urged women to support the removal of fuel subsidy by President Goodluck Jonathan. NCWCSN National Coordinator Mrs. Ojai Ausa addressed reporters in Abuja. Mrs. Ausa said oil subsidy removal would improve the economy. According to her, despite the country’s fortune in oil, less than one per cent of its population enjoy the proceeds while the remaining 99 per cent live in poverty. Urging Nigerians to give the President a chance to transform the petroleum sector, Mrs. Ausa said: “We understand that fuel subsidy has become a huge financial burden with no positive impact on our economy. We also know that without money, transformation will be impossible. “If Mr. President says instead of fuelling people’s cars, he would rather use the money to create jobs for our teeming unemployed youths, improve primary health care to check infant and maternal mortality rates, advance our educational sector, provide affordable transportation, water, roads and so on, then we support the transformation of the petroleum sector. “Will Mr. President keep to his promises? We would never know unless we give him the chance.” She urged women to discourage their children from embarking on protests, which she said might endanger them.
Police warn Kano residents
HE Kano State Police Command has warned residents wishing to participate in the strike to avoid acts capable of causing violence. The command’s spokesman, Magaji Majiya, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano. “The command wants to use this medium to warn the people to conduct themselves peacefully during the protest,” he said. Majiya also urged would-be protesters to give the command and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) all the necessary support and co-operation. He said this would help to ensure a hitch-free protest in the metropolis.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE)
Protester shot dead, three others injured in Lagos
HE Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Pen Cinema Police Station, Agege, Mr Segun Olubumi, allegedly shot four protesters yesterday in Ogba, Lagos. One of the protesters, identified as Ademola Aderintobi, 28, died. He was allegedly shot in the upper part of his lap, close to his pelvic region. Other youths, who were also injured, are recuperating at County Hospital, Ogba. Those on admission are Samuel Egbujor, 23; Abubakar Alimi, 24; and Joy Monday, 20. The Nation learnt that Police Commissioner Yakubu Alkali ordered the arrest of the DPO, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP). He was disarmed. It was gathered that the DPO, who drove in a patrol pick-up van marked ‘RRS 101 LA, allegedly opened fire on innocent residents who were said to have blocked the road with tyres and were playing football on the street. It was learnt that on receiving the report around noon, Alkali ordered the arrest of Olubunmi, who was handed over to the Homicide Section of the Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos. A source at the Police Headquarters quoted Alkali as saying: “I warned all the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to avoid the use of gun. This DPO (Olubunmi) has to carry his cross. I did not send him to kill any innocent Nigerian. So,
Three killed, several injured in Edo From Osagie Otabor, Benin
HREE persons were yesterday killed and several others injured during protest against fuel subsidy removal in Benin, the Edo State capital. It was not clear who was responsible for the killings. But it was learnt that some miscreants allegedly looted shops and attacked motorists at a bureau de change on Sakponba Road. Men of the state fire service battled to put out the fire that some miscreants allegedly ignited in some shops. Two vehicles and six motorcycles were set ablaze. Property, such as fridges, air condition units and computers, belonging to the traders, were burnt. Eyewitnesses told The Nation that they might have been hit by stray bullets fired by the police or attacked by the traders in their attempt to prevent looters from entering the shops. A top police officer, who spoke in confidence, confirmed the killing of three persons. He said they had been taken to the mortuary. Some injured traders were taken to the Central Hospital for treatment. Police Commissioner David Omojola said he was in a security meeting when the incident occurred. Non-indigenes residing in areas worse hit by the attacks sought shelter at an emergency refugee camp at the state police command headquarters for their safety. By Yinka Aderibigbe, Jude Isiguzo and Eric Ikhilae
he has to face the law.” The police chief described the protest in Lagos as peaceful but lamented the DPO’s action. Many people have condemned the DPO’s action as “callous”. Angry protesters carried the body of the victim to the Pen Cinema Police Station in a wheelbarrow, chanting war songs and dirges. Olubunmi was said to have been whisked away by detectives from the SCID. He has reportedly been
detained, pending interrogation and investigation. The DPO was in charge of the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Ikeja. When The Nation visited County Hospital, the injured protesters were seen lying in bed in one of the wards. Dr. Azzun Amos, who attended to the victims, said their condition had stabilised. He said he needed to carry out xray examinations on the patients to ascertain whether or not bullets were lodged in their systems.
The doctor said the hospital was able to stabilise the victims’ conditions, adding that they had not been billed because the hospital is interested in saving their lives first before talking about their bills. Egbujor, a student, said he was shot at the Yaya Abatan Street junction when he was returning home after reading the day’s newspapers at a nearby newsstand. He said he was encountered by a pick-up van loaded with armed policemen. According to him, one of the policemen jumped down and started shooting indiscriminately on sighting a group of boys playing football on the street. Ejiofor said he was hit before he could run to safety. Alimi, a businessman, said he was watching those playing football when he heard gun shots. Monday told The Nation that he was sharing hand bills to those on the scene of the football match when he saw a policeman shooting at everyone. He said he was trying to escape when he was hit by a bullet. At about 2pm, a group of protesters stormed the County Hospital, chanting anti-government slogans. One of them, who identified himself as Tunde, said they brought the victims to the hospital. According to him, they were turned back at the state’s hospital where they first took the victims. He added that they were at County Hospital to thank the management for being humane.
Boy, 15, feared dead as protest turns violent in Kano HE protest against petrol price increase took a bad turn in Kano metropolis yesterday. A 15-year-old boy was feared dead. He was reportedly hit by a stray bullet during the mayhem that followed an attempt by some “hoodlums” to forcibly enter the Government House. Another nine-year-old boy would have been trampled upon by miscreants but for the timely intervention of security agents attached to the home of Gen. Haliru Akilu (rtd). Many people were injured at the Government House Roundabout, where the protest took a frightening dimension. Labour had scheduled a rally for the Race Course open field in the Nassarawa GRA Quarters. There, Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso was to address the protesters. But some youths, said to be
From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano
miscreants and political thugs, suddenly marched on the Government House, repeatedly chanting Allahu Akbar! (God is great!) They displayed placards with various inscriptions, such as “Oil subsidy removal is not what Nigerians want,”; “Jonathan has failed the people,” among others. At the Government House, the irate youths, some of whom were armed with clubs and machetes, pulled down a large section of its perimetre fence in an attempt to force their way into the premises. The hoodlums were said to have continued their attempt to enter the Government House to “abduct the governor”. After several efforts to dissuade the hoodlums had failed, the security personnel fired canisters
of tear gas to disperse them and resotre order. Trouble would have been averted if the rampaging youths had left peacefully after they were bombarded with tear gas. But they remained poised to take over the Government House. They invaded the Cabinet Office, adjacent the Government House and burnt or vandalised at least 24 vehicles. The restless youths also smashed the glass doors and windows of the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). They also damaged the beautification works and landscaping at the Government House Roundabout and the Silver Jubilee Square, among some other areas in the metropolis. The protesters also burnt a van belonging to a vigilance group. Some police officers were injured
in the melee that lasted over three hours. There were sounds of gun shots in parts of the city as the protesters invaded the Government House. Some police officers, who wanted to protect the seat of power, fired several shots into the air to scare the thugs. But the angry youths remained undaunted, pulling down a large section of the Government House in their attempt to enter the premises. A reinforcement of security agencies, drawn from the Mobile Police Unit, the Nigerian Army and Air Force, was brought in to restore normalcy. The reinforced security team chased away the miscreants from the Government House and the Silver Jubilee Roundabout. It was in the confusion stray bullets reportedly hit some of the thugs, injuring the 15-year-old boy.
Protesters pelt Etsu Nupe’s palace with stones HE palace of the paramount ruler of Nupe ethnic nationality, Etsu Nupe of Bida in Niger State, was yesterday pelted by protesters as the labour- organised protest against withdrawal of fuel subsidy turned violent in the ancient town. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the protest started peacefully with members of the organised labour leading it. But it was later hijacked by hoodlums, who reportedly vandalised the billboards in front of the monarch’s palace. They pelted the gate of the edifice, damaging it. NAN also learnt that security agents went into action and contained the situation, dispersed the hoodlums from the area and effectively brought the protest in the town to an end. Etsu Nupe’s Secretary, Alhaji Abdulmalik Usman, confirmed the story, saying: “It is true that the protesters vandalised some structures in front of the palace. The security agents have effectively handled the situation and everything has returned to normal in the town. People are now going about their usual businesses.”
Roads deserted in Lagos By Miriam Ndikanwu
HE ever-busy Mile Two bus stop and Oshodi-Apapa Ex pressway were yesterday deserted. Commuters and commercial bus operators did not ply the roads in compliance with the strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC). Our reporter, who monitored the situation in some parts of the metropolis, including Cele Express and Jakande Estate, Isolo, observed that the strike was effective. Few residents and private cars were seen at intervals on the busy roads. There was a heavy presence of policemen on the roads and youths blocked the service lanes to play football. From Oshodi to Mile Two, markets and shops were locked. Only few residents were on the streets, trekking to their destinations. A few commercial motorcycle operators (Okada) were on the road, charging passengers high fares. Newspaper stands were besieged by those who argued mainly on the subsidy removal.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NEWS THE BIG PROTEST (DAY ONE)
Shoulder to shoulder: Parents, children at rally
Ex-governor’s convoy runs into protesters
By Bunmi Ogunmodede, Deputy News Editor
From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
IKE parents like children... Children of activists are joining their parents to fight against injustice and antipeople policies. Their parents have been fighting for social justice, ever before their were born. Now parents and children are maching together. Notable activists, who joined labour leaders to march through the streets of Lagos, did so with their siblings. The rally, which terminated at the Freedom Park, named after the late legal icon, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, was oragnised by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), as well as the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) against the withdrawal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. The spouse of the late fiery lawyer, Ganiyat, participated in the rally with her son, Mohammed. The duo addressed participants at the park Also at the rally was frontline lawyer-activist Femi Falana, who came in the company of his son, Folarin. Folarin, 21, has just completed his programme at the Nigerian Law School. Femi and Seun Anikulapo-Kuti relived the memories of their late father, Fela, as a frontline defender of the peoples’ right. The late musician had a running battle with the defunct military administration of former head of state, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, which sent soldiers to raid his Shrine on Pepple Street, Ikeja. During another encounter with security operatives, the late Fela’s mother, Olufunmilayo was thrown down from a storey building on Empire Street, Moshalashi, Mushin. The protesters also had the privilege of being addressed by 76-year-old lawyer-activist, Tunji Braithwaite, who for decades has been a thorn in the flesh of anti-people administrations. As usual, Mr Joe Odumakin and his spouse, Dr Joe-Okei were there.
Labour to write Jonathan over killings From John Ofikhenua, Sanni Onogu and Gbenga Adanikin, Abuja
HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to write President Goodluck Jonathan over yesterday’s killing of protesters in Lagos and Maiduguri, its President Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar said yesterday. Three protesters were allegedly shot dead in Lagos and six in Maiduguri, Borno State. Omar, who spoke at a rally in AP Plaza on Ademola Adetokunboh Crescent in Wuse 2 District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), noted that the blood of the slain protesters must not be shed in vain. According to him, the perpetrators must not go scotfree for killing armless citizens who expressed their grievances over government’s fuel subsidy withdrawal.
Mixed feelings trail protest in Ebonyi From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki
HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Ebonyi State yesterday marched on major streets to protest the removal of petrol subsidy by President Goodluck Jonathan. The protesters, who converged on the Labour House Abakaliki at 9am, went through Ogoja Road, Ezza road, Nnorom Street, Unity Square before retiring at the State Secretariat.
•Falana and son Folarin...yesterday
Falana: Right to protest constitutionally guaranteed L
AGOS lawyer Femi Falana yesterday said Nigerians have the right to stage peaceful protests without applying for police permits. In a statement, the frontline lawyer quoted some decided cases with circumstances similar to the current protest over fuel subsidy removal. The statement reads: “The decision announced by the Federal Government on January 1, 2012 to increase the pump price of petrol from N65 to N140 was greeted with protests across the country last week. “The police reacted by disrupting the protests on the grounds that the organisers did not obtain a police permit. In the process, a protester was killed in Ilorin, Kwara State, while many others were seriously injured in several parts of the country. Not a few protesters were arrested and detained without trial.
“In view of the settled state of the law on the subject matter, it is pertinent to draw the attention of the police and other security agencies to the celebrated case of All Nigeria Peoples Party v Inspector-General of Police (2008) 12 WRN 65, decided by the Court of Appeal on December 12, 2007. “In that case, the court upheld my submission that Nigerians have the fundamental right to stage rallies and protests without any police permit. “In the leading judgment of the Court of Appeal, Adekeye JCA (as she then was) held inter alia: ‘The incident captured in The Guardian edition of October 1, 2005, where the Federal Government had in a broadcast made by the immediate past President of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo, publicly con-
ceded the right of Nigerians to hold public meetings or protests peacefully against the government or against the increase in the price of petroleum products. The honourable President realised that democracy admits of dissent, protest, marches, rallies and demonstations…’ ‘A rally or placard-carrying demonstration has become a form of expression of views on current issues affecting government and the governed in a sovereign state. It is a trend recognised and deeply entrenched in the system of governance in civilised countries: it will not only be primitive but also retrogressive if Nigeria continues to require a pass to hold a rally. We must borrow a leaf from those who have trekked the rugged path of democracy and are now reaping the divi-
dend of their experience.’ “In his brief contribution to the judgment, Muhammad JCA said: ‘In present-day Nigeria, clearly police permit has outlived its usefulness. Certainly, in a democracy, it is the right of citizens to conduct peaceful processions, rallies or demonstrations without seeking and obtaining permission from anybody. It is a right guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution and any law that attempt to curtail such rights is null and void and of no consequence.’ “Having regard to the authoritative pronouncement of the Court of Appeal on the fundamental right of Nigerians to freedom of assembly and expression through peaceful rallies and protests, the Federal Government should restrain the police and other security agencies to desist from further harassing or intimidating protesters.”
Music, movie stars add colour to protest
HE mood, yesterday, of the protesters, at the Ojota wing of the Lagos rallies against fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government was carnival-like. An array of movie and music stars was on hand to express solidarity with the organised labour and civil society groups. They performed some of the classics known to criticise government dictatorship. The protesters from the NLC office spot in Yaba, Ojuelegba, Surulere, Ojodu Berger, Mile 12, and environs carried anti-subsidy removal placards and chanted songs of curses
By Victor Akande
and displeasure. Notable among the artistes were children of the late Fela AnikulapoKuti - Femi and Seun - who took the crowd through their father’s popular songs such as Zombie, Expensive Shit, among others. Others were King Ayinde Marshal (K1); Yoruba Hip-hop lyricist, Abolore Adegbola Akande, popularly called 9ice; Ras Kimono, Sound Sultan, Jabbless, Ruggedman, Eldee, Omo Baba, Terry de Rapman, and Normoloss. Filmmakers and actors were also spotted at the
Gani Fawehinmi Park, venue of the protest. They included: ace cinematographer Tunde Kelani, award-winning filmmaker Kunle Afolayan, and star actors, Jide Kosoko, Bimbo Akintola and Ronke Ojo, popularly called Oshodi-Oke. Kosoko, who condemned the removal of fuel subsidy and its consequent hike in pump prices said rather than inflict pains on the common man, the best thing for the government to have done was to cut down on some of its administrative wastages. He said the government should address cor-
ruption among public office holders and private sectors. Kelani, who recorded the proceedings, said: “The camera is a tool for the conscience”. He said some of his films such as Saworo Ide, Agogo Ewo and Campus Queen promote the aspirations of the common man. The filmmaker promised to be at the venue again today if the government fails to rescind its decision on the matter. Afolayan said the music helped to ensure the protest was peaceful and robbed security agents of any excuse to turn their guns against the people.
HREE people were injured yesterday in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, when the convoy of a former governor of the state ran into anti-fuel subsidy removal protesters at OritaOlaiya. Those injure are: Taye Fatoke, Matthew Akinyemi and Mrs. Yinka Olanipekun. The former governor was driving himself in a sport convertible car at about 1pm with some people believed to be security operatives in a black Hilux van in the convoy. The protesters initially mistook him for Governor Rauf Aregbesola. But some protesters recognised him and alerted others ahead of his convoy. However, before they caught up with him, he and his escorts had manoeuvred their vehicles through the barricades on the road. In the process, his car hit the two men and the Hilux van hit the woman. The victims were rushed to an undisclosed private hospital for treatment. However, the former governor could not be reached for comment and some of his aides did not want to speak on the matter. Labour leaders and rights activists ensured a peaceful protest across the state. From Osogbo to Ile-Ife, Ilesa, Ede, Ikkirun and other parts of the state, people participated in the protest. They barricaded major roads, using old tyres to make bonfires to restrict vehicular movements. Markets, banks, filling stations and government offices were shut. Workers of Power Holding of Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Water Corporation and government hospitals also joined the strike. Security agencies, including the police, the Army, the State Security Service (SSS), the Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps (NSCDC), vigilance groups as well as workers of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), were strategically stationed in parts of the state. Some of them patrolled the towns to forestall a breakdown of law and order. Youths moved about in Osogbo, singing against the fuel subsidy removal and President Goodluck Jonathan. Addressing the protesters at Olaiya junction, labour leaders and rights activists saluted the courage of the people for resisting the fuel subsidy removal. Aregbesola’s Special Adviser on Environment, Bola Ilori said the Federal Government should first rebuild all the refineries allegedly destroyed by the military before embarking on subsidy removal. A member of the House of Representatives, Ajibola Famurewa, has advised governors not to be deceived that their support for the fuel subsidy removal would translate to more financial allocations from the Federation Account. Addressing reporters in Osogbo, the lawmaker noted that any rational governor must “as a matter of responsibility” prevail on the Federal Government to rescind its decision to save the people from serious hardship.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
BUSINESS THE NATION
AMCON’s assets were primarily locked in the bad loans that it purchased and such assets would be realised upon enforcement of the loan agreements. - AMCON CEO, Mustapha Chike-Obi
Shippers to Fed Govt: explore other minerals resources
‘Industrial unrest may disrupt oil exports’ By Akinola Ajibade with agency report
HE national strike em barked upon by work ers yesterday after fuel costs more than doubled, may disrupt output from Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corporation. The two main oil unions, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria, have “fully joined the strike,” and will “gradually shut down oil production,” Babatunde Oke, a spokesman for the union known as PENGASSAN, told Bloomberg News on phone from Lagos. Banks, businesses, schools and most offices were closed and streets deserted except for protesters yesterday in Lagos and Abuja, the capital. At least, 14 people were injured in Kano, seven of them by gunshots, after protesters clashed with police, Musa Abdullahi, chairman of the Red Cross in the state, said. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the country’s biggest labour union federations, called the strike to force President Goodluck Jonathan to reverse a decision to scrap fuel subsidies. “The objective is that the government must reverse the fuel price increases before we end the strike,” Owei Lakemfa, secretary-general of the Nigeria Labour Congress, told Bloomberg News yesterday on phone from Abuja. Gasoline prices in the country, where two-thirds of the population of about 164 million live on less than $1.25 a day, surged after Jonathan abolished N1.2 trillion ($7.4 billion) of subsidies on Janaury 1.
DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE
-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion
RATES Inflation -10.5% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $33.01b CFA EUR £ $ ¥ SDR RIYAL
0.2958 206.9 242.1 156 1.9179 238 40.472
• Empty check-in counters at the Domestic Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE
Lagos ports, airlines, lose billions to strike • Presidency officials stranded • NAMA: airspace not closed
HE Federal Government lost billions of naira at the Lagos ports yesterday, just as airlines counted their losses following the sit-at-home order given by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Civil Society groups over the increase in the pump price of petrol. These developments came on a day the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) said its airspace was not closed as some airlines carried out flights on both domestic and international routes. But some Presidency officials who returned from South Africa were stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. In a related development, when The Nation visited the Tin-Can and Apapa ports yesterday, there was no commercial activity. Although the gates to the Tin-Can and Apapa ports were manned by joint security operatives, which included Customs, Police, State
By Oluwakemi Dauda and Kelvin Osa-Okunbor
Security Services and other security agents, importers and their clearing agents deserted the ports. Senior Customs officers, who spoke with The Nation under the condition of anonymity,s said Tin-Can port alone generates between N900 million and N1 billion daily. The situation was the same at the Apapa port. All the terminals at the ports were deserted by importers and their agents. A senior government official and one of the senior managers of one of the terminal who do not want their names in print said the Federal Government would have lost over N5billion at Apapa and Tin-can ports due to the strike. However, most senior officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), including its Managing Director, Omar Suleiman were at work when The Nation visited their Marina
office in Lagos. Airlines that are counting their losses include Aero Airlines, Air Nigeria, Chanchangi Airlines, IRS Airlines, Dana Air, Associated Aviation, Overland Airways and others, which on the average operate about 200 flights daily which amount to hundreds of millions of naira for scheduled passenger and cargo operations. Arik Air alone lost over hundreds of millions of naira, as it operates over 150 flights within Nigeria and the West African coast. Others that operate to the West African Coast, including Air Nigeria, also lost hundreds of millions of naira. Aero Airlines also lost substantial revenue accruing from its domestic and regional flights. Among the aviation agencies that lost revenue are the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN), which collect hundreds of millions from the operations of airlines in 22 airports across the country, as well as other op-
erations from the concessions in cargo, access toll gate charges and other activities at airports across the country. The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) also lost significant revenue, which would have accrued from its five per cent statutory share of all tickets sold in Nigeria for both domestic and international operations. Many car hire operators, hotels, ancillary service providers including passenger and cargo handling companies also lost revenue from the flights that did not operate. Meanwhile, business activities at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos remain low, as few international airlines operated flights. Some in-bound international flights including British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, South African Airways, KLM, and others are expected to arrive later in the day.
Power generation hits 4420MW
IGERIA at the week end achieved a new high in electricity generation as it now produces 4,160 megawatts (MW) plus 260MW serving as reserve margin. This means a remarkable improvement in the 4,189.3MW it recorded on December 24, last year. These improvements, according to sources in the office of theMinister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, was due to “continuous improvements in capacities of generation stations across the country”. The Geregu Thermal Station in Kogi State, which had been running only two out of the three installed units on account of gas supply issues with the Nigerian Gas Company, now produces 420MW, the highest ever, from all three units.
By Emeka Ugwuanyi
“All required gas molecules now get to the plant”, a senior engineer at the station confirmed last night. The Jebba hydro Station, which has been producing between 250 and 300MW, now generates 413MW out of the 540MW installed capacity. Only five units are working, as work on the rehabilitation of the sixth unit known as 2G6 has yet to commence because of the controversy surrounding the attempt to award the contract in the early part of last year. Prof Nnaji is reportedly satisfied with a new style, which the station’s management has adopted to manage water available to the hydro facility. The 1320 Egbin Power
Plant in Lagos State, the biggest in the country, which collapsed about three weeks ago because of old age and poor maintenance of some sensitive parts, produced as much as 949MW yesterday from five units. The sixth unit of the plant, which was inaugurated in 1986, is expected to return to service by the middle of last year from Japan where the original manufacturer, Marubeni, is rehabilitating it after years of being idle in Nigeria. Besides, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) are said to be improving their electricity supply.The power plant at Okpai in Delta State, operated by AGIP, the Italian multinational, has increased its supply from 460MW to 470MW. There are strong indications that the nation will ex-
perience a substantially increased quantum of power by March. Already, the National integrated Power Project (NIPP) plant in Sapele, Delta State, which started on December 24, last year to test run one of its units has produced an additional 114.9MW. “If not for some gas issues,” said Don Adinuba, Special Adviser to the Power Minister, “the nation would have since last month been enjoying 5,500MW because this is what we are technically capable of supplying to the national grid right now. “The good news is that all the gas issues are now being addressed in a comprehensive and composite manner. It will soon be a new day for the power sector in Nigeria”.
HE Secretary-General of Shippers Association of Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, yesterday advised the Federal Government to explore other mineral resources aside from crude oil. Nicol told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the government should explore this method to resolve the perennial problem of oil subsidy removal. He said there were other mineral resources in the country, such as tantalite, gold, silver and mercury, which were more precious than oil. Nicol said Nigeria has about 62 mineral resources, which should be tapped. “Nigeria should not be poor to the extent that with oil subsidy, Nigeria will collapse. “If the maritime industry is well developed, Nigeria will make more than N1.3 trillion from the industry within eight months,’’ he said. The shipper said the N1.3 trillion could be generated by all the agencies in the maritime industry, including the Nigeria Customs Service. “Government should look at what the poor man goes through in the villages and cities and formulate policies in the interest of Africans and not Europeans. “The mother earth gives us oil free and as a gift from God, the people should not be punished for this,’’ Nicol said.
Ghana cancels $10b housing deal with South Korea
HANA is seeking “al ternatives” to a 200,000-unit housing deal it struck with South Korean conglomerate STX Corporation after failed negotiations over the details, President John Atta Mills said yesterday. The deal, initially announced in 2009, was estimated to be worth $10 billion. “We have some difficulties with the STX project and as a president, I am eating a humble pie to say that we are looking for alternatives,” Mills said at a press conference. “They’ve spent so much time on boardroom wrangling and the time has come that we can no longer wait for them to resolve their problem,” he said. The South Korean shipping and construction conglomerate, according to Reuters News, said in late 2009, it planned to set up a joint venture with Ghana to build 200,000 homes in the West African state by 2015, funded by the government and a state-run bank in the country. The deal was approved by parliament but was later put on hold. Mills did not give details on why the deal fell through.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
• Protesters in Lagos.
Subsidy crisis: ‘Mother of all strikes’ persists • Nigerians stockpile food • Workers ready for action
HE Organised Labour’s championed-strike over the removal of fuel subsidy continues nationwide today. Tagged “mother of all strikes,” the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), at the weekend, intensified moves to ensure a hitch-free action. Labour leaders renewed their appeal to Nigerians to stockpile food and other essential commodities in preparation for what they called an “indefinite strike.” NLC President Abdulwaheed Omar and his TUC counterpart Peter Esele said there will be no going back on the strike unless the Federal Government reverts to the old petrol pump price of N65 per litre. The price jumped to between N138 and N250 per litre depending on the filling station following the January 1 removal of subsidy. The government has appealed for understanding over the removal, saying the policy was introduced to save the economy from collapse. It said it had ordered for 1,600 buses as part of measures to cushion the effect of the policy on the people. In line with Labour’s directive, Nigerians across the country besieged markets, at the weekend, to buy food and other items in preparation for the strike. At Iyana Ipaja Market in Lagos, some shoppers said they had to prepare well for the strike because “we don’t know how long it will last.” “We may say it won’t last, but what if it turns out otherside?” they queried. In Abuja, Benin, Port Harcourt, Kano, Yenagoa and Ibadan, there was a large crowd of shoppers, stocking up on foods and related items. Companies are preparing for strike as affiliate unions of NLC have asked their members to stay away from work from today “until further notice.” In a statement, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) urged all its “unit officers to mobilise their members in readiness for the indefinite strike from today until further notice.”
By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu
The association said: “During this mass action, our banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions will not open for business, and all national as well as unit leaders are advised to be in touch with the National Secretariat for subsequent directives as may be necessary. “Your total support and strict adherence to this directive is highly solicited due to the sensitive nature of our industry in the national economy.” The Food and beverages union, civil service union, hotel workers union, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), and other unions in the academia are joining the strike. Subsidy removal or total deregulation of the downstream oil sector has been on since 2000 during the tenure of former NLC President, Adams Oshiomhole. The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo increased petrol pump price from N11 to N30 per litre. The price hike raised a lot of dust. Labour under Oshiomhole’s leadership called workers out on strike on June 1, 2000. For eight days, the economy was at a stand still. The government later reduced the price to N20 per litre. On June 16, 2002, petrol pump price went from N20 to N26 per litre. Labour went on strike, but on the second day of the action, the government arrested labour leaders and charged them to court. The court declared the strike illegal. Barely a year after, government increased petrol price from N26 to N40per litre. The labour strike began on June 30, 2003. It was called off on July 8 after petrol price was reduced to N34 per litre. On June 9, 2004, petrol pump price was increased to N50 from N34per litre. Labour went on a three-day strike. It also headed to court. The Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered a return to the status quo. The price was reversed to N34 per litre. Government and NLC later agreed to a new price of N42 per litre. Govern-
• A protester displaying a placard
ment set up the 19-member Senator Ibrahim Mantu-led Committee on Palliatives when labour, again, kicked, following the price increase of petrol on October 11, 2004 from N42 to N52 per litre. Government urged the committee to submit a report on how to cushion the effect of
PHOTOS: DUPE OLAOYE-OSINKOLU.
the high cost of petrol on the masses. On September 25, petrol price was again increased from N52 to N65 per litre. Mass protests organised by NLC and a coalition of civil society organisation resulted in reversal. Again on June 20, 2007, shortly after the emergence of Omar as NLC
president, petrol price went up from N65 to N70 per litre. Negotiations between the late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s government and labour, resulted in a return to the status quo, but not until after a job boycott of four days.
Cause of strike
June 1, 2000
Prices of petrol increased to N30/litre from N11. Eight days
June 16, 2002
Price increase from N20/litre to N26/litre.
Price retained at N26 per litre
June 30 – July 8, 2003
Price increase from N26/litre to N40/litre.
Price reduced to N34/litre
June 9, 2004
Price increase from N34/litre to about N50/litre. Three days
Government and NLC agreed to a new price of N42 per litre.
October 11, 2004
Price increase from N42/litre to N52/litre.
Government appointed the 19-member Sen. Ibrahim Mantu Committee on palliatives.
Protest by NLC and civil society groups led to a cut in price
Price reduced to N65/litre
Price increase from N52/litre to N65.
June 20, 2007
Price increase from N65 to N70
January 1, 2012
Price increase from N65 per litre to N141 per litre ----------
Resolution Price reduced to N20 per litre
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Unions order banks shut for subsidy removal strike
ANKS may be shut today for the fuel subsidy removal strike. The Association Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees (NUBIFIE), at the weekend, ordered their men to participate in the strike. The groups said they are worried the subsidy was removed while the Federal Government and labour were still negotiating. They directed all principal national officers and Units Presidents and Secretaries to embark on the strike aimed at getting the government to reverse the policy. The labour leaders noted that if the government had the interest of the masses at heart, it would have implemented the policy in phases. NUBIFIE President Comrade Peter Okafor said: ‘’If the government was sincere about the policy, the ongoing negotiation between the government and labour could have been allowed to reach a logical conclusion.’’ He said it was unfair for the government to, at a time when the long negotiated national minimum wage has not been fully implemented, give Nigerians over 150 per cent hike on petrol as a New Year gift. His words: “This IMF/World Bank and cabal’s policy has no human face as far as the Nigerian environment is concerned. It is a betrayal of our collective
• Okafor (middle) with other bankers at the meeting. By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu
aspirations as a nation. From all indications, the government has appeared disinterested in the
HE National Orientation Agency (NOA) said the proceeds from the removal of oil subsidy would be used to promote the social well-being of Nigerians. Mrs Oluremi Wilson, the Director of the agency in Osun State, said in Osogbo that appropriate social security would be extended to Nigerians. “If there is social security in place, many Nigerians will afford to live comfortably without the tendencies for banditry and other forms of social vices. This is the desire of the Jonathan administration to ensure that the economy functions well, to enable all Nigerians to have access to good living. “Now the railway system is gradually coming back to ease public transportation while waterways are being dredged to
Comrade Okafor reiterated that it was obvious that from the way Nigerians trooped out to protest the policy, it showed that it was not only labour that it was
On subsidy, they are divided
ABOUR Minister, Emeka Wogu, said Government has not violated any law by removing the subsidy because it is not included in the 2012 budget. “If, at this point, fuel subsidy is removed no law is being violated because there is no provision for subsidy in the 2012 budget. I appeal to organise labour union not to overheat the system as this programme is designed to improve the lot of Nigerians. It might be painful initially but at the shortest possible time people will begin to reap the benefit. “I appeal to Labour Unions and reassure them that the discussion that has taken place in the past between labour and government is still ongoing. What is important at this stage is for labour to continue dialogue with the government on the implementation of the deregulation in the down stream of the oil and gas sector. “Labour should avail themselves to discuss with government in the area of fine-tuning the benefits that will accrue to Nige-
popular feelings of the majority of her people going by the obstinate resolve and the resources it deployed in trying to force the policy on Nigerians.’’
against the policy but the masses too. ‘’the clergies, Ulamas, market women, informal sector etc joined in the protest too.’’ NUBIFIE stated that over the years, the government has initiated policies and set up committees mostly of eminent persons either to actualise or safeguard such policies, but, the same corrupt system has always undermined both the committees as well as policies. The union expressed fear wondering why a clique should hijack the subsidy policy meant to benefit the poor masses of the country, and the government has failed to bring them to book for such a serious national economic crime. “How are we sure they will not do same to this one? Nigerians have been taken for granted by previous administrations. That is why we no longer trust them.’ NUBIFIE General Secretary, Comrade Deji Kamson Olaniyan, further expressed worry, saying that the policy was going to further impoverish and deteriorate the standard of living of Nigerians. Businesses will suffer, charges on bank services will increase because power generation will cost more, and will create disincentive for lending to small scale businesses and discourage entrepreneurship etc.’ He lamented that the financial institutions has suffered so much, no thanks to government policies, adding this one no doubt would further worsen issues.
Despite the Federal Government’s sweet talk on subsidy removal, many Nigerians and groups are not moved. DUPE OLAOYE-OSINKOLU xrays their views. NARTO
rian workers among which are, affordable transportation system, job creation to mention but a few.”
NOA check perennial flooding. “ Lack of “a holistic social security” had in the past largely been responsible for the suffering of ordinary Nigerians, saying the deregulation of the oil sector would address the problem. Wilson described social security as not only security of lives and property but also the provision of adequate infrastructure and jobs.
NURTW THE National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) said it has faith in the palliative measures being put in place by the Federal Government, and so will not join the strike.
HE Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) said the subsidy removal is untimely. National Operations Co-ordinator, Alhaji Lawal Isa, said importers of petroleum products have formed a cartel that the Government must wipe off before withdrawing petrol subsidy. Isa said four optimally functioning refineries are not enough to satisfy the fuel needs of Nigerians, not to talk of non-performing ones. He urged the government to repair all the existing refineries and ensure the building of new ones before withdrawing fuel subsidy. He said: “If the government must remove fuel subsidy, existing refineries must be made to function optimally. New ones must also be built.” The country has lost billions of naira to Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) with nothing to show for it. It is not enough for the government to deregulate. It also has to wipe off the cartel that has been feeding fat on partial deregulation to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses. “ If they have to import, there has to be aims and objectives of deregulation, because those who import have constituted themselves into a cartel. If one imports from Saudi Arabia, another imports from Liberia, another person from Venezuela, by the time they bring the products, they are not supposed to sell according to their different import costs. ‘’It is the cartel that will sit down and determine the price, that you and I will sell our products. If we are being honest to ourselves, as long as the cartel exists, we will be having problems, no matter the type of deregulation policy we have.”
Campaign for the Rights of Nigerians in the Diaspora
OMRADE Francis Nwapa, National Co-ordinator of the Campaign for the Rights of Nigerians in the Diaspora, said: “We believe that the 2012 budget further exposed the erroneous and nefarious character of those in power. For example, a government that claims to be cutting in spending, budgeted for president and the Vice-President N1billion for feeding; N1.3billion for fueling generator at the Villa; N280 million for the purchase of Bullet proof car, N560billion to service loans (debts) that never benefited Nigerians as living standard continue to degenerate. Government again in their deceptive style after hiking the price of fuel came up with a so called ‘palliative measures’, claiming to have ordered the importation of 1, 600 diesel buses, the questions then are; how does that stop the hike in prices of commodities
HE Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has expressed its support for the fuel subsidy removal. The association spokesman, Dr Olufemi Ajewole, said the association is not against the current deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector as the envisaged benefits to all Nigerians promise enormous economic prosperity and massive infrastructural development. “We have implicit trust in the credentials of eminent Nigerians appointed into the Board to manage and administer the proceeds from the subsidy removal from PMS. ”This bold policy initiative by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCON) will not only launch us into the enviable most developed 20 largest economies by 2020 but will drastically reduce the
in the market? And does a reasonable government alleviate or rather attack the very cause of a problem? “We must state unequivocally that Nigerians should see this as a class struggle between the oppressors and oppressed, and should rise to take their destiny in their hands as this system is due to break, having brought untold hardship and excruciating pain on the poor masses while a few persons loot and siphon the nation treasury. “This government has failed in all ramifications as Nigerians provide basic infrastructure and social services, such as water, power, road, health and education etc. for themselves. “We have started the mobilisation of Nigerians in the Diaspora, and urge Nigerians in different countries to come out massively and protest against this monstrous regime, starting from Monday, January 9.”
RTEAN hydra-headed corruption monster in the oil and gas industry. We are hopeful that this step will also yield massive employment for our teeming unemployed youths; create a pool of funds for direct intervention in road construction, rehabilitation, steady power supply, revamping of the decaying education system, upgrading of primary and tertiary health facilities, procurement of modern agricultural facilities, among others. ”In view of our avowed commitment to the success of the Transformation Agenda of this administration, our Association is organising a one-day ProSubsidy Rally to show solidarity and support for the bold initiative taken by the Federal Government which is long overdue.”
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Air Nigeria to acquire four aircraft for $280m A
IR Nigeria is to spend $280 million on the acquisition of four aircraft as part of move to expand. Its routes to Europe, America and other African countries this year. Its Managing Director, Mr Kinfe Kahssaye, who made this known to reporters in Lagos, said each aircraft will cost $70 million. According to Kahssaye, the airline hopes to introduce two A330200 and two B737 NG/e-jets to raise its fleet to 15 from 11 aircraft. The additional aircraft will be deployed in some of its long haul routes, such as the United Kingdom, Johannesburg, Dubai, Middle East, West and Central African countries, which it hopes to begin in the first quarter of this year while some of the routes would be completed in the next three to five years. Kahssaye said local routes, such as Benin, Calabar and Uyo will be introduced in its domestic operations this year, adding that with the co-operation of the government, indigenous airlines will make progress. He said: “The year has been good not only for Air Nigeria, but for other domestic airlines. Last year, none of the airlines had a serious incident unlike in the past. We should give kudos to the Nigerian
Stories by Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent
Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that properly monitored the sector and ensured that the right things were done. “Within the year under review, we entered into strategic alliancecode share with Delta Airlines and several interline agreements were signed. Before the turn-around, the airline had only five aircraft in its fleet, but today, we can conveniently boast of 11 aircraft in our fleet. Without operations in 2011, we can now say we are on the path of profitable growth. “Where we want to go from here is to reposition the airline to be the leading player in West Africa, build competitive and strong global network based on the Lagos hub. Also, we want to build a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility and further build a competitive workforce.” He maintained that before the turn-around embarked upon by Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim in 2010, the airline between 2005 and 2009 had a huge loss of $370 million, but with the injection of funds by the new management, the airline was now on the path of profitability. Also, the management would embark on the construction of
maintenance hangar from 2013, but declined to comment on where the hangar would be sited by the management. He, however, emphasised that aviation business globally is not profitable as research carried out over the last 40 years revealed that profit among the airlines under the period was 1.1 per cent, but called for support from the Federal Government to the indigenous airlines. In a bid for the Nigerian airlines to effectively compete with its counterparts, Kahssaye has called for waivers on aircraft imported spare parts and aircraft acquisition by the indigenous airline. Kahssaye lamented that the huge Customs duties paid on imported spare parts and acquisition or lease of aircraft is having its toll on the airlines, saying Nigeria is the only country in the world where indigenous airlines pay Customs and import duties on spare parts and aircraft acquired or leased. He also itemised lack of long term financing for investments, lack of training and high aviation fuel rate as part of the challenges facing indigenous airlines in the country. He decried that aviation fuel alone took about 50 per cent of the airlines’ operating cost in 2011.
First Nation adds Port Harcourt to route network
IRSTNATION Airways is gradually building a strong passenger followership in Nigeria. The airline is gaining stature as the choice of domestic passengers on the Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt routes. FirstNation’s route network now includes daily flights to Port Harcourt (Nigeria’s oil and gas gateway). The flights are well received, going by passenger feedback. Nearly all the passengers who made comments on the flight say
they will fly the airline on their return trips to Lagos, and any other destination it services. The airline operates four daily flights between Lagos and Port Harcourt. Plans are already underway to add more routes. In November last year, First Nation began its Lagos-Abuja- Lagos operations. The commencement of flight followed the receipt of its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
ANLCA MMIA assures of secretariat
RESIDENT of the Association of Nigerian Customs Licensed Agents (ANCLA) Prince Olayiwola Shittu has assured that he would stop at nothing to ensure that the Murtala Muhammed Airport branch of the association secures a piece of land to build its secretariat. Shittu spoke during a two-day working visit to the MMA branch. He assured members that their branch executives and the national executives were working closely with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to see that a piece of land is allocated for the construction of their secretariat. Shittu, who was accompanied on the visit by members of the agents’ Board of Trustees (BOT), however, said they were going to do all within their power to ensure that FAAN acceded to their request since they are part of its revenue generators. On bio-metric identification card and its advantage, Shittu explained that the gains are so enormous to count. He said with the introduction of the card, ANCLA members will not be mistaken for touts and thus
would not be harassed. The ANCLA boss canvassed the use of bio-metric identification cards for all licensed Customs agents, stating that it would not only bring about a modicum of respect but would also ensure their access into the cargo area, one day. Shittu also said the ID card would also serve as a means to enable members access an insurance scheme, decrying that emphasis is not put on insurance which is not the best at this time. He urged the MMA chapter to extend the insurance scheme to all members, especially the elderly ones, warning against illegality in the system. He praised the branch President, Mr Livinus Dada, for what he has achieved in his two-year tenure but urged him to do better as he (Dada) has the capacity with the support of his executives to carry it out. Dada hinted that one of the challenges was having a befitting secretariat for the association as the current place was small. He said the association used to have a bigger secretariat until it was destroyed by FAAN.
Caverton Helicopters acquires three AW139s
• Chairman, Nigerian Aviance Handling Company, (NAHCO), Major Gen. Ike Nwachukwu (rtd) (middle) flanked by the company’s Managing Director, Mr Kayode Ojo (left) and Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren during a courtesy visit to Demuren at the Aviation House, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE
Africa’s accident rate still volatile, says IATA
ESPITE the low accident rate worldwide last year, Africa remains the most dangerous region to fly, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The global accident rate may be the lowest recorded in recent times, the trade group said. The rate of accidents serious enough to destroy an airplane was, through November, 52 per cent lower than the average for the previous five full years, according to statistics compiled by IATA. The 2011 rate of 0.34 accidents per million flights is the lowest since World War II, when the modern airline industry began, said Perry Flint, IATA’s Washington-based spokesman. “This is a long-term trend,” Flint said. “2011 is not some kind of anomaly.” The number of deaths in airline accidents globally is at the lowest level since 2006, the first year for which IATA reported data in that category on its website. Through November, 486 people had died in
air crashes, compared with the previous low of 502 in 2008. IATA represents airlines, including Aer Lingus in Ireland, Air France and US Airways Inc. One year of data should be approached with caution because trends in aviation safety take many years to develop, said Kevin Darcy, a director of RTI Forensics in San Francisco and former chief accident investigator for Boeing Co. RTI performs engineering consulting on aviation and marine accidents. Still, technological improvements in the manufacture of aircraft and safety devices introduced the past two decades have almost eliminated some types of accidents, Darcy said. Cockpit databases that track a plane’s location and warn pilots when they get too close to mountaintops or other obstructions have made rare what were once causes of many accidents, Darcy said. Other safety systems have helped reduce in-air collisions and windshear crashes, he said. Africa re-
mains the most dangerous region in which to fly, according to the IATA data. There were 3.93 serious accidents per million flights through November. That level was 29 per cent less than the average for the previous five years. Europe and North Asia had no serious accidents this year, according to IATA. There has been one serious accident in about 10 million flights in North America, according to the group’s data. That August 20 crash of a First Air chartered Boeing 737-200 in Resolute Bay, Canada, killed 12 people, according to Aviation Safety Network, a website that reports accidents. First Air is owned by 9,000 Inuit of northern Quebec. IATA’s data track crashes involving scheduled and non scheduled carriers around the world. It doesn’t count terrorist attacks or accidents involving private aircraft. The IATA definition of a serious accident also doesn’t include some occurrences aviation investigators consider dangerous.
AVERTON Helicopters of Nigeria has taken delivery of three medium twins Agusta Westland helicopters to be used for offshore transport duties in support of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. According to Helihub, the helicopters are to be ferried from the Agusta factory in Vergiate, Italy to Nigeria and expected to begin commercial operations in the first quarter of the year. The AW139 is a new generation medium twin-engine helicopter offering unmatched performance, capacity and safety. It meets the most stringent civil and government certification standards, and is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C engines.
The chosen configuration of the Caverton fleet will be the 12 passenger offshore configuration. Caverton Helicopters will be joining a group of over 140 customers from 50 countries that have ordered over AW139 helicopters to perform a wide range of roles also including offshore transport, EMS/SAR, VIP/corporate transport, law enforcement, utility and government missions. Adeniyi Makanjuola, the Executive Vice-Chairman of Caverton Helicopters said: “We are happy to introduce the AW139 to our growing fleet. This step will allow us to expand our presence in the regions’ helicopter market as new opportunities continue to present themselves.”
Ticket prices to rise in Europe
EGINNING this year, all airlines are required to hold emission rights in the form of CO2 certificates for flights to and from Europe. Eighty-two per cent of the necessary certificates will be awarded to airlines free this year; however, airlines will have to purchase another 15 per cent of the certificates, with three per cent being reserved for new airlines. As these allocations are based on average emissions for the years 2004 to 2006, the Lufthansa Group will have to buy at least 35 per cent of the certificates it needs to represent its growth in recent years. Judging by the average trend in certificate prices, Lufthansa expects to incur additional expenses of EUR 130 million in 2012. As competition is tough, especially from non-EU companies whose operations are only subject to limited emissions trading rules, Lufthansa will redirect the costs via higher ticket prices, as recommended by the EU. Lufthansa will therefore include the cost of purchasing the certificates in its existing fuel surcharge as of the begin-
ning of 2012. However, it has no immediate plans to increase this surcharge. Carsten Spohr, Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “Climate change is a global challenge. This means we also need a global solution. The incorporation of airlines in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme means that European operators are now facing additional costs which will make flying within and via Europe more expensive for passengers. It will also distort competition and impact on the sustainability of the aviation industry if it proves impossible to implement with the competitive neutrality promised by policy makers. However, given the huge resistance at an international level, it is unclear how the situation will develop.” Lufthansa last raised its fuel surcharge for European and long-haul flights on December 15, 2011 by three to 10 Euros. In the future, the surcharge will reflect both the price of oil and the cost of acquiring emission rights.
NFF confirms Nigeria, Eagles train Angola friendly for Abuja despite strike Pg. 16
Nation PAGE 15
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Messi beats Ronaldo, Xavi to win third straight Pg. 50
• Lionel Messi of Argentina with Shakira after winning his third consecutive FIFA Ballon D’or
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Sam Ledor joins Sharks
From Tunde Liadi, Owerri ORMER Enugu Rangers and Enyimba midfielder Sam
Ledor has concluded a year deal with Sharks of Port Harcourt. Ledor told Nationsport on Sunday night that he was glad to have signed for the Port Harcourt based team despite interests from Kaduna United and Dolphins. The one time Saint Michel Du Ouenze of Congo player was on the verge of joining Tunisian giants, Etoile du Sahel before negotiations stalled over for a one year contract with Sharks. “I have signed for Sharks despite interests from Kaduna United and Dolphins. I didn’t join Kaduna United because of monetary issues while Dolphins it seemed cooled off their chase of me. I am happy to be back and cannot wait for the time I will start playing for Sharks. I hope to do my best for this club before my next assignment beckons,” the experienced midfielder disclosed. It would be recalled that Ledor was in the Saint Michel Du Ouenze of Congo side that lost narrowly 10 to Enyimba in the 2011 CAF Champions League at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba and he was a delight to watch in the match.
'NLC strike may affect weekend’s league fixtures' From Tunde Liadi, Owerri HE indefinite strike embarked upon by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the removal of fuel subsidy may force the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) matches fixed for this weekend to be postponed. The NPL Chairman Victor Baribote made this known to NationSport in a telephone interview Monday morning. Baribote said the League Body was praying for a quick resolution on the impasse between the Federal Government and the NLC so that the Week Two matches schedule for this weekend would go ahead has planned. “We just prayed that the whole thing will be resolved between today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today) so that our normal league fixtures will be played this weekend but if it persisted, there is no way we will endanger the lives of our players and officials,” Baribote urged. It would be recalled that the Week One matches of the NPL was played Saturday last week as against the Sunday scheduled over the industrial action billed to start Monday across the nation.
Uchebo opens talks with Stoke
VV-Venlo forward, Michael Uchebo will be in Stoke-onTrent, Staffordshire this week to start negotiations for a switch to English Premier League side, Stoke City. The 21-year-old arrived in England on Sunday and will start discussions with Stoke City on Monday. Uchebo's representatives and Stoke City lawyers will sit down to iron out the deal. The former Enugu Rangers' man will also train with Tony Pulis and his team this week. SuperSport.com has been informed that if a deal goes through for Uchebo at Stoke, the striker could be farmed out on loan pending when the Home Office clears him for a work permit. Uchebo is valued in the region of £1 million and £1.5 million.
Eagles train despite strike A GAINST all odds the Super Eagles Monday evening trained at the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, ahead of Wednesday’s friendly cracker against the Pelanca Negras of Angola in Abuja . Initial fear was that the strike situation called by labour unions which practically paralysed Abuja city, would not allow the team to train, but head of the Eagles security team, ACP Gideon Akinsola, after making contacts with the labour leaders assured the team that the labour has nothing against the team and therefore the team can go for training. At the training pitch, Super Eagles gaffer Stephen Keshi, was fully in
charge, drilling the players in preparation against Angola which will be parading its full Nations Cup squad against the Eagles. After over two hours of rigorous training the team retired to its Bolton Hotels, satisfied that it has enough armoury in its arsenal to tackle the Angolans. For the records, there were no security threats, during and after training, thus underlining the fact that the common man and indeed the opulent understand that the national team is representing every strata of the Nigerian society
Ajani compounds Keshi’s selection
ITH the technical crew still tinkering with players to use or not to use in the encounter against Angola , on Wednesday, with 26 players in camp, as at Sunday evening the camp has further swelled to 27. Latest to hit camp was Ibrahim Ajani, of Sunshine Stars of Akure, who took special permission to feature for his side against Dolphins in their 0-1 loss to NPL defending champions, Dolphins fc. Ajani, who was the second highest goals scorer last season, was brimming with confidence as he trained with the rest of the squad on Monday evening, thus adding to the selection problems that the coaching crew will have ahead of the friendly. Also, Osas Omomo of Warri Wolves who had a slight knock on Sunday, was back in training on Monday, but the physiotherapist, asked him to just walk round the stadium as he continues his recovery. Keshi, is not expected to name his team for the match until Wednesday morning moments before the team departs for the encounter at the Abuja National Stadium.
NFF confirms Nigeria, Angola friendly for Abuja T
HE international friendly football match between the Super Eagles and the senior men’s national team of Angola, known as the Palancas Negras, will now take place at the National Stadium Abuja Wednessday, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed NFF General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu said on Monday that the Angolan contingent is expected to land at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja aboard a chartered flight, at noon on Tuesday, January 10. “We have concluded all arrangements to host the match in Abuja. Everything is set. The Super Eagles have intensified their training programme and have promised to do the nation proud in the match”, said Amadu. Wednesay’s game will be the third international friendly that new Coach Stephen Keshi will take charge of, following a 0-0 draw with Botswana’s Zebras in Benin City on November 12 and 2-0 defeat of Zambia’s Chipolopolo in Kaduna on November 15 last year. Presently, the Eagles’ camp brims with 25 highly-motivated and focused players whose commitment to the cause has been hailed by Coach Keshi and the Nigeria Football Federation. Since starting his residential training programme for the home boys in Abuja in December 2011, Coach Keshi’s team has played a range of kick-abouts with some local clubs and on last Wednesday, defeated Premier League side, Lobi Stars FC of Makurdi 3-1 at the mainbowl of the National Stadium, Abuja. Amadu said in Abuja on Monday: “It is important that at this time, we should make concerted efforts to employ the acknowledged power of football to unite all Nigerians.
Maigari charges Eagles to win • It’s like a Nations Cup final—Keshi
FF President, Aminu Maigari, called Monday night to enquire about the readiness and well-being of the national team ahead of their friendly against Angola and when he was told all was well, he said he did not expect anything less. “We have a mature handler in Stephen Keshi and he has assembled some of the best local players, so the world expects him to hit the ground
running after just three weeks, but I still seek patience for him”. He thereafter challenged the players and officials to see every game as a potential victory for Nigeria , to wash away the pains of the recent past. “We must play to win to bring back Nigerians who were not too happy with our recent outings and I’m sure we’ll not be disappointed on Wednesday”.
Head Coach of the team, Stephen Keshi, had earlier told the players during training that they should see every international friendly encounter as a Nations Cup final. “We did not make it to the Nations Cup, yet those who made it still respect us to bring their A team to play us, you are Nigeria’s A team today and must approach Wednesday game like a Cup final” he charged the team.
ENGLISH FA CUP:
Osaze Odemwingie yes cup glory
EST BROM striker Peter Osaze Odemwingie says manager Roy Hodgson is keen for his squad to make a successful impact in the FA Cup this season. The Nigeria international scored the opening goal for the Baggies in their
By Ade Ojeikere with agency reports 4-2 win over Cardiff to help them progress to the fourth round, where they will face Norwich. Odemwingie also praised Hodgson for his pre-match talk which has inspired the players to emulate their 1968 FA Cup winning team. He told the Express and Star: "The manager spoke about how it's been over 50 years since the club won the FA Cup and he said this year it would be a very good cup to win it so let's do our best in it. He said he wasn't taking this match lightly and playing the best available team. "He was very serious about it on
Friday in training and the pre-match talk was long and emphasised that we had to be very serious. We are hoping to go as far as possible in this tournament." There was a certain degree of controversy over the former Lokomotiv Moscow striker's opener at the weekend, and even the striker admitted to being bemused by the incident. "There was a thought that if I kicked the ball I could get a yellow card for doing it after the whistle. But I had no time to look at the linesman because it was a quick one, so I controlled and finished. I thought it was offside but maybe someone was sleeping that I couldn't see," he added.
•Throws gates open “The result of Wednesday’s match is not what is important; what is important is using this match to evoke patriotic fervour in our people, while the home boys will
get opportunity to showcase their abilities with a view to being picked for the 2013 African Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda next month”.
Ahmed Musa targets trophies with CSKA C
SKA Moscow-bound Ahmed Musa has told MTNFootball.com he wishes to win trophies with the top Russian club. The 19-year-old Nigeria forward has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract with CSKA after 18 months at Dutch club VVV Venlo. “I am happy that I have signed for such a big team which will give me opportunity to win trophies and play in big competitions like UEFA Champions League and Europa League,” said Musa, who will undergo a medical in Germany on Monday. “The chance of playing in top European competitions and winning medals informed my choice of CSKA, it is a big team with records.
“I learnt CSKA Moscow will be in a play-off involving six teams to determine the league champions. I want to start my career in Russia by becoming a champion.” The army club won the 2005 UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) and they have also won the Russian league thrice with their last win being in 2006. They will host Real Madrid in the Round of 16 tie of the UEFA Champions League on February 21 after they finished behind Inter Milan in Group B with eight points from six matches. Musa has been linked several top clubs like Arsenal, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund, but said he opted
for the Russian club because they were the most serious of his suitors. “They were the most serious club after me. My agents also weighed the options, which we discussed, before we finally agreed on CSKA,” he told MTNFootball.com “It is a good move for me and my career. I can’t wait to start playing for them.” He will most certainly be smiling to the bank courtesy of his new deal, but the former Kano Pillars refused to reveal the worth of his CSKA contract. “I can’t disclose that to the public but it is an improved deal compared to what I was earning before. I am okay with the terms of my contract,” he said.
Angola to arrive today • To camp at NICON Luxury Hotel
• Ahmed Musa
HE Palancas Negras of Angola are expected to arrive Abuja today aboard a chartered aircraft from Luanda and will be camped to the NICON Luxury Hotel in Abuja. The team which is expected to comprise of 20 players and handful of officials is also expected to train at the Abuja National Stadium later in the evening. The team which qualified for the 2012 Africa Nations Cup amidst countries like Kenya, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Congo and Uganda, has been a very difficult opponent for the Super Eagles as they denied us the opportunity of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Angola played their first football ever game against Cuba national football team in 1977, winning 1–0. Angola qualified for their first African Cup of Nations in 1996. They were drawn in Group A with South Africa, Egypt and Cameroon. They lost their first two games to Egypt and South Africa, but managed a 3– 3 draw against Cameroon. They finished bottom of the group and did not reach the second round. Angola then qualified for their second successive African Cup of Nations in 1998, but again failed to reach the second round, drawing 0–0 with South Africa and 3–3 with Namibia, and losing 5–2 to Côte d'Ivoire. After missing the last three tournaments, they qualified for the 2006 African Nations Cup. They recorded their fist African Cup of Nations win against Togo, winning 3–2, two goals coming from Flávio and the other coming from Maurito. They also drew 0–0 against Congo DR and lost 3–1 against Cameroon. Angola's best performance then came in the 2008 African Nations Cup. They were drawn in Group D with Tunisia, South Africa and Senegal. They drew 1–1 and 0–0 with South Africa and Tunisia, then defeated Senegal 3–1, two goals coming from Manucho. In the quarter-finals they were beaten by eventual winners Egypt 2–1, but Manucho scored again, finishing with four goals in total. As hosts of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Angola were seeded in Group A along with Mali, Algeria, and Malawi. Coached by Manuel Jose, in their first game they drew 4–4 with Mali, after letting a 4 goal lead slip in the last 11 minutes. They beat Malawi 2–0 in the second match, and topped the group by drawing 0–0 with Algeria. They were knocked out in the quarter final after a 1–0 defeat by Ghana. Enroute to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Angola played six warmup games against South Korea, Mauritius, Lesotho, Argentina, Tur-
From Patrick Ngwaogu key and USA. Angola played their first World Cup finals game against Portuguese side, who won the match 1–0, the only goal coming from Pauleta. There was a very friendly environment in and around the stadium during this match because of the links and friendship between the countries of Angola and Portugal. Angola drew 0–0 in their second game with Mexico, and still had a chance of qualifying for the second round had they beaten Iran in their final group game, but the match finished 1–1 after goals by Flávio and Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh. Angola were eliminated from the tournament only losing one game. Angola also won the COSAFA Cup in 1999, 2001 and 2004.
Angola up for tough Nigeria test
NGOLA midfielder Andre Makanga has said he is certain Nigeria will give the Palancas Negras a good match Wednesday as they step up preparations for the 2012 Nations Cup. Nigeria, who will line out a team of players from the domestic league, host Angola in the capital city of Abuja instead of Cotonou following security guarantees from the hosts that it’s safe to stage the game in the country. "It's always good to play against big name teams and good players," the midfielder from Kuwaiti club Al Jahra told Angolan media. Makanga joined the team on Saturday together with Zuela of Greek club Atromitos FC. Incidentally, The Palancas Negras upstaged the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. They are drawn in a first round group that also has Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan and Burkina Faso. Meanwhile, Angola are also courting Senegal and Sierra Leone for a possible friendly before heading to Equatorial Guinea. The proposed friendly is scheduled to be played in Cabinda, where the team has been training since Thursday. Nigeria officials have also informed MTNFootball.com that no gate fees will be charged for this friendly so that fans could fully rate the home-based team under new coach Stephen Keshi.
NFF mourns crushed footballers
HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has commiserated with the Bauchi State Football Association (BSFA) over the death of eight football players in an auto crash in Bauchi State on last week. NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari said the accident, which occurred on Tuesday along the Zubo-Azare road in Katagun local government area of Bauchi State and also claimed several other lives has thrown Nigeria football family into grief, so early in the new year. “It is a thing of sorrow that so early in the new year, such an accident happened. We are all in a mournful mood right now, thinking of what could have been for those young footballers and their families”, Maigari told Bauchi FA chairman, Alhaji Yahuza Adamu Ningi. Reports said the footballers were travelling in a bus which collided with a Honda car along the said road, leading to several deaths, while many were also injured. The vehicles went up in flames and the deceased persons were burnt beyond recognition. “Our prayer is that Almighty God will grant the deceased eternal rest while giving the families they have left behind the fortitude to bear the loss”, concluded Maigari.
Yak sacks Warnock at QPR • Manager's refusal to sign Nigerian cited By Ade Ojeikere with agency reports LACKBURN Rovers' ExNigeria international striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni is believed to have been at the centre of Neil Warnock’s dismissal from Queens Park Rangers yesterday. Warnock is understood to have disagreed with owner Tony Fernandes over several targets. One of the players earmarked by Warnock is believed to have been the Rovers striker, but Fernandes would not countenance a pursuit. It seems the pair had met at the end of last week to discuss transfer business, but Warnock left the meeting feeling that his position had become untenable. So far Rangers have signed only Manchester United striker Federico Macheda on loan and it appears Fernandez prefers this type of arrangement rather than straightforward purchases.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
HEALTH THE NATION
Three years to the expiration of the deadline for attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Nigeria has yet to reduce maternal and infant mortality by one-third as set by the United Nations. WALE ADEPOJU examines why Nigeria may not meet the target.
Can Nigeria realise MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015? N
O fewer than 1,000 women and girls die daily in Nigeria. Their deaths arise from their inability to access adequate antenatal care during pregnancy. Such care includes monitoring of the mother and child's health and development during pregnancy. However, many of these problems which put the mother's life at risk, could be avoided by regular visits to the doctor at a primary health care centre (PHC). The Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State Branch, Dr Edamisan Temiye, said with the rate Nigeria is going, it may not realise its target of one-third reduction of maternal and infant deaths by 2015. He said: "It is not possible to get to the target. The rate of interventions in infant and maternal mortality is too slow for us to achieve anything. We are hardly moving in Nigeria. The Federal Government is hardly doing anything that can make any improvement." Temiye, a consultant paediatrist, said the immunisation programme virtually failed last year because there were no vaccines for those who really wanted to take it, adding that the poverty level is still very high. There is no access to education, water, and housing, which have become a major problem, he added. “And these are the things needed to reduce infant mortality considerably,” Temiye said. He said maternal death was still high because the maternal centres are not accessible to the people. Temiye said the situation might get worse with the removal of fuel subsidy, adding that the people would not get much from the government. "The implication of this is that Nigeria will continue to have a lot of its children dying at a very young age, lose a lot of mothers and continue to remain a poor developing country," he noted. He said there were no real efforts from the government, saying there were problems where it even made efforts. Temiye identified the National Health Bill (NHB) as a panacea to the problem, saying, "One of the things that could have kick-started it and ensure more rapid progress since we couldn't meet the target was the National Health Bill that the government refused to sign. This is because that bill actually makes access to health care delivery easier for the people. That is the purpose of the bill." He said the argument in some quarters that certain people want to be the leader could be why the government didn't want to sign the bill. "This means it has shot itself on the foot, because that bill could have advanced the health system considerably if it is signed and well implemented," he added. Temiye said the bill could have provided funds to take care of most of the needs of health and thereby making health available to the people. The bill, he added, would help to equitably distribute the health workers in the country and define what every level of government
•Temiye should do in the health system which was not being done now. He berated the government for its failure to have a co-ordinated system, saying, "There are a lot things being done here and there but not co-ordinated. And without co-ordination we are not going to get much from the system." He said, Nigeria has not feared well in its quest to reduce infant and maternal mortality. "What we have been having is one to five per cent reduction in a year and then the next year we climb up again. So, it is not a smooth decline. In fact, the decline is so minimal like it's going down by 0.5 per cent per year. This is too slow. That is the problem and we need to do a lot of things on it so that it can improve and grow faster downward," he said. He said most deaths of expectant mothers were due to inaccessibility to ante-natal care. Many of them die from bleeding, prolonged labour, and rupture of uterus, he added. Usually, they die at childbirth because there was no skilled birth attendant at point of delivery, he said, adding: "Many of the children die from tetanus in newborn and many are messing the mother. They also die from other infections, pneumonia, malaria and meningitis. And on top of this, malnutrition is wide spread among the children. When they are malnourished, their system cannot fight illnesses when they are sick. This also makes them to be more
• Achonwa susceptible to illness and consequently die from it." President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Chiedozie Achonwa, said Nigeria had one of the worst indices in maternal and infant mortality in the world. And our match towards 2015 in terms of achieving MDGs 4 and 5 is in doubt, he said. He said the situation was worse in rural areas where there were no health centres but buildings without people. The government would build magnificent edifice equipped with ambulance and all other things, yet there would not be health workers to attend to the sick in those localities. Whether the primary health care centres (PHC) are set up for political reason nobody can tell, he added. Achonwa, a paediatrist, said NARD set up a Rural Health Mission (RHM), which has three prongs. The first is rural health outreach. Second is capacity building for midwives and birth attendants called capacity building on safe motherhood and neonatal resuscitation while the third rural posting where some teaching adopt some rural communities and send some of its resident doctors there to treat patients and teach the people and gain experience as well. He said the association had written a position paper to the government on those programmes, adding that it was yet to respond.
The Senior Registrar in Paediatrics, said the government has failed the people in infrastructure, education, power among others. The country is good at formulating policies, but when it comes to implementing it is another case altogether, he added. On ratio of maternal and child mortality, he said, there was an improvement unlike last year. "I think it is around 80 compared to the previous years. We are making progress, but slow progress. Maternal mortality is 730 or thereabout but is now about 600. On fuel subsidy, he concurred with Dr Temiye that it might trigger the incidences of maternal deaths if transportation is beyond the reach of common man. "The sick may die before they get to the hospital due to high transportation cost. Expectant mothers and children may be the worst hit," Achonwa added. According to statistics from the United Nations' International and Children and Education Fund (UNICEF), only 60 per cent of expectant mothers in Nigeria have access to antenatal care. In addition, only 35 per cent have a skilled medical attendant during delivery. It said these statistics are depressing. This is because every mother and child have a right to survival. This is working diligently to support the Fifth UN Millennium Development Goal to improve mater-
‘The immunisation programme virtually failed last year because there were no vaccines for those who really wanted to take it. The poverty level is still very high. There is no access to education, water, and housing, which have become a major problem, he added. And these are the things needed to reduce infant mortality considerably’
nal health. The body said expectant mothers in the country are not exposed to the best of ante-natal health care facilities and relevant information, education and communication (IEC) materials on reproductive health. It said further that most of these women as a result of ignorance are unaware of the health packages and facilities available and places where they could get appropriate information on diet, relevant light weight exercises, and activities to avoid during pregnancy. The body said Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five-year-olds and 145 women of childbearing age daily. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world. “At present, less than 20 per cent of health facilities offer emergency obstetric care and only 35 per cent of deliveries are attended by skilled birth attendants. This shows the close relationship between the well being of the mother and the child, and justifies the need to integrate maternal, newborn and child health interventions," it added. It said wide regional disparities existed in child health indicators with the Northeast and Northwest geopolitical zones of the country with the worst child survival figures. The body said preventable or treatable infectious diseases, such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles and HIV/AIDS account for more than 70 per cent of the estimated one million under-five deaths in Nigeria. It said: "Malnutrition is the underlying cause of morbidity and mortality of a large proportion of children under-five in Nigeria. It accounts for more than 50 per cent of deaths of children in this age bracket. "The deaths of newborn babies in Nigeria represent a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under-five. The majority of these occur within the first week of life, mainly due to complications during pregnancy and delivery reflecting the intimate link between newborn survival and the quality of maternal care. Main causes of neonatal deaths are birth asphyxia, severe infection including tetanus and premature birth. Similarly, a woman's chance of dying from pregnancy and childbirth in Nigeria is many of these deaths are preventable, the coverage and quality of health care is one in 13." UNICEF said the government has taken action, such as the Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) strategy through Federal Ministry of Health. "It was put together to fast-track a programme designed to revitalise primary health care (PHC) in every local government and considerably extend coverage of key maternal and child health interventions, thereby reducing maternal, newborn and under-five mortality in line with the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals targets. "The strategy had been implemented in three phases of three years each, to benchmark progress towards the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline," it said.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Senate to review health scheme Health T Tourism HE Senate Committee on Health will review the National Health Insurance Schmme (NHIS) for efficiency. The committee, which met in Kano,promised to ensure that Nigerians have access to good health care services through the scheme. It said contentious areas, such as the distribution of health care costs by service providers, the registration of health maintenance organisations (HMOs), and health care providers (HCPs) under the scheme and the method of contribution by employers and employees will be looked into to pave way for better service delivery. Its Executive Secretary, Dr Dogo Muhammed, said the scheme will comply with the law seting it up, which ensures protection for families from the financial hardship arising from huge medical bills. He said: “We are set to limit the rise in cost of health care services; ensure equitable distribution of health care costs among different
By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha
income groups; maintain high standard of health care delivery services within the scheme; ensure efficiency in health care services; improve and harness private participation in the provision of health care service; ensure adequate distribution of health facilities within the federation and the availability of funds to the health sector for improved services.” A resource person at the retreat, Mohammed Isah, of the Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, Bayero University, Kano, tasked the Committee, the Governing Council and the Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to resolve further problems associated with the scheme. “Use of nomenclature in the Act in relation to health insurance in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act has been a primary source of concern to stakeholders and key players in the health care services industry in Nigeria. The use of the word ‘Scheme’ has created ambiguities as to the
extent of powers of the scheme and or its Governing Council. This is not unconnected with reason the Executive Secretary stated that ‘the Act establishing the National Health Insurance Scheme makes social insurance optional.’ ” Quoting the Executive Secretary further, Isah said: “With the nomenclature of the current Act, it is difficult to inquire as to what is the problem with the word ‘scheme’, as the meaning is design/plan to accomplish some purpose or system, it is too abstract for implementation. The three tiers of government operating under federal system of government pose another challenge to the realisation of the objectives of the scheme. “This informed why the scheme failed to extend to states’ and local governments’ employees, except in few cases, to achieve its primary objective of providing access to good health care services to all Nigerians. This is compounded by the poor economic status of Nigerians, which is obstacle hindering speedy coverage of the population by the scheme.”
With Dr Dheeraj Bojwani e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Retinal surgery in India
HE human eye is similar to the structure of a camera. All parts of the eye must function together properly to produce clear vision. The function of the eye is to convert light into an electrical signal, which is then transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve. It is in the brain that this electrical signal is converted into Vision. The cornea and crystalline lens are the lenses that focus the picture onto the eye's film, the retina. The iris is the colored circle in the front of the eye. The black pupil, in the center of the iris, enlarges and contracts to regulate the amount of light entering the eye. The vitreous is a transparent jelly filling the inside of the eye. The choroid is a system of blood vessels which covers the outer retinal surface, providing it with oxygen and nourishment. The sclera, or white of the eye, is a tough protective outer shell that corresponds to the body of a camera. The optic nerve carries the light images to the brain.
•Managing Director, Health Partners International (HPI), Mr Jeff Mecaskey (left) and United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Terence McCulley, at the launch of Malaria Action Programme (MAP) for Nigeria in Abuja.
Expert seeks return of preventive healthcare
ORRIED by the dearth of a workable public health policy, a clinical surgeon, Prof Basil 'Jide Fadipe, has called for a return to preventive health care in the country. According to him, the government should adopt practical approach to issues of public health. Fadipe also advocated the return of sanitary inspectors and the stringent penalties for offenders. He said the nation's health sector would continue to be in shambles until the government takes practical steps in addressing the filth and dirt that poses huge health risks to the people.
By Yinka Aderibigbe Quoting medical statistics which showed that 20 per cent of cancer cases in the country are as a result of infections, Fadipe said if government could plug avenues where these infections comes, it would have prevented the diseases. Comparing what obtains in the 70s and 80s to what holds at the moment, Fadipe said: "It appears to me that our health sector was on a free fall. Our political leaders are quick to embark on medical trip even for sicknesses that could be cured locally, while no attention is paid to preventive medi-
cine across the country." According to him, a travel round any part of the country would show that our policy makers have scant ideas about public health care, with the way filth and dirt clogged our drainage systems and nobody seemed to bother about their health implications. "Look around you, what you see is filth everywhere. The roadsides are brimming with waste. The gutters are clogged with stagnating water. We breathe in dirt, thereby attract infections into our air tract, these degenerates eventually into illnesses that cuts down lives and resources," he said.
Medical Council raises inspectors to fish out quacks
HE Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has established an Inspectorate Department to monitor hospitals and clinics as part of measures to stop quackery. According to its Registrar, Dr Abdulmumini Ibrahim, the inspectors will assist the council to identify genuine doctors and fish out quacks. Ibrahim, who spoke in Abuja, said employers of doctors, without practicing licenses, would be sanctioned. He said expatriates practising in Nigeria without the necessary registration will be sanctioned according to the provisions of the Act setting up the council. His words: “The medical, dental
From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja and alternative medicine practices, like other professions, have been infiltrated by quacks whose activities are bringing this noble profession into disrepute. “Over the years, the Council has been working on the appropriate strategies to counter this ugly encroachment. “I am happy to inform you that this effort has resulted in the creation of the Inspectorate Department which has commenced operation and it will worki hand in hand with our state monitoring committees.” To identify, arrest and prosecute offenders, he said the council was working with the Police, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other
law enforcement agencies. He said out of the nine Colleges of Medicine of Nigerian Universities, whose accreditation were suspended because of inadequate facilities in November 2010, only the College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho was still under suspension. He said the other eight have met the council’s minimum standards, saying their accreditation had been restored since last October. They are Ambrose Alli University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Ahmadu Bello University, University of Nigeria, University of Port Harcourt, University of Jos, Ebonyi State University and University of Maiduguri.
The retina is the innermost layer of the wall of the eye. It is made up of light-sensitive cells known as rods and cones. These detect shape, colour and pattern. The retina is supported on the inside by the jelly-like vitreous, which fills the eyeball behind the lens. On its outer side, it is attached to the choroid, or middle layer, which is rich in blood vessels. Nerve fibres leaving the retina bundle together to form the optic nerve, which relays visual information from the retina to the brain. The retina has two parts: • the peripheral retina • the macula The peripheral surrounds the macula, which is very small and is what is used when we see something out of the corner of our eye. Because peripheral vision isn't bringing in the detail clearly, it ca not be used for reading or other close work. If someone is seen off to the side, they may be recognisable because of their general shape, but it will be impossible to distinguish the expression on a face. The gift of sight, even imperfect sight, is such a blessing. But sometimes an injury or trauma causes harm to that gift. The aging process affects the ability to focus on details. Other health concerns, such as diabetes, can affect one's vision. For many people, retinal surgery is a viable solution for repairing damage. Surgical specialists use amazing procedures with advanced tools and technologies to restore vision or, at least, to slow the loss of vision. The retina is a subspecialty of ophthalmology concerned with disorders of the back of the eye, many of which
may have very serious visual consequences if left untreated. Some of the more common disorders a retina specialist will treat are: • Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) • Diabetic eye disease • Retinal detachments • Vascular disease of the retina. With a retinal surgery of any kind, whether non-invasive with laser, pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckling, or vitrectomy; no overnight stay in the hospital is usually needed but the activities get limited for a period of time. Most retinal surgery is successful, although a second operation is sometimes needed. After your retinal surgery, recovery and healing process will start. The prognosis of the retinal surgery depends on: • the number of the holes, • the size of the holes, • and the presence of scar tissues on the retina. Retinal eye surgery recovery usually means the problem with the retina has now been resolved, and a patch is placed over the affected area for a few days. The patient must avoid lifting anything, and in general just be patient while healing takes place. In some instances, the patient is instructed to lie still in bed for a few days to let healing begin. Ask questions. Understand the condition and the treatment options. Undergoing retina eye surgery isn't on anyone's “things I most want to do in my life” list. But when it's necessary, the prospective patient who is well-informed will make the best decisions.
Conclusion Many patients from the West travel for retinal surgery in India mainly because of the low cost, quality hospitals, experienced eye surgeons, and no wait times. Other reasons this surgery is becoming so popular is the positive clinical feedback from patients who have had this procedure in the last few years. Not only the cost of retinal surgery in India is very low but the level of service is also very high. Great care should be taken when seeking a specialist to find someone who is knowledgeable, respected, reputable, and experienced. Eye surgeons of India are known for their immense knowledge, steady hands, success rates, and quick recovery. The doctors here in India are competent to counsel the foreign patients and answer all queries concerning their malady. Indian hospitals have the best of eye surgeons, the latest and highly sophisticated medical equipment and other facilities. India definitely makes for the best choice when it comes to retinal surgery.
Dr. Bojwani is the Chief Executive of Forerunners Healthcare Consultants Pvt Ltd, India’s Pioneer Medical tourism organisation. Local contact: 07042394040, 07090830097, 08191462542, 07037065779, 08023051420
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
EDITORIAL/OPINION EDITORIAL FROM OTHER LAND
Waiting for Recovery
Whither the Senate? •House ofReps’ resolutions commendable; but Upper Chamber’s silence troubling
IGERIA’S House of Representatives has demonstrated an exemplary conduct by cutting its recess by two days, to decide on the backlash of the withdrawal of the contentious fuel subsidy. In the end, the lawmakers asked the Federal Government to suspend the action, even as it implored the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to suspend the nation-wide strike which began on Monday. With 294 of the 360 House of Representatives members in attendance, the decisions arrived at cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hands. It is particularly instructive that the resolutions cut across party lines. We commend the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, for the maturity he exhibited throughout the deliberations and for the general congenial atmosphere that prevailed during the session. At very critical moments in the life of any democratic nation, a worthwhile legislature should rise up to the challenge. The nation is just witnessing one of such critical moments with the arbitrary increment in the pump price of petrol announced by the government on January 1. This has been widely challenged by Labour, civil society and other professional groups and there have been protests in parts of the country, including Abuja, Lagos, Kwara and Ogun states, among others. There are yet-to-be confirmed reports that some people have been killed in the protests, even as we must add that the security agencies ap-
peared largely to have handled their assignments with some degree of professionalism. The implication of the strike has been a complete paralysis of the economy. The House of Representatives has stood up to be counted. The question now is: where is the Senate at this crossroad? We are surprised that the Upper Legislative Chamber is nowhere to be found in all these. As true representatives of the people, the senators should have seen the necessity of calling off their recess to urgently intercede on behalf of the people. At least that was what the House of Representatives did. It is shameful that the senators remain mute so far. Even if they intervene today, we are afraid it is almost too late. For a government that is calling for sacrifices, the leadership at all levels must be ready to lead by example. If senators cannot sacrifice a few days of their recess to attend to this sensitive issue, what moral justification would they have to ask Nigerians to sacrifice for the country? The grave consequences of the socalled subsidy withdrawal have been staring everyone in the face. Food prices have skyrocketed; transport fares and general costs of goods and services have shot up astronomically. We call on the National Assembly to mandate an adjustment of the 2012 budget by the executive that would see to the restoration of subsidy, pending when the grey areas would have been addressed and collectively agreed upon. And by this we mean the two houses of the Na-
tional Assembly. We believe that the fuel subsidy can still be accommodated if there is pruning of public wastages like needless purchase of presidential jets and outlandish cost of providing presidential food, among others. Notwithstanding its belatedness, the Senate should still speak up on the matter, at least for posterity. Government’s tagging of the resolution of the House of Representatives as ‘inciting’ is certainly unhelpful. If the representatives had supported the government’s position, the Presidency would not have dismissed their resolution as merely advisory. It would have celebrated it as the true voice of the people. But the representatives have done what their constituencies sent them to do; we want to hear from the Senate. The National Assembly members are closer to the people, so, they can better appreciate where the shoes pinch.
‘We are surprised that the Upper Legislative Chamber is nowhere to be found in all these. As true representatives of the people, the senators should have seen the necessity of calling off their recess to urgently intercede on behalf of the people. At least that was what the House of Representatives did. It is shameful that the senators remain mute so far. Even if they intervene today, we are afraid it is almost too late’
Facts are sacred •Supreme Court erred in deciding Buhari’s petition based on technicalities
HE decision of the Supreme Court in the case brought by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and its candidate in the April 2011 presidential election, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, relied more on technicalities to the detriment of facts. An examination of the reasons offered by the apex court shows that the court was more interested in upholding procedural difficulties faced by the petitioner as against examining whether the election was truly free and fair. The judgment also confirmed the inadequacy of the judicial process as an alternative to electoral integrity. Regardless of the outcome, we say well done to the CPC presidential candidate for always exploiting the due process of
‘Many have also argued that considering the ubiquitous ground of public policy and public good, the Supreme Court has always sold the dummy that it is better to allow a fractious presidential election as against a fractious polity. If indeed that is why the court has consistently failed to properly look at the germane issues of rigging presidential elections when petitions are brought before it, then we beg to disagree’
law despite his military background. While many Nigerians would prefer to allow a perceived injustice prevail, or resort to violence because of their lack of faith in the judicial process; Gen Buhari has persistently pursued justice in the court, even when many are disconsolate by the system. It is also commandable that he accepts the judgment, even when he disagrees with the justice in it. We commend these qualities to other politicians. As we have consistently argued with respect to our election petitions, our judicial process as constituted seems to favour election rigging. When technicalities associated with the burden of proof is placed on the petitioner, and the time available to prove the case is also limited, the task becomes uphill and only very few people will ever make the height. That is what Gen. Buhari’s consistency has shown to all Nigerians, since the Supreme Court has consistently, for technical or other untoward reasons, refused to call for a proper account of the presidential elections in 2003, 2007 and now in 2011. As many foresaw, the apex court is always reluctant to expose the inadequacies of our presidential elections. Many have also argued that considering the ubiquitous ground of public policy and public good, the Supreme Court has always sold the dummy that it is better to allow a fractious presidential election as against a fractious polity. If indeed that is why the court has consistently failed to properly look at the germane issues of
rigging presidential elections when petitions are brought before it, then we beg to disagree. In the present circumstance, lessons are not learnt, and the perpetrators of election rigging are encouraged to keep faith with their malpractice. What we advocate is that once a petition has shown a prima facie case of election malpractice, the burden of proof of the propriety of the process should rest on the electoral body. This is primarily because, as an impartial arbiter, the electoral body, when disputes arise, must continue in that state, and use materials at its disposal to convince the court that it acted bona fide. The present circumstance that allows the electoral arbiter turn to an advocate of one of the parties, or even a protagonist as it frustrates the efforts of the petitioner is not only reprehensible, but a clog on a free and fair electoral process. President Jonathan and his party men have absolutely nothing to gloat about this tainted victory. While the President may have won the court case, there is no doubt that the issues raised by the CPC were not tried on merit. To pretend otherwise is to play the ostrich, and such attitude would only debilitate further our electoral process. We also believe that the time to start preparing against similar experience in 2015 election is now. The electoral laws and process must be strengthened to reorientate our national psyche that elections can never be won and lost at the ballot. It will also be necessary for the judiciary to act properly so that Nigerians do not lose faith in the courts as an impartial arbiter.
N its broad strokes, the December employment report is an upbeat finish to a difficult year. Job growth accelerated, the workweek expanded modestly, wages ticked up and the unemployment rate declined. Unfortunately, it will take far greater monthly growth than the 200,000 jobs created in December — and higher quality jobs — to spur significant consumer spending and a self-reinforcing recovery. For that to occur, the government will have to do more. At a minimum, to avoid a collapse in consumer demand and a rise in joblessness, Congress needs to extend existing federal unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut beyond their expiration in late February. To create jobs now while laying a foundation for future growth, the economy needs a broader jobs agenda, like the one proposed last year by President Obama, including government spending for public works, aid to state and local governments and an infrastructure bank. Before Congress recessed for the holidays, Republican lawmakers resisted all that. In the face of intense public disapproval and pressure from their own leaders, they finally agreed to renew jobless aid and the payroll tax cut — but only for two months. The question now is whether Republican lawmakers will continue to resist and reduce even basic assistance. If they don’t do what is needed, it will be impossible to gain any traction in the still-ailing job market. December’s tally, 200,000 more jobs, was almost surely inflated by about 40,000 jobs because of a problematic seasonal adjustment in counting holiday couriers and messengers. Meanwhile, gains in higher-paying blue-collar jobs, which are essential to strong consumer spending, were tentative. An addition of 23,000 manufacturing jobs, for instance, followed four months of little change. Categories that have been steadily adding jobs (retail stores, bars and restaurants) tend to be low-paying, while categories that were flat in December (including state government jobs) tend to be solidly middle class. Joblessness, though declining, continued to exert a profound drag on the economy. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent in December, compared with 8.7 percent in November and a peak of 10 percent in October 2009. The improvement is not as dramatic as it seems, however, because the difficult job market over that period has caused many potential workers to drop out (or never enter) the labor force. In the four years since the Great Recession began in December 2007, nearly everyone in the country has been touched by mass unemployment. If you are lucky to have held on to your job, you surely have relatives and friends who have lost theirs or children who haven’t been able to find one. In December, unemployment among 16-to24-year-olds was 16.7 percent, still up 5 percentage points since the start of the recession. Among workers ages 25 to 54, joblessness was 7.6 percent, and for workers age 55 and older it was 6.2 percent; for both age groups, the current jobless rates are still far higher than their prerecession levels. Even among college graduates under 25, unemployment averaged 9.2 percent over the past year. A lot more help is needed New York Times
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile
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THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
IR: I have been following with keen interest the arguments, for and against, the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant protests that greeted the obnoxious policy since it was introduced on January 1, thus ushering Nigerians into beginning a new year with uncertainties and pains. Removal of fuel subsidy in this country cannot be rationalized on the basis of both micro and macroeconomic fundamentals. The issue here goes beyond these economic principles. Come to think of it, nothing is absolutely wrong with the removal of fuel subsidy, but where certain fundamentals have not been properly addressed before its removal makes it obnoxious and anti-people. These fundamentals are: what stops government from fixing our refineries or put new one in place? Why should our government find it difficult to confront the monster called ‘corruption’ in the petroleum industry and found it easy to impoverish Nigerians the more? Do we really have a faceless ‘cabal’ in the petroleum industry? Are these faceless cabals not the one financing electioneering of different political office-holders in this country? Don’t we think that this administration lacks peoples’ trust, because where there is no trust, confidence becomes a scarce commodity? The cost of governance in Nigeria is
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The fuel subsidy brouhaha the most expensive in the world; when all our political office holders including the President are collecting jumbo salaries and emoluments that do not reflect our present economic realities, even when they claimed to have problem with implementing poor N18,000 minimum wage.
We have heard cases of some countries in the world where political office holders have to cut their salaries and other emoluments by half in order to fix their economic problems, because they don’t want the poor alone to sacrifice for the economic revival and today, they are better for it.
The reverse is the case in Nigeria, where our political office holders right from President down to local government councillors are living large and fat, thus leaving the helpless poor to bear the sacrifice of reviving the economy alone. Is this not a case of monkey they work and bamboo they
Why I support fuel subsidy removal
IR: The Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress should shelve their planned action against the removal of subsidy on petrol price. I have deep convictions that if the subsidy money is properly managed, Nigeria will become the dream country we want it to be. It will be tough temporarily, but will take our economy into the mainstream in the long run. I will rather that NLC and TUC engage the Federal Government in constructive dialogue that should aim at
achieving three simple things (as against reversal to N65 per litre). First, the 2012 budget should be rerepresented, showing a 50% slash on all salaries and running cost of the executive and the legislature – the glutinous banquets and foreign trips that are not beneficial to the nation should be banned. Secondly, the money gained/saved from fuel subsidy removal and deregulation should be used to subsidize the local industries and domestic productions - notably agriculture for
local consumption and export, etc Thirdly, NLC and TUC should agree on a working relationship with the federal government by setting up a ‘peoples’ committee that can audit all activities of government through which all project implementation and its milestones are open to the Nigerian people - we must all partake in managing Nigeria and her resources! With these, I will support protest! I will fight for Nigeria! 2012 is a turnaround for our future! •Adebola Oyinloye, Lagos
Buhari has been vindicated
IR: General Mohammed Buhari, former Head of state, former military administrator, former minister, former petroleum Trust Fund Chairman, and veteran presidential aspirant needs no introduction. He is a Moslem by religion and not known to be a prophet. However, in the buildup to the 2011 presidential elections, while rounding up his presidential campaign at Abuja few days to the presidential elections, warned Nigerians to reject People Democratic Party and its candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan at the polls. He further warned that, if Nigerians should make a mistake of voting for PDP, they would commit political hara-kiri. Buhari made this warning with tears.
His warnings was regarded by many as ranting of a drowning man and his tears, according to some, was to whip up sentiment from the northern part, where he belongs. Nigerians voted PDP and its presidential candidate in April 16, 2011 presidential polls. The rest is now history. Since the assumption of office by President Jonathan on May 29, 2011, Nigeria has been grappling with insecurity of lives and property: the Boko Haram insurgency, violent armed robberies, kidnapping, inter-ethnic wars and the likes. Many innocent lives have been lost to bombings, sanguinary warfare etc. Besides, Nigeria’s social infrastructure remains in tatters. These include roads, electricity supply, etc. Equally, economic depression has increased the level of poverty among the
populace, while tertiary education is comatose because of industrial actions embarked on by the university lecturers. To add salt to injury, the federal government has in spite of all admonition from patriotic Nigerians, unilaterally removed the fuel subsidy in the New Year day, thus gearing up the petrol prices by more than 100%. This is a clear case of insensitivity of the ruling elite to the plight of ordinary Nigerians, majority of who live on less by one dollar a day. Summing up the effects of fuel subsidy removal by the federal government and socio-economic problems starring the nation at the face at the moment, had Nigerians not committed sociopolitical hara-kiri as Gen. Buhari prophesized? Hara-kiri, according to
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is “an act of killing oneself by cutting open one’s stomach with a sword!” In fact, Nigerians committed harakiri by continuing to vote for a party whose more than a decade grip on power has impoverished majority of Nigerians. Buhari’s admonition was like a Yoruba proverb which says the words of an elder, if it does not come to pass in the night would definitely come to pass in the day and vice versa. Nigerians owe the General an apology not because he was not voted for, but for ignoring his warning, the consequence of which has begun to manifest adversely on the lives of Nigerians.
•Adewuyi Adegbite, Ogbomoso, Oyo State
chop? More debased and degrading as a country is the fact that few Nigerians that owns refineries abroad will always work against the workability of our local refineries with the connivance of their agents in government, thus actualizing the philosophy of a typical capitalist entrepreneur. Abilities, capacities and capabilities to govern and actually lead very well is not a function of the number of degrees you are holding, because good governance goes beyond big grammars or rhetorictalks on the corridor of power. If you assemble best brains in the world into governance team and you don’t possess that abilities and capabilities to coordinate and lead them into reducing the suffering of the masses, then you are either not fit to rule or you were ill-prepared for the assignment. This, perhaps explain why some apostles of IMF in this present administration would always want to have their ways unhindered. What is happening presently was externally induced with internal collaborators who are agents of wasteful spending, thus further widening the gap between the rich and the poor. My worries, just like other average Nigerians are; ASUU is still on strike because our education sector is in comatose; our health centers have turned to death centers, our road turned to death traps; our infrastructures increasingly decaying; unemployment unabated; government financial recklessness through wasteful spending thus giving rise to increase in our foreign debt, excessive decrease in excess crude account and foreign exchange reserves; geometric increase in exchange rate and local bank interest rates and wanton destruction of lives and properties by Boko Haram; etc. If all our political office holders from presidency, National Assembly down to local governments are arrogantly living large with apparent wasteful spending, which does not match our present economic realities thus leaving the helpless poor to bear the brunt of making sacrifice alone for country’s economic revival, the question then is, who is actually subsidizing who, between the impostor rich and the helpless poor? •Obasan Kehinde Ayodeji. Ikorodu, Lagos
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
HE fact that a country with such a vast land mass and consisting of ethnic nationalities with disparate backgrounds, languages and cultures could not live under a unitary government for too long was not lost on the British colonial administration, especially from the time of Governor Arthur Richards. At the various consultative forums, especially the Ibadan General Conference of January 1950, preparatory to the promulgation of Macpherson Constitution of 1951, the question on the structure of Nigeria was pointedly asked and discussed: “Do we wish to see a fully centralised system with all legislative and executive powers concentrated at the centre, or do we wish to develop a federal system under which each different region of the country would exercise a measure of internal autonomy?” But it was not until 1954, following the crises generated by the motion for self-government by Anthony Enahoro in 1953 and the constitutional conferences that resulted from them (London Conference of 1953 and Lagos Conference of 1954), that the inevitability of a federation or federalism finally dawned on everyone. And so there is no gainsaying that the federal arrangement bequeathed to Nigeria both by the Lyttleton Constitution of 1954 and Independence Constitution of 1960 was a compromise between the centrifugal and centripetal forces that inhabited the disparate regions of Nigeria. Our founding fathers like Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello settled for a full-fledged federation as the basis of our existence as a nation in 1954. In 1954, the Federal Republic of Nigeria was born. It is most regrettable that today, Nigeria seems to be a federation only in name, as all powers appear to be concentrated at the centre, thus making all roads lead to Abuja. Governor Ibikunle Amosun, for instance, cast a reflection on the current state of affairs while declaring open the recent Zonal Advocacy Workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation,
‘We need to make Nigeria a truly federal republic. In a proper federation, all roads cannot lead to Abuja. The centre cannot collect so much as revenue to the detriment of the states. For a start, I personally recommend a revenue formula that will give at least 1.5 per cent to each of the 36 states’
HE recent exertions of the Code of Conduct Bureau which culminated in the trial of former Lagos state Governor Bola Tinubu has in an uncanny way brought to the fore the issue of the role of lawyers in the dispensation of justice in Nigeria. Believing that it had a water tight case against Tinubu, the CCB hauled him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Daniel Yakubu Umar. He was charged for allegedly operating sixteen foreign bank accounts between 1999 and 2007 while he served as governor. However, in his ruling Justice Daniel Yakubu Umar held that the charges were defective and incompetent. He accordingly quashed all the charges after holding that they did not establish a prima facie case against the accused person. Established under the Third Schedule of the Constitution, the CCB is to ensure compliance with and enforcement of the Code of Conduct for public officers as enshrined in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. CCT, established under Paragraph 15 (10 of part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution, is empowered to try offences committed under the Code of Conduct. The CCT operations are guided by the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Chapter 56, Laws of the Federation (LFN) 1990. The powers of CCB include: receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution; examine the declarations in accordance with requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law; retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe; ensure compliance with and, where appropriate, enforce the provisions of the Code of Conduct of any law relating thereto; receiving complaints about noncompliance with or breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto, investigate the complaint and, where appropriate, refer such matters to the Code of Conduct Tribunal; appoint, promote, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the staff of the Codes of Conduct Bureau in accordance with the provisions of an Act of the National Assembly enacted in that behalf; and carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it
Tinubu’s usual resort to tested and capable lawyers in weighty politically induced legal tussle is a throw back from an eventful past. Leading lights of the second republic politics like former President Shehu Shagari, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chiefs Jim Nwobodo and C.C Onoh had cause to engage the services of the likes of Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN, Chief G.O.K Ajayi, SAN, Chief Rotimi Williams, SAN and Chief Gabriel Onyiuke, SAN.
Federalism and Nigeria ‘s quest for regional integration By Soyombo Opeyemi organized by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC): “Without doubt, this issue has brought to the fore, once again, structural weaknesses in our federation, particularly fiscal federalism…” Indeed, I find it very odd, just like Senator Amosun, a revenue allocation formula that gives 52 per cent to the Federal Government, 26 percent to the 36 states and 20 per cent to the local councils. What this means is that each of the 36 states collects 0.7 per cent from the federation account while the Federal Government collects a whopping 52 per cent! Haba! Is this federalism or unitarism? All over the world, regional integration has gained currency. Nations are collaborating, so are states within federations in order to derive maximum benefits from the power of synergy and economies of scale. The South-west of Nigeria is doing everything within its power to integrate and re-enact the development witnessed in the Western Region of the pre-independence and immediate post independence era. The South-east, Southsouth and North are on the same path. But there are serious challenges to overcome in order to see the lofty dreams come to fruition. The South-west states, for instance, may wish to embark on a railway project to connect the region – and this is key to any industrialization programme. But railway is on the Exclusive List (Item 55) of the 1999 Constitution. Today, there is a President Jonathan that may encourage such a project since it’s ultimately in the overall interest of the entire country. But a myopic central government may wake up tomorrow after billions of taxpayers’ funds must have been sunk into such a project and invoke the constitutional provision to force it to halt. Again, Ogun State, for instance, has mineral resources such as limestone, tar sand, bitumen, gypsum, feldspars, quartz, phosphate, mica, glass sound, clay, high quality granite stones, gravels, decorative stones, kaolin, etc. These mineral deposits can be exploited to turn the state into Eldora do. But you have to look at the body language of the man in Abuja before you can reap any benefits from such exploration and exploitation. And once Abuja is not interested, even though
CCB: Lessons from Tinubu’s triumph By Chris Egbuna by the National Assembly. The 1999 Constitution further provided for a comprehensive Code of Conduct for public officers to be administered and enforced by the bureau. It particularly states: “The President, Vice President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Ministers of the Government of the Federation and Commissioners of the Government of the State, members of the National Assembly and the House of Assembly of the states and such other public officers or persons, as the National Assembly may by law prescribe, shall not maintain or operate a bank account in any country outside Nigeria”. The tribunal reportedly arrived at its decision after faulting the amended charges on several grounds. First, the prosecution (the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB) failed to seek and obtain the court’s leave to proceed with the amended charges, after the original one-count charge was withdrawn on September21, 2011. Second, the CCB failed to properly invite the accused to hear from him before commencing the trial, contrary to Section 3 of the Code of Conduct Act. Third, the CCB failed to provide any summary evidence, backed by an affidavit, to substantiate the amended charge, contrary to the mandatory requirements of criminal law. In fact, Justice Umar disclosed that the CBB did not avail even the tribunal of the amended charges, which he said got to their notice only at the courtroom. This, he said, was not a normal procedure, for “Justice cannot be done by way of ambushing”. Summarizing the implication of the prosecution’s failure to back the charges with the required proof of evidence, Justice Umar declared that “where a court discovers that its rules and procedures have been abused, it is bound to dismiss the suit, and not strike it out”. The case has added to the long list of judicial victories Tinubu has recorded in recent time. Perhaps, more than any other Nigerian in the current civilian dispensation, Tinubu has shown better appreciation of the need to always hire a crack team of seasoned lawyers. In all the cases he is believed to have inspired especially in Ekiti and Osun States, he spared no cost in assembling a team of very experienced lawyers. In the particular case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal his legal team consisted of nine senior advocates led by the inimitable Wole Olanikpekun, SAN, past President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, another past president of NBA, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, a former AttorneyGeneral of Lagos State, Deji Sasegbon, SAN, renowned for his outstanding law books, Emeka Ngige, SAN, Niyi Akintola, SAN, Turaki Kabiru Tanimu, SAN, Dele Belgore,
the mineral deposit may be right in front of your house, you can’t do anything because “Mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas” are contained in Item 39 on the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution. You see! Everything is Abuja, yet we say we are a federation! What about electricity? Ordinarily, each region, state or local council should be able to generate, transmit and distribute electricity from different energy sources (wind, water, solar, household waste, etc) but, practically speaking, little can be done without the authority of the Federal Government despite the fact that Electric Power is on the Concurrent List of the constitution. Again, the current president will most likely support the efforts of any state government to ameliorate the power situation in the country but what happens when another man holds court in Aso Rock? Therefore, it is important to enact a constitution that is truly federal and self-fulfilling, which does not have to depend on the goodwill of Abuja. There is urgent need to go back to the federalism bequeathed to us by our founding fathers. There are also federal roads which are key to development but cannot be constructed or rehabilitated by willing state governments, even though the state of such roads impact heavily on the socio-economic lives of the people of those states. The Benin-Ore Road and Lagos/Ibadan Expressway are good examples. The state governments of Ondo and Edo, for example, would certainly have prevented the daily traffic snarl on the Benin-Ore Road and the attendant socio-economic losses. Ogun and Oyo could certainly make the commercially-vital Lagos/Ibadan Expressway a model, at a lower cost than funds that will move first from Abuja, to a regional office, to the states and from there to the roads. Governor Amosun, for instance, said recently that Ogun, in partnership with the private sector, could make the highway a model in a record time and end once and for all the miseries of commuters and humongous economic loses to the state and Nigeria. There’s need to accord a serious thought to this offer from the government of Ogun State. We need to make Nigeria a truly federal republic. In a proper federation, all roads cannot lead to Abuja. The centre cannot collect so much as revenue to the detriment of the states. For a start, I personally recommend a revenue formula that will give at least 1.5 per cent to each of the 36 states. Proper federalism will promote regional integration, which will lead to healthy rivalry among the regions - the type witnessed in the 60s. Let’s recall that Nigeria was on the path of an economic medium power before the brutal termination of the First Republic by the military on January 15, 1966. This happened because Nigeria was a federation both in word and deed. It is time for a true Federal Republic of Nigeria. •Soyombo writes from Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. SAN and Charles Edosowan, SAN, are the other members of the team. A peep into the biodata of some of the members of the carefully chosen legal team indicates that Osinbajo is a renowned legal scholar and public ethics advocate. His publications include Cross Examination: A Trial Lawyer’s Potent weapon; Annotated Rules of the Superior Courts of Nigeria, with Ade Ipaye, Unification and Reform of the Nigerian Criminal Law and Procedure Codes, the Citizens Report Card on Local Governments with Omayeli Omatsola, Nigerian Medal Law, and Cases and Materials on Nigerian Law of Evidence, Integration of African Continent Through Law, among others. Sasegbon, with over three decades of legal practice, is a notable legal researcher and publisher. His specialty is commercial and company law, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, criminal practice and civil case, trademarks and copyright as well as legal publication. His publications under the aegis of his ingenious DSC Publication Limited include; Nigerian Supreme Court Case (NSCC) in 38 volumes, Legal Desk book, The Nigerian Companies and Allied Matters Law and Practice (6 volumes) and Sasegbon’s Law of Nigeria (A Judicial Encyclopedia of Nigerian Law and Practices in 30 volumes). Akintola served as the Deputy Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, 1992, Member, Presidential Committee On Review Of The 1999 Constitution. He is a Fellow, London Court Of International Arbitration and Chartered Institute Of Arbitration, UK. Turaki Kabiru Tanimu SAN who holds the traditional title of Dan-Masanin Gwandu is a respected attorney who specializes in Arbitration, Notaries Public, Chartered Secretary, Solicitor Practice, Advocacy, Legal Consultancy. Emeka Ngige SAN, a member of the National Executive Committee, Nigerian Bar Association since 1999 specializes in both Commercial Law and Electoral Matters. Another member of the team is Charles Edosowan SAN whose knowledge of laws regarding election matters is said to be prodigious. Yet another notable member of the team is Dele Adesina SAN, a former Secretary General, Nigerian Bar Association and former member, Governing Council, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria. He is a member of the Body of Benchers and the National Executive Committee, Nigerian Bar Association. Tinubu’s usual resort to tested and capable lawyers in weighty politically induced legal tussle is a throw back from an eventful past. Leading lights of the second republic politics like former President Shehu Shagari, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chiefs Jim Nwobodo and C.C Onoh had cause to engage the services of the likes of Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN, Chief G.O.K Ajayi, SAN, Chief Rotimi Williams, SAN and Chief Gabriel Onyiuke, SAN, who were the leading legal luminaries of the time. It is therefore a well laid out legal path that Tinubu now threads with accustomed dexterity. Little wonder that he continues to swim safely to the shores no matter how shark infested the murky waters of Nigerian partisan politics appear to be.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
OR the umpteenth time Boko Haram terrorists attacked Christian worshippers in northern Nigeria as they gathered to worship at their local church. No fewer than sixteen innocent souls were shot to death last Friday by gunmen from the terrorist group at the Christ Apostolic Church in Jimeta, Adamawa state. Another church had earlier been attacked in neighbouring Gombe state a day before, with no fewer than eight lives snuffed out of the worshippers. These attacks and killings are condemnable and I share in the grief of the bereaved and pray God to grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable and irreplaceable loss. We also seek God’s intervention in bringing this madness to an end and exposing not just the perpetrators but also their sponsors, since it appears the Federal Government lack the capacity to fight this terror. But prayer alone would not do; we need to act as a people to bring Boko Haram to its knees. Together we must get the terrorists and their sponsors and punish them or we go down together as a nation. The latest killings raise the likelihood of sectarian violence across the country and the attendant tragic consequences if Boko Haram is not stopped now. For how long shall we appeal to Christians and their leaders to turn the other cheek in the face of relentless attacks and killings on their community and members by Boko Haram with seeming impunity? When President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in some local government areas in four northern states badly affected by the activities of the terrorist group early in the new year, hopes were raised that the Federal Government was at last getting on top of the situation, but a few skeptics picked holes in the whole arrangement and their fears have been confirmed by the Adamawa and Gombe attacks. Isolating some local governments and leaving out others in the same state posed its own challenge; how do you police the borders to prevent Boko Haram bombers from sneaking to those areas not covered by the state of emergency? The president probably thought he had everything in his grip when he assured that the security agencies were up to this challenge, but he was wrong. Prior to the State of emergency in neighbouring Yobe state, Adamawa was
Not that road please relatively peaceful now see what Boko Haram has done to the people there, especially the Christians. Who knows, may be these agents of death sneaked in from Yobe? In Niger state, Governor Babangida Aliyu has extended the state of emergency to all the other local government areas in the state and not Suleija alone. In addition the emir of Suleija has been queried by the state government over the spate of bombings that had been carried out in his area by Boko Haram. And what does that tell us? Traditional rulers in these areas have not been up and doing in the fight against terror. I strongly believe that if the traditional rulers and religious leaders, especially the Imams and Islamic scholars as well as leaders of thought in the affected areas are really determined to rout out Boko Haram, the terrorists would have been dealt with. The emirs cannot claim ignorance of what is going on in their domain, likewise the Imams. These terrorists are no spirits they live among the people and most likely worship in the same mosque as the other right thinking and real Muslims. I say right thinking and real Muslims because members of Boko Haram are acting contrary to Islam and the teachings of the Prophet (SAW). May be its about time the Federal Government wield the big stick and go after these so called leaders. They probably know one or two things about Boko Haram and are either collaborating with the terrorists or afraid to give information about them. I recently asked a colleague and friend from the north why the emirs cum religious leaders have not taken action against Boko Haram and his response brought another dimension to the whole problem. Some of them, he said were imposed on their people by the state government hence their people have no
respect for them and would not listen to them. President Jonathan needs to look into that area and probably extend the state of emergency to cover the entire north east. This may sound harsh and probably amount to collective punishment for the crime of a few but if these few people would not allow the rest of us peace, its better to spread the dragnet wider and use the sledge hammer on them. If those who harbour them were also hit in the process, so be it. Restricting the state of emergency to a few local government areas amounts to piecemeal approach to the situation and as the Gombe and Adamawa attacks and killings have shown, the terrorists can beat the security cordon easily and strike elsewhere. The Federal Government needs to move fast and ahead of the terrorists before they ignite a sectarian war in Nigeria. This is a road we cannot afford to travel. Those beating the drum of war on both sides, either as Christians or Muslims had better be careful of what they ask for lest it come to pass. If and when it starts nobody would be safe. I remember at the outset of the Balkan wars that tore the former Yugoslavia to pieces, my colleague at Concord Press then used to cross over to the Foreign Desk where I was editor to ask about the Muslims in then Bosnia Herzegovina that were being subjected to heavy military bombardment by the mainly Christian Bosnian Serbs. Supported by Serbia proper and Serbs in Croatia, the Muslims were massacred at will and it took the intervention of the international community to rein in and defeat the Serbs. Of course the Muslims also retaliated and committed their own atrocities against the Christians. While lives were lost on both sides, the promoters of that conflict on both sides, those spewing hatred, inciting one religion against the other
and directing the attacks were eventually tracked down by the international community and dragged before the war crimes tribunal at The Hague. Of course Yugoslavia as a country became history. So those championing reprisal or directing attack on innocent Christians had better beware; the world is watching and monitoring their actions and utterances. A day of reckoning could come for them sooner rather than later. So it is better for all men and women of goodwill, those who wish Nigeria well, whether Muslim or Christian to join hands with the government to bring an end to Boko Haram. If we fail to do this now, we may as well kiss Nigeria goodbye and await the doomsday prediction by the US of Nigeria’s possible disintegration by 2015. Did I hear you say God forbid? Prayer alone will not solve the problem. Now that President Goodluck Jonathan has confirmed the widely held suspicion that Boko Haram has infiltrated all the three arms of government including the security agencies, the task of defeating the terrorists and their sympathisers becomes more daunting. Who do we trust now to deal with these murderers if the security agencies have also been compromised? Are we heading the way of Pakistan? We better not. With the President’s revelation on Sunday at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day church service, there is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Police and other security agencies to meet the challenge of a terror invested world. Jonahan must rise to the occasion.
‘Restricting the state of emergency to a few local government areas amounts to piecemeal approach to the situation and as the Gombe and Adamawa attacks and killings have shown, the terrorists can beat the security cordon easily and strike elsewhere’
VIEW FROM THE FOREIGN PRESS NE of the jokes making the rounds on Twitter and other social media is that: Boko Haram, the dreaded militant Islamic sect has claimed responsibility for the removal of the oil subsidy. Telling irreverent jokes as sociologists tell us is one of the ways in which an afflicted society responds to the inscrutable and hard to bear ways of officialdom. When you look at it deeper, it helps the psyche to attribute what has been described as a New Year shocker for Nigerians to Boko Haram rather than to elected government functionaries who know and feel how desperately hard life has become for the average and not so average Nigerian. The humorous remark also opens up a window for inspecting the extent to which, at least going by conspiracy theorists the recent decision to increase the price of petroleum by 115percent is the product of ill-considered advice given for the purpose of creating a booby trap for the Jonathan administration. Jokes apart, perhaps the noblest moments in the dialogue – if we call it so – that preceded the announcement of the new price regime are the town hall sessions organized by the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPANS). The parleys presented government as civil, responsible, accountable and seeking consensus over a delicate matter which some have described as a social time bomb. At one of those sessions, the finance minister; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala said that no final decision has been made on the subject and that government was consulting widely with stakeholders in
“Mr. Jonathan’s recent actions have not helped matters...On New Year’s day he removed a subsidy on petroleum product more than doubling the price of fuel in a country where ninety percent of the population live on two dollars a day, anger is rising nationwide as the cost of transport and food increase dramatically”.
Subsidy palaver: between economics and statesmanship By Ayo Olukotun order to reach an acceptable if not entirely amicable outcome. The question to pose therefore is: What happened to swerve policy from the democratic tenor of Iweala’s polite assurances to the mysterious outcome of New Year Day? Considering that our governments prefer to listen to foreign experts rather than home based ones, let us invite Jean Herskovits; Professor of History at the State University of New York and an influential policy wonk in the American foreign policy establishment whose recent comment on the unfolding situation in Nigeria goes thus: “Mr. Jonathan’s recent actions have not helped matters...On New Year’s day he removed a subsidy on petroleum product more than doubling the price of fuel in a country where ninety percent of the population live on two dollars a day, anger is rising nationwide as the cost of transport and food increase dramatically”. Of course, we had always known and counseled that the policy will instigate a domino effect on prices and services across the entire economy and that there was something profoundly mistaken about the claim of government experts that the removal of the subsidy would hurt the rich more than the poor. To give a revealing personal example, my driver came up to me yesterday to say that he would henceforth have to trek from Jericho to Mokola in Ibadan on his way to and from work as he could not afford to pay the heightened new bus fare which has more than doubled. This example is typical of the enforced servitude and sentencing to hard labour which the new price regime is bringing about. As I recall it, one of the issues raised during the national debate which has now been sharply aborted if not annulled concerns the need for government to find ways of bringing down the
tide of expenditure and the cost of running government as a substitute for jerking up the prices of petroleum products. In what appeared to be a gesture in this direction, government spokesmen did say that the policy will not take off until April this year by which time an ongoing restructuring of recurrent expenditure through for example the merger of ministries and parastatals would have been completed. Enigmatically, this instructive and less traumatic option was abandoned in favour of an immediate and sharp increase in the price of petroleum products setting a nation reeling from the tragedy of Christmas day bombing by Boko Haram into a convulsive frame. We are not reinventing the wheel; even the authors of harsh neo-liberal policies do say that timing, consensus building as well as the legitimacy of government have a bearing on the introduction and reception of these policies. Timing and conjunctures as well as statesmanship can make all the difference when structural adjustment policies such as the one under discussion are being implemented. If for the purposes of argument, we concede that the policy constitutes a wrenching but necessary therapy; it will be difficult to agree that careful and detailed attention have been paid to issues of timing especially given the fact that government was seeking to live down a serious security challenge posed by religious fundamentalist insurgence or perhaps as some have recently argued by criminal gangs operating under that cover. In fact, a colleague from Obafemi Awolowo University phoned me to say as this write-up was being finalised that considering the recent threat to spread insurgency to parts of southern Nigeria, the nation ought to guard against the possibility of a renewed wave of insurgency riding piggy back on the current outrage. In other words, and for reasons not entirely clear, government has chosen to fight on two formidable fronts at the same time, namely the social and the political. It is not too late to make painful recoils and backtrackings by returning the nation to a gentler, less horrifying keel as well as by resuming the dialogue that was snapped through making significant concessions to an aroused and distrustful citizenry. • Olukotun is a professor of Political Science at Lead City University, Ibadan.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Our farms destroyed by Shell Foreign firms owe exporters oil spill, communities allege T Stories by Uyoatta Eshiet
OME communities in Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states have alleged the destruction of their farms and land in the oil spill at Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO). Over 4,000 barrels of oil were spilled from Shell’s Bonga facility. Describing the spill as the worst in the country since 1998, the communities, in a letter, called on Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Government to assist their people, whose waters, have been polluted. But when The Nation contacted the image maker of Shell, Mr Precious Okolobo on Saturday night, he said Shell is waiting for the report of the sample taken to the United States (US) to determine the impact of the spill on the shore, adding that his organisation is doing everything possible to clean up the environment. “We have taken a sample of the oil in the beach to the United States. Not until the result is out, nobody is expected to talk of compensation. The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has even confirmed that there was no way the spill could have got to Akwa Ibom State,” Okolobo said. But in the petition sent to NIMASA, The Nation gathered that the affected communities complained that their source of livelihood, especially fishing, was affected by the impact of the oil spill. The affected communities which included the people of Age and Oroibiri 1 and 2, according to sources at NIMASA, said the letter became necessary because Shell’s response to the spill fell short of national and international standards.They urged NIMASA to ensure that Shell pays for devastating their environment and the ecosystem. The communities, according to the sources, also accused Shell of embarking on propaganda while they described the spill as massive that has affected birds, vegetation and other aquatic creatures in their domain.
• D-G NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent
Shell, the communities alleged, instead of addressing the problem embarked on propaganda to shift responsibility. This, the community insisted, is a diversionary tactic and urged Shell to make the name of the suspected third party public if it has any. The people of the affected areas, have vowed to hold Shell responsible for anything that happens to them and their environment if it fails to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a third party was involved. The communities, the sources said, are therefore, calling on the Federal Government, the National Assembly and NIMASA to send a delegation, which should include maritime reporters to the area for an on-the-spot assessment of the total devastation of their waters and their areas. When contacted, a senior official of NIMASA confirmed the petition and urged Shell to be alive to its responsibilities by cleaning the waters and paying compen-
sation to the affected communities and making remediation in line with national and international standards. No national or multinational company, such as Shell, the official said, can do what the oil giant has done in the country in terms of environmental depredation and behave as if nothing happens. When the spill was announced, NIMASA, the official said, made a sea and radio broadcast to all mariners and issued a marine notice in one of the daily newspapers to the public on the spill to curtail the spread to other areas, but Shell, he alleged, failed to act promptly. Also, the Deputy General Manager, Public Affairs, NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, said so many members of the affected communities have come to their offices in Port Harcourt and Lagos, urging the agency to come to their aid. “Yes, the people of the affected communities have contacted our offices and the director-general has allayed their fears and assured them of positive response to their yearning to avoid the breakdown of law and order in the area.” The agency, she said, would enforce global maritime watchdog conventions as it relates to the management of the nation’s marine environment in this case. On the discovery made by the team sent to the area by NIMASA, the image maker said: “As our technical crew approached these communities, the first thing that greeted them was the sight of coastline demarcated by oil leak and petroleum fumes. The community informed us that the spill drifted to the location on December 21, 2011. ‘‘For instance, at Age community, it was discovered that the oil spill affected its community coastline. At Orobiri One and Two, the aquatic environment was devastated by the spill impact. Water samples are collected from these communities. We were informed by these communities that other government officials and state personnel had earlier visited the communities.”
Importers seek port tariff review
HE Federal Government has been urged to review port tariffs. Importers, who spoke with The Nation, said the review became necessary to eliminate arbitrariness and ensure parity with other ports, particularly those of neighbouring countries. Speaking for other importers in Lagos last week, the Managing Director, Shipping Logistics, Mr Talabi Akinjide, said port tariff must be competitive and commensurate with services rendered by the terminal operators. “To reduce the cost of doing business in the ports, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has abolished service charges, bank charge, commission on turnover and concessionaires service charge. He praised the council for “abolishing port and administrative charges”. Akinjide said the council has been implementing the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) project on Build Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis to bring ship-
ping services to the door steps of shippers. He said the ICDs would also assist in decongesting the seaports and make them more userfriendly. The Chairman, Ben and Sons Limited, Benson Olawoore, said the ICDs would also help revive and modernise the railway as a primary mode for the long distance haulage of cargo. According to him, the ICDs will also assist in the reduction of overall cost of cargo and create employment in its localities. Olawoore criticised Customs bureaucracy at the ports, saying the bureaucracy imposed by Customs on containers and Roll on/ Roll off (RORO) vessels is a challenge to ports operations. He explained that the interference of multiplicity of government agencies at the ports also posed a major challenge to ports operations. According to him, the Single Window Electronic Trade Facilitation initiative, which could resolve the cumbersome problem
of clearing procedures and other associated delays in cargo clearance should be resolved. “This system eliminates human contact and the use of discretion, which has been identified as major causes of delay in the clearance procedure,’’ he said. He said the electronic system will not only facilitate trade, but also ensure improvement in revenue generation and higher turnover. Olawoore said the system would ease movement of cargo out of the ports. He, however, acknowledged that cargo handling deliveries had improved. Olawoore praised the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for embarking on the dredging of the Lagos and Bonny/Port Harcourt channels. The dredging, he said, is being complemented by the removal of wrecks to enhance the rate of channel development to achieve the required depths and make cargo delivery easier.
HE Cargo Defence Fund (CDF) has raised the alarm over the increasing indebtedness of foreign firms to Nigerian exporters; mostly to those into small and medium export. This development, the fund, said might affect the Federal Government’s effort of boosting exports. The fund is a project of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, which is the Federal Government’s parastatal charged with protecting the interests of importers and exporters. The fund also seeks to assist Nigerian shippers in the pursuit of their claims recoveries and legal remedies. Briefing reporters in Lagos, Secretary of Cargo Defence Fund, Ms Azuka Ogo, said if something is not done urgently to check the increasing level of indebtedness of the European companies from Germany, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands to indigeneous exporters, many of them might go out of business soon. Azuka said: “The Cargo Defence Fund is handling a total of 27 charcoal cases on behalf of Nigerian exporters. The trends in these cases are the same. Nigerian businessmen or newly retired public servants attend one of the several seminars on export opportunities organised by some private interests. At the seminar, they are fed with mouth-watering stories of how they make several thousands of naira in the procurement of the commodity and exports on the basis of what, in the financial circle, is termed an ‘open account’. Soon, upon receiving the cargo, the foreign buyer reneges on the contract terms of payment, and throws the Nigerian exporters into a quandary,” she lamented.
Tin Can Customs nets N193b
HE Nigerian Customs Service Tin-Can Island Ports Command said last year, it made N193 billion for the Federal Government. The amount is over the revenue target for the Command in 2011. The Customs Area Comptroller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Eporwei C.B. Edike, who spoke to The Nation through the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Chris Osunkwo, said in 2011, the Command did creditably well. He said as at November 30, last year, the revenue profile of the Command stood at N176 billion out of the total projected annual collections of N180 billion for 2011. The Command made a total of N17 billion in December bringing the total collection for the year to N193 billion. This amount, Osunkwo said, gives an excess of N13 billion over and above the Command’s budgeted revenue collection for the year. Osunkwo attributes this huge revenue profile to some factors, which include: quality leadership, total quality management, focus and motivation given by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Comptroller Dikko Abdullahi Inde and his management team as well as right attitude to work of the Customs officers. He said: “The Customs High Command has done very well and we will feel guilty if we don’t reciprocate by doing all within our power to plug all revenue leakages and raise the revenue for the government as the C.G.C has taken the welfare of the officers very important and is doing everything possible to ensure the well-being of the officers”. The officers, Osunkwo added, has no alternative than to put in all within their power positively to make sure Customs serve the nation as they should.
CRFFN urges concessionaires to modernise ports
HE Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) concessionaires to modernise the ports. Speaking on behalf of the agency, the Chairman of the Governing Council, Alhaji Hakeem Olanrewaju, decried the falling standards of ports facilities. H e said there was the need to improve most of the equipment at the ports. The freight forwarder said the port concessionaires were still using old cargo equipment (cargo-handling plants) handed over to them by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). He said the concessionaires needed to improve the equipment to make cargo movement faster and easier. He said: “The port concessionaires need to improve their facilities, their equipment, because most of the equipment they are using were the ones they took over from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). They need expansion and they need empty container terminals.’’ Speaking on the activities of the Council, Olanrewaju said the agency was already focusing on the training of freight forwarders to make them more acceptable to the society as many regarded freight forwarders as school dropouts or as people with criminal tendencies. He commended the Federal Government for embarking on port reforms, stressing that the training of freight forwarders who are major players at the ports would impact positively on the nation’s economy. He said it was strongly believed that CRFFN’s achievements in the freight forwarding regulation and control would, among other things, reduce the cost and delays in cargo clearance and minimise human and vehicular congestion at ports and terminals. According to him, a functional port system will promote export trade and enhance the import-export economy of Nigeria. The CRFFN wants the government to sustain its commitment to the development of efficient freight forwarding industry by giving the council the much-needed support to enable it exercise the statutory functions and responsibilities set out for the council, he said. Olarenwaju said it was the council’s belief that good planning and strategy could help turn the fortunes of the sub-sector around and reposition the nation’s ports and borders as efficient regional hubs of integrity. “A virile port system would create job opportunities and raise more entrepreneurs, “Olanrewaju said. Meanwhile, Olanrewaju said the council was prepared to re-admit members suspended for professional misconduct last year. He said the suspended members would join the council after some conditions had been met. The council suspended three of its members last September for‘anticouncil activities’.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
* The Environment * Mortgage * Apartments * Security * Homes *Real Estate
Cement price soars amid subsidy removal •Bags of cement
With hopes that cement price may crash following the take-off of the Dangote, Lafarge Cement Company in Ogun State came the shocking withdrawal of fuel subsidy on January 1. With that policy, the equation, as they say, has changed. Cement price has again hit the roof at over N2,000 per bag, reports OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE •CONTINUED ON PAGE 26
•Fed Govt gets proposed National Museum design - PAGE 26
•UN-Habitat set to promote green housing
- PAGE 40
•UNEP backs painting for sustainable housing
- PAGE 40
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAWMA plans compost plants for Epe, Badagry
ONE are the days when mountains of refuse dotted the streets of Lagos. To clean up the metropolis, the government established the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA). And today, the harshest critic of government will agree that the agency has kept its promise of cleaning the environment. The agency procured additional 100 units of refuse compactor for domestic waste collection and pollution prevention equipment for three dumpsites in Olushosun, Ojota, Solous two and Solous three on the Lagos Island, according to a statement on its activities last year. It also constructed integrated solid waste facilities at Epe and Badagry, Transfer Loading Station at Oshodi in addition to the Earthcare Project on compost production. On the outlook for 2012, the statement said the agency will es-
By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor
tablish new compost plants at Epe and Badagry and pursue the conversion of pure water sachets to shoe soles and pellets. Others are gas capturing project at Olushosun, enhancement of the operation of Highway Managers for better performance, strategic logistics to increase night sweeping capacity through mechanised sweeping and strict enforcement of protective covering for street sweepers and other members of staff. The agency has also put plans in motion to procure 100 refuse static compactors for markets, especially those on Lagos Island, to protect the investment in the Central Business District. There are also plans for the introduction of tricycles in slum areas, training for street sweepers, soft loan for sweepers, capacity building and training to adopt best
•A LAWMA truck
practices in waste management. The statement also said there is the collaboration with relevant NGOs and Community Clean-up Campaign (3C) in Makoko,
Otumara and Obalende. On challenges, the statement cited un-abating littering by residents, heavy downpour that ham-
pers turnaround time, poor containerisation which is only about 65 per cent compliance and a complete zero compliance by roadside shop owners and mechanics.
Cement price soars amid subsidy removal •CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25
VEN in the best of times, investment in the real estate sector comes with pains. Pains because of the high cost of building materials, especially cement. Cement is a major component in building. Without it, a would-be landlord can do little or nothing in building a house. Now with the removal of fuel subsidy, many who are building houses are gnashing their teeth because of the spiraling effect of the policy on prices of materials. Stakeholders say subsidy withdrawal has shot up prices of materials and presented a challenge to them. Faulting the timing of the policy, National Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Institute of Building, (NIOB), Kunle Awobodu, said some ongoing projects because of the initial budget may no longer be sufficient for their completion. He asked the government to work on transportation cost which has eroded the profit margin of builders. An engineer with Africonsult Builders, Enugu, Onyemachi Ugoeze, berated the government for not taking cognisance of the spiral effect of the subsidy withdrawal which has affected the cost of building and construction because of the associated cost of transportation of materials to site. He said cement, sold at N1,700 pre-subsidy removal, is going for N2,100. Ugoeze called for the rehabilitation of the rail lines to ease the cost of transportation and stimulate the growth of the sector, which, he said, is employment yielding.
A cement dealer in Agege, Lagos, Yusuf Alade, regretted the effect of subsidy removal on his sales and income, saying patronage has dropped. He said people have suspended their projects, refusing to buy the commodity at the new
rate of N2,000. On why he cannot bring down his price, he said he couldn’t afford to do that because of the high cost of transportation, claiming that he pays double the former cost presently to transport a trailer load of cement
from the dealer to his shop. However, some players are, however, cautious, over the expected impact of the policy on the industry. Even though they see the policy as inimical to the growth of the
‘It is worrisome that the much- touted rehabilitation of rail lines and major highways across the country is still a mirage. With the fuel subsidy removal, cost of haulage of basic building materials, such as cement, iron rods, roofing sheets, flooring materials and others have gone up’
sector, they note that the price of cement was high before subsidy withdrawal.The high price was then attributed to the activities of middle men, who cite bad roads and the high cost of transportation as the problem. It is worrisome that the muchtouted rehabilitation of rail lines and major highways across the country is still a mirage. With the fuel subsidy removal, cost of haulage of basic building materials, such as cement, iron rods, roofing sheets, flooring materials and others have gone up. An architect, Ibirogba Olatunde, said the situation called for players in the sector to, not only be cautious, but efficient in their transactions to cut cost. He canvassed collaboration by professionals, as well as the need to understand the key success factors in the industry and how to play effectively. Olatunde regretted that government seems to be helpless in keeping transportation cost at a reasonable level. He said the matter is left within the purview of transport unions which have cashed in on the deregulation of the oil sector to milk passengers, resulting in untoward consequences on the sector. To address the predicament, he advised his colleagues to x-ray the operational challenges, investment, development, management and physical analysis and economic risk management in the sector. He said the development also required that government sustains the various land reform policies to liberalise acquisition and title ownership.
Fed Govt gets proposed National Museum design
HE Federal Government has received the preliminary architectural design for the proposed National Museum for History and Civilisation from the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA). The committee, chaired by second Vice President of the institute, Mr Tonye Oliver Braide, had a mandate to come up with a competitive architectural design for the first National Museum for History and Civilization in the
By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor
country. At the presentation, Braide said when they were inaugurated by the Federal Government for the project, they had no choice but to send out an expression of interest to thousands of registered architects as they understood the importance the government attached to the project. He said: “We sent out a request for expression of interest to about
4,000 architects and only about 30 responded, that also did not deter us. We went ahead to ask those
‘We sent out a request for expression of interest to about 4,000 architects and only about 30 responded, that also did not deter us ’
who indicated interest to submit conceptual designs and only 11 responded. We didn’t stop at that but went further to screen the 11 where we were able to select six after a painstaking selection process.” On the criteria employed, the committee chairman said they included but not limited to preknowledge of museums and its workings; years of experience; past visits to museums across the world as they were of the belief that past interest museum would
be an added advantage in terms of interest in the design process. The Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, who inaugurated the job, noted that it is the desire of the Federal Government to build a national museum that will incorporate the presidential gallery of past national leaders. He said his ministry would supervise the project to see to its full and specific delivery, according to the time frame allocated to it by the Federal Government.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
It is over 100 days since Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Dahiru Musdapher came into office raising hope of reviving the troubled judiciary. How has he fared considering his pledge to effect fundamental reforms in the justice administration system? Relying on experts views, ERIC IKHILAE examines his performance so far and pinpoints areas he should tackle before his tenure expires on July 14.
Musdapher’s 100 days J
USTICE Dahiru Musdapher succeeded Justice Aloysius KatsinaAlu as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) when the judiciary was at its nadir. It was a time public confidence in the revered temple of justice was at its lowest point. Aside cases of unethical conduct, fuelled by systemic corruption, said to be rife among judicial officers, the open conflict at the topmost leadership of the judiciary then, aggravated things. Shortly before Justice Musdapher was inaugurated last September 26, public perception of the judiciary was so bad that judicial officers and policemen seemed to weigh the same in the public’s scale of opprobrium. This was brought about by certain occurrences, one of which was the suspension of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, as the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA) by the National Judicial Council (NJC) then headed by Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu. The President, Nigeria Bar Association, Mr Joseph Daudu, noted the rot in judiciary he when lamented in a speech: ‘’There is a growing perception backed by empirical evidence that justice is purchased and it has been purchased on several occasions in Nigeria.’’ In a speech last year, former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mustapha Akanbi regretted the decay in the Katsina-Alu then led judiciary. He described as strange, in the nation’s history, events leading to the suspension of Justice Salami “To my knowledge, this was the first time in history when a CJN and a PCA were engaged openly, in serious altercation and disagreement in connection with an election petition with some political colouration. “It was also the first time a PCA was dragged before a sub-committee of the NJC headed by his predecessor in office to answer inter alia charges or complaints on issues relating to his handling of an election petition before a divisional court. “For the first time also, a sub-committee of the NJC headed by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court was made to review the earlier decision of the committee headed by a retired PCA in a matter that involved his successor in office. “Again, for the first time in the life of the NJC, a Customary Court of Appeal judge was made to preside,
by the NJC, over a matter involving a PCA – a more superior officer. It was the first time also, that a sitting President of this country, on a split decision of five to three members of the NJC, acting on their recommendation, ordered the suspension of the PCA,” Justice Akanbi said. It was in the heat of this judicial mess that concerned Nigerians started calling for a successor to Katsina-Alu from outside the Supreme Court. But President Goodluck Jonathan shunned such calls and settled for Musdapher, the next in line of succession to Katsina-Alu. Swearing in Musdapher in Abuja, Jonathan reminded him that his main task is to enhance the dignity of the courts, on which rests the integrity of the nation’s constitutional democracy. “Every one of us must wake up every morning, confident that the judges of Nigeria will always protect our freedoms. Your Lordship, it is the expectation of the general public that as you assume office, the judiciary will remain totally committed to the cause of justice. “It is my hope that your Lordship will steer the ship of the Nigerian judiciary to the best of your ability at this moment when our dear nation and the judiciary, especially, is faced with daunting challenges. “There is no doubt about the need to embark on comprehensive reforms in the judiciary to enhance capacity, efficiency, and productivity as well as the perception and confidence of the general public in the ability of the judiciary to dispense justice,” he said. Justice Musdapher noted that the institution he inherited was sick when, in a speech delivered last September 19 , at the commencement of the Supreme Court’s new legal year, he described judicial performance as being below expectation. “Though we have always done our best, I feel it is honourable to admit that things are not as they ought to be. Since the Judiciary exists for the benefit of society, then the essential verdict regarding our performance must be from ‘that’ which we ‘sit’ to serve. “As it stands today, it appears that the society we serve is not entirely satisfied with our performance. Hard as it may be to accept, we feel it is less important to focus on whether this assessment is fair or not. “The important thing is for us to transparently come to terms with prevailing realities, accept the gap in expectations, and do our utmost to bridge it,” he said. He pledged to champion a reversal in the fortune of the judiciary and revamp
•CJN Musdapher •See page 29
•NBA Ikeja protests subsidy removal- P.31 • ‘Our role is institution building’- P.36
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Candidate who wins case on court judgment steps into shoes of invalidly nominated opponent IN THE COURT OF APPEAL ( Judicial Division) On Wednesday, July 2, 2008 Suit No: CA/PH/EPT/8/08 BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS SAKA ADEYEMI IBIYEYE ....... Justice, Court of Appeal CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI ....... Justice, Court of Appeal PAUL ADAMU GALINJE ....... Justice, Court of Appeal OLUKAYODDE ARIWOOLA ....... Justice, Court of Appeal GEORGE OLADEHINDE SHOREMI ....... Justice, Court of Appeal BETWEEN CHIEF SERGEANT CHIDI AWUSE
AND CELESTINE NGOZICHIM OMEHIA INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) & 2 ORS. ...RESPONDENTS CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI, J.C.A. (Delivered the Leading Judgment):
HE 2nd - 4th respondent also formulated four issues for determination as follows:“• “Whether or nor the tribunal was right to have heard and determined the second fourth respondents’ motion on notice filed on the 10/12/07 challenging its jurisdiction. • Whether or not the tribunal was right in striking out paragraphs of the petition relating to Mr. Celestine Whether the tribunal right in Omehia not properly joined in the petition and his name struck out from the petition. • Whether or not issues were joined by the parties on the decision of Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi v INEC & Ors. Appeal No.SC/252/ 2007. •Whether or not the tribunal was right in refusing to nullity the Gubernatorial Elections held in Rivers State on the 14th day of April, 2007.” The learned appellants’ counsel adumbrated all the four issues formulated therefrom the seven grounds of appeal and succinctly posed a question for determination which was basically predicated on whether the trial tribunal had jurisdiction to entertain the petition. In his submission, the said learned counsel re-iterated the error committed by the Election ‘tribunal whereby it proceeded to entertain further proceedings despite the application before it which same sought to challenge its jurisdiction. The complaint therefore was against the tribunal proceeding to hear and determine the respondents application and thus dismissing the petition prior to this court having an opportunity to entertain the motion for stay. Counsel submitted the attitude as bordering on judicial impertinence and an affront to the authority of the Court of Appeal. Cited in substantiation was the case of Vaswani Trading Co. v Savalakh & Co. (1972) All NLR (Pt.2) page 483. That the ruling of the tribunal dated February 27, 2008 was to foist on the Court of Appeal a fiat accomplish, thereby rendering it impossible for the court to arrive at a decision one way or the other on the merits of the application before it, or render any decision it might take on the application nugatory or futile. Cited in fortification of the argument are the cases of Mohammed v Olawunmi (1993) 4 NWLR (Pt.28) 254 and obi INEC (2007) 11NWLR (Pt.1046) 565. Submitting on issue No.2 the learned appellants counsel reiterated the settled law that parties are bound by their pleadings and that the trial judge must not base his judgment on a matter not pleaded. The authority in support was Ochonma v Unosi (1965) NMLR 321 at 323. That the tribunal was wrong to have based its decision on the interpretation of the judgment of the Supreme Court on facts which were not pleaded, learned counsel submitted the none pleading by any
of the parties that Mr Rotimi Amaechi was the candidate at the election and was returned as elected or ought to have been returned as elected and/or that the election of the 1st respondent Celestine Ngozichim Omehia was nullified, or that he was never elected or returned as Governor of Rivers State. That no litigant is to be allowed to setup a claim different from that pleaded in his pleadings. Learned counsel therefore drew the court’s attention to Aderemi v Adedire (1966) NNLR 398 at 401, and further argued that the decision of the Supreme Court can only be applied to the facts pleaded by the parties; and that where the averments in the pleadings are at variance with the judgment, such judgment would be of no use in resolving the dispute between the parties and ought to be disregarded. The pronouncement by Oputa ISC in the case of Ehimare v Emhonyon (1985) 1 NSLR (Pt.2) 177 serves a reference point where at page 179 the learned jurists had this to say:It takes two to quarrel; It takes two to be “at issue”, It takes two to have a dispute. In other words, in any given case, the pleadings of both parties will have to be considered before deciding what the dispute is all about .” Counsel further submitted the obvious error by the learned tribunal when it applied the judgment of the Supreme Court in
Amaechi v INEC by resolving a non-issue before it which did not arise out of that joined by the parties. The case cited in point was Abu v Ogli (1995) 8 NWLR (Pt.413) 353, also Temile v Awani (2001) 12 NWLR (Pt.728) 726. He further reiterated that although this court and the court below are bound to give effect to the judgment of the Supreme Court, he however hastened to add that the said Supreme Court judgment could not be applied in a vacuum, but ought in relation to the case before the tribunal on areas where issues have been joined by the parties. That since the respondents have unequivocally admitted in their reply to the petition before the tribunal that Celestine Ngozichim Ornehia was a candidate and the person returned as the elected Governor of Rivers State from the April 14, 2007 governorship election, such an, admission is therefore no longer a fact in issue. Again and in support counsel cited the authorities in Ehimare v Emhoyon (1985) 1NWLR (Pt.2) 171 and Olufosoye v Olorunfemi (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt.95) 26. That the Tribunal was in grave error to have decided the case on the issues no raised in the pleadings therefore. Learned counsel on this issue urged us to also allow the appeal. On issues I and 4 the counsel submitted the undisputed fact that the 1st respondent Celestine Ngozichim Omehia contested and was returned by INEC as elected Governor of Rivers State in the April 14, 2007 election. That the circumstance of the petitioner challenging the said return and the respondents having filed their respective replies was also not in dispute. That by the Supreme court’s judgment in the said case of Amaechi v INEC (supra) in declaring Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as the candidate for PDP, in the eyes of the law therefore Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is the person deemed to have won the election. That the question arising therefrom counsel posed, was whether the said judgment of the Supreme Court nullified the return made by INEC? Another related question was whether the judgment of the Supreme court nullified the said return and another candidate returned by the said judgment? Learned counsel sought an answer to the questions from the provisions of Section 140(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2006. Counsel in cursory consideration of the laws supra submitted undisputedly that the supreme Court and its judgment do not fall within the purview of a “court’’ or “decision’’ of a court that can nullify a “return” made by INEC in a governorship election or to return another candidate as the winner of that governorship election. The counsel further related the arguments to sections 76(1) and (2) and also 164 of the Electoral Act, 2006. He also submitted further that the judgment in Amaechi v INEC (supra) relates to a pre-election matter and as such the Supreme court is without
jurisdiction to interfere with election matters which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the tribunal and the court of Appeal sitting as a final appellate court in Governorship Election matters. Learned counsel submitted a further error by the tribunal therefore in relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Amaechi v INEC (supra) to strike out the name of Celestine Ngozichim Omehia as the person whose election is complained of and consequent upon the striking out in the petition the paragraphs relating to Celestine Ngozichim Omehia. He further re-iterated that with the Supreme Court lacking jurisdiction to entertain Governorship election matters, it necessarily follows that the judgment of the apex court can neither have the effect of nullifying the return made by INEC nor can it have that of making another return. That with the judgment of the apex court in Amaechi v INEC (supra) relating to pre-election matters between two candidates of the same party, the petitioner, one of the contestants in the said election was not a party to the suit and therefore his rights to challenge a return made by INEC long before the Supreme Court delivered its judgment cannot be filtered. That no judgment or decision of a court can curtail or extinguish the constitutional right of the appellant. In other words that the judgment of the Supreme Court cannot defeat the constitutional right of the appellant to challenge a return made by INEC. Further more, the learned counsel submitted that unlike other elections, a declaration or return made by INEC in a governorship election is subject to section 179 of the 1 999 constitution as clearly provided in section 70 of the. Electoral Act. That it is further settled law that it is only where a petition is upheld by the tribunal or this court on grounds relating to section 145(1) • - (d) of the Electoral Act, 2006, would the tribunal or this court order a fresh governorship election. Learned counsel urged that the appeal should also be allowed on the said two issues. He therefore finally in summary prayed the court for the following orders:• An order nullifying the return of the 1st respondent as the winner of the governorship election of Rivers State held on April 14th, 2007. • An order that the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should within 7 days of the judgment, hold a second election between the remaining candidates who scored the highest number of votes cast at the election and the second candidate with the next highest total of votes cast at the election.
•To be continued
•From left: Elachi Agada, Sunday I. Ameh (SAN), Hon Eze Nwa-Uwa; Chairman, ABUCCIMA, Otunba Dele Oye and National Publicity Secretary, NBA, Emeka Obegolu at the Induction of Associate Members and conferment of Fellowship awards of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK, Nigerian Branch, at the City Hall, Lagos.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAW COVER CONT’D
Musdapher’s 100 days •Continued from page 27
public confidence in its operation. “It is very important to ensure that those who abuse the privilege of judicial authority are exposed, expunged, banished and punished. It is necessary at this point, to strongly advise that those who cannot sustain true allegiance to their judicial oaths and abide by all the demands of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers to resign immediately. “I urge you to realise that there is no middle ground and no space on the bench for those adjudged to be unworthy arbiters of truth. The choice is simple and our resolve is absolute. Henceforth, there shall be zero tolerance to judicial corruption or misconduct,” he added. Justice Musdapher also promised to embark on reforms. At the Fifth Annual General Conference of the Section on Legal Practice of the NBA, in November, he proposed some radical measures to revamp the judiciary and proceeded to set up a committee to recommend ways of reforming the system. He said the planned reforms were intended to raise judicial efficiency and enhance the perception of the public regarding its capacity to dispense justice in its pure form. The CJN queried the use of holding charge which he said, contributes largely to prison congestion. ‘’The state cannot incarcerate its citizen while scrambling for evidence to build a case against him.’’ He criticised the practice of parading suspects on television and the granting of spurious injunctions by judges against law enforcement agents -unwittingly preventing them from arresting criminals. Justice Musdapher also condemned the plea bargain concept, adopted recently by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in cases involving some prominent individuals. ‘’This is a novel concept of dubious origin. It has no place in our law. It was invented to provide soft landing to high profile criminals who loot the treasury entrusted to them. It is an obstacle to our fight against corruption,” he said. He also suggested an amendment to Section 233 (2) of the Constitution to compulsorily require leave of the Supreme Court before an appeal may lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal. He also hinted of plans to review the Supreme Court Rules and the Supreme Court Act towards ensuring improvements in judicial efficiency. At a lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies last year, Justice Musdapher urged judges handling corruption cases to ensure that they conclude trial within six months or dismiss such cases if the prosecution is not willing to pursue the matter diligently. The CJN has begun to show that he means business amid public skepticism about his willingness to see through all his planned reform measures. Some have even termed it a flash in the pan. Last month, Justice Musdapher deplored the practice where courts elevate technicalities above the need to do justice. He ordered a retrial of the petitions against Governors Gabriel Suswam (Benue State) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), thrown out by tribunals solely on technical grounds’. The CJN was reported to have said, “What is the difference between a letter or ex-parte motion? Everybody is watching us. I am begging you, in the name of justice, matters should be decided on their merits not on technicalities.’’ The lower court had dismissed the petitioners because pre-hearing notices were filed ex-parte without leave of the tribunal. Last December 13, he told a delegation from the EFCC about his intention to begin, early this year, the implementation of some recommendations contained in the report of a reform committee he earlier inaugurated.
He told the delegation that special courts and designated judges to try solely corruption and economic crimes-related cases will take off in Abuja and Lagos soon with jurisdiction to try the said corruption cases to be vested in Federal High Courts. The CJN was also quoted as saying that the special courts would be directed to ensure that interlocutory appeals did not lead to stay of proceedings, with the corruption trials expected to hold daily. On interlocutory appeals and particularly, stay of proceedings, Justice Musdapher was quoted as saying that the courts would be directed to adjudicate in compliance with Section 40 of the EFCC Act which outlaws, subject to the provisions of the constitution, such practice. Although hailed for these bold steps, many still doubt his ability to effectively carry through the recommendations because the report of his reform committee has attracted controversy following the refusal of some members to sign the report submitted on December 15. The report is said to contain fundamental proposals. One of such is the reported recommendation that the CJN reinstates Justice Salami “in the interest of justice.” The committee also recommended “urgent” reconciliation between Salami and Katsina-Alu. It recommended the appointment of the CJN from outside the rank of the Justices of the Supreme Court by the Federal Judicial Service Commission. On the National Judicial Institute (NJI), the committee recommended the need to
advertise vacancies for the position of its Administrator and other principal officers. Critics argue that most of the recommendations require constitutional changes and amendments to laws before they can be implemented. They also wonder why he is foot-dragging on the recommendation that Justice Salami be reinstated, when he is privy to what led to Justice Salami’s suspension. Lawyers differ on the CJN’s performance in the last 100 days. Some praised him, others criticised him and suggested areas he must concentrate on before his tenure expires in July. Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN) described the CJN as a fair-minded person, who has since assuming office, made pronouncements that portray him as an individual willing to make a difference. He urged Justice Musdapher to concentrate on ways of eradicating corruption in the judiciary. “If you look at the CJN as a person, I think he is a fair-minded person. And I believe most people will confirm that. He has a very short time to stay. And I believe he is prepared to have his name written in gold. “To that extent, we have heard him made some pronouncements. The most practical of them is the setting up of a committee to recommend to him ways of reforming the sector. “He has also recognised the issue of corruption, not in the Judiciary alone, but in the country as a whole. And he has spoken about his intention to ensure that corruption cases are heard and decided
within six months. “Beyond that, if corruption is seen as a national problem, a cancerous problem that is disrupting all aspects of our national growth, it will not be too much to suggest that the CJN, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Chief Judges of the various states and the Attorney-General of the states should all come together and have a meeting on how to create specialised courts dedicated to trying corruption cases. “The issue of jurisdiction should also be dealt with as it is the case with the EFCC Act which allows the commission the jurisdiction to file cases in both the federal and state high courts. “This is necessary so that jurisdiction in corruption matters is not bogged down with technicalities. Specialised courts are created so that, at the end of the day, the speed with which cases are decided will be fast. “To achieve this requires legislation and infrastructural development; massive infrastructural development. The CJN might not be able to see all of these through, but if he is able to make these moves, he would have done enough. “This is because corruption is the singular thing that is affecting all facets of our national life. “Once that is put in place and people begin to see the speed with which corruption cases are handled, the corrupt ones will begin to have a rethink. “If we have more courts and more judges are employed to reduce the workload of existing judges, it will become faster to determine corruption cases. Sebatine Hon (SAN) praised the CJN for some of his achievements so far, but expressed reservation over some of his decisions “The CJN has so far exhibited evidence of quality leadership, both as a jurist and as an administrator. His greatest achievement so far is the composition of a Constitution Review Committee made up of eminent legal minds. “The primary function of this committee is to assist in articulating and putting forward the position of the judiciary under the proposed Constitution amendment process. “Let’s not forget that the Constitution as our grundnorm has made lavish provisions on the judicature, the salaries and emoluments of jurists, the powers and duties of para-judicial bodies like the NJC, the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), among others. “It has also clearly defined the jurisdiction and powers of superior courts of record. Since we are living in a dynamic world, the committee will assist the CJN and the judiciary in securing favourable constitutional amendments for the general good of Nigerians. “I, therefore, highly commend the CJN for this step. Beyond that, however, I hereby strongly suggest an urgent amendment of the Supreme Court Rules, which have been in force since 1999. Ideally, rules of practice should be amended at most, every four years to cater for emerging and new issues that are germane to law practice. “More fundamentally, I am honestly worried that the CJN, in an unprecedented manner, has appointed a media aide. This has never happened in Nigeria and sincerely speaking, it is not a good development. “Just recently, the guy even had the audacity to advertise in the papers goodly comments and editorials about the CJN! With due respect, this is not good for the image of even the CJN. The world over, judges speak through their chief registrars or through their judgments/ rulings in court or through seminar papers. “The CJN should please, as a matter of urgency, withdraw the services of his media aide. Above all, however, I will give kudos to the CJN so far, for his efforts at bringing reforms to the judiciary.” Bamidele Aturu argued that the CJN has not done enough to effect the needed change in the judiciary. He challenged Justice Musdapher to disclose his role in the crisis between his predecessor and Justice Salami. “He has made some sound arguments. •Continued from page 30
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAW COVER CONT’D INDUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS BY THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF ARBITRATORS (UK) NIGERIA BRANCH AT THE CITY HALL, LAGOS
LAW AND PUBLIC POWER
with gabriel AMALU email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan in the belly of a fish
•From left: Akin Momodu,Paulin Thamos and Rilwan Umar
•President, Chartered Institute of Abitrators Chief Funke Adekoya (SAN) in hand shake with Prince Obi Orizu after his induction as a Fellow of the institute
•Chairman NBA Lagos Taiwo Taiwo (left) and former Commissioner, Legal Services, INEC, M. A. Abubakar, at the last NBA NEC meeting in Kaduna
Musdapher’s 100 days •Continued on page 29
But sound arguments are one thing, reality is another. Some of the statements and directives he has issued have no force of law as they are not contained in any statute. “They are merely advisory. It is clear that those advisory opinions of a highly respected Justice such as the CJN are incapable of dealing with the rot in the country and the judiciary. He also has not yet explained satisfactorily,
his role in the Sokoto debacle. “I am of the view that in spite of his efforts, his tenure is unlikely to bring significant changes.” Abayomi Akin Omoyinmi sad the CJN has done fairly well, but that since he did not have sufficient time to play with, he should focus on laying a foundation for the reformation of the judiciary. “I really do feel that Justice Musdapher has done fairly well considering the time he took over. And he has displayed the inten-
tion to do better, but he may not have the time on his side to effectively do a comprehensive reform because the process of reform is gradual and must be precise. “He should focus on encouraging the proposal to jump-start the recommendation that each state should have its own Court of Appeal so that cases will be dispensed with within reasonable time.
HIS column rested for three weeks, to give me an opportunity to rest, after a hectic year. With an increased responsibility as a Rotary Club’s President, and my law practice in tow, I was badly in need of a break if I was not to end up in the hospital. So if you are a regular reader of this column, it is good to be back. While I was away, a lot happened in the whirlpool of the exercise of public power, and I will try to cover some ground. The raison d’etat for my modest effort remains the same. It is as advocated by M. N. Venkatachaliah in his article: Rule of Law: Protecting the Weak against the Strong, wherein he said: “The principal preoccupation of Rule of Law is to discipline public power and set standards for the conduct of public men in their exercise of governmental powers.” At times like we are in, there is the need to go spiritual. No doubt, Nigeria is on the boil, and President Jonathan is at the epicenter of the various eruptions of volcanic proportions. So I recall that in the Bible, when Prophet Jonah attempted to shirk his responsibilities, his ship was ravaged by a mighty tempest. But as the ship was about to capsize, some efforts were made before Jonah was eventually thrown overboard. The New King James version reported the story thus: “The marines were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, and laid down, and was fast asleep.” When the tempest persisted, they said: “come, let us cast lots that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us”. When the lot fell on Jonah, and they asked him: “what shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us”. Knowing that his actions were responsible for the lot of the marines and the ship; he replied: “pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” The story ended happily, because the Lord had prepared a fish to swallow Jonah, and habour him for three days, to force him eventually to obey God’s dictate, to go to Nineveh to warn them to amend their ways or they shall perish. Jonah did and the people of Nineveh hearkened to God’s warning and were spared. I must confess that I am not a Bible scholar, but I can not help but see some similarities between President Jonathan and the biblical Jonah; the Ship and Nigeria; and the Ninevenians and Nigerians. Let’s test some. President Jonathan told Nigerians during his campaign that he had a call to transform Nigeria. Coming from a very humble background, he reminded us that having experienced gross poverty; he was determined to breathe fresh air into our national space. Like Prophet Jonah, while keeping his status as President, he is now afraid to confront the Nigerian monsters, and his reluctance is endangering the nation. So the Nigerian ship is at present accosted by an unprecedented tempest. The buffeting monsters include the Book Haram bombers and other armed insurgency; the unprecedented corruption in the public sector; the edification of corruption, through national awards and recognitions; and the conspiracy by the ruling elite to celebrate their unconscionable hold on power in a grand orchestra on the graves of the poor, the ignorant and the diseased. Like the marines did, the Nigerian Bar Association has consulted and the lot has fallen on Jonathan, and they have asked that he should be impeached. That option can be avoided if President Jonathan confronts the real monsters, instead of the mere escapism of trying to raise more money for sharing, from the poor. Above all, Nigerians like Ninevenians of that era are at a cross road in their lives; again unfortunately similar to the 1966 crisis. We must either change the way we run our country, or it would be destroyed. Like the Biblical Jonah, President Jonathan has limited knowledge about the outcome of avoiding his responsibilities and the predicted destruction. His risky decision to end only one part of the Nigerian rent economy which produced him in the first place, through hike in fuel price, also reminds me of the antics in the television cartoon, Tom and Jerry. Most times Tom would be set a trap to consume Jerry, without knowing that the same trap will eventually take him out. While in an egalitarian economy that we pretentiously profess, the removal of fuel subsidy can be pursued with altruism, when the state can not rein in its corrupting tendencies; to do so in our present socio economic state without first curbing the appetite of the ruling elite to gulp whatever wealth the nation creates is like entrusting a basket to hold some water. I guess that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, whom I co-celebrated in the book, Service Above Self, do not realise that her best effort, without political responsibility, would only amass more wealth for the ongoing bazaar. In my humble view, the Presidency and the other political fat cats must lead by example in any austerity programme. General Buhari is right on the suggested road map: quickly curb all the avoidable waste in governance, and I add, throw overboard the elite’s glorification of our stolen commonwealth, and immediately bring to book, the bandits that have castrated our dear country. To hope to ride the storm without an elaborate sacrifice on the part of the political elite is a wishful thinking.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAW & SOCIETY
NBA Ikeja protests subsidy removal
HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, last week in Lagos, protested the removal of petroleum subsidy in the country. The lawyers marched from the Bar Centre in Ikeja, to the Lagos State Secretariat at Alausa to hand their protest letter to the government for onward transmission to President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja. The protesting lawyers went to the Governor’s office first before marching to the State House of Assembly. In a chat with The Nation during the protest, Chairman of NBA Ikeja Branch, Bamigbe Omole, said: “This protest is about the unjust removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government led by President Goodluck Jonathan. Said he: “We are protesting the removal because it is unjust, illegal and unconstitutional. “ We want to let the government know that power belongs to the people and as such, Nigerians have spoken and said no to fuel price hike, no to the removal of oil subsidy. That is what Nigerians are saying. “This removal of subsidy has seriously and adversely affected the generality of Nigerians. “Nigerians travelled home for New Year’s celebrations, many of them are still there, only for them to wake up on the first day of January 2012, to hear that the Federal Government has removed fuel subsidy. So what is the result? A lot of people are stranded back home. They cannot conveniently go back to their places of work. “Government must go along with the people of Nigeria, because power belongs to the people. We voted this government into power. It is not for the government to dictate what is good for us. We decide what is good for us by ourselves. “Nigerians are saying this removal of fuel subsidy must not stay. There must be no fuel price hike. If the government wants to do anything at all, let them revert to the previous N65 per litre. On the ongoing strike by the Labour Unions and Civil Society, Omole said: “Nigerians are involved in the strike, whether you’re in private sector, public sector, civil service, entrepreneur, self-employed and professionals, everybody is involved. We are calling on all Nigerians to come into the street, wherever your town is, wherever you street is, whatever your status or calling is, come out to the streets and sit down there. There should be no movement. That is what we are saying.” Another member of Ikeja branch, Mrs Funmi Falana, said: “Ikeja Bar has always been a pace setter. What we are doing is to tell Nigerians that we are behind them, to tell Nigerians that the Law is behind them, to tell Nigerians that they have the constitutional right to protest this injustice; this oppression, that the hike in fuel prices resulting from the removal of oil subsidy is illegal, and, therefore, oppressive. ‘’Nigerians should reject it. From experience, no bad leader will give you your right except you fight for it, except you demand it. It is the custom of our people to be intimidated, but we want to let Nigerians know that we, as lawyers, know the law. We know what is good in the society. ‘’That is why we have come out to tell Nigerians that the law is behind them and we, lawyers, are behind them. They should come out in their numbers to resist this oppression. On what they want to achieve with this, she said: “Fuel prices should revert to the former price of N65 per litre. “There is no justification for this increase, no justification for the removal of
•NBA Ikeja lawyers protesting subsidy removal
•The lawyers carrying placards
•Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s son, Mohammed, on wheelchair during the protest
PHOTOS: JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU
By John Austin Unachukwu
oil subsidy.” On the purported economic gains of the subsidy removal, Falana said: “But from experience, we know that this is not true.During Obasanjo regime, subsidy was removed for about eight times and there was nothing good to show for
it. All we want to remind Nigerians and let them know is that our leaders are corrupt and are insensitive to the plight of the masses, they are selfish, self-centred, so we must reject this oppression. “We must reject any move that would make them to increase this subsidy.’’
On the planned strike by Labour groups and Civil Society groups, Falana said: “Everybody should support this strike. We should make it impossible for the government to remove the subsidy because it is our right to press for our constitutional right. That is what we are doing.”
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
NATIONAL BAR The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has expressed its support for the nationwide strike.It urged its members to identify with Nigerians by participating in the action declared by the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).NBA President Mr Joseph Bodunrin Daudu (SAN) also urged lawyers to take part in the strike.
Why we are in support of the strike, by NBA I N a statement entitled: ’Holding government accountable and responsive to the people’’, the Nigeria Bar association (NBA) President Joseph Bodunrin Daudu (SAN) gave reasons why the controversial subsidy removal by the government was premature and advised it to adopt a different strategy in the matter. He warned:“Government appears adamant in the quest to remove this subsidy. The people are equally resolved in its opposition to the removal of subsidy. Nigeria is up for rough times ahead. The time has come for a final determination whether those in Government derive their power from the people or whether they are independent and owe their stay in power to other entities other than the people. We foresee a victory and liberation for the people of Nigeria, while those pushing for deregulation in the present form will depart with more than a bloody nose. “The impression given by Government was that the issue will be debated and the views of Nigerians properly considered. Government led her people to believe that the earliest time any possible action would be taken in the direction of subsidy removal was April 1, 2012. Instead, Government took advantage of her people’s distress arising from the Xmas bombings and killings by the Boko Haram terrorists and insensitively caused the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (a creature of statute) to announce the withdrawal of petroleum subsidy, thereby escalating the price of PMS from the already suffocating N65 to the unbearable range of N141-N250.
The reaction of Nigerians Nigerians have in the past four days reacted angrily to Government’s action on the fuel subsidy. It is considered not only premature, but wicked and insensitive. Nigerians have concluded that their leaders are truly detached from the reality of economic hardship endured by Nigerians. This is so because virtually all high government officials and their families feed and live off tax payers’funds, yet they enjoy outrageous salaries and other emoluments. In some cases the amount budgeted for feeding and catering is as much as N1 billion. Government officials travel limitlessly round the world for the flimsiest of reasons collecting estacodes in billions even where the object of most of these journeys can be achieved by simply browsing the internet. Consequently, Nigerians have reacted spontaneously to this unwise and ill-motivated manoeuvre by demonstrations and other forms of protest nationwide. Government clearly does not understand the seriousness of the situation. It has failed to understand that all governments be they dictatorial or otherwise enjoy power because the people allow it to remain in power. No government can outlast the will of the people. It is clear that Nigerians do not and will not tolerate subsidy removal under the terms and conditions set out or laid down by Government. Any removal of subsidy based on the importation of petroleum products is unacceptable to Nigerians. Government must create the infrastructure for the refining 100 per cent of petroleum products in Nigeria and by Nigerians. It had been done in the past, it was sabotaged, and it can and will be done again. The response of government has been to say that there is no alternative to the removal of subsidy; with all due respect there are many alternatives. • If government should apply half the vigour with which it has pursued the issue of the removal of subsidy to the eradication of corruption in all the arms of gov-
ernment and in society in general then trillions of Naira would be freed up for development projects. • Government should identify areas of wastage in governance, such as the allocation of largesse and booties in the name of allowances and withdraw same forthwith. • Government must embark on a re-orientation of its values and ethics and those of Nigerians. • Law and order must be enforced in accordance with the Rule of law. • And many other urgent and indeed numerous measures. Where and if Government persists on this suicidal course of action, the options open to the people are limited but clear. They include: A call on the National Assembly to officially and formally declare its position on the removal of fuel subsidy. • If as we believe the National Assembly sides with the People, then it must in the same transaction call on the President to rescind or reverse its actions on subsidy removal. • Should their call not be heeded by the President then National Assembly should seriously consider impeachment proceedings; the president having lost the confidence of Nigerians to continue to rule or lead them. •If the Legislators fail to take the desired actions then Nigerians will commence the constitutional process to recall them. The Nigerian Bar Association believes in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Rule of Law. Where her elected officials believe that government and governance have become private property run at the master’s whims and caprices, then the time has come for these officials to be reminded that that the people are in charge. It must be mentioned that it appears to be more than a coincidence that government chose to remove subsidy at a time when the nation was reeling and mourning from the activities of anarchists and terrorists. Be it noted that Nigerians will not be cowered either from the activities of terrorists or those of an insensitive gov-
ernment. We shall deal with and resolve these issues with or without government. The joint communique of the emergency meeting of the national executive councils of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the trade union congress held on Wednesday, January 4, 2012. The Nigerian Bar Association had since the purported removal of fuel subsidy been in active consultation with the NLC, TUC, NMA and other professional bodies and civil societies. I have also consulted widely with the Branches of the NBA and other senior members of the Bar and our position is unanimous as follows: •That NBA supports and associates itself with all the actions contained in the NLC/TUC communiqué referred to above. For the avoidance of doubt, all members of the NBA shall participate in the nationwide strike commencing on January 9, 2012. •The strike shall be comprehensive with all lawyers withdrawing their services from courts and elsewhere except as it is necessary to facilitate the continuation of pressure on Government to rescind its actions. •All branches of the NBA are directed to constitute teams of able and dedicated lawyers to assist free of any charge persons who may be unlawfully arrested or manhandled during the period of protest. •Lawyers should ensure that the monitor the response of government particularly any breaches of fundamental human rights or the protocols of international criminal law for the possibility of prosecution of errant and exuberant officials before appropriate international criminal tribunals. •NBA supports the position of NLC/ TUC that there should be no negotiation with the Belgore Committee or any other agent of government on this or any other allied matter because there is in reality nothing to negotiate.The minimum position is the immediate reversal of this provocative and uncalled for increment of petrol. •NBA notes that the said increment will, regardless of the much-touted palliatives, destroy what is left of the lives of Nigerians.The level of dishonesty and disorganisation in the country at this moment will only ensure that the said palliatives are frittered away. Before pub-
lic transportation can be embarked on, government must set at least 18 months planning national, state and municipal routes determined by passenger density and other modalities. It must have a commercial policy in place to ensure the continuity and uniformity of such a programme. Government from all indication does not believe in planning. Government is not serious about the business of governance. •NBA stands with the people and it is ready to put all its resources at the disposal of good governance and the rule of law.
Conclusion It is unfortunate that the people must at this point in time be forced to confront government as a result of the latter’s unviable and self-serving economic policies. Government is not in the business of making a profit for itself and her cronies and sponsors who are in the oil trade. If anything untoward happens in the course of this protests, then the blood of innocent Nigerians is on the head of President Goodluck Jonathan. In every democracy, a leader or leaders must rule or govern according to the will of the people. No leader has a monopoly of knowledge or wisdom over and above that of the people that put him there. At all times government must remain responsive and accountable to the will of the people or face the consequences.
•From left: Walter Onnoghen, Chief Chimezie Ikeazor (SAN), Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), Prof Isabella Okagbue and Prof Karisu Chukkol, at the conferment of Fellowship awards of the Nigerian Institute of Advanmced Legal Studies, at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAW & SOCIETY PRESENTATION OF A BOOK ENTITLED: PRACTICAL APPROACH TO CRIMINAL LITIGATION IN NIGERIA BY J. A. AGABA AT REIZ CONTINENTAL HOTEL, ABUJA
•From left: Mrs R. Agaba; her husband J.A. Agaba and Victor Murako Special Assistant, Legal Matters to Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives
•S. A. Osamolu (left) and former Minister of External Affairs Odein Ajumogobia
•Stancy Buba Magayakin of Wamba, a representative of Emir of Wamba, Nasarawa State and Isa Tata Yusuf, a representive of Dangote Group
•From left: Erelu Mojisola Omisore, Prof Alibo Okoh and Solape Demola-Seriki
•Kunle Fagbemi (left) and Sunday Olurotimi Oduntan
•Mrs Malona Ketwah and Mines Sevah
•Elecha Agaba (left) and Okwori Andrew Michael
•Chidi Onwuekwerekpe (left) and L. Okorie
•Prince Adeleke Adedoyin and Khadijat Adozuka
•Paulyn Abhulimen and Osa Father PHOTOS: JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAW & SOCIETY INDUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS BY THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF ARBITRATORS (UK) NIGERIA BRANCH
•From left: Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN); Prof Hopkins Hopwood, his wife Gillian; Babajide Ogundipe and Sola Ephraim-Oluwanuga
•Mrs Obosa Akpata, former Branch Secretary (left) and Mrs Sola Adegbomire
•Chairman, ABUCCIMA, Dele Oye (left) and Mr Pascal Madu
•Bode Rhode Vivour and his wife Doyin
•Former Director Legal Service/Board Secretary NDDC Hon Eze Nwa-Uwa being inducted as a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) Nigeria Branch
•Silva Ogwemo and his wife Precilla
•S.I. Ameh (SAN) and Chief M.A. Alison Ikwuaguwu
•Dr Chinyere Ani and Mrs Deborah Effiong
•From left: Dr Ode Andrew Eyeoyibo; Ms Benny Ogoke and Akaraiwe Ikeazor
•Ikenna Okoli (left) and Mr Taiye Oladipo PHOTOS: JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAW & SOCIETY ON THE ROAD TO DURBAN:
Cultural legitimacy and climate change crisis
humans at the centre of a sustainable system, exercising respect and wealth of historic knowledge to improve the chances of survival of the human species.
•The Challenges of Cultural Legitimacy
N Pethodologies were cleaner and less harmful to the environment in that they assured a harmonised use of the environment and hence were quite sustainable. He also argued that learning should become ethno based such that assessment could become relevant to the communities.
Example from Cameroon In a case study of Cameroon’s policy planning and development programs at local and national levels, it was observed that the forest laws of 1991 and 1994, the forest policy of 1995, and another law enacted in 1996 to ensure sustainable and transparent management were all unsuccessful because in all the laws there were no policies or statements concerning the protection, promotion and preservation of traditional knowledge of indigenous people. Since the laws were not in harmony with the cultural belief systems of the people, they did not see the laws as applicable to them and for this reason, they failed to join in their implementation and enforcement.
Example from North America In 2003, Watson et al, illustrated the progression of conceptual thinking about wilderness , from mostly a recreation resource, to a more integrated approach bringing together recreation and ecological science issues to establish direction for monitoring and management. In the work, they noted that many aboriginal people, indigenous culture of North America, including those in the artic north, experience the environment as a whole; all of the parts are interrelated – people, animals, plants, landforms, and energy sources are not separated. Rather, they are all linked to each other and to local places through cultural traditions and interactive relationships. As a result of these connections with the non-human world, native people do not think of nature as wilderness but as home. In the context of traditional and historical usage of wilderness, the authors noted that the cultural landscape of the American wilderness that European pioneers found was one that had been influenced for thousands of years by the sustainable practices of the native people. The same is true in most of the circumpolar north countries, with the exception of Iceland, which had no indigenous population. North American people introduced disturbance in a variety of ways, including fire and soil disturbance, to affect the composition and structure of ecosystems in such a way as to sustain human life. In this case, this particular historic use of nature is such an integral part of it that, although sometimes thought of as a constraint on existence of natural conditions, it actually can become the essential element of wilderness, with
It is of importance in a paper such as this to consider the challenges of cultural legitimacy and how some of these may be managed. Some of these challenges we have had cause to mention in the course of our discourse. The Static Nature of Cultural Tradition and Practices In every discussion about cultural legitimacy, the point is often made that the problem with cultural tradition and practices is that they are static. Thus, in many societies having moved from ‘primitive’ to ‘modern’, these practices no longer fit into contemporary developments. A further aspect of this contention is that since cultural tradition and practices must align with audience interest and normative beliefs, the majority of younger generations of many cultures have in the course of interaction with other people lost their underlying cultural identity and have been re-shaped by their new environment. Three things can be said in response to the above: the first is that cultural traditions and practices are in the true sense of it not static. From time to time, there is a constant evolution and change of cultural norms and institutions as different societies seek to address points of conflict and tension. A fundamental point about cultural communities is that they provide opportunities for dialogue and for primary stakeholders to examine and bring about changes to the society’s social, institutional and economic structure. These communities see communal justice as negotiative and democratic; hence this empowers the communities to mediate in conflicts. Gyekye noted this much of African culture when he said: the basis of African moral values are social and humanistic not religious or individualistic… Such a basis of moral values enjoins a moral system that pursues human well-being. Thus, in African morality, there is an unrelenting preoccupation with human welfare. What is morally good is that which brings about ... human well-being. This means, in a society that appreciates and thrives on harmonious social relationship, that which is morally good is what promotes, social welfare, solidarity and harmony in human relationships. Following from the above, while we can argue that peoples of the world do not assent to the same basic value and belief, what is certain is that every society has been concerned with the notion of social justice. The manner of conceptualisation is what varies across different cultural settings. Ultimately, for every cultural community, there will always be readjustment of cultural norms to protect and maintain the society. The second point to be made is that in almost all jurisdictions, where there is a failing in internal readjustment and reinterpretation of norms (not necessarily to comply with contemporary developments, but, more with what the community perceive as right
By Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun
and humane), an appeal can be made for external interpretation of whether the particular cultural norm is not against public policy or repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. Thirdly, while it is true that the socio-political background in which a number of people found themselves have broadened their world view, their cultural identity still have considerable influence over them. That is why for a number of them, they revel in any opportunity they have to share cultural affiliation. The Tension and Conflict of Ethnocentrism The point was earlier made of the tension and conflict that ethnocentrism can engender and how this can be managed. In addition to the mediative role that can be used to clarify perceptions of divergent interest and even induce a person to re-examine his or her position in the light of more persuasive contrary viewpoints, it may not be out of place to undertake cross-cultural search for universal cultural values that support mitigation and adaptation strategies. The more these strategies are reflected as based on a value or norm accepted by the widest range of cultural traditions, the less effort needed to encourage people to accept them. Erosion of Cultural Traditional and Practices It has been contended by some scholars that there is no longer much to be derived from cultural traditions and practices. In their view, cultural traditions and practices have been negatively affected and withered by colonialism, science and technology, globalisation and the introduction of western cultures. They therefore conclude that these influences have severely eroded traditional local systems so much that they are now looked down upon and questioned. There is clearly substance in the above contention. The strategy, however, is to turn a challenge of this nature to strength and ultimately amortise its potentials premised on the realisation that cultural traditions and practices provide for the societal survival of their respective societies. If cultural tradition is strengthened, it will deliver on such important societal elements like group cohesion, mechanisms of social control, organization for societal defence against threats and attacks, and provision for the perpetuation of the population. The above are of course not the only possible challenges that are likely to confront cultural legitimacy. There may be several others. What must however be recognised is that the imperative and the practical need for giving serious consideration to how different cultures can enhance mitigation and adaptation strategies are too important to be abandoned on the premise that there are challenges. Given the lack of success to date with current attempts to negotiate global consensus on climate change, there is an urgent need to aggressively explore the cultural legitimacy of the different strategies that are being proposed in relation to mitigation and adaptation.
‘Climate change is emerging as a major challenge for modern society. It has been described as the most important menace for Earth’s biodiversity, natural resources, poverty eradication, water availability, agriculture and access to food. The problems inherent in the “challenge” are enormously diverse, and substantially associated with parallel diverse political patterns of interests, power, information and beliefs. It is not surprising, therefore, that we have not been able to overcome barriers to collective action’
•Conclusion Climate change is emerging as a major challenge for modern society. It has been described as the most important menace for Earth’s biodiversity, natural resources, poverty eradication, water availability, agriculture and access to food. The problems inherent in the “challenge” are enormously diverse, and substantially associated with parallel diverse political patterns of interests, power, information and beliefs. It is not surprising, therefore, that we have not been able to overcome barriers to collective action. What is emerging is that the capacity of international law to order and direct behavior worldwide is now seriously challenged. We obviously cannot abandon the objective (low-carbon economy), thus, we must look for new ways to organise collective action in a manner that manifests mutual interests. The focus of the United Nations climate regime has been on scientific, technical and economic considerations. These approaches fail to take into account the fact that since humankind is at the root of the crises, the climate change challenge clearly intersects with cultural legitimacy.The contention here is that cultural legitimacy does indeed hold significant promise for meeting the challenges of climate change if indeed we are to achieve the desired transformational change in human behavior at the local, regional and international levels. The point of emphasis of cultural legitimacy is that because culture is compatible with majority of individuals, it will be a ready incentive for participation and implementation of climate change strategies that are established with a proper cultural frame of reference. In this respect, the starting point is that every cultural tradition contains some norms and institutions that are supportive of some climate change initiatives as well as norms and institutions that will pose serious problems for other climate change initiatives. Significantly, where cultural traditions are supportive of climate initiatives, these cultures become self-regulating and this obviously is good for international institutions. The fundamental problem which has continued to dim optimism for a legally binding international treaty with legally binding reduction commitments is that states have continued to construct international regimes on the basis of their interests. This has been fuelled by the focus of international climate regime on technology and economic considerations. In contrast to ‘competition’ which is what technology and economic considerations offer in the bargaining process of international engagement, cultural legitimacy offers a sincere belief and conviction in particular ethical value. The crucial difference from a behavioral perspective is the outcome of each process: for cultural legitimacy, logical analysis that a change of position will not result in loss of cultural value and identity will most probably result in cooperative agreement. For economic and technological consideration, however, the economic interest diversity is always difficult to reconcile. Overall, the point here is not that the global community must decrease its reliance on science, technology and economic considerations. That will be irrational and is simply not feasible. So, the point here is simply that climate change must be allowed to leverage effectively on the promise and opportunities that cultural legitimacy offers. For the global community to have a deeper internalising of the climate change challenge, and be appropriately sensitised to evolving mitigation and adaptation strategies, the acknowledgment of cultural legitimacy is an imperative. •This is the concluding part of a presentation by Prof Fagbohun of the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Director, the Environmental Law Research Institute at the Surrey International Law Centre, University of Surrey, United Kingdom.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
LAW & SOCIETY Prof Anselm Chidi Odinkalu, last week in Abuja, assumed office as Chairman, Governing Council, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). In this interview with JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU, he unveils his plan for the commission. Excerpts.
‘Our role is institution building, providing protection for Nigerians’ H
OW do you feel as Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and what challenges do you foresee in the discharge of your duties? It is a humbling responsibility. We have a country of well over 160 million people and for me to be called upon to chair the council of the NHRC under a different dispensation with new powers under the National Human Rights Commission Amendment Act of 2011, is a responsibility, I think, that should make everyone think carefully. Why do you say this? Yes, for several reasons. We confront quite substantial problems of human rights in the country ranging from Jos, Maiduguri, livelihood issues, poor life expectancy, serious problems of violence against women, discrimination against women, poor people; claims of marginalisation from everywhere, marginalisation of old people, problems of institutional collapse. The fact that people no longer trust the public space etc. So, we are going to find ways of making the Commission capable to respond to these people in caring and thoughtful ways. That is the challenge. How do you address these challenges without scapegoating some people? The challenges of institution building is not a challenge of scapegoating people. It is a challenge of skilling up the Commission, giving it the confidence, credibility and independence to exercise these new powers in a way that is thoughtful, caring creative, effective and efficient. I hope that working together with colleagues on the new Council, we will try and fulfill our responsibility and address the constraints along the path to fulfilling it adequately. Nigerians are full of expectations, with your council coming on board. What do we expect from the NHRC? You deal with human rights at different levels. There is a retail side. The wholesale side is political leadership, political institutions have to work. The retail side, somewhere mediating the retail and the whole sale side is the NHRC.The NHRC cannot do anything if the other institutions don’t work and it is of no use pretending that the commission will wave same magic wand and because we have got a new council, all the problems that afflict the protection of human rights will immediately be dealt with or solved. As it is, we are probably starting without the full complement of the commission. Another six members will still have to go through the parliamentary, the Senate process of confirmation and approval before they get fully inaugurated to become part of the council. What is the nexus between political leadership and national human rights protection? But you also have some entities, which play even bigger roles than a NHRC could. What are these entities? For instance, the police, the courts, the administration, civil service. The civil service provides justice more than every other person. They provide administrative justice. The courts need to play their roles, not only to ensure more effective access to the courts, but also to ensure the timely exit from the court system, so that you don’t get locked up for 20 or 30 years in court without remedies. The police also need to play their role so that people are better protected and defended, then the NHRC will work. But if the NHRC is inundated because of total system meltdown or dysfunction, it is not going to work. I am hopeful but, am also
‘Yes, the fundamental question that we must not negotiate is credibility and integrity. On that, I am ready to push envelops, because if the commission is not credible and lacks integrity, institutional as well as personal in the people, particularly in the Council, you’re not going to be able to bring in any network. So, we’ve got to retain that credibility, fight for it with everything that we can muster. We’ve got to assure Nigerians that on top of credibility and integrity, we’ve got capability to go on and provide service’ •Odinkalu
modest in my expectations and I hope that the Nigerians public will be supportive of the commission, critical of the commission where it needs to be, but also stop short of levying it with expectations that are entirely unattainable. People are of the view that the commission is a creation of the military regime; that it, has never lived up to expectation in terms of defending and protecting the human rights of Nigerians. How do you intend to correct this? Well, the commission has a history that we cannot over look. Everybody needs to learn from that history. The fact that we got a human rights’commission under the military, we need to be grateful for that, not because any of us supports military rule, but because as a result of several developments, it happened when it did. Should we then say because it was created by the military dispensation, then it won’t serve any purpose. I don’t think so. Part of that history is also the fact that my predecessors as chairpersons made useful contributions to the growth and development of the commission. You had Justice Paul K. Nwokedi, Justice Uche Omo, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola and Justice Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh. Obviously, these are much more eminent Nigerians than I could ever hope to be, all Supreme Court Justices, acquired a lot of experience in judicial sphere before they came to NHRC. If I went to the Bench, now I would probably do as much, not more than any of them did on the bench. So, I my hope that my relative youth would be a plus to both the Commission and the work that we all do. And the fact that I am not coming to it at the end of a distinguished Supreme Court judicial career, should in itself be an incentive to myself and all my colleagues on the Council that we can bring humility, we can bring balance, thoughtfulness and also impatience, because the
situation we have at hand is intolerable and it has to change. And we cannot change it by doing things the old way. Some things have got to change, but we have to honour the memory of the good contributions and legacies that our predecessors have left. And getting that balance right between honouring those legacies and innovating for change with some impatience and tolerance, is really what this is going to be about. How do you intend to deploy your numerous contacts in the work of the Commission? I cannot say that I have any magic wand; no, I have been around to know a few people in the human rights circle nationally and globally. To the extent that it will be possible to deploy those networks, I will be pleased to do that. It is also the case that in some issues, you’ll need uniquely Nigerian imagination. And on those issues, what you are looking for is to build teams with the people around who can actually provide the solution to these issues. The technologies available now make it possible to mobilise assistance and help much quicker than we could in the decades past. So those technologies are what we have to find ways and means of putting into the use of the commission. And that means also mobilising youth communities and bringing them into the service of and the work of the commission articulately in addition to whoever that has been there in the past. But my inclination ultimately, is that the commission is a commission for Nigeria and of Nigerians. We have to get the confidence, the trust Nigerians to provide the commission with the bulwark, with the incentives to be able to realise its mandate, to do better what it needs to do. That is really what I am hoping. You have repeatedly emphasised credibility. How do you think it will enhance you work at the commission?
Yes, the fundamental question that we must not negotiate is credibility and integrity. On that, I am ready to push envelops, because if the commission is not credible and lacks integrity, institutional as well as personal in the people, particularly in the Council, you’re not going to be able to bring in any network. So, we’ve got to retain that credibility, fight for it with everything that we can muster. We’ve got to assure Nigerians that on top of credibility and integrity, we’ve got capability to go on and provide service that cares and shows that it cares for the people We know that the government is the greatest violator of human rights in every country. How do you intend to balance the interest of the government that appointed you and the protection of human rights in Nigerians? There is a law that sets up the NHRC and what we want to do is to apply the law fairly as far as we can with credibility, integrity, capability, care and confidence. And once you do that, let the chips fall where they may. There is no right to hold any office. There is no right to be the chairperson of the NHRC. There is no right also to be a member of the board of NHRC and, indeed, to work in the public service. That is why this is called public service. As far as I am concerned, my colleagues and I at the council are here to provide service and to provide orientation to the staff of the commission in providing service to Nigerians who need it. As a public officer, to the extent that I am the chair person of the NHRC, I would expect people to criticise me, to be rude, to vent, because Nigerians have been largely failed by government and the public servants generally, so, they have the right to vent. I take that for granted, my responsibility is to preserve and protect the institutional integrity and credibility of the National Human Rights Commission and then to build the human assets in the commission to become better at doing what they need to do. So, I see our role on the council as institution building and helping to provide protection for Nigerians. If as a result of doing that, people are a bit uncomfortable, there is nothing you can do about it. However, there is a bit of tenure protection now under the new Act of the NHRC, so removal is subject to the consent of the National Assembly, just as appointment is subject to the consent of the National Assembly. And one thing that going through the process of confirmation by the Senate showed me was that the distinguished Senators are quite engaged with the fact that they want a NHRC that works. They showed a lot of concern on this. Our confirmation process was very rigorous and it impressed me a great deal. The rigour of the distinguished Senators who we faced at confirmation showed me that this is an institution that they genuinely care about and would like to see that it works. And I do think that this is an institution that the executive arm of government genuinely cares about and would like to see that it works, because if they didn’t care, they would not have appointed type of council that we now have in place. So, it seems to me that there is a consensus among all those who matter, who are stakeholders, that this institution should be encouraged to work, we have a responsibility not to fail them. As the chairperson, I will take that responsibility seriously and I will do my best. Every colleague on the council is wonderful and I will do my best with all of them to make sure that we make that possible.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
POLITICS THE NATION
Can the National Assembly muster the strength to resist implementation of the fuel subsidy removal that has provoked a nationwide protest against the federal government? SANNI ONOGU writes on the challenge faced by the federal legislature in mediating the government/labour face-off.
National Assembly quakes over subsidy removal
T was an extraordinary move. On Sunday, the House of Representatives took an unprecedented step as it cut short its recess to consider the national debate on fuel subsidy removal. The legislators had enough time to air their views on the state of the nation and the step taken by the executive in unilaterally removing the subsidy and the pending national strike called by Organised Labour that threatened to shut down the nation. Although the Senate did not complement the step taken by the lower House, its members, too, were at work, attempting to avert the strike which some members said could provoke national crisis. The announcement of the subsidy withdrawal by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on New Year day was expected by the lawmakers. Attempts to debate it in the Senate before going on recess instantly collapsed. Although some senators spoke against the removal when it was clear there was no provision for subsidy in the 2012 Appropriation Bill presented to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan, many PDP legislators saw it as a ‘no go area’. Senators who opposed the removal were mainly of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). PDP legislators may have seen the policy, at that time, as “family affair”. They chose to keep quiet to avoid being seen as rocking the boat. However, the House spoke loud and clear. As the Senators were frolicking and looking up to their imminent Christmas and New Year break, the House erupted in stiff opposition to the idea. Representatives took up the battle on behalf of the masses. The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, said the House would continue to side with the suffering Nigerian masses. “We are here to do the bidding of Nigerians; we are prepared to do whatever Nigerians want us to do. So far, they have said they do not want the removal of subsidy. As a House, we have long given our position on this matter. We do not support the proposal. We are on the same page with Nigerians as far as this issue is concerned.” The Senate, in its reaction to the subsidy removal which has resulted in astronomical increases in prices of fuel, goods and services, said it is yet to decide on the matter. It added that it would continue to “support every effort of the President to make life better for the Nigerian people, so long as such efforts would be in the interest of the vast majority of the people.” The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, said: “The Senate heard
of the commencement of full deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by the express and immediate removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the PPPRA. The Senate is yet to take a final decision on the issue. “While it is true that there was no provision for subsidy in the 2012 budget proposal, the senate still believes that consultation is still going on, which means the senate is yet to reach a consensus on the matter. “This can only be done when the budget bill is considered and final decision taken on it. You will recall that senators held different positions when the issue came on the floor. So, the prevailing situation will not vitiate the ongoing consultation, which must take full cognizance of the general mood and also of utmost economic benefit to the country. “However, the Senate will always support every effort of the President to make life better for the Nigerian people, so long as such efforts would be in the interest of the vast majority of the people.” The National Assembly’s reaction to the crisis underscores the difference between the two chambers. Unlike the Senate, the House, said Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Abdurahman Kawu (ANPP/ Kano), would do everything possible to stop the
controversial policy, when it resumes from the Christmas break. Kawu said: “We will use the law to stop this inhuman act. It’s another form of terrorism against Nigerians who are already impoverished. We will not fail to salvage them from this bondage and enslavement. This is another form of terrorism against the Nigerian people which we as their true representatives will not allow.” After a long debate, the Houseresolved that the executive should suspend the withdrawal to allow for more dialogue. The National Assembly cannot deny the fact that the executive had given it a long notice that the subsidy regime was no longer tenable and thus, would be jettisoned this year. President Jonathan had, in the 2012-2014 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP)in September last year , hinted that fuel subsidy would be scrapped in 2012. Now that the cat is out of the bag and with Nigerians roling and boiling, it is left to be seen on whose side the legislature would stand. While analysts believe that the Aminu Tambuwal-led House would be true to type by opposing the move, the Senate, whose President David Mark is rumoured to have presidential ambition for 2015, may take a
different approach. The upper chamber of the National Assembly has not hidden the fact that it, at least tacitly, aupports subsidy removal. Abaribe had in a statement lent credence to this assertion when he urged labour not to embark on strike, but should rather negotiate with government. He also called on the Federal Government to ensure that its promised palliatives are implemented as soon as possible. The Senate’s position, observers argue, runs counter to public opinion. Abaribe said: “The Senate is concerned over the impact of a total shut down of the national economy, which the threat of strike action by organized labour will cause. “The Senate is also worried that the Nigerian people especially the ordinary ones would ultimately be at the receiving end of the planned strike and mass protest. Of utmost worry to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is that such protest and total shut down of the country portends greater danger to the polity especially in the face of prevailing security situation. “Consequently, the Senate appeals to Organised Labour- Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC)to reconsider their stand and continue with dialogue, which the Presidency has expressed its readiness to so do. “Labour must of necessity explore the dialogue table and for the sake of Nigeria explore the opportunities provided by the readiness of government to further negotiate. ”Also, the Senate urges the presidency to do everything possible to avert the ugly situation, by not only fast tracking the implementation of the palliative measures, but also to vigorously pursue meaningful negotiation with the organized labour. “The Senate therefore, calls on well-meaning Nigerians to intervene in other to avoid further deterioration of the already precarious situation. The senate however appeals to the government and labour to put the interest of Nigeria first in trying to resolve the impasse.” Now that the House has set up committees to mediate the crisis, many members of the Labour/Civil Society coalition would have preferred a stronger resolution on the side of the people. The last time Nigerians were called on the streets, it was over the need to have an Acting President in view of the prolonged absence of the late Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua. The people won the battle. Earlier, when the Obasanjo administration took the unpopular stance of tenure elongation, the people were called out. Again, they won. It remains to be seen who will win the subsidy battle: the people or the government.
Subsidy removal: ‘Where government erred’ House of Representatives member Eseme Eyiboh spoke with Assistant Editor ONYEDI OJIABOR on the subsidy crisis and other issues.
HAT is your reaction to the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy by the federal government despite opposition by the people? The fact is that everybody has come to the conclusion that the economy should be deregulated and that subsidy should be removed. But the complaint and protest is basically about the procedures adopted. Some said that certain percentage should have been done; others said that government should have prepared the people’s minds and other positions like that. But nobody is contesting the desirability for the removal of subsidy. Again, there is no way the removal could have taken place without its attendant backlash, which include hardship, rise in prices of goods and ser-
vices. Government also has a responsibility which it did not fully discharge, the responsibility of public education and enlightenment on the desirability for subsidy removal. Because the common person and some Nigerians who are complaining and who are actually the victims of the backlash do not even understand what the thing is all about, who is benefiting and who is not benefiting. The conflict is arising from a communication gap. Secondly, there has been this issue of mistrust between the governed and the government over time. The average person is not thinking that government would be honest in the implementation and usage of the proceeds of subsidy. That brings to the fore the roles and responsibilities of the National Assembly regarding appropriation and oversight. How this
money would be properly accounted for through appropriation, how this money would be accounted for after appropriation, oversight so that the attendant benefits arising from the policy will directly affect positively the lives of the people. But government overlooked most of the things those opposed to removal of subsidy asked it to do before the action. One of them was fixing the refineries… That is what I’m saying; that there is no disagreement on the desirability of the withdrawal of subsidy. But the issue is the procedure. Part of the procedure is creating the safety net, maybe there ought to have been a filter in place so that whatever is the backlash or the negative impact arising from it would be absorbed by the filter,
which they call safety net. Subsidy as it is operated in Nigeria is that government is subsidizing consumption and not production. So we all agreed that government has to step up production because it is actually production that has to be subsidized. Withdraw subsidy from consumption but plough it into production. Step up the game. And most of what we discussed came out of the last roundtable organized by The Initiatives which were properly articulated and captured in the communiqué and widely publicized. So it is the issue of procedure and building trust between the governed and the government. What informed the ‘Roundtable on Deregulation in an Emerging Economy’ organized by The Initiatives… • Continued on page 38
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Ogunlewe, others for Lagos PDP chairmanship
ORMER Works Minister Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe is one of the six contenders for the chairmanship of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ogunlewe who has been locked in a battle of relevance with former Nigerian Ports Authority chairman heads one of the factions presenting candidates for control of the party in the state. Other aspirants include the state secretary, Mr. Tunji Shelle, a chieftain, Mr. Doherty Apena and former presidential assistant, Chief Bode Oyedele. Ogunlewe is leader of a caucus called “The Union”. The Bode George faction is still meting to decide who to support. Party sources said the faction may re-present the chairman, Hon. Setonji Koshoedo from Badagry. However, there are agitations for the zoning of the position to the East Senatorial District, which produced the pioneer chairman, Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun in 1998. The Central District has produced three chairmen: Alhaji Muritala
•Obanikoro begins reconciliation process By Emmanuel Oladesu
Ashorobi, Chief Alaba Williams and Mr. Bayo Williams, a caretaker chairman, in quick succession. The new arrowhead of the party, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, is under pressure to ensure that a Bode George’s nominee does not become chairman in the postKoshoedo era. But the High Commissioner to Ghana is interested in unifying the fold ahead of the congress, said the source. Party leaders are also mounting pressure on Obanikoro to halt the proposed trial of Ogunlewe for alleged anti-party activities. The party leadership had set up a committee chaired by Mrs. Onikepo Oshodi, to probe the former minister’s activities. Other members of the panel are Hon. Yahaya Dosunmu, Dr. Femi Akitoye, Dr. Segun Ogundimu, Princess Gbite Olagbegi, Mr. Emmanuel Anayo, the panel’s secretary. Ironically, when Ogunlewe was
the Lagos PDP arrowhead, he had, in conjunction with the Ashorobi leadership set up a panel for the trial of Mrs. Oshodi and Basorun for alleged anti-party activities. Mrs. Oshodi was eventuallypardoned and Basorun was expelled. But Chief Williams, the chairman who took over from Ashorobi, set up an Appeal Panel, which exonerated the pioneer chairman. Basorun defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) after the 2007 elections. Prominent chieftains of the party said to be backing Ogunlewe’s ambition include Dr. Yomi Finnih, former Regional Integration Minister Dr Bimbo Ogunkelu, Asorobi, and Senator Wahab Dosunmu. The third faction, which is led by former Lagos State Deputy Governor Rafiu Jafojo, may back Ogunlewe. A member of the faction told our The Nation that: “Lagos State chapter is going for the congress as a divided and crisis-ridden party. We need to settle some quarrels arising from how the party has been run in
the last four years. A panel set up by the national and zonal leadership, which was led by one of our elders from Ogun State, Chief Tunde Osunrinde, had made recommendations on the sharing of party positions among the groups. The report is good enough to unite the party, if it is implemented”. The stalwart advised Obanikoro to prepare the party for a free and fair congress in the interest of the future. “The race to 2015 will begin from the congress and only a competent executive committee can take us to a promising future”, he added. Sources said that Obanikoro is reaching out to prominent party leaders, including Chief Williams, Chief Femi Pedro, Mr. Aderibigbe Williams, Chief Willy Akinlude, Chief Adedeji Doherty, Chief Rahman Owokoniran, Mrs. Remi Adiukwu-Bakare, Jafojo, Mr. Tokunbo Kamson, Mr. Owolabi Salis and Mrs. Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor as part of the reconciliation process. However, he has been rebuffed by George,
who reportedly sees the reconciliation bid as moves to wean the party from his control. The committee is said to have made overtures to the former Deputy National Chairman who is still highly regarded by the presidency and the national secretariat of the party. At press time efforts at uniting the party continued.
Subsidy removal: ‘Where government erred’
• Eyibor • Continued from page 37
That was the 10th roundtable by The Initiatives. During the Niger Delta crisis, we stepped up to the public domain and raised discussions even before government amnesty was articulated. When there was confusion and public mistrust on the electoral process, we took it to the public domain which later brought up Justice Uwais electoral reform committee. So it has been in the character of The Initiatives to create public consultation and mobilization strategy by taking issues of national discourse away from the pi-
geon holes of individuals’ cars and bedrooms into the public domain where people will canvass and come up with their opinions. It was obvious that opinions deferred at the roundtable on the thorny issue of deregulation of the economy. How did you galvanize the opinions to come up with a communiqué? What people talk at such roundtable, you listen to everybody; those for and those against. In the course of synthesizing opinions of those for and those against, there has to be majority of opinion and superior arguments. At the roundtable, the lead discussants and those who contributed from the floor majority of them came up with these arguments. And that is why I’m saying that the people are not against deregulation or removal of subsidy but the inherent mistrust of government’s capacity to fulfill its promises. That fear of uncertainty which has pervaded the society and governance over time and years is the issue at stake. Many Nigerians actually feel that they are dealing with a government that cannot be trusted in terms of delivering on its promises. It is worrisome that government does not seem to be bothered that most Nigerians do not have faith in it… Well, I do not remember any time
in the history of this country that the people have ever trusted government. This is largely because significant percentage of government promises has never been fulfilled. The people in government have also failed significantly to carry people along in governance. Even the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights clearly talked about the issue of participation. When the people are not participating in governance process, it creates communication gap. The people need to be aware of what government is doing. Government is a public trust and the trustees should be able to inform the owners of what they are doing, where they are headed. Some observers are worried over the deafening silence of the National Assembly on the issue of subsidy withdrawal. It may be construed a sign of complicity in the whole process. The basis for the word silence is not there because the withdrawal took effect on January 1 and the National Assembly was on Christmas break. There is no way members would have started talking individually or people coming up as a group to talk on behalf of the National Assembly. Most members traveled out and there has to be opportunity for members to discuss the issue and come up with informed position and resolution of the House of Representatives. So it will be wrong to say
that the National Assembly is not sensitive to what is happening. But the country is on fire and no reassuring word is coming from the National Assembly… Any statement by the National Assembly has to be a function of the engagement of members. Neither the Senate President nor the Speaker can just come up and issue a statement on behalf of the National Assembly on issue like the one we are talking about. Because the Speaker and the Senate President as a matter of fact are first among equals. The House or the Senate has to be formerly convened and on resumption this issue among others issues will definitely come up for discussion. Going by the robust manner The Initiatives galvanizes opinions on national issues, it may be appropriate to tag it an interventionist body… The Initiatives has always been set up from the word go and with the vision to be a feed back channel between government and the people and also to serve as an interventionist forum to provide dept and enrich legislative activities on issues of governance and also improving on capacity and skills of the legislature through the professional input or intervention of experts and the people on government policies,
programmes and the issues of legislation. The stage is set for organized labour to embark on sustained strike over fuel subsidy removal. What is your feeling? I will advise the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress that they will rather inflict harsher hardship and more pain on the people by shutting down everywhere and that will not augur well for the people. I think the instrument of strike should be an instrument of last resort. I think full course of dialogue and engagement has not been exhausted. But labour is accusing government of breaking the channel of dialogue by unilaterally withdrawing fuel subsidy… I’m aware that government had discussion with labour and that discussion never ended. And I’m also aware that government has set up a committee headed by retired Justice Belgore to negotiate and discuss with labour. If those things are in place, they are all channels of communication. Neither labour nor anybody is talking about the issue of withdrawal of subsidy. Largely they are talking about the issue of cost of governance. Talking about government being honest to its responsibilities or to its promises, you can’t answers to these things through strike.
‘What stands Tambuwal out as Reps’ Speaker
EROES are sometimes helped by the mood of their age. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, emerged on the national scene at a time Nigerians thought they were long past the era when a few politicians thought the voice of the people did not matter with regard to who their leaders should be. It was not surprising therefore when there was an understandable outrage when Nigerians learned the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership had already decided who the Speaker of the House of Representatives would be weeks before the inauguration of the seventh Assembly in June last year. Notwithstanding the depth of their rage, it would have simply petered out like in the past. But a legislator from a geo-political zone virtually ruled out in the contest was also thinking of changing the norm. It’s only because he celebrates his birthday on January 10 that we realize just how young he was then - 43. Tambuwal was not simply driven by the chivalrous desire to shake up
By Imam Imam
the system; he went into the contest with the conviction that he would offer the legislature and Nigerians a better deal as Speaker of the House. His colleagues thought so too, a point that shows in the fact they gave him 252 of their votes and a distant 90 to his then opponent, Hon Mulikat Akande-Adeola. He may have been aided by the electorate’s mood; but it was not a goodwill that came on a platter of gold. He certainly earned it. In other words, he did not merely seek to tap into the disgust felt by his colleagues for the norm; he understood strongly that their commitment can’t be taken for granted. It was a shared dream of which he was only the face. Born on January 10, 1968, in Tambuwal, Sokoto State, the Speaker had a beginning that was centred around discipline and moral values. As a child, he became the cynosure of all eyes because of his intelligence, academic brilliance and upright character. In tandem with the maxim that “the greatest ornament of an illustrious life is modesty and
humility,” Speaker Tambuwal has made these and other virtues his guiding principles. His ascendancy to the position of number four citizen of Nigeria is a product of providence, hard work and fidelity to the cause of justice and humanity. As he celebrates his birthday, it is not just the intriguing narrative of how he was elected Speaker of the House that should resonate. That experience should also serve as a reminder of the many profound achievements we could record if we rise above the inhibiting considerations of tribe and religion. Importantly, since his election as the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Tambuwal has performed his functions excellently to the admiration of his colleagues and Nigerians as a whole. In all his utterances and actions, he has been guided by the need to do what is proper and what is in the best interest of Nigeria. At 44, Tambuwal’s youth points to a future of hope and possibilities. Besides, his apparent willingness not to be encumbered by the political exigencies or double-speak that had stunted our progress is quite inspir-
ing. For him, what matters is the nation’s interest. Call that an unyielding idealism and you won’t be entirely wrong. You would have a similar outlook if you were in his shoes - the fact the political doors had almost been shut against him. But that’s not implying he is averse to compromise; he demonstrated that virtue shortly after his election as Speaker when he humbled himself before his party leaders. Yet, that did not muffle this message: at least, the people now have a Speaker whose emergence had no familiar taint of the past. There is no better incentive to service. Born in Tambuwal into the royal family of Waziri Tambuwal, young Aminu attended Tambuwal Primary School, and Government Teachers’ College, Dogon-Daji also in Sokoto State where he obtained the Teachers Grade 11 Certificate in 1984. He then proceeded to Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, where he studied Law, graduating with an LLB (Hons) degree in 1991. He did his one year compulsory legal
studies at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, obtained BL and was called to the Bar in 1992. Besides studying for law degree, the Speaker has attended several courses abroad, among which are the Telecoms Regulatory Master Class– Bath UK, 2004; Lawmaking for the Communications Sectors –BMIT, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2004; Regulating a Competitive IndustryUK, Brussels, 2005; Tulane University – International Legislative Drafting, 2005; Stanford Graduate School of Business – Influence and Negotiation in 2008 among many others. As Tambuwal celebrates his birthday today, there is no better way to appreciate his efforts than to admit the fact that the history of the seventh session of the National Assembly would never be complete without a proper mention of him as its standard bearer. To this man, we say a glorious and happy birthday. *Imam is the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT Building Issues
Dealing with real estate challenges in 2012
S we enter into the new year, the greatest tool available to real estate professionals remains the same, trust and credibility. Without these two one may not make an appreciable head way. It will only be a matter of time before the story goes round of the person behind the mask! Putting it lightly, people within the real estate industry – especially those who handle commercial transactions - depend on a strong network of fellow experts who can work with a variety of landlords and tenants. For one to have a staying power you must have come across several people who can sincerely and courageously at-
•A luxury flat in Ikoyi, Lagos
UN-Habitat set to promote green housing •Expresses worry over Mozambican slum
O ensure a more inclusive approach to green housing provision, the UN-Habitat has launched i-HOUSE, a new initiative promoting coordination and knowledge-sharing in the field of sustainable urban development. The initiative, with its accompanying global network, was announced at a recent expert group meeting on sustainable housing at UN-Habitat’s Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya attended by more than 20 leading urban academics and practitioners across the world. In his remarks, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr Joan Clos highlighted the pressing need for better coordination of efforts in designing and implementing green buildings and sustainable building activities. i-HOUSE will have a specific focus on low-income housing and slum upgrading in developing countries, as well as housing provision in post-crisis and humanitarian context. In addition, a knowledge-sharing platform called i-BUILD will
bring the expertise and best practice of experts working in the field to one place where it can be accessed by their peers. I-BUILD will be hosted on the Urban Gateway, UN-Habitat’s online portal for sustainable urbanisation. The challenge of producing housing that is environmentally sustainable is not limited to developing countries. Globally, there is a lack of capacity, willingness, knowledgesharing and institutional and regulatory support for mainstreaming sustainability dimensions within the housing projects, programmes, and private sector housing development. UN-HABITAT will collaborate with the municipality of Beira and the BASF Social Foundation to improve living conditions of slum dwellers in Munhava slum, in the city of Beira, building a Multifunctional Clean Energy Centre (MCEC). The new infrastructure will allow increased access to clean energy, better sanitation and safe drinking water for those people living in the Munhava slum. The
facility will also provide livelihood opportunities for vulnerable youth who will be responsible for its daily operation and management. It will be designed to utilise locally available renewable energy resources (human waste, solar energy and wind) for value addition including public toilets connected to biogas digesters and solar panels installed on the centre’s roof for lighting and for charging lanterns for domestic lighting to replace kerosene lamps. A playground, lit by energy produced in the centre, will be annexed. The project will be mainly managed by self-promoting groups of youth in the slum of Munhava selected with and within the community. At least 200 young people will benefit from professional training and will generate sustainable incomes through service management and selling. The duration expected for the construction of the new infrastructure is 24 months, finalising at the end of 2013. The total cost of the project is around $200,000.
UNEP backs painting for sustainable housing
SEVEN-day exhibition entitled Man and Nature has opened at the UNEP Headquarters depicting the work of 21 leading Chinese artists - winners of a competition organised by the Fine Brush Painting Society in China. At the event, UNEP said the exhibition demonstrated the role of
art as an outreach tool for increasing public awareness with a focus on the environmental pillar of sustainable development, as the world heads towards Rio+20 in June. The works of art exhibited depict various levels of interaction between man and nature; show cases of man’s dependency
on nature, the pressures on the environment from human activities as well as scenes of harmony man and the natural world. This exhibition is considered the first for the Fine Brush Painting Society outside of China and the first dedicated to an environmental theme.
test to your strength of character. Based on statistics, there is a common refrain about quality which include the imperativeness of delivering consistent service and guidance. And, while these points may seem self-evident, too many commercial real estate firms either overlook this advice or compromise quality for the elusive promise of increased sales and visibility and in the process run foul of professional ethics and expecta-
By Kunle Awobodu
low professionals who respect the importance of quality, regardless of the broader state of the economy. All of which means quality is a non-negotiable principle, something that will not be sacrificed for “efficiency” in challenging times or greedily stretched for the false promise of “prosperity”. On a practical level, that brand of quality translates, produces ongoing partnerships with landlords and tenants. Meaning: these individuals want to work with real estate professionals who have the insight and the personal integrity necessary to achieve a desired outcome.
‘On a practical level, that brand of quality translates, produces ongoing partnerships with landlords and tenants. Meaning: these individuals want to work with real estate professionals who have the insight and the personal integrity necessary to achieve a desired outcome’
tions. Compare that approach to one that actually works, a tactic seconded by property owners and tenants: a philosophy geared towards offering clients a full suite of tools with an emphasis on investment sales, property management, portfolio advisory services and financing. The best way to deliver these benefits - one that is in clear contrast to the status quo - is to keep these opportunities under the same roof. Put another way, distributing these services among several firms - which do not share the same concepts about business, and which have very different agendas - is a recipe for mediocrity because you really may not be able to vouch for a man until he handles a huge amount of money. The advice here and may be a better approach is to recruit fel-
To accomplish that mission - and to do so with a level of consistency worthy of praise - requires an investment in time and judicious recruitment. The media is awash with news of ‘agents’ who in the guise of renting or leasing out properties to clients succeed in duping hundreds of people as they rent out a particular house or office space to numerous individuals. It is instructive to note that an investment is just that - a stake in something
that, with proper care and patience, will yield positive results. And yet, too many firms ignore this truth because the proposed alternative of quick success is so alluring. In the end, these firms chase clients without forging relationships. There is a distinction between the two: clients may come and go, but relationships and one’s reputation within the real estate industry is everything, if in the process of transacting a fast business and one goes against the ethics of his profession that can lead to the withdrawal of the professional stamp, which as it were is the meal ticket in that profession the pursued quick gain would have amounted to nothing. It is, therefore, advisable to withstand all manner of circumstances and temptations in this new year for better years ahead.
‘The media is awash with news of ‘agents’ who in the guise of renting or leasing out properties to clients succeed in duping hundreds of people as they rent out a particular house or office space to numerous individuals’ •Contributions, questions? e-mail: email@example.com
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
ENERGY THE NATION
Ikeja PHCN targets human capital devt. By Bidemi Bakare
• From left: Dorothy Atake, General Manager, External and Government Affairs, Sinopec-Addax Petroleum; Morrison Fiddi, Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS); Morenike Adewunmi, Senior Relations and Compliance Adviser, Shell Petroleum Development Company and Yetunde Chiedu-Ajoku, Representative, Public Relations, Sinopec-Addax Petroleum, at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha, Qatar.
The Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Chris Akamnonu, has highlighted areas where the company intends to focus on this year. He listed such areas to include human resources capacity development, marketing, metering and automation of operations. On metering, he said the company intends to re-engineer the existing metering and revenue protection methods. According to him, the re-engineering of the existing metering has become necessary in view of the huge revenue losses being generated from nonprepayment metering as against prepaid metering (PPM). He said: “It is now proven that the revenue from customers with prepaid meters exceeds that of cus• Continued on page 16
Shell plans to clean up spill on coastline By Emeka Ugwuanyi
• Shell MD Sunmonu
HELL Petroleum Develop ment Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) is planning to clean up the controversial oil spill found on the coastline, which its source is still uncertain. Shell in-
sists it is not from Bonga facility. A source from the company told our correspondent in confidence that Shell has concluded plans to commence the clean-up to save the environment as well as the marine flora and fauna. The source said: “The shoreline oil is not from Bonga. The oil might be from Shell facility caused by third party or oil thieves but certainly not from Bonga. However, irrespective of the source of the spill, as a responsible company, Shell will clean up the spill. The company has assessed the Forcados and Dodo areas where the oil spill was found and the clean up exercise is underway.” The sample of the oil found on the shoreline that Shell said was not from Bonga is being examined in laboratories in the United States by a joint investigating team comprising the National Oil Spill De-
tection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Department of Petroleum Resources and a few international oil companies including Shell. It was also gathered that it is being examined in the United States. Despite Shell’s statement that the oil found on the shoreline isn’t from Bonga, the Director-General of NIMASA, Mr Patric Akpobolokemi told reporters in Lagos that Bonga spill was moving fast to seashore. Akpobolokemi, who was represented at the event by the Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, Ishaka Shekarau said the oil spill was moving faster to the Nigerian shore requiring both international and national response efforts to deal with. Shell has since contained the spill and resumed operation at Bonga. Akpobolokemi had told reporters that the agency’s representa-
tives had carried out an overfly of the area and observed the extent of the spread of the spill and the danger posed to marine flora and fauna, assured of the agency’s commitment to ensuring that adequate measures are put in place to prevent further degradation of the marine ecosystem. Commenting on resumption of operation at Bonga, Shell Nigeria Country Chair, Mutiu Sunmonu, said: “While investigation into the cause of the leak continues, we have isolated the faulty line, which was the only one of its type in the Bonga field, and reinforced our asset integrity and safety programme. This, together with additional inspection testing and monitoring, is what gives us the confidence that it is safe to restart.” Sunmonu also said satellite and aerial imagery have confirmed that the Bonga oil leak could not have reached coastlines in the eastern Niger Delta, as some media
articles have suggested. We were disappointed to see images of a third party spill, which appeared to be from a vessel, in the middle of the area that we had previously cleaned up. Oil from the Bonga leak had largely dispersed by Sunday, December 25, 2011 due to the integrated efforts of SNEPCo, the Nigerian government and our industry partners in the application of dispersants, and natural processes of dispersal and evaporation. We are taking samples of the third party spill as part of the joint investigation in order to establish beyond doubt that this is not Bonga oil on the beach. It will be good if all parties would wait for the outcome of the investigation. “However, as any responsible corporate citizen would do, we are working closely with communities towards clean-up of the oil on some parts of the Western Niger Delta coastline, irrespective of its source,” he added.
Lagos mulls building modular refinery
HE Lagos State Government has said plans are underway to establish a modular refinery to help boost the refining capacity of petroleum products by the state. According to the Lagos State’s Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Taofiq Tijani, the proposed modular refinery is to be facilitated with the office of the public-private partnership (PPP) and some private investors. Tijani said the state considered the creation of the refinery very necessary in preparedness for its anticipated exploration and production activities. He said: “The state is putting in place whatever would enhance the pre and post-production of oil and gas from its fields. That explains why for instance it is planning to establish a modular refinery to cater for the refining of the crude oil produced in the state. The state wants to ensure that when it eventually starts producing from its oil fields, there is a refinery that can locally refine the crude to produce different petroleum products without resorting
By Bidemi Bakare
to importation for refining.” Tijani added that as one of the coastal zones with offshore blocks currently in active exploration activities, Lagos should be entitled to oil derivation from the Federal Government, which is not forthcoming. Tijani said with the turn of events and by the time production is achieved from these blocks, he is hopeful, the current situation would have changed for the state to get what it truly deserves. He stated that with the interest shown by a couple of big players in the oil and gas industry, developing and producing from these oil fields appeared not too far from being realised. Among these players are Yinka Folawiyo, Optimum, Sunlink, BG Exploration and Nigeria Agip Energy Oil companies operating the OML 113,OPL 310,OPL 311,OPL 332 and OPL 316 blocks respectively in the Benin Basin where the state falls within. Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum is one
of the leading, active indigenous privately-owned and managed oil companies in Nigeria. In June 1998,its OPL 109 concession block was converted to OML 113 with an initial term of 20years.The OML 113 licence, located offshore in south-western Nigeria close to its border with Benin covers approximately 454,000 acres. The company is owned by the Late philanthropist and business mogul,Alhaji Chief (Dr.)Abdulwahab Iyanda Folawiyo. BG Group on the other hand commenced business development activities in Nigeria in 2004. The Group has interests in two offshore blocks, purchases LNG supply and is a shareholder in the Olokola LNG project. In 2006, the company acquired a 45 per cent participating interest in, and operatorship of, Block OPL 332 from Sahara. The company’s Managing Director is Ademola Adeyemi. The OPL 310 operated by Optimum Petroleum Development Ltd is a 310,500,000 acres oil block offshore Nigeria in the western part of
the Benin Basin, and was rewarded to the company in water depths ranging between shoreline and 1900 meters. The company’s Board of Directors include Alhaji Ibrahim Bunu as chairman and Yusuf N’jie, an engineer, as the managing director Tijani said the ministry is proposing the establishment of an agency under it for engagement with oil investors in exploration and production (E&P) within the state’s territories, adding that it is also monitoring petroleum products outlets in Lagos for health, safety, and environment and consumer protection. Tijani: “The Energy ministry as a major stakeholder of the state’s energy sector is prepared to contribute its quota to its development. Part of effort geared towards making this possible is the proposal for the establishment of an agency to engage with investors in oil exploration and production activities. We believe that such agency would help coordinate activities of the oil investors when exploration and production of oil eventually takes off. Besides, the
ministry is also looking at regulation and monitoring of downstream activities for the purpose of maintaining health, safety and environment (HSE) standards. “One way we are doing this is by partnering regulatory bodies like the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to make sure that all petroleum products outlets are adequately monitored on conformity with HSE standards.”
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
S a show of commitment to supporting local content de velopment, General Electric (GE) is upgrading and expanding its service centre in Port Harcourt with $1 million to meet sub-regional and regional demands. The company disclosed this when it hosted a delegation of government representatives. The delegation led by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Mr James Olotu, according to a statement, also included representatives from the Office of the Vice-President and the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). President, Sub-Saharan Africa, GE Energy, Jay Wileman, said since GE opened the Port Harcourt facility in 2009, the company has invested more than $1 million in expanding and upgrading the site to keep pace with West Africa’s energy sector’s demands for new advanced technology and services. It has also been complying with Nigeria’s local content law to promote local economic growth and employment. He stressed the company’s continued local investments that are supporting the region’s energy sector and economy. He said: “GE’s Port Harcourt facility is home to the GE Oil & Gas global services centre that offers inspection and staging for onshore and offshore equipment, including compressors and pumps. The site also is home to the company’s power generation services centre that handles the repair of components for heavy duty gas turbines. The facility also serves as a level 2 modular (assembly and disassembly) repair facility for GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines, which are growing in popularity as industrial customers seek to install new distributed energy (onsite power) technologies to improve local energy reliability throughout the continent. “GE’s ongoing expansion of its
GE upgrades service centre with $1m
• GE service technician explaining to a delegation of government officials how GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines are serviced and maintained during the delegation’s visit to GE service centre in Port Harcourt.
Port Harcourt facility illustrates the company’s commitment to invest in Nigeria and the African continent. The facility is essential to our strategy to bring our business closer to our key customers in the oil and gas and power generation sectors while also supporting the local economies of regions where GE operates.” NDPHC chief said: “Nigeria’s National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) is pleased to witness firsthand GE’s continued commitment to Nigeria’s power sector. The company’s investment at its Port Harcourt facility will provide expanded maintenance capabilities for our new gas turbine fleet. We look forward to continued collaboration with GE in helping meet Nigeria’s power needs.” To showcase the activities of the General Electric in Nigeria, GE’s service technicians led the delega-
tion on a tour of the facility. These service technicians, the company said, are Nigerian nationals who have undergone technical training in France, India and the United States as part of GE’s ongoing investment and commitment to enhance local employment and technical development of its employees. In addition to providing essential technology and services to its customers in the West African energy sector, Port Harcourt is also home to GE’s training centre, which provides valuable employment and training opportunities for GE employees and customers of Nigeria and other countries in the region. The GE boss said the company has over 100 years history of partnering in Africa’s growth. “Our roots are firmly entrenched in the communities we work in. Our
business activities are shaped and influenced by the opportunities and challenges encountered through our partnerships with governments in Africa so that together we can develop sustainable infrastructure and economic capacity. “GE recently signed a first of its kind “Company to Country” agreement which contributes to strengthening our relationship. We are ready to partner with Nigeria for the next chapter of its growth towards vision 2020, and plan to do that by building sustainable partnerships, knowledge transfer, providing cutting edge solutions and being a responsible citizen. GE’s diverse technologies in aviation, energy, healthcare, energy and transportation are able to help Nigeria’s developing economy. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure,
GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide,” he said. The company said it continues to invest in new technology solutions and grow through strategic acquisitions to strengthen its local presence and better serve customers around the world. The businesses that comprise GE Energy—GE Power & Water, GE Energy Management and GE Oil & Gas—work together with revenues of $38 billion, to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; as well as other alternative fuels and new grid modernisation technologies to meet 21st century energy needs.
‘PIB, gas supply should be govt’s focus’
• From left: Gabriel Obando, Manager, Government and Public Relations, OKLNG and Uwazie Jones, Manager, Admin and Protocol, NNPC and Kennie Obateru, Manager, Public Affairs Department, NNPC,at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha, Qatar.
Libya to review oil contracts
OME of Libya’s oil contracts would be reviewed by the country’s new government, former interim Prime Minister Ali Tarhouni has said, putting scores of foreign firms on notice. During a visit to Washington, Tarhouni, a former oil minister and current adviser to the National Transitional Council, said some of the contracts agreed by the regime of Moammar Gadhafi would have to be reworked. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Tarhouni said: “It is my expectation that most contracts will be honoured, but all will be revisited. Some of these contracts will be disputed, there are some that have these gross violations, there are some that are good.” Almost a year after Libya’s revolution began, there is still
considerable uncertainty about the future of the energy sector and which role long-resident foreign firms will play. Gadhafi’s ouster has created opportunities for companies hoping to see a redistribution of oil contracts to the benefit of countries that took part in the military campaign to overthrow the long-time dictator, threatening existing contracts. Current interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib issued a statement in December indicating that contracts with Italian energy major ENI would be reviewed, before that notion was dispelled by his office. The transitional government has said that no major decisions, including a reworking of Libya’s decades-old oil law, will be made until an elected government is in
place. In the meantime firms like ENI have resumed production. The Italian firm has resumed up to 70 percent of its pre-conflict output in Libya, of around 200,000 barrels per day. The company has been in Libya, a former Italian colony since 1959 and is the biggest foreign energy producer in the oil-rich North African country. In 2010, Libya’s capacity was just short of 1.7 million barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency. The country’s low-sulfur crude is much sought after by refiners. Libya’s oil minister Abdel Rahman bin Yezza predicted that Libya would be back to full pre-crisis production levels in the second half of 2012.
PERATORS of the oil industry have said the Federal Government should ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has been before the National Assembly over the years is passed into law, if it wants the industry to move to the next level. A couple of operators who aired their views on where government should focus this year to add value to the petroleum and power industries said passage into law of PIB and adequate and sustainable gas supplies to power plants will achieve expectations from the sector. In her views, Dr. Ibilola Amao, Principal Consultant, Lonadek Oil and Gas Consultants said: “To give direction and focus to the oil and gas industry, the Federal Government has to ensure the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has long been before the National Assembly, is passed into law and the downstream sector fully deregulated. She noted that the poor investment inflow into the oil and gas industry in recent times is because investors are not sure of the fiscal terms and impact that the passage of the PIB into law would have on their operations. Prompt passage of the Bill would clearly address these problems. On power sector, she said government should make effort to improve gas supply so that electricity supply becomes more stable. To achieve this, the Lonadek chief said there is need for the government to support gas aggregation and monetisation, ensure that Final Investment Decision (FID) for projects such as
By Emeka Ugwuanyi
Brass LNG and NLNG Train 7 are given topmost priority. She emphasised, however, the importance of projects that have domestic gas security as a priority. She stressed the importance of government’s commitment to implementation of the Gas Master Plan which should address domestic use in a most favourable manner. These projects when in place would contribute to uninterrupted power supply and help boost the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The President of Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Lawrence Mayowa Afe, corroborated Mrs. Amao, describing the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill as an embarrassment to the country. He said that poor inflow of investment into the oil industry was a result of the state of the PIB, adding that the passage of the bill into law will open the industry as well as create employment. It would also give credibility to the government and encourage investments in the country, he added. He said: “The passage of the bill will certainly move Nigeria forward and attract more investors to our country.” He noted that if PIB becomes law, it would address anomalies in the industry including the persistent inadequate supply of gas to the electricity generating stations because provisions for all these are made in the bill.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
OPEC, IEA, analysts appraise sanctions against Iran There is increasing concerns on supply and price of oil as United States and European Union gear up for sanctions against Iran. Analysts predict that sanctions against Iran and possible shut down of Strait of Hormuz (Persian Gulf) by Iranian Government would have adverse effects on the West and Iran and may push the price of Brent crude to $125 a barrel, writes EMEKA UGWUANYI with agency reports.
HE Organisation of Petro leum Exporting Countries (OPEC), International Energy Agency (IEA) and oil and gas industry analysts have expressed concerns on the likely outcome of the planned sanctions against Iran by the United States and the European Union. The sanctions include embargo on importation of Iranian oil by US and EU to compel Iran rescind on its nuclear programme. The US is also wooing China, the biggest consumer of Iran’s oil to support the import embargo. Iran had last month conducted a 10-day military exercise on Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf through, which 18 per cent of the world’s oil travels, a signal to the West that it can block the flow of oil from the route whenever it wants. According to CNBC report, any European embargo of oil imports from Iran would have a direct effect not just on Iran, but also on the most prominent consumers of Iranian oil and refiners in the Mediterranean, according to a series of recent reports. European governments last week said they have agreed in principle to ban imports of Iranian oil, but have yet to agree to a date. The last monthly oil report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), from mid-December, asserted that measures by the European Union and others “may not be agreed until end-January,” in order to allow for alternative sourcing by affected customers and coinciding with a seasonal fall in European refiner demand. The report added that the embargo would involve almost 600,000 barrels per day, while a broader embargo that included sales to states in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) would boost that number to 1.3 million barrels per day. Some of the most exposed EU countries include Greece, Spain and Italy. The biggest buyer of Iranian oil, China, CNBC said, is unlikely to be affected and has already expressed opposition to what it termed “unilateral” sanctions against Iran. The US Treasury Department said in a statement that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would travel to Beijing and Tokyo to discuss “continued coordination with international partners in the region to increase pressure on the Government of Iran.” The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cites Iran as China’s second largest oil supplier, with 600,000 barrels per day. India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey also rank highly in the current buying list of Iranian oil. Iran’s production capacity Tighter sanctions, the IEA said, would stifle Iranian production capacity, forecasting a decline by 890,000 barrels per day to under three million barrels per day in 2016. In December, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi
told CNBC he was not worried about the possibility of an EU embargo. Iran plans to boost its oil production from the current 3.5 million barrels per day to 5.1 million barrels per day by 2015. The IEA report also pointed out that a partial ban would “likely leave Mediterranean refiners confronting higher prices for replacement crude” from producers such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia. Whether they can fully step in to fully make up for lost Iranian heavy crude, which constitutes the majority of EU imports, remains unclear. European refiners, already facing negative margins in several cases, could come under more pressure if Asian buyers “secure incremental Iranian cargoes at discounted prices.” But an EU decision by the end of January to impose an embargo would, according to the IEA, “effectively begin to bite into March/April Iranian liftings.” OPEC’s December oil market report showed that Iran produced 15,000 barrels less in November than in October. At 3.55 million barrels per day, it is some 50,000 barrels less than average production in the third quarter. One official source of export numbers specifically comes from the producerconsumer energy dialogue, known as the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI), but no details have been listed for Iran over the last three months. JODI depends on participating member states for data collection. The next update for JODI and the IEA comes on January 18, while OPEC publishes its monthly oil market summary two days earlier. Besides the tension, Reuters had reported that the International Energy Agency said it has no plans for immediate release of emergency oil stockpiles but noted it is prepared to respond to any significant oil supply disruption, but as no specific supply disruption is under way, the agency is not actively considering any action at the present time. The Persian Gulf waterway carries about 17 million barrels of oil a day, according to the U.S. Energy Department, which is about 19 percent of global consumption. The IEA’s last emergency release of government and industry stockpiles was in June, when about 60 million barrels of crude and oil products were made available in response to the slump in supply from Libya. It also made supplies available during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and when Hurricane Katrina damaged oil rigs and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. Bloomberg report quoting Societe Generale, said Brent crude futures, trading near $113 a barrel might rally to $125 should the European Union ban imports of Iranian oil. Such a move would require about 600,000 barrels a day of replacement supply from Saudi Arabia, depleting the country’s spare
capacity, said Mike Wittner, the bank’s head of oil market research for the Americas. Iran would struggle to find alternative buyers for the banned crude, he said. Effects on EU European Union governments moved closer to halting oil purchases from Iran, stepping up the confrontation over the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme. EU foreign ministers plan to announce harsher sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking industries at their next meeting on January 30 after Greece lifted its objections to an oil embargo. “The EU imports 600,000 barrels a day from Iran, that will go to zero sooner or later, Wittner said. “Does Saudi have the ability to replace it? Yes. But then the market may become concerned about how much spare capacity Saudi Arabia has remaining.” While Iran will probably divert some of the unsold crude to Asia, the country would be unlikely to sell all of it there, Wittner said. Refiners would find it difficult to cut their intake of Saudi Arabian crude in order to take extra Iranian cargoes, because of contractual terms with the kingdom, he said. “China could take a little bit more,” Wittner said. “If Iran has 600,000 barrels a day looking for a home, I don’t think it would be easy to sell it elsewhere.” According to Money Morning, Iran just concluded a 10-day military exercise intended to prove to the West that it can choke off the flow of Persian Gulf oil whenever it wants. The world’s fourth-biggest oil producer is unhappy with fresh U.S. financial sanctions that will make it harder to sell its oil, which accounts for half of the government’s revenue. “Tehran is making a renewed political point here. The message is - we can close this anytime we want to,” says Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors, who has studied Iran for more than a decade. “The oil markets are essentially ignoring the likelihood at the moment, but any increase in tensions will increase risk assess-
• Abdallah El-Badri OPEC Sec-Gen
ment and thereby pricing.” One reason the markets haven’t reacted much to Iran’s latest rhetoric is that although it has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz many times over the past 20 years, it has never followed through on the threat. But a fresh wave of Western sanctions could hurt Iran’s economy enough to make Tehran much less cautious. The latest sanctions, signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama recently, will make it far more difficult for refiners to buy crude oil from Iran. And looming on the horizon is further action by the European Union (EU), which at the end of this month will consider an embargo of Iranian oil. Access to international banking network “The present United Nations, U.S. and EU sanctions have already had a significant toll,” said Moors. “They have effectively prevented Iranian access to main international banking networks. Iran now has to use inefficient exchange mechanisms.” Because international oil trade is conducted in U.S. dollars, Moors said, Iran must have a convenient way to convert U.S. dollars into its home currency or other currencies it needs, such as euros.
Oil price below $103/bbl on mixed US supply signs
IL prices hovered below $103 a bar rel at the weekend in Asia after a re port showed mixed signs about U.S. crude demand. According to Associated Press, benchmark crude for February delivery fell 59 cents to $102.63 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 26 cents to settle at $103.22 in New York. In London, Brent crude fell 3 cents at $113.67 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. The American Petroleum Institute said that crude inventories fell 4.4 million barrels last week while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had predicted a decrease of 450,000 barrels. However, inventories of gasoline added 3.4 million barrels last week while distillates rose 5.2 million barrels, the API said. The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration reports its weekly supply data later Thursday. Traders are also closely watching rising tensions between Iran and Western powers. Iran has threatened to close the key oil passageway Strait of Hormuz as possible retaliation to new U.S. and European economic
sanctions. The U.S. has said it will not tolerate such a move. Brent crude could temporarily jump to as high as $210 if the strait were closed, Capital Economics said. “However, neither side would want tensions to spiral this far out of control,” Capital Economics said in a report. “Indeed, the threat of another ‘super-spike’ in oil prices when the global economy is still so fragile is itself a very powerful reason for the West to hold off from any military action.” “By far the bigger risk is that oil prices will collapse due to an escalation of the financial crisis in the euro-zone.”
• Oil platform
Oil stockpiles fall, product Inventories increase
RUDE oil inventories declined 4.43 million barrels to 334.5 million last week, the American Petroleum Institute said. Distillate fuel inventories (APISDIST) rose 5.25 million barrels to 145.4 million, the API’s weekly report showed. The gain was the largest since July 2008. Gasoline stockpiles rose 3.38 million to 219.1 million.
Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma (APISCUSH), the delivery point for futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rose 200,000 barrels to 29.3 million. The government report may show stockpiles of crude oil fell 1 million barrels last week, according to the median of 13 responses in a Bloomberg News (DOEASCRD) survey of analysts. Gasoline inventories
probably gained 1 million barrels, the survey showed. Distillates were also expected to grow by 1 million. API collects stockpile information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the Energy Department for its weekly survey.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
BOI, UNDP ask banks to support renewable energy projects
ANK of Industry (BOI), United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and Nigerian Export - Import Bank (NEXIM) have urged Nigerian Banks to support development of renewable energy by financing the projects. The organisations at a one-day interactive seminar organised in Lagos by a partnership of the Bank of Industry (BOI) and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) for financial institutions and investors on Access to Renewable Energy (AtRE) enumerated the gains of financing renewable energy projects. They noted that instead of financing importation of merchandise, though a short term and profitable
By Emeka Ugwuanyi
venture but very risky business, it is better to finance renewable energy projects, which is a long term project but dependable and less risky. The project manager, UNDP/BOI Access to Renewable Energy Project, Segun Adaju in his remarks on the issue said that Access, Zenith, Oceanic and Skye Banks are among the few banks that have subscribed to financing renewable energy. But he said they aren’t doing much, which he attributed to lack of understanding of the business. He noted that that best way to promote green environment and economy is to fiancé renewable
energy projects. He said: “To have a green economy, Nigeria should have a green banking sector that would finance renewable energy but not to throw money away,” adding that renewable energy is a big business in Nigeria. He said had earlier noted that the “bottom of the pyramid (BOP)” is used in particular by people developing new models of doing business, currently target those at the BOP and who are the largest of the pyramid, but poorest socio-economic group, which in global terms, refer to the four billion people who live on less than $2 per day. He said “The phrase “bottom of the pyramid (BOP)” business model deliberately target that de-
mography, often using new technology. The BOP bottom of the pyramid has been seen as the biggest potential opportunity in the history of commerce. It makes up US$5 trillion global consumer market in local purchasing power, yet highly underserved.” BoP markets are often rural - especially in rapidly growing Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa – very poorly served, dominated by the informal economy and the market attracts higher prices for goods and services than do wealthier consumers. Most people in the BoP have no bank account and no access to modern financial services. And many lack access to water and sanitation services, electricity, and basic health
care, but has large market potential and that is the people the renewable primarily targets in Nigeria. BOI/UNDP and NEXIM stressed their preparedness to partner any local bank in financing renewable energy projects. The Nigerian Export - Import Bank said that as part of contribution to developing and using renewable energy as against the current dependence on fossil fuels, it has given out $695 million as loans to five companies that are investing in renewable energy projects in the country. NEXIM’s Chief Risk Officer, Dr Emmanuel Moore Abolo who disclosed listed the beneficiary companies and the amount they got.
Ikeja PHCN targets human capital development • Continued from page 13 tomers with credit meters. There is a confirmation that the prepaid meters are more advantageous for revenue protection than the credit meters. So, the company is considering re-engineering existing meters by deploying more prepayment meters so that revenue generation from electricity can be improved.” He added that a customer care facility called IkejaCare has also been developed and billed for commissioning before the end of January. The initiative, he noted, is to ensure that customer complaints handling and credit management are effected online realtime. Akamnonu said aggressive investment would also be made in marketing, which would translate into increased revenue and ability to pay the first charges and meet other critical obligations. With critical manpower gap also being a major issue, the PHCN boss said human capacity development would be given utmost attention if the business must survive. “One of the greatest challenges
Ikeja PHCN is faced with as to do with critical manpower gap, which has been existing and widening due to natural attrition and ageing workforce. The power utility company as it stands could suffer a mortal blow if nothing is done to address this deficiency. And for this reason, we hope that in the New Year we will be able to build the capacity of the workforce and also put in place a succession arrangement for ageing workers to be replaced by young and active ones,” he said. Also in 2012, Akamnonu disclosed that huge investment would be made in automation of distribution management as this is an imperative for improved operational efficiency and reliability of the power systems. Besides, he added that all power infrastructures in the zone would continue to receive adequate attention in form of rehabilitation and improvement during the year. He assured that if the company is well funded in 2012 the performance of the budget would exceed that of the outgone year.
Transocean CFO steps down
RANSOCEAN has announced that Ricardo Rosa will step down as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective from Monday (yesterday). After a transition period, Mr. Rosa is expected to retire from Transocean effective April 30, 2012. According to a statement from the company, Steven Newman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “On behalf of Transocean I offer my sincere thanks to Ricardo for his many years of service to the company and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” An executive search firm has been retained to aid in the identification of Mr. Rosa’s successor.
Effective January 9, 2012, and until a permanent replacement is named, Gregory L. Cauthen (54) will return to the company in the role of Interim Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Cauthen served most recently as a consultant of the company from September 2009 through August 2010. Prior to retirement from Transocean in August 2009, Mr. Cauthen was Chief Financial Officer of the Company from December 2001 to August 2009. He was also Treasurer of the Company from March 2001 until July 2003 and served as Vice President, Finance from March 2001 to December 2001. Mr. Cauthen holds a Masters in Accounting degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville.
• Power transmission
OPEC oil supply hits three-year high
HE Organisation of Petro leum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil output rose in December to the highest since October 2008, a Reuters survey found, as members showed little sign yet of lowering output to make room for recovering Libyan supplies. Supply from all 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries according to Reuters, averaged 30.74 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up from a revised 30.62 million bpd in November, the survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found. The survey indicates OPEC, source of more than a third of the world’s oil, is producing more than the target of 30 million barrels daily it adopted at a December 14 meeting, as oil prices well above $100 a barrel provide little incentive for supply cuts.
In December, the biggest increase in OPEC supply came from Libya, where production continues to recover after being virtually shut down during the uprising which toppled Muammar Gaddafi. “It’s quite surprising how successful the Libyans have been so far,” said Samuel Ciszuk, consultant at KBC Energy Economics. December’s total is OPEC’s highest since October 2008, shortly before the group agreed to a series of supply curbs to combat recession, based on Reuters surveys. Libyan oil exports and refinery demand have climbed to 750,000 bpd in December, according to the survey, up 250,000 bpd from November but some way short of the production figures given by Libyan officials. The survey also provides little
Domestic prices of petroleum products
Energy & Oil Prices OIL ($/bbl)
PRICE* CHANGE % CHANGE TIME Nymex Crude Future Dated Brent Spot WTI Cushing Spot OIL (¢/gal)
101.56 113.06 101.56
-0.25 0.96 -0.25
-0.25% 0.86% -0.25%
01/06 01/06 01/06
PRICE* CHANGE % CHANGE TIME Nymex Heating Oil Future 307.02 Nymex RBOB Gasoline Future 275.16 NATURAL GAS ($/MMBtu)
PRICE* CHANGE % CHANGE TIME Nymex Henry Hub Future 3.06 Henry Hub Spot 2.87 New York City Gate Spot 3.15 ELECTRICITY ($/megawatt hour)
0.08 -0.04 -0.01
2.75% -1.37% -0.32%
01/06 01/06 01/06
PRICE* CHANGE % CHANGE TIME Mid-Columbia, firm on-peak, spot Palo Verde, firm on-peak, spot 27.31 BLOOMBERG, FIRM ON-PEAK, DAY HOUSTON 27.13 • Bloomberg Oil Buyers Guide
26.38 0.30 1.15% 0.44 1.64% AHEAD SPOT/ERCOT 0.84 3.20%
01/06 01/06 01/06
evidence Gulf Arab OPEC producers are curbing output drastically, so far, to make way for increased Libyan output. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf OPEC allies raised production unilaterally in the second half of 2011 after failing to convince Iran and other members to agree to a coordinated increase to meet the shortfall in supplies from Libya. OPEC settled the six-month-old argument at its December meeting in Vienna meeting by adopting the 30 million bpd target. However, analysts have said that without defined individual national quotas, leakage above the new limit remains very possible. In November, supply from Saudi Arabia was revised 350,000 bpd higher to 9.8 million bpd as it shipped more crude to customers in Asia. In December, output dipped only slightly, according to sources in the survey. “In November, there was a very sharp uptick and what I’m seeing in December is practically no change - a small reduction maybe, but not a significant one,” a shipping industry source said. Kuwait increased production in December and supply nudged higher in the United Arab Emirates. Sources in the survey have lower estimates of Kuwaiti supply than Kuwaiti industry officials, who say the country is pumping 3 million bpd or more. Venezuelan output also was pegged slightly higher. Major maintenance was completed at the Petroanzoategui heavy crude upgrader in December. Among the countries with reduced output, Angolan shipments declined due to lower exports of crude grades including Girassol and Plutonio. Loading schedules point to steady to lower shipments in January.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE TRANSFER WINDOW
Moyes: Lambs not sheepish
Wenger: Henry still has the fire
RSENE Wenger is in no doubt former Arsenal captain Thierry Henry still has the "fire" to light up the Barclays Premier League and help drive the Gunners on towards European success. The 34-year-old has rejoined his old club on a short-term loan deal from the New York Red Bulls ahead of the start of the new Major League Soccer season. Henry became Arsenal's record goalscorer during eight trophyladen seasons with the north London club before leaving to join Barcelona in 2007 and last month was honoured with a bronze statue outside Emirates Stadium. After watching the forward train with the first-team squad in recent weeks, Wenger was convinced Henry remains a champion. "I watched the [MLS] play-off against LA Galaxy. That is when I saw Thierry and thought he has still got the pride and desire to win," said Wenger. "It was still there because he was so angry and I didn't expect that from him. I thought he would be a bit cooler. That was the moment when I saw the fire was still there. I saw his desire to go and get the ball back. You could see the desire to fight and the pride to win is there. You could see that the champions never lose that, you saw that with David Beckham and Thierry has that as well." Wenger added: "It is how he can cope physically every day with the training and how much he wants it as well. "I was quickly convinced, but I wasn't sure he wanted the challenge as well."
• Wayne rooney
Wayne rooney: I'm going nowhere W
QPR set to sack manager Neil Warnock
EIL Warnock was Saturday night on the verge of losing his job as manager of Queens Park Rangers. No final decision has been made on the 63-year-old’s future, but it is understood that the club’s owners have severe doubts as to whether he is the right man to keep the club in the Premier League. Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, who took control of the club in August, is planning to invest heavily in Rangers in this transfer window and is in negotiations to sign a number of players. It had been thought that Warnock was not in any immediate danger but that thinking may have changed. With Rangers just one point above the relegation places, having taken 17 points from their first 20 league matches, there are believed to be serious concerns as to whether Warnock can steer them clear of trouble.
AYNE Rooney insisted he wanted to remain at Manchester United for "a long time" after scoring twice in a thrilling 3-2 FA Cup win at Manchester City. Rooney scored either side of a Danny Welbeck strike as United led 3-0 at half-time, City having had captain Vincent Kompany sent off. But the 10 men came back strongly after the break with Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Aguero on target and had United hanging on at the end. Rooney's future has been the subject of speculation and he made a point of clutching the United badge after scoring his first. Asked if he had a point to prove today, Rooney told ITV: "No, not at all. Everything that has been in the press of late is a load of nonsense really. "There is no problem for me at this club, I want to be at this club for a long time." Paul Scholes came out of retirement and was named on the bench, coming on in the second half. And Rooney admitted the United players did not know about the situation until they got into the dressing room before the game. "It was a bit of a shock to be honest, we didn't know until we were in the dressing room, but he's a great player," he said. On the game, Rooney said: "We knew it was going to be difficult today, going 3-0 up we maybe took our foot off the gas a bit. "City got two goals and we had to make sure we saw the game out and thankfully we managed to do that." United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claimed he had no problem with
Rooney and warned the striker he had to learn to get used to negative headlines. He told ITV: "There's absolutely no problem with Wayne what Wayne has got to realise is the press have got another (Paul) Gascoigne and he's got to suffer with that." Ferguson insisted Kompany's red card for a two-footed tackle on Nani, in which he won the ball, was the right decision. "I think so, I've seen him do it before, he maybe got off in the past," added the United boss. "I think if he catches Nani then he's got a problem." Ferguson was unhappy with his team's second-half display. "I think we made them better than they were," he said. "We were just so careless in the second half "At 3-0 up at half-time they thought
they were through and took their foot off the peddle. "It was a careless performance, we should have been home and dry." City boss Roberto Mancini appeared clearly unhappy with Chris Foy's decision to dismiss Kompany. Asked what he thought of the red card, he shrugged before eventually saying: "It's best that we talk about the game and not the referee." But he was pleased with the way his side battled back in the second half. He added on ITV: "I am happy because I think we played a fantastic performance, the players did well in the second half. "We scored two times, we had other chances to score in the end and we didn't concede any chances for them to score."
VERTON manager David Moyes praised FA Cup minnows Tamworth after seeing his side pushed all the way by the Blue Square Premier League team at Goodison Park. Johnny Heitinga put the hosts in front inside five minutes but Tamworth gave as good as they got after that, particularly in the latter stages of the first half, and it was not until Leighton Baines made it 2-0 from the penalty spot 11 minutes from time that victory was sewn up. Moyes said: "Tamworth did really well, kept at it and, while it was only 1-0 there was always a chance." He added: "We missed a few chances to make it 2-0 early on, which might have put it to bed, but for the neutrals it kept the game alive. "They threatened a bit from corners and free-kicks but, without playing well, I thought we had a level of control that was enough to probably see the game out." Tamworth boss Marcus Law was proud of the display of his players but could not help but rue the circumstances in which they went behind. He said: "There's a part of me very disappointed because we spent a lot of time on dealing with set-pieces. I've scrutinised about six DVDs of Everton, been up here for two games and that was where I felt their strengths were. "Maybe the occasion and lack of focus in that first five minutes has gone against us. But it just shows you what small margins there are in football. "I know these boys, I work with them every week, they're a feisty group, very mentally strong, and I knew, regardless of what was going to happen today, we would be able to compete. I think you can see the difference between a mid-table Blue Square Premier side and an elite Premier League club was a set-piece and a questionable penalty."
Pardew: Hatem's a special talent
EWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew insists there are only a few players who are capable of scoring a goal as special as Hatem Ben Arfa's individual effort against Blackburn on Saturday. The Frenchman tricked his way from the halfway line before firing home, to score a goal of the season contender and pull United level against Blackburn in the third round of the FA Cup. They went on to claim victory thanks to Jonas Gutierrez's chipped finish deep into stoppage time, but all the talk post-match was of Ben Arfa's brilliant strike - and the manager was no different. "The goal is one of the greatest
goals you will ever see - it's certainly one of the greatest, technically, I've ever seen as a player and manager," he said. "You know there's not many players who can get a goal like that. It's technically the greatest goal I have ever seen with my eyes. You can volley them in the top corner, you can smash them in from 40 yards, but to score a goal like that as a player, you have to be a special talent. "It was an unbelievable goal and I am really, really pleased for Hatem because he has had a tough road here with the injury and everything, so he showed today that hopefully, Demba Ba won't be as sorely missed as we thought he
might be." The goal marked Ben Arfa's first start since 3rd December, and Pardew admits the French international still has work to do. But if he influences games like he did in the second half against Blackburn then he could soon become the first name on the manager's team sheet. "We are trying to get the balance right with him. He needs to show a little bit more intensity when the opposition have the ball," said Pardew. "But if he balances it out with the impact he had in the second half then he won't need to defend, so we won't need to worry about it. He was sensational in the second half."
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
EUROPEAN FOOTBALL...EUROPEAN FOOTBALL...EUROPEAN FOOTBALL...
Ribery happy to stay with Bayern F
RANCK Ribery can imagine staying with Bayern Munich "forever" after finding some of the best form of his career over the past six months. The French midfielder scored eight and created a further nine goals to help Bayern open up a three-point lead at the top of the table at the midway stage of the season. Speaking to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper in Bayern's winter training camp in Qatar, he revealed how happy he is with his football and how settled he now feels in Munich. "Munich is more than just a second home to me," he said. "I can imagine staying here forever. Who knows, maybe I will become the club's second president alongside Uli Hoeness. But seriously, we are very happy here and you could
say I am happier than I have ever been." Ribery believes he has a lot to thank Bayern for after a difficult few years both on and off the field. "Uli Hoeness and (chairman) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have always stood by me," he said. "They have always supported me and my family and I am very thankful to them for it. I have never seen such a strong heart within a football club - it is unique to FC Bayern. "I had a difficult two or three years and, to be totally honest, such a period really ruins you, also mentally. But when you come through it and things go as well as they are going now, then you treasure it even more." And Ribery is now looking forward to the remaining four months of the season which he
hopes will culminate in the ultimate joy of winning the Champions League in the Allianz Arena. "I desperately want to reach the Champions League final," he said. "Sadly, I was suspended in 2010 and that was disappointing. "My dream is to gift Uli Hoeness the Champions League title on May 19, but the league is also important. "I have a good feeling and the whole team is training well and is extremely ambitious. "I want to play as well as I have done for the past five months, then I also have the chance of winning the footballer of the year award like in my first season here. "But winning titles with Bayern is more important than that."
Ranieri: 'My best Inter' C
LAUDIO Ranieri feels Saturday’snight 5-0 demolition job on Parma was “the best Inter performance of my time here.” The Nerazzurri notched up a fifth consecutive Serie A victory with Diego Milito bagging a brace, Thiago Motta, Giampaolo Pazzini and Marco Davide Faraoni on target.
“At the start the statistics were unavoidably bad, but now they are smiling at us. You can see these lads aren’t finished and want to put this season back on track,” said the Coach who replaced Gian Piero Gasperini. “Where can we end up this year? I don’t know, only the results on the field can tell us that. I think this was the best Inter performance of my
time here, as we were very concentrated and interpreted the game well.” Ranieri believes the Nerazzurri have finally put the Jose Mourinho era behind them and are ready to move on. “The Treble is there, it is in the history books, but doesn’t count for us anymore. All that matters is what we will do from here on in.” Inter could even be back in the Scudetto race, as they go head-to-head with leaders Milan in the derby next Sunday. “We are in good shape to face Milan, as the break allowed our players to recharge their batteries. I hope both Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan can recover in time for the game, as they can be our best ‘new buys’ of 2012, although they also have to settle into the mentality the team has adopted in the last few months.”
Ronaldo criticised after post-goal sulk
C • Ranieri
RISTIANO Ronaldo was the target of some unusually harsh criticism from the pro-Real Madrid sports media on Sunday after he reacted to whistling and grumbling from a section of the home fans at the Bernabeu by refusing to celebrate his goal. The Portuguese, the world’s most expensive player who earns around 10 million euros ($12.7 million) a season, netted Real’s fifth in Saturday’s 5-1 drubbing of Granada, his 21st La Liga strike of the campaign. However, there appears to be a perception among some fans that he can be too selfish and he reacted to their complaints, which were also audible in last month’s 3-1 defeat to Barcelona, by declining to celebrate with his team mates and walking back to the Real half with his head bowed. “Since the game against Barca, a significant section of the stadium has been complaining about Ronaldo’s performances and he doesn’t like it,” sports daily Marca wrote on Sunday.
“But a goal is a collective achievement, the ultimate expression of a job well done by the team,” the paper added. “If Cristiano doesn’t like the way the fans are expressing themselves, the worst thing he can do is show it in the celebration of a goal. “Above and beyond the individual scorer, it’s a Real Madrid goal. By the whole team.” Writing in Marca’s Madridbased rival As, Antonio Romero noted that Ronaldo’s patchy performances of late have meant he is being overshadowed by Real’s inform France striker Karim Benzema, who scored twice on Saturday and netted the winner in last week’s comeback victory against Malaga in the King’s Cup. Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored Real’s third against Granada, was also stealing some of Ronaldo’s limelight and developing a fine partnership with Benzema, Romero added. “The two together have some impressive statistics and are learning to understand
each other better all the time. “That means Cristiano will have to get used to sharing the responsibilities in attack for the good of the team. And do it with a smile.” Assistant coach Aitor Karanka, standing in for Jose Mourinho at Saturday’s post-
match news conference, said Ronaldo had been “angry with himself because things weren’t coming off well for him.” The Portuguese’s team mate Sergio Ramos, one of the club captains, added: “That’s just the way Ronaldo is. We are happy with him.”
Gallas gives up hope of France recall
OTTENHAM Hotspur defender William Gallas has given up hope of playing for France again after being overlooked by coach Laurent Blanc since the 2010 World Cup. The 34-year-old won the last of his 84 caps when France exited the World Cup in South Africa at the first round stage. “There was a time when I thought I would be recalled,” Gallas told French TV channel TF1 on Sunday. “It has not happened. From then on, it became clear to me that France team was over for me. “The only thing I can say is that I still have the legs to
play.” Gallas missed the first 15 matches of the season through injury but has been in fine form since then for Spurs who are third in the Premier League. France have been drawn in Group D alongside Ukraine, Sweden and England for the Euro 12 finals in June.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Sharapova seeks Australian Open victory
NJURY-PLAGUED Russian says winning this year's Australian Open title would be the finest moment of her career, writes Linda Pearce. Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 as a 17year-old starlet, the 2006 US Open as a glamorous global brand, and the 2008 Australian Open as a dethroned No.1 who had returned - for the first time - from the shoulder injury that would plague her. She believes her next major title, if there is one, will be her finest. ''If I'm able to win a grand slam after my injury it would be my biggest victory in my career, definitely,'' said Sharapova, who dipped to No.126 in the rankings in 2009 just before resuming from shoulder surgery. ''Knowing what I had to go through in order just to play tennis, mentally and physically, and knowing that I had that desire in me to keep going. ''Whereas when you do something from when you're four years old and it's just on automatic pilot, and you're young, you're bound to improve because you're learning. ''You're learning from experience, learning from matches. So when you're kind of at a standstill and you have to start from scratch, that's when you really test your motivation levels and that determination.'' Sharapova is renowned as one of the game's steeliest and most driven competitors, but she is far more likeable in an intimate interview situation than the slightly haughty figure who presides over the world's press rooms. She is physically striking, of course: tall, lean and greeneyed, with a presence and star power exuded by very few. She is also a young veteran of 24, as hard as that is to reconcile with the fact that she won her first, biggest and most surprising slam more than seven years ago. If, to us, Sharapova seems to have been around for an age, she admits that ''in a way'' it also feels that way to her. After all, she started playing at four,
moved from Russia to Nick Bollettieri's academy in Florida at seven, turned professional on her 14th birthday and won her first title two years later. ''Someone was saying how young Petra [Kvitova] was, and she's 21, right, and I was thinking to myself, 'Oh my God, 21. What does that make me? I'm like a grandma! I'm just three years older than her','' Sharapova laughs. ''I think just because I've been on the tour and obviously winning at a young age, I think that makes me feel like I've been on the tour longer, but I don't regret that.'' So if tennis years are like dog years, does that make her a thirtysomething? ''Oh, I still feel like a teenager,'' she declares. The world No.4 is also a wife-to-be. Sharapova got engaged last year to basketball player Sasha Vujacic, who is based in Turkey until mid-year after moving from the New Jersey Nets to Anadolu Efes Istanbul during the NBA lockout. Sharapova says her professional/personal mix is ''a great balance'', describing a life far from the A-list parties and red-carpet affairs of which another tennis uber-celebrity, Serena Williams, is so fond. ''I have a very normal life away from tennis, and it's simply because I choose to be normal and I choose to have simplicity and enjoy simplicity in life,'' she says. ''To me, going back home, the first days at home, are always the best of my year, because after travelling and being on the road where everything is taken care of, and you're driven around and you're going to restaurants, it's nice to have that realistic feel about life. And to obviously have someone that you can share it with makes it even better.'' Yet her private contentment has apparently not affected her tennis desire, for the owner of 24 career titles and a 2011 Wimbledon finalist works as determinedly as ever. ''I think it actually settles you in a way, because you know what you have in life, and you know a tennis career can only go for so long. You
can only be physically capable of doing what you do to a certain extent. ''You know [that] at a certain point both of our bodies are not going to allow us to keep doing our jobs after a certain age. So we're very content in a way where we know that when we are done with our crazy hectic lifestyles and our travels and our sports that we're going to have so much time to spend together and that makes us very happy to know that we already have that and established that.'' She is also the highest offcourt earner in women's sport, her $17 million in career prizemoney dwarfed by an array of mostly blue-chip endorsements ranging, slightly incongruously, from an anti-dandruff shampoo to the top-end jeweller Tiffany & Co, and a lucrative longterm deal with sportswear giant Nike. Yet a love of competing is still what drives her, and pushed Sharapova to return
from her shoulder operation more quickly than she was told she could. ''There's nothing else in my life that gives me that, whether it's designing, doing a photo shoot … in my work, in my career, everything is controlled in my hands, and that gives me such a freedom, in a way, because I know that if I lose the match it's because I lost the match. It was in my hands.'' The cloud now is over Sharapova's left ankle, injured in Tokyo in October, not quite right by Istanbul and still insufficiently healed to allow her to play in the Brisbane International. After eventually deciding against a wildcard into the small Hobart tournament, she has spent almost a full week practising in Melbourne, where she will remain in the lead-up to next week's Australian Open. ''Maria's a big unknown,'' says the former tour player and now commentator Rennae Stubbs.
''There's a lot of boxes that aren't being ticked right now. Her health, for one, and mentally that affects you because you haven't had a lot of matches, and she really hasn't played a lot since the US Open, so there's massive question marks. ''When Maria's on [form], she's one of the best players in the world for sure, but she just hasn't had a lot of matches. So she's coming in pretty cold, and she's a confidence player, like most players. ''Someone like Kim Clijsters can have a bad week and and then come out the next week and play 'lights out'. Maria's not like that, but if she gets through a few rounds there's no question: she's dangerous.'' And still hungry. Sharapova is a proven winner, but it is also four years since her last success. The first three slams were thrilling, satisfying, rewarding. A fourth would, for many reasons, be something more again.
Button has built strong team, says Hamilton L
EWIS Hamilton says that team-mate Jenson Button was able to perform so well last season because of his relationship with his technical team. Button finished second in last year's drivers' championship
standings and outscored team-mate Hamilton by a comprehensive 43 points, surprising many experts who
Murray enjoying Lendl partnership
NDY Murray has enjoyed his first week with new coach Ivan Lendl which culminated in title glory at the Brisbane International, although he is all too aware that progress towards Grand Slam success will take time to materialise (Murray 5/1 Australian Open Outright with bet365). Having been pushed all the way in his first two matches against Mikhail Kukushkin and Gilles Muller, the British number one saw off Marcos Baghdatis and Bernard Tomic in straight sets before cruising past Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1 6-3 in the final to claim his first title of the year. It was the perfect preparation for the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, which starts
on January 16, and he is heading to Melbourne in good heart. “It’s my first week with this new team and it was good. Mr Lendl – he’s up there somewhere, hiding,” he said of new coach Ivan Lendl. “I really enjoyed it. Hopefully it’ll bring more success in the future.” However, the world number four is keen to downplay thoughts that Lendl’s guidance will have instant rewards. “He’s going to help with all sorts of things and hopefully come the Australian Open I’ll be playing great tennis but we will have only been working together for 10 days. I’ll have to spend a lot more time with him before we can make any changes to my game,” Murray added.
expected the 2008 champion to come out on top in the team battle. But Button's wily race craft, combined with many uncharacteristic mistakes from Hamilton, saw the man from Frome come out on top. "Jenson is very quick and he's gathered a strong team of technicians around him," said Hamilton in La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I'd like to be ahead of him all the time, and I'm not happy if the opposite happens." Despite being beaten by a team-mate for the first time in his Formula One career, Hamilton says there is a healthy competitive relationship between the drivers. "However, psychologically it's absolutely not a problem. Besides, he's an open and cheerful guy who I get along with. It would be nice to fight for the 2012 championship with him -- that's just up to McLaren."
Mickelson to begin season in Palm Springs
HE name of Bob Hope was not enough to lure Phil Mickelson back to the desert. Bill Clinton and his charity seems to have had more luck. Mickelson announced that he will begin the 2012 season in the Jan. 19 Humana Challenge. The golf great has not played the former Bob Hope Classic since 2007. "I'm honored to join President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for the Humana Challenge," Mickelson said in a statement on clintonfoundation.org. "I admire President Clinton and the charitable work of his Foundation, which helps millions of people around the world, and I applaud him for joining Humana in using the tournament to help promote health and wellness. Some of my best seasons have come after starting at this event and I'm really excited about coming back again."
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
How the Italia '90 heroes struggled after careers M
ANY people are fairly busy on New Year's Eve, so I'm not sure how many of you noticed a small news item that announced SC Bonn had found a new coach for their Under-19 team. Being unfamiliar with this club is no disgrace. Bonn's biggest claim to fame is probably that they once signed the entire Cuban national team to compete as SC Bonn in the 1999-00 season. (It's true! The plan was nipped in the bud when the regional council suddenly refused to issue the promised visas.) Bonn have rarely played higher than the fourth division in their post-war history, but the youth teams have often been quite good. The Under-19s were promoted to the western tier of the highest division in 2010. A year later, their coach took over the first team and Bonn needed a replacement. Which led to the news item on the last day of 2011, because the man they signed is none other than Jürgen Kohler. During his illustrious playing career, Kohler has won more silverware than a man can carry, including the 1990 World Cup, but his working life since hanging up the proverbial boots has been rather unglamorous. He earned his coaching badges more than 11 years ago, but has little to show for this decade. Kohler coached Germany's Under-21 side for eight months, second-division Duisburg for four months and third-division Aalen for three months. Oh, and he was Bayer Leverkusen's director of football for 15 months. Now, there are a few reasons for his meagre managerial career, such as an irregular heartbeat, which forced him to step down as Aalen's coach, but the thing is that reading the news item on New Year's
Eve reminded me how little you hear from many of the men who won the World Cup in Italy. And how difficult those you hear from have found their second life - the one in management - to be. Sure, there is Rudi Voller. He stepped down as Germany coach after a disastrous Euro 2004 and didn't even last a month managing Roma, but you'd have to say his football career after retirement has been relatively successful, compared to most of his 1990 team-mates. After all, Voller reached the World Cup final with an unfancied side in 2002 and is now undisputed as Leverkusen's director of football. That, you will remember, is the post Kohler briefly held down, while Voller was managing the national team. Interestingly, Voller is connected to another of his 1990 team-mates through the Bayer post, because he had to go back into coaching for a few weeks on an interim basis in 2005, when Leverkusen fired none other than Klaus Augenthaler, the sweeper of the 1990 World Cup-winning team. Augenthaler's coaching career has been undistinguished, the biggest achievements being a cup win in Austria and a seconddivision title with Nurnberg. In the past five years, he's been out of a job apart from a 13month stint at Unterhaching in the third division. Yet again you'd have to say that his life on the other side of the touchlines has been by and large fruitful in relation to other members of the class of 1990, as Augenthaler at least found work in the Bundesliga for quite a number of years. Lothar Matthaus, by comparison, is still waiting to be signed by a German club. The only team he's coached here was Borussia Banana. Yes,
• Lothar Matthäus
• Rudi Völler
you've read that right. In 2005, Matthaus starred in a reality television show as the coach of a cast of no-hopers and weirdoes. It goes without saying that it didn't improve his image and helps explain why he has become such a figure of ridicule in his own country. These days, Matthaus's name is more likely to come up on late-night talk shows, where a passing reference to the age of his wives is always good for cheap laughs, than on sports shows. Strangely, Thomas Hassler in some regards the opposite of Matthaus - followed in Lothar's footsteps in 2009. Hassler had worked as a minor member of Cologne's coaching staff until his job fell victim to cost-cutting measures. He next surfaced on the jury of a reality television show called Austria's New Footballstar, the winner of which was given a contract at Kapfenberg, an Austrian topflight club. (Hassler later rejoined Cologne but was sacked again in the summer, when Stale Solbakken brought his own staff with him.) Like Matthaus, Guido Buchwald and Pierre Littbarski first found employment abroad, both in Japan. In contrast to him, they also later got coaching jobs in Germany - though only briefly. Buchwald lasted just a bit over five months at Aachen's helm; Littbarski took over MSV Duisburg in May 2001, was fired in November 2002 and went back to the other side of the globe for many years. Both are now living in their home country again but keep a low profile, Buchwald on the board of fourth-division Kickers Stuttgart, Littbarski as assistant coach in Wolfsburg. Olaf Thon, meanwhile, spent many years at Schalke, on the supervisory board and in the marketing department, but the club never offered him the coaching or managing job he craved, so he finally took over a team even more obscure than SC Bonn, namely VfB Hüls in the fifth division. Seventeen
months later, he spoke of "irreconcilable differences with some of the older players" and stepped down. Thon has since been unemployed. Three weeks before Kohler joined Bonn, he let it be known he would consider the coaching job at 1. FC Kaan-Marienborn. That's a sixth-division club. Nothing came of it. Even briefer was the managerial career of Andreas Brehme, who spent all of nine months on the bench of Unterhaching, in the Second Bundesliga, before stepping down and becoming an assistant to Giovanni Trapattoni at VfB Stuttgart for eight months until the whole staff was given the sack. It seems that quite a few of the heroes of 1990 had a good look at this situation and decided it was safer to not become a coach but choose the job of the man who usually fires the coach. Yet they quickly learned that a World Cup winner's second life isn't any easier in the boardroom. The first was Frank Mill, an unused sub in 1990. The trained florist became director of football at Fortuna Dusseldorf in 1996, sacked three coaches, broke the club transfer record not once but twice, was fired after less than two years and then went into the scrap metal business. Midfielder Uwe Bein was the director of football at Kickers Offenbach - for all of six months. A day before Christmas Eve 2005, the club declared the fact that Bein also ran a football clinic for kids meant he didn't have enough time for Kickers and fired him. Interestingly, one of his successors was a former teammate: two and a half years later, Andreas Moller became third-division Offenbach's director of football. He did reasonably well but stepped down following a defeat against Jena in April 2011, saying he was "drawing the personal consequences" of having dropped out of the promotion race.
Thomas Berthold also joined the suit-and-tie brigade. In the summer of 2003, he took over as general manager at Fortuna Düsseldorf but was fired less than two years later under very strange circumstances. (Fortuna spoke of "expenses fraud", saying Berthold turned in a bill of •104 for a dinner that never took place. Berthold then sued the club, claiming Fortuna had said they would find his wife a job as a TV presenter but didn't keep that promise. Don't ask.) Another World Cup winner who tried to find work in the corridors of power was Stefan Reuter, who became 1860 Munich's managing director in 2006. Three years later, he refused to be demoted to a less important position at the club and was suspended from his office. Karl-Heinz Rielde, too, once said that he wasn't interested in coaching but rather saw himself in an administrative function. He tried his hand at that in Switzerland, being named director of sports at Grasshopper Club in 2004. But it lasted for only two years. These days, he concentrates on the hotel he owns in Oberstaufen, Bavaria, and on the football training camps for children he is holding there. That's more than you can say of Bodo Illgner, it would seem. He finished his career at Real Madrid in 2001 and then didn't do much of notice except writing a much-ridiculed novel together with his wife. In 2009, after 13 years in Spain, he and his family moved to the USA, but they were back within 18 months. "I felt drawn back to football," Illgner explained, adding that he's now taking courses to become a director of football in Spain. Which, apart from a few bench-warmers, leaves Jürgen Klinsmann, whose postplaying career has also been pretty strange. He had all but vanished from view as far as Germans were concerned when he was made the national coach in 2004 as unexpectedly, almost
accidentally, as the man he replaced, his 1990 team-mate Voller. Two years later, after the World Cup on home soil, Klinsmann was pretty much the most popular man in German football. But the public perception has since changed, in part because of his short and disastrous reign at Bayern, in part because Joachim Low's success has put into perspective the role Klinsmann played in the 2004 revolution. You have to say the verdict on Klinsmann is still out, though all the signs are that he will one day fit in nicely with most of the 1990 winners who've had a few bright spots here and there but have in general become strangely anonymous. Unwanted almost, because they don't even appear as pundits very often. Brehme covered the 1998 World Cup for Eurosport, while you sometimes see Riedle and Illgner on Sky Germany. But that's nothing compared to the generation that followed these men, people like Matthias Sammer, Stefan Effenberg, Oliver Kahn, Thomas Helmer, Thomas Strunz or Mehmt Scholl, who often appeared on our screens to talk football. Still do, in fact. Even someone like Steffen Freund is now a regular pundit for Sky, whereas Moller was hired to analyse the 2006 World Cup not by a television station but by the cruise line AIDA. Sure, crossing the Mediterranean Sea while sharing a few anecdotes with vacationing pensioners and participating in a golf tournament (advertised as "Beat Andy Moller") isn't the worst job in the world, but somehow you'd expect people like him to be more active in top-notch football. After all, these are men who at one point were the best in the world. They should still have something to contribute, even if it's just experience. • Culled from Soccernet
"Elite football is all about results and winning and there is no one better at it than him."
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson counsels Pep Guardiola on the need to remain at Bacelona tipping him as his likely successor.
Ferguson wins FIFA prize
•Urge Guardiola to stay at Barca Messi beats M Ronaldo, Xavi to win third straight •Guardiola emerges best coach
ANCHESTER UNITED manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been given the FIFA presidential award for services to football. The 70-year-old Scot was presented with the award by FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich. Blatter said: "Elite football is all about results and winning and there is no one better at it than him." He added: "His I O N E L Messi of first major success FC Barcelona and Argentina came at Aberdeen in 1983 has beaten Real M a d r i d ' s but what is absolutely Cristiano Ronaldo and team-mate Xavi to claim the extraordinary is that in a world Fifa Ballon d'Or award for the best player of 2011. • Guardiola in which coaches are expected to produce instant results or be It is the third straight Ballon d'Or success for Messi, • Messi changed, his longevity is a shining who has now won the first two awards since the example of what can be achieved prestigious prize was merged with Fifa's World through stability, continuity, Player of the Year gong in 2010. investment in development and Messi was the clear favourite to claim the title after especially in trust and confidence in helping Barca to a third straight Liga title in 2011 and the personality himself. a second Champions League success in three years. you lose but we always try to win." Messi beat team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi to Meanwhile, Manchester United boss, the award in 2010, even though his colleagues had Alex Ferguson has said on Monday that shone for Spain in La Roja's World Cup success in despite speculation identifying Pep South Africa. Guardiola as his potential successor , the This time around there appeared little doubt he Spanish coach would be better off would claim the prize, as the undoubted star of a staying at Barcelona. Barca side dominating domestically and on the Ferguson revealed recently that he continent in 2010-11. will continue working for another three years and when he eventually steps Barca claimed La Liga and the Champions League down, Guardiola is likely to feature last term, losing out to Real Madrid only in the final of highly among the list of contenders to the Copa del Rey in April, when Ronaldo rose to head replace him at Old Trafford. the winner and secure his side's first silverware since The pair have been nominated 2007-08. alongside Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho Messi enjoyed the last laugh over his Portuguese rival in for the FIFA Coach of the Year award 2011, however, claiming five trophies overall with Barca as but at Monday's ceremony in Zurich, the Catalans picked up the Spanish Supercopa, the Uefa Super Ferguson suggested that Guardiola Cup and the World Club Cup later in the year. might not even want the job. The Argentine forward, still only 24, has now drawn level with "Why would Pep want to leave three-time winners Michel Platini [the only other player to win Barcelona? If I was in his position, I three in a row], Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten. would firmly stay where I was," And Cruyff, who has watched Messi emerge at Barca over Ferguson told reporters. the last few years, believes the Argentine can go on to "The Barcelona team at the moment is by far the best team. We have claim the award six or seven times. experienced three years of it and Messi also came out on top in the Goal.com 50 countdown of the world's sometimes in football you have to hold best players in 2010-11, earlier on this year. your hand up and say 'They are better than us.' The Argentine scored 59 goals in 70 appearances for club and country in 2011, including 55 in 57 for Barcelona. He
also racked up an incredible 35 assists in the calendar year. Meanwhile, Barca coach Pep Guardiola of Barcelona has been named as the FIFA Coach of the Year, while Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson has been given the presidential award for services to football. Guardiola, 40, led Barcelona to five trophies in 2011, including the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and a third consecutive Spanish Primera Liga title. The former Barcelona and Spain midfielder had been nominated alongside last year's winner Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid and Ferguson. He picked up the award at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday and paid tribute to everyone who had contributed to Barcelona over the years. "I want to dedicate this award to the thousands of people who, through more than a hundred years, have worked for FC Barcelona and helped develop one of the best clubs in the world," said Guardiola. "It's a privilege and an honour for me to be a part of this excellent, amazing club.”
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Fuel protest: Stockbrokers resort to online trading
NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 9-1-12 2ND-TIER SECURITIES Company Name
No of Deals
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N)
ACCESS BANK PLC
FIDELITY BANK PLC
FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC.
ZENITH BANK PLC
28,000.00 3,072,174.66 119,628,440.17
BREWERIES Company Name
No of Deals
CHAMPION BREWERIES PLC
GUINNESS NIGERIA PLC
NIGERIAN BREWERIES PLC Sector Totals
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N)
BUILDING MATERIALS Company Name
No of Deals
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N)
ASHAKA CEMENT PLC
CEMENT CO. OF NORTHERN NIGERIA PLC
DANGOTE CEMENT PLC
COMMERCIAL/SERVICES Company Name
No of Deals
RED STAR EXPRESS PLC
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 55,000
FOOD/BEVERAGES & TOBACCO Company Name
No of Deals
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N)
DANGOTE FLOUR MILLS PLC
FLOUR MILLS NIGERIA PLC
HONEYWELL FLOUR MILL PLC
NESTLE NIGERIA PLC
INDUSTRIAL/DOMESTIC PRODUCTS Company Name
No of Deals
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N)
B. O. C. GASES NIGERIA PLC
VITAFOAM NIGERIA PLC
INSURANCE Company Name
No of Deals
AIICO INSURANCE PLC.
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 116,375
INT ENERGY INSURANCE COMPANY PLC
LAW UNION AND ROCK INSURANCE PLC.
NIGER INSURANCE CO. PLC.
MARITIME Company Name
No of Deals
JAPAUL OIL & MARITIME SERVICES PLC
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 83,500
PETROLEUM(MARKETING) Company Name
No of Deals
Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N)
THE FOREIGN LISTINGS Company Name
No of Deals
Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N)
ECOBANK TRANSNA IN
TOCKBROKERS sa voured the technical capability of the Nigerian stock market yesterday as they resorted to online trading to circumvent the nationwide protest on removal of fuel subsidy. While the major commercial areas of Marina, Broadstreet, Customs street and adjoining Idumagbo market were deserted due to the general strike, stockbrokers sustained activities at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) through the remote trading facility at the market. Although a handful of stockbrokers and official of the NSE managed to reach the trading floor, the Exchange confirmed that trading was largely due to its remote trading facility as most stockbrokers stayed away in compliance with general strike and mass protests called by the organised labour and civil societies. However, the level of activities was very low with only 209 deals struck for 46 million shares worth N584.97 million. Only 28 equities out of the 215 listed on the NSE were traded. The market opened on a positive note as aggregate market capitalisation of all equities increased by N24 billion from N6.531 trillion to N6.555 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI) also trended upward to 20,802.33 points as against its opening index of 20,725.30 points. Banking subsector recorded turnover of 43.183
By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire
million shares in 125 deals worth N436.382 million. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) was the most traded stock in the sector and the whole market. Others traded were Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, GTB, UBA, Unity Bank and Zenith Bank. Insurance subsector followed with a turnover of 798,375 shares worth N417,000 in eight deals. With 11 gainers to three losers, the market was however, bullish. On the basis of percentage gains, Vitafoam led the gainers with a price increase of N0.26 to close at N5.54, the gain represents a percentage difference of 4.92 followed by Honeywell Flour, Fidelity Bank, RedStar express and Niger Insurance with price gain of N0.12, N0.06, N0.10 and N0.02 to close at N2.70, N1.46, N2.60 and N0.52 respectively. Out of the eight banking stocks traded, only three appreciated. They are Fidelity Bank, Unity Bank and ETI while Guaranty Trust Bank and First Bank both reduced in value. The remaining three banking stocks closed flat with no price difference. Most market analysts were worried the removal of fuel subsidy without necessary infrastructural cushions could undermine the profitability of
quoted companies and worsen the recession at the stock market. Managing director, GTI Securities, Mr Tunde Oyekunle said the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on the capital market would be negative, citing the possible increase in costs of operations and dwindling investment funds of investors. According to him, considering the essential use of petroleum products in the daily living of an average Nigerian, as evidence in its usage to generate power - personal and official and transportation, the removal is likely to reduce the disposable income of Nigerians and ultimately reduce their investment appetite. “Also, with the current challenge of restoring investors’ confidence in the market, the short-term inflationary effect of the subsidy removal may affect the investment plans of the few investors that are currently patronising the market, and if not well handled may delay the expected recovery in the market,” Oyekunle said. He noted that the removal also has the possibility of negatively affecting the earnings performance of listed companies, pointing out that the necessity of petroleum products and associated inflationary effect of the removal , if not strategically managed by quoted companies may averagely reduce the profitability of these companies.
Banks, earnings worries drag down European shares
UROPEAN shares fell yesterday in thin trade, dragged down by banking stocks after Unicredit’s rocky start to its key rights issue and worries about prospects for the US earnings season. Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc, a bellwether for the broader economy because of the wide use of aluminum in manufacturing, kicks off the US earnings season as investors fear growth might be slowing. “We are at a point where we need more fundamental data to push the market higher,” Veronika Pechlaner, a fund manager on the Ashburton European equity fund told Reuters. According to her, Alcoa was kicking off the results season and investors want to know if there will be some earnings relief. She added that although the latest US economic data such as Friday’s strong US jobs data was providing a better macro picture, this still needed to be filtered into earnings. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 of top shares closed down 0.5 per cent at 1,008.69 points af-
ter posting its third week of gains last Friday. UniCredit was the worst performer, down 12.8 per cent on the day and taking its fall since last Wednesday - when it spooked the market by pricing a rights issue at a huge discount to 45.2 per cent. Volume in Unicredit was five times its 90-day daily average. “UniCredit reinforces the negative sentiment in the sector and highlights the capital raising needs of some of the banks,” Pechlaner said. “We have been reducing our exposure to financials,” she said. Concerns about the euro zone debt crisis also weighed on investors after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned that it would not be possible to pay out the next aid tranche to Greece without rapid progress on its second rescue package. Santander, earlier a standout gainer by more than 2.0 per cent after it met a new core capital target demanded by regulators, fell back as sentiment soured. Investors were also wary
ahead of a Spanish and Italian bond auction later in the week, with 10-year Italian bond yields above 7.0 per cent, a level deemed unsustainable. “The near-zero growth or recession in many European countries is preventing the return of investor confidence despite the additional austerity measures announced recently,” said Franklin Pichard, director at Barclays France. “The vicious circle continues: what’s saved with austerity measures dampens economic growth ... In the next few days, people will focus on the ability of Spain and Italy to tap the bond market.” Volume was low for the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 index, at only two thirds of its 90-day daily average, making trade choppy, while technical factors also influenced trade. Short-term traders sold out of positions when the intraday chart for the index showed the 14-day Relative Strength Index at or near 70. Values above 70 indicate the market is ‘overbought’
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
MONEY LINK ‘Banks can go below minimum Basel liquidity levels’
Card schemes advocate financial inclusion via e-payments
ARD scheme operators, Visa Incorporated and MasterCard, have stressed the need to focus more on getting people in rural areas involved in banking services. The Country Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, VISA Incorporated, Ade Ashaye, disclosed this. He said a lot of money in circulation is outside the banking system, and therefore canvassed support for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Cash-less policy, which is targeted at encouraging people to make payments electronically rather than cash. He said the policy is needful because there has always been a problem on how to reach people that are far away from banks. This, he said will involve banks opening more branches and getting their customers into embracing mobile banking services. The firm, he said, is providing mobile banking through phone usage, to encourage more people get involved in banking services. In an interview with The Nation, Ashaye, said by encouraging electronic payments, banks will have
Stories by Collins Nweze
more money to lend to industries. “A lot of cash is outside the banking system, a practice which will be reversed when more transactions are done electronically using cards,” he said. He said VISA is also offering advisory services to the CBN and banks on how to ensure that the global best practices are achieved in the course of implementing the cash-less policy of the apex bank. Ashaye said there is need to create awareness on how to make people understand how to use the electronic banking products, adding that achieving financial inclusion will require the banks expanding their networks to remote areas to reach more people. Ashaye said VISA has tried to improve banking technology in the country, adding that almost all the banks are members of Visa. He said that Nigeria has the right technology after many of the banks migrated to EMV, which is a more secured platform needed to prevent frauds. Europay, MasterCard and VISA, are
ANKS will be allowed go be low minimum liquidity levels set by global regulators during financial crises to avoid cash-flow difficulties. “During a period of stress, banks would be expected to use their pool of liquid assets, thereby temporarily falling below the minimum requirement,” the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s governing board, said in a statement on its website yesterday, following a meeting in the Swiss city. According to Bloomberg report, the aim of the measure, known as a liquidity coverage ratio, is to ensure that lenders hold enough easy-to-sell assets to survive a 30-day credit squeeze. The requirement, one of several measures from the Basel group designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, is scheduled to enter into force in 2015. Banks have argued that the rule may curtail loans by forcing them to hoard cash and buy government bonds. Bank supervisors, said the standard is needed to prevent a repeat of the collapses of Lehman Brothers Holdings Incorporated, which were blamed in part on the lenders running out of short- term funding. Global regulators, said last year that
a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards or chip cards, which can be used on point of sale (POS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs), for authenticating credit and debit card transactions. It is a joint effort between Europay, MasterCard and Visa to ensure security and global interoperability so that Visa and MasterCard cards can continue to be accepted everywhere. It said EMV cards are one of the bests in preventing card frauds. To protect cards, VISA stores card user’s data in a secured system and also has the ability to respond swiftly to stop fraud. Ashaye explained that most cash transactions create spare change that often leave the economic system, driving down consumption. Card payments keep this money in consumers’ accounts to be spent at a later date. He added that cards can increase taxable income by creating an electronic audit trail that reduce risk of fraud inherent in many electronic payment networks, which is the guarantee of payment for merchants and liability protection for cardholders in the case of fraud.
ECOWAS seeks speedy single monetary union
HE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states have called for speedy implementation of the commission’s Macroeconomic Convergence, known as ECOMAC, to expedite single monetary union in the region. A statement from ECOWAS Commission, said series of workshops had been held in Lomé, Lagos and Abidjan in 2010 to exam-
ine and validate the ECOMAC database to that effect. The Information Officer in the Commission, Uwem Thompson, said in a statement that the methods of data retrieval from each ECOWAS member state were also discussed in the workshop. “Member states, experts and other regional institutions have called on the commission to accelerate the process for the operationalisation of the ECOWAS Macroeconomic Con-
vergence,’’ the statement said. It said further that the commission reiterated its commitment to the operation of the database to facilitate macroeconomic activities of the member states. The ECOMAC database is expected to be launched in July. The database will focus on generalities and country-specific guides which were developed to address challenges in each of the member states.
The general and country-specific guides will be prepared in the three ECOWAS official languages comprising English, French and Portuguese. The ECOWAS member states are the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
3-Year 5-Year 5-Year
35m 35m 35m
11.039 12.23 13.19
19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016
WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount
Price Loss 2754.67 447.80
INTERBANK RATES OBB Rate Call Rate
PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year
Amount 30m 46.7m 50m
Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34
Date 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011
GAINERS AS AT 9-1-12 SYMBOL
EXHANGE RATE 26-08-11 CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Currency
Year Start Offer
C u r r e n t CUV Start After %
Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N)
NSE CAP Index
NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N)
27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37
28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16
% Change -1.44% -1.44%
MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name
DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11
Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%
9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 9.4%
9.17 1.00 118.85 98.43 0.76 1.04 0.88 1,642.73 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,351.90 193.00
9.08 1.00 118.69 97.65 0.73 1.04 0.87 1,635.25 7.84 1.33 1.80 7,149.37 191.08
ARM AGGRESSIVE KAKAWA GUARANTEED STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND THE LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL BGL SAPPHIRE FUND BGL NUBIAN FUND NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY THE DISCOVERY FUND • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND
LOSER AS AT 9-1-12 SYMBOL
Offered ($) Demanded ($)
MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20
they would amend the rule to address unintended consequences. Regulators must still clarify which assets banks should be allowed to count towards liquidity buffers and how much funding lenders should expect to lose in a crisis, the group said. Work on the main elements of the liquidity rule should be completed by the end of 2012, it said. The proposal to allow lenders to draw down their liquid assets “makes a lot of sense,” said Jesper Berg, senior vice president at Nykredit A/S, Denmark’s biggest mortgage bank. “Buffers that cannot be used are not buffers.” The Basel committee will provide further guidance on when lenders will be allowed to breach the minimum rule, and make sure the standard doesn’t interfere with centralbank policies, the group said. The aim of the liquidity coverage ratio “is to ensure that banks, in normal times, have a sound funding structure and hold sufficient liquid assets,” Mervyn King, the governing board’s chairman, said. Separately, the governing board said that the Basel committee will carry out “detailed” peer reviews of whether nations have correctly implemented capital rules for lenders. The assessments will include whether lenders are correctly valuing their assets, it said. The results of the reviews will be published, with the U.S, Japan and European Union the first to undergo the exams. Some U.S. bankers, including Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. lender, have called for an overhaul of the current risk-weighting plan, which allows banks to use their own models to assess the safety of assets and how much capital they need to hold. Dimon has said that the way the rules are applied could disadvantage United States banks.
7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days
Rate (Previous) 24 Aug, 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250
Rate (Currency) 26, Aug, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%
OPEN BUY BACK Previous
04 July, 2011
07, Aug, 2011
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
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Ministers stranded as protest shuts down Abuja •continued from page 5
•Protesters in Kaduna...yesterday
•Nigerians protesting in Washington ....yesterday
PHOTO: ADEOLA FAYEHUN
•A protester in Lagos...yesterday
•Members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) protesting ....yesterday
The protesters carried placards with the following inscriptions: “Nigeria is not Animal Farm, it is our right to protest”; “Jonathan: Fight insecurity and corruption, our refineries must work now”; President Goodluck, is this your type of fresh air”; “Subsidy removal, a crime on Nigerians” ; “One day, the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich” ; “Security, stable power supply, good roads, education, job creation, affordable housing, not fuel price increase”; “We reject IMF/World Bank neo-liberal policies”; “Socialist Workers League: No to fuel price hike, revolution now”; and “Everyday for government, one day for its people” among others. But at a stop over rally in Wuse Market at about 10.27am, Omar asked Nigerians to prepare for a long strike. He said: “Comrades, we are not going to talk too much. “But the message is that Nigerians are saying no to fuel price increase. “What organised labour and civil society coalition are saying is that we must revert back to N65. “Mr. President addressed the nation and in his address which of course was an emergency, he announced a reduction of 25 per cent of the basic salary of political office holders. “Comrades, the President is the highest political office holder in Nigeria. “His basic salary per annum is N3.5million. Alright, if you reduce 25 per cent from N3.5million that means you are reducing about N650, 000. “Comrades, let us assume that there are 1,000 or 10,000 other political office holders in Nigeria. “N650, 000 multiplied by 10,000 is only a paltry N65million. “Comrades, the President’s entertainment alone as provided in this year’s proposed budget is N1billion. “The provision for travels by Mr. President this year is N10billion. “If you replicate all these in the same proportion in the states, what we are saying is that what the government doesn’t want to hear. “And if that reduction is done will it have any effect on the price of commercial vehicles? “Will it have any effect on the goods we buy? “Therefore the only solution is that you revert back to N65. “Comrades, another thing about the issue of the fuel subsidy, we have been saying it that what was appropriated was N260billion last year. “How come government will continue to claim that it has spent over N1.3trillion? “Now there are two things that come up here: it is either somebody is telling lies that such money was not spent at all or that they spent the money illegally because any money that should be spent especially in that quan-
tum must be appropriated by the National Assembly. “The National Assembly members have said they have not appropriated such money. “That means even the expenditure on purported fuel subsidy is illegal. “Comrades, what we are saying is that even if government claims that it has spent N1.3trillion and that they cannot do it, why must it be that it is only removal of subsidy that would be the solution? “Why don’t they go after those who have collected the money illegally? “Comrades, I must say that in the last two days we have seen men and women of integrity in this country in the House of Representatives. “They defied all instructions, all entreaties, all threats that they must not reconvene but because they are close to the people, they could feel the pinch of the people they decided they must convene and take a decision. “And yesterday afternoon, they took a resolution calling on the Executive to revert back to N65 per litre. “Comrades, this is a very patriotic thing and we commend the members of the House of Representatives. We also call on the Senate to also do the same thing. “Comrades, you know that some of our colleagues, even some honourable members were arrested on ‘orders from above’ that they should be arrested simply because they are coming out on the streets to express their grievances. “I mean Dino Melaye and co. What people do not know is that this thing is only making them heroes. “We will continue the struggle. Comrades, like my colleague has just mentioned, we have a track record of very peace protest rallies and we must maintain that. “We must not give anybody any chance to have reason of security to disperse us. We are harmless. Nobody should attack us. “I enjoin every one of us to protest peacefully. Those of us picking stones for whatever reason must throw them away. “No vandalisation because if anybody is caught doing something outside what we have planned, he will be on his own. “Don’t expect us to intervene on behalf of somebody who is acting outside our plans. “Comrades, like I said before, we will continue and I don’t want us to wear down. Please gear up; this is not the last day. This is a long drawn battle. Are we ready for that? Are we ready to continue?” Esele warned protesters against violence. H said: “Those picking stones should drop them. This is a peaceful demonstration. We must not stone the police. We must not stone anybody. This protest must be peaceful. “Labour and Civil Socie-
ty Coalition are peaceful people. So don’t allow the police to use their tear gas on anybody. “This protest will be successful. You and I know that they increased the pump price of petrol. “Will all the problems of Nigeria be solved with the increase in pump price of petrol? “Is that the solution to our problem? What is solution to our problem? Fight corruption. You see the problem we have is that you are even ahead of your leaders. You already identified the problem of Nigeria which is good governance. “The President has reduced his salary; let us say that is one victory but we also want to know 25 per cent of his salary ‘ego ne’? “Does he pay tax? What of 25 per cent of the allowances? Did he touch allowances? “Did he touch feeding? Did he touch their cars? Has he reduced the number of his entourage?” Addressing the protesters, Obahiagbon said: “The little preamble I want to make is to join the labour leaders to congratulate you thus far for conducting yourselves with absolute equipoise. “Like they have said, the agents of state are not our enemies. The police are not our enemies and we must congratulate the police so far for conducting themselves as democrats and we must not give them cause to harass us. “Having said that I want to say that I am impari materia with the NLC President when he congratulated the Green Chambers, the House of Representatives for the bold decision they took yesterday. “That shows that democracy is ruling of the people, by the people and for the people. “We therefore call on the Nigerian Senate to be impari materia and consensus dedem with the House . “This is very important because these are the collective egregore of democracy. We expect the President to listen. “Having said that, let me say that I am here today to identify with labour, to identify with Nigerians because I have listened very, very meticulously to the reasons adumbrated by bourgeois economists and imperialist intellectuals and in all the reasons they have given, even support why fuel subsidy should not be removed. “Do you know why? Government has said the reason why it is removing fuel subsidy is because a microscopic view that constitute a cabal have hijacked the process. “And I ask the question: why should Aminu Kano’s talakawa suffer for the crimes of this cabal? “If we do it means that we have torpedoed democracy and what we now have is cabalocracy - the government of the cabal, for the cabal and by the cabal.”
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Appeal Court ruling has renewed our hope, says Bayelsa Govt
Guinea-Bissau’s President Sanha dies in Paris
Kumba Yala, in a runoff election. Guinea-Bissau’s history has been marked by military coups and attempted coups since the nation of 1.5 million gained independence from Portugal in 1974. Those conflicts ravaged the nation’s infrastructure and economy and left it among the poorest in the world. Despite Sanha’s coming to power in what international observers deemed a fair and peaceful election, his tenure
RESIDENT Malam Bacai Sanha of GuineaBissau died early yesterday, according to an official at the nation’s embassy in Paris. He was 64. The official said Sanha was in Paris for treatment, and died at Val-de-Grace Hospital. Sanha became president in September 2009, months after the assassination of President Joao Bernardo Vieira. Sanha had served as interim president and defeated another former president,
was marked by turmoil among the country’s military and political leadership. Last month, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon condemned the use of violence in what was suspected to be a military coup attempt, saying in a statement, “The primacy of the lawful civilian authorities according to the constitution must be respected.” And, despite the Parliament’s call to fight drug trafficking, Guinea-Bissau is still
From Isaac Ombe-Yenagoa
T •Sanha considered an increasingly important transit point for cocaine en route from South America to Europe, according to the CIA Factbook.
HE Abuja Appeal Court ruling in the case between Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has renewed the hope of the people in the judiciary, Commissioner for Information, Communication and Orientation Chief Nathan Egba has said. Describing the court’s ruling as “a victory against antidemocratic forces,” Egba said: “The Court of Appeal, by upholding the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to adjudicate on the right of the governor to stop the PDP from conducting another primary for the purpose of selecting the party’s candidate for the next governorship election on the grounds that the January, 2011, primary election, which he won, is still valid as he has not resigned his mandate, has shown that the Judiciary remains the last hope of the people. “The governor and the progressive-minded people of the state are hopeful that the prayer for the peaceful resolution of the contentious issues over the improper conduct of the state party has been answered and the governor would soon regain his ticket and rightful place in the party’s hierarchy.” The commissioner thanked the people for their support for Sylva. He urged the governor’s loyalists to remain steadfast, adding that Sylva is confident of contesting and winning the forthcoming governorship poll.
Ex-Ondo Commissioner, supporters join ACN From Damisi Ojo, Akure
•Pro-government supporters hold up a picture of President Assad as Arab League observers arrive at a Greek Orthodox Church in Damascus... yesterday
Polish prosecutor shoots self after news conference
POLISH military prosecutor has shot himself in the head after cutting short a news conference in his office, officials and media reports say. Col Mikolaj Przybyl was defending a military investigation into media leaks related to the air crash that killed the Polish president in 2010. He asked reporters to leave so that he could take “a break”. Upon hearing a loud thud, the reporters returned to find him on the floor with a pool of blood around his head. Mr Przybyl, who was in his
office in Poznan, western Poland, is now in hospital in stable condition. His life is not in danger, according to hospital officials. One of the reporters present told Polish television: “We heard a loud thud and we went back into the room thinking one of the cameras had fallen over. Then we saw the prosecutor motionless on the ground in a pool of blood, his military gun beside him.” In television pictures of the news conference, Col Przybyl is seen reading out a statement to reporters: “During my entire service as a civilian and later
military prosecutor, I have never brought shame to the Republic of Poland and I will protect the honour of an officer of the Polish armed forces and prosecution. Thank you, please give me a five-minute break, I need to rest.” He then walks out of shot and the sound of a gun being cocked can be heard followed by a loud bang. At the news conference, Mr Przybyl had denied prosecutors in Poznan, western Poland, had eavesdropped on journalists who were investigating the crash, AFP news agency reports. Polish President Bronislaw
Komorowski has said in a statement he was “concerned” about the incident and had asked the head of the national security bureau to monitor the situation. The plane taking then President Lech Kaczynski’s delegation to a memorial service for the victims of the 1940 Katyn massacre of Polish officers by Soviet secret police crashed in thick fog in Smolensk, western Russia, on 10 April 2010. As well as MR Kaczynski, his wife and 94 senior officials also died when the jet tried to land.
Mandela’s lifestory to be turned into TV series
NTI-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela’s life story is to be turned into a six-part television mini-series co-created by his grandson, the producers behind the multinational project have said. Entitled “Madiba”, Mandela’s clan name, the series “will take a broad view of the inner passions and outside forces that guided him,” they said in a statement. With a budget of $30 million (24 million euros), the project will explore Mandela’s relationship with
his mother, his political activism, imprisonment, rise as political leader and election as South Africa’s first black president. The producers will announce who will play the democracy icon once casting finishes in the next few weeks, said Lance Samuels, whose South African production house Out of Africa will coproduce the series with Kweku Mandela, a grandson to the apartheid hero. The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it supported the undertaking and was helping
with research. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner was imprisoned for 27 years for his fight against white oppression in South Africa. He was freed in 1990 and elected president four years later. Kweku Mandela said it would seek to portray “Mandela the man” instead of “Mandela the saint.” Out of Africa, Canada’s Blue Ice Films and Britain’s Left Bank Pictures will film mainly on-site in South Africa. “We will start filming in August and plan to release by
2013,” Samuels told AFP. “We are just pretty much putting the script together and casting.” Main characters will be cast from London and Los Angeles, while South African actors would make up the supporting cast, said Samuels. Emmy- and BAFTA-winning writer Nigel Williams, acclaimed for the miniseries Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren in the title role, is penning the six one-hour television episodes.
Strikes shut down Malawi’s courts
STRIKE by junior judicial workers has paralysed the court system in Malawi. Court clerks, who began an indefinite strike yesterday, are demanding pay rises they say they were promised six years ago. “We have a shutdown across the country, nobody is working... judges, magistrates, everyone,” clerks’ spokesman Austin Kamanga told the BBC. Senior government officials, including the justice minister,
are locked in meetings to discuss the pay demands. Clerks earn on average $100 (£65) a month and say the government failed to pay a 40% rise in 2006 and 50% in 2009. They have vowed to keep striking until their demands are met. “We are not volunteers, we are employees and these are conditions approved in 2006,” Mr Kamanga said. “We have been talking since 2006. How long will we continue discussing.”
FOUNDING member of the Labour Party (LP) in Ondo State, Otunba Omoniyi Omodara, yesterday dumped the party for the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The former Commissioner for Transport said: “After a wide consultation with God, my family, political associates and supporters last Saturday, I hereby declare for ACN.” Omodara defected to ACN with 70 former LP leaders in Akure North Local Government Area and their loyalists. The resignation letter sent to the state LP chairman by the Otunba Omoniyi Omodara Solidarity Group, comprising over 100 members, said: “We hereby resign our membership from the LP to join our leader, Otunba Omodara, as he joins the ACN.” The letter, signed by the group’s Chairman Bayo Saliu and Secretary Daisi Babalola, said they decided to follow Omodara because the former Vice-Chairman of the council has never betrayed them. Omodara, a former chairman of the council and former Commissioner of the State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), thanked his supporters for their confidence in him and promised never to let them down. Other former LP leaders who joined ACN are Bayo Saliu, Sunday Fasaye, Kehinde Bello, Fakaisi Caleb, Jenyo Martins, Alhaji Lateef Akinwale, Umolo Lucky and Olaniyi Olaseinde, among others.
Ekiti assures non-indigenes of safety From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
HE Ekiti State Government has assured residents, including non-indigenes, of protection. It said despite the attack on southerners and Christians in some northern states, Ekiti remains safe for Hausas. In a statement, the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation Mr. Funminiyi Afuye said the government had liaised with security agencies to ensure the safety of all. He assured members of the Hausa community, who were planning to leave the state, of their safety. Afuye said: “Everything has been done by the state government in collaboration with security agencies to guarantee the safety of life and property. “The government has invested a lot on security and Ekiti remains a home to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribal and religious differences. “Our people are hospitable and would never contemplate any attack on their fellow human beings, knowing the worth of human lives.” He urged residents to conduct themselves peacefully during and after the protests against the removal of oil subsidy.”
Edo LP chair joins PDP
From Osagie Otabor, Benin
ACTIONAL Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) in Edo State Dr. John Ogbeide has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ogbeide, who led other members of his faction to the PDP, was received by State PDP Chairman Chief Dan Orbih. Ogbeide alleged that the ranks of LP was infiltrated and destabilised by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Orbih assured the defectors that the PDP will win the forthcoming governorship election.
Sapele residents relocate From Okungbowa Aiwerie,Asaba
ESIDENTS of Hausa quarters and its environs in Sapele have started relocating to safer areas, following two explosions in the last one month. An explosion occurred early last month at the Central Mosque on Hausa Road. One person was injured. Another occurred a few days to the New Year at an Islamic School, leaving 10 persons injured. Residents, including the headteacher of the bombed Islamic School, Mallam Mohammed Raqak, urged the government to strengthen security in the town.
THE NATION TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
SPORT EXTRA Shooting Stars new boy Talabi promises more
Henry bags winner on Arsenal return
HIERRY Henry netted a dream goal on his return for Arsenal to fire the Gunners to a 1-0 win over Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup. Henry was the talk of North London after being named on the bench, just a couple of days after signing a loan deal with the club, and he lived up to his star billing by collecting a pass from Alex Song and slotting home a cool finish with 12 minutes remaining. Arsenal were lacklustre for
We lost to fatigue —Eguma From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja HE Technical Adviser of 2011 League Champions Dolphins of Port Harcourt Stanley Eguma has attributed his players poor performance against Sunshine Stars of Akure in the star match of the League opener last weekend to fatigue. According to the former Dream Team V Assistant Coach, "we have had a very tight period, and the boys never had the opportunity to rest all these while, so that really affected their performance.It is all about fatigue. But, as it is now, we don't have any option than to live with it and improve on our performances in subsequent matches".
long spells, as Marouane Chamakh toiled in front of goal, but within ten minutes of being thrown on, Henry netted goal No. 227 of his Gunners career. It was tough on Leeds who produced a fine defensive display, but Henry was not to be denied and he celebrated his winning goal with manager Arsene Wenger. Arsenal made a bright start and Andrei Arshavin had a hat-trick of chances inside three minutes. He was wildly off target with them all, the worst of his finishes being the third as he slashed a shot over the bar from a central position.
Wenger sent for Henry and the club's record scorer was handed a tremendous ovation when thrown on in the 68th minute. And it took Henry just 10 minutes to hand out a lesson in finishing. He slipped away from his marker, was found superbly by Song - killed the ball into his path and stroked a shot into the bottom corner. Leeds struggled to fashion a response, although Wojciech Szczesny had to make a sharp save to deny Mikael Forssell in the last minute, alowing Arsenal to book a fourthround meeting with Aston Villa.
NPL wants stranded Nigerian players in Europe back • Partners Brila FM to return Nigerians to Match venues
HE Nigeria Premier League (NPL) Chairman Victor Rumson Baribote has admonished players that are of Nigeria descent stranded in Europe without a valid contract to retrace their steps and rebuild their career in the NPL just like some of their colleagues have done. Reacting to the return of Gbenga Okunowo (Sunshine Stars) and Sam Ledor (Sharks) amongst others whom were household names before their sojourn abroad, the NPL boss said their coming home would trigger a turnaround in the NPL that will propel confidence in the league again.
Neymar pips Rooney to 2011 FIFA Puskas award ANTOS forward Neymar has beaten Manchester United's Wayne Rooney to win Fifa's 2011 Puskas award for the best goal of the year. Neymar was rewarded for his stunning solo strike during Santos' 5-4 defeat against Flamengo in the Brasileirao in July. The 19-year-old moved past a string of opponents before calmly sending the ball past the goalkeeper. The Brazil international, who also beat Barcelona's Lionel Messi for the honour,
The Arsenal midfield crafted chances in the first half, with Aaron Ramsey having a shot blocked and Mikel Arteta firing narrowly wide. Andy Lonergan required all of his 6ft 4in frame on 54 minutes, as he had to plunge to his left to keep out a low shot from Arteta. Arshavin could not be faulted for his endeavour, but his wayward finishing continued in the second half. He hit the side netting and dragged a shot across goal, both from presentable positions. With Arshavin and co fluffing their lines in front of goal,
was presented the award by Real Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez. Speaking on the special occasion, Neymar said: "I am really happy to be at this ceremony, to win this award against two great players, of whom I am fan. "I want to thank God for this and I would like to wish everyone a good ceremony." Neymar, who has a contract with Santos until 2015, has committed his club future to the Copa Libertadores holders until the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
From Tunde Liadi, Owerri “Before now, so many people may find it hard to believe that it is not a difficult decision for one to go back to the drawing board. I have lived in Europe for many years and there is this adage, ‘ East or West home is the best’, if we have a better TV rights deal with the clubs depending less on government, with more money to spend, if the players compare what they will be earning here and that of Europe and that even if there is a little difference, everybody will like to play at home because they will have access to their friends, family and well wishers and others. “There are some people that even after they travelled out of the country they find it hard to play may be owing to the weather and other factors. I think it is a welcome development and a very bold step for Gbenga (Okunowo) to have returned. “I also implore some of his colleagues that do not have a valid contract abroad too to do same. They should come back to develop our league until they will have the impetus to go back again.” The Bayelsa born NPL Chairman also explained moves by the league Body to draw the attentions of Nigerians to the various
stadia across the country to watch league matches and become familiar with some of the players just like they do to the English Premier League and other leagues in Europe. “It is when the league is presented in positive light that the confidence of Nigerians will be built. We are doing everything possible to see to it that we have enough security at match venues and that is why we want to partner Brila FM to see how live commentaries will be done every weekend. “Information is key in our day to day activities. It is when there is access to information that everybody will be aware of the matches billed for the weekend and they will be conversant with the names of the players in the local league just like they do with European leagues especially the EPL.” Baribote continued:“We are looking at how to stabilize the league and how to bring the people back to the stands because any event without spectators will be without value. The league is for all Nigerians and I pray that Nigerians should contribute their little quota to its development. This means making themselves available at the stands so that the stadia will be filled to the brim and the people outside the shores will take our league very seriously.”
HOOTING Stars new signing Olamakinde Talabi scored and dazzled on his NPL debut Saturday against Sharks and has promised even more as ‘The Oluyole Warriors’ aim to restore lost glory. Talabi was the man of the match as 3SC fought back from an early second-half goal by Sharks in Ibadan Saturday to win 2-1. The former Ijebu United midfielder, who will be 17 in June, blasted the home team back into the game with a long range shot in the 72nd minute to spark off wild jubilation. It was a 20-metre rocket with the left foot which kissed the roof of the net of a helpless former Nigeria U20 goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa. He could have added a second through another powerful shot but Andrew Michael appeared to have parried the ball away from goal. "This was a good game but the fans have not seen anything. Once I’m playing regularly, I will do more,” the creative midfielder told MTNFootball.com. “He is special. He signed on Tuesday after training with the team only once,” remarked 3SC fan Shola Adeyemi. “He is technically good, has a great shot, dribbles well and he loves to cut in from either wings.”
The other bright star in 3SC was central defender Olasope Ahmed, who made a worldclass save after a silly mistake by goalkeeper Laide Okanlawon, who was picked ahead of major signing Dele Ajiboye. The 7,000-strong crowd at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan watched earlier in the game in disappointment as former Africa Sports of Abidjan striker Thomas Adesina and Raheem Owolabi wasted several chances. Owolabi will on the hour be booked for a ‘Hand of god’ goal. Shooting Stars new coach Festus Allen said he expected more from his team in the coming matches. "This was our first game and I'm happy we got the maximum three points which is good for us. We gave out our best and showed what we are capable of,” said the former Bukola Babes (now ABS FC) handler. “Come our next match, you will see a new game by my team. “Sharks came here with a joker. They had their chance and they utilised it.” Shooting Stars barely escaped relegation last season, but they have undergone a massive re-organisation so that they could challenge for the title again as they did in the 70s and 80s.
Kalu returns from WAC trials
NYIMBA'S striker, Uche Kalu breezed into the Super Eagles camp on Sunday afternoon and was part of the team that trained in the evening in preparation for the international friendly duel against Angola on Wednesday. Kalu, who picked up a knock before he departed for trials with Wydad Athletic Club (WAC) of Morocco, looked sharp in training and ready for action against the Angolans. Even when the medical crew was asked if any player was unfit, it was only Warri Wolves’ left-back Osas Omomo, that had a knock on his knee and was immediately attended to by the medical team. Relieving his experience at WAC, Kalu told SuperSport.com that he did not sign any deal with the Moroccan giants because the terms were not favourable, but added he would still travel out of the country next week for another trials. “I may be going to Egypt for trials after our two friendlies against Angola and Liberia, but the Morocco chapter is closed for
now," he said. The national team will continue its build-up today at the training pitch of the National Stadium in Abuja with Keshi fully in control.
Vidic, Rooney named in 2011 Fifa/FifPro World XI
ANCHESTER UNITED'S Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic have been named in the 2011 Fifa/ FifPro World XI. The United duo have been rewarded following a year which saw Sir Alex Ferguson's side win the Premier League, while the other nine representatives are made up of Barcelona and Real Madrid players.
Reigning world, European and Spanish champions Barca had five players, with Ballon d’Or nominees Lionel Messi and Xavi having been joined in the line-up by Barcelona team-mates Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta. Meanwhile, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso were included alongside their Madrid colleague Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also a Ballon d’Or candidate.
TOMORROW IN THE NATION
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
‘I am sure that a good number of the state government who support wholesale removal of fuel subsidy do so because of the volume of money which will be available to steal, rather than for the improvement of the lots DELE AGEKAMEH of the common man.’
COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA
HE day after Abuja sprang an ambush on a people who had been led to believe that their representatives were negotiating with honourable and wellintentioned officials, I can almost see the inhouse choir serenading President Goodluck Jonathan as the Lion-hearted Man who did what his predecessors, among them battletested generals whom nobody ever accused of timidity, could not bring themselves to do. And I can almost see Himself the Lionhearted Man and his fawning inner circle downing yet another cocktail and another far into the night, as is said to be the custom of the house. If they cannot keep faith in a little matter like sticking to a self-selected date for ending a dubious gasoline subsidy, why should anyone believe that they will invest the expected harvest in projects that will redound to the public benefit? I hope Dr Christopher Kolade and Justice Alfa Belgore know what they are getting themselves into. As for courage, the jury is not yet out. But I am not persuaded that imposing on other people pain and hardships from which you and your household and your courtiers and your cronies are splendidly insulated qualifies as an act of courage. Even if Dr Jonathan were to abjure the feeding subsidy bill for himself and his Vice President that runs into a billion Naira a year, and the billions for replacing his ground fleet and the hundreds of millions for replacing kitchen and office equipment and whatnot that were replaced only the previous year, as well as billions more in “miscellaneous” expenditure, that would still not qualify as courageous conduct except in Nigeria. Elsewhere it would be regarded as proper conduct. In the run-up to the ambush, officials riffed endlessly that only a handful of people were profiting from the alleged subsidy, and that the public had nothing to lose but everything to gain from its withdrawal. But the crowds that poured into the streets of major cities and blocked the Abuja-Lokoja highway and other strategic road arteries and occupied public squares not only gave the lie to that claim, they showed how disconnected the officials are from the people. And the indications are that last week’s marches and sit-ins were just a rehearsal for the real thing. The harder they try to explain away the withdrawal of the “subsidy” and the more they rhapsodise about all the wonders that will flow from it, the more dubious the whole thing becomes. Now, they say that from January 1, no “subsidy” will be paid to marketers of gasoline. The 2102 Budget makes no provision for gasoline price support. Presumably, marketers can still continue to import and deliver gasoline at N144 per litre, which the Federal Government
RIPPLES SUBSIDY REMOVAL INEVITABLE-Jonathan
Just as TOTAL STRIKE is inevitable, too!
AT HOME ABROAD firstname.lastname@example.org
Oil subsidy: The week after
says is the “realistic” price. The marketers get to keep the proceeds. Having contributed nothing to the transaction, the government gets nothing beyond the licence fees and the usual taxes. So, where will the trillions earmarked for the Programme SURE or Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment come from? The NNPC will also presumably continue to refine petroleum to the extent of its crippled capacity and will be free to market it at the new pump price, which has been advertised as the true cost. If the Federal Government is looking to cream off funds accruing to the NNPC from this price gouging, what it stands to reap is likely to fall far short of the trillions in savings it says it will pass on to the Kolade Committee to administer? The question bears asking again: Where will those trillions come from – the trillions that
the authorities have been dangling before the public? As I see it, the only way the government can realise trillions in savings it has totted up with such actuarial rigour is to get importers and NNPC to sell at N144 per litre, regardless of actual production and delivery costs that disinterested experts have fixed at less than the pre”subsidy removal” price of N65 per litre, and then appropriate the difference as savings from “subsidy removal” when it is in fact a tax. In short, only by supplanting the racketeers it claims to have displaced, can the government realise the trillions it plans to re-invest. So, what we have on our hands, it is necessary to insist, is at bottom a tax on consumption, and all the talk about ending a subsidy and ploughing the proceeds into projects designed to raise living standards is a gigantic swindle. Abuja adds wanton insult to bitter injury when it reminds the public that Ghana recently abolished gasoline subsidy without stirring any social upheavals. As a result of the price adjustment, the gasoline price rose by just15 per cent in Ghana. In Nigeria, it rose by an unconscionable 115 per cent. Nor is the injury lessened by pointing out, as the authorities have been doing, that gasoline prices in neighbouring oil-producing countries – Chad and Cameroun – are higher than in Nigeria. When did Nigeria become “other countries”? Nigerians live and work and create and reproduce in Nigeria, not in “other countries.” It is on the Nigerian reality that public policy must therefore be grounded. At any rate, why are public officials ever so quick to point to what happens in “other countries” when it comes to taking concrete measures to improve living conditions of Nigerians, but never say a word about the practice in “other countries” when appropriating unto themselves obscene compensations, one noto-
rious example being the “hardship allowance” paid to legislators? The authorities say they are set to take delivery of some 1, 600 passenger buses that transporters can purchase with a soft loan and operate as mass transit. It is a commendable step, even if also downright unimaginative. Such vehicles can only serve as an adjunct to mass transit, the core of which must be a rail-based system that can move tens of thousands of people rapidly, safely and with the minimum of disruption to daily transactions. What became of the buses Military President Ibrahim Babangida’s regime purchased to cushion the pains of his mis-begotten Structural Adjustment Programme? Where are the passenger buses the Obasanjo Administration trumpeted as a key element in its National Directorate of Employment scheme? In whatever case, will the bus fares be subsidised? If not, how will the passenger buses help cushion the pains arising from ending the so-called subsidy? And are those pains limited to transportation? Meanwhile, a funny thing has been happening with the Stabilisation Fund Account which is meant to save funds for the future generation. According to Daily Trust (January 5, 2010), the Jonathan Administration has been operating the Account as an inhouse ATM, depleting it as quickly as it could be rebuilt. In just eight months spanning 2010 and 2011, the paper reports, the Jonathan Administration made withdrawals totallingN144 billion, reducing the Account at one point from N210 billion to N37 billion, with some withdrawals backdated as payments for transactions carried out in 2004 and 2005. The spending spree detailed in the report is of a piece with the profligacy that has left the Exchequer near-empty and depleted the nation’s foreign reserve and driven the Jonathan Administration to advertise a pernicious consumption tax as a heroic move to terminate an unsustainable “subsidy.” There is no turning back, says the Federal Government; the “subsidy” is gone forever. Labour and civil society and the attentive public say they will settle for nothing less than a return to the previous pump price. The stage appears set, then, for an epic clash of the immoveable and the irresistible. Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain. The Jonathan Administration has proved itself unworthy of the public trust. *The text of President Goodluck Jonathan’s weekend broadcast was available as this column was about to be dispatched. I saw nothing in that speech to warrant revising the submission. •For comments, send SMS to 08057634061
•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above
House of Reps and Jonathan’s mea culpa
HESE are definitely interesting times. On the same Sunday the House of Representatives patriotically and sensibly called on President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend his policy on fuel subsidy removal, the president himself was at the interdenominational service to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Abuja, telling a stunned nation that the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, had infiltrated the three tiers of government and the security agencies. Both events are incredible and unprecedented, and both may yet affect the fortunes and destiny of Nigeria in ways that no one at present has anticipated. The Federal Government had attempted to prevent the House of Representatives from sitting on Sunday by citing religious sentiments and other unidentified issues, but the lower chamber sat, had productive deliberations, and with an overwhelming voice vote agreed to recommend to the president the suspension of fuel subsidy removal. The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, showed character and leadership throughout the deliberations. He also showed a higher degree of responsibility than the Federal Government, which continues to act as if the government and the country are not facing grave security risks, is accustomed to. It is not known yet whether the government would take what seems in retrospect to be a
fine soft landing to restore the country to some normality. But if it doesn’t, judging from some of the sentiments expressed at the protest rallies in many parts of the country, things could indeed spiral out of the president’s control. Why Jonathan appears bent on undermining his own government is hard to understand. It is well known that he does not have the gift of the garb, but he constantly accentuates that weakness by making serial gaffes. At the Remembrance Day service, and in a tone that sounded helpless and pathetic, he told his audience of largely military men and government officials that the violent Boko Haram sect had infiltrated the government and security organs. When he made that statement, it perhaps did not occur to him that his audience and Nigerians would ask him what he was doing when the sect was perfecting the infiltration. Hear the president’s plaintive cry: “The situation we have in our hands is even worse than the civil war that we fought. During the civil war, we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from, you even knew the route they were coming from, you could even know the calibre of weapons they would use and so on. But the challenge we have today is more complicated. I remember when I held a meeting with elders from the Northeast and some parts of the Northwest where the Boko
Haram phenomenon is more prevalent, somebody said the situation is so bad that even if one’s son is a member, one will not even know. That means that if the person will plant a bomb behind your house, you won’t know. Some of them (Boko Haram) are in the executive arm of government, some of them are in the parliamentary/legislative arm of government while some of them are even in the judiciary. Some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies. Some continue to dip their hands and eat with you and you won’t even know the person who will point a gun at you or plant a bomb behind your house.” To tackle this disaster, all the president could do was call on retired officers to join hands with their comrades still serving to take battle to the terrorists. Sadly, it did not occur to him that the retired officers would have loved to ask him whether they handed over to him a weak and helpless military lost for tactics and sense. This column once or twice warned that the president would worsen his problem with insecurity if he went ahead with the removal of what he and his aides described as fuel subsidy. He has done the unthinkable. The House of Reps has now given him a soft landing. If he does not take it, and if things worsen, the president will find himself flirting with political disaster.
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Published on Jan 9, 2012