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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Mali: NSA warns of terrorist attack

States to share $1b excess crude cash



•Nigeria commits $45m to mission

•Panel to check multiple taxation Page 53

VOL. 8, NO. 2387 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013




•Keshi: don’t be scared of Cote D’ Ivoire •Mikel, Ogude may miss next match •Champions Zambia return to Lusaka

•AND MORE ON PAGES 13,14,51&61

EFCC grabs convicted pension chief From Yusuf Alli, Abuja


ARELY 24 hours after he was convicted and freed by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, the former deputy director in the Police Pension Office, Mr John Yakubu Yusufu, is back in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Yusufu was re-arrested by the operatives of the agency for alleged false declaration of assets. He will be arraigned today in Abuja. The commission was grilling him as at the time of filing this report. Continued on page 2

Court to decide Excess Crude Account row From Yusuf Alli, Abuja


OVES to settle the Excess Crude Account dispute amicably have collapsed. The Supreme Court will decide the matter, governors said yesterday. Governors are to meet Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal on contentious areas of the proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution. Leaders of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the National Assembly have been maintaining parallel positions on the proposed amendments. The proposals border on removal of immunity clause in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, autonomy for local governments, Continued on page 4

•Sisay Bancha of Ethiopia fouls Victor Moses of Nigeria for a red card and a second penalty in five minutes during the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations...yesterday

Moses sends Eagles into quarter finals


Anxiety remains despite Boko Haram’s ceasefire Defence chief: we’re watching It’s doubtful, says Sani


AUTION — and optimism — seem to be the reaction of Nigerians to the Boko Haram’s ceasefire

•Admiral Ibrahim

offer. The militant group on Monday ordered its men to stop violence to facilitate dialogue with the government. A commander of the sect, Sheilkh Abu Mohammed Abdulazez Ibn Idris, told reporters in Maiduguri, the beleaguered

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

Borno State capital, that he was speaking on behalf of the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and some of the North’s leaders yesterday aligned with the Borno State government, which said the ceasefire announcement was in order. Presidential aide Dr Doyin Okupe also

expressed optimism that the ceasefire would lead to peace. But rights activist Shehu Sani said he doubted the sincerity of the ceasefire. Okupe called the announcement a “step in a good direction and a welcome development.” “The government is studying the issue properly … I believe once the conditions and terms are right, the government will

dialogue.” Lt.-Col Sagir Musa, spokesman of the JTF in Borno State, said: “Conflicts are resolved through dialogue, hence the declaration of ceasefire by the sect’s leader is a welcome development. “Be that as it may, the JFT will remain in a staging position to continue mainContinued on page 4





OUTRAGE OVER PENSION FRAUD CONVIC • Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (left) and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola shortly after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at the Rivers State Governor’s Lounge in Abuja...on Monday

EFCC re-arrests convicted ex-pension director •Suspect faces trial today


ARELY 24 hours after he was convicted and freed by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, the former deputy director in the Police Pension Office, Mr John Yakubu Yusufu, is back in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Yusufu was re-arrested by operatives of the agency for alleged false declaration of assets. He will be arraigned today in Abuja. The commission was grilling him as at the time of filing this report. Yusufu was on Monday jailed by Justice Abubakar Talba of the FCT High Court for six years with an option of N750, 000 fine after admitting that he connived with others to defraud his office of N32.8 billion The EFCC, which gave a notice of appeal against the judgment, allegedly stumbled on fresh facts yesterday that the convict under-declared

•From Left: French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jacques Champagne De Labriolle, Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Alhaji Yusuf Usman, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Dr Munzali Dantata and Wakilin Kpop Ham, Mr Elisha Yero, at the official handing over of five African Terracotta Sculptures of NOK Origin seized by the French Customs Service to Nigeria in Abuja ... yesterday. See story on page 5.

•From left: Public Relations Manager, UAC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc. Mr. Mike Asuquo, Commissioner for Information, Nasarawa State, Alhaji Husseini Abubakar, UACN’s Executive Director, Mr. Joe Dada and Human Resource Manager, Grand Cereals Limited, Mrs. Nkechi Umeokeke, at the donation of 200 desks to Government College, keffi, Nasarawa State by the company at the School premises in Keffi,... on Monday.

•From Left, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe, Managing Director, M-Net Africa, Mrs. Biola Alabi and Marketing Manager, Non Alcoholic Drinks, Nigeria Breweries Plc, at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) Nominees’ Announcement, held at the Porsche Centre, Akin Adesola ,Victoria Island, Lagos ...on Monday. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

his assets to the commission. A source said yesterday: “We have allegation of false declaration of assets against the suspect. We have started investigation but he is presently detained for interrogation. “I can tell you that he has made useful statement to our team of operatives handling the matter.” EFCC spokesmanWilson Uwujaren confirmed the re-arrest of Yusuf. He said: “We picked him up on Tuesday (yesterday) for alleged false declaration of assets. He is undergoing interrogation at the moment. “The EFCC may charge him to court on Wednesday in line with the latest clues.” Besides the forfeiture of N325.187 million to the Federal Government, the FCT High Court also ruled that the former pension director forfeit 32 properties.

CNPP faults ‘compassionate’ sentence for Yusuf


HE confiscation of assets valued below N1 billion and the imposition of a N750, 000 as punishment for the theft of N23 billion belonging to retirees is unaccptable, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), said yesterday. The Conference was reacting to Monday’s conviction by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court of Mr. John Yakubu Yusufu, a former deputy director in the Police Pension Office, who stole N32.8 billion pension funds. Condemning the asset seizure and the imposition of fine on Yusufu, the CNPP described the sentence as a mockery of justice and a slap on the wrist for the amount the former director admitted to have stolen from police pensioners. In a statement signed by the CNPP Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the National Judicial Council (NJC) was urged to investigate Justice Abubakar Talba to ensure that the image of the judiciary is not dragged into disrepute. Besides, the CNPP urged the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the officials that handled Yusufu’s case. It listed such officials to include the judge, the prosecutor and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). According to Ezugwu, no amount of plea for leniency or plea bargain “should have earned any self-confessed thief such pampering that makes mockery of hard-working Nigerians. The statement reads: “It is simply insane that a man who admitted to stealing N23 billion only had assets of less than N1 billion confiscated and a paltry N750, 000 fine which he easily paid off on the spot. “The essence of sentencing is to punish offenders and at the same time deter would be offenders. This

This is totally unacceptable. Many pensioners died in abject poverty and made to suffer untold indignity and dehumanisation because some people stole their pensions.

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

ruling however has no element of deterrence since the convict walked away with what amounted to over N20 billion profit because of this warped ruling.” The Conference warned that such conviction, if allowed to stay, could encourage public officials to become career thieves with a mindset that they can always get way if they part with a fraction of their loots. It said: “We have been clamouring for the judiciary to give teeth to the fight against corruption because of the compromised executive arm of government that is presently in place. “But it is now obvious that there will be no positive steps in that direction if the signals from this judgment are anything to go by. “It is things like this that make Nigerians deride their judiciary asking that its functions should be outsourced to the United Kingdom (UK) where former Delta GovernorJames Ibori got the kind of prison sentence that can truly deter thieves. “This is totally unacceptable. Many pensioners died in abject poverty and made to suffer untold indignity and dehumanisation because some people stole their pensions. “It is thus sickening that one of those who committed such heinous crime is getting away with the crime because of this kind of sentence.”






Of course the punishment is not commensurate with the gravity of the offence but we must remember that the law gives the judge discretion in awarding punishment. I have advocated several times that corruption should attract stiffer penalty, or at least life imprisonment,

•Yusufu (middle) at a court session during his trial

Lawyers, activists seek death sentence for corruption convicts


ORE lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and activists yesterday criticised the sentence handed a former Police Pension Fund Director, Mr John Yakubu Yusufu for stealing N32.8 billion from the Nigeria Police Pension Funds. A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sentenced him to six-year jail term but with an option of N750,000 fine after he pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit 32 properties and N325.187 million to the Federal Government. Malam Yusuf Ali (SAN), said nothing short of death sentence or at least life imprisonment would curb corruption or reduce it to a minimum. To him, the punishment should have been severer. He said: “Of course the punishment is not commensurate with the gravity of the offence but we must remember that the law gives the judge discretion in awarding punishment. “I have advocated several times that corruption should attract stiffer penalty, or at least life imprisonment,” Alis said. Others who spoke in separate telephone interviews with The Nation include Senior Advocates Chief Niyi

By Joseph Jibueze

Akintola, Chief Emeka Ngige, Chief Rickey Tarfa, Mr Mike Igbokwe (SAN) and rights activist Bamidele Aturu and University of Lagos law teacher and lawyer Wahab Shittu. To many of them, punishment for corruption must be made more stringent. They said the judge could not have handed a sentence not backed by law, but that the onus is on the National Assembly to correct the lapses in the laws against graft. Akintola said the laws need a review and urged the Federal Government to revisit the recommendation made by late jurist Justice Kayode Eso in 1991 on how to deal with corruption. The lawyer said he would not blame the judge for handing out the sentence, as he could not have gone outside what the law states. Akintola said: “People should comment on issues they know of the facts. Comments should not be made based on sentiments or emotions. We should first of all ask: Under what law was the defendant charged? What was the penalty pre-

scribed? “If the penalty prescribed is what was given, there is nothing anybody can do about it. No judge can go out of his way to import any other form of punishment into the law. It is not the duty of the judge to make laws. It is the duty of the legislature. “If a prosecutor charges you under a provision that carries six months, I cannot as a judge for instance, impose more years.” Ngige said the laws need to be overhauled, especially as it relates to punishment for graft. To him, it is also not a question of whether the laws are stringent enough, but the need for EFCC to have laid down guidelines on how to negotiate plea bargaining with accused persons. He said: “The commission ought to have included the fine payable by the accused in the bargain. Leaving issue of fine payable to the judge is very unsafe and prone to abuse. This is the second time EFCC is being outsmarted by accused persons in plea bargaining deals. “There is also the need to overhaul our criminal laws particularly the Penal Code as it relates to punish-

Sentence ridiculous, says NGO


HE Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), a non-governmental organisation yesterday described the two-year jail term handed down to a deputy director in the Police Pension Office, John Yakubu Yusuf, as ridiculous. In a statement signed by its Executive Director Rev. David Ugolor, ANEEJ said the jail term was not sufficient to deter perpetrators of corrupt practices. Ugolor noted that the sentence would rather serve as a glorification,

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

“so that people could steal the nation blind and get kid-gloves judgment as with this case.” He said offering a two-year jail term with an option of N750, 000.00 fine reinforced the need for reforms in the nation’s justice system. The cleric said in the statement: “We need a justice system that will end this tokenism punishment for offenders of corruption cases, this is because graft has remained a major impediment to development

of Nigeria as a nation. “We find the sentence ridiculous and a man who has defrauded this nation and poor pensioners of N33 billion, many victims of his action may have died as a result of their inability to get their pension money. “We welcome sentencing John Yakubu Yusuf but we querry the option of a ridiculous fine. We will need the court to send out clear messages that the era of stealing public funds with impunity is gone by ensuring that those who steal public fund pay the price.”

NLC: verdict against Nigerians’ interest


ORKERS, under th aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is seeking the retrial of former Police Pension Office director Mr John Yakubu Yusufu, who was jailed six years but freed after paying a fine of N750, 000. The NLC described the judgment of Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court as not only unpatriotic but “clearly against national interest.” It also urged the National Assembly to review the judicial system to make it more patriotic, warning that allowing the judgment to stand could jeopardise democracy. In a statement signed by its acting President Kiri Mohammed, the NLC said the judgment delivered startled Nigerians. It reads: “We are startled at the judgment by an Abuja High Court yesterday (Monday) which convicted a man

By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

who already admitted stealing N32.8 billion out of over N40 billion found to have been stolen from the coffers of the Nigeria Police Pension Funds between January 2008 and June 2011 to just two years in prison with an option of N750,000. “That Justice Abubakar Talba could only convict such a high-profile thief who has enriched himself with funds reserved for people who have served this country honestly and have retired into abject poverty and penury to a scandalous two years imprisonment with an option of fine in the ridiculous sum of N750, 000, shows clearly that the Nigerian judiciary is being compromised and obviously encouraging corruption in a country that has lost most of its earnings to a few individuals who

have used their public offices to corruptly enrich themselves.” The NLC faulted the reason given by the convicted man’s counsel, seeking leniency for him because “his client has ailing aged parents and responsibility to pay the school fees of his children.” It said: “These reasons are as irresponsible, callous just as the off he committed in the first place. The money he stole has left thousands of families in hunger, perpetual pains and in some cases, even death. This thief didn’t deserve any leniency.” The Congress noted that the judgment cannot be acceptable to workers who have always expressed concern for their future in retirement. It cautioned the judiciary against encouraging Nigerians from applying jungle justice on high-profile criminals like pick pockets.

ment for crimes.” Tarfa agreed with Akintola, saying the issue lies with the laws. “It will depend on the law and the evidence placed before the court,” he said. Igbokwe said he was not opposed to plea bargaining as long as it is given constitutional backing. Responding to a question, he said: “Yes, if it is backed by law because every enactment made by the National Assembly or State House of Assembly is constitutional.” Aturu described the sentence as unacceptable. He said: “It is very baffling and I must say, very embarrassing, not only from the standpoint of legal is-

sues involved but also from the viewpoint of the so-called war against corruption. “The noise about fighting corruption is being exploded by this sort of embarrassing sentencing that we are getting here and there. “I think it is very clear now that the Nigerian judiciary, the Nigerian legal system, Nigerian lawyers and the Nigerian public are not able to fight corruption. “What is being done now is to give corrupt people a slap on the wrist. This is not even a slap on the wrist any longer. It’s now a handshake, because if we call it a slap on the wrist, we’ll be wrong. So it’s a handshake with corruption.”

SOME OF THE SEIZED PROPERTIES •Two units of a 3-bedroom semi detached bungalow at R2 •A and B Sunny Homes •Dakwo District, Abuja •Two units of 3-bedroom semi bungalow (detached) at M24 •A and B, Sunny Homes •Dakwo Homes, Dakwo District Abuja •Four units of a 3-bedroom semi- detached bungalow, managed by Daniel at Sunny Homes, Dakwo District, Abuja •Eight units of Estates of 2-bedroom flats at Gombe, GRA •One unit of semi-detached duplex at House 21, 4th Avenue, Gwarinpa, Abuja •Four units of a 2-bedroom semi -detached duplex at Bricks city, Kubwa Road, Abuja •One unit of semi- detached duplex, at 14B Democracy Crescent, Gaduwa, Abuja.

It’s a parody of justice, says Acess to Justice


UMAN rights’ group - Access to Justice (AJ), has condemned the judgment delivered by Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in which the former deputy director, Police Pension Office, Yakubu Yusufu. The former director was jailed two years with an option of N750, 000 fine after admitting to have appropriated N23. 3 billion, belonging to police pensioners. The group described the sentence as a parody of justice. Justice Talba on Monday handed down the sentence after Yusufu pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling N23.3 billion. The group, in a statement signed by its Director, Mr. Joseph Otteh, yesterday said such a sentence would not in any way curb corruption. Otteh argued that the sentence passed on a defendant who confessed stealing pension funds meant for retired police officers “to the extent he did, is so grossly disproportionate to the gravity of the harm the defendant has caused hundreds of people who look to

By Adebisi Onanuga

their meager pensions as their sustenance after many years of toil and service.” Otteh went on: “It only undermines the struggle against corruption and shows Nigerians what long, rough road still lies ahead to get critical role players committed to the vision of stamping out corruption from public life. “Given the measure of sentence the defendant received, the court literarily gave him a warm handshake and sent a strong message that the judiciary will always be weak and soft in fighting corruption.” According to the AJ director, the court has succeeded in showing Nigerians that the judiciary will always side shield looters. He argued the reason advanced by the court that the law under which Yusufu was charged carried only a two year sentence was clearly not a basis to rationalise. “Even conceding the point, the court had considerable margins to make the punishment fairer, more meaningful and less obnoxious,” he said.



NEWS PDP crisis: Tukur begs deputy NWC members


•President Goodluck Jonathan (left) with the Japan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Masaji Matsuyama (right) at a donor conference on Mali during the 20th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of AU in Addis-Ababa…yesterday

Supreme Court to decide excess crude row Continued from page 1

financial independence for Houses of Assembly, abolition of Joint Account for states and local governments, scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commission(SIEC), review of the principle of derivation and state creation, among others. Besides, the governors may draw President Goodluck Jonathan’s attention to the recent attacks on them by a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark. Although the governors were angry at the meeting over Clark ’s comments, they decided not to engage him in a me-

dia war, which in their view may erode democracy’s gains. The governors decided to slug it out with the Federal Government at the Supreme Court on the “illegality” of the Excess Crude Account. They said they opted for outright legal solution since the two parties could not settle out of court. A source in the NGF, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said the governors and National Assembly leaders will soon meet on some of the issues. The source said: “We discussed the ongoing constitution amendment process in the

National Assembly and we have decided to meet with the Assembly leadership on areas of disagreement. “We believe dialogue and understanding could assist in fast-tracking the proposed amendments to the Constitution. Some of the views of the NGF are certainly different from that of the lawmakers. “We will soon meet with the leaders of the National Assembly to iron out our differences. “Most of the governors were angry that the elderstatesman could throw caution to the wind in writing off the Governors Forum. But we also came to the conclusion that Clark’s

rage was a fall-out of the crisis within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He wanted to take some pound of flesh from some individuals. On Excess Crude Account (ECA) suit between the Federal Government and the 36 states, the source said: “The governors have opted for an outright legal solution. We want the Supreme Court to make a pronouncement once and for all. “We gave enough windows for political solutions, which have not worked. And if the court does not intervene, we may have to be going through this process all over.”

We are not opposed to Jonathan, say governors


OVERNORS yesterday rejected the claims that they are Nigeria’s problems and are working against President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, recently attacked the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), declaring it a threat to peace and stability. Rivers State Governor and NGF Chairman Rotimi Amaechi, said the forum is not opposed to President Jonathan’s administra-

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

tion. “No. Chief Edwin Clark is an elder states man, we wont join issues with him”, he said. Reading the Communiqué of the NGF’s Monday meeting, Amaechi said: “Forum decries the present attitude of the Federal Government on the Excess Crude Account and resolves to take no further adjournments in the subsisting case in court but to seek a final resolution of the

matter from the Supreme Court.” “On the rising incidents of polio in the country, Forum unanimously agreed to lead the efforts to eradicate polio by instituting the following: A monthly campaign to be headed by Governors in all 36 states of the Federation to promote routine immunization as well as promote healthy environmental habits.” “Governors from non-polio states will support their counterparts in affected states by joining them in their states during the

upcoming national polio campaign. To meet the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication in order to identify current funding gaps and challenges against polio eradication in Nigeria.” He went on: “Forum agreed to hold a two-day retreat to deliberate on the current state of security of the country. Members declared their confidence in the Chairman and endorsed his leadership as head of the Forum.” “The Forum remains resolute Continued on page 60

OR about one and a half hours yesterday, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, pleaded with the aggrieved deputy members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to sheathe their swords. He said he had opened up discussion with the Leader of the party, President Goodluck Jonathan, on the issues causing disaffection within the party. He promised to “look into your complaints and keep the party united.” Tukur went into a closeddoor session at his residence in Wuse II, Abuja with the deputy members of the NWC yesterday afternoon. Those at the session were the

From Yusuf Alli and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

Deputy National Secretary; Deputy National Treasurer; Deputy National Financial Secretary; Deputy National Organising Secretary; Deputy National Legal Adviser; Deputy National Publicity Secretary; Deputy National Auditor; Deputy National Woman Leader and Deputy National Youth Leader, and National ex-officio members It could not be immediately ascertained why the 12 NWC members were excluded from the meeting. A source at the session said: “Before we got to the meeting, the national chairman already had a copy of our complaints as, probably, forwarded to him by the President. Continued on page 60

Dasuki warns of backlash from Mali operations


HE National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki has warned that countries, including Nigeria involved in the ongoing military operations in Mali should expect possible backlash from the Malian terrorists. According to him, the participation of Nigerian forces in the Malian crisis is bound to open another flank of vulnerability to the Nigerian interests worldwide. The Malian terrorists, he said, have vowed to retaliate against any country that participates in the operation. “They have demonstrated this capability by taking people of different countries hostage”. Dasuki recalled the recent killing of foreign hostages in an Algerian oil and gas factory. “It thus behoves Nigeria and other participating countries to take additional security measures to protect their interests worldwide and to also heighten security at the various strategic points in their various countries”, Dasuki added. The NSA sounded the warning yesterday at the National Defence College where he attended a security seminar organised by the alumni association of the College.

From Gbade Ogunwale and Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

He stated that the Boko Haram sect has established links with other terror organisations in the world. The NSA listed Al-Qaeda in the Magherb, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Shabab in Somalia as some of the groups that have links with Boko Haram. In the home front, Dasuki said the Federal Government has all along been tackling the Boko Haram sect with multidimensional approach. He described the sect as the harbinger of terrorism in Nigeria. According to him, while the operations of the security agencies on terrorism have been taking media headlines, the Federal Government has been employing legal reforms, de-radicalisation programme and strategic public communications. He said the Federal Government, in conjunction with state governments, is making efforts to tackle unemployment in states ravaged by the Boko Haram sect. He identified joblessness as one of the factors fueling terrorism in the country. The African Unuion member nations have contributed a $456 Continued on page 60

Anxiety remains despite Boko Haram’s ceasefire Continued from page 1

taining law and order ... in its area of operational responsibility.” Kyari Mohammed, who heads the Centre for Peace and Security Studies at Modibbo Adama University of Technology northeast who has studied Boko Haram closely, said he believed the “commander” represented someone. Kyari said he believed the government would remain heavily influenced by the military, which he thinks would be opposed to true dialogue. “Without releasing people — high-level people — in captivity, I don’t think it will go far,” Kyari said. “For me, the Federal Government will have to take the gamble, if they want any form of peace. Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim gave conditions under which the Federal Government would engage in dialogue with the sect. Admiral Ibrahim said Nigerians must treat the ceasefire offer with the uttermost caution for now. He told reporters at a seminar on national security at the Na-

Sani doubts ceasefire as ACF, North’s leaders support


IVIL rights activist Mallam Shehu Sani has doubted the sincerity of the ceasefire declared by the Boko Haram (Western education is a sin) sect. But the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Middle Belt Youth Forum welcomed the ceasefire, and cautioned that the government and the group should show sincerity in handling the issue. Sani, who arranged a meeting between ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and the leaders of the sect in 2010, is believed to be close to its leaders. He said a ceasefire was declared in the past, but the killings and bombings did not stop. “I do not share or believe that there is a ceasefire,” he said. There was such a ceasefire and it was at that time that Gen. Mohammed Shuwa was killed and a bomber came and crashed into a church in Kaduna.

tional Defence College that it was too early in the day to rejoice over the sect’s purported olive branch. The Defence Chief said: “We must treat that (ceasefire) with a lot of caution. You should understand that there are certain objective tests that will make sense. Let’s assume we can have

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna, Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

“The only ceasefire that I will recognise is the one that will be announced by Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the group himself. The ceasefire announced by Ibn Idris came with three conditions. “These are that the government should release all their members being detained by security agents, build their mosques and compensate all their members. What happens if the government does not have it on its agenda to compensate them or rebuild their mosques? “The problem is not between the group and the Borno State government, but between them and the security agencies controlled by the Federal Government. I don’t believe this so-called ceasefire will work. “However, any genuine effort to end this whole thing will be welcome, but we should not raise any false hope and at the end of the day, nothing good comes out of it.”

a long period of about one month where no bomb explodes; where nobody is shot; where nobody is beheaded; where no church is bombed; where no mosque is threatened. If they can guarantee just one month, then we can begin to talk. ‘‘We must take this (ceasefire) with a lot of caution. That is what

However, the ACF said all patriotic Nigerians should welcome the decision by Boko Haram to to take a break in favour of constructive dialogue because what peace cannot achieve, violence cannot achieve. Its spokesman, Anthony Sani, said in an SMS to The Nation that “given the past experiences when such offers were later denied by factions of the same sect, we wish to suggest a practical approach that can deliver. “If leaders of Boko Haram are truly desirous of constructive dialogue with the Nigerian authority, but are afraid of being arrested or killed by the security agents, if they present themselves, such leaders should locate the courage of their conviction and approach any country of their choice, which has diplomatic relationship with Nigeria to play some mediatory roles in the ensuing dialogue.

I am telling you. And we hope whatever that must have brought this about will further enhance our security and it is like a recognition of the very futile approach to solving whatever they consider to be their problems. So, we are a bit excited by it but we are taking everything with a lot of caution.”

Continued on page 60

Admiral Ibrahim said the military and other security agencies have not relented in their efforts to tackle the bloody attacks by the sect, stressing that the seminar was one of the steps being taken to counter the offensive. ‘‘We have here a cross section of our best brains in retirement


that constitute the alumni association of the NDC. And they are also concerned about national security issues. “All of you will bear me witness that even from the two papers presented at the opening Continued on page 60

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NEWS France returns five stolen statues to Nigeria


HE French Government yesterday returned five stolen Nok statuettes to the Nigerian Government. The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne Labriolle, who presented the statuettes to the Minister of Culture and Tourism Edem Duke in Abuja, said the return was aimed at fighting the illegal import of cultural goods into France. He said the statuettes were seized in Paris in August 2010 by the Gennevilliers Office of the General Directorate of Customs and Excise as part of the French Customs’ watch and fight against the illegal transportation of cultural goods. “They were found in the personal luggage of a traveller coming back from Africa. It was established that these art works had been illegally taken away from the Nigerian territory, “he said. The Ambassador said he

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

hoped that the return of the seized goods would confirm the excellent relations that exist between France and Nigeria and help to prevent the illegal trafficking of items that are part of the Nigerian heritage. Duke said the five Nok figures, which were illegally exported from Nigeria, were seized by the French Customs service and repatriated to Nigeria through the French Embassy. He said approval has been given by the Federal Government to employ 600 security personnel and craftsmen to guard the nation’s heritage site. The minister added that the Federal Government has also approved the special repatriation unit in the National Commission for Museum and Monument to handle the illicit trafficking, repatriation and restitution.

Male, female Reps bicker over state of origin bill


HE House of Representatives could not agree on where women should claim when applying for public or political appointments. The lawmakers maintained their stand during the debate on a bill that sought to amend Section 2 of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment) Act to enable women lay claim to either their states of origin or the states of their husbands when seeking appointments. The bill was sponsored by Bassey Ewa (PDP, Cross Rivers) and Raphael Igbokwe (PDP, Imo). The FCC Act allows a married woman to claim her husband’s state of origin when applying for any appointment. When it was pointed out that if amended, the Act might be in conflict with the constitution, the Speaker put the debate on hold by mandating the

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

House Committees on Rules and Business, Judiciary and Justice to study the bill and advise the House on the appropriate steps to take. Ewa referred his colleagues to the controversy generated by the nomination of Justice Ifeoma Jumbo-Offor for the Justice of Supreme Court. He said to confine women to a choice of state on the basis of being married was discriminatory and a limitation to career progress. “Marriage should not be a barrier to women’s development and growth in their careers, but rather, should be a catalyst for them to make progress. They should be given the right to choose which state they want. “Marriage should not be a hindrance to women and the pursuit of their chosen career,” he added.

Fuel subsidy scam: Police oppose Ubah’s move to prevent trial


HE police have argued that they could not be restrained from investigating and prosecuting Capital Oil and Gas Limited, its promoter, Ifeanyi Ubah and others held last year over the fuel subsidy scam. The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar yesterday urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit filed before it by Ubah and his company. IGP, in an objection to the suit, argued that the police could not be prevented by any court from performing their statutory responsibilities, including arrest, investigation and prosecution. In the suit (also a fundamental right enforcement case) seen as a move to stall his planned arraignment, Ubah seeks to restrain IGP and men of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) from further harassing, arresting or instituting any criminal process against him. Ubah also seeks a declaration nullifying the report made by the Presidential Committee on the Verification of Oil Subsidy Payment to Oil Marketers, a report he said, portrayed

By Eric Ikhilae

him as being involved in stealing and money laundering and is tainted by malice. He is also seeking a compensatory damage of N10 billion, to be paid by all respondents jointly and severally, for the injury suffered as a result of his detention at the Ikoyi office of the second respondent for 10 days. In an affidavit supporting his originating motion, Ubah averred that the interim report, in which the second respondent (Commissioner of Police SFU) allegedly stated that he will be arraigned on a prima facie case of money laundering and criminal conspiracy, amounts to prosecutorial misconduct. Yesterday, respondents’ lawyer, Godwin Obla, told the court about the pendency of the preliminary objection by his client. He urged the court to strike out the suit on the grounds that it did not disclose a reasonable cause of action against the police. A development that denies the court the jurisdictional powers to hear the suit.

•From left: Co-chairmen, Southwest, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi; Southeast, Chief Alex Ekwueme; Chairman, Southeast Governors’ Forum, Mr. Peter Obi; and South-south, Chief Edwin Clark, during Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly in Enugu... yesterday Story on Page 59

Dana Air crash: Senate seeks sack of NCAA DG, revocation of airline’s licence


HE Senate yesterday asked the Federal Government to sack the Director-General (DG) of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren. This followed the consideration of the report of its Committee on Aviation, which investigated the June 3, last year’s crash of Dana and Allied Airlines. The Dana Airline crash killed 153 passengers and crew members. Others around the scene of the crash also died. Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma, presented the report of the Senate and House of Representatives Investigative Committee shortly before the Senate went for the Christmas break. The lawmakers said Demuren should be sacked for negligence of duty. Besides seeking the sack of the NCAA DG, the Senate also accepted a recommendation that Mr. Suleiman Akwuh, an engineer, who handled the pre-arrival inspection on the ill-fated Dana aircraft allegedly without prerequisite professional qualification should also be kicked out. The Senate said findings showed that Akwuh was not licensed and type-rated on

•Wants Air Nigeria to refund N35.5b intervention fund From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

MD83 Aircraft. It said Dana’s current Air Operating Certificate (AOC) should be revoked because it was not issued in full compliance with the NCAA regulations 2009. The lawmakers said: “The appointments of NCAA inspector, Suleiman Akwuh, who did pre-arrival inspection on the ill-fated Dana Aircraft without the prerequisite professional qualification and the Director-General of NCAA, who employed and deployed the officer should be terminated.” The staff strength of the NCAA, the Senate said, should be overhauled with a view to injecting technical and professional qualified personnel to enhance its regulatory role in accordance with international best practices. It also said henceforth, the management and operations of NCAA should remain autonomous to avoid undue interference by the Ministry of Aviation. The Senate said all air accident investigation reports should be made public. It said NCAA should compel all airlines involved in

accidents to settle outstanding insurance obligations and ensure that current operating AOCs have a reliable insurance cover as required by the Civil Aviation Regulations. It said the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) should be equipped with modern laboratory facilities to enable it discharge its responsibilities, while the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) should be equipped with well-trained workers and equipment for the purpose of responding to air accidents in the country. The lawmakers urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to recover the N35.5 billion Aviation Intervention Fund, which was extended to Air Nigeria, guaranteed and disbursed by United Bank for Africa (UBA), but was allegedly diverted to other uses. They said the Federal Government should put in place a hangar of international standard through public private partnership (PPP) to reduce cost of aircraft maintenance by airline operators in Nigeria. The Senate added that the Air Field Lighting System should be returned to FAAN

without further delay. It ignored the recommendation that the MD 83 aircraft should be phased out of the country pending further investigations, while the request that the Federal Government should create an incentive for indigenous airlines through special intervention fund was rejected. Also, the recommendation that an age limit of 15 years be placed for new acquisition for passenger aircraft and 20 years for cargo aircraft was rejected. The recommendation that NCAA should carry out a post-accident regulatory oversight on Allied Air immediately after the conclusion of investigation by Ghana Accident Investigation Department was ignored. On findings, the committee said: “Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) did not comply with the procedure for the issuance of Airlines Operators Certificate (AOC) to Dana Airlines as it is stipulated in NCAA 2009 Civil Aviation Regulations. “The NCAA inspector, Suleiman Akwuh, who inspected and cleared the illfated Dana crashed MD83 aircraft No. 5N-RAM is not licensed and type-rated on that aircraft.

NBA cautions branches against speaking T on national issues

HE President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Okey Wali (SAN), has warned branches against speaking on national issues. He also cautioned lawyers against indiscriminate criticisms of judges. Wali spoke at the swearingin of the new NBA executive of the Unity Branch, Abuja, by the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Lawal Hassan Gumi. Wali said: “I congratulate the chairman and the new executive of the Unity Bar. I also use this occasion to commend and thank the Chief Judge of the FCT and elders of the bar for rising

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

up to the challenge when the branch had issues. To the new executive, this is a call to service. You must give your time. “I also want to caution against the branch speaking on national issues. You should confine yourself to what happens in your branch as it does not make for orderliness as most times you don’t have all the facts. The nation’s judiciary has come under fire most times due to shoddy investigations. The judges can

only give judgments based on what is placed before them. Yes we have problems in the Judiciary and we will tackle them. This is why we are against branch officers speaking on behalf of the NBA.” The new Chairman of the NBA Abuja (Unity Bar), Umaru Musa Yaman, also cautioned lawyers against the abuse and castigation of judges. He noted that the association has received petitions against such lawyers and others who engage in other forms of unethical conducts. Yaman said the association

would expand and strengthen its disciplinary committee to deal with the cases. He pledged to build a secretariat in Abuja for the association during his twoyear reign and promised to carry every member of the association along. Former Minister of Defence, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode SAN, congratulated those elevated as the new leaders of the Bar, adding that “there are challenges and I wish you well in your bid to surmount them.” Joe Kyari-Gadzama SAN, in his comment, called for unity in the Bar and urged politicians to learn politics without bitterness from the NBA.




'I stabbed him without intention to kill him'

By Precious Igbonwelundu Staff Reporter

A murder accused has told a Yaba Magistrate’s Court that he did not commit the offence intentionally. Thirty-two year old Ayo Oyewole is being tried for the alleged murder of Saheed Lawal by Magistrate A.O. Ajibade. He was alleged to have committed the offence on January 13, at 3pm at Abule Agbede, Alade Market, Ikeja. He said: "Saheed is my friend although he is much younger than I am. We also enjoyed ourselves together at Alade Market. I do not believe he is dead. I did not mean to kill him, I was just angry because he was insulting me." Prosecuting Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Felix Ifijen told the court that Oyewole killed Lawal by stabbing him on the neck with a broken bottle. He said the two are "area boys" (miscreants) who smoked Indian hemp together at Abule Agbede. Ifijen said while smoking, an argument ensued between Oyewole and the late Lawal and the defendant stabbed him. According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened Section 221 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. Oyewole's plea was not taken as the court "lacks the jurisdiction to hear the matter." Magistrate Ajibade ordered that the case file be copied to the Director, Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice. She remanded Oyewole in prison and adjourned the matter till February 22.

Woman ‘kills man over N100’ By Precious Igbonwelundu Staff Reporter

A 25-year-old woman, Antonia Afolabi, was yesterday arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate’s Court for allegedly killing a 20-year-old man over N100. Prosecuting Inspector Godwin Anyanwu told Magistrate M. A. Ladipo that the offence was committed on January 14, about 8pm inside Boundary Market, Ajegunle. He said the defendant, who trades in second-hand clothes, conspired with another person now at large, to kill Emeka Ibekwe. "The deceased bought two Tshirts from the defendant and when one of the shirts did not size him, he returned it. Instead of refunding his money, the defendant asked him to go and come back for another T-shirt but this did not go down well with the deceased. Disagreeing with the defendant's offer, the deceased decided to take a short instead but Mrs. Afolabi insisted that the deceased must give her N100 to take the short," said Anyanwu. "The duo started arguing over the N100 and a struggle ensued. The defendant at this point, called her relations who were in the market and they gathered to beat up the deceased. One of her relations, at large picked a plank and hit the deceased on his head, leading to his death," Anyanwu added. The prosecutor said the offence contravened Sections 231 and 221 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. Magistrate Ladipo ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison, adding that the case file should be duplicated to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice. She adjourned the matter till March 6.

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CD petitions IG over expectant mother, widow R

IGHTS group, Campaign for Democracy (CD) is demanding justice for a widow and an expectant mother over their alleged inhuman treatment by some police officers. The group has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IG) over the alleged detention and assault of Mrs. Nonyelum Aguocha, an expectant mother, and a widow, Mrs. Chika Obikwelu. They were allegedly assaulted by two senior officers in Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State Division. The CD has demanded transfer of the duo, who could not be reached for comments yesterday. The group alleged that the victims were unlawfully tortured by the senior officers. Therefore, it has also urged the IG to demote them. Nonyelum, The Nation gathered, was arrested alongside her husband, Ibeh Aguocha and her brothers-in-law, Chibueze and Chimaobi Aguocha on December 12, after the police accused them of car snatching. Narrating her ordeal during a telephone interview, Nonyelum wondered: "Where in the world can a seven-month expectant mother, alongside the husband and his two brothers, be detained by the police for over one month for a crime they are innocent of? "On December 12, police officers from Fegge Police Station stormed my house and arrested me with my brothers-in-law. They accused us of participating in snatching an infinity jeep. "As shocking as the story is, my husband, who is an officer with the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) in Awkuzu, had been invited by the DPO to help track down my relation whom they accused of stealing a car. "On getting the information, my husband tracked down the relation who abandoned the vehicle and fled, and the said vehicle was recovered. Rather than commend my husband for working with them, the policemen arrested him and accused us of conspiring to steal the car. If we took part in the robbery or even knew about it, wouldn't we flee before the police came to our

By Precious Igbonwelundu Staff Reporter

house? "I was in the room with my brothers-in-law when some police officers who came with a suspect banged the door. I opened it and they asked the suspect if we were involved in the car snatching. He said no; but to my surprise, they arrested all of us. "The suspect, who died during interrogation, insisted that we were innocent of the accusations, but the officers went ahead to detain us.” She further recounted: "I was having chest pain as well as bleeding in the cell. I complained severally but they denied me of medical attention. "The worst part of it all was that a widow, Mrs. Obikwelu, who heard about our arrest brought us food, but the officers flogged the poor woman. It is inhuman and my God will judge them for making me pass through this pain for a crime I knew nothing about." The widow, who resides at 124, Bida Road, Odoakpu, Onitsha, was said to have taken her complaints to the CD after their flogging for taking food to the pregnant woman and her husband. She told The Nation that the officers later asked that she be detained in police cell until she was granted conditional bail. "It was on Saturday, December 15 that I went to the station to visit officer Ibeh with his wife. There, tI was flogged with a horse-whip. Later, I was ordered locked up and I was only granted bail on Monday," she said. The CD, in its petition dated December 18 and addressed to the IG, said the officers had also intimidated and victimized a hotelier, Dr. Clifford Okoli, for not remitting money to him, adding that the conduct of the police top brass had become unbearable. The group alleged that the officers had extorted N5, 200 each from 18 people at Okoli's hotel, urging the IG to compel the officers to return the money to the victims. "They have constituted themselves to threats in the society by being deeply involved in

•Mrs Obikwelu’s battered body thievery and cruelty. Their heinous activities have risen to a state of nadir. It is the public out cry against this rising tide of gross misconduct, abuse of office and rampant indiscriminate arrests going on in Fegge and its environs that compelled the CD to swing into action. "Our investigations revealed that, it is these two police officers that are spear-heading this brigandage We therefore demand that the widow, who suffered bruises in the hands of the officers be sent to hospital for

proper medical attention while adequate compensation to the tune of N15 million be given her to serve as deterrent for the rampaging lawenforcement agents,” the group said. When contacted for reaction to the petition, the state Police Command’s spokesman, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, said he was at a function and promised to get back to the reporter. A text message was sent to him as a follow-up but as at the time of filing the reports, he was yet to respond to it.

Teenager arraigned for damaging victim's eye


N 18-year-old boy, Ugochukwu Bethel, has been charged before a Yaba Magistrates’ Court, Lagos for allegedly damaging the left eye of Adedamola William. Prosecuting Inspector Godwin Anyanwu told Magistrate Patrick Adekomaya that the defendant committed the offence on January 10, about 2am on 8, Aje Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos Mainland. He said: "The complainant woke up in the wee hours of the day to go and ease himself outside. To his surprise, a stranger was sitting by his apartment. "Because it was an odd hour, the complainant had inquired who the stranger was and what he was doing by his door. The complainant accosted the defendant but he was urged by his sisters to let him go since he has not stolen anything. So, the complainant asked the defendant to leave his premises,

By Precious Igbonwelundu Staff Reporter

thinking the defendant has yielded, he proceeded to ease himself only for the defendant to attack him. "The defendant used a sharp object to damage the complainant's left eye. He was rushed to the hospital where the doctor said the eye

has been damaged and must be removed else it will affect the other eye. Having inflicted the complainant with injury, the boy ran away but unfortunate for him, he returned to the premises the following morning and was recognized by the complainant's sisters who raised an alarm and he was arrested."

The prosecutor said the offence contravened Sections 243 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. Bethel pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted N20,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum each by Magistrate Adekomaya. The matter was adjourned till February 4.

Man, others charged with stealing N7m


GWEGBE Emmanuel, 65, and five others have been arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court for allegedly stealing N7million from Freedom Merchant Market Association. The othersare Sylvester Umeaku, 54; Stella Anumaka, 40; Godwin Nwankwo, 52; Emmanuel Ikeahugo 58; and Anakwenze Pauline, 54. They were arraigned on a twocount charge of stealing before

By Adebisi Onanuga

Magistrate O.A Okunuga. According to the prosecuting police Inspector Barth Nwaokaye, the defendants fraudulently converted the cash into personal use. The prosecutor said the offence was committed on June 14, last year, about 12 noon at No 9/11 Awodi Ora Estate area of Lagos. He said the offence is punishable under Sections 409, 284 and

285 of the criminal laws of Lagos state of Nigeria 2011. The defendants pleaded not guilty. Magistrate Okunuga granted them N1million bail with two sureties in the like sum each. The magistrate said the sureties must be resident in Lagos and show evidence of three-year tax payment . The Magistrate adjourned the case till February 27.




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ER husband, Friday Orjieh, a Bureau de Change operator, was killed three years ago and since then, she has been waiting for the suspected killers to be brought to book. For the past 36 months, she has been living with the hope of seeing justice being done but now she is getting tired of waiting because of the seeming delay in trying the suspects. Orjieh was allegedly killed by Private Aminu Audu and Corporal Yahaya Mohammed on Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos, on October 27, 2009. According to his widow, Adiza, the late Orjieh told his Shedrack, his youngest son, that he would be back from work early to play with him "On that day, I was cooking in the kitchen. My husband sat in the living room and played with Shedrack. When it was time for him to go to work, he lifted him, cuddled him and said happily: 'See how you are smiling at me. Don't worry, I will come back in time from work today and play with you.'". But he never returned to play with his son as promised. By 4:15pm, according to his death certificate, he died from "a severe craniocerebral injury," a terminology for a penetrative injury to the skull Adiza said Raphael Aghedo, her husband’s colleague, who witnessed what happened on that fateful day, said a woman, identified as Elizabeth Olubunmi, walked into Orjieh's shop about 4pm, accompanied by two armed soldiers, Audu and Mohammed. Olubunmi, according to reports, said she had earlier come to change some foreign currency and but was short-changed. She engaged Audu and Mohammed, who were attached to Op (Operation) MESA, a joint military security patrol team, to help her recover her loss. "Private Audu angrily asked the lady if my husband was the person and she said no. My husband then invited the lady to look around the office and identify the person, but after looking at everyone present, she said the person was not there," said Adiza. "My husband explained that if she could not identify the person, then it would be extremely difficult for her problem to be addressed. So, after sometime, my husband turned to attend to some other customers. This angered Pri-

•The late Orjieh, his widow, Adiza, and one of their children

A widow's quest for justice By Segun Balogun

vate Audu who instructed him not to move an inch." She said Audu insisted that Orjieh must pay Olubunmi in full and should obtain a refund from the unknown operator later. "My husband declined to do this, as it would be impossible for him to get a refund of his money without knowing the identity of the operator and hearing his own side of the events," she said, adding that this infuriated the soldier. "He (Private Audu) grabbed my husband by his trousers and began to shake him. In the process, my husband's mobile telephone and some money fell from his pocket.

As he bent down to take his money, the angry soldier put his gun to his jaw and pulled the trigger." The corpse was deposited at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, but since then, Adiza's quest for justice has remained a dream. "The police began investigation at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and the Nigerian Army Corps of Military Police, Special Investigation Bureau, Apapa, instructed the army command to investigate the matter, "she said. Olubunmi and Audu were arrested and Adiza waited for the day they would appear in court. But she

Banker, others, charged with N2m fraud


27-YEAR-OLD banker, Tairu Ayodeji, and two other have been charged before a Yaba Magistrates’ Court in Lagos, for allegedly attempting to steal N2million from a customer, Yusuf Mohammed. Ayodeji, Aina Alexander, 37, and Kayode Mustapha, 18, were arraigned on charges of conspiracy, unlawful disclosure, violation and neglect of responsibilities, impersonation, prejudice, attempted fraud and possession of charms. Prosecuting Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Felix Ifigen told the court that the offence was committed on January 14 and 17 on Community Road, Akoka, Yaba. He said: "Ayodeji, an employee of Ecobank, Ogba Branch, disclosed the account details of Mohammed, his customer, to Alexander, Mustapha and another person who is at large in order to aid them in the commission of fraud.” The charge read: "Being an employee of the bank and a public officer, Ayodeji intentionally violated and neglected to perform the rules and regulations in the discharge of his duties by abusing his office. "The second defendant, Alexander,

vide the suspects and till now they have not responded. Go and find out from them about the lady also," said Ogbonna, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). The army spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya, said he resumed duty in the office a few months ago and is not aware of the case. "If you send me the details of the case, I will investigate," he said. Adiza, who is still waiting for justice said: "I have been left to fend for our three children alone," said Adiza, "the children are still asking for their father. I told them that he travelled, but they always ask when he will return. I do not know what to tell them again."

‘Why I became a dupe’ By Ebele Boniface

By Precious Igbonwelundu Staff Reporter

on January 17, at Ecobank, University of Lagos, Yaba, having the details of the account of Mohammed, falsely represented himself to be the holder of Mohammed's account. "He made a false document with intent to transfer the sum of N2million from Mohammed's account to a Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) account belonging to one Ganiyu Gafar. "He was found having charms in his possession which is reputed to possess power to prevent or hinder detection of their offence. "The third defendant, Mustapha, also falsified Mohammed's signature with the intent of transferring N2million from the customer's account believing same to be acted upon as genuine," Ifijen said, adding that the offence contravened Sections 409, 59, 73, 378, 404, 361(a)(b) and 133 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. The defendants pleaded not guilty and were granted N500,000 bail, with two sureties in like sum each, by Magistrate P.A. Ojo. The case was adjourned till February 2.

discovered that the suspects had been released, fueling her suspicion that the case was closed. When she realised that she might not get justice from the police, she approached a lawyer, Robert Igbinedion. But when the lawyer sought to serve court papers on the defendants in a suit for N800 million compensation, she could not find them. Attempts to get their addresses from Titus Ogbonna, the Investigating Police Officer, have so far failed. When contacted, Mr. Ogbonna passed the buck to the Army, which he blamed for failing to turn in Audu. "We have finished our investigation. We wrote to the army to pro-



E trained as a tailor but he later abandoned tailoring for what he called the “fast moving” busness of conning people popularly known as 419. Forty-two-year-old Olayinka Ajiwon, a resident of 14

Oluwakemi Street, Ilasa, a Lagos suburb, told The Nation how he took to obtaining money under false pretence, a crime that has landed him in trouble. Ajiwon, who is in the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos State Police Command, was arrested after three “operations.” He was arrested on December 13, 2012 in Ayobo, a Lagos suburb for obtaining a gold said to be worth N50,000,000. According to him, he came back from Libya with $7,000, hoping to start a new life in Lagos, but he was duped. Life, he said, became bleak and he went back to tailoring. Yet, his life did not improve and he returned to duping people. He and his gang used hypnotism to obtain properties and money from their victims. "We are only four, Innocent, Sunny and Uche and a woman known as mama 'G'. I was a tailor before they met me and lured me into the 'obtaining job'," he said. "The first job, we got N60,000 from the victim at Ilasa. He paid

it twice. The second one at the same Ilasa, the victim could not produce any kobo, the third one was what brought me here," he said. Narrating the group's operational model, he said they approached a girl at Ojota, a Lagos suburb, in early October and told her almost everything that happened to her in the last few days. After gaining the girl's confidence, they ordered her to go and steal her boss’ valuables. The girl, according to him, brought them gold, which they sold for N5 million. This fetched him his biggest loot of almost N1 million. He said he has been "having it easy" with the police at Ilasa division, adding that he thought that luck would be on his side forever. He said he bought a car from his share of the loot. On how he was arrested, he said: "The operatives of SARS investigating the matter came home to arrest one of my brothers, Bolaji, in connection with the theft but they met me in the house. I was arrested and the police later released my younger brother."



NEWS Shareholders fault Ibrahim on Newswatch


OME shareholders of Newswatch magazine have faulted the claim by businessman Jimoh Ibrahim that he legitimately acquired 51 per cent majority share holding in the company. Nuhu Aruwa and Prof. Jibril Aminu argued that contrary to Ibrahim’s claim that he paid N510million for the shares, as required under the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) of May 2011, he actually paid a fraction of the amount. They alleged that rather than pay the required amount into any of the company’s four accounts maintained in four banks, Ibrahim paid the N510million into a separate account, to which he was the sole signatory. Ibrahim was said to have paid the money through another of his companies -NICON Investment Limited - (which was not a party to the SPA) into the separate account and later withdrew about half of it. Aruwa and Aminu’s lawyer Adekunle Oyesanya (SAN) said this yesterday when arguing against the preliminary objection filed against a suit by his clients. By the SPA between Newswatch and Ibrahim’s company - Global Mirror Media Limited (GMML) and on which basis Ibrahim purportedly assumed majority shareholding and became the company’s chairman, GMML was to pay N510million as purchase price on or before May 5, 2011 and an additional N500million within 90 days of its takeover of the company. Aruwa and Aminu argued in their suit that GMML did not meet the conditions. They are seeking among others, an order setting aside the SPA on the grounds that Ibrahim allegedly assumed control of Newswatch fraudulently and is running it in a manner detrimental to the interest of other shareholders. Oyesanya urged the court to ignore Ibrahim’s argument that the suit should be dismissed because it was an abuse of court process. Relying on the provision of Section 311 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) under which the suit was filed, Oyesanya argued that the plaintiffs, as minority shareholders in Newswatch, had legitimate right to complain if their company was being badly run. “It is the highest form of injustice if this minority shareholders are denied this right to ventilate that right. The minority share holders can not be shut out,” he said. Oyesanya faulted Ibrahim’s argument that the suit was similar to an earlier one he (Ibrahim) filed against four pioneer directors of Newswatch. He argued that both cases were not the same because parties and issues for determination were different. On Ibrahim’s argument that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, Oyesanya countered that since the cause of action was about the purchase of shares and running of a company, the Federal High Court was empowered under Section 312 of CAMA and the Constitution to hear such cases. He said the court, having been empowered under the Constitution to hear the case, Ibrahim’s claim that the SPA had provided that any dispute over the agreement should be directed to the Lagos High Court, could not hold.

•Ibrahim By Eric Ikhilae

Oyesanya urged the court to dismiss Ibrahim’s objection and assume jurisdiction over the case. Ibrahim’s lawyer, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), while arguing the objection, prayed the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that it constituted an abuse of court process and that the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear it. He argued that the suit was similar to the one earlier filed by his client and in which he (Ibrahim) sought to restrain the company’s pioneer directors from further acting in that capacity on the grounds that they purportedly resigned. Ayorinde contended that although parties were different, the SPA was the issue in question in both cases. He urged the court to avoid creating an “absurd situation,” which could arise should the two courts give contrary decisions in both suits. Ayorinde enjoined the court to dismiss the suit so that the plaintiffs can join in the earlier suit and raise any issue they desire. He queried the right of the plaintiffs to sue, arguing that the wrong alleged by them was against the company and so, the company, under CAMA, is the only one that can complain about the issues raised in relation to the SPA. He argued that the appropriate court that can hear the case is the High Court of Lagos, as provided on Page 9 of the SPA, and under the heading: ‘Dispute’. Ayorinde denied the plaintiffs’ claim that his client fraudulently assumed control of the company. He said his client met the conditions set out in the SPA before assuming control. He said his client met the company comatose, bought into it and paid the required funds. He added that it was amazing that those whose shares were bought and paid for by his client want to return after Ibrahim had revived the company. Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned ruling till January 31.

Ogun PDP asks court to jail Oyinlola


HE Ogun State Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked a Federal High Court, Abuja, to jail former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, for alleged contempt of court. In the suit by its Chairman, Adebayo Dayo and Alhaji Semiu Sodipo (Secretary) for and on behalf of other state’s officers, they want the court to jail the sacked National Secretary of the party for one year. The matter would be heard today. The motion was brought pursuant to Order 35 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and the inherent jurisdiction of the court. The defendants are Oyinlola, the PDP and the Independent

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

National Electoral Commission (INEC). The applicants had obtained a judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, delivered by Justice Abdu Kafarati, which sacked Oyinlola as the National Secretary of the party. The applicants are praying for: “An order of this Honorable Court committing the contemnor to prison for a term of one year or as the court may otherwise determine for reason of the contempt committed by the contemnor as held by this honourable court in its judgment of 11th January 2013 in this action. “An order of this Honourable Court directing the Peoples Democratic Party

Dud cheque: EFCC arraigns House committee chair


HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned the Chairman, House Committee on Internal Security, Aliyu Gebi, for allegedly issuing dud cheques of about N120.5million to his lender. The lawmaker is representing Bauchi Federal Constituency on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the House of Representatives. Gebi was arraigned on a 13-count charge before Justice Abba Bello Muhammad of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja. The anti-graft agency accused him of issuing 13 dud cheques in favour of the complainant, Musty Petroleum Ltd, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section l(b) (i) of the Dishonoured Cheque (offences) Act, 2004 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. The accused allegedly issued the complainant post-dated cheques from his United Bank for Africa (UBA) personal account and a company account, named Craft Technology Ltd with value of dates on January 13, 2012 and January 12, 2012. The cheques were reportedly issued to cover an interest-free loan of N125, 000, 000 repayable within 60 days, which the company lent him. Upon lodging them into the UBA account of Musty Petroleum Ltd on February 1, 2012, the cheques were said to have been returned unpaid due to insufficient funds in the drawer’s account Moving the bail application, the defence counsel, Babatunde Oyefeso, prayed the court to grant him bail on self recognisance. He told the court that the accused had been enjoying the administrative bail granted him by the anti-graft agency. The prosecution counsel, Mohammed Bello, did not oppose the bail. Confirming that the accused had deposited his diplomatic passport with the commission, he urged

•Gebi ...yesterday From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

the court to note the gravity of the offence by imposing a condition that would make the accused to attend trial. Ruling, Justice Muhammad said: “Bail is granted based on the previous terms as granted by the commission. He is to deposit his diplomatic passport with the EFCC.” The matter was adjourned till February 19 for hearing.


ties should maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed by the Applicants. *Despite the order of this Honourable Court of 6th of March 2012 in Suit No. FHC/ L/CS/282/2012 - DAYO SOREMI & 3 ORS V. PDP & 5 ORS, the 3rd Respondent in the said suit (Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo) conducted Southwest Zonal Congresses of the PDP on the 21st of March 2012 in flagrant disobedience to the Court’s order. The applicants in the suit therefore urged the court to nullify the Southwest Zonal Congress of the PDP conducted by the respondents in contravention of the order of this Honourable Court of 6th of March 2012.

‘Expect more hot weather’


OGI State Government has told the indigenes to prepare for more hot weather this year. The Special Adviser to Governor Idris Wada on Environment and Physical Development, Mrs. Ladi Ahmed Jatto, alerted the public to climatic changes, effects and implications on health. In a statement, Mrs. Jatto referred to the flood that ravaged some parts of the country last year, including nine local governments in the state. She described the flood as a disaster, assuring that such would never happen again as government was on the alert and proactive to nip it in the bud. According to her, the provision of preventive advice has become a health protection measure against climatic change in line with the global practices in environmental protection. Mrs. Jatto drew the attention of the Kogi State people to the likely hot weather in the coming months, which might result in heat-related illnesses, particularly among children and the elderly. She urged them to avoid stuffy and overcrowded places, stay in well-ventilated or cool environment and avoid leaving children in poorly-ventilated areas to avoid the outbreak of meningitis.

AU members increase support for Mali mission to $456m


EMBER nations have so far contributed $456 million to support the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamre, said this at the end of a pledging conference on Mali, aimed at generating a proposed $50 million for AFISMA at the AU Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

•Nigeria’s commitment to Mali above $45m From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

The conference was organised by the AU, ECOWAS, the European Union and the United Nations towards mobilising financial resources in support of the Malian Defence and Security Forces and AFISMA. Speaking at the pledging conference, President Goodluck

Internal crisis: We remain indivisible, says CAN HE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday said that no amount of internal crisis could split the association. CAN also said it has put in place appropriate mechanisms for the resolution of the issues in contention. In its first major reaction to the alleged plan by the Catholic block to pull out of its fold, the leadership of CAN in a communiqué read to reporters in Abuja by the General Secretary, Dr. Musa Asaka, after a meeting of its President-inCouncil (PIC), comprising all

(PDP) to retract in writing and to dissociate itself from the letters written by the contemnor to various institutions which sought to over-rule the decisions of the Federal High Court in Suits Nos. FHC/L/CS/1248/ 2011 and FHC/L/CS/347/2012. “And for such further, consequential or ancillary orders as may be required to enforce the courts committal proceedings and order.” The applicants stated the grounds for the application as follows: *On the 6th of March 2012, this Honourable Court, sitting at the Lagos Division per Honourable Justice O. E. Abang in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/282/ 2012 - DAYO SOREMI & 3 ORS V. PDP & 5 ORS, made an order by consent of parties that par-

From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

the blocks, appealed to the media to exhibit social responsibility for which they have been known in reporting the seeming crisis. Against the backdrop of criticisms against CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, over his alleged romance with the ruling government, the PIC reaffirmed its implicit and explicit confidence in its leadership. The communiqué was signed by CAN’s Vice President/Head, Organisation of African Insti-

tuted Churches, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh; Head, Christian Council of Nigeria, Most Rev. Emmanuel Udofia; Head, “Tarayar Ekklisiyar Kristi A Nijeriya”, a conglomeration of 13 church groups in CAN/ ECWA Fellowship, Most Rev. Emmanuel Dziggau and Head, Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria/Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. It reads: “That CAN is a family; as a family, it has its own internal mechanisms for resolving its issues. CAN has therefore set in motion the processes for resolving these issues.”

Jonathan said the Federal Government has made more than $45 million commitment, including monetary and material support, in its efforts to restore peace and security to Mali. President Jonathan donated $5 million on behalf of Nigeria, explaining that the amount so far spent by the country since the crisis started in Mali excluded the deployment of 900 combat soldiers and 300 Air Force personnel. He said the funds realised at the conference should be used not only for defence and security purposes, but also for humanitarian support in Mali, stressing that Nigeria believed that the resolution of the Malian crisis rested on the implementation of the ECOWAS peace plan, which provided for the restoration of constitutional order and promotion of democracy in the country. Said Jonathan: “From the beginning of the Malian crisis, Nigeria has taken a number of steps to express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in

Mali and in response to the actions taken by our sub-regional body, ECOWAS. “Nigeria has begun the deployment of 900 combat soldiers and 300 Air Force personnel to Mali as part of the AFISMA. Nigeria has provided about $32 million for the immediate deployment and logistic support for the troops. Prior to this, Nigeria despatched relief and humanitarian supplies amounting to $2 million. “Nigeria has undertaken the reconstruction and refurbishment of a number of clinics in the military barracks of some of the Malian Defence and Security Forces as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention, to the tune of $5.5 million.” According to him, Nigeria has made contributions since the inception of the Malian crisis towards realising the ECOWAS two-pronged strategy of dialogue and military action, which have been endorsed by the AU and the United Nations through its resolution 2085 adopted by the Security Council on December 20, 2012.



NEWS Council chairmen endorse Ajimobi for second term From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


•Alaafin (middle); (from left) the Elerinja of Erinja, Oba Olufemi Alani; Olofin Adimula of Ado Odo, Oba Lateef Atanda; Abeda of Joga Orile, Oba Adeyemi Adekeye; Oba Adegbenle; Oluimasayi of Yewa, Oba Gbadebo Adesola and Awode Ololo of Ijofinland, Oba Morufu Ayinla...yesterday.


Alaafin seeks preservation of Oyo palace

HE Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, has described his palace as a museum and place for cultural education and entertainment, which must not be allowed to decay. Oba Adeyemi spoke yesterday while receiving 10 prominent traditional rulers from Yewaland in Ogun State, who came to sympathise with him on the fire that razed 21 rooms in his palace. The rulers were led by the Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle. Alaafin said: “There is need to employ scientific and technological means in the preservation of ancient palaces. This palace is adorned with artworks and sculptures, including carved wooden house posts and door panels, which are the tra-

•Yewa rulers visit monarch From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

ditional symbols of wealth and royalty. The walls are decorated with mosaic and painted murals depicting scenes from life, as well as decorated calabashes and imaginary beings. There are fountains in the courtyard and garden. “All these treasures, coupled with the unique traditional architecture need preservation and funds must be made available for that. The palace is a living museum and a place for cultural education and entertainment, which must not be allowed to decay. It forms part of our national heritage and pride.” Oba Adeyemi praised the Yewa rulers for ignoring calls

in some quarters not to visit him. He said: “No amount of sentiments, bickering, alterations and falsification of history can ridicule nor relegate the supremacy of the Alaafin dynasty in the comity of Yoruba Obas. “Ancestral origin and cultural background are distinctly different from political domination. If they have a good sense of history, they need not be told that Yewa people belong to Oyo ancestral lineage under the ruler ship of the Alaafin.” To buttress his point, Alaafin showed the Yewa rulers a paper at a conference of Obas in Yorubaland, which was held in Ibadan in 1959.

The paper showed that there are 15 prominent traditional rulers in former Egbado district, now Yewaland, and Egbaland has only 12. Oba Adeyemi said Yewa rulers had been wearing beaded crowns as far back as 1804, while Obas in Egbaland started wearing them in 1835. He hailed Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun for heeding his advice by recalling two Obas in the state from suspension. Oba Adeyemi said: “I am happy with the steps taken by the governor, which typifies him as an intelligent, God-fearing and committed leader with sincerity of purpose, whose concern is primarily how to improve the well being of his people. “I congratulate him on his

birthday and wish him long life and prosperity in all his endeavours.” Oba Olugbenle said: “The Oyo palace is the ‘culture Mecca’ of the Yoruba. It is too important to suffer neglect, hence the need for its preservation, so that the Yoruba cultural heritage will not become extinct. “It is the pride of the Yoruba and needs to be declared a national monument. We are happy to be here to sympathise with our father, the undisputable custodian of Yoruba culture and tradition and paramount ruler with unequalled attributes.” The Oba-elect of Ajoriiwin in Atisbo Local Government Area of Oyo State, Prince Ademola Olalere, also visited the Alaafin.

Ruling on council chiefs’ sack ‘biased’, says Fayemi E KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has alleged bias in last week's Appeal Court judgment, which nullified the sack of 16 council chairmen on October 29, 2010. The judgment, which was prepared by Justice Modupe Fasanmi and read by Justice Olukayode Bada, directed the governor to pay all the entillements of the 16 chairmen and councillors from October 29, 2010, to December 19, 2011, when their tenure would have lapsed. In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, the

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

governor described the judgment as "a travesty granting reliefs not sought by the appellants". He said: "How could the court grant requests not made. The judgment would definitely be appealed." The chairmen were elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2008 in an election that was boycotted by the Action Con-

gress of Nigeria (ACN) during the administration of ousted "Governor" Segun Oni. The ACN insisted then that the Maj.-Gen. Kayode Oni-led State Independent Electoral Commission (EKSIEC) was yet to be properly constituted and approached the State High Court. Last week, the Appeal Court said the election of the chairmen and a radio announcement sacking them from office were facts, adding that what needed to be determined

was whether Fayemi had the power to sack them. It overlooked the earlier ruling of a lower court by Justice Cornelius Akintayo, which said EKSIEC lacked credibility to organise the election. The Appeal Court said the lower court should have ruled on the “constitutionality” or otherwise of their sack. Justice Bada said the governor acted in error by relying on the provisions of Section 23 (b) of the Ekiti State Local Government Administration Law,

Ondo Tribunal: SSS bars CPC candidate from court


EN of the State Security Service (SSS) yesterday barred the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last governorship poll in Ondo State, Prince Soji Ehinlanwo, from entering the court where the Election Petition Tribunal was sitting. Ehinlanwo is among the four petitioners challenging the reelection of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP). He led state executives of the party to the court premises, but was prevented from entering the court by men of the SSS. This led to an uproar between the security operatives and CPC supporters, who alleged that the security men were selective in their screening and favoured LP members.

•Panel extends pre-trial by 14 days From Leke Akeredolu and Damisi Ojo, Akure

It took the intervention of senior officials at the tribunal before Ehinlanwo and the party executives were allowed into the court. Speaking with The Nation, Ehinlanwo condemned the attitude of the SSS men. He said: “I introduced myself and the party executives to the SSS man at the entrance and he refused to allow us into the court, even though I am one of the petitioners. He could not give a reason for his action. I asked if he would have stopped me if I was the governor. “The SSS official showed that he is partisan because two minutes before my arrival, the State

LP Chairman, Mr. Olu Ogidan, was ushered into the court. I think the State SSS Director should take a proactive step on this by placing experienced personnel in this sensitive position to prevent a recurrence.” Last week, the Head of News and Current Affairs of Adaba FM, a private radio station in Akure, Mr. Jide Ogunluyi, was barred by security officials from covering the tribunal’s proceedings. The tribunal extended its pretrial period by 14 days and adjourned its ruling for the 33 applications before it to Monday. The Tribunal Chairman, Justice A. Kaka’n, said the extension became imperative because of the large volume of applications before it.

Earlier, the tribunal entertained the case of the Accord to determine who is legally recognised between the state and national chairman of the party to file a petition before the tribunal. Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Kayode Olatoke filed a motion praying the tribunal to allow the party add fresh documents and witnesses to its petition. The respondents, including Mimiko, LP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), objected to the motion. The tribunal struck out the CPC’s injunction seeking to restrain the respondents from harassing the party’s forensic experts, who are inspecting documents used in the election at the INEC office in Alagbaka, Akure.

•Dr Fayemi

which he said contradicts the provisions of Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution.

RANSITION committee charmen in the 10 local government areas of Oke-Ogun, Oyo State, have endorsed Governor Abiola Ajimobi for a second term. The Chairman of the state chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), who is also the Chairman of Irepo Local Government, Mr. Yekeen Popoola, announced this during a solidarity rally at Saki Town Hall. Popoola lauded the governor’s achievements in health, education, transportation, environmental beautification, agriculture, poverty alleviation and security. He said Ajimobi is laying a good foundation for the development of the state and urged the people to support him. The Chairman of Saki East Local Government, Mr Olufemi Popoola, said the crowd at the rally attested to the good work of the Ajimobi administration and signified the people’s desire for his reelection. He said: “As we can see, attendance at the solidarity rally is not a stage-managed affair. It is a natural phenomenon. Ajimobi has done well. We appreciate him and are grateful for the rehabilitation of our roads ,which past administration neglected. Oke Ogun people enjoyed free healthcare services twice last year. Our children get free exercise books and there has been an improvement in electricity and water supply.”

Ekiti to begin e-payment From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


HE Ekiti State Government has concluded arrangements to start paying the salary of workers through the electronic banking system. This is part of efforts to block leakages and promote efficiency in the administration of councils. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Mr. Ayodeji Ajayi, said this in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, during an advocacy meeting on the e-payment of salary in councils Ajayi said a Central Pay Office to be established in the March would manage the salary of council workers. He said world-class facilities have been put in place by the government for the success of the e-payment system and solicited the support of stakeholders.

Adekeye for honour


HE International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ekiti State chapter, will tomorrow hold a reception in honour of Justice Olufunlola Adekeye, who recently retired as a Justice of the Supreme Court. The event will hold at the Afe Babalola Bar Centre situated on the premises of the State High Court in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.






20,000 OYES cadets graduate •18,000 youths get permanent jobs


SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola yesterday thanked God for the success of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES). He spoke at the passing-out of the first batch of the scheme. Twenty thousand cadets passed out after two years of service. The colourful ceremony was held at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp in Ede. Aregbesola said: “It is most pleasing for me to be here today. We are gathered here today to witness another culmination of our progressive effort and development policies. “When I assumed office, I realised that the greatest challenge was unemployment and we swung into action. In less than 100 days in office, we established OYES and engaged 20,000 youths. “Two years on, we thank God for the success of the programme. The World Bank recommended the scheme for study and adoption by other states. OYES is a programme like no other. Rather than being a white-collar or blue-collar job scheme, it was uniquely designed to, among other things, take the youths off the streets; orientate them on public service and make them see the need to contribute to the development of their society. “It is a stop-gap scheme to train youths and imbue them with positive work orientation and ethics, such as self-sustenance, resourcefulness, character and competence, and to give them the self-confidence to forge ahead and overcome life’s numerous challenges after they must have spent two years and are disengaged. “OYES is not about youth employment alone. It is also about re-inflating the state’s economy. The N200 million allowance paid to the cadets monthly sinks into the state’s economy. Our integration policy states that all uniforms, kits and equipment used by OYES should be obtained from markets spread round all local governments in the state. This has created a value chain, improved the economy, empowered families and created wealth.

College provost, bursar jailed for fraud From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


USTICE Mashood Abass of an Oyo State High Court yesterday sentenced the Provost of the Federal Co-operative College, Ibadan, Mrs. Ruth Aweto and and the Bursar, Mr. Adekanye Komolafe, to four years imprisonment each without option of fine. The two were found guilty of four of the eight-count charges preferred against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). They were found guilty of deceiving the Federal Government by presenting 41 casual staff as permanent staff of the college with annual emolument of N7,041,861.15 in the 2006 budget, whereas they were entitled to only N3,690,000. They were sentenced to oneyear imprisonment on each of the four counts for which they were found guilty. The sentence will run concurrently.

•Aregbesola (second right) addressing a crowd at the event. With him is his wife, Serifat (right)...yesterday. From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

“Two years after, we can proudly say that our dream has been realised. After their orientation, the cadets were deployed in various areas of public need, such as public works, sanitation monitoring, paramedics, sheriff corps and traffic marshalls. “Along the line, they were also trained in entrepreneurship and various vocations, so as to be the masters of their destinies. Additional skill training was incorporated, which involve partnerships and collaborations with the private sector and academic institutions, such as the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Osun State University, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Fountain University, Adeleke University and other private training organisations. “The cadets were encouraged to form co-operative societies, through which soft loans were guaranteed by the government to facilitate the success of the volunteers in their chosen vocation or area of entrepreneurship. “I am happy to announce that this administration’s effort is already yielding positive fruit. About 18,000 of the cadets who passed out have

found permanent jobs. “At the newly established Oloba Farm, OYES volunteers are engaged in cattle and ram fattening and in the broiler out-grower scheme. Besides, 74 cadets are undergoing training in modern agricultural practices in Leventis Foundation School and 610 others are being tutored in the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (OREAP), where they are already cultivating farms under a profitsharing arrangement. “Another 500 in the O’dua Farmers Academy are also being trained in modern farming techniques. Under a public-private partnership arrangement, 100 OYES volunteers are engaged in fish farming in Okuku and other farms. Some are engaged in honey-bee production. “In the OYESTECH, another initiative of our administration, 2,100 OYES cadets were trained in mobile phone and computer assembly by an electronics company planning to set up a factory here. The cadets will provide after-sales support and services for these products. “There are other areas of successes. For instance, 600 volunteers are currently engaged in the production of red bricks. One hundred and seventy-three of the paramedics

trained under the OYES programme have been deployed in the O-Ambulance scheme and two others are call-tracking personnel in the Ministry of Health. “The State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has engaged 1,501 cadets with teaching qualifications, who will be posted to primary schools in a short time. Over 600 cadets are to be trained and engaged as call operators by the State Emergency Call Service. “More than 300 are being supported to set up Farmers’ Input Supply Shops, which is also a PublicPrivate Partnership (PPP) arrangement. Over 5,000 are also being prepared to provide mobile money, epayment and allied services through various schemes.” Recalling how the scheme was critiised by the opposition at its inception, the governor said: “When we set out, we only had hope and a grim determination to change our society for good. We were buffeted on every side by detractors who derided the scheme and predicted its failure within the shortest possible time. I am happy that they have been disappointed. “When their prediction of failure failed, they started to fabricate lies against the scheme. They alleged we were

training the cadets as political thugs to be used to rig elections. They derided the cadets in the most uncomplimentary terms, including calling them ‘agbale oja’. I am most pleased that the cadets have imbibed, like true Omoluabi, the virtues of hardwork, dignity in labour and the leadership spirit that comes with public service. “I have it on record that no cadet has been indicted for criminal behaviour or wrongdoing. Like I charged you at your inauguration, you have shamed the critics. I assure you that we will never leave you or forsake you. You are the foundation of the development and revolution that have begun in our state. You have done marvellously well and I am so proud of you. “Today’s passing-out parade is a defining moment in our inexorable trot towards development. As our first batch of OYES volunteer cadets file out, we are certain that they are marching onto greatness, self-fulfilment and self-actualisation. “They are another testimony to the fact that the march of progress we embarked upon at the inception of our administration is unstoppable because it is undergirded by vision, passion and action.”

Tinubu, Mimiko, Olumilua pay tributes to Adegbonmire


ROMINENT politicians yesterday paid tributes to the late leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Chief Wumi Adegbonmire, at the Ondo Cultural Centre. They included party loyalists, scholars, former governors and traditional rulers, among others. ACN National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in a letter to the family, described the late Adegbonmire as “one of Nigeria’s most consistent progressive leaders, who made invaluable contribtuions to the evolution of politics in the Southwest. He said the late Asiwaju of Akureland was “dependable and did not predicate his progressive ideology simply on his closeness to the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo or Papa Adekunle Ajasin”.

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

Tinubu said: “It is sad that this rare tribe of committed, sincere, passionate and vastly experienced politicians are dimnishing at a time when Nigeria is sinking deeper into the abyss. “Chief Adegbonmire taught us never to despair. He inspired us never to give up hope. He challenged us never to relent in the struggle. He admonished us never to be intimidated by falsehood and blackmail. He encouraged us to believe that light will ultimately triumph over darkness and truth over falsehood.” Former Governor of the old Ondo State Evang. Bamidele Olumilua said the late Adegbonmire lived a life worthy of emulation. He described the late ACN leader as a man of great conviction and character.

Olumilua said: “Adegbonmire always stood by his words not minding what people are saying. He was a respectable man, who never smeared other people’s image. “He knew Akure people were members of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) but came to the Action Group (AG) because he believed in the late Awolowo’s political ideology. “Since then, he remained committed to sustaining the late Awolowo’s legacies. He is a real progressive, who had been moving along with the transformation agenda of the progressive party. He joined ACN because ACN is the grandson of Awolowo’s party.” Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who was represented by his Commissioner for En-

vironment, Mr. Sola Ebiseni, described the late ACN leader as a political ideologist. Mimiko said the late columnist’s write-ups contributed immensely to the growth of democracy. He said the late politician was chosen as the Asiwaju of Akure because of his selfless service to humanity. Former Minister of Transport Ebenezer Babatope said: “Even though the late Adegbonmire was an ACN member, loyalists of other parties respected him.” The ACN’s candidate in the last Ondo governorship election, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), described Adegbonmire as “a fine gentleman of calm and rational disposition”. Akeredolu said: “He was a very remarkable personality; principled and cultured. He eptimosed everything

one looked for in a leader honesty, integrity, probity, assiduity, sense of direction and purpose. It is sad to lose such a good man. We would love to have him with us for a few more years, but that is beyond us. “Our late papa led a sublime life and left indelible imprints on everything he did. He served this state and nation faithfully. A titan is gone, but as Longfellow said, ‘Dust, thou art to dust returneth was not spoken of the soul’,”. Also at the event were the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida; ACN deputy governorship candidate Dr. Paul Akintelure; Prince Olu Adegboro; Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde; Mrs. Adetutu Adefarati; Mr. Diran Iyatan; Mr. Sola Iji; Mr. Ade Adetimehin and Mr. Adegboyega Adedipe, among others.




Contractor, ISOPADEC quarrel over dud cheque


FIRM handling the security of oil pipelines and other installations in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, INELS, has petitioned Governor Rochas Okorocha over a dud cheque it allegedly received from the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC). The cheque was said to be for services the company rendered to the commission. Aggrieved workers of INELS yesterday barricaded the road to the Government House in Owerri, the state capital, as they protested the nonpayment of their salaries and arrears in the last 12 months following the alleged refusal

•Commission to contractor: nothing for you From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

of ISOPADEC to pay the firm. Despite threats by security agents to disperse them, the workers stood their ground. They gave the government 24 hours to pay the outstanding debt ISOPADEC is owing their company, threatening to vandalise the oil installations they were contracted to protect. Addressing reporters, their spokesman Ejekwu Wilson said: “We have been working for INELS but have not been paid in the last one year. The reason is that ISOPADEC has not paid the company. Today, we must be heard. We have

given the government 24 hours to prevail on the commission to pay our money, or we will devise other means to get our entitlements.” INELS’ Managing Director Ifeanyichukwu Nwankwo blamed the inability of his firm to pay the workers’ salaries on the dud cheque it received from ISOPADEC. He said: “ISOPADEC contracted INELS to provide surveillance for oil pipelines in Ohaji/Egbema. At first, ISOPADEC was paying regularly. But in the last one year all the cheques they have issued to our company are fake. We have petitioned the state government about our handicap

but to no avail. This is threatening the company’s reputation as we can’t pay our workers, who have taken to the streets in protest.” The company’s chief explained that ISOPADEC owes INELS over N61.7 million and issued a dud cheque of N15million as part-payment. Nwankwo added: “We have written ISOPADEC about the bounced cheques but nothing has been done to correct it or pay up the debt owed the company. This has brought untold hardship to the company and its workers.” ISOPADEC’s Managing Director Prince Henry Okafor said the commission terminat-

ed the contract with INELS when it discovered that the contractor was not an indigene of Imo State. This, he said, followed a protest by youths from the oil producing communities calling for the termination of the contract. Okafor said: “We equally found out that the company was not doing the job. Besides, it will be foolhardy to allow a non-indigene to guard oil pipelines in the volatile communities. The man can do any other job in the state but not in the oil producing areas. On the cheque, the commission stopped the payment after our findings about the claims of the company, which were not true.”

Southeast PDP leaders deny Kalu’s return From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia


HE Southeast zonal leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it rejected the attempted return of former Abia Stat Governor Orji Uzor Kalu to the party. It denied the rumour that the former governor has been readmitted into the party. A statement by its National Vice-Chairman (Southeast), Col Austin Akobundu (rtd), said the Southeast PDP has written the party’s national leadership that Kalu has not been readmitted and that the party in the zone has no intention to do so. Also, Abia State Executive Council (Exco) members, comprising the commissioners and other top government functionaries, have criticized a statement credited to Kalu that they have not been receiving their remunerations from the Theodore Orji administration. Akobundu said there were reasons to say Dr Kalu is a paid agent of a presidential aspirant, whose wants to destabilise the PDP in the Southeast. According to him, Kalu’s attempt to rejoin the party has been rejected by his ward, local government and state chapters of the party. The PDP zonal chair said investigations showed that the former governor was deceived by some former party bigwigs in his ward that they were in a position to readmit him into the party. Akobundu explained that Kalu’s purported readmission was a contravention of Article 8, Section 8 of the party’s constitution (as amended). He said the attempt is, therefore, void ab initio.

•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi (middle) with the the Senior Prefect of Eastern Academy, Chukwuneke Vivian Ogechukwu (right) and her assistant, Ifejiokwu Unoma (left), when the governor visited their school...on Monday

Gastroenteritis outbreak in seven Anambra communities •Fed Govt cautions state on likely malaria epidemic


OLLOWING last year’s floods in Anambra State, an outbreak of gastroenteritis has been reported in seven communities. The state government has written to the Federal Ministry of Health on the matter. It wrote another letter to the ministry, alerting the state of the imminent outbreak of yellow fever in the country, following reported cases in Cameroun and Darfur, Sudan. The Federal Ministry of Health has, therefore, despatched a team of experts to investigate the matter in Ayamelum Local Government. The Federal Ministry of Health, through its Chief Consultant Epidemiologist, Dr Akin Oyemakinde, wrote two separate letters on the matter to the Commissioner for Health. The letter alerted the state to reported cases of gastroenteritis in Ayamelum, adding that the affected areas include Akantato, Amikwe, Aturia, Mkpuocha, Orenja, Umuali and Omor, which are mostly rural areas. The investigation team discovered that the outbreak started on October 31, last year, when one of the health facilities reported to the Local Government (DSNO) the increased number of gastroenteritis cases in Ayamelum.

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

They noted that four cases of cholera were found to be negative, while recommending test kits to assist in early diagnosis and establishing a functional public health laboratory in the state. Other recommendation by the investigative team is the provision of potable water by digging boreholes in Omor community to households, among others. Oyemakinde said: “The major sources of water supply are poorly dug and unprotected wells, unprotected springs, streams, ponds, few hand-pump boreholes and private boreholes. “Further environmental assessment revealed that open defecation is highly practised by majority of the villagers. Pit latrines, where found, are used by several households. The cause of the outbreak was found to be the contamination of water sources following the floods.” Addressing reporters yesterday in Awka, the state epidemiologist, Dr Emmanuel Okafor, explained that proper actions were being taken on the matters. He urged the residents to live in decent environments, adding that it is advisable to boil water before drinking.

Africa is virgin land for investment, says Obi


NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi has described Africa as a virgin land for investment in almost all the sectors of human interests, ranging from Information Communication Technology (ICT) to agriculture. The governor spoke at the Canadian High Commission’s office in Abuja during a meeting with the visiting Canadian Minister of International Trade, Mr Ed Fast. Obi told the minister that foreigners have a wrong per-

ception of Nigeria by portraying worse scenarios than what is on the ground. According to him, though things were bad in the past, the nation, under President Goodluck Jonathan, is making progress. Obi said: “President Jonathan took over the reins of power when things had already gone bad. He is striving to correct the anomalies and I can tell you that he is succeeding. The opposition he has today is the by-product of

‘President Jonathan took over the reins of power when things had already gone bad. He is striving to correct the anomalies and I can tell you that he is succeeding’ a reform movement, whereby those who benefited from

the past reforms are fighting back.” The governor assured the Canadian minister that Nigeria is a place where investors would reap high returns on their investments because of the nation’s large market. The visiting minister said Canada is interested in increasing the volume of its trade in Nigeria by investing in ICT, health, education, oil and gas. The Canadian High Com-

missioner in Nigeria, Chris Cooter said he invited Obi to the meeting with the minister because the High Commission was convinced about his commitment to Nigeria and his people. At the event were the Nigerian Ambassador to Canada, Chief Ojo Maduekwe; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Mohammed; Chris Azubogu, The Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Uju Okonkwo, among others.

Ezu River: 11 bodies to be exhumed, reburied •Pathologists exhume four From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


OLICE and government pathologists have exhumed four of the 15 bodies buried at the bank of Ezu River between Anambra and Enugu states’ boundary for autopsy. Eleven other bodies will be exhumed and reburied in the next one week by the team of pathologists, led by the police consultant pathologist from Abuja, simply identified as Dr Wilson. Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Lawrence Ikeakor, gave the figures yesterday when he spoke with The Nation in Awka, the state capital. During the exhumation on Monday, the pathologists did not allow anybody to witness the exercise, citing health reasons. Ikeakor said: “Four bodies were exhumed on Monday and pathologists took samples for toxicological examination. “This is a test that takes some time for the result to come out. We should be patient for them to come up with their result.” The bodies were taken to Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, for the autopsy. “If you want to do anything scientifically acceptable, it has to be thorough. An autopsy is a painstaking exercise, if we have to bring out an acceptable result. “For the remaining 11, they would be exhumed and taken to another place for reburial because that river is the source of water for the community. What we did before now was just an emergency thing. “We will exhume them and take them elsewhere for reburial to remove the psychological impact on the community in the use of the water for any activity. It will be done within the next one week when the pathologists are expected back.”

NLNG contest winner gets $100,000 From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


HE Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Prize for Literature winner, Anambra-born Belgium-based writer Chika Unigwe, was yesterday presented with $100,000 (about N15million) at the Princess Alexandria Auditorium of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Anambra State Governor Peter Obi attended the event to honour the writer. The governor said it is painful seeing Nigerians celebrating vanity when those who should hide their face in shame prance about without feeling any qualms about their misdeeds. NLNG Managing Director Babs Omotowa said the company was sponsoring the prize because “literacy and numeracy skills are the bedrock of progress and prosperity in the modern world.” He congratulated Unigwe for winning the prize.



NEWS Reps probe oil bloc sale


HE House of Representatives is to conduct an investigation into the sale of Oil Mining License, (OML) 30. Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) was mandated to carry out the investigation on the transaction allegedly conducted with a questionable oil exploring company and report to the House within three weeks. The decision of the lawmakers followed the adoption of a motion under point of order by Yusuf Tajudeen (PDP, Kogi), who noted that sometime in November 2012, OML 30 located in the western Niger Delta area was sold to Heritage, a company managed by a Briton. He said: “The sale of OML 30 to Heritage Oil, a company, whose Chief Executive’s antecedent is allegedly unsavoury is highly disturbing. “The past activities of the

MEND disowns Okah, Azizi

From: Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

British owner of Heritage Oil led to prolonged militia operations and political instability in Angola and Equatorial Guinea. “Nigeria’s involvement with a company owned by an individual whose shadowy business ethics is recognised all over the world will raised doubts about the country’s quest for growth and development. “Whenever Heritage Oil commences operations, the mercenary credential of its chief executive could pose a security threat in the Niger Delta. “This development will have adverse effect on Nigeria’s revenue, economy, infrastructural and technical development.” Speaker Aminu Tambuwal put the motion to voice vote and was unanimously adopted.

•Says no plan to unleash mayhem

Kuku calls for restraint




HE Presidential Amnesty Office has appealed to ex-militant leaders to embrace peace and eschew comments that could heat up the polity. Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Kingsley Kuku made the appeal, following the controversy involving top MEND leaders. He said: “My appeal to ex-militant leaders is to be circumspect in their comments. “They need to be cautious about what they say as it could convey different meanings to different people and unnecessarily heat up the Niger Delta and the country. “Unguarded comments have the potential to inflame passion. “I believe this is the time for them to close ranks and not be seen to as fighting each other. “I urge them to continue to utilise all

From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

available channels of communicating their grievances to the government. “Of course, they know that my office is always open to them,” Kuku said. In a statement yesterday by the Head of Media and Communications, Daniel Alabrah in Abuja, Kuku said the approved stipends for the ex-militants are paid into their bank accounts at the end of the month and not through any of their former leaders. “Let me emphasise that we do not pay the monthly stipend of these ex-militants through their former leaders. “Rather, we do so through the bank account details given to the office. “This is an incontrovertible fact that can be verified from any of the banks we use.”

HE conviction of a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, by a South African court last week, has split the militant group. Another faction yesterday dismissed an earlier threat of war by Okah’s loyalists. A ‘spokesperson’ of the group, Comrade Azizi, said From Shola O’Neil, Warri and “Henry Okah is NOT and Delta indigenes, we will issue the group would attack oil faBisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt has never been viewed as the a formal statement in due cilities and target South African business interests in retali- tomorrow in Johannesburg, leader or founder of MEND course stating our views and but rather known as a plans for the future. ation. South Africa. “The Movement for the sympathiser and supporter of Okah’s loyalists told the The statement described our cause. Emancipation of the Niger Minister of Niger Delta Af- Okah as a sympathiser to the “Our fighters are freedom Delta (MEND) would once fairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, group’s cause and not a founder not to come to the Niger Delta. as claimed by Azizi’s statement. fighters who are fighting for again strongly urge Nigerians From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja justice, the emancipation of the and the media to disregard any But Jomo Gbomo, the He corrected the impression Niger Delta and control of our statement from this person.” RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said former MEND spokesperson, yesterAzizi’s group said Okah Education Minister, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, is day issued a statement dis- created by Azizi that MEND God-given resources and not was championing a cause to assassins as stated by this so- was convicted because of Aso grandstanding and reckless over her allegations that the owning the threat. tear the country part. Rock politics. called Comrade Azizi. Yar’Adua-Jonathan administration squandered $67 billion left He said: “MEND wishes to Jomo Gbomo said they are “Simply because he refused “Our struggle is NOT and behind by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in foreign advise Nigerians and the me- fighting the injustice in the to be bought over.” has never been about the disreserves. dia to disregard the pathetic Niger Delta. It asked the South African integration of Nigeria or a Quoting a report from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), attempt at propaganda by a soHe said in due time the origiJonathan said the former Vice-President of the World Bank “lied called Comrade Azizi and his nal MEND would react to “pre- North and South fight as people to admonish their govshamelessly by publishing false figures.” statements, which are not au- vailing circumstances” in the stated by this so-called Com- ernment to stay away from events that happened in Nigerade Azizi. He challenged her to state her source of information to au- thentic and statements ema- country. ria or else, some of them (South “With regards to the trial, thenticate her claims. nating from MEND.” “As claimed by Azizi, MEND judgment and sentencing of Africans) would pay dearly for The President spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Jomo Gbomo also disowned would like to clarify the followHenry Okah and other Niger it. Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who addressed reporters yes- Okah, who will be convicted ing: terday in Abuja. He said his government would not dignify her sweeping statements by joining her for a national debate that she asked for. Expressing disappointment, Okupe said a woman of Ezekwesili’s status must base her information on facts and figures. Said he: “You will not expect a person of that calibre to descend to the level of table rouser. “We find it surprising that after an extensive explanation by the Hon. Minister of Information whereby facts were stated regarding the weighty and sweeping statements made by Mrs. Oby Ezekewsili, rather than cite the sources and establish the credibility of her figures, has decided to divert attention from the issues she raised by calling for a national debate on issues that are not in contention. “Ordinarily, the call by Mrs. Ezekwesili for a National Debate with the Minister of Information ought to have been ignored and allowed to fall flat. However, we are compelled to respond in view of the penchant by some highly-placed Nigerians, who use government offices to build up reputations for themselves and then later turn on the same government to denigrate it, just to play to the gallery and incite the public through dissemination of false, unsubstantiated and malicious information. “Rather than substantiate her claims, Mrs. Ezekwesili chooses conveniently to grandstand, claiming that she will remain silent until ‘a responsible response’ is given to her demand on accountability. A more rational approach would have been for her, being the Accuser or Agent Provocateur to assume the responsibility of providing the facts to back her claims.” Explaining the activities of government, Okupe said: “Money is not spent unless it is budgeted for. Can you call that squan- •Lagos State Commissioner for Environment Tunji Bello addressing a news conference at the Conference Room, State Secretariat, Alausa, dering?” Ikeja…yesterday. With him are Permanent Secretary ,Office of Drainage Service, Muyideen Akinsanya (left) and Special Adviser to the According to him, the money spent on running the govern- Governor on Environment Taofiq Folamin. PHOTO:OMOSEYIN MOSES ment is what the CBN remits to the federation, which is then shared by the three tiers of government i.e. Federal, State and Local Government. “The corresponding allocation to the Federal Government, based on the approved benchmark, is then dispensed by the Irabor denied the allegation. From Okungbowa Aiwerie, word of the security guard HERE was commotion Federal Government and the MDAs according to the items speciHe claimed that he only against that of my client because Asaba yesterday in the Warri fied and approved by the National Assembly in the budget of used a bottle of anointed wa- it was only the two of them who Magistrate Court 1 afthat year. trate, Ena Odjugo, adjourned ter procured from a popular “The unspent balance plus income from other income from ter an accused was allegedly the matter till February 7 , fol- Lagos prophet to anoint him- were present. “The issue should not be exports other than oil constitute the nation’s foreign reserve, a caught sprinkling ‘water’ on lowing the incident. self. overblown. The magistrate simthe prosecutor’s table before portion of which is kept as the excess crude oil reserve. The court was due to rule on His counsel, Oghenejabor ply said he was indisposed and “The latter is shared periodically by the three tiers of govern- proceedings. The accused, a lawyer and an application by the accused’s Ikimi, said his client had done that both parties should take a ment.” counsel, seeking a stay of fur- no wrong. date. Quoting a report from the CBN, Okupe said: “It is factually activist, was arrested for alleg- ther proceeding. His words: “I was in court “It was there that I was incorrect to say that the reserves of the government were dipped edly trying to bribe a police A source told The Nation that at 8.15. At 8.45am, a court clerk into or misapplied. It is important to note that the Federal Gov- officer with N700,000 to facili- the accused allegedly walked told me that the magistrate shown the letter by the prosecution, asking for an adjournment. ernment does not dip its hands into the external reserves. Exter- tate the release of a kidnap sus- into the court at about 7.30 am wanted to see me. “We chose one of the dates nal reserves are available for use in settling both public and pect. “I was inside the registrar’s suggested by the prosecution. He was arraigned for and went to the prosecutor’s private sector foreign currency obligations of Nigeria. Whendesk. office, which was filled with The case was initially adjourned ever a ministry or agency of government needs to incur ap- allgedly perverting justice and He allegedly sprinkled water court workers, when I was told from January 25 till January 29 assisting a kidnap suspect. proved expenditures in foreign currency (e.g. payment of goods for ruling. The lawyer, identified as on the prosecutor’s desk but he of the allegation. and services, settlement of external debt etc.) it must provide was accosted by the security “I immediately sent for my “The matter was then adthe naira equivalent to the CBN before the bank sells the re- Casely Omon-Irabor, is on guard. client, who refuted same. journed till February 7.” quired foreign currency. The same applies to the private sec- bail. It was learnt that Omon-“I concluded that it was the It was learnt that the Magistor.”

Ezekwesili is grandstanding, says Jonathan


Lawyer accused of sprinkling ‘water’ in court


KEITA offers to pay teammates’ Pg. bonuses 14

Sport Wednesday, January 30, 2013



We’re not here for revenge Pg. 14

Adebayor ready to put Togo in quarters Pg. 14

We are half way through —Appiah

Pg. 14

•Yaya Toure



AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013...AFCON 2013



Innocent Amomoh



Ivory Coast not here for revenge

Ghana stars get $35k bonuses

MALI'S KEITA OFFERS to pay teammates’ bonuses Mourinho's associate, central to Cape Verde’s fairytale NE of the first tasks for Cape Verde coach, Lucio Antunes after leading his little known team to the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals was to call friend Jose Mourinho to say happy birthday. The Real Madrid boss was likely to be the one doing the congratulating after Antunes guided his the team from the small Island nation to the last eight of Africa's top tournament. Antunes' achievements in


South Africa are starting to be nearly as special as those of Mourinho. He has been at the heart of Cape Verde's fairytale, backing up his outspoken and charismatic character with tactically astute coaching. More than that, he's clearly a motivating force for his squad. Captain Fernando Neves says Antunes is "very good" as a coach but also like an older brother for the players.


against Ghana, Mali and Niger. This was Le Roy's seventh AFCON and his worst-ever finish, having won the tournament with Cameroon in 1998, while he also guided Senegal and Ghana to the semifinals. DR Congo needed to win on Monday and although they scored first against the Eagles and looked like progressing to the next round, they could only muster a 1-1 draw. "It is sad to be out of the competition, especially as we did not lose," Le Roy told Reuters. "It's been a pleasure to work with the players but this is the end of a great adventure. It's frustrating to lose but that's the reality. "We never really had enough experience in our side. If we did, we would have closed out our previous match against Niger and won that to be in a much stronger position going into our last group game." He added: "Congo is a massive country with a deep passion for the game. It's a quality national side that will get better in time.”

R CONGO coach Claude Le Roy suggested that he may quit his post following their group-stage exit at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. The Leopards finished third in Group B with three points after they drew all three their games


Igesund relishes Mali challenge Tunisia hopeful Msakni OUTH AFRICAN coach the Africa Cup of Nations. Whoever Bafana Bafana faced, Gordon Igesund has embraced the challenge of would be equally tough, he said on facing Mali in the quarter-finals of Tuesday. The Eagles drew their final pool match against Democratic Republic of Congo 1-1 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Monday to ensure their progress as Group B runners-up behind Ghana. They would now face the hosts at the same venue on Saturday night. "It’s obviously going to be tough at this stage of the competition, no matter who you’re playing," Igesund told reporters on Tuesday. "Mali are a very talented team, with very good players. They play a little bit differently from most of the teams we’ve played so far. They like to slow things down, they like


to knock the ball around, they are very comfortable on the ball. "The important thing is we’re there now and are working on progressing from here." The west Africans have a rich pedigree in the continental showpiece, reaching the semi-finals on five of the seven times they have reached the finals, including a third-place finish at the last competitions in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. "They’re all big boys, I looked at them last night and all 11 players are tall players," the coach said. "When we have the ball we’ll have to use it well. We’ll have to keep it on the ground, get behind them and put pressure on their defence."

will retrun to face Togo


UNISIA coach Sami Trabelsi says he expects key player Youssef Msakni to recover from a bronchial infection in time to face Togo in tonight’s crucial African Cup of Nations game at the Mbombela Stadium. Msakni did not take part in training with the rest of the Tunisia squad on Monday, but Trabelsi said Tuesday that the midfielder will be healthy enough to join his teammates for a later session. The 22-year-old prodigy, who plays for Lekhwiya in Qatar, scored a late winner to give Tunisia a 1-0 victory over Algeria in its opening game.

Tunisia has three points but trails Togo on goal difference in Group D, meaning only victory on Wednesday will see the Tunisians progress to the quarterfinals.

Taofeek Babalola Reporting from South Africa









Amosun proffers solution to insecurity

Specialist hospital in Uyo

Obi’s wife cheers up kids



Akwa Ibom



AJORITY Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Mulikat Skande Adeola has launched Jokodolu Foundation, a nonprofit, non-governmental organisation aimed at helping educationally and economically disadvantaged students. The event, which took place at the new Chelsea Hotel in Abuja, was attended by a large number of dignitaries. Vice-President Namadi Sambo was represented by Senator Isaiah Balat. Other guests were Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his Deputy, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as well as past and serving members of the House.




Page 17


Lawmaker launches NGO for challenged pupils From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja

Dignitaries from the executive arm of government also attended the programme. Speaking on the structure of the foundation, Akande-Adeola said the mission statement of the foundation is to support and empower indigent students, children and women in order to help them to realise their God-given potential. In a chat with Newsextra, she said: ”The name Jokodolu has been in existence since 2008 and it’s my family name back in Ogbomoso in

This foundation decided to lay much emphasis on education because we all know that education is the basis for any development in the world today. Without education, an individual cannot achieve much, and with an illiterate society, a country cannot develop my constituency. “The foundation aims at assisting the less-privileged children pay their school fees. This is to ensure

that they go to school. The foundation will also assist widows, by empowering them so that they could be self-reliant in order to take

care of their children. “This foundation decided to lay much emphasis on education because we all know that education is the basis for any development in the world today. Without education, an individual cannot achieve much; and with an illiterate society, a country cannot develop or achieve greatness. “I’ve noticed that a lot of people have challenges paying for their school fees. Some of them don’t even have as much as N6, 000 to pay fees for the Joint Ad•Continued on Page 45


NUGU State has resuscitated its moribund water schemes. Before now, taps in the state were dry, leaving residents thirsty and travelling far in search of the precious liquid. As government rehabilitated the water schemes and water flowed from the taps, residents became jubilant. Before the administration of Governor Sullivan Chime, water supply in the state was one of those problems long declared to be intractable by previous administrations. But that era has since become history with the breakthroughs recorded by the Chime administration in the areas of regular water generation and distribution in both the urban and rural areas. The most significant and conspicuous of these achievements, however, is the government’s successes in the area of urban water supply, especially with the restoration of public taps in Enugu State that were last seen to be functional more than three decades ago. Needless to say, residents and visitors alike, have welcomed this development with such jubilation and excitement that they have promptly nicknamed the taps ‘Aqua Sullivan’ (Sullivan’s Water). The government started this remarkable process of restoration with the complete removal of old steel and asbestos pipes in the urban areas - some of them dated as far back as 1929and replacing them with safer and more durable PVC pipes. This not only helped to broaden the water supply channels and networks but also ensured that it reached all nook and cranny of the cities. Regular supply of potable water has since ceased to be the exclusive privilege of the rich who live in the high brow areas of the coal city. Residents of such less-regarded areas of Obiagu, Abakpa, Achara Layout, Idaw River and Emene are now happy

•Children fetch water from the new street taps

Taps run again in Enugu From Chris Orji, Enugu

and proud beneficiaries of the taps that sit sedately in front of their respective homes. Gone are the long treks to water boreholes or wells as well as the queues and the frequent fights that Enugu residents had endured all these years. It is of record that a generation of Enugu residents, especially those in the low profile habitats, never had the opportunity available today to enjoy this all-important social service. It is not yet uhuru as the service

Residents jubilant is yet to get to all the areas. But the affected residents are confident that with the enormity and the pace of work still being done by the state Water Corporation on the project, it would be a matter of time before the service gets to their quarters. Some of the residents expressed their joy and excitement. Mrs. Margaret Uche, a petty trader who lives in Obiagu, told Newsextra that if anyone had told her that she would ever see a tap running

freely in front of her ‘face me I face you’ residence in her lifetime, she would laugh the fellow away. She said: “I grew up to believe that tap water was for the rich people living in GRA (Government Reserved Area) and such places. I have lived here for 25 years and I never saw any functional tap until now.” Another citizen, James Onoh who resides in Achara Layout, said that even though the service was still to reach his residence, he was

optimistic that it would soon get there given the administration’s track record in keeping its promises to the people. He said: “In Sullivan Chime, we have seen a governor who has always kept his promises; who has always completed his projects. Even though our own tap is yet to be activated, we know that it will get to us in no distant time. We see that work is going on and we are confident that in no time, we will join our fellow residents to enjoy this wonderful present.” At inception, the administration had declared a target to boost the state’s water supply capacity from under 20,000 cubic meters to 77,000 cubic meters ca•Continued on Page 45



Akwa Ibom gets specialist hospital

T •Governor Akpabio

HE Government of Akwa Ibom State has lauded the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for approving the establishment of a Specialist Hospital in the state. The state Commissioner for Education, Mrs Eunice Thomas, gave the commendation while handing over the site for the construction of the hospital to the commission on Monday in Mkpat Enin. According to the commissioner, the hospital will be built on the Akwa Ibom State Uni-

Council inaugurates new street


ESIDENTS of Ojodu in Ojodu Local Council Development Area of Lagos State were in high spirits on Tuesday when the chairman of the council, Hon Muyiwa Oloro commissioned Otuyelu Street. The council chief thanked the residents for their support in completing the project. He also appreciated the efforts of his team in helping to fulfill his promises to the people. He said in his first year in office, the Community Development Committee and Community Development Association assisted his team in completing some projects . The council chair said road construction was one of his priorities when he assumed office and this he had done to a reasonable extent. He promised to do more but enjoined them to pay their taxes and dues to make this possible. He said:“More roads have been tarred

By Duro Babayemi

within the community and we will not relent in our effort to make the people happy by rehabilitating more roads”. According to a former lawmaker, Hon Bayo Odulana, “I have lived in this community. I am part of the community, I have served the community and cannot leave the community.” The former lamaker said that when he was at Ojodu, some of the roads were in bad shape as it was hard for vehicles to move but today the story had changed. We now have motorable roads and this is to say government is working and council chair is living up to expectation, delivering dividends of democracy to the residents. He promised that more roads would be rehabilitated in a short while.

Akwa Ibom versity campus. “The hospital is expected to be completed in 30 months. It will contain 260 special rooms and built on 33 hectares of land on the campus. “The state government is appreciative of the commission’s sensitivity and responsiveness to the people, who suffered the negative effect of oil exploration,’’ Thomas said. She said that the government promptly allocated land for the project to fast track its execution. He noted that the action demonstrated the importance which government attached to the health of the people. Thomas called on youths and elders of Mkpat Enin to cooperate with the contractors and take advantage of job opportunities from the project by improving their economic status. Also speaking, the Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom on the NDDC board, Mr Imaobong Inyang, said that the hospital project would ensure improved healthcare delivery to the people. The commissioner, who was represented by Mr Godfrey Ibokwe, said that services of the hospital would compare favourably with those obtainable outside the country. Inyang charged the contractors and the consultants to keep to the time frame and to ensure that the required specifications were met. Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University, Prof. Sunday

Al-makura sets up committee on missing cows


OVEROR Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has set up a committee to recover over 10,000 cows that got missing during the recent communal crisis in the state.


•Bulgarian Ambassador to Nigeria Miroslav Komarou(left) when he visited Governor Wamakko in Sokoto

Lawmaker tackles water scarcity


MEMBER of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Lagos Mainland 1 Constituency, Hon. Bashir Oloto, has inaugurated boreholes worth N8 million in his constituency to ease water scarcity.

Group lifts the needy N Ijebu, Ogun State-based philanthropic organisation, Royal Galaxy Klub, has extended its hand of fellowship to the needy in its domain. Last weekend, it reached out to an SOS Children’s Village and a public hospital with electronic gadgets, food items and other household materials worth millions of naira as part of activities marking its 25th year anniversary. Among items donated by the 20-member organisation include ceiling fans, water dispensers, mattresses, bags of rice, bed-spreads, wall clocks, mosquito nets, refrigerators, television sets, Indomie noodles and other food items. The beneficiaries were inmates of the Save-Our-Soul (SOS) Children’s Village, Owu-Ijebu, Ijebu East Local Government Area and Ijebu-Igbo General Hospital, IjebuIgbo, Ijebu-North Local Government Area of the state. The managements of the two institutions received the donations on behalf of the beneficiaries. Speaking on the kind gesture, Royal King Olasubomi Odunsi, who is the group’s chairman, said the choice of the two public institutions was informed by the need to assist those in dire need of support. He explained that the gesture was part of his organisation’s annual little ways of giving back to the society through donations to various institutions in Ijebu land.


By Dada Aladelokun

In their separate responses, Mr. Anthony Inusa-Ahmed, who is the director of the OwuIjebu SOS Children’s Village, and Dr. Olugbenga Oyefeso, a consultant at the IjebuIgbo General Hospital, representing the Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Hospital Management Board, expressed delight for the material donations. Inusa’Ahmed said: “I am amazed seeing so many materials you have donated to our village which will go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of the inmates here. When I assumed office here a year ago, I had thought this village had closed down because of what I met on ground. On the other hand, I felt it was a challenge for me to reach out to people to come to our aid. But since then, a lot of individuals and organisations have been coming here to assist us both financially and material”. A total of 176 inmates comprising 100 children and 58 youths, were said to be under the care of the village. Also, Dr. Oyefeso implored other philanthropic bodies in Ijebu land to emulate the kind gesture of Royal Galaxy Klub and assist the hospital to meet its needs, insisting that the government cannot do it all alone.

•Lagos Market Board Secretary Mrs Folasade Tinubu-Ojo(left) assisting Ojokoro Council Chairman, Hon Benjamin Olabinjo to present car keys to the Iyaloja of the council, Alhaja Bunmi Kareem and Babaloja,AlhajiAkinloye Oladejo

Free exercise books, helmets


HE chairman, Caretaker Committee, Emure Local Government Area in Ekiti State, Hon Ezekiel Tosin Olotu has donated helmets to commercial motorcyclists and exercise books to pupils of primary schools in the area. Speaking on the occasion, Hon Olotu said the safety of the motorcyclists was the reason behind the project and the need to cushion the effect of the economic crunch on the parents. About 600 helmets were given out. The council chief used the occasion to reel off some of his achievements since he came into office . They include: grading of streets and access roads to some communities, construction of drains and box culverts; extension of electricity to Owode, Ose Oniya, Alabamarun and other communities within the council; renovation of market stalls at Owode in Emure-Ekiti, supervision of five kilometer state road. The council also distributed farm inputs to farmers to boost productivity. It provided medical facilities to

301 sanitation defaulters arraigned


•Some members of the association at the event

O fewer than 310 offenders appeared before 10 Mobile Courts in Kano on Saturday for non-compliance with the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in Kano State. This is contained in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Kano State Ministry of Environment, Hajiya Maryam Abdulkadir, in Kano. Abdulkadir said that N680,238 was realised as fine by the 10 Mobile Courts that tried the defaulters. The state’s Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, urged residents of the state to give special attention to the monthly environmental exercise as part of their contribution to ensuring cleaner environments.


various health centres and acquired, cleared and surveyed the 30 hectares of land for the proposed palm kernel industry by the state government. The relative peace in the area is premised on logistics provided for security personnel by the council administration, regular security •Hon Olotu meetings and prompt payment of monthly allowances to vigilance group and provision of materials to the council security guards. He urged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by obeying traffic rules and regulations, advising them to put on the helmets while operating on roads. Olotu sought support for Governor Fayemi in his effort to take the state to an enviable height saying: “There is no gainsaying the fact that Ekiti State had witnessed tremendous changes within the period of his administration. We should all join hands with him so as to enjoy more dividends of democracy.” He thanked the Elemure of Emure and other traditional rulers in the council for their support and stressed the need to maintain peace in the area to engender meaningful development Present at the occasion were member representing Emure Constituency in the Ekiti Etate House at Assembly Hon. Kehinde Boluwade, The Oba presented by Chief Toyin Oyo, the Secretary to the lcouncil, Hon. Mrs Titi Bashorun, among others.

By Oziegbe Okoeki

Oloto, who is the Vice Chairman, House Committee on Transportation, Commerce and Industry, did the commissioning alongside the representative of the Lagos State Water Corporation who facilitated the laying of pipes to the various streets in Mainland. According to the lawmaker, “The provision of pipe borne water to 12 streets in my constituency is to assist residents in providing adequate and uninterrupted water supply to the people of Mainland”. The areas that benefitted from Oloto’s gesture include: Fagbayi Lane, Balo Street, Esugbayi, Akinlolu, Ogundimu, Oba Odesanya way, among others. Expressing his gratitude to the people of Mainland for their support and prayers, Oloto said: “I want to tell my constituents that I will continue to provide basic amenities to them at any given time”. Pointing out his effort at improving the wellbeing of his people in recent times, the lawmaker said, “I donated power generating sets to some mosques, rehabilitated bore holes in some mosques and rehabilitated Otumara at Ilaye. I also donated generating sets to some streets to power boreholes when there is no electricity, most especially Evans Square and Makojko Ward A & B. The lawmaker further explained that last year, he organised a football competition which was competed for by the 11 wards in his constituency, saying that he would continue to sponsor Sporting activities to discover talents in the state in order to boost government efforts in the ‘Catching Them Young Programme’. He also promised to embark on poverty alleviation programmes this year which will include giving of loans to market men and women, distribution of JAMB and GCE forms to students and empowering artisans.

‘We run participatory govt ‘

USHIN Local Government Area in Lagos State has held a stakeholders forum on this year’s budget. In his opening remarks, the chairman of the council Hon. Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan, stressed the need for constant consultation with the governed to give them a sense of belonging and tap from their reservoir of knowledge. Breaking from the norm where budget proposals are announced by governments without input from the ultimate beneficiaries, Adepitan said: “The major reason we have gathered here today is to deliberate on the nature and contents of the budget you all want for the people of Mushin Local Government Area in this year. In the past, we used the informal methods to seek people’s opinions on the budget preparation, but this year, we have decided to come directly so that the good people of Mushin will own the budget and its contents”. He urged those at the forum to make useful suggestions on projects within their communities that can impact positively on the gen-


erality of the residents if embarked upon, and that those not at the gathering could send opinions to the chairman for consideration. Adepitan charged the people to address challenges facing their wards, noting that the council had been adjudged the best performing local government in Southwest and in education in the previous year. He said this was made possible because of its strides in road construction, renovation of primary health centres, mobile clinic, poverty eradication, free distribution of exercise books, JAMB and WAEC forms and construction of giant digital library named after Dr Muiz Adeyemi Banire. Describing the stakeholder’s forum as a commitment between the people and the government, the council chief sought their support to tackle poverty headlong because of its capability to lure people from crime saying: “We must tackle the issue of poverty with determination and commitment never seen be fore because this is the only way to lure our people from “.

•From left:The Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) Chairman in Mushin, Aremo Michael Kufisile, HOD Budget, Planning and Statistics Mr Femi Babalola; Hon Adepitan and the Vice Chairman, Hon Emmanuel Bamigboye at the forum


T was yet another opportunity for careful stocktaking for Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State as the House Committee on Chieftaincy and Local Govt Affairs and the Project Monitoring Unit of the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs vis-

Cleric urges vigilance HE Federal Government has been urged to be vigilant on security matters in the New Year. Nigerians have also been told to be security conscious. The advice was given by the Senior Pastor of Kings in Christ Church Pastor Chidi Anthony during a press conference. According to him, “2013 will signal the end of Boko Haram but another group will emerge within the country”. As a way out, he enjoined Nigerians to pray well and for President Goodluck Jonathan to surround himself with true men of God, that would assist him seek the face of God. This has become imperative become imperative because “human wisdom has failed us, we need divine help”. Pastor Anthony equally advised government to give more attention to the poor through popular programmes to reduce the high rate of poverty in the land saying, “no doubt, the poor masses are at the receiving end of the economic crunch. Government needs to see to their plight to reduce poverty and crime”. Asked how his church is tackling poverty, he said the church has a department that handles the welfare of members, saying the department distributes items such as food, cash, clothings and even rent to individuals that are considered poor. Speaking on prosperity sermons that is in vigil in churches, the man of God said it is regrettable that churches have abandoned kernel message

He announced this during a meeting with leaders of the Fulani ethnic group in the state at his private residence in Lafia. Al-Makura said that the committee would be saddled with the responsibility of recovering all the missing cows across the state.

of Jesus Christ which is salvation of the soul. He said this is central to his ministry, noting that obedience to God’s laws naturally attracts prosperity. He said a disciplined soul encourages hard work and industry while unchecked prosperity engenders corruption, crime and condemnable sins. On 2015 elections,he said President Gooluck Jonathan would contest and win again but will disappoint Nigerians because of the people arround him. Pastor Anthony did not raise any eye brow about churches paying taxes to government. He said: “We have a regular accounting sys-

•Pastor Anthony

tem that explains what we receive and how it is spent. We are not afraid of any government policy in that direction” He enjoined Nigeriansto be close to God because the country will witness economic boom and divine visitation.

It would be recalled that some parts of the state, particularly Nasarawa South Senatorial District, have been enmeshed in communal crisis since June last year. In the crisis, many people were killed, property worth several millions of naira were destroyed, while thousands of cows got missing. Al-Makura assured the leadership of the Fulani group that the committee would handle the assignment efficiently, adding that the necessary logistics would be given to the committee to make its assignment easier. He said that members of the committee included soldiers, policemen, members of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), as well as some state government officials. “The committee will visit every nook and cranny of the state to ensure that all the missing cows are found,’’ he stressed. Besides, Al-Makura announced that 200 of the missing cows, which had been recovered at Kwandare, were currently under the custody of the traditional ruler of that area. He urged the Fulani leaders to supervise the herdsmen during their visit to Kwandare to identify their cows.

‘Be more committed‘ By Adejo David


HE Executive Chairman of IgandoIkotun Local Council Development area, Hon Morenike Adesina-Williams has charged residents and workers of the council to be more committed in the discharge of their duties. She gave the advice during the media chat where she unfolded plans for f her administration in the new year. Hon. Adesina –Williams stressed that developing the council is a collective responsibility of all residents, as a result, all hands must be on deck. She noted that with their support, Igando – Ikotun Local Council Development Area would be a model for other councils. She, however, urged them to their taxes and levies as and when due as this would be used to provide social amenities. The chairman urged them to always come up with suggestions on how to move the council forward. The cuoncil chair implored all workers to be more dedicated and committed in the discharge of their duties, saying punctuality and good behaviour should be their watchword in whatever they do. She appealed to them to pay all government money into government coffers. She appreciated their efforts in the execution of many projects of the council.

Council chief presents scorecard ited and inspected projects in the council last week. This is to ensure that dividends of democracy get to those at the grassroots. The chairman of the council, Hon Kemi Surakat was happy to take the visitors round various projects completed and those on-going. A few of these include facilities provided for workers in offices to enhance their productivity. It would be recalled that buildings and offices of the legislative and executive arms were renovated when the chairman assumed office. Besides, a new canteen and mosque were

built by the administration. Cars were also given to workers to enhance efficiency . On roads, the council procured a caterpillar to grade roads with earth channels. Deliberate efforts were made to construct drains with the aim of de-flooding the area because of its peculiar terrain. Mention must be made of 1.6kilometre Igando -Ayeteju road which is of enormous benefit to the community. Again, the council built the palace of the only paramount ruler of council, the Onibeju.

•From left: Hon. Kemi S. Surakat, Mr Gbenro Adetona and the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy and Local Govt Affairs, Mrs Yinka Babalola during the visit





Justice for Odah •Court ruling is a wake-up call for labour to live up to its ideals


OR John Odah, victory could not have been sweeter after nearly two years of battle to return to his plum job as scribe of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Last week, the National Industrial Court, Abuja, ordered the NLC to withdraw its letter of May 24, 2011 terminating his appointment. It further directed his reinstatement as general secretary of the congress with full rights, benefits, and privileges appertaining to it from June, 2011. The ruling was explicit: “the Claimant (Odah) is deemed to have maintained unbroken record of service with the 1st Defendant (NLC) since his employment in 1987 until his ultimate disengagement as hereinafter provided. There is however a caveat: Odah will upon resumption of office serve a threemonth notice of his voluntary retirement and “on the same day proceed or deemed to have proceeded on retirement leave” with his salaries and emolument as well as terminal benefits paid up to, and including the last day of his pre-retirement notice. The NLC was directed to arrange a befitting and widely publicised senforth party for him, in appreciation of his services while he, in turn, is expected to hand over the affairs of the office and any property of the congress. For a case that threatened to split the labour movement down the middle, it is both a timely and well-reasoned judgment.

No doubt, the development had a tinge of irony while it lasted. The first part is that the NLC had to be dragged to court over an alleged violation of the same principles of fair and equitable treatment over which it had dared other employers in the past. The second part is that an activist and veteran of such pitched battles would be its direct victim. The main thrust of the judgment is its affirmation of the sanctity of the claimant’s employment contract and the rights pertaining to it; the other leg is its recognition of the prerogative of the employer to dispense with the services of an employee, but then only in a manner consistent with the rules of natural justice. Great credit must go to Justice B.A. Adejumo, the president of the court, for encouraging the parties to resolve the dispute amicably. Both the NLC and Odah also deserve commendation for demonstrating good faith and largeheartedness in fashioning out the terms of settlement. That the matter had to be taken to court at all is unfortunate; but the bitterness it engendered among the rank and file of the labour movement would seem far worse. What the judgment has done is steer the parties from a losing course to a win-win one. What are the lessons? First is the need for employers to scrupulously respect the rights of the individual whenever it becomes necessary to determine his/her employment. In other words, just as there

can be no such thing as short-circuiting the rule of due process, there is also no room for a party in contract to willfully extinguish the rights of the other party. Although belatedly, the NLC appears to have appreciated this important point, hence its amenability to the settlement. The judgment is a wake-up call for the NLC to put its house in order. For a movement that earned a reputation for the defence of the weak and the powerless, its cause is ill-served by such unfortunate distractions. It is as needless as it is avoidable.

‘The main thrust of the judgment is its affirmation of the sanctity of the claimant’s employment contract and the rights pertaining to it; the other leg is its recognition of the prerogative of the employer to dispense with the services of an employee, but then only in a manner consistent with the rules of natural justice. Great credit must go to Justice B.A. Adejumo, the president of the court, for encouraging the parties to resolve the dispute amicably’

Bumpy ride •The Fed. Govt must intervene to ensure speedy completion of the East-West Road


HAT a bumpy ride it has been so far, concerning the dualisation of the East-West Road, described as “the flagship project” of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA)! The ambitious 338 kilometres dual carriageway scheme (making it 676 kilometres) stretching from Warri, Delta State, to Oron, Akwa Ibom State, and traversing four states of the Niger Delta region, continues to make the headlines for, sadly, unimpressive reasons. It is split into segments, comprising Warri–Kaiama (87km), Port Harcourt-Ahoada (47Km), Ahoada-Kaiama (54Km), Port HarcourtEket (99Km) and Eket-Oron (51Km). This project recently came into sharp focus, as Rivers State Governor, Rotimi

‘Evidently, this project has guzzled an enormous amount of public funds over the years, with a disproportionate result. The official excuses for the snail speed of work, including terrain difficulties, troublesome host communities, contract inadequacies and inattention by successive administrations, pale into insignificance when compared with the socio-economic gains expected to accompany the project’s completion’

Amaechi, and MNDA Minister, Godsday Orubebe, had a slanging match over whether the South-South governors should take over the construction of the road since the Federal Government had underperformed. In Orubebe’s estimation, which seemed an overreaction, Amaechi’s idea amounted to disrespect for President Goodluck Jonathan because, according to him, the President is committed to completing the project. In truth, whether the minister, in defence of the President, merely made a politically correct statement or not, the EastWest Road should be a priority of the Federal Government; yet it has dragged on for too long, to the detriment of the people. Originally conceived by the then Mid-West and Rivers State government, the project was taken over by the Federal Government in 1974/75. It went comatose under the Federal Ministry of Works, until its resuscitation in 2006, before its eventual transfer to the MNDA in 2008. It goes without saying that the setbacks have had cost implications for the scheme, which was put at N204 billion in 2006 but is currently estimated at N348 billion. The MNDA says it “has paid N134 billion out of the total contract sum,” and “moved the average percentage completion to 52 percent.” Evidently, this project has guzzled an enormous amount of public funds over the years, with a disproportionate result. The official excuses for the snail speed of work, including terrain difficulties, troublesome host communities, contract inadequacies and inattention by successive administrations, pale into insignificance when compared with the socio-economic gains expected to accompany the project’s completion. When finished, the road will, among other advantages, trans-

form the region’s landscape, enhance vehicular and human traffic, integrate the communities and open them to greater levels of social and economic growth. The likely multi-dimensional impact of this road, which is certain to open up new vistas, when completed, should not be underestimated. Indeed, the 1998 Niger Delta Environmental Survey listed it among development priorities for the oilrich but under-developed region.And its strategic importance was a key issue at the 2001 international Conference on the Niger Delta Region held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, under the aegis of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which reached the conclusion that no meaningful development would likely take place in the region without the road. With nearly 50 percent of the work left undone, it remains to be seen whether the new date of 2014 for the completion of the East-West Road is realistic, or just a deceptively optimistic target, considering that the MNDA’s requirement of N214 billion is by no means guaranteed, and the minister keeps complaining of financial constraints. Furthermore, contrary to the ministry’s payment claims, the minister reportedly said the three contractors are being owed N20 billion, and the contract for the extension of the road from Oron to Calabar would be signed in the next one or two months, following directives from the Presidency. All these undermine the credibility of the 2014 target. As a matter of urgency, the Federal Government should launch a full-scale investigation into the conditions hampering the completion of the road, and promptly address the impediments.

Netanyahu should look to centre for coalition partners


SRAEL’S first elections since the Arab uprisings have sprung a surprise. Enough Israeli voters have shifted to the centre of the political spectrum to halt the seemingly irresistible rise of the hardening right – good news for the country and, perhaps, for the region. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, confidently called the poll early, fusing his nationalist Likud party with Yisrael Beiteinu, a far-right settler party. The merger has proved less than the sum of its parts. The Likud-Beiteinu combination came top, but lost a quarter of the seats they had held, while the rightwing and religious bloc garnered only 60 of 120 Knesset seats. Mr Netanyahu will therefore have to horse-trade for a new majority, and look leftward for coalition partners. Opinion polls had forecast a rightward shift. But voters made centrist Yair Lapid, a popular former television anchorman, Israel’s new kingmaker. Mr Lapid not only channelled the frustrations of Israel’s squeezed middle, whose younger cohorts took over the country’s public squares in 2011 to denounce the elitist arrogance of the political class. His Yesh Atid party (meaning There is a Future) also tapped into Israelis’ optimism rather than playing on their fears – the staple discourse of Mr Netanyahu and his allies. The prime minister has lots of circles to square. Mr Lapid, for example, insists ultraorthodox Jews cannot be exempt from military service – anathema to Shas, a religious party in the outgoing coalition. If Mr Netanyahu wants to bring in the even further right Jewish Home party, it would have to abjure calls to annex 60 per cent of the West Bank. This would be resisted by the centre. Many mainstream Israeli voters are turning towards issues such as affordable housing, education and taxes. However, they may also be alarmed by growing impatience internationally with Mr Netanyahu’s confrontational style over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and defiant expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Mr Netanyahu demands unrealistic “red lines” from the US on Iran, which would make any negotiated solution impossible. It is time President Barack Obama and his European allies insisted with equal vehemence that Israel decides where its “green line” is. Until it draws a frontier that allows Palestinians to build a viable state, Israel will struggle to win full and legitimate recognition in a fast-changing Middle East. – Financial Times

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IR: There is inevitably something comic about this political enterprise of ours. N23.3 billion stolen by one John Yakubu Yusuf, a former Assistant Director in the Police Pension Office, in another classic now known as the Police Pension Scam, and after months of back and forth, he gets two years imprisonment with an option of N750, 000 fine only? What does the country get? What do the people get? Shock perhaps mild disbelief, pain and destroyed hopes. Can I ask, did our Government not spend more than N750,000 to prosecute that man? Gleefully, the matter is reported as plea bargain – the arrest of justice and its subsequent trial on the altar of bargain. By the time bargain is closed, the highest bidder is throwing a party. Sounds to me more like justice auctioned to the highest bidder. I thought there is something referred to as the Mischief rule in the Canons of Interpretation, a rule which solemnly calls on today’s actors in the theatre of law and justice to reach out to the original intention of the parliament, to help them unearth the mind of the then makers of the law, to order their steps in doing justice. Was it the intention of lawmakers that a man guilty of stealing N23.3 billion be handed a two-year sentence that can be exchanged for a paltry sum of N750, 000? I think not. Some have even attempted to advance the argument that after all the man has forfeited 32 properties to the state and returned part of the loot. I am confident that position would be easily rubbished


Two years prison term for N23 billion fraud? by the submission of any Undergraduate Law Student studying elementary Criminal Law. Is the administration of our Criminal Justice system not rooted in punishing both the “mens rea” i.e. Intention and the “actus reus” i.e. Act of an Offence? Where a man steals N23.3 billion as we have in this very ugly story and is later caught, and by reason of his being caught turns around, his return of the loot is not an escape route for him. It is incumbent on the Law to still go ahead and punish his criminal mind. The Law presupposes that his act of stealing is first

and foremost anchored on the criminal intent built in his mind, which is buttressed by the fact that if he wasn’t caught, he would automatically have escaped with the loot. More importantly, the punishment of his criminal intent is to serve as a deterrent to the others who may want to ride on the crest of his fraudulent success. Certainly, it is one case that will stall tall in our Hall of Fame of national absurdities for a long time to come. It is the saddest judgement I have ever heard of, it is the greatest attack on our collective intelligence.

Beneath this mess simply lies our fatal inability to live up to reasonably expected behaviour as it obtains in other climes. Every arm of government regales in the exercise of its powers ambushing the people and nailing the remnant of their hopes and aspirations of justice to the cross. Definitely those who come after now will ask painful questions of those who seek to mismanage today. Is it not said that Justice must not only be done, but must be manifestly seen to have been done? Congratulations to those who have brought us here, for they all will be

Rotational presidency key to peace


IR: Why is it that Nigerians cannot relate rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones to the federal character policy that seeks to ensure that no ethnic group is marginalized in governmental businesses and appointments? The argument that zoning may prevent the best candidate for the presidential position suggests that some zones have no presidential materials. What manner of reasoning? How can a highly mixed and pluralistic

society succeed without a constitutional succession order? If entrenched in the constitution, rotational presidency would have outlawed the arbitrariness that engendered the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, and the opportunism of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan that made him to upturn the rotational arrangement. Rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones should complement the federal character policy that is recognised in Nigeria’s stat-

utes. Those opposing it should tell us their proposal for a better political order. If the legislators mean well, they should work for the entrenchment of rotational presidency or its better alternative in the constitution before the end of 2013. Nigeria cannot survive as an amorphous society; every ethnic group naturally bothers about the ethnic nationality of the President. Rotational presidency was calculated to establish order and stability. Religious fanaticism and crime thrive

Merger: Opposition parties should go for it


IR: Perhaps we all do not know that the future of our democracy and, indeed, the future of Nigeria’s political and economic strength lie in the strength of the political opposition. By political opposition, we certainly would not mean a particular political party or parties today but whichever party may be in the opposition in the future that is virile enough to be an alternative choice of the electorate in a presidential election. As at today, Nigeria does not have a political party which can boast of being an alternative government at the centre, and, so, we are yet to have a political opposition in the real sense

well remembered. Today our nation is caught in a vice between justice and organised malignity, between a majority of rogues in civilian uniforms and a minority of the people in their right minds. Permit me to submit on this poignant notes, that it is not the virtues of a government official that restrains him from wrongdoing, neither is it the vices of the demagogue that urges him on, rather the plain, natural history of all political Institution coupled with the aggregation of the will and consent of the ordinary people written in just laws, and backed up continuously by a fearlessly independent and courageous judiciary is the safeguard of sanity and survival of every human society. This is a code locked in the immortal Latin maxim, “Fiat Justicia, Ruat Coelum” meaning, “Do Justice, even if Heaven will fall”. Once we lose this, we lose everything. • Olusola Adegbite, Esq. Kubwa, Abuja.

of it. What we run is a one-party system disguised in an ostensible multiparty system. Because of the absence of a virile opposition, the progress Nigeria has recorded so far has come only by trial and error or by sheer luck, so much so that all our visions as a nation which are aimed at self-sufficiency, stable electricity, standard road networks etc. have come as mere jokes. An unchallenged ruling party would run at its own pace, if it does not become dictatorial or absolute in the process, and the whole nation would be at its mercy, waiting helplessly, regardless of the electoral rituals of four-

year intervals. A multi-party system which is not able to achieve anything better than this for a nation cannot be said to be an evolving, let alone perfect, democratic system. It is in the light of this that we must rightly view the current moves by the A.C.N, C.P.C and A.N.P.P to merge into one political party as a nationalistic proposition, whether or not they are able to topple the P.D.P at first attempt in 2015. While plurality or mushrooming of political parties portrays a people as free and imbued with fundamental human rights, it also portrays them as

purposeless and unserious. If power, truly, is the goal of political parties, then plurality or mushrooming of political parties can even be stupid and reflective of our lack of unity as bane of nationhood. We all need to realize this bane and rise up to prevent it; to cure the inadvertently designed self-retardation. It is gratifying that the A.C.N, C.P.C and A.N.P.P are taking the merger initiative today as it should be, as against the creation of two-party system by a decree during the Babangida military regime. •Jide Oguntoye Oye-Ekiti

better in a disorderly society, such as Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan should stop creating confusion about Boko Haram. He and his supporters should tell the international community what they did with Nigeria’s political order, as represented in rotational presidency. Moreover, they should explain what is happening with Nigeria’s wealth and mass poverty. Why do some people at the helm of affairs get “personal money” to donate boreholes and offer scholarships, while the overwhelming majority gets less than they deserve from the same system? Yes, Nigerian rulers are shouting Boko Haram as a way of distraction from their politico-economic crimes. Unless the country is orderly with political rotation and economic equity, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would remain the spoiler. Let the party keep resisting everything that can bring peace and stability, including rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones, and an electoral commission whose principal officers are not chosen by the PDP; if one Boko Haram capitulates, another will resurge. • Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph. D, University of Ilorin




FAAN’s Aircraft Wealth to Waste; Mali; The Highway War: FERMA vs State vs citizens


S Nigeria’s President boasts 4,700Mw as an ‘achievement’, the world frowns at the poverty of purposeful Nigerian governance over 40 Tony years. But the leaders Obasanjo1, Buhari, Marinho Babangida, Abdulsalami, Obasanjo2 do not apologise. Some show avarice, seeking profit from failure, getting new electricity contracts. African leaders seeking legacies should ‘Go Solar’ before someone sells our sunshine to America. The Minister of Aviation should intervene in FAAN’s instruction for old planes to be removed or they will be sold as scrap for plates and spoons –‘A New FAAN Scientific Aircraft-Wealth-to-Kitchen-Waste Programme.’ Bad! We all saw the Space Shuttle Atlantis piggybacked across America. Can Nigeria send the planes for display/dissection to universities/polytechnics by an Aviation Ministry/FAAN phone call to Vice Chancellors/Provosts/Ministries of Education or Science? What country misses this chance to teach live aircraft technology to youth? Nigeria of course! At least one plane left in each airport can kick-start new Airport Museums/Exhibition Centres. International reporters on the Mali war, should not reveal military detail on Breaking News. This puts soldiers at risk. The on-going Highway War in Nigeria between states and citizens opens the roads and improves IGR, Internally Generated Revenue. When is IGR ‘IGRobbery’? There are new combatants, 3000 FERMA federal recruits, under ‘employment drive’ as highway soldiers. The FERMA will copy, counter and cancel the financial and political successes of state highway soldiers at Ogere, Lagos expressway end etc, forcing them to withdraw to state roads. Will FERMA’s tactics also be ‘pouncing’, extortion, bribery, threats of violence and entrapment without warning or signboards? Why are highway soldiers never ‘friendly’ or ‘helpful’ even for an ‘Act of God’ flat tyre, engine failure or not-your-fault accident? A person with those is ‘Not A Traffic Offender’! Distinguish between a traveller-in-need-of-help and a wilful-traffic-offender and offer service not censure.


Why do we only adopt half of anything from abroad leaving maximum room for ABC – Abuse, Bribery, Corruption? Where are the - ‘Traffic Offence Tickets’ and ‘2-4 Weeks To Pay The Fine’, a helping hand or a ‘Preventive Measure Is Better Than Cure’, Cautionary Announcement, or 1st and 2nd Warning? In Nigeria you ‘Arrest’ for a simple ‘apologisable’ mistake. The training is AAA, Arrest-Arrest-Arrest or ‘ArassArass-Arass’ as in ‘Harass’ and not ‘Help’. Without the civility of warning signs, directions, ‘advice to move’ they, by powers-invested-in-them, unseen edicts, bye-laws and ‘arrogance-of-uniform’, they intimidate, extort, seize vehicles and demand immediately payable fines of N25,000 which only politicians think is small and carry around. The Nigerian road fines are outrageous, disproportionate to income. N25,000 for cars is 1.5 months or 45 days minimum wage. The same N25,000 or £100 fine is imposed in London where it is just 2-4 days minimum wage. The equivalent fine based on London’s wages would be £500-700. Reduce the fines to N2,500 or increase the minimum wage to N120,000-240,000/month. Having been saved by IGP Abubakar from N12-24billion annual extortion at police checkpoints, is the Nigerian traveller to suffer from unsupervised FERMA? Gear-up for a new FERMA para-military onslaught. Instead of developing our roads with strong teams of road signs providers, instant year-round pothole fillers and road lane wideners during the ‘dry seasons’ of the last 30 years, FERMA just copies state highway soldiers. Federal Ministry of Works, please concentrate on rainy season pothole filling, increasing and improving Nigeria’s road surfaces and networks. Do not ‘police’ rubbish roads! Highway soldiers lay traps and want roads without cars. BEWARE WHERE YOU STOP AND SHOP. Avoid stopping when hailed by a vendor who may be colluding in an ensnarement scam. Tyres, batteries and luggage may be ‘flattened’ or disappear during arrest. In Nigeria the best plans are distorted, disrupted and destroyed by the implementers who see‘power’ and ‘bribes’, not ‘service’. This is exactly like Nigeria’s politics –a failure. Let someone start a road blog/ website FERMAWatch to post our experiences with these Highway soldiers. To curb youthful arrogance and dishonesty, highway soldiers need supervision by honest, fair and sympathetic su-

pervisors. The honest supervisors are oppressed by underbudgeting. Many demand and or receive corruption-driven presents, cash-filled envelopes as routine ‘Please give us a pass mark’. This has been taken to mega-levels by NASS whose supervisors of national budgetary activities regularly disgrace themselves by demanding or happily receiving ‘gifts’ during ‘oversight functions’. Can the reported outcomes, the televised insults or praise during subsequent public sittings and NASS sessions be traced to gifts-a bribe? Such bribes are worthy of resignation, prosecution of the politicians. All Hail Oteh, the only CEO bold enough to ‘whistleblow’ this extortion. In addition to ambulances, waste trucks, tractors, buses, bridges and flyovers, busy Oyo State Governor Ajimobi has empowered Local Inspectors of Education, LIEs with inspection vehicles. Great! The country should provide something to inspect/supervise. Fill Nigeria’s schools with books, science and sports equipment. Text and library books, not exercise books! The Oyo State Retreat at the University of Ibadan afforded welcome long-abandoned Town/Gown interaction. UI/ NISER have been ignored except for taxation. During the retreat, the Ministry of Environment’s YESO army interacted by advancing on the citizenry in an unnecessarily belligerent manner, for Internally Generated Revenue. Pity! Three of my clinic nurses paid a total of N75,000 for ‘illegal parking’ on the Yemetu road, Ibadan. No warning. No signboard. Just pounce, arrest, seize car overnight, fine. It should not be necessary to extort money by IGRobbery, to buy development. Law-abiding citizens need instructions not accusations of antigovernment agendas. Citizens also went to UI.

‘Why do we only adopt half of anything from abroad leaving maximum room for ABC – Abuse, Bribery, Corruption? Where are the - ‘Traffic Offence Tickets’ and ‘2-4 Weeks To Pay The Fine’, a helping hand or a ‘Preventive Measure Is Better Than Cure’, Cautionary Announcement, or 1st and 2nd Warning?’

Channels TV’s aborted forum

UDDENLY, there was the hype, then the hue and cries, and finally, a dead silence. Perhaps, the above summarises the entire story of the ‘scoop’recently brought to public attention by Channels Television, a private television station that prides itself as a force to be reckoned with in the annals of broadcasting in Nigeria. The station has much trail-blazing reporting to its credit, which has won it vast audience attention and several merit awards in the past. It is probably these ground-breaking successes that fired the management of the station to engage in a very recent conspicuous investigative reporting. Dubbed corporate social responsibility by no other person than John Momoh, the Chief Executive Officer of the station, the report was centred on the rot that is the Police College in Ikeja, Lagos. The report came in snippets, or what media managers will easily refer to as promos, the forerunner to the main report. These snippets took the form of showing the toilets, dormitory and the general hygiene of the college. From what I was able to piece together, the President’s busy schedule did not permit him a chance to stumble on any of the snippets. Somehow, his attention was drawn to it. Thereafter, he requested for the clips. When he saw them, he was said to have been enraged and livid with anger. Barely a few days after, the President had a scheduled appointment in Ivory Coast, where he was to meet his other ECOWAS brothers on the ‘war’ in Mali. As the plane taxied on the tarmac in Abuja before it finally took off,

none of the members of the President’s entourage had the slightest inkling that the President will be heading for Lagos en route Abidjan. Even when the plane touched down in Lagos, nobody, except, perhaps, the ADC, knew the President’s final destination. By the time the President’s motorcade got to the gate of the Police College, it was discovered that an “Owambe” party was in full swing on the grounds of the 73-year-old institution. That, in essence, means that an institution for state security such as the Police College had metamorphosed into an event centre. That was not the first time such event was being held in the college. While it may be difficult to trace the genesis of such events, it may also be difficult to ascertain how much must have been accrued to the College or some private pockets in the past through the staging of such events in such a sensitive place. In these days of bomb blasts everywhere, I wonder why no one has thought it very risky to throw the gates open for all Dicks and Harry in the name of making money. I am sure only a pittance is usually remitted to the college purse while the bulk of it goes into the pockets of greedy officers. Anyway, the President was no doubt startled by what he saw. The photograph of the visit, which adorned the front pages of some of the national dailies the following day, said it all. It showed the President and some of his aides transfixed with eyes wide open, and mouth agape as he looked at the double-decker bed inside one of the dormitories without any foam on

“To me, it is the Police top shots that have been befuddled by corruption for many years that do not care about the type of environment the newly recruited officers are trained”

it. Even the iron bed itself had visible signs of old age or was completely disused with its rustic iron going brown all over. The President might not have visited the lavatories for fear of epidemic breakouts. It was in this sorry state that the President fired certain questions at the Commandant, who turned out to be as blank as the President’s face as he (the Commandant) could not find any suitable answer to the questions. Surprisingly, Momoh, Channels’ CEO, was conspicuously present during the visit. He must have been jolted to the bone marrow when the President furiously concluded that the documentary was calculated to embarrass the government. Although I did not subscribe to this line of thought, Momoh got the message. Last Tuesday, the appointed day for the Town’s Meeting, which had been scheduled to commence at 7p.m at the Muson Centre, Channels’ simply made a volte-face. It said that the event had been postponed. A statement issued by the station said the postponement arose from the need to get all stakeholders involved in the project. That is purely a PR gimmick. That project may never see the light of the day anymore. It is as dead as dodo! Now, both the Police hierarchy and the Police Ministry are surreptitiously engaged in buck-passing over the Ikeja Police College issue. Perhaps, not many people are aware that the budget of the Police Ministry is less than N500million per annum which is mostly spent on overheads. The jumbo budgets of the police are spent by the Police hierarchy. The ministry only rubberstamps whatever contract papers forwarded to it by the Police. It is very sad that this pervasive rot at the Police College has been allowed to fester for so long without anybody, not even any Police officer, serving or retired, drawing atten-

tion to this eyesore. There is no gainsaying that there is a culture of conspiracy in the police. This culture permeates down the ranks and file who prefer to keep quiet even when their cherished profession is being threatened or dragged in the mud by unscrupulous elements among them. The stinking rot in the police is like a sore thumb. Anywhere you go within any of the service formations, you are confronted with gargantuan corruption. Even if you make attempt to complain or denounce this, you are most likely going to be rebuffed, that is, if you are not immediately victimized. It could as well take the form of being framed for any imaginable or unimaginable offence, which may not be backed by any relevant law in the statute book. Those who are conversant with police operations, viz-a-viz purchase of equipment or contract awards are aware of the shady deals that have pervaded and characterised this department for ages. In the first instance, if you take a nominal roll call of the dramatis personae or those who have held sway for several years in this department, quite a good number of them are very old hands who have manned this department since God knows when. They are the foot soldiers used by successive top brass of the police to defraud the system. When you go to the Police Central Stores, you will be assailed by the heaps of junks that litter the whole space in the name of equipment and or armaments. Many of them were simply dumped there and are still dumped there by the powerful cartel that is in charge. Quite a good number of them too have outlived their importance and needs, while marking time inside the junkyard that is called Police stores. The fact is that contracts for most of the supplies were awarded to girlfriends and cronies, just to si-

Dele Agekameh phon money. In most cases, the quantities of items are never supplied correctly, thereby giving room for greedy officers and criminal-minded contractors to shortchange the system. And when it comes to the list of contractors, it is another scandal on its own. The contractors cut through every strata of the society - society ladies and women, retired police and military officers, former and serving legislators- all manner of contractors whose major qualification to corner the contracts is their clout or knowing the language of the business - bribery and corruption. They get these contracts but sublet them to capable hands to execute. To me, it is the Police top shots who have been befuddled by corruption for many years that do not care about the type of environment the newly recruited officers are trained. What matters to them is the money going into their private pockets than any thought of welfare for their young, upcoming ones. A thorough probe of contract awards and the Police Central Stores, carried out diligently, will confirm this. Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



COMMENTS Re:’Thank you, Deacon Ositelu’ and ‘Well done, worthy cops’ (The Nation on Sunday of January 13). I appreciate you for showing gratitude to the late Deacon Ayo Ositelu. His name rang a bell in my secondary and tertiary education years (1974-1986). He was a popular, simple man. May his soul rest in peace (Amen). In your first paragraph, you mentioned 70 years on April 6 and in the second-to-the-last paragraph, you said it was March, please correct as appropriate. Secondly, sometimes, some of those policemen impress. I agree. From Lanre Oseni.

• Obama

For Gbenga Omotoso I believe the dialogue on the back page of The Nation last Thursday “Obasanjo meets Tukur “was your creation? If it’s not, then, OBJ deserves a medal for telling that Tukur the truth and nothing but the truth. From B.F. Odugbemi, Osun State Obasanjo remains unshakeable in PDP and in politics. He said anybody that is not performing, elected or whatever, should resign. It is now clear to Tukur that, the wind of OBJ is blowing and anybody that dares him would be blown away. Tukur has forgotten that the President is a product of OBJ and the President cannot ignore him. The President and his cohort should resign honourably because the problem of PDP is the problem of Nigeria. From Hamza Ozi Momoh Dockyard Apapa Lagos. Your ‘truly reliable source’ didn’t give you the full gist of what OBJ did. I also know someone who knows someone who was there. He said OBJ also performed one of those famous Egba songs: ‘Ohun e ri ewi. Ohun e ri, ero. Obasanjo seun e pe ko se e e!’ My source said he did this with his legendary scintillating circling dance steps with his flowing agbada almost hitting Tukur. He said although Tukur managed a wry smile, that was enough for the PDP Chair to know the conversation was over! I dey laugh o! Regards. From Olu. Re-Obasanjo meeks Tukur. The meeting between the two was well covered. It was a moody and funny session. I give kudos to the coverage. From Lanre Oseni. Your piece was up to par as usual. But, I didn’t know when you became a comedian but your ‘cracker’ could not crack my rib. From Emeka Onwujiobi. The Super Eagles played well in the firsthalf but went to sleep in the second-half. They felt that they had won and relaxed their play. They must wake up in their remaining games or stand the risk of not qualifying to the second round. Anonymous. How Obama took his second oath of office, notably, is instructive - one hand on legendary Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and the other on Tita NicMartin Luther King Jr’s. It’ll be wise for Obama and other leaders not only to lean on Bibles of his/their great worlds, but LEAN on their JesusGod for daily strength/guidance. Anonymous. For Dare Olatunji Re-Obama: Retrorpect and prospect. God destined Obama to be in his present position. He further destined him for a second term, despite all odds. I am convinced he did not disappoint Americans and I am sure he won’t, this time, too. That is democracy in action rather than the money-

baggism and thuggery tendencies. May we get there. Amen! From Lanre Oseni. I appreciate your write up entitled Obama 2.0. You didn’t mention the killing of Osama bin Ladin as one of his achievements. May be you avoided it for security reasons. Thanks. From Dele Ajayi, Ado Ekiti. Your Editorial on Cash trafficking failed to tell us what the law says on limits and punishment. If people are declaring hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first instance, even when they have more, then, something must be terribly wrong. You cannot take more than $10,000 in or out of America, the richest nation on earth, without going through the ‘pressing iron’. Sanusi has a lot to tell Nigerians on why our forex market has become such a huge casino. Anonymous. Sir, I have just read your article. It was both fascinating and incisive. God bless you. From Adeniyi, Nasarawa. Your column At Home and Abroad really inspired me. The story of Obama and some American-racial extremists has the same bearing with the Nigerian situation. Here, in Nigeria, it is not racial but ethnic dominance. It’s a crime for any minority ethnic group to aspire to produce the president or governor in Nigeria; any one who tries incurs the wrath of those who think it’s their birthright to rule Nigeria. This is why there is chaos everywhere in Nigeria because of bad governance and insecurity. But, one day, our story will change for good. From Andrew Ortesegbegi, Benue State. Your Obama 2.0 was simply fantastic. How I wish you could see a good Nigerian leader on whom policy-based articles of this type can be replicated. You have done a good job. More ink to your pen. From Folabi Fayeun, Akure. Mercifully, President Obama won the election for a second term, not on emotion or sentiment but on solid and verifiable performance. Somebody once said:“Where evidence is compelling, and overwhelming, conviction is inevitable.” Nigerian politicians and the electorate should be more analytically rigorous and less emotive, henceforth, for the benefit of the country. From Adegoke O. O, Ikhin, Edo State. For Segun Gbadegesin Re-The national interest in education. I was moved by ‘What Nigeria fails to put into the education of her citizens, she cannot expect to get out of the economy’. One hopes the President, Vice President, Senate-President, Speaker, House of Representatives, Minister of Education and all the state Governors read the write-up and revamp their concerns on the state of public education; the decay and backwardness and reenforce the national interest in education. The nation must take interest in the education of its citizens; upon such rest national integration, development and productivity. The totality of education is of public interest; yet the totality of education needed not be funded by the public treasury. Government, representing the public, must regulate, mobilise and provide an enabling environment for education of the citizens. Government may subsidise, pioneer and invest in public-private partner-

ship for education. Certainly, private enterprise on education would be encouraged and promoted to reduce the financial burden and mitigate the inflexibility and slow responses associated with decisions of governments. Government shall supervise and regulate education based on feedback data-gathering. Basic syllabus and other standards should be decided by the government, subject to negotiation and affordability by citizens and the entrepreneurs. It must know and share the responsibility for the standard of citizen-education. It is better to have citizens in control than finance education with taxes, royalties or booties and spoils, accruable from resources forcefully appropriated by governments. Nigerians do not have sufficient trust in governments, acclaimed to be corrupt, alienated and self serving. The problem in the present, is that government hijacked the responsibility for education as an excuse for misappropriation of public funds. There are opportunities in other sectors for squandering our money; education is the least attractive. Government financing of education served the few in governments and their contractors much more than the citizens. Governments are not sincerely interested and are not committed to public education. They are not representing the citizens and the claim to public representation is false and a hypocrisy. The politicians bargained for power and short-changed the citizens because of pervasive ignorance, arrogance, rudeness and crudity. Education is the panacea. Good and empowering education would upset the status quo and would liberate the exploited citizens: milked sheep, goats and cows. Governments are not going to embrace your sensitisation of the public on education. You need to mobilise the citizens to take their destiny into their hands and wrestle their education from the government. Let’s not look up to governments or rely on them for education that liberates and emancipates citizens. Governments and their contractors are not as stupid as we wrongly presume. They do not need your preaching. The masses need more than preaching, praying and fasting to be delivered. They need a Moses (Prophet) to lead, without the desperation, confusion and deception of Boko Haram. You may study the history of Western education from the Greek and Roman times to contemporary trends in education. Our national population and resources are sufficient to make contributions to the world. We need committed mobilisers who may not be in government as it were. Please, let us strategise. From Engr.A.I. Adewumi, Ilorin. For Tunji Adegboyega I have read through your ‘Osun: Two years on’ in The Nation on Sunday of January 27. Kindly send a copy to my mail. I believe it is a must-have document. Many thanks. From Geoffrey. Sir, I agree with you totally with respect to the achievements made so far by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. But I disagree


that he should tone down his radicalism. You know it is good to have such radicals at home because of the radicals outside. I think it is good for Osun. Anonymous, The Polytechnic, Ibadan. I am an Ijesha man trying to come back home some 37 years after in another part of the country. I am very happy with Ogbeni Aregbesola. But the uniforms were brought to Osogbo in trailers. Can’t these be sewn in Osun? Please praise and criticise when necessary. This will make the man not to lose focus. From Tona. Re: ‘Osun: Two years on’, so far , with the ongoing two-carriage-roads in the state, I say kudos to Ogbeni Aregbesola. However, His Excellency should talk less, increase the pay of the OYES from N10,000 to N20,,, because N10,000 cannot take such workers home. That kind of pay could lead to inefficiency, low standard of living and, consequently, corrupt tendencies!. So, which problem have we solved? By the massive indebtedness of N40 billion that Ogbeni Aregbesola announced he inherited from his predecessor, how did he (Aregbesola) miraculously have a savings of N10billion? From Lanre. Tunji, do you honestly think that for a state like Osun, it makes sense spending N3billion annually on free lunch for pupils? Can’t this money be injected into the agricultural revolution of the state? From Chijioke Uwasomba, OAU, Ile-Ife. Honestly, people in Osun have now truly seen the difference between Oyinlola and Aregbesola. If there were to be a contest between the two, there may be surprises. Anonymous. Re:’Thank you, Deacon Ositelu’ and ‘Well done, worthy cops’ (The Nation on Sunday of January 13). I appreciate you for showing gratitude to the late Deacon Ayo Ositelu. His name rang a bell in my secondary and tertiary education years (1974-1986). He was a popular, simple man. May his soul rest in peace (Amen). In your first paragraph, you mentioned 70 years on April 6 and in the secondto-the-last paragraph, you said it was March, please correct as appropriate. Secondly, sometimes, some of those policemen impress. I agree. From Lanre Oseni. Sir, you too should help groom journalists that would speak truth to power and change Nigeria; and thanks for recognising those cops. From Feyi Akeeb Kareem. Ayo Ositelu passed on on January 9, 2013, not December 9. Printer’s devil? From Ayo Ojeniyi.








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Is oil thicker than blood?


‘Of course, for now, amnesty is in place, and that's why we have decided to give peace a chance in order for the government and others concerned to redress the wrongs done by many years of untold hardships and pains’ – SEE STORY ON PAGE 26

For his dream not to die – Page 27

A river monarchs can’t see – Page 38



The Midweek Magazine


In a film, Delta Boys, an American, Andrew Berends, traces the Niger Delta struggles. He looks at the region’s challenges through the lense of former militant leader Ateke Tom. Berends, who was once held hostage by militants, writes from the position of one who could be described as an ‘insider’, having observed certain things first hand. But his documentary is generating heat as some Niger Deltans perceive it as derogatory. VICTOR AKANDE reports

Is oil thicker than blood? I

T is the goose that lays the golden egg. Then something snapped, and the oil-rich Niger Delta erupted in violence. The agitations are yet to cease despite the amnesty for militants by the Yar’ Adua administration in 2009. The woes of the region were brought home when the militant groups across the creeks, started abducting expatriates, blowing up oil installations and seizing control of oil flow stations. This action by the inhabitants (who are fishermen and farmers), over alleged neglect by government and its multinational partners disrupted the region’s economic activities. Some film makers saw the potential of a motion picture, as a tool of international mediation and have captured the dramatic moments of the rebel camps, from various points of view. Jeta Amata's film Black Gold is one. It once made it to the film market segment of Cannes International Film Festival, France. It addresses the sufferings of inhabitants. The awardwinning filmmaker was said to have fled the country at a time, claiming to have been threatened by a group which felt he did not make adequate consultation on the true state of affairs in the area. Another effort is coming from Andrew Berends, an American documentary filmmaker, who was arrested and charged with spying in Nigeria in 2008, while working on a film about militants in the Niger Delta. Whereas Amata's account may have offended the supposed disgruntled leaders who have been playing politics with the people’s lives, as captured in the film, Berends' film, on the other hand, may be seen to offend the advocates of the struggle. According to the American, the militants have called for greater distribution of wealth and jobs. But many feel that while the Niger Delta cause is just, the militants' motives are not so pure. Changing the film’s title from Black Gold, which seems to debase the essence of the struggle, to Black November, which underscores the bloody climax of the agitation, is a better way to present the story of Nigeria's wealth tussle. But critics are querying the pay off in Berends' movie that “oil is thicker than blood”. They reason that Berends' position makes a mockery of the maxim: “Blood is thicker than water”. Since negative stories from Africa and other developing countries constituted a chunk of the archival materials for the western media, the story of the struggle, beginning with the stunt pulled by pioneer armed Niger-Delta activist, Major Isaac Adaka Boro to the late Ken Saro Wiwa saga and the activities of militants who now enjoy amnesty, has continued to attract attention. Berends, who hit the limelight during his 10-day ordeal and the campaign to secure his release, is obviously fulfilled at the moment: the resulting documentary, Delta Boys, was released online a few weeks ago. The 55-minute film was largely shot inside the camp of the rebel leader, Ateke Tom, who at the time led 2,000 young men, claiming to fight for the people. A slice-of-life production with minimal narration and a smattering of news reports for context, Delta Boys doesn't present alternate points of view, though Berends raises the question of whether the militants are in it for justice or just for money and violence. Delta Boys follows the lives of militant "godfather" Ateke Tom and Chima, a 21-year-old who left home to join the fight. The film also shows life in a tiny fishing village caught in the crossfire of the conflict. Mama, a 22-year-old, struggles to give birth without access to modern medical care, while rebels launch raids from a camp across the river. Berends said the struggle in the Niger Delta caught his attention, because of its relation to oil, a subject on which he had earlier shot two films in Iraq: "I had seen striking images of heavily armed militants moving throughout the creeks of the Niger Delta in speedboats, sabotaging flowstations, blowing up pipelines, and kidnapping foreign oilworkers. I researched the story and learned that while Ni-

•Chima in the film, Delta Boy by Berends



ADVOCACY geria is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the United States, the inhabitants of the oil-producing Niger Delta region live in poverty. So, I travelled to Nigeria to try to meet the militants, and start my next film," says the filmmaker. But what is the position of Ateke Tom on the essence of the struggle? he shares his thoughts on some of the issues revolving around the situation with the E4PR team, with which this reporter visited his Lagos home. "We fought because we couldn't bear the continued injustice any longer," he says, as he opens up to the interviewer in his tastefully furnished Ajah home, close to the highbrow

‘In my own case, after having been granted amnesty, why then am I still being hunted? My house in Okrika was raided and bombarded by soldiers who were looking for Ateke Tom’

Lekki in Lagos. "We decided to take up the struggle because if we didn't, our children would face the same problems and blame us for doing nothing about it. The situation was very unfair and something other than talk, which had hitherto fallen on deaf ears, had to be done." He speaks calmly in pidgin, his expression almost hard to decipher behind gold rimmed dark shades. “Of course, for now, amnesty is in place, and that's why we have decided to give peace a chance in order for the government and others concerned, to redress the wrongs done by many years of untold hardships and pains." Now living as a free man, after embracing the amnesty, he spends most of his days attending to guests, friends, business associates and the like, who throng his home daily. Life in the creeks, however, had its fun moments, which he relives with nostalgia. "Life in the camp was fun," he says to the guests, as he calls one of the boys to play us a video. "Sometimes in a bid to relieve tension and to boost morale, we used to have sessions where we 'gyrated' to drum beats and singing. Even the soldiers (Joint Task Force (JTF) meant to combat the 'freedom fighters') afar off could hear our voices and singing •Continued on page 37

age 37



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•Mrs Samuel

For his dream not to die The family and friends of the late music producer and medical doctor Marius Ashibuogwu have launched a foundation to immortalise the man who made his mark in two worlds – music and medicine, reports JOSEPH JIBUEZE and IDOWU JUMOKE.


E was a medical doctor wellloved by his patients, colleagues and family, but his music fans loved him more. He was a medical and music consultant, too. The late Dr Marius Uchenna Ashibuogwu's first love was music. Not even the rigours of medical studies while in school, or the demands of practice after qualifying as a doctor, could prevent him from pursuing his love for music. As a disc jockey (DJ) and music producer, Ashibuogwu was a master of the "wheels of steel" as much as he was good in his chosen profession, medicine. He could set parties alight with his skills. Having founded Centebila Records and signed two artistes, he was set to affect the society in positive ways, but death stopped him from realising his dream. Born on January 19, 1984, the late Ashibuogwu died in October last year. His death, the family said, happened so suddenly they still could not believe it. He took ill, and died a few days later. Nollywood actor Justus Esiri said not only his patients, but the entertainment industry would miss him. He was among numerous guests who gathered in Lagos to launch a charity organisation, the Dr Marius Uchenna Ashibuogwu Foundation, meant to immotalise the late medical doctor-DJ. Before his death, the late Ashibuogwu was working on the production of his record label's first album, entitled: Unleashed, which was also launched that same day. Guests were moved by thrilling musical performances from the album. "If more people had known about this event, maybe it would have taken place at the stadium," Esiri said. Esiri believes entertainers must live for others. Of the impact Ashibuogwu made in his "short but fruitful life," as he puts it, the veteran actor said: "The entertainment industry will miss him, and we shall continue to touch the world for him. I want you to go away with the memory of the event of today. All of you should think of what you can do to touch others, because it's good to share good things with others." The mother, Mrs Mareena Samuel, is yet to get over the shock of her son's death. The least she could do was to continue with the work the late Ashibuogwu started - helping the needy and making the society a better

PHILANTHROPY place to live in. This, she said, inspired the setting up of the foundation. She said: "Twenty-nine years ago, Dr Marius was born. Like every other parent, his arrival brought so much joy to us. God groomed him to become what he was before his untimely demise. We are celebrating his post-humous birthday and at the same time starting a journey of immortalising his name and charting a course to actualising his dreams of giving the daunted in the society the right to good health and life." The foundation, Mrs Samuel said, would provide free medical services to less-privileged persons, especially mothers and children. The late doctor had a passion for education, and was fond of children. The foundation, she said, would engender good toilet advocacy in schools, especially in the rural areas. "It would also render assistance to indigent pupils through scholarship grants and sponsorship," she said. In addition, the foundation, Mrs Samuel added, would assist widows, the old, the weak, and the destitute in the society through philanthropic activities; support internally displaced persons and help in achieving a healthier environment for the good and wellbeing of humanity. Group Managing Director, Daar Communications Plc, Mr Tony Akiotu, who chaired

‘We are celebrating his post-humous birthday and at the same time starting a journey of immortalising his name and charting a course to actualising his dreams of giving the daunted in the society the right to good health and life’ - Mother

•The late Ashibuogwu

the event, called the late Ashibuogwu "a friend in deed." He noted that the late doctor popularised GSM medicine through his ever-caring medical service. He said: "The study of medicine is humanistic - medicine was the tonic of life for him. He was a friend indeed. He had the phone numbers of his patients and would always call them individually and collectively to know how they were doing. He popularised GSM medicine. "He may have lived a short life, but it was inspiring, full of impact, and remarkable. I am impressed that the ideals for which he lived are being immortalised." Akiotu said the country is faced with the challenges of youth restiveness, but Ashibuogwu showed that through determination and hard work, success in every endeavour can be achieved by youths. He urged them to emulate the life the late doctor-entertainer lived, saying a passion for entertainment, for instance, should not stand in the way of academic excellence. "He has shown that the best is possible irrespective of background," he said. The late doctor completed his secondary education in 1998 at Ajao Estate Grammar

‘The entertainment industry will miss him, and we shall continue to touch the world for him. I want you to go away with the memory of the event of today. All of you should think of what you can do to touch others’

- Esiri

School, where he bagged distinctions in Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination. He specialised in obstetrics and gynecology while studying medicine at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. After earning his MBBS degree from the University of Maiduguri, the late Ashibuogwu underwent his mandatory housemanship at 445 Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Hospital, Ikeja before his death. Commander of the hospital, Air Commodore B.A. Yakassi, said he was dedicated to his duties while with them, and touched lives positively in various ways. He said: "His death is a great loss to all of us, and especially to the medical profession." He assured directors of the foundation of his support. "Call on me whenever you need me," he said. Like the Commodore, his siblings are yet to get over his death. The late Ashibuogwu's sister, Sabreena is one. She said: "It's still like a dream. It doesn't seem real. Now I know that when someone passes away, there is not one word long enough or big enough to describe it. I could talk about it, and I could go on for pages, but even an entire book on you can't replace you. I love you, and will always think of you. I will always remember all the times we spent together and all the jokes you used to tell. Life really feels so empty without you. I will forever miss you my dear brother and DJ-Doctor, swag papii." On the part of Udoka (brother), it was admirable that the late doctor mastered the arts of music and medicine, adding he had an infectious aura that brought smiles to people's faces. "He had a presence wherever he stepped into, and would instantly bring smiles to everyone's face. He was greatly respected and admired by his peers and his humility was infectious. He struck friendships with anyone willing to be a friend, but he disliked pride in people. He could never stay angry with anyone even if he tried. He was proof that we could be masters of two arts, as he was utterly devoted to his profession as a doctor and still kept a vibrant social life as a DJ. In both, he was always so caring, and his benevolence challenges us all."



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Reviving Yoruba culture


HE Yoruba are beginning to occupy the pride of place in the centre of Yorubaland. Determined to revive their culture and tradition, which seem to be threatened by globalisation, the Oyo State government has instituted the Samodun

Festival. The festival debuted with fanfare in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital last Thursday. It lasted for three days. The Samodun festival, conceived from the popular greetings at annual festivals in Yoruba land "Aseyi samodun", is one of the projects to resuscitate and preserve Yoruba cultural heritage in the state. The fiesta began with the 'Ajumorin Walk'. The walk had a unique feature. Governor Abiola Ajimobi led members of his team, civil servants, local government chairmen, heads of boards, parastatals and extra-ministerial departments, popular actors and actresses, citizens and other stakeholders on a long walk from Agodi Government House through Oje to Mapo Hall, the historical gathering venue for significant programmes. He said that the walk would hold quarterly. The first is of its kind in recent times. Everyone was decked in uniform African prints, such as ankara and kampala. This added glamour to the event while reminding the audience of its rich heritage. The presence of notable actors and actresses in the Yoruba movie sub-sector of the entertainment industry and musicians also added spice to event, especially the walk. "It was a novel idea in the state," many observed. The actors and actresses led by the former ANTP President, Prince Jide Kosoko, praised the government for organising the fiesta, saying it would further promote culture. Other actors and actresses witnessing the fiesta, which was organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, included: Funke Akindele, Muyiwa Ademola, Fatiha Balogun, Bolaji Amusan (Latin), Adekola Odunlade, Dele Odule, Sanyeri and Rose Odiaka. Addressing the mammoth crowd at Mapo Hall, the governor said the Samodun fiesta was meant to remind the people of their rich heritage which is worthy of the emulation by all. The walk was followed by diverse cultural displays, highlighting the rich depth of the Yoruba language, folklores, traditional mode of recreation, livelihoods and the people's sense of dressing. He noted that Africa is rich in cultural heritage, but, lamented that it is unfortunate that it has been boxed into believing that its inherited system and culture are of lesser texture to that of the Europeans. This, he said, is part of the mental slavery that our people have been subjected to for centuries, adding that his administration would continue to execute laudable projects that would have direct impact on the lives of the people of the state. Ajimobi said: "We will realise that even though our fathers could not read and write, they were greater doctors, physicists, paleontologists and even political scientists, far more than what obtains in our so-called modernity and civilisation. In the promotion, advancement and propagation of our culture, the world will realise that Africa did not just stumble on a heritage; we have always had a great heritage,'' he said. He also told the crowd that the urban renewal programme of his administration which he said had been yielding results,

•Ajimobi (second left), his deputy Moses Adeyemo (left) ; Alhaji Waheed Olajide (Secretary to the State Government (SSG)) and Chief of Staff, Dr Adeolu Akande during the ‘Ajumorin Walk’. PHOTO:FEMI ILESANMI

•Masqueraders entertaining at the festival From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

FESTIVAL was not aimed at unnecessarily inflicting pains on the people but to make life worth living and to improve the aesthetics of the state. The second day featured a comedy and beauty pageant at Cultural Centre, Mokola. The winner of the beauty competition went home with an automatic one-year employment with the governor's wife to join her in promotion of culture and

tourism, in addition to a brand new car. The fiesta ended with a Fuji concert at the Cultural Centre, Ibadan on Saturday. The Special Assistant to the governor on Culture and Tourism, Mr Kunmi Fakeye, said the concert as all other programmes of the fiesta, was to promote tourism and the diverse facets of the culture. "Fuji, a brand of local music believed to have originated from Ibadan. Popular Fuji musicians such as Abass Akande Obesere, Osupa Saheed and Rashidi Ayinde are special in the concert. The annual festival is meant to promote the culture and tradition of the Yoruba race," he said.

Firm honours workers, clients


ORTERS Realties Limited has organised a dinner to honour its staff and clients for their commitment and dedication to duty. From the lobby, guests were ushered into the red carpet hall by delectable ushers. The party, which was held at the De Event Hall, Ikeja, Lagos, was a way of fostering harmonious relationship among staff. It also brought to the fore the significance of staff motivation for greater productivity. The firm’s Managing Director Mr Tayo Fashogbon, who emerged as winner of Porters role model awards, praised the staff for their steadfastness and commitment in the past years, saying it was tough when the company began operations five years ago. "Within the period of five years, we have seven products for our clients. We have a growing staff strength and they are happy and moving on. This dinner shall be an annual event henceforth," he said. He reiterated the company's mission to provide affordable low housing scheme for low income earners through its 'Vision 20-

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

CELEBRATION 20 programme'. The General Manager, Mr Pius Yina recalled the company's days of little beginning and its resillience in converting the initial challenges to strengnth. He reflected on the pilot project in Mowe-Ofada, which was initially bedevilled by bureaucracy. Awards were presented to some people at the event. Winners included: Bimpe Adesanya (most friendly staff), Chichiney Pius (most punctual), Abdulmalik Adesanya and Bimpe Adesanya (best dressed man/woman), Agboola Tiwalade (best overall staff), Bolaji/Shakiru (most attached staff), Bimpe Okanlawon (best Head of Department). Others were Segun Meshioye (best independent marketer/agent), Ruth Abel (best marketer), Biodun Akindeinde (won Ipad2 as the most outstanding marketer), Pius Yina

•From left:Eniola Takuro, Gbenga Aina, Adedayo Ajayi, Fashogbon, Yina, Moyosoluwa Wale-Idowu

(most dedicated /hardworking staff), and Marketing department (most effective department). Some lucky ones also went home with different prizes that included DVD players, home theatres, microwaves and hampers after a raffle draw. On the affordability of the company's

products, he said: "Affordability here may not be on the basis of the amount payable but by the approach, the scheme and the time that is required to pay. For instance, if a property is going for N4 million and you are to pay within two months, it may be on the high side for persons within the low income bracket.”




Firm exposes investors to financial market I

NVESTMENT One Financial Services Limited seeks to expose existing and potential investors to knowledge and skills that would enable them to understand the workings of the Nigerian financial markets, its Managing Director, Mr Nicholas Nyamali, has said. He made this known at the presentation of N500,000 star prize to the pioneer winner of the company’s Virtual Investment Simulator- an online investment training contest. He said the Virtual Investment

Simulator was aimed at encouraging participants to learn about how to make informed investment decisions as well as enhance knowledge of the financial market. He said that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had approved the online investment simulation portal, noting that the portal also allows investors to form exclusive investment clubs within the portal whereby participants can invite friends and colleagues to join, compete with one another as well as share ideas and

post comments on the portal’s blog page. According to him, the virtual investment simulator was designed to teach participants the art and science of investing as well as afford researchers the opportunity to acquire knowledge of the Nigerian equities market and financial asset market in an online gaming environment. Nyamali explained that Investment One is propelled by its core values of service excellence, innovation and market insight to provide forward thinking invest-

ment solutions to individuals and organisations looking for a partner to help them achieve their investment goals. At the end of the first phase of the investment simulation contest, Owolabi Afeez Oluwatosin emerged the winner with the highest returns on investment for the period. By winning the inaugural edition of the competition, Owolabi, a youth corps member serving in Kwande LGA of Benue State became the first winner and was awarded the star prize of

N500,000. Owolabi beat several other players in the keenly contested investment game which lasted for 12 weeks. The next phase of the Virtual Investment Simulator contest will commence in February 2013. Investment One Financial Services Limited is licensed by the SEC to provide fund management, trusteeship and investment/financial advisory services. It has a wholly owned subsidiary licensed by the SEC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to provide securities brokerage services.

China’s $1.7tr debt weighs on economy


HINESE companies are spending more than ever to service debt after their borrowing almost tripled over five years, prompting strategists to warn of rising default risk and a threat to economic growth. Total short- and long-term borrowing by 3,895 publicly traded non-financial companies rose to almost $1.7 trillion in their latest filings, from $604 billion at the end of 2007, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Financing costs, including interest, on all forms of debt climbed to the highest level as a percentage of gross domestic product last year, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. For China’s real economy to expand at eight per cent this year, growth in non-loan credit would have to accelerate to 33 per cent from 25 per cent in 2012 if the credit-to-GDP efficiency remains at last year’s level. For China’s real economy to expand at eight per cent this year, growth in non-loan credit would have to accelerate to 33 per cent from 25 per cent in 2012 if the credit-toGDP efficiency remains at last year’s level. Bernstein says that means less cash for investment to fuel the world’s second-largest economy, while Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc says the threat of defaults will hold back interest- rate liberalisation. The average 10-year yield for toprated company bonds is near a 13month high at 5.27 per cent, compared with the 2.6 per cent yield in a Bank of America Merrill Lynch global corporate index. “There’s just a lot more debt in China today than there was really ever in the past, relative to nominal GDP,” said Mike Werner, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Bernstein. “More and more of the country’s resources have to be put to just financing outstanding debt, and that itself is a headwind for economic growth.” While the nation exited a sevenquarter slowdown in October-December as the government eased monetary policy, incoming Premier Li Keqiang may need to confront the fading effects of government support, a likely pickup in inflation and rising risks from shadow banking. Price growth accelerated to a seven-month high in December, driving up benchmark bond yields. GDP grew 7.8 per cent in 2012, the slowest in 13 years. On stimulus lending, Chinese banks doled out 8.2 trillion yuan ($1.3 trillion) of new loans in 2012, 10 per cent up from a year earlier and the second-highest level on record, central bank data show. The government quota for new lending may be set at 9 trillion yuan this year, Caixin reported on January 22.

•Director-General Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh (middle) flanked by Executive Commissioner, Operations, Mr Munir Gwarzo and Executive Commissioner Legal and Enforcement, Mrs. Saudatu Bello, during the opening of a workshop on Securitisation, at the International PHOTO: SUNDAY AGHAEZE Conference Centre in Abuja.

Investors to optimise values in Oando rights issue


NVESTORS, who may not be able to fully take up their rights under the ongoing rights issue of Oando Plc, will be able to trade their pre-allotted shares at premium at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), The Nation has learnt. The trading in Oando’s rights, which started on Friday, December 28, last year is expected to close on February 6, 2013. Oando, Africa’s largest integrated energy solution providers, said it had secured the approval of the NSE for trading in the rights. Oando is offering shares to pre-qualified shareholders at N12 per share. The stock, however, opened this week at N14 per share, giving a premium to rights’ shareholders. Feelers from the company meanwhile, indicated that the rights issue’s closing date may be extended due to public holidays that occurred during the offering time frame. The number of days to be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is yet to be known since there has only been two public holidays since the offer commenced. Specifically, the value of the stock, since the commencement of the rights, has appreciated by 14.57 per cent. For those willing to sell the rights acquired at N12.00 was already selling for N12.22 on the opening date. However, shareholders, who wish to renounce their Rights partially or in full are advised to take advantage of the trading window and make money for themselves on the short-run. This simply means that instead

•Closing date may be extended By Tonia Osundolire

of losing out for failing to take up the allotted right issue a shareholder can actually sell them to other interest investors. Furthermore, the company said that shareholders who trade their Right can still apply for additional shares. Looking at the status of the equity of the company, Oando had an initial authorised share capital of N4 million comprising four million ordinary shares of N1 each, and an issued and fully paid-up share capital of N4 million comprising of N4 million ordinary shares of N1.But the company’s authorised share capital is N5 billion comprising 10 billion ordinary shares of 50kobo each, of which N1, 137,059,069 comprising 2,274,118,138 ordinary share capital. Analyses of the shareholding structure of the company shows that Ocean & Oil Investments (Nigeria) Limited holds 241,816,962 or 10.63 per cent of Oando’s equity currently. Stanbic Nominees Nigeria Limited Trading A/Cs has 261,544,386 units representing 11.50 per cent of the company’s outstanding share credit to it while the balance of 1,770,756,790 or 77.87 per cent is held by individuals and institutional investors. The origination of the rights offering, having set a long-term vision of becoming Africa’s leading

•Group Chief Executive Officer, Oando Group, Wale Tinubu

integrated energy player in the oil and gas sector with a diversified revenue base, and as well put in place the right structure and management personals the only obstacle to achieving the dream appears to be lack of cheap funds. So in July 2009, at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company, the board of the company purposed and got the shareholders authorisation to raise additional capital of up to N200 billion. The board was equally granted the authorisation to determine the method and terms of the capital raising exercise. The first step to execute this order was embarked upon in 2010 when the company raised N21.1 billion via right issue, leaving a head room

of N179.9 billion. Now that the need for raising fresh funds has risen, the board is again offering 4,548,236,276 ordinary shares of 50kobo each at N12 per share. Existing shareholders are being offered an additional new two ordinary shares of the company for every one held previously. However, only members whose names appear on the register of the company at the close of business on Friday, October 19, last year are legible to participate. The offering, which opened on December 28, last year and will be closing on February 6, 2013, according to the offer prospectus, is a critical step towards the execution of its strategic expansion plans; optimising its balance sheet and improving its leverage position. The net issue proceeds, estimated at N52, 938,527,935.78, after deducting the total cost of the Issue estimated at N1, 640,307,376.22 representing 3.01 percent of the issue will be applied as follows: N27, 776,601,538.99 or 52 per cent refinancing of upstream assets. That amount would be use for the part-payment of a N60 billion syndicated loan facility championed by First City Monument Bank (FCMB) PLC to fund the acquisition of upstream assets and swamp drilling rigs. N23,700,000,000, representing 45 per cent, is expected to be used for the buying of Conoco Phillip’s Nigerian business assets for which a sales and purchase agreement has been signed by both parties. The balance of N1, 461,926,396.79 or three per cent will be ploughed back into the company as working capital.




Blogging made me, says teenager A

YOUNG blogger and writer based in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Bamidele

Onibalusi, didn’t know he would one day own a business that would make him famous. At 19, Onibalusi has not only founded a business, he is also wellknown. On what made him to start his online business,, he said: “I heard about the concept of making money online. I was a big Bill Gates fan. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be rich, to have the kind of lifestyle I wanted without working for anybody. I never intended to be a writer or blogger then. I just wanted to make money online, and I was ready to give my best effort to become a success. I spent about 20 hours at a stretch creating my first website, and I was so excited about what I just discovered that I was ready to give it my all. But after about three months, i could not get any result. I knew something was wrong with my approach and wanted to try something new. ‘’So, I started reading various blogs and articles about how to make money online, and it was in the process I saw an article written by Steve Pavlina.That article changed everything.The article

Stories by Daniel Essiet

made me realise how blogging works and, most importantly, it also made me realise the importance of giving free value without expecting anything in return. That was when I discovered blogging and writing online. Bill Gates was a big inspiration in terms of mentality, but Pavlina gave me the kick I needed to get started.’’ On the challenges he encountered as a new blogger, he said: “I had to overcome a lot of challenges, especially due to the nature of our country. Some of the major challenges included poor electricity and Internet connection.’’ To address these, he had to partner with a cafe owner in his area. But there was another problem: raising funds.“My mother is a widow with six children; so asking her to support a new business was difficult,’’ he said. Onibalusi’s advantage was that he was familiar with the computer and was into and networking. As a result, he started offering his skills as a freelancer. He made money by repairing computers and that made it easy for him to get funds for hosting and maintaining his blog. He also

participated in a few online contests to fund his business. On how he was able to make popular his blog, Onibalusi said his strategy was writing as a guest blogger on other blogs. ‘’Guest blogging is instrumental to my success; in fact, I must say that at least 70 per cent of the traffic I drew to my online business came from guest blogging. I wrote around 270 guest posts before my business began to take off; it was around then that I got my first client, and that I started to notice significant increase in my traffic.The problem with my approach then was that my guest posts were focused mostly on smaller blogs, and I had little or no knowledge of search engine optimistion(SEO).” Onibalusi wrote for popular blogs such as Business Insider, ReadWriteWeb, Problogger and I don’t have any special relationship with any of these blogs, other than writing guest posts for their blog. I was able to connect with them by providing them with quality content; bloggers have a lot of challenges, and one of these is creating quality content consistently. If you’re able to offer a blogger content that he loves, and content that his readers love, then you won’t have a problem with getting

published.’’ Today, he is the Chief Executive of young designed to inspire young bloggers and teach them how to make money. He said: “I built it myself.I later got a designer to help me.” He didn’t have enough funds when he started YoungPrePro. The audience was small; there was nothing a designer could get by collaborating with him. Sometimes, he had to change his website theme five times a month. He relied on free themes as he could not pay for premium design. But things have changed now. Classic designs are part of his blog. He has invested a lot of time and money in it. How does a working day look like for him? Do you follow a certain routine or schedule? “I hate routines, and that has been a problem for me. I’ve tried it several times to create a schedule to follow, but it makes it impossible for me to get anything done. My typical day is so erratic, and I don’t think I have a ‘working day’. I can work for one week sometimes, and the next week might be spent watching movies. Usually, I start my day by checking my emails, and I sometimes start the day by writing when I’m on a deadline. I spend an average of 40 hours working in one week, and it can be as much as 80 hours depending on my mood.”

Fashion whiz kid on the block

Onibalusi works from home. He runs a virtual business. People place orders by phone or Intenet; all products are sent online to customers. Buoyed by this success, Onibalusi develops products that generates good sales a year. Looking ahead, he has set his sight on huge sales. He plans to do this by adding more products. Onibalusi has added a feather to his cap. He wrote a book entitled: “How to Write for Traffic and Money.”

Register your business, NASSI urges



IGERIA is awash with budding entrepreneurs trying to market the African brand. One of them is Akintola Akindele, a 25-year-old Business Administration graduate of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, who founded the Bandit Urban Clothing Company. Akindele started the firm as a hobby. He said: ‘’Every day I go out, I see brands with big names churning out monotonous and uncreative designs. Basically, the only things on their products are logos. So, I thought about it. Why spend money on clothing with just logos? I believe I have something better to offer.’’ Because he was tired of these designs, he decided to found a company that could compete at the global level; an outfit that could be in the same store with Polo by Ralph, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gap. The name Bandit came up because it’s different; not bound by law, and that's what ‘’we are at the Bandit Clothing Company; our imagination is definitely outside the box.’’ According to him, Bandit Clothing is unique because its dream brought into reality. It is an indigenous firm with a world outlook. It deals in urban clothing. They include tees, polos, under garments, shorts, casual shirts and casual shoes. He said he is taking one step at a time on building the brand until it becomes an household name. He started the business with less than N200,000. ‘’But let me add, the support some of my friends gave me back then also helped make the start up process easier. Some of them paid in full for items they had not seen, trusting me to do a good job and I'm proud to say, I did not disappoint. They still wear

• Onibalusi

•Akindele’s products

those items till date, really big on quality at the bandit urban clothing company’’,he said. “Recently, an aunt invested in the business, so they had to move the production of the company's products to China,where other top brands get their production done”,he added. He has,however, not gone to the banks to raise money. Yet, the business is growing. His target audience varies, but are hip and young at heart; this includes those between 15 and 45 years old. He listed his mentors to include Amancio Ortega, founder of Zara, Ralph Lauren, and P Diddy ( aka Sean Combs), founder, Sean Jean. He said if there's something known as the male fashionista, it is Diddy and Mai Atafo who he sees not as a mentor, but as a colleague. He loves the latter’s jackets. But in Africa, he admires Deola Sagoe, Mai Atafo and Uche Nnaji of Ouch. What has changed since the business started? He said a lot. He has gone from selling hand to hand to friends and family. He partners with e-commerce sites,

• Akindele

such as e, and, among others Akindele said his company is talking with store owners to stock his products. The company has reached out the biggest commerce store in Ghana and another one in the United Kingdom."We

are trying to expand beyond Nigeria, because the goal is to become the number one indigenous brand out of Africa or globally. Also, we have moved production of our products out of Nigeria to China to meet the international standard. A lot has changed and we are still evolving at the Bandit Urban Clothing Company. But he faces some challenges.”Well, apart from having to provide almost the basic infrastructure needed in production personally, the biggest challenge is getting people to accept the work of an upcoming designer”,he explained. He said, however. that he is getting past that now. He learned a lot from Amancio Ortega, founder of Zara. Akindele was a shop attendant at Ortega’s store from at the age of 14. ’What he learnt from him? “Perseverance and the power of belief. That's a man who triumphed against all odds from a lowly beginning in Spain to secure a place among the first on the wealthiest Forbes list, ”he said.

HE Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) has raised the alarm over the large number of unregistered businesses. Its Chairman, Mr Segun KutiGeorge, said most business owners often closed their shops on sighting government agencies. Kuti-George urged business owners to desist from the act, noting that the essence of registering a business is to assist the government in its planning. “Business owners, especially small scale businesses, are fond of shying away from registering their businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission, the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control(NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON). “Some of them do so to avoid payment of taxes and certification dues, while some simply are afraid of the agencies. “The agencies are there because of business owners. It is wrong to play smart and later be caught by the long arm of the law,” he said. Kuti-George urged business owners to join the association because SON and NAFDAC had promised to assist small businesses this year. According to him, SON and NAFDAC have promised to provide special platforms to certify small businesses without compromising their standards. He said the registration and certification of a business exposed it to opportunities such as getting contracts. He lauded NAFDAC and SON for supporting small-scale industrialists and their continuous fight against substandard products.




Tax environment and film industr y

HE tax environment can affect the activities of individuals and corporate bodies either positively or negatively. Filmmakers and relevant stakeholders should begin to align goals and strategies to grow the sector with particular intention to claim their own share of the package of tax incentives the government has granted to other sectors of the local economy.


In developed countries, the type of tax regime in place influences business planning and investment decisions. In the business environment, the tax environment has impact on employment, output, income and economic growth rate. It is imperative to note that regulators and stakeholders have critical roles to play. The film industry has attracted global attention. Our films are viewed all over Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and continental America. As such, the government may not be unwilling to grant special tax incentives to further enhance the growth of the film industry, thereby create job opportunities and develop a vibrant film industry. The Federal Government is making efforts to ensure that the tax environment is investment friendly, and has such provided a number of tax incentives to specific sectors in the economy to stimulate growth and development. Globally, an investor friendly tax environment will attract foreign investment, while the flip side will discourage foreign investment. The tax incentives available within a nation's tax environment constitute part of the investment opportunities for local and foreign investors to build on. The following already exist in the Nigerian law: "The creation of a film industry development fund to be listed in the 5th schedule of the CITA Cap C 21, LFN 2004 as amended. "Investment tax credit. "Deduction of reserve made out profit for research and development "Tax exemption on income earned from abroad brought into Nigeria " Low company tax of 20 per cent for small companies in the preferred sectors as per 1996 fiscal policy analysis. "Pioneer status. "Low tax treaty concession rate of 7.5 per cent for foreign investors. "Accelerated capital allowance scheme. "Loss relief. "Repatriation of net earnings outside Nigeria by foreign investors. "Allowable deduction of cost of film production. In the real sense the Film Industry need a better understanding of the tax law and how it applies to the industry. Notably the only tax incentive that the Film Industry

• Ag Executive Chairman, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed Mashi

‘The creation of a film industry development fund to be listed in the 5th schedule of the CITA Cap C 21, LFN 2004 as amended’ acknowledges is the one granted under Decree 32 of 1996 which provides that 100 per cent of the foreign income earned from abroad by authors, playwrights, artistes, musicians, and sportsmen etc is exempted from tax provided that the income is repatriated into Nigeria in foreign currencies through a domiciliary account with a Nigerian bank. There is no gainsaying that the foreign investment in this sector will go up with some tax incentives applied to it. Following the tax incentive technical committee made up of FIRS and NFC to work out a package of incentives to be presented to the Federal Government, the situation is bound to change with the unprecedented growth, which the industry has seen in the last two decades, particularly the tremendous achievement of the last five years. The following are the recommendation of

‘The film industry has attracted global attention third only to America's Hollywood and India's Bollywood, making it an investors delight.With this level of achievement, the government, no doubt, will be willing to grant tax incentives to spur further growth in this very important money spinning sector of the economy. A similar incentive has been granted to the tourist industry which is one closely linked with the film industry’

• Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

the technical committee for inclusion into the Nigerian tax law: "Exemption of 20 per cent of income of film-makers; provided such income will be put into reserve to be used in further acquisition of film equipment "Low rate of tax of 20 per cent for small companies in the film industry based on classification of the film industry as a preferred sector in the Nigerian economy "Rebate on import duties on importation of film equipment and materials by local and foreign film production companies "Preferential loan facilities to be made available to investors to aid development in the film sector "Insertion of ‘film practitioners’ in the list of economic actors mentioned in S19(1) of PITA 2004 Third schedule item 30 "Audio-visual film materials imported into Nigeria to be exempted from VAT. "Ten per cent levy from exhibition and theatre receipts should be ploughed into the proposed film development fund.” The film industry has attracted global attention third only to America's Hollywood and India's Bollywood, making it an investors delight.With this level of achievement, the government, no doubt, will be willing to grant tax incentives to spur further growth in this very important money spinning sector of the economy. A similar incentive has been granted to the tourist industry which is one closely linked with the film industry. Also, very important is the need for enterprises in the film industry to register with the relevant tax authorities for tax purposes and file their income tax returns and pay their taxes as and when due to encourage government to grant these incentives. It must be noted that the Federal Inland Revenue Service is doing a lot to encourage different sectors of the economy to optimise value and potential, this will invariably increase voluntary tax compliance. The ball is now in the court of filmmakers to take advantage of this opportunity to grow this sector.




Customs fails to meet N320b target


•From right: Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar and Minister of State for Works, Alhaji Bashir Yuguda, during their visit to Lagos port. PHOTO: OLUWAKEMI DAUDA

Reps probe Destination Inspectors’ N275b contracts • Importers, agents flay 100% cargo inspection


HE House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Customs and Excise to probe the extension of the N275billion contracts awarded to Destination Inspectors (DI) at the ports. Under the deal, the DIs, sources said, would get N21 billion, irrespective of the quality of work done. The House, sources said, is not happy that the country’s revenue potential is not being realised because the DIs are not paying the correct taxes. Over $1 billion, it was alleged, has been lost. The probe, source said, was, initiated to prevent the continued loss of revenue. Those affected are: Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited, SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited, Global Scan Systems Limited and Webb Fountain (Nigeria) Limited. Sources said some Repre-

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

sentatives are not happy that the Federal Government extended theDIs’ contracts for six months without following due process. The contracts were for the provision of facilities for the prosecution of Destination Inspection Scheme (DIS), including scanning services, risk management techniques and electronic platform at the borders, and the training of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) personnel. The companies were also expected to build, equip, train and transfer their technology and expertise to the Customs and hand over to the Service fully last year. Sources said the committee was given two weeks to report to the House. Speaking in Lagos last week, the Controller of the

Apapa Area One Command of the Nigeria Customs, Umar Muhammed, said officers were already working with the DIs on the scanning site and in their offices with the hope of taking over from them this month. Had the contracts not been extended by the Federal Government, he said Customs would have performed well in destination inspection because many officers had gone through training. Each, he said, had been given the posts that they would handle this year. The 100 per cent physical examination of car-goes by Customs has again been faulted for its inadequacies. Importers and clearing agents are demanding a review of the policy, because it impedes prompt cargo clearance and causes delay at port. Terminal operators, im-

porters said, use it as an excuse for the delay in positioning their containers for examination. Managing Director, Kenny Doo Investment, Alhaji Kehinde Al-Moruf Oloyede, urged importers to ensure that their declaration is correct. He advised the Customs to review the policy to ease cargo clearance. Stakeholders said the 48hour cargo clearance target time aimed at bringing the ports in line with what obtains in other ports in West African countries. Oloyede urged the Customs to acquire hi-tech equipment that are capable of examining cargoes to fast-track the delivery of consignments to consignees. He also urged the Service to improve on its information-tracking system where containerised cargoes can be known without subjecting them to 100 per cent physical examination.

Shippers’ Council to attract 3m cargoes


HE Acting Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, has led a trade delegation, comprising port concessionaires, administrators, government officials and other shipping service providers, to Niger Republic. The visit is expected to attract over three million metric tonnes of cargo to Nigeria’s sea ports. The trip, according to a statement, was at the instance of the Ministry of Transport to convince the land-locked Niger Republic to patronise Nigeria’s sea ports. Bello said: “What we are doing is part of efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Niger Republic to discharge their international law obligations as coastal/transit state and landlocked state.” He said the meeting between Nigerian maritime industry operators and the Niger Republic business

community was facilitated by the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Development. The NSC boss told The Nation the Council aims to attract up to three million metric tonnes of Niger Republic’s consignments to the Nigeria’s sea ports annually. “At present, Niger Republic is doing about 2.5 million metric tonnes in Benin Republic, 1.5 million metric tonnes in Togo, and close to a million metric tonnes in Ghana. Nigerian ports can do up to three million metric tonnes annually, and up to 2,000 Niger Republicbound containers monthly from our projection. Don’t forget also that Nigeria has strong diplomatic relations with Niger Republic, and an international obligation to landlocked countries around it. We believe the visit will open up a bundle of business opportunities for our ports. “It may interest you to know that, until the year 2006, about 70 per cent of Niger Republic cargo

transited through Nigerian ports, as against the current zero percent. So, the mission is aimed at attracting back Niger Republic’s cargo to Nigerian ports and ensuring access of their cargo to Nigerian seaports,” Bello stated. Major imports into Niger Republic, like Nigeria, are mostly consumer goods, while the country exports uranium, sesame seed, Arabic gum, groundnut and skin. “Niger Republic is an oil producing country, and looks up to the ports of neighbouring countries to export crude,” he said. Bello, who assumed the mantle of leadership at the NSC in December last year, said his major concern is to reinvigorate the Council to play its role of trade facilitation. “We have started the process of reinvigorating the shippers’ associations all over the country. We are the secretariat of all the shippers in Nigeria – importers and exporters – and we must now

begin to really protect their interests,” he stated. Bello said, under his leadership, service delivery will become the watchword for all NSC staff. “Service delivery is important. We are here to serve the shippers. We have been solving their problems and attending to their complaints but now we need to automate the process. We’ll acquire toll-free numbers where they can call in and lodge their complaints and receive prompt attention from our staff,” Bello said.

HE Apapa Area One Command of the Nigeria Customs failed to meet its N320 billion revenue target last year. The command made N283 billion. On export, the command got as N129.9 billion, leaving a shortfall of N37 billion. Sources said the commodities exported included palm kernel cake, cocoa beans and wheat bran pallets, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, ginger, hibiscus flower, gum Arabic, processed rubber, shrimps, and lead ingot. Others were 4,625,837 square feet of processed leather, 74,547 cases of Dettol brand of disinfectant, Maggi Crayfish, 29,062 cartons of biscuits, 97,100 bags of assorted bathroom slippers and 1,655,320 litres of ethyl alcohol. Investigation also revealed that there has been an increase in the number of containers scanned at the Apapa port. The command scanned 18,489 containers last year. A breakdown of containers

at the port shows that 3,390 were scanned for the first quarter with an average of 113 containers daily; the second quarter recorded 4,225 with a daily average of 142 containers. For the third quarter, 4,832 containers were scanned with a daily average of 161; 6,042 containers were scanned in the last quarter with an average of 201 scanned daily. Sources said a total of 14,128 containers were exited from the port using the fast track method. “Currently, 119 companies have availed themselves of this service and have achieved a monthly average of 1,177 containers exiting the ports under the scheme, a total of 14,128 containers were exited using fast track method,” the source said. Despite the fact that the command was N40 billion short of the expected revenue target for last year, Umar said an unprecedented N283 billion was collected as total revenue between January and December last year.

‘Stakeholders sabotage enforcement of Cabotage Act’


HE implementation of the Cabotage Act is being sabotaged by stakeholders, a university teacher has said. Mr Dipo Alaka of the Lagos State University (LASU) said the law could easily be implemented if the agency saddled with enforcing it, musters the political will to do so. “This is the time for the government to buckle-up and see to the implementation of the Cabotage law. But we need to understand the problems confronting the agency before we can say yes, maybe some individuals in government are trying to frustrate the implementation. “My thinking is that every ship that calls at our port should first declare arrival to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), NIMASA and the Navy. By doing so, it would become

easy to implement the law,” he said. Alaka said the execution of the law should not be a problem. “The agency saddled with enforcing the law does not even need to get to the jetty to arrest a vessel; she can ask a vessel to tell her its point of loading. So, if it is offshore Lagos or offshore Cotonou, the agency can then verify if it is on the list of Cabotage registered vessels. “Therefore, implementation should not be a major issue. From all indications, there must be a kind of conspiracy between the operators and people that grant approval for foreign vessels to come into the country.” He said Nigerian ship owners must be supported by the governmentand banks to buy sufficient vessels to adequately carry out coastal trade.

Police dislodge fake Customsmen


HE Ogun State Police C o m m a n d h a s smashed a 17-man gang operating in Customs uniform. The gang was robbing motorists on the Abeokuta-Ibadan Road. The bandits, it was learnt, ambushed motorists between Olodo and Kila villages in Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State about 3:00 pm, pretending to be Customs officials.

But the Police, acting on a tip-off, swooped on them. The Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Muyiwa Adejobi, said the robbers sought to take advantage of the existing Customs checkpoint on that road to rob motorists. He warned the public to be wary of fake checkpoints, noting that the Customs no longer maintains any checkpoint on the Abeokuta-Ibadan Road.

Minister seeks efficiency at port


HE Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has urged stakeholders in the maritime industry to collaborate with the Federal Government in its quest to ensure sanity and efficiency to the ports. Speaking at the launch of an Integrated Port Community Information System in Port Community Information System (IPCIS), he said, President Goodluck

Jonathan’s administration is determined to make the ports attractive for business and urged the stakeholders to embrace the IPCI system. The benefits of the new system include ship reporting; on-line automated notice of arrival and departure of vessels, tracking; automatic identification system, weather current and tide information, port community system, cargo tracking, smart port technology, unattended asset sensor,

and also useful in operation of inland container deport. The system could also provide solutions to various aspects of challenges in port operation; reduce cost, offers steady profits to stakeholders and act as trade facilitator centre. In his own remark, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authirity (NPA), Mallam Habib Abdullahi said the system was launched as part of the efforts of NPA to promote efficiency at ports.



BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL Canadian visa for entrepreneur immigrants

US business spending plans F edge higher


GAUGE of United States business investment plans improved in December, a sign companies were betting the economy will pick up despite fears over tighter fiscal policy. The Commerce Department said on Monday that non-defence capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for investment plans, edged up 0.2 per cent last month. Many economists expected businesses to invest more timidly late last year because of uncertainty over government spending cuts and tax increases, which had been scheduled to kick in this month. Congress, ultimately, struck a last-minute deal to avoid or postpone most of the austerity measures. Despite the uncertainty, Monday’s data pointed to growing economic momentum as companies sensed improved consumer demand. “It certainly seems to us that companies are slowly but surely expanding,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. In a further sign of business confi-

dence, the November reading on capital spending plans was revised higher to show a three per cent gain, up from the 2.6 per cent rise reported a month ago. A second report showed a measure of upcoming home resales took a breather in December, declining 4.3 per cent. Still, the housing sector posted a rebound last year and economists expect it will add to growth again in 2013. The business spending data pushed down prices for US government debt, though stock prices also fell. New orders for overall durable goods - long lasting factory goods from toasters to automobiles - jumped 4.6 per cent in December, beating economists expectations of a 1.8 per cent gain. The gains were broad based, with orders for machinery, cars and primary metals all increasing. “There’s a lot more confidence,” said Wayne Kaufman, an analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York. Orders for civilian aircraft surged 10.1 percent. However, they could come under pressure in coming

months as Boeing deals with battery problems in its new flagship passenger plane. The manufacturer continues to make the 787 Dreamliner jet but stopped delivering them this month. The planes list for about $200 million each and Boeing ships about five per month, so a sustained pause in deliveries could be a slight drag on overall shipments of durable goods, which last month totaled $230.6 billion. Lost shipments could also weigh on US exports. In December, core shipments of capital goods, which factor out aircraft and defense, rose 0.3 per cent. Despite the stronger-than-expected demand at the nation’s factories, economists think economic growth cooled in the fourth quarter as companies slowed the pace at which they re-stocked their shelves. Analysts polled by Reuters expect a report on gross domestic product due on Wednesday will show the economy expanded at a mere 1.1 per cent annual rate in the fourth quarter, down from a 3.1 per cent rate in the previous three months.

OREIGN innovators who want to set up new companies in Canada will be able to immigrate under a new start-up visa programme that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said on Thursday was the first of its kind in the world. The new programme, to be launched on April 1, is part of a government push to better align the immigration system with Canada’s economic goals. Last year, the government revamped the skilled worker program to try to make it meet employers’ needs more nimbly. “Our new start-up visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies,” Kenney said in a statement. “Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.” Under this programme, would-be immigrants would require the support of a Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group, which would invest in new companies started by the immigrants. Once candidates for the program are identified by these groups, the government would try to clear them for entry into Canada within weeks. The goal is to unite Canadian money and foreign brains. An initial source of candidates could be frustrated foreigners in the high-tech sector in the United States who have not been able to land resident status there. The Canadian start-up visa would grant permanent resident status, which can then lead to citizenship. For now, Ottawa will work with two umbrella groups that will identify which members of their associations will be eligible to participate in the program. They are Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organisation. “Through this programme, we want to attract high-quality entrepreneurs from around the globe and help build best-in-class companies in Canada,” said Peter van der Velden, president of CVCA and managing general partner of Lumira Capital, which helps build health and life-science companies. Kenney has put a moratorium on issuing on Canada’s existing entrepreneur visa, which only required an immigrant to hire one person for one year.

Goldman to raise $600m for loans to small firms


• From left: John Mccain; Robet Menedez; Charles Schumer; Richard Durbin and Marco Rubio at a news conference on comprehensive immigration at the Capitol in Washington.

Dow, S&P 500 near flat after rally, Apple boosts Nasdaq T HE Dow and S&P 500 were nearly flat as a four-week rally stalled, while a rebound in Apple shares helped buoy the Nasdaq. Caterpillar (CAT.N) shares helped cap losses in the Dow industrials even as the company posted a 55 per cent drop in quarterly profit due to a charge connected with accounting fraud at a Chinese subsidiary and weak demand among its dealers. Caterpillar’s shares, down 2.2 per cent in the past three sessions, rose 1.5 percent Monday to $96.97. Boeing (BA.N), down 1.2 per cent at $74.14, shares led decliners on the Dow. The aircraft maker risks losing about $5 billion in revenue by the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner fleet, according to a Bloomberg report. The S&P 500 is coming off a streak of eight sessions of gains, the longest in eight years, but the index remained above 1,500. It ended above that level on Friday for the first time in more than five years. “I think this multi-year high is really something that’s in play both for short-term traders and for folks with money on the sidelines,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Manage-

ment in Birmingham, Alabama. Investors poured $55 billion in new cash into stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds in January, the biggest monthly inflow on record, research provider TrimTabs Investment Research said. Bargain hunters lifted Apple (AAPL.O) after the tech giant’s stock dropped 14.4 per cent in the previous two sessions. With Apple’s stock up 2.4 per cent at $450.29, the iPad and iPhone maker regained the title as the largest US company by market capitalisation as Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) fell 0.9 percent to $90.94 and slipped back to second place. The Dow Jones industrial average finance/markets/.DJI was up 10.70 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 13,906.68. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was down 0.50 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 1,502.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 9.37 points, or 0.30 per cent, at 3,159.08. Data on Monday pointed to growing economic momentum as companies sensed improved consumer demand.

Thomson Reuters data showed that of the 150 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far, 67.3 per cent have beaten analysts’ expectations, which is a higher proportion than over the past four quarters and above the average since 1994. US durable goods orders jumped 4.6 per cent in December, a pace that far outstripped expectations for a rise of 1.8 per cent. Pending home sales unexpectedly dropped 4.3 per cent. Analysts were looking for an increase of 0.3 per cent. Equities have also gained support from a recent agreement in Washington to extend the government’s borrowing power. On Monday, Fitch Ratings said that agreement removed the nearterm risk to the country’s ‘AAA’ rating. Hess Corp (HES.N) shares shot up 6.3 per cent to $62.59 after the company said it would exit its refining business, freeing up to $1 billion of capital. Separately, hedge fund Elliott Associates is looking for approval to buy about $800 million more in Hess stock.

OLDMAN Sachs Group is looking to raise up to $600 million from its wealthy customers for a publicly traded credit fund that will provide loans to mid-sized companies - believed to be the first fund of its kind for the Wall Street bank. The new fund, in which Goldman could invest another $150 million of its own money, is being structured as a business development company, an investment vehicle that is specifically exempt from the so-called Volcker Rule that puts limits on some activities by Wall Street firms. A January marketing brochure for the fund, reviewed by Reuters, said the fund will provide loans to “underserved middle market public and private companies” that commercial banks have largely refrained lending to since the financial crisis began. The fund is a way for Goldman to keep a hand in the credit business despite new constraints on trading credit products that are expected to come with the finalisation of the Volcker Rule. The rule that would ban proprietary trading carries exemptions in its current form for lending and small business development. A spokesman for Goldman’s asset management group, which is sponsoring the Goldman Sachs Liberty Harbor Capital fund, declined to comment. The fund’s portfolio, valued at around $50 million, already includes an average stake of about $8.5 million in six companies, with a weighted average yield of roughly 11 percent, according to the brochure. The investments are in both senior secured loans and unsecured high-yield debt. The new fund comes at a time that Wall Street firms are looking to find new ways to entice their best brokerage customers into new products. While business development companies are not a new innovation, the Goldman fund could be a sign of things to comes from Wall Street firms as they adjust to prospect of lesser trading dollars because of the Volcker rule. The Volcker rule is named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The rule, which is still being hashed out by regulators, would limit the kind of activities Wall Street banks can engage in, including capping the amount of money firms like Goldman can invest in their own hedge funds and private equity funds and preventing them from trading certain kinds of financial products for their own accounts. Changes banks including Goldman have made in anticipation of the Volcker Rule’s prop-trading ban have already altered the competitive landscape noticeably in the credit space. Last fall a managing director at the private equity firm Blackstone Group took a jab at Goldman and other Wall Street banks, thanking Volcker for taking away its largest competitor in the credit space.

Loan start-up Prosper raises $20m, led by Sequoia


ROSPER, a leader in the fast-growing ‘peer-to-peer’ lending sector, said it raised $20 million from venture capital firms led by Sequoia Capital, stepping up competition with rival lending club. Prosper also named Stephan Vermut, a veteran from the hedge fund brokerage business, as its chief executive. Dawn Lepore had been serving as interim chief executive officer since last March. Peer-to-peer lending cuts out banks by linking individual investors who want to loan money with those looking to borrow cash through an online marketplace. Lending Club - which counts high-profile economist Larry Summers and John Mack, the former chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, as board members - is the largest peer-to-peer lending marketplace. The sector is growing fast, with Prosper’s revenue and loan originations doubling in the past year. The growth is being partly driven by increased interest among institutional investors, such as hedge funds, in peer-to-peer loans as a new asset class. Vermut was the founder of Merlin Securities, a so-called prime brokerage firm that specialises in serving hedge funds. Wells Fargo & Co. acquired Merlin in April. Ron Suber, a former head of global sales at Merlin, is also joining Prosper to help expand the firm’s presence among institutional investors.



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Is oil thicker than blood? •Continued from page 26

•Onyebuchi and other bata dancers on stage

One convocation, two performances The National Theatre, Lagos, came alive when the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Theatre Group staged two performances to mark the institution’s second convocation, reports PAUL OLUWAKOYA.


UESTS saw the richness of the country’s cultural heritage when the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Theatre Group staged its performances at the National Theatre, Lagos. The NOUN Theatre Group entertained guests with Enough is Enough and a Bata dance. The play, written by Dr Onyeka Iwuchukwu, draws attention to the plight of women in contemporary African society. Throughout the tension-soaked performance, it was clear the audience enjoyed every bit of it, given the applause that followed each scene. A market scene, where touts extorted money from women traders at their stalls, was especially interesting. The touts carried out their mission forcibly; and so, it was no surprise the kind of exhilaration in the air when the traders revolted and protested in one-voice. At the end of the play, the cast changed into traditional adire attires with women wearing the fashionable Oleku styles and Sisi Oge hairdos while the men had their caps on to complement the adire attire. Clad in their traditional outfits, they got on the stage for the second performance, entitled: The Music and Dance of Bata. Accompanied by bata drumming, the dancers danced with well-measured steps to the stage and were received by a resounding applause. As the drummers beat away in a maddening frenzy, the dancers danced with dexterity. The dance patterns varied in response to the lead bata drummer. The dance showcased the rich cultural heritage of the Yourba people. And as the troupe danced, they took guests into that cultural richness which celebrates life and work hard. As in ancient times, the dancers invoked an ancestral spirit to give vent to their mesmerising and eccentric displays. According to Iwuchukwu, the lead dancer, the bata dance has become a global phenomenon embedded in evocative and deep percussive recourse to a rich culture and heritage. She said: "The dance was used essentially to demonstrate

THEATRE Yoruba's rich cultural traditions and it has come to stay. The dance performance is the highpoint of the event." Although from the eastern part of the country, Nwachukwu said, as a stage performer, she is completely sold to the culture - hers or the Yoruba's. She added that the theatre is her life. She said: "If I fail to dance, my legs will not forgive me. If I also fail to sing, my voice will always weep for me. And if I fail to stand on stage to deliver my lines in drama, what else will I do?" She said it was not an easy task putting the productions together, saying it took the dedication of every member of the troupe, who is mainly staff and pupils. Like Nwachukwu, a few of the cast also shared their experiences. For Christiana Uzoukwu, whose stage name is 'Betty', she now appreciates the maxim: 'dignity of labour' through the rehearsals of the bata performance. Uzoukwu, a business woman and mother studying law at the NOUN, said: "It has made me appreciate hard work the more and urged the need for one always be ready to stand for rights at anytime. This has also helped me to focus more on my studies, business and family. On her part, Onyebuchi Vivian Nkiru, a dancer, said the attires brought back memories. She said: "It reminded me of a first-time experience as a stage dancer. This stage experience is one of my best so far. The dance was one of fast tempo and a challenge which I enjoyed and overcame because of my passion for the dance." For Obatosin Tolulope Folusho, who acted the 'real policeman' in the drama, said it was excitement all the way. "I am filled with excitement to have played such roles; they are actually my second experience on stage. And I am motivated to keep on moving. Although I won't say I was a very good dancer during the bata dance, the experience was cool. I still preferred and enjoyed my role as an actor," he said.

from deep within the hearts of the creeks but could do nothing about it'; here he manages a smile. "Some other times, we had girls, lots of them, coming in from the nearby university, who came of their own volition to make the camp lively. If I was indeed a bad person who cut off human heads and killed at will as some would have you believe, would that have happened?" He has worked himself up to a state of excitement now as he remembers some of the unfounded stories about him. "I was made out to be a beast, a terror and an unfeeling machine, who mowed people down whenever I felt like. But even you have seen for yourself the kind of person I am," he looked across everyone in the living room. Indeed, it was clear, from the video recordings and interviews conducted on him in camp, that Ateke, has an amiable side that attracts people to him. And as described in one of the editions of The Nation newspaper, the ex-militant, or 'freedom fighter' as he prefers to be called, is a Nollywood friendly lion. During this reporter's visit to his home, a number of Nollywood stars were spotting having pleasant time with him. Interestingly, some of the videos of activities in the creek were shot by notable Nollywood filmmakers and actors. But it appears that the bargains for amnesty have not finally been met; an indication that film sequels on the struggle may still be forthcoming. The amnesty programme, he said, has not finally settled the grievances that led to the insurgency in the first place. 'They (government) said they were going to train the boys and give them good jobs; up till now, not much has been done. "In my own case, after having been granted amnesty, why then am I still being hunted? My house in Okrika was raided and bombarded by soldiers who were looking for Ateke Tom. I used to have a lot of dogs there too, but one day, they came and shot all of them, because when they didn't see me, they assumed I had turned to one of them and decided to kill them all." There was laughter across the room.


Entries for Yasmin el-Rufai workshop


HE organiser of the Yasmin el-Rufai Creative Writing Workshop are set for this year's edition. It has announced that interested persons aged between 14 and 21 should apply. The deadline for entries submission is February 20. The workshop, which is billed for April 8 to 12 in Abuja, is being organised by Exodus4Arts, a literary organisation. It is in memory of Yasmin el-Rufai, the late daughter of the former Minister of the FCT, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai. Yasmin died in November, 2011 in London. The workshop, the organiser said, has the objective of keeping her memory alive, by adding value to the lives of the younger generation. "It will take the form of a class. Participants will be assigned a wide range of reading exercises, as well as daily writing exercises. The aim of the workshop is to improve the craft of writers. Participation is limited only to those who apply and are accepted. For the simple reason that the workshop makes no provision for boarding facilities this year, participants

WORKSHOP are expected to be residents of the FCT, although no one - Nigerians or other nationalities residing in Nigeria who apply and are successful - will be excluded," according to the organiser. In addition, it said, all materials must be pasted in the body of the e-mail, adding that only those accepted to the workshop will be notified by March 18. There will be a literary evening to round off the workshop, open to the public on April 13. According to the statement signed by the Project Manager, Akujor Emeka to apply, interested participarts should send an e-mail to: with the e-mail subject reading Workshop Application; the body of the e-mail should contain participant's name; address, phone number, date of birth, a few sentences about oneself, written sample of between 250 and 500 words (which may either be fiction or non-fiction).

In memoriam


HE Aina Onabolu Gallery, National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos, will come alive this Saturday, with a literary celebration. The event is to celebrate the lives and literary contributions of the late Ebereonwu and Okey Okpa (Foot), who died two years ago. Tagged: Ebereonwu and Okey Okpa - The Immortality of the Written Word, the event would X-ray the writer, his works and the immortality of the written word. The discussants include: Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Folu Agoi, Chike Ofili and Dickson Iroegbu (of Nollywood fame). According to a statement signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Hybun Publications, who is also Ebereonwu's publisher and friend, Mr Hyacinth Obunseh: "Friends of these great writers, lets do again as we once did with them in their life time: talk, read and enjoy a bit of the Abegi special brand of delicacies…" The, event, which is being sponsored by their friends, with support from the National Gallery of Arts (Aina Onabolu Gallery), will hold by 2pm.



The Midweek Magazine


Ten Cities come to Lagos

Park with forbidden river for monarchs

By Chinasa Ekekwe



HE Old Oyo National Park is fast becoming a tourist destination in Oyo State. The park takes its name from Oyo-Ile (Old Oyo), the ancient political capital of Oyo Empire; it contains the ruins of the city. History has it that Oyo-Ile was destroyed in the late 18th Century by Ilorin and Hausa/Fulani warriors. One of the main objectives of creating the park is to preserve and manage these anthropogenic resources in the abandoned ruins/sites of the former capital city of Oyo-Ile. The park has archaeological, cultural and historical sites dotted in and around it. These features stand it out considering its dual-prospect of archaeological and historical heritage. The park is not just about wildlife. One of the historical sites is the River Ogun. The river seems to have a cultural and historic role to play in the area. According to the Director and Conservator of the Park, Mallam Ibrahim Goni, the river flows through the park and drains into the Atlantic Ocean, breaking into pools during the dry season to form what is called the Ibuya Pools. The pools, Goni said, are "believed to have healing powers on Fridays, if and when a sick person takes his/her bath in it." The river has since become a myth. According to a myths, it is forbidden for a traditional ruler in Oke-Ogun Area. During a visit to the site, it was like one was back in time to one of those moonlight stories that are gradually becoming extinct in the fast-paced contemporary African age. Assuming the toga of an ancient storyteller, the director takes the visitor into the historical myth. "The story had it that Ogun was a woman and wife of the Okere of Saki ," he began. "The Okere of Saki was a powerful ruler. He had one spiritual dress that he used for his protection and strength during wars or attacks. This dress must not be beaten by rain or touched by a woman. This, the traditional ruler, warned his wives seriously not in any day take or touch the dress. But on this fateful day, the Okere went to the farm and he spread the dress outside in the sun to dry. There was a cloud forming threatening to rain. This fact troubled Ogun, his wife because she did not want her husband to

•The magical river From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

TOURIST SITE lose his spiritual powers. So, she summoned courage to look for a stick which she used to pick the dress from outside and brought it into the house". Goni explained that the Okere was also sensitive to the threatening rain. So, he left everything he was doing in the farm and rushed home, adding that when he got home, he found out that the dress had been removed from where he had spread it. Fuming with anger, he found out that Ogun the wife had taken it in. "He was terribly annoyed with the wife with-

‘The River Ogun (where the goddess of Ogun, wife of Okere was alleged to inhabit) remains the source of River Ogun at OyoIgboho. Since then, the Okere of Saki is said to be forbidden to see the river face-to-face’

out allowing her to explain. The wife (Ogun) had abnormal breasts which she had warned her husband (Okere) not to abuse her with it no matter the degree of his annoyance towards her. But that day, he insulted her with it. You see, Ogun was equally powerful. She had a pot containing herbs which she used for her protection. "She too got annoyed with her husband (Okere). She carried her pot of power and ran away to the bush. Okere pursued her and when he got hold of her, they both struggled together. In the process the pot fell and broke at a point, which is believed to be called OyoIgboho. The content in the pot flowed out and was believed to become what is now called River Ogun today. The River Ogun (where the goddess of Ogun, wife of Okere was alleged to inhabit) remains the source of River Ogun at Oyo-Igboho. Since then, the Okere of Saki is said to be forbidden to see the river face-toface. Hence, he must cover his face with a veil, if he has to cross or pass through the river." He said the historic and mythical story surrounding the park has impacted on its image. Other interesting sites also stand it among other parks. We are always ready to receive visitors," he said.



AJE (god of wealth and prosperity)

Making the theatre world go round


ANS of the theatre company, Arojah, are in for an exciting season this year, its organisers have said. Beginning with this year's edition of the Festival of Nigerian Plays (FESTINA) that opened last Saturday, the Abuja-based theatre company is set to thrill audience with various plays. The plays will highlight issues, such as family, politics and love, among others. "Despite the challenges facing theatre and art in general, we are poised to treat theatre lovers in Abuja and beyond to varieties of drama, classics, comedies, musicals and festival productions. We are excited to present a season of intrigue and suspense mixed with family-friendly and people-oriented productions. We shall continue to tell stories of the fascinating world around us and those that speaks to the myriad of issues and challenges facing us as a people through theatre," the organisers said. They urged key players in the entertainment industry to create an enviroment in which theatre would be able to flourish, saying the sector is a good ground where investors can thrive. "We call on the Nigerian government through agencies like the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and its state branches across the country, Centre for Black African Art (CBAAC), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and the National Theatre to create the enabling enviroment for theatre to thrive, and for well-meaning corporate organisations to begin to invest in theatre like they do in sport and other sectors." It has kick-started the season with the play, Call for Me My Osheni by former chair-

HE arts project tagged: Ten Cities came to town penultimate Saturday at the Freedom Park, Lagos. According to the organisers, Ten Cities is about club music cultures in 10 cities in Africa and Europe.Club culture is one of the most dynamic cultural forms worldwide with regards to space and the public sphere. Africa as the continent is where all western styles of club music have their roots from and Europe, on the other hand, is the current centre of club music. One of the exciting phenomena in the area of Public Sphere-space-culture is the social practice of going clubbing in environments defined by music. Music clubs are venues for experimenting with the appropriation of space, cultural practices of identities and lifestyle. This informed why Goethe-Institut in Nairobi organised a musical project with the theme, Ten Cities. The Lagos edition, which is its second, was musical collaboration that featured Nigerian and foreign acts such as the renowned British DJs/producers Pinch and Rob Smith from Bristol, Oboyega Oyedele and Wura Samba, among others. As part of the arts project, together with their Nigerian counterparts, involving an extended circle of musicians from across the country, the Smiths will be expected to produce some musical tracks. The Lagos phase is curated and facilitated by Nigerian electro-Afro group Afrologic together with Berlin-based DJ and Jahcoozi front woman, Mother Perera, in collaboration with Goethe-Institut, Nigeria. Ten Cities, the organisers said, kicked-off in Luanda, last year November. It is teaming up with 50 DJs, producers and musicians from Berlin, Bristol, Johannesburg, Cairo, Kiev, Lagos, Lisbon, Luanda, Nairobi and Naples, enabling them to produce music together and exchange their knowledge of the club scenes in their countries. It would also feature a research project will use the perspective of club cultures to explore and investigate the term of the public sphere: 23 researchers will work on essays and studies about those partly unknown music scenes and their sub-cultures; ten photographers will capture the same on an artistic level. After Lagos, the project will move to South Africa, Egypt and Kenya.

By Evelyn Osagie

man of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Abuja Chapter, at the opening of this year's edition of Festival of Nigerian Plays (FESTINA) organised by the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) in collboration with the National Theatre. The play, which was directed by Zubairu Jide Attah and the company's Director of Productions, Adesewo Fayaman Bay, is a sing-song-drama that poetically engages contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS from a very emotive perspective. The audience will not be left out in the fun. As part of celebration for this year's festival of love - Valentine Day - they would also be able to see the play in Abuja between February 14 to 16. Come March, Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo's new play, Ssoommaalliiya, will grace the stage in Abuja as part of activities marking this year's International Theatre Day celebration which will run through to the end of April at differnt locations in Abuja. The play shows how war-induced hardship and desperation can force a proud people to assume unspeakable roles. It is to be directed by Adesewo. In addition, Arojah Theatre will be unveiling the Abuja Children Theatre Initiative (ACTIn), its performing arts education programme for children and youths, in June with the production of a stage adaptation of Nzekwu Onuora's classic, Eze Goes to School. ACTIn is part of its activities marking the2013 Day of the African Child. "This is meant to draw attention to quality and accessible education as a basic right for every Nigerian child and the role that theatre can play in achieving same," Arojah Theatre or-

By Babatunde Fadun

A feeling of insecurity and hopelessness Occasioned by lack of money Is more grave than a great illness I salute thee, AJE, the author of wealth and prosperity

•A scene in The Wizard of Law

ganisers said. In August, Emmanuel Edegri will direct Ahmed Yerima's Tuti, a family delight, a story of a father's dying wish to redeem his self-respect in the eyes of his daughter. It is a window into the rotten underbelly of the church, riddled with greed, corruption, hypocrisy and competition. The second edition of Arojah Theatre's yearly Festival of Plays, which made its debut last June in honour of Dr Barclays Ayakoroma, will hold between October/ November. It will feature six plays, which would include two virgin plays selected from the playwriting competition preceeding the festival and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, among others. Its organisers added: "The theatre season will include a mobile-theatre project in which we will be taking theatre to schools and bringing young Nigerians to the theatre in our theatre education programme. We will also continue our monthly play reading party which enters third season this year.

It is you that empower a young man To ascend the status of elders And it is through your prowess that An elderly man is relegated To the ranks of small boys When we went, cap in hand, to Igbesa Seeking for loans We were obliged To pay undeserved respect to younger men Among them is Ejose Ojanjan Who had to be addressed in honourable terms Aje, a deity like you is very rare I’ll adore you till eternity •Chief FADUN, a former member of Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd, writes from Igbesa, Ogun State

•One of the new tele-novellas entitled India



The Midweek Magazine


For Jahman Anikulapo, the music never stops


IGERIA’S Arts and Culture community has literally declared January 2013 as The Jahman Anikulapo Month. January 16 is his birthday, and we have decided to ensure that every bird in the tree, every speck of the roadside dust, and every drop of the teeming lagoon sing with us as we troop out to mark the first 50 years of one of the most committed culture activists in our country’s history. And the past sixteen days of the month have witnessed a real cornucopia of compliments: from writers and readers, playwriters and play-goers, drummers and dancers, song-composers and singers, creative artists and art connoisseurs, music hall stars and street crooners, culture-policy wonks and culture-practice wags, fervent dreamers and flat-out realists, friends and foes of the arts. When I look at the young man for whom the bell has chimed fifty memorable times, and for whom the drums rumble so thunderously from street to street; when I wade through the flood of gists, jests, anecdotes, reminiscences, fabus of Jahman’s colleagues and contemporaries in his Baba Confuse days at the Theatre Arts Department of the University of Ibadan in the 1980’s; when I put all these side by side with the generous encomiums pouring forth from those whose cultural lives have been so vitally touched by this passionately engaged maverick of a man, I cannot help wondering what exactly must be going on in his mind right now. For the Jahman (or Oladejo as I’ve grown accustomed to calling him, teasingly) we have come to know is a culture warrior – no, a warrior for culture - an intensely motivated, doggedly driven, relentlessly inventive, remorselessly tenacious fighter with, ironically, a sometimes self-deprecating, self-effacing disposition. A true man of the theatre with an uproariously humorous mien and gravely serious inclination mixed in equal proportions, he has learnt to make us laugh at some of our grievous flaws and get deadly serious about what we have come to regard as mere trifles. Honesty of purpose; the readiness to serve without seeking immediate reward; humility - genuine, elevating humility; that refusal to take oneself too seriously which is one of the hallmarks of virtue – these are some of the attributes that have endeared Jahman to his throng of admirers. I still remember the day I introduced him to one of my students at the University of Ibadan, and the way young man exclaimed with a jaw-dropping curiosity: ‘Waow, so this is the same Jahman Anikulapo of The Guardian?!’ This admirer couldn’t believe that the editor of one of Nigeria’s leading Sunday papers could be so simple, so effortlessly accessible, so non-self-announcing. Jahman is also blessed with the capacity for seeing (at times, detecting) the best and most enviable in others and going ahead to showcase it for all the world to see. This is why that throng of admirers has decided to pay him back in his own coins, in a manner of speaking, by using his 50th birthday as a grand excuse for the celebration of that tirelessly gracious celebrator of other people. But the word ‘celebration’ runs the risk of sounding showy, vain, even self-indulgent, especially in a country like ours that is so fraught with purchased adulation and vacuous veneration, a place in which a chunky part of stolen public funds is spent on prodigal laundering of the image of thieving public functionaries, with the mass media dripping with purloined publicity, and praise-singers berserk with flattery. It is precisely the attempt to find new ways of celebrating excellence, by seeking out, foregrounding, cherishing, and promoting the hidden nuggets of Nigeria’s art and culture that powers much of Jahman’s vision and numerous activities. These were also the motivating factors for the birth of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) which, without doubt, is the most purposive art and culture advocacy organisation in the country today. Yes, CORA (endowed with multiple strings just like the kora, its time-hallowed musical homophone, memory tonic in the hands of the griot). Born June 2, 1991 under the pioneering chairmanship of the enterprising Yomi Layinka, and nurtured into vigorous maturity in the past two decades by a group of highly talented professionals, its two most visible faces are Jahman, our current celebratee, and Toyin Akinosho, a petroleum geologist by training and profession, a culture organiser and public intellectual who has committed professional apostasy and given his life to the arts. Astoundingly literate, cerebral, and cosmopolitan, Akinosho brings to cultural and literary journalism an insight, sure-footed elan, and magisterial panache that would make a professor of literary studies go green with envy. With Anikulapo and Akinosho, professional association has morphed into personal friendship (or vice versa!), and the result is as beneficial to culture activism in Nigeria as the companionship between Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe is to print journalism. The last 20 years have seen CORA throb us into sound and sense with its magic strings. Virtually every living Nigerian writer and artist has been guest at or subject of its Quarterly Art Stampede, that decidedly unorthodox ‘parliamentary event’ in which burning issues in art and culture are foregrounded for fertile deliberation while notable workers in the culture vineyard are fielded for combative interrogation and regenerative criticism. For the past two decades, CORA has stampeded lethargy and silence from the vital chambers of Nigeria’s arthouse. The young organization has also blossomed into fertile branches and diverse forums. Three of its many babies or off-shoots have been particularly effective. First is the Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF), an annual event whose

•Jahman By Niyi Osundare

TRIBUTE goal is the aggressive promotion of a steady reading culture by bringing the book, the writer and the reading public together in a way that makes the book both attractive and desirable; and by intelligently highlighting those books whose ideas are too seminal and too purposive to be allowed to pass without illuminating deliberation. There is also the Arthouse Forum, organised on the platform of the Friends of the Arts Lagos, (FOAL, another CORA baby) deliberately focused on culture administrators and culture policy-shapers in Nigeria. And then, The Great Highlife Party held monthly in collaboration with the O’Jez Nightclub at Surulere, Lagos, with the twin goals of restoring the significance and vitality of Highlife, ‘West Africa’s most important contribution to world music’, while celebrating ‘landmark achievements of the best on the Nigerian cultural scene’. True to its goal, this forum has brought back the inimitable melodies of Highlife, facilitated the restoration of its historic dignity and rehabilitation of some of its old, abandoned, and impoverished practitioners. A youthful vigour, a strong, well modulated dissent, a restlessly inventive spirit, a voracious hunger for knowledge and ideas, an almost missionary capability for bringing people together, a keen ear for the music of the soul and the melody of the mind, an uncanny capacity to dream and dare – these have been CORA’s hallmark achievements in the past two decades, with the likes of Jahman Anikulapo at its helm. CORA has been nothing less than the Star of Nigeria’s Enlightenment; the living instance of the power of art to challenge, to connect, to restore, to conserve, to keep. To be sure, my ‘celebration’ of Jahman Anikulapo has literally turned into a festschrift on CORA. Just as well. For there is so much mirror-imaging between this organization and this man. Like CORA, Jahman is always looking

‘For the Jahman (or Oladejo as I’ve grown accustomed to calling him, teasingly) we have come to know is a culture warrior – no, a warrior for culture - an intensely motivated, doggedly driven, relentlessly inventive, remorselessly tenacious fighter with, ironically, a sometimes self-deprecating, self-effacing disposition’

for new ways of doing old things and old ways of doing new things. Like CORA, Jahman is always on the lookout for viable alternatives. Like CORA, Jahman is, in the manner of Bynum in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, a People-Finder and People–Binder. Like CORA, Jahman is an avowed devotee of hard work and that uncompromisable thoroughness that should be its enabling companion. Who could have forgotten the striking quality of Jahman’s articles even in his rookie days as a journalist in The Guardian? Whether they were book reviews or theatre criticism, reports on cultural events, or general commentaries on arts and culture, his writings demonstrated the stimulating streak of scholarly journalism so characteristic of the efforts of the likes of Ben Tomoloju, Kole AdeOdutola, Seun Ogunseitan (in those days), and Toni Kan, Molara Wood, Akeem Lasisi, Sumaila Umaisha, Edozie Udeze, Sola Balogun, Henry Akubuiro, Layiwola Adeniji (today). On account of the thoroughness of their research, the depth of their contents, their cogitative capability, and felicity of expression, many of Jahman’s newspaper articles sometimes found their way into my literary stylistics class at the university. (I often teased him and Tomoloju with the joke that if one strung their sentences together end to end, they would span the distance between Lagos and Ikere Ekiti!). The scrupulousness and fidelity to detail which characterised Jahman’s own writing also ruled his habit as editor. In my many years of professional dealing with him, I have come to realise that nothing gives Jahman more pain and concern than a complaint about an error in any of the publications produced under his watch. In such circumstances, Jahman would fret and agonize, take personal responsibility for the error, apologise wholeheartedly, and make sure that the lapse at issue is duly rectified. I have seen him republish a whole article as a result of ‘unforgivable’ errors in the first run. When I witness such conscientiousness, such meticulousness, such aversion to mediocrity, I come away with the feeling that the pursuit of excellence has not completely disappeared from this beleaguered country; but then I ask somewhat rhetorically, ‘But why don’t they make them like Jahman any more?’. But those who see only the art-and-culture part of Jahman behold but only a segment of the man. Behind the maskand-magic of the performer is a humanely political animal: dissident, angry, even revolutionary, brimming with alternative visions and viable possibilities. ‘Life is short, but Art is long’, brags the old dictum. Very consoling, eloquently soothing in its soporific certitude. But we are also wakeful enough to know that art can only be as ‘long’ as the politics of life allow it to be. And there are few places in our contemporary world where the possibilities of art are so cruelly thwarted by the barbarisms of the socioeconomic and political system as they are in Nigeria. I have yet to meet another journalist of Jahman’s standing in Nigeria today with a clearer apprehension of Nigeria’s socio-political dysfunctionality, and its consequent frustration of our creative potential and decimation of our dreams. Like Matthew Arnold, the noted Victorian poet and literary theorist, Anikulapo discerned pretty early in his career the intimate, inevitable connection between culture and civilization, enlightenment and the science of being. A personal conversation with him reveals his seething, patriotic anger at the criminals in power who stand between Nigeria and her dreams – those who have replaced genuine, creative culture with venal barbarism and allied philistinism. Every chat with Jahman leaves me in no doubt about his belief in the curability of Nigeria’s pathological underdevelopment. Thus he has grown to acquire the moral strength and psychological equipoise which have prevented him from tipping over into the hell-hole of rank opportunism and conscienceless sell-out that have become the standard practice of most Nigerian elite. Just consider this: Ten long years as editor of Nigeria’s most authoritative Sunday newspaper, Jahman is bowing out without bulging bank accounts, a fleet of cars, a cluster of landed properties in the choicest parts of Lagos and Abuja; without ‘thank-you’ packages from the banks and the rest of the business world; without a nifty oil block gift from a ‘grateful’ Presidency, that would ease him into the nirvana of a gross, indolent billionaire for the rest of his life. . . . Conscience over commerce; mind over money; policy not politics; justice, not just-as-it-is: Jahman Anikulapo, like the late Czech President Vaclav Havel (who, incidentally, was also a man of the theatre), has taught all of us new ways of being human. A stupendously gifted, conscientious, and productive human being, he has, by his example, demonstrated that integrity is not a taboo word even in our hellishly debauched country. In the past two decades we have seen an uncommonly principled professional devote his enormous talent and energy to the defence, protection, and promotion of culture and the generation and dissemination of ideas. In celebrating him, therefore, we are celebrating the best in ourselves and calling attention to the infinite possibilities of this lavishly endowed but sadly misgoverned country. Jahman Anikulapo has shown us that Hope, though distant, is not an unreachable goal. Thank you, Oladdejo, for all you have been doing to stampede us into sense. As Teju Kareem and Segun Ojewuyi have most aptly and most poetically put it, ‘You have built a repertoire of good deeds that go beyond your years’. Welcome to the second half of your century! •Prof. Osundare writes from New Orleans, US



The Midweek Magazine



FOR THE LOVE OF CULTURE lga masqueraders displaying at Samodun festival in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.



•Some Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA) members jointly cutting the ribbon to the stone plaque

•ANA President Prof Remi Raji laying the foundation.





NEWS •L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; Group Managing Director/ CEO, Notore Chemical Industries Mr. Jite Okoloko and Founding Managing Director and current Chairman of Presco Oil Palm plc, Mr. Pierre Vandebeeck at the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Eminent Persons Group on Nigeria’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda in Geneva, Switzerland

•Vice President Namadi Sambo (right) and Abia State Governor Theordore Orji at the Niger Delta Power Holdings Company meeting on how to generate power at the Presidential Villa... on Monday. PHOTO AKIN OLADOKUN.

•Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura(left) addressing internally displaced people who returned to their homes at Iggah in Nasarawa-Eggon Local Government... last weekend.

•Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan (left) signing into law the Delta State Emergency Management Agency at the public presentation of the technical committee’s report, in Asaba... on Monday. With him is Assembly Speaker Victor Ochie.


•Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe flanked by her Permanent Secretary, Dr. Godknows Igali (left) and World Bank Country Director, Ms Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly at the Championing Water Utility workshop in Abuja...on Monday.

•The outgoing Managing Director, Nigerite Limited, Mr. Jean-Lue Victor(left); Chairman, Juli Pharmacy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, his wife Julian, Mrs. Tina Orebe, her husband and Chairman Nigerite Limited, Dr. Femi Orebe, at the sendforth dinner for Mr. Lue Victor at Lagos PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN Sheraton Hotel... last weekend.

•Dr. Sanda Oluwole Umar (middle) receiving a plaque from Rear Admiral Simbiliyu Timson at the 60th anniversary of Ansar-Ud-Deen College Old Students Association, Lagos... last weekend. With them is Prof. Shamshildeen Elegba. PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID

•Francess Chiejina (left); Chika Alakwe; Pascal Atumah and Dubem Ikebuego at the African Entertainment Group news conference at Chesney Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.






What will Nigeria celebrate at 100? Nigeria will be 100 years on January 1, 2014. The Federal Government is proposing a centenary celebration. However, opinion is divided on the relevance of the celebration in a country that has failed to resolve the fundamental issues germane to nation-building and peaceful co-existence. AUGUSTINE AVWODE and JEREMIAH OKE report.



N January 1, next year, the Federal Government will roll out the drums to celebrate Nigeria’s 100 years of existence. It is a milestone. Thus, President Goodluck Jonathan has set up a 19-man Planning Committee under the chairmanship of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim to fashion out a programme commemorating the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the colonial governor, Lord Frederick Lugard. In his letter to the Senate, President Jonathan said the committee had articulated a framework for the celebrations, which had already been presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and governors at the National Economic Council for their input. The letter reads in part: “You may wish to recall that on the 1st of January 1914, the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria were formally amalgamated into one country. This implies that the 1st of January, 2014 marks one hundred years of our union as a nation. Notwithstanding our challenges, it is considered that this is a significant anniversary deserving of celebration by the citizens and government of Nigeria. “It is against this background that I constituted a 19-member planning committee for the centenary celebrations, under the chairmanship of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. “The purpose of this letter is to request a convenient date for the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to receive a full briefing on the proposed programme for the centenary celebrations, so that your input will also be accommodated in the framework.” The Committee had actually moved a step ahead before Anyim appeared before the senators. On January 14, Anyim had unveiled the programme at a private sector stakeholders’ engagement forum, where he outlined major aspects of the celebration. These include the centenary torch lighting, unveiling of the centenary logo, launching of the centenary official portal, and the presentation of the centenary documentary by President Jonathan. Also, the Abuja Centenary City is being proposed for the Federal Capital Territory. Anyim said the president will also flag off the 100 centenary projects and introduce the company that wins the exclusive right to the centenary project. However, it appears many Nigerians are not enthusiastic about the celebration. In the Senate, the lawmakers made it clear that government could go ahead, provided it would not commit public funds into it. Senate President

•President Jonathan

David Mark emphasized that his understanding of Anyim’s presentation was that the federal government would not finance the programmes. “Government is not committing a dime to the centenary celebration; that is my understanding, so far. Government has no commitment at all, except for the land in exchange for the swoop, whatever the arrangement is. Truly then, we have no reason for this briefing. Where do we participate and how do we come in? “It is entirely a private sector commercial exercise or business. If the idea is just to keep us abreast of what government is doing then, there is no need for question and answer or further discussion. Mark was quick to point out that he was still not comfortable because of the possibility the government coming back to be involved one way or another in the financing. He pointed to the plan to mobilise youths across the country for the purpose and wondered who would pay them. “But my worry is let it not appear that somewhere along the line we have been committed and then there is financial involvement”, he said. Mark’s concern was more with who picks the bill, but Nigerians are evaluating the convoluted trajectory the country has gone through in the last 99 years, than painting the town red. While acknowledging the fact that 100 years in the life of a man, or any institution is a major landmark, they argue that the challenges confronting the country have limited the enthusiasm. Former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife, who dissected the country, wondered whether people were being prepared to celebrate success or failure of nationhood. “No doubt, 100 years is a landmark in the life of any nation. But have we really earned our economic independence? Or are we just shout-

•Senator Mark

ing independence? Are we really a country, united in purpose and vision , or we are a gathering of people who are managing to tolerate one another just for the sake of living together? What we should do, really, is to sit down and evaluate our journey so far with the aim of making up for our failures as a country and as a nation. It is certainly not a time for the celebration of the mere existence of a country,” he said. Former President-General of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof Kimse Okoko, agreed with this submission. He queried the proposed celebration, stressing that the 1914 amalgamation is the bedrock of Nigeria’s problems, including ethnic antagonism, insecurity, infrastructural decay, and lopsided federalism. “The 1914 amalgamation has been detrimental to some of the ethnic nationalities. It was a forced amalgamation that is largely responsible for the problems confronting Nigeria now. The antagonism that we frequently experience among the various ethnic nationalities is as a result of the forced amalgamation. Our priority today is how we can evolve a united country. We are at a crossroads; the security situation is in a mess and it has been difficult to forge a truly unified country. “We should concentrate our efforts in forging a united country where all segments are truly respected and where their aspirations can be met. And the only way to do this is to restructure the country along the lines of true federalism. That is the only route to realizing our potential as a country. True federalism, and, that is what we should pursue than celebrating what has been the cause of our problems”, Okoko insisted. Veteran unionist Chief Frank Kokori threw his weight behind the Senate. He cautioned against extravagant spending of public funds on such a project, adding that there are many things that the federal government should con-

‘No doubt, 100 years is a landmark in the life of any nation. But have we really earned our economic independence? Or are we just shouting independence? Are we really a country, united in purpose and vision , or we are a gathering of people who are just managing to tolerate one another for the sake of living together? What we should do, really, is to sit down and evaluate our journey so far with the aim of making up for our failures as a country’


sider, rather than celebrating centenary of the amalgamation in elaborate way. “Though the Senate did not totally condemn the proposal, because a hundred years is worth celebrating, but it has to be checked to avoid the frivolous spending of our money. But we are all happy to hear that the project will be sponsored by the private sector or individuals. However, there is no way government will not spend a little; it should spend judiciously and wisely”, he added. A member of House of Representatives, Mr. Abiodun Awoleye (Ibadan North Constituency) said he supported the project, if public fund is not committed to it. “They can go ahead, if it will not involve spending the people’s money because it is a good development. I agree with them that it is worth celebrating but, personally, my fear is that there is no way such a project will be done without the government being part of those to fund it. “Though we have challenges of insecurity across the country, celebrating it could also bring back the primary objective of the amalgamation, which was to forge one, big united and strong country out of the regions. But it will be disastrous, if they use public money ”, Awoleye said. Eminent politician Alhaji Balarabe Musa disagreed with the concept. He said Nigerians are not happy with the situation in the country, adding that another jamboree will multiply their woes. The former governor of Kaduna State said the celebration may promote corruption in government. “Normally, I would have supported the celebration, but not in elaborate way, in spite of the situation in the country, because a hundred years is not a joke in the history of the nation. But this government is corrupt and they are looking for every means to squander our resources. “Obviously, there are problems, but we are still one nation and no country of the world is crisis-free. So, it worths celebration.But in this context, I don’t think it is advisable to celebrate it because this government is corrupt and I am sure they will abuse it. That abuse should not be supported by a rightful thinking person. “When they say they will not use government money to sponsor it, government’s money will be committed to the project. The private sector they are talking about, how was it created? They were created for corruption and they use them for corruption. They plan to celebrate it for their own ego and pocket, nothing else. So, let us condemn it because we can use public money for better things”, he added.




Indigenes agitate for Oke-Ogun State

PDP is afraid of ACN/CPC merger Senator Domingo Obende represents Edo North District in the Senate. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftain spoke with MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE on the ACN/CPC merger and other isues.


HE Senate in 2012 was vibrant. What should Nigerians expect from the Upper Chamber this

year? I agree that 2012 was vibrant and every lawmaker was actually involved in whatever we achieved. The reason for the vibrancy was informed by the challenges. As a lawmaker, you should understand what the challenges of this country are. It is only when you have a grasp of this that you will explore avenues of resolving them. This is what we have been doing in the Senate. I believe that the reason for the vibrancy has to do with the fact that I was able to identify problems, even before I became a Senator. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and other parties are involved in merger talks. Do you think this will work? I believe it is going to work because we are committed to its workability. This is certainly going to succeed because our hopes are high. We would not be distracted by the comments of these people whose pasttime is politics of mudslinging. They are agents of provocation and they are scared. They are afraid of the merger. They are worried because they least expect us to be going this far. It is what Nigerians want, they are eager for a change and our union will definitely give Nigerians a new lease of life. We are at the stage of picking a new name and when that is done, there may be fusion. With the new union, we are going to battle the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The people are really in high spirits and my party leadership is fully committed to this auspicious relationship. The country has suffered a lot and the people have bled so much. We are going to set agenda for the country and put it back on course. The rudderless direction the


country has wandered will end and the people would see a progressive Nigeria when the changes happen. We are concerned about the country. This is the only country we have and we must rescue it from the chagrin of docile party that is short of what to do for the people. Our party and those we are discussing with have the capacity to effect these changes, which the people so urgently desire. I can assure you that we are leaving no stone unturned to achieve this. The talks have advanced and the commitment is equally very high and, by the special grace of God, we are going to win. The Petroleum Industry Bill has generated controversy. What is the way out? There is no bill that is sectionalised than the Petroleum Industry Bill. There is no bill brought to the House that will not be deliberated upon and the general interest and the objectives of such bills are the focal points

of the deliberations. No narrow interest or sectional interest is entertained when we discuss issues that affect the country. Nigeria is bigger than any individual or any section of the country and the interest of the country is germane to the national survival. This is what provides the lead to every discussion or deliberation that takes place at the House. There is no bill that will be passed without public hearing. Basically, nobody sectionalising any bill. If people have issues, of course, we look at term and make a rationale conclusion. The PIB is very important to the industry and I don’t see any problem in treating it on its merits and serving the purpose for which it is meant to advance. The PIB is in the overall interest of the country and it will surely be done without sentiment. How are you relating with your constituency? Edo North people are exceptionally law abiding people. They should expect more development laws that will be in their interest and the over interest of Edo State. To whom much is given, much is expected. The people of Edo North Senatorial District are being carried along and we have ensured that they are not relegated in the scheme of things in this country. My party is a progressive party and it has touched the lives the people. The government in Edo has made tremendous progress. The people of my state are out of Egypt. The promise land is in sight. I am very confident that Governor Adams Oshiomhole will lead them there. The ACN has pointed the way forward; it has brought to the fore the essence of government. The basic necessities of life are within reach and that is the spirit behind a progressive government of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

Gombe postpones council poll


OMBE State has postponed the local government elections indefinitely. The chairman of Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission (GOSIEC), Mr. Caleb Maina, told party leaders that the polls were postponed due to situations beyond the commission’s control. The party leaders have converged on the office of the agency for a meeting. The date, guidelines and nomination forms for the election were slated for discussion at the meeting. Maina explained that the postponement became necessary because of complaints that certain politicians who claimed to be leaders of some political parties

From Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe

were not recognised by their national headquarters and state offices. He said: “We received complaints from members of some political class that most of those claiming to be leaders of their political parties are not recognised by their national headquarters and even in the state.” Besides, GOSIEC, according to Maina, does not have the official list of the political parties that have been deregistered. He said the postponement would allow the commission to seperate the wheat from the chaff. He added: ”The commission,

therefore, decided to postpone the election indefinitely to enable us verify and rectify the problem because we intend to print the names and logos of only registered political parties on the ballot papers”. Speaking on behalf of other political parties, the state chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Audu Kwami, urged the commission to obtain the comprehensive list of leaders of the various registered political parties in the state to avoid future conflict over leadership claims. At the meeting were leaders of the Accord Party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), CPC, Labour Party (LP) and KOWA Party.

•South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Kingsley Mamabola (right), Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, member of the committee Hon. Ajibola Famurewa and Deputy High Commissioner Godfrey Mulaudzi during the committee’s visit to the Commission in Abuja PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE


N digenes of Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State are intensifying their agitation for a new state. They are lobbying the members of the National Assembly for support. They are also enlisting the support of Oyo State government. Their argument is that the present Oyo State is too big and unable to discharge its duties to the numerous communities in the state. Traditional rulers in the zone have argued that a new state would halt the marginalisation of the area and bring government closer to the people. Many communities are also agitating for new councils. They believe that local government creation would be easier, following the creation of a new state. Elected representatives from Oke-Ogun are not relenting their efforts. They are working in concert with traditional rulers to achieve the goal. Recently, traditional rulers from the zone justified their clamour for a new state in a statement by the Aseyin of Iseyin. According to the monarchs, state creation would facilitate accelerated development of the far-flung communities. Aseyin said: “We are constitutionally qualified for the new state as all the requirements can be met. The area comprises 10 local governments, with a population of 1.6 million people. Also, the abandoned Ikere-Gorge Dam, Iseyin, if completed, will be the third largest in the world. This is in addition to other untapped natural resources. “Our human resources also rank among the best in the country. What then is the basis for merging us with Oyo and Ogbomoso?. Doing so would be illogical, wicked and unjust because we are not only geographically incompatible, they cannot match us in terms of resources. “We have told the National Assembly in unmistakable terms to give us the state, and see whether or not our naturally endowed human and material resources will sustain us”. The monarch pointed out that Oyo State, with 33 local governments, cannot cater for all the communities adequately, adding that there will always be inequality in the allocation of resources. He added:“Most of the wards and

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

constituencies in Oke-Ogun need to be delineated to bring governance closer to the people. Four local governments (Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Iwajowa) are producing a member of the House of Representatives. Two or three representatives would have been ideal, if people are to be properly represented”. The traditional ruler also called for an amendment to the constitution to check the deduction of local council allocation by the state government. “Let us have autonomous local government, so that our resources would be better utilised to cater for our immediate needs and develop our grassroots. A situation whereby allocation to local governments will first get to the state government and salaries of primary school teachers in the state are deducted is not healthy enough. We all know that the number of primary school teachers in Ibadan land is more that teachers in other local governments in the state. “So, why not allow each local government to pay its teachers directly from purse, rather than mopping up funds for other local governments to satisfy or cater for teachers in Ibadan land. Allocations meant for local governments should not be tampered with by the state government for whatever reason”. The monarch also chided the government for non-comliance with the guidelines on five percent allocation to traditional rulers. He said: “The five percent allocation should be paid directly to the traditional rulers account from the gross and not from the net as is being done presently. This will allow the traditional rulers to be self-sustaining, and not being turned hangers-on”. The traditional ruler presented a memorandum on behalf of OkeOgun Obas and Chiefs to the convener of the forum, Prince Kola Olabiyi, who is a member of the House of Representatives from Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola and Iwajowa Constituency. Olabiyi decried poverty in OkeOgun, urging the federal, state and local governments to set up empowerment programmes for the needy.

Nasarawa ACN mobilises for elections


CTION Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has begun mobilisation for the forthcoming locxal government elections in the state. The chairman of the party, Mr. Bashir Jabiru, said the party will achieve victory at the poll because it has credible candidates. He told our correspondent that the mobilisation of the people of the state is on course, adding that majority are rooting for power shift. Jabiru, a lawyer, explained that, with the teeming supporters of the party in the 13 local councils and 16 development areas, the party would win gallantly during the elections. He said the aggrieved party loyalists who have left for the fold have retraced their steps because of the confidence they have in the current party structure under his leadership. Jabiru added: “If you go to all the local governments now, you will feel our impact there. Not only that, party secretariats are all over the places and the state secretariat would soon be inaugurated by the

•Jabiru By Jeremiah Oke

Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator George Akume. So, we are fully prepared for the local government elections. We are waiting for the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) to make the announcement. “We are ready to bring development to the grassroots in the state and that is why we are working tirelessly to improve the living standard of our people. The party have set standard in the Southwest region and we are trying to bring such development to other regions”.



Lawmaker launches NGO for challenged pupils •Continued from Page 17 missions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). I felt that if these students are assisted one way or the other to be able to go to school, definitely, that will enable them to develop their own innate skill and the sky will be the limit for such children.” She stated that the foundation though, though launched in Abuja, is based in Ogbomoso. “The catchment area really is Oyo and Ogbomosho. But within my constituency, we have the Igbo and Hausa and we have people from all over the country. They would benefit as well. It’s a national organisation. It’s not limited to the Yoruba alone. “This is just the beginning. It may just become international as we go along. Right now, it’s a national organisation. Senator Isaiah Balat, who represented the Vice-President noted that the effort of the Majority Leader in bringing the NGO to light shows a paradigm shift in the leadership mentality in the country. He enjoined those present to contribute their quota to support the


ABOUR leaders in Plateau State have been urged to encourage their members to embrace the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ensure quicker access to healthcare services for them and members of their families at almost no cost to them. Speaking in Jos at a two-day interactive forum with Labour leaders, the North Central Zonal Coordinator of the Scheme, Alhaji Alkali Ibrahim equally urged the workers to join. The forum was organised by the North Central Zone of the Scheme. Alhaji Ibrahim reiterated embracing the scheme was beneficial to both participating States and the

•Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (third right) at the unveiling of a model of the Ogbomoso headquarters of Jokodolu Foundation initiated by Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola (second right) at its launch in Abuja less-privileged people. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who unveiled the model of the headquarters of the Jokodolu Foundation, expressed the goodwill

of all the members of the House. He commended the Majority Leader’s gesture to ensure that the foundation covers the whole of Ogbomosho and by extension Oyo State.

While pledging the support of the House in partnering with the foundation, he enjoined Akande-Adeola to continue to strive for the betterment of the people in her constituency and beyond

Engineer Aneji, who was chairman on the occasion, extolled the virtues of the Leader in terms of her desire to help the less-privileged people. He noted that her interest in doing things that will benefit the lives of others is a virtue to be emulated.

Labour unions urged to embrace health scheme From Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos

enrollees who stand to gain from the objectives of the Scheme. He said participation in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will accrue money to States and the participants and ensure better health care facilities for improved healthcare services to the people and called on the workers to embrace the scheme wholeheartedly. He explained that the objectives

of the scheme are to ensure that every Nigerian had access to good health care service, protect families from the financial hardship of huge medical bills, limit the rise in the cost of health care services, ensure equitable distribution of health care cost among different income groups, maintain high standard of health care delivery services within the scheme among others.

ment at all levels to as a matter of urgency fully key into the scheme so that the workforce could enjoy the dividend of democracy by getting access to improved healthcare at subsidized cost. The forum saw participants asking questions and getting clarifications of areas where they had doubts with participants promising to enlighten others on the need to embrace the NHIS.

Taps run again in Enugu •Continued from Page 17

The objectives of the scheme are to ensure that every Nigerian has access to good health care service, protect families from huge medical bills, limit the rise in the cost of health care services, ensure equitable distribution of health care cost among different income groups

Ibrahim stressed that the objectives could only be achieved if all concerned keyed into the scheme. Responding on behalf of the organised Labour unions in the state, the Secretary, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Ade Akinbo said the scheme is a laudable initiative that must be keyed into by the state government and embraced by the workforce. The Labour scribe urged govern-

pacity and that objective has been realised. Water supply has been approached with even greater zeal and vigour in the rural areas of the state. The Enugu State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (ENRUWASSA), is the agency charged with the responsibility of providing safe drinking water for the ru-

•From right: Chairman, Ojodu Local Council Development Area, Hon Olumuyiwa Oloro; Hon Bayo Odulana and council Vice-Chairman, Hon Abiodun Ayileka at the inauguration of Otuyelu Street, Oke-Ira, Ojodu, Lagos

ral communities. Records show that it has so far lived up to its billings under the Chime administration which has the provision of potable water and environmental sanitation as cardinal components of its widely acclaimed 4-point agenda. Governor Chime’s major landmarks in the provision of potable water supply in the rural areas include construction of eight motorised boreholes in Nsukka, IgboezeSouth, Ezeagu, Oji-River and UzoUwani local government areas. He has also provided N36m for 42 shallow boreholes in Aninri, Agwu, Nkanu East, Nkanu West, Isi-Uzo and Enugu South local government area, Ogui-Agu Eke in Udi, Amankwo-Oghe in Ezeagu and Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani local government areas. With the support from some local government areas, the Enugu State government also rehabilitated water schemes at Umuaga and Obinagu (Udi), Ede Oballa (Nsukka), Amuri and Ojiagu Agbani (Nkanu West) while government is carrying out some work on the water schemes of Edem,

Obukpa in Nsukka Local Government Area and in Ugbawka, Amechi Idodo and Owo in Nkanu East Local Government Area. Rehabilitation of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) water scheme, which includes the construction of four new boreholes, new water reservoir and water reticulation on the campus at the cost of N329m were also completed by Governor Chime administration. Construction work has also commenced on the over N2.5b Adada River Dam project in Igbo-Etiti and Uzo-Uwani local government areas of the state to boost water supply in Enugu North Area of the state. These giant strides recorded so far in the water sector by Governor Chime’s administration has, expectedly, continued to attract accolade from residents, health bodies, civil society organisations and international donor agencies, especially the World Bank all of who acknowledged the dedication and clear vision of the governor towards the actualisation of the administration’s objectives in the sector.



Amosun proffers solution to insecuriry


•Governor Amosun

GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has an idea on how insecurity can be

curbed. He believes the solution to the problem lies in the well-to-do and public-spirited individuals sparing a thought for the less privileged. The governor wants the rich to support the poor. Senator Amosun stated this at the Ijebu-Ode Central Mosque Hall during the zakat (alms-giving) distribution ceremony organised by the Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation. Represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Alhaji Shuaib Salis, he urged financially buoyant members of the

society to make meaningful contributions towards touching the lives of the less privileged positively through alms giving and economic empowerment initiatives. “There cannot be peace, security and unity if the poor and less privileged are not given support needed at particular time. Public-spirited individuals must gear p and come to the aid of the needy in our society through empowerment and other means for a rapid socio-economic development of the country” Amosun said. Senator Amosun commended the initiative of the organisation, saying that the gesture would fast track

efforts of government to improve the people’s standard of living. Imploring it to scale-up efforts to reach out to the middle and higher class of the society on the benefits of zakat (Alms giving) and Sadaqat (voluntary donation) for the needy. Earlier in his speech, the Excecutive Director of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation in Nigeria, Imam Abdullah Shuaib noted that the organisation was poised to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of the poor and the needy in order for them to have a sense of belonging and fulfillment. Imam Shuaib said the Zakat fund is a right of the poor, the needy, vul-

nerable women and children from the wealth of those that are economically stable, pointing that the organisation was committed to complementing government’s efforts. “We are committed to complement the efforts of government to bring good governance closer to the people by building their capacity with charity to eradicate poverty and control the rising unemployment rate in the country” Shuaib explained. A total number of 40 people benefited from the zakat distribution across the State in form of educational, medical and employment support.


CONOMIC activities shot up in Warri, Delta State, as the God’s Kingdom Society (GKS) marked its annual Christian Feast of Tabernacle. Hoteliers, bar tenders, food vendors, commercial transport operators as well as petty traders and sellers of GSM recharge/SIM cards made brisk business. Most hotels guest rooms in the city were fully subscribed by visitors who came for the annual fiesta. “I can’t wait for the next Feast of Tabernacle to come. I think God has ordained this feast to boost my beer parlour business. I can’t count my profit each year during the eight days of this Feast of tabernacle. In fact I have to go and pay my tithe at GKS church,” said a woman who runs a bar and pepper soup shop located directly opposite Salem City, the headquarters of the church. It was gathered that hotels such as Oasis in far away Okumagba Estate area of town and others which received a touch of renovation apparently in preparation for the feast, were fully booked as a result of the event. A supervisor at the Oasis Hotel, Mr. Patrick, acknowledged the boost in business when he said that the feast enabled them to have a large number of customers at the same time. “We always pray for such a thing because many people lodged at the same time and the rooms will be fully booked,” he said. Also speaking in the same vein, a senior hotel staff of Siro Hotel in Ogborikoko who spoke on condition of anonymity, maintained that the annual celebration of the feast attracted different people to the city and in anticipation, the hotels made adequate preparations to accommodate the visitors. “We ensured that at this time of the year we update our facilities in preparation for the feast. The GKS programme always brings people to Warri, so we are prepared to accommodate them,” he said. Tricycle and taxi operators also have their share of the economic boom as people visit the place all the time throughout the eight days of the event. “For the eight days, a lot of visitors had booked most drivers for easy to and fro the Salem City throughout the period. In my case that is my routine everyday and so do many of my driver colleagues. “You know there is no motorcycle (okada) in town again so that has made every taxi driver very busy

•Women during the GSK procession along Warri-Sapele Road

Church feast boosts traders By Paul Oluwakoya

throughout the eight days of the programme and charge passengers comfortably. The only problem is the heavy traffic and a lot of passengers where stranded,” Kingsley, a taxi driver said. “It is true as the commercial taxis and buses which are currently plying the roads in the wake of the okada ban are milking commuters. Prior to the ban, most short distances were fixed for N30, while others were N40 and the farthest N50, but most taxi, and bus drivers now charge exorbitant fares especially during this feast.” It was a rosy business season, too, for cloth dealers at neighbouring Igbudu Market as many of them supplied the various types of cloths used by men, women, boys and

It was a rosy business season for cloth dealers at neighbouring Igbudu Market as many of them supplied the various types of cloths used by men, women, boys and girls as uniforms to mark the feast

girls as uniforms to mark the Feast. The high point of the event was the procession of colourfully dressed members through the streets of the town as well as cultural performances of over 40 choral groups from within and outside the country. The celebration attracted thousands of delegates from different parts of Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, US, UK, Tanzania, Ghana and Canada and was attended by eminent members of the church, like the Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha, Delta State representative at the NDDC, Mr. Emmanuel Ogidi, Managing Director of Toshiba in UK, Brother Gboyega Obafemi, Dr. Ukechukwu Michael Nyemenim and many others. Professor Eghagha could not hide his joy over his deliverance from kidnappers who seized him for many days. He and his wife danced admirably to the altar to give thanks. Laity Chairman of GKS, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State and former Commissioner who represented Delta State on the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), was also happy for God’s mercies. The feast, which kicked off with a procession from the Carvegina

Primary School, formal DoreNuma College, Ochuks Academy and Igbudu Primary School, had members of GKS assembled in the four locations in Warri before they marched to the Salem City. They were received by the chairman, Executive Board of GKS, Brother Godwin Ifeacho, with the assistance of the vice chairman, Brother Felix Adedokun and other ministers. On the Last and Great Day which also marked the end of the feast, President of the church, Brother Godwin Ifeacho and the leadership of the church described the colourful procession which started at the Salem City with singing and dancing through different streets of Warri as a public demonstration of faith and allegiance to the Almighty God and Jesus Christ—the

greater and more perfect Tabernacle. Events of that day included reading of good will messages, an address by the president, a public declaration of faith in Jehovah and Jesus Christ, a special thanksgiving to God and of course the lowering of the special balloon. In his sermon, titled; “I Will Never Leave Thee Nor Forsake Thee” the President, Brother Godwin Ifeacho explained the rationale for the annual fiesta, saying that it was instituted by God Almighty through Prophet Moses and was intended to be observed by all peoples of the world in this age—the last days. According to him, “God Almighty did give a command in prophecy to this effect (Zechariah 14:16-19) and Jesus Christ also set the pace for His followers when He actively took part in the Feast in His days on earth as recorded by John 7:1-17,37-383 .



Parents to take adequate care of their children at all times and avoid allowing their responsibilities to their children in the hands of maids

Obi’s wife cheers up kids


EMORIES of the Yuletide will linger in the minds of children in Anambra State because the wife of the state governor, Mrs Margaret Peter Obi had a date with them. They were not disappointed even though security agents spoilt the fun for many of them. Over 4,000 gathered for the celebration even though only 2,000 were budgeted for. They besieged Women Development Centre, Awka venue of the party. Mrs Obi encouraged them to be of good behaviour, announcing that the state government has banned special centres for external examinations as they are ruining education. “We thank our governor, His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi for giving back the schools to the churches so that children can understand their family background, morals, Igbo language, and values that make them Igbo children,” she said. The governor’s wife said the event was staged to provide care, support and appreciate children. She pledged to sustain her educational scholarship programmes for children especially the talented ones, and encourage them in

•Mrs Obi shakes hands with a child at a gift presentation session From Odogwu Emeka Odgwu, Nnewi

sports. “We have 30 disadvantaged and vulnerable children, 30 widows in each of the 179 communities in the state which we are assisting in making life more meaningful,” she said. The state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Lady Henrietta Agbata said the occasion was to thank God

Over 4,000 gathered for the celebration even though only 2,000 were budgeted for. They besieged Women Development Centre, Awka venue of the party

with children, including the less privileged ones, for all that He has been doing. She averred that the objective is to make children part of government, adding that the programme started since the inception of Governor Obi’s administration. She thanked staff in her ministry for the excellent organisation of the event but blamed the little hitches on human error and ssome overzealousness when not necessary. Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs , Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Rebecca Udoji-Paragon described the Christmas party as an avenue for children to know themselves better and for those in the rural areas to mix up with their counterparts in the city. On his part, the Director of Child Development in the Ministry, Mr. Emeka Ejide said the programme was an avenue to interact with children and know challenges which

Thousands pray for nation’s health


HOUSANDS of worshippers have prayed for the well-being of the country and its leadership. For President Goodluck Jonathan, ministers and leaders of the tiers across the country, members of Assemblies of God Church sought God’s inspiration and guidance. The worshippers, drawn from the Badagry District of the church, converged for this year’s Solemn Assembly session in Okokomaiko on the outskirts of Lagos. Rev J. N. Ojukwu, who led the prayers, stressed the point that Nigerians, especially Christians, should pray for their leaders, for “God to control their hearts”. He also sought intercession for the police, urging everyone not to make a habit of criticising the law enforcement agents. “They need our prayers,”

By Ogochukwu Ikeje

Ojukwu enjoined. The worshippers prayed for divine guidance so that leaders will take the right decisions that will bring relief to the people. They also prayed for peace, asking God to intervene against “ritual murderers” and forces of violence. Rev Henry Ogbonnaya, pioneer superintendent of the district, reminded Christians of Prophet Elijah’s labours. In his message entitled “A time of refreshing”, Ogbonnaya said Elijah worked hard to reconcile idolatrous Israel with their God. The Badagry District Superintendent urged Christians to toe the prophet’s line, saying they will also be refreshed, just as Elijah was.

•The worshippers

will form part of the policy statement for child development in the state. He informed that every child that came for the function was provided with transport as three children were invited from each of the 189 communities in the state. Ejide encouraged parents to take adequate care of their children at all times and avoid child trafficking among other unwholesome practices. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry , Mrs Gloria Nkiru Okeke said the celebration was wonderful, well planned and executed, adding that Obi’s wife was happy the way things turned out. Amaka Onwuzuligbo, a parent, said: “I have never seen this kind of crowd since my stay in Anambra; I am impressed by the way they managed the huge turnout of children.” Stella Oti, a journalist, was disappointed by the overzealousness of security agents.

Another parent, Mrs Ngozi Chidiume, said she had no complaints about the event as the organizsers did their best in hosting the children against what was anticipated. Elochukwu Belu , a JSS 2 student of Igwebuike Grammar school Awka and Emmanuella Nweke of Our Lady’s Comprehensive Secondary School Nkpor Agu admitted that the advice and tasks Obi’s wife gave them were apt and that they will adhere to them, noting that seeing a governor’s wife eating and dining with her was not a small feat. Emeka Michael told Mrs Obi: “You are the mother of all children.” Governor Peter Obi could not make the event but had described it as happy occasion and challenged Christians to reflect on the mystery of our salvation, which started with the birth of Christ who paved the way for us to attain eternity. Obi said: ’’This period of Yuletide calls for celebration, but, more importantly, it offers us the opportunity to live the ideals of charity, love, peace and harmonious co-existence, which Christ preached’’. “Let us all reach out and touch somebody else in a positive way. Let us give a hand to the less fortunate, that they may rise and walk with us. “Yet, even as we celebrate, we must bear in mind the challenges that face our dear State in the coming year and prepare adequately to confront and master them. “I wish Ndi Anambra, all those who live in our State, as well as all Nigerians a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year’’. Governor Peter Obi, Newsextra gathered, was rated by the UNICEF and other development partners as a child-friendly governor and he has demonstrated that by virtually visiting primary and secondary schools, hearing first-hand from them their problems. Obi has continued to advocate love and care for children to enable them grow happily in the society. He insisted that moral reorientation and quality education are the tools to bequeath our children for a better future and avoid anarchy.




Allegri: Niang more reliable than Robinho

Lopez: I’m not Casillas’ replacement R

EAL MADRID keeper Diego Lopez insists he has not been bought to replace Iker Casillas. The 31-year-old, who originally departed the Santiago Bernabeu in 2007, returned to the capital for •3.5 million from Sevilla last Friday, with many tipping him to dislodge the club captain from the starting XI. “It is a pleasure to return to my club. Everything is like it was when I left, the facilities and employees,” he told reporters at a press conference. “I don’t plan on taking Casillas’ place but on a day-today basis, we have a game on Wednesday and need to focus

on that. Now we are two goalkeepers and we have to solve the situation. “When the coach makes a change we must respect him. Iker has earned everything he has achieved, but football is a day to day business.” Lopez then commented on Victor Valdes’ decision not to extend his current deal at Barcelona and believes the Blaugrana goalkeeper has acted in the best interests of the club. “It’s a personal decision. [His timing] gives the club the opportunity to rearrange, but he is a great professional and will work until the end of his contract.”


• Lopez

Adriano: Barca must concede less


ARCELONA defender Adriano has stressed that the Catalans must improve defensively as he feels they concede too many goals from set pieces and on the counterattack. The Blaugrana have kept only five clean sheets in 20 La Liga matches so far this season, and the Brazilian has urged his fellow defenders to step up their game. “We have to pay more attention to counterattacks and set pieces, it’s very

important to concede very few goals,” he was quoted as saying on the Barca website. The wing-back also took the time to discuss the upcoming Copa del Rey match against Real Madrid, and insisted that the Camp Nou side must focus on playing their own game. “The Clasicos are very tense matches and the team that’s better on the day usually wins. I really don’t care about how the teams are coming into Wednesday’s game. “We shouldn’t pay attention to the controversy, we just need to focus on playing and scoring more goals that our opponents.” Today’s first leg is scheduled to kick off at 21:00CET.

Mancini wants to win ‘everything’—Platt


AVID PLATT has claimed that Roberto Mancini is committed to winning “everything” at Manchester City. The Premier League champions once again failed in the Champions League this season, but remain with a chance of catching Manchester United at the top of the table, while they booked a place in the FA Cup fifth round with a 1-0 win at Stoke on Saturday. Platt told reporters: “The target of this club is to win trophies, that’s what we’re set up to do. The manager wants to win everything he is in. “We feel we are involved in

both competitions and feel we have the capability of winning both. The fact we went out of Europe means there is not really a backlog of games. “If we continue to progress there is a league campaign, so we’ll have to rearrange games but that shouldn’t really put us off it. We were very disappointed when we went out in the third round last year because our 2011 win gave us a taste and a belief for it.” Gareth Barry also admitted the FA Cup had assumed greater significance and praised his side’s determination both against

Benitez: Terry has coaching credentials

C • Adriano

Moggi: Napoli as strong as Juve

HELSEA interim manager Rafael Benitez has backed club captain John Terry to venture into management once his playing days come to an end. The Chelsea talisman is now 32-years-old and edging towards the end of his playing career, and is seen by many as an eventual boss of the club when he retires. “It is quite possible that John has the good qualities to become a manager,” Benitez

told reporters. “I have had players in the past who have been big names, but they did not understand the game like him. He likes talking about tactics. He seems as though he understands and with the way he treats the young players and takes care of them.” Terry made his long-awaited return from injury during Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Brentford in the FA Cup. Despite his return to the side,

the Blues were unable to defeat the League One side at Griffin Park. Benitez, however, is hoping that Terry’s recovery can bring some fortune back to the Blues and help them push on in the final few months of the season. “John is a great player and a great leader,” Benitez added. “Maybe in some games we lacked something like this recently, but John can now be a key player for us for the rest of the season.”

the Potters and in the league despite the absence of influential Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations. “The FA Cup was always a priority. But with no European football, it’s going to be a massive trophy if we can get to Wembley,” he explained. “It was a freezing cold day, away at Stoke and we lost our captain. There were excuses. But the lads rolled their sleeves up. It shows the mentality of the club. We got rid of the hoodoo at Arsenal and it’s been a while since we won at Stoke as well. “In the league, the gap is there, so we cannot afford to let that grow any more if we want to end up champions again. “With Yaya Toure gone, it’s made it a bit tougher. But we’ve really got together as a team. We’ve upped our game so if we can keep on winning games while he’s away, then he’ll only add to what we are doing.”

• Benitez (l) and Terry

OLLOWING AC Milan’s 1-0 win away at Atalanta, Massimiliano Allegri has explained why he started M’Baye Niang ahead of Robinho by saying that he did not know if the Brazilian would be at the club next season. Speculation has surrounded Robinho’s future at the club, but a return to Brazil this January for the 29-year-old looks unlikely, as he wants to stay in Italy. Milan won Sunday’s match courtesy of Stephan El Shaarawy’s 15th league goal of the season, but Robinho had to settle for a place on the bench as Allegri started Niang alongside Pazzini and El Shaarawy in attack. Speaking to reporters after the game, the coach explained his selection. “I don’t know if Robinho will still be here next season, so for the moment I am choosing M’Baye Niang because he gives me more guarantees,” Allegri told reporters. The Milan coach also praised his side’s recent improvement, though, he believes they need to be more clinical when they create chances. “The team is doing fairly well and this was a good victory in a difficult arena,” he continued. “Atalanta caused us a few problems, but we did well for over an hour and only ran a few risks at the end. We’re a little more organised in the middle and can move the ball better in attack, which means when we play quickly we can do damage. “The only thing we lacked today was a cool head in front of goal.” Milan rose to fifth in the table after Sunday’s win.

• Niang

Hughton: it’s hard for black coaches



UCIANO MOGGI says Napoli are as strong as Juventus and do not need to strengthen their current playing squad. Walter Mazzarri’s men trail the Bianconeri by three points in Serie A, and the former Partenopei administrator believes the good work done in the summer transfer window has left them with a team strong enough to challenge for major honours. “I believe that Napoli should not do anything because the teams are built in June,” the 75-year-old told reporters. “The Napoli squad already has a sufficient size, and they are as strong as Juventus,” Juve have drawn three of their last four games, and despite still leading the table, Moggi feels that the team’s spirit might have been slightly disrupted by off-the-field events.


ORWICH City boss Chris Hughton believes there is a lack of diversity within the Premier League when it comes to coaching, stating that black managers feel it is difficult to find jobs because of their colour. The Canaries’ boss is currently the only black manager in charge of a Premier League side and says that there is an issue with the amount of ethnic minorities participating at higher levels in the game. “I, for one, certainly would like to see more diversity because of the amount of black players that are playing here,” Hughton told “I suppose the issue here is that there aren’t more blacks or ethnic groups involved in the game here. I would like to see more black coaches and managers in our game. “I do know of black ex-players who have found it very difficult to [land a coaching job] and felt that their color was the [reason]

to not getting a job.” When asked about the ‘Rooney Rule’, a rule in American football which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs, the former Newcastle boss understood its importance in America, but does not feel that it would be appropriate to implement in England. “I understand the Rooney Rule and I understand why it is critical in America,” he continued. “I certainly think there are differences between the American system and in American football, there is such a large percentage of players who are of ethnic backgrounds. I think there is a difference here... I don’t think it’s appropriate here. “What I do feel is appropriate, and there are some really good strides going that way, is that we have to make sure that we’re all-inclusive.”



AFCON 2013


Adebayor focused on scoring goals, not showing off E

M M A N U E L ADEBAYOR says he is not worried about making an impression at the African Cup of Nations. He just wants to score goals. The Togo captain has shrugged off criticism that he is yet to dazzle at the event, saying that his focus is not to show off his skills but to help his team to advance. And so far, it’s going to plan. The Tottenham striker scored his first goal of the tournament in a 2-0 win over Algeria on Saturday, a result that left Togo needing just a draw against Tunisia in their final Group D match on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals for the first time. “The most important thing is not to see the great Adebayor, but to see a goalscoring Adebayor,” he said. “My mission is to score goals. If people think that they haven’t seen the great Adebayor, so be it. I haven’t come here for fame and glory. I came here to win matches.” Adebayor was Togo’s biggest threat in the opener against Ivory Coast but missed a few key opportunities to score and help avoid his team’s 2-1 loss. One of his unlikely misses came less than three minutes into the match, when he failed to score from close range despite having only the goalkeeper to beat. He wasn’t superb again in the second match at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, but found the net after a breakaway in the 32nd minute, sending a low shot underneath the charging Algerian goalkeeper. A late goal by teammate Dove Wome sealed a crucial victory. “I’m delighted to have

—Gervinho IVORIAN striker Gervinho, on top form since the start of the AFCON, prefers on focusing on the importance of the group, as he explained at the end of his match against Tunisia. • Adebayor

scored my first goal (in the African Cup),” he said. “The first goal is always important and I hope that there will be many more to come.” Adebayor, who was struggling with Tottenham before joining up with Togo, has also shown his leadership off the field, using his status as a top international player to bring attention to the problems involving his national team. Adebayor was fighting for his teammates’ rights even before the African Cup started.

He threatened not to play at the tournament because of security concerns and disagreements with Togo’s federation over bonus payments for players. “Someone had to take action and, as the captain, I did it,” the striker said. “If the government, the people and everyone else are willing to roll up their sleeves and believe in Togo, we can achieve great things together.” Togolese football has been marred by distractions in

Khune vows to improve S OUTH AFRICA goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was disappointed with his own performance during the 2-2 Africa Cup of Nations draw with Morocco. The 25-year-old made a number of saves as the hosts progressed to the knockout rounds of the tournament, but the absence of a clean sheet left him dissatisfied. “Honestly speaking I don’t think that was my best performance,” he told “There were a couple of mistakes that I made, which cost the team. There were those crucial saves that I made which also saved the team as well, but overall I don’t think I did justice to myself. “I didn’t keep the clean sheet as I had wished and I think there is still a lot of work to be done. If you look into the first goal that Morocco scored you would realise that it wasn’t supposed to be a goal. “At the end of the day we did well, once again it was a team effort and I am hoping that going forward I will improve on my mistakes.” Khune also said that the fans played a crucial role in lifting team morale and believs that their collective spirit could see them go far in the tournament. “It was crazy out there; I think playing in Durban has been amazing. The support that you

Everyone is important

get from the fans just makes you humble and inspires you to work even harder,” he added. “One thing that I think has

brought us this far is character and I hope that my players will carry that through going forward to the next round.”

FTER your second win, could we say that Côte d’Ivoire have had a good start in this AFCON? It was the perfect reaction from us. After the first match, we had our hearts set on doing something good. Personally, I feel good thanks to the team. We had this strong desire to do things well and in the end, we won by three goals. I think that it is important for the group, the life of the group and for the rest of the tournament. How do you anticipate the last group match? We are going to prepare for it as we do for all the others and head into it in the same way. Algeria is a great team and us too, we have our weapons. We have this collective force and the experience that allows us to cope with difficult situations in our game today. We showed solidarity and we will play the last match in the same spirit. You have already qualified for the next round. Will this have an impact on your performance? We came to play six finals. We have won two of them. The match against Algeria will be our third final. The fact that we have qualified shouldn’t impact negatively on our game. We are going to do what we know how to do, play our game. Because all the matches also allow us


recent years. The team had to withdraw from the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola after two team officials and a driver were killed, and one player was seriously injured, when gunmen ambushed their bus. Togo did not qualify for last year’s event in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Togo failed to advance past the group stage the previous seven times it played the African Cup. The fact that it’s now one match away from making it happen this time, is thanks in great part to Adebayor. “I’m here to help Togo win, nothing more,” he said. “If you want to see me having fun, then you meet me in May during my holidays. Now I’m all about business.”

to correct the weak areas for the matches to follow. For this match against Algeria, we’re going to give everything. You will be playing an Algerian team coached by your former national coach, Vahid Halihodzic. Can we look forward to a good game? It certainly is a pleasure to meet up with coach Vahid again. He is a coach who contributed to the maturity of our group. Algeria eliminated us from the competition in 2010. This will be a nice opportunity for us to put things straight. So you can expect a good game of football. Gervinho is excelling in this tournament. Do you have a particular secret? It is not Gervinho who is excelling, it’s a whole group that is playing for a common goal: that of winning the trophy. When you have a common goal and you decide to reach it, you all work together. That is what we do on the pitch. Remain unified, play as a team and with a lot of desire. My personal performance has no meaning in my eyes. It’s the group. It is true that a player can cause you to win a match, but we will win this trophy with 23. I feel good in the group and I think that it is the same for the others. Yaya Touré, Traoré Lacina, Kalunho, Maestro... each is as important as the next. That is essential.

Chipenda: Angola will be back


• Khune

ORMER Angola midfielder Raul Neves Chipenda says the current team have a bright future despite enduring a disappointing 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. The 2-1 loss to Cape Verde on Sunday saw the Sable Antelopes dumped out of the continental championship, although for 82 minutes they were heading to the quarterfinals, along with South Africa, until two goals in quick succession saw the Blue Sharks claim their place in the last-eight. Chipenda acknowledged that Cape Verde had played to their strengths on the night, but as a young team they will use this tournament as vital experience for their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. And after their defeat on Sunday, Chipenda explained: “I think in this game Cape Verde had a very, very big team and they knew that was their weapon.”

• Gervinho


Wednesday, January 30, 2013




States to get $1b from Excess Crude Account


O facilitate execution of more people-oriented projects in line with the administration’s Transformation Agenda, the President Goodluck Jonathan, has approved $1billion from the Excess Crude Account to be shared among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, made this known yesterday while speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the 45th National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

•NEC sets up committee to check multiple taxation, others •States urged to assist NAPTIP to stop human trafficking From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

He said the President’s approval was conveyed by the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, while briefing the CouncilPresided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo. Ngama said the Excess Crude Account has a balance of $9.242 billion after $1billion was spent on subsidy payments. Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, said the

Council has also prevailed on states to buy into the activities of the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP). He said the Council considered a report presented by the National Planning Minister and Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, on the need for states to buy in to the activities of NAPTIP to combat human trafficking. The recommendations of

AfDB offers $700m credit to BoI, NEXIM


HE African Develop ment Bank (AfDB) has given $700 million credit to the Bank of Industry (BoI) and NEXIM Bank of Nigeria. TheAfDB credits are sovereign-guaranteed (Federal Government) multi-tranche lines of credit (LoCs) of USD $500 million to BoI and of USD $200 million to NEXIM. The agreements for the LoCs were signed yesterday in Abuja between the officials of the BoI and NEXIM as well as the officials of the AfDB. At the ceremony, it was disclosed that the lines of credits will be extended to support export-oriented small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) modernisation and expansion in Nigeria. The terms of the agreement of the LoCs, it was learnt, “will allow local SMEs to be more competitive, scale up their operations and ultimately create more jobs in Nigeria.” The LoCs will also include a technical assistance package to strengthen institutional capacity at both BoI and NEXIM as well as at their

From Nduka Chiejina (Asst Editor), Abuja

SME clients. Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony, Dr. Ousmane Dore, AfDB’s Resident Representative in Nigeria said: “This AfDB combined programme will contribute to mobilise significant financial resources for Nigerian export-oriented SMEs, ultimately contributing to economic development, employment opportunities, foreign exchange and regional trade integration.” He added that through this integrated financing package, the AfDB will be supporting Nigeria’s efforts towards a more diversified economy away from oil and gas. The LoCs will supply multi-sector financing to address the challenges that SMEs face in accessing finance in the country. It is believed that by providing these lines of credit, export-oriented SMEs will be able to become more competitive, ensure sustainable growth for their operations and generate employment in

the productive sectors. NEXIM Managing Director, Mr Robert Orya, said: “NEXIM is looking for important economic development achievements, including approximately 55,000 new jobs for its SMEs’ clients, $1.6 billion in foreign exchange and an overall contribution of almost seven per cent to non-oil exports, including a 10 per cent share in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) exports.” This facility, he noted, “will provide a great opportunity for NEXIM to make available concessional longterm funding in pursuance of its strategic objectives of enhancing value-added exports and bolstering the capacity of SMEs for job creation and foreign exchange earnings.” Managing Director, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, said: “The AfDB’s credit is likely to generate significant additional lending to our export-oriented SMEs client at a time when it is sometimes difficult for commercial banks to finance this important sector of the economy.”

Okonjo-Iweala, two others to brief FEC today


HREE ministers, among them the Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the National Economic Council, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, are expected to give their stewardship at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today. The Nation learnt that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala will lead the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga and that of Environment, Hajia Hadiza Mailafia, to state how they and their ministries have performed so far. The ministers will brief FEC on the progress and challenges of their minis-

By Nduka Chiejina, Asst Editor

tries. The source said President Goodluck Jonathan is determined to review and assess the performance of the ministers and those found wanting may be shown the way out. This exercise, the source added, “is unique in the sense that the ministers will not only present their score cards to Mr President alone, but to their peers to ensure transparency and fairness.” The source said another issue that would be discussed at today’s

meeting is the planned “suspension of intercountry child adoption in Nigeria. “The memo for this discussion will be presented by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina.” Child adoption across borders is generating a lot of furore between the United States of America and Russia, and Nigeria appears not to be left behind in the inter-country child adoption controversy. Also today, the FEC would discuss and possibly approve the establishment of a Youth Desk in relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Minister unveils mining sector roadmap


HE Minister of Mines and Steel De velopment, Musa Mohammed Sada, is to present the developed Road Map that would chart the path for the resolution of the problems and challenges facing the sector, tomorrow. The development of the road map will leverage on the advantage of the rising

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

international and local commodity prices in the sector and the global resurgence of exploitation and exploration activities with the attendant huge investment in the sector. Deputy Director, Press, Marshall Gundu, said in a statement yesterday, the ministry recognised the need

for a roadmap that would chart the way for the country to attain its economic, social and environmental objectives through sustainable exploration and exploitation of the nation’s vast mineral endowment The exploration and exploitation of the nation’s available solid minerals resources is an important component of a diversified economy, he said.

the report, he said, include the development and effective implementation of state level Trafficking in Persons Plans of Action, the development and strengthening of the States Social Welfare System’s for Child Protection and the provision of basic needs, including medical care, educational, vocational and recreational facilities for victims of trafficking. He listed others as mobilising and providing support for civil society organisations working on combat-trafficking and related issues, assisting and empowering identified victims of trafficking by providing educational grants, scholarships and other incentives and implementing the Child’s Rights Law in each state. Orji said the Council adopted the recommendations and directed the Minister of National Planning, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Chief Executive of NAPTIP, to liaise with the states towards ensuring better collaboration in addressing the situation. He said the report recommended that Abia, Kogi and Ogun states should be treated as pilot cases in the bid to combat the scourge. Dr. Usman also briefed the Council on the status of the on-going implementation of

the states’ GDP Computation programme embarked upon by the Commission, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Governors’ Forum and the states. Following the successful completion of the state GDP computation in the six pilot states, he said the NBS is working closely with the states’ Statistical Bureaux/ Agencies to conduct the survey and publication of data on the GDP computation for six states , namely, Niger, Rivers, Gombe, Anambra, Kano and Lagos. The states’ GDP computation programme is being implemented in two phases, with the first phase covering the six pilot states in each of the geo-political zones due to be completed in April. The second phase is to cover the remaining states from April to December this year. Usman said the Council stressed the endorsement it gave the Roadmap when the matter was first presented to NEC in July, 2010. He urged the states to work closely with the National Planning Commission and the NBS to address the identified capacity and infrastructure related gaps in the states’ Statistical Bureau and Planning Commissions, to ensure the sustainability of the states’ GDP computation programme. The Council was briefed by a team from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its President, Chief Kola


Jamodu, on Multiple Taxation across the country at various levels and its effects on manufacturing and productivity. Jamodu said MAN sought a reduction in stamp duty, Value Added Tax (VAT), exemption on some raw materials, harmonisation of taxes and levies within the three tiers of government, outlawing of unorthodox means of collecting taxes and full automation of the entire tax administration system. After extensive discussions of the issues, the Council raised a committee to examine items and report to the Council by March. The committee is chaired by the Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwabo, with the Governors of Zamfara, Kogi, Abia, Rivers, Imo, Ogun and Lagos states as members.. Usman, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, CBN Governor, Economic Adviser to the Vice- President, Secretary to the National Planning Commission and MAN President, are also members.




Bond transactions hit N5.82tr, says NSE


THE market capitalisation of the bond sector has appreciated by 55.61 per cent, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has said. This according to the Exchange, indicated an increase of N2.08 trillion from the closing figure of N3.74 trillion in 2011 to N5.82 trillion in December 2012. Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema made this known at the Exchange’s Retail Bonds Trading and Fixed Income Market Making practicum in Lagos yesterday. He said that since the first reinsurance of bonds in 2003, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has raised trillions of Naira for the financing of public projects. According to him, the revival of the Federal Government bonds has spurred state governments’ participation in the bond market for funding of capital projects. The NSE CEO said: “The figure is likely to grow further in the years ahead because of the nation’s need for infrastructural development.” He said that the retail bond market was being set up to complement the structure of the Over-the-Counter (OTC) bond trading and to increase retail participation in bond investment. On the retail bond market scheduled to be launched on Friday, he said that the practicum was organised to acquaint stakeholders with the structure and processes. Head, Product Management of NSE, Mr Dipo Omotoso, said that the practicum will facilitate trad-

By Tonia Osundolire

ing on listed debt instruments issued by the Federal and State Governments as well as corporations. Omotoso said that it will offer a more transparent pattern for bond trading and enhanced efficient price discovery. He said it will also deepen the market and ensure enhanced portfolio diversification and management. Omotoso said that the fear of institutional investors hijacking the bond market because of its enormous benefit, cannot be under estimated, as such local investors in the economy will be given adequate protection. “We will not shut our doors against foreign investors who want to participate in the securities market, no matter the level of their involvement, but at the same time we have put in place structures that will give local investors a level playing ground,” he said. Foreign investors already constitute almost 60 per cent ownership of the equities market, and this has been a great source of worry to stakeholders and local investors in the country. Concerning Fixed Income Market Making, which is the platform that allows debt markets participants to trade NSE listed debt instruments issued by the Federal or State government, and corporations, Onyema explained that the mechanism will not support efficient and effective price discovery mechanism but will provide a fair, transparent and efficient market.

He said: “A new investment opportunity is now available to all investors on the NSE. The FIMM program will increase accessibility of the bond market to the investing public. Until now, the bond market was mainly accessible to the institutional, corporate and high net worth individuals through the OTC market but with the introduction of the FIMM scheme, all investors will now have easy access to the bond market through their broker/ dealer via the NSE Automated Trading System. “The main objective of Fixed Income Market Making is to provide liquidity and transparency through an order book with firm orders, pre and post–trade reporting, clearing and settlement solutions. “We make sure that only firms that have liquid cash or treasury or listed equities can participate. We are also talking to banks to see how much liquidity they can make available to MM to make them efficient.” He stressed the need for investors to invest in the instrument, adding that it would enable them to diversify their portfolio and generate regular income, which according to him, is guaranteed. The Exchange had on January 15, unveiled six market makers for bond trading. The market markers are Capital Bancorp, DunnLoren Merrifield, Greenwich Securities, Cordros Securities, FSDH Securities, and Investment One Financial Services Ltd. The NSE said the announcement of the selected Fixed Income Market Makers (FIMMs) on the trading floor of the NSE was a major step towards making fixed income securities accessible to the investing public. He said, the companies selected went through a very rigorous process and met the additional net capital requirement of N500 million.





Why tax revenue is rising, by CITN chief


HE implementation of Federal Government’s policy statement on taxation is responsible for the rising tax revenues in the country, Council member of the Charted Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CITN) Ayodele Otitoju has said. Speaking with The Nation in Lagos, he explained that aside

Stories by Collins Nweze

the government policy, which is now being implemented in all states of the federation, state governments have engaged tax consultants and mandated all tax payers to make payments at designated banks. He said that such practices have blocked the loopholes

through which tax revenues were lost in the past. He also said that before the federal government policy became effective, many of the states were docile on tax related issues. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said it has continued to record steady increases in the collection of all the taxes under its remit. The

Service closed the 2012 financial year with a total collection of N5.007 trillion; N1.806 trillion (36.07 per cent) of which came from non-oil taxes. Oil taxes contributed N3.201 trillion (63.93 per cent) and was N3.070 trillion in 2011. It said the sums are significantly over the budget of N3.635 trillion for all its

ATMs account for 96.4% of e-payment transactions


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has tipped Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as the most used e-payment channels accounting for 96.4 per cent of e-transactions in the country. The CBN said in a report obtained at its website that ATMs is followed by mobile payments with 1.3 per cent and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, 1.2 per cent. The web (internet) was the least patronised, accounting for

only 1.1 per cent of total epayment transactions. The apex bank said the value of cheque transactions has remained at N10 trillion in the last six months while the value of electronic card (e-card) transactions rose by 32.8 per cent to N1 trillion. “In value terms, ATM accounted for 90.8 per cent; PoS, 2.5 per cent; the web (Internet), 4.9 per cent; while mobile payments accounted for 1.8 per cent. The number of ATMs stood at 10,221 as at

end-June 2012. The volume of ATM transactions amounted to 178,421,736 compared with 164,755,055 in the first half of 2011,” it said. The banking watchdog said that the value of ATM transactions reflected the increasing popularity of the mode of payment by the public. Also, internet payments increased by 74.8 and 9.3 per cent to 2,103.4 and N50.4 billion in volume and value, respectively, in the review


loans. According to him, the MfBs, which failed to meet December 31 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have returned to the unit status, which requires only N20 million as against state and national MfBs’ N100 million and N2 billion requirement. He regretted that the 2005 MfB framework by the CBN that requires state govern-

• CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido

period. The rise was due to increased acceptance of the use of online payments.

ments and local governments to contribute one per cent and five per cent, of their annual budget to MfBs operations is not being implemented. Akahmiorkhor said the banks should also implement other cost cutting measures including reducing commission on turnover (COT) and other banking costs that burden the subsector’s operations.

The CBN said a significant number of MfBs wwere deficient in their understanding of the microfinance concept. It said poor corporate governance and a high level of nonperforming loans, among others, are key challenges facing the subsector. According to the CBN’s operational guidelines for the establishment of microfinance banks, they are not expected to engage in excessive spending.


Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012



O/PRICE 0.60 8.74 25.99 3.13 56.67 1.82 0.60 4.21 77.16 14.47

C/PRICE 0.66 9.59 28.00 3.35 60.50 1.94 0.63 4.42 81.00 15.19

CHANGE 0.06 0.85 2.01 0.22 3.83 0.12 0.03 0.21 3.84 0.72


O/PRICE 1.63 3.31 4.20 1.50 8.81 1.96 1.39 6.82 4.48 14.00

C/PRICE 1.55 3.15 4.00 1.43 8.40 1.87 1.33 6.60 4.35 13.60

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

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

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

7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%



Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 137.03 139.93 0.80 1.13 0.96 100.00 1,000.00 1,782.25 13.74 1.39 1.87 10,491.42

9.08 1.00 136.62 139.81 0.78 1.13 0.95 100.00 1,000.00 1,781.21 13.07 1.33 1.80 10,192.01





CHANGE 0.08 0.16 0.20 0.07 0.41 0.09 0.06 0.22 0.13 0.40

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7


LOSERS AS AT 29-1-13


Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

United Kingdom. “I believe the next years and decade in Nigeria will offer great banking and finance opportunities for domestic and international banks. Nigeria is probably our number one focus market in Africa at the moment,” Weller said. Also commenting on the programme, the bank’s Deputy Country Head, Mrs. Adeola Azeez, said Deutsche Bank financed and processed substantial transactions and goods into Nigeria, many of which relate to governmental projects and programmes. She added that the three-day implant is an important way of looking at the issues around these key transactions.





EUTSCHE Bank will tomorrow, collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on a three-day course for federal and state ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on import and export transactions. Both parties according to a statement will also look into issues relating to trade structuring into and from Nigeria. Speaking yesterday in Abuja, Deutsche Bank’s Country Head in Nigeria, Mr. Charles Weller, said the programme is targeted at developing the tremendous business opportunities in Nigeria. Guest speakers would be drawn from Deutsche Bank, Germany and the



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

According to him, an efficient and reliable tax policy will also encourage foreign direct investment (FDI), which is needful in helping the economy to grow, and taxes realised will equally boost the national revenue base. According to him, FDI incentives include low corporate and in-come tax rates, tax holidays, preferential tariffs, special economic zones, investment financial subsidies, relocation and expatriation subsidies, job training and employment subsidies, infrastructure subsidies and research and development support.

Deutsche Bank, CBN partner on transactions

‘Costs inhibit MfBs’ expansion’ ANY microfinance banks (MfBs) prefer to remain a unit. This is because the cost of taking up state or national status is enomous, Managing Director, Support Microfinance Bank, Sunny Akahmiorkhor, has said. He said operators have drastically reduced their risktaking approach to business, which previously involved giving out unguaranteed

taxes. Compared with 2011, the all-taxes figure grew by N379.4 billion or 8.20 per cent on. FIRS collected N4.628 trillion in 2011. The contribution of non-oil taxes increased from N1.557 trillion or 33.65 in 2011 to N1.806 trillion or 36.07 per cent in 2012. Ototoju explained that efficient and reliable tax system will assist the government in realising its transformation agenda in key sectors of the economy. He said resources from taxation will complement oil revenue, to solve critical problems confronting the country.

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



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833







ACN to Saraki: Kwara workers’ jobs can’t be shared in your bedroom


HE Kwara State chapter of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday described as “discriminatory, condemnable and lawless” the purported distribution of the state civil service jobs to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members by Senator Bukola Saraki. The party was reacting to a report published in the Monday edition of the stateowned newspaper, The Herald, with the headline: Saraki empowers PDP members. In a statement in Ilorin, the state capital, ACN Chairman Kayode Olawepo said the report showed that the jobs shared among PDP members were civil service placements, even when the state Civil Service Commission did not advertise the vacancies to allow equal competition among qualified Kwarans. Olawepo said civil service jobs are for all residents to compete for, adding that they are not to be shared in the bedroom of any political godfather, including Saraki. The statement reads: “We read with alarm in The Herald of January 28, 2013, a

• PDP: it’s not true From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

story entitled: Saraki empowers PDP members. The story showed how Senator Saraki gave out 30 employment letters to PDP members from Alanamu Ward of Ilorin West Local Government of Kwara State. Those jobs, as quotes from one of the beneficiaries revealed, are in the Kwara State Civil Service, which, incidentally, has been shedding jobs, especially at the local council level, for controversial reasons. “What alarmed us is the level of arbitrariness and abuse of office which this employment offers codify. We, therefore, wish to say the following questions: “When did Senator Saraki become the Civil Service Commission, which has the statutory powers and prerogative of employing ‘qualified’ people into the service? “It is public knowledge that public notice, tests and interviews normally precede employment into the civil service. The state civil service has not, at any time in the past two years, advertised

job openings. So, what process threw up these 30 ‘lucky winners’ of the civil service jobs that Saraki just gave out? And if 30 placements were given to a single council, probability is high that the PDP leadership is holding similar secret employment into the service across the state. “This behaviour by Saraki is discriminatory, condemnable and lawless, as it shuts the door against other qualified and jobless Kwara youths with no political affiliations. It offers the Kwara public an early insight into an era of increased arbitrariness, deprivation and lawlessness that awaits the state if placed at the control of the ‘new PDP godfather!’ “We demand immediate revocation of such employment offers by the Kwara State Civil Service Commission because they violate due process and public decency. What is more: it is a spite on other qualified Kwarans who could have benefitted were the jobs advertised to the public.”

But PDP spokesperson Alhaji Mas’ud Adebimpe said employment letters were not distributed at Saraki’s home. Hen said the beneficiaries received their letters of employment at the PDP secretariat in Alanamu Ward. Adebimpe added: “Senator Saraki, apart from being the political leader of the state, is also representing Kwara Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly; Alanamu Ward is an integral part of the district. Therefore, he has the constitutional right, as a Senator, to seek employment opportunities for his people wherever they are available. “However, we are not surprised by ACN’s comments on the employment provided. The same ACN had canvassed for the retrenchment of workers in the state after the 2013 Budget was presented to the House of Assembly by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed. “This mischievous and calculated plot to mislead the public, that employment letters were distributed in a private home, has not only failed but also revealed the party.

Tension as Kwara communities clash


HERE was tension yesterday in Offa and Erin-Ile, both of Offa and Oyun Local Government Areas of Kwara State, following clashes between the two communities. The age-long hostility between the communities resurfaced with casualties recorded on both sides. But the police command said nobody died in the renewed crisis. Recently, commercial drivers, suspected to be members of the two communities, clashed over where should be the terminus for commercial vehicles plying the Offa/ Erin-Ile/Lagos routes. An account said trouble started when somebody from Erin-Ile came to Offa to buy ties and the vehicle he used in transporting the materials back to Erin-Ile hit another vehicle belonging to an Offa indigene. This, it was learnt, resulted in an argument which degenerated into a scuffle. As at the time of filing this report, property worth

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

‘A report from Offa DPO informed the police commissioner that tension was building up in the town. The police commissioner directed that enough policemen be drafted to Offa; this was done’ millions of naira had been damaged between the two warring communities. Addressing reporters yesterday in Ilorin, the state capital, police spokesperson Olufemi Fabode confirmed that there was tension in the communities. He said immediately Police Commissioner Chinwike Asadu got a distressed call from Offa Divisional Police Officer (DPO), “he ordered the deployment of enough policemen in the two communities and

another two vehicles with about 40 mobile policemen were sent to the areas on Tuesday morning”. Fabode added: “A report from Offa DPO informed the police commissioner that tension was building up in the town. The police commissioner directed that enough policemen be drafted to Offa; this was done. “Equally this morning, about two vehicles of mobile policemen were drafted to Offa with 40 mobile policemen. “What we have in Offa is little tension; no casualties. DPOs of Offa and ErinIle are working hard to douse the tension. The Area Commander is also in the area because we have an intelligence report that there could be problems in the areas.” The police spokesman linked the renewed crisis to old communal disputes. He said the Olofa of Offa and Elerin of Erin-Ile have called back their people from crisis area, adding that the residents were co-

450 displaced in Fulani/Otukpo-Icho crisis


VER 450 persons have been displaced following last Sunday’s clash between Fulani herdsmen and Amla villagers in Otukpo-Icho, Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State. The displaced persons, who are taking refuge in Otukpo, have urged governments as well as well-meaning Nigerians alleviate their suffering. The local government chairman, Dr. Innocent Onuh, yesterday led members of the council to donate

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

materials to the victims. Onuh, who conducted reporters round the displaced persons’ camp in Otkupo, described the crisis as unfortunate. He promised that the council would bring the perpetrators to book. The council chief called for calm between the Fulani and the host communities, adding that the government was on top of the situation. Some of the materials donated to the victims included

bags of guinea corn, bags of maize, bags of rice, mats, blankets, mattresses, and sachets of water. The Hardo (leader) of the Fulani in Otukpo, Alhaji Isah Sule, who reportedly lost a 15-year-old son to the crisis, said he had taken the development in good fate. He thanked Onuh and the police for the prompt response. The Fulani leader added that this prevented further loss of lives and property to the crisis.

operating with the police. Fabode urged the warring communities to allow peace to reign.

Dam floods destroy 317 irrigation HE water released from farms in Sokoto


Bakolori Dam in Zamfara State has destroyed 317 irrigation farms worth several millions of naira in five villages in Rabah Local Government of Sokoto State. The affected villages include Tsamiya, Raha, Gigane and Dan Ali. But, nobody died in the incident. The flood initially affected 206 irrigation farmers and destroyed onions, groundnut, cassava, soya beans and beans farms. Addressing reporters yesterday in his office, the Secretary to the Local Government Alhaji Gidado Muhammad Shuni said the destroyed crops were worth N15 million. The secretary said the council had mobilised workers from its Department of Agriculture to assess the damage the flood caused. He said: “We had to re-direct the water to its original route to avoid more damage.” Shuni said the council is planning to support the farmers, adding that the farmers need to consider the flood as a


From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto natural disaster. The secretary decried the inability of the authorities of Bakolori Dam to notify the council before they released the water. He said: “It will have enabled us to take necessary steps against flooding.” Mallam Yusuf Khalid, managing director of the Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority (SRRBDA), which oversees the operations of the dam, regretted the damage. He explained that the dam water was released following a request by the state water board to fill its earth reservoir to meet the public demand for water. According to him, it was not meant to cause damage but to effectively and efficiently assist to improve the state water supply to the public. Khalid said: “We never knew it was going to cost part of the public by destroying crops and farm lands. “We will ensure care to avoid a future recurrence of such trend.”

Sokoto council relocates

ABAH Local Government Area of Sokoto State will vacate the home of the late Northern Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello, which has been serving as its temporary secretariat. The council is expected to move when it completes its new secretariat earmarked to cost N113 million. Secretary to the Local Government, Alhaji Gidado Muhammad Shuni, broke the news yesterday when he

From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

addressed reporters at Rabah headquarters of the council. He promised that the council would hand over the late premier’s home to the Sokoto History Bureau (SHB) after the completion of the council’s new secretariat. Rabah is the birth place of the late sir Ahmadu Bello, who left some structures as his legacies in parts the North to the people.




Two arrested for ‘gun running’ •Gun factory discovered in Edo From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja


HE police have arrested a Ghanaian, Daniel Ofori, and a Nigerian woman, Olufumilayo Adeyemo, for allegedly supplying arms to criminals across the country. The suspects were arrested on January 20 at Idiroko, Ogun State, a border town between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. A statement by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, yesterday said 5,564 rounds of live cartridges were recovered from the suspects. According to the statement, the cartridges were concealed in the engine compartment and the inner crevices of the chassis of a Mercedes Benz 420 SE car marked CC 270 FKJ driven by Ofori. The suspects were said to have been intercepted by a police border patrol team. Mba said the suspects, who claimed to have taken off from Ghana through Benin Republic, en route Lagos, are being investigated by detectives from the Force Criminal Investigation Department. “This breakthrough was made possible by recent measures taken by the Force to tighten the noose of security at all the country’s borders,” the statement added. The statement also said the Edo State Police Command, on January 24, raided a local arms manufacturing factory believed to be responsible for the supply of weapons to robbers, kidnappers and other criminal gangs in the Southwest, Southsouth and Southeast axis. Two suspects, Abiodun Odiri (aka Was born) and Ohikhuemen Alex were said to have been arrested during the raid. Police said they are investigating.

Orubebe for UNIBEN lecture


INISTER of Niger Delta Affairs Godsday Orubebe will tomorrow at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) will speak on issues regarding his effort to develop the Niger Delta. The Minister will speak on the issues at the seventh Distinguished Lectures Series of the Faculty of Social Sciences on the topic :“The Challenges of Regional Development in Nigeria: Case of the Niger Delta.” A statement by the organising committee said the minis-

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

ter promised to shed more light on all issues involving the Niger Delta Ministry. The statement quoted Orubebe as saying he would explain his achievements and challenges in the government’s policy and efforts to develop such a vast terrain and environmentallydegraded region of the country. The Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof Chike Okolocha, said the public lecture would be stimulating.

Butchers clash in Port Harcourt From Rosemary Nwisi; Port Harcourt


HERE was tension yesterday at the Trans-Amadi abattoir in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, following a clash by butchers. Although no one was killed, several people were injured. Many were reportedly arrested and detained at the TransAmadi Police station. Members of the elders’ council of the Butchers Association had raised the alarm of a looming crisis in the market. They called for the government’s intervention. The incident ,which started at 8am, resulted in a traffic jam on the Woji/ Slaughter Bridge. There has been a lingering leadership crisis among butchers in the market. The matter is being determined by a court in Port Harcourt. The Organising Secretary, National Caretaker Committee of the Association, Emenike Ugo, said the group wants the Chairman, Ibrahim Maisumdu, to vacate office. Ugo alleged that Maisumdu has been in office since 1999. “The outgoing chairman has ruled us for 14 years and efforts to make him vacate the office have failed. Surprisingly this morning, a group attacked us.” The National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Issa Hakan Musa, expressed disappointment at the incident. Maisumdu could not be reached for comments.

ACF, Urhobo meet in Kaduna From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


N continuation of its meetings with various ethnic nationalities, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday met with the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) in Kaduna. The meeting was believed to be in preparation for the 2015 general elections. UPU President-General Maj.-Gen. Patrick Aziza (rtd) said the North and the Urhobo share a long political history and are not strange bed-fellows. “We came to see our brothers, we had good deliberations over what is happening in Nigeria.” Aziza said: “The Arewa and Urhobo are not strange bedfellows. We share a long political history from the days of struggle for political independence from the British to the days of the First Republic and the post-military politics. “We seek to re ignite that longstanding relationship, keep it warm and energise it in our national political journey. “




Obama pushes for immigration reforms

UK to send soldiers to Mali


HE UK is to deploy about 330 military personnel to Mali and West Africa to support French forces, No 10 has said. This includes as many as 40 military advisers who will train soldiers in Mali, and 200 British soldiers to be sent to neighbouring African countries, also to help train the Malian army. French-led forces are continuing their offensive against Islamist militants who seized northern Mali last year. International donors have pledged $455.53million (£289million) to tackle militants. The 330 military personnel comprises of 200 to West African nations, 40 military advisers to Mali, 70 on an RAF Sentinel surveillance aircraft and 20 on a C17 transport plane. None will have a combat role. A conference taking place in Brussels is expected to decide which countries will contribute troops for an EU military training mission for Mali and discuss details of the mission. Meanwhile, French-led troops are consolidating their position in the historic Malian city of Timbuktu after seizing it from Islamist extremists.

They are then expected to focus on the last rebel stronghold, Kidal. They seized Gao, northern Mali’s biggest city, on Saturday. In a separate development, Downing Street said UK Prime Minister David Cameron was to visit neighbouring Algeria today. The trip comes in the wake of a hostage crisis that left three Britons dead and three believed dead. During the siege, one statement purporting to be from the hostage-

takers called for an end to the French military intervention against Islamist militants in Mali. Detailing in the House of Commons the “extended support” the UK will offer France, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said it would: Continue to allow the use of one of two C17 transport planes, which are already flying French equipment to and from Mali, for three months. The RAF has also provided a Sentinel surveillance aircraft.

Bodies discovered in Syria


HE bodies of dozens of young men, all apparently summarily executed, have been found in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, rebels and activists say. At least 65 bodies were found on the banks of the Quwaiq river in the western district of Bustan al-Qasr, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported. Most had their hands tied behind their backs and gunshot wounds to the head. Video footage of the gruesome discovery was posted by activists on YouTube. It showed a large number of bodies strewn in and around the banks of the Quwaiq, which skirts the western side of Aleppo. The bodies were caked in grey mud and showed signs of rigor mortis. There were also signs of blood having poured from many of the heads. Rigor mortis, a stiffening of the limbs of a corpse, begins around three hours after death, peaks at around 12 hours and is completely dissipated some two days later.


Restructure Nigeria, say Ekwueme, Clark, Falae, others


ONVOCATION of a national conference, adoption of six geopolitical structure as federating units, and the creation of two additional states are some of the recommendations of a group of political leaders yesterday. The leaders, who met in Enugu, Enugu State, under the auspices of Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly (SNPA) rose with a demand for a far-reaching restructuring of the country. They insisted that one of the states to be created must be in the Southeast for parity between the number of states in the South and the North. The meeting was chaired by Second Republic VicePresident Alex Ekwueme (Southeast) and co-chaired by Chief Edwin Clark (Southsouth) and Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi (Southwest) The trio signed the communiqué, which criticised the review of the Constitution by the National Assembly. According to them, a national conference is better to undertake a far-reaching review of the constitution as being proposed. The group also deplored the neglect of the East-West road and stressed the need for government to ensure full security of citizens. It urged government to improve on its anti-corruption battle and the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The meeting was attended by leaders of Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Ibibio, Edo, Ogoja, Kalabari and other nationalities. Those present included: Chief Olu Falae, Admiral Ebitu Ukiwe, Chief Tonye Alabo Graham-Douglas, Chief Felix Ibru, Chief Gbenga Daniel and Chief Gani Adams.

From Chris Orji, Enugu Also, there were: Senators Anthony Adefuye, Uche Chukwumerije, Femi Okuronmu, Iyiola Omisore, Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, Adolphus Wabara, Mrs. Kofo Bucknor Akerele, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Dr. Walter Ofonagoro, Dr. Kunle Olajide, Dr. Sam Egwu, Chief Mike Okiro, Dr. Dozie Ikedife and Mr James Sekibo. In his opening remarks, Ekwueme said it was high time the South spoke with one voice, saying he had been in the forefront of the muchdesired unity of the region since the Second Republic. Wondering why the South would not unite, he said the North has an advantage today because of the Northern Governors Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). He urged southerners to eschew their differences and unite. Stating the importance of the SNPA, Ekwueme said the aim of the conference was not to fight anybody but to make sure that the people in the South are recognised and the neglect done away with. The highpoints of the communiqué are that: •A national conference should be organised to correct the nation’s restructuring imbalance; •To bring parity between North and South, two additional states should be created, one of which must come from the Southeast; •The recognition of the six geo-political zones as federating units. Creation of states and local governments should be the responsibility of the states; •Government should develop the will to fight corruption;

•The East-West road should be fixed; •There should be fiscal federalism; •Passage of the PIB ; •Removal of the Land Use Act from the constitution; and •The NYSC scheme should be removed from the Constitution.



NITED States President Barack Obama is rallying support for an immigration overhaul, a day after a bipartisan group of senators said the time was right for reform. Obama was presenting his plan at a high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is expected to partly mirror the senators’ framework, including a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. The move reflects the grow-

ing influence of Hispanic voters. Obama’s case for an immigration revamp is expected to largely reflect a blueprint he rolled out in 2011. The US president was not set to unveil legislation, but to rally support for the proposals promoted on Monday by a group of four Democratic and four Republican senators. Like the bipartisan plan, Obama was also expected to push for an overhaul of the existing legal immigration system and for securing US borders. His 2011 blueprint also focused on a path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship, as well as making it easier for businesses to verify the legal status of workers. Under his previous proposal, Obama required those in the US illegally to register with the government and pass a background check, as well as pay a series of fines and back taxes if necessary.

After eight years, individuals would be allowed to become legal permanent residents and could eventually become citizens five years later. The process is similar to the path outlined by senators on Monday - paying taxes and passing background checks would allow undocumented immigrants to live and work in the US legally but not qualify for benefits. Once immigrants are able to apply for permanent residency, they would do so behind everyone else who had already applied for a green card. But the senators’ proposals would allow undocumented immigrants to start the process of becoming citizens only after US borders are deemed secure, a link that was not expected to feature in the president’s plan. At their news conference on Monday, the so-called gang of eight promoted their blueprint, which they hope could pass the

Egyptian army warns of collapse


GYPT’S armed forces chief has warned the current political crisis “could lead to a collapse of the state”. General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, in comments posted on the military’s Facebook page, said such a collapse could “threaten future generations”. He made his statement following a large military deployment in three cities along the Suez Canal where a state of emergency has been declared. More than 50 people have died in days of protests and violence. In response, President Mohammed Morsi has cut

short a planned European trip. His spokesman said he would still visit Germany today as planned, but the twoday trip has been cut to just a few hours and a visit to France has been cancelled. On Monday night, thousands of people in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez - where some of the worst unrest has been ignored a night-time curfew imposed by Morsi to take to the streets. Thousands were again on the streets of Port Said yesterday for the latest funerals of those killed, with mourners calling for the downfall of the president.

There were also saw continuing sporadic clashes in the capital, Cairo. Gen Sisi’s lengthy statement appears to be a veiled threat to protesters and opposition forces as well as an appeal for calm and an attempt to reassure Egyptians about the role of the military, the BBC’s Yolande Knell in Cairo says. “The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations,” Gen Sisi, who is also Egypt’s defence minister, said.



NEWS PDP crisis: Tukur begs deputy NWC members Continued from page 4

“Tukur took time to listen to each leader of the party at the session. We also spoke our minds on how the party is drifting and what should be done. “Another source at the session added: “We told Tukur that we do not want to be involved in the crisis between him and the 12 NWC members on one hand and the face-off with the sacked National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, on the other hand. “We asked him to ensure fairness, equity and justice in the party. And that he should take steps which will promote the unity and progress of the party.” A third source said: “We expressed disappointment with the NWC on how we were alienated in the scheme of things. We are not on salary, allowances or any perks. Yet, we

were elected to represent some zones.” He said the broad areas covered at the session were as follows: •Arbitrary attitude of NWC members on issues and programmes of the party. •Exclusion of elected party officers by NWC •Need for equity, fairness and justice before the party •A case for reconciliation of all aggrieved party members to move forward •Breach of PDP constitution by not holding National Executive Committee(NEC) meeting •Wrongful and consistent misinterpretation of PDP constitution. •Management of the party in a cultish nature •Wasting of party resources on personal events, functions, and chartering of aircraft The need to have a policy on

wages and allowances for all NWC members without any discrimination Stoppage of arbitrary sharing of honourarium whether in cash and kind. The deputies passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Tukur. Leader of the group, Senator Umar Tsauri, said the meeting, which was to interact with the chairman, was at their own instance. Tsauri, who is the party’s Deputy National Treasurer said the meeting had a fruitful deliberation on issues affecting the party. He pledged the group’s total support for Tukur’s leadership of the party, saying that the deputies believe in his capabilities. “We told the national chairman of his leadership capabilities and the way he manages crisis and we have confidence in his

style of leadership. “Our meeting with him was fruitful and we discussed the development of the party. We passed a vote of confidence on him” Tsauri however, declined comments on the stand off between the national chairman and PDP governors, explaining that as national officers of the party, they should not be seen dabbling into the affairs of state governors. Tsauri defended the relegation of the deputies in the scheme of things, saying that the constitution of the party excluded the deputies from membership of the NWC. According to him, the party’s constitution recognises the deputy national chairman and deputy national secretary as the only ones among the deputies qualified to be members of the NWC.

million to support the Mali mission. The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamre made the announcement at the end of a pledging conference on Mali, aimed at generating a proposed $50 million for AFISMA at the AU Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria had made more than $45 million commitments including monetary and material support. Dr. Jonathan made a donation of $5 million on behalf of Nigeria He suggested that the funds

realised at the conference should be used not only for defence and security purposes, but also for the provision of necessary humanitarian support in Mali. He said: “Specifically, Nigeria has commenced the deployment of 900 combat soldiers and

300 Air Force personnel to Mali as part of the AFISMA. Nigeria has so far provided about $32 million for the immediate deployment and logistical support for the troops. Prior to this, Nigeria dispatched relief and humanitarian supplies amounting to $2 million.

“Nigeria has undertaken the re-construction and refurbishment of a number of clinics in the military barracks of some of the Malian Defence and Security Forces as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention, to the tune of $5.5 million.” He added

Anxiety remains despite Boko Haram’s ceasefire Continued from page 4

ceremony, one can only expect the wealth of experience being marketed by these people. So we are excited about this exercise there is always the intellectual dimension of everything you can call a national problem.” President of the NDC Alumni Association, Rear Admiral

Amos Adedeji welcomed the ceasefire signal from the Boko Haram sect, but expressed reservations about the source of the signal. Admiral Adedeji said: “We are happy with what our forces are doing concerning terrorism. We are happy with the good work they are doing. But when it

“Once such a country agrees to play some roles, it would be left for the government of such a country to approach Nigeria’s government for effect. That is our recommendations.” The President of the Middle Belt Youth Forum, Jonathan Asake, said the Forum welcomed the offer of dialogue by the group, adding that in considering the conditions set for dialogue by the group, the government should also consider the plight of all those who have suffered from the activities of the sect. Asake, a former member of the House of Representatives, said people of the Middle Belt spread across Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi,

‘No opposition to Jonathan’ Continued from page 4

Dasuki warns of backlash from Mali operations Continued from page 4

Sani doubts ceasefire Continued from page 4

comes to issues like this, you don’t just take it because you don’t know who is The seminar, with the theme “Contemporary National Security Challenges: Policy Options”, was attended by senior officers in the Armed Forces, the police, SSS and operatives from other security agencies.

in the development of our different states for the benefit of the nation and our citizens.” Speaking on the health of Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, Amaechi said “I talked with him, put him on the phone to an editor who is my friend. It was real.” Some stakeholders have raised doubts about a picture published in newspapers of Amaechi, Chime, Gabriel Suswam, the Benue governor and Godswill Akpabio, the Akwa Ibom governor. Some of the states represented at the meeting are Lagos, Ekiti, Jigawa, Abia, Kogi, Kaduna, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Kwara, Adamawa, Ogun, Rivers and Bayelsa. Delta, Nasarawa, Taraba, Kano, Ondo, Oyo, Anambra, Sokoto and Bauchi were also there.

Taraba, Adamawa, and other parts of the North have suffered from the activities of the group. “While we welcome the offer of a ceasefire from the group, we also take note of the conditions given by the group. If the government is going to consider those conditions, they should also bear in mind that so many people have suffered as a result of their activities. Such people should also be assisted. “I must say that the government must be careful on how it handles this whole thing in order not to create another crisis. So many people have suffered; many children have been rendered orphans; some businesses have folded up because of their activities and many churches have been destroyed. The government should be careful in handling this issue”, he said. Some prominent northern leaders also expressed excitement over the ceasefire call. Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, Alhaji Mamman Danmusa and Alhaji Lawal Kaita noted that the decision has provided hope for Nigerians that the conflict destabilising North will soon abate. Kaita, former governor of the old Kaduna State, said: “Any decision that will end the insurgency and restore peace to the region and country is a welcome development, It is my hope this time around the ceasefire works for good, even though some of us may be a bit confused regarding the authenticity of the information. The government should grab the opportunity to reach the party.” Former Deputy Senate President Mamman Dan Musa said: “It is a good omen because this is the first time a leader of the sect is identifying himself publicly and this is why government should be serious about it.”





Mikel, Ogude may miss Ivory Coast game

J •Nigeria's Victor Moses, left, shoots a penalty kick to score the opening goal past Ethiopia's goalkeeper Zerihun Tadelle during their African Cup of Nations group C match

OHN Mikel Obi, Fegor Ogude and other Super Eagles stars that were given two yellow card bookings, may miss the quarter-final game against the Elephants of Ivory Coast. CAF, it was gathered have changed their rules concerning caution cards got in the group phase of AFCON saying it would no longer wave suspension for any player who has bagged up to two yellow cards with his team despite making it

From Toafeek Babalola and Rasaq Oboirien in Rustenburg to the quarter-finals. Asked Emmanel Maradas, the CAF official stated that: “Am not too sure about the new rule rather if it has been change but I guess the technical committee for the AFCON 2013 will meet today (Wednesday) to look at the rules and players that have got two yellow cards before it could be applied.”

AFCON: Moses puts Nigeria Keshi’s half time talk was key—Omeruo through to quarter-finals K •Eagles keep date with Drogba, Yaya Toure others in Rustenburg


HE Eagles finally booked their quarter final place with two goals in the last 20 minutes of the game against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia on Tuesday in Rustenburg. Victor Moses was the hero of the day as he made and converted the two penalties that won the game. The kickoff was taken by the white-clad Super Eagles and the Eagles swooped on the Ethiopians who appeared cagey in the opening minutes. Efe Ambrose had the chance to repeat his Liberia heroics but his header went wide. Another chance came on quickly on that with Victor Moses’ free kick deflected into the hands of the Ethiopian goalkeeper. Ikechukwu Uche went through on goal in the fourth minute but Sisay in goal for Ethiopia made a diving catch at the feet of the striker. Ethiopia showed their first intent in the 15t minute when star striker Said Saluhdin headed wide. The Ethiopians were playing the classic counter attack leaving the midfield to the Eagles. The Walya Antelopes had the better of corner kicks in the first half with four but could not make any count. In the 24t minute, a good passing move from the Eagles saw Uche pass to Elderson Echiejile, who skied his shot.

He also had another chance in the 34t minute off a corner kick from Moses but the goalkeeper parried and saved. Said caught the Eagles defence napping in the 29t minute but his shot squirmed off his boots into Vincent Enyeama’s grateful gloves. The first half ended dourly as the game settled into a game of cat and mouse with the Ethiopians waiting to catch the Eagles on the counter or through set pieces. The second half started with the Ethiopians on the front foot as Estifinos shot from 30 yards but it was tame. With 25 minutes into the second half, Sunday Mba got

Keshi: Super Eagles not scared of Ivorian stars

•Coach Picks Ogude as Eagles best against Ethiopia


IDING on the emphatic 2-0 victory of the Super Eagles over the resilient Walyas Antelopes of Ethiopia that earned Nigeria the quarter-finals ticket of the on-going 2013 Africa Nations Cup, team handler, Stephen Keshi is upbeat about the chances of his team against highly rated Cote d’ Ivoire who the Eagles would be meeting in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

Zambia out of AFCON


ZAMBIA’s exit from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations at the first hurdle will be a desperate disappointment to Chipolopolo fans, who had hoped that coach Herve Renard was creating a dynasty of success at the helm of the side. But what it now means is that they will once again be taunted with the accusation that their success in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon was a fluke, a oneoff, a lucky few weeks for a side who performed above their normal level. It would be very unfair to level that at them, they fully deserved that victory, even if it must seem like a long time ago. Where Renard has been at fault, perhaps, is a failure to

a yellow card for a lunge. Afterwards Fegor Ogude collected his second yellow card of the first round to rule him out of the quarter final. Redemption finally came for the Eagles in the 78t minute when Moses was scythed down in the box for the penalty which he took and calmly rolled to the left side of Sisay for the Eagles to take the lead. Three minutes later, Enyeama made a great save off a Seid header that was destined to be the equaliser. Mikel Obi was given a yellow card for a foul on the edge of the box and on the break away; Moses rounded Sisay,

who brought him down for another penalty kick. Ethiopia had to convert Adnan into an emergency goal keeper to face Moses who played to the makeshift keeper’s right to record the second goal of the game and of the tournament. Meanwhile, five Eagles players will be going into Tuesday’s Group C clash on a booking, meaning if any of them is again booked, he will miss the quarterfinal should Nigeria qualify. Five Nigerian players were a caution away from missing the quarter final but only Ogude will now miss the confrontation with the Didier Drogba led Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday in Rustenburg.

ignite fresh blood into the side, with some of the squad’s aging stars battling to find form for club or country over the past year. This team that competed in 2013 was pretty much the same as the won that lifted the trophy last year, but looked half as energetic, half as enthusiastic and, in some cases, half as interested. By mixing it up a little Renard might have kept that hunger and got more of the thrilling performances that he has seen 12 months ago when his side seemed to delight in surprising. They never really got going in any of their three games in 2013. They can point to go through the pool stages unbeaten, but the win they needed to advance eluded them.

From Segun Ogunjimi, Rustenburg “I know you guys are worried about Cote D’ Ivoire and I don’t know why. The Ivorians have a good team and we have a good team too. It is going to be a game of eleven players on each side. Cote d’ I voire is Cote d’ Ivoire and Nigeria is Nigeria. So anything can happen when we meet but I am sure we won’t disappoint”, he said. Keshi has picked the Valerenga of Norway combative midfielder as his best player in the match. “I would say that all my players did very well from Vincent Enyeama to Victor Moses and the rest but the guy that really impressed me most is Fengor Ogude. “You people (journalists) may not have noticed his great impact in today’s match but as a coach that gives the instructions I was very impressed with the overall performance of the Fengor. He did the entire dirty job for the team and I am very proud of him”, he told Nation Sports. The former Mali Coach also told Nation sports also that he had to caution his players and asked them to cool down and play their normal game in the

second half of the game. He said their nervousness did not let them score in the first half of the game. “I told them during the first half break to cool down and enjoy the game when they enter the pitch for the second half and that did the magic. In the first half they were anxiously looking for goals which made them to commit so many errors but I am happy they played to my instructions and we won and also qualified for the next stage of the competition.

ENNETH OMERUO says Coach Stephen Keshi’s half time talk to them was key to winning the all important Group C game against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia Tuesday night. The ADO Den Haag of Holland told SportingLife at the mixed zone that: “Keshi, really is the Big Boss as his half time talk with the players was key to winning the quarterfinal ticket as it changed our mentality.”He didn’t blame any of us. “Assured, he was

From Rasaq Oboirien and Innocent Amomoh in Rustenburg

confident that Nigeria was not going to crash out today. He simply just told us to be calm, maintain our concentration and don’t let the misses weigh us down but then take our chances at goal.”It was not surprising to see Moses been hacked down by the Ethiopian defender as his pace is something else.”

Moses shuns reports


UPER EAGLES goal hero, Victor Moses has kept Nigerians wondering what his feelings were after securing a quarter-final ticket for Nigeria in the AFCON 2013, scoring a brace from the spot against the Walya Antelopes on Tuesday night at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg. The Chelsea ace and Nations Cup debutant, who prior to the kick-off of Nigeria’s campaign said he wished his parents were alive to see him play for the

From Rasaq Oboirien in Rustenburg Super Eagles at Africa’s biggest football fiesta, walked past anxious Nigerian and foreign journalists who had wanted to have a chat with him. The star who had his headphones champed on his head, just smiled at reporters as he dashed for the bus to the Eagles’ hotel. It was not sure if the Chelsea striker was still mourning his parents or perhaps was too tired to talk to his fans.

IGI hails Eagles, supporters


NDUSTRIAL And General Insurance Plc (IGI) has congratulated Nigerians and the Super Eagles on their victory in the match against Ethiopia which they won 2-0 to qualify for the quarter-final stage of the Nations Cup competition. In a statement in Lagos, the insurance company, which is the official insurer of all the national football teams, applauded the resilience of the Eagles and the

unshaken support of their teeming supporters, which it said contributed largely to the outcome of the tension-soaked match. IGI, however, stressed the need for the Eagles to step up their game and get their acts together to ensure they sail through the knock-out stage. Urging Nigerians to keep their faith alive and keep supporting the team, the company reaffirmed its confidence in the ability of the national side to lift the trophy.

Keshi wins first AFCON match in nine years


UPER Eagles coach, Stephen won a major battle yesterday when he took the Nigerian team beyond the group stage thereby breaking what has become a jinx for him, especially at the Nations Cup, since he launched his coaching career. Nigeria defeated Ethiopia 2-0 in the last match of Group C to earn passage to the quarter final through two late penalty goals courtesy of Victor Moses. Between 2004 and 2006 Keshi coached the Togo national football team, unexpectedly bringing them to their first World Cup tournament, Germany 2006. Having secured Togo’s unlikely qualification, he was promptly

By Akeem Lawal replaced by German coach Otto Pfister prior to the World Cup finals, after Togo showed a dismal performance and failed to advance to the knock-out stage in 2006 African Cup of Nations in Egypt. However, Pfister did not last beyond a controversial World Cup campaign that nearly resulted in a player’s strike over pay and Togo remained without a manager until February 2007 when they reengaged Keshi in time for a friendly against Cameroon. He worked as manager of the Mali national football team, after being appointed in

April 2008 on a two-year deal. Keshi was sacked in January 2010, after Mali’s early exit in the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations. On 2 November 2011 he was named the new coach of the Nigerian National Team, and led Nigeria to qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with a victory over Liberia. Since taking over Nigeria’s coaching job, the former Eagles’ captain has played eight matches, losing three and drawing five with no victory until yesterday’s win will be a landmark achievement for the Big Boss who will be hoping to go one step ahead when the team face Ivory Cost in the quarter final on Sunday.




West Brom eager to keep Osaze W

EST BROM head coach Steve Clarke wants striker Peter Odemwingie to stay, despite his Twitter outburst against the club. Albion have rejected two offers from QPR for the Nigerian, the latest believed to £3million. Odemwingie has handed in a transfer request and over the weekend hit out at the Baggies on Twitter, accusing them of “stealing” his loyalty and showing him a lack of respect. Clarke made his intention to keep hold of Odemwingie known at today’s press conference, claiming he feels the player has been “really badly advised” by his representatives. Clarke has cast doubts over whether Rangers will make PUBLIC NOTICE LOSS OF DOCUMENT We hereby inform the general public that the original Certificate of Occupancy No. 52/52/1991AX in respect of property being situate and known as Magodo residential scheme Plot.1 Block 5 Shomolu Area of lagos belonging to Benjamin Onokebhagbe Aigbomian (late) and in the custody of Mrs Ekundayo Amancia Algbomian, (administratix of the estate of the deceased Dr. Benjamin Onokebhagbe Aigbomian (late) is missing. If found please return to the undersigned or the nearest police station. Signed: Godwin Onuneme (Barristers and solicitors)

an acceptable off before the transfer window closes on Thursday, but accepts Odemwingie will have to build bridges with fans, players and the club. Odemwingie, who has

made 13 Barclays Premier League starts this season, was due to meet with Albion officials today to discuss his social networking remarks and he faces the possibility of a fine.

He has deleted some of his more inflammatory remarks from Twitter but it is understood the outbursts have not been looked on favourably by the midlands club.

Even QPR boss Harry Redknapp intimated yesterday that Odemwingie’s rants were ill-advised and had not helped in terms of trying to push a potential deal through.

Dolphins win Lagos pre season tourney


ORMER Nigeria Premier League champions, Dolphins of Port Harcourt has emerged winner of the Lagos Pre-season tournament sponsored by Sports Manufacturing company. The Port Harcourt dwellers won 4 and drew one match en route to being handed a giant trophy with cash incentive to follow later. The Technical Adviser of the club, Stanley Eguma in a chat with NationSport disclosed that

PUBLIC NOTICE MADUKWE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Madukwe Grace, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ihezuo Grace. All documents remain valid. National Teachers Institute, Abia State Polytechnic and general public take note.


PUBLIC NOTICE ASSOCIATION OF STENOGRAPHERS, SECRETARIES AND DATA PROCESSORS The general public is hereby notified that the above name association has applied to the corporate affairs commission for registration under pact c of the companies and allied matters act no. of 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Mr. T.K. Afolabi 2. Mrs. R.A. Adeye mi 3. Mrs. S.A. Odebode AIMS & OBJECTIVES 1. For fellowship and updating of our professional members 2. To organize workshops, seminars and conferences to revive and update our target members Any objection to this registration should be forwarded to the registrar general within 28days of this publication. Signed: Secretary

From Tunde Liadi, Owerri he took the newly signed and those retained from last season to Lagos and was thrilled at the performance of the recently added players who had a nice experience despite the few periods they have spent with the team. Eguma said that Dolphins flew over 36 Lions 3-2, First Bank 2-0 and Bridge Boys 1-0 before securing a draw and a win against an academy which belongs to Super Eagles’ captain, Yobo Joseph. The coach confirmed that the club retained most of the core of the players used last season with as much as 22 of them while about 10 to 12 players were added to fortity the squad from the lower cadre ahead of the February 16 kick off date of the NPL season for 2012/2013. The one-time Dream Team V Assistant Coach, thanked the organisers of the pre season tournament one which he added made him to see the players he has in his care at match situations. Eguma also had kind words for Dolphins management which approved of their two weeks stay at the Beverly Hills Hotels and Resort at Nnewi stating that the team’s build up to the new league season is going according to plan and fully intact. Eguma said: “We came back from a pre season tournament in Lagos

PUBLIC NOTICE The President of Happy People Humanitarian for Gay Group (Lagos Zone) in person of Mr. Samuel A. Adegoke (Homosexual) who was arrested sometime ago is now nowhere to be found. Anyone that knows his where about should please contact the Nigerian Police.

PUBLIC NOTICE TAIWO Former Miss Taiwo Bamidele Juliana now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Issa Bamidele Juliana. All former documents Remain Valid. The Nigerian Immigration Service and the general public should please take note.

yesterday(Monday) where we ended up as the winners of the tourney. We won four matches and drew only one to emerge victorious. “We had a tough pre season camping at Nnewi where spent two weeks and our stay at the Beverly Hills Hotels has made me to have a close look at the squad we have. It also made me to see how easily blended the new players would fit in. “We put all we had learnt during the pre season closed camping to spot our errors which assisted during the Lagos pre season tournament.”


HotSports ladder challenge HE attention of Nigeria’s serves off squash fraternity will


witnessed over the years, sets a shift to the Squash standard which must be met and Section of the Lagos Country perhaps surpassed by the next Club, Ikeja as the 5th annual edition. HotSports will continue HotSports Ladder Challenge, a to provide support for this squash competition sponsored championship even as we by HotSports Nigeria Limited, continually improve on the kicks off today. achievements of each edition,” Fifth in the series, the Ige said. championship pits skillful and Demola Olusunmade, Vice veteran squash players against Chairman of the Squash Section one another in top rated duels of the Lagos Country Club, for about two weeks expressed delight at the consecutively with the player involvement of corporate who has the highest points organizations in the promotion emerging the overall winner. of the game of squash. He said According to Taye Ige, CEO this year’s edition would feature of HotSports, the championship the Men and Veteran categories. was conceived as a platform to He maintained that the Veteran promote the game and also category is meant for players engender bonding among who are 50 years and above. members. He explained that the “This year’s edition will tournament, since its feature the Men and Veteran commencement, has continued categories. The player with the to improve and deliver on these highest points will emerge objectives. He pledged the winner in each of the categories. organisation’s continual I can assure you that this edition sponsorship of the tournament. of the championship will be “There has been tremendous very engaging going by the improvement in the array of players that will be on tournament over the years and parade.” Olusunmade said. each edition, as we have 2ND OCHEI INTERNATIONAL WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL

Competition to serve as trial for S/Africa tourney


HE Wheelchair Basketball Federation of Nigeria (WBFN) is set to use the 2nd Victor Ochei International Wheelchair Basketball Championship as trials for the Under 23 Wheelchair Basketball Championship in South Africa between 30th March -9th April. The Victor Ochei wheelchair basketball Championship has been scheduled to hold at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium as from 28th February -9th March. President, Wheelchair Basketball Federation of Nigeria, (WBFN),Bukola Olopade said on Tuesday from South Africa that arrangements have been concluded for the selected players participate in the South Africa championship. According to him, ‘’the South Africa trip will enable the country’s wheelchair basketball team participate at the forthcoming World 23

Wheelchair basketball championship slated for October in Turkey. Olopade also informed that the best outstanding players would be selected for the country in order for the team to qualify for the World Championship. The former commissioner for Sport Ogun State added that, Sir Victor Ochei,who is the Speaker ,House of Assembly,Delta has promised to make the wheelchair basketball an envy to all and encourage Special athletes be appreciated. ‘’Ochei has reiterated his commitment to the growth and development of Wheelchair basketball in the country hence his determination to make this years edition more competitive and elaborate and we at the federation is not living any stone unturned to organise a well and hitch free championship’’,he said.

NSSF: Events finally kick off From Florence NkemIsrael, Port Harcourt HE fifth edition of the Nigeria National School Sports Festival, (NSSF) events has finally kicked off after what seems like endless three days of intensive screening of the athletes. Judo and Handball kicked off at the University of Port Harcourt venue of events with several states participating in the various categories of the preliminary while indoor games were also said to have started at the Alfred Spiff Diete sports complex. As at the time of this report, results has not been recorded for any of the events that has started. Meanwhile, screening was still on-going at the University of Port Harcourt campus football pitch for about three games also as at the time of this report, some events were weighing to get the appropriate weight categories while majority of the games had concluded and were good to go. The organisers of the games has given the firm assurance that the entire events are starting today at the various venues. The venues chosen for the events remain: Spiff-Diete sports complex popularly called civic centre, University of Port Harcourt, Liberation stadium and Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka sports complex.


Sharks line up Enyimba, Heartland friendlies From Florence NkemIsrael, Port Harcourt HARKS football club of port Harcourt will


be concluding its final phase of preparations for the 2012/2013 Nigeria Premier League season billed to kick off next month with tune up games. Media officer of the club Peter Abaje says the club has lined up friendly matches to be played against Unicem Rovers of Calabar, the national under twenty side, the flying eagles, Enyimba Football club of Aba and Federation and Super four Cup kings Heartland Football Club of Owerri fondly called the Naze millionaires. Abaje said that the matches have been carefully selected by the technical crew led by Coach Austine Eguavoen to further identify areas that need improvement in the team before the commencement of the new season. “The head of the technical crew has carefully selected those teams because of the level of opposition they will offer sharks FC”. “It is not about winning right now but also about identifying weaknesses in the team; it is also hoped that by the end of the tune up games Sharks FC would have taken shape in readiness for the new season”, Abaje added.




Ghebresilasie targets his ‘local’ National


FTER seeking asylum in the UK after the London Olympics, teenage distance runner Weynay Ghebresilasie has settled in Sunderland and is aiming to win the Under-20 men’s title when the Saucony National Cross is held in the city’s Herrington Park next month. The 18-year-old competed in the 3000m steeplechase during the Games last summer but was one of four Eritrean Olympians who jumped ship and he has since been embraced by Sunderland Harriers in north-east England. He won the junior race at the North of England Cross Country Championships in Knowsley last Saturday and now has his sights set on the National Cross in Sunderland. These are not his first races in Britain, though, and he has already popped up in the results pages of Athletics Weekly several times. After finishing sixth in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World Junior Championships last year, together with 30th at the last IAAF World Cross Country Championship under-20 race, it means he will start as favourite in Sunderland. Despite his name bearing a likeness to the legendary Haile Gebrselassie, the young Eritrean was part of an army that has been at odds with Gebrselassie’s Ethiopia in recent years. In fact, one of Ghebresilasie’s brothers died in the Eritrean-Ethiopian border dispute several years ago and Ghebresilasie believes he could be executed for treason if he is forced to return to his native land. The story has already featured on

BBC’s The One Show and the Sunderland Echo is also naturally following the story closely as it evolves. The latest twist, for example, has seen Sunderland Harriers’ president, George Cockburn, sponsor the athlete by giving him food together with access to his gym. Cockburn, a former butcher and 2:52 marathoner, said: “Weynay is an exceptionally talented runner and he has joined the Harriers. “We are doing all we can to ensure he is not lacking anything when it comes to his training. The club have rallied round him and are going out of their way to help him. I’m just doing my bit.’’ Club secretary Michael Hill added: “Weynay has joined us for training for the last three weeks. He started out with the veterans, but he was a bit too quick for us. He is now training with athletes who are a bit faster. He is ever-present at the Harriers’ training base at Silksworth and has been warmly welcomed by the members.” Ghebresilasie, who spent time in Croydon and Huddersfield before moving to Sunderland, said: “Everyone is so friendly and the Harriers have been so good to me. They are so kind and helpful. In Eritrea I was always being told to do this and do that, but here in Sunderland I have freedom and I have made some new friends at the Harriers.’’ Suffering from a chest infection, Ghebresilasie was 10th in his steeplechase heat at the 2012 Olympics in 8:37.57, but his best is 8:28.92 and he has run 3:40 for 1500m, 7:54 for 3000m and 13:53 for 5000 metres.




VOL.8 NO.2,387

‘To me, it is the Police top shots that have been befuddled by corruption for many years that do not care about the type of environment the newly recruited officers are trained’ DELE AGEKAMEH



N January 15, 2004, Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust, Weekend Trust, Sunday Trust, Aminiya in Hausa, Kano Chronicle and the annual Kilimanjaro pan-African journal, held its first Trust Annual Dialogue in promotion of dialogue as a means of solving Nigeria’s problems. Ten years on last month, the annual event, a “town hall” meeting of sorts, has become possibly the most important regular platform for discourse in the country about its sociology, politics and economy. The dialogue has certainly made January an important date in the nation’s political and media calendar. The topic for the first dialogue was “The Nigerian Question: The Way Forward.” The chair was then Archbishop, now Cardinal, John Onaiyekan. The special guest of honour was President Olusegun Obasanjo, represented by his minister of Information, the youthful, dignified and somewhat reticent Chukwuemeka Chikelu. The panel of six, entirely from, or least of, the academia at one time or the other, paraded some of the country’s best egg-heads; Professors Bolaji Akinyemi, Jonah Elaigwu and Miriam Ikejiani-Clark, Drs Mahmud Tukur and Usman Bugaje and Messrs Kanu Agabi and Pharaoh Okadigbo. All six agreed that the answer to the Nigerian question was, to use Dr Tukur’s words, a “proper federation” with a “deconcentrated” centre. They were also unanimous about the need for the country to remain one. However, predictably for a panel of egg-heads, they disagreed on how to achieve these objectives. For example, whereas both Akinyemi and Elaigwu advocated for a national conference, Agabi disagreed. As special guest of honour Obasanjo, speaking through Chikelu, had asked, “When shall we move from the Nigerian question to the Nigerian answer?” The disagreement among the panellists about the means suggested that the time for Nigeria to become the answer remained in the distant future, if indeed it was not a mirage. Ten years hence it still seems that Nigeria has remained a question. This much is obvious from the fact that this year’s dialogue held last week – on January 23 – returned to the same theme of nation building as was the first. Between the first dialogue and last week’s there were the second on reforming Nigeria’s economy, the third on corruption, the fourth on free and fair elections, the fifth on democracy in Africa, the sixth on how to restore faith in the country’s democracy, the seventh on African women in politics, the eighth on the challenges of good governance on the continent, and last year’s on politics and the media. This year’s, as we all probably know, was chaired by the former president of Botswana,

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA

Ten years of Trust’s dialogues (I)

•Dr Jonathan Mr Festus Mogae, who distinguished himself in office as honest, humble, transparent and accountable to his people. Trust could hardly have picked a better chair for a dialogue on how to build a nation. Similarly, it could hardly have constituted a livelier, more rigorous and more eloquent panel; Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, Femi Falana, SAN, Dr. Sule Bello of Ahmadu Bello University’s History department and Ms. Ann-Kio Briggs, well-known as a champion of the rights of the people of her oil-rich but much abused Delta region. Having attended virtually all the dialogues, the four liveliest, for me, were the third on corruption, the seventh on African women in politics, the ninth on politics and the media, and this year’s, if only for its context of the serious security threat posed to the unity and stability of the country not only by the Boko Haram insurgency but even more so by the brazen and unprecedented venality of government officials and their racketeering confederates in the private sector. To begin with the third dialogue on

corruption, Trust could hardly have found a better chairman and panellists for the topic. Retired Major-General Garba Aliyu Mohammed, the chair, I knew very well from our days in primary school in Kano in the late fifties and early sixties. The man served the country as military governor of Niger State and minister of works and left as clean as a whistle. As for the panellists, didn’t it used to be said that the fear of Nuhu Ribadu’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was the beginning of wisdom? Controversy may surround the legitimacy of the commission and its selective use by President Obasanjo may have detracted from its integrity but few doubted the sincerity of Ribadu. Since his contrived departure by Obasanjo’s successor, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, there is a general consensus that the EFCC has become a toothless bulldog. The other two panellists, Major-General Ishola Williams, retired, and Professor Attahiru Jega had built their reputations as incorruptible Nigerians in the pursuit of their careers as an officer and gentleman and a brilliant and profound academic respectively. For the general the story is told of how on the occasion of an army conference in the eighties one senior officer chided any officer who did not own a house by the time he was a Lt-Colonel as being irresponsible. This was apparently too much for General Williams who was present at the conference and at the time owned no house. He responded to his fellow general by saying that any officer who owned a house by the time he was a one-star general was a thief because it was hard to see how even on that rank one could own a house on one’s legitimate income. Not surprisingly the general went on to become the pioneer chairman of Transparent International (Nigeria). As for Jega, the chairman of INEC, he came



N estimated 150 journalists from 40 different news organisations have been travelling with French troops since the intervention in Mali began on January 11. Of the lot, none is Nigerian. Many of the reporters are embedded with the French forces, though they do not get near 100km of the fighting in a country so vast and so arid. No Nigerian journalist is embedded with the Nigerian troops, and so Nigeria’s role will not be accurately reported, as the recent report of Nigerian soldiers’ inadequacies by The Guardian (London) showed. There will be no news of display of valour, nor any story of sacrifice, bravery and passion for a noble cause. Indeed, the absence of Nigerian media in the Malian conflict is a terrible reflection of the decline of Nigeria, its leaders’ loss of self-confidence, and the disorientation of its foreign policy. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders had the golden opportunity to stamp their authority and vision on the Malian crisis a few weeks after Captain Amadou Sanogo and his band of coup plotters struck on March 21, 2012 to remove the elected government of President Amadou Toumani Touré. The coup truncated

to the job highly recommended for his dogged fight with the federal authorities as probably the most celebrated president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities who refused all and every blandishment to give in. Most Nigerians would agree with Jega’s assertion in his paper that “Corruption has become the second name of our country. It is all pervasive, it is brazen and it is simply unbelievable.” Among the few that would disagree is our president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. This much was clear from the way he rejected the cry by the officiating priest at the burial of General Owoye Azazi, a former National Security Adviser, who died along with Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State, that corruption had since become the problem with Nigeria. “Corruption,” the President said in reply, “is not the cause of our problem. Nigeria has more institutions (now) that fight corruption...If Nigerians would change their attitudes you will realise that most of these issues attributed to corruption are not caused by corruption.” For evidence, he made the rather strange analogy with what he said some senior staff of our road safety corps told him, namely, that most accidents in the country occurred on our good roads. Apparently the logic was lost on our President that just as his belief that good roads have not been enough to stop accidents, and indeed have led to even more accidents, the existence of more institutions to fight corruption is not enough to deter corruption. In any case his argument that attitude and not corruption is our problem begs the obvious question: attitude to what? True, corruption, even on the incredible scale of Nigeria’s, is not in itself alone the problem. There is probably as much corruption in, say India, China, Mexico and Italy, and even in America, as there is in our dear country. The difference is the attitude of each country towards the scourge. Whereas the corrupt in these other countries are punished, often very severely, in our country they are celebrated. It is this attitude of impunity by the corrupt that has kept this country in the terrible mess in which it has been, socially, politically and economically – and in you can think of. All three panellists at the Trust third dialogue made this fundamental point. They also agreed that the solution was a change of attitude to corruption, especially by our leaders. So in a sense our President was right in saying attitude is the problem of the country, only that he failed to ask the logical question about what the subject of this terrible attitude is for the simple reason that attitude is a noun that needs an adjective to make any sense. •For comments, send SMS to 08023211188

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Nigerian media abandon coverage of Mali War to foreign media the election that was due in June, three months later. While the regional body swiftly imposed sanctions in April and tried to force the restoration of Toure’s government, that effort, which was unfortunately half-hearted, only ended in partial success as Sanogo merely formally resigned. Sadly, as part of the compromise, President Toure was also compelled to resign. But by the following month, it was all but clear that Sanogo still retained effective control. It was at that point that Nigeria missed it. It had the power and leverage to persuade ECOWAS to sustain sanctions until Sanogo and his fellow coup plotters were arrested and tried for treason. If that had been done, and the regional body had gone ahead to contribute troops in sufficient number to battle the secession in the North, they would have secured international support. If the battle against the secessionists had been led by Nigeria, and if we had got our priorities right, Nigerian media could have accompanied the troops and reported from the war front. But when sanctions were hastily lifted

and Sanogo held on to effective control, it emboldened Tuareg rebels in the North to declare secession, capture many key northern towns, and in early January began their ill-fated advance on Bamako. The frenetic events that started some 10 months earlier naturally culminated in the drastic French intervention of January 11 and the imposition of news blackout. It is humiliating to Nigeria in particular that France assumed the leadership of the Malian War. It in fact indicates Nigeria’s lack of vision. In addition, it will be remembered that the interventions in Liberia (1989-1996; 1999-2003) and Sierra Leone (1991-2002), which were led by Nigeria, attracted more foreign reporters than ECOWAS media. Since a country can’t give what it does not have, the poor relationship between the local media and the Nigerian government has continued to reflect badly on the coverage of Nigeria’s foreign adventures and the international image of both the country and its faltering and spasmodic media. The times call for urgent

change. Where is that Nigerian leader who will champion the needed change and restore African pride? Meanwhile, for a conflict taking place in West Africa, and in which some 20 people were alleged to have been extra-judicially murdered recently by vengeful Malian forces in the northern town of Sevare, Niono and Mopti, Nigerian media can only regurgitate the news and accept foreign media analyses on postwar Mali. An article in made the following observations: “The French have not organised a single press conference in the capital of Mali, Bamako. The sole French media official in Bamako is apparently there mainly to refer media questions to Paris. The Malian army has banned journalists and human rights organisations even from areas that had been in their control for a number of days...Whenever operations are underway, communications are cut off… An Al Jazeera article speaks of Mali as a war without images.” Future crises will show whether Nigeria has learnt some lessons.

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