Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
Borrowers to pay more as CBN raises reserve
•Bid to strenghten Naira
Five kids die after drinking bad water
•Women protest Shell’s activities
VOL. 7, NO. 2197 WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH
N13b fuel subsidy fraud: PDP chiefs’ firms for trial PPPRA official, Akintola Williams director, 18 others in trouble
LL is set for the trial of the fuel subsidy fraud suspects. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said a Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) official, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer, a director with Akintola Williams Deliote accounting firm, Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele and 18 others will face trial for alleged N13,403,504,083 billion fraud. The suspects will face tri-
FromYusuf Alli, Abuja
al for claiming to have imported about 237million litres of petroleum products, which the anti-graft commission could not trace. According to a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the suspects will face trial in Lagos courts. The commission said the 20 suspects belong to the first batch of 140 individuals and organisations being investigated over the fuel subsidy
LISTED FOR PROSECUTION INDIVIDUALS •Mamman Nasir Ali •Christian Taylor •Mahmud Tukur •Ochonogor Alex •Walter Wagbatsoma •Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi •Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer •Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele •Abubakar Ali Peters •Jude Agube Abalaka scam. All the 12 suspects have been detained by the EFCC in preparation for their arraignment. The anti-graft agency is liaising with the Chief Judge of
•Abdulahi Alao(Double trial) •Oluwaseun Ogunbanbo. COMPANIES •Nasaman Oil Services •Eternal Oil and Gas Plc •Ontario Oil & Gas Plc •Nadabo Energy Limited •Pacific Silver Line Limited •Axenergy Limited •Fago Petroleum & Gas Ltd
Lagos State on how a vacation judge could handle the cases. The suspects include seven companies and 13 individuals. The statement said: “The
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has concluded arrangements to prosecute the first batch of 18 suspects implicated in the oil subsidy fraud. The susContinued on Page 4
Ghana President Mills dies at 68 •Mahama takes over •Jonathan, Senate, House, Tinubu, others mourn
HANA —and its friends— were thrown into mouning yesterday, with the sudden death of President John Fifi Attah Mills. He was 68. “It is with heavy heart that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the President of the Republic of Ghana,” a statement from the President’s office said. It said Mills died a few hours falling ill, but no further deSEE after tails were given. ALSO A presidential aide, who asked PAGES not to be named, said the Presi-
Continued on Page 4
•The late Attah Mills
Ibori forfeits $3m assets to US, N2.2b cash to Fed Govt From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
T was another bad day for ex-Delta State Governor James Ibori yesterday. Ibori, who is serving a jail term in London along with his wife, Nkoyo, his mistress and lawyer, having all been convicted of money laundering charges, forfeited $3 million assets in the United States and N2.2billion cash to the Federal Government. Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, announced Ibori’s forfeiture of the assets to the US government, after a judge granted a restraining order to register and enforce two orders from UK courts. The application, which was filed under seal on May 16 in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, sought to restrain assets belonging to Ibori and Bhadresh Gohil, Ibori’s former English solicitor, that are proceeds of corruption. Specifically, it sought to restrain a mansion in Houston, Texas and two Merrill Lynch brokerage accounts. U.S. District Judge LamContinued on Page 4
•SPORTS P24 •FINANCE & INVESTMENT P25 •LIFE P45 •POLITICS P43
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS JOHN ATTA-MILLS (1944-2012)
Jonathan, Aregbesola, P
•Senate President David Mark (left) and Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang at the burial of the late Senator Gyang PHOTO: NAN Dantong in Jos...yesterday
•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (second right), Principal, Parker Associates Global, LLC (PAG), Mr Samuel Parker Jr. (left), President, PAG, Patricia Hayes-Parker (second left); and member of the African Business Roundtable, USA, Mr Ola Famuyiwa during a visit to the governor in Abeokuta... yesterday
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate, the House of Representatives, former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi yesterday have described the death of Ghanaian President Johan Atta-Mills as a great loss to Africa. Jonathan, in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Dr. Reuben Abati, said he received the news with shock and immense sadness. The statement reads: “On behalf of himself, the government and people of Nigeria, President Jonathan extends sincere condolences to late President Mill’s family as well as the government and people of Ghana. The President assures the people of Ghana of the sympathy and solidarity of the people of Nigeria as they mourn late President Mills who did his best during his tenure to carry forward the process of democratic consolidation and socio-economic development in Ghana. “He prays that God Almighty will grant the late President’s soul eternal rest and bless his successor with the fortitude and wisdom he will need to keep Ghana firmly on the path of peace, stability and progress. It is President Jonathan’s hope and expectation that the excellent relationship which existed between Ni-
From Yusuf Alli and Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja
geria and Ghana during President Mills tenure will continue to be strengthened under the new leadership in Ghana in the mutual interest of both countries.” The House of Representatives, in a statement in Abuja by its Chairman, Media and Publicity, Alhaji Zakari Mohammed, said: “The death of Ghanaian President, Mr. Atta Mills has been described as a great lost not only to Ghana but to Africa in general. The late president was an embodiment of humility and a honest and transparent leader whose wit and wise counsel on the development of the region would be greatly missed. “We in the 7th National Assembly, while commiserating with our brothers and sisters in Ghana, are consoled by the exemplary life the late politician lived and died for. “Similarly, the late Atta-Mills will be missed for his politics without bitterness.” Tinubu, in a statement issued in Lagos, said: “He was a good man. A patriotic man, highly committed to the progress of his country and its people. He was dedicated to the ideals of democracy and the development of his country. “President Mills lived a good life. H e has left a legacy of hard work, respect for human rights and his
Atta-Mills Twice, Prof. John Atta-Mills failed to win elections to become Ghana’s President, but made history in 2008 becoming the third President of the Republic of Ghana.
J •Senator Oluremi Tinubu cutting the tape for the foundation laying ceremony of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Legislative Building at the Amuwo Odofin Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) ...yesterday. With her are the LCDA Chairman, Ayodele Adewale (second left), Vice-Chairman Kudirat Dada (second right), Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Rural Development, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe( right) and Bishop George Amu (left). PHOTO: MOSES OMOSEHIN
•Minister Of Aviation Stella Oduah inaugurating the fire fighting equipment in Abuja donated by So Aviation ...yesterday. With her are Director, Sahara Group, Mr Kola Adesina (left), Managing Director, So Aviation, Mr Alistair Morrison (third left) and Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Aviation, Anne Ene-ita PHOTO: NAN
OHN Evans Fifii Atta Mills was born July 21, 1944. He was the third President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. He was inaugurated on January 7, 2009, having defeated the ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2008 election. He was Vice-President from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry Rawlings, and stood unsuccessfully in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections as the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Mills was a Fanti from Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region of Ghana. He was born in Tarkwa on 21 July 1944, located in the Western Region of Ghana. He was educated at Achimota School, where he completed the Advanced-Level Certificate in 1963, and the University of Ghana, Legon, where he received “Black man of the month” several times. In 1968, Mills studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and received a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Thus began the journey of the next twenty years of Mills’ life, which was largely spent with spells both in Ghana and internationally as an academic. Mills earned a Ph.D in Law from London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies(SOAS) after completing his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development. Mills’ first formal teaching assignment was as a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana Legon. He spent close to twenty five
years teaching at Legon and other institutions of higher learning, and rose in position from lecturer to senior lecturer to associate professor, and served on numerous boards and committees. At the age of 27, he was awarded his PhD after successfully defending his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development. He returned to Ghana that year, becoming a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana. He became a visiting professor of Temple Law School (Philadelphia, USA), with two stints from 1978 to 1979, and 1986 to 1987, and was a visiting professor at Leiden University (Holland) from 1985 to 1986. During this period, he authored several publications relating to taxation during the 1970s & 1980s. Outside of his academic pursuits, Prof. Mills was the Acting Commissioner of Ghana’s Internal Revenue Service from 1986 to 1993, and the substantive Commissioner from 1993 to 1996.By 1992, he had become an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Ghana. Mills was also a Fulbright scholar at Stanford Law School. For the inaugural Presidential Elections in 1992, the National Convention Party (NCP) had formed an alliance with the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Former Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Chairman, and leader of Ghana, Flight-Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings chose the NCP leader, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, as his running-mate for Vice-President. Having been elected in the 1992 elections, Arkaah served between 1992–1996.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS JOHN ATTA-MILLS (1944-2012)
Senate, House, Tinubu, Fayemi mourn Atta-Mills ‘ Africa has lost a rare gem. Atta-Mills was quintessential leader who left no one in doubt over his readiness to advance the course of democracy. Had African countries been blessed with the likes of Atta-Mills over the decades, our continent would have successfully demonstrated to the world that Blacks too are capable of organizing themselves to live better lives than what we currently have throughout our continent
•The late Mills and President Barack Obama
people’s culture. He will surely be missed by all.” Reacting to the swearing-in of John Mahama as president last night, Tinubu said other African countries
should learn from this, saying it shows that the institution of government is working in Ghana. Aregbesola described the death of the Ghanaian President as an irrepa-
rable loss to the African continent, saying he was a pride of Africa. The governor, in a statement by his Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon
said Atta-Mills had continued the job of advancing the course of democracy in his country which had become a source of pride to West African sub-region in democratic te-
nets. He said: “Africa has lost a rare gem. Atta-Mills was quintessential leader who left no one in doubt over his readiness to advance the course of democracy. Had African countries been blessed with the likes of AttaMills over the decades, our continent would have successfully demonstrated to the world that Blacks too are capable of organizing themselves to live better lives than what we currently have throughout our continent.” Aregbesola also sympathised with the entire people of Ghana praying for a worthy successor that would further ensure good governance and the development of the Black race. Fayemi said he was shocked that a shinning star in the African firmament was taken away few months to the end of his glorious tenure. Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, described the late Ghanaian President as a progressive politician and democrat per excellence. A statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs,Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, noted that Mills was a quintessential African statesman who would be highly missed.
… a man of history bows out John Mahama…Vice President in the morning, President by night Yesterday morning he woke up as Ghana’s Vice-President. Yesternight, he was sworn in as president. This is the story of John Dramani Mahama
OHN Dramani Mahama was born November 29, 1958. He is a communication expert, historian, writer, former Member of Parliament and Minister of State, and former Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana. He was born in Damango, which is in the Northern Region of Ghana. His father Mr. Emmanuel Adama Mahama was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja Constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during Ghana’s First Republic. Upon the successful completion of that programme, Mahama then went on to pursue an additional postgraduate diploma, this one in social psychology at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow. After completing his education Mr. Mahama returned to Ghana and, from 1991 to 1996, he worked as the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra. From there he moved to the nongovernmental agency (NGO) PLAN International’s Ghana Country Office, where he worked as International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager. An eloquent champion of the underprivileged, Mr. Mahama was first elected to the Parliament of Ghana in 1996 to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term. In April 1997, Mr. Mahama was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications. He rose to become the substantive Minister of Communications by November 1998; it was a position he held until January 2001 when the National Democratic However, on 29 January 1996, the NCP broke with the NDC, merging with the People’s Convention Party (PCP) to form a rebirth of the Convention People’s Party
Congress (NDC), which was the current ruling party, handed over power to the newly elected New Patriotic Party’s government. In 2000, Mahama was re-elected for another fouryear term as the Member of Parliament for the Bole/Bamboi Constituency. He was again reelected in 2004 for a third term. From 2001 to 2004, Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications. In 2002, he was appointed the Director of Communications for the NDC. That same year, he served as a member of the team of international observers selected to monitor Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary Elections. During his tenure as Minister of Communications, Mahama also served as the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, in which capacity he played a key role in stabilising Ghana’s telecommunications sector after it was deregulated in 1997. Mahama also served as a member of the National Economic Management Team, a founding member of the Ghana AIDS Commission, a member of the implementation committee of the 2000 National Population Census, and a deputy chairman of the Publicity Committee for the reintroduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT). Continuing to expand his interest and involvement in international affairs, in 2003 Mahama became a member of the Pan-African Parliament, serving as the Chairperson of the West African Caucus. In 2005 he was, additionally, appointed the Minority Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. He served in these capacities until 2008, when he was handpicked to become the vice presidential can-
(the formerly outlawed political party of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah). Thus, in a bitter split, Arkaah would stand as candidate for
didate. Mahama has seven children. He is married to Mrs. Lordina Mahama. He is a Christian who believes in the importance of respect for, and tolerance of, other faiths and forms of worship in a nation as diverse and peaceful as Ghana. Mahama loves to read. He is also an avid writer and has had numerous articles published nationally and internationally. His first book, My First Coup d’État and Other True Stories From the Lost Decades of Africa, was published by Bloomsbury on July 3.
the reborn CPP in the 1996 Presidential Elections against Rawlings. Rawlings selected Mills for the vacated Vice-Presidency in his bid for re-elec-
tion to a second term in Ghana’s 1996 Presidential Election. Rawlings was re-elected to his second term in office, and Mills became Vice-President
of Ghana between 1996 to 2000. On December 21, 2006, Mills became the NDC’s candidate for the 2008 presidential elections, winning his party’s ticket by an 81.4 per cent result. Early polls showed that Mills was the favourite, but in another poll taken just months before the first-round voting, Nana Akufo-Addo emerged as the favourite. Election campaigning was strong, particularly with advertising, which was clearly much heavier with the NPP candidate. The first round of voting occurred on 7 December 2008. In a very close result amongst all parties, Nana Akufo-Addo’s NPP finished with 49.13 per cent of the vote, close to the outright margin required to win in the first round, while Mills’ NDC finished with 47.92 per cent. The other parties garnered 2.37 per cent of the votes. The result forced a secondround of voting between NPP and NDC on December 28, 2008. The result was a slim margin held by Mills, but due to problems with the distribution of ballots, the Tain constituency, located in the Brong-Ahafo Region, was forced to re-run its voting on January 2, 2009. The voting in the Tain constituency led to a landslide victory to the NDC. For several days, the Electoral Commission of Ghana did not call the result to the NDC, and the NPP filed a lawsuit, claiming that “the atmosphere in the rural district was not conducive to a free and fair election”. Eventually, the NPP bowed to the inevitable, and on the morning of January 3, 2009, the election result was finally announced. Atta-Mills, who had failed to win in two previous campaigns, made history by winning the 2008 presidential election, becoming the third President of the 4th Republic Of Ghana.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Ibori forfeits $3m assets to US, N2.2b cash to Fed Govt Continued from Page 1
berth granted the application and issued a restraining order under seal on May 21. The department was notified yesterday that its application to unseal the restraining order was granted. The US has been working with the UK ‘s Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police Service to forfeit these corruption proceeds. According to the application, Ibori, who served as governor of oil-rich Delta State from 1999 to 2007 misappropriated millions of dollars of Delta State funds. He reportedly laundered those proceeds through a myriad of Shell companies, intermediaries and nominees
in several jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, with the help of Gohil. Although Nigeria’s Constitution prohibits governors from maintaining foreign bank accounts and serving as directors of private companies, Ibori and his associates accumulated millions of dollars in assets in the UK and the US, according to the application. Ibori was convicted in the UK of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced by a British court on April 18 to 13 years in prison. Gohil was convicted in November 2010 of money laundering and prejudicing a money laundering investigation to 10 years in prison. “Instead of working to ben-
efit the people of the Nigerian Delta, Governor Ibori pilfered state funds and accumulated immense wealth in the process,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. He added: “He conspired with Mr. Gohil to funnel millions of dollars in corruption proceeds out of Nigeria and into bank accounts and assets maintained in the names of shell companies and nominees. Through the Criminal Division’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, our message is clear: the United States will not be used as a safe haven for the ill-gotten gains of corrupt foreign officials.” Ibori is to forfeit about N2.25 billion ($15m) to the Federal Government Justice Gabriel Kolawole
granted the interim order, following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), yesterday. Ibori allegedly offered the money to former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu through an undisclosed source. Justice Kolawole also ordered for the publication of the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper to enable any one who wants to lay claim to the money to come before it within 14 days and show cause why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government. The EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs filed the application pursuant to Sections 17(1), (2), (3) and (4) of the Advanced
Fee Fraud and other Fraud related activities Act number 14 of 2006. Listed as Defenfants are the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation and the EFCC as the plaintiffs, and the Central Bank of Nigeria as sole defendants. Moving the application which was premised on five grounds, Jacobs submitted that the cash in the sum of $15 million was received by the officers of the anti graft agency from an undisclosed agent of the former Delta state governor in 2007 as a bribe to compromise its investigation. He added that the Commission deposited the said cash into the strong room number one of the Central Bank of Nigeria on 26th April, 2007 and that James
Ibori had since denied giving the bribe to the EFCC or any of its officers. He also stated that the money had since remained unclaimed since April 2007 till date and had remained Continued on Page 59
Ghana President Mills dies at 68 Continued from Page 1
•Residents of new Kuchingoro protesting the demolition of their village in Abuja…yesterday
dent had complained of pains on Monday evening and died yesterday afternoon when his condition worsened. Reports said the President died of throat cancer. Mills, who oversaw the start of oil production in Ghana, returned from medical checks in the United States last month after what he described as a “routine medical check-up.” Prior to his trip, he quashed rumours about his death. He died at the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, the capital city. The death of the late President of the world’s number two cocoa grower comes five months before Mills was due to stand for re-election. Vice President John Dramani Mahama was last night swornin as President. Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood performed the ceremony at the Parliament. Mahama will complete the re-
maining term of the late President. The Ghanaian Parliament was recalled by Speaker Joyce Bamford-Addo for an emergency sitting after an earlier meeting in the day, where a letter was read by the speaker informing MP’s of the President’s decision to travel to Nigeria last night on an official visit. Both sides of the political divide wore black and red, to signify their grief. The late Atta Mills was born on July 21, 1944. He was the third President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and was inaugurated on January 7, 2009, having defeated the ruling party candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, in the 2008 election. He was Vice-President from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry John Rawlings, and stood unsuccessContinued on Page 59
N13b fuel subsidy fraud: PDP chiefs’ firms for trial
Continued from Page 1
pects, comprising six oil companies and 11 individuals, will be docked in Lagos courts. “The companies involved are: Nasaman Oil Services and Eternal Oil and Gas Plc believed to be owned by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chiefs; Ontario Oil & Gas Plc; Nadabo Energy Limited; Pacific Silver Line Limited, Axenergy Limited and Fago Petroleum and Gas Limited. “The 12 individuals involved in the scam are: Mamman Nasir Ali; Christian Taylor; Mahmud Tukur; Ochonogor Alex; Walter Wagbatsoma; Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer; Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele; Abubakar Ali Peters, Jude Agube Abalaka, Abdulahi Alao and Oluwaseun Ogunbanbo. “Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele is director of the accounting firm, Akintola Williams Deliote while Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer an official of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulating Agency (PPPRA).” The EFCC said Abdulahi Alao will face double trial, making the number of suspects to be 20. He will be docked in another charge. The statement details the findings against the suspects, especially how they claimed to have imported over
Aig-Imoukhuede Committee asks govt to recover N382b from 21 firms
HE Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy payment has indicted 21 firms for making fraudulent claims. The Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede-led committee which submitted its final report to President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday also asked the Federal Government to recover N382billion from the indicted companies, which it did not name. The said N382billion was part of the contentious N422 billion identified by the Technical Committee, which was also chaired by Aig-Imoukhuede. Following the submission of the report of the Federal Government Technical Committee which looked into fuel subsidy management between 2010 and 2011, the President on July 5, constituted the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy payment made between 2009 and 2011. The committee was to: •further verify and reconcile all claims made in the report of the Technical Committee on Fuel Subsidy Payments; •properly identify all cases of overpayment and/or irregular payment; •accurately identify all likely fraudulent cases for criminal in237million litres of petroleum products and benefited from fuel subsidy. “Nasaman Oil Services, Mamman Nasir and Christian Taylor are to face charges bordering on obtaining N4,460,130 797. 94billion
From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
vestigation; and to •review any other pertinent issues that may arise from its work and make appropriate recommendations. The committee turned in its report on July 13 after one week of work - in line with the President’s directive. Aig-Imoukhuede, who briefed State House correspondents shortly after submitting the report in the company of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke Bello and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the committee had six categories of issues, likely fraudulent cases for criminal investigation involving 21 firms. He also noted that there were irregular payments and short-time certificate issues, among others. Of the contentious N422 billion, the committee noted that N18 billion was found to be duplication; the actual amount that was being verified was N403 billion. Of the balance of N403billion, the committee cleared N21 billion, thereby leaving N382 billion, which it said should be recovered. In its final report, according to Aig-Im-
from the Federal Government under false pretence. “The sum is alleged to have been fraudulently obtained as subsidy payments from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 30.5million litres of
oukhuede, the committee made 22 recommendations, which include recovery of N382billion. He also noted that in reaching its final report, the 116 oil marketing and trading companies that participated in the Petroleum subsidy scheme under review were invited for interviews, which 107 honoured. Aig-Imoukhuede said: “There were 116 oil marketing and trading companies, which I will call OM&T during the course of this interaction, that participated in the petroleum subsidy scheme in the period of review. “The Presidential Committee invited all 116 for interviews; 107 OMT honoured invitation. They were interviewed by various panels constituted by the committee and the outcome of these interviews are also captured in the report. “Painstaking efforts were made to ensure fairness. OM&Ts were given the opportunity to come back with as much documentation and even be re interviewed where necessary. “We have six categories of issues, likely fraudulent cases for criminal investigation-you have 21 OM&T affected. We have short-time certificate issues, you
Premium Motor Spirit from SEATAC Petroleum Limited of British Virgin Islands. “The anti-graft agency will equally prosecute Abdulahi Alao and Axenergy Limited for allegedly obtaining N2,640,141,707.75 billion be-
Continued on Page 59
ing payments received from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 33.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit. “Others include Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdulahi Alao and Eternal Oil And
Gas Plc who will be docked for fraudulently obtaining N1,899,238,946.02 billion from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3million litres of Premium Motor Spirit. “Also, Nadabo Energy Limited, Abubakar Ali Peters, Jude Agube Abalaka and Pacific Silver Line Limited are to be prosecuted for allegedly obtaining N1,464,961,978.24 billion being payments fraudulently received from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 19.4million litres of Premium Motor Spirit. “Walter Wagbatsoma, Adaoha Ugo–Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer; Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele and Ontario Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited will be arraigned for fraudulently o b t a i n i n g N1,959,377,542,.63 billion from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 39.2 litres of Premium Motor Spirit. “Lastly, Fago Petroleum and Gas Limited and Oluwaseun Ogunbanbo are to be docked for fraudulently obtaining N979,653,110.20 million from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 33, 627, 84 litres of Premium Continued on Page 59
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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS Activist resigns from agency By Precious Igbonwelundu
THE Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC), Dr. Felix Morka, has announced his resignation from the memberhip of the steering committee of the Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project, (LMDGP). Morka whose resignation was contained in a protest letter to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Monday, said he was disappointed by the betrayal of the lofty goals for which the project was designed. He said: “I can no longer see any justification for my continued service on the steering committee. I do hereby tender my resignation from the committee. I shall take prompt steps to formalise my resignation under a seperate cover. I thank you for the opportunity to serve.” Morka condemned the displacement of the Makoko people, urging the governor to end the “crass impunity of his urban development and management officials”. He said: “So far, over 30,000 residents, including women, children, and the elderly, have lost their homes. Over 120, 000 residents face imminent displacement. “The evictees are further endangered as many of them are now forced to live and sleep in their canoes. “SERAC is investigating a report of the drowning of three children of a family when their canoe capsized as they slept during the night of Wednesday, July 18, 2012.” SERAC has gone to court to challenge government’s demolition and displacement of the Makoko people without an alternative shelter. The group said it was a violation of the due process.
• Displaced women at the camp.... yesterday
• Volunteers searching for bodies in the water.... yesterday
• Debris of a house pulled down by the floods.... yesterday
PHOTOS: YUSUF IDEGU
Cholera hits Jos floods victims’ camps A
MEDICAL team of the Federation of Muslim Women of Nigeria, Plateau State chapter yesterday said a cholera outbreak has hit the camps for people displaced by the Jos floods. The leader of the team, Tawa Abdulrahaman, a medical laboratory scientist, said: “There are 65 cases of cholera recorded so far and we have referred them to our clinic for treatment. We are still around monitoring so as to attend to any other case available. We are monitoring closely so as to avoid its spread. “The cholera, which is affecting mostly children, may have been as a result of contact with contaminated water in the course of swimming in the flood; most of them must have swallowed the bad water before they were rescued.” The Red Cross Society yesterday said four more bodies were recovered from the debris of houses swept away by the Jos floods. The Head of Red Cross in Plateau, Mr Manasseh Panpeh, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos that the new discovery brought the total figure of the deceased to 39. Panpeh said:‘ ‘Many of the deceased were discovered in the rubble and banks of Rikkos river in the course of our search for missing persons.’’ Plateau State Water and Resources Commissioner Idi Waziri, who visited the affected areas, said 50 persons are still missing. He said: “From our records, the tragic incident claimed 32 lives and 370 houses with 50 persons still unaccounted for. This is sad.’’ Among those still missing are four family members of the Proprietor, College of Health Technology, Tudun-Osi, Jos, Dr Muhammed
•Govt: 50 persons still missing From Yusuf Aminu Idegu, Jos
Khamis. The commissioner said a committee had been constituted to assess the flood sites for immediate action and for the provision of relief materials and camps. He said: ‘I (Waziri) am a member of the community and we will give feedbacks to the governor when we are done with assessing the sites where this disaster occurred.” The Chief Imam of Jos Central Mosque, Sheikh Zakariya Balarabe, who received the representative of the commissioner, expressed gratitude for the visit, and said the incident would help to unite adherents of both religions. He said Muslims had no intention of Islamising Plateau as was being
alleged, adding that they were all under the leadership of the governor. The imam said: “We do not have the intention of Islamising Plateau. We want a leader who would be our spokesman through whom we shall access the governor.’’ The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has commenced the distribution of relief materials to the displaced persons assembled in two camps in Jos. The Acting North Central Zonal Coordinator of the agency, Mr Adulsalam Muhammed, said the gesture was to bring succour to the victims. The items distributed included bags of rice, millet, guinea corn, maize, beans, clothing and some household items.
Commissioner for Information Abraham Yiljap, in a statement yesterday in Jos, described the flood as “devastating, painful and unfortunate’’. Yijap said: “Government is saddened by this unexpected natural phenomenon which has brought grief to the people in its wake.“ Yiljap said Governor Jonah Jang has ordered the State Relief Committee to take steps in providing immediate relief for the surviving victims. The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Plateau State chapter, Farouk Umar Musa, said: “So far, we have recovered and buried 30 victims, but just this morning (Tuesday), four bodies recovered by the rescue team have been brought to the Cen-
tral Mosque for burial. “Generally, the toll is rising. We have received information that in some Bauchi villages, some corpses floating in the river were recovered by sympathisers and those bodies we are suspecting may have been flowed by the water down across the Jos boundaries because the river channels run through Bauchi State as well. “So the figure at the end of the day will be far above what we are quoting now. The body of the wife of the man who lost his seven children and wife to the flood has been recovered this morning. “We have identified 320 residential houses washed away in the flood. We have 1, 185 muslims displaced and are currently in two main camps. The camp in Secondary School, Gangeri contains 750 people and the camp in Rikkos has 431 people”
No impeachment motion before Reps, says Emodi
PECIAL Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Joy Emodi, yesterday said the House of Representatives did not consider any impeachment motion against President Goodluck Jonathan. Emodi spoke at a news conference in Abuja. She cautioned those spreading information about Jonathan’s likely impeachment by the House to stop overheating the polity. Emodi noted that impeachment has never been raised, debated, nor resolution taken on the subject in the House of Representatives. She said it was necessary to tell Nigerians that impeachment was
•Cautions against overheating polity From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor
only mentioned by the Minority Leader in the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, in the course of his contribution to a motion on the implementation of the 2012 Budget. The Special Adviser “cautioned against unnecessary overheating of the polity with sensational reportage and uninformed comments by some people on the issue of impeachment threat.” She said: “What actually transpired in the House of Representatives, the original motion had only
two prayers and after deliberations and an amendment by Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, only one prayer was carried and it had nothing to do with impeachment threat. “What actually happened during the debate on budget implementation was that the Minority Leader, in his contribution, mentioned impeachment, which was not even put to vote. At no time did the House resolve to impeach Mr. President.” Emodi said the House, in its resolution ,“urged Mr. President to ensure implementation of the provi-
sions of Section 6 of the 2012 Appropriation Act by directing the Minister of Finance to release immediately all outstanding funds appropriated to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the 1st and 2nd quarters and begin forthwith to comply with the Act by ensuring that the funds appropriated under the Act to MDAs for the remaining 3rd and 4th quarters are released as and when due.” She commended Speaker Aminu Tambuwal “for his very mature handling of deliberations on the motion.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS ‘Stop demolition, property tax’
HE Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the demolition of houses in Makoko, Lagos State, the Port Harcourt waterfront and parts of Abuja. It appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan and the governors of Lagos and Rivers to be compassionate. HURIWA urged the President to stop the proposed imposition of property tax in Abuja by the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory. In a statement, the group urged the governors and the FCT administration to find more humane and constructive ways to relocate the residents. “We condemn this systematic regime of consistent impoverishment of the masses by a government that has done nothing but impose extremely difficult electricity tariff, embark on demolition without plans for mass low-cost housing schemes and privatised vital public services such as the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) that has thrown thousands of Nigerians out of jobs.”
Groups fault PHCN workers
HREE groups, under the aegis of Project 20million, National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) and National Association of Nigeria Youth Leaders (NANYL) have faulted the protest by workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The groups cautioned the workers to negotiate with the Federal Government on their demand rather than embarking on street protests. Director-Generalof Project 20 million Chukwunyere Ikechukwu said the Minister
of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, can address the matter. He described the unbundling of the PHCN as best for Nigerians and geared towards ensuring that people get value for their money. “We, therefore, deem it fit to appeal to the PHCN workers to put end to such protest and return to their duty post without hesitation. “It is not in the interest of the public if the workers abandon their work and keep protesting over issues that can be resolved through dialogue,” Ikechukwu said.
Why Nigeria deserves state police, by Ekweremadu, Ndoma-Egba
EPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Senate Majority Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba yesterday advocated the inclusion of state police in the constitution. Ekweremadu and NdomaEgba spoke as guest speakers at a TV programme in Abuja. The Deputy Senate President said security is a local issue and that is why the demand has resurrected at this time. He said: “The system of government that is best suited for us is the federal system of government and our forefathers identified this
From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja
early. “Nigeria is the only federal country in the world where we have central police. “Even countries without this system of government, like the UK, have a decentralised police arrangement. “If Nigerians agree on state police what will happen is that we are going to address the fears of Nigerians regarding the abuse. “So what we need to do is to see if we can structure it around the example of the
National Judicial Council. “The reason is clear. Security is a local issue and with our security challenges we need a decentralised police arrangement.” Ndoma-Egba said it is absurd to designate a governor as the state’s chief security without power of control over any policeman. He said states are expending resources on federal police as much as they would have spent if they were state police. He said: “The issue of policing in Nigeria reminds of a sign I saw somewhere: ‘You may smoke but don’t exhale.’ “You say the governor is
the chief security officer but he has no control over policemen in the state. “Let us even take a practical look at what obtains today. “We see, hear and read of governors donating equipment to the police. “I think recently a governor built an estate for the police. “You go to the local governments; they are assisting the police in their dormains. “So in reality, I think that the governors are spending almost as much on the police as they would have spent if the police belonged to the states.”
NERC donates books to 18 varsities From John Ofikhenua, Abuja
HE Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi, yesterday presented 100 copies of the book: Time to Reclaim Nigeria (Essays 2001-2011) to the National Universities Commission (NUC) for distribution to 18 universities. The book, written by Chido Onumah, is a collection of essays on Nigeria’s socio-political evolution in the last decade. Amadi said: “There is a dearth of scholarship in our universities. This donation is part of my commitment to strengthen the intelligence base of social existence among Nigerians, especially those in the universities. “Ten copies will go to the NUC, five will go to three universities in each of the six geo-political zones.” The recipients are University of Ibadan, Lagos State University, Ekiti State University, University of Benin, University of Calabar, Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Ebonyi State University, University of Nigeria, Imo State University, University of Abuja, Federal University of Technology, Minna, University of Jos, Ahmadu Bello University, Sokoto State University, Bayero University, University of Maiduguri, Gombe State University and Adamawa State University.
Tinubu’s wife backs Belgore ENATOR Oluremi Committee
Tinubu has backed the recommendations of the Justice Alfa Belgore-led Presidential Committee that local governments should have optimal autonomy. Senator Tinubu spoke yesterday after laying the foundation of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Legislative House and inauguration of projects in Amuwo- Odofin Local Government of Lagos State. The Senator, who represented the National Leader of the Action
By Miriam Ndikanwu
Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator Bola Tinubu, said the autonomy of local governments was necessary to enable them operate effectively. “Local governments deserve to enjoy their autonomy because they are closer to the people and state governments should empower them to have that autonomy instead of being an appendage to the state,” she said.
Ojudu backs impeachment move From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
ENATOR Babafemi Ojudu yesterday supported moves by members of the House of Representatives to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan. He said: “If they do that, they would be heeding my call.” Ojudu said the state of insecurity in the country called for more drastic efforts, if meaningful headway must be made in terms of reversing the unwanted order. Speaking yesterday to reporters in Ado-Ekiti on his empowerment programme for 600 women in his senatorial district on Friday, the senator said the National Assembly must find solutions to the roiling problems engulfing the country. He said insecurity has gone out of hands, adding that if President Goodluck Jonathan is incapable of stopping the killings, the lawmakers should assist by removing him to enable a capable hand mount the saddle.
•From left: District Financial Services, The Apostolic Faith Church, Rev. Dapo Ojumu; Region Overseer, Rev. Gabriel K. Ajayi; District Suprintendent, West and Central Africa, Rev. Dayo Adeniran and Director of Administration and Welfare, Rev. James PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA Olaleye, at the church’s camp meeting press conference in Lagos...yesterday
US pledges $80m to fight HIV/AIDS
NITED States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a pledge of $80 million to ensure that HIV-positive expectant mothers get the treatment they need. She spoke in Washington at the on-going World AIDS conference. The theme of the conference is Turning the tide together. The move, Mrs Clinton said, is part of the US’ commitment to the global HIV/ AIDS response. Her words: “An additional $40 million would be disbursed to support South Africa’s plans to provide voluntary medical male circum-
From Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha, Washington DC
cisions for almost 500,000 boys and men. “Fifteen million dollars for implementation research to identify the specific interventions. “Twenty million dollars to launch a challenge fund that will support countryled plans to expand services for their key populations “And $2 million investment in the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund to bolster the efforts of civil society groups.” The Secretary of State said creating an AIDS-free
generation requires addressing the critical needs of people living with HIV, including women, orphans and vulnerable children and people at high-risk of contracting HIV. Mrs Clinton called upon the Coordinator, Department of State Office on Global AIDS, Eric Goosby, to develop a blueprint that will outline the goals and objectives for the next phase of efforts to achieve an AIDSFree Generation. She said other countries needed to do their part, by supporting the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The envoy said an AIDS-
free generation is possible, but it entails that first, no one will be born with the virus; second, that as people get older, they will be at a far lower risk of becoming infected than they are today; and third, if they do acquire HIV, they will get treatment that keeps them healthy and prevents them from transmitting it to others. The Managing Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, Anthony S. Fauci,said the antiretroviral drugs now available to treat and prevent HIV infection offers unprecedented opportunities to end the epidemic.
Budget Implementation: Presidency moves to pacify Reps
GRICULTURE Minister Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina took his turn yesterday to brief President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy ,Namadi Sambo, on the implementation level of the 2012 Budget. Adesina was the third to appear before the President and Vice-President. Ministers of Police Affairs Navy-Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd) and his Interior counterpart, Abba Moro, presented their case last Thursday. The review of ministries budget implementation level might not be unconnected with the recent impeachment threat by the House of Rep-
From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
resentatives over the implementation of the budget. Last Thursday, the House passed a resolution to initiate an impeachment proceedings against the President, if he failed to achieve 100 per cent implementation of the budget by September. The Presidency had allayed any fear of possible collision with the House over the budget implementation. Adesina briefed State House Correspondents shortly after briefing the President.
He was accompanied by the media aide to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati. Abati said: “About a month ago, the President directed that each ministry should present its key performance indicators. Each ministry has been coming with parastals and been briefing the President in terms of mandate, what has been received and their projection for Budget 2013. “I feel it is important for the minister to intimate you of what he and his team told the President. That is the essence of this briefing.” Adesina said the President was satisfied with the
progress made by his ministry. He said it recorded 68 per cent budget utilisation. “The 2012 budget was passed on March 15 and agriculture’s season started in January. “ N48.1 billion was budgeted for capital projects with N13.8 billion released. “So far, we have spent N9.4 billion of the amount released. “We have achieved 68 per cent utilisation at least for the main ministry, while some of our parastatals have achieved as much as 100 per cent of the amount released to them from March.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS Fayemi to judge: dispense justice without fear or favour
Woman found dead at Ibadan motor park N unidentified woman was yesterday morning found dead at Ojoo Motor Park in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The woman was believed to be travelling from Kebbi State to Lagos but got stranded in Ibadan. It was learnt that she arrived Ibadan on Monday afternoon.
From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
The woman was said to have called her husband, who is believed to live in Lagos, when she arrived in Ibadan. The husband reportedly assured her that he would pick her up on Tuesday morning but met her body at the motor park. The National Union of Road Transport Workers
(NURTW) Secreatary in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State, Alhaji Alimi Aremu, said the deceased arrived the motor park after a night journey from Kebbi on Monday afternoon. He explained that the woman called her husband, informing him that she had no money. According to Aremu, Mus-
lims who fasted on Tuesday morning saw that the deceased looked sick. She was said to be in pains. Her body was taken to the palace of the Seriki Sasa, expectedly for burial. The NURTW chief said the woman might be buried in Ibadan. Police spokesperson Olabisi Ilobanafor could not be reached yesterday for comment.
•President Goodluck Jonathan (right) receiving the report of the Presidential Committee on Fuel Subsidy from the Committee Chairman, Aigboje AigImoukwede, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja...yesterday PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN
Nigeria can’t afford second civil war, says publisher •‘Tinubu is emerging political power in Yourubaland’
HE publisher of the Third Eye titles, Chief Akani Aluko, has urged political leaders to shun acts that can jeopardise the peace and unity of Nigeria. He said the nation cannot afford a second civil war, after the one in 1967-1970. Aluko spoke against the backdrop of security challenges in the country. He urged religious, political and traditional leaders to unite the country. The businessman addressed reporters at his Ibadan, Oyo State, home during his 67th birthday celebration after a thanksgiving service at St Victoria’s Catholic Church, Ilesa, Osun State. According to him, those seeking political power in
From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan
2015 must prove what they have in stock and show the projects they would provide for the people. Aluko said: “Everyone of them must have an estimate of what they are expecting from the Federation Account and other revenues and the specific projects they will provide. Those holding political offices and want to come back must give concrete reasons why they must come back for a second term and what they used the money they collected from the Federation Account and other revenues for. That is the campaign that we expect to see in 2015. That is what Adams Oshiomhole has proved in Edo State.” According to him, it is no
longer going to be business as usual for politicians. Aluko noted that Nigerians are now the wiser to be deceived again by any politician. He said: “My position on the political development in the country has been spoken through my leader. He said he will go back to the trenches to fight for one Nigeria and so I stand by that. “We need peace and unity in the country. General Ibrahim Babangida has stood up. The emerging power in Yoruba land, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has spoken, and so has Alhaji Azeez Arisekola Alao. I know they are on the side of one Nigeria with Dr Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria will be better for it. That is my position and that is what I think we should do to make
Nigeria stand as one indivisible entity. “Our leaders, like Mohammed Buhari in the North, should do something to bring peace. He has done it before during the Matasine disturbance. Buhari must contribute to bringing back peace to Nigeria before I can comment on him. “We should not and can never have a second civil war in Nigeria. As at today in Yoruba land, Tinubu is the emerging political base and power. And the other group wants to oppose this. Let them challenge him on facts, on achievements and what he can do. Then we move forward from there. “We must move forward under a cohesive leadership to rescue the country from its problems.”
First Bank donates N1m to families of Ekiti robbery victims
IRST Bank Nigeria PLC yesterday donated N250,000 to each of the families of the four policemen killed in a robbery at the Ilasa-Ekiti branch of the bank on May 24. Some hoodlums besieged the bank’s branch in the town, killing the policemen guarding the bank and from a nearby police post. A civilian also died in the attack. It was learnt that the policemen are: Sgt Yunusa Yahaya, Constables Farotimi Toluwalope, Adeniyi Akeem and Osanyingbemi Kolade. Presenting the cheques to the officers’ families, the bank’s Regional Manager, Mr Rotimi Oguntubob said the gesture was to demonstrate the love for the bereaved families and to prove that the management is alive to its
From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
corporate social responsibilities. He said: “We know that money can never adequately compensate for lives already lost but the bank has to do this to show appreciation for the departed souls and empathy for their families.” Oguntubo described the
police as “partners in progress and pivot for the survival of the banking industry in Nigeria”. Police Commissioner Sotonye Wakama, who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Victor Nosa-Ojowho, received a condolence letter on behalf of the police authorities. The police chief described the gesture as “noble and a
rare show of appreciation for police activities in the task to protect the citizens’ lives and property”. Wakama added: “I appeal to other organisations to emulate this gesture and put it to practice when a situation like this happens. This is because you never can predict what can happen, going by the risky nature of police work.”
From Sulaiman Salawudeen Ado-Ekiti
KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday swore in Mr. Kayode Ogundana as a new judge to fill one of the existing vacancies on the Bench of the State High
Court. The governor urged the judge to dispense justice without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. He said the dispensation of justice without bias is the only way to sustain the honour and mobility associated with the office of a judge. Dr. Fayemi noted that since the High Court is saddled with the responsibility of hearing and determining civil and criminal proceedings on offences committed by any person, it is imperative that only a judge with impeccable record and credentials should be appointed to adjudicate on such sensitive matters. He said: “It is rather reassuring that the national leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has vouched for the integrity and intellectual capacity of the gentleman that has just been sworn in as a High Court Judge of our dear state.
Rally for Mimiko: Lawyer’s suit against Ondo NLC for hearing August 19
STATE High Court, sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday fixed August 19 for the hearing of a suit filed against the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman, Mrs. Bosede Daramola, by an Akure lawyer, Mr. Morakinyo Ogele. The lawyer is suing the labour leader for allegedly mismanaging the union’s fund to support Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s second term bid. The NLC and the ruling Labour Party (LP) are joined as co-defendants. Ogele said is acting under the Freedom of Information Act, which allows every Nigerian to have access to in-
From Leke Akeredolu, Akure
formation. The lawyer is praying to the court to “compel the first defendant to furnish the applicant information on all the money received by the first respondent from the deduction of salaries of Ondo State civil servants and the expenses of the council from the first respondent when she assumed office as the chairperson of the Ondo State Council of the NLC till date.” He is also asking for “the total money spent on the solidarity rally staged on June 26 in support of LP government, led by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko”.
PDP protests Ogun council poll results •Urges Jonathan to call Oyinlola to order From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has protested the results of last Saturday’s local government election in Ogun State. It alleged that the poll was rigged by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). A statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said ACN cannot be trusted with power. The statement reads: “With the unfortunate outcome of the last week’s local government election, the ACN has smashed all doubts about its carefully chosen course in the unrestrained suppression of the electoral wishes of the people.” The PDP said democracy is dangered in ACN-controlled states “with the stubborn insistence of the party that what counts is the whimsical decision of the cabal in its leadership and not the vote of the people”. It added: “Prior to the election, our Ogun State chapter alerted the nation to the distortion in the voter’s registers and of the massive build-up in the instruments of violence by the ACN. It also noted the flagrant abuse of the electoral laws and the Ogun State Independent Electoral commission’s guidelines. “This brazen assault on democracy climaxed on the election day when the snatching of ballot boxes, seizure of result sheets and unrestrained violence were engaged in by the machinery of the ACN-controlled state government. In spite of this, voters defied intimidation and made their choice.” The Ogun State chapter of the PDP has urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to call the National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, to order over fresh plot to hold purported congresses in the state. The party alleged that this is contrary to the subsistence of the Adebayo Dayo-led State Executive Committee (Exco), which emerged from the March 2012 congresses.
‘Akeredolu didn’t meet with teachers’ leaders’
HE Akeredolu Campaign Organisation yesterday debunked a report that the Ondo State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship aspirant, Mr, Olurotimi Akeredolu (SAN), met with the leadership of the Nige-
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
rian Union of Teachers (NUT) in state to solicit their support for the October 20 election. A statement by his media adviser, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku, said the frontline lawyer did not meet with any group un-
der the platform of “Teachers Earnestly Support Good Governance” in Akure, the state capital. The statement said Akeredolu did not meet with Mrs. Titi Farojumi, the alleged spokesperson of the group. The statement reads: “There
is no doubt that this report was orchestrated by the Labour Party (LP) in the state to create an alibi to witch-hunt the leaders and teachers in the State. “This is because of their agitation for the payment of their 27.5per cent professional allowance, instead of the mere
2.5per cent that the present administration is paying. “Akeredolu’s educational programme is enough for the teachers to support him because they know that if elected, he will take care of them and the education sector in the state.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Man charged with ‘stealing’ N2.8m diesel
By Tumininu Owolabi A MAN, Babatunde Olayomi, has been arraigned before a Lagos Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ikeja, for allegedly stealing diesel valued about N2.8m. The accused is facing a two count charge of conspiracy and stealing 25,500 litres of (AGO) diesel. Prosecuting Inspector Barth Nwaokoye, said the accused had on October, 24, last year, at Ikorodu, stolen the diesel, belonging to one Mr. Rotimi Oloyede. The prosecutor told the court that the offence committed by the accused is punishable under Section 390(9)of the Criminal Code, Cap c17, vol,11, laws of Lagos state and of Nigeria 2003. The accused pleaded not guilty. Chief Magistrate A.O Isaac granted the accused N200,000 bail. He adjourned the case till August 1.
CJ leads walk for safety
AGOS State Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Phillips will today lead other top government
officials in a Safety Walk/Advocacy rally. Director-General of Lagos State Safety Commission Mrs Dominga Odebunmi told The Nation yesterday that the advocacy campaign is meant to draw attention of all arms of government to deepening safety culture in their respective offices. Mrs Odebunmi said the walk would take all participants from the old Secretariat, Ikeja (GRA), to the Alausa Secretariat, where they would be received by the Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe. The participants will go through the Deputy Governor’s arcade to the House of Assembly where they are expected to be addressed by Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, before moving to the Office of the Governor where they are slated to be addressed by Governor Babatunde Fashola. The Director-General said for the first time, the three arms of government would be on the same page on issues relating to security and how to continue to entrench it in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA).
Assembly hails Jakande at 83 By Oziegbe Okoeki LAGOS State House of Assembly has congratulated former Governor Lateef Jakande, on his 83rd birthday. Jakande is the first civilian governor of the state. Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity Hon. Segun Olulade described Jakande as an achiever while in office. Jakande, he said, was an epitome of good governance and social transformation during his years of active political engagement and public service, adding: “his record of selfless service and unprecedented achievements during his tenure as governor of Lagos State has continued to be a reference point for good governance; serving as a credible benchmark for development in the state and the Nigerian nation as a whole, over the years.” Olulade said the Lagos House also thanks Allah for sparing Jakande’s life to witness “the megacity transformation of Lagos State.” He also thanked God for making Jakande, despite his old age to witness the epoch-making inauguration of a new legislative chamber by the House in May, and as the naming of the old legislative chamber, which was his brainchild after him.
08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Colonel arrested by Fashola to pay N25,000 fine, says Army
OR violating the dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the Colonel and Staff Sergeant arrested last week by Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, are to pay the mandatory N25,000 fine each, the Army said yesterday. General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Maj-Gen. Kenneth Minimma said since the Army is not above the law, Colonel K.I Yusuf and Staff Sergeant A.J Adeomi must pay what other offenders pay. He spoke during the court martial of 11 army personnel for various offences in the state.
By Jude Isiguzo
Col. Yusuf and Staff Sgt Adeomi were not among those court martialled. Gen Minimma warned army personnel to obey the laws of the state and avoid taking the BRT lane. He said: “They passed the BRT lane and it’s a traffic offence and they’ll pay the fine. The fact that he has apologised to the governor does not mean that he won’t face the law. He will pay the fine. “Army personnel should avoid the BRT lane because they are designated for BRT buses which are for the good
of Lagosians. We all reside in Lagos and we have the responsibility of obeying the laws of the state. If we get it right it’s for our common good and if we get it wrong it’s bad for all of us. “The law was made for Lagosians and we are part of Lagos and the Nigerian Army and the military as a whole are law-abiding and enforcers of the law, not outlaws. We’ll conform to the law and obey the law and also aid civil authority in enforcing the law and we’ll continue to help the state government in this regard.” Speaking after the court martial’s inauguration, its president, Brig. Gen. Edward Nze, said the crimes the army
•Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Azubike Ihejirika
personnel were being tried for ranged from murder to financial misappropriation.” Gen. Nze said court martial was an instrument used by the Army to instill discipline in its men.
‘IT a must for pupils’
AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday opened the elearning centre which evolved from the old Lagos Central Library. He said innovation would continue to drive the state’s economy. Fashola said his administration is setting up e-libraries in every new school, and also putting elaboratories in every old school where normal laboratories exist. He said over 120 schools have benefited from the scheme; another 20 are primed to benefit again, adding that information technology (IT) is a language that every child must learn. Fashola said the objective is to ensure that all secondary school pupils are IT compliant before they gain admission into the university or seek placement in the job market. “Our initiatives are producing a lot of entrepreneurs now, who are already standing tall on their own and of course you will see that the government is moving day to day from Information Technology as
•The State-Of-The-Art e-Learning Centre yesterday INSET: Governor, Fashola cutting the ribbon to open the Centre. With him are: Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Adebiyi Mabadeje (2nd left), his Education counterpart, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye (left), Elder statesman Prince Tajudeen Olusi (2nd right) and former Special Adviser in the Governor’s Office, Mr. Sunny Ajose (right).
a basis for improved service delivery. “You will see that in our Toll Free Emergency numbers- 767 and 112, our tax revenue and collection system, the e-tax card, our vehicle
registration system -AUTOREG, our vehicle identification systemthe Auto Inspector, our Health Management Information Systemthe HMIS, our land registry
computerization through the use of Electronic Document Management System and of course our Public Service general personnel administration system through the Oracle database”.
Full diversion of traffic on Third Mainland July 29, Aug 5 T
RAFFIC will “completely” be diverted on Third Mainland Bridge on July 29 and August 5 from 6amto 12 midnight, the Lagos State Government said, yesterday. Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa said the diversion would enable the contractors carry out concrete casting of one of the three expansion joints (joint 1) currently being repaired on the Lagos Island bound section (phase 1). The other two joints, (joints 2 and 3), he added, may be done on August 5 “The concrete casting and drying process require zero vibration hence the complete diversion of
By Miriam Ndikanwu
vehicular traffic away from the bridge from Oworonshoki end to Adeniji Adele end on Sunday 29th July, 2012 and Sunday 5th August, 2012.” During the diversion, motorists going to Lagos Island and Ikeja would be restricted from having access to the bridge from 6am to 12 midnight on both days, he said. Opeifa appealed to motorists to bear with the government as the repairs and diversions are in the public interest.
He urged motorists coming from Lagos to as usual, connect to follow the diversion at Adeniji Adele Interchange to Carter Bridge, link Iddo Interchange where they can easily connect Ikeja, Ojota, Ketu, Ikorodu, Agege, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Alimoso, Oshodi, Abule Egba, among others via Eko Bridge, Herbert Macaulay Road and Apapa - Oshodi Expressway. Opeifa said those going to Lagos Island would be diverted at Oworonshoki to connect Ikorodu Road (via Anthony Interchange)
to link either Jibowu to Murtala Mohammed Way to Iddo or continue to Eko Bridge through Funsho Wiliams Avenue; or Agege Motor Road (via Oshodi Interchange) to link Moshalasi to either Jibowu to Murtala Mohammed Way to Iddo or continue to Eko Bridge through Funsho Wiliams Avenue; or in the alternative use Apapa - Oshodi Expressway through Mile 2 to connect Ijora then Lagos Island. Opeifa, who said officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would be on the roads to ensure free flow of traffic and remove any impediment advised motorists to drive with care.
Lagos to toll part of Badagry expressway
WO of the 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway will be tolled after completion, the state government said yesterday. The toll is to enable government recover the money spent on its construction. Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Kadiri Hamzat told reporters in Alausa Ikeja. According to Hamzat Saidi, “Let us look at it this way. As to how to get back what we spent, it is a 10-lane road with service lanes. And then in the middle, there is a light rail. We have two BRT lanes. The two middle lanes will be tolled. But the service lanes will be there for those who do not want to pay toll.” He said the Government built the Lagos-Badagry Road before the Federal Government took over the road in 1977. “If you look at the map of Africa, the road links some West African countries. From Lagos, you can actually drive and the road is going up to the Gambia. A lot of people on that route speak French, even up to Morocco. “That population is about 280 million, and majority of them spend the same currency. Technically, if we can open up that road, Lagos’ economy will blossom. It is strategic for us to take up the road,” he said. On plans by some African countries to link up with the light rail system on the road, Hamzat said it was the Vice President of Ghana who approached
By Miriam Ndikanwu
Governor Babatunde Fashola on the issue. “What happened was that the Vice President of Ghana spoke to Governor Fashola on the possibility. He demanded to see the design of the project. This is to enable him see if it is possible to link up with the project. “It is a talk, and that has been done. That shows you the possibility. If you take a train from London to France, even up to Germany, there is no reason we can’t do the same thing in this part of the world. “We just need to link ourselves together like they did in West Europe. One is happy that our leader is thinking in that line too. It will be a dream if it can happen. At least, that is true, and it is being pursued,” he said. On the state’s plan to take over all federal roads, the commissioner said there was a communiqué to that effect, adding “we were supposed to have a meeting at the Federal Ministry of Works about two weeks ago.” “Unfortunately, a senator died and the meeting could not hold. This is one of the things we wanted to discuss. You are right. It will be a good day for us if they can cede them. But the challenge is that if you are giving us these responsibilities, then the budget of the Federal Ministry of Works must come down and be redistributed to all the states and let the state take the responsibility for these roads,” he added.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Firm’s quarry operations threaten Ekiti community
HE operations of a company at its quarry are threatening the lives of residents of Obasanjo Estate on AdoIkere road in Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State. The quarry belongs to Inland Stone Nigeria Limited. The residents said the quarry has become “a big nightmare, which has been making life difficult for people of this estate, whether young or old”. They complained of “bangs, which jolt everyone sleeping into terrifying alerts and apprehensions”. The residents added that “life has never been the same with us here since the quarry came”. A spokesperson of the community, who simply
•Company: it’s not true From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
gave his name as Femi, said: “It is certain that if the trend is not halted, children may develop convulsions while even the elderly may not be spared of some afflictions. “As we speak, the effects of the operations of the quarry are noticeable on some buildings in the estate because the flying stones from the quarry have perforated some rooftops while some buildings have started cracking.” Another resident, who
spoke in confidence, said the noise from the quarry prevents their aged parents from enjoying their siesta. Femi explained that the community has met with the management of the quarry about three times, adding that nothing has come out of the parley. He said: “Now, we are set to explore other alternatives to see how to escape this problem from the quarry since the option of dialogue with the company has failed.” They urged the state gov-
ernment to “relocate the company in the overall interest of the residents”. The Managing Director of the company, Mr Dare Omotoso, denied the allegation against his company. He said: “If the walls of the estate’s buildings, located several metres away, would crack in consequence of our operations here, evidence of that must be noticeable on our own office walls as well. But can you notice such?” Omotoso said the technology the company has deployed does not threaten anyone. “Our activities here have not affected any building in the estate. You can go and see for yourselves,” he said.
Minister urges review of National Gender Policy
HE Minister for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Zainab Maina, has called for the implementation and review of a National Gender Policy. She said this would promote the welfare and rights of Nigerian women and children across political, social and economic spheres. The minister spoke in Ikeja, Lagos, during an advocacy visit to Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, and civil society organisations. Mrs Maina advocated an effective implementation of the
‘Nigeria not beyond redemption’ By Nneka Nwaneri
THE District Superintendent of the Apostolic Faith West and Central Africa, Rev Emmanuel Adebayo, yesterday said Nigeria has not worsened beyond redemption, despite the nation’s myriad challenges. He said the nation could still rise from the ashes of corruption to a glorious land. The cleric noted that because the nation’s major challenge is corruption, there is need for stakeholders and those in government to be pious so that acts of malfeasance could be consigned to the dustbin of aberration.
Oyo to dualise community road THE Oyo State Government yesterday said it would dualise the Idi Ape-AkoboOlorunda Abaa Road in Ibadan, the state capital. The Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, said this in Ibadan. He said the project would improve the traffic situation on the road and boost economic activities. The commissioner said the award of the contract for the first phase of the project, which would begin from Idi-Ape and terminate at General Gas. According to him, the second phase, which would start from General Gas to Olorunda-Abaa, will begin after the completion of the first phase.
By Emmanuel Oladesu
Child Rights’ Law to reinforce the survival, protection, wellbeing and development of the Nigerian child. The minister said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a National Gender policy for Nigeria in 2006, adding that its five-year cycle lapsed in 2011. According to her, the government has made significant progress since its approval though a lot of vacuum still exists. Mrs Maina called for the review of the policy to accommodate new issues and
challenges as well as needs and aspirations. The minister said the ministry is sending a team of experts to Lagos State. To uplift the standard of living of women and children, Mrs Maina said the ministry has supplied food processing machines to states for distribution to women’s cooperatives at the grassroots. She said the ministry, through Women Fund for Economic Empowerment (WOFEE), collaborated with the Nigeria Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank
(NACRDB), now Bank of Agriculture, to disburse N261,500,000 to 3,281 beneficiaries in 28 states, including Lagos. The minister said: “Lagos State is one of the 24 states that have passed the Child Rights’ Law, its implementation and enforcement has been very slow.” “This law, if well implemented, will be of immense benefit to the state and ensure the survival, protection, well-being and development of our children into well adjusted individuals contributing meaningfully to nationhood...”
Ex-Ondo council chair joins ACN
FORMER chairman of Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Mr Moses Akinjiyan, yesterday led his supporters out of the ruling Labour Party (LP) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Akinjiyan said he has enough experience and support at the grassroots in over 20 years of active politics. The politician said he was dumping the LP because of its poor leadership. He said: “Most of the foundation members of LP, who suffered persecution and toiled night and day to install the present Olusegun Mimiko government, are no longer relevant. “They have been neglected, abandoned and jettisoned in the scheme of things. When you are no longer relevant in a system, the best option is to quit that system.” The lawyer said he joined the ACN to give his supporters a new lease of life from the
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
intimidation and suffering they have passed through in the LP. He hoped that ACN would integrate him and his supporters as well as reward them adequately. Akinjiyan said: “The decision to dump the LP is not my personal decision but the collective decision of Odigbo community. The essence is to enable us to move to the party where we can fully be integrated and have a sense of belonging in the true progressive party in Nigeria. “You can see over 1,000 people defected with me from the LP to ACN because of my dedication and contributions to the development of Odigbo Local Government.” Receiving Akinjiyan and his supporters at the party’s secretariat, ACN chairman in the local government, Alhaji Lateef Gbadeyan, said the politician has found the right party where he can express his progressive ideas.
Monarch removes village head
PARAMOUNT traditional ruler in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Joseph Agunbiade Otutubiosun, the Oloba of Oba-Ile, has ordered the Obalogun of Igoba, Chief Ojo Jayeoba, to stop parading himself as the village head of the community. It was learnt that the Oloba has authority over Obalogun chieftaincy title. Besides, the Obalogun is
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
said to be one of the kingmakers in Oba-Ile, as confirmed by the 1981 Morgan Chieftaincy Review Commission. In a letter from the Oloba’s palace on July 20 to Jayeoba, the Oba-Ile monarch referred to the chieftaincy committee meeting of Akure North Local Government on May 25. The letter reads: “During the May 25 meeting, you made it
clear to the committee in your statement on the dispute between Igoba and Isinigbo communities that the Oloba, who is the prescribed authority, did not install you. “This, therefore, means that you are not yet a chief. Your statement was made in the presence of all members of the council and, in view of this development, you are to henceforth stop parading yourself as the Obalogun of Igoba.”
Ondo CPC gets new governorship aspirant
SPECIAL Assistant to former Ondo State Governor Olusegun Agagu, Abiodun Iwatan, has joined the governorship race for the October 20 election under the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The party now has two aspirants. A European Union consultant and son of a former Ondo State senator, Mr. Soji Ehinlanwo, was the party’s aspirant. Addressing reporters in Akure, the state capital, after a meeting with the party’s state
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
executive members, Iwatan said he is representing the present and future thoroughbred politicians. He said: “I have the wherewithal to transform the state from the present cosmetic and artificial projects embarked upon by the present administration.” The politician promised an effective social security for the elderly and physically challenged and reduced corruption that is predominant in the state.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS RAMADAN Indomie earmarks N30m for Iftar By Tajudeen Adebanjo
•Cross-section of clerics, led by the Chairman, Lagos Mainland Muslim Community, Alhaji Jimoh Faari (right) during the annual Ramadan lecture in Lagos...yesterday.
Bauchi to distribute N68m worth of items B AUCHI State Commisioner for Women’s Affairs, Hajiya Talatu Barwa has said her
ministry would distribute foodstuff and wrappers worth N68 million during the Ramadan.
RAMADAN GUIDE WITH FEMI ABBAS e-mail: email@example.com Tel: 08122697498
Hajia Barwa said on Monday while briefing reporters in Bauchi that the items would be distributed to 120 Quranic Tafsir centers. She said the centres which did not benefit last year would be given this time. .“We will distribute 1,500 bags of rice, 100 bags of sug-
Chairman, State Ramadan Feeding Committee, Alhaji Salisu Barau said N62 million had been earmarked for the feeding of indigent people in 120 mosques in the state. He said 10,000 people would be fed daily with a standard plate of food, drinks and fruits.
Lawmaker urges tolerance By Tajudeen Adebanjo
HIS is Ramadan, the ‘Dean’ of all lunar months. It comes into the world once in a year. Its arrival is always with fanfare. Its splendour is shrouded in the divine paraphernalia that heralds its coming. Unlike all other months of the year, Ramadan keeps humanity in suspense even as it sends a harbinger ahead. That harbinger is the crescent of hope, which millions of Muslims await before commencing the annual obligatory fast. From its name alone, Ramadan can be called the key with which to open the door to paradise. It is the solid ground upon which the formidable edifice of Islam is built. It is the month in which Islam was born. Without the revelation of the Qur’an which started in the month of Ramadan, perhaps the world would not be talking of the five pillars of Islam today. It is from the Qur’anic revelations that we came to know of Iman (faith); Salat (worship); Zakah (alms giving); Sawm (fasting) and Hajj. Not only that, Ramadan is the great light from the heavens which wakes up the sleeping humanity from their deep sleep and illuminates the dark world of man. For those who know it, Ramadan is the incomparable yardstick of discipline. To wake in the night and observe Nafilats; to take an early breakfast at dawn and abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse throughout the day can only be imposed by Ramadan as an act of discipline. With Ramadan, the hardest heart is softened and the wildest animal instinct in man is tamed. No other pillar of Islam preaches patience, sympathy and social welfare as effectively as Ramadan, the month that levels the ground under the feet of the rich and the poor alike. Ramadan is the only month that comes into the world with heavy pregnancy. Inside that pregnancy is the mystery called the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) which turns every true believer into a new, innocent person. If for the ‘Night of Power’ (Laylatul Qadr) alone, Ramadan is worth the divine splendour that characterizes it. Welcome on board of this cruising ship sailing confidently to the Cape of Good Hope .
ar, 500 bags of millets and 500 cartons of milk. “We applied a strategy to ensure that those centres that received last year are not receiving this year only for few and those that need our intervention in the LGAs,’’ she said. Similarly, the Deputy
member of the House of Representatives Maruf Akinderu-Fatai has urged Nigerians to tolerate one another. MAF, as he is fondly called, spoke yesterday during the award organised by Association of Primary Schools Head Teachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON), Lagos State Wing at NUT Pavilion, Central Business District, Agidingbi, Ikeja. He was among the 25 awardees. Akinderu-Fatai urged Muslims to imbibe be pious during the month of Ramadan.
The Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Compliance said there is the need for Muslims to live above board in all their undertakings during and even after the 29 or 30 days fasting. Ramadan, he said, is a month of tolerance; hence Muslims are enjoined to tolerate people of other faith vice versa. “Islam is against compulsion in religion. The Quran clearly states that there is no compulsion in religion and thus nobody can force another person to become a Muslim. The month of Ramadan apart from being a period of piety, also provides an opportunity for people to consider one another and extend a hand of friendship to one another,” he said “I believe this period provides for us an opportunity to feel what the ordinary man out there is feel-
ing - the taste of hunger - and learn how to help the needy. Besides, it is also a period for mankind to reflect on their act towards God. “So we should all seize the opportunity to rekindle our spiritual relationship with God and amend our shortcomings toward fellow humans.” “We should take the opportunity of the month of Ramadan to ask Allah to stop this spate of violence and kidnapping which are very alien to our country. Let us use this period to ask God for the forgiveness of our sins and rededicate our lives to the cause of a peaceful and Godfearing nation,” he added. Akinderu-Fatai enjoined security operatives to be proactive in fighting crime in the country. “We must renew our supplications to God to bless our collective efforts as we take bold steps to reposition our state for prosperity and progress” he said.
UFIL Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie Instant Noodles has announced plans to feed a million Muslims by providing free meals during the break of fast (Iftar) across the nation. According to itsPublic Relations Manager, Mr Temitope Ashiwaju, the company is identifying with Muslims during the fasting period as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility by serving cooked Indomie products, in well packed foil plates during Iftar (Break of fast) at various popular central Mosques across the country. Ashiwaju said Indomie believed in connecting with its consumers through various platforms and that Ramadan provides such opportunity to connect with Muslim consumers. On the logistics of distribution, “We have identified several central mosques across the country where a total of 25,000 cartons of foil packed Indomie will be served freely at the time of breaking the fast at each of these mosques on a cycle basis.” Ashiwaju added that the Imams in the various locations have given their support to ensure the success of the exercise. He said the Imams at each mosque would supervise the distribution of freshly prepared Indomie to members during the Iftar.
Group stresses internal security
HE Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) is to focus on the challenges of internal security and national development during its seventh annual Ramadan lecture in Abuja. MMPN chairman AbdurRahman Balogun said in a statement issued on Monday that the lecture will hold at National Mosque Hall, Abuja on Saturday July 28. Entitled: “The challenge of internal security and implications for national development,’’ it will be delivered by Major-General S.U. Abdulkadir from Nigeria Army Headquarters and Ustaz Nurudeen Abdmalik. He said Bashiru Adamu, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Defence, will chair the occasion while Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais (rtd) will be the father of the day. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Speaker, House of Representatives is the Special Guest of Honour.
Union distributes 260 bags of grains in Katsina
HE Katsina State Council of the Nigerian Civil Service Union has procured 260 bags of rice and millet for distribution to its members free-of-charge to mark Ramadan. State Chairman of the union Mr Shehu Ingawa, said this while launching the programme in Katsina yesterday. Ingawa said the gesture was meant to assist the members, who were facing hard-
ship resulting from high prices of essential commodities across the state. He said: “It is also to complement the state government’s effort in addressing the difficulties being faced by the members over high cost of foodstuff.” He said plans were on for the establishment of a Civil Service Cooperative Society by the union in order to enhance the welfare of
members. The chairman called on the state’s Head of Service to address the problems faced by the members which included withholding of some accountants’ promotion since 2008. Other problems, he said, are the non-implementation of approved promotion examinations and non-acceptance of some certificates, which were duly recognised by the civil service scheme.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
BUSINESS NEWS Govt to import $1.2b cassava, rice processing plants
Shell dismisses Niger Delta exit report By Emeka Ugwuanyi
From Olugbenga Adanikin and Halima Sogbesan, Abuja
HE Federal Government is to import 18 cassava and 100 rice processing plants worth $1.2 billion from the Republic of China. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said this was part of the government’s efforts to add more value to the value chains, especially for cassava and rice production. In a statement by the ministry, its Director of Information, Salisu Na’inna, stated that Nigeria’s exportimport bank and China’s export-import bank have begun negotiations on the deal. The President of China Development Bank, Mr Wang Weidong, said China and Nigeria are agro-based countries and assured that his country would render the required assistance. Weidong identified farmland development and production of fertiliser and their use as other areas the two countries could partner just like the Chinese Jute System. Meanwhile, Adesina has pledged to support and upgrade about 153 cassava processing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country. Adesina made the pledge yesterday during an a visit of cassava value-chain stakeholders to his office in Abuja. The President of National Cassava Processors and Marketers Association, Mr Ayo Olubumi, urged the minister to look into the condition of the SMEs’ audit, including other challenges facing them.
DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil - $123.6/barrel Cocoa - $2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold - $1,800/troy ounce Rubber - ¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE
-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -12.6% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -14.18% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $34.6b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 245 $ 156.4 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 241 RIYAL 40.472
• NNPC Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu (left), with Group Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Mr Bernard PHOTO: NAN Otti, after their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, at the State House, Abuja ... yesterday.
Borrowers to pay more as CBN raises bank’s reserve T HE cost of borrowing is expected to rise as the Central Bank Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday took measures to tighten liquidity to support the weakening naira. It, however, left its benchmark interest rate (Monetary Policy Rate), which it had kept on hold since November, after six successive hikes last year, at 12 per cent. But the the banking watchdog raised banks’ Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) to 12 per cent from eight per cent and reduced net open foreign exchange positions to one per cent from three per cent. The CRR refers to a portion of Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL) of banks with the CBN. It fixes this percentage of NDTL. Central banks can change this percentage as a monetary measure to control the availability of funds in the economy i.e. to inject liquidity or to suck liquidity. The last time the CRR was raised by this magnitude, in October, last year, about N800billion was withdrawn from the domestic banking sector. The MPR is the interest rate at which the CBN lends to commercial banks. It indirectly mirrors the direction of other interest rates in
By Ayodele Aminu and Nduka Chiejina
the economy. Essentially, the implication is that the CBN is encouraging people to save. Ultimately, this also means that the cost of credit from banks is expected to go up as their lending rates are moderated by the CBN. Also, banks are expected to scale down speculation on forex, following the reduction in forex open position. Addressing reporters at the end of the MPC meeting in Abuja, the CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi justified the reason for increasing the CRR, saying that it was in line with the apex bank’s desire to maintain stability. “We cannot continue to run down our reserves in order to have a stable exchange rate and the primary concern of the MPC is price stability,” he said. Sanusi said the increase in CRR will not address the problems in the nation, but it had to be increased so that inflation and exchange rate do not go out of control. He admitted: “The significant liquidity on the books of banks has not led to intermediation and lending to the real
economy.” Instead, banks, he said, “have continued to take advantage of high yields on government securities to direct credit away from the core private sector. In addition, the liquidity has provided ammunition for speculative activity in the foreign exchange market with implications for inflationary expectation.” Sanusi also said Nigeria was unprepared for a potential oil price slump because the government was spending the country’s savings, which are stored in the Excess Crude Account (ECA). The governor said the external reserves as at July 19, this year stood at US$37.16 billion, representing an increase of US$ 0.33 billion over the level of US$36.83 billion at end-May. The ECA held $20 billion prior to the 2007 global economic crisis, helping cushion Nigeria against slowing growth, but despite record high oil prices in recent years the ECA now contains around $6 billion. This is not enough to support the economy from falling oil prices, Sanusi said. He said governors have started mounting pressure on the Federal Government to withdraw $2 billion from ECA.
He also highlighted the risks posed to the economy from the worsening insecurity. Oil theft has increased sharply this year in the Niger Delta and could cost the government about $5 billion yearly, oil companies have said. Analysts said the stance of the banking watchdog was to strengthen the naira, which has been hit by fall in oil price. “This is huge and a clear statement of resolve on the part of the authorities on their determination to support the naira despite considerable external threats,” said Razia Khan, head of Africa Research at Standard Chartered. “We expect the naira to strengthen on the interbank market on the back of this,” Khan added. The naira has been hit by a fall in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main export, and global risk aversion and has weakened by almost three per cent against the dollar since April. The naira closed at N160.7 against the United States’ dollar yesterday, outside the CBN’s N150-160 target trading band. The naira fell 4.5 per cent against the dollar last year.
Fed Govt targets $50b foreign reserves by Dec.
HE Federal Government is targeting $50 billion foreign reserves by year-end to provide sufficient buffers for the economy, Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said. Speaking yesterday at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group conference on the economy, Mrs OkonjoIweala, who is also the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, said there are lots of global economic uncertainties and Nigeria has to ensure that it builds bulwark for the economy. She said the nation’s reserve rose from $32.9 billion at the end of last year to $37.7 billion in June, this year, but has declined recently because of global developments. “The reserves stand at $36.37
•To launch SWF in August By Collins Nweze
billion, but our target is $50 billion by the end of the year. With the volatility in oil prices and the uncertain growth in the rest of the world, we need to. As it stands, Nigeria does not have sufficient buffers,” she said. She explained that when she came into office last year, excess crude had been depleted to $4.22 billion. But there is also need to build it to $10 billion. She said achieving this feat is difficult because the governors have said there was no need for savings. “And we are saying no; if we keep spending, what if something happens in the world? I am very proud, as at July 23,
we had $6.98 billion and if keep going that way, maybe by the end of the year, we will have the $10 billion. We also want the foreign reserves to rise to $50 billion,” she said. The Minister who spoke on the theme: Implementing Nigeria’s Transformation Agenda-An update, said the government is slowly, but steadily making progress to launch the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). She said the government has been busy recruiting the principal officers. “We are doing due diligence on them and that is supposed to end by the end of this week. So, with some luck, because we still have to negotiate salaries, maybe by first week of Au-
gust, we can actually announce,” she said. She lamented the high interest rate charged on loans, saying that the maximum interest rate in the economy can be up to 23 per cent, which means that for businesses, it is very difficult to borrow. The Minister said for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive, there is the need to look at the structure of interest rate in this economy and is being done by the Central Bank of Nigeria. “I don’t know many countries where the real rate of interest, which is the rate between the nominal rate and inflation, is as high as six or seven per cent. Usually, it is between one and two per cent. But in Nigeria, it is hovering as high as six per cent,” she said.
HE Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has again clarified that divestment of its interests from some assets in the western Niger Delta does not mean it is pulling out of the area or Nigeria. In a statement, its spokesman Tony Okonedo, dispelled reports that it planned to pull out of western Niger Delta hence the sale of its assets, especially onshore oil fields in the area. The company’s Managing Director, Mutiu Sunmonu said: “We are not leaving the western Niger Delta because of insecurity or environmental issues. “We are also not leaving Nigeria. I have continued to stress the point that the divestment of our equity from some oil blocks in the Niger Delta is a strategic refocusing of our portfolio.” Sunmonu was reacting to media reports that SPDC was ending its operations in Western Niger Delta because of rising insecurity and unfavourable operating environment. The Shell chief said: “Our asset sales are aimed at strengthening our longterm position in Nigeria. In fact, what this means is that our interests are being transferred to consortia of indigenous independent companies in support of government’s policy of encouraging the growth of Nigerian companies in the oil and gas sector and will deliver many opportunities for them. It does not mean we are leaving. For example, SPDC continues to operate the Forcados Terminal in Western Niger Delta.”
NERC ends electricity market rules review From John Ofikhenua, Abuja
HE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has completed a forensic review of the Electricity Industry Market Rules (EIMR). According to NERC’s Assistant General Manager, Media, Maryam Yaya Abubakar, the commission embarked on the review during a three-day workshop of the Initial Stakeholder Advisory Panel (ISAP) in Abuja, which held from July 13 -15. She explained that the review became necessary to address the errors and inconsistencies in the market rules, and to harmonise the rules with the grid code. She added that the observed errors and inconsistencies are due, in part, to the evolving structure of the market.The rules, which have been in existence since February 2010, were no longer in tandem with market realities. She said: “The Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act provides for a pre and post privatisation stage in the evolution of the electricity market, and privatisation was to commence during the latter stage of the transition market.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Stakeholders differ on ways of addressing industry challenges
XPERTS and stakeholders in the aviation sector have differed on how to save the sector from collapse. While some, including Captain Dung Pam, reiterated their call for airlines' merger as the financially positioning of the existing 16 domestic airlines, others expressed fears that if the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) does not improve its oversight duties, the carriers may soon fizzle out. Assistant Secretary General, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) Mohammed Tukur called for reduction of operating costs as one of the ways to address the challenges. But industry regulators and airline operators believe imposition of Customs duty on aircraft spares, navigation and sundry charges by aviation agencies and high rental cost will hamper the growth of the sector. Other impediments they listed inlcude soaring cost of aviation
Stories by Kelvin Osa-Okunbor
fuel, poor infrastructure, lack of critical maintenance facilities and operational delays associated with frequent closure of airspace due to executive movement. They also agreed that despite the economies of scale, a merger might bring for local carriers, merged airlines would still face the same challenges , even as they fear it may threaten their profitability. The experts also listed indiscriminate allocation of multiple entry points to foreign carriers under the Open Skies Agreements (OSA), which have eroded a substantial part of the market for local carriers. Tukur argued that rather than conduct “a forced marriage” for the airlines, government should remove Customs duties on aircraft spares. He said it was the responsibility of the airlines to discuss how
•Aviation Minister Princess Oduah
•Director-General NCAA, Harold Demuren
they could come together to boost flight operations. Tukur also noted that the airlines have different backgrounds, which would make the merger option unviable. He challenged chief executive officers of the airlines to seek partnership with foreign airlines if they wanted to remain in business. General Secretary, Aviation Round Table Sam Akerele, said it is strange for Customs duties to be levied on imported aircraft
parts. President, Aviation Round Table, Capt. Dele Ore, said apart from waivers on Customs duties for the airlines, which he equally said is not practised anywhere in the world, the government should also construct maintenance hangar facilities for them to operate. Ore said airlines were spending fortunes in carrying out maintenance, stressing that a large chunk of the airlines revenues go
as payment for Customs duties and maintenance of their aircraft out-side the country. Chief Executive Officer, Mish Aviation School, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, called for reviews of charges on the airlines. He said some of the problems bedevilling the country’s aviation were created by the government, stressing that for them to compete favourably well, the government could waive the landing fee for domestic operators.
Bi-Courtney appeals over traffic at MMA2
PERATOR of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), has appealed to motorists visiting or making use of the terminal to always obey traffic rules. The appeal, it said in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Steve Omolale-Ajulo, had become necessary in view of the security challenges facing the country and the rampant flagrant disobedience of traffic signs at the airport in recent times by many motorists. The statement observed that “some motorists are in the habit of just driving into the airport, parking indiscriminately at ‘drop-off zone’ or picking passengers at unauthorised places, thereby causing obstruction to the free flow of traffic at the terminal and inconveniencing other motorists.”
‘Airport rebrand ’ll not affect traffic ’
T •From left: Communications Manager, Dana Air, Mr. Tony Usidamen; Director of Flight Operations, Capt. Oscar Wason; Head, Admin., Mr A. B. Anand and others listen while GM/CEO, LASEMA, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu (right) addresses the displaced victims of the Dana plane crash at Ayobo, Ipaja, relief camp. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE
SAA extends travel incentives to Nigeria
OUTH African Airways (SAA) has extended its bouquet of exciting benefits to corporate clientele through its corporate loyalty programme to companies who are members of the Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce (N-SACC). SAA Country Manager Nigeria, Thobi Duma made the announcement at the monthly breakfast meeting of the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of
Commerce sponsored by the airline in Lagos. Under the airline’s corporate loyalty programme, chamber members enjoy travel incentives that include discounts and limited free changes. Duma said the extension of the airline’s corporate loyalty benefits to members of the Nigerian-South African Chamber is to encourage and contribute to the growing business relations between the two
countries. Chamber members were also briefed on the airline’s constant efforts at improving passengers experience on the ground and in the air, with the recently opened Platinum-members’ lounge at the Cape Town International Airport and the Baobab Premium lounge inside the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos which was shut down for some time but now reopened after a major revamp.
Fastjet budget airline take to African Skies in four months
NEW budget airline backed by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou will soon take to the African skies, promising to bring low-cost flights to millions of people in the continent. Dubbed Fastjet, the no-frills carrier is expected to launch in three to four months, aiming to cash in on Africa's robust economic growth and a growing appetite for travel by its burgeoning middle class. The move comes after HajiIoannou's easyGroup teamed up earlier this month with pan-African conglomerate Lonrho to create the low-cost carrier. Lonhro, owner of
budget airline Fly540, has agreed to sell its aviation business to investment firm Rubicon Diversified Investments, in which easyGroup will hold a five per cent stake. The new business will start operations using Lonrho existing network in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola, before expanding to more markets in the future. "These four countries are currently experiencing great GDP growth, along with oil and gas discoveries and developments," said Ed Winter, chief executive of Fastjet. "We believe that the time is absolutely right to change Fly540 into a
much bigger airline based on the low-cost model which has been successful in every other part of the world,” adds Winter, who is easyJet's former chief operating officer. The business, which will be majority-owned by Lonrho, has set a target of carrying around 12 million passengers per year, "which creates an airline of roughly 40 aircraft," according to Richard Blakesley, Fastjet's finance director. The low-cost carrier expects to offer average fares of $70 to 80 before tax, which could fall to as much as $15-20 when booked early.
HE Airport Manager of Benin Airport, Olusegun Ayodele, has said the on-going remodelling exercise embarked upon by the Federal Government has in no way impacted on traffic. He, however, said the Asaba Airport, good roads between Benin and Lagos and constant flight delays and cancellations, as the main reason why traffic has dropped at the airport. He said the transformation of the airport is welcome by air travellers who are happy that such a project will give a facelift to the over 20 year old airport. Ayodele said the airport will no longer base its revenue generation on aeronautics alone, but as it is all over, airports are generating more capital from non-aeronautical services. He said it is the way to go for development to rapidly reach the airport. He praised the Minister of Aviation for the works being done stating that in her time, she has shown political will and courage despite all odds to ensure that the airports grow and improve the country’s GDP. He said: “You mentioned that in other climes, non aeronautical services also contribute to the revenue base. Yes, in an ideal situation 70 per cent of revenue is supposed to be gotten from non- aeronautical but because of the peculiar nature in Africa, we rely so much on aeronautic revenue and that is exactly a replica of what is happening in Nigeria where we now totally rely on oil.
Aero updates online ticket payments
ERO Airlines has announced the addition of Quickteller mobile platform as another online payment channel for her passengers. This service enables customers make payment for tickets on quickteller mobile site on their mobile phones. The function, which gives a wider choice of self service options, can be processed from Aero website, where customers choose the option of making payment via quickteller mobile at http:// m.quickteller.com. The new payment option was introduced as part of the National development as the Nation prepares for the CashLite Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Captain Akin George, Managing Director of Aero, said: “We are proud to offer this service to all our customers. Adding quickteller to our website payment option is for safer and easier payment, we are offering more options and even greater flexibility to customers purchasing travels at Aero. Quickteller provides just the kind of security and convenience that meets our travellers’ expectations.” Aero leads West African aviation in e-services, introducing various booking and payment options to make air travel convenient for customers.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
MARITIME Tackling foreign domination of maritime, other sectors By Yakubu Datti
Jonathan okays army, Navy, others patrol of waterways, oil terminals
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has ap proved the joint patrol of the territorial waters by the Navy, Army, Customs and Police. Sources at the Federal Ministry of Transport told The Nation that the operatives have been deployed in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) head office in Lagos. Their presence will ensure increased movement of coastal vessels on the waterways and also make the ports more user-friendly. Sources said their deployment followed the report of the International Bargaining Forum (IBF), which declared the territorial waters
Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent
“unsafe”because of increased pirates’ activities. The government, the official said, is worried by the depletion of fish stocks and illegal oil bunkering on the high sea. According to the official, illegal fishing costs African countries over $1 billion yearly, $60 million of the loss. But the nation, the source said, is importing over $200 million worth of seafood products yearly to supplement local production. The security arrangement, the source said, is also for the crude oil ter-
minals, including Escravos, Forcados, Penington, Brass, Bonny, among others, in both Eastern and Niger Delta areas where crude oil production is being carried out. The Head, Legal Office of NIMASA, Mr Mathew Egbadon, said the security arrangement would help the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and NIMASA to monitor the ships on the waterway and also help address oil bunkering and mid-stream discharges. The security initiative, he said, would also help the agency to tackle vessels that are not equipped with the codes that are required by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
• President Jonathan
Govt plans fresh cargo clearance methods
HE Presidential Monitoring Committee on Ports Reform headed by Prof. Sylvester Monye is contemplating a new method to facilitate cargo clearance. Investigation by The Nation showed that the measures,when introduced, would be better than those at Cotonou and Ghana ports. It would boost trade if the government stops the unnecessary delays in cargo clearance and avert congestion. The committee has recommended to the Federal Executive Council that proforma invoice, Form ‘M’ and other forms on cargo import and export should be sent to service providers, terminal operators and security agents electronically to reduce human contact and stop extortion and the ports. Also, the committee has recommended that enquiries, corrections and classifications on documents submitted electronically in-
cluding proforma invoices should be done online by service providers, terminal operators, importers, clearing agents and government agencies at ports in the stipulated period. The committee also wants the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) to be issued electronically and shipment start immediately after it has been issued. Importers, the committee said, should be ready to pay their duties before the arrival of vessels based on the RAR that has been sent to them. Import declaration, the committee recommended,
should also be made through Data Trade Input (DTI) and sent electronically to the relevant authority for action. All inbound cargoes, the committee said, must be subjected to pre-scanning to determine on or off-dock delivery based on the level of risk evaluation. Also, containers that require 100 per cent examinations by Customs should be taken to bonded terminals while others are released electronically and accessed through Electronic Data Inter-change (EDI), the committee added. Shipping lines, the com-
mittee said, should collaborate with bonded terminals for laden containers and returned empty. When these have been achieved, the committee said, containers would be exited from the port and or bonded terminals as soon as payments are confirmed. When contacted, the committee Chairman, Monye said the report of the subcommittee had been received by him and that the presidential committee will soon engage stakeholders on the new methods to facilitate trade at the ports and boost the nation’s revenue.
‘Enforce Shippers Council Act’
HE Federal Government has been urged to enforce the provisions of the Act establishing the Shippers’ Council. The Act stipulates that for the administration of the council, it is expected to charge one per cent of freight. Briefing reporters on the
activities of the council, Biu lamented that nobody is paying the council one per cent of freight as stipulated by the Act. Speaking with The Nation in his office last week, the Managing Director, Badmus Shipping Company, Mr Fola Badmus, said the council recovered N1 billion through
the Cargo Defence Fund. Over 400 claims by aggrieved shippers, he said, have also been settled by the council in the last 18 months. The shipper, therefore, lamented that inadequate funding was seriously affecting the operations of the council.
HERE are many job opportunities in the maritime sector, but unfortunately they are not open to Nigerians. The sector is dominated by foreigners who man Nigerian vessels at the expense of unemployed but competent nationals. Asians have also been reported to be working as sales attendants in cities, such as Lagos, Kano and elsewhere. Nigerians working in those outlets are only being used to do jobs that require physical energy. Undoubtedly, the growing foreign influence on internal security cannot be overlooked following reports that mercenaries from the Chad basin are part of those wreaking havoc in the Northeast. It is against this background that the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, introduced e-business as a tool for governance as he reinvents the Ministry. The Ministry of Interior has entered into a ‘Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with Anchor Dataware Solutions (ADS), an experienced information technology (IT) outfit that has provided a wide range of IT solutions to governments and the private sectors with reliability, responsibility, and flexibility since 2002. More than ever before, the Federal Government needs to curtail the abuse of expatriate quota; however it is in the managing and monitoring of expatriate activities that more work needs to be done.With the increasing activities of insurgents and the proliferation of small arms along the West African sub-region it has become pertinent for the government to ensure that all foreigners behave and act within the ambit of the country’s laws. ADS as a strategic partner will use its expertise to provide for the integration and automation of the operations of the Department of Citizenship and Business, as it streamlines its Naturalisation/Expatriate Quota Management System. The system allows data to flow among the public, service professionals, and public service agencies; data from multiple regions can be quickly centralised and converted into useful information. Some of the benefits of this scheme is the effective work flow and streamlined efficient document management system that will enable companies to apply on-line as well as access non-security information of naturalisation and expatriate quota administration guidelines which is cumbersome to come by, this is a unique opportunity to cut the red tape that comes with such processes. When the tapes disappear this will no doubt institute a legacy of effective and functional business process and boost the Nigerian global image with minimum realisation time of companies’ applications and other sundry requests. It will also insure active utilisation of quota grants and eliminate quota racketing by non-functional companies; through active and effective ‘on-line’ monitoring by the immigration department, thereby leading to a reduction in unemployment. If the latter is adequately taking care of this will pave the way for the enforcement of the Nigerianisation of expatriate positions over a defined period by their Nigerian understudies and by this, transfer of knowledge for sustained self development will be guaranteed. Government policies need to be dynamic, they should be structured in such a way that they will enable government to accurately manage, track, and forecast future expenditures and funding. They should ensure that current projects carried out, their performances maximised and their trajectories evaluated. The vision that drives Naturalisation/Expatriate Quota Management System has benefited from strategic thinking and a vibrant infusion of ideas. More than ever before it is imperative for the scheme to come on stream as a newspaper noted in its editorial of January 16: “it is not unknown to the government that millions of idle hands have been providing the pool from which anarchists have been drawing to cause social upheavals. This is why the government should view the present situation with all seriousness, because it has been having a very harmful effect on the creation of job opportunities. The argument that foreign-owned enterprises are paying the piper and, therefore, have the right to bring in whoever they choose to serve in whatever capacity is uninformed and disgusting. It clearly shows that the immigration service is an integral part of the problem it exists to solve. Foreign nationals whose modes of entry and sojourn in this country constitute a violation of Nigeria’s Immigration Act should be made to face the rigours of the law and, thereafter, sent packing”.
• Datti, a former Plateau State Information Commissioner, writes from Abuja
ISPS can’t stop security challenges By Oluwakemi Dauda
HE Managing Director of Export Development Agency, Mr Bolaji Adesegun, has criticised the much-touted International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), saying the policy is not the solution to maritime security in the country. Speaking with The Nation in Apapa on Friday, Adesegun said before the code was introduced, the shipping industry in West Africa was security problems. He lamented that shipping, oil and gas industries have expanded without carrying the host communities along. Adesegun observed that ISPS was made to protect certain interests against terrorism. He, however, said when the needs of the people of the host communities are met, the security challenges would be reduced. He said the neglect of these communities has resulted in the insecurity in the Niger Delta area. “In the Niger Delta area, the country has a huge human capacity, a huge maritime, oil and gas industry, a huge coastline, but has a single maritime training institution, which is grossly inadequate so that the militants could be gainfully employed.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY,JULY 25, 2012
EDITORIAL/OPINION EDITORIAL FROM OTHER LAND
The IOC’s missed chance to honor Munich victims
Railing ahead •Hope still abounds for the light rail project for Lagosians
HIS is going to be the most impactful project this state has ever had.” Impressive as it sounds, this statement by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, doesn’t seem like a mere boast. He was referring to the N70bn Lagos light rail line project that is being financed by his administration. The ambitious venture is designed as a high-capacity, electrically powered rail mass transit system. According to the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), which is supervising the scheme, the light rail project would comprise a network of seven rail lines, namely, Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple, Brown and Orange. However, four years after the contract was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), work is behind schedule, with the project still in the first phase of construction. The scheme has been disappointingly delayed by reviews and shifting deadlines. The 27.5km Blue Line, which is to run from Marina to Okokomaiko and constitutes the first phase of the project, is now scheduled for completion in 2015 as only the first eight kilometres of the rail line is expected to be completed this year, that is, from Mile 2 to the National Theatre. According to LAMATA, the Blue Line would have 13 stations, with the end-to-end journey time approximated at 35 minutes. Most of the route will be on the surface, running east-west, in the central reservation of the rebuilt 10-lane Badagry Expressway between Igbo-Elerin Road (Okokomaiko) and Iganmu. The line will run on elevated structure from Iganmu along the south side of the expressway,
passing the junction with Eric Moore Road, crossing just south of the National Theatre to Iddo, then south to Lagos Island, with a terminal at Marina. The line will operate over a secure and exclusive right-of-way, with no level crossings and no uncontrolled access by pedestrians or vehicles. The construction setback is reportedly connected with funding difficulties, which the state government will have to overcome to keep the plan on course. There can be no excuse for failure to realise the laudable vision. However, the alleged dearth of state funds is only one dimension of the challenges that may hinder the project. Apart from the administration’s required financial commitment, the success of the project is also dependent on the provision of rolling stock by the concessionaire that would operate the line. Under the plan, the state government is expected to sign a concession agreement with a private contractor that would provide the railway equipment, including electric power, signalling, rolling stock and fare collection equipment. Although the proposed involvement of the private sector in the operation of the line is likely to boost its efficiency, that stage of the project is still in the future and uncertain. When the line is, hopefully, completed, there is no doubt that it would be a welcome blessing to commuters who travel on public transport in Lagos and who daily contend with transport headaches. The rail line would expectedly complement road transport which remains the major mode of transport in the state. Imagine how far rail transport can go in easing
transport difficulties in the state when all the planned seven rail lines are eventually completed! According to Fashola, “You can only imagine the number of people that will be employed, both directly and indirectly, when the project is finished. It will reduce travel time and all the stress associated with traffic will be removed. Lagosians will travel in comfort.” While the Lagos light rail network is an excellent idea that should be pursued to a logical conclusion, we however urge the government to also give serious consideration to improving water transport in the state which proudly bears the appellation “State of Aquatic Splendour” because of an abundance of water. There is an urgent need to exploit the available waterways for the benefit of commuters in the megacity.
‘When the line is, hopefully, completed, there is no doubt that it would be a welcome blessing to commuters who travel on public transport in Lagos and who daily contend with transport headaches. The rail line would expectedly complement road transport which remains the major mode of transport in the state’
Ovie-Whiskey (1924-2012) •Perhaps his record would have been better if he had not accepted the FEDECO job
ORMER Chairman of the defunct Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), Justice Victor OvieWhiskey, died in the early hours of July 18, in his country home in Agbarho, Ughelli North Council, Delta State, after a protracted illness. As FEDECO chairman, he was renowned for organising the widely denigrated 1983 general elections. Indeed, his tenure at the commission cannot be easily obliterated from the nation’s history, for laying the foundation that culminated in the take-over by the military in December, 1983. The coup was the beginning of what was later to become 16 unbroken years of military rule, the effects of which Nigerians are yet to recover from. That was probably why 29 years after leaving public office, and up till his death, Justice Ovie-Whiskey was still being haunted by the outcome of that election which many Nigerians believed was massively rigged in favour of the then ruling party, the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Ovie-Whiskey was born on April 6, 1924. It was after years of law practice and meritorious service as a judge that he was appointed by then President Shehu Shagari to head FEDECO from 1980- 1983. Whatever good qualities the erudite jurist had suffered noteworthy dimple after the 1983 general elections. His case gave impetus to insinuations that any occupant of the electoral top post is doomed no matter how impeccable his track record is. Ovie-Whisky, a noteworthy Chief Judge of Bendel State (now Edo and Delta States) soiled his record with the unworthy electoral record that sang
the nunc dimitis of that republic. He drew flak to himself with his optimistic view of an election widely seen to be the worst in history that he conducted when in 1983 he reportedly said: “We did not expect to be perfect.” It was true nobody expected a perfect election; but what happened in the 1983 elections were not about perfection or imperfection; it was a clear case of massive electoral rigging that gave the ruling party an undeserved landslide victory. The rest is history. Justice Ovie-Whiskey also jocularly rebuffed insinuations that he collected an inducement of one million naira from the NPN when he quipped that he would faint if he saw N1 million cash. In later years, he dismissed his earlier position, saying that such amount meant nothing to him. Justice Ovie-Whiskey attended King’s College Lagos; Yaba Higher College and University College, Ibadan -now University of Ibadan. He worked briefly as marine clerk and later taught at Western Boys High School, Benin City, and Hussey College, Warri, in present day Delta State. From teaching, he proceeded to the University of London to study civil law and jurisprudence. He was called to the United Kingdom (UK) Bar in 1952 after which he returned to Nigeria to practise as a lawyer until his appointment in 1960 as a magistrate in the Western Region. In 1963, he was elevated to the post of pioneer Chief Magistrate of the then newly formed MidWestern Region that was renamed Bendel State in 1976. He rose to become the Chief Judge of the state.
Ovie-Whiskey had a rewarding career as a legal practitioner and later a jurist of high standing. But, the speck in his public life that will continue to haunt him even in death was his questionable handling of the 1983 elections. Perhaps he would have been better celebrated if he had not taken up the FEDECO appointment. Notwithstanding, his life should serve as a lesson to living occupants of the position that beyond the momentary glories of today, the verdict of history is one salient fact that should not be ignored. Adieu, Justice Ovie-Whiskey!
‘He drew flak to himself with his optimistic view of an election widely seen to be the worst in history that he conducted when in 1983 he reportedly said: “We did not expect to be perfect.” It was true nobody expected a perfect election; but what happened in the 1983 elections were not about perfection or imperfection; it was a clear case of massive electoral rigging that gave the ruling party an undeserved landslide victory’
N FRIDAY, THE 2012 Olympic Games will open with a reported $40 million extravaganza, featuring 15,000 performers and 25,000 costumes under the orchestration of “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle. Mr. Boyle’s production is rumored to include actor Daniel Craig (a.k.a. James Bond) jumping out of a helicopter and ringing a 30-ton bell, a landscape decorated with several dozen live animals, and dancers and trapeze artists, dressed in Sgt. Pepper-like attire, cavorting to the Beatles’ greatest hits. Regrettably, though, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found that it could not spare 60 seconds to pay tribute to 11 athletes slain at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago. For much of those 40 years, families of the slain members of the Israeli team have appealed to the IOC for a moment of silence at an Olympic Games. Ankie Spitzer, the widow of 1972 Israel fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, gathered more than 100,000 signatures in support. The White House and the Israeli Knesset, as well as representatives in the German and Italian governments, backed Ms. Spitzer’s petition. Still, the IOC refused to schedule a minute of silence in its nearly three-hour opening ceremony. IOC President Jacques Rogge explained that “the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.” Instead, Mr. Rogge attended a moment of silence Monday in the Olympic village. The IOC also plans to acknowledge the Munich victims by participating in an Aug. 6 reception at London’s Guildhall and attending a Sept. 5 ceremony at the airfield in Fuerstenfeldbruck, where much of the massacre, by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, took place. But only 100 people or so attended Monday’s little-publicized moment of silence. The Israeli Embassy, Israeli Olympic Committee and the Jewish community in London will put on the Aug. 6 event, and the IOC’s participation will be minimal. That same day, 22 gold medals will be awarded across eight sports, while events in 12 other sports take place, drawing attention away from whatever Mr. Rogge has planned for the Guildhall reception. The Zionist Federation will host the Sept. 5 ceremony, long after the Olympics is over. The Munich massacre was not just an Israeli tragedy; it was an Olympic tragedy and a world tragedy. Forty years after the awful event, the fallen athletes deserve to be remembered at Friday’s opening ceremony, in front of 80,000 spectators and an estimated 4 billion TV viewers worldwide. Mr. Rogge’s priorities do no credit to the Olympic movement. – Washington Post
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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
IR: Former military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida made a precise assessment of late Chief Awolowo when the latter visited Dodan Barrack in 1986. Said he “ It can truly be said that Awo has been the main issue in Nigeria’s politics during the last 35 years; the great political question is whether one is for Awo or against him”. Nothing can be done against the truth but for the truth. Awo was resolute and had his ideological framework on four cardinal programmes which he pursued with apostolic zeal in the five states controlled by his party in 1979. Today, our present day politicians leave leprosy only to grumble on how to treat ring-worms. Instead of sound educational policy, what we see are palliative measures such as payment for G.C.E forms for students and disbursing bursary allowance. Awo’s discipline, commitment and high sense of purpose ranked him above any politician past and
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Leadership lessons from Awo present. you can not fault him when it came facts and figures. The life of this sage was coloured with virtues and principles that if emulated today will translate our economy and political systems from its backwardness to take lead among the comity of nations. Awo was a good reader. Thoughtful reading enhances analytical thinking. The following blue prints featured in his bulletin to his associates: Do not enjoy in government what you cannot provide for yourself in your private life. Never receive gratification from anyone that will make you unable to look straight at the givers face
when you meet thereafter. Do not collude with Civil servants to defraud government for in doing so you desecrate the office you hold. These principles brought his exhilarating performance fueled by efficiency as he boldly funded free education, constructed good roads and built projects that one can still vividly see around today. Now that we have oil, we suffer the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty and scarcity in the midst of abundance. People that govern live in affluence and enjoy pleasures that bring pressures on the masses, their priorities become our ruins. Education sector has been bastardized. Let it be stated that money can
speak but cannot think; hence we need disciplined leaders, great thinkers to direct aright. Selfish people are useless people. In an interview with the New Nigerian in 1979, Awo declared bluntly that if elected as president that year, “To finance free education, we are going to block wastage like the N350 million allocated to be spent on chocolate in the third national development plan. For the four years of my administration, there will be no dinner, no banquet, no luncheon. Nobody will drink anything but water in the office, including my office if I am elected president. Nigeria needs a shock treatment” .
EFCC and Kogi politics
IR: I read with suppressed disgust the public petition brought against the EFCC by the International Centre for Advancement of Justice and Peace in Emerging Democracies, ICJAPED on the Kogi gubernatorial imbroglio. Indeed, were it not for the failure of our law enforcement agencies, there exist many people that would be doing time and making acquaintances with other prisoners of like minds in our already overcrowded jails. Specifically, those that should be behind the bars for illegality, wastage of tax payers’ money and impunity are those who committed crimes against the state by disobeying with impunity the Supreme Court judgment of January 27, as well as the instruction of the Attorney General of the Federation. As in the words of then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher (rtd) “In Kogi State, it was widely reported that the President of the Customary Court of Appeal had to swear in a governor
when the Chief Judge who was constitutionally charged with the role, had refused to do so, until he had ascertained the true import of the decision of the Supreme Court. This is clearly wrong”. Sadly, all these were greeted with a conspiracy of silence by both law enforcement agents and the leadership echelon in the country. I have often asked if the Nigerian leadership enjoys abdicating duties and responsibilities, yet disregarding the sacrosanctity of the provisions in the constitution. In as much as I would have loved to join the crowd in protesting vigorously against the allegations on EFCC, I am cautioned by the very fact that the EFCC is a small distraction in Kogi politics because many things that have been allowed to take place are beyond belief in both our legal and democratic society of today. The people of Kogi have lost their liberties in Nigeria’s fledgling democracy long ago and this has nothing to do with hierarchy of the EFCC. However, I must not fail to advise the EFCC to becareful so as
not to be dragged into the already messy situation in Kogi State. The reason being that the politicians that are encouraging EFCC’s involvement are only desirous to use it to sustain their plot to impose totalitarian controls in order to tighten their grip on power for selfish ends especially at this critical stage of our existence.
I therefore encourage President Goodluck Jonathan not to confine the investigation on Kogi politics to the allegations against the EFCC but expand it to cover all other areas that will yield progress for the Kogi people. • Yahaya Etila Aneibo Quarters, Lokoja-Kogi State
This is a reminder to our leaders that spend wastefully using public fund for selfish ends. A leader’s mistake is a leading mistake. To be the head, there is need to conquer the body. The best way to sanitize all arms of government is to make the offices financially unattractive. Responding to how he came about his enlarged heart and sound economic skills, Awo said and I quote “ I have no monopoly of wisdom, but when other leaders are carousing with ladies of shady characters, I am always at my table working hard at the country’s economic problems. Only the deep can call to the deep.” He that lives in illegitimate pleasures is dead while still living. If immorality is not punished there can be no incentive for morality. Many politicians deceptively opine that they can ignore their ignorance but ignorance cannot ignore them. The would-be office holder must be ready for spiritual and political education. Reading is the best way to extend the frontiers of knowledge. One should be well equipped to apply the principles. One can reap the rich reward of mental abilities that is capable of making one to become problemsolvers and solution providers because knowledge without ability to present it, is useless. • Ezekiel Kolawole Custom Road, Ikotun, Lagos
Please reconsider this church project
IR: I read in the Property page,The Guardian Monday July 16,a report titled, Parishioners pick contractor for Lekki N1.5 BillionChurch. Its actually an Anglican Church complex. I would like to makesome comments. Religion has helped to promote family, friendship and community. Its has also produced great art, great architecture and great music. Also it has helped to promote literacy but I just do not understand the 21st century justification of building this church with 1.5 billion naira perhaps with imported building mate-
rials. Then there is an imported church organ, imported this, imported that? Can Africans not worship God with their own resources and resoucesfulness? Duro Ladipo was expelled from the Baptist Church for playing the Bata drum. They thought he was trying to introduce other gods into the church.The church can do with local building materials. Besides 1.5 billion would feed 140,000 starving West African children for a while.1.5 billion naira can also go to upgrading the Ajayi Crowther University owned by the Anglican Comunion
where a student recently died due to an alleged lack of acess to a generator at the health centre. 1.5 billion could as well go into a hospital project. Lastly the birthplace of Ajayi Crothwer, African father of Anglicanism in Osoogun has beeen neglected. The residents have cried out. It could be transformed into a Tourist Haven. I do not want to be seen as a spoilt sport. I might be wrong in these views. Please stop this church project. • Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth, London,England.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
More non-textbooks pls; Oteh; NASS’s latest Constitutional Review- Mark’s hour of glory?
O the Federal Government listens and belatedly it takes action. N6 billion for text books, of which the allocation is four million books to Tony South-south zone! Good Marinho but not enough and not worth a ‘government boast’ or celebrating what is a long overdue classroom correction of a 30 year-old chronic government mismanagement scam and child abuse in empty classrooms. Books are basic and routine and ‘unsung’ in all responsible countries. Does Cameron or Obama announce books for schools? Books make a school a school. Students and teachers go to ‘school’ –a place with books! Warning: Why does government insult and reduce the potential intelligence of our pupils? No Nigerian child is stupid enough to have a ‘core subjects’ brain for ‘core subjects’ textbooks only. Internationally it is recognised that every child, including every Nigerian child, is gifted by God with a huge multipurpose brain needing immediate development by text and non-text books! A future looking, 202020 government, led by truly Nigerian educated Nigerians, would be expected to lay the strong broad education foundation which educates its youth broadly as the brain is ‘multisubject’. Therefore please ask government to cater better for Nigeria’s children’s brain and immediately provide more subject books in history, literature, arts and craft, general knowledge, dictionaries, encyclopaedia and of course masses of story books and novels. Now, not in five years time! This will make youths interested enough to enjoy school thereby getting better grades and be knowledgeable enough to become self-employed from wide entrepreneurial education! Therefore beg government and NASS to urgently increase this ‘Emergency Education Book Intervention Fund’ to N17b and buy literature books by Nigerian and foreign authors. Under true federalism, leave the books selection up to the local schools to avoid mega corruption in school book lists. It makes no sense if all Nigerian children read the same three books to the exclusion of 5000 other better books. Va-
riety is the spice of life and the bedrock of knowledge. We sympathise with Governor Ajimobi of Oyo State on his mother’s death. May she rest in perfect peace. CBN confirms statistics that Nigerians are forced to ‘burn’ $13b on fuelling generators due to celebrated 30 year chronic government incompetence in power management. And now we have Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail, 36 months, contract re-awarded again! No Uhuru until then!!! Miss Oteh cannot be cleared by NASS as she exposed them publicly for what they are. Perhaps SEC staff knows this and this is why they insist on NASS clearance –an impossibility. The NASS cannot be judge and jury in its own matter and ‘getting Oteh’ seems to be top of NASS agenda! The House behaves with a defensive or protective herd mentality. If you cross or expose one, then expect attack from all of them. Therefore justice may be difficult and ‘bowing’ may not be enough to assuage the NASS rage. No group likes to be seen to be made a fool of. The NASS can still redeem its image through, not cheap image laundering, but by real work by the ongoing Senate Committee Review of the Constitution. It certainly seems to be starting on the right note. Mark, Deputy Speaker, Governors and particularly the Guest Speaker emphasising the need for fiscal and true federalism, revision of the revenue formula, more power for LGAs, cancellation of multiple taxation, a single five-year term for all CEO public office post and other points raised during lead addresses were an inspiration! But inspiration is inadequate in Nigeria where we vomit hundreds of ‘inspiration’ speeches at Ladi Kwali Hall and NIIA Conferences shown on TV and wise press articles daily, all signifying nothing and with no correction of our huge deficits. Once again the NASS is presented with an opportunity to legislate Nigeria out of a quagmire trap set by past military, ethnic and regional agendas. NASS failed woefully in the past, bitterly disappointing the masses because of a suspected Obasanjo’s ‘Hidden Third Term Agenda’. Will NASS fail the Nigerian people again? Probably, but not necessarily! We do not yet know how principled this NASS really is. Can it rise above the moral mire to great glory? Is Ex-General Mark the man to lead this NASS into the
history books and draw us away from the brink of violence and disaster? Is Mark strong and visionary enough to be a real civilian General and lead NASS across party, ethnic, religious lines and pressures to be true Nigerians and give Nigeria back to Nigerians, to take Nigeria back to being a proud nation to which we Nigerians all want to belong and stand up with pride when the National Anthem is played? Mark stands on the brink of history. Will Mark and House of Reps Speaker and the NASS fail us again? Could 2012 really be the watershed we have prayed, worked and suffered all our lives for? It may just be. A female CJN Muktar, a new constitution review [NASS permitting], the Petroleum Industry Bill [NASS permitting], IGP Abubakar’s No Checkpoints Policy, N6b books in schools [though N17b books are needed from FG], the exposure of multibillion scams in petroleum and pensions are all good steps in the right direction. We await such exposés in road contracts and the customs. Now will someone fill 10,000 potholes using old PWD methods with just N300,000,000 of the N526.2billion Nigeria is sharing for May 2012.
Could 2012 really be the watershed we have prayed, worked and suffered all our lives for? It may just be. A female CJN Muktar, a new constitution review [NASS permitting], the Petroleum Industry Bill [NASS permitting], IGP Abubakar’s No Checkpoints Policy, N6b books in schools [though N17b books are needed from FG], the exposure of multibillion scams in petroleum and pensions are all good steps in the right direction.
Sick airports, sick airlines
HORTLY after the unfortunate Dana crash on June 3, I left the country for a well-deserved vacation in the United States. And for some five weeks, I had a breath of fresh air, undiluted by any form of pollution – human or nature. But as I prepared to come back home, the news of the gory massacre on the Plateau came. A sitting senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the majority leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly and several others were callously mowed down by some barbarians engaged in an endless ethnic cleansing. Nigeria we hail thee! Well, the story today is that many of our airports in the country have been turned into huge construction sites. And when you look closely, you tend not to know what value these will add to the rot that is visible everywhere –at the lobbies, ticketing counters, restrooms (those ones are eyesores), or even the mannerism of the airport staff or security agents at the various airports. The Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the major gateway to the country, is also not immune from all the negative impressions about airports in Nigeria. On my way out of the country through the airport, more than 80 percent of the passengers were kept standing at the boarding gate for United Airlines’ flight to Houston, Texas. I had checked in early enough to give me more time to make some final calls to people but that could not be done as passen-
gers were crammed into a little, tiny space that could hardly accommodate even a quarter of them. And even at that, people were kept standing for hours, waiting to board the flight like school children on the morning assembly. Also on your way out, you may not encounter much problem at the check-in counters. Where you are actually confronted by the ‘Nigerian factor’is at the security checkpoints. No matter what, the police, customs, immigration, NDLEA and other agents at the airports are glorified beggars. And they have their accustomed methods of fleecing money out of your pocket. I am sure those guys can squeeze water out of stone if need be. They are just too desperate for money. One good news, however, is that the procedure for clearing travellers coming into the country at the airport has tremendously improved. I witnessed that on my arrival. It was prompt and faster than ever before, although a lot needs to be done to make the environment more user-friendly. Still having not fully recovered from the Dana air disaster, I had promised myself that on my return to Nigeria, I was going to avoid using domestic flights or travelling out of Lagos for some time. Not even on the roads that are potholeinfested or where armed robbers are permanently on the prowl. But I had to break that vow barely three days after my arrival when I made an urgent trip for a crucial meeting in Port Harcourt last Tuesday.
‘Like every other thing in this country, where retrogression has supplanted progress, where dilapidation has overcome innovation, we might as well be in for a long, tortuous time to recovering from the nightmare in the aviation industry’
I left Lagos on Aero’s first flight to the Garden City at 7.a.m and arrived there around 8.a.m. I headed straight to the venue of the meeting. By 1.30p.m, after about three hours of deliberation, the meeting was over. Earlier that morning, I had been informed that Aero’s return flight scheduled for 4p.m had been moved to 5.30p.m. My preference was for a day-time flight since the skies in Nigeria could be ‘unfriendly’ to air passengers particularly at night. So when the flight was moved a bit further, I had reasoned that even at 5.30p.m, I could still arrive in Lagos before nightfall. Anyway, by the time I got back to Port Harcourt airport, it was chaos galore. The whole airport had been taken over by anxious passengers waiting to catch their flights out of the city. It was just then that I was told that passengers who had been scheduled to travel to Lagos and other parts of the country, especially Abuja, had been stranded at the airport all day. Obviously, the Dana crash, which necessitated the withdrawal of the airline’s licence and the grounding of other airlines either officially or by their owners, had narrowed the choice of passengers to two major airlines – Aero and Arik – with IRS Airlines as another choice. Last Tuesday, the Aero flight that was on its way to Lagos from Port Harcourt was said to have suffered a bird strike mid-air and had to return to the airport about 20 minutes after take-off. One of the aircraft’s propellers was reportedly damaged and had to be repaired. But then the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, the supervising organ for air transport in Nigeria, refused to allow the aircraft fly even after the repairs were carried out. I have no problem with such safety precautions, but that led to delays and cancellations. Conse-
quently, the airline’s Flight 314 earlier scheduled for 12.15p.m could not take off until at about 8.10p.m. My own Flight 316, which had earlier been rescheduled from 4p.m to 5.30p.m, was rescheduled and postponed several times that evening. The last Aero flight for that day, which was earlier scheduled for 8p.m, was cancelled. Arik flights were also not left out. However, Aero Flight 316 finally departed Port Harcourt for Lagos on that Tuesday at about 1.30a.m! We arrived in Lagos at about 2.30a.m and I finally got to my house at 3.05a.m. My driver who had arrived the airport early that evening paid N1,000 for parking at the rate of N100 per hour, having stayed in the parking lot waiting for upwards of 10 hours. My long wait at the Port Harcourt airport that day afforded me a rare opportunity of witnessing firsthand, what has become a dangerous but regular feature at our airports. The airport suffered two blackouts in quick succession. The first one was at about 9.35p.m when darkness suddenly descended on the airport. It lasted for about three minutes. The second one occurred about 35 minutes later, and that lasted for about seven minutes. One interesting thing is that the second power outage occurred a few seconds after an Arik aircraft touched down and was taxiing to park for passengers to disembark. That incident triggered a lot of condemnation by passengers who hissed and heaped curses on no one in particular. The delays, rescheduling and cancellations resulted in the failure of many of the international–bound passengers to connect their flights in Lagos that night. Some of the agitated passengers ceaselessly cursed the system that never works in the country. It was a horrible scene, while it lasted.
Dele Agekameh One curious thing is that the aircraft that finally took us to Lagos at 2.30a.m had earlier taken passengers to Lagos at about 8.10p.m, got back to Port Harcourt again and left for Abuja before finally returning to Port Harcourt at 12.40a.m for the journey to Lagos at about 1.30a.m. As we disembarked in Lagos, I kept wondering why the airline industry in Nigeria has deteriorated so much and the prospect of it getting out of the woods anytime soon may as well remain a mirage. Like every other thing in this country, where retrogression has supplanted progress, where dilapidation has overcome innovation, we might as well be in for a long, tortuous time to recovering from the nightmare in the aviation industry. But with promises made at a safety conference for African Aviation Ministers in Abuja last week, the government seems to be gearing up to provide the needed impetus to bail out the industry. It is only hoped that the ‘holistic and far reaching’ intervention promised by the government, will shore up the capacity of domestic airlines and ensure safety in the skies. Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
EDITORIAL/OPINION ‘Re: The fixer’s last dance. I think we should thank Almighty God for making the Edo election end peacefully. For those journalists who analyzed objectively before the election, kudos! For those with bias, they need to cause progress for Nigeria rather than fan ember of discord. Shouts, alerts, alarm and rejection of the army were the same ‘do or die’ politics OBJ was accused of then. Let us have some element of trust in institutions placed for us by governments. Congratulations to Oshiomhole and Mr. Fix it should learn that position is transient. From Lanre Oseni’
For Olatunji Dare Prof., we have disallowed the fix-it veteran from fixing this one. It is the end of the road for a professional rigger. From Alh. Adeboye Lawal. Re: The fixer’s last dance. I think we should thank Almighty God for making the Edo election end peacefully. For those journalists who analysed objectively before the election, kudos! For those with bias, they need to cause progress for Nigeria rather than fan ember of discord. Shouts, alerts, alarm and rejection of the army were the same ‘do or die’ politics OBJ was accused of then. Let us have some element of trust in institutions placed for us by governments. Congratulations to Oshiomhole and Mr. Fix it should learn that position is transient. From Lanre Oseni. Dear Doc. Your article on the fixer’s last dance made an interesting reading. Mr. Fix it, an apostle of rigging could not fix it this time around owing to overwhelming support for the comrade governor. It was too hot for Mr Fix it even with the whole arsenal and ballistic missiles at the disposal of security agencies who could not contain Jos crises. Will somebody tell Mr. Fix it to go home and rest after almost two decades in politics? He is now irrelevant in contemporary politics. I salute the courage of the comrade Governor and wish him another four years of purposeful leadership. From Ayo. Apelogun, Ilesha. I think the compilers of the Guinness book of records omitted an important ‘First’ in their compilation. Chief Tony Anenih deserved to be accorded the status of the first person in the history of the world to infamously trade away the victory of his political party in a national presidential election. Please correct me if I am wrong. From Bode Lucas Oga Dare, Please let us forget Mr. Fix it, but pray for the people’s comrade Governor for God to give to him wisdom, knowledge to pilot Edo State to the promised land. Mr. Fix it has been silenced permanently, we pray to God to do same to Oloye of Kwara. From Obed E. O.Ilorin. I am happy Adams won the Edo State governorship election but INEC has refused to change from its evil ways. No sane man will believe Jega that names are missing from register used less than 15 months ago. INEC and Jega are disappointment in this election. I foresee danger in future if INEC continues in this manner. INEC deserves no commendation in this election. From Benedict Ageloisa, Benin City Why should we congratulate Jega for doing the right thing? Having low expectations of ourselves is bad especially if that is what you are supposed to do. Anonymous Prof Dare, I approached your column this morning expecting your trademark denunciations and condemnations, justifiable or not. In the event, I was not disappointed. You started out condemning the President for justifiably deploying troops for the good of the poll. I hope you have heard of or read Governor Oshiomhole’s praise for the President on the conduct of the security forces and their contributions to the success of the poll. The
title of your column is a misnomer. You are NOT at home at all in the context of the current realities in Nigeria. From Iboro, Lagos. Re: The Fixer’s last dance - whilst your piece was an eye opener, may I humbly state here that contrary to your claim, the elections petitions tribunal actually gave victory to Governor Oshiomhole. Also, former Governor Oyegun was elected on the platform of SDP and not DPP. More power to your elbow. From J.I.A Akhigbe, Esq. I enjoyed your piece in The Nation newspaper of July 17 entitled, ‘The Fixer’s Last Dance’. The routine of PDP in Edo State shows clearly that the Godfather is expired and he should do the honorable by bowing out of active politics. Age too is no longer on his side. I recommend that he goes into philanthropy as a way of redeeming his battered image. Anonymous The piece is short-sighted. Rigging will never go because nobody is in jail for the sin. We ask: who are behind the killings before the election? Hear Sun Wu Tzu: Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat. Congrats, Edo. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna. Thanks for your write up. All this would not be possible if not for the wonder performance of the comrade Governor. Anonymous Sir, thanks for the beautiful piece in your regular column in The Nation of July 17, with the titled, The Fixer’s last dance. My only comment is on your submission that, the election petitions tribunal affirmed the purported election of Prof. Oserienmen Osunbor. On the contrary, both the election petitions tribunal and the appellate court nullified Osunbor’s election in favor of Comrade Oshiomhole. May your pen continue to flow from the fountain of wisdom? From Sam Ajana, Benin City. Whoa, what a wonderful write-up. It goes to say that Nigeria is growing by the day, and it is bigger than one man Fix. Kudos. From Yovwe from UNIBEN. Just to point out a minor error in your column today. Osarhiemen Osunbor’s election was never affirmed by any tribunal. He lost both at the election tribunal and at the Court of Appeal. Anenih’s statement was in spite of the tribunal’s judgment. From Dr. I.k. Omoruyi, Benin City That is a wonderful write-up. This is the type of people that have eaten and continue to eat what belongs to the future generations. Congrat, my comrade. From Emma Ochu, from Lokoja. ‘The fixer’s last dance’ is really a thoughtprovoking piece. If I were to be Chief Anenih, it’s time to leave partisanship and become father of all. For his tomorrow and days after, he needs to make this routine his last dance within the nest of politicians. John Odigie-Oyegun was elected as SDP governor, not DDD governor as published in the above article. From Adeycorsim, Oshodi, Lagos. With gratitude to God Almighty, PDP in Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom States regret to announce the untimely death of PDP in EDO state. Aged 12 years. Survived by Chief Tony Anenih, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Chief Dan Orbih, Senator Roland Owie, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe and others. Burial arrangements as announced by the family. Signed; Chief Dan Orbih for the children. Chief Tony Anenih for the family. Anonymous I think you did well in your write-up today in the Nation’s newspaper. Tony Anenih is a failure to his people and the state at large. The people are making him Gods when he is a mere man. A man who cannot even boast
of potable water in his village and good roads. God has finally answered his children’s prayer. Esan people are tired of his deceit and false hope. This is a revolution, so bad leaders must go. Victory is ours. Thank you. Anonymous. Dear Olatunji, thank you a lot. It is every day for the thief and one day for the owner, so the owner’s day came and the thief was caught. Let us then shine our eyes. Anonymous Edo state governorship poll is likened to June 12, 1993 presidential poll. Our dear comrade Oshiomole has conscience. He is a true leader and open minded like the late president Yar’Adua. May he live long? From Edet Useh, Uyo. For Segun Gbadegesin You made up to defend corrupt Lawan because the Tinubus, OBJs, IBBs, IBORIs got super richer after serving. These dirty cash we suspect may have gotten to journalists to suppress hard facts. Someday Lawan too will own large lands in Maroko, newspapers, hotels and big soft drinks factories to oil future ambitions. Anonymous. Prof, as usual your article of today is captivating especially it’s section on dependency syndrome in our system. Perhaps, the system will change. From Dr S.T. Okajare Triumphant celebration of Edo election is not only to Edo people but to all Nigerians, and also a lesson to all ‘MR WRONG FIXER’ in the political landscape in Nigeria that the game is up for them, Nigerians are much more ready now to see the light of the day, or else they will not live including their offspring to spend their loot. From Oladoye, Apete, Ibadan. I agree with the piece that public servants should serve the public and not themselves. The truth is that the social system is based on self-interest, not public interest. That is why thieves in high places go unpunished and because state power is in their hands the people will bear the loss with equanimity. What it means is that the people need the state power in order to build a society that will erase pauperism and penury. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna. I think the corruption issue levied against Lawan is mere gimmicks of the cabal who have been stealing our money, to blackmail an enigma like Lawan, for standing for the truth in line with the mandate given to him by the masses. You can imagine that de laws of our nation stipulate that he who gives bribe is liable to them, same offence as the collector. So where is the position of the man that raises alarm before the law and you, the press? Please, you people should tell Nigerians the truth. From Hon. Edward Akpen Makurdi, Benue State. Thanks for the piece on ‘public service and private greed’. Admittedly, and perhaps regrettably too, Hon Farouk had gone the way of 99 percent of Nigerians in public service, but what the ordinary Nigerian is looking up to is the efficacy of the Lawanian committee report on fuel subsidy regime. Or is the beam on Lawan a bait for Nigerians to close eyes against the hovering danger of the removal? From Oshie Mathias, Calabar. Re-public service and private greed. Lawan was an example of an uncommitted Public servant caught hands-down by a Private sector Otedola in rubbishing the public service. Lawan’s case was worsened by the ‘Integrity’ he code-named his group signifying purity among others. as long as indiscipline and corruption persist and the culprit go unpunished both in public and private sectors, greed will
• Oshiomhole continue to thrive. Development will continue to elude Nigerian nation! Shame on all the corrupt. Shame on Faruk. From Lanre Oseni. Hello Sir! .. I’m Oluwaseun, a 16-year-old reader of your Comment & Debate Articles in Friday Nation, Dad buys the paper almost everyday and I get to read them... Anonymous And really, I enjoy your pieces a lot... Because of the way you view the issues and write about them.. Anonymous. The one you wrote last Friday which is “public service and private greed” was as usual a great Piece.. But Sir you used many terms I am not familiar with, I had to at some points, stop to think about the meaning of the words, check the dictionary, and that interrupted the flow of the reading. Anonymous So I beg Sir.. That you put your “not to advanced in age” readers in mind when writing.. Not all of us are familiar with some political terms.. I appeal that you use more simplified terms.. Or you could just put a small explanation beside the ones that cant be thesaurus-ed. Anonymous Thanks a Lot Sir... And Keep Writing great pieces. Anonymous Re: “Public service and private greed.” What you said is quite true. I am in total support. In our individual capacity as human beings, we all know what obtains today in the society. We know that corruption had eaten deep into the fabric, that no one will be exonerated unless one has not found himself or herself in a situation where you found people soliciting for gratification during or after rendering a service. This corrupt tendency, is so rampant that it has penetrated every par of our private and public life. In the circumstances, therefore, the type of Farouk Lawan flock everywhere and we can only eradicate this vice through personal conviction and sheer determination in the name of building a strong and solid intergrity that will stand the test of time. Majority of Nigerians are not surprised at what happened at all, because a good number of our leaders are today romancing with fantasy and keep on fabricating and stories in an attempt to make the people believe that what they are doing are right. However, what is bad, is bad. A rope in the neck of a hen is an abomination. Leaders who manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert, everyone will flock to them, see the type of support that Farouk Lawan enjoyed from his constituency as he had been in the National Assembly since 1999. But, as the Yoruba will say: Bi aye ba nye ni, iwa ibaje la a hu. If life is so gracious to us, we become a corrupt character over night. From Prince Adewumi Agunloye. You wrote about Public Service: public service of what Nation? Somebody wrote that Amalgamation of 1914 had provision that any tribe not satisfied with the marriage can opt out after 100 years (2014). ‘Nigerians’ do not regard Nigeria as their country! Shikena. Anonymous Lawan was a Sheep in the midst of wolves but failed to be as wise as serpent. That was what made it possible for Otedola to stain his white gown with red oil. From Isaac Ihima
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Council boss rewards students
Gold mining begins in Northwestern state
Youths warned against complacency
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Ogun moves to forestall communal crisis
FTER resolving an intertribal crisis in Ibeshe, a community in YewaSouth Local Government Area of Ogun State, the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun is taking measures to ensure such crisis do not recur. A clash was reported in the community between Yoruba and Hausa residents, claiming property valued in thousands of naira. The state government moved swiftly to douse tensions and normalcy has since been re-
stored. But the Amosun administration did not stop at that; it went on to set up a communication link between leaders of both tribes, according to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo. Through that mechanism, the community leaders will be meeting regularly to make for peaceful co-existence. Besides, Cement Manufacturing giant, Dangote Cement Factory, located in the town, would
soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with its host communities. At a meeting in Abeokuta, the state capital, Oladipo said the state government has already approved a 24-hour surveillance by members of the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement (TRACE) as well as the immediate establishment of a unit of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) at Ilaro to help control heavy traffic caused by heavy-duty trucks in the area. The presence of both organisa-
tions will instill sanity in the area, the Commissioner said. Present at the meeting were Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle, Olu of llaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland; the Olu of lmasayi, the Aboro of lbeseland, the Olu of Igbogila, the Awujako of ljako, the Olu of Aga-Olowu, representatives of Dangote Cement Factory, youths of the host communities, representatives of National Union of Road Transport Workers •Continued on Page 14
N addition to making money and fending for themselves and members of their families, youths in Taraba State are distinguishing themselves as role models in a region struggling with terrorism. How? For a fee, they wash clothes for members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camped at Jalingo, the state capital. And they are washing their way to fame and cash. “The business has kept me away from contemplating crime or evil,” said 23-year-old James Dabanbiko, whose laundry services have made him easily one of the most popular figures at the camp. He said he does not know how to handle a gun and that the only thing he can do very well is wash, dry and iron clothes. From the business, he is able to put food on the table and assist some members of his family. He has been attending to the laundry needs of the Batch B members of the corps at their orientation camp in the Taraba capital. Some 1,968 corps members registered there but no name in the camp rings louder than that of Dabanbiko who is not one of them. A six-footer, Dabanbiko is popularly known as Alhaji Dogo, a Hausa term for a very tall man. When this reporter visited the camp, which is temporally located at Government College, Jalingo, it was not difficult to notice the laundryman. There he was, responding professionally to his clients. Dogo is a secondary school leaver, who did not have the financial backing to go for further studies. But with his little education, he was very much at ease, fielding questions from Newsextra. He said the business has
•Laundrygirl Janet attends to her clients
Taraba youths find work at NYSC camp Corps members’ presence boosts laundry business From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo
helped him stay of crime or violence. He washes and irons a corps member’s khaki uniform for N200. He charges N100 for
washing alone, the same as the cost for ironing. Washing attracts N100 also. Cleaning up a pair of the jungle boots or the white trainer shoes costs N50. It costs N20 to wash a cap, “while N20 can get two pairs of socks
washed”, he said proudly. The price for “express” (urgent service), Newsextra gathered, is higher. Washing clothes in the NYSC camp is not such an easy business as one may think. But girls
have also ventured into it without regret. Dogo, like a few others in the laundry business, is a regular in NYSC camps. There are also other youths, who are new in the trade, trying to find its secrets. “The secret is simple: it’s all about doing a clean job and being time-conscious to meet your customers’ demands. “You must be able to identify each corps member’s clothes, shoes and socks. In my case, I write their Taraba Orientation Numbers on their properties. And they must present their Identification Cards before col•Continued on Page 26
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Taraba youths find work at NYSC camp •Continued from Page 25
lecting any item. “A customer can easily cease his or her patronage once you disappoint them. Corps members have three sets of uniforms and they want to wear what they want at any time to the parade ground, lecture hall, hostel, football field and around the camp. You ought to satisfy them,” he told Newsextra. A few minutes after granting this reporter audience, four female corps members thronged in. They headed straight to the ironing table and one of them brought out some clothes from the polythene bag she was holding. They wanted their uniforms washed and laundered. Female corps members, it was learnt, patronise Dogo more than their male counterparts. That is why his stand, made of Bagco material, is located at the entrance of a female corps members’ hostel. Inside the makeshift shop, there is a table and a charcoal iron. At its roof a lamp was hung to light up the place when night falls. He opens by 5:00am and closes at 8:00pm. “I go home on a daily basis, with at least, from N1,500 to N1,800”, said Dogo, who hails from Zing Local Government Area but often relocate to Jalingo whenever the NYSC camp is open.” ENATE President David Mark and Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam have praised Hon. Anthony Hassah Saleh who represents Ado, Ogbadibo and Okpokwu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives for looking after the well-being of his constituents. Speaking at the one-year constituency briefing by Mr. Saleh in Okpoga in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State recently, Mark, who was represented by the former Minister of State for Education, Dr. Jerry Agada, noted that by attracting over 21 community projects, Saleh has silenced cynics and sceptics in the constituency. He, therefore, urged the people to, irrespective of their political
On a Sunday, especially when the day is sunny, Dogo could go home with as high as from N2,500 to N3,000. But a rainy day could paralyse the business, it was learnt. Adjoining Dogo’s cubicle is a stand run by three girls: Sarah Gambo, Glory Ayuba and Favour Emmanuel. The trio said they came from Wukari to the NYSC camp to set up the joint-stock washing business. “We only wash; we don’t press clothes,” said 20-year old Ayuba. Daily proceeds from the business are shared equally among the trio, after money for detergents and other working ingredients have been removed. Ayuba said: “we earn from N1,500 to N2000 a day”. Another laundry stand is owned by Miss Janet Danladi. The 21-year old spinster left secondary school last year with a lofty dream to proceed to the university but her hope was dashed due to financial constraints. Danladi said she acquired the skills when she started ironing her room-mates’ uniforms in the school hostel. “Then I could accept any appreciation in cash,” she said, adding, “Now it has become a serious enterprise.” As patronage increased in the camp, Danladi said, she employed two boys to work with her; she pays them weekly. She was
•Dogo (middle) attends to a female corps member
ironing and fielding questions from this reporter when two male corps members breezed in. Another chap in the camp, Mr. Boniface Ancher, 22, said the business of washing and ironing corps members’ uniforms has kept him away from crime.
Nwunuken was used to selling GSM recharge cards, but he switched to laundering clothes, which he said is much better than selling recharge cards. A group of corps members who spoke to Newsextra said the youths were doing “a good job”.
One of the corps members who identified herself simply as Pat said: “the dry-cleaners are really trying. After retiring to the hostels from the vigorous platoon exercises, we have no time and the strength to wash, especially me that is the lazy type”.
Mark, Suswam hail lawmaker on service From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi
affiliations, keep faith with the lawmaker so that he could do more for them, even as he pledged to assist Mr. Saleh to succeed in his efforts to uplift the living standard of the people that voted him into power. Also speaking, Governor Gabriel Suswam said the briefing organised by Mr. Saleh will afford members of his constituency the opportunity to assess his performance at the National Assembly. He described him as an
achiever who has brought succour to his community through empowerment and projects that have direct bearing on their lives. The Governor, who spoke through his Deputy, Chief Steve Lawani assured that the state government will continue to synergise with federal lawmakers so as to attract projects to various communities in order to minimise pressure on government. The chairman of the occasion and Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro said with what Hon. Saleh has done for his people, he has thrown a challenge to other lawmakers, even as he said that
•Chairman, Ejigbo LCDA, Kehinde Bamigbetan (left) presenting GCE postcard to Miss Olayinka Ayomide Helen during the distribution of the council’s free GCE forms to 200 beneficiaries at the council secretariat
the lawmaker deserved a second term in 2015. Comrade Moro therefore advised Mr. Saleh to imbibe the cul-
ture of sustainability such that he would make the efforts of those who are eyeing his position in the next dispensation irrelevant.
Ogun moves to forestall communal crisis •Continued from Page 25
(NUTRW), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the police, Market Men and Women Association, and other concerned stakeholders from the 15 host communities. The representative of Dangote Cement Factory, Mr. Joseph Mosadoluwa Alaba, who gave a graphic account of what happened, thanked the state government for its quick and proactive intervention in controlling the situation. Explaining that the firm was alive to its Corporate Social Responsibilities, Mr. Alaba said it will pay all the necessary compensations for lands acquired and also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the communities. He added that Dangote had
also chosen a location for the construction of its trailer park to help ease heavy traffic and develop the area just as it did in Obajana and Gboko communities. Alaba also revealed that the firm, which commenced operations barely four months ago, had signed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with the Federal Government, making it more responsive. Paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Olugbenle, appreciated the steps taken so far by the state government in resolving the crisis. He said Dangote investment at lbese should be seen as a blessing for the socio-economic growth and industrial development of the entire Yewa people and not a curse. The monarch urged all the Obas in Yewaland to unite and desist from doing anything that might threaten peace in their domain.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
HE lawmaker representing Epe 1 constituency at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Tobun Abiodun, has taken several youths in the constituency out of the labour market. No fewer than 200 youths he sponsored in various skills in his constituency have now graduated. This much was learned at a forum in Epe where the lawmaker also rendered account of his stewardship afer one year at the Lagos Assembly. The youths were trained in hairdressing, fashion designing, catering and computer design. He also gave out sewing machines, computers, micro-wave, hair-dryers, grinding machines and power generators to the graduates to practice their trade and start earning a living. The grinding machines were given to some women leaders “who excelled in their various wards as good mobilisers of people”. The lawmaker earlier in the day inaugurated about seven borehole facilities in different communities. The lawmaker said the gesture “was borne out of my passion and mission to ensure that my youths are gainfully employed and ensure they don’t get involved in vices because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. “I grew up in this community and I know that there are no industries here. If the youths are not gainfully employed and they are not involved in anything, there is tendency for them to join bad gangs. This is the second edition of the programme. I did one before I got to the state House of Assembly. The idea is to ensure we train the youths on skills and empower them with working tools.” He revealed that he was motivated to repeat the gesture when he discovered that the first batch of the recipients utilised the tools and the training well, and that most of them are working with the tools. “That inspired me to go further, to ensure that I provide the materials for the younger ones. It is also part of my extending the dividends of democracy to them directly personally.” He advised the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the materials. “It is not as if the money is there for me to flaunt, but I felt I should
HAIRMAN of Ikosi-Ketu Local Government Area of Lagos State, Hon Ayodele Oyesanya has rewarded over 200 secondary school students who excelled during the extra-mural classes organised by the council to improve the standard of education in the council.
•The items given out. Inset: Tobun
Lawmaker provides jobs for constituency youths By Oziegbe Okoeki
be able to give back to my people in my own little way. I want them to use these things for their development. But if they sell the items, they should have it at the back of their mind that they did not do what is expected of them,” he said. The lawmaker commissioned water boreholes at Ise, Lagbade, Ajaganabe and Ojude-Iga communities which he sank and three others at Oke-Iposu, Alakaba and Baado-Oba which he refurbished and rehabilitated. He also provided generating sets each to power the seven boreholes. Rendering account of his steward-
ship in the last one year, Tobun said he has assisted some youths in the area of education by providing them with GCE forms, recommending some for admission in Lagos State University (LASU) as well as paying school fees for others. I have also facilitated the following projects in the area of health: a 250 KVA generator for Epe General Hospital; construction and equipping of Epe Mother and Child center; rehabilitation and equipping of mortuary; refurbishing of existing staff quarters, etc. He has also facilitated completion, reconstruction and rehabilitation of some roads and drainages like Kasali Oluwo road; Oke-Iposu to Ojude-Iga; Kalesanmi street; Shade street to Ayetoro road etc.”
Others including rehabilitation of schools are receiving attention as well,” he said. He disclosed that he has been able to fix some of the qualified youths in some government establishments; while he has also contributed effectively to debates on the floor of the House and also moved people oriented motions which have culminated in the passage of some important bills. Apart from facilitating the provision of transformers to places like Ebute-Afuye; Shade-Ikesan; Oloja Estate; Ajegunle-Papa; OkeBalogun; Moshalasi and other places, Tobun has also taken steps to address the problem of electricity in Epe as the town has been in darkness for about 12 months as he
has been speaking with Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of the state on the issue and solution is in sight, he said. He said “I have given PHCN six weeks to deal with the observed problem, they gave two weeks actually,” he said. On solving the problem permanently, Tobun stressed that there is an-going project to bring 32 megawatts to Epe, which he said would be completed this year and that by this, the issue of electricity problem in the town would be over. Guests at the ceremony included the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Segun Olusesi.
Council boss rewards brilliant students By Jeremiah Oke
The chairman distributed free General Council Examination forms for the students to motivate
them and prepare them for the forthcoming secondary school examination. While distributing the forms to the students at the local government council secretariat, the coun-
•Chairman, Ketu-Ikosi Local Government, Hon Ayodele Oyesanya presenting GCE scratch card to one of the students
cil boss appealed to them to be more serious with their studies and see the extra-mural classes as opportunity to substantially benefit from the government at the grassroots. In his word: “For those who benefitted from this first batch of the free General Examination forms, I want to implore you to work hard enough to record success in the examination. I hereby direct the department of education to work out modalities for procurement of more forms for distribution to other serious students who are yet to benefit” “I also call on each of you to ensure that you make use of the opportunity you are having today by being committed to your education and proceed to the higher institutions. I also appeal to you to see the extra mural classes as an opportunity to improve your skill
of learning”. Oyesanya urged students who were not among the first batch of the beneficiaries to be patient and attend the extra-mural classes, since it is the determinant of the opportunity. While admonishing the students, the chairman implored them to shun truancy and consider education as the only legacy any society can give to its citizen and embrace commitment in whatever they are doing. In his remarks, the managing consultant in charge of the extra-mural screening exercise in the council, Mr. Odetomi Kamiru, said the criteria for selecting the students were based on their performance in the examination conducted after the extramural classes. He said the privilege was given to everyone and that those who performed well got the free GCE forms.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Kebbi to begin gold mining
OVERNOR Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State has said that the state will soon start gold mining in Zuru and Yauri local government areas. He gave this assurance while flaggingoff the 2012 Growth Enhancement support scheme held at Kalgo Local Government of the state, adding that the Chinese contractor will handle the Zuru axis while South Africa and Russia contractors will handle Yauri area. He further explained that with this new development, Kebbi will be rated high among the solid minerals producing state
Kebbi From Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi
in the country. Dakingari explained that his administration will promote agriculture and reduce the suffering of the farmers while assuring that the subsidy money will be invested in agriculture.He said:‘’ this programme has the capacity of transforming the small scale farmers from subsistence to commercial ones ’’ he said
Kano relaxes curfew for motorcyclists •From left: Mr Ganiyu Quadri; Sarah Gado; Mr Frik; Oludayo Ifanse; Amina AuduSankey; Mrs Frik and Bamidele Ifanse during the National Archery in the School Programme (NASP) Lagos delegation training in South Africa
Cleric urges prayers to combat Boko-Haram menace
OR the country to overcome its many problems especially, the Islamist sect group Boko-Haram, she requires a lot of prayers.This was the submission of Bishop Paul Nwachukwu,the founder of Grace of God Church International. The cleric, who marked his 65th birthday last week told his congregation that very soon, the Boko-Haram issue would be a thing of the past. He said the church is organising a convention in August as a result of crimes going on in the land tagged: National Transformation in Anambra State. Nwachukwu said further that the country is experiencing a wave of crime because leaders have refused to accept Christ in the right way. He said that Jesus Christ had predicted the end time happenings,saying adding that the prophesy had started manifesting.
He said though there is massive improvement in the world security system, the leaders should to pray to God for forgiveness. “Armed robbery, kidnapping, prostitution among others have become the bane of this country, not to talk of power failure, bad roads. All these need government attention. “Lots of lives have been wasted, if the government cannot stop it, then, the men of God cannot fold their hands and allow their fellow citizens to die like cows. “We should stop blood letting, government should put its feet on the ground to free the country from these problems, the government knows those behind these things”. “Yes a lot of priests today claim to be men of God when they are not, you cannot give what you do not have, some of us are ready to shed our blood for this country” the man of God said.
Council gives free GCE forms
NE of the ways to safe this country from the menace of miscreants and undersirable elements is to ensure that the younger generation is well educated, through deliberate efforts by governments at all levels”. That was the submission of the Chairman of Mushin Local Government Area, Hon. Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan at the distribution of free G.C.E. form to over 400 boys and girls in the council area last week. Adepitan said youths in Mushin should begin to embrace education, stressing that the only alternative to poverty is quality education. “I was a teacher; I must do everything humanly possible to improve education. Since the inception of this administration over three years ago, we have consistently distributed free G.C.E. forms to students and also organised free coaching programme at three centres within the council area, such as St. Jude’s Primary School, OduAbore and Itire Primary School. The result of this free coaching exercise has been phenomenal. He enjoined the beneficiaries to do the council proud by ensuring that they obtain the necessary five credits to secure them the admission
into higher institutions. He promisied the beneficiaries and any other candidates that would wish to attend the free G.C.E programme to go to any of those centres, where qualified and capable teachers will handle all the subjects.
Church motivates youths The Anthony Village Foursquare Gospel Church City of Refuge Zonal Headquarters will hold a day crusade to give motivation to Home Boys resident in the church community of the Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State on Saturday ,July 28 .The venue is 1-3, Adeteju Adeyeye Street, Anthony Village, Lagos. The progamme is in continuation of its Coomunity Social Responsibility Commenting on the programme at a rally, the host and also the Senior Pastor Rev. Deen Adegbenga Adekoya said the idea is to motivate young people in Kosofe Community saying “we are set to give them sense of belonging especially to ‘Home Boys’.
•Hon. Adepitan (right) giving form to one of the beneficiaries.
HE Kano State Police Command in conjunction with major stakeholders in the state has adopted strategies that will guarantee the safety of lives and property, during and after the holy month of Ramadan. The strategies were adopted when the Police Command met with various Islamic leaders in the state in collaboration with the Civil Defence, Hisbah guards, vigilance groups, traffic assistants, Mosque committees and other stakeholders to map out an acceptable security arrangement. They agreed that at the end of celebrations, vehicles should be parked at safe distance from the mosque to ensure free flow of traffic. In a press statement, signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Rilwanu M. Dutse on behalf of the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Idris Ibrahim, explained that the measure was taken, so as to decongest places of worship. According to the statement, security committee of the various mosques will liase with the police, alongside other security agencies to monitor and ensure safety of lives and properties of worshipers, as well as to ensure free flow of traffic at rush hours, security consciousness and alertness among others. According to the statement, the Islamic leadership appreciated the command’s initiative and promised to partner with the it to achieve the desired objectives. Concluding, the Command charged members of the public to make use of the sacred month to pray for peaceful co-existence and the economic development of the state. Meanwhile, commercial motorcycle operators in Kano can now heave a sigh of relief, as the state governor, Engr
Kano From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has extended their operational time by two hours, in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan. In a Ramadan broadcast at Government House, Kano, Kwankwaso, who called on Muslim faithful to use the period to renew their communion with Allah, said the decision to relax their operational hours was to allow them free movement to observe their prayers at the various mosques of their choice within the metropolitan city.
IFE of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has lauded the National Directorate of Employment initiative of the Federal Government for bridging the poverty and unemployment gap in the country. She ranked the NDE as one of the best programmes committed to poverty reduction and empowerment of citizens, especially women. The governor’s wife gave the commendation while declaring open a workshop on aluminum pot fabrication organised by the Women Employment Unit of the NDE through its state chapter. One hundred women drawn from the 16 local government areas of the state benefitted from the training programme, which would lasted for eight days. Describing pot fabrication as refreshing, innovative and marketable, the governor’s wife said it was a marked departure from tie and die, hairdressing, soap-making and other handicrafts people were used to.
Foundation to fete widows, others
FOUNDATION dedicated to the cause of the needy, widows and orphans is set to fete the vulnerable members of the society on August 1. The foundation, Styne and Rosemary Ohio- Ehimiaghe (SAROE) was founded five years ago. The foundation aims to offer free medical services for widows, empowerment of teenage orphans with other human capacity development initiatives. In a statement, the Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs.
By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie
Rosemary Ohiolei- Ehimiaghe who is also the Proprietress of Ostra Private Schools, said the foundation established five years after the demise of her husband, has lined up programmes that will touch lives based on the wishes of her husband. According to her, apart from the medical outreach on August 1, at Ostra Halls and Hotels, Ikeja, there will also be a praise and worship session at the same venue the next day by 10am.There wil l be health work by Ostra Group on Friday 3rd, while the unveiling and dedication of Ostra College site at Ago Okota will hold on Saturday by 11am.There will be with a thanksgiving service on Sunday at Grace Evangel Mission Okota followed by a grand reception at their residence. Mrs. Ehimiaghe, who is one of the founding teachers of the Nigerian Airforce Secondary School, is also a past secretary of a philanthropic organisation called FEMINA Club of Nigeria.She has empowered empowered youths through a large number of schemes and served as matron to many youth organisations in schools and churches where she regularly mentors women, youths and children through inspirational seminars and articles. Though widely travelled, her selfless service to God and humanity remain her hallmark.
Council gets new mace •From left: Managing Director Lagos State Lawma, Mr Ola Oresanya; Dr Felicia Mogo Chairperson, Wamason, Lagos State and Johnson Bode Shotanmi, Secretary to Bariga LCDA, Mr Eugene Itua, secretary, Wamason, Lagos chapter during the community clean up campaign held by Waste Management Society of Nigeria in collaboration with LAWMA at the smoking fish facility, Ilaje-Bariga in Lagos. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA
Church inaugurates centre for the mentally ill
uccour came the way of residents suffering from mental ill-health with the launch recently, of Divine Healing Centre of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Odi-Ajaye Zone, Ogba, Lagos, located at Ijoko-Otta in Ogun State. It was hearty songs of praise to The Almighty when both the clergy and the laity gathered in their hundreds to celebrate the inauguration of the centre in commemoration of the church’s anniversary. Government functionaries and sundry well-wishers, home and abroad, graced the ceremony. They were not short of praises for their host for being a true vessel of God’s omnipotence in the affairs of men. The Shepherd of the church, Dr. J. Shola Ojo (JP), who could not hide his joy, told Newsextra that the project came in actualisation of a divine call to further convince the world that prayer is the key solution to all manner of problems and afflictions in the world. “If you look around us, individually, corporately and nationally, there are myriads of problems. Many suffering souls, entities and even our nation are at sea over solutions. But unknown to us, only prayer can right these things. Even the problems we are facing as a nation are not unconquerable with prayers. All we need is for us to ‘behave’ God and trust Him,” the cleric said. On how God heals at the centre, Pastor Ojo explained: “Prayer and water (which are only provided by relatives of the afflicted) have been the two healing agents applied at the Healing Centre as I stand on Hebrew 13
By Dada Aladelokun
verse 8 in doing the will of God. Scores of people - many of whom are willing to openly testify to the goodness of the Lord - have been healed through this simple process without paying one kobo. However, relatives of the afflicted who wait to care for their welfare bear the cost of feeding and other effects. Hitherto, many of these relatives had spent fortunes at traditional and orthodox hospitals even in various so-called spiritual homes to no avail. “To God be the glory, many of those who have received divine healing have been comfortably settled in their homes, marriages, schools and so on. Many were sent abroad to study and they have excelled. To identify some of these personalities may indeed appear like playing to the gallery. But I thank God that many that had cried to God through me from even popular psychiatric homes eventually laughed.” The story of the Divine Healing Centre, he recalled, dates back to decades ago at Ogba, before the decision to relocate it to Ijoko Otta for want of space. •Pastor Ojo
100 youths acquire skills By Duro Babayemi
THE Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, Hon Kehinde Bamigbetan, has sponsored 100 youths to acquire skills. The scholarship covers the payment of forms, uniform, course of study and allowance. The council chair said: “They have been considered worthy of scholarship from the different Community Development Associations and Community Development Committeesjudging from the interest they have shown in the programme of skill developmen”. The facilitator of the programme, Mrs Ramota Akinwunmi Oyekemi, implored the students to be of good conduct and careful in handling the school equipment and other facilities in the premises. He urged the students to face their studies squarely . He said no matter the certifcate acquired they need to complement same with a craft job to assissupport if they can’t get job. He advised to imbibe discipline so that they can be ueful to their communities The courses available at the centre include: Catering and Hotel Management, Computer Studies, Hair Dressing and Cosmetology, Textile, hats and beads, photography, barbing, fashion design and Adult literacy.
HE Legislative arm of Orile-Agege Local Council Development Area has acquired a new mace. The Acting Leader of the House, Hon Azeez Akinola, described the new mace as change of symbol of authority. Akinola, who took over from Seyi Sarumi, urged members to put the council first in their deliberations. He urged them to be active at council meetings and ensure the voice of their constituents is heard. The new leader restated the need for cooperation of stakeholders in moving the council forward. He thanked members for their resilience in delivering dividends of democracy. “Our efforts, he said, should be geared towards provision of good governance for the council.”
Ekiti NDE trains 100 women Ekiti Restating the state government’s preparedness to continue to assist the NDE, she promised to assist 20 of the trainees with take-off loans through the Ekiti Development Foundation, which she founded. The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi, also promised to facilitate loans for some of the trainees through the state micro-credit agency. Besides, Erelu Bisi Fayemi offered to market the end products for the trainees, but advised them to ensure that they were of high standard and quality. She said: “I will like to make a commitment on behalf of Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF) that we will give loans to at least 20 of your women for them to be able to start their businesses.
•Mrs Fayemi “In this part of the country (South-West), among the Yoruba people, these pots are traditionally given to brides when they go to their husbands’ homes. So, there is a ready market for them.
•The Supervisor for Health, Apapa Local Government, Hon Moji Lawal presenting a drugs pack to one of the beneficiaries of the council’s Maternal and Child Health week, while the Principal Nursing Officier, Mrs Osuniyi Sarah watches.
Baptist holds revival service STATE Baptist Church, Agboroko in Iba Local Council Development Area Lagos, holds a four-day revival beginning from Sunday, July 29 to Wednesday August1 Evangelist Job Alabi will minister at the revival with the theme : “Your Salvation is Now”. Service will begin at 5:00p.m. daily in the church auditorium at No. 6, Aregbesola Street, Agboroko, Iba. The host minister, Revd. David Ayanyinka Alawode, urges attendees to pray for spiritual and physical growth of the church. He also invites members of the public to come and be part fo the divine transformation which assures salvation, healing and
• Mrs Sarat Efunyela (Iyaloja Owode Market Elepe), Hon Basanyaand Mrs Ajoke Oyesanya (Iyaloja Sosanya Market), Owode Elepe
prosperity. Estate Baptist Church, a victorious sanctuary of prayers, is a member of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.
‘Protection of environment our collective responsibility’
HE importance of tree planting to human life has been stressed. The Chairman, Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Government Development Area in Lagos State, Hon Adegbenga Basenya explained this at this year’s tree planting event just as he called for a collective action to protect the environment. At the event which took place at Oba Omolaja Street in the area, the chairman urged those present to re-double efforts at sensitising citizens on the importance of tree planting as well as the dangers of indiscriminate tree felling. Basanya maintained that the last four editions of the programme took place within Igbogbo community but that “it is now time to move its awareness to other areas of the council like Ibeshe, Offin, Oreta, Bayeku and others, ” he said. Basanya added that each market head (Iyaloja) in the council would take five tree seedlings for planting at her market and enjoined them to co-operate with council workers to ensure maximum success of the programme. Speaking on the dual role of man to subdue and replenish the earth, he said: “From creation, trees have been very useful to man as a provider of food and oxygen. The first man and woman ate from the tree” .
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
N =$ INVESTMENT £ ¥
Forecasts Q3 Sept 2012 Eterna Turnover N56.413b Profit after tax N859.734m Consolidated Hallmark Ins Gross premium N4.110b Profit after tax N511.564m MRS Oil Nig Turnover N76.804b Profit after tax N1.068b Transcorp Total income N2.658b Profit after tax N1.507b Evans Medicals Revenue N1.619b Profit after tax N64.656m AIICO Ins Gross premium N2.561b Profit after tax N344.406m GSK Nig Turnover N6.756b Profit after taxation N580.824m Abbey Building Society Gross earnings N1.300b Profit after tax N217.537m Regency Alliance Gross premium N1.300b Profit after tax N303.777m Total Nigeria Turnover N54.466b Profit after tax N1.804b Red Star Express Turnover N2.888b Profit after tax N200.557m Cadbury Nig Turnover N9.873b Profit after tax N735m Okomu Oil Turnover N2.176b Profit after tax N667.068m Continental Re Turnover N10.028b Profit after tax N1.207b Livestock Feeds Turnover N1.379b Profit after tax N51.654m IEI Gross Premium N4.250b Profit after tax N533.898m Cornerstone Ins Premium Revenue N919.418m Profit after tax N41.002m Skye Bank Gross earnings N99.710b Profit after tax N13.933b CCNN Turnover N3.683b Profit after Tax N402.165m Custodian & Allied Gross Premium N8.540b Profit after tax N1.345b UPDC Turnover N10.274b Profit after tax N1.002b Nestle Nig Turnover N28.850b Profit after tax N4.014b UACN Turnover N48.313b Profit after tax N4.611b Julius Berger Turnover N125.541b Profit after tax N3.993b Diamond Bank Gross earnings N27.315b Profit after tax N3.107b Oando Turnover N123.207b Profit after tax N2.967b Presco Turnover N2.400b Profit after tax N613.760m Berger Paints Turnover N976.303m Profit after tax N88.258m Oasis Ins Turnover N450m Profit after tax N63.894m Access Bank Gross earnings N54.782b Profit after tax N11.907b Resort Savings & Loans Gross earnings N960.736m Profit after tax N165.540m Trans-Nationwide Exp Gross earnings N170.342m Profit after tax N40.568m GT Assure Gross premium N9.525b Profit after tax N1.241b Pharma-Deko Turnover N454m Profit before tax N10m
•Managing Director, Manitoba Hydro International Mr Lorne Halpenny (left) and Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa (right), signing a Management Contract for Transmission Company of Nigeria Plc in Abuja ... on Monday. With them is Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Olugbenga Obadara (second left).
Rising inflation threatens investors’ returns
ONTINUOUS rise in inflation rate may undermined returns in the securities market, deepening the negative real return by most investment instruments. Inflation rate spiked up to its high in June, this year at 12.9 per cent. Inflation had risen from 10.3 per cent in December 2011 to 12.6 per cent in January, this year, setting an uptrend that most analysts said would mark the year. The lowest inflation rate this year is 11.9 per cent. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set a maximum inflation forecast of 14 per cent for this year. Most analysts said they expected inflation rate to increase further, a trend that most returns on investment instruments into the negative. Already, inflation-adjusted average returns on equities, savings and tenured deposits and many bonds are negative. Average return on equities opened
By Taofik Salako
this week with a year-to-date return of 11.41 per cent while the threemonth tenor deposit rate of banks stood at 7.8 per cent. The prime 91day Nigerian Treasury Bill (NTB) carries a return of 13.75 per cent, a marginal gain above inflation. Analysts at Afrinvest (West Africa) said they expected inflation rate to trend upward further this month citing recent levies imposed on wheat and rice imports and the lingering effects from the new electricity tariff. Analysts agreed that continuing rise in inflation rate may dampen investors’ appetite and weaken the investment outlook for Nigeria in the global marketplace. Even with some modicum of positive inflation-adjusted returns, analysts have argued that the attractive yields on marketable securities in Nigeria have not been able to attract
the needed foreign funds to bring about the desired stability and appreciation in the value of the Naira. However, analysts were divided on the policy stance necessary to manage the macro economy without undermining the long-term development of the economy. Analysts at Afrinvest favoured retaining the current inflation-targeting monetary tightening policy, which has raised Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 12 per cent. They argued that inflation remained within the forecast of the apex bank and as such the central bank may not be persuaded to change the current policy stance. Analysts at First Securities Discount House (FSDH), however, called for a review of inflation-targeting approach arguing that the approach has failed to achieve its aim. According to analysts, a review of inflation rate development between
January 2011 and June, this year shows that inflation rate did not respond to MPR hike. Inflation rate was at 12.10 per cent in January 2011 when MPR was increased from 6.25 per cent to 6.50 per cent. As at June, this year, inflation rate had increased further to 12.9 per cent when MPR has almost doubled at 12 per cent. “In our view, rising inflation in Nigeria can be linked to shortage of outputs, rising cost of necessary inputs in production process, weak infrastructure, increase in electricity tariff, increase in import duties on imported cereals and the impact of the partial subsidy removal of fuel. We think tight monetary policy, particularly raising rates, under the current situation, has not been able to bring down inflation rate because the cause is beyond what monetary policy can handle, therefore the need for a change in policy stance,” FSDH stated.
OPS to Fed Govt: Fix power in six months
HE Organised Private Sector (OPS) has urged the Federal Government to wrap its power reform programme in the next six months, saying this is the only way to justify the increase in electricity tariff. Speaking with The Nation, the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) , Mr Goodie Ibru, said this would enable Nigerians to see the benefits of the programme as well as restore investor’confidence in the economy. He said: “The power situation is still a major problem for business
How to attain cash-less economy, by CBN •Page 30
By Toba Agboola
across all sectors. Expectedly, energy intensive sectors are worse hit. Energy cost remains a major threat to business sustainability. We are, of course, aware of the power sector reform being implemented currently by government.” The President, Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr Ademola Ajayi, said the OPS is against the increase in tariff. He added that now that the government has jacked up the tariff, there should be a way out of the unstable
power. He said for things to work out, the government needs to fix power in six months, adding that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) should make meters available for their customers. “Nigerians are yet to enjoy electricity despite the new tariff. At this stage, we don’t expect any increase because electricity has not improved. The truth is that for this to work out, there should be something tangible to compensate Nigerians. “ Also, meters should be made available for everyone. What we
Insecurity impinges on earnings, performance •Page 32
call estimated billing should be out of it. It is not acceptable. People should pay for what they consume. OPS believes that there will be a lot of inconsistency if meters are not made available. We are calling for a dialogue,” Ajayi said. Also, the Director-General, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, argued that now that the government has increased the tariff, there is need for the provision of constant power supply to industries and households. He maintained that there should be a six months’pilots scheme on electricity, adding that this is the only solution.
Money laundering: NAICOM sanctions 46 firms •Page 34
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
How to attain cash-less economy, C by CBN USTOMER complaints arising from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) constitute over 90 per cent of banking transaction breaches, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. Speaking at the 2012 CBN Annual Workshop for Finance Correspondents and Editors in Akure, CBN’s Deputy Director, Consumer and Financial Protection Department (CFPD), Ifeanyi Nwoha, listed notable causes of complaints to include porous information technology platforms, low level of consumer enlightenment on products suitability and lack of understanding of security implications of divulging personal information. Others are access to customers’ information by fraudsters, weak information technology controls, untrained marketers of card products and inexperienced officers, nonautomated reversal of PoS and
Stories by Collins Nweze
ATM errors and delayed transaction notifications. He said the apex bank was committed to protecting consumer rights, adding that effective resolution of e-commerce-related disputes remain a critical factor in achieving cash-less economy. He said CBN was also concentrating on protecting consumer rights in online purchasing, eradication of unfair trade practices, preventing harm to consumers and protection of privacy. Nwoha said such complaints mainly arose because of poor customer service, high bank tariffs, frauds and forgeries, adding that banks’ distress could threaten con-
fidence in the banking system. Banks had, in the past two years, refunded N5.03 billion to customers over breaches of transaction agreements. The fund covered 3,571 petitions lodged at CFPD. Nwoha said the measures were aimed at encouraging good banking habits and promoting efficiency in the delivery of financial services as well as boosting public confidence in the system. He said CBN was committed to ensuring that customers received appropriate protection, with the apex bank acting as consumers’ advocate, setting standards of customer service for the industry and ensuring that customers are treated fairly in all their dealings with the industry.
“Hitherto, some consumer protection responsibilities were carried out by the Banking Supervision Department. The Bankers’ Committee also created the SubCommittee on Ethics and Professionalism meant to address disputes between consumers and providers of financial services,” he said. He observed that these structures, aside their inability to properly address the rising complaints from the consumer, did not focus on other important aspects of consumer protection, consumer complaint-index and policy formulation. According to him, the CFPD will be working on raising the awareness of consumers of financial services and products about features and characteristics of products to enable them make informed decision concerning their financial dealings with banks. Nwoha said such complaints arising mainly because of poor customer service, high bank tariffs,
• ATM machine
frauds and forgeries as well as bank distress could threaten confidence in the banking system. He disclosed that where any of the cases is proved, the affected bank will be required to make necessary amends.
Final draft on Finance Houses’ reform ready in August
• Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce & Industries, Bimbo Ashiru (right) and Executive Director, Financial Institutions & Advisory Services, African Finance Corporation (AFC) Taiwo Adeniji at the 2012 Lagos Bankers’ Nite.
More liberal loan terms coming for women
HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is planning a microfinance development fund (MDF) to eliminate gender disparity by ensuring that women’s access to financial services increases by 15 per cent annually. The MDF would assist in addressing teething challenges of under-funding for microfinance institutions and improve financial inclusion. CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi disclosed this in a statement tagged: Increasing Women Access to Finance: Challenges and opportunities. He said policy, regulatory and supervisory roles of the apex bank in this directive will be firm and decisive, in view of the peculiar challenges faced by women in accessing financial services. He said the banking watchdog has approved the establishment of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) of which 60 per cent of the fund would be committed to providing funding to women to address their peculiar financial exclusion challenges. The MSMEDF was established to
provide grants for capacity building of staff in microfinance institutions, on women based lending, promoting the development of regulatory provisions that are favourable to women lending, supporting initiatives that can improve financial literacy and entrepreneurship development for women clients. Other key objectives include supporting programmes that are geared towards the mobilisation of women, research and development, and promotion of women friendly financial innovations and products. Sanusi said the experience of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh where over 90 per cent of the rural women were financially empowered with near zero default rate provides evidence that women might be better fund managers. “Of loans made by the bank, over 98 per cent were recovered, implying a near zero per cent default. Moreover, giving women access to finance has emerged as a lucrative business for fund providers. The Global Banking Alliance for women has seen a steady upward trend in
its profits, which has also put its operations on the path to sustainability,” he said. The contribution of women to economic development is well documented. Yet there exists several barriers to the full optimisation of women’s economic potential. These ranges from cultural, to religious, traditional, and legal discrimination amongst others. A recent publication by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion highlights that in developed countries, women are starting businesses at a faster rate than men, and are making significant contributions to job creation and economic growth. The same is true for transition economies, although the comparable rate of growth is slower. In Indonesia, 2007 data showed that women-owned businesses grew at eight per cent, while menowned businesses shrank 0.3 per cent. In Thailand women-owned businesses grew by 2.3 per cent while the male counterparts grew only by 0.3 per cent in 2008.
ONSULTANTS hired by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the operating template for finance companies will submit a final draft on the reform to the apex bank next month. The Nation learnt that the consultants are also expected to submit a road map for the CBN reform and transformation of the sub-sector. An insider at the Finance House Association of Nigeria (FHAN), who spoke anonymously, said the reforms would be looking at the need to broaden funding sources for finance companies, upward review of the minimum capital base requirement for operator as well as determine the scope of permissible activities that finance companies should engage in. It would equally be considering developing a regulatory framework that will govern finance lease practice, institutionalising a “funding pool” to stimulate lending activities in the sub-sector and structured programme to address the reputation and poor visibility challenges of the sub-sector. He said the consulting firms have already presented a preliminary report to the apex bank, which detailed the broad outlines of their mandate, their thinking, and the direction of their assignment. Also to address challenges confronting the sector, FHAN is discussing with Chief Executive Officers of finance companies operating in the country. The body is
currently discussing salient issues in the operating environment, which should be addressed in the new policy framework that is in the works. President of the association, Samuel Durojaye, said the CBN reforms in the sector will transform, and reposition the finance company sub-sector to enable it play increasing role in Nigeria’s financing value chain. He acknowledged the apex bank’s continuing support to and engagement with the association on this project. He called on FHAN members to support the bank’s efforts at strengthening the regulatory environment by regular and timely rendering of all statutory returns and reports, as well as the renewal of their operating licences every year. Durojaye enjoined them to note that the apex bank is taking the issue of corporate governance practices very serious and, therefore, counselled members to identify structural weaknesses in their various organisations and take immediate remedial steps to rectify them. He advised that members expand the ownership structures of their businesses, broaden their various boards by recruiting independent non-executive directors, create board committees on specific operational issues, and address evident insider abuses and market indiscipline, which hamper operational efficiency and corporate growth.
Bank’s Eurobond over subscribed
FRINVEST West Africa Limited has assessed a $350 million Access Bank Eurobond Offering, which was oversubscribed. In a note summarising its views on the offering, the investment and research firm said the bank’s five-year Eurobond debut issue was carried out through its subsidiary Access Finance BV, which was the issuer. “Market information indicates that the issue was significantly oversubscribed, while the notes have already started trading in an active “grey” secondary market,” it said in an emailed report to investors. It said that the new Notes due 2017 rank attractively at current levels against emerging market
peers. The relative cost of funds of the offering remains a pointer to the Access Bank brand strength and current market position. The bank’s position, it said, was strengthened following its merger of the Intercontinental Bank Group, creating a unified business operation that currently plays in the Nigerian top-tier banking space. “Overall, we expect the yield to maturity to settle around the 6.25 per cent to 6.35 per cent region in the medium term, which will make a perfect exit point for investors. “We equally see value for investors that want to hold the issue till maturity as the yield will also guarantee appreciable cash flows for the duration of the instrument,” it added.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
CBN to consolidate gains of reforms T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will consolidate the gains of its banking reforms, its Deputy Governor (Financial Services Surveillance) Dr Kingsley Moghalu has said. Few weeks ago it issued a competence framework to determine the “fit and proper” persons that can hold management positions in banks and other financial institutions. Speaking during the 28th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC) in Lagos, Moghalu said the operations of the industry still needed to be improved upon, in spite of the achievements recorded since the reforms started in 2009. He said: “The banks are safe, having gone through stress. But that does not mean efforts would not be made to sustain the gains of the reforms.” Moghalu said there was a gradual pick-up in private sector credit, following the decision of banks to focus on the cleaning of their balance sheets. He said the Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) had succeeded in reducing the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio across the banking sector to foster growth. He said the measure had helped
Stories by Akinola Ajibade
in improving the balance sheets of banks and further facilitated the issuance of new credit facilities to customers. Moghalu said the apex bank had embarked on an aggressive monetary tightening and related actions geared towards maintaining macroeconomic stability via lower (single digit) inflationary rate, as well as reducing exchange rate volatility. He noted that the banking watchdog, as a stop-gap measure, has channeled intervention funds to major sectors of the economy such as agriculture, aviation and manufacturing. According to him, the introduction of the new 10 digit Nigerian Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN) for all account holders, the issuance of new cash withdrawal/deposit limit for account holders and the issuance of a new set of assessment criteria for the employment of top management staff of banks, discount houses, and other financial institutions would help in galvanising the industry.
Moghalu said these initiatives would not only redefine banking in Nigeria, but would also strengthen corporate governance practice in the industry when fully implemented. He said training and retraining was key to the growth of the industry, adding that FITC has recorded some remarkable achievements in this regard. Moghalu, who is also the chairman, FITC Board, said the centre had designed and delivered 108 courses in 2011, depicting an increase of 11.34 per cent over 87 courses delivered in the preceding year. “Out of this, 71 were organised as system wide courses as against the previous 65. Also, 37 courses were organised as customised inplants for stakeholder organisations as against the 32 in-plant courses delivered in the previous year. In all, FITC has recorded 2,291 participants in its training programmes in 2011. This is an increase of 26.93 per cent over the 1,805 participants posted in 2010,” he added. He said the sixth edition of the Continuous Education Programme for Bank Directors was organised in conjunction with CBN, noting that 36 participants attended the programme.
ICAN advocates vibrant economy THE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has called for the strengthening of all relevant institutions to achieve economic growth. It also advocated greater financial transparency in all sectors to attract more foreign investors. The body said these during its just-concluded Seventh Eastern Zonal Accountants Conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. It said full adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) was a step in the right direction for the country to grow economically. Speaking during the event, its President, Mr Doyin Owolabi said the institute had produced about 36,500 chartered accountants and 14,500 accounting technicians who were delivering value to their diverse clientele and employers in various sectors of the national and international economies. He also said the institute was not oblivious of the challenges of the local environment, hence, its resolve to conceptualise a programme – the Students Special Project (SSP) — to cater for the needs of states perceived to have a dearth of chartered accountants required to drive the economy. He said Bayelsa was the first to embrace the project, adding that the initiative has produced over 30 chartered accountants. While declaring the event open, Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, said chartered accountants should move closer to governments at all levels and offer advice to them on financial policy formulation.
IFC, ADB expand local currency finance THE International Finance Corporation (IFC) and African Development Bank (ADB) are partnering to facilitate local currency lending and bond issuance in Africa. Both institutions have agreed to collaborate and benefit from each other’s local currency bond issues. This will enhance their local currency funding capacity to support their clients’ development projects. The IFC said in a statement the duo have also signed an agreement on cross-currency swap transactions and for each it is the first with another multilateral financial institution. A “master agreement” is agreed between two parties and it sets out standard terms that apply to all the transactions entered into between them so that each time that a transaction is entered into, the terms of the master agreement do not need to be re-negotiated and apply automatically,” it said. IFC Vice President and Treasurer, Jingdong Hua, said expanding longterm currency initiatives is a cornerstone of IFC’s strategy to strengthen capital markets in developing countries. “Helping to establish and strengthen such markets allows us to work with regulators and local institutions to ensure that capital market regulations are effective and entrepreneurs are able to grow and create jobs,” he said. AfDB Vice President for Finance Charles Boamah said: “Promoting the development of local capital markets in Africa is paramount to successful and sustainable economic development. This agreement supports our African Financial Markets Initiative, which aims to further the development of domestic African capital markets, enlarge the investor base, and reduce African countries’ dependence on foreign currency denominated debt.”
Farmers to secure $300m loan
• From left: Chief of Staff/Head, Corporate Division, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Bola Adeeko receiving a souvenir from the President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Ariyo Olushekun, during the CIS courtesy visit to the Exchange in Lagos.
Nigeria, others need $93b infrastructural financing, says World Bank
HE World Bank has said subAfrican countries including Nigeria need $93 billion annually for infrastructure development over the next decade. Also, the bank said 40 per cent of the amount would be needed for power, while 20 per cent is for transportation. Citing a World Bank report at a Project Financing Summit in Lagos, Head, Legal and Governance Department, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr Joe Ohiani, said there is still an annual infrastructure investment gap of $31 billion. He said 13 projects worth $12.6 billion were implemented under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) platform, there by increasing investments in new projects by 12 per cent. Ohiani said Nigeria and South Africa accounted for 41 per cent of regional investments, with 95 per
cent invested in Telecom. He noted that the Federal Government spent through budgetary allocation about N2 trillion on agriculture and water resources, health, transportation, education, power generation and distribution between 1999 and 2007. He said: “Contrary to expectations, these expenditures often determined by political and other considerations, has neither been matched by commensurate increase in the stock of capital goods, nor in the services they provide. There is, therefore, a gradual recognition that budgetary allocation may not be the best way to finance and execute infrastructural projects. “Such considerations, such as cost efficiency, equity, allocation efficiency and fiscal prudence, have increasingly played a role in determining the financing methods that will meet the needs of
modern and efficient infrastructure.” He said the World Bank has agreed to provide finance of $299 million as seed money to set up a financial intermediary loan (FIL) scheme for purposes of long-term funding for infrastructure development in Nigeria. Under this fund, into which a number of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) have agreed to contribute eligible participating financial intermediaries (FIs) particularly the commercial banks with AFC as the lead, will on-lend to qualifying private sector partners in a private public partnership (PPP) project at the FIs risks. According to him, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has already taken a number of measures to provide access to funding at concessioal rates to galvanize the private sector interest in power and agriculture.
THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allocated $300 million (N45 billion) to farmers under the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) project. The fund is expected to assist beneficiaries share lending risks with banks, which will encourage lenders to increase funding for agricultural projects. According to the apex bank, the NIRSAL objective is to de-risk agriculture finance value chain, build long-term capacity and instituionalise incentives for agricultural lending. It listed the potential lenders to include traditional banks, microfinance institutions, trade finance providers, asset managers, and private equity funds. Credit to the sector could also come as a loan portfolio, a loan, a bond or in some cases, a specific commitment letter. It said that NIRSAL Credit Risk Guarantee ranges from 30 per cent to 75 per cent and could be loan principal, or loan principal and interest payments. The funds are targeted at farmer groups, large corporate farmers, processing companies, agricultural service providers, logistic companies, wholesale distributors among others. It can also be targeted at whole agribusiness value chain covered across all crops and livestock activities. NIRSAL is a public/private initiative designed by the apex bank and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in last year to disburse such grants to financial institutions for easy access by farmers nationwide.
Skye Bank’s half year profit hits N8.2b SKYE Bank Plc has released its financial performance figures for the half year ended June 30, 2012, showing improvements over the figures of the 2011 corresponding period. Gross earnings stood at N59.7 billion in 2012, indicating a growth of 22 per cent above the N48.9 billion posted in 2011. Profit before tax rose from N7.321 billion to N9.089 billion, while profit after tax grew by 39 per cent to N8.187 billion, from N5.857 billion in 2011. Earnings per share were 61 kobo compared with 44 kobo in the corresponding period of 2011. The bank said in a statement that it has been growing, closing at N3.05 last Friday as against N2.93 kobo before the release of the result as investors reacted positively to it. Commenting on the results, analysts at FBN Capital Limited said : “We find these results reassuring and believe that they underpin our view that the banking sector recovery is well underway. To our mind, Skye Bank’s N13.9 billion profit after tax forecast for nine months as well as its 15 per cent return on equity (ROE) target for the full year appear within reach.” The results also showed that interest income stood at N47.8 billion , up 26 per cent from N38 billion that it made in 2011. The company also managed to cut back its operating expenses , which fell to N23 billion, an improvement of nine per cent from the N25.5 billion it spent in the second quarter last year. Loans and advances came in at N613 billion, an increase of 18.3 per cent, from the N518 billion in credit it extended to manufacturing, agriculture and real estate as at quarter two in 2011. Similarly, its total assets during the period under review increased slightly to N996.7 billion from N939 billion recorded in 2011.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION INVESTORS
Insecurity impinges on earnings, performance
HE spate of violence in many Northern states has started to take its tolls on performance of several quoted companies which have substantial market segments in the North. Reports by quoted companies and confidential operational reports by corporate sources indicated that there has been significant build-up in inventories in many companies while many have had to scale down their operations to counterbalance the shortfall from Northern market. Corporate sources said spate of violence and escalated sense of insecurity that lingered throughout the past business year undermined their forecasts given that the Northern market represented a major segment for nationwide companies. An executive at a quoted healthcare company said the company’s low performance in the 2011 business year was due partly to the insecurity in many Northern states. According to the executive, the Northern market, which represented
Stories by Taofik Salako
about one-third of the company’s sales target, substantially fell below targets while the company’s margin was also reduced due to additional costs related to security. The executive said the sales representatives in major states like Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and Maiduguri have been forced to relocate to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Particularly, hard-hit were companies dealing in perishable and breakable products, which have had to contend with longer transportation schedule and sometimes, seizure and obstruction of delivery trucks. Corporate sources also said the insecurity in the Northern market has adversely affected the pool of human capital in that segment as existing and prospective employees now turn down placements in the North. Companies have been responding to the Northern market challenge by scaling down Northern operations and optimising opportunities in other markets.
Corporate reports by companies which factories and main markets are based in the North appear to mirror the slowdown escalated by the spate of violence in the region among other reasons. Audited report and accounts of Northern Nigeria Flour Mills (NNFM) Plc, a Kano-based flour-milling company, showed that profit before tax dropped by 93 per cent during the year ended March 31, this year as costs of sales and operations shut up significantly. The 12-month report showed that profit before tax dropped from N649.46 million in 2011 to N47.33 million this year. Profit after tax followed the downtrend at N5.04 million compared with N455.6 million. Gross profit had dropped from N961.64 million to N613.76 million. While the company’s turnover had increased modestly from N11.45 billion to N12.67 billion, cost of sales and operating expenses had jumped from N10.5 billion and N366.85 million to N12.1 billion and N695.85 million.
NNFM’s net earnings per share thus shrank from N2.56 in 2011 to 3.0 kobo, forcing the company to suspend cash payout. Similarly, Flour Mills of Nigeria, which has the majority equity stake in NNFM and also another major Northern operation through the Maiduguri Flour Mills-which is based in the flashpoint Borno State, has reported notable decline in performance. Audited report and accounts of Flour Mills for the year ended March 31, 2012 showed that profit before tax dropped from N16.45 billion in 2011 to N12.05 billion. Profit after tax also declined from N9.45 billion to N8.38 billion. Gross profit had slipped from N40.19 billion to N39.57 billion. While turnover had grown from N238.8 billion to N258.27 billion, costs of sales and operations counterbalanced the top-line performance rising from N198.61 billion and N18.09 billion to N218.7 billion and N21.2 billion. Also, Sokoto State-based Cement Company of Northern Nigeria
(CCNN) reported decline in earnings in the first quarter ended March 31, this year. According to the latest operational report, profit before tax dropped from N752.1 million in first quarter 2011 to N393.17 million in 2012. Profit after tax declined from N511.43 million to N268 million. Earnings per share thus halved from 41 kobo in 2011 to 21 kobo this year. The bottom-line performance was also linked with rising costs of sales and operations. Cost of sales rose from N1.5 billion to N2.74 billion while operating expenses jumped from N789.9 million to N1.05 billion. These moderated the modest increase in sales from N3.10 billion to N3.15 billion. Although companies have shied away from publicly highlighting the growing negative impact of incessant violence in the Northern states on their operations for fear of reprisals, executives who spoke in confidence stressed the need for quick control of the crisis and restoration of peace in the region to forestall complete shutdown of operations.
Brokers want more pension, sovereign funds in equities
•From right: Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ryuichi Shoji; Osun State Deputy Governor Mrs Titi LaoyeTomori; Vice-Chancellor, LAUTECH, Prof Ayodele Gbadegeshin and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Akinrogun Sunday Akere, during a visit by the Japanese Ambassador on economic development and partnership between Japan and Osun State in Osogbo.
TOCKBROKERS have canvassed new investment guidelines that would mandate pension fund administrators to invest at least between 10 and 25 per cent of their funds in equities. Brokers also want the funds under the Sovereign Wealth Fund invested in the domestic equity market rather than placing the funds with foreign managers, who may show little or no inkling to investment in the Nigerian market. President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Ariyo Olushekun, said in addition to a maximum limit of 50 per cent, pension fund administrators should be mandated to invest minimum of up to 25 per cent in equities contrary minimum of 10 per cent being considered under a new amendment. According to him, aggressively managed funds should be able to invest minimum of 25 per cent in equities while medium and short-term
funds should be mandated to invest at least 15 per cent and 10 per cent. He noted that pension funds as collective assets of the Nigerian people should be used deploy as catalyst for the Nigerian capital market, which would in turn impact on the nation’s economic development. Olushekun said Nigeria’s sovereign funds should be invested in the Nigerian capital market noting that such funds could serve as stabiliser for the market. “It does not make sense for Nigeria to take funds out of its economy and invest in other economies, thus helping other economies to grow. We should invest our funds to develop our own economy,” Olushekun said. He outlined the need for the government to implement a market-focused recovery plan that would reduce debt overhang, increase liquidity and encourage quoted companies.
Mutual funds underperform market average
ETURNS by mutual funds are trailing below average market returns, according to yearto-date analysis of memorandum quotations of listed mutual funds. The Nation’s return analysis of mutual funds’ value change based on the opening offer price for this year and opening offer price for this week showed that listed mutual funds fell below average return by the benchmark All Share Index (ASI) at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The ASI is a common value-based index that tracks all quoted equities on the NSE and as such doubles as the country index for stock market. Mutual funds’ returns also fell significantly below average returns by some equities’ groups including banking stocks, consumer goods stocks and the top-level 30 most capitalised stocks; all which outperformed the benchmark index. The ASI opened this week with average year-to-date return of 11.41 per cent. The NSE 30 Index, which represents the 30 most capitalised stocks, opened with 16.60 per cent. The NSE Banking Index carried average return of 27.46 per cent while the marketleading NSE Consumer Goods Index posted return of 227.11 per cent. Returns by mutual funds also fell below major fixed-income instruments. The 91-day Nigerian Treasury Bill (NTB) currently carries a yield of 13.75 per cent while the three-month tenor deposit rate of banks stands at 7.8 per cent. The benchmark Mon-
etary Policy Rate (MPR) stands at 12 per cent. Returns also generally fell below inflation rate, which stands at 12.9 per cent. Returns by mutual funds, which included equities, fixed-income and mixed funds, ranged from -2.63 per cent to 10.41 per cent. Out of the 26 mutual funds listed on the NSE, 26 per cent were static, 7.7 per cent witnessed decline while 65.4 per cent recorded various gains. FBN Heritage Fund recorded the highest percentage change of 10.41 per cent. UBA Money Market Fund trailed with a return of 10.19 per cent. Intercontinental Integrity Fund, now known as Access Integrity Fund, returned 8.79 per cent while Paramount Equity Fund and Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund recorded 8.62 per cent and 8.52 per cent respectively. Other mutual funds with positive returns included BGL Nubian Fund, 7.95 per cent; Afrinvest (West Africa) Equity Fund, with 7.19 per cent; UBA Balanced Fund, 7.02 per cent; Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund, 3.26 per cent; Nigeria International Debt Fund, 4.30 per cent; BGL Sapphire Fund, 4.81 per cent; The Frontier Fund, 4.66 per cent; The Coral Growth Fund, 4.94 per cent; Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund, 3.95 per cent; Coral Income Fund, 4.84 per cent; UBA Bond Fund, 5.65 per cent and Oceanic Vintage Fund, which posted marginal increase of 0.5 per cent. Static mutual funds included ARM Aggressive Growth Fund, Kakawa
Guaranteed Income Fund, Continental Unit Trust, Centre-Point Unit Trust, The Discovery Fund, Fidelity Nigfund and Legacy Fund. The Lotus Capital Halal Investment Fund recorded the worst performance with a return of -2.63 per cent. UBA Equity Fund also posted a negative return of 1.16 per cent. Meanwhile, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said it would introduce stricter regulatory regime for mutual funds to optimise the potential of the sector as a veritable diversification mechanism for investors. At a meeting between the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) and SEC at the weekend, SEC said it would introduce and enforce regulations to ensure that operators in the collective investment scheme sector such as fund managers, custodians and trustees submit timely and
adequate report as well as benchmark the performance of the various funds. Director, Collective Investment Schemes (CIS), SEC, Mrs. Liouse EniUmukoro, who represented the acting Director-General at the meeting, said the Commission was also considering classifying funds into retail schemes-which have greater regulatory requirements; professional collective investment schemes and specialised collective investment. She added that fund managers would also be required to adopt the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) in line with the December 31, 2012 deadline for all entities with significant public interests to comply with IFRS. Both fund managers and SEC agreed on the need for an all encompassing strategic plan with the objective of expanding the reach of collec-
tive investment schemes to greater percentage of the investing public. The strategy document will project expected growth in assets under management over the next few years. The document will incorporate innovations into the market such as introduction of incentives to encourage retail investors back into the market through collective investment schemes , introduction of distribution and sales points ,classification of schemes to cater for the investment apetite of the various clases of investors , review of minimum subscription levels for retail investors, reviewing the offering process for Schemes, among other strategies to be considered. Besides, the meeting also agreed on the importance of improving professionalism in the sector through continuous education, training and certification of fund managers and sales marketing staff.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION INVESTORS FACTS
Oil majors: One industry, many strategies A
RGUABLY, the most influential sector of the economy, the impact of the downstream oil sector is not only felt at the stock market where the oil majors are quoted, but also across the streets, with their impact often a trigger for nationwide actions. While the government and the populace are concerned with availability, supply and distribution of the major products - premium motor spirit or petrol in local parlance, diesel, aviation fuel and kerosene; the main concern for investors is the right mix to ensure that such operations translate into commensurate returns. For every company, finding the right mix is the ultimate goal of all the strategies. With relatively low margin and little product differentiation, the downstream oil business, globally, depends largely on management foresight, capacity-building investments and proactive understanding of the uncontrollable external factors including the global oil price and resultant import variables. It’s the ultimate precision business that requires high level of appropriate mix of often-difficult variables and little margin for errors. The petroleum-marketing industry particularly requires deeper foresights and cushions to sustain sales and profitability. With the protracted reform and many lingering often-negative controversies, Nigerian downstream operators need strategies not only to cope with operating variables, but the soft underlining issues surrounding public and investors’ perceptions. The five oil majors Total Nigeria Plc, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, MRS Oil and Gas, Conoil and Oando Plc are the dominant operators in the downstream sector. All quoted on the stock market, they formed the exclusive topend club of the oil majors and were the underlining stocks for the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Oil and Gas Index. They shared several similarities- large companies with several thousands of investors, majority core investors holding equity and managerial controls, similar year-end and historic origins as government-foreign investors’ joint entities. But while the duo of Total Nigeria and Mobil Oil Nigeria retained majority foreign ownerships, the trio of Conoil, MRS Oil and Gas and Oando metamorphosed to Nigerian core ownerships. The latest audited reports and accounts of the oil majors showed striking industry trends that underlined well-known challenges facing the sector. Margins are declining in the downstream oil sector. From lower margins, to declining sales and profit, the petroleum-marketing sector appeared generally to be going through tough period. Within the vicissitudes, oil majors have shown varied level of resilience. While the industry generally appeared to be pushing top-line recovery, managing costs, productivity and internal and external efficiencies appeared to be delivering different returns to investors.
FACTS TO FACTS Total Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity
Conoil Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity
Oando Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity
Mobil Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity
MRS Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity
Net Profit Growth 2011 % 8.3 6.6 1.3 12.9 3.4 -4.0 10.0 38.0
2010 % -10.1 -4.5 -6.2 13.1 3.6 0.1 10.1 44.5
Average % -0.9 1.05 -2.45 13 3.5 -1.95 10.05 41.25
2011 % 53.1 9.3 9.2 9.5 2.8 5.7 4.8 17.5
2010 % 1 6.7 6.3 13.3 3.9 20.8 6.7 18.3
Average % 27.05 8.00 7.75 11.4 3.35 13.25 5.75 17.9
2011 % 54.8 26.4 -38.6 11.7 2.5 -76.0 0.9 3.7
2010 % 12.5
Average % 33.65 13.20 20.7 13 4.45 -16.8 2.65 9.6
2011 % 6.4 4.2 -3.4 16.3 8.9 -3.4 18.0 55.0
2010 % -5.9 40.9 16.6 9.8 37 24.0 65.2
Average % 0.25 2.10 18.75 16.45 9.35 16.8 21 60.1
2011 % -5.1 -4.8 -29.8 9.9 2.9 -43.9 1.54 5.8
2010 % 0.24 31.3 67.8 9.9 3.9 75.7 4.5 10.0
Average % -2.43 13.25 19 9.9 3.4 15.9 3.02 7.9
Stories by Taofik Salako
Sales generation All the oil majors, except MRS Oil and Gas, pushed up the top-line with Oando and Conoil leading the pack. Oando consolidated its turnover performance with an increase of 54.8 per cent in 2011. Conoil also sustained consecutive top-line growth with 53.1 per cent increase in 2011. Total and Mobil recovered from the previous declines with sales growths of 8.3 per cent and 6.4 per cent in 2011 compared with declines of 10.1 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively in 2010. However, MRS’s top-line contracted by 5.1 per cent, setting a top-down negative trend for the company. Given the fluid margins, sales growth is important for downstream oil company to manage uncontrollable costs.
Profitability Conoil was the only oil major that
80 14.3 6.4 42.4 4.4 15.5
sustained an all-positive profitability outlook. While industry-wide decline in margins generally reduced average profit per unit of sales by all operators, Conoil appeared to have found the right mix to steady and consolidate its profit outlook. Total grew gross profit and pre-tax profit by 6.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent but ended with 4.0 per cent decline in net profit. While Mobil’s gross profit rose by 4.2 per cent, pre and post tax profits dropped by 3.4 per cent each. MRS’s 5.1 per cent decline in sales pared down to 4.8 per cent decline in gross profit, about 30 per cent drop in profit before tax and some 44 per cent decline in profit after tax. In spite of its healthy top-line growth and gross profit growth of 26.4 per cent, Oando had declines in pre and post tax profits at 39 per cent and 76 per cent respectively. Conoil sustained steady growths across the key indices with gross profit growth of 9.3 per cent trickling down
AfDB offers Nigeria five-year devt plan
HE African Development Bank (AfDB) has offered to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomy in the next five years. Its Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr Ousmane Dore, said this yesterday in Lagos. He spoke during a conference entitled: Project finance in Nigeria: Issues and challenges put together by a legal firm. Speaking on Renewable energy projects: AfDB interventions in Africa,Ousmane said the huge funds the AfDB was bringing in, would be useless there was a sound macroeconomy. He said the bank had at a meeting with the government last week rolled
out its growth strategies in the next five years, adding that a conducive business environment was on the agenda. He said: “ The bank held a meeting with the government last week. There, we set up the bank’s strategies for the next five years. If you put all the billions the bank has brought together here and there, it is useless as long as there is no effort to improve the economic environment. “The issue is: how can the bank help the government in bringing about a good environment to make the country use its resources effectively? That is what AfDB would work in the next five years. It is not about having projects here and there, it is about getting the
policy on the environment right. “ I think what a government can do in Africa is to have a degree of macroeconomic environment, that is stable and sound in place to encourage growth of investments.” He said the government needs to put in place fiscal monitoring policies to aid economic growth, advising that efforts must be made not to go back to a more volatile economy of the 70s and 80s. Ousmane said the documents on Vision 20: 2020, transformation agenda, and national implementation programmes talked about development of the private sector, adding that efforts had not been geared towards that direction.
Pre-tax Profit Growth
to pre-tax profit growth of 9.2 per cent. Net profit rose by 5.7 per cent.
Actual returns Similar to sector-wide decline in margins, there was a general decline in returns in the downstream sector. Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis as well as periodic averages, Mobil Oil is substantially ahead of the peers. With returns on total assets and equity of 18 per cent and 55 per cent in 2011, periodic averages stood at 21 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. Total followed with return on total assets of 10 per cent and return on equity of 38 per cent in 2011, averaging to 10.05 per cent and 41.25 per cent in recent years. Conoil leads the pack of the Nigerian-core-investor -and-management companies. On year-on-year basis, Conoil returned 4.8 per cent on total assets in 2011 compared with 1.54 per cent by MRS and 0.9 per cent by Oando. Conoil also sustained double-digit return of 17.5 per cent on shareholders’ equity in 2011 as against 5.8 per cent and 3.7 per cent by MRS and Oando respectively. On the average, average returns on equity and total assets at Conoil stood at 5.75 per cent and 17.9 per cent respectively. MRS posted average return on total assets of 3.02 per cent and average return on equity of
7.9 per cent. Oando returned a periodic average of 2.65 per cent on total assets and 9.6 per cent on shareholders’ funds.
The bottom-line No doubt, the petroleum-marketing industry is highly susceptible to external shocks, which most often; undermine management ‘strategies’. But a truly strategic approach will factor in the fluctuations domestically and globally. While waiting for the full deregulation of the downstream sector, oil-marketing companies need to evolve a competitive private-sector driven growth model rather than dependence on government-allocated growth. The tough operating environment calls for aggressive and sustainable sales strategy, given that sales growth is the major driver of longterm profitability. Notwithstanding the little or no product differentiation in the sector, the decisive differentiating factors in the downstream oil sector appear to be commitment to longterm investments, supportive and farsighted board, dynamic management and sound local intelligence. In all these, the impact is real; not only on the streets, by the pumps and with high-wired government oil business but also on the fundamentals; the real essence of corporate success.
‘Conoil was the only oil major that sustained an all-positive profitability outlook’
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Money laundering: NAICOM sanctions 46 firms
HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has sanctioned 46 firms for money laundering, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Fola Daniel, has said. Daniel said in Abuja that they were penalised for breaching the laws on money laundering. Daniel said firms that fail to report transactions that are above the amount stipulated by the Nigerian Finance Intelligence Unit (NFIU) would be fined N1 million daily. He added that under the AntiMoney Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Compliance Institutions in Nigeria Act, firms are to report to the agency in seven and 30 days, a transaction that is above N5million or its equivalent for an individual, or N10 million for a firm. He said: “This provision is somewhat confusing in terms of which, as between seven and 30
Stories by Chuks Udo Okonta
days should count. The view adopted by NFIU and the NAICOM is that the report should be rendered in seven days. “Initially, it was thought that the reporting is about inward cash transactions only, but it is understood in the context of currency transaction, and it includes inward and outward transactions in which the company is involved. Accordingly, all receiving and payouts, including foreign remittances must be reported. “Non-compliance with this provision is an offence for which the company is liable to a fine in the sum between N250, 000 and N1 million for each day the contravention continues.” He said the Anti-Money Laundering Act imposes a duty on companies to report to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Se-
curities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or NFIU. He added that transfers to or from a foreign country of funds or securities by a person or firms, including money service business of any amount exceeding $10,000 or its equivalent, should be disclosed. He said the report should indicate the nature and amount of the transfer, the names and addresses of the sender and the receiver of the funds or securities. Acting Director Inspectorate Directorate NAICOM Farinu Olusegun called on stakeholders to support the government in the fight against money laundering,
adding that the governments alone cannot prevent and control money laundering without the support of the civil society, especially the private sector. He said those who developed the standards against money laundering recognised the role of industry and, therefore, included specific obligations and responsibilities for the industry. He said: “As criminals seek to disguise the true ownership and movement of their illegal proceeds, the insurance sector is ultimately vulnerable to abuse for the purposes of laundering the proceeds from crime. This is why it is imperative to build capacity within the Insurance sector to
prevent money laundering and deny wrong doers the benefits of their misconduct.” Director-General Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) Sunday Thomas said in line with the anti-money laundering law, insurers would preserve their customers’ information for not less than 10 years after the end of any transaction. He said the move is in line with the industry’s bid to have information of customers. He said companies are to display in their offices the notice, stating the corporate responsibility for disclosure of information on transactions above specified threshold.
Shareholders seek financial projection from insurers
HE President, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu, has called on insurers to state their projections to guide investors in their decisions. He urged insurers not to rely on the projections made by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), but to develop their own. Nwosu called on insurers to harness the untapped insurance potential and give investors better returns on their investments. Investors, he said, were worried over insurers’inability to harness untapped insurance potentials in the country, adding that the price of insurance stock is worrisome and that urgent steps should be taken by the government, regulators and operators to reverse the trend. He called on operators to liaise with regulators to find solutions to the problem that has befallen
the capital market in recent times. He urged insurers to redouble their efforts in products and service delivery, adding that the various initiatives introduced by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) should be leverage on to improve the industry. “To grow the industry, new initiative by NAICOM, such as compulsory insurance for building and buildings under construction should be looked into effectively. Operators must begin to seek ways to improve their services. They should also consider areas that have not been tapped.” The President, Nigerian Shareholders’ Renaissance Association (NSRA), Olufemi Timothy, called on insurers to intensify efforts in marketing their products. He noted that the public would only patronise insurance when the operators are proactive.
Niger Insurance eyes fixed income securities
IGER Insurance Plc plans to focus on fixed in come securities to boost its income, its Chairman, Bala Zakariyaú, has said. Speaking at the 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the firm in Lagos, he said the company would also diversify into oil and gas, telecoms and other safe areas for more money. He said: “There are indications that the company is repositioning itself to move to the top of the industry in the years ahead. The company is undergoing a restructuring process ably guided by Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) aimed at performance improvement and organisational development.” Managing Director Niger Insurance Plc Justus Uranta, said as part of the company’s on-going re-engineering, it has acquired a new software programme called turnquest to boost service delivery. “For it to effectively benefit from this investment, extra funds have been approved, which would, among other things, enable the software’s connection to regional and branch offices, thereby effectively linking their operations with the head office,” he added.
He said the software would afford real-time responses to requests from or to the head office and improve on the quality of the company’s customer service. He noted that company retail business has not been that successful, adding that efforts have been made to revitalise that aspect of business as a new incentive model has been put in place to drive the retail business. He said regional and branch managers would be appraised on their ability to meet the company’s expectations on retail agency business. Uranta said the company would abide by rules, adding that any officer who incurs penalties for the company would be disciplined. “Corporate governance has become a global issue because of its effect on operations of firms. It focuses on the adherence to acceptable ethical standards and best practices for the benefit of all stakeholders. “To this end, the legal environment of our business is fast changing with several regulations coming into force from the financial sector regulatory bodies to which all companies are expected to comply with fully and timely,”said.
•From left: Auditor, Committee of Chief Inspector of Banks in Nigeria (CCIBN) Udochi Nwaodu; 2nd Vice Chairman, CCIBN, Tunde Dawodu and Deputy General Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems Plc John Obiekwe, at the 21st Quarterly General Meeting of the CCIBN in Lagos.
‘Operators make inroad into oil, gas’
NSURERS have made inroad into oil and gas business, Man aging Director LASACO Assurance Plc Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi has said. He told The Nation that what the local content has done is that indigeneous insurance firms are not denied busineses. He said: “Oil and gas is capital intensive. It is denominated in dollars; therefore, we still have capacity problems in terms of finance. But in terms of technical know-how, we are coping and gradually coming of age, because our exposure is aiding our understanding to technical know-how on risks in the industry. “In fact, right now, we have some claims that have arisen, that would also further expose us as we would read loss adjusters report to enhance our knowledge. The major challenge we have is getting the right type of security as reinsurance back-up. The capacity out there in the international com-
munity itself is limited; so, on the balance of probability, I think we are doing what we ought to do. “It is our prayers that more indigenous companies should have confidence in the local insurance industry and encourage us to grow together. By and large, it is better than nothing and from my point of view as the Managing Director of Lasaco Assurance, I think it has paid up.” Deputy Commissioner, Technical, NAICOM, Mr Ibrahim Hassan, said the industry has received a boost through the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act 2010, adding that insurance-related services in the oil and gas industry are to be rendered locally. Section 50 of the Act provides that no insurance risk in industry shall be placed off-shore without the approval of the NAICOM to ensure that local capacity has been exhausted. “The Act failed, however, to define local capacity, and this is a fun-
damental omission. Is local capacity equal to the net retention of insurance companies in Nigeria put together? Is it net retention plus reinsurance treaty available to the local underwriters. Or is it net retention plus reinsurance treaty plus local reinsurances? In the absence of any statutory definition, what constitutes local capacity is only open to conjecture. This challenge may be overcome, perhaps, by the making of a regulation by the Commission. “The Act has also greatly empowered insurance brokers. By section 49, all operators, project promoters, alliance partners and Nigerian indigenous companies engaged in any form of business, operations, or contract in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, are required to insure risks related to its oil and gas business, operations or contracts with an insurance company(s) through an insurance broker registered in Nigeria under the provisions of the Insurance Act 2003,” he said.
Brokers canvass road map for govt insurance
HE Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Bro kers (NCRIB) has called for a road map for the government to maximise its insurance. Its President, Mrs Laide Osijo, who made a presentation at the public hearing by the House of Representatives on government insurance in Abuja, said the government, which represents the largest chunk of insurance should have a road map to maximise its insurance to reduce wastages. Osijo said the government must ensure that premiums are included in the budgets of its institutions to reduce the incidence of non-payment of premiums, which characterises its insurance operations over the
years. She said: “Payment of insurance premiums by clients was a condition for any insurance contract in line with Section 50(1) of the 2003 Insurance Act, failure of which insurance companies would not be able to pay claims when a loss occurs.” Osijo said insurance brokers and underwriters handling government accounts should be invited to defend the insurance budgets and premium charged, to reduce the rampant allegation of insurance fraud, as well as provide the government the opportunity of checks and balances. “It is unfortunate that most of the allegations placed at the doorstep of the industry were oc-
casioned by inadequate information or knowledge about the operation of insurance and its conditions. This should be reduced to the barest minimum through constant interface between the industry and its government clients,” Osijo added. To develop its insurance manpower, the NCRIB said the government must update the skills of its desk officers to keep them abreast of the dynamics of the industry. It also advised that only professionals are recruited to man sensitive departments or units. The NCRIB commended the National Assembly for its oversight functions and promised the continuous support of the Council to the legislature.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
• Mrs Odutola
Cassava bread export best for women, says FIIRO
OR decades, farming communities were relegated because they were growing mainly subsistence crops. But this is going to change because of the growth in the cassava sector. More than 20,000 farming families that produce cassava may be lifted out of poverty because Nigeria has been recognised as one of the leading cassava bread centres in Africa. Speaking in Lagos, the DirectorGeneral/Chief Executive Officer, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr Gloria Elemo, said there are so many opportunities for women and entrepreneurs to make money from cassava bread and other products from the commodity. Cassava bread, she explained, would boost export diversification and poverty reduction. She sees thousands of farmers make a decent living from the industry. She said her institute is determined to ensure that producers of the bread meet acceptable standards. This is in addition to providing the bridge to speed the transition of cassava from a primarily do-
By Daniel Essiet
mestic product to a significant foreign currency-generating export. Mrs Elemo said the cassava industry has the capacity to generate over three million jobs and it is expanding. FIIRO boss said there are opportunities for people to make money from cassava bread and other products from the commodity. She stressed, however, entrepreneurs should be receptive to the commercial and operational changes required to move forward in local and international markets. She said the institute has mapped out and analysed opportunities for young entrepreneurs in the sector. According to her, small and medium scale enterprises with amounts ranging from N50,000 to N500,000, can their pull funds together and invest in processing facilities, adding if they do so, their returns will be much. Mrs Elemo said the institute is working to encourage other investors to encourage the use of cas-
Buying agric machines
HE country’s agriculture can be divided into small peasant farming and estate farming. The small peasant family farmers produce food crops – yams, cassava, guinea corn, millet, maize, rice, cocoyam, beans, etc, for consumption, the inland market and sometimes for export. Byut estate farming is mainly devoted to the cultivation of cash crops, such as cocoa, rubber, coffee, cotton, timber, sugar cane and tobacco. Different types of agricultural machinery/ equipment, component parts for assembling and spare parts can be imported for sale and hired to states/ local governments, big-time farmers (individuals and institutional bodies), co-operatives and peasant farmers, to facilitate mechanised farming in the country. Farm machinery can be clarified into tillage, cultivating, and fertilising, spraying, harvesting and processing equipmen. One of the barriers to agricultural mechanisation in Nigeria and other developing countries is that it is still rudimentary. Subsistence farming has, over the years, failed to keep up with the rapid population growths. With an estimated arable land of 31.29m, out of a total land mass of 913,072.64 square kilometers, experts contend that the nation has no business importing food. A nation should industrialise the economy and increase the level of agricultural production to achieve rapid economic growth. Demonstrating the advantages of new
sava. In addition to the commercial and technical assistance, she said the institute would train young entrepreneurs and provide advice to local farmers on how to develop top-quality products. The FIIRO boss said her institute has enabled local farmers producing cassava to diversify away from the production of lowvalue crops to high value-added. She said the industry would increase income and employment opportunities for those who grow or collect raw materials for cassava bread production and export companies. Mrs Elemo said cassava has tremendous potential through both product and market diversification, adding that the institute is ready to work with the government to provide a means of livelihood for thousands of farmers and employment to many individuals. She said the institute was ready to bring small entrepreneurs and big millers to increase the volume of exports and convert cassava farming into a standard business. This involves the government, business associations and sector-related business service producers at national, provincial and local levels working together to enable
There are new opportunities for women and entrepreneurs to excel in the emerging market for cassava bread. The FIIRO boss said the business opportunities are growing. Already, the government is building on the national export strategy. “Due to economic factors, which have made it impossible for the common man to have convenient food on his table at the right-time, price, quality and quantity, bread has remained the only staple food affordable to them. However, since wheat is not produced in Nigeria, it has to be imported. Besides, bread is produced from 100 per cent wheat flour and as such, huge amount of hard earned foreign exchange is used yearly for its importation. According to the Minister of Agriculture Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, importation of wheat/wheat flour for bread making and other confectioneries cost the nation N635 billion annually. Meanwhile, the market prospect for garri, another product from cassava is enormous and most certain, given its status as a staple food. Estimated market value of garri also runs into billions of dollars yearly. Its economic gain continues to increase as many consume the product daily.
By Edwin Agbaike (Projects, Financial & Management Consultant)
methods or seed stocks, even the most traditional peasant farmers in Nigeria, would change their ways, and would invest in agricultural machinery/equipment, fertiliser, insecticides, herbicides, irrigation systems, high-yielding varieties of food crops that have been developed in the past century. Yield per unit of land can be increased enormously. Modern machines have made farming attractive to young farmers, reduced drudgery and the back breaking/stress that are in farming, and quickened farm operations. Different affordable agricultural machinery/ equipment can be imported from China, Korea and India. Prices of these machines/ equipment range from N25,000 to N10 million. Agricultural machine, especially the small hand-tools have a high turnover with over 100 per cent returns on investment. The capital on importation of agricultural machinery/equipment can be recouped in a short period, even in the first year of trading, and the project would then become self-financing if property managed. Details on how to embark on importation of these or other viable products can be obtained from the consultant. •Agbaike can be reached at KrisEd Brilliant Limited, 395, Borno Way, off Harbert Macualy Road, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos. Tel. 08023381900
•From left: ISPON President, Mr Chris Uwaje; Chairman, Open Media Group and Distinguished Knowledge Ambassador, Dr Ernest Ndukwe; and Personal Assistant on IT to Cross River State Governor, Henry Asor, at the unveiling of the ambassador. PHOTO: DAVID ADEJO
NECA protests employment of foreign trainers
HE Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has deplored plans by some states to engage foreign consultants in training entrepreneurs. This, it said, would lead to capital flight and make the government to incur huge costs. NECA spoke against the backdrop of plans by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Ekiti State government to
‘How to manage changes in businesses’ IJI Otenigbagbe, a United Kingdom-based business change expert, has said knowing that every project has three major things in common will help resolve issues and aid business executives on how to manage conflicts. Commenting on the mishandling of business change innovations by management executives and how to manage the synergies between business change and project management, he said: ‘’Every project has three major things in common; it involves people, finance and processes and these three elements are managed based on the expertise of the people who are well trained in these areas.’’ He said: ‘’A good mix of these
growers, collectors and producers to improve their products and connect to more profitable markets. With consumers coming to accept that they need a substitute for wheat, the FIIRO boss said her institute has since taken advantage of this shift to introduce agro business into the value chain. The institute is partnering with millers who have high profile to influence the market, or large retailers that can disperse products and messages. The impact on the people would be substantial, with improvements in housing, education and food security. Already, many agro entrepreneurs have swung into action, increasing hectares of cultivation nationwide; this would make export trade to thrive. The evolving industry is laying the foundation for long-term economic vitality for the communities involved. FIIRO boss wants farmers to gain from the business and the approach will be market-driven and linkages between the market and producers built on real trade relationships. As with other businesses, Mrs Elemo said producers have realised that commercial cassava bread production can make them more competitive and enhance their brand image.
By Ajose Sehindemi
three elements will help deliver a successful project but the issue however is that whilst in delivery mode, you need to also manage the impact of these elements on the organisation.’’ He pointed out that the impact is seen in key areas, such as staff productivity, job security, increase or reduction in the reputation of the firm etc. ‘’Bearing these in mind, it is almost impossible to embark on a project without taking into consideration the business change elements of a project,’’ he added. On the synergy between business change and project management, he
said: ‘’I have often heard business managers say ‘this is not a change project, so we just need a project manager and not a business change manager ‘. I have, however, come to realise through experience in my years of working with major organisations, that this really is not true and a mistake made by most business leaders. In most cases down the line, a business change manager or executive is employed to solve a problem that would have been avoided if consideration had been given to the business change elements of the project.’’ He added that not every project is not a change project, but that in every project or programme, there is an element of business change in it.
By Ajose Sehindemi
bring in foreigners to train young farmers. It was advertised in a national daily. But the association said this was wrong because there are qualified Nigerians who can do the job. In a statement, NECA’s DirectorGeneral,Mr Segun Oshinowo, called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, to order embassies and High Commissions in the countries from where the trainers are being sourced, not to issue visas to the invited foreign trainers, adding that bringing in these foreigners would be a disservice to the country. He said: ‘’We wish to draw your attention to the advertisement in the dailies, on the UNDP/ILO’s support for the Ekiti State Government’s project on International Enterprise Development Training for ‘Young Farmers’ in Ekiti State. “On the face of it, while this might seem a laudable project, which will benefit Nigerians in the quest of the government to tackle the hydra headed monster of unemployment, the fact, however, is that the decision of the ILO and UNDP to utilise international experts as against Ni-
gerians with similar knowledge base and experience is a great disservice to our nation and smack of insensitivity to the national interest of Nigeria.’’ Oshinowo said many graduates are in the labour market with several competences, but are faced with job scarcity and as ‘’part of NECA’s contribution, with the support of ILO and the Norwegian donor agency (NORAD) to tackle this menace, they are promoted entrepreneurship in Nigeria through a crop of master trainers, who had acquired the expertise and certification to administer the ILO world acclaimed entrepreneurial module entitled: Start and Improve Your Business’ (SIYB). He said the idea of the initiative was to have domestic capacity to support government’s endeavour in tackling unemployment, but the case was different as the ‘’Ekiti State government has engaged the services of experts from South Africa and Zimbabwe rather than Nigerian certified ILO master trainers, who have the same competence and qualifications as their foreign counterparts’’. He said NECA learnt that UNDP preferred foreign experts, adding that this was unfair and could undermine the development of Nigerians.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Self-assessment: F y ask ed questions Frrequentl equently asked 1. Why is the Service migrating from government assessment to self-assessment? The Service is not migrating but strengthening self-assessment because the Service did not get the policy right at the beginning.
TSPPPD shall be responsible for policies and coordination of TPS activities. However, the TPS Units in the tax offices are to deliver the direct services to the taxpayers. 30. How much time is required to check a return? Checking for arithmetic accuracy and completeness of the returns has replaced full desk examination of accounts and as such it is estimated that an average of 30 minutes should normally be sufficient to deal with a case file. This will naturally also depend on the skill and experience of the officer.
2. What is the difference between Administrative Assessment and Best of Judgement? Administrative Assessment means an assessment raised by a relevant tax authority where a taxpayer has failed to file returns and pay taxes due on or before the due date or where there is an understatement of tax in the returns filed. Best of Judgement (BOJ) is an administrative assessment, however in issuing it shall be based on spot audit, third party information to identify material fact upon which the assessment will be raised.
31. Which Unit is responsible for data capture of tax returns? The Returns Payment and Processing Unit (RPPU). 32. In the work flow described in the Handbook on SelfAssessment, Tax Returns are expected to move from the front desk of Taxpayers Service to the Central Registry; does this mean it is no longer necessary for the Tax Controller to endorse the returns before sending them to the Central Registry? The Tax Controller (TC) needs not endorse the returns before sending them to the Central Registry, what is required is for front desk registry staff to forward a schedule of the returns and mails to TC and he may call for any of the files. This is to reduce the workload of the TC who is charged with the general administrative function of the office.
3. Is Spot Audit provided for in the tax law? Spot Audit and third party information is provided for by Section 26 of the FIRS (Establishment) Act. 4. What is the difference between Administrative Assessment and Government Assessment? There is no difference between Administrative Assessment and Government Assessment. They are terminologies used interchangeably as assessment raised on behalf of government by the relevant tax authority. 5. Will an objection arise under a self-assessment system? Ordinarily under a self-assessment system the taxpayer may not object against his own assessment, however he may object against an assessment raised administratively. 6. How does an Assessment Program differ from a Filing Compliance Program? Assessment program is used to raise assessment for taxpayers who fail to file on due date. However, Filing Compliance Program is used to enforce compliance to ensure all taxpayers file their tax returns and make payment of tax due on or before due date. 7. What should be the relationship between RPP/Audit/RAU? There must be collaboration between them and the chain must not be broken. RPP receives returns; carries out arithmetic checks and passes them to Tax Audit for RAU- a subunit of Tax Audit to carry out analysis for case selection. 8. What are the KPIs for RAU? The Key Performance Indicators shall be set in line with the Risk Assessment benchmarks and agreed from time to time. i) The time spent on risk profiling of taxpayer data. ii) The report generated on weekly basis not later 2-day after a week. iii) The tax yield of the report. 9. What should you do when you notice the basis period is not correct? It is RPP’s responsibility to correct the basis period, re-compute and notify the taxpayer for payment. 10. Should all tax returns be risk profiled? Yes, all tax returns should automatically be risk profiled. After data entry, the taxpayer file is forwarded from RPPU to the Head of Audit for the Selection Criteria Analysis. 11. Should RPPU be communicating directly with taxpayers? RPPU can communicate directly to/with taxpayer by notifying him when an error is observed during the review of returns. 12. What action is to be taken when tax returns are not submitted on due date? FDAEU should visit the taxpayer immediately with a demand for the returns and inform the taxpayer the consequences of having failed to comply due date. Administrative assessment procedure will commence after the visit. 13. What happens to the seized books of a Taxpayer who was distraint; at what point do you return the books that were seized? Make copies of the seized documents and ensure it is endorsed by the taxpayer then return the books immediately in line with the provisions of Section 26 and 30(2) of FIRS (Establishment) Act, No 13 2007. 14. When an Additional Assessment is raised, should it be backdated to the due date of filing/payment? Yes, it should be effective from the time the payment was due. 15. The penalty for late returns and penalty for late payment do not appear to be equitable. Could this be reviewed? A recommendation has been made for the review to make it a percentage of tax due. 16. How do you encourage taxpayers file in their appropriate Jurisdiction? If the taxpayer has previously filed in a wrong jurisdiction, the taxpayer’s file should be moved to the jurisdiction within which his address falls. Then the taxpayer should be advised accordingly. 17. What is the working relationship between Filing Debt Arrears Enforcement Unit (FDAEU) and the Returns Payment Processing Unit (RPPU)? RPPU conducts arithmetic checks of a tax return, captures data and refers a list of non-compliant taxpayers to FDAEU for further actions including a visit to the taxpayer to find out why he failed to file and remind him of the consequences of late and nonfiling. 18. When is a Tax Clearance Certificate issued to a taxpayer? A Tax Clearance Certificate is issued only when tax liabilities including penalty and interest for the relevant assessment years are paid. 19. The focus of Self-Assessment appears to be on only CIT. Is VAT not part of the Self-Assessment Process? Self-Assessment is a regime and covers all tax types.
•Alhaji Kabir Mohammed Mashi, Ag. Executive Chairman, FIRS
33. When tax returns are submitted at the front desk and assessment numbers allocated at that point, who does the separation of the documents bearing in mind that assessment numbers may be used as documentary evidence in court? Once an assessment number is issued at the front desk to a tax return that has been submitted, it is documented under the name of the officer who issued the number. The documents are separated by CRU and despatched to the appropriate units.
20. After the risk assessments of returns have been done, are all the returns then passed to the Audit Unit? Yes, the Audit works on the result of the risk analysis to draw up its audit program for further action. In any case, RAU is a sub-unit of Audit.
34. At what point does a Front Desk Officer at Taxpayers Service issue acknowledgement of receiving Returns? The Front Desk officer reviews the content of the tax return and if satisfied that the required documents are attached to the tax returns, the form is duly completed and signed; an acknowledgment is then completed and issued to the taxpayer.
21. Presently there are no Audit Units in some ITOs what will happen to the audit functions in these offices? All offices are expected to have Audit Units by the time Self-Assessment is fully implemented. However, where there are no Audit Unit, the Regional Audit shall perform the audit.
35. What happens to a Tax Returns that is filed late, does this still qualify as a Self Assessment return? It is still a Self-Assessment return as the taxpayer has the responsibility of computing the tax and filing the returns but he should be penalized for late filing beginning from the date the returns fell due.
22. What is the process for approving a request for instalment payment of tax? Where a taxpayer intends to conclude instalment payments not later than due date of filing, the taxpayer is required to notify the tax office of his intention. However, where a taxpayer intends to conclude instalment payments beyond the due date of filing, he shall request for approval. In any of the cases, the taxpayer is expected to commence instalment payments before due date such that the final payment is made not later than due date.
36. In the Self Assessment System what documents would the Legal and Prosecution Department require to prosecute MDAs for failure to deduct or remit tax? The Audit Report of unremitted funds.
23. What are the conditions for granting extension of time for filing returns? · Written application to be submitted before due date of filing returns and to show good cause for taxpayers inability to file by the due date. · If the Board is satisfied with the cause, it may grant approval under the following conditions; a) Upon sudden death of any Principal officer of the Company; and b) Where the Company experienced Natural disaster. The approval to extend the time within which to file returns will not alter the time within which payment of tax is to be made. 24. The law allows two months grace from due date of filing, does this now mean the grace period is eight months? With respect to Companies Income Tax, a taxpayer is required to file tax returns and make payment of tax due not later than six months after the accounting year end. However, he has the option to make instalment payments of tax due in a manner that the final instalment is paid not later than two months after due date. 25. What about the incentive for self-assessment filing, will taxpayers who file still enjoy this incentive? The incentive for self-assessment filing that existed up to 2007 was abolished by Companies Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2007. 26. Considering the non-compliant culture of Nigerians, do you think that self assessment as a means to achieving voluntary compliance will work in Nigeria? Put in another way; are we ripe for voluntary compliance? The self-assessment tax regime is concerned with the provision of proper enablement for taxpayers and enforcement actions that will ensure compliance. 27. My understanding is that the first instalment of tax payable should be paid on due date and the remaining maximum of five (5) instalments paid after due date but not later than November 30, 2011. In accordance with the self-assessment regulations, instalment payments may commence before due date of filing provided the final payment is made not later than due date. In addition, the regulation only provided for three instalments. Note that the Companies Income Tax Act does not say six instalment payments must be granted. 28. When was the Taxpayers Service Policies, Processes and Programmes Department (TSPPPD) created and what is the purpose of creating the department at the Headquarters when Taxpayers Service Unit already exists in all the Integrated Tax Offices? TSPPPD was created in April, 2011. TSPPPD at the Headquarters is responsible for generating procedures for delivering uniform taxpayer service, formulating the annual operating plan and providing headquarters support to ensure taxpayer service is effectively carried out in order to target compliance gap. 29. Is it only the (Headquarters) TSPPPD that will carry out sensitization and education of taxpayers?
37. What should be done by RPPU while checking the arithmetic accuracy of a return and you encounter a taxpayer claiming a huge relief? Simply capture the information as indicated during data capturing process. This claim will be verified during the audit process. 38. Why is it is necessary to invite the taxpayer when an error is observed in the arithmetic calculations and the subsequent raising of Government/support assessment? This is to remove delays which usually characterize exchange of correspondences between the taxpayer and the Service in respect of re-assessment notices which will reduce objections. 39. How does Best of Judgment (BOJ) operate in a Self Assessment System? Best of Judgment shall be based on spot audit to identify material fact upon which the assessment shall be raised. Spot Audit is justified by Section 26 of the FIRS (Establishment) Act, No 13, 2007. 40. What is the legality of administrative assessment? Is it contestable in the court of Law? Administrative assessment is an assessment raised by the tax officer based on material evidence obtained from the taxpayer and/or third party sources. FIRS (Establishment) Act empowers the ascertainment of profit/income through calling for the books of taxpayer or visiting their premises (see S.26, S.29 and S.30 of FIRS (Establishment) Act, No 13, 2007). The taxpayer has the right to contest any assessment raised on him. 41. Where there is conflict between the Handbook on Self Assessment and the FIRS Establishment Act which supersede? The FIRS (Establishment) Act shall supersede because it is an act of parliament while the handbook in an administrative document for guidance only. 42. How do we deal with Capital Allowance under the Self Assessment System? The Capital Allowance shall be computed as usual by the taxpayer and inputted from the tax return during data capture by RPPU. 43. In a Self Assessment system how do you treat a non/stop filer? A Non-Filer or stop-filer shall automatically be subject to spot audit. This is one of the selection criteria that must be reviewed by the auditor and once this information is clearly indicated in the case file, the system automatically picks this up for audit. 44. What is the effective date of the commencement of the Self Assessment Handbook? All officers are to familiarize themselves with the handbook because Management has approved its immediate use for the implementation of Self-Assessment. 45. Please provide more clarifications on the issue of how mails and returns movement should be handled? When tax returns and other correspondences are received by the front desk officer, they are documented in the register and a schedule of the document is prepared. A copy of the schedule is forwarded to the Tax Controller and Central Registry respectively. Central Registry takes the responsibility of making sure the document is safely kept in the appropriate file for onward transfer to the appropriate Unit Head.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
HE challenges may be tough, but the task of keeping Oyo State clean is yielding fruit, the chairman of the state Solid Waste Management Authority, (OYOWMA) Mr Adebisi Adesina has said. Such challenges range from poor compliance, woeful revenue collection; lack of land-fill department, inadequate dumpsites and inefficient and uncoordinated manpower. Other hindrances, according to him, are lack of waste management strategies, insufficient public awareness and a shortfall in towing vehicles, among others. Yet, the business of evacuating waste and keeping the state clean is making appreciable impact, Adesina said. When he assumed office in December, there were 16 Sterling Goliath compactor trucks. Now, “unfortunately, only five trucks are working, while the spare parts for their repairs are no more available in the United States of America where the trucks were procured from.” The trucks are outdated, he added. Adesina said he started with total reorganisation and improvement of existing structures, by creating a landfill department and appointing a consultant to oversee the daily operational affairs of the four dumpsites at Lapite, Aba Eku, Awotan and Ajakanga. “We have revitalised the operations department by introducing three shifts in a day. This initiative has increased the total waste moved from the Ibadan metropolis from 15000m3 in December 2011 to 37784.57m3 in March 2012, an exercise that has created cleaner and healthy environment,” he said. On the attitude of private refuse contractors, he said that in line with the transformation agenda of the present administration, the agency alone will be the only accredited waste manager for commercial, industrial and tenement environ-
•Faulty refuse trucks in the premises of the Oyo State Solid Waste Management Authority (OYOWMA)
Oyo intensifies waste management From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan
ment. Through this, he said, healthy environment will be sustained and revenue generation will receive a boost. Newsextra also gathered that enlightenment and enforcement departments have been mobilised with members of the Youth Empowerment Scheme-Oyo (YES-O), to educate people on clean and sustainable environment. “We are intensifying efforts on safe disposal of solid waste,” he
said. Adesina, an engineer, also disclosed that the street sweeping initiative has been remodelled by the authority. This, he said, is through contracting out the maintenance of major roads in the 11 local government areas in Ibadan and providing more refuse containers in major routes to discourage indiscriminate refuse disposal. “Efforts are ongoing on repairs of refuse collection vehicles and procurement of additional compactor trucks, roll-on-roll-off trucks, street sweeping vehicles, and towing vehicles to meet the daily challenges of refuse disposal
‘Prevent flood by keeping drainage refuse-free’
HE Chief Executive Officer of a Lagos State agency, Drain Ducks, Alhaji Hakeem Apatira, has urged Lagos residents to always clean their environment to prevent flood. Apatira, who spoke at the 4th Gala Award held in Lekki, Lagos by the Illustrious Media Concepts, publishers of Illustrious magazine, said the indigenes and residents of Lagos should make cleanliness their business. He said: “The Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola administration is striving to combat flood. Lagosians should complement its efforts by desisting from dumping refuse inside gutters, drainages and canals. “We are in the rainy season and Lagosians should assist the government to make the state free from flood. We at the Drain Ducks are removing silt and refuse from the drainages on a daily basis. We expect Lagosians to play their part by shunning the dumping of refuse inside gutters and canals.” The immediate past chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos State branch, Alhaji Rafiu Olohunwa, hailed the Editor-inChief of Illustrious magazine, Mr. Kareem Aregbe, for organising the Gala Award. He said he would facilitate the introduction of modern buses and the phasing out of rickety ones if he is elected again as the NURTW chairman. Senator Oluremi Tinubu was one of those who received awards at the event. Others are, HRM Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, the Elegushi of
By Tokunbo Ogunsami
Ikateland; Oba Fatai Akamo, the Olu of Itori; HRH Oba Tajudeen Elemoro, the Onitedo of Oke-Odo; Iyalode Alaba Lawson; Chief
(Mrs.) Ibiyemi Ajadi of Paramount FM; Alhaji Hakeem Apatira; Alhaji Rafiu Olohunwa; a female Juju musician, Mrs. Ayo Balogun; son of the late Apala king, Alhaji Musiliu Haruna Ishola; Fuji musician Saheed Osupa and others.
in the metropolis. “People prefer disposing their refuse through cart pushers and other illegal refuse disposal outfits instead of patronising the private refuse contractors (PRC). This will stop once the Oyo State House of Assembly amends the law. Illegal dumpsites have been identified recently and will be transformed to environment-compliant neighbourhood. “In a bid to reduce the workload of the landfill sites and generate revenue for the state government, the idea of converting waste to wealth is in progress. This process will entail recycling organic composites, biogas plastics and polythene to generate wealth. His words: “A well-articulated programme aimed at motivating and re-orientating members of staff for optimal performance and high sense of belonging is in place through staff welfare, training and re-assessment. All operators, sweepers and motor boys will be kitted, departmental consultative forum would be established. There
will be vehicle branding, clinic and annual award ceremony for staff. “We have, over time, organised an enlightenment programmes for market associations, unions, industries and opinion leaders. We have produced and aired jingles in the media and equally produced handbills to sensitise the public on the consequences of indiscriminate dumping of refuse. “We have also appealed to government to provide us with more land-fill compactors, tractors, refuse truck, rear loading compactors, among other requests.” General Manager of the agency, Engineer Alabi Adegbile, also disclosed to Newsextra that “we normally clear the refuse dumps in all the 11 local government areas in Ibadan thrice a day, but the night shift starts by 9:00 p.m. when traffic situation is lighter. “I want to appeal to residents to desist from dumping refuse in the drainage channels or dredged rivers in order to avoid flood disaster and to maintain a healthy and cleaner environment.”
gramme would be a continuous exercise, and a preparatory step that complements Spelling Bee contest. There were three winners from the 10 competing schools. They were Gbenopo Primary School I,
Unity Primary school and L. A. Primary School. Present at the event were Education Secretary of the council, A. O. Onilude, Supervisor for Agriculture, Prince Dayo Seyon, amongst others.
Lagos council rewards pupils
ARD work has been rewarded in Badagry Local Government Area, Lagos State. Various educational materials, including exercise books, writing materials and plaques, were given to the schools that excelled in a quiz competition. The Council Vice Chairman, Hon. Pedetin Elizabeth Kappo handed out the materials to pupils from 10 excelling primary school at the council secretariat. The council vice-chairman said it is time that the ailing educational sector was revamped by complementing the state and Federal Government’s drive and programmes in education. She said education is a vehicle of growth, transformation, restructuring and development in any society. “The quiz competition is organised to cultivate reading culture and the development of a pur-
•Hon. Kappo hands out a plaque By Emmanuel Udodinma
poseful and positive attitudinal change among our pupils on whom our future depends.” She assured that the pro-
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
HREE women groups in Anambra State have taken the campaign against maternal mortality and rape to rural communities. The groups are National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Young Women Christian Association (YMCA) and Umuada Igbo. In Anambra State, the women took the campaign to over 12 rural communities which are Ekwulobia, Umunnachi, Amawbia, Ayamelum, Nsugbe, among others. The groups emphasised that maternal mortality is a serious one as it claimed the life of Mrs. Ngozi Agbo (nee Nwozor recently) one of the finest journalists with The Nation who was coordinating Campus Life, a segment of the education department, even as they noted that the same issue claimed the life of Wife of a reporter with the Vanguard Newspaper in Anambra State, Enyim Enyim, few days back. She died after child birth in Enugu. Furthermore, the women say they are equally raising their voices against unlawful practices and abolition of harmful practices against womenfolk. Also in Onitsha, Anambra State a 11-year-old girl was said to have been raped by a pastor during what they called deliverance. All these, they groups said, had culminated in the women carrying their sensitisation campaigns to the rural areas to stop or minimise the menace. In one of the exercises at the Ngene town hall (Ngozi Agbo’s) native community in Amawbia, the former Commissioner for Health Prof. Brian Adinma disclosed that 60,000 maternal deaths occur in Nigeria annually. Adinma, who is the President of Gynaecologists and Obstetrics in Nigeria, said the figure is too high when compared with countries like Northern Ireland and Sweden where according to him; they record only one death each in five years through maternal mortality. He listed five key issues that could claim the lives of women during pregnancy to include bleeding, hypertension and ecclesia, obstructed labour, unsafe abortion or miscarriage and anemia (low blood situation). He further regretted that what hinders some women from going to anti-natal during pregnancy is the high rate of poverty. Furthermore, he warned against hiding rape cases a situation which he described as suicidal. He recommended life imprisonment for any rape offender in the country. A legal practitioner and one of the coordinators of IPAs Nigeria,
•Umuada Igbo in one of their functions
Women groups campaign against maternal mortality From Nwanosike Onu, Awka
Mrs. Sarafina Ojimaduka said the exercise was to ensure the abolition of harmful traditional practices against women and to sensitise them on their rights. Ojimaduka equally educated them on the legal implications of the exercise, adding that maternal mortality had been on the increase
and must be stopped. IPAs Nigeria is an international agency that has taken the lead on the reproductive health and rights of women in the country. Another lawyer, Nkem Anyaogu called for an end to widowhood practices, stigmatisation on rape victims, female genital mutilation and forced marriages. She promised the women that if such case is reported to her, she would render free legal services to
What hinders some women from going to anti-natal during pregnancy is the high rate of poverty
•Wife of Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi (right); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Folusho Sali (left) and Commissioner for Women Affairs, Oyo State, Mrs. Atinuke Osunkoya at the second phase of distribution of jobs equipment to selected women in the state by Ministry of Women Affairs
any of the victims anywhere in the country. A leader of the Young Women Christian Association (YMCA) Onyeka Udegbunam told Newsextra that what they were doing was just a cry for help to governments at all levels and medical experts for them to come to the aid
of women. She said if maternal mortality should be stopped, women should have control over the number of children they want to have. Udegbunam said: “It requires political will of the government both at the state and federal levels to lift the burden off the shoulders of the Nigerian women. Chinwe Nnajekwu, a health worker with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu (UNTH), described maternal mortality as a crime against women.
Why we must plant trees, by council boss
HE Chairman of EtiOsa Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Alhaji Owolabi Yisa, has explained the importance of tree planting. Yisa spoke while flagging off the council’s tree planting season. The council chief, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Fiddi, said: “Trees provide shade and protect our properties, prevent erosion, help minimise flooding and act as wind breakers thereby protecting us from the windstorm and hazard of nature.” Yisa commended the efforts of the Lagos State Governor •Mrs Fiddi planting the tree while Alhaji Olusi and Babatunde Raji other council officials watch Fashola (SAN) for the tree-planting tioned that about three million trees initiative. have been planted in four years. He urged the people of the council Commissioner for the Environto take the campaign serious, saying ment, Mr. Tunji Bello, whose speech “he who plants trees gives life”. was delivered by Mr. Lasisi Fashola, who was represented by Adedoyin, thanked the governor for Mr. Suraju Alli Balogun, said apart the transformation in the environfrom the life that trees give, they are ment. known to be very useful in sinking At the exercise were Action Concarbon dioxide a major contributor gress of Nigeria (ACN) leader, Alhaji to green house gases and replenishTajudeen Oluyole Olusi, students ing the air with oxygen. He said trees from Olomu Primary and Junior Secalso improve the aesthetic value of ondary Schools, Ajah, community the environment. He also menleaders, traders and councillors.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
It is on record that St Joseph has produced many students who are making waves in all areas of human endeavor. Among such is the current Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire
• Participants at the event
HE Director of Studies and Administration of St Joseph Secondary School, Idi-Mangoro, Agege, Lagos, Isaiah Awogbindin has admonished the school’s outgoing students not to view themselves as having attained their ultimate goals, stating that graduation is only a beginning in their life’s journey The educationist gave this advice at the institution’s annual Valedictory Service held at the school’s premises, where he also noted the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire as one of the notable products of the now 50-year-old institution. He said: “We have prepared everything to get your result on time be-
Youths warned against complacency By Olusoji Olukayode
cause I know some of you have already sought admission into the university. At this juncture, let me congratulate the graduates for enduring to the end of your six years of secondary education. This is your day and I rejoice with you. However, this is just the beginning of a journey of life. Some of you already have wrong notions that you have made it and that you are on top. You have just started the journey of life, so don’t let any-
thing get into your head because you are in a special uniform today. It’s a good beginning and I hope the foundation that has been given to you here will last and enrich you in the society in general in Jesus name amen. “It is on record that St Joseph has produced many students who are making waves in all areas of human endeavor. Among such is the current Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; we say our congratulations to her; she is a worthy ambassador of the school.” To the parents, he said: “You will
agree with me that you will not make a mistake of sending your children to St. joseph when the results of these outgoing students shall be released. I assure you they will be better than their predecessors; as an evidence of this, in all the scrolls a scratch card to check for their result on the web has been included such that they don’t have go looking for scratch cards to use. So they are going to make good results.” However, the usual award ceremony associated with such an event was not left out. Prizes were dished
out to deserving outstanding students in all the classes but the award for the Most Outstanding Student went to the outgoing Senior Boy, Ajewole Toluwani. Ajewole also scooped the award for the Best Student in English Language and Further Mathematics. Reacting to the feat, the 17-year-old attributed his success to God, saying: “I give glory to God because it’s not been easy. But I thank God for making it a glorious day for me. It’s only God, it’s only God because I could not imagine my name was the one that would be called. I thank God all the same.”
How to check insecurity, by forensic expert By Jude Isiguzo
SECURITY expert has blamed the persistent security problem in the country on the government’s reluctance to invest in security by empowering existing security agencies in the country. Ahmed Adewale Adeneye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jigsaw, a forensic investigation and security consulting company based in Lagos, argued that government’s unwillingness to invest in the establishment of a national data base is responsible for the increasing insecurity in the country. The United Kingdom-trained secu-
rity expert noted that government also needs forensic science in all aspects of living and in all sectors of the economy to improve security, which will in turn encourage foreign investors on the security of their investments. Adeneye said the country was losing huge foreign investments and exchange to the present insecurity problem the country is faced with and that it will be difficult to convince any investor to invest in this kind of atmosphere. He said, “One of the proposals I have sent to the Minister of Police Affairs and the Inspector General of Police now is how to build a national data base. To build a national data base, as it sounds, seems big but it is not; one of the best national data base in the world is UK national data base as big as their population which is about 60 to 65 million; they still have less than 50 per cent of their population on that data base. ‘’It’s so easy to build a data base; first you start with the confined environment like the prisons, police stations, you take their samples for DNA. During the last elections, some elements of data were taken; you go to the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and collect them. One
of the reasons why the UK data base is successful is that once you have a case, you are being arrested, they take your DNA, store it on their data base. That does not mean you are a criminal. Once any serious crime is carried out they run a DNA from the samples gathered at the crime scene; once it matches with that of anybody on the data base they start looking for the person, if it does not match, they keep it there. “If the government can start today, in about one to five years, we would be somewhere. It is like this Boko Haram thing, anywhere there is explosion, any DNA that you can find and an activity you can find from the scene, record it whether in Jos, Maduguri or anywhere, record it; before you know it, you will be making progress. A crime can be committed in Lagos and you find a matching
DNA from the national data base in Jos. The moment you match it, you begin to look for the suspect. With this simple scenario that I have given, if we start a national data base, crime rate will reduce and so many crimes will be solved.” The security expert who has also trained secondary school students drawn from Grange, Lekki-British International, Ronik Comprehensive School, all in Lagos and Christ the king college and Regent secondary school Abuja, on the science of forensic investigation, said the advantages are enormous. Adeneye said, “So many people believe that forensic science is just to catch criminals but I say no. The greatest advantage is to exonerate the so called people that have been wrongly charged. In the area of job creation, some many people will be employed.
One of the proposals I have sent to the Minister of Police Affairs and the Inspector General of Police now is how to build a national data base. To build a national data base, as it sounds, seems big but it is not
If the government can tap into the advantages, a lot of jobs will be created. There are so many branches in forensic science; we have investigators, crime scene managers, document examiner, the pathologist, the chemistry, the dog handler, up to the photographer and so many other avenues. Investors’ confidence in the country would be restored and they will come here to do business because at that time crime level would be reduced.” On the issue of Boko Haram, he said, “Once there is an explosion or any activity carried out by the sect we need an experienced forensic scientist that can go to the scene and get the things that would be need for a proper investigation. People that know how to handle a crime scene, once you get the things you are looking for, take them to the lab and do a crime reconstruction of the scene and you now have enough information to look for the suspects. If the government start the national data base project now in the next one year it will be very easy to track them down. Sooner or later some of them may need international passports to travel or go to hospitals for treatment, which will require that their details and even blood samples are taken, and then you will now start having names.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
POLITICS THE NATION
The Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution ended its fourday retreat in Asaba, the Delta State capital, on Sunday. Assistant Editor ONYEDI OJIABOR reports the open and behind-thescene sessions.
• Senate President David Mark (second left), Senator Ike Ekweremadu (left), Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Rivers State, Governor Rotimi Amaechi and former Chief Justice Muhammadu Uwais at the retreat.
Senate and the Asaba declaration T
HE retreat was designed to pro vide a roadmap for the opera tors of the constitution to brainstorm on the way forward. The starting point was that they agreed that the amendment is long overdue. Nigeria had witnessed series of constitution reviews, the last being the review of the 1999 Constitution in 2010 and 2011 by the sixth National Assembly. Senate President David Mark, in his inaugural remarks, explained the choice of Asaba as the venue of the landmark event. Asaba, he said, is apt in a historical context, since it was in Asaba, which sits on the bank of the River Niger, that Tubman Goldie, British adventurer and merchant, used as the headquarters of his Royal Niger Company. It was from there that his merchants set out to trade on the River Niger and River Benue and, through the instrument of treaties, brought all the areas encompassing the Lower Niger and Benue Rivers under the control of the company. At the Berlin Conference in 1885, Goldie was able to successfully invoke the doctrine of affectivity; that powers only possesed colonies, if they actually possessed them. It was from Asaba, on January 1, 1900, that the Royal Niger Company transferred its territories to the British Government for the princely sum of 865,000 pounds. “That territory, together with the small Niger Coast Protectorate, immediately became the two Protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria ,” Mark explained. The Senate President submitted that “at times like this, when our nation finds itself in the vortex of contradictions, it is only proper that we return to our roots to draw strength.” Mark argued that the 1999 Constitution, which was bequeathed to the country by the military, is far from being perfect. “No plebiscite or referendum preceded its promulgation. It is not surprising therefore, that it contains a host of contradictions, lacunae and inconsistencies. These have engendered complaints from Nigerians, and even from the executive branch of government,” Mark opined. Mark, like Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, opted for incremental approach to the review
process where attention should focus on those areas that compel urgent review. This option of incremental approach may have been informed by the realisation that Nigeria is “a complex society in which the forging of a national consensus on borderline issues is an arduous, if not impossible, task.” But Mark and Ekweremadu stressed that a broad consensus seemed to have crystallized around the issues of devolution of powers, fiscal federalism, the concept of federating units, the system of local government administration, including funding, creation and autonomy.
16 critical areas Other areas where consensus seemed to have built included judicial reforms, creation of states, national security; terrorism and insurgency; boundary adjustment, further fine-tuning of the electoral system, state police, citizenship versus indigeneship, role of traditional rulers and prison reform. Ekweremadu who serves as chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review (SCCR) saw the retreat as a furtherance of Senate patriotic response to national imperatives and realities, which found expressions in the popular yearnings of the Nigerian people for a further review of the 1999 Constitution. For Ekweremadu, the National Assembly sees Constitution review as a continuum. “We have since the last Constitution amendment exercise been guided by the principle of incremental approach. “Thus, whereas the 6th National Assembly had thought it wise and needful to concentrate on areas of relative national consensus and pressing needs, especially electoral reforms to pave the way for an improved electoral system before the 2011 general election, various cogent submissions by Nigerians and inter-
est groups which could not be attended to were carried over to the 7th National Assembly,” Ekweremadu explained. The SCCR, Ekweremadu said, critically revisited the report of the last Committee to sift matters requiring immediate attention and has in addition articulated other critical national issues based on unfolding realities and came up with the following: Devolution of powers – it is expressed that the legislative list in our constitution is skewed in favour of the Federal Government and needs to be revisited, to give the constitution a true Federal character. Creation of more states – requests for the creation of more states, to address obvious injustices, and imbalances of the past, has persisted. We are minded to discuss it. It is being suggested that the six geo-political structure and roles for our traditional rulers should both be expressed in the constitution. Local Government - The issue of Local Government creation, the place of Local Government in the Federal arrangement, the functions and powers of Local Government are yet to be settled. Extracting of the following from the Constitution: (a) Land Use Act (b) NYSC Act (c) Code of Conduct– These laws are part of the constitution. Amending any of them requires the same cumbersome procedure as amending any provision of the constitution hence no amendment has been made to any of them since they were enacted, in spite of the present realities that recommends each of them for an update, review or amendment. It is being suggested that taking them out of the constitution will create some flexibility in amending them in accordance with the dynamics of the society. Fiscal Federalism– the fiscal relationship that will drive competition and yet take care of all the component unit of the Federation needs to
be worked out. Amendment of the provisions dealing with how to amend the Constitution; state creation and boundary adjustment so as to remove ambiguities. Immunity Clause– the issue of immunity from criminal prosecution and civil proceedings for the President, Vice President, Governors and their Deputies has been a subject of intense debate and needs to be resolved this time. Nigerian Police – Is the police force as presently structured meeting the challenges of the country’s internal security? If not; why? Do we need State and Local Government Police as was the case prior to 1966? If so how do we work it out to address the fears of those who are opposed to it? Judiciary– what constitutional reforms do we put in place to ensure the free flow of the rivers of justice in Nigeria? Executive– Do we revisit the term element of the executive offices? Single term or multiple terms? What of the system of Government? Presidential or Parliamentary? What of a hybrid? Rotation of Offices– Will a constitutional provision of rotation, help to stabilize the country and its component units. Genders and Special Group – Do women, the physically challenged and any other special group require constitutional protection or advantage? Mayoral Status for the Federal Capital Territory Administration – as the case in similar cities all over the world, will Abuja be better off with a mayoral system instead of a semi state? Residency and Indigene Provisions– Does what we have in section 42 of the constitution sufficiently guaranty equality of opportunity to all Nigerians wherever they reside irrespective of their tribe, language, religion, sex, state of origin? Mark reminded the egg-heads as
‘Thus, whereas the 6th National Assembly had thought it wise and needful to concentrate on areas of relative national consensus and pressing needs, especially electoral reforms to pave the way for an improved electoral system before the 2011 general election, various cogent submissions by Nigerians and interest groups which could not be attended to were carried over to the 7th National Assembly’
they braced up for the 2012 phase of Constitution review, to bear in mind that a Constitution, being the fundamental law, or the grundnorm, must define, with imagination, the terms of the social contract. For those who fear that the National Assembly might be tempted to impose its will on Nigerians Mark has words of assurance for them. He said the National Assembly will not foist a fait accompli on Nigerians under the guise of Constitution review. “No Senator harbours any preconceptions as to what is to be inserted into the Constitution. The Constitution is for all Nigerians and not for senators alone. “It is, therefore, the synthesis of the true will of the Nigerian people that will be reflected in the Constitution. But what we will not allow is for a vocal minority to foist its dictates on Nigerians. The Senate will resist any such attempt. We will certainly not permit the thunder of a fraction to drown the voice of the nation”. Mark urged Nigerians to however do the needful.
The Ekweremadu testament Ekweremadu on his part reassured Nigerians that the review committee will be open and true to them. “We have no position on any issues except those taken by the Nigerian people through their inputs, whether through their memoranda, contributions at public hearings, and their elected representatives at both the National and State Assemblies. “We bear no allegiance to any, except that which we owe to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have no interest to protect, except that of the generality of the Nigerian people and posterity. “We will be driven by the force of superior argument and public will. What we owe our people is leadership, legislative due process, transparency, inclusivity, and popular participation. “We want to ensure that the generality of Nigerians own and drive the process to be able to take full responsibility of the eventual outcome. “We will continue to count on your •Continued on page 44
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Ondo indegenes in Lagos adopt Akeredolu
Tactless tirade from Ondo’s corridors of power By Idowu Ajanaku
By Musa Odoshimokhe
T is unfortunate that while the forward-looking Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is ever busy expanding the frontiers of good governance in Nigeria, using time-tested policies and programmes to deepen the democratic process some political do gooders would be making unguarded statements, capable of stirring bad blood in the polity, especially in Ondo state. One of such was recently credited to the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi. To have said that Ondo people do not want an ‘imported administration’ in the state, ahead of the October 20, 2012 gubernatorial poll, apparently alludes to the increasing impact of ACN in the state. It is both unsavoury and unbecoming of a man occupying that exalted political post. In saner political climes, even a paid piper would exercise extreme restraint, caution and circumspection on what tunes he dishes to the public space. Ideas and veritable ones at that, rather than the use of guttersnipe language against perceived political foes should form the fulcrum of campaigns. That being so, because Nigerians, including Ondo citizens have long been denied the benefits of people-friendly, life-changing programmes. Perhaps, we may have to remind Olanusi and his co-travelers in their pull- down- ACN-by-all-means, ill-fated journey, that words are like eggs. Once they are broken they cannot be gathered. In fact, the equally baffling subsequent tactless tirade made by Governor Segun Mimiko, now referring to the much-respected Nigerian democrat and political strategist, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as an ‘emperor’ smirks of gross disrespect and crass ingratitude. One only hopes that the transient aroma of political power has not deluded the governor’s mind-set into forgetting, so soon, all the moral support he enjoyed from the latter in his most trying times. Still, it raises some fundamental questions. Was the present Ondo State not part and parcel of the Action Group’s old Western Region which enjoyed unprecedented economic reformation under the late Premier, Chief Obafemi Awolowo? Is Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu, the highly qualified ACN flag bearer no longer the scion of the Akeredolu family of Owo town and a noble son of the soil of Ondo State? Has his recent affirmation of the covenant of faith with the good people of Ondo State, that he would not become a puppet to anybody not driven home the point that he has the political will to deliver ACN’s goodies to the state without undue influence from anybody? Where were Olanusi and his boss, whose dictatorial tunes he dances to, when Akeredolu served as the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the state from 1997 to 1999? Where were they in 1998 when he became a SAN? Now, that it has become obvious that the repeated attempts by Mimiko to rail-road the deceitful dogma of ACN as an alien party down the throat of Ondo people has fallen flat on its face, he should be more concerned about his many failed promises to the citizens four years after. Looked at from a dispassionate perspective and given the socio-political expediency of the Nigeria of today, Ondo state has become the odd toe in the determined march of the South-West geo-political zone to sustainable economic development. It would indeed amount to self-deceit for any Nigerian politician, of whatever ideological persuasion in 2012 Nigeria to refer to the ACN as an alien party. Imported from where to where? Having swept the polls from Lagos through Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Edo states again, as well as effectively championing credible elections it has become the undisputed numero uno progressive party in the country today. Take it, or leave it. The truth of the matter is that if there is any party alien to Ondo state in particular, it is the amorphous Labour Party without clearly defined manifesto, being gradually run aground by the dictatorial tendencies of Governor Mimiko who cannot brook any form of opposition. He may have to explain if the Chief Medical Director of the much-hyped Mother and Child Hospital, Dayo Adeneye, an Egba man was not imported from Ogun state? And what about Dan Iwuanyanwu; an Igboman and National Chairman of the LP, who Mimiko made the Pro-Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University? Was he too not imported? Therefore, his deputy, Olanusi now struggling for political relevance with the threat to be dropped should his boss win the coveted state in October, cannot deny the dictatorial disposition of Mimiko. Has he too forgotten what the former Chairman of Labour Party in the state, Chief Olaniyan Oni said of his pitiable neglect in the scheme of things in the state, as reflected in his handing over letter? Olanusi, he said has been transformed into a glorified special assistant to the governor, left to drink tea and read newspapers. Did Olanusi deny that? Of course not, because even the important function of overseeing the affairs of local government councils has since been transferred from his office. On what moral ground would he now stand to throw brick bats at the ACN? None! Our piece of advice to the disenchanted and disgruntled Olanusi is to make out time for a sober reflection, starting with his foray into politics and make amends. While we welcome constructive criticism, all to move the state and the nation forward, we wish to state that the era of mudslinging and mindless betrayal, all to mount the pedestal of political power has come and gone. As recently exhibited by the ACN-led administration in Edo state, performance is the watchword for any politician to gain the people’s confidence and votes. Not undue media hype over the construction of market stalls and ill-equipped hospitals and schools while infrastructure development, that touches tellingly on the quality of life of the average Nigerian is criminally neglected. Olanusi, would also agree that Mimiko’s administration has so far failed woefully in that direction, including Akoko area where he hails from. We in the ACN believe firmly that Nigeria’s political firmament is spacious enough to accommodate birds of variegated political colouration, to fly their fancies without rancorous class struggles all for power. We look forward to a free and fair contest. We are not desperate. Far from it. This, should be food for thought for Olanusi and his acolytes.
The group said “ Opposition parties can only ignore or underrate this focused, visionary and indomitable legal practitioner at their peril”. They argued that with over 30 highly qualified and credible aspirants who have distinguished themselves in their various callings expressing interest to be the flag bearer of the ACN shows that it is the most popular party in the state. “For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that Akeredolu emerged through a rigorous, complex and transparent selection process that involves a lot of stages and methods. For the indefatigable legal luminary to have emerged from among this highly qualified and illustrious Nigerians of Ondo State extraction for that matter speaks volume. “The giant strides, excellent culture and carefully coordinated regional integration and synergy as demonstrated by the ACN Governments of Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) of Lagos, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun,
• Idowu Ajanaku is director of media, publicity and strategy for the campaign organisation of Ondo ACN candidate, Akeredolu
GROUP of Ondo State indi genes in Lagos known as “Ondo Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)”, Lagos chapter, has thrown its weight behind one of the governorship aspirants, Mr Olurotimi Akeredolu (SAN). Speaking to newsmen in Lagos, its coordinator, Oyedele Ojapinwa, and the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Murphy Adamolekun, said that Akeredolu has enviable credentials. Praising the intelligence, courage, vsion of the leadership of the party, its National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the National Chairman , Chief Bisi Akande, the group said the legal luminary is a wonderful product that will be acceptable to the people.
Dr.Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Senator Abiola Ajumobi of Oyo and the indomitable Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo State (who has just made a fundamental statement that power belongs to the people), were partly due to the exemplary leadership of the party in fielding the best candidates for elections. “Ondo State cannot afford to be excluded from the ongoing monumental all round Regional Integration and Development. Ondo State is too key and strategic to either stay aloof or move in opposite direction. We in Ondo State are true children and followers of the father of progressive politics in Nigeria, the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo as epitomized in the current leader of progressive politics in Nigeria Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We are no traitors, we are no betrayals, we are no fools. And never shall we be”, the group vowed. It called on all stakeholders in the “Ondo Project 2012” to join hands with ACN and the God-ordained candidate, Akeredolu, in leading Ondo state like, the biblical Joshua to the promise land that will become the envy of other states in Nigeria”.
Senate and the Asaba declaration •Continued from page 43
support and goodwill as we navigate the path to a better Constitution that will enhance the peace, security, structure, good governance, and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ,” Ekweremadu said. At the end of the retreat, the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, read the summary of issues discussed at the event. He avoided the word ‘communiqué’ in order not to create the impression that the SCCR has taken a position on any issue. Ndoma-Egba said eight issues were “suggested as key issues that needed to be tackled by the Constitution Review Committee.” These included one term of five year for President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors; devolution of powers for true federalism; indigeneship and Section 42 of the Constitution; financial autonomy for State Houses of Assembly to strengthen them and creation of one state for the
Southeast zone for equity and fairness. He also listed the necessity for creation of state police; revisit of the immunity clause and judicial reform as other issues considered areas for urgent amendment in the Constitution.
Amaechi spoke for governors Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi, who represented other governors under the platform of Governors Forum, poignantly stated that the question of revenue sharing formula, state police and the question of who are federating units in Nigeria should be settled. Amaechi also wanted every issue to be placed on the table for discussion. For him, discussion should not only centre on how to share revenue from oil, revenue from other mineral resources should also be shared. Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan on his part spoke exten-
• Governor Abiola Ajimobi congratulating his Edo State counterpart, Adams Oshiomhole on his re-election during Oshiomhole’s condolence visit to Ajimobi whose mother died recently in Ibadan ... yesterday.
sively on the need for states to have larger control of the revenue and resources as a way to engender provision of adequate infrastructure in the states. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who represented Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, harped on the preparedness of the House to partner with the Senate and other stakeholders to fashion a Constitution that will ensure good governance in the country. Ihedioha added that the House recognized all the recommendations made by various individuals/groups especially on the equitable distribution of national resources. The review Committee planned to generate sufficient national conversation around the identified key issues and other issues of interest to Nigerians to build a national consensus. Senator Smart Adeyemi said State Houses of Assembly should be sufficiently sensitised and mobilised to appreciate the need for the enactment of a living constitution. He specifically recalled how the State Houses of Assembly, like a group of people acting under the influence a spell, rejected the provision of autonomy granted them during the 2010 Constitution review. But Ekweremadu hinted that the major task before the review committee would be to work to reposition the Nigerian Federation to work for Nigerians. But will the current phase of Constitution review assuage the appetite of the promoters of a Sovereign National Conference? For there are those who feel strongly that it is only through a Sovereign National Conference that burning issues threatening the corporate existence of the country could be sorted out. But the Senate regarded SNC as untenable. While urging all proponents of conference by whatever name called to be free to submit their views to the SCCR for deliberation, the Senate said: “The committee reiterates the fact that there can be no other sovereignty that can be derived from the Constitution. “While the Senate recognises the right of Nigerians to hold opinions and to freely associate and will therefore encourage Nigerians to discuss the future of our dear country, the insistence in certain quarters for Sovereign National Conference is untenable as there can only be one sovereignty.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
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KONGI AT 78
‘ Ife changed my life’ If someone had told me that I would be there for seven years; maybe I would not have gone but I am glad I did because it changed my life in a very positive way- Fox SEE PAGE 46
‘At 80, I will still defend, prosecute offenders ’ – Page 47
Don’t let my baby die, mother pleads – Page 49
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1984, Robert Elliot Fox, a Professor of English and Africana Studies, Southern Illinois University, United States, was among the select audience who witnessed the 50th birthday of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka at the then University of Ife, UNIFE (now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU). Penultimate Thursday, Prof. Fox was the guest speaker at the 78th birthday lecture for Soyinka. He speaks on how UNIFE shaped his intellectual growth, the relevance of Negritude and the challenges of globalisation, among others, with Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME.
N your paper: From Tigritude to Transcendence: The Conscience and Conscientiousness of Wole Soyinka, at the Soyinka lecture in Lagos, you said you have not been able to experience the same intellectual engagements you had at University of Ife (UNIFE) since you returned to the United States. What is responsible for this? “I don’t find the same kind of intellectual engagement at home in my university as I had years ago at Ife. I think it is the same here too because there was a woman who spoke after my lecture that in Nigeria the kind of training they used to have in the 70s and 80s was quite different and doesn’t happen anymore. I didn’t know how to counter that but I think it is unfortunate because we might call those days ‘glory days’ because there was so much energy, intellectual development and we debated a lot. I am still close to some of those teachers because we had mutual respect for one another even when we disagreed sometimes but that didn’t mean we could not understand one another. What influenced your decision to take up teaching job at UNIFE? I was young and I had only been teaching maybe for one year in colleges and universities before I came to Nigeria. But I was developing intellectually and I was finding that development in a country very different from my own. So, that gave me an international experience. Again, I went to UNIFE because Prof. Desmond Hamlet, who had been my mentor since when I was getting my PhD, had gone there on one year sabbatical and he decided to stay. So, I went and joined him since I wanted to be associated with that kind of opportunity. But, if someone had told me that I would be there for seven years; maybe I will not have gone but I am glad I did because it changed my life in a very positive way. What was your impression of Soyinka the first day you met him at Ife? There were quite a number of people I interacted with at Ife. But, I can remember a woman who was a Creative Director originally from Jamaica, but had been in Nigeria previously from another university before she came to Ife. She was one of the first people I met when I arrived at Ife and in our conversation, she discovered that I read Soyinka when I was a graduate student and was very interested in his works. So, it happened that she had been invited to Soyinka’s house for a dinner and she asked me if I would like to go with her and meet him. So, I went and met him and many other people. It was an interesting evening because I was able to talk with Prof. Soyinka irrespective of many guests that were present. As far as this lecture is concerned I talked about issues that other people have talked about, which are most important. As I told a number of people, I spent seven years working on African literature. The last time I saw Soyinka was in 2008 when he came to my university because we had a conference around his works and a production. So, I had been concentrating on that until Prof. Segun Ojewuyi called and asked if I was going to be committed to the summer. I told him I was not and he said he had an assignment for me, which was theatric. But as I started carrying out the assignment, more ideas began to come in. Nadine Gordimer wrote an essay entitled: Soyinka; the Tiger. You also wrote on Soyinka’s tigritude. In this lecture, what is the link between Soyinka and tiger? It was one of the first things I heard about him and it was one of his most famous quotes that was very short and striking. He was responding to a philosophy known as Negritude, which was developed by French speaking Black writers from Africa and the Caribbean who were educated in France. Soyinka will start to be dismissive about all of that because, in his comment what he meant was if you are a tiger all people need to do is look at you and see who you are, instead of saying look at me, I am a tiger. It does not need to be said and that was taken to mean that this was nonsense and he actually insisted that Negritude is something that we need to engage in that is important. But, he believes the people were selling an idea and also because what Negritude was doing was taking characteristics of people of colour ascribed to them by white people and written down as negative and making it positive. For example, the European will say we are intellectuals and you (black) are emotional. The negritude people will say what’s wrong with having this feeling? Abiola Irele, who is one of Africa’s leading critics wrote in one of his books that there isn’t any writer who actually embodies the principles of Negritude more than Wole
‘ Ife changed my life’ INTERVIEW Soyinka. So, there is a lot of complexity and more to it. And the idea of tiger came up in 2008 when Soyinka came to my university where Gordimer worked on Soyinka’s tigritude. What I meant by that his firm commitment to justice, he does not talk about something and he tries to act on behalf of those issues he is committed to. I was also concerned about his moving from being somebody who was a very strong Nigerian patriot to a Pan African view point to a global view point. That was to broader perspective. Do you think Negritutde has really lifted the course of Africans and how relevant is it at this contemporary time? I don’t think ideas that are relevant lose their relevance completely. I don’t believe in too many people pushing the notion of Negritude now. I was trying to compare Fela with Soyinka in their approach to the Negritude movement. Fela was somebody who was actually promoting Negritude without ever using the word because Negritude was trying to resist the European’s view that blackness was nothing and as such holds that black is everything. That was what Fela did. And he did it crudely. But Soyinka embodies in less obvious much more subtle way. Today, it is common knowledge that many African nations are trying to get over the challenges of colonialism. Now, globalisation has come with its greater challenges. How will Africa get out of these? I had a similar conversation and several people asked me about globaliSation and I think it is a problem. There are countries who are still trying to find their footings and identity and I think Nigeria is one of them. The United States is not old but we have got a couple of centuries and they created their own system. But Nigeria inherited one and is still trying to figure out how that will work and it is not a simple thing to achieve. And now, comes globalisation when Nigeria is still trying to establish her identity and everyone’s identity is being upset because of the flow of ideas and images around
‘I don’t think ideas that are relevant lose their relevance completely. I don’t believe in too many people pushing the notion of Negritude now. I was trying to compare Fela with Soyinka in their approach to the Negritude movement. Fela was somebody who was actually promoting Negritude without ever using the word because Negritude was trying to resist the European’s view that blackness was nothing and as such holds that black is everything. That was what Fela did’
the world. And if you must consider what has been happening within the last decade even in Europe and the United States, it has been turbulence for everybody even in countries that were stable and well established. So, it is a bigger problem but the ability to speak to the whole world like Soyinka did, and be heard is what is very important. Hopefully, that will help people learn how to understand each other. Do you think the world is more at peace now than when it was polarised between two world powers - US and Russia? The collapse of the old conflict did not mean that the problems have been resolved. In fact, one of the things that have happened is that these powers were able to suppress lots of conflicts. But once they lost the power to do that all of those issues came back, they never gone away. Up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, they could not do anything about it. So, the past came back to hunt the present. And now, there are much of economic problems around the globe. Even in communist China, there are emerging millionaires. I will not want to go back to the cold war era, but things are little more dangerous now. What did you miss since leaving Ife in 1985? I was in Nigeria from 1978 to 1985 and I have been back a couple of times. But I have not been able to come as often as I would have liked. I see differences although I haven’t been out of Lagos this time because I have only been here for weeks. I am seeing people who are so accomplished doing good things especially the man who owns the hotel I am in right now. The way he has been able to develop his business and make things work and also find people who are ready to work with him is commendable. But, the traffic in Lagos is awful, yet the people are getting on. But I just wish that the problems that I had seen 30 years ago concerning electricity doesn’t still exist. To provide electricity is easier than providing some other things like having your own airline. So, I think there are still some issues in terms of leadership that the people need to make serious changes on. Any shift in paradigm in terms of content of books by African-American writers? There have been lots of changes and developments in books by African-American writers. When I was young, there were not too many African-American writers known to people. There was just a handful. But in the 60s, there was militancy in the US not just in the wake of the civil rights movement. And Black people started going to white universities and courses were being reviewed and demanding Black Studies. The interest of Black writers then grew, but they were more on protest over racism etc. It is not that racism no longer exists that we have a Black president. There is still racism in US. People have now moved beyond saying ‘look at me I am a human being.’ Now, they are writing about African-Americans who are successful and wealthy. What fired your interest to study Africa-American literature? I got interested in it because when I was in graduate school, I was a teaching assistant and I wanted to find text for my students that were various and engaging and I did not know much about Black American writers. But I later discovered some African-American writers I never heard of who were remarkably good. You wrote a long piece on Soyinka. Who is Soyinka? I think he is a great man and a spokesperson for humanity.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
At 80, I ‘ll still defend defend,, prosecute offenders
T 80, his age belies his looks. Vibrant, good looking and energetic, the 80th birthday thanksgiving of Pa Julius Anu-Oluwapo Olatubosun Odupitan, a lawyer, was last weekend celebrated in grand style at the Anglican Church, Jakande Estate, Ejigbo, Lagos. The reception was held under the large canopies erected on the church premises. Among the guests were Pa Godwin Odunlara (SAN), Florence Agbana, Patience Onaoagbagbe, Abimbola Owulade, Mercy Ilemobayo, Prince Adeyemi Akinlabi-King, politicians, families and friends from all over the country. Chairman of the occasion, Venerable Justice Olufunmi Oshikoya described Odupitan as God-fearing, selfless, humble and hard working. Dressed in white lace agbada, a purple traditional cap to march with an Italian leather half shoe, the lawyer looked younger than his age. As he smiled, he displayed his gap tooth. Also, one could see the happiness in him as he danced Asonto to the music of Gods Promise Production (a gospel highlife band). Odupitan told The Nation: “I am very happy and give thanks to God for giving me the grace to see today. I have all cause to celebrate and be grateful. I am not celebrating on the sick bed or in jail.” Odupitan added that at 76, I got my LLB honours degree from the Lagos State University, (LASU), Ojo and was called
‘He is my role model and he thought me to have faith in God, be focused, patient and work hard. I advise youth of today to be patient, determined, well focused and never give up in pursuing their goals and aspiration in life’
By Adejo David
CELEBRATION to the bar. I never had any problem with the programme. I planned it and was focused and by God’s grace, I made it’. Asked why he waited so long before going to school? He said ‘there was no one to help him but believed that he would go to school and study law. “I was inspired by the drive in me and the Holy Spirit of God,’ he said, adding that ‘I will continue to defend and prosecute offenders in court. This is what I love doing’. Pastor James Odupitan one of his five children described his dad as a zealous, hard working and dedicated father. “He is my role model and he thought me to have faith in God, be focused, patient and work hard. I advise youth of today to be patient, determined, well focused and never give up in pursuing their goals and aspiration in life’, he said. Patience Onoabhagbe also described Pa Odupitan as a dedicated and committed student, saying that ‘when we thought he was too old to study law, Baba De Law as we used to call him beat our imagination. He always does his assignment and performed excellently ahead of us. We studied together at LASU and I am very happy for him today on his 80th birthday and wish him well. Smart Broderick Ogbudu recalled that Pa Odupitan was regular and punctual
to class and he did his assignment on time and performed well in classes more than the younger ones. According to him, he devoted his time to his studies. “I implore our youths of today not to be lazy but put more efforts to achieving their goals and what they want to be,” he said. Bayo Jones, a former class mate and friend of
In his father’s shoes •An art collector takes after his father
HEN Femi Akinsanya African Art Collection published its first book, Making of History: African Collections and the Canon of African Art by Dr. Sylvester Ogbechie, in February this year not many thought similar publicatons would soon follow. Four months after, Mr. Sammy Olagbaju published a book entitled: Contemporary Nigerian Art in Lagos Private Collections, which raised the bar on documentation of contemporary Nigerian art. In November, there will be an addition to the list of books on Nigerian art collection, especially artefacts, courtesy of a young art collector and property developer, Mr. Solomon Ogbona Nwinyinya. His new book, a 500-page publication entitled: The White Man’s Interest in African Art: The Unknown Facts, will be presented to the public on November 17 at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos. Solomon, who is in advocacy aimed at protecting and preserving the arts, culture of his people said that his interest in art collecting started when he was growing up as a child. He acquired lots of his father’s collection when the father died in 2004. “My late father was a passionate art collector, a hobby he started at the age of 20. He was seen as a native doctor because of the arts he collected. And he had a total of 6,700 pieces before he died. He exchanged works of art for tubers of yams and bags of rice. He never spent up to N100, 000 naira on collecting,” he said. At the age of 9, Solomon had developed special interest in traditional art forms including paintings, carvings, sculptures, and bronzes. Today, he has over 4,000 pieces of art works in his collection, which would form part of the new book. Later in life, with the influence of his father Solomon was admitted into the spiritual group, OGBA
INTERVIEW HERITAGE OZOLUA UHAKHEME.Assistant Editor (Arts)
EKWA, which then stood as ancient police in Onicha Igbo-Eze (a group that chastises evil doers in the community and brings them to justice). Like his father, he believes that art is a form of culture and an extension of the minds and reasoning of the spirits. He is resolute in his advocacy for custom and tradition of Africans, and he is convinced that nothing will strengthen a people as much as a proper appreciation and understanding of their own history as recorded by their own people, in their own language. He said apart from the book, he would set up a private museum and Aguene Art Foundation to manage the collection. In a foreword, Mr. Obuesi Phillips described the book as a collection of not only the thoughts of the author on the nagging issue of the interest of the white man in top African art, but also a massive resource catalogue of rare and priceless works of African traditions from the belly of black Africa.
•One of his bronze sculptures
the celebrant, said Odupitan is a good friend who respects everybody irrespective of age and status. “He loves everybody and never discriminates no matter who and where you came from. He is a selfless man who always put others first before himself. I Love him, he is a great man,” he said.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
‘I’m afraid of walking on Jos streets’ Ebedi International Writers Residency Programme, Iseyin, Oyo State, has become a centre for writers, especially those from the trouble spots in the country. In its last two sessions, it hosted writers from Uganda. This time, three Nigerians - two from the North - made the residency, which drew attention to the killings in Jos, Plateau State. EVELYN OSAGIE reports.
ICHARD Ali, a young writer is passionate about Jos in Plateau state. So passionate that he has the city’s name attached to his email address, comprising his names. However, in spite of the love Ali has for the city, Ebedi International Writers Residency Programme, Iseyin, Oyo State, has served as relief from the heart rending events in Jos in the last month. Ali, author of the City of Memories, is one of the three residents at the writers’ resort. The programme is an initiative meant for emerging and established writers in all-expenses paid convenient environment with which to complete their works. Since its inception two years ago, the residency has hosted many Nigerian and foreign writers, who in turn have also mentored secondary school pupils in Iseyin. With Ali were Niyi Fasanmi, author of The Flood, and Awwal Sakiwa, a book illustrator. Before them were Ugandan Barbara Okette and Temitayo Olofinlua.The residency is being managed by a board of directors chaired by Mrs Maryam Okediran, she is assisted by Akintayo Abodunrin, Alkasim Abdulkadir and Uche Peter Umez. During his stay at the residency, Ali was able to carry out an in-depth research on his historical fiction entitled: Sudanese Memoirs; and work on his debut poetry collection. “I have been freed to think creatively. Ebedi has freed me not just to think creatively, but has helped work on my manuscripts the way I have not been able to do in a long while. I now have the complete framework for my novel and have also completed it. And by the end of the year, I would send it to the publishers. I have also written some short stories and worked on my poetry collection, The Divan of the Four Winds,” he said. At present, he is Chief Operations Officer of Parresia Nigeria Limited, a new publishing company based in Lagos and an editor of the Sentinel Nigeria, an online magazine. Even though he resides in Lagos, he said if he had not been at Ebedi, he would have been caught up in the incessant crises in the city. His words: “Growing up in Jos was fun and I am a proudly Jostified person, which is why the state of affairs is just saddening. I am sure one of the crisis would have caught me in the city if I had not been here because would been visiting. The civil crises, that have become a stain in the image of the city, were unknown and the sectarian divisions that are today’s reality were nonexistent.” The incessant killings in the city, according to Ali, have created a certain fear in the hearts of many living in Jos. He
‘I get a phobia walking on the streets of Jos. Sad... All that’s left is the scenery so fit for writing and creative thinking. But it is difficult to write and think creatively when the mind is not at peace’ said: “There is a feeling of being pressed for oxygen sometimes, as if there is something in the very air itself that is oppressing you, trying your every breath. And nothing is really worse than the very real divisions of the city and the complex calculations of how to move from one end of Jos to the other. It used to be a melting pot. With the outrages of Boko Haram, you walk the streets and even beyond the sectarian dangers of Jos, both Christians and Muslims wonder “that car parked there, will it just, with a mind of its own, blow up and kill me?” I get a phobia walking on the streets of Jos. Sad. The paranoia does get to one. Perhaps more than anything else, it is this that fuels the distrust and the suspicion?” All these, according to him, have also taken its toll on the artistic and social life of the city. “You go to a bar and wonder if that cold beer would be your last, friends you would love to sound out ideas with are either dead or have left the town for relatively more secure places. It’s sad. All that’s left is the scenery so fit for writing and creative thinking. But it is difficult to write and think creatively when the mind is not at peace,” said Ali. Meeting the authors, especially Fasanmi, re-echoes the role of arts, in this case literature, in mirroring the society. In short, writers and artists have often been called prophets because of their ability to predict and reflect future happen-
•Education Secretary, Mushin Local Government Education Authority (LGEA), Lagos, Aremo Yusuf Olokodana (centre) flanked by Head, Information, Abel Adiatu; Head teacher, Christ Central Primary School, Mrs Nurat Odukale; Femi Gagbohun, David Adeyemi and Mokaila Subairu at the grand finale of Black Heritage Festival in Lagos.
ings in the works. Fasanmi’s The Flood is a clear-cut case. His reflection of the gory experiences of people, during devastating floods that besieged Ibadan some years back, calls attention to the need for people to revisit history by reading literary books. He is also a teacher and polyglot, who speaks Yoruba, English, French and Russian; it worked on his novel, entitled: Painsioner, highlighting plights of railway pensioners. He also interacted with pupils of secondary schools in Iseyin in fiction and non-fiction writing. Fasanmi, a social critic, said he came to Iseyin seeking tranquility of mind and space to work on his manuscripts. “The rustic and beautiful environment has affected me a lot. It makes one calmer and allows you to think. My stay here has helped me to concretise some of the things I planned to achieve and those I would like to do in the future. Nigeria is less on my nerve now because I can take it off my mind.” He opined that the resort is more than just a residency for writers, saying it is a mentoring programme of a sort. He said: “It is helping to mentor the writers’ community. I see it as a creative cum mentoring concept which is very laudable. However, there is run for improvement. I would suggest the organisers should source for grants within and outside the country to enable then improve on the concept.” The resort, which before now admits writers, has extended its tentacles to artists. Sakiwa is the first book illustrator and artist to be admitted at the residency. He is also comic series writer and the director, Hill Top Art Centre, Minna, Niger State. At Ebedi, Awwal worked on his child’s adventure, entitled: Adventures of Pario, which highlights the problems of Nigeria. He had wanted to work on his pet project called: Let The Children Live in which he had hoped to mentor children in Fine Arts and Comic Book writing, but was limited by the lack of availability of materials. The experience gave birth an art piece entitled The Manor house in honour of the historical place in Iseyin called The Manor House. “I was amazed the pace with, which I moved and what I achieved. And as an artist, the environment was inspiring. But they need a log book containing records of the past people.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
Baby Testimony Atoe was born eight months ago without manhood. Oblivious of his condition, he smiles with that childlike innocence that melts the heart. But for his parents, it is not a smiling matter. They need financial assistance for a surgery to correct their baby’s condition. EVELYN OSAGIE reports.
Don’t let my baby die, mother pleads
IS birth in October, last year, was supposed to be the beginning of great things in the life of Mr and Mrs Lucky Osaboyen Atoe. But that was not to be as baby Baby Testimony was born without manhood. This is the problem the Atoes have been contending with since Testimony’s birth. There meagre resources have depleted on seeking solution to the problem. Because of the financial implication of treating Testimony, his father, a bricklayer, has fled, abandoning him and his mother, Charity to their fate. The embattled woman said: “My family has lost its happiness because of my baby’s condition. My husband, who moulds blocks for a living, has left me because he said he does not have money for the surgery. I am left with catering for my Testimony.” Looking at Testimony, it was obvious that he loves life and wants to live it. In spite of the pain and condition, you would find him smiling, dancing and playing around on his mother’s lap. But it was evident that the baby seemed uncomfortable with diapers – in between his play he would often scratch and pull at it. That afternoon looking at the reporter in tears, Mrs. Atoe lamented her situation as she sat with her baby who was playing and crying at the same time. “See, my life sister! See the life wey I come! Na so so suffer. My first son wey God give me for life, I no see prick. Eh ooo Charity, see your life,” she said in Pidgin English. Baby Testimony is in a pathetic state that calls for immediate attention. A close look at his sexual organ shows signs of a scrotum indicating he is male, but the sexual organ is unrecognisable. There is a mass of reddish growth with an opening, which looks like the urethra. And as such he finds it difficult to pass out urine the normal way. Health experts are not too certain about the true state of the condition. However, the medical report indicates that a primary repair was done earlier, but according it, it “broke down”. At the moment, he is still being examined to determine the actual state of the condition. According to the medical report/referral form obtained from Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, the consultant described the condition as “Gastroschisis, which is a birth defect in which an infant’s intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord”. However, the medical report signed by the Head of Paediatric Surgery at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Prof. Michael Akintayo Bankole, states that Testimony “has a Congenital Bladder Extrophy.” Although the doctors did not say how much the surgeries would cost, they say Testimony would need four separate surgeries before the abnormality can be corrected. The report read: “The bladder mucosa has undergone metaplasia, we may need to consider: (i) Excision of the bladder with; (ii) diversion of
•Mrs Atoe and her child
LIFE the Urine; (iii) repair of Epispadias; and (iv) repair of public diasthesis. “ Mrs Atoe said the defect was detected immediately he was born and an attempt was made to correct it. She recalled: “The surgery was done when Testimony was four days old after giving birth to him at Blessed Hospital on Third East Circular Road, Edo State. And the red thing entered. When he was born I was told it was a male child, but did not see the baby that day because he came out with his buttocks; and I was tired and weak. “My husband demanded to know what the problem was, when he was asked to go and bring a family member; and told that the baby did not have any manhood. He was operated on; and was discharged three weeks later. However, two weeks to Christmas, the red growth shot out again and I became worried and took him back to the hospital. The doctors there referred us to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH). They said he would need to undergo three surgeries to correct it which would cost about N600, 000. And I did not have it,” she
‘See, my life, sister! See the life wey I come! Na so so suffer. My first son wey God give me for life, I no see prick. Eh ooo Charity, see your life’ said. And her world began to crumble. “My husband said he did not have such money and ran away. I have been running around for help since then,” Mrs Atoe said. Perhaps feeling her son’s case also needs divine intervention, she sought help at a branch of the Lord Chosen Church in Benin,
and also “because there was no place else to go after we were driven away from our house after my husband left”, she said. “And I was told to take him to the headquarters in Lagos for the man of God to lay hands on him. The only brother I have here refused to pick my calls and so I and my children have nowhere else to go but the church. So, as soon as we got to Lagos, we went straight there while I looked on around for medical help.” Like many other families from different parts of the country, seeking miraculous intervention in their case, the open air in front of the church has served as abode for her, Testimony and two other children since over one month they arrived in Lagos. They have braced the downpour and sunshine, waiting anxiously, perhaps the next miracle may be theirs. And during service times, they would join the church, after which they would return to their spot outside it. In search for answers, she went to the Gbagada General Hospital where the doctors diagnosed Gastroschisis before referring her to the LASUTH. Faced with the burden of the daily upkeep and getting money for surgery, Mrs Atoe hit the streets. She was left with no choice than to turn to well-meaning public for help. “The burden was almost killing me. I have no where to turn but to people; and I did not want my baby to die. And I didn’t know what to do; that was when I was directed to The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Higher Ground Parish, Ikeja, to seek for help. But I was driven away by the security guard. He did not allow me to even enter the gate.” And that was how she met Mrs Blessing Uzoatu, an executive member of the Ikeja Pearl Lion’s Club. Mrs Uzoatu saw her plight and refused to turn the other way. “That hot afternoon, while selling refreshments in front of my house, I saw Charity walking towards me in tattered clothing with a baby. Immediately, she told me of her predicament and showed me the condition of the baby. I was drawn to help bring her matter to Nigerians for assistance. At first, I was skeptical because we have a lot of people using their babies to beg for money. But I was shocked by what I saw. What touched me most was that Testimony is the same age with my last baby when my husband died of kidney failure nine years ago,” said Mrs Uzoatu, a widow of three children. From then on, she championed their cause, caring for the mother and child. Like Mrs Atoe, she is calling on Nigerians to come to Testimony’s aid. She said: “I am pleading on her behalf to good-spirited people to come and help, especially the Edo State Government as this woman left Edo State to come to Lagos where she does not really have anybody. I have also appealed to members of the Ikeja Pearl Lions Club to help this baby. “Last week, Prof. Bankole at LASUTH, said it is the bladder that is exposed outside like an open book; and the baby needs undergo four surgeries. The doctors have not yet said what the surgeries would cost because they are still running series of tests on him to ascertain the actual condition and the level of damage to the kidney since it is hard for him to pass out urine the right way. But we would know as soon as the results are out,” she said. An account has since been opened at Zenith Bank, Allen Branch Lagos until the doctors would come out with the actual amount. The account number is 2050316159 and the account name: Atoe Testimony.
Egypt launches TV station exclusively run by veiled women
NEW satellite news channel, Maria TV, that features only women wearing full Islamic attire has been launched in Egypt. Men are banned from the show, even on phone-ins, and all staff, including those behind the camera, also wear veils. Wearing veils and dressed in black from head to toe, these women are symbols of Egypt’s Cultural Revolution, following the Arab Spring. The channel’s first broadcast last Friday is one sign of the social change sweeping the country after last year’s uprising, which has resulted in a swing towards more hard-line
Islamic values. Even though Egypt was a conservative and predominantly Muslim society, women covering their face with a niqab veil complained of being routinely discriminated against for jobs, especially on TV, as well as in education. Female preacher El-Sheikha Safaa Refai, who heads Maria TV, claimed that the channel’s existence showed how far the country had come since the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. On the subject of wearing a niqab to read the news, she added: ‘I was told that it won’t work because of the body language. Well, the tone of my voice can convey my
emotions and reactions.’ She said she hoped that by appearing on TV in full Islamic dress, she could show people ‘that there are successful women wearing niqab’. Abeer Shahin graduated from the prestigious American University in Cairo but struggled to find a job because of employers’aversion to her full Islamic face veil, or niqab. But, now she has found a job she hopes will change how Egyptian society views niqab wearers once and for all: she is going to work as a TV anchor for a new channel being managed and run exclusively by women who wear the full veil.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
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12 finalists for National Art Competition By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)
FTER a rigorous deliberation, the Professor El Anatsui-led jury has picked the 12 finalists for the fifth edition of the yearly National Art Competition organised by Nigerian Breweries and the African Artists’ Foundation. This year witnessed a record number of strong, conceptually-driven entries on the theme Consequences. The selection committee is excited about the quality of submissions of the 12 finalists. They are George Emeka Agbo, Emmanuel Dudu, Chinenye Miriam Emelogu, Joseph Eze, Pris Nzimiro, Francis Umendu Odupute, Zemaye Okediji, Maie Okafor, Folakunle Oshun, Alafuro Sikoki, the duo of Papa Omotayo, and Folarin Shasanya, and the duo Omoligho Omoye Udenta and Affiko Obadina. The final exhibition and judgment will take place in early September this year.The cash prizes to be won are first prize of N2 million, second prize of N1.5million and third prize of N1 million. This year’s edition is dedicated to supporting artists, who reflect on the political, social, economic, environmental, and personal consequences of our actions in Nigeria today. These 12 finalists have chosen to explore the interpretation of the theme Consequences through a variety of mixed media and installation practices. According to the organisers, while previous competitions engaged a medium-specific approach to selection criteria, this year will embrace a hybridity of artistic disciplines and forms, one that places primary focus on the conceptual threads of the artistic message. Mediums to be included are sculpture, installation, video art, photography, mixed media, sound art, and editorial cartoon. Artists, such as Alafuro Sikoki and Pris Nzimiro investigate the cultural dynamics of consumption in an over-saturated media environment. Joseph Eze examines the effects of arbitrary land acquisitions on urban development. Emmanuel Dudu explores the movement of highly skilled and qualified labour outside of the country in search of economic opportunities. Francis Umenda Odupute considers the implications of the population explosion and poor sanitation conditions in the society. George Emeka Agbo uses the format of social media to engage public interaction of political and cultural criticism. Papa Omotayo and Folarin Shasanya look back to the history of oral story telling and the distortion that occurs through the gossip of contemporary events. Zemaye Okediji explores the viability of photography as an intellectual communication medium and the role of the professional photographer in local and national community development. Artist duo Omoligho Omoye Udenta and Affiko Obadina illustrate the effects of oil pollution on the environment in the Niger Delta Region. Folakunle Oshun envisions a dystopian future environment of a civilisation in ruins. Maie Okafor and Chinenye Miriam Emelogu take a more metaphorical approach to the theme through the materiality of their mediums and a universal message. This year, emphasis is placed on the processes of artistic creation rather than solely the end product. This is to reflect the African Artists’ Foundation renewed focus on artistic processes, an agenda which will be rigorously pursued in the coming years with the theme Process to Product. Finalists will take part in a retreat between July 30 and August 4 where they will have the opportunity to partake in workshops by leading artists, scholars, and practitioners in their fields and exchange ideas with other finalists.
For the first time, the Grillo Pavilion has held a soiree for one of Nigeria’s fine artists, David Dale, 65, at the Ikoyi annex of the pavilion. Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME reports
Day of honour for David Dale
HERE could not have been a more auspicious period than now to celebrate the quintessential artist, David Hebert Dale, 65, who recently survived a major stroke attack. Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi’s Grillo Pavilion hosted him to a soiree at its annex on Biaduo Street, Ikoyi, Lagos showcasing 19 of his art works that included acid etched mirror stained glass, original engraved gilded and original beaded works. It was a gathering of art collectors, artists, friends and journalists. They included Prince Yemisi Shyllon, Chief Frank Okonta, Kolade Oshinowo, Prof. Pat Utomi, Sammy Olagbaju, Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya, Olu Ajayi, Ekpo Udoma, Mike Omoighe and Mufu Onifade. For Dale, the soiree was more than a feast, but a turning point in his life after battling successfully with a major stroke attack. “I have been ill for about three years. Firstly, araldite epoxy resins which I use so much of, was said to have leaked into my lymphatic fluid,” he recalled with a deep sense of gratitude to the organisers of the feast. In his usual characteristic, Dale donated one of his new works, King Tortoise (foil gold finish) to the host, Chief Gbadamosi and his wife. His metal foil and engraving gilded works are outstanding especially those in series. King Tortoise, for instance is rendered in gold, silver and copper finish while Peace, Caught, Lady and Bikini are produced in different media (metal foil and engraving) but with same message. King Tortoise depicts tortoise stepping out majestically with the sun in the background. In African folklore, the tortoise is perceived as very cunning and gets away with a lot of mischief. As a result of these, the artist feels the animal should be made a king. Considering the circumstances under which the works were produced, Dale has not only proved to be a dogged fighter, but also a dedicated creative mind whose love and passion for the art know no bound. According to him, when he thought he had found an answer to his plight and could start working, a major stroke struck. “I was in coma for 12 days. When I came by, I could not talk. I started battling with speech, my face got affected,” Dale said. Gbadamosi described the feast as a representation of the achievement of Dale, whose remnant of energy has not in any shade diminished his voluble creativity as exemplified by four large works that now adorn his walls at Ikorodu Estate and Park View residence. The three works, The Elephant at Sundown, On the Plains of Kenya and the inimitable The Stumping of Human Feet, he said, captured in metal foil on a journey to eternity. “These works would etch David Dale in the mind of art aficionados for years to come. And so David Dale deserves every accolade,” Gbadamosi said. The exhibition which was curated by Mike Omoighe featured works, such as Peace, Lady, Bikini, Thought, King Tortoise,
CELEBRATION Tropical Rain Forest, Caught, Sisi Eko, Breaking wave and Mirage. As side attraction, a quiz featuring 12 questions was conducted on the exhibiting artist during the show that had a band, The Classic Vibes performing, headed by this year’s top graduate from MUSON, Mr Alaba Ilesanmi on the xylophone. Founder, Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF), Prince Yemisi Shyllon, who was not only the first person to hand in the quiz on Mr. Dale, emerged the only person to get all 12. Already, planning has started for the hosting of next celebrator, the former President, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Mr. Kolade Oshinowo on Easter Saturday, in 2013 at Kunbi Haven, Grillo Pavilion in Ikorodu. Dale the organisers attended elementary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom before returning to St. Gergory’s College, Lagos to finish his secondary education in 1966. He proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University(ABU), Zaria where he bagged Bachelors (second class upper division) in Fine Art. Since then, he has worked with over 23 media ranging from ceramic to water colour mosaic, stained glass, charcoal, crayon, pastel, lino cuts, block prints and serigraphs.
Imade pupil wins in literary contest
SIXTEEN-YEAR-old Ghanaian pupil of Imade College, Owo, Ondo state, Bismark George, has emerged the overall winner of the quiz competition organised by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Ondo State chapter. The competition was sponsored by Alhaji Yusuf Alli (SAN), tagged 2012 ANA/Yusuf Alli Literary Awareness Campaign (AYALAC). Bismark defeated five other pupil from secondary schools in the states with 11 total of 12 points. Damilola Olajide Abbas of Oroke High School, Akungba-Akoka and Miss Sharon Ademoluti of Fiwasaya Girls Grammar School, Akure scored eleven and nine points to emerge the second and third place winner. Others were David Akinyemi of Oyemekun Grammer School Akure, Victor Ajibola of Owo High School, Owo and Doye Ayodele of United High school, Ode Irele with seven, five and zero points. While presenting certificates to the winners, about a 100,000 worth of books to participating schools, the chairman of ANA in Ondo State,Dr. Sola Owonibi charged the pupils to devote more time on watching films or listening to music. Owonibi who said he could see rays of hope in the nation’s future that the timely intervention of people like Alhaji Yusuf Alli, the sponsor of the campaign, was a good omen for Nigeria’s educational system
•Prof Asogba and Dr. Ewu
Experts advocate use of orature in community theatre
CASE has been made for the use of orature in community theatre practice at the on-going African Theatre Association (AfTA) Annual International Conference at the Hiddingh Campus of the University Of Cape Town, South
Africa. Prof. Austin Ovigue Asagba of the Department of Theatre Arts and Mass Communication, University of Benin, Nigeria and Dr. Jumai Ewu of the Department of Media, English, Cultural Studies and Performance, University of Northen Ampton, United Kingdom, made the presentation in a joint paper, entitled, “The use of orature in community theatre practice: A study on selected communities in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.” The dons observed that evolving challenges in countries, such as Nigeria are becoming test cases for researchers and development agents worldwide, and that this unfolding reality has become intriguing in areas where vital natural resources like crude oil constitute conflict among multicultural groups.
They noted the fact that from existing data, Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups with over 350 languages and dialects between them, each group having its own distinct cultural identity, goals and aspirations, adding that Use of orature in community theatre practice advocatedtation between the people and the government as to who controls the resources as well as revenues from oil exploration, is home to over 100 ethnic groups. According to them, as a result of the above, there is an urgent need to evolve effective and culturally sensitive communication and conscientisation strategies that take into account its particular realities, stressing that orature, which is an admixture of oral tradition and oral literature, is a relevant and effective strategy used by community theatre practitioners and that it is a viable medium of communication and development. Their paper submitted that the appropriation of orature derived from the local community generates not only transparency and participation in development but the sustenance of indigenous cultural heritage.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Toast to Mama at 80 •Sasere of Ado Ekiti, Chief Segun Famuagun; Deputy Governor, Mrs Funmi Olayinka; Pastor Olu Eyebiokin and mother of the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Deaconess Grace Adetutu Famuagun, who turned 80 on Sunday at a thanksgiving service at Christ Apostolic Church DCC, Ogba Alafia, Ijigbo Street, Ado-Ekiti.
‘Shun negative influence of social media’
ALES and Marketing Director, Fidson Healthcare Plc, Mr Olugbenga Olayeye, has urged new recipients of Astymin Brilliance Reward to be wary of the negative influences of technology and social media, saying that such advances meant to aid could also hinder students’ ability to focus. Olayeye, who spoke at the presentation in Ikeja, Lagos, said time was easier to be spent on social networking sites, but very difficult to invest on the essential to excel. “This is what you have done; ignored the negative in the pursuit of purpose. Today, is the perfect day to say ‘well done.’ I am not saying there aren’t any advantages or benefits to these media forums, but those that have been sucked into the matrix of electronic distractions and social ills cannot accomplish the academic excellence that we celebrate today,” he said. No fewer than 176 students drawn from private schools in Lagos, Osun and Ogun State were inducted into the hall of fame of Astymin Brilliance Reward at the weekend in Lagos. Last year, 105 students were inducted. Next year, the event will be extended to public schools in the states. He used the occasion to introduce the students to a new website, www.myAstymin.com, a fully dedicated product website developed by Fidson Healthcare to offer among others, easy access to all information about Astymin and its benefit to health and wellness, update on all Astymin projects, access to medical and scientific information on amino acids and nutrition, link to online social collaborations like Twitter and Facebook, Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, also urged the students never to relent in their efforts at achieving success. She noted that the induction is the beginning of great things in their academic pursuits, adding that government would always support programmes that would ensure
A fountain of shame In dawning moments Is your motherhood That motherhood, a Disgrace to maternity. Productive a womb you possess; But barren a womb no better Propertied to the richest farmlands The yield, your wastrels waste. Your sons, the undertakers
•Pupils climbing a ‘rock’ at the event. By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)
AWARD excellence in education. The commissioner was represented by Assistant Director in the ministry, Mrs. Moriam Olukemi Ramon. Earlier, the General Manager, Marketing,
Fidson HealthCare, Mr Ijimakin Olaoluwa, said the company chose education as one of the major sectors for its corporate social responsibilities as a result of dwindling interest of the youths in reading. He noted that some corporate bodies focused on entertainment at the detriment of education. Parent of one of the children, Mr. Benjamin Gnimadi, said: “I am very happy today because I never knew that my child could attain this height. I always use Fidson products most especially Astymin. It is my family favourite but I do not know they are the organisers of this event until I got here. I congratulate Astymin for this great achievement. I will also advise them to continue in this light and not to change the quality of their products.” Simisola Olubukola, 13, a pupil of Skotys Montessori Schools, Ijesha, Lagos, one of the awardees, was full of joy as she joined her colleagues jumping and playing with friends from other schools. ‘I am in JSS1, out of 250 student, I emerged the best and as a result I am take part in the Astymin brilliance reward today’ she said, I take Astymin at home and at school and it gives me vitamin and energy it keep me going on every day that is why I can climb the rock and do other things. I thank Astymin for everything but I am expecting more next time’ she said. Parent of one of the children, Mr Benjamin Gnimadi said: “I am very happy today because I never knew that my child could attain this height. I always use Fidson products most especially Astymin, it is my family favorite but I do not know they are the organiser of this event until I got here.’ I congratulate Astymin for this great achievement. I will also advise them to continue in this light and not to change the quality of their products.” The students, who were later presented with certificates, educational kits had a fun-filled day at the expansive playground of Grange School, Ikeja, GRA, Lagos.
Mother Maternal trust betrayed And the rich blessed lands To fountain of poverty turned. Your greatness, a shadow on the wall Oh! Virtuous ‘mother’ Care you not about your Children’s state of impropriety, The stifling poison of nobility
Your children are popular Popularly notorious; Their name an anathema A source of suspicion ‘Mother’ A mature toddler The poorest rich land The clan’s dwarfish giant A victim of ‘corrupstagnation’ For whom nothing works Rise! Rise!! And Rise!!!
Seaman’s Schnapps partners Osun Osogbo Festival
EAMAN’S Schnapps, a premium white spirit on the stable of Grand Oak Ltd has concluded plans to sponsor this year’s Osun Osogbo Festival. Category Manager of Grand Oak Ltd, Mr Ayodeji Abiodun said this at the unveiling of the festival at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja. he said the decision to sponsor the popular yearly festival was not unconnected with the importance the brand attached to it. Besides, he said Seaman’s Schnapps, the number one original prayer drink will be partnering on the festival because the brand is about culture and tradition, and as such the Osun Osogbo Festival provides relevant platform to associate and bond with key target audience. He said: “If you look at the origin of the Seaman’s Schnapps in the market, it is about culture, it is about tradition, it is about associating with the life-styles of the consumers, and for Seaman’s Schnapps, the original prayer drink, we want to celebrate with our consumers”. He further stated that the brand which represents enduring blessing cannot but identify with a festival like Osun Osogbo Festival. “Our brand is a conveyor of everlasting blessing, hence our involvement”. Also, Festival Co-ordinator, Chief Jimoh Braimoh said the place of Seaman’s Schnapps in the celebration cannot be over-emphasised as the original prayer drink is used for the pouring of libations to the ancestors. “We have to talk to the ancestors and we don’t use any other drinks beyond that, in talking to elders, we pour libations, so we salute Seaman’s Schnapps for its involvement, Jimoh Braimoh said. Seaman’s Schnapps which primary target audience are male and female of 40 years and above in the ABC socioeconomic strata who treasure culture and appreciate the importance of traditional prayer and blessing has been supporting the festival for over twentyfive years ago. The brand is expected to be involved in entertaining consumers at the event with lots of activations.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Why we no longer blush Text of the lecture delivered by Prof Niyi Osundare under the auspices of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on July 9. effluvia. • Continued from Monday
BOUT six months later, it was Christ mas time, and this young man returned to town, looking conspicuously prosperous. People wondered which shone the loudest: the gold chain around his neck or the gold strap of his exotic wrist watch. On Christmas day, he floated a feast whose lavish extravagance beggared a royal banquet. About five goats and countless chickens collided in his giant cooking pot, while all the palmwine tappers in town knew where to direct their kegs that day. The great feast was about to start when the guests sent for my father to join them. The first messenger came; my father refused to go; then the second. The third reported with the sardonic warning that whoever failed to get to the feast when the fireplace was still hot would only have himself to blame if all he met were half-picked bones and the loud belches of the punctual guests. And so we ask: where are these reports? Why have they not been made public? Why have the recommendations therein not been implemented? On whose shelves have they been gathering dust? There is a sinister pattern to these catastrophes, a sickeningly predictable chronology to their narratives. First, the predisposing condition: a corruptly compromised equipment that is nothing short of an accident waiting to happen, lives true to expectation and precipitates a tremendous catastrophe. Then a ritual of oohs and aahs, gnashing of teeth and rending of garment, and profuse outpouring of condolences. Then a visit to the disaster site by the president and the governor and a gaggle of other public functionaries, complete with a formidable press crew. The team perform (what a word!) a guided tour of the disaster site; the president manages to shed a tear or two, proclaims before the camera how broken-hearted he is; declares a period of national mourning; talks tough about the cause of the accident, and promises to bring to ‘bring to book’ all those responsible for it; sets up an investigation panel; then heads out for his next overseas trip. Weeks later the panel submits its report with full publicity fanfare. The president thanks them for their patriotic service, repeats his former threat to ‘bring to book’ all those responsible for the accident; accepts the report and dumps it in the national archives. End of story. Well, no, until another round of accidents and . . . . At this point, my father felt the need to clarify a few issues, and said something to this effect: Let me explain myself now before outsiders begin to explain it for me or read hostile meanings into my absence at our brother’s feast. He is our brother, and I have nothing against him. I know the way to our brother’s house, and I have been there many times before without being persuaded to come. And it is not that I woke up today of all days and could not find my appetite. But the question for our brother is: ibi se ti reo ree? (where did he get the money from?) Is this not the same young man for whom we had to collect all our toro, kobo (all our little pennies) some six months ago? How could he have made the profit that could fund the feast whose extravagance the whole town is talking about? No one who has made money the hard, honest way squanders it the way our brother is doing. So, without any envy or ill wish, I ask our brother again, ibi se to reo ree? My father never attended that feast; and as the story goes, there were some members of the celebrant’s molebi (extended family) who never did. Christmas over, the pots and pans went back where they came; the revelers dispersed; our young man returned to his ‘station’. But about two weeks later, when the new year was still very new and remnants of yuletide jollifications floated on the wings of the harmattan wind, an uncharacteristic hush fell on the town. The young man, that generous thrower of the Christmas party, was back in town. Only that this time he was securely handcuffed and sandwiched between two hefty policemen who had come to search his family house. The town was later told that the young man was charged with all kinds of crimes ranging from massive theft to embezzlement. He was already working hard for a one-way ticket to prison. Ibi se ti reo ree? (Where did he get his money from?): that was the question people asked in those days when our society’s head stood confidently on its neck, and all manner of thieves and criminals never found their way to power from where they could choke us in their moral
All kinds of interpretation could be read to this parable of a story. The society that serves as its setting is not a perfect one; otherwise that feast would have been boycotted by everyone. But it was a society that still had a conscience and where moral dissent was still the norm. Furthermore, it was a society where the Law still had its way and the restoration of order and good governance was still possible. It was a society which still operated by a hallowed observance of the rubric Aa kii (We do not do....i.e. it is not done; it is forbidden). It was a society of law and order; crime and punishment; good behavior and adequate reward. It was a society which recognized abomination (eewo) and kept it at bay; a society which put a healthy distance between oode (inner room) and aatan (the dunghill) in their literal and figurative senses. It was a society where people still blushed.
As it is now Ibi se ti reo ree? (where did he get his money from?). Now, wind forward the reel. Welcome to present-day Nigeria. Welcome to our moral desert and political jungle where the Law has been turned into a limbless ass; where order has gone under, where the criminal is Hero. Our world is upside down, like the bat of night. Crime pays. The criminal is hero. Let us consider three iconic cases. A couple of months ago, justice finally caught up with James Onanefe Ibori, the famous ‘thief in the state house’, the ex-governor of Delta State of Nigeria, who stole over 10 billion naira of state money which he squandered on lavish estates and cars abroad while dumping huge sums of the people’s money in coded and un-coded bank accounts all over the world. Ibori’s case is so chronically symptomatic of the hopeless rot in the Nigerian system. Here was a man with a brimming rap sheet featuring criminal convictions both in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, but who wangled his way through our rickety legal and political wilderness, and ended up as governor of a state and one of the shot-callers of the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP). Many times he was taken to court in Nigeria to face the monster of his criminal past, but each time he was discharged and acquitted. (I remember one of his court appearances in Abuja at which the presiding judge said something to this effect: Yes, you are James Onanefe Ibori, but you are not James Onanefe Ibori. Pontius Pilate could have done better; but then he would have been infinitely less rich from the chests of cash that must have purchased that famous equivocation). And after each court ‘victory’, rented crowds trooped out in the streets of Asaba to welcome home their illustrious governor, conqueror of Abuja, the one and only Ogidigbodigbo of the universe! Church services were held in his honour to thank God for his victory and evoke hell fire on his traducers. When, in his post-office, post-immunity period, the EFCC tried to bring him in to account for his stolen wealth, he executed a rapid escape, headed for Delta State and holed up himself in his native village where armed home boys rolled timber logs on to the roads and drove off the anti-graft operatives intent upon his arrest. HESE boys as well as all the other politi cal jobbers and parasitic spongers who facilitated Ibori’s comprehensive criminality and sheltered him from the scorching sun of justice, are well beyond the possibility of ‘blushing’. Hardened and dehumanised into the status of small criminals who owe their livelihood to the machinations of a bigger criminal, they were not concerned about the source of Ibori’s wealth. All they knew is that their son had brought in their own share of the federal loot - a case of one thief stealing from another thief. With this kind of moral anarchy, how can anyone ask ibi se ti reo ree? Who the hell in present-day Nigeria has the mind for that kind of useless question? But in the civilised tradition of the United Kingdom, that question is of paramount importance. When it was asked and Ibori pro-
• Prof Osundare
vided no credible answers; when they opened back the book to his previous felonies, when they confronted him with unassailable evidence of his rampant thievery and allied transgressions, they gave him enough years to keep him sober in jail. More than anything else, the Ibori case has put in bold relief the difference between the British legal system and the Nigerian legal anarchy, the difference between civilization and barbarism, between orderly jurispudentiality and capricious legal adhocism, between the rule of Law and the rule of thieves. HIS may sound strange to some people, but all things considered, Ibori was just a scapegoat whose case blew into the open at the most inauspicious time. There is something almost Shakespearean in the unfolding of the Delta man’s unraveling. Were Umaru Yar’Adua still alive today, James Onanefe Ibori would still be gallivanting up and down the terrain of this unfortunate country in his capacity as one of the principal financiers of the Yar’Adua presidential campaign, who has therefore earned his enviable status as a formidable power broker and the de facto second most powerful man in Nigeria. But death, that inscrutable juggernaut, took his powerful beneficiary away and exposed him to the whimsical wiles of a Vice President he once despised and whose presidential emergence he did everything possible and impossible to thwart. Put another way, Ibori’s final conviction is absolutely no indication of the health of Nigeria’s legal cum political system. On the contrary, it is a powerful pointer to its medieval rot and dysfunctionality. And, finally, Ibori is just one tiny (though significant) pimple in a body politic ravaged by a plague of boils. There are infinitely bigger, more rapacious thieves among Nigeria’s public functionaries today, walking freely and calling the shots because their own lid has not been blown. Who still has the capacity to blush in a country ruled by thieves? Now, before you start thinking that the Ibori saga was unique and that the people’s toleration of his crime was unbelievable, consider the case of another big party wig from the same party, from another part of the country, convicted for blatantly illegal manipulation of contract awards in his position as Chairman of the board of Nigerian Ports Authority. When chief Bode George got a two-year jail term (considered as grossly in-commensurate with the gravity of his crime), his “teeming supporters” thumbed their noses at a Nigerian legal system that was so blind to the proverbial imuniti which should naturally serve as shield for a man of the Lagos chief’s military and political record. Many even couched their anger in sardonic rhetorical questions: Ki lo se teni kan o se ri? Owoo baba ta na sope o ji? (What did he do that no one had done before? Whose father owned the money they said he stole?). And, to back up their protest in a typical Nigerian fashion, on the day the Big Chief completed his term in jail, “teeming supporters” in dazzling aso ebi lined the route from the prison gate to his house, chanting party songs and other vocal ammunitions of perverse resistance. A lavish party followed, crowned with a thanksgiving service in which the officiating clergy berated the Chief’s political enemies, and beseeched God to shower him with further blessings. The Lagos sky was rent by the resounding “Amen” of party chieftains, “teeming supporters”, and kindred spirits. Tell me, with this sanctification of crime
‘To know what these incidents have to do with corruption, let’s ask the following questions: Why has the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the principal artery connecting the rest of the country to its commercial heartbeat of Lagos, remained a death trap in the past 10 years? What has happened to the loudly touted plan in the past five years to rehabilitate and expand the expressway? Is the company called Bi-Courtney still interested in the ‘concessioning’ arrangement? And, by the way, what about the billions of naira budgeted for road rehabilitation every year? What happened to them?’
and beatification of the criminal, could anyone in the crowd have asked: ‘Ibi se ti reo ree?’ Let us move quickly now from the debauchery of Nigeria’s political gladiators to the iniquity of electoral functionaries who facilitate their ride into office. Remember Maurice Iwu, the Ebola Professor who infected Nigeria’s body politic with the plagues of the 2003 and 2007 polls (who can forget the infamy of the Ido-Osi jumbo numbers in a hurry? Certainly not Femi Orebe, my compatriot and intrepid columnist!). Well, when he finally left office and retired into well-earned comfort, he was treated to an uproarious homecoming by an appreciative crowd including kinsmen and women, party faithfuls, (for he was profitably faithful to the ruling party), honourable legislators, and musical celebrities. Did anyone in the crowd ever ask their son to give account of his years in office? Were they ever concerned that their son supervised an electoral heist of such phenomenal enormity that nearly tore Nigeria apart and which brought the country the searing contempt and opprobrium of the international community? Did any of them blush at the abysmally low esteem in which their son was held by an honest sector of the Nigerian population? Blame not the Iwu clan, for he has equally famous antecedents in Nigeria’s history of ignominious election umpires. Blame them not for in obodo dike Nigeria, the rogue politician is man of the people; the thief is hero. Our skin has become so coarse, so thick, our blood so pale with perfidy that we have lost our capacity to blush. If Nigeria does not kill corruption, Corruption will kill Nigeria. That was my somewhat epigrammatic rejoinder some two months ago, to a touchingly thoughtful memo by Mobolaji Aluko, the Nigerian academic and public intellectual, on corruption in Nigeria and the possible role of the country’s elite in stemming its spread. Corruption kills by blighting our blossom, frustrating new shoots while stunting the growth of the old stem. Like a virulent weed, it does not just smother the good crop; it shoves aside its carcass and usurps its place. Thereafter, it starts reproducing itself in multiple folds, carving out the entire terrain in its own image, developing new shells and shields against possible assaults, completely erasing every trace of the old virtuous order, and taking on a false originary aspect. Its operational lackeys are degradation and decay; its ultimate harbor is death. Consider the ubiquity of death and mayhem in our country today and you appreciate the more the absolutely morbid repercussions of corruption. The last day of May and the first three of June this year shocked Nigeria with a nearapocalyptically morbid timeline: • Thursday May 31: 8 loaded petro tankers burnt to carcass on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway • Friday June 1: over 30 vehicles private and commercial caught fire and roasted on the same Lagos-Ibadan Expressway • Saturday June 2: a Nigerian cargo plane overshot the runway and killed about eight people in faraway Ghana. Poor Ghana became a victim of Nigeria’s culpable incompetence. • Sunday June 3: Father of all disasters. Nigeria brought the tragedy home; Dana airplane crashed in the densely populated village of Ishaga-Agege near Lagos, killing all 153 people on board and some half dozen on the ground. That same day, Boko Haram, Nigeria’s dreaded nemesis, exploded their trademark bombs in Bauchi, dispatching over a dozen Christian worshippers in a bloody inferno. In four short days, Nigeria harvested a bulk of tragedies that many countries do not experience in many years. This cluster of calamities came in such a breathless succession and with such alarming reverberation that some Nigerians felt the country was just one bang away from Apocalypse. Some saw it as a sign that Jonathan’s rule had brought Nigeria a fate that is the exact opposite of his first name (Goodluck). Some were already seeing it as the first hint of the unraveling predicted for 2015. But the rational, hard-nosed discerned the pattern in it all, sensing the deleterious implication of Nigeria’s number one killer: corruption. To know what these incidents have to do with corruption, let’s ask the following questions: Why has the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the principal artery connecting the rest of the country to its commercial heartbeat of Lagos, remained a death trap in the past 10 years? What has happened to the loudly touted plan in the past five years to rehabilitate and expand the expressway? Is the company called Bi-Courtney still interested in the ‘concessioning’ arrangement? And, by the way, what about the billions of naira budgeted for road rehabilitation every year? What happened to them? • To be continued
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 24-7-12
High-cap stocks drag down market
HE Nigerian stock market witnessed a relapse yesterday as notable declines in share prices of a handful of highly capitalised stocks overshadowed widespread gains across several sectors. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities dropped by N67 billion to N7.373 trillion from its opening value of N7.440 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), which tracks all equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), declined by 0.91 per cent from 23,381.05 points to 23,169.24 points.
By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire
With 23 advancers to 16 decliners, the downtrend was mainly orchestrated by declines in share prices of Dangote stocks. Dangote Cement, the, most capitalised company on the NSE, topped the slackers’ list with a loss of N4.75 to close at N116 per share. Dangote Sugar Refinery dropped by 23 kobo to N4.75 while Dangote Flour Mills slipped by 14 kobo to N6.57. However, the market was tickled by the release of the half year interim report of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN)
Plc, showing substantial growths in many indicators. First Bank’s market consideration rose by 6.0 kobo to close at N11.86 per share. Other top gainers included Flour Mills of Nigeria, with a gain of N2.50 to close at N55; Conoil, added 82 kobo to close at N27; UAC of Nigeria, gained 60 kobo to close at N35 and Access Bank, which rose by 30 kobo to close at N7.44 per share. On the downside, PZ Cussons Nigeria dropped by 98 kobo to close at N25.02. Oando lost 18 kobo to close at N15.12. Champion Breweries dropped 16 kobo to close at N3.13. Eterna lost 13 kobo to close at N2.65 while Honeywell Flour Mills declined by 10 kobo to close at N1.90. Total’s turnover stood at 250.62 million shares valued at N2.36 billion in 4,066 deals.
NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 24-7-12
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
FirstBank records N54b half year profit F IRST Bank of Nigeria Plc has posted a pre-tax profit of N54.1 billion for the half year ended June 31, 2012, indicating 125 per cent increase of the previous year’s N24.1 billion. Also, gross earnings rose by 26 per cent from N145.1 billion to N182.3 billion. However, net interest margin slipped from 8.4 per cent to 8.3 per cent. The report showed that noninterest income grew by 48 per cent to N44.5 billion in 2012 as against N30.1 billion recorded in comparable period of 2011. Operating income rose by 21 per cent to N153.3 billion as against N126.3 billion. The improvement in bottom-line according to a statement from the bank, was driven by efficient cost management as cost to income ra-
By Collins Nweze
tio of dropped from 69.3 per cent to 58.3 per cent. Impairment charge for credit losses also declined from N14.4 billion to N9.1 billion. There was also year-on-year increase of 17 per cent in net loans and advances to customers to N1.5 trillion, as against N1.2 trillion in the first half of 2011. Year-on-year deposit growth of 15 per cent to N2.2 trillion, was recorded as against N1.9 trillion same period of last year. Non-performing loans also dropped to 2.7 per cent, against four per cent last year. Commenting on the results, group managing director, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Mr Bisi Onasanya said the bank’s results continue to demonstrate the resilience of its business model. According to him, given the
backdrop of global economic uncertainty, declining oil prices and its resulting impact on the domestic economy, the improvement in profitability was commendable. “It was particularly pleasing to see the strength of the Group’s retail franchise, as we were able to grow deposits over the half year period by 13 per cent, in an environment of tight liquidity management, high interest rates and higher velocity of money as a result of the increasing deployment of electronic channels across various segments of the economy. Notwithstanding these headwinds, we were able to moderate the impact on our cost of funds,” Onasanya said. He said the bank was focused on continuing progress in its transformation agenda,
its consistency in delivering accurate input and responses on a timely basis in line with the most stringent global benchmarks. Sterling Bank beat other financial institutions in the country to bag the award. The yearly award is presented by CITI, a leading investment bank in the World and a correspondence bank of note for several Nigerian banks, to leading financial institutions worldwide. Such awardees are expected to have a state-of-theart international electronic payment services that meet
globally acceptable standards in correspondent banking, response quality and time and processing accuracy. According to the bank, the award showed its e-payment products and services are making banking easier for its customers on all fronts. The bank’s head of Trade Services, Moses Akinnawonu, said the achievement is a product of consistently high performance and focus on customer satisfaction. “We will continue to pro-
which is basically on driving efficiencies in its business. According to him, the focus over coming periods will be to consolidate and build on those gains as the bank refine its business and operational platform to ensure it achieve its set objective of excellent service delivery as a basis to expand business volumes. “We will continue to stratify our customer base, provide bespoke products across our various customer segments and with the needs of our customers being of primary concern. We strongly believe that this customer centric focus will increase the productivity of our staff as well as optimise our asset base as we focus on performance and results,” Onasanya said. He said the bank was pleased with the continuing progress in
Sterling Bank wins CITI Excellence award
TERLING Bank Plc has won the CITI Bank Performance Excellence Award for 2011. This stemmed from the management’s decision to restructure its operational lines for efficiency and quality service delivery especially in electronic banking during the last fiscal year. According to a statement from the bank, it earned an outstanding score card of 98 per cent or higher in its operations in StraightThrough-Processes (STP). It also had an MT 202 based undertakings, a representing
•Sterling Bank MD, Yemi Adeola
vide value added service in all areas of our operations just as we see this award as an invitation to achieve more,” he said.
3-Year 5-Year 5-Year
35m 35m 35m
11.039 12.23 13.19
19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016
OBB Rate Call Rate
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
GAINERS AS AT 24-7-12 SYMBOL
AIRSERVIE FLOURMILL IKEJAHOTEL PORTPAINT ACCESS GTASSURE CONOIL CONTINSURE FIDELITYBK UBN
1.65 52.50 1.08 2.38 7.14 1.55 26.18 0.64 1.29 4.30
1.73 55.00 1.13 2.49 7.44 1.60 27.00 0.66 1.33 4.43
0.08 2.50 0.05 0.11 0.30 0.05 0.82 0.02 0.04 0.13
Year Start Offer
NGN USD NGN GBP NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N) Bureau de Change (S/N) Parallel Market
O/PRICE 2.00 1.43 3.29 1.49 2.78 4.98 0.69 120.75 26.00 0.60
C/PRICE 1.90 1.36 3.13 1.42 2.65 4.75 0.66 116.00 25.02 0.58
CHANGE 0.10 0.07 0.16 0.07 0.13 0.23 0.03 4.75 0.98 0.02
Access Finance’s senior notes’ ratings would be sensitive and directly-linked to any change in the bank’s Longterm IDR. An upgrade or downgrade to Access’s ratings would result in similar action to Access Finance’s senior notes’ ratings. Access’s IDRs and National Ratings are derived from Fitch’s perceived level of support from the authorities if required. The bank’s ratings are sensitive to a reduction in the level of support Fitch views would be forthcoming from the Nigerian authorities - either through indications of a reduced willingness to support or the ability to do so. The latter could be signaled by a downgrade of Nigeria’s ‘BB-’ sovereign rating.
147.6000 239.4810 212.4997
149.7100 244.0123 207.9023
150.7100 245.6422 209.2910
-2.11 -2.57 -1.51
DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11
Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%
9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 12.6%
NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days
Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250
Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%
Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m
Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7
Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12
CAPITAL MARKET INDEX
C u r r e n t CUV Start After %
LOSERS AS AT 24-7-12
SYMBOL HONYFLOUR LIVESTOCK CHAMPION CUSTODYINS ETERNA DANGSUGAR WAPIC DANCEM PZ ROYALEX
ITCH Ratings has assigned Netherlandsbased Access Finance BV’s $350 million issue of guaranteed unsecured unsubordinated notes a Longterm rating of ‘B’ and Recovery Rating ‘RR4’. The Recovery Rating for the issue is in accordance with Fitch’s soft cap for Nigeria. The notes’ rating is aligned with the Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of its 100 per cent parent, Access Bank Plc (Access, ‘B’/Stable) based on Fitch’s belief that the bank will support debt issued by Access Finance BV, if required. The notes according to Reuters are expressed to be unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed.
EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency
PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS)
Fitch rates Access Bank’s senior notes ‘B’
Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m
Price Loss 2754.67 447.80
INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%
segment of its customers from high-cost channels such as branch to numerous self-service channels-Automated Teller Machines, Point of Sales (POS) terminals, Web and Mobile.
WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM
MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20
FGN BONDS Tenor
its transformation agenda, which is focused on driving efficiencies in its business. “The focus over coming periods will be to consolidate and build on those gains as we refine our business and operational platform to ensure we achieve our set objective of excellent service delivery as a basis to expand business volumes. We will continue to stratify our customer base, provide bespoke products across our various customer segments and with the needs of our customers being of primary concern,” he added. The bank CEO explained that the lender has sustained its aggressive migration of a large
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% Change -1.44% -1.44%
MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name
ARM AGGRESSIVE 9.17 KAKAWA GUARANTEED 1.00 STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE 122.73 AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 105.51 LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL 0.74 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.09 BGL NUBIAN FUND 0.95 NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. 1,713.35 PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND 8.95 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST 1.87 STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY 7,978.16 THE DISCOVERY FUND 193.00 FIDELITY NIGFUND 1.67 • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND
9.08 1.00 122.59 105.46 0.72 1.09 0.93 1,712.68 8.51 1.33 1.80 7,766.68 191.08 1.62
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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS Anambra 2014: Group warns Obi, Uba, Ngige, others
HEAD of the 2014 governorship election in Anambra State, indigenes of Anambra North Senatorial district have warned aspirants from other zones to perish the thought of succeeding incumbent Governor Peter Obi. The North district, they said, will stop at nothing to produce the next governor. The zone, under the aegis of Omabala Union, said Obi, Senators Andy Uba and Chris Ngige should support the zone’s bid to produce the next governor.
Inaugurating the Omabala Union at Otuocha Field, the chairman of the group, Justice Paul Obidigwe (rtd) charged the people to secure the governorship position for the zone in 2014 or never. Obi has not hidden his support for the zone for the governorship seat after the expiration of his two-term tenure in 2014. The governor’s support, it was learnt, has unsettled the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state.
Nwanosike Onu, Awka
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Abimbola Olajumoke Smith, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Abimbola Olajumoke SmithOloniyo. All former documents still valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Alhaja Sururat Abeni Agodi, now wish to be known and addressed as Francess Abeni Omojesu. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
Fake Catholic priest arrested for alleged N14m fraud
OR allegedly defrauding people of over N14 million in Nnewi, Onitsha and environs, a man, who posed as a Catholic priest has been arrested. The suspect, identified as 45year-old Obinna from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, met his waterloo after he presented a fake N250, 000 cheque to a trader at Onitsha for tyres. The unidentified trader raised the alarm following the
From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi
information on Sunday about a fake Catholic cleric on the prowl. It was circulated that the priest was defrauding unsuspecting Catholics of their money. A victim said the fake cleric ran out of luck, when he, in a new white colour Toyota Hilux utility vehicle and wearing a white cassock, went to Onitsha to buy tyres for which
he issued the cheque. The trader raised the alarm after receiving the Ecobank cheque, attracting others, who apprehended the ‘priest’. He was taken to the All Saints Church in Onitsha for identification, but was found to be a fake priest. Before his arrest, Obinna was said to have duped 14 people. Those he defrauded descended on him before Governor Peter Obi, who was passing by, allegedly
intervened and handed him over to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bala Nassarawa for further investigations, an eyewitness account said. The ‘priest’ Nwaneli had allegedly admitted the accusations against him, alleging the was pushed into crime by unemployment. A police source confirmed the arrest but said they had not got the detailed report of the incident as at last night.
•From left, Wike, Obi, UBEC’s Executive Secretary Dr. Ahmed Modibbo and Obi’s deputy Mr Emeka Sibeudu with a cross-section of pupils during the distributions of instructionals materials in Awka...yesterday
Minister decries imposition of illegal fees INISTER of State for tended to eliminate inequities in public schools Education Ezenwo and disparities in the education Nyesom Wike has system in terms of access to
BUILDING MATERIAL DEALERS ASSOCIATION OGBUNIKE. The permanent site of the Building Material Market has been completed at Onitsha/Enugu Express way Ogbunike. This market was built by Building Material Dealers Association members of William Street Onitsha and adjoining Streets. The market was commissioned by Mr. Peter Obi (OON), the People’s Governor of Anambra State on 19th November 2009. In April 2012, the Government of Anambra State constituted a Ten Man Care-Taker Committee government to over-see the affairs of the market headed by Mr. Gabriel Momegha. Presently, the committee is calling on all the shop owners in the market to visit block B3/3 in the permanent site Ogbunike and clear their indebtedness and take complete possession of their shops and relocate to the market. Failure to do this before 30th July 2012 faces revocation. Note well: this publication is in addition to text messages, Radio and TV Broadcast already made to reach you. To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed. This announcement is from Care-Taker Committee Building Material Market, Ogbunike. Signed: Gabriel Momegha Chinedu Umeozulu.
decried the imposition of illegal levies in public schools by head teachers, describing it as a violation of the spirit and letter of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme. Speaking in Onitsha, Anambra State while flagging off the distribution of instructional materials for primary and junior secondary schools in the Southeast, the minister regretted that parents were still being made to bear some costs in the form of direct and indirect charges to access basic education in some states, despite the fact that basic education is free in all public schools. Wike said: “Let me remind
From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha
parents that they are not required to pay any form of charges for the education of their children in any public basic education school. “Even voluntary contributions from the PTAs are not mandatory and cannot be the basis for denying any child access to educational services in any public education facility. “I have directed UBEC to investigate all reported cases of collection of illegal fees by school heads and recommend appropriate sanctions.” The minister reminded all stakeholders that the provision of textbooks for learners in the basic education system is one
of the important components of the UBE scheme. He said: “By this policy initiative, every pupil in public schools is entitled to a complete set of textbooks in every subject without paying any money. “The free textbook programme of the Federal Government is thus, one of the most imaginative ways of opening the door into the great treasury of learning for the Nigerian child and kindling their future intellectual development and career path. “Furthermore, apart from meeting the learning needs of pupils of all backgrounds, the free textbook policy is also in-
study materials, as well as participation and performance in and out of the classroom.” In his remark, Governor Peter Obi restated his administration’s commitment towards the pursuit of basic education in the state, adding that his administration had provided computers, vehicles and other learning materials to schools across the state. Commending the Federal Government for the programme, Obi assured that his administration will continue to compliment and support all policies geared towards the development of the education sector for the overall good of the country.
Alleged murder: Police commissioner denies NAMBRA State Police knowledge of officers’ trial he was arrested and clamped into detention. Commissioner Mr.
Bala Nassarawa said yesterday that he was unaware of the prosecution of two dismissed policemen for the murder of a 45-year-old man, Osita Okafor. Nassarawa said in a telephone chat with reporters: “I am not aware of the case. I don’t know they are being prosecuted.” The police chief promised to look into the case with a view to ensuring that the court’s order is obeyed. The family of the deceased, through its counsel, Chris Ajugwe told reporters at a press conference yesterday
From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi
that the case will be mentioned in court today. The family appealed to the police commissioner to ensure the arraignment of the officers at an Ogidi High Court, since the Presiding Judge, Justice Onochie Anyalebechi, has threatened to strike out the case if the suspects failed to appear today. The Nation recalled that the officers, attached to the Ogidi Divisional Police Station, Idemili North Local Government Area, had been dismissed
for allegedly torturing Okafor to death while in detention. The late Okafor was allegedly tortured to death by Corporal Felix Egbosun and Inspector Charles Odigwe on September 14, 2010, when he had gone to the station to recover his property. Ajugwe said that, the deceased was a businessman, who was on a business trip to Ghana when his apartment was allegedly broken into. He was allegedly told by his neigbours, who told him the police came to take away his properties. When he got to the station,
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs. S.A.M. Oforkansi, confirmed that the late Okafor’s family hinted that he came home and was told that the police from the Ogidi police station took away all his belongings following the arrest of one of his neighbour for robbery. Said the family: “However, based on that information, he (deceased), went to the police station in the company of his friend to enquire why his property was carried. On getting there, the deceased and his friend were arrested and thrown into the cell.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
NEWS Godfatherism has ended in Edo, says Ajimobi
YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has said the electoral victory of his Edo State counterpart, Adams Oshiomhole, has ended gangsterism, brigandage and godfatherism. He said this when Oshiomhole visited him in Ibadan to commiserate with him over the death of his mother, Alhaja Dhikrat Abeje Ajimobi. Ajimobi congratulated Oshiomhole, saying his victory would serve as an encouragement to the people . “Let me congratulate you on your well-deserved return as governor. “With your victory, you have encouraged many of us who never believed in godfatherism,’’ he said. The Oyo governor thanked his Edo counterpart for finding time to come to commiserate with him.
Farmer to die by hanging From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba
USTICE Theresa Diai of the Ogwashi-Uku High Court, Delta State, has sentenced a farmer to death by hanging for killing a 15 yearold boy. Chukwutem Eke allegedly beheaded the victim for rituals. The judge said: “Having found Eke guilty of the murder of Chukwudi Ossai, I hereby sentence you to death. ,You will be hung by the neck until you are dead. May God have mercy on your soul.” The court discharged the second accused, Ogochukwu Omolu, on the grounds that the offence of conspiracy to commit murder could not be proven. Eke and Omolu were arraigned on a two-count charge of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Eke, a native of Ogiume, Ndokwa West Local Government, allegedly attacked Ossai and his sister, Onuwa, in their father’s farm on November 30, 2008. Onuwa escaped while her younger brother was beheaded. His lifeless body was found in the farm with his head and other body parts missing. Onuwa was the star witness in the trial.
Akpabio gives cars to clan heads
Five kids die after drinking contaminated water
IVE children have died in Foutorugbene 1, 2,3 and Apodubigha communities in Ekeremor Local Government of Bayelsa State after drinking water polluted by oil. The water is believed to have been polluted by oil from a flow station at the Benisede facility owned by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). A statement by Preye Warri (Fouturogbene 1), Emmanuel Ebis (Fouturogbene 2) and Emmanuel Jebbi (Fouturogbene 3) gave the names of the deceased as Arekedomene Pigha, Blessing Adiboere, Tabode Owei, Debowei Timiebi and Debowei Peretu. The statement said the victims were aged between two and four years.
From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa
It said the autopsy showed they died as a result of repeated drinking oil polluted water caused by a spillage, which occurred on May 21, 2001 at the Benisede Shell Flow Station. The communities said Shell’s delay in cleaning up the spill led to the children’s deaths. They said: “Shell refused to clean up the area and the water is the only economy source in the community. “We fetch and drink from the polluted water. “Our kids died as a result of this. The pollution has affected our fishing nets, traps, hooks and including canals, creeks and the entire water
ways. “Shell has refused to listen to our plight. We are giving the firm seven days to come and clean up the area, but if it fails, we will sue. “We are appealing to Governor Seriake Dickson to save our community.” Women of Koroama community in Yenagoa Local Government have protested what they described as “Shell’s non-chalant attitude” to the development of the community. They marched on the streets of Yenagoa and blocked the Gbarain gas gathering plant. The protesters said Shell has refused to honour the agreements reached in the re-
cent Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU). Their leader, Imomotimi Wariowei, said: “We were told the gas Shell gets here is the largest natural gas reservoir in West Africa. “The water we drink here is from the Taylor Creek. It is coloured and makes people sick. “Because of Shell’s construction of pipelines within the community, we have been suffering from waterlog here. “So, the company should construct concrete roads all around the community. “We want our youths to be trained, scholarships for our undergraduates so that their lives can become meaningful.
Father searches for missing son
MIDDLE-aged man is searching for his three-year-old son, who disappeared after he left home to buy biscuit. The troubled dad, who gave his name as Daniel Idada, said all efforts to trace his missing son, Etinosa, have not been fruitful. Idada said his son went to buy biscuit in a nearby shop at their Evbuomore
From Osagie Otabor, Benin
residence in Ovia North East Local Government of Edo State and did not return since June 24. The father of four said he was to take his children to their grandfather’s house after church when he was told by his wife that Etinosa could not be found. He said he has reported the matter to Ugbowo Police Di-
vision and went to Warri in Delta State, when he got information that a stolen child has been rescued. “I am passing through terrible pain. It is a thing I have never experienced. “ I cannot eat, sleep but I m tying to put myself together because of my wife’s condition. I came to Press Centre for my story to be told to the world.”
“We won’t leave until they answer us. No, we won’t. You can see that we have brought our pots, firewood and food to cook here and our mosquito nets; we will sleep here.” The firm’s spokesperson, Precious Okoloba, said the government is leading discussions between Shell and Koroama community. He said Shell has implemented several projects in Koroama, including provision of potable water, construction of internal road, award of bursaries to students and undergraduates and training of youths and women. “Also, negotiations are on to support the renewal of a lapsed GMoU. “SPDC remains committed to playing its part in the development of communities in our areas of operations,” Okoloba said.
Police arrest robbery suspect From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt
•Idada with his son’s picture
THE police in Rivers State yesterday in Port Harcourt arrested a robbery suspect, Lambert, and recovered two Toyota Camry. Police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam said officers are working to track down his accomplices. Ugwuegbulam said: “At 0530 hours, information was received that hoodlums had stolen a silver Toyota Camry, HQ 506 AAA, from where it was parked on Airport Road, Port Harcourt. “Police patrol teams moved swiftly and intercepted the hoodlums on Rukpokwu Road. “One of the suspects was arrested. A stolen vehicle was recovered, as well as another Toyota Camry, FE 791 PHC, suspected to be stolen by the hoodlums. “Two of the hoodlums escaped.”
Group threatens to attack Bakassi From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar
•Amaechi inaugurating the facility..yesterday. With him are Lohia (left) and the firm’s Managing Director, Manish Mundra (right).
Ameachi advises companies on CSR
From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo
KWA Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio yesterday presented 23 Toyota Corolla to 23 clan heads. Akpabio also presented certificates of recognition to five clan heads. The clan heads are George Umoren (Odoro Ikot), Bassey Akpan, (Okon), Tuesday Ben (Obon), Bassey Bassey (Eket Offiong) and Obong Akpan Etti (Nkari). Akpabio warned that any clan head or monarch who harbours kidnappers and robbers in their domain would have their certificate revoked. The governor enjoined the clan heads to inform and educate their subjects on the programmes and policies of government.
•Women protest Shell’s activities
IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has warned that people who stop development in the state will be jailed for three years. He admonished companies to be sensitive to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ensure peace in their host communities. Amaechi spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the PET Plant of the Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (EPCL) in Eleme, Eleme Local Government. He said employment opportunities in Indorama EPCL should not be for only Eleme indigenes, but for all qualified Rivers indigenes. Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian
From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt
Governors’ Forum (NGF), declared that nobody had the right to stop businesses and investments from flowing into the state. He said with the bill already passed into law by the House of Assembly, errant people jailed would not par-
ticipate in the 2015 election. The governor said industries would need to grow, develop and expand to grow the state’s economy. Group Managing Director of Indorama Worldwide Amit Lohia said Nigeria’s quest to become one of the world’s 20 most industrialised nations in 2020
gets an important boost with the Indorama’s PET facility. He said the PET facility has a yearly capacity of 86,000 tonnes with domestic demand at 50,000. According to him, the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is a raisin product from which plastic bottles can be made.
Community connected to National Grid
HERE was jubilation in Mbiama, Ahoada West Local Government of Rivers State yesterday, following its connection to the National Grid. The Council Chairman, Awori Miller, said the gesture is not only to fulfill his campaign promise to the people, but to complement the efforts of Governor Rotimi Amaechi in the transformation of ru-
From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt
ral areas. Miller said a contract has been awarded for the construction of an ultra-modern market in Mbiama, which he said would commence in December. Hundreds of indigenes thanked Miller for connecting the community to the National Grid.
A GROUP, Bakassi Self-Determination Front, has threatened to attack the ceded Bakassi Peninsula . A letter by Ekpe Ekpenyong Oku, the CommandantGeneral, addressed to the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, Etim Okon Edet, reads, “Time is not on our hands. We shall no longer wait for any more deceit without concrete action from the Nigerian nation. “This is to respectfully request you to call on our people in the Northern Bakassi (Akwa, Archibong) and the Western Bakassi (Abana, Atabong, Ekpot Abia) to leave these areas within two weeks. “It would not be safe for our people to stay there beyond that period. Please let them know that anybody who refuses to leave stays at his or her own risk. “The time has now come for us to recover our land. There was no ceding ab-initio! Our National Assembly said so. “Our right for self determination is imminent. Some of us will die, but some will reap from our labours. Please pray for us.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Gunmen kill Islamic cleric G
UNMEN yesterday killed a Kano-based Islamic scholar, Mallam Shuaibu Gwamaja, in Gwamaja area of the metropolis. The cleric was said to have been shot at a close range in front of his home behind the Federal Secretariat complex about 8 pm. Gunmen also shot dead a secondary school teacher, Mr. Oyetunji, on Sunday at Walawai quarters behind the NNPC depot on Hotoro Road while he was waiting to board a taxi to church in company of his family. A man and his wife were last night killed by gunmen at Hotoro GRA in Kano. Eyewitnesses said four gunmen inside a car and oth-
•Seven others in Kano, Maiduguri From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano and Joseph Abiodun, Maiduguri
ers on a motorcycle killed the cleric who was sitting outside his home with his pupils. The sources said on arriving at the place, the gunmen ordered the students to leave and shot dead the victim. His remains have been taken to the Murtala Mohammed Hospital, Kano. Four persons were killed by gunmen on Monday evening in Maiduguri, Borno State. Five people had earlier been killed on Monday morning. On Monday evening, a
cameraman with the Borno State Ministry of Information, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed, was shot dead around Customs area. Abubakar, who was said to be on his way home after an assignment, was killed about 4pm. Another person, who was killed in the town was identified as a worker with the Maiduguri International Hotel. He was shot dead at the notorious spot of the Boko Haram sect at Bulumkutu, close to his home. He was trailed to the area and shot dead. The gunmen left him in a pool of his blood and fled. The other two victims
were a panel beater identified as Baba Ayo and a retired civil servant whose name could not be ascertained. He was killed in his home located behind Baga market by gunmen. The retired civil servant was killed at another dangerous spot in the town, Gwange, where many people have been killed. The retiree, according to sources, was killed in front of his home. The Joint Task Force (JTF) has intensified efforts to arrest the culprits. Government last week lifted the emergency rule which had been in operation for six months.
‘I can’t tackle insecurity alone’ From Mohammed Bashir, Lokoja
OVERNOR Idris Wada of Kogi State has said the security of the state is in the hands of the people, adding that government alone cannot tackle insecurity. He spoke with reporters in his home shortly after returning from a business trip to China. According to the governor, the easiest way insecurity could be tackled is through the people’s cooperation with the security agencies by giving them useful information. Wada noted that the breakthrough achieved recently was made possible with the help of the people. He urged the indigenes to provide information about the criminal activities in the state. Wada reiterated his administration’s readiness to punish any corrupt officer in his administration. He said the fight against corruption is the duty of all. The governor said his administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese company, Hezob Group Corporation. The company, he said, is willing to invest in mining, agriculture and infrastructural development that will meet the desire of the people. “The previous administration deposited N200 million to buy modern agricultural implement for distribution to farmers in the state. The state will only pay some amounts to import 30 containers of the implement,” Wada added. He said the state would soon start witnessing transformation with the investment of the Chinese group.
Aliyu urges stiffer penalty for bunkerers
IGER State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu has called for a stiffer penalty for those behind bunkering. He said this would act as a deterrent to others. Aliyu said nobody could steal crude oil without the cooperation of the community. Addressing reporters after a visit by the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) Mr. John Kennedy Okpara, the governor said
From Jide Orintunsin, Minna
the declining fortune in the country was not unconnected with the activities of bunkerers and their accomplices. He said if bunkering was allowed to continue, the nation would run into problems financially. He urged Nigerians to support the government to fight bunkering. Governor Aliyu enjoined the governors of the affected states to find out those behind bunkering.
Ndume to travel for Umrah From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
USTICE Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja has granted permission to Senator Mohammed Aliyu Ndume to travel to Saudi Arabia for the lesser
•Family of the late Sen. Dantong at his funeral in Bachit, Plateau State...yesterday.
Jang challenges Fed Govt on insecurity
•Mark: Sen Dantong sacrificed life for peace
LATEAU State Governor Jonah Jang has challenged the Federal Government and the National Assembly to find a solution to the insecurity in the country. He spoke yesterday at the Government House Chapel, Rayfield, Jos during the funeral service for the late Senator Gyang Dalyop Dantong, who died on July 8 during a mass burial for the people earlier killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen at Maseh in Riyom Local Government. Jang said: “The present administration at the federal level is about to make history, but what history will they make if we cannot stop these killings?” He went on: “The constitutional amendment is on and almost every Nigerian is crying for a state police. Meanwhile, there are forces in government at the top deceiving the National Assembly that allowing state police is giving too much power to the governors. “We know of forces at the top that are saying that the governors already have so much power that they should not be given more powers in the constitution under review. But I want to challenge the National Assembly that they should provide a constitution that would reflect the will of the majority of Nigerians and not the wish of a few powerful elite. “I’m not being selfish in this view because the new constitution will take effect from 2015 when I will no longer be a governor. So it is not for me but it is the best for our next generation and the answer to the insecurity in the country. “If the National Assembly members find their present position comfortable to deny the governors state police, after 2015 some of you senators may become governors in your states and governors today may become senators after their tenure. “So, as National Assembly members, you stand the
From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos
chance of amending the constitution today to leave a legacy for future generation, because posterity will soon judge us as today’s leaders. “The National Assembly should resist any pressure from above that is intentionally selfish. This is the only way your names will be written in gold after office.” President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, attributed the violence that has rocked the North to the elite who sponsored attacks on innocent citizens. The President, while commiserating with the families of the victims, government and people of Plateau State, said Nigeria was passing through a trial period that needed the collective responsibility of stakeholders. Senate President David Mark said: “Senator Dantong died so that there would be peace not only in Plateau but in Nigeria. He sacrificed his life for peace.” He urged Nigerians to pray fervently and forgive one another for the sake of peace. The Chairman of the Plateau State Traditional Council and the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, called for the establishment of a state police. He faulted the security administration in the country, saying the constitution must be amended to give the governors power to control the security agencies. The widow of the senator, Hanatu Dantong, said she has forgiven those who killed her husband, adding that they should repent or else they would not enjoy peace throughout their life. Senator Dantong died at 53. He is survived by wife, three children and aged parents. His remains have been buried in his home town Bachit in Riyom Local Government.
Police arrest 11 suspected cultists in Nasarawa
LEVEN suspected cultists have been arrested at Tudun Kauri in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, after a raid by the police. Confirming the arrest
From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia
yesterday, police spokesman Michael Adah said dangerous weapons, such as machetes, axes, knives and clubs were found at the hideouts of the
cultists. He said the suspects were undergoing interrogation at the Criminal Investigation Department in Lafia. He added that they would
face trial and if found guilty would be punished. Crime rate in Lafia has been on the increase recently, especially burglary, armed robbery and car snatching.
hajj (Umrah). He ordered the Chief Registrar to release Ndume’s passport in the custody of the court. Ndume is on trial for alleged link with Boko Haram. He had asked the court to release his travel documents to seek further medical attention abroad after performing the religious rites in Saudi Arabia. The case has been adjourned till October 21. Ndume said he wanted to travel abroad for medical attention and perform his religious obligation in Saudi Arabia. He added that he had always appeared for his trial and had never breached any of the conditions attached to his bail and that he would return his international passport upon his return to the country. Ndume told the court that despite an earlier leave granted by the court for him to travel, which the State Security Service (SSS) frustrated, he returned the passport to the custody of the court.
‘Say no to Boko Haram insurgency’
HE Lagos State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Waheed Lekan Ishola, has urged Muslims and Christians to live in harmony to create a conducive environment that would encourage investors to do business in the country. Ishola, who spoke yesterday in Lagos at a campaign against religious fundamentalist, organised by the youth wing of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Lagos State
chapter, said Nigerians should say no to the Boko Haram insurgency by tolerating one another. The President of the youth wing of the CCN, Lagos State branch, Mr. Kehinde Adebayo, said the body organised a twoday campaign, which began yesterday and will end today, with the theme: “The role of youths in national security and inter-religious crisis”, to enable Nigeria become one of the best economy in the world by 2020.
Youths enjoined to live purposeful life
OUTHS in the country have been urged to live a purposeful life in order to be useful to the society. A youth leader, Mr. Jide Yesufu, gave the advice at a seminar, with the theme: “Living God’s Purpose. It was organised by the youth department of the Apostolic Faith Church, Mushin, Lagos. He said the seminar was organised to mould the youths and make them future leaders The head of the youth department of the church, Mr. Segun Shonowo, said the seminar was also held to teach youths to be God-fearing.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
N32.8b pension fraud: Suspect loses battle to defreeze account, assets T HE Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, yesterday dismissed an application of one of the six suspects standing trial for alleged N32.8 billion, Esai Dangabar, seeking an order to defreeze his account and assets seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The anti-graft agency had secured an order from the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Lawal Gumi to freeze and seize the accounts and assets of the six suspects being tried for alleged theft of police pension fraud. Gumi had ordered: “All the bank accounts currently being operated and maintained by Inuwa Wada at Keystone and Zenith Banks, all totalling 11 in number are hereby temporarily frozen until the determination of the charge Number FCT/Cr/64/2012. “Similarly, all the bank accounts presently being oper-
From Yusuf Alli, Abuja
ated and maintained by Esai Dangabar, Atiku A. Kigo and Veronica Onyegbula in the following banks: EcoBank, FCMB, Access Bank, Sky Bank, Fortis Micro Finance Bank, Aso Savings, GTB, Main Street Bank and Wema Bank are herby temporarily frozen, pending the hearing and determination of all the said criminal charge No. FCT/64/2012 presently pending before this court.” But a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said, Dangabar appealed against the order of the FCT High Court on May 16, 2012. Dangabar raised three issues wherein he urged the appellate court to set aside the decision of the FCT High Court. The issues were: “That the forfeiture order breached his right to fair hearing as en-
shrined in Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution; that the order of attachment and forfeiture made on May 3 is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution as it takes away his property right and presumption of innocence; and that the freezing order of his account did not comply with Section 34 of the EFCC Act. “In an unanimous decision read by Justice Kolawole Bada, the Appeal Court resolved the three issues raised by Dangabar in favour of the EFCC. “Two other justices who held the same view were Justices Bukar Chua and Husseini Mukhtar. “The court ruled that the interim forfeiture order pending the hearing of the criminal charge preferred against him is provided for under the EFCC Act. “The court, having been given that power, the exercise
of it has not taken away the accused right to fair hearing. ”The court further ruled that the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the EFCC Act is validated by Section 44 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and is therefore constitutional. “Additionally, the court ruled that the presumption of innocence cannot be interpreted to allow a suspect to retain the proceed of the alleged crime made against him. “Accordingly, the court ruled that Section 34 of the EFCC Act was substantially complied with by the lower court.” The six suspects were arraigned on March 29, on a 16point criminal charge bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust before Justice Mohammed Talba of the High Court of the FCT, Gudu, Abuja .
Couple petitions IGP over threat, assault by Anambra Council boss
COUPLE - Dr and Mrs. Olusegun Oludapo Sogbesan, has petitioned the InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar and the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Bala Nasarawa, over an alleged assault and threat to their lives by a council chairman in Anambra State. The caretaker committee chair of one of the local government areas allegedly ordered his aides to beat up the
From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha
couple for resisting his order. In the petition signed by their counsel, C.I.A Onwuegbusi, a copy of which was sent to the Director of the State Security Service (SSS), the couple appealed to the IGP to thoroughly investigate the threat to their lives, alleging that the council chief had boasted that he can ‘do away’ with them without questioning him.
Narrating his ordeal, Sogbesan, a Special Marshal, said that he got a distress call from his wife on Saturday, while on a national patrol duty, that she was being held hostage by a group of boys along the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway. He said: “I rushed to the said location and on arrival, I saw a crowd surrounding my wife about 50 metres from where she parked her car.
“I asked her what the problem was and she said that she stopped by to buy bottled water at the market and engaged a cart pusher to convey the item to her car when some youths accosted her and demanded that she pay N100 and she inquired why and this sparked their anger and they pounced on her after they have destroyed the whole things she bought.
Aig-Imoukhuede Committee asks govt to recover N382b from 21 firms Continued from Page 4
have as number of OMT involved in irregular payments and so on. “There are 22 recommendations made by the Committee. I will like to summarise them as follows: Obviously, the first is the recovery of the said amount. “The next is possible criminal investigation and prosecution of the OMT that are found to have engaged in likely fraudulent issues. “Also, the external auditors and any government functionaries who served will be further interviewed to determine the roles, if any, in the issues that were discussed.” Aig-Imoukhuede urged the Federal Government to fully implement the recommendations of the technical committee report. “We also recognise the need for the accelerated implemen-
tation of all the recommendations in the Technical Committee report,” he said, adding: “Finally, our recommendation is that for the nation to keep putting together teams of technocrats to pursue those who abuse a subsidy regime is not sustainable. The lasting and final solution to ensure that this does not occur again is for the deregulation of fuel subsidy.” The Attorney General described the committee’s role as “to kind of fine-tune what the EFCC is doing; it is complementary of the EFCC report as well as that of the House of Representatives”. He went on: “The entire objective is that the government is not just interested in prosecuting those that are engaged in impunity for violating the process but also recovering the money and will need technocrats to help us identify the exact amount of money because, with the prosecution, the soci-
ety itself must benefit by having a restitution. We are going to recover this money and we are going to set the process for recovery alongside the prosecution.” On the possibility of recovering the said N382billion, Bello said: “There are a number of options. The first is to determine whether you have some of the subsidy payments due still within the banking system in the possession of those who illegally collected them. “There are other powers that the Federal Government has with respect to transactions that are ongoing and claims that such people may have for additional fuel subsidies-that is another source of recovery. “We have also looked at one or two interesting enabling laws that allow the Federal Government to take certain steps which we will not mention now.” On the possibility of recover-
Abuja land: First Lady, Yar’Adua’s wife to settle From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
IRST Lady Dame Patience Jonathan and her predecessor, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua are ready to settle their dispute over a plot of land in Abuja out-of-court. The documents before the court showed that the land was duly allocated to Turai’s pet project: the “Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYE)”, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), after it was issued with the Right of Occupancy for plot 1347 Cadastral Zone by the Federal Captal Territory (FCT) minister. This, followed an application by the Registered Trustees of WYEF after paying N184.529 million. Under the terms of grant, the plaintiff was given three years to develop the property based on approved building plans. After the payments of the various levies, the plaintiff paid additional N76.936 million as building plan fees after which the grant and approval of the building plans were made and given in line with the master plan for Abuja. Thereafter, the plaintiff appointed and mobilised a building company, Al-Cooks Nigeria Limited to develop the property for N13.516 million On November 1, 2011, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) sent an additional bill of N18.529 million being the balance of the various charges under the grant which the plaintiff paid the following day. Shortly after these transactions, the minister for the FCT without reasons, issued a revocation notice on the said property which it re-allocated to the plaintiff for the purpose of building public institution (Training/Vocational Centre). Immediately after the revocation, the FCT Minister, Bala Muhammed swiftly re-allocated the plot to another organisation - the African First Ladies Peace Centre, believed to be the pet project of Dame Jonathan. It was at this stage that the Turai’s organisation went to court to challenge the actions of the minister with respect to the revocation letter. Before Justice Peter Affen, it sought and obtained a restraining order, barring the minister and the FCTA, the AGIS and the Attorney-General of the Federation from carrying out further activities at the site. However, while the order of the court was still subsisting, the defendants in defiance of the said order, mobilised people to the site to commence work. Dissatisfied, counsel to WAYE, Innocent Lagi went back to the court and initiated contempt proceedings against the defendants. Last Friday, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation approached the court with a motion seeking to vacate the said order.
Ibori forfeits $3m assets to US, N2.2b cash to Fed Govt Continued from Page 4
ing theN382 billion, Aig-Imoukhuede said: “It will be naïve to believe that we can recover the whole amount. The most important thing is that the State diligently pursues recovery to its logical conclusion. At the end of the day, having exhausted all means at its disposal, I think the people of Nigeria will know that justice has been done.”
dormant in the apex bank’s strong room . A 14-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Mr. Bello Yahaya, a Police officer with the EFCC, supported the application for forfeiture. Bello said that he was one EFCC investigators assigned to investigate James Ibori’s case, and he was, therefore, familiar with the facts of the case. “While the investigation was on going on 25th April 2007, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the then executive chairman of the EFCC called the investigation team headed by Ibrahim Lamorde, the then director of operations to pick up cash in the sum of $15m given to him and the commission through an undisclosed agent of the said James Ibori,” Paragraph 4 of the affidavit reads. Yahya averred that the money, if left untouched and unspent in the state it was kept
N13b fuel subsidy fraud: PDP chiefs’ firms for trial Continued from Page 4
Motor Spirit.” The EFCC assured that more suspects will be arraigned periodically. The statement added: “The 20 suspects are among the over 140 individuals and organisations involved in the on- going investigations into the subsidy payments by the EFCC. “More suspects will be arraigned periodically as the investigation progresses. “This investigation is massive and extensive; and the Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that every ef-
fort will be made to bring all those who defrauded the country in the guise of subsidy for imported fuel to book. “ It could not be immediately ascertained when the trial of the suspects will start due to the ongoing vacation of the court. A reliable source in EFCC said: “Most of the courts are on vacation, we cannot say when they will face trial. But arrangement is being made to arraign the suspects before a designated vacation judge. “We are expecting response from Lagos State
Chief Judge on this.” Responding to a question, the source added: “We have arrested all the suspects, they are presently being detained preparatory to their arraignment before any court. “I cannot tell you when they will be arraigned but they are now in custody.” The House Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy had recommended that some oil marketers and top officials of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) should be investigated and prosecuted by anti-graft agencies.
According to the report, those to be probed by antigraft agencies (now only EFCC) are 121 oil marketers as follows: · 17 marketers that did not obtain FOREX but claimed to have imported petroleum products. · 15 marketers who obtained FOREX but did not import petroleum products.· 71 oil marketers to face probe and refund N230.1billion· 18 oil marketers committed other infractions.President Goodluck Jonathan had on May 21 referred the Fuel Subsidy Report to the EFCC for further investigation and criminal
•EFCC chair Lamorde
trial of culpable ones. The anti-graft agency said it is probing 140 of such cases.
in the apex bank’s strong room since April, 2007, may eventually be destroyed, defaced, mutilated and become useless. He added that it will be in the interest of justice to, in the interim, make an order of forfeiture to it and allow a publication to be made in a chosen national newspaper to alert any interested member of the public to come out within 14 days to show their interest, failure to which the court will make an order of final forfeiture in government’s favour.
Ghana President Mills dies at 68 Continued from Page 4
fully in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections as the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He recently returned from a nine-day medical check-up in the United States. Prior to his trip to the U.S. on June 16, questions had been asked about his whereabouts after he had not been seen in public for close to two weeks while communal violence ravaged parts of the country. After a medical check-up in New York, he returned to Ghana on Monday June 25, to a rousing welcome. Before his departure for the USA, President Mills quashed rumours of his death when he addressed the media. He also stated that he is going for a “routine checkup” and will be “away for a few days”. In a formal notice to Parliament, President Mills said he would be away in the US until June 25.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
Nigerian flag hoisted at Olympic Village T
EAM Nigeria's athletes and officials took centre court Tuesday at the imposing Olympic Village when the country’s contingent to the Games were formally welcomed to the Village as well as the hoisting of the Green and Whiteflag of Nigeria. With the national anthem playing at the background, the Nigerian flag rose gradually with athletes yelling, cheering as the flag rose majestically to flutter among the flags of other nations for the 2012 London Olympics which begins July 27. In a colourful ceremony at the Village, Nigeria’s Chef de Mission, Dr Patrick Ekeji, NOC President, Engr Sani M. Ndanusa and Nigeria’s High commission to the UK, His Excellency Dr Dalhatu Tafidah stood with rapt attention watching the flag soar high to mark Nigeria’s formal entrance into the Games Village housing all the participating nations for the Olympics. Ex-international athlete and one of the coaches of Team Nigeria, Yussuf Ali was so moved that he predicted that Nigerian national anthem would be played more during the Games. Only countries whose athletes win gold medals have the honour of their national anthem being played at the medal presentation ceremony. Ali said that he was not being carried away by emotion or blinded by patri-
otism. ‘’More of Nigerian national anthem will be played during the Games. This is because the athletes are raring to go. They are determined to themselves and the country proud coupled with the smooth relationship of the NSC and the NOC,’’ Ali a veteran of many Olympics
and medals for Nigeria said. Present at the event also was the Mayor of Enfield, Mrs Kate Anolue among many Nigerians living in London who screamed when Nigerian athletes marched to the venue clad in their green-white-green outfit, waving their flags to their admiration.
D’Tigers ‘ll show class — Gbiri
HE presence of Nigeria’s male Basketball team, D’Tigers at the Olympics is still causing ripples with the scribe of Nigeria Basketball Federation, Francis Gbiri vowing that the Tigers will ‘injure’ here. ‘’WE are not here by mistake. We are here because we merit to be at the
Olympics. We are here because the players gave their all to be here. We are here because of the doggedness of the President, Tijani Umar. And now that we are here, there is not going to be stopping the D’Tigers. They are going to cause upsets. Mark my words’’, Gbiri said.
Okagbare banks on God
LESSING Okagbare no doubt realises the huge expectation being placed on her byNigerians to excel at the Olympics. She has raised their hopes high with sterling performances at the African Championships in Porto Norvo and the Diamond League. She is also receiving rave reviews on the hot legs for the women 100 m. But she is not swayed by that as she revealed yesterday that while Nigerians are placing their expectations on her, she
also was placing her expectations on God. ‘’I am aware of the massive expectations on me, but frankly, my expectations are on God’’, she said yesterday at the hoisting of Team Nigeria’s flag at the Olympic Village. Okagbare has been in blazing form and many are tipping her to win two medals from the 100 m and the jumps. ‘’She is in good form and she carries herself well. She is humble and focused’’, Yussuf Alli volunteered on the former footballer turned athlete.
•(L-R): Sales Director, Globacom, Mr. Mike Sidwel, Manchester United Football Club Legend, Dwight Yorke, Nollywood Actress, Glo Ambassador Monalisa Chinda and Regional Director, Marketing Promotion, Globacom, Mr. George Auda at the Launch of GloMan United Mobile site in Lagos on Tueday. Photo: BOLA OMILABU
Team Nigeria chances very good, says Chef de Mission
IGERIA’s Chef De Mission at the London 2012 Olympics, Dr Patrick Ekeji yesterday described Team Nigeria's chances at the Olympics as very good. ‘’We look good for the Games. There are pointers to the fact that this Olympics will be good for Nigeria’’, Ekeji said moments after Team Nigeria was received formally at the Olympic Village. Taking a cursory look at Team
Nigeria, Ekeji who is also the Director General of the National Sports Commission, NSC, said that Nigeria would excel in Boxing especially the only female boxer in the team. ‘’I monitored all the athletes right from their training bases and I feel satisfied with their reports. ‘’We are set to go and I feel good that something good will come out of this despite the huge challenges we faced running to the Olympics. I think that I have given it my best and wait and hope that the ath-
letes will justify all that we put into it. For me, this is going to be my last Olympics. It means a lot to me and I have put in everything to ensure that Nigeria finishes on a higher pedestal. Okagbare is doing absolutely well and we pray that she carries her form to the Olympics. And so, it is with all the athletes that we registered. But we still need support and prayers of Nigerians as we get ready to go’’, Ekeji emphasised.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012
SPORT EXTRA AHEAD 18TH NATIONAL SPORT FESTIVAL
Lagos signs MoU with marketers •…promises good rebate for sponsors A
HEAD of plans for a successful hosting of the 2012 National Sports Festival, the Lagos State Government has made a call on local and foreign investors, corporate business organisations and marketing enterprises, to avail themselves of the opportunity the 18th National Sport Festival will present, to strike good businesses with the state government. Deputy Governor, Orelope Adefulure who made the call yesterday at an event to officially throw the door open for sponsorship and to leverage on opportunities as the Eko 2012 games is fast approaching, said there is abundance of business options and prospects for interested individuals and organisations who are ready to sponsor the games with the state government. “There is good rebate for interested business partners, we want more corporate sponsors to come in and as well we what to see how we can spread the business opportunities. For sponsorship details, the chairman subcommittee could be reached on 2348020878861 phone contact.” she said The high point of the event was when the state government signed a Memorandum of Un-
By Paul Oluwakoya derstanding with five private sponsorship marketing agencies, witnessed by Asoju Oba of Lagos, Chief Molade Okoya Thomas and the state commissioner for sport, Hon Waheed Enitan Oshodi. Barrister Oshodi, reiterated the state government’s commitment to the successful hosting of the festival not only in sport but through provision of businesses for small and large income enterprises, stating that it is important to do so because sports had
become a potent tool of economic development and empowerment. “Sports globally is a potent tool of development, not only in the arena of infrastructure development but also in providing gainful employment and enhancing business opportunities with good healthy lifestyles. This is why the government is ready to maximize the gains inherent in sports development, and especially in supporting and promoting programmes such as that will fortify public and private partnership,” he said.
•President Hotsport Taye Ige, CY Anosike Executive Director Lymfad Ltd, ABIMBOLA Sunmola CEO Q Sport , Princess Adejoke Adefulire Lagos State Deputy Governor, Chief Molade Thomas Okoya the Asoju Oba of Lagos and Enitan Oshodi, Commissioner for sport Lagos State during 18th national sports festival Eko 2012 in Lagos yesterday . PHOTO:\ SOLOMON ADEOLA
TODAY IN THE NATION
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
‘‘Could 2012 really be the watershed we have prayed, worked and suffered all our lives for? It may just be.’ VOL.7 NO.2199
COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA
F all the possible reasons for the dismal failure of the country’s successive regimes’ wars against corruption, the most obvious seems to be their selectivity. It would seem that none of these wars has been more selective than General Olusegun Obasanjo’s, following his return to power in 1999 as an elected leader, if only because democracies, unlike the military dictatorship he succeeded, are supposed to be defined by the rule of laws and regulations rather by the arbitrary use of power. Then, of course, there was the image of a crusading statesman he had cultivated during the 20-year hiatus between his two reigns. It seems pretty obvious from the way President Goodluck Jonathan has pursued his own crusade against corruption that he is not in a hurry to rid himself of his benefactor’s dubious legacy of applying one set of rules for those he likes or doesn’t dislike and another for his enemies, real or apparent. The big test here is, of course, the on-going trillion Naira oil subsidy racketeering. And the signs are that the President may yet fail it because among the big putative culprits are some of his closest friends and allies. The President may yet surprise the world by demonstrating the courage needed to wield the big stick against all offenders, friends and foes alike. However, based on past reckoning it would be a big, but pleasant, surprise if he does. Among the less significant but still notable tests he has failed in his war against corruption so far, three stand out, the first because it is an unprecedented display of nepotism by any Nigerian leader to date, and the other two because they are possibly the worst examples of the flagrant violation of public service rules that has typified the country’s government since 1999. These other two concern the leaderships of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), our equivalent of the American CIA. In both cases, the heads should have left service at least a couple of years ago on account both of their ages and years of service as stipulated by the country’s public service regulations – 60 or 35 whichever comes first. Early this year, Abubakar Mohammed, the Director-General of the NDE, along with some members of his management, was accused of embezzling N655 million by an Abuja law firm, Victory and Rose Associates. Responding to the petition the firm had filed before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed said in a supplement in the Newswatch of February 27, that it was “nothing but blackmail, mischief and clear exhibition of ignorance about how the NDE works.” If the intention of the petitioners was to get him sacked, they have clearly failed; the man is still sitting pretty on his executive chair almost six months on. Indeed he’s had his term renewed after the petition. This could very well have been because, as he said, the petition was simply blackmail,
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People and Politics By MOHAMMED HARUNA firstname.lastname@example.org
A president and his war on corruption
mischief and ignorance of how his agency functions. What, however, is certainly not blackmail and mischief is that he should have since left the organisation, petition or no; like me, Mohammed is over 60 years old and like me he graduated from Ahmadu Bello University’s then Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – it’s since been split in two – in 1975, that is 37 years ago, two years above the mandatory ceiling of 35 years of service. As with Mohammed so it is with Ambassador Ezekiel Olaniyi Oladeji, the Director-General of the NIA. Oladeji replaced Ambassador E.E. Imolie in October 2009 in the wake of the controversy that surrounded the initial refusal of the Nigerian High Commission in London to renew Nasir el-Rufa’i’s passport at a time the controversial former minister of the Federal Capital Territory was on self-exile. Going by the guidelines of the controversial Oronsanye’s civil service
reform three years ago, Oladeji was not even eligible for appointment as DG when he was so appointed. At that time he’d served as a director for 13 years, seven over the eight the Oronsanye reform had stipulated as a maximum anyone should serve as director before either moving up as permanent secretary or retiring compulsorily. As if this flagrant violation of the new rule was not enough, Oladeji has been left on his seat over two years after he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 60 in March 2010. Mohammed and Oladeji are not the only beneficiaries of government’s longstanding violations of public service rules. Year in year out since 1999, senior military commanders and police chiefs, for example, have been given top jobs in their services long after they should have retired. This selective application of public service rules has had devastating impact on the morale of our soldiers and police. The difference between the case of Mohammed/Oladeji and past violations of public service rules is that the two provide government with the opportunity to prove it has become serious about its commitment to fight corruption – for, the selective application of one’s own rules of the game is no less corrupt than stealing or fraud. Which brings us to last week’s appointment of Dame Patience Jonathan, the country’s First Lady, as a Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State, her husband’s state. On the face of it, Governor Seriake Dickson has done nothing wrong constitutionally. Section 208 of our Constitution says a governor can hire and fire anyone as the Secretary of his government, as a permanent secretary, as the Head of Service (provided he had reached the rank of permanent secretary) and as chief executive of any government agency. And as Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Literature Laureate, has argued in defence of her appointment, “the lady is not constitutionally disqualified from the office.” She may not. But then the issue is not simply a matter of technicality, the ground of her
OW does one describe the fly that rides all the way into the grave with the corpse? Well native saying calls it the stubborn one but for our purpose here, Hardball would rather describe the little winged fellow as simply “crazy”. Now what is all this about? It is about the matter of the conduct of the National Assembly (NASS) or the legislative arm of government if we must put it in proper perspective. This matter has been on in fact, since 1999 and the more Nigerians lament about it, the more hardened our legislators seem to have become in their wayward ways. It is about the cost of running our National Assembly: remember that Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) once informed us that we spend about 25 per cent of our resources to keep our lawmakers happy. Our distinguished and honorable members came at him like rabid dogs missing his jugular by just a notch. At the end of that episode, they succeeded in beating him and the rest of us into whimpering quietude. But as the days pass by, these fellows get more emboldened as they allot to themselves,
appointment which, even in itself, is not without flaw; in principle governors may hire or fire anyone as a permanent secretary, but due to time-honoured practice they have hired only senior civil servants who have proved their mettles over many years. As we all know, Dame Patience opted out of her state’s civil service in 1999 when her husband became the deputy governor of the state. So the issue here clearly is much more of morality than technically. Clearly, she was appointed as permanent secretary simply because she is the country’s First Lady. Worse, she was appointed not for service but for self-aggrandisement. And she herself, in her inimitable oratory, provided the evidence after she was sworn in last Friday. The Office of First Ladies, she said, should be inserted in our Constitution, something unheard of anywhere in the world, even in Africa where, as The Economist Christmas double edition of December 18, 2004, said in an article on “Powerful Women in Africa,” - an article that someone should read to the First Lady – “most African women’s best hope of gaining power is to acquire it through a man.” “We the wives of political office holders,” she said unabashedly after her swearing in, “if our names are not included in the constitution and our husbands retire with benefits, the constitution should also look into the issues of wives of political appointees. We should be included so that we too can retire with benefits. With that we can enjoy our career.” But, she added in apparent afterthought, since it was highly unlikely that her request would ever be countenanced, she saw nothing wrong with renewing her career as a civil servant. “Why now won’t I pursue my career that I am sure of?” she asked, obviously rhetorically. The correct answer, contrary to her position, is simple; she ended her own civil service career 13 years ago and it is immoral to go back to it at all - never mind doing so at the top - precisely because she is the country’s First Lady. As an old saying goes, those who go to equity should do so with clean hands. The blatant nepotism of appointing a First Lady into public office for no reason other than the mere accident that the man she married became a president or governor or whatever, cannot be more iniquitous. It is not too late for the president to ask his wife to resign from the appointment, just like it is not too late for him to fire Mohammed and Oladeji from heading their different agencies. If he does that it will be one sure sign that he is beginning to get serious with his commitment to fight corruption. •For comments, send SMS to 08054502909
•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above
NASS must listen to Maitama Sule even larger chunks of the national “cake”. Of course, the Appropriation Bill is theirs to tinker with, pad and re-jig as they deem fit. Besides, they are on first charge, which means that whatever chunk of the budget they can corner to themselves is automatically shipped to them to disburse at their pleasure. No questions asked. And under a not-so-strong Presidency, a NASS headed by doughty politicians could corner quite a chunk of the Federal Budget; plus the fact that they can twist the arms of the MDAs backwards and extract some of their own “booty”. That is exactly the trend today. A lot of sweetheart deals are concocted between the leadership of NASS and the Executive arm and the result is that Nigeria lawmakers have become the best paid in the world. In fact their remuneration is so fantabuluos that they dare not make it public. The income of NASS members negates even the prescriptions of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). Indeed, it does not lend itself to any reason or rationale. Nigerians have shouted themselves hoarse, they would not budge. An NGO is in court, invoking the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) in order to compel them to level with Nigerians as to what they really earn but all to no avail. As it stands today, Nigerians can only conjecture the obscene wages their legislators allot to themselves every year. But last week, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Dan Masanin Kano, waded into this matter of grievous national concern when he lamented that the cost of running the NASS is simply “too outrageous, …the system we are operating today is very expensive, we cannot afford it,” he said. A former Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former Member of Parliament in the First Republic, he told an audience of the House of Representatives Forum that in his time, only about 3 per cent of the budget was used in servicing the parliament and that they had only three sessions in a year. Well said and quite timely too considering that they are deliberating constitution amendment right now. They just might want to look into the issue. The current situation is not only outrageous, it borders on criminality and cannot be sustained.
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