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VOL. 7, NO. 2148 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH
DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
Rescuers quit site after recovery of 153 bodies Six die on ground
The CBN Eight
DEAD IN THE CRASH
By Yinka Aderibigbe
ESCUERS have called it a day after the recovery of 153 bodies and two bag loads of human parts on the site of last Sunday’s plane crash. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday drew the curtain on the first phase of the search and rescue operation at house 12, Olaniyi Street, Iju-Ishaga on the outskirts of Lagos into which Dana Air flight 9J-922 crashed . Head of NEMA operations Air Commodore Yomi Bankole said what remains is the pulling down of the property and the fumigation of the entire environment to stave off any outbreak of epidemic. The Director of Search and Rescue at NEMA said since the evacuation had been 95 per cent completed, the national agency would be handing over to the state emergency agency, which will coordinate other agencies to ensure that the place is safe for habitation. He praised officials of Julius Berger for “the great job” done in ensuring that the controlled demolition meets international standards. Bankole said the site would be handed over to the state government, which is expected to make it available to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), and other agencies that may still need to visit in the course of their investigation. He said: “Since Sunday, we have been basically handling recovery and we have not been able to rescue anyone alive from the aircraft. On ground, six people have been confirmed affected by the crash, and others who were displaced have been handed over to the state government, which has evacuated them to a safer Continued on page 4
THE CRASH IN FIGURES
153 6 153 43 29
•The number of people on board. All dead •Casualties on ground at the site of the crash •Bodies recovered and taken to the morgue •Bodies recognisable •Bodies of victims identified by relatives
•Adekola Ishaq Ayoola
•Olusola Florence Arokoyu •Amina Idris Bugaje
•Kim E Norris
MORES STORIES AND PICTURES ON PAGES 2-9 & 55 •Shehu Usman Sa’ad
•Falmata Kur Mohammed •Samuel Eventus Mbong
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last night released the names of its staff members who died in last Sunday’s Dana Air plane crash in Lagos. They are: •Anthonia, a graduate of the University of Kent, was a Senior Manager in the Financial Policy and Regulations Department. •An economist and a Barrister at-Law, Mr. Bamaiyi worked with the Micro Prudential Analysis Division of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department. •Falmata was an Assistant Director in the Banking Supervision Department. •Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf was a Principal Manager with the Banking Supervision Department. •Mr. Norris, a Canadian, was the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Banking Supervision. •Mr. Istifanus Mutihir was a Deputy Director in the Financial Policy and Regulation Department. •Raphael Owuonu Amiaka was a Senior Manager in Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department (OFIS). •Mr. Samuel Eventus Mbong was a Manager with the Financial Policy and Regulatory Department.
Dana Air’s licence suspended D
ANA Air’s future was hanging in the balance yesterday, with the Senate ordering the suspension of its licence - an action the authorities had already taken. The airline’s flight 9J-922 crashed on Sunday in Iju-Ishaga on the out-
•Senate: NCAA chief should step down From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja
skirts of Lagos – about two minutes away from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.
The lawmakers, at their first plenary session since the crash, ordered the suspension of Nigeria Civil Aviation authority (NCAA) Director-General Mr. Harold Demuren.
The NCAA is the aviation regulatory body in the country. Emotion overshadowed proceedings as Senators considered a motion on the ill-fated Abuja-Lagos flight that killed more than 153 people. Continued on page 4
•NEWS EXTRA P25 •SPORTS P23 •POLITICS P45 •MONEY P17 •INVESTORS P47
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
MD 83... An aircraft’s test of integrity •Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike consoling Mr Paul Okwulehie, the husband of the late principal of Federal Government Girls’ College, Bwari, Mrs Maria Okwulehie who died in the crash...yesterday
The integrity of the MD 83 aircraft has been questioned in many countries, which has seen it off their airspace, writes KELVIN OSA-OKUNBOR
•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola condoling envoys of foreign nationals who died in the crash...yesterday
•Some Chinese at the LASUTH mortuary to claim the body of their relative... yesterday
•Employees of the National University Commission (NUC) condoling with the family of one of their colleagues PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE who died in the crash ... yesterday
AST Sunday’s crash of a McDonnel Douglas 83 aircraft belonging to DANA Air into a residential building in the densely populated suburb of Iju-Ishaga, Lagos has raised questions over the safety integrity of this type of aircraft, which has been phased out by airlines in the developed world. The MD 83 which crashed, according to DANA, was 22 years old. Experts are divided on whether or not the age of a plane matters. Some believe that it is cheaper and safer to fly newer airplanes because of access to latest technology. Others believe what matters is adherence to the maintenance schedule. The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), in the last few years, has encouraged Nigerian carriers to take advantage of the domestication of the Cape Town Convention to use older aircraft as collateral to acquire newer airplanes. But, only a few carriers have brand new airplanes in their fleet. Many still use aircraft that have either been banned in the developed world or phased out by other operators because of high cost of maintenance. As a fallout of some past air crashes, the Federal Government set a 22-year age limit for aircraft operating in this country.The BAC11 and Boeing 727 were banned for scheduled passenger operations. When EAS Airlines crashed on May 4, 2002, the Federal Government banned the BAC-11. When Bellview Airline crashed on October 22, 2005, the government phased out the Boeing 727. MD 83 was not included in the ban in Nigeria, but many other countries have either banned it or phased it out. The MD-80 and its variants are among the last extant reminders that there once was another American manufacturer, McDonnell Douglas, to compete with Boeing and Airbus for jet orders from the airlines. Measured by accident data alone, the MD-80 is considered to be one of the safest planes in the sky. According to Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the plane has a fatal hull loss rate — meaning a crash involving fatalities — of 0.34 per one million departures, and an overall hull-loss, or crash, rate of 0.52 per million departures. By comparison, the average record for all commercial jets is 0.89 fatal hull losses per million departures, and an overall rate of 1.64 hull losses per million departures, Boeing said.
The MD-80 has its roots in the 1960s, when it was developed as a descendant of the DC-9, which in turn was a companion to the DC-8 jet, one of the first airliners of the jet era. The DC-9, still in use by Northwest Airlines, was designed to be used on shorter flights; the Douglas Aircraft developed the MD-80 as a second generation of the DC-9. It was originally called the Super 80. It has been a workhorse for a wide variety of airlines. SwissAir and Austrian Airlines were the first to fly it. American, Delta, Alitalia and Scandinavian airlines later flew it. Nearly 1,200 were built in various configurations between 1980 and 1999, the year when Boeing, which had merged with McDonnell-Douglas two years earlier, decided to discontinue production and focus instead on its own short-range jet, the Boeing 737. During its lifetime, the MD-80 family has had some high-profile problems. In 1987, an MD-82 crashed just outside the airport in Detroit, killing 156 people, including two on the ground. The only survivor was a four-year-old girl, who was found strapped into her seat in the crash debris. The National Transportation Stabilisation Board concluded that the pilots of the plane had incorrectly deployed the plane’s wing flaps, meaning the jet was not in the proper position to fly. A faulty warning system failed to alert the pilots to the problem. The left engine on a Delta Air Lines MD-88 failed on take-off in Pensacola, Fla, in 1996, causing pieces of the engine to pierce the fuselage and penetrate the cabin, killing two of the plane’s 137 passengers. In January 2000, an Alaska Airlines MD-83 crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Point Magu, Calif., killing 88 people. The pilot had declared an emergency and was trying to get to Los Angeles International Airport when the accident took place. The safety board said improper maintenance was to blame for the crash. The most recent attention paid to the plane was not crash related. Last spring, American canceled thousands of flights and grounded its 300 MD-80s to check that wiring bundles were properly secured inside the planes’ wheel wells. The groundings prompted a sparring match between the airline and the FAA, which American contended had unfairly changed the rules for how carriers should respond to safety directives. At a point, the FAA proposed
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH ‘Don’t put profit above human lives’
GROUP of past and serving senators, the Senators Forum, yesterday urged airline operators to ensure compliance with safety standards. The Chairman of the Forum, Senator Khairat Gwadabe, spoke with reporters in Abuja. She described last Sunday’s air crash involving a Dana Air plane as a monumental national calamity. Mrs. Gwadabe said the crash has exposed the inadequacies in the sector, adding that it was high time the Federal Government checked the activities of the regulatory agencies. She said: “We had thought that the era of air disasters was over, only for us to wake up to the reality of another one. The crash may have ex-
•The Dana MD 83 aircraft before the crash
Details of crashed DANA Air aircraft Date:
03 JUN 2012
McDonnell Douglas MD-83
C/n / msn:
2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219
Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Fatalities: 147 / Occupants: 147
Fatalities: 153 / Occupants: 153
AIRCRAFT HISTORY Date
13 NOV 1990
Alaska Airlines delivered
04 NOV 2002
Alaska Airlines emergency diversion due to smoke and electrical smell in cabin; light ballast had overheated (FAA)
20 AUG 2006
Alaska Airlines evacuated after landing at Long Beach, CA when a chaffed wire bundle arced and produced smoke in the cabin area (NTSB)
21 AUG 2008
stored at Victorville
11 SEP 2008
maintenance at Miami
17 FEB 2009
Dana Air delivered
19 APR 2010
Dana Air emergency landing following loss of engine power after bird strike on takeoff Lagos (ASN)source: Aviation Safety Network
civil penalties of $7.1 million against American airline for flying two MD-80s in December when it knew they were not airworthy. The airline said it disagreed with the finding and called the penalties “excessive.” In 2005, due to the greater efficiency of the Boeing 737 Next Generation and rising costs for maintenance, fuel, and crew training, Alaska Airlines decided to phase out its remaining 26 MD80s and trained its pilots to fly the newer Boeing 737–800s that were being ordered to replace them. According to the airline, the MD80 burned 1,100 gallons of fuel per hour, while the 737–800 burns 850 gallons per hour. The last MD-80 flights flew on August 25, 2008, one from San Jose, California to Seattle,
Washington, and another from Sacramento, California to Seattle, Washington. The airline unveiled a 737–800 painted in Boeing’s house colours with the airline’s Eskimo on the tail fin. The aircraft, called Spirit of Seattle, shows Alaska’s commitment to Boeing and the fact that the airline now has an allBoeing fleet. In February 2007, Alaska Airlines introduced its first two Boeing 737–400 Combi’s to their fleet in an effort to replace their aging Boeing 737–200 Combi aircraft. The -400 Combi’s have 20 per cent more passenger and cargo capacity than the aircraft they replaced. They can carry a combination of four cargo pallets and 72 passengers. The aircraft
From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja
posed the inadequacies in the operations of the regulatory authorities and the airline operators. “This is a national disaster of immense proportion. We are pleading with the operators not to put profit above human lives while the Federal Government should take all necessary steps to address the inadequacies.” Members of the Forum paid a condolence visit to one of their members, Senator Danladi Bamaiyi who lost his 33-year-old son, Adamu, in the crash. Adamu was one of the employees of the Central Bank of Nigeria who were on board the ill-fated plane.
Wike mourns govt college principal
As a fall out of some past air crashes, the Federal Government set a 22-year-age limit for aircraft operating in the country.The BAC-11 and Boeing 727 were banned for scheduled passenger operations. When EAS Airlines crashed on May 4, 2002, the Federal Government banned the use of BAC-11. When Bellview Airline crashed on October 22, 2005, the government banned the use of Boeing 727. MD 83 was not included in the ban in Nigeria, but many other countries have either banned it or phased it out.
were originally introduced as passenger aircraft in 1992, but have now been converted by Pemco Air Services. Pemco Air Services also converted the Boeing 737-400F. The airline planned to introduce more combi aircraft towards the end of the year. Alaska continued to take delivery of new MD-83s during the 1990s, both to meet the demands of a growing route system, and to replace its aging and fuel inefficient 727 fleet. Meanwhile, the airline phased out its 727s, retiring their last 727 in March 1994. The airline’s MD-80 fleet peaked at approximately 45 aircraft in 1996. Meridiana has replaced its McDonnell Douglas MD-82 fleet with Airbus A320-200s. Meridiana fly is an airline with its head office on the grounds of Olbia - Costa Smeralda Airport in Olbia, Sardinia, Italy.It is the second largest Italian airline operating domestic and European services, as well as intercontinental flights. The airline mainly operates out of Cagliari-Elmas Airport, Milan Malpensa Airport and Rome Fiumicino Airport. Meridiana fly also holds numerous operations at Catania-Fontanarossa Airport, Florence Airport, Olbia - Costa Smeralda Airport, Palermo International Airport and Verona Airport.
INISTER of State for Education Ezenwo Nyesom Wike yesterday mourned the Principal of Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, Mrs. Maria Okwulehie, who died in the Dana air crash. Wike, who spoke at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, Abuja, when he paid a condolence visit to the members of staff and students of the school, said the late Mrs. Okwulehie was one of the best principals of Unity Colleges who implemented the Federal Government’s reforms. He said the Ministry of Education has lost a dedicated employee who gave her all to improving the basic education sector. Wike said: “This is a very sad moment for our education sector. We have lost one of our best principals. Mrs Okwulehie was the one who ensured that the Federal Government Girls’ College, Bwari was brought back to its excellent status. “The staff of this school have a responsibility to continue from where she left off to ensure that the standard of the school is maintained. As teachers, you must not fail to keep the high standard that this school attained under your late principal”. The minister said the situation of the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari was worsened by the fact that one of the vice principals died in a car accident two weeks ago. He urged the staff and students of the school to take solace in the fact that the principal built a solid foundation for the growth of the school. Wike commiserated with all the families who lost their loved ones in the crash. The minister also visited the home of the late principal to condole with her husband and family members.
PDP laments deaths in air disaster
HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday lamented the deaths recorded in last Sunday’s air disaster involving a Dana Air passenger plane. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party decried the series of tragedies and called for “a return to basics and the re-establishment of values, which will result in a well grounded society.” Metuh added: “The entire nation is traumatised by the tragic events of the past three days. Several Nigerians have lost close relatives, friends and colleagues; we are a nation in mourning. “But in our grief we should seize this opportunity to revaluate our focus and reinstate the values that will make us a great nation. The
From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja
election is over. Therefore, we should refocus our energies on building rather than competing. “Wiping out corruption from our society should be a priority rather than engaging in lengthy political battles. Training our youth to be model and patriotic members of society should be our aim rather than employing them as political thugs. “Improving our educational system and instilling the importance of family values in our children should be our main concern. These are the things that we should focus on now until 2015 when we return to the polls. This unhealthy obsession with politics can only serve to derail the nation and prevent us from achieving the greatness for which we have great potential.”
Chime, Almakura: it’s a tragedy From Chris Oji, Enugu
NUGU State Governor Sullivan Chime and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Tanko Almakura, have described Sunday’s plane crash in Lagos as a monumental tragedy. Chime, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Chukwudi Achife, said he was greatly saddened that so many innocent and resourceful lives could be lost in one fell swoop. He said: “I am very much saddened by this development; it is a monumental tragedy. My heart goes out to the families of all those who lost their lives in this disaster which has indeed cast a pall of pain and anguish over the whole country.” Almakura said the country has lost great men and women in the disaster. He said: “On behalf of my humble self, the government and people of Nasarawa State, I hereby extend our deepest condolences to all those who lost their loved ones in the ill-fated Dana aircraft disaster, last Sunday, that left our nation in a mournful mood. Our nation has lost great men and women whose contributions to our national advancement shall be greatly missed at a time when we are passing through a challenging moment. “At this moment, our hearts are with you and we pray that the Almighty God in his infinite Mercy will grant their gently souls eternal rest. As we mourn with our fellow Nigerians, we pray that God will give the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. May their gentle souls rest in peace.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
Six dead on ground, says LASEMA chief
IX people died in the building into which the ill-fated Dana Air plane crashed, it emerged yesterday. All 153 people on board the aircraft died, taking the death toll to 159. General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said four of the victims were residents of the two storey building. The other two were visitors to the house. The residents and their visitors were occupants of Flat 5, he add-
•Husband of the late NUC official Mrs. Maimuna Shaibu...yesterday
•Wife of the late NUC official, Mallam Mohammed Dukawa at home...yesterday
•Husband of the late NUC official Mrs. Chinwe Obi...yesterday PHOTOS: ABAYOMI FAYESE
Senate: NCAA chief, others should step down Continued from page 1
A resolution that the Presidency should immediately direct Demuren and other top officials of aviation regulatory agencies to step aside to allow for free flow of information while investigation into the crash lasts was unanimous. The Senate also directed the Ministry of Aviation to immediately release all reports of previous air mishaps and take steps to prosecute those indicted. Senate President David Mark noted that the prompt grounding of Dana aircraft would be a test case of the preparedness of the Executive to implement other findings of a Joint National Assembly sitting on the crash. To underscore the importance and urgency the lawmakers attached to the motion, Mark directed that the resolutions should be communicated to the Presidency without delay. The motion, entitled: “The crash of Dana and Allied Airlines aircraft”, was sponsored
by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma and 29 others. It was seconded by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. Uzodimma, who represents Imo West Senatorial District, informed the Senate that the motion is supported by almost all the Senators. He said he was worried that the crash was more tragic than previous ones, with a casualty figure of about 190 people. Uzodimma noted that it was a clear indication of failure and or negligence of relevant regulatory functions in the industry, which, “if unchecked, could lead to more devastating air mishaps in future”. The crash, he said, might be indicative of a greater rot in aviation, which could portend more danger ahead. He prayed the Senate to observe a minute silence in honour of those who died in the crash, send its condolences to the families of the bereaved, direct the Committee on Aviation to jointly sit with the Aviation Committee of the House
to investigate the crash and direct the joint committee to ascertain the air worthiness of all other operating aircraft and make recommendations. The four prayers were unanimously adopted. Ekweremadu noted that in almost all newspapers yesterday, there were pictures of those who died in the disaster. “I can see young people, children whose dreams and aspirations were dashed. “Those whose contributions would have helped in national development were cut short. This is a very trying moment for us and it is very pathetic. We must draw lessons from this and confront the situation to ensure it does not happen again,” he said. Ekweremadu said his worry is that it was apparent that the management of Dana Air did not heed the warnings it received. “Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio said he warned the management of Dana Air four times,” the senator said, adding: “The Niger Delta militancy;
when it started, we failed to nip it in the bud. It cost the nation a lot of money. We were told in this chamber that when Boko Haram started, we failed to do what we were supposed to do. Every day, we read that Onitsha Bridge will collapse one day but nothing has been done. If it collapses, we will come here to mourn the dead and say it is an accident. That is our bane. We must begin to heed early warning signal.” Ekweremadu, who said the Senate should resolve to get to the root of the crash, stressed that those found culpable must be punished. Senator Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna North) described the crash as “an avoidable disaster”. Makarfi noted that the signals were there to show how delicate the aircraft was “but somebody must have certified it airworthy”. He said: “It is condemnable to lose lives. It is sad and we must put a stop to it in this Continued on page 55
By Yinka Aderibigbe
ed. The LASEMA chief said five persons who suffered varying degrees of injuries were rescued from the crash site on Sunday. He said: “While four were treated and discharged, one is still receiving care at the Ikeja General Hospital.” Oke-Osanyintolu said government had established two information desks at the Hospital as the second phase of the disaster management begins.
NCAA suspends Dana Air’s operations
HE National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the airline’s operation. NCAA spokesman Sam Adurogboye said the suspension was communicated to the airline management on Monday. It took immediate effect. According to him, Dana Air had to refund money for the tickets bought by would-be passengers on Monday because the airline had been grounded, Adurogboye said: “The operations of Dana Air have been suspended in order for NCAA to look at their entire operations all over again. It will enable us look at their books, personnel, insurance and record of aircraft maintenance.In circumstances like this, that’s what we normally do. It has been done before. It is a standard practice. But if everything is found to be in order, the suspension will be lifted.” On complaints that the crashed plane was not airworthy, Adurogboye said the aircraft that Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio complained about is in Turkey for maintenance.
By Leke Salaudeen
“NCAA grounded the aircraft before it was taken abroad for maintenance. It was not the one that crashed on Sunday”, he said, adding:”The ill-fated plane is serviceable, it was not due for maintenance. Its insurance is valid till June 2013. Adurogboye added that if the aircraft did not go through the maintenance chore, NCAA would not have issued it certificate of airworthiness.
43 bodies recognisable, says LASUTH CMD
NLY 43 bodies out of the 153 recovered at the site of Sunday’s Dana air plane crash in IjuIshaga, Lagos are recognisable. Families yesterday identified 29 corpses, Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. David Oke, said. According to him, 14 bodies are yet to be identified. He added that the remaining 103 bodies were burnt beyond recognition and had been transferred to the Mainland General Hospital for forensic analyses. Prof. Oke amplified the technicalities of the processes of identification. He explained that X-ray, dental and tissue examinations were being carried out to ascertain the identities of the dead. DNA test in particular will be depended on to confirm the identities of the casualties that are burnt beyond recognition. Personal effects, such as clothing of the dead would be submitted by the their families for specimen collection and DNA test. He said identified bodies had not been released for interment.
Rescuers quit site after recovery of 153 bodies Continued from page 1
place where they could stabilise and overcome the trauma. With these done, I can confirm to you that we are going to close down this operation later today (yesterday). We would be shifting to the next phase, which would be identification formalities, which is where more technical expertise would be needed.”Commodore Bankole said besides the initial challenge of crowd control when the incident happened, the rescue operation had been going on seamlessly. He said the military was drafted in at some point to help secure the place and prevent further contamination of the immediate crash environment. NEMA spokesman Mr Ibrahim FarinBy By Wale Adepoju and Damilola Owoyele
“There is a state law about coroner inquest. All of them dying suddenly in a plane crash automatically qualifies for coroner investigation. So processes (such as autopsy) must be completed, because litigation cannot be ruled out.” The corpse of a Chinese and
loye said of the 153 bodies recovered, 149 were intact, 49 could be readily identified and others have to be identified by DNA at the General Hospital.Farinloye said: “As at Monday, 86 of the total bodies recovered were male, 49, female and 11 children, and one could not be identified. Today, (yesterday), six more bodies were recovered. Out of these, 40 bodies could be facially recognised, and these would be immediately handed over to their families, once all formalities have been completed to ensure that they were given decent burial.”Farinloye said the DNA tests would begin immediately. This, according to him, will take three phases: One is the identification of the victims, either by their personal effects or clothes they had
Canadian, Kim Norris, were among those already identified. At about 2:15 p.m., the remaining 14 identifiable bodies in unzipped body bags were laid out on stretchers. Relations walked around them, guarded from the stench of rot by nose masks, while looking at the bloated and mutilate figures.
on or jewelry, or any other physical peculiarities. Others who could still not be so identified may require their family members coming with one of their clothes or any other personal effects for DNA analysis to determine and separate them. These would be carried out by the government in conjunction with technical partners who are expected in the country in the next few days.Personal effects, such as hand luggage, bags, jewelry, ID cards, cash in foreign and local currencies recovered have been handed over to the AIB for onward delivery to relatives of the victim.Farinloye who ruled out mass burial for the victims said with advanced technology, all the dead would be identified.
Disbelief and horror were written clearly on their faces. Some of them shed tears. Names of the identified corpses were released by the management of the hospital. They are Martin Alade, Sonny Ehioghae, Okocha Christopher, Stanford Obstrute, Ikpoki Obiola, Patrick Eze Okonji, Bassey Eyo, Kanguyi (Chinese) Charles Ntoko, Dr Abio-
dun Jonathan (M), Ifeanwaka Jones, Obot Emmanuel (M), Prof C.O. Onwuluri, Olabinjo Awodogbin, Obinna Akubueze, Nagidi Ibrahim, Mahmud Ahmed Dukawa, Ibrahim Jangana, George Moses, Femi Shobowale, Ailende Ehi Joel, John Ahmadu Hamza (D.I.G) Kim Edger Norris (all males). The females were Chinwe Uzoamaka Obi, Temitope
Ariyibi and Anibaba Tosin. There were two babies. The relations of the identified bodies are becoming impatient and consequently asked the authorities at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH)when they could eventually take the corpses but the management urged them to be patient, saying it could happen with the next three days. Prof Oke said the hospital had already started carrying out the autopsy. He said at least 12 autopsies would be performed daily. He said Prof John Obafunwa, Consultant Pathologist and Forensic Medicine and Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), is leading seven other pathologists to perform the autopsy. Oke said all corpses would leave with a death certificate. “And we cannot issue death certificates without autopsy,” he said. At the morgue, two family members of each of the deceased were allowed to identify the corpses of their family members.
ADVERT HOTLINES: 01-280668, 08070591302, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH US to assist Nigeria probe crash From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
THE United States of America (USA) yesterday offered to assist Nigeria in its investigation of the cause of the Dana plane crash, which claimed over 153 lives in Lagos on Sunday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement, expressed condolence to the country. She said: “The United States extends its deepest condolences to those who lost family and loved ones in yesterday’s plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria. “We stand with the people of Nigeria at this difficult time and we are prepared to assist the Nigerian Government in its investigation of this tragic accident.”
Minister commiserates with director By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu
Relatives of the victims of the Dana Air plane crash at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to identify their bodies...yesterday
Old aircraft ban likely as govt suspends DANA Air’s licence T HE Federal Government yesterday suspended the operating licence of DANA Air indefinitely. Minister of Aviation Stella Ogiemwonyi said the government took the step as part of precautionary measures. She said no responsible government would fold its hands while its citizens perish. The government’s action, The Nation learnt, may be a prelude to a major shake-up in the aviation industry. Besides the suspension of DANA’s operations, the government, it was learnt, is also considering the ban on the use of old aircraft in the Nigerian airspace, especially the types that have been banned in the developed world. A source said the Boeing McDonnel Douglas ( MD83), the type involved in the crash, may be the first to be phased out. It has been banned in the developed world, owing to scarcity of its spare parts and its geriatric nature. An American carrier, Alaska Air-
•Airline says plane was airworthy By Kelvin Osa- Okunbor
lines, from which DANA Air procured the troubled MD 83 aircraft under a third party arrangement, has phased out the aircraft type. Another aircraft type that may be affected in the fleet of some of the airlines include the Fokker 100, which is considered old in some parts of the world. However, the management of DANA Air said contrary to speculations, the MD 83 aircraft that crashed was in good airworthiness state, despite the fact that it was 22 years old. The director of flight operations of DANA Air, Captain Oscar Wason, who spoke yesterday at a news conference in Lagos said the aircraft was acquired about four years ago from Alaska Airlines. He said the airline has kept a regu-
An investigation into the cause of the accident got underway immediately, under the guidance of the NCAA, who are being assisted by investigators from the United States National Safety Transportation Board. DANA Air is cooperating fully and assisting the investigations in every possible way lar maintenance schedule. In a statement, the chairman of the airline, Mr. Jacky Hathiramani, said: “ The DANA Air familiy is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the
passengers and crew members of flight 9J-922 of Sunday, June 3, 2012. The aircraft, with registration number 5N- RAM, departed Abuja for Lagos with 146 passengers on board. One DANA Air flight engineer, two pilots and four cabin crew were also aboard the flight. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased and we are going to do everything we can to assist them in this extremely difficult times. “An investigation into the cause of the accident got underway immediately, under the guidance of the NCAA, who are being assisted by investigators from the United States National Safety Transportation Board. DANA Air is cooperating fully and assisting the investigations in every possible way. “In accordance with international protocol governing aviation accident investigations, all information about the investigation will come from the NCAA. DANA Air will, however, provide information leading to the flight and update on steps being taken.”
I’m alive, says Amina Bugaje By Tajudeen Adebanjo
HEY were from the same clan – the Bugaje’s family. They equally shared the same name – Amina Bugaje. But the picture published yesterday as that of a victim of the Dana Air plane crash was
Amina Bugaje, the one alive. In an interview with The Nation, Bugaje cleared the air: “I am alive. Your paper published a wrong picture. I have received lots of calls today. It is really painful explaining to various callers that I’m alive.” She said the deceased, who was her cousin, was addressed as Amina Idris Bugaje while “I am simply Amina Bugaje. She is my cousin.” According to her, the deceased was coming to Lagos to procure visa. She was in company of another cousin, Buhari Maikudi who also died in the crash. She described her late cousin as kind-hearted and friendly. “I will miss her dearly,” she said.
Publicise past crash reports, says NUJ By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu
•The late Amina Idris Bugaje
•Amina Bugaje...hale and hearty
Akume condoles with victims’ families
ENATE Minority Leader George Akume yesterday condoled with the families of the victims of the Dana Air plane crash. Akume, in a statement, urged the government to forestall another occurence. He also condemned the bomb attacks on churches in Bauchi State. The statement reads: “I, on behalf of the minority caucus of the Senate, and the good people of Benue North-
West Senatorial District wish to commiserate with President GoodLuck Jonathan, Nigerians, and particularly the families of those who lost their loved ones in the Sunday air disaster in Lagos and the victims of the multiple bomb attacks in Bauchi state. “It is very disheartening for such tragedies to befall the nation at a time when we are grappling with the challenge of how to better the lots of the people.
MINISTER of Labour and Productivity Emeka Wogu has condoled with the ministry’s Director of Inspectorate Department, Mr. Paul Okwulehie, who lost his wife, Maria, in Sunday’s Dana Air plane crash. Mrs. Okwulehie was the Principal of the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, Abuja. Wogu described the death of Mrs Okwulehie and the other victims of the ill-fated aircraft as painful. Wogu, who visited the husband, lamented Mrs Okwulehie’s inability to share in the joy of her new grandchild’s arrival. The minister said: “I sympathise with the Okwulehie family and other Nigerians who lost their loved ones in the Dana plane crash. The death of Mrs. Okwulehie is shocking and a big loss to the family, especially at a time when she would have loved to share in the joy of the birth of her grandchild but God knows the best. The sterling qualities of Mrs. Okwulehie will remain ever green in the minds of those who had direct dealing with her. “The family should be rest assured that the members of staff of the ministry share in your grief and will also join you in prayer at this moment of grief.” The minister prayed for the repose of the souls of the dead and asked God to grant the families the fortitude to bear the loss. Daughter to the deceased, Uzoma, who responded on behalf of the Okwulehie family thanked the minister and the officials of the ministry for sharing in their grief.
“The attacks in Bauchi are completely reprehensible and I therefore condemn them in totality as they are against universal democratic tenets and also a violation of the fundamental rights of people to freely associate and worship. “I urge the government to carry out a comprehensive reappraisal of the Nigerian aviation policies in line with global demands to forestall future occurence of such disasters as
well as provide adequate security measures that will safeguard the lives and properties of Nigerians regardless of ethnic nationality or religion. “Once again, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to all those affected by these tragedies and I wish the merciful Lord to grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss as well as grant the souls of the departed eternal rest.”
THE Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged the Federal Government to make public the reports of the probes into past air crashes. In a statement by its chairman, Mr. Deji Elumoye and Secretary Sylva Okereke, the council said the Federal Government should ensure that those found culpable in the incident are duly punished to serve as deterrent to those who cut corners in the aviation sector. The Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos State chapter urged Dana Airline to compensate families of the crash victims, including those who lost their properties to the mishap. NUJ enjoined President Goodluck Jonathan to avoid shielding the report of the probe into the Dana crash from the public. The union said the only way to regain public confidence in the aviation sector is to implement the reports of the latest air crash as well as the past air mishaps.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
•One of the affected buildings being pulled down...yesterday
•NEMA officials with one of the victim’s luggage at the crash site
•Lagos State Head of Service Adesegun Ogunlewe (middle) with police officers
•Red Cross officials opening a bag to get the identity of the owner
US neighbours condole with Anyenes
ESIDENTS of West Hartford’s Quaker Green neighborhood in the United States were saddened on Monday to learn that Maimuna Anyene, her four children, and her husband, were among the 153 passengers and crew killed in Sunday’s crash of a Dana Air plane in Lagos. “We’re all very sad. The whole community is very tight knit. I saw her leave with her husband and all four kids, going to her brother’s wedding,” said Elyse Fox, who lived next door to Anyene. Anyene and her children lived on Park Place Circle. Her husband worked in Nigeria, neighbors said, but returned to West Hartford every few months and was traveling back to Nigeria with the family to attend Anyene’s brother’s wedding. A bouquet of yellow tulips had been left on the front doorstep Monday afternoon “I’d see her with her kids, and she seemed like a very nice person,” said Keith Elis, of 32 Park Place Circle, who also has a preschool-age child. Elis said that his mother, who babysits for his daughter, knew Anyene better because the kids would sometimes play together. “She was always smiling; I don’t know how she did it,” Elis said. Elis said that word of the family’s death in the crash spread through the neighborhood Sunday night after a neighbor found Anyene’s name on the passenger list. Anyene had lived in her townhouse, in Elmwood’s newly-developed Quaker Green condominium complex, for several years. According to the Hartford Courant, she was a human resources manager for United Technologies who worked in the G o l d Building in Hartford. Residents describe t h e •The late Maimuna and her kids neighborhood as
very community-oriented, where neighbors immediately reach out to meet newcomers. Anyene’s family would socialize by the pool, and come to neighborhood parties, they said. “I knew her as a neighbor, from being out playing with the kids,” said Lisa Ohayon, who has a 2-year-old grandchild. “They were going to be moving, and that alone devastated the neighborhood. Six people gone – it just doesn’t make sense,” she said. Lisa Ohayon and her husband John said Anyene’s children were cared for during the day by an aunt and another family member while Anyene worked full time. “The twins were so cute, always dressed the same, and the aunt used to carry them on her back,” Lisa Ohayon said. Another neighbor, Tagen Gonzalez, believed Anyene’s mother and perhaps at least one other relative were also on the plane. Gonzalez, also the mother of a preschooler, said Anyene’s oldest child was just about four, the twin daughters would have been two in July, and the baby was about six months old. “Her kids were always happy. This community is close, and this is surreal,” Fox said. Gonzalez said that she has already contacted United Technologies and is hoping to do something to formally honor the memory of the family. Reports indicate that all 153 people on board the plane were killed when it crashed into densely-populated neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday. An unknown number of people on the ground also perished. T h e cause of the crash is u n d e r investigation. C N N reported that the plane was 22 years old. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Nigerian law bans aircraft older than 20 years of age.
PHOTOS: SOLOMON ADEOLA
Pilot was an American
HE pilot of the doomed flight that crashed into a Lagos neighborhood Sunday night, killing 153 people on the plane and more on the ground, was an American, a veteran of Miramar-based Spirit Airlines. The director of operations of Dana Air identified the pilot as Peter Waxtan, according to a CNN report. Waxtan was a captain for Spirit Airlines from 1997-2009, said spokeswoman Misty Pinson in an email. “All of us at Spirit are very saddened by this tragedy and extend our heartfelt condolences to all of his loved ones and the family and friends of everyone on the flight,” she added. The pilot declared an emergency as the plane was on final approach to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, and witnesses said it appeared the plane was having engine trouble.. The first officer of the flight was Mike Mahendra from In-
dia. Waxtan was a former Spirit Airlines captain based in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, according to CNN affiliate WPEC. He also flew for Falcon Air Express, a charter airline in Miami. Friends expressed condolences on Facebook. “R.I.P cap Peter Waxtan you will be missed,” wrote Bassema Geha Zoghbi, whose Facebook information said she works for customer services at Spirit Airlines. The plane’s crew reported engine trouble before the crash, according to the Associated Press, but the exact cause remained unclear. The government announced yesterday it had indefinitely suspended the licence of Dana Air, the carrier that operated the MD-83 airplane. In addition to the pilot, other U.S. citizens were aboard the flight, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, but he could not provide a firm number to the Associated Press.
Relatives mourn Onita sisters in US
ELATIVES are mourning two Houston-area sisters who died in the Dana Air flight 9j-922 on Sunday in Lagos. Family members said Josephine Onita and Jennifer Onita of Missouri City were in Lagos to attend a wedding. They gathered Monday night at the home of the sisters’ parents, who are pastors of a congregation affiliated with the Nigeria-based Redeemed Christian Church of God. The older sister, 28-year-old Jennifer, had an electrical engineering degree from Texas Tech and recently worked for a NASA contractor. The younger sibling, 23-year-old Josephine, had attended the University of North Texas and managed a financial planning business started by her father. Another sister, Christiana Onita-Olojo,tells the Houston Chronicle the women were “angels.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
Lagos Assembly urges Reps to conduct enquiry •Lawmakers demand resignation of Aviation minister
•Relatives of some of the victims going through the manifest at the Ikeja General Hospital mortuary
•A woman and her daughter at the Ikeja General Hospital mortuary
•Managing Director, Dana Air, Mr Jacky Hatiramons (left) and some officials of the airline at the General Hospital, Ikeja ...yesterday
HE Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday urged the House of Representatives to probe the immediate and remote causes of the Dana Air crash on Sunday and make its findings public. Saka Faunmi, who represents Ifako-Ijaye 1 Constituency – where the disaster occurred raised a motion under Matter of Urgent Public Importance. He said the decadence in aviation is due to the “consistent and persistent neglect of the relevant agencies of government in exercising necessary regulations”. According to him, this has resulted in airlines ignoring checks on their aircraft and risking the lives of Nigerians as well as destroying people’s confidence in the industry. Olatunji Edet (Oshodi/Isolo II) said Dana Air should be charged with “manslaughter” because of its alleged negligence that led to the crash. He said: “Dana Air must be sued for its negligence and ineptitude that claimed the lives of innocent Nigerians because it was learnt that the aircraft was faulty and it could not fly in Uyo. But few minutes later, the Dana management was said to have ordered the aircraft to take off from Abuja without any consideration for the people’s lives. The airline operator must be mandated to face the music and those who are culpable must be brought to book.” Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu I) blamed the crash on the relaxed government policy in aviation. The lawmaker noted that if there were strict laws on passengers’ safety, no airline - local or international - would toy
By Oziegbe Okoeki
with the people’s lives. He said: “In less than 10 days, we have been mourning; not because God hates us but because our government is not sensitive to the people’s lives and property. Many lives were lost in the last week twin accidents on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Thereafter, the mother of all tragedy struck last Sunday, when about 153 people died instantly. “Government policy is one of our problems, because the government refuses to fix the roads and ensure that aviation policy is effective. We should beg Mr. President to find a lasting solution to this ugly incident because we cannot continue to fold our arms and watch people die like chickens.” Moshood Oshun (Lagos Mainland II) said whenever a disaster claims people’s lives in Nigeria, some people refer to the Western world. The lawmaker noted that though people are calling for the probe of the crash, they should ask the government for the outcome of previous probes of plane crashes. He said: “It is sad that we usually make reference to the Western world whenever a sad event occurs in Nigeria. My question is: what have we learnt from what happened in the last few years? If the government institutes a probe panel, what will come out of it? “Until somebody is held culpable and dealt with very seriously, such incidents will continue to recur. It is not enough to set up a probe panel. Are we really ready to sincerely do something to prevent future
occurrence?” Rasaq Balogun (Surulere I) said Aviation Minister Stella Oodua should resign immediately. He said: “This is because you cannot pretend to be active when many lives are being lost due to the negligence and ineptitude of your ministry. It was indeed a sad day and it could have been anyone of us. The Federal Government needs to do something urgently to prevent future occurrence.” Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji noted that lack of maintenance culture has been the major problem of local airlines. He said aircraft are allowed to fly for as long as they like, notwithstanding the age of the engines. Ikuforiji said: “The year of the aircraft is not the problem, as agitated by many people. But lack of maintenance culture has been the problem of local airlines in Nigeria. We need to talk to ourselves as Nigerians to know exactly what is wrong with us. This is because it is virtually everything that we do wrong. If we do something right, it appears it happened by mistake. “Aircraft are made to fly for as long as many years as possible. But what do the operators do with them? It appears we don’t care much about people’s lives. In the past 33 years, we have had more than 40 air crashes that claimed many lives, despite the fact that air transportation is believed to be the safest. The avoidable ghastly accidents happened last Thursday and Friday and early last Sunday. Boko Haram also struck in Bauchi, after which the Dana aircraft saga occurred.”
Ex-Governor Kalu decries air crashes on weekends
ORMER Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu yesterday decried the spate of air crashes on weekends. The former governor was reacting to Sunday’s crash of a Dana Air aircraft in Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb. In a statement by his media aide, Emeka Obasi, Dr Kalu reeled out startling statistics to show that there was something uncanny about recent disasters that chose to destroy family bonds during a period they should be together. He said: “Weekends have become wicked days in our aviation history. In 2006, an ADC aircraft crashed on a Sunday. The military aircraft that killed top Generals same year was on a Sunday. The Bellview and Sosoliso mishaps of 2005 happened on Saturday. The EAS airline’s crash, which took
•Some relatives at the hospital...yesterday
By Olamilekan Andu
away Sports Minister Ishaya Mark Aku in 2002, chose Saturday, just like the 1992 C-130 crash. The day we lost two footballers - Uche Ikeogu and Aimuonwansa Omale - in Tamanrasset, Algeria, in 1994, was also a Sunday.” The former governor shed a tear when he recalled that all the 153 passengers and crew members on the Dana jetliner died. He noted that previous Sunday crashes recorded more than a clutch of survivors. Kalu said: “I am in pains. I thought Sundays offered inscrutable chances of escape. In 1994, Coach Christian Chukwu and a journalist, Banji Ola, who is Arik Air’s Media Manager, survived alongside many others. In the 2006 military crash, there were five survivors - Cols.
Obinna Ajunwa, Abraham Luka Dunsu, Nuhu Angbazo and Cpls Esther Ijuwa and Emmanuel Eplek. Some others, like Esther Jeyibo and former Kogi State governor Ibrahim Idris’ three daughters also escaped death in the ADC disaster.” Recalling that even the EAS plane that hit buildings in Kano also had survivors, Kalu expressed sadness that the same did not happen last Sunday. “Something really went wrong with rescue efforts. After the EAS crashed, a Lebanese jumped off the plane and survived. General Ikegwuoha also survived. I read that the passenger that jumped out of the Dana plane eventually died. Some said it took about 20 minutes for the aircraft to be engulfed in flames; possibly, time enough for a few to be rescued. May God help us,” he said.
Crash blamed on indiscipline
T •A relative of a victim at the hospital ...yesterday
PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE
HE National Coordinator of Mothers in Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Mrs. Ritalori Ogbebor, has attributed the Dana plane crash to indiscipline. Mrs. Ogbebor, who was addressing reporters yesterday in Lagos, said she was sad as a mother that over 157 people died on Sunday in a plane crash that could have been averted.
She said: “What happened on Sunday borders on indiscipline, irresponsibility and corruption, which have brought about insecurity and other problems in the country. “I am speaking on behalf of mothers. We cannot continue like this. Officials of the Dana Airline and those in the Ministry of Aviation should be probed over this sad incident. Anybody found culpable
should be sanctioned. The Ministry of Aviation is expected to play the role of a watchdog in the aviation sector, but it is not doing this. Why should we be flying planes that are not in good condition?” Mrs. Ogbebor commiserated with the people who have lost their loved ones and prayed that God should give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH ICAN mourns five members, others THE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) yesterday announced the death of five of its members in the Dana Air plane crash of Sunday, at IjuIshaga, Lagos. In a statement by the Institute’s Corporate Affairs Director, Dayo Ajigbotosho, the body said it was making the announcement with grief and deep sense of loss. It listed the victims as: Mr. Awodogan Olusanmi with membership number 25222, Mr. Komolafe Olugbenga (7388), Mrs. Ogechi Onyeagocha (6601), Mr. Peter Anosike (10880) and Mr. Yusuf Ibrahim (4179). According to ICAN’s Registrar and Chief Executive, Mr Olutoyin Adepate, the news of the involvement of five members of the Institute in the plane crash was most distressing. The statement reads: “The news came to all of us as a shock, but the incident was beyond our control. While we pray to God for the repose of the souls of those involved in the crash, we sympathise with their families and all Nigerians, also praying that God will grant them the fortitude to bear this great loss and the consequential pain, stem the tide of calamities and restore peace to our beloved land.”
Lagos, NCAA, DANA to speak THROUGH their representatives, the Lagos State Government, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Dana Airlines will jointly address the press today. According to a statement by Mr Hakeem Bello, the Special Adviser on Media to the Lagos State Governor, the conference will be addressed at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) /Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) Auditorium, Ikeja. Hakeem said the world press conference, billed for 12 noon will give an update on the crash involving the Dana plane in Iju- Ishaga area of Lagos on Sunday.
‘Negligence led to crash’ From Bukola Amusan, Abuja
AN Abuja lawyer, Amobi Nzelu, yesterday said greed and negligence among airline operators in Nigeria caused Sunday’s crash of Dana Air aircraft in Iju-Ishaga, Lagos. The lawyer expressed sadness over the accident. He noted that if aviation regulators were alive to their responsibilities, the tragedy could have been averted. According to him, information revealed that the ill-fated aircraft was not air-worthy but the owners allegedly forced the pilots to fly it. Nzelu said anyone, who is directly or remotely connected with the cause of the tragedy must face the full wrath of the law. The lawyer said the era of sweeping reports under the carpet has gone, adding that Nigerians want to know all those culpable in the matter. He joined other Nigerians mourning the victims and awaiting the outcome of investigations into the crash.
Suswam mourns victims
I was hurrying to die, says man who missed plane by seconds
AUL Apel had an uncommon bond with the ill-fated Dana Air flight that crashed into a two-storey building at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos on Sunday. Apel, a Benue State indigene, works part-time with the China Central Television (CCTV) in Nigeria. He missed the flight by whiskers and yesterday had the luck of recording the accident for teeming China. Speaking with our correspondent yesterday, Apel, who owns a film content development firm, Papel Image, in Abuja, said he was scheduled to be in Lagos enroute Cote d’Ivoire, where he was to record for CCTV on Sunday. He said: “Suddenly, I got a call from the office that I should report to edit one of my works, which one of my assistants could not do. After I finished, I chartered a cab to take me to the airport. But somewhere along the way, my
From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi
By Yinka Aderibigbe
cab was blocked by another cab. I got into the airport and saw the plane as it was taxing out of the runway to take-off. “Another passenger had a hard time convincing me to go with another plane. When I landed in Lagos about 9pm, I received the greatest shocking news of my life that the plane I was struggling to board had crashed. I took a hard look at myself and burst into tears, realising I could have been dead. Even the next morning as I was dressing up in my hotel room, I looked at the mirror, it occurred to me that I could have died. The man who delayed me in the office was crying when he called me in the morning and told me he heard the plane had crashed. The colleague I was coming to meet in Lagos for the trip could not believe I escaped the crash; my in-law could not believe I escaped. They were crying for joy.
Now, we couldn’t even proceed to Cote d‘Ivoire as we had to be drafted to report this crash. That irony hit me hard.
I could have been history, but today I’m alive to document the history of others. That is life.”
We have badly burnt bodies with us, say Mainland ADLY burnt bodies of pen to the bodies if they are Hospital attendants the victims of Dana unclaimed and for how long
Air plane crash are at the Mainland Hospital Mortuary, Yaba, Lagos. The hospital, tucked inside Yaba heartland, a few metres from the Nigerian Army, 68 Reference Hospital, looked bare yesterday evening when The Nation visited. The mortuary, a new facility within the hospital was devoid of traffic of people as not many were aware that some of the bodies evacuated from
By Seyi Odewale
the scene of the crash had been taken there. The Nation learnt from discussions with some attendants that the bodies brought to the mortuary were badly burnt. “The ones we have here are the badly burnt ones. Those that were recogniseable were dropped at Ikeja General Hospital Mortuary,” the attendant
said. Asked if relatives of the victims have been coming for the bodies, she said: “Of course, they have been coming, but they had difficulty identifying them. So, they left, unable to claim them.” She added that nobody could identify any of the bodies in their facility. Responding to further enquiries on what would hap-
they can be sustained, she said the hospital workers would wait for instructions on what to do. She noted that the facility, being a new one, has never experienced such before. “It is a new facility, and you know we have never experienced this kind of large number of bodies before. However, when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it,” she said.
Lagos ACN expresses sympathy with families of victims
HE Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) has expressed its sympathy to the families, friends and relatives of the victims of the ill-fated Dana Air flight that crashed in Lagos on Sunday. In a statement in Lagos by its Publicity Secretary Joe Igbokwe, the party said the crash is a sad reminder that Nigeria has failed in nearly every sector where it should have excelled. “We are saddened by the monumental loss of lives, which complements the many other lives lost through road accident, terrorist activities, criminal acts and other sundry forms of insecurity to make Nigeria one of the most unsecured nations on earth. We feel the pains of the Nigerians that were wasted in that accident and commit their souls to God. “At a time humanity is undergoing tremendous progress and transformation in all
‘We are saddened by the monumental loss of lives, which complements the many other lives lost through road accident, terrorist activities, criminal acts and other sundry forms of insecurity to make Nigeria one of the most unsecured nations on earth. We feel the pains of the Nigerians that were wasted in that accident and commit their souls to God’ spheres of life, we feel so bad that Nigerian lives are being wasted in a manner that speaks of the notorious form of delivery which respective governments have failed to improve on. We dare say that Nigerians have no business dying in ways that suggest we are still in primordial times and we state that the lip service successive governments have paid to safety and regu-
lations in the nation’s transport sector has led the nation to a terrible pass where its citizens are periodically sacrificed through avoidable accidents. “We are saddened that, as at yet, there is no credible emergency response system and facility in place in Nigeria and that the Nigeria system wobbles through deep layers of incompetence that has exposed Nigerians to constant life threatening risks. We are sad that the nation’s service delivery is so poor that Nigerians depend solely on mother luck to survive the many hazards that riddle the Nigerian polity. “Lagos ACN feels that the latest incident should challenge the Jonathan government to get serious and ensure that only fit, proper and certified airplanes, manned by competent personnel ply the Nigerians airspace. We feel the present incident should challenge a responsible govern-
ment to put aside petty and selfish politics and ensure that the best hands man the country’s aviation sector. We believe that the quality of service in the entire sector must change for the better with this incidence and Nigerians would be better served by competent and efficient players in all national sectors. “While we commiserate with the family, friends and well wishers of the victims of the air crash, we challenge the federal government to ensure that no stone is left unturned in unraveling the cause of this latest air disaster with a view to ensuring there is no repeat of this ugly incident. We call on the Federal Government to clean up the nation’s aviation sector to ensure that only competent and operators are allowed to operate in the sector. We want the government to see this crash as a turning point towards positively redefining air transportation in Nigeria.”
Lagos CJ postpones celebration for victims
HE Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Inumidun Akande, yesterday postponed the celebration of her 1,004 days in office in sympathy with the victims of Dana Air plane crash at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos. The ceremony was scheduled for tomorrow but rescheduled till June 9 at the Judges’ and Magistrates’ Recreation Centre, GRA, Ikeja. A statement by the Chief Registrar of the Lagos High Court, Mr. Ganiyu Safari, said: “The postponement became imperative due to the mood of the nation and to condole with the families and relatives of the victims of the ill-fated Dana Air flight in
By Adebisi Onanuga
which 153 people died. “The Chief Judge, on behalf of the staff of the state judiciary, prayed to God for a peaceful repose of the souls of the dead and for Him to grant their families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.” The launch of the High Court of Lagos (Civil Procedure) Rules 2012 and the Family Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2012, scheduled for the High Court Foyer, Igbosere, Lagos, will hold at the Conference Room of the Ikeja High Court today at 10am.
ENUE State Governor Gabriel Suswam yesterday condoled with President Goodluck Jonathan over the Dana Air Plane crash. The governor condoled with the management of the airline and families of the victims on the death of their loved ones. In a statement in Makurdi by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Dr Cletus Akwaya, the governor described the crash as a national disaster. He called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the crash. The governor said urgent measures should be taken to ensure maximum safety of the nation’s air space. Suswam said: “This unfortunate incident has robbed the country of a generation of quality human resources. It is indeed a sad moment for our country. May this national calamity never befall this great country again.” The governor also sympathised with the families, the people and Bauch State Government on the killing of about 10 worshippers by a suicide bomber at a church last Sunday. He urged those behind the attack to stop. Suswam said: “We have had too much bloodletting in this country, as a result of these violent attacks. I have said it before and wish to repeat that without peace we can achieve nothing in this country. The governor noted that “the bombing campaigns cannot address whatever grievances those behind these criminal acts have”. He decried the gradual destruction of the social and economic life of the North by the activities of the bombers. Suswam advised northern leaders to address the security challenges confronting the region. “Our security forces must not relent in their efforts until we achieve peace in the country,” he said.
Sekibo calls for high standard From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt
FORMER Transport Minister Abiye Sekibo has urged the Federal Government to direct the regulators in the aviation industry to set a higher standard for airline operators with a deadline for compliance. He suggested that airlines still using the MD 83 type of aircraft should be immediately grounded. One of such planes, belonging to Dana Air, crashed on Sunday, killing all the 153 passengers and crew members on board. Sekibo, who is also the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Rivers State, in a telephone interview, hailed the Federal Government for banning Dana Air indefinitely, with its operational licence withdrawn. He said: “Let me say that this is the second most terrible aviation tragedy we have had in Nigeria. We remember the crash that happened in Port Harcourt in 2005, which involved Sosoliso Airlines, with 60 students of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, among the 109 lives that died.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
Fashola condoles with envoys of affected foreign nationals
AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday met with members of the diplomatic community, whose nationals were involved in Sunday’s DANA Air mishap in Iju-Ishaga area, expressing condolences to them for the unfortunate accident. Fashola, who met the diplomats at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said the meeting was convened to enable him convey condolences on behalf of the government and people of the state and to share with the diplomats the processes by which the foreign missions can identify their nationals who were involved in the mishap.
By Miriam Ndikanwu
He said the state will also like to ask the missions what the government could do to assist them at this difficult period, urging them to contact Health Commissioner Dr Jide Idris, his Special Duties counterpart, Dr Wale Ahmed and Special Adviser on Public Health for any enquiries or possible areas of assistance. The governor told his guests that the process of identifying the victims was a complex and painstaking one with many conse-
quences that are economic and legal, and that there are laws that guide the process of possibly releasing remains of some of the identified victims to their relatives. According to him, the recovery of bodies of the victims has not been concluded at the site of the crash and until the regulatory agencies in charge of that decides that rescue operations have ended, the government must exercise every care in dealing with the bodies. “Very little action can take place in terms of the release
of the bodies to their relatives,” Fashola said. The governor directed that a team to be led by his deputy, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulirethe to join a meeting scheduled for 2pm yesterday between the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Dana Air on the air mishap. Speaking on behalf of the envoys, the Consul-General of China, Liu Xianta, said the members of the diplomatic corps were very appreciative of the efforts of the state government on the incident. He said the missions will
want the bodies of their nationals who have been identified after the necessary tests have been carried out among those in the mortuary to be released to them for burial rites in earnest. At the parley were: the Consul-General of France, Mr Francois Sastowrne, Head of Office of High Commission of India, Mr Rani Malick, Consul-General of Lebanon, Mr Dina Haddad, Acting Consul-General of the United States of America (USA), Mr Karl Cockburn, China’s Xianta, Mr Pontab Tobins of the Indonesian Embassy, Mr Stone Shi of Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) and Agos Sutan, a director at ITPC.
Onwuliri’s body identified From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
ORE dignities yesterday trooped to the Abuja home of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, who lost her husband, Prof. Celestine Onwuliri in the Dana air crash on Sunday. The minister, decked in black attire, was in mournful mood, as the sympathisers trooped in to register their condolences. According to a family source, the body of the minister’s late husband has been identified as part of the bodies recovered at the plane crash site. Among the early callers were: Chief Tony Anenih, former Health Minister Prof ABC Nwosu, a delegation from the National Universities Commission (NUC), including colleagues of the late professor and some federal lawmakers. Looking pensive and depressed, the minister could hardly answer the visitors. She merely nodded acknowledge greetings. While Anenih decline response to reporters with “I cannot say anything to you” response, Nwosu called for a probe of the aviation industry. He said: “This is not the first time for a plane to crash in Nigeria. If it were the first time, I would have said this is a lesson. I felt so sorry for the aviation minister. You saw her in tears. I think that what is coming out from what has happened should be collated and investigated. And appropriate action should be taking in such a way that lives should be protected from this kind of calamity. “It is a major tragedy. All of us who know him cannot reconcile ourselves to what has happened. We are still praying that God will make it possible for us to reconcile ourselves with what has happened and we are praying for the family. “Anybody who knows Prof Celetine Onwuliri, best known to most of us as ‘Cellman’, he was the best and the brightest in intellect, moral and behaviour. He was a good friend. I’ve known him for over 37 years and he and his wife were very close. Nigeria needed him at this time but God knows best.”
•Rescue team at the site...yesterday
Airspace not shut down for First Lady, says minister
HOSE peddling the rumour that the closure of the airspace to facilitate the movement of First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan contributed to the crash of the Dana Airline plane on Sunday got it wrong, the Federal Ministry of Aviation said yesterday. There were rumours yesterday that the closure of the airspace by aviation authorities forced the ill-fated aircraft to hover for more than two hours. But in a statement signed by Joe Obi, the media assistant to Aviation Minister Stella Oduah, the ministry said there was nothing to warrant air space closure for the First Lady who flew into Lagos on Saturday and returned on Monday. “The crash occurred at about 4.47pm on Sunday. The Federal Ministry of Aviation will like to clarify that nothing could be farther from the truth. For the records, we wish state that the First Lady arrived in Lagos at about
4.45p.m. on Saturday, 2nd June, 2012 and only departed for Abuja on Monday, the 4th of June, 2012 at 1.30p.m., whereas the ill-fated Dana flight departed Abuja on Sunday, 3rd of June, 2012 at 2.54p.m. and its last contact with the Lagos Control Tower was at 3.42p.m. as has already been announced. “We wish to stress that the First Lady did not fly on Sunday, the 3rd of June, 2012 as is widely been speculated. An Impeccable source at the Presidency yesterday said it is not the practice to shut down the airspace for the First Lady or any other VIP apart from the President and the Vice President. Even in the case of the President, the time has been cut 10 minutes and that of the VP to five minutes “And so, it is wrong for anyone to insinuate that the airspace of Lagos was shut down for two hours because of the arrival of the First Lady. “The First Lady’s flight just runs as any of the flights.
Aregbesola urges bailout for aviation sector
SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola yesterday pushed for an urgent bailout for the aviation industry as a way of ending the incessant cases of air tragedies in the country. He was proffering solutions on how the country could overcome the crisis bedeviling the aviation sector. The governor listed the establishment of what he called Aviation Fund, setting up of more hangers, invitation to competent and reputed international airlines to run local airlines as some of the urgent requirements to save the country from its aviation woes. Speaking in his office, Aregbesola said Nigeria must take urgent steps to eliminate a re-occurrence of
the plane crash of Sunday in Lagos. According to the governor, the crash of two Nigerian aircraft within 24 hours in Ghana and Lagos is a clear indication that there are problems in the aviation sector. Aregbesola, who noted that the periodic air tragedies are avoidable with the necessary precautions by the Federal Government, stated that live is so sacred to lose to such avoidable air mishaps. Justifying his suggestion of a dedicated fund for the aviation sector, the governor said while the industry is a capital intensive one, the industry currently does not have the needed funds for efficient and reliable operations.
He said: “The industry is capital-intensive and simply hard on. For the government to protect Nigerians from risking their lives by flying in unfit and rickety aircraft there must be a bailout. “But the bailout must be structured in such a way that it will be easy to access it after ensuring their airworthiness.” He said most of the airlines are operating under harsh financial conditions, a situation he said makes it impossible for them to provide efficient services. The governor said: “While encouraging domestic airlines and supporting them, let us open up to reputable international airlines to run local air markets. For instance, British Airways runs local operations in South
Africa. Virgin Nigeria was here! Why did Virgin Nigeria leave Nigeria?” “The coming in of reputable international airlines would enhance the capacity of the local, indigenous airlines. The establishment of more hangers is germane to save air travels in the country. The near total lack of these had contributed to the poor maintenance of flying aircraft. The governor also called for the unbundling of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) , saying such departments as those of Accidents Investigation Bureau (AIB), certification for airworthiness and others must be independent to carry out their crucial functions.
Reps begin probe into air crashes From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja
HE House of Representatives yesterday began investigations into the crash of Dana Airplane flight 0992 which occurred at Iju, a Lagos surburb on Sunday, killing all 153 passengers on board. Also to be probed is the crash of a Nigerian registered Cargo aircraft, Allied Air in Ghana, last Saturday, which killed at least 10 people. The House yesterday at plenary mandated its committee on Aviation to “exhaustively investigate the immediate and remote causes of the crashes,” as well as to “ascertain the airworthiness of all other operating aircrafts in the country and make appropriate recommendations.” This followed the adoption of the prayers of a motion brought under matters of urgent National Importance by the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nkirura Onyegeocha. The lawmaker, while presenting the motion, described the Dana air accident as a major national calamity “deserving of the sorrowful attention and necessary action of this hallowed House.” She expressed concern that the crashes were coming on the heels of similar crashes involving Bellview Airlines and Sosoliso Airlines in 2005, and Aviation Development Corporation Airline (ADC) in 2006.
‘Okonkwo sad’ PRESIDENT of a nascent Igbo Socio-political group, Committee 21, Senator Annie Okonkwo, yesterday expressed deep sadness over the tragedy of the Dana plane crash that claimed 153 lives. In a statement by his media aide Collins Steve Ugwu the Senator said: “It is with a profound sense of loss and agony that I join the president of our dear country and Nigerians to mourn yet another wholesale demise of a generation of her people whose hope and dreams are buried with this tragic disaster. “Nigeria and Nigerians, who have been shellshocked by relentless bloodlettings from terrorists, criminal gangsters and kidnappers certainly did not expect this carnage from a highly regulated and supposed professionally managed sector as aviation, hence their patience must not be stretched before the agencies concerned get to the root of the matter quickly. “Words hardly heal permanent traumas nor dismembered bodies pieced back by token emotions, but thorough care and honest dedication to duty will certainly help to reduce the aches and pains, fear and apprehension, each time we must have to travel either by air, road or the yet to arrive much promised rail transport”.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS ‘No overloading of trucks at Seme Border’
FREIGHT forwarder, Chief Sam Madubuike, has defended the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Seme border Command, over allegation of overloading of trucks. Madubuike, Managing Director of Savel Investments Limited, said the Command had been keeping to the government directives on the height of trucks. “To the best of my knowledge as a resident Freight Forwarder, at Seme border, the Customs Command has been maintaining the approved height of 14.5metres,” he said. He said Comptroller General of Customs Inde Dikko Abdullahi, through the Area Comptroller of Customs Seme Border, Alhaji Sadiq Sahabi, has ensured that the safety standard is maintained through the setting up of the various Task Forces. He lauded the harmonious working relationship between the Customs and freight forwarders. On the movement of contraband goods through the border, Madubuike said the Customs “has been sustaining the anti-smuggling campaign in all its ramifications.” “Going through the revenue figures and seizures made by the command, it is evident that the anti-smuggling war is seriously making a head way,” he added. He praised Area Comptroller Sahabi, whom he said had brought unity and peace among the stakeholders at Seme border.
Nigeria hosts world gastroenterologists
NTERNAL Medicine physicians specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive system (Gastroenterologists) from all parts of the world are expected to converge on Tinapa, Nigeria’s business and leisure resort near Calabar, Cross River state in November for the Sixth Congress of the African Middle East Association of Gastroenterology (AMAGE). Organised in collaboration with the Society of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN), the AMAGE congress has been endorsed by the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) whose secretary General, Prof. Chan Yurdaydin will be representing the world body at the Congress.
Alleged N2b fraud: EFCC detains Sylva on court order
HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday detained a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva at its headquarters in Abuja . The detention followed an order of a Federal High Court, Abuja after the arraignment of the ex-governor. According to findings, the ex-governor was brought to the EFCC headquarters at about 3.50pm and he is being detained at its Operations Department. A statement by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, gave details of what transpired at the court. The statement said: “The EFCC on Tuesday arraigned a former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on a six-count charge of fraud, criminal conversion, and conspiracy to commit crime to the tune of over N2billion when he held sway as governor of the state. “Prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo had sought the leave of the court for the six count charges to be read to the accused person and his plea was granted. Sylva, however, pleaded not guilty to all the count charges. “Lead defence counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, leading another senior advocates along with 12 other lawyers, then moved a bail application on behalf of Sylva. “He told the court that the defense team had filed a bail application dated May 22nd , 2012, supported by a 12- paragraph affidavit, a written address and a reply to the counter affidavit filed by prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo opposing the bail application. “Fagbemi informed the court that the offences for which Sylva is standing trial are ordinarily bailable, and that the main purpose of bail is to ensure that an accused person faces trial . “Citing authority of the Supreme Court in Saidu vs State (1982), the de-
Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor and Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
fence counsel urged the court to discharge its discretion for bail on lenient terms while taking judicial notice of the fact that the accused person came to court on his own volition to answer his charges. “In his response Keyamo informed the court that he had filed a 16- paragraph counter- affidavit accompanied with a written address in opposition to the bail being sought for the accused person. “Keyamo asked the court to take judicial notice of the several applications filed by prosecution for substituted service on Sylva, who evaded service and even ran out of the country. “He further urged the court to note that an accused person who had shown a propensity to bolt away should not be trusted to be around during his trial , if granted bail. “Keyamo asked the court to also note that there was a judicial pronouncement in a sister matter before Justice Okorowa with the same charge “that there is a very strong prima-facie case against the accused” but only that at that time, he enjoyed immunity as a sitting governor. “Keyamo then prayed that the court in the exercise of its discretion of bail, should note the weighty evidence against the accused person and deny him bail while remanding him in prison custody. Justice Adamu Bello reserved ruling on the bail application of the accused till tomorrow and directed that the accused be remanded in EFCC custody. Some of the charges against Sylva are: •That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, sometime between October, 2009 and February, 2010, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of properties and resources amount-
ing to N2,000,000,000.00 (Two Billion Naira) belonging to Bayelsa State Government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act), 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act. •That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 22nd of January, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N380,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Eighty Million Naira), property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Habibu Sani Maigidia, a Bureau De Change Operator with Account No. 221433478108, in Fin Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds
PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE
of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act. That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 5th of February, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira), property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Enson Benmer Limited with Account No. 6152030001946, in First Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.
Alleged threat prevents star witness from testifying against Daniel, says EFCC •Ex-Governor re-arraigned on alleged N211m fraud
ACC marks World Anti-Counterfeiting Day
S part of activities marking the yearly Anti-counterfeiting which holds today, the Anti-counterfeiting collaboration will hold seminars, workshops and talks for stakeholders. In a statement made available to reporters in Lagos, the not-for-profit organisation stated that the event is targeted at sensitising the public on the dangers and ills of counterfeiting which constitutes a drain pipe on the fortunes of brand owners. According to the statement: “Nigeria’s status as a favourable destination for foreign direct investment as well as a place where local creative and innovative talent can flourish is in jeopardy due to the activities of individuals that place no value on intellectual property rights. Experts have highlighted that one major snag to development of intellectual property in Nigeria is counterfeiting. “Counterfeiting has ripped off many brand owners, manufacturers and stakeholders of the benefits of their creativity and also prevented the industry from rapid financial growth and development. It is in this light that the Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration (ACC) Nigeria; a non for profit coalition of brand owners joins millions of other brand owners worldwide in celebrating the World Anti Counterfeiting Day.
•Daniel in court...yesterday
HE trial of former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel, could not continue yesterday at the state High Court, Abeokuta, following the absence of one of the star witnesses, Mr. Adeluola Babatunde. Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Jacobs, said the witness was scared because he was allegedly under threat. He said Babatunde had received series of messages with warnings that he should avoid testifying against the former governor, if he loves his life. Babatunde is a Business Development Manager with Skye Bank Plc. In his testimony at the last sitting on May 7, Babatunde said he managed the account of Blue Chapel Company, a firm in which Daniel is believed to have interest. The witness cited “threat” to his “life” as one of the reasons he could not show up in court yesterday. Daniel was re-arraigned on April
From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
15 by the EFCC on 38-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, fraudulent conversion of public landed property to personal use, failure to declare his assets truthfully and stealing over N211million. The anti-graft agency accused Daniel of stealing the money in tranches when he was governor between May 29, 2003 and May 29, last year. He was granted a N500million bail bond with two sureties in like sum. The EFCC alleged that Daniel used several companies - Kresta Laurel, Conference Hotel, GLD Consults, Silver Springs Investments, Millennium Parks, Blue Chapel and Master Line Company - to perpetrate the fraud. The offences, the commission said, are contrary to and punishable under Sections 439, 393, 434 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun State, and Section 27 (b) (3) and Section 10 of the Independent Corrupt Practic-
es and Other Related Offences Act, No. 5 of 2000. Jacobs said Babatunde had complained that he was inundated with threat calls from unknown sources that he would be killed should he give more evidence in the case. The lawyer said the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) had notified him that the witness believed that making any statement or appearing in court on the case against Daniel would endanger his life. He said: “The IPO said the witness told him that the threatening telephone calls began the very first day he was testifying at the court. “After getting that information from the witness, I insisted that the matter be incidented. But the witness said that would expose him to danger the more. “He is not in court today and I have even been told that he (Babatunde) is no more regular in the office again. On getting to court this morning, I was given a letter, which was said to be from the witness.” The EFCC lawyer said Babatunde cited in the letter some health challenges, ranging from “headache, fever, abdominal pains” to “stooling” as additional reasons he was absent in court yesterday. But a defence counsel, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, objected. He said the allegation of threats to life was suspicious because there was no evidence to prove it. The lawyer averred that if there was a threat, it could only have come from the prosecution “because
the witness did not give evidence in their favour”. Oyetibo added: “The evidence we also have is that the prosecution is the one threatening him for not giving evidence in their favour. At any event, we are ready to proceed with the case, if they are ready.” The defence counsel said Jacobs engaged in self-contradiction when he claimed the witness was not in court due to threat to his life and also said he received a letter from him, citing health grounds as the excuse for his absence from court. Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje held that the only official reason the court could accept for the witness’ absence was the letter, which showed that he was indisposed. He said: “The only official reason why he is not in court is that he is indisposed. It is my opinion that all the arguments of both counsel cannot be substantiated until the witness is given the opportunity to appear before this court to state his own side.” The justice ruled that no action could be taken until Babatunde is available in court. “No further action can be taken on further allegation until the witness is given the opportunity to state his own side of the story,” he said. The court admitted as evidence the bank statements earlier tendered by the defence counsel. Justice Mabekoje adjourned the matter till June 29 and July 9 and 12 for its continuation.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
BUSINESS THE NATION
Pencom assets hit N2.6t From John Ofikhenua, Abuja
OTAL assets of the Pension Commission (Pencom) under the contributory pension scheme is N2.6trillion, the DirectorGeneral, Muhammad Ahmad, has said. Ahmad, who spoke in Abuja at a meeting of the Migrant Workers Group of the International Social Security Association, said there is the need for other countries in the sub-region to ensure flexibility in their pension scheme. He said the Federal Government would continue to work towards safeguarding the retirement benefits of workers. “It is well known to us that many pension schemes are not as flexible, he said, adding that the portability of retirement benefits of the affected employees may not be possible. He said: “In some cases, the workers are employed as contract staff with salaries that are slightly higher than the benefits of the employees that could benefit from some form of pension arrangements. This bias has since been corrected in Nigeria by the introduction of the Contributory Pension Scheme CPS). So far, about N2.6trillion has been generated under the scheme and had been invested in various sectors of the economy.” In attendance at the two-day meeting that was convened to discuss issues relating to benefits and rights of migrant workers in the West African sub-region, were the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwahed Omar and other notable government functionaries.
‘The global economic outlook is still uncertain, and it is vital that we resume our savings so that we are prepared for the worst in case the situation deterorates.’ - Sanusi Lamido Sanusi CBN Governor
Budget: Reps meet Okonjo-Iweala today
HE House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation will meet with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance on the level of implementation of the 2012 Appropriation Act by the Executive. Today’s meeting was sequel to the cancellation of a scheduled meeting yesterday following the threeday mourning period declared by the Federal Government to honour victims of the Dana Airline crash of Sunday in Lagos. The Chairman of the Committee, John Enoh, requested from the Minister, who was accompanied by the Director-General of
From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja
Budget Office, Bright Okongwu, detailed information on the budget implementation and the level of releases to the Mministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). According to him, the interactive session was in conformity with the mandate of the committee, which includes monitoring and supervision of the budget implementation by the executive. He said: “Looking at the letter of invitation that we have extended to the Minister of Finance, we had asked for all necessary data and information relating to re-
leases and cash backings in terms of the implementation of the Act. So, let me request that the Honourable minister will simply, or any of her officials that is here with her who is in possession of these documents, to just submit that to the committee secretariat.” Enoh, however, made a case for the postponement of the meeting in line with the mood of the nation. He said: “As important as this meeting is and as important as this mandate is, especially as it has to do with having to monitor and ensure that monies appropriated for 2012 for various operations of parastatals of government, you will all agree with me
that the national mood that our country faces at present, for which Mr President has declared three days of mourning and for which the House of Representatives at plenary had to restrain. It doesn’t appear that this engagement would go ahead as we thought.” Okonjo-Iweala was in agreement with the decision of the committee and assured the members that she will make the required information available to the committee today. ”I can tell you the summary of releases and the cash backings, but I think we could give you a better detailed table that you can digest,” she said.
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 lending22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -14.18% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $34.6b CFA EUR £ $ ¥ SDR RIYAL
0.2958 206.9 245 156.4 1.9179 241 40.472
•Ms Antonia Obeya and Mr Edun, representatives, Committee of Friends of the CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi, at the press conference in Lagos ... yesterday. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU
Why we are celebrating CBN Governor Sanusi, by Edun A COMMITTEE of Friends is organising a big celebration in honour of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanisi Lamido Sanusi to mark his turbaning as Dan Majen Kano. The CBN boss will be conferred with the honour on Friday by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero. Spokesman of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Committee of Friends (SLSCoF) Mr Olawale Edun said in Lagos yesterday that friends and enthusiasts of the CBN governor in the country would converge on the historic city of Kano to felicitate with him. Acknowledging Sanusi’s love for culture,
By Evelyn Osagie
Edun, a former commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, described Sanusi as man of tradition and culture. “He is seen as a man of great achievements. Interestingly, this great achiever is one that is true to his roots. His value of tradition, culture and history of his people is worth emulating and commendable. And with this title, he is following after the footsteps of his ancestors,” Edun said at a news conference. He added: “Hundreds of people will be moving
to Kano to witness the event. It is out of the likeness that people have for him. Even though it is a Kano title he is getting, he is being celebrated nationally. The Britons are celebrating the 50 years of their queen on the throne. Back here it is an opportunity to celebrate one of our own at home. We are celebrating his character, courage and broad spectrum of interests and achievements and friendship. We are also celebrating our tradition and our diverse culture. “Sanusi has tremendous goodwill and support from
people from all walks of life across the country. And that is why they are willing to attend and commit resources to make the landmark event a success,” Mr Edun said. The title of Dan Majen Kano predates the Fulani rule of Kano by about 250 years. It was introduced by the 22nd Emir of Kano Muhammad Kiosk (A.D. 1509-1565). The title is exclusively reserved for the royal family members from Kano Habe dynasty. Beyond being a seasoned finance player and analyst, the SLSCoF Southwest coordinator, Mr Edun said, adding that the CBN boss is man true to his roots.
‘No foreign investment in Bank PHB’ By Adebisi Onanuga
WITNESS in the ongoing trial of the former Chief Executive Officer of Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank) Mr Mr Francis Atuche, David Olom Nkpe on Tuesday told a Lagos High Court in Ikeja that no foreigner invested in the public offer of the former bank. Nkpe disclosed this while being cross examined at the resumed hearing of the matter before Justice Lateefa Okunnu. Atuche, his wife, Elizabeth and a former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu, sued for allegedly stealing N27.5 billion belonging to the bank The witness, who is a field detective in the bank fraud investigative department of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was being cross examined by Atuche’s counsel, Anthony Idigbe (SAN). He stressed that from their investigation, none of the transactions made by the bank and which were investigated came from foreign investors. He also told the bank that Mrs Elizabeth Ebi, the Chief Executive Officer of Futureview Financial Services, said she had an agreement with the bank that her company would serve as a receiving agent for some foreign investments though the agreement was not documented, adding that it was a gentleman agreement. He said despite that there was no investment from foreign investors then, when the offer ended, her company still served as an agent. Nkpe also told the court that there was also no record or application form for preferential allotment or disbursement of any, adding that it was only in the statement of the Managing Director of Futureview Financial Services Limited, Mrs Elizabeth Ebi, this was was mentioned. According to him, all the companies involved in the transactions - Futureview, Extra oil and Trajec- which were investigated by him - are affiliated to Mrs Ebi, though they are headed by other individuals. He confirmed that all the cheques transferring the N10.9 billion into Futureview account and which were later transferred to other accounts were authorised by Mrs Ebi. He said during their investigation,nobody contested or argued about their findings. In his answers to questions by Idigbe, Nkpe had stated that his team never investigated the terms and conditions of the public offer as it is irrelevant to their investigation. He said during investigation, they discovered that the bank has a deferral policy, but that there was no specific form designed for this as it is usually written.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
BUSINESS NEWS Flight Schedule
Kwara to launch agric masterplan in New York
MONDAY - FRIDAY LAGOS – ABUJA Departure Arrival 1. Aero 06.50 08.10 2. Associated 07.00 09.30 3. Air Nigeria 07.00 08.20 4. IRS 07.00 08.20 5. Dana 07.02 08.22 6. Arik 07.15 08.15 7. Chanchangi 07.15 8. Air Nigeria 08.15 09.35 9. Dana 08.10 09.20 10. Aero 08.45 10.05 11. Arik 09.15 10.15 12. Chanchangi 10.00 11.00 13. IRS 11.15 12.35 14. Dana 12.06 12.26 15. Aero 12.20 13.30 16. Air Nigeria 13.25 14.45 17. Chanchangi 13.30 14.30 18. Arik 13.45 14.45 19. IRS 14.00 15.20 20. Aero 14.10 15.30 21. Air Nigeria 14.50 16.10 22. Dana 15.30 16.50 23. Chanchangi 15.30 16.30 24. Arik 15.50 16.50 25. Aero 16.00 17.20 26. IRS 16.30 17.50 27. Arik 16.50 17.50 28. Dana 17.10 18.30 29. Chanchangi 17.30 18.30 30. Air Nigeria 17.35 18.55 31. Air Nigeria (T/TH) 18.30 19.50 32. Arik 18.45 19.45 33. Aero 19.20 20.40 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
LAGOS – BENIN Arik 07.30 Associated 08.30 Aero 10.50 Arik 11.45 Associated 13.00 Aero 14.25 Arik 15.30 Associated 16.00
1. 2. 3. 4.
Arik Aero Arik Aero
1. Arik 2. Aero 1. 2. 3. 4.
LAGOS – CALABAR 07.30 11.20 12.50 16.00 LAGOS – JOS 10.55 11.15
LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10
08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40 08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20 12.15 12.45 09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20
LAGOS – PORT HARCOURT (CIVIL) 1. Aero 07.15 08.35 2. Arik 07.15 08.35 3. Arik 09.00 10.20 4. Dana 09.27 10.40 5. Aero 10.50 12.30 6. Arik 11.40 13.00 7. Air Nigeria 12.00 13.10 8. IRS 13.30 15.00 9. Arik 14.00 15.20 10. Dana 15.03 16.20 11. Air Nigeria 16.00 17.10 12. Arik 16.10 17.30 13. Aero 16.15 17.30 14. Arik 17.10 18.30 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
LAGOS – OWERRI Aero 07.30 Arik 07.30 Air Nigeria 13.40 Arik 14.00 Arik 16.30
08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40
1. 2. 3. 4.
Arik Aero Arik Aero
LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55
09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
LAGOS – KANO Air Nigeria 07.10 IRS 08.00 Dana 08.10 Arik 12.20 IRS 14.00 IRS 18.15
08.50 09.45 09.40 14.00 15.45 19.55
LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30
08.30 15.10 17.40
LAGOS – UYO 10.35
1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik 1. Dana
LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30
LAGOS – ABUJA SAT/SUN Arik 7.15; 10.20; 2.20; 5.20pm – 7.30; 9.15; 10.20; 2.20; 4.50; 6.45 Aero 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 – 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 Air Nigeria 08.15; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30 – 08.15; 13.30; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30
From left: Marketing Manager, Larger, Nigerian Breweries PLC, Mr Tony Agenmonmen; Marketing Director, Mr Walter Drenth; Sales Director, Mr Hubert Eze and MD, Goldberg Creative Agency, Dan Eslekpe, during the re-launch of Goldberg PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID Beer in Ibadan.
‘Adjustment to naira target band likely’ •Oil dollar inflows not enough to meet fuel import demand
N admixture of developments in the foreign exchange market may lead to a readjustment of the target band for the naira, analysts have said. The contending factors impacting on the naira/dollar exchange rate range from heavy demand for dollars by fuel importers, low dollar inflow from offshore investors and non intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Dealers said most importers had brought forward their dollar obligations to hedge against the weakening naira, and that dollar flows from offshore investors into the local debt had ceased, piling up pressure on the naira. "It's a mixture of illiquidity, pressure on the currency and the fact that CBN did not intervene," another dealer said, adding that the naira could cross N163 to the dollar by today if the apex bank fails to intervene. Analysts expect the interbank rate for the naira to remain under pressure for the rest of the year, which could force the bank to readjust its target band for the naira. "We see the interbank rate at N163 (to the dollar) at end-year,
By Simeon Ebulu with agency report
following another adjustment to the target band," FBN Capital wrote in a note to its clients yesterday. Meanwhile, the naira extended its losing streak against the U.S. dollar on the interbank market yesterday, weakening to a five and half month low as foreign investors continued to pull out of government bonds. It traded at N162.56 to the dollar, after it touched an intra-day low of N162.75. It closed at N161.25 against the dollar the previous day. The naira has been falling in recent weeks, as dollar demand mounts from fuel importers and foreign investors selling off bonds and repatriating their returns. "Yesterday, international banks were selling bond positions for their clients and buying dollars," one dealer told Reuters, adding that the trend had continued on Tuesday. CBN directly sold dollars on the interbank market since last week, outside its bi-weekly foreign ex-
change auction, to calm the market, but it has made no interventions yet this week. Dealers had expected CBN to intervene directly at the interbank on Monday to support the naira. Instead, the bank simply auctioned $300 million at N155.80 at its regular bi-weekly official window. It was not enough to lift the naira. Two oil companies, Addax Petroleum and Agip, owned by Italian firm ENI sold $31 million to the interbank yesterday, as part of their month-end dollar sales, but strong dollar demand snapped it up. Dealers said investors are going short on the naira, which is expected to continue weakening on strong dollar demand and rising domestic prices. Inflation is projected to peak at 14.5 per cent by the third quarter, the apex bank said. Foreign exchange reserves hit a 21-month high of $37.64 billion by May 28, which could give the CBN some leeway to defend the naira in the coming days. The bank still maintains its target band of between N150 and N160 to the dollar.
1,000 ex-Mobil contract staff demand N1b benefits
HE 1,000 sacked contract workers in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) yesterday demanded N1 billion as terminal benefits. The spokesman for the disengaged workers, Godwin Idim, confirmed the demands of the disengaged workers to The Nation. He said the demand of the workers was tabled at a meeting with officials of the oil giant last weekend. According to Idim, the meeting was said to have been attended by the Public Affairs Manager, Security Manager and Real Estate Facility mangers at Qua Iboe Terminal, rep-
From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo
resentatives of aggrieved workers and security chiefs in the area. He explained that demand by the disengaged workers would translate to N10 million each for the workers that were affected in a recent downsizing exercise by the company. He said: “We were compelled to protest the violation of an existing agreement we signed with the representative of Mobil management in 2007 when this rationalisation was mooted. “It was then agreed that any worker affected shall be paid a terminal benefit using the collective
bargaining agreement of contract staff, but they sacked 1,000 of us without recourse to that agreement. “So, we have presented that agreement to their legal team to interpret and they postponed the meeting to Tuesday to enable them report back to their management that is where we are.” The disengaged workers had last week blocked the access road to the QIT in protest against non-payment of their severance benefits. But the oil giant in a statement signed by its Communications Manager, Nigel Cookey-Gam, disclosed that the protest by the workers did not in any way disrupt its crude output.
Air Nigeria denies ex-director’s allegation
HE management of Air Nigeria yesterday urged the public to disregard the false information being circulated by a former finance director of the airline, John Nnorom. The airline, in a statement made available to reporters, advised the public not to believe the publication. It explained that Nnorom is facing charges for allegedly stealing $100,000. The statement reads: “The management of Air Nigeria wishes to draw the attention of the public to the false and negative stories being spread by
one of its ex-Finance directors, John Nnorom, who is facing criminal charges of stealing and conversion. “Mr Nnorom is an illiterate in the maintenance of aircraft as he only worked in the finance department of the airline before he was dismissed. Mr Nnorom after his dismissal was declared wanted by the police until his subsequent arrest and the recovery of the sum of $100, 000 from him. “The Nigeria Police authority has since charged him for stealing and criminal conversion while the court has admitted him to bail as his criminal trial continues.
“The public is advised to disregard any such negative stories and false information by Nnorom (either in the print, electronic or online media). “Air Nigeria has been flying the space air space in the last 10 years with first class record of safety, without any accidents or even emergency landings. “This record remains the integrity of our existence which cannot be compromised. “The airline is also a proud member of the IATA and the oldest member in West Africa and one of the oldest in Africa.”
MASTERPLAN for the transformation of Kwara State into the agricultural hub of West Africa and the creation of food security for the nation is to be launched by the state government at Cornell University, New York on Friday. Dubbed the Kwara State Agricultural Masterplan (KAMP), and designed by professors of Agriculture from Cornell University in partnership with those from the University of Ilorin and Kwara State University (KWASU), the blueprint contains a roadmap for enhancing Kwara State’s capacity for agriculture-led development. A statement by the state government in Ilorin said Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed is expected to launch the masterplan and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cornell University to ensure the effective implementation of KAMP. Also expected at the event are former governor of the state, Senator Bukola Saraki; Central Bank Governor, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, bank chieftains, captains of industry and leaders of agribusiness, investment banking, international trade/finance and agricultural packaging and technology sectors. According to the statement, the event will also feature an exhibition of Kwara State’s agriculture sector profile and agribusiness opportunities in order to market the state’s huge potential and successes in agriculture. KAMP, according to the government, seeks to enhance the economic well-being and food security of the people of Kwara State through the establishment of an integrated agricultural sector that links farm communities, universities and industry-led agriculture and government agencies. It will also catalyse the establishment of a virtual Kwara State Agricultural City, under which agro-allied businesses will be established in the state through public-private partnership ventures.
Turkey targets N5b trade investments in Nigeria By Ambrose Nnaji and Ajibade Akinola
IGERIA-TURKEY trade relationship has continued to receive a boost as the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICOC) is targeting N5billion investments in Nigeria in the next five years. At present, the total foreign trade volume between the two countries exceeds $1.2 billion. It revolves around iron, cement, steel construction components, steel wire rods, machines, grinding and processing of seeds, isolated wire, cables, paper towels, and table cloths, among others. Speaking during the First-Turkish Exhibition in Nigeria, in Lagos, yesterday, the Deputy Secretary General of the Chamber, Kenan Oztekin, said Turkey would continue in its efforts to develop social and economic relations with Nigeria. He said over 100 firms from Turkey would be showcasing different products, ranging from construction, textile-manufacturing, food, industrial machines, kitchen equipments, home textile, cosmetics and furniture. He said Turkey’s exports, which earlier stood at $134million, rose to $394million in 2001. It imported $148million worth of goods from Nigeria in 2007. This amount exceeded $605million three years later, he said. He added that the ICOC, as a nongovernmental organisation and representing private sector interest, is positioned to support activities that would help to develop the relationship between the two countries.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
PenCom clears 35 insurers Firms threaten database A to bid for govt contracts T
HE National Pension C o m m i s s i o n (PenCom) has issued compliance certificates to 35 organisations to bid for contracts in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), The Nation has learnt. A circular by the commission listed the beneficiaries as Vital Products Plc, AIICO Insurance Plc, UBA Metropolitan Life Insurance Ltd, Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc, Leadway Assurance Company Plc and Guaranty Trust Assurance Plc and Zenith General Insurance Company Ltd. Others are Fin Insurance Company Limited, Standard Alliance Life Assurance Ltd, Intercontinental Wapic Insurance Plc. The commission said the Public Procurement Act 2007 made it mandatory for organisations bidding for contracts to obtain compliance certificates. It added that it would further strengthen its collaboration with other regulatory agencies as well as social partners to ensure compliance. PenCom said collabora-
Stories by Chuks Udo Okonta
tion with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be strengthened to encourage the growth of the corporate bond market and the Debt Management Office (DMO) to enhance the secondary market for government bonds; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to regulate the commercial paper market; the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on tax issues for the issuance of REITS and corporate bonds; and Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on the issuance of the infrastructure bonds. It said special focus would be given to research findings and implementation of the Risk Management and Analysis System (RMAS) software application for the timely rendition of accurate returns by operators to enhance surveillance activities and safety in the industry. “Awareness campaigns would be intensified to encourage employees in the informal sector, non-gov-
ernmental organisations, states and self-employed to participate in the Compulsory Pension Scheme (CPS). “An automated technical platform for processing retirement benefits and auctioning annuities for retirees covered by the CPS would be implemented. “As part of the implementation of PenCom’s corporate strategy, service delivery initiatives would include the provision of a help desk that would provide a comprehensive customer support services and facilitate the resolution of their complaints. SERVICOM unit will continue to handle the numerous complaints from stakeholders,” it said. PenCom said it anticipates more conducive and macroeconomic environment that would provide the necessary conditions for continuous contribution to the benefit of the Nigerian workers. It noted that it would outline factors that would improve the risk management in the pension industry to generate timely and
reliable off-site assessment of pension operators, adding that it would continue to intensify its efforts towards enforcement initiatives through administrative sanctions and prosecution of erring employers in the court of Law. Director-General PenCom Mohammad Ahmad said the commission’s maintenance of the risk-based supervisory philosophy helped to sustain the pension industry and accounted for the major breakthroughs it has recorded. He added that on-site and the off-site examinations were carried out on Pension Fund Operators (PFO) using the risk-based supervisio model adopted by the commission. He noted that examinations conducted by the commission revealed that Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) have standardised the processes of safekeeping, settlement, and corporate action, as well as showed that Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) have remarkably improved on pension and benefit administration.
MID preparations for its launch, the proposed Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID) appears being threatened by insurers’ attitude. Many of them, it was learnt, have failed to give their data to the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) for compilation. NIID is intended to be a repository of industry data. It was scheduled to start in the third quarter of last year, but it did not because of nonavailability of data from operators. The NIA has said it would be launched this month. Chairman, NIA Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, told The Nation that it would be launched since operators have uploaded their data to the platform. But, he added that there are still information not uploaded. He noted that the association will start operations with available data at its disposal as it would not wait for those who are reluctant to provide their data. He said: “Operators have uploaded their data, but there are still some gaps. We believe the best way to get started is to roll out with what we have. Once we start, people would do whatever they have to do to make sure that their data is uploaded. At present, all insurance companies have fully subscribed to ensure that they upload their data. But we believe the data we have is not complete yet. Once we start, operators would be under
pressure to load their data. If we wait to ensure that everybody is there, we may wait for eternity.” It was gathered from sources close to the Governing Council of the NIA that many insurance firms are not ready to submit their sensitive information to the database, because they are afraid of losing their businesses to others. The operators argued that since the NIA failed to make the market agreement of ratings work, the ability of the self-regulatory body to coordinate the database project is in doubt. Considering the cut-throat competition in the industry, which has made the operators to indulge in the unethical practise of rate cutting, the operators expressed fears that disclosing information on their business to other insurers would amount to giving them opportunity to hijack their businesses. The industry had in the last quarter of 2010 planned to develop and implement a database for policies. Courteville Investment, listed in the Commercial/ Services Sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is partnering with the NIA to provide the database. The firm’s Executive Director, Strategy and Projects, Femi Niyi, said: “Courteville Investment Plc has been contracted as an Information Technology (IT) solutions provider to design, develop and manage a centralised database for NIA.”
• From left: Executive Director, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Kayode Solola; Deputy Director, Singaporean Business Federation, Ms. Mabel Tang; wife of Kaduna State Governor, Mrs Amina Yakowa; Governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa; Singaporean High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Shabbir Hassanbhai and Chairman, Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Haresh Aswani, at the inauguration of Northern Noodles’factory in Kaduna.
ASACO Assurance has developed a unique educational product for assisting parents to provide quality education for their children. It is also to showcase the firm as forward-looking to develop innovative products for its clientele. Its Group Managing Director Olusola LadipoAjayi said: “Education is the best legacy to bequeath to children. This is in line to the role education plays in developing the total child. Education holds the key to the future and it is the desire of every parent to raise children who attain greater educational feat. “This critical role of education informed the strategic thinking by
LASACO Assurance Plc to develop an educational product designed to enable parents to provide quality education for their children. The product LASACO Group Education Assurance is a dynamic and educational product that aligns with the yearning and aspiration of the target audience.” He said the company has a vision to be the best in every business it does, creating and sustaining an exceptional brand in the market place and being the most admired insurance and financial service provoder in the country. He noted that the company has been consistent in developing customeroriented products.
NAICOM tasks operators on insurance promotion
HE Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel has urged underwriters and brokers to be proactive in their spread to reach the uninsured. He said for a country as large as Nigeria, 600 broking firms are not enough. Daniel said: “I think the problem for all of us is that given the huge population that we have, the active economy we operate and
the political environment, insurers should be better than where they are.There should be more people buying insurance. Some 10 years ago, the middle class was wiped out. It was either you belong to the upper class or the lower class, but today, the middle class is coming up significantly, and that is why when you go to the villages, instead of seeing bicycles in primary schools, you see cars.
‘’The middle class is growing and it is the middle class that buy insurance products.That is not to say that the upper and lower class do not need insurance. Given the opportunities, the industry should be doing better.’’ He said the industry is suffering from limited human capacity, stressing that in relation to human capacity, there is a shortage of qualified and experienced professionals.
Daniel said this gap exists because the rate at which the aging practitioners are leaving the industry has not been matched by the rate of entrance by new qualified practitioners. He expressed hope that this gap may be filled in a few years given the efforts of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) at training insurance professionals. President,CIIN, Dr Wole
Adetimehin, urged operators to develop marketing strategies leveraging on the platform provided by NAICOM. He said the low insurance penetration in the country calls for collaborative effort to reposition the industry. He noted that despite the wrong perception of the public about insurers, the firms and the industry regulation should be committed to changing the face
of the industry. “No doubt, the insurance profession is not immune from the vagaries of economic and political challenges in Nigeria and harsh business environment that have become a big threat to business and professionals. Going by the developments, it is high time practitioners rose up to this common challenge by charting a common destiny,” he added.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
KYC: NIMC to issue free ID numbers to depositors D
EPOSITORS will get the National Identification Numbers (NIN) free to ensure the success of the Know Your Customer (KYC) campaign by banks, Director-General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Chris Onyemenan, has said. Speaking to The Nation, Onyemenan said the commission is issuing the identification numbers to foster growth. He said the cost of issuing NIN to depositors, among other stakeholders in the financial chain, would be borne by the Federal Government. Onyemenan said the cost of providing NIN has been factored into the commission’s N30 billion budget, stressing that banks are not expected to pay any money. According to him, the commission has been given the mandate to implement the NIMC registration project within 30 months. He said 100 million Nigerians would be assigned the unique NIN and provided with the identity cards before the period elapses. The commission, he said, would
Stories by Akinola Ajibade
launch a full registration programme nationwide, track the number of persons registered, the number of identity cards and collate all information in one secure database. Onyemenan said the commission is partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure financial inclusion, and further ascertain the identities of Nigerians. He said: “One major reason for partnering with CBN is to avoid the pitfall associated with the old KYC numbers. Now that NIN is going to be the basis for financial transactions as from January 2013, the KYC initiative would be more effective and stronger. NIMC is going to provide a port where the identities of all Nigerians would be kept. In that port, there would be names, pictures, sex, occupation, fingerprints, among other means of identification. This is more centralised, and it would be easier to know the identities of all customers to help check financial malpractices.”
Onyemenan said the commission has adopted biometrics approach to safeguard the financial institutions and the country in particular. In a related development, CBN, in an information on its website, has made some requirements for the success of the KYC programme, and the financial inclusion in particular. Part of the requirements include allowing an office from NIMC to be responsible for monitoring of all data aggregation, and submission to the financial inclusion secretariat, making the officer ensure that the data presented is accurate and a true representative of the industry. Others are ensuring that data is submitted twice yearly (August 31 for data submitted from January 1 to June 30, and February 28 for data submitted from July 1 to December 31), making the Director-General or a director of NIMC a member of the Financial Inclusion Committee (FIC) and ensuring the DG or the director attend half-yearly FIC meetings to review progress and discuss issues pertaining to financial inclusion.
Five banks maintain ratings FIVE banks have consolidated their positions in the industry, according to the recent ratings of Augusto & Co. The firm specialises in research, credit ratings and credit risk management. The banks are United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Stanbic/IBTC Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc and Access Bank Plc. According to the firm, UBA had A+ rating, First Bank (A+), Unity Bank (Bb), Stanbic/IBTC (A) and Access Bank (Bbb rating). The firm set June 20, this year as expiry date for the ratings. It said the rating of Unity Bank, Access Bank and Stanbic Bank has been in upgrade position, while that of UBA has been on the watchlist. In the Assets Management Category, Augusto & Co, said Sranbic/ IBTC money market fund will maintain (Aa) rating till November 1, 2012, while Syn-Cap Managers Limited rating (A(IM) rating expired on June 1 this year.
Experts seek interest rate review EXPERTS have called for a downward review of the monetary policy rate (MPR), which is currently at 12 per cent, to foster growth of the capital market. The experts, said the anchor rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has impaired the ability of operators to access facility for shares, among other capital market instruments. The MPR is the rate at which CBN lends to banks and as such influences other rates in the economy. According to the Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Anchoria Investments Securities Limited, Dr. Olusola Dada, capital market products cannot develop in a situation when the lending rate is high. Dada said the two markets compliment each other, adding that a problem in one of the markets affects the other. He said investors prefer putting their money in fixed securities instrument, such as treasury bills and bond, because they would make profit from them than shares. Managing Director, Maxifund Investments and Securities Limited, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, said the two markets depend on each other for growth. He said when lower money market rates would have appreciable impact on shares investments.
MfB woos small businesses LOVONUS Microfinance Bank Limited has promised exceptional banking experience to small businesses. This will be achieved through products and services tailored to migrate such businesses to medium and large scale concerns earlier than projected by the owners. Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Usman Onoja said it was established primarily to revitalise savings and entrepreneurship through a business model that stands the test of time and ensures the bank is always there for the customer in an era where many have closed shop no sooner than they opened. “The bank is there to fill a gap in the industry by offering savers and borrowers, a high standard and best practice transactions platform; one they can access their funds from anywhere in the country and get credit at a highly affordable interest rate,” he said.
ICAN to sanction erring members
• From left: Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Youth, Sports Development & Social Welfare, Mr Biodun Ogunrinde; Director, Lagos Empowerment and Resource Network (LEARN), Mrs Bisi Awoyomi; hip- hop artiste, Naeto C and Director, Legal Services, Etisalat Nigeria, Mrs Adeola Idowu, at the Etisalat career counselling session in partnership with LEARN held at Event Centre, Ikeja, Lagos. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN
Nigeria trails Kenya, South Africa in payment penetration, says CBN
IGERIA is lagging behind in payment penetration compared with South Africa and Kenya, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. In a statement, CBN said Nigeria has 36 per cent payment penetration as against 59 and 52 per cent for South Africa and Kenya. It said mobile banking is yet to gain momentum, despite the country’s boasts of having the highest penetration of mobile phones. In the report entitled: Financial Enclosure Strategy for 2012, CBN attributed the development to the relatively new nature of mobile payment in the country. CBN said mobile payment users in Nigeria is 0 per cent, Mexico (25 per cent), Indonesia (40 per cent), Brazil (43 per cent), South
Africa (46 per cent), Kenya (46 per cent), and Malaysia (60 per cent). It said Nigeria has not fared well in the area of formal savings product, compared with other countries The report said: “Nigeria is a midfield player in Africa in terms of access to formal savings products. However, compared to Malaysia - the best in class - Nigeria still has a long way to go: Malaysia has 2,063 savings accounts per 1,000 people, while Nigeria has just 461 savings accounts per 1,000.” On credit penetration, the banking watchdog said the country has very low credit penetration, with only two per cent having access to formal banking products. This, it said, compares with 32 per cent in South Africa and 16 per cent in Tanzania.
“With 15 loan accounts at commercial banks per 1,000 people, Nigeria pales in comparison with Malaysia, which has 963 loan accounts per 1,000 people,” the report added. According to CBN, 73.4 million adults are expected to make payment by the year 2020, 62.9 million adults (savings), 41.9 million adults to get credits and 52.4 million adults accessing pension funds. The apex bank said the development will increase participation in the banking industry and further boost the economy. Still on the report, CBN said the over 5,000 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are not enough to meet the needs of the banking public, adding that the facilities are over-streched.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) will not hesitate to sanction member who runs foul of ethical standards, its president, Mr Adedoyin Owolabi, has said. He spoke during his investiture as ICAN President in Lagos. Owolabi said ICAN would be in the driving seat of the revival of the nation’s value systems. He said: “We will continue to expose ethical compromises and sanction deviants whose conduct, which, if not checked, can demean and bring the hard-earned and towering goodwill/image of the accountancy profession to disrepute. As professionals, we must stand up and be counted on the side of equity and justice in words and in action.” ICAN, he said, would continue to lead the crusade of transparency, and accountability in governance to ensure the growth of the economy. According to him, the institute, like any other in the world, is bound to adhere to universally accepted ethical values to ensure the growth of the profession. Owolabi said huge premium has been placed on the expertise and integrity of chartered accountants by society and the business community, adding that the body cannot afford to fail. He enjoined the support of members, among other stakeholders to help in building an economy devoid of sharp practices.
Community gets bank’s borehole STANBIC/IBTC Plc has donated a borehole and water treatment plant to residents of Ogombo community in Eti-Osa Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State. The borehole, an initiative of the finance team of the bank, will help residents in accessing portable water. The bank’s, Manager, Corporate Social Investment, Morin Adeyemi and Head of Investor Relations, Tosin Odutayo handed over the facility to the community. Speaking at the event, Odutayo said the team is delighted to hand over the borehole for the benefit of its people who hitherto faced serious challenges in obtaining potable water. He said: “Ogombo town is the first community to benefit from our intervention programme under the health portfolio of the bank. Our previous project was in the education portfolio, and this was achieved through the refurbishment of classrooms and donation of computers and skills. The bank supports staff volunteerism, by matching 50 per cent of the total project commitment, enabling the team to fulfill the passion for volunteerism and giving back to the community.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
EDITORIAL/OPINION EDITORIAL FROM OTHER LAND
Set, and Left, Adrift
What growth? •If what is happening to our economy is growth, then we have to redefine the word
HE National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has reported that the economy’s growth actually dipped to 6.17 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the growth of 7.13 percent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2011. The bureau attributes the development to several factors: the removal of subsidy on petrol and the ensuing civil protests; weaker consumer demand – the consequence of general increases in price levels across the economy; higher costs of production and, of course, the prevailing security situation. It claimed nonetheless that the recorded growth actually surpassed its forecast of 5.34 percent for the quarter – which it attributes to the legendary resilience of the economy. Resilience or not, the NBS figure has merely confirmed our fears about the negative effects of the removal of subsidy on petrol. The picture painted by the NBS of a general rise in price levels across the board, the negative impact on production costs and the shrinking demand for goods and services – all deriving from the action by the Federal Government – obviously bear out the fears that the removal of subsidy forebodes nothing but trouble for the economy. And just as the NBS noted, the impact is mostly noticeable in the non-oil sectors of manufacturing, wholesale and retail, telecommunications, which on the aggregate declined from 8.73 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to 7.93 in the first quarter.
And if it seems any paradox – the NBS expects stronger growth in the second quarter based on what it described as “recent sectoral policies” in the non-oil sector. In a country where 70 percent of the population is said to live below the poverty line, the point has always been made that this is hardly the time to shrink citizens’ disposable incomes through such measures as high taxation and fuel subsidy removal which can only push more of the population down. Indeed, a better strategy would have been to reflate the economy by enhancing consumer spending power to get businesses going. This is where the incongruities of the government, luxuriating in the illusion of outlandish growth projections (fuelled by no other than earnings from crude oil), in an environment of rising poverty and unemployment cannot be more apparent. The Federal Government should borrow from the developed countries currently experiencing the excruciating pains of the shrinking economies, the imperative to drive economic growth as against making fetish of austerity. The tragedy of Nigeria’s so-called growth isn’t just that it is driven by the commodity – crude oil; it is neither inclusive nor deep; hence it is at best superficial. The challenge is to deepen the economy by getting more people to work, to lift many more out of poverty. The surest strategy, in the circumstance, is for the government to embark on an aggressive investment in infra-
structure. At the moment, too little is being done with very minimal results. Massive investment in infrastructure would serve multiple purposes: jobs with great multipliers to the economy will be generated instantly; it would certainly unleash the potential of the economy currently locked in, not to talk of shoring up the economy’s capacity (output) and competitiveness. If it seems any lessons at all, the experience of the past decade plus – of socalled growth -- should instruct on a different paradigm of measuring progress. What manner of progress is it that does not deliver jobs or lift anyone out of poverty? What is progress in a situation where majority of the population are effectively locked out of the economic system?
‘If it seems any lessons at all, the experience of the past decade plus – of so-called growth -- should instruct on a different paradigm of measuring progress. What manner of progress is it that does not deliver jobs or lift anyone out of poverty? What is progress in a situation where majority of the population are effectively locked out of the economic system?’
Criminal connivance •Professionals should not abuse their skills by helping fraud BRAHIM Lamorde, as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is no doubt competent to speak on matters of corruption in the country. Being formerly in-charge of the commission’s operations, and now at its helm, he could be described as the repository of corruption tracking in the country. Thus, his verdict of criminal connivance against professionals in the commission of economic crimes in the nation should not be considered as ranting of an ant. During a courtesy visit on Lamorde in Abuja by the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) led by its president, Segun Ajanlekoko, he bemoaned: “Most of the corrupt cases we encounter are aided by one professional or another. In money laundering, for example, bankers and accountants are involved, in estate and property- related crimes, quantity surveyors are also involved… It is not in all cases that people steal raw cash, but
‘We must however add that the commission has a great role to play in restoring sanity to the professions. Since most of the regulatory bodies saddled with the responsibility have refused to live up to expectations, the EFCC should wade in by investigating cases brought to its attention, with a view to diligently prosecuting any professional found to have committed or aided fraud in the course of his duties’
in some instances rely on professionals to doctor documents that will aid them in perpetrating corrupt acts.” The association is made up of 26 professional bodies that are chartered and recognised by Acts of Parliament. The EFCC is obviously miffed by the rampant connivance of professionals with suspected fraudsters in entrenching corruption. Just recently, its Review Team reportedly uncovered alleged non-diligent and untidy prosecution of 13 former bank executives by counsel contracted to do so. The team reportedly discovered that some of the reversal of fortunes suffered in court by EFCC had to do with mishandling of cases by trial counsel. Several cases, especially those involving nine distressed bank chiefs, were thrown out on avoidable technical grounds. Unfortunately, some of the affected lawyers are senior advocates who are expected to raise the bar of standards and excellence in the legal profession. They handle the cases shoddily because the anti-graft agency is not paying their bills. The EFCC investigates and arraigns in court, suspects involved in distressed bank frauds while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reportedly offered to oversee the payment of legal fees, being the consequence of its banking reform. The flopped bank cases in particular give the public the impression that the commission is compromising or deliberately frustrating the trial of the former bank chiefs. Even some doctors connived with fraudsters standing trials in court to come up with phantom medical reports that would make them escape from justice.
We are appalled by the entire situation because professionals, wherever they are, should help develop the society. It is sad that many Nigerian professionals are doing the opposite because of the rampant get-rich-quick syndrome. Most professional bodies can no longer promote best practices and good corporate governance among members because there is an absolute breakdown of ethics across professional boundaries. The various professional bodies should quickly do something to halt this ugly trend of professional immorality. It continues to fester because few professionals have been sanctioned by the umbrella associations or even the disciplinary committees regulating discipline in the professions. We call for the restoration of values among professionals in the country. We share the sentiment of Lamorde’s EFCC on this matter. We must however add that the commission has a great role to play in restoring sanity to the professions. Since most of the regulatory bodies saddled with the responsibility have refused to live up to expectations, the EFCC should wade in by investigating cases brought to its attention, with a view to diligently prosecuting any professional found to have committed or aided fraud in the course of his duties. The question of who institutes proceedings against such professionals is not important; what is important is for them to know that they can be caught and prosecuted if they compromise their professional integrity. That is a way to restore sanity and corporate probity in the operations of the professionals.
ROUND the world, some 42.5 million vulnerable people were forcibly out of their homes and on the move in 2011, according to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. There are growing concerns that those numbers will get even worse in the face of armed conflicts and political violence that are increasingly exacerbated by climate change, population growth, rising food prices, natural disasters and struggles for scarce resources. According to António Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Africa and Asia are the most vulnerable regions. But new crises are appearing unpredictably — in the past year, thousands have been driven from their homes in Syria, Sudan, Mali, Yemen and Côte D’Ivoire — and will continue to grow. Since 2005, the agency’s caseload has expanded — from about 24 million, mostly internally displaced persons and refugees, to roughly 37 million at the end of 2010. Today’s environment is also more chaotic. Instead of negotiating with governments for humanitarian access, the agency often must deal with multiple actors, including warlords and rebels and breakaway regions, even less subject to international pressure, law or shaming. The risk for aid workers and the displaced has increased. There is also a crisis of political will. The international community, preoccupied with financial and domestic crises, has been less willing to help — whether with money or diplomacy or offers of asylum. Take the 7.2 million refugees considered to be in “protracted exile,” meaning they may never go home again. The report said that everybody involved — host countries, countries of origin and donors — “seem less able to work together to find solutions.” There are no easy answers, but certain strategies stand out. In 2010, 94 percent of all resettled refugees went to just four countries: Australia, Canada, Sweden and the United States, which takes more than any other country. Surely there are scores of others that can also open their doors. Better systems for predicting crises and quickly responding to natural and man-made disasters would also help. As ever, the best solution is for the world to do a better job of pre-empting conflicts in the first place. – New York Times
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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
IR: On top of the dearth of proper consultation and due process that marked the recent renaming of the University of Lagos by the Federal Government, I deem it necessary to opine that the idea is lopsided. Undoubtedly, the late MKO lives on as a colossus; and President Jonathan’s move to venerate him is indeed laudable. However, the demerits of this very honour conferred on Abiola far outweighs its advantages; for when the long-standing name of an institution is suddenly changed, it comes with psychological impact which those who are directly affected have to keep battling with. Besides, it can be more serious if the alteration is generally uninvited. As a growing nation, I do not support that we mimic great nations dogmatically; yet we can still learn from them with regard to certain areas. World class universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Aberdeen and several others have existed for centuries, yet their names have been meticulously preserved. Several famous public institutions in the US have retained their original names for tens of decades too. Of course, there are great names in the history of the UK and US such as Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and J. F Kennedy that have been immortalized; but the various means by which these titans have been honoured are void of ripple effects. For instance, the Churchill College, a constituent of the prestigious Cambridge University is a national and commonwealth memorial to Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. The college was actually named Churchill at inception; and this was most welcomed because Winston
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UNILAG deserves preservation was the principal force behind its establishment and Chairman of the Trust that endowed the college at the time of formation. Moreover, the College motto is an extract from one of Churchill’s speeches. But ultimately, the name of the parent university, “Cambridge” has been painstakingly preserved. So if societies we respect so much can stick to the name given to an institution for centuries, why are we then toeing a different path? Why should a university of only five decades be given another name? The name “University of Lagos” and its appellation,”UNILAG” are labels known worldwide and should
be maintained. And whether we like it or not, these names are highly pivotal to the affection that students and staff of UNILAG accord their institution. In point of fact, over the years, those designations have been ingrained in the consciousness of the populace to the extent that removing the name “University of Lagos”is synonymous to removing the institution’s very actuality. That is simply the potency of an established name. Further, it will be indecorous if the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, a medical institution of international repute, particularly famous for its acronym “LUTH” is mandated to bear a new name.
President Jonathan and his democratic pretence
IR: When President Goodluck Jonathan was contesting the presidential election, he promised to make respect for democracy and rule of law his watchword. However, the actions of the president after he had successfully convinced Nigerians to vote for him are rather questionable if they are weighed on the scale of democracy. Perhaps, one of the major undemocratic act in which the president was an accomplice was the unjust removal of Justice Isa Ayo Salami as the president of Court of Appeal. Eminent Nigerians appealed to the President to withhold assent to the
recommendation of the National Judicial Commission on the suspension because, the process was flawed and against the rule of law; the President, nonetheless effected the suspension. The National Judicial Commission later realised its error and subsequently recommended his re-instatement. Despite the voices of Nigerians calling for the President’s action on the matter, he remains adamant. Recall the removal of fuel subsidy in January despite public outcry against it. Nigerians came out en masse to protest the subsidy re-
Calling on StanbicIBTC Pensions
IR: I appeal StanbicIBTC Pension to look into my application for withdrawal from my pension contribution. I was involuntary disengaged from my place of work last year February.I put in an application early this year for 25 percent withdrawal from my contribution as stipulated in the Pension Reform Acts to enable me invest in my personal busi-
Indeed, if the renaming is not reversed, I foresee an upsurge of low morale among staff and students, and a decline in the quality of approach of the general public, even the international community, towards the university. Candidly, after the rechristening, my usual attraction for the institution waned; for there is indeed a distinctive aura that has trailed that name for decades and this will very much diminish, if not vanish, with the advent of a new name. I beseech Mr. President and members of his cabinet to see things from this perspective; do a rethink, respect the people’s opinion as a responsible
democratic government, and let the “University of Lagos” remain. Even though majority wants Abiola honoured, a change of name for UNILAG is generally unsought. The popular opinion on the street, mass media and social media portrays this. Really, it is more inspiring to retain that name than to begin to nurture a new name. What is more, the Ogun State Polytechnic has already been named Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta. Hence, this new development sounds more like duplication. Again, without any speck of doubt, one of Nigeria’s greatest Heros of democracy of all time, late MKO deserves to be greatly honoured. Nonetheless, any form of honor bestowed on him should be void of side effects. Let us not forget that the International Airport Abuja was named after Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and it never created ripples. MKO’s case should be like that • Famokun ‘Tope Unity Estate, Egbeda, Lagos.
ness. It is over two months of fulfilling all the requirements and no postive response yet from my PFA. My attempts at getting response through the Customer Care was met with conflicting signals. I was initially told that my application is being treated, but few days later, I was told the application is missing. I need to add that getting the required documents was rigorous and
I’m baffled that a company like StanbicIBTC Pension can tell me my documents went missing. Many people I knew practically gave up in accessing their fund because of the rigours involved. My RSA Pin is PEN-1001156719110 and I will be glad if my case is given a attention. • Alex Okonji Sango Ota, Ogun State.
moval, all to no avail. The answer the President retort was: ‘’no going back’’. At the height of the peaceful protests, the President deployed soldiers to restrict the activities protesters – an infringement on the people’s right to peaceful protest. The most pathetic aspect was the attack on eminent Nigerians that came together to protest the continuous stay of soldiers in Lagos. These included 76-year-old leader of the National Advance Party (NAP), Dr. Tunji Braithwaite; legal luminary and member of the Presidential Advisory Committee, 79year-old Prof. Ben Nwabueze; former finance minister, Dr. Kalu Idika among others. These statesmen were tear-gassed by the Nigerian Police during the peaceful protest. Also last year, The Nation Newspaper had a taste of the administration’s anti-democratic temper. Some of the top officials of the newspaper were arrested for publishing a ‘’secret’’ letter written by ex-President Obasanjo to the President. Why can’t a media outfit publish information that has to do the destiny of the masses? All these occurred despite the enormous
responsibility on the press as entrenched in section 22 of the 1999 constitution. The attack on the media was an affront on the constitution. On this year’s democracy day, the President decided to honour Chief MKO Abiola, a man who sacrificed his life for democracy by renaming University of Lagos after him. This is not a bad initiative, but the constitutional blunder of discarding the constitutional step of renaming the institution, while usurping the functions of the legislature, speaks volumes of his disposition to democracy and the rule of law. The best way to honour heroes of democracy is by actualizing what they died for. There should be massive creation of employment, poverty eradication, quality education, skill acquisition avenues and other dividends of democracy. When does the ‘’no going back’’ syndrome become a feature of a democracy? Does it mean that the President doesn’t even respect the opinions of those who voted him to power? • Simon Godwin, University of Lagos
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Planes; Expressway; What’s in a name? Aregbesola: ‘Congrats Ads Vs NGO Donations’; Ban Ads
OLITICIANS should take Nigeria’s preventable problems more seriously! More Bauchi Church Bombs -12 lives! Another plane crash -154 Tony lives plus ground casualMarinho ties. Such trauma! May they Rest In Peace, but better airplane maintenance is better than three days mourning ignored by the media! There is more to aviation than ‘upgrade of airports’ which leaves even out passenger comfort like arrival elevator stairs and increasing size and services of immigration area and arrival hall at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. What transport or route is maintained in Nigeria? Train is a pain, road is rough, plane is a crash! The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a village road, best avoided- No road except a detour bush path! It has cost billions in lost revenues and hours and thousands murdered by Nigeria in crashes on this expressway to hell! Is it when a NASS member or minister dies that solution will come? Almost every Nigerian family knows multiple victims of expressway crashes. On Saturday May 12, traffic standstill forced us to turn back, yet again. Ditto this weekend. Following the recent expressway tankertrailer infernos, we expect holocausts involving 100 trailers following the repeated road closure at Ogere. Do we want minimum standards or optimum standards? Solution: Railways; diversion of offending trailer companies from expressway, alternative secure state expressway routes to old expressway; high fines to Abuja Corporate HQ of offenders; permanent FRSC/State honest presence. Remember the old 1960-1975 Sagamu traffic nightmare? It led to the expressway being created. History repeats itself today in Nigeria’s incompetence, negligence and inability to negotiate a contract favourable to Nigeria or keep Ogere open! The negotiators need investigation. Is Nigeria tied up in legal knots too expensive to cut? Any financial/ legal settlement without the finished road will be a huge insult to Nigerians
and a ‘pound of flesh’ and ‘blood or ransom money’ extracted from a billion failed and delayed trips from the failure of the contract. There is crash victims’ blood on all roads, but the expressway is too thirsty. A country that cannot get roads right will not get planes right and is not a nation worthy of its citizens. Mubarak’s life sentence suggests we can still try past ‘know it all’ failed leaders for negligence and murder! The Lagos State governor and doctors are being reconciled, Amen, but NMA gains nothing by gloating or threatening. ‘Softly softly cachey monkey’. NMA, do not use all your mouth to spill your plans! React do not lead! Keep your cards quiet! If a colonial government was responsible for the mass suffering of Nigerians inflicted in areas of power, potholes, roads and security, bookless schools, poor academic results and absent hospital machines, we would have taken up arms or reported to the UN, the Hague Criminal Court and Human Rights Watch about ‘genocide’. Our politicians and civil servants get away with real murder. What is in a name? A name is your history, honour, respect. A woman loses her name at marriage, a tradition resisted by a compound name. Is the change from UNILAG to MAUL or MALU genuine misdirected goodwill, a mistake or a political ploy to split Lagos State before the 2015 elections? ‘I rehabilitated Moshood Abiola, so vote for my party’. Abiola’s national rehabilitation is a welcome feather in Jonathan’s cap. Ojukwu died before full rehabilitation. The Abuja National Stadium, new universities, ministerial buildings and roads can be renamed! Will UI be named ‘Adedibuniversity’or ‘PEJU’, after the Jonathans, as rumoured? Government should reverse, set up an Abiola Honours Committee. Still on names, is Senate, Nigeria sometimes called ‘Sit Not’ and ‘Sin Ate Nigeria’ and ‘hollowed chamber’? Now a Senate wants a law forcing their names on roads and monuments and plans to open a ‘Museum of Senate Affairs’. Are they jealous of the Yar’Adua Museum? Nigerians also demand museums, science exhibitions and museums first, maybe an MKO Science/IT Museum? The National Council on Education is too slow. The cur-
riculum should not only include road safety but other ‘Life Skills’ like Red Cross, First Aid, Smoking, Health Skills and Social Vices. The NCE should have ‘Life Skills’ as a subject with road safety as a topic. Even the ‘modern history’ of Nigeria including the ‘First Civil War’ is missing, 42 years later. The school curriculum fails young Nigerians who lack simple Educational Poster Series -visual aids. Riverine areas need life jacket education. The curriculum must empower youth away from being ‘youth at 40 years’. Governor Aregbesola took a half-page advert advising Nigerians not to congratulate him @ N3-500,000/page and instead donate to his foundation. Many ignored his effort to change our consumptive ways. More governors must join this ‘Donate to My Favourite Charity Instead of a Newspaper Advert’. How much did Obasanjo collect for his library? The publication of benefactors by Governor Aregbesola would give them the publicity they crave. Governors could choose any of many charities. In Nigeria, Motherless Babies Homes, The Red Cross, Old Schools and Girl Guides beg for support, all needy causes run by unsung ‘honourable’ volunteers! In one year an orphanage may not see the money used to fund one ‘Congratulatory Advert’, Con Ads, and there are 500 advert/governor and wife /year x 36 governors = 18,000 per year =N 6-9,000,000,000. Add 40 ministers’ Congratulatory Adverts at 50 ads/year = N1,000,000,000. Add adverts to and from the Presidency, husband and wife, 5000 adverts/year= N2,500,000,000. All this adds up to an annual budget of N 912.5 billion lost to Nigeria’s needy causes. Ban or tax government congratulatory adverts.
‘Even the ‘modern history’ of Nigeria including the ‘First Civil War’ is missing, 42 years later. The school curriculum fails young Nigerians who lack simple Educational Poster Series -visual aids’
ATELINE: June 12, 1993. That was 19 years ago, this month. On this day, millions of Nigerians trooped to polling booths across the country to cast their votes in the presidential election held on that day. That election was the first time in the history of this country when primordial sentiments took back seat. Across the country, North, East, West and everywhere, Nigerians, in unison, spoke with one voice in the election adjudged to be the fairest and freest ever. Business mogul and incurable philanthropist, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, popularly known as MKO Abiola, WON (capitals mine) that election. The entire nation waited with baited breath as the results started trickling in. Then, all of a sudden, a terse statement issued by the ruling military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida (retd), brought the whole thing into an abrupt end. From then on, pandemonium took over. Many innocent lives were lost, especially in the south-western part of the country, where Abiola hailed from, as security agents opened fire on defenceless citizens who protested the gross injustice of denying the winner of that election an opportunity to rule. Abiola made spirited attempts to reclaim the mandate freely given to him by Nigerians, but the military junta would not subscribe to such. In the end, his house in the Toyin area of Ikeja, Lagos, was invaded by dozens of security goons
who had apparently been instructed ‘to break down the wall of his house if need be’. With no resistance at all, Abiola was seized at the dead of the night from the safe comfort of his home and thrown into the gulag. He was taken away hale and healthy, but about five years later, he was returned to the same house in a casket, stone dead. Since then, June 12, 1993 has become an unending nightmare in the affairs of this country. That was a date that could have totally changed the political configuration of the country. In the first instance, the mutual suspicion that has manifested in every facets of our national life today might not have occurred. Now, people talk in terms of North, East, West, South and what have you. The reason is that, since June 12, 1993, the political equilibrium in the country has not been the same again. For one, the 1999 election that paved the way for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to come back as a civilian President was made possible by the feeble attempts to right the wrong of June 12, 1993. At that time, the calculation was that since Abiola was from the South-west, it would be better to pick somebody from the geopolitical zone to become President in order to placate the zone. Unfortunately, Obasanjo, who got the presidency on a platter of gold, had a different plan altogether. All attempts to make him honour his kinsman on whose ‘grave’ he rode into Aso Rock Villa from prison,
‘There is nothing bad in the President reversing himself on the UNILAG issue. All this talk about ‘’no going back’’ is mere bravado when it is obvious that an avoidable blunder has been committed’
did not yield any tangible result. Throughout his eight years as president, not even once did Obasanjo make any reference to the heroic struggle put up by Abiola to give democracy a pride of place in Africa’s most populated country. President Goodluck Jonathan has thought it expedient to honour Abiola. In his wisdom, or is it lack of it, he decided to effect a change in the name of the famous University of Lagos, UNILAG. This he did by executive fiat. In his Democracy Day broadcast, the President simply declared that, henceforth, UNILAG would be known and called Moshod Abiola University. Call it 360-degree transformation. If I may ask, is this change of name part of the constantly mouthed transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration? Certainly not. Otherwise, this is one transformation that has catapulted the President himself into a cul-de-sac. Anyway, it appears that there may have been a sort of political undertone embellished in the whole package. Don’t forget that the jostle for who becomes President in 2015 is already in full throttle. True, the President couldn’t have done it at a better time than a Democracy Day. After all, Abiola stood for and died for democracy to thrive in the land. But wait a minute. Why did government’s ‘strategists’ fail to appreciate the legal cobwebs in the President’s proclamation as it were? We are now being told that UNILAG was a creation of an act of parliament, so why should the President ride roughshod over such legal technicality to change the name of the institution without proper homework? Unless I can be proved wrong, what the President has succeeded in doing is to attract huge embarrassment to himself and his handlers. Yes, Abiola deserves to be
honoured; nobody is contesting that. Even those who stood solidly against him then will buckle under popular wish and acclamation. So, if President Jonathan was reacting to popular demand, as Labaran Maku, the minister for information told Nigerians, did he consult widely before he zeroed in on UNILAG? It is now crystal clear that the President was not properly advised. Already, there is a tertiary educational institution named after Abiola. Also a stadium has been named after him. Therefore, what is the rationale behind this change of name? Why do we get so fascinated with naming trees, streets and the moon after our heroes? At the rate we are going, we may run out of such places that are befitting of being named after our heroes. So, where do we go from here? My take on this issue is that, since Abiola contested and won the June 12, 1993 election, the best way to honour him is to declare June 12 of every year a public holiday in his honour. By doing this, we will not only be honouring Abiola, we will also be remembering the martyrs of that historical event who died in the struggle. Besides, Democracy Day could be shifted to June 12 as had been suggested in the past across the spectrum. There is nothing bad in the President reversing himself on the UNILAG issue. All this talk about ‘’no going back’’ is mere bravado when it is obvious that an avoidable blunder has been committed. When the then Bendel State University, Ekpoma, was changed to Ambrose Alli University many years ago, it was effected through a bill sponsored by Patrick Obahiagbon, a member of the Bendel State House of Assembly. The bill passed through the mandatory three readings on the floor of the house before it was finally
Dele Agekameh approved. In the case of the then University of Ife, the idea was proposed by then Colonel Adetunji Olurin, who was governor of old Oyo State at the time the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, died. He had recommended the change of name to then Military President Ibrahim Babaginda. When the proposal was approved, Olurin consulted widely with stakeholders, including prominent community leaders, before the announcement was made. Expectedly, there were protests but the protests quickly fizzled out when the elders who had been consulted prior to the change of name waded in and doused the tension. As it is, the President stands the risk of losing in the smoldering UNILAG crisis. If at all the case is taken to the National Assembly via a bill to that effect, I am sure the bill will be dead on arrival. I am not quite optimistic too that the courts can do any better. This is the more reason why the President should quickly retrace his steps. This is a case of one good thing done that has produced ‘a foul smell’, the ripple effect of which will reverberate for quite a long time to come! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
EDITORIAL/OPINION ‘The censored interview did not mention Bamanga Tukur’s statement that Boko Haram is a product of injustice implying that PDP actualy represents injustice having reneged on its principle of zoning and rotation of power. What baffles me is rather than battle the unrepentant epitome of injustice PDP, they go after innocent citizens. This means Boko Haram is the same as PDP. We cannot be talking about Salami when Jonathan has not exonerated himself from indictment on the oil subsidy fraud. Please let us hold him accountable. Anonymous’
•Ngozi For Segun Gbadegesin Uncle Segun, I am glad I am not the only one disappointed by the President’s speech. It was like the speech was targeted at morons! Anonymous Much as it is clear that Jonathan has not performed creditably as expected, it is however, not proper to allude that his one year in office is a total failure as some writers and senior citizens of the country would want us to believe. Of course, from your piece, “When will the transformation start? “, one could reason, should be understandable considering that you were able to proffer the way forward after passing what could be said to be mature and constructive criticism on the President’s performance so far. And that is how it ought to be. For the nation to move forward all of us must not only see ourselves as integral part of the nation-building but work towards that in words and in deed process no matter who may be the head and when. No one individual can pilot so large a country such as ours from the ashes heap of despodency to the state of a great nation all alone however learned or gifted. From Emmanuel Egwu, Enugu The piece is telling the whole truth. No country can be one in a situation where millions are poor in the midst of plenty. What the PDP should do is to tell the world what the dispossessed must do to free themselves from poverty. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna Thanks for your June1st column. President Jonathan had taken some decisions without ‘due process’ which his government preaches. ‘Are we one?’ This is a big question for Nigerians as ‘we’ in that question refers to Nigerians. To me historical events in Nigeria show that we are NOT one. What is uniting us is the petroleum. One fact remains, if that petroleum is in the North, it would have been a different story now. We would have split. The Northerners do not see anything good in the Southerners, especially Christians. Forgeting it is one God that created all Nigeria’s problems are hydra-headed. I am yet to witness a government that will be responsive to the yawning and aspirations of Nigerians. Solution to our problems is Sovereign National Conference or Regional form of government i.e. Republics shall emerge on ethnic/tribal lines to foster social progress. From Olu Jegede, Minna Segun, personally, you have made my day admirably with your article titled: “Are we one?” Dr. Jonathan has dug a grave for himself and if he is not careful those around him will use the coffin of his ignorance to bury him. From Atsen Ume Yiye(student of Theatre Arts BSUM) Re: “Are we one?” The reply is ‘No, we are not one. Lord Luggard is not to be blamed for fusing us together rather the selfish mentality in our vein. This is not the ideal government the Nigerian people cherish. The President has not given any succuor but pains since his inception. He is serving the interest of his vote riggers not the genuine electorate. The worst military rule is better than this lawless and highly corrupt government. Kalejaiye’s phone saga, various electoral crimes, political killings, joblessness, thuggery among other unjustified actions have been treated by the wave of the hand. What a shame to this govern-
ment full of deceit. From Pastor Odunmbaku You think along my line, Segun. I always enjoy your collumn. You can always read my opinion in The Africa Magazine too. Kudos! From Julius Neple, Jos Nigeria is a house on poor foundation with many cracks. We have two options: pull it down and rebuild it or reinforce it well. Our leaders have toyed with second option for over 50 years. The truth is that there is need for the first option. From Sam Megwa Re: Are We One? I was looking for an excuse to stop buying your paper. Thanks for helping me to take that decision today. Anonymous For Gbenga Omotoso I bought a copy of The Nation on Wednesday. I saw Mrs Agbo’s obituary and I felt for her because I read her every Thursday. Her death is a big loss to The Nation and Nigeria as a whole. From Lanrey Osho, Ilorin Kwara State Some people live decades and never really achieve a lasting impact on the people around them. Some within the shortest period of years leave a lasting legacy that are distinctive, relevant and constitent that stand the test of time based on your values and beliefs. Please ask Mr President of Nigeria maybe he has those traits. Is it not ambition that brought him there? Anonymous I always looked forward to Thursdays to pick my copy of The Nation because of Sister Ngozi of Campus Life. My prayer is that God will keep the baby and make him a Publisher. To The Nation, I say take heart, to my brother man Agbo, I say it’s well. From John A Ukpai, PortHarcourt May her soul rest in peace! Anonymous I am a muslim but enjoyed late Ngozi’s style of writing and profesionalism. Inalilahi wa inaelehi rojiun. From Imam Ojumo, Ota It is sad enough to lose a journalist but more when you lose a wife and mother during child birth, sympathise with her husband and employers. Adieu Ngozi Agbo. Anonymous Farewell Ngozi! May God keep the baby you left behind. From Yemi Akinwande, Ondo town May the Almighty God grant her soul eternal rest! Anonymous May the soul of Ngozi rest in the Lord amin. From Saliu Yaya, Kaduna. The censored interview did not mention Bamanga Tukur statement that Boko Haram is a product of injustice implying that PDP actualy represents injustice having reneged on its principle of zoning and rotation of power. What baffles me is rather than battle the unrepentant epitome of injustice PDP, they go after innocent citizens. This means Boko Haram is the same as PDP. We cannot be talking about Salami when Jonathan has not exonerated himself from indictment on the oil subsidy fraud. Please let us hold him accountable. Anonymous Re: Farewell Ngozi. Maternal mortality, what else can we do to curb this? Now the family of Agbo has fallen victim. My sincere condolence to the Agbos family. Anonymous I pray God to comfort Agbo and family, I shall continue to pray for you. Anonymous Re: The censored interview. All the points raised are fundamental but the replies are worthless and unrealistic judging from what are on ground. The nation is at pain. There is no comfort or rest of mind from any quarters. People giving possible solutions to the numerous problems are tagged ‘mobs’. The President is a product of corruption hence he lacks the moral courage to tackle this all infecting disease. The oil subsidy report lately referred to the EFCC will not achieve anything because the President controls all government agencies while the indicted people could be traced
to PDP. The Judiciary is nothing to be reckoned with. The government is not acting according to the dictate of the law. The President is dancing to the tunes of PDP. It is a government of calamity. May God safe us. From Pastor Odunmbaku When will the transformation start?.our economy’s transformation will commence as soon as we drop from Jonathan’s one-chance bus. The earlier we achieve this, the better for all of us. From ADEYCorsim, Oshodi Lagos Farewell Ngozi, it is not how long but how well, Sister Ngozi has played her part on this part of the plantnets we the lover of Campus Life know that we have lost a genius. The Lord will comfort the family she left behind. From Hon. Ayedogbon Segun Ekinrin Adde, Kogi State Re: Censored interview. Your write-up portrayed President Jonathan as slow, incoherent and unfocused. We have been in his support all along but key issues such as Boko-Haram and insurmountable power problem he could not halt till now makes us shut our mouths up in his defence! Prayer and action rather than prayer only, period! On UNILAG renaming MAUL, how can one satisfy Nigerians, especially, some Southwesterners? Clamouring for symbolism for late MKO and not done before now! Someone now did it and a fault. We now know who hated late MKO. Adieu Ngozi Agbo and Peace be on you, ameen. From Lanre Oseni Adieu...Aunty Ngo! Though the messenger is dead but her message lives on. May your gentle soul rest in peace. From Seyi Babaeko. For Tunji Adegboyega Tunji, thank you your nice article. I don’t think name has anything to do with UNILAG’s excellent record. I was a worker there. We all know northern leaders will not agree to name any federal institution after M.K.O. Abiola; it would have sparked even more riot than Boko Haram or the protest at Akoka. Let us give kudos to Mr President. From Tuedor , Ughelli, Delta State. Immortalisation of Chief Abiola is a good thing from President Jonathan, but why not Abuja university or any other federal university in Nigeria, since M.K.O. died for Nigerians. The government should reverse its decision of changing UNILAG to MAULAG for peace to reign. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State. I am an Akokite too! My son is also a student there because I have vowed that it would be a family tradition. Yes, IBB arbitrarily changed UNIFE to OAU, but military rule is akin to brigandage which is absolutely abhorrent in a civilised setting, just like GEJ’s action. If he does not reverse his action, our courts will. He simply does not have the power he is trying to exercise and his action will only make his unpopular government even more odious. From Tony Esho. I cannot understand why the president will want to be seen as being anti-people in the one state that has the highest number of registered voters. Is he no longer interested in 2015? Anonymous. Tunji, those trying to put Abiola in the same category with Awolowo should be ignored. Awo established UNIFE, Liberty Stadium, and he didn’t name them after himself; but Ahmadu Bello named both the university and the stadium he established after himself. From Alhaji Adeboye Lawal, Ibadan. I agree with the piece that Jonathan wants to please the south-west … but why is the regime not interested in setting up a panel to dig out the culprits of June 12 for punishment? I do not see any renaming as a way of appeasing those who died in the Abiola saga. What about the money spent on the transition? From Amos
• Abiola Ejimonye, Kaduna. My Great Akokite, I believe you. It is UNILAG forever! Renaming is haram. From Alfred , Warri. It is only victims of mental malaria and intellectual emptiness that will fault the position of the Abiola family on UNILAG. The truth is that those who protested the decision lack the valid certificate to be called students or staff of UNILAG. I urge lovers of democracy to forgive them because it is clear that most of them arrived this world after June 12, 1993. Kudos to Jonathan for naming UNILAG as MAULAG. To hell with your opinion. From Nma, Minna. This is also the time to name Liberty Stadium after Awo because it is naturally Awo’s property, a historic gift he bequeathed to the Yoruba race. In his wisdom, Awo named it Liberty Stadium which is more significant to the race. What Mr President seems to be doing is destroying Yoruba history. Liberty Stadium, just like UNILAG, remains forever! From Gboye. I have just read your column in The NATION of June 3; thank you for expressing your feelings on UNILAG renaming. Let this decision be reversed for UNILAG is a brand. I was there between 1983 and 1990. Great Akokites! Great!! From Sunny E, Rivers state. What makes the change of name so sad? UNIFE was renamed OAU and there was no fury because a soldier did it. Did UNIFE not have alumni? Your anger is over who did what and not what he did. It is a pity that people like you don’t see what Abiola stood for, just as you may not see what some of us fought for during the ‘Ali must go’ protest. Past student martyrs mean nothing to people like you. You still chant your master’s voice. From Jerome Adie. I agree that a lot of monuments could have been named after MKO, but what is wrong with UNILAG? Even the renowned Harvard was not Harvard at the beginning. I support GEJ on this matter. Anonymous. Tunji, it is a well known fact that Jonathan was unprepared for the office which providence placed on his shoulders. He and his advisers are birds of the same feather; so we cannot expect anything positive from an easy-motion governance style of our president. The Lagos PDP is accusing theACN of sponsoring the protest. I am not surprised about that because the only thing PDP knows how to do best is treasury looting. From Alhaji Adeboye Lawal, Ibadan. I am afraid Nigerians will have to live with this president for the next three years for exhibiting total lack of intelligence by voting GEJ into power despite the man’s glaring shortcomings and the ineptitude of the party he represents. Anonymous. We’ve all clamoured for Abiola to be honoured and at last, it was done; so, why the hoopla? Why not UNILAG? Let it stand, please. From Akin Malaolu. I knew that you would address the issue of renaming our UNILAG. Indeed, I was waiting for your column and now here you are with a masterpiece. Honestly, you people who are connected should do all possible to resist MAULING our UNILAG. God help you in Jesus name. Anonymous.
‘I’m committed to women development’
Shettima spends N1b on poverty alleviation
NGO houses the needy
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Plateau to reward peaceful communities
HE University of Jos Centre for Conflict Resolution is making efforts to ensure that communities which have been in harmony with their neighbours are rewarded in order to encourage feuding ones to bury the hatchet. The Centre said it will prevail on both the state and federal governments to bring infrastructural development to those peaceful communities in the state. The state, once renowned for its
From Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
tranquility, temperate weather and tourism, has been riddled with violence, with communities rising up in arms against one another. But in the midst of the violence, certain settlements have been living in harmony. Such communities will be rewarded so that others will learn how to keep the peace, the Centre pledged.
The Director of the Centre, Dr. Audu Gambo gave the assurance during a visit to the Dadin Kowa/Diye and Federal/State Lowcost Houses in Jos-South Local Government Area of the state. No crisis has occurred in the area since 2001 despite the fact that the residents are drawn from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Speaking during the visit, Dr. Gambo disclosed that the Cen-
tre, working with the support of the Netherlands Embassy, Abuja, visited the communities to learn the ways of peace from the residents who are surrounded by warring neighbours. Gambo said the findings from the community would be forwarded to the federal and state governments with a recommendation for government’s presence via developmental •Continued on Page 38
Doctors feed, treat patients in Lagos, Ogun M
EDICAL doctors have lifted the spirits of many residents in remote parts of Lagos and Ogun states. At Egan, a suburban settlement in Igando Local Council Development Area of Lagos, and Isheri-Olofin area of Ogun, the physicians distributed free food to no fewer than 5,000 residents, besides examining and treating them. The residents also got drugs free in a classic case of teaming up with government for the good of the people. The doctors did not work alone; nurses, pharmacists and counselors were with them, each providing specialised service. The over 100-strong medical team did not work independently either. The Paincare Outreach, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) owned by philanthropist Peter Nwosu, organised the programme with the active participation of the Peculiar People’s Ministry, a Christian worship centre at Egan and the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Chapel of Holiness, Isheri-Olofin. The worship centres provided the space for the programme as well as spiritual support.
•The joyful beneficiaries
5,000 benefit By Wale Adepoju
The medical team was drawn from Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Ogun State, Lagos General Hospital and other institutions. Head, Medical Team of the outreach, Dr Opeyemi Kuponiyi said malaria is a major disease in the areas. “We attend to everybody including babies less than one year,” she said. Kuponiyi said people believe the only time to see doctors is when
Philanthropist bankrolls programme they are ill, adding that the notion should be corrected by seeing medical experts regularly for checkups. She advised that people should embrace preventive rather than curative health care, adding that curing an ailment is a lot more expensive and almost beyond the reach of the poor. “Things such as basic hygiene and environmental sanitation are important to people’s overall health and as such should be taken seriously. “People should not also engage
in self-medication. When you can’t manage a particular condition you should see the doctor for proper prescription. It is always good to present early. You should not wait until the disease progresses before you see a doctor,” she said. A medical expert at the OOUTH, Dr Oludeye Oladapo, said much of his service is to the poor through the programme, which has been running for three years. The motivation, he said, was due to the connection between the spir•Continued on Page 26
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Doctors feed, treat patients in Lagos, Ogun •Continued from Page 25 itual and physical wellbeing as adopted by the programme. “It is usually a great experience to see the people come out in large numbers to know what is wrong with them and how the religious words soothe them is also a lesson that is worthwhile,” Oladapo said. Founder of the outreach and Managing Director, Greenlife Pharmaceuticals Limited, Mr Peter Nwosu, said the poor should not be forgotten, adding that the programme was the least he could undertake to show appreciation to God for helping him in life. He said apart from helping the needy, the outreach also uses the programe to draw people to Christ, adding that it was a form of soul-winning because the people cannot receive the gospel with empty stomach. He said there are never enough materials to care for the needy each time the outreach goes out. “In most cases, we prepare for 2000 people, but often had more than 4000 people in attendance,” he said. Nwosu said: “Growing up, there were so many things I could not afford. I lost my father quite early and my upbringing was tough because my mother had a lot to cope with. Most times we could not go to the hospital even when we were very sick because we could not afford the cost. “Seeing people scramble for food makes me feel so sad and each time I see that, I cry because of my back-
MEMBER of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Lagos Mainland 11 constituency, Hon. Moshood Oshun has urged his constituents and other stakeholders to work in tandem with their elected representatives, providing advice, support and also constructive criticism. Oshun made the call at the Town Hall meeting and empowerment programme he organised for his constituents at Yaba, Lagos. According to him, the town hall meeting “is to reach out to our constituents and civil society groups; borne out of our desire to deepen the democratic culture in our constituency and enhance the development of how best to achieve the common thread running through our visions. The laudable objective of this town hall meeting is to explain government policies, laws and programmes as well as to elicit
ground.” “I remember a particular Christmas, my mother called me that we should go to the farm because there was nothing at home to eat. On getting to the farm, we found nothing. My mother was confused and as she was going with thoughts in her heart a man beckoned and asked her what the problem was and she narrated her story and he gave her 50 kobo which we used to celebrate Christmas,” he said. “One particular day, my mum fell sick and it was difficult treating her because we could not afford medical bills in any hospital at all. Thereafter, I made a vow that any time God blessed me, I will do everything in my own little way to help the people and that is exactly what I am doing today.” The monthly programme, he said, costs N10m with some medical supplies being supplied free by Greenlife Pharmaceuticals Limited, which has taken it as its corporate social responsibility (CSR). Elated, General Overseer of the Church, Pastor Shola Taiwo, said, “This is a call for repentance for the church.” Taiwo said the church was doing similar programne in a lot smaller measure every May but has now been abandoned. He said, “This reminds me of the ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus, when he was upon planet earth, ministered to the entire world. He ministered to the spirit, soul and body of men. To me, this
•Some of the beneficiaries with donated items is ministry to the heart. This is what God wants the church to be doing.” Assitant Pastor, RCCG, Olasunkanmi Olusola said evangelism is the heartbeat of God through which the soul of man is reached and brought unto Christ for salvation, healing, prosperity and breakthrough. Another medical official, Dr Odusola Adeolu, said the outreach
was the programme that allows people to know what is happening to their health. The medical team said most people in the area have malaria, hypertension, osteo-arthritis and back pain. The satisfaction for the founder of the outreach is that, what he was unable to get while growing, he is making available to others now.
On how the programme could impact on the church and the whole of Igando community, Taiwo said: “There is no how you minister to people and you will not gain their attention and that was the method of our Lord Jesus Christ. Minister and relate with them at their level first of all before you begin to tell them harder things of the kingdom.”
Lawmaker seeks collaboration with constituency By Oziegbe Okoeki
from the people their priority needs”, he said. Oshun explained further that, “we want our people to have an input in the government of the state, and the only way to do that is by coming back to them and liaising with them, talk to them, ask for suggestions, advice and let them criticize what we are doing wrong, because for me as an individual it is very important to get back to the people to know what they want and that can only be done through a gathering like this”. The constituents demand among other things rehabilitation of some schools, repair and maintenance of bad roads especially Moshalasi
Street, Balogun Street and Church Mission Road and also clearing of canals and opening the Iwaya canal to the Lagoon to stop flooding. Oshun assured them that he would present their request and demands to his colleagues in the House “so that when we deal with the executive we will tell them these are the needs of the people in Lagos Mainland 11; so that when we are working on the budget, the executive will know exactly what the people need instead of just giving them anything”, he said. “The request, submissions and presentation here today, will assist the legislature in its advisory and legislative duties. Legislation and indeed governance is about people; I remain committed to the princi-
ple of effective representation and service delivery to the people of Lagos Mainland 11”, Oshun said. Apart from sharing bags of rice to all present at the meeting, the lawmaker also gave cash gift to widows, aged people and artisans. According to him, “we want to assist them with the cash to supplement their daily living. So instead of giving them things they might not need I decided to give them money”. While congratulation Oshun for the gesture, Speaker of Lagos Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who was represented by Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said, “Oshun is a man of high integrity, focused, honest, courageous and has the interest of his people at heart”. Oshun used the occasion to highlight some of the projects he has
executed in his constituency since he was elected in 2007. They include: Donation of bore holes to about 12 streets and areas; facilitation of rehabilitation of about seven roads; Facilitation of provision of 500KVA Transformers to four CDAs and four other streets; free health services; empowerment; social and infrastructural development. Dignitaries present at the event include two principal officers of the Assembly, Chief Whip and Deputy Whip, Hon. Razaq Balogun and Hon. Rotimi Abiru as well as other colleagues of his; Prince Tajudeen Olusi, ACN chairman, Lagos Central Senatorial zone; Hon. Olajide Jimoh, Chairman, Yaba Local Council Development Area; Hon. Oladele Adekanye, Chairman, Mainland Local Government Area, etc.
The request, submissions and presentation here today, will assist the legislature in its advisory and legislative duties. Legislation and indeed governance is about people; I remain committed to the principle of effective representation and service delivery to the people of Lagos Mainland 11
•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi; Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, All Peoples’ Grand Alliance, Dr. Tim Menakaya and Mrs Bianca Ojukwu observing a minute silence in honour of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at a meeting in Enugu PHOTO: CLETUS OBI
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
HE Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, has spoken of an urgent need to give more priority to women and children to boost their profile and raise the nation’s productivity index. Other segments of the society needing focus are the elderly and the disabled, she said. Hajia Maina said her role in women’s cause for over four decades as an activist, gender advocate and community mobiliser has given her “in-depth knowledge of women development and gender equity, having served as National President of the National Council of Women’s Societies,” among other duties. Following the recent 2012 Gender in Nigeria Report, the Minister reiterated her unflinching commitment to gender equity and the overall welfare of women. “Whether I am Minister for Women’s Affairs or not, I will always care about women and girls,” she said. Hajiya Maina regretted that the cost of gender inequality and the general poor condition of women is huge, adding that it is a major constraint to growth in the country. She maintained that investing in girls and women is an investment in Nigeria’s future development. “The statistics of the state of the Nigerian women and adolescent girls are appalling. Significantly, they are worrisome all over the country, North, South, East or West. Women everywhere in Nigeria have worse life chances than men. “Nigeria’s 80.2 million women have a worse chance in life than the men; 60-79% of the rural workforce is women but men are five times more likely to own land. More than 70 % of girls and women between 20 and 29 in the North West cannot read or write and only 31% complete secondary school. Women occupy 21% of non formal sector positions and only 17 % of this in senior cadre,” she stated. She said women and girls have worse development index in the North, where poverty levels are sometimes twice as high as in other parts of the South (72% in the North-East compared with 26% in the South-East and a national average of 54%). Nearly half of all children under five are mal-
HE foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has built and inaugurated an ultra-modern facility called Economic Development Centre in Egbokodo Community, WarriSouth Local Government Area of Delta State. PIND is funded by American oil giant, Chevron Corporation with a $50m fund. It was established to provide support for socio-economic development programmes in the Niger Delta. The foundation also funds pro-
•Mr Timi Tonye
•Rural women and their children
Minister makes case for women, children
From Bukola Amusan, Abuja
nourished in the North-East, compared to 22% in the South-East. Hausa girls, for example, are 35% less likely to go to school than Yoruba boys. “The impact of inequality on the lives of girls and women is reflected starkly in health and education outcomes, nationally and between North and South. Levels of gender violence are also high, notably in the South where inequality is greatest,” she stressed. The Minister also observed that income inequality in the formal sector is another area of concern. According to the findings, only one in every three employees in the privileged non-agricultural formal sector is a woman. Regardless of their educational qualifications, women occupy fewer than 30% of all posts in the public sector and only 17% of senior positions. She suggested that the public sector could highlight and address this issue by conducting a gender audit to identify where gender equity can be strength-
ened in recruitment, promotion and pay. Maina was equally concerned about girl education. She said for Nigeria to ensure healthier, more educated, empowered and productive citizenry, it must invest in educating the mothers of the next generation. Educated women are more likely to use health services and to have fewer and better-nourished children, and their children are more likely to survive, she said. Girls who are educated will also contribute to future economic growth. According to the Minister, Nigeria has the largest number of out-ofschool children in the world. The figures show wide disparities between states and across communities. Over 70% of young women aged 20-29 in the Northwest are unable to read or write compared to 9.7% in the SouthEast. Several reasons explain this:
socio-cultural traits, poverty, early marriage, early childbirth, poor sanitation, and the shortage of female teachers. Maina is worried about maternal mortality. Almost nine in 10 women who have higher education and two thirds of women with secondary education give birth in a health facility; one in ten uneducated women do so, she said. Another are of great concern is the political representation of women. Only 9% of those who stood for election in Nigeria’s April 2011 National Assembly elections were women. Out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, only 25 are women, which is 6% compared to African average of 19%. More women than men register to vote, but women are excluded from decision-making at all levels by male dominated patronage networks, the
•Hajiya Maina absence of agreed quotas, and a party system that fails to nominate women candidates for electable seats. Violence against women and girls cannot be ignored. One in three of all women and girls aged 15-24 has been a victim of violence. Research has suggested, disturbingly, that violence is endemic in some public institutions, including the police and certain educational bodies, where an “entrenched culture of impunity” protects perpetrators of rape and other violence.
NGO inaugurates Centre in Niger Delta From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba
grammes in partnership with other donors from the public and private sectors as it seeks to create a dynamic partnership with diverse organisations. The newly inaugurated centre’s core mission, according to its Project Director, Dennis Fleming, is to support
PIND’s Economic Development programme which focuses on economic development, capacity building, peace building and analysis and advocacy. Fleming said the EDC will also drive research and lead the design of PIND by focusing on supporting all aspects of a project’s life cycle. The EDC will house PIND’s team of development professionals with backgrounds in agriculture, market research and programme design, infrastructure and monitoring and evaluation as well as staff from various partner agencies. Fleming noted that efforts by various donor agencies to address the socio-economic problems in the Niger Delta have been limited because there has not been sufficient collaboration between these organisations. He further stressed that PIND’s unique multi-stakeholder strategy is poised to provide new outcome to old problems. He said the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (NDPI) is a five-year $50m funding approved by Chevron Corporation executive committee in the United States of America, even as he disclosed that the PIND was modeled after Chevron’s successful Angola Partnership established in 2002 to help rebuild and develop the country. He said PIND has entered into partnerships with 17 agencies namely United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (DFID), German International Cooperation (GIZ) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Youth Foundation (IYF) and a host of others.
In an address Supo Shadiya , Director, Chevron/NNPC Joint Venture and member, Board of Trustees PIND, said “the occasion is all about the improvement of the standard of living of people of the Niger Delta. From both corporate and national standpoints, there are many reasons for us to be proud of what we are doing today. “We are creating an avenue for more human capital development and empowerment opportunities for our communities. This, we believe, is a major step towards addressing a key finding of the PIND-sponsored Niger Delta Youth Assessment Study conducted in 2011 which revealed that over 60 per cent of sampled Niger Delta youths were without any form of employment or self-employment. “We expect the centre to cater for this and also meet its primary objective of evolving sustainable economic programmes and generating requisite funding through collaborative efforts with the public and private sectors for the economic and social transformation of Niger Delta communities.”
Continuing, he said: “Today’s event is about celebration of partnerships with the state governments of the Niger Delta region, the Federal government, communities and donor agencies aimed at improving the quality of life of people. However, for sustainable development to be achieved there must be cooperation of people and the existence of an environment of peace and security.” Delta State Governor Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan in an address praised PIND for its novel developmental strategies, urging the agency to complement the efforts of government capacity building of the youth in Niger Delta. Governor Uduaghan was represented by Mr. Timi Tonye Commissioner, Special Duties. The event was attended by Mr. Misan Ukubeinje, Delta State Commissioner, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Ademola Olorunfemi, Ondo State Commissioner, Agriculture, Walt Maguire, David Okerentie Olaraja of Egbokodo Community, Amanoritse Atiwa, among others.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Borno tackles poverty with N1b
•Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs Funmi Olayinka (right), her Lagos State counterpart, Princess Orelope Adefulire and former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Abubakar Balarabe Musa at the Colloquium to mark the 45th years anniversary of the creation of Lagos State at the Eko Hotel.
Borno materials to the people. “The ministry distributed various poverty alleviation materials to different categories of persons in order to empower them and make them self-reliant. “The items include sewing machines, electric power generating sets, milling machines and water pump machines for irrigation,’’ she said. The commissioner said that the ministry also distributed 5,000 tricycles to youths in Maiduguri, following the ban on the use of motorcycles for transportation in the metropolis. “The tricycles have augmented local transport and they have filled the vacuum created by the absence of the motorbikes. They have also provided employment for the youth,’’ Gimba added.
Council gets 100 trucks of fertilisers
HE Chairman, Interim Management Committee, Soba Local Government Area in Kaduna State,Alhaji Rilwanu Shehu, said the council procured 100 trucks of fertilisers at N100 million for this year’s farming season. He told newsmen in Soba headquarters of the council that farmers in the area would enjoy 50 per cent subsidy. “We are going to sell the fertilisers to our farmers at half the price; this is part of government’s efforts to assist the farmers. “Our aim is to encourage mass agricultural production in the area to reduce the level of poverty amongst the people.’’ Shehu gave the assurance that the fertilisers would be distributed judiciously to all categories of farmers with emphasis on peasant farmers. The chairman appealed to the farmers to be
Kaduna patient as sales of the commodity would begin soon. Shehu lauded Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State for embarking on developmental projects in the area. “We are grateful to the state government for constructing a road that links Soba with Ikara, where you can now spend 15 minutes instead of two hours. “The road has been upgraded and standard bridges were constructed, now you can move comfortably on this road.’’ According to him, work is also ongoing on Gujungu-Turawa-Dinya road.
Council chair decries child abuse
HE Apapa Local Government Area chairman, Mr Ayodeji Joseph, has called on parents to be committed to their children’s upbringing instead of exposing them to danger through street trading . Joseph who made the call during the Children’s Day celebration , noted that most parents now recruit their children into early labour and in the process, pass their responsibilities to the children they are supposed to cater for. He said: “A situation where a child is made to hawk by the roadsides, thereby exposing them to danger is wickedness on the part of parents. It is the responsibility of parents to fend for their children until they become adults.” The council chair stated that in view of the economic challenges, parents should limit the number of children they bear. “When a family produces the number of children it is not capable caring for, it exposes the family to danger.” He stated that children were not supposed to provide for parents at the risk of their lives, rather their education, shelter, clothing and
ORNO State Commissioner for Poverty Alleviation and Youth Empowerment Dr Zainab Gimba said that the state government has spent N1 billion on various poverty alleviation programmes in the last one year. She made this known in Maiduguri while speaking with journalists. Gimba said that the money was spent on the renovation of the skills acquisition centres, the training of unemployed youths as well as the provision of poverty alleviation materials. “We renovated and expanded numerous skills acquisition centres across the state. “Equipment were supplied and installed in most of the centres and various forms of youth training are ongoing at the moment,’’ she said. Gimba said that the ministry had also distributed numerous poverty alleviation
• Some students of Stanford Graduate School of Business, United States, during their visit to Ladol Base, Apapa, Lagos. With them in front is the Managing Director of Ladol, Dr Amy Jadesinmi
By Musa Odoshimokhe
other needs should be the priority of their parents. He drew the attention of parents to the Child Right Act of 2007 which protects the child from any form of abuse and praised the state government for doing everything within its power to give the Nigerian child the protection deserved. “As a government, we have taken the issue of children and youth seriously. We believe that neglecting the welfare of the children amount to neglecting the future of our nation.” He also used the occasion to commend corporate organisations which have partnered with the council in executing some laudable projects especially in education that affects the development of the youth positively. Joseph urged the children to take advantage of the efforts of government by dedicating themselves to their studies, shun vices capable of endangering their future and career.
Firm unveils new product
IS Photo-Me Group, world leader in photo processing equipment has introduced its latest technology for photo printing; the Kis DKS 1890 photo printing machine combo with photo book builders to Nigeria. Speaking during the showcase of its features at Skysnap in Abuja, Kis International Sales Manager, Mr. Pierre Buenda said the new equipment is compatible with all silver halide minilabs (one format: 20x14cm) with a few minutes production time to include printing and binding. He added that the DKS 1890 with a monocanal film analysis can produce up to 56 films per hour and would automatically remove dust and scratches from the surface of the print. It also features an automatic photo correction and enhancement using Eye-Tech Digital Science through Local Density Control function. The Manager of SkySnap, Abuja, Mr. Dave Bharat said the new machine would enhance
From Bukola Amusan, Abuja
customer satisfaction among photo-lovers in the country. He added that SkySnap decided to procure the equipment as part of efforts to give their customer the best and latest in printing technology. Established in 1954, Kis France has 43,700 vending machines installed in more than 33,000 sites across the five continents. It has over 1700 employees and has generated about £219.8 million in revenue. Last year, its profit before taxes was £18 million. It launched the revolutionary Photo book maker in 2008 and launched the Photo book Builder alongside a new generation of universal kiosks in 2010. The company also launched its Photo book Pro which was the first ever made solution for automatic Photo book on-site compatible with RA4 paper (from 15x10 to 30x20 cm). It has sold 800 units worldwide.
Pensioners mark 15th anniversary
•Hon Joseph inspecting a guard of honour mounted by Boys Scout during Children’s Day celebration
ORMER workers of United Bank of Africa (UBA) that were forced into retirement 15 years-ago marked their 15th year at Railway Recreation Centre, Ebute-Metta (West) recently. The new Exco Secretary-General, Comrade F.O. Erinle informed of a synergy between a Pan African NGO and the organisation since March. An approved letter which was sent from the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, national headquarters, Abuja, was read by the auditor, Comrade Ibrahim Agboluaje. On behalf of the entire pensioners, Dr. Sanya said: “they observe this period on a sober reflection throughout Nigeria and gave thanks to God for sparing their lives for the past 15 years despite all challenges faced”. He said many had died from hardship, diseases and deprivations occasioned by UBA’s maltreatment. “If UBA were humane enough to re spond to their calls for a better welfare package such as a meaningful enhancement in the
By Duro Babayemi
meager stipend being paid as pension, healthcare and 13th month pension payment, the situation would have been much better. 3,500workers were forced to retire and the bank management is wasting their time in having dialogue with them, that is why they have been treating us as beggars”. The group urged the entire UBA management to look into their plight and come to terms with the reality of their predicament with a view to finding solution to their problem. They noted that two other giant banks, First Bank of Nig. Plc and Union Bank pensioners have been enjoying all benefits from the month they qualify for pension unlike theirs. Their colleagues in the office earn more than 10,000% of their poor paid pension salary. They are calling on well meaningful Nigerians including Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, even President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in their case
• Goveror Shettima
Sokoto empowers Zakat, endowment committee
OKOTO State Governor Aliyu Wamakko has announced that contractors executing projects for the state are to pay one per cent of their contract sum to the state Zakat and Endowment Committee. He said the money would be deducted from source, hinting that a bill to give the deduction a legal backing would be forwarded to the State House of Assembly. Wamakko spoke at the opening of a workshop on “Zakat and Endowment in Contemporary Society” organised by the State Zakat and Endowment Committee. He said the direct deduction would boost the “monthly income of the committee to enhance its activities, aimed at alleviating poverty in the society.”
‘Jos Wild Life Park can generate N10m monthly’ T HE Assistant General Manager (AGM), Plateau Tourism Corporation,Mr Timotrhy Nyam, has said that the Jos Wild Life Park is capable of generating more than N10 million monthly when fully developed. Nyam told journalists in Jos recently that the revenue would triple if the Pandam Wild Life Park and Wase Rock Game Reserve were living up to their potentialities. He said: “N10 million monthly from the Jos Wild Life Park alone is quite a good money that can help Plateau Government to move to the next level,’’ The assistant general manager, who is the Head of Department of Wild life of the corporation, said that the park at its present state could generate about N5 million monthly if there was permanent peace. Nyam said that ecotourism, which has to do with the environment, required injection of little funds for greater returns, adding that the parks could boost the state economy if fully developed. “We have both animate and inanimate resources that are kept in-situ and ex-situ that are of world class and could attract millions of people on daily basis. He explained that “managing animals in-situ means keeping them in the natural environment where they are found while keeping them exsitu taking them where you want them to be.” Nyam described the parks as hidden treasure, but decried the reduction in the number of fun seekers to the parks as result of challenges
Church holds crusade THE Kingdom Force Assembly a.k.a. Believers Praise has begun its six-day crusade since yesterday and will end with a thanksgiving service on Sunday, June 10. The theme is “Arresting the Robbers of Destiny’ andthe time is 5pm everyday but 7am on Sunday. The venue is 13 Agbado Road, Oja Oba Bus Stop, Iju-Ishaga, Lagos. Speaking on the programme, the host, Rev. Mike Ededeson, said the crusade is set apart to recover and restore stolen destiny, adding that the Almighty will set all participants free. Dr Apostle Kelly Wilfred from Delta State, will minister total deliverance for five days.
Wamakko also announced that the state government and its 23 local government councils would, henceforth, donate N31.5 million monthly to the committee instead of the current N7.4 million. “As from this month, the state government will provide N20 million monthly to the committee from the current N2 million. “The 23 local governments will also, henceforth, donate N11.5 million, instead of N5.4 million.’’ The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, praised the governor for alleviating the conditions of the poor. He specifically commended the state government for paying N6,500 monthly to over 6,979 physically challenged persons in the state since 2007. Abubakar regretted that despite the governor’s gesture, many people still beg on the streets. “Begging is un-Islamic and there should be an
•Governor Wamakko urgent solution to this menace.’’ The Sultan commended the state governor for according top priority to the growth and development of Islam and urged him not to relent.
confronting it. The AGM expressed optimism that the sector would soon live up to its bidding as concerted efforts were being made by the state government to put the parks at its best to enhance its revenue generation capacity.
•Chairman Ikosi Isheri Local Government Hon. Fatai Oresanya (left) and the Leader of the House, Prince Awolabi Taiwo during the presentation of 2012 budget.
Muslim clerics condole with crash victims
HE Muslim community in Mushin Area of Lagos has joined other well meaning Nigerians in condoling with the families of the DANA air crash victims that occurred in Iju Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos and the bomb blast in Bauchi State on Sunday. Under the aegis of Mushin Council of Imams and Ulamau, the statement signed by its President, Alhaji Sulaimon Olanijo expressed sadness over the twin ugly incidents. “The incident that took many lives of noble citizens will always be in our mind. We join the Chief Imam of Lagos State Alhaji Ibrahim Akinola, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and Oba of Lagos, Oba Ridwan Akinolu in mourning the departed souls. “We pray the Almighty Allah in his infinite mercy should put a stop to this calamities and grant the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Governor lauded for improving quality of life C HIEFTAIN of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Niyi Adeagbo, has praised the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi for transforming the state within one year. Adeagbo noted that the opposition parties are in the habit of condemning the restoration projects of the state government instead of supporting them.He said this attitude should change to make for the total transformation of the Pacesetter state. He made this statement in his office in Ibadan recently . The ACN chieftain explained that the new budget reveals all the work that has been done within the last 12 months in office, adding that government is making giant strides ranging from the construction of a flyover bridge in Mokola,the first after the military administration, the channelisation of Farayola Stream in Bodija to creation of 20 thousand jobs for the unemployed youths. Others include,construction and grading of over 52 roads network within Ibadan, free health mission in the 33 local government areas
From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan
He noted that initially it seemed like no development was going on but secretly there was a lot being done to clear the rot past administration left behind. He said: “The ACN government in power is set to deliver excellent service to the people of Oyo State and to do that it would need to have a good foundation. The systemic rot the past administration left behind had to be sanitised, I believe. However, recently, since the signing of the budget of restoration into law, things have started picking up. It has been a year since this administration came into power , and I think that all is in order and I will like to use this medium to say congratulations to His Excellency Senator Abiola Ajimobi and his entire team on the achievement of government so far.More grease to your elbow. I believe the best is yet to come.So no matter what the prior plans were, there was need to rethink, re-plan and re-strategise. He said further:”There are few Nigerians today that are genuinely passionate about the state of the nation, that have so much dreams for this country, undoubtedly, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is one of them. “He and other leaders like our leader in Oyo State Alhaji Lam Adesina have built the ACN brand as a distinct entity that needs competent, vibrant, dedicated, selfless men and women that have passed the test of •Hon Adeagbo time.
NGO to aid sanitation
NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisation (NGO), Mindset Transformation Aid For Organisational Change, will henceforth assist communities in the suburbs of Lagos State, during the monthly environmental sanitation excercise. The group began the initiative at the Joseph Modupe Johnson Quarters of Ajegunle, providing cleaning equipment such as rakes, shovels, head pans and hand gloves to the community. In conjunction with the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), the Lagosbased NGO was not deterred by the cancellation of the excercise last month due to the NECO Exams, as it stummed the Ajegunle community made up of mostly the Ilajes of Ondo State, providing both physical and material support. Aside providing the cleaning materials, personnel of the organisation also participated in the over three hours excercise, which included the clearing of all the drains. President of the NGO, Oluwaseun Daniel, said his group is driven by the desire to build a new Nigeria, adding that the main aim is to transform the mentality of the coming generation for a better tomorrow.
"We discovered that with 50 years gone already as a nation, things are still done this way. There is the need to change the way we do things in the next 50years. Our parents have built their own 50years, what will become of the next 50 years. This is the question our organisation stands to answer. "As you can see the response was quite impressive. This is just the beginning of what we intend to do. We will still go round the other comminities and ensure that we touch every area that needs such assistance. We are ready to go as far as possible, it is like life to us because we know that the success of this organisation will mean a better tomorrow for us and our children," he said. Replying, Chairman of the Ilaje West Community Development Association in Ajegunle, Shina Ikudehinbu praised the initiative, while commending the organisation for their gesture. "We are still trying to enlighten our people on the essence of cleaning their environment always. But the aid received from Mindset has made our job easy," he said.
•Members of the groug diring the last sanitation exercise
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Text only: 08023058761
Making quite a show of dying – Page 30
Under traditional dentists’ tools – Page 32
A dinner at sea – Page 34
Celebrating a literary giant - SEE PAGE 31
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- email@example.com
•Theater, Life, and the Afterlife, at China Institute, includes this carved brick of a Shehuo performance from the Jin dynasty
The head of a figure in the exhibition. PHOTOS: LIBRADO ROMERO/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Making quite a show of dying
O Christians in the Middle Ages, dying was the equivalent of a giddy elevator ride. You either shot straight up to an air-conditioned luxury penthouse, dropped down to the basement boiler room or got stuck on a stuffy mezzanine, from which, with luck and lots of prayers said by family and friends, you might eventually rise. In China of the 12th and 13th centuries death was thought of differently. What you hoped for, even expected, when you breathed your last was to go nowhere in particular, indeed to stay, with minor adjustments, right where you were. Tombs were designed to put you in accustomed surroundings, in a mirror image of the home you’d always known. There you could continue to oversee household tasks, enjoy favourite meals and, in the long afterlife evenings, be entertained by the medieval version of network television: live actors performing comedy skits and dramatic mini-series right there in your living room. In short, death was life, but better: no colds, no taxes. And there was no reason to think that this new-old life would ever change. Of course it did change. Time, accident and human meddling saw to that. One day a farmer digging for water puts his shovel through your roof. Next your house is swarming with strangers. They make off with your clothes, chairs and dinner plates. Your musicians and actors are whisked away, and, like them, the life you’d assumed was eternal is gone. Occasionally, though, a semblance of that life can be reconstituted, and it has been at China Institute in “Theater, Life, and the Afterlife: Tomb Décor of the Jin Dynasty from Shanxi,” an exhibition with all the virtues of the best shows there. It’s ideally scaled for concentrated looking. It’s made up of rarely seen material, all from the impressive Shanxi provincial museum in northern China and atmospherically installed by the gallery’s director, Willow Weilan Hai Chang. And the art is astonishing: some of it fine, some of it rough, all of it made for the life beyond, all of it bursting with life in the here and now. The now for which most of it was conceived was the Jin dynasty, from 1115 to 1234. Semi-nomadic people from Manchuria, the Jin had a twisty history in China. They initially arrived as horse traders to a dynasty called the Liao, but in the early 12th century teamed up with a rival dynasty, the North Song, to wipe out the Liao. A few years later the Jin turned on the Song, pushed them south and declared northern China their own. A stretch of relative peace followed, though it didn’t last long. The Song regrouped and began to exert steady pressure. Mongol forces, which would form the next Chinese empire, the Yuan, began assaults from the north. For the Jin what had gone around came around. In 1232 the Mongols and the Song joined forces and defeated them, after which the Jin were absorbed into China as a whole. Absorption was easy. During their decades in power
By Holland Cotter
MONUMENT the Jin had gradually modified their tribal ways and adopted Song customs and enthusiasms. The customs included funerary practices based on the idea of treating the dead as if they were alive. Among the enthusiasms was a taste for theater, which the Jin turned into a dynastic craze, one that filtered down to all levels of society, urban and rural, and was integrated into the business-as-usual life of the grave. Jin graves were simply constructed, with decoration mostly in the form of relief carvings on bricks, some 80 examples of which make up the show, organized by Ms. Chang and Shi Jinming, director of the Shanxi Museum. Brick carving was essentially a folk medium, but Jin artists made an elaborate, often elegant thing of it, especially in their serial depictions of stage figures and scenes from plays. Of the hundred or so Jin tombs uncovered in Shanxi Province in the past half-century most were equipped with what amounted to sculptured home theaters. In the most recent of these discoveries, excavated in 2009 and reassembled at China Institute, a ministage, replete with actors, is the dominant feature. Although one of the show’s most captivating opening images is not taken from theater per se, it certainly is dramatic. It’s a high-relief sculpture of a small figure of a woman standing half inside and half outside a slightly open double door, as if she’d just responded to a knock but felt shy about venturing out. No one knows the real meaning here. If the entrance to a grave can be taken as the point of transition between two realities, earthly and other, this is a haunting emblem of that idea. And once beyond the door, inside the tomb, the other life starts. Its practical details are established in a series of square bricks carved with emblems of domestic life. A woman draws water from a well; another steams buns in a kitchen. Wine vessels sit on table. A mirror hangs from a stand, ready to catch the reflection of the lady of the house as she prepares herself for an evening’s entertainment. Entertainment is what she gets, and we get, in the reliefs in the rest of the show. There’s a warm-up procession of musicians beating drums, clapping wood clappers and piping away on flutes. They’re followed by zany
‘No one knows the real meaning here. If the entrance to a grave can be taken as the point of transition between two realities, earthly and other, this is a haunting emblem of that idea’
peasant dancers, and children, or actors playing children, who stage mock battles on horses constructed from paper and bamboo. The racket subsides a bit when the Eight Daoist Immortals appear, bearded, fat and eccentric, like so many Falstaffs. Finally the evening’s actors arrive, figures as distinctive and unnuanced as commedia dell’arte personnel: the blandly handsome leading man; the highranking official, nose in the air; the clown, leering, grinning, staggering around; his clueless straight man; and finally, plump, demure and bewigged, the one female character, played by a man. It says something about the care that went into funerary art that these types, while always recognizable, never look exactly the same from one example to the next. It also says a lot about the range and vitality of Jin theater that it could encompass blowzy parades, drawing-room farce and Confucian narratives dramatizing the challenges and rewards of filial piety. The show has a sequence of two dozen such moralizing scenes. Summarily shaped and sketchily painted, they’re hardly masterpieces. But they work as an ensemble, which is what most of the art here was meant to do, the clearest example being the reassembled tomb in the second gallery. Rectangular and about the size of a walk-in closet, with barely room for a bed or bier, it has, at one end, a sculpture of a door, this one tightly shut and flanked by the somber figures of a man and woman, possibly portraits of the unidentified husband and wife for whom the tomb was built. The reliefs of lattice windows and pots of peonies on the long walls may well capture the House Beautiful ambience of upper-class Jin homes. By comparison the entrance wall looks bare, with nothing but a low, cutout door and a niche with four standing figures. Yet those figures are clearly the focus of the ensemble, where the eye is meant to land. Sculptured almost in the round, they are the standard characters of Jin drama: leading man, straight man, official, clown. And they are poised, as if on the lip of a stage, to take a collective bow in the direction of the tomb’s tenants, whose bodies, it was discovered when the grave was opened, had been positioned to face them. But are the players really lined up for a curtain call? Hands clasped, all looking as if they were about to speak, they could be announcing a new play that’s about to begin. Which one? We know almost nothing about contents of Jin-era drama, and maybe the couple who called the tomb home didn’t either. Maybe they trusted performers to play what they wished, even make scripts up as they went along. “Enchant us,” the tomb owners asked. “Just enchant us!” Their actors, as embodied in Jin art, no doubt did so. Centuries later, with a new audience, in a different world, they continue to. • Culled from The New York Times
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
The gathering was to celebrate one of their own, a literary giant in his own right, at the presentation of his book in Ibadan, Oyo State. Though ace poet/playwright Prof. Femi Osofisan (aka Okinba Launko) was not there, his absence did not mar the celebration. EVELYN OSAGIE writes. ‘The first time I took notice of him was when he came to stage A Restless Run of Locust... As a politician's daughter, the story struck a cord. One can see the depth of the man who wrote it...I am happy I am married to this genius, an extremely compassionate individual’
Celebrating a literary giant
E is a man of many parts. But on this occasion, the literati chose to celebrate Okinba Launko, the poetic spirit of the ace poet/playwright Prof. Femi Adeyemi
Osofisan. The formal presentation of the Launko Blues: Poems in celebration of Femi Osofisan drew accolades for the literary achievements and musings of the erudite scholar. It also threw up dust on happenings in the country. Osofisan, a critic, novelist, essayist, lecturer, editor, publisher, culture activist, playwright, has written and produced over 40 plays, such as Hotel, Morountodun, Who is Afraid of Solarin?, Birthdays are not for the Dying and Ajayi Crowther. His poems entitled: Minted Coins and Dream Seeker on Diving Chain are published under the pseudonym, Okinba Launko. He addresses socio-political issues in his plays, and writes on the liberating effects of myth and ritual. He has won several awards for excellence in creative writing and contributions to the struggles for human rights. Scholars, critics, playwrights, poets and others from home and abroad stormed the University of Ibadan (UI) Theatre Auditorium to celebrate with Osofisan. They included the Yoruba literature exponent, Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola; Prof. Niyi Osundare; Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) President, Prof. Remi Raji and his predecessor, Dr Wale Okediran represented by his wife, Folake and the Vice-Chancellor of Bells University of Technology, was represented by Prof. Ayo Babalola, among others. Although Osofisan is on a fellowship with the International Theatre Research Institute of the Freie University, Berlin, his absence did not spoil the fun. He was represented by his wife, Prof. Adenike. Her presence added spice to the event. The poetic collage was conceived in tranquility at a poetry retreat in honour of Osofisan by some poets at two nature's spot Preboye's Garden and Osofisan's Garden - in Ibadan. In the midst of bees and honey, the poets wrote their hearts out and gave meaning to the collection. The project was masterminded by Ebiks Theatre headed by Ebika Anthony. Osofisan's achievements, the organisers said, inspired the project. “Not only is
TRIBUTE Osofisan a dexterous poet of Okinba Lauko fame, he is also a robust and prolific playwright, hilarious storyteller, a professor of theatre arts, who has made invaluable con-
tributions to Africa's placement on the world's literary map," said Anthony, the project manager. Osundare called Osofisan the "Opon Ifa literary man". He lamented that writers are rarely given accolades due to them. He eulogised Osofisan, saying the event is not only a
‘I arrived yesterday and it is not possible to hear of Osofisan and not be here. Osofisan had no life than writing and literature...It is sad that our country is not where it should be. Can our literature be where it should be..?’
celebration of the literary giant, but of Nigerian poets in general. He said: “I arrived yesterday and it is not possible to hear of Osofisan and not be here. I couldn't have missed it. Thank you, Ebika for doing us this honour. You have greatly honoured and celebrated all of us. The pseudonym, Okinba Launko, has become the name of the man. Osofisan had no life than writing and literature. In fact, he lives literature. This place is a living history of theatre. He slept, worked, quarrelled and developed in this theatre. I wrote a critique in poetry on his production and he replied in poetry. It was the years when literature thrived as our nation thrived. Can we reproduce those years? I hope this message would not be lost. It is sad that our country is not where it should be. Can our literature be where it should be when our country is not where it should be? Can I leave the answer to you.” Prof. Ishola called the period “Literature in the good old days.” Prof. Ishola said he shared a lot with Osofisan with regards to storytelling. He and Osofisan presented the Yoruba and English adaptations of the late Olorunfemi Fagunwa's classical novel Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale featured in the Chams Theatre Series. “He is a good friend. He loves telling and acquiring stories; and a lover of songs. He may not have written in Yoruba, he loves Yoruba deeply. One of the stories Osofisan acquired was Mother Rabbit." Mrs. Osofisan, a professor of Computer Science, was full of eulogies for her husband, whom she called a "genius”. She took guests into their marital and literary voyage, recounting their thrilling and challenging moments. “The first time I took notice of him was when he came to stage A Restless Run of Locust, a political play, in Akure. As a politician's daughter, the story struck a cord. Even though he was talking about something serious, he made it hilarious with lots of lessons. One can see the depth of the man who wrote • Continued on page 32
Taking the ‘road less travelled’ By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)
NTIL now, Alex Nwokolo, may have been pigeon holed as a painter. Most of the works exhibited in his last eight solo shows were mainly colourful paintings of representation, including human face and landscape documentation as exemplified in his roof-top series. Today, after months of soul searching, Nwokolo has shifted interest to the explora-
tion of materials, thus literarily dumping the brush, knife and palette for pliers, glues and cutters. Little wonder he now composes and constructs rather than paints his exhibits unlike before. To him, this is a ‘road less travelled’ which was inspired by his desire for change and concern to reflect world views in his works . But artists, such as Prof El Anatsui, Krainebi Osahenye, Olu Amoda and Ayo Aina, are regular explorers of this emerging path (conceptual works). At the Terra Kulture Art Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, he will present 25 conceptual works in a solo exhibition tagged: Authenticity of Thoughts. It is being presented by Sachs Gallery and supported by Access Bank, Vueve Clicquot and Arra Wines, and will run till June 14. The collection of new works is an exploration of materiality and the extant possibilities of working in various media in very creative ways, especially found objects. It will feature works in fabric, aluminium foil, papier mache, enamel paint among oth-
ers to explore new realities and fundamental truths.In a preview session in Lagos, Nwokolo said the thought of conceptual work came to his mind in July last year during a holiday but that it took him several months to put the materials together. “First, I did not know where to head to after collecting so many materials, especially the found objects. But, with some experimentations and researches on them, things started to take shape. I realised that creativity does not end with one art material,” he noted. Specifically, his experimentation runs through three main media. And of all the works on show, metal dominates the collection. There are those made of rolled-up pieces of fabric placed orderly on a board, those made of flattened and folded pieces of aluminium foil, those using cut-out silhouettes of human figures and those using papier mache on a board. Of all the works, Guantanamo Bay jail house stands out as it reflects on the state of human rights abuses across the globe, especially in the US where rights to freedom are touted to be uncompromised. Nwokolo in reaction to global issues such as this constructs the threepanel piece, Guantanamo Bay that shows black men and white men in chains, and the differ-
ent prisoners attires that are illustrated in colours. The black and white panels represent freedom, while orange panel represents the prison itself. Beyond the (un)popularity of Guantanamo Bay detention centre, which was leased by US from Cuba in 1898, the imageries from the work bring to question America’s failure to honour international treaties on human rights. On January 22, 2009, President Barrack Obama ordered the closure of the detention centre within a year. Like Guantanamo Bay, Black Maria is imagery of confinement as it depicts solitary black men in chains, which also shows injustices in national and international levels in their many manifestations. Closely related is Holding Cell, in which the artist captures some of the European countries’ cells where illegal immigrants are kept. The work is done with papier mache and enamel. In Subsidy Unrest, Nwokolo records in cans of drink images of the last January mass protest by Nigerians against fuel subsidy removal. Other works for display include Tale of two cities, Parallel lines and Tree of life. For Nwokolo to tread this less travelled path after more than 20 years of studio practice, demonstrates how broadminded he is to creativity, use of materials, reception to changes and development in the society.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
Elegy to the dancing poet (For Ify Omalicha Agwu) By Victor Anyaegbuna
Let me sleep, now that dreams are born To create awesome visions at dawn; Let me see haloed belle at dusk, That exposed my tottering mask; Now that angled hopes flashed me high To comb the sparkle in that eye; Her dance pampered me to the beat, Stopping short at my nervous feet. Now that my trembling mortal frame Rattled to stunning humble fame From rendition not often seen In life’s contest, so cool and keen. Let vibrant dreams that stir my heart Wreck this silence that cows my might To seize charm that called at my feet, That my reticence minced like meat. That my adoring heart warmed up To cool embrace fated to flop; But raised hopes, that would never be, To sugar my pedantic tea; In cluttered fantasies of life That past struggles straggled in strife When a deft star, from the sky drooped, But too soon halted, and tendered. Now that the best moons are stillborn, How would granny hear, rise and mourn? The joy she gave that hatched your name, Conferred identity, to tame The monster your sanctified shine Subdued, that gave you wings so fine; Stagecraft, elocution; such skill That providence so chose to kill. Now that these potent dreams are dead, Where will this angel find her bed? Now that such hurtful sorrows burn Where will dance and choreo store pain? That glamour may see far beyond Delightful welcomes, lost and found, When very great pleasures that quit, Crush the pain in my battered heart. Your genes, talents will rise and glow In that infant that watched you go. Your grand dreams will be born again In stardom veiled in drops of rain; That will rouse you, as renditions, On same stage you stirred great motions. The world will stand and see it done Then, the dreams will be truly born.
Celebrating a literary giant • Continued from page 31 it. Then, things moved on from there. The courtship lasted a long time and eventually we got married." After marriage, the love spell began to disappear. “We got married and I started seeing his other sides. For instance, once he is writing his stories, he doesn't want anybody to disturb him, even when the roof is falling on one's head. It was a problem initially, but, with time, I was able to cope. And I understood the kind of person I married. Then, I was able to appreciate him the more. I am happy I am married to this genius, an extremely compassionate individual.” She praised the wives of writers and artists, urging them to bear with their bohemian lifestyles. To women seeking to marry are or married to writers/artists, she advised: “You need to be patient because artists create. And when they are in the process of creating, they don't want to be disturbed. If you disturb them in the process, then, you'd see the other side of them. And it is not because they are wicked; they are in a world of their own at that particular point in time and you need to give them space. When you do, then you would enjoy them and won't have a problem with them." The reviewer, Prof. Francis Egbokhare of the Department of Linguistic, University of Ibadan, was exceptional as he started with series of folksongs, eulogising Osofisan’s achievements. He said: "Even in a world of change, a man of honour remains the same. Osofisan has lived a life of honour. His contributions to the literary landscape, Egbokhare said, remain evergreen.” The book, he said, is an honest recognition of the widely-acclaimed writer and convergence of his ideologies. Founder of African Heritage Research Library, Mr Bayo Adebowale, recited his A Poet's Oriki and Anthony's Okinba Launko. Anthony recited the Dream Seeker, a poem dedicated to the late poet Ify Omalicha Agwu. Other dignitaries included former HOD Classic Department, UI, Dr. Folake Onayemi, and his successor, Dr. Kunbi Olasope; Hon. Dipo Oyedokun, the book presenter and Prince Isaac Preboye.
•Dr. Olu attending to Mrs Nwankwo
Under traditional teeth Traditional dentists are gradually gaining popularity among Nigerians. EVELYN OSAGIE writes on patients’ experience in their hands.
AMSON Oletu lives and works in Lagos. Two weeks ago, he began to have pains in his gums, forcing him to chew less. In two days, the pain had become unbearable. He went to the chemist, and got some antibiotics, along with painkillers which he began to take. The pained continued. He spoke with his colleague, who had suffered toothache in the past, and was told to use hot water to melt the antibiotics and pain killers in a cup, and use it to gurgle the teeth before swallowing. Oletu did, but he discovered that the pains persisted. He increased the painkillers to three tablets, but all it could do was subdue the pain for six hours. One night, he miscalculated, and when he woke up at midnight to take his painkillers, they were just not there. After two hours, the pain became unbearable, sweating he began to pray. But the more he prayed, the more the pain increased, until he could no longer bear it. “When the pain became unbearable, I cried to my doctor-friend and he told me to remove the tooth. That is what everybody does, I was told,” he said. But Oletu feared the ache may transfer to another and could not bear to remove the tooth. “What if the pain starts in another tooth, will I also extract it? No, there must be a way to cure the pain. Not even if the pain is killing me, I won’t,” he resolved. At this point, he was in dilemma. “Then, someone suggested I remove the worms in my teeth. A good neighbour offered information where I could do that without extracting the tooth – Benin City, Edo State,” he said. Oletu left Lagos on Monday morning at the risk of a query from his company and travelled to Benin. He was given a name, Dr. Sunny Olu, and his address, with a promise that the session would not last longer than 40 minutes. So, Oletu planned to return that evening. On getting to Benin, he traced the ‘teeth doctor’, as he is called, and in about 45 minutes, he was cured. By 5pm, he was on the next bus returning to Lagos. And, according to him, he ate Suya and roasted turkey at Ore, Ondo State, because “there was no more pain.” He recounted that he was shocked to see worms coming out of his mouth. “He removed 26 worms from my mouth? And as soon as he finished, I felt free. I was then able to sleep.” Hearing Oletu refer to the ‘teeth healer’ as doctor, one would imagine a doctor in an office with nurses and perhaps dental equipment. But this is not the case with Dr. Olu. His makeshift office, in the heart of Benin City, is not more than a tree shade under the open air. You are sure to find him under a mango tree, close to a red Passat, which serves as his office and shop; waiting patiently on a bench are his patients. He belongs to a crop of ‘traditional teeth healers’ scattered across the country.
Like Dr. Olu, their makeshift offices are often a treeshade under the open air. Like the great magician, Harry Houdini, you would often find some surrounded by an astonished crowd of people, watching to see them perform another ‘trick’, which is what many call their act. And like a true actor acting a call-response scene from a script, they are willing to show for free how effective their treatments and potions are. At other times, you find them in buses in Lagos advertising their wares. The display that follows such adverts sometimes makes the actual cure almost unbelievable. They would call a willing bystander with a toothache and begin the treatment. They would say: “Open your mouth! Show me where it hurts?” or “Take this and hold it there for a while!” or “Gurgle your mouth with this, and pour it here! You will see all the bacteria coming out as worms.” These groups are usually the beginners. Those, such as Dr. Olu, who have established themselves through the potency of their treatments, do not require such act to assert the potency of their drugs. Clients seek them from within and outside their state. Some herbal medicine advocates, such as Dr. Olu, the ‘herbal doctor’ from Orhionwon Local Government Area of Edo State, are of the view traditional herbal doctors’ role in the total wellbeing of Nigerians cannot be over-emphasised. They said provision should be made for their training by the government as it is done to TBAs, especially in Lagos State, to ensure safe practice. On the potency of herbal medications, he said: “Herbal medicine is very good. Nigerians should learn to use herbs to treat themselves. There are fakes, but then, there are also quack doctors. The modern medicines you see today are not better than what we have here. Our fathers lived to 100 and above, and all they used were herbal treatments. Because of the attractive way modern drugs are packaged, people prefer and accept them. We can also do the same if trained on such.” Dr Olu said he started treating teeth-related ill-
‘Herbal medicine is very good. herbs to treat themselves. There quack doctors. The modern better than what we have here. above, and all they used were attractive way modern drugs are accept them. We can also do the
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
LBHF: The story so far By Babatunde Olaide-Mesewaku
Continued from last week
•Dr. Olu removing the worms from her teeth
curers’ tools nesses at the age of seven. “I inherited it from my father. When you go for medical treatment, what they tell you is that you have got bacteria in the teeth. They do not tell you there are worms in the teeth. But when the worms suck the marrow inside the teeth, it develops into holes. But the dentist will give you drugs and pull your teeth out. However, when you pull out the teeth, the worm is still inside the gums. It does not make sense because if you keep extracting the teeth in your mouth, one day there may be no more teeth to extract. The herbs are simple to use.” Using a client, Mrs Nneka Nwankwo, who came for treatment, to demonstrate, he said: “All you have to do is put a quantity in your mouth and hold it there for some time. The medicine attracts the worms and they will start coming out. When you pour it out, the worms are very easy to see, and with this toothpick, I carefully drag them out of their comfort zones, under the gums.” When she arrived in the make-shift clinic, her jaws looked swollen, and she talked slowly and carefully, obviously to avoid the pain. According to her, there was pus in her gums. And she had endured the toothache for nearly two years. “I have taken all kinds of medicine. I have gone to various hospitals, and the only reason my tooth was not extracted was because I was pregnant when I had the ache. I went to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) and the injection I was to receive could not be used because it will affect the unborn baby. I found it difficult brushing my teeth. I always use my tongue to cushion it, as the pain is usually unbearable, while I used chewing stick to clean, and gargle warm, salted water,” she said. Watching Dr. Olu at work is an interesting sight to behold. The session which began with pouring a content in a tiny bottle into the lady’s mouth, telling her to hold it in the affected part ended with the prescription of a list of drugs for complete healing. This was after he carefully extracted worms from her mouth using a toothpick. He also gave her a bottle of herbs and directions on how to administer it to clean up the gums, adding that the herbs can also be administered by the patient at home and get the same results.
Nigerians should learn to use are fakes, but then, there are also medicines you see today are not Our fathers lived to 100 and herbal treatments. Because of the packaged, people prefer and same if trained on such’
On how he came about the prescription, Dr. Olu said he works closely with medical doctors. He also said he advises his patients on some cases to consult orthodox dentists, noting that if the worms have cut a tooth’s veins, then the tooth is dead. After removing the worms, the affected tooth should be extracted. “It can only cause you more pain. But if the tooth is not dead yet, I also advise the patient to go and fill the cavity at the dentist.” According to him, he also prescribes anti-biotics, when there is a wound in the gums. He also named some of the herbs he uses: “It is not everything I can reveal to you. There are some which are my trade secrets, but there is one called emokhan. There is also the unie herbs that looks like pepper and comes in bunches. I boil them together with others in earthen pots. I am supposed to bring the herbs in those pots, but people will feel that one is performing some mysterious deeds. That is why you see them in bottles. But they are more effective in the earthenware. ” After the session, Mrs Nwankwo said: “The twoyear-old pain was almost completely gone. I hope it won’t come back. It was hell.” But how do the worms get into the mouth? “Every human has got worms, “ he explained. “And they are in fact, useful to digestion. After eating, it is not everything that goes down into your system. The worms try to eat them, and break down the ones they can’t eat. When you brush your teeth, everything has become soft and just goes to settle under your gum.” Aside the open air, Dr. Olu also runs a ‘clinic’ in his house not far from his ‘office’. “To cater for cases after office hours,” he said. Dentists and public health specialists declined speaking to the press on the issue before press time.
ENCE the caption, ‘Lagos – Badagry’ that featured in the previous festival brochures no longer existed. It is now Lagos Black Heritage Festival. While one acknowledges that in some instances the name Lagos is interchangeably deployed to connote Lagos State as well as to denote Lagos Division of the state but if it is in the former sense that the word Lagos was used in the context of the 2012 edition of the festival one may want to ask how many divisional representatives were among the organisers of the festival or what was the level of involvement of the divisions? Were Lagosians made to see the festival as their own? What was the level of participation of Lagosians apart from cultural groups that were recruited for performances? It is an indisputable fact that the historical dispersion of Africans from their ancestral roots through the obnoxious trans-Atlantic slave trade into the Diaspora has stronger and more pronounced linkages with America, Brazil, the Caribbean and Cuba rather than Italy. Festivals grow and achieve their objectives only when the organisers demonstrate spirited consistency and commitment to the philosophy and concept that originated its celebration in the first instance. In the 2012 edition of the festival only Fitila Procession in Badagry was included in the festival. The Fitila Procession, one would say, was a perfunctory inclusion in the programme of events because until some concerned youths in Badagry made an enquiry visit to the office of the Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental relations that the responsibility to observe the Fitila procession was handed over to them. The fund to organise the event was released in cheque to them by the organisers two days to the event. From this it was clear that Badagry was no longer in the mind of the organisers. If not for the intervention of the Badagry Local Government the Fitila Procession would not have been held at all. Overall, in my own opinion and in the opinion of the generality of Badagry people, the Fitila procession was in itself a caricature of the originating essence of the Black Heritage Festival. It was more or less like what the Yoruba would term gba ma pami which can be literally translated as ‘take this token and let me have peace of mind’. The Fitila procession was originally conceived as part of atonement activities. It was meant to recall the agonies encountered by slaves in the era of slave trade. It was meant to involve our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora in a solemn symbolic procession to strategic slave relics sites in the ancient city in remembrance of the unfortunate souls who perished in the course of their peregrination to unknown destinations. But with the 2012 edition of the festival this concept of the Fitila Procession was as good as buried. For us in Badagry, we are not averse to any decision of the state that would translate to taking the hosting of the festival entirely to a new location as long as such location resides in Lagos State. We have, in our own wisdom, likened ourselves to the Biblical Zion in Psalm 126, which teaches the phenomenal way in which God brings about change in man’s life. The only element in constant flux in life is change. Hence Badagry can continue to be ‘gagged’ or ‘plundered’ by its adversaries but when it is time for God to turn again the captivity of Badagry it would seem as a dream! And the time is not far off. He has done it in the Niger Delta! It is imperative to remind ourselves that one of the implied objectives in the original concept of the Black Heritage Festival is the steady re-integration and eventual resettlement of the Africans in the Diaspora in parts of Lagos State. Hence what the Lagos State Government has initiated by means of more attractive vehicles but jettisoned is now what the Federal government, through the House Committee on Diaspora, is seen as steps in the right direction to tap into the vast array of human capital resources available in the Diaspora for National Development. The maiden edition of the Diaspora Conference will hold in July 2012 in Abuja. Our own Abike Dabiri-Arewa is the chairperson of the House Committee on Diaspora. It is high time the state government started to reevaluate and reassess its objectives and goals as it relates to the Black Heritage Festival before the next edition. The Black Heritage Festival should be employed as a veritable means of developing tourism in Lagos State by decentralising the celebration to designated tourism destinations. The festival hosting opportunities should be shared among the destinations in the eyes of the Lagos State government for tourism development. Each of these destinations must have something peculiar and unique to exhibit about the overall objectives of the festival. Membership of the organisation of the festival should be broadened and made more representatives of the five administrative divisions of Lagos State.
•Olaide-Mesewaku is the President, African Renaissance Foundation, organisers of Badagry Festival.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org
A dinner at sea
2012 NB/AAF art contest
HE African Artists’ Foundation(AAF) and Nigerian Breweries(NB) Plc have called on interested artists to submit a brief written proposal expatiating their intentions to interpret the theme, Consequences, for the fifth edition of the annual National Art competition. Like last year’s, this year’s programme aims to develop the creative approach tagged: “Process to product” in order to contribute to the intellectual content of artistic thought and processes as well as nurture particular, often-neglected skill set in the art community. Also, this year’s edition requires interested artists’ proposal to interpret the theme through their chosen medium. According to the organisers, the first winner will get a cash prize of N2 million; second N1.5 million and third N1 million. Based on the submissions, the AAF selection committee will assess all entries and shortlist 15 finalists. Those shortlisted will be invited to partake in a week-long workshop, led by industry professionals, at an exclusive resort in Nigeria. It is at this workshop that the proposed works will be created; all works created at the workshop will be exhibited and judged by a panel at the grand finale and exhibition. Entries closes on June 22. Interested participants can visit www.africanartists.org for more information and details.
Zamalek, a popular district in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, was the place to be penultimate Tuesday when Al-Akhbar, one of the biggest newspapers in Egypt, hosted some selected African journalists to a dinner. The dinner was held on Al-Saraya, a ship. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO was there.
T was an unusual night for no fewer than 20 journalists from some African countries. After an interesting session at the Cairo University in Cairo earlier in the day, they were conveyed to the Nile River for a dinner. Cairo, the Egyptian capital, is different at night. Its bustling nightlife has something for everyone - from a quiet, intimate night with a glass of wine and a loved one to wild night partying at some of the hottest clubs. But Zamalek, a central district in Cairo that encompasses the northern portion of Gezira Island in the Nile River offers more relaxation spots than other districts. The island is connected with the river banks through three bridges each on the east and west sides, including the Qasr al-Nil and 6th October bridge. Al Saraya is one of the roving restaurantboats in the Nile River. It is situated on Saraya El Gezirah Street, Zamalek, a quiet and leafy street. Its 19th-century apartment blocks and villas make the area one of the most attractive parts of the city and a favoured residential location for many of Cairo’s European expatriates. This is where Al-Akhbar, one of the biggest newspapers in Egypt, hosted the journalists, who came for a three-week seminar, to dinner. Disembarking from the bus, the journalists were received by a young Egyptian clad in a black suit, a white shirt, tie and black shoes. “Welcome to our world, an amiable ambience with royal service. You will not regret being here,” he joked with the guests while leading them into the boat. A golden light was mounted, at the entrance, like a ‘Guard of Honour’ with the insignia of the ship’s name Al Saraya, scrolling horizontally. There are two floors, with various cabins for drinking and dining, along with a terrace which offers fantastic views across the
•An Egyptian musician entertaining guests
FRESH ON THE SHELVES •Cross section of participants at dinner. Adebanjo of The Nation (second left)
DINNER River Nile. The banquet was rugged in red. The journalists were welcomed by officials, Al-Akhbar, led by its General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Waleed Fawsy. Others include Public Relations Manager Mr Wael Ismail; Managing Editor Mr Hamdy Abd Elmotelb and Mr Ali Abdel Kabeer. From Egypt’s Ministry of Media came a delegation led by the duo of Mr Sherif Shukry and Mr Nabir Elshahat. Also in attendance were Middle East News Agency (MENA) Deputy Editor-in-Chief Dr Samia Abbas and the owner of the ship. A live band added colour to the atmos-
phere. It was, indeed, a soothing environment for urban dwellers to escape the frenetic world outside. The journalists were constantly entertained with stunning views and cool funky ambiance. The night, devoid of speeches, was mainly for entertainment with the band dishing out a mixture of acid jazz and lounge music for most of the night. Much to their delight, various local and international cuisines were served by the waiters. Aside wining, dining and relishing the cool breeze, the journalists alongside their hosts and other guests took time to take photographs before leaving the boat.
Stigma from the past
HIS spellbinding novel is complete with lessons on resilience, irony and the audacity of hope. It is also an intriguing thriller, in which providence shows just what can happen when there is Stigma from the Past. Something from Mercy’s past is destined to haunt her for a long time. Beginning life as an orphan, Mercy becomes a nun. After receiving a vision, she seeks her calling outside the convent walls and launches a new life in her homeland of Nigeria. It is a country rife with poverty and gender prejudice, as well as abuse, betrayal, murder, revenge, blackmail and decadence.
‘Splendid literary legacy will outlive me’
ER dream is to lay solid foundation for children literature as a publisher. Through her Splendid Literature and Culture Foundation (SLCF). Mrs Mobolaji Adenubi is set to leave an enduring legacy in that genre. The idea, she said, is to discover and publish children/young writers between ages 11 and 21. Mrs Adenubi, the founding president of Women’s Writers Association (WRITA), created SLCF last year. The assertion that Nigerians lack a reading culture, Mrs Adenubi, a seasoned educationist, said is false. “What is more correct is that Nigerian adults and children do not read much literary works. Children consume cartoons. Nigerian adults buy and read the various magazines published weekly and monthly; and new ones that come into the market regularly are sold. So we read! However, there is the bad use of the English Language, the country’s official and commercial language. The inability of the young to write well in English is linked to their lack of reading edifying books in that language,” she said. With a mind of correcting the anomalies, she said, SLCF intends to publish books to bridge the gaps. “SLCF seeks to produce imaginative children’s stories that will en-
By Evelyn Osagie
LITERATURE tertain, enlighten and appeal to children of ages 8 to 12, and encourage them to read. These stories would stimulate the imagination of the readers to help them think in novel ways to do things.” And unlike many of such projects that have winded off, Mrs Adenubi said, SLCF would be an enduring one. She said: “SLCF is a book legacy that would outlive me by God’s grace. The foundation’s Board of Trustees are individuals who believe in the idea and spirit of the foundation; and who will ensure its accountability, excellence and continuity. They include an ace accountant, Mr Dotun Sulaiman; a veteran publisher, Mr Lanre Idowu; award-winning author and literary administrator, Odia Ofeimun; a book marketing professional, Mrs Ronke Orimalade; Mr. Lanre Adebayo, a lawyer; medical doctor and writer Dr. Mariam Onuzo; a civil engineer and IT specialist, Kemi Adenubi (Mrs. Lemon) and I.” According to her, the foundation has plans to operate a nationwide network, according to her. “The foundation’s books will circulate countrywide entertaining, educating and engaging children everywhere. Writers and illustrators in each state will
be involved in the work of the foundation, introducing the flavour of the cultures of their peoples. The books will be as affordable as foreign books sold worldwide. SLCF will establish a distribution network, first in each state, and will link these with those established in other states.” SLCF is seeking manuscripts from young Nigerian writers across the country, aged 11 to 21 years, on children genre of literature for the maiden edition of its young writers’ series. Submissions opened on June 1 and will run till July 31. The writers, she said, should be resident in Nigeria with stories that have strong Nigerian/African content. She said the selection and publishing process of six stories will be an annual event. “All entrants’ works must be original, unaided and unpublished works of fiction (only) in English. The work should be between 3,000 – 3,500 words, typewritten, double spaced or legibly handwritten on numbered pages. Submissions will be assessed by the foundation’s judges. “The usual royalty and publication terms will apply to every story published by the foundation. The publishers reserve the customary rights regarding all publishing decisions. The copyright of each entry will remain vested in the author unless otherwise agreed in writing between the entrant and the foundation. SLCF’s members and
employees are not eligible to apply. Entries should be sent to Splendid Literature and Culture Foundation at 31, Alhaji Tokan Street, Alaka Estate, Surulere, Lagos,” she said. On funding, she said, the foundation plans to solicit government grant to encourage reading and writing among the young ones across the country. She also called on corporate bodies to support SCLF’s project.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine Erosion eats up the land
HE erosion menace in Southeastern Nigeria is a twice-told story. Whole villages have been sacked, and many houses are teetering on the very edge of very deep landslides. My hometown of Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State used to be a poster town of erosion disaster. The major road of the town was sundered into two making the cut-off communities to be asking to be declared “autonomous communities”. The then embattled Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige flagged off the construction of the road across the erosion site despite the onslaught of Chief Chris Uba and then President Olusegun Obasanjo. Today, that road ranks amongst the very best roads in the entire country. This shows that the erosion war can be won if the will is there. Chuka Nnabuife of the Nigerian Compass newspaper has done extensive work on the erosion sites in the Southeast. Under the auspices of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Nnabuife has used the agency’s “SurVivArt – Arts for the Right to a Good Life” project for the publication of this book of actualities, photos and poems. The photographs are by Victor Okhai while the editing was done by the Editor of The Guardian on Sunday Jahman Anikulapo. Nnabuife narrates that his first direct experience of erosion was in his native Ubuluisiuzo in the Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State “not long after the bulldozing of trees and grading of paths, for the expansion and taring(sic) of the IhialaOrlu Road in late 1970s”. He would eventu-
By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
BOOK REVIEW ally discover that the erosion sites in Ihiala and environs were on a lower scale in comparison with those in the Aguata and Orumba areas where towns like Ekwulobia, Nanka, Oko etc are in danger of being totally submerged. It was at a news conference of the Nigerian Compass newspaper on September 1, 2008 that the story idea of “Gully Erosion in Southeast” was mooted, and the assignment was allotted to Nnabuife. He travelled far afield to Oji in Enugu State, Okigwe and Mbaitoli in Imo State, and capped it all up with a session with Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State who revealed that there were “over 500 sites” in his state. While still with Governor Obi, following a distress call, Nnabuife saw that a three-storey building standing by the EnuguOnitsha Expressway had fallen in the gully after rainfall! An octogenarian grandmother, Ma Justina Mgboye Anigbogu, whose family’s only house stands on the brink of a landslide site in Amatutu, Agulu, Anambra State poses the questions: “Is there anybody who will remember us and help us? Will they come before I die? Ah, is the world so mean?”
Nnabuife’s intervention comes through art in the poems published in this volume. The poems start out with “The Call”: The yawning earth sang to my heart in beats, hitting deeper home than conga, my mind, more disturbed than jagged staccato, that moment I saw Nanka’s void, beheld Agulu’s gorge, baffled at Aguata’s gulf. The lament of Nnabuife is heartfelt in the mold of the griots of yore as exemplified by the poem “Rage of Red Earth”: The horror rides to and fro upon the back of a terror routing the town, root to roof riding roughshod without intent of dismounting the dragon that matches all down, razes all with burning flood and never ceases till it finishes off all elements of life – upright plants, shelters, species and all. The first news report published by Nnabuife on the subject in the Nigerian Compass entitled: “Erosion is ravaging Anambra, all S’east states – Obi” is republished here. Governor Obi makes the case that the erosion menace ought to be tackled by the Federal Government in the manner of desertification in the North and the Niger Delta problem. The Governor stresses that “even Anambra’s total budget appropriation, in one decade, cannot tackle the ecological challenges it faces in just one local government.” Through the book Mbize: Rage of Red Earth , Nnabuife has given himself pride of place as a true champion of art for life’s sake. This is a splendid blend of journalism and literature. The humanisation of the erosion menace does great service to the enterprise of social harmony. Nnabuife deserves to be celebrated for charting a part that other journalists across the nation ought to emulate. The collaboration with Heinrich Boll Stiftung should serve as a ready example for Nigerian NGOs to up their act in exploring newer and grander fields. Nobody can go through the gripping gamut of Mbize: Rage of Red Earth without being moved. Nnabuife is a shining light for the wretched of the earth.
Pursuing personal excellence By Sunday Oguntola
ANY easily rationalise their failures and setbacks in life. They are backward because of limited education, poor family background, physi-
In search of national consensus
MEKA Nwosu’s Nigeria and the crisis of the Nation-State: Agenda for National Consensus calls attention to the salient issues facing the country. The 284-page book is a compendium of articles written by the author as a columnist with Thisday Newspaper in the last three years. Readers would find the book particularly timely as addresses issues bordering on our national life as a nation. His backgrounding on his preoccupations is commendable. It is, however, interesting that works, such as Nwosu’s, written years ago can still remain relevant and fresh years later. Beyond showing the timelessness of the written word, it shows depth of the author’s intellectual rigor and raises question over reasons why after many years, issues that occupied the national space remain unresolved. Oftentimes, such developments leave the citizenry with a feeling of hopelessness. However, the author says collectively, Ni•
cal disabilities and social factors, they explain away. But to personal development and peak performance coach, Dennis Inyang, no excuse is good enough to be less than the best. Inyang, in his book, No second fiddle, says no one is created to be less than the best. Everyone, he argues, is conceived and programmed to be the best. According to him, ‘’silver is not good enough where gold is available’’. He adds, ‘’In this life, God has not put everybody on one queue .If you don’t want to stand behind anyone, you can form your own line’’. After puncturing every imaginable excuse against leading the pack, Inyang writes that the passion for excellence is innate with every man. Men, he says, do not need to look too far to succeed. All they need do is to reach inward and explore the excellent spirit in them. He argues the first ingredient to become successful is a deepseated hunger for excellence. Once a man is committed to excellence, it ignites an unstoppable chain of developments, he states. On critical steps to excellence, he mentions consistency and raising the bar of personal development. ‘’If you demand the highest possible standard from yourself, you will not consider it punitive when others demand
it of you,’’ he notes. He warns against compromises and states every excellence-driven person must welcome oppositions. He mentions playing attention to details, being focused, going the extra miles and getting quality supervisions as other critical factors that people driven by success must embrace. Every successful person, he writes must pay the necessary price. The bigger the sacrifices, the higher the success, he states. This book is a bumper manual for every Nigerian determined to excel. It is laden with local examples and illustrations that would motivate readers. These illustrations are refreshing reminders that success has no borders and is applicable to every clime. If Nigerians will follow the well-laid patterns, they would ultimately excel beyond their wildest imagination, the author succeeds in proving. It tackles menial mindsets and attitudes, declaring everyone can rise to the top if they are so determined. The author must be commended for his flowery and impeccable language. He writes with passion, buzzing with ideas on how to become the very best. Every Nigerian would find on the pages of the book, eternal principles for excellence. It will make the successful become excellent and the excellent the best. This book is highly recommended everyone interested in the race to success.
By Evelyn Osagie
gerians have “no choice but to work in unison in the search for enduring solutions to the challenges of nation-building.” Nwosu, in his book, suggests that Nigeria’s cultural diversity should serve as its strength. It is no wonder that the 67-chapter book is anchored on the background of the author as veteran political correspondent and editor, who has covered and followed, analytically, political developments in the country for many years. He takes the reader into the history of the country’s political voyage, giving analytical background information of why the polity is where it is today, saying: “for a proper understanding of the dynamics of the crises of nation building in Nigeria, we must take into account the historical circumstances surrounding her evolution from the ashes of colonialism”. He explains further: “As we grapple with efforts to reposition Nigeria, away from the colonially-inherited divisive political order, her
elites must come to terms with current political and social realities on ground and embrace ideas that would guarantee equal rights to the citizenry and equitable access to power to all the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.” It has as its preoccupation political leadership, the electoral process, legislature, democracy, human rights, rule of law, power, value systems, religion, security, inter-tribal relationship, media and among others. It is forwarded by the former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, CON. Of the book, he wrote that the “common thread that runs in all the issues treated in the book is the essence of building a united and harmonious society that is anchored on the principles of justice, equity and fairness.” The book is written in an accessible language and recommended for Nigerians, seeking to understand the background issues of national debate, policy makers, among others.
Nigerian makes world record sale at Bonhams
LONDON-based auction house, Bonhams, has sold University of Nigeria's Professor of Sculpture, Prof. El Anatsui's work, New World Map, an immense woven tapestry of flattened bottle caps, for £541,250 ($850,544), thus creating a world record sale. The huge masterwork by El Anatsui, a magisterial tapestry measuring 11ft by 16ft (350x500cm) is similar to a work the artist shown at the Venice Biennale. Giles Peppiatt, Director of Contemporary African Art at Bonhams, said: "We are delighted to make a world record with this stunning work. It speaks of Africa in its use of traditional patterning but is very much of the moment - a massive hauntingly beautiful contemporary statement." El Anatsui is widely recognised as one of the world's foremost contemporary artists. He was born in Ghana in 1944 but is now based in Nigeria, where he is Head of Sculpture in the Fine and Applied Arts Department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His work draws on the broad spectrum of indigenous African cultures and is particularly concerned with the erosion of inherited traditions by external forces and the nature of their continued transmission. He often links his work to events, people and current and historical issues. The artist has used many different materials over the years, including wood, metal, clay and more recently repurposed materials. 'New World Map' is a prime example of El Anatsui's recent work, made from flattened bottle caps woven together into a shimmering tapestry. These hanging pieces are based on the traditional narrow-strip woven silk cloth made in Ghana, a source of national pride. Similar works by El Anatsui hang in some of the world's most prestigious institutions, including the Sainsbury African Galleries at the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pompidou, and the Smithsonian. A fortnight ago another tapestry by El Anatsui, smaller in scale, sold at a Bonhams charity auction in New York for $722,500.
•New world map, the huge masterwork by PHOTO: BONHAMS. El Anatsui.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
The Midweek Magazine
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Behold, the bread vendor A hawker selling uncovered bread in Egypt PHOTO: TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO
Kunle Adeyemi’s falsification of facts
AM never known to hide my resentment for falsehood. I resent any medium or person used to promote falsehood and fabrications. While I maintained my weekly column called Artssessment in The Guardian and later Art of the Matter in the rested 234Next Newspaper, one of the reasons rejoinders were usually difficult in coming against my explosive articles was that my articulations were always strongly based on facts and truth. Those who are very close to me know that I resent any matter that is drained of truth. I hate falsehood and cannot pretend to pitch my tent with those who fabricate and manufacture it. One of such persons is Kunle Adeyemi. For the reason of integrity and credibility, I hate those who employ tactics that are shrouded in lies and falsehood to hoodwink, deceive and mislead fellow human beings, who are members of the general public. Reactions to issues raised by Kunle Adeyemi are just an attestation to the fact of resentment that many have arboured and harboured - courtesy of his promotion of falsehood. His trademark propagation of lies was recently exhibited again in his article published in The Guardian of Friday, 2 March 2012 titled ‘Conspiracy and Trials in NGA…. Visual Arts, Artists are greatest losers. While there are so many gray areas requiring immediate rejoinder for the purpose of righting the wrongs contained in the said fallacious and malicious article, many of those concerned have decided to keep quiet to allow him rant and shrink. I have chosen to toe the same path of mute, but several calls from friends and colleagues from within and abroad and my concerned family members have prompted and prodded me to issue this rejoinder. Among Adeyemi’s painful pathology of lies, which one hopes those concerned would not hesitate to refute, is his listing of those who benefitted from the largesse of the embattled erstwhile Director-General of the National Gallery of Art, Joe Musa. Hear him: “Sponsorship to Groups and Individual Artists: The group of artists under the nomenclature, ‘Araism’ led by Mufu Onifade received consecutive sponsorship for two years within this period to the tune of N750,000 each". Unknown to him at the time, I had started serving in the National Gallery. I gave him the information about my new status in the Gallery where I was (and still am) sure no such information existed (neither does it). He was dumbfounded and wallowed in his own misery. I cut him off from my phone before he could recover, otherwise he’d
By Mufu Onifade
REJOINDER nosedive into another spontaneous impulse of fabrication. Hasn’t it been said that when a pathological liar fabricates a lie, he needs another seven lies to cover it up? It is in the spirit of enlightening the misled public, and in the quest to safeguard my reputation, which I have spent years to build, and in concurring to pressures of those who are genuinely interested in the good legacies I have built over the years, that I have chosen to present the case exactly the way it was. That is the crux of this rejoinder. Truly, 2008 marked the 10th anniversary of Araism as a painting technique, which I had single-handedly invented through dedicated and thorough studio experiments. The launching of the technique in 1998 was predicated on the success of the experiments which began in 1989 and terminated in 1996. As at 2008, Araism as a painting technique had attracted many exponents, and this, for proper coordination of the their activities, led to the establishment of the Araism Movement in 2006. This had occurred two years prior to the 10th anniversary of Araism as an authentic African painting technique. It is common knowledge that adoption of Araism technique has since pervaded many of Nigerian art schools. For this reason, we were sure of a good product and were ready for due celebration of the successes of Araism in the annals of contemporary Nigerian art. Araism is our genuine contribution to the development of Nigerian art and we had no cause to shy away from requesting for funding from the National Gallery of Art for the sole purpose of celebrating the 10th anniversary of Araism. At least if mountain could not go to Moses, the reverse would also generate positive results. To correct Adeyemi’s number one blundering falsehood, the National Gallery under Joe Musa’s leadership did not release funds to “The group of artists under the nomenclature, ‘Araism’ led by Mufu Onifade”. The said money, in the sum of seven hundred and fifty naira was released to Ara Studio, an arts-based outfit that requested for, got the funds and packaged the memorable event. It is, however, important to note that the sum of N750,000 is a meagre sum considering the elaborate nature of the event. Titled Araism: African Ideals and Authenticity of Creativity in Contemporary Nigerian Art, the event was an open seminar chaired by
Nigeria’s most quintessential art historian, Prof. Ola Oloidi (University of Nigeria, Nsukka) and moderated by intelligent culture activist and coordinator of the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA), Mr Toyin Akinosho. Keynote address was delivered by Prof. Ahmed Yerima (the then DirectorGeneral of the National Theatre/National Troupe of Nigeria). Other scholars and guest speakers include Dr. Kunle Filani (Federal College of Education, Osiele, Ogun State), Dr. Bridget Nwanze (University of Port Harcourt), Dr. Ken Okoli (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria), Dr. Ronke Adesanya (University of Ibadan) and Dr. Hellen Uhunmwangho (Federal Polytechnic, Auchi). The seminar, which was held at the Cinema Hall 2 of the National Theatre, Lagos, was also graced by major stakeholders and heavyweights in the culture sector: Ambassador Segun Olusola, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Mr. Sammy Olagbaju, Mr Kolade Oshinowo who won a special recognition award at the event and students from virtually all art schools across Nigeria. It was a big celebration that enjoyed robust supports from every participant. Secondly, Adeyemi claims, and falsely too, that “The group... received consecutive sponsorship for two years within this period to the tune of N750,000 each” (emphasis mine). To put the record straight, the group got funding support in the sum of N750,000 only once; not twice as maliciously claimed by Adeyemi. The second funding either only exists in the imagination of Adeyemi or was cooked for him to swallow by those who employed him and bought over his conscience for mere media propaganda. For record purposes, it is important for the goodspirited members of the public to know that partnering with Joe Musa’s National Gallery wasn’t a germane effort. A similar collaboration had hap-
pened between Ara Studio and the National Gallery of Art under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Paul Chike Dike way back in 2006. It was a seminar entitled: When does an artist become a master? Dr. Dike loved the idea of interrogating such an important provocative issue that many art scholars had never thought of. So, without hesitating, the National Gallery’s action, courtesy of Dr. Dike’s soft heart for progress and development of Nigerian art, was pronto! What with quality paper presentation by respected art scholars and promoters including Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya, Dr. Peju Layiwola, Mr Nsikak Esien, Mr Moses Ohiomokhare and others? Moderated by Oba Gbenga Sopnuga (Fadesewa of Simawa), it was a very successful seminar dedicated to one of Nigeria’s finest scholars and art practitioners, Prof. Yusuf Grillo. Still for the records: Ara Studio has also partnered on various germane creative ideas with such other government agencies as the National Theatre, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), etc. It was these monumental legacies of successful delivery, credibility and integrity that attracted the partnership from Joe Musa’s National Gallery of Art - and this should not be courted and exploited for blind ambition and propaganda as being perpetrated by Adeyemi. People like Adeyemi are known to feed plump on rancour and so cannot exist restfully where peace reigns. I am constrained not to mention anything about the much-touted Art Expo Las Vegas whose ripples of corrupt practices are still causing a widening gap between the artists and Joe Musa’s National Gallery of Art. The purported show came and ended with a stinking can of worms. Adeyemi was not in Las Vegas; so, he didn’t know my role in pacifying aggrieved artists like Abiodun Olaku, Ben Osaghae, Abraham Uyovbisere, etc. While I choose to let the sleeping dog lie pending the determination by the court, of the case by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Joe Musa (and I hope Adeyemi is aware of the role I played as coordinator of the Coalition of Nigerian Artist(e)s (CONA) at ensuring that Joe Musa was given a fair trial), I am praying that Adeyemi would not turn out to become Joe Musa’s waterloo. He is probably unaware of the level of provocation and irritation he has generated with his unfounded fabrication of lies and unfortunate propagation of falsehood. As a bone fide member of the Society of Nigerian Artists and a professional artist, I know and I am bold to say that Adeyemi’s views, which were falsely expressed in The Guardian and The Nation newspapers do not represent the thinking and standpoint of an average Nigerian artist. It is a personal agenda arising from discharge of his allegiance to those who have placed him on their payroll to scuttle the relative peace that we now enjoy in the visual art sub sector.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Drunken policeman shoots driver thrice to death
DRUNKEN policeman has reportedly shot and killed a commercial driver in Jalingo, Taraba State capital, for reasons yet to be ascertained. The incident took place at a checkpoint along Hammanruwa Way, opposite the Sani Abacha State Secretariat, Jalingo. The armed Police Constable, Waziri Danasabe had ordered the man, Mr. Reuben Irouham to stop or be shot. And pointing the gun at him, the cop allegedly released the trigger, even though the driver obeyed the instruction. Bullets pierced through the door of the old Peugeot 505 pick-up van, marked: TARABA XA 410 DGA, hitting him in the chest. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of the Accident and Emergency Department at Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Jalingo where he was later confirmed dead. He left behind a widow and four children. Eyewitnesses said the 62-year-old commercial driver was conveying Fulani women milk hawkers at the time of the incident. Constable Danasabe has a history of alcoholism, police said. This corroborates what his neighbours said, that he routinely visited a Burukutu House and was of-
From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo
ten intoxicated with the locally brewed beer before reporting for duty. On the day of the shooting, Danasabe was said to be on duty with an Inspector and a Corporal, all of whom fleeing the scene as Irouham slumped. Umar Dickson, a passerby, said: “I saw the three policemen running away soon after Irouham fell from their bullets”. Newsextra visited the scene of the incident which was stained with blood. There was blood on the driver ’s seat and also on the road. On the passenger’s front seat were plates, a food flask and some N50 notes. Another passerby was angry with the suspect. “The policeman is a heartless hoodlum that lacks civility,” he said. “What is the driver’s offence? What went to the policeman’s head that he shot the innocent man three times? “I was watching how the driver was negotiating to stop, and then he crudely shot him three times. If he knew what he did was lawful, why did he vacate his duty post
I was watching how the driver was negotiating to stop, and then he crudely shot him three times. If he knew what he did was lawful, why did he vacate his duty post with his colleagues?
HERE is a breather for students in the Lagelu constituency of Oyo State. Five new buses have been procured and made available for their transportation to and from school. The buses were provided by the lawmaker representing the constituency at the state House of Assembly, Hon. Temitope Olatoye Sugar. The legislator said he got the buses to ease the transport challenges of the students. The buses which comprise four 18-seaters and a coaster, will be
•The vehicle in which Reuben Irouham was shot and killed with his colleagues?” Police spokesman, Mr. Emos Olaoye confirmed the incident to Newsextra, saying the culprit has been arrested for investigation. If found guilty of culpable homicide, Danasabe would be relieved of his job from the police and charged to court, Olaoye said, although he added that the incident could be “accidental discharge”. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mamman Sule has visited the residence of the deceased to commiserate with his widow and relatives. The police chief condemned the act and promised to bring the suspect to book.
General Overseer of the Redeemed People’s Mission, Jalingo, Rev. Cosmas Ikwe also condemned the manner in which the commercial driver died. “We want justice,” the cleric said. Ikwe sought a total transformation of the police for discipline and civility to be instilled in the system. “It is sad and very unfortunate. How could the police, the supposed protector of life and property, just waste somebody’s life like that?” he queried. The widow, Mrs. Esther Irouham, a civil servant, had gone to work and only came back to meet the
body of her husband in the theatre. “He died a few minutes later, without offering a farewell word to me”, she told Newsextra, amid tears. She said the deceased was not a violent person to have been killed in such a barbarous manner. “He was a peacemaker, a caring husband and father. We never expected he would leave us so early”, said the widow. The late Irouham, of Igbo extraction, from Abia State, came to Taraba in 1977 and got married to Esther from Karim-Lamido Local Government Area of the state.
Oyo students get free buses From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan
at strategic locations in the constituency for easy access of the students. The lawmaker was speaking at a briefing with reporters during which he gave reasons for also providing a relaxation facility in the constituency. Sugar explained that the 30-
room facility located along Iwo Road, Ojoo and named Everlasting Relaxation Spot, was built to help ease the stress of daily toil. He added that celebrities will come every Sunday to entertain people and share their experiences with the students. Sugar said he bought the buses as part of his educational advancement programme for the students in his domain, adding that he wanted to encourage stu-
dents and provide them with an enabling environment. Speaking further, he said the “Temitope Sugar Annual Quiz Competition” is part of the project. The quiz is billed to start this month and will take place in the 33 local government areas of the state. He noted that the school that wins the competition will bne rewarded with a new 18-seater bus, while a block of classrooms will be built for the runners-up.
Peaceful communities in Plateau to be reward •Continued from Page 25
•From left: Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha; President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Management, Dr Michael Olawale-Cole and Deputy President, Dr Nelson Uwaga when NIM paid a courtesy visit to the university for collaboration on staff training and NIM Students’ Scheme
projects. Also speaking, the Director of Advancement Office, University of Jos, Prof Victor Dugga added, “This is the second phase of community assessment project which the Centre has embarked upon. The first phase was to areas where conflicts always occur, the second phase takes us to areas where there are no conflicts to learn from them and introduce methods used in achieving peace in those areas to the conflict-ridden areas”. However, two leaders from the community, Alhaji Shehu Pate and Da Gyang Dajang, one a Muslim, the other Christian, decried the lack of recognition by the government in the area. They said that whatever infrastructure noticeable in their
community was self-help effort of the residents. Both elders explained that the secret of their community’s peaceful existence lies in the good breeding of their youths. They admittted that it is sometimes difficult to restrain the youths, but because of their orientation, they always obey their elders who prevail on them. At Rantiya, the Community’s head, Da Jido Dung and the Chief Imam of the local mosque, Shehu Abdullahi unanimously agreed that they see themselves first as human beings before considering that they are adherents of different religions. The chiefs said they are also mindful that most of the state’s resources are spent on peacekeeping at the expense of development. Knowing this, they therefore unite and protect their neighbourhood.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
‘NYSC being reformed for better productivity’
HE Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Brig-Gen. Nnamdi Okore Affia has said the introduction of reforms to the NYSC scheme is aimed at ensuring better productivity. The National Youth Service Corps was established by decree 24 of May 22, 1973. It was repealed 20 years after by decree 51 of June 16, 1993 which is now an Act of Parliament. Affia said the almost four-decadeold scheme has witnessed several hiccups. The killing of 10 Corps members during the post-election violence of April 2011 resulted in several calls for the scrapping of the scheme. Some maintain that the scheme has outlived its usefulness, even as some rose in defence of it, maintaining that the killing of the Corps members resulted from security lapses and poor intelligence gathering on the part of security agencies. Both local and international observers praised the role which the Corps members played. Based on these criticisms, the management of the scheme reviewed the scheme with a view to making it more responsive to security and socio-economic realities of our time. Since security is central to the optimal performance of Corps members, the scheme, in the first quarter of this year, evolved the concept of establishing a Distress Call Centre which will help the corps members to send quick calls to the authorities when they are in danger. The Centre has its base at the NYSC National Directorate Headquarters, Abuja. This innovation aims at assisting Corps members to get rapid intervention anytime their security is
HAIRMAN Ejigbo Local Council Development Area Kehinde Bamigbetan has urged youths in the area to embrace cleanliness as a way of life. He stated this on Sunday at Ejigbo Mini-stadium during the Children’s Day celebration. He said: “l want to urge you all to support our council by making sure your environment is clean always. Don’t litter the environment with dirt and make sure you wash your hands before and after eating.” Reminding the children that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness,’
From Bukola Amusan, Abuja
threatened. The centre has the data of all Corps members across the three batches, including their telephone numbers as well as that of security agencies, traditional rulers and prominent personalities in all the locations where the Corps members may find themselves. Any call put to the Centre indicates the name and particulars of the caller including where he is calling from. In the event of threat to any Corps member, the Centre alerts the nearest security agency for rapid response. It is instructive to note that this initiative has buoyed the confidence and morale of Corps members in the performance of their duties. To further boost the physical and financial security of Corps members, management of the scheme has introduced martial art training to the orientation course content so as to equip Corps members with the requisite skills for self-defence. Over and above this is the introduction of Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Programmes to the course content in order to raise potential entrepreneurs that will drive the country’s economy. To give impetus to this, the Federal Government raised the number of departments in the NYSC from seven to 11 with Department of Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development as one of the new Departments introduced. In this wise, under NYSC/MDGs War against Poverty (WAP), the NYSC has trained and empowered over 1, 376 Corps members in various agro-allied ventures/businesses
•Members of the Corps
To further boost the physical and financial security of Corps members, management of the scheme has introduced martial art training to the orientation course content so as to equip Corps members with the requisite skills for self-defence in the last one year. An interest-free loan of N229.5m had been released to the Corps beneficiaries of the training to enable them to kick-start their businesses. Again, certain mechanism has been put in place to monitor the perform-
ances of these entrepreneurs. Perhaps, one of the most revolutionary policies of the scheme in recent times has to do with the new perspective of Corps posting. The scheme has also reviewed its posting policy to be in line with the trans-
formation agenda of the Federal Government. This policy commenced with the 2012 Batch ‘A’ Corps members who were posted to the four critical sectors of the economy: education, healthcare delivery, agriculture and infrastructure/public work. It is expected that the policy will give a boost to the Federal Government’s Universal Basic Education, food security, increase in provision of quality healthcare for the rural communities as well as infrastructural improvement. Corps members’ energy will now be redirected to more productive ventures that will help in improving the economy.
Council chief counsels youths on cleanliness By Duro Babayemi
he hinted that they can only be closer to God if they are clean. He also told them that it is only when they live in clean environment that they can stay healthy and be free from diseases such as malaria and cholera. Bamigbetan, while congratulating the children on this year’s Children’s Day, disclosed that his ad-
ministration, in the last three years, has made them the major beneficiaries of his programmes which include free meal, free uniform, provision of desks and benches, provision of free notebooks, free GCE and JAMB forms, establishment of two public primary schools and provision of free drugs and treatment in the six primary health centres in the council. The council chairman praised the teachers for putting in their best in
•Bamigbetan (middle, in garlands) with the newly inaugurated executive members at the council secretariat
developing the children academically. He assured the children and teachers that his administration would continue to create environment conducive to teaching and learning. This year Children’s Day was celebrated with pomp, as all the participating schools took part in one performance or the other to the delight of the dignitaries who attended the programme. Prizes were presented to schools
that clinched first position in drama, poem, dancing, cultural display, calisthenics and drawing. In a related development, has concluded plans to establish an Information Technology Centre for its youths, even as it will sponsor 200 youths in two vocational centres where they will acquire necessary skills. The council chief disclosed this during the inauguration of the newly-elected executive of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Ejigbo chapter. The event held at the council secretariat. Bamigbetan stated that the IT centre will be established before the expiration of his tenure and it will open windows of opportunities for the youth, as they will be able to develop their skills on the use of computers to access, analyse and store information. The council chief, who was decorated as grand patron of the youth by Hon. Aliyu Jimoh, expressed his appreciation to the body for honouring him. Bamigbetan advised the newly elected executive to serve as role models to other youths in the area by mobilising them to engage in important activities for their wellbeing. Delivering his inaugural address after he received his certificate of office from Bamigbetan, the chairman of Ejigbo youth council, Comrade Fashola Olawale Bamidele assured the council chief that he would use his position to sensitise the youth of the area to engage in activities that will guarantee a better future for them. The 30-member executive had earlier taken their oath of office at the ceremony, conducted by the legal officer of the local government, Mrs Modinat Solate.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
We have also inaugurated several electricity projects, mini-bridges and culverts across the area and the state to complement the government’s efforts at infrastructural development of the state
•This used to be a home for one of the widows
NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation in Ebonyi State, Comrade Chinedu Ogah Foundation, has ended the housing woes of several widows and other needy people in the state. The organisation built and handed over 17 four-bedroom bungalows to widows and less privileged persons in Ikwo Local Government Area. Monitoring the process of work in the ongoing bridges, culverts, roads and other projects under construction by the organisation, the Founder of the organisation, Comrade Chinedu Ogah said that the construction of the buildings was in fulfillment of the promise he made to the widows and less privileged in the council area. Ogah said: “The projects were undertaken by my organisation; the Chiboy Foundations and the cost is incorporated inside the N5.6 million budget of the foundation for developmental projects this year. Some of the beneficiaries included Mrs. Ngozi Ezaga whose house was gutted by fire and Mr. Nwante Mpkuru.” Comrade Ogah said that in line with the determination of the
•One of the 17 houses built for them
NGO houses the needy From Obinna Ogbonnaya, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor Chief Martin Elechi to alleviate the suffering of the less privileged persons, widows and disabled persons in the state, the organisation is determined also to compliment of the state government. He regretted the poor infrastructural development in Ikwo Local Government Area of the state and urged council Chairman in the State to make judicious use of the fund released to them. “I must tell you that some council Chairmen in the state are not making judicious use of the funds released to them”. “The intervention programme we decided to embark on was as a result of the poor infrastructural development witnessed in Ikwo Local Government Area. We decided to embark on the grading of some major roads in the council because of the numerous agitations by the people for a better infrastructural development.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Chiboy Foundations noted that in addition to the housing projects, his foundations had inaugurated more than six boreholes projects across the area. “The campaign by the state government for the total eradication of waterborne diseases and other diseases associated with water in Ebonyi State and Ikwo Local Government Area must be complimented and that is why we are vigorously pursuing the drilling of boreholes in the council area”. “We have also inaugurated several electricity projects, mini-
bridges and culverts across the area and the state to complement the government’s efforts at infrastructural development of the state,” he said. He noted that his actions were not politically motivated, as it was in the spirit of giving back to the society what he gained from it in attaining his present status.”I am not contesting for any elective position, as there are several avenues where one can excel in life other than politics,’ he said. One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Ezaga, thanked Ogah for the ges-
ture, noting that she had been squatting with neighbors since her house was burnt. “I thank God for giving him the grace to assist me in this form and pray that he continues to render such gestures for the benefit of the society. Commending the organisation, a traditional ruler in the area, Chief Dominic Aloh, thanked Comrade Ogah for the gesture and called on all other well-meaning individuals in the area and the state, to emulate him. “The task of developing the state especially the rural area does not lie with the government alone, as Ogah has trailed the blaze in this worthy direction,” he said.
Okorocha’s wife urges attitudinal change
HE wife of Imo State Governor, Nneoma Nkechi Rochas Okorocha, has called on women to embrace attitudinal change, even as she urged them to also imbibe and demonstrate the culture and orientation of change agents. This, she said, would enable them to
•Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Supervisor for Education, Yomi Lawrence representing the council boss Hon Hakeem Bamgbola at the match past marking this year’s Children’s Day at Odo-Olowu Primary School Playing Ground, Ijeshatedo, Lagos
From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri
overcome the challenges that may confront them. Mrs Okorocha gave these pieces of advice while speaking at a summit tagged “Women’s Attitude for Winning” which was organised by her office in collaboration with the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. While urging them to draw inspiration from the exemplary life of Jesus Christ who became victorious after many tribulations, hardship and temptations, Mrs. Okorocha advised them not to fold their hands and expect victory or success to come their way on a platter of gold. Stressing on the theme of the summit, she noted that attitude is not the result of what happens
in the world but the perception of the citizens on what took place within their environment. According to her, attitude serves as mental filter through which one sees the world and the way one communicates one’s mood to others. She disclosed that one of the benefits of developing a winning attitude is the achievement of established goals, adding that developing a “winner’s attitude is one of the most basic characteristics needed for achievement.” She therefore urged the women to pray ceaselessly for the success of the present administration in the state and the entire country, adding that “women of Divine Destiny Initiative, copying from the initiative of Jesus Christ and His resurrection power have been made winners and we remain winners.”
Attitude is not the result of what happens in the world but the perception of the citizens on what took place within their environment… Attitude serves as mental filter through which one sees the world and the way one communicates one’s mood to others
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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Nigeria: A country in search of a birth certificate
EE Exodus 13: 21-22. Here we are in an age where every country runs on the super-highway, making projections for and foraying into the long future for the interest of incoming generations, and instead of us moving forward, we are taking several steps backwards. I know we are as impertinent as the Israelites (if not more impertinent), but our own self-inflicted punishment for our impertinence is far more excruciating than the punishment of the Israelites. The events and happenings around us nowadays reveal tension, pains, anguish, wickedness of man to man, suffering, bloodletting, killing, murder, assassination, kidnapping, unprecedented corruption, threat to peace and security, amongst others. Before I connect these events to the topic of this lecture, let us remind ourselves of some of them, as we read daily on the pages of newspapers, hear from our radio sets and view from our television sets or even browse on the internet. On October 1, 2010, as reported in The Punch newspaper of October 2, 2010, 14 people were killed while 66 injured in what was termed “Golden Jubilee Bombings”; On page 7 of THISDAY newspaper of June 27, 2011 was a story titled “25 Killed in Bomb Attack at Maiduguri”, the cover story of the Saturday Tribune newspaper of 27th August, 2011 was titled “Abuja UN Building Bombed... 18 killed, Several Others on Danger List. Boko Haram Claims Responsibility, Threatens to Launch More Attacks After Ramadan”; the same Tribune in its edition of 9th April, 2011 had these front page captions “INEC Office Bombed. 25 killed. 17 Corps Members Involved. Parties Withdraw From, Today’s Poll in Ekiti. Bankole’s Supporters, Youths Clash in Ogun. 10 Killed in Bauchi Violence”; THISDAY newspaper of December 26, 2011 came out with this front page headline “Nigeria’s Blackest Christmas... Ever! “I heard a deafening noise which shook the foundation of the church building …… I saw one of the victims beckoning for help moments before he slumped and died,” Inside the Madalla Blasts.”; in The Sun newspaper of May 4, 2012 had this front page alarming caption “60 killed as Gunmen Attacked Market”; while The Nation newspaper of April 28, 2012 had this story on page 28 titled “Kidnappers killed ex-lawmaker’s daughter, injure wife in Anambra”; in the Sunday Tribune of 22nd July, 2011 was also this caption of bloodletting “Over 100 dead in Kaduna blast”; and on 22nd January, 2012, Sunday Tribune reported thus: “Dynamite explodes near Shell’s gas pipeline; Tombia Bridge affected”; the Punch newspaper of Friday, April 27, 2012, as well as all other national newspapers reported the twin bomb attacks that rocked media houses (THISDAY) in Abuja and Kaduna; in the Sunday Sun of 22 January, 2012, particularly on page 11 thereof was this story titled “Corpses litter Kano as Boko Haram invades barracks kills Policemen”; in the Daily Sun newspaper of Monday, April 9, 2012 was this horrifying headline “Bloody Easter; Suicide Bomber Killed 40 in Kaduna, 20 injured, Church, houses, hotels, vehicles blown up, SSS kills 2 gunmen in Bauchi”. Here in Ondo State and particularly in Ikare-Akoko, dare-devil armed robbers recently struck and attacked three banks in a raid that lasted three hours and, in the process, the third bank was set on fire as the robbers could not get access to the vault. See THISDAY newspaper of Wednesday, May 2, 2012 page 8. The editorial opinion of The Guardian
newspaper of October 3, 2011 was in respect of Abia’s 15 Kidnapped Children and the first paragraph reads thus: “The violence visited on 15 Kidnapped school children in Abia State, all aged under – 10, in a week of the country’s golden jubilee anniversary is a tragic, irony as well as manifestation of a national crisis that the Federal Government must tackle with every resource at its disposal. The children have now been released by their abductors, but the current desperate security situation in the country demands more concerted action on the part of the authorities to protect the people’s right to human dignity.” The above merely represent a tip of the iceberg of the horrors being witnessed by Nigerians across all divides, whether professional, religious, political, tribal, ethnical etc. on daily basis. Our leaders would always pontificate that it is a passing phase in our life, history or journey, as a nation. While one might sympathize with them for their positive thinking, one cannot, in good conscience agree with their homily, as the situation becomes scaring by the day and threatens the very existence of Nigeria as a country. I have deliberately used the word “country” instead of “nation”, because we are far from maturing into nationhood and we are not making any attempt to attain that status. Once again, I submit that we cannot attain the pride status of nationhood without a birth certificate and a birth certificate is a real declaration of independence document. How then do we obtain it? This leads us to the imperativeness of a national conference to discuss Nigeria, to give Nigeria a birth certificate, to give Nigeria a name and an identity. I have been in the forefront of calling for a national conference for almost two decades now, but I am more fortified than ever before in my call for the conference as a result of the imminent dangers we face if the conference is not held. Without the global conferences which came after the world wars, there would not have been the United Nations Organization today and without the UNO, our global world as we now know it would have been leveled as a result of wars. I am not fastidious about the use of the word “sovereign” to qualify the conference, but the fact remains that we must talk. We are far from practicing federalism and what we ape as federalism today can be likened to absolutism. In a Federation, there is no master and servant relationship between the centre and the federating units. I delivered a paper on 14th December, 1989 on the topic, “Nigeria: What Manner of Federation?” In that presentation, I posited thus: “In a Federal state, both the Central and the State Governments are supreme within their respective areas or spheres of competence. In his treatise titled Federal Government, Professor Wheare posited thus: By the federal principle I mean the method of dividing power so that the general and regional governments are each, within its spheres co-ordinate and independent. He classified Australia and United States of America as beacons of Federation, while Canada and India are portrayed as coercive federations because more powers are given to the central government than the regional ones under their constitutions. Richard M. Pious in American Politics and Government defines Federalism thus: A federal system divides powers
Concluding part of the text of a lecture delivered by Chief Olanipekun, (SAN, FCIArb) at the National Multiple Convention of Lions Club International, District 404, Nigeria’s Annual Convention, Akure
The fundamental ingredient of a Federal system of government is that neither of the federal nor regional level of government (or states) is subordinate to one another, rather both are co-ordinate and independent.
between a national government and smaller territorial units located within the nation’s boundaries. (These smaller units are called provinces, republics, cantons, or in the United States, states). The national government is sovereign over the entire territory and its population and it conducts foreign affairs and is responsible for national defence. But the states have their own powers, usually guaranteed by a national constitution. Some powers are exercised solely by the national government, some are exercised by the states, and some are exercised concurrently. From wheare’s point of view, the fundamental ingredient of a Federal system of government is that neither of the federal nor regional level of government (or states) is subordinate to one another, rather both are coordinate and independent. It has been stated by Awa in his Issues in Federalism that: Federalism involves co-operation, bargaining and conflict”. Stretched further, “Federalism connotes the voluntary association of different independent states for the purpose of maintaining unity in the midst of diversity”. According to E. F. Strong, “It is a political contrivance intended to reconcile national unity and power within the maintenance of state rights.” The point must be made succinctly that in a Federal setup or system of government, it is each of the federating states that donates parts of its powers or rights to the centre and not vice-versa. Federalism cannot mean the subjugation, suppression, oppression or manipulation of the state or region by the central or national government.” I still stand by my submissions in that paper. In any event, the constituents and ingredients of a true Federation are basic, though there might be differences from one Federation to another. The absence of a conference, to my mind essentially contributes to the different compounding conflicts we have in Nigeria today. Let the point be made clearly, boldly and unpretentiously that we are yet to have a working and workable constitution. Unfortunately, rather than heeding to the call of the people for a national conference, not to break up Nigeria, but to build Nigeria and give it a birth certificate, our leaders call those genuinely agitating for the conference enemies of the nation. Yet, these same leaders embark upon instalmental conferences between Nigeria and any warring ethnic nationality at every point in time. The late President Yar’ Adua, for example, had an instalmental but narrow and parochial conference with the NigerDelta militants, resulting in his amnesty agenda. In the same vein and at different times in the recent past, the Federal Government has attempted to dialogue and have a conference with the leadership of the
Boko Haram sect. On page 1 of The Guardian newspaper of Saturday, May 12, 2012 appeared the following headlines relating to the Federal Government’s initiation of dialogue with the Boko Harm sect: “Obasanjo: FG Already Talking with Boko Haram. JTF Kills Terrorist, Arrests Two Gunmen in Borno. Bomb Explodes in Jalingo. Suspected Boko Haram Leader, Wife Arrested in Kano”. We all appreciate the fact that Nigeria consists of near or over 300 ethnic nationalities, all of which have now been compartmentalized into six geo-political zones. The way the Federal Government is approaching the matter, it would end up, unsuccessfully holding instalmental and segmental conferences with over 300 ethnic nationalities and I fear that assuming without conceding that each or any of the conferences succeeds, insurgency would rise from the first so-called successful and settled conference, even before the Federal Government gets or limps into a fourth conference among the 300 ethnic nationalities. The British bard, Williams Shakespeare enthused in Julius Ceaser thus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings”. Juxtaposing Shakespeare’s statement and conclusion with the present state of Nigeria, one would say without any fear of contradiction that the fault in our state of affairs is not wholly domiciled in our people or our stars, but substantially in our refusal, failure and neglect to consciously and cautiously address our problems and find solutions thereto. We are always begging the issues. We rejoice and take consolation in escapist routes every time, through passing of bulks or postponing the evil day. We are not ready and prepared to take the bull by the horn. If we liken our situation to the Biblical injunction, we are not ready to be “born again” as enjoined in John 3:3 where it is written: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Writing in the Guardian newspaper of Sunday, 12 September, 2004 under the caption “In Search of Nigerians”, Reuben Abati, a versatile journalist and firebrand writer, who is now President Goodluck Jonathan’s Chief Spokesperson thundered thus: “We have a country that nobody wants to identify with. Nigerians overburden every embassy in Lagos with visa applications. Each time either the American or British embassy announces new measures to make visa application easier, Nigerians jubilate. But they are soon disappointed anyway. For the average Nigerian, any other country in the world is better than Nigeria. The first time I saw a queue of Nigerians in front of the Japanese Embassy, I was alarmed. What could they be seeking in Japan?” That article was written in 2004, If
one may ask now, has the situation changed? The answer is definitely No. Has the situation worsened or deteriorated more? Your guess is as good as mine. Reuben Abati was searching for Nigerians in 2004 but in 2012 and through this gathering of the Lions, Nigerians should be searching for Nigeria’s birth certificate. Some people might say that Mr. and Mrs. Lugard had already given us one since 1914, but I dare say that it was and remains no birth certificate and, if anything at all, it was a birth certificate akin to the one rejected by the Biblical Jabez in I Chronicles 4:10 who said through prayer thus: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me and that thou wouldst, keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” We have to, through prayer, dynamism, pragmatism, honesty of purpose and acting concertedly and in good faith, (now) call a spade a spade, forget and forfeit our pride and pretences, sit down at a conference table to fashion a way out for Nigeria and, at the end of it all, we may be able to conclude like the Founding Fathers of the USA. “… that to our new nation, we mutually pledge to each other our Love, our Fortune and our sacred Honour.” The time to act is now. It cannot be later than immediate. It is not a question of “to be or not to be”, apology to Shakespeare in Hamlet. Nigerians from across the divides are calling for the convocation of the conference. Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma put the situation in the right and blunt perspective when, according to THISDAY of May 2, 2012, he said that Nigeria is on fire and warned against the Somaliasation of the country. In fact, The Punch newspaper of the same day at page 10 reported the doyen of the Nigerian Army as having stated that Nigeria is becoming a Somalia. The Nigerian Tribune headlines were more pungent, direct, apt and incisive as they went thus: “Boko Haram: Nigeria is on fire – Gen. T. Y. Danjuma, cautions against ‘Somalialisation’ of Nigeria: As Boko Haram threatens to bomb more media houses”. We all know that due to escalating conflicts which were not resolved through dialogue, Sudan has now broken into two countries, that is, Sudan and Southern Sudan. But now, imminent war is looming among the two countries, shortly after the oil-rich Southern Sudan broke from Sudan on July 9, 2011. We are also not unaware that their initial union was forcibly bequeathed on them by their British overlords, just as Mr and Mrs Lugard did in Nigeria, as a result of the European balkanisation of the African continent. Once again, I thank the Lions Club international Multiple District 404 Nigeria for this unique opportunity given to me to address this select gathering on this topic Lions International’s purposes are to organize, to coordinate, to create, to promote, to unite, to provide and to encourage. I believe that the heavens themselves applaud these purposes. But then, we need to translate them to fruitful purposes for Nigeria, as members of the Lions Clubs cannot effectively and meaningfully operate to achieve them in a country without a birth certificate. By the same token, Lions’ code of ethics are to show, to seek, to remember, to resolve, to hold, to give freely, to aid and to be careful. These are commendable ethics promoted by all religions, including Christianity and Islam, the two religions to which majority of Nigerians claim to subscribe. While most of us here will confess that Nigerians majorly subscribe to and practice religions and not godliness, the ethics of the Lions Clubs should be harnessed, through those of us who are gathered here this morning to give our country a new birth, a fresh look and an independent orientation.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
POLITICS THE NATION
• Gov Obi
Nineteen months to the end of his tenure, Anambra State Governor Peter Obi is under intense pressure by those who want to succeed him. He addresses this and other issues, including the pending local government elections in this interview. ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU reports.
‘Why we have not conducted local govt elections’ Y
OU are less than two years away from the end of your tenure, do you have a succession plan? This is the talk on every lip now. People have asked me and I said no. The succession plan is that the people of Anambra State should be bold enough to elect somebody who does not see politics as a job. Politics is a vocation. They should only allow those who have proven track records in their endeavours to serve. I say this because, painfully, most of those that parade themselves as leaders are more transactional than transformational. Are you then saying that you don’t you have any plan to anoint anybody to take over from you? No! Never! It’s unnecessary. It wastes everybody’s time because then you are not genuine. If you genuinely want the system to progress, what you should do is to clamour for somebody better than you to take over. But I wish Anambra State should have somebody who is genuinely committed and can serve them very well to come after me, because then, we would all join hands and celebrate it. Why have you not conducted the local government elections? In 2009, six months to my re-election, we wanted to conduct the local government elections, but people took us to court. You can go and check. They said they were doing so because I wanted to consolidate, for me to win the second term. So they went to court and we could not conduct the election. After I had won the election, the state electoral commission wanted to do it again but people went to court and claimed that the electoral register was faulty. And in 2011,INEC updated the voters’ register. As I speak to you, we are the only state in this country where members of the state electoral body are a Monsignor, a Canon and a Pastor, drawn from the Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal Churches, because I wanted them to conduct free and fair election. I am committed to it. I wish they are here to tell you... they are still in court, so we have not conducted the local government election. It really has nothing to do with me. What about the other groups? You just mentioned Christians and we know that there are Muslims and some unbelievers in the state, too. All those people constitute less than five per cent, and in any system where you have more than 75 per cent of a particular group, they become the dominant group and it is not question of if you don’t believe in anything. Anambra State, you can say, is a Christian state because 97 per cent of the people that live here are Christians. Despite your visible efforts, considering what we saw on ground, you seem to be getting too many criticisms. Why is it so? Yes, because when you bring change, you will have enemies among all those who live off the old order and those who are not sure whether you will succeed. Because all these saying that things are bad, things are bad, its people that made them bad and when you have come to change it, like it is in the Bible: When Jesus asked the evil spirits to leave the man who was possessed, he asked how many they were and they said they were legion and he said ‘okay go’ and as they were going, they damaged, destroyed everything on their way and the town started crying… Wao! This man has destroyed everything.
You said that the people in the rural areas wish it could be the same everywhere because they saw a concerted effort to do something even with the little resources, available, yet there is criticisms. Why? Because, you are displacing those who used to live off the confusion. I was recently discussing with Rev. Fr. George Adimike and he came out with a good postulation. He said that in Anambra today, a lot of people agitate that we have not done this or that for them for the simple reason that they are now confronted by a Government that is striving to solve their needs by doing so many things. Consequently, everybody is like, “Ah, you have not done ours.” He concluded that people did say as much yesterday because they could not tell those doing nothing that they have things to do. I agree with him. How do you view the clamour for a South East President in 2015? Is it feasible in the present day Nigeria? I’m not into it and what is more of my concern today is that South-East should be together. As Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, what is your take on the disqualification of Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa from seeking a second term? Don’t you think this sort of arm twisting is dangerous for Nigeria’s democracy? For me, the only people who can make comment on that are people from the PDP. In 18 months your tenure elapses as the governor of Anambra state. After now, what next? Oh no. I’ll go back to what I used to do. That is why I said that politics is not a job, it is a vocation. So, you must be able to go back to where you are coming from. I look forward to it. Everybody knows where I’m going back to. I’m not just going back into business but I will be contributing in building a better Anambra State, a better South-East and a better Nigeria. I’m not just going to be on the streets searching for food or constituting a nuisance to those who would come after me. There is this rumour that you have Presidential ambition, probably due to your romance with President Goodluck Jonathan. Is this true? I don’t romance with President Jonathan. I believe he is sincere and is doing the right thing. And for me, as a Nigerian, I have to support somebody who is sincere and doing the right thing. Politics is about helping and contributing to building a better place.
‘All of us have to work to ensure that this country does not degenerate into a civil war or into a country where the rest of the world would refer to us as insecure. I know that the Federal Government is taking some bold steps to solve the security problems’
Opposition is not about you seeing everything as bad. It is for you to contribute meaningfully, constructively into building a better place. You should be ready to support what is good for the society. Jonathan as a President means well and I can understand him because I know what I go through because I’m trying to bring a change. If I do not work closely with him, is it with the President of Niger or Chad that I should work with? With the demise of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, do you see yourself stepping into his leadership position? Whose leadership did he step into? He did not step into anybody’s leadership. He did not take over from anybody. He did so well. He did the right things and people followed him. Even when he was there, many people didn’t even follow him, I can tell you. There seems to be crisis in your party, APGA. What could be responsible for that? There is no crisis in APGA. Whenever there is an issue, they call it crisis. What is the crisis? Can you tell me the crisis? Recently, you had to issue a press release in March, stating you had no intention of defecting to PDP after Chekwas Okorie announced that you had the intention... No, I tell you, that is not crisis. Somebody said that I had the intention of leaving APGA and I said I won’t, is it crisis? That’s not crisis. Chekwas Okorie is not my Chairman. He used to be, but he is no longer the Chairman. He wasn’t talking about me. If you are referring to Chekwas Okorie, he is not the Chairman of APGA where I belong to. He used to be and I’m not saying his comments are right or wrong but I’ve said mine. What of the outbursts of Chief Umeh and your uncle NwobuAlor? I cannot dwell in onbursts or whatever you call it, once it is not in the interest of the state. You have been so passionate about the construction of a second Niger Bridge. What is the position so far? Yes, I have to. I have personally seen the Minister of Works on that severally. It is going on very well. The reason why I’m saying it is going on well is because the Federal Government is committed to it. The Ministry of Works is committed to it. The Ministry of Finance is committed to it. According to the promises from the Ministries, in the next few months the evidence of the promises would manifest. So far, I believe it’s on track. If at any point a suspect foul play, I will shout. I cannot compromise the welfare of our people for any reason. Then at a time when states are borrowing funds to finance their budgets; your state is listed as the least indebted. How have you been able to undertake the many infrastructure you have put up without going through financial institutions to fund them? We are going through a lot of sacrifice. We are cutting costs. We are cutting costs everywhere. I’m being frugal about our spending. It’s what has brought us the hatred. Basically frugality has turned into hatred. We are receiving money from wherever we can and we are asking agencies to help us. What would you say is your major achievement thus far? That is what I’m saying. I don’t have the greatest. I don’t have the
•Continued on page 46
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
POLITICS Lawyers, activists condemn executive lawlessness
AWYERS and human rights activists yesterday condemned what they called executive lawless, which is manifested in an attempt to politicise and muscle the judiciary. Speakers at the Showcase Session of the Annual Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch, bemoaned the increasing disregard for judicial independence. The branch’s Chairman, Mr Taiwo O. Taiwo, former Attorney-General of Lagos State, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Chairman of Council of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu and Mr Femi Falana, said acts of impunity which breed corruption and lawlessness must stop. Other speakers include former Judge of the World Court, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN), Dr Joe-Okei Odumakin (SAN), and Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN). Taiwo said the executive, the judiciary and the legislature must be truly independent, without one trying to subjugate the other. He wondered why President Goodluck Jonathan has not acted on the recommendation of the highest decision-making body of the judiciary – the National Judicial Council (NJC) - to re-instate suspended President of the Court of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. Taiwo said: “How do you explain a scenario where the NJC will recommend and the President will refuse to abide by the recommendation of the NJC? “The judiciary of our great country is at present being shackled by the reluctance and/or the refusal of the government to allow the judiciary to be fully separate in terms of appointment of judges, discipline of judges
By Joseph Jibueze and Fisayo Ige
and the payment to judges of their emoluments.” According to the chairman, there is need for a true people’s Constitution, as the existing one is forced on Nigerians by the military. “A Constitution should be borne out of reflection and choice rather than on accident and force. “How do you explain a situation where the government dictates the salary to be paid to all workers all over the Federation without considering the financial situation of the states? “How do you explain a situation where the state cannot generate its own power, control police within its jurisdiction or repair a road within the state without permission from the so-called Federal Government? “No wonder, nothing works,” Taiwo said. Osinbajo decried corruption in the judiciary, saying it is a major threat to the credibility of the profession. The consequence, he said, is that people’s trust in the judiciary’s ability to do justice is waning. Osinbajo called for stringent sanctions for judicial graft, adding that the NBA and state judiciaries should work together to ensure that the right people are appointed as judges and magistrates. The senior advocate also bemoaned slow process of justice delivery, saying that civil and criminal proceedings take several years to conclude. “The system is grinding slowly and nothing is being done about it,” urging the bar and bench to explore ways to make the system work efficiently. Falana slammed the NBA leadership, saying it has been compromised by the executive. He urged the Lagos Branch of the NBA to take up the gauntlet.
Edo indigenes in Austria endorse Oshiomhole
DO indigenes in Austria have thrown their weight behind the re-election bid of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for transforming the state into a centre of excellence in terms of infrastructural development, youth employment, goodwill and stewardship. The Edo indigenes under the aegis of Afro-Austrian Arts Creative Group of Austria, in an open letter to Comrade Adams Oshiom-hole signed by the Director of the Group, Mr. Pascal Irosa Igiede, said that they would come to vote for Oshiomhole because he deserves the votes. “It is an understatement to say Edo State suffered bad leadership and infrastructural setback over a decade until Comrade Oshiomhole was sent by God to salvage the people of the state from bad governance of wrong and wicked party leaders and godfathers who never thought it twice that there is an end to everything in life. We resolutely restate our undying pledge and unshaken stand to drum support for Action Congress of Nigeria and an achiever, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu being credible, fit and proper candidates to occupy the seat of Edo governorship position come July 14 2012,” he noted. The group disclosed that, “according to the saying, one good turn deserves a better one. We therefore throw our undiluted support and weight behind you. And having regard to the fact that most of us registered in the last voters registration exercise, we are coming to cast our vote for you because you deserve it in all ramifications.” According to them, “the teeming population of Edo State indigenes and non indigenes resident in Austria want the governor to know that the train has left the station and there
is no going back. You shall walk into Edo State Government House without hindrances, considering your achievement, antecedents and developmental goals.” “We therefore submit that all Edo voters and stakeholders should endeavour to ask questions on relevant issues on development and transformation through achievable manifestoes, altruism of the candidates and practical representation of the citizenry and masses,” he added. While thanking the governor for his stewardship and doggedness, Mr. Pascal Igiede disclosed that the Afro-Austrian Arts Creative Group of Austria is saddled with the responsibility of promoting multicultural process of integration through cultural, artistic exchange and cooperation and to contribute in creating favourable conditions for good governance.
‘Why we have not conducted local govt elections’ •Continued from page 45
rating. I’ll just continue to do what I’m elected to do, and I believe the people and posterity would judge my acts. In 2006, you initiated a programme of action which you tagged Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS)... (Cuts in) No, not in 2006 but in 2008. In 2006 ANIDS was not there and I was still telling people that the state was a failed one and could not make progress because there was no plan. We had to bring in the Ministry of Planning and made it an engine of what we were doing. We were still doing this when I was impeached and when I came back in 2007. This particular plan which you are talking about now commenced in January 2008. That was when I did my first budget. The budget of 2006 was not my budget; it was a budget that my predecessor had approved. In 2007 it was the same thing because when I was impeached somebody prepared the budget again. The first budget I presented in this state was the budget of 2008 which was the first budget that was based on the vision of the state to achieve the MGD goals by the year 2015. It was when we adopted that as our vision, that we needed a vehicle, a strategy for delivery of this, hence the initiation and commencement of Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS). What has your administration done with the ANIDS model? What it’s doing is very simple. If you look at all the MDG goals you will see that we are following them religiously, trying to achieve them within the prescribed time frame. ANIDS is just a vehicle or strategy or a process that allows us to plan within all the MDG goals, budget properly, execute our plans/projects and wait for the feedback from the people. As a result of this, we have moved our budget from being supply-driven to being demand-driven. We now go to the people and ask them what they need, and we do what they want. What is your take on the present security challenges in the country? We went through Adazi-Nnukwu, a community in your state, and saw the burial site of people who were killed in Mubi. How have you been able to contain reprisal as a result of Ibos killed in the North? The security situation in this country is worrisome and deserves of us to know that we have no other country, except this one, and all of us have to work to ensure that this country does not degenerate into a civil war or into a country where the rest of the world would refer to us as insecure. I know that the Federal Government is taking some bold steps to solve the security problems. Can you let us know some of these steps because ordinary Nigerians in think the government is doing nothing? Nobody can. It’s a security issue. Americans don’t say what they do with security; they don’t say it, and they don’t. They just tell you we put everything into operation. I can follow you through the bombings of 9/ 11, they say they put something into incubation, they do this, and they do that. Even when they go to other persons’ country for operations as in Afghanistan, they do not tell you until it happens; so how can I tell you the one of Nigeria? Having been Chairman and Director of notable business and now governor of a state known as Nigeria’s economic hub, how have you brought your experiences to bear on Anambra state? Well, you see you can’t give what you don’t have. Nobody can manage wealth if you’ve not created wealth itself, if you’ve not worked hard. And wealth-creation is not just about making money because people see it as just making money. No, if you’ve not
worked in a system and contributed to the success of the system, you would simply have nothing to give. This is why i say that our leaders should see leadership as a vocation. We have to elect those with rich experiential pedigree. If you come from a background of service, you will, in spite of yourself, recreate your success in life in governance and this is what I struggle every day, against all odds to do in Anambra State. You’ve done more than six years as governor of Anambra state. How would you rate your performance? For me, I’ve actually been four years as the governor of the state, not six years. It’s a very simple thing. I came in here in 2006 and I was impeached after about seven months. That means that a year just went. In 2007 I came back from impeachment only to be distracted again by a contrived election which threw up an illegitimate government. I had to cite the constitutional provision that says the governor’s tenure is four years. So 2006, 2007 were lost. I started in 2008. We have just finished a meeting with the Governors’ Forum Committee on Peer Review. We are the first state in Nigeria to allow people to come and assess us. We’ve heard people say, how do you rate your government and I say to them, go and see what we are doing because its people that would rate us. For me as a person, I do what I believe is the right thing; I’m not all perfect. I’m not a saint. But I know that within the confines of my job, I think I’m doing what is right. How people assess, I don’t know, but I’ll continue just being myself and doing what I believe in. During our project tour, we noticed that you have opened up the hinterlands. What informed your choice of extensive road access to the extremities of the state? Because if you look at our vision. The first part of it is to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger. How do you do this? The first thing you do if you have to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger is access, to open up the places. Today, for example, people who used to sell a basket of their foodstuff for N2, 000 in those rural areas now sell it for about N12, 000. They no longer suffer the exploitation of middle men. That is critical. We have built roads in areas of the State, such as Anambra West, Anambra East and Anyamelum that had no roads in the past. Besides the need to create access to the areas it is also equitable. In fact anybody to govern Anambra should be fair minded. It is irresponsibility to take institutions of State to once town or local government even when there are better places that have more compelling factors to host such institutions. Talking about the schools. Your administration handed over 700 secondary schools to its original owners. What necessitated this move? And also, recently you increased the school fees of students of Anambra State University. What was the rationale behind the increment? Well, as far as I’m concerned, the fees are still very modest. We are still subsidising the university. I do not believe that we should subsidize University education or even pay for it. We provided the primary education free up to the first nine years of school. That is the Basic Education. The rest of education should actually attract fees, so people can concentrate and face their studies. You can borrow and go to school and that is what people like me are trying to get the system to do. We would eventually see that cults and other vices would go. Because things are free here people don’t concentrate on what they do. On the issue of returning schools to their owners, yes, it was inevitable and I would continue to apologize to the churches for taking their schools. That was the veritable means with which we were able to build better human
beings in the past. Today, because those schools were taken over indiscipline is everywhere and we do not have standards again. I returned schools back so that they will inculcate the discipline, inculcate the sense of responsibility and values that are required for nation building. What plans do you have to make Onitsha an economic hub and Nnewi an industrial base for the state? I know you have gone to both and you have seen what we are doing to upgrade them since we came, that is why it was possible to build a plant in Nnewi. We are upgrading, it is not going to be an overnight issue. The fact is that the system keeps on growing. That is the most important plan. At Onitsha, I know how many companies that are coming up there now. These are as a result of what we are doing in the town. It is alleged that you are building a multi-billion naira shopping mall project located at Kado, Abuja. Is it true? A very good question you asked. Number one is no, I’m not building one. I used to be Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of Next International (Nigeria) Ltd. Next is a foremost brand management company in the country. Though I am not there again, but from the benefit of what it was when I was there, if you go to Next’s office in Apapa, they own the office since 1991. Their warehouse is bigger than any other. It is about 30,000 square metres, bigger than the Kado complex. I came in here as a Bank Chairman. I was a Director in three banks by virtue of my investments. So, I didn’t come here an unknown person. NEXT built and owned before I came here, in the new shopping Centre in the Trade Fair Centre in Lagos, a big building containing over 120 shops. They have been put into official engagement or hiring for over 12 years. So, it is surprising when people try to link the Kado Mall to me. Next is building a shopping mall in Abuja as if NEXT was not in that business long before I thought of contesting the governorship. The Kado Mall, is small compared to what they have been able to achieve. Actually if you go to Abuja, NEXT owns the big mall opposite the Federal Ministry of Transport. That is why they wanted to build a mall, but their partners had advised that they could not use it for one because of lack of adequate parking space. That is why they moved it from there. But of course, you know Anambra politics, people must look for rope to hang one at all costs. I think you should actually be after those we did not own two cars but suddenly own fleets after short romance with public office. I was a bank chairman before I came here by virtue of investments. I was a Director of a bank before I came here. You can go and verify how many shares a man needs to be Director of a bank. When we moved round the rural communities, we saw how you linked up the various local government areas with roads and bridges. What is happening to some of the access roads in the state capital? There are lots of tarred access roads in the state capital, Awka. Only the Federal roads are bad and they are the ones we have not touched, but we have spoken to the Federal Government to permit us to do their roads. And when they give us the permission, we will go ahead and do them. How do you grapple with the problems of erosion which poses grave danger to the state? It is a big problem, but we are struggling with it. As we speak, we are working on over 27 erosion sites out of over 1,000 in the state. We have been able to complete about 17, the Ebenebe, Nnewi, Umuchiani in Ekwulobia, Umuchu, among others. We need help and hope that you can use your medium to help us attract solutions.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Stockbrokers in shares sale scam
WO stockbroking firms surreptitiously sold shares of their clients and diverted the proceeds from the sales of the shares including 81,395 ordinary shares of FirstBank of Nigeria (FBN) PLC, investigation has shown. Official documents from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the two stockbroking firms and complaints from the investor made available to The Nation showed that two stockbroking firms - Option Securities Limited and DBSL Securities Limited - allegedly dealt fraudulently in the shares of their client - Ayodotun Solanke. According to the documents, Mr Solanke had around February, last year instructed Option Securities to sell his stocks including 81,395 ordinary shares of FirstBank, 12,500 ordinary shares of Zenith Bank and 9,800 ordinary shares of Costain (West Africa) Plc. But after the sale of the shares, Option Securities allegedly diverted the proceeds of sales and kept giving excuses to Mr Solanke,
Stories by Taofik Salako
prompting the client to petition the NSE. After investigating and confirming the diversion, the NSE ordered the Option Securities to restore the shareholdings of Mr Solanke. In a letter dated September 21, 2011 addressed to the director-general of the NSE, Option Securities acknowledged that it would repurchase the shares, pleading for time. “We truly regret our inability to conclude the repurchase of the shares as earlier agreed. It was due to some challenges we faced during the period. However, the process is on course and we should conclude the replacement by the end of this month. We will forward you the CSCS statement and in-house statement as we conclude the repurchasing of the FirstBank shares,” Option Securities wrote in a response to a query from the NSE. Solanke, however, alleged that Option Securities has not complied with its promise.
When The Nation called Mr Fatoke Kayode, head of Accounts at Option Securities, one of the two signatories on the letter, he refused to discuss the issue. He also did not respond to a message that he should email the company’s official response to the reporter. In a related case, DBSL Securities was alleged to have shares of First Bank, DN Meyer, BOC Gases, Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria, Flour Mills of Nigeria and Cadbury Nigeria Plc in the account of Mr
Solanke without authorisation. In a response to a query from the NSE, DBSL, however claimed that a broker’s agent was responsible for the sale, pleading for time to settle the issue. However, as at press time, the stockbroking firm has not restored the client’s account. The general manager of the company, who was involved in the issue, did not respond to media enquiry. A report by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had
found that most of the complaints received against stockbrokers relate to non-remittance of share sales proceeds and non-purchase of shares. “In 2010, 305 (or 45.9 per cent) out of a total 665 complaints received that year against brokers alleged non-remittance of share sale proceeds. The increase from 120 of similar complaints of the previous year was largely as a result of the incidence of margin lending involving banks and brokers,” SEC stated.
Sterling Bank unfolds medium, long term plans TERLING Bank plans to build a globally competitive financial institution with strong fundamental performance and sustainable returns to shareholders, its management has said. To actualise this, it has unveiled its medium and long term strategic objectives for the next eight years. The 2011-2019 strategic growth plan details key goals and parameters for measuring performance of the bank, giving a directional outlook for yearly assessment of management performance. Overall, the bank plans to build a business model with institutionalised processes that will endure beyond the stewardship of owners and management while transforming into a systemically important operator that impacts significantly on segments of its business over the long period. Within the immediate future, Sterling Bank fundamental targets include double digit yearly growth in gross earnings, diversified income streams with leading positions in segments of operations as well as a diverse retail funding base. Besides, the bank will strive to keep non-performing loans below five per cent of gross loans and ad-
vances, focus on single-digit cost of funds and consolidate on products and services that would make the bank the consumer banking franchise of choice to customers. Some of the key performance indices to measure the performance of the bank include return on average equity, non-performing loan/ gross loan ration, cost-to-income ratio, revenue growth, loan growth, deposit growth, total assets, sources of funding and capital adequacy among others. “The outcome we seek is to become the financial institution of choice through the creation of exceptional value for all our stakeholders: employees, shareholders, customers, business, communities where we operate, partners, vendors, the financial services industry and the country as a whole,” Managing Director, Sterling Bank Plc Mr Yemi Adeola said. According to him, the headline priorities of the bank for this business year would include improvement of customer experience at the bank’s online and offline service delivery channels, conclusion of the seamless integration of the technology assets acquired from Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB), improvement of operational effi-
From left: Former Chairman, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Felix Ohiwerei; Founder, Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC), Dr. Sunny Ojeagbase and his wife Esther at the group’s Sponsors Dinner Awards, at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja.
ciency and cost of funds as well as delivery of a competitive return to shareholders. He noted that despite the volatility in the global and domestic operating environments, Sterling Bank anticipates growth in the financial year, pointing out that the mindset at the bank has alays been that risk throws up new opportunities for the discerning. “We see clear opportunities for reducing the bank’s cost-to-income ratio and increase revenues as the improved economies of scale arising from the business combination with ETB kick in. Beyond scale economies, specific improvements in the way we run our business should result in greater enterprise efficiency measured by higher operating margins,” Adeola stated.
He said the business combination with ETB has opened up several tangible opportunities for Sterling Bank to strengthen its position within the retail and corporate banking segments. Interim report and accounts of Sterling Bank for the first quarter ended March 31, had shown appreciable growths in all key profit and loss indicators while the bank maintained a healthy balance sheet. The first quarter report, presented in the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) format, showed that the core interest income doubled by 116 per cent to N13.6 billion while net interest income jumped by 73 per cent. Operating income grew by 49 per cent just as profits before and after tax rose by 24 per cent and 16 per cent.
Gross earnings stood at N17.2 billion in first quarter 2012 as against N9.7 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2011. Net interest income had risen from N3.6 billion in 2011 to N6.3 billion this year. Operating income rose from N6.1 billion to N9 billion while profits before and after tax increased to N1.6 billion and N1.3 billion respectively. Key balance sheet items also improved during the period with total assets adding N17 billion to close the quarter at N521.4 billion as against N504.7 billion in December 2011. Customer deposits increased from to N412 billion as against N392.1 billion in December 2011 while net loans and advances grew from N164.3 billion in December 2011 to N177.8 billion in March this year.
Forecasts H1 June 2012 Profit after tax N590.797m NIGER INSURANCE Gross Premium N2.73b Profit after tax N212.95m MUTUAL BENEFITS Gross Premium N2b Profit N885.633m REGENCY ALLIANCE Gross Premium N812.596m Profit after tax N256.437m LEARN AFRICA Turnover N1.06b Profit after tax N58.336m TOTAL Nigeria Turnover N46.676 b Profit after tax N942.1m MRS OIL Nigeria Turnover N51.20b Profit after tax N712 m
ETERNA Turnover N27.64b Profit after tax N563.834m OKOMU OIL PALM Turnover N2.667b Profit after tax N1.044b STANBIC IBTC BANK Net Operating Income N16.805b Profit after tax N2.737b ASL Turnover N1.084b Profit after tax N101.355m GT ASSURANCE Gross Premium N3.892b Profit after tax N710.62m CORNERSTONE INS Gross Premium N1.223b Profit after tax N80.01m
OASIS INS Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax N79.868m AFRICAN ALLIANCE INS Gross Premium N1.215b Profit after tax N107.213m BERGER PAINTS Turnover N976.303m Profit after tax N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover N835.0m Profit after tax N18.200m DANGOTE SUGAR REFINERY Turnover N38.251b Profit after tax N3.49b STUDIO PRESS NIG Turnover N3.375b Profit after tax N20.422m
JULIUS BERGER NIG Turnover N80.125b Profit after tax N2.55b INTERCONTINENTAL WAPIC INS Gross Premium N1.41b Profit after tax N250.450m EQUITY ASSURANCE Gross Premium N2.45b Profit after tax N287.283m STANDARD ALLIANCE INS Gross Premium N2.142b Profit after tax N475.964m CONTINENTAL REINSURANCE Gross Premium N6.917b Profit after tax N805m PRESCO Turnover N2.60b
Profit after tax N800.9m RT BRISCOE Turnover N4.553b Profit after tax N38.437m FIDSON HEALTHCARE Turnover N1.770b Profit after tax N132.754m CADBURY NIG Turnover N18.803m Profit after tax N1.077b ACCESS BANK PLC Gross earnings N54.782b Profit after tax N11.907b UNILEVER Nigeria Turn over N28.531b Profit after Tax N2.086b SOVEREIGN TRUST INS Gross Premium N3.787b Profit after tax N700.076m
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
THE NATION INVESTORS
UBA targets industry leadership with 10-point agenda
NITED Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc aims to become the leader in the financial services industry and a leading African global banking brand through continuous improvements and measurable targets in the areas of infrastructure, human resources and services. As part of its development plan to achieve its three-tier strategic intent, the bank has set a 10-point agenda for the financial year ending December 31, 2012. Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr Phillips Oduoza, in a special report on the priority areas and targets of the bank for the business year, outlined 10 core targets that would drive the goal of industry leadership and impressive return to stakeholders. The agenda was part of the outcome of the recent strategic retreat of the bank’s management and key stakeholders. It has been endorsed by shareholders of the bank. According to him, the bank will continue to drive its business focus of the wholesale, commercial, and retail market segments and
Stories by Taofik Salako
would vigorously pursue business opportunities in key sectors, which are expected to drive growths of the several African economies. He outlined that the bank would step up the momentum in deposit growth with focus on improving on the bank’s low-cost deposit ratio while it would also leverage on its unique infrastructure and unmatched global network to grow the bank’s global and regional trade and remittance businesses. He added that the bank plans to focus on sustaining high asset quality by creating more high quality loans while strengthening its credit delivery, monitoring, and collection capabilities. As part of the strategic plan to optimise the bank’s e-banking capabilities, UBA would invest in more than 30,000 point-of-sales (PoS) terminals in theh country before the end of this year. This is in addition to its aggressive promotion of its mobile payment platform and other e-banking products and services. Other highpoints of the strategic
thrust agenda this year included the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), enhancement of the bank’s group share services as well as institutionalisation of its relationship management approaches, improvement in human resources management and improvement in the bank’s performance management system. He noted that the bank would focus on cost optimisation with the overall objective of significantly reducing the bank’s cost-to-income ratio. UBA had in the first quarter ended March 31, 2012 recorded a pre-tax profit of N16 billion as against N4.8 billion recorded in comparable period of 2011. Profit after tax quadrupled to N13.8 billion compared with N3.9 billion in 2011. Gross earnings had risen from N40.5 billion in 2011 to N53.9 billion in first quarter 2012. Meanwhile, the Deputy Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) PLC, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, described the Africa as one that offers several investment opportunities that should
•From left: Managing Director, May & Baker Nigeria PLC, Mr Nnamdi Okafor and Chairman, Lt.-Gen. Danjuma(rtd) at the AGM.
USTAINABLE growth of the economy depends on the development of a vibrant entrepreneurship and a thriving middle class, corporate leaders and investors have said. Eminent Nigerians as well as upcoming entrepreneurs, who spoke at a dinner organised by the Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC), a entrepreneur development institution, harped on the need for Nigerians to embrace the culture of generation and development of business ideas rather than paid employment. The event, which took place at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja was, according to the organisers, their way of saying thank you to the corporate organisations that have continued to play pivotal roles in upholding the annual Success Digest Enterprise Awards (SDEA). In his opening address, the chairman of the event and former Chairman, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, said the stability of any nation depends on a very active and very virile middle class. He called for collective efforts to train and develop entrepreneurs, urging the corporate sponsors to be encouraged in supporting SADC designed to groom the entrepreneurial spirit in Nigerians. More than 14 corporate
ensure continued attractiveness of the continent to African and foreign investors. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the Africa Day in commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), Uzoka said the future belongs to Africans considering the business opportunities that exist in the continent. He said based on the experience garnered by UBA, one of the largest financial services providers on the continent, Africa would continue to guarantee above average returns on investments. “The continent has huge growth potentials as business opportunities abound for us to harness by effectively leveraging our
Pan-African network in areas of service excellence, product innovation and operational efficiencies. This year’s theme for the celebration is We are Africa, validating our positioning and spread across the continent as one of the largest financial services providers,” he said. He said the bank had in the last three years deemed it appropriate to observe Africa Day as a celebration of the pride in ‘who we are’ as Africans enjoining staff to continue to push for excellence as a leading institution. Highlights of the ceremony at the bank included breaking of kola nut, a cultural display troupe performance from various African cultural settings, among other things.
Shareholders ask Danjuma for bail out
HAREHOLDERS of May& Baker Plc have resolved to ask their Chairman Lt. Gen Theophilus Danjuma (rtd.) for a bail out. Danjuma is also the firm’s largest shareholder. Worried that their benefits to from growth initiatives and expansion might be reduced by high interest expenses, shareholders at the 61st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company passed a special resolution authorising the board and management of the company to source for a personal loan from Danjuma. The resolution allows the company to explore the unconventional source for capital and reduce its financial leverage, bypassing the traditional loan sourcesbanks and finance houses. The company secretary had attempted to downplay the resolution by referring it as an information, saying that the resolution was not on the agenda for the meeting. The shareholders, however, insisted that they were empowered by relevant statutes to set or amend the agenda at a general meeting. Representatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), who were at the meeting, did not raise any objection to the
authority cited by the shareholders. May & Baker Nigeria’s interest expense rose by 40 per cent in 2011 from N172.88 million in 2010 to N242.89 million in 2011. Its shortterm bank overdrafts had increased from N948.5 million in 2010 to N1.22 billion in 2011. Besides, May & Baker Nigeria has outstanding term loans of N1.41 billion. Danjuma, a former Minister of Defence, holds the largest equity stake of 24.38 per cent in May & Baker Nigeria through his company, T.Y. Holdings Limited. Most shareholders urged that Danjuma could deploy his personal wealth to assist the company to mitigate exposure to bank loans and ensure better returns to shareholders, especially the minority retail investors who depend on the cash dividends. National Co-ordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, urged Danjuma to support the company financially. He noted that shareholders deserve to benefit from the expansion programme of the company, adding that they endured when it struggled to complete massive new world-class pharmaceutical factory.
‘Entrepreneurs key to economic development’ •SADC honours corporate sponsors organisations including Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Unilever Plc, ABC Transport Plc, UACN Property Development Company Plc, Goldlink Insurance Plc, Tantalizers Plc, Brilla FM were among those honoured during the dinner. Other recipients were Promasidor Group, Oruhtrade International Limited, Joyat Nigeria Limited, Royal Suites, Beat FM and Quincy Herbal Beauty Clinic. Founder of SADC, Dr. Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase, said the SADC Entrepreneurial Awards are aimed at sponsors who themselves have come to have faith in the noble concept of his organisation. Also, as part of efforts to further motivate Nigerians as well as the sponsors, some beneficiaries of the programmes came to testify to the reality of the NGO’s activities. Akin Alabi said he attended an internet marketing service tagged “Booth Camp” in 2002. According to him, he attended the programme while he was doing his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) with a bank in Ibadan. He said the exposure he got from that training enabled
him to set up his business on completion of his NYSC. He told the gathering that he employs over 100 persons in his striving company. He praised Ojeagbase, his wife Esther and their organisation. Similarly, another beneficiary, Oyeleke Toyin, who was at the time an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State and was at home because of the incessant strikes of the University lecturers, was compelled by his father to participate in the programme, which he reluctantly accepted. “I reluctantly accepted to attend because, as at then, I did not believe that there is anyone who will genuinely teach others the secret of creating wealth”, he said. But that notion changed after attending the programme. Toyin proudly announced to the audience that not only has he shunned paid employment, he runs three different enterprises with over 10 staff on his payroll. Speaking on the motivation behind the concept, Ojeagbase said SADC was established in 1995 to raise and nurture successful entrepreneurs whose success in busi-
ness is driven by the fear of God, a desire to care for their families and an unquenchable thirst to do deeds in their communities. Going down the memory lane, the founders of SADC said they took the decision to set up the organisation during the 10th Anniversary of being into business, stating that their experience as a boot-strapped entrepreneur inspired their decision to undertake the pioneering project in Nigeria. He noted that they decided to share their experience with other Nigerians, who may wish to go into business themselves. The idea, according to him, is to guide budding entrepreneurs so that they would not go through the harrowing experience we endured in our first seven years in business, when our business was almost liquidated as result of our indebtedness to banks. To achieve their objectives, a some structures were put in place; these include the setting up of SADC, which was followed by the launch of Success Digest in September 1995. The publication has been re-christened Nigeria’s No 1 life-changing magazine by thousands of its readers who have benefitted from it. Another vehicle driving the SADC mission is the Success Digest Enterprise Awards.
Established in 1997, aimed at celebrating entrepreneurs for establishing something in a difficult marketplace such as Nigeria and making a huge success of the endeavour. Another out-reach product of the NGO is “Be Your Own Boss Seminars”. Here, some seminars are conducted. They cover different aspects of entrepreneurship from start-up to business maturity such as Business Opportunity Expo, Certified Netpreneur Course and Basic Certificate Courses in Entrepreneurship (BCCE). Other arms used in propagating the objectives of the NGO are SADC Benevolence Fellowship, a reachout to widow and less privileged in the society and the Mother of Nations Intercessory Group (MONIG), which is driven by the desire to intercede for Nigeria. Ojeagbase, who was full of gratitude to the corporate sponsors, noted that “SADC is an institution fulfilling its mandate to the glory of God”. While assuring that the fruits of their contribution to the NGO would soon become evident, he said: “The successful entrepreneurs we are raising are already making waves in the marketplace. Soon, they will be lifting high the flag of Nigeria in the international marketplace.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Tax Administration in Nigeria 2.5.5 To provide economic stabilisation Nigeria should use its tax system to minimize the negative impacts of volatile booms and recessions in the economy and also to help complement the efforts of monetary policy in order to achieve economic stability.
2.5.6 To pursue fairness and equity Nigeria’s Tax system must be fair and shall institutionalise horizontal and vertical equity.
Horizontal equity ensures equal treatment of equal individuals. The Nigerian Tax system should therefore seek to avoid discrimination against economically similar entities. Vertical equity on the other hand addresses the issue of fairness among different income categories. In this regard, the Nigerian Tax System shall recognise the ability-to-pay principle, in that individuals should be taxed according to their ability to bear the tax burden. Individuals and entities that earn high incomes should pay a corresponding high percentage of tax. The overall tax system shall therefore be fair, so that similar cases are treated similarly.
Having set out the general guiding principles for the stakeholders, we proceed to a discussion of their roles and responsibilities as follows: 3.1 The Executive Arm The Executive Arm of Government encompasses the organs of Government at all levels, which are involved in the implementation and enforcement of tax laws. We have set out each organ’s roles and responsibilities;
3.1.1 Presidency The Presidency is the organ of Government that is responsible for initiating policy and implementation and enforcement of laws at the Federal level. The Presidency also oversees the activities of Government agencies at the Federal level. In this regard, the Presidency would be required to provide leadership and direction on all tax matters to the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigeria Customs Service and other relevant revenue generating agencies involved in tax administration in Nigeria.
In addition, any ambiguity or conflicting provisions in the law shall be resolved in a manner as to ensure fairness to the taxpayers and the tax authorities. 2.5.7 To correct Market Failures or Imperfections One of the objectives of the Nigerian tax system is the ability to correct market failures in cases where it is the most efficient device to employ. In this regard taxes may be reviewed upwards or downwards as may be necessary to achieve Government’s intentions. Market failures which the Nigerian tax system may address are those that are as a result of externalities and those arising from natural monopolies. 2.6 Features of the Nigerian Tax System This section provides the fundamental features that taxes in the Nigerian tax system must exhibit. Accordingly any tax that substantially violates these fundamental features should not be part of the tax system of Nigeria. 2.6.1 Simplicity, Certainty and Clarity Taxpayers should understand and trust the tax system, and this can only be achieved if Nigerian tax policy keeps all taxes simple, creates certainty through considerable restrictions on the need for discretionary judgements, and produces clarity by educating the public on the application of relevant tax laws. It is therefore imperative that the Nigerian Tax system should be simple (easy to understand by all), certain (its laws and administration must be consistent) and clear (stakeholders must understand the basis of its imposition). 2.6.2 Low Compliance Cost To enable a high level of compliance, the economic costs of time required, and the expense which a t&:’ payer may incur during the procedures for compliance, shall be kept to the absolute minimum at all times. Furthermore, taxpayers should be regarded as clients with the right to betreated respectfully. The convenience of the taxpayer and minimal compliance cost should guide the design and implementation of every tax in Nigeria. 2.6.3 Low Cost of Administration A key feature of a good tax system is that the cost of administration must be relatively low when compared to the benefits derived from its imposition. There must therefore be a proper cost - benefit analysis before the imposition of any taxes and the entire machinery of Tax Administration in Nigeria should be efficient and cost-effective. 2.6.4 Fairness Nigeria’s tax system should be fair and as such observe the objective of horizontal and vertical equity as mentioned above. Based on the foregoing, there must be overwhelming reasons for granting tax incentives and concessions to some preferred sectors over others within the economy. Otherwise incentives and concessions shall as much as possible be general and apply to all tax-payers. 2.6.5 Flexibility Taxes in Nigeria should be flexible enough to respond to changing circumstances. Prevailing circumstances should also be considered before’ the introduction of new taxes or the review of existing ones. 2.6.6 Economic Efficiency The Nigerian tax system shall at all times strive to minimise the negative impact of taxes on economic efficiency by ensuring that the marginal tax rates do not distort marginal propensity to save and invest. GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR STAKEHOLDERS - ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE STAKEHOLDERS Stakeholders are those persons I entities that contribute to and derive benefits from the country’s tax system. This broad definition therefore includes every Nigerian citizen and resident, corporate entities, Government at all levels and government agencies as stakeholders in the country’s tax administration. However, for the purpose of the National Tax Policy, certain groups of persons have been identified as relevant stakeholders. It is therefore necessary to identify these relevant stakeholders before discussing the guiding principles, which would be applicable to them. The relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian tax system can be broadly categorized into the following:
provision of specific and general feedback by all stakeholders, in a proactive manner on issues and developments that are relevant to tax administration in Nigeria; ensuring that the principle of good faith is observed by all stakeholders, especially between the taxpayer and tax authorities on one hand and the government and authorities on the other; fairness in the treatment of all stakeholders by each other. This is particularly relevant in the allocation of resources and consideration of each party’s viewpoints.
• ALHAJI KABIR MOHAMMED MASHI, AG. EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, FIRS
“Given that the NCS is made up of distinguished and experienced persons such as former Presidents and Chief Justices of the Federation, current State Governors, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the National House of Assembly, it is expected that the NCS would provide deep and varied insight on the matters upon, which it would be called to advice the President.” (i) The Executive Arm (a) Presidency (b) Federal Executive Council in general and the Ministries of Finance, Information and Education in Particular (c) National Economic Council (d) National Council of States (e) State Governors (f) State Executive Council in general and the Commissioners of Finance, Information and Education in particular (g) Local Government Chairmen (h) Local Government Councils (ii)
Legislative Arm (a) National Assembly (b) State Houses of Assembly
Joint Tax Board
Professional Bodies, Tax Practitioners and Consultants
As earlier stated, the National Tax Policy shall be guided by the provisions of Nigerian’s Constitution in respect of all fiscal issues. Accordingly the following shall be the guiding principles of the Stakeholders in the Nigerian tax system: (i) adherence to Constitutional Federalism and the Rule of Law at all times; strict adherence to Constitutional provisions relating to fiscal matters; (ii) adherence to the concept of Fiscal Federalism and separation of powers in relation to fiscal matters; (iii)recognition and respect for the rights and powers of each level of Government in relation to collection and control of revenue within its jurisdiction; (iv)strict adherence to the provisions of tax legislation in the administration of taxes; (v) commitment to the enforcement of tax laws in a legal and Constitutional manner, commitment to the peaceful resolution of all disputes and respect for judicial pronouncements on disputes submitted for adjudication; (vi)commitment to the creation and sustainable development of a stable, secure and workable tax system for Nigeria; and (vii)commitment to the Unity, Development and Progress of One Nigeria. In the acknowledgment that the Tax System can be used as a major pivot for achieving National Developmental Goals. Further, there are certain universal principles which are necessary to ensure cordial interaction between stakeholders in the administration of taxes in Nigeria. These principles include: · affirmation and acknowledgement of the importance and contribution of all stakeholder in the administration of taxes in Nigeria;
The Presidency shall provide necessary approvals (or assist in obtaining such approvals from the relevant bodies), funding and be responsible for the appointment of competent personnel to head the relevant agencies and also initiate the process of drafting tax legislation for enactment by the” Legislature. The Presidency would also be responsible for signing and implementing all International a Regional treaties entered in to by Nigeria. In addition to the above, the Presidency shall be responsible for moderating the relationship between the different organs of Government and provide all the necessary tools for effective and efficient tax administration in Nigeria. 3.1.2 National Council of States The National Council of States (NCS) is created by the Nigerian Constitution and assigned the responsibility of advising the President on the exercise of his powers with respect to certain matters specified in the Constitution. While taxation or fiscal issues are not specifically listed in the Constitution as matters upon which the NCS can advise the President, the Constitution however provides that the NCS may advise the President on such matters as the President may direct. Accordingly, when required, the NCS shall provide relevant advice to the President on matters pertaining to tax and fiscal issues. Given that the NCS is made up of distinguished and experienced persons such as former Presidents and Chief Justices of the Federation, current State Governors, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the National House of Assembly, it is expected that the NCS would provide deep and varied insight on the matters upon, which it would be called to advice the President. 3.1.3 National Economic Council The National Economic Council (NEC) was created by the Nigerian Constitution and assigned the responsibility for advising the President on economic matters. Given that taxation plays a major role in the economy of the country, the NEC would be required to deliberate on and identify policies, which can be implemented and assist the President draw up road maps for the development of the Nigerian economy with particular emphasis on taxation and other fiscal related issues. The NEC would also be required to co-operate with similar advisory bodies to ensure the consistency of advice provided to the President on fiscal issues. 3.1.4 State Governors State Governors are expected to playa similar role to that of the Presidency at State level. They would be responsible for the development of State Tax Policy which shall be complementary to the National Tax Policy. In addition, they are responsible for the enforcement of Federal and State tax laws in the States and carry out general oversight functions on tax and revenue authorities at the State and Local Government level. State Governors would be required to provide guidance and direction to the State Ministries of Finance, the State Boards of Internal Revenue Service and other relevant revenue generating agencies involved in tax administration in the States. They should also ensure adequate funding and autonomy is provided to these agencies in the discharge of their functions. State Governors would be expected to ensure co-operation among State Boards of Internal Revenue, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigeria Customs Service and other revenue agencies for the development of the Nigerian tax system in areas such as information sharing, improved structure and efficiency in tax administration, elimination of multiple taxation and adoption of a nationwide Unique Taxpayer Identification Numbering (U-TIN) system. State Governors could also be required to provide advice to the Federal agencies and bodies responsible e for tax policy, legislation and administration in the country. Overall, it is expected that State Governors shall provide additional oversight in respect of all tax and fiscal matters at State and Federal level.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Investors opt for penny stocks as downtrend persists
NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 5-6-12
NVESTORS appeared to be readjusting portfolios in favour of lowpriced stocks, otherwise known as penny stocks, as the downtrend at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) shaved off N49 billion from market values of quoted companies. The bearishness at the stock market entered the sixth consecutive day yesterday with the two main indices- the All Share Index (ASI) and aggregate market capitalisation, dropping by 0.70 per cent each. The ASI, which tracks share prices of all quoted companies, dwindled to 21,632.11 points as against its opening index of 21,785.37 points, reflecting losses suffered by highly capitalised stocks such as First Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, Guaranty Trust Bank, Dangote Sugar Refinery and Unilever Nigeria Plc among others. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also dropped from N6.948 trillion to N6.899 trillion, with 29 stocks witnessing depreciation as against 11 that increased their values. In spite of the negative overall market situation, in-
By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire
vestors showed keen interests in penny stocks, which dominated the gainers’ chart. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc added 5.0 kobo to close at N1.06. RT Briscoe gained 6.0 kobo to close at N1.28. May & Baker Nigeria rose by 7.0 kobo to close at N1.55. Japaul Oil & Maritime Services gathered 3.0 kobo to close at 70 kobo. Livestock Feeds added 4.0 kobo to close at 94 kobo. Intercontinental Wapic Insurance gathered 2.0 kobo to close at 54 kobo. Red Star Express chalked up 5.0 kobo to close at N2.97. University Press Plc rose by 3.0 kobo to close at N4.21 while CAP and Zenith Bank added 35 kobo and 15 kobo to close at N25.70 and N13.40 respectively. On the downside, UAC of Nigeria Plc led the losers with N1.66 to close at N31.65. Conoil Plc followed with a loss of N1.27 to close at N24.19 per share. Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria rose by N1 to close at N42. Nigerian Breweries added 99 kobo to close at N101. Meanwhile, the share price of Skye Bank Plc
closed on a positive note yesterday as the lender projected a profit after tax of N13.933 billion for third quarter ending September 30, 2012. Skye Bank garnered 4.0 kobo to close at N2.89 per share. Market operators said the news of the profit forecast boosted investors’ demand for Skye Bank’s shares. According to forecast, Skye Bank projected gross earnings of N99.71 billion and profit after tax of N13.933 billion for the third quarter. Market pundits said the projected profit of N13.933 billion was well ahead of the N5.2 billion recorded in the full year ended December 31, 2011. According to them, if the forecast is achieved, it would be a big boost on the returns to shareholders at the end of the current financial year. With a net profit of N5.2 billion for 2011, the bank paid out N3.3 billion, translating into 25 kobo per share. Group Managing Directo, Skye Bank, Mr. Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, had recently assured shareholders that the bank would improve on its performance in order to enhance shareholders’ value and returns on investment. He said the bank had been positioned for a leadership role in the banking industry, having been strengthened by capital injection and good corporate governance policy.
NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 5-6-12
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
CBN injects N189.3b into agric sector
HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the sum of N189.29 billion to 237 beneficiaries under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS). The loan which is repayable in line with the agreed terms, will enable the farmers to improve on their productivity.
From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor)
While delivering a keynote address at the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association workshop in Abuja yesterday, the CBN’s Governor, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said he is unhappy with the 1.7 per cent lending rate banks are offering
development, promote job creation and stimulate private and public sector investments to the agriculture sector. He said : “The agricultural sector of the country accounts for only 1.7 per cent of total lending by banks even though the sector accounts for over 42 per cent of the country’s GDP.” Besides, he noted that there was need to increase funding to the sector to reduce Nigeria’s food import bill. “If wealth creation and poverty reduction is to be achieved, the need to adopt efficient and cost effective financial services that support agricultural production and innovation across the value chain is urgent,” Sanusi said.
the agricultural sector. The workshop was at the instance of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. Sanusi who was represented by his deputy in charge of Corporate Services, Mr. Suleiman Barau, noted that since the inception of the CACS in March 2009, the apex bank had been able to fast track agricultural
Cadbury appoints Moskofian as new CEO
ADBURY Nigeria Plc has appointed Mr Emil Moskofian as its new managing director. Moskofian succeeds Alan Palmer, who is retiring from the business after 38-year career. In a statement signed by the company’s Head of Corporate Affiars, Mr Kufre Ekanem , the new helmsman would lead the company to the next phase of growth and transformation agenda, as well as overseeing the affairs of the confectionary giant in West Africa region. The statement said: “Alan Palmer’s name will always be remembered for leading the assured resurgence of our business across West Africa. In his over
Stories by Akinola Ajibade
three-year tenure here, our historical debts were paid off, our brands gained market share to consolidate their leading positions, a revamp of our sites’ infrastructure is gathering steam and, most importantly, our West Africa operations grew more profitable year on year. “We are pleased to have a broadlyexperienced and widely travelled leader like Emil to take over from Alan and lead the transformation and growth phase of our rebuilding programme, even as we raise the tempo of our integration within our parent company, Kraft Foods.
Emil Moskofian will also act as Area Managing Director, Western Africa for Kraft Foods, and will serve on the leadership team for Kraft Foods Middle East & Africa Region.” Moskofian, a 47-year old British citizen, is a highly experienced manager with over 20 years’ experience in leading organisations, the statement said. His career, according to the statement, has taken him through Finance, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Sales & Marketing and General Management roles across several countries for British American Tobacco, including tenures in Bangladesh, Egypt, South Africa, Hungary, Austria, Korea, Malaysia and Russia.
the CBN Act 2007 is in line with International best practices.” The CIBN boss noted that an independent central bank would be in the best position to ensure financial stability, sound economic performance, stable economic growth, access to resources to achieve its policy objectives, a positive international perception among other benefits than when under control of an external body or agency. Mr Aina observed that central banks all over the world have the core mandate of ensuring monetary and price stability, non-inflationary growth as well
HE National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Lagos State chapter has said that it would raise N2billiioon in the next one month for onward lending to its operators. The body, in a statement, said it would leverage on the National Association of Microfinance Bank Lagos (NMABLAG) Fund to, raise the fund. NAMBLAG is a special vehicle set up to raise capital for over 200 operators in the state. In a statement signed by its State’s Chairman, Mr Olufemi Babajide, the body said its going to raise N500million in the next two weeks, and N2billion in a month time to advance credits to its members. Babajide said the loan would be given to the operators at a singledigit rate to foster the growth of the sub-sector.
as the responsibility of ensuring a sound and stable financial system, in addition to other developmental functions. “These mandates and functions are peculiar to central banks, and no other institution performs such functions”, Aina said. Similarly, Alhaji Amusa Oladimeji Otiti, OON, FCIB, a Past President and Chairman of Body of Past Presidents of the Institute affirmed the position of the Institute by saying that the apex bank should continue to have its operational and financial autonomy and the budget should not be subjected to financial appropriations.
FGN BONDS Amount N
3-Year 5-Year 5-Year
35m 35m 35m
11.039 12.23 13.19
19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016
WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 150m 150m 138m 138m
Price Loss 2754.67 447.80
PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year
Amount 30m 46.7m 50m
Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34
Date 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011
GAINERS AS AT 5-6-12 SYMBOL
TRANSCORP RTBRISCOE MAYBAKER JAPAULOIL LIVESTOCK WAPIC REDSTAREX SKYEBANK CAP ZENTHBANK
1.01 1.22 1.48 0.67 0.90 0.52 2.92 2.85 25.35 13.25
1.06 1.28 1.55 0.70 0.94 0.54 2.97 2.89 25.70 13.40
NGN USD NGN GBP NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N) Bureau de Change (S/N) Parallel Market
O/PRICE 1.20 25.46 33.31 4.25 5.41 3.57 6.00 1.30 6.55 3.90
C/PRICE 1.14 24.19 31.65 4.04 5.15 3.40 5.72 1.24 6.25 3.73
CHANGE 0.06 1.27 1.66 0.21 0.26 0.17 0.28 0.06 0.30 0.17
C u r r e n t CUV Start After %
147.6000 239.4810 212.4997
149.7100 244.0123 207.9023
150.7100 245.6422 209.2910
-2.11 -2.57 -1.51
DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11
Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%
9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 12.6%
NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days
NSE CAP Index
27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37
Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250
Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%
28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16
% Change -1.44% -1.44%
MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name
LOSERS AS AT 5-6-12
SYMBOL PAINTCOM CONOIL UACN ETRANZACT CCNN UBN NAHCO FIDELITYBK ACCESS UBA
Exchange Rate (N) 155.8 155.8
CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer
0.05 0.06 0.07 0.03 0.04 0.02 0.05 0.04 0.35 0.15
Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m
EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency
INTERBANK RATES OBB Rate Call Rate
He said the targets would increase with time, because the members have agreed to contribute to the fund significantly. Babajide said the fund has the capacity to increase to N10billion or more soon, adding that members would benefit greatly from the initiative. According to him, the banks are grappling with shortage of funds as occasioned by their problems facing them. He said the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) refused to provide funds for the sub-sector, because of its lower capital base. “ We have requested for funds from CBN to strengthen our operations. But what CBN has been saying is that the microfinance banks do not have a strong financial window, and therefore cannot be granted operational funds like commercial banks,” he said.
Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20
He said farming should be viewed as a challenging business with the capacity to create wealth and improve living standards rather than be seen as an opportunistic vocation.
Group shops for N2b
CIBN backs CBN Act, calls for caution HE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria(CIBN) has opposed the decision to review the Act establishing the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN). The Institute's President, Mr Segun Aina said the CBN Act of 2007 was in line with International best practices, and therefore should not be amended. Aina, while making a presentation in Lagos recently said: “After examining the governance structure of central banks across the developed and emerging/frontier economies and the impact on central bank independence, we found out that
•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido
ARM AGGRESSIVE 9.17 KAKAWA GUARANTEED 1.00 STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE 123.93 AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 105.00 THE LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL 0.75 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.08 BGL NUBIAN FUND 0.89 NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. 1,710.94 PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND 9.42 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST 1.87 STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY 7,690.48 THE DISCOVERY FUND 193.00 FIDELITY NIGFUND 1.67 • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND
9.08 1.00 123.81 104.34 0.73 1.08 0.88 1,703.76 8.96 1.33 1.80 7,486.02 191.08 1.62
OPEN BUY BACK Previous 04 July, 2011
Current 07, Aug, 2011
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
• Mrs Odutola
‘I make money from making young N graduates employable’ O fewer than 100,000 graduates pass out yearly. Of this number, only 25 per cent are employed. The rest are often frustrated by rejections during the interview and selection. This is caused by the mismatch between corporate sector expectations and poor skills of the job seeker. Some corporate employers whohave attempted to hire and train them at their cost are frustrated by the lack of loyalty of the trainees since many of them tend to look for another job as soon as they become employable. Out of this crisis, the Executive Director, Employment Clinic, Miss Ronke Kosoko discovered a lucrative business opportunity. She did not say she is a millionaire, but she has handled lucrative deals, which improved her financial status. Kosoko started with nothing. Just an idea there was a gap to fill in the job market. She jumped at it, since then she has been working for herself. She told The Nation, she got the idea as an undergraduate of the University of Lagos in 2007. The idea was, essentially, developing employment solutions to address the challenges faced by unemployed graduates Having surveyed the job market, she found why a lot of graduates were being rejected. The answer was in training fresh graduates in many roles in sales, cus-
Stories by Daniel Essiet
tomer service, technical support, manufacturing and back office. Following the success of her initiative, Kosoko has clients in telecoms, retail, banking, financial services, insurance, automobiles,pharmaceuticals, manufacturing,fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), agri-inputs, logistics, maritime, hospitality and airport management. She told The Nation that many job seekers face tough times—for every job opening. In most cases, graduate recruitment was not meeting the placement needs and demands of businesses and industrial leaders in the country. So, she decided on providing employment solutions to graduates in 39 states and Abuja. This requires promoting talent acquisition and development. To achieve this, the young entrepreneur offered training to graduates in areas, covering poise/behavioural modification, workplace culture management, business etiquette,personal brand management, relationship management, business and letter writing, CV branding among others. Author of Get out of Unemployment, a book that helps people address employment needs, Kosoko said executive
training means undergoing a sea change with more employers seeking either better customerprogrammes from providers or innovative formats and experiences that add to the creativity and resilience of new workforce. Speaking on the venture, Kosoko said the project is primarily addressed to meet the growing demand for graduate talent in the corporate sector. Besides, she said the challenge is to get graduates to be ready to assume the role they are offered from day one. This means, they will have to groom them to fit the corporate culture, besides, training them in specific areas. She said her programme helps job seekers get equipped with the right skills needed to compete favourably in the labour market and on interview panels. This training helps to launch them on the fast lane as they are exposed to. The steps are to get a good job in less time, how to interweave their interests, abilities, values, and personality with the job market. This programme also helps participants to develop an entrepreneurial spirit, generate and recognise profitable ideas, move their ideas to the market place. Kosoko said she started the firm with nothing but she is now comfortable and employing people.
She had a rough background: “Well, I’m from an average background. We were not too rich, but we were comfortable and I had all that I needed as a child. “My parents, however, had problems, which affected us and we had to start caring for ourselves at a tender age. That made me the responsible person that I am today because I started paying my school fees right from JSS 2. “She is putting together an employment summit for tertiary institutions. “Our educational system is raising incompetitive graduates or say certificated illiterates. Nigeria is becoming an industrialised nation. To achieve this, we need people with technical skills but our schools are not inculcating these skills. In Brazil today, a 14-yearold goes straight into a technical school to acquire industry specific training; it is the same in China, a country with over 1,100 technical schools. So, you have a 25-year-old Asian or Brazilian, who is an expatriate ready to be imported to Africa while a 35year-old Nigerian is busy flaunting his certificate with no job. Technical skills are in short supply in virtually all aspects of the economy. “The industrial and economic revolution that is taking place around the world is private sec-
tor driven and the Nigerian case cannot be an exception. We have seen it work in the telecoms sector. It is working in the power and energy sector, oil and gas, maritime, aviation, ICT, agriculture, but the question remains, how many of our schools are raising people for those industries? Employers will not fold their hands and watch their investments rot away. So many big organisations are going abroad to recruit. “So, I go into the school to enlighten them about opportunities across industries, teach them how to strategically position for these opportunities. While we continue to talk to stakeholders and the government, we go into the school to help the students to help themselves by taking responsibility for their learning and career success.We expose them to opportuinities, guide them, show them the way and so much more,” she said.
Marketing petroleum products
• From left: Vice-President, Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN), Alhaji Kabir Mohammed; President, Mr Doyin Owolabi; 1st Deputy Vice-President, Mr Chidi Ajaegbu and 2nd Deputy Vice-President, Otunba Femi Deru, during the inauguration of the new officers of the institute.
SMEs employ 32m, says Minister HE Minister of Trade and Investment Dr Olusegun Aganga has said Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) employ a total 32,414,884 workers in the country. He stated this at the summit organised by the Small and Medium Scale Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), with the Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Lagos Business School and Etisalat Nigeria at the Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers. Relying on figures from the SMEDAN and the National Bureau
of Statistics (NBS), he said as at 2010, the number of MSMEs stands at 17,284,671. Aganga, who declared the event entitled: Facilitating market access to small and growing businesses, open said after the summit stakeholders should be able to deal with new challenges facing the industry. Director-General, SMEDAN, Alhaji Muhammed Umar said the development of MSMEs was the best policy ever undertaken in the country. He added that it had become imperative to tackle the problems of poverty and unemployment for peace to stand a chance in the
counsmall nor the big businesses would grow or survive in Nigeria,” he He disclosed that his organisation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) have designed a platform to address the challenge of access to local, regional and global competitive markets facing operators of small and growing businesses. The platform is expected to bring together small and growing businesses and larger enterprises together for networking, exchanging ideas and creating opportunities for their mutual benefits.
HE oil and gas sector has continued to be the backbone of the economy, contributing over 90 per cent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and at least 80 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This situation is likely to continue unchallenged, even in the future. The demand for, particularly, petroleum products is on the increase. For example, AGO (diesel), DPK (Kerosene) and ATK (Aviation Fuel), LPFO, natural gas, lubes, etc, have recorded rising demand because of increasing number of cars and industries (primary users). The domestic use - AGO and PMS for generators, (DPK and LPG) for cooking, etc, on the other hand, is on the increase. Market for the product is thus unlimited. Hence any investment in this sector will not only yield huge positive returns on investment but would further serve as an avenue of opportunities for real growth and diversification. Petroleum products touch the lives of everyone in the country. Scarcity of the products has always resulted in great pains and much suffering to the Nigerian masses. The smooth operation of the manufacturing industries, service/commercial sectors depends on products availability. However, the demand for petroleum products has always outgrown the capacity of local refinery production. Consumption has been on the rise and this has accounted for increased importation of the products by both government agencies and some independent marketers. Small scale buyers of the products (those who buy in trucks) can obtain the products from Petroleum Products Marketers in the Oil and Gas industry. Other ways of product procurement for marketing is bridged buying - that is buying the products at an agreed lower margin from what is obtain-
By Edwin Agbaike (Projects, Financial and Management Consultant)
able at depot price. Trucks are hired to haul the procured products to desired destinations. This is the fastest way of procuring the products for marketing. Bulk purchase of the products (Ship load) for local marketing and distribution are obtained from renowned Refineries in Russia, Madrid, Canada, Brazil and South Africa. Some major corporate buyers of petroleum products are the giant telecom companies, that buys AGO products on a regular basis to run their masks set up at different parts of the country. Other major buyers are the different manufacturing companies and hotels that depend on AGO, LPFO and PMS to power their engines. Thus, demand for the product is high and continuous all year round. Investment in importation of petroleum products is capital intensive and it requires off-shore loan. Cost of local procurement of the products could range from about N15,000 to well over N5 million for those buying in jericans and trucks for marketing. Though investment in petroleum products is capital intensive, the financial returns are very high. The sales margin per liter, though small, result in great revenues that runs into millions of naira due to high volumes and quick turnover. A well-packaged feasibility report is prerequisite for securing off-shore and local finance for successful set-up and operation of this project. For details on how to implement this project or any other, please contact us at the address stated hereunder. Kris-Ed Brilliant Limited [Brilliant Consulting]. 395, Borno Way, off Harbert Macualy Road, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos State. Tel. 08023381900; 08098525122. E-mail: email@example.com
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Lagos accuses PHCN, bank of disobeying court order L AGOS State Government yesterday accused the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and First Bank of Nigeria Plc of disobeying an order of a Lagos State High Court, Igbosere. It claimed that they flouted a mareva order of injunction granted by Justice Doris Okuwobi on May 16, stopping withdrawals from an account. The parties are in court over alleged breach of a Barge Power Purchase agreement between Lagos and PHCN in 2000. Counsel to the government, Mr Olasupo Shasore (SAN) told the court yesterday that the respondents withdrew millions of Naira from the account after they were served with the order. “Over N1billion had been transfered after they admitted being served with the order. “It is possible that they have an explanation as to why they continued to deal with the account after the order,” Shasore said. He said since the respondents had
By Joseph Jibueze
disobeyed the order, they were not entitled to move their motion to vacate it. “They were served the order on May 22 but they still went ahead to transact on the account,” Shasore said. He said various sums of money were transferred on May 23, a day after they were served. Shasore also alleged that PHCN transferred money from the same account on May 28, five days after being served, meaning that it was a deliberate action and not done in ignorance. Shasore prayed the court to extend the order until the applications are determined. But PHCN’s counsel, Mr Babatunde Ajibade (SAN), said if there was a disobedience of the court’s order, it must have been inadvertent. “The respondents were not aware
of the order as at the time those transfers were made. “I, for one, as an officer of court, will never countenance the disobedience of an order of court,” Ajibade said. He climed that the order had elapsed before the transfers were made. The lawyer urged the court to make an order that the order had lapsed. He said: “There was no application for extension made, and it should have been made within seven days when the first order was alive, that is, before May 23. “The order elapsed by efflusion of time on the 23rd of May because the order was to last for only seven days. “Since it was made on May 16, it has elapsed according to the rules of the court. “I disagree with the oral application of my learned silk seeking to extend the order.” Ajibade had brought a motion on
notice seeking to vacate the mareva order, which forecloses transactions on the accounts of PHCN with First Bank and Zenith Bank. Shasore did not oppose the motion, but insisted that it could not be moved until the allegations of disobedience to court order are cleared. Ajibade argued that since the order was served on the respondents on May 22 and the withdrawals made a day later, it meant that it was inadvertently done. According to him, the management of PHCN did not receive the order at the time the transactions took place. Counsel to Zenith Bank, which is also a respondent, informed the court that his client complied with the order. He urged the court to strike out the Forms 48 and 49 (for contempt proceedings) served on his client, which Justice Okuwobi “set aside”. She adjourned till June 7 for “considered ruling” on the lawyers’ arguments.
•Chairman of the occasion Prince Bola Ajibola (middle), with others from right Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, Mr Femi Falana, Dr. Kole Abayomi (SAN) and Mrs Stella Ugboma, ex-President, Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), during the Annual Law Week of Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos PHOTO: RAHMAN SANUSI Branch...yesterday.
Fashola urges residents to protect security installations
AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has urged residents to protect security installations in their neighbourhoods. Fashola, at a forum organised by the Ojodu chapter of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), said it was important for Community Development Associations (CDAs) to protect government facilities in their localities. The governor, represented by his Special Adviser on Security, Major
WELVE men, with ages between 20 and 29, were yesterday arraigned by the police before a Lagos State Magistrate Court sitting at PWD, Ikeja, for allegedly stealing N12,000. The accused who are facing a three-count charge of stealing include Hafeez Olaiya, Akawo Mathew, Gbadegesin Oyewale, Sunday Adeyemi, Adewale Olutayo, Afeez Owolabi, Lateef Giliwa, Segun Ajekigbe, Ajadi Muritala, Azeez Yinusa, Saheed Owoseni and Ayobami Afolabi.’’
By Miriam Ndikanwu
Tunde Panos, said government has installed Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and street lights to protect lives and property. “You will observe that solar powered street lights and CCTV are being installed on some streets across the state, especially in black spots and high risk areas. This is one of the strategies to achieve zero tolerance for crime or criminal activities in the state. “Therefore, as concerned com-
munity members, I urge you to be vigilant and ensure that these equipment are safe,”he said. He thanked Mr. Enoch Makinde, Chairman, and members of the Ojodu PCRC, for maintaining cordial relationship between the public and security agencies. He said his administration is committed to providing policies and programmes that will enhance the standard of living and ensure security of lives and properties. Government, he added, will not re-
lent in its effort to provide adequate facilities for promoting safety of lives and property. The governor also called on the PCRC to make use of the emergency numbers provided by the state. “I urge you to continue to maintain peace and security in your neighbourhood by cooperating with security personnel and providing them with useful and timely information on people or activities that may lead to breach of public peace and security,” he said.
12 arraigned for alleged N12,000 theft By Owolabi Tumininu
Prosecuting Inspector R. Williams alleged that Olaiya, Mathew, Oyewale and Adeyemi on May 24, at Oshodi, Lagos, conspired to rob, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 409 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011. According to the prosecutor, Olaiya and three others, on the
same date, time and place, also allegedly robbed Itam Solomon of N12,000 thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 294 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011. Williams further alleged that Olutayo, Owolabi, Giliwa, Ajekingbe, Muritala, Yunusa, Owoseni, and Afolabi on May 24, at Oshodi, Lagos, conducted them-
selves in a manner likely to cause the breach of peace, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 44 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011. The accused pleaded not guilty. Magistrate A.B. Olagbegi Adelabu granted each accused N50, 000 bail, with one surety in the like sum. She adjourned hearing in the matter to June 29.
788 recalled doctors set to resume at work today
HE 788 doctors recalled by the Lagos State Government N50 may resume duties at their various post today, it was learnt yesterday. Chairman, Lagos State Medical Guild, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, said the State Health Service Commission (HSC), has issued letters recalling all the doctors.
By Miriam Ndikanwu
Odusote said the doctors have been collecting their letters, and they were okay with the content. He said the doctors were recalled unconditionally, adding that the last doctor collected his letter at 4.00 pm yesterday. Our correspondent also gath-
ered that the guild also held a congress and directed members to resume duties. Odusote said the delay in issuing the letters was not from the doctors, but from the government. He added that the guild tried to persuade the government to issue all the letters on Monday so that they could resume work yesterday, but noted
that it was not possible. Odusote said the doctors would kick off negotiation with the government on the lingering welfare packages immediately. He also explained that the doctors agreed that the issue of Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) will be addressed in the court.
Police arrest OPC leader over Lagos crises Jude Isiguzo
A SUSPECTED leader of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) in IdiAraba area of Lagos, is being interrogated by operatives at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) over his alleged involvement in the attack of some Hausas in the area. The suspect, simply identified as Obey ‘m’ other name yet unknown, and of no fixed address, was arrested yesterday by policemen attached to Itere Police station led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO). Police spokesman, Jaiyeoba Joseph, who confirmed the arrest said;” On yesterday at about 2000hrs, we got a distress call that some hoodlums suspected to be members of the outlawed Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) were attacking the congregation of Hausas in Idi-Araba, with bottles and cutlasses during prayer. The Divisional Police Officer Itire, led a combined team of policemen to the scene to contain the situation. “The hoodlums on sighting the policemen took to their heels. One Obey ‘m’ other name yet unknown and of no fixed address alleged to be the leader of the OPC men was arrested. Apart from some properties that were destroyed, no life was lost and no casualty recorded. However, the Hausa community were pacified and reassured of adequate security at all times. “Meanwhile men are still on ground patrolling the area and effort is on to arrest the fleeing hoodlums. Investigation is in progress at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Yaba”, he explained.
Displaced Dana Air victims not yet in relief camp By Precious Igbonwelundu
ALTHOUGH the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, (LASEMA) on Monday declared its Agbowa relief camp open for persons displaced by the ill-fated Dana Air crash on Sunday, the place is yet to be occupied. CityBeats’ on the spot assessment of the camp yesterday revealed that the victims were yet to be brought to the camp, even as workers were seen cleaning the compound. A LASEMA staff, simply identified as Adeyemi, disclosed that they have been cleaning the compound since Sunday. The camp which is fenced, is made up of three blocks of 20 rooms each, with each block having its own toilets and bathroom. It was further observed that there were no beds in sight although Adeyemi said the beds were in the store. It was discovered that there is a standby 7/45KVA generating set that pumps and supplies water to the buildings. There are also recreational facilities such as a basket ball court and football pitch. On why the displaced victims were yet to be brought to camp, the Commandant, Mr. Wewe Ganiyu, said they needed to be stabilised before moving them into camp. “We are currently at the camp site, we need to stabilise them before bringing them here,” Ganiyu said.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS We received text massages prior to church attack, says Bauchi CAN
•Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Isaac Adewole (middle) addressing the varsity’s Town Hall meeting...on Monday. With him are Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Idowu Layinka (right) and President, Student Union Government (SUG) Mr. Edosa Ekhator.
HE Bauchi State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi State chapter, said yesterday that some officials of the association received text messages prior to Sunday’s church attack in the state. CAN Secretary in the state, Rev Joshua Maina, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi. “Prior to the Yelwa attack,
ASUU president promises vibrancy
HE President, Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), Dr Nasir Isa, has vowed to attract to universities, the attention that will enable them to rank among the world’s best. Isa was elected at the association’s delegates’ conference in Abuja on Monday. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone in Lagos that his administration would ensure
the repositioning of the universities. “I have just been saddled with the responsibility of steering the ship of the association for the next two years. “It will be necessary that I continue to consolidate from where my predecessor, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, stopped. “We had our national delegate conferences’ to elect new principal officers who
would carry on with our struggle to ensure a more vibrant academic sector, especially at the university level,” he said. He told NAN that the new executive would ensure effective coordination and decisions making that would actualise the association’s ambition. Also speaking to NAN, the Chairman of the University of Lagos chapter of ASUU, Dr Oghenekaro Igbinaka,
expressed delight at the smooth conduct of the election. According to him, the other elected principal officers include Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, Vice-President; Prof. Daniel Gungula, Internal Auditor; Dr Demola Aremu, Treasurer; and Mrs Ngozi Iloh, Welfare Secretary. NAN reports that Awuzie served ASUU as president for two terms since 2008.
‘There is a reason for the attack; but the person who has information on the reason for the attack could not disclose it to us’ we received series of texts; I received one too and the security people yesterday confirmed the fact that they trailed this actor right away from Zaria, they followed them down to Bauchi here. “And the attack was to be on certain churches, they have named some particular churches to be attacked, those churches were mentioned to us. “And as a matter of urgency, the law enforcement agents decided to keep vigilance over these various churches. “Unfortunately for all of us, these actors decided to now change their style by going to Yelwa side and to attack that church that became the vic-
tim.” He said Boko Haram was responsible for the Bauchi attack based on security report available to the church. “From the confirmation we got from the security personnel, it is Boko Haram who attempted to bomb the church, and they have succeeded in executing. “As to what could be the reason, that one depends on a particular operation, because we couldn’t verify why this attack on Living Faith and Harvest Field at this particular time. “But from what we are told, there is a reason for the attack; but the person who has information on the reason for the attack could not disclose it to us, I guess for security reasons. “But whatever could be the reason, it is lamentable situation we have found ourselves in Northern Nigeria, where we have woken up to bombed the region, destroyed the region, and at the end of the day to live for posterity without anything to lay hold of.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Oyo NURTW warns members against incitement, violence
HE Caretaker Committee of the Oyo State branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has warned its members to avoid making inciting statement and breaching the peace. It said erring members would be punished according to the law. This followed the lifting of the ban the government clamped on the activities of the union. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Akin Olajide, broke the news in Ibadan, the state capital, after a meeting of the State Security Council at the Governor’s Office. Olajide said the government lifted the ban following the composition of the caretaker committee by the national headquarters of the union, to handle the affairs of the state branch. The government said it also
•Ajimobi lifts ban on union activities From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
considered the appeals the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union made to the government, especially its promise to ensure that there would be peace among the union’s factions. “Consequent upon the appeal of the national body of the NURTW to the state government and the resolution of the State Security Council meeting, the Oyo State Government has decided to lift the ban on the activities of the union in all motor parks in the state,” Olajide said. According to him, the government believes that the state NURTW will reciprocate the gesture and ensure that the terms of reference provided by its national body are strictly adhered to. Olajide said, among other things, the national body of the
NURTW agreed to ensure peaceful coexistence among the union’s factions in the state and unite the members. The SSG added that the national NURTW agreed with the government to ensure peaceful coexistence among faction members and the restructuring of the union. He said: “More fundamentally, the national body of the union agreed with the state government that the caretaker committee will ensure that in the next three months all necessary steps will be taken to organise free, fair and credible elections at all branches of the NURTW in the state.” Olajide said the government is committed to peace, harmony and safety of life and property of every law-abiding resident. He said: “The government also wants to state unequivo-
cally that we are not interested in interfering in the running of the affairs of the NURTW. But we will not shy away from the responsibility of ensuring peace and security in the state. We are also determined to prevent the return to any vestige of the past image of brigandage in the state, under any circumstance. “We are determined to protect the current peace enjoyed by the state, which is already attracting investors to our state, because the fundamental requirement of development is peace and security. As part of the steps we have taken towards peace, order and orderly environment in our state, the government has constructed and is still constructing more ultra-modern motor parks for intra- and inter-state vehicles as well as building bus stops and improving the transportation sector.”
DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
Dana Air’s licence suspended Continued from page 4 country. It is good to pray for them but we must take measures to ensure this does not happen again and those who must have contributed in making this happen must be visited with the law of the land because I will classify it as murder and not manslaughter.” Senator Abubakar Hadi Serika (Katsina North) wanted to know the state of preparedness of the country’s rescue officers? Senator Bindo Mohammed Jubrila said he was once a victim of air crash. He noted that 60 people died in the crash; he is one of the 19 survivors. Senator Smart Adeymi (Kogi West) blamed it all on corruption. He noted that the plane had mechanical problem from the day it was manufactured. He said: “It was sold to Nigeria in 2009. When it was manufactured in 1983, it was sold to Alaska Airline; 12 years after it was manufactured, it developed problems twice in the US in November 2002. “August 20, 2006 passengers were evacuated. “The company parked it in Alaska for about a year before it was refurbished and sold to Indians who were asked to take it out of the US. “Who are the people responsible for certifying aircraft? How was it given approval? People must be made to account for the lives of those who died. The time has come to take a look at certain policies we implement in Nigeria . In many countries, they do not purchase Boeing the way we do in Nigeria .” Senator Helen Esuene (Akwa Ibom South) said: “I am the very few still leaving, who was the last to board that flight.” She boarded the ill-fated aircraft from Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, to Abuja on Sunday, she said, adding: “I count myself very lucky. Many said the aircraft was faulty. Our aircraft need to be better serviced. Ethiopia celebrated 50 years of accident-free air service. I want to appeal for urgent steps to be taken to have a modern aircraft servicing centre.” Summing up the discussion, Mark said the important thing is that at the end of the investigation, “the Executive must act”. He said: “We make recommendations but this time we must insist that the Executive acts. Not only the Presidency but the ministry. This is one offence too many. All those involved must be brought to book.” Mark added that speedy investigation is required, saying: “We need technical experts and those who understand the industry so that we are properly guided.” Senate Committee on Information Chairman Enyinnaya Abaribe, at a news conference said: “If this death will bring safety to aviation industry, it is a prize well paid.” Abaribe said the Senate has directed the Ministry of Aviation to release reports of previous aviation accidents. He said: “Bellview, Sosoliso, nobody was punished; this must not go in that direction.”
Board, union condole with Jonathan, minister, NNPC By Emeka Ugwuanyi
•From left: House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal; former Head of State, Chief Earnest Shonekan; Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Musdapher Daihiru; and Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Audu Umar, at the 12th maritime seminar for Judges in Abuja. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN
Ogun council poll: Court joins national PDP, N Ogun State High Justice Abiodun OGSIEC as defendants terday, Court, sitting in Akinyemi ruled that the PDP
Abeokuta, the state capital, yesterday admitted the national body of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a defendant in the suit filed against the state’s Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) by Mr Bayo Dayo’s faction of the state chapter of the party. This followed a motion filed by counsel to the PDP national
From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
body, Mr Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN), to include his client as a necessary party. The Dayo group had sued OGSIEC in the matter. It got an interim order which directed the state electoral body to recognise and accept only its candidates for
the forthcoming local government election in the state. But on Monday, the interim order was vacated. In its place, the court directed OGSIEC to receive nominations from all factions of the PDP in the state, even as the national body of the party applied to be joined as a defendant in the matter. Granting the application yes-
national body was a “very necessary and important party to join the suit and is, therefore, admitted as the second defendant”. He said he is ready to dispose of the case as soon as possible because of OGSIEC’s timetable for the council poll. Justice Akinyemi adjourned the matter till today.
Dumped two-day-old baby dies in Ibadan
TWO-DAY-OLD baby boy dumped in the bush three weeks ago at Odebode, between Ologuneru and Eleyele road, Ibadan, in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State, died yesterday. The baby was named Moses Ido by the council chairman, Prof Joseph Olowofela. He was diagnosed with multiple congenital abnormality. His unknown mother reportedly dumped him in the bush in a carton, perhaps when she discovered some abnormalities in some parts of the baby’s body. The baby was discovered by a passerby, who heard his cry in the bush and alerted Olowofela. The council chief
From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan
gave the infant instant medical care. The Chief Matron, Ido Health Centre, Mrs. Florence Popoola, described the condition of the baby as pathetic. She expressed dismay over the attitude of the medical personnel at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, for refusing to treat the baby when he was taken to the hospital. Mrs. Popoola said the newborn could have been better taken care of at the UCH, a tertiary health care centre, than at the primary hospital. She expressed shock that the
tertiary hospital bluntly refused to assist the baby in its critical condition. According to her, the baby could have survived, if he had been given necessary medical care at the UCH, because it has the facilities to care for the newborn. Mrs Popoola said: “We did our best to save the life of the baby, but we also realised that we do not have the required facility to provide the needed care. Then, we immediately took the baby to the UCH, but they refused to accept him. “We also went to see officials of the state social welfare at Iyaganku, Ibadan, to seek government intervention. We were told that nothing could be done except the baby was six months
old. At a point, we were in a dilemma as the baby continued to lose weight and his health condition was deteriorating. Eventually, we lost him by 1.30pm; he was buried at 4.30pm. The death was reported at the Ido Police Station.” Prof Olowofela expressed bitterness over the infant’s death. He said it was a tragic loss. Senior officials of the local government, led by its chairman, witnessed the burial. Others witnesses are: the local government’s Supervising Councillor for Health, Nojeem Oduwole; environmental officers and the Vice Chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Mr. Ayinde Adebayo.
HE management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) have commiserated with President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the deaths of passengers and crew members aboard a Dana Air plane which crashed at Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb, last Sunday. In separate statements by the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Ernest Nwapa, and NAPE President, Mayowa Afe, the organisations noted that the crash occurred when the industry was undergoing transformation ahead of the presentation and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. Nwapa said: “The board condoles with the NNPC over the loss of its five employees, including the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, in the air disaster. We pray God to grant the bereaved families the strength to bear the loss of their loved ones.” He described Ajuonuma’s death as a big loss to the Nigerian content community and the oil and gas industry. Nwapa noted that the professionalism, candour and panache the late media practitioner brought to bear on his job cannot be easily replicated.
UI holds post-UTME From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
HE University of Ibadan (UI) has said it will conduct an entrance examination for about 10,000 candidates who applied to the institution for admission in the 2012/2013 academic session. The examination, tagged: Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), is for candidates who chose UI as their first or second choice and those who scored 200 and above in the UTME conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). In a statement by its Director of Communication, Mr. Olatunji Oladejo, UI said candidates who are expecting the release of their 2012 ‘O’ level results can participate in the test. According to the statement, the candidates to attend the examination, by reason of their scores in the UTME, are between 9,000 and 10,000. The statement quoted the Chairman, Undergraduate Admission Committee, Prof. Joseph Woods, as saying the names of shortlisted candidates for the Post-UTME examination would be displayed on the university’s website on June 22. It added that electronic mails and short messaging service (SMS) would be sent to all invited candidates.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Court declares INEC ballot boxes contract illegal A FEDERAL High Court, Abuja, yesterday declared the contract awarded for the supply of collapsible transparent ballot boxes to EMCHAI Limited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as illegal, null and void. Justice Adamu Bello said the company does not have the patent right over the product, as insinuated. He said the plaintiff, Bedding Holdings Limited, has proved that it owns the original patent right issued to it by the Registrar of Patents in the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry. His decision fol;lowed the failure of the defendants to enter defence in the suit, despite being served through substituted means. The defendants are: The Registrar of Patents, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Emchai, Tambco United Limited, Anowat
From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
Project and Resources Limited, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, INEC and its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega. Justice Bello struck out the name of the Justice Minister as the fifth defendant to the suit on the grounds that his office was not affected by the reliefs the plaintiff was seeking. The judge held that the affidavit evidence and facts adduced to by the plaintiff are deemed admissible since they were not controverted by the defendants. He also held that the patent right of the plaintiff on the ballot boxes took priority for and over the subsequent registration issued to EMCHAI. Justice Bello said: “Any ac-
tion or actions whatsoever and howsoever taken or purported to have been taken by the defendants relating to the said products without the prior and express licence, consent, authority and/or approval of the plaintiff is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and is therefore null and void.” He barred the defendants and any other person from infringing on the exclusive rights of the plaintiff over the patent and designs. The plaintiff had approached the court, saying it had subsisting exclusive and bona fide patent right to the collapsible transparent boxes used by the INEC for the conduct of last year’s polls. Bedding Holdings, which specialises in general fabrication and manufacture of
steel metal products, said the collapsible transparent ballot boxes were among many of its innovations that were duly registered with exclusive patent right issued to it by the Registrar of Patents in the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The certificate of registration of the patent right number RP 12994 and registration of industrial designs rights number RD 5946 on the boxes were issued by the ministry to the plaintiff on January 12, 1998, for five years. It was renewed and extended till January 12, 2003 and extended again till January 12, 2008, to expire in 2013. The palintiff accused INEC of violating its rights by failing to seek its approval and consent before awarding the contract for the procurement of the boxes, used in last year’s general elections.
Group condoles with The Nation on worker’s death
PRESSURE group under the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria
(ACN), The Asiwaju Leadership Forum (ALF), has commiserated with Vintage Press, publishers of The Nation titles, on the death of one of its editors, Mrs Ngozi Agbo, who died last week from childbirth complications. She was 36. The late Mrs Agbo pioneered Campus Life, an eight-page weekly pull-out on which pages students in tertiary institutions showcase their journalistic talents. In a statement by its Publicity Director, Sikiru Akinola who, is among the over 250 students the late journalist trained, the group noted that ‘Aunty Ngozi’ left at a time she was most needed in journalism. The statement reads: “The late Mrs Agbo, though very young, died at a time she should be relaxing and enjoying the fruits of her labour. She was very passionate and innovative. “At a time when people were running away from journalism, she started the weekly column to ‘catch them young’ before they graduate from their campuses. Through this, many students, who did not study jour-
Jonathan urged to confirm Acting IGP Abubakar From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha
N Igbo leader and a lieutenant to the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) leader, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to confirm the appointment of Mr. Mohammed Abubakar as the substantive Inspector-General of Police (IGP). The Igbo leader addressed reporters at the Rojenny Tourists/Games Village, Oba, Anambra State. He said the Acting IGP has so far exhibited rare professionalism and competence in his duty since he assumed office. Ezeonwuka said his call for Abubakar’s confirmation followed the police chief’s successful reformation of the force and giving it a new face.
From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan
nalism or related courses, have taken to the profession. She was the one that gave opportunities to potential writers at a time they did not expect that opportunity. “Through this platform, some of the social vices that were the order of the day in many institutions were ad-
dressed while many students have been able to make friends through the annual workshop and awards event. “We are, however, consoled by the fact that throughout her lifetime she epitomised professionalism and lived a virtuous life. Inasmuch as we believe that every human soul will taste death, we will surely miss her. We are very much
convinced that she is going to be warmly received in heaven by some dead foremost journalists.” The group prayed God to give her husband, Mr Agbo, Vintage Press, family and friends of the deceased the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and the strength to nurture the baby boy she left behind to attain greater heights.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS Obasanjo lied, says Mamora From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti E N A T O R Olorunnimbe Mamora yesterday debunked former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s claims on the third term saga. The former Lagos East representative said it is shameful that Obasanjo could lie when he engaged in “all manner of intimidation to force the National Assembly to endorse his ignoble craving.” The ex-senator spoke in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, yesterday in a lecture entitled: “Role of Legislature in a Growing Democracy” to commemorate the first year anniversary of the state’s fourth assembly. The former Minority Leader said Obasanjo strove to attain his third term ambition but was stalled through efforts of which he (Mamora) was a part. He said: “It is most incredible to read of Obasanjo’s denials on the pages of newspapers when I was there and knew all I went through at that time in the Senate. “We decided to form a formidable front against the pro-third term proponents to clear our conscience and protect the constitution.” Mamora called for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) as an alternative to the subsisting quagmire into which the country has sunk. He said the call is based on profound needs for proper structuring of the country to allow for better determination and delineation of roles, particularly at the local government. “No time can be more approprite than now for the legislature to build a concensus on the need for a National Confernce as being demanded by all. “In doing so, there is need for an Act of the National Assembly to establish a constituent Assembly that will fashion out the people’s constitution,”Mamora said. The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adewale Omirin, said the Assembly has passed 29 bills into law in 12 months.
Youths to Shell: employ us From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa
IJAW youths have decried what they described as the lackadaisical attitude of Shell Petroleum Development Company to their plight. They alleged that Shell has refused to employ some of the graduates in their communities. The Secretary of the Ijaw Youths Council, Central Zone, Dennis Ofiyou, said: ”Egbema-Angalabiri in Bayelsa State is the highest oil producing community. “The area hosts several flow stations including Opukushi, Opukushi North, Kambo/ Tunu flow stations and Clough Creek flow station of the Nigeria Agip Company. “The world should know that Shell started its exploration dredging and production activities in Opukushi flow station in 1960. “Over five decades and no youth has being employed by Shell in EgnbemaAngalabiri.”
Residents, tanker drivers clash in S Port Harcourt EVERAL persons were injured at the Njemanze Waterfront in Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday, in a bloody clash between residents and tanker drivers. The residents were protesting the indiscriminate parking of tankers in the area. One of the victims, Anselm, a vulcaniser, is being treated at the Teme Hospital. Eyewitness said the victim was taken away with blood oozing from his head.
It was gathered that the tanker drivers have been parking indiscriminately in the area, causing traffic and untold hardship to the people. The drivers block both sides of the road from Shore Line tank farm at Abonema Waterfront to Njemanze Street . The Njemaze axis was shutdown yesterday by the drivers, much to the chagrin of residents. A source said: “Trouble broke out when a tanker, XA
460 NN, was left for two days in front of Anslem’s workshop, which prevented him from working. “The driver actually wanted trouble because he left other places and parked in front of Anselm’s workshop. “We pleaded with him to repark his truck but he refused, until Anselm became angry this morning and deflated the tyres, this resulted in a fight.”
But the tanker driver, who refused to give his name, blamed the residents, particularly Anselm. He said: “Why should that man deflate my tyres when he knows that we have no space to park? I think he is the cause of the trouble. “I want to also use this opportunity to inform the government that we don’t have enough space to park.” Residents pleaded with the government to tackle the problem , to avoid a disaster.
•The celebrator, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, flanked by his wife, Olaolu, and Dr. Christopher Kolade at a symposium to mark his 60th birthday anniversary at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos...yesterday
One dead in Edo building collapse
ESCUE operations in the section of the collapsed Central Hospital building in Benin ended at about 2am yesterday. The last man trapped in the rubble was pulled out dead. Part of the building collapsed on Monday when a crane fell on a beam under construction, trapping seven persons.
From Osagie Otabor, Benin
Six of the victims were rescued within two hours, but it took more than eight hours for the last man, an expatriate, Stefano Delaroca, to be pulled out. This was because the exact location where he was trapped was difficult to penetrate. Governor Adams Oshiomhole cried when he
visited the site on Monday. Commissioner for Works Francis Evboumwan said the deceased was the Project Manager of the Italian construction firm, Sincies Chimentin Ltd, handling the reconstruction of the hospital. Evboumwan said Delaroca was pulled out dead at about 2 am yesterday. Evboumwan said an inves-
tigation would begin and that the government would invite experts to determine the integrity of the structure. He also announced suspension of work, until investigation is concluded. The body of the project manager has been deposited at the morgue at the Stella Obasanjo Memorial Hospital, Benin.
Oshiomhole an action governor, says Gowon
ORMER Head of State Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd) has said the July 14 governorship election in Edo State would be decided by what the people have seen on ground. Gowon described Governor Adams Oshiomhole as an action governor, comparing him to former governor Samuel Ogbemudia. The former head of state spoke yesterday when he visited the state. He hailed Oshiomhole, saying the governor has brought development to the state.
From Osagie Otabor, Benin
His words: “I hope that you people will decide. But from what we have seen, it would be good enough for you people to decide to say yes. “Oshiomhole is an action man and an action governor who you can trust with more years of good work for the people.” On the renaming of the University of Lagos by President Goodluck Jonathan, Gowon said it was important to consult before taking the decision. He said, “University of Ife
was changed to Obafemi Awolowo University, it would have been better for President Goodluck Jonathan to consult with alumni of the university before renaming it. “I honestly do not want to comment on that one. “Ask any UNILAG alumni and they will tell you how they feel about the change. “A lot of students who went to University of Ife, when it was changed to Awolowo University protested during that period. “So, that is the feeling now.”
From Clarice Azuatalum, Port Harcourt
He said the discovery was made between July last year when the commission was inaugurated and March. He said the falsification of records was done to enable the affected workers remain in service and avoid retirement. Nmerukini said all those
involved in the fraud would be sanctioned after investigations have been concluded. “This time around, the commission would no longer tolerate such fraudulent acts. “We will make sure salaries received after their original dates of retirement are deducted from their retirement benefits.”
The Police in Bayelsa State yesterday sealed off the House of Assembly, barely 24 hours after the removal of Speaker Kombowei Benson. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that civil servants working in the complex were denied access into the Assembly by riot policemen. When NAN visited the premises yesterday, four Hilux patrol vans belonging to the police’s operations department were stationed in front of the two main gates leading into the complex. A worker, who pleaded for anonymity, said: “When most of us resumed this morning, the policemen had taken over virtually everywhere. “They told us that we should go back because nobody would be allowed into the premises,’’ he said. Also, the car park used by lawmakers and civil servants was empty. Armed riot policemen and plain-cloth security operatives were spotted patrolling the complex. Police spokesman Fidelis Odunna confirmed the development. He said: “Everybody is aware that the Speaker was removed on Monday. “We decided to seal off the premises as part of our proactive measures to avoid possible violence. “There were rumours that a group loyal to the removed speaker was planning an attack. “We don’t want to be caught unawares and that informed the security around the complex.” The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Daniel IworisoMarkson, told NAN that the executive arm was not involved in the saga.
Ex-Mobil staff demand N1b From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo
Commission discovers 307 workers with falsified records HREE hundred and seven civil servants in Rivers State in the unified local government service have false records. Chairman of the State Local Government Service Commission Azubuike Nmerukini broke the news yesterday in Port Harcourt at a meeting with civil servants in the 23 local governments.
Police seal off Bayelsa Assembly
He told the workers that the commission would hold them responsible for any maladministration observed in their local governments. President of the state’s Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Franklyn Ajunwo assured the commission that they would work to promote industrial peace.
THE 1,000 sacked contract workers in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) yesterday demanded N1 billion as terminal benefits. The spokesman for the disengaged workers, Godwin Idim, said the demand was presented at a meeting with Mobil officials at the weekend. According to Idim, the meeting was attended by Mobil officials, the workers’ representatives and security chiefs in the area. He said each disengaged worker would get N10 million. The workers were retrenched in a recent downsizing exercise by the company. The disengaged workers last week blocked the access road to the Qua Iboe Terminal to protest the non-payment of their severance benefits.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS Police Zone XI gets AIG From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
A NEW Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Mr. Orubebe Gandhi Ebikeme, has been deployed in Zone XI. According to a statement by the Zonal Police spokesman, Mr. Babatunde Olubunmi, Ebikeme has resumed in Osogbo, headquarters of the zone. The zone comprises Osun, Oyo and Ondo states commands. Ebikeme hails from Delta State. He is a graduate of Sociology from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Ibadan (U.I). Ebikeme joined the Police as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent in 1981. He became a Commissioner of Police in 2005 and was subsequently posted as the Deputy Commandant in charge of the Police Staff College, Jos, the Plateau State capital. Ebikeme was promoted to the rank of AIG in February and has served in various commands.
Oyo lifts ban on NURTW activities
HE Oyo State Government yesterday lifted the ban on the activities of the National Union of Road Transporters Workers (NURTW). The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Akin Olajide, announced this after the meeting of the State Security Council held at the Governor’s Office. Olajide said the lifting of the ban became necessary after the NURTW national leadership raised a caretaker committee to handle the affairs of the state branch and pledged to ensure peace among all the factions. He said: “Consequent upon the appeal of the national body of the NURTW to the state government and the resolution of the State
From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
Security Council meeting, the government has decided to lift the ban on the union’s activities.” Olajide urged the branch to adhere strictly to the terms of reference provided by the national union. He said: “More fundamentally, the national leadership of the union agreed with the state government that the caretaker committee will, within the next three months, organise free, fair and credible elections in the state. “The government is not interested in running the union’s affairs, but it will not shy away from its responsibility of ensuring peace and security. “We are determined to prevent a return to any ves-
tige of the past image of brigandage in the state. We want to maintain the current peace, which is already attracting investors to our state, as the fundamental requirement for development is peace and security. “The government has built and is still building more parks for intra and inter-state vehicles, as well as bus stops. A general effort is being made at improving the transportation sector.” The Chairman of the Oyo NURTW Caretaker Committee, Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, a.k.a. Fele, thanked Governor Abiola Ajimobi for lifting the ban. In a statement by Oyerinde and Secretary Akin James, the caretaker committee said: “The union notes with
concern the bad image of the union in Oyo State during the period of the unpleasant crisis and assures the government and the good people of Oyo that we will do everything possible to stamp out lawlessness in motor parks across the state. “We declare that no member of the Oyo NURTW should henceforth make inflammatory statements capable of re-opening old wounds. Anybody, however highly placed, found engaging in anti-union activities in whatever guise would be sanctioned in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the union’s constitution. “We also solicit the support of the government, security agencies, the public and the media.”
Ekiti teachers resume work From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
EACHERS in Ekiti State yesterday resumed work after shunning the assessment test organised by the government on Monday. Over 16,000 primary and secondary school teachers abandoned their duty posts on Monday, in defiance of the state government’s directive that the Teachers Development Needs Assessment (TDNA) test was compulsory. Normal activities resumed in schools across the state yesterday. The government said the test was to ensure that teachers were adequately developed for their duties.
Osun ACN mourns Olashore From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
THE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun State has described the death of the Owaloko of Iloko-Ijesha, Oba Oladele Olashore, as “the end of an era”. The party’s Chairman, Elder Adelowo Adebiyi, in a condolence message on yesterday said Olashore’s passage is a monumental loss to the state and the country. Also yesterday, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Prof. Moses Awogbade, the ACN said the late Olashore was one of the nation’s patriots, having contributed immensely to the country’s financial sector. It said: “The monarch was one of the greatest patriots in Nigeria. He served as a Minister of Finance meritoriously and carved a niche for himself in the finance sector, so much that his name cannot be easily forgotten in Nigeria.” The party noted the late Olashire’s contributions to the growth of Iloko-Ijesha, where he reigned for 15 years. ACN said the state witnessed great progress when the late Olashore was the General-Secretary of the State Council of Traditional Rulers. It urged individuals to emulate the late monarch by contributing their quota to the development of the society.
•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (middle); his deputy, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori (second left); Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Moshood Adeoti (third right); Commissioner for Women Affairs Mrs. Mofolake Adegboyega (second right); Chief of Staff to the Governor Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola (left); Executive Secretary, State Working Group of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Human Trafficking Network, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba (third left); her Special Assistance, Ms.Tetshoma Dafeta (right) and others after the inauguration of the State Working Group of the anti-trafficking agency at the Governor’s Office, Osogbo...yesterday.
Ekiti votes N66m for six hospitals HE Ekiti State Government has earmarked N66 million for the renovation of six secondary health facilities across the state. They are specialist hospitals at Ikole-Ekiti, IkereEkiti, Ijero-Ekiti, and the General Hospitals at Ayede-Ekiti, Ise-Ekiti and Ararmoko-Ekiti. Commissioner for
From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
Health Prof. Olusola Fasubaa told reporters yesterday that the government has paid N72 million hospital bills of indigent patients in the last 18 months. He said a laboratory block and a new Accident and Emergency block have been built at the University
Teaching Hospital in AdoEkiti, the state capital. Fasubaa said N54 million has been approved for the renovation of structures at the hospital and N6.7 million for the Central Sterile Supply Department. He said artificial limbs and other aid materials worth N18 million were distributed to the physically challenged in the last
Commissioner decries threat to environment
YO State Commissioner for Environment and Habitat Dauda Oladimeji yesterday decried the continuous threat to the environment by the growing industrialisation in major cities. Oladimeji spoke during the 2012 World Environmental Day celebration organised by the Environmental Health Students’ Association of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. The theme of the celebra-
tion was: “Green Economy: does it include you?” Oladimeji, who represented Governor Abiola Ajimobi said: “The alarming rate at which the environment is being threatened through various human activities calls for global concern. The issue was widely discussed at the Stockholm Conference. He stated that the memory of the 1987 Koko toxic waste by an Italian ship in Delta State was still fresh.
Listing other natural disasters across the nation, Oladimeji said the government and the citizens should collaborate in ensuring a safe environment. He urged Nigerians to imbibe safe practices that will promote environmental standards. Director, Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research, Prof. Femi Olokesusi said: “The environment sustains us. The situation in Nigeria is even more serious,
Monarchs to meet over insecurity
18 months. The commissioner said the State Ambulance Service has been strengthened with the procurement of four Ford E-350 ambulances. He said although Ekiti has the lowest maternal/ infant mortality rate, the government has implemented programmes and policies to prevent it.
HE National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) will meet in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on June 11, 12 and 13 to deliberate on the nation’s security challenges. The theme of the retreat is: “National interest, security and development: the
From Bukola Amusan, Abuja
role of traditional rulers in mitigating non-state security threats in Nigeria.” President Goodluck Jonathan is the Special Guest of Honour. The Sultan of Sokoto, Shehu of Borno, Ooni of Ife, Oba of Benin, Etsu Nupe,
Emir of Gwandu, Mingi XII of Nembe, Obong of Calabar, Obi of Onitsha, Amanyanabo of Opobo, Gbong Gwom Jos, Emir of Katsina and the Obi of Obinugu are expected to participate actively in the sessions. Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola is the host.
considering our over-reliance on the environment. Majority of our citizens rely on firewood for cooking. There is need for the people to stop abusing the environment. “The green economy is about the quest for sustainable living. The quality of the environment has been eroded ant that is responsible for the increase in natural disasters globally. This is what the green economy seeks to address.” A lecturer in the Faulty of Technology, University of Ibadan, Dr. Victor Oladokun, said there should be a paradigm shift in doing things to curb environmental degradation. He said: “As we try to develop, we engage in activities that are detrimental to the environment. We must employ innovative and safe ways of doing things.”
Court restrains INEC over Ogun PDP FEDERAL High Court, sitting in Lagos, has restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from being part of any fresh congress proposed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State. The court gave the order while ruling on an exparte motion filed by the Chairman of the Ogun State PDP, Mr. Bayo Dayo, and Secretary Semiu Sodipo on behalf of the State PDP Executive Committee against INEC and the PDP. Justice Charles Archibong said: “The first defendant is restrained from countenancing any congress proposed by the second defendant or its national or other organs for election of officers in replacement of the applicants pending the determination of the motion on notice.” The court adjourned hearing till June 11. The Dayo-led state executive sought the court’s intervention following alleged moves by some members of the PDP national leadership to organise fresh congresses in Ogun.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS Ex-police DIG Ningi shot dead
ETIRED Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) Abubakar Saleh Ningi was yesterday shot dead in Kano by three gunmen. He was reportedly killed alongside his two orderlies by the unknown gunmen who trailed them to his farm. Spokesman for the Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt. Col. Ikedichi Iweka, confirmed the killing. He said the bodies of the deceased have been deposited at the Air Force Military Hospital mortuary. Dingi was the DIG (Training). Before then, he was the Commissioner of Police in Taraba State and AIG Zone 1, Kano.
Yuguda decries Bauchi bomb blast From Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi
AUCHI State Governor Isa Yuguda yesterday visited Harvest Field Church, Yelwa Tudu, the scene of Sunday’s suicide bombing. He described the incident as barbaric. Yuguda said his administration would search for the perpetrators and bring them to justice. He added that his government would rebuild Harvest Field Church, Living Faith Church (Winners’ Chapel) and other affected structures. The governor, accompanied by the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi State chapter, Rev. Lawi Pokti and the General Overseer/Founder of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, decried the monumental loss of lives and properties during the bomb blast. He said his administration would bring succour to the victims, adding that “we have already picked up the medical bills of the injured.” The governor said he believed that the perpetrators of the act were neither Christians nor Muslims, because according to him, none of the two religions preaches violence. He added that his administration would continue to ensure the security of lives and property of the residents irrespective of their socio-political or religious differences. Governor Yuguda urged the people to be calm and go about their legitimate businesses, “but they should report suspected characters to security operatives.” Rev. Pokti hailed the governor for visiting the scene of the blast, saying “it shows he is a dynamic leader who has demonstrated good leadership quality.” He assured that the Christian community would continue to pray for peace in the state.
One dead, two injured in attempted Lafia jail break O NE inmate is believed to have died while two warders sustained injuries during an attempted jail break on Monday night at the Lafia prison on Doma Road in Lafia, Nasarawa State. Though the ComptrollerGeneral of Prisons, Ibrahim Ohinohi, denied any casualty, The Nation learnt that one of the inmates died.
From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia
The deceased, according to another inmate who preferred anonymity, was allegedly gunned down by one of the guards while attempting to escape through a part of the wall he had
pulled down. It was also alleged that during the fracas, one of the female inmates was raped by the rampaging inmates. The inmates, who were reportedly protesting against food shortage, also broke into some of the offices in
the prison and stole money. Ohinohi, who incidentally hails from Nasarawa State, visited the prison yesterday and said the fracas occurred after the inmates complained about insufficient food supply. He said the situation has been brought under control by the combined efforts of the prison armed squad, the police and the civil defence corps.
Fire guts Yakowa’s official home •Northern governors condole with colleague
IRE yesterday morning gutted a part of the official home of the Kaduna State Governor Patrick Ibrahim. It was reportedly caused by an electrical malfunction. A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Reuben Buhari, said the incident occurred at about 9.30 am. He said the fire was immediately put out through the combined efforts of the state fire service and officials of the state emergency management agency. The statement said there was no casualty. It reads: “Today, June 5, at about 9:30am, part of the official residence of His Excel-
From Tony Akowe, Kaduna
lency, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, was affected by fire. “It was caused by an electrical fault as a result of power fluctuation. The fire was immediately put out by men of the Kaduna State Fire Service and SEMA Fire Service. Everything is now under control and the governor has continued his duties. “Governor Yakowa and members of his household including his support staff are all fine. He thanked those who put out the fire and prayed that such incident would not re-occur.” The Northern State Gover-
nors Forum (NSGF) has urged Yakowa to take heart and be strong, despite the fire that burnt part of his home yesterday. The Chairman of the forum and Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, enjoined him not be discouraged by the incident, but should forge ahead with the enormous task of providing good governance to the people of Kaduna State. A statement by Aliyu’s Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, said Yakowa should take solace in the fact that the fire, which was said to have been caused by an electrical fault from an air conditioner, did not do much damage before
it was put out. The forum admonished those charged with the responsibility of maintaining electrical appliances to be alive to their responsibilities, and prayed that God should strengthen the governor to continue to touch more lives positively.
Senate seeks measures to end desertification From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor
THE Senate yesterday asked the Federal Government to take steps to combat growing environmental threats of desertification in the North, devastating hydraulic coastal erosion and flooding in the West and malignant gully erosion in the East. It said that desertification alone eats up about six kilometre of arable land annually in the northern part of the country. The Chairman, Senate Committee on the Environment and Ecology, Bukola Saraki, said in a statement to mark this year’s World Environment Day that desertification, coastal and gully erosion are choking up the country’s development. He noted that this year’s celebration is significant as it comes at a time of the year when the world is getting ready for the Earth Summit and when it appears that the European fiscal instability challenge seems to cast a shadow on the celebration. Saraki said it is the hope of the committee that the celebration will spotlight the growing vulnerability of Africa to environmental challenges, especially climate change and the need for all countries to act positively and fast, to create a global framework for tackling the challenges. The former Kwara State governor added that a framework for green economy development through technology transfer and adoption of a holistic mitigation policy for the vulnerable poor in Africa should also be created.
Onitire family bereaved
•From left: Director, Monitoring, Kaduna State Environmental Protection Authority (KEPA), Abdulmuminu Damau; Secretary, Alhaji Salihu Umar, and General Manager, Alhaji Aminu Sani, at a one-day workshop to mark World Environmental Day in Kaduna...yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
ALGON donates N500,000 to bomb blast victims
HE Bauchi State chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) yesterday donated N500,000 to the victims of last Sunday’s suicide bomb blast at Harvest Field Church at Yelwa, a suburb of Bauchi, the state capital. ALGON also condoled with those who lost their loved ones in the incident. The state chairman of the association, Lawal Baba Ma’aji Abubakar, who led members to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi on a sympathy visit, described the incident as very unfortunate and sad. Speaking for his colleagues, Abubakar expressed concern over the insecurity in the country, noting that “the perpetrators do not have the fear of God and must not be associat-
ed with any religion as no religion preaches violence.” The ALGON chief, who expressed shock over the incident, urged the Christian community not to see it as an attack on them but an attack on humanity and should be taken as an act of God. He hailed the Christian As-
sociation of Nigeria (CAN) leadership in the state for not allowing the situation to degenerate, adding, “we are brothers and sisters created to live together. There is nothing anyone can do to change that. We pray that God Almighty should intervene to prevent further loss of life and
property.” Abubakar also praised the management and staff of ATBUTH for ensuring that the injured got the best medical attention. He thanked the security agents for their prompt action that reduced the number of casualties.
MRS. Adebisi Atoke Olukanmi (nee Isiba) who died on May 29 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) at the age of 55, will be buried on June 16. According to a statement by the Onitire Chieftaincy Family of Itire, Lagos, the deceased who was the Erelu Oba of Itireland is survived by children, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunties.
•The late Mrs. Olukanmi
Ahmed approves N20m for disaster victims
ICTIMS of the various disasters in Kwara State are to share N20.5 million, courtesy of the state government. Beneficiaries are fire, flood and windstorm victims. A source close to the government said the money is a democracy gift to the disaster victims from Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed and no fewer than 2,271 people across the state will benefit from the kind gesture. The state government yesterday in Ilorin began the distribution of cash gifts to fire disaster victims in the state. Handing down the gifts to the beneficiaries, the Special Assistant to Governor Ahmed on Emergency and Relief Services, Alhaji Musa Abdullah, said the gesture was aimed at improving the lives of the less privileged in the society.
From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
His words: “Today we are presenting a cash gift of N7.7m to the victims of fire disasters in the state. This distribution is going to be done in large scale and it is in commemoration of Governor Ahmed’s first year in office. There are some people who are not benefiting today, but will benefit in future. “My advice for the victims is that they should make sure that they use the money given to them judiciously. They should always desist from the activities that may cause fire disasters in their areas. “Other categories of disaster victims are flood victims and rainstorm victims. We shall soon begin the distribution of relief materials to rainstorm and flood disaster victims.”
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
NEWS PDP chieftain sues Obi over council polls
Kidnapped doctor freed From Chris Oji, Enugu
From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha
MEDICAL doctor with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka
(UNN) Medical Centre, Adebowale Sadiq, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been freed. Sadiq was abducted by about 10 gunmen on Sunday night at his private clinic, Mount Arafat Hospital, on Aku Road, Nsukka. A family source said the doctor was freed Monday night. The source said Sadiq was dumped at Orba Road, Nsukka, and was picked up by his family. He said Sadiq is in a good condition, but refused to comment on how much was paid to secure the doctor’s release. The police confirmed Sadiq’s release. It was learnt that Sadiq was dispossessed of five mobile phones, but his sim cards were return to him. The police had earlier recovered his Toyota Corolla car at Obollo-Afor.
•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi and the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ali Koksal at a meeting in Abuja.
11 feared dead, many injured in raids on MASSOB offices
LEVEN members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) are feared dead in Onitsha, Anambra State. It was learnt that they were killed when a combined team of soldiers, policemen and men of the State Security Service (SSS) raided the organisation’s offices. Several others were injured. It was learnt that over 200 members of the group, including women, were arrested at various locations during the raid that began Monday evening and lasted till early Tuesday. Speaking with reporters yesterday, MASSOB National Director of Information Uchenna Madu and Onitsha Region 4 Administrator Chief Arinze Igbani said the raids were unwar-
•Police: no one was killed From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha
ranted and provocative. They said it was a plot by the Army to resume their clampdown on MASSOB members. According to them, over 50 security operatives stormed the MASSOB office on Pam Pam Lane in the main market about 5pm. They said the security agents vandalised the office and set the Biafran flag ablaze. The MASSOB leaders said: “The team invaded our central office on Owerri Road, where a security meeting was holding, and opened fire on our members, killing about 11 of them and arresting over 200. They also took their bodies away.
‘The renewed offensive against us is a violation of our rights. MASSOB is not violent. We have assisted security operatives in fishing out criminals, especially in Onitsha...’ “The renewed offensive against us is a violation of our rights. MASSOB is not violent. We have assisted security operatives in fishing out criminals, especially in Onitsha, and handed over
15 notorious robbers and car snatchers to the police.” Madu and Igbani called for the immediate and unconditional release of MASSOB members who were arrested. The Nation gathered that some youths from Obosi, allegedly dressed in MASSOB insignia, invaded Okpoko and demanded tenement fees from residents. Sources said they attacked residents and dispossessed them of their belongings. It was learnt that the hoodlums allegedly sang Biafra war songs and this prompted the raids on MASSOB offices. Police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka confirmed the raids, but said no one was killed.
(ICDU) in Ebonyi State has petitioned Governor Martin Elechi, Commissioner of Police Adeola Adeniji and Commissioner for Local Government Celestine Nwali over the alleged attempt by Chief Moses Ngele to disrupt the peace in the community. In a petition by its President-General, Chief Linus Eze, the union said that Ngele was illegally parading himself as the traditional ruler of the community and urged the governor to call him to order. Eze said: “Last year, Ngele, alongside a few individuals, crowned himself the Agu III of Ishiagu against the constitutional provision of the community. Since then, he has been recruiting thugs and meet-
From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki
ing with them at odd hours. The crowning of Agu is a constitutional process which must be followed. “Recently, the community crowned Chief Elias Ezanta the Agu III and presented him to the council chairman and the Commissioner for Local Government, so anybody parading himself as the Agu III is not just impersonating, but is also threatening the peace of our community. “We urge the governor and the police commissioner to call him to order and stop him from holding illegal meetings with some youths in the community.” Ivo Council Chairman Celestine Eze said: “The community crowned Ezenta
other person was presented to me and the council will hand over any one who attempts to cause a breakdown of law and order in the area to the police. “I got reports of illegal meetings and I have alerted security agencies to take urgent actions. We do not want to experience the kind of crisis witnessed in some other parts of the state. We want a peaceful community and we will deal decisively with people plotting confusion and crisis.” Ngele said: “I was crowned Agu 111 of Ishiagu on December 15, 2011, in line with the constitution of Ishiagu ICDU and in line with Ishiagu culture. “We have two constitutions in this kingdom - the ICDU Constitution and the
Police lose 15 men in Anambra
IFTEEN policemen in Anambra State have been killed at work in the last two months, Police Commissioner Bala Nasarawa said yesterday in his office. He said the command has arrested 199 suspects within the period. Nasarawa said 59 were arrested for alleged kidnap and 140 for alleged armed robbery. He said six robbery/kidnap suspects were killed during some raids and 11 kidnap victims rescued. Those apprehended include two males and a female suspect, who have been fingered in the murder of the Onitsha Sector Commander of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Mr. Emmanuel Ochobi, about two weeks ago. According to Nasarawa,
been arraigned before an Abakaliki Magistrate’s Court for allegedly robbing the embattled monarch of Ishiagu, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Eze Moses Ngele, of N10 million and attempting to kidnap him. They are Clinton Chukwu (28), Chibuike Onu (25) and Egbuchulam Olua (33).
Traditional Constitution, which involves the Ofo and the Omenani tradition. Both were followed in my emergence. “Since the council chairman and his cohorts have decided not to present me to the government, I am calling on the state government to intervene in this matter. The matter is in court, “I am a peaceful man and I want peace. The only elected Agu 111 of Ishiagu is Eze Moses Okafor Ngele.”
From Nwanosike Onu, Awka
items recovered from the suspects include 14 AK47 rifles, one K2 rifle, 18 locally made pistols, four brownie pistols, one barrette pistol and 44 pump action guns. Others are 5,526 rounds of assorted live ammunition, 65 magazines, 312 cartridges, 36 vehicles and eight tricycles. The commissioner said many of the cases are being investigated. He said the major constraint of the command is the unwillingness of the public to divulge information to the police. Nasarawa restated his commitment to ensuring a crime-free Anambra. He said more of his men have been deployed in flash points across the state.
Three arraigned for ‘attempted HREE suspects have kidnap’
Kingship tussle: Town union petitions HE Ishiagu DevelI have presented him to Elechi, others and opment Union the state government. No
CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, Chief Stanley Okeke, has sued Governor Peter Obi for allegedly refusing to conduct local government elections. Okeke, who is aspiring to contest the council chairmanship election in Idemili North, joined the House of Assembly, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and the Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) in the suit. The suit is before Justice Peter Olayiwola of the Federal High Court, sitting in Awka. Okeke, who was the governorship candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in 2007, is praying the court to decide “whether the local governments in the state conform in structure and composition with the provisions of Section 7 (1) of 1999 Constitution. “Whether the failure of the state government, since 2002 till date, to conduct council polls for the emergence of democratically elected persons to take charge of the local governments’ is an aberration and flagrant disregard of the Constitution. “If the use of funds constitutionally allocated by the Federal Government to Anambra councils to sustain unconstitutionally setup caretaker committees does not amount to an actionable breach of the 1999 Constitution. “Whether the money frittered away in sustaining the unconstitutional caretaker committees cannot be recovered from the governor as misappropriated funds.” Okeke urged the court to order the immediate conduct of council polls.
From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki
It was learnt that on May 14, the suspects and others at large allegedly invaded Ngele’s palace with guns and committed the crimes. The court remanded the accused in prison custody and the matter was adjourned indefinitely.
Journalist, immigration officer abducted in Imo
JOURNALIST with the Imo State Broadcasting Cooperation (IBC), Mr. Ndubuizu Ugorji, was yesterday kidnapped by gunmen. Ugorji was abducted in front of his home in Orji, Owerri North Local Government Area. An eyewitness said the journalist was about taking his children to school when the gunmen struck. Two other victims, including an Immigration Officer, Mrs. Blessing Ogochukwu Chidi, were abducted in the same vicinity. Police spokesman Vitalis Onugu confirmed that Mrs. Chidi was kidnapped. He said he was yet to be briefed about the two other cases.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
Suswam certificate ‘forgery’: Will Justice ‘The right to fair prevail over technicalities? hearing for all, as
From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
HE fact that the election petition filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its governorship candidate in Benue , Professor Steve Ugbah against Governor Gabriel Suswam is generating hot debate is not unexpected. Ugba and his counterpart of the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP), Prof. Daniel Saror are challenging the outcome of the April 2011 Governorship elections in Benue state. The issues canvassed by the petitioners (now appellants) have put the highest court in the land, Supreme Court on the spot light. The manner this appeal is handled and disposed of will no doubt be a defining moment in the annals of the administration of justice in Nigeria . And because of its importance, it has attracted interest nationally and internationally. The people are waiting for the court to promote justice over technicalities which may cover the alleged malpractices perpetrated by Suswam. Certainly this is not the best of time for the embattled governor who is fighting on all fronts to defend his integrity on the alleged fake WAEC result he was said to have procured through a proxy. The appeal presently before the Supreme Court has had a tortuous history. In its barest form, the suit is challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal that dismissed the ACN’s petition on the ground that it was not heard and decided within the 180 days as stipulated in Section 285 (6) of the Constitution. The Appellants had gone to the Tribunal to challenge the victory of Suswam in the April 2011 elections, on grounds of non-presentation of certificates which the Constitution stipulates is a prima facie for
standing election among other grounds. The petitions were dismissed at the preliminary stage. However, the Supreme court on November 14 ordered a retrial and directed that the petitions be heard afresh (de novo) on merit. But the tribunal stopped hearing the case and the Appeal court declined too, citing the apex court’s decision in the consolidated appeals of the ANPP v PDP governorship candidate in Borno state, Mohammed Goni. It is instructive to recall that the order made by the apex court on November 14 has not been challenged or set aside. The gladiators are now back at the Supreme Court trying to outdo one another. Will the apex court allow justice to prevail over technicalities? This is the question begging for an answer on the lips of many who believe the decision will help strengthen our democracy and reassure Nigerians that justice is not for sale, no matter how highly-placed, the individual is. Although the matter is fixed for ruling on June 8, the fear is will the issue of 180- day deadline stipulated under Section 285(6) of the constitution constitutes an impediment to fair hearing of an election petition in an era where the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher has fought hard to relegate technicalities to the background. Could it be heard that right to fair hearing enshrined under Section 36 of the constitution will be sacrificed on the altar of technicalities that are of no fault of the petitioner. Apart from the presidential election petition that was determined on merit by the apex court, all the governorship election appeals determined so far have been largely on technicalities. This means that the petitioners were not given ample opportunity to prove their case no matter how genuine it was. It would be instructive to observe that the decision of the court come the 8th of June will be irreversible by any other court and it is equally important to say here that it will amount to speaking from both sides of the mouth if on
provided in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is more sacrosanct because, it is not just a Constitutional provision but it addresses the issues of protection of fundamental human rights. that day, the apex court holds that the consolidated petition of ACN and ANPP had become academic in nature due to the time factor. Such a decision will in fact deal a terrible blow on the already battered image of our judicial system. Most importantly, the right to fair hearing for all, as provided in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is more sacrosanct because, it is not just a Constitutional provision but it addresses the issues of protection of fundamental human rights. It is also worthy of note that the same Supreme court had held severally that the Constitution must be construed as a whole and that no single section should be interpreted in isolation. The poser is, will the Supreme court contradict its positions regarding the interpretation of our laws in the past, come judgement day? Will the Supreme court interpret section 285 (6) in isolation that day or will the section be interpreted in the context of the other parts of the Constitution particularly section 36. It is obvious that the provision relating to the right of fair hearing seems to supercede section 285 (6) in relevance to the administration of justice, if judged by the process of amendment. After all, it is well settled that judicial discretion must be exercised according to the ‘common sense’ and ‘justice’ in any matter. Section 9 (3) which provides the procedure for the amendment of the Constitution prescribed a two - third majority to amend section 285 (6) while it prescribes four – fifth majority to amend section 36. The lawyer for the Indepen-
dent National Electoral Commission, Jubrin Okutepa, SAN who is expected to be an unbiased umpire had described the Appeal as an abuse of court process. But it should be worthy of note that if it were not for the negative antics and unnecessary delay that trailed administration of justice as far as this cases is concerned, they would have been dispensed with a long time ago. Faulting his position, Counsel to Ugba, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had observed that it is wrong to dismiss an appeal as abuse at the preliminary stage when the substantive matter has not been heard. He said: “The constitution gives us the right of appeal. You cannot use Preliminary Objection to deny a constitutional right. The preliminary objection is unfounded and should be dismissed because we are exercising our constitutional right. This appeal is based on extant decision of the court which has not been set aside. The order is binding on everybody, it has not been reversed. Given the opportunity, we will prove to the court that this case is differ from others. If the order for fresh trial cannot achieve something, there is a problem. The constitutional right to fair hearing has overriding power on other provisions. If the court ordered that a matter be heard denovo, there cannot be a limitation to statute.” Akeredolu recalled that the Respondent withdrew their application on 180 days at the Supreme Court on the day the order for remittance was made. “A constitutional right of appeal cannot be without remedy. The court cannot justify its usefulness by limitation on technicalities”, he added. In his own submission, Counsel to Saror, Mr. Iorpin argued that Section 285(6) of the constitution heavily relied on by the Respondents said judgment must be delivered within 180 days. According to him, judgment could only be delivered after a case had been heard. He asked what becomes the fate of a petitioner if applica-
Ekiti indigenes in Ondo back Abraham
HE prospect of Dr Segun Abraham to emerge
as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) flagbearer in the forthcoming governorship election received a boost yesterday as Ekiti indigenes residing in Ondo State declared their support for him. A statement by their President, Mr Peter Abiodun and Secretary Mr Muyiwa Olabode confirmed Abraham as the best of all the aspirants jostling for the ACN ticket. The group in an extra-ordinary meeting held last week also re-affirmed support for regional integration as canvassed for by the ACN. The group believed Abraham is capable of ushering the state into a progressive
By Tajudeen Adebanjo
pedestal. “Our resolution in your (Abraham) personality is not far-fetched from the good records that we found around you. We want the replica of good works in Lagos, Edo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Ogun here in Ondo State. We are highly impressed by the allinclusive system of administration of Action Congress of Nigeria-led governments all over the country, and we are committed to making Ondo State a centre of peace and unity where tribe and language is no barrier. We need high level of mutual relationship among all the descendants of Oduduwa in Ondo State, and we need leaders
that will make brotherhood the priority. We believe that we are indigenes of this state by residence, and as such, we are entitled to some benefits and privileges as indigenes which include equal political participation,” the group stated. “We need a highly experienced politician, that will bring all the gathered skills to bear in Ondo State as Governor. We also need integrity, honesty, hard work, diligence, accountability and transparency,” Abiodun said. The president recalled when Dr Abraham served under Governor Adebayo Adefarati with all sincerity, noting that throughout, Abraham did not collect salary.
“With all these philanthropic gesture, we have no doubt that Abraham would perform creditably if he is elected the next governor of Ondo State,” Abiodun added. He promised to run an all inclusive government and put an end to all forms of indiscrimination. He noted that Ekiti and Ondo are of the same parentage. The only difference is the geographical boundary. He enjoined them to see Ondo State as their home and feel free to exercise their right to freedom. He pointed out that the next government under the ACN would surely strike a difference considering the policy of the party that is centered on people.
tions on technicalities are raised at the tribunal to frustrate the case of the petitioner. The foregoing shows that it will not amount to an infringement of the Constitution, if the Supreme court rules that where an order for retrial is made, 180 days starts counting afresh, but it wil be a great injustice which can
lead to anarchy if the parties are not allowed to ventilate their dissatisfactions as the Constitution confers on a party a right to appeal where he is not satisfied with the decision of a lower court and this is the exact perspective from which the Supreme court is expected to look at this issue come 8th of June.
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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
SPORT EXTRA AFTERMATH OF NIGERIA VS NAMIBIA VICTORY
Eagles could have done it without me —Mikel
UPER Eagles midfielder, Mikel Obi has expressed satisfaction at the Eagles run at the 2014 World Cup Qualifying match against Namibia on Sunday while also stating that the
By Innocent Amomoh and Stella Bamawo Keshi boys would have still excelled without his input. “Football is about time. The boys would have still
performed well without my input. I am happy we won, I am happy for Keshi. He has been a wonderful coach, He has brought his knowledge of the game as a player and coach into the Eagles squad,” he said. Mikel who made his debut for Nigeria's senior team on August 17, 2005 has however commended Keshi’s tactical styles on the field of play. He said: “He has gotten to the pinnacle of his career as a footballer while also winning laurels for the country.” In the same vein, Mikel believes he still owes the country a lot and would gladly accept any invitation to play for the country. “If I am fit, I will play for the country. I have always loved
to play for the country. Whenever I am injured., the Chelsea medical team refuses me leaving their stable so it is not as if I deliberately refuse playing for the Eagles. I want to celebrate major victories with the Eagles just like I did with Chelsea. ” Meanwhile, the Nigerian footballer has sympathized with the family and loved ones of the plane crash victims who lost their lives in the illfated Dana Airline plane crash in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos on Sunday. “It is very sad news. It is high time the appropriate authorities look into avoidable accidents in the country. I was so devastated when I heard about the incident.”
Keshi gets accomodation, car in June —NFF
IGERIA Football Federation (NFF) General Secretary Musa Amadu has revealed to NationSport thatSuperEagles’ head coach Stephen Keshi would have his house and car ready immediately after the jampacked June series of matches "to be frank with you, we are on top of the situation as relates to the car and house for the chief coach. I want to assure you that everything about that will be sorted after the June phase of the qualifiers. We really appreciated the understanding of the Coach, he is a patrotic Nigerian, and very committed to the job he has be assigned to do. We would surely
From Andrew Abah, Abuja reciprocate that". The scribe said the rebuilding process which the coach embarked upon is very in progress, and appealed to all Nigerians to exercise restrained, as whatever experimentation he is embarking upon, will surely yield positive results. He boasted that the team will be going to Malawi to consolidate on the win recorded against Namibia last weekend in Calabar.
Robbers attack Ocean Boys •League match vs Sunshine Stars postponed
Sweden sees off Serbia R S
WEDEN will head into Euro 2012 in winning form after beating Serbia 2-1 in their final warmup game, although goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson did suffer an injury scare. Erik Hamren's side opened the scoring midway through
the first half when Serbia shot-stopper Branimir Aleksic spilled a corner and Ola Toivonen tapped in from close range. Serbia were not behind for long, though, as Neven Subotic escaped his marker from a corner to head past
England got all 23 Lions roaring T HE England Football Association have confirmed their entire 23-man squad ‘took part in some form of recovery work or training’ on Tuesday - but failed to elaborate on the fitness of any player. Deposed skipper John Terry was due to have further tests on the tight hamstring he experienced during Saturday’s win over Belgium. Terry was sent for a scan on Sunday but initial indications were that it was not major concern and the Chelsea skipper would be able to take his place in Roy Hodgson’s travelling squad. However, England have one more training session in the morning prior to departure before the travelling party has
confirmed. At various stages over the past fortnight there have been fitness concerns over Danny Welbeck, Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker. Hodgson was optimistic they would all be okay when he spoke after the Belgium game, although the same could have been said for Gary Cahill, who ended up being ruled out with a fractured jaw. It was that injury that triggered a call-up for 22-yearold Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, and prompted the row over Rio Ferdinand’s omission to boil over. The arguments are rumbling on, even though the 33-yearold has now gone on holiday with his family, insisting he hopes England triumph in his absence. Hodgson has not explained why he chose Kelly in preference to Ferdinand, although given the vast disparity in experience, his previous claim of ‘football reasons’ being behind the 81cap international being omitted from the original squad, appears quite flimsy.
Isaksson just four minutes later. Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired Sweden back in front from the penalty spot on 52 minutes after Toivonen had been brought down by substitute goalkeeper Damir Kahriman. Sweden picked up the tempo in the second half but could not increase their lead, while they also appeared vulnerable at the back. Isaksson then had to be withdrawn in the 71st minute, although it was only thought to be a slight groin injury rather than a recurring shoulder problem that has sidelined him in the past. Sweden have been pitted alongside England, France and co-hosts Ukraine in Group D at Euro 2012.
EPORTS reaching the Secretariat of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) say that Ocean Boys Football Club of Brass was attacked by armed robbers yesterday (Tuesday, June 5, 2012), on the way to Benin for Thursday’s rescheduled Week 24 league fixture against Sunshine Stars of Akure. Consequently, the league match billed for the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin has been postponed. A new date would be fixed for the match by the NPL. Ocean Boys FC was banished to Benin as punishment for the unruly conduct of its home fans during a league game against Enyimba International of Aba at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Ezeji wants Ocean Boys now
HARKS' striker, Victor Ezeji is demanding that the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) fix a date for his team's outstanding game against Ocean Boys. The game between Sharks and Ocean Boys had been billed to hold on April 28 at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt. But the game was called off at the instance of Ocean Boys, who were allegedly attacked by unknown men minutes before the match kicked off. Ezeji is now asking why the NPL has refused to fix a date for the game to hold. He added that ending this season's top flight should not be talked about when there are unresolved games and disparity in the number of matches played by the 20 competing teams. "I'm shocked that the NPL has not fixed a date for our outstanding game against Ocean Boys even when we were both free last Wednesday. And we are talking of ending the league. We want to be at par
with every other team in the league (in terms of matches played)," Ezeji said to SuperSport.com. Ocean Boys won the first game by 2 – 0 at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa with Emmanuel Enize, who is now a Sharks' player, scoring both goals. The NPL acting secretary, Tunji Babalola was not available to comment on the oustanding game.
Yobo hails Eagles’ defence against Namibia
UPER EAGLES captain Joseph Yobo is optimistic that the team will qualify for the next edition of the World Cup. This is even as he expressed satisfaction with the team’s defense against Namibia. Speaking on the heels of the World Cup qualifier against Namibia, Yobo assured that the players will strive to secure the World Cup ticket. “That Nigeria will not be at the World Cup is unimaginable. Both on personal and general levels, I will put in my best to ensure we land in Brazil. That may be my last tournament for Nigeria and it will be an honour to captain a great country like Nigeria at the World Cup”, he said. He continued; “We know the pains we passed through when the last Nations Cup was on and we were in our clubs. So we, the players, have made up our minds to overcome any obstacle on our way to the World Cup”. He opined that the Namibia game portended
good tidings for the national team. “You know that this team is in a rebuilding process. I like the blend of the home and foreign-based players. It is one big family. The first matches are always difficult and I’m sure that as the series progresses, we will jell more. At this point, the important thing is the three points. Good enough we picked all of them. Nigerians have to be patient with us and throw their weight behind us”, he added. Yobo was glad the defenders acquainted themselves credibly in his absence. His words; “The national team is no one’s property. That was how I broke into the national team in the absence of some more established players then. The guys showed a lot of promise. With more playing time they will get better. Nigeria won’t stop playing football if Yobo retires. And I won’t play forever”. The Fenerbahce defense ace expressed his desire to be fit early enough to be part of the team’s marathon fixture. “I am making some progress and I hope to be fit for the Rwanda game. I want to contribute my quota in ensuring that we qualify both for the World Cup and the Nations Cup. If Nigerian football has to bounce back, we have to be at both tournaments”, he pointed out.
QPR gives up on TaiyeTaiwo
T •Ex-Nigerian International Victor Ikpeba, Media & Public Affairs manager, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Edem Vindah, Ex-Nigerian Goalkeeper, Peter Rufai and Coach of the Nigerian National Five A-Side football team Oladunni Oyekale, during the draws for the 2012 edition of the Gulder 5-A-Side Football Competition held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
HE Nigeria international impressed during his six months on-loan at the Rs last season. But Milan now intend to include Taiwo in their bid for Benfica midfielder Axel Witsel. Benfica need a new fullback after being snubbed by Manchester United's Fabio da Silva, who is now likely to sign for the Rs.
THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
TOMORROW IN THE NATION
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
‘But one can understand the frustration of Abiola’s children. Their illustrious father had been betrayed by friends and even by his Egba kinsmen like Ernest Sonekan and Olusegun Obasanjo.’ VOL.7 NO.2148
COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA
AST week, the newspapers gave prominence to the squaring off between the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and President Goodluck Jonathan over the issue of the separation of powers among the three arms of government, namely the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The occasion was the Democracy Day Symposium, penultimate Monday, titled: “Our Democracy: Progress and Challenges,” held in the Banquet Hall of the State House. This was a day ahead of this year’s so-called Democracy Day that has been inflicted on Nigerians as a holiday by our unlamented old despot, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, for no better reason than that he returned to power as a civilian on May 29, 1999. The topic of the symposium itself couldn’t have been more appropriate thirteen years after the second military interruption of our democracy came to an end in 1999 after nearly sixteen years. (The first, as we all know, occurred in 1966 and ended with Obasanjo as military head of state between 1976 and 1979, following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, his immediate predecessor, in a failed coup). Thirteen years may be like the twinkle of an eye in the life of a nation, but it is not too short to determine if the nation is heading in the right direction. Few Nigerians, I imagine, will disagree with the view that Nigeria has headed in the wrong direction since 1999. No doubt the country Obasanjo inherited that year was hardly a happy one, what with all inequities and despotism its hapless citizens had been subjected to by their rulers. But then the country he left behind after eight years as its civilian ruler was hardly better than what he had inherited. On the contrary, virtually all the human development indices indicated the country was worse off at after his rule. The May 28 squaring off between the Speaker and President Goodluck was in the end about which arm, between the legislature and the executive, should be blamed for the country’s retrogression all these 13 years that its citizens had been led to hope that the end of military rule in the country in 1999 will signal the end of their seemingly interminable miserable existence. Naturally each side blamed the other but, not surprisingly, Speaker Tambuwal started the altercation. If little or no progress has been made in the first year since the last elections in May, he said, it was because the executive arm has refused to sign the bills the legislators have passed “for the peace, order and good government of the Federation,” to use the words of our Constitution in defining the powers of the three arms of government. Not so, said the president. The problem, he said, was that the legislature had taken the meaning of the separation of powers between the three arms, especially that between the legislature and the executive, too literally. In developed countries, he said somewhat disingenuously and certainly inaccurately, it was news when a lawmaker publicly voted against the executive, whereas in Nigeria it was news only when a lawmaker supported the president. Since the return of civilian rule to the country in the last 13 years it is pretty obvious that each arm has had its share of the blame for the
ITH an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 dead in the 15-month revolt against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, it is becoming increasingly difficult to restrain Syria from plunging into civil war. As this column predicted a few months ago, given the obduracy of al-Assad, the impotence of peace talks initiated by the Arab League, Turkey and even the United Nations (UN), the beleaguered country seemed to have passed the point of peaceful resolution. There seemed to be no room for peace, this column warned, as all hopes of bringing the protests to an end had been shattered by the president’s insistence on playing a key part in any future arrangement to govern the country. With a majority of the UN General Assembly asking Assad to step down, it was hoped that moral force would weaken the resolute sup-
People and Politics By MOHAMMED HARUNA firstname.lastname@example.org
Between legislators and the executive executive’s apparently scandalous management of the country’s oil subsidy, its fire sale of our public assets and the gutting of the pension fund by a few venal bureaucrats, to name three of the most recent examples. So if there has been little or no progress in the country since the return of democracy in 1999, the larger responsibility must go to the executive which always disapproved of the legislature asking awkward questions, to begin with, and invariably never acted on the findings of the legislators, as provided in the constitution.
Re: Niger State’s Night(s) of the long knives •Tambuwal
By Danlami Ndayebo
sorry state of the country. But certainly the greatest share must go to the executive for the simple reason that it has the greatest capacity among the three to interfere with the others – and has never shied away from doing so, as was glaringly obvious in the circumstance of the very emergence of Tambuwal as speaker exactly one year ago today. The precedence was, of course, set by Obasanjo back in 1999. Then he made sure only those who, military style, obeyed his orders before they complained emerged as leaders of the National Assembly. May last year, President Jonathan, as a protégé and a good student of Obasanjo, tried to emulate his benefactor but obviously lacked his benefactor’s capacity and gumption to prevail on the ruling party to impose a leadership on the legislators other than the one they liked. With the arguable exception of Dimeji Bankole, the embattled immediate past speaker, Tambuwal is the first to have been installed as speaker in spite of stiff opposition from the ruling party’s leadership and from the executive. This explains how the man could go into the lion’s den and accuse the executive of obstructing the legislature from doing its job. A year on since the last elections both arms of the National Assembly, the House in particular, have demonstrated that they are no longer satisfied with being the poodle of the executive, as was the case at least during the first eight years of the current Republic. This is quite obvious from the public enquiries that the legislators have instituted into the
HE Government of Niger State finds it necessary to respond to an unfortunate cocktail of wild allegations, all of them without foundation, contained in Malam Mohammed Haruna’s column published simultaneously by The Nation and Daily Trust on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Opinion is free, but facts remain sacred. We concede that Malam Mohammed Haruna has a right to canvass support for whoever he wishes, but unkind cuts of members of the executive and legislative arms of the government of his home state is a disservice to the people and the institutions disparaged in his column. We are, therefore, compelled to set the record straight, so as not to misguide the successor generation that their past was riddled with unconscionable opportunism. Sentiments cannot replace historical facts and realities. As a Nigerlite, the writer has a right to be concerned about developments in his home state, but nothing happened in the political clime of Niger to warrant the choice of words and description of the leaders of the state as Malam Mohammed would want the world to believe. What is bizarre about an institution of government changing its leadership? What transpired on the floor of the House of Assembly is democracy at work, not a ‘bizarre’ political situation. Producing three speakers in quick succession may baffle Malam Mohammed, but that’s realpolitik beyond textbook theories. If it was right for the Assembly men to replace Hon Mohammed Tsowa Gamunu with Hon Isa Kawu, what would have made the latter’s reign eternal? From the first paragraph to the last, the writer laboured, albeit unsuccessfully, to give the impres-
sion that Hon. Kawu is the only competent person in the 27-member legislature to drive the process of protecting the independence of the legislature. We are sure that the honourable lawmaker would not find that sufficiently flattering. Niger Legislature has operated unfettered since Dr. Babangida Aliyu assumed office as governor of the state. Governor Babangida Aliyu has a firm, interpretative understanding of democracy and separation of powers that he would not leave governance for the ego of wanting to turn whoever leads the parliament into a puppet. To regard members of the Assembly as robots in the hands of one man is to robe him with the garb of divinity, a blasphemy that Gov. Aliyu abhors. Furthermore, to submit that the lawmakers were induced is an exercise in presumptuousness. For the writer to insinuate that all the other 26 lawmakers in the Niger State House of Assembly, except his friend, Kawu, lack honour and have been repeatedly bought and cowed is to undermine their sense of self-worth and integrity. It is more of a disservice to former Speaker Kawu than display of loyalty. As a very senior journalist and journalism teacher, Malam Mohammed should know that writing without facts is the worst crime in journalism. What manner of ethics is embedded in this assumption for instance: There were rumours of huge sums, first, ten million Naira, then fifteen, and finally twenty, being offered to each member by the executive to persuade the members to ditch Kawu barely twenty four hours after they more or less swore to stand by him, come rain, come shine? If the executive and the new House leadership have denied the malicious accusation, did Hon Kawu also bribe the same people previously to get elected as Speaker? Shouldn’t Malam Mohammed have scant evidence before going to town with the allegation that the executive was behind the crises that rocked the legislature three weeks ago? In his concluding remarks, the writer asked what he called ‘the big question’. Why is the Chief Servant so afraid of Kawu? My answer is: Why would Babangida Aliyu who is running his second and final term, be intimidated by a partner in Niger Project. Every discerning mind knows that the Chief Servant is not afraid of Isa Kawu. Suffice to add that the current administration under the able leadership of the Chief Servant is almost on auto-pilot and we know that Hon Kawu would not join any disgruntled force to put spanner in the works. Our big brother Mohammed Haruna should know that all the dramatis personae in the Niger Assembly saga are from one large political family. A house divided against itself cannot stand and the articles of faith binding the People Democratic Party (PDP) men and women would not allow party faithful unduly hurt one another. Hon. Kawu has a promising political career and big brothers like Malam Mohammed should not trade this off for whatever interest they choose to serve. •Ndayebo is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu •For comments, send SMS to 08054502909
•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above
Bashar al-Assad finally loses his mind
scribed the crackdown as a necessary surgery to save the country from collapse. Surgeries, he cynically reminded the world, involved the loss of blood for which humanity should not be squeamish. Responding, the Free Syrian Army has foreclosed peace talks and promised to prepare for open confrontation. As this column predicted early in the year, there is no way Assad can win. More importantly, no matter how much Russia and China try, it is unlikely they can help Assad’s Alawite minority (12 percent of population), which has been in power for more than 40 years, to retain its grip on power. All we can do now is watch the countdown to apocalypse in Damascus. Let us hope that that great capital city, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, would not be completely destroyed before the war is over.
port Russia and China have offered al-Assad. This hope has proved to be a mirage, with the two countries determined to undermine any effort by the UN Security Council to present the kind of united front they showed against Muammar Gaddafi’s terrifying crackdown in Libya. Assured of the unflinching support of Russia and China, two permanent members of the UN Security Council whose rather insular view of bipolarity seems to work against any European or American peace plan, al-Assad has grown robustly and senselessly intransigent. For a revolt that began only last year, it is disturbing that the death toll is so high. Worse, the government, citing the need to combat ter-
rorism masterminded by the Free Syrian Army and anti-Assad protesters, has become more and more brazenly repressive. The latest manifestation of this open defiance of world opinion and human values is the May 25 Houla massacre in which more than 100 people, many of them women and children, were executed by government forces. That massacre has finally roused the Sunni majority (74 percent of total population), in particular their merchant class, against the government. The merchants were believed to have kept the Syrian economy on its feet in spite of economic and diplomatic sanctions and the disruptive effects of unrest. In what is probably the most provocative response to the 15-month uprising, Assad has de-
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