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• From left: Leaders of APC: Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and former Minister, Prince Tony Momoh

•From left: Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako and Oyo State Governor Ajimobi

• From left:Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, Senator Kabiru Gaya and Senator Osita Izunaso

From left: Ondo delegates, Dr. Taiwo Makunmi, Barr. Morayo Lebi and Mrs. Yejide Ogundipe

• Senator Chris Ngige, Governor Aliyu Wammako and another delegate

•Chairman Convention Screening Committee, Kawu Baraje (left) ,Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ganiyu Solomon

• From right: Senator Mamora, Dino Melaye and Barr. Sanusi Musa

• From left: Adamawa APC Chairperson; Mrs. Binta Garba, Members House of Reps, Peterside Dakuku and Aminu Shagari




• Former Osun State governor, Chief Isiaka Adeleke (3rd left) and other delegates from Osun

• Adamawa delegates: Dahiru Bobbo(left) Mustafa Boss and Aminu Iyawa

•Sokoto delegates

•Ballot boxes at the convention

• Cross section of some delegates •Kano delegates

•Campaign posters of aspirants

•Party supporters at the convention


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•Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi(left) and Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko and others at the convention ground

•From left: House of Reps member, Hon. Muniru Hakeem; Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi; Femi Hamsat and Hon. Fatai Akinteru at the convention

2015: Commonsense revolution is here in Nigeria, says Tinubu


NATIONAL Leader of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday said the emergence of the party has shown that commonsense revolution is already in Nigeria. He said the formation of APC was meant to liberate the nation and not for personal desires of the leaders of the party. Tinubu, who addressed thousands of delegates at the National Convention of the party in Abuja asked Nigerians to vote for change in 2015 by backing APC. He said: “The broom revolution is here. Tonight is an history-making night. “We are gathered here not because of our personal desires or our personal wishes to occupy offices. All of you here have been here since morning. You have been going through accreditation procession. You travelled far and wide and you have become part of a commonsense revolution. “Commonsense revolution is to fight insecurity, mismanagement, unemployment, hopelessness, the abduction of our children, failure of government and the president. “For our children, 250 of them, to still be in captivity, is a shame to all of us. We are experiencing the biggest failure, ineptitude, incompetence and bad governance. Are you going to continue with that? Are you ready for that change? “The change has arrived here. The storm is here but this is not a storm of disaster, it is a storm of positive change. And that change is APC. It is a positive change for a better, united Nigeria.” Tinubu asked Nigerians to ignore aspersions being cast on APC leaders and attempt to promote religious divide nationwide. He added: “They started to polarise us , to divide us between religions. Tell them, no; it is not possible. Hunger knows no religion, poverty knows no religion. “They tried to brand us as extreme leaders. They don’t have positive ideas to offer; they have emotional lies to offer. That is why they make excuses. They make distinction between

Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation and John OFIKHENUA,

Abuja religions. We are children of the same father. The same blood is running in our veins. “You cannot use incompetence to deceive Nigerians. We are not pocket-pickers. Why should you waste our pension funds of which mil-


lions of it are missing? Are you ready to continue with that? They said barrels of crude oil are missing, are you ready to continue with that? “Our youths are very hungry and unemployed. They gathered them in National Stadium and picked their pockets and tore their emotions. Are they not a party of racketeers if they take money

from the unemployed? “Instead of creating joy, instead of pitying them or helping them to lessen the burden of their parents, what did they do? They increased the burden of their parents. Are you ready to continue with that? That is why we gathered here tonight “It is not about Bola Tinubu. It is not about Gen.

Muhammadu Buhari or Atiku Abubakar. It is not about Bisi Akande. It is not about Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso “We are here to give Nigerians hope that the change has come.” He insisted that the merger of all opposition parties would bring hope to Nigerians. He said: “We have made

history; what they said is impossible as a merger of parties has been done. “We have merged and I want to use the word of my friend that with brooms in our hands, we can carry out the revolution. Your broom is a broom of revolution to sweep failures, corruption, insecurity and to bring hope back.” See full text on Page 60.

Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation and John OFIKHENUA,

The convention took off at about 8.50 pm with opening prayer by Alhaji Gambo Magaji and Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu. In his farewell address, the Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, said the party was solid and strong enough to defeat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in 2015. He asked President Goodluck Jonathan to stop playing semantics with his anti-corruption agenda. He said: “President Goodluck Jonathan has been trying to make distinction between stealing and corruption. We say to him, corruption is corruption which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society. This is no time for semantics.” On the security challenge in the North, Akande expressed regrets that President Jonathan had refused to accept suggestions made by the APC. He added: “While we can say that the state of our party is strong, we cannot say the same for our country. Nigeria that had contributed troops to global peacekeeping is today overwhelmed by insurgency. “The US, the UK and others are assisting us to rescue over 200 students. This is a clear failure of our country’s leadership. “We have stretched our hands in a non-partisan approach to end the insurgency. As I speak, the government has not acknowledged our efforts. Instead, they blamed us for the crisis. On the 2015 poll, he said inasmuch as the party will insist on free and fair elections, APC members should be vigilant. He added: “No free and

fair election has been held under the watch of the Peoples Democratic Party. In recent times, the PDP under the government it controlled at the centre had moved to emasculate the court. They did it in Anambra election; they are attempting to do it in Ekiti and Osun states. “I urge you all to be vigilant as eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Ultimately, power belongs to the people and no one can take it from them by force.” He said “in the face of persecution, APC will reach the Promised Land. We have been able to create alternative for Nigerians who are already tired of the PDP. “The state of our party is strong and our achievements have surpassed our expectations.” In his address, the Chairman of the First National Convention Committee, Governor Aliyu Wammako, said: “Out of historical exigency, we have realised and we have come to accept that Nigeria has never been pulled down like this. “All the crises pose threats to our economy; there is a nightmare in the name of insurgency. Despite this, they want to take power at all cost. The Federal Government is adopting divide and rule tactics. However all hope is not lost because Nigerians are rising above ethnic divide.” The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, said APC is different from PDP because it is more democratic. He asked Nigerians to vote for APC in 2015 to effect change in the country. The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, asked APC members to protect their voting rights to be able to change the government in 2015.

A former Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Modu Ali Sheriff said the atmosphere at the Eagle’s Square showed that Nigerians have faith in the opposition and they are ready for change. A former National Chairman of the defunct ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said the opposition parties came together in order to rescue the nation. Those at the convention were ex-Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari; exVice-President Atiku Abubakar; a National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; the outgoing Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande; a former National Chairman of ANPP, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu; exNational Chairman of CPC, Prince Tony Momoh. Also at the convention were almost all the APC governors led by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Rauf Aregbesola; Rabiu Kwankwaso; Rochas Okorocha, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Kayode Fayemi; Aliyu Wammako (who was the Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee); Ibikunle Amosun; Abdulfatai Ahmed; Tanko Al-Makura; Murtala Nyako and Ibrahim Gaidam. Others were ex-National Chairman of ACN, Chief Audu Ogbeh; ex-Governors Bukola Saraki, George Akume, Abdullahi Adamu, Niyi Adebayo, Sha’aba Lafiagi, Segun Oni and exMilitary Governor of Kaduna State, Jafar Isa. Others were all members of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly on the platform of APC; exMinister of State for Defence, Chief Demola Seriki; Senator Isiaka Adeleke; the deputy governors of Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Imo states, among others.s

Oyegun emerges as APC National Chairman

HE first executive governor of Edo State, Chief John OdigieOyegun has emerged as the new national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He clinched the position last night at the party’s national convention in Abuja after former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva withdrew from the race at 11.27 pm. Oyegun’s other rival for the post, Chief Tom Ikimi, was yet to show up at the convention at press time, while Chief Sam Jaja, who was also touted as showing interest in the race, did not purchase the nomination form. Party leaders had on Thursday night prevailed on ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was Ikimi’s major backer, to ask the exForeign Minister to step down for Oyegun. Although Ikimi seemed to have bowed to the wish of the leaders, there were speculations that he might defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has been making overtures to him. Other leaders set to emerge at the convention are exGovernor Segun Oni (Deputy National Chairman); Lai Mohammed (National Publicity Secretary); Hon. Zakare Ede, National Vice-Chairman for North-Central; Hajiya Ramatu, National Woman Leader; Jock Alamba, Deputy Welfare Secretary; Hajiya Hassan, NorthCentral Zonal Woman Leade; Hon. Nelson Alapa, ex-Officio from the NorthCentral; Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Lawal Shuaib and National Secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Bala Gubi. The race for the office of the


national chairman stretched the leaders of the party who met for two days before reaching a consensus on Odigie-Oyegun. A reliable source said: “The party leaders took time to weigh the democratic credentials of all the four candidates before choosing Oyegun, who was rated as consistent in his commitment to progressive cause. “His moral integrity also buoyed his chance because in spite of his portfolios as a Federal Permanent Secretary, he did not acquire even a plot of land. “His sacrifice as the Secretary of the defunct National Democratic Coalition(NADECO) abroad also counted in his favour as a politician who cannot be manipulated by any bigwig in the party.” The source said Oyegun’s fairness would make him withstand pressure during the forthcoming presidential primaries of the party with the governors and leaders of APC accepting the strong recommendation of a national leader of the party that Oyegun is the best for the job.” Another source said: “We have got indications that Ikimi may defect to PDP, although some of our leaders are trying to persuade him to have a rethink.” Pomp and pageantry heralded the convention opening at the Eagle’s Square, Abuja. For about six hours, delegates and party members overwhelmed the Square and its precinct, singing and dancing.


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Chibok girls: FG replies Obasanjo: you don’t need President’s clearance to engage Boko Haram T HE Co- ordinator of the National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, yesterday said former President Olusegun Obasanjo does not need any clearance from President Goodluck Jonathan before engaging in dialogue with the Boko Haram sect over the abduction of the Chibok school girls. He said the Federal Government will be happy to get suggestions from Nigerians on how to secure the release of the girls. Omeri, who spoke in Abuja at the daily briefing, said he wondered why Obasanjo’s would be waiting for any formal clearance from President Goodluck Jonathan when, in actual sense, he had unfettered access to him(Jonathan). Omeri, who expressed surprise at the development said “the government has not stopped any individual who has access to the sect not to

Bukola AMUSAN,Abuja

come forward and intervene in this matter. “In our last briefing, we reiterated that there are three options opened to the government to find these abducted girls, and the first is that any individual with access to the sect should help the government in securing the release of the girls. Second is for the army, in collaboration with our international allies, to secure their release and for the insurgents to voluntarily release the girls. “If he actually said so, that means he has superior equipment to those of the government and its allies. “Besides, as a respectable statesman and a former President, I think he has unfettered access to the President to discuss this. I don’t think the pages of newspapers are the appropriate avenue to make

Pope to ask for God’s guidance on retirement


OPE Francis said yesterday he will ask for God’s guidance when the time comes to consider retiring like his 87-year-old predecessor, Benedict XVI. Benedict last year became the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages, retiring from public life to live in a former monastery inside the Vatican City walls. “Since we live longer, we get to an age at which we can no longer carry on with things,” the 77-year-old Francis said in a wide-ranging interview with the Vatican correspondent of Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia. The pontiff said Benedict made a “great gesture” when he left his position as leader of the church, opening the door to the possibility of emeritus popes. “I will do the same as he did: ask the Lord to show me when the moment comes and tell me what to do, and he will tell me for sure,” said the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. The pope alluded to his mortality when admitting that he took a risk when he avoided riding in the closed-in “popemobile”. “I cannot greet the people and tell them I love them inside a sardine can, even if it is glass,” he said, describing the protection as a wall. “It is true something could happen to me, but let’s be realistic, at my age I do not have much to lose,” the pope said. Following his first visit to the Middle East as pope last month, the pontiff criticised fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism as a form of violence. “A fundamentalist group, even if it kills no one, even it strikes no one, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalism is violence in the name of God.” Asked about religious violence in the Middle East, Francis, who made his first visit to the region as pope last month, said it was a “contradiction”. “Violence in God’s name does not fit with our times. It is something old. With historical perspective, we have to say that

we Christians, at times, have practised it,” he was quoted as saying. Anti-Semitism, the pope said, seemed to be linked more to the right-wing than to the left, though he could not explain why. “And it still continues. We even have people who deny the Holocaust which is madness.” Pope Francis said he was worried about drives for independence in lands such as Scotland and Catalonia. The Argentine pontiff said separatism was understandable in cases such as former colonies and the former Yugoslavia, but said these models did not apply in all cases. “Any division worries me,” he said.


the claims that he has access to the insurgents. I sincerely don’t understand this,” he said. Omeri said surveillance and patrols by land and air of troops are still ongoing in the entire mission area of the North East

and other parts of the federation to curtail the activities of terrorists and armed groups. “There have been occasional encounters necessitating continous cordon and search

in many locations”he said “In the same vein, consultations and contacts are still ongoing with partners who have offered to support Nigeria’s endeavours to resolve the issues on the abduction of the Chibok

The South West Zonal Glow Conference of the National Association of Women Judges of Nigeria was held in Lagos yesterday. From left, President, NAWJN, Hon. Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju JCA; Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos; Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Ayotunde Phillips and Mrs. Funmilayo Atilade at the conference. With them are some other members of the association. PHOTO: Omosehin MOSES

US places $18m bounty on Boko Haram splinter group’s leader, three others


HE United States yester day posted $18 million in rewards for the capture of Khaid al-Barnawi,leader of Ansaru, a splinter group from Boko Haram, and three other African militants. They are accused of involvement in the kidnapping of foreigners and attacks on Western targets. Some $5 million each was offered for the former member of Boko Haram and two founding leaders of the Move-

ment for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) based in the Maghreb region. A fourth reward of $3 million was set for an Egyptian extremist who has plotted against the US, the State Department said. Ansaru split from Boko Haram in early 2012. It has close ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and was behind the kidnapping of seven foreigners in a raid on a construction site of Setraco in Bauchi in February 2013.

The seven from Britain, Greece, Lebanon and Italy were later executed by their captors. Barnawi also reportedly helped plan the May 2011 kidnapping by Ansaru of a British and an Italian engineer who were both killed 10 months later. “Ansaru originated as a faction of Boko Haram, has close ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and has sought to target westerners, including US citizens,” the State Department

The victim, who only spoke a little English, had been recruited by a Nigerian local called Beneditta in her home village near Benin City. Her family had struggled financially since the death of her father in 2008. She aspired to become a nurse. In February 2011, Beneditta offered to help the young woman by sending her to England to be educated properly and get a job, the court heard. She was told the cost would be £40,000 which she would have to repay to the organisers. Prosecutor Christopher Ames told the court: “She had no idea at all what £40,000 was in her own currency, her life had been very hard after her father died, and she jumped at the chance to be educated and be trained for a job, and get away from the desperation and misery of her current family situation. “She was very excited, a naive young girl, at the prospect of going abroad.” She was sent to the Nigerian capital of Lagos on March 23, 2011 to meet a man called Felis who made her a false passport and coached her in getting

through UK immigration. “While he was doing that, he began to sexually assault her. “That led him to beat her with a belt and that in turn led to him raping her that night,” said Mr Ames. When she complained to Beneditta the next morning, she was told: “It was what you should have expected”. She was then told to pose for photographs with a man who would pretend to be her husband. In September 2011, she was summoned to the West African country of Benin to get a visa. The woman was then told to swear an oath to repay the money in a ceremony that involved cutting her armpit and pubic hair and taking finger nail clippings. “The oath she was solemnly required to take was to repay that money, £40,000, on pain of death if she did not,” said Mr Ames. ‘This was what was known as a juju ceremony.’ She was driven to Lagos on September 12, 2011 and put on a plane to the UK, meeting Olayinka at Heathrow Airport. Olayinka, calling himself ‘Mike’, checked her into the Marbella Hotel in Peckham, south London, and took away her money and passport.

Gang smuggles Nigerian woman to UK to work as sex slave

NNOCENT 23-year-old from Nigeria was promised education, job and home in UK. She was given a fake passport and told she owed the gang £40,000. Victim was then assaulted and raped before subjected to ‘juju’ death ritual. She was forced to cut pubic hair and finger nails in black magic ceremony. The gang told her curse meant she would die if she didn’t pay them back. When she arrived in London, she was told she would work as a sex slave Olusoji Oluwafemi, 44, Johnson Olayinka, 45, and Florence Obadiaru, 48, were convicted of trafficking the woman into the UK at the Old Bailey. Three members of an international prostitution ring that smuggled a Nigerian woman into the UK to work as a sex slave under the threat of a voodoo curse are facing jail today. The gang conned the innocent 23-year-old into flying to the Heathrow Airport on a bogus passport with the promise of education, a job and a new home. Before leaving Nigeria, she was raped and forced to go through a black magic juju

girls as well as terrorism generally” “Against this backdrop, the Nigerian military is in discussion with its counterpart from Sri Lanka in addition to other countries”he said.

death ritual to prevent her running away. But when the woman arrived in London, her employment failed to materialise. Instead, she was told she was destined to work as a sex slave in Italy, a court heard. The plan was only thwarted when Italian authorities spotted her forged ID and sent her back to the UK. It is believed the woman is just one of many victims of the group, based in Africa, that trafficks young women through England to work as prostitutes in mainland Europe. Olusoji Oluwafemi, 44, Johnson Olayinka, 45, and Florence Obadiaru, 48, were convicted of trafficking the woman into the UK for sexual exploitation and arranging for her transfer to Italy. Oluwafemi and Olayinka were also found guilty of conspiring to get the woman a false passport. Oluwatosin Osoba, 48, was acquitted of the same charge following a trial at the Old Bailey. Judge Rebecca Poulet said custody is inevitable and sentence was adjourned until July 11.

said. It also named Hamad elKhairy and Ahmed el-Tilemsi as founding leaders of MUJAO, and former members of AQIM. Tilemsi took part in the kidnapping of two French nationals in Niamey, Niger in January 2011. The men were later executed in Mali after an attempt by French special forces to rescue them failed. As a military leader of MUJAO, Tilemsi also aided the abduction of three European aid workers in Algeria from a refugee camp in Tindouf in October 2011. MUJAO claimed to be behind that kidnapping — the first time that the group emerged to the fore, saying it was an offshoot of AQIM. The three Europeans were finally released in July 2012 in Mali in exchange for three Islamists held by Mauritania. While still a member of AQIM, Khairy planned attacks in Mauritania and took part in the December 2008 abduction of UN envoy and Canadian Ambassador Robert Fowler in Niger. He had also ordered the 2011 kidnapping of the three European aid workers in Algeria in which two people were also wounded. Khairy has also claimed responsibility for the April 2012 kidnappings of seven Algerian diplomats in Mali. At least, one of the hostages were later killed, and three were freed. Rewards for Justice also offered $3 million for Egyptian explosives expert, Abu Yusuf al-Muhajir, a former member of the Tawhid w’al Jihad Egypt, described as an extremist group active in the Sinai Peninsula from 2004 to 2006. “Abu Yusuf was involved in attack planning against a variety of targets in Egypt, including US interests,” the State Department said.

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• A mammoth crowd accompanying Emir Sanusi to the palace yesterday


IVE days after he was installed as the Emir of Kano, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gained access to the palace for the first time yesterday. The emir, who had made the Kano State Government House his home on account of the occupation of the palace by policemen, made his way to the palace in a triumphant entry of sort, soon after leading the Jummaa’t prayers and the 7th day Fidau prayer for the late Emir, Alhaji Ado

Sultan meets Jonathan over Sanusi

•Reconciliation meeting scheduled for next week•New Emir makes first entry into palace•Pressure mounts on Bayero’s children to pay Sanusi homage Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation and Kolade ADEYEMI, Kano

Bayero. In his sermon at the prayers, the new emir sued for peace and unity among Muslims

and Christians and the generality of Nigerians. He rode in his official Rolls Royce car, waving through the car’s top-roof to his subjects who had lined the about two kilometre route from the Government House to the palace. In his long convoy were title

holders, district heads, Kano State Deputy Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje; the Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Tijani Mailafiya Wambai Kano and Senior Counsellor of the Emirate, Alhaji Abbas Sanusi, among others.

ing any further steps in the case. Awodein noted that between the last date and yesterday, some developments had occurred to necessitate Sanusi’s lawyers taking further instructions from him. He applied for time to enable him consult with his client. Lawyers to the defendants, including Mike Ozekhome (SAN), did not object to Awodein’s application. He acknowledged being informed, before the court’s proceedings, of the plaintiff lawyer’s desire for time to consult with his client. Before adjourning, Justice Adejumo said he would adjourn for parties to seek ways of ensuring an amicable settlement in the case. He

said unlike other conventional courts, his court had the mandate to encourage disputing parties to engage in amicable settlement. “I will strongly commend, by virtue of the provision of this court’s establishment Act, that parties seek amicable way of resolving this dispute. In industrial and employment relations, the court is not concerned about the consequence of its pronouncement on parties alone but on the entire society. “In consulting with their clients, counsel should know what to say to contribute to the effort to ensure amicable settlement,” Justice Adejumo said. He adjourned the case to July 4 for mention.

Sanusi’s suspension: Judge preaches amicable settlement


HE President of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice Babatunde Adejumo, yesterday advised President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, to explore an amicable settlement of the dispute over Sanusi’s suspension from office. Justice Adejumo gave the advice at the resumed hearing of the suit filed by Sanusi to challenge the propriety of his suspension from office by President Jonathan prior to the expiration of his tenure. President Jonathan sus-

Eric IKHILAE, Abuja pended Sanusi on February 20, following which he sued the President, the AGF and IGP at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging his suspension and seeking to restrain the defendants from arresting and prosecuting him. Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja declined jurisdiction over the case and transferred it to the NIC. Parties were expected to argue their applications for stay of proceedings yesterday only for plaintiff’s lawyer, Kola Awodein (SAN), to inform the court of his intention to consult his client before tak-

Sustain late Emir’s legacy, Yobe governor tells Sanusi


OBE State Governor, Ibrahim Geidam, has urged the new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Alhaji Ado Bayero, in order so as to continue to sustain the peace and tranquility that reigned during his era. Geidam, who was in Kano to commiserate with the people over the death of the late emir and to also congratulate the new monarch, said the late Bayero was an


Kolade ADEYEMI Kano

apostle of peace in Kano and the country at large. According to him, during the reign of the late emir, which spanned over 51 years, Kano was known for peace and tranquility. He said: “During the reign of the late Ado Bayero, the people of Kano lived in peace among themselves. They lived together as one without religious difference. “It is well known to all

that the late Ado Bayero was a messenger of peace in Kano and Nigeria at large. Christians and Muslims would testify to this.” Geidam said he was in Kano to commiserate with the people of Kano and to felicitate with the new emir, noting that some of the tasks confronting the new emir include ensuring peaceful co-existence in Kano and carrying his subjects without recourse to their differences. “I am in Kano to commis-

erate with the government and people of Kano, the late Ado Bayero’s family, and the Kano Emirate Council over the demise of the late Ado Bayero, praying that God in his infinite mercy will forgive the deceased and grant him eternal rest,” Geidam said. He added: “We are also in Kano to felicitate with Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. We prayed for him, requesting the almighty God to guide and protect him.”

hospital, United States, after slipping from the stairs of a plane and going into coma. Her husband and colleagues in the entertainment industry have for weeks been asking her fans to pray for her recovery. Oni said that Kefee died on Friday at about 4 am Nigerian time. He said in a telephone

conversation: “My friend stays in Chicago. Whenever Kefee is in Chicago, she stays in her house. She has been checking on her in the hospital. They attend the same church in America. So when she died at about 4am on Friday, she called to tell me. “It was actually about midnight there when she

Providing security were the same police who had denied him access to the palace until yesterday. Gone were the pockets of protests launched by some youths after the announcement of his appointment as emir. As tradition demands, a fresh gate was created on the Kofar Kudu wing of the palace wall for the emir to enter on a white horse. Gun salutes and trumpets were complemented with praise songs by the crowd. He was officially received into the palace by the four king-makers- Alhaji Yusuf Nabahani, (Madakin Kano), Alhaji Sarki Abdullahi (Makaman Kano), Alhaji Bello Tuta (Sarki Dawaki Mai-Tuta), and Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan (Sarki Bai). Once inside the inner chamber, Emir Sanusi headed straight to the graves of his predecessors to pray for the repose of their souls. Reconciliatory meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammad Sanusi, as he was renamed yesterday, is said to be next on the card after the withdrawal of the policemen who sealed off the emir’s palace. Facilitating the reconciliation are the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), who were said to have met with the President on the matter on Thursday. Their intervention paved the way for the withdrawal of the policemen from the palace following which the new emir gained access into

Colleagues mourn gospel singer Kefee

RIENDS and associates of Nigerian music act, Kefee Obareke, otherwise called Kefee, are mourning over the passing away of the gospel musician. Confirming the news of her death to The Nation yesterday, Mr. Oluwale Oni, a friend to the singer’s host in America, said the husband of the Branama crooner, Teddy


Esosa, was devastated by the incident. Oni, who said he had been in touch with family members of the deceased, said Esosa was in serious mourning. The late singer had been admitted in a Las Vegas

called me, but she said that she couldn’t sleep. That is all I know.” News of Kefee’s death has since gone viral, with colleagues and fans displaying her photographs on various social media platforms. Equally devastated by the news, gospel music artiste, •Continued on Page 60

the palace yesterday; the first time since his emergence as the traditional ruler of the ancient city on Sunday. It was gathered that the proposed reconciliatory meeting between Presidient Jonathan and Emir Sanusi is part of the effort to resolve issues surrounding the appointment of the new Emir of Kano. Expected at the meeting, which may hold some time next week, are top emirs from the North. Meanwhile, pressure is being mounted on the children of the late Emir Ado Bayero to pay homage to the new Emir with a view to laying any misunderstanding to rest. Sources said that the NSCIA delegation, led by the Sultan, had audience with the President on Thursday where matters arising from the choice of Sanusi were sorted out. The President reportedly told the delegation that neither him nor the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) was out to desecrate the stool of the Emir of Kano. The meeting agreed to lay the controversy over the emergence of Sanusi to rest. The source added: “We have had audience with the President and we got assurance from him that the row on Sanusi’s appointment is over. “We also realised that personal issues bordering on communication gap, partisanship, and disrespect or suspicion for each other aggravated the emirate politics. “We are going to facilitate a reconciliatory meeting between the President and the new Emir to bury the hatchet. “I think in the next one week, we should be able to hold the session to put the past behind us.” Another source said many prominent traditional rulers in the North have been prevailing on Bayero’s children to toe the peace and reconciliatory paths of their father. “I think they are still mourning. They will pay the homage after all the religious rites have been concluded. “Many northern emirs and leaders have persuaded them to forgive and forget the succession battle because they are from the same lineage with Emir Sanusi.”



Now the Sunnis are returning to Baghdad and I think Saddam will be smiling in his grave at the US which removed him and is now shivering like Iran at the approach of Saddam’s protégé insurgents

start today with the statement - wonders will never end - and by the time we finish with each other today on this page, I bet you will agree that I have not exaggerated, missed the point or used that otherwise innocent expression very lightly. I state that I have no doubt whatsoever in saying that under normal circumstances or what Economists will call - a ceteris paribus assumption - which is ‘all things being equal, democracy has come to be accepted globally as the style of governance most suitable for economic progress and socio political stability, because it allows through mass suffrage for the participation of the largest number of people in any society or political system. It follows therefore that whatever the conclusions I reach today, the intention here was never to doubt the efficacy or suitability of democracy as an ideology in finding solutions to the governance and leadership problems of our time. The first wonder I unleash therefore is that the former Nigerian president retired General Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly said in a BBC Hausa service interview that while some of the abducted 200 Boko Haram girls will not be released for some time, the ones to be released may be released only because they are pregnant. Which really is something that I cannot get over given the source and the gravity of the abduction not only to the parents but the civilised world at large. The second wonder was the news that the US and Iran have promised to support the government of Iraq to stop Sunni rebels that have taken over most of the North and East of Iraq from overrunning the capital Baghdad. That amazing amity of views from both US and Iran on Iraq is a major diplomatic earthquake as both nations are very strange bedfellows indeed where Iraq is concerned as they had a common enemy in Saddam Hussein the former Iraqi dictator that the Iraqi Invasion of 2003 by the US removed from power. So what has made this incredible volte face to happen? That is food for thought later. The third wonder today was the reported caution of the US Consul in Nigeria to the use of the term ‘rig and roast’ by a Nigerian leader and the lecture by the US envoy on the vocabulary of campaigns and elections in Nigeria which I find thoroughly amazing for its lack of respect for the peculiarities and political culture of the Nigerian environment with regard to elections and campaigns and on which I intend to take the distinguished diplomat on a brief excursion on this page later. Having thrown up my wonders and amazement let me now dilate on them in that order. I also want to put a label on each as I go about analysing each situation.


A New World of terrorist, militant and populist democracies I therefore see the the cruel fate that the former Nigerian Head of state has predicted for the abducted Chibok girls as possible only in a terrorist democracy like Iraq and Syria but definitely not yet Nigeria. I see the advance of Sunni rebels on Baghdad and the odd pair panic of the US and Iran as the symbol of a Militant democracy where stability depends on the ascendant insurgency of the day or the moment. Thirdly I see the danger pointed out by the US Consul in the context of a message of deterrence understood in the political environment of communication but lost to the good intentioned US consul, and label this Nigerian environment a populist democracy similar to the vibrant and populist democracy in Turkey under PM Reccyp Erdogan. Now let me treat my categorisations of these wonders in that order. First, it is only in a terrorist democracy that the sort of predictions made by the former head of state of Nigeria on the abducted Chibok girls can take place and the incumbent Nigerian president is well advised to take OBJ to task on the matter especially as he said that he knows how to contact Boko Haram but has not been asked to do so by the Federal government. The ugly fate he has foreseen for the girls should not be allowed to be achieved by all right thinking and God fearing people the world over. To me it is like making the abduction a fait accompli which means that the government should kow tow to terror which is something that I know the former Nigerian head of state would never have allowed if he was in power. The nonchalance attendant on that sort of fate for the Chibok girls coincide in great measure with the callous ease with which Syria’s president organised his re - election for a new term of office recently at the peak of a mindless civil war ravaging his nation, Syria. Whether OBJ is contacted or not to contact Boko Haram, he should be told in plain terms that no sincere or humane government abandons its citizens especially girls to the sort of gory future or fate he envisioned so graphically and callously during that unfortunate interview. In the next case of the Sunni Insurgents advancing on Baghdad, the US is being pragmatic in making the same call as Iran its implacable enemy. But oil is at stake here and already the price of oil has risen sharply because it is easy to see that the crises in Iraq will cut global oil supplies for some time. And I am sure there is immense consternation in the Pentagon over the inability of the Iraqi government in Baghdad to defend that nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Obviously the Americans are learning that creating democracy in a foreign nation by invasion is

no insurance for that democracy to thrive in the new environment. Surely the ghost of Saddam is haunting the government in Baghdad planted there by democratic elections but unable to provide the stability necessary for oil to flow through the oil life line of the west in the Straits of Homuz. This was a guarantee provided with US support by the Sunni dictator who lauded it over the Shiite majority as an antidote to Iran’s presence in the region before the US invasion removed him and put the Shiites in charge in a democratic election from which stability took a quick flight out of the window in Iraq. Now the Sunnis are returning to Baghdad and I think Saddam will be smiling in his grave at the US which removed him and is now shivering like Iran at the approach of Saddam’s protégé insurgents. That really is the wonder that may never end in military and terrorist democracies now springing up in our new world. On the ‘rig and roast‘ warning, the US envoy must be commended for his concern but the content and context of communication must be explained to him. He has rightly asked for caution as we go through the elections in June, August and 2015. But the warning is understood by those to whom it was sent given the history of campaigns and elections in the two states of Ekiti and Osun as well as the political culture of the two states. Again the Iraqi invasion by the US provides a good example of the peculiarities of political communication that US diplomats need to examine and respect. When the US captured Iraqi towns during the Iraqi invasion they left Saddam’s statues in the captured towns and proceeded but the applauding Iraqis laughed and scoffed at them in disbelief until they learnt they needed to pull down Saddam’s statue for the Iraqis to believe he was indeed gone. The same applied when Saddam’s sons were killed. The Iraqis did not believe until they saw their bodies on the streets. Nigeria is a vibrant democracy with a political culture of rigging and the message of deterrence is understood by real, past and potential riggers. Certainly the end justifies the common goal of free and fair elections that the US and Nigeria are striving to achieve and all that amazed me was the patronising posture by the US consul to be more catholic than the Pope in daring to think that he knows the pain of rigging more than the victims of several rigged elections in the areas of elections such as Ekiti and Osun states in the South west, where populist democracy is the vogue in this our Nigeria. That really was a pity.




Still on Effiong Bob’s posers on humongous pensions


ENATOR Effiong Bob, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Benin and two-time Senator representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District, is a fascinating character. For a man whose chubby face was roughly dragged on a rocky floor by powerful forces bent on truncating his desire to return to the Senate for the third time in the 2011 elections, it is soullifting that he still finds the courage to interfere in the affairs of a state in which governance has been completely ceded to a demi-god. For, if the truth must be told, the politics of Akwa Ibom State, in the last six years or more, appears to have lost its vibrancy and democratic fervour as Governor Godswill Akpabio, ‘the self-acclaimed ‘uncommon transformer’, continues to have a firm grip on the soul of the state. Nothing justifies this better than the frenzy that has been generated over who and where Akpabio’s successor should come from and the callousness with which some person’s political trajectory had been cut short in order to derail their ambitions in ruling the state after the exit of Akpabio. But that is a subject for another day. What has clearly manifested is Akwa Ibom's gradual transformation into the good, the bad and the ugly in no particular order! Of importance to this writer is Effiong’s carefully-woven intervention and commentary on the controversial Governors and Deputy Governors’ Pension Bill 2014 which was recently passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. While every other bemused commentator was busy huffing and puffing over the humongous figures legally farmed out to these privileged set of Nigerians who wouldn't mind relocating the state's vault to their backyard on retirement for offering to serve as elected representatives, Effiong raised fundamental questions on not just the quality of the Nigerian legislature but also its much-vaunted independence. Of course, this author of “Independence of the Legislature in Nigeria” should know better. His was a clarion call for us to take another look at that critical arm of government and see if we can carry out a successful surgery on its modus operandi so that some sanity can be injected into our political system. Our democracy will continue to remain endangered as long we have lawmakers who behave as ball boys in the political arena, pouring libation at the feet of the executive. It was Effiong's belief that, by now, every politically conscious Nigerian should be tired of watching grownups acting like common touts, throwing chairs and abusing privileges as it was, once again, displayed by members of the Edo State House of Assembly where eight lawmakers attempted to impeach the speaker. I had thought that such a scenario would never repeat itself after the farcical drama that played out in Rivers State the other day. But what do I know? Effiong’s argument as regards the Akwa Ibom State pension brouhaha is simply this: the unconscionable, systemic rape of our collective wealth and senseless self-aggrandisement by all shades of characters in our political space would continue until such a time when the Nigerian legislature forcefully ejects itself from the armpit of the executive where it presently hibernates. If the lawmakers in Akwa Ibom had not sheepishly bowed to the dictate of his imperial majesty through error of commission or omission, it wouldn’t have been that easy for them to pass the bill into law in less than seven working days. If there was

Knucklehead With

Yomi Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga SMS only: 07028006913

any debate on the bill at all, it was merely a choreographed dress rehearsal for a bill which has 'transformed' into a law through other route. How was it possible that such a controversial bill never went through the drill of public hearing or anything close to a referendum before it was speedily passed and rushed for the governor's signature? Okay, so the profligacy didn't start with Akpabio. So what? It's been argued, and rightly too, that the public needs to throw more searchlights on states where ex-governors, their deputies, former speakers, deputy speakers and the house leadership have been draining the treasury in the name of pensions. From Lagos State to Kwara, Rivers to Gombe, Borno to Sokoto, unbelievably huge funds with confounding subheads are said to have been approved as pension packages by the various houses of assembly for the these governors and others. In most of the cases, the lawmakers had rebuffed public outcry whilst the controversial bills were passed and signed into laws with pomp and ceremony. The sad part is that these laws become legally binding while the incoming government, regardless of its political leaning, often turns a blind eye to reverting such as it stands to benefit from its continuous implementation. That is in addition to the fact that many of the ex-governors ‘retire’ into active service in Abuja as senators, ministers, party chair or chairmen of boards and agencies! Soon, Akpabio will be in Abuja contributing to the law making business on behalf of the rest of us! Hmnnn, as the Americans would say, ain’t these folks lucky? In as much as Knucklehead is not against former leaders leading a life of comfort in retirement, a big question mark hangs over the crazy pension packages being set aside for them. A situation where every former political holder craves an eternal life of luxury amid the crying poverty in which pensioners die on the queue waiting for stipends is utterly inhuman. Why, for example, should any former governor insist on having state-funded mansions in Abuja and in any chosen location in his state? Why should he burden the state with his cravings for state-of-art cars every three or four years when he still draws monetary pension with free medical insurance for himself and members of his family? Why should it be the responsibility of the state to fund his personal aides outside the government house? If someone spends, at the most, eight years in office and retires with pensionable benefits ranging from having four cars at his service every three years, 300% of annual basic salary as furniture allowance every two years. 10% of annual basic salary for maintenance with a coterie of domestic staff to boot, then why the hell is it difficult for the same government to pay pensioners, who

had spent the better part of their life serving the nation, their monthly stipends? It's simply pure callousness. I’m also aware that Akpabio's spin doctors have strongly defended his action, claiming that his amendment to the pension bill in his state was aimed at injecting some sanity into a law that has no 'credit ceiling' on how much a former governor could draw for certain subheads in a year. That, to my mind, is a simplistic way of looking at a very delicate matter in which a "people-oriented" governor attempted to put a colossal credit ceiling of N100 million ($600,000) free medical allowance for himself and N50 million ($300,000) for his deputy. On a lighter note, you wonder if the governor was anticipating a sickness bigger than that of his deputy to justify the huge discrepancy in the medical ceiling. I once listened to Akpabio and the Speaker of the state assembly justifying the bill on a live television programme and I concluded that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has its thinking faculty permanently tied to that of the Government House, Uyo. It is, therefore, not surprising that it took the 26 members less than seven days to pass a bill dated May 15, received by the Acting Clerk of the State House of Assembly on May 19, was passed into law for the governor's assent on Monday May 26 and was signed into law on May 28. What a historic speed! Effiong asked. The point is: the absence of a robust legislature which understands and judiciously discharges it responsibility without fear or favour seriously impugns the time-worn ethos of democracy. Ours is an outright charade. As Effiong noted, the passage of the controversial law failed "the elementary process of passing a bill into law. At every level of the Legislature, bills of such critical dimensions are usually, without exception, subjected to public hearing and intense debate before passage. In this particular case, every process leading to the ultimate passage of that bill by the House was shrouded in ridiculous secrecy. This has raised more haunting questions than answers." With all his self-adulation about "uncommon transformation", could it be true that Akpabio's Akwa Ibom still has 65 per cent of the populace jobless while a condescending house of assembly made itself available for the passage of a law that would further drain the resources of the state and "satisfy the voracious appetite of a few people?" Is Effiong not justified in describing the law as ludicrous and borne out of extreme callousness? And for those who still believe that our legislature is not being remote controlled by state chief executives, it would do them a world of good to ponder over Akpabio's statement on how he ordered the state assembly to remove the vexatious section of the law. Describing the public outrage as a "tidal wave of propaganda, misinformation, falsehood, cynicism and mischief", he declared: "I have decided that we should lift this evil siege by proposing to the House of Assembly that parts of the amendment putting a N100m ceiling and a N50m ceiling on the medical bill of former governors and deputy governors respectively be expunged from the amendment. Let it revert to the open-ended situation inherent in the law before the amendment." Did you notice the gloating and bare-faced brigandage? And so, he has to decide for an unfeeling, unthinking, prebendal and unserious legislature! That's tragic, to say the least!

Deregistration: Why the presidency must act now HE political party deregistration saga involving the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the delisted parties, led by Fresh Democratic Party, FRESH has taken on a wider dimension. Based on the latest intervention of the National Assembly which recently passed a bill to empower the commission to ban parties that run foul of the contentious Electoral Act 2012(As Amended), the presidency must take a stand on the position of the executive to break the deadlock of the legal tango surrounding this dispute. Things could get messier if a fresh round of legal war ensues to the extent that the polity is further over-heated. This Act was invoked by INEC when it dropped the hammer on 28 parties, which as per the provision of section 78(7)(ii), of the this law, failed to win at least one legislative seat at either state or federal level. Of course, it is no longer news that FRESH went to court and got the Electoral Act invalidated entirely by the landmark ruling of Justice Gabriel Kolawole on June 29, 2013 at the Federal High Court 5, Abuja. Although, FRESH has continued to turn the heat on INEC for refusing to recertify it despite this court order, the National Assembly still went ahead last week to pass a bill to amend the Electoral Act and empower the Commission to deregister political parties. This is clearly in defiance of the court ruling which summarily dismissed the Act as unconstitutional, null and void. What is going on here? The lawmakers could not have feigned ignorance of the court ruling because, not only was it widely reported by the media; more than seven national newspapers had written editorial comments on the subject, in which INEC was seriously indicated for its disrespect for the rule of law. Now, the lawmakers have made a serious statement about their contempt for a ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction over a matter as sensitive as the Electoral law. For the record, the electoral agency’s response to the ruling obtained by FRESH is that, it should re-apply for registration. FRESH rejected this odd directive as expected of any reasonable organisation. Even the Nation newspaper, in its editorial of Thursday, May 8, 2014 was direct and unequivocal in its response. “Since the judgment appears so clear, it is inexplicable why rather than obey the court, top INEC officials, including its spokesman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, and one of its national commissioners, Professor Lai Olurode, insist that FDP will not be allowed to field candidates in the 2015 general election unless it applied for re-registration.


• Jonathan




“The implication of the court ruling is that FDP was not legally and constitutionally de-registered in the first place. There can thus be no question of applying for re-registration. “Until INEC gets a higher court to rule to the contrary, it must abide by the existing court judgment. An electoral umpire like the commission cannot afford to act in a lawless manner.” INEC is not the only one acting in a lawless manner. The National Assembly goofed by going ahead to pass an amendment on an Electoral Act which a court of law has deemed illegal. Most amazing is the fact that the presidency has surprisingly maintained a studied silence while this rape of the law is being perpetrated by an agency of government as vital and

strategic as INEC. Should this brewing dispute be allowed to snowball into a full blown national controversy, we risk having a constitutional crisis on our hands in this election year. This is too dangerous to gamble with. If, as could happen, FRESH decides to return to court, it would be doing so on a firm ground. With a solid judgment already in its favour, it may not be difficult to convince any judge to stop the forthcoming state governorship elections, or even the more important Presidential election, unless the party is allowed to field candidates. We cannot risk any disruption of the political transition calendar because of an unnecessary crisis. Already, there’re well founded fears globally that this transition, effectively tainted by pockets of violence in Osun and Ekiti States where elections would hold shortly, could end with a controversial presidential elections. Prof. Richard Joseph, in an article he posted on AfricaPlus blog, wrote: “Assuming this troubled nation makes it through to the exercise, (elections in 2015) there is no certainty that a governable entity will emerge from the contentious party politics and the inevitable electoral mishaps. Creating a global coalition to support state-building, democracy-building, and inclusive development in Nigeria is therefore imperative.” But this ambitious goal may not be realizable if the transition suffers serious hiccups. The onus is on the presidency now to get INEC to respect the rule of law, not subvert it, as the agency is doing in the FRESH deregistration tussle. If the government thinks this is largely a local affair domesticated to the FRESH party, it is making a big mistake. For, the party is not seeking its own, but fighting to entrench a culture of the rule of law, which is being eroded by functionaries of this administration at different levels. We must not forget cases where operatives of government have ignored summons to appear before committees of the National Assembly and nothing happened. If we do not sanction impunity, it may come back to haunt us. That is why this writer thinks that the Presidency which superintends over other quangos like INEC, should make it clear to all Nigerians that it is not behind the game being played by the Commission or the National Assembly. There’s no better way for it to clear itself than to direct INEC to obey the rule of law by recertifying FRESH in the interest of justice and fairness. • Adegbenro wrote from Lagos











•Helen showing investigating policemen the spot where she was allegedly raped

Pursuit of justice for 19-yr-old rape victim runs into hitch Story on pages 14&15



Gang-rape: Twist in She came seeking justice after she was gang-raped and infected with HIV. But just when a ray of hope seemed to be appearing on the horizon, concerned observers have reasons to worry that Helen may not get justice in spite of existing legislations against the horror she was subjected to. Senior Correspondent, EVELYN OSAGIE, writes on the developing story of the 19-year-old rape victim published by The Nation two Saturdays ago.

•The sandy spot where Helen was allegedly raped. Inset: The victim with the investigating policemen where Helen called for justice, WA decided to come into the issue to ensure that justice is served. It was Helen yesterday, it could be anybody tomorrow. We must not fold our hands and continue to agonise, but organise and unite to ensure that such culprits are brought to book, no matter how highly placed they are. This is the time for Helen to be strong; all hope is not lost.” After some consultations, it was decided that making an official report to the police should be the first step in the road



INETEEN-YEAR-OLD Helen, who was gang-raped in Bariga, Lagos State, and infested with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), is seeking justice. But the road to justice appears to be long and tortuous as investigation reveals fresh facts and controversies. Helen’s battle for justice began penultimate Saturday when her story was first published by The Nation. Her heart-rending story drew responses from all quarters, following which two of the suspects allegedly involved in robbing and raping Helen at gunpoint were arrested. But medical examinations were said to have revealed that the two suspects arrested are HIV negative, forcing concerned observers to wonder what becomes of Helen and her quest for justice. Helen’s plight has not only caught the attention of millions of Nigerians, it has also elicited the interest and support of many activist groups, including the Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA). By 4 pm of the day the news broke, all was set for a ‘makeshift’ roundtable at WA office in Lagos. It was led by its President, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, and a network of journalists who are passionate about women and children. At the forum, Okei-Odumakin saluted the courage of Helen in breaking the silence, saying it takes courage to open up on such attack. She said it was unfortunate that a 19-year-old lady had been added to the list of rape victims. Okei-Odumakin said: “After reading through Helen’s story in The Nation

to justice. By 6 pm, the group was at the Bariga Police Division to make a case for Helen. At the station, Helen recounted her ordeal, revealing that on Tuesday, January 28, she was taken from Ago-Owu Street to an open and sandy corner at Adewale Adenaya Crescent, where she was raped by five men. Asked if she knew the culprits, she mentioned Slim Sun (an alias) and his brother (names withheld) as two of the five. The suspects lived opposite Helen on the same street. According to Helen, whom the incident has turned into a detective of some sorts, although it was early in the day, she saw their faces because aside Adewale Adenaya Crescent which was dark, the lights were on. Helen said: “I saw their faces when they robbed me. Later that day, as they were sitting in front of their house, I spotted them and knew they were the ones. When I moved close to them as if I wanted to buy something close by, I saw my phone, which had a particular mark, with them. I told my sister and phoned my senior colleagues in the office, but I was told not to accost them, because they might hurt me. “When I asked about them from the people in the area, I found that many people knew about their illegal activities. Two

Let’s assume it happened, would I still be staying in the house, knowing that she could identify me? I have never held a gun in my hand. I have never been arrested before for robbery. I am married and have just lost my son


days after I was raped, while I was going to work in a neighbour’s car, who is a tenant in the suspects’ father’s house, we met another girl who had just been raped close to where I was raped. The tenant confirmed that the boys were suspected criminals.” Listening to Helen’s story, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Edmund Afraimu, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said based on the space of time between when the incident happened and when it was being reported to the police, it would be difficult to establish a case of rape. He said: “When one is raped, you are to report to the police immediately. Keeping the evidence is another important thing to note. The moment one is raped, the victim should not clean up or change clothes, however messy, but rush to the hospital for proper examination. That would help in pinning down the perpetrators. As it is now, it may be hard to make a case on rape. She was raped in January and she is reporting in June. How can we prove that case? “Since she said they took her phone and money at gunpoint, that is a case of armed robbery. We will begin investigation immediately.” And so began investigation into the case. While praising the efforts of the police and the DPO’s response, Okei-Odumakin said the gruesome act had been on the increase in recent times, particularly in the area. She noted that culprits have been feeding on the ignorance and fear of the victims, observing that collective ef-



Helen’s pursuit of justice

•The street corner where Helen was allegedly raped. Inset Dr. Okei-Odumakin would I still be staying in the house, knowing that she could identify me? I have never held a gun in my hand. I have never been arrested before for robbery. I am married and have just lost my son.” His brother claimed he was not even around when the incident occurred, saying: “You can go and ask my boss. On the


forts, enlightenment and a more pragmatic legal framework are required to check the trend. She said: “Our law stipulates that anyone caught goes in for seven years- imprisonment, and it is heart-warming when the House of Representatives passed their own law that anyone caught in the act is liable to life imprisonment. “However, we have lots of laws in this country but the implementation has been a major impediment; and victims are ignorant about what to do to get justice. More needs to be done to educate the public on what to do.” WA penultimate Thursday wrote a petition, signed by OkeiOdumakin, to the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD), calling for legal intervention on behalf of Helen; OPD has since stepped into the case as Helen’s attorney. Slim Sun, 22, and his brother are already in police custody. However, they have denied the allegations, saying they have never being involved in any criminal activity. While Slim Sun claimed to be a computer engineer with a computer firm in Ikeja, his younger brother says he is a hairstylist at Ogba, Lagos. Slim Sun said: “I am not a rapist. When they came to our house and told me about it, I was surprised. I was sleeping then and cooperated. And I have never robbed anybody. I didn’t do anything. “Let’s assume it happened,

said day, I was not in the area but at work. I am innocent.” The suspects’ parents (names withheld) said they were aware of Helen’s rape, but that their children were innocent of the crime. Their mother said: “I sympathise with her as a woman. I know how it may feel to face such, but my children are not the ones that raped or robbed her. They have never been involved in crime. Everybody knows Fatai. You can come to our area to investigate.” On Friday last week, an HIV test run on both suspects proved negative, while that of Helen remained positive. The Police asked Helen to undergo more tests to ascertain that she was raped. But based on the DPO’s earlier observation, observers wondered what the result would be like, given the space of time it occurred. Nevertheless, Helen has produced a report from the hospital where she went for medical checkup the day she was raped. It is the hospital her office uses. The report, signed by Dr. T.O. Jegede, reads: “Rape examination result: The above named patient was attended to by our facility on January 28, 2014 on account of rape. On examination, patient was depressed, with bruises on the lower/posterior vaginal clitoris and labrium majora. RVS test was done, which was positive.”

When one is raped, you are to report to the police immediately. Keeping the evidence is another important thing to note. The moment one is raped, the victim should not clean up or change clothes, however messy, but rush to the hospital for proper examination. That would help in pinning down the perpetrators. As it is now, it may be hard to make a case on rape. She was raped in January and she is reporting in June. How can we prove that case?


PHOTOS: Evelyn OSAGIE In the meantime, the case has been transferred from Bariga to the State Criminal Investigation Department. But observers are worried over Helen’s dilemma, wondering if she still has a case now that two of the suspects have tested negative to HIV. Helen claims to have done her last HIV test two months before the incident took place and it proved negative. But Helen is being attacked by the defendants’ parents, who said that anything could have happened between then and the time she tested positive. Lawyers, however, say she still has a case and the suspects have a case to answer on rape and armed robbery. An activist Mrs. Akpoterabor, asked what would become of Helen’s cry for justice in the face of this dilemma, saying it is a representation of the plight and predicament of rape victims across the country. She said: “If Helen and another lady were raped the same day and another was raped two days after, one cannot but imagine how many ladies and girls have become victims of rape in that area. And every time you go there, you’d hear of fresh rape cases. When will it end? “If the culprits are HIV positive and are spreading the virus with full force, imagine how many young ladies have been infected. Helen was bold to speak out, but many more are still dying in silence. “I advise them to break the silence, get tested and treated. The government should really investigate the issue to prevent an epidemic. The police should stop these miscreants before it gets out of hand; that is, if it is not already out of hand.”






CRIME & OTHER STORIES Rivers vigilance group rescues abducted widows, arrests suspected kidnap kingpin wo widows allegedly kidnapped by some gunmen in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State have regained freedom following the arrest of the suspected leader of a gang behind their abduction by men of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN). The arrest of the suspected kidnap kingpin, Gift James, followed a raid carried out by men of the vigilance group on the hideout of the gang at a forest in Rumuodogo in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State. The victims, Mary and Comfort Thompson- Bob, were abducted by unknown gunmen in the wee hours of May 25, 2014 at Ihuaba community of Ahoada East Local Government. The arrest of the suspect, according to the vigilance group, was made possible following a contact he allegedly established with the family of the victims while negotiating for N20 million ransom. The Commander of VGN, Mr Justine Kings Ayah, told The Nation that his men had combed all the communities in the neighbourhood and established contact with locals. He said the initiative led to the • Gift James arrest of the suspect and subsequent rescue of the widows. n Precious DIKEWOHA n “The widows were abducted and taken to a forest at Rumuodogo in Emohua, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State from where the abductors contacted the families and demanded a ransom of N20m which was later reduced to N18m.” He noted that the family of the victims had pleaded with the kidnappers to accept N3m before his men arrested the suspect who was negotiating the family. “The relatives of the victims told us that on the 25th of May, 2014 about 3am, some unknown gunmen stormed Ihuaba Community in Ahoada East LGA and abducted the two widows who lost their husband a year ago. “But with the effort of our men, we were able to track and arrest the leader of the gang, while others fled on sighting us in the forest. We have handed him over to the State Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) for further investigations.” The deputy spokesman of Rivers Police Command, Grace Iringe Koko, told our reporter that the two widows have been released to their family, adding that the case is still under investigation. •Members of the VGN


•The victims, Mary and Comfort Thompson-Bob

Suspected ritual killers hack bread seller in Ogun community ESIDENTS of Itele community in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State were shocked on Tuesday when a building was discovered to be a den of ritual killers. It was gathered that some men who had converted the abandoned building into their home beckoned on an itinerant bread seller into the building. Unknown to them, some onlookers had sighted the hawker when he was going into the building and were apprehensive when he did not leave the building several hours later. The onlookers raised the alarm that attracted neighbours. The building was forced open after a long wait by policemen from Itele Division, while the mutilated body of the hawker was allegedly found in a


pool of his blood. The outraged residents later set the n Kunle AKINRINADE n Speaking with our building ablaze before the fire was later reporter, the Chairman of the Itele-Awori Area Commu- put out by men of the Ota Fire Service. nity Development Committee, Prince Olatunji OnaoConfirming the incident, the deputy spokesman of lapo, said:”What we saw in the building was horrific Ogun Police Command, Mr. Abimbola Oyeyemi, said and repulsive. The vigilant bystanders who have been three suspects are currently being interrogated by pomonitoring the activities of the queer men were the lice. ones who alerted other residents before the building ”On Tuesday June 10, some people had alerted men of was forced open. The lifeless body of the bread seller Itele Police Station that a bread seller had not been seen was found in a corner of the building while his neck several hours after he went into a building to sell bread had been slashed. There were also human parts in one to the occupants. of the toilets inside the building.” “When our men stormed the building, it was found A source, who asked not to be mentioned, said: “The under lock and key before it was forced open. The owner of the building moved out a few years ago when bread seller was found in a pool of his blood in one of he was constantly robbed. Since then, some people have the toilets and was taken to a hospital where he is now been living in the building but no one knew the kind of receiving treatment. So far, we have arrested the landjob they do until this incident happened. We shall be lord of the building, caretaker and one other occupant more vigilant from this moment in order to prevent found there. The case is currently being handled by the queer elements from turning our community into their Homicide Unit of the State Criminal Investigation Deden.” partment,” he added.

Court remands school teacher accused of raping 19-yr-old girl as two others get bail n Abule-Egba Magistrate’s Court has reIn a related development, n Kunle AKINRINADE n manded a 24-year-old school teacher, Paul 25-year-old Musibau Owolabi Salau, who allegedly raped a 19-year-old girl (names withand Lukman Muritala, 32, have been arraigned before an Ebute held) in Kirikiri Prison. According to the State Counsel, Racheal Metta Magistrate’s Court for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl Williams, the accused who lives at No. 14, Isola Yusuf Street, Iloro, (names withheld). The offending duo, according to police prosecutor, Agege on May 18, 2014 forcibly dragged the girl, who was sent to E.J. Nkankuk, committed the offence at No 122, Adeniji Adele Street, grind pepper, into his house and raped her. Lagos Island. He was said to have torn the shirt and trouser of the girl in his desThey were said to have lured the girl, who is the daughter of one of perate bid to have canal knowledge of her. their neighbours, into their room about 1pm on May 5, 2014 and “He succeeded in his dastardly mission because there was nobody forcibly made love to her. A neighbour who saw them when they around even when the victim was shouting for help,” he said. were carrying out the unlawful act was said to have raised the alarm Williams further told the court that the victim explained her ordeal that attracted those in the neighbourhood before they were arrested to her mother leading to the arrest of the accused. He said the action and handed over to the police. of the accused is contrary to the Criminal Laws of Lagos State. The accused persons pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in The accused, however, pleaded not guilty, while the Magistrate, Mr. the sum of N200, 000 each with two sureties. The Magistrate, Mr E.B Tajudeen Elias, ordered his remand in prison till June 18, 2014 when Daodu, ordered a thorough medical examination of the victim at a the case would come up for hearing. public hospital. The case was adjourned till June 18.


Man in court for kidnapping lawyer A middle age man, John Bosco Opara, has been arraigned before an Ebute Meta Magistrate’s Court for allegedly kidnapping one Barr Ngozi Anyaegbunam. Opara was said to have abducted Anyaegbunam on April 1,2014 along Lekki Epe Expressway. It was learnt that Opara had earlier threatened to eliminate her during a telephone conversation just as he demanded N1million ransom. The accused was charged with felony, stealing and kidnapping. He, however,

n Rukayat JIMOH n

pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him. The police prosecutor, Inspector Cyriacus Osuji, told the court that the offences allegedly committed by the accused are punishable under sections 409, 299, 404 and 300 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011. Counsel to the suspect, Barr Cyril Ejiofor, urged the court to grant the accused bail, adding that the offences for which the suspect is being tried are bailable. The presiding Magistrate, Mr. O.O.

Olatunji, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties in like sum. The magistrate also ordered, as part of the bail conditions, that the sureties must be Level 12 civil servants and must provide evidence of three years tax payment to the Lagos State government with valid residential addresses. He also ordered that the accused be remanded in prison until the bail conditions are perfected while the case has been adjourned till June 30, 2014.

Police avert clash as man killed by hoodlums is buried

Missing persons


n Ebele BONIFACE n

NE Alhaji Banire, male, aged 98 years, about 6ft tall, dark in complexion and speaks Yoruba fluently. If seen contact Gbenga Animashaun of No. 24, Dejo Adeleye Street, Omiyale Ejigbo Lagos or Ejigbo Police Station. .................................................................. One Happiness Osaze, female, aged 21 years, dark in complexion, speaks Igbo and English languages fluently. If seen contact Christian Agbakwuru of No. 24, Kola Codry Street, Jakande, Ajangbadi, Ojo Lagos or Ojo Police Station. .................................................................. One Emmanuel Olayiwola, male, aged 20 years, about 4ft tall, black in complexion, speaks Yoruba fluently. If seen contact Sunday Ojeleke of No. 32, Odusami Street, Mushin, Lagos or Mushin Police Station ................................................................. One Idris Wahab, male, aged 16 years, about 4ft tall, fair in complexion, speaks Yoruba and Pidgin English languages fluently. If seen contact Wahab Liasu of No. 13B, Oyeshile Street, Agodo Egbe Ikotun or Ikotun Police Station. .................................................................. .

OLICE operatives in Lagos State averted a clash on Wednesday as family members and friends of a tricycle operator, who was killed at the weekend, was buried. The deceased Ademola Yusuf One Olukunle Oluwashogo, male, (28) was said to have tried to make peace between the warring aged 21 years, 5.2ft tall, light in comfactions who engaged themselves plexion, speaks Yoruba and English in a battle of supremacy in Ajelanguages fluently. If seen contact gunle, a suburb of Lagos. Olukunle Falayemi of No. 2, TaniAn eyewitness said one of the mowo Street, off Ishaga Close Mushin hoodlums warned Yusuf not to Lagos or Itire Police Station. stand in their way but he refused. .................................................................. He said the hoodlum stabbed . him in the chest with a knife and he fell in a pool of his blood. Stolen vehicle The Area Commander in charge One Toyota Camry S/Car 2001 of Area 'B' Command, Apapa, Mr model with Reg. No. AAA 58 CL, Ndubueze Innocent Anene, an •One of the vandalise vehicles •The late Yusuf Colour Custom, Engine No. 5S7229896 Assistant Commissioner (ACP) and the Divisional Police Officer, and Chasis No. thought it was just the area boys who Mr Abayomi Agbana, a Chief Superinn Jude ISIGUZO n 4T1BE22KOYUDO3852. If seen contact were fighting. It was when I got home tendent (CSP), moved in with their men any nearest Police Station or Alagbado that I got to know that it was my son matter was but instead of him to talk, he to dislodge the warring hoodlums. Police Station. who was stabbed to death. Those boys During the burial, angry youths vowed collapsed on his elder brother’s wife and their leaders would not go free.” who was with us. to avenge the death of Yusuf but ACP RECOVERED VEHICLES Hundreds of residents of Nosamu "Immediately I raised the alarm which Anene, who was at the deceased resiStreet and Boundary market, Ajegunle, The Lagos State Police Command reattracted neighbours in the compound dence, advised them not to take the laws Lagos, staged a protest over the killing covered a total number of 5 vehicles and with their assistance, he was rushed into their hands, promising that police of Yusuf by members of the dreaded ‘one from 22nd – 30th May, 2014 suspected to Island General Hospital but he died will ensure that justice is done. million boys’ gang. on the way. Government should please to have been stolen from different locaTo avert crisis, men of the Area The protesters, mostly youths and tions in Lagos and the vehicles can be ‘B’Command were also detailed to escort fish out the killer of my husband. I am women, marched through major roads in now left alone to cater for our three chillocated at the station mentioned relatives and friends of the deceased to the area, calling on the Commissioner of Trinity Cemetery, Ajegunle, where his re- dren.” against each of the recovered vehicles Police, Umar Manko, to fish out those The bereaved father, Pa Soliu Ademains were interred. as follows: behind the act. His widow, Mrs. Kemi Ademola, said: mola, said: "It is a serious loss to me as a father because when those hoodlums "We were together inside our one room MAKE OF VEHICLE REG. NO COLOUR LOCATION were beating my son, I saw them but apartment when my husband told me HONDA ACCORD APP 519 BJ BLACK AREA ‘J’ HQTRS did not know it was my son. he was going out to check what was “I was upstairs in my house expecting happening in the park. I tried to stop TOYOTA COROLLA AV 985 AAA BLACK R.R.S. HQTRS my son who had gone to the boundary him but he refused. market to collect the monthly security TOYOTA COROLLA UNREG ASH IJORA DIV "Within an interval of two minutes, I fee from the traders in the market. I was saw my husband coming back to our HONDA ACCORD AX 414 KTU GOLD SARS IKEJA at the junction discussing with someone house, I rushed out to meet him but I when I saw those boys mob my son. was shocked when I saw blood gushing TOYOTA 4-RUNNER KJA 979 AA RED IMOTA DIV “While the beating was taking place, I out of his chest. I asked him what the




Life isn’t actually a walk in the park for a child growing up on Lagos streets; that oft fabled childhood paradise manifests as dense garbage heaps, polluted rivers, sewages and mudflats leading to squalid settlements that stretch for miles, far from the phantasm of Lagos megacity project. Amid the squalor, sad, bitter stories leap from the lips of vulnerable children and young adults from dysfunctional families; the effect is tragic and trite, repetitive of the dying dreams and stagnant potentials of several hapless minors born and hardened in the boondocks of Lagos. Vicious gangs roam the school halls and playgrounds causing more impressionable minors to recoil in fear or man-up for membership of the most powerful crew in order to survive, writes OLATUNJI OLOLADE, Assistant Editor LAME flared at the butt-end of his cigarette and he cursed, lamenting that he had wasted a ‘good stick.’ Yet the gang would not deride him even though it seemed funny that someone who bragged he could handle his liquor carelessly lighted the buttend of his cigarette. After his sixth pelebe (gin tonic), Gbemiga Asade a.k.a Asa (eagle) had to be drunk thus his mistaking the wrong end of his cigarette for the lighter point. But no one dared poke a joke at him nor could any member of his 21-man gang afford to betray a careless chuckle. Such respect and blind courtesy becomes the staple of his bloated ego in the confines of his bar and assembly point for his gang of urchins, 21kiniun (21 lions), and on the streets every day. Today, Asa and his gang constitute a fraction of Lagos State’s burgeoning mass of ‘area boys.’ It’s a charmed life that Asade lives. Few days after he clocked 17, the native of Ibadan, Oyo State arrived in Ketu-Alapeere, Lagos, in the last quarter


Continued on page 14

•Area Boys pose for a portrait while they smoke cannabis at a joint in Akala, Mushin, Lagos.


•During a battle between rival street gangs, men guard a roadblock at a crossroads in Akala section of Mushin, Lagos.

Gripping, dangerous world of Lagos area boys





Gripping, dangerous world of Lagos area boys

Continued from page 17

the group. The raid was led by Area B Command Apapa, comprising Apapa, Ajegunle, Tolu, Trinity, Amukoko, Ijora Badia, Layeni and Kirikiri Police divisions. “The onslaught was led by the Area Commander Mohammed Alli. Ijaya Boys (Minstrels of fear) comprise a group of 17 boys, all school drop-outs except their leader who never attended high school. The latter, a former butcher, assembled young boys in his area in Alimosho to form a gang with a purported mission to right the wrongs in their community. No sooner did they form the gang than he led them in two bloody turf wars in which they succeeded in dislodging two former gangs that held sway in their neighbourhood. They operate with knives, cudgels, guns and dangerous charms. Several gangs are linked to criminal operations between Surulere and Lagos Island, where several house burglaries and armed robberies are perpetrated and the stolen valuables are sold often at ridiculous prices. Most area boys are principally concerned with fighting and conquering other young male gangs from one street or district to another in violent turf wars to establish their dominance. After establishing their dominance in any neighbourhood, they engage in a peculiar brand of hustle by which they perpetrate scams, bullying, political violence and armed robbery, according to Ikuomola Adediran Daniel (PhD), Department of Sociology, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State.

of 1997 to learn carpentry. However, four months into his apprenticeship, he quit against the counsel of his boss and paternal uncle to moonlight as a commercial bus conductor. But due to his sinewy build, Asa offered attractive prospects to a local urchin in Ketu under whose tutelage he learnt to become an agbero (park scamp). As an agbero-apprentice, Asa learnt to talk tough; he also learnt a great deal more. “Igbooro o rerin; ko rerin rara. Omo echo ti o ba fe succeed, o gbodo ja. Baba ti moni ja misi. Emi gan de ja;” roughly translated so: “The streets aren’t lenient all. A street boy that intends to succeed has to be streetwise; my mentor taught me well, and I took to his mentorship really well.” According to him, everything he learnt under his mentor (or thug-father) proved valuable; “I learnt how to cause trouble and die (quell) trouble. Ah! Mo je training gan...o de pay me baje. (Ah! I underwent a lot of training...and I am better off for it),” he said. An integral part of his tutelage required being quick with his fists and today, Asade is quick with his fists. No sooner did he graduate than he became a full-fledged agbero, Asade was loosed upon the streets and neighbourhood motor parks. There, he carved his niche bullying young and elderly commercial bus drivers and conductors to part with percentages of their hard-earned money. Soon he graduated from an ordinary park scamp to become a terrifying ‘muscle for hire.’ According to him, he got loaned out a lot – along with other protégés under his mentor’s tutelage – to rival street gangs.

, ,

•While area boys generally scrap for survival on the streets, their female counterparts often work in hotels as commercial sex workers. Here, Patience negotiates with some area boys while they grope and fondle her at the hotel where she works at Lion Junction, Oshodi, Lagos. Social constructions of the area boy Area boys like Asade, T-Money and Mukesh depict popular representation of youths from the coastal city’s backwaters. The increasing presence of such youths, is however, blamed on the prevalence of slums in the Lagos metropolis. Endemic poverty, social inequalities and rising standards of living force considerable segments of the population into extreme living conditions such as shanty settlements. According to Omotoke Iyunade, a social psychologist, the harsh living conditions and endemic poverty in the slums wreak untold havoc on the inhabitants, the children in particular. “Such children having undergone a gruesome childhood characterised by an insidious socialisation process eventually mature into what could be termed as damaged youths.” According to her, young people in the slums are often the victim of non-existent or dysfunctional family structures, lack of education and opportunities, race and class-based discrimination. This militarises them and forces them to adopt a hostile attitude to the world. Ultimately, they are considered enemies of the state by law enforcers and the society at large and this is due to their hostile disposition and inclinations for violence. Shanty life is such that vulnerable children and youths are exposed to considerable amount of hazards and they face a number of problems ranging from financial problems to harassment and extortions from police and the ubiquitous area boys; eventually, many of such vulnerable youths evolve to become area boys. As area boys, they learn to perpetuate the insecurity, severe beatings and fighting, sexual abuse (especially of the females) and health hazards that they had erstwhile been exposed to as vulnerable minors. According to Patrick Edewor, PhD, Department of Sociology, Covenant University, the presence of street children (and homeless children and youths) is an indictment of the way the society construes its priorities. “These children and youths suffer considerable amount of hardship. Although they are ignored by the society, they hope to become productive members of the society,” he noted. Gangs of area boys are composed of mainly young males aged 11 to 25 years and they are a typical characteristic of the state. These gangs provide young people with a sense of belonging and social identity, and as they operate in shadow economies, they make up for the lack of educational and job opportunities. Within gangs, young men find a way to make a living. Many of them primarily commit serious crimes such as robbery and burglary with the intention of exchanging the stolen goods for cash. The money earned from such crimes is invested in patronising sex workers, gambling and other guilty pleasures. Others expend it on status enhancement drives such as ‘looking good,’ eating out, smoking cannabis, cocaine or crack, and clubbing. In Lagos, many area boys act as violent brokers in parallel structures, having created an income for themselves via forced extortions (owo ile) and narcotics peddling, playing guard of individual property or public space in situations of inadequate or ineffective police presence. Over time, they have become an

accepted part of the urban landscape even as they become willing tools and available mercenaries for various forms of political, ethnic and religious criminal contracts in the process.

Lagos gangs at a glance Time was when the state was at the mercy of certain fearful gangs terrorising the Isale-Eko and Stadium/Barrack axis of Lagos Island. The most notorious amongst them was the Kainkain gang of Isale Eko; this gang was persistently blamed for serial criminal acts, including rape, mobile phone theft, pick-pocketing and armed robbery. The leader of the group, ‘Surutu,’ allegedly relocated from the neighbourhood after he was shot. And residents of Ajegunle otherwise known as Lagos’ junDeviance, family and stereotypes gle city, will not forget in a hurry, their ordeal in the hands of Growing up in a slum takes a grievous toll on area boys; they One Million Boys (OMB), a gang of hoodlums that terrorised are forced to assimilate real life representations of bad and the area before they were arrested by the police. At inception, dangerous guys. Eventually, mannerisms they internalise 20 boys in Ajegunle united to form the association with the while growing up manifests as the core of the adults they beoriginal intent to fight perceived injuscome, argued Dele Alobo, a social psycholotices synonymous with the township. gist and founder of Youth Haven Subsequently, the gang grew in strength International (YHI), a non-governmental orand numbers and soon they formed a ganisation (NGO). Many people used to vigilante group to checkmate and fight True, while most touts, especially the crime and criminality in the community. look down on us, espe- young ones, are offended at negative stereoBut somewhere along the way, some types and portrayals of them as area boys, cially the so-called members of the association hijacked it there exists a small fraction who for personal and turned a hitherto crime fighting reasons readily buy into those images of the alakowe (educated group into a sinister one; terrorising the ‘cool’ but ‘dangerous’ area boy and urban elite) but seriously, entire community, raping hapless rebel. Whereas those of a more ‘respectable’ women and robbing defenceless residisposition refer to themselves as Omo what do they have that dents. adugbo (decent or homely children of the Residents revealed that the group I don’t have? They neighbourhood), which connote a different metamorphosed into a gang of outlaws. meaning, from Omo ita (area boys). Many speak English, I speak “Before they invaded any community or who work with the National Union of Road street, they usually wrote a letter to inEnglish. It may not be Transport Workers (NURTW) on Lagos form the residents. They sent the letter lamented the unfair stereotypes fluent but at least you Mainland through a courier, usually a minor, to the accorded them. head of that street or the landlord associunderstand me. Look A gangly teenager who simply gave his ation. And when they come, they would name as Bebo complained of the negative at me, for instance, I rob from one house to the other, raping stereotyping members of the public subject young girls and even married women. them to. “Most people consider us to be dropped out of priThere was one bizarre situation when and armed robbers because we live mary school but I cur- thieves members of the group allegedly raped a and sleep on the streets. They think because pregnant woman to death and forced a we work in the motor park, we are irresponrently employ father to sleep with his daughter with a Many of us have wives and children at threat that if he did not comply, he graduates and under- sible. home...look at me, for instance, I have two would be killed. Of course, the man comand three children, and I take care of graduates. Everybody wives plied with their wish while they laughed them from the money I make on the streets. maniacally. respects me. They They call us omo ita, born troway, o sanle; we They operated with such impunity call ourselves by those names for fun know I am an achiever. even until their operation in Agugu Street, but it doesn’t mean that we are bad or irrewhere they killed a young man, after Won recognise presence sponsible. robbing a resident. The community “Most times, when people’s cars break mi. (They recognise my down could not take it any longer and they in the night, we look after those cars sent an SOS to the Commissioner of Poand protect the valuables in them till they presence) lice, Umaru Manko, who issued a directive for their arrest. The police was able Continued on page 48 to arrest over 400 suspected members of


They came with contracts “Other gangs and crews were coming for us because they knew we were very capable,” he said. According to him, oftentimes, they were contracted to unleash mayhem during land wars and turf tussles between rival gangs in Shomolu, Iyana-Ipaja, Sango Ota, Owode, Bariga, to mention a few. Asade disclosed that he and his crew were also contracted out as ‘muscle’ to politicians during general elections or political party squabbles. According to him, he has never killed any•Area boys are often used as canon fodder during any social, economic or political crisis. one, although most of his victims barely got off with grievous machete cuts, cudgel wounds and lacerations. “I don’t like guns. I don’t use them...guns are for the weak,” he said. and street urchins that know better than to run afoul of the good fortune on the streets. Having started out as a bus conAfter 11 years on the street, there should have been nothing carpenter that became a park scamp, bus conductor and ductor, T-Money learnt to combine what he considered “husleft of the 28-year-old; Asa barely escaped death by the driver, political thug, land grabber and ‘successful transport tle” with his job – in a nutshell, he lived as an area boy, serving whiskers several times. In the aftermath of a bloody turf war entrepreneur.’ as cannon fodder in neighbourhood turf wars and commercial in Iyana Ipaja, he revealed: “I almost died. My boys thought “Many people used to look down on us, especially the somotor park tussles. Four years on the ‘hustle,’ T-Money bought that I was finished; they thought I wouldn’t survive the four called alakowe (educated elite) but seriously, what do they his first mini-bus, a Toyota Hiace 18-seater. Now 26, he owns knife wounds inflicted on me; hence, they left me for dead in have that I don’t have? They speak English, I speak English. It five Volkswagen buses (popularly known as paragon buses) front of a barber’s shop. I was eventually rescued by a may not be fluent but at least you understand me. Look at me, and eight sons (including two sets of twins) from four miswoman, a goldsmith who used to be my girlfriend but broke for instance, I dropped out of primary school but I currently tresses. up with me because she found out I was sleeping with her employ graduates and undergraduates. Everybody respects “Sometimes, I work with my drivers as a conductor, espedaughter...she took me in and invited a neighbourhood nurse me. They know I am an achiever. Won recognise presence mi. cially when I am bored. It also affords me opportunity to monto treat me. She hid me in her house for 18 days and by the (They recognise my presence).” itor their earnings, he said. But oftentimes, he stays at home to time I was strong enough to leave, she gave me N15,000 and “Now, everybody knows that we area boys are people of imsleep, watch movies before going out to collect his earnings called me a taxi. We agreed that I should relocate outside portance. Politicians, governors and traditional rulers and from his drivers and visit his wives and children in their sepaLagos. That was how I found myself in Ogun State.” other deep-pockets frequently patronise us because they canrate abodes. Being a street thug in Ogun State, he claimed, is remarkably not do without us. E ti da yan mo (Now, you acknowledge “At nights, I go to the club but whenever I discover that a lucrative. Two years in Idi Iroko, and Abeokuta as a land grab- us),” he asserted haughtily. Then to the reporter’s chagrin, he certain driver has started to default, I tell him to leave and I ber and political muscle-for-hire fetched Asade his first milsaid, “Sorry,” and farted gently and deliberately in his seat. drive the bus until I get another driver. You know, you can’t lions and at the counsel of a benefactor, a local chief, smuggler Every nuance, every outburst and even leave these people to run things, especially when you are and land merchant in Sango Ota, Asade dehis stink told a different story, revealing a younger than they are, they will keep telling you that they are cided to go legit. Going legit meant acquiring multi-layered quirk to his personality that men of honour, that they have your type at home as sons until two Toyota Hiace buses and a Nissan saloon reverberates albeit unapologetically in they ruin you,” he said, stressing that he never pilfered a dime from Cotonou, Benin Republic for transport “Here is Asa, lord of his own while working for others. After 11 years on the street-speak: business. manor... Here is Asa, champion in his In Lagos Island, a local thug, who simply identified himself Asa, former neighbourhood rapscallion, street, there should own area.” as Mukesh, lives on the fringe. In his Agarawu neighbourpark scamp and political thug quit the streets Several miles from Asa, in Orile-Agege, hood along the Lagos coast, he holds sway like lord of a Victohave been nothing to face transport business proper. But having Lagos, Musiliu Tajudeen a.k.a T-Money rian manor commanding the allegiance of a crew of teenagers gotten tired and bored of the relatively “lowholds his forte. At age 11, he fled his famand young adults he proudly identified as “awon ijalo mi” (my left of the 28-year-old; key street intrigues” of Ogun State, Asade reily house to live on the streets because his soldier ants). Within Mukesh’s gang subsists a more elite Asa barely escaped cently relocated to Lagos to re-establish father suddenly developed “hatred” for group of thugs he calls his “eru iku,” (emissaries of death.) The himself as a “champion” and “King of boys” him and his father’s wives wanted to latter are kept for more tasking and dangerous jobs than he death by the whiskers in Bariga, Lagos. him. “They tried to kill me several deploys his ‘soldier ants’ to. “My last wife and one of my most dependseveral times. In the “kill” times because I was the only son. My Mukesh’s ‘boys comprise thickset and gangly teenagers and able lieutenants are managing my business in mother died while I was barely four years young adults permanently kept on a leash and stipend rangaftermath of a bloody Ota and Egba. They are on blood oath, they old and my grandma took me in and ing from N500 to N2, 000 per day. Mukesh is in turn kept on cannot cheat me...Today, I have seven buses, turf war in Iyana started taking care of me. By the time I retainer by several business men and politicians who use him two barber’s shops, and a 2012 Toyota seven, my father had married his in various capacities demanding brawn and aggression. His Ipaja, he revealed: “I clocked Camry (Private Saloon Car). I bought them sixth wife. And none of his six wives had eru iku (emissaries of death) besides receiving fees ranging legitimately with my hard-earned money. almost died. My boys been able to bear him a son. At the last from N500 to N2,000 per day, receive a monthly stipend of Every day, my drivers come to deliver nothcount, the six wives bore him 13 girls. N10,000. But they enjoy various other benefits besides their thought that I was ing less than N35,000. I have undergraduates Hence they were desperate to kill me becustomary salaries. Whenever, their boss, Mukesh, receives a working for me as barbers and bus drivers,” cause they felt I would inherit the bulk of “contract,” he deploys them to the task and pays them their finished; they bragged the father of seven kids from three his wealth and haulage business.” due according to their strengths and his whim. thought I wouldn’t wives and an estranged mistress. In 2006, T-Money revealed that he and When The Nation visited Mukesh at his family house, he But even if the thug quits the street, the his father became estranged over what was holding court and determining punishments to be meted survive the four knife street hasn’t quit him; although he insisted latter termed his “dangerous out to four members of his crew that were accused of holding that his gang of 21-kiniun is his way of reachwounds inflicted on the lifestyle.” They never made up until he back on extortions made from neighbourhood commercial veing out and offering younger street urchins 21; by that time, his father, he hicle parks in the area. No sooner did he determine the punme; hence, they left clocked better help and mentorship than he enjoyed said, was already on his death bed. “Surishment of the boys than he held a closed door meeting that as an impressionable area boy, The Nation me for dead in front prisingly he requested to see me. He had lasted 45 minutes with six unit leaders. According to him, he findings revealed that Asade retains his afflicted by a strange ailment for was intimating them with a recent ‘contract’ that they had just of a barber’s shop. I been stranglehold on ‘area’ of influence and dowhich there was neither medical nor spir- received from a local entrepreneur. They had been contracted minion. was eventually resitual cure. He struggled to tell me that I to forcefully evict a middle class family from their home in Every street has its elements. And on the should stay away from his home and his Ibogun, Ogun state; their benefactor claimed the victims were cued by a woman streets, in his ‘area,’ Asade is the element. His wealth. He apologised to me and blessed occupying his land illegitimately. The consequence of the ‘conword oftentimes becomes law and his beefs me before he died.” tract’ is of course better imagined. Panting hotly like blazing run very deep striking terror and respect in Today, T-Money believes it was his fastoves and sucking on marijuana like their lives depended on the hearts of commercial drivers, conductors ther’s blessing that’s responsible for his it, they cut a menacing portrait of zealotry and pitilessness.

Living by the street code Analysing the street code of the ubiquitous area boy, Dr. Ikuomola stated: “Within the social world of the area boy, familial and peer group attachments are essential in terms of ‘back up’ and possible retribution for an act of bullying, violence and robbery. As such, when a group of boys from ‘rush’ or ‘jack’ a young person – either from their hood or a surrounding neighbourhood – with no obvious familial or peer group attachments, most young males in public will just shrug their shoulders as if to say ‘well that’s just how things are on the street.’ However, in private the young males will acknowledge that the assaulters involved were out of order, they shouldn’t have picked on an innocent.” Yet the code of the street dictates that sympathy for the victim is at best fleeting and generally non-sympathetic, as the commonly held view amongst young males is that ‘they’ (victim) should not have allowed themselves to be picked on so easily. On the other hand, when the victim is a known but disliked individual – usually a rapscallion who does not play by the rules – perhaps he attacks people indiscriminately, harassing young girls at street corners and therefore creating lots of potential enemies within the neighbourhood – the code of the street determines that the defaulter probably got what he deserved, as he was beginning to believe too much ‘in his own hype,’ running about upsetting ‘too many of the area boys’ in the neighbourhood.







UMUAHIA: Fr esh br eat h of moder nity

•Ubani Ibeku market in session


One can now comfortably say that Umuahia, which had been sleeping, is now waking up. There are many things that show that the place has changed, and the people are happy for it


•Abia Tower

n Ugochukwu UGOJI-EKE n


The new government house is expected to open up the area where it is being built, as people have started buying lands around the area and have started developing same


OT many would dispute the fact that Abia State has experienced much less development than is expected of it since it was created about 23 years ago. And this includes Umuahia, the state capital. Even the structure that has served as government house since inception is said to belong to the former governor of old Anambra State, the late Commodore Emeka Omerua, while some other houses at the Library Avenue Primary School were converted to form parts of the government house complex. The popular Michael Okpara auditorium is situated on the field of the now extinct primary school. The gradual development of the state and especially the state capital, which started with the past regimes, became reinvigorated with the Theodore Orji administration. The starting point of the rejuvenation efforts of the Theodore Orji administration was to ensure that there was adequate supply of potable water. And although the administration has had to contend with the sabotage believed to be perpetrated by those who were reaping bountifully from water scarcity in the


state, particularly Umuahia, the capital, it embarked on a scheme that ensured availability of potable water in most parts of the state. Thereafter, the administration started the dualisation of major roads to ease the flow of traffic and check the menace of armed robbery. The medians on the dualised roads are believed to be making it difficult for robbers to move easily within the state capital. Besides, the roads are complemented with street lights. The reconstructed roads have changed the face of Umuahaia so much so that anyone who had not visited the city for some time would find it difficult to know their ways. The brightening up of the streets has also made it easier for police patrol teams to chase armed robbers and other anti-social elements. Another major icon of development in Umuahia is the International Conference Centre, which has the capacity to seat more than 10,000 guests at a time. There is also the building of the twin state secretariat, which is intended to house all the ministries, unlike before when they were scattered all over the city. The Commissioners’ Quarters in the city have been expanded to accommodate

ca s Y t i C


more executive council members. New structures in the quarters include a new joint allocation committee house for the local governments and a new government house which the governor says he is determined to complete before the end of his tenure. The new government house is expected to open up the area where it is being built, as people have started buying lands around the area and have started developing same. There are new access roads all over the state capital, which have considerably eased vehicular movements. Indeed, a visitor to Umuahia has a lot to behold. Once a visitor approaches the dual carriage way that leads into the state capital, the first thing he or she notices is the magnificent Abia Tower, which carries the inscription, ‘Welcome to Abia’. In the heart of the city, another tower announces, ‘This is Umuahia!’ Both towers are well illuminated at night. A resident of Umuahaia, Igwe Uduma, who has lived in the city all his life, enthuses about the rejuvination of the state capital. “One can now comfortably say that Umuahia, which had been sleeping is now waking up. There are many things that show that the place has changed, and the people are happy for it,” he says.

•Aba-Owerri Road

•The new government Guest House, Umuahia



‘ ,






Gov Ahmed

Sen. Bala





•Area boys in Oshodi idle away in their time under a bridge, Lagos. Inset: Yinka, a rehabilitated area boy.

Life by the street code

Continued from page 47

come to tow them away. If someone’s car falls in the gutter, we help lift it out. If there are no area boys, who would perform those services for them? And we don’t even bill them much. Some of them are very stingy, they pay us as little as N50 and N100 for performing such hard tasks. If we were criminals, we won’t assist anyone in such situation, instead we would always attack them,” stated the 19-year-old, stressing that the police needs to stop arresting them indiscriminately whenever crimes are reported in any area. “Most times, it is children of the so-called elites, responsible and rich people that mastermind heinous crimes they arrest us for,” he said. Filth and area boys “Many people accuse us of being so dirty, how many people are actually clean? I see girls with dirt amid their buttocks wearing low-cut jeans every day. I see commuters with very dirty shirt collars and body odour walking by ever day and it is this same people that will abuse us that we are dirty. Oloorun ni gbogbo wa jo, ko so olowo ni baluwe, kankan la ma saa, ose lo ma yaato (we are all dirty, there is no rich folk in the bath, we all use sponge, it’s the soap that is different),” argued Mutiu, an area boy. Police and area boys There is no gainsaying that there is no love lost between police officers in the state and area boys. Recent findings from surveys with the police reveal that, distrust and hostility marks the relationship between police and area boys. Many police officers admitted that they find area boys very difficult to deal with although a police detective in Agege revealed that: “Sometiems, they offer valuable information that helps us in arresting criminals and resolving otherwise impossible cases.” Oftentimes, the police have been known to turn a blind eye to disturbances perpetrated by area boys in several neighbourhoods. For instance, residents of Ebute Metta alleged that the police ignored early requests to quell supremacy and turf battles between certain gangs in their neighbourhood which left several people killed. For instance, residents lamented that a neighbourhood group called the “Otto Boys,” had been terrorising their neighbourhood for a while but the police refused to do anything decisive about them until the situation aggravated and they started killing people. In a recent incident, the group reportedly invaded Jones Street shooting sporadically in the air as they robbed residents and instilled fear into their hearts. In the wake of the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Ngozi Braide, said the police was aware of the in-

civilians,” said Sola Odunjo, a grocer in the area. Odunjo revealed that area boys attached to a palace in the area have become terror to the residents of the area. “They smoke cannabis indiscriminately any time of the day and they assault people returning from the office at late hours, particularly women and young girls. They have killed people in the area and there have been reported cases of rape...but what can we do? There is no one to call them to order. They are backed by certain powerful people in the area,” lamented Odunjo. Similar stories are told by the citizenry across the state. Many complained of being assaulted by area boys who forcefully collect parking tolls from them at several locations in the state. Oftentimes, they come brandishing tickets and demanding to collect fees ranging from N200 to N500 on behalf of the local government authorities. The Nation findings at Ikeja, for instance, revealed that many of the area boys end up sharing the loot amongst themselves and they use it to drink alcohol and soup in neighbourhood beer parlours.

Rehabilitating area boys Despite arguments that area boys can’t be reformed, Haven for the Nigerian Child Foundation (HNCF) a non-profit organisation founded in 200 by Oluyemisi Wada to provide humanitarian assistance to children living on the streets of Lagos State have been able to rehabilitate a number of street kids. Twelve-year-old Yinka, for instance, was rescued by HNCF from Kuramo beach. Yinka, the youngest of six children, was in Primary 5 when he left home. His parents had separated and his father re-married and lives in Ijebu-Igbo (Ogun State), while his mother lives in Ketu, Lagos State. Yinka was living with his mother, but she could not afford to send him to school and give him regular meals due to poverty. Consequently, the 12-yearold absconded from home and prowled the streets until he was found at the Kuramo beach in destitute situation. “We took him home to his mother and now sponsor him. We found out that he has great difficulty in learning, hence could hardly read or write. We thus took him back to primary school so he can strengthen his basic foun•Area boys in Oshodi guzzle bottles of beer in an open revelry. dation. He is presently in Basic 4 at Tombey Founcident and that the police was handling it. But residents ardation School, Lagos,” said Wada of HNCF. gued that, that was a familiar refrain of the police that they Dare, 15, was also discovered by the NGO at Ojuelegba had gotten tired of. while working as a bus conductor. According to the HNCF Police officers working in slums allege that they encounter scribe, “He actually came to us crying for help and we were more young criminals than those in affluent neighbourtouched. His parents are divorced and from findings made hoods. As a result, they are more prone to view young peoby us, we discovered that his mother took him to live with ple as a criminal threat and difficult to deal with. Experiences his maternal grandmother in Ogun State. After a few years with area boys and gangs in these poor neighbourhoods exache ran away from his grandmother and he ended up living erbate those perceptions. under the bridge at Ojuelegba. We were able to trace his paternal grandmother who lives in Shomolu, Lagos. And we Lure of the brothel re-united them.” “We go to brothels because sex there is safer. We know the HNCF revealed that it initially noticed certain discomfortgirls are sex workers so we take the necessary precautions. ing traits about Dare. “We noticed some disturbing acts he There is greater risk in sleeping with your girlfriend. You often displayed, so we took him to the Psychiatry Hospital in would think you are the only one she sleeps with. It’s a lie, Yaba. He was evaluated by a doctor and he confirmed that the minute you turn your back, somebody gets into your Dare was not mentally ill; the doctor prescribed some drugs bed. Imagine not using condom with an unfaithful girlfriend. and regular evaluation for follow up. The doctor said due to It’s dangerous. In the brothels, they please us better. We even his long stay on the streets without proper treatment he felt get to do it for free sometimes,” revealed Tadeola, a.k.a WarDare would get better quickly if he was actually admitted rior, a 17-year-old area boy in Ojodu-Berger. into the psychiatric ward for at least a period of six months. We bought the drugs and he used the drugs for a while and Lagosians’ speak we observed some positive changes in him.” Despite claims by Bebo and several other area boys that they are not criminals but responsible citizens of the state, Stemming the menace of area boys many of the residents interviewed lamented that the presAccording to Dr. Ikuomola, a youthful population can be a ence of area boys in the state portends grievous implications significant and positive asset to a country and its developfor the general well being and security of citizens in the state. ment, but if left to its own devices, that is, marginalised and Kunle Gbadebo, a police officer whose house on Olatoye Ala- exploited, they can also turn against the society and become tise Street, was recently burgled by area boys in his neighbour- a force of destruction. The latter suggested that in order to hood believes more should be done to check the excesses of prevent such situation, the government should create an enarea boys in the area. vironment that will improve the quality of the nation’s edu“They struck on a Sunday morning while my family and I cation system through investments in free technical were in the church. We came back to meet a bare living room. education that will have meaningful impact on the youth They had stolen my 42-inch flatscreen television set, my chiland the quest for self-reliance and development. In the long dren’s toys and my wife’s jewellery. Immediately, I made a run, this will influence and increase youths employment outreport at a police station in Agbado. My colleagues swung comes. He also suggested that “policies should be put in into action and barely four days later, they arrested the culplace at all levels for young men and women to have the prits. They returned my TV set but they had sold some of my same opportunities in job prospecting. Emphasis should also wife’s jewellery and my children’s toys. With the help of my be placed on vulnerable groups, especially children and colleagues, they were later managed to pay the sum of N50, youths; to avoid child labour and exploitation, street life and 000 as compensation for the cost of my wife’s jewellery the breeding of street urchins in cities.” which they had pawned off at ridiculous prices,” he said. While suggestions like Ikuomola’s may in part be the palIt is instructive to note that police in the area were able to liative to the scourge of area boys in the state, further priority locate the culprits in three days based on tips offered by felstrategies may have to be tailored to the reorientation of the low area boys in the vicinity. family structure, parenting and the Lagos youth, according “We stormed them at one of their hideouts where they Morenike Abass, a school proprietor and educational psyusually converge to smoke cannabis and share their loot,” chologist. Exactly how fragile the situation is in the state is said a police officer attached to the district police station. vividly illustrated by the dreams and exploits of random “If they can be brave enough to burgle the house of a poteenagers like Asade, T-Money and so many others. lice officer, then imagine what they could do to us ordinary PHOTOS: Samuel JAMES & David ADEJO


Coping with diseaseS With Prof. Dayo Oyekola Ph.D. (Ibadan), NMD,FNCP Tel: 0803-330-3897 Website: E-mail:



Poisons in day to day exposures: Carbon


ECENTLY, I had to go to a clinic as I felt sick. The major change in my life and environment that could be blamed, I believe, was exposure to generator fumes. When I moved to a new apartment complex, I thought electricity problems would be minimal in a high brow area of Lagos. Private hands took over distribution of electricity from Government control and before long monthly estimated bills, much higher than the minimal monthly wage, were being sent to us accompanied with disconnection threats for residents who did not pay. The bills kept coming but electricity did not and meters were not supplied. I saw one neighbor after another buying an expensive state-of-the-arts electricity generator. A new neighbor came with a big but old generator. This old generator turns on like an earthquake and even erupts smoke into the air like a volcano. But it lights up my neighbor's house from ground to roof, and since the windows are always closed, it must be powering air-conditioners all over the house, a feat which the estimated bills could not achieve. Very soon, every time I went upstairs at night I smelt thick generator fumes in the bedroom. Apparently the fumes got in through the windows which were left open for fresh air and the pollution was trapped in the room. My broken generator was abandoned months ago so I concluded

the pollution was neighborly, not mine, and this entire neighborhood is rich in generators. Unable to clear the air completely, I would go to bed breathing polluted air. I started keeping my windows shut but prior weeks of pollution had already taken a toll on my health. I would not complain to my neighbors because I know they are trying to live. Combustion of generator fuels produces carbon monoxide (CO)and particulate matter. Particulate matter is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air. Particles from combustion include sulfates, nitrates,silicates, and carbon. Particulate matter from diesel and other fuel combustion by generators that do not provide complete combustion is associated with cancers espeDr Bola, in her article: “Ways of PoisonTrue, an evil-minded or evil-spirited percially lung cancer. Many ing� -D Nation, June 7, may think she is son would use anything - knowledge, the known carcinogens (cancer enlightening d reader but is actually edumaterial, the spiritual, tangible and intancausing agents), such as accating d vice on how to execute evil. gible realities - to do evil. A good-minded etaldehyde, acrolein, aniline, 2348063389339 or good-spirited person would use the same antimony compounds, arthings to do good. My article is, perhaps, senic, benzene, beryllium Dear Reader, simply giving our inheritance, knowledge, compounds, bis(2-ethylhexyl) Thank you for your readership and I am but people have choice and freedom and can phthalate, 1,3,-butadiene, grateful you made the effort to text me this contribute to a civilized world or can make cadmium, chromium comimportant message. I have always cherished the world worse than when they came into pounds, formaldehyde, lead, freedom and choice and always tried to supit. I appeal to our readers not to poison anymercury compounds, naphport responsible and good living. The realone. thalene, nickel, 3ity is that the world is like a coin with two We can all be trustworthy neighbors and nitrobenzathrone, benzopysides, good and evil and if you only want to responsible members of society and live in rene, styrene, toluene, and take the head of a coin without the tail, you peace and harmony. True, there are people xylenes have been found in can't spend it. Facing reality is enriching, who may not be able to reason well, mandiesel exhaust. ignorance is impoverishing. age emotions, or sustain normalcy, and can Petrol generators produce People use a kitchen knife to kill but I have sink into psychopathic and sociopathic many effective knives in my kitchen. We carbon monoxide. We notice states and we pray that somehow they may humans actually inherit knowledge of good the particulate matter coming have the courage and power to overcome and evil and all have potential for good and out as smoke but we do not their trials. evil. I believe we humans of this 21C can be notice the carbon monoxide. Thank you. above animals and can be above evil. Carbon monoxide is a colorDr'Bola John less, odorless, and tasteless gas. It is toxic in high doses. Carbon monoxide is produced naturally in minute amounts by the human body as a signaling molecule (adrenaline, for example, is another signaling molecule). The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, kerosine and natural gas as well as the burning of wood contribute to atmospheric carbon monoxide which can reach toxic levels. In our homes, generators, cars, lawn mowers, and fuel powered machines are sources of carbon monoxide. Sometimes, we do not realize we are highly exposed; for example, if we leave a car engine running in a walled garage or run a generator near an open window. Carbon monoxide levels may From right: Elder Paul Ananabah (SAN) swearing-in in the new President of the Instibe toxic in areas where there tute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Chidi Onyeukwu Ajaegbu during is constant traffic hold-ups, the 50th anniversary of the Institute. go-slows, and old cars. The pathologic effects we can develop from carbon monoxide depend on the amount of carbon monoxide and the duration of exposure. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common type of fatal air poisoning in many countries (Wikipedia). Carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin in the blood to produce carboxyhemoglobin, and this prevents hemoglobin from carrying and distributing oxygen throughout the body tissues. CO can accumulate in the body over a few hours.The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. If From left: Chairman, All Progressive Congress (APC) Ward F, Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council your infant is irritable and not Development Area, Lagos State, Ahmed Mukaila; Vice-chairman, Chief Ayinla Fasai; feeding well, consider if your Secretary, Ogunbowale-Kayode; Treasurer, Alhaji Surakat Oloyede; Youth Leader, Mr. air is unclean.Carbon monoxide poisoning resembles other Saheed Mogaji and Woman leader, Mrs Nimota Soetan shortly after they were sworn-in

Comment from reader


types of poisonings so before you think of your mother-inlaw, think of the air in your environments at home and at work. Continual exposure and high levels can damage the heart, brain, and nerves. Toxicity problems can reach mental confusion, disorientation, visual disturbance, fainting, seizures, and death. Carbon monoxide can damage the fetus of a pregnant woman. In some cities, residents are required to have a carbon monoxide alarm that triggers when environmental levels are too high. With the use of numerous fuel powered electricity generators in residential areas, carbon monoxide is an important pollutant in countries that are politically, technologically, and scientifically challenged with lack of electricity. It is important to seek clean and reliable energy. It is not rocket science to design and dot the city with solar spots, wind turbines, and renewable energy to serve people's needs. Carbon dioxide fed brains cannot work optimally and this should be a concern of governments who want productivity from their people. Having many fuel combusting generators in residential areas by necessity is a serious health issue. Moreover, many small scale entrepreneurs need reliable energy for business that brings income and provides well-being for their families. United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has said that renewable energy has the ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity. Dr. 'Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA. For any comments or questions on this column, please email or call 08160944635.



Why Oshiomhole is not losing sleep over APC defectors —Edo Info Commissioner Louis Odion Edo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Louis Odion, in this interview with SEGUN AJIBOYE, explains the issues sorrounding the recent defection of some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).



DO APC has been riddled with crisis, which is an aftermath of congresses from wards to the state level. What happened? Before we proceed, I think it is necessary to make some clarifications. I do not see a crisis, because the word 'crisis' is a very strong word. What we do have was a disagreement between some actors within the party over the out-come of the congress that took place. You will recall that some time last year, the ACN, ANPP, CPC,  and a few other political parties  had decided to

So, the governor will only get worried the day Edo people begin to rise on the streets and saying that he had stopped working for them. And the governor has said time and again that he was elected into office to work for the Edo people and not for the godfathers, not for party leaders. So I don’t see any crisis. I only see disagreement

come into alliance or a merger, so to speak.  In the merger we’re talking about in Edo State, ACN happens to be what you may call the big partner in the sense that it’s the party in power, and it’s the party that controls all the local governments as well as the executive branch at the state level as well as an overwhelming majority in the legislative branch. But in order to give every one a sense of belonging, it was agreed that if you allow a full-blown election to hold, chances were that those smaller parties that came into the alliance, like the CPC and  ANPP, which didn’t have elected officials in the wards or local  governments, may lose out.  So,  it was  decided to say 'Okay, let us give everybody  a  sense of belonging.  That was what led to the story of harmonisation.  Harmonisation worked in  Edo North, it also worked in Edo Central, it was only in Edo South you had some ripples. I think the facts are already known. Being a consensus-builder, the governor was of the view that the key leaders in Edo South  should try and work together so that everybody would have a sense of belonging. But it happened that  Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who was one of the leaders in Edo South, was of the view that congress should hold, that there should be full-blown congress. Of course,  having insisted that  congress hold, one would think that he would be ready to accept the outcome of the elections to come. It happened that when the first round of elections held, his group didn’t do well.  Surprisingly, he and his supporters protested that the process was flawed. Based on the protest, the governor, being the leader of the party, ordered a re-run. They had a fresh congress, and from the report we received,  the result was even worse for the Ize Iyamu group. They found that difficult to accept. So, for that reason, they issued the governor a seven-day ultimatum to annul the results for the second time. In fact, I read in the papers that they also were giving the governor some demands and conditions to be met.  Notably,  that  the governor should anoint IzeIyamu as the governor-in-waiting;  the  exco  should be dissolved and eight cabinet positions be allotted to him. In the case of Chief (Tony) Omoaghe, he said the Comrade Governor should impose him on the party as state chairman of the new APC. He told the governor that if he was not made party chairman, he would also exit.  There was another lady who wanted to be woman leader. To the governor, that was not only undemocratic but also unconscionable. If you don’t give me what I want, I exit. And the governor clearly said he is a democrat and cannot succumb to blackmail. So they left, and being a man who plays politics without bitterness, the governor wished them well. And as it has been stated with facts and figures, the party in the last registration exercise registered hundreds of thousands of members.  So, if for any reasons, a few individuals within the party felt aggrieved, and they didn't want to exhaust or avail themselves of the conflict resolution mechanism within the party, the governor has said that so be it. If any thing at all, it simply shows that these actors are not ready to abide by the democratic principle that APC subscribes to.  So, to come back to your original question, I don’t see any crisis. I want to believe that it is the decampees that are over-dramatising their exit to inflate their actual electoral worth before those who have offered them sanctuary. I think the media itself is overindulging them.  Don’t forget that until now, the traffic of decampees was in the direction of APC in Edo. You only need to wait for when PDP holds their own party elections, you would see the traffic changing direction again. It is a natural process.  In all of this, what I think is very significant is that nobody is saying  that Oshiomhole has not performed.  On the contrary, what you hear is that Oshiomhole has presided over a congress

that did not favour them. So for that reason, they are bailing out. And to tell you how selfish some people can be, Chief Omoaghe has made a song and dance of some appointees of the governor resigning in protest, his own two biological daughters employed by the governor are still sitting tight in their respective offices as special assistant to the governor. Omoaghe encourages people to resign their positions in government and join them in the procession to PDP, but he is yet to tell his own two daughters to leave the Oshiomhole administration. So, the governor will only get worried the day Edo people  begin to rise  on the streets and  saying  that  he had stopped working for them. And the governor has said time and again that he was elected into office to work for the Edo people and not for the godfathers, not for party leaders. So I don’t see any crisis. I only see disagreement and those who felt they could not exhaust the conflict resolution mechanism within the party and abide by the logic  of democracy have chosen to leave and the beat goes on. If you say that the controversy is restricted to Edo South, how come somebody like Usman Shagadi, who is from Edo North like the governor, and  somebody like a  House of  Representatives member,  Abubakar Momoh,  also from Etsako, have also left the party? Well, I made the clarifications earlier that the ripples the party had were more pronounced in Edo South  because you have somebody like Osagie Ize-Iyamu, whose ambition to be governor, is over ten years old.  In Edo North, you also had a murmur in one corner involving Shagadi and Momoh. Just like Edo South, it was a case of inordinate ambition. As for Shagadi, he is just one of the party leaders APC had in Edo North. It was all about his big ambition to play a local godfather or trying to be a local tin god.  Oshiomhole came and said farewell to godfatherism. He is not ready to fight the godfathers of yesterday and replace them with new godfathers, particularly those who don’t add value to the democratic process. Like I said earlier, the governor would only have lost sleep if the ordinary people, the real voters, of Edo North  so to speak, are marching on the streets, demonstrating that the governor was no longer working for their interest.   In the case of Abubakar Momoh, he has done two terms in the House of Representatives. Not satisfied, he wants to become senator. He wants to graduate to the Senate, despite that many of his constituents have been complaining that for the past seven years, he has largely been a bench-warmer in Abuja.   At the moment, there is what you may call an unwritten agreement wit in the zone that equity be shown in the sharing of political offices. Momoh is an Etsako-man like Comrade Oshiomhole. He believes Oshiomhole should impose him on Edo North as the APC senatorial candidate. Now, ask yourself, will it be right or fair before God or man that by 2015, you have an Etsakor man as sitting governor and another Etsakor man as senator. Oshiomhole is a man of equity, he is a man of justice. Within that zone, you still have the Owan stock as well as the Akoko Edo stock. An Akoko-Edo man is presently the Senator by name Domigo Obende. From Owan, you have Professor Julius Ihonvbere, the incumbent SSG, who has also indicated interest in the ticket. Ihonvbere is bringing formidable credentials to the contest as a scholar of global standing.  In all of this, Oshiomhole has maintained that the will of party faithfuls would ultimately triumph as against brazen imposition that Momoh wants. He has said that he was not going to anoint anybody, and that if you are interested in running, submit yourself to the democratic test.    But you have  an  individual who believes that because the governor is his kinsman, the ticket is for him on asking. This guy believes that since he is the governor’s kinsman, he should be anointed and made senator in-waiting just like that. Beyond politics, there is also the question of natural justice. Would that be fair to other stakeholders  within the zone? These are the things we’re talking about.  On alleged imposition in Orhionmwon It happened that the deputy governor (Dr. Pius Odubu) and Osagie Ize-Iyamu are from the same local government area, and the governor called them and said: 'Look, two of you are political leaders from Orhionmwon, we don’t want quarrel, call other stakeholders and  sit around  the table and agree  on consensus candidates  so that we don’t promote  discord.’  He  (IzeIyamu) said he wanted full-blown congress, and the field was thrown open. In that circumstance, there are two possibilities that would happen, either you emerge winner or loser. The winner should be  magnanimous  in victory,  and if you lose, you should be gallant in defeat. But to go into a contest with the mind-

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 2014 set that it is either you win or nothing, I don’t think that it’s something that’s healthy. So, it’s wrong. He is being mischievous to say that the governor is from Etsako land and he was trying to dictate. The governor  only said: ‘Both of you should meet and agree.’ That is not tantamount to saying Oshiomhole was trying to determine who gets what in his locality. I hope you understand the trend. I mean, it’s misleading to say the governor is from Etsako, and he was trying to impose who gets what in  Orhionmwon.  The governor called them and said:  ‘Look,  both of you are from the same area. If you have full- blown primaries in intra-party elections, experience has shown that it could polarise the party.' He was speaking wisdom because there is always this 'I-must-win-at-all-costs'  syndrome.   The question I think you should ask is: is it true that he (Ize-Iyamu) is overly  ambitious? He would not deny that. Two: is it true that he has asked the governor to make him governor? He would not deny it. Three: is it true that he is fighting for control of party structure with the deputy governor in his local government area? He won’t deny it.  Those are the facts and they speak directly to the root of the political disagreement they had which led to their defection from the party. They are only travelling a familiar road. I mean, I was a national journalist by vocation until now and I happen to be conversant with the details of the period they were in office. I mean these are events of recent history.  A decade ago or so when Ize-Iyamu similarly aspired to be governor under the PDP, he and like minds came together and founded what you call the Grace Group within  the PDP, and their slogan was 'No man is God'. So, when the godfather in PDP then said it wasn’t •Louis the turn of Edo-South  to be governor, they pulled out. Don't forget that the government in which they were the leading lights is now commonly referred to as the most clueless in Edo history. They came to The ACN and in the last five years  of being seeing around a credible figure like political errand boys to the three leaders who defected.  I read a Oshiomhole, they have managed to gain so much confidence report in the media earlier where Ize-Iyamu was quoted as saythat they are so bold today to raise their heads when issues of ing that he assisted Oshiomhole to be governor and when he won, he promised to assist him too to be governor. How reasondemocracy, issues of performance are being discussed. On May 26 state congress at the  Samuel Ogbemudia able is that? It sounds like a cock and bull story. When you said you assisted Oshiomhole to become governor,  I think you’re Stadium... In Edo North, you had less acrimony. In Edo Central, it was abusing the intelligence of Nigerians. I speak as somebody who also less acrimonious because ambition wasn’t running  hay- has had a privilege of being a journalist at the national level. In wire there. It’s only because of this mindset that I must be gov- terms of weight and clout, you don’t compare Oshiomhole with ernor at all costs  that  the hoopla you had in Edo South hap- Ize-Iyamu. You’re talking of somebody who has had a privilege pened. What I am saying is that what happened at the state con- of leading  the labour movement in Nigeria for two terms  of gress  is a reflection of the process that we had in other eight years. In terms of visibility, Oshiomhole is known everyzones. But these guys (defectors) can’t abide by the rules and where  across  the country. How then can somebody like Izespirit of the game. You see, if you are sure of yourselves, you Iyamu say he made Oshiomhole? That is lie number one. Lie shouldn’t be afraid of elections. Just like a student, if you know number two is that Oshiomhole promised to make him goveryou know your onions, you’ve read your books properly, you nor. That would be a negation of what Oshiomhole stands for.  When Oshiomhole  left NLC at the expiration of his two shouldn’t be afraid of facing test. So, you saw what happened at the stadium on May 26.  I am happy you attested that it was terms  as president in 2007, someone like Gani Fawehinmi most transparent and peaceful. To tell you how keen the contest said  Oshiomhole was fit to contest as president of the was, some guys stepped down for the others. That is the kind country. But Oshiomhole said he would rather come to his state and start from there.  Oshiomhole was their (defectors’) savour. of democratic practice the governor is trying to preach. He came in with that national clout to contest the governorship On alleged gale of defections from Edo APC When you say a gale of defections, that is an hyperbole. All the election. These people crashed into the popular procession. So, key officers of government are still in place. The four or five offi- it is very wrong now to claim credit for Oshiomhole’s rise in cers that resigned are inconsequential in the system. They are 2007. In  any case, we’ve also heard that  when Oshiomhole became the candidate for ACN  in 2007,  some of them


Like I said earlier, the governor would only have lost sleep if the ordinary people, the real voters, of Edo North so to speak, are marching on the streets, demonstrating that the governor was no longer working for their interest

said: ‘You're a candidate now, we believe you’ll win but  we doubt if you’ll get to exercise that mandate.’ They believed that the godfather was invincible; that the godfather was almighty and would determine who became governor in the state.  True to their prophecy, the ballot was stolen.  But through dogged fight for 18 months, Oshiomhole was able to retrieve the mandate. It was only then they appeared from their hiding to say: ‘Well, you know we supported you.’ As a good natured person, Oshiomhole has done more than enough to patronise them by going out of his way to empower them.   It will interest you to know that they gave seven days ultimatum to the governor to accede to their requests, which included a commitment to anoint one of them as a governor-in-waiting; a commitment to anoint one of them as party chairman-inwaiting; a commitment to anoint one of them as women leaderin-waiting; the dissolution of the state executive council and ceding of half of the cabinet positions to them. Of course, those were a tall order. They knew that, that wasn’t go to fly. The ultimatum had not expired when they started holding meetings with the godfathers in Abuja. The same characters they had abused severely until yesterday. They became popular on account of abusing the godfather. I read an interview granted by one of them where he said they were hosted  by the godfather in Abuja to a lavish  reception. When you say a lavish reception, it means you must have had a lot of champagne  and food.  That was what happened.  We heard that there was an intention to cause trouble in Edo State. We have it on good authority that they’re asking people to come out and make declaration.  Some of our colleagues who were similarly approached have squealed. They believe that the only way to distract Oshiomhole from his promise of performing creditably  is by causing confusion. They go as far as planting stories in the media, with due respect, that is my constituency. Suddenly, we’re now having so many groups with so many names. But they’re all operating from the laptop of one individual. They issue frightening statements just to create a façade of high tension.  It is just propaganda. Oshiomhole is on course.







HE late Chairman, Sen ate Committee on Fed eral Character, Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta, was buried yesterday at Minna Muslim Cemetery after a tworakat prayer at the Palace of Emir of Minna. Kuta, 64, died on Thursday following a protracted illness in Lagos on his way to London. The Chief Imam of Minna, Sheik Isa Fari, led

Kuta buried amid eulogies Jide ORINTUNSIN Minna sympathisers, including Governor Babangida Aliyu; former military President; General Ibrahim Babangida, traditional rulers and politicians at the prayer. The body was later conveyed in a motorcade to

Minna Muslim Cemetery for interment. General Babangida described Kuta’s death as a personal loss having known him since childhood. "We have lost another committed Nigerian who devoted his life to the development of the masses and the less-privi-

leged. He ensured that whatever he chose to do was well executed to the letter. We have lost a real Nigerian," Babangida lamented. Former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, said he had lost in Kuta a political son and former student.

"I am here to pay tribute to a rear gem, a true democrat. Senator Dahiru Kuta was my student. I taught him in secondary school and university. When in 1983 I decided to go into politics, Dahiru was one of the few young men that joined me. I have lost a political son. May his soul rest in perfect peace," Gana prayed. Members of the National Assembly led by Senator Mohammed Magoro were in Minna on Thursday to condole with Governor Aliyu over the death of the senator. The leader of the team described the departed senator

News 57 as a hardworking and committed legislator and prayed for the repose of his soul. Governor Aliyu told the entourage that Niger and indeed Nigeria would miss the late Kuta who,according to him, “was so humble, even as a prince, he preferred to be called a comrade. He participated fully in all his assignments and made his mark in every area of assignment he found himself. “He would be missed not only by the people of Niger State, but by his colleagues in the Senate. I must, therefore, condole with you too as I am aware the vacuum his death will cause would be tremendously felt in the hallowed chambers physically and intellectually.”

...Abe, Okadigbo mourn him


•President Goodluck Jonathan welcoming, from left, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Dorothee Janetake-Wenzel; former German Parliamentary State Secretary, Ms Dadmar Wohrl; and German Minister of Development and Economic Cooperation, Gerd Mueller, during their visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja...yesterday. PHOTO: Akin OLADOKUN.

Why Nigeria ’ll continue to import fuel — Kaduna Refinery MD M ANAGING Director of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited, Engr. Saidu Aliyu Mohammed, said yesterday that the huge demand for petroleum products by Nigerians and neigbouring countries will continue to force the nation to rely on fuel importation. Nigeria, according to him, will not be able to produce enough to meet demand and will, therefore, continue to depend on importation. Speaking during the opening of a two-day workshop for energy correspondents from Kaduna State in Kano, the KRPC boss, who is the immediate past Managing Director of the Nigeria Gas Company, said even if the nation’s refineries produce at full capacity, they will not be able to meet the needs of Nigerians. He said: “We will continue to import fuel as long as we cannot meet the demand because it is about demand and supply. If there is no much demand, we will not go for importation. “Even if all the refineries work at 100 per cent capacity, we cannot meet the demand of 30 million litres per day, and we should not forget that some of our neighbours also depend on Nigeria for fuel”. Engr. Mohammed said all newly established power plants across the country had been linked by gas pipelines.

Tony AKOWE, Kaduna

He said: “Initially, as the power plants were coming up, there was a misalignment between the power sector and the gas sector in the sense that the power plants were just springing up without taking the gas sector into consideration. “In some instances, where the gas people were taken on board, they prepared the gas and you found that the power plant was not there. That misalignment has been corrected and what is happening today is laying of infrastructure to link all the power plants. “I will say it categorically here that there is no power plant today that is not linked with a gas pipeline.” On gas flaring which has been of concern to many Nigerians, he said: “I would say that gas flaring is gradually coming down. Only about seven years ago, we were flaring as much as 60 per cent of what we produced, but today, that has gone down as low as 15 per cent. “When we say we produce, what we flare is the gas that comes with the oil, and as long as we produce the oil, you must get rid of the gas before you market it, and if you don’t have any need for

the gas, you cannot do otherwise than to flare it for environmental safety. “The gas produced, which is called associated gas, is the one we are referring to when we say certain percentage of it is flared and certain percentage is used. Today, the usage of that associated gas


has risen to between 60 to 75 per cent in this country. “So, the flares are going down, but there are flares that must be on at any moment because there is a level that you cannot economically recover the gas, and since it does not make economic sense, you just flare it.”

HAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe, yesterday described the death of Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta as “surprising and shocking.” The late Kuta was a secondterm senator and represented the Niger East Senatorial District. He was 65 years old. Abe said that the late Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs “was not only a committed Nigerian and a hardworking lawmaker, he was very jovial, friendly and very humorous, both within and outside the chamber. “Senator Kuta was a completely detribalised Nigerian who related well with anyone he met. We will surely miss him in the Senate. “He was such a dedicated lawmaker that despite his debilitating illness, he still found time to carry out his work and still submitted a report to the Senate less than two weeks ago.” Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, yesterday said that she received the news of the death of Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta with a rude shock. Senator Okadigbo, in a statement entitled “The man who brought sparkle, laughter and fun to the 7th Senate is gone,”

Sanni ONOGU, Abuja and Onyedi OJIABOR, Assistant Editor lamented the demise of the Niger East Senatorial District lawmaker. Kuta was reported to have died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on his way to London for medical check-up. Senator Okadigbo, who described Kuta as a forthright, frank and outspoken parliamentarian, noted that “indeed the 7th Senate has lost one of its pillars.” She recalled how Kuta used to “enliven the Senate chamber with his thoughtprovoking, scintillating and uncommon contributions during debates of bills and motions.” She also recalled how Kuta used to punctuate his contributions in plenary with thoughts and views about how to make the lives of ordinary Nigerians better. Senator Okadigbo said there was no doubt that it would take the Senate and most of those who were familiar with Kuta some time to come to terms with the fact that he is dead. “My thoughts are with his family and friends. May God in His infinite mercy grant them the fortitude to bear this huge and irreparable loss and grant the dead eternal rest,” she said.

Boko Haram: Adamawa stakeholders support AU special force

DAMAWA stakehold ers have thrown their weight behind the proposed African Union (AU) special force to tackle the menace of the Boko Haram sect. The Air Cdre Dan Suleiman-led group is sure that the powerful body would be able to deal with the terrorism challenges in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. Adamawa Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders also expressed confidence in the ability of the Nigerian military to secure the release of the abducted Chibok girls. The group, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday with the caption, “One bomb attack, too many,” stated: “The entire members of this pressure group wish to express our extreme anguish and regret over the wanton decimation of a large population of Nigerians by Boko Haram in-

Vincent IKUOMOLA, Abuja surgents. “Specifically, we condemn in strong terms the recent bomb attack in Kabang, a suburb in the Mobi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, which occurred June 1. No doubt, the incident was a huge let down to residents, victims and their relations who lived around the vicinity. “The bombing, which occurred at a football viewing centre and claimed over 20 lives, is highly condemnable. “The Adamawa PDP stakeholders are totally sickened by the pettiness of cheap political gimmicks surrounding Boko Haram’s horrific activities in the recent past. “Mindful of the Federal

Government’s determination to stem the tide of these reckless killings of innocent citizens by Boko Hatam insurgents since 2009 to date, we wish to commend our military in their resolve to secure the over 200 Chibok school girls recently abducted by the insurgents. “We commend the African leaders, from South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Congo and Cote D’ivoire, selected to fash-

ion out a framework to tackle the menace of terrorism in Nigeria’s three North Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. “We are confident that this powerful body shall decisively deal with the challenges of terrorism, not only in Nigeria, but on the African continent as a whole.” The group also commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the efforts made so far in tackling insecurity.

Fidau prayer for industrialist Olaiya


HE fidau prayer for an Islamic leader, Alhaji Sulaiman Olaiya, who passed on Sunday, June 8, comes up tomorrow at his residence at the Temidire area of Sango-Ota, Ogun State. The late Olaiya, who hailed from Isale Ilala, Kwara State,

came to Lagos in 1938. He started life as a steward, but through hard work and perseverance, he set up Popoola Product Industrial Nigeria Limited which is today a big success. He is survived by wives, children and grandchildren.




Recognize Abiola’s sacrifice, Gani Adams tells FG n Innocent DURU n HE Federal Government has been called upon to recognize the self-sacrifice of late Moshood Abiola in the country. Otunba (Dr) Gani Adams, a member of the on-going National Conference, made the call, Thursday, during a programme organized by the Oodua Peoples Congress(OPC ) to mark the 21st anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections. He said: “Nigerian government needs to recognize Abiola’s self-sacrifice for democracy in Nigeria. Nigerians in all the states of the federation deserve the right to once again display the love they gave freely to Bashorun Abiola on June 12, 1993, by jointly celebrating their hero on the same. “I call on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare June 12 a public holiday and write his name into the history books as the man who had the courage to do the right thing by correcting an injustice done to another Nigerian. He also expressed concern about the state of the country, saying: “I wish to draw the attention of Mr. President to the issue of security which has remained endemic and undesirable. Unless the security problem is tackled headlong, we will continue to witness low or absent of foreign investment in the country. Today, the northern part of the country has become a bedlam. Innocent Nigerians are maimed on daily basis. “A situation where our fellow brothers are being mindlessly killed in the name of religion is no good omen for the country. Mr. President, I earnestly implore you to look in this direction and ensure that we continue to co-exist.And as we move closer to 2015, all hands must be on deck to ensure that we have a successful election. The job of building a great nation is a task that we all must join hands to achieve.”


Kano HIV/AIDS prevalence drops n Kolade ADEYEMI Kano n RANDOM survey conducted by National AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey Plus (NARHS Plus) has confirmed that Kano State HIV prevalence rate has dropped from 2.8 per cent to 1.3 per cent. Speaking during its quarterly review meeting, the Director General, Kano State Agency for the control of AIDS, Dr Sa’adatu Saidu Bala, confirmed that the HIV prevalence rate in the state has dropped. According to Bala, the project, which is in partnership with the Kano State Ministry and Family Health International (FH1360), explained that with the current status, Kano State is no longer an emergency state as far as HIV/AIDS is concerned, adding that it was largely achieved due to the concerted efforts of the state government and the implementing partners in fighting the AIDS scourge. As a measure to further prevent new infections and ensure effective AIDS control, the Director disclosed that the agency is conducting a number of multi-sectoral responses to keep pace with the rest of its counterparts nation-wide. Earlier in his welcome address, the state Commissioner of Health, Dr Abubakar Labaran Yusuf, disclosed that the partnership between his ministry and the FH1360 is aimed at strengthening government’s efforts in healthcare delivery services, as well as to implement activities under the global funds to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Yusuf disclosed that the incumbent administration in the state has elevated Kano State HIV/AIDS Control from a committee to an Agency status and established Primary Healthcare Management Board.


Council chief allays fears over abandoned sports complex HAIRMAN of Ojokoro Council Development Area of Lagos State, Hon. Benjamin Olabinjo has allayed fears over the stoppage of work on a sports complex embarked upon by his administration. Addressing some protesting youths at the council’s secretariat, Hon. Olabinjo, said:”My administration would definitely find a lasting solution to the abandoned sports complex. I strongly believe that sporting activities and physical exercises not only help to sharpen the skill and talent of youths but has become a money spinning venture and that is why my administration decided to build a sport complex in the council area. “In spite of our firm commitment to the project, it is regrettable that the sports complex is now shambolic due to stoppage of work occasioned by frivolous petitions by some misguided individuals and lack of cooperation among youths in this council area.” Spokesman of the aggrieved youths, Mr Benjamin Farzer said:”We have decided to embark on a protest march to the office of the chairman because of the decrepit state of the sports complex that has since been abandoned by the council authorities. The place has become a den of miscreants who carry out criminal activities in the neighbourhoods.”


Old students meet HE monthly meeting of the Old Students Association of Iloro Grammar School, Agege, Lagos State, will hold today at the school premises. In a release signed by the Publicity Secretary of the association, Mr. Tijani Rasheed said: “The meeting will hold from 12pm- 3pm and members are enjoined to be punctual. The gathering will among others discuss developmental issues affecting the school and progress made so far.”


•The Secretary to the Oyo State Government (SSG), Mr. Olalekan Alli (left) addressing a group of protesters from Oyo Federal Constituency at the Governor's Office on Friday.

IGP pledges adequate security A for Ekiti poll HEAD of the governorship election in Ekiti State, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has assured the people and residents of the state and other stakeholders of the readiness of the police and other security agencies to provide adequate security during the election. A statement made available to newsmen yesterday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, said the IGP gave the assurance during a brief meeting with the police management team on Friday. The IGP warned those he described as trouble-makers

...warns trouble makers to steer clear n Gbade OGUNWALE, Abuja n

and anti-social elements to stay away from Ekiti throughout the period of the election. According to him, the police would not hesitate to arrest and prosecute persons that flout the law or cause a breach of the peace, no matter how highly placed they might be. "To this end, the IGP has directed the Deputy InspectorGeneral of Police in charge of

Operations, DIG Michael Zuokumor, to relocate to Ado-Ekiti, the state's capital, to ensure adequate police presence and the coordination of all security operations for the election in all polling units and collation centres in the state. "The IGP has ordered all police officers and men assigned to election duties in Ekiti State to ensure they work in line with the Police Code of Conduct and international best practices.

Lagos Reps caucus receives Ambode EMBERS of the House of Representatives from Lagos State have had a closed door session with a governorship aspirant under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Akin Ambode. At the meeting, which held on Thursday at a conference room in the House of Representatives complex, Abuja, the members engaged Ambode in a rigorous cross examination, during which Akin Ambode seized the opportunity to inform the Lagos Reps members of his vision for Lagos State. Meanwhile, the House of Reps caucus members are ex-


pected to receive more gubernatorial aspirants who are willing to intimate them about their plans for the state. The meeting, which was hosted by the APC leader in the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who also, until the party announced it had zoned the governorship seat to Lagos East, also targeted same Lagos governorship seat. Members present at the meeting are Hon Abayomi Ayeola, Hon Babatunde Adewale, Hon Hakkem Muniru, Hon Abiodun Faleke, Hon Aliu Kazeem, Hon Yakub Balogun, Hon. rafeequat Onabamiro, Hon Femi

Gbajabiamila, Mr. Akin Ambode, Hon Jumoke OkoyaThomas, Hon Samuel Adejare, Hon Adeola Solomon, Hon Toyin Suarau, Hon. Jide Akinloye, Hon. Ganiyu Olukolu, Hon. Abayomi Ogunnusi. However, one of the members at the meeting disclosed that his support for Ambode does not exclude him from participating in a free and fair primary to be organized by the party. It will be recalled that Ambode had initially met with market leaders in Lagos. He is also expected to meet with senators from Lagos State.

"He has called on members of the public, particularly politicians, gubernatorial candidates and other relevant stakeholders in Ekiti State to cooperate with the police and other security agencies in the onerous but patriotic task of guaranteeing a hitch-free gubernatorial poll," the statement added.

Fashola’s aide quits govt •Governor appoints FolarinCoker as replacement n Miriam EKENE-OKORO n HE Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Central Business District, Mrs. Aderinola Disu, has resigned from the Mr. Babatunde Fashola-led government in the state. A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, stated that Mrs. Disu resigned her appointment to devote her time to family commitments. Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has accepted the resignation and approved the appointment of the Managing Director of the Lagos State Number Plate Production Agency, Mr. Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, as replacement for Mrs. Disu. Fashola lauded Disu for her immense contributions as a public officer of several years standing.


June 12: activists, groups call for regionalism CTIVISTS and ethnic groups in Yoruba land, yesterday used the occasion of June 12 to call for restructuring of Nigeria to allow regionalism and strengthening of institutions that will enhance development. They made the call at a colloquium marking the 21st anniversary of the June 12, 1993 election. The election is widely believed to have been won by the late business mogul and politician, Chief Moshood Abiola. The programme, which was organized by the Afenifere Renewal Group and the Yoruba Academy,


n Bisi OLADELE, Ibadan n was held at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. In his keynote address entitled: "The I operatives of June 12 and its Implication on Yoruba Politics," Comrade Femi Aborisade posited that as lofty as the idea of regionalism sounds, the plagues of corruption and bad leadership will still neutralize the idea of regionalism if they are not addressed. According to him, Yoruba need to re-orientate the new generation on the values of honesty, hard work, respect

and selfless service, among others, for regionalism to bring the desired benefits. He emphasized that the June 12 symbolizes freedom from tyranny and poverty, but that the oppressors repressed the will of Nigerians. Other speakers including Chief Dapo Ologundudu Chief Adekunle Olaiya if the Atayese Group, Reformed Agbekoya Group and the Oodua Liberation Movement as well as Prince Adetowo Aderemi opined that the current crop of leaders in Southwest cannot take Yoruba to the promised land.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director of Publicity, (ARG), Mr Kunle Famoriyo, pointed out the need for Yoruba to pursue the lessons of June 12 having talked about it for 10 years. The communique issued at the end of the colloquium noted that "Nigerian state, as it is presently structured, has only succeeded in entrenching fault-lines that make the constituent ethnic nations see themselves as enemies rather than state partners. This  makes the task of nation-building almost impossible; thus Nigeria today can best be described as a predatory state."



Immortalise Akunyili, Anambra women urge Jonathan

Akpabio signs controversial pension bill into law HE controversial Akwa Ibom State Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law, which has drawn wide public interest in the last few weeks, has been amended and signed into law by the state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio. The amendment, which is the fifth in the sixteen-year old law, repealed the contentious ceiling of N100 million medical expenses for each ex-governor and his spouse, and a ceiling of N50 million medical expenses for each former deputy governor and his spouse. The law came to birth in 1998 as special grant for past state governors and their deputies, and was further amended in 1999, adopted in 2000 as Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Bill and again in 2007 and 2014 respectively. It will be recalled that the state government had sought to place a ceiling on how much could be spent by the state government on each former Governor and former Deputy Governor and their spouses, attracting the anger of the public. Addressing the press in Lagos, Governor Akpabio, in a speech he titled, “The Siege on Truth,” maintained that the contentious provision was made in good faith and to check abuses, adding that leaving the law open-ended was not in the best interest of tax payers. He, however, posited that he considered the controversy a distraction and had decided to, in his words, “lift the siege on truth” by asking for this provision of the law to be repealed. He added philosophically that “history will vindicate the just.”


Ihedioha laments Kuta’s death HE Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has lamented the death of Senator Awaisu Kuta, describing it as a very unfortunate incident. The deputy speaker, who described the late Kuta as a worthy legislator of repute and a ranking senator, said his demise came as a shock and a reminder of the futility of life. He prayed God to grant the family of the late senator the fortitude to bear the loss while extending his condolences to them as well as members of the senate and the entire National Assembly.


n Nwanosike ONU, Awka n OMEN in Anambra State have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to rename any of the institutions in the country after former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili. Akunyili, also a former Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), died on 7th June, 2014. The women, led by the state former Commissioner for Women’s Affairs, Lady Henrietta Agbata, urged Jonathan put machinery in motion to immortalize the memory of the late minister. Speaking in a statement, copy of which was made available to The Nation, the women described Akunyili as an Amazon and a political mentor, adding that her death has created a great vacuum in the nation’s polity. According to the statement, it was important for the country to immortalize Akunyili in view of her numerous contributions to the socio-economic development of the Nigerian society. “This was a woman who saved many lives during her tenure as the Director General of NAFDAC through her un-relentless onslaught against manufacturers of fake drugs,” the statement said.


•Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswil Akpabio being received by the President, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, Akparawa Nse Ube and wife, during the official commissioning of the International Secretariat/Community Centre of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, Uyo

JTF seizes cache of arms, kill suspected kidnapper in gun duel O PERATIVES of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, have confiscated assorted arms and ammunition from suspected gunmen operating in the creeks of the Niger Delta region. The JTF team on anti-illegal bunkering patrol were said to have seized the weapons at Ijomu, Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State. The Media Coordinator of JTF, Lt. Col. Mustapha Anka, while confirming the development, said two AK-47 rifles and two magazines, loaded with 48 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition special were recovered from the suspected hoodlums. He explained that the hoodlums, on sighting JTF

n Mike ODIEGWU n

troops, abandoned a sack they were carrying and ran away, adding that the troops recovered the weapons from the sack after searching it. He said that efforts were being made to arrest the fleeing suspects. Anka further confirmed that a suspected kidnapper was killed by the JTF's troops at Eko in the same local government area during exchange of gunfire. He said the suspect and members of his gang were trying to abduct a woman in the area, adding that luck ran out on them when JTF operatives and the police intervened and rescued the woman unhurt. He said: "The rescue oper-

ation witnessed a gun duel that claimed the life of a suspect, while others escaped. Items recovered include one berretta pistol, a locally made short barrel gun and a mask. "The corpse of the suspect and recovered items were handed over to the Police at Isiokolo in Ethiope East local Government Area of Delta state. "Similarly, the JTF, on a tip off, rescued a staff of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Mr. Johnson Erewa from being kidnapped. Suspects that attempted the kidnap were handed over to the Nigeria Police." Speaking further, he said the troops, in conjunction with the Agbara-Oto Vigi-

lante Group, arrested three suspected kidnappers, Messrs Godspower Segun, Samuel Sunday at Omavovwe Agbarho community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. He said an unregistered Nissan sallon car was recovered from the suspects, adding that the suspects and the vehicle were handed over to the Police at Agbarho Oto for further action. Anka also said the JTF troops discovered an illegal oil refinery at Egbokodo Itshekiri general area in Warri South West local Government Area of Delta State. He said three local boats, one pumping machine and a water hose used by the oil thieves were destroyed.

2015: MASSOB spokesman in trouble over Jonathan HE leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has announced the suspension of the group’s Director of Information, Uchenna Madu. According to sources, Madu was suspended for issuing a statement calling on the Federal Government to re-open federal polytechnics and colleges of education in the country, after a prolonged strike. In the statement, said that if such was not done, it could affect the ambition of Jonathan in 2015. Angry with the development, the leadership of the


...bags suspension for comment on president’s ambition •I acted in Ndigbo’s interest, he says n Nwanosike ONU, Awka n group placed a suspension order on Madu. In a phone interview with The Nation in Awka, Uwazuruike, said the idea of the strikes and the insecurity that had pervaded the country are geared towards stopping Jonathan from running in 2015. He said that the movement had said it over and over again that it would support the President’s re-election bid in 2015. Uwazuruike said that

MASSOB would set up a panel to investigate Madu’s source of information, adding that he did not speak on behalf of the group. According to the MASSOB leader, “He has done this kind of thing several times without consulting MASSOB leadership and we cannot go ahead ridiculing the group.” But despite the suspension order, Madu told The Nation yesterday on phone that there was no crisis in the group. He said he welcomed the

suspension, but insisted that what he said was in the interest of Ndigbo and their students who might find themselves committing one form of crime or the other as a result of the lingering strikes. Madu said: “He is our leader, we always listen to him, I have no problems with the suspension. MASSOB is intact, I take the suspension in good fate, but do not see it as crisis, not at all. We are loyal to our leader, we cannot split,” he said.

Pastor jailed for raping minor, another arraigned for raping married woman N Ekiadolor Magistrate Court, sitting at Ekiadolor, has sentenced one Pastor Uwen Friday to five years imprisonment for defiling a 12-year-old girl. Pastor Uwen was said to have forcefully raped the victim at a farm at Okokhuo village in Ovia North East Local Government Area. The rape was said to have resulted to a five months pregnancy. Pastor Uwen was arraigned on a one-count charge of unlawful sexual



n Osagie OTABOR, Benin n intercourse. He pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him. The Presiding Magistrate, F.I Oghoator, in her judgment, sentenced Pastor Uwen to five years imprisonment with hard labour without an option of fine. Another pastor, Samson Odeyemi, was also arraigned at an Iguobazuwa Magistrate Court for raping a married

woman. Police Prosecutor, Again James told the court that the offence was committed on May 14 when the pastor took the victim to a river for spiritual cleansing. The victim was said to have gone to the pastor to seek spiritual healing because she was having spiritual attacks. Pastor Odeyemi was reported to have asked the victim to pull her clothes and thereafter forcefully raped

her. It was, however, learnt that the lid was blown open after the victim's children started falling ill and the husband was told to ask his wife what she did. She confessed and Pastor Odeyemi was arrested. Pastor Odeyemi pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge. The Presiding Magistrate, I. U Iyioha, granted the accused bail and adjourned the case to July 10.

We voted for Obiano because of Obi –Cleric HE Anglican Bishop of Amichi, Most Rev. Aphrian Ikeakor, has said that voters in Anambra State voted for Governor Willie Obiano in the last election because  they believed in former Governor Peter Obi who introduced him. The man of God, who made the remark at the third session of the second Synod of his Diocese at Immanuel Anglican Church, Ekwulumili, said the people had hoped to follow in the footsteps of the former governor. "This may not sound palatable to Your Excellency, but someone must tell our new governor the obvious truth. Your Excellency, Anambrarians did not vote for you, rather they voted for Mr. Peter Obi whose glaring achievements spoke for him, and is still speaking for him. We did not know you and what you stand fir, but trusted that this man that Mr. Peter Obi is confident to present to Anambrarians to succeed him must be a performer." The cleric reminded the governor that he has four years to prove his mettle, pointing out that Obi achieved so much because he partnered with the church. He prayed for the governor's success.



60 News


ORTY five Nigerians are set to leave for the U.S. on Friday, to participate in President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Mrs Maria Brewer, the Chargé d’Affaires of U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, made this known while addressing newsmen in Abuja. Brewer said that the initiative, which was a Washington fellowship for young African leaders, was initiated in 2010 by Obama. “This is the first year for YALI itself; there was a president’s forum for young Africans that President Obama initiated in 2010. “This is the outgrowth of that and as the U.S. government, we are exploring how to take that initial action and turn it into something that is programmatic and will continue,’’ Brewer said. She said that more than 49,000 applications from the



45 Nigerians set for Obama’s YALI continent were received in Washington D.C. for the 500 fellowships that were to be given out. Brewer added that 15,000 applications came from Nigerians and 45 of the applicants were eligible for the fellowship, adding that the applicants were drawn from all over the country. The Chargé d’Affaires also said that participation of the young fellows in the fellowship was an opportunity to realise the aims of the programme. “The U.S. coursework and training is only the beginning of our long-term investment in these young leaders. “Fellows will have opportunity for networking, ongoing professional development, seed funding and community service. “In addition, the fellows will

have access to dedicated funding opportunities to support their ideas, businesses and organisations.’’ According to her, five million dollars in small grants will be awarded in the first three years by the U.S. African Development Foundation to Washington Fellows seeking to start or enhance their own businesses or social enterprises. She said that participants had to be between 25 to 35 years to be eligible to apply for the programme. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the participants are expected to undergo training courses for six weeks in civic leadership, public management, business and entrepreneurship in 20 top universities in the U.S. After the six-week course, participants will also partici-

African industries group donates Mitsubishi truck to Ogun

S part of its social re s p o n s i b i l i t y programmes to benefit the people of its business environment, African Foundries, a subsidiary of Nigerian industrial conglomerate African Industries Group has donated a Mitsubishi truck to the Ogun state Environmental Protection Agency OGEPA to ease their work. The presentation was made during the celebration of the World Environment Day 2014 held at the Hubert Ogunde Cinema and cultural Center, Kuto Abeokuta, Ogun state recently. The event organized by the Ogun state Ministry of Environment had the Executive Governor of Ogun state Senator Ibikunle Amosun as Special Guest with Engr. Ayo Olubori, Ogun state commissioner for

environment as host. At the event which was themed; Raise your voice not the sea level, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun reiterated the clarion call for the preservation of the environment as espoused by his commissioner thanking corporate bodies including African Foundries for supporting the state to realize its set objectives. While receiving the vehicle on behalf of the state government, the Head of service of Ogun state civil service Mrs. Modupe Adekunle who drove the vehicle around thanked the donors for the wonderful donation which she said would definitely be put to the use it was originally intended. He advised African Group not to forget Ogun state and always look in to see if the vehicle is being used or

misused. Speaking in a lecture titled; Pollution emission reduction strategies in metal recycling plants, the CEO of African Foundries Mr. Sanjay Kumar explained how his company has deliberately employed the use of modern technology to reduce the pollution.

pate in a Presidential Summit convened by Obama in Washington D.C. Also, a few fellows will stay in the U.S. to participate in an additional eight-week internship with American NGOs, private and government organisations. Some participants, who spoke to NAN, expressed their determination to make the most of the course. Mariam Mohammed, an

Abuja based lawyer, said she would be taking a course in public management and would apply her new skills in promoting the management of her office administration and NGO. Another participant, Amina Oshiokpekhai, a caterer said she would be taking a course in business and entrepreneurship. Also Olusegun Odunaya, an entrepreneur who operates a

small scale company which specialises in renewable energy, said he would be taking a course in business and entrepreneurship. President Obama launched the YALI in 2010 as a signature initiative that supports young African leaders who strive to promote growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the continent. (NAN)

Ebonyi recorded 332,938 flood victims in 2013, says Gov Elechi


ov. Martin Elechi of Ebonyi said in Abakaliki yesterday that the state re corded no fewer than 332,938 flood victims during the 2013 flood disaster. Elechi announced the figure at the inauguration of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, a World Bank-assisted project. According to him, the effect of flooding and gully erosion in the state has been devastating and had caused the state loss of property estimated at billions of naira. The governor expressed optimism that the project would rewrite the ugly trend in the area. Elechi said the state government, in conjunction with the Federal Government, had put in a series of intervention measures to control and contain flood and erosion menace in the state capital. “I wish to implore you take time off your schedule to visit some of the major flood and erosion sites to appreciate ongoing remedial mea-

sures being put in place by the state in conjunction with the Federal Government. “Survey shows that the South East zone of the country is at imminent danger as gully erosion alone contributes to its environmental degradation and other associated damages estimated at millions of dollars annually. “It is for this reason that the Federal Government solicited the support of the World Bank. “The response of the bank gave rise to the initiative for which we are all gathered today,’’ Elechi said. He commended the World Bank for its timely response to the daunting challenge and for its many partnering developmental initiatives in the state. He enumerated areas of the bank’s assistance to include HIV and AIDS, Community-Based Urban Development Project, Community and Social Development Project and Health System Development Project, among others.

Colleagues mourn gospel singer Kefee

•Continued from Page 4 I have met her several times. We have been on stage together several times. We interacted as colleagues. I won’t say that we were very close, but we knew each other well. “I will miss her drive. She seems to me like a very determined woman who had been through so much and yet kept her faith in God. For me, that is one of the biggest testimonies that one can have. “She kept her focus on God in spite of whatever life threw at her. In her, I admired the drive to succeed and the drive to keep at what she was doing and to keep on expanding her frontiers and enlarging her territory.”

While the singer was rumoured to be pregnant and suffered pre-eclampsiaher, her UK Manager, Adeline Adelicious Adebayo, refuted the rumour in an official statement. Adebayo said: “On behalf of the family… it is with great sadness but grateful hearts that we announce the passing to glory, due to lungs failure this morning, of our God’s mouthpiece, chorus leader, daughter, wife, sister, friend Kefee Branama Queen … May her beautiful, gentle and precious soul rest in perfect peace. “In contrast to earlier rumours and stories in circulation, I do state that Kefee wasn’t six months pregnant and neither did she have pre-eclampsia.”

The journey to great political change has begun —Tinubu Being the text of an address delivered by APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the national convention of the party in Abuja yesterday No one is more elated than me today at this convention ground. No more is history in the making; history has been made with the formation and now the first national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC). I welcome you all. We are gathered here because of the love for country. We know no other country than Nigeria. And because Nigeria matters, we have taken up the challenge to make it better. Conscious of the fact that our country hangs on in the face of a stupendous crisis, mindful that if we do nothing the slide into anarchy and underdevelopment will come upon us, and convinced that our collective effort and sacrifice at a time such as this can reverse for the better the lot of our people, we have put our hands to the plough. Never to look back! That we pulled this merger off is something beyond punditry. It was a merger destined to fail, yet it survived. It was no easy task, but it was a task that needed to be done. This party, the APC is here to stay. We have provided Nigerians with a credible alternative at a time

that is most needed. Therefore, we cannot afford to fail or falter. Our eyes are set on a goal bigger than all of us and our destination is a Nigeria where good governance subsists and millions of our people are empowered. We must as a party rise above self and put country first. Though we have differences, we would understand them and work together. Though we would disagree, we would hold those crucial conversations to reach an agreeable consensus. These we will do because we must never let primordial nor parochial sentiments stand in our way or distract us from the national rescue assignment we have embarked upon. As one of the national leaders of this party, I have dedicated myself to our political collaboration. I am attached to it in the strongest way. I am proud of what we have accomplished. Had we not held fast in the South-West against onslaught and intrigue, Nigeria would effectively be a one party state. In coming together to form the APC, we have preserved Nigerian democracy when it came under great threat. And when history records the monumental developments of the last decade, it will recognise this great sacrifice. I have demonstrated my ir-

•Asiwaju Tinubu revocable commitment to democracy, to true political partnerships and to building bridges where none exists not merely in words but through action. I recall that in April 2013, I led the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at its convention at the Onikan Stadium to be the first party in the merger to dissolve its identity in a yet to be

registered political party. It was blind faith then. But today, that blind faith has manifested into reality. It was our collective decision then to sacrifice our party for the sake of Nigeria. In my speech at Onikan stadium, I said, “Weighing all things in the balance, if I must decide between the existence of this party and the

improvement of Nigeria, I must choose the improvement of Nigeria. That is our duty and responsibility. While it would be most comfortable to remain with our party as is, with its unique symbol, manifesto and constitution, we are not here to do what is comfortable. We are here to do what is right for our people and our country. We are here to answer to a greater, higher calling. That calling is the love of Nigeria.” As we elect our national officers today, we have embarked on yet another journey. Our destination is sure because our cause is right. Our country needs a new beginning. Nigerian needs men and women who can bring the change that we want so badly. The APC is a party of ideas; one bursting with pragmatic and workable solutions to our problems and challenges as a people. We are not about violence, but about equity, justice and fairness. We want a Nigeria that is prosperous. A people on the path to greater glory. A country where those with vision lead and not blind men. Our agenda is clear and unambiguous. Free and fair elections guaranteed by the use of the full biometric system. A judicial system that dispenses justice without fear or favour. The supremacy of the rule of law. A true federal

system and commitment to the tenets of democracy. I still believe very strongly in my assertion made at the Onikan convention. It is my conviction that this convention portends the coming of great political change. A storm is brewing. Don’t be frightened. It is a positive storm with a positive wind. Those things that have no roots and offer no solution to the plight of the people shall be swept away. This storm will change the political terrain forever. I am not afraid of this storm. I welcome it because the storm is us- our new vision. Our new party. I thank you all, APC members here and across Nigeria and in the diaspora for standing by this party. For working for this party. For believing in this party and buying into its vision. We have embarked on a remarkable journey together. Let us stay the course no matter what, so that we can all share in the joy of victory and never wallow in the pond of defeat. I ask you all to join me today to sweep away those that have made this country a laughing stock and pushed our people below the poverty line. When the wind of change blows, it sweeps clean. And that is what we are about. I thank you for listening.



Honour for achievers L

AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola; his Osun State counterpart, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; and Dr Benson Enikuomehin, former Ondo State representative on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), were among the awardees who stood tall at the maiden edition of the Leadership Awards for African Achievers (LAFAA). As they stepped onto the podium with their admirers to receive the awards, guests, looking resplendent in their attire, hailed them. The Balmoral Hall in Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos, venue of the event, was well lit. The award, the first of its kind, was organised by the Celebrity Magazine International. No fewer than 30 people got awards and certificates. Sky Music Life Band led by Francis Akingbemi entertained guests. The event also featured performances from various artistes, including Lafiaji Fanty Association, Lagos Island; Ozzy Bosco Wonder Kid and his crew; Okoro African Cultural Dancers and a physically-challenged singer, Sky Francis. The magazine’s editor-in-chief and LAFAA President, in his welcome address, said the awards were to honour selfless compatriots across the continent, who, despite the challenges, often associate with Africa and its people. The awardees, he said, had excelled and performed exceptionally in their chosen fields, “and it is hoped that the little effort will motivate and inspire others to strive for greatness.” Not long after his speech, the award session followed. The awardees were called one after the other amid cheers by the guests. Aregbesola bagged the Outstanding Governor of the Year Award. He was represented by his Commissioner for Local Government Service Commission, Dr Adeleke Ipaye; Fashola got the Outstanding Government Personality of the Year. He was represented by his Director for Special


The maiden edition of the Leadership Awards for African Achievers 2014 (LAFAA) has been held in Lagos. OLATUNDE ODEBIYI reports.

•From left: Dr Enikuomehin; his wife, Bose; Pastor Subday Enikuomehin and wife, Felicia

•Hon Kuye (middle) flanked by Oloruntoba Oke (left) and Moses Bamgbose

•Mr Salihou Mifoutaou (left) and Gen Robert

Duties, Mr Kunle Oseni, while Enikuomehin received the Outstanding Performance in Infrastructural Development in the Southwest. Others honoured were Gen Gbian Robert who was recognised for his outstanding contribution to good governance and democracy in Nigeria; Chairman, Agege Local Government,

•Alhaji Abdul Kareem

Alhaji Jubreel AbdulKareem; Director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Mr Rowland Ofulure, represented by his General Manager, Mr Samuel Okmkeome, got the Outstanding Aviation Personality, Award. Lafiaji-Fanty Association was also honoured for its extraordinary performance. Responding, Aregbesola thanked

the organisers for the award, noting that the award was to encourage his administration to do more. Fashola said the award had set the pace for people in the state to do more in whatever position they find themselves. To Dr Enikuomehin, the award is a thing of joy. “You will be remembered by what

you do whether positively or negatively,” he said, urging public servants to be positive minded and impact well on others. Alhaji AbdulKareem promised to do more to uplift the society. Gen Robert described the award as beautiful and a source of motivation. He dedicated the award to the citizens of Benin and Africa at large.


•Megafoam Managing Director, Mr Olaitan Odukoya, and his wife, Dr Kemi

•Chairman, ASUU, UNILAG, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, and his wife, Nike

•Mr Bayo Oguntimehin (left) and Justice Ibikunle Adesalu

•From left: Dr Karo Kaja, Dr Demola Aremu and Dr Abiola Sanni







WORLD CUP RESULTS Mexico 1 - 0 Cameroon Spain 1 - 5 Netherlands



SHOCKER! Netherlands humiliate Spain 5-1 F ORMER Chelsea star Arjen Robben and Manchester United hitman Robin Van Persie were on top form as Holland ran riot against reigning World Cup champions Spain. Despite a slow start to the game, it was Spain who took the lead after half an hour through a Xabi Alonso penalty. However, Van Persie levelled for the Dutch a minute before half-time with an early Goal of the Tournament contender, smashing home a flying header after a beautifullyweighted 45-yard pass from Daley Blind. Robben put Holland 2-1 up

in the 53rd minute, his fantastic first touch leaving Gerard Pique in his wake and firing home to send the Dutch fans wild. RVP hit the bar with a thun-


the evening. Robben rounded off the night with a great solo run and finish, leaving Spain humiliated in their first match in Brazil.

Yobo thrilled to be at W/Cup after injury woe


OSEPH Yobo is delighted to be at the FIFA World Cup with Nigeria after recent injuries had left him doubting his own participation. The defender is preparing for his third finals appearance, but admits he was unsure whether he would be able to travel to Brazil after fitness

Musa optimistic of good outing

HMED Musa is optimistic Nigeria will have a good outing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Nigeria international winger stated that he is looking sustain the momentum gained from winning the Russian Championship with CSKA Moscow. The 21-year-old reckons that Nigeria are in a tough group, but is optimistic that the African champions will make a good impression at the tournament.

dering shot before defender Stefan de Vrij headed home from a set-piece for 3-1. David Silva had a goal disallowed minutes before Van Persie bagged his second of

"I am very glad that I managed to recover from injuries and participated in the last game of the season with my club," Musa told Russian football website Bobsoccer. "CSKA Moscow won the Russian championship and I went to the national team of Nigeria in a great mood. We have a difficult group, but I have a positive attitude. “I believe we will perform well, I will make every effort for this," he added.

concerns. The 33-year-old, loaned to Norwich City from Turkish champions Fenerbahce for the second half of last season, struggled with a persistent calf problem while at Carrow Road. Yobo made just eight appearances for Norwich in over three months, and concedes his fitness was a worry heading into the finals. "This is going to be my third World Cup and I wasn't fit before this time so I'm just happy now that I'm fit and ready and that gives me great joy," he told KickOffNigeria. "Because at a point I doubted myself if I was going to make it here because of injuries. "But I'm here now, I'm fit and ready to go." Captain of Nigeria, Yobo is nearing 100 caps for his country, but insists any milestones are secondary to the fortunes of the team, with Stephen Keshi's men drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, Bosnia-

Herzegovina and Iran. "Any other thing that comes after playing the World Cup is an addition, a bonus," he added. "My main focus is playing for Nigeria, doing well for Nigeria and if I achieve any landmark, it's going to be exciting and special as well." Nigeria kick-off their World Cup campaign on June 16 against Iran in Curitiba.


Eagles of hope •Continued from back page will pair Oboabona in the central defence between Joseph Yobo and Omeruo? Many settled for Omeruo, except that they were worried if he had the cognate experience to marshal the defence against prolific strikers such as Messi, Higuain, Dzeko, Aguero, Di Maria etc. At this point the prayer had stopped. Another character took over. He explained why Yobo should pair Omeruo not Oboabona. These pundits argued that Oboabona should marshal the defence from the right back, where he can overlap and shoot at the goal. There was silence. Many recalled watching Oboabona play for Sunshine FC of Akure at the right back and scoring goals. Oboabona’s choice at the right back changed the argument. Again, this pundit suggested that Omeruo could be moved to the left back and Ambrose deployed to pair Yobo in the central defence. He was shouted down and called names. Herein lies the difficulty of the coaches in picking the Eagles’ first 11 players. The session to pick the midfielders continued. John Mikel Obi and Oguenyi Onazi stood out. The question became the formation that the coaches would adopt. The discussion moved to picking the four attackers. Emmanuel Emenike was the obvious choice to lead the team’s attacking forays. The issue arose about his fitness. Many pointed out that Emenike had been a shadow of his Africa Cup of Nations’ form, especially when fielded without Brown Ideye, who was dropped by the coaches for not having the knack for scoring goals. Who will pair Emenike upfront? Osaze Odewingie, who the coaches have said is desperate to impress them (whatever that means)? Or Shola Ameobi, who hasn’t shown the knack of scoring goals that we have seen him do for Barclays English premier league side Newcastle? Or debutant Nwofor? Tough task, no doubt. One guy suggested Victor Moses to pair Emenike. He was shot down by the others who preferred Ahmed Musa. Is Ahmed Musa fit for the World Cup? We settled for Musa- Emenike combination but with a caveat that the coaches must be sure that he is truly fit, lest we waste a big opportunity to utilise the three substitutions required by the laws of the game for tactical decisions to counter what our opponents would

be throwing at us. Moses and Osaze were picked to operate from the midfield and join the attack. They would fall back into the midfield when we lose possession of the ball. The flaw from this mundane 4-24 formation which our coaches have played is that it lacks the presence of a creative midfielder, who can change the game tactically. What Moses offers to the Eagles is his dribbling skills which create openings. But Moses spoils it by excessive dribbling. Besides, he fails to swing the passes to his freer mates, preferring to shoot at the goal from very tight spots. The problem with Moses and his witty dribbles is that they are predictable. Such dribblers are easily marked. Witty coaches would deploy a hard tackling defender to mark him. The defender would be told to stop Moses from getting the ball first. if that happens, Moses would cease to function. Can Odemwingie be Eagles’ joker by playing the link between the team’s attack and defence? He could, if told so but does he have the strength to perform such roles having played all season for Stoke as the centre forward? As the Eagles await the Iranians on Monday, it is important to remind our players that their opponents qualified from their group like the Nigerians. The Iranians didn’t emerge from playoffs which means that they can play the game as much as the Nigerians, especially under the tutelage of Carlos Quieroz. The Iranians have watched tapes of our stars in their clubs and the national team. We cannot say the same of the Iranians. I just hope this doesn’t come back to haunt us on Monday. Iran’s coach has the requisite knowledge to handle the big stage which the World Cup symbolises, having worked with the great Sir Alex Ferguson. Ours will be at the Mundial as rookies, even though they are World Cup stars. Monday is Judgment Day for the coaches. Iran must fall. They must be beaten groggy with goals. The Eagles must learn from the Confederations Cup, where beating Tahiti 6-1 wasn’t good enough for the team to progress from the group. Spain and Uruguay beat Tahiti with more goals than the Eagles. Iran could be another Tahiti because Argentina and Bosnia could whip them silly, if the Eagles waste scoring chances. Will the Eagles make us proud on Monday with a whiplash of Iran? It is our prayer and I pray it happens. Good luck Eagles.

•Brazilians love the beautiful game. They dream it, eat it, drink it and sleep with it. Little wonder young people getting ready to for their weddings during the ongoing World Cup have chosen the colours of their country and equipment associated with soccer. Wedding ceremonies shown on television have seen couples dressed in Brazil's yellow and blue attires. First the brides wear yellow wedding dresses while the men wear loose white shirts on blue trousers or white on blue trousers, apparently showcasing the Brazilians registered colours for the Mundial. As for the flower girls and the page boys, they wear blue shorts and yellow tops. They carry balls instead of flowers. The bouquet thrown by the bride at young girls primed to get married too is the World Cup ball. It is a very exciting scene to witness. •It rained heavily in the wee hours of Friday. Heavy thunder storms. for us Nigerians, we expected to see flooded roads and gridlocks. We were shocked to find the only trace of rain been the drying paths of the road. All the rain had drained into functional drainages. The traffic was light. No umbrellas nor did we people wading through clogs of water on the streets. curiously, I searched for the gutters but they were all covered and formed the walk ways which pedestrians used. not convinced my prying caught a small gap close to one of the traffic lights. I looked and noticed that the hole had a regulator. Wonder who had left it open, I noticed a vehicle carrying wastes. my question had been answered. •Talking about how they evacuate waste in Brazil is quite interesting. it is done at night or should I say from the evenings. before the waste vans arrive, the heaps are neatly packed in black cellophane backs. These bags are again neatly arranged in heaps in front of each person's store or house. Nothing spills from the bags in the heaps. the pavement where these bags of waste are is always neat. •Where are the long haul vehicles in Brazil? When I say long haul vehicles, I talking about the trailers can cause nightmare for motorists on the highways and cities. No one has seen them despite the ongoing construction work in the country, especially around the designated stadia. We were told that they operate after midnight. No one dares violate the directive no matter your status in the country. I have spent five days in Brazil, I have seen any accident scene in spite of the fact that the Brazilians won last night by beating Croatia 3-1. •The fear of terrorists is the beginning of wisdom in Brazil. No one is excluded. what it means is that security is taken seriously. no margin for errors here. leisurely, the Punch newspaper's Group sports editor Pius Ayinor and I walked to the Corithians stadium on Friday to work. We reasoned that the place would be quite. It was when we eventually entered the place. The security man placed the gadget on Ayinor's media badge and shook his head. I noticed that Pius was as stunned as I was. He tried thrice. with every try, he shook his head as if to suggest that a suspect had been fished out. Quickly, he asked Ayinor to step aside. I moved forward and my badge cleared the test. I couldn't leave Ayinor behind, so I waited. all these time, I noticed a neatly dressed girl watching us. from our countenance, she fathomed that were no suspects. I saw put a call to another colleague. he came quickly and use his detector on Ayinor's badge. It failed the test. this new man didn't shake his head like the first did. Instead, he told us to enter the media centre but pleaded with Ayinor to head back to the Accreditation centre on Saturday (today) to get a new badge. •Destitutes in Sau Paulo are on their own. Events on Friday morning suggested such as they were seen lying down on the cold streets occasioned by the early hours rain. it was a pitiable sight. Ayinor said as much. He argued that such a thing won't happen in Nigeria, largely because one Good Samaritan would have given them succor. I'm still pinching myself to see if such a scene cant be mad worse in Nigeria. Are these people not like the urchins we find all over Nigeria? I am still pinching myself. •Journey by the train is really revealing, especially the interchanges from point one to the other. Matters are made worse by the language barrier of most people. There are signs to guide you but everywhere looks the same. What this tells the newcomer is that Brazil is an organized country. The train stations are like others in civilised countries is structured in such a way that if you don't have cash, you cannot assess them. here, we have not seen the rogues and rough heads. We have been thrilled by love scenes by lovers. Yet, the big surprise is the absence of uniformed men and women what we call staff in Nigeria. Staff like they are known in Nigeria ride buses free. they flaunt all kinds of identity cards to show why they should hike buses free. Happily, I asked one Brazilian woman, who spoke Queens English if uniformed personnel are not allowed to use the train stations? she told me pointedly- everyone pays. Of course, they had to do so like others. besides, everywhere is covered by CCTV. no room for nonsense. Can we have this setting in Nigeria? E no possible, ko se se se. The CCTV gadgets will be stolen by those who installed them in collaboration with the contractor who gave them the jobs. Nigeria will hail thee!







High-cap stocks rally equities to N95b gains

AINS by highly capitalised stocks helped Nigerian equities to a positive close yesterday as aggregate market value of all quoted equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) rose by N95 billion to N13.709 trillion. Against the background of the topsy-turvy that had characterized the market during the week, the weekend rally helped to moderate the downtrend and boosted the year-to-date outlook of the market. The All Share Index (ASI), the main index that tracks prices of all quoted shares on the NSE, indicated day-onday gain of 0.70 per cent to close at 41,517.10 points as against its opening index of 41,228.65 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities rose from N13.614 trillion to N13.709 trillion. The uptrend yesterday boosted the five months and

Taofik SALAKO Capital Market Editor

a half return at the NSE to a modest gain of 0.45 per cent. With 24 gainers to 26 losers, the positive market situation was driven largely by gains recorded by highly capitalised stocks such Conoil, SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company, Nigerian Breweries, Dangote Cement and Stanbic IBTC Holdings among others. SEPLAT led the gainers with a gain of N10 to close at N660. Conoil followed with a gain of N6.75 to close at N72.73. Nigerian Breweries rose by N4.53 to close at N174.64. Dangote Cement gathered N2.75 to close at N227. Stanbic IBTC added 55 kobo to close at N25.90. Caverton chalked up 45 kobo to close at N25.90 while UACN Property Development Company rose by 40 kobo to N18 per share.

On the other hand, Okomu Oil Palm recorded the highest loss of 86 kobo to close at N33.86. NCR followed with a loss of 79 kobo to close at N15.20. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria dropped by 50 kobo to N110. Jos International Breweries slipped by 28 kobo to N2.79 while National Salt Company of Nigeria lost 10 kobo to close at N11.50. Total turnover stood at 215.42 million shares worth N2.54 billion in 4,555 deals. Financial services sector was the most active with a turnover of 136.01 million shares worth N1.43 billion in 2,216 deals. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc was the most active stock with a turnover of 37.51 million shares worth N157.72 million in 316 deals. United Bank for Africa placed second with aa turnover of 35.58 million shares worth N287.72 million in 290 deals.



One startling aspect of this fully legalised looting and wasting of our national assets is the freewheeling manner in which the President and the Executive Governors dip into public coffers to patronise and reward their followers, kinsmen and women and cronies —Biodun Jeyifo


HE FIFA World Cup is here again. The lenses of the planet will be centered on South America for the next month as the football elite descend on Brazil, the host country. As Brazil gears up for the glitz and glam of the World Cup, riots, strikes and civil disturbances in the host nation over the World Cup are the latest manifestations of the tensions that exist behind the glamour of the beautiful game. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the 20th FIFA World Cup, scheduled to take place in Brazil from today, the 12th of June to the 13th of July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil is hosting the competition, the previous being in 1950. Brazil was elected unchallenged as host nation in 2007 after FIFA decreed that the tournament would be staged in South America for the first time since 1978 in Argentina, and the fifth time overall. With the start of the World Cup just hours away, the pomp and pageantry associated with this epoch event has been eclipsed by civil unrest and metro strikes by the Brazilian citizens. While poor Brazilians are protesting against excess funding and overspending on the tournament instead of investing in social amenities such as health and education and other necessary development projects, union leaders are demanding for wage increases, and threatening to resume a metro strike if their demands are not met. They are also calling for staff threatened with dismissal for their involvement in strike-related disturbances to be reinstated. An earlier five-day stoppage had caused wide-scale traffic chaos, with fears that a repeat of the disruption could prevent fans and employees from attending group stage matches during the sporting event. If this continues, it could severely disrupt the opening encounter between hosts Brazil and Croatia at the Itaquerao stadium or Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. Presently, traffic in much of the city has come to a standstill, with FIFA officials subjected to four-hour car journeys from the airport to their hotels. Owing to the hosting of this epic event, Brazil has seen over a year of protests against bad governance and perceived excessive spending on the World Cup. Apparently, Brazil is not entirely ready for this World Cup, and a good deal of the population still wants no part of it. This was definitely not what SeppBlatter, FIFA President, envisaged seven years ago when FIFA awarded the tournament to Brazil; when Blatterbegan his insistent campaign to spread the glory to regions of the world that aren’t necessarily prepared for such a spectacle. However, Brazilian President DilmaRousseff, has maintained that her country is ready on and off the pitch for the football World Cup, rejecting criticism of overspending, saying, “the tournament would leave a lasting legacy of infrastructure.” Another major occurrence overshadowing the 2014 FIFA World Cup is the allegations on SeppBlatter of corruption pertaining to the Qatar World Cup bid. Undoubtedly, Blatter is a quintessential and “poster child” ofAfrican leaders with a “stay put” mentality, never wanting torelinquishtheir hold on power. The 78-year-old president has been mired in rapacious corruption charges since he assumed of-

Eagles come out supreme at World Cup 2014 fice in 1998. In reminisce of African leaders ‘stay-put’ mentality, he is canvassing for a 5th term in office amidst numerous corruption scandals. There has been increasing calls as more of FIFA’s leading sponsors such as Sony, Visa, Adidas and Coca-Cola have joined the call for an investigation into allegations that Qatar bought the 2022 World Cup with millions of dollars-worth of bribes under Blatter’s stewardship. However, Blatter has claimed that the current allegations of corruption around the Qatar World Cup bid are being driven by “racism and discrimination”. The FIFA president has also claimed there is a plot “to destroy FIFA”. Furthermore, in a manner similarto African leader’s penchant for tenure elongation while in office, Blatter has raised the issue of the two controversial reforms before the FIFA Congress — votes on term and age limits for the FIFA president and executive committee members. His stance is that age limits for sports administrators “is a form of discrimination”. This is indeed a blatant attempt at eliciting justification for his continued stay in office. Turning our attention to the Super Eagles of Nigeria, what are our prospects in the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Nigeria is undeniably a soccer powerhouse in Africa and packed with football enthusiasts, only debuting in the world’s most followed competition in 1994. Taking an odyssey down memory lane, Nigeria qualified for her first FIFA World Cup when the esteemed competition was hosted by the U.S.A in 1994. The Super Eagles pulled a successful first ever World Cup run and were deservedly ranked fifth in the FIFA World Rankings during that period; thus, becoming the highest ranked African nation ever. After beating the likes of Bulgaria and Greece, and narrowly losing to Argentina, the Super Eagles progressed to the second round of the competition finishing first in their group. This was the “golden era” of the Super Eagles as they were still basking under the euphoria of winning the African Nations cup in Tunisia earlier that same year. They went into the competition as African champions, and they sure weren’t a disappointment. They soared elegantly like the Eagles they were and the likes

of Emmanuel Amuneke, Daniel Amokachi, the ‘late great’ RashidiYekini, Finidi George, Samson SiaSia, et al, shown as bright as the stars they were. Sadly however, the Super Eagles dream of reaching the finals and probably winning the competition was halted by Italy (the eventual silver medalist), in the 102nd minute of extra-time, when they were awarded a penalty after a one-all draw during the round of 16. I remember the moment we conceded that goal vividly and I can honestly say that it was one of the most excruciating and depressing moments I have had as a Nigerian. In 1998, when the FIFA World Cup was held in France, the Super Eagles returned to the tournament again with high hopes of surpassing its performance in the United States. Most of the 1994 squad was retained, infused with some of the victorious players that won gold in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. Many thought that with four more years of experience in the kitty, Nigeria could build upon its 1994 run and progress into the quarter-finals and beyond. As the competition commenced, the Super Eagles managed a massive upset, defeating favorites Spain 3-2 in a pulsating game. The team came from behind twice to pull an important victory from Spain. With another win and aloss, the Eagles progressedthrough the group stage and looked primed to break their previous run. Unfortunately, akin to what happened in 1994, the Eagles fell to an excruciating defeat when they were walloped 1-4 by Denmark. Consecutively, the Super Eagles also qualified for the 2002 World Cup, jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan. With most of the ’94 and ’98 World Cup crop of players getting to retirement ages, Nigeria enlisted the services of a new crop of younger players, injecting a new sense of optimism and vibrancy in Nigeria. However, a replication of the previous successes, albeit minimalcouldn’t be reproduced as the Super Eagles were drawn in an extremely tough group. The Eagles couldn’t spread their wings and soar in thatcompetition. A loss to both Argentina and Sweden and a barren draw with England in the group stage meant we had to exit the tournament without proceeding to the knockout stage. Subsequently, the 2006

World Cup held in Germany recorded the absence of the Super Eagles as wefailed to qualify to be one of the representatives from Africa via technicalities of having an inferior head to head record with Angola. The first and only FIFA World Cup tournament held on African soil thus far saw the participation of the Super Eagles. Alas! The 2010 World Cup held in South Africa was once again a disastrous outing for the Super Eagles, reminiscent of the 2002 tourney. The Eagles performance was dismally low as we finished last during the group stages. As a result of the below par performance, an infuriated President Jonathan banned the Super Eagles from partaking in international competition for two years. However, five days later, the government rescinded its ban, but FIFA ultimately banned the national team from international football tournaments indefinitely due to reasons of political interference. Eventually, the ban was provisionally lifted and the case was dropped. The Super Eagles, having qualified for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil commencing in a few hours’ time and on the backdrop of being the champions of Africa, with a young squad which includes Chelsea star, John Mikel Obi, Liverpool star, Victor Moses, the ever dependable OsazeOdemigwe, the deputy captain and the best Goal keeper in the French League, Vincent Enyama, and a nononsense coach that steered the Eagles to victory in the African Cup of nations earlier this year, a former player and captain of the golden era Super Eagles, “the big boss” himself, Steven Keshi. If there was any individual that can do it, Steven Keshi is the man capable of taking the Eagles all the way. Presently in a group perceived to be “weak on paper” comprising Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and our customary opponent in every World Cup tourney, Argentina, the Eagles are widely expected to well and have a strong chance of progressing further than the group stage. With the caliber and quality of players, and an imposing coach, the prospects of the Super Eagles are looking quite bright. Hence, can the Africa champions finally break the jinx of surpassing the round of 16? Will we pass the group stage? Can we go all the way to the final and possibly comeback home with the trophy? Will our other African teams excel in the game? Is 2014 going to be the year for Africa? I think even the predictive prowess of the late Paul, the psychic octopus who hit the headlines during the last World Cup by picking the correct results throughout the game from his tank in Oberhausen, Germany and his equally psychic cousin, Ollie,would have probably struggled to hazard a guess. No doubt in the next four weeks all eyes will be on Brazil. The world will be watching and cheering on their national teams as they dribble, kick, shoot and perform all manners of exhilarating football theatric. And eventhough I will not be in Brazil to cheer our boys to victory, I will certainly be rooting for our beloved Super Eagles from the comfort of my home. “Go Eagles Go…!” May you make history with a victory! May your wings open wide so you can fly high and come out supreme at this World Cup of 2014!

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday

Eagles of hope


HE world’s greatest show has opened in Brazil. But I’m not excited. The talk in her about likely fairytale teams doesn’t include Nigeria. Hisses and sighs rent the air when Super Eagles is mentioned. What you hear are the exploits of Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Okocha, the late Rashidi Yekini, Emmannuel Emenike et al. They also talk about Stephen Keshi but the discussion stops at his feats with European teams because he played just a game at the USA’94 World. They ask how Nigeria dropped to such a laughable level where we are now parading a comity of bench warmers. They still celebrate Daniel Amokachi. Many purists still rate Da Bull as Nigeria’s best player, ahead of Kanu, courtesy of his exploits in England, Belgium and Turkey. They argue that Kanu was skillful, a match winner but he lacked the Da Bull’s guts. Nigeria kissed the

(My World Cup diary, 9) USA’94 World Cup bye when Amokachi exited with the injury that nailed his career, they say. The argument can continue but my choice is Kanu. I wish these pundits could watch the Atlanta’96 Olympic Games where Kanu and Amokachi played. Kanu was certainly the best player in the world in that competition. They talk about Sunday Oliseh as the most accomplished Nigerian player. He played in Ajax FC of Holland, in several clubs in Belgium, Juventus in Italy and Dortmund in Germany, among others. Taribo West featured in the discussion. So did Victor Ikpeba, who many argue was Nigeria’s fastest. Do you agree? I feel it is Tijani Babangida. Perhaps after Segun Odegbami, Samuel Okpodu and Dominic Iorfa of yore? Emmanuel Emenike featured in the

fastest player debate. But were they faster than Clement Temile? So, who is Nigeria’s fastest player? Food for thought. The discussion moved to the current Super Eagles and the unanimous choice of the best player fell on goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Quickly, one of the discussants swore it wasn’t Enyeama. He argued that picking Enyeama was disastrous because it meant that the balls must always come towards him if he must justify our ratings. The message didn’t sink. He saw it on our faces and explained further. Craving for the balls to come towards Enyeama during Nigeria’s World Cup matches could be dangerous. Any error from him will be a goal and it would be very difficult for the Eagles’ attackers to equalise. The poser of hav-

ing goalkeeper Austin Ejide as Enyeama’s deputy arose. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He muttered inaudible words and broke into a long prayer in which he asked God not to commit the Eagles into the shame of having a goalkeeper, who is not at his best to man the goalpost. This Enyeama apostle asked God to forgive the coaches for whatever sins they would have committed in picking the squad, pointing out that as rookies to the senior World Cup, such mistakes are pardonable. We all chorused Amen. But our man wasn’t done with his prayers. He went into momentary soliloquy and started binding and casting any spirit that will bring up the need for goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim to man the goalpost. The “Amen” was deafening. The prayer reached its crescendo when the choice of defenders came up. The back four men were difficult to pick. Godfrey Oboabona was the unanimous choice. Efe Ambrose next but the problem was in which position. Who

•Continued on Page 62

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June 14, 2014  
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