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VOL. 9, NO. 2783 MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014





•President Goodluck Jonathan (fifth left), Senate President David Mark (third left), Cardinal John Onaiyekan (sixth left), President, Catholic Bishop Conference, Bishop Ignatus Kaigama (fourth left), Foreign Affairs Minister of State Prof. Viola Onwuliri (second left) and bishops during the 2014 Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria at the Our Lady Pro. Cathedral Garki in Abuja...yesterday. STORY ON PAGE 53


National Conference: List of delegates sparks anger Pensioners, civil society groups, MOSOP, Itsekiri, others allege neglect


VEN before it begins, the National Conference is generating acrimony – the very ailment it is expected to tackle. The talk shop to which 492 delegates have been invited is to be inaugurated by President Goodluck

By Emmanuel Oladesu, Shola O’Neil, Warri, Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt, John Ofikhenua, Abuja, Duku Joel, Damaturu and Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Jonathan next Monday. It will be chaired by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Lagbo Kutigi. But the Ogoni in Rivers State, the Itsekiri of Delta

Osun: INEC’s voters’ register faulty, says APC


From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) may reject the voter’s register which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wants to use for the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states as well as the 2015 general elections. The party’s Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, who spoke with reporters yesterday in Ila-Orangun, his Osun State home town, after collecting his permanent voter card at Unit 12, Obalumo Compound, Atewogbade Street, Isedo 1, Ward 4, alleged that INEC’s records had been manipulated. Continued on page 4

State and Pensioners, among others, rejected the list yesterday. They are angry that they have been “sidelined”. The coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOS) in

the Northeast has also rejected the delegates’ list. Besides, a top official of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the opposition party might not be keen on filling the two slots allotted it at the conference. But a former President of

the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the conference should be given the benefit of the doubt to succeed. He urged President Jonathan not to reduce its outcome and concessions to “mere advisory significan-

ces”. The APC chief, who is a member of the Interim National Executive Committee (NEC), doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity. He said: “If they are still waiting for the list of deleContinued on page 4 •ALL FOR MUSIC: From left (front row) Regional Director, Central Africa, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), Ernest Ewane; CEO/MD,PRM Africa, Mike Dada; Chairperson, African Union Commission, H.E, Dr. Nkosazama Dlami Zuma; Director, Brand Communication and Sponsorship, AFRIMA, Matlou Tsotetsi; Senior Editorial Officer, Informationa and Communication Directorate, AUC,Tankou Azza Esther. Back Row (L-R) ; Director, Strategy and Stakeholder Engagements, AFRIMA,Titiloye Amzat; Administrative Officer, Social Affairs,AUC;Alice N’taye; Senior Cultural Officer, Social Affairs, AUC; Angela Martins;Co-producer and Regional Director,Eastern Africa, AFRIMA, Mike Strano;Senior Policy Officer, Social Affairs, AUC, Kladoumadje Nadjaldongar during the meeting on AFRIMA 2014 at the African Union Secretariat in Addis Ababa, the weekend.





Boko Haram’s d

•President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Okey Wali(SAN) cutting the tape to inaugurate the Wole Olanipekun Bar Centre donated by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) to NBA Ikere Ekiti the weekend. With him are Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Yusuf Ali (left), Chief Olanipekun and his wife and NBA, Ikere-Ekiti Branch Chairman Bunmi Olugbade (right).

•From left: Managing Director, Airtel, Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, CEO, Airtel International Strategy, Mr. Manoj Kohli, and Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

•From left: President, West Central African Division Seventh-day Adventist Church, Dr. Gilbert Wari, President, World Church of Senventday Adventist, Dr. Ted Wilson, President, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State Dr. Oyeleke Owolabi and President/Vice Chancellor, Babacock University, Prof Kayode Makinde at a news conference to mark the 100 years of the church in Nigeria at weekend. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

•Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema (right) and Managing Director, Meristem Securities Limited, Oluwole Abegunde (middle), presenting a cheque to Adigun Omodele, one of the winners of the raffle draw conducted at the launch of Meritrade Online Stock Trading platform in Lagos. PHOTO: DAYO ADEWUNMI

More than 1,300 people have died in the past two months as an insurgent Islamist group, Boko Haram, wages a rebellion rooted in poverty, corruption, religion and geography, writes The Guardian of London


AKARI Matazu had just got home when a deafening sound filled his ears and part of his wall cracked and fell to the floor, whipping up a cloud of dust. Then came another boom and his legs started shaking. “I walked outside my house, then I saw people running helter-skelter and people screaming, and at that point my legs could no longer carry me, so I just sat down on the ground,” he recalled. “That is when I saw my neighbour Mama Baby, who was screaming and pointing to a building that had been brought to the ground by the bomb, and she was saying that her children were in the rubble.” Matazu, 29, survived the double bomb blast earlier this month in Maiduguri, north-east Nigeria, that killed about 45 people and destroyed seven buildings. It was the latest blow by the terrorist group Boko Haram to shake the foundations of Africa’s most populous state. Boko Haram is believed to be responsible for killing at least 1,300 people in the past two months and more than 130 people in the past week. The radical sect claims ties to al-Qaida and has ambitions to impose sharia law on Nigeria’s 170 million people. In Boko Haram’s heartland, even the national military is outgunned in what is fast becoming a lesson to the world in how not to tackle an Islamist insurgency. “What is clear is that they are as ruthless as any Islamist group or terrorists anywhere in the world,” said Antony Goldman, a west Africa risk analyst at London-based PM Consulting. “They’re quite happy to hit soft targets, including schools. Some in the Nigerian administration expect this to be a problem for another 10 years.” In some ways, the paradox of Nigeria in 2014 captures that of Africa itself. The continent has enjoyed a decade of economic growth and the phrase “Africa rising” has become widespread among investors and journalists. Yet at the same time the past six months have seen conflicts erupt in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, while economic growth has gone hand in hand with deepening inequality. So it is with Nigeria which, with oil wealth and a decade of annual growth around 7%, is set to overtake South Africa as Africa’s biggest economy, with a value close to $400bn. It has been anointed one of the “Mint” emerging economies – along with Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey – by economist Jim O’Neill. Nigerians drink more champagne than Russians do. But just as Africa cannot shake old habits of instability, so the booming commercial capital, Lagos, is only part of the story in one of the continent’s most unequal societies. In the north of the country, 72% of people live in poverty, compared with 27% in the south and 35% in the Niger delta, according to the US Council on Foreign Relations. Goldman added: “It’s a very big and very diverse country which has a particular source of wealth that has benefited some areas more than others. The north has been left behind and is prob-

•A Camerounbound articulated vehicle destroyed by insurgents, with the goods in it. PHOTO: NAN

ably more impoverished now than at any time in the last 30 to 40 years.” For centuries, the region enjoyed the fruits of Islamic civilisation. Then in the early 19th century its sultanates succumbed to a jihad by Shehu Usuman Dan Fodio, who created a unified caliphate that was the biggest pre-colonial state in Africa, ruling swaths of what is now northern Nigeria, Niger and southern Cameroon. It had a strict interpretation of Islam and a culture of scholarship and poetry. The current jihad is an example of religious rebellion in northern Nigeria that is still manifest, according to the anthropologist Murray Last. “My argument is that today’s dissidents, such as the notorious Boko Haram, are part of a tradition of dissidence; and that neither are they a new phenomenon nor will they be the last of their kind,” he wrote last year. Northern Nigeria did not escape the expansion of the British empire into Africa and was conquered in 1903. Since then, there has been resistance to western education, with many Muslim families refusing to send their children to government-run “western schools”. Shehu Sani, a human rights activist and author of Boko Haram: History, Ideas And Revolt, said: “The north fought the British colonisers because they thought they were bringing in western ideas and this would erode Islamic values and erode their culture. The southern part of Nigeria was relatively more receptive. We can say Boko Haram has historical roots in resistance to the west, but it is not a justification for wanton killings. They are condemned by the vast majority of Muslims.” The north-east remained a centre of Islamic learning for children from all over Nigeria and west Africa, Sani said. Its madrasas did not necessarily encourage extremism but did shape the founders of Boko Haram, who embraced the Qur’anic phrase: “Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors.” Some believe the trigger for the group’s inception was a gubernatorial election campaign in Borno state, when an opposition candidate organised a militia known as Ecomog, after the east African intervention force deployed in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 1990s. Following the election, the candidate disbanded Ecomog but did nothing to look after its members. One of the militia’s leaders, Mohammed Yusuf, was able to exploit the frustration and disappointment and blend it with an Islamist agenda that rejected the failings of secular government to form Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad. In the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, where the sect had its headquarters, it was dubbed Boko Haram. Loosely translated from the Hausa language, this means “western education is forbidden”. Poverty, joblessness and despair at feeble and corrupt central governance made for fertile territory



m’s deadly blow on economy, peace ‘

People talk a lot of nonsense about Boko Haram. They say it’s about Muslim versus Christian, north versus south. That’s not true. Thousands have been killed and almost all of them have been Muslims in the north-east. That’s where the brunt of this insurgency has been felt

Sambo Dasuki on security media relations


HE National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, is a prince of the Sokoto Caliphate… you hardly hear him or see him throw his weight around…" -Ochereome Nnanna, Vanguard Columnist. Within a week, last week to be precise (March17, 2014), the name of the National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan suddenly became an item in opinions and features. Most of them actually wanted him to be visible and outspoken on security operations, especially over the barbaric atrocities being committed in a section of the country. Some respected columnists also questioned the silence of NSA over recent security challenges. Writing under his weekly column in ThisDay, Olusegun Adeniyi asked if Sambo Dasuki has a phone number of any editor in Nigeria, while Steve Osuji in his column in The Nation simply asks: "Boko Haram: Where on earth is the NSA?" Since they are not faceless writers, their articles were well-intentioned and wakeup calls on the security situation in the country, though some of the assumptions on the person of the NSA were on wrong premises. This writer has a memorable encounter with Col. Sambo Dasuki by virtue of being a syndicate writer. Sometimes last year I honoured an invitation to speak at a Media Seminar organised by Netherlands Embassy for top security spokespersons, media practitioners and right activists. In attendance were Gen. Chris Olukolade of Defence Headquarters, Frank Mba of the Nigeria Police, Dapo Olorunyomi of Premium Times, Manir Dan Ali of Daily Trust, online bloggers, including Tolu Ogunlesi and Japheth Omojuwa among many others. Immediately after, I penned my experience in an article on Debating Government Media Relations which was widely published. Surprisingly, a week later, I received an invitation from a top security officer to meet the NSA. Having been careful of avoiding any 'wahala', I am conscious of my writings on security. While I asked for the prayers of my family for safety, I did an online search on Col. Dasuki. What I found out were revealing: The Americantrained security strategist, Col. Dasuki was Aidede-camp (ADC) to Military President Ibrahim Babangida. Former Military Governor of Kaduna, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, in an interview with The Punch last year, narrated how some forces aborted his attempt with Col. Dasuki to install Chief MKO Abiola, the winner of June 12 election. He also disclosed how they jointly confronted the late Gen. Sani Abacha from playing hanky-panky with Nigeria's destiny. Along the line, Col. Dasuki escaped from Nigeria and lived in exile when he was hunted for his among disenchanted young men. Even climate change played a part: the drying of Lake Chad meant that fishing families were displaced and had to search for alternative livelihoods, not always successfully. Chris Ngwodo, a Nigerian political analyst, told al-Jazeera: “The group’s appeal is religious and resonates in the context of a weak state with severely weakened institutions. Its theatre of operations – the Sahel – features a perfect storm of sovereignty: deficient states, a young, economically frustrated population mired in poverty, nations

By Yushau A. Shuaib

audacity and refusal to take an offer in the administration of the late Gen. Abacha. His millionaire father, Ibrahim Dasuki, who was the Sultan of Sokoto and the most powerful traditional ruler in the North, was deposed by the late Gen. Abacha and banished to Kaduna for the 'sin' of his forthright son. The father, who clocked 90 last year, is still alive. All his life, as a royal prince, Col. Dasuki has never been ambitious and would rather take a bow than playing dirty. He voluntarily resigned his appointment as the Managing Director of Nigeria Security, Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) when he was not comfortable with President Olusegun Obasanjo's attempt to privatise the firm against security implications. At the time of his appointment in June 2012 by Jonathan, the Boko Haram insurgency was very active in Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Kogi and most states in the Northeast with attempted incursion towards Southern parts of the country. With emergence of Col. Dasuki, the activities of the insurgents have been restricted to a few states in the Northeast. An active advocate of constructive dialogue and engagement with different groups towards peaceful resolution of crises, Col. Dasuki nevertheless believes decisive and aggressive confrontations are inevitable against rampaging and brutal undesirable elements. After the online search, I sought the advice of members of Media and Information Committee on Emergency Management (MICEM) where I was once the Secretary. The verdict was similar: Col. Dasuki doesn't believe in cheap publicity; he will rather expand resources in facilitating positive public perception on other security arms who are expected to be active and visible on the field. He hosts occasional interactions with critical stakeholders including civil societies, media and politicians for better understanding on security issues. In such encounters, he sincerely expresses his positions on realities on the ground, while charging his audience to be responsible and responsive in their information against undermining national security and national interest. A stickler to time, he can never be late to any assignment. In fact, most time, I learnt, he arrived long before the commencement of events. With those information, I had the courage to honour the invitation. To my comfort I wasn't the only person invited to the meeting. There were some activists and members of NGOs too. When he looked at me, he asked: "Why are you very critical in your write-ups?" I responded that writing is my hobby and PR is my profession. I am, therefore, conscious of whatever I write. At the end, he appealed to us to be

with long histories of strife and the collapse of agrarian economies due to climate change. “Boko Haram represents an alternative order to this matrix of dysfunction. It evidently aims to be to the Sahel what the Taliban was in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas.” Like so many self-appointed rebels and revolutionaries, Yusuf was not poor. He was said to be well-educated and to drive a Mercedes. In an interview with the BBC, he set out the group’s anti-science philosophy: “Prominent Islamic preachers have

•Col. Dasuki

fair and kind in our comments and writings and that we should always consider the nation first. He urged us to always channel our grievances and recommendations on national issues to appropriate authorities including his office whenever necessary. Col. Dasuki is polished and eloquent as he talks passionately about the Office of the President which he believes "deserves the respect of every Nigerian as the symbol of our nation and integrity." He holds the view that there is nothing wrong with opposition politics if it is geared towards the sustenance of democracy and devoid of destructive antics that may create confusion and security breaches in the land. Since then I have interfaced with some of the NGOs and the media towards a better understanding of security operations in the country. The recent inauguration of Forum of Spokespersons in Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) under his office has so far reduced to the barest minimum the inter-agency rivalry in information management and encouraged designated security spokespersons to be proactive and timely in providing updates on security situations. Professional security strategists do not need to be garrulous to prove that they are working but must work behind the scene to facilitate accomplishment of tasks. In fact, respected Intelligence chiefs all over the world do not make much noise in the public because of the sensitive nature of their assignments. Even in this country, only a few Nigerians know the intelligent Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Ekpenyong Ita who delegates a professional Public Relations expert, Marilyn Ogar, to do the necessary talking with timely updates. In this challenging period of our life, we should encourage our security officers to do their job maturely and professionally while the designated spokespersons and political office holders do the talking. •Shuaib, a public commentator, wrote from Abuja

seen and understood that the present western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam. Like rain. We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain. Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We reject the theory of Darwinism.” Yusuf set up a religious complex, which included a mosque and an Islamic school that attracted many poor Muslim families. In 2009 Boko Haram attacked several police stations and

other official buildings in Maiduguri. The Nigerian security forces hit back and more than 1,000 people died, not all of them Boko Haram supporters. Yusuf was captured and killed, his body shown on television. Boko Haram was finished. But its fighters regrouped under a new leader. In 2010 it attacked a prison in Bauchi state, freeing hundreds of its supporters, and carried out deadly bombings in Jos and military barracks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Its main modus operandi was to deploy gunmen on motorbikes to kill police, poli-

ticians and other opponents. Since then, the waves of shootings and bombings have continued and, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, Boko Haram is responsible for nearly 3,800 deaths since May 2011. The group has sworn allegiance to al-Qaida and, Sani says, some of its members have fought in Somalia and Sudan, but a formal link “cannot be independently confirmed”. Last year, the president, Goodluck Jonathan, declared a state of emergency in three north-eastern states, but critics say the official response has been counterproductive, with extrajudicial killings and the torture of suspected Boko Haram members acting as a recruiting sergeant for the group. Professor Ishaq Akintola, director of Muslim Rights Concern, said: “Life is very hard there. It is difficult to move freely from one place to the other. With military checkpoints all over the place and the fear of Boko Haram attacking them any moment, people are between the devil and the deep blue sea. Sometimes they are holed up indoors for days. Hunger and starvation have enveloped the environment. While thousands have fled their homes, it is only the fear of the unknown that has stopped the rest from fleeing.” If anything, Boko Haram has intensified its operations of late, including an attack that saw 43 students shot and hacked to death and many girls kidnapped. In response, the government closed five schools considered to be in “high security risk areas”. Some Nigerians who feel let down by the government are taking the fight on themselves. Zakari Matazu, survivor of the double bombing in Maiduguri, belongs to a youth vigilante group in Borno state popularly known as the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF). “Now Boko Haram are attacking everywhere because they are strong – even stronger than the soldiers,” he said. “I am a CJTF but I now know that Boko Haram can decide to attack and capture the town of Maiduguri any time. Everybody knows that. The federal government has abandoned us to be killed by Boko Haram. All the people in the villages have fled to Maiduguri, so if Boko Haram does not see people killed in the villages, they will come to the city.” Last month Boko Haram threatened to strike farther afield, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the economy. Its leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatened attacks on oil refineries in the mainly Christian south, saying in a video: “Niger delta, you are in trouble.” but few analysts believe the group poses an existential threat to Nigeria. Goldman said: “People talk a lot of nonsense about Boko Haram. They say it’s about Muslim versus Christian, north versus south. That’s not true. Thousands have been killed and almost all of them have been Muslims in the north-east. That’s where the brunt of this insurgency has been felt.” Several government crackdowns have failed to quell it and it seems 2014 could be the bloodiest year yet. Sani believes that only a combination of short- and long-term approaches can work. “The government of Nigeria can apply the stick – they must step up intelligence and military action – but there should also be the carrot approach if they can use Islamic clerics in the north and the Boko Haram members in detention. If there is a synergy of this, there could be a breakthrough. The long-term solution has to do with addressing poverty and inequality. There needs to be a new economic model for the Sahel.” Those on the frontline are living in a parallel universe to the champagne parties in Nigeria’s big cities. “We are in a state of war,” Kashim Shettima, the governor of Borno state, said recently in a plea to the president. “Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated than our own troops. It is impossible for us to defeat the Boko Haram.”




Forbes listing ‘ll drive job creation, says Dangote


Abia State Governor Theodore Orji (left) speaking after his election as Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum in Enugu...yesterday. With him (from right) are: Ebonyi State Governor Martin Elechi, Enugu State Governor Sullivan, Anambra State Governor Peter and Dr. Ben Obi (behind Orji) . PHOTO: OBI CLETUS

Osun: INEC’s voters’ register faulty, says APC Continued from page 1

Akande said the party would test the process to determine if the register could be used for election or advise the commission to conduct a fresh registration. He described his experience in Ila-Orangun as “very uncomfortable” because of so many “irregularities”. Akande said though he collected his card with ease, the story was different for many others who registered in 2011 but could not find their names in the register. Many people found their names appearing twice, according to him. He said he would inform his party about “what I saw and we are going to look at what to do; if to reject the INEC’s record or not”. “With what I saw, INEC has no credible register to conduct elections. The margin of error is so high; it’s about 60 per cent. If it was two per cent we could say it should be overlooked. “With what I saw today,

INEC has no credible register. They have a manipulated register. They have a fraudulent register. If the margin of error is two per cent, we say ‘oh! How does this happen?’ “My assessment on the collection of permanent voter card is uncomfortable. I came today for the validation of my voter card where I registered and voted in 2011. I was able to collect my card, but some of the people that came after me could not find their names on the list. “Some names, which appeared once on the voters’ register in 2011, appeared twice. Some names that appeared in 2011 are not appearing again on the list for the collection of the PVC, which makes me to become worried and I began to ask questions. Even in some units where INEC registered 100 people, the register never covered 60 per cent success in such areas. “This makes me to doubt INEC which smuggled 100,

000 names into the voters’ register in Ondo State and used it to rig election. If we don’t act now and let the world know that INEC is inefficient and fraudulent and that INEC has started the manipulation of Osun State election with this exercise, we will be doing a disservice to Nigeria. “INEC deceived us in 2011 that it was going to register us with biometric control. It captured our 10 fingers, but in 2011 election, there was no control. I am not certain if there is going to be a control for this card too. This card has no control at all and the INEC that can not give you a biometric control like they do in Ghana can not claim to be able to give you a free, fair and credible election. “Funny enough, I heard INEC saying it wants to conduct biometric election, but what Nigerians want is for the voters’ register to be valid and credible. But this register can never be credible at the rate they are doing it. It is what I

saw.” On the alleged attempt by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to collect some cards by proxy in Ikirun on Saturday, the APC chieftain said: “ The PDP has been doing it; they have been buying other people’s cards and the INEC has been supplying them cards. That is why they came to Ikirun this time to collect voter cards by proxy. A credible effort should not be done by proxy. I travelled down to this place to collect my own card. I did not send any of my children or political boys. I came to collect it by myself because I know it is not lawful to collect it by proxy. “But because the PDP knows that they can do it and they are doing it in the open, that is why it is the only one we see. They can go to INEC office in Abuja to collect cards by fraudulent means. We have known INEC to be inefficient. If the voters’ register is not credible, the election that will follow will never be credible.”

ILLIONAIRE businessman Aliko Dangote said that his listing in the Forbes rich list as world’s 23rd richest will spur him to commit himself more to reduction of poverty among Nigerians through creation of more jobs. Dangote said he believed that the worth of a man does not consist in his wealth but the number of lives he is able to touch. He implored the Dangote Foundation, to extend its poverty reduction and health management with renewed vigour. “Dangote Foundation is now 20 years old. This initial endowment will ensure that Dangote Foundation has secure and steady funding to carry out its mission as we significantly scale up our work,” a statement from Dangote group said. The statement also announced the reconstitution of the foundation’s board of trustees. Members are Dangote himself as Chairman, Sani Dangote, Halima Aliko Dangote, Olakunle Alake, A B Mahmoud, SAN, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Angela Adebayo, Hajara Adeola and Yvonne Ike. “And last year we appointed Adhiambo Odaga Managing Director to grow the Dangote Foundation team. The stage is set now for the next stage of our institutional growth. “Going forward- from the second quarter of this year, we will

Bayelsa sues EFCC over N1.4b, $1.3m Alamieyeseigha loot


AYELSA State Government has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of trading with the cash recovered from ex-Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The state government has taken the anti-graft agency to court, urging it to compel the EFCC to release N1.4 billion and $1.3million recovered from Alamieyeseigha to it, with interest. It is also seeking the sack of EFCC Chair Ibrahim Lamorde. The suit is before Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Fed-

National Conference: List of delegates sparks anger Continued from page 1

gates from the APC, they may have to wait till eternity. If they are waiting for our list before they start it, then, the conference will not hold. Our

opinion and disposition are known. They need to understand where we stand.” Asked to comment on the participation in the conference of some APC chieftains nominated by state governments and other bodies, he said they are not representing the interest of the opposition party. “There is no evidence that the conference will solve Nigeria’s problems. As at today, we have no delegates’ list. The people expecting us to send a list are not blind and they are not deaf. Our position is clear,” the official said. The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) at the weekend wrote the Presidency through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, protesting it exclusion. The union said: “We are strongly protesting the exclusion of our Union from the National conference, which, if not quickly redressed, would lead to mass protest by pensioners all over Nigeria. “We humbly call on Your Excellency, to use your good offices to rectify this ugly situa-


lay greater emphasis on youth and women empowerment through large scale efforts that cultivate meaningful change in their lives,” the statement added. Dangote established the Foundation in 1994 to extend the impact of his growing business operations. Current interventions that focus on youth and women include a national cash transfer programme designed to complement state governments’ poverty alleviation programmes by providing N 10,000 grants to at least 1,000 women and youth in each of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas. It has already reached 256,500 women and youth across the 157 local government areas in Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. The next phase of cash disbursement will target select states in the Southwest. The N10 billion Dangote Foundation/Bank of Industry micro, small and medium enterprises fund stimulates economic growth and job creation. Dangote Foundation’s funds are being offered at zero per cent interest rate. Bank of Industry’s funds are offered at 10 per cent interest rate, resulting in an effective interest rate of five per cent which is the lowest interest rate credit available in the country. 136 businesses in 27 states have accessed the fund so far.

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

eral High Court, Abuja. In a writ of summons issued against the EFCC and Lamorde, the state urged the court to, among others, declare as corrupt act, the refusal of the commission to remit to it, the recovered funds. It also urged the court to declare that the decision by the EFCC to continue “trading with the funds by way of funds placement/fixed deposits is an act of corruption and an economic crime contrary to sections 6 and 7 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.” Continued on page 58

Anglican Primate sets agenda for National Conference

HE Anglican Primate of Nigeria, The Most Reverend Nicholas Orogodo Okoh, yesterday said the National Conference must not fail to recommend a suitable system of government for the nation. Rev. Okoh, who set the agenda at a briefing in Abuja, said if it means shouting at each other at the conference, delegates should be allowed to do so. But he said after the shouting match, Nigerians should agree to move the country forward The Primate said: “The National Dialogue should also make the issue of system of government as a focal point. We started with Parliamentary democracy and moved over to the American system. we later had a military system and our system of government has since taken after a military system. “We are not running a federation, but a unitary system. We should be able to decide the system of government that suits our situation in Nigeria and not continue to wallow in the misery of instability borne out of wrong choice of system of government.” He said if the conference fails this time tion as soon as possible. This issue has been referred to the Nigeria Labour Congress for quick intervention as well.” In the letter dated March 7, titled: “National Conference Nomination: Letter of Protest”, the NUP National President, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said the six

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

around, it could lead to disillusionment among Nigerians. Rev. Okoh added: “The Conference must not fail. If it does, Nigerians would be disillusioned. It must solve the Nigerian problems. The questions about the Nigerian project must be thoroughly addressed. “If the federation of Nigeria should remain indivisible and in dissoluble in line with the thinking of the government, then after this conference, I should be able to sleep in Kano and close my two eyes without any fear. Somebody from Kano should be able to live in Kano, sleep there with his eyes closed. Somebody should lie down in Lagos or Warri without thinking of ethnic sentiments. “The same thing should happen in Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Maiduguri and other states in the north without outsiders having fear about religion and other things. If we went to the National Conference and come back without resolving the issues, then we have not started as a nation. “If you want to marry, you must be com-

slots that were allotted to retired civil servants were all for the Council of Retired Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS). According to the the letter, the NUP should have been consulted as the major stakeholders representing the interest of the entire civil service retirees/

patible with your wife. If I am driving in your car and I discover that you are driving like a drunkard and you face an oncoming trailer, I have the right to stop you just to get down.” The Primate said if it requires quarreling or engaging in shouting match at the National Conference, the delegates should be allowed to do so as long as Nigeria would move forward. He said: “This National Dialogue is a good thing. If it means quarrel, let us quarrel. If we are to disagree and shout let us do that if it is necessary. What is important is that at end we should agree to move the country forward. “The atmosphere should be made conducive for delegates to discuss relevant issues to be addressed with frankness and uncommon sincerity. “The Conference should decide how the poor man would want to live with the rich, how Christians can agree with the Muslims and how one ethnic group will agree to live with the other. The same goes for women and men, old and the young, majority and the minority.”

pensioners. Afolayan added: “Ironically, other related retirees’ associations, such as the military, the police, State Security Service, were all given slots to represent the interests of their members with the exception of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.

“Regrettably, the presence of the National President of the union at the office of the SGF on the 5th of March, 2014 to protest this oversight was rebuffed by the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) of the office of the SGF. “I am writing on behalf of

•Justice Kutigi

over 1 million pensioners in Nigeria who are members of our union. We consider it necessary to direct our complaint to the office of the SGF because it is the Continued on page 58

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Reps to probe FCT’s N470b abandoned projects

Chevron project: 1,500 to lose jobs From Shola O’Neil, Southsouth Regional Editor

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


HE House of Representatives is to investigate N470b capital projects carried out by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between 2010 and 2013. The Chairman of House Committee on FCT, Emmanuel Jime, said his committee observed that the ONEX and OSEX road projects were still on-going while they ought to have been completed in 2013. He said: “We believe FCTA should channel adequate resources towards completion of those roads. It’s unfortunate that we are learning that over N470b is still required, after several budget years to complete some of these projects. So what to ask is: where is the money from the budget passed since 2008 for these projects? “As lawmakers, we observed that the notional priority budget of the FCT has been shrinking alarmingly. In 2008, it was N19b, in 2013 it was N55b. But this year, a paltry N30b has been appropriated”. The committee also expressed disappointment with the 28 per cent completion level of the Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower, despite huge allocation to the two projects. He said the health sector has not been encouraging. “We have been to Utako General Hospital and upon inspection noticed defects in architectural design of the building. One of our members raised a query and today, part of the building has collapsed, with billions of naira going down the drain.”

Saraki to Jonathan: don’t stifle opposition From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin


ORMER Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki has urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to stifle opposition states. Jonathan last week, while hosting outgoing Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, warned opposition state governors to stop abusing him and the Federal Government or they would lose many things. Saraki, now an All Progressive Congress (APC) senator, spoke with reporters at the weekend in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. The senator, who expressed doubt that the president could have made such a statement, urged leaders to respect their oath of office. He said: “The president said that? He said that? I don’t even know what to say. What I just want my own people, in Kwara and Nigerians in general, to know is that they should take sentiment out of these issues. What we are talking about in Nigeria today is not whether you are a Northerner or otherwise, Yoruba man or Ijaw, Christian or Muslim. We should not allow sentiments. “Even if a governor and the president are not on good terms, the nation and the constitution that we all swore to uphold should be the guiding principle. I will be surprised if he said that. I’m sure the president couldn’t have said that. Maybe he was misquoted. I hope he will deny it very soon. It is not a statement that should come from him as the president of a country like ours.”

Examination President, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Salihu Uba (right) discussing with Deputy Director Training and Doctrine Command, Sagir Musa at the opening of Captain and Major Practical Promotion Examination in Ibadan...yesterday. With them is Chief of Staff, 2 Division, Nigeria Army, Brig.-Gen. Johnson Oladeinde. PHOTO: NAN

APC to PDP: stop stereotyping people on religious basis


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) reference to its Road Map as a product of ‘Janjaweed Ideology’ is a thinly-veiled religious blackmail, which is in furtherance of its (PDP’s) ongoing campaign to pigeon-hole the APC as an Islamic party. APC’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement in Lagos yesterday. The party said: “On a more dangerous level, it shows that the PDP will not relent from engaging in Islamophobia by using the Boko Haram crisis in a part of the country to stereotype Muslims and paint them as terrorists, even when it is obvious that majority of Muslims do not support the heinous crimes being perpetrated by the sect. ‘’The only reason that the PDP used the word ‘Janjaweed’ is because the militia that goes by that name comprises mostly, if not exclusively, of people of Arab/Muslim stock in Sudan. ‘’This has further confirmed our fears that there is a clear attempt by the PDP, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, to divide Nigerians along religious lines as never before in the history of our country and to use religious as a political tool - a very dangerous move that can only result in religious warfare, from which no country that engages in it has ever survived intact. ‘’Or how else can one explain the continuous attempt by the PDP, despite warnings from right thinking people and

‘We stand by our statement’


From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

HE leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last night said it stood by its statement that the All Progressives Congress (APC) ’s Roadmap was a product of a Janjaweed ideology. PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the ruling party was not Islamaphobia. He said the PDP has more committed muslims among its members, adding that its National Chairman, Adamu Mua’zu, “is a very dedicated muslim”. The party said it has responsible and committed muslims as ministers, state governors, legislators and its leaders in the national, state, local government and ward levels across the country. It urged the APC to desist from deceiving the people with empty promises . groups, to cast people of a certain faith, who constitute half of our country’s population, as either terrorists or terror sympathisers/sponsors, or to label the APC as an Islamic party just to hang it? Couldn’t the PDP have criticised our Road Map without resorting to its well-worn, dangerous game of religious blackmail?’’ The party said it was reacting because of the dictum that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. ‘’Perhaps the PDP has mistaken our decision to take the high road and avoid religious and ethnic politics as a sign that it (PDP) is succeeding in its religious blackmail. Therefore, we have decided to let Nigerians know that the sooner they repudiate this dangerous tactics by the PDP, the safer for our country. ‘’We are a party for all Nigerians, and we believe in issues-based politics, not one based on religious or ethnic

sentiments. We believe God is neither Christian nor Muslim, and that he is the God of all, irrespective of their religion. We believe God will judge politicians not according to their religion but according to how much they have fulfilled the mandate to ensure the welfare and security of their people, and by how much they have lessened the people’s burdens rather add to them.” The party challenged the PDP to unveil its own Road Map for Nigerians to see and compare, rather than attempt to drown the opposition’s message in a sea of religious blackmail. ‘’We will not allow our Road Map to be buried on the altar of diversionary rhetoric by the do-nothing PDP. Therefore, in the days and weeks ahead, we will be highlighting the key areas of the document for all Nigerians to see. ‘’For now, let us say that our Road Map is for job creation,

for which we have unveiled a broad and comprehensive agenda to create 20,000 jobs in each state for those with the minimum qualifications and who participate in technology and vocational training, and to encourage every state government to create jobs by matching every job created at the state government level with two jobs by the federal government. ‘’We will fight corruption, for which the PDP-led FG has become infamous, whenever and wherever it occurs. An APC government will show zero tolerance for government or private sector corruption by placing the burden of proof on persons with inexplicable wealth to prove their innocence; and guaranteeing the independence of anti-corruption and financial crimes. ‘’We will provide free, relevant and quality education that is essential to prepare our youth for the jobs of tomorrow and to ensure Nigeria’s future success. We will revive agriculture as an engine for economic growth and new jobs and increase the supply of quality housing through a policy of social housing for the poor and affordable housing for the working class. ‘’We will improve Health Care; provide Social Welfare; build and improve our roads, power and basic infrastructure to create new jobs and unleash business growth and strengthen peace and security by stopping the kind of horrendous acts of terrorism, especially in the Northeast, which have robbed us of Nigerian lives of every age and withered confidence in our nation’s security.’’

Fed Govt secures $1bn FDI to boost agriculture


HE Federal Government has secured $1 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to provide agriculture infrastructures in Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ) across the country, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said. Adesina spoke with reporters at the weekend in Abuja. He said: “The development of the SCPZ has received strong support from international organisations, especially the World Bank, the Department

From Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

for International Development (DFID), the African Development Bank (ADB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “The development partners have committed $2 billion towards the agricultural transformation agenda, including the

development of the Staple Crop Processing Zones.” UNIDO put the cost for the development of infrastructure in six SCZP at $1.1billion. It revealed that $181.4m would be needed for providing infrastructure in Badeggi, Niger State around rice value chain. The minister said when Staple Crop Processing Zones are fully operational they would generate additional revenue of N1.4 trillion to government coffers and create 200,000 jobs. Adesina said: “The SCPZs

will reduce the cost of doing business for agro-processors to ensure their competitiveness and to create ready markets for Nigerian farmers, thereby reducing post-harvest losses.” To revive the economy in rural areas, according to the minister, the SCPZ would be complemented with the establishment of Agro-Industrial Towns (AIT), which would develop social infrastructure in the rural areas, including affordable housing for young commercial farmers.

THERE is fear among oil workers in the Niger Delta as Chevron Nigeria Limited and dozens of its contractors prepare to axe nearly 1,500 jobs in the next few weeks. It was reliably gathered that the gale of sack would hit workers at the Escravos Gas to Liquid (EGTL) project of the American oil firm and other operations. A source told our reporter that no fewer than 700 skilled and unskilled workers attached to the company’s contractor in the $8.6bn EGTL project are set to lose their jobs in about a fortnight. Chevron’s Manager – Communication, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr ‘Sola Adebawo, could not be reached for comment on the report at the time of this report yesterday. Calls to his mobile telephone were not answered and he was yet to reply to our email and text message. Nevertheless, a source said: “The completion of the construction phase of the project (EGTL) means that workers involved in that process would be relieved of their jobs. At the peak of construction, there were 6,000 or more workers here.”

Union Bank inaugurates Global Money week UNION Bank of Nigeria has announced its adoption of St. Mary Private School, Broad Street, Lagos, as part of activities marking this year’s Global Money Week. Global Money Week (formerly Child and Youth Finance Week) is a worldwide money awareness celebration from Monday, March 10, to Monday, March 17. The initiative is aimed at engaging children on aspects of financial education saving, creating livelihoods, gaining employment and entrepreneurship. Emeka Emuwa, Group Managing Director of Union Bank said: “ We must begin by ensuring that our children are properly empowered with a sound financial education.”

VON marks Women’s Day

THE Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), Voice of Nigeria (VON) branch, at the weekend marked this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations with fanfare. As part of its series of activities, VON branch of SSACTAC, an affiliate of Trade Union Congress (TUC), distributed condoms, held meeting with members of staff on the relevance of women in workplaces and staged a road walk, among other things. The union also held a mini congress as well as introduced its new executives led by Comrade Abiodun BonuolaOzurumba. The executive team will pilot the affairs of the body in the next three years. Bonuola- Ozurumba, first female President of the union, said: “Sincerely, we are ready for the task ahead of us,” she said. Other members of the executive are Tijani Musa as Vice President, Cyril Nwachukwu as Secretary, Anthony Ihedoro as Auditor, Gloria Aja as Public Relations Officer and three trustees.




Minister attributes fuel scarcity to diversion


HE Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke, yesterday attributed the petrol scarcity nationwide to diversion of the commodity by some marketers. She spoke after an inspection of 15 filling stations in Surulere, Ikoyi, Ajah and Iponri areas of Lagos. The minister said: “We have enough fuel to serve the country. The challenge we are having is that some drivers will not supply the lifted products to the designated filling stations.

“Having gone round the state, it is not just the filling stations at Ikoyi, which appeared to be without the product, but others at Ajah and parts of Surulere. “It appears there is lot of factors militating against efficient delivery of fuel. “We learnt that some of the marketers instructed their drivers to change the number plates of their trucks to make it difficult for tracking. “I have directed the heads of the agencies - DPR, PPMC and PPPRA - to give me a clear picture and timeline in terms of the numbers of trucks coming

into Lagos.” She added: “There is diversion and I want some ideas about the diversion. If we can establish there is, I want to know how this is being done. “They need to supply me how these trucks are being tracked because diversion is not easy to do. “They will be sanctioned and I’m ready to publish the names of anybody, who may be involved.” Mrs. Alison-Madueke assured Nigerians that government had a reserved stock of petrol, which could last the next two weeks.

Colleges of Education workers begin strike


•Mrs Alison-Madueke

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

HE Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education in Nigeria (SSUCOEN) has begun an indefinite nationwide strike. A statement in Kano yesterday by Comrade Abu Enesi Ajoge, after an emergency national delegates’ conference, said the decision was taken to make government meet their demands. Comrade Ajoge said the strike, the first to be embarked upon by the union, would be “indefinite and total”, adding that it would not be called off “until the Federal Government meets our demands of approving the migration of officers on CONTEDISS 11 and below and others.” Ajoge, who is also the chairman, Federal College of Education, Okene branch of the union, said the strike would paralyse the activities of colleges of education, whose lecturers had been on strike for the past 10 weeks. He said Federal Government had been unfairly treating colleges of education, noting that this had become a source of concern, as it would frustrate the already weakened institutions.

‘Second Niger Bridge no longer political slogan’


NAMBRA State people are excited over the planned ground breaking ceremony for the Second Niger Bridge, slated for tomorrow by President Goodluck Jonathan. The Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Margery Okadigbo, who spoke at a news briefing in Abuja, said it was obvious that the Second Niger bridge was no longer a political slogan. The lawmaker, who represents Anambra North, hailed President Jonathan for “coming to Anambra State to actualise” what remained a dream for many years. She said she was “excited and fulfilled” that the building of the bridge had become a reality, especially during her tenure as the senator representing the zone where the bridge was located. Describing the building of the bridge as “a welcome development”, Senator Okadigbo noted that when completed, it would reduce the pressure on the Niger Bridge. She said as a member of the Senate Committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), where the counterpart funding for the project would be sourced, it gave her the opportunity to ensure that funds meant for the bridge were utilised. Said she: “To my brothers and sisters in Anambra North, on behalf of all of us, I say thank you Mr. President for making the Second Niger Bridge a reality. “In the past I said the Second Niger Bridge had become some kind of a political slogan. Today I say it is no longer a slogan


From: Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor

but a reality. We’re all grateful about that. “On my part, it is good that I sit on the Senate ad-hoc committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) where the counterpart funding meant for the Second Niger Bridge will be sourced. “At the last budget defence where we had the Ministry of Works defending their budget, the issue of Second Niger Bridge came up, because this is where the funding will come from. I am to make sure that this fund,

•Anambra people excited as far as government makes it available, is fully utilised. “Sitting on the Senate SURE-P committee also affords me the opportunity to monitor the progress of the Second Niger Bridge. “So I can say that this journey of the Senate is a destiny call. Before I started this journey, I asked myself and asked God what exactly is my mission. “But with every passing day, I begin to see that there is a mission for me; the destiny call, maybe a call, which my late hus-

band could not fulfil because death took him away and then it fell on me to be in the same position to make this milestone in the history of Anambra North. “I give God the glory for making me that point of contact for these major things that happened in the senatorial zone.” On how the project was consummated, she noted that on the floor of the Senate “we’ve moved a couple of motions on that and we have deliberated on it in plenary.”

Senator Okadigbo noted that the Second Niger Bridge was not just for Anambra North “because it is going to be a bridge linking zones in the country.” She said: “The bridge is not just going to stop in Onitsha, it will go across the Niger and going across the Niger means going to the Southsouth, Southwest and even connecting the North. “So it is a project that links the zones of Nigeria. Besides the motions and debate on the floor of the Senate, on my part, as I said, I sit on the committee of the SURE-P where the funding will come from.”

•Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar (middle), welcoming the leader of the delegation of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd, Mr. Peter Mba (right), during the Handover of Single Point Mooring Project to Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd in Abuja. With them is the Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transportation, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. PHOTO: NAN

Jonathan reappoints CMD D-G


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Dr. Kabir Kabo Usman as the director-general and chief Executive of the Centre for Management Development (CMD), for a second term of four years. The appointment takes effect from February 15. This was contained in a letter to Dr. Usman by the Secretary to the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim dated March 3. The centre has the responsibility of accrediting training institutions in the country. Since 2010, under the leadership of Dr. Usman, the centre has accredited 434 management training institutions, including the Academic Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) and Lagos Business School (LBS), among others. It has also certified 1,189 management training consultants, even as it closed down some institutions that did not meet the centre’s standard. This resulted in quack management consultants going into hiding. Besides accrediting management consultant institutions, the centre has also trained over 50,000 civil servants from the federal and state civil service, including the police, military and para-military personnel and from the private sector.

Falana gives auditor-general ultimatum on federation accounts

AGOS lawyer Femi Falana (SAN), has given the auditor-general of the federation till March 17 to audit the accounts of the federation and those of offices and courts. He said he would begin proceedings against the auditor-general if he failed to meet his demand. “Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to our demand on or before March 17, we shall not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings against your office at the Federal High Court with a view to compelling you to carry out your constitutional duties,” Falana said. The ultimatum was contained in a letter dated March 7, titled: “Re: Request For Audit of the Federation” and

By Adebisi Onanuga

addressed to the auditorgeneral of the federation. He was responding to an earlier letter of the auditor-general dated February 19, on the same issue in which he (the Auditor-General) cited constitutional impediments as reasons for his inability to audit the federation accounts. The Lagos lawyer declined to accept the explanations given by the Office of the Auditor-General and his claim that “there have been some ethical and professional threats working against the capability of the OAuGF to carry out the SAI’s mandates for which an audit Bill is before the National Assembly.” He reminded him that his request for the audit of the federation account was neces-

sitated by the controversy generated by the allegation credited to the suspended Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to the effect that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to remit the $49.8 billion or $12 billion or $20 billion to the federation account. Falana argued that unlike the accountant-general of the federation, the constitution provides for the function of the auditor-general of the federation and it is in Section 85(2) of the constitution. It reads: “The public accounts of the federation and of all offices and courts of the federation shall be audited and reported on by the auditor-general, who shall submit his report to the National Assembly.

“The subsection is so clear as to what finances the auditorgeneral can audit and they are the public accounts of the federation and of all offices and courts of the federation.” The Lagos lawyer said 20 well trained workers from the Office of the Auditor-General are conducting periodic checks of the accounts of the NNPC. “In view of the binding duty on the Federal Government to promote transparency and accountability, your office ought to publish the report of such periodic cheques of the NNPC. If you are not inclined to make the report public, we shall apply for a certified true copy under the Freedom of Information Act. “In the light of the foregoing, you will agree with us that

if you had discharged your aforesaid constitutional duties outlined in Section 85 of the Constitution, the alleged withholding of huge funds from the federation account by the NNPC would have been detected by your office. “Notwithstanding the dereliction of duty, which has been blamed on ethical and professional threats, we are compelled to reiterate our request for the audit of the federation accounts without any further delay,” he said. The activist advised the auditor-general to study the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Attorney-General of Abia State v AttorneyGeneral of the Federation (2006) 16 NWLR ( Pt 1005) 265 to guide him in the performance of his duties.

“Although the Senate usurped the functions of your office by embarking on the audit of the accounts of the federation, it discovered in the course of the exercise that it does not have the expertise for the audit. It therefore resolved that the accounts of the NNPC be subjected to a forensic audit. “You have since informed the National Assembly that your office is not required by law to audit the NNPC accounts. However, by virtue of Section 85 of the Constitution, the office of the Auditor-General is required to approve external auditors for the NNPC and comment on their reports. In addition, your office is under a constitutional duty to conduct periodic checks of the NNPC accounts,” Falana said.




Ewi disowns Ekiti monarch’s claims


•Abia State Governor Theodore Orji speaking at the presentation of the MTNF Y’ello Doctor Mobile Clinic to the state at Michael Opara Auditorium, Abia State...yesterday. With him are (left to right): Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Ms Nonny Ugboma; Director, MTN Foundation, Mr. Dennis Okoro; Speaker Ude Chukwu and Commissioner for Health, Okechukwu Ogah.


We’re ready to pamper you, Ajimobi tells British investors

YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has urged investors in the United Kingdom (UK) to take advantage of the state’s peaceful environment, renewed infrastructure and readiness to pamper them. He spoke at the weekend at the Draper’s Hall in London during the Agriculture Session of the Diaspora Investment Symposium, titled: ‘Investing in Nigeria’. The symposium was organised by the office of the Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Peter Cart-

er. Ajimobi said the government was participating in the symposium to inform investors of the economic opportunities in the state. Beginning with a detailed economic profile of Nigeria, its Gross Domestic Production (GDP) and long term outlook, the governor explained the comparative advantages of investing in Oyo State. “Oyo State has a land area of 27,107.5km sq which is slightly bigger than Wales’, has an approximate working population of 4.3million with

a vibrant labour workforce, a population of approximately 7.5 m which is the second biggest in South West Nigeria and a per capita GSP of $276, about five worldclass research institutes and is located in a strategic business hub that links the whole of the southwest to the North,” he told the audience. The governor also took his 400-investors audience through the historical antecedent of the state as a state of ‘firsts’ and its “abundant and largely untapped resources” which included nu-

Ekweremadu’s detractors ‘ll fail, say elders


OMMUNITY leaders from Aninri, Enugu West said yesterday a smear campaign against Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu will not succeed. A statement by the community leaders, described as “regrettable” and “totally unacceptable”, attempts by a few people in the state to misrepresent the activities of Ekweremadu in the state. They said the impression created “by hired politicians” that the Aninri people have adopted Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Enugu West “is not only false, but also misleading.” Enugu West is represented by Ekweremadu. The community leaders including Jonathan Ivoke (Okpanku community), Patrick Ikpenwa (Ndeabor Community), Chief David Orjinworie (Nenwe Community), Chief Gordi Ilegbu (Oduma Community), Desna Ajah (Mpu Community) and Charles Ajah (Okpanku Community), noted that “it is

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor

indeed sad that some group of political never-do-wells and thugs would make such declaration in the name of Aninri political stakeholders and leaders of thought when they are not.” “The so-called stakeholders gave reasons why Chime should be the preferred candidate by alluding to the governor’s purported transformation agenda in terms of physical infrastructure, economic expansion and employment, rural development, service delivery and good governance. “Unfortunately, they could not cite one project initiated and completed in Aninri Local Government by the Sullivan administration since its inception. The reason for not citing any project done by the governor in the local government is because there is nothing to cite. “Conversely, we can name some major development projects attracted by Senator Ekweremadu to the communities of the political turncoats.

“For instance, the N12 billion Nenwe-Oduma-Uburu federal road project, attracted by Senator Ekweremadu, crossed the doorstep of the family compound of one of those spreading falsehood against Ekweremadu. “His town is the first to enjoy the road and he can drive home during the rainy season. “Previous governments told us the topography was impossible, and it would have remained the same for the next 100 years, but for Ekweremadu’s quality representation. “With the completed Ndeabor-Mpu-Okpanku-Akaeze federal road project attracted by Senator Ekweremadu, one of them can now drive home at will, and even with his two eyes closed, if he so wishes” the elders said. According to them, “those behind the campaign of calumny against Ekweremadu fail to acknowledge that before the coming of Ikeoha, the local government was inaccessible due to bad roads worsened by a challenging topography.

CSO urges INEC to address permanent voters’ card issue


HE Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Election Coalition has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address some noticeable logistics challenges as the voters’ verification and issuance of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) enter the second day in Ekiti State. The CSO made the call in a preliminary statement by the Coalition’s Coordinator, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi at the weekend. The Coalition comprise Women Advocate Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC); Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CIS-

LAC); African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD); HEDA Resource Centre; New Initiative for Social Development (NISD); WANEP Nigeria, Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD); JPDI, NCWS and International Press Centre (IPC). Mrs Akiyode-Afolabi said the call has become necessary following field reports from the state’s three Senatorial Districts (Ekiti North, Ekiti Central and Ekiti South) by the Coalition’s observers. INEC, according to the reports did not seem to have conducted adequate public sensitisation and awareness

prior to the beginning of the exercise and does not have enough personnel in most of the registration units. Only one youth corps member were said to be attending to hundreds of voters while in some cases, overwhelmed corpers were recruiting friends and volunteers to assist them. In a number of polling units, the Coalition noted that the total number on the register did not just exceed but double the stipulated 500 per polling unit, thus raising fears that in the concerned units not all registered voters might be issued with PVCs and therefore disenfranchised.

merous investment opportunities in agricultural production, agro-allied industries, cassava production, value addition, tourist attractions and development of the hospitality industry in the state. Ajimobi, who told the audience that the vision of his administration was to build “a state in which people can be the best they can” also said that his government was providing good governance that was “participatory, transparent and accountable, with efficient service delivery, towards making Oyo a preferred destination for national, regional and international trade, investment flows and leisure activities.”

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

HE Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, has disowned a compendium of historical facts issued by monarchs across the 16 local government councils. Speaking at a meeting with chiefs and community heads at the weekend, the Ewi said traditional rulers should not improvise stories to “distort historical facts”. He said the publication of “fallacies and outright lies” could cause disaffection among the people. Oba Adejugbe said the records have to be set straight, adding: “Should the fallacies and issues remain unchallenged and uncorrected, they may, by default, become reference to posterity. “Some of the questionable claims I found in many releases, memoirs and publications have found their way into the Ekiti Historical and Royal Compendium launched last December and soon to be released to the public. “Traditional rulers should not, either willingly or by mistake, distort issues that have to do with life, creation and Ife as the cradle of mankind. There is nowhere in Ife or Yoruba poetry where there is a mention of Ife Oore but Ife Ooye/Ife Oodaye. “The Oore cannot and must not claim to be co-existent, cosubstantial or co-equal with Oduduwa. This may be a brazen assault and, indeed, an abomination that can only be contemplated by an outsider who has no Yoruba Royal blood in him.” Oba Adejugbe urged monarchs to pay more attention to the development of their communities, and warned them against making spurious claims against one another.

Police to reveal identities of Enugu Govt House attackers


HE Police in Enugu State have almost concluded investigation into weekend’s attack on Enugu Government House attack in which one person was killed. But government officials kept sealed lips when contacted yesterday. The 50-man gang armed with machete and other weapons swooped on the Government House at dawn on Saturday. But they were repelled. Three gang members were held.

Spokesman of Enugu Police Ebere Amaraizu said investigation into the matter was almost complete and the police would soon make their findings public.. He declined to speak on the identities of the attackers which he said investigation had already revealed. “All I can say is that we are still investigating and almost done. When we are finally done, we would make the identity of the attackers known to the public.” Amaraizu said.




Tataobuzogwu for burial Friday


HE remains of Pa Peter Omotele Tataobuzogwu who passed away on January 22 will be buried on Friday in his country home at Abavo, Agbor in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State. The deceased, who was fondly called ‘Papa Lagos’ by friends and admirers, was 92. A service of songs will hold at his 50, Obi Palace Road, Abavo home on Thursday. A church service will be held in his honour on Friday ahead of the interment at St. John’s Anglican Church, Abavo. The deceased retired from the Federal Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (now NITEL) in 1985 as Chief Technician after serving for 38 years. While in service, he trained many young technicians and won several laurels including the Best Western Region Technician Award in 1963. He was instrumental to the establishment of St. Charles College, Abavo and also the formation of Abavo Town Union in the 50s. He was also honoured with a traditional title of Osuma of Abavo Kingdom, as well as Ezina by the Anglican Communion of which he was a strong member.

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Man held for alleged $50,000 theft


PERATIVES of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos have arrested an employee of a Bureau de Change and his wife for allegedly stealing $50,000 from his employer. The suspect, Festus Chukwuemeka, was arrested following a petition dated January 27, ehich was addressed to the Commissioner of Police, SFU, alleging that he was sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with three other employees by the complainant to collect $50,000 each for foreign exchange business. It was alleged that Festus made away with the whole money and could not be reached. The suspect, it was learnt, changed his phone numbers and

By Jude Isiguzo

was only in contact with his wife, Blessing, and his girlfriend, Susan Ehwefan. The police, in collaboration with a communication company, succeeded in tracking him down at his hide-out in Republic of Benin. Police said 32-year-old Festus, who hails from Umuoma Okpofe in Ezinihite Mbaise, Imo State, is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of Abia State University. In his statement, Festus said he was employed as a driver to the petitioner and was sent with the others to collect $50,000 from CBN, adding that after collecting the money, he fled to Cotonou and switched off all his phones.

Spokesperson of the SFU, Ngozi Isintume-Agu, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP), said the suspect, who is married with four children, alerted his wife, Blessing, to run away with the children. “He was arrested in Benin Republic with the assistance of Benin Republic police authorities while he was trying to purchase a Hiace bus,” she said. Isintume-Agu said the suspect confessed to the alleged crime, and that he kept $17,000 with his wife at a village near Idiroko. “His wife, Blessing Chukwuemeka, a 26-year-old petty trader with no formal education, was also arrested. She is a native of Ehime Mbano in Imo State. She admitted that the husband called

her on January 21 and told her to run away from home to avoid police arrest because he had stolen a huge sum of money from his employer. “She further admitted that the money was kept in her custody and that her husband came from time to time to collect it from her. She was arrested at Idiroko in a friend’s house, where she was hiding. The sum of $15,000, $2,620,000.00 Cefa and N76,500.00 was recovered from her”, Isintume-Agu said. She said after ongoing investigations, the suspect and his wife would be charged to court to serve as a deterrent to others. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), SFU, Zubairu Muazu, also urged the public to

Auto firm gives back to community


By Nneka Nwaneri

N commemoration of the 175th posthumous birthday of its late founder, Jamsetji Tata, the management of TATA Automobiles has painted 18 classrooms in Amuwo Odofin Community Junior Secondary School in Lagos. It was the major activity of the firm’s staff volunteer week which began on March 3 and climaxed last Friday with a visit to, and subsequent painting of the 18 classrooms. The reason for the gesture, according to the Executive Director of Tata Industries in Africa, Mr Ray Sudeep, was to impact on its immediate community. He said the gesture would give the school’s pupils a conducive learning environment. Most of the classroom walls were peeling and had to be kept neat to appeal to sight, he explained.

•Sudeep holding the brush with some members of his team during the exercise


be careful of the kind of domestic servants they employ to take care of their homes. “Employers must not expose domestic servants to valuables that will tempt them to misbehave,” he said.




Ogun community mourns monarch


ESIDENTS of the Itekun community in Ado-Odo Ota area of Ogun State are mourning the death of their monarch, Oba Timothy Olutayo, which they fear, could affect the development of the town. The chairman of the committee set up on his final burial which held yesterday, Chief Azeez Oko-Osi, told reporters in Lagos that it was unfortunate that the monarch died when he was working seriously to develop the town. The monarch’s final burial ceremonies, which began on December 4, ended on Sunday with an inter-denominational service on the Itekun Recreational Field. He said the late monarch, who attended the Holy Trinity Pimary School Ebute-Ero, Lagos Island, worked with the Lagos State Water Corporation before joining Lever Brothers and later, Nigerian Air Force. “He was elected and crowned as Oba in November, 2001 and the community has since witnessed peace and progress till he departed last December,” he said. Oko-Osi praised the Ogun State government, Ado OdoOta Council and all monarchs in Ejile Awori for their support for the community since the late Oba Olutayo’s demise.

•The late Oba Olutayo

Church fetes residents


S part of the church’s efforts to give back to the society, especially the Mafayofo/Loburo area of Mowe in Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, Prophet Hamed Afolabi, General Overseer, Power of Bethsaida Evangelical Ministry (a.k.a Ori-Oke Aseyori), has treated residents to free feeding. Assorted meals, take-away packs, various drinks, valuable gifts items and souvenirs were given out to the residents. Prophet Hamed Afolabi, who is fondly called, Olorun Aseyori, by his admirers, said: “We are doing this to contribute our quota as we round off this first quarter of 2014 with a seven-day revival as our Community Social Responsibility (CSR) and as our fulfilment of the mission of our care ministry, we won souls for Christ.” Afolabi, who decried the high cost of living in the country as challenging, said: “It prompted us to feed the residents free because we believe people can’t listen to the words of God with empty stomach.”

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Police arrest ‘serial bank fraudster’


MAN, who allegedly specialised in opening multiple accounts with different names to defraud banks, other financial institutions and unsuspecting victims, has been arrested by operatives of the Special Fraud Unite (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos. The suspect, late Oba OlutayoNwachukwu, was arrested following a petition received by the unit on February 12, which alleged that the suspect appeared at Amuwo Odofin Branch of Zenith Bank to open a savings account with an already completed savings account-opening package with the name, Obiozor Ifeanyi. He was said to have identified himself as such with a National Identity Card. The petitioner said that while the bank’s customer

By Jude Isiguzo

service office was checking the documents, the suspect went to the marketing unit and collected another savings account opening package and completed same with another name, Ogueji Nnamdi. The suspect allegedly returned to the customer service desk and presented same for account opening with another National Identity Card bearing Ogueji Nnamdi. It was learnt that customer service officer became suspicious and she decided to search the system with phone number, 08162502677, supplied by the customer. Then, she discovered that the same person had already opened about 25 savings accounts at various branches with different names.

It was further alleged that he opened and operated a corporate account number 1012000129 belonging to Chukon Integrated Limited. He was said to have identified himself as Okonkwo Nwachukwu while opening the said account. Police said the suspect is 39year-old and from the Okija Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State. Spokesperson to SFU, Ngozi Isintume-Agu, said: “He is into cargo business and used to accompany goods from China to Lagos. He stated that his office is located at Block 4, Shop 169 A.P.T. Market Trade Fair, Lagos. She said: “The suspect confessed to the alleged crime, but stated that the multiple accounts he opened was to enable him run his business

successfully. He said the current cashless policy did not allow him to withdraw huge sums of money in one account and as such, he was advised to open multiple accounts so as to spread his money. He added that he had N50,000.00 each in 15 different accounts, while the remaining accounts have N20,000.00, N10,000.00 and N5,000.00 respectively. He equally confessed that the National Identity Card and PHCN bills were all forged by one Pepper who is still at large. The suspect came back from China on January 27 and started the multiple account opening from February 5 to February 7 when he was apprehended. Investigation is on-going to unravel the motive behind the multiple account opening.” The Deputy Commissioner


of Police in charge of the Unit, DCP Zubairu Muazu, advised banks to properly scrutinise their account-opening customers. He commended the Zenith Bank management for their quick discovery of the antics of the suspected fraudster and advised other banks to be on the alert.




Court sacks Ondo monarch From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE Court of Appeal, Akure Judicial Division, has sacked the Jegun of Idepe, Okitipupa, Oba Michael Adetoye Obanuga. It ordered him to vacate the throne immediately and directed that a fresh selection excluding Obanuga and the ruling house that produced him be initiated by the government. The judgment was in line with an earlier verdict of an Ondo State High Court, Okitipupa Judicial Division, which sacked the traditional ruler over the faulty selection process in December, 2005. Reading the judgment, Justice Mojeed Adekunle Owoade dismissed Obanuga’s nine-year-old appeal on the grounds that it lacked merit. In a unanimous verdict supported by Justices Sotonye Denton West and Cordelia Ifeoma JomboOfo, the court upheld the December 14, 2005, ruling of the lower court presided by Justice J. Akintoroye, which said Obanuga’s selection did not follow due process.

UI scientist wins women global award From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


WOMAN scientist at the Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Ibadan (UI), Dr Taiwo OlayemiElufioye, has won the 2014 Early Career Women Scientist Award. Elufioye, who was the only woman from Africa, received the award for her research on the treatment properties of native Nigerian plants, with particular focus on the effectiveness of different species in treating malaria, wounds, memory loss, leprosy and cancer. Five early career woman scientists in developing countries won this year’s Elsevier Foundation Award for their researches into the medicinal properties of natural compound. Other winners are from Central and South Asia, East and South-East Asia and the Pacific, and the Arab Region. The award was jointly organised by the Elsevier Foundation, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD). It was held in Chicago, the United States (U.S.). The awardees got $5,000 and would be sponsored to the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting. UI Vice-Chancellor Prof. Isaac Adewole described Dr Elufioye as “a pride of Nigeria and the African continent”. He said the university would continue to provide a conducive environment for researchers.

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (arrowed); Alhaji Olatunji Odunsi (fourth left, front row), his (Odunsi’s) children and grand children at Odunsi’s 100 years birthday celebration in the weekend.

PDP governors plot how to win Ekiti, Osun


EOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) governors gathered at the weekend in Minna, the Niger State capital, to discuss how to seize Ekiti and Osun states from the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the coming governorship elections. Discussions on the elections took the better party of the over four hours meeting held at the conference room of the Niger State Government House. A source said: “At the meeting, the forum resolved that no stone should be left unturned at ensuring victory at the polls in the two states. The governors agreed that the elections are crucial to the 2015 general elections. “The forum resolved that its leadership should prevail on the party to present credible standard bearers for both states and ensure that the elec-

•Security agents advised to rethink Boko Haram war From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

tions are well monitored.” It was learnt that the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, told his colleagues that the PDP’s victory in the two states will not only increase the ranks of the forum but put the party on a good stead for the 2015 general elections. According to the source, Akpabio said: “These states were PDP states when some of us came on board in 2007, but something happened. I do not want to know what happened; all I know is that the people in these states are ready to vote for the PDP in June and August. We will discuss the strategies on how to get the confidence of the

‘These states were PDP states when some of us came on board in 2007, but something happened. I do not want to know what happened; all I know is that the people in these states are ready to vote for the PDP in June and August’ people of Ekiti and Osun states.” At the end of the meeting, the forum condemned the killings by the Boko Haram sect and sympathised with the familes of the victims.

The forum, in a six-point statement read by its chairman, urged security agencies to come up with new strategies to tackle the insurgents, adding: “We appreciate the efforts of security agencies in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents and appeal to them to step up the fight and bring this insurgency to an end.” The governors endorsed the convocation of a national conference by President Goodluck Jonathan and urged delegates to put national interest above every other interest. The governors of Enugu and Delta states were absent. Taraba State acting governor and the deputy governors of Delta and Kebbi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Nasarawa states were present.

He said the government has created a friendly investment climate, noting the availability of relaxed tax systems for new investors. Fayemi said: “The government is happy with the giant strides by one of our sons, Isinkaye, who felt the need to support our efforts at developing the state economically. I call on others to emulate him and project our state in good light. The facilities here are worldclass and this shows the spirit of industry in the

Ekiti man.” Activist lawyer Femi Falana said Isinkaye’s move would encourage other wealthy indigenes. Former Governor of the old Ondo State, Chief Bamidele Olumilua, said the private sector was important in the industrial development any society. Isinkaye said he set up the centre to “give back to the society”. He said he has no political ambition and would always contribute to the state’s development.

Fayemi urges indigenes on industrialistion


HE Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has lauded Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi’s industrialisation drive. Oba Sijuwade spoke at the weekend in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, at the inauguration of the Prosperous Royal Hotel and Resort Centre, built by Chief Abiodun Isinkaye, an indigene. The monarch, who was the royal father of the day, said people like Isinkaye should be encouraged to do more for the society. He urged the Ewi of Ado-


From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, to give Isinkaye land for the second phase of the project. Fayemi urged wealthy indigenes to set up businesses in Ekiti, stressing that the task of developing Ekiti was not that of the government alone. Fayemi, who spoke through the Commissioner for Tourism, Mrs. Ronke Okusanya, praised Isinkaye for bringing the project to the state

Six princes show interest in Deji’s stool

IX princes from the Osupa Ruling House have signified their interest in the vacant stool of the Deji of Akure, Ondo State. In a statement by its Chairman, Dr. Adebimpe Ige Ogunleye and Secretary Adebayo Adeleye, the Ruling House said the deposed Deji, Oluwadare Adesina, who is also from the Ruling House, is yet to inform the family of his interest to return as king. The Ruling House said even though Adesina wrote the state government and kingmakers on the need to return him as Deji, he did not inform the family. The six princes, who have notified the Ruling House of their interest include Kole Aladetoyinbo, a United States

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

(U.S.) businessman; an Akure businessman Kayode Oke Adegbite and Oluwole Ogunsuyi, a commissioner in the State Judicial Commission. Others are Femi Adejuyigbe, an Akure Sawmiller; Air Commodore Leye Alabi (rtd), a Lagos businessman; and Kayode Oluwole Abewajoye, a presenter with the state-owned television outfit, Ondo State Radio-vision Corporation (OSRC). The Ruling House urged the contestants to abide by Akure tradition, saying: “We urge all Osupa sons and daughters to allow peace to reign and shun any act capable of denting the image of

our house.” The Ruling House has set up a committee, headed by the former Secretary to the Federal Government and Afenifere chieftain, Chief Olu Falae, to settle any dispute


that may arise. Members of the committee are former Information Commissioner Olu Adegboro, Mr. Adeuya Oluwatuyi, Mr. Kayode Ajomale, Mr. Adebanjo Adeleye and two others.

Ogun threatens banks over delay in salary payment By Adebisi Onanuga


HE Ogun State government has threatened to review its relationship with any bank that delays the payment of monthly salary to civil servants. In a letter to the banks, signed by Commissioner for Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the government expressed its disappointment over “the consistent trend of unprofessional conduct practiced by some banks”. It said: “As at March 6, some of our staff and pensioners were yet to be credited with their salary/pension, despite the fact that fully funded payment instructions were issued before 9am on February 27. The delay of seven days is unacceptable, inexcusable and unethical. “Another worrisome development is that some banks deliberately fail to send SMS alerts to workers that their accounts had been credited, ostensibly to delay them from withdrawing their salary and so that the banks can earn additional income. “It is the government’s view that such practices will, in the long term, damage the reputation and profitability of banks engaging in such behaviour. Workers who have toiled for their salary have the right to enjoy same promptly and to withdraw or otherwise utilise it as they please. “We will ensure that civil servants and pensioners receive their salary before the last working day of each month. We have put systems in place, using mystery shoppers, to monitor when banks credit workers’ accounts. “We will also monitor the issuance of alerts. The results will be made available to our staff who can then take informed decisions about which bank they will domicile their salary with. As a government, we will reduce our business banks that consistently engage in these practices.”

Oyo graduates to get loans

HE Oyo State government has introduced a loan sscheme for young graduates, who are willing to be self-employed. Commissioner for Industry, Applied Science and Technology Adedapo LamAdesina inaugurated at the weekend a committee to work out the modalities for administering the scheme.

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Lam-Adesina said the scheme would offer opportunities for unemployed and under-employed graduates, who desire to become entrepreneurs. He said small scale industries are crucial to economic development, adding that youths are needed in such “productive activities”.

The commissioner said: “Small scale industries are the industrial bedrock of any nation that wishes to develop industrially. If we look around us, the need for industrialisation cannot be over-emphasised. It is in line with the road-map of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which includes the establishment of technological driven industrial estates.”




Church honours Ajimobi, Oni, others From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade and former Minister of Power Elder Wole Oyelese yesterday received the SeventhDay Adventist Church’s awards for their “contribution to the church and humanity”. The awards were to mark the church’s 100 years existence in Nigeria. Other recipients include the Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odugade Odulana III; the Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Rauf Olayiwola Olawale III; Diamond Bank Managing Director and Chairman of Pacific Holdings Elder Deji Adeleke and the Adimula of Mopa Kingdom, Oba Adedayo Popoola. Presenting the awards to the recipients at Erunmu in Oyo State, the Western Nigeria Union President, Pastor Oyeleke Owolabi, who was assisted by the General President of the church, Pastor Ted Wilson, said the recipients have contributed to the growth of the church and Nigeria. He hailed the governor’s “unprecedented achievements”, describing him as “a great leader, who is committed to the people’s wellbeing”. Pastor Owolabi said: “We thank you for accepting Seventh-Day Adventist in the state and for what you are doing for the people of Oyo State. Also lauding the Ooni of Ife, he said: “When we came to Nigeria, the late Oba Adesoji Aderemi gave us a parcel of land for service and his son, Oba Okunade Sijuade, carried on his kindness because he is a God sent apostle of our time. His assistance towards the development of the church is immeasurable.” Pastor Wilson prayed for peace and progress in Nigeria. He said: “We are celebrating 100 years of God’s blessing in Nigeria. It is a spectacular event because, compared to other African countries, we have grown extremely in Nigeria.” Wilson called for the reformation of the church to win more souls for Christ. Ajimobi, who was represented by his deputy, Otunba Moses AlakeAdeyemo, donated N5 million to the church. He described the celebration of Nigeria’s centenary and that of the church at the same time as God’s plan.

Bola Ige’s killers won’t know peace, says family T HOSE involved in the killing of former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation Chief Bola Ige will not know peace, his family has said. The late Ige’s son, Muyiwa, said the family was disappointed by President Goodluck Jonathan’s appointment of Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan, a suspect in Ige’s killing, as the Minister of Police Affairs. Ige was murdered at his home in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, in December, 2001. Adesiyan and Senator Iyiola Omisore were suspects in the murder but the case was quashed years later by an Oyo State High Court. Muyiwa spoke in Lagos at the weekend at a media parley organised by the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire. Muyiwa, who is the Osun State commissioner for Land, Regional Planning and Urban Development, said in a nor-

mal clime, “somebody like Adesina” would not be nominated in the first instance, let alone approved by the National Assembly. He said: “The appointment of the minister was more of selection and not of Omoluwabi structure. We all witnessed the issue at the National Assembly. It is also the first time in Nigeria’s history that three senators from Osun State unanimously rejected the candidate, but the machinery of government was used to elevate him. In other climes, someone with such allegation hanging on his neck would not think about it.” On the handling of the murder case, Muyiwa said: “It is a travesty of justice. I still call Omisore the prime suspect because they put him in the same cell with our star witness and when they crossexamined him (the star witness) later, he recanted. The

machinery of government was used to make scuttle the legal process. Justice Moshood Abbass is alive. I think we need to probe why he withdrew from the case. When I heard what they wanted the star witness to do, I went to talk to him not to allow that happen. That I will make sure his family is secure, but he recanted. When you put the prime suspect with the star witness in the same cell at Alagbon, definitely something will happen. “Adesiyan’s claim that he was my father’s boy is not true. If he was, he would not have supported an assault on my father or worked with the prime suspect in the trial. Why did he vacate his home with his family after the murder? “The suspects are now suing us because they were acquitted. They are asking the state and me for N20 billion. The truth of the matter is

that they will forever be haunted by Bola Ige’s spirit. They continue to attempt to dance on his grave as Wole Soyinka analysed, but by the grace of God, the truth will be revealed.” “Adesiyan is working for the president, but he is not representing us in Osun State. On the probability of using Adesiyan to undermine the conduct of free and fair elections in Osun and Ekiti states, Muyiwa said: “It smacks of a strategy to do something with the election coming up in Ekiti and Osun. They have been saying that the Osun and Ekiti elections are preliminaries to the 2015 general elections. “With the performance of Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), it will be difficult for them to do anything funny. We know they want to make it a do-or-die affair, but we are on the alert. That is why we must sensitise the citizenry.”

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (right); Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National President Okey Wali (middle) and General Secretary Emeka Obegolu during a visit of the association’s National Executive Committee to the governor in the weekend..


Lawyer faults selection of Ondo delegates From Damisi Ojo, Akure


CTIVIST lawyer Charles Titiloye has described the selection of Ondo State delegates to the National Conference as “lopsided”. He criticised Governor Olusegun Mimiko for including his younger brother and two of his commissioners as delegates. Titiloye said: “The governor selected two of his commissioners, Yemi Mahmud and Remi Olatubora, to represent the northern and southern senatorial districts and his brother, Prof. Femi Mimiko, who is the ViceChancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, AkungbaAkoko (AAAU), to represent Central Senatorial District. “I wonder why Mimiko could not, for once, down play partisan politics, as well as the protection of the interest of his party and family, to protect the state’s interest.” The lawyer also accused President Goodluck Jonathan of appointing his supporters as federal delegates to the conference, saying: “This conference is meant to provide new ideas on how to improve Nigeria, not recycle the same set of people who have no solution to Nigeria’s problem. “Most of the delegates, except representatives of civil society groups, are persons who did not show any understanding of Nigeria’s socio-political problems while in public offices. “I do not see any meaningful dialogue taking place at the confab, but an endorsement of the predetermined agenda of the ruling clique.” A Non-Governmental Organisation, Nigeria Youths Forum (NYF), also criticised the selection of the state’s delegates, saying “the list was dominated by self-centred politicians”. In a statement by its Secretary, Tunde Aderibigbe, NYF accused the governor of politicising the selection. Questioning the inclusion of the governor’s brother on the list, it said the state had many qualified indigenes, who could represent it at the conference.

Anglican Primate hammers on unity

HE Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has said the national conference will fail, if it does not spell out modalities on how the country will live in peace and unity. Addressing reporters at the 50th anniversary thanksgiving service of the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Diocese of the Lagos West, yesterday, he said the conference is an opportunity to discuss how the people would live together.

By Musa Odoshimokhe

He said: “The national dialogue is a gift from God and we are relying on those who have been chosen to make it a success. At that confab, we expect they will discuss what has been afflicting us. We need to understand how we are to move forward. “We want them to discuss all the areas of friction that have been an impediment to us and proffer solutions, so that at the end of the national conference, we will not go back to the type of life we are

living now. “I hope we will live a better and purposeful life and our relationship will be oiled by understanding and agreement properly documented after the conference.” The Primate urged the conference to discuss the nation’s security challenges, adding that Nigeria’s existence rests on the mutual understanding of how the people want to relate. He said: “You cannot decide how I will relate with you without my consent; you cannot order that I must belong to where you belong.

You cannot compel me to worship with you, so all these things must be decided at the conference in the interest of Nigeria. “Two people cannot go together unless they agree. So, in that committee, they must decide on the things that will help us to work together. If they go there and come back without deciding these issues, then we would have spent our money for nothing.” Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West Rt. Rev. James Odedeji said politicians had not really justified God’s

grace in their lives and urged them to show humility in their stewardship to the people. He said: “If we remember the way we started, we will continually be humbled and discover that God has been kind to us. “When many people get to offices, they forget how they started. They are not bothered about those who will come after them. So, when they have climbed, they destroy the ladder. This is unfortunate, but everybody will be rewarded accordingly.”




AMVCA 2014: Ghana, Kenya lead chart


OR the second year running, AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA), Saturday night, fulfilled its vision of a showstopper. The award ceremony could be said to have beaten its own record, by delivering an unprecedented number of quality stars, known to be choosy of social ceremonies. From Genevieve Nnaji to Agbani Darego, Shirley Frimpong-Manso, Rita Dominic, Desmond Elliot, Monalisa Chinda, John Okafor, Flavour Nabania, Davido, Waje and Cobhams Asuquo, the event place at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, excited guests with grandeur parading many more celebrities from other African countries. Beyond the red carpet glitz,

•Nigeria high on acting By Victor Akande

and a pre-event cocktail which provided opportunity for continental camaraderie, the show, again delivered on timeliness beating most celebrities to their habit, who were seen strolling in, when the ceremony was under way. The trio of Ik Osakioduwa Vimbai Mutinihri of of Big Brother Africa fame, and Osas Ighodaro of Tinsel directed the proceedings, as presenters took turns to hand out prizes in 26 categories. Ghanaian movie, The Contract, directed by Shirley Frimpong-Manso, won the highest honours, by grabbing four laurels, including Best

Movie, Best Movie Director, Best Writer (Drama) and Best Video Editing. Another movie, Nairobi Half Life, directed by Tosh Gitonga, followed this feat, by clinching diadems for Best Lighting, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, and Best Cinematography. The victory for The Contract was the highpoint of the ceremony, as newly-appointed M-Net MD for Special Projects, Biola Alabi, was joined by representative of sponsoring brand, Amstel Malta, Mr. Walter Drenth of Nigeria Breweries Plc, who handed the plaque to Shirley. Save for Michelle Bello’s film, Flower Girl, and Elvis Chucks’ A Wish, which won the Best

Writer (Comedy) and Best Movie (Comedy) Nigeria delivered more on cast performance, as Tope Tedela and Nse Ikpe-Etim picked up the Best Actor and Best Actress (Drama) awards for their roles in A Mile from Home and Journey To Self. And in the comedy category, Osita Iheme and Funke Akindele were adjudged Best Actor and Best Actress. Interestingly, the show was spiced with side attractions from rave-of-the-moment artistes like Bez, Flavour, Davido, Waje and Cobhams, performing at intervals. Other winners of the night include Bikiya GrahamDouglas, who won Best Supporting Actress for Flower Girl, and Desmond Elliot, Best

•OC Ukeje with Genevieve

Supporting Actor for his role in Finding Mercy. Part of the surprises of the night were the honorary awards such as the New Era Award (Rita Dominic), the Trailblazer Award (Michelle Bello), and Industry Merit Award (Pete Edochie).

Although Edochie was absent at the ceremony, his acceptance speech was streamed to the audience, while his prize of a Hyundai car was received by his son, Yul. Bello too, got the same brand of car for her honours.

I didn’t know I’II be a career actor, says Tope Tedela

Tope Tedela, a fast-rising Nollywood actor, shone like a star on Saturday, when he emerged the winner of the Best Actor in a Drama at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) for his role in A Mile from Home. In this interview, Tedela, a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, Akoka, shares his moment of joy with BABATUNDE SULAIMAN.

•Tope Tedela


OW does it feel winning the prize for the Best Actor in a Drama at this year’s Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA)? Thank you very much. It’s unbelievable, really. I feel

great. It’s such an honour and I do not take it lightly. Before the ceremony, what were your fears, considering the heavyweights in that category, so to say? Honestly, I didn’t get my hopes up. If you want to call me a pessimist, that’s not exactly correct; I think a realist is a better word. As an emerging actor, when you are in a category with amazing talents like Misters Hlomla Dandala and Majid Michel, you just really appreciate the fact that your work was recognised and appreciated.

So, did you see yourself winning? In a corner of my heart, I thought about it and felt that it wouldn’t be a bad idea winning. So, let’s just say I kept my fingers crossed. So, what came to your mind when your name was announced as the winner? ‘Wow’ was the word that came out of my mouth. And then, I rushed to the stage... So, you didn’t expect that you might win? I didn’t expect to win or lose, as the case may be. I kept my mind open on the outcome.

What has this award imposed on you now, as an actor? I have to really work hard, both for myself and for everyone who looks up to me. I know that I have to be careful with the projects I choose. I have to continually work on honing the craft of acting and so on... How did you clinch the role in A Mile from Home? I heard about the audition for A Mile from Home from a friend whose short film I had worked on. I attended the audition and I got the role. It

is an action drama that chronicles a young man’s journey through innocence to gangsterism. It was produced and directed by Eric Aghimien and shot over some months in 2012. I played Lala in the movie. It explores the themes of loyalty, violence, cultism and other issues. I starred alongside Chiedozie ‘Sambasa’ Nzeribe, Alex Ayalogu, Eric Nwanso and other talented actors. How did your journey as an actor begin? It started when I was a child. And as I grew, I never thought

one could have acting as a career. So, I was swayed by different kinds of winds to do something more ‘serious’. But I couldn’t rest. Or should I say acting couldn’t let me rest. What are your parents into? My parents are business people and men of the cloth. I was a basket of issues growing up, but my folk still showed me love and pointed me in the right direction. When did you start acting professionally? I started acting professionally around 2006 with breaks in-between.

















Justifiable fear •Fashola is right in raising the alarm over how the Jonathan govt is wasting resources


HE alarm raised by Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, of the danger posed to the economy by its dwindling fortunes deserves serious attention. The place of Lagos as the country’s commercial and economic nerve-centre, and the governor’s reputation as one who would not be unduly drawn into political brickbats make it necessary to pay attention to the warning. The governor last week had to address the state lawmakers on the possible effect of the mismanagement of the national economy on the 2014 budget. He pointed out that the National Economic Council constitutionally saddled with the task of monitoring the economy has not met for months. He also said the allocation to states from the Federation Account has continued to slide without adequate

‘It is unfortunate that the economy of a country as big as Nigeria could be run in such a shoddy manner. Under President Jonathan, the national debts are climbing again, unemployment has become a hydra-headed monster threatening to consume the country and states are on the verge of collapsing’

information on receipts, especially from oil exports. Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has been raising a similar alarm in the last few months. If the Lagos State governor could so cry out, the condition of other states of the federation is better imagined. Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics in the last quarter of last year showed that the state generated about N18 billion monthly, enough to cover its recurrent expenditure and have some leftover for capital development. The only other states that generate substantial revenue from internal sources are Rivers and Delta. Others, according to the NBS are almost totally dependent on handout from the Federation Account. As Governor Fashola pointed out, some states are beginning to have problem paying salaries. This is serious, especially with general elections next year. Politicians have intoned that President Goodluck Jonathan might have deliberately embarked on this course to starve the states and incite the electorate against opposition governors while giving grants to states considered friendly. The President did not help matters when he told a delegation from Anambra State last week that state governors ought to be at peace with him if they want federal support. However, we must point out that the statistics available show that the problem is more fundamental. The Excess Crude Account has been depleted from $11.5 billion in December 2012 to $2.5 billion in January 2014. The foreign reserves, too, are no longer healthy and these have con-

tinued to put pressure on the exchange rate which now officially stands at about N163 to the dollar. If the trend continues, as the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi pointed out early in the year, the rate would no longer respond to measures by the apex bank to keep it low. Devaluation would be the result. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) remains an opaque institution. No one knows the actual production and sales figures and, as Governor Fashola pointed out, disputes on the accounting process led to inability of the Federation Account Allocation Committee to meet, for the first time in 2011, and a couple of times last year. It is unfortunate that the economy of a country as big as Nigeria could be run in such a shoddy manner. Under President Jonathan, the national debts are climbing again, unemployment has become a hydra-headed monster threatening to consume the country and states are on the verge of collapsing. It is obvious, as many public hearings by the relevant committees of the National Assembly have shown, that corruption, lack of political will and ineptitude are at the heart of the problems confronting the economy. The Federal Government should embrace transparency and fairness in all its dealings if it is to lead Nigeria out of the doldrums. Denying the obvious is like attempting to cover a growing pregnancy. The President owes Nigerians a duty to ensure that the right steps are taken to pull the country back from the precipice.

Rework Nigeria now


•Anyaoku’s charge should set the agenda for the National Conference

HE impending National Conference, it would appear, means different things to different people. For the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency, it could well be a legitimisation act, put in place to polish its image and stand it in good stead for the 2015 election. In that case, it could well be stratagem to do a movement without any motion; and return to the status quo, after three months of hair-splitting; and a gash of N7 billion in the public till. The South-West, on its path, appears to have caught the bug of change, given its adopted conference agenda of a radically re-tinkered state, restructured along the lines of regional and fiscal federalism; and the presidency giving way to a parliamentary system, to cut down cost of governance. The South-East also endorses restructuring, a look again at the presidential system, vis-a-vis its possible replacement with the parliamentary system, fiscal federalism, resource control, strong citizenship right, in view of the wide dispersal of its people in the “Nigerian Diaspora” and reparation for incessant Igbo killings. The South-South proposes 50 per cent derivation for mineral-bearing communities (up from the present 13 per cent), restructuring, fiscal federalism and, issuing from the new derivation proposal, every state or community to exploit the minerals under their earth, with adequate taxation to the central government. The North, unlike the southern belts, appears to, as usual, play its cards very close to its chest. But after a meeting in Kaduna, it has come up with a 30-point shopping list, which include fiscal feder-

alism, a revisit to the governmental structure: presidential Vs cabinet systems, state police, decentralisation of electricity generation, resource control and social security, among others. Even from sectional agenda, it is clear the confab would be a Babel of voices. For starters, the South has three different geopolitical agenda, even if there are some meeting points in the three. In contrast, the North’s three geo-political segments: North-East, North-Central and NorthWest, have collapsed their shopping list into one. Then, you have the Jonathan Presidency, whose body language appears to want to retain most of its centrist powers, as it uses the confab to improve its chances of a Jonathan second term. In the spirit of permanent interests, therefore, is it possible for the extant federal powers to strike a deal with some northern — and indeed other centrist — elements to retain the centrist philosophy that has left Nigeria prostrate and underdeveloped for too long? Anything is a possibility. Yet, that would be a tragic mistake. This is where the Emeka Anyaoku admonition comes in — remake Nigeria, now! Chief Anyaoku, former secretarygeneral of the Commonwealth, is no sabre-rattling radical. He is rather a tempered citizen and a Nigerian establishment person of the best crust. None for him, therefore, the bitterness that has made many call in anger for Nigeria’s break-up. Yet, even Chief Anyaoku knows Nigeria cannot run on its present dysfunctional wheels for the next century without something tragic giving. Therefore, his call for a federation of six regions (hinged on the

present six geo-political zones), to fight “impediments to progress and development”, has a lot of merit. The seasoned diplomat’s call for “true federalism” as “the only way to progress and development”, his insistence that “the present structure compels us to expend excess amount of our revenue on administration” and that the extant system “destabilises competition for the control of the centre by fuelling our religious and tribal difference” are spot on. In other words, what Nigeria needs is not just another conference to buy time and deceive. It is a game-changing conference where citizens, with eyes focused on Nigeria’s future and survival, and in the spirit of give-and-take, will embark on the patriotic chores of reworking the Nigerian union. That should be the task before the impending National Conference. Any other way would be baiting needless disaster.

‘The seasoned diplomat’s call for “true federalism” as “the only way to progress and development”, his insistence that “the present structure compels us to expend excess amount of our revenue on administration” and that the extant system “destabilises competition for the control of the centre by fuelling our religious and tribal difference” are spot on’

Natural Gas as a diplomatic tool


N response to the crisis in Ukraine, some American lawmakers and energy companies are urging the United States to export natural gas to Europe in an effort to undercut Russia’s influence over the Continent. The Obama administration should move to increase exports, which would help allies like Germany, Turkey and Britain, but the effects of such exports would likely be modest and wouldn’t be realized for several years. The discovery and exploitation of shale gas has swelled American reserves of natural gas and sharply driven down its price, making it possible for Washington to contemplate lifting restrictions on exports. The United States imported 16 percent of the gas it used as recently as 2007, but it could become a net exporter of the fuel by 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration. Increasing natural gas exports could serve American foreign-policy interests in Europe, which gets about 30 percent of its gas from Russia. Countries like Germany and Ukraine are particularly vulnerable to supply disruptions that are politically driven. This week, for example, Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom said it would no longer sell gas at a discounted price to Ukraine, which gets 60 percent of its natural gas supply from Russia. This is hardly the first time President Vladimir Putin has used Russian gas supplies to pressure other nations. Under American law, energy companies can freely export gas to Canada, Mexico and other countries with which the United States has a free-trade agreement. That does not include Washington’s allies in Europe. The Energy Department can approve exports to other nations if it determines such sales are in the public interest. The department has approved only six out of 21 applications for such exports, the first of which should begin next year. The department could speed up its review of export applications, and Congress could help by easing restrictions on exports to American allies. But even if the government approved more exports, setting up more facilities to liquefy and ship gas would take years and cost billions of dollars. Moreover, unlike Mr. Putin, American officials will not be able to dictate to energy companies where they sell their gas and at what price. (Energy companies would prefer to sell gas to countries like Japan, China and India because natural gas is more expensive in Asia than in Europe.) And if American companies did flood Europe with gas, Mr. Putin would not stand idly by. Russia could respond to American exports by, for instance, lowering the price of its gas to keep its customers in Europe from switching suppliers, according to Michael Levi, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. American officials should use natural gas exports as one component of diplomacy that also includes assisting other nations with conservation and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. The State Department, under Hillary Rodham Clinton, set up the Bureau of Energy Resources to do just that; it has, for example, helped European nations reduce their dependence on Russian gas by, among other things, buying more gas from Africa. The Obama administration can certainly help allies by making more natural gas available to them, but it should be realistic about what it can achieve. – New York Times

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

• Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina

• Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •General Manager (Abuja Press) Kehinde Olowu •AGM (PH Press) Tunde Olasogba

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness

•Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) •Press Manager Yomi Odunuga Udensi Chikaodi •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Legal Counsel John Unachukwu •Group Business Editor Simeon Ebulu • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye •Group Sports Editor Ade Ojeikere •Acting Manager (sales) •Editorial Page Editor Olaribigbe Bello Sanya Oni





Justifiable fear •Fashola is right in raising the alarm over how the Jonathan govt is wasting resources


HE alarm raised by Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, of the danger posed to the economy by its dwindling fortunes deserves serious attention. The place of Lagos as the country’s commercial and economic nerve-centre, and the governor’s reputation as one who would not be unduly drawn into political brickbats make it necessary to pay attention to the warning. The governor last week had to address the state lawmakers on the possible effect of the mismanagement of the national economy on the 2014 budget. He pointed out that the National Economic Council constitutionally saddled with the task of monitoring the economy has not met for months. He also said the allocation to states from the Federation Account has continued to slide without adequate

‘It is unfortunate that the economy of a country as big as Nigeria could be run in such a shoddy manner. Under President Jonathan, the national debts are climbing again, unemployment has become a hydra-headed monster threatening to consume the country and states are on the verge of collapsing’

information on receipts, especially from oil exports. Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has been raising a similar alarm in the last few months. If the Lagos State governor could so cry out, the condition of other states of the federation is better imagined. Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics in the last quarter of last year showed that the state generated about N18 billion monthly, enough to cover its recurrent expenditure and have some leftover for capital development. The only other states that generate substantial revenue from internal sources are Rivers and Delta. Others, according to the NBS are almost totally dependent on handout from the Federation Account. As Governor Fashola pointed out, some states are beginning to have problem paying salaries. This is serious, especially with general elections next year. Politicians have intoned that President Goodluck Jonathan might have deliberately embarked on this course to starve the states and incite the electorate against opposition governors while giving grants to states considered friendly. The President did not help matters when he told a delegation from Anambra State last week that state governors ought to be at peace with him if they want federal support. However, we must point out that the statistics available show that the problem is more fundamental. The Excess Crude Account has been depleted from $11.5 billion in December 2012 to $2.5 billion in January 2014. The foreign reserves, too, are no longer healthy and these have con-

tinued to put pressure on the exchange rate which now officially stands at about N163 to the dollar. If the trend continues, as the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi pointed out early in the year, the rate would no longer respond to measures by the apex bank to keep it low. Devaluation would be the result. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) remains an opaque institution. No one knows the actual production and sales figures and, as Governor Fashola pointed out, disputes on the accounting process led to inability of the Federation Account Allocation Committee to meet, for the first time in 2011, and a couple of times last year. It is unfortunate that the economy of a country as big as Nigeria could be run in such a shoddy manner. Under President Jonathan, the national debts are climbing again, unemployment has become a hydra-headed monster threatening to consume the country and states are on the verge of collapsing. It is obvious, as many public hearings by the relevant committees of the National Assembly have shown, that corruption, lack of political will and ineptitude are at the heart of the problems confronting the economy. The Federal Government should embrace transparency and fairness in all its dealings if it is to lead Nigeria out of the doldrums. Denying the obvious is like attempting to cover a growing pregnancy. The President owes Nigerians a duty to ensure that the right steps are taken to pull the country back from the precipice.

Rework Nigeria now


•Anyaoku’s charge should set the agenda for the National Conference

HE impending National Conference, it would appear, means different things to different people. For the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency, it could well be a legitimisation act, put in place to polish its image and stand it in good stead for the 2015 election. In that case, it could well be stratagem to do a movement without any motion; and return to the status quo, after three months of hair-splitting; and a gash of N7 billion in the public till. The South-West, on its path, appears to have caught the bug of change, given its adopted conference agenda of a radically re-tinkered state, restructured along the lines of regional and fiscal federalism; and the presidency giving way to a parliamentary system, to cut down cost of governance. The South-East also endorses restructuring, a look again at the presidential system, vis-a-vis its possible replacement with the parliamentary system, fiscal federalism, resource control, strong citizenship right, in view of the wide dispersal of its people in the “Nigerian Diaspora” and reparation for incessant Igbo killings. The South-South proposes 50 per cent derivation for mineral-bearing communities (up from the present 13 per cent), restructuring, fiscal federalism and, issuing from the new derivation proposal, every state or community to exploit the minerals under their earth, with adequate taxation to the central government. The North, unlike the southern belts, appears to, as usual, play its cards very close to its chest. But after a meeting in Kaduna, it has come up with a 30-point shopping list, which include fiscal feder-

alism, a revisit to the governmental structure: presidential Vs cabinet systems, state police, decentralisation of electricity generation, resource control and social security, among others. Even from sectional agenda, it is clear the confab would be a Babel of voices. For starters, the South has three different geopolitical agenda, even if there are some meeting points in the three. In contrast, the North’s three geo-political segments: North-East, North-Central and NorthWest, have collapsed their shopping list into one. Then, you have the Jonathan Presidency, whose body language appears to want to retain most of its centrist powers, as it uses the confab to improve its chances of a Jonathan second term. In the spirit of permanent interests, therefore, is it possible for the extant federal powers to strike a deal with some northern — and indeed other centrist — elements to retain the centrist philosophy that has left Nigeria prostrate and underdeveloped for too long? Anything is a possibility. Yet, that would be a tragic mistake. This is where the Emeka Anyaoku admonition comes in — remake Nigeria, now! Chief Anyaoku, former secretarygeneral of the Commonwealth, is no sabre-rattling radical. He is rather a tempered citizen and a Nigerian establishment person of the best crust. None for him, therefore, the bitterness that has made many call in anger for Nigeria’s break-up. Yet, even Chief Anyaoku knows Nigeria cannot run on its present dysfunctional wheels for the next century without something tragic giving. Therefore, his call for a federation of six regions (hinged on the

present six geo-political zones), to fight “impediments to progress and development”, has a lot of merit. The seasoned diplomat’s call for “true federalism” as “the only way to progress and development”, his insistence that “the present structure compels us to expend excess amount of our revenue on administration” and that the extant system “destabilises competition for the control of the centre by fuelling our religious and tribal difference” are spot on. In other words, what Nigeria needs is not just another conference to buy time and deceive. It is a game-changing conference where citizens, with eyes focused on Nigeria’s future and survival, and in the spirit of give-and-take, will embark on the patriotic chores of reworking the Nigerian union. That should be the task before the impending National Conference. Any other way would be baiting needless disaster.

‘The seasoned diplomat’s call for “true federalism” as “the only way to progress and development”, his insistence that “the present structure compels us to expend excess amount of our revenue on administration” and that the extant system “destabilises competition for the control of the centre by fuelling our religious and tribal difference” are spot on’

Natural Gas as a diplomatic tool


N response to the crisis in Ukraine, some American lawmakers and energy companies are urging the United States to export natural gas to Europe in an effort to undercut Russia’s influence over the Continent. The Obama administration should move to increase exports, which would help allies like Germany, Turkey and Britain, but the effects of such exports would likely be modest and wouldn’t be realized for several years. The discovery and exploitation of shale gas has swelled American reserves of natural gas and sharply driven down its price, making it possible for Washington to contemplate lifting restrictions on exports. The United States imported 16 percent of the gas it used as recently as 2007, but it could become a net exporter of the fuel by 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration. Increasing natural gas exports could serve American foreign-policy interests in Europe, which gets about 30 percent of its gas from Russia. Countries like Germany and Ukraine are particularly vulnerable to supply disruptions that are politically driven. This week, for example, Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom said it would no longer sell gas at a discounted price to Ukraine, which gets 60 percent of its natural gas supply from Russia. This is hardly the first time President Vladimir Putin has used Russian gas supplies to pressure other nations. Under American law, energy companies can freely export gas to Canada, Mexico and other countries with which the United States has a free-trade agreement. That does not include Washington’s allies in Europe. The Energy Department can approve exports to other nations if it determines such sales are in the public interest. The department has approved only six out of 21 applications for such exports, the first of which should begin next year. The department could speed up its review of export applications, and Congress could help by easing restrictions on exports to American allies. But even if the government approved more exports, setting up more facilities to liquefy and ship gas would take years and cost billions of dollars. Moreover, unlike Mr. Putin, American officials will not be able to dictate to energy companies where they sell their gas and at what price. (Energy companies would prefer to sell gas to countries like Japan, China and India because natural gas is more expensive in Asia than in Europe.) And if American companies did flood Europe with gas, Mr. Putin would not stand idly by. Russia could respond to American exports by, for instance, lowering the price of its gas to keep its customers in Europe from switching suppliers, according to Michael Levi, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. American officials should use natural gas exports as one component of diplomacy that also includes assisting other nations with conservation and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. The State Department, under Hillary Rodham Clinton, set up the Bureau of Energy Resources to do just that; it has, for example, helped European nations reduce their dependence on Russian gas by, among other things, buying more gas from Africa. The Obama administration can certainly help allies by making more natural gas available to them, but it should be realistic about what it can achieve. – New York Times

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

• Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina

• Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •General Manager (Abuja Press) Kehinde Olowu •AGM (PH Press) Tunde Olasogba

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness

•Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) •Press Manager Yomi Odunuga Udensi Chikaodi •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Legal Counsel John Unachukwu •Group Business Editor Simeon Ebulu • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye •Group Sports Editor Ade Ojeikere •Acting Manager (sales) •Editorial Page Editor Olaribigbe Bello Sanya Oni





IR: The manner of the suspension of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria contravenes due process. And the reasons adumbrated by the Presidency are disjointed. The avalanche of diverse legal and political arguments for and against the appropriateness of the suspension is neither here nor there. What is germane is the Presi-

Bank of Agriculture should look into our case


IR: I write in respect of the N150,000 loan taken from the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) in 2007. The loan was obtained at eight percent interest rate to plant cassava. The cassava project was unsuccessful due to late planting and low price at harvest. My creditor-the BOA branch at Ikare Akoko has taken me and others in my shoe to court with our indebtedness calculated at 17% interest rate. The branch claims it has power to vary/ increare interest rate. Now, some of us want to pay back the loan but the bank is making this impossible by putting heavy load on our heads in insisting that repayment must not exceed 12 months with interest rate at 17% per year. I have emailed and called the BOA headquarters many times without response. As a poverty alleviation agency financed and regulated by the federal goverment, BOA should make loan repayment fair to poor Nigerians. The BOA Headqtarters should speak out so that Nigerians can know its loan repayment policy. • Osesanmi Tobi, Ikare Akoko, Ondo State.



Sanusi’s suspension and allied matters

dent’s pronouncement in his recent media chat that he has absolute power to suspend the CBN Governor or anybody! Was it not in this democracy that the former President Obasanjo unilaterally suspended his deputy, Atiku. How was it possible for President Jonathan to usurp the powers of the judiciary in approving an absurd suspension of a President of Court of Appeal and the judiciary itself could no longer reinstate the PCA when it deemed it necessary? Aren’t there supposed to be separation of powers, and checks and balances between the executive, National Assembly (NASS) and judiciary? Are the NASS and Judiciary ever able to have any influence or control over the executive? Is the Federal Executive Council not equal


to the President? Which minister or any other cabinet member can tell the President home truths? Even the VP dares not look at his boss in the eye and tell him what he doesn’t want to hear! Can’t the President decide not to have a cabinet for as long as it suits him? Nigerian President is simply too powerful to share governmental power with anybody! Please blame not the President but the constitution! No country has perfect constitution but ours is full of fundamental flaws, lacunae, loopholes, anomalies, inconsistencies and ambiguities. These fatal weaknesses subject the constitution to gross subjective manipulations and blatant misinterpretations. The situation where the President alone appoints people or recommends people for appointment as

heads of all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is out of sync with our socio-cultural and political orientation. It is worrying that a particular qualified and competent professor can’t become a Vice Chancellor of a Federal University if the President doesn’t like their face – it doesn’t matter if the professor is the choice of the university. Likewise, a particular qualified and competent candidate can’t become the rector of a state polytechnic if the governor has their own preferred candidate – it won’t matter if the candidate is the best for the position. Like Sam Omatseye opined “The governor in Nigeria is like a monarch, just as the president is like an emperor”. Lord Acton quipped “Power tends to

corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it”, said William Pitt the Elder. A piece of information: In the case of Atiku versus Obasanjo, the Federal High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court ruled that the President can’t suspend a public officer he has no power to sack. Now that the President has said he has absolute power to fire anybody, does it mean he can unilaterally suspend the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) without recourse to the Senate, during a general election or when the chairman is about to announce election results? While the constitution is an albatross around the country’s neck, the presidential system of government is the bane of the polity. Hence the adoption of a brand new constitution and a Nigerianised parliamentary democracy are vitally important for the country sooner rather than later. • Engr Yomi Akinola, Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke

Expectations from the National Conference

IR: I have always been an advocate of a Sovereign National Conference which our governments have always been opposed until President Jonathan now seems to have had a rethink. I still have my doubts as to whether the President will go the whole length. However, whatever his motives were, I believe we can hijack it to our advantage! I am particularly delighted at the calibre of nominees as delegates! One area I appeal to these delegates to address is the area of the obscene pays that attach to being

in government at whatever level. There are projections that each delegate will go home with N12 million naira. I appeal to the delegates to fix a pay for themselves that will reflect the economic situation of the country! They can then go on from there to fix salaries that will attach to various offices inthe land, from the President to the Councillor. Anyone who feels that pay is too low for him should stay away and allow those who are only out to serve to come forward. They should recommend the scrapping of RMAFC,which has

been recommending the outrageous pays that are paid to people in government,which pays make getting into office a do or die affair. The other day the erstwhile CBN Governor alleged that our legislators consumed 25% of the country’s recurrent expenditure which they denied vehemently. Senator Enyinaya,the Senate spokesperson later claimed it was only three percent. Granted that it is three percent, what that means is that, even if we generously grant that there are about 5000 of them, it means they

are consuming the entitlement of about five million people because that is what three percent of 170 million, Nigeria’s population comes to. Another area is that not less than 70% of our annual budget should be for capital expenditure. Anyway the trimming down of the compensations for public officers will take care of that. If this is all the conference will achieve, it will be quite an achievement as it will sanitize the polity. •Abiodun Sopitan





URELY, it must require a demanding leap of imagination to recognise the omission of two attention-grabbing characters deserving prominence in the controversial list of 100 centenary heroes and heroines, both living and dead, which was approved by President Goodluck Jonathan. The noisy February 28 conferment of “Centenary Honours Awards” on the collection of “Nigerians and friends of Nigeria” across 14 categories lost much of its lustre not only on account of the significant rejections by a number of illustrious personalities, but also because of the treatment of the noteworthy duo as inconsequential. On the contrary, there is no doubt that Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, who announced Nigeria’s first military coup on Radio Nigeria, Kaduna, on January 15, 1966, and then Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu, who on May 30, 1967, declared Eastern Nigeria a sovereign state to be known as Biafra, prompting a 30-month civil war, were undeniably men of striking consequence in the context of the country’s political evolution. It is pertinent to contemplate whether these actors have a place in any of the classes that informed the Centenary Award Ceremony at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja. These include: Contributors to the making of Nigeria; Heroes of the struggle for Nigeria’s independence/Pioneer political leaders; Pioneers in professional callings/ Careers; Pioneers in commerce and industry; Promoters of democratic transition in Nigeria; Heroes in global sports competitions; and Accomplished pioneer public servants. Others are: Accomplished contemporary entrepreneurs; Distinguished academics; Internationally acclaimed artists, literary icons and journalists; Outstanding contemporary public servants; Outstanding bravery and public spiritedness; Outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and national development; and Exemplary service in the promotion of peace and moral excellence. It is food for thought that Nzeogwu, speaking for the coun-

‘On the contrary, there is no doubt that Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, who announced Nigeria’s first military coup on Radio Nigeria, Kaduna, on January 15, 1966, and then Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu, who on May 30, 1967, declared Eastern Nigeria a sovereign state to be known as Biafra, prompting a 30month civil war, were undeniably men of striking consequence in the context of the country’s political evolution’


T is a common saying in America that “A man gotta do what a man gotta do”; in other words, a man does what he must, in spite of personal difficulties, dangers or obstacles. This is what I believe is the basis of all human moralities. In his column in The Nation of Monday, February 24, Sam Omatseye commenced his article by quoting a former U.S. Congresswoman – Barbara Jordan as having said that “If the society today allows wrongs to go unchallenged, the impression is created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority. This article, however, is not an advocate for any partisan cause, for the issues between President Goodluck Jonathan and the just suspended CBN Governor – Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi are fundamental and reach quite beyond the realm of partisan considerations. They must be resolved on the highest plane of national interest if our cause is to prove sound and our future protected. I trust, therefore, that the National Assembly and the judiciary in whose domain the issues have been placed will do the justice of receiving that which I have to say here as solely expressing the considered viewpoint of a fellow Nigerian. The issue at stake in this country which we all claimed to be political disorderliness/insecurity, corruption and abject poverty pervading the society, are becoming more of national embarrassment and so interlocked that to consider the problems of one sector oblivious to those of another is but to court disaster for the whole. While NNPC is commonly referred to as the economic lifeline to the Central Bank of Nigeria, it is no less true that the CBN is the financial gateway to economy, and the broad influence of the one cannot fail to have its impact upon the other. Reconciling a nationalist’s right to dissent with his employer’s demand for loyalty is not easy. Sanusi is a genuine and patriotic Nigeria nationalist who was the governor of an autonomous Nigerian institution– the Central Bank of Nigeria which is a non-democratic institution, is under no compulsion to tolerate what they may consider to be recalcitrant behaviour of federal government officials elected or appointed in the matter of assets/financial management. The erstwhile CBN governor disagreed with illegal, dangerous and corrupt practices going unabated at the NNPC. Many otherwise faithful servants may decide that the price for keeping silent is too high. Keeping silent versus speaking out is usually a no win situation. Certainly, by speaking out on the corrupt practices in the NNPC, Sanusi himself knows he risks reprisal. As a nationalist, if he keeps silent, he may be judged later by himself or others as irresponsible. Of course, he always has the option to quit his job. But interrupting a satisfying career in the hope that he will find another equally beneficial job opportunity is not easy. No doubt, Sanusi’s whistle-blowing seemed to have courted

Marginalisation, or what? try’s first coupists, said, “The aim of the Revolutionary Council is to establish a strong, united and prosperous nation, free from corruption and internal strife.” According to him, “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs at least, the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds.” His punch line was: “We promise that you will no more be ashamed to say that you are a Nigerian.” These words, uttered almost 50 years ago, are as potent and correct today as they were then, which is a tragic statement on the country’s trajectory. It is disturbing that Nzeogwu’s indicting declaration sounds contemporary. Worse still, the incumbent government seems to be perpetuating the old order. The point about this specific military intervention is beyond the fact that the coup plotters disrupted a democratic arrangement; the overriding consideration should be whether the aberrant move had redemptive value. With due respect to the fashionable demonisation of military rule, the truth is that patriotism can be clothed in military uniform, which is not to say that benign dictatorship is preferable to democratic governance. Nzeogwu and his associates were apparently motivated by lofty objectives that reflected promotion of unity and corporate progress; they also seemed to care about peace and moral example. It stretches the mind to think that Nzeogwu was dumped in favour of an individual like General Sani Abacha, another coupist of a later era, whose reputation for unrepentant evil

and mindless acquisition outlived him and remains a reference point. He was, ironically, honoured for patriotism and national development. Not surprisingly, five days after his widow, Maryam, received his posthumous centenary award, it was reported that the United States (US) Department of Justice had frozen $458 million in corruption funds hidden in bank accounts around the world by Abacha who ruled the country with an iron fist from 1993 to 1998 when he died in strange circumstances. The action, described as “the largest kleptocracy forfeiture ever in the US”, was a further demonstration of Abacha’s insensitive dominance, continuing the unending tale of his mammoth loot stashed away in banks across the globe. “Gen Abacha was one of the most notorious kleptocrats in memory, who embezzled billions from the people of Nigeria while millions lived in poverty,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division. It is incomprehensible that this same monster, apart from the glory of a centennial honour, has his odious identity positively publicised in various places across the country, whether in the naming of streets or even hospitals, among other incredible monuments to savagery and rapacity. The fact that his family members showed up for the award is a sad commentary on their shamelessness, particularly when eminently qualified persons stayed away from the ceremony on grounds of impropriety. Paradoxically, in a case of reverse patriotism, Ojukwu who attempted a dismemberment of the country perhaps ultimately helped to advance the cause of unity, even if unknowingly. The civil war triggered by his spatial seizure underlined the intensity of a desire for togetherness by the rest of the country. The war slogan of the federal side, “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done”, mirrored the pursuit of unity in diversity. Furthermore, the apparent display of magnanimity by the federal side at the end of the war, encapsulated in the improbable expression, “No Victor, No Vanquished”, was of historical import in the country’s march to nationhood, which regrettably remains a mirage. It is worth highlighting Ojukwu’s naive insistence on fidelity to military hierarchy in the aftermath of the Northern countercoup of July 29, 1966, which resulted in the killing of the Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces and first military head of state, Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, an easterner. In other words, he stood for order and appropriateness, which has a ring of virtue. Ojukwu had argued that the most senior army officer after Ironsi, Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe, should take over leadership, not Colonel Yakubu Gowon who was favoured by the coup plotters. The complication that arose from this disagreement contributed to the degeneration of the situation. The official exclusion of these particular players from the centenary honours illustrates the extent of subjectivity that marred the show. What is the fundamental moral? The troubles of yesteryear are very much in the present.

Whistle blowing: A lesson to learn By M. Ade. Shoyebo the anger of the PDP controlled government in Abuja which it saw as being very disruptive. It puts the spotlights on information that other members of the institution have disregarded, suppressed or falsified. Calling attention to this information invariably causes tension and embarrassment and triggers a defensive reaction from the Presidency. This, the federal government’s reaction was exceedingly harsh because the whistle-blower singles out suspected offenders and let the general public second-guess their motives. A typical whistle-blower is often quick to personalize the issue. Thus, his personality becomes part of the problem because in executive management view, only an eccentric or maverick would risk alienating his colleagues or compatriots in other government institutions. Even if a whistle-blower does not actually fit this category, the power that be might still portray him as such to divert attention from the disclosure. Employees possess several characteristics that can hamper their causes in potential whistle-blowing situations. They tend to regard disputes as being either technical or personal in nature. An employee engaged in a conflict with his immediate boss or with upper management in trying to turn the issue into a personal matter. In reality, both technical and personal elements are usually combined in such an organization or institutional conflict, and both must be dealt with in the appropriate manner. Another potential failing of employees arise when they must deal with information concerning environmental quality or educational institution corruption. Most of these issues require an assessment of risk-which often involves political considerations as well as scientific ones. Thus, such issues call for subjective judgments as well as objective analyses. Employees often have difficulty distinguishing between the two approaches and tend to shy away from political considerations when they are faced with them. The whistle-blower eventually has to prove his case by accumulating documentary evidence and lining up witnesses. The problem here is that the whistle-blower rarely has the legal training to understand problems of legal evidence. An engineer or accountant may understandably confuse proof in the technical sense with proof in the legal sense. While the detailed problems of proof should be entrusted to someone trained in law, the would-be whistle-blower must become somewhat versed in the necessary legalism if he hopes to produce a solid case. Perhaps, the ultimate surprise to an employee comes when

a particular litigation is decided on a procedure – how the whistle was blown – rather than on his merits of his claims. To guide against this, logic must prevail over emotion in following the prescribed procedures for whistle –blowing. Most experts advise that an employee seeks legal advice before going too far with his protest. Another subtle distinction that escapes the typical employee is the difference between proving that he was fired in reprisal. In a legal challenge to retaliatory action, the issue is not whether the original disclosure was correct, but whether the challenged action was motivated in whole or substantial part by the disclosure. More so, evidence of the correctness, propriety, or truth of the disclosure may be excluded altogether on grounds of irrelevancy. It is very unfortunate that Sanusi is currently going through persecution for daring President Jonathan to remove him from office in the consequence of his blowing the whistle on the alleged fraud in the petroleum industry. If the civil rights community and the Nigerian labour organisation failed in this course of rallying round Sanusi at this moment of his travesty of justice, we might as well forget about any rule of law adherence by this federal government whose administration thrives on corruption and impunity of the highest order. National ideologies play little part in Nigeria’s masses thinking and are little understood. What the people strive for is the opportunity for a little more food in their stomachs, a little better clothing on their backs, roof over their heads, and the realization of a normal nationalist urge for political freedom. These political-social conditions have but an indirect bearing upon our own national security, but they form a backdrop to contemporary planning which must be thoughtfully considered if we are to avoid the pitfalls of unrealism. • Engr. Shoyebo, an author/publisher writes from Mushin, Lagos.

‘It is very unfortunate that Sanusi is currently going through persecution for daring President Jonathan to remove him from office in the consequence of his blowing the whistle on the alleged fraud in the petroleum industry’





ARRING the unforeseen, President Jonathan will today inaugurate the National Conference. Already names of its leadership and the 492 delegates have been unveiled. With these developments, the stage is now set for the various interest groups to engage each other on the best approaches to a stable federation. This is more so given that even after living together for 100 years, fissiparous and centrifugal tendencies have of recent been on the ascendancy. The pressure has been so much so that even ardent advocates and supporters of Nigerian unity have had cause to rethink that position. When the idea was made public sometime last year, there were divergent responses from those who spurned it and others who thought it was a thing whose time had come. Issues were raised regarding its propriety especially given the fast approaching general elections. There were other matters relating to nomenclature, mode of representation, legitimacy of its decisions and above all, the sincerity of the superintending government. Yet, many others felt events today make it compelling that we talk, if anything, to renew confidence in our commitment to live together. The inauguration will put paid to the debate regarding the desirability of the conference or not. Coming at a time of waning confidence in our capacity to live together, the conference will create the needed ambience for aggrieved sections to articulate their positions and seek accommodation within a common milieu. This is especially so given that one issue at the centre of the current tension in the country has been which section of the country should take a shot at the presidency come 2015. The north fells it is its turn in view of the zoning order in the PDP. The defections and counter defections as well as the bad political blood now flowing among politicians have their roots in this. We have been told of agreements or no agreements to serve for a single term and all that talk. We have heard of sections threatening fire, lime and brimstone should this or that happen. There is also the Boko Haram debacle that has been aptly classified as political grievance masquerading under a religious garb. All these fissures are indicators of a centre that can no longer hold. Do we need any body to tell us that it is time to sit down and address basic questions of our existence? If after 100 years we are yet to find a common handle to national integration, is it not suggestive that we have to go back to the drawing board else we risk dire repercussions? Can’t we learn from contemporary events in


Emeka OMEIHE 08112662675 email:

At last, the conference countries that have passed through this path? The point here is that Nigeria does not seem to have an alternative than to sit down and realistically craft the architecture of a stable and sustainable federal order. What we currently operate is federalism in its most aberrant form. Though extant regulations on the conduct of national affairs do exist, but they have not served the collective interests of the disparate groups that make up this country. Thus, the recurring decimal these issues have become. The main concern of those genuinely committed to Nigerian unity should be how to generate consensus on the vexed issues of our federation and incorporate them into the ground norms governing the country. That is the challenge. It is not enough to parrot Nigerian unity, its indivisibility and sacredness. It is not sufficient to decree Nigerian unity a- nogo-area as Jonathan and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs have done. The question is, do we have the necessary dispositions and how much of the sacrifice that will stave off the constant recourse to parochial and primordial proclivities are we prepared to make? How prepared are we to significantly diminish the constant competition for the loyalty of the citizens by these cleavages? So it is not just a matter of sanctimony, grandstanding or precepts. It is a feeling that has to become manifest in the way sections react to such genuine issues of friction as fiscal federalism, devolution of powers, state police, revenue allocation and true federalism It is the overarching powers and influence of the centre that have in the main, accounted for the bitter struggles for its control, thriving corruption and the attendant underdevelopment

FEEL I would be failing the entire community of physicians of Nigerian and indeed African origin world wide if I fail to speak up on the omission of Sir Samuel Manuwa from the list of persons honoured for their contributions to various fields of endeavor in Nigeria’s first 100 years. I don’t know what the criteria were that were used to select people for the list. But looking at the category headlined Pioneering Professionals, and which included Fredrick Rotimi Williams, Akintola Williams Esq; as well as a few other pioneering professionals, I was surprised I did not see Sir Samuel Manuwa’s name on the final list. As to why I believe his inclusion is very appropriate for this Centenary Celebration, I will proceed to explain the reason. He was the first surgeon in Africa of Native African Origin. He rose from humble roots as the son of a clergyman from Itebu Waterside in present day Ondo State. Born in 1903, after a brilliant scholastic career through the Church Missionary School and Kings College Lagos, he proceeded to the University of Edinburgh Medical School where he qualified as a Doctor in 1926. At the time, the fashion was to get a basic professional qualification in whatever field you studied and return home. Later he trained in the Art of Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Postgraduate training in Medicine overseas is no easy task, even to his day, especially for a man of colour. It involves keeping your focus amidst racial bias, as a trainee apprentice, keeping your ability to smile in the face of unpleasant racial jokes and oftentimes insults. In 1934 he sat, passed and was called to join the Royal College of Surgeons as a Certified Surgeon and Fellow. With the full authority to carry the letters FRCS (Ed) after his name. He returned to Nigeria and re- joined the Government Health Department of West Africa as a Surgeon in the proper sense of the word. Being African, it was a feat that was unprecedented in the history of colonial Africa. He was sent to work all over Nigeria – East, West and North saving lives and inspiring many young high school students into the medical profession. He even designed a special surgical knife to improve and advance the frontiers of his profession for treating dreaded tropical ulcers. Indeed his professional excellence set a standard for medical care that made it possible for Africans in Nigeria and indeed West Africa to enjoy medical care at the frontiers of medicine as practiced internationally. He operated on tens of thousands of people in the span of his 18-year career as a pioneering surgeon. After 18 years practicing surgery, he could no longer resist administrative responsibilities. He was appointed Deputy Director of Medical Services. Later, he rose to become the first Nigerian Director of Medical Services for West Africa and later became the first Chief Medical Adviser to the Government of Nigeria. Among other things, in 1952 he saw to it that the entire

despite the huge resources nature bountifully endowed this country. The need to whittle down these powers can only be discounted at the expense of national stability. But what you find when discussions commence will be a situation groups and sections hold on tenaciously to pre-determined views that are patently incapable of advancing to cause of true federalism. Then you begin to wonder if all this sanctimony about the unity and indivisibility of the country has become an end rather than a means to common good. You begin to wonder if the refrain has not become a subterfuge for holding others down. Yet, we are better as a united country especially given the attendant economies of large scale. The strength of Nigeria in its current form cannot be discounted both economically and politically. But that strength should not be allowed to become a liability. It should neither stifle intellect and innovation nor become another platform for the promotion of mediocrity. Sections that should ordinarily have moved notches higher in the development matrix are held down by a balancing process and tardiness that have left us in the current pass. It is not for nothing that regional development paradigms have now become very attractive options. Its proponents see in it a convenient way to circumvent the huge baggage and liability which the central authority has become. So when people talk of renegotiating the basis of our common existence, it is a mark of their frustrations with the inability of the central government to deliver public goods and services efficiently and effectively to the constituent units. This

category of people are no less patriotic than those who at the slightest chance, parrot national unity and its indivisibility but are found wanting when it comes to the necessary sacrifice and disposition that will sustain what they preach. That is why it is difficult to fault the views of advocates of all issues under the sun, including the unity and divisibility of Nigeria being discussed. Those who root for the inclusion of selfdetermination and the right to secession in the agenda of the conference may as well be more patriotic than others who do not want such issues mentioned. It is vital that these items are discussed and positions taken on them. They could become stabilizing factors out of our present logjam. Nigerian unity and indivisibility have been taken for granted for too long. It is time to subject our commitment to that unity to another test. There is the nebulous assumption that this unity will always be wielded by the force of arms. Yet, the force of arms has been most ineffective in that assignment. It is this over reliance on the capacity on force to wield sections together that has been the greatest deficit of our union. That accounts for the arrogance of some sections and disregard for mutual respect among the constituent units. Giving constitutional backing to the right to self-determination and secession will reverse all that. It may not necessarily lead to the disintegration of the country as being feared. But the fact of their existence will make all sections conscious of the need to sit up, live together and respect the feeling and sensibilities of the constituent units if they really appreciate their importance. It could turn out the recipe for a stable nation that is bound by love and mutual respect and not one that is sustained by ephemeral force of arms.

‘The strength of Nigeria in its current form cannot be discounted both economically and politically. But that strength should not be allowed to become a liability. It should neither stifle intellect and innovation nor become another platform for the promotion of mediocrity’

Sir Manuwa deserves centenary honour By John Mabayoje jr.

African Hospital (General Hospital) floors in Lagos, were properly redone in Italian terrazzo just as the colonialists had done in their European Hospital (later named Creek Hospital now Military Hospital Onikan). Prior to that you were lucky if you didn’t catch hook worms from the floor if you didn’t wear shoes as an in-patient, especially in the patient bathrooms. He saw to it that all resources were made available to fight Tuberculosis which was then an African epidemic neglected by the colonialists. Films were made that showed how to prevent and identify tuberculosis in Africans that cinema goers were shown in all cinema theatres in Nigeria before the feature films. Sir Samuel’s support and leadership won Nigeria the fight against tuberculosis in the 50’s and early 60’s. As the leader in the medical community of West Africa, he ensured that meritocracy and excellence became the yardstick for every thing that had to do with the medical practice and profession. It is safe to say that people respected him and held him in very high esteem so much so that her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II honored him with a knighthood in 1956 for his professional excellence and services to West Africa in the field of medicine. Among his accomplishments were the closing down of the Old Yaba Medical College and the setting up of the Ibadan University College Medical School and the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan. UCH was his brainchild and its realization was his handwork. After a distinguished tenure as a medical administrator, he handed the baton of leadership to capable associates. Seeing that the nation still needed his wealth of unique experience, he was appointed as the first Nigerian Commissioner on the Federal Civil Service by the colonial government. He later humbly served as the deputy chief under Alhaji Sule Katagum after Nigeria became independent, despite being the first Nigerian Commissioner on the commission. He served as the Pro-chancellor and chairman of the university council of the University of Ibadan for very many years and was a guiding hand in developing UCH to the centre of excellence it became from its inception to what I will refer to as the “Golden era of Nigerian Medicine” in the 60’s and 70’s when members of the Saudi Royal Family came to seek regular specialist care at the University College Hospital on Queen Elizabeth Road. In July 1975, Nigeria went through a sudden transition. General Yakubu Gowon was removed and Murtala Mohammed became Nigeria’s third head of state. At the time, Sir Manuwa was living in his official residence on Alexander

Avenue in Old Ikoyi, a place he had lived since the 1950’s at least, with his devoted wife Lady Bella Manuwa. As the government announced sweeping reforms in the Federal Civil service, “he was retired with immediate effect”. This signaled the beginning of a massive retirement excercise. To worsen the humiliation, he was ordered to vacate his government residence “with immediate effect”. All pleas not to treat this distinguished Nigerian this way fell on deaf ears. For such a distinguished man, the shocking illtreatment was unprecedented and undeserved, but he complied and moved to a place in Surulere. He fell sick soon after and died of coronary artery disease not unrelated to his humiliating treatment. This was a pioneering professional who was never involved in any financial malfeasance or impropriety of any kind what so ever. His death instilled a sense of insecurity among the medical community working in the government and university hospitals which exists to this day. It is just befitting that Sir Manuwa be honoured at this time of Nigeria’s centenary celebration. We saw lists that had his name online, only to find his name was not on the official list to the utter surprise of many people in the medical community. If a special award is given to him, it will be most welcome and it will be on record that a grave injustice done in 1975/76 is being corrected. It will not be the first time for such an occasion, after all, Akintola Williams Esq; the doyen of the accounting profession was knighted for his services as pioneering accountant and philanthrophist responsible for the establishment of the MUSON Centre Onikan Lagos by Queen Elizabeth II. It was only after his international honour as the only Nigerian knighted by the Queen since 1963 that the federal government bestowed on him the appropriate national honour after he had refused to accept a lesser honour from the same federal government. Prof Wole Soyinka was on the “security watch list” of the military authorities when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The military quickly bestowed a national honour on “Kongi” at a special ceremony. Sir Samuel Manuwa deserves no less. He needs to be honoured as part of he centenary celebrations. If his family refuses like Felas family, that is for them to decide. For us physicians in the Nigerian medical community worldwide, he remains the “primus inter pares of Nigerian Medical Doctors”. His accomplishments will never be approached let alone equaled. He brought us to something we need back “the Golden era of Nigerian Medicine”. •Mabayoje jr M.D, writes from United States



NEWS •Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (right) presenting a souvenir-the Crest of Lagos State to the new Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jubrin when he visited the Governor at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja. •Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof Modupe Adelabu (second right) addressing teachers at Olaoluwa Muslim Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti.

•Chief of Staff to the Lagos State Governor, Moji Rhodes with Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Akinwunmi Ambode, a VIP delegate from Lagos at the unveiling of the APC Road Map and Code of Ethics in Abuja.

•Former Lagos State Commissioner for Health Dr Leke Pitan (left); Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, Managing Director of Edumark Consult and the convener of event; Ayodeji Fisher and Eyi Tope Owolabi officials from Sterling Bank Plc’s Retail Loans Group, at the eighth edition of “We are the Future of the Nation,” a voice of the Nigerian youth programme, held at Ten Degrees Event Centre, Oregun, Lagos.

•General Officer Commanding 81 Division Maj Gen Tamuunomiebi Dibi (right) receiving a Sourvenir from Director of Army Recruitment Resetlement and Reserve(DARRR) Brig Gen Shotunde Shongonuga when the GOC visited DARRR.

Secretary to the Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area, Mrs Funmilayo Mega Bruce presenting an award to Master Olanusi Boluwatife of Special Correctional School for Boys, the 1st primary School winner of Spelling B competition 2014

•A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Amuwo Odofin Constituency 1, Sultan Adeniji-Adele (middle) presenting a Joint Admission MatriculationBoard (JAMB) form to a beneficiary –– at the distribution of 300 free JAMB forms to students of Amuwo Odofin Local Government by the Comrade Ayodele Adewale-led administration at the council seretariat in Festac, Lagos. With them are the council’s Chairman Ayodele Adewale (second right); Head of Department, Education Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji (right) and Vice Chairman Alhaja Qudrat Dada. •Chairman, Mushin Local Government Olatunde Adepitan presenting a certificate of excellence to the winner of Spelling Bee Competition in the local government Miss Favour Olajoke.With them are chairman’s wife Rachael (left) and Vice Chairman’s wife Mrs Jumoke Bamigboye.

•Primate, Church of Nigeria (CON), Anglican Communion, Most Revd Nicholas Okoh (third left); Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West, Rev James Odedeji (second left); Bishop, Awori Diocese, Rev Johnson Atere (fourth left); Chairman, 50th Anniversary Committee, Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Ikeja, Lagos, Prof Wale Omole (left); Deen of Cathedral, Ven. Abel Oluyemi Ajibodu (right) and Sir Mike Lawani at a thanksgiving service to mark the 50th anniversary of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, at GRA, Ikeja...yesterday. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL







We want a SONCAP programme that would serve its purpose; a programme that would be dynamic, where all the identified loopholes would be effectively plugged thereby making it difficult for the plaque of substandard products to continue to dominate the Nigerian business space. -Dr Joseph Odumodu, DG, SON


Need a job? Try etiquette consulting - P. 35

‘Improved power will solve service quality crisis’ - P. 28

News Briefing

UBA spends N2b on ATMs

LCCI: Capacity utilisation low

• Plans 1000 more

THE Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf has said industrial capacity utilisation stands at between 40 and 45 per cent, arguing that it falls below the installed capacity of the industry. –Page 26

By Lucas Ajanaku


SON to roll out guidelines on LPG THE Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is planning new guidelines for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to be used by consumers, it has been gathered. –Page 26

10 firms’ve huge foreign investments TEN insurance firms have significant foreign ownership as against three about five years ago, the Chairman, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Chibudom Nwuche, has said. –Page 36




-$2,686.35/metric ton


- ¢132.70/pound


- ¢95.17pound




-$163/lb MARKET


-N11.4 trillion




-$10.84 trillion


-£61.67 trillion RATES



Treasury Bills -10.58%(91d) Maximum lending -30% Prime lending


Savings rate


91-day NTB


Time Deposit




Foreign Reserve
















• From left: Divisional Head, Corporate Resources, Enterprise Bank Limited, Chioma Nwabuoku, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Ahmed Kuru; Registrar, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Dr. Uju Ogubunka and Executive Director of the bank, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, during a visit by Ogugunka to the management of the bank in Lagos at the weekend.

Petrol imports deplete reserves by $3b


HE foreign reserves have declined by $3 billion to $39.72 billion in the last 30 days, analysis of the reserves movement has shown. The reserves, which were $42.77 billion on February 3, and dropped to $39.72 billion on March 3. Analysts said the reserves declined as imports of petroleum products and foods soared. The level of Nigeria’s external reserves has fallen precariously low to $43.63 billion as at December 30, last year. This is the lowest level since November 2012 and a decline of 10.7 per cent from 2013’s Year to Date

By Collins Nweze

peak of $48.86 billion. The continuous use of the external buffers to support the value of the naira, declining oil receipts are among the contributing factors to the depletion. However, this level of reserves is sufficient to fund an import bill of approximately seven months. With over 50 per cent of foreign exchange utilised for the importation of fuel and food, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the policy should focus on a comprehensive backward integration production strategy, while fast-tracking the repair of the existing refineries.

As at October 10, the reserves were at $45.3 billion, as against $46 billion in September 19, and $47 billion in August 19, data from the CBN website showed. Further findings showed that the reserves were at $47.7 billion on July 1, and dropped to $47 billion on July 15. They also entered August 1 at $47 billion. The foreign currency reserves had five year ago, in August 2008, peaked at $68 billion before the global financial crises impacted negatively on it. Analysts said the reserves are assets held by the CBN and monetary authorities, mostly in dollar to back their liabilities, such as the naira. They explained that ma-

nipulating reserves levels can enable CBN intervene against volatile fluctuations in currency by affecting the exchange rate and increasing the demand for the naira. Analysis of foreign exchange utilised by sectors revealed that $7.83 billion was expended on the importation of visible goods into the country in the second quarter as against $6.63 billion and $7.74 billion in first quarter and second quarter of 2012. Also, a large part of the reserves were utilised in the importation of oil, industrial, food and manufactured products in the ratio of 30.3, 28, 20.4 and 13.3 per cent of the total.

Investors stake N79m on NASD’s unlisted securities


HE NASD Over-theCounter (OTC) trad ing platform has recorded 42 deals worth N79.12 million on five firms, nearly nine months after its launch. Trading summary obtained by The Nation showed that the deals were struck on 248,165 shares of five firms. They include Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc (NDEP), Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc, Food Concepts Plc and Consolidated Breweries. Formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers, NASD Plc is a registered over-thecounter (OTC) trading platform for unquoted securities, including equities and bonds. NASD is owned by various investment and fi-

By Taofik Salako

Capital Market Editor

nancial institutions as well as strategic investors. It is registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a platform for unlisted securities. The NASD, which was launched on July 1, last year and started trading the following day. The trading summary indicated that WAMCO remained the main driver of the OTC platform, accounting for more than threequarters of market transactions. Besides, WAMCO is the only actively trading stock so far in 2014. WAMCO recorded a turnover of 178,859 shares valued at N71.72 million in 32 deals, representing 76 per cent, 72 per cent and 90 per cent of aggregate deals, volume and value of transac-

tions on the OTC platform since inception. The turnover indicated an average price of about N401 for WAMCO, placing the Peak Milk-manufacturer as the second highest-priced stock if it were to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Nestle Nigeria Plc is the highest-priced stock at the NSE with current market consideration at N1, 060 per share. Further analysis showed that Food Concepts has recorded two deals for 35,000 shares valued at N47,250. NDEP recorded a turnover of 20,000 shares valued at N6.24 million in four deals. C o n s o l i d at e d Br ew er i es also recorded three deals for 13,312 shares worth N1.11 million while a deal was struck for 1,000 shares of IGI worth N2,500. There are 10 firms on the

NASD. The other listed companies included BGL Plc, Geo-Fluids, Jaiz Bank, Swap Technologies and Telecomms and Resourcery Plc. Several stockbroking firms, which are equally members of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), have also signed on to the OTC trading. These included GTI Securities, Anchoria Investment Securities Limited, APT Securities and Fund Limited, BGL Securities limited, Capital Bancorp and FCSL Assets and Management Company Limited among others. Trading on the NASD OTC is expected to gather momentum as the trading platform steps up efforts to source private placements and unlisted public offerings.

NITED Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) is investing over N2billion on the installation of automated teller machines (ATMs) across the country to deepen cash-less drive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and financial inclusion in line with the regulator’s Financial System Strategy (FSS20) 20:2020. UBA’s former Head of ATM, Obinna Uma, who spoke on the sideline at a forum to showcase the lender’s e-banking bouquets over the weekend, said the lender was not relenting to take banking services to its numerous customers. According to him, the bank has concluded plans to deploy another set of 1000 new ATMs across the country this year, adding that it is also doing a lot of partnership with technology firms to upgrade all ATMs. He said it had been discovered that ATMs have the greatest reach in terms of alternative payment channels, stressing that the lender will do more in that direction. Earlier, the Divisional Head, E-Banking Products, Dr Adeyinka Adedeji, said based on the premium paid on e-banking by the lender, it has a dedicated structure, adding that it is standing on its own with its independent budget and workers. He said the lender is positioning its e-banking service such that people will be attracted to open an account with the bank because of its excellent service, stressing that in the sub-region, the banking model remains outstanding. Adedeji said the bank is deemphasising physical structures, but investing massively on e-banking products, quality assurance and management to ensure that the use of alternative channels of payment are encouraged and embraced in the country. He said the cash-less policy of the CBN has recorded a huge success because it compelled lenders who were not prepared for it at the time it took off, to hurriedly put the requisite infrastructure in place.

• GMD, UBA Philip Oduoza




Flight Schedule MONDAY - FRIDAY LAGOS – ABUJA Departure Arrival 1. Aero 06.50 08.10 2. Associated 07.00 09.30 3. Air Nigeria 07.00 08.20 4. IRS 07.00 08.20 5. Dana 07.02 08.22 6. Arik 07.15 08.15 7. Chanchangi 07.15 8. Air Nigeria 08.15 09.35 9. Dana 08.10 09.20 10. Aero 08.45 10.05 11. Arik 09.15 10.15 12. Chanchangi 10.00 11.00 13. IRS 11.15 12.35 14. Dana 12.06 12.26 15. Aero 12.20 13.30 16. Air Nigeria 13.25 14.45 17. Chanchangi 13.30 14.30 18. Arik 13.45 14.45 19. IRS 14.00 15.20 20. Aero 14.10 15.30 21. Air Nigeria 14.50 16.10 22. Dana 15.30 16.50 23. Chanchangi 15.30 16.30 24. Arik 15.50 16.50 25. Aero 16.00 17.20 26. IRS 16.30 17.50 27. Arik 16.50 17.50 28. Dana 17.10 18.30 29. Chanchangi 17.30 18.30 30. Air Nigeria 17.35 18.55 31. Air Nigeria (T/TH) 18.30 19.50 32. Arik 18.45 19.45 33. Aero 19.20 20.40 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

LAGOS – BENIN Arik 07.30 Associated 08.30 Aero 10.50 Arik 11.45 Associated 13.00 Aero 14.25 Arik 15.30 Associated 16.00

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

1. Arik 2. Aero 1. 2. 3. 4.

LAGOS – CALABAR 07.30 11.20 12.50 16.00 LAGOS – JOS 10.55 11.15

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

regard, reforms, privatisation efforts, and we have some in ongoing plan in terms of changing the entire structure of the power sector. In terms of impact of quality of the power delivery, we are still talking about less than 4,000 mega watts as we speak. “The situation is very unpleasant. So, power is still the major problem in the industrial sector So, when you say the government has been doing a lot, they may have been doing a lot in terms of putting structure in place, but in terms of the ultimate impact on the end-user, the impact is not effective.” On duty and tariffs , he said because there is no sufficient enforcement of duties and tariffs, sometimes the government grants discriminatory waivers that create distortion in the economy. He said: “There cannot be two players in an economy; one is paying duties, the other is not,

and that is a problem. The government needs to respect certain policies. There are always issues if tariffs are too high. If you have high tariff, you must have the capacity to enforce the high tariffs or you will create opportunities for smugglers as is happening to rice now. “When you raise tariff with the hope of improving local production, if you do not have the capacity to enforce the increase, it will create business for smugglers, Customs men and neighbouring ports. That is why you see that Cotonou port is always busy. There is a lot of investment. Nigeria loses a lot of investors because of our trade policy. Do not create a tariff policy you cannot enforce, otherwise you make nonsense out of it.” He said some of the items on prohibition list are all over the place, noting that when policies are not fully implemented, it creates business opportunity for saboteurs.

09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

LAGOS – KANO Air Nigeria 07.10 IRS 08.00 Dana 08.10 Arik 12.20 IRS 14.00 IRS 18.15

08.50 09.45 09.40 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – UYO 10.35


LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 08.00 18.00

LAGOS – ABUJA SAT/SUN Arik 7.15; 10.20; 2.20; 5.20pm – 7.30; 9.15; 10.20; 2.20; 4.50; 6.45 Aero 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 – 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 Air Nigeria 08.15; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30 – 08.15; 13.30; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30

He said there have been efforts at reforming the port, but a lot of manufacturers use the port to bring in their raw materials, adding that they had to contend with punitive cost of clearing the goods from the ports. He said: “There have been efforts at reforming the port, but if you talk to the port users, a lot of manufacturers use the port to bring in their raw materials, a lot of them still complain of the cost of clearing their cargoes. “They are still borrowing at the interest rate of between 20 and 25 per cent when their counterparts elsewhere are getting it for less than five per cent. That is still an issue. There is the problem of logistics. You have to move your products from raw materials to finished products from one part of the country to the other, and the cost is prohibitive. These are the major issues affecting them. Where the government has been doing something like the Railway, we know they are making efforts at that, but the impact of these efforts are yet to be felt.”

Fed Govt owes contractors N200b By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie


12.15 12.45

LAGOS – OWERRI Aero 07.30 Arik 07.30 Air Nigeria 13.40 Arik 14.00 Arik 16.30

LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

By Toba Agboola

08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1. Dana


HE Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf has said industrial capacity utilisation stands at between 40 and 45 per cent, arguing that it falls below the installed capacity of the industry. He said the business environment is not conducive for the growth of the sector, which would have absorbed a large percentage of the unemployed. He said: “We have issues with competitiveness, operating cost, infrastructure, finance, imported finish products, faking and counterfeiting. We have challenges of institution, challenges also come from tax and levies. These are the challenges we face and have been there for several decades and we don’t seem to be making much headway. “So, the capacity utilisation has not been satisfactory for a long time. We talk a lot about power, the power generation is not anything to celebrate. There have been a lot of motions made in that

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40

LAGOS – PORT HARCOURT (CIVIL) 1. Aero 07.15 08.35 2. Arik 07.15 08.35 3. Arik 09.00 10.20 4. Dana 09.27 10.40 5. Aero 10.50 12.30 6. Arik 11.40 13.00 7. Air Nigeria 12.00 13.10 8. IRS 13.30 15.00 9. Arik 14.00 15.20 10. Dana 15.03 16.20 11. Air Nigeria 16.00 17.10 12. Arik 16.10 17.30 13. Aero 16.15 17.30 14. Arik 17.10 18.30

1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik

Industrial capacity utilisation low, says LCCI

• From left: Executive Director, Sterling Bank Plc, Devendra Puri; Onitire of Itire, Oba Lateef Abayomi Dauda, and Regional Business Executive of the bank, AbiodunOladipupo, at the opening of Itire branch of the bank in Lagos.


SON plans guidelines for LPG

HE Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is planning to issue guidelines for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to be used by consumers, it has been gathered. It was also gathered that the rules would give details of the properties of the LNG otherwise known as cooking gas to be used in the country.They are coming on the heels of the review by SON to ascertain the quality of LPG coming to Nigeria from Niger Republic. SON’s Deputy Director , Obiora Manafa said the development became necessary to prevent consumers from using LPG that are certified. He said a quantity of LPG consists

By Akinola Ajibade

of two properties namely; butane and propane, adding that there is the need to ensure that LPGs in use meets the Nigerian specification. He said: “A technical committee comprising stakeholders in the LPG value chain was set up recently. The committee in conjunction with the SON undertakes a review of the LPG components. We have arrived at standard LPG, and this is awaiting the approval of the Council of SON. We have deliberated on the issue, and the approval would be given soon. In fact, the director-general, SON, said the approval would be given anytime.

“Once the standard is out, Nigerians would know whether the LPG standard from Niger Republic is complying with our own and from there take a position,” he said. The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) produces 95 per cent of the LPG used in the country. Nigeria’s LPG specification is 95 per cent butane and five per cent propane. It was learnt that the reason is because high butane is meant for countries in the tropics such as Nigeria, However, the decision of Niger Republic to import LPG with the highest propane quality made the government, SON and other stakeholders to contemplate the review.

ANLCA backs CRFFN’s fee collection at ports


HE Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has lent its support to the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to collect practising fees from freight forwarders at the airports, seaports and land borders. Its National President, Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, said it is in the best interest of ANLCA to support the collection approved by the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar. The government approved following transaction fees for airports, seaports and land borders cargoes: N1.50 per kilo for air cargoes; N1,000 per 20ft container; N2,000 per 40ft container; N500 per car/Jeep; N1,000 per truck or 20ft equivalent; N2,000 per truck or 40ft equivalent; N3.50 per ton for general cargo and N1 per ton for dry bulk

By Oluwakemi Dauda

cargo. The government also okayed registration fees for Nigerians and non-Nigerians, ranging from N7,500 to N50,000, depending on the category of membership. Similarly, yearly subscription fees ranging from N10,000 to N60,000 were approved. And to ensure compliance, the ministry directed the Central Office Planning and Information (COPI) of the NPA to “henceforth forward copies of all cargo manifests received to the CRFFN.” “In addition, the CRFFN should be represented at the Berthing Committee Meetings of the NPA.” Shittu said that the Minister had during a recent meeting with CRFFN officials and leaders of the leading freight forwarding associations, approved the funding of

the associations from the transaction fees. He said: “You can only carry out transactions in the ports when you are licensed. Customs license us, shipping companies license us, terminal operators, NPA license us. Any corporate body purportedly in the freight forwarding industry that does not have either one or two of these licenses cannot be deemed to be an operator. So based on this, we work, gather money and give to CRFFN to share for those who have nothing at stake. It is the existence of our companies that will generate that money that is going out.” He, however, said the method of distributing the funds among associations registered by the CRFFN should be based on the level of payment made by their members.

HE Federal Government is owing contractors over N200billion, President, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) Mr. Solomon Akinwole Ogunbusola, has said. He did not give details. As a resultof the debts, he added, his colleagues were suffering. He spoke on the sideline at the ongoing Building, Construction and Mining mart in Lagos. He said the contributions and impact of the building and construction sector to the economy cannot be neglected as it has become a veritable source of both skilled and unskilled employment. The FOCI boss said the 50- yearold association is contributing 3.2 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with room for improvement if encouraged by the government through more contracts and prompt payment for completed jobs. He said: “The prospect of this sector growing our economy is not in doubt. Expectations are that by 2020, Nigeria alongside India will occupy higher growth rates than notable nations such as China in the construction sector. It is also predicted that by 2021, the nation’s construction sector will triple its investment value in the volume of business and assets of its125 members nationwide.” He regretted that despite these prospects, the state of the economy has overstretched his colleagues as they have been tasking themselves to the overcome the constraints, including high indebtedness. On a World Bank report that roads cost higher to build in the country than in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world, he debunked the assertion, saying the nation has standard roads can last over 50 years. He, however, decried the stress on the roads due to a non-functional rail system where heavy duty vehicles, lorries and goods carry goods unlike what is practised abroad where such goods are ferried by rail. On the long awaited Construction Bank, Ogunbusola regretted that after nine years, the dream has not materialised due to the inability of professionals in the sector to raise the initial capital outlay of the proposed bank. He urged the government to encourage such specialised banks that can give single digit interest rate to players.



THE CEO Quality of service (QoS) remains a knotty issue in the telecoms industry, more than 10 years after it was liberalised. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been pushing for better service, but subscribers hardly get value for their money. What is the way out? It is in improving power supply, says Ericsson Nigeria Country Manager Kamar Abass, in this interview with LUCAS AJANAKU. He believes that things will be better if the right decisions are taken, but he warns against barring operators from taking on new subscribers as this may be a disincentive to further investment.

‘Improved power will solve service quality crisis’ W

HAT was the most remarkable de velopment in the technology indus try last year? What should we lookout for in years to come? The year 2013 was a steady year and there were a number of big formative things done to set the industry on a footing for growth which will continue and potentially accelerate in 2014. We ended the year announcing a major Managed Services contract with MTN. This is indicative of an important trend in the telecommunications industry which saw a number of third party support engagements announced. We are building a very formidable ecosystem in the telecoms space where we have major companies taking major parts of the undertakings that have been for a long time considered core activities by the mobile operators. There was a strong growth in the number of customers through the year. Operators gained a very significant number of customers last year and, of course, we saw quality of service staying top of the agenda and noted that operators are working hard to keep up with the demand. Data remains to come of age in Nigeria. There are data handsets and, of course, 3G services out there. Each operator has a welldeveloped 3G offering and some exciting pricing but there is still some way to go in terms of full penetration and use of data which remains something that we look forward to in 2014. Our objective for 2013 was to achieve a stable and sustainable business for the future. We accomplished that, and when you see the results you will see what I mean. We were able to achieve a stable business that is sustainable for the future and that is a platform for us to service the major operators in this country and provide a wider service for them in the future. Service quality has become a recurring decimal in the country. The telcos say they are doing a lot to improve service quality. Do you think their efforts have reflected in service quality? We are the leader in second, third and fourth generation technology, 2G is predominantly voice in addition to something we call GPRS or EDGE which is lower speed data and we have provided that technology to many of the operators today (and so it’s an important part of their development). When digital telephony started in Nigeria in 2001, we were here and had operated successfully for many years, so we were a natural partner of choice for many of the operators. We continue to do valuable work for them today. Today, our business is more balanced between, on the one hand technology, selling hardware, and the other hand, selling services. There is a balance between the two businesses. So that is a slight change from where we were back in the early years but we expect both directions to grow. We will continue to provide hardware and services to our customers. In addition to that, we also provide counsel to our customers, the government, regulators about what is best practice in the industry. We share what we have seen work, particularly, well in other countries and how we see the best examples of what has worked in other countries being applied successfully to Nigeria. Can you explain the impact of the evolution of technology form 2G to 3G and 4G or long-term evolution (LTE) on subscribers now that the industry is even talking about 5G? Let’s start with where it was. I have often

• Abass

Profile Institutions attended

University of Lagos, Cranfield University’s School of Management, United Kingdom (UK).


B.Sc (Civil Engineering); MBA

Previous position

Senior Positions at Vodafone Group, FirstMark Communications, BT Plc, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Buchanan & Partners.

Present position

Country Manager, Ericsson Nigeria.


Over 20 years.

remarked about how I would walk 20 minutes to the telephone room to make a phone call home when I was at the University of Nigeria. These days, I find myself having my phone on my laps, so I do not have to stretch my arm to grab my phone. I think

that is a wrong place for it, but that is the nature of how accessible it is today. The fundamental part of mobile technology is that you now call a person not a place where you hoped that there will be someone in the vicinity of that phone. So, that is a

‘To improve QoS, there are some basic things to do. If we can improve access to power, that will solve a lot of the problems. If you think about Lagos and Abuja and a few other big cities, if we had dedicated generation facilities in those cities plus transmission to the cell sites, which are mostly in urban areas, that will solve a significant part of the problem and, already, the operators are thinking about this’

big change. Nigeria where we talk and engage a lot. You will not be surprised to hear that the talking time in Nigeria is, in fact, among the highest in Africa It is roughly 150 minutes per SIM. It’s bigger in places like America where there is a different economic set up but 150 minutes is a very high number. So, in spite of what may seem as challenges, there is still very strong demand for services. Growing to 119 million customers, the number for end of Q3, is a pretty formidable accomplishment. If we think back the days before 2000, teledensity never got into double figures whereas in the space of a mere 10 years even five years, there were millions and millions of people who had access to telephony. They could reach any one on the face of the earth with the handset in their hand. With all of that said, I think it’s worth stressing that many customers express a level of frustration. What are the things involved in designing a network? When designing the mobile network, you put in all the capacity you need for the most intensive demand. The point at which you estimate that demand will be highest is what you have to build your network for. For example, if everybody wants to have dinner at one time and there are 10 of you in the house, your dining table must have 10 chairs, but it means that apart from the once-in-a-month dinner for everybody, the table may not be fully used. That is the same for mobile networks. Mobile networks are dimensioned for the most intensive demand and most of the time that network is empty. I mean something like 20 per cent of all cell sites. It doesn’t matter which network. Somewhere between 20 per cent, at most, 25 per cent of all cell sites can be described as heavily used while the rest of the network is less heavily used. This is where the QoS issue comes in. Most times, it is really guess work. Well, educated guesses, guesses proven over time. But it is guess work about how you should dimension your network, and that is the challenge. And sometimes you see that there is a lot of density of people in a particular location, a lot of density in calling activity and then quality of service falls off. Unfortunately, it is those times that stick to the mind and condition our thinking. There is this talk about legacy infrastructure. What is it about? One of the real problems about where the QoS issue originates from is the legacy. When the licences were given, there was really limited backbone transmission. What happens is that, you decide where you want to cover and the next thing you do is build a transmission network so that information can travel from one site through a local hub, onto a backbone network and terminate on the other side of the extreme end. That did not exist in any meaningful sense, so it had to be built. MTN first built the Y’ellobhan, a microwave network until they encountered the difficulty with harmattan and the winds which obscure microwave and interfere with it. So, they had to start building fibre. But fibre has its own problems in a developing country that is fast changing. Fibre, all too frequently, gets dug up or cut among changes in the landscape and so that disruption is very significant. Creating that transmission network and maintaining it remains a challenge till this day because fibre is not as readily available as people would like it to be, but also where it is available, it quickly gets undermined. But the other thing is that it is an enormous cost and an operational complexity. When I worked in Europe, we managed spare parts for Vodafone. They had in the scope of the area we covered, about 80,000 to 90,000 cell sites across seven different countries in Europe. For each of those sites, we had to hold about six or seven spare parts for each site in stock. That means, we had somewhere in the region of 700,000 spare parts and a small number of those, about two per cent or three per cent of those sites required external power. If you think about •Continued on page 28




‘Improved power will solve service quality crisis’ •Continued from page 27

Nigeria, 100 per cent of cell sites need alternative power source. In fact, most of them need an alternative for their alternative. So that means we are talking two diesel generators and extra batteries. That means that you consider having spare parts for all the cell sites, then you add on the parts for the generators, plus the fuelling of the generators. It just adds complexity to the point where this thing is so expensive. Frankly, it’s a miracle that QoS is at the level that it is today because when one cell site goes down because of power, particularly 3G sites, all the other cell sites have to expand to fill the space. When they expand, they take up more customers and the site, therefore, suffers because the density of customers on the site is so great that they start having QoS issues. These are the things responsible for the enormous amount of difficulties; lack of a backbone in place prior to 2000 and the need for the operators to build the backbone themselves, and secondly, the lack of power and many things going wrong. What happens when a fibre gets cut? Someone has to go there to fix it and in many cases, you need to go with security. There are some places you will not go to if the network goes down at odd hours in the night. You would have to find security, make sure you have the right spare parts, the right expertise to do the work before heading to the site. All of these work mean that there are multiple points where things can go wrong. There is an enormously demanding challenge which frankly, I think, the operators are meeting very well and the fact that you can bring any telephone into Nigeria, slip any SIM in and begin to make a call is a fantastic achievement looking at the time we have had to do this. Are the factors outlined known to the operators? If yes, what has been your input? Obviously, this is known to the operators and it’s being addressed because they are talking to us all the time about it. The problem is that the bigger networks have more points of failure and that means it’s a bigger and more complex job to do. MTN has about 10,000 base stations and that means 10,000 more points of failure. In fact, in every base station, there are about four points of failure and Etisalat has half the number of base stations and one third of the number of customers. Etisalat has a formidable challenge and they have done a very good job in building the network up to the standard it has got. Just that MTN has a bigger problem and they also have to think carefully because there are areas in the network that you have to judge; how much capacity do I need? How many customers do I need to serve at peak period? This is just the first issue. The second one is how much service do the customers want to use each. What capacity do the operators want to give during the peak hour and that is based on what the customers want to do in the peak hour. These days, it’s a lot of things. They want to make a call, want to send a message on their Blackberry, follow a link, do some research on the web, look at pictures, and watch a movie on YouTube. All these have their bandwidth demands and the level of demand is growing so fast and the operators are running as hard as they can. If somebody comes to us and says, build me a thousand sites, we will be able to say yes, but if they say build me a thousand sites in a month, however much we wanted to, it will be hard. Now in Europe, we can do 500 a week. But in Nigeria, we can probably do 1,000 may be 1,500 a year which is a challenge, because here, the roads are not easy to travel, getting things into the country is more challenging, so it is making the relevant people available, and we are training people as fast as we can. There is a maturity in the industry which will come and that maturity will give us more scale but right now, we are running as quickly as we can. We are all at the capacity of what we can do with the resources we have at the moment. It is almost like a jinxed issue. How could the service quality issue be resolved? To improve QoS, there are some basic things to do. If we can improve access to power, that will solve a lot of the problems. Many of the operators are already thinking about talking to the distribution companies (DISCOs) and doing something about it. If you think about Lagos and Abuja and a few other big cities, if we had dedicated generation facilities in those cities plus transmission to the cell sites which are mostly in urban areas, that will

• Abass

solve a significant part of the problem and, already, the operators are thinking about this. I am not sure how much they are cooperating among themselves but they are thinking about how they can work with the DISCOs and generating companies (GENCOs) to get more secure access to power for their sites because burning diesel is the most single inefficient way to generate power. If you have natural gas based power from power stations delivered to sites, that will not only improve your efficiency but it will improve your availability on the site and it’s much more cost effective too. The second thing is in transmission networks. I think that the government is doing some very sensible things. There is a ruling on sharing fibre infrastructure and not simply replicating it which makes sense. I think there are some bottleneck areas where it is hard to get a cost-efficient price for access to fibre. So, generally speaking, the open access arrangement is sensible because they provide for people to share. It is in a lot of people’s interest to have them share fibre because of the enormous capacity in it. Power has been an issue. Given Nigeria’s peculiar environment, what sort of alternative energy would you recommend? I would like to think that if the baseline is diesel generators, then I think that the easiest next step is really thinking about how to do a partnership with the GENCOs and the DISCOs to access power and then deliver them to the cell sites. In many of our sites, we have blue batteries which are high capacity batteries that hold the power for a long time without too many losses. In some instances, we can use solar. We are hundred miles north of the equator, so solar may make sense. For solar however, it is not very clever with the high capacity system. Solar is usually used

where there are low energy base stations for small distances. We have not found solar to work effectively where you have got high demand of between 300 and 400 watts. You will need a solar panel, which is the size of a whole plot, to drive a full power base station and that just doesn’t scale. For the small site, we call them rural coverage site where you want to cover two or three small villages. Then, you can put up a low power base station with a limited reach and that will be sufficient. You have that with the battery system. This solution uses about 40 watts compared to 10 times that for a full size base station. Do you think deploying the LTE or 4G technology will address the problmes? Yes and no. Actually, I think that the challenge is, one, that over time will be resolved. In Europe for example, one of the challenges is change in seasons. When leaves grow on trees, it impedes the signal and you have to go and tune the network and make some adjustments. So, you will always have problems with the network. It is a living, breathing thing that has to be managed right. You always have to manage the network. One of the important differences is that you go from 2G to 3G to 4G. These newer technologies, apart from allowing faster speeds for connection between your device and the downstream server, they use spectrum more efficiently. So, in other words, for a unit of spectrum, you can have more users on it and if you can have more users, then it uses the resources that the operators have more efficiently. That means higher yield from those and better opportunity for investment LTE will aid operators in terms of the efficiency in which their resources are used. It also gives them the opportunity to get more yields from their networks and with the hope that they will be able to do something called

‘What I think the regulator must do is to tell operators what is expected of them and that needs to be in the laws; that people need to operate in this way. I think what they have done about MNP is excellent. It gives all the operators the message that whatever your customers are experiencing on your network will be the judge of whether they stay or not’

re-farming, which is to re-use some of their existing spectrum which is being used today. So, there will be enormous improvement in efficiency; improvement in yield because of data for customers and that they are prepared to pay for a higher speed data that benefits the operators. So it’s a good thing. It’s not about the technology per se, but about making sure that the networks are optimised to give the best customer experience. The reality about customer experience is that the person it affects the most is the operator. When a person cannot get through and doesn’t make a call, that unit of time in which they could have made that call is lost forever. When a call gets cut off prematurely, there are many instances when that call is not replaced and that is lost revenue. In Etisalat’s network, they made a change of vendors and they mentioned that they made an extra $10 million in a month due to just that change. So, they get it and they are taking the steps to get the right vendor and technology and are keen on maximising QoS. Spectrum is said to be the oxygen of telecoms industry and its management, therefore, is vital. What is the place of efficient spectrum management in the whole of the equation? If you want to move spectrum from 2G to 4G, you have got to have a sensible volume of 4G customers and today, there is a tiny number of 4G devices that are accessible that the mass market can embrace. The devices that I have seen are several hundreds of pounds about 700 pounds (roughly N180,000). There are iPads that will do it, but we are still talking about several hundreds of pounds. 4G devices are at a premium and going into mass market is a long way off. Today, the operators have tens of millions of customers on 2G, why would they move away from those customers just to serve say 10 to 20 or 30,000 customers who can access 4G? For the moment, having these tens of millions customers on the 2G network is the most efficient use of the spectrum. If they had 10 million customers asking to use their phone on the 4G network, I am sure they would listen. But for today, 2G and 3G are still a lot better use of the spectrum. With more than 120 million active subscribers, people say the regulator should halt the sale of and activation of new SIMs and consolidate on what is on ground for a while and stabilise the network. Do you subscribe to this line of reasoning? This is a very controversial point you have made. When the operators bought their licences, they paid $285 million each. When that investment was made, some investors would have put up the money in the hope for a return in a fair market, a market where the rules are known and understood. They go out into the market prepared to be judged by their customers and they are also prepared to suffer the consequences if they do not satisfy their customers. The reality is that mobile number portability (MNP) gives customers the choice of moving from one operator to another if the QoS is poor. If an operator consistently neglects its customers’ interest, it will ultimately fail and that law of the market is good enough for most. To have artificial constraint placed is really dangerous because on the one hand, it punishes mobile operators for some problems which are many times beyond their control; it also robs them of the incentive to invest because they suddenly feel like this is a regime that they cannot rely on its laws. They have to face the challenge of somebody changing the laws half way through. We could also face a situation where operators are not willing to invest because they are not allowed to take customers on when they can. What I think the regulator must do is to tell operators what is expected of them and that needs to be in the laws; that people need to operate in this way. I think what they have done about MNP is excellent. It gives all the operators the message that whatever your customers are experiencing on your network will be the judge of whether they stay or not. Another thing the regulator has done is that it has set key performance indicators (KPIs) which are published. So, people can see what is happening not just in terms of dropped call rate, call hold times but they also see what is happening at the interconnect point where Etisalat hands over a call to MTN or MTN to Airtel. This is an excellent way of saying to the people: let there be no doubt, if you have any issues with QoS, just go and look and see what your operators are doing.




DMO to auction N90b bonds on Wednesday


HE Debt Management Office (DMO) is to sell N90 billion ($547.61 million) of bonds on Wednesday. The bonds offer which have maturities of three years and 10 years will be DMO’s third monthly debt auction this year. The debt office said it would issue N45 billion each of the threeand 10-year bonds, maturing in August 2016 and March 2024 respectively, using the Dutch Auction System. Reuters report said the notes are re-openings of previous issues. The DMO had raised N90 billion on January 15 through two re-open-

ings: 13.05 per cent Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) August 2016 and 10 per cent FGN July 2030. It was competitive with over-subscription of 119 per cent on the three-year tenor. The stop rates were 13.1 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively. The CBN sold N124 billion of 91day, 182-day and 364-day treasury bills on December 4 at the stop rates of 10.95 per cent, 11.2 per cent and 11.66 per cent respectively. The twice-weekly CBN’s Retail Dutch Auction System (RDAS) continues

to be influenced by the September 26 circular regarding dollar sales to small scale importers. The naira remains under pressure due to structural imbalance between dollar supply and demand; and lower US oil demand. Analysts at FBN Capital quoted Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO) last week as saying foreign holdings of government debt, including T-bills, had reached $5.1 billion at the end of 2012, compared with $500 million at the start of that year. The Federal Government issues

will help MSMEs to sustain the growth of their businesses.” “Reduction of physical cash flow in MSMEs, by making use of electronic banking channels, which helps to monitor expenses and inculcate financial discipline, is fundamental to the ultimate success of a business”, Dozie added. Head of Retail Banking, Mr. Jude Anele, who spoke on the contribution of MSMEs to the growth of the economy, said the bank is not

just providing loans, but also building the capacities of MSMEs, while insisting that the success of MSMEs is crucial to Diamond Bank and the economy at large. On the bank’s determination to continue with the seminars, Head, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Segment, Mr. Chima Nnadozie, revealed that the lender has been supporting MSMEs with loans without collateral since 2009, offering a total range of solutions

Stories by Collins Nweze

sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit. The units of sale are N1, 000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N10, 000 and in multiples of N1, 000 thereafter. The offer, will like all FGN bonds, qualify as liquid assets for liquidity ratio calculation for banks. The FGN Bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government and are charged upon the general assets of the country.

•DMO D-G Abraham Nwankwo

Keystone Bank elevates 627 staff

Diamond Bank’s BusinessXpress supports MSMEs’ growth


IAMOND Bank has reiterated its commitment and support for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) through BusinessXpress seminar that provides financial and non-financial interventions in the subsector. The seminar, which held recently in Lagos, is aimed at educating MSMEs on how to build capacity in the area of Financial Management. The topics discussed included: Build Up to Breakthrough, Introduction to Cash Flow and Diamond Bank Offerings for MSMEs. Addressing the participants at the seminar, the bank’s Executive Director, Retail Banking, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, stressed the need for entrepreneurs to have well-articulated visions for their businesses. According to him, “Entrepreneurs need to have a well-articulated vision, which involves understanding the perspective of their customers and staff, because a business grows as her customers grow and capacity building is what


dependent and indigenous producers and service providers in the oil and gas sector and ways of supporting them to overcome the challenges. The session will also evaluate the fiscal environment under the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill and its impact on independent producers amongst other important issues such as funding for the acquisition of divested assets and incentives needed to increase the number and prominence of Nigerian-owned stakeholders.

Now in its 14th year, the NOG conference has proven to be the most veritable engagement platform for policy makers and operators in the sector. The conference will once again be opened by the Honourable Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. Also, Access Bank Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe will join other industry experts to deliberate on how to overcome the challenges facing the growth of in-



Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year

35m 35m

11.039 12.23

19-05-2014 18-05-2016

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m



OBB Rate

Price Loss 2754.67


Amount 30m 46.7m

Rate % 10.96 9.62

Date 28-04-2012 “


O/PRICE 94.39 0.53 0.85 0.57 1.61 0.70 2.23 76.00 7.31 27.30


Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51











104.00 0.56 0.88 0.59 1.66 0.72 2.29 77.99 7.50 27.99

9.61 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.05 0.02 0.06 1.99 0.19 0.69


July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00%



O/PRICE 1.85 180.00 0.67 4.48 3.72 0.56 0.59 2.28 48.46 4.09

C/PRICE 1.76 171.73 0.64 4.28 3.56 0.54 0.57 2.21 47.00 3.98

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917

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

Exchange Rate (N) 155.75 155.8 155.7

Date 2-5-14 2-3-14 1-29-14





% Change

CAP Index

N13.07tr 40,766.16

N6.617tr 20,903.16

-1.44% -1.44%



CHANGE -0.09 -8.27 -0.03 -0.20 -0.16 -0.02 -0.02 -0.07 -1.46 -0.11

Amount Sold ($) 399.9m 399.9m 399.9m





EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency


EYSTONE Bank has announced the promotion of 627 members of staff between the Executive Trainee and Deputy Manger grades. In a statement, the bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Philip Ikeazor, said the promotion is “in line with management’s commitment to recognise merit and reward its workforce. He said the exercise will help in building high performance in the workforce, delivering convenient and reliable banking services to our esteemed customers, adding that the criteria for promotion were based on performance assessment score, promotion readiness, tenure on current grade and absence of disciplinary actions. While congratulating the staff, Ikeazor admonished them to be spurred to higher performance and exhibit a more passionate approach towards contributing to, and achieving the bank’s customer centric goals.

Access Bank, CWC Group partner on confab

CCESS Bank has partnered the CWC Group, an international non-governmental organisation to host this year’s Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) Strategic conference holding in Abuja, this month. The annual conference is organised under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation with sponsorship support from the private sector.

Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33


that MSMEs need, and has been encouraged to continue the seminars because the feedback from participants has been very positive. Successful entrepreneurs who shared their stories at the event included the Executive Director of Mopeth Group of Companies, Mrs. Odunola Oyegade, and the CEO of Avis Nigeria, Mr. Kolawole Ogunbanjo. They each stressed the importance of reading to entrepreneurs.



1.2680 1.2876 0.9571 1.1480

Bid Price 155.84 9.08 1.05 1.17 0.68 1.33 1,618.47 1,000.00 115.13 1,087.30 1.67 1.05 143.11 0.78 1,890.62 1.2564 1.2876 0.9389 1.1480



Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012











Equities lose N195b as average return declines to -5.75% NIGERIAN equities lost about N195 billion in market value last week as four-day successive decline overshadowed last-day recovery at the weekend. Most key indices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) indicated widespread declines across sectors. The benchmark index at the stock market, the All Share Index (ASI), indicated a week-on-week decline of 1.53 per cent, pushing the average year-to-date return at the stock market to -5.75 per cent. ASI closed weekend at 38,952.47 points as against its index-on-the-board of 39,558.89 points

Stories by Taofik Salako Capital Market editor

for the week. Most value-based indices mirrored the overall market position. The NSE 30 Index, which tracks the 30 most capitalised companies, declined by 1.66 per cent to close the week at 1,748.25 points. The NSE Insurance Index indicated average loss of2.31 per cent within the insurance sector, closing at 143.28 points. The NSE Consumer Goods Index showed the worst decline with -4.67 per cent to close at 960.71 points. The NSE Lotus II Index,

Capital market operators seek listing of oil companies on NSE


APITAL market operators have urged the Federal Government to implement a targeted measure that will encourage local participation in the oil and gas sector and ensure distribution of wealth from the sector to the wider Nigerian public through the stock market. Capital market operators, who spoke against the background of the low representation of the Nigerian economy by the capital market, said the sale of oil assets to Nigerians and provision of other incentives such as tax incentives would encourage companies to list their shares on the stock market. Several active operators in the Nigerian oil and gas sector including Afren Plc, Centrica, Eland Oil and Gas, Essar Energy, Heritage Oil, Lekoil Royal Dutch Shell, CAMAC Energy, Sasol, Mart Resources Inc and Mira Resources among others have primary listings outside Nigeria but are not listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The assets values of these active companies are estimated at about $89 billion. Market operators said non-listing on the NSE denies Nigerian investors the opportunity to share in the profit made from Nigerian oil resource while simultaneously impinging on the economic development of the country. It is expected that assets divestment in the oil and gas sector would create between $4 billion and $5 billion in value in the next two years. Operators tasked the government to take some proactive steps that would forestall past mistakes of handing over virtually all oil assets to foreign companies to the detriment of indigenous investors. Managing director, Partnership Investment Company Plc, Mr. Victor Ogiemwonyi, said government should sell the oil and gas assets to Nigerians to create a general impetus for public participation. According to him, government should also require public companies with licences that serve larger public to list their shares on the NSE for public participation after a stated number of years.

“Government should compulsorily make privatised companies especially to list a portion of their shares. Without these steps, the stock market will not grow as fast as we want,” Ogiemwonyi said. He added that government should give incentives such as lower tax rate to encourage listing on the stock market. Managing director, Crane Securities Limited, Mr. Mike Ezeh, noted that if the oil assets are sold to indigenous investors, the probability of their listing on the NSE would be very high. “As we expect further government and private divestments in the oil and gas sector, I believe indigenous firms should be given the opportunity to buy some of these assets. If this is done, the companies will be listed on the Nigerian bourse thereby deepening the capital market and sharing the profit among Nigerians,” Ezeh said. Executive vice chairman, Quantum Securities Limited, Andrew Elueni, had earlier called for a legislation that will goad the oil companies operating in Nigeria to list their shares on the NSE. “Imagine if 20 per cent of the assets of the likes of Shell, Chevron are listed, the capitalisation of Nigeria’s capital market will shoot up. Legislation should be applied,” Elueni said. However, an investment banker and financial analyst, Mr. Bayo Rotimi of Quest Advisory Services Limited, said preference should be given to incentives and enabling environment in the quest for new listings. According to him, new listings can only be achieved through the introduction of incentives such as tax rebates and waivers as well as a continuous commitment towards the enthronement of transparency and accountability in the running of the capital markets. “Bottom-line is that private sector entities cannot be forced to list. The capital market regulators must continue to engage these companies, seek to understand their apprehensions and roll out programmes and policies that address those concerns frontally,” Rotimi said.

which serves as benchmark for ethical stocks, indicated a weekly loss of 1.79 per cent to close at 2,789.07 while the NSE-ASeM Index, which tracks stocks on the second board, declined by 0.30 per cent to close at 956.72 points. Meanwhile, banking stocks rode on the back of gains by Union Bank of Nigeria and Zenith Bank to record a marginal gain of 0.26 per cent. The NSE Banking Index closed the week higher at 385.45 points. The NSE Oil and Gas Index also rode on the back of Forte Oil to lead the contrarian groups with a week-on-week average gain of 1.37 per cent to close at

305.61 points. Forte Oil had led the gainers with a gain of N15.60 to close at N104. The NSE Industrial Goods Index also closed positive with a gain of 0.52 per cent to close at 2,582.16 points. With 54 losers to 32 gainers, aggregate market value of all quoted equities lost N195 billion to close the week at N12.512 trillion as against its week’s opening value of N12.707 trillion. A total of 198 stocks were traded during the week, with 112 stocks marinating their opening prices. Total turnover stood at of 2.15 billion shares worth N18.49 billion in 22,697 deals. Financial services sector

led the activity chart with 1.72 billion shares valued at N11.15 billion in 12,303 deals, representing about 80 per cent of aggregate turnover volume. The conglomerates sector placed second with a turnover of 236.71 million shares worth N1.05 billion in 1,773 deals. Consumer goods sector followed with 52.82 million shares worth N3.50 billion in 3,664 deals. The trio of Wema Bank Plc, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc and Zenith International Bank Plc were the most active accounting for 873.34 million shares worth N6.06 billion in 2,983 deals, about 41 per cent of aggregate turnover volume.

SEC calls for inclusive financial access for women SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stressed the importance of financial access to women as a major catalyst for national development. Speaking during the SEC Learning Series’ programme in commemoration of the International Women Day, director general, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh underscored the importance of financial literacy and saving and investment among women. She noted that the United Nation’s theme for this year’s celebration-”Inspiring Change” gives reason to be really proud of the great Nigerian women who have inspired change in the nation and have led various efforts for the country’s development According to her, SEC is determined to see women achieve economic empowerment but more importantly, it wants to celebrate the critical role of the woman in nurturing children and giving them the best of love and attention. She pointed out that women all over the world are faced with societal realities that threaten to limit their achievements and prevent them from attaining their economic potentials.

“But of the many realities that women face, there is perhaps none as disenfranchising as poor access to finance. A recent study by the IFC showed that women-owned SMEs are particularly a financially undeserved segment. They are not only less likely to obtain formal financing; they also often get charged higher interest rates,” Oteh said. Citing a World Bank report on “Investment Climate in Nigeria”, she noted that about 76 per cent of women rely on informal sources of funds and savings in sharp contrast to only about one per cent that obtained capital from the formal sector. “Many other surveys have reported women being denied bank loans in high numbers. In addition to limited access to finance, women face dis-

criminatory customary and other practices in inheriting land and property. In Nigeria, although women make up between 60 to 79 percent of rural workforce, they are five times less likely to own land than men,” Oteh noted. She pointed out that another reason for women’s economic exclusion is the disparities in earnings as in almost all parts of the world, women earn less than men. She said a study by the DFID revealed that when the incomes of men and women with the same educational levels were compared, women at every educational level earned at least 20 per cent less than their male counterparts and men with less education in some cases earn more than more educated female peers.

Access Bank promotes financial literacy

IN commemoration of this year’s Global Money Week which commences today, Access Bank has designed weeklong activities aimed at promoting financial literacy amongst youths and children in the country. Group head, inclusive banking, Access Bank, Ope Wemi-Jones said the Global Money Week presents another opportunity for the bank to affirm its commitment to the principles of inclusive and sustainable banking. According to her, the bank’s Early Savers Account for children encapsulates financial literacy and it is a valuebased financial product that explores fun-filled and highly interactive financial literacy campaign to reach Nigerian children. The hallmark of this year’s commemorative initiatives by the bank will

be the adoption of Command Secondary, Markurdi, Benue State for teaching of the financial literacy module. A representative of the bank will teach financial literacy modules to students of Command Secondary School, Markurdi, Benue on the third day of the Global Money Week celebration while students from not less 10 secondary schools across Lagos State will participate in the daily banking operations at the bank’s head office on subsequent days. Global Money Week is an annual global celebration that is organized and coordinated by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI.) Activities are held worldwide to engage children in learning how money works, including saving, creating livelihoods, gaining employment, and entrepreneurship.

Honeywell appoints new CEO, directors


ONEYWELL Flour Mills Plc has appointed Mr. Lanre Jaiyeola as its new managing director with effect from April 1, 2014. This follows the formal retirement of the incumbent executive vice chairman and chief executive, Mr. Babatunde Odunayo on April 1, 2014. Odunayo, the pioneer chief executive, is retiring after 17 years of service with the company. Jaiyeola was formerly the commercial director at the company’s

Ikeja Factory. He has been in the service of the company for more than 20 years with experience in finance, sales and manufacturing management. Also, the company has appointed Dr Albert Ozara as divisional managing director. Other appointments included Mr Rotimi Fadipe, who was appointed as executive director, supply chain and Mr Benson Evbuomwan, who has also been appointed as executive director, marketing.








10 firms’ve significant foreign investments, says NAICOM chair


EN insurance firms have significant foreign ownership as against three that had foreign interest about five years ago, the Chairman, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Chibudom Nwuche, has said. Nwuche, who made this known in Lagos at an interactive session with reporters, said more foreign investors were making enquiries on requirements for participation, adding that this was part of the outcome of the on-going transformation agenda of the Federal Government. He said the sector has a huge potential waiting to be tapped. He explained that the developmental agenda which encapsulates a wide range, but attainable developmental roadmap relating to the financial services sector, is intended to enhance the financial literacy in Nigeria and reposition the sector to

Stories by Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

play a pivotal role in the economy. He said NAICOM has historically implemented some regulatory and developmental initiatives that have significantly improved the conditions of the sector and enhanced its attractiveness to investors, stating that a good evidence of this is the increased number of foreign investors that have taken equity interests in firms. He noted that the strategic goals of the governing board under his leadership is deepening insurance penetration by sensitising the public. “In addition to the on-going efforts to facilitate compliance with the laws on compulsory insurance, we are committed to ensuring the successful implementation of the Financial Inclusion initiatives, such as Microinsurance and Takaful insur-

ance, saying that once completed, it would bring about increase in job creation, accessibility of Nigerians to the benefits of insurance and contribution of insurance to the national economy. Nwuche said the Board will support NAICOM in ensuring the maintenance of adequate level of capitalisation, implementation of the Risk- Based management Framework for the sector; continued compliance with International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) to sustain the integrity of insurers financial reports; compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, as well as the implementation of the ‘No Premium No cover Policy.’ He said the Board would enhance NAICOM’s regulatory capacity and oversight through manpower development and effective performance management system, as well as ensure appropriate de-

Onaolapo is Insurance Man of the Year • Stanbic IBTC bags PFA of the Year


• Nwuche

ployment of information and communication technology infrastructure for the effective discharge of the Commission’s oversight functions. He added that they would also work towards the passing of the Insurance Bill, conduct regular interaction and stakeholder panels to exchange views and optimise revenue collection and effective management resource.

Capital Express records N2.8b premium


APITAL Express Assurance Limited recorded about N2.8 billion premium in the 2012 financial year, its Chairman, Otunba Babatunde Adenuga, has said Adenuga, who stated this during the firm’s 12th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos over the weekend, said the firm achieved 79 per cent growth in investment income in the financial period under review despite the harsh economic environment. He assured that the 2013 financial year would be better in terms of premium drive and increased performance. He said: “Capital Express has been strategically positioned to face the challenges of the new year and respond to the ever changing economic environment. “A series of deliberate actions necessary to turn around the fortunes of its foreign subsidiaries and reposition them for better performance will be a key part of its strategic thrust in the coming year. We will continue to focus on optimal resource deployment, empowerment of our employees, utmost professionalism, high values and ethical standards,

ANAGING Director, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc (STI) Mr. Wale Onaolapo has been named the Insurance Man of the Year for 2013 at the second edition of InspenOnline Media Award. His firm also bagged the CSR Company of the Year. Mansad, however, bagged the Insurance Company of the Year Award, while IBTC Pension was named the Pension Fund Administrator of the Year. Also, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc bagged the Award of the CSR Company of the year, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria bagged Best Professional Institute Award, the Managing Director, RiskGuard Africa Limited,Yemi Soladoye bagged the Professional Excellence Award, while Leadway Assurance Limited, won the Corporate Board of the Year Award. The Editor, InspenOnline Media, Chuks Udo Okonta, said the awards were given in recognition of the contributions of the chief executives of underwriting firms, brokerage firms and other allied institutions in the insurance industry towards the growth and advancement of the industry. He said the Corporate Social Responsibility Award is given in appreciation of the various contributions of underwriting companies, pension organisations and other financial institutions in providing intervention geared at enhancing and improving the quality of life and infrastructure in the various operating environments in the country.

RIMSON to hold conference on healthcare

T • From left: Managing Director, Capital Express Assurance Limited, Mrs. Bola Odukale; Chairman, Otunba Adenuga; Company Secretary, Mrs. Joy Sulucainan; andAletor, during the AGM in Lagos.

and sound governance and risk management practices.” The chairman also said the former group managing director and chief executive officer of the firm, Mr. Anthony Aletor retired in 2012 but

remained on the board as a nonexecutive director. He said to ensure the firm continues to benefit from his wealth of experience, the board resolved and created the position of vice chair-

man and appointed Aletor to this role. He noted that he was to assist the board in its oversight functions and support the managementin in this capacity.

Life annuitants rise by 22% in Q3


•President, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers,(NCRIB) Mr Ayodapo Shoderu in a handshake with Group Managing Director, Geepee Group of Companies, Mr. Prakash Vaswani, when the former paid a visit to NCRIB Secretariat in Lagos. With them (from left) are: NCRIB’s Director, Human Resources, Mr Lukeman Adeleye and Director, Finance, Mrs Lola Ogedengbe.

HE RE ha s been a n i ncreased awareness on Life Annuity plan as an option for pension payments, the National Pension commission (PenCom) has said. This is evidenced by 22 per cent increase in the number of retirees on this plan from 4,688 in the 2013 second quarter to 5,717 in the third quarter. This Commission made this known in its 2013 third quarter report. It showed that premium worth N5,381 million was approved for payment to insurance firms for 1,029 retirees in return for an average monthly

pensions amounting to N17.78 million. Meanwhile, the Commission recorded a growth in its second quarter. A total of 4,688 retirees and received a total of 1,081 requests for annuity retirement plan. According to the Commission, all the requests were approved, which brought the total number of retirees to 4,688. Also, a total premium of N4,885 million was approved for payment to insurance firms for 1,081 retirees in return for monthly payments amounting to N48.07 million.

HE Risk and Insurance Managers Society of Nigeria (RIMSON) will hold a conference on how to maintain and sustain a good healthcare delivery system with proper management of risks by stakeholders between March 26 and 28 at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. It has as theme: “Risk management in the healthcare sector in promoting organisational and national growth.” Experts expected at the event include Dr. Bassey Enya Bassey, the State Coordinator, WHO Office, Akwa Ibom State; Edet Eniang, director of Pharmacy, Ministry of Health, Akwa Ibom State; Dr. Bimbo Banjoko, managing director, Expatcare Health International Ltd and Mr. Babatope Adeniyi, chief executive Officer, Mansard Health Ltd.

Kari joins NAICOM


HE Federal Government has appointed the former Managing Director of UnityKapital Assurance Plc, Alhaji Mohammed Uba Kari as the new Deputy Commissioner (Technical) of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). He is an Insurance graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, an Associate member, Chartered Insurance Institute of London and graduate of Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom (1984). He holds a Master’s in Business Administration (Information Technology) from University of Central England Birmingham, UK (2002) and IT Management Certified Professional from learning Tree Management Institute, London UK 2004). He started his career with the Royal Exchange Assurance Plc in 1979. Between 1984 and 1989, he worked in Yankari Insurance Company Ltd as Assistant General Manager (Technical).




Addressing time abuse to boost productivity of the major challenges we are facing in Nigeria and beyond today can be attributed to lack of right-thinking.




ET me start by expressing gratitude to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State who promptly responded to the invitation email I sent to him to attend the inauguration of our foundation (Thinkright Foundation) on Sunday, February 23, at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Even though he could not come, this right-thinking, humble and visionary professor of empowerment told his son, Mr. Kabiru to grace the occasion. I was highly impressed that the first person to call me in the morning of the day to make an inquiry about the event was Mr. Kabiru. He is a stickler for time and also a humble, brilliant and man right-thinking like the father. We empowered participants with a free seminar christened “Achieving Greatness through Right-thinking”. I was the keynote speaker. We decided to choose the theme because most

Lack of right-thinking makes people engage in different social vices or criminal activities like armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, cultism, etc. It also accounts for why people waste time because time, they say, is money. At times, we are working longer hours, sleeping less, yet achieving decreased productivity in the process. This situation has made the issue of how people use or misuse time worthy of attention. People are categorised in many ways. Some like to distinguish between extroverts and introverts. Others prefer to look at how people are willing to take risks. It is only in rare occasions that people are categorised according to their effective use or abuse of time, which is critical to accomplishment of success. Failure to categorise people this way is surprising given the impact that effective use of time or its abuse has on the productivity and profitability of an organisation.


It is noteworthy that time abuse is very different from the common problem of time management. Steven Berglas, a clinical psychologist and author of “Reclaiming the Fire: How Successful People Overcome Burnout” says while the vast majority of people can benefit from practical insights on how to organise their lives better, lessons in time

management will have little impact on time abusers. This is because real time abuse results from psychological conflict that neither a workshop nor a manager’s cajoling can easily cure. The time abuser’s quarrel is not even with time but rather with self-esteem and an unconscious fear of being evaluated and found wanting. That is why you should focus your efforts on what makes a time abuser anxious rather than teach him or her how to organise his or her tasks.


Those who are not right-thinkers see time as elastic and are quite comfortable leaving their options open. Four types of timeabusers have been identified. These are the and the “procrastinators” who make constant excuses to mask a fear of being found inadequate in their jobs; “perfectionists” who because of their psychological problem of perfectionism are naturally unable to meet deadlines; the “people pleasers” who commit to far too much work because they find it impossible to (politely) reject any work given them; and the “pre-emptives” who compulsively beat the clock and finish assignments far earlier than they need to, making themselves unpopular and unavailable in the process. The pre-emptives are those who submit their answer scripts one hour before time, only to discover outside the examination hall that they have not written their names or answered all the questions.

The clock

Dan Bobinski, co-author of “Living Toad Free: Overcoming Resistance to Motivation” educates that the clock is essential in business and measuring time is fundamental for a great deal of trade and commerce, but misusing the clock is a common workplace ill which is all too commonly tolerated. Bobinski says those who ignore the clock are often procrastinators, perfectionists or workaholics. In his words, “Some procrastinators carry the trait naturally. Other procrastinators may find an assigned duty extremely uncomfortable or they may be unsure of how to perform a task, so they keep putting it off. Or they may have fear of failure. Whatever the cause, their delays can bring other people’s work to a standstill.”

High standards

Perfectionists, for instance, often hold high standards and wish to prevent criticism of their work. They are known to spend much time double- and even triple-checking each nuance of every project while other aspects of the work start piling up. Bobinski educates that workaholics often overstuff their day with activities, believing that long hours translates into higher production, which increases their value to a company. Research shows that at the heart of the issue is either poor time management or lack of enough delegation, which actually creates the opposite effect: Lower levels of productivity. According to

Berglas, “Managing these types of people can be challenging, because time abusers respond differently from most people to criticism and approval.”


Contrary to Berglas’ submission that solutions to time abusers’ situation are psychological rather than focusing on time management strategies, Bobinski says, procrastinators, perfectionists and workaholics can all benefit from learning to plan and prioritise better. He adds that it seems counter-intuitive, but taking time to plan and prioritise actually saves time during the workday.

Parting shot

You can stop time abuse by planning your day wisely while still maintaining a flexible, productivity-focused mindset. Success is defined in many ways. But time abusers often erroneously claim success by how much or how little time they devote to their work. Do not waste time, but do not let the clock run your life, either. Effective clock use is common sense. Therefore, be responsible and reasonable. But also be real. Time abusers equally need proper meditation or right-thinking to overcome the psychological problems largely responsible for their abuse of time. PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details. Till we meet on Wednesday.



Reinforcing your workplace with special workforce

T is a reality that in today’s corporate environment, ordinary management skills no longer help to achieve the corporate goal of productivity and profitability. It is only when there is break through in the management strategies that an organisation can compete favourably. As Vijay K Shett, a management expert puts it, it requires intelligent management, interactive scheduling, effective communication channels, etc., to achieve the major corporate target. Today’s businesses need to be productive, competitive and profitable. To achieve all these, an organisation needs to be effectively managed. Organisations would definitely not be in business for long if they cannot keep an eye on the bottom line while pushing for results. To create a successful business, there is need for great managers who understand their business, customers and their people and are able to take the information and use it to achieve results.


These great managers are simply called “Corporate catalysts”. These are those who want to influence others to think effectively and generate impressive results. They operate behind the scenes and do not get the glory their less productive counterparts receive, and yet they feel satisfied. A corporate catalyst serves as both a highly effective manager

By Goke Ilesanmi

and leader. Leadership is critical here because one skill set applied without the other is insufficient. Leadership means influencing how other people think in a way that generates better sustainable results for an organisation and the individuals in it. Management means converting the collective resources into better results.


Corporate catalysts see organisations as places to do meaningful work and make an extraordinary difference for their customers and co-employees. So they do not see organisations as places where they have to act unethically to succeed. This is why some people perceive them as the most valuable employees in their organisations. Dan Coughlin, a facilitator who has provided more than 800 executive coaching sessions and 400 presentations on leadership, management, innovation, strategy and branding says they are tremendous influencers and effective managers who produce results in their organisation’s most important business outcomes through constant innovation, common sense, strong character and effective relationships and avoidance of corporate errors.

Chief executive officers

The present-day chief executive officers (CEOs) need to be corporate catalysts themselves,

ensure availability and reproduction of catalysts in their workplace and create an environment in which people can perform at the highest level of their potential. Though, they still face the daunting tasks of innovative and aggressive recruiting; creation of developmental opportunities for promoting executives as well as retention of highly-talented, motivated and productive teams. According to Meredith Ashby and Stephen Miles, co-editors of “Leaders Talk Leadership”, those CEOs that have not questioned whether their companies are attracting, developing and retaining good people simply are not doing their company and the stakeholders justice. In other words, companies whose leaders have not translated the recognition that their people are a tremendous source of competitive advantage into action are highly unlikely to be enjoying a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In short, creative and influential leadership is the foundation of all great companies.

Agility and others

Part of the soft skill set for corporate leaders today is agility. Decisions need to be made quickly, and teams have to be pulled together fast. This effort requires extreme agility, and not many people are blessed with it. In fact, research shows that why many CEOs and divisional heads fail is that they cannot respond quickly enough to chang-

ing market conditions. In addition to decisiveness and agility, there are basically other skills that are determinants of success. One of them is capacity. John Thompson, vice chairman of Heidrick & Struggles International says capacity comes in many forms: innately, it is your knowledge and basic intellect. No amount of training or experience will help a person who lacks the natural intellectual capacity or who does not have a certain amount of innate ability in a given arena to excel there. That is why for instance, a brilliant Arts student who has eight A1’s in Arts subjects will still have F9 in Mathematics. Capacity also encompasses experiences, both positive and negative, which teach you how to manage circumstances you encounter as a senior executive.

Additional qualities

Motivation is another key soft skill that successful leaders possess. Successful leaders have a passion for building teams and organisations. Motivation is something you can help people with by giving incentives, but it is not a definitive skill that can be acquired through training. Unlike capacity, you either have motivation or not. The final skill we probably look for most of all in leaders is authenticity. It is saddening that it is only few people that are universally acknowledged to possess this quality. Among senior executives, charisma is derived from authenticity, that

is, whom that person is when you talk with him or her and when he or she is elsewhere. As Thompson puts it, “An authentic, charismatic business leader is someone who is consistent and not a sort of chameleon, changing colours for certain groups….”

Last note

For your organisation to succeed, you need corporate catalysts. If you lack this type of people, you need to try all your best to have them for your workplace to thrive because they are real leaders. In the corporate environment, everything rises and falls on leadership. And your organisation cannot afford to have a reckless driver behind the steering wheel. Get a good leader, a corporate catalyst to steer your organisational ship to the shore of productivity and profitability. Till we meet on Wednesday.

•GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425 Email: Website:




The value of entertainment industry


T bears similarity with Hollywood. A number of Nollywood actors and ac tresses are destined to superstardom before they attain the middle age. It is not about instant fame and fortune. But by sheer productivity and masterful performances, actors and actresses become veterans before they attain the golden age. Musicians even tend to operate across generations. The reason for these is the entertainment industry does so well in harnessing the power of youths. A lot is feared about the demographic structure of Nigeria, for now and for the future. By estimates, the Nigerian population has over 100 million who are under 45. Will this army of young people find gainful employment today? If they don’t, how are they to vent their energy? From, say 2054, when the potential demographic dividend of today will yield to something of an inverted pyramid population structure, what percentage of private and public resources would be required to support the pension system and care for the aged?

Fiscal relief

First, let’s take a close look at the last question. Most artistes across the genres of entertainment are early starters. They start to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at relatively young age. Their careers prop a broad range of economic activities that define the entertainment industry value chain. Because artistes remain economically active in their old age, and some of their past works gain even greater value much later, they hardly pose any burden on government or society. Instead, they keep both together happily. Furthermore, outside of policy-making and regulating the industry, entertainment is a sphere of activities for the private sector. It is not a place where huge pension liabilities will accrue to the government. Therefore, the growth of the entertainment industry does not pose corresponding additional burden on fiscal management. Indeed, the entertainment industry has been growing in leaps and bounds in the last decade. Nollywood has risen to number two position (behind India’s Bollywood) in the global film markets, in terms of volume of production. In revenue, Nollywood is third, behind Hollywood and Bollywood. Nollywood produces about 50 movies per week. Estimates put its yearly revenue at an impressive $590 million. Africa Renewal, a publication of the United Nations, reported in its May, last year’s edition, that the African film industry (in which Nollywood is by far the dominant), would contribute significantly to the expected 5.2 per cent GDP growth projection for the continent last year. Euromonitor International and Reed Exhibitions, the organisers of the World Travel Market, a global event for the travel industry, were cited by Africa Renewal, saying that the film industry will continue to drive domestic and regional tourism. The entertainment sector is job-rich. It is now reputed to be the second highest employer in Nigeria after agriculture. Characteristically employing pools of young people with diverse skill sets, the film industry alone employs more than one million.

Nollywood films have become staples of our cinemas. This experience has further deepened the cinema culture in Nigeria as Nollywood film producers and directors, with considerable investments in both equipment and training, have significantly improved the quality of films. The industry has invalidated the excuse of poverty as a reason for the youth to operate in the underworld of crime. Many music stars and comedians have emerged from poor neighbourhoods, including Mushin and Ajegunle, two suburbs in Lagos. We, therefore, hope that the demographic dividend that is associated with the population structure will be realised. The threat of a large youth population, which will turn against the larger society because of lack of the right motivation and opportunities, therefore, diminishes.

By Roberts Orya

International interest

In the earlier part of its history, Nollywood struggled to attract the interest of funders. It basically relied on angel investors and personal finance of a few people within the industry to maintain production. Then, its distribution infrastructure was hijacked by pirates and other agents of unauthorised distributorship. Today however, the industry is raising a new breed of savvy entrepreneurs whose exploits have internationalised the movie industry. One of them is 33-yearold Jason Njoku of Iroko Partners, who was recently listed by Forbes as one of “top 10 young African millionaires to watch.” His firm with offices in Lagos, London and New York, distributes Nollywood and Ghanaian films and music. Seen as Africa’s version of Netflix, Iroko Partners attracted further $8 million in funding last December to boost its on-demand video platform and drive it toward profitability in 2015. With the rising funding profile, several Nigerian actors and actresses have starred in international films. Some of the Nigerian films have been shot in exotic locations outside the country. One of the exponents, Genevieve Nnaji has been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Omotola JaladeEkeinde is currently a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations. In the music sphere, Femi Kuti has received two nominations for Grammy Award, while 2Face Idibia and D’banj are winners of MTV Music Awards. Around Africa, Europe and America, Nollywood actors and Nigerian musicians are showcases of the abundance of raw talents in Nigeria, and how we are a people that is up and doing. Africa Magic channel on DSTV (Digital Satellite Television) is about the magic of the Nigerian creative zest and industry capacity; no pun intended. Less than a decade ago, it was almost unthinkable that a local Nigerian musician would collaborate with international stars. Today, such collaborations are commonplace. U.S. mega stars Kanye West and Snoop Lion have worked with D’Banj and Don Jazzy, while Senegalese-American star Akon has signed Tuface Idibia, P-Square and Wizkid as the African representatives of his record label, Konvict Musik. Apart from signing a lucrative deal with SONY Music Entertainment, D’Banj’s was unveiled at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa as the Ambassador for ONE Campaign, an advocacy that calls African governments to commit at least 10 per cent of national

Presidential vision

• Orya

budgets on agriculture investment. Nigeria’s Kings of Comedy, Ali Baba, Basketmouth, Julius Agwu, AY, among others are also celebrated across Africa and beyond. Basketmouth and Julius Agwu have individually organised sold-out shows at the O2 Arena, United Kingdom. Apart from having sold-out performances at home and abroad, video and audio recordings of comedy shows have also become huge sources of revenue for these comedians.

Harnessed demographic advantage

Nollywood bubbles with the energy of youth. The predominant genre of the Nigerian music ruling our airwaves is youthful. That means perfect symmetry with the huge Nigerian youth population. The population universe of 170 million provides a big market for retail of entertainment products. At the same time, businesses tapping the huge Nigerian consumer market, especially the mobile network operators (MNOs) and food & beverage, are propelling Nigerian entertainers to new levels of financial success with incomes from endorsements, Caller Ring Back Tones (CRBT), etc. In effect, Nigerian youthshave the right motivations for success in the examples of the stars that grace our television sets and rule our airwaves. When cinemas arrived in Nigeria, much of the movies that moviegoers were treated to came from Hollywood, Chinese and Indian films. However, over the last decade,

‘Nollywood is getting set to take over the world. I recognise the role of entertainment in the economy and this government will support an industry that makes Nigerians happy. I have given them direct order to make sure entertainers have $200 million worth of loans to work with. Make more movies, write and produce more hit songs, provide jobs and give hope to our people’

It is to the credit of the vision of President Goodluck Jonathan that he made the connection with the industry as early as 2010 when he succeeded the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. On November 6 of that year, he announced an intervention fund for the industry. He expressed his vision for the industry and commitment to growing it with these words. “Nollywood is getting set to take over the world. I recognise the role of entertainment in the economy and this government will support an industry that makes Nigerians happy. I have given them direct order to make sure entertainers have $200 million worth of loans to work with. Make more movies, write and produce more hit songs, provide jobs and give hope to our people.” This show of foresight, and the consequent recognition of the body of artistes by Mr. President, with the audience he granted the stakeholders, was thought to be an election gimmick ahead of the 2011 presidential election. Assuming that was the case, it would mean that the youth, given their visibility in the industry and their career successes, have become a critical bloc in the political calculus. However, soon after his election in 2011, Mr. President kept his promise. He has continued to renew his commitment to the industry. The Nigerian Creative and Entertainment Industry Stimulation Loan Scheme (NCEILS) was launched with the funds pledged by Mr. President. Having facilitated the drafting of the operational guidelines for operating the Fund, and as the trade policy bank of the Federal Government, the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has managed it. NEXIM Bank kicked off funding support for the movie industry with its first film financing facility for the production of “Dr. Bello” Movie on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lagos. The bank has since been providing funding for the improvement of distribution infrastructure/ platforms and establishment of new digital production studios. • Orya is Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM)



Sanlam eyes Africa for investment opportunities

Kenyatta, cabinet cut own pay to curb govt wage bill

ENYA'S president and cabinet on Friday agreed to a pay cut as part of austerity measures meant to reduce the government wage bill and free up funds for use in economic development - and called on lawmakers to do the same. President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a month after his election in March last year that he would make reducing Kenya's ballooning public sector wage bill a priority, saying it was "unsustainable" and weighing on the national budget. The move was also a nod to public opinion, which often expresses anger at the salaries of public officials which are many times higher than those of ordinary Kenyans. On Friday, Kenyatta said he and Deputy President William Ruto will be taking a 20 per cent cut on their monthly pay, and that the country's 18 cabinet secretaries had agreed to take a 10 percent pay reduction. The pay cuts take effect

immediately. Kenyatta earns a salary of 1.2 million shillings ($13,900) a month, his deputy earns 1.1 million shillings while cabinet secretaries earn about 800,000 shillings. The country's minimum wage is about 5,756 shillings a month. The government would also only restrict international travel for its officials to only essential trips, he said. "Wastage in my government will be significantly reduced," the president told a news conference after a week-long meeting by the cabinet at a luxury resort in Nanyuki, central Kenya. Kenyatta said the actions would "demonstrate our firm resolve to properly manage" public funds. Asked whether Kenya's legislators, who are among the best paid in Africa, would also take a pay cut, Kenyatta said he would urge them to do so. A move in June granting MPs extra allow-


•President Kenyatta

ances angered many in a country where the official unemployment rate stands at 40 percent. He said the cabinet had singled out the need for more spending in security, to buy more equipment such as cars, better housing and life insurance for each police officer to help improve security and attract investment.

IFE insurer Sanlam says it will continue to look to Africa for new opportunities. The group posted a 36 per cent increase in normalised earnings to R8 billion last year. That is compared to earnings of R5.9 billion the previous year. It has four billion rand available for investments. Sanlam says that a large chunk of its earnings came from Africa where economic growth rates remain high. New business rose 36 per cent to R185 billion . A weaker rand also contributed with 15 per cent of earnings coming from international operations. The group says, although matured, South Africa remains its key market with plenty of opportunities. More than 70per cent of Sanlam's profits come from South Africa. Sanlam says it sees a tough road ahead for life insurers. Government is planning further regulatory reforms for the sector, particularly on retirement products. It wants to see low charges for savings products and more income for retired people.





• Cross section of clients receiving etiquette training in Lagos.

For thousands of youths roaming the streets for jobs, there are opportunities for them in etiquette training. The training can provide millions of jobs, if the jobless youth are ready to engage in it, writes OLUWAKEMI DAUDA.

Need a job? Try etiquette consulting J

OB seekers in the country have an untapped area to look to for a better future: etiquette training. They can get jobs by engaging in etiquette training or consulting, once they are ready for it. For instance, Atinuke Badejo is the Publisher of EtiquetteBank. The bank, she said, is a creation of ParkRoyal & Lagos Finishing School. See for details. The school, according to Badejo, is one of the leading provider of etiquette, ambassadorial, business and lifeskills programmes in Nigeria and the West Afri-

can region. The school is a free resource for our clients and individuals who want to differentiate themselves. It is a ‘bank’ where the school makes regular deposits on issues pertaining to manners and etiquette for clients to make withdrawals at will. “Our mission is very clear – We want to change the way people relate, in business, in society and we want to change our nation,” she said. Findings revealed that an etiquette consultant or trainer teaches people how to speak and behave rightly in every aspect of life. He advises, and trains teens, adults, manag-

ers and company executives on how to conduct themselves. He has wider areas of operations, making it easier for him to make money. According to New York Times, etiquette consulting is a booming industry in many countries. As an etiquette consultant, you can teach people the skills they need to succeed in business and in life. They will know the right thing to say or do courtesy of the training you give to them. Etiquette consultants also have many career options. You could specialise in coaching adults or children on the subject. For example, with your help, the sloppy eater who

used to offend people could be transformed to be the charming gentleman that everyone wants to invite to dinner. Findings have shown that millions of people have got jobs either as etiquette trainers or consultants in developed countries, such as United States, Britain, Germany and even in Ghana, among others. Also, they have helped in improving the gross domestic product (GDP) of those countries. Etiquette consultants are also paid a huge amount of money per day to present training programmes (seminars or workshops) •Continued on page 38




Need a job? Try etiquette consulting •Continued from page 37

on topics related to etiquette. For example you might teach telephone etiquette to customer service staff. As an etiquette consultant, you might offer coaching or training programmes in all areas of etiquette, or you could choose to specialise in areas such as: Business etiquette (or corporate etiquette); communication etiquette; dining etiquette; international etiquette (or international protocol); social etiquette; wedding etiquette; and children’s etiquette (or etiquette for young people). As long as you have the desire, you can become an etiquette consultant. No special education or experience is necessary to break into this career and succeed. If you would like to be paid to provide etiquette consulting services, the FabJob Guide to Become an Etiquette Consultant is for you! In this e-book, you will discover how you can get started and succeed in a rewarding career as an etiquette consultant. Experts have, therefore, advised job seekers in Nigeria to try etiquette training or consulting to earn a living. They said there are opportunities for people who want to go into it. According to them, international etiquette requires that those in the protocol of big firms and government institutions are trained on how to behave with their clients or customers, while business etiquette deals with training. A lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages, Lagos State University, Dr Maruf Animasahun said people have many career options to choose from. He said irrespective of any area of etiquette training or consulting one is into, he or she would get jobs. He said its professionals could get jobs in primary, secondary and higher institutions, bearing in mind the high rate of moral decadence among students

and the high rate of cultism among the youth. He said: “As a consultant, you c o u l d s p e c i al i s e i n c o ac h i n g adults or children on proper etiquette. For example, with your help, a would-be cultist can be transformed to a gentleman. So, the job is very good and lucrative, he said. “In developed countries, etiquette consultants are paid thousands of dollars a day to present training programmes (seminars or workshops) on topics related to etiquette. For example, you may be hired to teach telephone etiquette to customer service staff,” the don said. He said more than half of India’s graduates take etiquette, manners and grooming classes making etiquette a growing industry of more than $60 million yearly. Another expert, Ms Oyetola Fakoya said an image and etiquette consultant does not need an expensive office or retail location. “You can run a home-based office and work with your clients in their homes or offices. A consultant does not have to work any set schedule. “You can work as little or as much as you wish. The greater your effort and commitment, the greater your success and financial compensation. “You can help people to succeed and live better lives. A person’s image, manners and communication skills make the difference between mega success and average in their personal, social and

business life. As a certified image etiquette consultant, you can positively make a difference in their lives. In addition to the knowledge and skills your clients acquire when you coach them, they will experience a leap in their confidence and self esteem. “As an image, etiquette and communication consultant, you have the opportunity to earn whatever you want to earn. Some consultants in other climes charge their clients $100 to $250 an hour; some charge $500 an hour and more. While some work part-time, others make it their full-time career and earn high six-figure incomes. “You can earn a great living by doing individual coaching-sessions, group-sessions, teaching evening classes at the local colleges, doing seminars in companies, writing articles and books, appearing on television and radio shows as anw expert,” she said. Findings also revealed that an etiquette trainer can make more money than some of his highpowered clients. In addition to good manners, a successful etiquette trainer needs to know how to run a business and prepare for life as a contract worker. However, high demand for etiquette experts means people with a passion for etiquette may reap huge rewards.

Identification Most business etiquette train-

• Fakoya

ers own their own businesses because corporations rarely need a full-time etiquette expert. Thus, etiquette trainers make money by finding clients, who may include anyone from students ready to enter the business world, to high-level executives of well known companies. Nota-

‘You can earn a great living by doing individual coaching-sessions, group-sessions, teaching evening classes at the local colleges, doing seminars in companies, writing articles and books, appearing on television and radio shows as an expert’

ble etiquette experts may teach seminars at business events and write etiquette books.

Average pay The salary range for an etiquette trainer varies widely because success depends, in part, on the popularity of the etiquette expert and how much he works. Etiquette professionals in advanced countries often charge clients several hundred dollars an hour for one-on-one help. A highly regarded expert may earn thousands of dollars to teach at a seminar. Your age, race, gender is not a barrier to your success as an etiquette trainer. You can become a successful coach anywhere in the world.


Nine good reasons you’re still unemployed “W

HY am I still unemployed?” This plaintive question is one I’m asked a great deal. I’d like to give a few brief reasons you’re still unemployed.

You aren’t networking enough Almost all jobs these days are found through networking. If you’re applying through job boards, searching the internet, counting on recruiters or responding to want ads ... you’re not doing enough. And, as I’ve said elsewhere, your resume is almost useless.

Your personal presentation is offensive Don’t go in with one of those “stubble beards.” Either you actually have a beard or be cleanshaven. The people who are probably making the hiring decision really, really hate the three-day stubble beards that are the norm among younger men. Chewing gum, not dressing for the interview, arguing, and saying what you will and won’t do are all interview kill-

By Olu Oyeniran


You’re asking for too much Look, there is a “great reset” going on. Salaries are lower these days... Frankly, we’re not going to hire someone with that huge of a salary gap. It isn’t the problem of employers, you have lived beyond your means. Everyone is tight these days. Don’t go asking for a large salary and tons of perks. You might well have to bite the bullet and take much less to get off of the unemployment rolls.

You’re very over qualified Realistically, I’m not going to hire someone with 10+ years of experience with a great deal of responsibility in their last job for an entry-level job. Entry-level jobs will be filled by entry-level people. All you do when you apply for these things is annoy the employer. I know you might be desperate. But it is better to consult or start

your own business, than to apply for entry-level jobs. When I see someone with extensive experience applying for an intern job, I’m not even going to interview them. I know that they’ll be gone in a heartbeat if something in their field comes along, and that they won’t stay and grow with my company. I also know they’re going to second guess me, not be coachable and, generally, be a pain in the neck. Don’t bother to apply for these jobs.

You’re using ‘shotgun’ approach to applying I made the mistake of running an ad on one of the major job boards one time. BIG mistake. Everyone and their sibling applied, even with 0 per cent of the qualifications. The rule of thumb is — if you don’t have at least 60 per cent of the qualifications called for, don’t apply. You’re wasting your time.

Your attitude stinks You might be coming across as having an arrogant or generally bad attitude. Self righteousness, self-opinionated, coyness, and many more negative vibes. If

someone is not upbeat and positive, I will rapidly end the interview.

You’re angry and/or depressed Your anger is not hurting the “jerks” who fired you or laid you off. It is, however, killing you and your career. Get over it. Realistically, if you were fired, you most likely deserved it. If you were laid off, it was nothing personal ... just a business decision. Deal with your anger before interviewing. Some depression is normal during a time when you’ve lost your job. But if you’re always in a dark mood, crying, unmotivated and not sleeping, see your family doctor at once.

You can’t communicate Don’t make the interviewer crowbar information out of you. If you can’t communicate well, you won’t get employed. If you do happen, by some miracle, to get employed, you won’t last long. Same goes for if you are evasive. If you’re asked a question, answer it. Don’t beat around the bush, and don’t give stupid canned answers. A

clear example of this is the number of people who say, when asked about a weakness, “I guess I’m just too much of a self-motivated, selfstarter who is too hard on himself.” Stupid answer.

You’re unprepared I’ll be very clear. If you go up against one of my highly prepared candidates, you’re going to lose and lose big. Don’t be cheap! Hire someone to help you with interviewing, networking and finding the hidden jobs. If you’re an executive in Denver Metro, talk to us about hiring you. If you’re elsewhere, find a good, honest career coach. But be careful. While some people are long-term unemployed for no reason, we can usually see a reason when someone can’t seem to find a job. Those who have a great attitude and have been able to overcome depression, anger and unrealistic expectations, will usually land in a hurry. Good luck! •Oyeniran is Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Associates. He can be reached on Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).




Tax implications of IFRS’ adoption ( 2) IAS 11: Construction contracts


HE practice for determining contract revenue by FIRS shall be sustained. Only costs attributable to certified work done shall be allowed for tax purposes in line with provisions of CITA. Other incomes in form of incentive payments would be taxed accordingly. The expected loss recognised as an expense shall be disallowed until the loss is actually incurred. Interest received on advanced payment placed in an interest yielding account shall be treated as other income and be subjected to tax at the time it is earned. Retention income shall be subjected to tax at the time it is earned. Future cost shall not be allowable as expense for tax purposes IAS 12: Income taxes Taxpayers shall furnish FIRS with deferred tax disclosures as contained in the standard. IAS 16: Property, Plant and Equipment (PPE) Land is not a qualifying capital expenditure under Schedule 2 of CITA, thus capital allowance is not claimable on land. Capital allowance claimed on land in error in prior years shall be adjusted for tax accordingly. The entities should provide schedule of how they apportioned the cost between land and building. Separation of historical cost of the land and building shall be at the proportion of the current market value of the land to building except where the historical cost can be easily ascertained. Deferred payment for PPE • Capitalised cost of PPE shall be based on the cost indicated on the invoice. Any imputed interest element charged as finance cost in the income statement shall be disallowed. • The company should provide the details of the imputed interest included in the cost of asset for necessary adjustments. Cost of employee benefits directly attributable to the construction or acquisition of the PPE shall be allowed for inclusion in the cost of the PPE. The schedule of such attributable staff costs should be provided. The cost of dismantling and removing the item of PPE and site restoration: Provisionestimate of cost of abandonment, dismantling, removing the item of PPE and site restoration shall not be allowed for capitalisation with PPE. The cost shall only be allowable for tax purposes when it has been incurred, or if it is set aside in a funded sinking fund, provided that: i. Any company that has claimed deduction on any amount set aside for abandonment, dismantling, removal of items of PPE and site restoration shall not claim further deduction upon incurring the relevant expenditure except on amounts set aside for that purpose; ii. Any amount claimed in excess of that expended for the abandonment, removal of items of PPE and site restoration shall be treated as taxable income. Exchange of assets a. Where there is exchange of dissimilar assets, the old asset shall be treated as a disposal with the sales proceed being the market value (price at arm’s length) of the asset. Balancing charge/allowance, Value Added Tax and Capital Gains Tax shall be computed accordingly. b. The cost of the new asset for capital allowance purposes

shall be the market value of the old asset plus any cash consideration included in the exchange. Revaluation surplus/deficit a. Cost and Tax Written Down Value (TWDV) is the basis of capital allowance computation. FIRS shall continue to disregard all revaluation of PPE. Any revaluation surplus shall not be taxable while deficit shall not be an allowable deduction. b. Professional fees and valuation expenses relating to revaluation of PPE shall not be allowed for income tax purposes. These expenses should be separately disclosed. Where such expense is incurred prior to the sale, it shall be deductible from chargeable gains under Capital Gains Tax. Componentisation • Schedule/breakdown of componentised PPE inclusive of the basis for determining the value of each component shall be filed with the FIRS as it shall form the basis of capital allowance claims and applicable rates. • FIRS shall rely on Schedule 2 of the CITA in granting capital allowance on componentised PPE. • For a component to be significant, it must be 20 per cent and above of the total cost of the asset. • Taxpayers shall provide reconciliation between the total cost of PPE under GAAP and componentised cost of same PPE under IFRS for first time adopters. • Historical cost of components shall be provided by the entities. Depreciation of land used as quarries and landfill: The Second Schedule of CITA does not recognise any form of land as qualifying capital expenditure therefore capital allowances will not be granted until the relevant tax laws are amended. Spare parts and servicing equipment • Stock of spare parts and servicing equipment should continue to be carried as inventory and expensed when consumed e.g. returnable containers. • Where replacement results in improvement, the cost shall be added to the TWDV of the PPE while the carrying cost of the replaced part that was expensed in line with IFRS shall be added back in arriving at the assessable profit. • Replacement cost shall be treated as allowable deduction if it does not result into improvement. • For assets reclassified to operating lease, paragraph 18(1) of Schedule Two of CITA which relates to rights to claim capital allowances on operating lease shall apply. • Also, FIRS Information Circular No. 2010/01 dated April 12, 2012 (Guidelines On Tax Implications of Leasing) which relates to VAT and WHT shall apply. • The lease/rental payments to be recognised for tax purposes each year shall be the amount incurred/realised. Where land is on lease, the rental shall be allowed for tax purposes in line with Section 24 of CITA. Lease of building: Where the building is on operating lease or finance lease, our existing tax treatment (FIRS Information Circular No. 2010/01 dated April 12, 2012: Guidelines on Tax Implications of Leasing) shall be applied. Sale and leaseback transaction that results in finance lease: • The sales and leaseback transactions shall be treated separately for tax purposes and relevant tax provisions shall apply. This position is based on the provisions of FIRS Information Circular on Lease of April 12, 2010 (Guidelines on Tax Implications of Leasing).


US economy adds 175,000 new jobs


HE United Staetes economy added 175,000 new jobs in February, but the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.7 per cent. The jobs figures, from the US Labour Department, were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months. It had been thought the figures would be affected by recent harsh weather, which had hit much of the country. But the unemployment rate, based on different statistics, went up slightly from January's 6.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent. February's jobs figure, known as non-farm payrolls and based on a survey of employers, compares with the 129,000 new jobs created in January. Analysts had been expecting a rise of about 150,000 last month. "It is stronger than expected on

several fronts," said Camilla Sutton, from Scotia Capital. "That these numbers came even while weather was bad shows the underlying strength of the US economy." US snow storms have been blamed for recent weak US economic data A large chunk of the gains came from financial and other services, which were responsible for an extra 79,000 jobs. Construction companies, many of which had been affected by the bad weather, added 15,000 jobs. But the information sector lost 16,000 jobs, most of them in film and sound recording. Average hourly earnings in the private sector rose by 3.7 per cent, or about nine cents, to $24.31, the figures show. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 per cent. The unemployment rate is cal-

culated from a different survey, of households, and rose slightly from its lowest level since October 2008. It leaves the total number of unemployed relatively unchanged at 10.5 million.

• Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed Mashi • The disposal shall be treated in line with the provision of Schedule 2 of CITA on capital allowance, balancing allowance and balancing charge. • Gain or loss on disposal shall be subjected to the provision of Capital Gains Tax Act. • The finance lease shall be treated separately in line with the above guideline on finance lease. • Yearly amortisation of profit on disposal into profit or loss shall be treated as non-taxable income. Sale and leaseback transaction that results in operating lease • The existing tax treatment on disposal, operating lease, VAT and Capital Gains Tax shall be applied on the transaction. • For tax purposes, the higher of sales price and market price shall be taken as the disposal value. • The actual lease rentals paid shall be adopted for tax purposes. IAS18: Revenue In the case of deferred consideration where imputed interest is embedded in sales revenue, the entire value on the invoice will be subjected to tax. However: • Where the interest element is clearly shown and separated on the invoice, VAT should not apply to the interest portion. • Where the interest element is clearly shown and separated on the invoice, the interest element shall suffer WHT at the rate of 10 per cent. • For income tax purposes, both the sales and financial/interest income constitute taxable income. The taxpayer must always disclose clearly the components of deferred consideration. The turnover to be subjected to tax treatment under loyalty program shall be the payments made for both the consumed and deferred portion of the services. Revenue shall be recognised for tax purposes at the point of realisation. VAT will be charged on total invoice value, whether consumed or deferred. Where there is exchange of dissimilar goods, the revenue shall be separately treated for tax purposes. Where there is exchange of similar goods or services, the exchange will not be regarded as a transaction which generates income for tax purposes. The transaction will not be viewed as a case of supply of goods or services.

Safeway to be sold to Albertsons owner Cerberus


NITED States supermarket firm Safeway has agreed to be bought by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, owner of Albertsons

Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung jailed for six years


IRMINGHAM City owner Carson Yeung has been jailed for six years by a Hong Kong court for money laundering. The businessman, 54, was convicted of five charges relating to H K $720m i l l i o n ( £55m i l l i o n ) passing through his bank accounts between 2001 and 2007. He claimed he had accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars through stock trading, business ventures

in mainland China, a hair salon and gambling. Judge Douglas Yau said the sentence must be a deterrent to others. C a r son Y eu ng 's r i se f r om humble hairdresser to wealthy owner of a British football club has attracted much media attention. The international press pack bore witness to his fall from grace at the end of a three-year legal case.

and other chains. The deal is valued at $7.64bilion (£4.56billion) in cash, and could eventually top $9billion. The merger will create an organisation with more than 2,400 stores and 250,000 employees. It comes amid consolidation in the industry, with Cerberus buying five chains including Albertson's and Jewel-Osco from Supervalu last year. Albertsons chief executive Bob Miller said that the size of the new outfit would improve its bargaining position with suppliers. Mr Miller is to become executive chairman of the combined company, and Safeway chief executive Robert Edwards will retain that title at the combined company. If the proposal receives shareholder and regulatory approval, the merger should be completed in the fourth quarter of the year.






MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014




Four hundred and ninety-two delegates are participating at the national conference in Abuja. But, will the report of the conference see the light of the day? Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU revisits past attempts at resolving the national question and how successive administrations aborted the goal through hypocritical commitment.

Can 492 wise men fix Nigeria? A

BUJA, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will be aglow with festivities on March 17. Four hundred and ninety-two delegates to the national debate will get the mandate of President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss the problems of Nigeria. Many of them would be accompanied by their relations, friends and associates. They will draw allowances. Since it is a paid job, observers point out that they are not going to render a totally selfless service. The eminent Nigerians are not attending a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), but a ‘national dialogue’ with limited powers. The conference is fashioned out in the image of the Jonathan Administration. The Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Pius Ayim, has disclosed that there will be ‘no-go areas’. The unity of Nigeria, he warned, is non-negotiable. The legal backing for the exercise is not clear. The Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi (rtd), and delegates from the six geo-political zones are not empowered by the any act of the National Assembly to meet for three months. At the end of the deliberation, it is not clear that the report will be subjected to a referendum. The acrimony between the ruling and opposition parties may shape the proceedings at the conference. The conference is taking place at a time of national distress. The fragile federal country is enveloped in anxiety and uncertainty. Insecurity, electoral terrorism, infrastructural decay, power outage, bad roads, corruption, and now, fuel scarcity, have provoked outrage. Although Nigeria has just celebrated 100 years of the amalgamation, the mistake of 1914 still hunts the amalgam of incompatible tribes. Foremost legal scholar and former university don, Prof. Itsey Sagay (SAN), observed that, since the wrong step was taken by Lord Fredrick Lugard, the North and South have never resolved two discords. These are the disagreement over power sharing, especially the Presidency, and distribution of the national revenue. The North has always wanted to keep the Presidency and the South has been resisting the idea, he said. However, the national question, according to pro-national conference crusaders, may not be restricted to the fight over the federal power and control of resources. How should power rotate between the North and South? Should oil-producing states have the largest share of proceeds from the resources? But, the fundamental question extends to how the component units under the lopsided federal structure have fared. Thus, there are puzzles: Should there be state police? Is the Land Use Act not due for review? Which tier of government should create and control the local government? If a region wants to have a railway, is it permitted by the Railway Act of 1955? Why should the distant Federal Government control 55 per cent of the national revenue, leaving 45 per cent for 36 states and 774 councils? Is devolution of power foreclosed? How can the indigene/settler rift be constitutionally settled? Yet, opinion is still divided on the desirability of the dialogue. A section of Nigerians believes that it is a decoy and jamboree. In their view, since the President, who had opposed the conference, suddenly retraced





his step, there is cause for suspicion. The opposition is of the opinion that Dr. Jonathan is trying to shore up the battered image of his administration. But, those who seem to have confidence in the project point out that the men of integrity attending the conference would make a difference. Analysts have suggested that many delegates have actually contributed to the problems confronting the beleaguered country as bad civilian rulers and collaborators of past military regimes. Also, the delegates cannot tap much from past experience, since previous attempts at constitutional conference were backed with hypocritical commitment by successive administrations. Thus, past attempts were discredited by a wider segment of the stakeholders, owing to legitimacy crisis. Had the military concentrated efforts on its constitutional responsibility of defending the national territorial integrity, perhaps, the story would have been different. Between 1960 and 1966, major crises that threatened stability did not emanate from the federal structure. They were products of political intolerance among early regional leaders competing for federal power. Indeed, the three regions - North, West, Midwest and East - had a measure of autonomy.

They operated separate constitutions. They had opportunities to make progress in an atmosphere of healthy competition. The formula for revenue sharing was agreed upon. It was based on principles of derivation, need and national interest. What the political leaders failed to address was the problems of the minorities, in spite of the popularity of the Willinkson Report. The military coup of 1966 obstructed the orderly political evolution. A historian, Lateef Raji, recalled that whenever there was a change of government, the first priority was to put in motion a mechanism for ‘national talk’. The goal, he said, was to divert attention and achieve stability. “From Ironsi to Obasanjo, the scenario is the same. But, the report often ended in the dustbin”, he lamented. Raji said: “To avoid a repeat, the solution is that the people should own the process. This is where referendum is important”. During the long military period, the dictators made some feeble efforts to re-order the society. But, the military rulers lacked the skill for the important assignment because they were not trained to rule. Civil rule was barely six years old when the military sacked legitimate authorities in 1966. But the new Head of State, Major-Gen. Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi,

‘The conference is taking place at a time of national distress. The fragile federal country is enveloped in anxiety and uncertainty. Insecurity, electoral terrorism, infrastructural decay, power outage, bad roads, corruption, and now, fuel scarcity, have provoked outrage. Although Nigeria has just celebrated 100 years of the amalgamation, the mistake of 1914 still hunts the amalgam of incompatible tribes’

was a novice. He reluctantly set up a small Constitutional Study Group headed by the late Chief Rotimi Williams to identify the constitutional problems “in the context of one Nigeria.” But, as noted by a political scientist, Prof. Isawa Elaigwu, people lost confidence in his regime when he enacted a decree, which made Nigeria a unitary state. Ironsi’s successor, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, also set up an adhoc Constitutional Conference. At that time, the country was engulfed in crisis and on the brink of disintegration. The military governors of the four regionsNorth, West, Midwest and East-nominated the regional delegates. Ethnic warlords, especially the displaced First Republic politicians, made the list. Nominations outside the banned political class were few. The majority of delegates had political affiliations. It was a rancorous meeting. Old wounds resurfaced as the politicians injected their bitter competition and regional projections into the conference processes. The regions were divided by their stiff competition for relevance and other antagonistic pursuits. Delegates from the North and East canvassed confederalism. The West, led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, insisted on federalism. Middlebelt and Lagos delegates supported the West. But they also called for the creation of additional states. Certain elements had created had created tension between the West and Lagos, leading to the “Lagos belongs to the West agitation.” The deliberations ended abruptly, owing to the disagreements. Later, the civil war broke out. The late Gen. Muritala Muhammed took over from Gowon in 1975. He set up a 49member Constitution Drafting Committee (NDC). Some of its members were handpicked by the government. The body was chaired by Williams. The draft produced by the it was tabled before a Constituent Assembly. One third of the members were appointed by the military regime. Although the assembly had two-third of elected delegates from the old provinces and newly created states, its recommendations were not binding on government. Following the submission of the report, the regime tinkered with it by making some fundamental alterations without further consultations with the peoples’ representatives. The setting up of the NDC led to the revival of political activities. The 1979 Constitution was not without weaknesses. But, whenever tension arose between the Federal Government and states, the Supreme Court was always the next point of call. Nigeria was gradually building a strong political culture. However, the military drew the curtains on the Second Republic abruptly. The military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, also set up another Constituent Assembly, which fashioned out the 1989 Constitution. It never saw the light of the day. A delegate was elected from each local government. But there were also government nominees. It paled into a wasted effort. Like the previous ones, the 1994 National Constitutional Conference set up by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, was a waste of time and resources. The conference lacked legitimacy. Many credible Southern politicians boycotted it in protest. Representation was based on the existing local governments and federal constituencies. Gen. Abacha also nominated his own delegates to the conference. The conference produced a constitution that was not promulgated or adopted. It is worthy of note, however, that during the conference proceedings, there was no single case of uprising in the Niger Delta. The militants were had hope that the conference would resolve their grievances. However, historians believe that certain lessons can be learned from the moribund 1994 Conference. Its legacy is the current six •Continued on page 44




One conference, divergent issues With the divergent issues on the agenda of the six geo-political zones for the national conference and the consensus parameter of 75 per cent, the confab may not differ from the ones before it, reports Deputy Political Editor RAYMOND MORDI.


N spite of the skepticism in many quarters, the six geo-political zones have articulated their agenda for the National Conference, which is scheduled to be inaugurated next week in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The timing of the conference and the modalities setting it up might not be the very best, but the various zones are not taking chances. Leaders of the zones have taken the initiative to fashion out an agenda to guide delegates representing the regions at the confab, which is expected to negotiate the continued co-existence of all ethnic nationalities in harmony. However, given the 75 per cent consensus parameter set for the conference and the divergent issues being canvassed, the delegates would have a tough job on their hands, putting together a document that would satisfy the aspirations of the federating units. Essentially, the positions of the zones in the southern part of the country are not at variance with one another. For instance, South-west leaders have agreed to put on the table for discussion what is dubbed as the ‘Yoruba Agenda’. Their position is as follows: they want the Yoruba federation to maintain its six-state structure, with boundary adjustment for Ekiti in Kwara to join Ekiti State, Igbomina and Ibolo in Kwara to join Osun State. They also proposing the Westminster parliamentary system of government, power devolution from the central to federating units, resource control and revenue allocation to be reviewed in accordance with derivation instead of being based on total revenue accruing to the Federation Account. Among other things, the South-west is proposing that immunity for elected officials should be limited to civil cases only. On policing, they want regional police to be given clearly defined roles and relationship with the federal police. The South-west geo-political zone has been one of the most vociferous proponents of the national conference. Incidentally, the region, under the leadership of the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had initially dismissed the proposed confab, saying the region would not participate because it is viewed as diversionary and waste of scarce resources. Interestingly, the party made a U-turn at the eleventh hour and indicated its readiness to partake in the dialogue. Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the APC states resolved to take part in the conference to protect the interests of their people, especially when President Goodluck Jonathan had declared that the Federal Government would nominate delegates for states that fail to do so. Each of the 36 states were expected to nominate three delegates. The position of the South-east is not far from that of the South-west. According to Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Joe Nwaorgu, the agenda of the Igbo (South-east) for the conference is not different from what the Ohanaeze presented to the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led President Advisory Committee (PAC) on National Conference when it visited the South-east last October 27 and 29. His words: “We are prepared for the conference and we are determined to make it succeed. The issues we want resolved include: the structure of government-presidential or parliamentary, fiscal federalism, devolution of power, resource control, citizenship right, security of lives and property, and reparation over the continuous killing of our people and destruction of their property.” Nwaorgu said the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation picked 15 of the 30 delegates heading for the conference, while the governors nominated the rest with each of the five states having six slots. He added that the delegates were chosen in consultation with Igbo organisations affiliated to Ohanaeze such as the South-east People Development Association, Aka-Ikenga, Izu Umunna, Igbo Delegates Assembly and Igbos in Diaspora among others. “The heads of these organisations in consultation with us arrived at the list. Ohanaeze picked 15 delegates while the governors picked three delegates each,” he said. In the same vein, the South-south geo-political zone, the chief revenue generator for the country, also wants restructuring, fiscal federalism and 50 per cent derivation. At the moment, derivation is a miserly 13 per cent. The South-south strongly believes that local communities and states where natural resources emanate should control their wealth by, at least, 50 per cent. The region argues that if this singular issue is resolved, the national atmosphere would be convivial.

•Dr Fayemi


Some ethnic nationalities and groups at the meeting where the above decision was arrived at, in Calabar, Cross River State recently, include: Ijaw National Congress, Oron ethnic nationality from Akwa Ibom State, South-south Peoples Assembly, South-south Peoples Forum and Efik Eburutu ethnic nationality. Governor Liyel Imoke, represented by his deputy, Efiok Cobham, said: “On derivation, our position aligns with the that of the entire South-South states to the effect that the constitution be amended to read that a state on whose territory oil (or other natural resources) are extracted or found be entitled to not less 50 per cent of the entire proceeds from the exploration and exploitation.” Another South-south proposal calls for the curtailing of “the over-reaching powers of the federal government” and making the central government more accountable to the federating units over the handling and management of the nation’s financial outlay. “Powers should therefore be devolved and the Executive legislative list should be reviewed in order to transfer certain matters to the Concurrent List.” All the geo-political zones in the south are in agreement that the outcome of the conference should never be subjected to scrutiny and review of the National Assembly as President Jonathan had proposed. This, they argue, would defeat the essence of the national discourse because members of the National Assembly would alter the resolutions of the conference. For the outcome not to become a subject of litigation later because it does not have a legal backing, many observers have proposed that there should be an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to enact an enabling law to legitimately back up the National Dialogue. As a legal practitioner and chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Chapter, Monday Ubani, puts it: “My position has always been that the objectives of the national conference must be properly spelt out and that spelling out must be done through an act of the National Assembly.” He added that his recommendation even to the Femi Okurounmu-led committee was that “we must enact a law spelling out the modalities, the issues to be talked about and what to do with the outcome of the talk, so that we would know what we are dealing with.” He said constituting a national conference and leaving the conferees to determine the outcome is a recipe for disaster. The North is also not left out of the preparations. The 19 northern states have articulated a 30-point agenda for the conference at their recent two-day meeting in Kaduna. The meeting

was part of the governors’ legwork to ensure that the North speaks with one voice at the conference. Speaking on the agenda, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State said the northern governors took a bold step at their just concluded meeting in Kaduna on the points to be presented at the conference and assured that the points would not in any way tamper with the unity and development of the country. “In our last meeting, we took a principled position to send our best and experienced people to the conference and this will include those who will be able to defend and discuss the issues without fear or favour, but which will not tamper with the unity and development of the country,” the governor remarked. From all indications, the north has forged a united front going into the National Conference, but without any agenda or position. The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, a vociferous northern socio-cultural organisation, appear to embody the views of the north, when it indicated recently that it is not comfortable with the holding of the conference, on the grounds that it would be unproductive, just like the previous ones before it. Nevertheless, it maintained that the north is ready to participate as stakeholders. National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Anthony Sani, who made the above declaration, said that those who were expecting the North to go to the confab with a common position or agenda, got it wrong. He added: “We didn’t initiate the idea of the confab, so we would only be attending as participants,” the ACF spokesman stated. Arguing that most northerners do not see any sense in having a national conference since the National Assembly is already in place, Sani noted with pessimism that the National Dialogue would end again as one of those exercises in futility. He stressed that the rest of the regions should know that the North would not support any debate on secession and matters that would divide the country, but those that would unite Nigerians as a people. In contrast, the Middle Belt Forum headed by former Minister of Information, Jerry Gana, and former presidential candidate, John Dara, have said the position of their group would be political equality for all the ethnic nationalities in the country. In a press statement signed by its president, Gana and secretary, Dara, the group said: “We demand that this must not be reduced to a dialogue of only the major ethnic groups, but it should be a conference of all ethnic nationalities. Every ethnic group must have at least one representative before proportional seats allotted to the bigger ethnic groups and other interest.” Northern governors have always disagreed with their southern counterpart in the past over issues like state police, resource control or derivation and the call for true federalism, with the former always resisting attempts to change the status quo. A public affairs analyst, Stanley Ologun, believes that since the north appears to have teamed up with the Federal Government, the stage is set for confusion at National Conference. His words: “The north seems to have settled for status quo that benefits only the Federal Government. The south as usual is divided into three and would be against the north and the Federal Government at the conference. The stage is set for confusion.”

‘The North seems to have settled for status quo that benefits only the Federal Government. The south as usual is divided into three and would be against the north and the federal government at the conference’

Can 492 wise men fix Nigeria? •Continued from page 43

zone structure. Prominent politicians who were delegates rubbed shoulders with the military by setting a terminal date for the military rule. It is therefore, the belief of some stakeholders that, since many patriotic Nigerians are delegates to the 2014 Conference, they will dwarf the delegates that may be planted into the conference to project a hidden agenda. When the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference led by Senator Femi Okurounmu was collating suggestions on conference modalities, a delegate to the 2005 conference, Olorunfunmi Basorun, said that representation was as important as the agenda. He added: “If the right people become delegates, they can begin to assert personality and, without fear and hindrance, put the national question on the front burner. That is, if the right people make the list of delegates.” Political watchers have pointed out that past conferences were dogged by crises of representation. Reflecting on the flawed distribution of delegates, the Presidential Constitution Review Committee (PCRC) set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, noted that, “in spite of different approaches to constitution making in the colonial and post-colonial years, the various constitutions have not emanated from the full involvement of the Nigerian people. This has, in turn, generated extensive alienation from the various constitutions”. The alienation of stakeholders in 1998/99 characterised the making of the defective 1999 Constitution. To ensure a rapid transfer of power from the military to civilians, the Justice Niki Tobi Constitution Debate Coordinating Committee (CDCC) was hurriedly set up by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, to organise a nation-wide consultations on the 1995 Draft Constitution produced by the Abacha Conference. The procedure, said the PCRC, was flawed, adding that the CDCC team only visited selected locations out of the 774 local governments to collate views for two months. “The committee was not structured and probably did not have resources and time to involve the civil society more intimately, hold the required consultation, build ownership around the processes and document, and use the constitution-making process to address the national question”. The PCRC also observed that the CDCC produced a draft that was approved, following amendments by the Military Council that failed to satisfy Nigerians, irrespective of class, gender, ethnic or religious groups. Obasanjo’s National Political Reforms Conference (NPRC) also failed the test of legitimacy. Before setting it up, the former President had experimented with an ‘All Parties Committee for the Review of the 1999 Constitution’. Civil society groups criticised the committee, saying that it was undemocratic. When the Abuja Conference took off, it was made up of five delegates from each state nominated by the governors. For partisan reasons, some governors nominated their cronies and godfathers. The Federal Government also nominated some delegates. Government’s criteria for their nominations were not disclosed. Although the conference did extensive job, it collapsed on the later of the third term agenda. As the Abuja Conference was holding, the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) was holding an alternative peoples’ conference in Lagos. It was chaired by the late Chief Anthony Enahoro. The symbols of the civil society groups - Prof. Wole Soyinka, the late Beko Ransom-Kuti, and the late Prof. Jadesola Akande - prepared the ground. The aggrieved civil society groups, which claimed that they were excluded from the Abuja conference, nominated delegates to the conference. The most significant achievement of the Lagos conference was the recommendation on the restructuring of the country. They suggested a federal country of 18 regions or component units. PRONACO argued that the 18 nationality-based regions can serve as the federating units for a stable Nigeria. The report was ignored by the Federal Government. What difference would the Jonathan Conference make? Will the report see the light of the day? Can the 492 wise men save Nigeria?












THE NATION MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014 USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS ON ANY EMERGENCY Council endorsed the useful phone numbers submitted by the security agents in case of any emergency on the metropolitan Roads. Accordingly, the public may easily contact KAROTA for: Breakdown of Vehicle(s), Traffic Congestion, Accidents, and Illegal/Wrong Parking on – 08091626747. Similarly, the State Police Command could be contacted on – 08032419754, 08123821575. In addition, the State Fire Service can also be contacted on – 07051246833, 08191778888.




ano State Executive Council under the leadership of the second (2nd) incumbency (tenure) of Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSEhas so farsat for one hundred and thirty-eight (138) weeks out of the two hundred and eight (208) weeks lifespan of the administration. During these sittings, policies and decisions were taken for the

execution of projects, programs, schemes, etc. targeted at positively transforming the lives of the citizenry in Kano State. The performance of the government is impressive in all sectors, which include Education, Infrastructural Development/Maintenance, Potable Water Supply, Agriculture, Empowerment/Entrepreneurship Training, Healthcare Delivery, etc. Impressive multitudes of mega projects were initiated with the outright resolve to see them to their completion within the four (4) years tenure of the present administration. Seventy (70) weeks remain within which to achieve this including the current, which was heralded as the week for the one hundred and thirty-ninth (139th) sitting of the Kano State Executive Council. Ten (10) MDAs submitted forty-two (42) memoranda for deliberation by the Kano State Executive Council during its one hundred and thirty-ninth (139th) sitting held today Wednesday 5th March, 2014 (4thJamada Ula, 1435 AH) under the Chairmanship of Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE. However, before deliberating the forty-two (42) memoranda submitted, Council as usual reviewed the 138th sitting. At that meeting, nine (9) MDAs submitted thirty-nine (39) memoranda, out of which 27 were approved for execution with an expenditure of Five Billion, Six Hundred and Seventy Seven Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty Three Naira, Thirty Nine Kobo (N5,677,588,843.39) covering twenty (20) projects. The remaining seven (7) memoranda approved were on policies. After the review, Council tabled the forty-two (42) memoranda submitted for the 139th sitting. Thus, out of the forty-two (42) submitted and deliberated upon, twenty-two (22) of the memoranda were approved for execution. Out of the twenty (22) approved, eighteen (18) of them were projects tied with an expenditure of Five Hundred and Eighteen Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty Four Thousand, Fifteen Naira, Eighty Five Kobo (N518,734,015.85). The remaining four memoranda were on policies. Thus: 1. OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT The Secretary to the State Government submitted eighteen (18) memoranda on behalf of the Chairman (Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE) and some MDAs for deliberation by Council. Ten (10) of them were approved for execution as follows: a ) Request for Funds to Enable the Payment of Outstanding Expenditure and Enhancing the Monthly Overhead of Shari'ah Court of Appeal:The State Ministry of Justice communicated to Council the indebtedness of the Shari'ah Court of Appeal, which was endorsed and presented to Council for consideration by the Secretary to the State Government. Specifically, fifty-seven (57) Shari'ah Courts, supervised by the Shari'ah Court of Appeal, incurred an expenditure of N10,500,000.00, which was still outstanding for payment. Details were presented for consideration and granting of approval for release by Council. Further, Council was requested to approve the augmentation of the monthly overhead from the current N1,220,000.00 to N2,000,000.00 to enable effective management of eighty-seven (87) Shari'ah Courts. Council acknowledged the two (2) prayers as relevant and approved as follows: i. Approval was granted for the release of the aggregate sum of N10,500,000.00 to the Ministry of Justice to enable the payment of the outstanding expenditure incurred as stated. ii. A standing approval for the quarterly release of the sum of N6,000,000.00 was granted to the Ministry of Justice at the rate of N2,000,000.00 monthly as overhead for the Shari'ah Court of Appeal. b) Presentation of Progress Report on Foreign/Local Training for the Month of February, 2014:Office of the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE on Foreign Training submitted the cited report, which was endorsed and presented to Council for consideration by the Secretary to the State Government. The report was the first of its kind submitted on the first batch of 501 Kano State Indigenous Post Graduate Students sponsored for studies abroad. Specifically, the main highlights of the report were as follows: o 472 of the 501 Indigenous Kano State Post Graduate Students sponsored by the State Government for Post Graduate (MSc/MA/PhD) are already in various Universities/Colleges in Countries abroad undergoing various courses. o 29 of the 501 either declined the offer or were omitted (8 were omitted, 21 declined the offer). Further details on the countries, universities, courses, completion dates, etc. were presented to Council for consideration along with the following three (3) prayers: i. Council should consider granting of approval for collaboration between the Kano State Government and Dangote Refinery UNITAR for the employment of some of the Postgraduate students on completion of their studies. ii. Council should consider granting approval for the Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Training to visit the students in their various Schools to ascertain their academic progress and psychological wellbeing and assess their respective employment potentialities. iii. Council should consider granting approval for Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE to honour the invitation submitted from the University of Rhodes Center for Non - Violence and Peace Studies, Kingston, USA to visit the School whenever appropriate to him. Council acknowledged the presentation appreciatively and approved as follows: o Issuance of the directives to the Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Training to always liaise with the Secretary to the State Government and the State Ministry of Higher Education in the discharge of his duties. o Issuance of directive to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government to provide the Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Training with an official vehicle and office equipment to enable him operate more efficiently. c) Presentation of a Proposal for the Establishment of an Organic Fertilizer Company in Kano State:An Enugu based Company, Messrs. Additone Company Ltd. submitted the cited proposal to the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the establishment of an Organic Fertilizer Company in the State using refuse/waste being dumped by households within the State. The feasibility of adopting the Company's offer was discussed at series of meetings held by the stakeholder MDAs in the State and the following were recommended to Council for consideration pending accepting/adopting the offer/proposal: i. That the Company's proposal was in line with the prominent policies of the present administration on; o Job creation o Environmental Sanitation o Urban renewal o Revenue generation o Provision of agricultural inputs, etc.

ii. That establishing the Organic Fertilizer Company in Kano State will have the benefit of ensuring significant reduction in environmental oxidation associated with usage of chemical/inorganic fertilizer. Such will enhance increased agricultural production as a substitute. iii. The Company will provide viable solution to the persistent problem of refuse disposal and ensure steady supply of required quantity of fertilizer for use by our teeming farmers. iv. Proximity of the prospective Company to its raw material would in turn reduce the cost of production of fertilizer, which may result to cheaper cost of the product. v. Evidence is required pending establishment of

Rabi’u Musa Kwankawaso

the Organic Fertilizer Company. 20Kg of waste shall be collected from ten (10) different refuse disposal Centers for analysis. 10Kg are to be taken to the USA for analysis while the remaining 10Kg will be analyzed by the State Ministry of Environment for comparison. vi. That the Promoters (Messrs. Additone Company Ltd.) will shoulder full burden of funding the establishment of the proposed Organic Fertilizer Company while the Kano State Government is expected to support by providing a factory plot at a suitable location, Tax Relief and regular conveyance of refuse to designated site for the Company by REMASAB. Council appreciated the presentation and approved as follows: i. Accepting the offer as proposed by Messrs. Additone Company Ltd. the Organic Fertilizer Company in Kano State. ii. Endorsing the arrangement for the complete funding of the project by State Government provides a factory plot, Tax relief and delivery of Company by REMASAB. iii. Authorizing collection of 20Kg of the State's refuse/waste sample for the State Ministry of Environment and the USA.

for the establishment of the Investor while Kano refuse to the proposed experimentation at both

d) Request for Funds to Enable the Conduct of Authentication Exercise on Presented Documents in Respect of Some of the 501 Postgraduate Kano State Indigenous Students Sponsored for Studies in Jordan:The cited exercise involve thirty-four (34) of the students who were given an ultimatum within which their documents must be authenticated by the Federal Ministry of Education for subsequent endorsement and transmission to Jordan by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a necessary condition pending their registration for the final semester of their programme. Details were presented to Council for consideration along with the financial implications to the tune of N405,500.00, which was requested for release to enable the conduct of the exercise. Council noted, considered and approved the release of the aggregate sum of N405,500.00 to the Secretary to the State Government for onward payment to the Ministry of Higher Education to enable the State Scholarship Board conduct the stated exercise. e) Request for Funds as Assistance for the Conduct of Marriage Ceremony in Respect of Habiba Uba:Habiba Uba was raised and catered for to adulthood at the Nassarawa Children's Home, Kano. 20 years of age, Habiba Uba currently holds a National Diploma from Aminu Kano College of Islamic Legal Studies and was married in accordance to Islamic Injunctions under the supervision of the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. Accordingly, the Secretary to the State Government endorsed the cited request from the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and presented to Council for consideration. The State Government was requested to intervene in assisting with the release of funds to the modest tune of N375,000.00 to cater for the Customary Parental Obligations, which include provision of bed and beddings, kitchen utensils, etc. Council graciously approved the release of the requested sum of N375,000.00 to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development for the stated purpose and prayed to the Almighty Allah to bless the marriage of Habiba Uba to her spouse with his bounties and love. 2. MINISTRY OF WORKS, HOUSING AND TRANSPORT The Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport submitted six (6) memoranda for deliberation by Council. Five (5) of them were approved for execution as follows: The contents of the four (4) memoranda reminded Council of the efforts of the present administration in the repairs/installation of street and traffic lights within the metropolis. Majority of the major roads, such as Murtala Muhammed Way, Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Zoo Road, Gwarzo Road, Obasanjo Road, IBB Road, Sabo Bakinzuwo Road, Kwarnar Diso-Emir Palace Way, Kofar Naisa -Mandawari Road, Sheik Jafar Road, Abdullahi Bayero Road, Sharada Road, BUK Road, Emir Place Road, Aminu Kano Way, Audu Bako Way, Zaria Road, Plaza-Kofar Mata Road etc. have streetlights leading to the control of incessant criminal acts, reduce social vices and extend business hours. The benefits of such expenditure could not be quantified easily. Kano metropolis has joined other developed business centers in rapid modernization, development and expansion. However, due to the failure of PHCN to supply constant electricity, lighting these streetlights must depend on electric generators. These generators require fueling and services to operate. Thus, these memoranda were requests for the settlement of fuel supplied to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport for the operation of the electric generators. a ) October, 2013 - Five (5) Receipts Presented Covering the Aggregate Sum of N66,305,360.00. Council noted, considered and approved the release of the requested sum of N66,305,360.00 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the payment of fuel consumed by the Task Force Committee on Installation/Repairs/Reactivation of Street and Traffic Control Lights in the month of October, 2013. b) December, 2013 - Five (5) Receipts Presented Covering the Aggregate Sum of N80,522,200.00. Council noted, considered and approved the release of the aggregate sum of N80,522,200.00 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport for fuel consumed by the Taskforce Committee on Installation/Repairs/Reactivation of Street and Traffic Control Lights in the month of December, 2013. c) December, 2013 - Fifteen (15) Receipts Presented Covering the Aggregate Sum of N15,565,000.00. Council noted, considered and approved the release of the aggregate sum of N15,565,000.00 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the payment for fuel consumed by fifteen (15) MDAs in the month of December, 2013. d) January, 2014 - Ten (10) Receipts Presented Covering the Aggregate Sum of N10,615,000.00.

THE NATION MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014 Council noted, considered and approved the release of the aggregate sum of N10,615,000.00 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the payment for fuel consumed by ten (10) Government Organizations in the month of January, 2014. o In total, Council approved the release of the aggregate sum of N173,007,560.00 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the payment for fuel consumed by Government Organizations under its supervision covering three (3) months (October, December 2013 and January, 2014). e) Presentation of Report on the Participation of the Kano State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport at the National Housing and Slum Summit (21st - 23rd October, 2013) and Others:The contents of this memorandum presented highlights of two (2) different reports to Council for consideration. Viz: i. Report on the Participation of the State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport at the National Housing and Slum Summit held on 21st - 23rd October, 2013. ii. Progress report on 1 Kilometer Road construction at Kurnar Asabe undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development under the auspices of the slum upgrade scheme. Both reports had contents that simply applauded the trends and general efforts of the present administration in Kano State toward mass housing scheme (as celebrated in the construction of Kwankwasiyya, Amana and Bandirawo cities). Provision of covered drains at various locations in Kano metropolis was also commended. The two (2) efforts were simply endorsed as on the right direction at the summit, which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development (FMLHUD) in collaboration with Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). The summit was premised on the main theme; "Developing a National Strategy for Mass Housing Delivery and Slum Upgrading". Participants were drawn from Local and International Organizations including the United Nations Center for Human Settlement (UN - HABITAT), Governments at Federal and States Level, representatives of the Academia, NGOs, etc. Essentially, papers presented at the summit pointed at the expectations of the evolution of a plan of action that could be referred to as "National Housing and Slum Upgrading and Prevention Strategy". In this vein, the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport recommended to Council that the Kano State Government should cue in on benefits derivable from the outcome of proceedings at the summit by collaborating with the Organizers of the Conference (i.e. FMLHUD, FMBN and UN - HABITAT). Further, Public - Private - Partnership (PPP) was recommended for adoption in the execution of the Mass Housing Scheme as it has potentials for attracting both local and international investors. On the other hand, the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport clarified the complaints from residents at Kurnar Asabe on the consequences of executing the 1 Kilometer road construction project by FMLHUD. Photographs were presented to confirm the claims. Council acknowledged the presentation with appreciation. 3. OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF CIVIL SERVICE Two (2) of the three (3) memoranda submitted for deliberation by Council from the Office of the Head of Civil Service were approved for execution as follows: a ) Request for Funds to Enable the Provision of Financial Assistance to the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria:The Head of Civil Service concertedly alerted Council, through the contents of this memorandum that, the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies had organized a workshop scheduled to take place from 25th - 28th March, 2014 in Ilorin, Kwara State. As such, the two (2) Union Congresses submitted request for financial assistance, which was endorsed and presented to Council for consideration from the Office of the Head of Civil Service. The details presented were considered by Council as appropriate and approval was granted for the release of the sum of N500,000.00 to the Office of the Head of Civil Service for onward release to the two (2) Congresses as financial assistance to enable them attend the workshop. b) Presentation on the Implementation of the Directives in the "White Paper" Released on the Visitation Panel to the Kano State Polytechnic (2010 - 2013):The contents of this memorandum reminded Council of its instruction to the Head of Civil Service to take action on some reported constraints and irregularities discovered in running the affairs of the Kano State Polytechnic in the period under review. Five (5) salient aspects were highlighted in the "White Paper," which were carefully studied by the Head of Civil Service and warranted him to request for information from authorities of the Institution on the following five (5) issues pending execution of the instruction contained in the "White Paper". Viz: o The authorities at the Kano State Polytechnic should cite the instruments/rules and regulations used in granting the approval for the payment of one (1) year salary to the former Rector as gratuity. o The authorities to submit a situation report on the non - recognition of ND in Pharmaceutical Technology offered by the Kano State Polytechnic. o The authorities to forward the academic credentials of the incumbent Rector to the Office of the Head of Civil Service for scrutiny. o The authorities to forward an update on the reported poor working relationship within the Regulatory Bodies at the Institution pin - pointing problem areas for appropriate corrective action by the State Government. o Henceforth, the authorities at the Kano State Polytechnic should channel all requests on staff transfer into or out of the service of the Polytechnic to the Office of the Head of Civil Service for necessary clearance for the release or absorption of the staff in question. Therefore, Council was assured that once the required information/clarifications are received, the appropriate machinery will be set in motion so as to address all the issues highlighted in the "White paper" to fully satisfy the instructions issued. Council acknowledged the presentation appreciatively and directed a coordinated method between MDAs towards the implementation of the recommendations of the White Paper. 4. MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES One (1) of the two (2) memoranda submitted for deliberation by Council from the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources was approved for execution. Thus: Request for Funds to Enable the Commencement of the First (1st) Batch Training at the Horticulture Training Institute Bagauda:The Horticulture Training Institute Bagauda is among the eighteen (18) Skills Acquisition Institutes established in Kano State by this administration. Although most of the institutions have been operating the Institute of Horticulture Training Bagauda is yet to start admitting candidates. As such, the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources submitted the cited request for the release of the aggregate sum of N24,944,813.00 to enable the provision of the six (6) items required for the immediate commencement of the first (1st) Batch Training exercise at the Horticulture Institute Bagauda. Details were presented for consideration by Council. Congruence of the project/request with the empowerment policy of the present administration prompted Council to approve the release of the sum of N24,532,643.00). 5. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION Both memoranda submitted for deliberation by Council from the State Ministry of Education were approved for execution as follows: a ) Request for Funds to Enable the Establishment of New Gobirawa Model Primary School in Dala LGCA:Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE personally paid an unscheduled fact - finding visit to Gobirawa area and identified the urgent need to establish an additional Basic Education/ Primary School within the vicinity so as to decongest the only existing Gobirawa Special Primary School with a current pupils' enrollment figure in excess of 13,743 compelling the operation of shift - system. The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Education presented to Council, through the contents of this memorandum that, SUBEB assessed and quantified the cost of establishing a completely new Gobirawa Model Primary School located at a strategic site provided by the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning. Details on the requirements were presented to Council for consideration along with the request for the release of the aggregate sum of N137,596,408.51 for the purpose. Qualitative provision for education at all levels and in all ramifications is among the commendable resolutions of the present administration in Kano State. This prompted Council to grant approval to SUBEB to use funds under its jurisdiction for the slated purpose. b) Request for Funds to Enable the Smooth Take-Off of Operations by Almajiri/Tsangaya Model

51 Schools Established in Kano State by UBEC and ETF:The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Education jubilantly informed Council, through the contents of this memorandum that, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Education Trust Fund (ETF) or Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET) have awarded contracts for the construction of ten (10) Almajiri/Tsangaya Model Schools spread to ten (10) LGCAs in Kano State. Currently seven (7) of the projects were completed to 100% level while the remaining three (3) are in advanced stages of progress. Thus: SN LGCAs Location Completion Level i. Dala Dandishe 100% ii. D/Tofa Ganduje 100% iii. D/Kudu Tsakuwa 100% iv. Kabo Garo 100% v. Doguwa Doguwa 100% vi. Bichi Bichi 100% vii. Gaya Gaya 100% Viii. Kanwa Madobi in progress ix. Harbau Tsanyawa in progress x. Warawa Warawa in progress Progressively, UBEC directed all SUBEBs in the Country to ensure the commencement of activities in all completed Almajiri/Tsangaya Schools. In this vein, SUBEB identified certain basic requirements for the smooth take-off of academic activities in all completed Schools. The requirements were estimated to cost the aggregate sum of N34,960,000.00, which was requested for release for the stated purpose. The project was considered as in agreement with the policy of the present administration to provide for education in all aspects. Council approved the usage of funds available at the SUBEB Kano State up to the tune of the requested sum of N34,960,000.00 to cater for the immediate take - off of academic activities at the completed Almajiri/Tsangaya Schools in Kano State. 6. MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES The Ministry of Water Resources submitted four (4) memoranda for deliberation by Council. Only one (1) of them was approved for execution. Thus: Request for Funds to Enable the Replacement of the Existing Water Pipeline that Serves the Emir's Palace:The Kano State Water Board identified the problem that causes the shortfall in water supply to the Palace of His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kano. Several tapings along the pipeline on its way to the Palace was identified as the problem. Solution proffered for the problem was to replace the pipeline with a 6" dedicated Ductile Iron Pipes. Details were presented to Council for consideration along with the financial implications to the tune of N15,399,860.00, which was requested for release to address the situation. The request was acknowledged as relevant and approval was granted for the release of the sum of N15,399,860.00 to the Ministry of Water Resources to enable the State Water Board replace the water pipeline that serves the Emir's Palace so as to address the shortfall in potable water supplied to the Palace. 7. MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, INTERNAL AFFAIRS, YOUTHS, SPORTS AND CULTURE Request for Funds to Enable Kano Pillars Basketball Team Participate in the DSTV 2014 National Premier Basketball League:Council recalled the setting up of an Executive Council to appraise the request for the release of the sum of N28,763,000.00 to facilitate Kano Pillars Basket Ball Team to participate in the DSTV Premier League. The team won last year's competition and represented Nigeria at the West Africa Zonal Qualifier in Monrovia, Liberia where it emerged overall winners. Council considered the details presented by the Committee as appropriate and approved the release of the sum of N18, 763,000.00to the Ministry of Information, Internal Affairs, Youths, Sports and Culture to facilitate for the preparation of the Kano Pillars Basketball Team to participate in the 2014 DSTV Premier Basketball League. UPDATE ON ACTIVITIES OF THE 139TH EXCO SITTING 1. FUEL SCARCITY/HOARDING BY DEALERS Council noted with dismay the prevalence of artificial fuel scarcity in the state, which arises as a result of bad practice by the dealers of the product. To this end, Government wishes to call on the Petroleum Marketers to desist from hoarding and diversion of the products. Council similarly noted the Inauguration of a Committee, set up by the Honorable Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Tourism with the task to monitor and report any Filling Station engaged in hoarding or diversion of the petroleum products as Government would deal with anyone found committing such acts. 2. GRADUATION CEREMONY OF 660 TRAINED YOUTHS ON LEATHER WORK Council noted the Graduation Ceremony of 660 youths by the Governor. During the Ceremony the Governor pledged continuous support toward improving the life of Youths through various forms of empowerment programs. He urged the beneficiaries to ensure judicious use of the empowerment package and skills acquired. 3. SIGNING OF TRADE REGISTRATION LAW 2014 Council witnessed the signing of the Trade Registration law 2014 by Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE. The Bill will ensure smooth operations of Trade Association. Similarly, Council called on all Trade Associations to register with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Tourism. 4. OFFICIAL WORKING VISIT BY THE STATE COMMANDANT OF THE NIGERIAN AIR FORCE TRAINING SCHOOL KADUNA Council noted the recent courtesy visit by the Commandant of the Nigerian Air force Training School Kaduna. During the visit, he commended the Governor for his Government's socio-economic development across the State. The Governor congratulated the Commandant on his recent promotion, which is due to his hard work and urged him and the Federal Government to support and ensure the maintenance of peace and order in the state and country in general. 5. PRESENTATION OF AWARD (S) Council witnessed the presentation of the following award (s) to the Governor: 1. Award to the Governor as the best performing Governor in the Northern States as voted by the readers of the Leadership Hausa Newspaper. The ceremony was held at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja on 3/3/2014 under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Shehu Malami, Sarkin Sudan Wurno. 2. Award from the Faculty of Law, Bayero University in recognition of the Governor's efforts on various development projects across the State. 3. Award of Excellent Service Delivery from the Sun Newspaper. 4. DFID commendations for his administration's Corporate Planning Strategy in the State. 5. Commendations from the Nigeria Governors' Forum for the Governor's outstanding performance on Good Governance, Accountability and Transparency and for being the Only Governor who publishes Weekly Executive Council proceedings in the National Dailies, the establishment of 22 Institutions in addition to the Northwest University and in sponsoring of more than 2000 State youths to study abroad.

Signed: Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Information, Internal Affairs, Youth, Sports andCulture





NEWS Rivers APC registers 100,000 non-indigenes From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has registered 100,000 non-indigenes in Rivers State. The Chairman of the Registration Committee of the Non-Indigenes Political Forum (NIPF) of Rivers APC, Yusuf Tanko, said this at a meeting of the forum at the APC’s state secretariat. Submitting a preliminary report of the work by his committee at the APC’s nationwide membership registration, Tanko said: “Our target was to register about 800,000 non-indigenes, but due to the attacks on our members by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hoodlums, we could only mobilise about 100,000 non-indigenes, who are genuine members of APC today. “With this number, we are capable of mobilising the 1.6 million non-indigenes voters in Rivers State for any election, in favour of APC’s candidates.” The chairman hailed the NIPF Coordinator, Uchenna Okokoba and a leader of the NIPF, Chuma Chinye, who is also commissioner for Commerce and Industry. Chinye assured the new APC members they had taken the right decision, stressing that non-indigenes should be assured that the APC administration in 2015 would give them the necessary support to succeed in Rivers.

Jonathan vows to improve education standard

•Mark seeks return of missionary schools •Bishop: Confab should be for main issues


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday promised to increase the standard of education in Nigeria. He made the promise at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria’s (CBCN’s) First Plenary Meeting in Abuja. The Conference is themed ‘Church and State Partnership in Providing Quality Education for Nigerian People’. He urged state governments to partner with religious bodies to improve education. The President said: “We will always welcome opportunities for robust dialogue with the church and other non-governmental stakeholders to strengthen the education sector. “This administration is committed to the promotion of such dialogue, we believe that education is not just about literacy, it is a basic vehicle through which every society develops its scales and resources. “Education is directly linked to national capacity, power, development and progress. It is for this reason that our administration has devoted more resources to the education sector. Our commitment is to continue to raise standards to ensure quality. We will continue to encourage private sector investment in the education

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

sector to broaden access.” He added: “We want to assure you again that our administration will do whatever is required to make our educational system a renewed source of pride for this country. “We must restore and sustain high standards, support schools and teachers, revive schools in order to give young Nigerians the best opportunities for advancement in life. “I urge you to continue to pray for our dear nation. I am convinced and I have said so in several places that our country remains united today, despite the challenges that we face because God loves this great nation. “Your prayers have continued to inspire our progress despite those challenges. I am convinced that God will continue to make a way for us even where there seems to be no way.” Senate President David Mark pushed for the return of schools taken over by the government to churches. “What is the way forward? We must go back to the way our schools were run. Education must not be politicised,” he said. The Senate President praised the President for not allowing pressures to prevent him from signing the

JTF destroys 308 illegal refineries


HE Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, has destroyed 308 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta this year. The outfit impounded and destroyed 30 barges, 155 smuggling boats, 20 tanker trucks and 566 surface tanks. This success was achieved by the outgoing Commander, Maj-Gen Iliyasu Abbah, who is bowing out after a month. Abbah assumed control on January 10 and was posted to the Army Headquarters, Abuja, as the Military Secretary on February 10. The commander listed his achievements within the short period when he handed over to the new commander, Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe.

Kidnappers demand N30m

From Clarice Azuatalam,


Port Harcourt

IDNAPPERS of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Dicken Worlu, are demanding N30 million to set him free. Worlu’s wife, Patricia, said this yesterday in Port Harcourt when the National Association of SeaDogs, aka the Pirates confraternity, visited her. She said the family had been praying for the safe release of her husband, who was abducted from his home on Ojike Street, Diobu, Port Harcourt. She said: “We don’t have the money. Where will the money come from? We are begging that they should release my husband unconditionally.”

•Impounds two vessels From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

Gen. Abbah said the outfit destroyed 275 drums of illegally refined products, 273 pumping machines and two outboard engines. He said two vessels used for illegal bunkering were impounded. Abbah said illegal oil bunkering would soon be eradicated with the cooperation of every stakeholder in the region. He said: “During my stay as the commander, I have studied the situation in the region and have mapped out strategies to that effect but the exigency of service demands otherwise. I have been transferred to the headquarters as the military secretary. “I will hand over those strategies to my successor. I believe with the cooperation of stakeholders in the region, illegal oil bunkering,

pipeline vandalism, piracy and other illegalities will be eradicated soon.” “Atewe is a committed military officer. He is going to do the work according to the mandate of the JTF. He is so good to handle the task. I have confidence in his abilities.” Gen Atewe, a former commander of the Brigade of Guards vowed to tackle piracy, pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering in the region. He said he would study the situation in the Niger Delta and formulate strategies to tackle economic saboteurs in the region. “I have to study the situation. It is my intention to professionally follow the mandate of the JTF to address the menace of piracy, pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and other illegalities in the Niger Delta,” he said.

Be prayerful, Utuama tells kinsmen


ELTA State Deputy Governor Amos Utuama (SAN) has called on indigenes of Ughievwen Kingdom in Ughelli South Local Government Area to remain prayerful. He urged them to conduct themselves with decorum and dignity. The deputy governor gave the advice at the Ughievwen Prayer Day and Annual Thanksgiving Service at Otu-Jeremi. Utuama said the people had reasons to thank God for His benefits to them. He said: “This year, we have also come to thank Him so that He can bless us the more. Once you are prayerful, live peacefully and with a heart that shows gratitude to God, every other thing will be added to you.” The thanksgiving and prayer day, with the theme, “By His mercies, we are not consumed”, was organised by the Okobaro of Ughievwen Kingdom, Matthew E. Egbi, Ughievwen Christian Ministers Forum and the Ughievwen Union.

anti-same sex bill into law. In his welcome address, the President of CBCN, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, urged the government to return seized missions school and provide reasonable funding to enable them educate the children as a matter of justice rather than favour. Stressing that schools’ administration should be a shared responsibility, he said it should be accompanied by enough financial support from budgetary allocations. He hailed individuals and groups who genuinely provide education and not for profit. The bishop praised states, such as Benue, Anambra, Delta, Lagos, Ekiti, Pleteau, Ondo and Ebonyi that have demonstrated commitments by continuing to pay salaries of teachers in mission schools, give grants to private schools for infrastructural development and rebuild mission schools. On the proposed national conference, he said: “It should not be mainly concerned about debating or agitating for sectional or regional interests, exclusive rights to resources or the division of the country. “The conference should truly be concerned about fundamental issues, such as how to make our public and civil service officials more

accountable, more selfless and more devoted to duties.” On the anti-same sex act, he said: “Those fighting for gays should first help us fight terrorists who claim it is their rights to kill others. “Same-sex unions or socalled marriages are alien to us and we resist the idea but we will always extend the compassion of Christ to men and women with a biological orientation that is gay or lesbian and defend their rights just as we have defended the rights of persons discriminated against. “It is a mischievous and faulty generalisation to reason that because we resist same-sex marriage we differ from our pope who has said, ‘if a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?’ Our compassion for the weak, the marginalised and those who suffer discrimination is unwavering and uncompromising. We minister to all. “Those individuals, pressure groups and governments from abroad who are anxious to fight for the rights of gays in Nigeria should first help us deal with the menacing activities of terrorists. “We stand for the promotion and protection of human rights, which are consistent with our religious and cultural values. Legalising same sex-marriage will only open the flood gates to so

•Dr Jonathan

many moral issues that can seriously compromise our African culture and becloud our evangelisation efforts in Nigeria,” he said Delivering his homily in a message titled: ‘The Devil is a Liar,’ for the opening mass of the meeting, the Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan listed the evils in Nigeria to include socio-political confusion, corruption, widening economic inequality, insecurity misuse and perversion of religion. “More can be listed. But the nation is still in the hands of God. The devil and his agents can and will be vanquished, if we join hands in doing good. Let us not be afraid to tackle the evil that overwhelms us,” he said.




Healthcare services collapse in Borno


EALTH care services have collapsed in northern Borno State. Workers have fled from the onslaught unleashed by Boko Haram insurgents. According to medical professionals, healthcare in the region has largely shut down. “The healthcare system in northern Borno has collapsed and healthcare delivery is nil,” said Musa Babakura, a surgeon at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH). Babakura said the situation was a “growing health crisis”, with the sick forced to trek long distances to receive medical attention and vaccination for children. Violence by Boko Haram militants has raged since 2009, but has been particularly ferocious in recent weeks, with some 500 people killed in militant attacks since the beginning of the year. Worst hit are villages in remote areas near Borno’s border with Cameroon, despite an increased military presence in the state. Hospitals and clinics have not escaped raids, even after the Federal Government imposed an emergency rule on

Borno and two other northeastern states last May. Medical personnel have been kidnapped, either for ransom or to treat wounded fighters in Boko Haram’s ranks. Pharmacies — mostly run by Christians — have faced robberies and looting. The insecurity has forced local people to cross into neighbouring Cameroon in search of treatment, with expectant mothers and the infirm using donkeys and auto-rickshaws to negotiate the difficult terrain. The gruelling trek takes its toll, said Modu Faltaye, a local chief in Wulgo, on the shores of Lake Chad. “By the time the sick reach the hospital (in Cameroon), they are in a worse state, which is why we lose a lot of them,” he said. “Naturally, the rate of maternal and infant mortality is bound to rise in the area as a result of complications arising from poor transportation facilities to hospital,” added Babakura. Nigeria is one of only three countries in the world — along with Afghanistan and Pakistan — where polio is endemic. Violence against immuni-

sation workers have affected the programmes. At least nine people were killed in February last year, when gunmen stormed two vaccination clinics in Kano, hampering efforts to inoculate children against the virus. Last year, there were 53 recorded cases of polio in Nigeria, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said. Just over half were in Borno and neighbouring Yobe, which is also under emergency rule and suffering from Boko Haram attacks. One Borno immunisation official said childhood jabs were now only given in the capital, Maiduguri, because vaccinators were afraid to travel to many parts of the state. In Baga, a fishing village near Lake Chad, a suspected cerebral fever has killed scores of people since December but residents have been unable to seek treatment. “People are dying like fowls,” said a resident, Hussaini Goni. Difficulties in delivering drugs to violence-affected areas and the closure of pharmacies have increased costs of medication by as much as 35 per cent, residents say. Hospital treatment in Cameroon is also more expen-

sive than in Nigeria, according to doctors and nurses. The closure of healthcare facilities in rural areas has added pressure on those who remain, with hospitals in Maiduguri having to take the strain, despite staff shortages. Two of the hospital’s three orthopaedic surgeons have quit, said Doctor Kabiru Ebrahim. A number of senior specialists are either on leave of absence or sabbatical, pending an end to the violence, he added. “Patients with special ailments like HIV, diabetics and hypertension need to access drugs at regular intervals and those drugs can only be found in Maiduguri,” said Ebrahim. “But these types of patients are sometimes denied the chance to come and take their drugs due to Boko Haram carrying out highway attacks.” Babakura said hospitals such as the UMTH were now forced to provide treatment that would ordinarily be given at primary care level. “Closures have substantially increased the patient burden on us, which makes us work longer hours that could compromise efficiency,” he added.

Jigawa to spend N190m on chairs


HE Jigawa State Universal Basic Education Board is to spend N190million on seats for pupils in primary and junior secondary schools. Board Chairman Sani Abdullahi said the amount was included in this year’s budget. He said:”N90 million has been set aside for the establishment of mobile workshops, which would repair furniture in the seven education zones in the state. “The mobile workshop

From Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

would go round schools or in some cases will be set up close to schools . “The rationale is to reduce wastage. Most times, we find that the damage to the furniture can actually be repaired, instead of outright condemnation. “And if we consider the cost of transporting them, we would be talking about a lot of money. But with this mobile workshop, the cost of transportation, time, labour had been saved.”

Police arrest ‘rapists’ in Bauchi


From Austine Tsenzughul Bauchi

Kano to get common leather facility


Rousing reception for Saraki in Ilorin



From Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

LL Sharia Area and Customary Courts will be closed for a three-day warning strike on Wednesday. This is to protest the non-implementation of a judgment on the independence of judiciary by the Federal Government. The President of the Sharia Area and Customary Courts Judges Association of Nigeria (SACCJAN), Zakariya Adamu, said the union is acting in solidarity with Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN). He said: “The Federal High Court in Abuja passed a judgment in favour of JUSUN for independence of the judiciary and both states and the federal government are yet to implement it.” The SACCJAN president directed all members across the country to close their courts from Wednesday till Friday. Adamu said all the state executive officers of the union would be held responsible for non-compliance. “The fight is for all judiciary workers and we must support the JUSUN to have victory.”

HE police in Bauchi State have arrested the suspects, who allegedly raped and removed their suspect’s eyes. Zainab Mohammed was attacked on her way from a coronation at Lukshi village in Dass Local Government on March 1. Police spokesman Haruna Mohammed said: “Our intensive manhunt has paid off with the arrest of Sabo Rabo alias Bullet, Sani Mohammed aka Bamigboye and Bitrus Yakubu aka Japan. They will be charged to court after we conclude our investigation.”

•Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed (second right); Chief Missioner, Shehu Alimi Islamic Foundation, (SAIF), Ustaz Hussein Arikewusola (left); National President, SAIF, Dr. Abdulkadir Oba Solagberu (second left) and the Publicity Secretary, Olohutoyin Busari, when the group visited the governor at the Government House, Ilorin.

LORIN, the Kwara State capital, came alive at the weekend, with hundreds of supporters and friends of Senator Bukola Saraki giving him a rousing welcome. Scores of All Progressives Congress (APC) members thronged the Ilorin International Airport to receive the former governor, who was visiting the state for the first time after the rally held by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Traditional rulers from the Ilorin emirate were part of the crowd. They were led by the Emir’s spokesman, who is also the Magaji Nda of Ilorin, Mohammed Salihu Woru. The supporters, who thronged the airport as early as 8am, grounded traffic on the Ilorin-Ogbomoso Expressway. Wielding brooms, the APC, symbol, they sang and danced to the admiration of passers-by.

Sharia courts to go on strike

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

Saraki, who arrived at about 2pm was unable to board his car. He walked a long distance before boarding his car because of the surging crowd. The procession reached the Emir’s palace, after spending over two hours to make a journey of 20 minutes from the airport. Saraki said the reception was a danger signal to opposition parties pretending to slug it out with the APC in the state. He said:”I think it was a reaction to the PDP rally and the kind of insinuations that were being made after. “People just wanted to let Nigerians know that whatever they saw before was nothing; that this is where the structure is. “It was not a challenge but a message, to say ‘this is where the people of Kwara are, these are the people we

‘People just wanted to let Nigerians know that whatever they saw before was nothing; that this is where the structure is’ associate with’; it was really a clear message.” He condemned those he described as “billboard politicians” who come to the state on the eve of election and are seeking the disintegration of the state. “Today, Kwarans have shown that we have come too far to be disintegrated by ‘nocturnal politicians’ who come on the eve of election to rob us of our mandate. “Kwarans have shown that irrespective of the external aggression and gang-up to disharmonise us, we cannot be broken. “In the history of my usual

periodic visits to Kwara, apparently today’s arrival was extravagantly welcoming, as Kwarans came together at the airport. “ I’m humbled, happy and confident of your support. “Importantly, I’m very glad to have walked the roads together from the airport down to the Emir’s palace. “This is the best way I can spend the weekend with my people; truly, we are united, because you all turned out voluntarily from your homes.” Saraki dismissed the PDP rally attended by President Goodluck Jonathan as “insignificant”. He also lamented the fact that the President failed to make any pronouncement on Federal Government’s projects in the state, which he claimed are non-existent. Saraki said he and his supporters sought refuge in APC so as to be freed from what he called the PDP’s ineptitude.

ANO State government is to spend N161million to establish Common Facility Centres, which would be used by youths trained in leather management. Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso announced this at the graduation of 660 trainees of leather tanning, leather goods and footwear technologies programme. He said the trainees will be provided with N33 million as start-up capital to establish small scale businesses. Kwankwaso said the trainees, drawn from the 44 local governments, would be grouped into nine clusters to be strategically located across the three senatorial zones of

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

the state. Each trainee, according to the governor, would receive N50, 000 out of which 40 per cent or N20, 000, will be provided in cash. The balance of 60 per cent, or N30, 000, will be deposited into a joint cooperative account of the respected clusters as share capitals for each beneficiary. “You may recall that this administration had established 37 micro finance banks through which these clusters can access credit facilities with which to successfully run their businesses,” Kwankwaso emphasised.

Gemade consoles The Nation reporter


From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

HE senator, representing Benue North East, Barnabas Gemade, has expressed concern over the attack on inhabitants of Tombo ward, Logo Local Government Area, by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Gemade condoled with The Nation reporter, Uja Emmanuel, over the burning of his house. The senator called on security agencies to live up to their responsibility of protecting lives and property. Gemade, a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also commiserated with the internally displaced persons. The senator said he will bring the attention of the crisis to the National Assembly. He urged Tombo community to remain law abiding and wait the outcome of government action as President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to protecting all Nigerians. Attacks have continued in Uzer ,Tse Gbeleve and Tse Gbeleve settlements in Logo Local Government Area. Most residents have fled their homes. All the inhabitants of Anyiin, the country home of Governor Gabriel Suswam have fled to Ugba, the local government headquarters. In Makurdi, the victims have turned schools, churches and uncompleted building to their homes. They were seen with children, cooking in the open. The government refused to set up camps, despite pleas by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).









‘Why criminals operate freely at Nigeria/Cameroon border’


HE Nigerian Navy (NN) at the weekend attributed the upsurge of criminality at Ibaka, the border between Nigeria and Camerroon near Bakassi Peninsula to the demilitarisation of the area by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Green Tree Agreement (GTA). Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin spoke with reporters on insecurity within the nation’s maritime domain after the pulling/sailing out parade in honour of former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba (rtd). The CNS said the Navy is collaborating with their counterparts in Cameroon and Benin Republic in order to have a joint patrol in the region. Ibaka has been under siege of criminals after the withdrawal of troops from the region by the Federal Government in compliance with ICJ’s judgment. Noting that steps are being taken to stem the tide of criminals, Jibrin said the Navy on Friday morning, rescued three Indians abducted by pirates at Burutu in the Niger Delta. “The lack of Navy presence at Ibaka is as a result of the ICJ

By Precious Igbonwelundu, Staff Correspondent

judgment in the dispute over Bakassi Peninsula that marked Ibaka as a demilitarise zone. “You cannot always find the presence of the nNavy at Ibaka that is why criminals are operating there. It is like a free man’s area. But we are now in talks with the navies of Cameroon and Benin Republic to have joint patrols around Bakassi. “We cannot just show presence on our own because it will be in violation of the court judgment and the GTA. Something is however, being done underground to curb the criminality at Ibaka. “We have been entering and releasing people that are either abducted or held hostage by pirates. Just this morning, three Indians were released by naval personnel around Burutu. Their ship was attacked and the pirates abducted them but after an exercise this morning, our men rescued them alive,” he said. The CNS who said the Navy has identified the various challenges confronting the nation at sea, appealed for the right mix of platforms to ad-

dress them so that the nation can rip grater economic benefits from its huge resources. “At the moment, my focus is to ensure that the government makes more money by curbing the activities of pirates and oil thieves. Several exercises have been lined up for the year and we shall execute them. “For us to have credible presence at sea there is need for maintenance. We have challenges in that area because most of our platforms are aged. We have at various fora, appealed for a right mix of platforms-a number of ships, helicopters and even boats. “However, one strategy we have decided to put in place is to minimize cost of maintenance in view of scarce resources. We all know that the cost of maintaining a ship interms of fuelling alone is high because a ship can take up to a million litres of AGO. “Since we do not intend to waste money as a result of the dwindling economy, we have resolved to deploy our boats in right positions. We are aware of navy’s prominent role in protecting the nation’s economy,” he said. Meanwhile, Chairman, House of Representatives

Sale of seized goods: Firm demands N100 million from Customs


•Vice Admiral Jibrin Committee on Navy, Aminu Koko said the committee was working on improved budget for the Navy to get platforms needed to stop oil theft and piracy in the nation’s maritime space. Represented by a member of the committee, Mustapha Dawaki, Koko attributed the high insecurity at Ibaka to Navy’s lack of adequate platforms. He said: “We have to look at what we generate as a nation so as to cater for all other sectors of government. We are collaborating with the navy at the committee level to see how we can convince the government to increase naval funding. “We have gone round various commands as far as Ibaka and we were ashamed when we got to Ibaka as a result of the deplorable condition of our territorial waters and infrastructure.”

By Precious Igbonwelundu

OR alleged criminal sale The truck with registraof its goods by the Nigerian Customs Service, a tion number LSR708XA, firm Mass Haulage and Logis- carrying Nestle finished tics Limited has petitioned the goods (Maggi, and 33 galCustoms Comptroller-Gener- lons of 25 litres each as al (CG) demanding N100 milwell as 890 gallons of 10 lion. The firm, through its law- litres each) was seized in yer Dr. Fred Agbaje, in a letter September 2013 dated March 3, accused Customs’ Forward Operating Unit (FOU) Zone C Owerri of seizing its truck carrying Maggi and Vegetable oil. “The truck with registration number LSR708XA, carrying Nestle finished goods (Maggi, and 33 gallons of 25 litres each as well as 890 gallons of 10 litres each) was seized in September 2013, on Sagammu-Benin Expressway on allegation of conveying contrabands. “Upon the arrest of the driver, truck and goods, an investigation and court process was conducted for several weeks which led to the generation of a seizure number,” it said. According to Agbaje, after the refusal of the FOU Zone C to release the truck and goods at the completion of investigation, a letter dated November 6, 2013 was sent to the CG requesting the release of the seize items. “The request was granted by the CG vide a release directive to the Comptroller FOU Zone C dated February 6. “But to the greatest astonishment of our client and in utter violation of the CG’s directive, our client was informed upon visiting Zone C office in Owerri that the goods have been auctioned and only the truck was available,” he said. Describing the act as unjustifiable and unlawful, Agbaje demanded the immediate production of the seized goods for his clients or the payment of N100 million being monetary equivalent of the said items. “We also demand a detailed investigation with proper sanctions meted out to the officers involve, failure of which we shall not hesitate to seek redress in court,” he said.

Vehicle owners get ultimatium THE Ogun State Police command has warned owners of vehicles parked at Division Headquarters MTD Ogere Remo to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction, two weeks after this publication. The vehicles are Nissan Sunny HW887 AAA, Opel car BZ 689 JJJ; Lexus Car CA900 KSF and Bajaj Boxer motorcycle QG 559 BDJ.



I formerly known and addressed as Binuyo Abeni Modinat, now wish to be known and addressed Yusuf Abeni Modinat. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Bello Bilqees Adedoyin, now wish to be known and addressed Mrs Wonuola Bilqees Adedoyin. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.



Ladies of Saint Mulumba Nigeria during the investiture of third and fourth degree ladies of Saint Mulumba in Abuja... at the weekend

Oyinlola demands UN Security Council’s permanent ments of social change to elimFORMER Governor seat for Nigeria inate tension and conflicts all of Osun State, Prince over the world’’. Olagunsoye Oyinlola


has said that Nigeria deserves a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council in view of its contributions to global peace and security. He also said everyone owes it a civic duty to work for global peace. Oyinlola made the appeal on Saturday in New York while addressing participants at the year 2014 International Conference of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs Centers and Associations’ (WFUCA) Executive Board Meeting A statement by his media aide, Mr. Femi Adelegan, quoted Oyinlola as saying: “The International Community should support Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council in view of the nation’s critical role as the un-

Nigeria has never failed to act decisively on matters concerning political and socioeconomic development of African states, especially when their security is threatened From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

disputed leader and motivator of the African continent. “Apart from its strategic importance, Nigeria has also played prominent and commendable roles in liberation struggles of African nations. The country’s commitments to peaceful co-existence of the peoples of the world in terms of material and financial support to the UN agenda, have been massive, to warrant Nigeria a place as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

“Nigeria has never failed to act decisively on matters concerning political and socioeconomic development of African states, especially when their security is threatened. Oyinlola said having participated in some peacekeeping operations, it was better to work for global peace than violence. The statement added: “We all owe it a responsibility to influence our societies positively; and one sure way of achieving this objective is the proper utilization of the media and other potent instru-

“ The way forward includes the promotion of inter-religious and cultural dialogue, civic education, and more importantly, faithful implementation of the globalization agenda that commands drastic reduction of inequalities between the developing and the developed world; a phenomenon that he said, posed threats to peaceful coexistence as a result of uneven development and injustice.’’ “Having tasted the unpleasant effects of wars and violence through my participation in the United Nations and Africa’s peace-keeping operations in the past, I will continue to support platforms for constructive discussions of peace by stakeholders as a solid basis for societal peace and development.

I, ODUTA DUMO ORUOBU of 11B Olayinka Street, Sawmill Gbagada, Lagos notify the general public that I have applied to the LSDPC Estate, Oke-Afa, lsolo, Lagos, which was originally allocated to Mr. Oladele Adewale. I have made series of efforts to contact Mr. Oladele Adewale, the assignor from whom l bought the property, but all efforts have proved abortive. I hereby indemnify the Corporation against any future claims that may arise if my application is granted, and undertake to pay cost of any dispute that may arise on same. LSDPC and General Public, Please take note.





National Conference: List of delegates sparks anger Continued from page 4

office charged with the responsibility of compiling the list of the delegates to the National Conference. “It is on this note that we wish to draw your attention to the Federal Government’s announcement in the media on the release of the list of delegates to the National Conference, which indicated that retired civil servants were given six slots to the National Conference. “As the only union registered and approved by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity for Nigerian civil pensioners/retirees, it was expected that our union, rather than the association of the retired Federal Permanent Secretaries should nominate delegates to the conference. But to our greatest dismay, we discovered that the union was sidelined. The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has written to President Jonathan to protest the exclusion of Ogoni from the national conference. MOSOP, through its President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, in the letter to the President accused the Federal Government of marginalising Ogoni people. It reiterated that the national conference was set up to address lingering imbalances, injustice and instability occasioned by marginalisation and violation of people’s rights, among other issues. The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people said: “We have reviewed the published list of delegates (to the national conference) and are shocked that while some ethnic groups in the country are represented by over 40 delegates in some in-

stances, others have no representation whatsoever. “For us (Ogoni) specifically, in spite of the huge sacrifices we have made in our pioneering struggle for justice in the Niger Delta and democracy in the country as a whole, we are appalled that even out of the list of 15 delegates from the Southsouth, while some ethnic groups in the zone were represented by upwards of five delegates, not even one of our people was considered for inclusion. “We had thought that the Federal Government’s nominations would help address cases of such obvious omissions, but surprisingly, we found that it suffered the same fate. “Given the internationallyacknowledged contributions and huge sacrifices of the Ogoni people, under the leadership of MOSOP, to the struggle for democracy, justice, human rights, including indigenous people’s and minority rights, environmental justice and true federalism, we see the exclusion of Ogoni people as another major step in the continuing government policy to malign and oppress the Ogoni people and diminish their huge contributions to nation building. “This our protest is predicated on our firm belief that any dialogue process to address the injustice of marginalisation cannot succeed, if erected on the shallow foundation of exclusion and that the best way of perpetrating injustice is to exclude those most afflicted by it from discussions aimed at addressing it. “Our people and others like us have been the barometer by which injustice in Nigeria has over the years been measured and that explains why we have

been in the forefront with others to advocate national discourse to address the national question. Our exclusion not only sends a dangerous, even if inadvertent message, but asks important questions about the credibility of the process.” It declared that Ogoni people and other indigenous/minority communities would not consider themselves bound by whatever decisions that would be reached at the national conference, should the organisation’s protest not be considered. The Volunteers for Protection of Itsekiri Rights accused Jonathan of “rigging” the list of delegates to achieve a predetermined agenda in favour of his Ijaw kinsmen. VPIR, in a statement by Robinson Ariyo, Leleji Augustine and Okpeyeghan Toju, National Coordinator, Secretary and Public Relations Officer, said the exclusion of the Itsekiri ethnic group from the original list of delegates was suspicious. It also faulted the explanation of “anomaly” proffered by the state government for the exclusion of Chief Isaac Jemide, the Itsekiri delegate, saying, “We suggest that it is because in this instance, the selection criteria for the delegates were rigged from inception to favour one ethnic group above every other ethnic group in Nigeria.” It said the assertion was buttressed by The Presidency’s presentation of an delegate in each of the categories, stressing that other ethnic groups must also vet the list properly to ensure that the agenda of a group is not imposed on Nigerians. “With the conspiracy to exclude the Itsekiris from participating in this conference and

the fact that over 20 delegates of Ijaw ethnic extraction are on board, Nigerians need to revisit the set of criteria finally chosen by the Presidency to make this possible,” the statement added. The Itsekiri group said the hoopla generated by the exclusion of their kinsmen and other ethnic groups from the list of delegates justified initial calls that selection of delegates be done along the lines of ethnic nationalities as suggested by constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze. They claimed that the decision not to make selection on ethnic line was to “guarantee that Ijaw have the well over 20 slots which they now have. While the Itsekiris have none, Isokos and Urhobos have only about three jointly. “Now that the Presidency has gone ahead to execute its strategy of lopsided representation of delegates to suit the President’s ethnic group, we call on all other ethnic groups in Nigeria to peruse the list of delegates against the alleged criteria and determine how much each has been cheated in this scheme before we proceed any further with the conference. Secretary of the Coalition of the Northeast Civil Societies, Alhaji Baba Shehu told reporters in Damaturu yesterday that the conference is a jamboree of fraudulent and selfish government agents without the full representation of the people at the local level. Alhaji Shehu noted that 25 CSOs in the region met and nominated four delegates but the list was thrown into the dust bin by the Federal Government. “We the Civil Society Organisations in the Northeast re-

ceive the news of the delegates of the CSOs in our region with a rude shock. “The list as released by the Federal Government is completely strange from the criteria and procedure of selection of the delegates as earlier directed. “Apart from our complete ignorance of the names of delegates on the list, we are also noticed that the region has been short-changed by two delegates. Instead of the four names that we forwarded after our meeting on the 12/02/ 2014, none of the names came out only for us to see just two strange names on the list. “We make bold to say that the Northeast more than any other region in this country at the moment needs a more true representation at this conference to discussion its problems. It is rather unfortunate that some people would sit in Abuja and make a decision on such a sensitive matter of this nature.” Olanipekun said no constitution disallows President Jonathan from organising a National Conference, noting that “sovereignty resides in

and with the people.” The former chair of the University of Ibadan Governing council explained that the NBA had long been in the struggle for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) since the 1980s under the leadership of Chief Alao Aka-Bashorun. “Whether it is National Conference or Sovereign National Conference, Nigerians must start from somewhere. We have to cross-fertilise ideas on how best to run the country, whether the Presidential system should continue or not. We have to go there and listen to discussion”. He said: “Are we saying the maiming and killing of innocent Nigerians presently in some parts of the country should not be discussed? Are we saying these human lives have no meaning to us?, he queried”. “It is the conference that would determine the type of constitution and system of government that would be operated in Nigeria. It is the conference that will give us a groundrum and not to advise Mr President”, Olanipekun said.

Bayelsa sues EFCC over N1.4b, $1.3m Alamieyeseigha loot Continued from page 4

In the suit initiated by its lawyer, Anthony Agbonlahor, Bayelsa State also urged the court to direct the commission to immediately pay the monies with the interest which had accrued on them. Bayelsa asked the court to declare that Lamorde, who took part in the investigation and prosecution of Alamieyesiegha, should not have allowed the funds recovered from the former governor to be traded with. It urged the court to hold that Lamorde was not qualified to continue in office as chairman of EFCC, having violated his oath of office. The state also urged the court to order EFCC to pay 21 per cent interest on the N1.4 billion and the $1.3 million from November 1st, 2013 until judgment is delivered by


the court. It pleaded with the court to “direct EFCC to pay to it $400,000.00, being the amount forfeited by its former governor and which funds had since been repatriated by the United States Government to the EFCC”. A date is yet to be fixed for the hearing of the case. The state resorted to the court action following the EFCC’s refusal to honour an earlier request for the funds as contained in a demand letter from the state’s agent, George Uboh, of the Panic Alert Security System. Uboh said he met with EFCC officials and the commission asked him for a short time to comply. He said the commission failed to remit the monies, following which the state instructed him to go to court.

Drop in allocation: Bayelsa cuts wage bill

AYELSA State has ordered a cut down on its wage bills and emoluments for its public officials as part of its belt tightening measures. A statement by the government yesterday, said Governor Seriake Dickson directed the cost cutting measures in response to the drop in the state’s allocation from the Federation Account. Dickson also called on the people to face the harsh economic reality of the times, noting that the allocation in the past months to the state had nosedived by about N5 billion. According to a Government House statement: “This situation has prompted many states to cut salary of workers in their states by half and many other states cannot meet their salary obligation to civil servants and even to contractors. Cross River and Benue states are among states in the federation that have taken steps to cut salaries by half owing to the grim economic downturn”. The governor has ordered the Commissioner of Finance and his team to expeditiously work out modalities to cut down on the state wage bills such as remunerations approved for par-

astatals and travel allowances for government functionaries including the governor. “He however instructed that this should be done in such a way that we should be able to cope with the stress that has been induced by the reduction in our inflows. “I have a duty as your governor to explain the reality of our current economic situation from when I took oath of office till now, our monthly revenue has dropped by over N5 billion. So, if we are not careful to build alternative revenue sources, we will get to a point where the Federal revenue will not be enough to enable us meet our minimum obligation as a State, particularly bearing in mind the very high wage bill that we have in this State that is higher than that of any other state in this country. Therefore, I have directed that approvals beginning with Government House expenditures should be further reduced by as much as 50 per cent in the light of the current realities. There is every need for us to review most of our expenditure patterns and let it be said when that day comes that, there was a Governor who saw that possibility and worked hard to avert it.




Fragments of missing Malaysian airlines plane found off Vietnam


USPECTED fragments from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people have been found off Vietnam. The Vietnamese navy said objects, one thought to be an aircraft door, were spotted by a rescue plane off the country’s south coast. Security services are investigating whether the Boeing 777-200 was destroyed in a terror attack. Interpol said at least two passports used on the flight were stolen and it is “examining additional suspect passports”. The international police agency said it was of “great concern” that passengers were able to board the plane using stolen passports, and no checks were made against its database. Flight MH370 disappeared two days ago off Vietnam’s south coast. The search area has been widened after radar data indicated the plane may have turned back. The FBI and Boeing have joined the investigation after it was revealed four passengers may have been travelling on false passports. Malaysia’s defence and transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur: “All the four names are with me.” Asked whether he believes the plane was hijacked, he would only say: “We are looking at all possibilities.” It emerged on Saturday that two men boarded the plane using stolen European pass-

ports. They bought their tickets together and paid for them in Thai baht, Sky News has learned, and were due to fly on to Europe from Beijing. The plane was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished around two hours into the flight. The plane disappeared from radar at 1.30am (5.30pm UK time) on Friday, about 85 miles (135km) north of the Malaysian city of Kuala Terengganu. A huge search involving 22 aircraft and 40 ships is continuing in the vast waters of the Gulf of Thailand, between Vietnam and Malaysia. It concentrated around the Vietnamese island resort of Phu Quoc after Vietnamese air force jets spotted two huge oil slicks. The parallel slicks - both between 10 miles (16km) and 12 miles (19km) long and 500 metres apart - were consistent with the kind of spills caused by fuel from a crashed airliner, a Vietnamese government statement said. The search has now widened to the sea off Malacca, on the west coast of Malaysia, after radar data indicated the plane may have turned back before disappearing. US federal safety officials said a team of experts are heading to Asia to help in the investigation. The team includes accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.

Earlier today, Malaysia’s Civil Aviation chief Azaharudin Abdul Rahman said search teams have not found any debris from the plane. He said no other aircraft in the Malaysia Airlines fleet would be grounded and indicated there were “no abnormalities” in the data received from the flight. Two-thirds of the jet’s passengers were from China. The rest were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe. The plane’s disappearance is especially mysterious because it happened when the plane was at cruising altitude, not during the more dangerous phases of take-off or landing. Officials are examining CCTV footage of passengers boarding the plane. One of the passengers was listed as a 37-year-old Italian called Luigi Maraldi but he has contacted his parents to say he


HE Iranian foreign minister has told the visiting EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, that a nuclear deal could come in the next four months. Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks lasting more than an hour with Baroness Ashton, who is making her first visit to Tehran amid a thaw in relations. "We can do it in four or five months and even shorter," Mr Zarif said. Baroness Ashton cautioned there was "no guarantee" her

Gateway to divine blessings Text: “...... if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth” Deut. 28:1


By The Revd. Henry O. Adelegan

you shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19). Paul told the Romans that to whosoever you yield yourselves servants to obey, you are a servant to such a person, thing or lifestyle (Romans 6:16). What this means is that willingness to prosper and be in health are good but not enough - the ultimate determinant of where the pendulum swings is Obedience. There was a man that God picked from the sideway of life to be the first King of Israel. God had the best of plans for him but he unilaterally terminated God’s plans through his act of disobedience. (I Samuel 15:1-23). He started promisingly but ended life badly, which compelled God to remove Him and got him replaced with David. God told him that sacrifice was not enough because “to obey is better than sacrifice”. What a tragedy! What is Obedience? It is determination to adhere to biblical rules and dictates; it is forming a habit of discipline, it is establishing of limits and con-


ENS of thousands of people in Ukraine have held rival pro-unity and pro-Russian rallies, as Moscow continues to strengthen its grip on Crimea. Pro-Russia supporters beat up their opponents in Sevastopol, Crimea. In the eastern city of Luhansk, pro-Russian activists seized regional offices forcing the governor to resign. UK and German leaders telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to urge him to pull back from Crimea. The region is to vote to secede next week. Addressing a huge crowd in Kiev to mark the 200th birth anniversary of national poet Taras Shevchenko, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk pledged not to give a "single centimetre" of Ukrainian land to the Kremlin. Ukraine's defence minister has said Kiev has no plans to send the army to Crimea. In Sevastopol, the violence erupted when pro-Russian groups attacked dozens of people guarding a rally to commemorate Taras Shevchenko. Ukraine's Border Guard Service says footage from its plane shows Russian troops digging in The crowd threw missiles at a car as the activists tried to flee the scene, smashing windows. A BBC reporter in Sevastopol described the scenes as very ugly. Some of the attackers were Russian Cossacks with whips. The rally was attended by about 200 people. A rival pro-Russian demonstration was also staged in the city - the base of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Moscow has been tightening its military grip on the Crimean peninsula. Mr Putin has insisted he has the right to protect Russian interests and the rights of ethnic Russians there. Mr Putin said "the steps taken by Crimea's legitimate authorities are based on international law".

Iran: Nuclear deal possible in months


HERE are myriads of questions that agitate the minds of lots people in the body of Christ in particular and the world in general. Some of the questions are: Why are some people rich and others poor or why are some individuals very healthy while some are sickly? It is pertinent to state that it was not in God’s intention for His people to be poor or sick. In fact, He promised in 3 John 2 that “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers”. Suffice to say that health and prosperity are very important to God but conditional - they are predicated on prosperity of soul, and of course obedience. The level of your obedience determines what comes to you. From our text, God told the Israelites that they had a choice to either experience blessings or curses, or enjoy good health or sicknesses. What determines either of the two is their obedience or disobedience to His biddings. The Scriptures say that “If you are willing and obedient,

was not on the airliner. He had his passport stolen in Thailand several months ago, leaving questions over who used his passport to board the plane and whether that has anything to do with the airliner’s disappearance. Another passenger used a passport belonging to Austrian citizen Christian Kozel, whose passport was stolen in Thailand two years ago. He is listed as one of the passengers although he has been confirmed as safe and well by authorities. Relatives are still waiting anxiously at Beijing airport for news of their loved ones. Tech firm Freescale Semiconductor said 20 of its staff were on the plane. In a statement it said: “Twelve are from Malaysia and eight are from China. The entire Freescale Semiconductor community is deeply saddened by this news.”

Ukraine gripped by rival rallies

•Revd Adelegan

trols in every sphere of life, it is doing what is right and not what you like or doing what is required and not what you desire. When the brethren of Mary for instance obeyed Jesus’ seemingly foolish instructions at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, water was turned to wine and their shame was knocked off for their fame to manifest (John 2:1-11). Beloved, you have a choice. As you decide to obey God during this season of Lent, mindless of how difficult the instructions are, He would do exceeding abundantly above all that you may ask or think. Your water will turn to wine and shame shall turn to fame, in the name of Jesus. Prayers: Father, give me a heart to obey you always even when it is very difficult to do so, close every door of curses and open unto me the gateway of blessings in the name of Jesus.

talks would lead to a comprehensive agreement. World powers want Iran to scale back its nuclear work to ensure it cannot assemble a nuclear weapon. The election of Iranian moderate Hassan Rouhani as president last year led to an improvement in ties between the Islamic Republic and the EU. In November, Baroness Ashton helped broker a deal

to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for limited sanctions relief. Analysts say the war in Syria is also expected to be discussed, as Iran is a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad. It is the first visit to Iran by an EU policy chief since 2008. "This interim agreement is really important but not as important as a comprehensive agreement [which is]... difficult, challenging," Baron-

ess Ashton said at a joint news conference with Mr Zarif. "There is no guarantee that we will succeed." There was, she added, a need for support from all sides. Mr Zarif said Iran had shown good faith and political will, adding: "We have done our side. It is up to the other side... to come to the negotiating table with a desire, decision and commitment to reach a mutually acceptable agreement."











VOL 9 NO 2,803

``Those fighting for gays should first help us fight terrorists who claim it is their rights to killing others. Same-sex unions or so-called marriages are alien to us and we resist the idea’



NE was condemned as a sinner, and the other side punished him. But the punisher, also agog with iniquities, gets away with many misdeeds. So what we have is an inequity of iniquity. One side is more endowed and the other on the scale of sinning. I am referring to the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi’s story, his suspension and the saga of the Jonathan administration with its litany of scandals. Sanusi accused the president of failing to account for a large sum of money. It turned out his was a mathematical gaffe, a stumble of figures that undermined his bona fides as the supremo of figures. What was $49 billion turned out to $12 billion on reconciliation? That was sin number one. Sin number two was that he did not apologise, but he insisted he was right, but that the money was not accounted for the way he expected it. After perusing the figures, he says he was not wrong, but the figures were accounted for through a different process. His other sin? He did not do enough homework before pealing to the world. It turned out that the president had been unhappy with him. So he suspended him for other sins. That he spent too much of the CBN money for charity, gave contracts to his friends and political cronies, allocated money to the mint that was used for printing money outside the country, acted as the be-all and end-all of the CBN because he was chairman and governor in the same breath. The sins of this man were compounded by the familiarity of cronies in the aftermath of his suspension. When he arrived the country on his suspension, he was received by partisans of the opponents of the president’s party, the APC. That was another sin. He was not allowed to have friends even if they belonged to another party, and if they had known each other before either the PDP or APC was conceived, or even before this democracy took seed in the imaginations of men. Sanusi bore a regal indifference to the charges. He did not agree with the charges, and rather he decided to challenge his suspension in court. Another sin. He was supposed to lie low and allow the president and his horde of incessant gunslingers pockmark him to oblivion. Those who were angry with the CBN chief did not ask many questions from the other side. They did not ask why the president did not show balance. The other side said that was president’s sin number one. He never showed any public umbrage at his minister who is ex-this and ex-that on the world stage. He did not say $10.8 billion is a lot of money, especially when it was now difficult to pay our bills. Price of oil is the


Well done BABA 90


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•Mrs Alison-Madueke

•Mrs Okonjo-Iweala

highest in recent memory but our current accounts profile is going down to seed and dangerous territory. When this sort of scandal happened when I was a student, another president called Shehu Shagari, had to make a live address and explained to the nation the dynamic of the account. Lack of communication was Jonathan’s sin number two, if lack of outrage was sin number one. Lack of public censure of his two favorite ministers was his sin number three. The sins are piling up. Some raised an earlier matter. He had an aviation minister accused of car worship, or automobile vanity, depending on how you viewed it. She turned the ministry of celestial matters into a centre of terrestrial scandals. She was supposed to care for our skies and heavens but she came down to earth to

It is clear the nation is the biggest scandal of all. In any civilised society, neither the CBN governor nor the president would survive a month of the scandals on both sides. But Nigerians, ever tolerant of sins and forgiving of foibles, explain away the disgrace

ruin things. She did not care for the planes but she sullied the earth with sudden sedan sins. So hundreds of millions were spent to buy a car with armour. The president did nothing except to allow her to accompany him from the land of sin to the holy land where they all received blessing and purification. After they cleansed hands and souls, it was not proper to punish her because Stella Oduah had become the Lord’s anointed, especially when one of the top anointed ones who had heavenly gift with aircraft led the odyssey in their chariot to the Lord. Those who did not believe in the anointing said it was Jonathan’s other sin. He did not show balance, and did not suspend the woman. But when it came to Sanusi, he suspended him immediately. Thereafter he asserted in a choreographed media chat that



HE children of Gen. Sani Abacha cry. But can they deny their father was a thief? William Shakespeare (WS), the famous bard, declared in the play, Julius Caesar: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” But Goodluck Jonathan’s so-called centenary award to Gen. Abacha, despite his unmitigated evil, twisted everything: “The good that men do lives after them; the evil is often interred with their bones.”! That, of course, was good music to the ears of the Abacha clan: with all the rhapsody about how Abacha fixed the economy and sacked inflation. But if a robber-king secures the public treasure — for his sole pleasure — how does that benefit his cheated subjects? So, his brigand ways are forgotten? Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate and our own WS, would stand for no such cant — and flatly refused to be “honoured” with an ace thief, a kleptomaniac, a mass murderer and a whore-monger. Even if whore-mongering was his personal morality, it was as rotten as his public morality as a blood-thirsty killer and tyrant. That piece of grim truth turned two

Abacha children cry Abacha siblings into cry babies, defending the honour of their honour-deficient paterfamilias. Gumsu, a female, wailed: “Someone [should] tell Soyinka I liked his books when I was younger but that is where it ends. Today, I reject his stupid, foolish, insignificant statement.” But it was Abacha, her father, who history has pronounced “stupid, foolish and insignificant”, for his humongous appetite for sleaze and his unconscionable craze for others’ destruction. Gumsu, by the way, made a cameo appearance in Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth at Dawn, when both met at a public function abroad, in the heat of the NADECO and NALICON campaign, when Gumsu’s murderous father was after the scalp of the celebrated writer. Sodiq Abacha, a male, was much more abusive. To him, Soyinka was an eternal critic who never had the brains to enter government and right things. Besides,


if Sanusi was cleared of the charges he would restore him as the vicar of our financial soul. So what happened to the absolute powers he boasted about on Sanusi’s case? Why did he not apply them on other ministers? He gave Oduah a “safe landing,’ as though she was falling from the celestial sky where she was appointed to chaperon, a safe landing her inefficiency could not afford many Nigerians who are now history from air disasters. She is no longer minister, but her case has not been treated. If he wanted to follow due process and fairness, why did he not apply same to her other angels, Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, his ex-this and ex-that on the world stage? They are still in office while their stewardships are under investigations. That was another sin. Some holy tears for him. We now face the charge of $20 billion. Attention is gradually going to other matters. If it was wrong for Sanusi to give crony contracts, what of the many contracts to those who now watch over our waterways and pipelines where we keep hemorrhaging billions. One cronyism is better than another cronyism? Obviously the two sides are sinners. One sinner, Sanusi, has not denied he did things, even if he did not accept them as sins. He did not deny he unleashed high numbers that turned out hoaxes, and some said it might have destroyed our economy for raising such false alarm. True. I wonder if they did not think that other true alarms like Oduah’s N255 million, or Alison-Madueke’s N2 billion on jet or the agreed upon $10.8 billion were not serious enough to disrupt a nation? Now an aviation group says a certain minister has spent our N10 billion in two years on a private jet for repairs and leisure travels around the world. It is clear the nation is the biggest scandal of all. In any civilised society, neither the CBN governor nor the president would survive a month of the scandals on both sides. But Nigerians, ever tolerant of sins and forgiving of foibles, explain away the disgrace. We oversimplify them in terms of parties and tribes and faith. Sanusi is Fulani, Jonathan is Ijaw, Oduah is Igbo, Sanusi is Muslim, Jonathan is Christian with pastors drooling more around him than the Holy Spirit. So, we should let the matter be while many poor suffer, power is failing, jobs are few and infrastructure in coma. The irony is that we live in disgrace and we know it not. It is like the Nobel-Prizewinning novel Disgrace, by South African writer J.M. Coetzee, in which every side enwraps itself in disgrace and thinks the disgrace is on the other side. When a society falls into disgrace and it is not willing to challenge itself, it has lost its moral compass. That is Nigeria.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above Soyinka allegedly fiddled with funds during his stint at the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) as chairman. It was satanic sarcasm, coming from the Abacha clan. Well, with a kleptomaniac father, Sodiq cannot know the value of a good name. So, it is quite easy for him to injure another person’s name. Besides, abuse is cheap. But as Sodiq was vomiting his trash, the news hit the wire that the United States had just frozen $ 458 million Abacha loot. Any further evidence this man was an unrepentant thief? The problem with Nigeria is moral federalism. As we speak, monuments in some parts of the country are named after the late Abacha who terrorised and raped his country, aside from Jonathan’s centenary award. But that is grand assault on the sensibility of right-thinking Nigerians. So, the Abacha clan had better shut up. Their father is doomed to infamy by his own bad choices. It is burden they are fated to carry as long as they live. So, they should seek God’s forgiveness for their father’s many evils, rather than throwing insane tantrums at Nigerians, grand and angry victims of their father’s reckless pillage.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:08099365644, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14, Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790 WEBSITE: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

Mar 10, 2014  

March 10, 2014 publication of The Nation Newspaper

Mar 10, 2014  

March 10, 2014 publication of The Nation Newspaper