Ekiti PDP crisis deepens NEWS
•Primary tears party chiefs apart
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News Kwara State evacuates students P10 Sports Mikel is last star standing in UEFA P24 Business Reps slam Okonjo-Iweala over N24b P53
•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH
VOL. 9, NO. 2794 FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
•INSIDE: INSIDE:THE EIGHT-PAGE NIGER DELTA REPORT (PAGES 29- 36)
Alison-Madueke ‘blows N10b on chartered plane’ CHALLENGER 850 C-G WWW Role: Business Jet Manufacturer: Bombardier Aerospace Unit Cost: US$32m Capacity: 15-19 Passenger Range: Transcontinental Length: 26.77m Crew: 2+1 Wing Span: 21.21m Height: 6.22m Source: Wikipedia •A Challenger 850 aircraft, the type Petroleum Resources Minister Alison-Madueke is accused of cruising in at public expense
Reps probe ‘financial recklessness’ It’s not fair, says lawmaker
ETROLEUM Resources Minister Diezani Alison- Madueke’s flamboyance attracted attention yesterday at the House of Representatives. The lawmakers described her movie star lifestyle, including the maintenance of a chartered Challenger 850 aircraft at N3.1billion, as “wasteful”.
From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja
The House mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to investigate “this financial recklessness of the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources” and report back to the House within three weeks. The resolution of the House followed the adoption of the prayers of a motion brought
Senate: killings must stop now
•Committee to visit victims From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja
ENATORS rose yesterday in unison to seek a sustainable solution to the insecurity in some parts of the country. The upper chamber, which devoted its entire plenary to debating a motion on “recent attacks and killings in Plateau, Benue, Kaduna and other parts of Central Nigeria”, resolved that steps should be taken to address urgently the insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives. The lawmakers are afraid that the growing insurgency in parts of the country may be a signal that Nigeria is on the verge of disintegration. A bleak future, they said, awaits the country, if nothing is done - urgently too - to address the spreading virus of insurgency.
In two years, the minister committed at least N3.120 billion in maintaining the private jet, which is used solely for her personal needs
before it by Hon. Samuel Babatunde Adejare ( APC, Lagos). Adejare, presenting the argu-
ment of the motion titled: “Urgent need to investigate the waste of resources on the arbitrary charter and maintenance
of a Challenger 850 aircraft for non-official use”, said the minister has spent N3.1 billion of public funds so far to maintain the aircraft. He said: “In these days of scarce national resources where public finance is shrinking in the face of ever increasing national needs, such as roads, health, education and power, amongst others, an official of
government could waste public funds on such luxury as chartering a Challenger 850 aircraft for extra official use. “In recent times, most states of the Federation have been facing acute shortage of allocations due to the dwindling national revenue, which has reduced the quality of governance and deprived the peoContinued on page 4
•From left: On-air personality and new Star Trek member, Dotun Kayode; comedian, Laff Up; artiste, Tuface Idibia and Star brand ambassador, Gbenga Adeyinka, during the Trek Artistes Sign on Party in Lagos…on Wednesday.
For the senators, the American think-tank preContinued on page 4
•SOCIETY P15 •SPORTS P24 •BRAND P26 •AGRIC P39 •POLITICS P43
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
How to win b
•Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole (middle), Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza (left) and Vice President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu , at the 20th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja...yesterday.
Nearly 100 per cent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer at early stages, experts say, will be disease-free after five years. But, ignorance has made many suffer from this disease whose cure rate is very high, writes OYEYEMI GBENGAMUSTAPHA
•Ekiti State Deputy Governor Prof Modupe Adelabu speaking at a discussion session at closing of the 20th workshop organised by the NESG on "Transforming Education Through Partnership for Global Competitiveness" at Tanscorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja…yesterday. With her are Senate Committee Chairman on Education, Senator Uche Chkukwumerije (right) and Mr. Jim O'Neill.
• Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Maria E. Brewer and Head, Corporate Development & Investments, Honeywell Group Limited, Dr. Teddy Ngu, signing an agreement for a feasibility study on a gas complex in Lagos...yesterday. See story on page 5
• Star actress Foluke Daramola (right) and Chairman, Ifako-Ijaiye Local Council Development Authority, Toba Oke presenting the award of Best PR Agency to Managing Director, PRRedline, Lekan Ishola at the Excellence Recognition Awards in Lagos. With them is Senior Executive, Media Relations, PRRedline, Eric Eghaghe. PHOTO: ISAAC AYODELE JIMOH
OMORROW morning, cyclists wearing helmets and kitted with other riding gears will ride from the United Bank for Africa (UBA) head office in Marina, Lagos Island to the National Stadium, Surulere on the Lagos mainland. They will be riding because of men, such as 47-year-old Simeon Unachukwu, who are down with prostate cancer, a disease which one in every 38 men between the ages of 40-59 get diagnosed with. The first sign that all might not be well with Unachukwu started when he was always having an urgent need to pass urine; yet had less urine flow and was feeling burning sensation when he passed urine. He was always getting up many times during the night to pass urine. He visited the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba and had audience with an urologist, Dr Habeeb Tijani, who told him to go for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test and a prostate exam (digital rectal exam) to ascertain the risk of prostate cancer. The PSA is a screening tool to detect prostate cancer. The result indicated an elevated PSA with value greater than 4.0ng/dl. He was confirmed with having prostate cancer. The late Prof Omo Omoruyi, who was the boss of the Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS), also battled prostate cancer. In his book 'Journey Back to Life', he recounted his experience and preached the gospel of early detection. As a cancer patient, he passed through the National Hospital, Abuja, the Boston Medical Center, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University Medical School. In the book he gave hope to those living with cancer that contrary to the general claim that cancer is an instant death sentence, appropriate treatment regime, continuing advancement in science, and the will to survive could see them through. Foremost lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Prof Ben Nwabueze recently announced that he was battling prostate cancer. Last October, in a statement, he explained why he turned down his appointment as a member of the National Conference Advisory Committee. He said: "It is not generally known to people that I have been fighting prostrate cancer for some years now, and have been kept going by consultations from time to time with, and treatment by, a Consultant Oncologist at Charing Cross Hospital, London. My appointment with the Consultant Oncologist had been shifted many times because of several postponements in the dates of The Patriots meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Summit at Uyo, both of which eventually took place on 29
•UBA’s marathon for prostate cancer.
•The late Omoruyi
August and 3/4 September respectively, leaving me free at last to travel to London on 8 September for my medical appointments. "After The Patriots fruitful meeting with the President, a member of our team who has access to him on a personal basis was mandated to go back to get him to set up the Committee on the National Conference of which he had earlier given a hint. My understanding from the contacts with him was that The Patriots would be asked to nominate a member to the Committee. I never expected to be appointed chairman or member of the Committee, and would, quite frankly, have considered such an appointment inappropriate in the circumstances. It is an appointment for a younger person, not for an old man of 83 years afflicted by ill-health." Tijani, who is a Senior Lecturer/ Consultant Urological Surgeon at the Department of Surgery, College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL) / LUTH, says growing older raises risk of prostate problems. He said: “The three most common prostate problems are: Inflammation (prostatitis); Enlarged prostate (BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia) and Prostate cancer. One change does not lead to another. For example, having prostatitis or an enlarged prostate does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. It is also possible for you to have more than one condition at the same time. However, not all prostatic enlargements are cancerous and many enlargements do not require treat-
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
in battle against prostate cancer
The chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age. Thus, prostate cancer under age 40 is extremely rare while it is common in men older than 80 years of age
ment. Having that patient go for the PSA test is in order people. PSA test is a simple, reproducible, and relatively accurate blood test. It is used to detect a protein (the prostate specific antigen) that is released from the prostate gland into the blood. “The PSA level is usually higher than 4ng/mL in people with prostate cancer than in people without the cancer. Situations of large prostate size, infection and inflammation are other reasons why the PSA may be elevated. The PSA, therefore, is valuable as a screening test for prostate cancer. Accordingly, doctors usually recommend doing a PSA in men age 40 and over. Subsequent screening is recommended based on individual preference and assessment of risk for developing prostate cancer. For example, patients with a high risk of developing prostate cancer due to a family history or a high initial PSA should have more frequent evaluation (usually annually). “And the number of cases we see at LUTH is also increasing. Poor records keeping in Nigeria means that we do not have adequate data. It is however the number one causes of cancer death in men above 45 in Nigeria. Worldwide, it is more common in blacks. It is more aggressive in blacks and it tends to occur at an earlier age in blacks. In short, the black man of West African origin is more likely to be killed by the cancer compared with other races. Screening for Prostate cancer among Nigerian men is low because awareness on screening for Pros-
tate cancer is still poor. Every black man after 40 should have an annual evaluation of his prostate. With less than a N2, 000. 00 the screening can be obtained.” Routine screening is about N10 000. Patients, who have suspicious results, will then need confirmatory test, which costs a little over N50, 000. Tijani described Prostate cancer as an abnormal and uncontrollable growth of the prostate subsequently spreading to vital organs and thereby destroying them. “Unchecked, this ultimately leads to the demise of the individual. The level of awareness of this disease is so low among men. The reason is largely due to the fact that there are no early symptoms for prostate cancer. In fact, at diagnosis, the disease is already advanced. As such, an aggressive campaign like that done for breast and cervical cancer in women should be embarked upon.” Tijani also had some experience with a man in his early fifties who came to the hospital with an obvious prostate cancer on examination. Based on the clinical examination, he was told to go for further diagnostics screening but declined saying he was ‘shot’ (Yoruba- ‘won ta mi lofa’) at by his enemies. According to Tijani, such assumptions do not hold water and it is amazing that at this age people with medical challenge, such as this, could be frivolous as to believe in African bellicose and superstitions such as the claim of the patient above. He did not
show up again at the hospital. Another patient was also attended to. He was in his early 60s and a retiree. He had his children brought him to the hospital but could not afford the cost of the screening nor the treatment. More so, he could not come alone to the hospital because he lives outside the state. He was not able to be followed up and was lost as a patient. Consultant General and Urological Surgeon, Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH), Oghara, Dr Leslie Akporiaye, had attended to many patients with success stories/ happy ending. He was working with an oil company in Delta, as a Medical Director of the oil company’s clinic before he moved to DELSUTH. While at the oil company, he was attending to the retirees and the company footed their bill. He was also holding constant health talk with them because most of them are advanced in age. They knew what to look out for and report promptly to the clinic on sensing any suspicion. A lot of the retirees were saved from progressing into advanced stages of prostate cancer or death. And they enjoyed their lives in retirement. Some also who were private citizens had been coming to DELSUTH either from recommendations from survivors or preventive cases from the oil company or referrals from other hospitals. According to Dr Akporiaye, DELSUTH has all it takes to attend to any man with prostate cancer of any stage.
Causes/ way out Explaining the causes of prostate cancer, Dr Akporiaye said the cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but the cancer is not related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The risk (predisposing) factors for prostate cancer include advancing age, genetics (heredity), hormonal influences, and such environmental factors as toxins, chemicals, and industrial products. “The chances of developing prostate
cancer increase with age. Thus, prostate cancer under age 40 is extremely rare, while it is common in men older than 80 years of age. As a matter of fact, some studies have suggested that among men over 80 years of age, 50 per cent to 80 per cent of them may have prostate cancer cells present in the prostate gland. More than 80 per cent of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65 years of age.” Another urologist, Dr Emmanuel Audu-Obe, Director, Fertigene Diagnostics/Salem Hospitals, Benue, said if the prostate cancer is advanced the following symptoms are also possible: Bone pain, often in the spine (vertebrae), pelvis, or ribs; the proximal part of the femur can be painful; leg weakness (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord); urinary incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord) and fecal incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord). Dr Obe explained that the prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. “The prostate is just in front of the rectum. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate, from the bladder to the penis, letting urine flow out of the body. The prostate secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra; and it’s expelled with sperm as semen. The vasa deferentia bring sperm from the testes to the seminal vesicles. The seminal vesicles contribute fluid to semen during ejaculation. “Cancer affecting this organ is called prostate cancer and it is the most common form of cancer in men (besides skin cancer), but only one in 35 men die from prostate cancer. This ailment is more prevalent in the elderly. Younger men usually have Prostatitis (Inflammation of the prostate, sometimes caused by infection). In some cases, it is treated with antibiotics, and
Enlarged prostate: Called benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, prostate growth affects virtually all men over 50. Symptoms of difficult urination tend to increase with age. During the early stages of prostate cancer there are usually no symptoms. Most men at this stage find out they have prostate cancer after a routine check up or blood test.” He said: “Nobody is really sure of what the specific causes are. There are so many possible factors, including age, race, lifestyle, medications, and genetics, to name a few. Age is considered as the primary risk factor. The older a man is, the higher is his risk. Prostate cancer is rare among men under the age of 40, but much more common after the age of 45. “Statistics indicate that genetics is definitely a factor in prostate cancer risk. It is more common among certain racial groups - in the USA prostate cancer is significantly more common and also more deadly among Afro-Americans than White-Americans. A man has a much higher risk of developing cancer if his identical twin has it. A man whose brother or father had/had prostate cancer runs twice the risk of developing it, compared to other men.” A medical practitioner, Dr Gafar Akinsanya, advised men who are above 40 years of age to abstain from diets which are rich in animal fat. The doctor, a staff of the Federal Medical Centre at Idi-Aba in Abeokuta, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) abstinence would help to reduce the risk of Prostate cancer. He said prostate cancer was a common cause of death among elderly men. "The prostate is a small, walnutsized structure that makes up part of a man's reproductive system," Akinsanya said. He said the men mostly at risk of being affected by the disease included men who are above 60 years, and men with excessive alcohol habit. The doctor said farmers, as well as men who have a family history of the disease, could also be affected. "Others are painters, men who indulge in diets high in fat, especially animal fat and men who have been exposed to cadmium,'' he said. Akinsanya noted that some of the symptoms associated with this type of cancer may not result in prostate cancer. He listed some of the symptoms to include delayed urine, blood in urine or semen, leakage of urine after urinating, low back or pelvic bone pain and a slow urinary stream. "A common problem in most men as they grow older is an enlarged prostate but the problem does not raise the risk of prostate cancer," the doctor said. Akinsanya said blood test was required to screen men for prostate cancer, adding that most prostate cancer could be detected and treated before they caused any harm. He added that the disease could be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery. "Prostate cancer that has spread may be treated with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, or chemotherapy," Akinsanya said. He listed some side effects of the surgery to include difficulty in controlling urine or bowel movements and erection problems. The doctor advised patients to follow a vegetarian, low-fat diet which includes foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. The UBA Foundation, which is organising tomorrow’s cycling for prostate cancer, will be conducting free prostrate screening at the National Satdium, Surulere, Lagos, the Millennium Park, Abuja, UBA Business Office, Nike Lake, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu and Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NEWS Military battles Boko Haram in Sambisa forest
•Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba welcoming President Goodluck Jonathan to the State House in Windhoek…yesterday. WIth them are Namibian First Lady Mrs. Penehupifo Pohamba and First Lady Patience Jonathan (right) PHOTO: NAN
Jonathan: corruption blown out of proportion
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday in Windhoek, Namibia, that corruption in Nigeria is being blown out of proportion thereby affecting the image of the country. He also said the government would no longer treat the Boko Haram insurgency with kid gloves. The President spoke at two events a in the southern African country –when he met with host President Hifikepunye Pohamba at the Conference Hall of the Namibia State House and during a meeting with the Nigerian community at the Country Club, Windhoek. He told the Nigerians that “corruption is everywhere but it is over-celebrated in the country to the extent that the nation and its people are stigmatised.” The president stressed that while his administration would not condone the menace, using big stick would not be a solution to end corruption. He said in fighting corruption, government had continued to strengthen the relevant institutions. The president said that with the promulgation of decrees and
Alison-Madueke ‘blows N10b on chartered plane’ Continued from page 1 which amounts to a misplacement of priority, impu-
ple of dividends of democracy. “Based on reliable evidence, the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been committing 500,000 Euros (N130 million) monthly to maintain the Aircraft, thus in two (2) years, the Minister had committed at least N3.120 billion in maintaining the private jet, which is used solely for her personal needs and those of her immediate family, which is an appalling act.” The lawmaker said there were strong indications that the expenditure is only a tip of the iceberg “as several other billions of naira have been allegedly wasted on flying the Jet all over the world, obviously for the leisure of the Hon. Minister and her immediate family on trips that were of no benefit to the country.” Adejare said: “This colossal waste is currently estimated at N10 billion, which includes the payment of allowances to the crew for the trips, hangar packing and rent, based on the lease agreement.” He expressed concern that an official of government could be bankrolling “this waste in the face of ever-dwindling public resources, From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
laws stipulating capital punishment for armed robbery, the menace had not stopped. The president called on every
dence and breach of public trust, an action that offends the Fiscal Responsibility Act and all other - laws on fiscal discipline.” Adejare enjoined his colleagues to take cognizance of the provisions of Section 88 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution which empowers the National Assembly to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated. The motion, which was not debated, was overwhelmingly supported by members of the House when Speaker Aminu Tambuwal called for a vote. Tambuwal referred the matter to the Public Accounts Committee for further investigation. But Hon. Uche Ekwunife defended the minister. According to her, what should be of focus is the benefit of her trips on the Nigerian economy. She added that there was no evidence that Mrs. Alison-Madueke had been carrying members of her family on the jet. She said she had flown on the jet with her locally and internationally and never saw her family members on board. Mrs. Ekwunife said: “What about governors who fly the whole state to collect awards?”
Nigerians to resolve to do the right thing and support the government in its efforts at building a new Nigeria. He assured that if all hands were on deck and the cit-
izens cooperated with the government, the nation would be completely transformed in the next 10 years. “The green passport should be
HE military has taken the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents to the sect’s base in the Sambisa forest in Borno State. It also declared that the battle will soon be over because the sect members are “on the run” Director, Defence Information (DDI), Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, spoke in an interview in Maiduguri, when he accompanied Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen Kenneth Minimah and Chief of Air Staff Air Mashall Adesola Amosu, on a visit to the troops. “The military is operating in the Sambisa forest, in hills and other forests around. “The idea is to make sure that the insurgents do not have a camp where they can organise their crime like before. “Unlike some months back, the insurgents are now on the run,’’ he said. Gen. Olukolade said the attempted attack on Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, by the insurgents was a sign of weakness. “You will observe that they have stopped soft spot attacks for some time now. “Most of the attacks now are daring, like the attempted barrack attacks, because they know that there time was up,’’ he said. Gen. Olukolade said: “The visit is to assess the operation of troops on the ground. They have always visited to see things on ground,” he said, adding that “terrorism is like armed robbery, prostitution and other crimes, which have been on for a long time. “These cannot be wiped out completely in the society, but you can bring them down to the lowest level where they cannot affect social and economic life. “Our aim is to reduce terrorism to the lowest level where it will not be able to disrupt social and economic lives of the people.’’ Gen. Olukolade also faulted claims that some military commanders had failed to act on urgent information due to non-ap-
From Bodunrin Kayode, Maiduguri and Barnabas Manyam, Yola
proval by their high command. “It is not true that commanders will have to wait for permission before acting on urgent information on terrorist attacks or movements. “Certainly, our operation does not require seeking permission from outside. “Officers have some latitude to operate in such kind of situation. “Each officer has been briefed on the rules of engagement in any operation; it is left for him to act immediately he receives information on terrorist attack or movement. “If we receive complaint on officers refusing to act on urgent information, such officers will be reprimanded,’’ He said. Cameroon will send 700 soldiers to its northeastern border as part of a regional force to tackle armed groups in an area Boko Haram operates, that country’s Defence Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o said yesterday At a two-day meeting in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde, defence ministers from the six-nation Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) agreed to establish the multinational force to improve security in the zone. The infiltration of Boko Haram militants into Cameroon’s FarNorth region, which they use as a launch pad for attacks in Nigeria, has led to mounting insecurity there. Rebels are believed to be hiding among an influx of refugees from Nigeria. Ngo’o said details of the multinational force would be established at a summit in Niger’s capital Niamey this year. “Cameroon has decided to provide a contingent of 700 soldiers for this unit of the LCBC,” Ngo’o said. “But we believe each country should keep its troops within its own borders.” Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, Continued on page 59
ABEOKUTA GOLF CLUB The reference to Peter Enahoro in Wednesday’s story on the Abeokuta Golf Club is an error. The name Anthony Enahoro, was to be mentioned. The mix-up is regretted.
Continued on page 59
State police cited as senators condemn killings
Continued from page 1
diction about the possibility of Nigeria disintegrating in 2015 must not be allowed to happen. The Senate mandated its Committees on Security and Intelligence, Defence and Army, Interior and Police Affairs to undertake a fact finding mission to the affected areas and report back to it. The lawmakers also resolved to condemn “the incessant killings occasioned by the simultaneous multiple attacks on communities and villages”. They observed a minute silence in memory of the deceased. Two prayers were, however, rejected. Thye are that the allegations of complicity by security should be probed and that the President set up a committee to look into the root cause of the sudden widespread attacks in the Middle Belt. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, noted that the emerging insecurity required effective measures to tackle. “If we decentralise the police we may be able to deal with problems of insecurity,” he said. The touchy motion was sponsored by Senators Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East), George Akume (Benue North West), Gyang Jwajok (Plateau North), Joshua Dariye (Plateau Central), Victor Lar (Plateau
South) and Nenadi Usman (Kaduna South). Gemade, who led the debate, noted with dismay ‘how human life has become increasingly very cheap and impunity has become the norm in Nigeria, particularly in the case of the Northcentral and Northeastern geo-political zones. Gemade is worried that the unhealthy situation is further degenerating to a point in which “we can clearly say that we are in the middle of a civil war with multiple ill defined fronts and worse still the perpetrators are often presented as faceless “unknown gunmen” “Boko Haram” or, in some instances, “Fulani herdsmen” in “conflict” with “farmers” and victims on the Plateau, in Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe states and other parts of Nigeria;” He noted that in Plateau State, between May 29, 2011 and January 31, 2012 alone there were 1,131 deaths reported. “The relative peace and calm that had returned to the state for several months based on the collective resolve of the people to sustain the peace was sadly interrupted on Tuesday 26th of November 2013, by simultaneous multiple attacks on four communities and villages of Tatu, Rawuru, Bok and Dorang, leaving 45 people dead including a family of seven -father,
mother and five children - apart from the fact that most of the poor victims are infants, children and women,” he said. Gemade added: “Aware that these well planned and organized simultaneous attacks professionally unleashed on vulnerable villages came less than 48 hours after the Governor of Plateau State Dr. Jonah David Jang publicly raised an alarm over the plot to attack the State beginning with the 2013 Christmas season and as a result these incidents cannot really be said to be as a result of total intelligence failure. “Further aware that these serial attacks have persisted in the last two months, covering parts of Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Jos South, Mangu, Bokkos, Wase and Shendam local government areas of Plateau State with massive destruction of lives on an average five persons per day and properties worth hundreds of billions of Naira comparable to the civil war years.” The senator went on, listing attacks and casualties. He said: “Notes that between the 21s* of May 2013 - 6th of March 2014, villages such as Kuka, Magama, Karkashi, Bua, Baracks, Riwam Doka, Timshab amd Yamu in Plateau South Senatorial Constituency came under vicious attacks with massive destruction of lives and property worth billions of naira;
“Deeply disturbed that these attacks also took place on 5th of January 2014 at Shonong Village of Bachi District, the same area where Senator Dalyop Gyang Dantong lost his life in Riyom Local Government Area. 34 persons reportedly lost their lives and 13 injured. “Worried that similar attacks were carried around 1:00 am on Thursday February 20, 2014 at Rapyem Village of Barkin Ladi Local Government area in which 13 people were killed, including nine children and on Friday 21 at Rakok, Razat and no fewer than 29 people were also killed by gunmen on 22nd February 2014 on border villages of Rakong near Kafi Abu between Barkin Ladi and Bokkos Local Government. 16 people including a 70-year-old, women and children, were also brutally killed and 91 houses razed down in Wereng-Rim village of Riyom Local Government Area at about 5 pm on the 4th of March 2014; “Equally worried that in Kaduna State, it has been rough for the people of Maroa and attakad communities of Kaura Local Government Area and bordering Plateau State, as no fewer than 40 people were killed in two separate raids in which a soldier and a policeman were also slain. The daring raid of 3rd of February 2014 brought the total number of such invasions to 11 with about 100 deaths at least five vil-
lages in Mayit, Kirim, Danti, Zangang razed down and over 10,000 people displaced. At least no fewer than 114 villagers were killed in the night of Friday, March 14, 2014 when heavily armed men entered three villages of Ugwar Sankwai, Ugwan Gata and Chenshyi of Kaduna State gunning down residents burning down all the houses in sight.” Gemade told the Senate that survivors and eye witnesses’ testimonies repeatedly raised allegations of duplicity or dereliction of duty by “bad eggs” within the security circles and doubts as to the capacity of the agencies to provide security. He said in Benue State incessant attacks were carried out on communities in Guma, Gwer West, Makurdi, Agatu, Kwande, Logo and Katsina Ala Local Government Areas. He said: “In Ndzorov Ward of Guma Local Government Area, 21 reported deaths and N3bn worth of property were destroyed in villages, such as Ahor Akuroko, Tse Akaahena, Tse Ormeagh, Tse Jija, Tse Bako and Tse Iorhon. “Also that in Mbagwa and Nyiev wards, 44 people were killed and over N5bn worth of property destroyed in Tse Kyuer, Tse Agbe, Yogbo, Tse Kulayemen, Tse Ama, Kpanye, Agela, Uhembe Ikpev, Agahar, Gbor Gyo Ubii, Hule Zem, Shan
Avungu, Bern Walu Shange, Akor, Gbayange, Chenge, and Ahoile.” Gemade is disturbed that even more ferocious attacks were launched in the following villages in Gwer West Local Government: Sengev, Gbenda, Tongov, Tyouhater, Injaha, Continued on page 59
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THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NEWS Fed Govt sued for immigration jobs tragedy From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
HE Federal Government and three others have been sued over the recruitment conducted by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in which about 19 people died. The suit was filed yesterday before the Federal High Court in Abuja by four persons acting for themselves and as representatives of those, who participated in the exercise. They are seeking, among others, to compel the government and its agency involved in the exercise, to refund to those who participated in the exercise, N1,000 application fees they were compelled to pay. They are urging the court to declare that the conduct or the execution of the recruitment was illegal, unwarranted and in violation of the deceased’s fundamental rights to life. The applicants are urging the court to order the respondents to refund the recruitment money back to the applicants, pay N1m to each applicant and N50m to deceased applicants as general damages Charles Ugwuonye, Friday Danlami, Chinedu Onwuka and Samson Ojo, represented by their lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye are alo praying the court to declare the recruitment illegal and restrain the NIS from spending the money realised from the recruitment exercise. Sued with the Federal Government are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, the Nigerian Immigration Service and its Comptroller General, David Shikfu Parradang. The suit was brought under Sections 33,34 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution and the equivalent articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right. They ask the court to declare that the conduct or the execution of the recruitment exercise is illegal, unwarranted and in violation of the applicants’ fundamental rights to life, right to protection from inhuman and degrading treatment, right to dignity of the human person, right against discrimination on the basis of the circumstances of birth and right against unlawful taking of the property of a person; under Sections 33, 34, 42 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and the equivalent Articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
Buharidecries high rate of poverty A FORMER Head of State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, yesterday lamented the high rate of poverty in the country, despite the oil wealth. He spoke in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, during the 50th anniversary lecture of the Nnamdi Azikwe Hall of the University of Ibadan (UI). He said oil wealth without good leadership could not take people out of poverty. Buhari, who chaired the occasion, emphasized that the type of leadership needed to transform a nation in desperate need of development is a mixture of old, experienced leaders and young leaders who are brimming with strength and vigour. The lecture, with the theme: “Youth and the future of Nigerian Politics,” was delivered by former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Shettima Mustafa. At the lecture were Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi; former governor of the state, Rashidi Ladoja; Interim National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande; the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s eldest son, Bamidele; APC Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nasir
From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
El-Rufai. Gen. Buhari praised the late Azikiwe for his contribution to the development of Nigeria. He recalled that he had known the late sage since his school days. He said: “Azikiwe was the most outspoken and internationally recognised Nigerian nationalist. He was a true Nigerian and his vision extended beyond Nigeria or West Africa. He dreamt of continental union, similar to what Europe is trying to do now. He deserves all the honour and accolades we can heap on him, albeit posthumously.” With reference to the ex-
ploits of many old, experienced leaders, Gen. Buhari justified the need for such leaders to be given a chance while also accommodating young ones. His words: “China and Japan post-1945 had a history of very old people managing the affairs of these two great oriental economies. Mao Zedond and Chou En-Lai in their 70s laid the foundation for their successor, Deng Shao Ping, to bring one billion people out of poverty into self sufficiency in food supply and an economy second only to the US. “Charles de Gaulle led French resurgence after the war when he was over 70 years and in Britain, three old men managed its recov-
ery through 1950s and 1960s. The last three Saudi Arabian kings ascended the throne in their 70s and 80s and see what transformation the nation enjoys in the last 40 years. If you think that this achievement is solely due to oil resources, take a look at Nigeria and consider what poor use we made of our resources. “The ideal thing is to have a mixture of experienced people who will bring their wisdom to bear and young men and women with energy and vigour to cooperatively run an administration. A young Singaporean leader, Lee Kuan Yew, in his 30s assumed the premiership position and turned his country to a beacon of efficiency,
prosperity and growth. John Kennedy is another good example of a young leader. He kick-started American technological achievement by inspiring oratory,” Mustafa, who was Azikiwe’s running mate in the Second Republic, said Nigerian youths have a lot to learn from the old politicians and the political philosophy of Azikiwe. He said: “The youth have a great role to play in governance and national transformation just like we have in the Arab Spring, but the place of our elders cannot be pushed aside. Governance is like a relay race; those in the starting point must do well for the latter runners to finish well.”
Gunmen shoot policeman at Lagos airport
WO gunmen riding on a motorcycle yesterday shot plain clothes policeman at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport access Toll Plaza, Lagos. The gunmen, who were on a power bike, rode speedily towards the Ikeja axis of the airport, leaving the policeman attached to the Hajj Camp Police Station in the pool of his blood. As at press time, it could not be ascertain what led to the action of the gunmen. An eye-witness, Dr. AlexOkoh, who was at the scene of the shooting, said the policeman was walking towards the
Zonal elders endorse Esin, Ekere, Abia for Akwa Ibom governor
•Buhari (second right); Chief Akande (right); Ajimobi (second left); Masari (middle) and Bamidele...yesterday
HE southern zone has endorsed the trio of former Deputy Governor Nsima Ekere, Mr Larry Esin and Effiong Abia to contest for Akwa Ibom State governor next year. The zone believes that allowing the south to produce the successor to Governor Godswill Akpabio will redress the agelong political imbalance in the state. There are three zones in the state the North East (Uyo), the North West (IkotEkpene) and Southern (Eket). Only the south zone has not yet produced the governor. Working towards producing the governor, the Elders Forum of the Akwa Ibom South has resolved to present a common political front. It decided after a recent meeting of the elders led by Chief Nduese Essien in Uyo where people were drawn from 12 local government areas, that zoning the office to Eket wil will bring about justice and peace in the state. The group resolved to shortlist Esin, Ekere and Abia. It commended Akpabio for zoning the position to the area. The seeming conviction by Akpabio that Eket senatorial district is where to shop for the governorship candidate in 2015 is not lost on the Oro people who make up the third majority tribe in the state. Akwa Ibom stands on a tripod of three ethnicities, the Ibibio being the largest, followed by the Annang and the Oro. Only the Oro have not governed the state since its creation.
By Kelvin Osa Okunbor
access gate at about 3pm when the two men shot him . Dr. Okoh, a member of staff of the Port Health Public Health Service, a department of Federal Ministry of Health, said she was inside an ambulance when she saw people running as a result of the shooting.
She said: “I was inside an ambulance when I saw people running helter skelter. When I came down from the ambulance, I saw a man lying in his pool of blood.” Dr. Okoh said she ordered the driver of the ambulance to take him to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja
The police Public Relations Officer at the airport , Mr. Dennis Ifijeh, said he was not aware of the shooting . He said he would investigate . The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN),it was learnt, is collaborating with the police to investigate the shooting.
A source said : “We are still investigating the incident. The police is on top of the situation. We can categorically state that the incident did not happen around any operational area around the airport. “The incident did not disrupt any activity around the airport . The situation is under control.”
U.S., Honeywell Group sign $514,000 pact on gas project
HE United States (U.S.) is ready to support Nigerian entrepreneurs, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Ms Maria Brewer, has said. Brewer spoke at the grant signing ceremony by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), a U.S. government entity, and Honeywell Group Limited. Both are committing $257,000 (about N39.84m) each to a feasibility study to build a gasbased industrial complex in Nigeria, whose total budget is $514, 000. At the ceremony held at the U.S. Consul General’s residence in Ikoyi, Lagos, Brewer explained that in supporting Nigerian entrepreneurs, the goals of the U.S. are to promote economic development and employment across the country, while facilitating trade and investment opportunities between the U.S. and Nigeria. Head, Corporate Development & Investment for Honeywell Group,Dr. Teddy Ngu, signed on behalf of his
By Chikodi Okereocha
company. Brewer signed for USTDA. “We are here today to put these goals into action and thanks to focused funding programmes provided by the USTDA,” Ms Brewer said. Brewer said with USTDA assistance, Honeywell Group would be able to complete a study to evaluate the chemical outputs from various types
of facilities and identify required capital costs, potential U.S. suppliers, and potential barriers to the project. The U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission added: “This project has the potential to be a win-win for both the U.S. and Nigeria. While helping to develop Nigeria’s emerging petrochemical industry and promoting the expansion of a Nigerian based business, the
construction and operation of the facility could potentially generate significant U.S. exports of goods and services,” she said. Ngu said thousands of employments would be created and youths, especially those in oil bunkering would be brought back into the mainstream. He said work on the gas-based industrial complex would begin within the next three or four years.
We are Nigeria’s problem, Ojudu tells senators, others
ENATOR Babafemi Ojudu, representing Ekiti Central, said yesterday at the Senate that Nigeria’s bane is leadership. He said: “Whenever you have a weak, visionless and feckless leadership, you cannot but have these problems we have in the country today.” Ojudu spoke while contributing to a motion by Senator Barnabas Gemade and supported by the senators on the recent killings in Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and other parts of the country.
The motion, which is detailed and has been the longest so far in the Senate, contains information and statistics on the killings in the country. The lawmaker said leadership was the country’s problem. Said he: “How many issues are we going to declare emergence on? We have declared emergency in some states and it is not working. We have called for emergency in education, unemployment and on the economy.
These emergencies will not solve our problems. Rather, we should look inward, as our problem is that of failure of leadership.” Ojudu, spokesman for the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in the Senate, said he is not talking about leadership in Aso Rock, but also among lawmakers, in the states and at other levels of leadership. He said: “It is because we have failed as leaders that this nation is collapsing under our watch.”
THE NATION FRIDAY MARCH 21, 2014
NEWS ‘Jonathan not first minority to rule, but most incompetent’
HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Goodluck Jonathan is not the first minority to rule Nigeria and will not be the last. It said the frequent resort to his minority ethnicity was nothing but a poorly-veiled attempt to cover up his incompetence, poor leadership and cluelessness. In a statement in Ibadan yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP’s claim that the Boko Haram insurgency and other internecine crises were being sponsored by the opposition because the President hails from a minority ethnic group was irresponsible and not grounded in fact. It said First Republic Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa (Sayewa) and military heads of state Yakubu Gowon (Angas) and Sani Abacha (Kanuri) were also from minority ethnic groups, a fact that is lost on the trifling PDP. “The PDP has been making outlandish statements and accusations capable of destabilising Nigeria. In its new found proclivity for issuing frivolous statements, the party has forgotten that facts are sacred and cannot be manipulated. But even by its low standard, the PDP has plumbed the depth of irresponsibility with its latest claim. “President Jonathan’s woes have nothing to do with his minority ethnicity, but the manifestation of his incompetence, cluelessness and inferiority complex, and the fact that he is backed by a greedy, visionless and crooked cabal, within his government and his party,” APC said. The party said if indeed the PDP believed the opposition was sponsoring Boko Haram to stop President Jonathan from realising his so-called Transformation Agenda, what prevents the PDP-led Federal Government from instituting a probe into the incidences so far, and to unravel the sources of the sect’s weapons, as demanded by Governor Murtala Nyako? APC said just as ethno-religious crises in Nigeria predated President Jonathan’s assumption of office, the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2002 during the Obasanjo regime, although it became aggravated in 2009 when President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ordered a joint security operation, following the killing of
PUBLIC NOTICE ZUBI I, Mr. Zubi Arguba and Mr. Azubuike Chilewon Arguba refers to one and the same person. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. GTB and general public take note.
LOSS OF DOCUMENT
I, Miss Odeneye Yetunde Linda of No. 13, Oludegun Street, Ire-Akari Estate, Isolo, Lagos, owner of the property situated at Block 73B Owutu Estate, Ikorodu, Lagos hereby notify the general public of the loss of the original reciept of the said property to fire incident on December 31, 2013. This publication has become necessary for record purposes. LSDPC and general public should please take note.
‘Instead of tackling the insurgency as a well-honed leader would have done, the clueless President and his equally feckless party have resorted to blaming the opposition and everyone but themselves for the worsening of the crisis’ over a dozen policemen, and the failure of police action to curb the crisis. The party said it was public knowledge that the operation led to the killing of an estimated 1,000 alleged Boko Haram members, including the extrajudicial murder of sect leader Muhammed Yusuf, and set the stage for the insurgency, which Nigeria is witnessing today. “Even then, the insurgency that could have been curtailed has worsened under President Jonathan because of his ineffectual leadership. Instead of tackling the insurgency as a well-honed leader would have done, the clueless President and his equally feckless party have resorted to blaming the opposition and everyone but themselves for the worsening of the crisis,” it said. APC said the usual recourse to President Jonathan’s ethnic origin to cover his glaring non-performance do not impress Nigerians, who are aware that as a minority, Jonathan could not have become President without the votes of the country’s majority ethnic groups - Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba. “In any case, if the PDP is arguing that President Jonathan is being ‘persecuted’ because he hails from a minority ethnic group, is it the majority ethnic groups that supposedly voted for him that are now persecuting him? And what will be their reasons for persecuting the same man they voted into office? “The truth is that President Jonathan is overwhelmed by the demands of his office, and his party is more interested in looting the public treasury than assisting him to succeed,” the party said. “The President and his party should admit their failure to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians and give way to those who are willing and able to perform.”
APC plans to overthrow govt, says PDP From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja
APC said a country with no discernible counter-terrorism strategy, to identify the multiple means for preventing, responding and defeating terrorist groups, including the alignment of political, military, social and economic instruments and objectives, could not expect to successfully battle any insurgency. “We have continued to offer suggestions to this government on how it can tackle the insurgency ravaging a part of the country. We have called for improved intelligence gathering, the aligning of military and political solutions, the need to de-radicalise the affected areas as well as invest in research to give more insight into the different aspects of Boko Haram, including its ideology, leadership structure, profile of members, internal organisation, sources of funding and weapons and links to the diaspora. “We have stressed the need to widen the scope of our response to include the sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS and the continental body, African Union, especially since Boko Haram has assumed a regional dimension. We have called for a Marshall Plan of sorts for the Northeast, not the paltry N2 billion, which the Federal Government provided as recovery fund to the six Northeast states, at least four of which are worse-hit by the insurgency. “We have called for an end to inter-agency rivalries that have weakened the fight against the terrorists, and we have advocated the need to lift the morale of our gallant men and women in uniform, who are battling the insurgency, instead of the huge funds allocated for the purpose of upgrading their equipment ending in the deep pockets of fat cats. “If and when these and other recommendations are taken serious by the government, instead of resorting to ethnic and religious excuses, then it will begin to address the insurgency,” the party said.
HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempts to overthrow the Federal Government through alleged complicity in the rising wave of insurgency. According to the ruling party, the opposition’s plot to topple the government was evident in its drawing an “incongruent comparison between a democraticallyelected Presidency with proven fidelity to democratic tenets” and defunct military dictatorships. A statement yesterday by PDP’s National Publicity Secretary Chief Olisa Metuh said the unfortunate comparison by the APC was a tacit acknowledgment that the opposition party was planning to take Nigeria back to dictatorship. “The APC has never left the nation in doubt of its preference. It wants a return to barefaced tyranny, to dictatorship as previously unleashed on the nation by a hue in its top leadership. But Ni-
gerians have handed the party a shocker - we have crossed the red sea and shall never go back to Egypt,” the statement added. The ruling party said it was a preposterous distortion of facts and history to compare the Goodluck Jonathan presidency to either Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s or Gen. Sani Abacha’s. It argued that under President Jonathan, the wheel of democracy together with its benefits had turned full circle, giving Nigerians all liberties, “an opportunity that the opposition has unfortunately applied so indecently to hurl all manner of abuses on the President.” Maintaining that the plan of the APC was to destabilise the government and balkanise Nigeria, the PDP insisted the opposition planned to use insurgency, which it said ranked high in Janjaweed ideology, to overthrow the democraticallyelected government of President Jonathan, but which has been put under check. PDP alerted the nation to what it described as the opposition’s plan ‘B’ to use the same insurgency to unleash mayhem when it loses the 2015 elections and forcefully take over power. The party said it had evidence of meetings outside the shores of the country in pursuit of this ignoble objective. It said the APC had been confused and disorganised
since its connection with insurgency, as part of its janjaweed ideology in the country was exposed. The party argued that although it was common knowledge that insurgency in the North predated the present administration, it was not a mere coincidence “these mindless attacks gain ricocheting tempo each time the President moves notches higher in his transformation programme.” “This clearly betrays the shameful efforts by those in the masks and their sponsors to frustrate the efforts of government. “Despite this well-planned distraction, the steady delivery of the transformation programme goes on. It is incontrovertible that pound for pound, no previous administration compares to President Jonathan in quality delivery within the first three years of governance. “Therefore, each time the APC barks ‘incompetence’ like a rabid dog or hoots ‘clueless’ like a devouring night owl, the PDP and wellmeaning Nigerians know that the opposition party, whose agenda of destabilisation has been exposed and unhorsed, was licking its wounds. “We wish to again challenge the APC to a public debate on the leadership and success of President Jonathan and we hope it will, this time, pick up this challenge that any opposition worth its name would clinch with two hands,” the statement said.
Alleged money laundering: Sylva queries EFCC’s powers to try him
ORMER Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva has faulted a fresh move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-arraign him before a Federal High Court in Abuja on a new charge. He challenged the legitimacy of the fresh 42 counts and urged the court to quash it. Sylva, in a preliminary objection, argued that based on the offences alleged, the EFCC could not prosecute him and the six others. He added they could also not be tried before a Federal High Court in Abuja since the alleged money they were accused of laundering belonged to Bayelsa State and not the Federal Government. The ex-governor contended that it was only the Bayelsa State government or its agent that could prosecute them, if necessary, and in Bayelsa, where the alleged
•Urges court to quash fresh charges From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
offences were purportedly committed. The EFCC arraigned Sylva before the court on a sixcount of money laundering. While the earlier charge is still pending, proceedings stalled owing to the retirement of Justice Adamu Bello, the EFCC filed the fresh charge accusing the ex-governor and others of laundering about N19.2 billion. Charged with Sylva are: Francis Okuburo, Gbenga S. Balogun, Samuel Ogbuku, Marlin Maritime Ltd, Eat Catering Services Ltd and Haloween Blue Construction and Logistics Ltd. Balogun also filed a motion, seeking among others, the disqualification of the lead prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, from the case. He accused Jacobs of hiding material facts from the court and allegedly acting in an
unprofessional manner. Balogun, in a supporting affidavit, averred that the EFCC, in a motion ex-parte seeking an order of interim attachment and forfeiture of some property purportedly owned by Sylva, included that on Plot 1181, Thaba Tseka Crescent, Wuse II Abuja, which was already a subject of litigation. “That I know of a fact that the property which the complainant, through their counsel, seeks their attachment and forfeiture in their new application of March 10, 2014 with suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/ 188/14, are the same property which are the subject of pending appeal at the Court of Appeal,” Balogun said. He claimed that he was aware material facts had been suppressed by Jacobs and the EFCC in an alleged attempt to deceive the court to making an interim order of forfeiture of the property owned by Marlin Maritime Ltd (the fifth accused) on Plot 1181, Thaba Tseka Crescent, Wuse II Abuja. Balogun said the “EFCC is being misdirected by the desperate act of their counsel in the prosecution of the charge.” Justice Ahmed Mohammed could not hear the applications by Sylva and Balogun on the grounds that they were not ripe for hearing. He adjourned till May 16.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NEWS Ngige tenders documents at tribunal
HE governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in last year’s election in Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige, has completed the submission of forms EC8As in the 21 local governments and voter registers at the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka. The documents were tendered yesterday by Ngige’s lead counsel Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu and Chief Emeka Ngige. Other documents tendered were forms EC8B, which were the summary of ward results from the Independent Nation-
From Nwanosike Onu, Awka
al Electoral Commission (INEC). Also tendered were forms EC8D, the summary of result in the councils, which INEC failed to release initially, even with a court order of January 4, 2010. Others were forms EC8E, declaration of results and oaths of neutrality forms across the councils. Forms EC40A, EC40b, EC40c, EC25A, EC25b and the list of INEC ad hoc workers used in the November 16 election were also tendered.
But counsel to Chief Willie Obiano and INEC, Ken Mozie and Osita Nnadi opposed the submission of certified true copies (CTCs) of newspaper reports of the poll. They argued it was outside the documents to be tendered, saying those agreed upon were INEC documents. But Akeredolu read out a paragraph of the pre-trial report by the tribunal, which said CTCs of every document could be tendered. Tribunal Chairman Justice Ishaq Bello, however, ruled that the documents should be tendered.
Fani-Kayode: No fund missing, says EFCC witness A
N Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness has told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the commission’s investigation revealed no fund was missing during the tenure of Femi Fani-Kayode as Aviation Minister. Bashir Abdullahi, who was the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) spoke under cross examination by defence lawyer Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN). He told Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia that he was assigned the case file in 2008 for investigation and a letter was written to the First Inland Bank to produce Fani-Kayode’s bank statement which was deposited with the EFCC. The witness said that during investigations, the former minister was invited to the EFCC, where he made various statements in writing relating to the Aviation Intervention Fund (AIF) received during his tenure. He said that Fani-Kayode on
By Precious Igbonwelundu, Staff Correspondent
assumption of office set up a committee to probe the disbursement of the AIF made by his predecessor. He told the court that investigations revealed that no part of the funds was missing during the tenure of the former minister. “Our investigations revealed that a total of N19.5 billion was released as Aviation Intervention Fund, out of which a total of N8.5 billion was released during the tenure of Prof. Femi Aborishade, the predecessor. “During the tenure of the accused, the sum of N11 billion was released and out of this sum, the accused disbursed a total of N3.8 billion, leaving a remainder of N7.2 billion in the Ministry’s account. “Investigations also revealed that no part of the Aviation fund
Group endorses Nweke for Senate
From Chris Oji, Enugu
GROUP, the Nkanu Peoples Forum (NPF), has endorsed the Director-General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, (NESG) and former Minister of Information, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr, to represent Enugu East next year. Rising from its first quarter meeting in Agbani, the group said Nweke Jnr meets its condition to represent the zone in the next dispensation. NPF president Chief Jerry Okoh said the body, after an examination of Nkanu’s sons and daughters, chose the ex-minister because of his experience in national and international affairs.
Baptists organise programme
AGOS East Baptist Conference (LEBC) will, tomorrow, organise a programme, tagged: “Sons of the martyrs”, at Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos, from 10 a.m. The Conference President, Rev. E.A. Awotunde, said the programme would encourage churches in the North to join in rebuilding burnt churches, empower them and their leaders and sympathise with persecuted Christians. He said three Christian leaders from the Northeast, Northcentral and Northwest would narrate their ordeal at the event.
‘Immigration tragedy shameful’
From Jeremiah Oke, Abeokuta
HE General Overseer of the Wind and Fire Christian Ministry, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, Prophet Azibuke Okoro, yesterday described the stampede at the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment last weekend as shameful. He said: “If our leaders had planned well, such a stampede, which resulted in the death of applicants, would have been avoided.” The clergyman, who spoke to reporters at the headoffice of the church in Lagos, said the tragedy was part of the wickedness of the nation’s leaders. He said God revealed to him that He would soon intervene in the country’s affairs.
CCC holds programme ELESTIAL Church of Christ (CCC), 1, Olanrewaju Street, off Ofada Road, Mowe, Ogun State will, today, organise a programme, titled: “The Chosen Generation” (1 Peter
2:9.) The event, which has “Marching On” (Joshua 6:1) as its theme, will start from 9 p.m., at NUD Primary School playground, Mowe Bus Stop, beside FRSC, in Obafemi/Owode Local Government. Those expected are Prophet Odubowale, Evangelist L. Segun and Superior Evangelist L.A. Akanji, among others.
was missing during the tenure of the accused, and there was also no findings that the accused made any disbursement without due process”, said Abdullahi. Following the findings of the committee, the witness said a report was sent to the National Security Adviser (NSA) on the disbursements. However, prosecuting lawyer Festus Keyamo did not reexamine the witness but prayed the court for two adjournments to enable him produce his remaining witnesses. Subsequently, Justice OfiliAjumogobia adjourned the case to April 16 and 17 for continuation of trial. Fani-Kayode is standing trial over a 40-count charge of money laundering preferred against him by the EFCC, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He was alleged to have transacted with funds exceeding the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering Act, without going through a Financial Institution. The EFCC alleged that the former minister accepted cash payments in the tune of about N100 million, while he held sway as Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.
‘No banned goods come through Seme border’
FORMER Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Chief Sam Madubuike has denied an online report that massive importation of rice, frozen foods, vegetable oil, used clothes and cars come into Nigeria through the Seme border. He said pictures of banned goods published in an online medium, which had bushes in it, were not taken as the border as it has no such bushes. Madubuike, who is the Chairman/Managing Director of Sam Express Cargo Service Limited, said the report is a figment of the writers imagination designed to give agents at Seme Border a bad name. Conducting reporters around the examination bay at Asipa and the scanning site, he said inspections are carried out in the open, adding that reporters can investigate the ‘false report’ further to determine if it is true. According to him, over 15 security agencies at the border partake in the physical examination of all goods and trucks that pass through the fixed scanner.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NEWS Police, LASTMA officials clash
NTI-RIOT policemen yesterday fought with three official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA). The incident occurred at Ashabi Cole Street, off Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja. Trouble started when policemen attached to a new generation bank tried to stop the LASTMA officials from towing a customer’s vehicle, which was parked on the busy Jakande road. The LASTMA officials insisted the vehicle must be towed, ignoring pleas by the policemen to allow them call the owner of the vehicle, who was in the banking hall. The policemen felt insulted by the LASTMA officials’ insistence and attacked them, leaving one of them unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital.
By Jude Isiguzo
An eye witness, who pleaded for anonymity, said: “Trouble started after a minor argument over why they have to tow the car that was causing obstruction on Ashabi Cole Street. The policemen said the owner was inside the bank and that he would not allow the vehicle to be towed. All of a sudden, one of the policemen hit the LASTMA official on the head with the butt of his gun. “The LASTMA official collapsed and became unconscious. When the other LASTMA officials tried to revive their colleague, it became a free-for-all and the policemen started shooting into the air.” Another eyewitness said it was unruly of the law enforcement agents to have engaged in “a public show of same”.
Immigration tragedy: Senator commiserates with victims
ENATOR Babajide Omoworare (Osun East) has commiserated with the parents, friend and families of Nigerians, who died at the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) recruitment on Saturday. In a statement, Omoworare said: “We extend our condolences to the families of those potential leaders and bread winners, who died in the unfortunate incident. May God grant the young bloods eternal rest in his bosom and their families the fortitude to bear the loss. May God, in his infinite mercy, guide us to do things right and restore the greatness of Nigeria.” Describing the recruitment as “disgraceful”, he said it was a reflection of the government’s neglect and insensitivity to the welfare of energetic youths. Omoworare said the incident must not be swept under the carpet, adding that “thorough investigation must be carried out to determine the culpability of individuals and agencies”.
Students protest power outage
TUDENTS of Bowen University in Iwo, Osun State, protested on Wednesday the institution’s new timetable and continued power outage on campus. It was learnt there had been no electricity on campus for over two weeks. The university is owned by the Nigerian Baptist Convention. The students accused the management of handling the power problem poorly, adding that some facilities in their hostels were faulty. They complained that the new time table, which states that they must leave the hostels at 8am and should not return until 4pm daily, was too stringent.
From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
It was gathered that the management invited the police into the campus, who arrested some of the students. The management told students to vacate the school, but they (students) said they would not leave until their colleagues are released. The management has called on parents to come and pick their wards. The Vice-Chancellor and the Public Relations Officer could not be reached for comments because their mobile phones were switched off. Police spokesperson Folasade Odoro said the arrested students had been released.
•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (second right); his deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (middle); Programme Coordinator, Eko Free Health Mission, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe (left); Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health Dr. Yewande Adeshina (second left) and Commissioner for Health Jide Idris at the inauguration of the Eko Free Health Mission at Ojodu in Lagos...yesterday.
Ekiti PDP primary crisis deepens
GOVERNORSHIP aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, Chief Dayo Adeyeye, has urged the party’s leadership to call former Governor Ayo Fayose to order before he “scatters” the party. Fayose is also a PDP governorship aspirant. Addressing reporters at his campaign office in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Adeyeye alleged that the Central Committee that came for the PDP ward congresses had been influenced by Fayose to change the list of delegates to tomorrow’s primary. In a speech, titled: “Time to save Ekiti from destruction”, the former Afenifere Publicity Secretary urged the leaders to suspend the primary slated for tomorrow, to enable the party entertain complaints emanating from the congress. He said despite efforts to twist the outcome of the congresses, the results reflected the aspiration of members, adding: “I am aware that the delegates from Abuja colluded with Fayose to twist the results they went back to Abuja
•Adeyeye: save party from Fayose •Ex-governor: allegations are false From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
with. “It has become necessary for me, as a loyal party man, who is desirous of the PDP wining the June 21 election, to bring to public knowledge how the entire process was manipulated in favour of Fayose, who incidentally was the one who clamoured for a primary election. Yesterday’s ward congresses exposed him as unpopular, even in the PDP.” Explaining that congresses did not hold in Ado, Gbonyin, Ise/Orun, Emure and Ikere local government areas, Adeyeye said: “Particularly in Ise/ Orun, my council area, election materials were diverted in connivance with some loyalists of Fayose. The results we have, which are also with the police, Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC), State Security Service (SSS) and our party officials clearly show that we had majority of the delegates and anything contrary to the original results shall be rejected. “It is our position that if we must participate in Saturday’s primary election, the authentic list of delegates elected in the 11 local governments where the ward congresses were held must be used. “Also, fresh congresses must be held in Ado, Emure, Gbonyin, Ise/Orun and Ikere councils, where congresses did not hold on Wednesday. Anything other than this will simply mean that the primary will be held with Fayose as the sole aspirant and we will wait and see what happens thereafter. “As the leader of the party, we want President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene and di-
rect the suspension of Saturday’s primaries, pending the resolution of complaints emanating from the manipulated ward congresses.” Fayose debunked the allegations, saying: “The allegations are not correct. They are baseless because Adeyeye has no proof to link Fayose’s supporters to the hijack of electoral materials. Was it not Adeyeye and members of his consensus club that sent thugs to the PDP state secretariat on Wednesday to prevent the ward delegates’ congress from holding? “They did not only send thugs to harass the delegates from Abuja, but also sent thugs to hijack the electoral materials of some local governments. Adeyeye, like his co-travelers, expected to be handpicked, since he is not used to internal democracy.” Yesterday evening, armed policemen and some officers of the State Security Service (SSS) were stationed at various points around the PDP Secretariat in Ajilosun.
Nigeria is recycling grey-haired leaders, says Ajimobi
YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has said youths must be allowed to participate actively in politics. Speaking yesterday on “Youths and the Future of Nigerian Politics” at the 50th Anniversary Lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall of the University of Ibadan, Ajimobi said: “Enough is enough of the system that makes our youths political thugs and bouncers. They must be effectively included in decision-making and the leadership structure of political parties. “If the youths of this country must become leaders tomorrow, we must stop recycling greyhaired leaders. There is no gainsaying that the same set of people who had been ruling the country in the last 30-40 years are still the recurrent factors in rulership today. “The present situation where youths are jobless makes it difficult to articulate a concise tomor-
row for them. Efforts must thus be made to ensure that the youths are leaders of their stomachs today before we can consider them for the nation’s leadership tomorrow.” The governor stressed the need to address youth restiveness, adding: “In a country with over 10 million unemployed graduates, their involvement in social vices, taking up arms and general restiveness, is a given. This has made entrusting them with political power difficult, as they are seen as politically immature.” He urged the nation’s leaders to improve the quality of education, saying: “The education that is given to youths today cannot be compared to the one given to great nationalists. Substandard education hampers the youth’s intellect and ability to master the political terrain. “If we do all these, our youths would be on their way to occupying positions that rightly belong to them and the political
future of our great country would be assured.” Chairman of the occasion and former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) described the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who the hall was named after, as the most outspoken and internationally-recognised Nigerian nationalist. He said: “Zik was a true Nigerian, a nationalist and an internationalist, whose vision extended beyond Nigeria or West Africa.” The Guest Lecturer, Dr. Shettima Mustafa, said Nigerians need a proactive approach to governance, which would accommodate the interests of the majority, and not a nation whose politics and governance are based on suspicions and ethnoreligious crisis. Mustafa, a former Minister of Agriculture, called for the bridging of the gap between the older and younger generations of politicians.
Book for presentation
BOOK on the dynamics and challenges of ethnicity and elite politics in Nigeria, Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency, will be presented to the public on April 17 at the MUSON Centre in Lagos at 11am.
It was written by Wale Adebanwi, an associate professor at the University of California-Davis in the United States (US). Adebanwi, who was a public affairs journalist in Nigeria for many years, demonstrates how the corporate agency of the elite transformed the politics of the Yoruba.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Nigeria should maintain diversity in unity, says Afe Babalola
appropriate to regard Nigeria as one nation, given its over 300 ethnic nationalities, who, “often favour their ethnic roots at critical times.” He said: “We know that when situations arise, we often see things first from our different ethnic sources before we think of our unity. The best thing for the country is to ensure that each region develops at its own pace. This will aid the nation’s development and sustenance as one entity. “Those at the conference must think first about our undeniable diversity. Ours is
GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has ordered the management of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), AgoIwoye, to pay the one month salary arrears of its lecturers. In a statement yesterday, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Taiwo Adeoluwa said other arrears would be paid without delay. Adeoluwa said the Amosun administration inherited a backlog of arrears and had paid some of them. He said despite the projects going on across the state, the 32-month old government do not owe workers. The SSG said: “In the 32 months of our administration, we cleared between nine and 11 months arrears left by the previous administration and have paid salary promptly.
From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
a country of over 300 ethnic groups and the first thing to do is love one another and allow one another develop independently. We can still live together and develop at our pace. “We are a country of many nations. Any time the need calls for it, the Ibo remembers where he comes from and the Yoruba and Hausa do the same before seeing themselves as Nigerians.” On the need to respect the nationalities that make up the country, Babalola said: “For the past 11 years, I have been an unrepentant advocate for the return of regionalism - the form we had at
independence. Undeniably, the Southwest was a golden region to emulate.” Omotunde said Babalola remained an inspiration to many, including him. He said his first knowledge of developments in ABUAD came through a television clip, which showed the “achievements of the institution in agriculture.” Omotunde said: “The organisation chose Babalola to chair the just-concluded Regional Integration Summit in Ekiti based on his proven commitment to the development of education.” Explaining The Nation’s plan to expand its digital opera-
•Aare Babalola tions, Otufodunrin said: “One reality is that we must go digital and one of the things we are doing now is to present editions of our papers in soft copies. This is to ensure we preserve the editions and are able to present them in real time to whoever needs them.”
Amosun orders payment of OOU lecturers’ salary arrears O ‘’In OOU, the backlog of unpaid allowances (which are distinct from monthly salary) given as the reason for Monday’s protest dates back to six to seven years. “Since we came on board, the government has committed N1 billion to clearing part of the arrears. In addition, there is an agreement with the unions to commit N500 million this year to the payment of related allowances.” He blamed the delay in the payment on the dwindling allocation to states from the federation account and Ogun’s poor Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR). “The hiccups began in the middle of 2013 as a direct fallout of the Federal Account Al-
Navy seizes N1b stolen crude oil in Bayelsa
By Adebisi Onanuga
We are a country of many nations. Any time the ‘need calls for it, the Ibo remembers where he comes from and the Yoruba and Hausa do the same before seeing themselves as Nigerians. ’
FE Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) founder Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has urged delegates to the national conference to suggest ways to sustain the country’s diversity. This is possible even as the country remains undivided, he said. Babalola spoke yesterday at the institution while receiving a team, led by The Nation General Manager, Training and Development, Soji Omotunde, which presented him with copies of a book, titled: “Regional Integration of Western Nigeria.” Omotunde was accompanied by The Nation Online Editor and Special Projects’ Manager, Lekan Otufodunrin and Clement Ige of Ceedee Resources Ltd, The Nation’s partner on the regional integration project. Babalola said it was not
HE Nigerian Navy, Central Naval Command (CNC), has impounded a vessel loaded with 2,332,000 litres of stolen crude oil and arrested six suspected oil thieves. The Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Peter Agba, said yesterday that the suspected stolen crude oil was in excess of N1billion. Agba, in a statement by the Command Operations Officer, Cdre Bamidupe Babagbale, said the ship, MT CERGEN was intercepted on Fish Town waterways, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He said original name of the ship, which was arrested with six Nigerian crew members, is MT. MARISA. It was gathered that 10 persons were onboard the ship, but four of them including the captain, escaped. Agba said: “The captain of the ship was unable to tender relevant documents, such as Nigerian Port Plc nomination bunkering permit and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s nomination for crude oil lifting. They deleted the original name MT MARISA and changed it to MT CERGEN. “The Central Naval Command has commenced inves-
Court to rule on Ajudua’s bail March 31
At the beginning of the journey, the captain showed me the papers authorising the ship to carry AGO (diesel) and I believed it was diesel that was inside the vessel. But when we were arrested, it was discovered that instead of diesel, it was crude oil that was there. From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
tigation into the source of the suspected crude oil on board the vessel.” A leader of the group, who identified himself as Temitope, claimed that he was convinced to embark on the journey when the captain showed him papers authorising the ship to carry diesel. Temitope, an indigene of Ekiti State, said, “At the beginning of the journey, the captain showed me the papers authorising the ship to
carry AGO (diesel) and I believed it was diesel that was inside the vessel. “But when we were arrested, it was discovered that instead of diesel, it was crude oil that was there.” The FOC said the Naval Base Warri, NNS Delta, destroyed more than 150 illegal refineries last week. He said the Navy Forward Operating Base (FORMOSO) in Escravos destroyed such refineries at Ugbegudu, while the base in Yenagoa burnt many others around Amassoma.
Ekiti pays pension increase
HE Ekiti State government has started paying the six per cent and 15 per cent pension increase. The increment, which took effect from October 2003, and January 2007, were not paid by successive administrations. In a statement from the Office of the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, the government said though the payment would put pressure on the state’s meagre resources, the gesture was a display of the “commitment” of the Fayemi administration to the welfare of the people, particularly the elderly.
location Committee (FAAC) cash crisis. This is public knowledge and our esteemed comrades in the Ivory Tower, OOU, understand the issues. “In spite of the dwindling resources both from FAAC and IGR receipts, our administration has maintained a
disciplined stand against casual borrowing to pay salary. We believe that borrowing to pay wages to engender temporary industrial and labour peace in the short term will hurt the long term interests of the state.” Adeoluwa thanked the lecturers and other workers for supporting the administration.
LAGOS High Court, sitting in Ikeja, has fixed March 31 for ruling on the bail application by a socialite, Fred Ajudua. Ajudua is on trial before Justice Kudirat Jose for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen, Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, of $1.69 million. Ajudua and another suspect, Charles Orie, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). At the resumed hearing yesterday, EFCC’s counsel Mrs. E. Sanusi said the prosecution filed a 16paragraph counter-affidavit in opposition to Ajudua’s bail application. Sanusi argued that Ajudua could jump bail and interfere with the prosecution’s witnesses. Ajudua’s counsel Charles Edosomwan (SAN) said there was no proof that his client interfered with any witness. He said there was medical evidence that Ajudua was critically ill and needed to be close to his doctor. Edosomwan said contrary to the EFCC’s claim that Ajudua absconded after he was granted bail on medical reasons in 2005, his client was ready to face trial. Justice Jose adjourned till March 31.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
One killed in Plateau land dispute
NE person has been killed and nine houses burnt in a communal clash in Plateau State. Pai and Shiwer communities of Plateau Central District clashed on Wednesday over an unresolved land dispute. Pai in Panshin Local Government and Shiwer in Kanke Local Government belong to the Angas ethnic group. The communities once
•Nine houses burnt From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos
shared the same local government, until the creation of Kanke Local Government from Pankshin Division. The leadership of Shiwer Community Development Association, at a briefing in Jos yesterday, said the land dispute lingered on while government and security agencies
did nothing to resolve it. The Secretary, Austine Gozuk, said: “On Wednesday, some youths from Pai went to JingJing village in Shiwer and started cutting timber. “When the villagers accosted them, the youths set the village ablaze. “The attack led to the death of one person; nine homes were razed. One other person
Be prepared for flood, NEMA warns From Jide Orintunsin, Minna
is still missing. “As I talk to you now, Dinting and Hiknet villages are under siege. We are calling on the government and security operatives to intervene. “We are appealing to the Shiwer to remain calm and law abiding, as we hope government will find a solution to this problem.” The police said they were not aware of the situation.
Forget our votes in 2015, Southern Kaduna tells PDP
OUTHERN Kaduna indigenes have said they will vote against President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. They said this was to protest the continued killing of their kinsmen by Fulani herdsmen. They accused the PDP-led government of insensitivity. The people said although they voted for Jonathan in 2011, the President and Vice President Namadi Sambo
From Tony Akowe, Kaduna
had not visited the area or sent a delegation. Addressing a briefing in Kaduna under the aegis of Concerned Realists of Southern Kaduna, their spokesman, John Danfulani, accused the Presidency of not caring about their welfare. He said: “We have observed that these killings started after the 2011 presidential election. Hundreds of our people have been
killed, farmlands destroyed, families and communities displaced. “Sambo is a former governor but the Federal Government, which he is a part of, has not shown any concern. There has not been even a whimper of sympathy from the Presidency. “The vice president has never visited or sent relief materials to any of the victims in the over 51 times that we have been attacked. Even when he visits Kaduna,
he only stays in Zaria and receives crowds from Northwestern states. “We will mobilise our people to vote against President Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo and Governor Ramalan Yero in 2015. “As for elected representatives of Southern Kaduna origin, this is just the beginning. We will x-ray everyone. No one should attempt to ask for votes, if he/she cannot present our challenges to the government he belongs to.”
Northern governors hold emergency meeting
N emergency meeting of the Northern State Governors’ Forum (NSGF) on the security situation in the region and the national conference will hold on Tuesday in Abuja. Forum Chairman and Governor of Niger State Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu spoke in a statement by his
From Jide Orintunsin, Minna
Chief Press Secretary, Mallam Danladi Ndayebo The meeting, according to the statement, would afford the 13 governors, who met with United States government officials and representatives of Norway and Denmark at the United States
Peace Institute last Tuesday, to brief members of the forum. The statement reads: “The 13-man delegation of the Forum will brief the larger house on the collaboration with the governments of the United States, Norway and Denmark at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Niger State Gov-
ernor’s Lodge in Abuja. “In the evening, the forum will meet with national conference delegates from the 19 states of the region to finetune the region’s position. “The meeting will hold at 8 p.m. at the Kano State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja,” the statement said.
HE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday warned residents of communities down the streams of the nation’s three hydro-electric power dams in Niger and Kwara states to be prepared for floods. The agency cautioned that despite the prediction of less rainfall this year by the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET), people along the flood plains of Rivers Niger and Kaduna should be prepared for flood. The NEMA chief said communities down stream of the three dams, situated in Niger State, were prone to flood not only because of heavy rains but because the water runways of any of the dams could be opened to prevent it from collapsing. Bijimi said NEMA would organise a stakeholders forum in conjunction with NIMET and the media to analysis the prediction.
Kwara evacuates students from Maiduguri WARA State Com-
missioner for Information Tunji Moronfoye said yesterday the government would evacuate its indigenes from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. He said a delegation left Ilorin for Maiduguri yesterday morning. The evacuation followed a save-our-soul message by Kwara students in the university. Moronfoye said the delegation was provided with logistics to enable it evacuate the students. The delegation and the students will arrive in Ilorin from today. The students, it was learnt, sent text messages to government officials, fearing for their safety, following massive attacks on Maiduguri last weekend.
From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
One of the text messages reads: “Maiduguri is under attack. We had 15 explosions this morning. We are picking bullets in the hostel. Please, we need your help. We need to be evacuated. “We, Kwara State students, are waiting for the rescue team. Please, help do all you can to save our lives.” The commissioner said it was the responsibility of the government to ensure the safety and well being of its people. He said the government would implement such policies, without recourse to political affiliation. The commissioner added: “The people of Kwara voted us into power, so we have responsibility to ensure their well being.”
NEWS (SHOWBIZ) Star Music Trek: Davido, Wizkid, Pasuma join train •P-Square, D’Banj, Obesere out
RGANISERS have unveiled the full list of artistes, billed to perform at this year’s edition of Star Music Trek, an annual concert, sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc. At a spectacular sign-on party, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Wednesday, fans waited eagerly as 17 trending acts were unveiled amidst pomp and pageantry. As Master of Ceremonies, Gbenga Adeyinka, read out the list, inviting the artistes on stage to sign their deal, there was loud applause as 2face, Tiwa Savage, M.I, Olamide, Davido, Wizkid, Wande Coal, Sound Sultan, Pasuma, Mr Raw, Dr Sid, Naeto C, KCee, Sean Tizzle, Phyno and May D made the crew. However, some notable artistes drew fans’ curiosity, as they were not listed. They include, Abas Akande Obesere, who was replaced with Pasuma; D’banj, Ice Prince, and Flavour Nabania. Obesere may have been dropped,
By Victor Akande
following a recent allegation of rape, and the other guys, for their commitment to a rival brand. It is not clear why P-Square did not make the list, but there are indications the organisers have a surprise in store. Last year, Don Jazzy, who was not listed on the show, appeared unexpectedly, performing the hit song, Eminado, with label mate, Tiwa Savage. The sensational unveiling was attended by several celebrity guests, including Chief Marketing Officer MTN, Larry Anetts, Olisa Adibua, Toni Kan, Uti Nwachukwu, Tee-Y Mix, Mark Redguard, Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi, Tunde Ednut, Mo’ Eazy, D’Tunes and HarrySongs. The cities to be covered in the road show include, Nsukka (March 29), Makurdi (April 5), Uyo (April, 12), Umuahia (April 19), Orlu (April 26), Ekwulobia (May 3), Onitsha Fegge (May 11), Benin (May 17), Ado Ekiti (May 24), and Lagos (May 31).
•From left: Dr Sid, Olamide, Phyno and Stephnaie Coker
MAMA returns A
FTER three inactive years, there are indications that MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA), which made debut in Abuja in 2008, will hold this year. Organisers of the award show, MTV Base, announced on Thursday, that the event will take place at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), South Africa, on June 7. Revealing this to newsmen in Durban, Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa, Mother Company of MTV Base, said the show will be sponsored by South Africa’s leading tourist destination, KwaZulu-Natal Province and supported by Absolut. Giving credence to the show’s come-back are Head, Department of Economic Development & Tourism, KwaZulu-Natal Province, Desmond Golding, Managing Director, Pernod Ricard South Africa, Conor McQuaid and Channel Director, MTV Base, Tim Horwood, all present at the press
By Victor Akande
conference. After the maiden edition in Abuja, the show held in Kenya, in 2009, and in Lagos, in 2010. When it became obvious that it could not fly in 2011, the MTV Europe Music Award (EMA), added the ‘World Wide Act’ category to its list, accommodating nominations from Africa, India, and Middle East regions. In 2011, voters in Africa, India and Middle East regions had to choose among Nigeria’s Wizkid, Congo DR’s Fally Ipupa, Egyptian Abdelfattah Grini, Angolan Cabo Snoop, and South Africa’s Black Coffee and Scribe for a representations in the final ceremony. After weeks of voting, Big Bang won for the Asia Pacific region and advanced to the finals along with Abdelfattah Grini, Lena (Europe), Restart (Latin America), and Britney Spears (North America). With the return of MAMA, the ‘World Wide Act’ category may disappear from
EMA. MTV started recognising the works of African acts first on the MTV EMA when the ‘Best African Act’ category was instituted in 2005, with 2face Idibia winning the nod. Freshly Ground won the award in 2006, while Dbanj won the last nod in 2007, before MAMA was launched. The Nation gathers that there was a huge presence of African music artistes at the press conference in Durban, where Nigeria’s Flavour Nabania was also spotted. The Awards is said to be returning with its traditional pre-event fanfare, otherwise called Road to MAMA. The road shows, according to organisers, will take place in Durban, Lagos, and Nairobi, featuring MAMA nominees alongside the most current local artistes and DJs. MAMA 2014 is expected to feature dazzling performances from Nigerian artistes along with other African and international acts. The Awards will also include signature collaborations between artistes of different genres and cultures, which will be the high point of every show. Organisers say artistes will be recognised in 13 categories, including Best Male, Best Female and Best New Act. There is also an addition of three “lifestyle” awards; the ‘MAMA Leadership Award’ and ‘Personality of the Year’. A special category, ‘Transform Today by Absolut’, it is said, will also celebrate the power of young individuals to transform the image of Africa through creativity and vision. “We are thrilled that the MTV Africa Music Awards KwaZulu-Natal will be taking place in South Africa for the first time in its new evolution. KwaZulu-Natal Province is rich in both infrastructure and amazing sights, and we are excited that Durban will be the backdrop for showcasing Africa’s best talent to the world,” said Okosi. The 2014 awards are open to artistes whose music videos have been accepted for airplay on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) or MTV (DStv Channel 130) during the qualifying period of March 20, 2013 to March 19, 2014.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Conference delegates risk 14 days suspension From Onyedi Ojiabor and Dele Anofi, Abuja
•Conference chair IdrisKutigi
NY delegate to the ongoing National Conference that flouts rules of proceeding risks 14 days suspension. Members are disallowed from addressing issues without prior written notice to the Chairman of the Conference. In addition, the National Conference Procedure Rules 2014, that was released to the delegates yesterday, along with copies of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), also proposed to bar or disallow delegates from using offensive and insulting language during sittings at the plenary or during Committee sessions. The Rules are however, subject to adoption of the delegates on resumption on Monday. Assistant Secreary, Media and Publicity, Akpandem James, told our reporter that
Ultimatum for vehicle owners
HE Ogun and Lagos states police command have warned owners of vehicles parked at Ogijo and Ijede police station, to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction, two weeks after this publication. The vehicles are Toyota Tarsal AT 816 ARD; Nissan Primera AR 086 LRS; Mazda NDDC bus unregistered, Volkswagen wagon CN 799 SMK, Opel unregistered, Mazda JP 963 AAA, BMW Salon car BU 460 JJJ and four motorcycles. Also, in Lagos at Pedro and Ikeja Divisions are Honda Accord APP 392 AS; Volkswagen bus XJ 920 FKJ; Toyota Corolla AAA 252 AI and Nissan Laurel DR 396 KJA.
NGO to monitor Ekiti election
RELIGIOUS-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Mac-Corps Chaplaincy Nigeria, is interested in monitoring the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State. Mac- Corps Chaplaincy Nigeria is an extension of Mission for Africa Chaplaincy International in Clinton, Mississippi, United States (US). The organisation has penchant to serve God and humanity using equity and fairness as the parameter. It has its headquarters in Abuja and chapters across the 36 states. Its Ekiti State Commandant Pastor Francis Jimoh spoke of plans to deploy its men in all the 16 local governments to monitor the election. Speaking in the company of deputy and director of operations, pastors Amos Oluyemi and Akinbobola Joshua, the commandant urged all law enforcers and the electoral umpire to supervise the election without bias.
the document released to the delegates yesterday was a draft of the rules that must be adopted by the delegates. While delegates are barred from assaulting or obstructing one another within the Conference Room or precincts, the draft rules also warned delegates against assaulting or obstructing any officer of the Conference, in the execution of his duty. The document states: “No portion of these rules shall be suspended except by a vote of two-third majority of the delegates sitting and voting at the particular time. •A delegate may only read short extracts from books or papers in support of his argument and may refresh his mem-
•Members get rules of proceedings
ory by reference to notes. •A delegate must confine his contributions to the subject under discussion and may not introduce matters irrelevant thereto •It shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which the Conference has come to a conclusion. •It shall be out of order to use offensive and insulting language during sittings either at plenary or in Committees. •No delegate shall impute improper motives to any other delegate. The rules also prohibited delegates from smoking or drinking “on the floor of the Conference.” “The use of mobile phones
shall not be allowed during sittings”, it added. “A delegate desiring to speak shall submit his name to the Secretary on a paper to be provided and if called upon shall stand and address his observations to the Chairman or the Chairman of Committee. “All committees shall forward their report to the Secretary at the conclusion of sittings. The secretary shall at her discretion determine when such reports of Committee shall be brought up at Plenary for deliberation” Some of the delegates had already collected copies of the Draft Rules and the 1999 Constitution. They also said that they had begun studying the “volumi-
nous” Reports of previous conferences that were given to them at their inaugural meeting on Tuesday. Former Plateau Governor Chief Fidelis Tapgun, who is a delegate told NAN that members were already studying copies of the rules of procedures for the plenary and the Constitution. Northern delegates yesterday held a one-day strategic meeting in Abuja. The aim of the retreat, it was learnt, was to harmonise positions and discussions on security challenges in the north especially the Boko Haram insurgency. Chairman of ACF, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie noted that all the northern delegates
“rubbed minds to go and struggle for northern Nigeria.” He said, “We have brought in people who are experts in their fields to come and talk to us about these issues in the conference.” Another northern delegate, General John Shagaya (retd), who spoke on “Implications of the National Conference for Northern Nigeria,” said that the retreat is for the cross-pollination of ideas .“We are here to share our experiences and history. Our position will help the leadership of the conference and assist in canvassing objectively issues that will be good for Nigeria. We will discuss issues like the security challenges in the country and of course, devolution of power and corruption in high places that is going on unchecked.”
CITYBEATS Clean-up begins after Lagos fire I
T was clean-up time yesterday at the Mobil Filling Station, Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, in Lagos, where a petrol-laden tanker exploded on Wednesday. Five vehicles were burnt as a man sustained burns. About four itinerant truck pushers were seen clearing charred debris on the road after the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) removed the burnt tanker and vehicles. At the filling station, workers were seen sweeping and packing away the debris. Though Guinness Nigeria Plc, which shares fence with the station, has not replaced its burnt logo, the firm displayed cartons and bottle packs of malt for sale outside the gate, which was partially affected by the fire. Officials of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company were seen repairing electrical installations and the transformer beside Guinness, which was gutted by the fire. The Business Manager, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Mr Ikechukwu Ezekoli, told The Nation that because of
By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie
the fire, some big industries, businesses and homes in some areas of Ogba would be without electricity supply for some days. He sought understanding of consumers for the period of outage He said: “The incident affected three 33KV lines (CISCO, Dunlop and PTC Express). CISCO supplies our 2 x 15 KVA at Oke-Ira, Ijaiye in Ogba and its environs. The PTC Express will affect our major industrial customers, while Dunlop will affect Mangoro area. We still have 11KVA industrial feeders – Oba Akran, M&B and Cocoa Shed - that were affected.” “We are trying to clear the debris; we are rolling conductors on the ground and thereafter, we will start massive reconstruction. We are using this medium to appeal to our customers to exercise patience; within a few days, we will be back,” Ezekoli added. Meanwhile, some survivors of the inferno were full of gratitude to God for sparing their lives. Charles Angwe, whose car was consumed by the fire, said he was happy to
be alive, adding: “I was going to Lagos Island where I work when the tanker exploded. I had mistaken the fuel on the road for water. I managed to escape but could not pick anything. There were vital documents in the car - my phone and the technical tools I use for my work. I have learnt a lot from this incident. Next time, if I see any tanker, I will always be careful not to be close to it.” A commercial bus driver, Akeem Ogundele, whose bus was burnt, said the fire affected the hands of one of his passengers. “I carried five passengers. I don’t know how they escaped. But the man I carried in front had both arms burnt. I thank God I am alive,” he said.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014 CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888
•Charles (right) looking at his burnt car ... yesterday
Thirty suspected illegal immigrants held
PERATIVES of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba on Lagos Mainland have arrested 30 suspected illegal immigrants. The suspects, who are being detained at the SCID, were arrested in Lagos yesterday at different locations of the me-
By Jude Isiguzo
tropolis, the operatives said. A police source said the suspects’ arrest came on the heels of the lingering insecurity in the country in a bid to cleanse the state of illegal immigrants who are prone to involvement in criminal activities.
Majority of the suspects, the source said, were picked up at the Isheri and Ikoyi areas of the state. Police spokesperson, Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who confirmed the arrest, said: “Those who have genuine document will be allowed to stay, while those
who entered the country illegally will be handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for appropriate sanction. She said there was nothing new about their arrest as it was part of routine police job to rid the society of suspected illegalities and to protect lives and property.
Fire at Adeniran Ogunsanya College By Adegunle Olugbamila
HE Theatre Arts department of the A d e n i r a n Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Otto/Ijanikin in Lagos was burnt down yesterday. Charred remains of items such as computers, chairs, air-conditioners, books, television and radio sets, and the two studios which formed two separate units within the building were badly affected. An eyewitness said the fire began in the early hours of yesterday. The public relations officer of the institution, Mr Adebowale Odunayo, said the fire was caused by power surge. “Some of the lecturers’ award plaques and certificates, students’ projects as well as their records among other things also got burnt. While other things may be replaced later, those certificates and awards may difficult if not impossible to retrieve,” he said. Adebowale, however, assured that students’ records were retrievable since a backup is available in the ICT, Provost, and Academic Affairs and the Faculty’s offices. Although he said efforts were ongoing to assess the value of the burnt property, he said the conservative value of losses was N75 million, adding that the building got burnt because most items within it were combustibles.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
PEOPLE THE NATION
A SIX -PAGE SECTION ON SOCIETY
•From right: Prof Alele-Williams; Chief Shonekan; Mr Odubela and Dr Omolayole while cutting the tape
Ogun State has got its first e-library, courtesy of a non-governmental organisation, City Profs Academy-Community Library Inititiative (CPA-CLI). The library is in Ijebu-Imusin, WALE ADEPOJU reports.
HE ancient Ijebu-Imusin community in Ogun State rose last Monday for an epochal event - the inauguration of an e-library. The project is the brainchild of a non-governmental organisation, City Profs AcademyCommunity Library Initiative (CPA-CLI). The major road leading to the town was busy as guests arrived for the event. The blaring of sirens heralded the arrival of top government functionaries. People were in uniformed attires to celebrate the day. Sons and daughters of the town also came to support their own. It was a happy reunion for family members, and old friends who embraced warmly. Many besieged the venue to catch a glimpse of personalities. The atmosphere was carnivallike. The event provided opportunity for many to traverse the town. The CPA-CLI comprises eminent people, such as former Military Administrator of Lagos State Brig-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson; former Head of Interim National Government Chief Ernest Shonekan; former University of Benin (UNIBEN) Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Grace Alele-Williams; frontline businesswoman Mrs Remi Agbowu and Mrs Essie Kukoyi, among others. The dignitaries were received by the Oloko of Ijebu-Imusin, Oba Stephen Onafowokan, who served as chief host and father of the day. Prof Alele-Williams, CPA, Governing Board Chair, said the project was the NGO’s contribution towards promoting the reading culture in Nigeria.
•From left: Mrs Agbowu; Mrs Kukoyi and Mrs Patience Ogundeko
An ancient city’s gain
“We hope to catch them young through the establishment of community libraries,” she said. The theme of the event, which coincided with the CPA seventh anniversary, was Community Library in Nigeria: a vote for reading culture. Prof Alele-Williams said: “Two years ago, during the fifth anniversary of CPA, a community library was inaugurated in Bariga, Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos. It was donated by a family as a befitting memorial to a
loved one. Since then, the organisation had laid the foundation of three more community libraries.” She said no student can excel in an unconducive atmosphere for learning, adding: “Sound education cannot be achievable.” She said the idea of library initiative was introduced 15 years ago, praising former Chairman, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Dr Michael Omolayole for making that of Ijebu-Imusin possible. “We should remember that read-
ing improves communication. This is a community library where we can encourage our children to read so that the community can be like other areas, such as Victoria Island, Lekki and big cities,” she said. Brig-Gen Johnson, said it was necessary for the development of children. He said: “Though it is coming late but it is never too late. Education is the bedrock of any country. This is what helped us while growing up”. He urged the students to
make the most of the library.“ The statesman enjoined parents to be partakers of the innovation he described as “a landmark in Ijebuland”. He said the project should be replicated across the country. There were cultural displays by students to add pep to the occasion. Chief Shonekan said the involvement of NGOs and well-meaning individual shows that government alone cannot provide everything the people need. He said such facilities should be sited in states and local government areas adding: “This would bring development to all stakeholders.” Shonekan, who chaired the event, said e-libraries were built in developed countries by NGOs and wealthy individuals. He said similar things should be done to develop Nigeria. He thanked the Ogun State government for being in the forefront of the people’s socio-economic development, calling for the participation of private sector, NGOs, and kind-hearted individuals in economic development. The gesture, he said, would improve learning and make better students, adding that the e-library would help to raise the standard of education. Oba Adedeji hailed the organisation for the gesture. According to him, it is common knowledge that the culture of reading among children today has been eroded by the keen interest they have developed in the misuse of modern communication gadgets, such as phones, internet and videos. •Continued on page 16
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
SOCIETY AN ANCIENT CITY’S GAIN •Continued from page 15
The resultant effect, he said was the geometric decline in academic performances. Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun represented by the Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Mr Segun Odubela, thanked CPA-CLI and the stakeholders. He said education was one of the state’s focal points. “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made reading possible and that is why the establishment of such e-library by non-governmental organisations is commendable. This is a welcome development because it promotes the reading culture in the state,” he said. Mrs Agbowu, CPA-CLI Chairman, thanked Governor Amosun and paramount rulers in Ogun State for being partners in progress. She said the desire to extend the gesture to communities outside Lagos was borne out of the successful commissioning of Yeside Memorial Library in Somolu Area of Lagos. She lauded the people of Ijebu-Imusin and CPA members for working for the success of the project. Among the personalities at the event w e r e , M a h n a g e m e n t g u r u , Dr Michael Omolayole; Gen. Timothy Ogundeko; Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, represented by Otunba Fatai Olukoga; Senator Oluremi Tinubu, represented by Remi Osilaja; Mrs Abimbola Fashola was represented by Mrs Mosunmola Junaid; traditional rulers and stakeholders.
•Oba Onafowokan (left) and Brig Gen Johnson
•Mrs Junaid and a guest
•From left: Mrs Tinuade Ewedemi; Mrs Bola Adefeso and Mrs Oluwagbemiga Benson
Their day of joy Chief Executive Officer, TONIMAS, Chief Anthony Enukeme and his wife Iyom, have celebrated their 70th and 60th birthdays at Saint John’s Catholic Church, Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State. The day coincided with their 44th wedding anniversary. NWANOSIKE ONU reports.
FTER 44 years of marriage, they still go out together. This is the story of Chief Anthony Obiagboso and Iyom Mary Enukeme of Neni in Anambra State. They celebrated their 70th and 60th birthdays at Saint John’s Catholic Church, Neni, Anaocha Local Government Area in Anambra State, amid glamour and glitz. The church premises could not contain sleek cars that brought guests for the celebration. Children, the aged and others scrambled to catch a glimpse of the man and his wife that have lifted many people in the society. The two masters of ceremony, Abuchi Nwozor and Onwuagba Onwuagba, beneficiaries of the couple’s benevolence, attested to this. People decked in various attires and uniforms (Aso-Ebi). Various banners adorned the streets leading to the church and Chief Enukeme’s White Castle Hotels Limited, where dignitaries were welcomed. The church and the hotel,
HONOUR Mr Ola Kazim of MutMoksons Ltd, holding a Senior Citizens Week gift from Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, having being the bank customer since 1966
were decorated in pink, white and gold with balloons of same colours dangling in the air. Barbecued fish from Veronica Suites Enugu and Quality Kitchens, Neni, made the guests’ day. Nancy Nice was incharge of drinks and small chops. Music was supplied by Doli-Agogo of Onitsha led by Chuka Ezeudoka and Capital Friends Life Band led by Raph Madu (aka Onyeoma- Zoro) The popular Ohafia War Dance from Abia State was not left out as guests watched in awe while the dancers moved their shoulders and waists. Onowu Enukeme and his wife sit atop TONIMAS conglomerate that spans across aluminum industry, foam production, lubricant oil, transportation and insurance, among others. The crowd at the church service conducted by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor and 175 other clergy men from Abia and Anambra states, was
•From left: Most Rev Ezeokafor; Chief Enukeme, his wife Iyom and Bishop Ezeonyia
awesome. During his sermon, Most Rev Ezeokafor eulogised Enukeme for his kindness and benevolence to families, especially the less privileged. He said Enukeme employs over 7,000 in TONIMAS Group. The cleric said if other wealthy individuals could do one-third of what the celebrator had done, Nigeria would have been a better. Mosy Rev Ezeokafor said his exemplary life should be emulated by the youth and prayed to God to crown the septuagenarian’s efforts in everything he ventures into and give him and his wife long life and good
health. Beaming with smiles throughout the church service, Enukeme promised not to disappoint the church and the society. He said they would spur them to do more for the society, but advised the youth to make sure that they put God first in anything they do. “Without God in anything you do, your efforts will be in vain, I will continue to serve my God and humanity, this is a vow I took a long time ago and I believe I have, and will not deviate from that,” he said. Back to the reception venue, it was a red carpet reception for the celebrators
•The District Governor of the Lions International Club, District 404b Nigeria, Lion Gbolagade Adebisi (right) shaking hands with the outgoing President of the Isheri Host Lions Club, Lion Yomi Oriretan (left). With them is the new president of Isheri Host Lions Club, Debo Salawu during his investiture as president of the club in Ikeja, Lagos.
as guests clapped and danced as they were ushered them into the reception hall. The five-foot cake was decorated in lemon green, white, chocolate and pink colours which, according to the guests, signify love, peace and unity. Anambra State Deputy Governor Emeka Sibeudu, who represented former Governor Peter Obi; the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh and former Abia State Deputy Governor Acho Nwakanma, showered encomiums on the celebrators.
•Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo) presenting award to IyalojaGeneral of Lagos Mrs Folasade Tinubu-Ojo during the Strong Men and Women for Asiwaju (Grassroot Politicians) Award in Lagos.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Alhaji Olayiwola Olawale, a former Special Assistant on Transportation to the former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, clocked 50 last Wednesday. He celebrated the day with orphans in Ikeja, NNEKA NWANERI writes.
COMMUNICATE YOUR IDEAS Tribute to a golden mother
•The celebrator (middle), joined by his wife Shakirat and (from left) Prince Sola Adesanya; Hon Mabinuori; Hon Tejuoso; Dr Banire; Alhaji Babafemi Sunmonu; Hon Bamigboye and Chief Chris Ekwilo to cut the cake. PHOTO: NNEKA NWANERI
E could have chosen to hold an elaborate party to herald his entry into the golden age. But he did not. Rather, Alhaji Abdus Sobur Olayiwola Olawale, former Special Assistant on Transportation to former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu marked his 50th birthday with the children of Bab-Es-Salam Orphanage Home in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos last Wednesday. O mi ti ti, as Olawale is fondly called, led his friends, associates and political counterparts to pray, wine and dine with them. All birthday gifts and proceeds, he gave to the home. Earlier the same day, he visited the Modupe Cole Home, Lagos. The event began with admonition and recitation of the entire Quran. Booklets containing various chapters of the Quran were sparingly distributed to people, who read them aloud. They were led by the Chief Imam of Ansar-Ud-Deen
Celebrating with orphans Society of Nigeria, Ilasamaja branch, Alhaji Tajudeen Salith, who was assisted by other Islamic scholars. Some teenagers of the home sat on the front seats of the gathering. Those who have graduated from the home and married also attended the event. The women sat separately from the men in line with Islamic tradition. The dress code for the day was white cloth over a blue headgear. The men had no uniform. They occupied the playground of the Home. Olawale sat in their midst. He could have been mistaken for one of the guests until he got up to acknowledge the presence of a guest. He was in a white sokoto and shirt. A blue cap rested on his head. The cleric rounded off the prayers and advised the celebrator to keep up the good work. Alhaji Sabit enjoined wealthy people to emulate Olawale so that they can reap
adequate rewards from the Almighty. Goodwill messages poured in. The first to take to the microphone was All Progressives Congress (APC) National Interim Legal Adviser Dr Muiz Banire, who spoke glowingly of the celebrator’s steadfastness. To Banire, the celebration was to thank Almighty Allah for sparing Olawale’s life. “Every kobo spent will be multiplied and every Quranic verse read would bring blessings on us,” he said. He prayed Allah to grant Olawale contentment. Lagos State House of Assembly member Hon Adefunmilayo Tejuoso described the celebrator as a hard-working and loyal party man. “I can vouch for him anytime, anywhere and that is the reason why I am here. Let us remember the less
privileged and be their fathers and mothers and I pray Olawale grows in peace and health,” she said. Olawale cut his simple white cake in the shape of 50. His wife and children joined him and others to pose for pictures beside the cake. The celebrator’s daughter, Basirat, said he is her role model. To his wife Shakirat, Olawale is her “all in all.” For Olawale, his belief in destiny has taught him that whatever one is destined to be, he will be. “God has been so good to me. I came to celebrate with them because I was orphaned at 17. I lost my parents in quick succession. But, despite that, God has been glorious to me. I deemed it fit to identify with them. It was rosy when my parents were alive and now I feel their pains; so I know they should be assisted,” he said.
The Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church, Renewal District, Ayo Ni O in Alagbado, a Lagos suburb has ordained its conference officers. AMIDU ARIJE was there.
Church gets new officials
HE auditorium of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church, Renewal District in Alagbado, a Lagos suburb was filled as the church ordained new officers in the district. In flowing white garments, members of the church filed into the main auditorium for the ordination of new officers after the Sunday service. Evangelist Timothy Erinosho presided. The order of service was ahhered to. The Ordination of Conference Officers came after the service. The congregation was led by the Spiritual Father and Chairman of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide, Most Rev. Samuel Adefila Abidoye. The would-be officers were introduced to Rev Abidoye by the District Chairman, Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Renewal District, Special Apostle Gabriel Ajibola Agboola who confirmed that the new ministers of God are carefully chosen. All officers marched out on two lines; females separate and
•Most Rev Abidoye (left) blessing Apostle Balogun
males separate before Rev Abidoye for the ordination. The first to be ordained as the Most Senior Reverend was Rev Sunday Shoewu. He exuded excitement when he was conferred with the title. Other title holders’ conferment followed one after the other. Mr Deji Balogun, who is also the chairman of the Ordination, event was conferred with the title of a Special Apostle. He urged Christians to be more God-fearing and uphold seriously the tents of God in
their lives activities. Rev Abidoye urged Nigerians to help the country surmount its challenges with prayers. “We should move closer to God; we own this country we don’t want it in ruins, no matter our religious inclinations, we must all work for the development of the country,” he said. Special Apostle Agboola said the ordination was to appreciate the contributions of the members to the development of the church.
“We look at the activities and performances of all the members and when you see that they have really performed well, we decide to reward them by given them higher position at various levels,” he said. While advising the ordained ministers of God, Agboola told them that the work for God is a continuous exercise that they must uphold till the trumpet is blown. “The race still continues until when God call us to His side,” he said.
ELICIA Iyabode Amodu (Nee Okeowo) was born on January 16, 1945 to the family of Pa Joseph Aikulola and Madam Marian Okeowo in Offa, Kwara State. She was born into a family full of love and affection, and she gave exactly that to her AMODU LANRE OLAOLU husband and children. She ( Ph.D) email@example.com. was a pillar of strength. 07034737394 Like a lioness protecting @lanreamodu her cub, she would face difficult situations and people in defense of her family. Not only did she possess a priceless smile, she also ensured that people around her were joyful. With humility, calmness and wisdom, she could disarm the most cantankerous personality. No matter your line of argument, you cannot but reason with her logic. She lived a life full of love, contribution, sacrifice and service. On February 28, 2014, my dearest mother went to be with the Lord and today is her burial. I never thought I would write this so soon. I imagined and even prayed that she would stay much longer. She and daddy gave so much for us to be what we are today. She was supposed to stay and enjoy the benefits of her investments. Why should she plant and another reap? Why should she labour and not wait for the reward? At a time most undesirable, she stopped responding to earthly stimuli and became permanently out of reach. While reflecting on the great loss, however, I discovered that I was wrong. She didn't labour in vain; we are the proof that she walked this earth. Mummy's greatest investment was her family and we are a living testimony of her success. We have shed a lot of tears and we will still shed a lot of tears- not because we lost her but because we miss her. We didn't lose her because we know where she is, we only miss her dearly because we can't reach her anymore. Don't be mistaken, we didn't leave mummy in that cold dark mortuary; she is in a place that shines brighter than the sun. She will not be in that stuffy wooden casket nor will she be buried under a heap of sand; she is in a world without limits and will never be tired of the beauty around her. We will not leave her abandoned at the cemetery because she will never be there; she was the one who left us to enter into glory. She left the company of her beloved husband, children and loved ones to enter into the company of saints; how will she ever be alone? She has taken off the apparel with which she contacted this temporal world and adopted a body that never dies. If there was a flight to where mummy is, I would have jumped on the next one. However, knowing my mummy, she wouldn't welcome me with a smile this time. She would look at me sternly and say, "Get back to earth and receive the answers to all my prayers. If you stay here in heaven, my efforts on earth will be wasted!" She planted so that we can reap. She laboured so that we can be rewarded. She sacrificed so that we can enjoy the benefits. While we wish we had more opportunities to appreciate her and show her how much she meant to us, she has been summoned home by the one who gave her the assignment, and who alone can give her a reward that no eye has seen, no hear has heard and has never entered into any heart. Isn't it ironic that when someone goes home to rest we feel he/she has lost everything? We feel the person should have waited for a reward. What reward is greater than rest? We are the ones who are still warring! Would we have wished him/her another year of hard labour? Of course not! Though we love mummy and miss her terribly, we are joyful that she is resting. We are also determined, more than ever, not to miss the opportunity to get to where she is. Mummy dearest, we can imagine you saying, in the words of an unknown author, "Don't grieve for me for now I'm free, I'm following the path God laid for me. I took his hand when I heard him call; I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day to laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone will stay that way; I found that peace at close of day. If my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss, Ah yes, these things I, too, will miss." "But not burdened with times of sorrow, I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life has been full, I've savoured much. Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch. Perhaps my time seemed all too brief; don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up you hearts and share with me, God wanted me now, He set me free." Dr. Amodu teaches at the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ogun State.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
THE NATION FRIDAY,MARCH 21, 2014
COMMENTARY FROM OTHER LANDS
Updating Internet Governance
•Is this a ruse to remove subsidy?
OULD the excruciating scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) that has for weeks been putting motorists and commuters in the country in avoidable dilemma be another surreptitious official plan to increase the pump price of petrol? We consider as disturbing, an inimical trend, whereby petrol scarcity is increasingly becoming an ingrained part of Nigeria’s daily life. We ask: Why should PMS be scarce in a country that is blessed with crude oil and, shamefully, four refineries? Obviously the intractably moribund state of the refineries is a major avoidable reason why the nation has over time been consistently relying on refined crude importation to service domestic consumption of petrol. It is sad to note that for three consecutive weeks, PMS scarcity has been ravaging the land with a litre pump price of the product jumping from its official price of N97, depending on the state, to between N105 and N160 per litre. More worrisome is the nauseating silence from the government. This is happening despite repeated denials by Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that several millions of litres of petrol have been dispatched to states across the federation. Yet, the impact has not been felt by motorists that have to endure long queues to fill their vehicle tanks at payments above official price. Not even assurances from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) could deter the few operational filling stations
from selling at the moment above N97. The silence from official quarters in the past few days has gone a long way in inflicting serious hardships on Nigerians who, due to this avoidable situation find it difficult to commute. The fact that virtually all households depend on PMS to power their generators because of epileptic electricity supply has not helped matters. This development is further reinforcing insinuations that the on-going fuel scarcity is merely a rehash of old policy increment method through the back door; whereby government deliberately precedes PMS price increment with fuel scarcity just to lay the foundation for such price hike. We are aware of labour union’s admonition to government on the consequences of any fuel price increment at this period. Even the petroleum minister has confirmed that fuel subsidy would be removed. We agree with labour and the opposition that the current scarcity bears the imprimatur of officialdom, judging from the infamous patterns of previous increments. However, the Federal Government must realise that to increase fuel price, again, would demonstrate crass insensitivity and an admission of government’s inability to nip corruption in the bud in the oil sector. The neo-colonial strategy of inflicting hardship on the people through deleterious policies of which furtive PMS price increment is one will further provoke negative reactions against the government. A continuation of this PMS scarcity is rather confirming our genuine concerns
that this administration has a pathological inclination for unduly punishing Nigerians. We hope the Federal Government is not trying to confirm to Nigerians what the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) said, that: ‘… The truth is that with the elections approaching, the PDP-led FG is desperately seeking all possible avenues to raise funds for its usual electoral shenanigans, and increasing fuel prices has always been an attractive option to the government, not minding what the impact will be on the same people it has impoverished since 1999.’ And, as the opposition party said, does the deterrent lie in letting the “government know Nigerians will resist any price hike’? We hope it won’t get to that stage.
‘The Federal Government must realise that to increase fuel price, again, would demonstrate crass insensitivity and an admission of government’s inability to nip corruption in the bud in the oil sector. The neo-colonial strategy of inflicting hardship on the people through deleterious policies of which furtive PMS price increment is one will further provoke negative reactions against the government’
As baton changes hands •Obi’s tenure of modest achievements comes also in the context of some distractions
HE eight-year tenure of Mr. Peter Gregory Obi as Governor of Anambra State ended on Monday. He came in after a grim struggle to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that had muscled him from the scene, using the ubiquitous incumbency factor. The dogged fight to retrieve his mandate took him to many courts and the Anambra State people showed loyalty as they supported him until the dream was realised on March 17, 2006. As Mr. Obi took over, he made promises to restore confidence in governance, provide sorely needed infrastructure, revamp the education system and introduce processes that would guarantee probity and accountability. Eight years after, as he inspected a Guard of Honour for the last time at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, the governor expressed satisfaction that he had delivered on his prom-
‘Governor Obi will also be remembered for his lack of tack in handling the so-called repatriation of indigenes from his state. He could have shown statesmanship by reframing from stoking ethnic odium ... In all, however, Obi generally performed well as governor; he deserves his rest and should bear in mind that he remains a role model to many who see him as an exception to the perception that politics is reserved for the dirty’
ises. He said the state had become more stable and safe for individuals and businesses, and government finances had been used to take care of the interest of the greatest number of the people. We join the people of Anambra State in saluting Mr. Obi on his commendable achievements in office. He, indeed, succeeded in restoring order and stability. Today, the fouled air of the state has been largely cleaned up and many have come to realise that politics may not be reserved for thugs and rough necks only. Many communities benefited from public finance. Roads have been constructed, the schools given a facelift at the lowest possible cost; most public hospitals have been fixed. We must not forget that a great template was set in the years of Governor Chris Ngige. One quality that even sworn enemies of the governor cannot honestly contest is his humility. He contributed immensely to the bid to demystify governance. He went about without airs and was sometimes seen on the queue at the airport and other public places, taking his turn to be attended to. On the roads, he would rather instruct his driver to park away as some furious drivers tore through the highway. The impact of his administration is best appreciated when it is realised that the state was a war theatre in the years before he took over. However, one area that history may have to take another look at the Obi Years is his contribution to ensuring that political and electoral corruption is exterminated in the state. The rancour that greeted his assumption of office is not much different from the uproar that greeted the conduct of last November’s governorship election that produced Chief Willie Obiano, his chosen successor. Until a few
months to the election, not much was known of the new governor whose main qualification was working with his predecessor at Fidelity Bank. The result of the election is still being hotly contested before the election petition tribunal sitting in Awka. It may thus be too early to look ahead to the tenure of Chief Obiano or examine his agenda for the state as those who contested the election have maintained that the mandate was obtained fraudulently. One of the major flaws of our electoral system is that beneficiaries of flawed polls are installed, endowed with state resources and power, and their opponents challenged to take up the cases in court. For the two or more years that it may take moving from one court to another, the incumbent is distracted and the opponents are drained. The last Anambra State election remains a sore thumb in the operations of the Independent National Electoral Commission. The commission has admitted to doing a shoddy job, leaving the tribunals to determine to what extent the sloppiness affected the eventual result. Governor Obi will also be remembered for his lack of tack in handling the so-called repatriation of indigenes from his state. He could have shown statesmanship by reframing from stoking ethnic odium. Quest for political advantage probably accounted for it because he could have resolved it by a dialogue with the Lagos State Government. In all, however, Obi generally performed well as governor; he deserves his rest and should bear in mind that he remains a role model to many who see him as an exception to the perception that politics is reserved for the dirty.
HE technical business of managing Internet addresses and domain names has often taken on geopolitical overtones. About a year ago, some countries including Russia and China tried to pressure the United States into relinquishing management and coordination of web addresses to the telecommunications arm of the United Nations. The Internet’s domain name system, which provides unique identifiers to websites, has served the world well. It has made it possible for people to find sites no matter where they are. That is why efforts to change the system — managed by a nonprofit organization under a contract from the Department of Commerce — should be viewed skeptically, particularly when they come from governments that do not respect the freedom of expression. To critics of the United States, American oversight of the system has become a pretext to demand change, and even more so in light of Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance. But many of the ideas proposed by other countries are potentially troubling. Handing control of the system to the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, as China and Russia proposed in late 2012, could create an opening for countries to try and squelch speech by, for example, demanding that dissident websites not be allowed to register domain names. In an effort to ensure that the administration of Internet addresses is never politicized in that way, the Commerce Department last week said that, starting in September 2015, it would hand oversight of the domain name system to a global community of businesses, public interest groups, academics, businesses and governments. It has not said how this large, and potentially unwieldy, group would conduct its activities. But department officials have said that they intend to make sure that no harm comes to the openness, security and stability that are essential to the functioning of the Internet. Details of the change will be worked out in the coming months in discussions convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the contractor that manages the address system for the Commerce Department. The first meeting is scheduled to take place in Singapore next week. The department has said it will not support any change that would replace the current system with a government-led or intergovernmental body. From its early days as a network built and used by American government and university scientists, the Internet has evolved into a vital utility used by billions of people around the world. What’s needed now is a clear examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the current system of Internet addresses and how it can be made better. – New York Times
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh
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THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
CARTOON & LETTERS
IR: Despite the ruling by the Federal High Court, Kaduna, that ‘’The plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to drag President Jonathan to court based on Section 308 of the constitution which gives him immunity from being sued,’’ President Jonathan will be legally stopped from participating in the 2015 presidential election. Once President Jonathan informs the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of his intention to participate in the 2015 presidential election, the ruling by Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court, Kaduna that he can contest in 2015 because he has immunity will not hold water. Nobody is suing President Jonathan on civil or criminal grounds. The issue is whether his participation in the 2015 presidential election will not injure or breach provisions of the
EDITOR’S MAIL BAG
1999 constitution (as amended). The issue is the courts’ interpretation of section 135(2)(b) of the constitution in relation to Jonathan’s desire to continue in office as President beyond 2015. Section 135 (2) (b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) says: “Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the President shall vacate his office at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date, when – in any other case, the person
last elected to that office under this constitution took the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office or would, but for his death, have taken such oaths”. Of course, the phrase “in any other case’’ refers to various situations where a Nigerian citizen gets sworn-in as President without contesting and winning an election. Jonathan was sworn-in as President on May 6, 2010 without contesting and winning an election. Going by the provisions of section135 (2)(b) of the 1999 constitu-
tion (as amended), the first four-year tenure of Jonathan as president commenced on May 29, 2007 and ended on May 29, 2011. This is so because the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not recognize any term like “the unexpired tenure of a deceased President”. In this wise, can President Jonathan participate in an election that will enable him direct the affairs of this country for more than eight years if he wins? In the case of five PDP State gov-
dent was meticulously studying the situation on ground in order to come up with a lasting panacea. Then, death came calling, exposing the hidden cabals behind the mask. Now, we know better. And, now, enter once again, the much acclaimed political elixir called National Conference. While it is conceded that the agitation for National Conference has been with us for some time now, the government of the day suddenly became conscious of the significance and renewed resonance in the agitation as its tenure winds to a close and with that came the imperative of bringing the same body of men and women, the intelligentsia and political class to “brainstorm and fashion out the way forward” for the be-
loved country, Nigeria. While the fact cannot be gainsaid that there is nothing wrong for a people to hold regular talks among themselves in a bid to forge ahead, it is however, worrisome to begin to regard such avenue for discussion as an end in itself and a substitute for action. For whatever National Conference may be worth, it will be quite delusional to think that it is the magic wand we all need to get ourselves out of the systemic decay we have found ourselves. Pray, as lofty as the idea of the National Conference may appear in concept, certain questions beg answers: what hope there is in practical terms for honest and workable solutions to emerge from the motley crowd of
men and women who got selected through the same well-worn means of leadership selection - the same procedure that has now become our albatross, that our so-called present elected representatives emerged? In the unlikely event of workable solutions emerging from the jaw-jaw, who implements the decisions of the participant at the conference? The same present government saddled with the responsibility of implementing the plethora of findings of the numerous panels of inquiry and fact-finding committees whose graves litter the shelves of all the government ministries, departments and agencies in our polity? •Chris Edache Agbiti, Esq., Abuja.
ernors (Nyako, Sylva, Imoke, Wamakko and Idris) Vs INEC, the Supreme Court held that ‘’The 1999 Constitution has no room for self-succession for a CUMMULATIVE TENURE EXCEEDING EIGHT YEARS…… It is very clear from the relevant provisions that NO PERSON elected under the 1999 constitution can remain in office A DAY LONGER than provided, otherwise the intention of the framers of the constitution would be defeated—— The constitution does not support an interpretation of unbroken tenure of four years or a term in perpetuity.’’ With this kind of position by the Supreme Court, is it possible for President Jonathan to constitutionally contest the 2015 election? A combined reading of the provisions of section 135 (2)(b) of the constitution and the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of five PDP State governors VS INEC suggests that President Jonathan is ineligible for the 2015 presidential election even when he is yet to contest election to the office of President twice. The President Jonathan’s right to contest the 2015 presidential election cannot be allowed to subvert provisions of the constitution which allows for a maximum of eight years of two (2) terms. If President Jonathan contests the 2015 presidential election and wins, he will preside over the affairs of the country up until 2019. In exercising his right to contest a second election to the office of President, the constitution will not allow Jonathan to ridicule the letter and spirit of Section 135(2)(b) of the supreme law of the land. • Ibekwo Dimgba, Abuja
pled with are just teething ones which, with commitment and dedication on the part of our leaders, would soon fizzle out. While I do not know the criteria used in selecting the recipients of the centenary awards, I want to say that there were some omissions which the government has to consider in future. Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Brigadier General Benjamin Adekunle (retd) are two Nigerians who so much cherished the unity of Nigeria and paid dearly for its sustenance: Akintola with his life and Adekunle his health.
Since the centenary celebration was premised mostly on the sustenance of the unity and corporate existence of this nation, the duo should have been given recognition. Ogbomoso people are some of the most travelled peoples in Nigeria; they so much cherish unity of this nation. This was exhibited by late S.L.A Akintola when contrary to the stand of his party – the Action Group on regional solidarity harped on national solidarity as a means of promoting unity and development in Nigeria. This later cost him his life. Also, Adekunle as commander 3rd Marine Commando
of the Nigerian Army during the civil war contributed to the corporate existence of this nation by his exploits which was nationally acknowledged. The General is presently bedridden due to the effects of the war. Why the duo was left out of the centenary award is hard to conjecture. I believe that it was an oversight on the part of the centenary committee saddled with the selection. President Jonathan is implored to make some amendment by giving honour to whom honour is due. • Adewuyi Adegbite Apake, Ogbomoso.
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Jonathan can’t contest in 2015
Magic wand that National Conference is not
IR: If there be anything found wanting within the nebulous body of men and women known as the Nigerian leadership class, intelligentsia and indeed, a section of the civil society; idealistic postulations of solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the country, certainly, cannot be one of those failings.. I have always found it quite farcical seeing a number of Nigerians who lay claim to belonging to the intelligentsia subscribing to a position not popularized or arrived at by any process of critical scientific reasoning but by the bare fact of such position or thinking merely wearing, for instance, a tinge of novelty. Let me start from the not-too-longa-distant past of the heydays of the mad rush for company share acquisition. Even holy sanctuaries of worship were not spared, as lectures on share acquisition almost became part of the liturgy. Then came the tsunami of global meltdown and subsequently, Sanusi’s bank reform which helped to expose the rump of the chicken. Now, we all know better. Enter the late President Yar’Adua. At the outset of his administrations, when little was known about the man, many had already gone to town to regale us of how independent minded he was, and it spread like wild fire. Even when the nation almost came to a stand-still, consequent upon the late President’s ill health, a section of the leadership class and the intelligentsia could still afford to regale us with tales that the late presi-
Akintola, Adekunle deserve centenary recognition
IR: The decision of the federal government led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to celebrate 100 years anniversary of Nigeria as a nation is worthwhile and the government deserves kudos for the feat. In spite of contrary views, the amalgamation of the various pre-colonial nations to form Nigeria by the British colonial overlord has more benefits than minuses. The population, landmass, human resources, peoples, and cultural diversity, if well harnessed, could have made the nation one of the most advanced in the world. Problems being grap-
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014 16
Working class abstractions Email: email@example.com 08038551123, 08111845040
EITHER proverbs nor verse; nor the most burdensome introspection could rewrite our tragedies into bliss. The grandest of rhymes would make no monstrosity sublime; it will not ignite the most gutless of hearts into an elegance of fire. But we continue to chant anyway; even as our freedom song becomes a funeral dirge. We continue to chant anyway; we who invite the tree maggot to beautify our funeral pyre. It is not wisdom, humaneness or courage that drives us to do the things we do, rather it is an absence of these that dwarfs our hearts from the highest deeds. Thus we evolve from a nation enfeebled by fear and greed, to become the land besotted to lust and death’s every endeavour. Hence our pursuit of self to the detriment of the Nigerian State. It is to the same evils that we are still beholden. Despite our tiresome rant and supposed displeasure with the status quo, we remain the perfection of a stagnant form of self-complacency. The role of the Nigerian elite and the working class is today, perverted. No longer do they serve to provide a focal point to challenge the nation and ultimately advance its course. The Nigerian elite today, settle principally to perpetuate their parasitic existence. And so does the
country’s impoverished working class. Despite our protests in the interest of the working class or the proverbial “average Nigerian,” reality proves us mostly, to be just another band of opportunists and frauds. The Nigerian working class indeed, constitutes a fraud. Without doubt, this purportedly cheated class has evolved to become as much tormentors as the country’s ruling class. Both the ruling class and the working class are indeed cut from the same stock. They possess no enviable culture or refinement save their proficiency in the decadent and perverse. That explains why the major preoccupation of the Nigerian people is to acquire – albeit obscenely – material wealth, fame and a limitless degree of influence and impropriety to make an obscene show of it. This in no small measure impacts negatively on the country’s social institutions of which a great many evolve to become like those chestnut burs which contain abortive nuts, perfect only for pricking the fingers. The downside of this abnormal situation manifests in the quality of citizenship available to the Nigerian nation. Although the country’s pioneer elite class emerged to serve both patronizing and reactionary roles in
‘The success of any revolution is never totally dependent on the presence of a bloodthirsty revolutionary front but as current realities instruct; the existence of a conscientious, cohesive, patriotic, peaceful and formidable working class’
N Friday, February 14, an Abuja Federal High Court delivered judgment on the 16-count charge preferred against the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Dimeji Sabur Bankole. The high profile trial and retrial which started in year 2011 was finally put to rest on that fateful Friday after passing through the hands of two judges. What a memorable day for the former Speaker on that Friday! Little wonder that the otherwise lionhearted former number four citizen caved in to emotions and wept. Make no mistake about this: Those tears were not of sorrow, rather, they were tears of joy, with his inner spirit probably saying, at last, this cup has passed over me. The travails of Bankole started at about 4pm on Sunday, June 5, 2011 when operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC abducted him from his Asokoro residence in Abuja, based on a frivolous petition written by an aggrieved and frustrated member of the House, Hon Dino Melaye. Yes, aggrieved and frustrated because he had grudges against the House leadership led by Bankole and erroneously believed that the only way he could take his pound of flesh was to rubbish the reputation of the speaker and his deputy. Deep down in his heart, Melaye knew that the petitions were frivolous. But as God would have it, the plot failed like a pack of cards because the truth crushed to the ground will surely rise again. The just will always be vindicated. The media team of the office of the speaker led by my humble self said it from the onset that the case against Bankole was borne out of malice and that it was going to collapse because, like the legal minds would say, you cannot place something on nothing. As a bicameral legislature, the National Assembly is one. So, there was nothing done by Bankole administratively as the presiding officer of the House which his counterpart in the red chamber, senate, did not do under one administrative head, the Clerk of the National Assembly. Obtaining bank facility to run an organisation or an institution like the House or Senate before releases are made is a common administrative step, especially in the two chambers. The so-called items purchased for members’ use were not different from those bought for the senators of the same fifth National Assembly. I believe it was a clear case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. An Abuja High Court sitting in the Apo area of the FCT presided over by Honourable Justice Belgore had earlier thrown into the trash can some other bogus charges by the EFCC preferred against Bankole and his deputy, Rt. Hon Bayero Nafada. There have been so much media commentaries on this celebrated trial, so, this piece will dwell more on the power
response to the agenda of the country’s British colonialists, this small band constituting the country’s ruling class have since evolved along various shades of political culture that are at best rudderless and incoherent. The Nigerian working class, on the other hand, evolved out of an economic necessity. The evolution of this class has over time betrayed series of conscious and desperate attempts by members of the class to align themselves with the ruling class against fellow underprivileged members of the working class. Hence today, the country’s working class has evolved into a fundamentally crooked class, comprising struggling professionals, unemployed youth, self-styled activists and opportunists persistently milking every impasse and volatile situation to their advantage. With the inexorable expansion of the process of globalisation, they are bonding much faster and inching together towards a more definite destruction of the nation’s populist movement, and its yet untapped array of sociopolitical and economic resources. The scale of the current crisis is no doubt immense and reflective of the contradictions that have been piling up in the last 54 years of the country’s independence. Not only has the Nigerian working class been severely depleted of men of potential and substance, its capacities to make new heroes of otherwise dormant youths has been ruthlessly sabotaged. Far removed from its limitless potentials in the pre-independence era, the country’s working class has become too handicapped to face the country’s infinite challenges. Therefore, the citizenry’s total capitulation to the country’s extremely stringent living standards which persistently manifests in the country’s leadership malaise, dying industries, unemployment, substandard education,
healthcare and insecurity to mention a few. Caught in the vortex of these dehumanizing conditions, many social commentators have advocated a Soviet-styled or Middle-Eastern styled revolt against the country’s ruling class however, what most of such advocates have failed to note are the striking peculiarities that will hinder such a revolt in this part of the globe – basically, the absence of a cohesive and a fundamentally conscious working class. The most remarkable detail replicated in the various revolutionary actions that have successfully taken place across the world, is the indisputability of Freidrich Engels’ assertion that the State is nothing more than armed bodies of men, organized in the interest of the private property. As Ola Balogun identified recently, Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali like various characters constituting Nigeria’s conscienceless leadership are just individuals, who on their own are totally powerless, but they maintain their influence and might by imposing themselves on the citizenry via the apparatus of coercion and violence perpetrated through their nation’s armed forces. But unfortunately for Mubarak and Ben Ali among others, the armed forces of men constituting their nation’s armed forces are themselves human beings with feelings and are also affected by the pervasive harsh realities and inhumane conditions of their societies. At a decisive point during the revolution, these armed bodies of men discovered in the citizenry’s revolt, a rousing fearlessness and fortitude to challenge and conquer, thus even the army got divided along class lines. The middle and junior ranks began to reason and identify with the aspirations of the revolutionary movement. Eventually, they began
to see themselves too as civil servants and the oppressed even as they unapologetically flouted age-old military codes. What is deductible from these occurrences is that even the armed forces and various other apparatuses of State coercion and power will act decisively in the interest of the rebellion if the masses can give them enough reason to do so – via infinite tenacity, purpose, initiative and preparedness to sacrifice. These sterling qualities unfortunately, are lacking in the country’s citizenry. Thus Nigeria remains an independent nation constituted by citizenry who do not know yet how to be free. We could not be totally free yet even if we tried. Even if it could be granted that the average Nigerian – working class to be precise – has freed himself from a colonial tyranny, he remains at present, slave to various classes of home-spawned political and economic tyranny. The Nigerian working class today lacks a true culture of citizenship and manhood characteristic of the free. They are essentially shorn of initiative and slavish in character. Slavish, because they are unapologetically mindless, gullible and unable to evolve an acceptable standard of determining the truth and identifying with it. However, it’s probably due to the persistent hardship and extreme realities they are forced to endure that the country’s working class have become pitiably vitiated in reason and exploits. The success of any revolution is never totally dependent on the presence of a bloodthirsty revolutionary front but as current realities instruct; the existence of a conscientious, cohesive, patriotic, peaceful and formidable working class. The existence of such peace-loving and dependable class of citizenry becomes imperative in a country like Nigeria where the ruling class seems completely lost to reason and justice.
Bankole: No dimming the star from West By Ebomhiana Musa play and political intrigues that almost extinguished this rising star from the West. For record purpose, the petition against Bankole was borne out of malice and what a typical Nigerian will call bad belle on the part of Melaye. For those who know the politics and power play in the House regarding the constitution of committees, the belly aching was not surprising but Melaye went too far as to cook up lies against an innocent man so as to hang him. With all sense of modesty, Bankole is one of the brightest young politicians of this dispensation and whose speakership was not influenced from any quarters. He is in the class of the emerging highly cerebral and radical leaders within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who were moving quietly towards sanitizing the party with the aim of making it a strong institution rather than a sanctuary for breeding little gods. The yeoman’s role Bankole played in the emergence of the present leadership in the House is a typical case in point. For this, and his other radical ‘misdeeds’, Bankole became target of the Barracuda in power. I dare say here that this progressive minded young Nigerian does not belong to this club of hawks in babaringa. Well, that will be a topic for another discussion. Bankole’s offence against Melaye was that the house leadership reshuffled standing committees and Melaye was among those affected as he was removed as chair of House Committee on Information and National Orientation. Consequently, he became a willing tool in the hands of the powers-that-be and the buccaneers in the ruling party who were bent on dimming the political light of Bankole. They conspired to shoot down the star. One may want to ask, how come the number four citizen lost his constituency in this clime? His bid to seek a re-election and come back to the house was thoroughly frustrated. Getting the party’s ticket for Abeokuta South Constituency was a big issue. After much intrigues, they grudgingly gave him. A worthless one, the ticket turned out to be no better than the then Zimbabwean pound. He was ambushed during the election and alas, he was “beaten silly” by a man who was
barely known in his ward! What a country called Nigeria. Surprisingly, Bankole was one of the few members in the house whose constituency is just a local government. Abeokuta South Local Government is within the Ogun State capital. Most constituencies across the country are made up of two, three or more local governments, depending on the population as delineated by INEC. I am not under any illusion that sooner or later, the son of the Jagunmole of Egbaland will surely rise again! He is only on political recess. Interestingly, today, Melaye is in the political wilderness, he has been used and dumped. One should not be surprised that Bankole was picked up on Sunday, discharged and acquitted on Friday. These are days specially set aside by faithful of the dominant religions in Nigeria when the Creator is approached with reverence for His intervention in the affairs of man. Those with spiritual eyes will argue that it is more than mere coincidence. However, only a foolish man would say there is no God or God does not answer prayers. • Musa was Special Adviser (media) to past speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Bankole.
‘One may want to ask, how come the number four citizen lost his constituency in this clime? His bid to seek a re-election and come back to the house was thoroughly frustrated. Getting the party’s ticket for Abeokuta South Constituency was a big issue. After much intrigues, they grudgingly gave him. A worthless one, the ticket turned out to be no better than the then Zimbabwean pound’
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
COMMENTS ‘Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labour laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history’ - Dwight D. Eisenhower
HE contemporary melancholy in today’s Nigeria is the naked joblessness of the general run of her people. And quite sadly, the government seems bereft of ideas on how to arrest the grim menace. In all frankness, of all aspects of social misery, nothing is as heart-breaking as unemployment in the life of especially an educated able-bodied adult. Unemployment diminishes a living being since a man is fun to live with until he loses his job. This might have led to the saying - an idle mind is an un-enjoyed mind. Hunger and idleness arising from unemployment kill easily. Unfortunately, the nation is witnessing a record high unemployment. More worrisome is her anaemic economic recovery strategies which are rooted in bad planning and corruption. What the country is currently undergoing is the foisting of compelling idleness on the educated youths which indisputably is one of the worst evils of poverty. The best social program any serious nation can avail her citizenry is a good job prospect but such unfortunately, is currently a scarce commodity in the land, which is why people who wallow in joblessness-induced hunger still pay to seek elusive employment that in most cases, have been shared out by the ruling class. The above scenarios were the prevailing circumstances under which 693,000 applicants paid N1, 000 each to designated banks by a greedy consultant, Rexel Technical Global Nigeria Limited, which was selfishly employed by Internal Affairs Minister Abba Moro before prospective job seekers could be registered for the last disastrous Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise. Where is that serious country in the world, except Nigeria’s egregious example, that would compel cash-strapped job seekers to pay before being allowed to write recruitment tests? Moreover, should employment opportunities in public service be seen as an avenue for making ill-gotten wealth by public officers - just as Moro did? This is callously reaping from other people’s misery. Welcome to a new level of corruption without humanity or human face! Nigerian jobseekers in Benin, Edo State; Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; Minna, Niger State, Calabar, Cross Rivers State, Lagos State and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), saw hell in their bid to bring dignity into their lives by seeking for placements at the NIS. More disdainful is the fact that the NIS has just 4,556 vacancies that 693,000 job seekers angled
HE year 2015 is a crucial one for Nigeria as the nation goes to the poll again for general elections. The expected change of guards at many political duty posts would obviously change the political landscape and colour given the idiosyncratic and eccentric manifestations in African politics that lay emphasis on personalities rather than institutions. It is a year the whole world looks forward to as a defining moment that is capable of making or marring the continued existence or otherwise of the country given the multi-form sectional and other divisive tendencies that characterise the jostle for offices in the country. The prelude to the nationwide electoral frenzy of 2015 is that of two important governorship polls coming up later this year. Ekiti State is the first litmus test with the governorship election slated for June while the electoral wheel would roll to Osun in August. These explain why politicians have once again come to town with their wiles and propaganda and in most cases seek to outwit one another in twisting situations and events to their own whims. In Osun, as in Ekiti, calls for the re-jigging of the state electoral officers have been on the increase. Of particular note is incessant clamour by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the redeployment of the Osun State Resident Electoral Commission, Ambassador Oloruntoyin Akeju. According to the opposition PDP chapter, the REC Chairman is said to be close to the former Governor of Lagos State and All Progressive Congress (APC) national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu. That alone - though it remains yet an unsubstantiated allegation, the PDP averred as a prelude strong enough for them to believe Akeju would not conduct a free and fair election come August 9. At this point, it is germane to scrutinize the clamour for the removal of Akeju which reached a ridiculous point when PDP leaders, followed by the Labour Party, out of the 25 existing political parties represented in the
Death in pursuit of survival
•Abba Moro for. The entire recruitment process ab initio, was a ruse because there was no justifiable ways by which the essence of justice would have been served at the end of the day, even if the exercise had been hitch-free. The stampede that followed led to the death of 19 applicants (humans, not animals!) across the states. So heart-rending is the fact that four of them were pregnant women! Pitiably, unemployment diminishes people especially in a country like ours where no social safety net exists. In such circumstances, people would be ready to do anything just to eke out a living. This is why they could absorb the indignity of sitting on bare grass in an open field to write recruitment examination by these job seekers. The lack of systemic compassion in the land was underscored by the blame game deployed by Abba Moro when he heaped all blames on the victims of the tragedy when he declared after the incident: “The applicants lost their lives due to impatience. They did not follow the laid-down procedure spelt out to them before the exercise. Many of them jumped
through the fences of the affected centres and did not conduct themselves in an orderly manner to make the exercise a smooth one. This caused the stampede and made the environment unsecured.” Ye God! Let this man say this to the marines. He should come out and tell Nigerians if applicants ought to be responsible for the provision of security at the recruitment venues. From the over N6 billion that was made by Moro and his business surrogates, shouldn’t they have made provision for adequate security with the police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps at the venues? Afterall, security agencies “uncovered” evidence that a staggering N7 billion was collected from 734, 000 applicants by the consultancy firm purportedly employed by Moro for NIS. This column firmly believes that Moro is still in office today after the gory incident simply because he is a true reflection of the administration that he is serving. No government that has respect for human dignity and that is abreast of the rights of the people to life as enshrined in the constitution will still be keeping a minister that caused such a monumental national disaster out of avarice and inordinate love for money. What else than to further rein it in on President Goodluck Jonathan that the minister should not escape sanction for high-handedness since he also ignored the Board of Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence, Prisons and Fire Service that advised him against saddling, for personal game, a consultancy firm with the sensitive recruitment exercise. Even more shameful is the executive impunity displayed by Moro when it was reported that David Parradang, Comptroller-General of the NIS was not involved. This same greedy minister equally fought with Mrs Chinyere Uzoma, removed former NIS ComptrollerGeneral simply because she refused to surrender the recruitment process to him. The way and manner the woman was set up reportedly
Osun REC’s redeployment: In whose interest? By Gbenga Salawu state, protested before the chairman of INEC last month at the state capital Osogbo. Granted that every allegation carries an iota of truth; it also carries with it substantial element of doubt. This is why every allegation is investigated and every claim is verified for nothing else but their authenticity or otherwise before arriving at a conclusion and subsequently, a decision or action. In the case of Akeju, there has been cataclysmic noise about his alleged association with Tinubu. Akeju has repeatedly refuted the allegation. With the crescendo that the anti-Akeju songs have reached from the PDP and its few allies, one would have expected evidence of the relationship with the national leader of the All Progressives Congress to be brought forward to finally nail the REC and cause the headquarters of the electoral body to replace him. In law, there is the doctrine that he who asserts must prove. This is a time tested rule of law. What this doctrine connotes is that whoever alleges another of wrong doing must prove. The burden of proof therefore rests squarely on the PDP to demonstrate to the whole world that Akeju is actually compromised. A clear instance of the above scenario was the allegation against Kunle Kalejaiye, who was the counsel to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola during the Oyinlola-Aregbesola legal battles. Kalejaiye was accused of having a telephone conversation with Justice Thomas Naron during the sitting of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal. Justice Narom was the chairman of the tribunal that heard the petition filed by the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidate, Rauf Aregbesola, against the election that got Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to office. After a concrete proof of telephone conversation between Kalejaiye and Naron, the
National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended Justice Naron’s sack after considering the petition against him. Naron was then a State High Court Judge in Plateau State. That was why the Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, subsequently accepted the recommendation of NJC and sacked Naron. The matter did not end there. A petition against Kalejaiye was also sent to the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee to look into his conduct. In Akeju’s case, till now, his accusers have been unable to bring forth a fragment of evidence to back up their claims. Besides, one has listened to arguments and read numerous write-ups by different columnists - the most recent is that of Bola Bolawole, of Sunday Tribune, which is highly vociferous in its support of the PDP allegation - to be able to situate their concerns, or is it their care, anxiety, worry fear or apprehension. All one could see was racked-up sentiment and emotion and nothing to substantiate the proof of Akeju’s alleged romance with a political leader of the opposition hue in the country. What they want the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do is just act on mere allegation or shall we say mere petition to redeploy Akeju. From all intents and purposes, this will only set a dangerous precedent. We can easily imagine what the scenario can turn out to be if another person is deployed to Osun and some other parties or organisations write petitions questioning his own integrity? It means Osun can go on an endless circus of deployment and redeployment until August 9 when election will be held. Jega’s response to the demand for the removal of the REC is instructive. My following of the saga has shown that the chairman of INEC has made it categorically clear that any of his officials accused of partisanship would not be removed or redeployed unless evidence is provided to back the allegations. More so, the claim
moderated the Parradang’s relationship with Moro. This last NIS recruitment calamity is enough to show the president and the ruling People’s Democratic Party that in their 15 years of misrule over the country, unemployment has astronomically ballooned to a level never witnessed in the annals of the land. William Shakespeare in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ aphorised about unemployment thus: ‘You take my life when you take the means whereby I live.’ Most Nigerians walking in the streets are living corpses because they are either unemployed or that the avoidable harsh economic reality has denied them of their means of livelihood. Moreover, a situation whereby unemployed job seekers in the country died in legal pursuits of survival is enough damnation for the current administration. That this kind of thing is happening less than 12 months to a general election and the ruling party still believes that it would win is serious affront and contempt for Nigerian electorate. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States once said: ‘Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labour laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.’ The PDP and the current president, rather than ensuring social security, have inflicted fuel/ kerosene subsidy fraud/removal on the masses; rather than employment, have foisted recruitment mercantilism on the system and rather than farming programmes, have deployed agricultural rhetorics that dwell on the celebration of phantom job creations in the agricultural sector of the economy. Avoidable deaths in pursuits of survival can only stop if Nigerians do not only insist that Moro must go, but by their using their votes in February next year to make the vehement statement: ‘This mess must stop; this clueless president must vacate Aso Rock Presidential Villa for us to have our peace.’
‘The PDP and the current president, rather than ensuring social security, have inflicted fuel/kerosene subsidy fraud/removal on the masses; rather than employment, have foisted recruitment mercantilism on the system and rather than farming programmes, have deployed agricultural rhetorics that dwell on the celebration of phantom job creations in the agricultural sector of the economy’ of a subsisting court order restraining INEC from recognising Akeju was clarified by the electoral body. According to INEC, it has filed an appeal and filed a motion on stay of execution of the interlocutory order.And court gave INEC a ruling, which granted a stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal. Legally, this means Akeju stays in Osun. The basis of clamour is therefore non-existent. Even in such call there is contradiction. They are calling for a redeployment on the one hand and in the same breadth admitting that none of the allegations against Akeju has been proven to be true. So, if the allegations are not true or their truth has not been established, why not wait until such a time they are proved before making the decision. For Jega what the stakeholders need to do is to support the commission to conduct a free and fair poll. To this end, INEC should not submit to any partisan call from any quarter before it carries out its constitutional duties. We must admit one thing. Nothing says Akeju must remain in Osun. However, the redeployment of any electoral officer must never be based on unsubstantiated claims by politicians of all sides. Again, what everybody expects from the electoral umpire is to act logically, rationally and in sensible manner during conduct of elections in Ekiti and Osun and other subsequent polls in the country. In other words, rather than calling unnecessarily for removal or redeployment of any INEC official, all hands should be on deck to assist INEC and to see that INEC does what is just, fair and right to all participants. This is a vital posture that can guarantee continued peace in Osun, Ekiti and the country at large. INEC must realise it has a role in history. The survival of Nigeria largely depends on credibility and transparency of electoral cultures. From the emergence of credible leadership, we can expect good governance to bail our people out of the prevailing quagmire. • Salawu, a physician is based in Dublin, Republic of Ireland
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NATIONSPORT FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Govt to recapitalise Bulk Trader with $85m By Simeon Ebulu
HE Federal Govern ment is to provide $85.2million to the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, to help shore up its capital base, the Chief Executive Officer, Rumundaka Wonodi, has said. “Right now, there is still that steady gradual capitalisation through the budget,” Wonodi said in an interview in Abuja, yesterday. “But if there is a need for major intervention, the government is willing to do that.” The state-owned agency, also known as the Bulk Trader, was created in 2010 and capitalised with $750 million last year. It is the custodian of agreements authorising transactions among power companies, enabling it to receive payments on behalf of electricity generators from distributors. The agency could face financial obligations of as much as $2 billion as power generation improves and new plants are built, according to a report by Ecobank Research. Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Nigeria, a country of about 170 million people, where demand for electricity is more than double the industry’s 4,000megawatt generated capacity. All power trading between distributors and generators will be guaranteed by the bulk trader after the start of a new privately-led transitional market phase, representing a five-to-10 year period that will allow the market to stabilise.
DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$117.4/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,396.9/troy Sugar -$163/lb MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N11.4 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -8% Treasury Bills -10.58%(91d) Maximum lending -30% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -1% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $45b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472
At the moment, there is an average of about 18 hours per day of constant power supply to different parts of the country. This feat was brought about by the implementation of the integrated power sector reform programme anchored on the power roadmap. - Minister of Information, Labaran Maku
Fed Govt spends N12.4b on pipeline security, repairs
HE Pipeline and Prod ucts Marketing Com pany (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said it spent over N12.4 billion on repairs of vandalised pipelines and in securing them between 2008 and last year. The PPMC Managing Director, Prince Haruna Momoh, who made this known on sidelines of the Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja, said between 2008 and 2010, the company recorded over N377 billion losses due to crude theft. He also noted that activities at the Port Harcourt refinery were almost grounded last year as the
• Vandalism grounds Port Harcourt Refinery By Emeka Ugwuanyi
plant was starved of crude. He said last year, the refinery did not run for 82 days because it couldn’t get crude from Bonny as a result of pipeline breakage, adding that they recorded 3567 line breaks, a drop from the 5518 line breaks recorded in the past. He explained that it was not that the refinery was not technically in order, but no crude to feed it. But another source at the refinery told The Nation that there is another alternative option the management is exploring to get
feedstock to the plant. The source said there is plan to supply crude to the plant with vessels through coastal marine from where it would be taken to the plant for refining and noted, specifically that by June, this arrangement would be operational and whatever quantity that comes through the pipe would only be complementary. Momoh said: “The spate of vandalism had risen in recent times far above what obtained in past. We have recorded 5518 lines breaks but as at last year, it dropped to 3567. The impact of this in
monetary terms is that between 2008 and last year, we have spent over N12.4 billion on repairs and securing our pipeline. “In terms of crude oil and product losses, between 2008 and 2010, we are talking of over N377 billion. Now we have adopted the Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), another kind of technology to protect the pipeline from thieves accessing them. We are already implementing it Arepo, Ogun State and IjeOdodo in Lagos. ”But this is at enormous cost. Imagine laying a pipeline of about seven metres below sea
level, and you take it up 40 to 50 kilometres, and we are talking about an average of $4.5 million per kilometre, multiply this by the 5,106 kilometres of pipeline that we operate in the country, we will be talking of $23 billion. Where do we get the $23 billion from? “As we have started, in a couple of years, we will be able to achieve a reasonable number of points that are HDD compliant.” He explained that the challenges of security in Nigeria is well known to everybody, wondering if at the end of the day, the government would not bring the Japanese Red Army to help us police these pipelines.
• From left: Director, ARCO Group, Dr Greg Ero; MD, ARCO Marine, Yomi Jemibewon; Chairman, ARCO Group, Chief Joseph Akpieyi; representatives of GMD, NNPC Mr Luke Anele; Real Admiral Ilesanmi Alade, Flag Officer Commanding, Naval West Command; GM,Projects and Operations, Nigeria Contents Development Board, Paul Zuhumben; Director, ARCO Group, Mrs Julie Okoigun and MD, ARCO Group Mr Alfred Okoigun at the inauguration of ARCO Marine two new fast crew boats in Naval Dockyard Lagos.
NSE plans new rules to protect whistle blowers, investors T
HE Nigerian Stock Ex change (NSE) has is sued new draft rules and amendments to its rules and regulations to protect whistleblowers from unnecessary termination of employment and investors from erroneous trade reports and unsolicited cross deals. A copy of the new draft rules and amendments obtained by The Nation outlined that the new rules and amendments were aimed at enhancing the robustness and inclusiveness of the existing rules and regulations at the Exchange. The draft rules have been approved by the Exchange and were this week made available to stakeholders for review and comments. In the introductory comment on the new rules and amendments, NSE’s Head, Legal and Regulation Division,Tinuade Awe, indicated that the draft rules and amendments would undergo stakeholders’ review and comment up till April 2. The reviewed draft will, thereafter, be sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the apex capital market regulator, for its final re-
By Taofik Salako
Capital Market Editor
view and approval. The NSE will begin implementation of the rules after SEC’s approval. One of the new rules titled “protection of whistleblowers” provides a whistleblower with a measure of security in the event that he is constrained to make disclosures of infractions by his employer. According to the rule, a whistleblower that is relieved of his employment for making disclosures will be entitled to the bigger compensation of either a lump sum that will be calculated as if he had attained the maximum age of retirement, in accordance with his conditions of service; or compensation amounting to his gross annual income for three years. “Any employee of a dealing member firm who is relieved of his employment without any just cause other than for reason of any disclosure made pursuant to the
provision of any rules of the Exchange, the Commission or laws of Nigeria shall be entitled to the greater of the following: compensation which shall be calculated as if he had attained the maximum age of retirement or had served the maximum period of service, in accordance with his conditions of service; or compensation amounting to his gross annual income for three years,” the draft stated. Where the applicable compensation is not paid within seven days of the employee being relieved of his employment, the NSE will impose various penalties on the defaulting dealing member including suspension from all trading activities until the compensation is paid; a fine of N1 million to be paid to the Exchange prior to lifting of the suspension and public censure for the infraction committed. In another rule titled: Erroneous report, the NSE seeks to protect investors from antics of unscrupulous stockbrokers that could issue funda-
mentally wrong or misleading contract notes or trade reports to investors. According to the rule, a dealing member shall correctly report to its customers the disposition of all orders, including the identity of the security, the number of shares executed, the price at which such shares were executed and the side of the market on which such executions were effected. In the event that the dealing member issued erroneous reports regarding the disposition of a customer’s order, it shall be liable for a fine by the Exchange in an amount not less than N50, 000. The draft clarifies that an oral report by a dealing member to a customer regarding the disposition of an order shall not constitute an official report on the disposition of such trade, and customers should not rely on such oral reports as definitive evidence of disposition of any trade. Notwithstanding this provision, the Exchange shall still maintain the official record regarding the disposition of any trade.
Growing crime worries NCC By Lucas Ajanaku
EGULATOR of the telecoms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expressed worries over the increasing spate of sophistication in criminal activities in the country, lamenting that as technology changes, criminals also explore ways to beat the changing technologies. Its Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Euegen Juwah, who spoke on the sideline at the opening of this year’s edition of Securex Exhibition held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, said while those in pursuit of high technology solutions are not relenting in efforts to break new grounds, criminals are also becoming more ingenuous in their attempt to run away from the long arm of the law. Represented at the event by Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Tony Ojobo, Juwah said this development has made it near-impossible to wipe out criminalities from the earth surface, adding that even in developed countries, criminals continue to perpetrate their evil acts.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
BRANDS & MARKETING
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org /mobile line: 08131075667
• Promotional mix for Boko Halam campaign
It borders on the creative, but the media is shying away from touching the copy, despite being approved by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). ‘Boko Ha_a_’ copy advocates the right of the Nigeria child to education but the media seems not to perceive it in that light. It believes it is an attack on Boko Haram. But, the agency behind the creative concept, Noah’s Ark, says it is a campaign to improve children’s reading culture, writes ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI.
Is anything wrong with this advert?
OAH’S Ark, the wave making agency, has a way with copy writing. But in its quest to break away with custom in order to make its impact felt, things have not been easy. The award-winning advert, which explored the 12th century Ife bronze heads dug up by Leo Frobenius in 1910, to promote Indomie noodles remains a classical case. “It’s never easy to break away from the norm. From a planning and strategy standpoint, we do away with all the bollocks and hit hard on the insight. That can be strange to boardrooms steeped in buzzwords. On the execution front, we are always trying to break taboos – while maintaining relevance to the central idea, of course. Even switching styles and use of illustration, photography and iconography can be tough here: too many ethnic groups, too many religious groups. One is constantly on the defensive. Of course, there are the usual challenges that are not peculiar to us but might just be a tad aggravated in these parts,” says the Creative Director of the agency, Bolaji Alausa in an interview with Luezer’s Archive, the world bible of advertising. The agency seems to have run into a storm again over its latest advert. Worried by developments in the Northeast arising from Boko Haram insurgency and the dying reading culture in general, Noah’s Ark created an advert campaign, with a headline, “Yes, We Are Boko Ha_a_!”. The letter ‘l is hidden with an underscore (_). Many are afraid that the message may be twisted to read Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin”. But, according to the creative team at Noah’s Ark, the advert is framed on curiosity to mean “Yes, We Are Boko Halal,” which literally means “Yes, we Are Advocate of Education for All.” While Boko means Education, Halal means Permissble or not forbidden. Though the advert was only published by only one newspaper out of three newspapers it presented the advert to because of what they called “sensitive headline and crea-
• Boko Halal campaign causes ripples tive concept”, the Managing Director of Noah’s Ark, Lanre Adisa, says: “For us at Noah’s Ark as an industry player, we don’t believe all we have to do is wait for clients brief, make the money but it’s about how to use our talents in influencing change in the society and create a positive attitude towards the right of the Nigerian child to education.” From the first paragraph of the copy, the agency puts the message straight to prevent misreading. The message seeks to encourage children to imbibe the culture of reading for the nation to become a generation of “Young Book Worms.” It reads in part: “Wait, did you just misread the above headline? If yes, its okay. It’s human. Your mind is open, always eager to be filled up. With something. With anything. Have you ever paused to imagine how fragile the mind of a little child is? How it can be easily filled with influences?” From its introduction, it shows it is harmless: “As we open the page 100 of the history of our great country, today is the day to ensure that no Nigerian child is left behind. From Zungeru to Enugu to Abeokuta to Abakaliki, this is the time to send out a new message. This is the time to let our children know that the book, or Boko, or whichever name it goes by, and whatever language it is written in (Arabic, Chinese or English) it is
the only way to that great future we all like to talk about.” Noah’s Ark Deputy Creative Director, Babatunde Adebola, who developed the concept, explains: “Obviously, a communications campaign cannot single handedly solve the problems of terrorism. Therefore, we want to use terrorism to inspire the reading culture nationwide. Afterall, it is only sharp minds that can resist the twisted logic of terrorism more so one that says western education is haram. While Boko Haram is the worm eating up the nation, Boko Halal is the book worm inspiring the kids to read nationwide.” The advert, he said, was inspired by the challenge of the Nigerian child. “The Nigerian child is under attack in the very literal sense. In the South, emphasis on education is shifting more towards entertainment and vain lifestyle,” he affirmed. Adebola, however, noted that Boko Haram is not that metaphoric book worm eating through a network of schools in the north, seeking to establish a new school of terrorism. “The Borno State government decried that the Boko Haram scourge has reduced school attendance. They occupy a space in our national psyche and shape our image in the eyes of the world,” he said. Unlike, a conventional advert which uses pictures of children in school uniform and re-
‘Obviously, a communications campaign cannot single handedly solve the problems of terrorism. Therefore, we want to use terrorism to inspire the reading culture nationwide. Afterall, it is only sharp minds that can resist the twisted logic of terrorism more so one that says western education is haram’
lated items to address such issues, Noah’s Ark captivates the audience with worm cartoon character, a curious headline and an array of promotional mix to get the message across. The firm has received over 800 likes on facebook, among other social media platform, for the promotion of the campaign. “It’s not just press advert. We will be using online platform. We already have 800 likes on the facebook for the campaign. We use merchandise, such as T-shirts, facecaps, handbands etc. We also use audio books, radio and other available platform to entrench the message,” Adebola said. Other promotional items also come with messages. The wristband versions read: What? I’m a Boko Halal; Blast of Ignorance and Proud of Book Soldiers; fez cap: “Brain Washed,” with an icon of a worm reading a book; sack: “Explosive Information”, with a worm reading a book in a triangular replicate of C-caution; Merchandise: “I’m set to Explode”. All the below-the-line media have both a cartoon worm reading books and a cyclical insignia with a campaign message: Boko Halal! The agency submits: “Everyday, we should be counting the pages of book read, not lives lost.” While expecting volunteers to sponsor media space and airtime to back Noah’s Ark effort, Alausa said the campaign is a Corporate Social Responsibility cause whose timeline is forever: “We expect the Boko Halal campaign to outlive everyone here. We have social campaigns in the US that have been on for over 100 years. That’s what we want the Boko Halal to be,” he said. Adisa dismissed fear that the advert may scare partners away from associating with it. He noted that the campaign materials have been approved by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON. “APCON is a partner to the project. It’s a very sensitive issue. We are targeting the minds. The battle of the mind is critical to winning the war and we are also partnering with some state governments to ensure success of the national campaign,” he said.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Brandnews OAAN poster award returns Stakeholders divided over who abused consumers most A T HE President of Advertisers Association of Nigeria, who is also the General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN, Mr. Kola Oyeyemi has undermined the proposition that consumers are helpless in their bid to seek protect against violation of their rights, saying corporate consumers are more helpless than individuals. Oyeyemi stated this during a symposium by Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria to commemorate the World Consumer Day. According to him, consumers are not helpless despite some of the challenges they face, such as erratic power supply, man hour loss, economy, security concern, traffic burden, among other family facing them. He said consumers, who are believed to be oppressed, depressed and difficult to please, have become knowledgeable, demanding and absolutely disloyal as a result of access to social media, mobile telephony which makes them to search for alternatives and voice their grievances against any marketer, producer or service providers. Oyeyemi noted that with the cosmopolitan nature of consumers, corporate consumers are more endangered than the individual consumers as a result of challenging operating environment which also further put pressure on pleasing the consumers at high cost. While defending the corporate organisations, Oyeyemi noted that with the level of consumer’s sophistication and discerning mind, corporate organisations are forced to break their bank to please the consumers who are inundated by many social issues. “When I see corporate Nigerian and helpless consumers as an issue I become worried that are consumers really helpless? A day in the life of consumers is actually full of issues such as home front challenges, power, traffic, work pressure, secu-
• Oyeyemi Stories by Adedeji Ademigbuji
rity, armed robbery, kidnapping and the economy challenges. For manufacturers, you know your highest cost is power. Imagine you want to market to these consumers, you had better prepare for war. With lots of adverts to capture his mind, you will do a lot to get him amidst his social issues which has made consumers oppressed and depressed individual and difficult to impress. Whose fault? Definitely not corporate. “However, I am not sure consumers are really helpless. There is tyranny of new consumers, which had made them knowledgeable, very demanding and absolutely disloyal. These are dangerous combinations. You mess up with them, they port to another brand, and he takes his money elsewhere. He is a potential porter. He doesn’t have emotion, sentiment; life has already beaten him. The little money he brings to the market he wants to maximise and with the weapon of social media and mobile telephony accessibility at his disposal, he can access the worldwide web to search for alternative brands, hence, making advertisers to loose their huge ad spend which was produced to capture his mind.” Oyeyemi lamented that the marketing game has turned to blood-
letting in an attempt to please the consumers. However, the President of Consumer Advocacy Foundation, Sola Salako irrespective of the problems corporate organisations are facing, consumers are still at the receiving end as brands factor in some of the challenges in their pricing which are passed to consumers. “We can’t deny the fact that corporate is facing such challenges but corporate consumers oppress individual consumers who are at disadvantage more. No matter what corporate people say, at the end of the year, they will declare N7billion profit and as a result pass price to consumers.” Also, the Head, Lagos office of Consumer Protection Council, CPC, Mr. Tam Tamunokonbia said CPC is aware of some of the challenges and have called on chief executives of service providers in relation to poor service, illegal deduction, but they have failed to come to the roundtable to address some of the issues. However, the Marketing Director, Unilever Nigeria, Davic Okeme urged the government to encourage the real sector. He urged consumer advocacy groups to advocate for corporate consumers so that the government can address some of the challenges that make them helpless to satisfy consumers.
AAAN expects higher revenue from politics, telecoms, banking • Industry invited to National Confab
OLITICS, telecoms and banking will propell growth of advertising spend in the year, the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) has said. The association believes that with political campaign kicking off in preparation for 2015 election, the industry will experience boom in ad spend while telecoms and banking sectors are expected to also further skyrocket growth over last year’s figure. AAANPresident, Mrs. Bunmi Oke, said though a projected N20 billion to be spent on political campaign might not pass through the organised private sector, the projected increase in the banking sector would be due to the new banking regime and rebranding exercise. In the breakdown of last year’s advert spend, it was revealed that N66, 250 billion was spent on TV; N22, 500 billion on radio; 23,750 billion on outdoor and 23,500 billion on press. The total was put at
N125 billion, which is about 37.3 per cent increase compared with advert spend in 2012, which was about N91.8 billion. Oke said: ”Licensing of new DISCO Companies will increase advertising spend in the energy sector while the business outlook for the 2014 portends some potentials for practitioners and agencies. It is believed that advertisers will also increase spent and operate within the framework of law, ethics and best business practices.” She, however, further explained that the industry contributions to the economy goes beyond offering marketing communication services to the private sector but extends to fully engendering proper understanding of government policies and revealing to the public ways by which they can participate benefit and contribute to the growth of the economy. Oke, however, suggested that efforts must be aimed at building the profession to the level of what eve-
rybody understands to better engagement. This, to her, is why the local industry must be supported and shielded from undue foreign patronage. She condemned the recent engagement of a foreign agency by one of the major political parties to help it positively project its image. According to her, marketing communications agencies are more than qualified and capable to handle such task besides having a better understanding of the dynamics of the country and its people. On the National Conference, where the association would be sending a representative, she said because it is a collaborative effort the body is discussing with all stakeholders to collate opinions in order to have a well-informed position that would drive the industry forward and to greater height. Events being proposed by the association for the year include the 41th AGM/Congress; agencies funfair; Women in Advertising Seminar and an International seminar on the persuasive power of advertising to win elections.
FTER nine years of silence, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) is reintroducing the Nigeria Poster Award of Excellence. The award is aimed at rewarding creativity and those who have used the outdoor platform to engage their customers. The President of the association, Mr. Charles Chijide, said that this year’s award slated for Thursday May 15, 2014, at Eko Hotel and Suites, is being packaged to prove that the award, the first to be endorsed by APCON, is the most credible among its peers. He further said there are also plans to make the award a yearly event, which is why structures are being put in place to make the award selfsustaining. He said entries, which has opened would end on May 1 while only APCON licensed agencies would be considered.
Chijide, who listed the criteria to include creativity, product identification, effective illustration, core messages, short and precise copy and legible typeface, said over the years though the categories had increased from six to 16, this year’s edition would only consider entries in eleven categories. He said the pruning of the categories was to encourage competition and promote excellence. The OAAN President said the host Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) would be the chief host while Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State; a patron of the association, would be the special guest. The Chairman, Poster Award Planning Committee and immediate past president of the association, Mr. Kola Ademulegun revealed that plans were at an advanced stage to make the award remarkable.
NHF okays Power Oil
OWER Oil, the cholesterolfree vegetable oil produced by Dufil Prima Foods, maker of Indomie Instant Noodles, has been endorsed by the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) and other regulatory bodies in the country. Speaking during the NHF endorsement ceremony, Prof O. Akinkugbe, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, commended Dufil for manufacturing the cholesterol-free oil which he said, would translate into helping Nigeria reduce heart disease and the deaths associated with it. “Cholesterol-free oil is the way to go in this age where there are so many heart-related ailments, mostly caused by consumption of
adulterated palm oil. Heartfriendly and affordable oil, like Power Oil, would go a long way in checking the consumption of adulterated oil which many Nigerians had been patronising when quality oil was still unaffordable,” he said. Executive Director, NHF, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye, said due to its cholesterol-free components Power Oil was, indeed, ideal for the heart and would go a long way towards ensuring cardiovascular health in the country. “Our plan is to meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target of reducing the number of cardiovascular deaths by 25 per cent before 2025. Products such as Power Oil will help us achieve that goal,” he addeed.
Winners emerge in BOBO Kids with Voices
O entrench its brand value among kids, BOBO Foods and Beverages has rewarded winners in the maiden edition of Bobo Kids with Voices, a musical initiative to encourage bonding and affinity among primary schools in Lagos. The maiden edition produced Illyad Islamic School, Isheri-Oke, Lagos, Local Authority Primary School, Mowo/Agemowo, Badagry and Goldspring Foundation School, Oko-Oba, Agege emerged first, second and third. Illyad Islamic School won a brand new school bus after emerging first while the Local Authority Primary School that emerged second took home musical instruments comprising a
keyboard, drum set and amplifier while Goldspring Foundation was rewarded with a keyboard and drum set for their effort. The yearly musical competition, targeted at pupils of over 2005 primary schools in Lagos kicked off in October, last year while the grand finale billed to take place in December eventually held last week in Lagos where three winning schools won mouth-watering prizes. The Marketing Manager, BOBO Food and Beverages, Birhiray Ewhubare, the reason for this theme is the fact that the children are the future of the country and it is important for them to have an attitude of patriotism and a sense of belonging.
NB rewards distributors
HE Nigerian Breweries has reenacted the tradition of sustaining brand loyalty and consumer engagement by rewarding and celebrating distributors across the country. Bringing together its marketers, trade partners, distributors, transporters and consumers of Nigerian Breweries, the Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, extolled the invaluable contributions of the distributors and partners to the overall success of the firm, hence, the need to reward them for helping the company and its brands continue to grow and maintain its market leadership. “It was a year ago that we predicted a fierce competition in the beer market. However, our company won more market share in
2013. This night, market growth shows that distribution has been crucial to Nigerian Breweries’ success in the beer market,” he said. During the award night, Ifeoma Chukwuka Nigeria Limited emerged the best distributor, while Ken Maduako Nigeria Limited and GN Anyoha and Sons Limited went home with second and third place prizes. Impressed by the feat achieved by the trade partners, the NB Sales Director, Mr. Hubert Eze said: “We have always seen the need for consistent interaction with our partners, besides creating unique reward and loyalty programmes and innovative ideas.” He applauded the distributors for their immense feat in 2013 and urged them to surpass this in the year.
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
07035302326 Website:- http://www.thenationonlineng.net
Safety: Shelf-life policy takes centre stage
Worried by the preponderance of expired consumer products in the market, particularly edibles, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), has stepped up its campaign to stamp out the sale of expired products by driving the shelf-life policy for consumer products. TONIA ‘DIYAN, reports.
FEW years ago, a lady stormed the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) office, brandishing a particular product she said her family often used. “This does not taste like the product we are used to; it is fake,” she charged at an official of the Council. The official immediately accompanied her to where she bought the product. On getting to the place, the seller did not deny selling the product to her, but said without any remorse: “Well, I am not the manufacturer.” After hot exchanges, the seller was compelled to either replace the product with the original or refund the lady’s money. However, the story did not end there. The seller also disclosed where he got his supply from. It was at this point officials of the CPC visited the firm where the product was supposedly manufactured only to discover that it was imported. Alarmed, the CPC officials stormed the market where the products were packed and displayed for sale to unsuspecting consumers. The products were mopped up. The CPC also went on air alerting citizens of the dangers of patronising the expired product. Following the incident, the CPC has stepped up the Shelf Life Policy campaign particularly as it relates to consumer products, especially edibles. According to the consumer rights protection agency, the Shelf Life Policy is an international policy that no manufacturer can fault and it must be strictly adhered to. The CPC explained that after the expiration date of a product (i.e. the shelf life span expires), it no longer becomes safe for consumption. However, some unscrupulous producers in Nigeria, without recourse to the dangers of selling expired products, have refused to adhere strictly to the policy, according to the Council. A case in point is Coca-Cola Company, which, according to the CPC, allegedly does not have a detailed written shelf life policy for dealing with expired products. This was discovered after a thorough investigation by the agency, which also went a step further, reassuring consumers that such products will be removed from the market. “In a case like that of Coca-Cola, the role of the agency is to investigate, draw the attention of the manufacturer and where necessary, make an order as to how there would be standard compliance. That is exactly what we have done. Mr. Tam Tamunokonbia, Head of the CPC, Lagos Office, told The Nation Business Shopping. He explained that CPC carried out a full scale investigation where the manufacturers, Coca-Cola was involved. He said that although, the company may have one or two explanations, the reality on ground is what the Council issued to them as an order. “We made an order for them to change their processes and comply with the order,” he said, adding, “I do not know why some companies have refused to have this policy (Shelf Life Policy). All companies are aware of its importance as an international policy. They are also aware that the policy is part of the standard of production in the country. Therefore, as an agency that protects the consumer, we expect total compliance.” The CPC official enjoined every manufacturer to be sincere to the consumers and take special measures to ensure that things are done correctly. “Consumers should be taken into consideration while producing products for their consumption. It is because of the consumer that these manufacturers exist in the first place and so, companies involved in production have to carry out their production processes accordingly,” he argued. He promised that the agency would continue with its investigative roles, as well as its surveillance and enforcement activities in the market place with a mandate to enforce standards, laws, regulations and policies set up by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)
that some consumers refuse to pay their bills as at when due. The Council however, insisted that Nigerians pay for what they consume. Apart from the power sector, the CPC is also tracking the online marketing companies, an emerging market. Two weeks ago, the head of Lagos office took a trip to the office of one of these online marketing companies in Lagos following complaints from consumers. They online marketing companies, in their defence, told CPC that they operate according to strict standards and that they are also working on a strategy to replace, within two weeks, products that did not meet consumers’ specifications. However, if the process take much longer than that, the consumer would have to formally notify them since it takes a longer process to resolve cases that exceed two weeks. The CPC has also had course to beam its searchlight on the banking sector following consumer complaints that have to do with the use of the automated teller machines (ATMs), unearned bank charges and non-disclosure to customers. Same for the petroleum sector where the CPC, in some cases, was informed at the filling stations that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is the only agency of government authorised to monitor them, which is why operators of such filling stations refuse to cooperate with the CPC officials. The CPC is, however, optimistic that the situation would change soon when people understand the functions of the agency. Already, the National Assembly is currently amending the laws to make it compulsory for every sector regulator to send to them their consumer complaints reports monthly.
• The right to redress
and other sector regulators. While SON has the function to set standards, policies and regulations, the CPC, by Section 12 of the CPC Act, enforces them. Every law that is meant for the protection of the consumer is enforceable by the CPC. According to the agency, there are also sanctions for manufacturers who refuse to facilitate the removal of expired products from the market. The CPC has the power to remove from the market place products that are expired, fake or sub-standard, according to Section 2 of its law. This means that once a product does not have its shelf life or meet standard labelling requirements, the Council has the right to remove it from the market and to sanction the manufacturer of such product. The Council can also prosecute offenders, but in most cases, prosecutions come as a last resort. This is usually after its order has been flouted or not complied with. However, to guard against consumers’ unconscious purchase and consumption of hazardous items that are off their shelf life, the Council constantly carries out thorough investigations to ensure that such identified products are quickly removed from the markets. For the CPC, this is a responsibility that they will not back down on. They will continue to engage in the removal of the harmful products and also bring sanctions against companies suspected to be manufacturing or dealing in such products. As Mr. Tamunokonbia explained: “Consumers can seek redress by complaining to the CPC free of charge. We are available throughout the country; we are in all the six geo-political zones. We have a Liaison Office in Lagos, market desk at Alaba International market and Computer Village. Complaints could be made by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly, every consumer owes himself a duty of thoroughly checking the item he is buying before actually making the purchase and if he notices any foul play, he should immediately contact the manufacturer. At that level, in
most cases, the consumer may get his money back or a product replacement. If the manufacturer does not want such a case to get to the CPC, he may choose to resolve it diligently. But if such a consumer is still not satisfied, he should seek redress by coming to the Council.” He further said imported products without shelf life policy would be traced to where they were bought and who imported or manufactured them. He added that consumers should expect protection in all areas of goods and services. His words: “The protection we provide is that the man who buys gets value for his money and if everybody gets value for his money, there will be no need for complaints. But our economy is not yet completely there, so part of the protection is to educate and sensitise Nigerians though it is expensive. We encourage Nigerians to complain whenever they have problems. We also encourage manufacturers and sellers that they have a duty, an obligation to ensure that they explain everything about a product or service to the consumers. If you do not explain to the consumer how to use your product effectively, how would they know?” he asked. While insisting that the consumer has a right to education and information, he pointed out that most of the complaints from consumers of electricity, for instance, have to do with estimated billings by the power distribution companies. This was why Tamunokonbia visited the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, O. C. Akamnonu where he said his company buys power and distributes same to Nigerians. He assured the Council that those who had meters (not prepaid meters) are paying according to what their meters read. Akamnonu also informed the council that the company, in the next few weeks, would come up with a meter policy, which would address the concerns of consumers using prepaid meters and others including a system that will be able to read meters from a central place. However, Akamnonu complained
CPC marks World Consumer Right Day
AST Saturday was World Consumer Right Day. And to commemorate the day, the Lagos office of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) organised a Road Show during which it visited some areas in the metropolis. The Road Show, which started about 7.30am at the Lagos State Television grounds, Agidingbi, Ikeja, ended at the Computer Village also in Ikeja, Lagos. Other areas visited were Maryland, Ojuelegba, Mushin and Oshodi. The theme of the event was “Fix your phone rights”. It informed the choice of the venue, Computer Village. The aim was to make phone regulators and firms more accountable to the consumer. The Head, CPC, Lagos, Mr. Tam Tamunokonbia said: “With the growth of telephone services and the manufacturing of mobile phones, land phones and different smart phones, fakers are getting to know that there are also smarter ways of producing sub-standard mobile devices that are actually passed off to consumers as original brands. “So, we want to draw the attention of the world and that of Nigerians to the consumers’ rights to quality phones. Nigerians have consumer rights or what we call telephone rights and these are the rights we want to focus on so that we can bring them into the consciousness that every Nigerian can have their rights protected.” President of the Phone and Allied Products Dealers Association (PAPGA), Mr. Ike Nwosu, said: “This is a wonderful initiative. We have heard from the horse’s mouth and have also been made to understand the policy of the CPC. We will abide by the policy and work in accordance with the council. However, consumers should endeavour to make purchases from stores located inside the market and not from hoodlums hanging around the premises.”
Newspaper of the Year
AN 8-PAGE PULLOUT ON THE SOUTHSOUTH STATES
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
ELDER OR UBEBE ORUBEBE
HEAR T OF GOLD HEART
AMAECHI MGB U MGBU
DELTA STATE-born Elder Godsday Orubebe has left his job as Minister of Niger Delta to pursue his dream of succeeding Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. He believes the Ijaw have a right to the coveted seat.
A lawmaker in Cross River State has dazzled his constituents with cars, motorcycles and tricycles as a way of empowering them. Are they a reflection of his quest to help them or is he preparing for the next election?
A Rivers State-born lawyer and playwright, Clinton Dan-Jumbo, has used recent events in the state to write a play, where he apportions blames due to all parties-police, federal and state governments.
• GOI...TALE OF A ONCE THRIVING FISHING COMMUNITY LOST TO OIL SPILL PAGE 32
Calabar’s gullies of death
•Some houses along the Ikot Ekpo gully
•One of the houses along Ikot Ekpo
•A building at Nyangasang gully
•One of the houses along Edim Otop gully
This place was just a road, but before we knew it, the houses started coming down. The whole of the places you see this gully were houses. I have been living in this area since 2007 and with each passing rains it got worse. I have lived here and seen houses go because of this situation. For me, I don’t have anywhere else to go. Would we run away and leave our houses? Well some people have left but not all of us can do so
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SEE STORY PAGE 30
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NIGER DELTA REPORT COVER
Horror from Calabar’s gullies o T
HEY go to bed every night with the consciousness that they may wake up at the bottom of a ditch or even be floating in one of the many rivers that surround Calabar, the Cross River State capital. Normally, people step out of their houses onto their veranda, but for these people stepping out of the wrong door could send one hurtling down the side of a steep gully several metres deep to serious injuries or even a horrible death. This is the story of residents of the several gully erosion sites that dot the state capital. Why would they continue to live under such precarious conditions? Why would they not move? The likely answers one would get is “move to where?” and “we don’t have any place else to go.” They would tell you when they lived there, there were no gullies. They bought or built their houses there and the gullies developed due to erosion over time and government neglect of their pleas when the problem was developing. In one of such places at Ikot Ekpo community in Calabar Municpality, the community leader, Elder Aye Edet Aye, whose house is right on the edge of one of the gullies said when he bought the land in 2007, there was no gully. He said where the wide chasm is right now used to be a road. He said: “When I bought the land there was no trace of this. The problem started in early 2008. It started as a very small gully back then down at the stream about 400 metres from where we are right now. But with the rains and consequent running off water, it started widening. We informed the government severally. We have gone to the State Emergency Management Agency, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Environment, the Niger Delta Development Commission, and the Calabar Municipal Council among other agencies of government but we got nothing.” Aye said some of the agencies had sent people a couple of times to come and look at the situation but noth-
ing has ever come out of it. He said as a result of this the residents had to resort to their own remedial measures to check the constant eating away of the sides of the widening gully, putting their lives and property more at risk with every passing moment, especially with the coming of the rains. Some measures they adopted were planting bamboo and burying tyres in the gully as well as lining the edge with concrete. Though it may have slowed down the pace of the damage, it has not been helped. He said several people, including children, have died in the gully as well as several houses washed away. Another resident of the area, Sunday Odey, said: “This place was just a road, but before we knew it the houses started coming down. The whole of the places you see this gully were houses. I have been living in this area since 2007 and with each passing rains it got worse. I have lived here and seen houses go because of this situation. For me, I don’t
have anywhere else to go. Would we run away and leave our houses? Well some people have left but not all of us can do so. “It is very dangerous and I must tell you that even this place we are standing having this interview is not safe. To be honest it can just come down and down into the gully. I have seen it happen before. That is how the gully keeps getiing wider and wider. As the rainy season is about to start now it is only God that we pray will look after us.” At the Nyanasang community, the situation is not better. Dr Edem Asuquo, the community head, blames the widening chasm on the poor work done by the engineers who constructed some roads in the area. Asuquo said: “Before now, we have not been experiencing erosion problems but the present gully erosion challenges are as a result of the poor water diversion channel done by the contractor that handled the road construction of Access road,
Akpandem and Canaan Avenue in 2011. “We are to exposed to danger as some houses are at the mouth of the gully, some their fence have collapsed, other peoples farm have been washed away but our luck is that so far no life is lost yet unlike other places.” At Atakpa community in Bayside, Calabar, the chairman of the Bayside Development Association, Chief Esin Cocobassey, said they had lost over 50 plots of land to the erosion. He said erosion is threatening so many buildings, including the Union Bank. “This place used to be a road,” he said pointing to where the vast chasm lay. “I could say we have lost an entire village in this area. The gully has been here a long time and it is expanding. The state government planted gmelina and bamboo to help check the problem but it has not been much use, because water must still find its level.” For residents living close to the
Edim Otop gully the images of a man who lost his entire family members to the precarious nature of the environment last year, are still fresh in their minds. The Edim Otop gully known as Burrow Pit it was gathered also started as a small gully in the early 90s and was worsened by the excavation of sand from the area for building. According to a government official said people who were living in the area occurred were doing so illegally and calls have been made on them severally to leave the place as it was not safe. He also said several attempts to stop people from digging sand from the area had been to no avail and this was contributing seriously to erosion in the area. The situation has even grown so bad it has threatened to divide the Atimbo Road. A child was recently died on this road as she fell into the ditch, it was learnt. When our reporter visited the area, it was a yawning gap that was already eat-
Activist to Jonathan: help Niger Delta curb environmental challenges
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has been challenged to ensure that the Niger Delta overcome its environmental challenges before the end of his
term. Throwing the challenge at the nation’s chief helmsman during a chat with Niger Delta Report in Warri, Delta State, yesterday, an environmental activist, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, also charged communities in the region to join in the fight against oil theft, which he described as a major polluter of their environment. Mulade, who is the National Coordinator of Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), said the Nigerian government has over the years paid lip service to ending gas flaring, a practice that has continued to destroy the region’s ecosystem as well as the people’s livelihood. Mulade pointed out that though the Federal Government managed to restore a fragile peace to the oilrich region by proclaiming the amnesty for youths who agitated against the ill-treatment of the region, the situations that led to the agitation and the crisis remained with the people. He, however, charged the government at all levels, as well as the dwellers of the oil-bearing communities to do all within their powers to preserve the region’s environment so that there could be life left in the region for future generation to survive on. “I always say in all my speeches in any forum that
From Bolaji Ogundele, Warri
there is no better time than now for the Niger Delta region to be developed, the presidency of Jonathan is not for the Niger Delta alone, but this is the era for us to feel the impact of government. We have no other better time than now to do that. However, I feel the greatest challenge the president is having now the issue of the insecurity in the north. “After this period, it will be very difficult for us as Niger Delta people to say we have been neglected or marginalised because we have been in the presidency for this long. “On the issue of gas flaring, successive governments have promised severally to see to ending the practice in this country, especially in the Niger Delta, but I think government has just been playing politics with the issue. If you go round the Niger Delta, especially in the creeks, you will discover that as a result of oil and gas activities the entire ecosystem, the entire environment has been devastated. The traditional occupations of fishing and farming of our people have been totally eroded. “The government has continued to pay lip service, not only to the issue of ending gas flaring, but to all issues concerning the Niger Delta environment and those are some of the things that led to the Niger Delta agitation, which snowballed into the Niger Delta crisis. The amnesty programme is important, but the issues that
brought about the need for the amnesty are more important. The fundamental issues of the Niger Delta question have not been addressed. “We have a solution to oil theft and it lies in the hands of the Federal Government and the host communities. If governments at all levels is committed and dedicated to these issues, oil theft will be a thing of the past. The communities also have a major role to play, but most of these communities believe they are yet to feel the good of the oil; the proceeds or the benefits from oil and gas are in Abuja, they are in Asaba and other upland areas, whereas the communities are feeling no impact. If you travel to Abuja, you will see flyovers everywhere, but no river, no creek and no canal. On the other hand, go to the Niger Delta, into the creeks, in my village, where we have all sorts of rivers, we have no bridge, we have no flyover to link any of our communities. So, they feel it is nobody’s business whether they vandalise the facilities or not, but little do they know that the acts of vandalism are destroying their ecosystem. “My advice to our people is that we should stop vandalising pipelines. We are not doing good to ourselves, rather, we are destroying our ecosystem, we are destroying environment. The only thing we can leave for the future generation is the environment, not the houses or other property we manage to amass, not even the bridges they build for us, but the environment. Therefore, our youths must desist from vandalising pipelines.”
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
es of death ‘
We are to exposed to danger as some houses are at the mouth of the gully, some their fence have collapsed, other peoples farm have been washed away but our luck is that so far no life is lost yet unlike other places •Dr Asuquo
ing up into the road. Several houses hung precariously along the sides and residents expressed fear that in no time the road would be cut off and their houses washed away. Areas with similar scenarios include Beebosco, Ikot Anwatim, New Airport among others. As a form of respite for some of these people, the World Bank would spearhead an intervention in five gully erosion sites in Calabar, the Cross River State capital within the next two months. The intervention would constitute the first phase of such which would be under the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) and is expected to cover other areas of the state in subsequent phases. Project coordinator, Mr Fidelis Anukwa, said gully erosion sites in this phase include Ikot Anwatim, Ikot Ekpo, Edim Otop, Nyaghasang and Atakpa. He said the project would be carried with a participatory integrated
approach where communities would be carried along every step of the way. A consultant to the project, Mrs Mojisola Akpojyovbi, said they had been bringing contractors to see how the slopes can be stabilised. She said work would begin on the sites in less than two months and only people whose house were affected by the remedial measures would be compensated after consultations and negotiations. Victims whose houses were already destroyed by the erosion, they would not be accountable for, she said. There would also be a welfare programme for the communities, he said. Having received several failed promises b various agencies to tackle their predicaments, those affected hope that this time the intervention would be for real and holistic. “If they come, and I stress, if they come, we would not want them to come and do any kind of shoddy job and go away,” a resident of Atakpa community hoped.
POWA donates shops to widows
By Jude Isiguzo
HE Chairperson of Police Officers Wives Association (POWA), River State Command, Mrs. Chinyere Ogunsakin, has donated 36 shops to widows of policemen who died in active service. Mrs Ogunsakin, who inspected markets belonging to POWA after the election of new executives, said the essence of POWA is to give succour to members and to encourage the less privileged. Mrs. Ogunsakin, during a visit to the POWA Market at Mini Okoro, said the association is committed to give assistance to widows who are into petty trading, adding that the amount charged widows for spaces in the market should be moderate. She said the idea to allocate shops to widows is in consonance with her •Mrs. Ogunsakin husband’s policy. ture. The POWA chairperson said the She also urged the POWA Secrenew executives would collate list of tariat to ensure they keep their records genuine beneficiaries. Mrs ogunsakin, who encouraged up to date to guide against corruption the women to keep the barracks clean, as the Commissioner of Police, Tunde said: “The market is for you not the Ogunsakin would not accept any excuse from anybody found wanting. executives.” The POWA election was attended She stated that during the 50th anniversary of POWA, she would en- by over 150 members . The affairs of courage schools and children to par- POWA are to be directed by the new ticipate in various talent shows which executives, which has Ngozi Anaogu would prepare them for a better fu- as Secretary.
NIGER DELTA REPORT FEATURE
Bayelsa eyes agric, tourism to boost revenue
T S revenue has been going down in a scary manner in the last few months. Bayelsa State's share of revenue from the Federation Account has dropped by between N4 billion and N5 billion monthly in recent time, prompting the urgent need to look inwards for alternative revenue sources. Cyril Akika, Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, confirmed that much when he said that fluctuations in oil price as well as dwindling allocation from the Federation Account has put tremendous pressure on the state's fiscal system hence, the resolve to drive the development of its economy by growing the SME sector in collaboration with members of the private sector. Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson believes the way out of the quagmire is to diversify the economy. In the last two years, he said he has devoted attention to various policies and projects aimed at diversifying the economy of the state away from oil and gas. Consequently, the state government has made deliberate interventions in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector where it is grooming a new crop of entrepreneurs to drive post-oil Bayelsa State, including other revolutionary investments in agriculture, culture/tourism, entertainment, and infrastructure development such as building roads, airport, seaport, and industrial parks. For instance, to underscore the shift towards the SME sector as one of the growth drivers and alternatives to oil & gas revenue, the state government, in collaboration with members of the organised private sector (OPS) is raising a N10 billion SMEs Development Trust Fund to encourage small and medium scale entrepreneurs. While the state government, according to the governor, would source for 40 per cent of the fund, members of the OPS would provide the remaining 60 per cent and also manage the fund. The Nation learnt that while the governor has supported the Trust Fund with an initial sum of N250 million, the Bayelsa State Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) did same with the sum of N100 million. That was last year. Beneficiaries, especially land and property owners in the state with relevant Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), after presentation of their title documents, would have the opportunity to access the fund after thorough screening. The BDIC is a privately run state enterprise set up in August 2012 with the mandate to, among others, promote the state's public private partnership (PPP) initiative, which seeks to create the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive; act as holding company for all the state's assets, manage them and bring in income and dividends to the state, as well as act as catalyst for social and economic development. Apart from the critical focus on tourism and agriculture, the BDIC is also focusing on areas of comparative advantage in oil and gas, marine and logistics. The BDIC is also donating the sum of N50 million to support the 20th International Conference on SMEs scheduled to hold in Yenagoa, the state capital, between March 28 and May 1. To enlist the support of members of the OPS, Dickson, on March 9, led his commissioners to a preevent luncheon with business stakeholders ahead of the 20th International Conference on SMEs.
By Chikodi Okereocha
At the event, the governor called for the active participation of local and foreign investors in the economic development of the state, urging investors to take advantage of the numerous business and investment opportunities that abound in the State. He identified some of the areas of the state's economy begging for private sector partnership with the state government to include agriculture, aqua-culture, tourism, waste management, housing and the construction of a new airport and deep seaport. The administration, as part of its sensitisation programmes, would organise a special road show within and outside the country on the deep seaport project located in Agge in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the State. Also, preliminary engineering works have been concluded for the construction of an airport. "We have started and we hope that in the next two years we should be able to deliver on the airport project. The area has been acquired, preliminary engineering works concluded. Bulldozers have been brought in," the governor informed. When completed, the Bayelsa airport would create a direct link to Yenogoa, thus bringing to an end the about two kilometer drive by road from Port Harcourt Airport. "We are also working on setting up an industrial park within the vicinity of the airport," he said, adding that the state government is also investing massively in infrastructure such as roads and bridges. "Before I came into office, it was taking us one hour from Yenogoa to Amazoma, the university community, which is almost where you are not just talking of a congenial, right investment climate, you are also talking about the presence of supporting infrastructure," the governor said, with glee. He further disclosed that the state is building a tourism development school, probably one of its kind in the country, "because we want to train tourism practitioners who would service that robust economy. He said the state is leveraging the tourism sector to diversify the base of the state's
economy beyond oil and gas, which is why month after month it sponsors major local and international events in collaboration with the private sector. "If you are interested in investing in the tourism sub-sector, Bayelsa is the place to be," he declared, assuring that investors would get a C of O within 60 days for any piece of land acquired for any tourism related investment. "The reason is that we don't have enough hotels in Bayelsa so, we are looking for people who would take advantage of that. About a month ago, I launched the automated title certification system; it is not just for people who may be interested in the tourism and hospitality industry, but also for any other kind of investment that you can think of," he explained. Another major plank of the state's inward-looking strategy is agriculture. As the governor explained, Bayelsa State has a comparative advantage in agricultural long before the discovery of oil in commercial quantity. He recalled that the whole of the territory known as Bayelsa and its environs was originally known as the oil rivers protectorate, but because of crude oil but oil palm. He therefore, disclosed that the state government is poised to resuscitate palm oil production and several other derivatives along the entire value chain. "We shouldn't just be focusing on producing primary products, we should be thinking of doing it down the entire value chain, which again presents several opportunities to investors," he said, pointed out for instance, that the swampy nature of the state, "we have no business importing rice into this country when you have a place like Bayelsa. I want to see big time investors, people who would come and take over the massive farmlands that have been earmarked already for rice production." The need to boost human capital development is not lost on the state government, which is why there has been emphasis on manpower training. At present, the state government is sponsoring about 150 doctor of philosophy (Ph.d) and 400 Masters Degree students in various top-notch universities across the world, according to governor Dickson. Also, about 25 model secondary boarding schools have also been built across the state. "There is no state in this country that has made the type of investment we have made in education. We are making this kind of revolutionary investments because unless you have an educated population and workforce your society and the economy have no capacity to develop; we are absolutely going to have a combustible society, the type that can blow up anytime," he explained. Apparently buoyed by the structures so far put in place to unlock the enormous investment potentials in various sectors for the purpose of preparing Bayelsa for the post oil regime, the state government has set for itself the lofty ambition to become the 'Dubai of Africa' in terms of physical infrastructure and business opportunities. "We are already on the journey of becoming the new Dubai," governor Dickson declared, noting that "this is why you see major international events holding in Bayelsa. In the past two years, Bayelsa has become the home of hospitality and tourism and entertainment capital of Nigeria and the entire continent."
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NIGER DELTA REPORT FEATURE
All hail UNIPORT’s ace professor
CADEMICS, friends, associates, other eminent personalities, family members, relatives and students (past and present) gathered at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) for a symposium in honour of a distinguished scholar, Prof. Ozomekuri Ndimele, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, who recently clocked 50. Bisi Olaniyi in Port Harcourt writes on the memorable event, which confirms how the Professor has touched many lives. A doctoral student at the prestigious University of Port Harcourt’s (UNIPORT’s) Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies (LCS), Kasarachi Hayford Innocent, who also lectures in the same department, is physically challenged, but graduated with First Class in Mass Communication from the University +of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Two years after graduating from UNN (in 1999) and in spite of the First Class, Innocent could not secure a job. Despite all the efforts he made, he kept roaming the streets, until he came in contact with the Dean of the UNIPORT’s Faculty of Humanities, Prof. Ozo-mekuri Ndimele, who recently clocked 50. Ndimele, of LCS department of the university, fondly referred to as “Unique UNIPORT,” saw the potential in the brilliant Innocent and recommended him for employment. In spite of his physical challenge, he (Innocent) has authored and coauthored many Mass Communication books, as well as having his academic papers published in local and international journals. The gifted scholar (Innocent) also presents a weekly radio programme (Standing Tall) on Love FM, Port Harcourt and he enjoys regularly saying: “Do not allow your background to keep your back on the ground.” One of the Masters of Ceremonies (MCs) at the symposium in honour of Ndimele at 50, Jones Ayuwo, also a lecturer in UNIPORT’s LCS department, while anchoring the programme, jokingly said in spite of Innocent’s physical challenge, he has
a beautiful wife and lovely children, with everybody bursting into laughter. When given the opportunity to speak at UNIPORT’s Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium, during the symposium with the theme: “Language, Linguistics and Communications,” the highly-appreciative Innocent could not hide his joy, for not ending up as a beggar. Innocent said: “If not for God and Prof. Ndimele, I would have been on the road begging for alms. Prof. Ndimele is a man of excellence, an academic icon, very supportive, so wonderful and very caring.” While proposing the toast, one of the former students of the honouree, Dr. Ngozi Nwigwe, currently a lecturer at the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, spoke brilliantly and glowingly about his (Ndimele’s) leadership ability. Nwigwe stated that: “Prof. Ndimele taught us that hard-work does not kill. He is a good mentor. He has climbed the ladder and he is showing others how to climb the ladder, without destroying the ladder. Prof. Ndimele is not a leader who will climb up and throw away the ladder.” Ndimele, who was born on August 13, 1963, an indigene of Umueleji, Akirika-Ogida in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State and the second son in a family of thirteen, was rather grateful to God for giving him the grace to assist people, record noteworthy educational achievements faster and at a younger age, as well as for enabling him to attain the golden age. The honouree, a two-time President of the Linguistic Association of Nigeria (LAN), is also an author of many Linguistics and Mass Communication books, which are vital reference materials globally, for academics, students and others. The prolific author, writer, publisher and editor (Ndimele) has published both locally and internationally, as well as having over fifty publications in learned journals, spanning comparative grammar, syntax, theoretical linguistics and communication theory. A beautifully-decorated birthday
•The celebrator, assisted by his wife and Prof Briggs to cut the birthday cake.
cake, prepared by an ex-student of UNIPORT’s LCS department, Miss Beauty Adeyanju, who is about leaving for the mandatory national youth service, but decided to go into entrepreneurship while still in the university and now the Chief Executive Officer of cake manufacturing/training company, was cut by Ndimele, supported by his wife, Joy, and some of the distinguished personalities in attendance. The President of the Faculty of Humanities Students’ Association, Joseph Inyama, also presented the honouree with an elegant plague/ award of excellence. There was a poem on Ndimele, put together and rendered excellently by one of the brilliant students in the LCS department, Bridget Chinonyerem Agumagu, There was also cultural display, fashion show and arts exhibition by students from UNIPORT’s Faculty of Humanities. The Dean being celebrated did not pretend, by declaring that: “I am not sure I am a good husband and a good father. I thank my wife for her support and understanding. My wife of 14 years deserves an award for being able to manage me. When I am in my study, I do not like to be
•From left: Mr Kasarachi Innocent and Sir Edward BristolAlagbariya.
distracted. I warned my wife not to enter my study, which she has complied with. I sleep daily at 3 am, except when I have malaria, which will make me to sleep at 12 am. “I was the youngest Professor, when I became the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities in UNIPORT. My colleagues are saying if third term as Dean is allowed, I will be asked to continue. Four of us contested in my first tenure, with only one Etche lecturer then. The other votes put together did not come near mine. My second tenure too was by election, but nobody came out to contest against me. “After my two years tenure as the Head of Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, the then Vice-chancellor directed that I should continue indefinitely and I was in office for another four years, totalling six years at the HOD.” The Vice-Chancellor of UNIPORT, Prof. Joseph Atubokiki Ajienka, a brilliant Petroleum Engineer, in his speech at the symposium, described Ndimele as a very fine scholar and also a very fine administrator. Ajienka, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ethelbert Nduka, said: “We are gathered here in honour of a very young Professor.
We are not gathered here because he is the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. We are gathered here because of his scholarship. Prof. Ndimele is a very fine scholar and also a very fine administrator. His ideas are very noble and brilliant. “We cannot leave this young and bright man (Ndimele) to end as the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, in a dynamic university as ours. I can assure you that he still has a lot of roles to play and a lot of time in the system. Fifty years is a turning point in someone’s life. You are joining the men of wisdom. We are very proud of you. Prof. Ndimele has been very wonderful.” The symposium was chaired by a former Vice-Chancellor of UNIPORT, Emeritus Professor Nimi Dimkpa Briggs, who recently turned 70. Briggs, an ex-Chairman of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission and currently the Chairman of the Rivers State Economic Advisory Council, in his remarks, described Ndimele as a committed scholar. The former vice-chancellor (Briggs) stated: “We are here to celebrate 50 years of one of our great Professors. An important aspect of life in a university is the issue of tutelage. We have someone who ought to be here.
soiled by spills, sabotage and contaminated waters. About 240,000 barrels of crude, close to what spilled in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground off Alaska, leaks on average each year where some of Earth’s most lucrative oil deposits exist. Spills, gas-flaring and discharges are ruining Niger delta waters with oil and cancer-causing chemicals, according to a study in the Journal of the Nigerian Medical Association. For delta inhabitants of Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s second-biggest economy, the bad waters put health and livelihoods at risk, drawing scant attention from a government battling a four-year-old insurgency by Islamist militants wracking northeast Nigeria while planning for elections next year. Goi’s collapse as a community is the latest chapter in a checkered Niger delta history where European merchants engaged in the slave trade
in the 15th century. Bonny, on Nigeria’s coast, served as an export terminal for human cargo that flowed down the region’s rivers. By the 19th century, the area was named “Oil Rivers” for its palm oil. Inhabited mainly by ethnic minorities including the Ijaw, the area was first explored for oil by Royal Dutch Shell in 1939 after the company was granted the concession for all of Nigeria while it was still a British colony. Exports began in 1958, oil majors including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Eni and Total soon followed, and remain. Competition for the financial benefits of being an oil community has sparked conflict among the delta’s ethnic mix, fomenting unrest in a region now suffering from kidnappings, pipeline sabotage, piracy and crude theft. Today, visitors to Goi are warned off with signs from the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum
Sadly, she is not here. I am referring to the late Prof. Kay Williamson (white woman), who brought up the gentleman we are celebrating. “I am here because I respected Kay Williamson deeply and because of that, I have extended that respect to also Ndimele, because he is a true mentee of Kay Williamson. Persons who seek after knowledge are very simple. Whatever they do, they do them seriously. They are committed. Kay was one of the most committed individuals on this campus. An academic takes his seriously.” One of the teachers of Ndimele at UNIPORT, Prof. Emmanuel Nolue Emenanjo, now retired, described him as a good academic and administrator. Emenanjo disclosed: “Ndimele was one of my students. He is very hardworking. Those of us who were trained by Prof. Kay Williamson, we had to learn hard-work. Ndimele is very cerebral and very creative. He has a very analytical mind. “Many things have been said about him (Ndimele), but they did not mention the fact that he is a very lively man. He is full of humour and he can be very noisy, but not without purpose. Lively people can be noisy, but with purpose. He is not noisy for the fun of it.
Goi… A fishing community lost to oil spill
OI is gone, given over to nature. Residents of the former fishing and farming community of 3,000 in the Ogoni region of southeast Nigeria, fed up with the third and largest oil spill in five years due to sabotage of pipelines, packed up and left the village in 20092010. “We had to move because if we caught fish and opened it up, we found oil; if we harvested cassava, we found it soaked with crude,” Eric Dooh said under the shade of wild date palms by his abandoned tin-roof home. “Our well where we got water became contaminated with crude and we decided to seal it up.” The 45-year-old teacher spoke against the backdrop of a blackened swamp, the fouled Goi River ebbing by reflecting an oily sheen, the odor of raw crude omnipresent. What remains of Goi is the legacy of the Niger delta, heartland of the oil industry that supplies four-fifths of Nigeria’s state revenue and is now
•From left: Prof Paul Eke, Rev elbut Longtau and Prof Sylvanus Udoiden.
Attempts to visit the site and begin cleanup work in late 2011 and in the first half of 2012 were unsuccessful because the local community refused to grant ‘freedom to operate’ for cleanup teams. Without the consent of local communities, we cannot do the required work •Goi’s polluted water
Resources that declare in red and white: “Prohibition! Contaminated Area, Please Keep Off.” Once-rich alluvial soils of the delta are often no longer viable for crops as more than a half-century of oil production and related damage continue to take a toll. In Dooh’s case, he inherited a bakery, poultry and three fish ponds from his father yet left with the rest
of the village when spills tainted everything from drinking supplies to food. What irritates Goi residents is that no one received compensation for the loss of homes and community. That’s in part because Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, is a land of 170 million residents with at least 1,500 communities in an uneasy alliance with energy titans.
A first glimpse of the 70,000square-kilometer (27,000- squaremile) delta shows a verdant area the size of Scotland southeast of Lagos and fed by the Niger River that flows from the Guinea Highlands. Within the delta, about 5,280 oil wells are linked by 7,000 kilometers (2,700 miles) of pipelines. About 80 percent are owned by Shell, which operates most of the onshore fields
“Ndimele is a good academic and administrator. He was handled by very good hands. I am not just his lecturer; I single-handedly supervised his Master’s thesis and I started with his PhD, until I left.” The obviously-elated wife of 14 years of the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Joy, in an interview, said she was grateful to God for keeping her husband alive. Joy said: “I feel so proud having him as my husband. He has been a good husband and a good father. The only problem is that he is always in his study. That does not make him a bad husband or a bad father. He is only concentrating on his job. He would come to attend to us, whenever we needed him, but not always. “When it is time to be in his study, you dare not see him or disturb him. There were times if I wanted to be funny, I would go to him in his study and tap his back. He would say: ‘You are disturbing me. You have made me to forget something. Can’t you see I am busy?’ I would respond by saying I tapped your back, not your brain and I would leave. He is very hardworking and always concentrates on his works. He is very caring. I wish him another 50 years, by God’s grace.” Ndimele’s wife also expressed in Nigeria. Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total and Eni all run joint ventures with state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that pump more than 90 percent of the country’s oil. Shell estimates oil leaks due to theft and sabotage in its Nigeria operations have risen from about half in 2008 to at least 80 percent. Competitors in Nigeria report similar figures relative to the size of their operations, with those at offshore fields less common than on land. The amount of spoiled water has grown with discoveries of cadmium, lead, chromium and nickel in dozens of delta rivers above “maximum contaminant levels” set by the US Environmental Protection Agency, according to a 2010 study by the Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in the southern city of Awka. A report in 2011 by the United Nations Environment Programme found measurements of the carcinogen benzene in water wells surpassed World Health Organization recommendations. Though Goi has no oil wells, it’s in a mangrove-studded plain 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Nigeria’s oil industry capital, Port Harcourt, between Shell’s Bodo East and Bodo
NIGER DELTA REPORT FEATURE
A mother’s death unites Ijaw youths
T was a burial, but one with a difference. It had a touch of youthful class. It further consolidated the hard-earned unity among the Ijaw and Niger Delta youths. Most of the reconciled aspirants who initially protested the emergence of Mr. Udens Eradiri, as the President of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), including the key players in the crisis such as Jonathan Lokpobiri and Elvis Donkemezuo were in attendance. They all came to commiserate with Eradiri whose mother, Catherine Douye Opukiri, died at 56. Opukiri’s death was remarkable. She was the backbone of Eradiri during the post-electoral crisis that tore the Ijaw youths apart. Having observed the uncommon determination of her son to retain the presidency of IYC, Opukiri had no choice but to support
•Eradiri with his wife and son
her radical son. But at the climax of the controversy, Opukiri who was scared of her son’s life could no longer bear it. She died. So, she was fondly but painfully referred to as the heroine of the existing peace among the youths in the region. No wonder her funeral attracted all the youths that played active part in the crisis. It was, however, regrettable that Opukiri could not live to see the end of the debacle and enjoy the reign of her son as the President of IYC. Though she died as a young woman, she achieved what many people who lived over 100 years could not boast of. Udens acknowledged the quality of life of her mother at the interdenominational service he organised before the interment at the Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. “It is not the number of years one lives on this earth that matters. It is the quality of life that counts. Some people lived up to 100 years but achieved nothing. Sometimes, people even pray for such people to die”, he said. Udens was right. Her mother was significant figure in the state and the region. She was a graduate of Economics Education from the University of Port Harcourt. Despite marginalization of women and sometimes lack of interest in education by women, Opukiri stood out. She rose above her peers to acquire degrees and demonstrated her passion for education by making teaching her first profession. Her doggedness paid off. She was employed in the Rivers State Ministry of Education and later transferred her service to the Bayelsa Ministry of Education after the creation of the state. She rose from the ranks to become a Director, Secondary School Education, Bayelsa State. At a point, Opukiri became the Secretary, Hand Over to Civil Rule Committee (HOCRC); Director, Inspectorate Department, Ministry of Education and Acting Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). The late Opukiri who was born in Odoni community in Sagbama local government area, was also a Fellow, West oilfields. While Shell stopped production in the region in 1993 after violent protests, its trunk lines supplying the Bonny Export Terminal on the coast from outlying fields still pass through the area. The pipelines are frequent targets for oil thieves. Attacks by militants campaigning for a greater share of the delta’s wealth cut 28 percent of Nigeria’s output from 2006 to 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Though production recovered after fighters accepted a government amnesty and disarmed, it hit a fouryear low in 2013 when former combatants returned to gangs tapping crude from pipelines for local refining or sale to vessels off shore, taking an estimated 100,000 barrels daily. While regulations governing the oil industry in Nigeria require energy companies to clean spills and pay compensation to affected communities, exceptions are made for those blamed on sabotage. The share of such pipeline ruptures has increased from about a third 20 years ago to two-thirds now, according to Petroleum Ministry data, sparking disputes with communities and leaving scores of spill sites including at Goi uncleaned. Shell said its cleanup efforts have been stopped by locals in Goi who insist they be paid compensation
From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
Certified Institute of Administration, Ghana. She died as a Grade 17 Director in the stage Ministry of Education. Udens was, however, elated that her mother saw her five children through education which he said had opened a vista of opportunities for them. He said his brothers and sisters were doing well in their chosen professions and advised parents to give their children best education. Opukiri was a proud grand mother to six children. Also, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, poured encomiums on the late Opukiri. He described her glowing tones. He said: “Mama, you lived a highly fulfilled and enduring joyous life. You gave kids of value (apparently referring to Eradiri who is himself an engineer) to mother earth”. But the Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolor, who attended the reception after the funeral described the death of Opukiri as a great loss. But one of the sympathisers who identified herself as Fortune Dorgu seized the opportunity of the funeral to appeal to the government to pay retirement benefits to promptly. She condemned the prevailing situation of paying gratuities posthumously to retired employees. “We know that Mama did not have problems with money before she died. All l am saying is that the government should strive to pay people when they are still alive to enable them enjoy their hard work”, she said. Though Mrs. Opukiri’s death was painful, the IYC President danced the pains away. Eradiri took over the floor in a celebration that entertained the guests. “I lost her but I am dancing because of her uncommon achievements. People should imitate her resilience, resourcefulness, kindness and honesty,” he said.
first. “Attempts to visit the site and begin cleanup work in late 2011 and in the first half of 2012 were unsuccessful because the local community refused to grant ‘freedom to operate’ for cleanup teams,” Jonathan French, Shell’s spokesman in London, said Feb. 14 in an email. “Without the consent of local communities, we cannot do the required work.” Exxon Mobil, Total and stateowned NNPC didn’t respond to requests by e3mail and phone for comment. South of the Ogoni area on the coast, communities are seeing increasing intrusion of seawater into freshwater sources used for drinking, according to the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency, a unit of the Water Resources Ministry. Drilling deeper for potable water has yielded saltier water. Inhabitants of the affected areas, who are resorting to harvesting rainwater, are at risk of contaminants as well from hundreds of gas flares that fill the atmosphere, leaving them only the option of “purchasing water from merchants coming from the hinterland in boats,” the agency said in a statement. The agency, set up in 2010 to address Nigeria’s water quality, plans a new survey of the delta to update the impact of oil operations and cre-
ate “an early warning system” on water- contamination risks. Chevron, commenting on how it deals with water-quality threats, said by e-mail all its operations in Nigeria “are done with a strong commitment to protecting people and the environment.” Eni said in a Feb. 21 email that its Nigeria Agip Oil Co. unit takes appropriate measures to ensure quality of water in case of spills including immediate containment, prompt cleanup and follow-up inspections. In Goi, as in many places impacted by spills blamed on sabotage, inhabitants are demanding compensation before any cleanup, according to Dooh. Not satisfied with Nigerian law, Dooh joined three farmers with the support of the environmental group Friends of the Earth and filed a lawsuit in 2008 against Shell at The Hague. The court held Shell liable last year in the case of one of the farmers and dismissed the others, including Dooh’s, on the grounds that Nigerian law doesn’t hold oil companies responsible for spills caused by sabotage. Dooh has returned to local courts in search of compensation. He’s awaiting a ruling. •Culled from Bloomberg
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NIGER DELTA REPORT INTERVIEW
Orubebe: you can be a good Christian and a Until recently, Godsday Orubebe was Minister of Niger Delta. He resigned to pursue his dream of becoming Delta State’s next governor. In this encounter with OKUNGBOWA AIWERIE, he discussed politics and Christianity, among others.
GBOBAGBENE is an obscure community deep in the Niger Delta creeks. What motivated your building a church here? My father’s mother fished on the lake within the community; so my father followed her here. I grew up to see very few houses, not more than twenty thatched buildings. And we lived a communal life where you could eat in any person’s home. Due to the size of the community, people kept saying the town was not growing because there were witches in the community. So, we became a laughing stock of neighbouring communities. Although we are blessed with sand and people will come and dig sand to build block houses, but we the owners of the resources never had the funds to build block houses. I remember when one of my uncles was discussing with a friend who visited and sand dredging was going on that day and the community wanted the dredgers to pay for the sand, my uncle’s friend replied that Ogbobagbene did not understand the value of sand. I was in the restroom when this discussion was going on. I cried to God throughout that night. I cried: “God, give us the opportunity to know the value of sand”. Today God has blessed us; my brothers, sisters, cousins
and nephews have all built houses in this community. You have buildings all over the community .This area, which is built up, was supposed to have been bewitched. The community believed anyone who built a house here would die. A wealthy uncle of mine who attempted to build his house on this side of the community suddenly died. So, when I wanted to build my first house (you know I happened to be the first son of my mother), my mother kicked against it. I told her I am different from other people. I told her I am a child of God and that I had my own destiny. I called my pastors and consecrated the land and I built my home. Soon, everyone started building on this side of the community. For this feat, the community bestowed the title of “Amafinowei” meaning “The man God sent to develop the town”. God spoke to me about this vision; He said build a place for me for people to come and worship me. This centre is nondenominational. The centre runs a series of projects, such as support for widows and elderly. Every last August of the year, we have a very major event where over a thousand widows and the elderly are clothed, fed and empowered. How do you combine your role as a preacher and politician?
By practice, I am a politician. I studied Political Science. I was born a politician. In 1987, in Lagos I was praying and speaking to God. I asked God to reveal to me what I was created to accomplish on earth. God revealed to me that I was meant to be a politician. I am a politician by practice and by calling a servant of God. What I do is that there is a thin separating line between my Christian life and my political life. I do not mix the two. When I am doing politics, I face the activities of politics and when I am preaching, I do not bring in politics into it. When I am practising politics, I bring in the values of Christianity. These are the values of love, equity, good; these are the things I bring into politics. So, my Christian life affects my political life. I do things differently in politics by bringing in the values of Christianity. I want to bring a new concept of love in politics, transparency, doing what is right and keeping your promises. The issues of deceit are frowned upon in Christianity. I have come into politics to let people know that you can be a good Christian and be a good politician. As the 2015 general elections draws near, many are scared that violence may mar the elections, what is your advice to politicians? If we see politics as service to
humanity, then there will be no issue of if I do not get it, no one else gets it. The do-or-die attitude, some people feel it is their birthright to govern others. If we see ourselves as one, if we share love one with one and other, if we think about the development of this country, all the crisis will go away. From
1960 till date, Nigeria has been enmeshed in one crisis or another, and Nigeria has the capacity to absorb any crisis thrown at her. God has a way of taking care of the problems of Nigeria. So, my advice to politicians is that we should not see politics as a do-or-die game. We should see it as a game
where brothers and sisters are thinking of becoming governor with the sole aim of taking care of the people. If that is the general thinking of everybody, we should be happy that any one that is there will do the wish of the people. I believe God will take care of 2015. There will be no crisis; we are praying for
Cross River lawmaker splashes N150m on constituents
N his bid to check poverty in his area, Member representing Obubra/Etung Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives in Cross River State, Mr John Owan-Enoh, has donated several items to enable his constituents earn a living. The lawmaker gave out 21 cars, 21 motorcycles and 63 tricycles (Keke NAPEP). Other equipment include: generating sets, tailoring machines, hair dryers, welding, computer sets and others. According to him, the empowerment was to the tune of N150 million. Speaking at the ceremony where he gave out the items in Ikom Local Government Area, Owan-Enoh said members of his constituency have supported his political drive tirelessly, hence nothing was too much for his people. He said that he collaborated with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in the state to empower 105 youths in skill acquisition programmes. He said the youths were equipped and trained in computer maintenance, hair dressing, barbing saloon, phone repairs, auto-mechanics, welding and others. Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River commended the lawmaker for his effective representation, describ-
•Some of the cars From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar
ing him as a political leader who has the interest of his people at heart. Imoke said Owan-Enoh has distinguished himself by using his office for the benefit of his people, adding that the empowerment programme would change the lives of his people. Blessing the cars and other empowerment items, Rev. Father, Patrick Bassey of the Catholic Church, Bendi-Obudu parish, said that those who identify with the poor are Gods intimate friends. One of the beneficiaries, Mr Amoebi Ofodile, who is the Peoples Democratic Party Ward Chairman in Ajassor, was grateful for the gesture
•The tricycles and motorcycles
and hoped he keeps it up. He also urged other lawmakers to emulate it. A traditional ruler in Etung Local Government Area, Chief John Ndifon, commended the lawmaker for his goodwill and empowerment initiative. He said the empowerment programme would give a positive living option to youths of his constituency. A member of the mandators political group from Obubra, Mr Emmanuel James, said that the group was very ready to put their weight behind the lawmaker if need be because of the way and manner he has impacted on the lives of the people.
The lawmaker gave out 21 cars, 21 motorcycles and 63 tricycles (Keke napep). Other equipment include: generating sets, tailoring machines, hair dryers, welding, computer sets and others
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NIGER DELTA REPORT INTERVIEW
nd a good politician ‘
The life of anybody on earth is determined by God. If God wants me to govern Delta State, it is God that knows how He will take care of the process to take me to that exalted seat. I have joined the governorship race in Delta. What will be the outcome is to be determined by God. I can only say let’s wait for God to take care of the process
‘ peace. God has always sustained the country because of the prayer of the saints. How do we deepen democracy? We deepen democracy by imbibing the values of Christianity and Islam, which are centred on love and by strengthening the institution of
democracy, like INEC, to improve the welfare of the people. Take for instance, we are talking about the issues of Boko Haram, the money that would have been used in combating the insurgency is enough to do a number of things to empower the people. During the Niger Delta crisis, crude oil production went very low. If there is a crisis, it affects the resources of the country. A lot of states in the Northeast, the governors are crying of paucity of resources, the resources are not there to do the things ordinarily they are expected to do. If we allow the system to grow and we see government as service to the people and we love one and other, we will deepen democracy. During the programme, you repeatedly mentioned that every decision you have passed through is shown to you first by God and it often comes to pass. Will this replicate itself in the2015 gubernatorial race? The life of anybody on earth is determined by God. If God wants me to govern Delta State, it is God that knows how He will take care of the process to take me to that exalted seat. I have joined the governorship race in Delta. What will be the outcome is to be determined by God. I can only say let’s wait for God to take care of the process. PDP has a zoning policy which may conflict with your ambition… Zoning is defined by participation by all, zoning is an allinclusive term that says that everybody must have a stake in the activities of governance, and we are graduating to a system which is that if you have somebody who can do work to
satisfy all sectors, nobody will be talking of one ethnic group or another. If the resources of a nation are well-distributed to all corners, nobody will care if his or her kinsman is governor or not. In Delta State, over the period we have always had everybody working and contesting together at the end of the day whether the person is from whatever area; if he emerges, we all rally around that person to where we are going. If you are talking about zoning and you want to define it to suit yourself, then it becomes an injustice to other people. In Delta State, we have so many ethnic nationalities and if you are talking about Mr. A from an ethnic nationality and Mr. B from another ethnic nationality and you think that where Mr. A is coming from should be able to represent another ethnic group, which of course is not what should happen in government, supposing it is like that the people from the area that have not gotten anything will also say they have not we have not been represented. Delta State from creation till date we have never had an Ijaw man as governor of the state. So even if you want to look at it very from that perspective, you will see that the Ijaw man has the right to say he has to be the next governor if we are talking about zoning properly. I am talking about candidates coming out to sell themselves to the people. We should look out for someone who would unite the state; someone who will bring about love, peace and development and above all bringing concepts within the confines of Christianity in order to transparently deliver to the people of our state.
NYSC DG to corps members: don’t extort politicians
HE Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig-Gen. Johnson Olawunmi, has warned corps members to shun all forms of monetary inducements from politicians during next year’s general elections. Brig-Gen. Olawumi gave the warning during his working visit to the 2014 Batch “A” corps members at the permanent orientation camp of the NYSC, at Ikot Itie Udung, Nsit Atai Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The Director-General said serious punishment awaits any corps member caught in the act of extorting money from politicians during the election. He told the corps members that the Federal Government through Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made enough arrangement to pay the allowances of some of the corps members that would be engaged during the exercise. His words: “I know that very soon when you get to your places of primary assignments, politicians will start going round. They will want to induce you with money or gifts. “Say no to that. Let me sound a note of serious
From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo
warning that any corps member who is reported to me for getting himself/herself involved in electoral malpractices, that corps member is going to face the music and I am not joking about it. “So when they come with money, shun their money. The Federal Government through Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made enough arrangement to pay the allowances of those of you who will be involved in the election exercise. “INEC has made all the arrangement including even your security and this money will be paid through the NYSC. What that means is that any money that is not coming from the INEC through the NYSC, do not accept it.” Brig-Gen. Olawuni also urged the corps members to take advantage of the Federal Government’s Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SAED) at the camp and turn themselves from job seekers to job creator. He said: “We don’t want you people to finish the service year and start carrying files up and
down looking for the job that is not available. If you take advantage of the SAED programme, you are going to get yourself equipped with skills in this camp. “We have even gone beyond that to make provisions for you to continue training even after the orientation camp. We are not even stopping at that. We have even signed Memorandum of Understanding MoU with a very reputable firm, Bank of Industry, to give loan to people who can come up with a good proposal to start up something.” On his part, the State Coordinator of the NYSC, Akinkunmi Martins, said the NYSC, in its determination to strengthen national unity, had arranged its platoons and hostels in a way that would allow corps members of different cultural, ethnic, religious and social backgrounds to interact freely. Martins said the orientation course had received adequate adjustments with lots of innovation and welfare for the corps members. According to him, 1,817 corps members comprising of 939 males and 878 females registered for the 2014 Batch “A” orie
‘Why I wrote a play on the Amaechi/Mbu saga’ The lawyer and playwright, Mr. Clinton Dan-Jumbo, gives insight into a play he has released on the Rivers crisis. He spoke to ROSEMARY NWISI, in Port Harcourt.
HAT is the play, Amaechi Mgbu all about? The play is about my conversations of happenings in Rivers State, my state and Nigeria, my country. Looking at the title, ‘Amaechi Mgbu’, two popular names in the recent Rivers political crisis. Has the play anything to do with that? Just as I said earlier, the play is all about my observations of happenings in my state; it is not about any individual or particular institution. Am sure as journalists my job as a writer is to mirror the society which I live in and Nigeria is that society, I will therefore be failing in my duties if I don’t write about the things I see in my country. So what is your objective of writing the play? My objective here is to make my leaders to learn not to politic with our moral values. The issues of 16 being greater than 19, as stated in my work and 5 greater than 26 or 27 touches on our moral values, as it makes our leaders liars and by extension teaching the younger generation that it is alright to lie or distort facts. By the way, you sound as if you are a card carrying member of a political party. Yes. But my political tie with any party has nothing to do with this work. I try to devoice my political tie to any party from my work. My work is on the society I live in and the things going on in it. Did anybody or group sponsor this work? Neither the state government nor any group sponsored the work. I can say that in any case giving my profession. I am a bit comfortable and can afford to sponsor my work. Whether Amaechi, President GoodLuck Jonathan or any other person has seen the work, I do not know. But how do you imagine that Amaechi will sponsor a book that has balanced view of issues like this one. To a large extent, the book throws punches at him also. Some of the things he has not done well were identified in the work, and the areas the president has equally not done well were also captured in the play. Before now have you had any work to your credit? Yes. ‘The Snatched Verdict’ and ‘Broken Pedigree’ were my original works. Are these books in the market, and is their rate of acceptance? The Snatched verdict was my final year project; it was later adopted into the Nollywood movie. While the Broken Pedigree was used for the NYSC 1996 yearly national competition of art. Apart from being a lawyer, what else would you have done? I am also a playwright as I said earlier, and I love it. I must confess here that I lost the muse at a point, but I have found and recovered it.
In a nutshell what is the play all about? Amaechi Mgbu is a play that Ex-rays large number of unresolved questions in the minds of people, within and outside Rivers state of Nigeria. It encapsulates events of happenings in the state on one hand and showcasing its concomitance effects on Nigeria polity on the whole. Interestingly, the word “Mgbu” is an Igbo term meaning pain. I have already stated in the introduction that should anybody suggests any other meaning to that word that is the person’s own opinion. In this sense, “Amaechi Mgbu” simply means Amaechi’s pain. The play blends fiction and facts. The facts are based on what I gathered from the media. It also captures arguments for and against parties in the imbroglio. It allows the readers to decide for themselves who has the superior argument in this whole drama. The work attempts to force those who maybe partisan in the imbroglio to play the characters in it, by engaging in common questions and answers, dialogue, without recourse to physical attacks from anybody or carrying arms to disrupt rallies; that is what all this work is all about. Why is the scenario of the drama on a “Mama Put”, eatery joint? Well, I needed to gather the facts and the facts I gathered were from those areas. The arguments are more in these areas, including the airports. In fact, as we are granting this interview now I can bet you that arguments are going on concerning this whole drama we are talking about here. This is a period we are talking about politics, are you a political office hopeful of any political party. I have not contemplated contesting any election, so the question will be addressed much later, time will tell, but for now, I don’t have any such ambition. Port Harcourt has been adopted as the World Book
Capital for the year 2014, what is your view concerning knowledge application and reading in the state? I thank God for Port Harcourt being made World Book Capital. To a large extent I believe that it will take this state to another level. You will agree with me that reading culture died a while. Like, how many people are still visiting the Port Harcourt Library?, but with what was kick started by the “Rainbow Book Club”, in which children were gathered together to appreciate reading culture equally positioned Port Harcourt to winning this honour. I believe also that it will engineer more book writers, that is my thinking. Who are your target audience? To me, this book is for everybody, pupils, students, teachers everybody at all provided you can read. It is devoid of any form of in-umbrage, it is made easy to read by everybody. It is even targeted more by the younger generation, because some of the things happening in the polity of this country currently affect them. They are the ones who are learning from it. The question of 16 being greater than 19, 5 being greater than 27 as mentioned in the book are questions that would disturb their minds at a time. They will be asking around it, some may even want to accept it as a norm; this book tend to answer their mind agitations by saying no, this is not the norm or right thing, this is the reason for the book. The event that led to the writing of this book took place in this environment within eight months and the book is already out, how long did it take you to gather the facts played out here? There is no one writer that can capture everything on a particular event. But in this case I can say that I captured so much. It took me approximately one month and half to capture and put these together.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
NIGER DELTA REPORT COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA
OME things just baffle me. One of them is how personal interest a lot of the time wrestles collective interest to the ground and makes it a candidate for the casualty ward. This has been more pronounced in my interactions with the Niger Delta. A few instances will suffice here. Since the December 2011 Bonga spill, the communities affected have not spoken with one voice. They have never agreed on anything except that there was a spill. Call it rat race and you will not be wrong. One community believes it has more right to the compensation than the other. So, there is no co-ordination of response and the oil giants have long understood this and used it to their advantage and the disadvantage of the oil-bearing communities. The Federal Government said it fined Shell $11.5 billion for the Bonga spill. Shell says there is no sense in this because it is not liable, “legally or otherwise.” And since the people are also battling one another, everything is on hold. Recently, I was part of a forum where a gas firm was discussing how to review the Masterplan of its host community with a view to financing its transformation, but instead of using the opportunity well and proving the sincerity or otherwise of the venture, the youths engaged themselves in shouting matches. It was almost degenerating into exchange of blows. The meeting had to be called off. What was the problem? There was a leadership tussle within the youth body and not even the interest of the community was enough to make them speak as one. All, as I find out, was more about who controls the body and is in a position to get the benefits from the oil giants in the area. The loser at the end is the community, which despite its richness has remained a poverty-stricken Island, with no road access to it. I will not be surprised if these youths will see in a proposed road to link the community with the upland an opportunity to make easy cash. I once experienced a contractor working on a road to link some communities in the Niger Delta, who lamented how youths were constantly harassing him for money. They stalled the road for a long time and who is the loser? The communities, if you ask me. Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, some years back, had to use ‘guerilla tactic’ to prevent a set of youths from disturbing a contractor working on a project in the state. There are instances upon instances of youths in the region seeking immediate gains. And that brings me to the drama in Youbebe, one of the fishing communities affected by the Bonga oil spill earlier in the week. An army of protesters were showing their displeasure over the devastating effects of the 2011 oil spill in the Bonga oil field. Since the spill, many have mounted pressure on Shell Petroleum to pay billions of dollars in reparations and clean up
•A weekly intervention on Southsouth matters
United they grieve
of the fishing areas that were wreaked by the unfortunate disaster. Till this day, Shell claims the spill never hit the Nigerian shores or damaged the fishing industry. It is another way of saying the spill happened offshore and not onshore. It says the spill from its Bonga oil field was cleaned up swiftly after the leak and it never harmed any community. The claims and counter-claims led to a stalemate and the stalemate was responsible
THE WEEK’S QUOTE
The Ijaw man has the right to say he has to be the next governor (of Delta Stat) if we are talking about zoning properly... We should look out for someone who would unite the state; someone who will bring about love, peace and development and above all bringing concepts within the confines of Christianity in order to transparently deliver to the people
Former Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe . __
HE N are we as a country going to put a closure to the loss of Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun? It has been almost ages since a World Court ruling ceded the region to the former French colony. Time was appointed for issues such as resettlement and so on, but like most things that concern the ordinary people, it was done half-heartedly. Many of those who chose to be relocated back on Nigerian soil have no place to call home when they returned to Calabar, the Cross River State capital. Schools were turned into make-shift homes for them, where they daily go through all kinds of challenges. Because of the international nature of the matter, it falls within the purview of teh Federal Government to resettle the returnees. To be fair, efforts were made to build proper homes for them around Calabar, but for a long time, the efforts were not well-co-ordinated, such that many of the apartments being constructed became homes for reptiles. So, recently, when it was announced that some of the apartments were to be shared, many smiled, hoping finally their woes were over. Sadly, the sharing of the 40 housing units built by the Federal Government for displaced persons in Calabar has sparked controversy. It all started after a meeting between the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Darius Ishaku, and some Bakassi stakeholders. The meeting was to determine how the housing units would be shared. These particular units are built in the
I was part of a forum where a gas firm was discussing how to review the Masterplan of its host community with a view to financing its transformation, but instead of using the opportunity well and proving the sincerity or otherwise of the ventures, the youths engaged themselves in shouting matches. It was almost degenerating into exchange of blows. The meeting had to be called off...The loser at the end is the community, which despite its richness has remained poverty-stricken
for the drama in Youbebe, one of the many fishing communities devastated by the spill. A group of reporters were passing through the community on their way to an assignment elsewhere in the creeks. The protesters seized the opportunity and got the reporters off their boat and narrated their ordeals since the spill. As expected, they had no good stories to tell. Life, they say, has been brutish since the spill. For lives that were not particularly fantastic
before given the poverty level in the region, it is understandable how hellish additional burden could cause. They have lost the fishing industry. No more fish to eat or sell. So, they and their children are ever hungry. Sickness has also become more frequent. This, they say, is not unconnected to the fact that they have been drinking polluted water. Shell is free to claim whatever it chooses, the people say some two million lives were devastated by the Bonga oil spill. The protesters fully utilised the presence of the reporters by leading them into their community to see what bitch of a life they are living. The community is a testimony in neglect. This community not far away Warri, the commercial heart of Delta State, has no electricity or hospital. The reporters also saw young men pulling dirty water out of a spring and they drank it to demonstrate to the reporters and photographers the reality of their existence. Another leg of Shell’s clam, which I believe must be investigated, is its submission that there was another spill from an unknown vessel shortly after the Bonga spill. Was there really another vessel? Who owns it? Was it there legally or illegally? These are questions that must be answered. During the week, the people of the communities affected by the Bonga spill decided to speak with one voice in their quest for a $5.6 billion compensate and clean up of the communities. A report quoted one of their traditional rulers, His Royal Highness Ibamugha Ojukosin as saying: “We are here as a people collectively with one voice. Let our cry be heard. Let (victims of) Bonga spill of SPDC in 20 December 2011 be adequately compensated, the communities cleaned. And let us be paid. I would want to rest my case.” The traditional ruler spoke at a conference in Warri, where leaders and lawyers agreed work to unite communities. Funny enough, even at that conference, some attendees, according to a report, say they believe that if Shell pays, the real beneficiaries will be the leaders. This is another issue in the region. Youths do not trust the elders and elders do not trust the youths. It will be good if this issue is resolved and a closure is put on it before it becomes violent. The protesters who forced reporters on an unscheduled tour of Youbebe are spoiling for war, if nothing happens. A VOA report quoted a resident as saying: “The next step we take if the protest do not succeed, SPDC will leave our lands. That’s what we’ll do. And no army man can stop us.” That sounds like a possible reenactment of the Ogoni treatment meted out to Shell. And when the people decide not just to be united in grief, but also speak with one voice on a matter like it, it is either their wish is done or the hell is let loose. I hope it does not get to this.
•Last Word is Niger Delta Report’s verdict on Southsouth affairs
Bakassi in the news again Obutong, Bakassi Local Government Area of the state. The Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs is handling the construction of the almost completed housing units. The Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, Etim Okon-Edet, and a former Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, see no sense in the meeting called by the minister. Both were not part of the meeting. The monarch’s position is that the minister met with the wrong set of stakeholders. This, he said, was done deliberately to further cause confusion among the unsettled Bakassi indigenes. The monarch was quoted by the interviewer to have said: “It is insulting for the minister to say that he came to meet with stakeholders from Bakassi. Our state is well organised and I am sure the government was not aware of his visit. It would not have been government who asked him to meet with those unknown people. “This is how they cause problems without doing the proper thing. He should respect the traditional institution. In the whole of Nigeria, Ita-Giwa and I, among others, are known stakeholders from Bakassi, yet a meeting to share housing units took place and we were not informed. “Let us see how they are going to share the housing units. I left my palace in the ceded
Bakassi Peninsula and it was the best in Cross River State then, I did not take anything out from it, yet they want to continue to cheat us. Maybe the minister wants to cause further problems in Bakassi.” Ita-Giwa’s lines were not parallel to the monarch’s. “I do not know how they found the stakeholders without getting in touch with those they already know are associated with Bakassi,” she said. The sharing formula the minister’s consultation produced is that displaced Bakassi persons will be allotted 40 per cent ,which translates to 14 housing units. Widows/widowers will get 15 per cent (six units), 15 per cent (six units) is also reserved for the aged/ disabled persons. Adjoining community are alloted 15 per cent (six units), married youth are to get 10 per cent (four units) and six per cent (two units) will be allotted on discretion. Whose discretion? It was not stated, but most likely, the minsiter’s. What is clear is that there is no clousre on the Bakassi matter over a decade after the peninsula became part of Cameroun. The people deserve better than living as second class citizens in camps scattered across Calabar.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Council, Ohanaeze seek peace at Ladipo market
HE Chairman, Mushin Local Government Area, Hon. Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan, has expressed his readiness to work with the umbrella body of Igbos to maintain peace at the Ladipo Auto Spare parts market. He said this when the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo of Lagos, Chief Fabian Onwuhalu paid him a courtesy visit. He said: “I am happy to see that a body that can bring about peaceful co-existence between the government and the traders has been established; looking at the calibre of individuals that make up the Ohanaeze Lagos, the perennial problems and the misunderstanding between
By Bode Monogbe
Mushin Local Government and some traders within the market can be better handled by the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo before they escalate. Continuing, he said: “Igbo are very industrious, reliable and dependable but some of them find it difficult to obey simple instruction, hence they run foul of the law. Until recently, in one of the sections within the Ladipo market, government‘s money was being diverted to private purses. It took the intervention of government at all levels to curb the anomalies. ‘’We have signed Memorandum of Un-
derstanding with the traders; that is, between the Ministry of the Environment, the traders and the local government on sanitation, parking, security, and others.” He said once all the points agreed upon are respected, nobody will disturb the traders. The president of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo group thanked the chairman for hosting the group. He appealed to him to use his good offices to ensure that Ladipo market does not experience constant closure. He charged Igbo living in Mushin to respect constituted authorities and avoid internal bickering and acts capable of bringing division among them.
Firm offers pocket-friendly tablet
UMIA, Nigeria’s largest online retail store is offering one of the best phone tablets in the market at the lowest price. Recently, the online store has seen an increase in users of phone tablets to access various websites, especially Jumia. The phone tablet serves as the fastest way to communicate and access the Internet. The store, therefore, is offering the most affordable pocket size tablet with the latest version of the X-touch tablet series, PL71. The PL71 series comes in various colors with the latest android operating system 4.0, 2G, WIFI, 512MB ram, 8 GB storage space, HDD and Bluetooth. It is also able to make phone and video calls. It can also be used to access Facebook, Skype, Twitter and many more. The X-touch is one of the best tablet brands available in Nigeria with premium specifications to fit a wide range of tablet users. The X-touch is available in a range of different models with numerous functions from WIFI, a long battery life, inbuilt video call compatibility, fast Internet and much more. Chie executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria, Jeremy Doutte, said: “The X-touch is one of our bestsellers in the computing category; it also displays a great quality with technology and innovation. The X-touch is suitable for everyone from students to working class and children; the most affordable high quality tablet in Nigeria is available on Jumia.com.” The X-touch PL71 is the most affordable and durable tablet in Nigeria, exclusive to Jumia.
Dubai’s Emaar plans $2.5b listing of shopping mall unit
• From left: Chief Onwutialu; Hon Adepitan; Eze Ndigbo of Mushin, Eze John Nwosu; Council Manager, Mr Rasak Oladimeji and Lady Chinwe Dike during the visit.
Campari rewards distributors with cars
HE sole distributor of Campari in Nigeria, Brian Munro Limited, has rewarded outstanding distributors for their loyalty. The awards held at the De Renaissance hotel, Ikej, Lagos with many dignitaries from the industry in attendance. The firm’s Marketing Manager, Mr. Abayomi Ajao, said: “The Campari Distributor’s Award is aimed at showing appreciation and encouraging distributors to continue their unwavering loyalty to Campari, a World Class brand.” “The Campari brand is not only focused on selling, but also on giving magical moments to its valued customers, distributors and marketers.”
The awardees expressed joy for the recognition. Mr. Onyenanu, a distributor, said: “I am glad to be recognised and rewarded this day by the Campari Group. ‘’This shows that the Brian Munro team truly appreciate and value our efforts in promoting and selling Campari.” He won the Campari Overall National Awards with a Brand New Kia Sportage. Another distributor, Mrs. Odegbami, expressed her excitement on receiving her award, stating that the Campari brand is of great quality and it’s one of her best sellers. Highlights of the event were the presentation of brand new cars to eight outstanding distributors of Campari
across the country by the Managing Director of Brian Munro Limited, Mr. Paul Wilson while guests were treated to an evening of good music, delightful cuisine and an amazing taste of Campari cocktails. The Campari Distributors Award is an yearly event and has over the years created excitement and fulfilment for its distributors. Campari is a contemporary and charismatic classic alcoholic liqueur solely distributed by Brian Munro Limited in Nigeria. Most often served as cocktails (mixed with soda, juice, beer and or stout). Campari is obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruits in alcohol and water.
• From left: Senior Scientist, Nestle Research Swizzerland, Dr Kinmo Nakienen; Paediatrician Endocrinologist, Providence Hospital Ikeja, Dr Dorothy Esangbedo and Guest Speaker Dr Adiniyi Oluwafunmilayo at the Infantile Colic Probiotics, a Novel Therapeutic Strategy Symposium sponsored by Nestle Nutrition held in Lagos. PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA
UBAI’s Emaar Properties said it would sell up to 25 per cent of its shopping mall and retailing unit in a public offer expected to raise eight to nine billion dirhams ($2.18 - $2.45 billion), making it one of the region’s largest equity offers since 2008. The proceeds “will be primarily distributed as dividend” to Emaar shareholders, Dubai’s biggest listed real estate developer said in a statement on Saturday, without giving a timetable for the offer. The shares to be sold will come from the unit’s current equity. Dubai-listed Emaar’s flagship mall is the Dubai Mall, one of the largest in the world, which it says attracted more than 75 million visitors in 2013. The firm also built the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building. The listing plan underlines Dubai’s recovery from its financial crisis, which erupted in 2009. Before the crisis, Emaar talked about listing its shopping mall operations but was forced to put the plan on hold as the emirate’s real estate and stock markets collapsed. Both markets are rebounding strongly on the back of inflows of foreign money, with residential property prices up over 20 per cent last year and Dubai’s main equity index rallying about 140 per cent since the end of 2012. Emaar is 31 per cent-owned by the Dubai government, which is set to earn a dividend of about $750 million from the listing - an important windfall since Dubai and its government-related firms face tens of billions of dollars of debt maturities in the next few years, a legacy of the crisis. The malls and retailing unit posted revenue of 2.8 billion dirhams last year, up over 20 per cent from 2012, while its gross operating profit increased 20 percent to 2.2 billion dirhams, Emaar said. The firm’s total revenues last year were 10.3 billion dirhams. More than 55 per cent of the company’s revenues currently come from its shopping malls and retail, hospitality and leisure, and international operations, Emaar said, indicating that more subsidiaries would be listed eventually. “The Board decided that listing of various Emaar subsidiaries, with a view to creating independent companies with their own growth strategies and management structures, was imperative to achieve Emaar’s long-term growth strategies. “In the future, listing of other relevant subsidiaries will also be considered as and when appropriate,” it said.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
WHO, expert warn against untreated W wastewater ASTE water can be hazardous if it gets into food, the immediate past, Chairman, Federation of African Nutrition Societies, Prof Tola Atinmo and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have said. He said, if untreated, wastewater, which comes mainly from factories and hospitals, is dangerous to plants. According to him, the crops could be harmful because they will accumulate microbes and bacteria from the sewage. He expressed concern that infectious diseases carried in polluted water can be transferred to vegetables, saying that even if one cleans vegetables carefully, it will be hard to neutralise the microbes. This, then, creates conditions in which infectious diseases can spread. He advised farmers against using wastewater to irrigate farms’ fields as it may present public health risks to others. According to international reports, farmers, particularly small
Stories by Daniel Essiet
landholders, have taken to using sewage water to increase crop productivity. Agricultural experts say that wastewater is fast becoming a cheap alternative to expensive fertiliser. Agriculturists contend that the use of effluent has increased crop yields by up to 25 per cent. Given such claims, most small farmers prefer wastewater for vegetable fields in place of expensive pesticides and fertilisers. The farmers added that tube well irrigation is fast becoming a ‘dream’ for agriculturalists because of the high price of fuel needed to power them. The use of wastewater lessens the cost of production by about 40 per cent. Sewage contains certain essential
nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, which are essential to crops growth. The WHO has warned that the use of sewage for irrigation is a threat to health. It said‘food poisoning’ complaints arise when people consume food from land irrigated by polluted water, adding that such products bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins and carcinogens; along with the nutrients that attract farmers to their use. The global organisation noted that the incidence of such diseases increases when vegetable crops are fed with wastewater and pesticides. Farmers using wastewater fail to follow minimum standards for safety requirements for foods meant for consumption. WHO added that wastewater used to irrigate agricultural crops
may contribute to public health risks, such as diarrheal disease in children from rotavirus. A new study of these risks found that wastewater used to irrigate vegetable plots in Asian countries poses health risks that may exceed WHO guidelines. The authors recommend that stricter wastewater regulation may be needed to protect the health of farmers and consumers worldwide. A new study of these risks found that wastewater used to irrigate vegetable plots in Asian countries poses health risks that may exceed WHO guidelines. The new findings are coming at a time the climate change and increasing population pressure requires the development of methods to produce more food with fewer irrigation resources. Wastewater reuse is an economical method to grow food, but wastewater carries microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and protozoa that can contaminate food and cause disease. Asia accounts for the majority of the world’s reuse of
wastewater in irrigation, and given that China is the world’s most populous country, millions of people may be exposed to health risks from contamination. However, normal cooking temperatures and food preservation strategies can reduce the risks posed by microorganisms and viruses.
Expert seeks fair deal for farmers, consumers
•Mrs Sokefun presenting a cheque to a beneficiary Mr Kazim at the event. With them are Adejobi (left) and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Lanre Bisiriyu.
Ogun pays N20m compensation to farmers T HE Ogun State Government has paid N20 million compensation to farmers whose crops were affected by some infrastructure development. About N20 million was paid to 151 farmers in Itoku Elewe Irepodun Community in Kobape, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the state. The farms of the beneficiaries were affected by a new housing scheme to be located in the area. Presenting the cheques to farmers in the first 50-hectare land acquired, Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun said the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration was passionate about agricultural development and would have not tampered with their crops. She, however, said the government had to take the painful decision of taking over the farmlands because it was necessary, saying the scheme would help
open up the area and attract more people that would enhance their socio-economic status. “We are very much aware that your crops are important to you, and we know that farming is your major source of income, as matter of fact, agricultural development for food production and industrialisation remains one of our five cardinal programmes, but we also need the land to pursue another cardinal programme, housing. At the end of the day, it would be a win-win situation as the housing scheme would bring in people, engender further development and ultimately, enhance socio-economic status,” Sokefun said. She enjoined them to make judicious use of the money given to better their lots and that of their respective dependants. Also speaking while present-
ing another batch of cheques, her counterpart in the Ministry of Housing, Mr. Daniel Adejobi said the scheme could improve the living standards of the farmers as it would attract infrastructure such as roads networks, power supply and potable water. He added that the massive population that will move to the area would be a ready market for their farm products, noting that they may not need to take their produce too far before they are sold. He urged them to support the state government as it was moving to implement its mission to rebuild, promising that soon, similar compensation would be paid to farmers in the second phase. Responding on behalf of recipients, Baale of the Community, Alhaji Waheed Afolabi, lauded the government for fulfilling its promise to the farmers, pledging their support for programmes of the government.
CALL has been made for the establishment of an electronic infrastructure to ensure a fair deal for farmers and consumers. The Director, Cassava Adding Value to Africa, Dr Kola Adebayo, said the sector needed electronic monitoring to promote fairness in the food chain, by tacklíng dominant positions, unfair commercial and contractual practices and late payments. He said there should be penalties and a complaint mechanism should be put in place to discourage unfair behaviour by market players and monitor relations between producers and retailers. He said the sector needs a mechanism to create an “observatory” of farm prices and margins, urging for legislation to limit dominant market positions at every stage of the supply chain, “including the food processing industry and retailers. On the low uptake of of biotech food crops,Adebayo attributed this to lack of awareness and stiff re-
sistance, adding that the nation is still laying behind on the t adoption of agricultural biotechnology. He said lack of awareness and a constrained regulatory environment had also slowed down the uptake of agricultural biotechnology. He said there is a need to conduct more research to enhance the uptake of agricultural biotechnologies. He said it was important for the country to participate in international biotechnology profiling to enhance collaboration and strengthen the country’s research capacity. The development of agricultural biotechnology has proceeded amid public controversy over the ethics of genetic manipulation and the required level of regulation. Claims about the promise of new technology have been greeted with scepticism, vilification or opposition by anti-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) activists. Debates on GMOs have often been dominated by slander, innuendo and misinformation, he added.
UN gets report on broken food systems
HE United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur, Olivier De Schutter has warned that food systems are efficient only from the point of view of maximising agribusiness profits and must be radically and democratically redesigned. He spoke at the presentation of his final report to the UN after a six-year term. He said: “At the local, national and international levels, the policy environment must urgently accommodate alternative, democratically-mandated visions. “Objectives such as supplying diverse, culturally-acceptable foods to communities, supporting smallholders, sustaining soil and water resources, and raising food security within particularly vulnerable areas, must not be crowded out by the one-dimensional quest to produce more
food,” De Schutter said. “Of course, significant progress has been achieved in boosting agricultural production. But this has hardly reduced the number of hungry people,” he said. The report highlights the importance of demand-side issues. It suggests mitigating the negative impacts of industrial production by discouraging the increase in demand for meat, encouraging methods such as rethinking taxes and subsidies to “discourage the most polluting modes of production and to encourage the shift from ruminants to poutry for a more efficient conversion of cereals into meat protein” or improving land and manure management. It also stresses the need to improve the efficiency of food systems by reducing waste and loss, which has been estimated at about one third of the total produced for human consumption.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Despite doing about 66 per cent of cocoa work, women earn only 10 per cent of its income. They are also financially excluded and discriminated against when they apply for loans, leaving them poor. The Farmers Development Union (FADU) plans to come to their aid. DANIEL ESSIET reports.
Empowering cocoa farmers to reduce poverty, boost food security M ANY small-scale farmers and their families depend on cocoa for a living. One of them is Mrs Martha Ade (not real name). Because cocoa grows well in her area, it is the main cash crop for some farmers. In the past, income from cocoa has helped them to feed and meet their basic needs. But not so now. Mrs Ade earns little income because of poor quality of the produce and limited access to markets. Most times, the price they received from their cocoa is low. Those who work like contract farmers accept low pay because of the low prices offered by middlemen who visit their farms. Most women farmers were cheated on the weight of their product, and the price they received for it is too low to meet their needs. Other women found that they could no longer make a living from cocoa. Some of the farm plots are small with ageing trees that are becoming less productive. As farmers, they did not meet certain necessary requirements, such as owning assets. This lack of knowledge and understanding is further compounded by gender discrimination limiting women’s options. There are many families, whose situations are terrible and need change. How to resolve this has drawn the attention of the Farmers Development Union (FADU), a leading farmers’ cooperative in Ibadan. In response, the group organised a stakeholders’ workshop. It was aimed at bringing about improvement in women, particularly the poorest. It also focused on mainstreaming gender justice, improving cocoa quality, promoting the national and local markets and diversify livelihoods to reduce over supply and vulnerability. Addressing a gender sensitive cocoa workshop in Ibadan, the Programme Coordinator of FADU, Mr Victor Olowe said women do much of the work in the industry, but earn small income. They experience higher financial exclusion and are discriminated against when they apply for loans. Since they cannot access the capital to invest, they are trapped in a cycle of poverty and subsistence living. As a result of this appalling condition coupled with the economic situation in the country, Olowe said many local women, who engaged in farming, live in abject poverty and remain vulnerable. He also said without land rights, women, as cocoa farmers are vulnerable, unable to take responsibility for their well-being and that of their children. Such rights and opportunities, he noted, empower women, enhancing their status and food long-term security. He explained that crop’s production is, particularly, good for women farmers. That is, if they have the same access to input, such as credit and fertilisers.
He added that small cocoa farmers, especially women, have poor bargaining power. They typically sell at low price to the market. To this end, he said a lot of small farmers need to be connected to better markets to boost their productivity. What FADU has done is to band them in groups, so the farmers can sell their produce in bulk, connect to better markets and realise more of the crop’s value. The groups offer a forum to improve farming skills through training and demonstration plots. And the members of business groups are better to access critical input and services, such as seeds, fertilisers, irrigation systems and credit. Another method the organisation is using to highlight the plight of women is through the Gender Action Learning System (GALS). The GALS approach represents a creative approach reaching marginalised voices in the supply chain: poor men, and especially, women. It is useful not only to non-governmental organisation ( NGOs) or development agencies, but for social audi-
• Mrs Fabunmi
tors. The Programme Officer, Women’s Empowerment Mainstreaming and Networking (WEMAN), Oxfam, John Ajigo, said cocoa production involves many households, adding that it is crucial not only to incomes of rural households, but also the national economy. As in many value chains, women are important as producers and small traders. But they face a vicious cycle of gender discrimination and gender based constraints, which limit their ability to contribute to the industry, or to benefit from it. He said his organisation used GALS with many women and men producers and other stakeholders to sensitise them on the need to get more women into cocoa work. Getting this through, give women and men in communities the drive to push gender justice. The Project Manger, FADU-Continaf Kokodola Project, Mrs Mopelola Fabunmi, said the gender action learning programme emphasises strengthening the role of women in the cocoa value chain industries and im-
proving food security in households. A participatory methodology, she explained that GALS through pictures, canvasses the inclusion of the marginalised ones in the value chain and discussion of sensitive topics such as gender equality. Ultimately, she said the visual method of drawing contributes rich data through enhanced participation,which can feed into enhanced sustainability programmes. Through the programme, she said women learned new ideas and skill, experience and activities to increase food production for consumption and income. Mrs Mopelola said her project has trained 1,600 farmers in Oyo and Osun states. She said the project is helping the farmers to access new markets, by working also with Continaf International, Dutch cocoa trading firm, ASN Bank, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and the cocoa producers, Delfi and Ferrero. But a major challenge is to increase the number of women cocoa farmers participating in the programme, about 20 per cent. Controller, Programmes, FADU, Mr Bayo Olaniyan said his organisation found women smallholder farmers make a large contribution to the production of commodity cashcrops on their farms, but derive a disproportionately low direct financial benefit from their work. He said empowering women farmers is crucial to poverty reduction, food security, and economic stability and growth.
‘It was aimed at bringing about improvement in women, particularly the poorest. It also focused on mainstreaming gender justice, improving cocoa quality, promoting the national and local markets and diversify livelihoods to reduce over supply and vulnerability’
Govt trains rural farmers on fabrication, blacksmithing
HE Federal Government has begun training young rural dwellers in tool fabrication and blacksmithing, according to Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Dr Akinwumi Adesina. The aim, he said, was to diversify means of livelihood, reduce poverty and promote development of rural areas. Adesina, represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, spoke at the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Idofian in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State at the commencement of training for states in the Southwest. He added that the trainees would be exposed to means of deriving their incomes from a diverse portfolio of activities in rural non-farm sector of the economy. The ministry in collaboration with NCAM has organised the five-day programme. Adesina said the training would help “in
From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
breaking the vicious cycle of poverty when sudden shock occur in sole food production efforts within the rural economy”. He added: “It is obvious that when the non-farm sector is encourged and supported, it is likely to boost employment opportunity in rural settings (other than food production alone)” The minister also described the training as a programme that would enhance the agricultural transformation agenda of the government saying this is so becuase “The rural youths are trained in skills to fabricate domestic/industrial parts for rural economy in the production of farm tools to support our dominant rural scale farmers in their food production efforts.” He disclosed that the ministry would put in place a monitoring mechanism to ensure sustainability of the programme through evaluation performance of those
trained. Adesina, who said some people would also benefit from the training in future, tasked the participant to take the training serious. “I specially appeal to the trainees to take the training, particularly, the practical aspect of this workshop with all seriouness and commitment as it will definately expose you to designs, drawings, foreging and fabrications that will be useful to you in this vocation for the needed transformation of our rural areas,” he stated. Director of Department of Rural Development of the ministry, M. O. Azeez said reliance on food production aspect of agriculture is key to rural development. He expressed the hope that the training would make the approach more functional. He said each of the trainees would be presented with a starter package to enable him to practise what he has learnt.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Iran oil exports show steady increase as Asia buys more
RAN exported more crude than allowed under Western sanctions for at least a fourth straight month in February, as ship loading data obtained by Reuters showed top clients again bought more than one million barrels per day (bpd) of Tehran’s oil. The rise in sales to Iran’s main clients, mostly in Asia and including Turkey, comes after an agreement that eased some of the sanctions aimed at the OPEC member’s nuclear programme. The November deal also freed up $4.2 billion in oil payments to Tehran, but it does not allow for shipments to increase. To ensure sanctions are not
breached, Washington could put more pressure on Iranian crude buyers to slash purchases in coming months to keep the average volume capped at the 1-millionbpd mark, less than half pre-2012 levels. In total, February crude loadings by Iran’s top four buyers China, India, Japan and South Korea - rose to 1.16 million bpd versus 994,669 bpd lifted in January, according to a loading plan seen by Reuters. Adding in oil lifted by Turkey which came in at 105,824 bpd in January and 117,857 bpd in February - Tehran’s exports have
busted the sanctions limits at least since November. The loading volumes exclude condensate, a light oil, that Iran exports to China and other consumers. Ever since the 2012 sanctions were imposed, five buyers - China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey - have bought nearly all of Iranian crude exports. The intake of Iranian oil by Asian buyers alone has topped 960,000 bpd since November, government and industry data has shown, and adding in an average 100,000 bpd of crude for Turkey, the exports have breached 1 million bpd at least
The website promoting Vivescia’s sustainable brand has had two million unique visitors, with as many as 300,000 visitors per month, according to Coste. Farmers growing Respect’in wheat cut use of nitrogen fertilizer by an average 10 percent to 20 percent by using pulses in their rotation as well as cover crops such as mustard, according to Coste. The grain is handled separately and storage silos are not treated with insecticide, he said. The switch to more sustainable methods “fundamentally” changes how farmers work, with more time spent to measure soil and monitor crop progress, the executive said. Rather than skiing in January, farmers will be checking fields, he said. “The farmer has a little more work, that has to be remunerated,” Coste said. “For some it’s a radical change.” Using more sustainable methods started out as an experiment by seven farmers in 2007 in response to yield stagnation and societal questions about farming, according to Coste. Of the 10,000 farmers that supply grain to Vivescia, 200
have now switched to the Respect’in charter, Coste said. Vivescia’s farmers on average gathered 8.5 tons of soft wheat last year, while those using fewer inputs reaped 8.39 tons per hectare, according to Coste. Based on the small numbers of farmers, the gap is “not significant,” he said. “We have no yield loss on average, with two harvests done,” Coste said. Some brands of Vivescia’s milling unit NutriXo, which processes 1.3 million tons of wheat a year, will carry the Respect’in label, possibly by the end of the year, Coste said. The company is finalising talks with food makers about use of wheat produced under the Respect’in label, Coste said. Vivescia has 80,000 tons of wheat and barley in stock that was grown under the specifications last year and expects production of 150,000 tons this year, according to Coste. Vivescia is France’s largest grain cooperative, gathering about 3.9 million tons of grain, mainly in Champagne-Ardenne as well as neighboring Picardie, Burgundy and Ile-de-France.
French flour miller sees market for sustainable wheat
IVESCIA, France’s largest grain cooperative and flour miller, is betting wheat grown with fewer input can sell at a premium and take 20 per cent of the local foodwheat market, the Deputy Managing Director Franck Coste said. The company has drawn up a charter for more sustainable wheat that’s less strict than regulation for organic crops, and is in talks with food makers about supply contracts, Coste said in an interview in Paris last week. France uses about 5 million metric tons of wheat a year for food, data from crop office FranceAgriMer show. There’s a place for sustainable wheat between conventionally-grown wheat at 200 euros ($278) a ton and organic wheat at double the price, Coste said. “There is a third way between conventional and organic,” Coste said. “The average man or woman is ready to pay for the farmer’s work. This can take 20 percent of the French market.” Vivescia is marketing its more sustainable wheat under the Respect’in label, with specifications including a 10 percent reduction in green-house gases emissions and on-farm energy use, crop rotation requirements and lower pesticide use.
since then. With January and February loadings - for February and March arrivals - also holding above 1 million bpd, according to the document seen by Reuters this week, exports look set to breach the cap for the first quarter of the year, allowing up to three weeks for shipments to China, Japan and South Korea.
Freeport LNG’ll cause headaches for residents, says report
NEW federal report found few environmental concerns about a planned $13 billion liquefied natural gas export facility near Freeport but warns that it will cause major headaches for nearby residents. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, tasked with deciding whether the facility can be constructed and operated, found that the project’s biggest impacts won’t be pollution, but rather, the dayto-day stress for residents of a small island who will deal with years of construction in their backyard. In the preliminary environmental impact statement released, FERC said the project’s impact on bodies of water, wetlands and air quality — not to mention property values, public safety and public services — would “not be significant” if the company takes proper steps. Those include previous promises made by Freeport LNG about how it will
Advert institute marks fifth anniversary
N ADVERTISING school in Lagos,O2 Academy , has marked its fifth anniversary . Founded by Mr Ozoemena Mbanefo, it is supported by seasoned advertising professionals. At a briefing to mark the event in at Ojodu, Lagos, Mbanefo said the institute is aimed bringing out the best in students so that they can change advertising. With a tuition free policy, the school runs a sixthmonth programme. It emphases talent and passion. He said: “We are out to spur up a social change and move people particularly young ones from unemployment market.”
By Bode Monogbe
The school partners corporate organisations to absolve some of the trained students and sponsor some of its programmes. Some of the organisations include DDB, 141 Worldwide Premagnate Bluebird, MaxEdge Communications Noah Ark and Extreme Ideas. Mbanefo said space as one of the challenges confronting the institute. It limits its operations, he said. He continued: “As the programme becomes more popu-
lar ,we need bigger space to operate and a conducive atmosphere for learning. Another is how to make instructors report promptly for lectures that are almost conducted free.’’ On what the future holds for the school,Mbanefo painted a promising future, saying with resourceful instructors, young and talented students and the synergy between the school and firms, the scope of advertising would be expanded and taken to a level where unemployment among the youth, particularly, can be tackled effectively.
manage construction, as well as several dozen recommendations the agency included in its report. The report did, however conclude that “construction traffic would result in significant and unavoidable impacts on the residents” of island town of Quintana during the more than four years Freeport LNG will spend on construction. The town has 56 residents according to the 2010 Census. That statement echoes many of the concerns of residents of Quintana and nearby Freeport, who have submitted filings to the agency outlining their concerns in recent years. In those submission, residents say they worry about the potential for fires and explosions at the plant and say they fear they’ll be inundated with traffic, noise and air pollution associated with construction. At least some of those concerns appear well-founded, according to the study.
Etisalat for Nigeria summit
TISALAT Nigeria is partnering with The Economist as a platinum sponsor of the Nigeria Summit slated for March 24 and 25 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher explained that the partnership is part of the company’s commitment to assist in overcoming the country’s challenges by supporting available opportunities to ensure accelerated socioeconomic development of the country. “Nigeria is a booming economy with a vast array of talent, natural resources and human capital. As such, Nigeria’s economic growth is picking up at an exponential rate. Over the years, the Nigeria Summit has served as a platform for discussing hard-hitting and pertinent issues in a frank, forward-thinking, and solutions-providing manner.
C • The institute’s Faculty members (from left): Victor Oyerero; Mbanefo, Nneka Ezinwa, Oforma Anyianuka, Kunle Shittu, Nnenna Onyewuchi at the aniversary.
China lifted 502,500 bpd in February, again taking its purchases back to pre-sanctions levels, and rivalling the 564,536 bpd that the nation’s refiners received in January. In comparison, China imported 428,840 bpd of Iranian oil for all of 2013, according to customs data. China’s February import numbers are not due out until later this week.
This year, Etisalat Nigeria is proud to partner with The Economist to proffer solutions with a view to promoting economic growth thus ensuring social and political wealth in Nigeria,” he said. Now in its 10th year, the Nigeria Summit remains the leading conference that attracts over 350 of the most influential decision makers and leaders from the Nigerian public and private sector to x-ray the socioeconomic situation of the country. This year, the dignitaries expected to attend the summit include Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson; Director-General, Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh; Chairman, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS), Hakeem Belo-Osagie; and Special Representative of the Chinese Government for African Affairs, Zhong Jianhua.
Coal pricing may be volatile
OAL pricing is likely to become increasingly volatile in the next few years as the market absorbs a significant number of coal-fired power plant retirements that would result from the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule, a panel of power generation, experts said at the Platts Coal Properties & Investment conference in Palm Beach, Florida. “I think we’re going to see more volatility in pricing as we go forward,” said Bruce Braine, American Electric Power’s vice president of strategic policy analysis. “It’s simply a function of a combination of tighter capacity on the generation side, and we don’t have the incentives from the market for keeping marginal coal capacity online.” Braine said AEP estimates 60 GW of coal-fired generation will go offline by 2020. AEP alone will have to shut or replace 7,900 MW of coalfired capacity by 2016, he added. Emily Medine, an analyst with Arlington, Virginia-based energy consulting firm Energy Ventures Analysis, said roughly 35 GW of coal-fired retirements will haven taken place by 2015, which is the
deadline for most utilities to shut plants that don’t comply with mercury emissions standards. Medine said she expects coal consumption to fall as a result of the closures, partly from increased volatility the retirements will cause in power markets. Medine said the polar vortex and cold weather this winter proved a snapshot of what the power market might look like in the years ahead, with higher natural gas at the city-gates and soaring power prices in markets that rely more heavily on gas. “The polar vortex was the precursor,” said Medine. “I’ve thought after MATS we would move into that world with really high electricity prices, but after Q1 we’re beginning to sense the reaction that’s it’s only going to get worse when those megawatts aren’t available, and you really will have electricity shortages and higher prices.” The panel said grid reliability will likely hold up, thanks to the ability to curtail electricity usage with demand-response efforts, which should help grid operators avoid rolling blackouts.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Borno State Governor Kashim Shetima spoke with ADEOLA OLADELE-FAYEHUN in Washington DC, United States, on the insurgency in the Northeast and how to tackle the menace.
How to end insurgency in Northeast, by Shetima
HY are you in Washington DC? We are here at the invitation of the United States Institute of Peace for a three-day symposium specially organised for governors of the 19 Northern states. Because of the snow, it commenced yesterday and we’re going to round it off today. What exactly is being discussed? I believe that the whole programme is on how to come in and assist the Northern states regarding the creping insurgency, the underdevelopment that has enveloped us, and actually, it’s a very proper discussion. We crosspollinated our ideas with the American establishments, and this morning, we’re going to meet with the USAID and some other development partners to chart a new course for the North. We are glad that there’s a renewed interest in the North by the American government, and we’re going to key into it for the benefit of our people. Has the U.S disclosed its area of intervention? Well, most of our submissions are really on education, healthcare delivery, on issues of infrastructural development, on job creation, and they’re very keen on rendering a helping hand. We met actually on Sunday; myself and Governor Yuguda; with a team from the Gates Foundation. We implored them to really extend a helping hand to us in the area of agriculture. They’re doing a ‘Nitrogen to Africa’ programme in some Northern states, and we said, let them give a helping hand to the states in the Northeast because we’re conspicuously absent on the new scheme of things on that programme. What is the situation on ground in Borno? I am an eternal optimist. I believe that the worst is over, as per the crisis in Borno. There’s a renewed effort by the Federal Government, to see that the insurgency is nipped in the bud. And I can assure you once the current momentum is sustained, we shall have an enduring peace in the not too distant future. What is your reaction to the statement by Mr. President that he could pull out troops from Borno? Well, my own take on that is that I believe he said it half jokingly, he did not meant it, it is a constitutional responsibility to protect the lives and properties of the citizenry, he just said it half jokingly, and I believe he is fully committed towards establishing peace in the Northeast. What about death toll? During the last crisis on Friday, miraculously quite a number of the insurgents were killed. But, we also recorded five casualties from the innocent bystanders. Even, five is a huge num-
‘There is a lot of correlation between the poverty that has engulfed the North Eastern Region of Nigeria and the Boko Haram insurgency. Because the World Bank described the Northeast portion of Nigeria, the Republic of Chad, the Republic of Niger, and the Darfur Region of Sudan as one of the poorest places on earth. Hence, the emergency of militant organisations like the Janjaweed militia and the Boko Haram in the Northeastern Region. And I believe that, once we engage the youths, once we create jobs, this madness, this nihilism will evaporate’ • Shetima
ber. As the late Dele Giwa said, let’s not talk about numbers. One life lost in cold blood is gruesome as millions lost in a pogrom. But, it’s gratifying that only five people lost their lives, including a soldier. A lot of people believe Boko Haram was started by Northern political leaders. I’ve heard people say it’s possible that your predecessor knows about it. What is your reaction when people say this? Well, it is amazing because I believe it’s irrational and outrightly preposterous for anybody to insinuate that Northern political leaders are behind Boko Haram. Why should they be the forces behind the Boko Haram? Do they have the intent to decimate their own population? To pauperize their own brothers and sisters? It doesn’t hold water. And I believe that the Federal Government and the international communities have the apparatuses to dig down to the root of the matter. Without hauling bricks on my predecessor, I can tell you that the Boko Haram predates his coming to power. The Boko Haram insurgency actually originated in Kanamma village in Yobe State in 2001, when a group of young men went and carve out a territory for themselves and called it an Islamic territory. But, I don’t want to dwell so much, because I do not have the authority to speak on the sources and origins of the Boko Haram. But most importantly, I always emphasise on the linkage and the very high level of correlation
between poverty and insurgency. And I believe that there is a lot of correlation between the poverty that has engulfed the North Eastern Region of Nigeria and the Boko Haram insurgency. Because the World Bank described the Northeast portion of Nigeria, the Republic of Chad, the Republic of Niger, and the Darfur Region of Sudan as one of the poorest places on earth. Hence, the emergency of militant organisations like the Janjaweed militia and the Boko Haram in the Northeastern Region. And I believe that, once we engage the youths, once we create jobs, this madness, this nihilism will evaporate. How are you able to do your duties as governor in the face of this insurgency? Well, we have a mandate from the people, and leadership entails some elements of risk and courage. As the saying goes, if you can’t withstand the heat, get out of the kitchen. We have a mandate to work for the people, and we will work till the last drop of our blood to see that we have enhanced the quality of lives of our people. How exactly can citizens asist in curbing Boko Haram? People like you, especially those of you in the diaspora, can assist us in terms of linkages as per education and as per healthcare delivery. With regards to agriculture, from here, we’re going to Nebraska to visit some key places and irrigation sites, I believe the wealth of knowledge and opportunities and possibili-
ties at your disposal will come in handy in assisting us towards overcoming the current challenges we’re facing. Is it true that Boko Haram is actually coming from Chad? You cannot rule out the possibility that the crisis in Chad, the crisis in Mali and, of course, the crisis in Libya might have cascaded down to our own part of the world. Maiduguri is very close to some of the hottest spots in Africa. Though the roads are bad, with a good car and some little determination, if you leave Maiduguri in the morning, by night probably, you can reach South Sudan. So, definitely because of our proximity to some of the troubled spots, Bangui, Central Africa, Libya, only Niger separates us from Libya. So, I believe there’s a proliferation of wild arms and ammunitions and it has affected us negatively. No doubt about it. Do you believe Boko Haram members are being sponsored? You cannot rule out the possibility of some hands behind the whole crisis. But, I am strongly of the opinion that the Boko Haram, which has degenerated more into a cult, because I believe it’s an insult, I am a Muslim, it’s a insult to the religion of Islam to categorise them as Muslims. So, they have degenerated into some sorts of cults, resorting into extortions, kidnappings, and I believe they are funding much of their activities through those barbarous activities. You cannot rule out even their involvement in drugs because they’re into anything. They have veered off course; they’re more of a gang of criminals, nihilist, of lunatics, hell bent on inflicting pain and destruction on the people. They have been kidnapping people and extorting money. Would you say they have sponsors in Nigeria? I do not want to pass judgment on who their sponsors are or where they hail from. But, the only thing I can tell you is that, they are largely a set of sustaining entity. They extort money from people; they’re kidnapping people for ransom, and largely sponsor their activities through the proceeds of such illicit activities. And you cannot even dismiss their involvement in drugs. That’s my own perception and honestly, I don’t want to dwell on issues that I don’t have an authority or pass judgment on people or say that X, Y, Z, are the sponsors of Boko Haram. What practical things will you put in place after this meeting in the US? Certainly, we hope that, with the renewed attention the United States on Nigeria, especially on Northern Nigeria, I believe a lot of goodies will come out of this visit.
2015: Southern Taraba endorses Kente for governorship
OUTHERN Taraba stakeholders have endorsed the Chairman of DSK Foundation, Chief David Sabo Kente, as their consensus candidate for the governorship election. The businessman was presented to reporter in Wukari, Taraba State, after the resolution on
consensus candidacy passed by the leaders of the Southern Taraba National Congress. The groups’s spokesman, Chief Jibrin Anfani, said Kente was chosen after a careful examination of all aspirants from the zone. Anfani, who is also the Wukari Traditional Council’s spokesman, urged the stakeholders to eschew bitterness and support the zone in its bid to produce the governor. He said that since the North and Central districts have produced the governors 10 and eight years, power should shift to the South District next year. Anfani said: “That was why the elders and youth groups from the Southern Taraba came together at Wukari to pick the aspirant that best represents their collective interest, aspiration and vision, and at the end of a rigorous process that lasted several hours where all aspirants who had shown interest in the office were all
‘The southern part of the state is the only region that has never tasted power, since the creation of Taraba State 25 years ago and it is believed that, in the interest of justice equity and fairplay, other zones should support his candidature as he is the one that has been chosen to represent the zone’ grilled, one of them, Chief David Sabo Kente, an industrialist, and philanthropist was chosen to lead all Southern Taraba at the polls.” He added: “I therefore, urge all Tarabans to eschew bitterness and support the choice of their friends and brothers from the southern part of the state in the interest of peace, unity, justice and fairness.” Anfani described Kente, who retired as a Deputy Director in the National Assembly Commission, as a consummate public servant, politician and a detribalised Nigerian, who is ready to move the state forward. He assured that the aspirant will unite
the three zones and protect the interest of the state. Anfani said that Kente’s emergence as the candidate will calm political tension triggered by the power tussle between Governor Dambaba Suntai and his deputy, Alhaji Garba Umar. He said Kente has no blemish, adding that his records as a public servant, businessman and community leader are clean. Anfani described the selection as a watershed in the annals of Southern Taraba politics. He said the zone has always lost out to other zones due to lack of unity among its diverse
tribes and warring elders. Anfani urged Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) and other notable elders to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the people’s choice is adopted by the Presidency as the PDP flag bearer in the next year’s election. He added: “The southern part of the state is the only region that has never tasted power, since the creation of Taraba State 25 years ago and it is believed that, in the interest of justice equity and fairplay, other zones should support his candidature as he is the one that has been chosen to represent the zone.” Anfani commended Acting Governor Alhaji Umar for keeping faith with the policies and programmes of his boss. He urged him to take this to the logical conclusion by supporting ailing Suntai’s gentleman’s agreement to transfer power to the South District in 2015.
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100. PREAMBLE The Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution made a Public Announcement in the National Dailies, including the Punch Newspaper of Sunday, May 6th 2012, that it has commenced the processes of further amendment to the Provisions of the 1999 Constitution and therefore called on the general Public, Civil Society Organisation, Professional bodies and other interested groups to submit memoranda on the following issues: (i) Devolution of Powers; (ii) Creation of more States; (iii) Recognition of the Six Geo-Political Zones in the Constitution; (iv) Role for Traditional Rulers; (v) Local Government; (vi) Taking out the following from the Constitution : (a) Land Use Act; (b) NYSC; (c) Code of Conduct; (vii) Fiscal Federalism; (viii) Amendment of Provisions relating to Amendment of the Constitution, State Creation and Boundary Adjustment – to remove ambiguities; (ix) Immunity Clause; (x) Nigeria Police; (xi) Judiciary; (xii) Executive; (xiii) Rotation of Executive Office; (xiv) Gender and Special Group; (xv) Mayoral Status for the Federal Capital Territory Administration; (xvi) Residency and Indigene Provisions. In response to this, the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, directed that the State of Osun, being one of the Federating States in Nigeria, should contribute immensely to the debate by constituting the State Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution to aggregate the views of Osun citizens. After its inauguration, the Committee conducted a 3-day public hearing having received numerous memoranda and materials with respect to reviewing of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). This report, therefore, represents various memoranda, views, agitations, research and publication of various groups, community leaders, individuals, scholars, traditional rulers, Jurists etc in the State of Osun. 101. DEVOLUTION OF POWER The subject matter of Devolution of Powers in Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Second Schedule, Parts (i and ii)generated interesting proposals from prominent individuals and associations in the State of Osun. Virtually all memoranda submitted are in agreement as regards reduction of powers allocated to the Federal Government in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Basic facts that can be deduced from these memoranda are summarized thus: 1. Constitutional recognition should be given to geo-political zones/regions. 2. That the geo-political zones or regions should be the Federating Units 3. That the geo-political zones/regions should be created using such parameters as culture, land, nationality and political expediency 4. More powers should be taken away from the centre to the Federating Units. 5. That matters bordering on the collective interest of the generality of Nigerians like Foreign Affairs, Defence, Currency, among others, should be left with the Central Government. 6. A true Federal administration based on parliamentary system of government should be entrenched. 7. Amendment of the Constitution should include a clause for self-determination. 8. The National Assembly should be bi-camera but election to the House of Representatives should reflect extant Electoral Act incorporating Justice Uwais Panel reports in its entirety. 9. Senators should be on part-time basis and receive sitting allowances only which should be determined by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RAMFAC)while the salary and emoluments of members of the House of Representatives should not be higher than that of the most senior public servant in the employment of the central government. 10. That each Region, when constitutionally recognized, should be allowed to
12. 13. 14.
make its own Constitution. In view of the above, chapter 1 of the 1999 Constitution should be amended to make the Constitution supreme in areas allocated to the Central Government.However, if our proposal on devolution of power is accepted, then it will affect all other provisions of the 1999 Constitution which is essentially unitary in nature, orientation and philosophy to take care of heterogeneous nature of Nigerian society. In the event of any inconsistency or conflict between the laws of the Geopolitical Zones or Regions and that of Central government, it should be resolved by the Central Supreme Court. The right to self determination should be guaranteed by the Constitution. In place of Section 3 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides for the 36 States of the Federation, only the Geopolitical Zone/ Regions should be listed which political Zones/ Regions have been informally recognized by the people of Nigeria. The only issue to resolve is power and responsibility to be allotted to each zone Section 4 of the Constitution should be preserved with a caveat that chapter V of the Constitution which contains Sections 47 to 89 should reflect the position of the people of the State of Osun that the geo-political zone/region should nominate Senators to Senate of the Central Government..
102. CREATION OF MORE STATES Rather than creating more states, existing ones should be synergized into regions which will allow them tap each other’s resource and strength for faster growth. This position, we hold in recognition of our agitation for Geo-political Zone and devolution of power. 103. RECOGNITION OF SIX GEO-POLITICAL ZONES IN THE CONSTITUTION Nigeria is at present a strange federal arrangement of 36 Federating units. Power is over concentrated in the centre and radiates from there to the States, at the pleasure of the Federal Government. Resources allocation formula tilts unjustifiably in favour of the centre, breeding wastes, corruption, ineptitude and under-development of the constituent States. The cause of true federalism would be well and truly served if we return to the pre1966 evolutionary path: i.e a balanced Federal structure which recognizes fully the legitimate claims of all these groups for self determination, and where no single entity among the federating units will be strong or powerful enough to hold the others to ransom, but where each of the federating units is large enough both in terms of size and population as well as of resources, to be viable, self-reliant and dynamic. Arising from various different positions and strong argument canvassed for each position in the Memoranda to juxtapose this positions with other views in materials available, we recommend that the new amendment to the Constitution makes provisions to recognize the following Zones as Constituent Units of the Nigerian Federation. NORTH WEST ZONE - (Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano and (1) Kaduna States) NORTH CENTRAL ZONE – (Plateau, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kogi, (2) Niger and Benue States) NORTH EAST ZONE – (Yobe, Bornu, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba and (3) Bauchi States) SOUTH WEST ZONE – (Oyo, Ogun. Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos States) (4) SOUTH EAST ZONE – (Imo, Enugu, Anambra, Abia and Ebonyi States) (5) SOUTH SOUTH ZONE – (Cross Rivers, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, Delta (6) and Bayelsa States) We are of the strong conviction that the present 36 States cannot, properly speaking, be the Constituent Units of the Nigerian Union as they were not arrived at on the basis of any rational, cultural, linguistic, political or economic parameters but were largely products of whims, caprices and hegemonic designs of privileged past Heads of State or Presidents (as the case may be) who used their position to the advantage of their people. We therefore hold the position and recommend the adoption of Regional or Zonal Structure. These regional or zonal structures should be accorded Constitutional recognition. Each Region/Zone should have its own Constitution or be constitutionally empowered to enter into such agreements on administrative,
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014 economic and other activities as may be approved by their State Houses of Assembly. 104. ROLE OF TRADITIONAL RULERS In view of the fact that traditional institutions must be respected as the custodian of custom and culture of the people and because of the historical and cultural values bestowed on the traditional institutions which must at all time be protected, the call for Constitutional role for traditional rulers is unnecessary and uncalled for. This is because the jurisdiction of each traditional ruler is restricted to his Local Government Area or a part thereof with respect to their majesties. However, Nigeria being a multi ethnic, multi cultural country which precludes it from having a unified traditional system, It is therefore, submitted that the Federal Constitution should NOT accord/include any role for the traditional Institution. At best, each State House of Assembly should, in pursuance of its residual power, make such laws as it may deem fit to accord honor and specific responsibility to its traditional institutions. 105. LOCAL GOVERNMENT The creation, administration and control of local Government should be left to the States Houses of Assembly whether geo-political zone/region is recognized or not. 106. TAKING OUT THE FOLLOWING FROM THE CONSTITUTION: (A) LAND USE ACT- The current Land Use Act which was enshrined in the constitution by its military authors should be repealed, while customary forms of land ownership shall be adopted by each Region/Zone. (B) NYSC - National Youth Service Scheme which was established in 1973 had made tremendous positive impact in Nigeria and on our youths in the area of National integration, cultural exposure, social and marriage interaction and of course employment opportunities. However, from memoranda submitted, the general view is that the scheme be retained but to be strongly re-structured so as to bring back the lost glory. We equally adopt this position and recommend that the security of the Corps members be taken as a paramount consideration by the Government. The non professionalCorps members be allowed to learn a trade or skills during the service year to allow them to be independent and self employed after the programme. In addition, we recommend that the lives of Corps members be insured and be allowed to serve within their Geo-political Zone/Region. (c) CODE OF CONDUCT - Just like the Land Use Act and NYSC, the Code of Conduct Bureau established by Section 153 of 1999 Constitution with noble and lofty objectives of checking tendency of Public office holders who abuse their positions or offices. By the evidence and argument of different opinions in the memoranda, we recommend that Code of Conduct be retained in the Constitution. We propose further that new amendment be made to stipulate what should be the Code of Conduct and retained penalties for non observance/compliance of same. 107. FISCAL FEDERALISM Views on Fiscal Federation are based on Power Devolution agenda. The general opinion is that each geo-political zone should control its resourceswith certain percentageas may be determined by the Zone to Central Government. That all manners of taxes,including VAT, shall be the exclusive preserve of the geo-political zone/region except those dealing directly with matters relating to Central Government. 108. AMENDMENT OF PROVISION RELATING TO AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION, STATE CREATION AND BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT – TO REMOVE AMBIGUITIES. Recognition of geo-political zone/region will ease ambiguity and difficulties associated with amendment of the constitution, state creation and boundary adjustment as each geo-political zone/region will have its own constitution, to determine the viability of the state and of course negotiate boundary issues with neighboring zone/ region or may be referred to the Central Supreme Court, as the case may be. The process of amendment in Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution is cumbersome. We recommend that the National Assembly should have major power of amending the Constitution and leave the residual power to the State Assembly. 109. IMMUNITY CLAUSE – SECTION 308(1), (2) AND 3 (AS AMENDED) The 1999 Constitution exempts certain categories of public officers from prosecution while in office. PUBLIC OFFICER AFFECTED:- This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor and the reference in this Section to “period of office” is a reference to period of office the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office. The view of the people is that Section 308 (1), (2) and (3) should be retained in its present form as contained in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). REASON(S):- This section and sub sections have not conferred a wholesale immunity on the persons holding the office but only as at the period they are incumbent of the offices. The provisions are only related to President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor. The provisions on immunity do not affect the other officers
45 of the Government and also the Legislative arm of the Government. The purpose of the provision is that removing the immunity clause could distract the President, Vice President State Governors and their Deputies as opposition parties or mischievous individuals could institute criminal charges against them thereby distracting the due functions of the President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governors. IMPLEMENTATION:- The present provisions on immunity had been enforced on the holders at their exit from office – such cases included Joshua Dariye (Plateau) DepriyeAlamesiagha (Bayelsa) James Ibori (Delta) and Lucky Igbinedion (Edo). The opinion of our people is that this section be retained but will wish to comment on the implementation by investigation authorities on the due enforcement of the provisions – (i) The investigations should not wait until the exit of the affected officials. (ii) The trial should not be allowed to be prolonged over so many years as in the recent cases. (iii) The plea bargain should follow the British type where the guilty shall not only be allowed to forfeit the ill-gotten wealth but should also be made to serve terms of imprisonment as provided under the law. 200. NIGERIA POLICE - Section 214 (10 and (2), Section 215 (1), (2), (3) and (4) The issues agitating the minds of individual are whether the Policing System in Nigeria should be controlled by the Central Government or Regional Government. The agitation for a State Police is borne out of the present ineffectiveness of the Federal Police to provide Security and other malfeasance perpetrated by the Police in their discharge of their Constitutional duties. HIND SIGHT:- The establishment or the provision of a Federal Police is borne out of the fact that in the previous years during the Nigeria Constitutional evolution, there then existed then: (i) Local Government Police in the Southern States and (ii) Native Authority Police in the North. The atrocities perpetrated by these established State Police made the government of that time to disband the entire Local Government Police and the Native Authority Police. Although, they were made to be trained by the Nigeria Police. LEVEL PLAY GROUND:- There is no friction on the performance of the Police vis-à-vis the State where they do operate – However, by section 215 (4) of the 1999 Constitution where a Commissioner of Police will – (i) have the audacity to decline to enforce the instruction of the State Governor who is the Chief Security Officer of the State; (ii) Invade the territory of a State Governor as an army of occupation contrary to the wishes of the State Governor; (iii) Performing act and other authorized duties that are inconsistent to the directives of the State Governor and (iv) Several infractions of the Law which are not in conformity with the wishes of the State – as was done in Lagos during the workers protest. The opinion of the people of Osun is as follow: (a) The removal in its entirety the proviso relating to the provisions of section 215 (4) of the 1999 constitution. (b) That each Region be allowed to establish its own Police Force that will operate and be subject to the directives of the Regional Inspector General of Police in the Region who derives his powers from the Regional authorities. 201. JUDICIARY:- Section 6,(1) – (5) (a) – (k). Section 230, Section 237 – 284. The 1999 Constitution (as amended) vested the Judicial powers of the Federation in the Courts Section 6(1), the State Judicial Power (Section 6 (2)) and from Sections 237 – 284 enumerated the composition and the Jurisdiction of each of the Courts. MEMORANDA:- The Committee was inundated with memoranda on this particular matter. This committee knows that the Judiciary is the last hope of the common man and wishes to recommend that a wholesome amendment may not be in the best interest of the Judiciary – issues of judicial precedents, stare decisison fundamental issues of law or fundamental legal issues might be wholesomely be distorted to the disadvantage of the Nigeria Nation. RECOMMENDATIONS:1. The Committee recommends the adoption of the present provision on the judicature or judicial system and/or including the procedure of ascendancy in the respective level of appointments and promotions. We are mindful of the powers of the NJC. 2. The Committee recommends further as follows: (a) The establishment of Court of Appeal in each State of the Federation. The State of Osun has none. (b) The expansion of the numerical strength of the Supreme Court Justices to 37 members, to provide for a Justice of the Supreme Court from each State. There is congestion in all the appellate Courts and with the introduction of additional Justices, justice will no more be delayed. (c) The establishment of a CONSTITUTIONAL COURT which will also
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be a court of record and to have jurisdiction over: Inter governmental cases, constitutional or otherwise, State vs State, State vs Federal Government or in the reverse form. (ii) Petitions arising from the elections of the President, Governors, National Assembly and State Assembly. (iii) Appeals in respect of Presidential and Governorship elections from Constitutional Court to the Supreme Court. (iv) Appeals in respect of National and State Assemblies should end up at the Court of Appeal. (v) The State Judiciary shall retain the present hierarchy of Courts and theirrespective appellate jurisdiction. This Committee deliberately does not suggest Regional High Courts or Regional Court of Appeal as the establishment of such courts are quite unnecessary for duplicity and might lower the robust legal reasoning prevailing now and give room for proliferation of courts that may end up as being political.
(vi) Appointment of High Commissioners and Ambassadors (vii) Chief of Staff (Deputy etc). The lists are not exhaustive, this Committee enumerated the above to indicate that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Executive is also vested with powers as to the execution on matters relating to: (i) Exclusive Legislative List – This is contained in Items 1 – 68 – 2nd Schedule of 1999 Constitution (as amended). (ii) Concurrent power with the State Governments under the Concurrent legislative list. Items 1 – 30 – 2nd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The committee is of theview that : (i) True Federalism is not being practiced by the Executive (ii) The Executive is over-bloated by appointments provided for in the Constitution and myriads of appointment not provided for in the constitution. (iii) The appointment of support staff for the Executive is too unwieldy with some overlapping responsibilities.
ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNALS:- The present treatment on the treatment of Election Petition should be maintained pending the establishment of a Constitutional Court which will operate as a Federal Institution with the ranking of a Court of Appeal and appeal will lie to the Supreme Court.
The committee therefore recommends as follows: (a) That the appointment of Ministers, Special Advisers and other appointments not provided in the Constitution be pruned down considerably. (b) The Exclusive LegislativeList should relate to matters of National Interest and Concurrent List should be expanded to allow State Governments to have control over matters within their domain. (c) The Oransanye Committee Report should be implemented without any further delay. (d) The reports of all commissions of inquiry that were set up in the past and in the very immediate past by the government particularly as they concern those who have in one way or the other truncated the fortunes of this country and which have remained in the custody of the government. The Committee recommends that a Constitutional provision be made for the implementation or issuance of White Paper on the reports for the purpose of putting into effect the report of such Commission of Enquiry.
NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT The focus on the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court has generated a heated and dangerous argument in our legal system owing to the expansive jurisdiction of the court in recently amended 1999 Constitution. RECOMMENDATION The Committee recommends the following: (a) The jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court should be limited to cases arising from wages and lock outs by Civil Servants, Public Servants but political office holders serving at State level should be handled by State High Court. (b) National Industrial Court does not have sufficient logistics to cope with its present jurisdiction which has become too unwieldy. (c) The National Industrial Court should concentrate on (i) Inter or Intra trade union disputes; (ii) Trade disputes in industries and companies simpliciter; (iii) disputes arising from wages between the Federal Government and its workers. FEDERAL HIGH COURT The Committee recommends the following: (a) Section 251 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which gives jurisdiction to the Federal High Court on matters in which the Federal Government or any of its agencies is involved should be abolished. Reason: It confers undue advantage on the federal Government as a party. Litigants should be free to initiate actions in any Federal or State High Court. (b) All disputes arising from land should be tried by State High Court. Boundary Commission (i) The Committee further recommends that the National Boundary Commission should be abolished, however, inter-State Boundary disputes should be handled by the Supreme Court. (ii) State Boundary disputes Commission should be abolished. Thence, all cases arising from inter Local Government and inter community land disputes should be handled by the State High Courts. Reason: It has been evidently established from boundary disputes cases that those Commissions do not seem to possess courage and force of law to determine the disputes thereby make the disputes last too long while parties often resort to self help, kill and main. Court of Appeal (c) It is further suggested that the Court of Appeal should be established in each State of the Federation in order to speed up adjudication. Reason: (i)Due to increased awareness, urbanization and industrialization, the volume of cases that come to court has increased tremendously. (ii) Despite the fact that the Court of Appeal, Akure, handles appeals from Osun and Ondo States, appeals lodged as far back as November 2011 have not been given dates for mention till date. 202. EXECUTIVE:- Section 5 (1) and Section 130 of the 1999 Constitution:The Executive powers of the Federation section 5 (1) shall be vested in the President and may, subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation. The Executive by the provision and duties include the appointment of (i) The Ministers. (Section 147) (ii) The Ministers of State (Section 147) (iii) The Special Advisers (Section 151) (iv) The Senior Special Advisers (v) The Chairman and members of Federal Commission and Councils. Section 153 (1)
203. ROTATION OF EXECUTIVE OFFICE:-Section 135 (1) (a) – (d) (2) (a) and (3) provide for the tenure of the Executive. The Committee observed that there is no provision in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) spelling out the issue of Rotation of Executive Office. Section 180 (1) also prescribed a four-year tenure for Governor of a State. The President and the Governor are eligible for re-election for another period of 4 years totaling 8 years. The Federal Republic of Nigeria has unconsciously accepted the informal recognition accorded to the six geopolitical zones as the basis for the zoning of Presidents and the Governorship candidates to the three senatorial districts. While a majority of Nigerians believe in the Rotation as relating to the informal 6 geo- political zones others believe in the North and South dichotomy. Notwithstanding, we have recently seen a third agitation of propounding a single year term. This committee has not found any compelling reason to support the proposed change in the 4-year renewable tenure as contained in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The six-year single term is nothing but a distraction akin to elongation of tenure as in the last quarter of the last regime in 2004/2007. This Committee believes the provisions in the 1999 Constitution relating to the fouryear tenure should remain. 204. GENDER AND SPECIAL GROUP Already, government at all levels and individual organizations have been very passionate on the issue of gender and special people. Ditto with the International donor agencies. Gender and special group should be constitutionally empowered such that the position will not be abused. The law at present does not prevent any woman from contending with any man in all sphere of life be it education, politics, farming etc. But the 30% arrangement for women can be prescribed for public offices. 205. MAYORAL STATUS FOR THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY ADMINISTRATION A cursory look at the positions in Memoranda gave us conviction that administration in the Federal Capital Territoryshould be through free and fair electoral process in addition to the current democratically managed six area councils. This is how it is done in America and other countries. 206. RESIDENCY AND INDIGENE PROVISION Experience has shown that for Nigerians to have a sense of belonging and contribute positively to the development of where he/she lives or resides and avoid inferiority complex, the present position that gives equal rights to citizens to hold political position in any part of the country irrespective of where he/she hail from be maintained. But NOT to claim to be an indigene or native of that State or community.
SIGNED: CHAIRMAN, OSUN CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMITTEE, BARR. GBADEGESIN ADEDEJI.
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AY oh Lord! The Sovereign of all dominions! You bestow power to whomever You wish and withdraw power from whomever You wish; You exalt whomever You wish and abase whomever you wish; In Your Hand lies all that is GOOD. You embed the night into the day and embed the day into the night; You bring forth the living from the dead and You bring forth the dead from the living. You grant sustenance to whomever you wish beyond all reckoning” Q. 3: 26-27 Nights are pregnant. They invariably give birth to wonders during the days. All pleasant or sad events found in the records of history are often conceived in the night. The belly of nights is a mystery that cannot be easily explained through the success or failure of human dreams. Man is a mere spectator in the environmental drama going on in the theatre of life. He only reacts to that drama randomly as it affects his interest. The main actor in that drama is the phenomenon called destiny.
FEMI ABBAS ON email@example.com 08115708536
The road to Moscow
Rein of Power In history, great empires and nations have reputation for rising to the peak of their glory at a time. They also have notoriety for falling unexpectedly to the abyss of life’s dungeon at another time when they might have reached the elasticity limit of their power wielding. And as it is with nations so it is with rulers. In this, what obtained in the past still obtains in the present. This confirms that humans are like flakes of history they rise today and fall tomorrow according to the dictates of momentary tempest. Yet the world surges ahead without looking back at them. There seems to be a striking similarity between the events and developments that precipitated the fall of the Union Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and those prevailing in Nigeria today. The two countries may not have much in common but they significantly share a destiny that pilots their affairs separately. Like the defunct Soviet Union, Nigeria was forcefully fused together as a country in 1914 and subjected to the hegemony of the British colonial empire. This year, Nigeria is said to be 100 years old in theory. But in practice, she is still a teething country crawling with her many tribes and tongues towards an unstable boat with which she wants to sail across the rough sea of life.
The Soviet Experience For the Soviet Union, the 74 years that lay turbulent between 1917 and 1991 can be described as the most electrical in the 20th century history. That period symbolised the nearest signal towards the end of human world. It was an era of blind ambition for mutual destruction between the capitalist West and the communist East of Europe through unbridled competition for unwarranted armament. It was an era that kept the existing historians of that time as busy as the bees in an active apiary. In those years, the competition between capitalism championed by the US and communism championed by the USSR was so fierce that the entire world was incessantly restive. It took only the grace of Allah to get our world propelled till date. That frightening ideological Cold War however took a dramatic turn in December 1991 when the world watched helplessly with amazement, as the great Soviet Union, suddenly crumbled like a pack of cards and amazingly disintegrated into fifteen separate countries. According to analysts “Its collapse was hailed by the West as a victory for freedom, a triumph of democracy over totalitarianism, and an evidence of the superiority of capitalism over socialism. The United States rejoiced as its formidable enemy was brought to its knees, thereby ending the Cold War which had hovered over these two
superpowers since the end of World War II. Indeed, the breakup of the Soviet Union transformed the entire world political situation, leading to a complete reformulation of political, economic and military realignments all over the globe”. What led to that monumental historical event deserves a good study but it is of less concern here than its political implication for contemporary Nigeria. Going the memory lane, one may be recall that the Soviet Union was built on approximately the same territory as the Russian Empire of yore which it succeeded. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the newly-formed government developed a Socialist philosophy with gradual and eventual transition to Communism. The philosophy was intended to overcome ethnic differences and create one monolithic state based on a centralised economic and political system. However, this State built on a Communist ideology, was later transformed into a totalitarian state in which the Communist leadership had total control. However, the project of creating a unified, centralised socialist state proved problematic for many reasons some of which are as follows: 1.The pioneer leaders underestimated the extent to which the non-Russian ethnic groups in the country (which comprised more than fifty percent of the total population of the Soviet Union) could resist assimilation into a ‘Russianised’ State. 2.The central government’s economic planning failed to meet the needs of the State, which was caught up in a vicious arms race with the United States. This led to gradual economic decline that eventually necessitated the need for reformation. 3.The Communist ideology which the Soviet Government worked hard to plant in the hearts of its populace, never took firm root because it was incompatible with the primordial economic culture with which people were familiar. Eventually, the government lost whatever influence it had originally wielded.
The Gorbachev Debacle By the time the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, rose to power in 1985, the country had slipped into a situation of severe stagnation, with deep economic and political problems which required a ‘surgical operation’ to effectively confront and overcome. Recognis-
‘To continue to pretend not to see or feel the presence of a surging furnace behind a pervading fog is to be determined to sit on a keg of gunpowder. He who rides on the back of a lion must think of how to alight from it’ ing this situation on assumption of power, Gorbachev introduced a two-tier policy of reform. One was glasnost which meant freedom of speech; the other was perestroika meaning economic reform. And based on these, Gorbachev released many political prisoners in February 1987 and called for the blank pages of Soviet history to be filled. He also renounced the Brezhnev Doctrine saying the Kremlin would no longer intervene militarily in the Eastern Bloc’s internal affairs. This was closely related interpreted to mean that the states in the Eastern bloc would become economically self-sufficient. Glasnost was the cornerstone of alleviating Cold War tensions aimed at drastically reducing Soviet military spending and creating an international reputation of a liberal leader for Gorbachev. In doing these, what Gorbachev did not realise was that by granting complete freedom of expression to the people, he was unwittingly removing the carpet of governance from his own feet. This meant that he inadvertently awakened in the people the insatiable economic yearnings and political emotions that had been bottled up for decades and could now become powerful enough to burst the bubble. Unfortunately, his policy of economic reform did not bring the immediate results which he had envisage and publicly predicted. The Soviet, haven become aggressively impatient, seized the opportunity of their newly granted freedom of speech to criticise Gorbachev for his failure to improve the country’s economy. Thus, Gorbachev’s miscalculation led to un-foretold collapse of the Soviet Union at a time when some dozens of countries around the world were looking up to USSR for rescue from the claw of Western imperialism. Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union with the intention of transforming the economy and easing Cold War tensions because he realised that the USSR could no longer compete with the United States in the Cold War arms race as its economy was far weaker than that of its rival. While surging ahead with his ‘Reformation Agenda’ of glasnost and perestroika coupled with liberalisation of the Soviet military might, Gorbachev did not realise that what actually sustained communism for a long time in Eastern Europe was the Red Army which he came neutralise. He strongly believed that with the implementation of his two newly formulated policies the USSR could allow the Warsaw Pact states to
operate autonomously without the threat of Soviet military intervention even as those countries remained allies to the Soviet Union.
Brezhnev Doctrine Hitherto, Gorbachev’s predecessor, Leonid Brezhnev’s policy towards the Eastern European Bloc, known as the ‘Brezhnev Doctrine,’ had forbidden any democratisation or economic integration with the West amongst Warsaw Pact states. And before Brezhnev, Joseph Stalin had also maintained the Eastern Bloc as Soviet’s satellite states through the threat of force. However brutal those previous policies looked, they were actually the cornerstone of the stability of Soviet’s Eastern Blocs. The main reason why the Eastern Europe remained communist and under the Soviet’s sphere of influence, was the use of the Red Army as an instrument of threat. By September of 1989 when Hungary opened its borders with Austria thereby paving way for East Germans to cross into West Germany through Austria it became obvious that communism was approaching its end. About eleven thousand East Germans thus fled the communist rule which indicated that a vivid anti-communist feeling had begun as people took to the streets to show their resentment. This culminated in the collapse of the Berlin wall on the 9th of November, 1989 and incident that eventually led to the unification of Germany and the collapse of communism. The West German population enjoyed a much higher living standard than that of the East, and therefore East Germany was willing to join West German governance. The East German thinking allowed the Chancellor of West Germany, Helmut Kohl, to reunify Germany under Western conditions. This meant a reunified Germany would join NATO and the European Community. Gorbachev planned on allowing cooperation between Europe’s capitalist and communist camps, but did not anticipate East Germany to join the capitalist camp outright. That historic unification prompted the then President George H.W. Bush of the US to openly proclaim, during a November 1990 speech in Paris, that the Cold War was over.
Conclusion For Nigeria, there are many lessons to learn from the rise and fall of the Soviet Union which cannot be taken for granted. When the Bolshevik regime led by Vladimir Lenin zoomed to power like a hurricane in 1917, hardly was it envisaged that it would end the way it did in 1991. Like the defunct Soviet Union, Nigeria is now toying with the tail of a tiger through what is called National Confab. After a seemingly unwinding economic and political rigmarole, President Goodluck Jonathan decided to grab a blind bull by the horn. He suddenly announced on October 1, 2013, the readiness of his government to organise a National Dialogue that later came to be known as National Confab. The shoddy manner in which that announcement became experimented and the lopsidedness that characterised the selection of participants in it as well as the dictatorial tendency it entailed have since polluted the environment with a stench of suspicion. Two major factors, besides ethnic and religious, are particularly militating against the Confab at this material time. One is the current fragility of the country and the freezing tension of the coming 2015 general election. The other is lack of legal backing for it. The one is as dangerous as the other. And the multifarious protests and agitations against it across the country are a confirmation of this assertion. To continue to pretend not to see or feel the presence of a surging furnace behind a pervading fog is to be determined to sit on a keg of gunpowder. He who rides on the back of a lion must think of how to alight from it. A Nigerian Gorbachev at this precarious time may be too costly for our country. God save Nigeria.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
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THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Reps challenge Okonjo-Iweala over missing N24b Pension Fund
S N24 Police Pension Fund missing? The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts believes the cash has disappeared into thin air, contrary to Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s stand. The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, insisted yesterday that the cash is missing. At the resumed hearing on the matter, the lawmaker challenged the minister to a public debate on the matter. He said she was either trying to mislead the nation or was ignorant of the details of the transactions. At yesterday’s hearing on were the Director General of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD), Mrs Nellie Mayshak,
From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja
and the representatives of the office of the Accountant General of the Federation. Olamilekan said: “We invited you people to appear before this honorable Committee on this serious transactions involving tax payers’ money running to billions of naira and the new Director- General of Pension Transitional Arrangement Department was honest enough to say that she just took over and that there was no document to back up the disbursement of the N24 billion. “We further requested for more documentation in order to get to the root of the matter only for the minister to come up with a press statement that
the money was not missing. “We challenge her to a public debate where all the media houses will be present and will be live on all television stations, so Nigerians will know whether or not the N24 billion was not missing.” Olamilekan discountenanced the documents tendered in defence of the alleged missing funds. His words: “All these documents being brandished around in defence of the missing N24 billion are fraudulent, forged and fake, which can not stand the test of the time, they have nothing to do with the missing money. “Come to think of it, the Minister claimed that the money was kept in an account in which bank and how much was the interest since it was kept in the bank? She also claimed that the money had
• From left: Country Manager West Africa, United State Trade and Development Agency, Ms. Lisa Bonnikon; Deputy Chief of Mission United States Embassy, Abuja, Ms. Maria Brewer and Head, Corporate Development and Investment, Dr. Teddy Ngu, during the USTDA grant signing between the US and Honeywell Group in Lagos…yesterday.
Nigeria may quit Joint Oil Venture with Sao Tome and Principe
• $100m projected annual revenue disappears
IGERIA has threat ened to pull out of the oil prospecting agreement with São Tomé and Principe which was signed in Abuja on 21 February, 2001, as the expected $100 million annual revenue from the venture appears unrealisable. The Joint Development Zone (JDZ) Treaty between Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of São-Tomé and Principe, saw the two countries establishing a Joint Development Authority (JDA) with headquarters in Abuja. The agreement allows joint prospecting for petroleum and other resources along the Nigeria – São Tomé and Príncipe maritime border, with Nigeria owning 60 per cent equity and São Tomé and Principe, 40 percent. But the Minister of State, Two, for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nuruddeen Mohammed, while appearing before the Hon. Abubakar Momoh-
From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja
headed House of Representatives Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa, described the venture as “frustrating.” He said the estimated $100million annual income from São Tomé and Principe Joint Venture was not forthcoming. “Frustration is setting in,” Mohammed told the lawmakers at the National Assembly, the venture which was established under optimist oil prospecting projections, has proved to be a drainpipe on the country as Nigeria has been paying the bills of the venture alone for the past five years, with no visible returns. He said for almost five years, Nigeria has been single- handedly paying the bills of the authority, adding that the project has continue for this long because São Tomé and Principe, “is
a small country of about 170,000 people, so they are more desperate for oil.” Mohammed explained that it is not likely that oil would be found in the region, saying the decision to establish the JDA was hasty and its retention should be reconsidered. “We should look again at the treaty,” adding that due to the dwindling prospects of oil in the Zone, Sao Tome and Principe has decided to convert the JDA activities from oil prospecting to fishing. “Should Nigeria convert its oil mining licences to fishing licences? São Tomé has agreed in principle, but Nigeria is yet to respond,” he said. He listed some of the challenges besetting the venture to include, boundary issues, with Niger, Benin, Cameroon, as well as the issue of bilateral military function, piracy, illegal fishing and poaching.
Reps to probe non-remittance of NLNG funds
HE House of Repre sentatives yesterday questioned the non- remittance of revenue of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to the federation account since 2004 till date. It has therefore mandated its Committee on Gas to investigate the anomaly. This resolution was the offshoot of a motion titled: ‘Non Remittance of Funds Accruing From NLNG Bonny to the Federation Account, from 2004 till date,’ and brought before the House by
From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja
a member, Hon. Aminu Suleiman under matters of urgent public importance. Suleiman, while arguing the motion, said the NLNG Bonny, has not remitted funds accruing to it to the Federation Account from 2004 till date, stating that the action is a flagrant breach of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution, He said the non- remittance has badly affected all critical
sectors of the Nigerian economy and constituted an economic crime. He said the action was not only unpatriotic, but has resulted in loss of huge revenue that ought to have been shared to all tiers of government. In order to get to the bottom of the matter, the motion was referred to the House Committee on Gas for further investigation. The Committee is to probe the allegation and report back to the House within three weeks.
been paid into the treasury, where is the official receipt issued to that effect?” The committee highlighted what it termed as a disparity between the submissions of a director in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation,Mr. Salau Suberu, and the explanation of the Finance Minister, Mrs. OkonjoIweala, on the alleged missing N24 billion. Suberu had told the committee that sequel to the directive that all unspent money should be returned to the treasury by December 31, there was a mop
up on December 31st 2012 in the account of the Police Pension fund. He said about N29billion was mopped up and the funds used to finance other capital projects. The committee said Suberu’s story differs from the Finance minister’s. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala had said the account was frozen when it was discovered that it was in excess, and that it was eventually paid into the Federation Account as unspent funds. The Committee thereafter requested the all documents
that would help establish that the money was not missing be tendered before March 26. Other documents the committee requested for are the bank statements showing the “inflows and outflows of the account” in which the money was lodged at the First Bank of Nigeria Plc between 2009 and 2012. According to the committee chair, the bank document must be signed by the bank because its officials may be invited to give evidence before the Committee.
Alleged N27.5b Fraud: Atuche’s witness shuns Court bank. They are facing a 47 count
HE trial of the former Managing Director of Bank PHB, Francis Atuche suffered a setback yesterday as one of his witnesses failed to turn up in court. The witness who is a hand writing expert, was expected to testify in favour of Atuche. It was said that the witness was frustrated by the failure of the court to sit on two previous adjournments. At the resumed trial, Atuche’s counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), told the court presided over by Justice Lateefa Okunnu, that the witness stormed out of court due to the failure of the court to sit on Monday and Tuesday. “In fact, he refused to utter any word to me. We will therefore need more time to put our house in order”, Oyetibo pleaded with the court. However, counsel to the Economic and Financial
By Adebisi Onanuga
Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) opposed the request for more time by the defence. Pimheiro rather, urged the court to close the case of the first and second defendants and to call on the third defendant to open his defence. He said it was clear the first and second defendants were not ready to continue with the defence of their case but only interested in stalling the trial of the suit. “My Lord, if they are not prepared to go on with the case, the court should close their case and call on the third defendant to open his defence”, Mr. Pinheiro told the court. Mr. Atuche, his wife, Elizabeth and Ugo Anyanwu, the former Chief Operating Officer of the bank are standing trial for allegedly stealing N27.5billion belonging to the
charge of stealing. They have pleaded not guilty to all the count charges. Mr. Oyetibo had earlier told the court that the two parties have pending appeals before the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal. But the trial judge, Justice Okunnu declined the submission of Oyetibo. “Whatever that happens at the Court of Appeal is not part of my records here. Mr. Oyetibo, enough of this. Can you please sit down while I rule?”, she said. In her short ruling, Justice Okunnu said she recognised the fact that there was power outage on Monday and Tuesday, but ruled that the court will fix the matter for two additional days in the month of April to make up for the lost time. She thereafter fixed the matter for 14th and 15th April, 2014 for continuation of trial.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT
DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 20-3-14
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
EQUITIES Govt, investors parley on listing of power firms
HE Federal Government and investors in privatized power companies are discussing the possibilities of reducing the five-year holding period for the owners of the new power companies to about three years to enable them sell their shares to the investing public. Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, disclosed this yesterday during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Nebo came to discuss ways that the capital market can support the realization of the objectives of the power reforms. Nebo said the hindrance to the public sale and possible listing of shares of the privatized power generation companies (gencos) and distribution companies (discos) is a clause in the sale agreement which stipulates that the new owners must hold on to the companies for five years before they can sell the shares. He said government, through the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and the power companies are already reviewing the possibility of the downward review of the fiveyear timeline to about three years. “I don’t see why five years was put in other than the government did not want people to strip these companies and then sell the scrap to the general public. Be that as it may, with the things that are afoot today, we are encouraging a dialogue between the successor companies, privatised from PHCN and government of Nigeria, especially the National Council on Privatisation, to see if these five years can be negotiated downward so that within the next two - and - a - half years, we
Stories by Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor
will be able to see them go to the stock market because we believe that the most veritable way of getting the financing they need to expand their facilities and give much better services to our people will be by going to the stock market,” Nebo said. According to him, the delay in approaching the capital market was both legal and operational as the Nigerian Stock Exchange also expects at least three years of due diligence, paperwork and submission of annual reports before a company is listed. He said government was already the impediments in the power supply system, especially the issue of finance. “Government is already addressing some of the issues, the major issue, actually, is financing for expansion and consolidation and that is where the stock market is very critical. Government has even organised a global financing summit that attracted more than 350 non-Nigerians, just about a month ago. So, government is working on that. Other constraints have to do with generating of more power because the more power you generate, the more power is sold, the more money is made by the generation companies, the transmission company and the distribution companies. So, we need to generate more power and the challenge there is the issue of gas. But government is working very hard to make sure that at the end of this year and the beginning of next year, there is a match - no longer a mismatch - in the availability of gas and the need of the generating companies,” Nebo said.
Equities recover with N54b gain
FTER six days of scary downtrend that shaved off about N685 billion in market values, Nigerian equities rallied back to the positive as investors sought substantial stakes in underpriced banking stocks. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities rose by N54 billion from N11.929 trillion to N11.984 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the common index that benchmarks price movement at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), inched up by 0.45 per cent to 37,308.60 points as against its opening index of 37,136.60 points. While there were still more decliners than advancers and several highly capitalised stocks remained on the downtrend, gains by large-cap banking and petroleum-marketing stocks boosted the overall market situation. Mobil Oil Nigeria topped the 24-stock gainers’ list with a gain of N3.86 to close at N124.86 per share. Guaranty Trust Bank followed with a gain of N1.90 to close at N25. Oando added 69 kobo to close at N14.56. Nigerian Breweries rose by 50 kobo to N146. FBN Holdings gained 34 kobo to close at N11.99. United Bank for Africa appreciated by 29 kobo to N6.99. Zenith Bank chalked up 28 kobo to close at N20.79 while National Salt Company of Nigeria and Red Star Express added 19 kobo each to close at N7.60 and N4.47 respectively.
On the other hand, the bearish sentiment remained rampant in the background with Nestle Nigeria leading 25 other stocks on the losers’ list. Nestle Nigeria dropped by N9.20 to close at N958.80. Cadbury Nigeria trailed with a loss of N7.40 to close at N78. Total Nigeria declined by N5 to close at N148. Guinness Nigeria dropped by N3.15 to close at N165. UAC of Nigeria slipped by N3.10 to close at N58.90. PZ Cussons Nigeria lost N1.70 to close at N32.30. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria dropped by 90 kobo to N109.10. Ashaka Cement declined by 51 kobo to close at N14.23. Dangote Cement lost 49 kobo to close at N228.51 while Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (Nahco) dropped by 27 kobo to close at N4.73 per share. Investors staked a total of N3.76 billion on 320.34 million shares through 5,009 deals. Financial services sector was the most active with 243.41 million shares worth N2.21 billion in 2,862 deals. Banking stocks dominated the top activities’ chart. Access Bank was the most active stock with a turnover of 57.31 million shares valued at N424.36 million in 239 deals. Zenith Bank placed second with a turnover of 25.62 million shares worth N541.27 million in 410 deals. United Bank for Africa (UBA) trailed with a turnover of 22.95 million shares worth N155.95 million in 216 deals.
LSE proposes new auction to lure traders
ONDON Stock Exchange Group Plc, seeking to attract block traders back to its markets from dark pools, proposed an intraday auction for its most liquid stocks. LSE is consulting customers on adding a daily 2 pm auction to the two existing ones. The intraday auction would cover stocks listed in the FTSE 100 Index, FTSE 250 Index, some smaller companies and the International Order Book, where LSE offers shares from more than 44 countries. “Recent feedback from a broad range of market participants has indicated that an intraday auction would be a welcomed ad-
dition to the options available for executing orders,” LSE said in its consultation today. “Feedback we have had focused in particular on the advantages of trading largersized orders in a price-forming environment.” Bloomberg reported that public exchanges have lost business to dark pools, where investors can trade big blocks with potentially less risk of having news of their orders move the price. Dark pools don’t publicly publish stock bids or offers. In November, European Union negotiators reached a breakthrough on how much equity trading can occur on the private platforms.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
‘MPC may depreciate naira by five per cent’
HE naira may go down by three to five per cent and Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) on public sector deposit may go up. These are some of the predictions by analysts about next week’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting. Financial Derivatives Company Limited chief Bismarck Rewane anticipates a shift in the exchange rate midpoint from N155 to N165 to the dollar- an estimated three to five per cent depreciation of the naira. He said the CRR on public sector deposit may be further hiked from
75 per cent to 100 per cent. Said Rewane: “The consensus view is for a further hike in the CRR on public sector deposits to 100 per cent. The premium between the official and parallel market remains wide at N16.26 compared to N8.25 in October, 2013. Our second scenario is an increase in the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 13 per cent per annum to tighten liquidity conditions in the money market.” In Rewane’s view, the major concern for the committee remains exchange rate stability and the depleting external reserves level, now at
tion in 2013. Its intervention brought the naira down by three per cent from N169 on February 20 to 163 in just two weeks. The CBN has maintained a restrictive monetary stance since October 2011 by leaving the benchmark interest rate at 12 per cent per annum in pursuance of its price and exchange rate objectives. The popular view is that growth in the economy has been stifled because of the CBN’s policy and that interest rates should be lowered to spur growth. The moderate inflationary environment further strengthened this view in 2013, when an average inflation rate of eight per cent was recorded.
•12% MPR likely
Stories by Collins Nweze
$38.32 billion as at March 18th. The February inflation number declined to 7.7 per cent from eight per cent in January, indicating benign inflationary risks in the short term. Rewane said the rationale for this is the increased volatility recorded at the interbank and parallel markets, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) continued support of the naira at a cost to external reserves. The CBN has been selling roughly $400 million per auction for the past month, compared with an average of $300 million per auc-
Union Bank unveils growth plans
Enterprise Bank ready for sale in October
HE sale of Enterprise Bank will be completed in October, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ahmed Kuru has said, adding that the lender and its management are ready for a new investor to come and takeover the bank. Kuru who spoke during a media briefing held in Lagos, said bank’s sale was originally scheduled to be completed this quarter. He said the bank has fully returned to profitability after its acquisition by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in 2011. Kuru said the management of the bank was now ready to transfer the bank to new investor in October as directed by AMCON. “For us, we have achieved quite a lot when we came in because it was a 50-50 chance but we turned around the bank within a year,” he said. He said the lender has in the last
three years, taken positive steps aimed at repositioning, its services and adherence to regulations. “We have been able to turn around the bank on the line of profitability; enhanced the quality of its workforce, upgraded the bank’s technology and processes,” he said. Kuru added that the bank was not bothered about the next investors who would take over the bank in October. According to him, the change of ownership is not a new thing. “We are very happy that at the end of the day we are going to hand over a strong, reliable and profitable bank to AMCON for new investors”. Kuru also said that the bank had recorded increased returns on equity. He added that the bank’s lending rate had grew from N5 billion in 2011 to N76 billion in 2013 adding that the lender plans to achieve N130 billion
NION Bank Nigeria Plc has unveiled a five-year strategic plan that will see the lender becoming a highly respected provider of quality banking services, its Group Managing Director/CEO, Emeka Emuwa has said. Specifically, Emuwa said the bank’s strategic ambition would focus on quality of customer experience, quality of client base, quality of talent, quality of banking platform, quality of professional standards and quality of earnings. “Last year, we had two important tasks ahead of us. First, to immediately improve the bank’s operations by dealing with existing operational and services and second to develop a roadmap to firmly establish Union bank as significant player within the Nigerian banking industry. “However, after months of hard work during, which we considered our strength as a bank, our challenges and also the landscape
•Kuru by December. According to him, the management has been able to re-engineer the bank professionally and commercially through the delivery of better services. Kuru added that the bank was not interested in ‘size game’, adding that the banking industry of today was not about branches but about e-banking.
3-Year 5-Year 5-Year
35m 35m 35m
11.039 12.23 13.19
19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016
WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m
MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20
OBB Rate Call Rate
Price Loss 2754.67 447.80
PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year
Amount 30m 46.7m 50m
Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34
Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012
GAINERS AS AT 20-3-14
SYMBOL GUARANTY OANDO HONYFLOUR FCMB CUTIX REDSTAREX UBA PRESTIGE ROYALEX VITAFOAM
O/PRICE 23.10 13.87 3.48 3.10 1.66 4.28 6.70 0.56 0.59 3.98
C/PRICE 25.00 14.56 3.65 3.25 1.74 4.47 6.99 0.58 0.61 4.11
EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency
INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%
CHANGE 1.90 0.69 0.17 0.15 0.08 0.19 0.29 0.02 0.02 0.13
Year Start Offer
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
Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N) Parallel Market 153.0000
NGN USD NGN GBP NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N)
CADBURY NAHCO PZ UACN AGLEVENT PORTPAINT LIVESTOCK TRANSEXPR MANSARD LEARNAFRCA
O/PRICE 85.40 5.00 34.00 62.00 1.41 4.64 3.55 2.75 2.14 1.72
C/PRICE 78.00 4.73 32.30 58.90 1.34 4.41 3.38 2.62 2.04 1.64
DISCOUNT WINDOWx Feb. ’11
Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%
8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%
9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%
NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days
Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250
Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%
Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7
Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12
CAPITAL MARKET INDEX
NSE CAP Index
27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37
28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16
% Change -1.44% -1.44%
MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Offer Price
AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 156.27 ARM AGGRESSIVE GROWTH 9.17 BGL NUBIAN FUND 1.06 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.17 CANARY GROWTH FUND 0.69 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 CORAL INCOME FUND 1,620.45 FBN FIXED INCOME FUND 1,000.00 FBN HERITAGE FUND 115.83 FBN MONEY MARKET FUND 100.00 FIDELITY NIGFUND 1.67 INTERCONTINENTAL INTEGRITY FUND 1.05 KAKAWA GUARANTE ED INCOME FUND 143.11 LEGACY FUND 0.78 NIGERIA INTER DEBIT FUND 1,886.59 • • • •
CHANGE -7.40 -0.27 -1.70 -3.10 -0.07 -0.23 -0.17 -0.13 -0.10 -0.08
Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m
LOSERS AS AT 20-3-14
within which we operate, we have emerged with a strategy that will guide the bank for the next three to five years. This strategy has been approved by the board of Union bank,” he said. The Union Bank boss said the lender remains focused on building on the progress it made in 2013. “One of such was the launch of bank of the future branch in Lagos as well as rolling out over 300 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs),” he said, adding” the bank may not open new branches but roll out future branch model of the bank that would offer convenient banking activities while additionally 300 ATMs will be installed this year in 338 branches of the bank nationwide.” On the rumours about Union Bank seeking to raise fresh capital, Emuwa said the bank has sufficient capital to fund its restructuring and expansion and will not be seeking further capital in the near to medium term.
FGN BONDS Tenor
UBA BALANCED FUND UBA BOND FUND UBA EQUITY FUND UBA MONEY MARKET FUND
1.2635 1.2893 0.9419 1.1499
Bid Price 155.84 9.08 1.05 1.17 0.68 1.33 1,618.47 1,000.00 115.13 100.00 1.62 1.03 142.62 0.76 1,883.42 1.2521 1.2893 0.9242 1.1499
OPEN BUY BACK
Previous 04 July, 2012
Current 07, Aug, 2012
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
THE NATION FRIDAY MARCH 21, 2014
•Etok being consoled by relatives...yesterday
•One of the affected houses
Mast collapses in Cross River, kills two
WO people died on wednesday in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State when a elecommunications mast COLLAPSED. The victims were an 11-year-old girl, Lawrencia John Asuquo and a middle-aged man, Adindu Fynecountry. Lawrencia was on an errand for her father.Adindu was in his
From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar
drugstore when the incident occurred. Many people were injured and houses destroyed. A rainstorm, accompanied by winds, pulled down the mast. Lawrencia’s father, John Asuquo Etok, who works in the local government was inconsolable yesterday.
He said: “It’s unfortunate the mast fell and killed my daughter as she went out to buy something from a nearby shop. She was about to sit for the Primary 6 exams. She was a pupil of St. Theresa Primary School, Odukpani Qua Town. “I want the government to come to my aid, as my house was also destroyed. I want the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the
telecommunications company to assist me. I have seven children; five boys and two girls.” Fynecountry’s brother Henry Okeke said: “I got a call around 7 p.m. that my brother was dead in Odukpani. When I got to Odukpani, I saw the body lying here. I could not do anything than to agree with the police, then we took his body to the mortuary.
“The company has to see us. My brother had seven children and I don’t know what to do now.” A woman, Mrs Blessing Edim, who was injured, said: “The mast fell as I was packing my goods as a result of the strong winds. I want government and the company to come to our aid. The estimated loss of my goods is worth over N100, 000.”
I entertained my captors, says freed presenter •Bayelsa commissioner’s sister released
OPULAR Wazobia FM Port Harcourt broadcaster Anthony Akatakpo, aka Akas Baba, who was abducted a week ago from his home at Rumuekeni in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, has been released. It was gathered his abductors dropped him at 1 am in Emohua . Reliving his experience, yesterday, Akas said his abductors initially demanded N10 million, but he was released without paying a dime. He said although he was shot in the leg and hand, his abductors were friendly. On how he was kidnapped, he said: “I was abducted from my home at Rumuekeni in Emohua Local Government Area. The gunmen shot at my gate and the bullet pierced through the door and hit me in my leg and hand, I was still bleeding when they took me away. “They demanded N10 milliom but I told them I am an entertainer and I don’t have that amount of money. Journalism is a hustling job. The things I have today were
From Precious Dikewoha, Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt and Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
given to me by my fans not that I actually acquired them.” Akas, who doubles as a comedian, said he told his captors that their idea to kidnap entertainers would be a wasted venture. He said the gunmen were angry about the lack of jobs in the Niger Delta. “The gunmen are graduates. They said there is no job but they have employed themselves, they said their guns are the company from where they get their daily bread. “I slept in an uncompleted building. They fed me daily with bread and water. They were friendly because they told me they are also my fans. They ordered me to entertain them daily, that was why I didn’t pay a dime for my release. “I want to call on the government to provide jobs for the youth. My abductors told me they are eager to work but there are no jobs. Some of them said they had stayed 10 to 15 years searching for jobs.”
In Bayelsa State, Mrs. Joyce Ebua, elder sister of the Commissioner for Sports, Mitema Obodo, has been freed. She was reportedly freed at 12.30 a.m. by her assailants at an undisclosed location in the state. Ebua, 60, was said to have been received and driven home by her family. Although it was gathered an undisclosed amount of money was paid as ransom, the family denied such transaction. The victim was kidnapped on March 3 by five gunmen from her home at Oloibiri. Obodor confirmed her release and said no ransom was paid. Police spokesman Alex Akhigbe said the police were not involved because the victims’ relations kept the police in the dark.
Council boss to celebrate award
HE Chairman of Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, Abdlfati Oyesanya will today celebrate the national award of the most performing chairman in the Southwest. The award, which was presented to him a week ago by
By Jeremiah Oke
the grassroots leadership Centre, Abuja, was tagged; ‘National Award for Excellence in Leadership’. A statement by the Chief of Staff to the chairman, Ajibola Michael isaid Oyesanya will today host the staff and dig-
nitaries in the council . He said the award was dedicated to the people of Ikosi isheri. According to the statement; “the chairman has directed the management of the council to celebrate the award given to him on behalf of the council in a low key.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Missing plane: Australia investigates two objects on sea
USTRALIA is investigating two objects seen on satellite images that could potentially be linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, officials say. A Norwegian ship joined planes from Australia, New Zealand and the US in searching the area 2,500km (1,550 miles) from Perth.
As night fell, the air search ended for the day, with teams saying bad weather conditions had hampered their efforts. Flight MH370 was carrying 239 people when it disappeared on 8 March. It was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it lost contact with air traffic controllers and disappeared from ra-
dar. At a news conference on Thursday, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described the possible sighting of debris on satellite images as a “credible lead”. The largest object appeared to be 24m in size, authorities said, but warned they could be
unrelated to the plane. A number of sightings of possible debris have been investigated since the plane went missing but so far none have proved to be linked. Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the latest discovery based on satellite images taken on 16 March. “The Australian Maritime
HRISTIANITY is not determined by the lofty or intimidating titles a person holds, the power one wields, year of a person’s ordination, when a person joined a church, how well one can speak in tongues, charity works one engages in and even acts of miracles. Jesus Christ said, “by their fruit, you shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20). Very assuredly, Christianity is not by stickers or mere outward showmanship but by character; it is not about where a person fellowships but the attitude displayed when light becomes darkness or in the secret places. One of the major fruits of Christianity is Righteousness Righteousness means to live right, just and being fair to all. From our text, King David said that the paradox of being righteous however is that it goes with afflictions, persecution, hatred and afflictions. Jesus Christ attested to it by saying “Blessed are you when you suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10). The Bible is filled with examples of people that suffered, not because they were sinful or unrighteous but because they did what was right. Joseph was thrown
Theme: Travails of the righteous Text: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 By The Revd. Henry O. Adelegan
into prison, not because he committed any offence but because he refused to live an unrighteous life. It was same with Daniel when he was thrown into the den of lions and also true with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that were cast into the fiery furnace as a result of their determination to uphold what was right. Even our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for righteous doing, He was bruised, beaten, humiliated, debased and made to die as a criminal despite the fact that he was sinless. The good news however is that persecution is not the end of life. David said: “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). After His persecution, humiliation and death on the Cross of Calvary, Jesus arose on the third day to glory.
Beloved, are you passing through bad times, not because of unrighteousness but your determination not to compromise your faith or desire to live above the standard of ‘scribes and Pharisees’. Are you experiencing challenges at work because you refused to yield to pressure from that randy officer, is your marriage falling apart through no visible fault of yours or are your children not doing well despite all your efforts and prayers? I congratulate you. The problem you are passing through is just a comma and not a full stop. God is just starting with you. What you should do during this season of Lent is to rejoice even in tribulation, look beyond the present travails (Eccl. 7:8), and never speak evil about God (Psalm 1:6). Lastly, maintain your integrity (Prov. 22:29; Revelations 22:11-12) and trust God to intervene for you (Psalm 34:17). The righteous can
State police cited as senators condemn killings Continued on page 4
Nyamshi, with a death toll of 88 people and over Nlbillion worth of property destroyed. The most recent attacks in Gwer West and Guma Local Government Areas also occurred on February 20th and 21st 2014 and left over 30 people dead, including a 70-year-old woman and an estimated 100,000 people sacked and displaced while the personal house of paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, Dr Akawe Torkwula, was burnt down at Tse Torkwula.” In Agatu Local Government invasion, dozens were also killed and thousands displaced in the following villages: Okoloko, Ocholonya, Inminyi, Adana, Olejeje, Inoli, Olegoga, Olegada, Pate, Olegigeni, Ochelefu Icho, Igagishu, Olegodege, Okpanchenyi Ekwo, Warri, Ikpele, Ogwumogbo, Ogbai, Okpokpolo and Olegadakele where 83 people were killed and over N500 million property destroyed; Gemade cited Makurdi Local Government where, he said, 70 people were killed and thousands displaced. The following villages were affected: Tye Gido, Tye Takyi, Tye Cha, Tye Tongu, Tye Anjua, Tye Azongu, Tye Ayele, Tye Ayagwa, Tye Akordam, Tye Kyase, Tye Agan, Tye Mue, Tye Kyev, Tye Tingiv, Tye Mzo, Tye Jime, Tse Adinya, Tes Akenabo, Tse Akaa, Tse Tatyongh, Tse Ajahar, Tse Madugu, Tse Nyon, Tse Kudi, Tse Akaa, and Tse Adai. Kwande and Katsina Ala villages were also attacked over N2billion property destroyed. Also, Tyobibi-Gbetim, Anybe-Azge, Genyi, Dwem, Awashua, Tse-Nyaki and Anyiin in Logo Local Government Area. Jato Aka, Yaase, Waya and Inyamate in Kwande Local
Government Area as well as Sai and other communities in Yooyo Ward of Katsina Ala Local Government Area were attacked. Gemade noted that “these late night guerrilla style attacks and daylight mass killings of people, sometimes not directly involved in any form of conflict, have become the hallmark of organised and specialised terror or killer groups with the resultant effect of destabilising the states and stifling the people’s determination to shun violence, embrace and trust one another towards ensuring sustainable peace and collective security. In his view, “anxiety, fed by what are now incidences of serial night killings and daylight mass attacks bordering on war crimes is approaching a panic loss of confidence in the federal security regime. Federalised policing under a unitary command may have made sense under military regimes in the past, but it is hardly the best in the prevailing situation of insecurity, with the increasing volume of grassroots crimes and attacks on the nation’s defenceless rural communities,” said the senator. Gemade raised the looming prospects of potential famine, “if drastic steps are not taken to put a stop to these attacks and return the displaced persons to their homes so they can tend to their farmlands”. Ekweremadu, who summed up senators’ contributions, said: “If we have devoted the whole day as we have done now to dealing with the issue of insecurity in Nigeria, we are living up to the expectation of the ordinary people of Nigeria, for us to show concern for the general insecurity in the country.” “So I do believe that a country as big as Nigeria needs effective security. Just as have
been mentioned, it would be difficult for us to afford effective security if we continue to use the type of policing we have in Nigeria presently. “We run a federal system of government and it is completely unacceptable in a federal system for us to have a federal system and for us to also have a centralised police. “Policemen are not magicians. There is no way a policeman can stay in one kilometer and know when a crime is being committed in another kilometer. “We must be able to provide sufficient police personnel that should at least be one policeman per hundred meters away. “This can only be achieved if we decentralise our police, ensuring that we have state police and possibly local police that is well coordinated and regulated. We had problem in the past in this area because they were not well regulated and they were not coordinated. “I think time has come for us to reflect on this and see how we can provide efficient security for our people. “Our police, as it is now need to be more trained and then they will be able to ensure that the laws are enforced, no matter who is involved.” Ekweremadu went on: “If we do some of these and all that we have said here, I am sure that we would be able to recover our country from the doomsday that is being predicted. But I believe, as said by Senator Thompson Sekibo, that we can overcome this challenge and be stronger again as a country.” Other Senators who contributed to the motion include Victor Lar, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Abdul Ningi, Kabiru Marafa, Zainab Kure, Solomon Ewuga, Pwajok, Abu Ibrahim, Suleiman Adokwe, Babafemi Ojudu and Mohammed Magoro.
never suffer in vain. God had promised through Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 3:10 “ Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” (Isaiah 3:10). As He lives therefore, I am confident that the power that lifted up Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Joseph and our Lord Jesus Christ, shall also lift you up in the name of Jesus. Be assured brethren that after the suffering of Good Friday, there is the supernatural intervention of Easter Sunday. Prayers: Father, uphold me in my season of tribulation, satanic gang-up and tribulation, give me grace not to compromise my faith and intervene in my fiery furnace in the name of Jesus.
Safety Authority (Amsa) has received information based on satellite information of objects possibly related to the search,” Mr Abbott told parliament. “Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified.” Two Australian Orion aircraft searching the area on Thursday were joined later by aircraft from the US and New Zealand. Amsa said the aircraft had covered an area of 23,000km² (14,000 square miles) but confirmed that they had found no debris. It said the search would resume on Friday. The captain of the first Australian air force AP-3C Orion plane to return from the search area described the weather conditions as “extremely bad” with rough seas and high winds.
Russian forces seize Ukrainian bases in Crimea
HE United States has warned Moscow it was on a “dark path’’ to isolation as Russian troops seized two Ukrainian naval bases, including a headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol where they raised their flag. The seizure came as Russia and the West dug in for a long confrontation over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, with the U.S. and Europe groping for ways to increase pressure on a defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin. “As long as Russia continues on this dark path, they will face increasing political and economic isolation,’’ said U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, referring to reports of armed attacks against Ukrainian military personnel in Crimea.
US extends Russian sanctions
NITED STATES President Barack Obama has announced further sanctions on Russian officials and a bank over the crisis in Crimea. Mr Obama also said he had signed an order enabling the US to impose sanctions on sectors of the Russian economy. Meanwhile EU leaders have arrived in Brussels amid warnings that they may impose tougher economic sanctions. Tensions are high as Moscow approves a treaty enabling Crimea - an autonomous republic in Ukraine - to join Russia. Mr Obama said: “Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community.” He said the US was watching with concern the situation in southern and eastern Ukraine. A White House official said the latest wave of US sanctions targeted 20 Russian individuals with interests in the Crimea. The Russian bank being targeted - for supporting government officials - is Bank Rossiya, the US Treasury said.
‘Corruption blown out of proportion’ Continued on page 4
a symbol of honour, respect and dignity, not humiliation,” he said. He described Nigeria as a great country, adding that with certain definite steps the administration was taking, it would take its rightful position in the globe. Jonathan assured the gathering that with all the political tension being created by the opposition in the country, he would not play politics with the development of the nation. He said the government had taken pragmatic steps to end the challenges of oil theft and piracy before 2015. According to him, the Federal Government has decided to put more force into curtailing the activities of the Boko Haram group that is unleashing terror in the Northeast region. He solicited the support of his Namibian counterpart and world leaders in stamping out terrorism globally. He said: “The issue of global terror is worrisome and in Nigeria, we believe that a terror attack on anywhere in the world is a terror attack on everyone. It may be more in one country compared to the other, for instance, in the Northeastern parts of Nigeria, three states out of 36 states, we are having incidents of terror.
“Initially, we handled it with kidgloves but now we have decided to be a little more forceful because we must thrash out these terror groups. We must not allow it to continue to slow down economic growth in that part of the country. “With the terror attacks in that part of the country, the rest of the country feels it because Nigerians live everywhere. In these other parts, there is always the fear that if you do not tackle it, it will infiltrate into other parts. “We will work together to ensure that terror attack is stamped out globally and in Nigeria we are committed,” he said Dr. Jonathan thanked Pohamba for his country’s support for Nigeria’s election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations (UN). Dr Jonathan on a two-day visit, stressed the need for at least two seats in the UN Security Council for Africa. “I also believe in your philosophy that if by God’s grace, the UN Security Council will be restructured, that is, if the super powers will allow it to be restructured, Africa should be considered at least for two positions to represent the interest of African people. “I always say it that we cannot talk of democracy when the strongest institutions globally are not democratic but dictated to by one country alone.
“If we must practice democracy and emphasise that all countries must be democratic, we need to start from these powerful UN institutions that all parts of the globe must have a say there,” he said. President Jonathan underscored the need for African leaders to promote intra-African trade for jobs creation and the development of the continent. He noted that the continent must consolidate the regional economic blocs for economic integration. “If we can consolidate the regional economic blocs to become solid, then, we can integrate the economic blocs before going to political integration. “I always believe that our founding fathers in the days of OAU, their vision was for Africa to become a single big continent. “I remember the late President of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, his dream was that political boundary should collapse for Africa. “But we believe that it is good to envision that kind of development, but first, we must consolidate the regional economic blocs,” he said. Pohamba said that his country would forever remain grateful to Nigeria for the contribution and sacrifice towards the attainment of independence.
Military battles Boko Haram in Sambisa forest Continued on page 4
LCBC executive secretary, had requested that member countries quickly put in place a multinational force to reimpose order in the region. A Cameroon soldier was killed by suspected Boko Haram militants in Fotokol in the Far-North region, close to the border with Nigeria, last month. As well as the threat from Boko
Haram, the area has become a crossroads for weapons trafficking to Nigeria, Sudan and Central African Republic. Cameroon’s military detained a man attempting to transport 655 guns to Nigeria in January. The LCBC was created in 1964 by the four countries bordering Lake Chad - Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria - and was later joined by Central African Republic and Libya, according to its
website. The Catholic diocese of Maiduguri consisting of three NorteEastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe has said that 109 members of the Church were killed by the insurgents in different attacks. It declared that 27 women lost their husbands while 107 children were orphaned. The Church spoke yesterday at a news conference at the Saint Augustine’s Minor Seminary, Yola.
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
SPORT EXTRA Coca-Cola to host 22 consumers to Brazil World Cup
Mourinho hoping to avoid unbeaten Madrid duo C HELSEA boss Jose Mourinho will be hoping to avoid the two remaining unbeaten Champions League teams in Friday’s quarter-final draw Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Following Chelsea’s win over Galatasaray, the English side will be included in Friday’s quarter-final draw for the first team since the 2011/2012 season and they will be eagerly anticipating to see who their opponents will
be. Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona, Man United, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich await, but it is the two remaining unbeaten sides in Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid that the Londoners will do best to avoid. Chelsea’s matches against Atletico Madrid have been few and far between in recent
seasons but the Spanish club managed by Diego Simeone is yet to lose in the competition and has conceded just four goals. Leading scorer Diego Costa has been linked with Chelsea in recent weeks and he become a real threat in the Champions League this season, scoring a remarkable seven goals. When the two sides have met
on three occasions, each side has won once, whilst drawing the other. Meanwhile, Mourinho will be pleased to avoid his former club - Real Madrid, which has become tournament favourites after going undefeated through to this stage, scoring 29 and conceding seven. Compared to Chelsea’s record against Atletico, their record against the Spanish league leaders is not so good, having lost two and drawn one.
MONACO VS LILLE
Enyeama craves victory against Monaco
UPER Eagles’ shotstopper, Vincent Enyeama will have another opportunity to square up against another stiff opposition as Lille travel to Stade Louis II to face Monaco on match day 30 of Ligue 1. AS Monaco, widely regarded as the second strongest side in the league after PSG, are currently in the Champions’ League position and Enyeama knows a win for the Mastiffs-currently in third place on the standings-will help their cause to dine with
Europe’s elite next season. “AS Monaco is a quality team and they occupy the second place on the log. It has a mix of young talent and experienced players. “The best examples are James (Rodriguez who has been), who became very efficient lately, and (Dimitar) Berbatov, an excellent striker, who joined this winter. “When we confronted PSGin December, we would have thought that we would stay behind and wait. But rather we produced what
made the game very interesting. I’m excited and looking forward to face Monaco,” Enyeama told the club’s official website, www.losc.fr. Enyeama also discussed Lille’s run in which could see the club return to Europe next season. “There’re nine games, a total of 27 points, and the goal is to take the maximum. Today we have recovered almost all of our players who were previously injured.
“Hopefully this will allow us to best defend our third place. I do not know if our bad crosses from January to February is finally resolved, but we are all concerned with the same goal: to achieve the highest possible position in the standings,” he said. Lille OSC currently sits in third place on the Ligue 1 standings with 53 points from 29 matches. Enyeama has played every minute of Lille’s 29 league matches this season.
Odibe targets Eagles recall
UPER Eagles’ star, Michael Odibe has started his new adventure on a winning note putting up a top notch performance in FC Atyrau’s 1-0 win over Kairat in the Kazakhstan Premier League. The Nigeria international was a key figure in the heart of FC Atyrau defense preventing the opponents of the opportunity to do damage. The 25-year-old central defender recently signed a three-year deal with FC Atyrau in the last transfer window after leaving Arsenal Kiev when the club
By Innocent Amomoh went bankrupt. “My target was to help my club win despite it being an away game but I was calm enough to ensure there were no lapses to concede. It was a sweet away victory for me
and the team.” “We are poised to keep the winning momentum and I believe with the help of my team mates, we can get more results.” “I am not regretting my move and I believe I am wanted here, so I will not
regret anything. I want to keep the focus and try my best.” “My game here has a lot to do with Super Eagles return. I wish to return to the national team but I think I have to do a lot here while God takes control of every other thing.”
2014 NNPC/SHELL CUP
Keke High School, Agege set for zonal preliminaries
KEKE High School, Agege has booked the ticket to represent Lagos state in the ongoing All Nigeria secondary schools football championship for the NNPC/ Shell Cup. The match played at the Dairy Farms secondary school Agege was against Sango senior High school, Agege which ended 1-0 in favour of the former. With this victory, Keke High school will proceed to the zonal preliminaries of the championship scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 22nd in 9 cities across the Country. The Lagos champions are grouped alongside Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu Ode,
Ikare City Academy and Brightville College, Ibadan representing Ogun, Ondo and Oyo states respectively. At the end of the round-robin matches, a school is expected to emerge for the quarter final stage from each of the zones. Similarly, the 2012 national champions of the NNPC/Shell Cup, Kwara Football Academy Secondary School are back in the race after emerging the winner of the championship in Kwara state. They will be slugging it with schools from Kogi, Osun and Edo state at the Ado Ekiti zonal center. Meanwhile, the defending champions, Purple Krown College, Enugu could not make it to the zonals as the school
was eliminated during the state preliminaries. The President of NSSF, Mallam Ibraheem Muhammad has urged all state champions and representatives of the NNPC/Shell Cup to be of good behaviour so that they can be seen as worthy ambassadors of their various schools and states. He further advised that the schools must be sure that they are being represented by bonafide students of their schools. He also stressed that schools sports competitions are not win-at-all-cost competitions. The zonal preliminaries shall be concluded on Monday March 24th.
A R K E T I N G Manager Coca-Cola Nigeria, Bolajoko Bayo Ajayi on Thursday revealed that as one of the global FIFA partners, CocaCola will be selecting 22 consumers across the Nation for the World Cup in Brazil and lots of other winners will cart away exciting prizes. This was made known at the official launch of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Campaign held in Clear Essence California Spa and Wellness Resort, Ikoyi, Lagos. Weekly draws will be held for 8 weeks and winners will be announced every Sunday on NTA News. Bolajoko Ajayi said the campaign is to invite the consumers to participate and celebrate with fans worldwide as they experience Brazil World Cup and also described Coca-Cola as the ideal brand to connect consumers with the biggest global soccer entertainment. “As FIFA partner, CocaCola, the world happiest and most inclusive brand gives consumers the World Cup. Coca-Cola had always been a fan of football both internationally and here in Nigeria. We have been refreshing Nigerians and this is another platform to do what we do best. she said. The Marketing Manager also
From Ibrahim Adam added that the 2014 FIFA World Cup theme song “The World is Ours” was performed by a Brazilian born artiste David Correy to celebrate and bring the World Cup to the people. The theme song also has a Nigerian version of the song by MI and Waje. Other prizes include; 44 winners for 55-inch TV and Home theatre system; 66 winners for 2014 FIFA Play Station game set; 15, 000 branded jerseys’; 20, 000 branded footballs; 45, 000 drawstring bags and one million free drinks. The Campaign will be executed in 5 phases which are; The Qualifier/Fan campaign, The Anthem seeding (International and Local), National Consumer promotion, Shopper Promotion and the FIFA World Cup broadcast. Also in attendance were; Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company, Ben Langat; Trade Marketing Director, NBC, Odera Okoye; Franchise Manager CocaCola Nigeria, Satyajit Ram; Head Public Affairs, NBC, Yonju Olomola; Mathieu Seguin; Marketing Manager Flavour, CCNL, Toyin Nnodi and Category Manager Flavour, Akin Bamidele.
IAAF Diamond League: Okagbare faces Fraser-Pryce in Doha
IGERIA’S Moscow double sprint finalist Blessing Okagbare will lead the challenge against reigning World and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the kickoff of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League campaign on 9 May in Doha. Last year, the 25-year-old Nigerian improved the African 100m record to 10.79secs. Fraser-Pryce’s compatriot Kerron Stewart, a 100m finalist at the World Championships last season and 2008 Olympic 200m silver medallist, is also confirmed for the meet. There are no bigger names in the world of women’s sprinting at the moment than the 27-year-old Jamaican and the Nigerian who are poised to make huge impression in Doha before the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Doha tracks may not be entirely new to Okagbare, rather, what may seem new could be the challenge she poses for the rest of the strong field in the money spinning desert track war. On her part, the world 100m women champion who enjoys running in Doha said fans’ closeness to the tracks makes her feel good at the meet. “I enjoy running in Doha,” said Fraser-Pryce. “The stadium is close and intimate which makes you feel connected with the fans.” Her appearance in the opening event of the fifth season of the IAAF Diamond League series takes on added meaning as she sets out to defend her 100m and 200m double Diamond Race victory from 2013. UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE RESULTS Anzhi 0 - 0 AZ Valencia 1 - 0 Ludogorets Viktoria 2 - 1 Lyonnais Benfica 2 - 2 Tottenham Fiorentina 0 - 1 Juventus
“The 200m is the event I want to get better at. I am doing okay but I believe there is a lot more to give, so this season a lot will be placed on being better and faster at the 200m. Capturing another double would definitely top the year for me. Let’s see what happens.” Fraser-Pryce won the 200m in Doha last year, a victory that set her on course towards her first world title in the longer sprint. In 2012, she also sped to Olympic silver over the distance. This season, making her third appearance in Doha, FraserPryce will contest the 100m against what is already shaping into a formidable field. Leading the charge for the US is 21-year-old 2013 national champion English Gardner, who finished fourth at the World Championships last year and has a 10.85 career best to her credit, and Alexandria Anderson, who last year joined the event’s sub-11 club with a 10.91 personal best. Both Gardner and Anderson were on the silver medalwinning 4x100m relay quartet for the USA in Moscow. Barbara Pierre who recorded the world’s fourth-fastest time in 2013 with 10.85, will also be in the field. There will be lots of speed on display throughout the programme. The men’s 400m will feature the season’s first rematch of last year’s World
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
THE NATION FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
TODAY IN THE NATION
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
T has been only a few weeks since my temporary but unavoidable absence from this page. But as some earthshaking local and international occurrences during that period demonstrate, a twinkle of an eye could screen a hundred years of comment-deserving news. One of the hard-hitting international events was the Putinisque thumbing of the West with his in-your-face embrace of realpolitik as the new world order. When we thought that the cold war was over, Putin’s Russia decided to assert its interest against moral considerations. A second event was the mysterious disappearance of a Malaysian jet above the Indian Ocean. If reasonable people can disagree on the rightness or wrongness of Putin’s annexation of Ukraine, there is no argument about the tragedy of 239 souls missing without a trace. Beside the international events, there have been some newsworthy local events, tragic and comical. Boko Haram no longer has the capacity to surprise anyone except those irredeemable optimists who fail to acknowledge the sad reality of our national weakness in the face of determined psychopaths butchering innocent children in their sleep. Isn’t it a national embarrassment that every time someone makes a declaration of intention to root out Boko Haram from the nation, the sect responds with a more ferocious lethal force? And there is the tragic paradox of a nation that challenges her children to go to school, work hard, and get a diploma, only to turn around and get them killed. I do not know of a universe in which it makes sense for a government branch to invite half a million candidates to 20 centers for job test and interview. Assume even that there are 50 centers and the candidates are evenly distributed so that there are 10,000 in each center. What was the plan for their supervision? There was no adequate security. Only a few gates were opened at each stadium for more than 10,000 candidates seeking jobs to file in. And the agency was surprised about the outcome. Indeed, some officers were quoted as suggesting that no one was to blame because the deaths were natural. This too must not shock us because we heard it before in the case of murdered corps members. While I care about the world and the prospects of the cosmopolitan ideal, the local has a special appeal for its urgency and impact. If Boko Haram is not effectively contained now, none of us is safe. Consider the prospect of the sect’s infiltration of the southwest with mil-
‘The success of any revolution is never totally dependent on the presence of a bloodthirsty revolutionary front but as current realities instruct; the existence of a conscientious, cohesive, patriotic, peaceful and formidable working class’’ OLA TUNJI OLOLADE AT
COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA
SEGUN GBADEGESIN firstname.lastname@example.org
A decade of glory
lions of youths facing daily conditions of hopelessness and helplessness. Can anyone really afford to sleep with their eyes closed? It is stressful having to constantly reflect on these avoidable tragic national stories and I want to discipline myself to resist it. Life is short, as my friend keeps dinning into my ears. Of course, the national news is not all bleak. The arguments for and against the timing of the National Conference have not prevented the conferees from sitting even though logistical issues have forced an adjournment barely 24 hours after its inauguration. We must anticipate and pray for a good outcome because therein lies the future prospects of the country. If we get it right, we may have a new security regime that privileges local and state governments. We may have a new attitude to education and job creation if the center is effectively trimmed. This is therefore a potential good story. But there is plenty of time and since the leadership of the conference has promised to make it open with a website which will hopefully update the public on the deliberations, I promise to follow its work with rapt attention in the weeks to come. Today, however, I have some good, heartwarming, indeed joyous, local news to share with my readers. As many of my friends know, I am fond of tradition because it is empowering if we harness it effectively. We are all products of tradition because we are the offspring
of our progenitors and we bear the mark of their imprint in language, customs and mores, and yes, in education. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, known for his insistence on the virtue of traditional education and nationalistic upbringing of children, remains one of my favorite philosophers. As Rousseau was fond of his native Geneva, so I am tied to the apron string of Okeho, where my umbilical cord remains buried in the family compound. This weekend, sons and daughters of Okeho have a good reason to celebrate the life and reign of HRH Oba RafiuOsuolale Mustapha, Adeitan II affectionately referred to as Ilufemiloye (my people want me on the throne). The unanimous choice of Okeho ten years ago, Kabiyesi has reigned with wisdom and fairness; and he is loved and admired by all and sundry. He has been a rallying point for intellectuals and the business class, youths and elders, and men and women. A Muslim by faith, Kabiyesi has embraced all faith traditions. He and his Olori and the family attend major Christian events, rotating among churches for such observances. Most importantly, he has championed the development of the town by encouraging natives and outsiders to establish businesses in town. Okeho has a fascinating history which could be of interest to our current national discourse. The town derived its name from its geographical setting of hills and holes (Oke-Iho) characterised by a site chosen because of the refuge it provided against foreign invasion. Onjo is the title of the traditional ruler. The first Onjo of Okeho was Ojo Oronna from OjoKosiwon ruling house in Ilaro Egbado of Ogun State. A crown prince, OjoKosiwon was not allowed to ascend the throne of OluIlaro and he therefore relocated to the area that became Okeho around 1750. This is relevant to
our contemporary fascination with the boundary between indigenes and settlers. A short distance from the first settlement that Oronna created there was another settler named Olofin with his family. The two met and started living as neighbours. Other settlers soon joined the two and formed what is known as Okeho. Settlers from the other ten towns with their Chiefs who had lived at a considerable distance from one another were forced to consolidate their defence against the Dahomeans, and powerful Oba ArilesireArojojoye who reigned between 1800 and 1820 AD allocated lands to the settlers from the ten different towns. The settling of Okeho is thus a perfect reallife illustration of the theoretical position of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in The People’s Republic. As Awolowo observed, “Where different families lived as peaceable neighbours, they sooner or later discovered that some advantages of division of labour which were otherwise lacking might accrue to them if they united or co-operated with one another for purposes of production and exchange.” The eleven towns,made up of eleven extended families that constituted the quarters or wards of Old Okeho, included Ijo, Isia, Ogan, Bode, IsaleAlubo, Gbonje, Olele, Imoba, Isemi, Oke-Ogun, and Pamo. These still maintain some element of independence on various issues and each is still interestingly referred to as “ilu” (town) as in Ilu Isia. This is true federalism at work. The settlers accepted the authority of Onjo because of his royal origin and sense of administration. This led to the installation of the first Onjo and subsequently twelve Onjos at Old Okeho. It is instructive to note that Old Okeho was the only town that did not fall to the conquest of the Fulani Jihadists and Dahomean invaders while all other towns situated south of Old Okeho up to River Opara were scattered by the invaders. This weekend, as Okeho sons and daughters celebrate their loving Kabiyesi and his amiable Olori Taibat Omotola Mustapha, they are surrounded by the seven mountains and hills Eti-igun, Olofin, Akasube, Biayin, Okofori, Meseole, and Obaapa that protected their forebears from Dahomean invaders and have since been sources of pleasure and serenity away from the stress of urbanity. Ogoyii, Oluwa, yeeogoyii! Mase je kobaje! Mase je kodaru! Mase je kobaje o! Oluwa, yee, ogoyii. May Kabiyesi’s reign be long, happy, and prosperous.
C OMMENT & D EB ATE EBA
NATIVE saying in Igboland interprets to the effect that if you make yourself a house rat, the pussy cat will have you for meat. There is no doubt that the current crop of Igbo leaders has morphed into ignoble rats and President Goodluck Jonathan has been playing cat with them. We all remember how the Ohaneze under the leadership of Chief Ralph Uwechue (recently demised and may his soul find repose) personally signed those obnoxious adverts endorsing Jonathan on behalf of Ndigbo. It was unprecedented in the history of Ohaneze or any other major sociopolitical group for that matter to issue such blanket endorsement. But that was what a sordidly compromised Ohaneze did in 2011. And that is how the southeast states handed Jonathan the highest votes in that election. That is how Ndigbo spread across the country contributed immensely in giving him victory (25% of votes cast) in many states. If you thought Ohaneze was compromised three years ago, today, whatever is left of that much-debased body has been handed over to the presidency for a cold, sodden pot of pottage. It does not matter that hardly any of the promises President Jonathan had dished out to Ndigbo from 2007 has been met but have we not seen a stream of even more endorsements gushing from our so-called leaders for Jonathan’s second term even before he has formally declared? As many Igbo leaders scurrying around Aso Rock know, Ndigbo are more deprived now and kept in the fringes under Jonathan’s administration than at any other time. Records show that under this dispensation, the southeast zone got the least vote and disbursements for capital projects. Jonathan made numerous promises to Ndigbo but we have come to know that his promises
2nd Niger Bridge: How Jonathan suckered Ndigbo are forgotten the moment he is done reading his speech. Name them: dredging of the River Niger and completion of the Onitsha Inland port (the twain haphazardly executed and abandoned); the dualisation of the Enugu-Abakaliki highway, construction of a dry port in Aba and completion of the power plants in Alaoji and Egbema, to name just a few. Today, there is no power plant functioning in the entire southeast, the private effort by Prof. Barth Nnaji is being frustrated and the much celebrated international airport in Enugu is no better than a wretched domestic wing of an airport. But in all these, the most galling is the Second Niger Bridge. The first misconception about this bridge is that it is a southeast project, but we say no; this is a strategic national monument that bridges the divide between the north and south of Nigeria. Remember former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s vote- for- project caper over this same bridge. Obasanjo promised Ndigbo this bridge during his 2003 election campaign
among several other projects. It was bad enough that he forgot to deliver it; a few days to his exit from office in 2007 he staged an elaborate ground-breaking ceremony which turned out to be the mother of all deception and mockery of a people. After Obasanjo was gone, the Ministry of Works revealed to a shocked world that the ceremony at the Niger Bridge was a ruse as there was no file to start with. A second bridge on the great River Niger is a vote catcher any day in the Southeast. This explains why when Jonathan came along in 2011 he played the same old bridge trick on Ndigbo. I will build this bridge for you before the end of my tenure if you vote me, he told the gullible tribe down the banks of the old River Niger. Now totally disconnected from his previous pledges, he had gone to Obi of Onitsha recently for a rehearsal of the 2015 election campaign when he was reminded about the bridge. Yes, the bridge, the bridge! It actually ought to be nearing completion. Pronto, the project was
‘kicked-off’ in an elaborate ceremony about two weeks later. It is to be a PPP to be completed in 2018 and the bridge will be tolled for 25 years by the concessionaires, Julius Berger. What manner of arrangement is this that allows for 25 years tolling? Will the bridge be paved with gold slabs? Who controls this 25year bondage? Yet Igbo leaders gushed with appreciation; one particularly who spoke at the occasion of the ground-breaking said, “President Jonathan has demonstrated an uncommon love for Ndigbo and Nigeria at large by the commencement of work on the second Niger Bridge.” But Igbo wu Igbo unu mu kwa anya? Will you allow yourselves be suckered again. Ta bu gboo; what you do not get now you may well say goodbye to.
A most moronic enterprise
T is indeed a killer country. We are already living our daily blood-fest inflicted on us by the Boko Haram and cattle breeders but now some departments of state would join the gory bazaar. Last Saturday’s wild experiment in recruitment exercise by the Nigeria Immigration Service must find space in world record books as being among the most moronic ever carried out. 70,000 people in a stadium for a job exercise! And this hara-kiri replicated across the country? The obvious result: blood count and body bags. There were 19 bodies at the last count. Perhaps that is the result you get when a fellow who bears (Abba) Moro is in charge. He still sits tight in his muchcoveted seat and blames the dead for being unruly. Just when we think we have seen it all. •For comments, send SMS to 08111526725
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