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•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 9, NO. 2776 MONDAY, MARCH 3, 2014





Bomb death toll hits 90

Military arrests Boko Haram explosions ‘mastermind’, 30 others

•SCENE OF HORROR: Rescue workers searching for victims in a collapsed building after the explosions in Maiduguri ... yesterday. PHOTOS: AFP


ECURITY agents are holding an elderly man who was found last night allegedly with eight guns hidden in his pick up van in Maiduguri, the troubled Borno State capital. No fewer than 90 – up from 35 reported yesterday – people died at the weekend in Boko Haram attacks in the city. The identity of the suspect was not immediately known. Rescuers are still searching for more bod-

From Bodunrin Kayode, Maiduguri

ies under the rubble at the scene of explosions. The suspect was arrested at the military check point on Lagos Road by soldiers who used anti-weapons scanners to detect the arms. Eye witnesses said the arrests caused pandemonium as people rushed towards UniContinued on page 4

•Residents looking at the wreckage of a car after the explosions in Maiduguri ... yesterday.





• Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (second right) greeting the President, Microsoft International, Jean -Philippe Courtois, during the follow-up visit of Microsoft Executives on the progress made in respect of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Lagos State and Microsoft, Seattle, Washington State in October last year. With them are (back row) Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Nike Animashaun; Director General, office of Transformation, Mr. Toba Otunsanya; Director, Computer Service, Mr.Omobola Omoboya and (left) Senior Director, Microsoft Middle East headquarters Yesser Elaba.

For three consecutive years, the Federal Government has failed to meet its revenue projections, a trend that may continue in the current fiscal year. This is believed to be the consequence of the leakages in the revenue collection and remittance of about 60 revenue generating agencies, writes Assistant Editor MUYIWA LUCAS


•Chief Operating Officer, Oando Marketing Plc, Mrs Olaposi Williams, presenting the key of a Hilux truck to a distributor, Hamisu Dantinki, at the Lubes Distributors Award in Lagos . With them are Lubricant Technical Manager Ayobami Odetola (left), Lubricant Research & Development Manager Mohammed Dahiru and Head Sales, Sanyaolu Jonathan (right).

•From left: Chief Executive Officer of Vergnet Group, France, Jerome Douat; Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga and Director-General, Osun State Economic Development and Partnership Dr. Charles Akinola at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on power generation with the Vergnet Group of France in the weekend.

•From left: Chairman, Fidelity Bank Plc, Chief Chris Ezeh, wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, new Managing Director, Nnamdi Okonkwo and outgoing Managing Director,Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi, at a dinner in Lagos to sendforth the weekend.

INISTER of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala sits atop the second biggest but yet highly volatile economy on the African continent. There is huge Transformation Agenda plans, which require that she monitors with an eagle eye, developments both locally and internationally, to enable her pilot the economy aright. And when the need arises, the minister, a former Managing Director of the World Bank, has shouted to the roof tops about the phenomenal vistas her economic team is bringing in to reposition the economy. Similarly, she has not failed to indicate her fears for the economy as the situation demands. Last year, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala expressed fears that the revenue projection may not be achieved following competition from emerging oil-producing countries in Africa, listing other factors that may pose a threat to the country’s revenue to include oil theft, and pipeline vandalism. The Director-General of Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, equally shared this fear, affirming that the threat to oil earnings in 2013 was enormous. He warned that the oil supply-demand gap for crude oil in Nigeria has unpalatable implications on sales. To avert such negative implications, Okogu pressed for an increase in the Internally Generated Revenue in the 2013 budget. Therefore, revenue generating agencies, such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), were to ensure proper remittance of all revenues collected on behalf of the government to the last kobo. His position is understandable. The 2014 budget envisaged a Gross Federally Collectible Revenue of N10.88 trillion from which N3.73 trillion of the expected collectible revenue will be used to fund the budget. Total expenditure for the year is N4.64 trillion. This figure is underpinned by the parameter of oil benchmark of 2.39 million barrels per day at a price benchmark of $77.5 per barrel, using an exchange rate of N160 to a dollar. It projects a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 6.75 per cent. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s and Okogu’s fears on the threat to oil are, however, not the only factor that may affect the 2014 revenue. Going by the antecedents of the government’s revenue generating agencies, beneath financing the 2014 budget lies deafening worries. This is because, from 2011 to 2013, the government has failed to meet its revenue projections, a trend that has cast doubt on government’s ability to meet the N4.64 trillion budget proposal for this fiscal year. This is blamed on the revenue generating agencies of government, said not to have been


meeting their target for revenue collection, and in some instances, touted not to be forthright with regards to the full disclosure of their earnings. Recent events have shown that some revenue-generating agencies have turned out to be drainpipes on the much needed revenue. There are about 36 of these agencies, prominent amongst which are the NCS, FIRS, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Bureau of public Enterprise (BPE), NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), amongst others. Initially, agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), were not established to generate revenue into the government coffers, but their activities, such as issuance of vehicle number plates, have changed the setting; hence, they are now mandated by law to remit 20 per cent of their operating profit to the government. The revenue earned by these agencies shows that much more is desired. Last year, of its N1.3 trillion revenue target, the NCS could only collect N833.4 billion, representing 59. 52 per cent of its target for the year, or a revenue shortfall of N480.7 billion between January and November 2013. In 2012, the Service recorded N850.9 billion as revenue, falling short of the N872 billion set target by the government; in 2011, the NCS ended the year on a N741. 836 billion revenue earning, surpassing the set target of N596 billion, after falling short of its 2010 set revenue target of N561 billion when it struggled to rake in N546.64 billion Going by its strategic position as the major contributor to the nation’s revenue, and the wheel on which the economy revolves, the expectations from the NNPC, is understandably high. This is because a distortion in the earnings from the Corporation will naturally translate to a distortion in the economic survival of the country; presupposing that when the NNPC sneezes, the economy catches cold. Annually, the country’s budget proposal is tied to the performance of the oil sector and NNPC’s ability, alongside some other agencies like NCS and FIRS, to rake in huge revenue. In the 2014 budget, government projects that gross federally collectible oil and gas revenue to hit N7.16 trillion. But setting such targets has become a hollow ritual. For instance, in the 2012 budget, based on a $75 oil price benchmark, the government projected gross federally collectible revenue to hit N9.406trillion. Of this figure, proceeds from oil and gas, were expected to hit about N6.4 trillion. In 2013, the NNPC had a revenue shortfall of N1.93 trillion. While the NNPC and the NCS has had fluctuations in their revenue collections over the years, the FIRS has on the other hand has been able to sustain its revenue, surpassing its targets yearly, thus, faring better than other




s in federal revenue agencies FACTS AND FIGURES 50% N10.3b $22.8 b

The percentage of Federal Government revenue illegally spent outside the annual budget.

What Immigration generated in 2011 but remitted only N3.4 billion to the Federation Account.

N1.148b N38b What is owed government on penalty from gas flared by oil companies operating in the Niger Delta

•Mrs Okonjo-Iweala


government revenue collection agencies. Consistently, the agency’s revenue has been on a steady increase over the years. In 2008, the agency earned N2.97 trillion; 2009 it was N2.197 trillion; 2010, N2.83 trillion surpassing government’s set target of N2.5 trillion; in 2011, in spite of the N2.7 trillion target set for the agency, going by the record from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the FIRS generated N4.62 trillion revenue exceeding that year’s budget by about N140 billion. In 2012, N5.007 trillion was generated by FIRS, surpassing its N3.6 trillion federal government set target for the year. As at November 2013, the FIRS had a surplus of N3.48 billion collected. Under the 2014 budget, N2.2 trillion was set as target for the highflying agency. UT, the concerned agencies have not failed to shout them selves hoarse in trying to defend their inability to meet their set revenue targets. For instance, the NNPC easily blames the shortfall on increased crude oil theft, and a drop in crude oil production as a result of force majeure declared at the Brass and Bonny Terminals, and an increase in pipeline vandalism. Similarly, the NCS blames its below par performance on reduction in imports as a result of government policies, and also due to revenues forfeited from various concessions and waivers. Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi, while admitting that the current fiscal year will be full of challenges for the Service, especially with the N1.2 trillion revenue target set for it this year, fingered the by the Federal Government’s new policy on rice, fish and the automotive industry as reasons for the substantial drop in volume of cargoes from where the NCS realizes a huge chunk of its revenue from duty and levies payable. He explained that with the imposition of a 10 per cent import duty on rice and increased rice levy from 50 per cent to 100 per cent in 2013, the Apapa Area One Command, which is the highest revenue collector for the Service, has progressively lost 70 percent of its annual revenue. Rice imports, most times, constitute up to 70 to 96 percent of its monthly revenue generation between 2011 and 2012. Figures of import waivers over a three- year period of 2011, 2012 and 2013 were put N55.9 billion, N55.3 billion and N59.4 billion respectively. The NNPC, which has come under public scrutiny, especially with the revelation by the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that the Corporation did not remit $10.8 billion to the federation account, has severally been criticised for lack of transparency in recent years. The NNPC was said to have lost $720 million in potential revenue to crude oil theft and production disruption during in January 2013, and incurred $1.22 billion in the repair


What the country lost to illegal granting of Temporary Importations and Pre-Releases between 2006 and 2007

Oil proceeds which NEITI said did not reflect in the NNPC’s books.


What the NNPC was said to have failed to remit to the NCS as duty payable on imported petroleum products.

•NNPC chief Yakubu

Reps resume hearing on kerosene subsidy


HE House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) will on Wednesday continue its hearing on the expenditure and subsidy on kerosene. The Dakuku Peterside-led committee has queried the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) during its inaugural hearing. The public hearing is sequel to resolution HR84/2013 of the House. During the continuation of the hearing, cargo inspection companies, such as General Marine and Oil Services Ltd (GMO), Marine Technical Services International Ltd, SGS Inspection Services Ltd, Shore Marine

Inspection Services Ltd, Intertek Testing Services Ltd, Petromarine Control Ltd, Standard Superintendents Company Ltd, Squa Inspection Services Ltd and Konsult Control Services Ltd, are expected to appear before the committee. Also expected to appear before the committee are the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Trafigura (Nig) Ltd, Duke Oil Nig Ltd. (Subsidiary of NNPC, Nigermed (Subsidiary of NNPC) and the Nigeria Customs, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). The committee also expects to query marketers who got kerosene PFI allocation between January 2011

and December 2013, other firms/ agencies which submitted memoranda.

and maintenance of its 5,000 kilometers of oil pipelines. But if the words of Okonjo-Iweala is anything to go by, then the days of accountability for the State oil Corporation may just be around the corner. “We need to see the justification, with receipts, where the money has been spent. Where this is not so, NNPC will need to account for the money. We need all the money due to the Federation Account and reconciliation with NNPC on the money is under way,” she insisted. Okogu has also expressed concern over the leakages in revenue from collecting agencies, disclosing that revenue generating agencies were in the habit of spending a large percentage of their earnings to match their revenue. For instance, he said that in 2009, a certain agency generated N85 billion but spent N83.2 billion, while in 2010, another agency which generated N1.7 billion increased its spending to N1 billion. To curb this, revenue-generating agencies must now remit at least 25 percent of their gross revenue, and tie their budget on the balance after remittance. But from Chief Anthony Ani’s disclosure, the leakage of revenue through these agencies predate the democratic dispensation. As a former minister of finance under the late General Sani Abacha’s administration, Ani obviously has his facts. He revealed that in 1997, of the federally collected revenue of N452 billion, only N208 billion was paid into the Federation Account, while in 1998, of the N424 billion collected, only N189 billion was remitted to government purse. Speaker, House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal, while presiding over a meeting of revenue generation and remittances with revenue generating agencies and the House Committee on Finance in December 2012, decried frequent revenue leakages from government coffers, saying it was unlawful for any government agency to spend monies not appropriated by the National Assembly. Represented at the meeting by his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, he revealed that 50 per cent of Fed-

eral Government revenue is illegally spent outside the annual budget. “A situation where actual government revenue and expenditure is unknown because revenue earning agencies of government spend the funds as they deem fit can no longer be tolerated. A situation where over 50 per cent of actual government revenue is spent outside the national annual budget has put Nigeria in a fiscal crisis,” he said. Buttressing the Speaker’s position, Chairman of the committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, alleged that two of the revenue agencies-the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA0 and the National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA)- jointly generated N210 billion in 2012 and spent all the money without remitting a dime to the Federation Accounts. IMILARLY, members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Interior were stunned when the former Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, disclosed that in 2011, the Nigeria Immigration Service generated N10.3 billion, but N3.4 billion was remitted to the federation account. These revelations were made when Mrs. Uzoma appeared before the committee to defend the 2012 fiscal budget. Her defence was that the revenue generated comprises of N8,192,717,842.77 and off-shore earnings of $13,378,206 (N2,140,512,320). Last year, the House of Representatives also revealed that 60 revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government generated but failed to remit over N9.4tn to the coffers of the government between 2009 and 2012. The House listed some of the agencies to include the Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Port Authority and Power Holding Company of Nigeria. The House report of an investigation it conducted revealed that the agencies either spent the money on their operations or simply failed to remit it to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government. This figure is separate from the

N6.132tn, which it said the NNPC and its subsidiaries generated internally from 2009 to 2011 and did not remit to government. It furthered made it known that the figure for the NNPC did not include crude oil sales expected to have been paid into the Federation Account. Jibrin, while giving a breakdown of the unremitted funds, said of the N3.06 trillion the agencies generated in 2009, only N46.8 billion, representing 1.53 per cent was remitted to the government; in 2010, the sum of N3.07 trillion was generated, but N54.1 billion or 1.76 per cent was remitted; and in 2011, the generated figure stood at N3.17 trillion, out of which N73.8 billion or 2.33 per cent was remitted; while as at October 2012, out of the N189 billion expected to have been remitted, only N80 billion was remitted, leaving a shortfall of N109 billion. “In all, the committee found out that the total remittance to government for the three years was a “paltry” N254.7 billion, out of the total revenue of N9.4 trillion generated. The agencies are simply bleeding this country dry. Not until we take drastic steps to stop them, huge funds that we would have used to execute capital projects will continue to go down the drain,” a bitter and shocked Jubrin exclaimed. The NNPC, still battling to wriggle out of the Sanusi expose of its $10.8 billion scandal, appears to have more mud rubbed on her. Last week, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) stunned the country’s legislators, nay, Nigerians, when it revealed that $22.8 billion oil proceeds did not reflect in the Corporation’s books. This disclosure was made at the Muraina Ajibola led House of Representatives Joint Committees of Petroleum (Upstream), Petroleum (Downstream) and Justice, investigating the allegation by a Swissbased Non-Governmental and Advocacy Organisation, Berne Declaration, that two Swiss oil trading companiesVitol and Trafigura- in connivance with the NNPC, skimmed the coun-



try of about $6.8 billion in two years. Shamsuna Ahmed, NEITI Executive Secretary, explained that these transactions, which sum up to $22.8 billion, are off balance sheet items, that is, not disclosed in NNPC’s audited financial statements. “The implication is that there may be significant contingent liabilities to the Federation that are not being disclosed,” Ahmed warned. NEITI also said $1.73 meant for Joint Venture cash calls had been diverted by the NNPC. Experts warn that except urgent steps are taken the country may be heading for bankruptcy considering the extent of underhand dealings in these agencies. The Ministry of Finance has secured the services of McKinsey & Co. to help it plug tax leakages in the country, at least to shore up the country’s tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of seven per cent, which is considered low when compared with other middle-income African countries like South Africa and Angola, estimated at about 22 percent. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala also disclosed that over 75 per cent of small scale business operators have consistently been evading tax, in spite of the laudable efforts of the FIRS. “One of the areas of weakness has always been in our tax policy. The new move will see the non-oil sector contribute more to the economy through payment of appropriate taxes by relevant organisations. FIRS has really worked hard but we feel that there is still room to do better,” she said. But for the generality of Nigerians, the target set for these agencies are far too small compared to their earning capacity. This, it is said, accounts for why there is an under declaration of revenue. These targets are said to be peanuts when compared to the actual earning capacity of these agencies. For instance, a clearing agent at the Tin Can Island Port, TCIP, Lagos, is concerned, targets given to the NCS is far too small considering the volume of business carried out at the ports. Based on his own calculations, the TCIP alone is capable of generating the annual target of the NCS if there is no corruption in the system. “Clearing consignments of multinationals like NNPC, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness, etc, run into billions of naira yearly; and yet there are several other importers. So, I am convinced the NCS targets are peanuts and are realised conveniently,” he said. THIS view is expressly supported by Boniface Aniebonam, founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), when he said that 95 per cent of imports and exports in Nigeria do not comply with regulations, leading to revenue loss to government. He warned that unless the NCS plugs the loopholes in the system, the achievement of the 2014 revenue target may be a charade. But, Olayiwola Shittu, National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), added a different twist to blocking of the leakages when he suggested the payment of 0.5 per cent commission on all duties that importers help NCS to generate. He is convinced that if this is put in place, revenue leakages would be blocked as agents would insist on accurate duty payment to government in order to improve the commission accruable. This, he said, would make the federal government realize more than N3 trillion through the Customs annually. He blames some officials of the NCS for aiding some clearing agents to circumvent import rules in order to line their pockets, thereby depriving government of huge revenue. Large scale fraud in revenue calculation, collection and remittance has become a cankerworm that has eaten deeply into the fabrics of revenue generating and collecting agencies. Continued on page 56



NEWS We’re achieving results, says DHQ


•President Goodluck Jonathan (second left), his wife Patience (right) and (from third right): Senate President David Mark, his wife Helen, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Chief Ernest Shonekan and Federal Capital Territory Minister Olajumoke Akinjide, during the PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN Centenary Interdenominational Church Service at the National Christian Centre in Abuja ... yesterday.

N a statement by Defence spokesman Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, yesterday the military explained its Borno operations. The statement said: “Suspects who are believed to have been responsible for detonating the bomb that exploded at Bintu Sugar Ngamari area of Maiduguri killing many citizens and wounding several others have been arrested and are helping in the ongoing investigation on the incident. “Patrols are continuing on land and in the air in the entire mission area in Northeast towards apprehending or eliminating the rampaging

Maiduguri explosions: Military arrests ‘mastermind’, 30 others


KEY suspect in the twin-bomb explosions in Maiduguri was arrested yesterday by the military after a massive combing of the city. He was said to be one of those who generated the explosives which killed more than 50 people in the troubled Borno State capital. A probe of the Maiduguri incident was on yesterday in Abuja, forcing top military leaders to hold a long review session. A source in the military admitted that some of those injured in Saturday’s explosions had died, leading to the rise in the death toll. The troops and Boko

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Abuja

Haram were locked in more encounters in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states since. Friday. The battle in Mainok is described as fierce. Following the encounters, 30 other Boko Haram members were picked up in Adamawa and Yobe states and taken into custody for interrogation. The Nigerian Air Force continued aerial attacks yesterday, targeting Boko Haram bases and hideouts. A military source, who spoke in confidence on the Maiduguri explosions, said: “A suspect believed to be one of those who generated the explosions has been arrested and taken into

custody for interrogation. “He was picked up from his temporary hideout from where he had planned to run away from Maiduguri. “The probe of the blast is ongoing; we are trying to study and analyse how they penetrated the tight security in Maiduguri with a van conveying firewood. We have also beefed up security to prevent a reoccurrence.” The source said the success of recent air raids accounted for

the reprisals by Boko Haram. “Due to persistent air strikes, these insurgents were dislodged from their bases and cells or camps. In frustration, they sneaked into Maiduguri to wreak havoc.” Asked of the update on those killed, the source admitted a rise in the death toll. “The death toll must certainly be from those wounded,” the source added. “Some of these fighters were also picked up in bor-

Due to persistent air strikes, these insurgents were dislodged from their bases and cells or camps. In frustration, they sneaked into Maiduguri to wreak havoc

der towns and villages in their attempts to escape to their camps in Cameroon. “We have found on them fighting weapons; they are undergoing intense grilling in some designated centres. “Some of them were behind recent attacks on villages and towns in Adamawa and Yobe states.” Yesterday, the Air Force continued its air strikes of identified camps and bases of Boko Haram. Defence Headquarters spokesman Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade said: “Somebody was arrested in connection with Saturday’s explosions in Maiduguri. Investigation is in progress.”

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

terrorists in the area. “The air operations to clear terrorists’ bases sited in Daggu and Yazza areas of Borno State during the weekend have registered the expected results in the ongoing campaign against terror. “ The mopping up operation by ground forces after air assault has confirmed the death of several terrorists located in the bases. “Civilians had earlier been evacuated from the vicinity of the identified terrorist enclaves in line with operation orders before the air and land assaults. “Extensive cordon and search of the entire locality is ongoing with a view to apprehending the wounded and other members of the terrorists group who might still be trying to flee. “Also yesterday, troops in pursuit of those who carried out attack in Buni Yadi last week had fierce encounter with the terrorists around Mainok and other locations between Apa and Abulum in Borno State. “The air and land operations that ensued recorded the death of some terrorists. Soldiers also died in the encounters.” The DHQ denied allegation that civilians were targeted during air strikes, It added: “Meanwhile the campaign coordination cell Continued on page 59

Jonathan has abandoned Dialogue panel’s report, says member


MEMBER of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of the Security Challenges in the North, Dr. Hakeen BabaAhmed, has attributed the renewed activities of the Boko Haram insurgents to the inaction of President Goodluck Jonathan on the committee’s report. Baba-Ahmed said it was sad and unfortunate that many months after the committee submitted its report to the President with far reaching recommendations, the government had not considered it necessary to implement any part of the report, which includes suggestions that a standing committee on continuous dialogue be set up by the government. The Kabiru Tanimu Turakiled committee submitted its report to President Jonathan on November 13, last year, but Baba-Ahmed said on a Liberty Radio programme, Guest of the Week, monitored in Kaduna that before the final report was submitted to the President, the committee told him that some of the recommendations would require immediate action. He said: “I wish I knew why the report is being delayed. Nobody is more worried than me because of the immense amount of work that we put into that report. We put in huge amount of efforts, took personal risks and made excellent recommendations to this President which has just been dumped. Not even a single recommendation of that committee has been implemented. “Some of those recommendations are so vital that they were tied to specific things.

Death toll reaches 90 in Boko Haram attacks Continued from page 1

versity Road, thinking another bomb had exploded. Youth volunteers, popularly known as Civilian JTF, were combing the scene of the blasts. They were seen on major roads, such as Lagos, Customs, Damboa, Kashim Ibrahim, Bank Road, Post Office, GRA and Polo Extension – all in the Maiduguri metropolis – searching vehicles to fish out suspected insurgents who are believed to have infiltrated the town. Mr Innocent Andrew, who is the chairman of the Association of Nurses and Midwives at the University of Maiduguri, said the hospital was besieged by many residents searching for their loved ones among the dead or injured. The death toll in weekend’s twin explosions in Maiduguri, has increased to 51. A Red Cross official said 51 bodies had been recovered there and many more victims of the Boko Haram attack were believed buried in the rubble. Fifty bodies were retrieved, said Hassan Ali, leader of an anti-terror vigilante group. It also emerged that while the car bomb was going off in the state capital, insurgents were on the offensive in Mainok, a village 60 kilometres away. They killed no fewer than 39 people. Dozens of attackers dressed in military uniforms fired rocket propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

We went to the President before we submitted the report and said some of the recommendations we were going to submit would require immediate actions. “For instance, the recommendation that he should set up a standing committee on

as people prepared for prayers. Resident Yahaya Umar said yesterday: “They came in around 7pm and opened fire indiscriminately with RPGs, explosives and AK-47 rifles. “They killed 39 people who were buried this morning and destroyed the whole town.” Another resident, Abdullahi Gana, gave a similar account of the incident. “We were just lamenting the twin blasts in Maiduguri ... when the Boko Haram gunmen arrived and started firing volleys of RPGs and guns,” he said Corroborating the account, taxi driver Mansu Buba said he returned to Mainok village yesterday to find victims being buried. Mainok has been attacked many times in the past year. A State Security Service agent said no huts were left standing. All the thatched-roof huts were gone, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to reporters. Additional information yesterday on the Maiduguri blast indicated that some buildings collapsed. Others were set aflame with smoke billowing for hours. A resident who worked at the scene through the night but insisted on anonymity, said the victims include children dancing at a wedding celebration and people watching a soccer match at an outdoor cinema. The Associated Press (AP) reported. The first blast came from a pickup truck carrying firewood and did not cause many casualties, said Ali. Most of those killed had run to the scene

continuous dialogue. We said don’t allow the momentum we have gathered to be lost because we had gained a huge momentum and gained the trust of the Boko Haram leadership. “We engaged them in dialogue. We established very strong foundation for resolving this problem. But as a

to help when a second explosion blasted from a passenger car, he said. Survivors said they captured a man who jumped out of the car, grabbed a tricycle taxi and tried to make off. He was badly beaten and taken to nearby Umaru Shehu General Hospital, where a security guard said all the wounded brought in had died. Most survivors insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals. Some bodies were blown apart, said market trader Mallam Sumaila. An AP reporter saw a body burnt beyond recognition at a hospital where wailing families were collecting bodies for immediate burial in the Muslim tradition. The attackers chose a densely populated area with narrow alleyways that maximized the blasts and a Saturday night when the market was open late. It was not known how many wounded are being treated in three hospitals in the city. More than 300 people were killed in extremist attacks last month in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, among them pupils of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi. Outnumbered soldiers are accused of abandoning checkpoints and leaving civilians at the mercy of extremists in two attacks last week that killed about 100 people, including one on a high school. Maiduguri has suffered only two attacks in the past six months: a January 14 bomb that killed about 40 people and a bold assault December 5 on the Air Force base and an army barracks on the outskirts in which all five aircraft on the runway were destroyed.

committee, we had to wind up. So, Mr. President, set up another committee that will build on the confidence we have gathered because these people are talking to us now. “They have told us their grievances; we have told them what can be done and what cannot be done because we were not told to just go

There are fears that the Boko Haram conflicts could spread. Boko Haram militants already operate in Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic and lately there have been reports the extremists are threatening to get involved in Central African Republic, where French and African troops are trying to end fighting between Muslim and Christian militias. North’s governors yesterday urged people in distress not to despair, predicting an end to the killings soonest. Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF), through its Chairman Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu, urged all stakeholders to continue to pray to God to end the scourge of what they described as “senseless killing of defenceless citizens”. The statement by Aliyu, signed by his spokesman Danladi Ndayebo, said: “The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) condemns the murderous terrorist attack which killed several persons at the heavily populated Ngomari-Bulumkutu area of Maiduguri, Borno State. “The forum deeply regrets this utterly heinous descent to new depths of terror by the perpetrators at a time when security agencies are doing their best to put an end to the scourge of senseless killing of defenceless citizens”. The forum urged members of the dreaded Boko Haram to embrace dialogue, because “the surest way to resolve grievances is through dialogue and not violence”.

there, but to go there and help resolve the problem and we did that. But they took the report and dumped it.” Asked whether the inaction on the report may have vindicated Mallam Shehu Sani who opted out of the committee, Baba-Ahmed said: “I am Continued on page 59

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APC unveils ‘Road map to a New Nigeria’ Thursday


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to unveil its “Road map to a New Nigeria” at the Party’s National Summit to be held in Abuja on Thursday. The party’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement in Lagos yesterday that the Road map will detail the party’s priorities in fixing the widespread failings of successive PDP governments since 1999, in order to bring hope and succour to the longsuffering people of Nigeria. It said the Road map was a product of an empirical and painstaking process embarked upon by the APC, in a deviation from the old practice of packaging such documents on a whim. ‘’With conditions deteriorating throughout Nigeria, with security an ever increasing concern, with the lack of jobs pushing families and young people further and further into poverty and with new stories of corruption within the PDP government appearing day after day, the APC decided to commission the largest ever public opinion survey in Nigerian history to determine the current status of things in the nation directly from those who knew best - the

Presidency: party’s outcome of polling dubious THE Presidency yesterday replied the statement by the All Progressives Congress (APC) claiming that a poll conducted showed that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is unpopular among the people. The statement had announced APC’s intention to unveil its manifesto on Thursday and that the poll further showed that President Jonathan can’t win an election in the country at the moment. But reacting to the statement last night, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati maintained that the poll was dubious. He said: “I have read a statement issued by Alhaji Lai Mohammed with regards to the plan by the APC to unveil its manifesto on Thursday. While we share the view that the APC has the view to unveil its manifesto because nobody really knows what the party stands for and Nigerians are curious to have a properly articulated position of the APC rather than its inarticulate engagement with Nigerian public but the basis on which the APC is trying to unveil the manifesto is dubious and suspicious.” “The APC according to Mohammed, is presenting its poll on the basis on certain poll that it conducted which shows the administration in a bad light. “I have read the details of the poll purportedly conducted by the APC. To start with, polling in any category at all is a very serious business. It is not something that any roadside adventurer can engage in. According to him “What the APC has done is that, it has abandoned its core business of politics to dabble into polling, and what it has come up with is a voodoo exercise. The result of the polls

purportedly conducted by the APC is nothing but a great exercise in quackery.” “APC is not licensed to be a polling agency, it has neither the expertise and the exposure nor the track record. It is not surprising that the outcome of its so-called polling is dubious.” “It says for example that if elections were to be held today, whether Nigerians will vote for President Goodluck Jonathan or the candidate of the APC. To the best of everybody’s knowledge, the APC does not even have a candidate yet. It has not named anybody as its candidate, the INEC has not even blown any whistle to initiate the submission of names of candidates.” “The APC on the basis of an unknown candidate is saying that their candidate will have a 10-point lead. I don’t think Nigerians are that gullible. It does not make sense, it does not look objective.” “At that level, I think this is a kind of polling in which you work to a predetermined answer. The polling is a very good illustration of quackery.” “They also came up with a claim that President Jonathan has done nothing to create jobs. This is nothing but a gross display of ignorance. The ignorance is self-imposed because the administration has done more than enough and will continue to do a lot to demonstrate how it has been creating jobs.” “What we know is that professional polling agencies have shown and the most recent one is the one by NOI Polls, which had a good track record, the result from that is that the President’s popularity is on the rise.”

actual people of Nigeria. ‘’The results were even more revealing than the APC had anticipated: When asked, ‘If the election were held today, would you vote for Goodluck Jonathan or

‘’When asked, ‘In general, do you think things in Nigeria are going in a good direction or bad direction’, by a staggering more than two-to-one margin (50%-24%), Nigerians responded that the country

the candidate of the All Progressives Congress’, the APC candidate held a 10-point lead over the President. By a margin of 44% to 34% (with 22% undecided), the APC candidate was the clear national choice.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

was going in a bad direction. When asked, ‘What issue would you like the President and National Assembly to focus on most’, an overwhelming majority (60%)

Ekweremadu urges end to armed conflicts

NLC to protest security agents’ response to killings Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (right) welcoming the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 2 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Maj.Gen.Emmanuel Abejirin to his the weekend.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja


HE Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC) yesterday said it would protest the massacres in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. It queried security agents’ response to the killings . A statement by the congress said the workers could not remain unconcerned about the massacre of innocent people. NLC said: “We want to sound a note of warning that we will not fold our hands or be indifferent by-standers while our territory is being ceded away, while scores of innocent lives and priceless property are being wasted on a daily basis. “ Accordingly, and consistent with our peace initiative last year christened Peace Summit, we shall mobilise our members to the streets to protest these massacres and the questionable responses of our security forces. “This is an open war. Our armed forces cannot afford to be caught napping like this. They must be seen to renew their commitment and capacity to protecting the sovereignty of Nigeria. “ In the attack on the students, the Boko Haram members were reported to have operated for hours unchallenged.” The attacks on Michika, Madagali and Shua, in Adamawa and Borno States , according to the congress, “were more audacious as the terror elements were said to have moved in murderous convoys of Hilux, chanting war songs in broad day light”.

Confab shouldn’t discuss Nigeria’s unity, says NSCIA


HE Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has said Nigeria’s unity should be a no-go area during the proposed National Conference. It also said the conference should not affect the conduct of the 2015 elections. The Islamic umbrella body said the conference should not last longer than three months to avoid encroaching into the 2015 elections’ timelines. A statement by the council’s Acting Director of Publicity, Muhammad Qasim, said issues, such as state and religion, revenue mobilisation and allocation, fiscal federalism, structure of the Nigerian federal system, security of lives of citizens and communities, eliminating impunity and corruption, improving harmony among groups and communities, im-

By Tajudeen Adebanjo

proving capacity for the implementation of reports and recommendations of reports and panels set up by the administration in the last few years should be at the front burner during the conference. The body urges a substantial increase in the allocation of delegates to the two major religions to at least 25 each and five to those who profess neither. NSCIA suggested that: “A substantial increase in the allocation of delegates to political parties to at least five for each party with representation in the National Assembly, and five for all other registered parties which have no representation; “Nomination by all stakeholders should, as a precondition for acceptance, reflect religious and other diversities and spread; decision of

the conference should be made by consensus where possible, or in a manner that allows all views and positions to be faithfully captured as optional decisions/recommendations. “An important event with implications for the lives of Nigerians which ignores population size in representation will enjoy very little credibility and acceptance. “The central position of religious faith in the lives of virtually all Nigerians has been offended by the meagre allocation of 12 delegates (six each) to Muslims and Christians out of a total of 492 delegates. While most of the delegates representing other templates will be Muslims and Christians, the specific allocation of almost an inconsequential number to religious leaders who exercise substantial influence on the

said jobs was the dominant issue that the government should address. ‘’And then when asked if they found the following statement convincing or note, ‘Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing to create jobs, and far too many people are still unemployed’, decisively, 58% of Nigerians found that argument about Jonathan convincing. Finally when asked if Jonathan was doing a good or bad job fighting corruption, 59% Nigerians thought Jonathan was doing a bad job fighting corruption. ‘’The voice of the people was clear: The nation is going in the wrong direction. The nation wants change and would not vote to re-elect Jonathan in part because the number one issue to Nigerians is jobs and the nation believes Jonathan has no credibility on the issue of job creation,’’ APC said. According to the party, the unveiling of the party’s Road map, designed with the survey results in mind and the real needs of the Nigerian people made evident by the people themselves, will be the clearest indication yet that the Movement for Change has indeed begun.

lives of deeply-religious Nigerians and in inter-faith relations suggests that government erroneously has little regard for the place of faith in influencing the outcome of the Conference. “The allocation of 90 delegates to Socio-political/Cultural and Ethnic Nationality Groups (compared to a total of 98 allocated to Elder Statesmen, Traditional Rulers, Labour, Political Parties and Religious leaders) confirms the worry among many Nigerians that this is a conference which is likely to reinforce the weak faultiness of the nation (ethnic affiliations), rather than those cross-cutting and positive elements which unite it. It is particularly worrisome to Muslims whose faith discourages discrimination of the faithful on the basis of ethnicity or race.”


EPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has urged world leaders to end armed conflicts. A statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Uche Anichukwu, said Ekweremadu made the call at the weekend during a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park. Ekwermadu also met with one of the survivors of the Atomic Bomb dropped in Hiroshima during the World War II, Mrs. Keiko Ogura. The Deputy Senate President, who was accompanied by the Ambassador of Nigeria to Japan, Godwin Agbo, said the Hiroshima disaster should steer mankind away from the part of war. Ekweremadu said: “It does not pay to have crises, as the best thing that can happen to mankind is to have peace and to live in peace with one another. “It is our prayer that this kind of tragic incident would never happen again in our lifetime and even after. I believe that we all as world leaders need to ensure that there is peace everywhere in the world. We must end all armed conflicts immediately and pursue peace with everything that we have- in our homes, in our communities, in our countries, our continents, and indeed globally.” Ekweremadu laid a wreath in memory of the victims of the Atomic Bomb. He urged Ambassadors of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) nations in Japan to utilise their presence in the G-8 country to attract development support to the sub-region. Ekweremadu who is also the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament was said to have spoken at a meeting with the Ambassadors in Japan.



NEWS AGF explains delay in auditing federation account HE Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) has explained why it has not been able to comply with the request of Lagos lawyer Mr. Femi Falana to audit the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), along side other government ministries and parastals. Lagos lawyer Mr. Femi Falana on February 7, 2014, in the wake of the allegation by suspended Governor of the Cental Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido’s allegation that about $49.6 billion oil money was missing from the federation account requested for information on the missing money under the freedom of Information Act and audit of the federation account by the AGF. Tthe Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) , in its response to the request of Falana said that some ethics and professional threats are working against its capability to carry out the audit of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other public institutions. To mitigate these threats, the AGF, in the letter to Falana dated February 19,


Nigeria will be liberated, says Jonathan •Centenary interdenominational service holds in Abuja

By Adebisi Onanuga

2014 and signed by OkaforAgi Uche explained that an audit bill has been presented before the National Assembly and that once it is passed into law, “these threats shall be mitigated by proper repositioning of the OAuGF to carry out the audit of these institutions”. Reacting to the Order of Mandamus which the Lagos lawyer threatened to obtain from the Federal High court to compel the AGF to audit the account of the programme of work of the OAuGF. Citing section 85(6) of the constitution, the AGF explained that there are appropriate divisions in the OAuGF handling the audit of the different ministries, parastals among others in line with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Under the institutional arrangements, the AGF stated for instance that Extra-Ministerial Audit Department handles the periodic checks of federal government parastatals , statutory corporations, commissions, authorities and agencies among others by virtues of section 85(3-4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Budget 2014: Reps’ committee suspends hearing on state of economy


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday expressed confidence that Nigeria would be liberated, saying it would overcome the challenges facing it. Speaking during the Centenary Interdenominational Church Service in Abuja, he said the strength of the nation lay in its diversity Jonathan said: “If that civil war has separated us, we won’t have been talking of centenary celebration. We are celebrating the centenary because some people worked together to continue to keep Nigeria one. “Our strength as a nation lies in our diversity. Our hope lies in our unity of a greater Nigeria. Our faith remains resolute that Nigeria will certainly triumph despite these challenges we are facing. We know that they are rough, the challenges real, but with God on our side, victory is sure and Nigeria will surely be liberated, by God’s grace.” Quoting Philippians 2:3, he urged Nigerians to begin to love one another. “As we round off our centenary celebration, I only have one appeal to make to all Nigerians. A few days ago, all our leaders gathered

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

and the nation honoured them. I see a new Nigeria filled with love. I see a new Nigeria with great determination. I see a new Nigeria with passion. This is my faith and hope for a brighter future.” On the importance of the celebration, he said: “I want to use this opportunity to reecho the relevance of the celebration because we had some descending voices when we started the idea of the celebration. Some people felt that it was not necessary. But we believed that for you even as a child to grow, you must know where you are coming from. “I was inspired when I was in Sweden in May 2009, as a Vice President, the foreign minister told me they were celebrating 200 years of ending wars. They were remembering because they knew what they passed through when they were fighting the wars. “Why can’t we celebrate our 100 years of existence? I wish our grandchildren will celebrate the second centenary of this great country. “We have our challenges, but definitely we have more opportunities in this coun-

try than challenges. Other countries have passed through even more challenges. Surely Nigeria will get there. I have great hope for this country despite the temporary challenges. I will work hard to make sure these challenges are dealt with and reduced to the bearest minimum.” The retired Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Sunday Ola Makinde, noted that greed, corruption, wickedness, oppression and false worship were rampant in the country just like in Israel during the period of Prophet Amos. To chart a new course for the nation, he threw his weight behind the proposed National Conference, saying it was coming at the right time. Citing Amos 3:3, which states that two people cannot walk together unless they agree, he said the biblical passage is important to Nigeria today. Makinde pointed out that the amalgamation had not really given Nigerians the desired unity, among other good things. “We need to come together and discuss as Christians, Muslims and other groups on the direction. On what terms are we going to

live together? If we say we are in accord or mutual agreement in Nigeria today, we are deceiving ourselves. “After 100 years, we need to review where we are going. We need to sit down as Nigerians with our different diversities. We have gone to wars and it has never solved our problems. I do not pray for any more war in my remaining life,” he said. Added he: “Let me advise the President to respect the outcome of the National Conference.” According to Makinde, the amalgamation in 1914 was God-ordained and not a mistake, adding that there was cause to celebrate the centenary. The many obstacles, which God allowed Nigeria to overcome in the past 100 years, which he said warranted the celebration, included the 1966 coup and attempted secession of the Eastern Region, the civil war, numerous coups and counter-coups, annulment of June 12, 1993 election, murder of Ken Saro-wiwa, death of Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Gen. Sani Abacha, introduction of Sharia law and militancy, death of Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua and introduction of the doctrine of necessity, Boko Haram.

From: Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


HE Finance Committee of the House of Representatives has put off its investigative hearing on the state of the country’s economy. Former World Bank Vice President and Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, former Petroleum Minister, Prof. Tam David West, Prof. Mike Kwanashie, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu, Mr. Henry Boro and Prof. A. G. Garba, among others, were expected to make presentations at the hearing, which was supposed to have begun today. Local and international agencies, such as the World Bank, United Nations Development Programe (UNDP), Nigerian Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (NEITI), among others, were also invited. The Chairman of the committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, in a statement yesterday said the four-day hearing would have coincided with and delayed the work of the standing committees of the House on the consideration of the 2014 budget. “The postponement was necessitated by the need to allow various Ministries, Departments, Agencies and other affected stakeholders to continue with the 2014 budget defence before the standing committees of the National Assembly,” he said. Expressing regrets about the postponement, the chairman said a new date would be announced soon after the conclusion of the budget defence exercise. The investigative hearing followed the inability of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to provide a satisfactory response to a list of 50 questions presented to her by the committee last December.

Dangote to build $600m cement HE President of the factory in Kenya


Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has said his conglomerate is planning to build a $600 million cement plant in Kenya. He spoke at the weekend during the visit of the Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister, William Ruto, to Dangote Cement Obajana Plant in Kogi State. Dangote said the three million metric tons factory might start operation soon because preparatory arrangements had begun. He expressed satisfaction about the level of support and partnership from the Kenyan government. Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister said he was impressed with what he saw at the Obajana factory, considered to be one of the biggest cement factories in the world.

He said: “I am now convinced that we are dealing with the right person. I am impressed with what I have seen here. I am convinced that as soon as the remaining two licences are secured and the company is established, it will create jobs for our people back home. “I also want to assure Dangote that Kenya is a peaceful and friendly country to do business.” On the entourage of the deputy prime minister are the Kenya’s Secretary of Information and Communication, Dr. Fred Natiang; Secretary of Industrialisation, Mr. Adam Muhammad; Chief of Staff to the Deputy PM, Mr. Marrianne Keitanany; Director of Communication, Mr. Emmanuel Talam; Secretary

•Fuel scarcity in Maryland, Lagos...yesterday

ASUU to Jonathan: sack, prosecute corrupt people in your govt T

HE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to sack and prosecute corrupt public officers in his administration, to act as a deterrent to others. The union’s National President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, who spoke at a symposium at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, called for a review of the immunity clause, which protected corrupt people in power from prosecution. The symposium was organised by the Education Rights Campaign (ERC). He said covering up the crimes of the powerful was inimical to the growth and development of the country. Fagge said the law was

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

against the masses, who suffered from the consequences of unchecked stealing and pilfering of the collective wealth of the nation. The ASUU boss, who said the present leadership could not be trusted, enjoined Nigerians to mobilise and demand accountability from governments at all levels. He expressed worries about the scandals happening at the corridor of power. According to him, Nigerians must demand accountability from those at the helm. Fagge said in normal and sane climes, heads ought to roll anytime there is scandal,

adding that it is regrettable that corruption has become endemic, hampering growth and development, with no effort made to curtail it. He noted that corruption was a sign that Nigeria was a sick society where leaders were suffering from slave mentality. Fagge said: “There is no sincerity of purpose in our leaders. We cannot trust them. May be in future we will have a leadership that can be trusted. The scandals occurring in the country, if they happen in sane climes, heads will roll, but they are covered up here. “In Nigeria, unfortunately when you are doing the right thing, your head

may roll or your job may be lost. It is a tell-tale of a sick society. You and I are not sick, but we have leaders who are sick. They are suffering from serious slave mentality. The people who are running the country are interested in personal gains and not development. Our citizens are languishing in poverty with the smallest percentage raking the commonwealth. Our law, which protects leaders who steal while in office from prosecution, is against the masses and the country’s progress.” On the increment of fees at the Lagos State University (LASU), he vowed to frustrate the hike, which he said was capable of denying students access to public education.




Anambra shuts ‘baby factory’ in Onitsha NAMBRA State government yesterday closed the Community Children’s Home at Umunna Street in Onitsha South Local Government, for engaging in alleged child trafficking. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development Lady Henrietta Agbata said 25 babies would be taken to the Nigeria Red Cross Community Children’s Home in Onitsha. She handed over a list of registered and government recognised children homes (formerly motherless babies homes) and compas-


•25 babies for Red Cross babies’ home From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha

sionate homes to the commissioner of Police, director, State Security Service (SSS), the Army and civil defence corps, among other security agencies, and urged them to shut illegal homes. The commissioner, flanked by the Director, Child Development, Mr. Emeka Ejide, disowned the woman arrested by the police, saying she was not a worker in her ministry. She said the woman was a

deputy director in the Local Government Service Commission in Onitsha South Local Government. Lady Agbata said: “Babies are not chickens placed for sale and exchanged for financial benefits. ‘’God has exposed them. We are investigating the home for an alleged trafficking before this one. Therefore, we have closed the place, but investigation is on. The babies and the items in the store will be transferred to the Red Cross Chil-

dren’s Home, Onitsha.” She said the Christian Relief Compassionate Home, Obosi, remained closed, although respite came its way, following the discovery of the missing child in Okija and the arrest of the parties involved. Two women were arrested in connection with the alleged trafficking of two babies, aged three months and three days on February 26. Police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka confirmed their arrest.

‘3.2m Southeast youths registered for APC’


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has registered over three million youths in the Southeast. Rising from a meeting of the Southeast interim youth leaders convened by the Deputy National Youth Leader, Chief Uzo Igbonwa, in Awka, APC said the success was achieved despite hiccups. Those at the meeting were Mr. Austin Chukwukere from Imo State, Okolo Louis

Navy boss reads riot act to oil thieves, vandals From: Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt


AVY has warned oil thieves, pipeline vandals and sea pirates to steer clear of oil installations in the Niger Delta, or face its wrath. The new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. Obiora Medani, spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt while on a fiveday inspection tour of naval formations and units in Rivers State. He said bunkering and the destruction of pipelines had negative impact on the nation’s economy and should be checked.

•Party hails Okorocha, Onu, Ngige From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

(Jr.) from Enugu; Anyaegbu Augustine, from Abia; Ebang Ibiam Thompson, from Ebonyi; and Obidike Joseph, from Anambra. They said: “We, the Southeast interim youth leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC), after reviewing the registration, congratulate the party nationwide for

a successful exercise. “We urge our leaders at the national level to leave our party’s register open for more youths eager of joining the party.” The body hailed Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha; former Anambra State Governor, Senator Chris Ngige; former Abia State Governor, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; Senator Osita Izunaso and other party chieftains in the South-


By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

Enugu. Anambra is now being packaged for the Easter pilgrimage and we are happy that the Atlas Jet is taking them from Akanu Ibiam Airport, making this place an international airport. “We are hoping that the pilgrims will be good ambassadors and will allow the pilgrimage to go through them so that they can be transformed. We hope they will be transformed to be better Christians and influence others. “We thank the Southeast governors for what they have done to make sure that this year’s pilgrimage is a success. We pray it will continue.” The Federal Commissioner, Nigeria Christians Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Zion Solomon Ibenye, described the launch


By Precious Igbonwelundu, Staff Correspondent

would enable Italy and Nigeria cement their bilateral relations and open opportunities for other economic investments that would enhance job creation and wealth generation. The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command (WNC) Rear Admiral Samuel Alade said the ship’s visit was part of the Navy’s effort to nip in the bud crude oil theft and piracy in the Golf of Guinea. He said besides strengthening the existing friendship between both nations, the visit was also to explore new partnerships that will benefit the countries. Alade said the Nigeria Navy has stepped up its training and has developed strategies to reposition the service to tackle emerging challenges, adding that the Navy is always ready to wage un-

relenting war against oil theft, illegal bunkering and piracy in the maritime domain. “The training visit of the Italian warship is one of the renewed efforts by the Nigerian Navy to partner international navies of the world for comparative training and equipping for better service delivery. “Personnel of both navies will engagein training such as advance module maritime domain awareness, force protection and environmental pollution protection. Others include oil rig protection, vessel boarding and search and rescue operations,” he said. Italian Ambassador, Stefano De Leo, who was also onboard the ship, said the visit was timed to coincide with Nigeria’s centenary because of the respect Italy has for Nigeria. “This ship is a display of


NEWI Indigenes in Anambra State yesterday hailed Governor Peter Obi, as he led members of his executive council to a thanksgiving service to commemorate the administration’s eight years in office. The event was held by the Catholic community in Nnewi, led by the Bishop of Nnewi, the Most Rev Hillary Okeke. In his homily at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, Nnewi, Okeke said Obi stood out because he had a mission to liberate Anambra from the outset, adding that he entrenched good governance as an enduring legacy. The cleric said the governor used public resources to achieve the objective of government in an economical and cost effective way. He recalled that before the inception of the Obi administration, the state looked as if it was abandoned by God and was engulfed in political turmoil and turbulence, lawlessness, indiscipline, insecurity, lack of respect for human dignity, lack of development and lack of confidence in government. Bishop Okeke noted that the governor reversed the trend and launched the state in a path of development, using the instrument of ANIDS. He said he partnered the church to rebuild and reposition schools and hospitals. He said Obi invested in the health and education sectors, while Anambra had the best road network in the country. The vicar, Rev. Fr. Patrick Ezeobata, said the governor sacrificed a lot to uplift the state. Obi thanked the diocese for the honour. He said the prayers of the people sustained him through the years, assuring that he would place Anambra first in all he did, because its future was important to him.

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri •Okorocha

east, who contributed to the success of the exercise.

of the Easter pilgrimage as superb, noting that everything went as planned. “Federal Government is committed to the project and the state governments in the Southeast are also committed,” he said. Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, performed the launching. Addressing the pilgrims before their departure, the Executive Secretary of (NCPC), John Kennedy Opara, thanked the President for allowing the pilgrims to be be flown fromAkanu Ibiam International Airport. The Primate of the Anglican Communion, who also chairs the NCPC, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, prayed for those who made the pilgrimage possible.

Why Lagos is registering residents, by Fashola HE Lagos State Biometric Residents’ Registration is not to tax people but to provide accurate database for service delivery, Governor Babatunde Fashola said at the weekend. The Governor spoke onboard a visiting warship, Italian Aircraft Carrier, Cavore, at the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Apapa Lagos. Represented by his Special Assistant on Commerce and Industry, Seyi Oladejo, Fashola urged all residents who have stayed six months and beyond to register. According to him, Lagos remains the location of first choice for local and foreign direct investors in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region because it accounts for almost 75 per cent of industries and remains the hub of socio-economic and cultural activities. He said the ship’s visit

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

Confab: Okorocha appoints delegates

Clerics urges pilgrims to be good ambassadors HE former Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Southeast zone, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, has hailed the completion and use of the Pilgrims Terminal at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. The bishop of Enugu Diocese of the Anglican Communion, spoke to reporters in Enugu at the weekend, after the ceremonies to mark the departure of Anambra pilgrims to Israel that the airport had become an international one. He said: “We are happy that our pilgrims are travelling from Akanu Ibiam Airport. This is the fourth state. The first state we packaged from here was Abia, the next one was Ebonyi, the third was

Nnewi hails Obi’s administration at eight

Italy’s capability and I believe we can work with the Nigerian government and harness the enormous potentials inherent in both countries,” he added. The 300 Italian Naval Group Commander, Rear Admiral Paolo Treu, said the warship came to the country with a crew of 1,200 sailors and marines including 100 women. He said the mission of the naval group in a campaign tagged: ‘A country on the move’ has seen them visit 19 countries and 20 ports, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, Congo, Angola, Kenya, Dubai and Mozambique, amongst others. He said the task of the campaign was to offer humanitarian assistance, maritime security operations, training, confidence building, cooperation, naval diplomacy and promotion of Italian entrepreneurial excellence.


MO State Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday sent the names of a five-man delegation to represent the state at the National Conference in Abuja. The governor, in a letter to the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), Pius Anyim Pius, nominated Ezekiel Izuogu, Chief Bob Njemanze and Mrs. Chidinma Uwajumogu. Others are Chief Uzoma Iheme Nwosu, Prof. Chinedu Nwajiuba and Chief Cyril Amako. Okorocha said the names superseded the ones contained in his earlier letter, adding that the delegates were people of integrity and strength of character. He urged them to remain good ambassadors.



NEWS Monarch decries state of federal roads in Oke-Ogun

No plan to ban motorcyclists, says Ajimobi

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

•Oyo donates N5m to fire victims


HE Chairman of the Conference of OkeOgun Obas & Chiefs in Oyo State, Oba Ganeey Adekunle Salau, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to visit the area and see the deplorable state of federal roads. He said the poor condition of federal roads in the area was enough to declare a state-ofemergency in the zone. Speaking with reporter at the weekend, Oba Salau listed the roads as the 30-km stretch from Iseyin to Ikere Gorge Dam and the abandoned Sokoto/Badagry road. Stressing the economic value of the roads to the government, he appealed that the roads be constructed, especially now that the bridge on the Iseyin/Maya/ Abeokuta/Lagos road had collapsed. Oba Salau urged the Federal Government to make its presence felt in the zone, adding that it was sad that Oke-Ogun, with 10 local governments, had no federal presence. He said: “Iseyin Local Government is large enough to be four local government areas in some states. We do not want an intermediary between us and President Jonathan. We want him to relate with us personally and understand what we are going through.” Oba Salau urged the President to consider indigenes of the area for appointments. He urged the state to respect the Oloko Panel by upgrading its status from the Conference of Oke-Ogun Obas & Chiefs to the Council of Oke-Ogun Obas & Chiefs “to free them from oppression.”


I formerly known and addressed as Ejikeme Promise Iwuajoku now wish to be known and addressed as Ejikeme Promise Iwu. All former documents remain valid. General public please note


• Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi presenting the N5,000 monthly stipend to a beneficiary of the Ekiti Social Security Scheme for the Elderly, Madam Ejide Rachael Awi, in Ikere-Ekiti... at the weekend. With them is former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN, left) and others.

15-man gang invades two banks in Ekiti


15-man robbery gang at the weekend attacked two banks in Ise-Ekiti in Ekiti State. The attack on the banks, which are located close to the palace of the town’s monarch, occurred at about 5pm. The hoodlums blasted the banks’ security doors with dynamites and stole an undisclosed amount of money. They were said to have shot indiscriminately, injuring some people. An eyewitness said: “I was in my office beside one of the banks when we started hearing gunshots. My secretary hurriedly shut the front door and we laid on the floor. ‘’There were two heavy sounds, followed by gunshots for nearly 50 minutes before things calmed down.We came out after they left and saw that the banks’ entrances had been blown off and the inside

PUBLIC NOTICE STAND TO END RAPE INITIATIVE (STER INITIATIVE) This is to inform the general public that the above named body has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission, under the Companies and Allied Matters Act No1 of 1990. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES Giving a voice to victims of rape To educate/enlighten male and female on rape To reduce and possibly eliminate stigmatization entrenched in our society To create an avenue for self defense Serve as an ombudsman To advice victims of rape on first aid/medical response TRUSTEES OLUWASEUN AYODEJI OSOWOBI ADEBUKOLA OSOWOBI ELIZABETH ADEDAYO ADEBANJO-OSISANWO Any objection to the registration should be forwarded to the Registrar–General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420, Tigris Crescent Off Aguyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, within 28 (twenty–eight) days of this publication. Signed: Secretary

PUBLIC NOTICE CHIEF JOHN GIADOM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION The general public is hereby notified that the above named Foundation has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission for registration in accordance with Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act LFN (cap 20) 2004. THE TRUSTEES ARE 1) ESTHER GIADOM - CHAIRMAN 2) FAITH CHERECHI GIADOM- SECRETARY 3) QUEENET NWINKA GIADOM- MEMBER 4) BEATE DEEBARI GIADOM- MEMBER OBJECTIVE To assist the poor in the Communities in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State by engaging in humanitarian services of varying degrees, feeding the poor, providing relief materials (clothing the naked), care for the aged and providing shelter for the homeless. Any objection should be forwarded to the Registrar-General,Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420 Tigris Crescent off Aguiyi Ironsi street, Maitama, Abuja within 21 days of this publication. Signed: E.C. WORNU.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

of the banks looked upside down.” It was learnt that the hoodlums robbed motorists on Ikere-Ekiti road before attacking the banks. A woman, who did not want to be named, said the 14-seater bus she boarded to Ikere was among the vehicles attacked by the robbers. She said the hoodlums stopped the vehicle close to

the Ise Comprehensive High School, around Total Petrol Station, adding: “They shot sporadically into the air as they stopped vehicles. They ordered passengers to lie face down, collecting their money and handsets. They took the N25,000 I was taking to my son in Ikere. They must have attacked about 15 vehicles. Police spokesman Victor Babayemi said the police recovered two magazines loaded with live ammunition.

Babayemi said the robbers abandoned a Toyota Siena; CD115IKEJA, and a Chevrolet bus; LSR235SH. He said: “Our men recovered two magazines loaded with live ammunition in the abandoned vehicles. There were thick blood stains in one of the vehicles, which made us suspect that the robbers were injured. We urge whoever comes across anyone with gunshot wounds to alert the police.”

Osun signs MoU on 29m Euro solar plant


HE Osun State government and a French company, Vergnet Group, has signed a 29 million Euro Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of a 13 Megawatt Solar Power Plant in the state. The Vergnet Group specialises in sustainable and renewable energy development. The MoU was signed at the International Conference Centre in Abuja by the Director-General, Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP), Office of the Governor, Dr. Charles Diji Akinola for Osun State and the Chief Executive Officer of the Vergnet Group, Mr. Jerome Douat.


From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo and Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor)

The ceremony was witnessed by President Goodluck Jonathan; French President Francois Hollande; Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of Trade and Investments Segun Aganga, among others. Akinola, who represented Governor Rauf Aregbesola, said the ceremony was another demonstration of the Aregbesola administration’s resolve to develop the state through partnership initiatives. He said: “The people come first in everything the administration does. This project, when completed, will in-

crease power supply to the people, boost economic activities and attract investors to the state.” The project will begin in July and would be completed in 14 months. It will be sited near Osogbo. The Vergnet Group will provide technical expertise and advisory services, including the project design, project planning and financing plan. Akinola said ‘’the Osun State government will be responsible for the identification and allocation of land for the project, contractual clearing with administrative authorities and infrastructure, such as access roads, among others.”

How to develop Ekiti, by Afe Babalola

OUNDER of the Afe Babalola University, AdoEkiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has said unless Ekiti people invest in their state, it will continue to lag behind. The lawyer spoke in AdoEkiti at the weekend during a visit to the multi-million naira Prosperous Royal Hotel and Resort. He said the private sector must take the lead in developing the state. Praising the owner of the hotel, Mr. Abiodun Isinkaye, for investing in the state, Babalola said the government could not do everything. He said: "I am impressed with the facilities here and the foresight of Isinkaye. The place is an El Dorado. He has demonstrated the spirit of a patriotic Ekiti man. "He could have taken this project to Lagos, Ibadan or Port Harcourt, since he is based in Calabar, but he came home to Ekiti to do this. I am

happy that people like him are learning from us. I could have set up ABUAD elsewhere, but if I did that, I would not be contributing to the economic growth of our state. "I implore other wealthy people to learn from Isinkaye and help the state to grow." Isinkaye said he built the hotel in Ekiti to boost the economy, adding that more subsidiaries of his group of companies would be established in the state. He said the hotel has over 200 workers, adding that more people would be en-

•Chief Babalola

gaged when the second phase takes off. The hotel will be inaugurated soon.

Ondo re-awards Airport Road contract


HE Ondo State government has re-awarded the contract for the construction of the Oba-Ile/Airport road in Akure North Local Government Area. Commissioner for Works Gboye Adegbenro yesterday told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the nine-kilometre dual carriage road would cost N4 billion. Adegbenro said the government re-awarded the contract to CGC Nig. because the former contractor failed to deliver the project on schedule.

YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has stated that he has no plan to ban commercial motorcyclists in the state. He spoke at the weekend while addressing plank sellers at the Sango Market in Ibadan. Ajimobi was at the market to sympathise with traders, whose stalls were gutted by fire. Rather than ban commercial motorcyclists, the governor said the government would educate them on traffic rules and safety measures. He said commercial motorcyclists were engaged in a legitimate business and the government would regulate their activities. Ajimobi said commercial motorcyclists would be given identification numbers to tighten security. He donated N5 million to the fire victims. The Chairman of the market, Mr. Taiwo Faseyitan, urged the government to rebuild the burnt market and pledged the traders’ support to the administration.

‘Probe N65m ‘fraud’ in Ondo ministry’ From Damisi Ojo, Akure


GROUP, the Ondo Civil Servants Anti-Fraud Crusaders (OCSAFC), has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Police Special Fraud Unit (NPSFU) to probe the N65 million fraud allegedly perpetrated by five civil servants in collaboration with some bank officials. In a petition to the two antigraft agencies signed by its Chairman, Sola Ajayi, and Secretary Mike Adaramola, the group said it was imperative for the two bodies to investigate the fraud because the perpetrators were aligning with prominent politicians to sweep the matter under the carpet. OCSAFC regretted that the affected officers manoeuvred their way out of the initial investigation carried out by the two security agencies. It praised the State Civil Service Commission for its handling of the matter, saying it showed that the commission was not encouraging indiscipline. OCSAFC said: “If this is done, the EFCC will beam its searchlight on areas where civil servants hide to carry out fraud in ministries, agencies and parastatals and many frauds, which had been perpetrated in the past, will be uncovered. Indicted officers would be prosecuted and this will serve as a deterrent to others.” It urged the commission to employ the service of anti-graft bodies to organise a seminar for workers on fraud prevention and control. OCSAFC said the N65 million fraud involving five workers of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Board of Internal Revenue has dented the image civil servants, adding: “Only the intervention of anti-graft agencies can clear the name of committed civil servants. We urge you to wade into the matter before they sweep it under the carpet. We are ready to assist your operatives with the documents that will facilitate proper investigation of the fraud.”




Homeowners’ Charter: Ogun extends deadline


HE Ogun State government has extended the deadline for the submission of application forms under its Homeowners’ Charter initiative by one month. Commissioner for Information and Strategy Yusuph Olaniyonu, in a statement at the weekend, said the deadline for the submission of application forms, initially

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (right) presenting a plaque to the United States (U.S.) Counselor of the Department of State, Mr. Thomas Shannon Jr., at the Government House in Abeokuta ...yesterday.

By Lucas Ajanaku

Robbers kill two policemen in Ibadan church R From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

side, killed two policemen, who were waiting in a van for the bank official. The driver was almost killed. An eyewitness said one of the robbers wanted to shoot the driver, who was in mufti, but another told him not to, arguing that the driver was not a policeman. At the sound of the gunshots, the worshippers

scampered for safety. Some of them were injured in the pandemonium and were taken to a nearby hospital. It was learnt that the robbers searched in vain for the cash. Sources said one of the robbers was shot by the policemen before they were killed. The injured robber was taken away by his colleagues. The hoodlums were said to have stolen the rifles of

Aregbesola deserves second term, says Oranmiyan group


HE President-General of Oranmiyan Worldwide, a group committed to the re-election of Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Chief Felix Awofisayo, said yesterday the governor deserves a second term. He urged the people to insist on continuity, stressing that political marauders should not be allowed to halt the course of progress. Awofisayo spoke in Lagos at the group’s meeting in Gbagada. It was hosted by an Ijesa-born All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Prince Rotimi Agunsoye. The Lagos State Coordinator, Mr. Gbenga Osobu, reiterated the readiness of members to mobilise Osun indigenes for Aregbesola. At the meeting were Alhaji Mutiu Are; former Lagos State Housing Commissioner Dele Onabokun; House of Assembly member Lanre Ogunyemi; former Special Adviser on Rural Development Paul Kalejaye; his education counterpart Dr. Elijah Adewolu; Mr. Dele Ogunsakin; Mr. Mutiu Masha; Dr. Yemi Adegoke; Alhaji Yekini Yusuf from Apapa Council; Mr. Dele Lucas and Pastor Alagbe, from Badagry Council. Osobu said the group had been mobilising Osun indigenes in Lagos to re-elect Aregbesola. He thanked Agunsoye and Onabokun for morally and financially supporting the group’s activities.. Awofisayo said they were mobilising for Aregbesola’s reelection because he developed the state, describing the governor as a selfless, patriotic and

fixed for February 28, was shifted to March 31. He said the decision was taken after considering the requests of residents. The initiative allows property owners to get building approval and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) at discounted rates.

Lagos, Microsoft consolidate MoU on e-government

L OBBERS yesterday invaded a church in Ibadan, Oyo State, killing two policemen. The church, the Vine Branch Church, is located on Queen Elizabeth Road. It was learnt some of the robbers hid in the church, awaiting the arrival of a bank official, who usually comes to pick the offering and tithes. It was gathered that the robbers pounced on the official as he entered the church. Members of the gang, who were stationed out-

By Adebisi Onanuga

By Emmanuel Oladesu

worthy leader. He praised Agunsoye for his vision, courage, determination, mobilisation prowess, strength of character and devotion. Awofisayo also thanked members of the ‘Omoluabi Support Group’, led by Alagbe, describing them as partners in progress. He urged members of the Lagos chapter to work hard for Aregbesola’s re-election, adding: “There are many groups

working for the same project, but Oranmiyan Worldwide is the authentic group. You should work together in unity and understanding. The focus now is not the reward you want to gain. Aregbesola will not abandon principled, patriotic and workaholic party members. I urge you to continue the good work of mobilising for success. You will need to always come to Osogbo to rub minds with us. Our message is that you should come to Macedonia to help us.”

Amosun, Ooni for church’s anniversary


GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun and his wife, Olufunso; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, and other eminent personalities are among special guests expected at the Seventh Year Anniversary/First Diocesan Harvest/Launch of N250 million Endowment Fund for the development of the Diocese of Ifo (Anglican Communion). The event, with the theme: “Investing in God’s Business”, will hold on Saturday at the Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Okenla in Ifo, Ogun State, by 10 a.m. The Otun of Owu Kingdom, Chief Doja Adewolu, will chair the event. The Iyalode of Yorubaland, Mrs. Alaba Lawson, is the mother of the day.


‘Ekiti poll must be credible’

ORMER Senate Deputy Chief Whip and Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Senator Gbenga Aluko, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to “ensure that the June 21 election is free and fair election. He said the commission “must be above board to block all means to fraud during the poll”. Aluko said: “Elections in advanced countries are means through which they become

By Emmanuel Oladesu

more invigorated, more progressive and more alert to their responsibilities. But regrettably, in Nigeria, elections have always been the source of our woes because of the ways they are mishandled. “The governorship election in Ekiti State must be free, fair, credible and acceptable to all players. INEC, which will take the blame for whatever mistake is committed, must devise means to curb poll riggers from all sides.

the slain policemen. After the attack, two vehicles of the state security outfit, Operation Burst, were stationed in front of the church. Police spokesperson Olabisi Ilobanafor said: “The command lost two gallant officers. They were shot during the exchange of fire. One of the robbers was shot as well, but he was carried off by the gang. The timely intervention of men of the command saved the situation, as the robbers were unsuccessful in their attempt to steal the cash.”

AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola and the President of Microsoft International, Mr. Jean–Philippe Courtois, at the weekend in Lagos consolidated on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into last year at Redmond Seattle, United States on e-governance. Courtoi, who was on his maiden visit to the country, said he was motivated by the governor’s determination to improve the state. Discussing the progress made on the MoU, Fashola said on Citizen’s Relationship Management (CRM), the state deployed two functionalities on cloud services, which will be moved to a private cloud with Dimension Data. He said the two modules were CRM’s Enquires/Complaints and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Fashola said both systems allow citizens to reach the government through Short Message Service (SMS), designated call numbers and emails. He said the modules would go public next month. On e-health, the governor said with the visit of the state government and Microsoft’s teams to the implementation site, they came up with e-health solution that provides IT support for health insurance programmes and solutions, such as clinical decisions support, data gathering, analytical capacity, integration with clinical laboratories/test results and biometric verification. According to the governor, these solutions would be delivered using the cloud for easy access by health care practitioners in public and private facilities. He said progress had been recorded in education, such as ease in students’ registration, curriculum planning, academic planning, grade management and the delivering of instructional materials to students through the cloud computing solution.























Honour so foul

•What were names of the queen, Lugard, Abacha, etc. doing in the centenary award list? ROFESSOR Wole Soyinka reacted with irony. Hear him: “I would have preferred that the entire day of infamy be ignored altogether. I’m even thinking favourably of just ignoring the obscenity, then turning up at the counterevent.” The bard and Nobel Laureate crooned about his zeal for the counter-event holding in London on June 27 in which Nigerians in Diaspora will honour 100 outstanding Nigerians in the United Kingdom. He was not alone at turning his back on the honour that the centenary committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan conferred on 100 persons they regarded as outstanding in the past 10 decades of Nigeria’s existence. The families of human rights virtuoso Gani Fawehinmi and music impresario Fela Anikulapo-Kuti also rejected the honour. For the Fawehinmi family, the honour contradicted the moral ardour and humanist agenda of their paterfamilias. “Our late father was empathetic to the sufferings of our people, particularly students,” wrote the family. “In the last 72 hours, 43 innocent students were mowed down by the bloodthirsty Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe State, while 20 other girls were similarly abducted by this band of terrorists…if our late father were still alive would he be wining and dining •President Jonathan


For instance, we frown at the name of her royal majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11. She was grouped with Lord Lugard and Flora Shaw for their contributions to the making of Nigeria. What kind of Nigeria did they make? Did they make a free Nigeria or a colonial Nigeria? They represented colonialism. They represented the worst of tyranny in their times. Before colonialism was established, the British established the West Africa Frontier Force, with which they brutalised and wiped out local independence of the various peoples of Nigeria. The second half of the 19th century was dedicated to the “pacification of Nigeria” in which our local systems fell, and they introduced what they mischievously called indirect rule. But before this, the vast area of what is Nigeria today was turned into an elabo-

with all the glitterati at a centenary celebration under these circumstances? Certainly no.” The language of denunciation from the Kuti family was no less trenchant. “… Federal Government should first apologise for the killing of our grandmother and the burning of Kalakuta,” wrote music maestro Femi kuti. We agree with the sentiments of all three. In spite of the salutary value of giving honour to whom it is due, we believe this is not the case. The list of 100 was not all bad, but it was stained irretrievably by the inclusion of a number of names that do no honour to our aspiration nor define honour in the sublime term it is done in other countries. Soyinka, Fawehinmi and Fela deserved honour for their doings, no doubt. But to put them alongside such names as Queen of England, Lord Lugard, Flora Shaw, Sani Abacha, Ibrahim Babangida, etc., is to throw dirt on the meaning of honour. We want to know the criteria for conferring such honour. That is why we wonder why a Chinua Achebe or Aminu Kano should stand side-by-side with an AguiyiIronsi. Do we give honour just because a person once ruled this country or pulled off a coup or was a prominent civil servant?

rate commerce in human beings known as the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Various societies and peoples in the society that became Nigeria were already on the march to nation-building when the British intervened with their peevish schemes. We had independence in 1960 not because they loved us more but because they had lost the international initiative. The United States emerged under Franklyn Roosevelt as the world power and coerced Britain, under Winston Churchill, to cede its empire under international trusteeship. So the queen did not do us any favours. Neither did Lugard who often contemptuously referred to Nigerians as natives. What were names, like Sani Abacha,

the supreme anti-democrat or Babangida, who up till today has not apologised for truncating our march to democracy, doing in that list? Abacha’s brutal reign hallmarked killings, repression of free expression and installation of a reign of terror that dwarfed the sly tyranny of his military predecessor, Babangida. The most searing of this irony comes when we observe that a coupist who took over from another coupist is honoured. For instance, Babangida justified the removal of Muhammadu Buhari, yet both the successful coupist and the victim were deserving of honour. It shows that we justified violence and the fait accompli of militarism. So why do we celebrate the democrats like Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo? Also telling is the cohabitation of the name of Babangida and Abacha with a name like Fawehinmi? Both stood on opposite sides of the moral compass, one standing for freedom, and the other for despotism. How come the list also added Murtala Muhammed? Was it because he was assassinated? That surely is not e n o u g h . Muhammed was the commander of the second division in the civil war. General Yakubu Gowon had to apologise to the Midwestern Igbos for the pogrom that they suffered under his division. Throughout his lifetime, he did not make any amends. We also observe that everyone who was head of state or president was given the award. It is poor judgment. We ought to honour people by what they do and not the position they occupy. This probably compelled the centenary committee with the consent of President Jonathan to give the honour to all of them. It shows they honoured persons without deep values. More importantly, we believe that the whole centenary celebration was insensitive given the butchery that took place the day before and the very day of its award. Families are in sackcloth. Schools are being burned and soldiers are fleeing those they should apprehend or destroy. It is out of character of true honorees to wine and dine in the glitzy ambience of a nation’s capital while a nation mourns.

‘More importantly, we believe that the whole centenary celebration was insensitive given the butchery that took place the day before and the very day of its award. Families are in sackcloth. Schools are being burned and soldiers are fleeing those they should apprehend or destroy. It is out of character of true honorees to wine and dine in the glitzy ambience of a nation’s capital while a nation mourns’

China’s growing stake in stability


HINA’S growing investment in industries worldwide chills those who see in it the specter of a global economic behemoth. But there could be more reason to welcome than fear this new role. By giving China a greater stake in global and regional stability and prosperity, these investments could ease the tensions created by China’s geopolitical activities. China has had a major role in world financial markets for years. But investment in foreign businesses by its public and private companies could soon overtake foreign investment in China, said Shen Danyang, a Commerce Ministry spokesman. Direct investments abroad not only create employment and wealth in the recipient countries, but, if they are large enough, they can bind national economies and political interests, stabilizing relationships. The Lenovo Group, a major computer manufacturer, recently made acquisitions worth more than $5 billion to push into the smartphone business in the United States. The company is based in Beijing but has a hub in Morrisville, N.C. Xu Weiping, the creator of huge business parks in China, is investing $1.6 billion to turn the abandoned Royal Albert Dock in London into the main European hub for Chinese companies. He said more than 60 Chinese businesses had agreed to take space in the development. Last week, the French government and the Chinese state-owned Dongfeng Motor agreed to buy $4 billion in shares of the troubled French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën. The investment provides Dongfeng with technological upgrades and Peugeot with capital to restructure so it can become competitive again. The deal raises China’s stake not only in Peugeot but in the health of the French economy and in its relationship with the French government. Chinese investment in Japan has been in the billions for several years, despite tensions over conflicting claims about islets in the East China Sea that some strategic analysts fear could lead to war. But it makes little sense to go to war while increasing investments that could be confiscated during a conflict. Even though China does not seem worried about stirring up this rivalry, further Chinese investment in Japan should motivate China to tone down its aggressiveness out of self-interest. Deepening economic integration can act as a counterweight to international political difficulties. Japanese and European governments should take heart in the flow of Chinese capital that provides the muchneeded investment in their current struggles to fight deflation. Conversely, any nationalistic effort to restrict the flow of Chinese capital would heighten anxieties to no one’s benefit. – New York Times

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IR: The nation has been thrown into mourning as Boko Haram Islamists heartlessly engaged in the killing of several innocent pupils when they attacked the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe State. The attackers reportedly arrived at the college at about 2am when the pupils were already asleep. During the encounter, they were said to have set locked hostels on fire, before shooting and slitting the throats of those who tried to climb out of the windows while some were said to have been burnt alive in which 40 houses, hostels, classrooms and staff quarters were razed down. This national calamity and a few others that happened thereafter show that there is need to urgently re-appraise and curb the activities of this notorious group that kills people as if human life is nothing. This can no longer be tolerated. It has always been obvious that Boko Haram abhors orthodox Islam that preaches peace and, like similar jihadist groups everywhere, by seeking to violently overthrow the existing order by imposing Sharia rule based on its own parochial and narrow interpretation of Islam. Then we should ask: who are they really fighting? Is it government?



What does Boko Haram really want? Is it Western education alone, which they say is evil? Could it be politicians who do not reason their own way in view of the fact that they dictate the tune of the sound in the polity? Through this latest massacre, many people have concluded that efforts by government to bring lasting solution to the crisis have failed. Wait a minute, what does Boko Haram really want? They have never given the slightest hint that they are engaged in a crusade for economic opportunities or inclinations.


IR: Geographically speaking, Benin and Togo are much closer to Nigeria. But Ghana and Nigeria have English as their lingua franca, haven been ruled by Britain consequent upon the colonial partition, and so the citizens of the two countries feel much at home

Will somebody, please, tell me what is sensible or what could be the justification for the dastardly killing of secondary school children? Are they the ones preventing Boko Haram from getting better deal from the powers-that-be? An honest advice that I want to give members of Boko Haram is that Nigerians are completely tired of their prolonged and horrifying attacks on many hapless fellows that remained unprotected by their government. The embattled governor of Borno State, Kashim Shetima re-

cently raised an alarm when he met with President Goodluck Jonathan after another horror attack on his state and expressed concern that our army was less equipped and poorly motivated than the enemy they were meant to curtail. Without mincing words, anyone who has followed events in the NorthEast would know that the governor had actually stated the truth. Rather than see this as a wake-up call, Shetima got a bashing from Mr. President’s spokesman. Must we continue this way? While every form of illegality

Brooding over Nigeria in each other’s territory. I otherwise testify that Africans have a lot in common in their cultures, and wherever they find themselves in Africa, they are brothers and sisters. When I first visited Ghana, it was for a conference in Kumasi in 2007. What caught my fancy was night

travel, or what one can call 24 hours movement, as I enjoyed it in Europe and America. We arrived in Accra in the night, and went straight to a park, a very busy park, and boarded a commercial bus to Kumasi. On our way out after the conference, we left Kumasi at around 2 am or therea-

Salami treatment for Sanusi

IR: The February 20, 2014 removal of CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, four months to the end of his term of office, reminds me of how President Goodluck Jonathan unjustly dealt with the former President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami. This recent Salami treatment of Sanusi is ill-timed and a bad omen to all anti-corruption whistleblowers. Why the haste? I am of the opinion that the suspension was aimed at scuttling the ongoing National Assembly investigation into allegations levelled against NNPC by the suspended governor of CBN. It would be recalled that SLS had accused the NNPC of non remittance of huge sums of money into the federation

account. The initial amount was about $49b and more recently, after some financial reconciliation between the NNPC, Ministry of Finance and CBN, the disputed sum came to about $20b. Sanusi also accused NNPC of providing subsidy on Kerosene when the administration of erstwhile President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had written a memo for this to be stopped. I commend SLS for coming out boldly to expose this act of impunity being committed by NNPC. Sanusi would be remembered for his many reforms of the banking sector among which is the sanitisation of the banking and the wider financial sector through the sack of some banks managing directors in August 2009; the introduction of cashless policy, the biometric reg-

istration of bank customers and the know-your-customers policy for banks. The reasons for the suspension given by government, should this be true, then the board of the CBN should have been dissolved alongside the suspension of the governor. This is because, Sanusi has always claimed that he has the approval of the CBN Act and the bank’s board to make all the donations made to schools and victims of terrorist attacks. Moreover, we learnt the FRCN report of June 7, 2013 that indicted SLS had found both the governor and the deputy governors culpable- why were his deputies left off the hook with one of them even being made acting governor? By making a scapegoat of Sanusi, a lot of government offi-

cials who want to expose acts of corruption are being cowed from speaking out. The last may not have been heard about this case. Sanusi may have talked himself into trouble giving what many believed are unguarded statements that he made during his explosive tenure (remember the allegations he made against the National Assembly that they spend 25 percent or thereabout of the national budget, a claim NASS vehemently refuted). For me, Nigerians will remember Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as a courageous person who believes in speaking truth to power, not minding whose ox is gored. But definitely, he is someone the establishment loves to hate. • Jide Ojo Abuja

and criminality should be discouraged in their totality, I don’t believe, however, that the final solution to the menace of Boko Haram lies in the exchange of gun, I sincerely believe that genuine resolution of the impasse should be through negotiation while the deployment of more troops should not be ruled out. Therefore, the first step in this direction is to allow the two parties to have a common ground to discuss and sort out issues. Boko Haram members should drop their guns - which have not been helpful at all - and opt for the peace option because human life is too precious to be wasted. On a final note, all agitations by Boko Haram - whether real or speculated may not be attainable in view of the plural nature of our society. But something has to be done urgently now by government. • Wale Kupoluyi,

bout to take an early taxi to Lagos from Accra. Why can’t Nigerians enjoy the same thing in their own country? Night travel was safe in the past. I used to travel at night alone in my official car in the 1980s. Gradually, insecurity became rampant. The extremely wide gap between the have and the have-nots is not helping matters, and the matter is not getting better as cases of official corruption and presidential protection of embezzlers/ misappropriators have been on the increase. Politically, Nigeria is unsettled. If the politicians are not using ethnicism, they use religion to divide and rule the land; politicization of religion and imperialism are banes of Nigeria’s peace and progress. Surprisingly, there is order in the way things are done in Ghana and that is why Nigerians in Ghana enjoy electricity and peace of mind. Nigeria needs to get better also if brain drain must be averted and if other nationals must come to our country to live. • Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph. D, University of Ilorin.





N a profound sense, the ultimate casualty of the gripping murder case involving the convicted wife killer, 32-year-old Akolade Arowolo, must be the couple’s five-year-old daughter, Olamide. Not even her father, who is facing a death sentence for the crime committed on June 24, 2011, in their matrimonial home in Isolo, Lagos, could escape the thought that she was the greatest victim. His late awareness prompted what should now be considered as his famous last words; and the rhetorical question mirrored the knotty riddle that will haunt him until he is eventually hanged, according to the court verdict. He asked: “Jesus, what will happen to Olamide, my daughter?” It was the little girl’s grandfather, and father of the knifed banker, Titilayo, who gave the public a clue about the tormenting fate that most likely awaited her. George Oyakhire said: “When she comes of age and begins to ask questions and is reasonable enough, we will tell her everything that happened.” Tragically, it is certain that no one can be sure how she would take the news, or handle the information. How will her mother’s murder and her father’s punishment for the act affect her trajectory in life? For fatalists, this intriguing drama must have the fingerprint of destiny. But won’t such an interpretation be simplistic? Without doubt, the most chilling and unimaginable dimension of this particularly thought-provoking uxoricide was the expert testimony of the forensic pathologist, Prof John Obafunwa, who analysed each of the 76 stabs that mutilated the body of the deceased, stating that a sharp weapon applied with “tremendous force” must have been responsible for the horrifying injuries. According to Justice Lateefat Okunnu of the Lagos High Court, who sent Arowolo to the gallows, “The post-mortem was detailed. It gave report of every injury, both external and internal. It gave details for injuries to the eye, the chest, the breast, the lung, the

‘Will Arowolo appeal, if only to prolong the wait for the noose? He may wish to exhaust every avenue to stay alive, the very chance he denied his victim. However, there is no doubt that, with the death sentence hanging over his head, he is likely to die many times before his death’


T is not an understatement that one of the greatest challenges confronting the nation and which the governments have been battling without any iota of achievement is the insurgency of an Islamist sect called Boko Haram. While some people believe that the insurgency is a result of social, religious, economic, and political imbroglio, the main cause of the insurgency in Nigeria still remains a closed book to the majority. This sect started as anti-government policy campaigners, vandalising government properties and killing innocent people under the pretext of being anti-western education. It claimed to be an anti-western culture, working against the modern ways of governance and trying to establish Islamic Sharia rule. Nigerians, especially majority of Christians and even some of the Muslims who were of the view that Boko Haram represented Islamic doctrine had challenged devout Muslims to find means of curbing the nefarious activities of the sect that is painting Islam a bad colour. Its injurious acts could even ignite another religious war in the country if not quickly nipped in the bud. However, with time, it is increasingly becoming clearer to Nigerians and the international community that Boko Haram was just a criminal gang using the name of Islam to perpetuate evil. The menace of the sect is rooted in the Northern part of the country especially in Borno, Bauchi and Yobe States. When the cause of the insurgency was first believed to be political, the federal government of Nigeria set up a panel to engage the sect members in a dialogue as a tactic to bring down the intensity of the insurgency. The strategy has proved to be unworkable since the sect refused to be engaged in any discussion with the government. Maybe this is because the arrangement was not well planned from the beginning by government. We are all aware that the insurgency was formed in the Northern part of the country by some unscrupulous Northerners. We do know what the sect claimed to represent at its formation – being an anti-western education, and we also know that the level of education among the people of the North is nothing to write home about. Some of the youths in the region are less or not at all exposed to western education but Arabic teachings. And they are highly submissive to their leaders. They are easily influenced by their leaders. These youths are the ones that are mostly influenced to join the sect and wreak havoc on the country. If there could be liberation of their minds from ignorance, these youths will be useful for development rather than being deployed as Boko Haram members. While I do not condemn the dialogue strategy by the

‘Till Death Do Us Part’ stomach and diaphragm.” If murder was not the motive, what could have been the objective of the cornucopia of wounds? The sheer scale of the stabbing not only makes it difficult even to speculate about whatever could have been the trigger; it also strongly suggests that the attacker was not in his right mind, which cannot be a justification. It was perhaps a measure of his shame at the mindlessness of the killing that he couldn’t bring himself to admit his guilt, meaning that he sensed the indefensible extremity of his conduct, a realisation that led him to a ridiculous lie. How on earth did he expect anyone to believe his fantastic tale that the multiple cuts on his wife’s body were self-inflicted? It was the height of delusion, no doubt; it was also revealing of desperation for exoneration. Remarkably, the reality of his own brutal behaviour was simply overwhelming; and his out-of-thisworld testimony further demonstrated his possible psychological sickness. However, his reported dependence on his late wife and consequent frustration, traumatic though the situation must have been for him, was no excuse for murderous madness. Despite the weight of evidence that convicted him, he curiously insisted on his alleged innocence, saying shortly after the judgment, “I am coming out soon in the name of Jesus. I can’t die. I did not kill her.” If Arowolo’s descent into the abyss of falsehood to save his neck was alarming, the defensive role of his parents, especially his mother, and their readiness to sacrifice the truth for parental loyalty, constituted a study in human nature. They proved to be biased and unreliable witnesses, a fact that the judge highlighted with unapologetic bluntness. It is striking that Arowolo’s death sentence has not generated any controversy about the appropriateness of

capital punishment, which has come under criticism in certain quarters in the country in recent times. Interestingly, pro-life human rights activists have not reacted against the judgment, which suggests that punishing murder with death may not be altogether lacking in rationality. Indeed, it would appear that, given the publicised details of the killing, any verdict short of the death penalty would have been generally unacceptable, if not condemnable. For a process that started in July 2011, the conclusion of the trial on February 21 means that it took under three years to determine the guilty party and deliver a verdict. It is apt to reflect on this apparent promptness, and to wonder why so many other murder cases in the land never reach the same stage of resolution. Is it that the Arolowo murder case was more straightforward? It is instructive that he was convicted based on circumstantial evidence, and the lack of eyewitnesses proved not to be a hindrance to justice. Not surprisingly, perhaps, religion was visible, particularly in the image of the Bible-clutching Arowolo who seemed to have had a spiritual experience in the period of his trial, which he spent in detention. It is predictable that people will seek divine intervention when things go awry, even when the situation is self-inflicted and a consequence of godlessness. It is difficult to see Arowolo as God-fearing; and his projection of Christianity when faced with the result of his evil deed was an absurd spectacle. He evidently missed the message in this guiding question: “When you do what pleases you, does what you do please God?” Oddly enough, love gave birth to death at the home of the Arowolos; and this was not the type of sacrificial death popularised by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In this case, the husband gave a negative spin to the phrase, “Till Death Do Us Part.” Their two-year marriage was a tempest, according to the testimonies of those who knew them; and the worst happened, paradoxically, on the husband’s birthday. It is a pathetic story of wasted lives, particularly of the young couple, if not their innocent daughter who could still enjoy redemption. The reality that love can indeed grow cold is at the heart of this morality play, which has lessons to teach on the nature of anger and hate, the destructive quality of frustration, the fickleness of relationships, and even the impermanence of emotion. Will Arowolo appeal, if only to prolong the wait for the noose? He may wish to exhaust every avenue to stay alive, the very chance he denied his victim. However, there is no doubt that, with the death sentence hanging over his head, he is likely to die many times before his death.

Taming the menace of Boko Haram By Abolaji Adebayo government, I still hold the view that one best way of taming the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northern part of Nigeria, is for the government to find a way of educating the Northern youths by funding their education properly and making them be at par with their Southern counterparts. This could be achieved by opening more schools in the area. He who opens schools closes the gate of war. Give them new orientations and open their eyes to the modern world: modern governance, modern education, modern war ammunition of pen rather than sword and bombs which they are currently exposed to. It is glaring that military attack solution launched by the government has not achieved much since the Joint Task Force(JTF) went to the troubled states of the federation. This is because the Nigerian military is under equipped. The Boko Haram’s sophisticated weapons are more efficient than those of our military. This is why the military are often overpowered by the insurgents. And the other reason is the hypocrisy of the government and the federal government’s insincerity about the root cause of the matter. The JTF itself has not been helping matters; it is a bundle of deceit. How many times have they claimed to have killed the leader of the insurgents? Only for Shekau to most times reappear on you-tube through which he has been dishing out fresh threat of deadly attacks either on the JTF itself or on innocent citizens. JTF too has been killing innocent people in the guise of killing Boko Haram members. If JTF has been truly killing larger number of Boko Haram members, then why do we still have them more in the battle field? Let the JTF declare its inability to subdue the insurgents and pave way for a new workable strategy. The April deadline to end the Boko Haram insurgency promised by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh remains just only a month without any sign of victory in sight. Well, we shall all wait and see what Badeh will do, maybe he will eat his words or probably extend the deadline for crushing the insurgents. That some northern politicians who were aggrieved by President Goodluck Jonathan’s disregard for zoning arrangement, which was the vehicle that brought him to the seat of Vice President in 2007, when he contested for

the presidential post in 2011 are the brain behind the Boko Haram insurgency to make the nation ungovernable for Jonathan may not be the real reason since there has not been any solid evidence to prove the authenticity of the claim. If this is the cause as claimed by some political observers, then Jonathan should in the interest of national peace apologize to those people so that the menace of the sect can be curtailed. Since Jonathan was also the product of zoning, I would suggest he tenders his apology at least to appease those he has wronged about zoning and let the country enjoy her deserved peace once again. It is interesting to note that because of the monstrosity of the sect’s perfidious acts, the University of Ibadan Vice Chancellor, Professor Isaac Adewole, has publicly said that the school was ready to initiate a study of the Boko Haram. I would implore the institution to embark on this quickly alongside another on new beneficial technological areas that could more benefit the nation . Since everybody seems to be expecting the President to make his intention known about 2015 presidential election-the major reason why the polity is seriously being over heated- the president should not think twice about dropping this ambition if this is the only condition that would allow enduring peace to return to the north and Nigeria in general. •Adebayo, a journalist lives in Lagos.

‘The JTF itself has not been helping matters; it is a bundle of deceit. How many times have they claimed to have killed the leader of the insurgents? Only for Shekau to most times reappear on you-tube through which he has been dishing out fresh threat of deadly attacks either on the JTF itself or on innocent citizens. JTF too has been killing innocent people in the guise of killing Boko Haram members’





HE controversy that trailed the tenure of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was further heightened last week with his suspension from that office. Announcing the suspension, the federal government had alleged sundry misdeeds including financial recklessness and disregard to due process. But many saw the action quite differently. Given the unresolved allegation on the missing $20 billion oil money which Sanusi had raised, it was not difficult for people to construct a positive correlation between that and his current fate. The action was therefore seen in some circles as part of the plans by the government to get even with a recalcitrant public servant who had consistently portrayed his employer in a very bad light by dishing out conflicting figures on alleged missing oil funds. This impression was further given fillip by the immediate appointment of an acting CBN governor and a designate substantive governor who will take over when the current tenure of Sanusi expires in a few months time. All these tended to convey the impression that Sanusi may as well, have been on his way out of that seat. He has been prodded to challenge the action in the courts and he never wasted time in availing himself of that option. Some have even said that there is no difference between this suspension and outright sack especially since a substantive governor designate has been appointed. These are some of the issues for the courts to determine. But President Jonathan has insisted that Sanusi could still return to his work if the panels investigating alleged financial recklessness and other infractions give him a clean bill of health. Insisting that he had the powers to suspend the CBN governor, Jonathan said Sanusi still remains the CBN governor and will only cease to be so if found guilty of the infractions. He was responding to insinuations that he suspended Sanusi because of his allegations on missing oil money and to incapacitate him from giving further evidence on the matter. But Jonathan said it had nothing to do with that since the two queries issued him by the Financial Reporting Council dated April and May last year. In all, Jonathan seems to be saying that Sanusi has serious issues to thrash with the CBN Board and the Financial Reporting Council. These issues were clearly itemized by his

Emeka OMEIHE 08112662675 email:

Arising from Sanusi’s suspension spokesman Rueben Abati in a statement soon after the announcement of the suspension. They among others included what Abati called Sanusi’s “consistent refusal and negligence to comply with public procurement Act in the procurement practices of the CBN, unlawful expenditure by the CBN in intervention projects across the country, deploying huge sums of money as the CBN did under the watch of Mallam Sanusi without appropriation and outside the CBN’s statutory mandate” And given that some of these issues were already within public domain before Sanusi’s whistle blowing on the alleged missing money, it will be difficult for anyone to sweep them under the carpet. It is true that Sanusi donated millions of Naira to some victims of the Boko Haram scourge in Kano. It is also not false that he had been embarking on some projects which even members of the public had to raise some issues with. The answer given then was that they were part of the social responsibility of the apex bank. But now, we are being made to understand that they are actually outside the mandate of the CBN. If that is so, the minimum expectation just as in the case of the alleged missing oil fund is for due process to run its full course. Sanusi should therefore face the Board of the CBN and the Financial Reporting Council by responding to the queries or any other inquisition that may enable them sort out the matter. After all, he has presented himself as an apostle of due process and good corporate governance. For him to continue to command


ET me state from the outset that I am not from Benue State. It therefore stands to reason that I cannot also be from Benue North-East Senatorial District, one of the three senatorial districts that make up the state, and about which seat in the Upper House of the National Assembly I am writing. So, anybody can conveniently question my interest and locus in the political dealings in the district. I am involved in this enterprise for two reasons. One is my relationship with the occupants of the seat since 1999 as a reporter (both for Vanguard and THISDAY at different times) covering the activities of the Senate. Two is the great concern the scramble for the seat has generated in social and political circles in the build-up to the 2015 general elections. Today, as publisher of The Congresswatch magazine, I have a wider role in relation to the entire Legislature. Regardless, my interest in the Benue North-East Senatorial seat, in particular, has been deepened because of my close interactions and relationship with occupants of the seat. Significantly, in 2007, I struck up a friendship with Senator Joseph Akaargerger, who was then the custodian of his people’s mandate from the senatorial district. Akaargerger was and remains a sedate but highly fecund persona. A former military administrator of Katsina State and holder of a Ph.D degree in Law, he brought his brilliance to bear in his contributions to debates on the floor of the Senate. I do not want to dwell on how he emerged as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the expense of former National Chairman of the party, Chief Barnabas Gemade, at the party’s senatorial primaries in 2007, a process that was superintended by George Akume, who was then in the saddle as governor of Benue; and how he lost the seat to Gemade in the 2011 senatorial election. That Gemade won the 2011 election did not come as a

He had remained unruffled, and had decided to bide his time. This is why, when it was reported, very recently, that he was contemplating leaving the PDP if he was denied a return ticket to the Senate to represent Benue North-East Senatorial District, I found it difficult to believe. The narrative had it that Suswam is interested in the seat at the end of his eight-year tour of duty as Benue governor; whereas, Gemade is interested in seeking a second term in the Senate.

respect in this regard, he must be seen to be coming with clean hands. It is a universal legal maxim that he who goes for equity must come with clean hands. Sanusi must therefore demonstrate to his teeming supporters that he is not one of those who thrives more on precepts rather than examples. That is the challenge now. But that does not in any way jeopardize the allegation on the missing oil money which must be decisively addressed either through the suggested forensic auditing or any other approach that will lead to the final resolution of the matter. Therefore, if the federal government has now woken from its slumber to require Sanusi to account for acts of omission or commission while in office, it is within its statutory duties. No body in his right senses will quarrel with that. What has not really gone down well is not the suspension but the appointment of a substantive governor designate that seems to have given an air of finality to the matter. Be that as it may, questions are bound to be raised as why it has taken the government so long to take action on Sanusi’s alleged misdeeds? Why did the government keep quiet when these infractions were being committed? Why is it now Sanusi has boasted that he can only be removed by the senate that all of a sudden, these reports are being dusted up? All these posers can be raised. They are also suggestive of ulterior motive in the dusting up of the queries in

the heat of the altercation between him and other key officials of government. Yet, this does not in any way whittle down the fact that those queries were indeed issued. They do not in any manner lessen the gravity of the alleged offences. Neither will they substitute for the imperative of accountability and due process in the conduct of government business. Not a few Nigerians are dissatisfied with the way Sanusi conducted himself as the head of the nation’s apex bank. Not a few are unhappy with his confrontational posturing and subsequent daring of the president to the effect that only the senate has the powers to remove him. This writer marvels at his guts and courage. It will take only a CBN governor from that part of the county to do some of the things he did while in office. Did we hear one governor reminding us that we should be careful in dealing with Sanusi because he has blue blood in his veins, whatever that serves in the present circumstance? Sanusi wants to be seen as a forthright person. He postures as an apostle of good governance and due process. He is now being asked to show practical evidence of these. So even if the inquisition is ascribed to witch hunting, blackmail or an attempt to settle scores, they can only be sustained if Sanusi is not guilty of the infractions. Perhaps, the experience of the late musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti after the destruction of his entertainment center and residence by the military may come handy here. He had been asked to respond to the boast by Sunny Okosun that he will dethrone Fela as the Afro beat king. Fela had this to say in reply, “that Okosun, him don fight government before? Let him fight government and see how the thing be” Fela fought the government and knows how it tastes. He wanted Okosun to savor that taste first and if there is still anything left in him to challenge him, then the competition can commence. Sanusi can now tell his own story of the outcome of hurling pebbles from his glass house.

‘Sanusi wants to be seen as a forthright person. He postures as an apostle of good governance and due process. He is now being asked to show practical evidence of these’

Suswam and Gemade: Options before PDP By Sufuyan Ojeifo surprise. In fact, his victory was expected. The Nomyange U Tiv (Rising Sun of Tiv) enjoys more political prominence both locally and nationally than Akaargerger, having been a Federal Minister and National Chairman of the ruling PDP. Had it not been due to the conspiratorial alliance perfected by Akume, Gemade would not have lost to my friend, Akaargerger, at the party primaries in 2007. Gemade brushed aside the incident, remained in the party, gave the seat another shot in 2011 and won. Interestingly, in 2011, the incumbent Governor Gabriel Suswam was in charge of the party machinery and with his support, Gemade clinched the party ticket. Akaargerger had tried to save his senate seat by moving to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), on which platform he contested against Gemade in the senatorial election but lost to Gemade. Akaargerger has since returned to the PDP. The import of this is that there is something very unique and attractive about the PDP platform. Leaders of the party would decide one day to jump ship and, always, like prodigal children, would later return to the party. I have deliberately made reference to this tendency to decamp against the backdrop of reports linking Gemade with a plot to leave the PDP. I sincerely took the reports with a pinch of salt because Gemade’s political pedigree does not portray him as someone who would abandon a house he built to be a tenant in another house on account of injustice or unfairness. After all, he had suffered injustice before now when former President Olusegun Obasanjo forced him out of office as PDP national chairman. His pre-determined and controversial defeat at the 2007 senatorial primaries did not also make him to run to another party out of desperation for elective office. He had remained unruffled, and had decided to bide his time. This is why, when it was reported, very recently, that he was contemplating leaving the PDP if he was denied a return ticket to the Senate to represent Benue North-East Senatorial District, I found it difficult to believe. The narrative had it that Suswam is interested in the seat at the end of his eight-year tour of duty as Benue governor; whereas, Gemade is interested in seeking a second term in the Senate. This scenario presents a jigsaw puzzle that would require the leadership of the party, including the presidency, to unravel. Here is a governor who has been loyal to the party,

seeking a senatorial ticket. Should he be told not to exercise his right to aspire to any position in the land because of the ambition of another man? And if he is not told not to run, would he not deploy everything (read state machinery) at his disposal to overrun his opponent (in this instance Gemade)? But when one begins to analyse the development further, one is likely to point to the fact that the governor, who is about 49 years old, has had enough of elective offices having been in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007 and having been governor from 2007 to 2015. Attempting to proceed from there to the Senate where he is likely to spend another eight years or more would be giving too much to one man in a state where there are people who are equally good or even better than him. This brings me to Gemade’s re-election bid, which is being threatened by Suswam’s senate ambition. Ideally, in the democratic spirit, Suswam should be allowed to slug it out with Gemade for the party ticket. But it is common knowledge that the contest would be skewed in favour of the incumbent executive head and the outcome of the primaries would be fractious on the party. And I ask, is the PDP ready for more crises within its fold? Would it not be in order for the PDP and the presidency to quickly identify potential flashpoints like the Benue North East senatorial contest, wade into them with compromises that would make political actors happy? Would it not serve the interest of the party and the presidency, for instance, to prevail on Suswam, a younger Tiv man, who has had his fill of elective posts, to allow his elder brother, Gemade (65 years), to enjoy a second term in the senate? And, would it not be ideal for the party and the presidency to consider an appointive post for Suswam with an assurance that he would be sustained in office for the period of four years? Lest either Suswam or Gemade misunderstands my motive and interest in this matter, I am interested overall in the wellbeing of the PDP. Indeed, while I once enjoyed interactions with both Suswam and Gemade, time and events have eroded such interactions. Nonetheless, the position that I have canvassed above is, to my mind, a fair one and I hope the duo as well as the party and the presidency will give these issue and others similar to it a thought in the interest of PDP victory in the 2015 general elections. • Ojeifo, journalist and publisher, sent this piece from Abuja.









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


85,000 jobs coming in Dangote Refinery - P. 35

‘High cost of loans bad for business’ - P. 28

News Briefing

SON seeks state govts assistance on fake goods eradication

DISCOS eye IPPs AS power generation level continues to decline as a result of gas pipeline vandalism, electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) are looking beyond the national grid and discussing with private power generating firms.

By Toba Agboola


the same state or the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The national MfB is authorised to operate in more than one state, including the FCT. It is required to have a minimum paid up capital of N2 billion and is allowed to open branches in all the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), subject to the approval of the CBN. Many of the MfBs being liquidated by the NDIC sailed into troubled waters when their debtors refused to pay back their loans, over 80 per cent of which were unsecured. Besides, some of the MfBs were taking excessive risks, such as opening branches without considering resources at their disposal . Also, there was the problem of whether their utilised funds were on short or long terms.

HE Standards Organi sation of Nigeria (SON) is seeking the support of both state and local governments and their agencies to fight the menace of fake and substandard goods. Its Director-General, Dr Joseph Odumodu said the products hinder the viability of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). He said the transformation of the economy and improvement of the standard of living of Nigerians would require coordinated efforts, to enable SMEs to grow. He added: “Fighting substandard products at the centre is only a part of it. We need to start collaborating with state and local governments to take the fight to the grassroots. “I believe that the major way we can transform this economy is through the small and medium scale enterprises and we have been discussing with relevant state authorities to see how we can support SMEs to make quality products for not just domestic consumption but international exports. “I have taken time also to visit a number of companies and I am quite impressed with what I have seen. A lot of work needs to be done and the work has started.” On its operation at the ports, he said SON does not operate at the nation’’ entry ports and could not regulate the importation of substandard products into the country. He said: “SON at this time does not operate at the ports. That is why we have changed our strategy to ensure that products destined for our markets are known to us. In the last two and a half years, we have reduced the number of sub-standard products from 80 to less than 40 per cent.”

Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) should encourage people to use the banks because they know in case of a failure, they would not lose their deposits. He said: “There is need to have insurance to guarantee confidence so that I can say to you that if you use your phone to transfer money and there is a problem and you lose money, I guarantee that you will not lose that money. It is like when we have NDIC

in banking. You and I will go and open an account. If that bank goes down, I know I can go to NDIC and I will get my money. If you lose money online, what happens? It is still a grey area.” He called for enabling laws and provision of requisite security platforms in terms of technology to ensure that these transactions are safe to inspire confidence in the people that are going to handle the transactions.

–Page 26

‘Insurance vital to mobile money’s success’ AUTHORITIES in charge of mobile money matters have been urged give insurance cover to subscribers to encourage them. –Page 26

‘Reduce microinsurance capital’ INSURANCE expert and Managing Director, RiskGuard Africa Nigeria Limited, Mr Yemi Soladoye has urged the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to reduce the N350 million, N200 million and N150 million minimum paidup share capital for intending composite, General and life microinsurance operators. –Page 36

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Time Deposit




Foreign Reserve
















• From left: Treasurer, Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Mr. Deji Tunde-Anjous; Vice President, Mr. Nicholas Nyamali; President, Mr. Michael Oyebola; Guest speaker, Dr Doyin Salami of the Lagos Business School and Director, Collective Investment Scheme (CIS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mrs. Louisa Eni-Umukoro, during a breakfast meeting by FMAN in Lagos.

MfBs for quarterly inspection, says CBN M ICROFINANCE Banks (MfBs) will henceforth undergo quarterly inspection by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to ascertain the state of their health, The Nation has learnt. An insider source in the NDIC said the inspection is usually to check the lenders’ stress level, clean up delinquent loans and reorganise their balance sheets to forestall unwholesome practices that resulted in liquidation of many of the MfBs in the past. The CBN last month revocated the licences of 83 MfBs. The closure of the affected institutions, according to the apex bank, took effect from December 20, last year. The NDIC was appointed their provisional liquidator. Already, the NDIC has started the winding up of the affected MfBs. Findings showed that the inability of the affected firms to recapitalise was mainly responsible for their closure. The CBN had given MfBs till last December 31 to recapitalise or be shut. CBN’s Director, Other Financial Institutions, O.A. Fabamwo said it was important to remind directors and shareholders of MfBs that the deadline would not be extended. He, however, advised the banks to conduct due diligence and seek professional advice. He reminded owners of MfBs on the deadline

By Collins Nweze

for compliance with the Revised Microfinance Policy Framework, particularly in respect of the capital requirements for each category of MfB and existing branches/ cash centres among others. Already, the CBN and other stakeholders have been sensitising operators on risk management and corporate governance principles. Speaking during the last Bankers’ Committee meeting in Lagos, CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Mrs Tokunbo Martins said the regulator was not interested in proliferation of MfBs. Rather, it wants those in business to be sound, she said. She said poor corporate governance and a high level of non-performing loans,

among others, were some of the key challenges facing the subsector. For instance, the CBN’s guidelines for the establishment of Mfbs, stipulate that operators are not expected to overshoot their spending. She also said many of the MfBs were deficient in their understanding of the microfinance concept. The CBN, which some months ago, asked the MFBs to recapitalise, categorised them. A unit MfB bank is authorised to operate in one location without branches/cash centres and is required to have a minimum paid up capital of N20 million while that of a state is expected to have a minimum paid up capital of N100 million. It is allowed to open branches within

‘Insurance vital to mobile money’s success’


UTHORITIES in charge of mobile money mat ters have been urged give insurance cover to subscribers to encourage them. Executive Director, Digital Africa, Dr Armstrung Takang, who gave the advice, said the project which was designed as part of the cash-less policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about three years ago, has not been as successful as it ought to have been because people are not sure what will happen when they lose their money in the course of using

By Lucas Ajanaku

the platform. The issue of who is liable for loss of money in the mobile money platform has always been avoided by the CBN, the operators and the firms licensed by the apex bank. Takang said the absence of an insurance firm to bear the risk of people that may lose their money while using the platform was a great disincentive, adding that the Nigerian



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

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

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

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


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

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

type of generation is achieved through a bilateral agreement between the generating firms and the DISCO. He said embedded generation is done in small forms but the generated power is given to DISCO directly. “The power generation we have is generated into the grid and from the grid it is allocated to DISCOs, but the embedded generation is direct arrangement between the company that is offering the embedded power and the DISCO. “It is a direct agreement. The company will set up their plants, we discuss on the terms, which include tariff and others. We will take power directly from them,” he said. Amoda, however, said embedded generation is just complementary power that is off-grid. “We have control over that and it will be more stable than the one

09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

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

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

08.50 09.45 09.40 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – UYO 10.35


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

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

‘Why PR agencies are losing’ By Adedeji Ademigbuji


HE inability of public rela tions (PR) agencies to deliver on business briefs has been identified as one of the reasons they are losing business and confidence of clients, the Principal Consultant at Indigo Communication, Mr. Bolaji Abimbola has said. He said as the PR business subsector continues to change, agencies were expected to be innovative. “PR is about partnership and therefore agencies must work with the clients to make the best use of the budget no matter how tight. With the changing landscape in which the practice is constantly evolving, it is either an agency wakes up to the dynamics and remains relevant or remains traditional and gets kicked out of the business. Therefore, PR agency must be able to deliver the job assigned and agreed. They must respect deadlines,” he said.

‘Banning fish import’ll hurt economy’


12.15 12.45

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

from the grid. “Grid power is subjected to system collapse and other issues but embedded power wherever we channel it to, the customers there will have stable power supply,” he added. He said the firm wants to expand the network because what it inherited is such that it cannot carry the load that the management expects in the near future. “So we have a plan to reinforce the lines, change all the obsolete equipment to improve supply,” he added. He also said as part of strengthening the network of the firm and human capacity development as well as customer care, the management is investing in all the value chain of the operation. He added that the company has a training programme that is structured and tailored to suit all its activities. “Very soon, we will get some National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) trained engineers to complement what we have,” he assured.

08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20

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

1. Dana

S power generation level continues to decline as a re sult of gas pipeline vandalism, electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) are looking beyond the national grid and discussing with private power generating firms. Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) is one of such DISCOs. Its Chief Executive Officer, Oladele Amoda, told The Nation that exploring such option had become imperative as the upstream segment has a problem and has failed the nation. He said: “We are exploring new ways of bringing power to our network outside the grid. We are going into embedded generation to complement whatever we are going to get from the grid. The grid is having some challenges now, but we want to overcome the challenges in the shortest possible time.” He explained that embedded generation is another viable option because it is got outside the national grid. According to him, this

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40

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

1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik

DISCOS eye independent power generators A

• From left: Acting Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. A. S. Daura; Regional Manager, West Africa, Nihilent, Shohel Noor and Chairman, Mr. Oti Ikomi at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote e-Governance and Information Technology capability in Abuja.

Indigenous operators, partners for JVAs


OCAL oil operators and their partners are fine-tuning arrangements to seal Joint Venture Agreements (JVAs) in the oil and gas industry, the President, Liquefied Natural Gas Association of Nigeria (LPGAN), Dapo Adesina, has said. Speaking to The Nation against the backdrop of the decision of the international oil companies (IOCs) to divest their stakes because of crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and loss of revenue, Adesina said local players were considering JVAs to execute huge ticket transactions, especially the ones found in deep off sites. He said: “With IOCs leaving the shores of Nigeria and selling their marginal fields, the local operators have no choice but to brace for the challenges ahead. They are making

By Akinola Ajibade

moves within and outside the country on the issue. A combination of technical expertise and funding is required for indigenous operators to increase their participation in exploring activities. Already, they contribute 10 per cent to exploration; they want to go beyond this in the foreseeable future. ‘’ They did not achieve 10 per cent overnight. They started somewhere and they can dominate the exploration business in the event that oil majors left the country. Technology is available. What they need is funding running into billions of dollars to do business which international oil firms are doing. New partnerships that would provide such activities are being formed. It is not impossible for local firms to go into deep offshore projects in the next few

years.’’ He said discussions tend towards that direction, urging operators not to come together and move the industry forward. He said many oil companies were divesting from offshore to play in onshore, arguing that the industry dynamics unfold globally. On crude oil theft, he said the government, security agencies and oil companies have a role to play in checking the vices. ‘’Oil theft is something that needs sustained efforts before it can be dealt with. Stakeholders, including oil firms, security institutions, and governments at all levels and others must involve in the fight against crude oil theft. Bigger vessels are used to steal oil; they must be intercepted by powerful security team/ apparatus,’’ he added.

Stakeholders explain cement price increase


ANUFACTURUERS, deal ers of ce ment have expressed divergent views over recent hike in the price of the product. In the last three weeks, the price of the commodity has risen from N1600 to N1900 in some parts of Lagos and Ogun states. Investigations revealed that many shops have remained closed in the last few weeks as they await supplies from major manufacturers of the commodity. Many reasons have been ad-

By Okwy lroegbu-Chikezie

vanced for the sharp increase by stakeholders which have been denied by the manufacturers. They described the scarcity as artificial, adding that it was driven by some disgrunted elements who have been shortchanging users of the product by producing 32. 5 under the guise of producing 42.5 as required for certain categories of construction. A dealer in Magboro in Obafemi/Owode Local Govern-

ment Area, Ogun State and Managing Director, Point Dimension Limited, Mr Patrick Iyamah blamed the scarcity on low capcity ultilisation of the different cement factories in the country and the failure of importers to bridge the gap. Another dealer, Alhaja Bisi Lasisi, said she has not received supplies in the last one month, citing turn-around maintenance and machine breakdown of a particular manufacturer as responsible for the scarcity.

By Oluwakemi Dauda

HE Nigeria Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) has urged the Federal Government to shelve its plan to ban fish importation, warning that implementing the policy will be counter-productive. The group said with an estimated population of 174 million by 2015, the demand for fish would increase to 2.1 million metric tonnes and with an estimated production of 740,000 metric tonnes locally, there would a shortfall in demand by 1.4million metric tonnes. Its spokesman, Mr Manny Philipson told The Nation that any further reduction in fish supply would cause the price of fish to increase and directly affect Nigerians who depend on imported fish for animal protein to feed their families. He said: “The argument of exporting jobs abroad for what we can produce locally does not arise as, domestically, we cannot match the affordability, quantity, Omega 3 healthy oils, or taste that imported pelagic fish provides. “Rather than resorting to protectionism; we should encourage free trade, that is, support our local fishing industry to export more Nigerian prawns and use those export earnings to import cheaper, more abundant pelagic fish species.” The group said banning imported frozen fish would not enable Nigeria to save N97 billion in foreign exchange as the quantum of fishmeal and soybean import required to produce 700,000 metric tonnes of catfish would cost the country between N103billion and N143 billion. NITOA urged the Federal Government to resist calls by catfish farmers to reduce fish import via quotas, or to protect catfish farmers by increasing duties on fish. “Applying quotas is always a challenge as there is an inherent problem in deciding who will get what quota, which may not necessarily be fair. “While every patriotic Nigerian wants catfish farmers to succeed, their success does not require a reduction in fish import, which is likely to impact all Nigerians,” Philipson said. NITOA urged the government to consider the alternative of providing assistance in the provision of subsidised fish meal and soya bean meal, as is done with fertiliser for farmers, under the Growth Enhancement Support scheme (GES). He said: “The lowering of fishmeal and soybean meal costs that account for 60 per cent of fish feed expenses would make catfish and tilapia more competitive and could make them affordable to a larger proportion of Nigerians.”



THE CEO How can Nigeria become industrialised? It is by removing “the punitive double digit interest rate”, says Nigeria Machine Tools Limited (NMTL) Managing Director Norbert Chukwumah. The steel sector, he notes, in this intervew with Assistant Editor CHIKODI OKEREOCHA must also be rejuvenated for the country to get there. He believes that the new automotive policy is good, adding that it must be complemented with other factors to make it work to avoid the country running auto assembly plants.

‘High cost of loans bad for business’


OULD you give a brief background to Nigeria Machine Tools? The company was established in 1980 during the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo. It was primarily to develop Nigeria’s industrial capabilities in terms of output for machine tools. And by machine tools, we mean heavy equipment both conventional and computerised. The idea being that no country can industrialise without a viable machine tools industry. Machine tools industry is usually referred to as the mother of industries because it is able to produce equipment that are used in the production of a wide range of goods. It is the bedrock of any country’s industrialisation. Again, what also inspired that is that if you look at India, it has managed to industrialise with its own indigenous technology. Recently, we heard about India launching a satellite into space and that’s from local technology. They started with machine tools and then expanded into a wide range of things. In fact, the company that is partnering with the Federal Government, Hindustan Machine Tools (International) Limited (“HMT”), started purely as a machine tools company, but right now they are producing everything from wrist watches to bearings to a whole range of things all from equipment produced by that same machine tools company. So, I think that is what formed the bedrock for establishing Nigeria Machine Tools. The down side of it was the fact that private interest was not in the mindset of government so, you heard a situation where the Federal Government was managing it and it wasn’t very successful, just like a host of other brilliant initiatives that the Federal Government could not manage because they did not understand the saying that government has no business in business. It never works; there has to be motivation, I guess that’s also what formed the basis for the privatisation exercise by the government to, at least, divest from the businesses and allow private individuals to take them up. I think its a laudable plan. Nigeria Machine Tools is one of the early ones that were privatised. It was finally handed over to us in 2007. What was the state of the company when you took over? When it was handed over, all the workers of the facility were laid off as part of the hand over process. It was also handed over in a practically moribund state in which case, all the equipment were dead. It required extensive rehabilitation. When we came in, we took a comprehensive study and determined that without proper government’s support purely as a machine tool company, it will not be a viable business because it required a whole lot of things. It required the government’s support and patronage; it required the government’s protection from unhealthy competition from Asia, which made us almost like a dumping ground for all sorts of products. So, we had to embark on an extensive rehabilitation exercise; we had to embark on an extensive upgrade; we had to embark on an extensive expansion wherein we have increased the production capacity of the company, not only to manufacture the machine tools that it was originally set up for, but also to expand its level of operations into areas such as agriculture, oil &gas, industrial training and high-end machining capabilities. So, what are we now? We are now a onestop-shop for industrial manufacturing and machining based on abilities to render a wide range of services to the Nigerian industrial climate. For oil & gas we have expanded our machining capability. We have installed production facility for stud bolts, nuts and flanges for the oil & gas industry. We have also installed a Poly (tetrafluoroethene) or PTFE coating plant for coating for all sorts of equipment. To also treat these materials we are producing, we have installed a hot dip galvanising facility at the premises. We are the only company in-country right now with the capability to

• Chukwumah

Profile Institutions attended

University of Jos, Plateau State; Harvard Business School, London.


LLB (Hons); Post Graduate Diploma, Marketing.

Previous position

Executive Director Operations, Christaben Group Nigeria Limited.

Present position

Managing Director, Nigeria Machine Tools Limited (NMTL).


Over 16 years.

manufacture stud bolts for the oil & gas industry in the country and when you add those coating facilities I mentioned like the PTFE and the galvanising facility, we can also treat the materials for corrosion. We right now also assemble tractors out of that facility. They are European spec tractors ranging from 55 horsepower to 80 horsepower. We are working in collaboration

with a Czech company called Wisconsin Engineering. We also manufacture implements like barrows, ploughs, ridgers - all those stuff that are necessary if you are doing farming. What about the training aspect of your operation? We have upgraded our training facility so, we have a fully functional training facility, which we have upgraded to handle training

‘Outside the government’s support, I think the other challenge is the issue of financing. It is not only a challenge to machine tools production, it is a challenge for industrial production in Nigeria as a whole. Interest rates of 25 per cent per annum cannot help manufacturing. There must be a way to allow genuine manufacturers to quickly access financing at a reasonable rate’

for a wide range of technical skills not only for our own workers, but for external clients. We do machining training, fabrication training; we also do some computer-aided design training, and in the not too distant future, we do expect to open a fully certified institute for scaffolding and welding training in-country at the same facility. We have our foundry, which was initially to provide our own cast materials for use in our own facility. The foundry again has been upgraded and we are able to produce a wide range of castings for industrial use ranging from manhole covers, ornamental castings, castings for furniture and so on. We also upgraded our machining capabilities. By machining I mean if you needed spares for a wide range of products, we have in-house capabilities to manufacture spares. So, we most of the time act as a stop gap measure for people who require immediate spares for their machines, whether current or obsolete, who are not in the position to get those spares to keep their facilities operational. So, we are filling a very big niche. In terms of the machine tools itself, we have entered into collaboration with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and we are producing critical equipment for use by technical institutions in Nigeria. That is the nature of the collaboration we have with NASENI right now. What is the value of the business of machine tools? An average lathe machine will probably set you back anywhere between N3million and N10million. Other things are ordinary technical workshops that you can afford if you get some level of support. So, it requires some serious government support to be able to properly spread these machine tools to people who require them for production purposes. You also have competitions from Asia, most especially China, countries which are able to produce these lathe machines at relatively cheaper prices for long term usage. A lathe machine can serve you for 50 years. It will serve you for that long, it is supposed to be a robust machine and when you produce a robust machine like that, it is not cheap. Also, the ability to take these machines tools from Nigeria machine tools is a function of how developed industrially the country is. If you have a low base for industrialisation who is going to use the machine tools? So, it is also a function of how industrially developed your country is. In fact, it is one of the indices for gauging the industrial development of a country and it is rather unfortunate, if I may say so, that from what we have seen, our level of industrialisation is not high and it needs to be fast-tracked because its the only way we gain local knowledge; its a sure way for improved employment; its a sure way for growth of our gross domestic product (GDP). Apart from the need for government’s support for the machine tools industry, what other challenges do you face? Outside government’s support, I think the other challenge is the issue of financing. It is not only a challenge to machine tools production, it is a challenge for industrial production in Nigeria as a whole. Interest rates of 25 per cent per annum cannot help manufacturing. There must be a way to allow genuine manufacturers to quickly access financing at a reasonable rate. I am not one that subscribes to free money. If you want to start production and you are competing with countries where you have people producing equipment at financing rates of between two and three per cent, in-country you are at a disadvantage especially where there are no restrictions on the importation of these products into the country. That is a fundamental problem because you find out that whatever is imported is most of the times cheaper locally. The second thing is power. •Continued on page 28




‘High cost of loans bad for business’ •Continued from page 27

Any industrialist would tell you that it is a huge problem. Let me give you an example. In NMT, as a back-up power, we are running three 1.5 KVA generators. So, all together we are running 4.5 KVA generators as back up. The cost of running that is astronomical. Again, because there is no gas facility in and around Oshogbo, you are restricted to running those generators purely on diesel and we all know what the cost of diesel is right now. If there was a gas pipeline running around there, then we might consider using gas. Having said that, I do believe that power supply in Oshogbo is a whole lot better than average in the country. That is one thing I must say for that location. Again I am a strong optimist in the recent privatisation of the power generating and distribution sector. I do believe very strongly that it is a laudable objective on the part of government. I am also firmly of the believe that within the next 24 months, we will all see a drastic improvement in the power situation in this country because its been handed over to people in the private sector who are going to manage it. They are people who realise that the only way that facility would be beneficial to the owners to drive profit is by making sure that the customer has electricity supply. So, their first and foremost objective would be the provision of the service to the customer so that in return they generate the necessary income. How do you get round these challenges? It’s working, but I think it can be better. It only takes a committed investor to put his money in manufacturing; it has to be somebody who understands the nitty-gritty of the manufacturing processes and what you expect at the end. When we started this thing, I made a simple statement that no country will industrialise this country for us; I see Nigeria industrialising actually. I will like to think that right now, we are positioning ourselves. But at this stage, what we are all doing is positioning ourselves not only to act as catalysts for that industrialisation but to take advantage of the opportunities when it eventually comes because I believe it will come. How do you source raw materials for your products? Raw materials outside the chemicals and the additives are basically imported because we have no subsisting companies that can produce them in-country. We have scrap materials, which we melt in our foundry to produce the blocks that we require. When we require materials that are slightly superior to scrap materials, we import them such as steel. Steel has an international price just like oil. So, if anybody is buying steel internationally, such a person is paying the standard price for it. There is no functional steel mill in the country that would have produced these things so we end up importing just like a whole range of people worldwide import. The distinction here again is that the only company that would have provided the type of steel that we are looking for use in NMT would have been Ajaokuta Steel Company, not the steel rolling mills. Rods and stuffs like that; they are not the type of steel that we actually require for the NMT. There are still no companies in-country that can give you a steel rod. All these things add to the cost. And I will tell you one funny thing that came up recently, which we are trying to discuss with government now. We brought in raw materials, that is the steel rods for the stud boats since there is none in-country and it is those steel rods we thread, we cut them, we sharpen them, we do all sorts of things with them; we treat them, and it becomes the stud boats and we coat them. The duty on bringing that thing in is 20 per cent. We have a surcharge of another 10 per cent for steel imports, and then we have five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). All together we have 35 per cent. The flip side: If you bring in stud boat already completed in-country, your duty is 10 per cent.

• Chukwumah

And with VAT, it is 20 per cent and there is no surcharge on it. There is a big problem by bringing raw materials for manufacturing and end up paying 35 per cent in taxes and duties. If you bring in completed products, you pay 15 per cent. I would have thought that VAT would be the same. These kind of things still need to be ironed out by the authorities because there are quite a few of them that exist in our books right now. How does this affect the industry generally? They are part of the things that kill the industry. A lot of industrialists are entering into that same problem. If I may digress a little, there is this new automotive policy that’s just been introduced by government. Excellent policy in that they are hoping to spur the growth of indigenous manufacturing of transport vehicles. But I can assure you that not one company is able to produce more than 20-30 per cent of the internal components of any particular vehicle. It requires a whole wide range of support. People who are going to supply different components of these things; somebody will supply the tyres, somebody else will supply the seats, somebody else will supply the radiator; different people are supplying different components and all these people have to come together to make this thing work otherwise you are always going to end up being purely an assembly company. We have to develop the capabilities also for other companies to be able to meet the requirement of spare part production. I can confidently say that we are one of the companies that can, at least, produce a sizable number of spares. We have done it before in the past; it was even under government’s ownership. Spares were produced for Peugeot and Volkswagen in the past and I believe with our upgrade we can produce a decent amount of Nigeria machine tools, they are not enough, we need a thousand Nigerian machine tools. Nigeria is a country of 160 million, we need a thousand Nigeria machine tools companies. Do you think the policy is good for the country? What are those things that should be put in place to ensure the success of the policy? Yes, it is a good one, but I do believe that for it to work properly a lot of other things also need to be put in place; they need to be car-

ried along at the same time. You have to deal with the metal work industry, the plastic industry; you have to be able to produce spares for those vehicles. That’s where the lathe machines come in, that’s where those Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines come in because those are what you require. There was a recent stakeholders’ meeting for the steel industry, which drew the Ministries of Mines and Steel, Trade and Investment and other stakeholders in the steel industry. I wonder whether an invitation was extended to you? No, it wasn’t because primarily speaking we are not steel manufacturers. We are not only going to do rods for buildings and primarily construction, which seems to be where the steel rolling mills fall into. But what you require for production purposes is also an issue. I will give you another example. For flanges, what do we do right now? We buy what we call planks from parts of Europe and Asia. What the planks are is that they are already spurge planks so, we bring those spurge planks in-country, we machine them using our equipment, we drill the necessary holes, we test them and then we coat them for flanges. If we had a steel company in-country, I don’t need to bring them in, we simply use a steel mill locally, which gives us the planks and we do the machining ourselves. So, I agree a bit with what you are saying that yes, the end users sometimes, the people down the line, the chain need also to be involved in some of these things not necessarily only the people producing because once the policy is out it affects you and if they have not catered for you adequately in terms of what you do then that is also a fundamental problem. So, I do agree with you in that respect. In terms of job creation, how many jobs have you created since 2007 when you took over? Right now, our total employment in Nigeria Machine Tools stands at about 220 direct employments in the NMT group. We hope that at full production that will go to about 350. Or rather we hope to raise that number this year to about 350 people. These are direct employments. Our workers are predominantly Nigerians,

‘There is a big problem by bringing raw materials for manufacturing and end up paying 35 per cent in taxes and duties. If you bring in completed products, you pay 15 per cent. I would have thought that VAT would be the same. These things still need to be ironed out by the authorities because there are quite a few of them that exist in our books right now’

we have 90 per cent of our workers as Nigerians and we also have expatriates who provide technical know-how for a fixed period of time until Nigerians acquire the necessary skill. Once Nigerians are trained, we expect not to have any expatriate person. So, the expatriate people we have right now are purely in technical areas. In doing that, outside the new people, we retained some of the people that were there before, but retrained them and re-orientated them to the concept of private ownership and what is expected of them in terms of their production capabilities. But to answer your question, yes we do have some level of expatriates. What is your capacity utilisation? It ranges from a very low point to almost 80 per cent, depending on the area of business because you know I outlined from the beginning the different areas and these are almost like separate business units in NMT. Eventually, I do believe somewhere down the line, each of these units will probably stand on their own. So, it’s wide ranging. We have our foundry, which is operating at 80 per cent installed capacity. We have our training institution, which is operating at the same level of capacity. We have the stud bolt, which has not kicked off. Officially, we expect that to kick off soon. On the machine tools’ side, we have achieved about 60 per cent of our production capacity primarily in terms of assembling and machining of some component parts. Again, its not possible to do 100 per cent in terms of the component parts. I want you to also understand part of the reasons why we are here. It has been down for sometime; it has taken us a long road to where we are. We rehabilitate, we need to expand, we needed to retrain the people that we hire. All these we had to do within a very tasking and difficult industrial environment. We are at a point where we are having a full formal reintroduction to the industrial community in Nigeria. That is the position we are as at now. we are telling everybody that NMT is back in business. What is the size of your investment, and what has been the response from operators in the oil and gas and other sectors? Are you also considering going into other markets in the west coast? Sometimes I am a bit wary mentioning figures. One thing is if you run a facility where you are paying salaries of N32 million a month, that’s part of investment. So, investment is a very wide thing, I usually don’t go there, but it takes tremendous amount of money to get to where we are. We pride ourselves that we intend to be in the next three years the premier industrial manufacturing facility in West Africa. That’s our mission. As at now, we are getting lots of enquiries from out of Europe for our products because there is this belief that Africa is the last remaining frontier for proper growth. We are growing. Today, I think the last statistics we had was seven per cent. So, we still have ample opportunities for development so, everybody is looking at Africa. They are also understanding that the growth have to be in-country, not importation of those materials. Africa can be the next Asia if we get our acts together because we have relatively cheap labour, and we have very hard working people; if you put them to use and you give them a proper wage they are ready to work 24 hours. As I mentioned earlier, if they manage to solve the power problem, transportation is also another key thing that needs to be looked at because railways are now working better. Really, there is a silent revolution going on that we are not noticing. For the first time in a very long time in this country the railways are working. There is a railway line that runs right through Dangote Steel Rolling Mill in Oshogbo. The railway line runs directly from that place to Lagos. We have entered into a strategic partnership with the Nigerian Railway Corporation to move our products. That needs to be encouraged. It solves my problem of trucks and roads, which is never a cheap alternative. So, if those kind of transportation issues are sorted out, power is sorted out, there is a rationalisation of some of the import rules and policies where it becomes a bit more simplified to enable us bring in the necessary raw materials without undue bottlenecks both in the ports and with the importation rules, this country would develop, there is no question about that. How much did it cost you to take over the company, and who are your core investors? At the time we took it over in 2007, we paid for 70 per cent of the shares for N1 billion. The Federal Government still retains 15 per cent and Hindustan Machine Tools (International) Limited (HMT), a 100 per cent owned company of the Indian government, also holds another 15 per cent of the shares.




Nigerian stocks lose N298b in Feb, NSE's index down by 2.5%

IGERIAN equities recorded a loss of about N298 billion in February, making the month the most bearish month so far this year. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed February at N12.707 trillion as against its month's opening value of N13.005 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the main valuebased index that tracks all quoted equities, indicated average month-onmonth return of -2.50 per cent. The ASI dropped by 1,012.73 basis points to close February at 39,558.89 points as against its index on board of 40,571.62

Honeywell Flour grows turnover by 24%



ONEYWELL Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) recorded turnover of N41.03 billion between April and December 2013, representing 24 per cent increase on N33.04 billion recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year. The company indicated that the increase in revenue was driven, largely, by the increased production capacity of the company having recently added 1,000MT/day through two new mills. The cumulative effect of revenue increase and reduction in costs grew the company’s profit after tax by 18 per cent from N1.7 billion in the corresponding period of last year to N2 billion in the period under review. The income statement also showed that gross profit for the same period was N7.76 billion, from the N5.48 billion reported for the corresponding ninemonth period ended December 2012. This was primarily attributed to the company’s ability to manage input costs that resulted in a slower increase in the cost of sales, which grew by 21 per cent to N33.27 billion from N27.56 billion. Increase in operating costs, which rose by 42 per cent from N3.04 billion to N4.33 billion between comparative periods in 2012 and 2013, was due to increased overheads necessary to operate the expanded production capacity, rising finance costs and increased marketing expenses needed to maintain brand equity, to increase consumer awareness and increase product visibility. Commenting on the company’s financial results, Mr. BabatundeOdunayo, the Executive ViceChairman and CEO, stated that the company’s results were in line with management’s expectation for revenue growth. He said the performance was driven by recent expansion adding that as the company moves closer to the end of the financial year, it expects to record an even stronger financial performance in the final quarter. The company stated that rising finance costs had an adverse impact on profitability as the company fulfils its obligations on the debt component of funds used to finance the additional production capacity. The Management of Honeywell Flour Mills is currently exploring several strategic options to reduce this cost. It noted that insecurity in some Northern states and growing infrastructural deficits especially bad roads and poor power supply, continue to pose serious challenges to the smooth operation of HFMP’s activities. However, the Management is confident in its ability to continue to thrive within the tough operating environment. The expansion activities, contributed to the growth of the company‘s total assets from N55.4 billion as at March 2013 to N66.2 billion as at December 2013, a 20 per cent increase. Recently, HFMP announced that it has commenced the development of the Honeywell Foods and Agro-allied Complex in Sagamu, Ogun state where work has commenced on the development of a Pasta plant to increase its current production capacity by about 200 per cent.

Stories by Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

points for the month. The downtrend in the second month worsened the overall return outlook of equities. The two-month average year-to-date return closed February at -4.28 per cent. Equities had recorded average return of -1.83 per cent in January. The negative month-on-month performance overshadowed impressive rally towards the end of the month. The market was overtly bullish last week with average week-on-week gain of 3.30 per cent, about N406 billion.

Aggregate market value of all equities, which opened last week at N12.301 trillion, closed the week at N12.707 trillion. The ASI rose from its opening index of 38,295.74 points to close at 39,558.89 points. Sectoral analysis showed widespread rally across the sectors. Most sectoral indices at the NSE closed last week on the upside. The NSE 30 Index, which tracks the 30 most capitalised stocks, rose by 3.61 per cent to close at 1,777.82 points. The NSE Consumer Goods Index indicated an increase of 2.41 per cent to close at 1,007.78 points. The NSE Banking Index rallied 6.99 per cent to close at 384.45 points. The NSE Insurance Index also appreciated by 3.49 per

cent to close at 146.67 points while the NSE Industrial Goods Index rose by 1.44 per cent to close at 2, 568.76 points. However, the NSE Oil and Gas Index declined by 1.34 per cent to close at 301.49 points. Total turnover last week stood at 1.81 billion shares worth N26.70 billion in 25,342 deals. The financial services industry remained the main driver of activity at the stock market with a turnover of 1.46 billion shares valued at N12.75 billion traded in 15,493 deals, representing 80.8 per cent of aggregate volume of transactions. The conglomerates sector placed second on the activity chart with a turnover of 109.22 million shares worth N648.48

million in 1,274 deals. Consumer goods sector ranked third with 97.33 million shares worth N11.31 billion in 3,809 deals. Three financial services stocks- Zenith International Bank Plc, African Prudential Registrars Plc and Access Bank Plc accounted for 487.01 million shares worth N5.40 billion in 3,777 deals, representing about 27 per cent of aggregate turnover. Besides equities, other instruments traded during the week included 701 units of NewGold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) valued at N1.493 million in five deals and 800 units of Federal Government's bonds valued at N887, 218.99 traded in eight deals.

Pricing Trend on NSE Feb 2014


SEC moves to reduce mutual funds’ costs

HE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to review the cost structure and expenses of mutual funds with a view to ensuring that more returns accrue to investors. Director, Collective Investment Scheme (CIS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mrs Louisa Eni-Umukoro, said the Commission was concerned about the expenses and costs relative to fund management. According to her, SEC is considering introducing a multi-fee class structure for the mutual funds alongside other measures to reduce costs. “We are looking at introducing a multi-fee class structure whereby the more you subscribed, the less you pay. It’s something we are going to work out with the fund managers,” Eni-Umukoro. She said the Commission has noticed a high expense ratio on the part of some fund managers. She said SEC is considering reviewing downward the current expense ratio ceiling of 5.0 per cent to discourage frivolous expenses by some managers warning that the Commission will start to publish expense ratios of mutual funds on its website. Eni-Umukoro said the apex capital market regulator has amended


• Fund managers seek to deepen penetration

its rules and regulations to cut down expenses relative to fund management. Eni-Umukoro spoke at the breakfast meeting of the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN). Speaking at the same event, president, Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Mr. Michael Oyebola, said the association would strive to make Nigerian mutual funds globally competitive. According to him, FMAN would strive to make the fund management relevant and competitive by developing attractive products and creating wide access for people to embrace mutual funds. ‘’We would also like to make mutual funds generally popular locally. There are about 45 funds out there, when they are launched, they were launched with huge publicity; but what happens thereafter; everybody is left to their devices, but we are as an association will like to speak to the regulators and try to come together as a common body to promote these savings schemes and ensure that they become acceptable within the industry,’’ Oyebola said. He noted that distribution platform is one of the challenges the industry

is facing adding that the association would work towards creating a singular or multiple platforms for distribution which everybody can recognise and use as distribution for local mutual funds as well as all other products that surround them. Dr. Doyin Salami of the Lagos Business School (LBS) said Nigerian fund managers would have to design innovative products that will meet the desires of the people in line with global best practices to be able to compete with expected influx of foreign fund managers’ mutual funds. According to him, with Nigeria now a $400 billion economy, the real challenge going forward would be competition between incoming foreign fund managers and Nigerian fund managers in the collective investment space. ‘’My sense is that you are going to lose out potentially big time to the international players if you do not do some of these things. When an economy is $270 billion, it’s a different proposition from when it’s recorded as the one having $400 billion. International players who ordinarily won’t be looking at Nigeria are now going to sit back and take sharp notice of Nigeria,’’ Salami said.

He also advised FMAN to protect its clients by instituting consumer protection schemes and regulations before the government does it. He noted that fund managers must understand the shift in risk dynamics of the investing public and structure their fund management in line with the current dynamics. According to him, over the past five years, there have been some startling and significant shifts in asset holdings. ‘’I started by looking at deposits that people hold, you will be surprised that within 2009 and now, the average size of current account deposits has reduced by about 25 percent, the average size of tenured funds has also reduced; but in the same period the average size of domiciliary account balances has doubled,’’ Salami said. According to him, this is showing asset holders’ perception of risks, what is pertinent is that asset holders see exchange rate risks as a bigger risk than domestic naira value risk in terms of inflation, which therefore means that if you people are going to be successful fund managers, then the portfolio cannot be the same old mutual funds.

that Customer Due Diligence is consistently and uniformly practiced in account opening process for prospective customers of financial institutions”. He also said that ecisting customers are to constantly update their accounts. The CBN had earlier said the adverse effect of this on the fight against money laundering and combating of financial terrorism cannot be overemphasised. Such plan, it added, will also facilitate quick investigation of financial crimes by relevant agencies. For review there-

fore, are all account opening form for individuals, companies, partnership and sole proprietorship, and for designated nonfinancial businesses and profession. The banking watchdog said implementation of risk-based supervision to combating money laundering and terrorist financing depends on a sound understanding of the threats and vulnerabilities of the menace to each financial institution in particular and entire financial industry in general.

CBN harmonises account forms for bank customers

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working on harmonising all account opening forms for commercial banks in the country. In a circular to all commercial banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs), released yesterday, the apex bank said it took the step to forestall the use of the accounts for money laundering and financial terrorism by bank customers. The circular signed titled Uniform Account Opening Forms and Minimum

By Collins Nweze

Information Requirements for ThreeTired KYC for Customers of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIS) and signed by CBN Director, Financial Policy and Regulation, Kelvin Amugo said the absence of uniformity in account opening procedure and documentation for prospective customers has continued to hinder the effectiveness of Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement in banks and OFIs. He said: “The uniformity is to ensure








Why CBN may not cut MPR, by RenCap T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will, rather than reduce the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from current 12 per cent, be compelled to hike it by one percentage point in the fourth quarter, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), has said. The investment and research firm said in an emailed report titled: Pan-African Banking: ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Sub-Saharan African Banks’, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC’s) hawkishness in the January statement makes it believes that any risk to policy change in the short term, is on the upside. The report released, at the weekend, said low fiscal savings the excess crude


Stories by Collins Nweze

account had $2.5 billion at December last year, a quarter of the $9.9 billion that was in the account a year earlier. It said an increase in the exposure of foreign exchange reserves to portfolio inflows suggest that further tightening may be required to keep the naira from depreciating and to sustain low inflation. It said the suspended CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s firm policy stance had been effective at slowing inflation to eight per cent year-on-year in December, from 12 per cent year-onyear earlier. “It remains to be seen whether his strict policies will remain in place. The CBN’s

benign inflation outlook of six to nine per cent for this year and four to seven per cent in 2015 – suggests that the risk to interest rates is to the downside,” it said. RenCap however, doubts rates cut, adding that such would trigger capital flight, weaken the naira and push up inflation. It said the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2014 would improve to 6.9 per cent, from 2013 estimate of 6.7 per cent, under the current GDP series. “We expect an increase in government spending, due to election-related expenses that will help spur an increase in economic activity. Upside to the oil price, on the back of a stronger global

economy, is positive for Nigeria’s consumer. Moreover, lower inflation should also support stronger household consumption,” it said. It said the upside risk to Nigeria’s growth projection, is a significant improvement in oil production on the back of a slowdown in oil theft. “We expect growth in 2014 to improve to 6.9 per cent from our 2013 estimate of 6.7 per cent, under the current GDP series. We expect an increase in the government spending, due to election-related expenses that will help spur an increase in economic activity,” it said.

Sterling Bank initiates education agenda

I’ll consolidate on my predecessor’s success, says HE Managing Director, Fi“My 10 years experience was indelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Fidelity Bank CEO teresting and challenging, because

Okonkwo has said he will build on successes and achievements of his predecessor, Reginald Ihejiahi to take the bank to enviable heights. Speaking at the weekend during a valedictory and welcome dinner in Lagos for the bank chiefs, Okonkwo said the bank knows where it is going, and would not forget its past. The new Fidelity Bank chief said his former boss laid solid foundation on which his team would build on. “I have to consolidate the achievements of my immediate past managing director. I will also build on on that and take the bank to the kind of level, that when he looks back three to five years from now, he will be happy with the bank’s achievements,” he said. Continuing, Okonkwo said : “When investors invest in a company, they do so because they expect returns. We have to generate the kind of revenues that pays our dues, as well as return a profit. And from there, we pay dividend. So, we

are not unmindful of this.” He said the lender has for years, kept a track record of unbroken dividend payment, and do not intend to discontinue that culture. “My Vision is to ensure that they do not only get dividend, but get higher divided than they have been getting in the past,” he said. Ihejiahi said his experience in the past 10 years with the bank has been interesting and challenging.


TERLING Bank Plc has initiated the “One Sterling Education!” to mark this year’s Financial Literacy Week under the Global Money Week. In a statement, the bank said the yearly event would further consolidate its strategic focus on education and its commitment to youth empowerment, as stipulated in the Financial Literacy Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The bank said it would adopt select schools and deploy trained staff under the Sterling Volunteers Programme (SVP) in educating the children

that’s the nature of the banking industry. We have alongside executive and board, built a strong brand, and I think that’s very important. We have competent staff that are sensitive to the need of the customers,” he added. Ihejiahi added: “The wish of every leader is that the institution he left behind survives and excels in whatever it is doing. There is a great future for Fidelity Bank and we believe in its continued progress.”

Bank customers group launched


HE Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) was at the weekend, launched in Lagos. The BCAN is expected to help bank customers belonging to the group address grievances against their banks and regulators of the financial services sector. Speaking at the event, its President, Dr. ‘Uju Ogubunka said the forum will help both bank operators and regulators collaborate with customers in set-

tling disputes that arise in the course of banking transactions. This, he said, would help in achieving financial inclusion needed for the benefit of the citizenry and the growth of the economy. He described the group as a consumer protection focused organisation that recognises the inter-dependence of providers and consumers of banking products and services.

Ogubunka said the group would promote and protect the rights and interest of its members. It will also educate the public on the advantages inherent in the operations of efficient banking policies and the need to develop a healthy banking culture. Also, the BCAN is expected to provide credible and common platform for customers of banks in the country to consider, take decisions and actions on matters of common interest to them.

Amount N

Rate %


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

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012







2.71 180.36 2.50 61.25 145.00 2.56 1.50 1.09 45.00 1.10

2.98 197.90 2.68 65.22 152.00 2.68 1.57 1.14 47.05 1.15

0.27 17.54 0.18 3.97 7.00 0.12 0.07 0.05 2.05 0.05


Year Start Offer 147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) 149.7450 (S/N) Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N) Parallel Market 153.0000

Current Before 149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51










O/PRICE 2.20 2.00 5.77 4.62 2.10 9.70 0.77 3.85 0.54 0.57

C/PRICE 1.99 1.90 5.49 4.40 2.00 9.24 0.74 3.70 0.52 0.55

CHANGE -0.21 -0.10 -0.28 -0.22 -0.10 -0.46 -0.03 -0.15 -0.02 -0.02

Feb. ’11

July ’11

July ’12





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


27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37

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

28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16

% Change -1.44% -1.44%



Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m


C u r r e n t CUV Start After %



specifically on financial literacy. The bank also said it sponsored this year’s edition of the “We are The Future of our Nation” (WATFON) programme, an initiative of Edumark Consult, with more than 3,500 final year pupils from various secondary schools attending it. The WATFON programme, billed to hold at the ‘Ten Degrees Events Centre in Oregun, Lagos on March 25, provides young Nigerians with the opportunity to meet and interact with accomplished professionals as well as national leaders, who have excelled in their chosen endeavours in the society. The bank’s Group Head, Strategy & Communication, Shina Atilola said the sponsorship of WATFON was based on the need to invest in “our collective future and enable society, particularly the children in accordance with the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility focus or objectives”. According to him, the event provides an opportunity for children to meet accomplished Nigerians who will later become their role models.



•Acting CBN Governor Sarah Alade

Offer Price

Bid Price


Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833







ISSUES Countries in West Africa are integrating their capital markets to create a region-wide marketplace in one of the most ambitious projects since the creation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Ahead of next month’s take-off of the first phase of the integration, Capital Market Editor, TAOFIK SALAKO, examines the issues at stake.

• Trading floor of NSE. Inset: Onyema


Many nations, one market

ROM the comfort of their offices in Lagos, in Accra (Ghana), Port Novo (Benin), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Abidjan (Cote D’Ivoire) Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Lome (Togo) and other commercial centres in West Africa, stockbrokers and investors will now be able to trade on any of the stock exchanges in West Africa. Next month’s take-off of the integration of the capital markets in West Africa is a momentous dateline that promises to reshape the economies and investment activities within the region and beyond. The West African Capital Market Integration (WACMI) programme seeks to integrate the existing Nigerian Stock Exchange; Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), Sierra Leone Stock Exchange and the bloc of eight francophone countries under the Bourse Regionale des Valuers Mobilieres (BRVM). Countries under BRVM include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. WACMI entails integration of listing, trading and settlement rules in a way that allows capital market operators and investors to trade across the markets. Any company with primary listing in any of the country will also be able to raise capital across the markets. The WACMI programme is part of the regional integration programme of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and fits into other initiatives under the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI). While there are four subsisting Exchanges in the region, the integration is designed for the entire countries in the region as investors in countries without Exchanges can access the fully integrated market through the qualified licensed brokers in countries that have exchanges. Without any geographical, trading or regulatory barriers, Nigeria-based brokers can trade on Tullow Oil Plc- the oil exploration company listed on the GSE or BICC on the BRVM while brokers from Ghana and Senegal and other BRVM countries can

trade from their home locations on Nestle Nigeria and other listed companies on the NSE. The three-phased integration will gradually begin with formal indirect access and climax with full direct access and integration of the entire market structures within the region.

Many stages of integration The first phase of the integration, known as the sponsored access phase, is expected to take off in next month, through which brokers within the member countries will be able to trade and settle securities in other markets through local brokers. Under this phase, brokers within the member countries can trade securities and settle in markets other than theirs, through local brokers in the other member jurisdictions. The interrelationship between the brokers will be guided by memoranda of understanding (MOU), which is duly recognised by each regulator in each WACMI member jurisdiction. Chairman, West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC), Mr. Oscar Onyema, said the bottom-up approach is intended to ensure seamless integration with the regulators and operators using a preceding stage as a stepping stone to the next one. Under the first phase, regulators across the region will sign on to common protocols and trading practices. "The rules spell out the framework, how the relationship is going to work and how the regulation of the broker will work and that is

why all the securities regulators in West Africa are also involved. If a broker in Ghana commits an infraction while trading in Nigeria and we put a fine, the securities regulator in Ghana will make sure the broker in Ghana pays the fine. This has to do with having common protocols under which trading will occur across borders," Onyema said. Under sponsored access, orders will not pass through the sponsoring member's order management system prior to reaching the Exchange's trading system but the order must touch the sponsoring member's risk management system, thus providing for enhanced efficiency and transparency. The second phase will lead to the emergence of direct access to brokers from any of the participating countries to trade on any of the markets directly. This stage, which will lead to the issuance of a somewhat general trading licence to be known as "Common Passport" to brokers across the region, will see the integration of the membership privileges, rules and other practices across the Exchanges in the region. The "Common passport" is the legal and regulatory framework approved and adopted by WACMIC to allow capital market operators to operate outside their jurisdictions. A "Common Passport" empowers market regulators to mutually recognise an operator registered outside their market and extend them the same rights, privileges and obligations as one of their own. From Lagos to Accra to Abidjan and Freetown, brokers will have direct access to trade on the

The size of the market will create opportunities for all the participants as the integration of the NSE, GSE and BRVM, will provide investors, issuers and operators access to a market in excess of $120 billion with some 300 listed companies

stock exchanges; enjoying all the privileges except ownership stake. Brokers who qualify for and receive the "Common Passport" will be designated as qualified West African brokers (QWAB). According to the preliminary guidelines for the issuance of "Common Passport", the regional trading licence will be issued to highly-rated stockbrokers with adequate capital base and robust risk management framework. Market operators will have to apply to the regulatory authorities in their home country, who will assess their compliance records, net liquid capital base, risk management framework, infrastructure among others. To be qualified for the "Common Passport", brokers/dealers must have minimum capital base of $500,000 while issuing houses must have minimum capital of $1 million. However, WACMIC reserves the right to suspend or cancel "Common Passport" issued to any operator in the case of any breach of terms of issuance. Under the implementation timetable, the second phase is expected to kick off in the second half of 2014. Subsequently, the exchanges will progress to the third phase, which will see the integration of all the exchanges into a virtual West African Securities Market (WASM). With this, the qualified West African brokers will have access to listed securities and related market information to enable them execute transactions. sUnder WASM, securities will continue to be listed on local Exchanges but will also be accessible on the WASM, which serve as the linkage for all the Exchanges. QWABs from the various jurisdictions will have access to securities and related market information that will enable them execute transactions through the WASM.

The vast new market

The integration of the capital markets of West African countries would open up immense • Continued on page 35




Many nations, one market • Continued from page 34

opportunities for corporate and national developments and enhance the capabilities of capital market operators within the region. Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr. Suleyman Ndanusa, said the sub-regional markets would be able to better optimise their potentials and competitiveness through the integration. According to him, the integration will clearly broaden the capital raising space for listed companies with positive impact on industrial development. "I believe that access to a wider market which integration provides could encourage more companies to embrace the capital market for funds and listing and further deepen the regional markets. Integration could also bring increased visibility to listed companies and market operators as their activities get to be known and publicized across the region which, hopefully, would impact on their operations," Ndanusa said. Emerging markets strategist, Standard Bank Plc, Samir Gadio, said the integration is a positive and innovative step forward for the West African markets. According to him, the integration will help to diversify and deepen investors' portfolios and create opportunities for investors to balance risks and returns from one market with that of another market. The virility in a market can also mirror similar development in other markets. "In reality the NSE is substantially more liquid than the GSE, a ratio of up to 100 to 1, which combined with restrictions on pension fund investments offshore, expensive valuations in Ghana as well as the cedi weakness, will probably limit the Nigerian demand for Ghanaian equities. Yet even some modest Nigerian bid for Ghanaian stocks could support the GSE because of its low trading volumes. On the other hand, Ghanaian investors may seek refuge in Nigerian stocks considering the likely appreciation of the naira against the cedi, but this will probably have a marginal effect on the fortunes of the NSE given the relative size of the two markets," Gadio said. He added that the integration will also create a framework enabling domestic companies to list in the other market(s) at some point, with such cross-listings providing an extra pool of investor liquidity. Onyema said the size of the market will create opportunities for all the participants as the integration of the NSE, GSE and BRVM, will provide investors, issuers and operators access to a market in excess of $120 billion with some 300 listed companies. According to him, the integration would leverage on the region's strategic geographic footprint in Africa with large and diverse population of over 290 million, simultaneously creating deeper pool of funds and assets for companies and investors. He noted that successful integration will provide more choices of financial products to regional and foreign investors and increase the sub-regions integration with the global economy. President, ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Ouedraogo, noted that the integration brings together some 300 million potential investors and a more efficient and deeper market that would benefit the regional economy and the citizenry. He said the integration was in line with Article 2 of the ECOWAS Treaty and urged national authorities, regulators and other stakeholders to fast-track efforts to complete the integration.

Bridging the barriers One of the major challenges facing the integration is the divergent regulatory frameworks and trading rules and practices. This is also related with the level of development of each market and professional practice. There are issues of technological advancement of each market and the preparedness and availability of the fund to pursue much-needed technological changes that will be necessary for the integration. Many far-reaching legal changes, such as enforcement of sanctions across the jurisdictions and settlement and payment systems as well as provision of infrastructure and supportive funding, require both political will and professional competence. These may differ from country to country. Even within each country, the interrelationship among the various financial services and allied regulatory bodies will have impact on the smooth operation of the integrated market. "Undoubtedly, greater integration of markets introduces new challenges with regard to the strengthening of market infrastructure to ensure

the effective interconnection of trading, clearing, settlement, and payment systems across the region and to the wider financial markets," Ndanusa pointed out. Managing Director, GTI Securities Limited, Mr. Tunde Oyekunle, said the challenges might be many, though the sturdy approach and resolve of the WACMIC reinforce confidence in the ability of the integrated market to surmount such challenges. "Certainly, there will be some currency risk. Though they said that trading will be done in local currency, there will still be risks in the area of repatriation and dividend payment. I think that is something we need to work on. Also, settlement is another area. We need to have a very robust region-wide information technology to drive that. I believe the issue of operational risk management is also a major concern but with a very robust risk management system, all these challenges will be sorted out," Oyekunle said. But Ouedraogo said ECOWAS is ready to provide complementary financial projects and regulations to support the integration. According to him, ECOWASwill intensify efforts to realise other complementary financial projects, including settlement and payment systems and investment bank. Also, Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, Senator Ayo Adeseun, assured that the Nigerian legislature and ECOWAS parliament will support the integration with appropriate legislations to ensure the seamless legal and regulatory frameworks. Onyema said much effort has gone into addressing the challenges. Technical committees have worked from Côte d'Ivoire to Ghana and Nigeria to develop the required technical framework for the trading and settlement infrastructure, as well as the legal framework necessary for seamless integration. According to him, all the key elements necessary for successful market integration including harmonisation of trading, clearing, depository and settlement frameworks, integration of trading platforms, harmonisation of listing and regulatory requirements and uniformity of professional standards have already been exhaustively dealt with. "The challenges of integration have been identified, however we have also identified risk mitigating factors to ensure a balanced process," Onyema assured. He outlined that while there could be risks of regulatory arbitrage, market dominance and other concerns raised by stakeholders, the WACMIC would mitigate the risks by ensuring deeper harmonisation of national prudential and market regulatory frameworks using global standards, closer and effective coordination between relevant authorities, information exchange under bilateral MoUs and pursuit of appropriate institutional framework for liberalising financial services trade. Already, ahead of the April take-off of the first phase, the three major stock exchanges in the region have developed harmonised trading rules and practices, which all participating exchanges are expected to sign on to by the end of March 2013. The harmonised rules will ensure seamless trading among brokers within the region. Under the harmonised rules, trading hour will now be between 9.00am and 3.00 pm while the daily price change on the exchanges will be 10 per cent. NSE currently trades between 9.00am and 2.30 pm while GSE already operates on the harmonised trading period of between 9.00am and 3.00pm. Prices of stocks on the GSE can move up or down every day by 15 per cent while BRVM operates 7.5 per cent daily price change limit. NSE runs on 10 per cent limit. The clearing cycle for the Exchanges will now be T+3 for equities and T+2 for bonds. Also, lot sizes will be harmonised across the region to one unit of share. While the harmonisation will allow for flexibility in some areas where local Exchange can maintain its rule, the framework will drive adoption of advanced practices in some

• Ndanusa

• Olushekun

Exchanges by others. These include practices such as market making, margin trading, securities lending and short selling, which are already in operation in the Nigerian market. Besides, member countries are expected to harmonise their listing standards in such a way that any issuer seeking a primary or secondary listing on the boards of participating Exchanges must meet the minimum criteria. This harmonisation will take into consideration financial and capital requirements, qualitative measures, corporate governance and disclosure standards. Onyema said all market regulators are expected to approve all necessary documents by March 31, paving the way for the take-off of the first phase. In the area of professional practice and standards of operators, Nigeria, which has the most advanced professional and largest practice, is already working with other operators to bridge the gap and create the enabling environment for the "Common Passport" and uniformity of professional standards. President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr. Ariyo Olushekun, said ongoing collaboration with GSE and BRVM will lead to enhanced uniform standards across the region. "We are working with other countries to raise the standards of their market operators to the international level that our members already have. The collaboration we are having with the GSE and the BRVM is such that will assist them to certify their operators, assist them to set up their institutes and also assist them to get membership of the international bodies we belong to," Olushekun told The Nation. He added that besides continuous and regular retraining of Nigerian stockbrokers on newest instruments and up-to-date knowledge on emerging trends in the international market, the CIS is making conscious effort to ensure Nigerian operators are well prepared for the integration. "In preparation for the integration, we are also talking to Alliance Francaise for a French course that will allow operators in Nigeria to speak passable French such that it will be easy to communicate with their proposed clients, investors and partners in Francophone countries," Olushekun said. He expressed optimism that ongoing collaboration could lead to a unified qualification examination for operators across the region in the nearest future. "It is not out of place, it can happen, but we will start with working with each of them individually first. When they have all been raised to our level, then we can talk among ourselves, we can explore the possibilities of having a unified examination because by then, market would have become one, it will be a matter of everyone coming together. We can work through WACMIC and we can have the kind of arrangement you have with West African Examinations Council (WAEC). There are several possibilities but we will take them one by one," Olushekun said.

While there could be risks of regulatory arbitrage, market dominance and other concerns raised by stakeholders, the WACMIC would mitigate the risks by ensuring deeper harmonisation of national prudential and market regulatory frameworks using global standards, closer and effective coordination between relevant authorities, information exchange under bilateral MoUs and pursuit of appropriate institutional framework for liberalising financial services trade

• Oyekunle

Global experience and innovation Many operators believe that the emergence of private trading floor will facilitate market integration. GTI Securities Limited, a member of the NSE, recently completed Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa's first private trading floor. Located on Tinubu Street in the Marina axis of Lagos's main Central Business District is a 150-seat multi-purpose trading floor. This implies that at full installed capacity, some 150 brokers and dealers can trade on all securities listed on any of the domestic and international securities exchanges including NSE, London Stock Exchange (LSE) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). For GTI, we already have our own private trading floor in preparation for something like this. With its stateof-the-art technologies and trading infrastructure-FIX, a broker can trade on any global exchange from the GTI's floor. "We are considering the integration and making arrangement to be able to participate fully by providing access to other stockbroking firms within the WACMI community. We have already started having discussions with some of these participants," Oyekunle said. Besides, WACMI will share experience of similar integration around the world. Such examples are the European Union's (EU) Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) ASEAN Trading Link. The MiFID provides harmonised regulation for investment services across the 31 member states of the European Economic Area with a view to improving competitiveness of EU financial markets. MiFID has successfully eliminated national exchange monopolies and introduced competition into the equity markets, with attendant significant reduction in transaction costs. Also, ASEAN Trading Link, which has created a virtual market of over 2,200 listed companies with a market capitalisation of US$ 1.4 trillion, serves as a gateway for securities brokers to connect securities markets of the ASEAN Exchanges. This has made it possible for investors in member countries of ASEAN to trade in other ASEAN capital markets just like their own domestic market. No doubt, the integration offers momentous opportunity for the growth and competitiveness of the West African markets and economies, but the success of this project, as rightly noted by many, depends on active participation of all national authorities, regulators, operators and other stakeholders within the sub-region.






NAICOM urged to reduce N350m microinsurance minimum capital

NSURANCE expert and Managing Director, RiskGuard Africa Nigeria Limited, Mr Yemi Soladoye has urged the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to reduce the N350 million, N200 million and N150 million minimum paid-up share capital for intending composite, General and life microinsurance operators. Soladoye, who is also a consultant to NAICOM on Market Development Restructuring Initiative (MDRI), said this will ensure that the objective of microinsurance initiative in the country is achieved. He spoke while presenting a paper at the 2013 Nigerian Insurance and Pension Award organised by Inspenonline Media in Lagos. He disclosed that as at February 2014, about seven commercial underwriters are providing Microinsurance products in Nigeria while some six new applications are said to have been received by NAICOM from intending standalone operators. He said the challenge of the microinsurance initiative is how it will be run in a manner that it does go the way that conventional insurance. He said: “Microinsurance is already un-locked in Nigeria through the commendable efforts of NAICOM and German Development Corporation (GIZ) and the next stage is to keep the door ajar. The challenge now is how to leave it unlocked. The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) and the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) are very crucial in unlocking the business. “Also, the N350 million required capital is on the high side. This is a major

• Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel Stories by Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

challenge and if we do not approach it in the right manner, microinsurance business will go the way of conventional insurance”. He also said that existing weak brokers and microinsurance bankers should be encouraged to take up the business. “In any case, the minimum number of Microinsurance providers required in Nigeria by 2020 is 774 i.e. one Per Local Government area. At the current rate, the regulators will have to recognize the following non-tradition operators at least as distribution channels if it truly wants to provide access to Microinsurance in Nigeria. “The Minimum Capital Requirement (MCR) to operate an insurance company in Nigeria is the highest in Africa. This capital increase has however not

translated into geometrical premium growth since 1961 when the first MCR was stipulated as £25,000 (N3.875 million). Whereas, the industry MCR had increased by 6,250 per cent between 1976 and 2011, the Gross Premium Income had only increased by 1,230 per cent. The net result is always the death of old players and birth of new players who will later become old players. This is what puts a question mark on the huge amount of N350 million specified as the MCR for Micro insurance. A National Microinsurance Goals and Strategy Statement together with National Business Plan and Regulatory Framework should immediately be put in place by the regulator. “How many offices does the regulator expect an operator to open with N350 million? Are we expecting AjoseAdeogunMicroinsurance Companies? Prado Jeep and Ipad MDs, Is Microinsurance going to be the landing pad, for weak commercial underwriters. We suggest use of 5-tier operational model based on Capital Requirement to secure widest coverage of Microinsurance in Nigeria. For instance, National to remain at N350m going by Insurance Act 2003, Regional to be N90million going by 1997 Ins Act, State to be 40million going by 1997 Ins Act, LG to be N10million going by 1991 Ins Act and Unit to be N5million going by 1991 Ins Act. The unit and regional approach will reduce cost of doing business. Lean structure, modest office, appropriate location must all be specified per unit of office outlet by the regulator”, he said. He however noted that he believes NAICOM is a listening regulator and

they will look into the challenge. Guideline on microinsurance earlier released by NAICOM states that any Microinsurerintending to commence a specialized Microinsurance business shall have aminimum paid-up share capital of N150 million to operate LifeMicroinsurance Business, N200 million for GeneralMicroinsuranceBusiness and N350 million to operate the Composite Microinsurance Business. It read: “The Commission may increase from time to time the amount of minimum paid up share capital as stated above. A specialized Microinsurershall maintain with the Central Bank of Nigeria a statutory deposit of 10 per cent of the minimum capital requirement and shall maintain adequate and valid reinsurance arrangements. “Micro-insurance products are specially designed for the low income earners. It requires them to pay a little premium, which in return, offers them cover in times of losses or other unforeseen occurrences. “The regulatory horizon was broadened and, therefore, geared towa In November last year, NAICOM opened up the microinsurance business to non-conventional insurers like multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Microfinance Banks, Faith-Based Organization (FBOs), Mutual and Community Based Organization (MCBOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Governments and MDAs, The NHIS, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Telcos, Utilities, Brokers and Agents. The Commission has since then began issuing of licenses to intending operators.

Lagos Fire Service kicks over non-payment of 0.25% revenue • Insurers fault law


HE Lagos State Fire Service has accused underwriters of not paying the mandatory 0.25 per cent revenue to the Nigeria Fire Service by way of Fire Service Maintenance Fund (FSMF) as required by the Insurance Act. The state’s Fire Service Director, Rasaq Fadipe, who spoke at the just concluded member’s evening of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers in Lagos, said the money which is meant to be paid quarterly by insurers, is meant to motivate firemen to be effective in firefighting. Section 65 (4) specifies that 0.25 per cent of the premium collected is to be paid into a Fire Services Maintenance Fund to be administered and disbursed by NAICOM for the purpose of providing grants or procurement of equipment to institutions engaged in firefighting services in the country. This section emanated from Section 64, which makes mandatory the insurance of buildings under construction where more than two floors are envisaged. The insurance must cover the liability of the owner of the building in respect of the negligence of his servants, agents or consultant. It is also followed by Section 65 which makes the insurance of public building mandatory. Public buildings are defined in Section 65(2) of the Act. Fadipe urge insurers to comply with the law adding that their members need to be encouraged. Managing Director, Niger Insurance Plc, Mr. Kola Adedeji who delivered a paper on public buildings, said insurers have too many commis-

‘Life annuity best option for retirees, pensioners’ By Damilola Akinsola


HE Head, LASACO Life Assurance Limited Annuity Unit, Mrs. Fawatade Toyin has appealed to retirees and pensioners in the country to embrace Life Annuity as their retirement income option. Fawatade who spoke with The Nation Newspaper on the challenges of life annuity business during a retiree forum held in Lagos believes inadequate awareness on life annuity product and apathy to insurance in the past are reasons for setback in selling the product. She highlighted the need for an active campaign and rigorous marketing strategy by insurance operators in the insurance industry to create awareness in the minds of the public. She said: “It now depends on our marketing strategy and the way we are able to convince the retirees and pensioners. The performance of the company is also vital in convincing them to buy into it. But the awareness is ongoing compared to what we have in the past. “We are making them to understand how the product works. We tell them that under the Pension Reform Act 2004, annuity is being guaranteed for 10 years and if they outlive the 10 years, they will continue to enjoy your money until death.” “If paraventure death occurs within 10 years, the remain of the proceed will be paid to the main beneficiary, the beneficiary will be given the balance of their money unlike program withdrawal where their payment stops at death” She further said that part of their challenge as insurers is the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs)’s who sell the alternative option, ‘Program Withdrawal’. “They have stood as a stumbling block in actualising the annuity option. They don’t want the money to leave their company because they too are using the money for investment purpose. So they have to be using their own marketing strategy to retain the money the retiree are suppose to get to buy annuity.

Kenya: Reinsurers increase rates for terrorism cover

R • Great Nigeria Insurance 15 storey building on fire.

sion and levies to pay to different organisations and this has been affecting their businesses. Adedeji stressed that while the fire service business is not something that should be toiled with, insurance business has to be profitable for them to be able to pay. He said: “Insurance business profits on law of large number. But with the way the business is now, if we pay .25 per cent to fire service, one per cent to our regulator, NAICOM, and 15 per cent to intermediaries like brokers, loss adjusters among others, then the premium we generate from

the insuring public will be finished”. A broker and member of the NCRIB, Barrister Rotimi Edu added that the law on how to remit the .25


per cent due to the fire service is very big because it did not specifically state if the fund is for the fire service.

EINSURERS have increased their rates for terrorism cover by 10per cent to 40per cent, The Standard Digital News reported. Joseph Kyungu, executive director of Heritage Insurance Co. Ltd., said the frequent terror attacks in Kenya, and in particular the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi prompted the rise in the rates. Mr. Kyungu said that last year the premium levels written were more than 120 billion Kenyan shillings ($1.38 billion).

Costs of natural disasters surge to $69b in China

EIJING (Reuters) - Natural disasters including droughts, floods and earthquakes cost China 421 billion yuan ($69 billion) in 2013, official data showed on Monday, nearly double the total in the previous year. China has always been prone to natural disasters but a changing cli-

mate is causing more extreme weather, which hits food production, threatens scarce water resources and damages energy security, according to the government. Data released by the National Statistics Bureau showed flooding and mudslides cost China 188 billion yuan in 2013, 20 billion more than in the

previous year. Damage from droughts rose nearly fourfold to 90 billion yuan, while snowfall, freezes and ocean-related costs totalled more than 42 billion yuan. Earthquakes, primarily one in Sichuan province in April that killed 186 people, added nearly 100 billion yuan to the costs.





• Refinery plant

The proposed $9 billion Dangote Refinery in Lagos is expected to create 85,000 jobs for skilled and unskilled workers, reports TOBA AGBOOLA.

85,000 jobs coming in Dangote Refinery D

ESPITE having three refineries, Nigeria still finds it difficult to meet the domestic needs for petrol and other products. The refineries with an installed capacity to process 445,000 barrels per day (bpd) are not working at optimum capacity. Against this background, the pro-

posed $9 billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Company in Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Lagos, is expected to help refine products to bridge the gap in local needs, conserve foreign exchange and create jobs. The Dangote Group of Companies is promising to train over 8,000 engineers to run the refinery. It says on comple-

tion, the project will create no fewer than 85,000 direct and indirect jobs. Since it is a complex business, it is expected to open up other jobs in construction, management, engineering, and administrative duties. These jobs can be broken into pure engineering and journeyman. Engineering refers to disciplines re-

quiring formal education. In the journeyman category, workers do not usually need a degree. They begin as a trainee and work their way up to a site supervisor that oversees a project. Journeymen are contractors hired by construction companies which are for •Continued on page 38




85,000 jobs coming in Dangote Refinery •Continued from page 37

contracted by refineries construction-related projects, such as repairs and major turnarounds. Other available job openings are oil refinery foreman, refinery general foreman, and oil refinery site supervisor. Welders, electricians, tilers, aluminium doors/windows fitters, building and construction workers will also not be left out. There are other workers who maintain the refinery and do the work that is required to keep the refinery running. These positions can include maintenance personnel, cooks and catering staff, truck and heavy equipment drivers, mechanics and other. Gardeners and sweepers will also be needed to keep the refinery surroundings as clean as possible. A top official of LFTZ who will not want his name in print, said the zone has been split into an oil and gas logistic park, light and heavy industrial and manufacturing section, media centre and urban residential section. The official added that for the zone to be developed quickly, as expected by the initiator, calls are being made for the development of a meaningful partnership, to build a modern international airport and sea – port, that will serve the zone, and become the aviation and maritime hub of the sub-region. It was also gathered that real estate companies would be given a role to play in the development of the zone. The LFTZ will showcase opportunities for private companies in

the oil and gas manufacturing, food processing, hospitality and leisure sectors, banking and financial service sector would be expected to develop a 21st century financial centre at the zone. According to President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Nigeria spends about $30 billion yearly on importation of petroleum products, promising that when the project is finally completed, it will transform the country from being a net importer of petroleum products to a net exporter of the products. Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel, Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) and other by-products of petroelum refining such as poly-propylene and fertiliser will be in adequate supply. Speaking on the Project, the General Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Issa Aremu, said with a projected daily production output of 400,000 barrels, the same capacity of the four

• Minister of Trade and Investment Mr. Olusegun Aganga

government-owned refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, operating at less than 30 per cent of installed capacities, the bold initiative by the Dangote Group is a giant stride in re-industrialising

• Dangote

Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. He said the project will create employment opportunities for many Nigerians and set the country on the pedestal of industrialisation.

‘Since it is a complex business, it is expected to open up other jobs in construction, management, engineering, and administrative duties. These jobs can be broken into pure engineering and journeyman’

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) agrees that the proposed refinery/ petro-chemical and fertiliser complex is a huge job generating venture. The workers have called on other private investors, including the multinational oil companies to borrow a leaf from Dangote Group by establishing refineries in the country to create jobs and save the huge foreign exchange dissipated yearly on fuel importation. The oil workers recalled that years back, the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave licences to about 18 indigenous firms to refine crude oil, lamenting that about a decade after, none of them has being able build the a refinery plant.


The 10 key components of a great resume


GREAT resume is the first opportunity you have to make an impression on a hiring manager, or a recruiter. And it’s important to make a great first impression. The average recruiter spends mere seconds scanning your resume so you need to make yourself stand out. We’ve compiled a list of some important factors to keep in mind when creating or updating your resume. Here’s a list of the 10 key components of a great resume:

Organised format Structure your resume in an organised manner; keep your font traditional, your lay-out appealing, and your spacing consistent. You want your resume to stand out, so don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and design. However, know your audience and be sure you are representing yourself professionally first and foremost.

Correct spelling/grammar Spell check everything at least

By Olu Oyeniran

twice and have someone else proofread it before you submit it.

Professional attitude List a professional sounding email address—not “partyanimal_687”or “2cool4u15.” Also, list a phone number that is attached to a professional voicemail greeting. Potential employers don’t need to hear reality TV, loud music, kids crying, or road noise in the background. If this means you have to re-record your voicemail greeting, so be it.

Objective keywords Leave out subjective words like “reliable” and “hard-working.” A potential employer is not going to bring you in for an interview because you say you’re reliable. They are going to bring you in because they think you can solve a problem for them.

Keywords from the job description

Incorporate words into your

resume that are listed in the job description of the position you’re applying for. This will help a hiring manager quickly see that you’re a fit for the position and it will also help resume scanning software signal you out as a potential match.

Brief explanations for employment gaps and layoffs If you were let go from several positions due to downsizing, mention this. If you have a large gap in your employment history, explain what you were doing during that time and what you learned.

Relevant job/internship/volunteer history If you’re a veteran in your industry, you don’t need to list the very first job you had decades ago. Keep your employment history to the past 10-15 years if you have a substantial amount of industry related experience. If you’re a recent graduate, listing

the part-time job you had in college is fine—but you also want to list any internships, volunteer work, coursework, or projects you had that are relevant to the job. U npa i d ex per i enc e st i l l counts.

Effective use of space Treat each word on your resume like beach-front property—space is so valuable. Make every word you use count. That sets up the a lot of white space in your resume that makes a pleasure to read

Customised cover letter Your cover letter (i.e. Application Letter) should contain content that is different from your resume and should match up very well with the job description. Of course, this means you will need to re-write it for each job you apply for.

Realistic expectations Be optimistic, but realistic. If a job description lists a required

task that you’re confident you can do, try to word your past experience to reflect it. But if a job description lists seven required skills or certifications and you only have three of them, then you don’t meet the qualifications and shouldn’t apply. With the start of a new year, it’s a great time to update your resume and reflect a bit on your strengths and job specific skills. Being able to effectively and succinctly summarise your skills, education, and experience is important for everyone—regardless of whether you intend to seek employment in the near future. These resume tips are intended to help you put forth the best possible impression of yourself on paper. You only get one chance to make a great impression, so make yours count! •Oyeniran is Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Associates. He can be reached on Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).





TAXATION Tax implications of IFRS’ adoption (1) Introduction


N July 28, 2010, the Federal Executive Council accepted the recommendation of the Committee on the Roadmap to the Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Nigeria, that it will be in the interest of the economy for reporting entities in Nigeria to adopt globally accepted, highquality accounting standards by fully adopting the IFRS in a phased transition. The Council further directed the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to the take necessary action to give effect to the Council’s approval. Section 55 (1) of the Companies Income Tax Act, Cap C21, LFN 2004 requires a company filing a return to submit its audited account to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) while Sections 8, 52 and 53 of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act, 2011 gave effect to the adoption of IFRS. This implies that the audited accounts to be submitted to the FIRS after the adoption of IFRS shall be prepared in compliance with its standards. It is in line with the above that FIRS published guidelines on tax treatments to be given to each of the standards especially where there are deviations from Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) after the adoption. IFRS1: First time Adoption A taxpayer shall prepare and present an opening IFRS statement of financial position at the date of transition to IFRS. This is the starting point for its accounting in accordance with IFRS. A first time adopter of IFRS is required by the standard: • to recognise all assets and liabilities whose recognition is required by IFRS; • not to recognise items as assets or liabilities if IFRS do not permit such recognition; • to reclassify items that it recognised in accordance with previous GAAP as one type of asset, liability or component of equity, but are a different type of asset, liability or component of equity in accordance with IFRS; and • To apply IFRS in measuring all recognised assets and liabilities. The new net asset based on the accounting balance shall not be adopted for minimum tax computation in the year of transition. If t he reta ine d e a rnin gs of a t a xp a ye r th a t h ad previously paid tax based on dividend for a particular tax year increases as a result of the adoption of IFRS, and additional dividends are paid after the transition period from the portion of the retained earnings that relates to the tax year, the taxpayer shall be subjected to additional tax based on dividend in line with Section 19 of CITA. Where however, the taxpayer was previously assessed to tax for the tax year in line with Section 40 of CITA, the taxpayer will only pay tax on its dividends based on Section 19, where the cumulative amount of dividends

declared from the profits/retained earnings relating to the tax year, exceeds the taxable prof its previou sly reported in the tax computations. Details of recognitions, de-recognitions and reconciliation must be forwarded to FIRS by the taxpayer including all adjustments to opening retained earnings. All conversion cost (capital and revenue) shall be subject to ve rif ication by the FIRS before it can be allowed as qualified capital expenditure or revenue expenditure. Extension of time to file returns First time adopters of IFRS would on application in a cco rdan ce with Se ctio n 2 6 (5 ) o f FIRSEA (and provisions of Self-Assessment Regu lations 2012) be granted three (3) months extension for filing of their first set of IFRS financial statements and related returns to allow sufficient time to overcome initial conversion problems. IFRS compliant financial statement shall be included in tax returns in line with Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) Act. Tax returns under IFRS shall be in line with Section 55 of CITA and should include: i. In respect of first time adopters; • Statement of Financial Position as at the beginning of the earliest comparative period when a taxpayer applies an accounting policy retrospectively or makes a retrospective restatement of items in its fina ncial statement. • Statement comparing the tax effect of IFRS adoption with GAAP. • Statement of reconciliations from GAAP to IFRS. • Deferred tax computation. ii. In respect of post-first time adoption: Deferred tax computation. A statement showing the adjustments made on income statement or total comprehensive income to arrive at assessable profit and total profit for tax purposes as the taxpayer may wish to adopt shall be included. IAS 2: Inventories Where allowable input VAT is included in the cost of inventories, it shall be disallowed for income tax purposes and treated separately as deductible from the output VAT as contained in the VAT Act. When inventories are purchased with deferred settlement terms: Cost of inventories shall be based on the cost indicated on the invoice inclusive of any imputed interest. Where such interest has been charged in the income statement it shall be disallowed for tax purpose. If however the interest has been separately shown on the face of the invoice, such interest shall not form part of the inventory. Any inventory (e.g. returnable packaging materials) reclassified in line with IFRS as non-current asset shall continue to be treated as inventory in line with the existing tax

• Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed


practice. Estimates or provisions shall not be allowable for tax purposes, and any write-down on stock based on estimated cost of completion shall be disallowed. IAS 8: change in accounting policies, changes in accounting estimates and correction of errors Whereas IFRS provides for retrospective application of change in accounting policy, retrospective adjustment shall not be effected for first time adopters for tax purposes. Taxpayers should submit a re-computation of income tax and deferred tax. Taxpayers should disclose: • All changes in estimates • The basis of computation • The statement to which it has been charged Obsolete stock/inventories - FIRS may allow claims on obsolete stock where it is satisfied that such stock is indeed obsolete. Any verification/certification of destruction of obsolete stock/inventories carried out without the FIRS witnessing such shall not be accepted for tax purposes. FIRS shall assess each correction of error on its merit and in line with the existing laws. Taxpayers shall provide detailed disclosure of the sources of the errors and the future tax effect of the errors.



Microsoft's fresh funds for Nigeria, others

OFTWARE and devices manufacturers, Microsoft Corporation has said it has injected fresh funds into the economies of Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and others to pursue the development of young people on the continent and deepen devices penetration. President, Microsoft International, Jean Philippe Courtois spoke to journalsts in Lagos during a visit. He said the firm planned to provide more access for people across the globe through device productions, adding that it has just made available fresh $75million to boost its presence on the continent. Courtois, while acknowledging various government’supports for Microsoft's growth in Nigeria, noted that apart from the fact that the country is blessed naturally, it has abundant skill deposits. He urged Nige-

By Lucas Ajanaku

ria to explore the abundant skills embedded in it to develop a digital economy. According to him, between 80 and 90 per cent of works in future will require digital knowledge in Nigeria, stressing that skill development is a big investment for technology and the country. He said Microsoft Corporation has invested a lot in its African operations. He said: "I think so far in a new drive, we have invested about $75 million in the African markets and Nigeria has had a fair share of that deal. We have invested in access, innovation, skills development, youth empowerments; software development; digital curriculum and skills among others." Courtois, who said Microsoft is leveraging the Windows platform to

gain market share, stressed that because of the immense contributions of the Nigerian market to Microsoft's global operations, the country's status would be uplifted. According to him, in Microsoft's new financial year, Nigeria will become a single country subsidiary, reporting directly to Microsoft's Middle East and Africa operations, stressing that the firm will enable this through all of its assets. "This is why the 4Afrika Initiatives is particularly focused on Nigeria and few others in Africa. Nigeria is a major hub for Microsoft on the continent," he said. Giving more reasons for the elevation of Nigeria in Microsoft operations, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Kabelo Makwane listed some of the outstanding qualities to include maturity of the market; immense opportunities; economic growth; skills deposit; large enterprise, stressing that

C •Courtois

"there is need to support this growth." Makwane said the 4Africa Initiatives has started in Nigeria with 18 interns and another 50, which are with Galaxy Backbone, saying that 75 per cent of them will end up in Microsoft Ecosystem.

Regulation delays common currency take-off in West Africa


EAD of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Department, Ecobank, Mr Olasunkanmi Olowo has linked the delay in the commencement of West African single currency, `Eco", to the inability of the countries to agree on regulatory requirements. He said this at the third Borderless Alliance conference in Lagos. The theme of the conference is: Borderless 2014: Enabling growth.

Olowo said the West African Central Banks kept postponing its commencement due to lack of agreed regulatory requirements among banks in the sub-region. He also said lack of unified regulatory requirements had been hindering the development of SMEs in the sub- region as well. Olowo said banks in the sub-region had, however, ensured that there were technical measures to

ensure effective trading in spite the absence of common currency. He sa i d t e c h n i c a l l y a l l t h e banks within the sub-region had same platform which made customers to have access to their accounts by debit cards. He said $10,000 was the limit a customer could transfer within the sub-region which many said was too low.

‘China treats SA as business equals’

He said that the complaint was that the amount was not enough for SME operators in the sub-region. Olowo also said regulatory requirements needed to be harmonised in order to ensure smooth international trade. He said another challenge was the double digit interest rates being charged by banks within the sub-region.

HINA does business with South Africa on an equal footing, unlike Western former colonial powers who still act like its master, President Jacob Zuma has said. "The countries that have been dealing with us before, particularly old economies, they've dealt with us as former subjects, as former colonial subjects," he said. "The Chinese don't deal with us from that point of view. They deal with us as people that you must do business (with), at an equal level so to speak," Zuma told CNBC Africa. China is the largest trading partner of the continental giant, with trade worth $21.7 billion between the two in 2012, according to official figures. Russia and China supported the country's ruling ANC when it was still a banned liberation movement during apartheid and South Africa has tended to align its international diplomacy with that of the two permanent UN Security Council members. Africa can engage more freely with non-Western countries, he added, using as example the BRICS economies - emerging players China, Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa.







TARABA POLITICS In Taraba State, the camps of Governor Dambaba Suntai and Acting Governor Garba Umar are working at cross- purposes. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in chaos. Senior Correspondent FANEN IHYONGO writes on the intrigues and the scramble for power by the gladiators.

2015: Suntai, Umar and succession drama in Taraba


ARABA State slipped into a constitutional crisis on August 26 last year. The ailing governor, Dambaba Suntai, returned from his medical trip abroad. But, he was not fit to resume work as the helmsman. His deputy, Acting Governor Garba Umar, also refused to revert back to his constitutional position as a spare tyre. Ahead of 2015 governorship election, the camps of the governor and the acting governor are spoiling for war. There is a constitutional crisis. Efforts to resolve the crisis out of court have failed. In Jalingo, the state capital, the succession drama is playing out. Umar has insisted that he will revert back to the position of deputy governor, until the House of Assembly, which made him the acting governor, communicates to him the change in status. Sources said that the deputy governor is not ready to play the second fiddle again. The House of Assembly is backing the acting governor. It has rejected the governor’s letter intimating the lawmakers about his intention to resume office. The House alleged that the letter was forged. The late Speaker, Haruna Tsokwa, had maintained that Suntai was sick, adding that the House would not allow him to toy with the destiny of the state. Ironically, Tsokwa later slumped and died of heart ailment. The governor, who has refused to release his medical records to the public, dissolved the cabinet and appointed a new Secretary to Government and Chief of Staff. Umar cried foul, saying that a cabal had hijacked the state. When a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) fact-finding committee led by Senator Hope Uzodinma asked Umar to continue to steer the affairs of the state, there was confusion. The Majority Leader, Joseph Albasu, and seven pro-Suntai lawmakers rejected the decision on the ground that the Uzodinma Committe lacked the power to do so, insisting that the letter transmitted by the governor was not subject to debate by the House.

Ceremonial figure Since the constitutional conundrum unfolded, Suntai has remained in Government House only as a ceremonial figure while Umar is effectively in charge. The governor, who made Umar the deputy governor a few days before the air mishap, is now at the mercy of his deputy. Before anybody can see Suntai, he must get approval from the acting governor. Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, a strong ally of the governor, accused Umar of running a parallel government without consulting Suntai.

orders restraining the House. For instance, he screened a list of commissioner- nominees submitted by the acting governor, despite the court’s injunction. In Umar’s camp, there is also mistruct. Umar is afraid that Kente may turn against him any time. The Speaker is also not unaware that Umar may sponsor an impeachment against him, given the fact that his elder brother, David Kente has joined the governorship race. There are schemings and suspicions. There is anxiety in the two camps. Suntai’s group is uncomfortable about the prospects of the Speaker becoming Umar’s running mate, when hedecides to run for the governorship.

Power shift controversy



•Senator Bwacha

‘When a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) fact-finding committee led by Senator Hope Uzodinma asked Umar to continue to steer the affairs of the state, there was confusion’ He attributed the laxity to the power errorneously conferred on him by the Uzodinma Committee and the House of Assembly. Suntai’s foes are increasing on daily basis. Many are gravitating towards the governor for largesse. The foes echo the sentiment that the governor is too fragile to continue in office. They also said that his wife, Hajiya Hauwa, appreciates this predicament. But, the governor’s supporters have objected to these claims. They pointed out that Suntai has made a broadcast to the state, inspected some projects and can walk unaided. Former Adamawa State Governor Boni Haruna said that Suntai is fit to resume office, adding that “his deputy (Umar) can compliment” his activities. The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Olumide Akintayo, also proclaimed his pharmacist-colleague as “mentally alert, physically fit and therefore, capable to perform his constitutional duties as governor.” He said Suntai should not be expected to be 100 percent physically strong now because of the multiple injuries he sustained. He said the governor was getting better.

Manipulations Recently, Suntai visited Abuja for his routine medical checkup. It was quickly rumoured that he was in Abuja to confer with President Goodluck Jonathan on how to resume duty. His deputy was also in Abuja lurking to foil the ‘move’. In the state there was panic among

the two camps. Suntai returned to the State House unceremoniously. But, his deputy was received back by a rented crowd on his return into the state. A lawmaker and close ally of the governor, Hon. Abel Peter Diah, said that the crowd was hired from Gombe State. Welcoming Umar, the crowd poured venom on former Defence Minister General Theophilus Danjuma and former Governor Jolly Nyame, alleging that they were “obstructing the government and sabotaging Umar.” A party source said that the two leaders have only insisted on the rule of law and due process. Umar’s supporters mounted a strong propaganda in the media against the governor. They also hired notable Lagos lawyers and human rights activists to malign the governor to give their campaigns of calmuny a sort of credibility. But, Suntai’s supporters flayed the “video propaganda” describing the video as “fake, scandalous, libelous and mischievous”. Former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Gebon Kataps, who has been appointed as the Secretary to Government by Suntai, said the video comprised “desperate items taken out of context and manipulated to deceive Nigerians. The Permanent Secretary, SSG Office, acting on Umar’s directive, placed a disclaimer in the dailies that Kataps was not the true SSG, but an impostor.

Legality and legitimacy Suntai’s supporters and trusted

aides have accused Umar of operating an “illegal, criminally-unconstitutional and parallel government”. “Or, how else do we describe a situation where Governor Suntai is back to resume office, but his deputy is calling himself the acting governor and carrying out the functions of the governor? Our constitution does not condone such a strange contraption, no matter the circumstances. It is sacrilegious,” they said. Umar has often pledged his loyalty to his ailing boss, saying he would not undermine his authority. But, the governor’s aides have insisted that Umar is guilty of disloyalty because “his activities are a direct opposite of the things he keeps preaching”.

Cabal at work Umar attributed the crisis in Taraba State to the activities of a cabal insisting on hijacking the machinery of government, using Suntai’s name. This, he said, would not be tolerated. Umar pointed out that he is the acting governor in Suntai Administration.

Divided House of Assembly Out of the 24 lawmakers, eight are challenging the legitimacy of transferring power to Umar to act, despite Suntai’s return to the State House. The G-16, led by Speaker Josiah Sabo Kente, has pitched its tent with Umar. The Speaker has carried out some legislative and over-sight functions to favour Umar, in defiance to many court

Umar became the deputy governor and acting governor by providence. When his boss was hit by tragedy, he moved swiftly to consolidate his hold on power. He fired Suntai’s loyalists from office and embraced the governor’s foes. But, he is walking a tightrope. The acting governor is scheming to succed Suntai as the governor next year. He has proved that he can muscle up the ruling party to his advantage. His anointed candidate, Daniel Tsokwa, recently won the House of Assembly byelection against the wish of Suntai’s loyalists who sponsored a different candidate. The main opposition to his governorship ambition will come from the South District. Taraba North and Central have ruled the state for 18 years. The South has been only playing second fiddle. The South is vociferous in its agitation for power shift. But, those supporting Umar are saying that, since Suntai is a Christian, Umar, a Muslim, should succeeed him in 2025. Aspirants from the South include Baba Adi, Joel Danlami Ikenya, Ishaya Darius, Emmanuel Bwacha, Obadiah Ando, Damian Dodo, Ibrahim Kefas, Idris Waziri, Kefas Agbu, David Sabo Kente, and Efraim Kifasi. But Senator Aisha Alhassan is also a spoiler for Umar. The two are all Muslims and they are from the North. Alhassan is a woman of note. She is now teaming up with Senator Joel Ikenya in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to plot against the PDP. Suntai had promised to relinquish power to the South. Umar is kicking against his promise. He has vowed to continue as the acting governor so that he can postion himself for power next year. Next month, the court would interpret Section 190(2) of the 1999 Constitution, which deals with the transmission of letter by a governor to the House. The outcome may either fuel or douse the tension in the state.




‘Defection at National Assembly an infection’ Hon. Eseme Eyiboh is a former member of the House of Representatives from the Eket/ Ibeno Federal Constituency. He spoke with reporters in Lagos on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crises and other national issues. MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE was there.


OW would you react to the defection in the House of Representatives? First, I was the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and I was also, for over a year, the Chairman House Committee on Donor Agencies. So, I am talking from an enriched position. This background has exposed me to the character and content of the institution, as well as the understanding of the dynamics of the legislatures. When people are talking in public domain of defection, I am always worried about it. I am not worried just as a politician, but as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I am equally worried as a democrat, somebody who understands the import of democracy as a form of government. The defection itself is an infection, it is either a political plus or minus for one political party or the other. This particular defection is an infection on our democracy and the electoral process. Are your saying that the defection affects development and democracy in this case? The dividend of democracy is not just about road construction, because the military government also constructs roads. Besides, the sinking of boreholes and other projects also takes place during military administration. The dividend of democracy is the rule of law, liberty of the citizens and freedom to move. These are dividends of democracy and it is anchored on the rule of law and order. The National Assembly is the foundation for the preservation of our constitution. Now, when it comes to the issue of defection, it has altered and brought to the fore, what some of us have been complaining about: the issue of the leadership recruitment process. That is, putting the wrong people in the right places. If our political culture, if our electoral process, is to throw up men and women with capacity and pedigree driven by political conviction or ideology of their respective political parties, this particular defection would not take place. But this defection reveals that majority of those who are defecting are following their governors. They are not doing so on the basis of personal principle. They are not doing it out of conviction. If we have a situation where these gentlemen are products of an electoral process, propounded on the foundation of leadership recruitment process, they would have taken personal decision. That would have been at variance with the situation we have at hand today. But it is also very good for our democracy

because it has taught the PDP some lessons. That you must rise up to the issue of the management of your political party; that no matter the streak of successes made, you must conduct your affairs in an orderly manner. The implication of your statement is that the PDP compromised in its responsibilities… The people voted PDP massively because of their conviction that the party would be able to protect their interest. The political party was seen as a vehicle to bring the government and governed together. But because of the poor leadership recruitment process, the PDP threw up the leadership at a time that the country needed to project our unity. The country need to rise up to the problem of surveillance, the country needed to buy into globalization. When Alhaji Bamaga Tukur came, he saw PDP as a shopping mall, he saw the Presidency as an alter where he has to go and put a request. This was a wrong approach. He is a good man, but that is not the pedigree to run a political organisation. Political party is like a business, he has to stoop to conquer. He has to communicate and must step out there to engage. How can the country engage the caliber of people that will bring the desired changes to the country? The issue of leadership is beyond political parties. Up till now, I am one of those people who congratulated the legacy party that formed the All Progressives Congress (APC). For one moment, this is going to be a conglomerate that will give PDP a run for its money. But today I am thinking differently. This is because APC has allowed PDP to reinvent itself. The moment Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu emerged as the PDP chairman, half of its problems were solved. So, I can tell you that without the fear of being contradicted, his emergence is going to be a positive step. Mu’azu has the pedigree to manage the situation; I stand to be corrected. He has the capacity and leverage for flexibility. PDP’s problem has always been the party chairmen and the governors of their state. For Mu’azu to be nominated by the governor of his state, it is

a plus for him. It is a signal that the days of the PDP reinventing itself is nearby. But the emergence of Mu’azu has not fully doused the tension because the influence of the likes of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Well, it depends on your perspective. One of the causes of the grievances is the way the party was being managed. Obasanjo’s decision not to participate in activities of the PDP does not mean he is not a member of the party. A lot of issues came up like the issue of Bamaga Tukur must go, but with what Mu’azu is doing through networking, courting people to buy his programme, there has been significant progress. Throughout Bamaga Turkur’s time, I was not passionate about PDP. But today, the PDP has provided a platform; it has provided leadership that would be able to welcome members. Mu’azu is a talent manager and venture specialist. Tukur was busy building an empire he lacks the capacity to sustain. He was building an ant-hill without being conscious of the fact that this is dangerous. Nigeria is a country where we have abundant of talents, people with pedigree. And it is because we have wrong people in leadership position that is why we have all these problems. But, those who can offer the right leadership are sidelined from leadership… I want to say the system has collapsed. We no longer have a society of excellence or merit. There is no society of competitiveness; instead we have a society which celebrates affluence. The religious institutions have collapsed as well. Now, the only process of bringing about this change is through the electoral process. Now, how many people exercise their voting rights on merit? Somebody will go to the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, and the Senate without visiting his community. But the moment the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) comes out with time table for election, he will start going around shopping for votes. Gone are the days when politicians mount the rostrum to articulate their programmes and the capacity to de-

‘I am equally worried as a democrat, somebody who understands the import of democracy as a form of government. The defection itself is an infection, it is either a political plus or minus for one political party or the other. This particular defection is an infection on our democracy and the electoral process’


liver. People don’t even know who is contesting election these days, apart from the bill boards that herald their presence. Some Northern leaders have said that President Jonathan signed a pact to run for one term. Do you think the emergence of Mu’azu will make them shift ground? Constitutionally, Jonathan is obliged to go for second term; I stand to be corrected. To quote Babangida Aliyu, who stated that Jonathan said he would not run, it was not on the basis of constitution requirement. He probably said this on personal volition. I don’t think it was proper, when Babangida Aliyu said that. But it is up to Jonathan to decide whether to exercise his liberty and the constitutional right of a citizen by running. Then secondly, I think that Jonathan is going to run and win. There are reasons for this. Within the PDP, including those who say he should not run, are yet to have alternative to Jonathan. He has done well in respect of the indivisibility of this country. He has done well to offer a stronger economy that would be able to enhance opportunities. The oppositions have not also come out with a policy direction, to articulate what in their opinion is a better policy than what Jonathan is doing. He may not have given 100 per cent improvement, but has done well. With the bulk of the private investors in the power sector, the situation has improved. What are your plans for 2015? Two things determine the life of a proactive politician: the aspiration of the person; and the opinion or disposition of the people in his electoral constituency..Whatever my action is going to be would be complemented by the disposition of the people of my constituency.

‘Osun Government House not for sale’ In this piece, OLUMIDE LAWAL contends that the governorship is not for sale in the next election and that honour and integrity of contenders will count at the poll.

•Ogbeni Aregbesola


ECENTLY, I made a self-appointed good governance tour of Osun State, with a view to truly intimating myself with the progress made by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s government in the last three years. My findings were heart-warming and reflective of an administrator, who knows his onion. I found to my happiness, that hitherto, inaccessible roads in remote parts of the State now has Aregbesola magic wands played out on them. From my native Ede through Iperindo, Ifetedo, Ejigbo, Orile-Owu, Ikire-Ile, Ife-Odan, Ikotun in Egbedore LGA, Ajagunlase, Ikirun up to Otan-Ayegbaju, Ife Ondaye, Ifewara, and some parts of Ijesaland the story is the same. The 10km-stretch of road rehabilitation em-

barked upon by the 30 local government areas in the State have impacted positively on the lives of the people. The indigenes of these areas are united in one thing, that good roads are beneficial to all, be you the rich or poor. Good roads do not discriminate on who uses them, they opined. The ordinary folks in Osun are at peace with Aregbesola’s modest achievements, since they exist through their legitimate petty businesses. They don’t dream tall like the city dwellers. Of particular importance, is the OBA ADESOJI ADEREMI ROAD now under construction. That particular road will go down in the history of Osun State, as a master-piece of infrastructure. A feel of the one kilometre part of the road, which has been stone-based and aesthetically asphalted, will convince the worst of Aregbesola’s critics, that this governor knows the rudiment of what it takes to put a road that will stand the test of time in place. 21st century technology is being deployed in the construction of this particular road in memory of the first African Governor of old Western Region. Work is going on at a feverish pitch on the road, which has now reached an advanced stage, as it has been opened, up to the Testing ground area of Osogbo. Aregbesola has broken a jinx, because those in the saddle of affairs between 1999 and 2011, considered what Aregbesola achieved with this road impossible. This is not to lose sight of transformation, the Osogbo township roads are witnessing. But some people keep on complaining, that is it “road alone we go chop”. That is their own understanding of governance. Government does not go about “spraying” naira on the streets for people to pick.

You have to work for it. All over the world, people don’t want change, until they have actually experienced it. A reformer has enemies in those who profiteer by the old order. Yes, contractors may not be Osun indigenes, but majority of the artisans and other labourhands been used by them are indigenes of Osun. Laterite, granite, planks, and cement are purchased from Osun markets, with such money realized by the owners, ploughed back to Osun economy. All over Nigeria, Julius Berger is at work. It uses Nigerians and not Germans for various aspects of its construction business. Why the hue and cry over who is doing what in Osun, if we are getting good return for our money. What has so far become of the various sites demolished in Osogbo? Going round the various sites and buildings affected, there seems to be abandonment of the locations, with new structures springing up in disguise by entrepreneurs. Why was the hurry in demolishing the structures affected, when government was not prepared to make a good use of the locations? The various stadia projects initiated by former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola should be revisited and made to come to fruition. Sport is part of our economic development if well harnessed and promoted. Also in the course of my self-appointed good governance tour of the state, it is evident that Aregbesola is yet to let Ilesa township have a feel of “Ona Baba Ona”. In its real sense of it. A food for thought. I chuckle, when I hear some people complaining, that Aregbesola has ‘mopped up’ naira from circulation in Osun. We should not forget, that Osun is part of the federation called Nigeria, which is currently experiencing drastic short-

fall in her receipt of federation account, owing to one factor or the other in the upstream sector of the oil economy. Almost all the states are now crying of reduction in their shares of allocation from federation account. Or is it a sin for a governor, to block loopholes and areas of wastage, which in the past, has made some public officers loom larger than life as they feed fat on our collective purse. Even at that, Governor Aregbesola keeps trudging on, using the little resources available to him judiciously, to make Osun looks truly what it should be. But our fore-fathers have a wise saying – “if a hunter kills a fat grass-cutter, his detractors will say of him, what a small rat he has killed”, (i.e, Ota Eni Ki Pa Odu Oya!). Nigeria economy is facing hard time, and this informs, why all the states and local government areas should improve on their internally generated revenue, because if the black gold wells- i.e. crude oil dry up today, what becomes of us as a nation? Entrepreneurship should be in-built in all of us, so as to make a decent living without depending on government patronages. We are yet to see action on the efforts to revamp Osun Cocoa Industry, Ede three years on. Sir Adewale Adeeyo, the Chairman board of Directors of the company should speak out. If the Chinese lease of the company is not forth coming, is there a PLAN B to take the industry out of wood. Indeed, anything is possible if we have faith, the will and the heart. I know we all have the will to play our parts in this campaign for accelerated development in Osun State. I know we have faith in the present regime and we have the hearts to face the challenges ahead.





















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




oday Wednesday 26th February, 2014 (26th Rabi'ul Thani, 1435 AH) Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE presided over the One Hundred and Thirty Eighth (138th) sitting of the Kano State Executive Council. The resolve to operate a Budget of Consolidation with the general fiscal design aimed at ensuring completion of all initiated projects within the Life - Span of the incumbent administration guided the deliberations at today's sitting. Significantly, the 2014 Budget of Consolidation still provided enough fiscal flexibility for the Kano State Executive Council to continue with the laudable delivery of services for the positive transformation of the lives of the citizenry for the better. Concerted and alert on the progress of the execution of the already approved expenditure on the multitude of mega projects/programs to the tune of over N350 Billion Naira, the Kano State Executive Council characteristically forged ahead and made an impressive step forward towards the envisaged promised goal. Nine (9) MDAs submitted thirty-nine (39) memoranda for deliberation by Council of which twenty-seven (27) were approved for execution with an expenditure of Five Billion, Six Hundred and Seventy Seven Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty Three Naira, Thirty Nine Kobo (N5,677,588,843.39) covering twenty (20) projects as follows: 1. OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT The Secretary to the State Government submitted thirteen (13) memoranda for deliberation by Council on behalf of the Chairman and some MDAs. Nine (9) of them were approved for execution as follows: a) Presentation of the Proposal on the Need to Re - Design/Renew the Certificate(s) of Operation Issued to Private/Voluntary Schools in Kano State:The reorganization of the Educational system for the delivery of qualitative education led to the numerous projects and programs initiated and implemented by the present administration. One amongst the numerous programs was the establishment of a Taskforce on Private Schools aimed at sensitizing their activities and performance. Before the setting up of the Taskforce the total number of Private Schools operating in the State was not known nor was the State aware of the quality of education being taught to wards. Thus, controlling, knowing the quality of education being impacted and generation of revenue from the operators became hectic undertakings. However, things have changed since the inception of this administration. Private Schools are now being monitored and the expected revenue as tax are being collected as laid down by the 'Rules and Regulations Governing the Operations of Private Schools in the State'. This memorandum is submitted along this line. The Chairman Taskforce on Private/Voluntary Schools submitted the proposal for the renewal of 'Operation Certificates' to all Private/Voluntary Schools operating in the State. The idea is based on the fact that for years "Provisional Approvals/Certificate(s)" issued to allow operations of Private/ Voluntary Schools are being misused or wrongly applied. Thus, cancellation of all previously issued Certificate(s) for replacement with new ones is now paramount. Samples of the proposed new Certificates were presented for consideration by Council. That the new certificates as proposed will carry a "security seal" and are renewable every three (3) years in compliance with orthodox curriculum structure of 3 - years Lower Basic, 3 - years Middle Basic, 3 - years Upper Basic and 3 - years Senior Secondary tiers of Education. The memorandum proposed that the new certificate, which will be signed by either the Hon. Commissioner for Education or the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry will attract a fee of N5,000.00. This amount will be charged in addition to other collectable tax/fees as reflected in the Operational Law/Policy Guidelines for the operations of Private/Voluntary schools. All funds are to be remitted into the approved designated Account controlled by the Accountant General. Council appreciated the proposal and its significance for monitoring the activities of Private schools in the State. Council approved the implementation of the program and that the Hon commissioner Ministry of Education to sign the new certificate henceforth. b) Request for Funds to Enable the Procurement/Provision of Equipment and Tools for the Setting Up of a Carpentry and Electrical Workshop at the Special Education School, Tudun Maliki:The Special Education School, Tudun Maliki was one of the oldest Schools established in the State for challenged/ disabled children who require special attention to be useful to themselves and the society. This school offers skills training program to its students to make them self-reliant. The content of this memorandum was on this line. At the 136th Sitting the Ministry of Education submitted a request for the supply of equipment and tools for the Carpentry and Electrical Workshop of the School without recommending the name of the Contractor to supply the items. Council deliberated upon the request and directed the Honourable Commissioner for Education to submit the name of a reputable Contractor for the project. This memorandum is in compliance with that directive. The Ministry of Education after due processforwarded Messrs. Falcon Intergraded Works Ltd as the reputable Contractor for the project. Council noted, considered and approved the award of the contract at the sum of N7,776,069.75 to the Contractor to enable the provision of equipment and tools for the setting up of Carpentry and Electrical Workshop at Special Education School, Tudun Maliki. c) Request for Funds to Enable the Participation of Kano State Contingent at the 35th Edition of the Kaduna Annual Trade Fair (21st February - 2nd March, 2014):The Kaduna State Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture sent an invitation letter for the cited event to the Kano State Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Tourism. The theme of the 35th Edition of the Kaduna Trade Fair was tagged "Agricultural Transformation for Industrial Development: Public and Private Partnership." The main focus of the Trade Fair was centered on sustainable economic growth and development through Agricultural Transformation by means of enhancing collaboration between the Public and Private Sectors. The program for the Trade Fair earmarked 1st March, 2014 as the Kano State Special Day while activities at the fair are expected to attract participation of Multi-Lateral Corporations, Leading Commercial Entities and Prominent Business men and women across the globe. The content of the memorandum was a request for the participation of the State contingents and those of the selected 35 Local Governments in cognizance of its relevance to the present administration's posture on Integrated Economic Development. Details were presented to Council for consideration along with the request for the release of the aggregate sum of N9,813,000.00 for the purpose. Council considered the request relevant and approved the release of the sum. d) Request for Funds to Enable the Repayment of Incurred Expenditure in Respect of Transporting Twenty-Six (26) Kano State Indigenous Students Sponsored for Studies in Ukraine Under the 502 Scheme:Twenty-six (26) of the 502 sponsored students departed Kano for Kiev in Ukraine from where they had to travel to Odessa; a distance of 430 Km to meet their colleagues studying in the country. A connecting flight was unavailable, which necessitated the assigned Travelling Agency to provide the sum of $100.00 to each student as transport fare to join a bus. The Travelling Agency solicited for the refund of the amount expended on the transportation of the students to the tune of N452,000.00. Council noted, considered and approved the release of the sum of N452,000.00 to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government for onward payment to the assigned Travelling Agency to defray the expenditure. e) Request for Funds to Enable the Sponsorship of Nine (9) Kano State Indigenous candidates to Undergo Training for TOEFL and GRE Examinations as Prerequisite for their Admission into Texas A and M University, USA:The Texas A and M University, USA, conducts aptitude tests for students seeking admission into the University just like other Universities in USA. Two (2) such tests are: i. The Graduating Record Examination (GRE) ii. Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). The Reach Care Foundation (the sole representative of Texas A and M University, USA) requested, as endorsed by the Secretary to the State Government, for the release of the sum of N2,866,868.00 to enable the conduct of training in respect of the nine (9) Kano State Indigenous candidates slated for the aptitude tests. Details were presented to Council for consideration. The request was considered as appropriate by Council, which granted approval for the release of the sum of N2,866,868.00 to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government for onward payment to the Reach Care Foundation to enable the conduct of the stated training in respect of the nine (9) students named as follows: i. Ya'u Adamu

ii. Abdullahi Nuhu Gambari iii. Bilal Ibrahim Dan'iya iv. Ramlah Farouk Muhammad v. Ado Idris Adamu vi. Amina Balarabe Adamu vii. Hafsatu Ado Abdullahi viii. Usman Jubril Wudil ix. Mubarak Tukur Muhammad

f) Presentation of Report on Allegation of Serious Misconduct by Major H.S. Ibrahim (rtd) (Instructors), State Corporate Security Training Institute, Zakirai, Gabasawa Local Government Council Area:Provision of empowerment opportunities by allowing access to skills acquisition training for gainful empowerment/ engagement is among the commendable preoccupations of the present administration in Kano State. Rabi’u Musa Kwankawaso The Corporate Security Training Institute located at Zakirai, Gabasawa Local Government is among the twenty-one (21) Skills Acquisition Institutes established from the inception of the present administration to date. Three (3) batches of beneficiaries had graduated from the Institute so far. One (1) of the three (3) batches was entirely that of female. Apparently, the commendable effort of the Government in establishing such Institutes is applauded by the general public within and outside Kano State. However, like in all organizations people with loose moral characters can be found. Major H.S. Ibrahim (rtd), an Instructor at the Corporate Security Institute, Zakirai, was accused of gross misconduct by making unwholesome advances to a female trainee in the Institute. The culprit was suspended based on the findings of a Committee set up to investigate the issue. With concern, the Secretary to the State Government endorsed the recommendation of the authorities at the Corporate Security Institute, Zakirai, for the ultimate disengagement of Major H.S. Ibrahim (rtd) as an Instructor at the Institute. Council expressed its displeasure and approved the recommendation by disengaging the instructor with immediate effect and warned other public servants against such an act. g) Presentation on the need to sponsor indigenous youths to undergo Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Course With the sponsorship of 100 indigenous youths to Jordan to undergo Pilot training the Youths Directorate for Economic Empowerment submitted a proposal for the training of 40 state indigenous youths in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria at the sum of N48,000,000.00. The idea is based on the availability of employment for the trainees after completing the program or the possibility of joining the Nigerian Air Force as flying officers. Council deliberated on the significance of the proposal and directed the Office of the Secretary to the State Government to advertise through Print and Electronic media the opening for the State indigenous youths desirous to join the program to apply. h) Presentation of Notification to the Government of the 2013/2014 Growth Enhancement Support Scheme for Dry Season Wheat Production:The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources intimated the State Government that a communication was received from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the cited issue. The memorandum informed Council that farmers in the State had already started redeeming their inputs at seven (7) designated redemption centers. Nevertheless, Council was notified that only 1,200 of the 23,510 farmers will participate in the program due to inadequate availability of certified/improved seeds to cater for the farmers registered for the Scheme. Specifically, the 1,200 farmers will collect two (2) bags of NPK fertilizer at the total cost of N6,500.00 and 25Kg of wheat certified/improved seeds free of charge. The benefitting farmers will pay only 50% of the total cost of the fertilizer while the Federal Government will pay the 50% balance. Council acknowledged the presentation with appreciation. 2. OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR/HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS This Office submitted two (2) memoranda for deliberation by Council. One (1) of them was approved for deliberation. Thus: Presentation of Report on Projects Executed in All the 44 Local Government Council Areas of Kano State:Performing transparently is a guiding principle of the present administration in Kano State under the leadership of the second incumbency of Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE. This prompted the Office of the Deputy Governor/Honourable Commissioner for Local Governments to submit seven (7) reports on the progress of seven (7) projects executed across the 44 Local Government Council Areas of the State. They included the following: i. Report on the construction of Trade Clusters in eight (8) metropolitan Local Government Areas. ii. Report on the construction of Public Convenience projects in eight (8) metropolitan Local Government Areas. iii. Report on the construction of one storey block of offices at Kano State Pilgrims' Welfare Board. iv. Report on the construction of 44 Garment Clusters across the 44 Local Government Areas. v. Report on various capital projects executed by each of the 44 Local Government Councils covering different sectors. vi. Report on 5 Kilometers road construction projects in all the 44 Local Government Areas. vii. Report on Polio Immunization Rounds. Adequate highlights were presented to Council for consideration, through the contents of this memorandum. Council acknowledged the presentation appreciatively. 3. MINISTRY OF RURAL AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Request for Approval and Release of Funds to Undertake the Relocation/Replacement of PHCN Electricity Poles at Hadejia Road to Dakata Junction:The road that links Hadejia Road and Dakata Junction is currently undergoing reconstruction/dualization. However, for the road to be expanded to the required specification there is the need to remove and relocate electricity poles owned by the PHCN. The scope of work required was assessed by the State Rural Electrification Board (REB) and estimated at the sum of N8,858,719.00, which was requested for release to enable the execution of the stated project. Council noted, considered and approved the release of the requested sum of N8,000,000.00 to the Ministry of Rural and Community Development to enable Rural Electrification Board undertake the stated project. 4. MINISTRY OF WORKS, HOUSING AND TRANSPORT Five (5) of the ten (10) memoranda submitted for deliberation by Council from the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport were approved for execution as follows: a) Request for Funds to Enable the Construction of the Rehabilitation Center for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Kano State Command:Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE resolved to remove/eradicate the menace of drug trafficking and related vices in Kano State. Policies and programs were put in place from inception of the second incumbency of this administration to date. Tremendous success had been achieved so far. The NDLEA is considered an important partner in this onerous task and the State Government leaves no stone unturned in assisting the establishment in its war against drug trafficking, wrongful consumption/abuse. As such, the Honourable Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport respectfully alerted Council of the request for the construction of a transit Rehabilitation Center from the NDLEA, which was accompanied with details of the financial implications to the tune of N60,941,391.00. This was appraised by Council and directives were issued to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to reappraise the estimates. The directives were complied with and a new Bill of Quantities was submitted and requested for release of the scaled down sum of N44,134,201.76 for the construction of a transit Rehabilitation Center at the headquarters of the State NDLEA, along Airport Road. The request was approved. b) Request for Funds for the Construction of Road, Drainage and Provision of Interlock Tiling at the Ceremonial Area of the Government House, Kano:The Honourable Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport notified Council, through the contents of this memorandum that, the cited request was approved for execution with the release of the sum of N77,993,004.72



as the original contract sum. Work ensued earnestly in the course of which scopes not captured in the original estimates were encountered. Such were assessed and estimated to the tune of N20,275,919.80, which was requested for release to ensure the completion of the already started works. Details were presented to Council for consideration. The request was approved. c) Request for Funds to Enable the Execution of the Proposed Renovation Works at the Premises of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, Kano:Information dissemination is a priority consideration of the present administration in Kano State. The NUJ is considered a valuable partner in this endeavour. As such, the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport identified the deplorable condition of the NUJ Secretariat in the State and assessed the scope of works required for its renovation at the estimated sum of N18,437,508.73, which was requested for release for the purpose. Relevance of the project was considered as Council approved the release of the requested sum of N18,437,508.73 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the execution of the stated project. d) Request for Funds to Enable the Improvement of the Revenue Collection Effort by the State Water Board:The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport applauded the efforts of the incumbent administration, through the contents of this memorandum, for executing projects that improved the water supply situation in Kano State. Many areas that suffered the problem of non - supply of potable water by the State Government are now happy for the change in the situation. Potable water supply by Government had improved from inception of the administration to date. Progressively, revenue collection in relation to water consumption also improved as a result of improving the collection system, which ensured increased generation of revenue collected monthly from the sum of N35,000,000.00 to N80,000,000.00 with room for further improvement. Improvement of the revenue collection system by the State Water Board was considered imperative as the requirements were assessed by the State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport and the scope of works required were assessed and estimates prepared to the tune of N53,888,220.00 to cover for the provision of furniture and equipment for the Revenue Collection Centers along with water rate meters for consumers. Further, the State Water Board proposed to improve and continue with its customer/consumer mapping and enumeration for reliable identification of revenue sources. This requires movement with serviceable vehicles to ensure efficiency and competence. Council noted, considered and approved as follows: i. Release of the sum of N53,888,220.00 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the provision of furniture and required equipment at the Revenue Collection Centers of the State Water Board. ii. Procurement and allocation of five (5) units ofDouble Cabin Vehicles to the State Water Board by the Office of the Secretary to the State Government at the cost of N6,950,000.00 each totaling to N34, 750,000.00 for the five (5). e) Request for Funds to Enable the Execution of the Proposed Renovation Works at the Premises of the Kano State Shari'a Commission Located at No. 1 Abdullahi Bayero Road, Kano State:The Shari'a Commission is among the Government Organizations that shoulder the responsibility of supervising the execution of programs related to Islamic Injunctions/Tradition/Morality, etc. The entire tenets and provisions of Shari'a are handled under the auspices of the Shari'a Commission. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport identified the structures at the Office Complex that officially accommodates all units of the Shari'a Commission to be in dilapidated condition requiring general renovation. The scope of works required were assessed and estimated to the tune of N46,671,059.16, which was requested for release to enable the execution of the project. Council approved the execution of the project.

gesture. They promised doubling their efforts in the discharge of their vitally required services.

5. MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, INTERNAL AFFAIRS, YOUTHS, SPORTS AND CULTURE Request for the Release of Operational Funds and Vehicles for Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV) Corporation:The ARTV is the only Television Station owned by the Kano State Government. The Station offers information dissemination services considered vital for the transparent disposition of the present administration in exposing all activities and laudable services delivered by the Government. The Transmission Station used in airing all the programs prepared by the ARTV located at Tudun Wada Dankadai was discovered to be in need of general renovation as reported by the newly appointed Managing Director of the Station. Details on the thirteen (13) items required for the general renovation of the Transmission Station of the ARTV located at Tudun Wada LGCA were presented to Council for consideration along with the request for the release of the aggregate sum of N23,850,000.00 for the purpose. Council considered the request and project as relevant and approved the release of aggregate sum of N23,850,000.00 to the Ministry of Information, Internal Affairs, Youths, Sports and Culture to enable the execution of the stated general renovation works at the Tudun Wada Transmission Station of the ARTV.


6. MINISTRY OF LAND AND PHYSICAL PLANNING Each of the five (5) memoranda submitted for deliberation by Council from the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning was approved for execution as follows: a) Request for Funds for the Construction of Rijiyar Gwangwan - Yankatsari - Yansango Road:The Honourable Commissioner for Land and Physical Planning intimated Council, through the contents of this memorandum that the sited project was initially awarded to a Contractor at the sum of N474,970,649.25 for two (2) coat surface dressing by the previous administration through the Ministry of Rural and Community Development. The sum of N423,133,390.29 was paid to the Contractor for certificates No. 1, 2 and 3 as reported by the Fact Finding Committee and confirmed by the State Ministry of Finance. Essentially, the scope of works executed were reassessed and valued at the permanent acceptable status to the tune of N327,817,938.00 by a Technical Team from the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning. This necessitated requesting the original Contractor to refund the balance of N95,315,407.25 as the difference between the sum of N423,133,390.29 paid to him for the works executed and the reassessed sum of N327,817,938.00 actually due for payment for the permanent acceptable status of the work executed. Currently, the status of the project compelled the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning to present a new scope of works for the project for consideration by Council. This was defined as upgrading the existing surface road width of 7.0M - 10.3M on single carriage way of 12.9M, realigning the road to get rid of corners and bends. Accordingly, the Management Consultants for the project prepared a revised BEME to the tune of N1,484,031,909.04 up to 100% completion level. Council noted, considered the details presented and approved the release of the requested new Contract sum of N1,484,031,909.04 to the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning to enable the execution of the project to 100% level of completion by the new Contractor. b) Re-award of four major road construction projects within the metropolis These memoranda had common requirements on the construction projects of different roads already awarded to a particular Contractor in the year 2010. The Contractor did not mobilize to site in all the four (4) cases and was not paid a kobo for any of the projects. This warranted the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning to resubmit each case with new details for consideration and approval. i) Request for Funds for the Upgrading/Dualisation of Lagos Street (CORONATION ROAD) o The contract was initially awarded to Dantata and Sawoe via Contract Letter No. KNUPDA/ENG/588/36 dated January, 2010. The sum of N725,490,150.00 was approved for the project, which was not released. The contract was revoked by this administration. o The contract was resubmitted for consideration and granted approval for execution at today's sitting at the cost of N316,875,450.00 by Messrs. Costain West Africa Plc. ii) Request for Funds for the Upgrading/Dualisation of Post Office Road:o The contract was initially awarded to Dantata and Sawoe via Contract Letter No. KNUPDA/ENG/588/36 dated January, 2010. The sum of N1,034,558,910.00 was approved for the project, which was not released. The contract was revoked by this administration. o The contract was resubmitted for consideration and granted approval for execution at today's sitting at the cost of N426,975,980.00 by Messrs. Costain West Africa Plc. iii) Request for Funds for the Upgrading/Dualization of Niger Street:o The contract was initially awarded to Dantata and Sawoe via Contract Letter No. KNUPDA/ENG/588/36 dated January, 2010. The sum of N1,040,847,885.00 was approved for the project, which was not released. The contract was revoked by this administration. o The contract was resubmitted for consideration and granted approval for execution at today's sitting at the cost of N475,955,865.50 by Messrs. Costain West Africa Plc. iv) Request for Funds for the Upgrading/Dualisation of Yolawa Road:o The contract was awarded initially to Dantata and Sawoe via Contract Letter No. KNUPDA/ENG/588/36 dated January, 2010. The sum of N906,345,825.00 was approved for the project, which was not released. The contract was revoked by this administration. o The contract was resubmitted for consideration and granted approval for execution at today's sitting at the cost of N315,559,828.60 by Messrs. Costain West Africa Plc. 7. OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF CIVIL SERVICE Both memoranda submitted for deliberation by Council from the Office of the Head of Civil Service were approved for execution. Thus: a) Request for Funds to Enable the Payment of the 3rd Batch (2013) Bereaved Family Allowance (BFA) to 79 Beneficiaries:Council acknowledged the cited routine request and approved the release of the aggregate sum of N3,570,000.00 to the Office of the Head of Civil Service for disbursement to the seventy-nine (79) beneficiaries. Council commiserated with the bereaved families and solemnly prayed for the mercy of the Almighty Allah to grant eternal peace and tranquility in Jannatil - fir - Dausi for each of the deceased. b) Notification of the Release of Two (2) Circulars on the Implementation of 7% Salary Enhancement for Medical and Health Workers:The Head of Civil Service amply notified Council of the release of the relevant circulars on the cited issues, through the contents of this memorandum. The two (2) Unions that represent the two (2) bodies of professionals, which include the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) endorsed the development, applauded and pledged their continuous support for the incumbent administration for the kind

8. MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES Council approved the execution of both memoranda submitted for deliberation from the Ministry of Water Resources. Thus: a) Request for Funds to Enable the Payment of Outstanding Balance for the Contract Awarded for the Procurement of 1000MM Ductile Iron Pipes and Fittings for Tamburawa - Hadejia Road Water Pipeline Project:The Honourable Commissioner for Water Resources reminded Council, through the contents of this memorandum, of its approval granted for the execution of the cited project at the tune of N2,963,865,445.25 of which only N1,000,000,000.00 was released from the provisions of the 2013 Budget. The balance of N1,963,865,447.25 was directed to be captured in the 2014 Budget by the Ministry of Water Resources, which was done and requested for release through the contents of this memorandum. Details presented for consideration instigated Council to approve the release of the sum of N1,963,865,447.25 to the Ministry of Water Resources to enable the settlement of the outstanding payment for the already executed project. This project is to be executed under the State and Local governments Joint Projects Scheme. The State Government will contribute 30% and the eight (8) metropolitan Local Governments and D/Kudu, Warawa, Gezawa, Gabasawa will fund 70% of the contract sum. b) Request for Funds to Improve Distribution of Potable Water Supplied to Various Parts of Greater Kano:Supply of potable water for use by the citizenry in Kano State has improved generally. Efficient distribution of the available water from the relevant Water Treatment Plants to locations of requirement in the various parts of Greater Kano, especially where reticulation system cannot serve the large population demanding the water remains a problem requiring solution. The requirements and scope of works were assessed by the State Water Board, which segmented the project into two (2) Phases. Phase I was approved and executed with the released sum of N108,578,173.00. Phase II of the project was proposed for execution with the sum of N157,177,798.80, which was requested for release. Details on the ten (10) items required were presented to Council for consideration. The details presented were considered as appropriate by Council which mandated the Deputy Governor to study and treat. 9. MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND BUDGET Presentation of Progress Report on the Establishment of Thirty- Seven (37) Micro - Finance Banks in Kano State:The Honourable Commissioner for Planning and Budget reminded Council of its approval for the appointment of R. I. & Co as the Consulting Firm assigned to provide Consultancy Services in the process of establishing the thirty-seven (37) Micro-Finance Banks in Kano State. Reportedly, the R. I. & Co conducted its services diligently and presented details on six (6) achievements attained for consideration by Council, which informed and instigated granting of approval for the forwarded four (4) prayers on issues raised in the progress report as follows: i. Approval was granted for placement of shares to existing Board Members as a priority at the cost of N1.50 per share and to interested Private Investors for the ownership of the Banks. The establishment exercise to be concluded by June, 2014. ii. The Interim Management Officers (IMOs) of the LGCAs concerned were directed to issue title documents to each of the newly established Micro-Finance Banks that operate in premises donated by the Local Government Council. iii. The State Ministry of Finance and other State MDAs were directed to utilize the services of the Micro-Finance Banks in disbursing funds to beneficiaries of all Empowerment Programs in the State.

1. GOVERNOR'S INTERACTIVE MEETING WITH STAKEHOLDERS OF 5 KILOMETERS ROAD PROJECTS IN THE 44 LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS On Tuesday,25thFebruary 2014 Governor Engr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE had an Interactive Session with all the stakeholders of the 44 Local Government Areas on 5km road projects. During the meeting, the Governor informed all participants the State Government's determination to complete all projects latest by the end of this year. He assured them on the readiness of the administration to pay contractors as and when due. He also instructed the contractors and other stakeholders to make use of the opportunity to complete the project at the earliest possible time. At the end of the meeting, the Governor constituted a committee comprising the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning, Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport, Projects Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, and Kano Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA) to inspect the projects to ensure appropriate action is taken on compensation for structures affected by the projects. The Deputy Governor was directed to coordinate other policy decisions taken, particularly to ensure that all contractors have mobilized back to their sites. 2. SEND - OFF CEREMONY OF 50 NURSING TUTORS FOR DEGREE PROGRAM IN NURSING AND RECEPTION OF 10 TUTORS FROM AL-MANSURA UNIVERSITY EGYPT Council noted the Grand Ceremony at Government House on Thursday 27thFebruary, 2014, which was witnessed by the former Governors of Jigawa and Rivers States, Alh. Saminu Turaki and Mr. Donald Duke respectively. The Government will spend the sum of N303, 450,000.00 for the sponsorship of the 50 tutors to undergo the program in Egypt. During the event, the Governor urged them to be good Ambassadors of the State and Nation at large. Similarly, Council acknowledged the resumption of 10 tutors from Al- Mansura University, Egypt who will be teaching different courses at the newly established Schools of Nursing Madobi and Midwifery Gezawa. 3. CONDUCT OF TRACTOR SHOW Council acknowledged the conduct of Tractor Show from 17th-18th February, 2014 at Bagauda Agricultural Show Ground. The show was attended by professional farmers as well as other stakeholders, banks, development partners etc. 4. FLAG-OFF OF CBPP & PPR VACCINATION CAMPAIGN Council noted the flag off of the commencement of CBPP & PPR 2014 vaccination exercise at Sumaila and the commissioning of Veterinary Clinics in the Local Government. The exercise will target 700,000 herds of cattle and 600,000 small ruminants. 5. GRADUATION CEREMONY OF 3RD BATCH OF 400 WOMEN FROM FISHERIES INSTITUTE, BAGAUDA Council noted the Graduation Ceremony of 400 women from the Fisheries Institute, Bagauda. These women were taught various skills on fish farming in order to make self-reliant, which is in tandem with the administration's desire to make the womenfolk more productive and useful members of the society. 6. GRADUATION CEREMONY OF 1st BATCH OF 120 YOUTHS FROM MAGAGA FISHERIES SKILL ACQUISITION & TRAINING CENTER, GWARZO Council noted the Graduation Ceremony of the 1st Batch of 120 youths who were trained at the Fisheries Skills Acquisition & Craft Training Center, Magaga. 7. GRADUATION/ENHANCEMENT OF 500 LESS PRIVILEGED WOMEN Council noted the Graduation /Enhancement of 500 less privileged women by the Governor. The category of the women comprised the Divorcees, Widows, Deserted Women, HIV Victims, Women whose children are involved in street hawking etc. These women were trained on various skills ranging from beads making, food Processing, tie & dye. During the Graduation, each Beneficiary received N30, 000.00 via account at a Microfinance Bank, besides the wrapper, hijab and N3, 500.00 transportation money given to them. 8. MONITORING OF SCHOOLS FOR PUNCTUALITY OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS ACROSS THE STATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS Council noted the recent initiative by the State Ministry of Education for commissioning a team of Senior Education Officers on Grade levels 15 and 16 to start visiting schools in the morning to ensure effective monitoring of schools towards improvement of punctuality of students and teachers across the 44 Local Government Areas. 9. PRESENTATION OF AUDIT INSPECTION REPORT IN RESPECT OF PRIVATE HEALTH INSTITUTION REGISTRATION UNIT (PHIRU) FOR THE PERIOD OF SEPTEMBER, 2012 TO OCTOBER, 2013:Taking into cognizance the proliferation of illegal Private Health Institutions practicing in the State coupled with the Government's effective measures to curtail such practice, Council acknowledged an Audit Inspection Report from the Private Health Institution Registration Unit (PHIRU) of the Ministry of Health for the period of September, 2012 to October, 2013. The Unit was able to generate the sum of N11,935,495.00 from the exercise on the renewal of registration of Private Health Institutions in the State. Council urged the general public to inform Government of any suspected illegal Private Health Institution found operating in the 44 Local Government Areas of the State. 10. PRESENTATION OF AWARD (S) 1. Award of Excellence to the Governor by the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists, North-Western Zone as the "Most Women Friendly Governor in the North-West." 2. Award of Certificate of Merit to the Governor by the Alumni Association of Aminu Kano College of Islamic Legal Studies for remarkable achievements on the transformation of education sector. 3. Award of Excellence to the Governor by the Cattle Breeders/Rearing Association of Kano State as the "Best Governor in Africa" for his Infrastructural and Educational development. 4. Award of Excellence to the Governor by the Association of Qur'anic Reciters, Memorizers as "Garkuwan Talakawa & Marayu" for his educational development policies, especially for the establishment of Qur'anic schools in all 44 Local Government Areas of the State.

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




The drainpipes in federal revenue agencies Continued from page 3 This is better captured in the “Yearly report of the Auditor General for the Federation on the Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria for the year ended December 31, 2009.” The report, sent to the National Assembly, detailed the discrepancies in the figures of revenue remitted to the Federation Account by the NCS obtained from the CBN components. These were observed in the figures for nine months - January, February, April, May, June, July, August, September, and December, which indicated that the NCS remitted less than the revenue collected during the period to the government. While the figures for the three months - March, October and November indicated that the NCS remitted more than the revenues collected during the period to the Federation Account, which gave rise to a total net difference of N11.122 billion. In the report, Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF) Samuel Ukura unearthed the depth of under declaration and remittance of revenue in the oil sector. It revealed that oil companies

in the country owed government huge sums of money in local and foreign currencies. For instance, it was revealed that the sum of N1.148 billion was owed government on penalty from gas flared and $795.309 million on royalties on crude oil were owed by various oil companies as at December 2009. Furthermore, the Ukura report further revealed during the audit examination of accounting and other records at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for the Federation Account, the computation of royalties payable by oil companies was based on actual crude oil lifted by them and not calculated on actual production figures; this contravenes the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the oil companies involved. The MoU provide that payment of royalties should be based on production volume multiplied by the prescribed royalty rates. The AGF was of the view that the DPR had shirked its responsibility of raising the assessments on royalties and sending the demand notices to the oil firms for prompt settlement. “Rather, the oil companies are allowed to engage in

the self-assessment of royalties payable by them. This action is obviously detrimental to the interest of the country,” Ukura noted. That is not all. In 2010, a House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise chaired by Yakubu Dogara, submitted a report which exposes the rot in the system. It also unravels the pressure on the NCS by top government officials to subvert due process. The report indicated that established rules on imports, exports, waivers, pre-releases, among others are breached with impunity, resulting in the loss of billions of naira by the Federal Government. For example, the House Committee said it uncovered that in 2006 to 2007, the nation lost N38 billion to illegal granting of Temporary Importations and Pre-Releases. But this amount is dwarfed by the N45.9billion which the NNPC was said to have failed to remit to the NCS as duty payable on imported petroleum products. The House Committee found out that the practice of “Mid-Stream Discharge of Cargoes”, later diverted to private jetties, is a major source of revenue loss.

It said the practice was encouraged by importers with the connivance of Customs officials who deliberately hire the services of ships that Nigerian ports have no capacity to berth. The ships are said to stop mid-stream, where the cargoes are discharged to small vessels and taken to private jetties. By regulation, officials of the NCS should be available to assess such goods as they are being discharged for appropriate revenue collection. The committee report listed 27 firms which officials of the NCS reportedly connive with regularly to defraud the country. But what has happened to these reports remains unknown. Mayowa Sodipo, a public analyst, says it is appalling that most of these, especially the NNPC and NCS, have become a cartel that is untouchable. He blames politicisation and the desire to continuously oil the machineries of political office holders for the seeming helplessness to revamp the agencies. “Because of these interests that these agencies serve, the recommendations of several panels and enquiries into the books of the agencies by successive governments never see the light of day

Why Sanusi must be probed, by Kashamu


CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State and businessman, Buruji Kashamu, has urged a probe of the suspended former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Kashamu, in an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), among others, said it would be in the interest of Sanusi for his tenure to be examined. He said: “If for nothing else, the activities of the Sanusi era should be probed with a view to ascertaining his innocence or otherwise. Besides the infractions identified by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the 2012 audited reports of the CBN, there are allegations that he promoted a lot of Bureaux de Change and awarded questionable contracts worth billions of naira, including the appointment of woman who organised an “owambe” for him on his appointment as CBN Governor as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of one of the five banks that he forcibly took over.

“The truth is that much as the independence of the CBN Governor or the Bank itself is guaranteed, it is not absolute. He cannot be allowed to act with impunity, all in the name of independence. At the end of the day, there is only one person whom millions of Nigerians have given the mandate to lead them. There is only one person that they have entrusted their lives and it is his duty to take charge whenever he is reasonably convinced that those who are supposed to help him in realising his goals and objectives are drifting away. It is not for nothing that he is called the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is the Chief Executive of the nation and the bulk stops at his table! “It is as a result of the foregoing and more that I wish to invite the aforementioned individuals and institutions to take note of the various infractions by Sanusi since his assumption of office and cause a probe into his activities with a view to correcting the anomalies and sanctioning people where necessary. I wager that the Nigerian economy and the people would be better for it.”

and, by implication, the agencies which are statutorily supposed to rake in huge revenues to government have become drain pipes because of corruption,” Sodipo said. Continuing, he said bigger sleaze occurs in lesser popular revenue generating agencies, which go almost unnoticed because they are obscure. Sodipo therefore canvassed for an effective anti- corruption fight to ensure that such loopholes are blocked. “Let us have anti corruption fight as it was in the days of Nuhu Ribadu,” he suggested. Abdullahi obviously knows the task ahead of him, especially as it affects the integrity of the Service. “I think from today, we will start the arithmetic of how we are going to achieve that figure. It is very easy. How? It is when we ensure integrity and recognise compliance that is how we are going to achieve it,” he said of the revenue projection. The CGC also assured that this year would be different because efforts would be intensified in prosecuting revenue offenders so as to serve as deterrent to others and meet the set target. The Customs board during its maiden meeting for 2014 presided over by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala approved new measures aimed at boosting the country’s revenue profile. This initiative gives Abdullah the confidence to say that “today, the modern Customs is about trade facilitation and want to prove to federal government that we have come of age and we have built the technological competence that can stand the test of time.” Certainly, the nation awaits the translation of Abdulahi’s talks and promises into improved revenue. For now, the agencies are baskets leaking away precious revenues.



NEWS Mark seeks tougher sanctions against kidnappers From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja


ENATE President David Mark has called for draconian measures against kidnappers. He said they do not deserve to live among normal human beings. Mark spoke at the funeral mass for late Chief James Emeka Iloenyosi at the St. Mark’s Catholic Church, Abagana in Anambra State Iloenyosi died in the hands of kidnappers. Mark, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, in Abuja, added that “the unabating cases of kidnapping is a big shame. If stringent measure is not adopted, the perpetrators would not stop. “It is a big challenge to all of us. The government is there to take responsibilities, but the community cannot absolve herself of basic responsibilities. These kidnappers live among us. It is therefore incumbent on community leaders to fish them out. Today, it is Chief Iloenyosi , who knows the next victim tomorrow? “If a traditional ruler, such as Chief Iloenyosi, is kidnapped and died in the hands of his abductors, then who is safe in this community? That is why everybody must vow to say enough is enough and no more to kidnapping in Anambra state.” Anambra State Governor Peter Obi said the government would not rest until the last kidnapper was flushed out of the state. Obi urged the people and community leaders to cooperate with the government. The daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Ogugua Agagbo, said the family was planning the Chief’s 80th birthday before he died. Mrs. Agagbo said the family has been traumatised but has equally taken the incident in good faith, saying “we are consoled that our father lived a life of service to the community, which everybody attested to”. Speaking at another funeral service for the late Saleh Ankwa Oyihoma, father of House of Representatives’ member Hassan Saleh in Otukpo, Benue State, a Mark urged Nigerians to be combat ready against terrorists in the Northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. He said the dimension of the renewed attacks have gone beyond human comprehension but “with cooperation and support of the citizenry, we can savage the situation”. He said as a nation yearning for development, security of lives and property as well as infrastructural facilities, every citizen must join the crusade as stakeholders in the struggle to enthrone an egalitarian society “we can all be proud of”. He described late Saleh Ankwa Oyihoma as a gallant soldier who served in the Nigerian Army with all his strength saying, “the determination of the our fore-fathers brought out the best in the generation of today.”

JTF destroys 17 illegal refineries


HE Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, has destroyed 17 illegal refineries in four states in the Niger Delta. The security outfit arrested eight suspected oil thieves during its patrols in Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states. JTF’s Media Coordinator Col. Onyema Nwachukwu said five of the illegal refineries were demolished in Edo and Delta states by the 3 and 19 battalions as well as JTF’s NNS Delta of Sector 1 Area of Responsibility (AoR). He said the troops also impounded 40 Cotonou boats used in conveying stolen products. Col. Nwachukwu said the oil thieves and owners of the illegal refineries operated with

•Eight suspects arrested From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

300 metal tanks, 64 plastic storage tanks, 72 drums, 68 cooking ovens, four pumping machines and one Lister generator. The media coordinator said the illegal refineries were destroyed at Takular, Otegele 1, Okpogbene and Ovulaiye area of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. He said the troops also impounded a tug boat with 30 drums of stolen petroleum at Ajide on Benin River in Edo State. “The Cotonou boats and other apparatus were destroyed, while the six

suspects nabbed have been moved to the Tactical Headquarters”, Col. Nwachukwu said. In Rivers State, the JTF spokesman said operatives of 29 Battalion and Gun Boat Detachment patrolling the waterways and creeks of Soku– Ofumakiri, Bolo, Oloma and Isaka destroyed four illegal refineries. He said the owners operated with 40 cooking ovens, 30 plastic storage tanks, 50 drums, one welding machine, two pumping machines and a 45 KVA generator. Col Nwachukwu said the troops impounded a Cotonou boat with 86 drums of illegally

refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO). He said the illegal refineries and their equipment were scuttled in situ while two suspects arrested were taken to the Sector 2 Headquarters. In Bayelsa State, he said troops of 343 Regiment patrolling the waterways shut down eight illegal refineries and destroyed six Cotonou boats in Tebidaba and Igbematoru communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area. “The operatives also scuttled 69 metal drums and two pumping machines used by the oil thieves to operate the illegal refineries,” the JTF spokesman said. He said the suspects were being investigated and would be handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies.

•Chairman, Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Babatunde Oke presenting the key of a car to Mr Usman Hakeem as the Best Staff of the Year during the NULGE Staff Award at the council’s secretariat in Lagos. With them (after Oke and Hakeem) Supervisor for Works Oscar Anisere, Vice-Chairman Oladotun Olakanle, Council Manager Rasheed Pedro, Human Resources Manager Lai Giwa and other council offcials.

Seven killed as rival cults clash in Edo


EVEN people, including a 500-level Computer Science student of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, have been killed in renewed cult clashes in Edo State. It was gathered that the student, identified as Osajie Osamudiamen, was shot in the head at close range at a night club in Supreme Hotel, Ekpoma. Another victim, known simply as Jonathan, a musician, was killed at Atlantic Hotel, opposite Ekiosa market in Benin. Jonathan was also shot in the head at close range.


•Woman’s body found From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia and Osagie Otabor, Benin

An eyewitness, who pleaded for anonymity, said Jonathan belonged to a popular cult group, Eiye Confraternity. He said Jonathan’s death sparked a reprisal attack among various cult groups. “On Saturday, five persons were killed at various locations around Upper Sakponba in Benin. “It seems the police are unaware or if they are aware, they are helpless on how to curtail

the killings.” A source said Osamudiamen was the head of Burkaneer Confraternity in Ekpoma. He was said to have quarrelled with a rival group. Another casualty was a graduating female student of AAU, who was said to have been a victim of an acid attack. The owner of Supreme Hotel, Felix Akhabue, said he was not aware of the killing in his hotel. The Commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo, referred

the reporter to the police spokesman, who could not be reached. A young woman, who was going for a vigil, was found dead after allegedly being raped. She was identified by members of her church as Deborah Bassey. Her body was found at a welder’s workshop on Upper Adesuwa Road at the Government Reservation Area in Benin City. A member of the church, Gloria Umofus, said they were informed that something happened to their member and they rushed out to the scene.

My fourth term’ll be beneficial, says Ndoma-Egba

ENATE Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba (Cross River Central) yesterday declared his intention to seek his people’s mandate for a fourth term next year. Ndoma-Egba spoke with reporters in Calabar. He said his fourth term would be beneficial to Cross River if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gives him the nod. The Senate leader said he had done much for his constituents as a mark of service and responsibility.

Ndoma-Egba said he was not desperate for a fourth term ticket, adding that he could always go back to his legal practice. “If I am given the mandate by my people and the PDP, it will benefit the state and my constituents. It is not all about me. I have empowered my constituency. “More than 500 students have benefited from a scholarship programme I started before becoming a senator. I

have attracted a water project from the World Bank, road projects and others to my constituency. “I am not desperate. If I do not go back, I can still go back to my lucrative law practice. I am a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). “But in this case, who suffers – Cross River State, my constituency. This is because it will take time for another legislator from this state to rise to the position of Senate leader.


“If I am obliged the mandate to go back to the Senate, who knows I can get something higher and attract more projects to Cross River State.”

Six professors to assess Edo teachers From Osagie Otabor, Benin

A team of six professors of education has been assembled to conduct the assessment test for teachers in Edo State. The team, headed by Prof Dennis Agbonlahor, comprises Prof Ikponmwonsa Owie, Prof Noah Musa, Prof Augustine Osunde, Prof Omobude Idiado and Prof A. O. Imogie. Speaking at the inauguration of the committee, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said he was improving human capital in education because of the investment in infrastructure. Oshiomhole noted that the investment would amount to nothing, if the human resource capital is not developed. He said the essence of the assessment test was to differentiate the knowledgeable teachers from the quacks and ‘a process to clean up the school system.’ “We are going to enhance the good ones through training and retraining to reposition. “Basic education is the key to our future. Everybody refers to what we call the natural endowment of Nigeria. We are proud that one of every four Africans and one of every two West African is a Nigerian. “We talk about a country of 170 million and we often describe ourselves as a result of this number, a country that is endowed with human capital, in addition to other natural endowment, such as liquid and solid mineral resources. “What we probably never talk about is the quality of our human capital. We refer to the quantity as if size is all that matters in a nation or even in business. “What differentiates a growing nation from a stagnant nation is the level of human capital development,” Oshiomhole said. Agbonlahor, ex-vice chancellor, Ambrose Alli University, promised that the team would be objective and transparent.

‘Nigeria’s democracy still a myth’ From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

N Ibadan, the Oyo State capital-based lawyer, Yomi Ogunlola, has said the country’s democratic rule is yet to fully develop. He spoke while delivering a lecture titled: “Democracy in Nigeria- Myth or Reality” at the second annual memorial lecture organised by Dr. Lai Fatokun Memorial Organisation (LAFAMO), in honour of the reknowned teacher at the NUT Teachers House Conference Hall, Oluyole Estate, Ibadan. Ogunlola said the few rich people entrusted with political power have shown gross disregard for the poor. Commenting on the security and welfare of the people, he said: “It is a sad commentary on our almost 15 year old democracy that rather than improve the standard of living of the people, millions are daily falling below the poverty line. Money meant for correcting infrastructural deficits and for human capital development is pilfered daily by our rulers and their cronies.” He added that:” “Nigerians are denied participation in their own government as politicians only use them when elections come. They become irrelevant immediately after.”





CITYBEATS LINE: 08078425391

‘I wept everyday for a year’



N February 25, Mr Olusoji Daomi would still have been in celebration mood. A month earlier, he would have feted relations and friends to mark the two-year birthday of his beloved son, Oluwasegunfunmi. Sadly, no drumbeat sounded anywhere near his household. Reason: He was yet to get over the grief of the baby’s death, a year ago. Today, Daomi appears to have taken solace in the words of a philosopher, who once said: “As soon as a child is born, he is old enough to die.” But he told this reporter last Saturday: “I have wept everyday for a year; it is hard to forget the painful death of such a promising child.” Born on January 17, 2012, the deceased boy was 13 months old when on February 25, 2013, he died in controversial circumstances at the Ikorodu General Hospital, Lagos. His father believed his death resulted from doctors’ procedural lapses. Daomi cried out to the state government. An investigative panel was set up through its Health Service Commission on Lagos Island. But the report of the panel has remained a secret. But sources say government has wielded the big stick on the culprits. “As a family, we have had a horrific experience in the past one year. More painful was the experience dur-

Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor

ing his birth,” Daomi said, but added: “We have taken solace in God the incorruptible judge - to take control.” Admitting that the hospital’s management had been helpful with words of consolation all the time, the gesture, he said, had in no small measure accelerated the healing process. He expressed his heartache: “It is excruciating that neither the commissioner nor any other top government official has deemed it fit to put a call across to us to even ask how we are coping with demise of our promising


My stewardship, by Senator By Wale Ajetunmobi

B •Daomi

son; no personal visit. As Nigerians and Lagosians, we should be treated better than this. Do they know the boy might one day bring fame and glory to Nigeria, if he had not met his avoidable death? But, we have left everything in God’s hands.” The bereaved father was profuse in gratitude to the Medical Director/ CEO of the Ikorodu General Hospital “for all his prophetic prayers and biblical words of inspiration to us at all times.” “Our praises also go to the media, especially The Nation, PM News and Daar Communications for their support through the agonising period,” Daomi said.

EFORE a large crowd of Christian leaders and party faithful last weekend, the lawmaker representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, rendered an account of his activities since assuming office on June 6, 2011. The Multipurpose Hall of Somolu Local Government Area of Lagos State, venue of the event, was filled to capacity. The audience listened with rapt attention as Ashafa reeled off his programmes which, he said, had changed the lives of his constituents. He was accompanied by his wife, Folashade and political associates. The programme was organised by the All Christian Leaders/Ministries Forum (ACLMF), which aims at making public officers accountable to the people. The lawmaker summarised his achievement as effective representation, youth empowerment, educational enhancement and socio-economic development. Ashafa, who is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, said he had sponsored 12 bills which directly affected the welfare of the citizens, especially the bill to preserve indigenous languages, which has passed second reading, and Prohibition of Same-Sex Marriage, which he co-sponsored with

Commissioner explains scheme

AGOS STATE Commissioner for Rural Development, Mr. Cornelius Ojelabi, has urged Lagosians, particularly the low-income earners, to embrace the new home ownership mortgage scheme. He spoke on Saturday at a stakeholders’ meeting with the executives of the Community Development Associations (CDAs), Community Development Committee (CDCs) and Neighbourhood Watch in the 20 councils and 37 local council development areas. The commissioner said the govern-

ment wanted tax payers to benefit from the scheme, adding that it was why it demanded five-year tax clearance as a pre-requisite. He enjoined the CDAs/CDCs to enlighten and encourage people, particularly those that didn’t have houses, to apply, as the houses were meant for them and not investors or moneybags. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, represented by a director, Foluso Dipe, an architect, who echoed Ojelabi’s views, said prospective beneficiaries must have a proof of means

of repaying the mortgage and five years tax clearance, among others. The General Manager, Lagos State Resident Registration Agency (LASRRA), Ms. Olayinka Fashola, said government would start applying the law on anybody caught presenting fake documents for the resident registration exercise, adding that the penalty is one-year imprisonment. She said it had been noticed that many people registered with fake documents or register twice, adding that government detested this.

•Sen Ashafa

other senators. More than 550 graduates and residents have benefitted from the Youth Energy Career Programme (YECP) and free monthly ICT training, the lawmaker told the gathering. He said his youth empowerment programme was to engage youths in productive ventures. Ashafa said scores of schools across the district had received modern educational and laboratory materials to improve the quality of education in beneficiary schools. The senator showed picture of cassava mill, which he built in Epe under his sustainable agricultural growth project. He said modern tools were distributed to farmers in the district to improve mechanised farming and boost food production. Apart from grading and refilling several roads in the district, Ashafa mentioned some of his direct welfare programmes to include digging of 33 boreholes for more than 10 communities, provision of seven electricity transformers, donation of three-block of classrooms to community schools, provision of solar streetlights, ambulance point and skill acquisition centre, among others. He said he had helped many youths from Lagos to secure employment in various government offices.


Pa Kasumu’s son Olatunde weds •Nollywood stars absent at wedding


T was apparently a moment of bliss for ailing Yoruba actor, Kayode Odumosu, alias Pa Kasumu, during the traditional wedding of his son, Olatunde Odumosu and Mojisola Adamolekun on Saturday, March 1, at Blessed International School, Aboru, IyanaIpaja, Lagos. The colourful ceremony took place two days after the court wedding on Thursday, February 27, at the Ikoyi Registry, Lagos, a ceremony attended strictly by family members. The Saturday’s traditional wedding, which was relatively elaborate, kicked off at about 1p.m. under a drizzle. The 37year-old groom, who was dressed in a lace material cut in buba and sokoto with a red cap, was all smiles, while the proceedings lasted. The Ekiti State-born bride, with graceful steps and beatific smiles, complemented the groom in all imaginable way. As the engagement ceremony glided from the introduction, prayers for the couple by their parents, exchange of rings to the cutting of the wedding cake, the two alaga iduro as well the two masters of ceremonies, in their characteristic vivaciousness, added colour and panache to the ceremony. And then, the live band further enlivened the venue with an electrifying performance.

By Sulaiman Babatunde

‘But it was obvious for all to see: wobbly steps, almost inaudible voice and occasional blank look ... nevertheless, the actor, who donned a blue agbada with a pair of matching shoes and an ash coloured cap, dutiful played his fatherly role on the occasion to the admiration of all, thereby rubbishing the claim that he is already in a vegetative state’ Interestingly, like a subdrama, several eyes kept stealing a glance at the groom’s father at intervals. There was no

•Olatunde with his bride

mistaking the suspicious look on some faces, especially as one of the masters of ceremonies, Ben Cash, repeatedly debunked the death rumour about the respected actor. Unknowingly, he seemed to echo the murmurs in the minds of some anxious guests who wanted to know whether the various media reports about Pa Kasumu’s ill health had been sensationalised or not in anyway. But it was obvious for all to see: wobbly steps, almost inaudible voice and occasional blank look. Nevertheless, the actor, who donned a blue agbada with a pair of matching shoes and an ashcoloured cap, dutiful played his fatherly role on the occasion to the admiration of all, thereby rubbishing the claim that he is

•Pa Kasumu with the bride, Mojisola

already in a vegetative state. Interestingly, in the midst of the ceremony, many wondered why Pa Kasumu’s colleagues in the movie industry were conspicuously absent to share in his joy. The pertinent question asked in hushed tone was: where are the stars? Even when Pa Kasumu was dancing, though not energetically, with the couple, he was only supported by family members, while he ‘sprayed’ the excited couple with some crisp notes. In the opinions of some, it could only be proof of a frosty relationship between him and his colleagues. However, some hours after the ceremony, the actor, in a telephone interview with The Nation, gave a hint on why his colleagues were not in attendance. Contrary

to the insinuation in some quarters, Pa Kasumu, who initially expressed shock that our correspondent got wind of the event in spite of the strategic plans to shut out media coverage, said, “I actually didn’t invite them because my son didn’t want any publicity. Although I invited Iya Rainbow, Iya Awero, Jide Kosoko and Ngozi Nwosu, none of them could make it. Ngozu later called me in the evening that she was held up in traffic around Iyana Ipaja, so I told her not to bother because it was almost over. Iya Rainbow couldn’t come for reasons I won’t like to disclose, but neither Jide Kosoko nor Iya Awero called me to explain why they didn’t come. The truth is, if they had come, my son wouldn’t have been happy with me be-

cause he would know that I invited them. Really, their presence would have generated some publicity, which might have angered him. So, he wanted a lowkey ceremony.” When asked to clarify the rumour that the bulk of the money donated towards his treatment went into the planning of the wedding of his first son, he raised his voice, saying, “Anyone who said that must be stupid! My son is gainfully employed and I am sure you saw some of his expatriate bosses at the event. So, why won’t he be able to sponsor his wedding? It was a thing of joy to me, and that was why I danced excitedly. Oh, I love to dance! If not that I was weak, you would have been pleasantly surprised.”



NEWS Rivers crisis: Jonathan turned down Rivers’ elders, says Amaechi •‘President shunned Port Harcourt centenary, I shunned Nigeria’s’


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan turned down the request of Rivers State elders to attend the centenary celebration of Port Harcourt City last November, Governor Chibuike Amaechi alleged yesterday. He added that the request of the elders to leave him alone also went unheeded. According to the governor, because of the president’s action, he also decided not to be part of the events marking Nigeria’s centenary. Amaechi spoke at the 70th birthday celebration of a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Prof. Nimi Dimkpa Briggs. The event was held on the campus of the university. The governor said the President disrespected Rivers elders that visited him at the Presidential Villa to invite him for the Port Harcourt celebration, by failing to turn up in spite of the President having grown up in Port Harcourt. According to Amaechi, declining the invitation for Nigeria’s centenary was meant to save the faces of the elders whom he said the president should have honoured by at-

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

tending the Port Harcourt programme. “There are some elders who have gone on a delegation to Mr. President to leave this young man (referring to himself/Amaechi), alone but they each time came back disappointed. “People are asking why I did not attend the last centenary celebration?, I said, five prominent Rivers men, left here to go and invite the president, when they approached me that they were going to invite the President, I told them, don’t bother your head, the President won’t come, they said no, not after he had seen them. “They are Justice (Adolphus) Karibi Whyte, Prof. Tekena Tamuno, Prof. T. K. Alagoa, Prof. Nimi Briggs and Chief Agbaru; they were very well received by our President and when they came back and told me how they went; I was expectant, everybody at the Federal Government told me the President was going to come, but he didn’t come. “So I told myself I was not going to attend the Nigerian centenary because Port Harcourt turned 100, the Presi-

dent refused to come even though he grew up here. “I did not attend because of you, I wanted to respect your age, I was bothered that Mr. President should have respected you and honoured that invitation.” Amaechi said. Speaking of the celebrator, Amaechi noted that he was not a politician but had vested interest in the development of the state. He pledged to name one of the new specialist hospitals being built after Briggs for his good will and contributions to the state. Briggs was also Chairman, Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission and current Chairman of the state Economic Advisory Council. “We will try to immortalise Prof. there is this 100-bed hospital being constructed at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), we are going to name it after him. This is in honour of his 70th birthday and his contributions to the growth and development of the state. “We have paid 100 per cent of the cost, it is not a matter of whether it will work or not. “We want to name it Prof. Nimi Briggs Hospital,” he said.

‘Presidency has abandoned Boko Haram panel’s report’ Continued from page 4

bitterly disappointed, like many other Nigerians. Shehu Sani took his decision not to take part in the committee work and I took mine. I know why he did not participate and he knew why I did. I don’t know whether or not he has been vindicated or not. “All I know is that my decision was informed by my consideration that it was important to try and see if we can help. But I can tell you that all the 26 members of the committee are very honourable Nigerians. “We worked very hard, put ourselves at great risk; we gave the insurgents undertaking and assurances that the government was serious because there was a lot of cynicism and doubt because they did not trust us at first and we eventually gained their trust. “We told them that some of the demands they were making were unreasonable and we negotiated some of those things and put them in the report and gave the President a very good report. I should know what I am talking about because as a Federal Permanent Secretary, I have seen lots of reports and it was part of my job to look at those reports. “Speaking frankly, the report of the Committee on Dialogue and Resolution of Security Challenges in the North was one of the best work I have ever done and yet, till now, there is nothing on ground and Boko Haram is literally recreating itself.” Speaking on the President’s comment that the government has succeeded in moving the insurgency to the fringes, Baba-Ahmed said: “If you move a problem, has it stopped being a problem? Those lives that are being lost are not fringe lives. The children that are being killed

daily are human beings and not fringe problems. “If the President is claiming that as victory, then it is unfortunate and sad. Those people are still Nigerians. Even if it is Nigerians going to other people’s country and killing them, it is still a disaster, not to talk of the fact that people are being killed like cattle. These are Nigerians and so, how can it be less of a problem just because they have moved from Borno towns to the villages. “However, I didn’t see the aspect where he talked about the fringes. What I saw was when he said that dialogue was still continuing and I was shocked. The Minister for Special Duties was the Chairman of the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution. “We did all the work with him and submitted that report and the minister knew we recommended that President should set up a small committee on continuous dialogue. If the President is saying that the same minister is continuing the dialogue, who is he dialoguing with? Again, we should ask, why is Boko Haram becoming more and more vicious? “I was shocked because I never knew that the Minister was still involved in dialogue and I am curious to know who he is talking to because it is clear that it is not working. It is possible that it is a one man continuous dialogue committee.

•Dr. Jonathan

“But whatever it is, the fact remains that the Boko Haram threat is alive and making more inroad whether on the fringes or not. But this problem must be brought to an end because we can’t continue like this”. He lamented the seeming decline in the Nigeria military to the extent that they have not been able to curb the Boko Haram insurgency in the north eastern part of the country. He said: “If there is a strong political will, you will see it impacting on critical sectors like the security institutions. I can’t at this time see, how Boko Haram can defeat our military. There maybe operational reasons and there may be other reasons. “As we speak, Boko Haram has not defeated the Nigerian military, they have clearly defiled the Nigerian military and that is a very sad commentary on one of the most professional military in Africa and there is no excuse you can find for that.”

‘We’re achieving results’ Continued from page 4

has in its report, dismissed as untrue the reports claiming that civilians were mistakenly killed in the air operations in some parts of the mission area, as the claim could not be confirmed after the mopping up aspect of the operation. “The reports are believed to be part of the design by those bent on discrediting the counter terrorists’ mission. “Defence Headquarters has reaffirmed its directive that necessary care should continue to always be taken to ensure safety of innocent Nigerians in the operational areas notwithstanding the fierceness of the encounters.”



NEWS Fuel scarcity in Kano


From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

ONG queues have appeared in most filling stations in Kano. Our reporter observed that some filling stations have hiked the price to N120 per litre. Black marketers are catching in on the situation, as a gallon of petrol, which sells for N500, now sells for N700. A motorist, who pleaded for anonymity said:”We have been experiencing minor difficulties in buying fuel from some filling stations but at the moment, such difficulties have subsided, as most filling stations now have the commodity to sell.” The State Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Bashir Ahmed Danmallam, pleaded with the Federal Government and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to grant Kano State concession in terms of supply. Danmallam said the state supplies the commodity to four other states - Katsina, Bauchi, Yobe and Jigawa.

Ahmed: we’ll kick polio out of Kwara


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

WARA State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has said kicking polio out of the state must be accomplished. Ahmed spoke at the weekend in Ilorin at the launch of the immunisation plus days, adding that there had been reported cases of the virus in the state since 2010. He said: “Polio is a dangerous disease that kills or cripples children, but as we are told it is quite preventable. This is why I wish to implore all mothers and caregivers to make their underfive children available for vaccination. “Extra Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) doses are safe and cannot constitute overdose or cause harm to the child as you have been informed. “I wish to once again call on stakeholders, service providers, community leaders, media and mothers and care-givers to ensure complete vaccination of children.

Nurses trained on new syringe


From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

URSES from the Southwest tertiary hospitals have been trained in the use of the auto-disable syringe. The one-day training workshop was conducted by FirstMed Nigeria Limited at the Prof Oluwole Adebo Development Centre, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State. Declaring the training open, the UCH CMD, Prof Temitope Alonge explained that in 2012, tertiary hospitals got a directive from the Ministry of Health that tertiary health institutions must discard the conventional syringe for the auto-disable syringes for use. “This training will reduce the breakages of the syringes. It will be an on-going process, but right now we are training some nurses and we expect that they will go back and train other groups of health workers in their institutions.”


ICPC turns down N10m donation from Umar

HE Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) at the weekend turned down a N10 million donation from the Taraba State Acting Governor Garba Umar The donation was announced by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Josiah Sabo Kente, at the 2013 Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance Integrity Heroes’ Award in Abuja, on behalf of the acting governor after receiving an award from the foundation. As soon as the Speaker left the stage, Kayode Oladele, chief of staff to the ICPC chairman, said: “ We appreciate the effort of the acting governor but we respectfully decline the donation.

•Groups fault action From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja and Fanen Ihyongo,Jalingo

“The only support we accept is for the governors to continue to be transparent.” After the “seeming embarrassment”, Kente returned to the podium and instructed the anchor to announce that the N10 million earlier announced for ICPC is instead made to the Foundation for Transparency and Accountability The Taraba Transparency Watch (TTW) and Taraba Democractic Coalition (TDC) yesterday chided Umar for “attempting to bribe” the ICPC with N10 million The two groups spoke in

separate statements yesterday in response to the ‘donations.’ Coordinator of the TTW Mustapha Aliyu said: “It wasn’t only an embarrassing turn down. It was a stinging rebuke of the shameful and a collective loss of face of the entire citizens of Taraba State. “One wonders how a poor state as Taraba would be making such a donation. What is the objective of the action? Is Umar trying to forestall the probe of corrupt practices reigning supreme in Taraba? Does Umar believe he can pay off the ICPC to have his way?” General Secretary of the TDC Adamu Hassan asked the EFCC and ICPC to “closely securitise the state’s treasury –

•Garba Umar

the injections and leakages.” It was gathered that the EFCC had been investigating the state Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and how the excess crude fund, stabilisation fund and the SURE-P fund that accrued to the state were utilised. TTW said last week’s event was a curtain raiser for a range of other issues. It faulted the NGO for giving Umar an award

‘Marry more than four wives and go to jail’


NY Muslim in Niger State who marries more than four wives stands the risk of a three-year imprisonment with a fine. He shall also be made to choose only four of the women and the marriage to other women dissolved. These were the highlights of the executive bill seeking for the establishment of Sharia Penal Code passed yesterday by the House of Assembly. The government sponsored the bill, following its

From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

inability to prosecute the octogenarian mega polygamist Islamic cleric, Bello Muhammadu Masaba, who married 98 wives for lack of existing laws. Section 407 of the law, which took effect from February 26, provides three years imprisonment with fine for anyone convicted of marrying more than four wives. Besides the jail term, the law says that convicts shall choose only four of the women as allowed by the law while marriage to the other women will be dissolved. The law also prescribes 21 years for any person convicted of rape.

The passage of the bill followed the adoption of the report of the Committee on Judicial Matters. Chairman of the committee Isah Kawu said stakeholders were invited for input while a public hearing was also conducted. The Speaker, Adamu Usman, praised his colleagues, especially the committee, for a thorough work. Usman said the bill was in conformity with Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, adding that the bill was also in line with the Quran. He said what the legislature did in the passage of the bill was to “codify the punishment for rape cases”, adding that the law also specified pen-

Thugs disrupt APC rally in Benue


From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

USPECTED Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thugs yesterday disrupted a rally organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ushongo Local Government Area of Benue State. The rally was meant to welcome Thompson Ikyur, a PDP chieftain, who contested the House of Assembly election in 2011, but lost to Terkimbir Ikyange of the APC. An eyewitness, Richard Agwa, told The Nation that suspected PDP thugs, armed with clubs, sticks and knives stormed the venue and destroyed chairs and canopies. They scattered the place and chased APC supporters away.” The APC Publicly Secretary, Philip Anza, said they obtained police permit for the rally. Anza condemned the attack and called on the police to arrest the perpetrators.


Celebration of lives

HE families of Emaye of Lumeko and Ashogbon of Opetusin in Ode-Irele, Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State will celebrate the lives of the late Pa. Elkanah Eyiyemi Emaye, who died at 83 and the late Mama Morolake Peninnah Emaye, (nee Ashogbon) who passed on at 78. A spokesman for the families, Mr F.O. Eyiyemi of Kasumu Estate (Zone C), Odo-Ona Elewe, Orita Challenge, Ibadan, said the event would hold on March 7 and 8 at St. Peters Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) Primary School field, Ebute Irele road, Ode-Irele. He said outing service would take place at Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Oke Iye, Irele zonal headquarters, on March 8 at 10 a.m.


alties for those who drugged their victims before raping them. Usman urged parents to always monitor their children, stressing that people should report rape cases to law enforcement agents. Asked if the controversial marriage by the octogenarian would now be tried under the new law, the Speaker said: “Our criminal laws do not have retroactive effect. It will be unconstitutional to prosecute anybody before now, as the law now takes effect from February 26.”

Three illegal aliens deported From Ahmed Rufa’I, Dutse


IGAWA State Command of Nigeria Immigration Services yesterday repatriated three Nigeriens for their alleged involvement in crimes. Parading the accused shortly before their repatriation, the NIS Comptroller, Isah Idris Jere, said the aliens entered the country illegally. Jere said: “They were all brought by the police when it was discovered that they were foreigners, they handed them them over to us and we are to deport them. “The suspects are Adamu Umaru, who was arrested at Girbobo village in Kaugama Local Government. He was accused of printing fake currency notes. “Ibrahim Bashir was arrested at Kazaure. He was convicted of stealing and is serving a month’s prison term. After this, he will be sent to his country. “The last suspect is Muhammed Oga Danmakaho, who was arrested at Babura, for aiding and hiding criminals in his house. He claimed to have lived in the town for about 25 years. But we discovered he entered the country illegally.”

Lecture-free day in unity schools

HE Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has declared today a day of mourning in honour of 30 pupils of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, who were murdered by Boko Haram insurgents last Tuesday. In a statement in Lagos, the ASCSN SecretaryGeneral, Alade Bashir Lawal,

By Toba Agboola

said the leadership of the union has decided that March 3 should be observed by its members as lecture-free day in the 104 Federal Unity Colleges (FUCs) throughout the country to enable the management and staff of the schools mourn the pupils. “We believe that this gesture is the least honour that

can be accorded the defenceless pupils. “It will also send a strong signal to the Boko Haram militants that the entire society is united against its dastardly act,” the statement added. The Union emphasised that the one day of mourning is also a show of solidarity with the management, staff and parents of the victims.






FOREIGN NEWS Ukraine orders full military mobilisation over Russia moves


KRAINE has ordered a full military mobilisation in response to Russia’s build-up of its forces in Crimea. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Ukraine was “on the brink of disaster”. In Crimea, Ukrainian soldiers faced off with Russian soldiers surrounding their bases while the Russian army is said to be digging trenches on the border with mainland Ukraine. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Russian troops moving into the Ukraine region of Crimea was a “brazen act of aggression” US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Russia could be ejected from the Group of Eight developed nations. Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said, was “not going to have a Sochi G8, he may not even remain in the G8 if this continues,” referring to a planned summit in Russia in June. “He may find himself with asset freezes, on Russian business. American business may pull back, there may be a further tumble of the rouble. “You just don’t in the 21st Century behave in 19th Century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext,” Mr Kerry told the CBS program Face the Nation. The UK has joined the US, France and Canada in suspending preparations for the Sochi summit. Nato is conducting emergency talks, saying Russia’s actions threaten “peace and security in Europe”. US President Barack Obama called Russian troop deployments a “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty”. Russian soldiers continue to occupy key sites on the Crimean peninsula, including airports and communications hubs, although there has been no actual violence and they have been openly welcomed by some sections of the population. In the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk, apparent members of the disbanded elite police riot unit Berkut appeared in full uniform at a pro-Russian rally. In Moscow, police detained dozens of people at anti-war rallies outside the Russian defence ministry and other places in the city centre, while elsewhere in the city a pro-Putin march was held. Meanwhile, Ukraine withdrew coast guard vessels from two ports in Crimea and moved them to other bases in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. A Ukrainian army base was surrounded by Russian troops at Perevalnoye, south of the Crimean regional capital Simferopol. An Orthodox priest has arrived in an attempt to mediate. In Sevastopol, Ukrainian naval officers found their headquarters occupied by Russian troops and were unable to go to work. Admiral Yuriy Ilyn, who was until recently commander of the Ukrainian navy and served briefly as head of Ukraine’s armed forces under ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, told the BBC’s Christian Fraser at the scene that the armed forces were “hostages of the situation”.



WHO SAID WHAT ``I am not, however, desperate. If I do not go back for the fourth term, I can still go back to my lucrative law practice. I am a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). But in this case, who suffers - Cross River State. This is because it will take time for another lawmaker from this state to rise to the position of Senate Leader. VOL 9 NO 2,776 .’ VICTOR NDOMA-EGBA



CONTEMPLATED a Nobel prize-winning novel titled One Hundred Years of solitude while I watched the centenary awards to a motley crowd of honourees. The novel told the story of a family that destroyed itself systematically over a century. Garcia Marquez’s opus, acclaimed as one of the bestwritten novels of all time in any language, unfolded in a mock-heroic tone of tragi-comedy. It seemed he knew of Nigerian awards because, in spite of the destructions, the family heroes thought they were noble people. That chimes in with the award night and its list. Here is what the guests did that night unseen to many viewers. It is dramatised in the following report. The queen of England attends the centenary awards night and gives an acknowledgement speech, and what sort of words does she unfurl? “Thank you Nigeria and President Goodluck Jonathan for this award. I thank you for acknowledging the role we played in enslaving your people, unleashing soldiers to suppress your resistance, for teaching you how to make laws, for exploiting your resources for the wealth of England, for suppressing your nationalists, like the upstart Macaulay, flamboyant Azikiwe and the subversive Awolowo.” And the audience, seeing the splendor of the queen in her aged and sluggish dignity, gets up and applauds. What would Abacha have said, if he were alive, with his trademark goggle and relentless scowl? “Thank you my countrymen, I did not want to give you democracy, but I was trying to stay in power for life. I survived the poison of the mistresses, and on my watch the great MKO, Abiola died of poison. After all, even though I stole a lot of money and this government is chasing my loot everywhere, I am happy you acknowledge that I increased our revenue, even if it came freely from oil. I did not have to work. The oil was there and the market ready. I take the credit. That was part of my legacy of vision 2010, which actually was not methodical. It was just a way to deceive all that I had a plan to hand over power. Thank you for the honour.” The hall comes down with applause. IBB would also mount the podium, with President Jonathan draping him with a medal. He says, “I knew you would recognise at last that it was an act of great patriotism that I denied my friend M.K.O. Abiola the mandate. Democracy was going to come today in spite of the annulment. If I did not annul, we would not have had Sani or Ernest and I wonder how different the award list would look today. I have not apologised for the annulment, and the honour today not only vindicates me, it has been proved right in all of history.” Kaboom! Ken Saro Wiwa, pipe in mouth, swaggers in. Once he sees Abacha’s ghost, he takes out his pipe from his mouth and bellows, “what am I doing here?” He disappears as if in chase of Abacha. MKO Abiola’s family rejected the award,


Of course, since INDEPENDENCE


IN TOUCH 08054501081(sms only) Twitter: @samomatseye

Centenary guests

After all, even though I stole a lot of money and this government is chasing my loot everywhere, I am happy you acknowledge that I increased our revenue, even if it came freely from oil. I did not have to work. The oil was there and the market ready. I take the credit. Soyinka


but imagine the man came from the grave and accepted. Hear him: “I am here to reject the award. Please don’t put that thing on my neck. Why are you awarding me that gift, for dying and not becoming president? When you won your pan-Nigerian mandate, would you have loved it if they did not allow you mount the throne? By the way, I won the first and real pan-Nigerian mandate.” As the audience wonders how to react, the man, like Hamlet’s father’s ghost, disappears, saying in a voice of stuttering, tremulous plea, “Remember me.” Lord Lugard, if he had an opportunity to materialise on stage before President Jonathan, would also have his say. “Thank you for acknowledging my time in government. I was the first, and I was known as governor general. Thanks for praising me for all the good things I did. I suppressed your bloody natives for trying to resist my will that the HMG had assigned me. For your information, HMG means his majesty’s government. I presided over the amalgamation of north and south. I know you said God was

behind the amalgamation. I know you are a religious man and do a lot of internal and external pilgrimages. But the amalgamation had nothing to do with love of your people. It was pure convenience. It was very costly to administer the north but the people were calm. It was profitable to administer the south, but your people were troublesome. So it paid us both economically and philosophically to bring you under one umbrella. I thank you for this acknowledgement. If I had any moral doubts in the grave, now I am at peace.” Before the medal reaches him, he saunters backwards and vanishes. If Buhari were asked, he would simply say, “I know I deserve it, but why are you giving it to IBB who removed me. Were you justifying his coup?” a murmur in the crowd responds: “He was a tyrant and he worked with Tunde Idiagbon to make life hell for Nigerians.” It was IBB amidst several disembodied heckles. Imoudu, the labour stallion, who fought for the underclass all his life, notes as he walks the stage. “Look,” he says as if ad-



URRAY, the Federal Government seems set to backtrack on her most calamitous rice policy. Before we begin to celebrate this likely reversal, recall that Hardball had been on this matter since last year, writing about three articles pointing out the sheer folly of it. Some backgrounding first: government wonks led by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina had woken up one morning early last year to jerk up the tariff and levy on rice importation to a total of 110 per cent. Why would a minister take such a knee-jerk action? Adesina had hoodwinked his bosses that Nigeria could be self-sufficient in rice production in a few years if tariff and levy are pushed up suddenly. Self-sufficiency is a great ideal but there was no sincere plan or strategy to actualise it. He made-believe that there was a revolution that had set rice fields thriving all over the country and that milling plants segued around the farm centres rolling out tonnes of home-made rice. But in reality, very little was going on. Farmers and major rice stakeholders were neither consulted nor supported. The burgeoning rice fund became the exclusive property of government; it was

Rice crisis: The summersault never accounted for, never made public and never deployed to develop local production as it was meant to. All that was active was the voracious increase in the levy and tariff of rice importation. The last one at a cumulative 110 per cent was the limit. Tariff in the neighbouring Togo and Benin Republic remained at 30 per cent or less thus it became impossible for genuine importers to do so through the Nigerian ports. It became highly lucrative to smuggle the commodity through our borders and that is what has been happening for the past one year. Government lost huge revenues as no rice-bearing ship came to Nigeria anymore; smugglers overwhelmed the Customs and of course compromised them thoroughly; prices of rice shot up in the Nigerian market. Some of the stakeholders and importers who had made investment in local production were in jeopardy as their

dressing the President, but he is looking at the television camera. “I want to say the fate of the workers are as bad as any era in my days. All the heads of state did nothing for the workers. Why are you blessing me? Are you mocking me? Are you giving me a medal of failure since the workers’ fate has remained poor?” He also spirits away. The audience is now worried over some of the responses of the crowd. D.O. Fagunwa, also on the honours list, explains the spectacle of appearances and disappearances. He blares out: “Don’t worry, my people. You know in my stories I created the canvas of spirits. So I am the one who has enabled all of the men to come and go. Don’t be troubled. I am Fagunwa. I created the passageway. Where is Wole? I am told he is not attending. He should have told you about Abiku. He knows a lot about those who come and go and come again. Also Okigbo knows about the cycle. He receives his award but he spirits away and the award drops from midair. Flora Shaw emerges. “Why am I honoured,” she asks, “for giving you an anthem you rejected?” but before she acknowledges the name Nigeria, the abami eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, emerges. “Wetin una dey do for here,” he says in his mock-hectoring voice. “You are giving award. You are giving award to all the enemies of Nigeria. You gave to the queen? All hail the queen whose government made my people slaves for over a hundred years, colonised us. Na so una dey do am? Then una put Gani and IBB for the same podium. You want them to embrace or what. And the man wey kill my mama, influential mama, original mama, etc, una want make I take award with am, for this Nigeria where everything don tear to pieces like second tier…” a mixture of embarrassed acclamation and boos, just like a night in the shrine. Historians Dike and Ade Ajayi receive awards with reservations: “remember that the local peoples of Nigeria were in the throes of nation-building and we did not need the queen and Lugard to give us a country if we wanted it. The Yoruba were fighting a war of nationhood, and the same had happened in the Niger Delta and sameness already existed in the east. The Sokoto Caliphate and Borno Empire had formed with special dynamics. All of them could have come together in a conference from outside and without rancour rather than what we have today with national conference with internal rancour. The British did us no favours.” They depart in peace. Achebe makes a cameo appearance: “I agree,” he says, “there was a country before things fell apart.” Soyinka walks in and says, “According generalised but false attributes to known killers and treasury looters is a disservice to history and a desecration of memory. It also compromises the future.” The curtain closes.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above backward integration efforts suffered. This is the point Hardball had raised on this page several times. At a recent parley with members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that it had become necessary to review the tariff and levy regime on rice because it had created significant challenges even though it had also led to marked increase in rice out put in the country and created significant number of jobs mostly in the northern part of the country. In her words, “it caused a significant reduction in Customs revenues and has been largely hijacked by smugglers and neighbouring countries.” While the minister is at it, it would be interesting to know how much has been realised from the levy and the attendant accruals into the rice development fund since inception in the 90s, who has been managing the fund and how has it been deployed? As for the marked increase in local rice production and generating significant number of jobs, Hardball can tell that they remain fallacies. As the Americans would say, there is nothing doing; we are still in the rice mire.

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Mar 3, 2014  

March 3, 2014 publication of The Nation Newspaper