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NEWS

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VOL. 8, NO. 2426 TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH

N150.00

Auditor’s report indicts NNPC, DPR, PPPRA

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•NNPC MD Yakubu

HE House of Representatives Committee on Public Account (PAC) is shocked at the level of manipulation Nigeria’s finances are being subjected to by those in authority. Subsequently, the Committee has asked the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, to present the chief executives of

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Products Price regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) before it answer the queries raised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation on the financial records.

The 2007 Auditor General’s report revealed how money was being moved without authorisation and in flagrant disregard of the Constitution. The report reads: “In the year under review, sums totalling $174,000 and $911,224.15 were credited to the FGN Excess Proceeds of Crude Oil Sales Account as interest on Fixed Term Deposit and inter-

est on Ordinary Deposit. “The authority for placing the funds, which yielded the above interest in the deposit account, was not made available for audit verification. The banks where the deposits were made, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and the rate of interest were also not made available for audit verification. “Sums totalling $213, 354,

142.31 and $20,515,048.62 were credited to the FGN Excess Proceeds of PPT/ Royalty Account as interest on Fixed Term Deposit and interest on Ordinary Deposit. “The authority for placing the funds, which yielded the interest in deposit account, was not made available for Continued on page 2

Nigeria begins search for bodies of seven hostages Video shows four bodies

NCAA chief Demuren removed

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja and Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

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HE Federal Government has not made an official statement on the “purported execution of the hostages” because it has not ascertained the truth or otherwise of it, sources said yesterday. The only information available to the government is about the illness of three of the seven hostages, it was learnt. Security agencies and the embassies had been working round the clock to establish where the killing took place and how to retrieve the bodies. A security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are working on various clues on the hostages. This is why the Federal Government has not spoken on the purported execution of the hostages. “What we are doing now is that we are trying to locate where the hostages were killed and how to retrieve their bodies. “More security operatives and intelligence officers have been drafted to Bauchi

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N era ended last night in aviation, with the removal of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) DirectorGeneral Dr. Harold Demuren. According to a statement by Sam Nwaobasi, Special Assistant (Media) to Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Demuren was removed based on his inability to respond satisfactorily to the concerns raised in the aviation sector. The statement reads: “His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has approved the removal of Dr. Harold Olusegun Demuren from office as the Director-

Continued on page 2

Fiancee mourns slain hostage

Continued on page 2

•‘You’re always in my heart’

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RIBUTES have been pouring in for British contractor worker Brendan Vaughan, who is believed to have been slain by Ansaru, with six others. Vaughan, 55, who hailed originally from Leeds, lived in Thailand. One of Mr Vaughan’s friends - Peter Dixon - left a message on the site saying ‘RIP mate’. Mr Vaughan’s Thai girlfriend, Orasa ArContinued on page 60

•SHO SHOT DEAD: British engineer Brendan Vaughan with girlfriend Orasa Arpornkaew SHO T DEAD

•Dr. Demuren

•PEOPERTY P13 •SPORTS P23 •POLITICS P43 •ENERGY P47 •CITYBEATS P58


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

NEWS Nigeria begins search for bodies of seven hostages Continued from page 1

•Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu speaking during his visit to the Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero...yesterday

Seven governors at PDP Governors Forum meeting

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NLY seven of the 23 states where the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) holds sway attended the PDP Governors’ Forum meeting in Abuja yesterday. Governors at the meeting held at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s lodge, were Chairman Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Liyel Imoke (Cross River); Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara); Mukhtar Yero (Kaduna); and Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar. Governors were: Benue, Adamawa, Plateau, Katsina, Abia, Bauchi, Ebonyi and Kogi were represented by their deputies. Governors that did not attend and failed to send their deputies were Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) who is abroad; Sule Lamido (Adamawa); Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Aliyu Dakingari (Kebbi); and Sullivan Chime(Enugu). Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur yesterday defended the formation of the PDP Governors Forum. Tukur told reporters at the

•No feud among them, says Tukur From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja and Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) in Kano that there was nothing wrong for his office to create a new forum for PDP governors. He described the step as part of his reforms agenda. “They are two different institutions; and this is what people fail to understand. There is no division among the PDP governors. My governors are my foot soldiers. The emergence of the PDP Governors Forum is part of the needed reforms and that is what I have come to do in the PDP—to reconcile the party. “I believe in reconciliation without confrontation; I believe in reconciliation without revenge. My ambition is the rebuilding of the PDP, based on equity and justice,” Tukur stated. On his endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 ambition, Tukur said it was too early to start thinking of who gets what in 2015. “The issue of 2015 is not the agenda now because we have not concluded the agenda for 2013, left alone that of 2014 and then 2015,” he said.

Tukur, who was visiting Emir Ado Abdullahi Bayero over the 19 January attack on his convoy, also had a brief meeting with the Kano PDP leadership at the airport before boarding his flight back to Abuja.

At Bayero’s Palace, Tukur thanked God for sparing the Emir’s life and prayed that God will continue to guide and protect the royal father. The Emir urged Nigerians to pray for the return of peace and stability in the country.

State and other suspected areas in the Northeast to verify. “Going by precedent, we believe we should be able to retrieve their bodies or locate their graves within 48 hours. We have not been able to do that.” The source went on: “Intelligence report, as at last Friday, revealed that only three of the seven hostages were ill. These three hostages were one who had surgery; an Italian was hypertensive and a heart-related problem and a Briton who was diabetic. “The government knew that these three hostages were sick and efforts were made to send drugs to them through some links. “So, if there were casualties, it could be these three hostages who had no access to their drugs.” Responding to a question, the source added: “There was no joint rescue operation that failed at all.” As at press time, SETRACO Nigeria Limited was yet to issue an official statement on the fate of its seven workers. Islamic fundamentalist sect Ansaru, which at the weekend admitted killing seven

foreign hostages, yesterday posted the video of the bodies online. The video matched still image released earlier by the extremist group, the Associated Press reported. The face of one of the bodies in the video also resembled that of a hostages already named by authorities. European diplomats said Sunday that the hostages had been killed. Interior Minister Abba Moro told the BBC’s Hausa language radio service that Britain, Italy and Greece said that it was “likely” that their citizens had. “We hope they’re alive,” Moro said. In the video, a gunman stands in sand, holding a rifle near what appears to be bodies. A later shot in the video shows three male bodies, one of whom appears to have been killed by a gunshot wound to the head from a high-powered weapon. The video has no sound. An accompanying caption for the video in Arabic calls it: “The killing of seven Christian hostages in Nigeria.” Another description includes the statement Ansaru released Saturday, claiming Continued on page 60

Jonathan removes NCAA chief Demuren Continued from page 1

General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) with effect from March 12, 2013. “This is consequent upon a careful consideration of Dr. Demuren’s unsatisfactory response to the numerous concerns of stakeholders in the aviation sector. “Mr. President wishes him well in his future endeavours.” Speaking on the removal of Demuren, Comrade Abdulrasak Siedu, Secretary General of the Nigerian Aviation Professionals Association, described it as a big blow for aviation, saying his ouster would leave a big shoe for whoever will take over as director general. He said : “ This is a big blow, this will certainly have ripple effects in the aviation sector. It will be a big lesson for whoever is poised to serve this sector, to be pushed out of office, just like that.

“Though, nobody is indispensable, Demuren tried his best for the aviation sector.” President, Aviation Roundtable, Capt. Dele Ore said it is most unfortunate that such a professional would be removed from office, likening it to the brutish nature of life where no position is permanent. Capt Ore said : “ If that is true, it is very unfortunate; that goes to show that nothing is permanent, life has to continue.” Demuren was appointed DG in 2005 after the Sosoliso crash. He is believed to have done a lot for the industry. Demuren initiated a process for the certification of Nigerian civil aviation, through what he described as the eight checklist guide, which led to attainment of Category One status in 2009, He coordinated the numerous visits of experts from the United States Federal Aviation

Administration and other bodies that collaborated with Nigeria to reform aviation industry in Nigeria. With the attainment of Category One, facilitated by the NCAA, Nigeria registered, now flies directly to the United States. During his tenure, series of reforms were carried out in the aviation sector, which included the certification of domestic airlines , the revision of the Nigeria Civil Aviation regulations, as well as the hosting of many international safety conferences , which drew the roadmap for improvement of safety in Africa.

The consumer protection unit was overhauled to address gaps in service delivery by airlines. He also facilitated the quick payment of compensation claims to families of victims of the DANA Air crash. He introduced a flight tracking unit set at the NCAA, a platform, from where all aircraft in flight are monitored, in addition to the mandatory directive that all airlines must install the Automatic Flight Information Recording System in their aircraft to achieve ground to air monitoring in the event of crash and coordination of search and rescue.

CLARIFICATION In the story: Northerners own 80% of oil blocks; published last Thursday, the name of one of the oil blocks holders was given as Saleh Gambo whereas it is Saleh Jambo. The mix-up is regretted.

Auditor’s report indicts NNPC, DPR, PPPRA Continued from page 1

audit verification. The banks where the deposits were made, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and the rate of interest were also not made available for audit verification. The Accountant General has been asked to produce these documents for audit verification. “The sum of $17,351,526.14 was transferred in April, 2007 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account to the “FGN Excess Proceeds of Crude Oil Sales Account”. The mandate authorising the transfer was neither made available for audit verification nor was the purpose of the transfer stated. “The Accountant-General has been called upon to produce the mandate authorising the transfer and also indicate the purpose of transferring such money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to Excess Crude Oil Account. “Amounts totaling $2,800,000,000.00 were transferred from the ‘FGN Excess Proceeds of Crude on Sales

Account’ in November, 2007 to Fixed Term Deposit Account of an international bank. “The bank where the deposit was made, the tenor, the interest rate, the certificate of deposit, the authority for the deposit and the relevant bank statements were not produced for audit verification. “CBN Statement of Account for the ‘FGN Excess Proceeds of Crude Oil Sales Account’ revealed that $455,638,596.22 for June 2007 Excess Crude was credited to the account in July, 2007. “In August, 2007, this same amount was reversed and the account credited with a lower amount of $445,638,596.22, giving rise to a shortfall of $10,000,000.00. “Records showing details of full crude oil sales proceeds for the month of June, 2007, the benchmark figure and hence the Excess Crude amount were not made available so that the new amount credited could be verified. “In view of the fact that the statements in question are

bank statements ‘and the entries reflected physical cash movement, the AccountantGeneral of the Federation has been asked to state the status of the shortfall of the $10,000,000.00 not credited three weeks after the original lodgment was made.” The chairman of the Committee, Solomon Adeola, regretted that the report stated that all the anomalies were communicated to the Accountant-General of the Federation for prompt action and requested to produce the details from the CBN and forward same for audit verification. No action was taken. The document also revealed: “At the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, it was observed from the component statements of 2007 that Joint Venture Cash Calls (JVC) of N549,973b Excess Crude of N1,168 trillion and Petroleum Product Subsidy of the sum of N236,641b were deducted from proceeds of crude oil sales, while the sums of N25.951b and N62,542b were

excess proceeds deducted in respect of Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Royalties. “These deductions were made before the net revenues were paid to the Federation Account, contrary to the provisions of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which requires all such revenues to be paid directly into the Federation Account. “The sums of N 13,081b and N 16,895b being 4 per cent and 7 per cent of total Non-Oil and Gas Revenues, were deducted as cost of collection from the Federation Account and paid to Federal Inland Revenue Service and Nigeria Customs Service. “There was no evidence to show that these rates were passed into law by the National Assembly. The AccountantGeneral of the Federation has been requested to produce the evidence showing that the rates for the deduction were approved by the Acts of the National Assembly, otherwise, advise the relevant collecting Agencies should seek formal

legislative approval for the rates.” “Audit examination of the mandate letters from NNPC to CBN in January and February 2007 revealed that the benchmark amount of the Domestic Crude Oil Sales proceeds was not fully paid by N38,816 billion to the Federation Account. This balance should be paid to the Federation Account, forwarding relevant particulars for audit verification. “Of the total withdrawals made from the Account of the Excess Crude Oil in the year 2007, $1 ,604 billion could not be traced into the records of FAAC on Excess Crude Oil for the year. “Similarly, payments totaling $1,569b made from Excess Crude Oil/PPT/Royalty Revenues as per FAAC records were not reflected in the CBN Statement of Account for the year 2007”. NNPC boss Andrew Yakubu is also expected to shed light on the allegation that through NNPC mandates to the CBN, N549b was paid for

•Abubakar

Joint Venture Cash Calls but only N441b was actually recorded in the books of NAPIMS as overheads, leaving a difference of N108b unContinued on page 60

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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NEWS RACE FOR NEW POPE

Pope... The C

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•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola presenting a gift to the General Officer Commanding (GOC)81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Obi Umahi when the GOC visited him at the Governor’s Office, Alausa...yesterday. With them are Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Oluranti Adebule (left) and the Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Wale Ahmed (right).

• Principal Partner, Kunle Ogunba &Associates, Mr. Kunle Ogunba, SAN (left), Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu and CEO, UBA Capital, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa at Olaoluwa’s 50th birthday dinner in Lagos... at the weekend. • Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downwstream), Dakuku Peterside (middle) displaying the Crans Montana Forum’s medal presented to him at the forum’s conference in Brussels, Belgium...at the weekend. With him are Prince Jean de Luxembourg (left) and Prof. Daniel Warner.

•Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim and Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, at the NDIC’s annual seminar for judges in Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

HE Sistine Chapel is ready. The new pope’s clothes are laid out. Now it’s up to the cardinals. The work to elect a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI begins in earnest today, with a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. The service— open to the public — will be the last public event featuring the 115 cardinals who will choose the new spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Cardinals taking part in the process will then walk to the Sistine Chapel, chanting prayers as they go, to begin the secret election called the conclave. After that, the only clue the world will have of what is happening inside will be periodic puffs of smoke from a copper chimney installed over the weekend in the Sistine Chapel. Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success. Rome was abuzz yesterday with preparations for the conclave, from the 5,600 journalists the Vatican said had been accredited to cover the event to the red curtains unfurled from the central balcony at St. Peter’s, the spot where the world will meet the new pope once he is elected. Tailors have also completed sets of clothes for the new pope to wear as soon as he is elected. Video released by the Vatican over the weekend showed the installation of a pair of stoves inside the chapel. One is used to burn the cardinals’ ballots after they are cast and the other to send up the smoke signal — the one that alerts the world that a vote has been taken and whether there’s a new pope. Workers could be seen scaling the roof of the chapel Saturday to install the chimneys that will carry the smoke signals to the world. When we’ll see the first smoke is anyone’s guess. The cardinals will probably vote Tuesday, but they don’t have to, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Monday. If they do, it’s likely the first smoke might be seen around 8 p.m. (3 p.m. ET), he said. When cardinals elected Benedict in 2005, the white smoke signaling the decision came about six hours after an earlier, inconclusive vote, he said. It took another 50 minutes for Benedict to dress, pray and finally appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s, he said. The longest conclave held since the turn of the 20th century lasted five days. Yesterday, cardinals held the last of several days of meetings to discuss church affairs and get acquainted. Lombardi said 152 cardinals were on hand for the final meeting. Church rules prevent cardinals over the age of 80 from participating in the election of a pope but allow them to attend the “General Congregations” that precede the vote. On Friday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, one of about a dozen leading candidates to become pope, said the meetings have focused less on scandals facing the church and more on spiritual matters. “We cardinals sure are praying a lot,” Dolan wrote. Contrary to media reports, he wrote in a blog post, the focus of the cardinals’ meetings is much the same as it was two millenniums ago, namely: “How most effectively to present the Person, message, and invitation of Jesus to a world that, while searching for salvation and

•A man taking a horse and cart past the front of St Peter's Square on March 11, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role

• Tanzanian Cardinal Polycarp Pengo...yesterday.

eternal truth, are also at times doubting, skeptical, too busy, or frustrated.” He said, “Those are the ‘big issues.’ You may find that hard to believe, since the ‘word on the street’ is that all we talk about is corruption in the Vatican, sexual abuse, money. Do these topics come up? Yes! Do they dominate? No!” The scandals came up again yesterday when the Vatican Press Office denied conclave accreditation to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who wrote a book about scandals within the Vatican. The book was based partly on documents leaked from Benedict’s personal apartments. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told CNN the accreditation had been denied because Nuzzi applied as a documentary filmmaker, not as a journalist. Meanwhile, the Italian press is full of speculation about which cardinal may win enough support from his counterparts to be elected, and what regional alliances are being formed. The United States has 11 of the 115 votes, making it the second largest national bloc after Italy. Sixty of the cardinals are from Europe and 67 were appointed by Benedict, who stepped down at the end of last month, becoming the first pontiff to do so in six centuries. As possible front-runners emerged ahead of a conclave to elect the next pope, Roman Catholic cardinals yesterday wrapped up a week of discussion


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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NEWS RACE FOR NEW POPE

countdown begins

•German Cardinal Walter Kasper... yesterday.

Africans ready for African Pope, says survey

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ORE than 80% of Africans believe their continent is ready for an African pope, but only 61% believe the world is, an exclusive survey for CNN has found. The survey of 20,000 Africans from 11 nations, carried out on mobile phones by crowdsourcing company Jana, also found that 86% thought an African pope would increase support for Catholicism in Africa. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed thought that the Vatican was ready for an African pontiff, while more than 50% believed the church would become more conservative under an African pope. Respondents aged between 13 and 19 were slightly less likely to feel that their continent was ready for an African head of the church, with 22% saying it was not ready, while only 14.6% of those polled over 40 felt the same way. CNN also asked those surveyed what an African pope would mean for the continent and for them personally. The resulting comments revealed a wide range of views on the church’s role in the continent, on faith, homosexuality and racism. “It would help strengthen the faith and belief of all African Catholics,” one Ghanaian said. “They will feel a part of the church.”

The Italian press is full of speculation about which cardinal may win enough support from his counterparts to be elected, and what regional alliances are being formed. The United States has 11 of the 115 votes, making it the second largest national bloc after Italy

on issues facing the church, with some pushing unsuccessfully to extend their talks before the start of balloting. In their last scheduled pre-conclave gathering yesterday, 28 cardinals addressed their colleagues, more than in any of the other sessions of the so-

“An African pope will bring about more unity on the continent and confidence in Africans,” one woman from Zimbabwe said, while a young Nigerian man polled said an African pope “will eradicate immoralities, such as same-sex marriage and such like.” Others, however, were more circumspect about what an African pope would mean for the continent and its Catholics. “I don’t have a problem [with it], but will he stop the ongoing war in some African countries?” one Namibian responder said. “He may be like the rest of them and just stay in the church; anyway they don’t make any difference in Africa.” A Zimbabwean man surveyed also said he feared that an African pope would not be treated equally to those who had previously held the office. “I think at first people might not accept him and it would take a long time for him to blend in, so his impact will not be that great.” Jana conducted the poll between 7-11 March 2013 with mobile phone users from 11 nations — Lesotho, Rwanda, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria.

called general congregations. Over 150 speeches have been made since the meetings started last Monday. After numerous cardinals discussed the Vatican’s scandal-ridden and much criticized internal workings over the week, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, on Monday addressed attempts to bring transparency to the Vatican bank, which has long been tainted by money-laundering allegations. By the end of the morning, more cardinals were still waiting to speak, prompting a vote of whether to hold an extra session, which was defeated. Instead, cardinals took the afternoon off to continue private talks on who should replace Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on Feb. 28. The 115 cardinal electors have already pushed back their expected move into Vatican accommodations reserved for them during the conclave from Monday night to Tuesday morning. The cardinals are scheduled to unpack their bags at the Casa Santa Marta complex at 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, then attend a pre-conclave Mass with the public in St. Peter’s Basilica before filing into the Sistine Chapel at 4:30 p.m. for the first ballot. The cardinals are due to return to their residence at 7:30 p.m., but Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi noted that at the last conclave in 2005 the black smoke announcing no result on the first day of voting was emitted about 8 p.m.

“The first vote can take more time,” he said. “Dinner may slip but we can keep it warm.” With a number of front-runners reportedly emerging among the cardinals, no choice is expected on the first ballot. The electors are said to have split roughly into two groups — those who wish to reform the Vatican’s bureaucracy and are backing Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola, and cardinals who work at the Vatican who back Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer, who has himself worked in the Curia. Other candidates such as Canada’s Marc Ouellet and charismatic Americans Timothy Dolan and Sean O’Malley are also predicted to win votes in the early ballots. With four ballots a day from Wednesday onward, one scenario envisages either Scola or Scherer building votes as ballots proceed, to reach the two-thirds majority of 77 votes required to be elected pope. But should a standoff emerge between the two camps, compromise candidates may emerge, just as Karol Wojtyla emerged in 1978 as a late candidate and went on to become Pope John Paul II after two Italian cardinals were at loggerheads. French Cardinal André VingtTrois has said there are as many as a dozen candidates who could take votes in the first ballot. Separately, the 90 staffers who will attend to the cardinals during the conclave — doctors, cooks, cleaners and drivers — were yesterday afternoon sworn to secrecy.

• Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins...yesterday. PHOTOS: AFP

The Next Pope could be a Brazilian banker

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S a conclave gathers to elect a new pope, many in the Catholic world and well beyond speculate about who will replace the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who abdicated the throne of St. Peter on February 11, the first papal resignation in almost 600 years. It is true that in the secretive world of the Vatican there is no way to know who is in the running, not to mention that history has yielded plenty of surprises, but there are a few names that have come up time and again as “papabile,” a term coined by Vaticanologists to describe the likely contenders to be elected pontiff. One of those names is that of Brazilian cardinal Odilo Scherer, Brazil‘s best hope to be the next pope. At the relatively young age of 63, Scherer is known for enthusiastically embracing all new methods for reaching believers. He has appeared on Brazil’s most popular late-night talk-show. He is a prolific tweeter. He even prefers to squeeze into the busy and crowded subway of Sao Paulo, where he was appointed archbishop in 2007 and was named a cardinal later the same year, on his way to his morning commutes. Scherer, who speaks Italian, German and Portuguese fluently and is proficient in English, French and Spanish, is also known as one of the “Vatican bankers,” a committee of cardinals who oversee the Istituto per la Opere di Religione (IOR), or the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank, as well as being a member of The Prefecture for Economic Affairs, which coordinates the finances of the Holy See. Scherer was a constant presence in Rome during the “Vatileaks” scandal, the leaking of Vatican documents allegedly exposing corruption and money laundering charges that cost the church millions in higher contract prices and cost Ettore Gotti Tedesche, the thenCEO of the IOR, his job. Considering that many of the church’s recent controversies involved the institution, electing a pope that is familiar with the matter seems like a step in the right direction. Besides, Scherer is said to be highly respected by Benedict XVI, and he is well acquainted with social problems in Sao Paulo, a cosmopolitan city of 11 million people where the archbishop oversees parishes facing high poverty rates, crime, youth unemployment and lack of basic services, which may be useful to his possible quest of leading the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, the majority of whom are in the developing world. “I would say that Scherer is the best bet,” said American John Allen Jr, a respected Vatican expert and author of several books on the Catholic Church. “He has a good reputation and is admired here (in the Vatican),” the daily O Globo quoted Allen as saying recently. Although Scherer, like most of the peers, sticks to conservative Roman Catholic doctrine, he’s taken stands just as strong on liberal issues. Scherer has praised the advances made by liberation theology, a movement that uses Jesus’ teachings to fight social injustice, in helping Brazil’s poor. His support for the movement is also a way to stem the growing influence of evangelical Protestants, especially the ‘neo-Pentecostal’ ones, on Brazil’s religious scene. The seventh of 13 children in a family that descended from German immigrants, born and raised in southern Brazil, Scherer could be the surprise of the conclave. His German ancestry connects him to Europe, where the church is losing ground. At the same time, he comes from Latin America, a region that is home to about 40% of the world’s Catholics. And he is up to date with the Vatican finances, a subject that will certainly play an important role in the choosing of the next pope, as the cardinals who are already in Rome for the conclave were briefed last Thursday on the church’s money, its bureaucracy and continued suspicions about its bank. When it comes to assets, the Catholic Church could be considered one of the world’s largest corporations (the Sistine Chapel alone is believed to be worth in excess of $800 million). By that standpoint, wouldn’t it make sense choosing someone financially-oriented as the next pope? Brazilians like to say that God is Brazilian. If not, maybe His next earthly representative will be.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

NEWS Ekweremadu makes case for ties between Nigeria, China From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor

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EPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu yesterday called for collaboration between the parliaments of Nigeria and China. He said that such has become imperative given the emerging primacy of parliamentary diplomacy in the world. In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu made the call when he received the Ambassador of the Peoples’ Republic of China to Nigeria, Mr.Deng Boqing in his residence. Ekweremadu noted that the establishment of a closer parliamentary relationship between the two nations was not only desirous given the leadership role they play in their respective continents, but also important in accelerating the pace of development of both countries. He said:“We are prepared to develop more areas of cooperation with you and one such area is parliamentary relationship between Nigeria and China; as representatives of the people, it is important that we develop some parliamentary relationship because parliamentary diplomacy is a new set of diplomacy that is working in the world today. “Nigeria and China, being big countries in Africa and Asia, respectively, it is important that we develop our parliamentary relationship so as to take full advantage of this new vista of international relations.” Ekweremadu was quoted to have noted China’s prominent role in world politics and applauded the excellent relationship the Asian nation has developed with Africa and Nigeria in particular.

Police warn vehicle owners

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HE Lagos State and Ogun State Police Command have warned owners of accidented and abandoned vehicles parked at Area ‘F’ Command Ikeja and Mowe Divisional Police Station to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction after 21 days. They are Mitsubishi Gallant marked MR643KJA, Isuzu Rodeo Jeep LH796AAA, Damaged Pathfinder Jeep, ash coulour, unregistered, Range Rover Jeep unregistered , KIA Optima and Hyundai Coupe EG743FST. Others are Mercedes Benz 200 AX264GCE, Mazda Bus XN92LSR, Mercedes 200 BE359MK, Mitsubishi Sigma unregistered, Santana Car AU958JJJ, Hyundai Bus XU104EPE, Kia Space BD398BDG, Datsun Pick-up DF037kja, Honda Odyssey Space Bus unregistered , Mercedes Benz L230 unregistered, Marcedez Truck XG367ABJ, Mack Trailor XW191EPE, Nissan Saloon car PQ717AAA, Mercedez 230 AM799AAP, Mitsubishi Space Wagon XV796FKJ, Volkswagen Transporter Bus XQ215JJJ, Four Bajaj Boxer unregistered and two Jincheng unregistered.

ACN to Jonathan: Borno,Yobe visit a failure

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HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday picked holes in President Goodluck Jonathan’s response to the amnesty request for members of the Boko Haram sect during his last week’s visit to Borno and Yobe states. The opposition party said the tactless handling of the crisis has aggravated the insurgency that has claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent Nigerians and foreign nationals. In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also said while the decision to grant amnesty to any person or group is the prerogative of the government, the argument advanced by the President for denying amnesty to Boko Haram members is as illogical as it is puerile.

By Precious Igbonwelundu

It said for a President who has unwisely stayed away from the beleaguered part of the country for too long, last week’s visit only succeeded in inflicting additional pain and insults on the victims of the insurgency, who could have used a little dose of succour and empathy from their leader. The party said: ‘’There is no doubt that there has been an upsurge in attacks and killings since the President’s visit, with the clashes between the JTF and the insurgents leaving many dead, drive-by shooting in Kano claiming the lives of innocent people and the unfortunate killing of foreign hostages who were abducted last month in Bauchi. ‘’If this upsurge can be used as a barometer to measure the success or otherwise of the President’s visit, then one can

only reach one conclusion: The visit is a total failure!’’ ACN said. The party also expressed shock at the way the President, openly displaying anger when what was needed was temperance, talked down on the people, who have suffered so much in the hands of Boko Haram, at his town hall meetings. It said the misplaced anger of the nation’s number one citizen, who virtually tonguelashed the prominent citizens who spoke on behalf of their people at the town hall meeting, can only attract sympathy for the insurgents among the beleaguered population, thereby worsening the crisis. The party went on: ‘’The President wanted to appear tough in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgents. There is no problem with that, except that

he directed his anger at the wrong people, the same people who have been victimized by Boko Haram. This is called double whammy,’’ On the President’s argument that amnesty cannot be granted to ‘’ghosts’’, CAN said he simply missed the mark. ‘’If the President claims that Boko Haram members are ghosts, who then are the members of Boko Haram that the JTF regularly claims to have arrested or killed? Does it mean the 52 Boko Haram members that the JTF claimed to have killed, in its latest statement dated March 9, are actually ghosts? ‘’What about the Boko Haram members that are being tried in court? Could the government have been trying ghosts? And what about those Boko Haram members who were declared wanted last year? Are

they also ghosts? Also, the government’s spokesmen have said publicly that the government is talking with Boko Haram through back-channels. So, the Jonathan Administration has indeed been talking to ghosts? ‘’Mr. President, there is nowhere in the world where insurgents have erected a headquarters building and put up a sign to say ‘we are insurgents, come and get us.’ By their nature, insurgents don’t engage in a march past, displaying their weapons. That is why intermediaries are used to reach out to them,’’ the party said. ACN said while it strongly condemns the Boko Haram insurgents, their senseless killing of innocent people and attacks on the security agents, it believes that the use of force is not the only option open to the government to end the crisis.

Emir of Kano hails Northern Governors Forum’s chairman

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HE Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero yesterday praised Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu for uniting the North. Bayero gave the commendation when he received Aliyu, in his palace. The governor was there to sympathise with the monarch over the recent attack on his convoy, which led to the death of three palace guards. A statement by Aliyu’s Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, quoted the Emir as saying that he was “particularly impressed with the efforts of Aliyu at promoting unity and development of the North and wished him God’s guidance.” The emir said he was “aware of the series of meetings called

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

by the Northern States Governors Forum to find lasting solutions to the security challenges confronting the North and also fast track the development of the region.” He assured Aliyu of his support and the cooperation of other traditional rulers in the region, while encouraging him to build bridges across various sections of the country. Earlier, the governor had expressed gratitude to Almighty Allah for sparing the Emir’s life. He described the incident as both unfortunate and condemnable. Aliyu prayed for the repose of the souls of the slain guards, the governor wished others who sustained various degrees of injuries during the attack quick recovery. The governor also prayed for peace to reign in the region and the country at large.

•United States First Lady, Michelle Obama (right) with women's rights advocate, Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin, after Dr Odumakin received the International Women of Courage award at the State Department in Washington, DC ...at the weekend. PHOTO: AFP

Judgment in arms importation case fixed for April 30

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FEDERAL High Court in Lagos has fixed April 30 for judgment in the trial of Azim Aghajani (an Iranian) and a Nigerian clearing agent, Ali Abbas Usman Jega over their alleged complicity in the 2010 illegal importation of 13 containers laden with firearms. Justice Okechukwu Okeke picked the date yesterday after parties adopted their final written addresses. The accused are facing a four-count charge brought against them by the Federal Government, to which they pleaded not guilty. The duo is, in count one, accused of importing 13 container loads of firearms, which was prohibited under Part 1 of the Schedule to the Firearms Act, Cap F.28,

•Fani-Kayode’s trial stalled By Eric Ikhilae

laws of the Federation, 2004. In count two, they are alleged to have, between June and October 2010, without licence “been in control of bombs and grenade categorised as prohibited firearms under Item 4 of Part 1 of the Schedule to the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and contrary to Section 3 of the Constitution. They are, in count three, said to have been in control of rockets categorised as prohibited firearms without licence.

In count four, they are said to have recklessly made false declaration of the 13 containers containing the firearms to be glass of wool and pallets of stone on the original bill of lading number 1121253855. Meanwhile, the trial of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode was stalled yesterday, due to the absence of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia. She was said to have travelled for a conference. Fani-Kayode was on February 11 re-arraigned before Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia on a 47-count charge of money laundering brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to which he pleaded not guilty and had been allowed on bail.

Lawyer sues bank, LPPC over withdrawal of SAN

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LAWYER, Chief Ajibola Aribisala, whose rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was withdrawn on February 26, has sued the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) and Fidelity Bank Plc at the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere. He sought an order setting aside, or nullifying his suspension from the use of SAN title with its accompanying privileges. The decision to withdraw the rank was taken by the LPPC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mukhtar. Aribisala asked for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining LPPC either by itself or its agents from hearing, considering or taking any step with respect to a petition by Fidelity, dated May 15, 2012, pending the determination of the substantive suit. The claimant was represented in court yesterday by three SANs

•Bank raises objection to suit

By Joseph Jibueze

– Tayo Oyetibo, Rolland Otaru and Dipo Opeseyi. He said his suspension was done despite the pendency of an application dated October 19, 2012 seeking a restraining order of interlocutory injunction against LPPC. The claimant also asked the court to restrain LPPC from making any form of publicity relating to his alleged suspension from the use SAN rank pending the hearing and determination of the suit. In a supporting affidavit, Aribisala alleged that the LPPC took the action while another suit against it was pending. “This suit came up before the court for the first time on 22nd January, 2013 and having regard to the absence of the defendants, the court adjourned same to 6th February 2013 and ordered that hearing notice should be issued and served on them.

“In line with the said order of court, the hearing notice was served together with an accompanying letter dated 23rd January 2013 on the 2nd defendant (LPPC) by prepaid courier and an affidavit of service was filed to that effect. “Notwithstanding the notice of court proceedings, the second Defendant has failed to cause an appearance to be entered on its behalf in court by counsel to defend the suit. “The suit has in actual fact been adjourned to 28th February 2013 for hearing of the Claimant’s application for interlocutory injunction seeking to restrain the 2nd defendant from taking any disciplinary action against him during the pendency of the suit. “While this suit is pending and in particular while the application for injunction is pending in court, 2nd defendant on 26th February, 2013 sat in Abuja

to consider the 1st defendant’s petition which is the subject matter of this suit. “The 2nd Defendant after a two-hour sitting announced the indefinite suspension of the Claimant herein from the inner bar as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and thereby stripped him of the privileges accorded thereto,” the claimant said in the affidavit. Aribisala said before he was served with the suspension notice at the close of business on February 27, the defendants had gone to the press and made wide publicity of the indefinite suspension. The lawyer said he believed that that his suspension from the rank of SAN during the pendency of the suit while the LPPC allegedly failed to defend the suit or make appearance in court was not only malicious but amounts to contempt of court and an abuse of judicial process.

The LPPC is yet to file any defence to the suit. However, the bank, in its defence, said Aribisala’s claim “discloses no reasonable cause of action and constitutes an abuse of the court process”. Counsel for the bank, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo (SAN), insisted there was no basis for preventing the bank from invoking the disciplinary powers of the LPPC. During hearing yesterday, Sowemimo told the court that he had filed a notice of preliminary objection to the suit. According to him, the bank is challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the action. Oyetibo opposed hearing the bank’s preliminary objection, saying it should not be considered first. The presiding judge, Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, adjourned till April 23. She said parties would address the court on whose application would be heard first that day.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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NEWS

•President Goodluck Jonathan (sixth right), Vice-President Namadi Sambo (fifth left) , President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor (fifth right), Primate of Anglican Church and Chairman of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Rt. Rev. Nicholas Okoh (fourth right), the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr John Kennedy Opara (fourth left) and other Christian leaders when the Federal Government delegation to the Holyland submited its Report on the 2012 Christian Holy Pilgrimage in Abuja... yesterday.

Judicial workers’ strike stalls judgment in Salami’s suit

TVCNews begins live transmission

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•Govt meets with workers today

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ULING in the suit seeking the reinstatement of the suspended President

of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Isa Ayo Salami, could not be delivered yesterday-- no thanks to the judicial workers’ strike. The plaintiffs are Mr. Jitobo Akanike, Idris Musa, Allens Agbaka, Ibrahim Bawa , Princewill Akpakpa, Obruche Ayeteni, Nosa Ihaza, Timothy Odumosu, Stewart Salomi, Egogo Lawrence and Maxwell Adeniran. They sued for themselves and on behalf of the Registered Trustees of the Centre for the Promotion of Arbitration. The defendants are President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), the National Judicial Council (NJC) and Justice Salami. In the suit, the plaintiffs, who are human rights activists, are seeking an order of mandamus to compel the defendants to recall Justice Salami from his suspension. The plaintiffs are contend-

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

ing that Jonathan breached the Constitution when he disregarded the recommendation of the NJC. In the Originating Summons, the plaintiffs are seeking They are seeking also a declaration that the NJC is the only body that can discipline the justices of the Court of Appeal and/or the President of the court . They want the court to rule that the refusal of the third defendant to implement the recommendation of its three man panel headed by Justice Aloma Mariam Muhktar (JSC), urging the recall of Justice Salami constituted a breach of the constitution. The other requests are: an order of mandamus directing the third defendant to implement the recommendation of its three man panel urging the recall of Justice Salami (PCA) as President of the Court ; an order directing the third defendant to recall thefourth defendant to resume his duties as the

President of the Court; and a declaration that the President has no power whatsoever and/ or howsoever to exercise disciplinary functions over the justices of the Court and or Justice Salami, among others. The Federal Government and the striking Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) are to meet today to forge a way forward. Members of the union in federal courts and all FCT courts yesterday began an indefinite nationwide strike. The strike paralysed activities at all the courts in Abuja, including the Magistrate courts, shariah court, area courts, the Federal High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Staff of the courts were not allowed entry into the court premises by the union leaders. Since they could not gain access, staff of the Federal High Court, Abuja, were dismissed arround 10 a.m by a senior official. The union is protesting the non-implementation of the Consolidated Judicial Salary

•Salami

Structure (CONJUSS) since 2009. It accused the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim of foot-dragging on a circular from the office of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission seeking implementation of the CONJUSS. In a telephone interview with The Nation, the JUSUN President, Comrade Marwan Mustapha Adamu said the union had exhausted all avenues to get the attention of government with no result. He said the 21-day-ultimatum issued elapsed about 11 days ago with no response from government. The Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, has invited the union to a meeting today.

Ripples over compensation for Zaki Biam victims

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HE move by the Federal Government for an outof-court settlement with victims of the 2001 Zaki-Biam military invasion is creating ripples. The victims denied the knowledge of a move to settle them with N8 billion through Benue State government instead of the N41.8 billion awarded by a Federal High Court as compensation against the Federal Government for the loss of lives and properties. They are protesting that the state government cannot negotiate on their behalf. In a March 11 petition to President Goodluck Jonathan, the victims, through their lead counsel, Chief Sebastian Hon (SAN), expressed displeasure that they were not consulted before the alleged out-of-court settlement was reached. The petition reads: “Our clients are deeply worried that over two weeks after they wrote

‘Our clients are deeply worried that over two weeks after they wrote to you through our office, there has been no reply from your high office, in spite of the weight of the issues we raised in our first letter on the matter’ From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

to you through our office, there has been no reply from your high office, in spite of the weight of the issues we raised in our first letter on the matter. “Rather, our clients have continued to read in the media about the alleged settlement between the Federal Government and the Benue State Government for the judgment debt to be reduced from N41.8 billion to a mere N8 billion. “More worrisome, is the fact that those media stories started surfacing immediately after we wrote to your respect-

ed office demanding for payment of the entire judgment sum. “Our clients have instructed us to inform you in the strongest possible terms, yet with utmost respect to your good and exalted self and office, that they did not at any time brief anybody, particularly any official of the Benue State Government, to negotiate for payment of N8 billion as full and final satisfaction of the judgment sum abovestated. “The actual and collateral damage done to our clients and millions of other persons who were directly or indirectly af-

fected by the genocide of 2001 cannot even be compensated in monetary terms; hence any insinuation that the N41.8 billion awarded by the Federal High Court is too big an amount is, with respect, not well-grounded. “As we humbly pleaded with Your Excellency in our previous correspondence, we hereby reiterate that as the father of the nation, and given the enormous psychological and real damage caused the TV people by the rampaging soldiers in 2001, it is just fair, just and reasonable that this entire judgment sum be paid to our clients through our office and to other judgment creditors, to avoid a feeling among the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria, the TV nation, of deliberate government alienation.” The lawyer confirmed the delivery of the petition to the Presidency.

VC News, the first pan-African 24-hour TV news channel from the stable of the Continental Broadcasting Service Ltd, Lagos, has commenced live broadcasting on Channel 115 on StarTimes, a pay-tv platform, a statement from the firm announced at the weekend. The pan – African news channel aims to challenge stereotypes and correct misperceptions about Africa and its peoples. Nigel Parsons, the Chief Executive Officer TVC News and formerly Aljazeera English boss, said: “Without shying away from reporting the conflicts or the corruption, the famines or the wars, the mission of TVC News is also to tell the many positive stories coming out of Africa.” He added: “And all those stories – good or bad – will be told ‘Through African Eyes’.” “The statement reads: Competing with the likes of Aljazeera English, BBC World and CNN International, by providing a mixture of news, current affairs and other informative programming from across Africa and beyond; TVC News will serve as a medium for the African Diaspora to be heard on a global scale – all from an African perspective. The pan-African news channel by reporting fairly and fearlessly, will also tell stories from under-reported countries across the continent. “TVC News uses the latest state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment, and has engaged the services of veteran broadcasters, experienced reporters and a top class leadership team, both foreign and indigenous with several of bureau reporters in different countries of the world to ensure it breaks the news to its viewers and provides round-the-clock quality news. Its programming includes on politics and current affairs, arts & culture, health, youth and women’s issues, business, sport and entertainment and speciallytailored weather reports. Some of its recent milestone coverage includes the on-going war in Mali and the recently concluded elections in Kenya by the news channel’s reporters.”

Fed Govt unveils job creation initiative

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HE Ministry of Communications Technology will, on March 18 unveil a job creation scheme ‘’Microwork for Job Creation-Naijacloud’’, which seeks to reduce unemployment and create wealth for youths. A statement by the ministry said: “The primary objective of the project is to create awareness about the work opportunities in the Microwork and ELancing space as well as create job opportunities for youths in Nigeria in order to reduce the unemployment rate. The initiative also aims to reduce the country’s brain drain, create business opportunities for potential Nigerian Microwork and ELancing Companies, wealth creation opportunities for the young and showcase opportunities for Nigerian businesses to work more efficiently and have a broader Nigerian workers’ database.” The statement said the Ministry of Communications is tapping into the Microwork opportunity to reduce youth unemployment, which is 60 per cent .

Minister promises review of corps members’ allowance From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

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HE Minister of Youth Development,Inuwa Abdulkadir, has said the Federal Government would review National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members’ allowance. Abdulkadir was addressing corps members mobilised under the 2013 ‘Batch A’ orientation programme in Kano and Jigawa states. He said the welfare of corps members remains the priority of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. A statement by the minister’s Chief Press Secretary, Olusola Abiola in Abuja, said the Federal Government is committed to implementing the various multi-sectoral youth employment and empowerment programmes. He said: “ There are so many schemes the Federal Government has mapped out to provide jobs and economic empowerment for the increasing army of job seekers and unemployed graduates all over the country.”


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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NEWS Two electrocuted in Ogun From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

A POLICEMAN, Mr. Sunday Joseph and his ward, Moses (17), have been electrocuted in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The incident occurred at a construction site at Isale-Igbein on Sunday. Sources said Joseph had been Moses’ guardian since the boy’s father (a policeman) died. They said Moses went to the site to scavenge for scraps and other steel materials from the rubble of demolished structures. It was learnt that when he was about to go home, some of the steel materials touched a life wire from an electricity pole. He was electrocuted. It was gathered that when Joseph heard of the incident, he rushed to the scene and touched the boy’s body, which was still in contact with the wire. Sources said he died after a few minutes. Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi confirmed the incident. The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, and a delegation headed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Patrick Akinduro, visited the victims’ family at the police barracks and assured them of the government’s assistance. The Public Affairs Manager of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Mr. Richard Oyewole, told reporters that the incident was not caused by the company’s negligence as being speculated in some quarters. He said: “When construction companies want to work in an area, they request for outage. But yesterday, being Sunday, no outage permit was granted by our company. We are investigating the issue and would make an announcement later.”

Ajimobi inaugurates free transport scheme

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YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday inaugurated 10 43-seater buses that would convey civil servants and pupils to and from their offices and schools free-of-charge. The ceremony was held at the State Secretariat in Ibadan, the state capital. Ajimobi said his administration would continue to make life better for the people. He said the 10 buses, tagged “Ajumose Shuttle”, were part of the 100 buses and 100 minibuses meant for the state’s transport scheme. The governor said: “As we have said to our people several times, the power we sought, which the Almighty God bestowed on us through the electorate, is the power to do good to our people. “We thank God that in the last 21 months, we have used the instrumentality of the people’s power to wipe away their tears. The Ajumose Shuttle will lessen the commuting burden of workers and pupils. “We reckon that if we provide free transportation for workers and pupils in the morning and evening, we would have significantly lessened their transportation burden. “This is the first of schemes that will ease transportation, not only in Ibadan, but also in Oyo, Ogbomoso, Saki and Iseyin. We shall soon introduce other measures that will integrate public transportation into the on-going urban renewal project.” Ajimobi said civil servants are the engine room of whatever development is envisaged in the state. He said: “This is why we are passionate about making life meaningful for our workers. A civil servant, who is well-catered for and whose existential burdens have been largely taken off by the government, will be useful as a tool for achieving the government’s developmental objective.” Explaining that his admin-

•A cross section of the buses…yesterday. INSET: Ajimobi (left) inaugurating the buses. With his are his deputy, Chief Moses Alake-Adeyemo (right); the Head of Service, Alhaji Tajudeen Aremu (second left) and the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Akin Olajide (back). PHOTO: NAN

Accolades for governor

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YO State House of Assembly Speaker Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu has hailed Governor Abiola Ajimobi for providing free transportation for civil servants and pupils. In a statement yesterday by her media aide, Mrs. Afolake Balogun, the speaker said the gesture showed that the administration was interested in the people’s welfare, adding that it would aid the productivity of workers. She urged the workers to reciprocate the gesture by being dedicated to their duties. A chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, Alhaji Abass Oloko, described the free transportation as “a remarkable achievement in the state’s history”.

Oloko said: “This has shown that the Ajimobi administration will continue to strive towards improving the welfare of the people. The free transportation will secure the lives of pupils as it will reduce accidents and kidnapping.” A group, the Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation (AGF), also hailed the governor for the free ride. In a statement yesterday, AGF State Coordinator Folawiyo Bello said the achievements of the Ajimobi administration are unprecedented since the creation of the state over three decades ago. He said the Mokola Bridge, after completion, would be the first in the state, adding that it would ease movement.

istration has done more for workers than any previous administration, Ajimobi said about 13,000 workers had been trained and 12,211 teachers promoted. He said 1,714 civil servants were promoted last year and typists were trained as Secre-

paid the 13th month salary to workers and the prompt payment of civil servants’ salary has become our policy. “We are yearning to do more. We hope and pray that by the time we leave office, we would have made it difficult for any in-coming admin-

tarial Assistants and Data Processing Assistants. The governor said his administration has reviewed the housing loan for workers by 100 per cent. He said: “For the second time in the less than two years of our administration, we have

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

istration to lower the standards we have set.” Speaking on behalf of the workers, the State Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Mr. Nurudeen Arowolo, thanked the administration for its worker-friendly initiatives.

Aregbesola has transformed Osun, says senator

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HE Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Babajide Omoworare, yester-

IN THE MATTER OF COMPANIES AND ALLIED MATERS ACT 2004 PRIVATE COMPANIES LIMITED BY SHARES STIRLING BEVERGAES LIMITED – (RC 47569) (MEMBERS VOLUNTARY WINDING- UP) NOTICE OF FINAL GENERAL MEETING (PURSUANT TO SECTION 468(2) NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to the General public/members of the company that pursuant to section 468 (2) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004, the final General Meeting of the above mentioned Company will be held at 3, Oyefeso Avenue, Obanikoro, Lagos on 12th April, 2013 at 12:00pm if it thought fit for purpose of laying before the meeting the final account of the Company and of giving explanation thereof toward the final dissolution of the Company. By the order of the Liquidator

•‘Jonathan’s govt weak’ From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

day said Governor Rauf Aregbesola has transformed Osun State. Omoworare, who represents Osun East Senatorial District, spoke with reporters in Abuja. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) lawmaker said when Aregbesola assumed office, he promised to run an unusual government. He said the governor has transformed Osun through “unparalleled infrastructural development”. Omoworare said: “Do not forget that Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola was there for about seven-and-a-half years and nothing was happening. There were no projects. The only thing we met on ground was

duce. Only a lazy man or a perpetual opposition member will complain about the Aregbesola administration.” Omoworare said the Senate could do a lot more to quicken the country’s development because President Goodluck Jonathan is not doing enough. He said: “I have challenges with the President’s capacity to administer Nigeria. He may be a good-natured man but governing Nigeria is more than being a good-natured man. “A lot of decisions have to be taken. I am not a fan of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, but when he was there, he took strong decisions. “But Mr. President takes too long to decide. He does not understand the rudiments of governance and administration and I think he needs to do a lot more.”

Osun shuts school over pupils’ clash

MS. OLAYINKA OREDELE ALABI, LLB, FCA Note: A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his stead by completing and sending in a proxy Form in the usual form to the liquidator, Ms Olayinka Oredele Alabi, LLB, FCA of 2A Montgomery Road, Yaba, Lagos, at least 48 hours before the meeting. A proxy need not be a member of the company.

the facility obtained from the United Bank for Africa (UBA) by the Oyinlola administration to build six stadia. “We wondered whether we are hosting the Olympics. What do we want to do with six stadia? If you go to Osogbo Stadium and to the one being built in Ikirun, you will drive through it between 12 and 13 minutes, if there is no traffic. “We felt a need to renegotiate and finish the Osogbo Stadium. We renegotiated the facility, reduced the interest rate and, behold, we had more money to spend on infrastructure. “All local governments in Osun are building an average of 10-kilometre roads at the moment and the Aregbesola administration is working on almost all state roads. “If you are going to Lagos,

you do not have to go to Ibadan to go to Lagos. In my district, Ijebu Ugbo is less than 30 minutes drive from Osun. The road is being fixed as I speak. “The little Oyinlola had to show was the dualisation of the road from Osogbo to Akonda Junction in Ede. The dualisation is being extended to Gbongan Junction and the Ibadan Express Road. “Former Governor Bisi Akande started what he called a Ring Road to ease congestion in Osogbo. The project was abandoned by the Oyinlola administration but Aregbesola has continued it. “In the area of agriculture, the government is giving land and seedlings to people interested in farming; fingerlings to those interested in fisheries and day-old chicks to those interested in poultry farming. “It is ploughing the land for farmers and buying their pro-

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HE Technical College in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, has been shut, following last Friday’s violent clash between pupils of the school and those of Fakunle Comprehensive High School. Deputy Governor Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori, who is also the Commissioner for Education, warned pupils of the school to

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

stay off the premises. She said any pupil found on the premises would be handed over to law enforcement agents. The deputy governor directed the headteacher to report at the Ministry of Education with details of the events that led to the crisis.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

NEWS

Mimiko to open defence at tribunal

Court orders eight more constituencies FEDERAL High in Oyo Assembly Court sitting in

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Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has ordered the restoration of eight constituencies in the House of Assembly. They are: Ibadan North 3, Ibarapa South West 3, Ibarapa Central 4, Irepo, Itesiwaju, Oyo East, Saki East and Surulere. This amounts to a total of 40 seats in the Assembly. Justice Abimbola

Obaseki-Adejumo ordered that elections in the restored constituencies must be held within 90 days. The suit for their restoration was filed by the Attorney-General against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Attorney-General argued that by virtue of the provisions of sections 91 and 112 of the 1999 Consti-

tution, Oyo Assembly constituencies were inadequate. The court held that by those provisions, the House should consist of three or four times the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives. Before the restoration, Oyo had 32 state constituencies and 14 federal constituencies.

Ikuforiji, Lagos Assembly honoured

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AGOS State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji was at the weekend honoured with the “Most Outstanding Speaker in Nigeria” award by Global Excellence magazine. The Lagos Assembly got

By Oziegbe Okoeki

the “Most Outstanding House of Assembly in Nigeria” award. Ikuforiji said the awards would encourage him and his colleagues to break new grounds.

Oyo gets land committee

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HE Oyo State Government has inaugurated a committee that will identify suitable land for various investments across the state. The 10-man committee is headed by Mr. Tayo Oyetunji, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Lands. It comprises two representatives from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey and a representative each from the Surveyor-General’s Office and the ministries of Physical Planning and Urban Development; Culture and Tourism; Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development; and Justice. The Commissioner for

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Lands, Housing and Survey, Bimbo Kolade, said the committee would identify land in various locations, which can be acquired by the government and allocated to investors. Kolade said the government is determined to maximise the state’s resources and improve its economy. He urged members of the committee to be professional and thorough in the discharge of their duty. The committee is expected to submit its report in three months. Last month, the state offered generous land discounts to investors.

Ex-minster seeks removal of immunity clause

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ORMER Minister of Youth Development Olasunkanmi Akinlabi has faulted the National Assembly’s call for the extension of the immunity clause to its members. Olasunkanmi said members of the National Assembly do not need the immunity clause, except for the standing order that allows such on issues discussed on the floor of the chambers. He said: “I think members of the National Assembly need to amend the constitution and remove the immunity clause, particularly on criminal matters. Any gov-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

ernor or deputy governor involved in criminal issues should be taken to court and justice must be allowed to prevail.” The governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State spoke with reporters in his Ode-Omu country home. He said the party has begun consultation ahead of the 2014 election. Olasunkanmi said the state would benefit from his political exposure and experience as a minister, if he is elected.

Ogun warns against illegal structures

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HE Ogun State Government has warned against the erection of illegal structures on the state’s portion of the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway. It said such structures would be demolished. The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Physical Planning, Adegoke Dipe, spoke while monitoring the demolition of illegal structures on the road. Dipe said a similar exercise was carried out two months ago, but the structures were reconstructed by persons trying to frustrate the government’s effort in town planning. He said: “The town planning laws of the state do not allow for the construction of temporary sheds or shops. The laws

stipulate that there should be a setback and nobody is allowed to build under high-tension cables, but our people usually contravene these directives.” Dipe said a surveillance team was being put in place to check the indiscriminate erection of illegal structures on the highway, adding that anyone caught in the act would be punished. The General Manager of the Urban and Regional Planning Board, Stephen Adewolu, urged owners of buildings on the expressway to undertake the landscaping of the front of their buildings. He said this would beautify the surrounding, discourage the erection of illegal structures and enhance security.

He said: “These awards are testimonies to the one you gave me last year. My colleagues and I will not rest on our oars. We view these awards as a new challenge to prove that things can be done differently and better.”

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

•Mimiko

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NDO State Governor Olusegun Mimiko will today open his defence at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure, the state capital. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); its candidate

Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusola Oke, are challenging the declaration of Mimiko as the winner of the election. Akeredolu is challenging the election result in 13 local government areas and Oke is contesting it in 15 local government areas. Akeredolu and Oke told the three-man tribunal, headed by Justice A. Kaka’n, that the election was marred by irregularities and should be nullified. Akeredolu said there were cases of double registration, where a name appeared

twice with different VIN numbers. He alleged that strange names were injected into the 2012 voters’ register. Oke alleged that majority of the votes recorded for Mimiko were illegal. He urged the tribunal to either declare him winner of the election or order a fresh election. Mimiko, who is the first respondent, will call 50 witnesses to prove his case. Earlier, the tribunal struck out the petitions of the PDP, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Accord and People for Democratic Change (PDC) on technical grounds. Some of the parties have appealed the judgment.


THE NATION TUESDAY MARCH 12, 2013

10

NEWS

Agbaso’s indictment not political, say lawmakers

Three foreigners released Three foreign sailors kidnapped from their British-operated cargo ship by pirates last month off the coast of the Niger Delta have been released, the vessel’s operator said yesterday. The British-flagged ship, Esther C, was boarded and ransacked on February 7 by armed pirates before they made off with the three seamen, Isle of Wightbased Carisbrooke Shipping said in a statement. “The three officers were confirmed as being safe and in good spirits after 31 days in captivity,” it added. A spokesman for Carisbrooke Shipping said separately the three crew members, two Russians including the ship’s captain and a Romanian national, were taken hostage before being released. Armed gangs typically have targeted oil tankers and attacks on cargo ships are rarer. Oil and shipping companies have to hire crisis management teams, pay higher insurance premiums and face the prospect of ransom payments, as well as brace themselves for damage to their reputations. Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Shell said last month that security was a major factor in making Nigeria one of the most expensive oil-producing countries to operate in.

By Joseph Jibueze

•Agbaso

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HE Imo State House of Assembly yesterday said its indictment of the Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Agbaso, for allegedly receiving N458million kickback from a contractor was not politically-motivated. It said media reports that the probe was over the 2015 election was wrong. The House, in a statement by its Chairman, Committee on Information, Acho Ihim, said it was “mischievous, sacrilegious and cheap blackmail” for anybody or group to divert attention from the issues at stake. “For the avoidance of doubt, the travails of Sir Jude Agbaso have nothing to do with 2015 rivalry, ethnic and zonal politics or indeed whipping up undue sentiments. “The fact of the matter remains that the Report of the Special Committee indicted

the deputy governor. “The Imo State House of Assembly will, therefore, not allow external forces to influence its constitutional duties. Imo must be better,” the statement said. The House said a State and Local Government Joint Monitoring Committee was established about six months ago to monitor the construction of roads in the three senatorial zones. The committee, led by Stan Dara, submitted its report last month. The report, the House said, indicted three construction companies. Following the indictment, the House said it set up another Special Adhoc Committee to find out why the companies allegedly failed or abandoned their projects. The companies were invited to the House to explain. The House said the Managing Director of one of the firms “confessed that they abandoned their site because Agbaso demanded and collected N458 million from him.” “The committee thereafter invited Agbaso, and from the interview, the House found enough evidence and collaboration,” the House said. Agbaso denied media reports that he resigned, saying the allegation was not

only false but politically-motivated to malign his person. He said the contractor was introduced by Governor Rochas Okorocha. The deputy governor claimed that he was a victim of the political games being played by powerful forces over who becomes governor in 2015. He spoke to reporters in Owerri at the weekend amid speculations that he was denied access to his office and being pressured to resign as a face-saving measure. Agbaso denied the stories, saying he was on his desk on Friday. The deputy governor described the impeachment threat against him by the House of Assembly as ill-informed and unfair. Agbaso called on the relevant agencies to investigate the allegation. He said: “Let me put it straight and, very categorical too, that at no time, have I contemplated resigning as Imo State deputy governor. “As I stated earlier, the mandate was freely and massively given to me by the people of this state. “So, I never resigned, I never intend to resign and I will continue to serve the people, until the mandate they gave me elapses. “I want to also seize this opportunity to state that at no time did I demand N458million or any sum of money from any contractor in Imo State. “And at no time did the contractor, Joseph Dina of JPRO, pay me N458 million. “JPRO is the contractor working on the present day Sam Mbakwe road. “I never knew the con-

struction company or its owners. “The company was introduced to the state by Governor Rochas Okorocha, who approved a contract of N1.5billion. “Since they said the money had been paid to the bank, I think the onus is to call on investigative agents to trace the payment; N458million is not N458, 000 and it cannot vanish into thin air. “They should look for the money there (in the account the contractor claimed he paid into). It must be there. “If it is not there, they can track the money. It can be traced to the last account that it went into. “With forensics, they can trace the money into the pockets of those who took it. “But my dear people of Imo State, I state here one more time, I never asked for the money, I never received the money and I do not have any thing to do with it. “The other question is why all these things about bribery and impeachment at this moment? “This whole thing stems from the various players’ agitation as to the situation in 2015. “I have heard speculations about who runs in 2015 and who does not. “I have heard that this has everything to do with it. But I can tell you it has nothing to do with the person of the deputy governor as we speak. “And I think that, sooner rather than later, this whole story would be unravelled. “Let me state that I have maintained a robust, cordial relationship with Governor Rochas Okorocha.”

Bayelsa gets health insurance committee

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HE Bayelsa State Gov ernment has inaugurated the State Health Insurance Policy Development Committee. Governor Seriake Dickson yesterday urged the committee to determine the scope of health services to be covered by the scheme as well as terms and conditions for subscription by prospective subscribers. Dickson, who said the scheme is mainly targeted at public servants, noted that the decision was taken in their best interest. “Let me assure you the civil servants of Bayelsa State that from the decisions we have taken, you will soon find out that they are ultimately in your best interest. “We are coming up with robust policies that will cater for most of your needs and make life and living easier and lighter for you. "What we have done here today by instituting this health insurance policy is just one of many policies.” Members of the committee are Dr. Markson Amaigbe (Chairman), Dr. Waltraud Eseimokumo (Vice-Chairman) and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health is Secretary. It is expected to submit its report in two weeks.

•Dickson

Kidnap victim’s identity unknown

C

ONFUSION has continued to trail the kidnap of a yet-to-be identified victim by some gunmen at the gate of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State. This followed the inability of residents to identify the victim. The victim, who was driving a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), was accosted by four gunmen very close to the Polytechnic’s main gate. An eyewitness said: “In a movie style, the gunmen jumped down from their Toyota Corolla and shot sporadically into the air. “They dragged their victim into the trunk of his car and sped off towards Amaokpala.” The witness said the gunmen abandoned their vehicle in the middle of the road, adding that the police were on the scene to recover the abandoned vehicle. An official said the police were yet to get details of the incident. Some polytechnic workers and residents of the host community expressed concern about the spate of kidnappings in the area. A former Public Relations Officer of the Polytechnic, Okey Mgbemene, was Saturday night abducted by gunmen at Nkpor

near Onitsha. He was said to have left Awka, the state capital, for his village, Obosi in Idemili North Local Government, when he was kidnapped around 8pm. Another lecturer was said to have been kidnapped last month by gunmen at Akpo in Orumba Local Government. The victim, Felix Aguigwo, who teaches at the Printing Technology Department, was released after paying an undisclosed ransom. The Director of Works and Maintenance, Kanayo Enekwechi, was earlier this year kidnapped by gunmen between Oko community and Awka. He was released, according to sources, after paying an undisclosed amount as ransom. He was later rushed to an Indian hospital for treatment. Another victim, Oliver Ezeobi, was kidnapped by some gunmen at Ekwulobia near Oko. Ezeobi, who runs Paragon Pharmacy Shop in front of the school, was said to have been released after paying a huge ransom. Workers urged security operatives to increase surveillance around the community.

Fire razes TV, radio stations

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RACE FM and Confluence Television, both located in Lokoja, Kogi State, have been razed by a midnight fire. The radio and television stations belonging to Senator Tunde Ogbeha, went up in flames in the wee hours

of yesterday. According to a report posted on Eagle Online, the inferno which started at about 3am lasted till about 9:30am. The cause of fire could not be ascertained yesterday. Facilities at the multi-mil-

lion naira stations were completely burnt. It was learnt that all the studios and transmitters were affected. Ogbeha was said to be in Lokoja for an all-night meeting when the incident occurred.


11

THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

CBN T-Bill payouts boost dollar

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HE Naira depreciated for the third time in four days after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) paid out maturing Treasury bills, boosting money supply and freeing up local currency for buyers to seek dollars. The naira declined 0.1 per cent to N157.85 per dollar, paring a weekly gain to 0.1 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The CBN settled maturing bills amounting to N263.93 billion ($1.7 billion) yesterday, the Financial Markets Dealers Association, said on its website. The institution sells bills to help manage currency supply within the market. “The maturities boosted money supply as they hit the market, making dealers more able to seek dollars,” Sewa Wusu, an analyst at the Lagos-based Sterling Capital Limited, said by phone. The regulator held the benchmark interest rate at a record high 12 per cent for an eighth time on January 21 to control inflation and stabilise the naira. Inflation rate fell to nine per cent in January from 12 per cent in December, the Statistics Bureau said February, 18. Yields on Nigeria’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 fell 20 basis points to 4.08 per cent. The yield on the country’s 16.39 per cent domestic bonds due January 2022 rose 24 basis points to 11.1 percent, according to yesterday’s data compiled on the FMDA website

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa-$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion

RATES Inflation -11.7% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending -22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $43.5b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

At the moment there is an average of about 18 hours per day of constant power supply to different parts of the country. This feat was brought about by the implementation of the integrated power sector reform programme anchored on the power roadmap. - Minister of Information, Labaran Maku

‘NNPC owes Fed Govt N142b’ • Controversy trails T NLNG’s N195b dividend

HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corpora tion (NNPC) owes the Federal Government N142.7 billion, but the Corporation has not shown any intention to pay the money, House of Representatives Committee on Finance has said. The corporation is supposed to remit the said amount from the N6 trillion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) it realised between 2009 and July, last year to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as demanded by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, the Committee said. Consequently, the Committee has summoned the Group Managing Director,

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

Andrew Yakubu to appear before it next Monday and Tuesday in connection with their finances and remittances to the government. It has also summoned the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) over the N195 billion dividends accruing to the Federal Government, which it claimed to be in possession of the Federal Ministry of Finance. Giving details of how the

country has been shortchanged by the NNPC and its 16 subsidiaries, Chairman of the Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, said the corporation was initially hostile to a technical committee set up by the House to examine its records. He said: “Our biggest challenge has been the NNPC, but as a committee, we have resolved that whatever we have to do within the confines of the law, NNPC must be made to pay the money. “We have said it before that NNPC has never remit-

ted anything under its IGR to the CRF. In 2009, the Corporation generated N2.048 trillion, and made N2.155 trillion in 2010. “While N1.9trillion was realised in 2011, by July of 2012, the Corporation made N259billion as its IGR. But between 2009 and 2012, the Corporation remitted nothing out of the N6 trillion it generated to the CRF as demanded by law.” Jibrin explained that to ascertain what was due to the Federal Government was not lost to either fraud or inefficiency, the Committee set up a technical group to examine the books of the corporation and its 16 subsidiaries.

• Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Public Accounts, Solomon Adeola, Deputy governor, Operations, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Tunde Lemo, Acting Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Services, Kabir Mashi and a committee member, Nnena Igbokwe during a response to Audit query at National Assembly Abuja...yesterday. PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

CBN begins N150,000 cheque withdrawal limit nationwide T

HE Central Bank of Ni geria (CBN) will from June 1, 2013 implement a policy that places N150,000 limit on all over-the-counter cheque withdrawals in commercial banks, microfinance banks and primary mortgage institutions (PMIs) nationwide. In a circular to all stakeholders, CBN Director, Banking and Payment System, Dipo Fatokun said the policy is in recognition of the success recorded in Lagos. Besides, he said the need to extend such success to other states within the federation nessecisated the new regime. He said the Lagos success

By Collins Nweze

story has also contributed to the reduction of fraud on cheques and aided the National Financial Inclusion (NFI) Strategy. “All banks are therefore directed to ensure that implementation of N150,000 limit on third party cheques that could be cashed over the counter nationwide , with effect from June 1, 2013,” he said. Also, the CBN Director, directed banks to stop charging their customers pay-

ments for third party cheque below N150,000 cashed over the counter. “All banks are hereby directed to stop charging their customers for third party cheques of up to N150,000 cashed over the counter,” he said. He explained that the policy is in recognition of the CBN role in the development of an efficient payment and settlement system that is well modernized. Head, Shared Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Chidi Umeano had said that the cashless

project has continued to record huge success, adding that the initial challenges associated with the alternative channels are being tackled. “Banks have continued to roll out more innovative electronic payment platforms to meet customers’ expectations. The cashless policy has been very successful in Lagos considering when we started and how far we have gone in terms of PoS deployment. “When we started the cashless Lagos, we had less than 10,000 PoS in Lagos, but currently we have over 150,000 PoS machines in the state alone,” he said.

NDIC can’t trace failed banks’ debtors

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HE Nigeria Deposit In surance Corporation (NDIC) yesterday accused banks of giving loans to people without collateral and traceable addresses. The corporation’s Managing Director/CEO, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, said this was one of the numerous problems confronting its operation in the

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

banking system. He spoke at the Sensitisation Seminar for judges on ‘The Challenges to Deposit Insurance Law and Practice,’ in Abuja. He appealed to the judiciary to assist it in protecting

the banking system to restore depositors’ confidence. He lamented the challenges facing the NDIC. For NDIC to achieve its mandate, Ibrahim emphasised the need to address the menace of liquidationrelated litigations, execution of court judgments,

vulnerable funding base, difficulty in recovering debt owed to failed banks by debtors, poor public awareness and inadequate legal frame work. He said the seminar was one of the steps being taken to involve stakeholders towards achieving greater efficiency.

Govt moves to amend Investment and Securities Act From Nduka Chiejina, (Assistant Editor), Abuja

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HE Federal Govern ment has proposed new amendments to the Investments and Securities Act (ISA 2007). Minister of State for Finance Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama made this known yesterday in Abuja at the swearing-in of the new chairman of the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST). Ngama said: “The Ministry of Finance has proposed new amendments to the Investments and Securities Act (ISA 2007) to send to the National Assembly to enhance the work of the Tribunal.” The decision to amend the ISA Act, he added, is “in consequence of its critical role, and also ensure that its chairman and other members of the Tribunal can seamlessly transit to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as the IST is equivalent to the Federal High Court.” Dr. Ngama said IST is critical to the smooth operation of the capital market, adding that the tribunal was “doing a lot to lift the confidence of investors.” He urged the new chairman to liaise with the National Judicial Council (NJC) to obtain their input to the amendments.

US agency sees huge benefits from Diaspora funds From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

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IGERIA is expected to reap huge benefits from increased inflow of investments from African Diaspora and United States investors. Already, the country, according to Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has received about $550million investment support to projects in Nigeria. OPIC, a U.S. Government development agency, sells investment services to assist U.S. companies gain footholds in emerging markets, by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds. OPIC Executive Vice President, Mimi Alemayehou, also identified agricultural sector as an area with potential for investments. Though he said there was also still room to do more in financing, the micro finance sub sector. The US envoy, who is in Nigeria this week, is expected to meet with top officials of President Goodluck Jonathan’s ministerial cabinet, including the ministers of foreign affairs and agriculture. Alemayehou noted that the agency is supporting a fertiliser company in Edo State and a paper recycling firm.


12

THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013


13

PROPERTY

Tuesday, MARCH 12, 2013

Website:- http://www.thenationonlineng.com

* The Environment * Mortgage * Apartments * Security * Homes * Real Estate

email:- property@thenationonlineng.net

Housing is a major headache across the country, especially in the big cities. Getting houses in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Abuja is no mean task. Would-be tenants pay through their noses and, in many instances, they are defrauded. This is the cry of some subscribers to the Lagos Building Investment Company (LBIC) who claim that they have been fleeced of millions of naira. The firm denies the allegation, reports ERIC IKHILAE.

The big rip-off of subscribers at LBIC •Firm denies scam

•One of the estates managed by LBIC.

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HE mandate of Lagos Building Invest ment Company (LBIC) is to assist people with their housing needs. Has the firm been living up to this mandate? According to some subscribers, it has not for sometime. The subscribers paint a picture of fraud and dishonesty by the firm, its workers and agents. But LBIC denies such allegations, saying the subscribers are crying wolf where there is none. The subscribers allege that some LBICs’ officials, working with non-employee agents, have devised a scheme through which they encourage people to subscribe to non-available houses. In the process, their funds (mostly in millions of naira) are either tied down for years or lost. The Nation’s investigation showed that instances abound where allocation is deliberately delayed even when payment has been made. When allocation is eventually made, documents are withheld. In some cases, subscribers’ funds are tied down without explanation, and where part-payment is made, no official receipts are issued. The subscribers allege that these acts are meant to create uncertainty, which some of LBICs officials and

FACTS AND FIGURES •Atoyebi: Paid N3m for a three- bedroom flat in 2010. Claimed to have been made to pay over N2m extra, but allocated a twobedroom flat in 2013. •Olanrewaju: Paid N2.5m in 2011. Claimed to have been made to pay N1.5m into an LBIC officials’ private account. Yet to be allocated a house. •Adedibu: Paid N1m deposit in 2011. Claimed to have been ejected a few months later without a refund. •Akewusure: Claimed to have expended millions of naira to renovate apartment; now being threatened with eviction. agents capitalise on. The officials and agents, it is alleged, approach the anxious subscribers and promise to facilitate prompt allocation of houses – if they part with additional funds. Believing these officials, most subscribers part with money running into millions of naira,

•Planners to experts: strike balance between ethics, morals

- PAGE 51

which are paid mostly into the officials’ private accounts. Such funds, it was learnt, are always not receipted for, and in the end, such subscribers are fleeced. Some subscribers, who claimed to be victims of this scam, have relived their ordeal. They said

We are working to address all issues raised. We are not responsible for moneynot paid into the company’s account —LBIC some agents of LBIC told them that the company was selling some apartments at the Iponri Low-Cost Housing Estate in Lagos Mainland and encouraged them to make payments. Johnson Olawale Atoyebi said he subscribed to a three-bedroom apartment, paying N3million via a Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) draft dated November 29, 2010. He said he was allocated a two-bedroom apart•Continued on page 14

•Our ordeal on Lagos-Abeokuta road, by motorists

- PAGE 52


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT

How we operate, by LBIC The big Secretary/Legal Adviser, LBIC, Kunle Akindele, addresses some issues raised by the aggrieved subscribers in this interview with ERIC IKHILAE. rip-off of Company He explains how his company operates. subscribers W at LBIC •CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13

ment this year via an allocation letter dated January 14, having been subjected to a lot of trouble, during which he was made to part with over N2million outside the initial payment. Adeniyi Olanrewaju said he paid N2.5million into LBIC’s account on July 21, 2011 at the company’s Iponri office through one of its officials, Olujimi Kuti. Till date, he has not heard from the company, nor has an apartment been allocated to him. He said an official of the company tricked him into parting with additional N1.5million, which he paid into the official’s private account. A tenant, Alhaji Ajani Adedibu, said he was encouraged to make a partpayment of N1million for the apartment he occupied with his family, with the understanding that a plan will be worked out where he will pay the N1.5million balance in instalments. He said he paid the N1million in July 2011 into LBIC’s account, but was not issued a receipt by the company. Alhaji Jimoh Akewusure, a resident of Flat 3, Block 52, said the building was at a time, marked for demolition because of its poor state. He said some of the company’s agents encouraged the occupants to use their money to renovate the building, which they did, spending millions of naira on the project. Akewusure said he was surprised when the LBIC officials later demanded that each occupant of the building’s six apartments should pay N2.5million for outright purchase (outside what it cost them to restore the building), failing which they will be ejected. He said the company told them people were willing to pay twice the original amount for the house. While some of his co-tenants buckled under the pressure allegedly mounted on them by LBIC officials and vacated their apartments, Akewusure remained adamant. LBIC went to court to eject him. It filed a suit before the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Surulere, Lagos Mainland. Akewusure has equally gone before the court to make his case. Parties are before the Chief Magistrate’s Court one. Further hearing is fixed for March 19. Atoyebi said he was introduced to Alhaji Bakare on September 16, 2010 by his (Atoyebi’s) aunt, Deaconess Ikotun, to help him buy a three-bedroom flat. He said Bakare linked him and his wife with “Mrs Rafatu (aka Lady B), who is a staff member of LBIC. “Mrs Rafatu directed us to make available N3million in bank draft payable to LBIC for the purchase of a three-bedroom flat at Iponri Housing Estate.” Atoyebi said the draft was not accepted from him until about six months later because he insisted he would only pay with draft. He said it took the company’s Managing Director, Babatunde Jinadu’s intervention before Mrs Rafatu accepted the draft. Atoyebi alleged that Mrs Rafatu had turned down the draft, insisting that he either converted it to cash or cheque to be paid into the MD’s personal account to allow for prompt processing. He alleged that when the draft was eventually accepted, he was not issued a receipt immediately. Rather than keep their side of the bargain, he alleged that the company and its officials devised means through which they tricked him into

HAT is the process that one goes through to buy prop erty from your company? The savings we collect that ordinarily should go into lending for a long time for mortgages are not there, because no person will want his money kept for that long. And, in Nigeria you cannot create mortgage with shortterm funds. You need long-term funds to do that. So, you pay, if the house is available, you get. If you are unable, because in some cases, depending on the location, there is always a scramble; the demand is always higher than the supply. So, if you are unlucky to get, in view of the number of people scrambling for it, and if you apply for a refund, we will give you your money back. But you can also leave your money in one of our products, which is home ownership account, from which you can also generate income. If we have a new project, we can key the applicant into that. Don’t you have a data base from where people can know about available properties, to which they can subscribe and have immediate allocation? We don’t have such data base, except those who have opened Home Savings Account with us. Is it that people just paid in money and wait until you are able to provide property and allocate any to them? Yes. You see, as I told you, one of our products is Home Ownership Account. Under it, you put money in savings, whereby if any of the properties of your choice is available, you will give us instructions to deploy the

money to acquire the property. What are the documents a subscriber is required to possess before he could be said to have fully purchased a property from LBIC? You do not need any document than when you pay and you are lucky to have allocation, we will then give you a letter of allocation and subsequently you apply for a legal title, which is called sub-lease. Why would people make payment and have no houses allocated to them after over a year of paying? If demand is greater than supply, you just have to wait until the house is ready or apply for a refund. While a subscriber is waiting, do you convert what he/she had paid into savings that can then yield interest? It depends on the terms and conditions. If you want to buy you are buying in anticipation that the property will be given to you within a short time, without contemplating that it will take a long time. But if such delay occurs, you can come and negotiate with us. If you do not have an agreement as regard interest, from the start and there is no consensus, it then becomes judicial. It is the court that will use their discretion to determine the rate of interest. How will you react to allegations that some officials encourage subscribers to pay extra funds to their private accounts, with the promise of facilitating prompt allocations? Those people are not our staff. You see, let me tell you one thing. Some people make use of the fact that we recover to hoodwink some people that

they can talk to us and influence us. I believe that is not possible. I don’t know of any case involving our staff. I can assure you if there is any, there is appropriate disciplinary measure to be taken. You see everybody is wise. Take the police for instance, upon all the complaints and allegations that they collect bribe, they know how they collect their bribe. Do you think any policeman will risk his job and say he wants to collect bribe? It is not done. I want to say that the allegation is spurious. He who asserts must prove by evidence. What about the man, who paid N1million and an agreement was written on a loose sheet? Why will your company collect such amount of money from somebody and not issue him a of receipt? You see, it is because there is no agreement yet. You cannot have an agreement if a house is not yet given to you. Once you pay, what we give is a teller. Why are some, to whom you have allocated houses, yet to be issued the necessary documents months after allocation? One of them said nobody told him he was supposed to apply for sub-lease. We don’t need to tell him that. He should make enquiries about that. There are publications in the dailies. We don’t owe him any duty. The duty we owe him is that he applied, he paid, he was given a house. In fact, this sublease, he can decide not to have it. What about the requirement that a person, to whom an allocation is made, is required to pay N250,000 as fee to your task force? Is your organistion not required to deliver a

•Another estate managed by LBIC

parting with additional over N2million. He said on thrice, he was allocated three two-bedroom apartments, already allocated to other subscribers. He said in one instance, he was allocated Flat 4 in Block 52. “When we visited the place at a later date, the owner of the flat, Mr Akinwumi , his wife and son invited policemen from Iponri Police Station. My wife, our pastor and I were arrested and taken to the police station. “We explained at the station that Mrs Rafatu and Olujimi Kuti of LBIC gave us the flat. Inspector Ade and other policemen requested for evidence of payment to LBIC. We provided a photocopy of the bank draft. “They (the policemen) went further to ask for the official receipt of the payment. We told them that it has not been provided. “I called Mrs Rafatu and Mr Olujimi Kuti on phone about the problem. They came to the station with a copy of Credit Document No: 029808 paid by Kuti. The issue was discussed and it was concluded that another place should be given to us,” Atoyebi said. He said when another apartment – Flat 1 in Block 52 - was allocated to them (he and his wife) on August 30, 2011, the LBIC officials allegedly told them it had been allocated to a former

All the money paid into the company’s account by these people has been verified to be true. This includes the N1million from Adedibu. The hand-written document is in order. I have investigated it. I don’t do anything about all the money they claimed to have paid to some people — JINADU

Inspector-General of Police, and requested for N400,000 with which they could retrieve a letter of allocation earlier issued to him. “They collected N200,000 for policemen at GMT to assist in ejecting occupants of a flat, without bringing policemen. They used dubious means to collect money. We requested for threebedroom flat at the cost of N3million. We were given two-bedroom at the cost of N2million. The difference of N1million has not been refunded to us,” Atoyebi said. In his struggle to have a house allocated to him after making full payment, Atoyebi has so far engaged two lawyers. The first was Tokunbo Aboyade, who wrote twice to LBICs MD, requesting that his client be given the documents for the two-bedroom flat that was allocated to him. In the October 2, last year letter, the

lawyer noted that despite payment and an allocation of an apartment to his clients, “the necessary and relevant documents of title were demanded for and up till this time of our writing, such documents have not been obtained despite several and repeated demands. “We have enclosed a photocopy of a bank teller and also a bank draft in your company’s name, which are the only evidence of payment by our clients. We will want to know what kind of documents pertaining to title that our clients are entitled to and when such documents will be released to them.” In the second letter dated October 18, last year, the lawyer, who expressed dismay that the company declined to respond to his earlier letter, said his clients “are eager and anxious to know the true position of all issues

vacant house to a subscriber? Forcely eviction by the task force is in relation to houses where it is discovered that the occupants are illegal. If anybody shows interest and they (LBIC officials) tell you the conditions, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Those houses they bought, if they are not satisfied, we can pay them back their money. I can tell you before refund is made to them, other people will be showing interest. You know residential houses are scarce. So, I do not see anything wrong in them paying for eviction. How do you react to allegations that in some cases, subscribers are encouraged by some LBICs officials’ to either make payment in cash, issue cheques in their personal names or pay extra money into their private accounts? Such subscribers should come and ask from us. They should come and investigate. When you want to buy a property, you conduct a search and do verification. They should have asked before acceding to such demands. On the Atoyebi case, I have assured him that he will eventually get his title, despite that he has got allocation. You see, in law, possession is 99 per cent of ownership. Even before the papers were done, he was already in possession. Like my MD said, the giver and the taker are both liable. I will say those that gave such extra funds corrupted such officials (if any). If you did not follow the right channel, you acted in your own peril. Why has your company not penalised the officials named in some of these cases of extortion and fraud? There is no complaint before us. The complaints were taken to somewhere else. If we had been complained to, we would have taken necessary measures. We have internal mechanisms to deal with such cases, but they must be formally brought to our notice, via petitions or any other means. raised in our letter and we hereby prevail upon you to look into this matter and let us have your response without further delay.” LBICs MD, to which both letters were addressed, did not respond until Atoyebi employed another lawyer – Wahab Shittu. He has equally written two letters- one dated December 31, 2012 and another dated January 22, 2013. They did not reply despite evidence of receipt. Adedibu said despite his N1million deposit, officials of LBIC stormed his Block 67 Flat 3 apartment in October, last year and forcibly evicted him and his family. “They threw my belongings into the rain, because it rained that day. They said somebody else was willing to buy it. They did not refund my deposit and have not done so till date,” Adedibu said. He said when he returned to the company’s representative -Olujimi Kuti - a month later, and threatened to make trouble, Kuti wrote on a plain sheet what was purported to serve as agreement rather than issue him an official receipt for the N1million deposit. The document reads: “Agreement between LBIC and Adedibu Ajani made this 23rd day of November 2012. That N1million is hereby paid into the LBIC account and when the available flat is ready, the balance will be paid to the LBIC.” Adedibu said the loose sheet, dated November 23, 2012, signed by him, Kuti as LBIC official and one Alhaji G. S. Adepoju of Block 85 Flat 3, Iponri Estate (as witness), served as the only evidence of payment now in his possession. Olanrewaju told The Nation that after several failed attempts to get the company to keep its side of the bargain, he was forced to write the MD, but Jinadu allgedly failed to reply to the letter despite evidence that he received it. Part of the July 27, last year letter reads: “I like to bring to your notice that on July 21, 2011, I paid for a prop•Continued on page 51


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COMMENTARY FROM OTHER LANDS

EDITORIALS

Rebuilding trust within Egypt

Northern plea • We have to know who Boko Haram members are to grant them amnesty

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OW can the country finally resolve the protracted irritations of the Jama’atul-Ahlil Sunnah Lil Da’awati Wal Jihad, commonly called Boko Haram? Could the atrocious actions of the sect be curbed through blanket amnesty for its unrepentant members? These questions become pertinent in view of the hubbub generated by calls from the north that amnesty should be granted to members of the sect. At different times, the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) through its committee on Reconciliation, Healing and Security, and Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI)/leader of Nigerian Muslims all called for total amnesty for Boko Haram members as a pre-condition for halting insecurity in the north. The NSGF committee came up with a report believed to have goaded President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent visits to Borno and Yobe states, the president’s first to that violenceprone part of the country since the sect launched its attacks in 2009. Apart from the demand for unconditional amnesty, the 41-man committee that was inaugurated on August 22, 2012 and headed by Ambassador Zakari Ibrahim reportedly requested the immediate release of all Boko Haram detainees against whom there is no established case of criminal involvement; and the immediate prosecution of those against whom there is evidence of criminal involvement before courts of competent jurisdic-

tion, among three other demands. While we would gladly support meaningful requests that can bring about desired peace in the northern part of the nation, we take exception to a demand that is hanging in the air such as the one by the northern leaders. Amnesty can only be granted to identifiably penitent people. In this case, Boko Haram members are haughtily unknown and there is nothing to suggest that they are ready to lay down their weapons. President Jonathan was obviously right when he said amnesty is not for ‘ghosts’. After all, Imam Abubakar Shekau, the dodgy sect’s spiritual head, has remained recalcitrant to official overtures made to end Boko Haram’s unwarranted attacks, using Islamic religion as a decoy. No wonder that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pan-Yoruba sociocultural organisation, Afenifere, have been voluble in their condemnations of the north’s call for amnesty. The northern governors and Sultan Abubakar would do the country a lot of good if they can publicly identify the people that have been tormenting their region for years. Surprisingly, the focus of the governors and the Sultan has been on Boko Haram while regrettably forgetting that another dangerous group, Ansaru, purportedly an offshoot of the former, has emerged and has made the abduction of foreigners in that region its specialty. The membership of these two sects is shrouded in secrecy and this makes calls for amnesty an exercise in futility. Moreover, the level of incessant destruction by the sects has become intol-

erable. This development makes the sects’ case to be quite different from the situation in the Niger Delta militancy. Though the activities of Boko Haram/ Ansaru and the one by Niger Delta militants smack of criminality, it must be noted that the sects moved a step further with its orgy of wanton killings. And we know that terrorism is a globally condemnable crime against humanity that any serious nation should not condone under whatever guise. Additionally, the militants have economic restoration as the basis of their agitations, but the sects’ members are making unattainable demands that could only lead to dismemberment of the country. We demand that the northern leaders should meet with the Boko Haram/ Ansaru members and cause them to publicly lay down their arms. It is only then that the call for amnesty can be rational.

‘While we would gladly support meaningful requests that can bring about desired peace in the northern part of the nation, we take exception to a demand that is hanging in the air such as the one by the northern leaders. Amnesty can only be granted to identifiably penitent people. In this case, Boko Haram members are haughtily unknown and there is nothing to suggest that they are ready to lay down their weapons’

Wasteful expenditure • Soyinka is right; Maku’s tour is a scam

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HEN we thought the country was through with reckless deployment of resources, information minister Labaran Maku has reminded a bewildered nation that nothing has really changed in the 14 years of public affairs management by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Since last year, a large party of journalists assembled by the information minister has been on an endless road show called the National Good Governance Tour. According to the minister who himself was a journalist, the tour was meant to showcase what the federal and state governments have achieved in recent times.

‘Maku’s explanation that the governors were carried along in taking the decision is unhelpful. It is puerile and illogical ... What is clearly unacceptable on the part of state governments is that they were required to pick the bill. But, whatever the source of the fund for such an unnecessary tour, it is regrettable that about 10 years after another information minister, Professor Jerry Gana, treated the public to such a show, we are back dancing on the same spot’

So far, the tour has taken the 120-strong band to about 16 states where the minister led the group to inspect mainly projects executed by the state governments. In each state, he capped the tour with a town hall where he pontificated on what has been done, how they ought to have been done and what he thought has not been done well. A lot is wrong with the concept and packaging of the jamboree. First, this is a federation. The Federal Government has no business assessing the performance of state governments. Worse still, there is very little to show by Abuja that gulps about 55 per cent of national resources. In most of the states, the tour is all about what the harassed state governments have managed to do with the little resources allowed them in the skewed federal fiscal system bequeathed the country by the military. Second, as Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has pointed out, it is sickening that the Federal Government could be presenting a bill of millions to state governors. At a time that workers and the people are agitated that living wages are not being paid and infrastructure crying for attention, how could Maku be exerting such pressure on a meaningless project? It is also unfortunate that media houses could release journalists to join the train. How could men meant to keep the gate and keep their eyes on the national till be so myopic as to allow participation in such a futile exercise? Organisations in the media, including the Nigeria Union

of Journalists, the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria should immediately withdraw participation from the tour and issue statements denouncing it as wrongful deployment of resources. Maku’s explanation that the governors were carried along in taking the decision is unhelpful. It is puerile and illogical. Again, Governor Oshiomhole’s explanation has answered him. If the group wanted to tour projects and applied to pay him a visit, it would have been accorded all respects due visitors. What is clearly unacceptable on the part of state governments is that they were required to pick the bill. But, whatever the source of the fund for such an unnecessary tour, it is regrettable that about 10 years after another information minister, Professor Jerry Gana, treated the public to such a show, we are back dancing on the same spot. The world is watching us. The fate of the black race is tied to the progress and choices made by Nigeria. When public affairs are handled by insensitive officials, such hopes are misplaced and the government would have disappointed the Nigerian people, the African continent, the black race and the entire global community. The country can take consolation in the fact that men like Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima and Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, and, indeed, the Action Congress of Nigeria have roundly condemned the jamboree as a fraud.

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T’S NOT hard for outsiders to discern what Egypt’s leaders must do to avoid a looming economic collapse and the even more frightening risk of anarchy. First, they must quickly come to terms with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with which they have been dickering for months over the terms of a $4.8 billion bailout loan. More importantly, Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and his secular opposition must cease their attempts to delegitimize and destroy each other and agree on a democratic constitution and new elections. To their credit, President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry have delivered that message in the past week, Mr. Obama in a phone call to Mr. Morsi and Mr. Kerry in a visit to Cairo. But there’s not much evidence that anyone in Egypt is listening. The trouble starts with the government of Mr. Morsi, who was democratically elected last year with the support of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. The president has frequently proclaimed his support for democracy, for peace with Israel and for good relations with the United States. Mr. Morsi has repeatedly offered dialogue to the opposition and suggested his willingness to modify the current constitution or set up a new cabinet as a way of compromising. He told Mr. Kerry that he hoped to conclude a pact with the IMF in days. In practice, however, the government often appears to pursue a different course. It has delayed desperately needed stabilization measures, such as an increase in sales taxes. It has moved toward placing oppressive new controls on nongovernmental organizations that would have the effect of eliminating their independence from the government and preventing them from receiving donations from international sources. A prosecutor appointed by Mr. Morsi, meanwhile, is pressing criminal cases against critical journalists and entertainers on flimsy charges of insulting the president. Government officials say a more liberal NGO law is in the works and that the president opposes the prosecution of journalists, but those assertions have yet to be proved in practice. Sadly, many opposition leaders have demonstrated no greater fealty to democratic principles. Having repeatedly lost free and fair elections in the past two years, secular politicians including Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Amr Moussa, the former secretary general of the Arab League, have adopted a self-defeating boycott strategy. They refuse to attend the political dialogue convened by Mr. Morsi; they say they will boycott the parliamentary election now scheduled to begin in April. Several even refused to attend a meeting in Cairo with Mr. Kerry. It’s hard to see where this strategy can lead, other than to turning the nascent political system entirely over to the Islamists. Some in the opposition say they are angry at the United States for backing Mr. Morsi; they seem to think the Obama administration should join them in their uncompromising battle with the Islamists. In fact Mr. Obama is right to try to work with this legitimately elected leader, while pushing him to compromise with his opponents. But U.S. policy remains muddled: Most of the $1 billion in economic aid Mr. Obama promised Egypt after its revolution has been held up, while $1.3 billion in annual military aid continues. It may be that the United States can do nothing to change the course of events in Egypt. But now is the time for Washington to use all the leverage it can muster to press both the government and its opponents toward compromise. - Washington Post

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile •Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon •Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina •Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) Yomi Odunuga •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu •Sport Editor Ade Ojeikere •Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

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CARTOON & LETTERS

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IR: Social media has made information and communication accessible to everyone irrespective of age, time, distance and many more. The world has become a global village with new technological advancement and the free flow of information and media content. The advent of social media has impacted on the way students communicate with one another especially in written form. Colloquialism is acceptable in spoken language but never in formal writing. Indeed, the way students communicate has changed completely because of the frequent use of social media like facebook, tweeter, 2go, BBM, Whatsapp, Badoo, and so on. However, these modern forms of communication that students use while chatting or interacting in social media is gradually influencing the way students write in the school. We have heard several reports or cases of such abnormal writing skills that have been developed or adopted by students due to their constant interaction in the social media. Terms such as laugh out loud or lot of love are being abbreviated to (lol), BRB to mean, be right back, UW to mean you welcome, U to represent you, letter D to represent the, R to represent are, and many other words and terms like that.

EDITOR’S MAIL BAG SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 800 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. E-mail: views@thenationonlineng.net

Social media and students’ writing skills Lecturers and teachers have reported a dramatic decline in the writing abilities of students. They do not capitalise words or use punctuation marks rightly anymore. Universities, polytechnics, col-

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leges and even secondary schools are complaining about the trend of communication style being used by students via the use of social media. The opportunities that are inher-

ent in the use of social media have been strongly abused especially by the students. Most students do not know the appropriate time to use social media. They use it even when their lecturers, teachers are in class

Tribute to Hugo Chavez

IR: It is often said that some leaders were made while some were born. For Hugo Chavez the departed President of Venezuela, it can be said that he was made as he rose as military academy student to become the President of the oil-rich country. Born Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías on July 28, 1954, in Sabaneta, Venezuela, Chávez was the son of schoolteachers. Before becoming known for his reform efforts and strong opinions as president of Venezuela (1999-2013), he attended the Daniel O’Leary High School in

the city of Barinas before going to the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences in the capital, Caracas where, he later said, he found his true vocation. He also found time to play baseball and to study the lives of the 19th Century South American revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar and the Marxist Che Guevara. In 1992, Chávez, along with other disenchanted members of the military, attempted to overthrow the government of Carlos Andres Perez. The coup failed, and Chávez subsequently spent two years in

prison before being pardoned. He then started the Movement of the Fifth Republic, a revolutionary political party. Chávez ran for president in 1998, campaigning against government corruption and promising economic reforms. After taking office in 1999, Chávez set out to change the Venezuelan constitution, amending the powers of congress and the judicial system. As president, Chávez encountered challenges both at home and abroad. His efforts to tighten his hold on the state-run oil company in 2002 stirred up con-

Governance meltdown in Kogi

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IR: The emergence of Governor Ichalla Wada in the highly doctored electoral heist of 2011 has aggravated adversely, the virus infected-politics of my dear state. As it stands today, if performance is the yardstick to measure a working state, Kogi State is at best, comatose. Keen watchers of the unfolding scenario have attributed the non-performance of the governor to the litany of court litigations against him, while others have traced the seemingly lacklustreness to the massive debt he inherited from his godfather predecessor, Ibrahim Idris. Why is it that the financial position of the state is still enmeshed in mystery? Or, is exgovernor Idris still in charge as being insinuated in some quarters? Wada should speak out. The infrastructures on ground, ranging from Kogi Polytechnic, Obajana Cement Factory, Kogi

lecturing or teaching and sometimes, lecturers would have to seize their phones and enforce punishment on such students. Consequently, the need for media literacy education becomes imperatives for children who are approaching adolescent age. This will give the children early and proper understanding of how to broaden their thoughts, skills, knowledge and provide them the opportunity to explore, learn and share his/her views with other people around the world. • Habiba Abubakar Yahaya IBB University, Lapai, Niger State.

University and the once beautiful, “Confluence City” etc were conceived, initiated and executed by the ACN candidate in the last governorship poll, Abubakar Audu. Ironically, Capt. Wada, who many believe is a ‘very good man’ has hardly come to terms with what governance entails, or by extension, is burdened by the PDP’s impunity. Kogi is a vivid example of where nothing works: no well defined policy formulation and implementation; the 21 LGA’s are a shadow of what they should be because constitutional democracy is flagrantly abused; propagation and dissemination of poverty is at its summit; graduate unemployment is growing at geometric rate etc. In Borno State, Governor Shettima, inspite of the recurring Boko Haram insurgency has taken governance to another dimension.

He underscored the importance of water supply by constructing 100 boreholes within his first 100 days in office. Adams Oshiomhole came like a whirlwind to sweep Edo clean of PDP’s corruption; he has since littered the entire landscape with enviable projects and restored in situ, the lost glory of the people. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso just inaugurated “Kwankwasiyya pilots” where 100 Kano indigenes were sent abroad to study piloting. Inspite of the meagre monthly allocation of Ekiti, Governor Fayemi’s performance ratio far outweigh some oil producing states. Ekiti roads are a joy to behold. Governor Babatunde Fashola is doing the unthinkable; many thought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had done all, but, alas, they were wrong. BRF’s road projects, housing scheme for low income earners; the total eradication of security threat miscreants; changing the entire

outlook of Old Eko landscape to a masterpiece and his welfarristic programmes are a 21st century wonder. These laudable news from the less-endowed states calls for a sober reflection. The time has come for the administrators in Kogi State to brainstorm, think right, perform the required surgical operations and exploit maximally the varying opportunities for the benefit of Kogites or else posterity shall eternally write their names on the debit side of the balance sheet of political history. In case my memory fails me or I’m ill-informed on the state of things in Kogi, I want people who think they know to keep me abreast of the supposedly achievement(s) of Capt. Idris Ichalla Wada, since his assumption of office. • Anthony Oloniruha Kabba, Kogi State.

troversy and led to numerous protests, and he found himself removed from power briefly in April 2002 by military leaders. The protests continued after his return to power, leading to a referendum on whether he should remain president. The referendum vote was held in August 2004, and majority of voters decided to let Chávez complete his term in office. Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Poverty also plummeted (The Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). College enrollment more than doubled; millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions also quadrupled. Unemployment dropped by 7.7% since the start of Chávez’s presidency. It dropped to 10% in February 2006, from the 20% high in 2003 during a two-month strike and business lockout that shut down the country’s oil industry. The World Economic Forum ranked Venezuela as 82 out of 102 countries on a measure of how favorable investment was for financial institutions. I join the Venezuelans and other eminent people all over the world including Chavez’s childhood friend, Diego Maradona in mourning with the immediate family • John Tosin Ajiboye Osogbo Osun State


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COMMENTS

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HOEVER advised on the visit by President Goodluck Jonathan to the troubled North-east states of Yobe and Borno last week ought to have realised by now that the visit did neither the administration nor the states any good. Merely on account of its advertised objectives, the visit was an unmitigated disaster – a public relations fiasco for the visitor as much as for the hosts. Whereas no one expected that the chasm between the federal government and the stakeholders in the two states would be bridged on mere account of a presidential visit; it was certainly not expected that disagreements would blow open as it did both in Damaturu and Maiduguri. In both places, the two sides not only blew the chance to advance the cause of peace, the outcome lent little optimism to any prospects of peace in the foreseeable future. Of course, it is disappointing that the visiting leader had nothing of soothing words for the people. For the hapless throng that have endured the affliction of the Boko Haram, the president neither saw need to offer his words of comfort nor did he find it necessary to express solidarity. His hosts on the other hand seemed utterly ill-prepared for what was supposed to be a long anticipated visit. As it turned out, neither side offered practical suggestions or roadmaps on the way forward. Representatives of stakeholders in the two states in fact stopped short of declaring the insurgency as more tolerable than the operations of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), recycling as it were, their age-long request for the JTF to be removed from the streets without telling the government what plans they had in place to secure the peace – a demand the President wisely rejected. As it is, there will be no shortage of finger-pointing as to who to hold responsible for the bungled visit. The natural tendency for most Nigerians is to revert to their default settings in heaping all the blames on the federal government. However, the event of the past week has not only borne out my contention that the leaders in the region have not been entirely helpful, the signs are that they are no less complicit in the crime of abdication than the federal government that they are wont to accuse. Let’s look at what the leaders suggested as the way forward out of the crisis. Like the militants in the Niger Delta, the leaders want amnesty for the terrorists. Now, I must say here that I’m open to the debate on the shape of amnesty to be granted to mass murderers. The debate might as well begin, even now. However, my questions are – suppose the government proclaims amnesty,

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HE recent revocation of the degree certificate of the former Abia State governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu by the authorities of Abia State University Uturu, Abia State was not the first of its kind in the country. Before now some universities had after many years of graduation revoked the degree certificates of people whom they discovered that the award of such degrees contravened the laid down procedures for admission and graduation from the universities. The university, like any other academic institutions, has the right to revoke the certificate awarded to people, whenever it was discovered that they were wrongly awarded. Nothing stops the authorities from taking such action; not even the number of years such certificates have been awarded. So there is no sentiment in the issuance and revocation of certificate awarded by any institution because every institution has a well laid down law, procedures, rules and regulations guiding admission, academic, non-academic curriculum and graduation from the institution which is being handed over to applicants upon admission. Recently, the West African Examination Council (WAEC), after four years, cancelled the certificates of about 200 persons who sat for their examination at Ogudu Senior Grammar School Ojudu GRA Ojota Lagos after discovering that there were irregularities in the award of the certificates. Some of the affected persons are in their final year in universities and the heaven did not fall. What matters most is that the onus lies on the affected persons to prove the authority wrong by providing substantial evidence before the court that the certificates were not wrongly awarded to them. Many had fought such battles in the past. While some lost, others with incontrovertible evidence to substantiate their cases won them. As for the case of Kalu and Abia State University authority, the ball is in Kalu’s court to prove the authority wrong by providing substantial evidence before the court to show that he was properly admitted and that he graduated from the university, while in office as governor of the state and visitor to the university. Trying to link the revocation to political victimisation by the state government is puerile because the university is made up of renowned professors and academics who are not politicians and who know the implications of revoking a degree after many years of awarding it. Unless Kalu wants the world to believe that he arm-twisted the university authority to award him the degree while in office as the governor even when he knew he did not merit such, he should come clean with the transcript issued to him by the University of

Policy Sanya Oni sanyaoni@yahoo.co.uk 08051101841

Jonathan and Borno elders how about the fundamentalist ideology which feeds the insurgency? Would it also be the responsibility of the federal government to extirpate it? Now to another equally contentious issue – the demand for the withdrawal of the JTF. I recognise the deliberate misplacement of ‘effect’ for ‘cause’, an elite problem designed to obfuscate issues. So the JTF is the problem because a handful of service personnel violate the rules of engagement? And that to constitute the ground to demand for the withdrawal of the personnel on internal security duties? What happens after? Turn out the vast territories to the Boko Haram or their cousins the AQIM? It is hard to imagine that the elders actually believe that the JTF is the problem. No doubt, internal security operations are by their nature, fraught with unique challenges. While these are not deniable, the challenge is for the elders to highlight them so that they could be dealt with.

‘What Abuja can do is give federal muscle to local initiatives. No matter what anyone thinks, Abuja is in the least position to take on the fundamentalist ideology driving the insurgency. Community and opinion leaders will do a far better job of that’

What should not be missed is the larger picture: these men were drafted in to deal with a problem that went out of control. I shudder to imagine what the situation will be without the men of the JTF. Or would the elders have preferred that Boko Haram overrun the region with the federal government left to negotiate the status of the region after? Finally, on this point, has anyone bothered to ask the primary targets of those terror attacks what they think of the JTF? I mean the churches and other so-called symbols of western civilisation which the sect finds to offensive? Are these institutions not entitled to the protection of the law also? Here is a word for those who look up to Abuja for solution to the problem. Abuja is a wrong place to look for solutions. First, the fat cats in the territory have no ideas to give; not with so much security funds to gobble! Secondly, the problems are by their very nature, local! At best, what Abuja can do is give federal muscle to local initiatives. No matter what anyone thinks, Abuja is in the least position to take on the fundamentalist ideology driving the insurgency. Community and opinion leaders will do a far better job of that. The same is true of the search for peace; it cannot be imposed from Abuja. The people have to be willing to assist security agencies to do their job. Ditto for development. The people just have to be willing to give it a shot. Last week, I heard Borno Governor Kashim Shettima talk about a Marshall Plan for the North-east. That is at least good thinking. I hope he’s not referring to a plan crafted in Abuja for the people of Borno – a plan that can only help feed the fat boys in Abuja. He should get to work to produce a roadmap for development for his dear state. When all is said and done, he will find that good ideas have a way of attracting cash. Ask the people of Niger Delta where cash seems to be looking for good ideas. Dare to ask if the people have seen development with trillions of federal money poured into the region post amnesty. I assume of course that the North-east would not succumb to the template of appeasement made for the Niger Delta. Now, what do I think of the role of the revered elders? Simple: they need to get back to the drawing board. Asking Jonathan to impose peace on their region is tantamount to abdication – worse than death. The same way that their request on the President to surrender the law enforcement option is unhelpful and counterproductive. Surely, some things must be better than politics. Beyond politics, what the leaders need at this time are courage and openness. After all, the fire is right at their doorsteps.

ABSU and the revocation of Kalu’s certificate By Jonas Ozoubi Maiduguri which he used for inter-university transfer into the Abia State University and even the O’ level certificate he used to secure admission into the University of Maiduguri in the first place. So many things are at stake in this situation that need to be cleared by Kalu if he wants Nigerians to believe him that he is being victimised by the university authority. The university authority in their various advertorials had justified their action based on the law that established the university academic programme; the onus is now on Kalu to prove otherwise. University degree is not a common product that could be easily purchased. It takes time, resources, discipline and hard work for one to acquire it. It could be recall that in 2002 when the news broke that Kalu was writing degree examination in Abia State University, Olusegun Adeniyi, the then editor of Thisday wrote an article on the back page of the newspaper titled “Eze Goes To School” where he raised a lot of questions on the propriety of Kalu being a student of ABSU, writing degree examination and at the same time serving as the governor of the state and visitor to the university. Adeniyi in the article had asked some pertinent questions such as when Kalu was admitted into the university, his choice of the state university and what time did he has as a governor to attend lectures, even on part-time basis if it is assumed that he was admitted as a part time student. Not many Nigerians took Adeniyi’s fears then very serious, rather he was attacked by Kalu’s media aides. From the way the saga is unfolding today, it appears that Adeniyi and other Nigerians who saw the development from his perspectives might be vindicated at the end of the day, unless something otherwise happens to prove the university authority wrong. Accusing the state government of inciting the university to revoke his certificate is nothing but shadow chasing. The situation goes beyond Kalu’s political differences with any body. It is academic matter that should be sorted out academically and legally, not politically. Before now prominent Nigerians who were accused of forging certificates or illegally acquiring certificates in the past have taken the matters to court to clear their names. Former Kogi State Governor Ibrahim Idris was once ac-

cused of not having school certificate, while being admitted as a law student at University of Abuja. His lawyers took the matter to court and WAEC officials were in court to testify that he obtained a school certificate from a secondary school in Bayelsa State many years ago. Such allegation of certificate forgery was also leveled against Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State. Today, Suswan has won the case at High court and the Appeal Court and is ready to meet his accuser at the Supreme Court. Kalu and his sympathisers should stop pointing accusing fingers at anybody or group as being responsible for the certificate saga. Rather, they should face the reality by doing everything to clear his name from the mess if he is sure of the genuineness of his admission and graduation from the university. Any other thing contrary is bunkum; not even Barrister Amobi Nzelu’s recent claim that he wanted to go to court for Kalu but was discouraged by a Professor from the university who said it was not necessary. How will Nzelu expect Nigerians to fall for such gimmicks? Or is it that Kalu has no evidence to upturn his revoked degree certificate in court? So if Kalu is not sure of himself and does not have enough evidence to challenge the decision in court, he and his allies should keep quiet and accept the decision in good faith. Meanwhile, all eyes are on Kalu to respond to the university’s decision by taking urgent action to redeem his battered image. • Dr. Ozoubi wrote Bwari Abuja

‘If Kalu is not sure of himself and does not have enough evidence to challenge the decision in court, he and his allies should keep quiet and accept the decision in good faith. Meanwhile, all eyes are on Kalu to respond to the university’s decision by taking urgent action to redeem his battered image’


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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COMMENTS

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LMOST eleven years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York and Washington by global terrorism network, Al Qeada, the United States is not giving up on tracking down and punishing the perpetrators of one of mankind’s greatest tragedies. Last week, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, the sonin-law of Osama bin Laden, the founder, leader and funder of Al Qeada, killed by US SEAL in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011, was arrested by American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), working in concert with Jordanian security, in Jordan and flown to New York on Thursday where he was due to appear in court a day later on a charge of conspiracy to kill Americans. The charge obviously relates to the 2001 attacks. Though not directly or physically involved in the terror attacks, Abu Ghaith offence is linked to his appearing on video immediately after the attacks, speaking on behalf of Al Qeada. In the run up to the September 11, 2001 attacks he had also held meetings with Al Qeada operatives where he urged them to swear allegiance to the cause as well as Osama bin Laden. He also appeared in video with his father-in-law threatening attacks on American and western targets around the world. So in essence, the man who had been hiding in Iran all these years after September 11, before being deported to Turkey and later Jordan, is being held and is to be punished for what he said, which in all intent and purpose could be linked to the 9/11 attacks. Closer home in Kaduna last Saturday, the State Commissioner of Police led a team of armed policemen to the premises of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, in the city to arrest a serving senator and one time governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmad Sani, of the emerging opposition All Progressive Congress, APC for comments he made in the course of a live radio phone-in programme, deemed capable of causing the breach of the peace. And what did the senator say? The man in response to a question whether there was any move by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to register the APC, and if that happened what would be the next line of action of the opposition, responded that if having met all legal requirements for registration as a political party and INEC still refused to grant APC registration, the opposition would

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S someone who very well knows that exaggeration diminishes credibility, I give it a wide berth in claiming that the vocal governor of the State of Osun in South-west Nigeria, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is doubtlessly a focused, clearheaded, and innovative political leader. It is doubtful whether I could so describe him prior to my encounter with him at Cambridge when he visited a few weeks back. To be sure, before that day, I had heard and read many things about him, particularly the avalanche of controversies which defined his person and administration since he became governor. When on Tuesday February 19, I heard that he was in Cambridge, close by Boston where I am resident, to attend the town hall meeting with Harvard African Caucus made up of black students, I did not hang fire – actually more out of curiosity – in getting myself there. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. And there he was in his charming unassuming disposition, beaming with the trademark smile I am accustomed to through still pictures. The centrepiece of his address to the august audience was the innovations he has brought to governance since he came into office as governor. He spoke eloquently about the unprecedented reforms that his state’s educational, agricultural, and health sectors had successfully undergone under his watch. He zestfully primed his audience of how his administration through its carefully designed poli-

‘By creditably giving a good report of himself in his smooth delivery, this springy politician unequivocally made it manifest that he is political leader of uncommon dedication, discipline and character’

The hand is Esau’s march on the Eagle Square in Abuja in a peaceful protest. He added that the Tahrir Square protest in Egypt would be a child’s play to the protest at Eagle Square if the newly formed party was denied registration. Now pray in what way is this simple and clear answer to a question likely to cause the breach of the peace such that the Commissioner of Police, on a Saturday, had to rush to the radio station, even before the end of the live programme to arrest the senator? In what way could this harmless comment be construed to be a threat to Nigeria’s security as in the way, for example, that Abu Ghaith’s pre and post 9/11 video comments on behalf of Al Qeada is being construed by the US? Agreed that both incidents appear unrelated but the inference being drawn here is that both are rooted in perceived threat to state security, in the eyes of the respective security services in the two countries, by the comments made by the people involved. The question here is whether what the senator said was enough to warrant his arrest and detention by the Commissioner of Police? On the surface the CP’s action could be termed a pre-emptive move to prevent a possible breakdown of law and order, but a closer look could reveal the likelihood of a more sinister motive on the part of police. The police boss reportedly got a call from Abuja that Saturday morning as the senator was on air, ordering him to arrest the lawmaker. Who made the call? Force Headquarters or the Presidency? With Senator Sani’s comments posing no serious, if any, threat to the peace and security of the nation, one can only deduce form the Police’s action that it was part of the much expected grand plan by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to destabilize and frustrate any attempt by the opposition to come under one

umbrella to challenge the PDP in future elections. Shall we now say that the Nigeria Police as now an arm of the PDP, the same way INEC is being viewed by the opposition? If this later prove to be the case then our democracy is in grave danger. I am sure if there was no indication of the likelihood of INEC not registering the APC, Senator Sani wouldn’t have made that comment and I think the man was merely warning or rather advising the electoral body and to a large extent, the Federal Government against doing anything inimical to the good health of this democracy. And in what looked like a confirmation of the fears of the opposition, INEC has come out that a fledging political organisation named African People’s Congress (APC) had applied to it for registration as a political party. What a smart move. The hand here is definitely that of Esau while the voice is that of Jacob. One needs no soothsayer to know that the PDP and indeed Jonathan’s Federal Government is at work here. The same way Jonathan sponsored a PDP Governors Forum mainly to frustrate the Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s led Nigeria Governors Forum following his inability to wrest control of the NGF from the Rivers State governor, is what he is attempting to do now with this other APC, to frustrate and disorganize the opposition ahead of the 2015 presidential election. If Professor Attahiru Jega’s INEC fail to see through this, then this democracy is in serious danger. And there is more danger ahead if the police continue on the path set last Saturday by the Kaduna CP. It then means that we should expect more arrest of opposition politicians and other political elements, even within the PDP that are not on the same page with

President Jonathan on his 2015 project. But the president is well advised to note that it is strong arm tactics like this, together with lack luster performance that can imperil this democracy and not what the opposition says. The police should also remember that its unholy alliance with the Shehu Shagari led Federal Government of then National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the second republic, especially as regards intimidating and witch hunting opponents and collaborating to rig elections led to the fall of that republic. We are in the 4th republic now and I hope the police have learnt their lessons. The quick response of the Kaduna CP to the Abuja call to arrest Senator Sani is at odd with the character of the Nigeria Police that we know when it comes to response to distress or danger call. May be the Force is changing, but it better be for the good of the nation and not just a few. One would have expected the Kaduna Police Command and not the military to have discovered the bomb making factory that was uncovered at the Kaduna home of an Abuja based politician last week. The discovery by men of the Intelligence Unit of the 1st Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna was shocking considering the number/volume of arms and ammunitions including IEDs involved. Where are we headed in this country if one may ask? Not that it was a bad thing that the Army discovered this bomb factory, but internal security is the primary responsibility of the police and the earlier the Force steps up its activities in this area, instead of being a willing tool in the hands of politicians to fight their personal battles, the better. We have a greater battle on our hands, the battle against terrorism and the police should take the lead role.

‘Shall we now say that the Nigeria Police is now an arm of the PDP, the same way INEC is being viewed by the opposition? If this later prove to be the case then our democracy is in grave danger’

Aregbesola’s American visit By Adewale Morgan cies – he actually said Six-Point-Integral-Action Plan – has made a huge dent on the monster of youth unemployment, cured the state of its financial ailment, and impacted the lives of the citizens who are mostly farmers. All of these and more he said, exuding affecting confidence, coruscating brilliance, and unpretentious calmness. But his most impactful presentation was the computer tablet he called Opon Imo, which indeed is an innovation. According to him, the tablet which will be distributed to all the senior students in the state’s public secondary schools, contains all recommended textbooks, past questions on certificate and matriculation examinations and moral instructions. This I am sure is going to help parents who cannot afford to buy books for their wards and also help the students to focus on reading. More importantly, it will introduce them to computer at an early age. I must admit that even in the United States, this is a novel thinking. This idea has never occurred to anyone to the best of my knowledge. I was really impressed by his clinical deployment of non-convoluted details. By creditably giving a good report of himself in his smooth delivery, this springy politician unequivocally made it manifest that he is political leader of uncommon dedication, discipline and character. Deservedly, the attentive audience expressed their appreciation of his memorable delivery through thunderous ovation lasting for a while. Of course, I needed no prodding to attend the lecture he delivered the next day at the Weatherhead Center. He whetted my appetite for his depth and insights. As I listened to his lecture, it dawned on me that, as the Americans would say, I ain’t seen nothing yet. Governor Aregbesola’s lecture at the monthly seminar of the Weatherhead Centre for International Stud-

ies, Harvard University, centred on the multifarious and overwhelming development challenges assailing Nigeria. Though the challenges are ubiquitous and form the subject of public discourse, both at national and international forums, the governor’s analyses was thorough and seminal. I must admit that his analytical exposition added depth to my perspective on the socio-economic and political setbacks the most populous black nation is inured in. Nigeria’s development calamities are of Byzantine complexity, he enlightened. For him, blinding ethnicity, defective federalism, rapine military system, adulterated religious practices, clueless leadership, among many other horrifying human-inspired debacles, are the foxes pitilessly destroying the rich vineyard of the Nigerian state. A courageous leader, he warmed the cockles of my heart when he flintily noted that it would amount to weak reasoning to carp that “outsiders” are responsible for the present condition of the country. The wisdom in this is that when the nation continues to bellyache that the foundation of its underdevelopment can be located in its colonial experience, it will lose the sense to think of the way out of the woods. Yet, colonialism is not exclusive to Nigeria. Other peoples who were even more ruthlessly colonised have since pulled off the burden and are today havens of unexampled human and material developments. The right leadership that can champion this cause and make things happen, he reasoned knowledgeably, is what the country must inexorably find. Governor Aregbesola’s report on the achievements of his administration revealed to me a leader who knows what is amiss and works squarely to fix it. The kind of leadership he longs to see his country possess is exactly what he selflessly provides in Osun. Within two years, he has achieved notable reforms in the educational and agricultural sectors of his state. Government is closer,

more than ever before, to the people. Youth employment is aggressively pursued and public infrastructure is springing up – all in a state that could barely breathe owing to the suffocating debt it was burdened with by past selfish administration. With the zeal of an empathic leader, he is effectively rescuing majority of the citizens who had been hitherto suspended on the scaffold of penury, hunger, joblessness and insecurity. Indeed, the “elephant” of Aregbesola merits more description than “I catch a glimpse of something”. When we see a performing and responsible political leader, we must be honest enough to admit that we have seen Governor Abdulrauf Adesoji Aregbesola! Much more, with that revealing lecture, Aregbesola has demonstrated the fact that, warts and all, the story of Nigeria is not all about a jinxed country, nay, a land held in the throes of avoidable misfortunes. It is a relief to know that Nigeria has some thinking and responsible political leaders. I encourage the governor and those in his circle to hold the fort; they must not give up until a Nigeria of our desire is founded. • Morgan lives in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

‘For him, blinding ethnicity, defective federalism, rapine military system, adulterated religious practices, clueless leadership, among many other horrifying human-inspired debacles, are the foxes pitilessly destroying the rich vineyard of the Nigerian state’


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INSIDE

TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

Website: http://www.thenationonlineng.com

Page 25

Health workers trained on new device - Page 26

CPC: don’t use troops for FCT polls - Page 27

Court orders speedy hearing of demolition case •Top: Minanuel Estate before demolition Bottom: After demolition

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Phones for rural farmers - Page 28

HE dust raised by the demolition of 372 housing units belonging to Minanuel Investment Limited is yet to settle. The houses were demolished by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) between September 29 and October 2, last year. Accusations and counteraccusations trailed the exercise. FCTA justified its action saying the estate’s location contravened the principles of the Abuja Master Plan, but the developer claimed that it followed due process in acquiring the land and seeking the FCTA’s approval before building. The bickering continued until Minanuel Investment Limited (MIL) filed a N5billion suit against the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed at an Abuja High Court for demolishing the houses. Justice Danlami Zenchi has ordered an accelerated hearing

From Kamarudeen Ogundele

of suit. In the suit, Minanuel Investment Limited is contending that the demolition is illegal. The court has granted leave to the plaintiff to amend its writ of summons. Although the court was to proceed on definite hearing of the case, the plaintiff’s motion to amend its brief stalled the plan. In granting the plaintiff’s request, Justice Zenchi gave the respondents 14 days to file their

reply. Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) with Dr. Amaechi Nwiwu (SAN) who appeared for Senator Mohammed and others had pleaded with the court to allow them time to file their response. The court adjourned the case till May 6, warning that it would not entertain any acts that may further delay the hearing . Lagos lawyer Femi Falana (SAN), who is the estate developer’s counsel, is praying court to compel the Minister to pay N5billion as special and

The minister’s action violates the provisions of Sections 47, 50,51, 53, 60, 83 and 84 of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act (138), Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004…The demolition violates its right to fair hearing, the right to property and the right to housing as guaranteed by Sections 33, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution

general damages for the alleged illegal demolition of the housing estate. In the writ of summons he filed on his client’s behalf, Falana is praying the court for a declaration that the demolition is illegal, null and void. The minister’s action, he said, violates the provisions of Sections 47, 50, 51, 53, 60, 83 and 84 of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act (138), Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004. The plaintiff is also praying the court to declare that the demolition violates its right to fair hearing, the right to property and the right to housing as guaranteed by Sections 33, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 7 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A9), Laws.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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ABUJA REVIEW

Don’t use soldiers for council polls, CPC urges INEC Stories from Gbenga Omokhunu

•Masari

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HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been warned against using soldiers for the March 16 chairmanship and councillorship elections of the Federal Capital Territory area

councils. The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) gave the warning in Abuja. In a statement issued by the chairman of the party’s election monitoring committee and former Speaker of House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, CPC said that deploying the military to provide security is unnecessary since the FCT is devoid of any special security threat or condition. It also said that deploying the Army will scare and intimidate voters. Masari said rather than take any action that will deter innocent voters from participating in the election; INEC should deploy the police to check any security breach.

He, however, said the police personnel to be used during the election should be prevailed upon to refrain from direct involvement in acts of harassment and intimidation of voters. “CPC wishes to stress that election is a civic duty and INEC and

all the agencies of government working on this election must ensure that citizens are encouraged to discharge their civic duties freely without intimidation, inducement and incitement,” he said. Masari further said that the

Election is a civic duty and INEC and all the agencies of government working on this election must ensure that citizens are encouraged to discharge their civic duties freely without intimidation, inducement and incitement

CPC and its candidates are working very hard to ensure peaceful and successful elections in the area councils. He said the party is mobilising voters and supporters to ensure their effective participation, adding that the party has appointed competent agents and election supervisors to help monitor the polls. “As a law-abiding party, we look forward to free, peaceful and credible FCT council elections in line with the Electoral Act of 2010 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said. The FCT council elections will take place in the six area councils of Abuja Municipal Council, Gwagwalada, Buwari, Kuje, Abaji and Kwali.

Minister advises councils on healthcare delivery

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INISTER of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed has said that funds for the enhancement of primary healthcare services in the council areas would be deducted at source from their share of the monthly federal allocations. The minister stated this while meeting with members of the implementation committee of the FCT polio immunisation exercise, development partners as well as stakeholders in his office. Senator Mohammed said that the action became necessary to underscore the importance of routine immunisation exercise in all the nook and cranny of the FCT. He remarked that the FCT Administration exemplifies good governance, as his administration has been prompt in releasing

all funds from the Federation Account, including 10 per cent of internally-generated revenue (IGR) accruing to the FCTA to the six area councils. Senator Mohammed therefore wondered why the area councils would fail to meet all its statutory responsibilities despite the commitment of the administration to live up to its own responsibility. He said: “We at the FCT Administration, have given the FCT area councils all they needed by law and therefore cannot accept failure in the area of primary healthcare services which are central to the health of rural dwellers in their respective councils. This is because we cannot continue to micro-manage the area councils.” The minister instructed that traditional rulers and religious

leaders must be carried along in all the processes of routine immunisation exercises in the territory. He revealed that issues and gaps noticed in polio eradication exercise will also be tabled at the subsequent meeting of G-7 Security Summit which is an assembly of FCT and all its contiguous states to find a practical way of nipping the cases of poliomyelitis in the zone due to constant migration of people around the zone in the bud. While calling for serious advocacy and sensitisation among all stakeholders, Senator Mohammed appreciated the efforts of Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote as well as other development partners in contributing to the total eradication of this menace. Considering the importance of routine immunisation exercise,

the minister vowed that he would personally be involved in monitoring and supervising the houseto-house immunisation exercise if necessary. Speaking earlier, the FCT Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya praised the commitment of the minister and FCT Minister of State, Senator Bala Mohammed and Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide respectively for providing the political will to scale-up health activities in the Federal Capital Territory. Dr. Onakomaiya, however, pleaded with the area councils to wake up to their responsibilities by contributing their quota as statutorily required. In attendance at the meeting were Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, representatives of World Bank,

•Dr Onakomaiya

the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), members of the implementation committee as well as other stakeholders.

Health workers trained on new device

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N a bid to improve on the preventive measures on HIV and AIDS, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has trained decisionmakers in laboratory departments from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory on the modern method of extracting blood from patients for laboratory tests. The train-the-trainer programme was organised by NACA in collaboration with KEBS Pharmacy Limited. The new method known as SMonovette device which is already in use in developed countries, is said to be a more reliable and safe method of taking out blood from the body system in a manner that guarantees safety of the worker, patients and the environment. The Director-General of NACA, John Idoko who was represented by the Assistant-Director, Supply Chain Management in the agency, Bravo Otohabru said: “This is a training on SMonovette System. It is a system of collecting blood samples from patients. We are procuring the system from KEBS Pharmacy. “This device is designed in such a manner that the needle is very small and it is very convenient for any type of vein. In the old system that we are using, the vein has to

From Bukola Amusan

be very large. But in the present device, the needle is very small and can go into any kind of vein of a child or the aged. “The needle is well sterilised and well protected. Until it is opened, it is completely free. One of its advantages is that it cannot be re-used. It has a system of destroying itself (auto-destroy), and it has no risk of transmitting HIV. “Another advantage of this device is that the needle has the ability to retract itself and therefore has no risk of injuring the health worker. This is one advantage this device has over the old system.” Contributing, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KEBS Pharmacy, Sir Kilo Ebeledike said: “We have organised this training to train healthcare workers in Nigeria on how best they can withdraw blood from patients to guarantee safety of the patient, health worker and the environment. It minimises accidental injury and other health hazards associated with withdrawal of blood from patients. “In Nigeria, blood is still withdrawn from patients in a very crude manner. If you go to any hospital, before the health personnel withdraw blood from you, they must tie rope on your hand before blood will be with-

•S-Monovette device

drawn using the conventional syringe. This is not the practice in advanced parts of the world. “We want Nigeria to start withdrawing blood in a safe manner as is being done in other parts of the world to safeguard

our health workers, the patients and the environment.” Continuing, he said: “We are optimistic that at the end of the day, the participants will go back and start using SMonovette devices to withdraw

blood from patients. Let them stop using syringes. It is a crude and archaic method of withdrawing blood from the patient. We want them to start using modern and safe device in withdrawing blood as is the practice the world over.

QUOTE In Nigeria, blood is still withdrawn from patients in a very crude manner. If you go to the hospital, before the withdraw blood from you, they must tie rope on your hand and the blood will be withdrawn using the conventional syringe. This is not the practice in advanced parts of the world


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

27

ABUJA REVIEW

Council chief faults minister’s claim Stories from Bukola Amusan

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•The winner, Blue House celebrates its victory

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HE President of the National Association of Private Proprietors of Schools (NAPPS), Dr Bukola Dosunmu has called on the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed to look into the challenges such as land acquisition, certificate of occupancy, funding, manpower, multiple taxation and parking fees being experienced by its members. Dosunmu, who spoke in Gwagwalada at the maiden minisports competition of Toddlers Haven and Junior Heights School, said acquiring land has been a serious challenge for many of its members. “School plots have been converted to other uses in line with the Land Use Act. We have resorted to borrowing from banks at very high interest rates to buy plots of land. “Even in the new districts, plots meant for schools face the threat of

Private schools seek support From Bukola Amusan

being hijacked by land cartels,’’ she said. Dosunmu expressed her regret that no financial institution has come to support education with at least a single digit interest loan. “We borrow, beg and even sell our properties to run our schools, while less critical sectors get intervention funds. We are the most taxed sector by almost every tier of government. “Education is the most financially burdened sector of the economy and when effectively funded, it produces positive multiplier effects on the pupils. “That is why these scarce resources need to be preserved for this

purpose and not on avoidable taxes,’’ she said. Dosunmu listed some of the taxes and levies enforced on private schools in 2011 to include tenement rate, ground rent based on land size, business premises levy, annual dues, and accreditation fees, which range between 250,000 and N2m. She further said that the burdens were pushed to parents and reflected on the fees charged. “These fees are now being taxed. Additional taxes will be transferred to parents who are groaning under supposedly high fees,’’ the president said. She, however, called for the review of the accreditation fees and annual dues.

Dosunmu, who is the proprietor of the school, said the school decided to honour three Nigerian nationalist heroes by naming their sports houses after them. She said the Red House represents Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Yellow stands for Ahmadu Bello while the Blue House represents the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The pupils engaged in various field and track events like the pickup things, sack race, water race, shot put, nannies race, and mummies special, among others. At the end of the competition, the Blue House took the first position. Yellow House came second while the Red House took the third position.

FCT gets new outdoor advertisement system

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HE MINISTER of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has inaugurated a new outdoor advertisement and signate system for the territory, saying it has the potential of generating over N3b as annual internally-generated revenue. The event took place at the FCDA Conference Room, Central Business District, Abuja. The minister said that the entire project would be handled by a consultant, Afromedia Plc where proceed is expected to be shared on 60, 20, 20, per cent basis between the six area councils, FCT Administration and the consultant respectively. Senator Mohammed recalled that the project was initiated because the outdoor advertisement system was disorderly as bill boards were mounted at will, while most of them were lacking in aesthetics and littering the highways and streets. According to him, the immedi-

From Gbenga Omokhunu

ate consequence of these was severe dangers to the environment, traffic and pedestrians alike. He said: “Long range visibility was impaired with resultant accidents at major junctions due to sight blockages by billboards and outdoor advertisement posts.” The minister further lamented: “Painfully, we found that the existing administrative structure charged with the duty of regulating these practices was weak and in some cases there were multiple standards as well as conflicting administering agencies.” He stressed that his administration considered this standard unacceptable for a capital city that aspires to join the rank of the best 20 capital cities in the world by the year 2020. We therefore set machinery in motion to arrest the ugly trend.

The mandate of the body is to provide a standard for the control and regulation of advertisement and signage practice in the FCT by ensuring global best practices, improving internal revenue and stemming the observed chaos

While announcing the establishment of the Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, the minister remarked that the entire project was the outcome of technical body his administration constituted to evolve effective policy and institutional framework for the regulation of outdoor advertising and signage in the FCT. Senator Mohammed noted that the mandate of the body was to provide a standard for the control and regulation of advertisement and signage practice in the FCT by ensuring global best practices, improving internal revenue and stemming the observed chaos. He expressed delight over the collaboration of all stakeholders; especially the six area councils and the FCT business community, adding that the chairmen of the area councils have shown high level of cooperation with the FCT Administration throughout the conceptualisation period of the project. The minister, however, warned that the staff of the new department must be honest, diligent and resourceful as his administration would not condone any act that runs contrary to the good intentions of the new department. The FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide who was represented on the occasion by the FCT Acting Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Nuhu Ahmed, recalled that the committee set up by the FCT Minister which she headed came up

HE Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Alhaji Zakari Angulu Dobi, has faulted the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed’s claim that he is going to deliver the six area councils to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the forthcoming council polls in the territory. Dobi, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi Balarabe, said the minister’s comment was uncalled for, adding that the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the council has absolute confidence in the ability of Prof. Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free and fair polls in the council areas. According to him, the ANPPled administration of Alhaji Zakari Angulu Dobi, has done well for the people of the council, which informed their pledge to continue to give their support to the party in the area. ”Let me also use this medium to call on residents of Gwagwalada Area Council to remain peaceful and ignore the comments made by the minister,” he said. The chairman said the council has been adjudged best in terms of free and fair elections in the area.

‘Check influx of quacks in herbal practice’

A

•Senator Mohammed with documents that ensured a solid framework for the project in line with the expectations of the administration. She explained that the documents included a Memorandum of Understanding between the FCTA and the area councils; a bye-law for each of the six area councils on outdoor advertisement and signage as well as FCT Guidelines for outdoor advertisement and signage. Also contributing, the coordinator of the Abuja Infrastructure and Investment Centre, Mr. Faruk Sani, praised the ministers for providing the enabling environment to achieve success on the project. He said that with the revenue target of N3b per annum, a penalty mechanism, whereby if the consultant achieves less than 40 per cent of the revenue target, two per cent will be deducted from his fees the project would achieve its objective.

CHIEFTAIN of the Nigerian Union of Herbal Medical Practitioners, Alhaji Musa Baba Chukuri, has alleged an influx of quacks in herbal medicine practice into the FCT. He called on the authorities to establish a body that will regulate the activities of members of the profession in the territory. He said the call became necessary in order to save the lives of people who use herbal products. Baba Chukuri, who made the call at Dakwa in Bwari Area Council, said most of the affected practitioners do not have a specific address with which to be traced in the event of complaints from their victims. He said they always go round from one place to another hawking their products and sometimes without providing specific information on how such products should be used. “This is not a profession for all comers. It is not a profession that any one would just join. This is because it takes a long period to learn how to produce those products. Unfortunately, no government agency is in place to regulate the activities of the practitioners in the FCT,” he said. He said he resigned as District Head of Dakwa to enable him to concentrate more on his herbal practices, which he said he inherited from his grandparents. He wondered why some people will be out to bastardise such profession.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

28

ABUJA REVIEW

Phones for rural farmers

F

EDERAL Government’s effort to provide affordable telephones for rural farmers received a boost with the introduction of Microphone Telecoms cheap telephones for rural dwellers. Microphone, which is owned by the Nigerian Capital Development Fund (NCDP), is working in collaboration with Globacom which is providing its platform for the take off. The phones and sim which go for between N2, 000 and 4,000 have a recharged plan of once a month ranging from N750 to N1, 000. This is coming on the heels of the pledge made by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina who recently announced that the Federal Government had concluded arrangement to give out 10 million handsets to farmers as part of the efforts to boost agriculture in the country. Unveiling the handsets and lines in Abuja, the Director-General of Microphone Telecoms, the new entrant to the telecommunication industry, Babatunde Oralusi said the introduction of the cheap phones is in line with government’s plan to improve the living condition of the rural dwellers. He added that the initiative is part of the company’s contributions to reduce poverty in the country. “It is not only to provide tel-

T

HE Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has destroyed sub-standard syringes, extension and cable wires, tobacco products and other consumable items worth N116.5m as part of efforts to stop the circulation of fake products in the country. Acting Director-General of CPC, Mr. Emmanuel Amlai, who led his officials to supervise the destruction of the products at Ado Nkasa in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, said the products were those seized by the council during its surveillance and enforcement operations in Abuja and its environs. He said: “Such exercise will henceforth be a constant phenom-

From Vincent Ikuomola and Nike Adebowale

ecommunication services, but also to enable the low income earners to gain access to a wide range of useful services using the telephone. “They will benefit from improved services, and will be empowered by opportunities to engage in governance structures,” he said. He also noted that the package is aimed at helping those at the rural areas bridge the gap of access to information and also to boost food production at the rural areas. Oralusi stressed that the initiative is to provide a major boost to telecommunication services in Nigeria, especially to those at the grassroots. The initiative, he further said, is aimed at improving the standard of living and to reduce poverty in rural communities of Nigeria through access to affordable telecommunication services. He added that the initiative provides Microphone Telecom the opportunity to enter the Nigerian telecommunication market thereby pursuing its goal of providing cheap and affordable telephony services throughout Nigeria. He said that the organisation will ensure that rural dwellers have access to information as

•Phones for farmers

much as the urban dwellers. He also said that efforts are being made to ensure that the poor benefits from this development. In his remark, Speaker of the

House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal pledged that the House would support the firm. He noted that the mobile phones will go a long way to empower and alleviate poverty in the rural

Council destroys fake products From Franca Ochigbo

enon until we are able to make remarkable progress in the elimination of fake and sub-standard products from markets across the country. “This is in keeping with the council’s new policy thrust of vigorous pursuit and protection of the rights of consumers in the country. “To urgently address the hardship being experienced by consumers, I have directed that the council car-

ries out at least two enforcement operations every week. “This will, among others, entail the removal of sub-standard products and services from the market and the enforcement of the rights of consumers who may have complained about a product or service to the council. “This would lead to enhanced citizens’ empowerment, wealth creation, increased capacity utilisation, the competitiveness of genuine locally-manufactured products, and the growth of the country’s

economy,” he said. He added that these are in line with the Ministry of Trade and Investment’s drive to increase patronage of made-in-Nigeria products and government’s transformation agenda. The director-general, therefore, solicited the support of Nigerians, especially the media for the success of the CPC’S renewed campaign against fake and sub-standard products in the country. Breakdown of the seized fake products that were burnt included 317 cartons of syringes (BD Soloshot 0.5ml) valued at N45m;

areas. The President of the Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele pleaded with the firm to ensure that the phones are deployed to the rural areas where they are meant for. and fake extension wires that didn’t meet Nigeria Industrial Standard after laboratory test. They were valued at N 7.5m. Others were N42m worth of cable wires seized from markets around the FCT and its environs which failed labeling standards and with low thickness that causes break out of fire; and various cigarettes valued at N7m which had no manufacturing and expiry dates as well as full address of dealers. The rest were N5m worthy of consumables like fruit drinks, groundnut oil, baked beans, green giant, and corn flakes among others that had no appropriate regulatory registration numbers, manufacturing and expiry dates and which were not fit for consumption.

Minister pledges support for agency

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•Fake and sub-standard products being destroyed

HE FCT Administration has expressed its readiness to support the newlyestablished Nigeria Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA) in realising its goals for the interest of Nigerians. The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed gave the assurance while receiving the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji who paid him a visit. The minister said that a lot of investment potential with very high investment turn over abound in the Federal Capital Territory that are begging to be tapped. Senator Mohammed stated that there were investments in infrastructural development, real estate development, Land Swap Model Initiative, transportation and a host of others, which have made Abuja to remain a haven for genuine investors from all over the world. The minister urged Mr. Orji to, as

From Gbenga Omokhunu

a matter of priority, make Abuja a pilot scheme in all its investment drives. He promised to cooperate with the body by providing office accommodation to enable it to settle down in order to begin its statutory duties. Senator Mohammed assured Mr. Orji of the readiness of the FCT Administration to provide the platform for it to immediately realise its goals, pointing out that the Abuja Infrastructural Investment Centre (AIIC) will be good platform to share ideas and experiences. Speaking earlier, Mr. Orji remarked that the establishment of the new body has shown the world that Nigeria is ready to save and invest for its future. According to him, the new organisation would lean on the FCT Administration for support; stressing that “it is not the size of the fund that matters but the discipline to selflessly work to multiply it.”


29

TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

‘ Nigeria has the lowest quantity of notarised documents in the world. A research carried out shows that if you compare documents signed all over the world, most of those from Nigeria needed to be authenticated

E-mail:- law@thenationonlineng.net

See page 33

Mr Osaro Eghobamien (SAN), the Managing Partner of Perchstone & Grays, was admitted to practise law in England and Wales in 1989 and in Nigeria in 1991. He speaks on plea bargaining, policy somersaults, slow process of justice delivery, insecurity and the Judiciary’s image, among others. JOSEPH JIBUEZE met him. •SEE PAGE 30

‘Plea bargaining must be regulated’ •Corruption in Judiciary must be dealt with •Policy somersaults not good for investment •Why I think CJN is walking the right path •Tasks before Attorney-General of the Federation

‘ Today, the fraternity between judges and members of the public calls for concern. Not because I think the judges can easily be compromised, but because those who are watching can see the fraternity between judges and the public

’ How judiciary shot itself in the foot over Salami Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, a graduate of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), was called to the Nigerian Bar in December 1990. A member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and American Bar Association (ABA), he is an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch. He has chaired its Law Week Committee twice. Uwaifo hails President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision not to negotiate with Boko Haram, and blames the Judiciary for some of its problems, including the refusal to recall the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. He faults the NBA’s election system, describing it as elitist. He also shares his views on Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s call for INEC to be disbanded. Legal Editor JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU met Uwaifo.

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• Uwaifo

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has said he will not grant amnesty to Boko Haram members, in response to the call by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar. What is your reaction to this? With all due respect to the Sultan, I think that he missed the point; it is good to dialogue, it is good to grant amnesty, we can as well grant amnesty to all the murderers and all the assassins that have been arrested, and then to all the criminals and looters that have been arrested for looting the nations treasury. However, I am still blaming the President who is a good nurtured Nigerian, who we all have a lot respect and voted for and all expect him to perform. The President has underperformed in terms of this Boko Haram crisis, probably, because he had decided to thread softly, believing that that will solve the problem. But, unfortunately, from my own point of view, it is not going to be the case because the President and the security agencies must tap from

the experiences of countries that had similar problems and they are many. Can you give examples? America, the Russia, Britain and others. They are many. Even Brazil and Mexico are also going through the same issue. What about the Niger Delta amnesty programme; can you draw any similarity between the two? Not at all; those who were agitating for Niger Delta did not wake up and started bombing mosques and churches in their area on Sundays and Christmas days. They were simply seizing people in their oil rich areas who were tapping oil and working within the region, polluting their environment and all that kind of thing. They were armed and were fighting within the region. It is totally different from a group of people who are fighting a religious war. The Niger Deltans were not fighting a religious war, a religious war is totally different from political agitation. To now ask for

Inside: Judges, lawyers bid ex-NBA Lagos chair farewell P.32

amnesty for that kind of people is a disservice to this country. Nigeria should tap on the experience of the past and possibly adopt the Russian example. Part of the things I learnt from the Russians a long time ago, even before America started this their hardliner thing is that the Russians never negotiated at all. So, for you, negotiation is not an option? We need to tell the Boko Haram that look, this country is for us all, this country cannot be governed by one single religion if that is what they are looking for and this country should not also be governed by the belief of a few people no matter how well intentioned it may be . It has to be a combination of every one of us and we all need to put heads together to solve the problems of this country. But in as much as they refuse to abide by the rules and regulations of this country and believe in going to bomb military facilities, •Contined on page 30

Lagos CJ swears in notary publics P.33


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

30

LAW COVER CONT’D

‘Plea bargaining must be regulated within a legal framework’ • Continued from page 29

I

F you were made the Attorney-General of the Federation, what would you ad dress first? If I were to advise the Attorney-General, I think the first thing I would concentrate on would be to ensure that the justice delivery system is transparent. In other words, to make sure that people have confidence in the system. You must deal with the issue of corruption and the perception of corruption. Any instance of cause of negative perception? Today, the fraternity between judges and members of the public is what calls for concern. Not because I think the judges can easily be compromised, but those who are watching can see the fraternity between judges and the public. That might create the impression that they are compromised. I think the first thing to do is to ensure that there is transparency in the administration of justice. There are other issues, but for me, you need to clean up the image of the judiciary. Are you satisfied with the Chief Justice of Nigeria’s efforts in that regard? I am very, very satisfied with path the present CJN is walking. Yes, I am. I’ll give you two examples. The first was where she refused to swear in a judge. Legally, some argued that she was wrong. But what is most important is that she took a decision and stood by it. And she was objective about it. The point about it is that you cannot be right all the time. But whatever decision you take must be independent, transparent, and backed up by reason. Once you do that, you begin to win people’s confidence. What’s the second example? The CJN is sitting over the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee and recently they withdrew the rank of SAN from one of our members. Again, I don’t know the full facts, so I need to be careful. We need to start taking firm decisions and I think that is what the CJN is doing. I’m very impressed by that. Some have faulted plea bargaining, saying it encourages corruption. Should it be completely done away with? I think like everything else, it has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that where you have a system that is slow, that is ponderous and inefficient, it makes sense sometimes to use plea bargaining so that you don’t lose the possibility of convicting someone. It is one of the ways to overcome some of the challenges the administration of justice poses in Nigeria. But, yes, there are possibilities of abuses if there is no proper framework within which to act. I think that if the right framework were to be introduced, plea bargaining is something that may help us overcome the difficulties of proof in court. It is one thing to be alleged of committing a crime, it is another thing to prove the guilt. It’s very

tough. On June 7, you firm will hold the seventh edition of the Annual Law Series. Why did you decided to hold this year’s conference in New Delhi, India? By a convergence of factors, worldwide events are affirming the eastward shift of global economic power with India as one of the new epicenters. Aside a shared colonial heritage, India’s developmental experience closely mirrors that of Nigeria. The volume of trade between Nigeria and India was reportedly over $17billion last year. With its over a century-old economic and investment footprint in Nigeria continually expanding, the rise of India as a significant source of investment in Nigeria suggests it requires an even more collaborative effort to mutually take advantage of the unfolding opportunities. In going to India, they share a lot of our problems. They share a lot of our aspirations. But they have gone way ahead of us. As a firm, we’ll be able to demonstrate that there are firms within Africa that can work alongside Indian firms and do as well as they have done. There is a lot to learn from India. Will the conference, which you said is nonpaying, have any economic benefits to the country? Last year, a distinguished Nigerian was appointed the co-President of the India Africa Business Council with a mandate to grow the volume of trade between Africa and India to $90 billion by 2015. As at 2011, Nigeria had about 30 per cent of the volume of trade between Africa and India. The current trends indicate that Nigeria’s energy, power, telecommunications, information technology, medical/pharmaceutical and consumer goods sectors hold considerable appeal for Indian businesses. Perchstone and Graeys will be hosting

• Eghobamien

the conference in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and they have graciously offered to match-make any interested Nigerian company which will be attending with Indian companies. Don’t you think the slow pace of justice delivery can discourage foreigners from investing in Nigeria? Administration of justice is obviously something which we all have to begin to pay particular attention to. The slow pace of justice delivery is very worrisome. However, as you know, alternative dispute resolution is now being introduced, and that in itself is providing comfort for a lot of foreigners. Even at that, in the court system, I think Lagos State in particular has done quite a lot to speed up justice delivery and some other states are following suit. Are we where we should be? We’re not where we should be. We’re copying from a lot of countries, and one of those places is India, where their justice delivery system is also slow. But through various mechanisms, especially interlocutory applications, we have been able to provide some comfort for local and international clients. So, although there are problems and no one is going to deny that fact, the progress that has been made in a number of courts in the country is something to be commended. Policy somersaults is another factor said to discourage investors. Is this still a problem? To a large extent the government is working on it. I’m very impressed by the Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman. Recently, he came up with a roadmap which ensures that infrastructure, for instance, is focused on for 50 years. So, a policy on infrastructure would not be interrupted for that period. They’re still putting the framework in place. But, the important thing is that people are beginning to think and realise that we need longterm policies for sustainable development. So, that is a key factor. Incidentally, the minister will be giving the keynote address at the seminar. Insecurity remains a challenge in attracting investors. Do you think the government is doing enough? If you study India, there is also some amount of crime there. But not withstanding that fact, they have been able to attract foreign investment, and they themselves have been able to invest in other countries. I think in Nigeria, sometimes the issues are exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting there is no crime. But where the total focus is on crime and there is no focus on other issues that would overshadow crime, then it becomes a problem. So it seems to me that the only thing we export is crime. That’s not correct. How do you mean? There’s quite a lot that we do beyond that.

• Eghobamien

The Inspector-General of Police is someone who I have had an interaction with. I am very impressed by the level of discipline that he tries to drive home among the police force. If you notice, there has been a disbandment of police checkpoints. Now, statistically, it hasn’t been proven that as a result of that disbandment, there’s been increase in crime, but the police will continue to gain our confidence and respect the more we see that they are not collecting bribes on the streets. Are not concerned with the problem of terrorism? There is a lot to be done, but I think that we can’t just focus on just the negatives. There are many things we do. If you think about it, the Boko Haram issue is a menace – there’s no doubt about it. We also have terrorism in India. But with the greatest respect to families and friends who have lost someone, you can’t tell them anything else other than the fact that they know there is crime. The truth of the matter is that there are many, many things that we can focus on other than the export of crime. Where do you see your firm in five years? The way I’ll put it is, where is our firm seeking to go, and are we there yet? Are we going to arrive there in the next five, 10 years? I hope we do. We see ourselves as competing at the global level. So, to that extent there is a lot of challenges. We see ourselves standing side by side by any law firm in the world delivering similar service that we are delivering. We want to be able to match them. We want to be able to tell clients – both foreign and local ones – that we can deliver the same service they are accustomed to receiving anywhere in the world.

How judiciary shot itself in the foot over Salami

• Uwaifo • Continued from page 29

bombing Churches and Mosques, the security agents should rise up to the challenges and the President

should not hesitate to deal decisively with the situation rather than this dialogue, which to mind will not pay off in the long run. Recently, a group of opposition

parties came together to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). How do you think it will affect our political landscape? I am one of those who believe that all these kind of mushroom parties that we have all over the country is not going to help our democracy to grow. If you look at those days when we had the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) you are either here or there. I think that is the kind of arrangement that we need in this country now. If you look at the American system or the British system, they all have a maximum of three political parties. The formation of the new APC is a good development for the country politically and democratically in as much as they conduct their affaires within the ambit of the law. And that puts the ruling political party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on its toes, that a very strong force is coming, they can now be more serious and evolve more people oriented programmes that will definitely impact the lives of Nigerians positively. It is a good development, those who are in it may join the PDP tomorrow and those now in the PDP may as well join the APC tomorrow, so it is good for the country, it gives viable alternatives

to politicians and Nigerian to freely choose their leaders. What is important is that we should have two or three solid political parties that are alternative to one another, so that one party does not take undue advantage of being the largest party in Africa or in the world to continue to run the country down without anything to show for years of existence. I am not particularly referring to the PDP, what I am saying is that the formation of the APC is good for the country. As a consummate Bar man, what are your expectations from the current NBA leadership? The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has grown in leaps and bounds, from one little branch in Lagos to about 100 branches across the country. I express my appreciation to our past presidents the incumbent president of the NBA Okey Wali (SAN) for their contributions and tireless efforts to bring the NBA to its current position. However, one of the things I feel that may not be in the NBA’S interest is that the national body seems to be operating the Nigerian style and thinks that it is only the national that it is operating whereas, the local branches are supposed to be the main bedrock of the national body. Without the local branches, there would not be any national

body. One of my expectations is that the national body must as much as they can, aid the local branches to meet the aspirations of their local needs rather than appearing to be the arrow head of the entire NBA which is not true because a lot of lawyers can’t go to Abuja for conferences, a lot of lawyers can’t go to all these places we organise conferences, apart from that, they can’t even afford to pay. So there is need for capacity building at the local levels to encourage branches. How do we get the best out of the system? Well, if you remember the speech I made at the Bar Dinner of our NBA 2012 Law Week, I did say clearly that the way the NBA national body was going about organising all kinds of conferences here and there was a cause for concern, because if do this one, they will say National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, you take another date, they will say that they are holding one conference or the other. I f you want to choose this date, it is another conference, so the national body should conduct itself in such a way that it will assist the branches to build capacity, to meet the aspiration of a lot of lawyers and to assist the local branches • Continued on page 31


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

31

LAW & SOCIETY

Sanctions, remedies under Nigeria’s merger control law Introduction

By Dr. Nnamdi Dimgba

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IGERIAN law provides for a manda tory pre-notification to and the prior approval of every qualifying merger and acquisition (M&A) transaction in Nigeriaby the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which in the absence of a competition authority is vested with merger control powers in Nigeria. The requirement for a mandatory pre-notification is provided for without any shade of ambivalence in the Investment and Securities Act 2007 (ISA), and cuts across all transactions notwithstanding the legal character of the corporations involved, public or private, and even when such transactions received the official blessing of any relevant government agencies. This last will be the case whereall or any of the concerned enterprises operate in regulated sectors such as telecoms, aviation, insurance and banking. An interesting question, however, that has engaged the minds of practitioners and academics, is that of what consequenceswould arise in situations where parties choose to ignore, as often happens in practice, the requirement for prenotification to the SEC, and proceed to implement M&A transactions. This is an area that is fraught with some confusion. As the need for legal certainty in transactions cannot be overstated, the confusion which businesses and their advisers faceis quite deplorable. Three reasons aid the sustenance of this state of confusion. First, is the somewhat lack

of clarity in the law itself as to what precise sanctions parties who implement M&A transactions without compliance with the mandatory law would be exposed to. Second is the fact that although the ISA does prescribe a mandatory pre-notification obligation on parties, it does not contain any explicit or implicit language automatically nullifyingM&A transactions pursued in defiance or disregard of the law. In the absence of an automatic legal proscription, at the very least those non-compliant transactions may be argued to be valid until the SEC discovers them and imposes sanctions and remedial measures - still a vexed issue. And the third reason for the confusion is anecdotal. For the uninformed, there is some disconnect between the concept of sanctions on one hand and the phenomena of mergers and acquisitions on the other. While the beneficial character of mergers is apparent and not to be probed, the fact that mergers can also have very pernicious effects is not so clear. Therefore, the fact that such apparently harmless transactions can be the subject of regulatory sanctions is not that which is easily accepted, except by those schooled in competition law. This paper is concerned with the broad question of the legal effect and consequences when M&A transaction parties choose to ignore the stipulation for pre-notification and approval, and proceed with their transaction. In the process, the

• Dr Dimgba

paper also shares thoughts on other ancillary issues related to sanctions and remedies within Nigerian merger control law.

Mergers and Competition Law

It is better to start with a probe of the third reasonidentified above – the apparent disconnect between mergers and sanctions. Mergers produce a number of positive outcomes favourable to an economy. These include the fact that they give the owner of a business the opportunity to sell it. Entrepreneurs might be reluctant to start a business where the win-

dow to exit is closed. A merger may also provide an escape route for a company facing an otherwise inevitable liquidation. In such a situation, the possibility of selling the business to another may mean that productive assets are kept in production and that creditors, owners, employees and other stakeholders are protected from the adverse consequences of the enterprise’s failure. Other efficiencies provided by mergers include economies of scale in production, very crucial in a market in which the cost of production of a product is high in relation to the size, or anticipated size, of the market or where there is minimum efficient scale of production. Operating efficiencies injected by mergers into an economy include greater capacity for research and development leading to innovation. Efficiency in management is also promoted since mergers often bring new and superior management to the business. All the above efficiencies would be difficult to attain through internal growth. Precisely for the above reasons, competition laws the world over do not make mergers unlawful per se, as they do price-fixing and other violations of antitrust laws such as restrictive or exclusionary commercial behaviourby a dominant entity. • To be continued next week • Dr. Dimgba is a Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Lagos. ndimgba@olaniwunajayi.net

How judiciary shot itself in the foot over Salami • Continued from page 30

to create wealth. For a lot of lawyers, the way we are now, they see the Bar as an elitist Bar and it only those who are running their affairs and those who are connected to them that are known. What, to you, is the solution? I believe that time has come for the NBA to stop this delegates election arrangement. We cannot keep asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise elections for the President of this country using the parameter of the entire country, that is, asking all Nigerians to vote whereas the NBA where we are not even up to 120,000 lawyers in the Nigeria, we cannot even organise elections for ourselves. It is unfortunate. And then we ask a few people to go and vote for people. At times, these are people who were not even chosen by those they go and vote on behalf of. This is the reality on ground. I am not saying that some branches did not elect their delegates by democratic means, but then, to say that 50 people should go and vote for a population of about 4,000 or 5,000 people, does not make any sense. If we had problems those days that led to this kind of arrangement, time has come for us to reform ourselves, so that we can as well advise Nigerians because to advise them now will amount to physician, first heal thyself. The Judiciary has always been referred to as the last hope of the common man, can you confidently say this of Nigerian Judiciary today if not why? The Nigerian Judiciary has really done so much to strengthen justice delivery in the country but that notwithstanding, they still have a long way to go. Why do you say so? There are a lot of problems, corruption has actually crept into the judiciary and we can see the way the National Judicial Council (NJC)is trying to deal with the issues. Nevertheless, I think that the Judiciary is still its own problems, its own problems in the sense that the Judiciary is still relying on the executive arm of government without asserting itself. If you are the arm of government that interprets the law, why not interpret it to favour you so as to strengthen the judicial process? For instance,

look at the case of Salami, why do you send the process of recalling the President of the Court of Appeal to the executive, why? So, they shot themselves on the foot and now they cannot get out of it. What is the best way to go about it? The Judiciary should interpret the law in such a way as to favour the Judiciary because the Judiciary is said to be the last hope of the common man. Then, if it is the last hope of the common man it must protect itself before the common man will protect it but right now the Judiciary is not protecting itself. We need serious cleansing in the Judiciary, so the Judiciary should cleanse itself. By so doing, it will remain the last hope of the common man. But the way it is today, I don’t think that the common man has any hope in the judiciary. Look at the recent judgement in this corruption. The judiciary should take lead in the fight against corruption. A judge is not sitting there to listen. A judge also has the power to make comments, especially when it is a crime against the State; the Judge has the power to ask questions. How exactly do you mean? Like the pension thief case for instance, the Judge has the right to ask the prosecutor, why is this man being brought under this law? This is because the Court is believed to take judicial notice of every law. Why not this, because it is a crime against the State? And in any case, the prosecutor is meant to prosecute it on behalf of the State and the court is meant to do justice both to the accused and to the state. So, if a Prosecutor has brought a charge under a wrong law, at least the court should make a comment on that so that the public can know and if the prosecutor refuses to heed, then he can go back. There is nothing wrong with that. I want to see a judiciary that is proactive in dealing with corruption because

that is the beginning and end of this country. If we do not stop corruption, this country will go down; nothing is going to save this country. We need to put our acts together, the Judiciary, the prosecutors, the lawyers, we need to do more to save this country from this scourge called corruption. I do not believe that the Judiciary as it is today can be said to be the last hope of the common man because the common man has not received justice from the Judiciary recently. Former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari has called for the disbandment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before 2015 general elections. According to him, Nigerians cannot get a free and fair election under the current leadership of INEC. What is your reaction to this? I want to pay my respect to General Buhari. He is a distinguished Nigerian and a former head of State, his regime was one of the best as far as I am concerned in this country because if we had continued with the discipline which is the bedrock of the country, we would have definitely surpassed where we are today. We won’t be where we are today. That is the truth, but I find it difficult to agree Why don’t you agree? I am unable to agree with him on his sweeping statements. To me, the current INEC is doing its best. When you go to a place to operate, you cannot operate outside the terrain, or outside the system. People say all manner of things like, this one is his brother, this one is his sister, this one is his in-law, this one is from the North, this one is Igbo, this one is Youruba and so on. General Buhari may be talking from any of those perspectives or the mere fact that he has not won any election in recent times, but his party won election in some States. If it was that bad, that he has no confidence in the INEC, why did

he not reject those States where his party was declared winner, on the ground that he is not too sure that he actually won them? Is his concerns misplaced? I believe that General Buhari should have confidence in the INEC, especially with Prof. Attahiru Jega as the chairman. He is a man that we all respect and know very well. I believe that we should give Jega a chance, we should all support him, follow him and also criticise him. And we believe that Jega should also cry out and weed out those who should not be there if he finds any of them wanting. There is no need to disband INEC and there is also no need to say that there will be no credible elections in 2015 because that is just like placing the cart before the horse. The elections are not here yet, when the elections eventually come, it is not only INEC that is going to prepare for it, all Nigerians must prepare for it. We must cooperate, the government must cooperate, citizens must cooperate, the voters must cooperate, the security agents must cooperate because if the security agencies do not cooperate with the INEC, there will be no credible elections. So we need to give the people in charge a chance and I believe that if that is done, Nigerians will get credible elections. Of cause in Nigeria today, if we win, it is a credible election and if we loose, it was not a credible election. If Gen. Buhari was declared winner of the election between him and Jonathan, will he say that it is not credible, that the INEC should be disbanded? So, the respected former head of state should take it easy and allow INEC to do its job Can you remember your first day in court? Fortunately for me as a young lawyer, my first appearance in court was at the Supreme Court of Nigeria. How did this happen?

’One of the things I feel that may not be in the NBA’S interest is that the national body seems to be operating the Nigerian style and thinks that it is only the national that it is operating whereas, the local branches are supposed to be the main bedrock of the national body. Without the local branches, there would not be any national body. One of my expectations is that the national body must as much as they can, aid the local branches to meet the aspirations of their local needs rather than appearing to be the arrow head of the entire NBA’

Well, a day after my call to bar, my principal then Mrs. Roselin Ikwuonwu gave me a case file and said: ‘Prepare, you will follow us to the Supreme Court tomorrow.’ I well remember, it was in Ezekiel Izuogu‘s case. Why did she do that? That was the way we were, my boss was a very disciplined person. She was a very strong woman, an active legal practitioner. It was indeed a very interesting case. What was your experience at the apex court? That was the day I saw the beauty of the Bar, with Justice Andrew Otutu Obaski (JSC) presiding, with such eminent Justices of the Court like Chukwudifu Oputa (JSC), the late Justice Augustine Nnamani (JSC) and others that I cannot easily remember now. It was indeed a beauty and I was introduced by one of the senior members of the Bar as a new wig. And they told me a lot about the legal profession, they told me that it is something I should be proud of; that I am in a noble profession and that I should keep it and ensure that we do not foul it. That remains one of my guiding principles today. As chairman of NBA Lagos Law Week Committee in 2012, what were your experiences and how will the benefit of such experiences help the branch to move forward? I express my appreciation to the branch, particularly the chairman for appointing me chairman of the committee that was set up to organise the Law Week in 2012. But I was also the chairman of the Law Week in 2009 and that was when our then chairman, the indefatigable Bola Baderinwa of blessed memory, was the branch chairman. If you remember very well, that time, we took the Law week to the premises of the Nigerian Law School, Lagos. We called it the homecoming and that was the first time we set the stage for a Law Week that was strictu sensu more like a conference. And that was born out of my experience as a member of the International Bar Association and as a member of the American Bar Association. I have seen conferences organised, the way and manner in which it is properly done, where people enjoy themselves. That was the first conference where we had four sessions in a day in contradistinction to hitherto arrangements where we used to have one session in a day.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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NATIONAL BAR

• Mrs Adenike Akinbote and her children with Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Okey Wali (SAN)

• Chairman NBA Lagos, Mr Taiwo O. Taiwo (left) and Chairman NBA Ibadan branch, Mr Seun Abimbola

• Former Chairman, NBA Lagos, Chief Theodore Ezeobi (SAN) (left) and Assistant National Publicity Secretary NBA, John Austin Unachukwu

• From left: Prof Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), Pioneer Chairman NBA Section on Business Law (SBL), Mr George Etomi and former Dean, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe, Prof Demola Popoola

• Chairman, NBA Ikorodu Branch, Sahid Owosile and First Vice-Chairman NBA Ikeja Branch, Mr Adesina Ogunlana

• Publicity Secretary, NBA Lagos Branch, Mrs Tolani Edu and Assistant Publicity Secretary Anthony Atata

Judges, lawyers bid ex-NBA Lagos chair farewell The Lagos branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has held a valedictory service in honour of its former chairman, Akintola Akinbote, who died on February 20. PRECIOUS IGBONWELUNDU reports.

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LL dressed in their ceremo nial wigs and gowns, mem bers of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), as well as the top echelon of the Lagos Judiciary last week converged on the Foyer of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere to bid the late Akintola Akinbote, former Lagos NBA chairman, farewell. Akinbote, who died on February 20, after suffering from kidney failure at 56, according to NBA President, Mr Okey Wali (SAN), was a quintessential barman and an unassuming gentleman. At the valedictory were the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Ayotunde Philips, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Wale Olanipekun, Dele Adesina, Norrison Quakers, Lagos NBA Chairman, Mr Taiwo Taiwo, wife of the deceased, Adebimpe, and his four sons, Akintola, Akinola, Akinolu and Akinbolu. In his tribute, Wali said Akinbote was a lawyer’s lawyer. He said: “The greatest honour we can give to him, is for us to remember his exemplary life at the bar and service to the NBA, and try to immortalise him by conducting ourselves the way our departed

colleague conducted himself at the bar. “He was a very unassuming gentleman. I worked very closely with Akinbote on the NBA Capacity Building Committee, between 2008 and 2010. He was the secretary of the committee, and, you could not but admire his efficiency and interest in the affairs of the bar.”As president, I have had to fall back on him on issues of capacity building, because of his. Deep capacity on the issue. Isn’t it a shame, that, that reservoir of knowledge is no more? “To his wife, children and relations, I give you the condolences of the NBA. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken, we cannot question him. Let us take solace in his legacies, the life he lived, a good life, and a good man. “Let me say this to his dear wife, the greatest expectation any man has of his wife, is her ability to carry on with the family in the event of such eventuality. “You will not let your dear husband down. You must, therefore, very quickly, put yourself together and carry on from where he stopped. That is the greatest honour you can do to him.

“To our departed colleague, you have come, you have seen and I dare say, you have conquered. You lived a good life. We all shall miss you, but you have gone to be with him that loves you most. Rest in peace. “On behalf of the NBA, I bid thee farewell. Goodbye and good night my learned friend and may the good Lord receive your gentle soul in his bossom. Amen.” To Taiwo, Akinbote was “the selfless barman”, who would stand his ground on any issue without fear or favour. He urged all who gathered at the session to reflect on how to help the four children Akinbote left behind, just as he commended the state Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who supported the deceased in his battle against the ailment. “I must state for the records that a lot of our seniors and colleagues were concerned about his plight to the extent that within a few days money were paid into his account to enable him to travel abroad for medical attention. I cannot mention all who heeded the call so as not to offend omitting the names of those who did without my knowledge. “I must thank His Excellency, the

Governor of Lagos State for his prompt response to Akinbote’s plight. He showed compassion, sent his personal physician to the deceased and was ready to support financially, like all our colleagues, when on that fateful day, Akinbote breathed his last, the same day he went to the embassy for his visa. He was to travel out on Saturday! “On behalf of the branch, we thank all who gave their support and those who called to do so on Wednesday, February 20, not knowing he had passed on. “Akin, as we fondly called him, was selfless in his service to the bar. I was the secretary of the branch when he was the chairman. At that time, we did not; at the insistence of Akin take a dime from the coffers of the branch to finance our various trips to bar conferences and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings. We bore our expenses! “He travelled by night bus and at times in his car, sometimes in mine or Folusho Fayokun’s to serve the branch. Yea, Akin was someone who would stand his ground on any issue and was not afraid to do so, no matter the opposition against him. He was not afraid to take a stand!

“I want us to pause a while and look at the children, all four boys, in whom we can see that Akin lives on! Let us pause and look at the young wife, on whose shoulders the lot of catering for these children now fall. Let us therefore, decide now to something for these children, let us take them up, nurture them and make them know that their father has not laboured in vain. “Let us be kind to them in anyway we can because kindness takes the friction out of life. Let us realise that while we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. The heart is the happiest when it beats for others. Let our hearts beat for these little ones.” he said. Olanipekun described the deceased as a gentleman among gentlemen, who conducted himself without reproach. “The important thing is that he lived a decent life, free from frivolity and recklessness. At no time, to the best of my knowledge, was he caught or found engaged in unethical deal or being rude or nasty to any colleague or judge. “He lived well and may his soul find eternal rest.”

THE


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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LEGAL OPINION LAW AND PUBLIC POWER

with gabriel AMALU email:gabrielamalu1@yahoo.com

Hugo Chavez and his charisma • Justice Phillips swearing in Ogbuanya

Lagos CJ swears in notary publics • Why documents must be notarised, by Law School lecturer

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HE Chief Judge of Lagos, Jus tice Ayotunde Phillips, has sworn in a new set of notary publics. At a brief ceremony held at the High Court, Ikeja, she warned them against notarising fake documents. “You will be held accountable if you notarise any fake or criminal documents,” she said. According to her, there are many property disputes involving forged documents; therefore, notary publics must take care to ensure they do not unwittingly abet fraud. Justice Phillips urged the lawyers to continue to uphold the legal profession which she said is sadly “not so noble anymore” because of the criminal actions of some members. “An oath is not to be toyed with,” she added. The Notary Public Act authorises those sworn in as notary publics to authenticate or validate documents by counter-signing them when not done by a Commissioner for Oaths. One of the new notary publics, Mr Nelson Ogbuanya, who is a lecturer at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, told The Nation after taking his oath that the possibility of perjury means notary publics must be sure of documents they are signing on. He said once a document has been endorsed by a notary public, it is given authority, which is a form of attestation that the content is correct and is worthy of being accepted in the places required. “The Notary Public has the challenge of finding out truly whether the document is okay, because if the document is discovered not to be correct later, both the Notary Public and the deponent will be liable, because it has implication on the Oaths Act. “Any false statement made on oath in writing is perjury, and it’s a legal wrong which is criminal in nature,” Ogbuanya said. The lawyer called in schools, organisations and government agencies that receive applications by means of forms to make provision for notarisation sections in them, as done in other jurisdictions. “In America for instance, virtually every document that goes out is authenticated. You will see that agencies and organisations in Nigeria will print

By Joseph Jibueze

their forms but won’t provide notarisation columns. “Before you can say that somebody has lied on oath, it must have been notarised. If it is not, you cannot say the person lied on oath. You can’t charge the person for perjury. “Most of the documents we have in Nigeria are not authenticated. And the person that can do this authentication is a notary public. “If really we want to curb corruption, ineptitude and falsification, then most documents should carry notarisation columns. “Any document that is capable of establishing a legal relationship – such as admission forms – should have a notarisation column so that it would add more weight to the substance you expect it to have,” Ogbuanya said. The lawyer added that under the Oaths Act, it is only when a document is sworn to before a notary public or a commissioner for oaths that the issue of perjury can be raised. Therefore, without notarisation, somebody could fill out a form with the wrong information, and get away with it even when caught. “When you go to court to charge the person, because the document was not made on oath, you cannot convict the person. “There is need for organisations to revisit their forms and other documents they use in their offices to be sure that they have columns for notarisation. “The combined effect of the Oaths Act and the Notary Public Act is that once a document is authenticated, and is sworn to, then that document carries extra weight which can create legal obligations in terms of penal measures. “If you travel abroad, you will see that most documents are notarised, but very few documents have columns for notarisation in Nigeria. “Nigeria has the lowest quantity of notarised documents in the world. A research carried out shows that if you compare documents signed all over the world, most of those from Nigeria needed to be authenticated,” Ogbuanya added. On the requirements for appointing a notary public, the law lecturer

said no lawyer, even a Senior Advocate, becomes a notary public until they are appointed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). Ogbuanya said: “A notary public is recognised under the Notary Public Act, and the guideline for appointment is very clear. The CJN recommends people, but you will be sworn in within your jurisdiction by the Chief Judge. The authority comes from the CJN. “The qualification is that you must have practised law for at least seven years and have paid your practice fees as and when due; that is, you pay it by March 31 of every year. You then put in your CV to show what expertise you have had; what have you done. “The Chief Judge would then be asked to nominate judges in your area of practice who would recommend you. Your CV would be forwarded to all of them. Fifteen judges must be nominated, 10 of who must give positive comments about you. “If you have evidence of performance and credibility, you produce them and the judges would sign for you. When you are done with this process, it would be cross-checked and minuted back to the CJ, who would then sign an instrument authorising you to be sworn in.” The law also allows a notary public to swear in a public official where it becomes expedient, even as they can charge a token to notarise documents, Ogbuanya said. His words: “If there is nobody in some places available to swear in some public officials, a notary public will be invited to swear them in. You see a situation where people who are not notary publics swear-in people, but they are not the appropriate people to administer an oath. “So, apart from the Commissioner for Oaths designated in the courts, the next group of people to swear in others is the notary publics. “Whatever money you make as a notary public is yours. Money charged varies. International documents have standard payments. “For other documents, the notary public considers the commensurate rate at the High Court. They don’t charge as if they were charging legal fees; it’s just token fees. “

Jonathan, CJN, Fashola, Dangote for book launch

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BOOK, The Attorney-General: Chronicles and Perspectives, which looks at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) will be launched on March 23, in Lagos. The book is dedicated to Nigeria’s longest serving AGF and Minister of Justice, and retired judge of the World Court, Prince Bola Ajibola(SAN). The foreword was written by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Justice S.M.A. Belgore.

By Adebisi Onanuga

The book features varying perspectives of the office of the AGF, its demands, impacts and challenges. The Managing Director, Law Pavillion Mr Ope Olugasa, said the book, which impacts on the direction and quality of justice also chronicles the lives and contributions of Nigeria’s past AGs. The Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN) Hon. Justice Aloma Mukhtar is expected to chair the launch.

The chief launcher is Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the co-launchers include Dr. Oba Otudeko and Chief(Dr.) Molade Okoya Thomas while Mr Awa Kalu (SAN) will review the book. Those expected as special guests include President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola; his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and the AGF and Minister for Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke.

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DIVIDED Venezuela is in mourning, following the death of their charismatic president, Hugo Chavez, last week. Chavez, who loved to blame the United States for many of his country’s challenges, succumbed to the ravenous cancer that had pummeled him since June 2011. Like the fabled Don Corleone in the The Godfather by Mario Puzo, the followers of Hugo Chavez, known as the Chaveniters believed that a mortal enemy like the United States could induce a natural disaster against their country. Just last October, 2012; Chavez won a new term, having told his country men that he was completely recovered from the cancer. No doubt, majority of his country men surely wished it was so. This is because Chavez was adored, and had a huge followership in Venezuela; enabling him to hang on to power for 14 years. An admirer and follower of the fiery Fidel Castro of Cuba, Chavez had President Ahmedinajab of Iran and late Moummar Ghadaffi of Libya, among his staunchest friends. Chavez came into limelight in 1992, when he led a botched coup against his country’s President, Carlos Adres Perez. Arrested and subsequently retired, Chavez came from behind to win the presidential election in 1998, and went ahead to secure approval in a referendum to rewrite the country’s constitution after his own image, abolishing the Senate in the process. He was temporary shoved aside from power in April 2002, but following massive protest by his followers was restored to power by loyal army officers, two days later. While Chavez was charismatic and created many populist programs in support of the poor in Venezuela, he was not a Luiz Inaco Luca Da Silva, the former President of Brazil, who lifted many of his countrymen out of poverty. But this was not for lack of trying. In 2007, Chavez was granted sweeping powers to legislate by decree for 18 months, and shortly after, he began a nationalization policy that enabled Venezuela to take over the major co-operations and infrastructure assets in the country. In the process major foreign multinationals dominating the oil industry, electricity, telecommunications, cement, steel and banking were taken over by Venezuela, through a process akin to Nigerian’s indigenisation policy of the 70s. In his fight against the overbearing economic influence of the United States and European powers, he teamed up with Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina to set up the Bank of the South, as a counterpoise to the International Monetary Fund and similar multilateral agencies. In 2006, Chavez ordered the American Ambassador to leave his country, and though the Ambassador later came back to serve out his term, he could not subsequently agree with the United States for the next US Ambassador to take over. Such was the fiendishness of Chaves, particularly in his dealing with the United States which he regarded as the great Satan, that his exit from the political ladder must be a source of hope for a better bilateral relationship for the United States. Unfortunately for that relationship, Mr Chavez’s handpicked successor and now interim President, Nicolas Maduro, has started on the same rhetoric and diplomatic warfare. Considered an unwavering loyalist of Chavez, he and other diehard followers in one of the feet stamping funeral ceremonies, railed at the Chavez’s casket: ‘Here we are Commandante, your men, in their feet. All your men and women… loyal until beyond death.’ He had also swiftly expelled two American military Attaches on the claim that there were spies. Hoping to ride on the overflowing emotion over Chavez’s death, he has called for a snap presidential election, believing that he will easily win. His major opponent, Henrique Capriles, who fought Chavez in the last presidential election, is railing at the Supreme Court’s decision allowing Maduro to contest in the next polls. He called the clearance from the court a fraud, since under the Venezuelan law, a sitting Vice President is not allowed to context a presidential election. The Court however ruled that Maduro turned an acting President, following the death of Chavez. In the charged atmosphere, the opposition won a fight to stop Maduro from being sworn in as acting President at a military academy, as they argued that the military were already showing a preference. Interestingly, last December, Chavez, enjoined his countrymen to vote Maduro, after informing them, that he will be unable to continue as the country’s president, because of the reoccurred cancer. Comparing the Venezuelan political landscape with Nigeria, one wonders why none of the current political leaders, except perhaps General Muhammed Buhari, evokes such charismatic tendencies as Hugo Chavez. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who recently celebrated his 76th birthday, ordinarily had the best chance for such hero worship, considering the number of years he spent in power. Unfortunately Obasanjo is considered dour, while the current President Goodluck Jonathan, is considered drab, and without any charisma. Buhari merely evokes hero worship among the peasant Muslims in the North. As the 2015 general elections approaches, here is wishing Nigeria, their own Luiz Inaco Luca Da Silva, to lift Nigerians out of poverty; while wishing the bombastic Hugo Chavez, a deserved rest. Unfortunately here at home, a Commissioner of Police serving in Kwara State, Mr. Asadu, was gunned down on a private visit to Enugu State. It will be a shame if the Nigerian police allow the murderers of one of their own, to rest in peace. My Error: Last week, I erroneously mentioned Gombe State, instead of Nassarawa State University, Nassarawa, as where the protesting students were murdered, allegedly by soldiers. The error is regretted. More regrettable however is the on-going blame game, as if the students were killed by gun wielding spirits.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

35

LAW & SOCIETY

Nigeria, failing nation: where are the lawyers? Text of a paper presented by Femi Falana (SAN) at the Eighth Chief Babatunde Olusola Benson annual lecture organised by the NBA Ikorodu Branch on February 6, 2013. The role of lawyers in the society

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N building a modern nation the rule of law is a sine qua non. In operating a so ciety under the rule of law the role of lawyers is not only vital but also sacrosanct. Writing about the role of lawyers in nation building, Alexis De Tocquiville, a French political thinker state in his book, Democracy in America, that, “When one visits Americans and when one studies their laws, one sees that the authority they have given to lawyers and the influence that they have allowed them to have in the government form the most powerful barrier today against the lapses of democracy. This effect seems to have a general cause that is useful to inquire about, for it can be reproduced elsewhere.’’ The observation of Tocquiville cannot be faulted as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and the main force behind unified response to the British occupation of Boston, and hence the Revolutionary War, John Adams were lawyers. Several other lawyers such as Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, William Paterson and Abraham Lincorn played a vital role in the political history of the United States. The former American President, Bill Clinton and President Barrack Obama have continued the tradition of public service by lawyers in the United States. Other lawyers who had changed the course of history include Mahatma Ghandi who was in the forefront of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the anti-colonial struggle in India, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela who effectively mobilized Africans to fight against minority rule in South Africa. Before then Vladimir Lenin had led the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 while Fidel Castro championed the Cuban Revolution in 1959. The first Nigerian lawyer, Christopher Sapara Williams who was called to the English Bar in 1879 challenged obnoxious colonial laws in court and organised street protests against anti-people’s policies of the British colonial regime. This was

in line with his declaration that “ a legal practitioner lived for the direction of his country.” It was on account of his patriotic defence of the people of Nigeria and the Gold Coast (Ghana) that he was denied the rank of King’s Counsel (K.C) when he applied in 1913. Apart from his involvement in the independence struggle Obafemi Awolowo headed the government of western Nigeria from 1951 to 1959. Other lawyers like F.R.A Williams, Samuel Akintola and Bode Thomas contributed to the success of that government. Alao Aka-Bashorun, Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and a few other lawyers were in the forefront of the titanic battle against military dictatorship in Nigeria. Although the list is by no means exhaustive I have referred to the afore-mentioned lawyers to demonstrate that the legal profession has contributed positively to the development of many societies. But in recent time, Nigerian lawyers have joined the reactionary forces that are pulling the country down. Through unethical practice and disregard for laid down rules members of the legal profession are assisting in pushing the country to the precipice of self annihilation which may soon lead to anarchy and chaos. By engaging in sharp practices some highly placed lawyers have colluded with their allies in and outside the courts to subvert the judicial system.

The subversion of the rule of law by lawyers. What we see today is best described as a sham in our courts where corrupt people walk in and out with ease. With impunity, lawyers abuse court processes to favour their clients without corresponding punishment for the offenders. The laws have been manipulated in favour of the rich and powerful people who commit criminal offences but get light sentences while the common people that engage in petty stealing end up spending long years behind bars. Many do not even get prosecuted as their lawyers have perfected many

• Falana

ways of evading justice through frivolous injunctions, some even go as far as getting “perpetual injunction” to prevent their clients from facing the law. These lawyers who have become some sort of “couriers” for ill gotten wealth have done all the unthinkable in law to frustrate the law from taking its course. Interlocutory application is one of the tools used by lawyers to delay justice or even prevent it because they are applied in most cases especially when they know the case do not favour their clients. Lawyers file such motions for all sorts of vexatious issues. Knowing fully well that such applications could be dismissed and because there is a right of appeal, lawyers usually apply such methods to stall court processes and that is a crude abuse of court process. Unfortunately they have in some judges, conniving allies who are ready to accede to their prayers especially when the price is “right”. Corruption in the judiciary has assumed a dangerous dimension to the extent that lawyers seek injunction to prevent law enforcement agents from arresting or pros-

ecuting those that were once referred to as “pen robbers” by the late Fela AnikulapoKuti. Even when the cases of “pen robbers” are brought to court, lawyers in collaboration with some judges frustrate trial by engaging in dilatory tactics. In most instances, the landmines put on the way of the court make it so difficult to dispense with justice. Litigation and re-litigation are often employed by lawyers to confuse judges, stall proceedings and generally make a fool of the court process. The people that make that possible are the lawyers who are supposed to protect the law by defending what is just, but have deliberately become obstacles to the rule of law. The situation has even been aggravated by the attitude of the bench that has ignored its role in monitoring the activities of lawyers and sanctioning those among them who subvert the judicial system. The systemic decline and the rot in the judiciary have become so endemic that it has become almost impossible to get justice in the country. Judges as well as lawyers oftentimes exploit the complexity in the Nigerian neocolonial legal system to abuse the court process and thereby inhibiting justice. The situation has got to a level of anarchy and if nothing is done drastically to halt this decline, the country may collapse. The abuse of court process by lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits and motions has made a mockery of the whole judicial system. They are able to do this because of lack of effective disciplinary measures to deal with erring lawyers who stall court processes with frivolous motions. The mass of the people are at the mercy of these lawyers, who are at best legal mercenaries who are obviously paid to do dirty jobs and abuse the court processes. The matter is made worse by some judges, who are too willing to accommodate these motions to the detriment of proper judicial process. Even if a prosecuting counsel is against such distractions, a conniving judge would be more than willing to frustrate his efforts. The situation has become so pathetic that criminal cases are being outsourced to the extent that those that have been given a clean bill of health in our law courts are found guilty in other jurisdictions. • To be continued next week

Adesina opens office

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ORMER Nigerian Bar Associa tion (NBA) General Secretary Deacon Dele Adesina (SAN) has opened his new law office in Lagos and dedicated it to God and to the legal profession. Erudite lawyers and Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) such as the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodeji Daramola, the governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola who was represented by the Solicitor General, Mr. Lawal Pedro,Chief Wole Olanipekun, Mrs. Funke Adekoya among others, also described the edifice along Opebi Road in Ikeja as a pride to the legal profession. Addresssing guests at the opening of the building during the weekend, Adesina gave glory to God for making the structure a dream come true saying, “I dedicate this building to God Almighty, to continue to celebrate His grace and to humanity, to continue bringing justice to the door step of everyone.” “This edifice, which I submit with humility is a pride to the legal profession as a modest initiative to the profession we love so much”, Adesina said adding that behind the structure are qualities, energy and character which have brought the law firm to the present state of achievement. “I feel fulfilled as far as this phase is concerned. For you to conceive an idea and see the idea in reality is a source of fulfillment and happiness, so, to God belongs all the glory.” On how he started practice, he said: “I had an office that was stationed in a kitchen for six years. A kitchen converted to an office, the sink was covered with plywood where I put the case files but that

By Adebisi Onanuga

never affected negatively my output, production, determination to succeed and focus. “So, if somebody who came from no where and entered a wilderness that was at time where only those that were connected were linked up with very big chambers. My chambers was not one of the 100 chambers in Lagos at that time, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had my office in a kitchen. But it shows that what is important is for you to start, number two, for you to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve in life. When you don’t have a vision, you are like a ship in the high sea without a compass. But when you have that vision, the vision begins to propel you, it drives you. My bishop, David Oyedepo will tell you that ‘Unless the pursuit of your vision involves some madness, you are not there yet’. It must be pursued with madness as if your very existence depends on that vision and the truth is that your life depends on your vision, so that is the way I have driven my life and I believe that this is a stepping stone to greater heights.” According to him, the opening of the building marked a new beginning ‘that is unstoppably committed to the advancement of the rule of law and the development of our legal jurisprudence adding, “we recognise that while a nation can endure with unbelief, it certainly cannot endure with injustice. As it is often said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On his vision for the profession, he said: “I still have the vision not just only to impact the lawyers around me, but the vision to im-

• From right: Dele Adesina (SAN), his wife Deaconess Bola and Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Lawal Pedro (SAN)

• From left: Chief Judge, Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, former President NBA, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and former Health Secretary, Mr Julius Adelusi

pact the profession itself, the vision to instill hope and confidence in the majority of our members that con-

stitute not less than 70 per cent members of the profession who are young, some of them are even feel-

ing that I may even be in the wrong profession, I want to instill hope and confidence in the people.


36

THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

LEGAL OPINION Executive Director of a human rights group, the Access to Justice (AJ), Joseph Chu’ma Otteh, identifies challenges the National Judicial Council (NJC) must tackle to restore confidence in the judiciary

‘How NJC can restore public confidence in Judiciary’

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O system of justice can rise above the ethics of those who administer it” The recent decision by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to recommend the retirement of two Judges is probably the strongest evidence yet that a new administrator is now in charge and that business will not, under her, be as usual. The NJC has finally brought to definite closure matters which had smouldered for an interminably arduous period, some of them, since 2008, like the case of Hon. Justice Thomas Naron, against whom petitions had been unresolved by the Council since 2008! What this reinforces to us is that leadership is what tips the scale concerning how an institution delivers on its mandate. In this piece, we explore how the NJC can go the full distance with its current resolve, and outline the challenges that the Council should, in its new incarnation, should take on as a matter of urgency, to restore confidence in the Nigerian justice system again.

Restore credibility to the NJC The NJC’s credibility has been a key issue in the fight to make the Judiciary function accountably and ethically. Just a few years ago, we all thought that the problems within the Judiciary were down to its lack of independence and its inadequate funding. Let’s recall what the Eso Panel Report said on this, that “… the root cause of all the problems of the Nigerian Judiciary was its total dependence on the Executive and its consequent treatment by the latter as a mere parastatal of the executive arm of government – a department of the Ministry of Justice”. The establishment of the NJC was expected to give the judiciary greater autonomy over matters pertaining to the affairs of the judiciary and reduce the overreaching range of political influence over the way the Judiciary was recruited and functioned. The NJC, after a review of the Justice Eso Panel report in 2002 through a Committee chaired by Hon. Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin (rtd) concluded that the 1999 Constitution, through the establishment of the NJC, had effectively taken care of the concerns and problems identified by the Eso Panel including issues of independence (recruitment, security of tenure and funding), and had adequately secured both the Federal and the States’ Judicial Service Commissions as independent bodies from executive and legislative control. Unfortunately, a few years after, with significantly improved funding and a robust judicial oversight agency made up substantially of persons within the Judiciary, the problems still subsist. Let us recall, that shortly after he became President in 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had candidly conveyed this sense of anger and frustration with the judiciary, when the told the All Nigeria Judges Conference that “[t]here is prevailing disenchantment of the populace with the Judiciary – an attitude which has arisen out of the lapses or failings of the Judiciary”. Thirteen years down the line, and after substantial investments in improving the lot of the Judiciary, ex-President Obasanjo had cause to remark again in 2012, that: “ Now, the judiciary has been riddled by corruption, which has affected other sectors of the country. And if the judiciary becomes corrupt, where is the hope for the nation? Justice has become the highest bidder takes all.

• Otteh

That is what we have now. “For election, we now have democracy of the judiciary, substituted for democracy of the people.” At the same event where these comments were made, retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, M. Uwais also said that: “It is true that Nigeria needed a strong judiciary that started on a strong footing from the colonial masters. But corruption has affected the judicial arm of the government….When I was the CJN, I worked with the President to remove quite a number of the judges from office on the recommendation of the [the NJC]... That was the standard we expect from the NJC. But unfortunately, judges who are corrupt are allowed to go scot free.” In other words, the NJC, over the years went from being effective (or at least considerably so) to being mostly symbolic, a lame duck, and a window dressing. The reason? Leadership! Therefore, if the Judiciary’s survival and honour depends on the leadership and effectiveness of the NJC, then we must learn to take adequate measures to ensure that irrespective of the complexion of its leadership, the NJC can manage to function at some credible level in any weather. In other words, that the NJC can function considerably - if not effectively - irrespective of the calibre of its leadership. There are two ways we think this can be accomplished. The first is this: the NJC must itself adopt standard and enforceable internal policies or systems that can sustain effective outcomes in any case. For example, petitions to the NJC will only be investigated if they are listed in the business agenda of the Council. This is not good enough. What it means is that a Chief Justice who does not want something discussed by the Council will simply decide against its being tabled for discussion. Second, even where petitions are tabled, the Council can still decide to not investigate it, or, if it does, it largely does a ceremonial, rough-shod job of that. This is the reason why some petitions will probably never be investigated or decided in any forthright sense. To avoid against this, the NJC should adopt credible intake and disposition safeguards or guidelines for the reception, listing and determination of all complaints brought against Judges and no one person should be able to determine the fate of any complaint against a Judge. Second, the NJC should pursue constitutional reforms to reconstitute the Council and reduce the powers and influence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria over the membership of the Council. The Council, for one, is too egalitarian and exclusive. The Ghana Judicial Coun-

cil, to make a comparism, has a membership drawn from a wide spectrum of governmental and other interest groups, including representatives of Magistrates, traditional Chiefs, the Judicial Service Staff Association, the Police, Military and the Bar. We need to show the NJC is not just an elitist institution whose memberships do not exist in the realms in which ordinary people do. Also, the CJN selects 60 per cent of the membership of the NJC, and when you consider that five representatives of the NBA only participate when the NJC is considering judicial appointments, you find that for most of its business, the NJC is composed of persons 78 per cent of who are selected by the CJN alone. If the leadership of the NJC falls into the wrong hands, as we probably have experienced at some point, Nigerian people pay dearly. Therefore, the structure of the NJC’s composition and leadership is lopsided and weakens the integrity and independence of that body. This needs to change. Third, the NJC can press for reforms that could separate or divide the Council into two, creating a separate disciplinary arm and giving the new body exclusive functions and an independent Chairperson who is not a serving Chief Justice. The body could be called a Judicial Disciplinary Council (JDC), or Judicial Performance and Disciplinary Council (JPDC), a nomenclature similar to that proposed by the Justice Kayode Eso Panel.

Reform judicial appointments Much has been said about reforming judicial appointments, and the Justice Uwais Committee set up by retired CJN, Hon. Justice Musdapher made insightful recommendations in that regard. The NJC needs to take those recommendations very seriously and implement them. Current procedures of judicial appointments will not help Nigeria identify the generation of judges who will be our best foot forward going into the future. Our current system does not offer equal and fair opportunities to access judicial office, neither does it promote transparency and accountability and needs to be replaced in this regard.

Fight poor standards of service delivery by judges The standards of judicial services delivery by Judges have declined over the years across board. While remunerations have improved, the Judiciary has not provided corresponding value in terms of the quality of services it is offering Nigerians. Many court users – lawyers, litigants, witnesses, etc - travel from different ends of our geographical spectrum – some even come from without – to hear, when they arrive courts, that a Judge is not sitting that day. In this century, this is embarassing for the justice system and painful for people who risk life and limb to have their day in court. On yet another day, you could hear a court registrar say: Madam never return from weekend or that Oga go attend swearing in of Chief Judge as the reason for his absence! The NJC must fight these delinquencies and raise the bar of performance high enough to ensure that Judges are more devoted to their primary assignments. The Council should adopt new performance auditing systems that better monitor the delivery of services by judicial officers in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

Improve case disposition rates, speed and quality justice In many courts, case clearance or disposition rates are dismal, and many courts’ dockets sag under the weight of case congestion. Not all Judges feel their outputs need to keep up pace with case inputs, or be up to par with expectations or even or bother about the ages of cases in the docket. In some courts, there are cases that have lasted well over ten years since they were filed and have moved from one retiring judge to another retiring Judge. Judges oftentimes do little to overcome the perception that courts are disconnected and lethargic. The NJC must develop oversight mechanisms that put pressure on Judges to take better responsibility for quicker disposition of cases as well as ensure that available time is fairly and judiciously distributed to all court users.

Adopt policies that stimulate improved justice services in the states Across the States, justice delivery services also suffer from similar challenges. Corruption is rife in many State judiciaries. Court administration services – filings, service of processes, execution – are also inefficiently and corruptly performed. Can the NJC also help with improving justice services countrywide, seeing that it does not exercise direct oversight over Staterun courts? Yes, it can! NJC has powers over Chief Judges of the states and other statelocated courts such as the Federal High Court and National Industrial

Court. The NJC can require that Chief Judges of states should show accountable stewardship of their role as heads of courts and stamp out inefficiencies and corruption, as well as undertake reforms of their respective courts. It could develop performance monitoring standards specifically for Chief Judges and benchmark their assessment against how effectively they are managing their courts. The NJC could also undertake, through a Committee, periodic visits to States to assess how courts are functioning to see whether Chief Judges are properly exercising their powers of administration and meeting court user needs. By doing this, Chief Judges will be under pressure to ensure that they put their best foot forward in managing their courts efficiently.

Conclusion

By a single stroke of resolve, Hon. Justice Mariam Mukhtar (GCON), the Chief Justice of Nigeria has rekindled hope that the Nigerian Judiciary will rise again out of the ashes of disappointment and failure and serve Nigerians in the spirit, and beyond the letters, of our constitution. She is making good on her promise to ensure leadership by example and ensure internal discipline in the judiciary. She has set herself on a worthy cause and is entitled to praise. However, the road is still a long one, and the challenges, as well as the uncertainties are many. Having started on a promising note, the expectations will be stronger. She will need to keep a steady and resolute hand on the plough. May she be resourced with more strength, courage and wisdom to pursue this good cause!

AGF retires Deputy DGs of Law School

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HE Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Moham med Bello Adoke (SAN) has retired the Deputy Directors-General of the Nigerian Law School (NLS) who have served for five years and above. They are the Deputy Director General, NLS, Lagos Campus, Mr. Olanrewaju Onadeko and his Enugu campus counterpart, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu It was gathered the AttorneyGeneral directed that any director general that has served the Law School for five years and above should be retired. Other reasons for the sudden retirement of the DDGs were not clear as at press time. A source close to the Law School told our correspondent that the directive has been on in the Ministry for a long time and affects all agencies under the Federal Ministry of Justice. He said: “ This is part of the eight

• Adoke By John Austin Unachukwu

years rule which states that directors who have served for eight years should be retired and if the Council has decided to give effect to it, we shall get details today.”

UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee elects Nigerian

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• Okafor

NIGERIAN academic and world-renowned expert in international law, Prof Obiora Chinedu Okafor, has been elected the Vice-Chairperson/Rapporteur of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Advisory Committee in Geneva, Switzerland. This committee of top experts from across the world serves the think-tank and principal subsidiary organ of the UN Human Rights Council, which is one of the major UN bodies. The committee meets twice a year, for one week in February immediately before the March session of the Council and for one week in August.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

37

LAW & SOCIETY Centre introduces five e-products

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LEADING Electronic Law Report and Research Centre and law software provider, Law Pavillion has introduced five new pocket-friendly and technologically-driven legal solutions that would reduce problems associated with judicial processes by about 6o per cent and improve justice delivery in the country. The Managing Director of the company, Mr Ope Olugasa, who disclosed this during a chat with the media in Lagos, said the electronic solutions would also entrench efficiency and productivity culture among lawyers. He listed the solutions to include Law Pavilion Plus (IPad Version), Law Pavillion on Personal Computers/Server Versions for Corporate Users, Law Pavillion on Black Berry and Law Pavillion On-Line Version. Olugasa said the products have the capacity to “facilitate quicker and easier conduct of legal research with almost all necessary resources congregated in a platform. “It helps legal practitioners search for authorities on any subject and get results in seconds, rather than the significant and tedious hours spent during manual search, putting at one’s finger tip, an e-library of over 80,000 e-books of Law Reports (both of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal from 1970 till date), 43 years consolidated index and law digest of over 50,000 issues covering all areas of law and a 48-hour law reporting system with automatic updates among other features,” he said. Olugasa disclosed that the solutions have been tested for their

By Adebisi Onanuga

workability and capability to help improve judicial processes and justice delivery in the country. “We did a critical study of available infrastructure, limitations and ICT knowledge of the legal industry before we came up with a home solution that would provide solutions to most of the problems of the legal system. “It was the feedback that we got that led to the production of the solutions”, he said. Olugasa said the IPad version was introduced to cater for the growing need of highly mobile and technologically-savvy legal practitioners adding that the uniqueness of the product is in its ability to conduct legal search without the necessity of access to the internet in view of the fact that the penetration of broadband services is still quite low in the country. The ones designed for personal computers and the server versions, he said, apart from containing Supreme Court and Appeal Court judgements from 1970 till date with prompt updates within 48hours, also contain search engine for quick retrieval of of authorities on issues such as locus classicus, selected laws of the federation and subsidiary legislations, civil procedure rules of state high courts among others. The BlackBerry version is intended to meet the needs of young and smart lawyers, law students and other lawyers who wanted automated law resources, while the online version is intended to keep up with the latest judgements of the two upper courts, he said.

Man fights to reclaim street name

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HE end of the tussle between Tajudeen Abdul-Kareem and John Okesue over the right name of Tajudeen Abdul-Kareem Street, Ipaja-Ayobo Local Government Area (LGA), is not in sight. Last Monday, Justice Opeyemi Oke of the Ikeja High Court reviewed the judgment she had given earlier in 2010, in which she granted the street naming right to Okesue. But now, she has decided to re-consider the legal basis upon which Okesue, a school proprietor, merits the right to name the street after his school, Parents Choice School. From what was gathered, AbdulKareem was the first person to build a house on May 29, 2001, on the would-be Tajudeen AbdulKareem Street. He said he lived there alone in the dense forest area. He said: “It was not until after two years that I had been living in my three-bedroom bungalow in the area that I had neighbours. And it was after the area was substantially developed in 2008 that I was advised to seek the right to name the street. I was given letters of recommendation by Baale Akanni Ogunsola of Olorunsola , Ipaja, and Community Development Association (a corporation of landlords) in the area to take to Ipaja-Ayobo Local Government Council and request for certificate of street naming.” According to Abdul-Kareem, he was issued the certificate of street naming on August 25, 2008, after meeting all necessary requirements. But he was surprised that in last year, when he went to renew the certificate, the officials at the Ipaja-Ayobo LGA said a court judgment (by the same Justice Opeyemi Oke) compelled them to issue another certificate of street naming to John Okesue, who reportedly had built the school on the street after Abdul-Kareem built his

By Damilola Owoyele

house. Okesue was not in court last Monday, but Abdul-Kareem said Okesue opened Parents Choice School in 2005. He said he had been intimidated and bullied by Okesue since the fray over the street name started. He said compared to Okesue, who owned a school, he was just an indigent foreman at Flour Mills, Apapa, Lagos. AbdulKareem said Okesue got him arrested over frivolous charges, which culminated in him spending six days in detention in December 2010. Abdul-Kareem said he almost threw in the towel, but the timely intervention of Committee for Defence of Human Right (CDHR), a civil rights group, has invigorated him to keep fighting for his right. His lawyer, Malachy Ucwummadu, was the past National Secretary of CDHR. Ucummadu said: , “When I read the first judgment given in favour of John Okesue, I knew that it was contestable. Abdul-Kareem, as an important stakeholder, was not even present when the initial judgment was given.” After last Monday’s court proceedings ended, Ucwummadu said he was happy that the Judge had taken their claims into consideration. He said: “We had requested for a stay of execution of the initial court judgment and fought the notice of appeal challenging the earlier decision made by the court and by the same judge. We also brought an application of leave as an interested party applicant. All these came up for hearing today and the judge is cognizant of it.” He said the court could not deliberate over an outcome since John Okesue and officials of the IpajaAyobo LGA were absent. The case was adjourned to April 22.

• From left: Mrs Tejuosho, Mrs Falana and others at the event.

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HE National leader of the Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA), Mrs. Funmi Falana, has urged the Federal and state governments to abolish all laws, official policies and customary practices which discriminate against women. Mrs Falana argued that the ongoing review of the constitution provides gold opportunity for lawmakers to stamp out all discriminatory laws and practices against women. She spoke at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja, when she led some women on a protest walk against rape on International Women’s Day. They were received by the Chairman, Finance Committee of the House, Mrs. Funmi Tejuosho, who received a proposal from the women entitled, “International Women’s Day and the Gender Agenda” on behalf of the Speaker of the House, Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji. Mrs Falana said the laws which discriminate against women are archaic and impinge on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which protects the rights of the women and ensures equal rights for men and women. “The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides in section 42(1) that no person shall be discriminated against on the basis of community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion. As regards sex, the provision is also in compliance with international conventions, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). “Section 42(1) specifically protects the right of women against discrimination based on sex. So also Section 15 (2) of the same Constitution. The combined effect of the provisions of the two sections is that women are not in any way inferior to men, as far as the law is concerned”, she posited. Mrs Falana lamented that working women in Nigeria are targets of discrimination under the Labour Act pointing out for instance that “section 54(3) of the Act states that “No employer shall be liable, in his capacity as an employer, to pay any medical expenses incurred by a woman during or on account of her pregnancy or confinement. Under sections 55 and 56 of the Act, women are prohibited from being employed on night work in a public or private industrial undertaking or any agricultural undertaking or in any mine. The human rights activist further lamented that the serious criminal offence of having carnal knowledge of a girl being of or above 13 years and under 16 years of age or of a woman or girl who is an idiot or

Abolish laws against women, group urges By Adebisi Onanuga

imbecile is classified as a misdemeanour and punishable by two years imprisonment under Section 221 of the Criminal Code. She said the law is made worse because the accused may be discharged and acquitted if he can prove that he believed on reasonable grounds that the girl was of or above the age of 16 years. “Under the civil service rules of some states of the Federation it is specifically provided that ”Any woman servant, married or unmarried who is about to undertake a course of training of not more than six months duration shall be called upon to enter into an agreement to refund the whole or part of the cost in the event of her course being interrupted on ground of pregnancy”. She also observed “in the Armed Forces, Police and para-military institutions the fundamental rights of working women to dignity is not recognised. Thus, Section 8 of the Terms and Conditions of Service for National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) states that all female officers “shall be unmarried on enlistment and shall remain so for a period not less than two years.” Any newly recruited female officer who wishes to marry shall apply and obtain a written permission of the Chairman of the NDLEA. An unmarried female officer who becomes pregnant within the first two years of the service shall be discharged from the service of the NDLEA”. She listed other laws impinging on the rights of the women in Nigeria to include Regulation 124 of the Police Act which provides that “a woman police officer who is desirous of marrying must first apply in writing to the commissioner of police for the State Police command in which she is serving, requesting permission to marry and giving the name, address, and occupation of the person she intends to marry. Permission will be granted for the marriage if the intended husband is of good character and the woman police officer has served in the Force for a period of not less than three

years”. Falana also kicked against section 2 of Part II of the Schedule to the Federal Character Commission Act (Cap F7) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which stated that a married woman “shall continued to lay claim to her state of origin for the purpose of implementation of the federal character formulae at the national level, noting that most Nigerians did not know of the provision of this law until it was recently invoked by the National Judicial Council in justifying the delay in the inauguration of Justice Ifeoma Jumbo-Offor on the ground that she had secured the appointment from her husband’s state (Abia) instead of her own state of origin (Anambra). “The serious criminal offence of having carnal knowledge of a girl being of or above 13 years and under 16 years or of a woman or girl who is an idiot or imbecile is classified as a misdemeanor which is punishable by two years imprisonment under Section 221 of the Criminal Code. Even then, the accused may be discharged and acquitted if he can prove that he believed on reasonable grounds that the girl was of or above the age of 16 years,” she added. Hon. Tejuosho praised the initiative of WELA under the leadership of Mrs. Falana particularly on the issue of rape of minors. She agreed with Mrs Falana that it amounted to rape of a woman whose husband forced her to have sex, noting that men tend to think that they cannot be held for criminal act when it involves their wives. Tejuosho called for collaboration between WELA and the state assembly so that they could fight the menace in the society. She expressed the hope that with the efforts of WELA and other steps being taken in the Assembly, the act would become a thing of the past. She said the Child Rights law was being amended to accommodate female circumcision and urged Mrs. Falana to work with the state government to ensure the implementation of laws militating against women.

‘The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides in section 42(1) that no person shall be discriminated against on the basis of community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion’


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

38

LAW REPORT

Striking out a suit does not retrospectively affect orders effected while the suit lasted

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA HOLDEN AT ABUJA ON FRIDAY THE 1ST JUNE, 2012 BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS Date: 25th October 2012 Suit No. SC.369/2012 2012(10) LEDLR-1

WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN ….JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT CHRISTOPER MITCHEL CHUKWUMA-ENEH ….JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT BODE RHODES-VIVOUR ….JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD ….JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI ….JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT BETWEEN 1. DR. IMORO KUBOR

PETITIONERS / APPELLANTS

2. CHANGE ADVOCACY PARTY AND 1. HON SERIAKE HENRY DICKSON 2. PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY

RESPONDENTS

3. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISION • Continued from last week

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HETHER the 1st petitioner scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the said election and therefore entitled to be returned as the duly elected Governor of Bayelsa State. (c)Whether the election into the Office of Governor of Bayelsa State held on 11th February, 2012 is liable to be nullified”. Following the conclusion of hearing, a forth issue was added, to wit:Whether the Exhibits “D” and “L” being internet print outs are admissible in evidence. In the end, the Tribunal in its judgment found no merit in the petition and dismissed same. In the appellants’ brief before the lower court, learned senior counsel for the appellants raised the following issues for the determination of the appeal: “3. 01. Whether the Trial Tribunal rightly countenanced Exhibit “N” and ignored the fact of the discontinuance of Suit No.FHC / ABJ/CS /3/2012 on the qualification of the 1st respondent to contest the Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Election (Grounds 1, 7,10). 3.02. Whether the Trial Tribunal was wrong in rejecting Exhibits “D” and “L” tendered from the bar and admitted in evidence by the appellants’ counsel(Ground 2) . 3.03. Whether the 1st respondent was validly sponsored by the 2nd respondent to render him qualified to contest at the 11th February, 2012 Governorship Election having regard to Section 177 of the Constitution and extant provisions of the Electoral Act(Grounds 3, 4, 5, 6, 8). 3. 04. If this Honourable Court resolves all the previous issues, in favour of the appellants whether the consequential order to make in this case is one for a fresh election (Ground 9) “. As stated earlier in this judgment, the lower court resolved the issues against appellants and consequently dismissed the appeal resulting in the instant further appeal to this court, the issue for determination of which have been formulated in the appellants brief filed on 25th September, 2012 as follows:“Issue One - Whether the lower court rightly affirmed the decision of the Trial Tribunal which countenanced Exhibit “N” as proof that 1st respondent was validly sponsored and thus qualified to contest the Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Election, when the said Exhibit was an interim order made in a pre-election Suit No.FHC /ABJ /312012 filed by 1st respondent, but discontinued by him after the interim order was obtained (Ground 1). Issue Two - Whether the lower court rightly affirmed the decision of the Trial Tribunal which rejected Exhibit “D” and “L” tendered from the bar and admitted in evidence by the appellants’ counsel (Ground 2). Issue Three- Whether on a proper appreciation of the reasoning in the unreported case of Dangana vs Usman in Appeal No. CA/A/EPT/582/2011 and the Supreme

ties. 4.There is no ground of appeal in this court against the decision of the Court of Appeal referred to in 3 above. 5.This court has no jurisdiction to entertain the points sought to be struck out (sic).” I have carefully gone through the arguments against the grounds of the objection and have come to the conclusion that the objection is of no substance since even if it is upheld, it will have no substantial effect on the main issue before us, which is whether 1st respondent was qualified to contest the gubernatorial election into the Office of Governor of Bayelsa State conducted/held on 11th February, 2012; What concerns this court is that substantial justice be done to parties seeking justice accordingly to law, not technicality. It is important to note that similar objections were raised by the respondents before the lower court which court after exhaustive considerations held, at page 826 as follows: “ On the totality of the foregoing therefore, the preliminary objections of the respondents fail in their entirety and all are hereby overruled in favour of the appellants” If 1st respondent or any respondent is dissatisfied with the above finding/holding by the lower court, the proper thing to do in law, is not to raise the same preliminary objection before this court but to appeal by way of cross appeal against the above finding/holding by that court as that is the only acceptable way to challenge any decision of a court of law or tribunal. In the circumstances, I hold the considered view that the objections are without merit and should be dismissed and order accordingly. In arguing Issue One, learned senior counsel for the appellants Rickey Tarfa , SAN in the appellants brief submitted, by way of summary, that the lower court wrongly upheld the acceptance of the Trial Tribunal of Exhibit ‘’N” as a valid and subsisting judgment which validated the Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Election held on 11th February, 2012 contrary to the combined provisions of Section 177 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and 34 of the Electoral Act, 2010/as amended; that an interim order in the like of Exhibit ‘’N” which

Court decision thereon on further appeal, the lower court rightly distinguished same in affirming the contrary decision of the Trial Tribunal that 1st respondent was validly sponsored by the 2nd respondent to render him qualified to contest at the 11th February, 2012 Governorship Election having regard to Section 177 of the Constitution and extant provisions of the Electoral Act (Grounds 3, and 4). Issue Four -If Honourable Court resolve all the previous issues in favour of the appellants, whether the consequential order which the lower court should have made in this matter is one for return or (sic) 1st respondent as winner of the Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Election held on 11th February, 2012 or one for a fresh election. (Ground 5).” See pages 9- 10 of the appellants brief.’’ At this stage, it is important to note that the 1st respondent has raised preliminary objections to some of the grounds of appeal and issues arising therefrom which objections have been argued in the brief of argument and react8d to by learned senior counsel for the appellants in the RESIDENT of Commonreply brief filed on 5th wealth Lawyers Association October, 2012. ( CLA), Mrs. Boma Ozobia The objection is that:has invited Nigerian lawyers to ‘’A. Sub-paragraph (iv) attend the forthcoming CLOA of Ground 1 and subConference in Cape Town, South paragraph (vi) of Ground Africa en mass. A statement signed 3 of the appellants’ Noreads: “As President of the Comtice of Appeal be struck monwealth Lawyers Association, I out. am honoured and delighted to inB. Paragraphs 4.16, 4.17, vite you to the 18th Common4.18, 4.19, 4.20, 4.21, 4.25 wealth Law Conference (CLC2013) and 4.28 of the appelwhich will be held from April 14 lants’ brief be struck out”. to 18 in Cape Town, South Africa. The grounds in support Boma said: “This is the first time of the above objection are in the 60-year history of Commonas follows:wealth law conferences that this “1.The question of disprestigious event is being held in continuance by the 1st South Africa. Practising lawyers, respondent of Suit No. judges and legal academics FHC/ABJ/CS/3/2012 was not pleaded by the appellants in their petition nor did it from part HE Nigerian Bar Association of their appeal to the (NBA has called on Court of Appeal. lawyers to pay their Bar 2.A party is not alPracticing Fees before March 31, as lowed to depart in the contained in the Legal PractitionSupreme Court from the ers Act (LPA) case set up in the trial It is an offence of professional court and in the Court of misconduct for any lawyer not to Appeal. pay the fee before the date. 3.The Court of Appeal However, following the upward specifically found at review of the fees by the General pages 832- 833 of the Council of the Bar, some lawyers Record of Appeal that went to court to challenge the inparties did not join issue crement in the fees but following on the discontinuance of the intervention of NBA President, Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/ Okey Wali (SAN), the original fees 3/2012 and that the appelannounced by the Council was relants were forbidden to duced by 50 per cent, hence the go outside the issues NBA calls on all lawyers to pay joined between the par-

was made prior to the discontinuance of Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/3/2012 becomes spent by reason of the discontinuance; that the discontinuance of the suit is fatal to the continued existence of Exhibit ‘’N” and the lower court ought not to have shut its eyes from its record particularly as the respondents alleged an original list which included 1st the respondent as a validly sponsored candidate but failed to tender the said list which failure should be visited by an invocation of the provisions of Section 167(d) of the Evidence Act against the respondents. For the above submissions, learned senior counsel cited and relied on the case of: Kotoye vs CBN (19890 1 NWLR (Pt. 98) 419 at 440; ACB Ltd vs Awogbooro (1996) 3 NWLR (Pt. 437) 383 at 392; Group Danone vs Voltic (Nig) Ltd (2008) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1 087) 637 at 675). It is the further submission of learned senior counsel that a distinction between an interlocutory or interim order on the one hand and a final decision on the other does not invite the concept of preservative or executory order; that an executory character of an order is only relevant in contradistinction with a declaratory order, made in a final judgment not in an interim or interlocutory decision, relying on Tukur vs Govt. of Congola State (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 117) 517 ; Okoya vs Sanlih (1990) 2 NWLR (Pt. ‘131) 172 at 228; that upon the discontinuance of the Suit Exhibit “N” become spent and become a null order, thereby having the effect of taking along with it, the name of the 1st respondent which it compelled the 3rd respondent to include in the list of candidates for the election in question; that the valid list of candidates for the election as at the date of the election is the 3rd respondent’s list published on 11th January, 2012 which did not include the name of 1st respondent; that the provisions of Section 34 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended is mandatory and failure to comply strictly with same is fatal to the case of 1st and 2nd respondents. On his part, learned senior counsel for the 1st respondent Tayo Oyetibo, SAN in the 1st respondent brief filed on 2nd October, 2012 submitted that it is not open for the appellants to now contend that the 1st respondent was not validly sponsored by the 2nd • To be continued next week

CLA President invites lawyers

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from many of the 54 Commonwealth countries are meeting in Cape Town to debate topical issues affecting the rule of law, commercial law, legal practice and the profession. “The conference presents an ideal opportunity for lawyers to network and share their ideas and experiences with other lawyers from all parts of the Commonwealth. The conference will be held in the Cape Town International Convention Centre with the exception of the Gala dinner which will be hosted at Moyo, Spier in the Cape winelands.

• Mrs Ozobia

You simply can’t afford to miss these internationally-renowned speakers at this prestigious conference”

NBA urges lawyers to pay practising fee

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their fees to beat the March 31 deadline In a chat with The Nation, Wali said: “ It is an offence for any lawyer not to pay his practicing fees before the March deadline. The NBA will sanction any lawyer who fails to pay his fees within the stipulated time because that is the position of the law, it is a creation of the statute and there is no going back on it” When reminded of a text message

by a faceless group which called itself MARSAN, telling lawyers not to pay the fees because of a matter in court challenging it, he said: “That is immaterial because there is no order of court or injunction that people should not pay practicing fees, so any lawyer who fails to pay the fees is on his own and does so at his own risk. The NBA will definitely wield the big stick after March 31.

Ogbara loses mum

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ORMER chairman, NBA Ikorodu branch, Mr Nurudeen Ogbara, lost his mother, Alhaja Silifat Omoshalews Awoke Ogbara punultimate week Thursday. She was buried immediately, according to muslim rites. The 8th day Fidau prayer was held last Friday.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

39

ABUJA REVIEW NEWS

•Senior Special Assistant to the President and National Coordinator SERVICOM, Mr Sylbriks Obriki (left); presenting an award of the most re-engineered for service agency •Accountant General of the Federation , Mr.Jonah Otunla (left), Minister of Finance , Dr. of the year to the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala , and Director General , Budget Office of the Federation , Dr. Bright Mr Akin Hanson. With them is the Managing Editor, Independent Newspapers Limited, Okogu , at a Press briefing on the 2013 Federal Budget in Abuja PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE Mr Akpandem James at the Customer Service Awards in Abuja PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

•Senate President, David Mark chatting with Netherlands Ambassador, Ronhaar Berend Jan during his visit to the National Assembly Complex HE Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of Apo Resettlement Scheme recorded a major breakthrough in its move to resolve problems hindering the successful implementation of the scheme. The committee, during its meeting, received an 11-man team set up by the Garki natives to represent the four communities of Garki; Gbagyi, Garki Hausa, Akpanjenya and Apo in the implementation of the Apo Resettlement Scheme. Members of the team include President of Garki Youths Association, Mr. Joel Yezegbe; Youth Leader of Garki Hausa, Mallam Abdulwahab Musa; Mr. Daniel Vundabo representing Apo Community, and Mr. Yohanne Gade representing Akpanjenya Community.

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•Garki area

•Gbagyi Cultural Troupe performing during the inauguration and hand-over ceremony of the MTN Science and Technology laboratories at Government Secondary School Kwali Abuja

Garki raises team for Apo implementation committee From Gbenga Omokhunu

Mr. Josiah Shinkpe, Mr. Ayuba Tanbo and Mr. Christopher Zakka are representing Garki Gbagyi in the committee; Alhaji Abubakar Musa Liman and Alhaji Danlami Bala are representing Garki Hausa; while Prince Gbaiza Gimba and Mr. Elisha Baba are representing Greater Gbagyi Development Initiative. In a letter presented to the implementation committee, the SaPeyi of Garki, His Royal Highness

Alhaji Usman Nga-Kupi and his Council of Chiefs reiterated their commitment to work with other members of the committee in the realisation of its terms of reference. “We hereby state without any fear of contradiction that we are impressed with the job of the Fact Finding Committee. We admit that the recommendations of the committee were fair and just,” they noted. The chairman of the Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of Apo Resettlement, Alhaji Yusuf

Tsaiyabu, who received the Garki representatives at the meeting, commended their decision to be part of the committee. Tsaiyabu stated that the decision was in the best interest of the communities and a cardinal step towards resolution of the lingering problems bedeviling the scheme. Meanwhile, the Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of Apo Resettlement Scheme has constituted four sub-committees in a bid to fast-track the realisation of the terms of reference of the committee. Tsaiyabu reeled off names of the sub-committees as policy implementation, Community Liaising and Participation, Data Verification, and Movement. The policy implementation subcommittee is headed by the chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Micah Jiba, while the community liaising and participation sub-committee is headed by Director of Inspection, Planning and Management of Area Council Services Secretariat, Joshua Kaura. The Director of Resettlement and Compensation, Mr. Francis Okechukwu, heads the Data Verification sub-committee while the Special Adviser to Permanent Secretary, FCTA on Lands heads the movement sub-committee. Addressing members of the committee at the meeting, Tsaiyabu said: “I urge all members to see the issue at hand as very crucial and I expect 100 per cent participation by every member of the sub-committees. All the sub-committees are expected

to submit their reports by March 27, 2013.” The Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide had, on February 14, 2013, inaugurated the Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of Apo Resettlement Scheme. The implementation committee is chaired by the Director of Administration and Finance, Area Council Services Secretariat, Alhaji Yusuf Tsaiyabu, with the Special Assistant to the Minister of State on Resettlement, Mr. Benedict Ogenyi, serving as secretary of the committee. Members of the implementation committee were the Director of Urban and Regional Planning, Alhaji Suleiman Abubakar (ViceChairman); Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Micah Jiba; Director of Security in the FCT, Alhaji Bashir Mohammed; Director of Inspectorate, Planning and Management, Area Council Services Secretariat, J.S. Kaura; Director of Satellite Towns Development Agency, Alhaji Tukur Ibrahim Bakori; Director of Development Control, Mr. Yahaya Yusuf, and Director of Resettlement and Compensation, Mr. Francis Okechukwu. Others include Director of Lands in the FCT, Alhaji Mainasara Babayo; Special Adviser (Lands) to the Permanent Secretary, Chief Steven Awoniyi; Special Assistant (Lands) to the Minister of the FCT, Alhaji Hussaini Badeggi; Special Assistant (Legal) to the Minister of State for the FCT, Mr. Festus Tsavsar; representative of Public Building, Mr. Momohjimoh Ibrahim; representative of Department of State Service, Mr. Adebowale Sanusi; Deputy Director of Monitoring and Control, Resettlement Department, Alhaji Baba Kura Umar, and Chairman of the FCT Press Corps, Mr. Sam Ogbeifun.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

DISCOURSE

Christians in politics:The Challenge of Transformative Public Engagement Conclusion of a text of the paper presented by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, at the Annual Partners’ Dinner of the Apostles in the Marketplace (AIMP) on February 21. • Continued from Friday

Christian Political Engagement in Nigeria T is significant that the Christian contribu tion to Nigeria was acknowledged on the very first day of our journey as an independent nation. In his Independence Day speech in 1960, Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa acknowledged that the history of Nigeria would be incomplete without the endeavours of missionaries and affirmed them as being among “those who made Nigeria.” This was by no means an overstatement. Many Nigerians even today are direct and indirect beneficiaries of the missionaries’ legacy. Through their schools, the first generation elites of this nation were raised. Through missionary education, many of our parents acquired the tools with which they embarked on their quest for upward mobility. As an alumnus of a mission school myself, I can certainly testify to the quality of the training we received that sharpened us both morally and intellectually. I suspect that many of us here would say the same. Even so, the Christian contribution to Nigeria went beyond mission schools. The story of faith communities is entwined with the evolution of the nationalist struggle. According to the historian Emmanuel Ayandele, from the late 19th century onward, “the church became the cradle of Nigerian nationalism, the only forum of nationalist expression until the beginnings of the indigenous press after 1879, and the main focus of nationalist energies until after 1914.” The campaign to indigenize the Christian faith which pit Nigerian ministers against paternalistic and racist sentiments within the missionary establishment prefigured the nationalist quest for self-rule. The eventual formation of African churches run by indigenous pastors was part of a political awakening stirred by the natives’ discovery of the Bible’s notions of equality and justice. This tradition was carried on by great cultural nationalists such as the Reverends James Johnson, Mojola Agbebi, Josiah Ransome-Kuti and Bishop Ajayi Crowther. The indigenous clerics saw their struggle to assume control of their own spiritual destinies as a prelude to the ultimate achievement of selfrule. Consequently, Christians were very involved in the first stirrings of nationalist activism. All the members of the Legislative Council from 1886 to 1914 were either ministers or ardent churchmen. The first Nigerian newspaper came off the same presses with the first vernacular Bible. It was a missionary-trained Christian, Dr. Russell Dikko, who conceived the cultural society that eventually became the Northern Peoples’ Congress. Bishop Ajayi Crowther’s grandson Herbert Macaulay was the leading nationalist figure of the 1920s in a burgeoning nationalist movement that included Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, daughter of Reverend Josiah Ransome-Kuti. Influenced by the British Labour Party (which in turn bore the intellectual stamp of the Christian socialists), Obafemi Awolowo propounded a political ethic rooted in moral tradition, arguing that religion and politics were complementary and that “the most beneficial political system derives its strengths from the tenets and practices of great religions.” He saw a natural congruence between Christianity and socialism and appropriated the biblical phrase ‘Life More Abundant’ to encapsulate the ideals of his political party, the Action Group, and defined it as freedom from British rule, freedom from ignorance, freedom from disease and freedom from want. “In the process of bringing out the best that is in man, and of enabling him to live a healthy and happy life, the agencies of Politics and Religion must work in close and harmonious co-operation. The eradication of ignorance, disease and want is a matter of the utmost concern to Politics as well as to Religion.” For Awolowo, the Golden Rule, empathy, loving our neighbour as ourselves, which summarize the Law and the Prophets and indeed, the great moral traditions, constitute the cornerstone of a sustainable society. Any system based on greed and naked self-interest is bound to generate social disequilibrium, progressively degenerating until it suffers extinction and yields place to a system which either approaches or approximates the ideal of love. In the public domain, this love takes the form of social justice – fair-

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ness and a commitment to equity. From the foregoing it is clear that Christians had an investment in the very foundations of our nation that was far more than tangential. In subsequent years, Christians have become more visible in social activism and politics, whether as elected officials, or under the umbrella of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which was established to present a common voice for the Christian community to national political leaders, or in pressure groups like the Save Nigeria Group. But there is much more that we can do in terms of articulating an intelligent social and political engagement agenda that is rooted in our values and vision, and calibrated to address the challenges facing a religiously diverse society. The Christian political task today Many Christians still see politics as a dirty game and for this reason are disengaged from the political process. This view stems more from our nation’s political experiences rather than any actual scriptural principle. Nigerians see politicians as a venal, greedy, corrupt and parasitic league feeding on their frustrations and looting the country blind. However, once we accept that civil authority is an agency divinely instituted to promote justice and order, then politics, which is the operation of that agency, becomes necessary. Consequently, Christians are not exempted from politics. It is a noble vocation but it is tainted by the frailties of its practitioners. This is not unique to politics. It is the same with every sector of society whether we are talking about business, education, journalism, entertainment, sports etc. As long as these domains are manned by human beings, their flaws, insincerities and insecurities will continue to characterize them. This is what it means to live in a fallen world. While Christians know that their faith requires high standards of rectitude, they are human and often capitulate to the same temptations as anyone else. Even so, the whole point of the Christian presence on the earth is redemptive, meaning that transformed people with a higher moral consciousness can transform any endeavour including politics. There are a host of compelling reasons for Christians to participate in politics and governance. First, as citizens of the nation-state, we have the same civic duties as all citizens have including paying taxes, voting and supporting the candidates that we believe best qualify to hold public office. Secondly, the necessity of vigilant citizenship as a safeguard for our democracy also compels us to become activists either seeking office through the ballot or assisting those who do so in various areas of public service. The American statesman Daniel Webster once said, “Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens.” Our discipleship ought to make us the very sort of citizens that our nation needs. Thirdly, as citizens of the kingdom of God, we have a responsibility to bring transcendent standards of righteousness and justice to bear upon the institutions that shape our earthly lives. The biblical aphorism “Righteousness exalts a nation” simply means that a nation that does the right things will be exalted. In this context, righteousness refers to right policies, the proper ways and means of public administration, and the right standards of conduct. When we venture into the public square, we have a responsibility to establish accurate patterns of due process, accountability and public policy. Sound fiscal policy is righteousness. These enhance the quality of governance and transform socio-political institutions and structures. One example of how my Christian faith has influenced my governance pattern can be seen from how my administration structured our social security scheme. The bible admonishes variously that we should cater for the vul-

•Dr. Fayemi

nerable in the society as the practice of true religion; in line with this, we have ensured that the aged, pregnant women and children have access to our free healthcare program. In addition, our social security scheme allows for a stipend of Five Thousand Naira to be given to every qualifying Ekiti person above the age of 65, every month. However, the pattern of social justice as seen in the bible, in the management and distribution of scarce resources, necessitates parameters that ensure funds set aside for providing social safety nets for the vulnerable, are not seen as largess by more fortunate members of society, but rather as a life-line for those who need it desperately. In 1 Timothy 5: 3-4, Saint Paul admonishes the young Timothy with practical administrative tips, “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion to practice by caring for their own family…”; accordingly, one of the key requirements to be a beneficiary of our social security programme is that you do not have any children in a position to cater for your needs. Such is the practicality of faith as applied in the management of the programme (despite our state’s resource challenge) which now has coverage of over 20,000 people and has been the subject of understudy by technical teams from other states in Nigeria for possible adoption. So many other examples abound. Invariably, from my experience as a leader, when you surround yourself not with opportunistic sycophants but with men and women who have the fear of God, and who understand the responsibility that comes with serving a purpose higher than yourself, the outcomes are usually programmes, policies and laws that are in the overall interest of the people. This is why “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice”. Let me register some caveats. The role of Christians in politics is not to impose a Christian theocracy. Conversion by coercion is not the object of our political engagement. On the contrary, we are to defend universal human rights and civil liberties for two reasons. First, as creatures made in the image of God and endowed with the gift of free will, religious coercion goes against the grain of God’s intent for humanity. An environment in which we can maximize our capacity as free moral agents honours the divine design. A commitment to creating this environment means upholding the right to freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom of worship and freedom of association. Secondly, for the gospel to prosper, we need to create a liberal climate open to different persuasions and enable authentic faith to flower in the contest of ideas. Theocratic societies are totalitarian places that severely inhibit human potential. A Christian office-holder must not play God. His or her duty is to facilitate the role of government as a preserver of order and justice and not to use the machinery of state to pursue the goals of the church. The presence of Christians in public office should not be seen as the church being in power or as an opportunity for the church to flex political muscles. The Christian in public office is there for the good of all citizens regardless of their beliefs and the legitimacy of his leadership rests not on his selective

‘Our understanding of politics must not be restricted to the pursuit of votes in election season. Christian public engagement is about confronting the forces that limit our ability to enjoy a full and creative life. Once we step into the public domain to pursue the common good rather than individual ends, we are already in politics; whether we take to social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, non-profit work, political activism, advocacy, or legal aid...’

advancement of the cause of his creed but on his ability to manage collective aspirations and resources for the betterment of all the citizenry. While we can certainly bring transcendent moral values into public debate, we also have a duty to communicate our convictions in nonthreatening and non-sectarian language that is accessible to everyone in a pluralistic society. In the course of presenting our moral and political convictions, it is crucial that we aim to persuade rather than coerce. The Christian concept of servant-leadership, for example, has much to offer us in terms of altering elite behaviour and official conduct. Adopting it would cause us to eschew the abrasive and offensive displays of power that have become the trademark of elites. It would certainly inject a measure of humility into our conduct. As the leadership philosopher Robert K. Greenleaf wrote, “The servant-leader is servant first.... Becoming a servant-leader begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first.... The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and the most difficult to administer, is this: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” Servant leadership empowers and enables others to rise to their potential. By applying servant leadership principles, we can reclaim the idea of public service as a transformative pursuit of the greater good. Leaders driven by a desire to serve and a progressive vision emerging at various levels of governance can begin to turn the tide of decay and create conditions for more of our people to live a better life. These are the sort of changes I believe that Christians can bring to the public domain. I went into politics because I believe that committed social activism can provide people with the tools that will empower them and give them control over their own destinies. Public office is too serious to be left to charlatans, and when we as serious Christians committed to the ideals of social justice and the common good turn away from politics, we pave way for unprincipled opportunists to take power. Our understanding of politics must not be restricted to the pursuit of votes in election season. Christian public engagement is about confronting the forces that limit our ability to enjoy a full and creative life. Once we step into the public domain to pursue the common good rather than individual ends, we are already in politics; whether we take to social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, non-profit work, political activism, advocacy, or legal aid, etcetera – any endeavour that takes us out of the comfort zones of our own needs into the terrain of collective concern makes us political actors. The calling will entail different pursuits for each of us. For some, it involves toiling in the vineyard of civil society, enlightening the people, empowering the poor, organizing communities at the grassroots level so that they can have a say in running their own affairs. For others, it involves seeking gender justice and confronting economic inequality. Then, of course, there are those for whom the work requires the pursuit of public office by seeking the anointment of the electorate. The point is that while we have one goal – the realization of the good society – the quest for this goal expresses itself in a diversity of gifts and callings. Not all of us can or will be in elective office. Fortunately, not all of us have to. What matters is for each of us to find our place in the move to build our nation and to be faithful to the demands of that task. Participating in the formal civic rituals such as paying taxes and voting are the basic demands of citizenship and are the first fruits of our political personhood in a democratic society. But going beyond this to engage in grander expressions of empathy and social engagement as opposed to apathy and indifference help to enrich civic life and nurture democracy. Insofar as a concern for our neighbour is central to our understanding of Christian compassion, it follows that active citizenship – which is simply an intense concern for the wellbeing of our fellow citizens – is the natural manifestation of the Christian presence in the public square. Ultimately, the argument for Christian political engagement is perhaps best summed up in the famous words of Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.” All that stands between Nigeria and terminal decadence is good men and women who, energized by their faith, are able and willing to venture into the public square and raise the standard of the common good and in so doing effect the renewal of our nation. This is a sacred responsibility that we cannot evade. Thank you for listening; I wish you God’s speed in the pursuit of your organization’s objectives.


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TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

POLITICS THE NATION

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

Chief Ishola Filani is the Chairman of the Southwest Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caretaker Committee. In this interview with EMMANUEL OLADESU and JEREMIAH OKE, he speaks on the crises rocking the party in the region, President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term ambition, PDP Governors Forum and preparations for 2015 polls.

Filani: Why crisis persists in Southwest PDP W

HAT are the current challenges facing the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Southwest? Many challenges are facing the PDP in the Southwest; the challenges of unity, the challenges of how to win back the states that were taken away from us by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the challenges of reconciliation among our members, the challenge of ensuring that our members here in this region hammonised so that we can have electoral value. These are the challenges we are having in the Southwest PDP. How do you intend to solve them? We will take these challenges one by one and solve it. We are ready to rearrange, reconstruct, reeducate, rebuild, and reconcile our members. In Ogun State, there is the allegation that the Senator Femi Odujirin faction, which is loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is not yet ready to reconcile with the party’s state executive committee led by Bayo Dayo. What are you doing to make sure that they close ranks? I am not aware that some people are not ready to work with one other. I am only aware of the general idea of disunity and conflict, which is common to every state in the Southwest. Arising from the meeting we held recently with all the state chairmen, I discovered that the executive that came on board by the order of the court in Ogun state, I mean the Dayo-led executive, is making a good effort to unite the party in Ogun State. We are ready to assist, encourage and to ensure that any of the six states, which is ready to bring every member on board, receive our cooperation at the zonal level.I am aware that the Dayo-led executive is ready to open up to all and sundry in Ogun State. Recently, people loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo have been shove aside from leadership positions at the federal and regional level. Is the former leader now being left in the cold? I don’t know who is loyal and who is disloyal. What I know is that everybody in Yoruba land sees Baba Obasanjo as the father of all. I think it is the people that are saying they are more loyal to him than others, not baba saying that some people are not loyal to him. For instance, when we were appointed, he was the first person I called. After our inaugural meeting, I took the new executive to him and we have been having affairs with him to ensure that we have a coordinated executive in Ogun State. No executive was recognised by the national leadership in Ogun State before. There were two parallel executives. I think the former Southwest executive tried its best to harmonise the house, but they failed. There was a court judgment and there was order that arose from that judgment. The order we are talking about recognised the new executive, I mean Bayo Dayo-led executive. Nobody can disrespect Obasanjo. He was the President; he was a leader of the party as the President, he was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party. Nobody who can weed such a person away. I think what baba has achieved politically, no other person had achieved it in the past, not even Awolowo the great. The President holds Obasanjo in high esteem. Bamanga Tukur, under who I serve as the Special Adviser, Mobilization and Contact, hold him in high esteem. Why is Obasanjo no more enjoying cordial relationship with the Presidency? I am not aware that he is not enjoying a cordial relationship with the Presidency. But on the contrary, if you check the newspapers’ report on his birthday, President Jonathan described Obasanjo as a true democrat who loves Nigeria. How far can you go in resolving the personality clashes between Bode George in Lagos and other chieftains like Wahab, Ogunlewe, Obanikoro and others? The concern of the party is that, since 1999, we have not been able to make headway in Lagos. There are complaints about the leadership, lack of patriotism, betrayal, and other com-

• Filani

plaints. We want to resolve all these complaints so that we can win Lagos. Let me tell you that you don’t reconcile by elimination. What has the PDP Federal Government done for Lagos that will make Lagosians vote for the party? They have done a lot for Lagos. I am not in a position to speak for the federal government, but I know the federal governmen,t which is a product of PDP, has done a lot in terms of collaborating with the Lagos State government. Most of these projects that you are seeing are as a result of the collaboration between the two of them. I may not be able to go to details now,. but may be, when you see the representative of the federal government, they will be able to tell you what they have done together. But all I know is that Lagos has benefited a lot from the federal government. What is the position of your committee on the electoral litigation involving your party and the Labor Party in Ondo State? Our party will do everything within its power to ensure that we do not betray the trust the Ondo people have in us. All we need is the cooperation of the people of Ondo State. How can PDP really fight Labour Party in Ondo State when there is a perceived cordial relationship between the President and the governor? I don’t know, but I would have loved you to say the governor and the party. I want to assure you that the PDP, either at the national, state or zonal, is solidly behind our governorship candidate in Ondo State. Why has it become so difficult for Ayo Fayose and Segun Oni to work harmoniously in Ekiti State? I don’t know. We don’t have problems with our party in Ekiti state. We did not lose election in Ekiti State, but the tribunal judge, for one technical reason or the other, annulled the election of Segun Oni. Before Oni came to power, Fayose believed that he was short-changed. But I want to assure that all hands are on deck to ensure that our leaders in Ekiti State come together under our big umbrella so that we can reunite and fight the people who took the power from us. So, those of us that are leaders and elders are going to unite everybody and not only Fayose and Oni, but all the leaders and members to ensure that in 2014, when the next election comes up, we regain our lost glory in Ekiti. Will zoning play any role in the choice of the governorship candidate in Ekiti State? In accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the PDP, we are obliged to ensure that there are some rotations in the selection of the people for offices. The two governors that were produced by the PDP were from different zones; one from the North and the other from the Central. The South is

‘The concern of the party is that, since 1999, we have not been able to make headway in Lagos. There are complaints about the leadership, lack of patriotism, betrayal, and other complaints. We want to resolve all these complaints so that we can win Lagos. Let me tell you that you don’t reconcile by elimination’ now agitating that it wants to produce the governor. There is nothing wrong in that because we need to balance up the selection of the flag bearer of the party in the state. But our attention should be on how to win and ensure that there is the continuation of governance. The most important thing is to ensure that there is cooperation, unity and harmony. I do not want to take position on this issue now. When you look at the ACN, they do not have pre-election problem like we have and that is an advantage to them because they will not expose their candidate. The pre-primary campaigns round the state before the general election consume a lot of money than the real election. You will discover that you have been exhausted by the primaries and attracted emnity. So, we need to democratically select candidates without going to primaries, especially in the Southwest. The rigour of primaries is too much. But for now, nobody can do anything in that regard because it is the provision of our party’s constitution that says we should conduct primaries. Now that the North is clamoring for power shift in 2015, don’t you think that the crisis will engulf your party and lead to its defeat in 2015? Which North is asking for power shift? When you talk of power shift, I am not opposed to it because a lot of things have to be put into consideration. Let us first ask ourselves if the President is qualified to contest constitutionally or not? That is the basic question. If he is qualified to contest, why are we now saying he should abandon his constitutional right? Secondly, there is the provision in our constitution that says that whosoever that wants to contest is free to do so. When you read some comments in the papers, it is as if the President wants to commit an illegality. They forget that it is his constitutional right. The court has even passed judgment that the President has the right to contest. So, what else? Could you shed light on the pact between the President and some northern governors before he became the President? I am not aware of any pact. If there was any pact at all, I do not see it having any effect on him. There are political discussions that can enhance one’s chance, which does not in any way affect the issue on the table. Everybody is shifting the opportunity to himself. Is there any particular person who can be the beneficiary of that pact? Why are the President and the PDP governors fighting? They are not fighting. Why did the President mount pressure on the party leadership to set up the PDP Governors’ Forum? If the PDP, which at its inception had 27 gov-

ernors, now has 23 governors, don’t you think there was one thing they should have done earlier so that they could speak with one voice? The ACN and other opposition parties are like the ostrich. The 6 of them go to everywhere together. Governors under the various parties can have fora where they deliberate on the way forward for their respective parties. You always see the ACN governors together all the time and that is the beauty of politics. Even, if only to exchange ideas and have uniformity of governance, they need to have a forum. But why is the PDP trying to sideline Amechi, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and at the same time promoting a PDP governors’ forum led by Akpbio? Amaechi is one of them. There is no way they can neutralise him. Can you tell me the conflict between Amaechi and Akpabio? Amaechi cannot be the chairman of the governors’ forum and as the same time be the chairman of the PDP governors’ forum. It is the speculation from the enemy of our great party. Amaechi is one of us, no one is fighting him. When is the by-congress going to be held to fill the vacant positions in the PDP NEC vacated by Oyinlola and Oni? The party will determine that. The CWC, which is the highest administrative bodyof the party and the national executive of the party will determine that. Is APC not a threat to your party? That is a very interesting question. I do not see the APC as a strong opposition party. It is just a combination of some governors who want to compete with PDP governors. The minor parties will regret it. There are six ACN governors out of 10 governors in the party; the remaining four governors are from different parties. If we conduct an opinion poll in the six Southwest states, do you think they will support the amalgamation? It is just a means of expanding the ACN by its leaders so that people will stop calling ACN a regional party. They just want to give themselves a national outlook. Okorocha was in the PDP before and he wanted to be the President. He has joined the APC and Obi who knows how they formed this party with Ojukwu said he is not going. Even within the ANPP that joined them, there are divisions. Not all the ANPP members want to be in support of the amalgamation. Now what ideology do they share in common? CPC is collection of the people who want to make Buhari the President. In the process, they succeeded in producing just only one governor and the governor left the PDP because he did not win the primary. So, these are the people that are there. Ibikunle Amosun was in PDP before. He was a senator in PDP. The amalgamation is the wish of these governors and not their membership. CPC has just only one state. In that state, the majortiy of the House of Assembly members are in the PDP. If the performance of President Jonathan is a factor that will shape the 2015 elections, do you think he can garner votes as he garnered them in 2011? He will garner more. You know the man had experienced a lot of distractions. They are sufficient to submerge him, but because of his nature, he has been able to suppress them. If he had not had the kind of spirit he had, he would have been dislocated. Here is somebody who finished one year of his predecessor and he was just newly elected, they have not given him any opportunity to express himself. But I like him because he is always undaunted. He pursues the agenda of economic revival. The records are there for every Nigerian who cares to know that Nigeria has continued to move progressively. We have all reasons to support and stabilise President Jonathan in 2015. You cannot compare what we have now with the economy that was in place before now. If you read his programme and speeches very well, you will discover that he is trying to ensure that the economy is built on a solid rock. You can see that in the way he is collaborating with the private sector.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

POLITICS

‘Obi’s performance will work for APGA’ From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

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• Governor Fashola (middle), his deputy, Mrs. Joke Orelope-Adefulire (second left), House of Assembly Speaker Yemi Ikuforiji, Information and Strategy Commisioner Lateef Ibirogba (second right) and former Governor Lateef Jakande at the ceremony.

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola has given account of his administration’s stewardship to mark his 2,100 days in office. MIRIAM EKENE-OKORO reports.

Fashola renders account H

IS critics, especially the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have described the 100 days celebration as jamboree and plots to deceive Lagosians. But Governor Babatunde Fashola believes that periodic rendering of accounts is the key to accountability. At the recent 2,100 days celebration, the governor dismissed the antics of the critics, saying that they have lost touch with the reality. He explained that, apart from rendering accounts, the occasion also enables him to get feedbacks on government’s performance. Eminent Lagosians who convered on the Lagos State Television (LTV) Hall, Ikeja, nodded affirmatively. Reeling out his scorecard in the last 100 days, Fashola said the performance of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ledgovernment in the state has revealed the weakness of the PDP-led federal government, which has mismanaged the national economy. The governor explained that his administration has made it a duty to invite other political parties to its annual budget presentation and kept faith with the quarterly budget performance report since 2008. The governor gave himself a passmark on budget performance. He doubted if the federal government could boast of the same feat. “If they now choose to accuse us of budgetary fraud, I need only to remind them of a few, which interests all of us Nigerians. “The first is how over N2 trillion of our national budget of about N4 trillion in 2011 ended up being enmeshed in the most monumental fraud of fuel subsidy that has ever been recorded. Over 50 per cent of a country’s budget enmeshed in fraud and yet there are no answers. “It is understandable that our success will embarrass their party. We implemented 89 per cent of a budget that

had 53 per cent capital content and 47 per cent recurrent content and they have been unable at the national level where their party is in control to implement a budget that has over 70 per cent re-current provision. “I believe that their party can do better than this. The earlier they start to work towards this, the better our country will be for it” Fashola said. The governor listed the developmental projects embarked by the state. They include the Mile 12/Ikorodu road project, Yaya Abatan/College, Okota-Ago Palace Way, Ejigbo Ajao Link Bridge and road networks. “Educational infrastructure in our polytechnic in Ikorodu, comprising a new access road, a sport complex; these are the proofs of the progress we are making that show the inefficiency of our opponent,” he said. Fashola said progress has also been recorded in the judicial sector, with the completion of the High Court and Magistrates Court projects in Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Ikeja. He said they would be commissioned this year. “The progress of the Blue Line intracity rail line has been widely reported and the tracks for the first section of seven kilometers from the National Theatre to Mile Two Station are already being laid and hopefully, that section will be completed as promised in the middle of the year”, he added. The governor said progress is being made on the Osborne Jetty, while the Badore Terminal would be completed in April, this year. He reiterated that the impact of the success of the last year’s budget implementation is also visible. The governor spoke on the on-going housing construction sites in Agbowa, Igbogbo, Sangotedo, Mushin, Ilupeju, Ogba, Surulere, Magodo and Igando. He said the government had directed that preliminary works should on the 540 units of the housing scheme in

Ajara in Badagry and another 1008 units in Badia in Ijora. Fashola alluded to the implementation of the road traffic law, which he said, has in no small measure reduced accidents in the state. “By September 2012 when the enforcement started, the road accidents reduced from 646 to 525 cases. There was a further reduction to 362 in October and 222 in November. We recorded an increase to 243 in December and a significant reduction to 140 in January this”, he aded. Fashola said that he has been inspecting the ongoing projects in the state to ensure their speedy completion. He said this is necessary to avoid the wastage of tax payers money. “The fact is that the PDP, which has been criticising this initiative cannot point to a 100-kilometer road that connects two states that their party in the centre has completed in 14 years. “In this state, in less than 20 months, we completed the Okota Link Bridge that improved connectivity and eased transportation in seven local governments. “In three years, we completed the Lekki Link Bridge, which is the first cable bridge in West Africa”, he said. Fashola criticised the Federal Government-inspired ‘Good Governance Tour’, saying that it was ill-conceived. “We do not need a ‘Good Governance Tour’ in Lagos before citizens know that their lives are improving. Completed projects such as the Ibeshe Road in Ikorodu, the Mother and Child centres in Amuwo Odofin and Alimosho, the completed School of Nursing are examples of good governance.” The event attracted eminent personalities including former governors of the state; Bridg. Mobolaji Johnson and Alhaji Lateef Jakande; Lagos State ACN Chairman Otunba Henry Ajomale, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, party chieftains, religious and traditional rulers, and market men and women.

‘Why PDP can’t dislodge CPC in Nasarawa’ By Jeremiah Oke

• Al-Makura

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ASARAWA State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief tain Mr. Emmanuel Bako has said that the party may find it difficult to dislodge the ruling Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) from

power in the next general elections. He said that PDP can only bounce back, if its internal crises are resolved. The former Commissioner for Planning in Doma Administration lamented that the protracted crises had taken their tolls on the troubled chapter. He warned that its persistence may spell doom for the party in 2015. Bako, who spoke with our correspondent on the phone, said the party lacked a crisis-resolution mechanism. He added: “If they continue to turn a deaf ear to the warning, the CPC will take the advantage to dominate the political landscape in the state.

“The party will continue to be in disarray and CPC will continue to rule. If your enemies know your weaknesses , they will take advantage of that to deal with you. If we don’t want to lose again, we must resolve the crises. “There was no congress in the party. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrote to the national secretariat that there was no congress in Nasarawa State and nine other states. “We cannot move the party forward and remain an indivisible entity to be able to deliver by 2015, if we remain like this. If we can put our house in order now, we may capture Lafia Government House in 2015, but if we fail to do so, it will lead to the end of the party in the state”.

LL Progressives Grand Allinance (APGA) chieftain in Anambra State Chief Jude Emecheta has said the performance of Governor Peter Obi will play a pivotal role in the proposed November 16 governorship election in the state. Emecheta told reporters after attending a stakeholders’ meeting in Awka, the state capital, that the governor has added value to the party, assuring that the party will reap the benefits at the polls. The party chieftain said Obi, who is the APGA’s deputy leader, is eminently qualified to succeed the late Chukwuemeka Ojukwu as the party leader. He said: “Ojukwu remains the party’s spiritual leader while Obi is the physical leader of APGA in the absence of Ojukwu. By November 2013, a new APGA governor will emerge in the state to replace Obi, despite the gang up against the party. “Anybody saying that APGA has crisis in Anambra State will have himself to blame when the time comes because what happened last week during the rally to commemorate Ojukwu’s first remembrance was an eye opener. “Other parties still have the right to dream, but the works of Obi in Anambra State will do the campaigns for anybody who will succeed him. Right now, there is no strong party to compete with the APGA in Anambra. What is happening in the party is just pure restructuring; we need to inject fresh blood into the system.’’ Emecheta clarified that Governor Obi has not endorsed anybody to replace him, contrary to the speculations. He assured that the governor will always insist on fairness and equity. It had been speculated that Governor Obi had endorsed the Minister of Aviation, mrs. Stella Oduah, as the APGA candidate. But Emecheta said that nobody, including Obi, has notified the party about any endorsement. He stressed:“Obi has not endorsed Oduah for the election. We have not been told. I do not believe it is true. Oduah is a PDP member and the governor is in APGA. If our governor should endorse anybody, the person should be a member of APGA and not any other party. I believe it is one of such rumours again”. • Obi

Group counsels Nigeria on anti-graft war From Yusufu Idegu, Jos

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NON-governmental body, the Group Against Money Launder ing in West Africa (GIABA), has commended Ghana’s anti-cor ruption war. The group said Nigeria should learn from the war against against corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing by the Ghanaian government. In a statement in Lagos, GIABA said Nigeria has a long way to go in its crusade against fraud. GIABA official, Muhammed Usman, who signed the statement, said: Nigeria made a political commitment to address its deficiencies within one year. Nigeria’s efforts were reviewed in February 2011 and found not to fully conform to international standards. “Since then, Nigeria has made significant efforts and taken steps towards improving its position, including criminalisation of the full range of predicate offences for money laundering and the passage of the Money Laundering ACT 2012. “The enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act marks a turning point in the implementation of a robust counter terrorism measures in the country”. However, the group advised Nigeria to emulate the way Ghana had achieved a leap in the anti-corruption war.

Dabiri-Erewa decries violence against women

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OUSE of Representatives member Mrs. Abike DabiriErewa has called for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. She said that, as the world marks the International Women’s Day, people should reflect on the pivotal roles of women in the family and nation-building. In a statement in Abuja, DabiriErewa bemoaned the increasing violence against women in the country. She said: “It is quite gladdening that the House of Representatives has taken a major step in this regard by passing a bill to eliminate all forms of violence against persons. “The Bill sponsored by me prescribes a life imprisonment for rape and a minimum of 20 year-jail term for anyone involved or an accomplice in gang rape. The bill also seeks compensation for victims of rape. It also deals with the domestic violence, political violence, harmful traditional practices, and protection of widows” Dabiri-Erewa said the bill also criminalises rape, gang rape, female

circumcision, domestic and political violence, acid attacks and injury to the widows. The lawmaker expressed optimism that the bill would soon be passed by the Senate and subsequently signed into law by the President.

• Dabiri-Erewa


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

45

HEALTH THE NATION

E-mail:- health@thenationonlineng.net

Can a recycled bottle be used for urine test? There is a standard which is universal specimen bottle (USB). OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA reports.

What is the standard specimen bottle?

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HEN Mrs Arike Igbayilola enrolled at a general hospital for her ante-natal clinic (ANC), she was given a small bottle by a health worker to collect her urine sample. She paid N50 for the bottle that was obviously picked from a ward. After the matron screened her urine, it was recorded that it contained much protein. The nurse told her to stop eating egg. Meeting her doctor, she was told her urine, blood and protein levels were alright. Her doctor said she could continue to eat his egg and other protein giving foods. That it is the container used that was misleading. She enquired why such a small bottle was given to her and not the standard one. The matron said: ‘We don’t want to get contaminated or even mistakenly be infected with what have you, including faeces, all in the name of dipping stripe inside the universal bottles. More so, we are not given enough gloves? When Mrs Igbayilola enrolled for her second child, at a Mother and Child Centre (MCC), a standard bottle was sold to her for N100 And throughout, no incident of protein in urine was recorded. The matron in charge of the ANC said it is an offense to use any other bottle for urine collection for ANC.

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

These incidences bring about the question, what bottle is required in Lagos State hospitals for urine screening for ANC. Do different rules exist for general hospitals and MCC. Who controls or monitors such. According to a senior officer who does not want her name mentioned: “Yes. There is a standard bottle for that procedure. The bottle is called universal bottle for specimen. It is becoming scarce. For collection of urine by expectant mothers for routine screening at ante-natal clinics (ANC), patients are expected to collect the urine in-between their first urine and the last when coming to the clinic. Part of health education is that in the absence of universal bottle, they can obtain small bottles and they should clean same. “The essence of the urine testing is to observe if there is any abnormality such as protein or diabetic. If there is protein indicated by stripe, we will take it up. Doctors may decide to run further tests or place them on admission for further observations.” “We do not sell bottles, we expect patients to buy from supermarkets, chemists or pharmacies in town. And if they can’t afford, they can make do with small clean bottles. But we do give first timers, if not hospitals will run at a

•A universal speciment bottle (left). A recycled bottle (right)

loss. Another important fact is that if the bottle used is dirty, such may change the result. Hence, we keep saying bottles must always be clean. Health education is the key thing.”

A senior officer, who also craved anonymity, added: “Urine testing is not a sterile procedure. Health education is important. You can improvise, and if you are in the village, and there is no

PHOTO: OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA

universal bottle, won’t the tests be carried out for expectant mothers. You improvise, you tell patients to wash the bottles, and rinse under running water.”

‘Why I can’t stand seeing cancer patients cry’ A pharmacist who donates a chunk of oncological (ethical) drugs he imports for sale to cancer patients is unravelled by OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA in this report.

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TRAINED oncological product specialist, Yusuf Olukayode has no battle with fakers or scrupulous people because the drugs he imports for sale enjoy minimal patronage. They are not so profitable. He could end up selling just three bottles in a year. And even at that, they come on orders placed by teaching/high profile private hospitals or affluent corporate clients. Even when he speculates ‘market’, and he brings in drugs, buyers may not be forthcoming. And he ends up giving them out to patients. Yet, he is not deterred in importing more of such drugs. and is not willing to quit. This may seem weird, but to Olukayode, he cannot stand the pain of seeing cancer patients in agonising pains. His passion to see cancer patients get well over rides any other desire like profits. He is simply helping out in his own little way. Olukayode, the CEO, L’PaceMaker Pharmaceuticals, said he came into oncological drugs importation by virtue of divine arrangement. “As at the time I went into this line of business, patients suffer because there was no pharmacy that deals in such drugs. So they end up placing orders that may take donkey years to arrive, at throat cut prices. “It could really be frustrating for patients and doctors. So I took the

bull by the horn when I got contacts that could supply genuine drugs. As I took stock, I got satisfaction from the availability of the drugs, but patronage was a dismay compared with some others who can import or produce drugs like paracetamol. “Unlike some over the counter drugs (OTCs), oncological drugs are not every day drugs as a patient may take one today, and will need to wait another three or four weeks or even up to a month before taking another. But I could not close shop for the joy that leaps on the surface of doctors, patients or even their relatives on the availability of their drugs is quite indescribable.” Though his company just cut a niche in the pharmaceutical industry, and because of ethical drugs, he cannot publicise, yet it is speedily gaining grounds, as words of mouth is doing the publicity for him. “People now go on the Internet and find that we can supply their drugs here in Nigeria and they are happy. Because they are saved from dying while waiting for the product/s. Challenges faced by Olukayode is not too different from those of his colleagues. According to him, “storage and power are the major challenges. For instance, some of the drugs must be kept in cold chain stores. The money to purchse diesel could buy me a bungalow.

• Olukayode

Affordability of the drugs is another challenges. “Government is not doing much to help cancer patients. For instance, it could waive the importation dues for oncological drugs. The patients cannot afford the drugs. It is the multi national companies that help out their staff who need the drugs. It could be as high as N500, 000 or even a million. Government should come up with policies. Like putting in place a Cancer institute. So Nigerians won’t embark on medical tourism again because it is Nigerian doctors that do treat them there. “I recall a patient who got there

and was asked to present the drugs he had been using, he did, and was told that it’s the same drug he had travelled down for. Imagine the money for his ticket, his wife and accommodation/feeding. Nigeria has a support system when on treatment, that can hasten recovery, but there, it’s different. “Government should be more involved in cancer treatment, in areas like machine, for the break down easily, it is nuclear medicine that requires international collaboration. “I envision when technology will be available in Nigeria to manufacture. Just as NAFDAC championed local production of some drugs. At the moment, we rely on importation. No technology is available in Nigeria to produce oncological drugs,” he said. Olukayode has a word of advice for Nigerians “The cause of the uncontrollable multiplication of abnormal cells, as well as how fast it happens, differs from person to person. Many people overcome the disease, and many living with the disease live fulfilled lives for many years. If you or someone close has been diagnosed with cancer, you may be interested to learn more about the cancer and/or what treatments to expect. “The best place to go is the hospital and talk to a doctor once you sight a growth or you observe something is not normal in your

body. Cancer has always been in Nigeria, but due to ignorance people say it is devil’s work or arrow attack, especially when women noticed strange swelling on their breast or arm pit.” He said: “It is gladdening that more people are cancer aware. That both old and young, including children, literate and illiterate, rich and poor can develop cancer. People are now going for diagnostic tests and screening. Some companies and non governmental organisations are carrying out free. People should go to hospitals early. “People should be mindful of what they ingest, eat or even drink and the environment they expose themselves to, like telecommunication masts, insecticides, perfumes, deodorants, soaps among others. They should watch their lifestyles, not smoke, eat junk or patronise eateries. It is reported that some of these eateries use expired or near expired canned products. Unlike my own drugs that by three months to expiry date, I return and obtain a replacement. What chemicals they use in preserving these canned foods are suspects. Mercury and lead are both carcinogenic materials, yet are present in some of these items mentioned above.” Olukayode is happy to, “subsidise or donate oncological drugs for children, get lists from doctors in teaching hospitals detailing patients who need free drugs from his company.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

46

HEALTH

National Health Bill will become law soon, says Senator

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SENATOR at the Upper House of the National Assembly, Gbenga Kaka, has expressed confidence that the National Health Bill which has passed through the second reading, would become a law not later than May. Kaka, who is a member of Senate Committee on Health, said the Bill if it eventually becomes a law, would help tackle some of the challenges facing the nation’s health sector. Kaka made this known to The Nation shortly after a visit to the

Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Awojobi Clinic, Eruwa, Oyo State. According to him, the Bill would take care of the rural settlements in terms of the needed infrastructures and referrals. Awojobi clinic is a private hospital initiative which specialises in rural surgery with the use of improvised medical equipment. Kaka explained that the reason for his visit to Eruwa is to see see how best the clinic could be replicated in Ogun

State and other parts of the country. He said: “The National Health Bill has passed through the second reading and right now, we are collating the outcome of the public hearing so by the time we finish that one, we will be going to the third reading and eventually draft it as a law. “With the rate at which we are going, in the next three months, the law should be ready for assent by the President.” The Senator representing

Ogun East Senatorial District, praised the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr Oluyombo Awojobi, for making the hospital serve public interest, while describing its services as a “community private participation.” Kaka said: “What we have here is emphasis on rural surgery which is more or less on emergency cases and it is the emergency cases that result in fatal mortality in the rural areas. “There is no good transportation system, portable water,

electricity, not even the mere intervention-resuscitation before getting to the hospital; the patients involved are bound to pass on. “Here, they have everything, you could even see improvisation of a tricycle used as ambulance and used to transport patients to and fro here.” In his address, Awojobi, proposed that the National Assembly should mandate the teaching hospitals to co-operate with Awojobi type of hospitals in respect of training medical students.

Diabetics to get affordable insulin

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HERE are many diabetics who cannot afford the cost of oral drugs and insulin in the country. Majority of them are poor and live below $1 dollar per day. This has caused many preventable deaths from diabetes, a disorder characterised by excessive glucose which the body cannot use properly, because of their inability to effectively manage it. This situation has become a growing concern for the government, companies, corporate institutions and well-meaning individuals, and indeed patients. But this, however, will soon be a thing of the past in Ikorodu and indeed Lagos State because of the partnership among the Sonny Kuku Foundation, a Danish company – Novo Nordisk, Roche Nigeria Limited and Ikorodu General Hospital. Their objective is to improve access to diabetes treatment as well as establish learning about how to overcome the challenges in reaching low income people with essential diabetes. They have established a “one stop shop” and would also ensure that insulin is available at the possible lowest cost in the hospital. Diabetes care training would also be conducted for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and peer educators. A diabetic, Mrs Grace Ayokanbi said most people who have diabetes don’t know they have it until it has progressed. Ayokanbi, who was born a diabetic, said she received help through the free screening programme organised by Lagos State, adding that she was referred to Ikorodu General Hospital afterwards for treatment. She said: “I was born with the disorder and I am 50 years, but I have been taken drugs for over three years. I have also been taking drugs for over three years. I have been using insulin because I have type II diabetes. This makes it compulsory that I use it. “I get advice on diet from our dietician. Apart from the appointment days when I come to see my doctor,

By Wale Adepoju

I also attend monthly seminars organised by Diabetes Association of Nigeria (DAN). Sometimes, dentists, ophthalmologists, nutritionists and dieticians come to talk to us about our health, especially how the disorder can affect our eyes, teeth and skin, and the possible medical steps to take to prevent them.” Mrs Ayokanbi, who is the vicepresident of DAN, Ikorodu branch, said diabetics should not hide their condition from their family. Hiding it from the family is a problem most diabetics have, she added. “Some people believe it is contagious, which of course, is untrue. So letting the family know will be better, especially on the issue of diet or food and the timing. A diabetic should not eat later than 7:30pm at night. “There is no food a diabetic can’t eat but it depends on how it’s prepared and with what it’s eaten with. I can eat eba but with plenty of vegetable and it must be in the afternoon so that I can burn it fast with strenuous work. This will also make it digest fast. I can take biscuits with cocoa tea but no sugar and milk added to it,” she said. She said some diabetics have been patronising local herb hawkers because of the huge hospital and drug bills they pay. She appealed to diabetics to make use of the facility and the privilege handed to them by visiting the hospital and making the purchase of their insulin. Permanent Secretary, lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Femi Olugbile, said the state had been at the dictating fore front of catching diabetes early and providing treatment through its free screening programme, and would continue to ensure that the disorder is nipped in the bud. He said the state has set up structure to catch the disease early and prevent it. The state government has made treatment free at the primary health care (PHC) level to prevent people from out-of-pocket payment.

•From left: Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Oba Abdulraheem Sulaiman, Managing Director, Hygeia Community Health Care, Dr Peju Adenusi; Mr Lars; Mrs Laoye and Programme Manager, Pharmacess Foundation, Marissa Popma at the discussion on expanding the Community Health Insurance Scheme. PHOTO: OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA

Promote sex education, Nigerians told

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HOULD children and teenagers be taught sex education? Executive Director of Mediacon, a non-governmental Organisation (NGO) Dr Princess Olufemi-Kayode has said this is necessary to prevent cases of child abuse, especially rape. Speaking at a conference on child abuse in Lagos, Mrs. Olufemi-Kayode enjoined Nigerians to promote sex education so that it can help curb child abuse. At the event organised by Journalists Against AIDS Nigeria (JAAIDS), she said, many ladies and girl child are raped and sexually abused in Nigeria, saying when this happens, nothing is done afterwards. She described sex education as

Olatunde Odebiyi

education about sexuality, gender differences, diseases transmitted through sex and sex itself. Mrs Olufemi-Kayode said a lot of people have been sexually abused, especially in Nigeria, stressing that majority are by parents, relatives, friends and those unknown. She urged mothers to educate their children, especially the girl child about sex and sexual abuse at early age. Mrs Olufemi-Kayode stressed that no child is too young to know about sex and how to keep herself, adding that educated about sex would reduce if not totally prevent rape cases in the country. She advised that rape cases should be immediately reported

Firm expands frontiers on community health

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HE realities of death, sicknesses and low income earners that make up the informal sector have necessitated the Hygeia Group to expand its Community Health Insurance programme to accommodate more low income groups. According to the CEO, Hygeia Group, Lars Stork, the Hygeia Community Health Care (HCHC) is committed to partnering with Federal, state and local governments and corporate organisations, both local and international to achieve the scale up to universal health coverage through community health insurance. According to the Group Stock, "As our lives progress faster and faster and technology continues to improve there

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

are so many things that we now take for granted and cannot do without; Insurance is one of these necessities. While Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) programs have their focus on reaching out to the formal sector and the corporate institutions of the population, most of whom fall within the middle class category, HCHC is targeted at the 'bottom of pyramid' of the Nigerian population, a segment that predominantly falls within the informal sector." Explaining the group's confidence that the initiative will be a success, Hygeia Group Chairman, Mrs Fola

Laoye, said the success recorded at Kwara State since 2007,whereby, HCHC contributed immensely to the reduction in risk populations via the provision of affordable access to quality health care services for pregnant women and children is astounding. And that has informed the decision to expand. "The huge success of this programme has led to the signing of the tripartite Memo of Understanding (MoU), which guarantees expansion of the scheme to achieve universal health coverage of all the 16 Kwara State Local Government Areas with a target enrollment of 600, 000 low income individuals by 2017. "The signing of the tripartite MoU was preceded by the passage of the Kwara

State Community Health Insurance Legislation in2012, and it represents a milestone accomplishment plus a significant demonstration of the commitment of the Health Insurance Fund, PharmAccess and Hygeia Community Health Care to partner with the Kwara State Government to strengthen the healthcare delivery system of the state through community health insurance schemes." She said, "it is anticipated that this will serve as an impetus for replication or adoption by other Nigerian State Governments in achieving universal healthcare coverage, improvement of healthcare indices, especially the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and socioeconomic profile of the country."

to the police so that action can be taken against the rapist. She also identified poverty and ignorance as the major factor preventing those raped from reporting the case. She said females who were raped often live with the stigma and discrimination. This should not be, because they are not at fault in most cases. She described rape as a planned and prepared action. “It does not just happen; it is calculated and done in a specific place at a specific time. This is why it is crucial to educate young girl’s even children on sex,” she said. Senior Project Officer, Lagos State Aids Control Agency (LSACA), Dr Oladipupo Fisher said rape survivors must be medically accessed within 24 hours of being raped to prevent HIV infection, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. He said they must be given Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) treatment. “PEP is a special course of HIV treatment that aims to prevent people from becoming infected with HIV. PEP will prevent the virus from becoming established in the body of someone who has been exposed,” he added. He said REP is particularly important for people who have been sexually assaulted or people who have been exposed to blood through a needle injury or other accidents. He advised that those raped must be taken to the hospital for assessment, treatment and counselling immediately.


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ENERGY THE NATION

E-mail:- energy@thenationonlineng.net

Vandalism has remained a major challenge to optimising the benefits of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. The renewed efforts by the government to battle vandals through the use of technology and other techniques will grow and maximise value creation from the sector, writes EMEKA UGWUANYI Assistant Editor (Energy).

Stemming vandalism theft in downstream sector

•Yakubu

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T is incontrovertible that the downstream sector of the petroleum industry has been on the brinks of collapse for some years. The Federal Government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, had been able to significantly sustain the supply of petroleum products to the populace, but at a very huge cost, which by all reckoning is unsustainable. Until now, it seems the government has been fighting vandalism with child’s gloves despite the enormous loss of lives, properties and revenues recorded over the years through the activities of pipeline vandals. Besides, the pains Nigerians go through searching or waiting for fuel at filling stations whenever the commodity is scarce, is unquantifiable. Therefore, application of technology and some complex systems toward guarding the pipelines and making them difficult for vandals to access should be fully supported and funded by the Federal Government, even though the funds might look so huge in the short term. But this would be good economic decision in the long term. Losses to vandalism The Managing Director of Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, Prince Haruna Momoh, made startling revelations during recently during a visit of the

NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Andy Yakubu to Arepo – a community in Ogun State, which lately became a haven for oil thieves and pipeline vandals. The visit was centred on finding a lasting solution to pipeline vandalism and continued loss of products to vandals, which has led to loss of lives, properties and degradation of the environment in the event of explosion. Momoh said the PPMC has a total of 258 storage tanks of various sizes spread nationwide with a total holding capacity of 2.6 billion litres and 5120-kilometre pipeline network across the country. These he said, are more than enough for Nigerians not to experience fuel scarcity. But he noted that these facilities were to a very large extent rendered useless by the activities of vandals and oil thieves, hence the occurrence and reoccurrence of fuel scarcity with the attendant suffering caused Nigerians. Products Momoh also noted that between 2009 and end of December 2012, the NNPC alone lost about N165 billion to products theft and repairs of vandalised pipes For instance, while data from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) showed the PPMC lost 20 metric tonnes of products between 1999 and March 2006 to activities of vandals, records show that in 2005, the cost of petroleum products lost to vandalism was put at N12 billion, while between January and May 2006, the loss was put at N7.07 billion. The NNPC boss also said the corporation loses about N600 million worth of fuel monthly to vandals through the Arepo axis (System 2B pipeline) alone. Casualities Besides loss of products, over 2500 lives have been lost to explosions from vandalised pipes in last 15

years. Sometimes, the exact figures of casualties were not got in the event of fire outbreaks while some incidents were not reported. In 2000, over 1000 lives were lost to fire outbreak from vandalised pipeline in Jesse, Delta State. In 2004, over 250 deaths were recorded in Abia State pipeline incident while over 250 lives were also lost in Ilado-Lagos pipeline explosion in 2005. A couple of other lives were lost in Ijeododo in Lagos, an area also known for its notoriety as vandals’ haven. The area has recorded several incidents of explosions, in the past few years even in December last year it had an explosion which recorded no casualty. In December 2006 at Abule-Egba, Lagos, over 240 lives were lost to pipeline explosion. Arepo had three explosions between August last year and January this year recording more than 10 deaths excluding members of staff of PPMC killed when they came to fix the vandalised pipe. There are many other explosions and each time it occurs, it is followed by fuel scarcity and loss of revenue to the government. Sustained government support The January 2013 attack at Arepo seemed like a turning point in the fight against vandalism and van-

dals. For the first time, the Ministry of Petroleum and the NNPC decided to apply horizontal directional drilling (HDD) system, which would enable the pipes be buried very deep below the surface. This would make the pipes inaccessible. This is in addition to clearing bushes along the pipeline’s right of way and continuous surveillance of the areas by joint team of armed security personnel. This technology should be applied in the right of ways of the pipeline network across the country. It is imperative to do this especially with the unbundling of the NNPC and privatisation of some successor companies. Besides, since the beginning of last year, the burden of importation of products has solely fallen on the NNPC following the refusal of marketers to import. Therefore, with the development, operations in the downstream sector would be safer and more reliable by creating the needed investors’ confidence in the industry. As the government funds the anti-vandalism techniques, the National Assembly ought to listen to the calls of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison, Andrew Yakubu and other

top stakeholders for the legislation and passage into law of appropriate punishment for vandals. Haruna Momoh had said: “We are talking to legislators at the National Assembly on proper sanction and prosecution of people that engage in oil theft and pipeline vandalism. We have also lost lives in the cost of repairing the vandalised pipelines in Arepo. We have lost about five members of staff who were killed while on duty repairing the vandalised pipelines. We, however, call on Nigerians and stakeholders to come together to fight this menace head-on.” The Petroleum Ministry and NNPC have also begun to revamp moribund fuel depots across the country. The NNPC boss, Andrew Yakubu, had assured that he is committed to sanitising the downstream subsector adding that all dysfunctional PPMC, depots would be rehabilitated to bring stability to fuel supply and distribution nationwide. Yakubu also noted that the corporation had embarked on aggressive expansion of its retail outlets across the country to enable it respond appropriately and adequately to motorist whenever there is problem of artificially induced fuel scarcity.

Lagos, UK trade agency partner on power, others

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HE Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is partnering the United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) to develop capacity in power and other vital infrastructure. The partnership primarily is to initiate a relationship between the United Kingdom companies and the state government. The Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Taofeek Ajibade Tijani, commended the initiative and the delegation led by Mr Beverley Okoye and Idowu Babalola when they visited him in his office in Lagos. The UCTI is a government department that acts as middleman to bridge the gap between UK companies interested in partnering with Nigerian companies and also ensures that UK businesses succeed overseas. The UKTI is present in three locations in Nigeria, which Lagos is the focal point for being the economic back-bone of the country. The partnership has achieved some success

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie and Ayetoto Temitayo

in Lagos, in building of captive power stations. Tijani said the collaboration has resulted in building a 10-megawatt captive power plant in Marina, Lagos, which serves vital state institutions such as the State House in Marina, hospitals, the high court, magistrate court, and street lights powered for 24 hours. He said his ministry is working hard on completing a power plant that would ensure stable power supply to key government establishments. He noted that Lagos State stands as the only state with a dedicated Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. This, he said, underscored the belief of the government that sustaining efficient power supply remains germane to achieving a mega city plan. He assured the delegation of the cooperation of government and urged them to explore other innovative ways to contribute to the development of competitive infrastructure in the state.

•From left: Project Manager, Special Brand Limited, Emeka Njoku; Head, Lubes Oando Marketing PLC, Jonathan Sanyaolu and Non-Fuel Revenue Manager, Oando Marketing PLC, Eshema Ojo, during the opening of Oando Trippmart Stores in Abuja.

NAPE emphasises training of geosciences students

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HE Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) has stressed the need for training and retraining of geosciences students to enhance oil and gas exploration in the country and also increase revenue for the government. Meanwhile, the University Assistance Programme (UAP) leader-

By Ambrose Nnaji

ship forum has been scheduled to take place between March 15 and 17, this year. It is entitled: “Enhancing skill-based learning and professionalism in geosciences education in Nigeria-industry to academic support and collaboration.” Speaking during a briefing in Lagos, the President of the asso-

ciation, George Osahon, said the training would, among other things, improve contact and increase interaction between the oil and gas industry and geosciences departments of universities and polytechnics. He said such interaction would provide the assistance that would augment the teaching of earth science in the tertiary institutions.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

ENERGY

How Nigeria can remain competitive, by oil chief A S the advanced countries of the world continue to seek ways to be energy independent or significantly reduce their energy imports, Nigeria should optimise value of its hydrocarbon resources by creating very competitive policies and incentives that it a haven for investors. Chairman and Managing Director, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Mark Ward, made this call at the Aret Adams Lecture series in Lagos. In his paper entitled: ‘World energy outlook and potential impact on Nigeria’s petroleum industry,’ Ward, who was who was the guest speaker, gave highlights on breakthroughs made by advance countries including the United States in terms of extraction of oil and gas from shale formations. He believes this would position the U.S. from a consumer to a net exporter of oil and gas by 2030. To be relevant and competitive in the global oil market at all times despite advancement and achievements expected to be recorded from shale formations, Ward said the Federal Government’s focus on restructuring the industry through the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is timely, but the bill must be designed and implemented correctly. He said that the government should ensure that the bill provides globally competitive fiscal terms to attract capital. It must also be stable and there should be a fair business investment climate with appropriate protections to ensure that fundamental issues such as funding limitations and operations inefficiencies are addressed. Besides, he said the

Stories by Emeka Ugwuanyi Assistant Editor Energy

government must develop a completely thought-through transition to avoid major disruptions. He saidNigeria should maintain what has attracted investors to its oil and gas industry. He said: “It would be worthwhile examining a number of factors that have contributed to what could possibly be a global game changer in our industry: First, there was availability of a huge prime resource base. Second, there was expanded access to this resource, with clear resource rights to investors. This allowed for investment in, and application of appropriate technology. Third, you had a system that tried to avoid arbitrary and punitive tax policies. Fourth, clear regulatory system that not only supported safe development and production, but responded to industry push to expedite the permitting and construction of pipelines and other infrastructure necessary to get these new energy supplies to market. “These conditions, mostly absent in other places, came together at the right time and created what we are witnessing today. With Nigeria’s proven natural gas reserves put at an estimated 180 trillion cubic feet as of end 2011 - the ninth largest in the world – the country needs to open up her market and focus on being a competitive, low-cost, high-

reliability supplier to the global market.” With what is happening, he said that Nigeria must recognise that a significant resource shift has turned a key trade region into possibly a direct competitor, (referring to the U.S.). Nigeria he said should avoid creating barriers with potential to make her industry uncompetitive for investments. Noting the emergence of other resource basins in East, Central and South African countries, he said Nigeria must work to maintain her place as a key contributor to global energy supply. He shared some views from the ExxonMobil’s outlook. He said the “ExxonMobil’s outlook is a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the energy landscape over decades. It is part of the foundation on which we have built our business. The Outlook to 2040, as with past analyses, is based upon a combination of public and proprietary data covering more than 100 countries. “We look at world demand, the types of energy needed to meet that demand and other factors that might impact energy supply and demand on a global, regional and national level. These include things like expanding prosperity among a growing world population, the cost and availability of various forms of energy, the development and use of new technologies, and government policies and regulations. “More recently, we have shared it

•Consultant to Kaztec Engineering, Dr Njideka Kelley (left) and Technical Director, Chrome Group, Adebanji Babarinde at Kaztec stand during the Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja.

beyond our board room to public audiences around the world to broaden understanding of the energy challenges and opportunities all of us face in the years ahead. This is even more important for an energy rich, and energy dependent nation such as Nigeria.” He said it is important to understand the links between population growth, economic progress and the amount and type of energy used around the world, adding that growing populations advance economically over time and seek better living standards, which in general leads to increased energy use. He said: “We expect that by 2040, global population will reach 8.7 billion, and the non OECD will make up 85 per cent while Global GDP is expected to increase at about 2.9 per cent a year from 2010 to 2040, led by the rapidly expanding economies of the non OECD.” Ward also noted that forecast for global energy demand will be in quadrillion British Thermal Units, BTUs (quads), stating that energy demand is projected to grow significantly through 2040, and will be driven mainly by population and

•Ward

economic growth in the non OECD. The outlook also showed that the world is moving into a more multilateral, energy demand era, an era in which countries such as China, India, Africa and Latin America command a larger share of global energy demand. It added: “By 2040, we expect Asia Pacific market will account for close to 45 per cent of demand, up from just 20 per cent in 1980.”

Petroleum minister, others for NOGintelligence launch

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HE Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezanni AlisonMadueke is among the personalities that would grace the launch on Thursday of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Intelligence (NOGintelligence) - a weekly electronic newsletter that will focus on oil and gas industry. Alison-Madueke, according to a statement, will be the special guest of honour while the guest speaker will be the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr Osten Olorunsola. She will speak on marginal fields. The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Ernest Nwapa, an engineer, will also speak on the local content. The board of NOGintelligence Limited said the company will provide the oil and gas community with actionable data and intelligence on the industry, which will be officially launched on March 14 at the Metropolitan Club in Lagos. Other guests of honour that will be at the event include the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga,

the Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru and the Director General, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) as well as top officials of the oil and gas and the financial industries. The Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of NOGintelligence, Remi Aiyela, said: “The official launch of NOGintelligence comes at a time when investors from around the world have their eyes firmly on Nigeria and are thirsty for knowledge and information about our industry. We are very excited to be at the crest of this wave. “Each issue of NOGintelligence carries quality information on new projects, what is happening, who is doing what, contracts that are being awarded, new cases, new laws and regulations, new fields coming on stream, new technology and much more. “Our main intention is to ensure that people from all sectors of the industry – from the drilling engineer to the energy lawyer to the environmental campaigner - find something relevant and of interest to them in every issue. There is something for everyone from every sector of the oil and gas industry.”

Kaztec Engineering builds fabrication yard in Lagos AZTEC Engineering Limited, an oil service company and a subsidiary of the Chrome Group owned by business mogul Sir Emeka Offor is building a fabrication yard at the Snake Island in Lagos. The Technical Director, Chrome Group, Adebanji Babarinde, told our correspondent at a the oil and gas conference and exhibition in Abuja, that the project is at advanced stage. The fabrication yard in which the company would be fabricating jackets, topsides, equipment and skills development, is being handled with its technical partners, Addax Petroleum Limited. Barring unforeseen occurrences, the first phase of the fabrication yard would be completed by end of this year while the subsequent phases will be completed by middle and end of next year. Babarinde spoke on the benefits of the Nigerian Content Act to local companies, poaching of skilled manpower in the industry and what Kaztec Engineering is doing to remain the leading indigenous oil service company in Nigeria.

K

He said: “We (Kaztec Engineering) see Nigeria oil and gas conference as an avenue to showcase our potential, capabilities and to also encourage others, particularly indigenous people that we have a lot of possibilities in Nigeria. “On our plans for 2013 and going forward, we want to do what we have been doing better and also to expand. Right now we are putting up a fabrication yard at the Snake Island in Lagos and with that facility we should be able to fabricate jackets, topsides, and develop a lot of talents in the process all within Nigeria. We have some projects we are still doing with our clients and our plan is that we complete those projects on schedule and within cost. “Some of the ongoing projects include field development for Addax, which involves installation of subsea pipes, topsides, decks, risers platforms and commissioning of facilities. Some may be replacement of pipes, which involves removing old pipes and putting new ones there. The field development is to contribute to-

wards production of more crude oil by Addax.” On the Nigerian Content Act, he said: “The Act is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria particularly indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry. It has just encouraged local participation. It has helped us really. It is because of the encouragement we received from the Act and the people that are driving the Act that enabled us local people to acquire assets that are very expensive. And we are rest assured that once we have these assets, we have the law backing us up to get jobs from the international oil companies (IOCs) and that is helping. We have been engaged in the Addax job for three years. “If not for the Local Content Act, this job could have gone to foreigners. We couldn’t have had the courage to put our money in these expensive assets. I think it is one of the best things that have happened and it is something that should be encouraged. We need the right people there, the leadership is good and committed and they need to continue. “For the fabrication yard, it should

be completed in stages. The first phase should be completed by this year, the second stage by middle of next and some end of next year. We are working with Addax as our technical partners to develop the facility.” On poaching of skilled manpower, he said: “There is nothing you can do about it. The only thing you can do about it is to treat your staff well. It is a free market economy. If you don’t treat your staff well and he gets a better offer, you cannot hold him. There is no law that says you should hold him. So poaching will continue. You must put up a procedure to keep your good staff and it is not a matter of whether you like it or not, just put a procedure to keep your good staff and be able to throw away the bad staff. “We subject our workforce to regular development through regular managerial, technical and specific training. We also have training that is related to specific job, for instance, if there is any job a member of staff is doing and we found out that there is a gap, we organise training for the staff to close the gap.

“We organise training on safety, which is continuous and very important. We take them through safety training from time to time. If staff’s certificate on particular safety training expires, the person undergoes another training to renew it. We have expatriates and our plan is not to keep expatriates forever because that will be against the Local Content Act. What we do is that for every expatriate we have, one or two Nigerians work with him to understudy him and their progress is monitored.” The Consultant to Kaztec, Dr. Njideka Kelley, said: “The company is absolutely excellent in terms of compliance with international best practices and standards. What Kaztec is doing to encourage skills development and safety consciousness among staff boils down to our Chairman, Sir Emeka Offor’s aspiration in encouraging and building people and ensuring the best minds are our first assets and secondly safety. Poaching doesn’t happen in our company because of the way we treat our people.”


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT

Planners to experts: strike balance between ethics, morals

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HE Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) has called on professionals to strike a balance between ethics and morals. Former Rector, The Polytechnic, Ibadan and past president of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP) Mr Waheed Kadiri made the call at a workshop in Lagos. Speaking on theme Ethics and dynamics of professional practice for town planning professionals, he said town planners were faced with excessive institutional control with multiple agencies, which most times are not relevant in the pursuit of their jobs. He said before the recent reforms in Lagos State building approval agencies, about 42 agencies are required to work on approval form before it can be released. Kadiri noted that big planning jobs are still dominated by foreign firms to the detriment of local planning firms. He called for consistence to moral commitment and advised against multiple relationships that diminishes professional effectiveness. Kadiri also stressed the need for consultancy firms to be more conscious of the business side of practice, adding that laws and regulations should be respected while collaborating with others. He said consultants should improve their knowledge of emerging areas of interest, regulations and laws. In his paper, Contractual obligations and conflict resolution in professional practice, a don at the University of Lagos, Prof. Olukayode S. Oyediran, said four principal ways to resolve disputes include litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. He

Stories by Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

spoke on the need to keep records of every transaction. He said: “No matter what route you pursue with your dispute, your case will be helped greatly if your records including correspondences, minutes etc are up to date and comprehensive.” He stated that disputes escalate in transactions due to misleading or incomplete information being disclosed or information not being fully understood. Outlining the benefits of alternative dispute resolution, Oyediran maintained that disputes are dealt with quickly and are controlled to a large extent by the parties besides being less costly than litigation. He also said the method encourage ‘business’ people to develop and adopt ‘business’ problems. According to him, the results are more likely to be based on commercial and business sense rather than on purely legalistic reasoning. Earlier, the ATOPCON President, Mr Toyin Ayinde, said the workshop, which is ninth in the series, has maintained its core objectives these years, which is to provide opportunity for members of the association to continuously improve their skills and thus be at the cutting edge of practice while making substantial contribution to the development of the country. Ayinde also said the forum is geared towards providing a window for x-raying the profession of urban and regional planning; particularly with regards to making improvement in the socio-economic well being of man, who should be at the cen-

•Lavender Estate, GRA, Yaba, Lagos.

•Moses Ogunleye, Toyin Ayinde, Remi Makinde at the event.

ter of all physical planning efforts. He said the need to expose members to critical emerging challenges facing the practice of the profession and the need to expose the practitioners in both private and private sector to the need for ethics and integrity in business gave rise to the theme of the workshop. Ayinde, who is also the Lagos State Commissioner of Physical Planning & Urban Development, advised his colleagues to always play by the rules especially with the high level of corruption in the polity.

PHOTO: OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE

Firm unveils N250m estate

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REAL estate developing firm, Hoggs & Holls Limited has unveiled its over N250 million estate in the Government Reserve Area (GRA) in Yaba, Lagos Mainland. The estate, which comprise 11 units of five-bedroom terrace houses, has automated basement parking for three cars, three units of three-bedroom flats, all rooms ensuite with fitted kitchens. At the unveiling of the estate, the firm’s, Mr Remi Adedokun said the property is the company’s contribution to the quest for affordable housing in the country. He said the company is also working on two new projects located at Yaba and Ikeja GRA. This is in addition to those in Osun and Ekiti states. On the features on the estate, Adedokun said the middle class estate has a swimming pool, fully fitted gym, service generator and in-

verter. Other features are closed circuit television (CCTV) 24-hour electricity supply and secured fence wire. On the unit cost of the terrace houses, the Hoggs & Holls boss said he prefers not to advertise the price publicly, but will deal with each client on enquiry. But The Nation learnt that the minimum price for any unit

is over N20 million. He said the firm has made arrangement with Sterling and Enterprise banks for mortgages for interested clients who cannot pay for the cost of the houses. Adedokun said his firm is also in collaboration with Wemabod Estate the developerhandling one of the markets (Samonda) in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The big rip-off of subscribers at LBIC •Continued from page 14

erty at Iponri Estate through one of your staff by name Olujimi Kuti at your office at Iponri, Surulere, Lagos. “N2.5million was paid into LBIC account and another N1.5million was paid into Mr Olujimi’s account, totaling N4million. I will also like to let you know that no property has been given to me and the Mr Kuti promised that the property will be given to me one week after payment. It is more than a year now, no property has been given to me.” Olanrewaju said he was able to retrieve the N1.5million he was made to pay into Kuti’s account. He said he achieved that with the help of some policemen at Iponri Police Station. Jinadu and LBIC Secretary and Legal Adviser, Kunle Akindele, confirmed this development. When this reporter met Jinadu on February 25, he denied that his company and officails were engaged in fraud alleged by the subscribers. He requested for copies of the documents referred to by the subscribers. The Nation gave him copies. Jinadu sought time to investigate the cases and asked the reporter to see him on February 27. Our reporter kept the date. Jinadu said he had investigated all the cases and found that Atoyebi, Olanrewaju and Adedibu paid to the company. He also confirmed Akewusure’s case. He admitted knowing Kuti, Rafatu and Bakare as officials and agents of the company. Jinadu described Kuti as the coordinator of the LBIC’s task force. It was learnt that Jinadu will retire next month. But he promised to address the cases brought to his attention by this paper before leaving. “All the money paid into the company’s account by these people has been verified to be true. This includes the N1million from Adedibu. The hand-written document is in order. I have investigated it. I don’t do anything about all the money they

Jonathan to open surveyors’ conference

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STATE Surveyors and Valuers will converge on Benin, the Edo State capital for their 43rd Annual General Conference, which will be declared open by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Best Western Hotel on Tuesday. The National Publicity Secretary of the institution, Otunba Victor Ayeye, said the confab would deliberate on ways to actualise the nation’s

infrastructural development and economic empowerment. He said over 3,000 members of the institution including are expected to attend the meeting, which is also be attended by the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Minister of Lands, Ms Ama Pepple as special guests. Immediate past Vice President (Africa), World Bank Mrs. Obiageli

Ezekwesili, is expected to deliver the keynote lecture while five other speakers are lined up for the two day conference. “This year’s conference is crucial to our members who are anxious to contribute to the national conversation on infrastructural development and economic empowerment of Nigerians, which is why we have recorded a huge turnout of members that registered for the conference, “ Ayeye said.

claimed to have paid to some people,” he said. On why all documents were not given to Atoyebi, Jinadu said they were still in the process of sending him the last document, which he said was called ‘sub-lease.’ He denied that Atoyebi subscribed to a three-bedroom flat. When asked why Atoyebi paid N3million while other subscribers paid N2.5million, Jinadu said he could not explain the disparity. He challenged Atoyebi to provide documents in support of his claim that he subscribed to three-bedroom flat. Jinadu said he was aware Olanrewaju enlisted the police to retrieve the N1.5million paid to Kuti. When asked if his company has a mechanism for punishing staff that defraud customers, Jinadu raised his voice, shouting that no case has been formally brought to his attention. When his attention was drawn to the letter by Olanrewaju, Jinadu threatened to prosecute both his staff and subscribers, who are able to establish that additional funds were collected from them. “That is bribery. Why would you give any of my staff money outside the prescribed amount if you do not have ulterior motive. You want to compromise the process, that was why you tried to induce them. If any of them (subscribers) want to make trouble I will prosecute both the giver and taker,” Jinadu said. When prodded further on other issues raised by the subscribers, Jinadu directed our reporter to Akindele. Akindele insisted that he would only respond to a questionnaire. Our reporter complied before Akindele elected to address the issues. He said payment for property was not a guaranty for immediate allocation, denying that the company’s staff and agents are fleecing subscribers. Akindele said he was told Olanrewaju resorted to police help before the extra funds paid to the company’s staff member, Kuti, could be retrieved. He although said the company has internal measures for punishing erring staff, it could only act when a proper report, by way of a petition, was raised. He denied seeing the petitions written to the MD by aggrieved subscribers, including Atoyebi and Olanrewaju. He said there was nothing wrong in his company collecting N1million from Adedibu without issuing him a receipt and ejecting him from his apartment a year after without any refund.


52

THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT

•Abule Taylor area

•Abule Egba area

Our ordeal on Lagos-Abeokuta road, by motorists

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OR motorists, plying the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway is like driving to nowhere. Residents go through strains getting out in the morning and returning home at night. The condition of the dual carriage way is bad. Some portions are so bad that motorists have to wait for one another to pass. Driving on the 33-kilometre road from Sango-Ota old toll gate to Ikeja could be laborious. “We have been under this terrible condition for over two years and nothing seems to be happening on the part of the government. Majority of us who work on the Island, I mean Victoria Island, Lagos Island and Ikoyi, even on the Mainland, dare not go by road to work, unless you want to get to work late. You are going to run into trouble if you try it or, worse still, if you take your vehicle to work,” said Adewale Adekunle, a resident of Abule-Egba, whose office is very close to the old Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi. The road from Ile Zik Bus stop, if one is Abeokuta bound, he said, has been bad some time and has made many residents to either relocate to other parts of the state or resort to

By Seyi Odewale

boarding the train, which takes off from Ijoko near Ota in Ogun State, stops at Ido Terminus in Lagos Mainland. “That explains why you see most of the trains on this route carry more passengers than they should. The passengers have no option than to go by the train, considered faster and assuring than the road, which they cannot determine when they will either get to work or home. It is that bad. This does not mean that we enjoy the risky ride on the train, but we have no choice for now until that road is fixed and the terrible traffic snarl is addressed,” he said. Adekunle is not alone. Okwudili, Hassan and Yusuf who are traders at different points on the road said similar things. The road has not helped their retail businesses they said. “We hardly get vehicles to transport our wares. For instance, I buy fairly used clothes at Kotangowa market, but taking them to my area in Sango has been a serious problem. The commercial buses usually charge me higher,” Okwudili said. Weekend experiences are usually

unpalatable. “For those who transact businesses on the road on Saturdays, the road is ‘hell’ on earth. To move from Alakuko to Iyana-Ipaja can take almost two hours. It is worse if it is on a Sunday, especially for those going to church from Lagos to Ota, I mean, Cannan Land,” Okwudili said. When The Nation visited the road last week, from Ile Zik Bus stop to old Toll Gate, Sango Ota, almost every 200-metre distance of the road has one form of crater or the other. Between the old toll gate and Alakuko, there are about four different points with craters. When approaching U Turn from Iyana-Ipaja, the usual sight is an endless queue of vehicles held down by the traffic caused by the craters on the road. The same goes for a portion opposite the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) office, which is considered the worst point by commuters. Although repairs seem to be going on in some areas, some others appeared patched. More work still needs to be done, said an observer. Commercial motorists have expressed disgust at the condition of the road, which they said has robbed

Firm unveils latest bathroom, lighting solutions

•Duravit Esplanade bathtub, basin and mirror cabinet

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L Bagno, a company that sells bathrooms accessories and lightings, has unveiled the latest lavatory and lighting solutions suitable for luxury homes. Its Chief Executive Officer, Michael Owolabi, told The Nation in his office that as the sole representative of leading manufacturers of quality sanitary wares, bathroom fittings and accessories from across Europe and America, the tradition of luxury has continued over the years. He said his firm went strictly into bathroom solutions to complement the distinctive lifestyles of their prestigious clients in the residential, retail and corporate markets.

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

Owolabi said: “IL Bagno is a niche provider and so does not cater for everyone but the middle to upper segment of the market. There are imitations or fake products. There are products for the low end but for the very higher segment there are very few options. So, we cater to more of these people.” He said his aim is to offer unmatched bathroom solutions using products of modern and classic design to create bathrooms that are exclusive reflections of the client’s character. Asked how he works on clients

bathrooms, he replied that the company starts from the point of design of a particular house, incorporating the character and taste of the owner in the choice of the bathrooms and lightings. “We combine knowledge, passion and the finest of European products to create state-of-the-art bathrooms, to allow our clients to escape to pure relaxation and indulgence, maintaining a strict adherence to the highest international customer service standards,” he said. On warranty, Owolabi said the company offer between five and 30 years national warranty on its products, ensuring uncompromising quality on brands the firm represent. On installations, he said the company also provides full scale installation of sanitary fittings using the most recent engineering techniques as the firm’s installation teams of both local and expatriate staff are certified in training facilities all over the world. They also possess a wealth of knowledge and attention to detail obtained from numerous completed projects. On their clientele, he said they include Sofitel, Oriental Hotels, Cappa & D’alberto Plc, Julius Berger Plc, Four Points by Sheraton and Ibis Hotel, Ikeja. Others are American Best Inn (NNPC Building, Ikoyi), ARM head office, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Access Bank Head Office, and Day Waterman College, Abeokuta.

them the chance of making money considering the number of passengers on the road. Although the passengers are made to pay exhorbitant fares, this they said, is not commensurate with how much they would have made if the road was better. “With the harassment by LASTMA staff, council boys and the bad road, what we realise daily is small compared with when these problems are not there. If we quantify time and man-hour spent daily in the traffic, you would discover that valuable time and human resources are being wasted because of this bad road,” said a Kabu-kabu (private cab) driver. Efforts to get the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) Public Relation Officer , Mrs Maryam Sanusi, to comment. She did not pick calls or respond to a text message sent to her. The agency’s engineer, Lagos West, which area covers the road, Tayo Aluko, highlighted what the agency has done in the last two weeks to ameliorate the sufferings of commuters. “Our agency is solely in-charge of road maintenance; we do not build or construct roads. The road in question is a Federal road and we have gone ahead on our part, to patch the potholes and craters on the road, especially, in areas, such as Ajegunle, Dopemu and Iyana-Ipaja. We are still working on bad portions of the road,” Aluko said. Sources at the agency’s office in Lagos and the Zonal Controller, Ministry of Works also in Lagos, said a contract has been awarded on the road, but the contractor, Julius Berger, abandoned it. Investigations by The Nation revealed that Julius Berger abandoned

the road because of insufficient funds. The project, it was gathered, hampered whatever intervention that could have come from either FERMA or the supervising ministry. Aluko refused to comment on the firm that abandoned the contract, but affirmed that there was a contract on the road, which has not been terminated. This, he said, had hampered rehabilitation. “The little we have done was on the insistence of our boss as there were no funds allocated for any repairs on that road. To say the least, we have tried, given the circumstances under which we operate. But for the invention we had on that road, the road would have been impassable,” he said. He added: “If you have travelled on that road lately, you would see areas where our men had worked. We did not only fill the craters and potholes with granular stones, we also laid asphalt on the repaired portions. Areas, such as Ajegunle, Dopemu, Iyana-Ipaja and other little portions, were repaired and motorists are enjoying the road. We have not finished yet; we would not because of the contract on that road abandon our responsibility. We feel the pains motorists feel, the more reason we have intervened to do some repairs on it.” Aluko refused to disclosed the amount the agency spent on the rehabilitation. “What we always do is to raise funds within the agency to intervene in areas like that, with the express permission of the chairman. We want to assure those plying that road that work still continues on it and we will finish it in no time. At least, what we have done has lessened that hardship on that road and it will get better when we are through with it,” Aluko said.

Surveyors, others urged to participate in politics

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RESIDENT of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mr. Agele Alufohai, has urged quantity surveyors and other professionals to participate in politics to make the desired change. He spoke when the National Executive Council of the institute visited the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Ekpo Nta, in Abuja. Alufohai, who spoke on A preventative approach to combating corruption: The quantity surveyors dual mandate, said surveyors must lead the way in providing solutions to curbing corruption in the country, especially in the construction sector. Alufohai defined development as “getting the right people to spend the government funds to provide goods and services at the right cost in a timely manner. He said quantity surveyors should be involved more in infrastructure construction given the nations huge

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

infrastructure gap and the critical importance of assuring value-for-money while procuring infrastructure either through direct government financing or Public-Private Partnerships. He said the immediate challenge is to ensure that more quantity surveyors are engaged in infrastructure projects so that corrupt practices and the incidence of project delays and abandonment are drastically reduced. Alufohai urged the government, especially anti-corruption agencies such as the ICPC, civil society groups and professional associations to come together to explore how institutions, laws and even policies can be designed so that they are fortified against corruption. He tasked civil societies not to wait to see corruption committed but rather engage in studying how processes and procedures in the public and private sectors aid corruption and demand changes wherever required.


THE NATION TUESDAY MARCH 12, 2013

53

NEWS Two nominees cleared

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AWMAKERS in the Edo State House of Assembly yesterday cleared two commissionernominees, Ms Jemitola Aanena and Ms Aihanuwa Eregie. Their confirmation brings to 20 the number of people cleared by the lawmakers. Presenting the report of the screening, Chairman, House Committee on Rules, Business and Government House, Philip Shaibu said they confirmed that the credentials presented by Ms Aanena were genuine. She was made to take writing and reading test by the

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

lawmakers at the screening. Shaibu told the lawmakers that the Kaduna State Polytechnic confirmed Ms Aanena’s results as genuine and issued by it. Governor Adams Oshiomhole held his first State Executive Council meeting with the new executive. It was also the first time that Chief of Staff Patrick Obahiagbon and Secretary to the State Government Prof. Julius Ihonvbere would attend the meeting since they were appointed.

Fed Govt deports Edo contractor •Abubakar (second left); Olubolade (right); the widow, Oby and her son, Onyekachi…yesterday.

PHOTO:NAN

IG vows to track down killers of Kwara CP T HE Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday vowed to track down the killers of the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Chinweike Asadu. The IG was on a visit to the Enugu home of the family of the late commissioner. Abubakar was accompanied by Usman Bello Kumo, who represented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu

Ex-UAC chair Ndiokho dies at 74

From Chris Oji, Enugu

Tambuwal, Minister of Police Affairs Caleb Olubolade and other government officials. He said Asadu’s killers have murdered sleep and would never sleep. The IG described the late commissioner as an officer and a gentleman, adding

Amaechi presents scorecard at Commonwealth forum

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

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ORMER Chairman and Managing Director of UAC of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Bassey Ndiokho, who headed Nigeria’s leading conglomerate from 1993 to 1999, passed away on February 21 in Lagos. A former Director of some leading businesses and institutions in the country, the late Ndiokho was at various times the Pro-Chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University of Technology; Chairman of Enterprise Development International, (an NGO that evolved from TechnoServe Nigeria) and a Non-Executive Director of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. He was also one of those appointed into the Vision 2010 committee to represent the business community. Mr. Ndiokho’s tenure as UAC’s helmsman was characterised by the successful divestment of Unilever Plc of London from UAC of Nigeria Plc and the transition of UAC into a wholly-owned Nigerian company with focus on four core areas – Foods, Property, Packaging and Distribution. The late Mr. Ndiokho is survived by his widow, children, grandchildren and an aged mother.

•The late Ndiokho

that “we have worked together”. He further stated that the late police chief did his best in rendering service to the country. He said: “CP Asadu was an officer and a gentleman, we have worked together, he did his best in rendering service to this country. “It is a hard one for us,

something we can’t comprehend till now, like I said before, the killers have murdered sleep, they will never sleep, by the grace of God we shall find those killers so that the family and the police will be comfortable. “On behalf of the Nigerian police accept my condolence” The IG, on arrival at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, drove straight to the orthopaedic hospital, Enugu, where he visited the injured orderly of Asadu.

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IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi was one of the three guests who spoke at this year’s Commonwealth Observance Day held at the Westminster Abbey in London, United Kingdom (UK). Since 1973, the Commonwealth Day has been celebrated on the second Monday in March by a multifaith observance at the Westminster Abbey. Amaechi was invited to speak with Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson and Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz, the largest online activist community. The theme of this year’s edition is : “Opportunity through Enterprise.” The governor shared the story of how some young persons in his state have made progress through the wealth creation and entrepreneurship opportunities provided by his administration.

He alluded to Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency’s (RSSDA’s) agro-allied business initiative, which has wealth creation, guaranteed independence and opportunity through enterprise for the rural poor as its objectives. The governor also talked about the industry of urban youths. His words: “Our urban youths have also achieved great things. “For instance, Dabo Etela and Apola Opuda, two young men from Port Harcourt, have built a social enterprise called ‘Converge’ – a forum of over 1000 young innovators and entrepreneurs.” He singled out two of the 28 beneficiaries of the RSSDA scheme, Ebenezer Ikashi, who owns The Servant Quick Food Services in Ahoada and Ella Stella Sharon, a cement dealer from Ogba/

Egbema/Ndoni Local Government for mention, saying he was grateful to all the beneficiaries of the scheme. “We thank them for their energy and hard work, in transforming their communities, and for showing us that youth entrepreneurship is the best vehicle for inclusive growth.” The governor was invited to speak at this year’s observance because of “his incredible achievements at the national level, in personal commitment to policies that encourage enterprise and create opportunities.” The ceremony was attended by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Commonwealth High Commissioners to the UK and senior representatives of Queen Elizabeth, who could not attend the event as scheduled because of a stomach bug.

Youths close down PHCN office

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HE Auchi Business District of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was yesterday closed by protesting youths over what they termed “crazy bills”. The youths, under the aegis of Auchi Youths for Progress (AYP), stormed the PHCN office as early as 8am, chased out the workers and locked the offices with the padlocks they came with. Business activities were paralysed as all the gates were sealed off. The protesters called for the sack of the Business Man-

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

ager, Francis Iyayi. Their spokesperson, Umaru Akeem, said they were tired of the PHCN’s billing system. Akeem said the bills were meant to further impoverish the people. “We have had enough and are no longer going to take it. “How can you explain a situation where your monthly bill shoots up from N1,000 to over N10,000? “This has been a general phenomenon in the area and

we have complained to the company, which did nothing but rather continued churning out more of such “crazy bills” “We are on a peaceful protest to register our displeasure over such bills. “We will continue, if we do not get any positive response on the issue. Iyayi attributed the “crazy bill” to a billing system challenge. He promised to rectify the error and pleaded with the youths to remain calm and allow the company handle the problem.

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HE controversy over who is responsible for the reconstruction of the popular 5 Junction on the Benin-Ugbowo-Lagos road has claimed its first victim. This followed the Federal Government’s alleged deportation of an Israeli, Yaniv Dabah, working with Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), the firm handling the project. Yaniv’s deportation followed his statement on who was responsible for the road project. He told reporters last week that the 5 Junction was exclusively financed by the Edo State Government. “Edo State Government is building the 5 junction. “The road, the erosion control, beautification and street lights are being paid for by the Edo State Government.” Yaniv said the beautification and walkways would be completed within two weeks. A source, who confirmed the deportation, said it was wrong to sacrifice the expatriate for saying the truth. The governor’s Special Adviser on Media, Kassim Afegbua, said it was unfortunate that the Federal

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Ministry of Work is claiming ownership of the project when there were other roads filled with potholes begging for the Federal Government’s attention in the state. He said the Federal Government was only asphalting and resurfacing the main express road. “The Federal Government got peeved when the RCC man spoke the truth on the road. “We learnt the same man who spoke the truth has been sent packing. “He has been given 24 hours to leave the country. “This is not what is expected of the country, Edo people know those who are working.”

FOR SALE Complete Italy 1. 2. 3.

soap machine for toilet& laundry soap Soap stamper 2 cavity Soap plodder Soap cutter

Chiller loph 1. 2.

3 tons steam toilet 150 KVA Cat Generator 2 nos Contact: KEN FACTORY No 2 wuraola ojo Street Idimu.Lagos 08053534871 08023389643 08034205218 Email: wasiu_adeyemi@yahoo.com

PUBLIC NOTICE HIS DWELLING PRESENCE CHRISTIAN CENTRE. This is to inform the general public that the above named “Church” has applied to the corporate Affairs Commission Lagos office for registration under part C of the Companies and allied Matters Act.1990. TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Rev. Sontimoba C. Yakubu. 2. Rev. Patrick Emmanuel Undie 3. Pastor Henry.M. Obasogie 4. Pastor. (mrs) Temitope Adedoyin Yakubu 5. Mr. Nnamdi Jon Emebina. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES 1. To preach the gospel. Teach and heal in all parts of the world 2. To engage in social and community work by establishing and maintaining facilities for the needy. 3. To establish and maintain churches and mission in Nigeria and foreign lands. 4. To print, publish and distribute Christian literature. Any objection to the registration should be forwarded to the Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission P.M.B 198, Plot 420, Tigirs Cresent, off Aguyi Ironsi street, Maitama, Abuja within 28 days of this publication. SIGNED: Barristers. A.N Ohinmah. Solicitors and advocates of the supreme court of Nigeria (08033229851)


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

54

EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 11-3-13

Equities rally to bullish start •Nestle optimistic on 2013 results

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ESTLE Nigeria rallied equities to a good start yesterday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as average year-to-date return on equities inched up by 0.13 per cent to 17.14 per cent. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities rose from its opening value of N10.511 trillion to close at N10.525 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the main index for all equities, improved slightly from 32,849.11 points to 32,890.35 points. Nestle Nigeria rallied N5 to close at N841 per share. Total Nigeria rose by N6.69 to close at N154.80. UAC of Nigeria leapt by 30 kobo to N54.40. Oando added 26 kobo to close at N18.20 while Airline Services and Logistics chalked up 24 kobo to close at N4.99 per share. However, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria led the losers’ list with a drop of N1.01 to close at N48.99. Nigerian Breweries was down by 50 kobo to close at N162. Portland Paints and Chemical

By Taofik Salako

Products lost 26 kobo to close at N5.09. Studio Press dropped 13 kobo to close at N2.52 while Cutix and Unity Bank lost 8.0 kobo each to close at N1.67 and 76 kobo respectively. Total turnover stood at 700.21 million shares valued at N2.67 billion in 5,721 deals. The turnover was driven mainly by large-volume transactions on Unity Bank, which recorded a turnover of 418.48 million shares valued at N323.47 million in 96 deals. FTN Cocoa Processors occupied a distant second position with a turnover of 41.31 million shares valued at N23.02 million in 48 deals. Studio Press placed third with a cross deal for 22.60 million shares worth N56.95 million. Meanwhile, Managing Director, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr. Martin Woolnough has expressed optimism that the food and beverage company would achieve better results this year as it consolidates its operations and harness poten-

tial of recent investments. Speaking briefly during the bell -ringing ceremony at the Exchange yesterday, Woolnough said the company had a very good start this year, which it expects to sustain throughout this year. The bell-ringing ceremony was to commemorate Nestle Nigeria’s N5.4 billion ultra-modern distribution centre in Agbara, Ogun State. He said the investing public should always expect good results from the company, assuring that the board and management would continue to work to retain value for shareholders. He said that the company has invested N100 billion in its Nigerian operations between 2007 and 2012, which showed the commitments of the multinational to Nigeria. He pointed out that Nestle Nigeria would in the nearest future start work on its third factory with a view to consolidating the leadership position of the company. He commended the improvements at the Nigerian stock market, assuring that Nestle Nigeria would continue to contribute to the development of the market. The company has sustained unbeaten record of being the first quoted company to submit its audited report and accounts every year.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 8-3-13


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

55

MONEY LINK

NDFF targets $24b Diaspora remittances

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HE Nigeria Development Finance Forum (NDFF) is targeting to bring together, key contributors to the $24 billion annual Diaspora remittances into the Sub-Saharan Africa economies. Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Senegal and

Stories by Collins Nweze

South Africa are the largest recipients of remittances in sub- Saharan Africa, with about 69 per cent of the funds from migrants in the United States and Western Europe, according to the World Bank.

‘Why Kwara withdrew from Fitch’ T HE Kwara State government withdrew from Fitch ratings agency because the annual evaluation was no longer required for any major financial transaction. The state Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed disclosed this yesterday at a monthly interactive programme, “The Governor Explains. He said Fitch was invited to rate the state as a prelude to raising funds from the capital market in 2008 to 2009 and to benchmark against best practices in financial management. “We decided as a state when we were going to issue a bond in the capital market to explore the possibility of not only accessing the capital market but also showcasing ourselves to the world as benchmarking against best practices”, he explained. He said that Kwara State was the first in Nigeria to be rated by Fitch , adding that the invitation was on transactional basis. He said the state decided not to renew the annual rating this year. “If you want to continue to be rated, you pay for it and continue to submit data, which will be analysed. We did it up till last year. We now feel that since we don’t have any major thing we require the rating results for now, we can step it down this year.” The governor explained that the withdrawal from Fitch rating had nothing to do with the state’s finan-

cial standing. According to him, “for those who don’t understand, it has nothing to do with our efficiency as a government. What it tells you is that we do not need that rating to do anything this year”. Besides, Fitch is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and could therefore not have rated our bond”. On whether the State would opt for more loans on the maturity of the present bond to finance infrastructural projects, Ahmed said that securing loans for infrastructural development was expedient for a government committed to making life better for the people.

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Nigerians in Diaspora remit $10 billion to the country annually and it is expected that the figure will rise as more businesses are consummated between citizens at home and those in the Diaspora. NDFF Director, Jide Akintunde, said the forum will be holding in Washington District of Columbia, United States from June 4 to 5, 2013. He said the meeting provides one of the needed platforms to have a rounded discussion of governance and market policies in Nigeria, and how they are shaping opportunities for investment in the African continent. The NDFF conference series, which three previous editions held in London, he explained, will ex-ray the medium term outlook of the Nigerian market. “It would introduce specific market segments including financial services and the infrastructure that serves it, real estate and housing finance, and the agriculture value-chain investments, according to a statement from organisers,” he said. “Our primary target is Nigerians in Diaspora, purely from the standpoint

• CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

of duty. We are at duty bound to recognise and reward the contributions of Nigerian in Diaspora are making towards the development of our country,” Akintunde said. He said the developed economies are becoming attracted to the opportunities Africa offer, and much of that is about Nigeria. Apart from targeting the Diaspora, whose robust figure of migrant revenue remittance is globally recognized, the NDFF zeros in one of the international policy and finance communities.

IFC, Access Bank partner on SMEs

T

HE International Finance Corporation (IFC) yesterday announced a N3.5 billion Risk Sharing Facility and $50 million loan to Access Bank Plc to help it expand lending to Small and Medium Scale Equities (SMs), a quarter of which will be women-owned. In a statement, the corporation said the Access Bank Risk Sharing Facility is part of a $100 million, three-year joint initiative with Coca-Cola Company to provide access to finance for thousands of women entrepreneurs

in Africa and other emerging markets. Under the joint initiative with Coca-Cola, IFC will work through its network of local and regional banking institutions to provide financing and business skills training to SMEs that are owned or operated by women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain, starting with an IFC investment in Access Bank. The Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, said the bank has been supporting Nigerian women and their business en-

terprises. “We are committed to finding new ways to serving this valuable client base and remaining at the forefront of making financial services more inclusive in Nigeria,” he said. IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Nigeria, Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, said: “IFC is committed to supporting financial institutions that understand the business value of creating new opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Access Bank has been an important partner for IFC in that process in Nigeria and it is once again leading the way.”

FGN BONDS Amount N

Rate %

M/Date

3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016

Amount

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 11-3-13

O/PRICE

C/PRICE

CHANGE

TRANSCORP PRESTIGE AIICO AIRSERVICE ETERNA MANSARD WAPIC TOTAL CUSTODYINS NEIMETH

1.48 0.88 0.94 4.75 3.64 2.43 1.24 148.11 2.00 0.95

1.62 0.93 0.99 4.99 3.82 2.55 1.30 154.80 2.09 0.99

0.14 0.05 0.05 0.24 0.18 0.12 0.06 6.69 0.09 0.04

UNITYBNK STUDPRESS PORTPAINT CUTIX CORNERST MAYBAKER UTC GLAXOSMITH NIGERINS CONTINSURE

0.84 2.65 5.35 1.75 0.56 2.34 0.80 50.00 0.51 1.05

C/PRICE 0.76 2.52 5.09 1.67 0.54 2.28 0.78 48.99 0.50 1.03

Amount

Exchange

Sold ($)

Rate (N)

Date

350m

150m

150m

155.2

2-7-12

350m

138m

138m

155.8

27-6-12

350m

113m

113m

155.7

22-6-12

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

NGN USD

147.6000

149.7100

150.7100

-2.11

NGN GBP NGN EUR

239.4810 212.4997

244.0123 207.9023

245.6422 209.2910

-2.57 -1.51

149.7450

154.0000

154.3000

-3.04

Bureau de Change 152.0000

153.0000

155.5000

-2.30

154.0000

156.0000

-1.96

NSE CAP Index

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%

NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N)

MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name

Parallel Market

153.0000

DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11

July ’11

July ’12

MPR

6.50%

6.50%

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%

LOSERS AS AT 11-3-13

O/PRICE

Amount

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12

(S/N)

SYMBOL

SYMBOL

Z

IMBABWE has raised $40 million from a special bond floated to the local unit of Old Mutual and the state pension fund to help finance a constitutional referendum this weekend, the finance minister told Reuters yesterday. Tendai Biti said the one-year bond would attract an interest rate of seven per cent. Zimbabweans will vote on Saturday in a referendum on a draft constitution, a crucial step toward a general election later in the year. “This is a voluntary bond on the same terms that the companies are lending to the market,” Biti said. Old Mutual Zimbabwe and the government owned National Social Security Authority are among the country’s largest funds.

Offered ($) Demanded ($)

Currency OBB Rate Call Rate

Zimbabwe raises $40m from bond

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM

MANAGED FUNDS

NIDF NESF

IGERIA’S trade surplus grew 76 per cent in 2012 from a year earlier to N16.8 trillion ($106 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Bloomberg has said. Exports rose 15 per cent from 2011 to N22.4 trillion, the statistics body said in a statement on its website. The fourth-quarter surplus contracted 0.8 per cent from the previous three months and 20 per cent from a year earlier to N4.6 trillion. Nigeria relies on oil for more than two-thirds of exports. Crude sales increased 11 per cent last year, the statistics agency said. The country’s main market was Europe, which took 37 per cent of exports. Imports were led by machinery, with 41 per cent of goods coming from Asia and China the largest supplier, according to the agency.

DATA BANK

Tenor

Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20

NBS: Nigeria trade surplus hits N16.8t

ARM AGGRESSIVE GROWTH KAKAWA GUARANTEED STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL BGL SAPPHIRE FUND BGL NUBIAN FUND FBN MONEY MARKET FUND FBN FIXED INCOME FUND NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY • ARM AGGRESSIVE

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 137.90 146.54 0.80 1.14 1.11 100.00 1,000.00 1,780.91 14.66 1.39 1.87 10,695.04

9.08 1.00 137.47 146.06 0.78 1.14 1.09 100.00 1,000.00 1,777.05 13.95 1.33 1.80 10,397.87

• KAKAWA GUARANTEED

CHANGE 0.08 0.13 0.26 0.08 0.02 0.06 0.02 1.01 0.01 0.02

• STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%

Movement

OPEN BUY BACK

Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833

Movement


56

THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

57

NEWS Wamakko inaugurates agric loans’ committees

Kano attack death toll now five

T

HE death toll in Sunday’s attack by unknown gunmen at Dakata and Hotoro quarters in Kano has risen to five, The Nation learnt yesterday. Gunmen on tricycles shot residents, killing three on the spot and injuring many. The Chairman of the Kano State chapter of the Christian

O

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Ransom Bello, said the two latest victims were brothers. According to him, the parents of the deceased have reported the incident at the CAN secretariat in Kano. Bishop Bello said the vic-

tims were returning home from the ECWA Church at Dakata when the gunmen shot them, adding that the incident occurred two weeks after 13 Christians were also killed in their compound at Sheka, Sharada Phase 111 in Kumbotso Local Government by unknown gunmen.

Offa rerun: ACN candidate accuses PDP of foul tactics

USTED Offa Local Government Chairman, Prince Saheed Popoola, has denied what he called ‘the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-sponsored rumour’ that he is not taking part in the forthcoming rerun. The appeal tribunal has ordered a rerun in the ACNcontrolled council following a petition by the PDP that it was not duly notified of the by-election that produced Popoola as the executive chairman. Popoola said in a statement he issued in Offa yesterday that the PDP had been enmeshed in plots since the court ruling to gain unfair advantage in the election, in-

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

cluding spreading rumour of his withdrawal from the race. The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to some dirty tactics our opponents are devising to, by all foul means, gain control of the Offa Local Government as the rerun draws near. “One of the tactics is the rumour being spread that I have withdrawn from the forthcoming rerun. We wish to inform our supporters and Offa people that this is not true and should be ignored. It is the cowardly handiwork of the PDP. I remain a candidate of the ACN. Members and leaders of the party stood

by me throughout the legal struggle. “We are also aware of their other evil plans to ensure I do not participate in the election, especially after overtures to make me dump my party for the PDP have failed. This evil plan will also crumble, God willing, because democracy is about free choice and does not thrive in an atmosphere of intimidation or blackmail. “We urge our supporters and lovers of democracy to be vigilant as the rerun draws near. Our opponents are desperate politicians, who would resort to any tactics, however foul, immoral or illegal, to deny Offa people their right to a free choice.”

Almakura worried about communal crises From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia

•Mrs. Abdulmunin

G

OVERNOR Umaru Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa State has said he is worried about the incessant communal crises that have affected development in the state. The governor, who spoke yesterday when he swore in the new Secretary to the State

Government (SSG), Mrs. Zainab Abdulmunin, at the Government House in Lafia, said: “The scarce resources that ought to be channelled towards the well-being of the people are being used to maintain peace and provide security.” He went on: “This is unacceptable. It is for this reason that I urge everybody to embrace peace. A harmonious co-existence is essential for the realisation of our developmental aspirations.” He said no government could afford to toy with the security of life and property of its citizens. Almakura told the new SSG to eschew primordial

sentiments and corrupt tendencies. He said: “You must see the entire state as your constituency by treating all and sundry fairly, equally, objectively and above all with the fear of God.” The governor described Mrs. Abdulmunin as a timetested academic and resourceful bureaucrat, whose track record has qualified her for the new assignment. He added: “I trust that she will live up to the expectations of the government and people of Nasarawa State.” Governor Almakura said the dissolution of the previous executive council was part of the process of reinvigorating the public service for enhanced performance and productivity.

Activists lament constitutional aberration in Taraba

T

HE Coalition of Civil Society Group for Transparency and Good Governance has urged the Taraba State executive council to put in place a team of medical experts to undertake a verification visit abroad to ascertain the health status of Governor Danbaba Suntai. Controversy has been trailing the heath status of Suntai since his involvement in a plane crash last year. The coalition, in a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Ali Abacha, Secretary-General, Mr. Muhammad N. BnAhmad and National Publicity Secretary, Babanagari Suleiman, regretted what it called the “hydra-headed culture of impunity” threatening the present democratic dispensation. According to the group, there was need to stop the ongoing trend whereby indisposed office holders refused to follow the dictate of the constitution by handing over to their deputies. It said: “You will recall the

From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia

intrigues that surrounded the succession drama when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua became ill and could not perform state functions as the President due to a complicated health situation and the cabal syndrome that trailed the event. “A similar situation is currently playing out in Taraba as was the case in Cross River and Enugu states, whose governors for one health reason or the other, stayed abroad for long, leaving their deputies in dual roles of acting and deputy governors, making governance difficult. “While it is a fact that official responsibilities derive authority from the constitution, the extent to which such official conduct is inconsistent with constitutional provisions makes it null and void.” The group expressed concern on the inability of the Executive Councils and the Houses of Assembly of the concerned states “to follow the steps of the National Assem-

bly by invoking the relevant sections of the constitution and confirming the ActingGovernors substantive powers to move the states forward.” “In the case of Taraba State, we find it imperative to call on the Executive Council to constitute a team of medical experts to undertake a verification trip to ascertain the health status of Governor Suntai, as provided for by the law to pave the way for necessary legislative/judicial procedures in an event that there is need to substitute the state leadership. “We believe at this point that the state must move beyond primordial sentiments to put the interest of the people first and end the current constitutional aberration. In this regard, the state assembly must realise that continuing inaction on their part is not only denying the people of the state the needed development due to lack of full authority by the Acting Governor to perform fully, it also constitutes a mockery of our democracy as a nation and the whole world is watching.”

From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

•Wamakko

G

OVERNOR Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State yesterday inaugurated nine-member committees for the 23 local governments to disburse N2billion joint CBN/Fidelity Bank, BOA and Sokoto State Government irrigation farming loans, without involving party chiefs and state assembly members.

He said the composition of the committees was based on merit and aimed at depoliticising the scheme, which was targeted at practising farmers at the grassroots with a view to realising its objective for the state and national economic growth. The governor, who vowed to observe and monitor the transparent, just and equitable nature as well as the modality of repayments, which the loans would take, said: “We want to insulate the purposeful scheme from any political colouration to achieve results.” Wamakko, while inaugurating the committees to be headed by commissioners at the Government House, said

the loans were in two categories for practising and small scale farmers. He said N1.150billion had been earmarked for disbursement to practising irrigation farmers, with each receiving N50million, adding that N850million under a partnership agreement between the government and Bank of Agriculture would be disbursed to small scale farmers. “The scheme is aimed at strengthening dry season farming with a view to boosting the agricultural potential of the state through mass production for food security,” Wamakko said. He said government was interested in mass production of tomatoes, garlic, melon, onions and cassava to strengthen the economy.

Niger begins resettlement of flood victims

N

IGER State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has begun allocation of land to resettle the communities affected by last year’s flood, the agency’s Director-General, Alhaji Mohammed Shaba, has said. The resettlement, which began at the weekend, is being financed with the N400 million grant from the Federal Government. Shaba said 125 affected families at Daboji in Wushishi Local Government were allocated plots of land and given building materials. Speaking with reporters in

FAAN to review workers’ salary From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

T

HE management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is to review its workers’ salary with effect from this month. FAAN’s Managing Director, Mr. George Ureisi, who was represented by the Regional Manager, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Mr. Ibrahim Daiyabu Sulaiman, said this yesterday during the presentation of awards to 30 junior and senior workers in Kano. He said the review was to boost workers’ morale. Mr. Ureisi said the occasion was aimed at celebrating performance, recognising talents and exploring the possibility of ensuring the development and progress of FAAN. According to him, those being celebrated were selected from various departments, due to their outstanding performance, adding that the purpose is to use them as role models. While pledging that the exercise would be a continuous one, he said 30 of such people would be presented with awards. Ureisi said the selected people came on board after consideration by the regional manager.

From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

Minna yesterday, the NSEMA boss said the 10 resettlement sites earmarked for the victims are being developed into layouts in compliance with the state urban renewal policy. The resettlement centres are sited at Bima and Yelwa in Lapai Local Government, Daboji village in Wushishi council, Mambe in Lavun Local Government, Jaagi in Mokwa council and Old Awuru in Borgu council. Other sites are located at Muregi village in Mokwa Local Government, Akkere in Wushishi Local Govern-

ment, Fofo village in Katcha council and Allawa village in Shiroro Local Government. Alhaji Shaba said the resettlement started with 30 hectares cleared at Daboji village in Wushishi Local Government. According to him, “we have demarcated the plots and allocated same to 125 families. This cost the agency N6.5 million. “The beneficiaries are working on their plots at the resettlement areas, moulding their blocks, preparatory to building their houses. The agency will give them bags of cement and bundles of zinc.”

PUBLIC NOTICE OSEZUA SUNDAY WELFARE FOUNDATION This is to inform the General public that the above named Association has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission for Registration under part “C” of the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990 (As Amended) Cap C20 LFN 2004. TRUSTEES 1. Mr. Ojiezele Osezua Sunday 2. Hon. Augustine Ekeria 3. Sir. Frederick Osezua Oreke 4. Mr. Alende Godwin 5. Sir. Joseph Edegba 6. Sir. Francis Ufuah 7. Mr. Alex Okojie 8. Com. Otoide Agbonighaomon Kingsley AIMS & OBJECTIVES 1. To reduce poverty and dependency ratio in the country. 2. To develop community through youth empowerment and social awareness. 3. To improve education, health and hygiene facilities. Any objection to the Registration should be forwarded to the Registrar General Corporation Affairs Commission Abuja within 28 Days of this publication SIGNED GEOFFREY MADU, ESQ

FOR SALE (1) 3 No’s well finished 4 bedroom terrace house, with one room b/q @ Chevy view estate, opposite chevron oil company, Lekki. Tittle C of O, Price #45m per unit (2) 4039 sqm2 Land along Mile 2, Apapa Oshodi expressway, with DPR Licience Lagos State approval for filling station and other relevant documents for a mega filling station. Price #1.1b (asking). (3) 4 No’s 3 bedroom terrace, with one room b/q @ Ikota Villa Estate, Ikota, Lekki. Title Governor’s consent. Price #35m per unit. (4) 2 Blocks of well finished 10 no’s 2 bedroom flats and 4 no’s mini flat @ Osborne Estate, Ikoyi with a conference hall, reception, swimming pool e.t.c. Title C of O, price #700m (asking). (5) 1339 Sqm2 Land at chevy view estate opposite Chevron oil company, Lekki. Title Governor’s consent. Price #75m (asking). To view, visit our website. OCHUKO OCHUKO & ASSOCIATES 129, Okota Rd , Okota, Lagos. Tel. 08023584351, 08035596145 Web: http://www.ochukoochuko.com / Email: info@ochukoochuko.com.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

58

CITYBEATS

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Seven suspected robbers killed •Three arrested •Arms, ammunition recovered

I

T WAS a mission unaccomplished. Thirteen of them set out on the mission; seven were killed by the police before they carried out the dastardly act last Friday. Reliving the encounter yesterday, the police said the gang was on its way to rob three banks and other targets when it was smashed. The police were said to have laid ambush for the roberry suspects at Abule-Egba Junction, a Lagos suburb. Motorists, residents and passersby scampered for safety as shots rang out. When the smoke cleared off the skyline, seven suspected lay dead; three were arrested and three others escaped. Parading the suspects at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the police acted on a tip-off. Police Commissioner Umar Manko, she said, got information that the rob-

By Ebele Boniface

bers were coming to Lagos through Ogun State to rob three banks, among other targets. The commissioner, she said, ordered the Officer-in-Charge of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Superintendent of Police (SP) Abba Kyari, to stop the suspected robbers. As the suspected robbers were approaching Lagos through SangoAbeokuta Road, three SARS Decoy Teams laid ambush for them at the Abule Egba Junction. When three of them alighted from their vehicles to clear the way for easy passage through the hectic traffic, the SARS men gunned them down. Four others in a car who opened fire on the policemen were also gunned down. Three others in another vehicle surrendered and were arrested. The arrested suspects are: Olubode Mudasiru, 27; Tunji Bamidele, 32, and Gbenga Joseph, 48. The police recovered three AK47 rifles with numbers 3710176, 4012804 and 405111. Nine

•The vehicles recovered from the robbers AK47 magazines with 270 live ammunition and three double-barrel pistols with 65 cartridges were also recovered. The suspected robbers' operational vehicles recovered include: a

Toyota Sienna car marked AKD54AG; Nissan Sunny, BT 914 APP and Toyota Dyna. The remaining members of the gang were said to have fled with the

fourth vehicle, a Toyota Camry, carrying three AK47 rifles, two rocket launchers and dynamites. Braide said yesterday that the SARS teams were on the trail of the fleeing suspects.

Man tackles policeman over case file

A

•R-L: Isijola and Adekunle, during the commissioning and handing over of the project.

Rotary Club donates water project

R

OTARY Club of Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos has donated a rural water project worth over N2.5million to Arifanla, Akute, an Ogun State community. Its president, Rotarian Emmanuel Isijola, said the gesture stemmed from the club's commitment to the welfare of the lessprivileged. Isijola, who described the donation as a "beautiful project that can stand the test of time," hinted that the community had suffered lack

By Biodun-Thomas Davids

of potable water, stressing that the community had been in dire need of water for long. In his response, the community's traditional chief, Adeboye Adekunle, remarked that the water project came when it was most needed. He thanked the club for the gesture and prayed for more of such gestures for the community. Some residents of the town listed

Killer policeman to die by hanging

P

OLICE Corporal Umaru Mohammed has been sentenced to death by hanging by a High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State for the 2011 murder of his colleague, Corporal Clement Amaechi. After the judgment, Mohammed refused to be handcuffed and taken away by prison warders whom he threatened to harm if they did not stay away from him. Mohammed attempted snatching the gun of one of warders who brought him to the court in order to shoot himself and others, before he was subdued by armed security men and handcuffed. Delivering his judgment, Justice Agwu Umah Kalu, said the prosecution proved that the shots

By Ugochukwun Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

fired by the convict at close range killed the deceased, adding that it is an offence punishable under Section 319, Cap 1 of the Criminal Code applicable to the state. Justice Kalu said the convict deserves no sympathy and ordered that he should be hanged by the neck until he dies. Mohammed underwent an orderly room trial which was chaired by Mr Joseph Micloth, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). His dismissal from the Police paved the way for his trial in the high court after Chief Magistrate Maureen Ahukanna, held that she had no jurisdiction on the case.

stable electricity, good road, secondary and primary schools as some of the other basic facilities the town urgently desires. Isijola appealed to all tiers of government, especially the local government, to wake up to their primary responsibility of providing basic amenities for the people in their domains. He urged corporate organisations and wealthy individuals to join them in giving the less-privileged. new lease of life.

T

HE Lagos State Government and Blackberry have sealed a deal that will lead to the siting of a BlackBerry Apps Laboratory in Lagos. BlackBerry Managing Director for West, East and Central Africa, Waldi Wepener, said at the presentation of BlackBerry Z10 in the country, that the project, when implemented, would allow the software development industry to flourish and create employment opportunities for the youth. According to him, report had shown that the country is the fastest growing mobile phone market, adding that social messaging and internet are two factors that are driving smartphone adoption in the country. Waldi said as a mark of the commitment of the mobile phone manufacturer to getting the project

chief in Rivers State, Christian Dike, has threatened to petition the Inspector-General Police (IGP) over the alleged failure of an Investigating Police Officer (IPO) to prosecute his land case. He alleged that the IPO collected about N1million gratification from him to charge the matter to court. Dike said he had pleaded with the IPO to return his money and case file for allegedly failing to charge the matter to court. Narrating his ordeal to The Nation yesterday, Dike said after a petition to the Police Service Commission (PSC) on the disputed land, he was directed to charge the matter to court through the said IPO. He said: "My IPO, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Christopher Ajodo, was asked to charge my matter to court; but he told me his superiors at Force Headquarters, Abuja, where the case is being handled, needed N500,000 and he gave me directive on where to pay the money. "He gave me two bank accounts with GTB and UBA. I have all the tellers with me as evidence, including the account numbers. He also invited me to Police Cantonment, Abuja, to pay another N300,000 in cash, yet he hid the case file and went to my rival in the land dispute to collect another N700,000." He alleged that Ajodo collected other sums of money from him, all in the name of charging the matter to court. "I have spent a lot of money on this matter, and I have evidence

From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

to prove all the money I gave him; even the one I gave him in cash, I didn't go alone. The last money I gave, ASP Stanley of Police Legal Department, Abuja was there. I want the IG to be aware of this mess. Next week, I will officially send a petition to the IG to let him know what has transpired and how I was duped because we may end up in court." When contacted, Stanley said: "I am aware of the matter, but I don't know anything about the money. The case file was with me, but both the IPO and Chief Dike have refused to come so that the matter could be charged to court." Ajodo told The Nation: "I did not collect any money from Chief Dike. If I did, where and when did he give me the money? The only money he gave me was used for our accommodation and feeding when we came to Port Harcourt to arrest his rival." "He said I collected money from the expected respondent in his land to hide the case file; and the same man he said I collected money from is also in court, accusing me that I collected money from him (Chief Dike) to arrest him. The truth is that when his rival took me to court, the IG ordered that I should hand over the matter to another IPO which I did. Now, the matter is not in my hands," he said. It was learnt that Dike got nine plots of land from a man he assisted to win a legal battle, but the land, including the one allotted to him, was later sold without his notice. The matter has been on for over three years.

Lagos, BlackBerry seal deal By Lucas Ajanaku

implemented, a letter of intent outlining the intention to build a BlackBerry Apps Lab in Lagos, has been endorsed by both parties. Wepener said: "With over 250 Nigerian-developed applications already available on the next-generation BlackBerry 10 platform, Nigeria's software development community is clearly demonstrating impressive growth and innovation. Following a series of BlackBerry developer events and local partnerships in Nigeria, our commitment to building an Apps Lab in Lagos is a clear demonstration of our long-term approach to support the development of a sustainable ecosystem in Nigeria. "We are delighted to find such a

progressive partner as the Lagos State Government is committed to building a culture of innovation as a core contributor to future development and we look forward to working closely with them to identify the most appropriate location for the lab." Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola described innovation as the cornerstone of his administration's efforts at transforming the state into a mega-city Blackbreey The Innovation Advisory Council signed the deal with Blackberry. "Innovation is at the heart of our approach to developing Lagos into a Mega City. We are very pleased BlackBerry has chosen Lagos State as a partner and is committed to establishing an apps lab that will further Lagos as a centre for excellence in Africa," the governor was quoted as saying in a statement.


59

THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

C ITYBEATS Man, 30, charged with assault

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Lagos reopens Ladipo market •Traders: 'it won't happen again'

A

FTER a two-week shutdown over poor environmental conditions, Lagos State Government yesterday reopened the Ladipo International auto spares market. The reopening followed intervention of well-meaning individuals including the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and other leaders of Igbo community in the state. State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, said series of meetings were held with the leaders of the market where conditions for reopening the market were agreed on. Bello, who was represented at the signing of the agreement by Permanent Secretary Office of Drainage Service, Mr. Muyideen Akinsanya, said the agreement was jointly signed by President Ladipo Central Executive Committee (LACEC),

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro, Damilola Owoyele and Ebele Boniface

Mr. Ikechukwu Animalu, Secretary of Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealers' Association; Pastor Steve Paul, and Chairman Mushin Local Government, Hon. Babatunde Adepitan. He, however, listed the conditions attached to the development as including: non-conversion of the drainage Right of Way (RoW) into trading points and mechanic workshops, non-conversion of the access roads in the market for trading activities, Non-conversion of the shops in the market for residential purposes. The agreement also impressed it on the traders not to dump wastes and vehicle parts into the canal and that they

should maintain the cleanliness of the market environment at all times. The traders were urged to ensure proper security arrangement in the market, while illegal trading activities in and around the market environment will no longer be allowed. Also on the agreement are: "that Aguiyi Ironsi International Trade Centre shall remain closed until a resolution is reached with Mushin Local Government, while all statutory revenues, and fees shall be payable to Mushin Local Government and other relevant government agencies, and that "no mechanic workshop shall operate on any road leading to the market; while only one side parking shall be operated by the traders." Government also nullified all allocations and permits around the canal setbacks. Traders shall patronise Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and pay service charges promptly, while the LACEC has been empowered to ensure compliance by all the traders. Failure to adhere to the agreement shall prompt gov-

•Bello ernment to relocate them from the present location,it stressed. The traders rejoiced yesterday. Animalu, however, said millions of naira had been lost to the shut-down. The government had destroyed illegal shops on the edge the canal. The activities of traders there had threatened its free flow. Animalu said the market had lost N500 million per day. Animalu thanked Okorocha, Ifeanyi Uba of Capital Oil and many influential people who intervened in the matter.

Union backs principal for 'flogging' pupil

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HE Lagos State chapter of the National Nnokwa Progressive Union (NPU) has said the reported flogging of a pupil, Aishat Alabi, by Mrs. E.C Ukpaka, Principal, Kadara Junior Grammar School, EbuteMetta, Lagos State, has no religious undertone. The group chided a religious body for suggesting that the pupil was singled out for punishment because of her faith. It maintained that she was punished for her unruly behaviour. In a February 18 letter, the Muslim students society of Nigeria (MSSN) described the said flogging as one of the cases of rights violations, molestation and victimisation of Muslim students. In the letter signed by its General Secretary, Uthman Ishaq, MSSN argued that Muslim students "are being denied their fundamental rights which are well spelt out in the Constitution." "It is unfortunate to know that

By Eric Ikhilae

you, the principal, could beat a JSS 1 student so mercilessly for putting on hijab after school hours as to give her 43 strokes of cane in the afternoon assembly, a case of inhuman treatment and assault. "This is absolutely a case of religious victimisation, and it is unacceptable," the group said. NPU's spokesperson, Eze Victor, described Mrs Ukpaka as a humble person, a disciplinarian, who has won awards for commitment to duty and love for her students, without discrimination on the basis of religion or sex. "Her efforts as a teacher and principal have always included preaching against discrimination in any form; therefore, allegation of religious discrimination should

not be attached to her personality. She preaches against it," he said. He said after an independent investigation of MSSN's allegation, NPU discovered that Mrs Ukpaka acted in accordance with the school's rules and regulations which state that on no account should students display or wear religious apparels and related items during school hours. NPU frowned at MSSN's decision to organise rallies over Mrs Ukpaka's alleged act. "This is just a case of intimidation and we will stand by her. We will give her all the necessary supports and we want to believe that some of the things being said and done against her will not last long," the association said, adding: "This will not only affect the school's image negatively, it serves to discourage other dedicated

teachers and has the potential of rubbing off on the state's educational growth. It also makes mockery of Governor Babatunde Fashola's efforts to ensure unity, peace, development and improved standard of living for the people." The head of the Ukpaka family in Lagos, Ogonnna Ukpaka, said the matter was blown out of proportion to tarnish the principal's reputation. He added: "It was alleged that Mrs. Ukpaka flogged Aishat because she was wearing hijab; it is not true. The girl was flogged because of indiscipline. “She violated the school's rule by wearing hijab during school hours in the school compound. Hijab, rosary and other items are prohibited in the school because they are not part of the school uniform."

Police chief allays fear of Boko Haram attack

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AGOS State Commissioner of Police Mr. Abubakar Umar Manko yesterday urged residents to disregard rumours of attacks by Boko Haram. Manko, who spoke to repoters at the Command Headquarters in Ikeja, after the parade of some robbery suspects, said the state was too protected for any insurgent group to invade. He said: "There is no Boko Haram in Lagos and there will not be. Lagos is secured. People should go about their

•Vows to arrest police, military personnel riding motorcycles By Jude Isiguzo

businesses without fear. Security agencies are on the alert in the state. Lagosians should not fear." Manko said policemen and military personnel were breaking the law on restriction of motorcycles on major roads in Lagos, pledging to begin arresting them henceforth. "We will begin to treat policemen and military personnel who flout the

•Manko law the way we treat ordinary citizens. We should

not be seen to flout the law we are enforcing," he added. Last weekend, the government allayed fears of Boko Haram attacks saying the state was safe. Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba, and his Envionment counterpart, Tunji Bello, said the government taken steps to ensure protection of lives and property.

Man accused of killing own mum

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HE Lagos State Director, Public Prosecution (DPP), has said that the 28-yearold Segun Bakare, who allegedly stabbed his mother to death, has a case to answer. Bakare was arrested by the police and arraigned before a Mushin Magistrates' Court on October 25, 2011, for stabbing his mother to death. Prosecuting Inspector Ezekiel Ayorinde had told the court that the offence was committed at about 2am, at 3, Musa Street, Mushin. He said: "The suspect on October 7, believing that his mother was

By Precious Igbonwelundu

responsible for his stomach ache by poisoning his 'akara', stabbed her with a broken bottle, which led to her death. He further stabbed his wife, Mama Muri, with the same bottle at wee hours." Ayorinde told the court that the offence contravened Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2004. The defendant was remanded in prison custody pending legal advice from DPP. At the resume hearing

yesterday, Ayorinde produced the legal advice from DPP which stated that Bakare has case to answer. The advice dated December 14, 2012, stated thus: "After a careful perusal of the facts contained in the duplicate case file, this office is of the opinion that a prima facie case of assault occasioning harm contrary to Section 355, and murder contrary to Section 316 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2003, are established against the suspect, Segun Bakare."

Although the defendant was not present in court, Ayorinde urged the court for an adjournment to enable the prosecution file its charges at the high court. He said: "Since the legal advice from the DPP says the suspect has case to answer, we humbly ask for an adjournment to enable the prosecution institute its case against the suspect at the High Court which has jurisdiction to hear the case." Presiding Magistrate F.O. Davies-Abegunde, adjourned the matter till June 26

A 30-YEAR-OLD man was yesterday arraigned before a Mushin Magistrate's Court, in Lagos, for allegedly stabbing a commercial motorcyclist with broken bottle. The defendant, Muyiwa Ojewande, was brought before Magistrate F.O. Davies-Abegunde, on a count of causing grievous harm to one Akintola Amoo. Prosecuting Inspector Ezekiel Ayorinde told the court that the offence was committed on February 17, at Onibuore Junction, Surulere, Lagos Mainland at 8pm. He said: "The complainant is a bike man. He carried the defendant and dropped him at the agreed junction but the duo had a disagreement as regards change. "In the process, the complainant stabbed the defendant with a broken bottle on his neck and eye and escaped but he was later arrested." He told the court that the complainant was not in court because he was still undergoing treatment at the hospital, adding that the alleged offence contravened Section 243 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. Ojewande, who pleaded not guilty, said: "I assist my sister in selling clothes at Lagos Island. I did not stab the okada man. I do not even know what happened to him.

By Precious Igbonwelundu

"He carried me to my house, which is by the junction that night. He did not have change, so I told him to wait while I go and look for change. By the time I came back, I did not see him again. I was surprised when he came back to my house with his group that they will burn down our family house that I stabbed him with a bottle on his neck. "Because, it is a family house and my people do not want trouble, they tried to settle the matter and he was given N60, 000 for treatment so that they can go. "We never fought, I never touched him and I am not the one who stabbed him." He also debunked claims by the prosecution that the complainant was receiving treatment, telling the court that people have seen the complainant working with his motorcyclist. Abegunde asked the prosecutor to check the defendant's statement at the station if it was contrary to what he said in court and the prosecutor told the court that the defendant did not admit stabbing the complainant in his statement. In her ruling, Abegunde granted the defendant bail in N20, 000 with one surety in the like sum and adjourned the matter till April 24.

Govt to close hospital's morgue THE Isolo General Hospital's mortuary in Lagos will be closed on March 26 in conformity with public health norms, Commissioner for Health Dr Jide Idris said yesterday. Idris urged people to claim the bodies of their relatives kept at the morgue before that date. He said those who still require accommodation for the bodies of their dead relatives could transfer them to mortuaries at Gbagada General Hospital or the General Hospital, Lagos. "In addition, state mortuaries at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Island General Hospital, Ikorodu General Hospital and Epe General

Hospital remain open for use," he said. The commissioner said the recently renovated mortuary at the Mainland General Hospital had been designated a Social Responsibility Centre. "As such, it will, henceforth, receive and accommodate only the following categories of bodies: Bodies in respect of which a Coroner has directed an autopsy, pursuant to the Coroners' System Law, 2007, including bodies found on the state's roads and highways. It also includes bodies picked up by the Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU); bodies of individuals who died in custody or shortly thereafter, and bodies that were abandoned in other state mortuaries."


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

NEWS Seven states refused to sponsor Christian pilgrims, says Oritsejafor S EVEN states in the North declined to sponsor Christian Pilgrims last year, it emerged yesterday. The Federal Government delegation to the 2012 Christian pilgrimage to the Holy land listed the states as Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara, Benue and Gombe. The delegation, led by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, submitted its report to President Goodluck Jonathan. It announced that 16,372 Nigerians participated in the Christian pilgrimage. Promising to discuss with the states, President Jonathan maintained that the Federal Government cannot force any state government to sponsor pilgrims if they do not want to do so. But he cautioned that such a decision not to sponsor pilgrims must affect both Christian and Muslim pilgrims. He said: “Government cannot force state governments to sponsor pilgrims if they don’t want to do so. If they decide to

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

pull out from sponsoring pilgrims, there is nothing we can do. But if some state governments are sponsoring pilgrims of one religion and leaving out the other, that is against the law. Nigeria is a secular state and so nobody should be discriminated against based on religious belief.” Jonathan also promised the National Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) for its efforts in winning the confidence of the Italian authorities. “I am pleased to hear that Italian authorities now rely on the commission to issue visa to intending pilgrims. It is a sign of confidence in the commission, led by John Okpara and, indeed, in the country,” he added He also listed other achievements of the NCPC to include the absence of cases of pilgrims absconding during pilgrimage to the holy land and

improvements in the organisation of the annual exercise with no negative report emanating from the program. Indicating interest to attend this year’s pilgrimage, Jonathan said it would afford him the opportunity to engage authorities of the State of Israel on the need for a Bilateral Air Service Agreement between Nigeria and Israel to make the journey from Nigeria less stressful. He promised to consider the recommendation that members of the Federal Government delegation be given a two-year tenure instead of the present arrangement where members are appointed yearly. He said: “We shall look at your suggestion that the government delegation be given two-year tenure. There is a sense in the suggestion because there will be continuity and memory. Such decision will also help me because I won’t keep appointing people everyday. “It was for the same reason of

continuity and institutional memory that we decided that the Sultan, by virtue of his position, be the permanent leader of the government delegation for Muslim pilgrimage while the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria leads that of Christian pilgrimage every year,” he said. Presenting the report, Pastor Oritsejafor said there was a sharp reduction in the number of Christians who participated in the 2012 pilgrimage when compared with the figure of the previous year. He recommended the need for the Federal Government delegation for every year to be inaugurated early enough to give them ample time to plan. Pastor Oritsejafor was accompanied by the Chairman of the NCPC, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh; the Executive Secretary, Mr. John Okpara; the Chaplain to the President, Ven. Obioma Onwuzuruba; Minister of Water Resources Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe and other members of the 11-man Federal Government delegation.

Auditor’s report indicts NNPC, DPR, PPPRA Continued from page 2

accounted for. The Auditor General’s report revealed that the NNPC claimed to have allocated 3,834,798 barrels of crude oil to Port-Harcourt Refinery in the months of September and November, 2007. Audit verification, however, revealed that the refinery receipted only 2,245,744 barrels for processing, giving rise to a shortfall of

1,589,054 barrels valued at N15b. “The sum of $4,451b was appropriated in the 2007 Budget for Joint Venture Cash Calls (JVCC) and this was fully released to the NNPC for the benefit of the Joint Venture operators. “However, NAPIMS budget for the Joint Venture Operators in the same year was put at $4,114b, resulting in a surplus of $336m.

“Further audit scrutiny of the records .of the JVCC in the books of NAPIMS showed that the Joint Venture Operators were paid $1,714b. “When compared with the $4,114,990b budgeted by NAPIMS for the Joint Venture Operators, a difference of $2,400b was revealed as budget under-implementation. “Amounts totaling N80b and $1 ,550b were irregularly diverted for the execution of

programmes not included in the approved budgets of the Joint Venture Operators. “The programme and activities include performance balance/supply, Niger Delta security, NIPP projects and NAPIMS Overhead Cost”. Yakubu, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA Reginald Stanley, and the Director, DPR, Osten Oluyemisiola were given till this afternoon to appear before the Committee.

Nigeria begins search for bodies Continued from page 2

that it killed the hostages, signed by a man with the nom de guerre Abu Usamatal Ansary. Ansaru fighters kidnapped the foreigners on February 16 from a camp for the construc-

tion company Setraco at Jama’are, Bauchi State. Information Minister Labaran Maku also told reporters at the State House that he had nothing to say to them. “I don’t have brief to brief you,” he said.

Fiancee mourns slain hostage Continued from page 1

pornkaew, wrote: ‘You’re always in my heart.’ Dom Cooney posted: ‘Can’t believe it. He was like an ox.’ In a statement, Mr Vaughan’s relatives said: “The family of Brendan Vaughan, aged 55 from Rothwell, Leeds, are obviously shocked and saddened by recent events. “Brendan, best described as a lovable rogue by everyone who knew him, lived his life to the full and on his own terms. “He was a loved father, brother and fiance who was tragically killed on March 10th 2013.” The statement added that Mr Vaughan had been “deprived of meeting his first grandchild, a baby girl to be born in May. “Brendan may be gone but will be never forgotten.” Yesterday, British Foreign Minister Willaim Hague said in a statement: “This was an act of cold-blooded murder, which I condemn in the strongest terms. “My thoughts are with his family, and the families of the other hostages, who will be devastated by this tragic loss.” Vaughan’s Facebook page includes details of where he was working in Nigeria and

photos of armed protection guards at his compound. Four Lebanese construction workers were also killed as well as an Italian and a Greek. An intelligence source in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, named the Italian as Silvano Trevisan, adding that he had been suffering from hypertension and heart problems. Official silence shrouds the affair, with no statement released by the Nigerian government two days after Ansaru said it had killed the workers. “Up to this moment in time, I have nothing to confirm that the hostages have been killed. Our investigations are still ongoing to ascertain whether they are alive or not,” said Hassan Mohammed, police spokesman for Bauchi state. A Nigerian secret service official told the Guardian of London that three of the hostages were believed to have been seriously ill during their captivity. Vaughan was a diabetic, while Trevisan suffered from hypertension. Attempts had been made to pass medication to them through members of Ansaru but had been unsuccessful, the source added.

NEWS

PDP wants to foist one-party system on Nigeria, alleges CNPP

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HE Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has said it views the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) covert bid to register the African Peoples Congress (APC) as a bad omen for the country’s democracy. A statement signed by CNPP’s National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resist the temptation of PDP’s covert move to register the African Peoples Congress, adding that prior to the February 6 date when

From Chris Oji, Enugu

the All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed, there was no such application with INEC. It said PDP’s intention to register African Peoples Congress “is ignoble, subversive and meant to forestall the registration of the authentic APC, based on the flimsy argument that both possess the same acronym.” CNPP said: “PDP’s intention is to foist a one-party system on Nigeria and rule for 60 years. “We challenge INEC to

publish the names of the promoters of African Peoples Congress. INEC should also investigate the allegation that the proposed APC is being floated by the PDP to foist a one-party system on the country.” Former Head of State and three-time presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, alleged that INEC was in a merger with PDP to do the latter’s bidding. He accused INEC of corruption, among others, adding that the electoral body had not accepted or refuted the allegation.

Fashola blames Fed Govt for under-funding Customs, Immigration

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AGOS State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday blamed the Federal Government for under-funding the Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service. He spoke when he received the General Officer Commanding 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.Gen. Obi Abel Umahi and the new Comptroller of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Lagos, Mr. Rasheed Odupeyin, in his office. Governor Fashola said: “If we take internal security very seriously, these agencies will not lack the basic tools required for their work. This is an agency I think has

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

a very important role to play in our national security.” He said the first line of defence must be the protection of the country’s border, adding: “The two agencies are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that this is done effectively.” Said he: “Given the revenue that flows in from the combined activities of these two agencies, it is perhaps worrisome that things like vehicles and fuel are not taken seriously. “We know that although the military has left governance, Nigerians have not fully demilitarised themselves. People pose as mili-

tary officers when they are not. “In the last 24 to 48 hours, the brigade commandant informed me of some persons, who were apprehended for working around in military uniform. This is why it is important that we close ranks because people disobey civil laws by wearing uniform. “We must not encourage this kind of thing. We must close ranks and stop it because it gives our country a bad image. I do tell the uniform officers in Lagos that the uniform they wear represent the symbol of authority of the state. “We must work together to ensure that people comply with law and order.”

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CTIVITIES at the Federal High Court, Lagos, were paralysed yesterday as judicial workers began a nationwide indefinite strike. But, the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court, Mr. Bello Okandeji, said the inactivity was not due to the strike but the ongoing conference of judges in Abuja. There were no legal proceedings in 11 of the 12 courtrooms in the court complex. Okandeji said: “As far as I am concerned, activities of the Lagos Division of this court are disrupted due to the absence of our judges, who are attending a conference in Abuja. “Although, I will not deny having knowledge of the strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), I cannot categorically say it is the reason the courts are empty. “Whether there is an ongoing industrial action or not, I am yet to officially receive instructions to that effect. “Until I receive directives from the management, I cannot assume and act on my own volition.” Some lawyers expressed dismay at the situation. Mr. Femi Oguneye said he was disappointed when a court clerk informed him that the court would not sit. He said none of the court clerks was able to give him cogent reasons for the situation, but only adjourned cases. Another lawyer, Mr. Chijioke Nwankwo, said he was also disappointed.

JUSUN begins nationwide strike From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt and Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

‘As far as I am concerned, activities of the Lagos Division of this court are disrupted due to the absence of our judges, who are attending a conference in Abuja’ Only Justice Okechukwu Okeke heard a case involving alleged importation of arms and explosives to Nigeria. He reserved judgment in the case till April 30. Also in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, strike by JUSUN members paralysed activities. The union is embarking on the strike to protest the non-implementation of the Consolidated Judicial Salary Structure (CONJUSS) in the courts being operated by the Federal Government. The court premises were deserted. None of the judges was around. Litigants and lawyers were informed of the development at the gate of the court by the security

guards. Those who had no genuine reason to enter the premises were turned back. A member of JUSUN, who preferred anonymity, said: “We at the Port Harcourt branch were not aware of the development until we got to the office this morning (yesterday morning) and saw the circular pasted at the entrance.” Asked what their grievances were and who pasted the circular, he said he did not know. In a five-point communiqué issued at the end of JUSUN’s emergency delegates’ session at the Labour House in Minna, Niger State on March 5, which was pasted at the gate yesterday, members are protesting the failure of the Federal Government to implement CONJUSS in federal courts. The document was signed by JUSUN’s National President and General Secretary, Marwan Adamu Mustapha and I.M. Adetola. The premises of the Sokoto Appeal Court on Kaduna Road and those of the Federal High Court were deserted and the gates locked. The Chairman of the Sokoto State branch of JUSUN, Abdulnasir Mohammed, said the strike followed the nonimplementation of CONJUSS by the Federal Government.


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FOREIGN NEWS Police: Delhi rape suspect kills self in jail

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man on trial for the gang rape and fatal beating of a 23-year-old student aboard a New Delhi bus committed suicide in an Indian jail Monday, police said, but his lawyer and family allege he was killed, The Associated Press has reported. Ram Singh, who was accused of driving the bus during the December attack, was under suicide watch in a cell with three other inmates at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail when he hanged himself with his own clothes about 5:30 a.m., police officials said. His death in custody raised further questions about a criminal justice system already under attack for failing to protect the nation’s women. ‘’It’s a grave incident,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said. ‘’It’s a major lapse.” The government had ordered a magistrate’s inquiry and would take action after it received the report, he said. Singh, 33, had been among five defendants facing the death penalty if convicted of the rape attack, which horrified Indians and set off national protests. A sixth accused is being tried and jailed separately because he is a juvenile. Ram Singh’s family and lawyer alleged foul play in his death. “There were no circumstances which could have led to Ram Singh committing sui-

cide. There was no mental stress. He was very happy,” his lawyer V.K. Anand said. Lawyers for the defendants had previously accused police of beating confessions out of the men. Indian jails have a reputation for overcrowding, poor management and brutal treatment of inmates. Ram Singh’s father, Mangelal Singh, said his son had been raped in prison by other inmates and had been repeatedly threatened by inmates and guards. Nevertheless, he said he visited his son four days ago and the man appeared fine and gave no hint of any despair that could drive him to take his own life. Ram Singh also had a badly injured hand and would have been unable to hang himself, his father said, speaking from outside his small home in a New Delhi slum. “Somebody has killed him,” he said, saying he would push for a top-level investigation into the death. Mangelal Singh said he feared for the safety of another son who is also on trial in the rape case. The defendants were being housed in separate buildings on the jail grounds and were all under suicide watch, a jail official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

LENTEN TALK Rev. Henry O. Adelegan

Gateway to divine blessings Text: Deut. 28:1

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HERE are myriads of questions that agitate the minds of lots people in the body of Christ in particular and the world in general. Some of the questions are: Why are some people rich and others poor or why are some individuals very healthy while some are sickly? It is pertinent to state that it was not in God’s intention for His people to be poor or sick. In fact, He promised in 3 John 2 that “ I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers”. Suffice to say that health and prosperity are very important to God but conditional - they are predicated on prosperity of soul, and of course obedience. The level of your obedience determines what comes to you. From our text, God told the Israelites that they had a choice to either experience blessings or curses, or enjoy good health or sicknesses. What determines either of the two is their obedience or disobedience to His biddings. The Scriptures say that “ If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” ( Isaiah 1:19). Paul told the Romans that to whosoever you yield yourselves servants to obey, you are a servant to such a person, thing or lifestyle ( Romans 6:16). What this means is that willingness to prosper and be in health is good but not enough - the ultimate determinant of where the pendulum swings is Obedience. There was a man that God picked from the sideway of life to be the first King of Israel. God had the best of plans for him but he unilaterally terminated God’s plans through his act of disobedience. ( I Samuel 15:1- 23). He started promisingly but ended life badly, which compelled God to remove Him and got him replaced with David. God told him that sacrifice was not enough because “ to obey is better than sacrifice”. What a tragedy! What is Obedience? It is determination to adhere to biblical rules and dictates; it is forming a habit of discipline, it is establishing of limits and controls in every sphere of life, it is doing what is right and not what you like or doing what is required and not what you desire. When the brethren of Mary for instance obeyed Jesus’ seemingly foolish instructions at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, water was turned to wine and their shame replaced fame for them ( John 2:1-11). Beloved, you have a choice. As you decide to obey God during this season of Lent, mindless of how difficult the instructions are, He would do exceeding abundantly above all that you may ask or think in the name of Jesus. Prayers: Father, give me a heart to obey you always even when it is very difficult to do so, close every door of curses and open unto me the gateway of blessings in the name of Jesus.

•Pakistani Christians search for salvageable belongings from the remains of their razed houses in Lahore yesterday. Pakistani Christians closed missionary schools in protest after a Muslim mob torched more than 100 Christian homes following allegations of blasphemy. More than 3,000 Muslims rampaged through Joseph Colony, a Christian area of the eastern city of Lahore, on March 9 after allegations that a Christian had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed three days earlier. PHOTO: AFP

South Korea, US begin drills as North cuts off hotline

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ORTH and South Korea staged duelling war games Monday as threatening rhetoric from the rivals rose to the highest level since North Korea rained artillery shells on a South Korean island in 2010. Enraged over the South’s joint military drills with the United States and recent U.N. sanctions, Pyongyang has threatened to launch a nuclear strike on the U.S. and to scrap the nearly 60year-old armistice that ended the Korean War. Seoul has responded with tough talk of its own and has placed its troops on high alert. North Korea’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reported that the armistice was nullified Monday as Pyongyang had earlier announced. The North followed through on another promise Monday, shutting down a Red Cross hotline that the North and South used for general communication and to discuss aid shipments and separated families’ reunions. The 11-day military drills that started yesterday involve 10,000 South Korean and about 3,000 American troops. Those coincide with two months of separate U.S.-South Korean field exercises that began March 1.

Also continuing are large-scale North Korean drills that Seoul says involve the army, navy and air force. The South Korean defense ministry said there have been no military activities it considers suspicious. The North has threatened to nullify the armistice several times in times of tension with the outside world, and in 1996 the country sent hundreds of armed troops into a border village. The troops later withdrew. Despite the heightened tension, there were signs of business as usual Monday. The two Koreas continue to have at least two working channels of communication between their militaries and aviation authorities. One of those hotlines was used Monday to give hundreds of South Koreans approval to enter North Korea to go to work. Their jobs are at the only remaining operational symbol of joint inter-Korean cooperation, the Kaesong industrial complex. It is operated in North Korea with South Korean money and knowhow and a mostly North Korean work force. The North Korean rhetoric escalated as the U.N. Security Council last week approved a new round of sanctions over Pyongyang’s lat-

est nuclear weapons test Feb. 12. Analysts said that much of the bellicosity is meant to shore up loyalty among citizens and the military for North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un. Part of what North Korea wants is a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War, instead of the armistice that leaves the peninsula still technically in a state of war. It also wants security guarantees and other concessions, direct talks with Washington, recognition as a nuclear weapons state and the removal of 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. Pinkston said there is little chance of fighting breaking out while war games are being conducted, but he added that he expects North Korea to follow through with a somewhat mysterious promise to respond at a time and place of its own choosing. North Korea was responsible for an artillery attack that killed four South Koreans in 2010. A South Koreanled international investigation found that North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship that same year, killing 46 sailors. Pyongyang denies sinking the ship. South Korean and U.S. officials have been closely monitoring Pyongyang’s ac-

•Kim Jong-un

tions and parsing its recent rhetoric, which has been more warlike than usual.

Congo to sign peace deal with rebels on Friday DEMOCRATIC Republic of Congo’s government is due to sign a peace deal on March 15 with the M23 rebels who have been waging an insurgency in the east for the past year, according to a draft agreement seen by Reuters yesterday. The draft says rebel fighters will hand in their weapons ahead of a deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in their territory, and those not facing prosecution will be integrated into the army. Congo’s government will, in turn, speed up the return of ethnic Tutsi refugees from Rwanda, it added. The deal seeks to end recurrent conflicts in Congo’s mineral-rich east, where local politics, ethnic rivalries and tensions with neighboring Rwanda have simmered for nearly two decades.

ICC drops case against Kenyatta’s fellow suspect Mandela’s

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NTERNATIONAL Criminal Court prosecutors said Monday they are dropping their crimes against humanity case against a prominent Kenyan after a key witness admitted lying in his incriminating testimony. The announcement is an unprecedented admission of failure by prosecutors and the first time in the 10-year-old court’s history that they have dropped a case so close to trial. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told judges she is withdrawing all charges against Kenyan Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura, who is charged with crimes including murder, rape and deportation for his alleged involve-

ment in deadly violence that erupted after his country’s 2007 presidential election. Muthaura is indicted with Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, but prosecutors argue they have more evidence against Kenyatta and his prosecution should continue. “We do not feel that we have a reasonable prospect of conviction and therefore withdraw the charges against him,” Bensouda told judges. Muthaura, who was sitting in court, showed no emotion as Bensouda made her statement. However, Bensouda stressed that the case against Kenyatta would continue. “This decision affects Mr. Muthaura’s case alone,” she

said. She said witnesses in the case against Muthaura had either “been killed or have died since those events and other witnesses refuse to speak with the prosecution.” She also accused Kenyan authorities of not living up to their public pledges to fully cooperate with the court in its investigation of violence after the 2007 vote that left more than 1,000 people dead. The Kenyan government “has provided only limited assistance to the prosecution and they have failed to provide the prosecution with access to witnesses or documents that may shed light on Mr. Muthaura’s case.”

memory fading MR George Bizos, Former President Nelson Mandela’s close friend and long time lawyer, has said that the memory of the 94year-old South Africa’s political icon is fading. He told reporters in Johannesburg yesterday after visiting Mandela that “he was doing okay” but that his memory was not what it used to be. Bizos said that Mandela seemed to have forgotten that some of their mutual friends had died. “If he was asked ‘What do you think about this or that issue?, his inevitable response was ‘Go ask my president’. He never wanted to second guess his successor,” Bizos said. He was said to be recovering at home in Houghton, Johannesburg.


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SPORT EXTRA

Martins joins Seattle Sounders .Buys out 3.6m Euros Levante contract • To earn N500m a year in America

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UPER EAGLES aceObafemi Martins has paid the sum of 3.6million Euros (about N700m) to the headquarters of the Spanish Professional Football League, being the amount necessary to trigger the termination clause of his contract with Levante UD. Levante, who signed Martins to a two-year deal in September last year, announced on their website last night that the Nigeria international had thus been released from his contract. The in-form striker has been a revelation for Levante this season, having filled the gap left by Arouna Kone who departed last summer for Premier League side Wigan Athletic. However, following a fortnight of negotiations between the Spanish side and Seattle Sounders, Martins has now officially paid his own release clause of 3.6 million Euros to make the move possible, and will sign a reported three-year contract with Seattle at $3 million (about N500m) per season. The former Newcastle United and Inter Milan star was in attendance at the LFP offices in Madrid Monday morning to make the payment and sign the documentation. The payment included IVA taxes that will now allow Martins to make the move to the Pacific Northwest. Martins, who is one of the 15 Europe-based players called up by coach Stephen Keshi to take on Kenya in a 2014 World Cup qualifier on

era in my career... I also look forward to meet my new teammates and the Sounders FC fans, my new family... “This is so difficult for me to do, but I really do love my fans. Levante fans are the best... I will always cherish the time I played here. “I would like to thank Levante UD for giving me a

•Martins great opportunity to play in one of the best leagues in the world...” Martins posted on his Twitter account.

1ST AFRICAN JUNIOR ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Athletes must present international passports —AFN

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HE Athletics Federation of Nigeria(AFN)hasreleasedthe names of athletes and officials that will represent the country at the maiden edition of the African Junior Athletics Championship slated for March 27 to 31 in Warri, Delta State. NationSport understands that the athletes are all expected to come along with their international passports when they converge at the AFN High Performance Centre, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, today. The team list comprises the following athletes: 3,000m Girls; Chinonso Nwokeji and Monica Ezekiel. 5,000m Boys: Stephen Joshua and Adeyemi Olaoluwa. 800m Girls: Asamu Oluwatobiloba. Obinna Ukaegbu and Akpom Emmanuel (800m Boys). 100m Girls: Cecilia Francis and Ese Brume. 100m Boys: Divine Oduduru, Ismaila Yusuf and Charles Okezie. Serah Ogunola and Chinonso Nwokeji will represent the country in the 1,500m Girls while Saka Sanusi and Okeke Chidi have been selected to run in the 1,500m Boys race. In the Long Jump Boys, Joseph Edafiedhe, Ejumeta Davi and Oluwayemi Blessing were chosen to

By Stella Bamawo represent the country. Others are Olamide Oluwaseun and Raktan James (2000m Steeple Chase Girls). Adeyemi Olaolu(3000m Steeple Chase boys), 400m Hurdles girls: Nathaniel Glory and Kadiri Serah. 400 Hurdles boys: Bakare Gbenga. Hammer Girls: Celia Ekpeyong Iyang and Omizi Sophiat Tolani made the list. Hammer Boys: Ossai Domini, David Aniemene. High

Heartland calls for support ahead of US Bitam tie

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By Akeem Lawal March 23 in Calabar, is, however, looking forward to joining his new club mates. “Wow. Finally, I can now announce that I have just signed for Sounders FC. A big step to take in my career. It's a big challenge but I'm ready. “I look forward to this new

CAF CONFEDERATIONS CUP

Jump Boys: Theophilus Ejovi, Awoke Chizoba and Edoki Fabian. 400m Girls: Junaid Abimbola, Edidiong Ofonime and Chukwu Sandra. 400m Boys: Nathaniel Samson Oluwasakin Omotoye and Oyebanji Abdulahi. 200m Girls: Adewale Deborah and Amusan Oluwatobi. 200m Boys: Ismaila Yusuf and Adeyombo Adeniyi. 110m Hurdles Boys: Abudulaih Bahiru and Atuma Ifeanyi . Tripple Jump Boys: Theophilus Ejovi and Edoki Fabian.

EARTLAND FC of Owerri have apologised to their teeming supporters and fans over the shocking 1-2 loss at home to Nembe City FC last Sunday. In a statement signed by club Media Officer, Cajetan Nkwopara on Monday, Heartland said they felt very sad that they opened their league season campaign with a defeat on home ground. He however promised that they would fight back to recover the lost points in their next away games. “Honestly, we are shocked and pained by this defeat and the fact that our fans feel let down. We say to the fans, ‘it was not deliberate’ and we are sorry about it. Now, we know we must have to fight back and recover those points in our subsequent away games,” Nkwopara stated. He said the game against Nembe City was an eye opener to every stakeholder and that they have been able to draw useful lessons from it. The media officer dismissed suggestions that

Premier Lotto reaffirms support for sports development

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ITH the successful a g i n g of the maiden Lagos Schools Athletics Championship, Chairman, Premier Lotto Limited, Kensington Adebutu has reaffirmed the company’s support for grassroots sports development. Speaking during the grand finale of the tournament held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Adebutu said he was impressed with the organisation and standard of the competition, adding that his company would s

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By Bolaji Aluko-Olokun continue to support the athletes in their bid to become world stars. “We will continue to support sports especially at grassroots level. First of all, I made my money from sports and there is nothing too much to do for sports. This is our own way to support the society and we are not doing it because of marketing our company; the main objective is to encourage sports development in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole,” he

said. Adebutu, whose company also bankrolled grassroots football in Lagos, assured that arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the competition is sustained. He, however, promised that the competition would not be a oneoff event, as he has put everything in place to ensure it outlives him. “Arrangements have been put in place to make this competition a sustainable one, that is why my children are in the forefront as I am only working in the background,” Adebutu said.

the loss to Nembe City FC could ‘rob off’ negatively on the ‘Naze Millionaires’ psychology when they confront visiting US Bitam of Gabon for the CAF Confederations Cup campaign this coming Sunday, explaining that both competitions are different from each other and that each must be approached differently. Heartland FC, he said, have noted the mistakes that led to that defeat by Nembe City and that the coaches would be able to correct them before the continental clash and that also, the team has resolved to put the defeat behind it and focus on the continental game. “The CAF Confederations Cup game is a big stage. If at all we had been complacent with Nembe City, surely we cannot do the same thing with the Gabonese team. “But it is important to stress here that we are going for a big competition and we’re in a crucial week so, we expect all ‘Imolites’ and our fans generally to rally round us. We need support, we need prayers and we need every motivation we can get from everybody that loves this team,” he appealed. Meanwhile, Heartland have taken their first delivery of club branded items meant for merchandise as a means of raising revenue to support the continental campaign. The first consignment which includes mufflers and caps is now on sale in the club’s office at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, in Owerri. Nkwopara said fans who adorn club branded items during any of their matches would be demonstrating solidarity with the team.

Your Sexual Health & You: Novelty Tips, Questions & Answers

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ello everybody. New sexual health products have arrived for the month of March and beyond. We will discuss the key ones today and you can see the rest at www.zeevirtualmedia.com under ‘new products’. The first of these products is the On for Him Testosterone Cream. It is a revolutionary product that increases male sex drive naturally without drugs. It is in cream form and is applied on specific areas of the body just like body cream. Middle aged and older men with diminished sexual desire will benefit from On for Him Testosterone Cream. It is doctor approved with a 98.8 percent success rate. Another highly anticipated product for men that is finally available is the Exploding Thunder male performance supplement. Exploding Thunder is a classic all natural erection enhancer that strengthens weak erections, revitalises failed erections and enables multiple sexual performances and staying power. It is so strong that one capsule lasts between 48 to 72 hours and works on stimulation to enable men get an erection whenever and wherever. Still on the subject of libido boosters, we also have the Max for Men Arousal Oil. It is suitable for men with mild erectile dysfunction who don’t like taking tablets. When applied on the penis, Max for Men Arousal Oil signals the smooth muscles surrounding the blood vessels in the penis to relax, thus allowing dilation of the blood vessels to increase blood flow and assist with increased blood engorgement of the penis, stronger libido and exciting sexual sensations. It is hard to find a reliable arousal cream and this one promises to be a cut above the rest. If you lack sexual stamina and you are in need of a novelty that just gives performance energy, then the Wonderland Love Potion is perfect. The Wonderland Love Potion is a sexual energy drink that infuses the user with sexual stamina for hours of sexual performance. It also aids sexual arousal but is mainly for performance energy. And for women, we have two new realistic vibrators, two high quality strap ons, two aphrodisiacs and a warming lubricant. Female sexual problems often have to do with a lack of arousal

or the lack of sexual enjoyment due to men’s premature ejaculation issues. So for female arousal, we have the Spanish Fly Mints. These come in tablet form that taste a bit like candy and start working within thirty minutes of consumption. Whereas the Spanish Fly Mints work from within the body to excite and arouse, this next product for women stimulates from the outside. It is the O’My Clitoral Arousal Gel. O my Clitoral Arousal Gel is a very popular stimulating gel for women and assists with the treatment of sexual dysfunctions in women often linked to long term medical diseases, minor ailments, medications and psychosocial difficulties; factors that impact a woman’s ability to achieve orgasm. Of course, if you are a dissatisfied woman in need of sexual pleasure, you will need more than just aphrodisiacs to solve your problem. The two new realistic vibrators that just arrived complete the equation. They are the X5 Vibrating 7 Inch dildo and Mr Just Right 8 inch Vibrator. So whether you like it big or really big, these two vibrators are super effective in stimulation, pleasuring and the delivery of non-stop orgasms. They are brown like our skin colour and very realistic. Some women prefer strap-ons to vibrators, especially when they have company. The Crotchless Strap-On and Strap-On Booty Shorts are two new arrivals in this category and they are beautiful, durable, powerful and pleasurable. Of course you need a lubricant for these vibrators and strap-ons and the new ID Moments Warming Lubricant fits the bill. Sometimes the vaginal temperature is just too cold for comfort. At times like these, a lubricant like the ID Moments Warming lubricant is best for intercourse. And that’s it for today. Adults in need of these novelties and treatments can call us on 08027901621 or 08051924159 or any other number here to order or they can order online at www.zeevirtualmedia.com. We deliver to you wherever you are in Nigeria. For enquiries email us at custserv@zeevirtualmedia.com - Uche Edochie, MD, Zee Virtual Media.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

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TODAY IN THE NATION

TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

VOL. 8

NO.2,426

‘Shall we now say that the Nigeria Police is now an arm of the PDP, the same way INEC is being viewed by the opposition? If this later prove to be the case then our democracy is in grave danger’ WAHEED ODUSILE

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

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ATTERS miscellaneous,” as devoted followers of this page know, is the rubric under which I try to catch up on the glut of occurrences big and small with broad strokes and in short takes, lest the men and women who make news feel ignored. To begin on a proper note, President Goodluck Jonathan finally paid a visit to the troubled northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, hard on the heels of nine state governors from the newly-minted All Progressives Congress who had the previous week converged on Maiduguri in an exemplary act of leadership and resolve to express solidarity with the people of the beleaguered city and its environs. The visit should have happened long ago, long after the President was warned by his Advisory Council that a Somalia-type situation was developing in the North-east and would get out of hand unless the Federal Government moved with all deliberate speed to engage the residents of the area. Better a late visit than no visit at all. Those forced to live in daily terror of the nihilistic organisation that calls itself Boko Haram now have the assurance of federal concern, beside the Joint Task Force garrisons. For the most part, Dr Jonathan said the right things. Without peace and stability, there could be no progress in the area. Nor could the people partake of the fruits of the Transformation. But employing what seems to be a mixed metaphor, he said ghosts could not be granted an amnesty. Boko Haram is of course nothing if not elusive. But even in a metaphorical sense, is it made up of ghosts? Do ghosts bear arms? Can ghosts kill and maim time and again, in the grisly fashion of Boko Haram? If that body is made of ghosts, how has the JTF been able to engage them and inflict on them the “heavy casualties” it periodically reports? If BH is indeed peopled by ghosts, why not try exorcism? Also, when the Commander-in-Chief warned the elders and traditional authorities in the area that they would have to live its depredations unless they reined in Boko Haram, he seemed to be assigning them a responsibility they are ill equipped to discharge. If they had that kind of power or influence, would they have been looking on helplessly as Boko Haram tried to take out one traditional ruler after another? Would so many among them who were forever pivoting as custodians of the “the Northern interest” be hiding in Abuja and Kaduna and Lagos? In whatever case, one visit does not an engagement make. Rather, Dr Jonathan’s visit should be seen as the beginning of a period of constructive engagement, with the goal of getting the “ghosts” to take on corporeal form so that they can be amnestied and rehabili-

OLATUNJI DARE

AT HOME ABROAD olatunji.dare@thenationonlineng.net

Matters miscellaneous

•From left: Akpabio, Suswam, Chime and Amaechi

tated, like the former insurgents of the Delta. Now that the President has made his move, his wife Dame Patience can now make hers, under the aegis of the African First Ladies Mission. According to a knowledgeable source who does not wish to be identified, Dame Patience would have led a deputation of her peers on a mission of peace to Damaturu and Maiduguri during their last summit in Abuja, but did not want to be seen to be upstaging her husband, especially in matters of national security. She is now set, I gather, to convene an extra-ordinary summit of her peers in Abuja, after which its members, under her dynamic leadership — a leadership now infused with the energy of her recent resurrection — will embark on peace missions to Borno and Yobe. My sources tell me that an Africa Union military contingent modeled on the type ECOWAS countries dispatched to Mali to flush out those pesky Touaregs, is being assembled to protect the African First Ladies on the mission. Meanwhile, the President is yet to be accorded the high praise he deserves for the equanimity with which he conducted himself during the period his wife said she was dead. Any other man would have freaked

out. Not Dr Jonathan. He kept his head and went about his duties as if nothing was amiss. He missed not a single appointment. He even went to address the United Nations, and to reach out again to those elusive foreign investors. He did not strike out in anger against those in the family circle who, believing that Dame Patience was truly dead, began auctioning off her property. Throughout, he carried himself with dignity and calm self-possession. “Grace under pressure” doesn’t even begin to do justice to his conduct under those trying circumstances. With the return of Cross River State Govenor Liyel Imoke to base the other week after an absence of some three months, Governor Danbaba Suntai is the only state governor still receiving medical treatment on foreign soil. Sadly, he is not expected to return anytime soon. Before Imoke, Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime had made a wordless return to base after 140 days of vacation-cum-medical treatment in the UK as he asserts, or in India and the UK and points between, as his adversaries still insist. Chime did not deign to address the “mammoth” crowd that had converged at Enugu

HARDBALL EMINISCENT of the first and only police-inspired ‘coup d’etat’ Nigeria has ever witnessed, the former governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Sani, had his freedom of speech brusquely abridged by the Kaduna State police last Saturday. The former governor, who is also a senator of the Federal Republic, was invited by the State Police Commissioner, Mr Olufemi Adenaike, to clarify some of the statements he made during a phone-in programme on Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Kaduna that same Saturday. The statements were innocuous and clear enough, but the police claimed they were bombarded with calls suggesting that the senator made threatening and inciting statements deserving of prompt police action. On July 10, 2003, Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Raphael Ige had led a detachment of some 200 mobile policemen to abduct former Anambra State Governor Chris Ngige, also now a senator, and kept him away from office for many hours on the pretext that he had resigned as governor. The treason collapsed the same day when no one of substance owned up to the plot to dethrone the governor. There were, however, a few civilian collaborators of the police in the

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Kaduna police assault on free speech state who tried to take advantage of the confusion. Ige was not only unexpectedly retired some three days later in unclear circumstances; he died in January 2004 probably from heart problems. What astounded the public was the brazenness of the plot and the amateurish manner the police led the putsch. Nearly 10 years after that unfortunate incident, it seems there are still some officers in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) who have learnt little from the mistakes of their predecessors. The police are of course constitutionally empowered to, among other things, take proactive measures to prevent crime, but there is nowhere in the constitution or police regulations that entitles the police or their proxies to take steps to abridge freedom of speech or any other freedoms vouchsafed to the people by the constitution. PC Adenaike claimed to be taking proactive steps by inviting and interrogating Senator Sani, but from his account of that ignoble incident, it is clear his defence is tenuous and vexatious. Hear him: “If you put yourself in my shoes, you are the commissioner of police of a state, and you start getting calls from concerned

citizens of the state that somebody has made an inciting statement on the radio, will you go to burukutu (local brew) joint and start drinking? You have to make a move. All I did was to go to the radio house. And I met the distinguished Senator, and I said, ‘Please, I want to know what you said.’ He said, ‘No problem, let me finish.’ And I will come with you to the office. This is what has transpired. And I am surprised that people are saying many things. ‘CP has arrested him,’ that CP has orders from Abuja. The distinguished senator is not under arrest. The Senator is not under arrest! All we did was to find out what he said. And he said they were going to go on a peaceful demonstration. And I said, define what you mean by peaceful demonstration, considering that Kaduna State is a volatile state. I don’t what anything to happen in my domain. I am completely satisfied with what he has said. And he is free to go. There was no directive from anywhere. We were doing things on our own.” Senator Sani of course put the invitation in clearer perspective. According to him, all he said on the radio programme was that

airport to welcome him with dance and song or just out of curiosity to see what prolonged illness might have done to his fine, athletic gait. If he was overawed by the size of the crowd, the tumult he saw all around him, he could at least have made a broadcast the day after his arrival to thank the people for their prayers and good wishes. But at least he flew into Enugu in broad daylight. Not so Imoke, who flew into Calabar airport in the dead of night, unheralded, after being away for some three months. He made his first public appearance the following day at a soccer match in the Sports Stadium. He deigned to thank the people for their prayers and good wishes but only through his press secretary, not in a direct, personal way. Chime and Imoke, both lawyers, it has to be said, showed scant regard for their constituents in this regard, the people in whose name they govern. Even at the height of his dictatorial rule, military president General Ibrahim Babangida showed greater respect than that for the people of Nigeria. Finally, a word about the photograph of the quartet of Chime, Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio and Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam and Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that was doing the rounds when Chime went missing. It showed all four bundled up, taking in the snowscape in the middle of nowhere, like tourists who had exhausted their itinerary. Chime’s supporters offered the picture as proof that the other three governors had visited him in the UK and found him in excellent health, contrary to the vile rumours in circulation. His opponents dismissed it as a Photoshop job that anyone who can work a mouse on a computer could have fabricated. Apparently without realising it, and probably without intending it, Chime gave the game away during his press conference with a select group of reporters the day after his return. He and the other state governors in the picture were visiting Germany to study its federal system at the behest of the Governors Forum when intimations of the cancer that ultimately led him to seek treatment in the UK surfaced, he had volunteered. That was the only occasion, as far as my research revealed, that all four of them in the picture were abroad in the same location at the same time. So, the picture was in all probability taken somewhere in Germany. But did Their Excellencies have to travel to Germany to study its federal system? One hour on the Internet would probably have taught them as much as they learned on the visit, and at no cost to the exchequer. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above leaders of the yet-to-be-registered All Progressives Congress (APC) would embark on peaceful demonstration in Abuja if the party was not registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). How that became an incitement to warrant PC Adenaike’s imperious intervention is difficult to explain. The police commissioner also unbelievably pretended not to know what peaceful demonstration is, and needed the senator to provide the meaning. If he didn’t listen to the broadcast, couldn’t he wait until the end of the programme to secure the tape and listen to it? Why the rush? In addition, he also insensitively described Kaduna State as his domain. That he is entrusted with the responsibility of securing the state does not make it his domain. The way he used the word gave the impression he is actually a parallel authority to the governor, and even more powerful. But if anything, the state is really the governor’s domain. And though Adenaike struggled to distance Police Headquarters from his precipitate action, it is still important for police authorities to query the officer and invite him to explain what part of the democratic process and the constitution he finds difficult to understand, and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:01-8962807, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14 Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790 WEBSITE: www.thenationonlineng.net E-mail: info@thenationonlineng.net ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO


The Nation March 12, 2013