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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

‘Alamieyeseigha’s pardon wrong’

Opon Imo to save N8.2b for Osun


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•Soyinka, NBA fault President

•Pupils get N30m materials


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VOL. 8, NO. 2434 THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013



Scrap Police ministry, says Tinubu From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


CTION Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has advocated the scrapping of two ministries — Police Affairs and Interior. He described them as conduit pipes used by the government to siphon money. The former governor of Lagos State spoke to reporters at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, after commiserating with the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, and Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso over the attack on the Emir and Monday’s suicide bombing in which scores died. Continued on page 2

•Asiwaju Tinubu speaking at the palace of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero (right)...yesterday


Senate to Jonathan: change your tactics on Boko Haram Igbo in Kano reject mass burial for victims of suicide bombing


ENATORS yesterday gave the Executive a wake-up call on the Boko Haram insurgency. The Senate urged the Executive to consider other options and strategies that would be effective in fighting the crisis. Deputy Senate President

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Ike Ekweremadu, at plenary in Abuja, described the multiple explosions that left dozens dead in Kano on Monday as regrettable. He said it was high time the Federal Government tackled the security chal-

Survivors relive ‘ boat accident T The Muslims prayed first, then the Christians and he told us our life is at the end. Some were shouting Allah, others were shouting Jesus. Ten minutes later, water was still entering the boat and people started to jump into the water

WO survivors of the boat mishap off the coast of Calabar, Cross River State yesterday relived their moments of horror. Kive Sani, 27, from Togo and Hafsat Zakari, 13, from Benin were rescued by Addax workers on Sunday afternoon. They were brought to Calabar aboard a drilling vessel operated by Addax Petroleum on Tuesday. Sani and Zakari were passengers aboard a wooden boat, which departed Oron in Akwa Ibom State for Gabon last Friday.

lenge headlong. He also urged relevant Senate committees to critically appraise the entire appalling scenario with a view to making a positive input. Ekweremadu said: “What happened in Kano is regrettable and we must do everything possible as a country to ensure we end this kind of

carnage. “The Federal Government should consider other options towards resolving the crises. “I also would want to urge relevant committees to look at the whole scenario and possibly advise the Senate on the way forward towards addressing the situation.”

Members of the Igbo community in Kano State have rejected the usual mass burial given to victims of bomb explosions. They insisted on retrieving the bodies for proper burial. Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije (Abia North), who spoke on behalf

of the group, requested that security be tightened in the state to protect all citizens. Chukwumerije urged the Federal Government to directly manage whatever monetary compensation is to be allocated relatives of the dead. Continued on page 2

•From left: Assistant Director, National Lottery Regulatory Commission Mr Fidelis Ajibogun; Globacom’s Head of Advertising, Tunde Kaitell; Managing Director, Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA) Mr George Kayode Noah and Glo ambassador Lagbaja, during the unveiling of the new Glo strapline “Unlimited” in Lagos...yesterday





NEWS Tinubu backs amnesty for Boko Haram Continued from page 1

•Sokoto (left) at the Federal High Court…yesterday

Kabiru Sokoto’s trial fails to take off


HE State Security Service (SSS) yesterday failed to arraign an alleged Boko Haram member, Kabiru Sokoto, before the Federal High Court, Abuja. The prosecutor failed to serve the charge on him. The court was also amazed when the accused said he does not understand English very well and would need an interpreter. Clad in a brown long dress and a bathroom slippers, Sokoto was brought to the court under a heavy security in a Peugeot 406 with registration number Abuja, BR 867 RSH. Specifically, he is accused of withholding information of the plan to bomb St.Theresa’s Catholic church, Madalla, Niger state and failure to disclose it to law enforcement officers as soon as practicable, an offence contrary to Section 7(1) and punishable under Section 33(1) of Terrorism and Prevention Act 2011. He is also accused of supporting the act of terrorism by training 500 men and inciting them to commit a terrorist act, contrary to Section 4(1)(a) and punishable under Section 33(1)(b) of Terrorism and Pre-

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

vention Act 2011. He also allegedly facilitated the commission of terrorist act to wit: by planting and encouraging some boys ( now at large) at Mabira Sokoto, in Sokoto State with the intention to bomb the police headquarters, Sokoto and some other government offices. The alleged offence is contrary to Section 15(2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under the same Act. At resumption, Justice Adeniyi Ademola observed that the charge had not been served on the accused person. Prosecution counsel, Chioma Onuegwu prayed the court to allow the accused take his plea adding that all the other applications would be served on him before the next adjourned date. Speaking through an interpreter, Sokoto told the court that he knew about the charge only when he got to the court and that he would need about two weeks to get his own lawyer who will represent him. He informed the court that

the SSS had denied him access to lawyers and members of his family. Ruling on the development, Justice Adeniyi ordered the SSS to make the charge sheet, proof of evidence, a written case summary and and other applications available to the accused on or before April 12. The court ordered the SSS to grant the accused person access to his lawyer but however asked the Service to use its discretion to determine the number of lawyers the accused would have access to. It also directed the prosecution to specify if it would bring further evidence against the accused. Before adjourning till April 19, the Judge ordered that the accused be remanded in the SSS custody pending his arraignment. The three count charge reads: “That you Kabiru Umaru (Alias Kabiru Sokoto) member of an illegal terrorist organisation known as Boko Haram, between 2007 and 2012 at Mabira Somoto, Sokoto state did facilitate the commission of terrorist act to wit: by planting and encouraging your boys ( now at large) at Mabira Sokoto, in

Sokoto state with the intention to bomb the police headquarters Sokoto and some other government organisations in the state and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under the same Act. “That you Kabiru Umaru alias Kabiru Sokoto on or about the 25th December, 2011 at St Theresa’s Catholic church, Madalla, Niger State, had information about the bombing of Madalla Catholic Church and failed to disclose it to law enforcement officer as soon as practicable, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 7(1) of Terrorism and Prevention Act 2011, and punishable under Section 33(1) of the same Act. “That you Kabiru Umaru alias Kabiru Sokoto about July 2011 at Abaji, support the act of terrorism by training 500 men and inciting them to commit a terrorist act, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 4(1)(a) of Terrorism and Prevention Act 2011, and punishable under section 33(1)(b) of the same Act”.

To Tinubu, running the ministries is a duplication of the functions and a waste of public funds. According to him, Nigeria’s security challenges could possibly be due to the duplication of ministries, rendering the Inspector General of Police, M.D. Abubakar, incapacitated to take firm control of security. He said: The financial handicap of the IGP, who is supposed to be answerable only to the Police Commission, which should be saddled with promotion and discipline, takes away his independence to steer police affairs properly without interference. Besides, Tinubu said there are fewer policemen to man the beats. In all , there are about 600,000 policemen nationwide. Training is also inadequate and the bureaucracy is as uncomfortable, said the former governor. “If the Inspector General is not in charge but has to go through one ministry, and

the Pension Funds administered by one ministry are being stolen, why we should have such a ministry? Such funds should be channelled to the recruitment of more police officers.” This, said Tinubu, is why he supports community policing. “Let the IGP have 100 per cent control, so that we can hold him responsible for any security lapses that arise,” Tinubu said. Tinubu said he supported amnesty for Boko Haram militants, insisting that they are not ghosts as alleged in some quarters. “Some people are happy and benefiting from the Boko Haram insurgency because it allows them an unhindered access to security votes and want it to continue. So, I am convinced that the Boko Haram conflict is sponsored by some people for economic reasons, while others try to polarise it along political devices,” Tinubu said. He argued that the new All Continued on page 58

‘Change your tactics on Boko Haram’ Continued from page 1

Chukwumerije and Senator Kabiru Gaya (Kano South), coming under Order 43, expressed concern over the government’s inability to combat the ugly trend of insecurity in the country. Chukwumerije specifically alleged that the insurgency has assumed ethnic and regional dimensions. He called for immediate action to forestall likely exploitation of the circumstance by enemies of the state, whose primary objective is to pitch the various ethnic groups in the country against one another. Chukwumerije said: “From the feedback one gets from Kano and from the consequences of the bombings, this now seems to take the focus of ethnicity and eligion and we believe that this must be addressed at the earliest possible opportunity because we know that the special fabric of this country suffers from two fault lines - ethnicity and

religion - and this is the fault lines any enemy of state can exploit in order to cause tension within the country. “The true perception of the Igbo all over Kano was that this was primarily targeted at them. They lost so much property and human beings. “We are therefore saying that the Nigerian state, for which belong the basic responsibility of providing security to all members as a part of its social contract, should rise to its responsibility. “There are two strategic options now facing Nigeria in order to deal with the situation. “One is ensuring that the environment of insecurity is a challenge that must be visibly and effectively tackled. “The Nigerian government and security operatives would always be ready with statistics, saying they are doing their best but this kind of game is like a footContinued on page 58

Soyinka faults Alamieyeseigha’s pardon


OBEL Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka yesterday sided with opponents of President Goodluck Jonathan’s pardon granted former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The Nigerian Bar Association described the action as a moral burden for the president. Soyinka said government is justifying the unjustifiable. He said he had joined the “ignorant Nigerians” who condemn the pardon. Prof. Soyinka spoke on Ghost Missions on the gravy train in Lagos yesterday. Answering questions from reporters after inaugurating the NBA Web-Portal in Abuja, NBA President Okey Wali (SAN), said judging by the criticisms trailing the pardon to Alameyeiseigha, “it is clearly a bad signal”. “No doubt it is a moral issue. No doubt it is a bad signal put against the fight

•NBA: It’s a bad signal By Ozolua Uhakheme and Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

against corruption”, he said. Although he agreed that the president has the constitutional privilege to do so, Wali stressed the need to feel the pulse of the public before taking sensitive decisions. “Section 175 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives the president the power in consultation with Council of State, so does Section 202 give the states governors the power in consultation with State Advisory Council on prerogative of mercy. “Unless we knew what the council knew in respect of that decision, we can’t say much on that. But ask me as a lawyer, I will tell you that it is the constitutional privilege of the president. Whether he has exercised the power correctly or not, is a moral question on him.

According to the NBA boss, all over the world, the issue of pardon has never been a popular act of any president. Replying to a question, he said: “I’m not going to ridicule the NBA. I won’t issue any ultimatum because if I do and the president failed to obey, I would have no right of legal action”. Urging the president to keep to his promise before the partial withdrawal of fuel subsidy, Wali said “it is not enough to say subsidy must go”, as Nigerians must be convinced and believe in the government. The NBA boss said the association would join coordinated actions by civil society groups to resist the unpopular policy if government insisted. The commissioned portal contains the list of lawyers called to the bar as registered

in the Supreme Court from the time the late George Baptist Ayodola Coker was called to the bar in 1847. Wali said this would help the association to fight quackery in the profession. Also reacting to the president’s insistence on complete fuel subsidy withdrawal, the association asked Jonathan to account for what he has achieved with the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). Soyinka also reacted to government’s clarifications on the budgetary allocations for the First ladies Mission mansion in Abuja saying “when did the private interests of the rulers’ wives become an international obligation?” He noted that even if the late former Head of Gen. Sani Abacha’s First Lady presumed to act for Nigeria, “how does this commit a democratic government to the presumptuousness of the mere appendage of the head

of a member state?” Soyinka said though first ladies have the same right as all citizens to leave a legacy behind, they must work hard to source their funds where the rest of the world does, not dip their hands into public funds. He also decried the role ministers have played in elevating the culture of grovelling sycophancy to the status of governance virtue, which he said, has contributed in no small measure to the abuse of constitutional provisions and irresponsible budgetary attributions. “Instead of remaining a •Prof. Soyinka dark, embarrassing secret, it is confidently aired on interna- ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, tional media such as the Voice of America, turning this nation 08052592524 into a space of ridicule and NEWSROOM: self-inflicted disdain. It is not all sycophancy however, it is LAGOS – 01-8962807, projects! Projects with minimal ABUJA – 07028105302 overseeing and accounting, gravy trains with adept pracCOMPLAINTS: titioners at the controls,” he 01-8930678 added.






How our •Nine bodies recovered •One of the victims was expectant

•From left: Executive Secretary, Foundation for Advancement of Other Values in Nigeria, Dr Tayo Haastrup, Chairman, Foundation for the Advancement of Ethics and Values, Ambassador Sani Mohammed and Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values, Mrs Sarah Jibril, at the Presidential Summit on Ethics and Values in Abuja... yesterday.

•. From left: Vice President, Public Affairs, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry,Mines and Agriculture, Lady Claire Asogwa, the chamber’s President, Dr Theo Okonkwo and Industrial and General Insurance Plc, Southeast Zonal Head, Mr Tony Okeume, during IGI Day at the ongoing 24th Enugu International Trade Fair ...yesterday.


WO survivors of the boat mishap off the coast of Calabar, Cross River State yesterday relived their moments of horror. Kive Sani, 27, from Togo and Hafsat Zakari, 13, from Benin were rescued by Addax workers on Sunday afternoon. They were brought in to Calabar aboard a drilling vessel operated by Addax Petroleum on Tuesday. They were passengers aboard a wooden boat, which departed Oron in Akwa Ibom State for Gabon last Friday. It was gathered that the boat had on board 128 passengers and five crew members. The passengers were mostly foreigners from Niger, Togo, Republic of Benin and Ghana. They were not Igbo traders as was believed at first. However, the five crew members were Nigerians. David Akate, who is involved in the rescue efforts, said the boat had still not been found; so its true capacity is not yet known. Sani said he was heading to Gabon because he was promised a good job by a man he kept referring to as his master. He said he arrived in Oron a month ago from Togo by bus before embarking on the unfortunate journey. Sani, who spoke in pidgin English and French at the Bakor Clinic at the Murtala Mohammed Highway where he was admitted, said the incident was caused by stalled engines. According to him, when the engines stalled, water started entering the boat. He said they were in the water from 9pm on Friday night when the incident happened till Sunday at about 3pm when he was rescued. Sani said when the engines stopped working, the captain asked them to start praying. “The Muslim prayed first, then the Christians and he told us our life is at the end. Some were shouting Allah; others were shouting Jesus. Ten minutes later, water was still entering the boat and people started to jump into the wa-

The Muslim prayed first, then the Christians and he told us our life is at the end. Some were shouting Allah, others were shouting Jesus. Ten minutes later, water was still entering the boat and people started to jump into the water

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

ter,” he said. He said there were 128 passengers and five members of the crew. He said he knew this because he had become friendly with the crew, having arrived there a month earlier. He said he was their interpreter for those who understood only French. Sani said after jumping into the water, he saw an oil installation equipment and held it, with his master and two other women. He said his master, however, could not hold on again and fell into the water. Later , the second woman lost grip, and he told the remaining woman to hold on and pray. He described the boat as being “fabricated with planks.” He said they boarded the boat in the “middle of water, surrounded by bushes.” Sani gave the names of the crew members, all Nigerians, as Theo, Kpakpa, Ibrahim, Daniel and Francis. “Most of the people were from Ghana,

One year after Mali coup • The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 1, Prof. Viola Onwuliri (second left), New Permanent Secretaries, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita (second right), Dr Habiba Lawal( left) and Mr John Chukwu (right) after their swearing-in at the Federal Executive Council Meeting in Abuja ...yesterday.

A year ago, Mali experienced a coup. Then Islamist rebels overran the north of the country. In January 2013 French troops intervened. What does the future hold for the West African state after 12 turbulent months?, writes Deutsche Welle


•From left: CEO, Computer Warehouse Group, Mr.Austin Okere, Country Managing Director, Accenture, Mr. Niyi Yusuf and AGM/Head Corporate Planning and strategy, Skye Bank, Mr. Tajudeen Ahmed at the Nigeria Economist Conference in Lagos... on Tuesday. PHOTO: ADEOLA SOLOMON

HE aim at first was simply to organise a protest march. The soldiers stationed in the town of Kati were unhappy with the government and with their generals. The latter were criticised for not properly equipping the army for the battle against rebels in northern Mali. But then the situation escalated. On March 21, 2012 soldiers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo hurled stones at a general who tried to persuade them to abandon their protest, seized six light-wheeled tanks and set off for the presidential palace in the capital Bamako, some 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) away. The protest march had turned into a coup. Within a few hours the mutineers had seized control of the presidential palace. President Amadou Toure disappeared. Captain Sanogo, a junior officer, was suddenly in charge. For Mali the coup marked the start

of descent into chaos. Islamists and Tuareg rebels exploited the weakness of the Malian army and the political uncertainty in Bamako to seize control of the northern part of the country. The Tuareg rebels wanted to establish an autonomous state, however Islamist groups won the upper hand and imposed a reign of violence based on their interpretation of Islamic sharia law. Hundreds of thousands of Malians fled to neighboring countries or to Bamako in the south. They arrived in packed buses, in search of peace. One year later, the Binke bus station in Bamako is again crowded. People wait patiently in line, this time queuing up to buy tickets back to the north. “Yes, there’s great demand,” confirms Ismael Maiga who sells tickets for the journey to Gao, the largest town in northern Mali. “Everyone wants to go back home,” Maiga told DW. “We’ve been here for too long,” chips in a man in the queue who




boat capsized, by survivors


•Miss Zakari

Togo, Niger, Benin. Not many Nigerians,” he said. Hafsat Zakari, who spoke only Yoruba, said she did not remember much, but that the engine stopped working close to an oil field. She remembered that they were asked to start praying when the accident happened. Unlike Sani, who paid to be part of the trip, Zakari did not have to pay, as she was supposed to be handed over to a patron in Gabon, who would make her work and pay later. The Nation learnt that because the voyage was illegal, the boat was only sailing at night to avoid being arrested for human trafficking. The coordinator of the Eastern Zone of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Olayemi Abas, told reporters yesterday that on Sunday, he got a message from Kaztec Engineering Limited, the operators for Addax Petroleum, that a vessel carrying passengers capsized around the oil field OML 123, which is 40 nautical miles off the Calabar coast.

Ill-fated boat was illegal, says NIMASA


HE ill-fated wooden boat, which capsized off the coast of Calabar, Cross River was traveling to Gabon illegally, a source at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Calabar said yesterday. The source said the passengers decided to use the boat because they did not have valid travel documents. The source said the wooden boat was not registered with any transport company.

He said: “In the ensuing search and rescue operation embarked on by Addax, nine bodies were recovered and two survivors. “The NIMASA team from the local office in Calabar and the zonal office in Port Harcourt, which I head, immediately swung into action and we received the bodies on Monday at about 6.30 pm at the NPA terminal operated by Ecomarine Terminals. They were brought on board a vessel called Swal Link Six and the

He said: "Apart from the fact that the transport fare charged by operators of the wooden boat might be cheaper than that of the normal vessels, those using the boat do not have valid travel documents. They enter it illegally because the operators manoeuvre their ways and do not use the normal entry jetty when they get to Gabon." The Director-General of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), told reporters yesterday evening that rescue operations were still ongoing He said wreckage of the boat was yet to be found.

bodies were immediately taken to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital for embalmment and safe keeping. The bodies were bloated and all nine bodies were women and, unfortunately, one of them was heavily pregnant at the time of death, which was unfortunate. They were brought in well-packaged in body bags, in a dignified manner. Also recovered were two bags containing clothing, shoes and other personal effects. “Also, we recovered a vital clue a

foreign SIM card belonging to one of the passengers and SIM card is operated by a company called Moove, apparently operating in Gabon. When we did an analysis of the SIM card, we were able to recover some of the numbers on it made contact with some of the people who claimed to know the owner of the telephone number and identified him as Joe Marine, who is still missing. He was identified to be a Nigerian living in Oron with his family? The two sur-

Malians fleeing the troubled spot as a result of the coup



didn’t want to give his name. “We don’t feel at home in the south. We need to go back home now that peace has returned.” International intervention The Islamists are no longer in control in the north since the French army, together with soldiers from Chad and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), intervened. This came after months of wrangling between the United Nations, ECOWAS and the African Union over the deployment of African troops. In January 2013 French helicopters and fighter planes began to bombard Islamist positions to halt their advance on Bamako. Since then, rebels have been expelled from all major towns in the north. The German airforce, the Luftwaffe, is also supporting the mission. Three

transport planes are being used to convey troops from neighboring ECOWAS states to Mali. Another plane is based in West Africa to refuel the French jets in the air. In this way Germany is making a relevant contribution to the international operation, said Jörg Bartl, a lieutenant colonel with the Luftwaffe command. “Both air transport and midair refueling are important elements of the overall operation,” Bartl told DW. Mission could last longer Another useful contribution will be Germany’s participation in the European training mission that is due to start in April 2013. This was underlined by German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière on a

visit to Mali on Monday March 18, 2013. A team from Germany will train and equip Malian soldiers and medical officers will set up a field hospital. The lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, has given the green light for the Bundeswehr to send 330 soldiers to Mali for a year to complete this assignment. While in Mali, de Maizière said he made no secret of the fact that patience would be required, a reference to the likelihood that the presence of European soldiers in Mali could last longer than originally planned. Critics warn that the dimensions of the conflict and the fragilie political situation in Bamako

speak against the Bundeswehr leaving again after just one year. They fear a situation could develop similar to Afghanistan where German soldiers have been stationed since 2002. However Lieutenant Colonel Bartl sees only one similarity with the war in Afghanistan. “The current strategy of the rebels in Mali is to avoid direct confrontation.” Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, sections of the Islamist rebels have pulled back to areas difficult to access, such as the Ifhogas mountains in northeast Mali. Elections in July In the capital Bamako interim president Dioncounda Traore is attempting to restore political stability. The former president of Mali’s National Assembly took over

vivors were brought in on board a drilling vessel being operated by Addax on Tuesday. The drilling vessel is MV Baveni, very massive vessel.” National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Yushau Shuaib yesterday confirmed that nine bodies had been found. Shuaib said other survivors could have swum to the shore. Shuaib said it was also not clear what the boat's origin and destination were, but that authorities expect to get further details from the two survivors. A medical doctor, Emmanuel Obi Nwabueze, told The Nation that Sani and Saka were handed over to NIMASA yesterday. He said: "I handed the two survivors over to NIMASA and NPA official at the Calabar port for further medical attention, though they are stable now. Diplomatic work on how to hand them over to their countries of origin will commence." from Captain Sanogo in April 2012 following pressure from neighboring countries. European governments in particular have been pressing for the reintroduction of democratic structures so that Traore’s position can be legitimized through elections. To add weight to these demands, Germany suspended development aid to Mali. In the meantime President Traore has announced that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in July 2013. Not everyone is convinced this will actually happen. Professor Djeneba Traore (no relation to the interim president) is the Malian head of the West Africa Institute in Praia, capital of Cape Verde. “If we want people in the north to take part in the elections, then tthe poll must be prepared with great care,” Traore told DW. “In my opinion it is impossible to prepare elections in such a short time.” Djeneba Traore hopes the next 12 months in Mali will be less turbulent. At least there appear to be no major obstacles in the way of a return to democracy and peace. Although Captain Sanogo continued to play a role in Malian politics after handing over power to the interim president, he has told DW that he does not intend to stand in the elections. In his words, what is important now is to make good use of the opportunity for a new beginning.



C ITYBEATS Lagos tackles maternal mortality By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

THE Lagos State Government is set to flag off Town Hall meetings on reducing maternal and child mortality in the state. The first of its series is scheduled to hold tomorrow at the Oshodi Isolo Local Government Secretariat. State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who disclosed this yesterday at a media parley, said the meetings would enlighten citizens, especially pregnant women at the grassroots, about the basic facilities provided by government to them before and after child birth. He said since the launch of the maternal and child mortality reduction initiative by Governor Babatunde Fashola in October last year, the government had mapped out strategies to ensure that it reduces the scourge to the barest minimum. Idris said: "We have addressed infrastructure, especially at the primary and secondary healthcare levels. We have our Maternal and Child Care Centres and also the renovation of Ayinke House. We are also addressing the issue of human resource, training and retraining of personnel especially on those key competences that will help women deliver their babies and look after the babies after delivery". He added that personnel were being trained on administering drugs to address bleeding during pregnancy, which according to him, is a bane of high maternal mortality across the three senatorial districts in the state. He said the government had enlisted key personalities as ambassadors to lead the crusade against maternal and child mortality, being championed by the wife of the Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola. He said the government would engage community dwellers on preventive measures,.

Our leader is alive, says church THE Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim has described Elder Lazarus Anuba Onyeleonu as its leader. In a statement by its secretary, Elder Dabaye Bob-Manuel, the church said its leader is not dead.

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Wife accuses husband of raping daughter, grand-daughter •’It’s all lies; I didn’t do it’


45-year-old man, Sylvester Ehijere, has been accused by his wife, Margaret, of raping his daughter and grand-daughter. Ehijere, who has since been arrested, is battling to convince the police in Lagos that the allegation is false. Margaret alleged that Ehijere forcefully took advantage of their daughter, Favour, when she was 13, and grand-daughter, Chidimma, at 7. Favour is now 23 years old. Ehijere is suspected to be the father of Chidimma, whose paternity is shrouded in secrecy. Police investigators told The Nation that the suspect "used threat, intimidation and promise of gifts to convince her daughter and grand-daughter to sleep with him." Ehijere, denied the allegation, saying he is being blackmailed and maligned. He said the first time he was accused by his wife, they went to their village and tabled the matter before the elders and Favour, who is now a sales girl, told them that it was her mother that asked her to say so. He said: "I was surprised when this matter came up again and my daughter came to the police station to witness against me." The Command's spokesperson, Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said:

By Jude Isiguzo

"The suspect is in the habit of sleeping with his daughters and now, his grand-daughter. We have the doctor's report which shows that the girls have been defiled. The doctor advised that they be taken for HIV tests. The wife, who was fed up with his act, reported the case to the Ejigbo Divisional Police Officer, Oliver Inoma-Abbey, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP)." Mrs Ehijere, a caterer, said: "In 2006, I went to Abuja for a catering job; I spent five days. But at about 1 am, my daughter called me on the phone, crying that her father raped her that night. When I confronted him, he beat me up and he continued to molest our daughter. He would always beat me each time I confronted him. I had no choice but to leave him." According to her, she moved out with her six kids and started life afresh. However, in 2011, his family appealed to her to forgive him and take him back. Although she initially refused, she said she reconsidered her stand when the apartment she moved into was sold off. She said: "They sold the house I lived in and I had no money to look for another accommodation because I had lost my job. I had no choice but to move back last year since he swore to keep off my daughters.

"I really thought he had changed, but in August, last year, I caught him in a compromising situation with our grand-daughter, Chidimma. I called her out and she revealed how her father had constantly been abusing her. "Again, I confronted him and he beat me up. I had to pick my granddaughter and run to his brother, Emmanuel's house, where I stayed for three days before I went back home." Mrs. Ehijere said she did all she could to ensure she never left their daughter alone with him. She said: "Because my daughter works, we decided •Ehijere to put her daughter at a day-care centre in Ejigbo. I had always been the only one that brought our daughter back at 6pm everyday from the centre. But on a particular day, my husband went to the centre, but the teacher refused to release the child. He harassed her until she released her. He took her home and raped her. I didn't know what happened until I wanted to bathe her for the night. It was then I saw

blood in the baby's pampers and I called in the police." Chidimma also said: "He always targeted when my mother went out before defiling me. At a point, when he finished, he warned me that he would pluck out my eyes if I told anyone; he also promised to buy me cars, biscuits, sweets, clothes and shoes if I kept quiet." Braide said the suspect would be charged to court.

Lagos steps up safety awareness with posters


AGOS State government yesterday launched safety signs and posters, charging workers to ensure strict enforcement of regulations in their offices. At a ceremony attended by top officials including the Head of Service, Mr Adesegun Ogunlewe; Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties, Dr Aderemi Desalu, and the Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mrs Dominga Odebunmi, among others. The government said the initiative

By Yinka Aderibigbe

was another sign of its commitment to safety. Unveiling the signages, Ahmed said: "There is need to address our collective attitude to safety. This is what I believe the commission set out to address. With time, this bad attitude will stop and people will begin to see the values of safety and willingly comply." He observed that there are so many safety breaches even within the government secretariat. He challenged safety champions al-

ready nominated and trained to be alive to their responsibilities by ensuring that safety messages depicted by the signs are strictly adhered to in their various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs). He disclosed that the flag-off of the signages at the secretariat is to send the signal that government is determined to ensure total compliance to globally accepted safety standards all over the state. Ogunlewe said the introduction would further spread the safety campaign, saying the state was

the first to create the safety commission. Besides describing it as part of present administration's commitment to preserving lives, Ogunlewe said government decided to look inwards with a view to internalising and adopting the best safety practices in all its ministries and departments. Ogunlewe, who praised the Odebunmi-led team for good campaigns, pledged the total commitment of the state's workforce to the safety campaigns. "These signs will be mounted in conspicuous places in all our various offices, and everything will be done to ensure that every worker in the secretariat becomes a safety vanguard," he said. Among other various signs unveiled by the commission are; the emergency exits, fire alerts and exits, first aiders, assembly point, disabled persons exits, as well as the red, blue, green and yellow signs.

‘Stop violence


•The late Omefe

Pa Omofe for burial THE remains of Pa Peter Bamisaiye Omofe, who died on December 1, last year, will be interred in his Okoro-Gbede home town, Kogi State on April 6. A statement by his son, Bishop Bankole Jefferson of the Mercy Tabernacle in Ogba, a Lagos suburb, said the funeral rites would hold between April 4 and 6. It said the late Pa Omofe was born on December 24, 1911, adding that he was a faithful servant and a member of the prayer ministry of the late Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola.

•L-R: A chieftain of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mutiu Are; Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary; Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji; Rufus Oladele Adekanye, Chairman, Lagos Mainland Local Government; ACN Leader, Wale Oshun; the party's national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Demola Seriki, during cake-cutting session at the dedication of a new secretariat building and other projects at Lagos Mainland Local Government recently.

HE Nigerian Girls' Guide of Nigeria, Mushin, Lagos Division has held a walk to protest against molestation of women and children. With various placards bearing different advocacy messages, the group urged government and individuals to apprehend anyone involved in the dastardly act. Some of the messages read: "Together we stop violence", "Shun abortion today to safe life", "No to girl-trafficking", "stop AIDS, it is suicidal." The group's Divisional Commissioner for Mushin, Olori Olanrewaju Bakare, said: "The walk is to create awareness that young women should be well respected in the society. There are some things they do to our young girls nowadays which are not palatable to nature. Some of them do not have proper education; they are maltreated and sent to hawk on the streets



CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999


T 58, Nne Ikenna should be a good example for young people. But no, he attempted to go for fast bucks through drug counterfeiting and distribution. He was caught. Police operatives stormed his 5, Arochukwu Street, Ilamoshe, Ejigbo, Lagos home, where he had reportedly been perpetrating the illegal business for years. Ikenna was arrested on March 15 by operatives led by the Divisional Police Officer of Ejigbo Police Station, Mr Oliver Inoma-Abbey. Ikenna's premises were cordoned off by operatives who trailed him for several days before he was apprehended. The operatives were surprised to discover that he was solely in charge of the business. The Nation gathered that after a search of his home, two packing machines, one blistering machine, five counterfeited Albendazole (Zentel) tablets, large quantities of fake Albendazole packed in 10 big bags; large quantity of printed packets for packaging Albendazole and Levonorgestrel (Postioor2) tablets and 37 cartons of leaflets for packaging Zentel tablets, were recovered. Ikenna said he was not alone in the business. He added: "When I returned from India, one Mr Uche bought the machines for me to be blistering drugs for him. He also imports the drugs and distributes them. I do not know where he sells them or who he takes them to. I do my own work and get paid.” On how much he takes, the suspect said: "Uche pays me N20,000 for every carton I blister and N35,000 monthly for making use of my premises". Ikenna added: "The drugs are not fake. I take them with members of my

Man, 58, held for drug counterfeiting



•Some of the drugs By Jude Isiguzo

family. I was only trying to help somebody. I did not know that what we were doing was illegal." Command's spokesperson, Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said investigation was ongoing and efforts to arrest the

distributors and recover the drugs from the market had begun. She added that after investigations, Ikenna and the recovered items would be transferred to the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), for further questioning.

By Miriam Ndikanwu

He said: "Looking at the situation of maternal and child health in Nigeria, it is worrisome to note that mortality rate is very high due to lack of health care facilities, medical equipment and medical practitioners. We wish to help remedy this situation by forming a partnership with the Nigerian people. All the efforts made by the Lagos State Ministry of Health in tackling these issues are absolutely notable. "This project will provide equipment such as delivery beds and ECG machines, which measures the rate and regularity of heartbeats, to

10 public health centres in Lagos State." State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, commended their gesture, which he said, will be of immense benefit to the people. Idris said a proposed town hall meeting was geared towards informing citizens, especially grassroots pregnant women, about the basic facilities provided by government to them before and after child birth. He said since the launch of the maternal and child mortality reduction initiative by Governor Babatunde Fashola in October last year, the government had mapped out strategies to reduce the scourge.

Pastor remanded for alleged rape of minor


HE 'failure' of a pastor, Ilesanmi Emmanuel of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), to control his libido has landed him in trouble. An Ado-Ekiti Magistrate’s Court yesterday ordered him remanded in prison for allegedly raping a minor. He will be in the custody pending the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). Magistrate Adefunke Ajibade described the case as pathetic, especially as it involved a minor and a person that should be a father and shepherd of flocks. Prosecutor Curtis Enabulele, accord-

ing to news Agency of Nigeria (NAN), told the court that the accused committed the offence on July 12 at Ikere, an Ekiti State community. He alleged that Emmanuel's unlawful affair with the girl, a member of his church, resulted in pregnancy, adding that the offence contravened Section 23(d) of the Child Rights Law of Ekiti State, 2007. He said the duplicate case file had been forwarded to the DPP, Ministry of Justice, for advice. Counsel to the accused, Mr Oluwaseyi Adeniyi, urged the court

to grant his client bail, assuring that he would not jump bail, but counsel to International Federation of Female lawyers (FIDA), Ekiti State chapter, Mrs Foluke Dada, opposed the application. Dada said that the bail, if granted, would be a threat to other children in the church and the society at large. She told the court that the accused had threatened that the victim would die within seven days if she confessed to anyone that he raped her. The Magistrate adjourned the case till April 4, for further hearing.

against girl-child’ By Amidu Arije

while their mates are in school." Olori Bakare enjoined young girls to abstain from premarital sex, adding that it is destructive. "They should zip up because sex is not what they should embrace now; their education is very important," she said. She described raping in the society as sacrilegious and suicidal, as she urged perpetrators of the heinous crime to desist from it. She added: "Our girls should be satisfied with whatever their parents give them; lack of contentment leads them to looking out for men who will eventually get them pregnant under the guise of rendering assistance. They do not have anybody to care for the pregnancy and hence, they attempt to abort it, which in the end, destroys their lives."

A woman, Mrs Zuwaira Yakubu, and her five children, were burnt to death in the early hours of Tuesday in Danbaba village, near Birnin Yero in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State. An eyewitness disclosed this yesterday when the Kaduna State Gov. Mukhtar Yero paid a condolence visit to the bereaved family. Imam Yakubu, the husband of the late Zuwaira and father of the children, was too distraught to speak. The eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, said that the fire occurred when Zuwaira placed a kerosene lantern near an electricity

generator. He said the fire razed the house completely. The governor directed that the burnt house be rebuilt and also ordered that a water well be provided for the family. Yero told reporters that the visit was to commiserate with the family and the villager on the `tragic' loss. “I came here to commiserate and condole with the man who lost his wife and five children to fire accident on Tuesday. Kaduna State Government will rebuild the burnt house; government will also dig a well for the family”, the governor said.

Free cardiac centre for Abuja

Gang-up against maternal, child mortality HE Japanese government is collaborating with the Lagos State government by providing medical equipment that will help fight maternal, child mortality in the state. The development is coming just as the state government today will flagged off its series of grassroots sensitisation on maternal and child mortality reduction across various local government areas in the state. The Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, who led a delegation to the state Ministry of Health, Alausa to present the facilities, described the gesture as way of improving maternal and child health in the state by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

C ITYBEATS Mother, five children die in fire

•R-L: Mrs Titilayo Efunnuga, Olori Bakare, Mrs Fashola and Mrs Soyemi

THE Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) has begun wrapping up activities that will culminate in the establishment of a state-of-theearth Cardiac Centre in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), primarily for the less-privileged. To achieve the aim, the Foundation, has held a N5billion fund raising, tagged, 'Heal-a-Heart Today.' It held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Information from the FCT Minister's office revealed that hectares of land had been provided for the project while the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) on the land will be ready soon. KHF's Founder, Ambassador Kanu Nwankwo and its coordinator, Pastor Abia Onyebuchi, said the proposed Cardiac Centre would be managed by Nigerians, while children would be treated free, adding that adults would enjoy the gesture at highly subsidised rates. On the occasion, President Goodluck Jonathan, said the move was timely, considering how cardiovascular diseases had been claiming the lives of some Nigerians. The President, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, further remarked that the centre would make health-care delivery more accessible to the lessprivileged. He listed low cost, inward flow

By Biodun-Thomas Davids

of medical tourism, job opportunities, training and development of manpower, as some of the benefits inherent in the proposed project. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, represented by his Deputy (Financial System Stability (FSS) Directorate), Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, said the move would decrease the level of financial export in the country. The Foundation's Patron, Chief Edwin Clarke, said the gesture would reduce the number of Nigerians travelling abroad to for cardiovascular treatments, while the Minister of Sports, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi, said so many lives would be saved through the project, "while several children would grow to be great footballers". Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc (one of the major sponsors of the event), Dr. Alex Otti, canvassed support for the less-privileged. While presenting the beneficiaries of the Foundation, Abia mentioned that KHF which started in 2000, had so far carried out 452 open heart surgeries. Elated Kanu said he was getting closer to making the lessprivileged proud, adding that KHF would continue to touch their lives regardless of their origin.

Crisis rocks cooperative society OPERATIVES of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are battling to tackle the crisis in the MTN Employees Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (MEMCOS). A member of the society, who spoke with The Nation on condition of anonymity, said the hope of MEMCOS members of becoming landlords in the Lekki area of Lagos rose when it approached the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for an Estate Development Loan (EDL). She said FMBN agreed to give N1, 59 billion loan for the construction of 284 housing units - the first phase of the project. The bank was said to have disbursed N487 million as part of the loan in May 2012. Trouble started in September 2012, when FMBN report indicated that only N13, 341, 960, 00 of the first tranche was spent on the project, five months after the money was released. Unhappy with the value of job done at the site, FMBN was said to have refused to release further funds, leaving MEMCOS exco to approach a commercial bank for a new loan. The bank allegedly granted N900 million at 22 per cent interest rate. Four members of past executive team of MEMCOS are presently on suspension, following their invitation by the EFCC to explain their involvement in the alleged fraud rocking the society. Some MEMCOS members now want actions stepped up on the

By Segun Ajiboye

matter. A member, in a memo to MEMCOS members, said the society couldn’t execute the project because it paid 10 per cent of the total loan as 'PR to the FMBN officials'. "How could they use 10 per cent of over N1billion as PR?" she queried. Another member, Vivian Igheghe, said she resigned as social secretary over 'the prevailing developments in the current executive and distrust among them’, adding that the exco had been "high-jacked by a few." Former president of MEMCOS, Victor Akintunde, who is on suspension, told The Nation: "Four members of my team are now on suspension for an offence we know little or nothing about. We left office in April 2012, while the money was released by FMBN in May. My team had nothing to with the money." On the allegations that her team spent 10 percent of the loan on PR, the incumbent MEMCOS' president, Fehintola Mustapha, said: "I don't have anything to say. This has nothing to do with me.” EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren neither confirmed nor denied that the matter is being handled by the EFCC. He directed The Nation to the Zonal Head, Public Affairs in Lagos, Mr. Dele Oyewale. However, efforts to speak with Oyewale yielded no fruit at press time.



NEWS Jonathan off to Equatorial Guinea From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is sheduled to leave Abuja today for a two-day state visit to Equatorial Guinea. He is expected to travel with Governors Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe) and Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); ministers including Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (Petroleum Resources), Olusegun Aganga (Trade and Investment), Stella Oduah (Aviation), Edem Duke (Culture and Tourism), Nurudeen Mohammed (Minister of State II Foreign Affairs) and some members of the National Assembly. President Teodoro Oniang Nguema Mbasogo will lead officials of his government to welcome Jonathan and his delegation on arrival at the Malabo Airport after which Jonathan will head to the Nigerian Chancery to meet with members of the Nigerian community in the country. Jonathan will also have bilateral meeting with his host before rounding off the first day with an official dinner to be hosted by the Equatorial Guinean president. On the second day, Jonathan will visit a number of places including Malabo La Paz Medical Centre, Bueno Esperanza, and Punto Europa Oil Complex in Malabo before returning to Abuja later in the day. Since striking oil in the 1990s, Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony which is off West Africa, has recently become one of sub-Sahara’s biggest oil producers and in 2004 was said to have the world’s fastest growing economy.

Police warn vehicle owners


HE Lagos State Police Command have warned owners of accidented and abandoned vehicles parked at Festac Police Command to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction after 21 days. The vehicles are: Mercedez EC544FST, Mazda car unregistered, Mercedez AJ 752 EPE, Mercedez AA 549 BLF, Mercedez DL 621 AAA, Volkswagen bus XR 268 AGL, Mercedez unregistered, MercedezXR 407 LSR, KIA model car LC 18 EKY, Prelude car KF 452 AAA.

Fayemi, others for lecture


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi, the Group Managing Director, S0&U Saatchi & Saatchi, Mr. Udeme Ufot and the former Managing Director, Samsung West Africa, Mr. Idorenyen Enang will tomorrow at the MUSON Centre, Lagos grace the Verdant Zeal Marketing Communication 2013 Innovation Lecture Series. The theme of the address is “Beyond Branding: Building Lasting Values for Nigeria’s Growth”. Fayemi will deliver his paper as the guest speaker. Ufot will give the keynote address. Enang will serve as the moderator. The Group Managing Director, Verdant Zeal Marketing Communications Ltd, Mr. Tunji Olugbodi said the lecture series which has become an annual event seeks to bring together major stakeholders in both the private and public sector towards charting the course on different issues that will be of interest to the nation.

•Ojora of Ijora, Oba Abdulfatai Oyeyinka (left); Alhaji Mohammed; Hon Wale Oshun, Hon Kuye, Chairman of Ikate Local Council Developement Area (LCDA), Hon Akeem Bamgbola; Dr Adedayo and Dame Fashola...yesterday


‘ACN ’ll notify INEC on APC’s formation after convention’

CTION Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday said the party will formally inform the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the formation of the All Progressives Change (APC), after its national convention. He spoke at the opening of a new secretariat for ApapaIganmu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos. Tinubu said the merger is at its final stage, just as he accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of frustrating the process. “We have discovered that PDP is behind all the fake APCs that were sponsored to displace the original APC. “PDP has been in crisis finding ways to stop us from proceeding with the merger. That is why they have sponsored different APCs. But the original APC in Nigeria today is the one we established and announced on February 6, with the support of our 11 governors, ”Tinubu said. At the event were Lagos State Governor’s wife, Dame Emmanuella Fashola; House of Representatives member, Babatunde Oyewale; host chairman, Dr. Samuel Adedayo; Lagos House of Assembly members, Lanre Osun and Muyiwa Jimoh; ACN’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Lagos State Commissioner for Local

•Lagos council opens new secretariat

By Precious Igbonwelundu

Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ademorin Kuye; former commissioners, Tunde Balogun and Prince Rotimi Agunsoye. Others included the district’s leader, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, ACN’s state Assistant Publicity Secretary, Bisi Ologunde; Chairman, Yaba LCDA, Jide Jimoh and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Olatunji Bello. Tinubu, who was represented by Mohammed, assured the people that the party was behind APC, adding that he initiated the process that led to the formation of the new party which will cure the country’s current economic and political problems. He said the national convention will hold on April 18, where ACN will get the consent of its members across the country on the merger. “After the resolution is passed at the convention, we will then formally inform INEC about our decision to be part of the merger. “We are already preparing for our convention. Not every convention is meant to be elective. By the constitution of our

‘PDP has been in crisis finding ways to stop us from proceeding with the merger. That is why they have sponsored different APCs. But the original APC in Nigeria today is the one we established and announced on February 6, with the support of our 11 governors’ party, we are supposed to have convention mid-term even before election. Fortunately for us, this convention is coming at a time when we can also pass a resolution that we are going to merge with other parties.” On the new secretariat, Tinubu expressed joy that some council chairmen were willing to leave legacies behind. He said: “A council chairmanship maximum tenure is six years, but with proper maintenance, this building will be

N Abuja High Court yesterday stayed proceedings in the N250 billion suit by businessman Femi Otedola against House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and former Chairman of House adHoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Probe, Farouk Lawan. Justice Peter Kekemeke adjourned the matter sine dine following an application by Lawan, who is challenging the decision of the court to assume jurisdiction in the suit. In the motion for stay of action argued yesterday, Lawan’s counsel, Mr. Kehinde Ogunwumiju from Emmanuel Chambers, told the court that a notice of appeal had been filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.


From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

He urged the High Court to stop further hearing in the suit pending the final decision of the appellate court. In his brief ruling, Justice Kekemeke held that the first defendant had satisfied the conditions for a stay of proceedings and adjourned the case sine dine. Tambuwal and Lawan had objected to the hearing of Otedola’s case on the ground that they are protected by House immunity and cannot be taken to court for either civil or criminal matters on any of their actions on the floor of the House. They had asked the court to dismiss the suit for being too hasty because the House has

here in the next 50 years. When you put down structures like this, you make administration much easier because people are happy to come to work as they are not cramped into offices. “Also, such a structure becomes an asset of the local government and for me, this kind of project show the kind of populist ideologies we have in our party. Mrs. Fashola, who inaugurated the building, described it as a beautiful one, just as she urged the officials to put the structure to proper use. “The celebration has vindicated the decision to create additional local governments under the visionary leadership of our father, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, because without any iota of doubt, governance has been brought closer to the people at the grassroots. “I hope that with this standard office, the officials of this LCDA will be able to execute their jobs effectively and efficiently and that there won’t be any complaints. Always remember that the expectation of tax payers whose money is the main source of funding this complex is to get quick and better service.” She urged the people of the

LCDA to adhere to government’s instructions on how to prevent flooding as well as ensure that their environments are kept clean and avoid blocking drainages. Jimoh described the new secretariat as a remarkable project, which has justified the creation of 37 LCDAs by Tinubu. To Adedayo, poverty mentality has been defeated by the building of the edifice, just as he advised critics of the project to embrace change. “Some people wanted to discourage us. They saw nothing good in the project but with focus and vision, we proceeded. When we wanted to start, someone took me to a swampy area but I rejected it and told them I do not have funds to erect our secretariat in a swampy area. “I insisted that we can demolish and transform this place and that is what we have now. This three-storey ultramodern office complex bears eloquent testimony to our administration’s vision and unwavering commitment to bring about the much needed transformation and initiate a process that would lead to a turn-around in the entire landscape of our community.”

Number of Internet users hits 48m, says minister

Court stays Otedola’s suit against Farouk




not adopted the report on the subsidy probe and that there had been no White Paper yet on it. The defendants had also contended that being agents of the House, they can only be sued at a Federal High Court because the House is an organ of the Federal Government and as such, no Abuja High Court has jurisdiction on the suit.

INISTER of Information, Labaran Maku yesterday said the number of Internet users in Nigeria has risen from 200,000 in 2000 to more than 48 million by the end of

last year. Maku made this known while addressing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, at the State House, Abuja. The minister added that more than one million hits were recorded monthly by the Ministry of Information on social media reporting in the country. He underscored the need to develop the social media as an outreach, stressing that “the administration of President Jonathan will always encourage the media to thrive’’. The minister said regulation was one of the major challenges of the ministry. According to him, while government will not seek to control the media, there is the need for some level of regulation for the industry to conform to international standard. He said that regulations and enforcement of ethics were necessary for professional growth, quality, balance and the development of the media on sustainable basis. Reviewing last year’s activities of the ministry, Maku said that it embarked on public sensitisation to the need for deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.



NEWS Eko Atlantic City to accommodate 250,000 •Commissioner honoured


HE Eko Atlantic City will accommodate about 250,000 people when completed, the Lagos State Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Prince Adesegun Oniru, said yesterday. Oniru spoke shortly after he was inducted as a Fellow of the Nigeria Institution of Civil Enginees (NICE). He said about 250,000 people would live and work in the city while 150,000 people will commute there daily. Oniru said the city was initiated to recover most of the land lost to the ocean when Bar Beach overflowed. He said: “After combating the erosion at Bar Beach, we moved to the next phase, which was to reclaim what we lost to the Atlantic. Today, when people look at the Atlantic City, they think it is something new. We are just taking back some of the lost land in the Atlantic and developing it to enhance the economy of Lagos state.

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

“The city will be compared to any city in the world. That city will make Lagos a destination of choice. With the plans the government has put in place to protect the coastline from erosion, we would eventually have the Lagos of our dreams. “Before I assumed office in 2007, there were illegal activities in the lagoon and the Atlantic area, such as sand dredging and the building of shanties on the waterfront. But we have curbed all these activities. My induction as a Fellow of NICE is a sign that I have reached the top of my profession.” NICE National Chairman Saliu Lawal said: “This conferment is based on Oniru’s excellent performance, contribution and ability to stand by the truth in the profession. He presented a plaque and medal to Oniru and urged him to remain an ambassador of the association.

Motorists groan on Oyo/Ogbomoso road From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo


OTORISTS plying the Oyo/Ogbomoso road have urged the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to evacuate two trucks obstructing the free-flow of traffic on the highway. The trucks collided near Ijawaya about three days ago. The road is littered with broken bottles of drinks that were being conveyed by one of the trailers. This has resulted in a gridlock on the busy road, with queues of vehicles stretching to about four kilometres. The queues have stretched to Oyo, hindering the free-flow of traffic in the town. The situation is compounded by heavy duty trucks that are now plying the township roads in search of alternative routes. A source at the FRSC office in Oyo said the commission was working towards clearing the road.

Japan partners Lagos to fight maternal/child mortality •Govt begins grassroots sensitisation


HE Japanese Government has given the Lagos State Government medical equipment to fight maternal and child mortality. The state government will today begin Town Hall meetings in the councils to sensitise people at the grassroots on how to reduce maternal and child mortality. The Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, led a delegation to the Ministry of Health, Alausa, and presented the equipment to the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris. Shoji said the gesture was to improve maternal and child health in Lagos State. He said: "Looking at the situation of maternal and child health in Nigeria, it is worrisome that the mortality rate is very high, due to lack of health care facilities, medical equipment and medical practitioners. "We wish to help remedy this situation by partnering Nigerians and the efforts of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in tackling these issues are notable. "The agreement we are signing today is to provide medical equipment, such as delivery beds and ECG ma-

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

chines, which measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats to 10 PHC among the 57 flagship PHC in Lagos State. I hope that this project will reduce maternal and child mortality rate." Idris thanked them and said the gesture would benefit the people. He said at the Town Hall meetings, the people would be informed of the facilities available for expectant mothers in government hospitals before and after child birth. The commissioner said: "A major cause of high maternal mortality is lack of information. Many people do not recognise the danger signs of pregnancy and are not aware of the facilities provided by the government. "At the meetings, expectant and nursing mothers will have access to the two booklets launched by the governor last year to promote mother and child health. "The booklets are free and are in government hospitals. They contain information on the growth pattern of the child from birth to age five, as well as nutrition."

N175m tools for five Oyo technical colleges


HE Oyo State Government has approved N175,284,195.80 for the procurement of equipment for five Government Technical Colleges. The equipment include refrigerators and air-conditioning units, radios, televisions, electrical installation tools, auto-mechanics, vehicle body building and equipment for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) office and catering as well as mechanical engineering. Others are equipment for brick/block laying and concreting, fabrication and welding, painting and decoration, science laboratory, home economics and business education. In a statement yesterday, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Taiwo Otegbeye,

said the equipment would be supplied by five contractors. They are Demikol Bridgewaters, Taimez Nigeria Limited, Frabide Nigeria Limited, High Skill Limited and Fosterfield Investment Limited.

Otegbeye said the equipment would improve technical education and facilitate the accreditation of the colleges by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

The government has also approved N88,750,801.22 for the construction of a standard workshop, a science laboratory and a four-classroom building at the Government Technical College, Ibadan.

Women’s group condemns EKSU rape


RIGHTS group, the Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA), has condemned the rape of a female student by five of her male colleagues at the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, last week. It said the increasing cases of sexual abuse in the country has assumed a dangerous proportion and requires urgent attention. In a statement by its Chairperson, Mrs. Funmi Falana, WELA said: “More appalling

in this case is that it happened on the premises of a university, which is supposed to be a citadel of learning and hallmark of leadership training. “However, we hail the authorities of the institution for sanctioning the wayward and misguided students. We equally praise the Ekiti State Government for arraigning the suspects for conspiracy and rape. “We have no doubt that the sanctions on the suspects will serve as a deterrent to others.

We urge the authorities to pursue the prosecution to a logical conclusion. The victim deserves justice and in this case, justice means that the rusticated students are duly prosecuted. “We have resolved to support the Ekiti State Government in the prosecution of the case by volunteering to hold a watching brief and partner the authorities in stamping out the brutal violation of the dignity of innocent women in the society.”



NEWS Police quiz man for estranged wife’s murder

Stop inciting people against my govt, Ajimobi warns Ladoja O

YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has told former Governor Rashidi Ladoja to stop “inciting” the populace against his administration. He was reacting to “uncomplimentary” statements about his person and administration, which were credited to the Accord leader. In a statement by his media aide, Dr. Festus Adedayo, Ajimobi took exception to a statement credited to Ladoja, which called the governor (Ajimobi) a novice in the art of governance. He said he refrained from exchanging words with Ladoja due to his age and office and condemned the “cheap campaign of calumny and persistent attempt to smear his administration through subterfuge and dissemination of falsehood to the populace”. The statement reads: “While the governor will not want to bandy words with the former governor on who has a mastery over governance

or who is a novice, he believes that the achievements of the two of them can be appraised by the ordinary people in the streets and analysts that are not obsessed with the do-or-die craving to come to Agodi Government House again. “The people will judge rightly who is a novice and master over governance between a man, who has given Oyo State unprecedented two years of peaceful reign, and another, who, due to political brinkmanship, political stiff-neckedness, immaturity and alienation of the political class and the people, threw the state into an avoidable political inferno, while sparring with the late Chief Lamidi Adedibu; an inferno the state is still recovering from. “The people of Oyo State will judge rightly who is a novice and master between a man who could not muster

majority members of the House of Assembly in his defence as governor while fighting someone who was fighting from outside, and was impeached with ignominy and a governor, whom God has given the sagacity to manage a House of Assembly that comprises three different parties and which, by the grace of God, is operating under an unprecedented amity. “We urge the people to make adequate judgment on the impact of Ajimobi’s administration and that of Ladoja. Ajimobi has raised the bar of good governance and is making it difficult for anyone, whose understanding of governance is violence and crude politicking, to fit into the new Oyo State. “In less than two years, we have turned Oyo State into one huge construction company with road works going on in every nook and cranny.

We have built over 200 roads and the dualisation of roads in the state capital and many major towns are ongoing. “We have employed 20,000 youths and have been receiving endorsements from those who matter in the society about our transformation of Oyo State from the rural town we inherited into a modern city, among other things. “We challenge the former governor to tell the people how he developed Oyo State and stop embarking on a campaign of calumny against the government. The most articulate way of going about this is for Ladoja to tell the people how many roads and schools his administration built and how his government impacted on the generality of our people. “That is more scientific and functional than embarking on a wild goose chase. This will reveal who is the mas-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

A •Ajimobi

ter over governance and who is the novice. “Apart from that of the late Chief Bola Ige, no administration in Oyo State has built more neighbourhood markets than we have. Right now, we are building seven neighbourhood markets and 11 councils in Ibadan will be building, at least, three markets each to accommodate street traders.” Ajimobi urged Ladoja to support him in developing the state. He said politics should be for the transformation of the people and not “to deceive them to believe that their messiah is their enemy”.

EKSU expels 50 students From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

THE Ekiti State University (EKSU) has expelled 50 parttime students for examination malpractices in last semester’s examination. The Deputy Registrar (Information), Mr. Olubunmi Ajibade, said the list of the expelled students would be made public soon. He said two more students were arrested on Monday for alleged impersonation and malpractices during the examination.

Osinbajo to speak at RCCG FORMER Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Yemi Osinbajo, will on Saturday speak on his life, his career, Christian journey and navigation through the corridors of power at the premier edition of the Man-in-theMirror programme of the Olive Tree Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Banana Island, Lagos. The professor of law is the pastor of the parish. Other personalities will share their life experiences at the programme.

Agric officers for farms From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

MORE than 120 agriculture extension officers in Osun State are to be deployed in farms to advise farmers on the best practices for higher yields as the next planting season approaches. The state Co-ordinator of the Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP), Mr. Dele Ogundipe, spoke at a strategy meeting between QIIP officials and the Directors of Agriculture in the 30 local governments and an area office. He said the extension officers would provide technical support for farmers.

•From right: Oyo State Deputy Governor Moses Alake Adeyemo delivering a speech on behalf of the governor...yesterday. With him are the Director-General of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), Alh. Isah Muhammed; Secretary to the Osun State Government (SSG) Moshood Adeoti and Oyo State House of Assembly Speaker Mrs. Monsurat Sumonu during a meeting on the Osun/Oyo Interstate Boundary at the Old Western Chamber Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

Osun to save N8.2b annually through Opon Imo


HE Osun State Government will be saving N8.2 billion annually through the distribution of the Opon Imo (Tablet of Knowledge) to pupils. Instead of spending the fund on the purchase of books, the government will spend only about N200 million on Opon Imo. Governor Rauf Aregbesola made this known yesterday while distributing educational materials worth N30 million to scools at the multi-purpose hall of the Local Government Service Commission. The materials include 10,000 daily attendance registers, 11,600 school record diaries, 150,000 continuous assessment report cards for Junior Secondary Schools and 145,000 continuous assessment report cards for Senior Secondary Schools. Others are 7,000 white chalks, 70,000 cumulative record folders, 7,000 chalk board renovators and 30,000 chalk board dusters. The governor said with the downloading of 56 textbooks

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

on 17 subjects into the Opon Imo, pupils only have to carry a digital device about, adding that this makes learning easier. Instead of being criticised for spending N200 million on Opon Imo, he said his administration should be praised for the initiative. He said about 150,000 tablets are to be distributed to pupils across the state. Aregbesola said his admin-

istration is investing huge funds in education to instil a minimum level of value in every public school pupil. He said: “Were we to buy 56 textbooks for 17 subjects offered in Senior Secondary Schools for 150,000 pupils. Over N8.4 billion would have been spent annually as against the N200 million expended on Opon Imo. “Instead of being praised for God’s endowed ingenuity and wisdom, which gave birth to the Opon Imo initiative, some

people prefer to demonstrate their ignorance. They are grandstanding and claiming what they are not.” The governor described the score card of the last administration in the education sector in its 90 months in office as a far cry from his administration’s achievements in 27 months. He warned teachers against sharp practices in the distribution and utilisation of the materials and urged parents to monitor their children.

MAN, Mr. Abayomi Osire, is being quizzed by the police in Ekiti State for the murder of his estranged wife, Mrs. Moyinoluwa Osire (25). The body of Moyinoluwa, a mother of two, was found in a pool of blood last Sunday in her three-bedroom apartment in Ayedun Quarters, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. She had machete cuts on her body. The late Moyinoluwa was a staff nurse at a health institution in Ise-Ekiti. Osire, who is being interrogated at Oke-Ila Police Station, had been separated from his wife due to “irreconcilable differences”. The building in which Moyinoluwa was killed belongs to her step-father, Mr Olawale Ogundare. The cutlass that was used to attack her was taken from the compound by her assailant(s). Ogundare said the late Moyinoluwa’s assailant(s) stole her handsets, the N250,000 she withdrew from a bank last Friday and other valuables. He said: “Her husband, Osire, is a native of Ijesa-Isu Ekiti and a graduate, but he is not employed. He has been arrested and detained as the prime suspect because he had been quarrelling with the woman. He threatened to kill her many times.” Explaining how he found Moyinoluwa’s body, Ogundare said: “We left for church around 9:15am and came back after 1pm. Moyinoluwa did not go with us as she said she was tired. She just finished her midwifery examination at the School of Nursing, Ado-Ekiti. “We knocked on the door and when she did not answer, I peeped through the window and I saw that the way she slept was not normal. W rushed to the door and found that it was not locked. “When we entered, we found her in a pool of blood. We tried to reach her husband, but he switched off his phone until Tuesday when he called us with a strange number. “Moyinoluwa was not a careless person and could not have opened the door to srangers carelessly, so her death is suspicious.” On reasons for suspecting Osire, Ogundare said: “I have a text message to prove that he threatened to kill her for allegedly abusing his mother. “I urge security agencies to retrieve the call logs of the conversations between Osire and my step-daughter. I believe this will offer useful clues.” Police spokesman Victor Olu-Babayemi said the command is waiting for the result of Moyinoluwa’s post-mortem.

BoI, UNDP train 115 people on renewable energy


HE United Nations Dev e l o p m e n t Programme(UNDP) and the Bank of Industry(BoI) yesterday began sensitisation, training and capacity building on renewable energy products for youths, women and artisans in Ogun State. This followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed early this year by the state government through the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs with

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

UNDP and BOI. About 115 peoples participated in the three-day course on how to derive energy from solar, dust and wind. Prototypes of renewable energy products, such as cooking stoves and torchlight, among others, were on display at the workshop. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Basorun Muyiwa Olad-

ipo said the agreement with UNDP and BoI is targeted at giving rural dwellers access to renewable energy sources and creating wealth through it. He said the training would empower participants to be self-employed and employers of labour. Oladipo said: “The scope of the partnership is to create awareness on renewable energy technology among people, train the unemployed and help potential renewable en-

ergy entrepreneurs identify the business opportunities in the sector.” Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Abimbola Ashiru said the workshop is pivotal to the economic growth of the state. Ashiru said it would ensure access to modern energy services and support micro, small and medium enterprises. He said: “Funds would be made available to the participants.”





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

Naira weakens as CBN reduces dollar supplies

NEITI to tackle oil theft, bunkering


HE naira depreciated to the lowest in almost a week as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) offered fewer dollars at an auction, offsetting its decision to hold the key lending rate at a record high to support the currency. The fell 0.2 per cent to N158.95 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The apex bank sold $280 million at a foreign- currency auction yesterday, less than the $300 million given out at the previous sale on March 18, it said in an e-mailed statement. The Monetary Policy Committee kept its benchmark interest rate at a record high of 12 per cent for a ninth consecutive meeting on Tuesday to support the naira. “Traders reacted to lower dollar supply by the CBN amid rising demand,” Sewa Wusu, an analyst at Lagos-based Sterling Capital Limited, said by phone. “The policy rate should boost naira overtime as it checks liquidity of the local unit.” In the next week, the naira should trade at about N158.7 per dollar with monetary policy support, Kunle Ezun and Kenneth Asenime, analysts at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated in Lagos, wrote in an e-mailed note to clients today. The yield on the country’s 16.39 per cent domestic bonds due January, 2022, declined 34 basis points to 11.26 per cent in the secondary market, according to yesterday’s data compiled on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Yields on the $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 declined 10 basis points to 4.232 per cent.

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

-N10.6 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -9% 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 $48b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja


• From left: International Correspondent Cable Network News (CNN), Vladimir Duthiers, Chairman Vigeo Holdings, Victor Gbolade Osibodu, Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Adeola Adetunji and Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Shoreline Energy International, Kola Karim at the The Economist Nigeria Summit, 2013, in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID.

Vigeo, Transcorp, nine others pay $469.03m for PHCN assets AHEAD of today’s deadline for preferred bidders for the successor companies unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to make the mandatory 25 per cent payment of the offer value of their bids, 11 bidders have paid $469.03million for 12 of the successor companies. The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in a statement yesterday confirmed receipt of the payment from bidders for the distribution and generation companies. It said that three preferred bidders were yet to pay. The BPE listed the bidders that paid yesterday, March 20, 2013, as Vigeo Consortium, the preferred bidder for Benin Distribution Company, which paid $32.25mil-

• Three bidders yet to pay, says BPE By Emeka Ugwuanyi

lion, being the mandatory 25 per cent of the bid value of the Benin Disco; Transcorp/ Woodrock Consortium, that paid $75 million; being 25 per cent of the bid value for Ughelli Power Plc; CMEC/ EUAFRIC Energy JV that paid $50,249,965; being 25 per cent of the bid value for Sapele Power Plc; Kann Consortium, paid $41 million; being 25 per cent of the bid value for Abuja Distribution Company. Others are, Aura Energy that paid $20,464,968.15; being 25 percent of the bid

value for Jos Distribution Company; Mainstream Energy Limited, which paid $59,467,500, being 25 per cent of the bid value for Kainji Power Plc; and Sahelian Power SPV, that paid $34.25million; being 25 per cent of the bid value for Kano Distribution Company. The BPE listed other bidders that had earlier paid the mandatory 25 per cent of the bid value of the PHCN successor companies, as Amperion Power Company Limited, the preferred bidder for Geregu Power Plc, which paid $33 million; In-

tegrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Company, the preferred bidder for Ibadan and Yola Distribution Companies, which paid $42.25 million and $14.75 million for Ibadan and Yola Discos respectively; NEDC/ KEPCO, the preferred bidder for Ikeja Distribution Company, which paid $ 32.75 million; and West Power & Gas, the preferred bidder for Eko Distribution Company which paid $33.75 million.” The BPE said it is expecting payment from 4Power Consortium, the preferred bidder for Port-Harcourt Disco; Interstate Electrics Limited, preferred bidder for Enugu Disco; and NorthSouth Power Company, preferred bidder for Shiroro Power Plc.

Sacked Aero workers thwart resumption plans


ACKED workers of Aero Airlines yester day staged a carnival at the headquarters of the airline to stall the management’s plan to resume operations. The workers blocked the main entrance gates into the airline premises, there by preventing some staff not affected by the strike from resuming work. The sacked workers erected barricades on the road leading to the offices, as they danced to solidarity songs that emanated from speakers mounted on cars. While the strike lasted, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), said yesterday that Aero Airlines operations must be recertified before resumption of operations. The acting Director-General, NCAA, Mr Joyce Nkemakolam, said before the airline starts operation, it has to go through recertification process by the regulatory authority. ‘‘NCAA

• NCAA intervenes By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

will inspect the airline as soon as the organisation puts their house in order.’’ Nkemakolam confirmed that NCAA has not grounded Aero Contractors airlines, saying the airline grounded itself due to the strike embarked upon by the workers. One of the workers who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said that the workers came to thwart the planned resumption of the airline because most of the workers got wind of the information that some of its personnel had been recalled. He added that the management was planning to outsource all its workers to another company against the union’s wish. ‘‘What is happening is that the management wants to contract all the staff out to another body so that they will reduce their salaries and benefits. But

the union stood against it.’’ ‘‘Along the line today, (yesterday), we heard that they want to start a skeletal work. We decided to come here to prevent anybody from entering or leaving the premises. So as you can see, the National Unions have come here since morning to do solidarity with us.” Meanwhile, Nkemakolam met with the leadership of the Air transport services senior staff association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National union of air transport employees (NUATE), and National association of aircraft pilots and engineers (NAAPE), yesterday with a view to resolving the crisis. The General Manager, Public Affairs of NCAA, Mr Fan Ndubuoke, said Nkemakolam convened a meeting with the leadership of the unions to find a lasting solution to the impasse. He told the union

leaders that he conveyed the meeting to specifically thank them for the manner in which they have comported themselves in the industrial dispute, applauding them for employing legal means to resolve the matter. He lauded the unions for considering NCAA as an arbitrator in the matter and asked them to table their grievances and seek a way forward for resolving them. The unions lamented the illegal dismissal of the workers without recourse to due process, a development they said was against the industrial law of engagement of services of any Nigerian worker. They accused Aero of plans to do away with their old workforce for reasons best known to them and bring in new workers. They added that the over 600 workforce sacked are still with their On-duty cards, stressing that the development poses security threat to the aviation industry.

OLLOWING the huge revenue losses to the country, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is to redirect its attention to the issue of oil theft, oil bunkering and pipeline vandalisation in the oil and gas industry, its Director of Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said yesterday. In a statement, he said the chairman, Ledum Mittee, unveiled NEITI’s next target at a meeting with the Political and Economic Counsellors of the European Union member countries. He explained that the absence of a reliable baseline information and data on the actual quantity of crude, either lost through theft, bunkering or pipeline vandalisation is responsible for the poor response and speculations over facts and figures required to deal with these complex problems. Mittee affirmed that “full disclosure and public understanding of the quantity of crude oil, either lost through vandalisation, bunkering or outright stealing, and the enormous cost to the economy in financial terms will help draw national and international attention to the urgent need for solutions,” he added.

1,444 ex-Exxon-Mobil staff seek justice From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja


HE 1,444 sacked Exxon-Mobil staff have urged the National Assembly to intervene in efforts to secure their terminal benefit. They lamented that the multinational firm is inflicting injustice on them by denying them about N11.4 billion entitlements. Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Registrar of the International Institute for Humanitarian and Environmental Law, Cyprian Edward-Ekpo, said a petition has been sent to the National Assembly seeking their intervention. He lamented that the action of the Exxon-Mobil is a gross violation of human/ labour rights of the people, alleging that a peaceful protest by the disengaged staff to press home their demand, was thwarted by the management of the firm which sponsored the police to harass, arrest and torture them. He said the action of the firm undermined the Federal Government’s efforts that have led to the current relative peace in the NigerDelta region. “It is highly despicable and condemnable that a service contract worker who has worked for Exxon-Mobil for over thirty years was offered N150,000 as end of service severance benefit,” he said.




Army chief assures non-indigenes of safety


HIEF of Army Staff (COAS) Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika was yesterday in Onitsha. His mission was to assure resident-settlers in the Southeast of safety and allay the fears of non-indigenes. The General said there would be no reprisals over the bomb attack on Sabon-Gari bus station in Kano, Kano State. The COAS urged community leaders to prevail on the people to remain calm. Lt-Gen. Ihejirika, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Div, Nigeria Army, Enugu, MajGen Adebayo Olaniyi, toured the Onitsha Main Market and the Head Bridge Market as well

From Emeka Odogwn, Nnewi

as the Arewa Park, among other markets on foot for over three hours. He held talks with the various market leaders and traders on the need to maintain the peace and shun inducements for a reprisal. Commending the maturity of Ndigbo in handling the situation, he thanked Anambra State Governor Peter Obi and leaders (religious and community) for their proactive measures to ensure the threat for a reprisal was nipped in the bud. Gen. Ihejrirka, who later addressed a stakeholders

meeting at the Officers’ Mess, 302 Artillery Regiment of the Nigeria Army, Onitsha, said that reprisal attacks could never solve the security challenges facing the country. He said: “Let me also state categorically that the insinuation of a possible reprisal attack is unfounded as it exists only in the imagination of some unpatriotic elements desperate to cause tension. “I am, however, aware that a few non-indigenes, resident in Onitsha, have out of perceived fear, moved away from their abode to other areas for safety. “There is no report of any form of attack to warrant these movements. Since yesterday when the report was received,

troops of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies have mounted patrols to monitor the situation in major towns and flash points across the Southeast. “I can, therefore conveniently inform you all that there is no tension of any sort and citizens, including nonindigenes, should go about their businesses without fear.’’ He sued for peace across the Southeast, especially in the commercial city of Onitsha, assuring that the army was on top of the security challenges. Gen. Ihejirika addedthat Sunday’s bomb attack in the ancient city of Kano was unfortunate and needed serious maturity to handle.

• Kwankwaso (right), Chief Bisi Akande and others during a visit to the victims of bomb blast at the Airforce Medical Centre, Kano ...yesterday.

Nwanosike Onu, Awka


RKED by the killing of innocent travellers at the New Road Motor Park in Kano on Monday, the youths of An-

•Kwakwanso, Tinubu, visit victims on hospital beds From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

The ambush came on the heels of Tuesday’s attack on a woman police officer, Maimuna Yusf. She was shot dead by gunmen while fixing her car’s tyre at the GSM Village at the Farm Centre. The attackers immediately disappeared from the scene to frustrate their arrests by other officers. Some civilians, mostly passers-by, were allegedly hit by stray bullets fired by the fleeing militants. Spokesman to the Kano

State police Command, Magaji Majiya, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) confirmed the incident but said no arrests had been made. The scene of the attack was immediately cordoned off by the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the police who combed the area for possible arrests of suspects. Majiya said there was no arrest yet. One of the injured police victims on admission at the Armed Forces Specialist Hospital who demanded anonymity commended the courage of the driv-

er. He said they would have been killed if the driver had not controlled the truck that was coveying them. “It was hit severally by explosives and bullets. His bravery prevented the truck from somersaulting as they all laid flat to avoid been hit by bullet,” he said. Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu visited the victims at the hospital. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader was in Kano to sympathise with the Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero over the attack on his convoy that took him to London for 38 days.

Attack designed to destabilise country, says JNI


HE muslims umbrella body in the North Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) - has described the suicide bombing of the New Road Motor Park in Kano as a ploy to plunge Nigeria into chaos. The body alleged that the grand design was to begin the destabilisation agenda with Kano, the North’s commercial headquarters. Reacting to the incident, which claimed dozens of lives, the JNI Secretary-General, Sheikh Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, said the attack was worrisome and asked the three tiers of government to do everything possible to nip such incidents in the bud and bring those responsible to justice. In a statement made available to reporters, the JNI also condemned the killing of a


OR the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), Ndigbo should not retaliate the bombing of the Sabon Gari Motor Park in Kano, Kano State. Many, including Igbo, died in the attack. It warned that doing so would amount to playing into the hands of terrorists. The warning was contained in a statement issued by the Movement after its executive committee meeting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, yesterday. The Kano bloodshed was “seriously deliberated upon” alongside its possible consequences at the parley, IYM President Elliot Uko said. He said the warning was necessary to caution avoid reprisals, especially to individuals and groups who are planning demonstrations and rallies against the attack. Uko warned that angry demonstration and protests could easily get out of hand, with the attendant loss of lives and properties, thereby acting the script of the terrorists. The statement reads: “The script is to deliberately provoke Ndigbo to revenge and kick off mayhem that would lead to an uncontrollable conflagration. “We should not respond to the Kano bloodshed with more bloodshed. Painful and regrettable as the bombings were, we call on Ndigbo all over Nigeria to show restraint and maturity at this time. “Doing otherwise will amount to eventually achieving the aim of the anarchists who bombed those buses. “If Nigeria was set on fire, the beneficiaries would be the anarchists whose goal remain the total destruction of Nigeria by pitching religion against religion and tribe against tribe, Ndigbo should therefore remain calm and cautious.”

•Threaten showdown with federal,Kano govts

Nine mobile policemen injured in gun duel


Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

Youths demand explanation within two weeks


T was a narrow escape for nine mobile policemen in Kano yesterday. Their patrol van was ambushed by unknown gunmen, who engaged them in a gun duel in Sharada Industrial Estate, on the outskirts of Kano at about 7am. The officers were rushed to the Armed Forces Specialist Hospital. The victims were being conveyed to their various duty posts before the unprovoked attack by the gunmen, believed to be members of the Boko Haram sect.

Ndigbo urged not to retaliate

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

woman Divisional Police Officer (DOP) in Kano, even as it called for calm and restraint. The statement reads: “Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) under the leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, once again condemned in the strongest terms the bomb blast that occurred in Kano. “This new trend of bombing at a Motor Park, and the killings that ensued, on innocent people that gather to travel to various destinations, at New Road, Sabon-Gari, Kano, Kano State on Monday, 18th March, 2013 is disturbing and alarming. “Similarly, the gunshot at a female DPO in Kano, Kano State on Tuesday, 19th March, 2013, is also condemned. We therefore,

call for calm and restraint. The situation is very worrisome, and calls for more concerted efforts and strategies of averting such ugly situations. “More so, our concern is why was the park targeted? It seems there is a design to set the entire North on crises and by extension, the whole Country, starting with Kano, after witnessing relative peace in the region.” Also yesterday, pan-Igbo social-political organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it could no longer guarantee the civil reaction of its members to the continued killings of Igbo in some states in the North. The organisation also said that stopping its youths from carrying out reprisals over the years, even in the face of extreme anger, has been a difficult job and

therefore not sure if it would continue to restrain them from doing so. It, however, urged Ndigbo to maintain peace while awaiting President Goodluck Jonathan’s reaction to the latest “dastardly” act. It warned: “In the future, these fundamentalist’ murderers must be tackled with the same ruthlessness with which they destroy lives.” A statement signed by the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, reads: “We roundly condemn the sponsors and perpetrators of the continued cold blooded murder of fellow Nigerians. “The Igbo nation is taking the heaviest toll on the casualty list and Ndigbo are grossly pained by this organised pogrom on her people.”

ambra State yesterday demanded an explanation from the federal and Kano state governments. The youths, under the auspices of Transform Nigeria Movement (TNM), threatened a showdown, should the governments failed to give the explanations within two weeks. TNM coordinator Mr. Obi Ochije told reporters that the youths want proper investigation of the massacre of Ndigbo in Kano and other parts of the North. He said: “Somebody should tell us if Ndigbo are no longer Nigerians, so that we can retrace our footsteps. “The slaughtering of our people has become outrageous in the North and if nothing is done urgently, the youth in the Southeast will mobilise and fight back. “We are offering the federal and Kano state governments two weeks to tell us (Ndigbo) what happened to our people.’’ According to Ochije, it was the first time the youths from the Southeast would react angrily to such developments. He said: “So, we cannot continue to fold our hands and allow our people to be slaughtered daily; we are not animals and if nothing is done now, the reprisal would be devastating in the Southeast.

NBA to President: address insurgency in one week By Adebisi Onanuga


ESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday got a sevenday ultimatum from the Ikeja, Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to tell the nation his administration’s plans to curtail the Boko Haram insurgency. Branch Chairman Mr Monday Ubani said: “These killing cannot be allowed to continue.” He was reacting at a press conference on the state of the nation at the Bar Centre, Ikeja, to the bombing of some Lagos-bound luxury buses at Sabon Gari in Kano on Monday. “If he fails or refuses to do as demanded, Nigerians are being advised to prepare to hold the Peoples National Conference outside the government and decide their destinies independently,” he said. Ubani also asked the Federal Government to explain why there is no apparent positive result towards stemming the Boko Haram menace. “It is the minimum requirement, if we must exist as a nation, else let it be known by all and sundry that if the country disintegrates on our faces, we all cannot escape the judgement of history and that of our children.” he said. Ubani condemned the rising wave of extra-judicial killings across the country and charged security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities in ensuring security of lives and properties. He said: “Therefore, it is clearly barbaric and a breach of national interest and international laws, treaties and protocols for lives of citizens to be taken away on mere suspicion of having committed a crime.”






•Benue Governor’s wife, Mrs Yemisi Suswam (middle) being presented anti-retroviral drugs in Markudi by Mrs Patricia Aghayere (left) of Actlap Children Foundation, Canada. With them right is Director-General, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr Paul Orhii.

•Vice Chancellor, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Prof. Barineme Fakae (left) and Rivers Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Emma Chindah at the 38th Annual Conference And 40th anniversary of Nigeria Society for Animal Production in Port Harcourt ... on Monday.

•Plateau Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Stephen Barko (middle), inspecting exhibitions during the first annual poultry show in Jos... on Tuesday.

•New local government sole administrators in Kebbi State taking their oath of offices before Justice Abbas Ahmed (second left) in Birnin Kebbi... on Tuesday. With them is Governor Saidu Dakingari.

•L-R: Regional Director, Moneygram, North & West-Africa, Mr. Francois Payret, Marketing Executive, Anglophone, West Africa, Mr. Kofi Alayea and Assistant Director, Centre Spread Advertising, Mrs. Bankole Akanbi, at the rifle draw by MoneyGram held at the Ocean View Restaurant, in Lagos. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

•L-R: Mr. Ola Azeez being presented with a Fellowship Award by the President of The Nigerian Institute of Training and Development (NITAD) at Etal Halls and Hotels, Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Lagos.

•General Manager,, Mr. Segun Awoyinfa (left); Singer/Friends Africa Ambassador, Bez Idakula; CEO, Thistle Praxis Consulting, Mrs. Ini Onuk and Founder, Paradigm Initiative, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, at a discussion hosted by Friends Africa on powering non-governmental organisation and social Entrepreneurship using social media in Lagos.

•From right: Japanese Vice-Minister for Education, Culture, Science and Technology Hideki Niwa, Minister of State for Education Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, Deputy Head of Mission, Nigerian Embassy in Japan, Ambassador Inalegwu Ogah and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, at the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Tokyo during the minister’s official visit to Japan.

•The Chairman, Eti Osa Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Alhaji Owolabi Yisa receiving an award from Mr. Mutiu Yinusa, as the 'Best and Efficient Chairman in Eti-Osa Local Government'.

•From Left: President, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Dr Theo Okonkwo; Nigerian Ambassador to Vietnam, Amb. Mathias Okafor And Leader, Vietnamese Delegation to the 24th Enugu International Trade Fair, Mr Dao Phu during an interactive session with Nigerian Economic Community at the Fair in Enugu... on Tuesday







INDUSTRY Firm to boost CSR through online publication


HISTLEPRAXIS Consulting has introduced into the market,its new online portal, Sustainable Conversations. It will provide up to date information, insights and resources from experts on CSR, sustainability and sustainable development. This, according to a statement, is in line with ThistlePraxis’ vision to promote the adoption and practice of CSR in Africa to reach more professionals, organisations and government agencies. It also intends to drive environmental, social and business improvements in the continent. A statement by the Lead Consultant/Chief Executive Officer, Ini Onuk, said the response received so far has been very encouraging. He added that the need to take the learning experience a notch higher and reach out to much more interested professionals across the African continent has informed this decision. “We look forward to a more rewarding experience as we share more information in line with our quest to ensure an open, unending conversation,” he said.

Cassava Bread Fund ready in April, says minister T HE Cassava Bread Fund (CBF) will be ready for users to access next month, the Federal Government has said. Speaking at the National Stakeholders’ Forum on Cassava Bread in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said to support the use of cassava flour substitution in bread; the government came up with some fiscal policies. These, he said, included, raising the tariff on imported wheat, removal of duty on enzymes for the production of cassava bread, as well as the removal of duty on equipment and machinery required for cassava bread

Stories by Toba Agboola

production. Adesina said: “Nigeria is one of the largest importers of food in the world, spending annually about N635billion importing wheat flour for use in bread, confectionaries and other foods. This level of importation of wheat is economically non-sustainable. “Wheat accounted for a small share of the national food consumption in the 1960s as bread was not even a significant part of our food consumption. Total wheat

import was only 78,000 metric tonnes in 1960. This rose to 1,400,000 MT in 1980; 1,913,000 MT in 2000 and an all-time high of 4,051,000 MT by 2010. By 2011, Nigeria spent N635billion on wheat imports. “The substitution of cassava flour for wheat flour is not a political decision. The substitution of up to 40 per cent wheat flour with cassava flour will save the economy N254billon annually. The savings will go to our own cassava farmers and processors, creating millions of jobs instead of exporting jobs to

Intel empowers women entrepreneurs


‘Nigeria is bastion for global business’


FRICAN countries, particularly Nigeria, have been described as the last bastion for business globally. They will prove their potentials as a stable, lucrative continent for international commerce over the next few years, Chief Executive Officer of DHL Express, Mr. Ken Allen, said during his visit to countries in sub-Sahara Africa. He said: “Much has been said about Africa’s potential and, while it currently only contributes three per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it is still the fastest growing continent. “We have seen positive economic indicators from countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda to name a few, and I believe we will continue to see Africa improve its standing on the international business stage.” He, however, pointed out the major challenge facing logistics industry’s operations in Africa. He said: ”The major challenge for Africa and, primarily for us as logistics operators, is to improve infrastructure, whether this is road infrastructure or air capacity.’’

other countries.” The minister lamented that farmers were experiencing low and variable prices for cassava due to poor development of markets, adding that the use of cassava in the production of bread was one of the thing that would shore up the value of the produce. In a related development, the government has begun talks with the United States to fast-track increased investment in the agricultural transformation agenda. At a meeting with the U.S Corporate Council to Africa,

led by the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCulley, Adesina, who solicited investment in Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ), said the government had identified 14 sites, where infrastructural facilities, such as roads, water and electricity would be provided for investors. The government, he said, is working with the ministries and its departments, and international development agencies, to attract private sector agribusinesses into the storage, preservation, processing, and distribution of local agricultural produce in clusters of high food production.

•From left: Honorary Treasurer, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Mr Lawrence Opayemi; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga and MAN President Mr Kola Jamodu during the minister’s meeting with MAN Council in Lagos.

OMEN entreprenurs should be encourage through adequate training and empowerment to use their potential and become a major economic block in Africa. This was the conclusion of speakers at a technology and entrepreneurship training for the 21st century woman in Lagos. Executive Director, The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, Oreoluwa Somolu, said: “Entrepreneurial forces are relatively strong in this country with women being at the hub of entrepreneurial activities.

NEPC: $2.7b non-oil products exported in 2012


HE Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said $2.7 billion non-oil products were exported between 2011 and last year. During a tour of Olam Nigeria Limited in Lagos, NEPC Chairperson Mrs Grace Clark said the council would enhance the capacity of the local manufacturers. “ The country exported about $2.7 non- oil products last year. On those industries that are adding value to the economic, they will received our attention. We want to encourage them to do more. They will be the first to benefit from the various incentives we are working on. This is in line with the government’s Transformation Agenda and backward integration policy. As for Olam, we are impressed in what we

•Council begins export grant review have seen so far,” she said. She said the Federal Government’s objective of boosting non-oil exports would enable the council to focus more on agro-allied industries as well as improve the packaging and labelling standards of made-in Nigeria products. Clark said the sesame seed promotion was part of government’s action to boost non-oil export in the country. On the Export Expansion Grants (EEG), Clark said the Federal Government has started a comprehensive review of the EEG programme to cater for inadequacies created by the current scheme. She said the reviewed policy would be released this

year once the inter-ministerial committee working on the policy concludes its meeting. The EEG is a post-shipment export incentive scheme designed by government to encourage non-oil exporters whose minimum yearly export turnover is N5 million. This is geared towards assisting exporters expanding their volume and value of non-oil export. It will also diversify export markets and make them more competitive in the international market. The scheme was established by the Export (Incentives & Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1986 and currently being administered by inter-ministerial committee made up of

the Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Custom Service(NCS), NEPC and the Special Assistant to the President on Manufacturing Association of Nigeria and the private sector in general. Some of the challenges manufacturers encounter with the EEG disbursement include the cumbersome process spread of over 18 months and instability of government protectionist policy, as well as discontinuity of the scheme at a point in time, thus crippling the nonoil export sector at a period. The Managing Director, Olam Nigeria Limited, Mr Mukul Prakash, said the company is building a N2billion new modern sesame seed factory, expected to be inaugurated in 2014.

The lack of jobs and the rise in poverty leave few other options for the average Nigerian, more so the Nigerian woman. However, there appears to be a critical role and place of technology in entrepreneurship towards the advancement of the nation, for which the woman plays a critical role.” Somolu also stated that such an initiative with women empowerment as its focus is a welcome development and hailed Intel Corporation for throwing its weight behind the workshop. She added that for long, issues of women empowerment were treated as trivial. Corporate Affairs Manager of Intel, Osagie Ogunbor, noted that the initiative was borne out of the desire to stimulate interests in entrepreneurship as an approach to establish businesses that will strategically place women on a globally competitive level and, ultimately, reduce the increasing unemployment problem in Nigeria. “Empowering women through information and communications technology has been considered as critical to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria. The disparity between men and women in Nigeria with regard to access to basic ICT services has been a gross limitation to the country becoming a major economic bloc in the African sub-region and indeed the world,” he stated.

‘How to attract investors, by US envoy


OR Nigeria to be a major player in the global business world and attract more foreign investors, the act of global best practices must be strictly adhered to. This was the submission of the Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Ambassador Terrence McCulley. He said accountability and transparency should be the rule of the game, adding that the government should set the rules with a vision and mission of how things should be done. He said this at the briefing on the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), Infrastructure Trade Mission to Nigeria. McCulley said: ‘’American and Nigerian businesses have a great deal to share with each other as the Nigerian market

By Ajose Sehindemi

offers tremendous prospects.’’ He said the United States remains a key partner as Nigeria develops into a dynamic and mature economy. The trade mission was led by the Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Ms. Mimi Alemayehou. She said Nigeria will benefit from high value and high quality product being offered in the US. Alemayehou said African countries do not trade with each other as only 10 per cent of inter-trade is done among African countries unlike the level of trade between Africa and the rest of the world

mainly caused by poor infrastructure. OPIC is the U.S Government’s Development Finance Institution and manages over $16 billion in financing and insurance, in support of private sector investment in emerging markets. She said the trade mission is designed to foster commercial engagement and create lasting relationships from which prospective businessopportunitiesandavenues for collaboration can be explored. She said her institution intends to participate in the financial, energy and agriculture sectors where there is huge potential for progress . On the level of insecurity in the North, the Ambassador said it is a concern, which the President has to address.

•From left: Group Managing Director, UACN Plc, Mr Larry Ettah; Managing Director, CAP Plc, Mrs. Omolara Elemide and Executive Director, Corporate Services, UAC Plc, Mr Joe Dada, at the unveiling of the colour of the year in Lagos. PHOTOS: ADEJO DAVID



DISCOURSE Text of Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka’s speech at a media parley organised by the Lagos Black Heritage Festival in Lagos ...yesterday

Ghost missions on the gravy train


had thought to leave this subject strictly to the discretionary powers of the nation’s Women’s Organisations, as I did not wish to be obliged to counter the convenient accusations that we, the male chauvinist oppressors of womanhood in society, have merely seized upon a legitimate initiative of ‘public spirited’ women elite to frustrate female advocacy. However, as scandal surmounts scandal, it is more than likely that a mere “chicken feed” like four billion Naira will become subsumed in public consciousness, overawed by egregious affronts such as the recent presidential pardons. The national attention span – in the face of corruption especially – suffers from overload, and there are those who know it, manipulate and profit from it! It is within this tried and tested tradition that I view a recent government “clarification” on the First Ladies Mission Mansion, offered through the agency of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I refer to a reportage on page 63 of ThisDay, March 18, and in other media on March 19. The Minister offers the following explanation for the ‘controversial’ budgetary allocation, and I do quote: “The African First Ladies Peace Mission is similar to any other similar regional or international organization, it is NOT an NGO. (emphasis mine). It is an African Union-led initiative, it does not belong to any individual, it belongs to the African Union. “The Minister recalled that the mission has been in existence since the time of Mrs. Mariam Abacha….. He added that the First Ladies in 2008 requested Nigeria to provide a permanent secretariat for the mission after an intense lobby by Libya to host the secretariat and bankroll its activities…..” The Minister goes on to paint a very laudable picture of the purpose of the First Ladies Peace Mission, rounding up with the battle-cry: “Nigeria would continue out its international obligations. (Bravo!) When the secretariat is completed in Abuja…..” With those two last items, I regret to say that the Honorable Minister lost me. Alarm bells rang jangled frantically on reading those words: “When the secretariat is completed in Abuja…..” Are we dealing here with a fait accompli, which means we are all simply whistling in the wind? Then there is the claim that goes: “African Union-led”. The nation deserves to know the chapter and verse under which the African First Ladies initiative was adopted, much less led, by the African Union. Next: since when did the private interests of the of rulers’ wives become an “international obligation”? Even if

‘You cannot make budgetary allocations to ghosts. Like ghost workers through whose invisible entrails billions have vanished into Nigerian burial grounds, First Ladies are nothing but constitutional ghosts’ Sani Abacha’s First Lady presumed to act for Nigeria, how does this commit a democratic government to the presumptuousness of the mere spousal appendage of the head of a member state? Again: this time, simply as a matter of curiosity, since I have never heard of a Muammar Qaddafi’s First Lady who did the lobbying on behalf of Libya? Qaddafi’s rubber stamp Parliament, the Jamahiriya? Or his permanently invisible counterpart to Nigeria’s then spousal squatter in Aso Rock? May I ask what legality, in national or international law, the whims and caprices of rulers’ wives exercise upon governments? Finally, I wish to quote the following entry from the Nigerian media. It was entered during the roforofo fight between one immediate past ‘Lady’, the Spousal Abuser of President Yar’Adua, and her current successor. They came to blows – well, metaphorically speaking – over the luscious slab of real estate on which the current Madame had chosen to erect her own Monument to Nigeria’s chronic First Ladyism. I invite you to study closely the ‘clarification’ by the then Minister for the Federal Capital Territory. He does not cite Africa’s Union resolution or any such international obligation. He does not cite the imperatives of Nigeria’s moral obligations. He does not even mention Nigeria’s dubious leadership – ‘giant of Africa’ sentiment - to which we are expected to genuflect, no matter how gratuitous the context. No, his intervention narrates most unambiguously the role of sycophantic public servants in the inducement and servicing of spousal egos. Here is the relevant admission, and – do note – revealed as a matter of pride, not of embarrassment or shamefaced, unavoidable disclosure. “When I became minister, I brought the idea for the building of the secretariat as a legacy the former First Lady would leave behind. I consulted the former president and advised him on

the project after she became leader of the African First Ladies Mission. I told him that the NGO - emphasis mine needed a secretariat to build an edifice just like the Women Centre built by the late Maryam Babangida and the National Hospital built by Maryam Abacha.” “He (Yar’adua) agreed and told me to look for a land. When I eventually found the land, I prepared a Certificate of Occupancy and the structural design of the proposed secretariat before I reported back to him. He appreciated the effort and directed me to meet her with the proposal” “After a discussion, she accepted the idea and set up a committee comprised of the FCT and Foreign Affairs officials, Maryam Abacha, late Murtala Mohammed’s wife and Patience.” There you have it in a nutshell. Maryam Abacha’s ‘project’ was a hospital. Sadder still, we have it from the horse’s mouth that First Ladies are entitled so set up committees made up of public servants – Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, Foreign Affairs, etc. – heaven knows how many fell over one another to serve on that committee. The cult of First Ladyism rose to obscene heights under the former Maximum Ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, yet it was under the watch of that very general that a female Permanent Secretary, ordered by the then Maximum Spouse to report to her office for an assignment, told her, quite politely, “Madam, I only take orders from my Minister”. She then returned to her office to write out her resignation letter. That was then! Today, the obverse obtains. The role which even Ministers have played in elevating the culture of groveling sycophancy to the status of governance virtue has contributed in no small measure to the abuse of constitutional provisions and irresponsible budgetary attributions. Instead of remaining a dark, embarrassing secret, it is confidently aired on international

•Prof Soyinka media such as the Voice of America, turning this nation into a space of ridicule and self-inflicted disdain. It is not all sycophancy however, it is – projects! Projects with minimal overseeing and accounting, gravy trains with adept practitioners at the controls! It is time we confronted squarely those unctuous, self-righteous attributions such as “the legacy that the First Lady would leave behind”. Who says a First Lady has to leave a legacy behind?” Was she elected by the people? Is she constitutionally a public official? Does she have an obligation to render account of her “stewardship”? I have taken the trouble to study the Federal Territory Act, and not one paragraph, not one sentence specifies that the FCT minister’s functions include saddling First Ladies with the responsibility of “bequeathing a legacy.” To summarize: here then are two contrasting expositions – that of the Minister of the FCT, and that of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The FCT Minister even claimed that this Mission is an NGO; the Minster for Foreign Affairs insists that it is not, that it is an “international obligation”! Please, spell it out more clearly. Since when? Under what protocols, resolutions or whatever? And of what international organization?

Fed Govt to name Head of Service today

Alleged oil fraud: EFCC begins trial HE Economic and Finan- of NIPC boss the court. The matter has been adcial Crimes Commission


(EFCC) yesterday began the trial of Mr. Vincent Usiahon, a Deputy Director with Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), over alleged oil business fraud. Usiahon is facing a 29-count charge of intent to defraud and obtaining about N15.8 million under false pretences from the complainant, Mr. Sonny Atumah. He allegedly collected the monies in installments over 16 months by deceiving Atumah, his friend of over 25 years that he would invest them in oil allocation business. The alleged offence is contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006. At the trial before Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, the Prosecution Counsel, Austin Emumejakpor called the

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

first Prosecution Witness (PW1), Mrs. Lolade Longe. Longe, an Assistant Detective Superintendent with the EFCC recalled that the agency on January 17, 2011, received a petition from Chris Nwonu, a lawyer. “After receiving the petition, we wrote an invitation letter to the accused which he honoured. In honouring the interview, he volunteered a statement under caution. At a time he admitted that all he had been saying was a lie. He said he would like to discard it and tell the true story, and he did so. “I countersigned the statement as a witness my lord after which I took him before a senior officer to endorse statement. He made an additional statement staing the existence of one Dave Agbai”, she told

journed till May 23 for continuation of trial. Usiahon’s trouble began when a lawyer, Chris Nwonu petitioned the anti-graft agency. Nwonu said that “sometimes in or about May 2008, the suspect approached the petitioner with a proposal for international oil business within which he was involved with some foreign partners whose identity he did not disclose to the petitioner. He painted a glossy picture of the business ....stressing the enormous profit to be made there from which will be denominated in U.S Dollars over a shirt period of time. “For the period the petitioner was releasing these monies to the suspect, he was a constant guest in the petitioners’ home, staying sometimes as late as 12 a.m in the midnight, using the petitioner’s

President Goodluck Johathan must be stoutly applauded for declaring that he cannot grant Amnesty to ghosts. Let me add also that you cannot make budgetary allocations to ghosts. Like ghost workers through whose invisible entrails billions have vanished into Nigerian burial grounds, First Ladies are nothing but constitutional ghosts, and that means that their ‘pet projects’, wherever they lay claims on national budgeting – individually or collectively, and however lofty sounding - are nothing but spectral emanations, already Dead on Arrival. Lest I am misunderstood: First Ladies have the same right as all citizens to “leave a legacy behind”. They must however work hard to source their funds where the rest of the world does – in the private domain, not dig their hands into public funds on which crying needs, far too numerous and deserving to mention, have prior and – most important - legitimate and constitutional claims. Too bad, Bill Gates has decided to keep away from Nigeria, owing to the latest incontinence of power – Madame should have tried ‘touching’ Mr. Gates for some small change. Then she would have learnt that hard working millionaires are painfully discriminating about what causes they espouse.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

A •EFCC chair Ibrahim Lamorde

laptop to browse the internet under the pretext that he was following up on the business through his partners overseas. “The suspect sustained heist, giving false assurances and phony deadlines to the petitioner when he claimed the business will be sealed and his invested sum with the profit therein paid to him. “With the onset of reality and truth, the petitioner started making frantic efforts to recall his money from the suspect but to no avail.

NEW Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF) will be named today. President Goodluck Jonathan made this known yesterday in Abuja at a valedictory session held by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in honour of the outgoing Head of Service, Alhaji Isa Sali. The event held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, where Jonathan also swore-in three new permanent secretaries. Sali, who was appointed Head of Service in September 29, 2011 would clock the mandatory retirement age of 60 on Saturday. The president hailed the exemplary leadership qualities of the outgoing Head of Service, and said that he would be missed in council. He said that Sali, though, a man of few words had proved his character as an efficient and effective administrator. “Thank you Isa for serving this country and especially for heading the civil service within this period that Nigerians asked us to oversee the affairs of this country. “You are still very young and agile, but based on the laws of the land you are leaving, but we believe that you will still continue to serve this country, whereever you find yourself. “If we beckon on you to serve the country again on any capacity, whether it is ad-hoc or standing we are hopeful that you will do so,’’ he said. The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, also hailed the brilliant career of the outgoing head of service and said that he distinguished himself in the civil service.





N6 billion for God’s sake! • This is another chapter in a series of absurdities of this awful presidency


E have not as a people drawn the distinction between the sacred and the profane or secular. It is also the same perfidy of ideas that fails us in distinguishing the personal from the official. Hence, government officials, including presidents, governors and legislators at every level conflate the personal and private as though they were actions on behalf of the people. This is one of the grave failings, failures and, often, the tragedies of the democracy that remains fledgling even after a decade’s sojourn. We experienced such a charade of show on March 16, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. It was the launching ceremony to build a church complex for the St. Stephen’s Anglican Deanery and Youth Development Centre in Otuoke, the Bayelsa State home village of President Goodluck Jonathan. Apart from the obscene piece of news that the bigwigs that attended managed to donate a princely fortune of N6billion to a subaltern worship place, what was a bit dramatic was that the event had a snob factor to it. The church complex was to serve the local community of the President. They are poor, rural, mostly illiterate and removed from the high-flown opulence of the city, and especially Nigeria’s special city known as Lagos. But all those who gathered, including governors, bank chiefs and top politicians and bureaucrats, could not meet even under a tent in the village of Otuoke in the economically disenfranchised ambience of the ordinary people. But as if to demonstrate their innocence of the people’s fount of being, they chose the air-conditioned, barricaded and tony place to vote N6 billion. The sum matched the locale of the event, but was out of place in the community of benefit. Part of the large sums were as follows: Chief Arthur Eze (N1.8billion), PDP Governors Forum (N230 million) and South-south governors (N100 million). It was obvious from the huge sums that these so-called leaders and moneybags are remote from the common people. In the first place, how does the building of a massive church complex change the lives of the poor people of Otuoke? A church as big and a complex as that would have a lot of modern devices and touches that will dazzle the simple people of the village. How do we expect a person whose best clothes cost barely N2,000 and cannot match the grandeur of the chair and the ambience of marble walls, frescoes and rarefied greenies, etc? This is dissonance of the most

• Jonathan

pestiferous and cold-hearted sort. If the amount voted is indeed all spent on that project, then it is obvious that the people will have it as their monument of mockery. A people that barely live on N1,000 a day, a people whose ambience is surfeit with deprivation, where no school of high quality exists, where the people live mainly on shanty and dilapidated structures, a people who do not have the opportunity as those who voted the money to strike out in entrepreneurial universe? The same people are being urged to expect to wake up every Sunday to behold the wonder of the Lord in a sickening beauty of palace in the name of God. To give the place a sense of glamour, the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, said he would donate a nursery school and cancer diagnostic centre components of the structure. Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio and the new leader of the PDP Governors Forum announced the donation of N230 million while Governor Liyel Imoke reeled out the news of the N100 million gift from the south-south governors. Apart from the fact that these sums are out of place, we need to know whether these are personal donations from the individual coffers of the governors or from the state purses. In either case, it unveils the maggoty state of corruption in the society. We don’t believe that, if the governors put the matters to the vote, the majority of the people will give their consent. So, the donations represent abuse of office and violation of the

‘There are many projects that N6 billion can accomplish even in the village of Otuoke. But the same President who has lost a sense of priority in the larger society does not know that. All he had for the donors was gratitude rather than ask that the money be spent for other worthy projects that can connect his village, nay his state, to the modern world’

people’s trust. This newspaper reported that some of the governors contacted denied ever being consulted before the donations were announced. We also need to understand that this is not the first time such issue of grand abuse will hit the headlines regarding the President and his home village, Otuoke. The President’s home village church also benefitted from a contractor, Gitto Construzioni Generali Limited as it donated the multi-million dollar church. The matter generated so much uproar that some concerned persons wanted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to wade into what they saw as conflict of interests. It was in that context that it was revealed that the contractor worked for President Jonathan when he was governor of Bayelsa State. Some commentators and politicians also responded to the charge by former governor Timipre Sylva who said Gitto was building a house for the President at Otuoke. These are not the sort of narrative that we should associate with a President that claims to hold anticorruption crusades in high esteem. The launching of last week Saturday took place against the backdrop of the state pardon he granted his former boss and friend, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a decision that has drawn turbulent rage from both civil society and the international community. President Jonathan is following in the footsteps of another opprobrious precedent. On May 14, 2005, a similar event was organised to build a presidential library for President Olusegun Obasanjo. This was a valedictory gesture, but as many know, it was an act of coercion on the public square. The extravagance of the sycophancy only foreshadows the sort of society that we may morph into if this emotional theatre is not put to an end. Those who donated did not do it out of their love of God, or the spiritual health of the citizens of the President’s village. They did it, to quote Professor Itse Sagay, as an act of extortion to which sychophants respond because they “ are unjustly benefitting from government.” In this age of economic crunch and grinding poverty, this extraordinary act of financial showiness sends a signal to the poor and the young: make money at all cost. There are many projects that N6 billion can accomplish even in the village of Otuoke. But the same president who has lost a sense of priority in the larger society does not know that. All he had for the donors was gratitude rather than ask that the money be spent for other worthy projects that can connect his village, nay his state, to the modern world. If he had started connecting the nation to the modern world, we would have shown greater shock at his failure to do same to his village with this N6 billion opportunity. Alas, the President cannot give what he does not have.

A cure, in essence, for H.I.V. in some adults WO weeks ago, American doctors reported that they had “functionally” cured a baby infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, with an aggressive treatment of drugs starting some 30 hours after the baby was born. Experts hailed the feat but cautioned that the findings might have little relevance to adults. Now French researchers have identified 14 adults whose treatments with antiviral drugs began within a couple of months of infection, continued for one to seven and a half years, and then stopped. Their immune systems have been able to control their H.I.V. infection for years after the end of their treatment. The patients are not fully cured, which would require eliminating all traces of the virus from the body. Rather they are in remission, with extremely low levels of the virus that their immune systems keep in check. This is referred to as a functional cure. The researchers estimate that as many as 15 percent of adults who start treatment early and continue for at least a year may then be able to stop their drug regimen and live healthily without the drugs. Whether the virus will be held at bay forever or will reassert itself many years later is not known. Although the study was small, the findings suggest that treatment should be started earlier for most people, a difficult feat without a lot more testing to identify who is infected and prompt treatment of those who test positive. The findings also suggest that many people taking antiviral drugs may be able to stop safely, provided doctors can find some sure way to identify them. - New York Times


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IR: I have read different comments on the state pardon granted D.S.P Alamieyeseigha et al. Section 175 (1) (2) (3) of our 1999 constitution that empowers the President to grant pardon to any ex-convict which says: (1) “The President may (a) Grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free, or subject to lawful conditions;…………. (2) The powers of the President under sub section (1) of this section shall be exercised by him after consultation with the council of State. (3) The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the council of State, may exercise his power under subsection (1) of this in relation to person concerned with offences against the army, naval or air-force law or convicted or sentenced by a court – marital”. From the above, there is no doubt that that the law permits the President to do what he did. While I am not supporting corruption, I was worried by the reactions and comments of US embassy in Nigeria and comments of State Department in


US and Alamieyeseigha pardon Washington over the action taken by our President. I wonder if US government wants the President to seek her opinion about our internal affairs, because I can’t remember the last time the US President sought Nigerian government’s consent before taking any action in America. While I appreciate the work of US government in Nigeria, that is not the license for them to be intervening in our internal affairs. When former president Bill Clinton pardoned Fife Symington III, former Republican Governor of Arizona who was convicted of bank fraud, he did not consult Nigeria and Nigerian Embassy in US did not criticise him. Similarly, when Marc Rick, who was charged in 1983 with cheating the US of nearly

$50million and doing business with Iran during the hostage crises, who was never tried having fled to Switzerland to avoid prosecution, was pardoned, Nigeria government did not complain. Therefore America government must mind her own business and stop undue meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of Nigeria. Like Nigeria, United States also have their own peculiar mess. For instance the US government is known for her politics of double standard in different parts of the world. The same US government that claims to be fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan is also giving billions of dollars to rebels fighting Syria’s Al Assad government. It is now 10 years that US-led troop invaded Iraq but

George W. Bush and Tony Blair who committed the crime against humanity in Iraq have not been prosecuted up till now. The same US government who is accusing Nigeria of corruption gave a soft landing to the ousted Yemen President, Ali Abdullah Saleh who looted his country and killed many people during protests. The US government is currently backing the Bahraini king who is killing people protesting against his government since 2011 after revolt in Egypt and Tunisia because of Bahraini oil money he is bringing to US. The call to Bill Gates by US State Department to cancel his scheduled visit to Nigeria on March 27 for charity work to end polio should

Still on the dismissed youth corper


IR: I have observed reactions to the ejection of Tolulope Ekundayo, a graduate of Zoology, Lagos State University, from the NYSC orientation camp in Ogun State for refusing to wear the Khaki trouser meant for youth corpers. I feel very proud to associate with her. In spite of our decaying societal values and high level of disregard for Biblical provisions, she stood firm on her religious belief to challenge the moral decadence in this part of the world. The issue of this dismissed youth corps member has once again brought to the fore the need for the incorporation of religious tolerance in the law guiding the NYSC scheme. To many, the decision of this corps member to stand her ground is uncalled for, old-fashioned and primitive. Some even argued that

she could have complied for the duration of the programme, supporting their arguments with a Biblical injunction in Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account...” The decision of the NYSC authority did not come to me as surprise because many staunch believers may have at one time or the other paid dearly in situations similar to this. The focus here is not to criticise the decision of the camp officials because according to them, her action contradicted Section 3 sub-section (h) of the scheme’s 2012 byelaws, but to address the inadequacies and the insensitivity of the law itself to our religious practice/belief. I see this as great injustice to this hapless lady or is it not the same

NYSC that youth corpers dress almost like masquerades and nobody dares throw them out of the camp? Does religious sentiment now exist in the NYSC scheme? Some years back when I had my NYSC in Taraba State, I recollect that some female Muslim corpers were allowed to use head ties (hijab) to cover their hair instead of using the NYSC cap while some wore white trousers for parades when they were expected to wear a boxer-like short and white shirt. These sets of people claimed that their religious beliefs did not permit them to expose their hair or any part of their body. If consideration is given to this category of people, while can’t the same be extended to the likes of Tolulope Ekundayo? I will be doing great injustice if I don’t commend the NYSC for some of its religious initiatives for corps

members. For instance, provision is made for recognised religious organisations to thrive within the orientation camp. In some permanent orientation camp, there are mosques and churches. Also, every Sunday is a free day for corpers throughout the three weeks orientation period. This is to allow the corpers perform their religious activities without any interference and the time for Jumat on Fridays is usually adhered to strictly with no activity interfacing with it. This area of dressing code may be another area which the authorities concerned may start looking into and consider making it optional. This will help strike a balance among the two religions and further help in advocating religious tolerance. • Ayo Afuwape Iworo Badagry

be a wake-up call to Nigeria and other African countries to stop relying on aid from developed countries before doing what they ought to do. We must learn from other Third world countries like China, India, and Brazil that are developing without waiting for US aid. • John Tosin Ajiboye, Osogbo Osun State

Poor service of Etisalat in Oke-Ogun


IR: The National Communication Commission (NCC) early last year (2012) threaten to sanction any mobile service provider whose service/network was not effective. The commission made good its treat when it fined GLO, MTN, Airtel and Etisalat twice last year for poor services. After the fine, GLO, MTN and Airtel services improved as these services providers made deliberate efforts to improve such. However, it is alarming that Etisalat’s service remains the worst since that time as no efforts is made till now to improve the service in OkeOgun especially in Saki-East, SakiWest and ATISBO Local Governments. Etisalat officials only made arrangement to erect more masts in Ibadan, Ogbomoso and Oyo being cities and abandoned other parts of the state especially OkeOgun area. Hence, their services are better in these cities but terrible in Oke-Ogun area. Is it that once services are better in the cities the NCC would think that the service is good across the state? It is on this note that we are appealing to Etisalat officials to extend their effort of improving services beyond the cities and let such get to Oke-Ogun kin particular. • Ogunremi Timothy Saki, Oyo State





Peace in our time

HE phrase “Peace in our time” was what Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister on the eve of the second world war said when he returned from Germany after meeting Adolf Hitler and appeasing the dictator by virtually signing away the independence and territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia. I am employing this usage to describe what I and all Nigerians of good conscience want for our country at this time. The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III recently said for peace to reign in our community, the federal government should come out with a programme of amnesty for the Boko Haram militants and all other militants who are terrorising Northern Nigeria. His argument is based on the fact that whatever grievances these people may have will be assuaged by an offer of amnesty that would presumably carry financial inducement. The Sultan is a very knowledgeable man; a retired Brigadier-General in the army who I believe has a doctorate degree from University of Lagos is not only a leader of the Muslim faithful but also an intelligent man. His call for amnesty is therefore something he must have considered and thought about very well; in other words, this is not a call that should be dismissed lightly. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has issued a statement through its Secretary General opposing the call for amnesty. This opposition is based on solid ground that Boko Haram has committed capital crime of premeditated murder against fellow Nigerian Muslims and Christians alike, but particularly against several congregations of Christian worshippers in their various churches. They therefore argued that crime must not be seen to pay but rather criminals should pay for their crimes. President Goodluck Jonathan has come out to say there can be no amnesty for now. The emphasis is on NOW. This implies that there could be amnesty in the future. The President’s position is based on the fact that there is no clear identity of the members of Boko Haram. Secondly, he says he does not know what their grievances are and in his colourful language, he says he cannot grant amnesty to ghosts. He went on to say that the comparison between Boko Haram and the Niger Delta militants is not useful. He argues that people knew who the militants in the Niger Delta were and what they were fighting for and that it was easy therefore to negotiate with them and to mount a programme of training and financial inducement for them. He therefore challenged Boko Haram to come forward with their grievances and he will presumably reply them positively. The governors of All Progressives Congress (APC) met in Maiduguri recently and donated 200million naira to Borno State government in support of its peace effort. Following the courageous visit of these governors, the President himself has now visited Yobe and Borno states the epicentre of Boko Haram rebellion. There is no need to get into argument about the motive of the governors or President’s visit, what is important is that progress is now being made in the search for peace and all men and women of good conscience should pray for and associate themselves with the peace effort.


RESIDENTS have wide powers; they have the power of life and death. They can give life and they can take life, but they cannot create life. Only God can create life. The enormous powers that presidents wield derive from state authority. As custodians of the sovereign power of their states, their word is law. When they speak, they do so with authority and whatever they say is final. Nothing to add, nothing to subtract. It takes the fear of God not to misuse these powers. As mortals, we are easily carried away by small things, especially when we find ourselves in a position to determine other people’s fate. The president does not only determine the fate of his people, but also that of his nation. We are all at the mercy of the president. We go, if he tells us to go; we come when he tells us to come. Though we voted him into office, we are at his beck and call once he assumes power. When one occupies an office as high as that of the president, it is easy for him to be carried away by his new found powers. In such a situation, it is easy to misbehave because power, though sweet, is an intoxicant. Those who got drunk on it ended up as bad leaders. Check : Idi Amin; check: Sani Abacha; check : Augustine Pinochet. These were leaders who abused their offices. They had the opportunity to write their names in gold, but they chose to write them in the blood and sweat of their people. They were bad leaders and today, they occupy prime places in the hall of infamy. What is in power that makes people to lose their senses? Is it the office that changes the occupant? Or is it the office that brings out the true nature of the occupant? No matter how we look at it, one thing

Peace is an important condition for progress. Without peace, there can be no economic development or any form of civilization at all. Peace is also a religious injunction by both Islam and Christianity, the two major religions in Nigeria. Al- Islam means peace that is why the standard greeting in Islam is Salaamu a laikun while in Christianity the “peace of the lord” is a standard greeting and both are derived from old Judaism’s Shalom which also means peace. I have a personal stake in peace in North-eastern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole. This is why I am extremely sad and saddened about the events particularly in Plateau and Borno states, two states where I spent five years of my life. I lived in Jos between 1972 -1974, two wonderful years of my life. The weather was beautiful and food particularly exotic foods like Irish potatoes, lettuces, strawberries, and so on were plentiful. Electricity locally generated by a mining company was constant and my daughter was able to attend Corona Nursery School all the way in Bukuru. I was able to purchase from VOM Veterinary Institute a pedigree Labrador golden retriever. I am going into details in order to show the peaceful nature of life on the plateau then. My wife commuted between Lagos and Jos by train. The various ethnic groups in Jos at that time were mainly Birom, Naraguta, Hausa, Angas, Jarawa, Igbo, Yoruba, Urhobo, Fulani and so on and they lived together in peace and practised their different religions without let or hindrance. It is difficult for me to believe that several years later, Jos and its neighbourhood have been reduced to a slaughter slab in which people are killed on a daily basis. The reason for this deterioration is political and until this problem is politically resolved, there may be no peace on the plateau. As for the north-east particularly Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Adamawa and Taraba, the situation there is similar yet different from what is going on in Plateau. I lived in Maiduguri from 1982- 1985, three wonderful years of my life in which I made lasting friendship and impact on the Maiduguri environment. Many of my former students are now occupying important positions in Borno, Yobe, Bauchi and Adamawa states and I am directing my appeal to all of them who may be in a position to facilitate the coming of peace into the North-eastern Nigeria to do so. Peace is indivisible and we must all contribute to it. The religion of Christianity to which people in the north-east adhere to should never be a cause for division, disunity and violence. After all both religions are Abrahamic religions and if need be God is capable of fighting for himself. Any human being fighting a religious war belittles God and questions divine omnipotence. This challenge to God carries consequences of curse if not in this world, in the world hereafter. Out of love for my personal brothers in the North-east, I appeal to them to give peace a chance. Finally, I know this country in and out. I am not an armed chair analyst. The cause of Boko Haram rebellion in the north is partly due to poverty. This poverty arises from climatic changes affecting the Lake Chad basin. The drying up of the Lake Chad and

consequent poverty of the farming and fishing villages in the Lake Chad Basin has brought untold hardship to the people. Drinking water is sometimes so scarce that people had to make do with rain puddles. The corruption of the political leaders and government in the North-east is also a cause of the Jide problem. The lack of a Osuntokun vibrant local press to articulate the desires and wants of the people who have been culturally conditioned not to question their leaders and who for years were satisfied with the crumbs from the tables of their leaders have all led to a complacency on the part of the leaders who have taken the people for granted. In 1982 I did a study on Islamic fundamentalism in the Sudan including the Western Sudan which also includes Northern Nigeria. One of the things we found out was Millenarian movement led by self-declared Imams always came at a time of extreme hardship, poverty, bad governance and adversity during which time religion becomes an opium of the people. Nothing has changed. It is therefore my considered opinion that all state governors in the North-east must embark on social justice and pro-poor development in which there will be zero tolerance for corruption. The federal government must also embark on economic intervention in the zone in order to bring development to the people so as to remove the current feeling of alienation. It is in this regard that the Sultan’s call for amnesty becomes relevant. I am happy with President Jonathan’s promise to intensify the search for hydrocarbons in the North East and to inject billions of naira into the economy of the North-east for this search. He should also channel resources towards the provision of portable water in the region. Agriculture particularly aquaculture and fisheries and rejuvenation of Lake Chad through negotiated channelling of the Ubangi-Shari from the Central African Republic should be looked into. The President’s Almajirai intervention through building schools for the roving band of young people being wrongly indoctrinated by barely literate Koranic teachers must be employed. Some of the teachers should be co-opted into the President’s schools and paid living wage. The work of rehabilitation of the brutalized proletariat and hoi polloi in the North-east must be through combined efforts of the LGAs, state governments and the federal government so that we can have peace in our time.

Presidential abuse of power that is certain is that some people tend to change once they are privileged to hold a small office. As soon as their status changes, they also change, showing their true colours. So, it may be wrong to say that it is the office that changes people. No matter the office we occupy, people will always be themselves when the chips are down irrespective of their background. It is easy to forget our humble background when things appear to be rosy for us. We tend to forget the sufferings of the past; we tend to forget that we were once like those now complaining about happenings in the country. We perceive those complaining as our political enemies who don’t wish us well. If only we could pause and reflect, we will remember that we also passed that road. Then, our grievances were genuine and we took the government to the cleaners for its unpopular policies! But now, we perceive the government in a different light because we have been invited to ‘serve’. What kind of service is it that will make us discard our principle for filthy lucre? Must public officials live by bread alone? By this, I mean should they always be guided by what they will ‘eat’ in whatever they do or say? I am at a loss over how some people change overnight just because they have found themselves in government. As president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan is surrounded by many lieutenants. He has them all, ministers, special advisers, senior special assistants, special assistants and so on and so forth. But is the president getting quality advice from these people? Whether or not he is, that na im toro.

The buck stops at the president’s table. As the principal, he is liable for what his agents do. This is the burden of leadership. He cannot hide under the guise of what his aides did in order to exonerate himself from blame. Was the president under the influence of any advice when he granted state pardon to his former boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha? Or did he do it sou moto? What informed the president’s decision to pardon the former Bayelsa State governor? Was there a petition from the once popular Governor-General of Ijaw Nation? On what grounds did he seek the pardon? Is it that he has turned a turn new leaf and will never steal public funds again if he finds himself in power in future? When the rumour started making the rounds last Wednesday that the president had granted Alamieyeseigha pardon, many were dumbfounded because it was the last thing they ever expected our so-called meek and genial president to do. Alamieyeseigha brought shame to Nigeria when he was caught in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2005 for money laundering. The British legal system, which is no respecter of persons, dealt with the case the way it should. But before his pending trial could be concluded, Alamieyeseigha escaped from London dressed like a woman. How he did that still

beats the imagination up till today. He thought once he got back home, everything would be forgotten, that was where he made a big mistake. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo ensured his impeachment and trial. He entered a plea bargain and got away with a slap on the wrist. As if that is not enough, he has been granted state pardon, meaning he never committed any crime. Ha-ha. Instead of being made to rot in jail, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment and asked to return billions of naira and also forfeit some properties to government. This punishment, which many consider inadequate, is what the president has now wiped off with his ill-advised pardon for Alamieyeseigha. For the opprobrium that Alamieyesegha brought to this country abroad, he deserves to be treated like the common criminal he is for life. He does not deserve this pardon. t is a gross abuse of the president’s power under the Constitution for him to have pardoned Alamieyeseigha. By this act, Jonathan has breached the Constitution which he swore to uphold. Yes, the Constitution allows him, in the exercise of his prerogative of mercy in Section 175 to grant people pardon, but he ought to be mindful of how he uses the power. He should be conscious of public feeling on such matters and as such think deeply before naming the


‘For the opprobrium that Alamieyesegha brought to this country abroad, he deserves to be treated like the common criminal he is for life. He does not deserve this pardon’

Lawal Ogienagbon SMS ONLY: 08099400204

beneficiaries of state pardon. This is why in his oath of office he swore “that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions.” Has Jonathan lived up to this oath in this case? What has Alamieyeseigha done since he was convicted eight years ago to show that he has learnt his lessons? I don’t know except to be seen in the president’s entourage now and then. If that is the only criterion for granting state pardon, then it is a big shame that some 53 years after our Independence, we have not got our priorities right. What is stopping the president from granting state pardon to Lucky Igbinedion, Tafa Balogun, Cecilia Ibru, James Ibori and their ilk? Yes, what is stopping him? With what the president has done, we should declare amnesty for all ex-convicts, no matter what they did. After all, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. But it is not too late to right this wrong. If Jonathan could reverse himself on the renaming of the University of Lagos, there is nothing to stop him from withdrawing the pardon he granted Alamieyeseigha in the public interest.





EMORIES are very short and no condition is permanent. How sad jobless critics of the recent presidential amnesty to convicted former governor of Bayelsa, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, can hardly remember the man once once bestrode Nigeria like a colossus. As ‘Governor General’ of the Ijaws, he was even touted as a possible replacement for Chief Obasanjo as president of a nation where thieves, the indolent, oil/financial fraudsters, armed and pen robbers always steal the limelight. The travails of a man now claimed to be the brain behind the then rampaging Niger Delta militants, started with his offshore detractors that chased him around the world investigating his involvement in corruption and money laundering. The war was led by the governments of Britain, United States, South Africa, Bahamas and Seychelles as well as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Bank under the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative’. It was the international community that told us of his accumulated properties, bank accounts, investments and cash exceeding £10m in value. It was his off-shore enemies that revealed his portfolio of foreign assets which included accounts with five banks in the UK and further accounts with banks in Cyprus, Denmark and the United States; four London properties acquired for a total of £4.8m; a Cape Town harbour penthouse acquired for almost £1m, assets in the United States, since seized by the US government and almost £1m in cash stored in one of his London properties. It was Britain Metropolitan police that charged him to court from where he jumped bail and escaped to Nigeria allegedly dressed like a woman. It was only after this, Ribadu, then the helmsman at EFCC, overstepped his bounds by securing the conviction of the ‘Governor General’ of Ijaw nation, an affront he paid dearly for. And now our president who has made a fetish of his piety through various public demonstrations including exhortation amidst his state house church congregation

‘A Yoruba adage says “you ask a thief to run and he runs, you ask a thief to drop what he is holding and he drops it, what are you chasing him for again?”’

The many enemies of ‘Ijaw Governor-General that “when God gives us power, we must use it for the glory of His creation”, has granted the Ijaw ‘governor general’ an amnesty. Those who are not stakeholders in the affairs of Balyelsa state have assailed us for over a week on the amnesty granted the convicted former governor. These busy bodies have forgotten that President Jonathan as everyone knows except mischief makers is a pious man Like late Tai Solarin who claimed he would accept gift from the devil if it would advance the course of education, he has in fact gone ahead to enthusiastically accept a gift of a church from a government contractor for his community Jonathan, a man of faith obviously to ensure the hard working fishing community of Otuoke need a place to commune with God , the only one who can lessen their burden after each day on the sea paddling canoes. Last week, he was in Lagos to rake in about N7b from government contractors, sitting PDP governors and the ruling PDP for the expansion of evangelization work in Otuoke. (Less inspiring critics claimed the fund should be diverted to purchasing fishing trawlers for those who operate on high sees with paddle canoes). But the president knows, ‘they that labour without putting God first do in vain’. Critics of the president’s granting of amnesty to a man he calls his god-father seem to have also forgotten that our humble president is a loyal and compassionate leader; whose sense of fairness and magnanimity is unparalleled in our nation’s history as long as there are no imaginary enemies that


HE National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war. It was established by decree No.24 of May 22, 1973 which stated that the NYSC is being established “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”. The purpose of the scheme was to inculcate in Nigerian youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social background. In the months of March, July and November, Nigerian graduates are mobilized and sent to any of the 36 states and the federal capital territory to obey the clarion call of lifting their nation high under the sun or in the rain with dedication and selflessness. Then the suffering either begins or continues. There is usually a mad crowd at the point of collection of call-up letters in the various institutions. The queue at this point sometimes turns out to be the shortest in the whole of the service year. At the entrance of the 21 day incarceration camp called NYSC orientation camp, prospective corps members, as they are called, queue to be searched and before going in to begin their term and from then it becomes ‘Every man for himself, God for us all whoever is slow let the soldier take’. Depending on the local arrangements made by individual states, prospective corps members are registered, accommodated and kitted. At 4p.m the first parade is held, 7p.m dinner is served and 10p.m lights out. At 4:30a.m the soldier’s bugle is blown and the sound it

‘Posting ought to be done based on the discipline of the corps member but preference is usually given to corps members who distinguished themselves during the orientation course, personal favourites of resident NYSC officials, and soldiers alike and those who arranged their posting with corporate bodies beforehand’

threaten his position and his control of PDP. If Ogbuluafor, the former PDP chairman, the disgraced former governor of Bayelsa and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, the chairman of now divided Governors Forum have different tales, it was because they misread the president’s mood. But what if one may ask, are the problems of critics who like professional undertakers that weep louder than the bereaved who have assaulted and libeled our humble president this past one week? First, a ‘coalition against corrupt leaders’ led by Debo Adeniran, its chairman, said the pardon of convicted ex-governor Alamieyeseigha who Okupe said had served his terms was another proof that the present administration was corrupt. I cannot see the logic. They also claim a man the president and his spokesmen claimed had suffered enough did not deserve a pardon because he bled his state’s covers during his tenure as governor’, But the fishing Ijaw communities, who by nature are God-fearing and submissive like their illustrious son(s), have never complained to anyone that their ex-governor used part of their funds to buy a few properties in Europe and America. Not even the revelation by Sahara Reporters that the president himself as governor of Balyelsa donated $1m of his state poverty alleviation funds to a resourceful media guru who has changed all the rules of journalism (apology to Uncle Sam Amuka) to bring Beyoncee from the US to sing for about two hours to an audience Otuoke people had no opportunity of attending attracted any reaction. Can’t these critics

understand that for the Ijaws of Bayelsa, their children are their children, right or wrong? Another critic of the president action is Ribadu. Probably still nursing the wounds of having been rubbished as chairman of Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, whose report, Okupe said was inconclusive on the day of its presentation before he had time to read it. The report was finally thrown into the dustbin. And now a man whose views did not sell when consulted is without being asked for his views, claiming the ‘amnesty granted Alamieyeseigha and ex-Managing Director of Bank of the North, Alhaji Mohammed Bulama, is capable of stopping the war against corruption’. But we all know that war stopped a long time ago. Obasanjo, Jonathan’s and Ribadu’s godfather has even confirmed that. Will someone tell Ribadu, a failed presidential candidate to stop belly aching, keep his views to himself and allow our elected president to run his government? Ribadu, not done also said the pardon granted Alamieyeseigha and Bulama would send a negative message to the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. One will like to know which judiciary he is talking about. Is it the one that freed Ibori, a man called a thief in government house and jailed in Britain, or the one that freed Igbinedion and Yusuf with a slap on the arm after massive looting of our resources? Or could it by any chance include the judiciary that is busy shielding children of PDP stalwarts alleged to have committed barefaced robbery through ‘plea bargaining’ which my good friend, Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) recently described as ‘commercialisation of our Criminal Code’? As for the police, I thought before the police authority chased him out of the force and the country, he passed his judgment on the police by putting his then IG in chains before securing his conviction for stealing billions of police welfare and equipment funds. (By the way, if ex-IG Balogun has the right connection, he is also due for amnesty). According to Okupe, a Yoruba adage says “you ask a thief to run and he runs, you ask a thief to drop what he is holding and he drops it, what are you chasing him for again?” In his view, the framers of the constitution envisaged the need for some ex-convicts to be re-integrated into the society, especially if they have shown penitence and willingness to contribute positively to societal growth. I agree with Okupe who is just a marvel when defending President Jonathan. Not too long ago he suffered the same fate, not as a convict but as an accused, when called upon to come and contribute positively to societal growth by President Jonathan.

NYSC: National Youth Slavery Commission? By Seyi Omotayo makes is interpreted to mean it is you that finished schooling so you brought this yourself. At least if you didn’t graduate, you wouldn’t have to serve! Devotion, parade and drills are followed by a poor breakfast; long and boring lectures followed by a poorer lunch and by the time its dinner the poorest of meals is expected. However, miracles sometimes happen. The camp clinic usually receives a number of visitors in the first few days because of the ‘new food’ and paramilitary exercise but in no time the body acclimatizes and life goes on smooth and steady. The orientation programme gets more interesting as the days go by and when it is getting to the peak, the 21 day term comes to a rude end. Letters are handed out once again, but this time around it is either a posting letter or redeployment letter and fresh bouts of sobs begin for some people. Posting ought to be done based on the discipline of the corps member but preference is usually given to corps members who distinguished themselves during the orientation course, personal favourites of resident NYSC officials, and soldiers alike and those who arranged their posting with corporate bodies beforehand. Every posting letter has the name and address of the corps member’s place of primary assignment. It also carries a short note appealing to the prospective employer to offer necessary help to the bearer among other things. Some employers however ignore this note because they see corps members as national slaves and therefore sap them of all they can with little or no incentive; once again the tune of the soldier’s bugle comes to mind. To correct some of the abnormalities that characterise the ‘posting exercise’ as expressed above, a new posting policy was proposed. The policy is said to be aimed at making the scheme more responsive to the development needs of the country and this new posting policy seeks to post corps members only to four key sectors of the economy namely; agriculture, education, rural health, and infrastructure. As always, (a common Nigerian factor) the government did not prepare adequately for this causing the rejection of many

corps members in these sectors across the country because they do not have enough to bear the burden of paying corps members’ stipends. Now, more corps members are roaming aimlessly about the streets looking for a place of primary assignment if only just to get their clearance form monthly but to no avail. Gone are the days when Corpers Beatitudes read thus: Blessed are you when you are posted to a bank for your account will be fat; Blessed are you when you are posted to a school for you’ll have students at your beck and call; Blessed are you when you are posted to a village for foodstuff will never be your problem; Blessed are you when you are posted according to your discipline for you have hopes of being retained. Now the closest it can be is: Happy are you when you are accepted in the village health post for many others were rejected; Happy are you when your school goes on break for you can run home to refill; Happy are you when wake up early to report on the farm, at least you have somewhere to go to; Happy are you when you maintain your country’s roads, bridges and buildings for many prayers would be offered for you. Even the service year that was once a year of learning on the job and knowing other parts of the country among other things is now a year of slavery and undue suffering. The National Youth Service Corps should not be scrapped but it should at least be transformed from a slavery commission which it has grown to become one that fulfils the basic aspiration of the nation’s youths. • Ms Omotayo, an ex-corper writes from Ibadan

‘The National Youth Service Corps should not be scrapped but it should at least be transformed from a slavery commission which it has grown to become one that fulfils the basic aspiration of the nation’s youths’






Twenty months after its pioneer Vice Chancellor, Prof Sola Akinrinade, left office, the Osun State University (UNIOSUN) has begun a search for its successor. The process is not without controversy, reports SOJI ADENIYI from Osogbo.


Danjuma lifts ABU with N2.3b THE Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria is to benefit from a N2.3 billion life line from Lt. General Theophilus Y. Danjuma. The former Minister of Defence endowed the amount which he said should be used to upgrade the university's science faculty after he was conferred with a honorary degree of the institution during a special convocation in his honour penultimate week. -Page 28

Provost laments poor use of TETFUND

•Ag VC, Prof Olatunde,

PROVOST of the Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) in Ondo, Ondo State, Prof Idowu Adeyemi has blamed the education crisis in higher institutions in the country to lack of proper utilisation of grants from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).


• Council Chairman, Prof Adesiyan

-Page 37

CAMPUS LIFE •An eight-page section on campus news, people etc

• Pioneer VC, Prof Akinrinade

• Prof Togonu-Bickersteth

Who becomes UNIOSUN VC? T

Making a point with Option A4 THE Open Ballot System (OBS), better known as Option A4, was first used during the 1993 presidential election. It is an open and transparent process of voting. At a glance, it is easy to determine the winner of an election because everything is virtually done in the open. -Page 29

HE race has begun for the Vice Chancellorship (VC) of the Osun State University (UNIOSUN), which became vacant on July 31, last year. The Governing Council (GC) has begun a search for the right candidate, but some of the applicants are accusing it of bias. The delay in filling the post which became vacant following the completion of Prof Sola Akinrinade’s five-year tenure as pioneer VC is being blamed on the long time it took to reconstitute the council. The council’s tenure expired in 2011, but a new council was constituted in November, last year. Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola inaugurated the second council, with Prof Olawoyin Adesiyan as chairman. The external members are Group Managing Director of IGI, Mr. Remi Olowude; Professor of Obstetrics

and Gynaecology, Adeyinka Omigbodun; Professor of Agricultural Engineering, Obafemi Ajibola; Professor of Electrical/ Electronics, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Dr Abeke Omotosho from the Department of Chemistry, University of Ibadan (UI); Gabriel Adegboyega; Chief Executive Officer, Chams, Sir

Demola Aladekomo. Internal members are Acting Vice Chancellor of UNIOSUN, Prof Gani Olatunde; Provost of Health Sciences, Prof Christopher Alebiosu; Prof. Kizito Abayomi, Prof. Olukoya Ogen, Mr. Abiodun Adesoji and Dr. Idowu Akintayo. The first assignment was to select a new VC and the process has

‘The interest of the government is to ensure a viable institution where quality will be a watchword in term of the products produced. Government has no particular candidate for the position of the Vice-Chancellor’

attracted complaints from stakeholders, including the Justice and Integrity Forum (JIF) and the Concerned Professionals (CP), among others. On Tuesday, a source told The Nation that another group went to court to challenge the constitution of the Governing Council, which is said to lack representatives from the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the alumni association. The group is also challenging the vice-chancellorship selection process. At the beginning of the race, 15 professors applied for the exalted position. They are: Prof Labode Popoola, Professor Fatai Akintunde Balogun, Prof Mojeed Alabi, Prof Julius Kola Oloke, Prof Bashiru Adekunle Okesina, Prof Duro Ajeyalemi, Prof Joshua • Continued on page 26



EDUCATION ACE FILE COEASU honours ES, Provost THE Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education, (NCCE) Prof Mohammed Ibin Junaid and the Provost, Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo were honoured by the National body of the Colleges of Education Academic Union in recognition of their excellent performance. The union also presented awards to the Provosts of Federal College of Education, Zaria, Dr. M.I. Maccido; Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba, Dr. N. Ignatius Ezoem; Federal College of Education, Okene, Dr. Iyela Ajayi; College of Education, Minna, Prof F.E. Haruna and Federal College of Education, (Technical) Umnze Prof O. Ogbuagu. The union presented the awards during their National Delegates Congress held in the College. The COEASU National President, Comrade Muhammed Awwal Ibrahim, said the awardees were carefully selected for their contributions to their respective institutions. He described the Executive Secretary of NCCE as a great administrator and the first in the history of the Commission that would bring COEASU and the Management of the Colleges together in dialogue which has resulted in good solutions in affected institutions. The Chairman, ACE-COEASU, Mr Smart Olugbeko also lauded the giants strides of the ES, describing him as a great pillar of support of the union.

Rivers varsity rewards students with laptops •Pegs minimum CGPA for leadership positions


O encourage fresh students of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt to be focused on their studies, the management incorporated an awards ceremony as part of the 31st matriculation of the institution. The awards tagged: "ViceChancellor's Special Award to Best Performing First Year Students in the faculties", were presented to seven 200-Level students who returned impressive Cumulative Grade Point Averages (CGPA) during their first session. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Barineme Fakae presented laptops to each of the students. He said the award has become an annual tradition, urging "those ma-

College resumes April THE newly admitted students of the ACE will resume for academic activities on April 7. According to the approved College Calendar for the 2012/2013 academic session the college will hold teaching practice orientation for regular NCE and Degree students and orientation for fresh students. The orientation for freshmen will hold between April 8 and 12, while NCE III and Degree III and IV students will resume in their various schools of their postings for teaching practice on the 14th. Registration and lectures for freshmen, NCE II and Degree II will commence on the 15th while the College will hold matriculation for fresh students on May 22 and 23. The Harmattan semester will come to an end in July with the commencement of the end of semester examinations.

triculating today to strive to be winners next matriculation ceremony." In his speech to the 3,817 fresh students, Fakae charged them to start working hard early on their studies to make proper use of both material and human resources at their disposal, which he said are comparable to those in other countries. He further stressed that those of them interested in leadership positions must make a minimum CGPA of 3.5 in line with a new policy in the university. "Only those with a minimum of second class upper division cumulative aggregate (i.e. 3.5) can be part of Student Union leadership and such leadership position should not be

held in the student's final year of study. This is the same for leadership of faculty associations and fellowships because academia is the primary reason for being in this university," Fakae said. Listing a litany of don'ts that exist in the university now, the VC warned them not to engage in despicable activities such as cultism and examination malpractice as they attract serious consequences. "The Senate of the university frowns at such anti-social behaviour and will not fail to show the way out to all bad eggs from the system," he warned. Fakae advised the students to be ICT compliant and "ensure that you save a copy of all your online transactions both as electronic and printed

• Fakae

hard copies at all times as evidence of your dealings as most businesses in the school are done online now." He also informed the students of the ban of unapproved text books, handouts and levies.

Who becomes UNIOSUN VC? ‘We wish to register our objection to the short-listing of four out of the seven shortlisted applicants for the post of Vice-Chancellor of Osun State University by the Prof Gabriel Adesiyan-led Governing Council. Our premise is that the four shortlisted applicants have exceeded the statutory age for shortlisting, interview and appointment for Vice-Chancellorship's position under Osun State University Law (2006)’

Union holds maiden week THE ACE Provost, Prof Idowu has praised the College branch of Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN) for its achievement in past years. The Provost represented by the College Librarian, Dr Rotimi Egunjobi observed that the cooperation the Management received from the union in the past shows they are partners in progress. He also praised the effort of the union for its building project. Activities to mark the week included a Health talk by the Medical Director, General Hospital, Ile-Oluji, Dr. Johnson Akintimehin. Akintimehin treated the topic: Hypertension and Diabetes: Causes, Treatment and ways of Preventing Such Life Threatening Diseases. The week also featured a novelty match between the female football team of SSUCOEN and the female team of the COEASU. The SSUCOEN female team won the 30 minutes match by a lone goal. The male team of the SSUCOEN also entered a duel with the male team of the Non Academic Staff Union which ended in a draw.

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

• Prof Adebooye, candidate •Continue from page 27

Obaleye, Prof Oladiran Famurewa, Prof Siyan Oyeweso, Prof Bayonle Olorede, Prof Adesoji Julius Adeyinka, Prof Ayo Agbonjinmi, Prof Olu Odeyemi, Prof Clement Adebooye, and Prof Dayo Andrew Akinmoladun. The council pruned the number to seven, four of whom were said to be over-aged. They are: Famurewa, who was born in 1950, Obaleye (1958), Oloke (1959), Odeyemi (1946), Agbonjimi (1950), Ajeyalemi (1950), and Okesina (1954). Critics said those above 60 would have clocked the retirement age of 65 before the expiration of their tenure. They argued that though the the Federal Government has adopted 70 years as retirement age for professors, the Osun State government has yet to adopt the new retirement age. The eighth shortlisted candidate Prof Funmi Togonu-Bickersteth (16-4-1949), was one of the three recommended by a search committee after stakeholders faulted the initial shortlist. The search committee headed by Prof. Adegboyega, had recommended Prof Togonu-Bickersteth, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Academic) of OAU and two others, Prof. Adigun Bolarinwa Agbaje, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Academic) University of Ibadan and Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka, current Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (UI). A source said of the three only Prof Togonu-Bickersteth was present at a two-day interview conducted on Monday and Tuesday at the university. "It was only Prof TogonuBickersteth that was present at today's (Tuesday) interview with

the others initially shortlisted. The other two 'searched' candidates were said to have declined," the source said. The interview was held in defiance of the directive of Osun State House of Speaker Najeem Salaam, that the appointment process be put on hold, pending amendment of the university law. The Speaker's directive may not be unconnected with a letter he received from the Justice and Integrity Forum, which picked holes in the selection process and the university laws. In the letter, the group noted that, despite the law stipulating 60 years as the maximum age of candidates vying for the post, one of them is retired and on contract with a first generation university. It said among the three ‘searched’candidates by the council, two are above 60. They alleged that the inclusion of the over-aged professors was deliberate and aimed at filling the shortlisted list to pave the way for an anointed candidate when some are eventually knocked out by the criteria. Part of the letter reads: "Against the above backdrop, we wish to register our objection to the shortlisting of four out of the seven shortlisted applicants for the post of Vice-Chancellor of Osun State University by the Prof Gabriel Adesiyan-led Governing Council. Our premise is that the four shortlisted applicants have exceeded the statutory age for shortlisting, interview and appointment for ViceChancellorship's position under Osun State University Law (2006). In fact, stakeholders of the Nigerian university system are aware of the golden clause that 'Candidates who would have attained the age of 60 years at the assumption of duty need not apply'. This is given the fact that a Vice-Chancellor is entitled to a single term of five-years only. The Council cannot issue a letter of appointment on a five year tenure basis for a successful applicant who is already 62 or 64 and who must statutorily retire at the age of 65."

The group also claimed that some of the initial 15 candidates were dropped because they do not have enough post-professorial experience, which is a requirement for candidates contesting for the position. It argued that it was not so when Prof Akinrinade was appointed in 2007 with only seven years post-professorial experience. The group said: "At the time of advertisement for the post of ViceChancellor in January 2007 and his subsequent appointment in March 2007, Osun State University Law 2006 was already in place. The 10 years post-professorial experience as an eligibility criterion for appointment was also part of the 2006 law. In spite of the existence of Osun State University Law (2006) and the 10-year post professorial clause, Prof Sola Akinrinade was appointed the pioneer Vice-Chancellor. He had seven years post-professorial experience at the time." Some of the candidates also protested their exclusion from the shortlist, petitioning the Council. While the Council upheld the petition of Prof Okesina, who was subsequently invited for the interview, the petitions of two other candidates, Prof Labode Popoola and Prof Dayo Andrew Akinmoladun, were not considered. Following claims that the petitioners did not have up to 10 years post-professorial experience, Prof Popoola protested and was quoted as saying: "I was promoted a professor at the University of Ibadan on October 1, 2002. Consequently, I was 10 years as Professor by October, 2012 and already over 10 years as a Professor as at the date of opening of applications for the advertised position of the Vice-Chancellorship of Osun State University, and I will be well over 10 years as Professor by the time the Visitor appoints a new substantive Vice-Chancellor upon the recommendation of the Council as enshrined in the extant laws of the university. "The Council of any university is cumulatively required under the law to represent the face of the university and, thus, custodians of

society's salutary values, which obviously include fair hearing and redressing of cases involving "error of judgement" in respect of the consideration of my application and candidature for shortlisting in the ongoing process of selecting the new Vice-Chancellor for UNIOSUN. My exclusion from the ongoing process requires reconsideration in the interest of fairness and justice. May I further state that the exclusion would set a bad precedent which may, in years to come, work against the interest of the university itself." Reacting, Prof. Adesiyan said he had his name to protect, adding that he would follow due process as stipulated by law. He said at the inauguration of the Council, Aregbesola asked members to do the assignment without fear or favour. He said there had been pressure on him by some candidates but vowed never to mortgage his integrity. "The governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, who inaugurated the Council, gave us a mandate and we are not to work outside it. We won't bend the law to accommodate anybody. If you are one month short of 10 years as a professor, you won't be shortlisted. We are going to do what is right and just," he said. The Deputy Governor, Mrs Titilope Olaoye-Tomori, was said to be at a meeting when The Nation tried to reach her. The DirectorGeneral, Osun State Bureau of Communication, Mr Semiu Okanlawon, said the government had “no special candidate” for the position. He said: "The interest of the government is to ensure a viable institution where quality will be a watchword in term of the products produced. Government has no particular candidate for the position of the Vice-Chancellor. The government is interested in the best candidate that will make the insitution to realise its mission and vision to be among the top institutions of the day. There are many qualified candidates and each group will be pushing for its own interest and agenda."



EDUCATION No, that child is not dull, he just can't read


ERY soon, schools in Nigeria will be able to determine whether their students will succeed or fail before they are even taught, thanks to a profiling software being introduced by Green Circle Ltd, a firm that partners schools to integrate e-learning solutions in their classrooms. Green Circle is collaborating with Microlink, producers of the software, to make it available to schools in Nigeria by next year. Chairman of Green Circle, Mr Ladipo Oke said identifying the unique learning needs of each child through the software called, The Profiler, would make it easier for teachers to impact knowledge. "We are working with Microlink to create a hub where we can understand the uniqueness of each child. The platform helps parents to understand their wards' learning challenges. We believe that no child is dull. We need to create the right environment for that child," Oke said in an interview. Speaking on the features of the Profiler, Gabriel Swatzell, a representative of Microlink, said the software is a set of online questions that determines literacy and numeracy gaps and

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

other challenges learners may have in the classroom. In addition to identifying the problems, Swatzell said the Profiler also proffers solutions that can correct learning deficiencies. "The Profiler is the closest thing to emulate the tests psychologists do for students. It profiles them for literacy/ numeracy skills and specific learning disabilities. It tells you if a student is going to pass or fail before he starts. For every student, the Profiler will make a report of 20 to 30 pages on learning challenges and the step-bystep instructions on how to manage them," he said. Swatzell said there are hidden learning disabilities like dyslexia (difficulty in reading and spelling), dyscalculia (difficulty in learning mathematics) and auditory problems which parents/teachers do not know can make pupils perform poorly. "Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Dyscalculia are hidden disabilities tha can make students fail. The Profiler report on every student is very comprehensive. It gives step-by-step report on how to help the student.

Okebukola lists steps to transform distance learning

School matriculates 519


YO State College of Agriculture, Igboora, Oyo State, has matriculated 519 students. According to a statement from the institution, 49 Higher National Diploma (HND) and 470 National Diploma (ND) students matriculated. It was the highest number of students to be matriculated since the inception of the institution. The acting provost of the college, Prof. Jacob Gbemiga Adewale, said the college was recently rated as the third best College of Agriculture in Nigeria. He added that the main objective of the school is the provision of sufficient food and self employment. Adewale, therefore, implored the new intakes to be serious with their academic in order to achieve the best. He warned the matriculating students to shun anti-social activities that could puncture their academic attainment. He assured the students that they would soon become employers of labour and food providers considering the practical training that the students would be exposed to in the college.

• From right: Managing Director, Mrs Adeola Bamgbose, Executive Director, Mr Muyiwa Bamgbose and Chairman, Board of Directors, Maj. Gen. Oladayo Popoola (rtd) at the maiden Annual General Meeting of the Educational Advancement Centre (EAC) in Ibadan.



RO-CHANCELLOR of Crawford University, Igbesa, Prof Peter Okebukola has underscored the importance of capacity building of lecturers as one of the factors for the transformation of a Distance Learning Institute (DLI). While delivering a lecture titled: The changing Landscape of Open and Distance Learning and the Impact of Emerging Technologies at the 2013 Public Lecture of the Distance Learn-

ing Institute, University of Lagos (UNILAGE) which took place in the main auditorium, Okebukola said the workers should be trained to develop Open Education Resources (OERs), set up and manage online courses, and digitalise course materials. He also said training in video recording and video streaming of lessons, online testing, implementing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), security and copyright issues in OER and MOOCs and online student support are equally important. After training, Okebukola said the institute needs to install the necessary infrastructure for developing OERs and delivering MOOCs. Okebukola said distance learning is relatively flexible in its delivery and communication patterns as well as the use of various technologies to support learning. He said it is aimed at doing away with those days when teachers and students had to be physically in the same place for learning to take place. Speaking about the future of Open Distance Learning (ODL) Okebukola

By Medinat Kanabe

quoted Granthan's ''Five future technology that will share our classrooms'', which includes biometrics, augmented reality glasses and multi-touch surfaces and other technologies that will completely change the learning space. "Biometrics is the technology used to recognise humans based on specific physical or behavioural traits. In the future, this technology will help intelligent software completely understand the physical and emotional state of students learning in the classroom, home or work place. Course materials presented to students can be altered on the fly and will be perfectly tailored to individual needs based on biometric signals from students. "Physical traits such as facial expression, heart rate, skin moisture and even odour can be used to create detailed reports on students understanding and performance, behavioural signs such as typing

rhythm, gait voices can let teachers know when students are in need of additional assistance as well as help them understand what teaching techniques work best for individual students," he said. Also speaking at the event, the Director DLI, UNILAG, Prof Funke Lawal, said the institute has produced course materials which the full time lecturers in the university have certified to be great development in their work. "The course materials purposely produced for DLI students are now being used in the regular classrooms. Course writers and users have confessed that these materials are helping their students to master their courses, improve substantially in difficult subjects and earn higher grades. The materials have relieved the lecturers from pressure and made their work easy." She urged the university management to multiply this benefit in all the units of the university saying that she will be happy to serve the university in the production of print course materials.

'We monitor our pupils even from abroad'


HEREVER he goes, James Funsho Ojo knows what is happening in his school, TESJOK Group of Schools. The school, located in Abaranje area of Ikotun, Lagos, is fitted with CCTV cameras with which Ojo monitors the activities of teachers in and out of the classroom. "As a well-travelled man, I still see this (footages) when I go anywhere in the world, because the CCTV is attached to my internet. It's just one of the ways to make our school unique and I can know what is happening right in my classes so I can correct my teachers if need be. From the UK for example, I can see everything happening in every class. I can ask a teacher 'why are you giving that girl a knock?' So teachers are always on their toes. They know Oga is watching everybody at a go," he said. Taking reporters on a tour of the facilities of the six-month old school last week, Ojo said reversing the high rate of failure in major examinations and curbing the excesses of youths who have nearly unfettered access to social media are some of the challenges TESJOK is out to address.

By Adegunle Olugbamila

In its short life span, the petroleum engineer who retired from DPR last year, said the school has been able to gain the confidence of parents. "When we were about to start the school, we were the only school in Alimosho to begin all-expenses -paid summer coaching for five weeks, and we had over 900 students in attendance. We started September last year and now we have 90 students both primary and secondary. The number is highly encouraging and because of our parents that see the standard in us within six months of our operation," he said. Ojo said aside standard ICT (Information and Communication Technology) room where pupils are carefully guided to conduct research online, the school's well-stocked library also provides ample opportunities for pupils, teachers and even parents to borrow books, read and return. With affordable fees, and qualified teachers, Ojo said he was not surprised the school population soared tremendously, a development he attributed to good legacies TESJOK in-

•From left: The Biology teacher, Mrs Ogundeji Ololade taking the pupils on in the school Biology Laboratory

tends to leave behind. "I told you within six months we had 90 children. In TESJOK, money is the least of our expectations. If our fees are expensive, we won't have

them. I'm more concerned with a good name rather than profit. By September, we are planning to have our boarding school. We already have four plots within this

neighbourhood. Our tuition fee is minimal and it's going to be minimal for a long time to come. We are goal and vision-oriented and not profit-oriented," he said.




•From left: ABU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdullahi Mustapha, Lt. Gen. Danjuma, Vice-President Sambo and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar, at the event


HE Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria is to benefit from a N2.3 billion life line from Lt. General Theophilus Y. Danjuma. The former Minister of Defence endowed the amount which he said should be used to upgrade the university's science faculty after he was conferred with a honorary degree of the institution during a special convocation in his honour penultimate week. Danjuma, who missed the convocation which was part of the university's golden jubilee anniversary last year, had insisted on receiving his honour in person. With the N2.3 billion, the Science Faculty will get an administrative block, library, main auditorium and landscaping. He added that his company, South Atlantic Petroleum

Danjuma lifts ABU with N2.3b From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

(SAPETRO) would provide every other structure and facility needed except for the department building. Praising the university for producing many graduates who have distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavour Danjuma said his gift is to enable it continue to play that role successfully. "I give credit to Sir Ahmadu Bello and all those whose foresight and sacrifices gave birth to this institution; whose contributions to the growth of Nigeria cannot be quantified. I bear witness to the fact that many of the products of this university have since become worthy ambassadors of the

school and of Nigeria. It is for this reason that I am committed to playing whatever role I can in aiding and facilitating the achievements of this university for her noble objectives. The university's impact on the nation is considerable. Its impact on the northern states is greater," he said. President Goodluck Jonathan also praised the university for fulfilling the aspirations of its founding fathers. Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the university has every cause to celebrate its golden jubilee having graduated hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and foreigners who occupy various positions in their country.

"I am happy to note that the university has among its alumni, past and present governors, ministers, and senators, members of the House of Representatives, captains of Industry, technocrats, scientists and the clergy. I cannot fail to mention that my predecessor, the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and my Vice, Namadi Sambo also passed through the four walls of this university," he said. President Jonathan, however, lamented the low absorption capacity of universities, saying barely a quarter of those seeking admission are admitted yearly. To address this problem, he spoke of plans to establish mega institutions that can accommo-

date hundreds of thousands. His words: "It is estimated that the annual number of candidates seeking admission for the last couple of years has been around 1.5 million while the carrying capacity of our universities is not up to a quarter of that figure. When mega universities are established along with the current one we believe we will address the access to universities in the medium term. Government will continue to pay attention to those areas of needs and will provide special intervention funds to address these problems." Felicitating with Danjuma, whom he described as his hero and mentor, President Jonathan said he was deserving of the honour. "General T.Y. Danjuma, undoubtedly deserves the honour being bestowed on him as one of the most illustrious sons of our nation," he said. Accolades poured from other dignitaries for the General, who was accompanied by his wife, Senator Daisy Danjuma. Former military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida who chaired the occasion described TY, as he is fondly called, as a man who has singlehandedly contributed to the development of education more than any other Nigerian. He praised Danjuma's decision to pick education as one of the focal points of the TY Danjuma Foundation. Chancellor of the 50-year-old institution, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar, described the awardee as a detribalised Nigerian who has transformed the lives of a significant number of people in the society. The high point of the event was the groundbreaking ceremony for the ABU Phase II Development performed by Vice President Sambo. The ceremony was attended by many northern elites including: Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu and Governor Muktar Yero of Kaduna State, Speaker of the House of Representative, Hon. Aminu Tabuwal, former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana, and Education Minister Prof Ruqayyatu Rufa'i.

Drama at FGGC, Ipetumodu PTA meeting


HE dinning hall of the Federal Government Girls College, Ipetumodu, Osun State was filled with parents, teachers, family and friends who came to see their daughters. There had been the usual banters and handshakes among parents until the principal, Mrs O.S Sallam walked in and the atmosphere changed. It was the first PTA meeting of the school this year. The last one was held in February 2012 though it is supposed to hold quarterly. Some parents attributed the excesses of the school management to the epileptic PTA meetings. It was obvious many of the parents had an axe to grind with Mrs Sallam. Ahead of the PTA meeting, some of them had invited journalists (including this reporter), to pose as parents at the forum to observe the interactions between the parents and the school management. The parents' complaints ranged from poor power and water supply, food, poor kitchen environment, or good medical attention to concerns about the bushy environment their children are exposed to. They also complained about the alleged autocratic style of the principal, and not being allowed to see the state of facilities of the school. "If you are walking towards the kitchen or hostel they would run after you and tell you that you are not allowed in, why can't we see where they cook children's foods, or where they lay their heads," a parent told this reporter. True to their claims, this reporter was stopped halfway as she walked towards the classrooms located near the kitchen.

By Medinat Kanabe

"Hello, you can't go there; that place is restricted," said a middle aged woman. From a distance however, the classrooms were in a sorry state with many having no windows. Their walls could use a new coat of paint. The dining hall, where the forum was held, was no better. When the principal got to the hall at exactly 11.37am, she thanked the parents for paying the salaries of 25 teaching and 10 non-teaching staff employed to fill gaps lacking in the school. She said the PTA teachers' salaries had been increased from N277,000 to N627,670 per month. Some parents questioned why the PTA had to be burdened with workers' salaries when they should be employed by the Federal Ministry of Education. "Make request for more teachers from the government. I wonder how many teachers you have from the government if PTA is paying 25 teachers," said a parent, MrAdedokun. But Mrs Sallam responded that the teachers were teaching their children. She added that her request to the ministry for more teachers is yet to be honoured. Mrs Sallam, however, stirred the hornet's nest when she warned the parents to stop bringing cooked meals for their wards on visiting days as some girls were in the habit of preserving the leftovers to be eaten later. The parents protested vehemently. A parent told the principal to find out whether the food the girls were served was good enough. "They wouldn't have relied on food brought by parents if the food the school gives them is reliable. Why don't you find out why they eat leftovers?" he asked. Responding, the Principal said:

•The ill-equipped kitchen of the school

"They (pupils) should take whatever we give them. It is the food of the locality. Their problem is that their parents give them whatever they want at home and they also want the same thing here," she said. She argued that the school is even giving the students food worth more than the N5,000 the parents pay per term. "They pay N5, 000 per term and eat three times daily. If you calculate the number of times they eat which makes up for 12 weeks in a term that is N13 per meal. But we give them meals worth more than that. My daughter also attended a boarding school and when she complained about the beans in her school being too watery, I told her to add garri to it," she said. A parent asked why the principal

restricted access to the facilities. Responding, the principal said any concerned parent need not bother about the facilities, but could assist the school through the PTA. Another pronouncement that attracted their protests was when Mrs Sallam said an election for the new executives of the PTA would be conducted same day. Father of Agbere Peace Otiowe, a pupil, said due process must be followed for an election to hold. Moreover, he said what the parents came for was the PTA meeting. However, not all parents were against the principal. One of them, praised the principal for doing a 'marvelous job' in terms of infrastructure. "You are a magician when it comes to light. My daughter will prefer to stay here than come home," he said.

But the pupils are complaining. A pupil told The Nation they were served spoilt food. She said: "Let me not lie to you madam, our academics here is excellent but the food is not good at all. Last week, we were served spoilt meat and when we started complaining, they told us that they would not serve meat again, but fish." When asked to comment on the issues raised by parents, the PTA Chairman, Mr B.O. Akande told this reporter on phone that what happened in the PTA meeting was not her business. "What is your business at the meeting? Who invited you? If you want any information, come to the next PTA meeting, I don't want to clear any thing on phone? You were not supposed to be there because you are not a parent," he said.



Rawlings: how Africa can conquer corruption

For a better future Page 31


Page 31


CAMPUS LIFE 0805-450-3104 email: THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013


‘I’m satisfied being a village teacher’ Omolola Fadare, 21, teaches in a primary school established by her father in Waninkin, a remote village in Osun State. She obtained her National Certificate in Education from the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa. She hopes to read Law at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), IleIfe. She told OPEOLUWA SONUGA (400-Level Law, OAU) and TAIWO ISOLA (200Level Anatomy, University of Maiduguri) why she wants to be a judge.

•Omolola •See page 30


Students of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko (OKO POLY), Anambra State, have elected their union leaders through the Open Ballot System (OBS), better known as Option A4. Is there a lesson in this for Nigeria? FUNKE AYOOLA writes.

•The scene of the election: one of the presidential candidates standing on a podium as his supporters queued behind him

Making a point with Option A4 T

HE Open Ballot System (OBS), better known as Option A4, was first used during the 1993 presidential election. It is an open and transparent process of voting. At a glance, it is easy to determine the winner of an election because everything is virtually done in the open. But, following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, Option A4 was jettisoned. Since then, the electorate have been clamouring for its return to ensure sanity in the electoral process, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not heeded such calls. While the electoral agency is still dragging its feet, students of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko (OKO POLY) in Anambra State have led the way in embracing Option A4. They conducted their union elections with OBS last week. The atmosphere was tense on the campus last year when the polytechnic announced the plan to

conduct Students’ Union Government (SUG) election. Students showed interest in who will be their leader. Whoever emerges president, they said, must be the people’s choice. Becuase of the tense atmosphere, the management postponed the exercise. When the election date was fixed, the Students’ Electoral Commission (SEC), comprising students, opted for Option A4. A day before the exercise, students gathered in the auditorium to listen to the manifesto of each candidate. They questioned the competence and ideology of the candidates during the event. The electoral commission chairman, Francis Ekwem, HND II Public Administration, listed the criteria for candidates. They included the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of Upper Credit for presidential candidates. This criterion pruned the number of presidential

contestants to six. Other positions were also keenly contested. The Senate President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Donald Onukaogu, led other members of the association to monitor the poll – in line with NANS Constitution. As early as 8am, students flocked to the campus for the election. The main field, the venue of the exercise, was peaceful, with the school’s security personnel monitoring the exercise. The candidates stood on wooden desks. The ballot boxes were placed before each of them. Students defied the scorching sun and queued up behind their candidates to vote. When voting ended, counting began immediately in the presence of the students. The candidates and their agents also witnessed the process, which students described as open. Martins Umeokonkwo emerged the president-elect, with

436 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Sylvester Nwachukwu, who polled 233 votes. Others elected were Chinyere Agu, Vice President; Maryjane Okonkwo, General Secretary; Ikechukwu Onu, Provost; and Chinedu Agwunike, Director of Social, among others. Antonia Anochilionye, a student of Mass Communication, described the exercise as the best she had witnessed since her admission into the institution. According to her, the management did “a wonderful job in sensitising students and providing adequate security to ensure that they voted for candidates of their choice without fear.” Announcing the results, Francis thanked the students for the turnout and maturity displayed throughout the process. He praised the management for its support, which he said contributed to the success of the ex•Continued on page 30

•Two freshers crushed to death•Students honour Rector, dean-P34




Pushing Out

Is all well with the house of NANS?(2)



Agbo Agbo 08052959489 (SMS only)

ENDED last week’s piece with the petition to President Goodluck Jonathan by Adelu James who contested the post of president of NANS with eleven other contenders. James raised some pertinent issues in the melodrama currently plaguing the association. After reading last week’s piece, Prince Miaphen, one of the contenders who identified himself as the authentic student representative and president of NANS sent me two documents, a statement recounting what transpired at Uyo last year and text of the maiden press conference he granted after being sworn in as president of NANS in Jos on January 13. I will return to the issue of Miaphen and the allegation of attempted assassination leveled against him by Yinka Gbadebo later. But in the interim, was Gbadebo eligible to contest the election in the first place? I pose this question because Adelu James, a 500 level Law student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife claimed he is “the sole ticket of the institution to contest at Uyo convention. But it is a big surprise to me and a slap to all Nigerian students that, Mr. Yinka Gbadebo who is not a student of Obafemi Awolowo University could be allowed by the convention planning committee, the convention chairman and the State Security Service to contest the election with the studentship of Obafemi Awolowo University”. If this was the case then the next question that will arise is who was the authentic representative from OAU? In order to answer this question we have to rewind a few years back and put things in perspective. Gbadebo was alleged – by all the presidential candidates - to have physically assaulted the former Vice-Chancellor of University of Ado Ekiti now Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Prof. Akin

• Oyebode now at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, an offence which led to his rustication from the university. With his result still hanging in Ekiti State University, he allegedly enrolled for a Diploma programme in OAU which apparently led to his eligibility to contest the election. Yinka Gbadebo, however, debunked insinuations that he applied for an OAU diploma in order to be eligible to contest NANS presidency. According to him, he “came to OAU to obtain more knowledge after waiting so long for UNAD to release my result all to no avail based on political reasons that are interwoven with my active participation in students’ unionism.” He stressed that “rumour peddlers” are ignorant of the content of NANS constitution, adding that the constitution states clearly that to be eligible for presidential election, a candidate must be studying a course of not less than two years duration in any institution of higher learning. “Most of them have never seen NANS constitution and charter of demands in their life and they want to aspire.” From this it is not surprising that it has been conflicts on all fronts. In February during a visit to Jos another drama played out. After the Uyo convention, Gbadebo and his executives took it upon themselves to go on fence mending tours of university campuses across the country, that tour brought them to Jos on February 7th where he alleged that an assassination attempt was made on his life. Let’s hear him out: “In our bid to defend the mandate that Nigerian students gave to us at the polls, we decided to embark on a tour of our campuses to familiarise ourselves with the problems facing our students. This tour brought us to Jos on Wednesday, 6th Febru-

ary 2013. Scared of the imminent truth that his fraudulent activities would be revealed to the people of Plateau State who he had earlier hoodwinked into believing his self-acclaimed presidency of NANS, Prince Miaphen sent a group of assassins after me and my entourage on Thursday 7th February 2013”. He alleged that the assassins who came armed with guns and machetes ended up kidnapping one of his colleagues, Dimeji Azeez of the University of Ibadan and “totally vandalized and destroyed the two weeks old official bus of the national secretariat of NANS. Azeez was later released after we apprehended the younger brother to Prince Miaphen who led the assault team”. He thus declared Prince Miaphen “persona non grata on campuses of all Nigerian institutions of higher learning. That any campus that welcomes the said Prince Miaphen will be indefinitely suspended from NANS and all NANS related activities, including the right to vote or to contest for any national office. That the Plateau State Government under the able leadership of Da Jonah Jang in collaboration with Nigeria Police Force and State Security Service should as a matter of urgency arrest and prosecute Mr. Prince Miaphen alongside his cohorts within 7days. That the Plateau State Government in other to forestall the breakdown of law and order, should with immediate effect provide the leadership of NANS with a NEW BUS AS A COMPESATION, based on the fact that Mr. Prince Miaphen is an indigene of Plateau State from Shendam Local Government Area”. Miaphen denied the entire allegation, according to him he was on tour of higher institution campuses in Gombe, Bauchi, Yobe and Bornu States when Gbadebo, who had information on what he was doing paid a visit to Jos. “The question I would like Gbadebo to answer is why did he not go to the campuses of University of Jos, Plateau State University or Plateau Polytechnic? He did not go there because he is an unpopular candidate that believes in grandstanding and hobnobbing with politicians. NANS headquarter is not in Abuja or the various state government houses but on University campuses.” Miaphen, who said he has the backing of the other contestants and Nigerian students said his intention is “to relocate the NANS

Secretariat from the streets and salubrious confines of Abuja, where it has been domiciled for the better part of the last decade, back to the campuses, where it was originally designed to function. It is pertinent to state that NANS is a force with a dominant constructive component. Its impact, primarily, should be to benefit the students and managements of its respective host institutions, and by extension the entire educational system of Nigeria. This is the only way that the organisation shall muster the zest to contribute to the overall development of the country by deepening democracy, advocating for good governance, a just and egalitarian society for all, among other salient issues contained in the NANS Charter of Demands. What I can deduce from what Miaphen and his cohorts are trying to achieve is their determination to go back to the era of NANS of old where Universities at the time are strategic resources for the production of ideas and manpower for societal growth. Students were at the center of this as agents of change as leaders of tomorrow with strong stake in the future of the community. But today in the realm of students all you hear is cultism, fraud, exam malpractices, yahoo yahoo, prostitution etc. Aside NANS national leadership intellectual decline, the various structures of the union- state joint committee and students’ unions have either sold out to politicians or lack the requisite intellectual wherewithal to lead successful and genuine struggles of students. While I blame the student leaders, I must also blame the school authorities and the state in destroying the legacy of genuine students’ unionism either by buying over of student leaders or by use of naked force like police and victimisation to deal with genuine student activists. Dear reader, does it surprise you the way things have turned out with our “future leaders” and their association? It should not because we are all seeing ourselves in the mirror, in essence, what is unfolding is a stack reminder of our pathetic society today where our students emulate leaders who continue to regenerate itself in brazen corruption, and lack of concern for its citizens, where politics does not go beyond greed and lucre. Student leaders who are supposed to be groomed for everything noble are already in the same track with our “leaders”.

‘I’m satisfied being a village teacher’ •Continued from page 29


•Donald with other NANS officials addressing the students before the election

Making a point with Option A4 •Continued from page 29

ercise. “I commend the management for giving us the opportunity and free hand to organise a process for which students have commended us. I thank the Rector, Prof Godwin Onu, for providing the logistics for the successful conduct of the election,” he said. Addressing the students after the election, Donald described it as free and fair, urging students to sustain the peace on the campus. He said if students could adopt Option A4 in electing their leaders without con-

troversy, the country could learn from the process to ensure Nigerians’ votes count. He praised the maturity of the students and security personnel. The Director of Students’ Affair, Mrs Esther Odigwe, said the large turnout followed the massive sensitisation embarked upon by her office to ensure students exercised their franchise without fear. She praised Onu and the body of principal officers for creating a peaceful atmosphere, which led to the success of the election. The Deputy Rector, Dr Don Muo, said the management was happy

with the peaceful conduct of the election. He said the conduct of the candidates and their supporters during the manifesto night and election was commendable, saying it attested to the level of maturity of students in the polytechnic. Emmanuel Ogbodo, who lost in the election, described the exercise as peaceful, free and fair, saying he was impressed with the maturity the students and the organisers. Another student of Science Laboratory Technology Department, Chinenye Anichebe, praised the management for allowing students to choose their leaders without interference.

AN you tell us about your background? I am the first in a family of three children. I attended Origbo Anglican Grammar School after which I proceeded to Osun State College of Education, Ilesa. My father is the proprietor of a school. What led you into teaching? I must confess that I don’t like teaching. This is because my childhood dream is to be a judge. But, when I finished secondary school, I could not secure admission the same year into the university to study Law. The following year, my parents encouraged me to take up a career in education. I consented because I wanted to take up my father’s school as the first child of the family. How do you feel teaching in a village? I never thought that, one day, I will be in the village teaching. But, when I started, the interest started growing and I can say that I love teaching in villages because it has afforded me the opportunity to bring little children up and to inspire confidence in them that they can also make it in life like their counterparts in the cities. What can you say about being a teacher at a young age of 21? Well, I believe everybody is a teacher and age is not a factor here. But, then, I must say it is a challenge for me and I also believe it is my destiny. When you find yourself excelling in what you naturally don’t like to do, it means you have found your destiny. What are the challenges of being a teacher in a village like this? When I started, people looked down on me but, after a period, they came to respect me. I remember when I did my Teaching Practice in

2009. Then, I was 17. The students in the secondary school where I did the practice would not even greet me because they felt I was too young to be their teacher. But, as time went by, they saw the knowledge of God in me and nobody told them to accord me some respect. What inspires you? My strongest motivation is the passion I have for these children and also for my father’s vision, which I believe must not die. What does the structure of your father’s school look like? We have kindergarten, nursery and primary classes. We have a few teachers due to the fact that many of them do not want to stay longer because they are not able to adapt to the rural life. I am the sole administrator of the school and I also teach the secondary school pupils. Since the inception of the school in 1995, has there been any student who has excelled? Yes. I am an example (smiles). We have ex-students who are now doing fine in their higher institutions. One of such person is Sukurat Suleiman, who finished in 2002 and is now a university student. Do you have any problem with the villagers? If there is anything, it is ignorance. Most of the people living here don’t allow their children to further their education after primary school. They always complain that nobody will look after their cocoa farm. This has hindered the development I envision for the college. Where do you see yourself in the future? I see myself becoming a judge. This has been my dream. I also want to lecture so that my impact can spread to more people in the village and beyond.




For a better future Twenty persons, comprising graduates and students, were trained in oil exploration technology skills by Oilfield Services (Ofserv) Nigeria Limited. The training was sponsored by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) – in line with the Nigeria Local Content Act of 2010. WALE AJETUNMOBI was at their graduation.


HE was not only the female participant among the trainees at an oil and gas skill acquisition programme sponsored by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), she also made history as the first female Nigerian to be certified as Rope Access Absailer. Miss Anwulika Okwuosa distinguished herself in the world-class training organised in line with the Nigerian Content Development Act of 2010 by SNEPCO in collaboration with Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). The trainees, 20 graduates and undergraduates, were taught to build human capacity development for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. Tagged Offshore Skill Acquisition Programme, the offshore support

•Bassir (standing sixth left) and SNEPCO officials with the trainees after the ceremony

skills exercise conducted by Oilfield Services (Ofserv) Nigeria Limited contracted by SNEPCO to fulfil its training obligation with regards to the Bonga Northwest Sub-sea Hardware and Contros Project. The four-week training kicked off last month with an induction for the shortlisted trainees drawn from different regions of the country. The local content legislation compells foreign oil giants operating in Nigeria to set aside a training budget that will be utilised to train Nigerians in skills that are applicable to offshore and onshore oil and gas operation. The key role of NCDMB is to ensure maximum utilisation of local resources in major oil and gas projects executed in the country. Some of the skills, which the trainees acquired in the exercise, included Abseiling (Rope Access Technique Level 1), Rigging, Scaf-

folding, Painting and Blasting, and Small Hand Tools Usage. After the induction, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as the coveralls, helmet, safety boot, hand gloves and personal fall arrest systems were distributed among the participants. The trainees were divided into teams A and B, comprising 10 members each. In the first week, Team A started its training with rope access practical training; Team B began with lecture on the theory of coating, corrosion control and pressure blasting equipment pump maintenance. In the second week, the two teams switched place. Team B learned the rope access training; Team A was taught the theory of coating, corrosion control and pressure blasting equipment pump maintenance. After 12 days of intensive training, the trainees were assessed by Indus-

trial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA), a professional authority in rope access training. The assessment was attended by representatives from NCDMB, SNEPCO and Ofserv. The assessment lasted for three days with eight trainees successfully passed the test in the first two days. Three participants later passed reassessment exercise, which made the number of successful trainees to be 11. After the assessment, the two teams were trained for five days on rigging, scaffolding and small tools, and practical painting and high pressure blasting. The trainees were certified in the skills. The 11 successful rope access technicians will be certified by IRATA and their certificates will be mailed to them in a future date. On whether SNEPCO would employ the trainees, Vice President (Operations), Ofserv, Mr Dimeji Bassir, said his company was liaising with the exploration giant to engage

some of the best among the trainees. He said the skills acquired by the trainees would make Nigeria provide manpower in the diverse areas, which are dominated by foreigners. Rope access describes the technical system of movement from one location to another by the means of moving along ropes. The rope access system allows a technician to gain access to otherwise inaccessible locations as a safer and more efficient solution. Modern rope access system is a double rope system. It is a system developed specifically to target the needs for high angled operations in the vertical environment. Ofserv is an integrated energy company set up to maximise opportunities across the energy-value sectors. Some of the trainees, who spoke to our correspondent, said thanked SNEPCO for giving them the opportunity to be expert in oil exploration technology. They promised to improve on the skills they learned in the programme.

The second edition of the Zik Lecture Series has been held at the Faculty of Social Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Anambra State. The quarterly lecture, which was held in honour of the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, focused on corruption and terrorism. NGOZI EMMANUEL writes.

Rawlings: how Africa can conquer corruption


E was the cynosure of all eyes. Staff and students defied the scorching sun to welcome former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings to the campus. Rawlings, who is now an African Union (AU) envoy to Somalia, was there as the guest speaker at the second edition of Zik Lecture Series held at the Faculty of Social Sciences. He was received by a crowd of students, who waited at the entrance of the main auditorium, the venue of the programme. By 8am, guests had started filing into the expansive auditorium. Their pensive looks showed their readiness to tackle the theme of the lec-

•Gov. Obi (left) welcoming Rawlings to the programme as Senator Obi looks on

ture: Eradicating corruption in Africa. The host and the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof Austin Nnonyelu, described the lecture as timely given the spread of corruption in public and private life. According to him, the lecture, which was instituted by Senator Ben Obi, is to promote the philosophy of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, one of the founding fathers of Nigeria. The lecture is held quarterly to

examine Africa’s development and democratic challenges and to tackle the continent’s problems. Nnonyelu said the theme of the lecture was “prudently selected” as corruption was one of the hurdles against Africa’s development. Rawlings defined corruption as a deviation from the moral or spiritual norm, stressing that the vice stemmed from deliberate refusal to

operate based on set rules, regulations and laws. With a wicked intention, he added, corrupt officials circumvent the punitive actions that come with such deliberate deviation from the norm. He said it was the willingness to tolerate the intolerable that motivated persons or institutions with influence to perpetrate corruption. He pointed out that corruption by those in government directly affected the

rule of law and debased the moral right of political leadership to serve as a respected regulator of the affairs of the state. He urged Africans not to overlook the scourge of corruption, saying the continent would witness real development if its leaders expressed genuine desire to combat the vice. Speaking on Terrorism and democracy, Prof Okwudiba Nnoli, a political scientist, noted that disloyalty to democratic principles gave vent to the violent agitation by groups of extremists across the country. Prof Humphery Assisi Assobie, a political scientist, also delivered a lecture. Other guests also spoke, urging African governments to fight corruption. Dignitaries at event included the governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, Senator Obi, Senator Chris Ngige and the ViceChancellor, Prof Boniface Egboka, among others. In his address, Prof Egboka said the theme of the lecture was relevant and addressed the political life of the African countries. He said leaders’ attention should be on the attainment of the millennium development goals and how to free the continent from the shackles of poverty, ignorance and disease. Gov. Obi said: “Corruption in Africa is endemic and should be fought vehemently by every patriotic African.”







•Sympathisers at the burial of the late Sheriff in Sagamu...last Saturday •The SUV after it was set on fire by angry students

Two freshers crushed to death


HE time was 5pm last Friday. After the day’s lectures, two close friends, Ridwan Babatunde and Sheriff Aromire, both 100-Level students of Water Resources Management and Agrometrology at the College of Environmental Management (COLEM), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), were returning to their off-campus hostels in Isolu, the institution’s host community. As the duo disembarked from a bus, which conveyed them from the campus to their Alabata Road hostels, they were crushed by a Sport-Utility Vehicle (SUV), a Pathfinder, which eye witnesses said was on neck-breaking speed. The students died instantly. Incensed by the development,

From Morounfolu Adeniyi FUNAAB

students living in the community went after the driver, who did not stop to help the victims after the accident. The driver was identified as an architect, Ademoye. CAMPUSLIFE gathered that when Ademoye noticed the crowd of students trailing his vehicle, he stopped and ran away. The SUV was set ablaze by the irate students, who blocked the road for hours to protest the killing of their colleagues. According to the protesters, motorists plying the road always speed, a situation which, many of them said, endangers the lives of students living in the area. They demanded installation of speed-limit

signposts on the road. Riot policemen and the ViceChancellor, Prof Olusola Oyewole, prevailed on the students to return to their hostels. Ademoye was later arrested by the police. The Acting Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Mr Adewale Kupoluyi, said the VC was shocked by the death of the students. He confirmed the killerdriver was neither a staff nor a lecturer of the university. The remains of the victims were buried in Abeokuta and Sagamu last Saturday according to Islamic rite. Confirming the arrest of the killer-driver, Ogun State Police PRO, Muyiwa Adejobi said Ademoye had been charged to court.

•The late Ridwan and Sheriff...days before their death

Don harps on role of religions


•Raheem (in cap) being presented the plaque by students

Students honour Rector, dean


HE Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) was agog last weekend. The Students’ Union Government (SUG) collaborated with Truism, a student-body, to organise a leadership empowerment and award to recognise the efforts of individuals that contributed to the development of the school. The event attracted dignitaries including the proprietor of Caleb Group of Schools, Dr Ola Adebogun, ex-official of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade David Oladele, former VicePresident, National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), Comrade Seun Akintola, a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Olakayode Oyediran, Dean, Students Affairs, YABATECH,

From Mark Orgu YABATECH

Mr O.T. Raheem and Mr Deji Bademosi, a journalist. A guest speaker, Ayoola Lawal, admonished students to identify their priorities and see the need to build themselves to be useful to the country. Also, Mr G. Sobamowo, a lecturer in UNILAG, urged the students to search for information for transformation. He stressed that students must set standard for themselves to excel in life. Prof Oyediran, in his lecture, attributed the failure of governance to the lack of trust and selfishness on the part of politicians. He said: “Unless we return to God in all honesty, and trust Him, we may not witness the true leadership we all crave for.” He further urged the students to take charge

of their destinies and believe in the Nigerian dream. Bademosi advocated for political reforms and encouraged the students to join political parties if they wanted change. He stressed that from 1960 till date, Nigerian leaders’ programmes had not gone beyond provision of water, electricity and road. To effect change, Bademosi said, the youth must unite to vote out bad leaders. Five distinguished guests were awarded at the end of the event. Those honoured included Dr Adebogun, Dr Margret Ladipo, YABATECH Rector, Mr Dave Ohiorhenuan, Director of Continuing Education, YABATECH, and Raheem. Raheem dedicated the award to Nigerian students, saying without them there would be no higher institutions

PROFESSOR of Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK), Prof Afe Adogame, has enlightened students of the Faculty of Arts, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), on the roles of religion in the society. Speaking at the second edition of the faculty lecture with the theme: Doing things on Earth for heaven’s sake: The public and civic role of religions in Nigeria, Adogame noted that apart from religious devotion, churches and mosques also have social, economic and political responsibility. He said the public should look at the religious organisations from a more objective perspective to discover their duty to the society. “We need to look at our religious organisations from a much more objective perspective and find out their social, economic and political tasks. We need to understand the fact that, aside being religious organisations, the churches and mosques also contribute to the conomy through the creation of jobs for their adherents,” he said. He argued that religious institutions must not be seen as incorruptible bodies, noting that since human beings were part of them, they are also bound to be affected by societal vices. He said: “These religious organisations are part of the society and just as politicians can be corrupt, church and mosques leaders can also be corrupt as they are

•Adogame during his lecture From Imoleayo Oyedeji AAUA

all human beings.” The senior fellow at Harvard University opined that majority of Christendom had embraced Pentecostalism, which made worshippers to worship emotionally with music and dance. Highlighting migration as a prime factor in the global spread of Christianity, the expert said immigrants often take their religion or aspects of it as hand luggage but migrants may not have the mission for religious expansion. In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Femi Mimiko, who was represented by his deputy, Prof Rotimi Ajayi, praised the faculty and the guest lecturer for the lecture, which he described as thought-provoking and stimulating. The Dean of the faculty, Dr B.M. Akinnawonu, said the idea of a public lecture was to fulfill the academic programme of the faculty. The highpoint of the lecture was the presentation of awards and souvenirs to the guest lecturer.




Billionaire thieves and the Judiciary

By Msonter Anzaa


N Nigeria, all things are possible. This is a country of big things. If you want to do anything, just do it the big way. If you do it in a petty way, you would have fixed a date with agony. All one needs to do is to “grow a liver” and

just do it with a bang. Men and women will talk and bicker but beyond that, nothing happens. Nigerians in authority know their size – monumental corruption and big scandals. The business of sleaze is transacted in billions. The nation was held spellbound, a few weeks ago, when an Abuja High Court convicted a self-confessed police pension fund thief and former director in the Police Pension Office, Mr John Yakubu Yusufu. The convict was sentenced to two years imprisonment with an option of fine. Yusufu stole big. He is an example of Nigerian billionaire thief. He siphoned 37 billion naira from the pension coffer. The ill-gotten wealth was withdrawn from the retired police officers’ funds, which he and his co-travellers were entrusted to administer. This is not new; it happens every day in Nigeria. No shaking. Alas, what appeared to be a grim picture of our national in the grand conspiracy to rob and assault the sensibilities of the Nigerian people is the miscarriage of justice perpetrated by Justice Abubakar Talba.

Yusufu was sentenced two years in prison or a fine of N750,000. Now, let us do the calculation: N37 billion minus N750,000 gives us N36.250 billion. It means that Yusufu could pay the fine and the convict would still be a billionaire all his life. This is a dividend of stealing big! Every day, the Nigerian population decries the manner in which corruption is encouraged and nourished by disturbing judgments coming from the courts. It is only in Nigeria that a court can grant a permanent injunction, preventing public officers from standing trial over financial misappropriation. The judgment of Justice Talba has further buttressed the fact that judiciary is a cauldron of corruption itself. The verdict will surely encourage massive stealing and diversion of public funds. Instead of stealing in millions, a serving public officer can steal billions and go scot free. Dare the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian public. Go to court. Tell the judge you actually stole the money. No qualms! Of course,

you will be asked to return some of it. The judge – if he is the Talba kind – would simply appreciate you for not wasting time and being honest to the court. Your lawyer could even argue that if you are simply fined and released, it will encourage other thieves to come over and return part of what they have stolen! Is this not a confirmation that Nigeria is an animal farm where some thieves - sorry animals - are more equal than the others? Now, we are not talking of funds that were idle somewhere – even though that would not in any way justify the theft. We are talking about pension funds. Police pension funds! Men and women in the force spent their lives facing danger so the rest of us could live in safety. In their old age, they get robbed of their life savings through the satanic and insatiable greed of the likes of Yusufu. Why should I encourage my little brother, who wants to be policeman, to join force? We are all witnesses to the needless stress our senior citizens are subjected to whenever they are called to receive their pensions.

Some have had to travel from their villages to far places to participate in screening exercises that may last many weeks, even though many of them are too old for that kind of exercise. We have seen many who have died in the course getting their pension money. That is how they get rewarded for serving Nigeria! One thing, however, is certain: the people of Nigeria are not amused with this and similar stories. Big thieves like Yusufu may never face justice in the courts. They own the courts! But we remember Dele Giwa’s words that: “Evil done by man to man shall never go unpunished. If not now, then later, and if not by man, then by God, for the triumph of evil over good is but temporary.” A revolution is imminent in this country, and it is being hastened and precipitated by the actions of big thieves and the judges that set them free in the full glare of the suffering masses. Msonter, 200-Level Medicine, BSU Makurdi

Cultism: A scourge of tertiary education


HAT is known as cultism in our Nigerian tertiary institution today started at the University College, Ibadan in 1953 when Wole Soyinka, then studying for his Bachelor’s degree in the institution, formed the pirate confraternity with the objective to ending tribalism and elitism. The activities of the society were not shrouded in secrecy; most of its members were Law students. The group only belonged to the most brilliant students on campus. However, cultism has assumed different meaning in contemporary society. It has turned to a deadly and secret organisation. Its objectives have been defeated

By Ibrahim Alamu from what it was established for. Thousands of lives have been lost and properties worth millions have been destroyed due to the activities of cult groups in our tertiary institutions effective from the 1980s. Despite concerted effort by the government and concerned stakeholders to provide Nigerians with qualitative education, a few have chosen to toe the path of destruction through voluntary initiation into different cultist groups, which anti-social vices have eaten deep into the Nigerian educational system. It is highly unfortunate that our secondary schools have also be-

Service in humility


IFE they say, is a stage; one on which actors play out their roles, scene after scene. On March 5, 2013, over 70,000 actors commenced the screenplay of a new scene on their individual lives’ stages. The scene was the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and the actors were young male and female Nigerian graduates who were call for national service. The NYSC was created in 1973 by erstwhile head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, as a girdle for holding together the battered loins of a fatherland just then fresh out of the jaws of ravaging civil war. Though it has faced a number of existential challenges especially in the recent past, the scheme has resolutely grown stronger. And every year, Nigerian graduates enthusiastically answer the call for a year of service starting with a three-week long orientation programme. As camp opened in the Ede, Osun State from where this writer penned this piece, complaints abound. The sun was scorching, the queues endless, the kits were inadequate and the food insufficient; the parade was inhuman,

By Chisom Ojukwu the soldiers overbearing and it goes on and on. Interestingly however, there were overwhelmingly more joyful faces than crying ones; there was palpable fun in the air. Living the camp life, one witnesses a number of revelations. The first is the smooth achievement of an egalitarian society in so short a time. In just three days, sons and daughters of the high and mighty, the lower class as well as the middleclass were integrated into one brotherhood where everybody is one. For a country as socially stratified as Nigeria, the achievement of such equality is commendable. The second eye-opening revelation is that soldiers are indeed human. It is needless rehashing the inherent

come veritable grounds for breeding cultists, making one to wonder if we are civilising the right way. The expulsion of 26 secondary school students for involving in cult activities in 2002 in Cross River State, the beating of a secondary school typist to death in Eket, Akwa Ibom State in 2004 and attack of a school principal by a group of secondary school pupils in Premier Grammar School, Abeokuta, Ogun State, in 2012 have all confirmed the existence of deadly groups in secondary schools. Of course, we don’t need soothsayer to tell us that the pupils will graduate to become hardened criminals when they are admitted into tertiary institutions. beastly nature often attributed to officers of the Nigerian army. Corps members were, therefore, understandably wary to learn that these officers would be in charge of camp discipline. As time progressed however, their fears were dispelled. Soon comments like “soldier dey laugh?” and “this officer funny oo” abound. Even on the parade ground where business was the meanest, Corps members were on the receiving end of acts of camaraderie from those ‘beastly’ soldiers. Another revelation is the ease with which Nigerian tribal and religious factions can be integrated if good intention and the right values are brought to bear. As Corps members formed into platoons, all other affiliations were disbanded as the spirit of competition fostered unity among platoon comrades. Away from boundary disputes, religious squabbles, mineral resources and bitter memories, Nigeria truly became one. So it was that under the scorching sun of Ede orientation camp, and of all other camps across the nation, Corps members raised their right hands in a collective oath of allegiance to fatherland. All inhibitions and contrasting ideologies melted away as patriotism and hope burned bright. These men and women would, in the following 11 months, render service in humility to Nigeria. Chisom, is a Corps member, NYSC Osogbo

When some of them, who engage in cult activities, are asked the reason for joining the group, some may say it is for protection, some may say it is for fame, while some can attribute it to an avenue to accrue wealth to gain ladies’ attention. During the recently-held matriculation in the Kwara State Polytechnic, two cult members were killed. The ceremony, which ought to be a jamboree, turned out to be bloody. Many students and parents, who lost properties and injured in the mayhem would not forget the day in a hurry. Many parents, who would have been joyous to witness their wards’ admission, would have purchased another UTME forms

for their children to rewrite another exam into another institutions. How long are we going to continue to be indifferent to this menace in our society? Shall we allow cultism to destroy our education system? Eradication of cultism, if I may suggest, can only be feasible if proper orientation is held to change the mindset of students in our various institutions. Also, proper upbringing of child by parents, public enlightenment by education stakeholders would help in stopping the activities of secret clubs on our campuses. Ibrahim, 200-Level Arts and Social Science Education, UNILORIN

Remembering the late Tunde Salawu


LEVEN years ago, the Lagos State University (LASU) witnessed bloodshed. In style reminiscent of the killing of Ibrahim Olaniyan, otherwise known as Damoche, gunmen stormed the campus and rained bullets on the Students’ Union Government (SUG) President, Comrade Tunde Salawu. The assassination was spearheaded by cultists. Tunde was the president of presidents whose exceptional valour outlived his small figure. He was strikingly outstanding and everything in Tunde demonstrated a genuine leader with no trace of egoism and unwarranted affiliation to clandestine settings. At a time when the trait of cultism was at its peak such that its consequences were far beyond being controlled by security agencies, Tunde courageously mastermind and led an onslaught against cultists and cultism on campus. He was a major threat to all criminals on campus and he succeeded in changing LASU, which was known as butcher ground, to a secure environment. Tunde was a symbolic image that brought peace to LASU and the major sacrifice Tunde made was to give up his life for a course he was committed and dedicated to.

By Ibrahim Bello Tunde discovered greatness in death and little wonder he left consoling words for his fellow comrades before he gave up the ghost. Tunde informed them that they should fight cultism to a standstill notwithstanding the consequences. Tunde is fondly remembered as a comrade and in other areas we share common aspirations. May Almighty God grant you Al-Jannah Firdaus. This moment is equally used to remember the late Comrade Anjorin Lukmon (Barrywhyte), a student of the Political Science, LASU, and chairman, Action and Mobilization, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Joint Campus Committee (JCC), Lagos axis. He died as a victim of cultist attack on innocent students. May their souls continue to rest in peace. Ibrahim, is a Corps member, NYSC Abeokuta



CAMPUS LIFE Students beg to return


TUDENTS of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede (EDE POLY), Osun State, have appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the institution’s management to re-open the campus. The institution was shut following a protest against epileptic power supply last month by students. The students said they were tired of sitting at home, adding that if the campus was not re-opened, their continued stay at home may jeopardise their future. A student, who did not want to be named,

Church bids members farewell HURCH of Christ on the University of Calabar (UNICAL) campus as held its send off ceremony for its members, who are graduating from the institution. The event, which was held in CES Auditorium, was attended by personalities such as Evangelist I.E. Morah, Evangelist Udeme King, Dr Sunday Effiom, Mr Akan Esu and Mr Roland Ekanem, Mr Michael Alfred among others. Alfred said the day marked a great day in the lives of the graduating students after rigorous work and training in the university. He also stated that any education that did not acknowledge existence of God was retrogressive. He thanked the outgoing students for making out time to serve God, through their selfless service to the church.


From Dhikru Akinola EDE

said the Students’ Union Government (SUG) had pleaded with the management to turn on generator every night for students as examination drew close. But said management refused, a development which resulted into the protest. In a swift reaction, an official of the Public Relations office of the institution debunked the claim, saying the allegation was a “blatant lie”. He said the school was not shut down rather, management declared a midsemester break. Contrary to the claim that the Rector is out of the country, the official said: “As I speak with you, the Rector is in his office. We did not close the school but we are on midsemester break. Any moment from now, the Governing Council will approve the date for resumption.” From Sam Ibok and Frank Ejeagbasi UNICAL

He advised the students to hold on to the virtues which they learned through their stay on campus and in the church. The minister in charge, Evangelist King, said the graduation ceremony supposed to have been held last year, but postponed because of the short school’s academic calendar. He presented the graduating students to the congregation. They included among others Isaac Mensah, Medical Laboratory Science, Promise Akpan, Applied Geophysics, Eneobong Essien, Educational Planning and Administration, Emem Obong Eyo, Nursing, Mercy Etim, Physiology, Ikenna Olumba, Human Anatomy, Otu Eko, Medical Laboratory Science, Grace Samuel, Banking and Finance, Kingsley Bassey, Theatre and Media Studies, Aniema Edet, Marine Science and Nsisong Ekpo, Physics. The occasion featured drama presentation by the church’s drama and music groups. Gospel group, Campus Harmony and Shalom Singers, also thrilled the congregation with songs. The graduating students were officially inducted as the alumni of the church fellowship.

On and Off Campus By Solomon Izekor 08061522600

•Members of the club during the fellowship

Rotaract marks anniversary


OTARACT Club of Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, has commemorated the 108th birthday of Rotary International in grand style. The event was ended with a fellowship of love by members of the club in the university. The fellowship was opened after the president, Maryann Okeke, addressed the gathering. The four-way test of the club was recited by Martin Ekene, a member of the club. The club members were dressed in attires with red colour to signify love they have for humanity. Before the exchange of gifts started, two members-Magnus Ekeh and Emmanuel Okpara- gave brief lectures on friendship

From Ekene Ahaneku IMSU

and love respectively. The lecture was to make members understand why they must love and care for the less privileged. The fellowship was made lively with exchange of gifts, which started when the president called all members to submit their names on a piece of paper. The papers were folded and randomly picked by the students. Magnus presented a “wonderful gift” to an intending member, Frank Michee, for his tireless effort in carrying out some selfless duties. This is followed by the club queen, Emmanuela Keke, giving gifts to the king and other friends in the club. Speaking to CAMPUSLIFE, Magnus, 300Level Political Science, said: “It is fun showing love to people who mean a lot to you. Also to people that need your love; this is the good news that Rotaract club preaches and practices. We decided to end the 108th birthday of our noble club in this way.”

•Cross section of freshers at the programme

Dept welcomes freshers LEVEN years ago, the Lagos State University (LASU) witnessed stormed the rained on


TUDENTS’ Chemical Society of Nigeria (SCSN), Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai chapter, has inducted freshers into the association. The freshmen, who were beaming with smiles, filled the conference room of the department to its capacity. The Head of the Chemistry department, Dr U.U. Elele, congratulated the students for their admission into the institution. She urged them to maximise their potentials and focus on their studies. She said: “In the history of this department, there has not been a student that graduated with a First Class result. You

From Yinka Olatunbosun IBBUL

must all work hard to break the record.” Delivering a lecture entitled Role of chemists in chemical industries, Mallam Mohammed Mohammed, a lecturer in the department, highlighted areas where chemists’ expertise was needed. The highpoint of the programme was recitation of a poem by Lateefat Raufu and Fiona Ohai. The poem was the to educate the freshers on how chemistry recreates nature and affects the lives of individuals. A play let was also staged by Chuka Uzochukwu and his friends to enlighten students on how to behave and relate with other students and their lecturers. Mr Stephen Agwuncha, an examination officer, who spoke on exam ethics, showed the freshers how they could calculate Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). Mallam Abdullahi Mohammed also tutored the students on the use of library.




‘TETFund should establish research labs’

BRIEFS AAUA holds fourth convocation

•Lawmaker says agency should pause funding


ATHER than wait for the private sector to invest in research as some academics advocate, a Member of House of Representative, Hon Kehinde Odeneye has said the government, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) can undertake to establish state-of-the-art central research laboratories to boost research capacity of Nigerian universities and academics. Odeneye, who is a member of the House Committee on Education, told The Nation in an interview that the agency could temporarily withhold funds from tertiary institutions for a year to establish the laboratories in the six geo-political zones of the country. He added that when established, academics from all tertiary institutions could be involved in multidisciplinary researches that could solve pressing national problems. That way, Odeneye said the government would put its money where its mouth is and build the confidence of the private sector in the education system.

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

He said: "The intervention we need in our education system should be total and holistic so we ourselves will believe in it. So much money goes into research and nobody wants to take a gamble. Rather than collaborate with the private sector on research, what we should do is that TETFund should set up a research centre where professors will come together and let's see what they can do. If anybody should take a gamble, it should be the government. "The research centre should be a general one that will be fully loaded. To me, TETFUND can even stop general intervention funding to institutions for a year to set up the state-of-the-art centres in the six geo-political zones." However, despite complaints of inadequate funding, Odeneye lamented that many tertiary institutions fail to access their yearly capital grants from TETFund. He urged the institutions to do their parts in meeting the conditions of the agency so they can access the

funds, advising them to even apply for special intervention funds which are also available. "TETFund has been trying in disbursing grants to institutions but some schools don't even access their allocations. The TETFUND has billions in its account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the chairman complained that most schools do not come for their allocations. My call to institutions is that they should approach TETFund and apply for the grants, even the special intervention funds. I do not see any reason why there should be funds and they are not used," he said. To attract the best of brains to education and other sectors, Odeneye called on the Federal Government to emulate the scholarship programmes of China, India and other fast-growing countries. The lawmaker explained that these countries send their best brains to study in the best schools in the world and engage them once they are through so they can invest their newly acquired skills into their economies.


"Look at India, they follow up their students. When you finish secondary school and you want to become a doctor, they send you to the best medical school to train and immediately you finish, they bring you back to work. But in Nigeria, if there is such a scheme, it is not working. If they go on PTDF scholarship, they don't come back here. If they come back, they will be begging for jobs instead of the government to engage their skills," he said.

Provost laments poor use of TETFUND

Provost warns students


ROVOST of the Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) in Ondo, Ondo State, Prof Idowu Adeyemi has blamed the education crisis in higher institutions in the country to lack of proper utilisation of grants from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). Adeyemi said tertiary institutions are bedeviled with such problems as frequent policy reversals, paucity of funds inadequate facilities, lack of quality students and inadequate/unqualified teachers. The Provost, who spoke at the first National Delegates' Congress of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) hosted by ACE, added that the problems had hindered the institutions, particularly colleges of education from fulfilling their potential. He said: "It is within our reach to make use of available government funding to develop ourselves as teachers. We need to improve and develop ourselves to meet the demands of teaching, learning, research and imparting the right knowledge into our students and rub shoulders with others in higher institutions within and outside Nigeria." President of the COEASU, Mohammed Awwal Ibrahim said the union had enjoyed mutual relationship with provosts of the federal colleges.

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

• From left: Director, MTN Foundation, Mr Dennis Okoro, Miss Olamijulo Olubunmi Feyisayo, a beneficiary of the MTNF scholarship for the Blind, receiving her award certificate from the Director, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Ms. Nonny Ugboma at the formal presentation of scholarship to blind students by MTNF at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

Laparascopic doctors trained in Nnewi


BOUT 30 medical doctors have received training in Minimal Access Surgery (MAS) at the Life Institute for Endoscopy, Nnewi, Anambra State. The trainees included medical doctors and peri-operative nurses. The proprietor of the Endoscopic Institute/Medical Director of Life Hospital, Prof Joseph Ikechebelu was praised for his feats in laparoscopic surgery. A consultant Gynecologist and one of the trainees, Dr Kayode Obende from Garki hospital, Abuja described the training as excellent stressing that it exposed them to the theoreti-

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

cal and practical knowledge of MAS. He said he would return to Anambra State for the advanced course in MAS urging other doctors to undergo the training as he was impressed by the facilities in the hospital which he said exposed them during the training. Obende, who received an award as the most improved doctor, called on the concerned authority to revive the Nigerian chapter of the World Association of Laparoscopy (WAL) to bring members together in Nigeria.

In his address, Ikechebelu congratulated the participants, who came from the six geopolitical zones, for the successful completion of the eight basic MAS. He said the institute conceived in 2010, is the first to offer structured MAS training in Nigeria resulting in the first Laparoscopic Myomectomyn in the Southeast. "The journey has not been easy. The faculty, according to him, has sacrificed much of their time, knowledge and energy to achieve this. They have persevered because of our common desire to transfer technology to others," he said.

Full-time/part-time students get equal treatment


TUDENTS undergoing parttime NCE programmes at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education Otto/Ijanikin (AOCOED) will enjoy the same recognition and use the college facilities just like their full-time counterparts, the Provost Mr Wasiu Olalekan Bashorun has announced. He also said they can express their opinions to the management via mobile phone numbers, emails and other social media platforms. Speaking at the matriculation of the 2012/2013 part-time NCE stu-

TWO sets of graduands of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State, will receive their scrolls during the fourth convocation of the university today and tomorrow. First degrees would be conferred on the 2009/2010 graduating students of the Faculties of Arts, Education, Law, Faculties of Arts, Education, Law, Science, Social & Management Sciences and the Institute of Education today, while those that graduated in the 2010/ 2011 academic session will be conferred their degrees tomorrow, along with those receiving Postgraduate Diplomas, Master, PhD, and honorary degrees. The convocation programme began last week with a pre-convocation press briefing, where the Vice Chancellor, Prof Femi Mimiko highlighted its significance. He said: "This fourth convocation ceremony would afford the university an opportunity to showcase its accomplishments, essentially in the areas of continued deepening of the integrity of its academic programmes, including the outstanding performance of its staff, students and alumni; rapid expansion in infrastructure; its programme of internationalization and social relevance - all directed at building a 21st Century university, properly called."

By Adegunle Olugbamila

dents held at the college premises last Saturday, Bashorun said: "The college will do everything possible to give you top quality NCE education in a decent and learningenhancing environment. “We will also ensure adequate security of lives and property. I, therefore, urge you all to use the suggestion boxes located at strategic corners all over the college to draw attention to areas that require improvements or in case you want to register complaints. I assure you

that such suggestions or complaints will be treated promptly." Congratulating the students, Bashorun enjoined them to be committed to their studies and abstain from any untoward behaviour that can affect the college negatively or lead to their expulsion. Bashorun further enjoined members of staff to key into the institution's vision to be the best nationwide in the shortest possible time. "As management, we shall enhance the continuous develop-

ment of our manpower which is our primary resource. We shall not compromise on training of staff, welfare and quality service delivery. Very soon, and with the kindness of the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, we shall be paying what is popularly referred to in the labour circle as 18month salary," he said. 1,500 new students cutting across the college five Schools-Arts and Social Sciences; Education; Languages; Sciences and Vocational and Technical education, took the oath of matriculation.

THE Provost, Federal College of Agriculture (FCA) Akure, Ondo State, Dr Mary Ogunkoya has said it is obligatory for matriculating students to maintain law and order in the college. She spoke at the 12th joint matriculation of the college where 182 National Diploma (ND) and 91 Higher National Diploma (HND) students took an oath of allegiance to be of good behaviour. Dr Ogunkoya said: ''Becoming members of the college community entails certain rights and obligations on the part of the students. As full members of the college, you can access academic facilities; you can participate in students' union politics and represent the college in any occasion. "In as much as the college will create the enabling environment for you to enjoy your rights, you must take the discharge of all the above obligations very seriously. She advised the students to be law-abiding and conduct themselves peacefully on campus.

Mimiko, others for Elizade Varsity Lecture GOVERNOR Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State will chair the Distinguished Lecture Series 1 of the Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State, next Thursday. A release signed by the institution's Registrar, Mr Omololu Adegbenro, stated that the lecture, titled: "Forging a Partnership between public and private universities for the attainment of National Development,” will be delivered by Chief Wole Olanipekun, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, University of Ibadan. The lecture is part of events marking the maiden matriculation of the university. Expected at the event are the Governors of Ekiti and Oyo states, captains of industries, members of the academia, traditional and religious leaders, among others. Elizade University was licensed in February, 2012 and its first set of students resumed on January 6.









Oyinbo Coach or Oyinbo Principal?


HERE is a development I would like to touch before it is too late. Coach Stephen Keshi recently led the Super Eagles to win the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in South Kofoworola Africa. That was the third time the trophy would be won by Nigeria. The last time the Super Eagles won this trophy was in 08054503077 (SMS only) 1994 when Keshi incidentally played for the Nigerian team. The climax of the Super Eagles' victory came with an interesting dimension: Keshi turned in his resignation the following day the cup was won and this action expectedly generated a lot of public debate. One key reason Keshi gave for his resignation was the intense pressure from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), his employers, especially before his team beat Cote d'ivoire to qualify for the semifinals. Keshi alleged that NFF said he should be ready to work under a foreign technical adviser. This didn't go well with Keshi and after proving to the whole world that 'what Oyinbo can do, a black man can do better', he resigned. It seemed everybody in Nigeria for the first time sided with Keshi. They derided NFF for not believing in their own. The powers that be in Nigeria including the Senate intervened and Keshi withdrew his resignation. This football drama reminds one of what appears like a tradition in most elite schools in Nigeria. Majority of the high fee paying private schools have foreigners as their principals or head teachers. To be qualified for the headship post, in addition to your certificates, the colour of your skin must be 'right'. In other words, if you had all the qualifications and trained abroad, you are not going to be considered for the headship post in these schools because your skin colour is dark. To get this job, you don't even have to come from Canada, the US, UK or Australia. What is important to some of these schools is the colour of the skin --- Oyinbo is our principal! I once asked a proprietor why his school employs Oyinbo principals and he confessed to me that since that is what their competitors do, they have to do it too to stay in business. Other school owners have different motives: They strongly believe that Oyinbo principal knows the job very well and he/she is only fit to provide the right leadership for teachers and students. Obviously Nigerian teachers are not that pleased with majority of their Oyinbo Principals. They always complain about their Oyinbo principals' lack of experience and high-handedness. Of course they dare not express their dissatisfaction openly because of fear of losing their jobs. The conflicts could come from a number of reasons. The Oyinbo might not be an experienced administrator or it could be that the teachers are not ready for the change the Oyinbo principal wants. Majority of the teachers think that Oyinbo principals are not doing much to deserve their fat salaries and the praise they receive from the school owners and the parents. One teacher recently told me that he was frustrated and embarrassed by the way her school was 'marketing' their principal. Whenever they needed to put any information in the newspaper whether for recruitment or admission, the Oyinbo principal's photo must be there. I remember seeing a number of advertisements like this too. But it ceased to surprise me since my contact told me they too are just doing what their competitors are doing to remain in business. Some parents seem to believe more in a school headed by a foreigner and they are ready to pay such schools handsomely. When I wanted to leave my job at Olashore Internation School, Iloko as Deputy Head in charge of the School's philanthropic project to support the Local Primary School where Olashore International School is located, the founder of the School, Late Oba Oladele Olashore wanted to employ a foreigner to fill the post I was about to vacate. I heard about his plan and I went to convince him why he didn't need a foreigner to fill the post since we have created a system and any smart teacher would succeed on the job. Oba Olashore told me the only reason he was planning to employ a foreigner was because of commitment. He said there would be less distraction for a foreigner and he really wanted someone to build on the success we have achieved on the project so far. I didn't have enough courage then to ask Oba Olashore to tell me if I was distracted or not committed for the three years that I successfully worked on the project! I had an interesting experience when I was teaching in another school. My fair skinned (Oyinbo?) fellow teacher who was a foreigner (not from the US, UK, US or any of those countries known for quality education) wanted a quick loan from me. I told her that I didn't have that kind of money but she found it difficult to believe me since we were just paid our salaries. When I told her what I earned, she was very surprised that there was such a gap in our salaries. She confessed that she learned on the job from me and other Nigerian teachers and she felt somewhat guilty she was earning far more than us. Coach Keshi had a chance to prove himself and he did. Remember we have had some foreign technical advisers who never got the Super Eagles qualified for any tournament. Some bold Nigerian schools have however given qualified Nigerians the opportunity to head their schools. A good number of them are achieving results and still making their money. The teachers in schools where Oyinbos are principals should accept the direction of change for now. Akin Alamu Akin Alamu is the CEO of High Rank Curriculum Limited. He can be reached at or 07033850574


•From left: Mr Hegdekatte, Mr Varrier Devesh, Director, Training, EduSoft Associates; Mrs Borha, Mr Badri Prasad, Director, Operations, EduSoft Associates and Mr. Guarav Goel, CEO, Maxmind at the workshop.

Envoy advocates Indo-Nigerian education partnership


OR the Nigerian education system to develop, the Indian Higher Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Mahesh Sachdev said the country has to build the capacity of its teachers to teach. Speaking at a workshop in Lagos organised by EduSoft Associates Ltd, an Indian firm that provides Abacus and speed maths training, ICT solutions and others, he said India can partner with Nigeria to share its expertise in this regard. He said historically, Indian teachers have taught in Nigerian schools for many decades, adding that the two countries have many shared qualities that would make the partnership worthwhile. He said: "I have met many important people who have been taught by Indian teachers. I don't mean it as a boast but the late President Yar'Adua, Governor Fashola and President Jonathan could recall the names of their Indian teachers and the values they learnt from them. A large country like Nigeria cannot be taught by foreigners but by Nigerians themselves. But we can share our expertise. "I believe education is a sector where if Nigeria needs a partner, India will perhaps be the best partner. We share diversity, large numbers of children, commonality of language, same resources, and an

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

emerging social milieu. Which other country shares these characteristics with Nigeria?" In line with the theme of the workshop, "Implementing Best-in-class Solutions for enhancing Schools Pass Rate" held at NECA House," Agidingbi, participants, made up of school owners and administrators learnt how they could improve student performance through various interventions EduSoft Associates and another company, Educomp Nigeria could provide. Representatives of both firms noted in their presentations that modern instructional materials are key to Nigeria's educational development. They said solutions such as Abacus and Speed Mathematics, as well as ICT tools such as Smartclass and Edumate, have the potential of making teaching and learning more innovative and interesting. The workshop, with the theme, "Implementing best-in-class solutions for enhancing schools pass rate", was held in Lagos on March 7. It was organised by EduSoft Associates, in partnership with Educomp Solutions Nigeria. Mrs Mobolaji Borha, who represented the Minister of Education, Hajiya Ruqayyat Ahmed Rufa'i, said that modern teaching aids assist

teachers in becoming more effective, and students, more responsive to what they are being taught. "These solutions will act as very good support for teachers regarding lessons and teaching aids," she said in her keynote address. Mrs. Adedoyin Isreal, Head Teacher, Heyday School, FESTAC, Lagos, who is already implementing some of these solutions, during the panel discussion, said: "Abacus and Speed Mathematics as well as some of these other solutions are geared towards enhancing the ability of students to be globally competitive. The solutions do not add or subtract from the approved curricula: they enhance the global competitiveness of our students." Mr Badri Prasad, Director, Operations, EduSoft Associates, said the major objective of the workshop was to facilitate the introduction of solutions that have been adopted in other countries with impressive results to Nigerian schools. "With schools struggling to enhance the pass rate of their students in general examinations, adopting solutions that complement the general curriculum and importantly, make learning a thing of joy, thereby boosting students' confidence, will go a long way in preparing students for examinations and ultimately for highly rewarding careers.

Council chair flays' teachers' poor commitment


ARETAKER chairman of Oye Local Government, Ekiti State, Hon Adewale Adekoya, has decried the poor commitment of public school teachers. Speaking when he distributed instructional materials to pupils in the 63 primary schools in the local government, Adebayo said despite being taught by less qualified teachers, private school pupils out perform their public school counterparts. He attributed this to the commitment of private school teachers. He said: "I wish to recall the good old days when teachers taught with passion which made successful pupils have fond memories of teachers whose influence changed their lives. What we observe today is that even our teachers prefer to send their children to private schools because of the poor standards in public schools. "It is a known fact that the educational qualifications of teachers in our public schools are often better than those of their counterparts in the private schools, they are better paid and their salaries are regular. Yet, the performance of students in public schools is nothing to write home about. What explains it is the

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

commitment of the teachers in private school where laziness and indolence is never tolerated let alone condoned!" Adebayo, who distributed 35,000 crested notebooks to the pupils; 120 cartons of chalk to schools, and 4000 branded pens to the teachers, however praised the Ekiti State government for improving schools. "Schools are not just being renovated but computers are being placed at the very desk of every student in secondary schools while basic texts are equally being provided. To say this will go ways in kindling and sustaining their interest is to make understatements. "Today, as a stakeholder in education, Oye Local Government Area is lending its support by providing instructional materials for all the pupils in public primary schools in the council. The materials will, most assuredly, help to complement whatever the parents expend on the education of their children and equally make the jobs easier for the teachers," he said. Agreeing with his assessment, the Education Commissioner, Dr Eniola

Ajayi, noted that public school teachers must do better. "We cannot but compare standards as this is the way to solution. Public school teachers earn better than private schools but the result of students in private schools are always better. We all know the explanation. "Parents should also support and monitor their children. We have discovered that students now use the computer to watch films rather than for meaningful academic development. We as parents have a role to monitor them to ensure they do what they should do," said the commissioner who was represented by a director, Mr. A.O. Jeje. In his address, the governor thanked the chairman for complementing the state government through such initiatives, noting he must have placed high premium on the project for it to have become fruitful. Seven schools were in attendance at the symbolic presentation of the writing materials. They are: SS Peter and Paul Oye-Ekiti; St Peters, AyedeEiti; St Johns, Ilupeju-Ekiti; Methodist School, Itapa-Ekiti; St Theresa, Omuo-Oke Ekiti; St Andrews, Omuo Odo Ekiti; and Methodist Primary School, Oye-Ekiti.





The Senate and House of Representatives have taken different positions on the vexed issue of immunity for National Assembly members. VICTOR OLUWASEGUN and DELE ANOFI examine the arguments for and against the Immunity Bill.

Much ado about parliamentary immunity T

HE Immunity Bill is now a bone of contention between the Senate and House of Representatives. The bill has passed through the second reading in the Lower House. But the Senate has questioned its desirability, stressing that legislators can discharge their responsibilities without the constitutional immunity. The first bill is titled: “ A Bill for an Act to amend the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) 2004 to extend Legislative Powers and Privileges to members of the Local Governments Legislative Assemblies. The second bill is titiled ‘A Bill for an Act to repeal the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges Act 2004, and enact the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act 2012 to give the Legislature the desired Powers and Immunity to be able to carry out its Legislative Responsibility”. The bills, which were sponsored by the Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Ali Ahmed, and Ralph Igbokwe were consolidated before the commencement of the debate, passed and subsequently referred to the ad hoc committee on the review of the constitution. But it appears that the lawmakers have stirred the hornets nest with the passage of the bill. There is an outcry over the intent and motive behind the move by the parliament to shield itself by seeking to amend the constitution for the purpose of restoring legislative immunity, which it lost in 2007 on the account of the ruling of the Appeal Court. The legislators have explained that they are encumbered by several distractions and obstacles in the process of discharging their duties. However, critics have pointed out that the move was self-seeking. Others agreed with the legislators, saying that immunity would enable them to dicharge their responsibilities without hinderance. A legislator, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, said the proposed amendment has been misconstrued by many people who rely on media commentaries to form an opinion. “Nobody is asking for immunity. What the bill is asking for is that members should not be distracted from doing their work. I’m surprised that the media is taking the slant of immunity. We are not asking for immunity; we are just asking that lawmakers should have the liberty to do their jobs as parliamentarians on the floor of the House. “We are not saying that the legislators should not be prosecuted. But we are saying that members should be shielded based on anything they say in the cause of their legislative duties or in committee”, Daramola said. Another legislator, Ali Ahmad, who defended the passage of the bill on the floor of the House, said: “The court objected to the legislative immunity in Nigeria in 2007. As we know, this immunity is granted to all legislatures across the world, whether under parliamentary or presidential system, and whether unicameral or bicameral. Unlike executive immunity, legislative immunity and judicial immunity are universal. “The reason is that the legislator, in exercising his functions, should be granted optimum freedom of speech and debate, such that

any words spoken or written in a report at the plenary session or committee proceedings, are not impeached or questioned in any court of law. Thus, a legislator cannot be sued for libel or slander on account of what he said at the plenary or committee. Similarly, legislative documents, especially ‘Votes and Proceedings’, cannot be questioned or contradicted. No evidence shall be allowed in court to show that what the “Votes” contain is not true”. He added: “Thus, the judicial immunity legislation (i.e. Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act) is outside the jurisdiction the courts, with respect to words spoken on the floor of the House, or contained in a report laid. It also ousts jurisdiction of the court regarding questioning the veracity of the legislative documents; whatever is contained in a legislative document must be accepted as fact and true and court must accept it as such and cannot inquire to find out otherwise. It is like a black box that should not be opened”. Ahmad said that, in the 2007 judgement on the Balonwu’s case, the court relied on the Section 4(8) of the Constitution , which prohibits the promulgation of any law that ousts court’s jurisdiction, and the court said that the law on legislative immunity is unconstitutional. He said: “The case was the Balonwu’s case and the court allowed the evidence to contradict a notice of impeachment (a legislative document), whether it was properly arrived at or not. Of course, the court was right. The section gives powers to the courts, and the courts jealously guard that power. The court did not have to strike down the law to arrive at the decision. “ But this is even more so in Nigeria, and Nigeria alone, where you have provision such as Section 4(8). Not many countries have such provision in their constitutions. In America, I have seen the laws that oust the court’s jurisdiction and they were held to be constitutional because they are not general, but narrowly targeting exceptional situations. “But because the military had the penchant for ousting the court’s jurisdiction in its decrees, the framers inserted Section 4(8) so that no lawmaker or subsequent military dictator can oust jurisdiction of the courts, even in a decree.” Ahmad said it was wrong for the framers of the 1999 Constitution to do away with legislative immunity. “Even, the United States and other countries that have written constitutions inserted this immunity in their constitutions. Legislators in Nigeria are ex-

• Mark

posed; we are not covered and we are all subjectd to the prying eyes and pricking actions of the courts. This is contrary to the principle of the separation of powers and the freedom of legislative speech and debate. Thus, it is only by inserting this immunity in the constitution that we can return Nigeria the global practice of protecting the legislature”, he added. However, critics of the parliamentary immunuty have argued that it may be a license to the abuse of the privilege. it would appear that many are against immunity in any guise. They pointed out that the legislators may become reckless. Others have also argued that the move may encourage corruption and lack of accountability. Also, they feel that the beneficiaries of immunity, who had engaged in criminal acts and abuse of power, especially the embezzlement of public funds, may escape prosecution. According to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), immunity for the executive and legislature is unnecessary. Former NBA President, Joseph Daudu (SAN), had argued that “the immunity clause is an acknowledgement that some people are above the law. This is undesirable and unjustifiable in our present level of democracy.” The legal luminary submitted that immunity may violate one of the fundamental principles of the constitution, which is the rule of law. “One of the tenets of this doctrine is that no one should be allowed to be above the law as all persons are equal before it”, he maintained. A legislator from Kano State, Mustapha Dawaki, disagreed with this view. He said the immunity has limitation, clarifying that it does not cover the private actions of the legislator. “The bill has attracted a lot of misconception in the public, especially the scope of the bill. People are now trying to make it look like a protection bill, as if to shield legislators from corruption. But that is not the case. People need to understand that the bill is all about giving immunity to anything that is said within the confines of the National Assembly, so that the legislator is protected from prosecution on whatever he or she says while carrying out these legislative duties”, he explained. Tracing the history of the immunity clause, he said: “ In 1397, in the British parliament, a

‘What the bill is asking for is that members should not be distracted from doing their work. I’m surprised that the media is taking the slant of immunity. We are not asking for immunity; we are just asking that lawmakers should have the liberty to do their jobs as parliamentarians on the floor of the House’

• Tambuwal

bill was presented and passed unanimously in the House of Commons, which condemned the financial scandal involving King Richards 11 and for daring to criticise the royal family, the member that sponsored the bill was taken to court, charged and convicted for treason and sentenced to death. The member was not eventually put to death because members of the parliament put pressure on the monarchy and the member had to get a royal pardon before he was left off the hook. “After that incident, the parliament now sat down and created a bill or rights for themselves and got the immunity that protects them from whatever is said in the parliament.” Another member, Samson Okwu from Benue State said: “The issue is misunderstood by the people because the immunity we are talking about is just within the chambers and the committee meeting. With that, one will be able to contribute positively to national discourse. Unfortunately, people are looking at it from the same angle as that of the governors, like when a criminal offense is committed and he cannot be prosecuted. “That is not what this bill is about. This is just to protect us within the chamber and during committee level to be able to say the truth without the fear of being picked up later. Those that are arguing against this bill have not been able to come up with a better reason”, he said. Godfrey Gaiya, also a member of the House, said the bill is not designed to shield members from criminal prosecution; neither is it to shield legislators from investigation for any wrongdoing. He said that immunity will give members the powers to speak freely without fear or favour within the confines of the National Assembly. “Some of this matters may be issues that are controversial, damaging in some people’s views or offensive to some others. But if we have the bill in place, it will allow the Representative to contribute positively to any issue that has to do with generality of Nigerians, and say it as it is. Besides, truth is often bitter as some people will not take kindly to bitter truth. “As such they will want to frustrate revelation and stop further revelation or distract the member that is making such revelations by way of dragging him or her to court. “So, we felt that if Nigeria must have full disclosure on matters of national importance, then the person speaking on such issue should be given maximum protection that will encourage him to speak all out. “Unfortunately, maybe out of ignorance, people are assuming that the bill is to give us some protection against criminal procedings, but the fact is that we don’t own any vote, we don’t sign any contract, we don’t dispense any fund.” Another legislator from Ogun State, Kehinde Odeneye, said that any member who commits an offense bothering on fraud or corruption will face the music, irrespective of the immunity.



POLITICS Akpabio calls for reconciliation in PDP


KWA Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has called on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to organise reconciliation meetings twice in a year to resolve thorny party issues. Akpabio made the call during the Southsouth PDP meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, to reconcile aggrieved members in the zone. He said: “If we do this, I can assure you that the PDP will win 30 states in the next election. We must compensate the disciples in each state. If you are not a good follower, you cannot be a good leader”. The governor urged the party members to see the success of President Goodluck Jonathan as the success of the Southsouth, adding that, if the President succeeds, it would open doors for more Southsouth sons and daughters to become the President in the future. He added: “There is a hand of God in every position of leadership. Bayelsa is, perhaps, the smallest state in Nigeria, but God decided to choose Goodluck Ebele Jonathan from Bayelsa State to become the President of Nigeria. We must all support our brother to succeed. For us, we shall not fail and we will never fail”. Apparently referring to the second tern ambition of the President in 2015, the PDP Governors’ Forum Chairman urged party members to endorse the President. Alhaji Tukur assured that the National Working Committee (NWC) would strengthen the party, saying that it is a party of the people. He said: “You (members) are the owners of PDP. We will ensure that the party is brought back to the owners of the party. Yes, there are disagreements, but we can reconcile our differences and still deliver our party in 2015”. The national chairman thanked the PDP supporters for the “rousing” welcome accorded him, both at the Port Harcourt International Airport and the venue of the meeting. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State said: “I join all my brothers in the Southsouth in welcoming you (Tukur). Even in my position as elected governor, I must tell you this: even if you tar all the roads in the Southsouth without putting food on the table, our members will not appreciate the party. If you want to prevent our members from straying to other parties, you must put food in the stomach of our supporters”. •Akpabio

Lagos Assembly probes council


AGOS State House of Assembly has set up a sevenman ad-hoc committee to investigate alleged financial impropriety and unconstitutional acts against the chairman of Surulere Local Government, Mr. Tajudeen Ajide. The House resolved to probe the council boss, following the petition by the nine councillors. The petition was read by the Clerk of the House, Segun Abiru, at plenary. The petitioners alleged that the council chairman has been conducting the affairs of the council unilaterally without recourse to the councillors. The councillors alleged that “the chairman has been awarding contracts to his cronies, obtaining bank drafts without the knowledge and approval of the legislative arm.” They also alleged that Ajide has created an office for the chairman’s wife with salaries, impress and cars, which according to the petitioners, was contrary to the law of the state. The councillors further alleged that the chairman has only held meetings with the councillors on two occasions. They de-

By Musa Odoshimokhe


Aspirant to PDP: shun god-fatherism

By Oziegbe Okoeki

scribed him as ‘’a squandermania who has assumed the position of a war lord.” A legislator, Kabir Lawal (Surulere I), who spoke passionately about the issue said: ‘’We are more or less sitting on a gun powder in Surulere which can explode anytime.’’ Lawal maintained that the

‘Jonathan has abused state pardon’

Senator urges Ndigbo to unite HE chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Andy Uba, has reflected on his removal from office as the governor of Anambra State in 2007. He said he had learnt a lesson from the tragedy. Speaking during an interactive session with members of the Enugu Sports Club, he said: “God used the removal to teach me some lessons, which has been beneficial to me”. Senator Uba was removed as the governor, barely 17 days after taking the oath of office. The court declared that he was sworn in as the governor in error. He was asked to vacate the seat for the legitimate governor, Mr. Peter Obi. He stated that his interest in serving the people of Anambra State was still in course now that he serves them as a Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District. Uba urged the Ndigbo to re-discover its position in the national politics, where it once thrived. He recalled that prominent Igbo have provided leadership for the country in the past. as that would put them in vantage position to provide leadership for the country. He maintained that the enterprising and hard working spirit bequeathed to them by their progenitors would be of advantage if they were ex• Uba plored.

• Ikuforiji

situation has been dragging for long , adding that concerned citizens had intervened before now, but the chairman refused all pleas to let peace reign. Another lawmaker, Yinka Ogundimu (Agege II) said: ‘’The allegation represents the general decision of the councillors, which calls for thorough investigation. The chairman of the council should be made to step aside to allow independent investigation.” Also, Mr.Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla ( Mushin II), noted that the petition is comprehensive, advising his colleagues to treat the matter without bias. The deputy speaker, Kolawole Taiwo, who presided over the proceedings, appealed to members to tread with caution and allow the chairman to have a fair hearing. Members of the committee, which were given a week to report back to the House, include Deputy Whip Rotimi Abiru, who chairs the panel, Ahmed Omisore, Omotayo Oduntan, Yinka Ogundimu, Abiodun Tobun, Akeem Masha and Olumuyiwa Jimoh.

• Oshun


HE Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has said that President Goodluck Jonathan has abused the state pardon by extending the gesture to former Bayelsa State Governior Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The group led by Hon. Olawale Oshun, said the move was a deservice to the anti-graft war. ARG said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, that the presidential pardon was misapplied by the Commander-InChief. He said: “The import of this however is not lost on Nigerians. What it simply means is that, under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, crime and cor-

ruption pay, and in fact, shall be appropriately rewarded. “ Many have suggested that the President should turn full circle by compiling a list of all past convicted criminals, armed robbers, fraudsters, and similar offences, with a view to granting them presidential pardon and apologising to them. “Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) would like to remind President Jonathan that by this action, and of course, many other similar acts, he is doing his best to mortgage the future of this country, and further destroying its moral fabric”. The group doubted if the President is competent to run a modern nation-state. Famoriyo added: “He has lost the justification to lead Nigerians. He has put Nigerians under the siege of official corruption and financial crimes. President Jonathan, by his actions, especially in the promotion and condonement of corruption in the high places, is doing so much damage to the country and sending the country down on a free fall, that would take many years to reverse.” ARG objected to the endorsement of the state pardon by the former Heads of State, pointing

out that they refused to give the President a good advice. Famoriyo said: “President Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must be told celarly and without equivocation that they do not own this country. “Of course, the real owners of this country, the Nigerian people, would in due course take their destiny into their hands by combining forces to terminate this conspiratorial contraption that has been foisted on them by a band of wicked and unconscionable people. “Just as we did in the days of former President Umaru Yar’Adua’s regime when Madam Turai and the so-called Villa cabal were embarassing the office of the Vice President of Nigeria, and we effectively worked with others to mobilise Nigerians to enable President Jonathan to assume his position, ARG is expressing its willingness to work with like minds and other true patriots, to re-direct the course of this country from this journey towards perdition. “For individuals serving in this administration, who sometimes profess some high moral standing, this is the time to salvage whatever is left of their credibility by quitting the stage and joining forces with other concerned Nigerians who are working hard to help Nigeria fulfill her destiny.”

By Musa Odoshimokhe


SUN State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain Mr. Akeem Bello has urged the party members to draw the curtains on political godfatherism in the state. He called for the selection of candidates for election on the principles of merit, competence and integrity. Bello, who is a chairmanship aspirant in Ede North Local Government Area, unfolded his manifestos at a party function in Ede. Bello stressed the importance of party primaries, instead of the imposition of candidates on the party members. He said: “The rule of the game right now is the enviable personal appeal of individuals and not necessarily who the god-father is or what party you belongs to. The voting public is now wiser and cannot be cajoled by the names of party leaders.” Bello said tha Ede North council is thirsty for transformational leadership, stressing that the people are yearning for speedy change in the right direction. He added: “Now that the local government election in Osun State may take place any moment from now, I have prepared myself steadfastly more than before to translate the lofty programmes that will serve the people of Ede North Local Government Area. “The people are genuinely yearning for my services; as a matter of fact, they want fresh blood to pilot their affairs as they are tired of the recycling syndrome. With the present re-alignment going on among political parties, we are going to become a beautiful bride much sought after by those who value our political sagacity and proven integrity”.

•Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina flanked by two new female Permanent Secretaries, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita (right) and Dr Habiba Lawal after their swearing-in at the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja... yesterday.





Medical schools to study herbal medicine


HE Federal Government has taken steps to integrate herbal medicine into the curriculum of medical colleges. It has raised a committee for the development of curriculum for the training of herbal medical practitioners in medical schools. Besides, it has constituted a committee on herbal products promotion and export. Minister of Health Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, who raised these committees, said they are aimed at realising the economic benefits of herbal medicine. The Herbal Products Promotion Committee is to identify key manufacturers of herbal products in Nigeria; identify range of herbal drugs and classify as food supplements or therapeutic agents; determine the volume of herbal drugs being exported from Nigeria;determine the volume of herbal products be-


Stories by Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

ing imported and their sources. The 14 man-committee is expected to also determine impediments to production and acceptability of Nigerian herbal products; critically review, identify and recommend means of encouraging the local production of safe, efficacious quality herbal products for domestic consumption and export; determine the potential of herbs and herbal products in terms of their value chain for job creation and foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria and to proffer any other recommendation, which in the opinion of the committee, is necessary to the realisation of its mandate. The committee has Prof K.S Gamaniel of Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) as Chairman. Members are J. E. B. Adagadzu; Dr Hadiza Nuhu of Ahmadu Bello University; Medical Director, Health Forever Products Limited, Otunba Olajuwon Okubena; Director, Pax Herbal Research Laboratories Limited, Rev Fr. Anselem Adodo; Alternative and Traditional Medicine Practitioner Dr Ayuk Enock Paul and Mr Amodu of the Ministry of Defence. Others are representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH); the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment; Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA); National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP). Also on the committee are Deputy Director, Traditional Medicine Development Desk (TMDD) and Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).

Are you fat? Try Slim and Smart LACK of energy balance most often causes overweight and obesity. Energy balance means your energy ‘in’ equals your energy ‘out’. Energy ‘in’ is the amount of energy or calories you get from food and drinks. Energy ‘out’ is the amount of energy your body uses for things like breathing, digesting, and being physically active. To maintain a healthy weight, your energy ‘in’ and ‘out’ don’t have to balance exactly every day. It’s the balance over time that helps you maintain a healthy weight. Hence, the same amount of energy ‘in’ and ‘out’ over time equals weight stays the same. More energy ‘in’ than energy ‘out’ over time equals weight gain. More energy ‘out’ than energy ‘in’ over time equals weight loss. Overweight and obesity happen over time when you take in more calories

•Dabra, Adodo and Pankama

Nigeria, Ghana to collaborate in traditional medicine practice


ERBAL medicine has been integrated into the Ghanaian health care policy. The country has set aside 18 government hospitals where herbal and alternative medicines can be practised. The patron of the Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners in Ghana, Aloka Dabra, told the visiting Catholic Monk and Director of Pax Herbal Laboratory and Research Centre, the Rev. Fr. Anselm Adodo, that orthodox medicine has failed to do what African herbal medicine is doing. Nigeria, he said, should take a cue from that. Praising Fr. Adodo for his role in herbal medicine practice, he said consultants at the herbal clinic in those hospitals are trained at the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University. Dabra, who is also Director, Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicine (PROMETRA), said: “Ghana has over 150,000 reg-

istered herbal practitioners with over 66 universities offering degrees up to PhD level in herbal medicine in China. It has over 200 patients. Similar progress is taking place in India.” Fr. Adodo also visited the former director of Traditional Medicine in Ghana, Osofo Pankama Quaram, and Dr. Letica Wiafe, Municipal Director of Health Services. The Director of Traditional and Alternative Medicine, Ministry of Health, Peter Arhin, said: “By contrast, Africa has less than five patent rights. We practise herbal medicine the same way in Africa, what unites us together are the plants. This sums up herbal practice in Ghana. “In the spirit of brotherly entrepreneurship, the Ghanaian authority is urging both countries to put in place health policies that will encourage large scale production of herbal medicines. We have to cultivate our medicinal plants and do it in a way that the world will ben-

efit from what we are doing. ”There is need to recognise our herbal practitioners, as well as train them to produce refined herbal medicines. It is also important that the research aspect of our traditional medicine be developed, while we ensure that the intellectual property rights of traditional healers are protected,” he said. Fr. Adodo urged African governments to involve the private sector in health matters and create a level playing ground for orthodox and traditional medicine. He said orthodox medicine is not the only valid health system, stressing that there are other ways of attaining good health. The Ghanaian Traditional Medicine Practitioners Federation also hosted Fr Adodo, who gave its members a motivational address. The practitioners urged the management of PAXHERBAL to begin the exportation of the company’s products to Ghana for the health benefits of the people.

Raw fruits, vegetable good for health




than you use. To assist obese and over weight, people, Health Forever Limited, maker of the popular Jobelyn, has Slim and Smart in stock. According to Otunba Juwon Okubena, “Slim and Smart is an African herbal formulation for the control of obesity. Testimonies from users confirm the loss of average of five to seven kg of weight within three to four weeks of use. It has no known adverse side effects,” he said.

TRADITIONAL doctor has recommended regular consumption of fruits, vegetables and water with daily exercise as a major way to improve one’s health. Dr Tina Mba told The Nation in Lagos that fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that boost the immune system , adding that they contribute greatly to the wellness of the body. She said: “Eating raw fruits and vegetables is better than eating the processed or cooked ones because it is highly nutritious when eaten in their form. They also improve the metabolic system of the body by ensuring that waste is released from it. “When this is done, sickness is reduced because the system would be clean.”

By Olatunde Odebiyi

She identified guava, groundnut, garden egg, salad (our local salad), and bitter leaf as some of the fruits and vegetables to be taken raw because they improve blood circulation. Vegetables, she said, should not be cooked for too long. When vegetable is too soft, it reduces the nutrients which are very good for the body. “Plant-based foods contain natural nutrients, which the body needs. Such foods are yam, apple, onions, grapes, pepper and soya beans. Others are legumes, beans, garbage, carrot, water melon, honey juice and cucumber, among others. Advising Nigerians, she said excess intake of sugary foods and drinks contribute to illness.

Mrs Mba said eating late at night should be avoided because the body is not that active at night to digest food as it would during the day. She said people should not eat later than 7:00pm, stressing that this helps the body to perform better. She condemned sedentary lifestyle, adding that it increases ones chances to come down with sickness because the body is not in use. “Exercise or regular body movement often ensures good health. It also reduces the risks of coming down with illness. Also, people should take at least eight glasses of water daily. This will help them to urinate at least two times daily. It also ensues they are fit and healthy,” she said.




High cholesterol, fatty liver and thick blood F I

AT is long gone out of season. Today, the sing song of health seekers is slim is beautiful. Even the famous Calabar fattening rooms in Southeast Nigeria have become collector's items for the culture museums. Only about 40 years ago, it was in this hallowed room that the Efik maiden was confined some months before her marriage and fed lavishly till she grew a ringed neck and the fat-padded African buxom breasts, hips and buttocks. I saw many of them around in 1977 when I was on national youth service in Calabar. One of my co-youth service members, architect Tunde Adekoya, called them makambas, the Efik word for grandmothers but which in his lexicon meant loaded women. I almost cannot believe myself when I see Efik girls in Lagos these days, for they are as slim and petit as their French or Italian counterparts. It all goes to show how, in our journey through the bowels of time in the deep vale of the material world, our thoughts and ideas transform us for good or ill. It took the fabulous Dr. Udo Erasmus in his book, FATS THAT HEAL, FATS THAT KILL, which he brought to Nigeria a few years ago, for me to change my attitude to fat. In the 1980s, we'd learned how much harvoc fat unleashed on health, causing such diseases as hypertension, heart attack and heart arrest, stroke and even cancer. If one had parents who suffered and probably died of these conditions, common sense dictated that one avoided fats like the plague and so did many of us. But thanks to Dr. Erasmus, we have since the late 1980s learned that not all fats are bad and that, as a matter of fact, a deficiency of the good fats may cause exactly those diseases a surfeit of the bad fats inflicted upon our health. This month, I have offered lengthy explanations to no fewer than five people who have been diagnosed with fatty liver and high blood cholesterol levels. Incidentally, none of them presented that typical obese condition which makes doctors suggest weight management and reduction therapies alongside efforts to normalise the cholesterol level. In all these cases, the diagnosis was fatty liver. In simple terms, this means that this vital organ was no longer working to eliminate excess fat from the body, but had actually begun to make more fat than was required in normal times. The shock of these people, as I said earlier, is that, outwardly, their bodies appeared lean enough not to be considered fatty, but, inwardly, they had become or were becoming extremely fatty. A liver infiltrated or engorged by fat is an unhealthy liver. And, being unhealthy, such a liver cannot efficiently perform its life-enhancing functions. In such a condition, many diseases begin to take shape which, ultimately, may lead to death. Luckily for all of us, a fatty liver presents many symptoms whish a doctor may easily catch early enough and then confirm with laboratory tests.



OCTORS group the signals as NASH. This is the acronym for Non-Alcoholic Steatorrhoeic Hepatosis or Non-Alcoholic-Fatty Liver Disease. (NAFLD). Some of the symptoms of a fatty liver are: (1) Discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen. This is caused by enlargement or inflammation of the liver, which makes it heavIer. This heaviness and inflammation occur because fat invaded the spaces between liver cells, crowding out the healthy cells and/ or damaging them. The contents of these damaged cells soon pour into the blood and can be measured in Liver Function Tests (LFTs), the results of which guide a doctor to make a diagnosis in respect of the liver's health. (2) The occurrence of gall bladder stones may be another signal of a fatty liver, especially if they are composed of cholesterol and bile salts. Gallstones can be very painful. Many people are left confused by the result of ultrasound scans of their livers and gallbladders which find nothing wrong with these organs whereas the pains and discomfort persist. For some people, different scans give different reports. One doctor informed me that scans may find nothing wrong in an organ until the degeneration had reached 70 or 75 per cent of the last stage. (3) Inability to lose weight easily. Obese people are more prone to developing fatty livers. And try, as they may to lose some weight, this may be an impossible task, as we may soon discover. (4) Tiredness and fatigue are consequences of a fatty liver. This organ, which derives its name from the words to live, is central to all biochemical functions of the body which result in the making of energy. When excessive fat put the liver out of action, energy depletion occurs. (5) Dehydration is an area overlooked by many physicians. In fact, modern medicine thought so little of water as medicine for many, if not ALL, disorders, until Dr F. Batmanghelidj came up with his two books, YOUR BODY'S MANY CRIES FOR WATER an d YOU ARE NOT SICK BUT ONLY THIRSTY. In all the health talks I give, I do not fail to mention these books as worthy to have in the family health library. So, in addition to herbs and food supplements which may help the liver overcome fat infiltration problems, I'd like, today, to highlight the ideas of Dr. Batmanghelidj in respect of how water intake in the right proportion and manner may help to chase fat out of the liver. It is important to understand that many people do not hold water even when they drink bucketful of it, because they lack enough electrolytes or cell salts to hold the water. There has to be enough potassium inside the cell to hold water there, and enough sodium outside the cell to hold water in the spaces around the cells. But this sodium is not the table sodium which everyone is used to taking. It is the homeopathic/biochemic sodium made by the plants or produced from them as cell or tissue cell salt food supplements. When we appreciate better what we are losing in the present

function.'' can hear Mr.Isaac Idehen, of Benin, giggle. Always, he enjoys a chemistry-of-the action definition of any medical condition. We often discuss the thick blood. Now Dr. Batmanghelidj talking to us about it. The blood of many people is thick because they do not drink water before a meal and again about two hours after it. The digested food thickens the blood. And, by the law of osmosis, a stronger solution will draw water from a weaker solution through a semi-permeable membrane. Thus, a thick blood will dehydrate the eye, causing blurry vision or the brain (headache and dizziness) or the muscle pain and cramps) or the pancreas (diabetes). Says Dr. Batmanghelidij: "Cholesterol is a natural (clay) that, when plastered in the gaps of the cell membrane, will make the cell wall impervious to the passage of water. Its excessive manufacture and deposition in the membrane is part of the natural design for the protection of living cells against dehydration "Dr. Batmanghedij asks: "How does this phenomenon affect us in our everyday life"

"The answer is simple," he says.

hot weather in Nigeria, we should appreciate Dr. Batmanghelidj better. We lose a lot of not only water but cell salts as well through sweating, urination, the stool, breathing and speaking. Doesn't the sweat taste salty? When we reach out for "criminally" cold table water or "pure" water to "quench" thirst is there any sodium or potassium or calcium or magnesium in it to replace what has been lost? Since they help us to hold water, how are we going to hold the water we take if, meanwhile, we had become deficient in these minerals? EFORE I come to Dr. Batmanghelidj, I will quickly detour to Dr. R Sharma in his THE ELEMENT FAMILY ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HEALTH in which he says: "The biochemistry of the body requires water in most, if not in all of its reactions. Most of these reactions go on within cells that will be reluctant to give up water if less than adequate amounts are taken in regularly. Every cell in the body will protect itself by taking up cholesterol, other fats or lipids and proteins to create a lipoprotein layer around itself. This prevents water leaving the cells but also inhibits water from entering the cells. The biochemical process continues but, like stagnant ponds, will eventually use up some of the natural energy pounded in muscles that can interchange with each other and, although the process will continue, the natural energy associated with them may not. Meanwhile, the water we take in is not absorbed fully into the cells, our tissue can become bloated and the bloodstream mildly diluted, telling the brain that we do not need water and therapy reducing our thirst and perpetuating the dehydration cycle. Dr. Sharma explains how this process involves the liver and some of the effects on the body: "The cholesterol fats and proteins that are required for this protective purpose are made by the liver. The liver works overtime and has less energy availabilities to deal with the body's general requirements for metabolism, both in breaking down toxins and building up the compounds that we need. More energy is required to keep the liver functioning and therefore less energy is available elsewhere so that tiredness and fatigue become common symptoms. The lack of breakdown of toxins puts pressure on the kidneys and poisons get deposited around the body. Much of this poison is taken up by fat stores which also accommodate the extra fats that the liver is constructing for the benefit of the protective layer of the cells and, so, the fat store increase, as does one's weight. "Toxin are dissolved into the fat store and more water is pulled into these tissues to dilute down there toxins. This again increases the body's reduction of water in areas where it should not be held". guess Dr Sharma's last sentence refers to edemas for which the kidney and the heart, not the liver, are often blamed. For edema, most doctors will give diuretic medicine, rather than detoxify the liver and the kidneys, to eliminate the toxins and clear the water logging. Of what use, really, is forcing the kidney to move the water in edema? Could it be why many people have to take their water pills for life, a situation Dr Batimanghelidj describes as "criminal?" Dr Sharmas says that a slight rise in metabolic rate created by dehydration encourages production of more free radicals which give rise to atheroma, a greasy substance which blocks and damages arteries, cause heart attack and stroke. He says, also, that dehydration leads to concentration of body fluids which, in the case of digestive juices, superficially appear beneficial in that they improve digestion. But, in the long run, concentrated digestive juices cause dehydrate inflammation and ulceration of the bowel lining and destruction of flora. A concentration of fluids in the skin may cause skin problems and, in the eyes, vision loss. Dr. Batmanghelidj taught modern medicine no longer regard water as inconsequential in the health matrix but as an important almighty medicine. In his book entitled YOUR BODY'S MANY CRIES FOR WATER in which he argues that every state of disease is a message of dehydration in the affected tissue, Dr. Batmanghelidj says: "Higher levels of cholesterol is a sign that the cells of the body have developed a defense mechanism against the osmotic force of the blood that keeps drawing water out through the cell membranes. Our concentrated blood cannot release sufficient water to go through the cell membrane and maintain normal cell



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"Imagine that you are sitting at a table and food is brought to you. If you do not drink water before you eat the food, the process of food digestion will take its toll on the cells of the body. Water will have to be poured on the food in stomach for proteins to break and separate into the basic composition of their amino acids in the intestine, more water will be required to process the food ingredients and then send them to the liver. From the stomach, concentrated food enters the intestines and dehydrates it if adequate amount of water was not taken prior to eating the meal. From the intestine, this further concentrated food hits the liver, dehydrating it in similar circumstances. From the liver, further concentrated food enters the right chamber of the heart, wreaking a similar havoc. Dr. Batmanghelidj adds: "The blood from the right side of the heart, which has received some fat component from the lymphatic system, which empties into the right side of the heart, will now be pumped into the lungs for oxygenation and exchange of the dissolved gases in the blood. In the lungs, a eration of the blood further dehydrates it by the process of evaporation of water ‌.. the winter storm Dr. Batmanghelidj says blood from the lungs is the most highly concentrated and that arteries which bring it to the left side of the heart, for pumping to all part of the body, are, like the brain, the worst hit. As the eyes fall in the region of the head, it wouldn't be surprising if dehydration of the eyes by this thick blood is one of the major causes of vision problems. From this scenario every parts of the body mobilises against this common enemy by producing cholesterol to seal water passages (hydrants) as Dr. Batmanghelidj explained. The liver produces the most, making it become fatty.

Healing therapies


LEARING infiltrated fat, reversing further infiltration, healing damage to tissue and restoring liver health are key goals of any healing therapy. Cholesterol lowering pharmaceutical Statin drugs are toxic to the liver and inhibit CoEnzyme Q10 production, thereby upsetting heart health and energy output throughout the body. As there are a thousand and one remedies to choose from, I'd mention only a few of the ones commonly used in Nigeria. Exercise is crucial. Thirty-minutes to one hour of walking every day helps the body to produce enough lipase, an enzyme, to burn fat for 24 hours non-stop. Chromium aids sugar burning and breaks insulin resistence which supports conversion of glucose to fat. Avoidance of margarine and other trans fatty acids reduces leptin resistence and aids fat burning. To clear fat in the liver, vegetable juice fasting is good. Apple cider vinegar may be taken in water before meals. I have soft spots, also, for Kyolic Cholesterol, Liver Balance, Milk thistle, Carqueja,Calamus root ,Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Niacine (Vitamin B3), Zinc, Magnesium, Copper, Bioflavonoids, Sterols and Sterolins (Moducare) Garlic, Dynatonic, Red yeast extract and Amazon Blood Support, Milk thistle does not apper to clear the liver. It protects it and aids regeneration of damaged cells.Lecithin makes fat soluble and ready for clearance. Omega-3 oils thin the blood. Artichoke, one of the nine herbs in Amazon Blood Support, has lowered by 10 to 15 per cent total cholesterol levels in many double-blind placebo controlled studies. Hundreds of studies have been done on the healing powers of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (reported to be about 50 times more potent than natural garlic). In 2003, Lee Y. Yeh and others reported that Kyolic garlic blocked overproduction of cholesterol in the liver. Other reaserchers found it protects the liver from toxin as well. Liver Balance Plus, too, is good for clearing the liver. It comprises many herbs, including Buplecrum root; Tribulis terrestis; Attractylodes root; Hyssop leaf; Chamaelirium Luteum root, Dong quai; Peony root, Poria cocos root; Chinese, Mint leaf; aid Cayenne leaf. To hold water it is advisable to take the biochemic salts Natrum mur, Kaliphos, Kali sulph and Kali mur. Potassium (Kali) deficiency has been associated with dehydration and cholesterol and blood sugar upsurges. Such build-ups cause swelling and pain in the legs and feet. I miss Calabar, and my friends such as Dr. Isichel. But I haven't forgotten them all, in particular No 12 White House Street, then home of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew which, like 69 Mayne Avenue, my residence, was my second home.

Tel: 08034004247, 07025077303




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E desperately wanted to call his son, who is a student at Adekunle Ajasin Univeristy, Akungba, Akoko, Ondo State. But could not make the call because he had no sufficient ‘credit’ on his mobile phone. He ordered for a recharge card and attempted to load. After several attempts, which proved futile, the recharge card vendor suggested that he called the customer care of his service provider. Benjamin Afeniforo heeded the vendor’s advice and dialled the three-digit number. “When I first dialled the number, I could’t get through at all. The boy urged me to keep trying and I continued. After a long trial, the call sailed through. I felt relieved when it went through. At least, I will be able to load the card after listening to the customer care agent,” he told himself. Afeniforo’s anguish was far from being over. For more than 30 minutes after the call sailed through, he was inundated with unwanted music and ads of the some of the products of his service provider. “I was so frustrated that I ended the call hoping that when I try again, it will be better. After another trial, I gave up but kept the details of the recharge card,” he said. For Afeniforo, who lives in Egbeda, a Lagos suburb, to get to the nearest customer care centre of his service provider to address his problem, he would have to drive to Ikeja and the urgency of his situation made that option not viable at all at that point. So, he resigned to fate. A woman, who simply identified herself as Esther, recalls her experience while trying to call the customer care line of her service provider. According to her, the problem she wanted customer care to attend to was persistent disappearance of network signal on the screen of her mobile phone. “I noticed that network signal was always appearing and disappearing on my phone. I thought the fault was from my mobile phone; so, I went to get a new one, but the problem persisted. So, I was advised to speak to my customer care attendant through the customer care line. I called and after being treated to unsolicited music, a machine answered me and urged me to hold on as all the customer care consultants were busy. After a long wait, the machine asked me to visit the firm’s website. I felt pissed off,” she said. Esther is fully foreboding of the crowd she will meet when she eventually visits a customer care centre. A resident of Ayetoro, a boundary town between Lagos and Ogun states, she says for her to get to the nearest customer care centre, she must travel to Lagos. The problem of subscribers getting quick response to fix the challenges they encounter did not start today. A subscriber, Ademola Okubule, who attended a forum organised by the National Association of Telcoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) in Lagos towards the end of last year complained that some of the customer care workers who pick calls are rude and temperamental. According to him, the calls are rarely picked and when they are, the responses are crude, regardless of the calibre of the person. General Manager, Regulatory Affairs, MTN Nigeria, Oyeronke Oyetunde, said contrary to the insinuation that the attendants were not trained, the telecoms firms invest in them. She accused some customers of making frivolous calls. According to her, some

•A base station

How caring are customer care centres? The essence of customer care centres is to attend to demands. But many customers claim that this is not the case. LUCAS AJANAKU reports. of them would call and say: “I just want to hear your voice.” The problem of inadequate customer care centres however, still remains. At the 48th edition of Telecoms Consumer Parliament in Lagos in 2008, it was a major issue that took the centre stage as subscribers took turns to recount their ordeal while trying to call customer care lines. Former Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ernest Ndukwe, who moderated the session, which was attended by some operators was so annoyed that he warned the operators to take urgent steps to address the problem. “But we cannot continue like this. Something has to be done. I have made several appeals before now to the operators to ex-

pand their customer care centres to be able to carry more capacities. That should be taken seriously. We may have to find a way of dealing with any operator that fails to take the issue of customer care centre very serious. That is the truth of the matter. We cannot continue repeating this issue at every forum. Enough is enough,” Ndukwe said. With a population of 167 million and a subscriber base that stands at 113 million, the need to get customer care centres sited in proximity to the subscribers cannot be over-emphasised. This is because on a daily basis, subscribers will have one issue or the other that will require the attention of the service providers. But the situation is not so in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, for a community that is densely populated as Ayobo,

‘But we cannot continue like this. Something has to be done. I have made several appeals before now to the operators to expand their customer care centres to be able to carry more capacities. That should be taken seriously. We may have to find a way of dealing with any operator that fails to take the issue of customer care centre very serious. That is the truth of the matter. We cannot continue repeating this issue at every forum. Enough is enough’

a Lagos suburb, the nearest customer care centres are located in Egbeda, a place where a subscriber will require about N500 to visit. And when you brave the odds to get to some of them, you are assailed by a huge crowd of complainants. President, NATCOMS, Deolu Ogunbanjo, said the situation is worrisome and wants the operators to increase the number of care centres across the country so that succour can come the way of subscribers. “The ideal situation is that for every 100,000 subscribers, a customer care centre ought to be sited within the customer cluster. But since we are usually far from the ideal situation, let the operators allocate a customer care centre for between 200,000 and 500,000 subscribers. Lagos State where there are no fewer than 10 million subscribers should have a minimum of 10 customer care centres,” he said. According to him, though the operators are trying to reduce the pressure on the few available care centres by guiding subscribers through voice prompts to solve some of their challenges, it is not helping the situation. An analyst said some of the operators have employed agents to run their customer care centres, stressing that more still need to be opened.




Why CBN picked banks for mobile money operation W

HY did the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) go for the bank-led Mobile Money Payment (MMP) model? It opted for the model because of the fear of market domination by mobile phone service providers. The Nation has learnt. To promote a cashless economy, boost rural access to banking, promote financial inclusiveness as enunciated in the Payment System Vision (PSV 2020), CBN licensed about 11 mobile money operators. But instead of adopting the popular mobile operator-led option like Kenya, where Safaricom built a strong service brand for MPESA, CBN opted for the bank-led model. Some operators frown on the option, saying it is not good for the economy. A bank official said it would have amounted to handing over the economy to the operators if they had been given MMP licence.

Stories by Lucas Ajanaku

“If you want me to tell you the truth, there are two ways to answer that question. I can tell you the truth and I can tell you the politically correct answer. The politically correct answer is that they do not need to get involved in MMP, but the truth is that the telcos have close to 90 million customers, banks only have 15 million. If you give them the power to do this, then you must have inadvertently given them the national economy,” he said. There are four types of MMP models. They are operator, bank, collaboration and peer-to-peer models. The CBN chose the bank model, in which case a bank deploys mobile payment applications or devices to customers and ensures merchants have the re-

quired point-of-sale (PoS) acceptance capability to carry out the transaction. Mobile network operators’ network merely serves as vehicle through which transactions take place. This is based on the regulatory framework for mpayment services issued by the CBN in 2009, which disenfranchised mobile phone operators from operating MMP. But they are entering strategic partnerships with licensed operators. Fortis Mobile Money, UBA/ Afripay, GTBank Mobile Money, Pagatech, eTranzact, Monetise, Eartholeum, Paycom, FET, Ecobank and Kudi are the firms given provisional licence to do mobile money business in the country. They have since entered into partnership with the telecoms firms.

Ministry unfolds job creation scheme


HE Ministry of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, has unveiled a job creation scheme for youths. Tagged ‘Microwork for Job Creation-Naijacloud, it is supported by the STEP-B Project in the Ministry of Education In a statement the Ministry of Communications Technology said in line with its mandate, Nigeria is tapping into the Microwork to reduce youth unemployment, put at 60 per cent level for youths. The initiative includes two aspects: Microwork and e-Lancing.

The former is for job creation for skilled (e-Lancing) and semi-skilled workers (Microwork). The latter naijacloud is an initiative targeted at unemployed Nigerians using the technology platform. Unemployed youths with access to phone and internet looking for work are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity at The unique selling point of this initiative is that participants -male and female - do not have to be university graduates to attend because the minimum requirement is basic computer skills.

Airtel unveils advert campaign


IRTEL has unveiled an advertising campaign to take advantage of the benefits of the expected Mobile Number Portability (MNP). Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, said the campaign was necessary to draw attention to the capacity of its network. The Airtel chief revealed that the company has made huge investments in its network, upgrading it to the largest and widest 3.75g coverage in the country with a total spread across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT). He said: “In the last 30 months, Airtel Networks Limited has invested over $1.5billion to expand and deepen our network capacity and quality in Nigeria, in pursuit of world class Quality of Service (QoS). It is on record that Airtel was the first to call for the implementation of MNP in 2010, when we

launched our brand in Nigeria. That call was made based on the fact that we were making significant investments in our network and customer service, which are critical success factors in MNP.” He added:“We are the first telco to complete LTE (Long Term Evolution) trial in Lagos and we are also the first to introduce High Definition (HD) Voice Service to telecoms consumers. So, the unveiling of our new network campaign bears testimony to our efforts in terms of our massive investment and desire to empower Nigerians with innovative and relevant telecommunications services and solutions.” The Chief Operating Officer, Deepak Srivastava, said the television commercial, radio jingles and other materials have been designed to appeal to telecoms consumers and excite them in line with the brand aspiration of becoming the most loved brand in the country.

Sterling, firm partner •From left: Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Nigeria,Olu Akanmu; Ogunsanya; Srivatsava, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, Inusa Bello and Director, Corporate Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility,Emeka Oparah at the launch in Lagos.

Govt urged to tackle software piracy


F the Federal Government fails to empower its agencies to tackle the rising software piracy, more than 60 per cent of personal computers (PCs) may be infected this year. Hackers will also continue to be a menace, the Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Emmanuel Onyeje, has said, warning that hackers would not stop to patronise pirated software. Explaining how hackers operate, he said: “To hack a big organisation, which spends millions and millions of dollars to protect their system, they have very big computers to fortify their system and the only way you can beat their system is that you must have a big computing power

behind you. But most individual hackers do not have access to the millions of dollars big organisations. So, what do they do? There are more than 1.2 billion PCs on the planet. What they do is find a way to get a section of that, t10,000, one million Pcs, take the PCs as a single unit to hack into an organisation,” he explained, adding that the hackers give the dangerous software free to unsuspecting users. “That is where piracy comes in. They are the one giving you the software free. They download it into your PC; they take over your PCs and use that PC to launch an attack on other people’s site,” he added, warning Nigerians to be wary of the sites they visit on the

internet. “A lot of PCs are going to be infected. Why? People will download what should not be downloaded; they go to websites that they should not be going to install things on their PCs. What are we doing to prevent that? Use Internet Explorer to browse the web, it will tell you which site you are going to. It will tell you which dangerous site you are going; it will tell you that this site is full of malware and viruses. You should protect yourself. Buying pirated software makes your PCs to be susceptible to malware and viruses,” he warned. He said the International Data Corporation (IDC) has warned that

High speed Internet vital to growth


IGH speed reliable internet will boost the economy, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat), Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, has said. He spoke when his organisation signed a Memorandum of Association with Newtec in Abuja to boost broadband service penetration in the country. The agreement, he said, would eneble youths to enjoy opportunities offered by e-learning, e-commerce, tele-medicine and others. Ahmed-Rufai said NigComSat-1R would provide solutions and access to meet nation’s telecoms, broadcast, aviation, maritime defence and security needs. He said: “High speed and reliable Internet will transform the economy and lead to more and better opportu-

By Deji Fakorede nities for many individuals. In 2011, we successfully put our high throughput satellite in the sky and I am pleased to welcome our new technology partner Newtec. We decided to team up with Newtec because of its track record of delivering reliable, fast and easy to use solutions at an affordable cost,” he said at the singing of an agreement with the Belgium-based firm for the provision of Ka-broadband services in the country. He said the internet services would ride NigComSat 1R, which has quad bands of C, Ka, Ku and L. The deal was sealed after several meetings between Newtec Chief Executive, Serge Van Herck and his NigComSat counterpart, AhmedRufai. Newtech would provide a Ka broadband platform, including termi-

nals to offer Business-to-Business (B2B) and B2C broadband services. This would enable optimal and cost effect voice, data, video, Internet service solution over Nigeria via the NigComSat-1R satellite. Newtec helmsman in a statement, said: “I am delighted to say that our new Ka-band technology will help to close the digital divide in Nigeria by using the latest broadband technologies to achieve the highest broadband experience and availability. Our Newtec MDM2200 Ka-band consumer modem and our MDM3100 enterprise modem enable NigComSat to provide highly competitive connectivity services, achieving download speeds of up to 45 Mbps. The self-installation capability and the optimised packaging of our complete Ka-band terminals will allow NigComSat Ltd to minimise the logistic and installation costs.”

•SAVED on MAC 70 as 47- 50 e-Business Thursday21-03 -13


FIRM, Digital Encode, has assisted Sterling Bank to attain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) certification, the firm has said. Chief Operating Officer, Digital Encode, Mr Adewale Obadare, said another bank in the country has been certified through his firm. According to him, this means that the security of card holders’ funds and transactions have been enhanced,thereby boosting customers’confidence. “Our strategic alliance with Qualys, a technology Approved Scanning Vendor and ControlCase LLC, a United States-based Qualified Security Assessor, audits organisations that store, process and transmit cardholders details with the requirements to meet the PCIDSS certification standard.

“We are, indeed, happy to have been a part of this success story with Sterling Bank,” he said. The Chief Technology Officer of the company, Mr Oluseyi Akindeinde, recalled that the firm had assisted other organisations in the financial sector to attain the PCIDSS certification. Akindeinde, while stating that this milestone was achieved in six months, emphasised the need for e-payment security. He reiterated that lack of it erodes the confidence of the public in electronic platforms/systems. He added: “The benefit to the bank is far-reaching. It leads to a reduced risk of security breaches, engenders peace of mind for stakeholders whilst fostering a positive consumer confidence. We are glad to have partnered with Sterling Bank on this significant milestone.”

Aptech, firm launch product


DATA management and cloud storage company, Petrodata Management Ltd. and Aptech Nigeria have unveiled rapid application development software known as Alfa 5 West Africa. Speaking at the launch of the product in Abuja, the Manager, Alfa 5 West Africa,Oluseye Sosyede-Johnson, said the product would empower developers, entrepreneurs and students in West Africa. He said the platform would give opportunity to those who have never programmed, but can use simple desktop applications including Word or Excel, to start creating cutting-edge software applications in a month. The application would empower non-programmers and developers alike, to build complex datadriven applications over the web, desktop and mobile faster than with other programming languages. According to him, Alpha 5 11 can build Web 2.0 and mobile AJAX applications without having to code or learn JavaScript. It is the first programming tool that allows such functionality.

By Ambrose Nnaji Alpha 5, he said, is flexible and connects major databases as well as building AJAX-based applications, straight out of the box. He added that Alpha 5 affords developers faster and more efficient development lifecycles, meaning client projects can get to market faster. He added: “The cutting-edge technology-from mobile, to the cloud, saas and social networkinghas the potential to accelerate Africa’s development”. He added that the application will empower many Nigerians and lessen the poverty level in the country. Meanwhile, the group has introduced short training courses to empower non-programmers, and developers to bridge the digital skills gap of becoming IT entrepreneurs and skills-based work. The training is scheduled to commence next month in Lagos and Abuja, he added The USA alfa representative in Nigeria, Mr Walter Oluwole, said that the company has developed different kinds of applications used over the years including the alfa software package called , which he said is a government accounting programme.







With / 08138168825 TRAVEL & LEISURE The financial crisis slammed global banking hubs around the world. Were it not for government bailouts, Wall Street, The City and other banking hubs may never have recovered. The traditional financial powerhouses stand weakened, and others, long hungry to steal their business, are taking advantage.


Dubai — a desert financial dream Dubai spent healvily in recent years to position itself as a regional financial center and a player in international finance. But its debt-fueled, spendthrift ways finally caught up with the UAE member in late 2009; Dubai was forced to take a $10 billion bailout from Abu Dhabi and remains in serious financial trouble

Sao Paulo — it’s just more fun As Brazil emerges as Latin America’s leading economy, investors are increasingly looking to Sao Paulo to play the country and the region. Brazil’s banking sector is relatively underdeveloped and security remains a concern in Sao Paulo, but there’s lots of upside.

Luxembourg — safe and exotic Luxembourg is growing as a financial center because of its Swiss-like secrecy rules, but that could be its downfall. There’s plenty to find attractive. Luxembourg’s marketing materials claim “it’s the second largest investment fund centre in the world after the United States, the premier captive reinsurance market in the European Union and the premier private banking centre in the Eurozone.” It’s also the second-



Dizzy Gillespie

largest mutual fund market after the U.S.

Johannesburg infrastructure

Sophisticated financial

Johannesburg is poised to be the financial hub of a continent which represents more than 900 million consumers and one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

John Birks Gillespie was born October 21, 1917, in Cheraw, South Carolina, to John and Lottie Gillespie. The last of nine children, Gillespie’s father was abusive and unusually strict and the youngest Gillespie grew up hard and strong. When Gillespie was ten, his father died and left the family in terrible financial trouble. Around this time Gillespie’s English teacher introduced him to music, and he soon joined the school band. At first he played the trombone, but switched to the trumpet after borrowing a neighbor’s and immediately falling in love with the instrument. Over the next several years Gillespie played with local bands—to both black and white audiences— until his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gillespie was influenced by Roy Eldridge and played with the big bands of Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, and Billy Eckstine before leading small groups in the mid-1940s. When Gillespie was in the Frankie Fairfax band in Philadelphia he carried his new trumpet in a paper bag, an act that inspired fellow musicians like Bill Doggett to call him “Dizzy.” In 1989, the year he turned seventytwo, Dizzy Gillespie received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences’ Grammy Award ceremonies. The honor—one of many awarded to the trumpet virtuoso—recognized nearly fifty years of pioneering jazz performances. That same year he received the National Medal of Arts from President George Bush (1924–). Not letting age slow him down, in 1989 Gillespie gave three hundred performances in twenty-seven countries, appeared in one hundred U.S. cities in thirty-one states and the District of Columbia, headlined three television specials, performed with two symphonies, and recorded four albums. The next year, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ceremonies celebrating the centennial of American jazz, Gillespie received the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers’ Duke Award for fifty years of achievement. Although Gillespie’s failing health was due to pancreatic (having to do with the organ that helps digestion) cancer, Gillespie continued to play the music that he loved late into his life. His last public appearance was in Seattle in February of 1992. Gillespie passed away quietly in his sleep on October 6, 1993, at the age of seventy-five.

Pep Talk




1. Correspond (9) 2. Pinch (3) 3. Sexual Desire (4) 4. Ourselves (2) 5. Moisture (3) 6. Discourage (4) 10. Expression of Surprise (3) 11. Get with Difficulty (3) 15. Enumerate (4) 17. Bird (3) 18. Taxi (4) First Bank of Nigeria has taken a further step in consolidating its position 20. Father (2) as the leading bank in Nigeria by taking its outdoor branding outside the shores of the country. SUDOKU Sudoku is simply a game of logic and needs no The banking giant has its beautifully designed billboard displayed at mathematical skills to play. All you are required terminal 5 of the London Heathrow airport in what might be a move to to do is to fill in the blank spaces in the grid to position itself to take advantage of the Federal Government’s vista of ensure that every row, column and 3 by 3 box new investment incentives for potential foreign investors in the country. contains the numbers 1 to 9. The novel branding move which may well be regarded as country branding, drawing attention not just to the bank but also the country is has the propensity of triggering a new trend with advertising in corporate Nigeria. Companies all over the world are looking to expand their businesses into foreign markets. With the dropping of trade barriers and improvements in communication, many firms aspire to go global. With increasing globalization, MNCs are becoming stateless players, detached from individual nation states. However, the consumer’s brand evaluation process is a complex one with a number of variables. One key, albeit often ignored, factor is the Country of Origin (COO) of the brand. COO has been an important factor in consumer purchasing decision making. The FBNbillboard is strategic, given the fact that Nigeria has become the focus for Direct Foreign Investment.

1. Finalised (9) 7. Employ (3) 8. Tear (3) 9. Succeeded (3) 10. Consumed (3) 12. per Unit (4) 13. Bird (4) 14. Beer (3) 16. Imitate (3) 18. Bed (3) 19. Resort (3) 21. Justly (9)

Our ideas like orange plants, spread out in proportion to the size of the box which imprisons the roots. – Edward Bulwer Lytton




With ekpoita / 08138168825

ACROSS 1.German City (6) 3.South American Country (4) 5. Top European City (6) 8. Republic, formerly of Denmark (7) 10. Country, SE of Europe (7) 13. World Power, abbrv.(3) 14. W/A Country (6) 15. Sovereign Entity (5) 16. First Capital of Nigeria (7) 17. Eastern Nigerian City (3)

DOWN 1.Western Nigerian City (5) 2.Where Julius Caesar Reigned (4) 4.Nigerian State (3) 5.Nigeria’s Commercial Capital (5) 6. Central American Country (9) 7. Fmr. US Colony (6) 9. Coca Growing Country (8) 10. Fmr. Unit of USSR (6) 11. Spanish City (6) 12. French W/A Territory (5)

WORDWHEEL Form as many words as you can with the letters in the wheel below.Proper nouns and 2-letter words are not allowed. Every word must use the letter ‘E’.There is a 9-letter word with an ‘orbicular’ meaning hidden in the grid. This is the star word.

SANDS OF TIME DiCaprio kisses co-star Robbie, with bikini-clad babes for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ reshoots

poetry Smile If you're feeling down, turn your frown upside down. Put a smile on your face, take the world in your embrace. Ask for a little help from the man up above. And remember you have your best friends love.


-Jessica R. Dillinger

Success The road to success is not straight There is a curve called Failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies, and caution lights called Family But if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, insurance called Faith, and a driver called Jesus, you will make it to a place called Success!! Niderah It takes a whole boatload of blonds to keep up with Leonardo DiCaprio.The “Django Unchained” star, 38, was spotted on a yacht with a crew of bikini-clad ladies on Monday, working on reshooting scenes for his upcoming film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”He even stole a kiss from co-star Margot Robbie, who was clad in a racy gold swimsuit. Rumors swirled last year that DiCaprio and Robbie, 22, have been getting cozy off-screen as well.DiCaprio seemed relaxed in a breezy blue buttondown shirt and white slacks, sporting sunglasses and slicked back hair.“The Wolf of Wall Street,” directed by Martin Scorsese, is a crime drama based on the story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort, played by DiCaprio.Belfort was indicted for fraud and money laundering, and led a hard-partying lifestyle before his arrest. The boat that DiCaprio was filming on may have been the movie’s version of Belfort’s ship Nadine, which was originally constructed for Coco Chanel. Earlier this year, DiCaprio was spotted smooching Miss Universe Kosovo finalist Aferdita Dreshaj, who partied with the “Titanic” heart-throb in Miami.DiCaprio told German newspaper Bild in January that he would like to take a break from acting after he completes “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Great Gatsby.”“I would like to improve the world a bit,” the actor said. “I will fly around the world doing good for the environment.”



HUMOUR Sense of Responsibility. A man goes into library and asks for a book on suicide. Librarian looks him and says, Who will return the book back!


Fill in the missing numbers in the grid to ensure that every row, column and 2 by 3 box contains the numbers 1 - 6. 2



Real Estate Salesman “This house,” said the real estate salesman, “has both its good points and its bad points. To show you I’m honest, I’m going to tell you about both. “The disadvantages are that there is a chemical plant one block south and a slaughterhouse a block north.” “What are the advantages?” inquired the prospective buyer. “The advantage is that you can always tell which way the wind is blowing.”

Chess Playing Dog A man went to visit a friend and was amazed to find him playing chess with his dog. He watched the game in astonishment for a while. “I can hardly believe my eyes!” he exclaimed. “That’s the smartest dog I’ve ever seen.” “Nah, he’s not so smart,” the friend replied. “I’ve beaten him three games out of five.”

3 5



2 2







BRAIN TEASER How can you throw a ball as hard as you can and have it come back to you, even if it doesn't bounce off anything? There is nothing attached to it, and no one else catches or throws it back to you.

To conquer oneself is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own Pep Talk nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat. Plato




Cult members, police in bloody shoot-out


USPECTED cult members yesterday engaged security agents in a gun duel at Okwe Primary School near Asaba, the Delta State capital. Some of them escaped with injuries, according to police sources. Three suspects-Nwoke Afamefule, Frank Ehielu and Iyorobe Mike-were arrested. Police spokesman Famous Ajieh confirmed that an initiation ceremony was going on at Okwe Primary School, when the police struck. It was further gathered

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

that the cult members were determined to carry out the initiation and opened fire on the policemen who retaliated. Ajieh said: “The miscreants were about initiating more persons when we stormed their hide-out. “They opened fire on us but we responded swiftly which made them to abandon the ceremony and fled. “Even if they were many, most of them were not armed and as such, when we responded, they

took to their heels. “Some of them must have escaped with gunshot injuries but three of them were arrested.” Items recovered include black, red and white clothes with the inscription N.B.M axe; two bottles of Schnapps and a calabash. The search for the abducted 110-year-old grandmother in Idjerhe Kingdom, Ethiope West Local Government has intensified. Concerned community members yesterday were said to be combing the

area in search of clues. The centenarian mother was snatched while sleeping in her home last Sunday. The hoodlums were said to have sandwiched the victim on a waiting motorcycle and headed towards River Ethiope where they abandoned the motorcycle. They reportedly escaped by boat. The victim’s daughter told reporters that the kidnappers have contacted the family. But she did not say the amount of ransom they were demanding.

JTF arrests 33 suspects in Bayelsa


HE Military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, ‘Operation Pulo Shield,’ yesterday said it has arrested 33 suspects and impounded three vessels allegedly involved in illegal oil bunkering. Its Media Coordinator, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed this in a statement in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital. He said the foreigners arrested on board the vessels, include a Togolese and two Ghanaians with 30 Nigerians. Nwachukwu said the

•Impounds three vessels vessels, which were impounded on the Federal Ocean Terminal, Onne, in Rivers State, were King I; MV Gift and MV Tiger Fish. “The vessels, with 33 crew members, were impounded by operatives of the JTF in multiple raid operations carried out from March 1 to March 19 on the Federal Ocean Terminal, near Onne, in Rivers. “The vessels are being held at 2 Brigade Nigerian Army, Gun Boat Company,

Onne,” he said. The JTF spokesman said: “The suspects and samples of the products have been handed over to the Rivers State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for investigation and prosecution.” He said in another operation, JTF operatives intercepted 10 barges allegedly laden with illegal petroleum products on the waterways of Delta and

Bayelsa states. According to him, the JTF also discovered and destroyed 143 illegal oil cooking camps, commonly referred to as “local refinery.” The camps were located at Obi Ayagbo, Otu Jeremi, Gbekebor, Esere, Ajugbo Tigbibena and Igbamatoru in Delta and Bayelsa states. Nwachukwu said the destruction of any equipment or facility used in illegal oil activity was in line with the mandate given to the Task Force.

Dangote, others boost investors’ confidence in Nigeria


HE establishment of cement plants in some African countries by Messrs Dangote Group is a boost to the confidence of foreign investors in Nigeria, economist Bismark Rewane observed in Lagos yesterday. Rewane’s observation came on the heels of commendation for the firm of the visiting Tanzanian Minister of the Environment, Terezya Pius louga huvisa. The Minister hailed the low emission level at its plants and its efforts to green operational environment across the country. Rewane, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, who spoke during the March edition of the monthly Executive Breakfast Meeting of the Lagos Business School, at the school premises on Victoria Island Lagos, said Dangote and a host of other local entrepreneurs had made a good showing of Nigeria economic image to the international community. He said the investors’ confidence has been rekindled by the local economy despite the insecurity and the negative reaction of the world market to series of events across the globe especially the African countries owing largely to the incursion of local businesses led by the Dangote group into other African countries. The economist noted that the satisfying investors’ rating of Nigeria in the face of the expected continuous fall in the price of oil and the rampant theft of the nation’s crude oil, all of which have robbed off on the nation’s positive economic outlook of recent was partly bolstered by the investments in manufacturing across the African continent by the panAfrican conglomerate.

Reps order NEMA, PHCN to Edo From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


HE House of Representatives has described the rainstorm which destroyed property and electricity infrastructure in Owan Federal Constituency as unfortu-

nate. The lawmakers have requested the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to the affected communities. This followed the adoption of a motion under a matter of urgent national importance raised by Pally Iriase (ACN, Edo). Iriase noted that a rainstorm on March 15 destroyed houses and other property. According to him, these communities- Uahumi, Eteye, Okpa, Ogute, Evbiamen, Okpokhumi and Igue-Oke- were worse affected with 132 houses destroyed and electricity poles uprooted. The lawmakers urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to the victims. They also urged the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to rehabilitate its power lines in the affected communities. The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal.

Madam Banjo for burial


HE death has occurred of a renowned educationist and wife of a traditional ruler in Sagamu, Ogun State, Mrs Victoria Wuraola Olayinka Banjo (nee Ogunade), a.k.a Iya teacher on March 11. Her remains will be taken to Sagamu for interment on April 12, after a funeral mass at St. Paul Catholic Church, Ebute Metta, Lagos. Her husband is the Olori’tun of Itunnla, Oke, Offin Sagamu, Ogun State. She hailed from Imeri, Ijebu-Imushin also in Ogun State. The late Mrs Banjo was at different times, school head and Inspector with the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission. She had taught in various schools in the Old Western State before moving to Lagos State. She was 75. She is survived by children, among who is the Southwest Zonal Director of Legal Aid Council, Mr Samuel Ayodele Banjo and many grandchildren.

•Pupils selected from different schools in Lagos State at the kick-off of the World Record Tooth Brushing challenge to mark the World Health Day in Lagos...yesterday PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

Two killed in Rivers communal crisis


WO indigenes of KDere community in Gokana Local Government of Rivers State have been killed in a renewed clash with neighbouring B-Dere. It was gathered yesterday that the two persons were abducted from their farms in Yemuordee by suspected B-Dere fighters, who were allegedly armed with AK-47 rifles and killed.

•ACN condemns crisis From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

The victims are Dumie Mubari (62),a father of four and Esther Zorgoni (30), a mother of three. Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu yesterday met with leaders of K-Dere and B-Dere at the police headquarters. Police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam confirmed

the crisis in K-Dere and said the situation had been brought under control. He, however, could not confirm the casualty figure. Ugwuegbulam would neither deny nor confirm the commissioner’s meeting with leaders of the two communities. Condemning the crisis, the state Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) described

it as shameful and unfortunate. The party, through its Publicity Secretary, Jerry Needam, said the crisis had exposed the failure and lack of sincerity on the part of the leaders of the communities . It called on the Rotimi Amaechi-led administration to set up a probe panel to investigate the causes of the crises and monitor activities in the communities.

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This is to inform the general public that the Original Right of Occupancy with Reg. No PL32813/25 dated 9 th April 2002 for the property situated at Fatima Street, Rayfield Jos. Belonging to Biodun Oluwalola ‘M’ is missing and all effort to trace it prove abortive. The general public should please take note.




NSE to tighten rules as brokers protest



HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) will undertake a comprehensive review of its rules and introduce additional laws to strengthen its regulatory framework in line with international standards. This was the main highlight of the meeting between the management of the Exchange and chief executive of stockbroking firms at the NSE yesterday in Lagos. Sources at the meeting said the NSE underlined that the review of existing rules and addition of more laws were in order to ensure that the Exchange meets the specifications of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The sources said the meeting was tense as stockbrokers protested plans by the NSE to introduce licensing fees for dissemination of primary market data by stockbrokers. However, NSE insisted on implementing its controversial data licensing policy, which will see stockbrokers registering and paying for dissemination of market data. The meeting also discussed the Issuers’ Portal, which is scheduled to be launched by the NSE on Tuesday. The Issuers’ Portal is an on-line portal through which issuers could submit financial and other information to the NSE

Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

and the market from the comfort of their offices. Chief executives of stockbroking firms decried what they described as insensitivity of the NSE to concerns of the stockbrokers. They said the decision of the NSE to charge stockbrokers and other operators for dissemination of market data runs contrary to the core functions of the operators, which include investors’ education, investment advisory and market intelligence. They noted that operators only use primary market data to prepare their own reports, which they disseminate to their clients. Meanwhile, the stock market snapped a two-day rally yesterday as anxious investors weighed considerations in the wake of the lull in the release of audited earnings reports of quoted companies. With nearly decliners to every advancer, the market was overtly bearish with open market orders for sale overwhelming the market situation. Aggregate market capitalisation of all quoted equities dropped to N10.626 trillion as against its opening value of N10.655 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the main value-based index

that tracks all equities, slipped from 33,298.74 points to 33,207.21 points. Nestle Nigeria led the decliners with a loss of N8 to close at N834. Conoil followed with a drop of N1.26 to close at N23.94. Cadbury Nigeria lost 98 kobo to close at N34.12. Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria dropped by 79 kobo to N76. Nigeria Breweries lost 50 kobo to close at N166.50. Unilever Nigeria slipped by 49 kobo to close at N53.01 while Ashaka Cement dropped by 46 kobo to close at N23.54. On the upside, Flour Mills of Nigeria topped the gainers’ list with a gain of 50 kobo to close at N77. PZ Cussons Nigeria followed with addition of 40 kobo to close at N39.90. BOC Gases gathered 37 kobo to close at N7.94. Oando chalked up 33 kobo to close at N17.33 while Dangote Flour Mills added 13 kobo to close at N9.38. Total turnover stood at 314 million shares valued at N3.30 billion in 4985 deals. Banking subgroup accounted for 182 million shares worth N2.08 billion in 2,209 deals. Insurance subsector recorded a turnover of 57.72 million shares worth N77.85 million in 204 deals. Guaranty Trust Bank was the most active stock with a turnover of 31.59 million shares valued at N787.79 million in 362 deals. Skye Bank trailed with a turnover of 27.52 million shares worth N172.35 million in 148 deals while Ecobank Transnational Incorporated placed third with a turnover of 26.03 million shares worth N364.44 million in 89 deals.





Sanusi’s exit may fuel uncertainty, say experts


HE exit of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi next year will fuel uncertainty in the financial markets, experts said yesterday. Sanusi, who rescued the banking industry from nearcollapse four years ago, told CNBC Africa he won’t renew his contract when it expires in 2014. The CBN governor, who has led the apex bank since June 2009, said it was never his intention to stay longer than one term. Speaking with The Nation yesterday, Bismarck Rewane, chief executive officer of Financial Derivatives Company, said that the exit of Sanusi would create uncertainty in the financial markets.

By Collins Nweze

Acknowledging that the Sanusi has done well, he said Nigeria needs somebody that can continue from where Sanusi stopped. He said: “Sanusi is independent in thought, candour and boldness. This will put the financial system into uncertainty. Filling his position would be an issue. Even after his exit, is he going to be a lame duck or be more active? The answer is that he will be more active. “That quality of character, that boldness is a quality that will be difficult to find amongst policy makers in Nigeria.” Samir Gadio, an emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd also shares Rewane’s view.

Gadio who spoke with Bloomberg said the government should name Sanusi’s replacement soon to help ease investors’ concerns and manage the transition. He regretted that in 2009, former President Umaru Yar’Adua didn’t name Sanusi as a replacement to Chukwuma Soludo until two days before his term ended. “He has a strong personality and a lot of people invested in the country just because of the personal relationship and the trust in Sanusi, and the confidence that Sanusi inspires,” Gadio said. Yvonne Mhango, an economist at Renaissance Capital, told Bloomberg the next governor will probably have a different outlook or

perspective. She said Sanusi came into office when there was a banking crisis, the currency was depreciating and he had mid-teen inflation. “He’s turned that all around,” she said. Appointed in the midst of a debt crisis, Sanusi, 51, fired the chief executives of eight lenders within four months of taking office after an audit found evidence of mismanagement and reckless lending. He has pushed for stability in the currency and helped bring inflation down below 10 per cent, while at the same time antagonizing lawmakers by criticizing their spending and courting controversy for his outspoken views, most recently on China’s role in Africa. Sanusi hasn’t shied away from controversy. In Decem-

ber 2010, lawmakers demanded Sanusi apologize for saying a quarter of the government’s spending on overheads went to parliament and that was damaging for the economy. He refused, saying his estimates were correct. Last year lawmakers attempted to curtail the bank’s powers by proposing an amendment to CBN Act that would strip him of his position as chairman of the bank’s board. They also pushed to include more external members on the board and have parliament approve the bank’s budget. More recently, he criticized China’s role in Africa, saying it is contributing to “deindustrialization and underdevelopment” in the world’s poorest continent.

• CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

Africa must shake off its “romantic view of China” and see it as a competitor that’s “capable of the same forms of exploitation as the west,” Sanusi wrote in the Londonbased Financial Times.

SEC suspends Ecobank from capital market activities


ECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended Ecobank Nigeria from all capital market operations over ‘alleged perceived connivance’ with Arian Capital Management Limited, a fund manager to allegedly defraud a client. In a circular by the management of SEC obtained by The Nation, the apex capital market authority said Ecobank Nigeria was suspended for alleged connivance with Arian Capital Management

Taofik Salako

to fraudulently convert 555, 555 shares of First Bank of Nigeria belonging to a client of Arian Capital, Avil Services Limited. SEC stated that Ecobank Nigeria cannot act as receiving bank or engage in any capital market activities. The Commission said that it took the decision following refusal of Ecobank Nigeria to provide information and cooperate on investigation into the alleged illegal conversion.

ity”. This explanation is yet to come from Ecobank Nigeria Plc despite repeated demands for it. The suspension was imposed on Ecobank Nigeria Plc … for its perceived connivance with Arian Capital Management Ltd to convert the 555, 555 units of First Bank of Nigeria Plc shares belonging to Avil Services Ltd,” SEC stated. According to SEC, the suspension was as a result of the role played by the bank in a complaint by Avil Services relating to a margin loan

The apex capital market authority stated that the bank would remain suspended until it “clears all the issues relating to the use of Avil Services Ltd’s shares as collateral for the Global Margin Facility it granted Arian Capital Management Ltd.” “In July 2012, the SEC pursuant to Section 13 (r) and (t) of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 requested further explanation from Ecobank Nigeria Plc on the consent of Avil Services Ltd in the “Global Margin Facil-




Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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



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


O/PRICE 1.11 2.10 7.57 0.86 1.64 17.00 9.25 8.53 39.50 76.50

C/PRICE 1.22 2.21 7.94 0.90 1.70 17.33 9.38 8.62 39.90 77.00

CHANGE 0.11 0.11 0.37 0.04 0.06 0.33 0.13 0.09 0.40 0.50

Current Before


O/PRICE 0.80 0.65 25.20 3.65 1.68 0.84 1.48 1.72 0.93 0.70

C/PRICE 0.72 0.59 23.94 3.47 1.60 0.80 1.41 1.64 0.89 0.67

Rate (N)

















C u r r e n t CUV Start After %







239.4810 212.4997

244.0123 207.9023

245.6422 209.2910

-2.57 -1.51





Bureau de Change 152.0000








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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%



Parallel Market



July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

LOSERS AS AT 20-3-13



Sold ($)






EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate


Offered ($) Demanded ($)

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

collateral for a “Global Margin Facility” that was granted to Arian Capital Management by Ecobank Nigeria Plc in a tripartite arrangement. Dissatisfied by the explanation offered by Arian Capital Management, SEC had in May 2012 suspended Arian Capital Management from all capital market activities for withholding the said shares and accruals thereon. SEC blamed Ecobank Nigeria for refusing to provide information on the global margin facility.

transaction with Arian Capital Management Ltd Under the said transaction, Arian Capital Management Ltd, a fund manager, advanced margin loan to Avil Services, which was secured by 555,555 shares of First Bank of Nigeria Plc shares belonging to Avil Services. At the termination of the margin facility, Avil Services demanded for the lifting of the lien placed on the shares but was informed by Arian Capital Management Ltd that the said shares were used as


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


CHANGE 0.08 0.06 1.26 0.18 0.08 0.04 0.07 0.08 0.04 0.03


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%



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





Okorocha didn’t follow due process, says Agbaso


HE contract awarded to a construction firm, JPros Nigeria Ltd, for the construction of roads in Imo State did not follow due process, Deputy Governor Jude Agbaso said yesterday. At a briefing in Lagos, Agbaso said he was not in the country when the contract was awarded. Insisting he did not receive N458million kickback from the firm’s boss, Joseph Dina, Agbaso said anti-graft agencies should trace whose account the money was paid into. According to him, the contract was negotiated and awarded by Governor Rochas Okorocha. Besides, there was an over-payment of N200million to the contractor because due process was not followed in the award. But the government, through the Commissioner for Information, Chinedu Offor, denied Agbaso’s claims, saying he “has a question to answer.” The state said the deputy governor, who doubled as Commissioner for Works, authorised the letter requesting the governor to approve the payment. Agbaso said: “The contract that JPros Nigeria Ltd is executing in Imo State was approved by the governor. “It was really negotiated by Governor Rochas Okorocha. When the approval was sought and given, I wasn’t in the country. “The principal secretary to the governor conveyed the direct approval of the contract and payments of N1.15billion to the commissioner for finance, who directed the accountant-general to make payments. “Also, recall that I had stated earlier that the normal process is that when such approvals are made, the money is paid into the coffers of the Ministry of Works where due proc-

•Govt: He has questions to answer By Joseph Jibueze

esses are now applied. Certificates will be raised based on those vouchers. “Application will then be made for the payments to the contractor, instead of what transpired in February last year when the whole payment and value of the contract were paid out directly to the contractor. “I am not the commissioner who caused that payment to happen. I am not the accountant-general who made the payment directly to the contractor. “I only found out that payment had been made to the contractor, four months after the payment had been made. “Also, recall that ab initio before the payment of N1.15billion was made to JPros Nig. Ltd, that a payment of N200million had been made to the same contractor from the Government House. “I did not approve the payment of the N200million. The payment of the N200million never came to the Ministry of Works and did not receive my approval. “My question, my fellow countrymen remains – for a man who has access to the governor, to the commissioner for finance, to the accountant-general who paid him directly – why would he pay me N458million, which represents 46 per cent of the total contract sum? “When this man was asked why he paid me such amount of money, he said it was because I promised to give him contracts– 15km of road construction in the local governments. “In Imo State, the local governments’ roads – rural roads – are built at N60million per kilometre.

Mrs Okonkwo for burial


HE FUNERAL rites for Mrs. Chinedu Ebele Okonkwo, nee Ukeh, who died on February 16, begin in Lagos this weekend. A statement by the family said there will be a service of songs at her Lagos residence in Ayobo, Ipaja, on Saturday. On April 4, her body will leave Regina Cheli Hospital, Awka, Anambra State, for a brief stop-over at her father’s home at Isikwe Achi, Oji River Local Government, Enugu State. The body will proceed to her husband’s compound in Adabebe Village, Amawbia Town, Akwa South Local Government for interment.

“But suffice to say that the local government jobs are awarded by either the local government chairman or can be influenced by the commissioner for local government or the governor. “But in the case of Imo State in particular, it is common knowledge how these contracts were awarded – that I as the deputy governor or as then the Commissioner for Works had no influence, whatsoever, in the awarding of local government jobs. “I never wrote one contract in the local government and did not influence any. “How could somebody now give me almost half a billion naira claiming that I would influence the award and payment of a job? “That person, if he was in Imo State, must clearly understand that I had no such powers, neither do I have such powers now.” Agbaso admitted he received a Blue Label Whiskey from Dina as a token when the contractor returned from a trip abroad, but that it happened after the contract had been awarded. “Dina said he was going to come to my house later in the evening (on the day he returned) to give me the whiskey and I said fine, but just go back to the site. “He came that evening, saw me at home with everybody and gave me the bottle of whiskey and left. “By the time this happened, he had gotten his contract approval; his money had been paid him by the various authorities. “How does a bottle of whiskey tie into the N1.15billion that he had been paid then? “How does a bottle of Blue Label Whiskey tie into an over payment

of N200million that I was not party to? “Who should be answering questions about who received what? “Fellow Nigerians, is it not important that the people who facilitated this huge payments, this non-adherence to due process, should be answering the questions I’m answering today?” Agbaso said. The deputy governor insisted that his travails were connected to the 2015 election, and there was a bid to tarnish his name to reduce his chances of winning. He said the House of Assembly committee which probed him, spread falsehood about him. His words: “The committee has gone to town to spread these falsehoods that they had judged me, that they had brought me to book, that what is left is for them to jail me. “They have accused me, sat over my case, passed judgment, based on the hearsay of Joseph Dina, who merely said that he gave me money. “There was no any iota of truth that I did communicate with him or with him through text messages detailing him to pay amounts of money into these accounts or the companies he mentioned.” Agbaso reiterated the fact that N458million could not have vanished into thin air. “If this money was paid by Dina into those accounts, those accounts should be accessed through the banks. “In establishing those accounts, the owners and the promoters of the companies must have given information to the bank to enable them set up these accounts. “Photographs of those who set up these accounts are there. Signatories to these accounts would be there. These are pieces of information that various agencies can seek for and ac-


cess. “Such options should have been fully exhausted by my accusers and judges.” Agbaso insisted he was a victim of political intrigues ahead of the 2015 elections. “The aim of all this is to tarnish the brand of Agbaso and exclude it from the coming election. That is the heart of the matter. “I will continue to talk to you that I am an innocent man. The appropriate investigation agencies must wade into this matter and my innocence must be proven,” Agbaso said. But the government said if indeed due process was not followed, then Agbaso was equally culpable being the then Commissioner for Works. Offor, in a statement, said: “As the Commissioner for Works, what did he do on realising due process was not followed? “He authorised the letter that requested the governor to approve the payment. “And so, he has a question to answer as to his duties,” the commissioner said.

Tension in Anambra over lawmaker’s kidnap


HE kidnap of the member representing Onitsha South I constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly has heightened tension in the state. Emeka Aniegbonam, a doctor and an Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) member, was abducted from his clinic in Fegge, Onitsha, by three gunmen. His abductors are demanding N50 million for his freedom, it was gathered yesterday. A source said the suspects called a lawmaker’s phone and demanded N50 million. The phone was switched off immediately. Some lawmakers have switched off their phones and gone into hiding. Some of them who spoke with The Nation yesterday re-

•Colleagues in hiding •Abductors demand N50m ACN vice-chairman kidnapped


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has raised the alarm over the kidnap of its Vice-Chairman (Southeast), Dr. Chudi Nwike, in Anambra State on Tuesday. In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party quoted the victim’s younger brother, who has been contacted by Nwike, as saying the kidnappers are demanding N30 million in foreign currency. ‘’We appeal to the security agencies to do everything within their power to ensure the safe release of Dr. Nwike. “We assure his family of our prayers and support at this very difficult time,” the party said. From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

fused to comment on the matter. One of them said he had no capacity to speak on the matter as the House standing committees were dis-

solved on Tuesday. The reconstitution of the committees, according to the Assembly’s spokesman, Fidelis Nwakwesili, would be done on the next adjourned date, which is April 16.

Police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka said the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Adyole Abey, has relocated to Onitsha. “These boys have bitten more than they can chew and this command cannot allow such a thing to continue, enough is enough,” Chukwemeka said. In a related development, a bank manager in Onitsha and a woman were yesterday kidnapped at Nkpor near Onitsha Though Chukwuemeka could not confirm the incidents, a security source said they were on the trail of the suspects. The source said the two incidents happened between 4.30 and 5.15pm.

Community leader dies at 125


HE death has occurred of Pa Daniel Akintunde Osawi, a community leader from the Ode Oge Ruling Family of Oyinmo Quarters, IkareAkoko, Ondo State. He died on August 26,last year in his K/32, Oyinmo Quarters, Ikare- Akoko. He was 125. The late Osawi was the oldest man in Oyinmo Quarters and one of the few sages in Ikare-Akoko. He is survived by an aged widow, Madam Eunice Ibilola Akintunde, many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, among whom

are Mr. Samuel Oluwole Akintunde, who retired from the Ondo State Public Health Services, Mrs. Olufunke Osadare (a businesswoman), Mrs. Bejide Adaranijo, a Lagos businesswoman, Mr. Simeon

Abiodun Akintunde (Director, Internal Audit, Ondo State Civil Service), Mrs. Mokanjuola Yakubu of the Ondo State Teaching Service, Mr. Adeyeye Akintunde of the Federal Medical Centre,

Owo, Ondo State, Mr. Sunday Akintunde and Mrs. Iyabode Fasua. Funeral will hold at his home on April 19. A Christian wake takes place on April 18.

Banker dies at 54 HE death has occurred of Mrs. Eunice Udoh, a retired Assistant Manager with the Union Bank Plc. She was a pioneer with the Oja Oba Christian Congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Afobaje Estate in Ota, Ogun State. She died on January 7 during a brief illness and was buried in her home at 1, Oba David Bello Street, Afobaje Estate, Ota on February


9 after a funeral at the Kingdom Hall in Afobaje. Mrs. Udoh was born into the family of Akpan James Udoh of Mbiabong Ikot Etim in Ini Local Government, Akwa Ibom State, on October 15, 1959. She married Mr. Udo U. Udoh in 1978 and the union was blessed with a son, Michael Eno.




Eight killed in Fulani/ Tarock clash P


IGHT people were killed yesterday in a renewed clash between the Fulani and the Tarock in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State. The ethnic groups have been at war since January when the bodies of two people were found in a bush path. The dispute over who killed the people has been a source of frequent bloody clashes between the two ethnic groups. Wase Local Government is about 250 kilometres from Jos, the Plateau State capital. It was rumoured that the ethnic clash might have con-

•15 houses burnt From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

sumed about 35 victims, but the police command said eight people were killed. A source said: “The crisis broke out about 1:45 am yesterday when some gunmen invaded Fili Mavou and set 15 houses ablaze, including the home of Plateau State Commissioner for Water Resources, Idi Waziri.” A member representing Kanke Constituency in the House of Assembly, Timothy Golu, alleged that his

brother-in-law, Andrew Kunka, had been taken hostage by the Fulani. He said the victim might have been killed. Confirming the incident, the Special Task Force on Jos Crisis (STF), in a statement signed by its Media Officer Captain Salisu Mustapha, said: “This is to inform the public and Plateau State indigenes that in the early hours of yesterday, about 04:30am, our troops received a distress call by some members of the Mavo community in Wase Local Government about

an attack by unknown gunmen, who attempted to overrun the community. “The STF personnel deployed in the area moved to the scene of the incident and repelled the attack. Three of the suspected attackers were arrested and are undergoing investigation.” He said efforts are on to apprehend the other culprits. According to him, the situation has been brought under control and peace has been restored. Police Commissioner Chris Olakpe confirmed the attack on the phone, saying about eight persons were killed.

•From left: Nasarawa State Deputy Governor Dameshi Luka receiving the Director General, NEMA, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi, on a courtesy visit in Lafia ... yesterday. With them is NOA Director General, Mr Mike Omeri

Communal crisis: Suswam’s aide urges peace From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

THE Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, has urged the warring communities of Mbawuar and Mbangur in Mbadede Ward, Vandeikya Local Government Area, to embrace peace in the interest of development. Dr. Akwaya, reacting to the communal violence, which engulfed the two communities at the weekend, said in a statement that the burning of houses and destruction of farms by the warring groups was of concern to him as it was capable of causing economic setback in the communities. He enjoined traditional rulers and religious leaders in the areas to ensure that the crisis was brought under control by appealing to the conscience of the aggrieved parties. Akwaya hailed the Chairman of Vandeikya Local Government, Mr. Benedict Kume, the police command and elders of the communities for their efforts to douse the tension.


Mark, Suswam, Jang absent as Tukur visits

ENATE President David Mark, Governors Gabriel Suswam of Benue State and Jonah Jang of Plateau State were among the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts that were not at the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s meeting with leaders, yesterday. He was in Makurdi for the North central Zone’s reconciliation meeting. Tukur was received at the airport by the Benue State Deputy Governor, Chief Steven Lawani, without

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

some members of the Benue State Executive Council, as the exco was dissolved more than three weeks ago by Governor Suswam. He later held a reconciliation meeting with some members of the PPD in the zone. A PDP chieftain, who preferred anonymity, told The Nation that top PDP mem-

bers from the zone shunned the meeting with Tukur because of “his autocratic leadership style”. He referred to the crisis in Adamawa State and the removal of the former National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, which he said has divided the party. During Tukur’s visit to the Southwest, prominent PDP members, such as President Olusegun Obasanjo and Oyinlola boycotted his reconciliation meeting.

Lawmakers to discuss constitutional powers


udiciary Committee members of the two chambers of the National Assembly will converge on Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, tomorrow to dilate on the constitutional powers of the legislature. The workshop, organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies, will hold at Kwara Hotel, Ilorin. The opening session will be attended by Kwara State Gov-

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

ernor Abdulfatah Ahmed and will be declared open by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. The Attorneys-General of the 36 states and Speakers of the Houses of Assembly are expected to attend the workshop. It will also discuss the challenges faced by the federal and state lawmakers in implementing their constitu-

tional powers as well as legislature-executive relations. The Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Dr. Alli Ahmad, said: “The workshop is necessitated by the current general disregard for legislative deliberations and resolutions; a situation that is inimical to our march towards the attainment of good governance and democratic ethos.”

BUK VC: Nigerian graduates lack skills to succeed


RADUATES of Nigerian universities are not equipped to succeed in the world today, the Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, has said. The ex-Managing Director of the New Nigerian newspapers spoke yesterday in Ilorin at a public lecture organised by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), University of Ilorin chapter. The lecture is entitled: ‘Challenges facing youths reaching their zenith in the 21st Century.’ He said: “Nigerian universities are just churning out

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

graduates without the necessary skills to succeed in the harsh reality of the knowledge-driven world of today. “This situation cannot be allowed to continue if Nigeria is to remain relevant. As students, you have an important role to play in remoulding our universities and nation. “You have shown by your action today that there is hope for this country. There is hope because students today show that they can recognise good role models to emulate them and hopefully succeed. “Let me remind you that we are in an era where knowl-

edge seems to be the overriding issue. Without knowledge, no society will progress. The 21st century is the one of knowledge, particularly scientific knowledge. Two areas are significant; the digital revolution and the genetics.” The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Prof. Abbdullganiyu Ambali, listed the high cost of living, poor public services, corruption in the larger society, depletion of the ranks of the role models, youth unemployment and socio-political dislocations and their aftermath in crime and criminal behaviour as some of the

challenges facing the nation. He said: “The message I have is simple for our students: keep hope alive. With students like you burning with ideas, Nigeria will be better and the future is bright. “Dear students, despite my optimism that the future is bright, if you keep hope alive, I must let you know that you are the greatest challenge to reaching your zenith in the 21st century. “The 21st century is meant for continuous learning. You have to learn, re-learn and unlearn on a continuous basis to unlock the potential of this age and overcome its challenges.”

OLICE yesterday confirmed the killing of eight persons in Tuesday night’s attack on Mavo village in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State. “The attack is unfortunate and callous. We have not arrested anyone yet. But I can confirm that it was carried out by herdsmen,” Commissioner Police Chris Olakpe said in Jos. He added: “We are aware of this unfortunate incident and it is sad that it is happening at a time we are working towards the restoration of peace to Plateau State.” Olakpe debunked the report of a reprisal on a school and another attack on some residents

Police confirm killing of eight persons in Plateau of Wase town, describing such reports as “frivolous.” He said police officers and men of the Special Task Force (STF) were keeping vigil at Mavo village to forestall further outbreak of violence. “We are meeting the stakeholders to ensure peace is restored to the troubled area,” Mr. Olakpe added. Also speaking, the Media Officer of the Special Task Force (STF), Capt. Salisu Mustapha, said his men had cordoned off Mavo village to prevent further breakdown of law and order.

‘120 families have become refugees’


O fewer than 120 families have fled their homes, following the communal clash that erupted early this week in Ganmo, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, a group, Omo Ibile Igbomina, has said. It claimed that over 30 houses and several vehicles were destroyed during the clash caused by a dispute over a chieftaincy stool. The National President of the group, Mr. Samuel Atolagbe, told reporters yesterday in Ilorin that the incident should be probed. He urged the government to intervene to stem the incident that had become a recurrence in the community. Said he: “The perpetrators of the attack should be brought to book. It is by so doing that the Igbomina can be assured of their safety and security in the state. “We appeal to well-meaning individuals, corporate bodies and religious groups to assist the victims financially and morally. “We urge the police to investigate the recent clash with a view to unravelling the people in police uniform who prefer to shield the hoodlums rather than innocent, harmless Ganmo people. “We enjoin them to be lawabiding and await directive from the government. “We call on the government to restore peace to Ganmo by

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

bringing the culprits to book, rebuilding the damaged houses and compensate the victims for the losses incurred.”

VC vows to maintain standard From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto


HE Vice-Chancellor, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Prof. Riskuwa Arabu Shehu, has said the institution would not compromise academic excellence, stressing that it was committed to the country’s desire for advancement in science and technology. The academic, who spoke yesterday at the university’s 34th matriculation for 3,833 students, said the institution had repositioned and strengthened itself in readiness for science-based programmes.

PUBLIC NOTICE OLAKUNLE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss. Olakunle Aishat Omolola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kadiri Aishat Omolola. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note

PUBLIC NOTICE AYO I, formerly known and addressed as Ayo Akinade Olatunji, now wish to be known and addressed as Ayokunnu Ayotunde Richman. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note



NEWS ‘Change tactics on Boko Haram’ Continued from page 2

ball match. “It is not about dribbling but how many goals you scored.” The lawmaker representing Abia South further noted that there was already a disconnect between the government of Kano State and the people and stressed the need for effective security system to safeguard lives and property. He said: “The government must triple its effort to bring the issue to an end. “Another point is that the issue of effective security system to safeguard the people is long overdue. “Another is the issue of averting the danger of dis-

connect between the state and the citizens. “When this crisis happened, the Governor was nowhere to be seen. The main anger of the victims was that they are human beings and not woods. “The government has lost an opportunity of isolating the terrorist as a marginal group outside the mainstream of the society. “The victims will have the impression that everyone is against them. “This would have given the government the opportunity to prove that these are agents of government who wanted to knock the heads of social groups together in order to achieve their goals.”

Senator Gaya recalled that Kano was a hub for the Igbo for many years and insisted that some forces were deployed to create disunity between the North and the South. He said: “Let me clearly say that from history, Kano and the people of SabonGari have been business partners and have lived together for long even though we have had issues here and there. Gaya said it is time for lawmakers to be strict on the executive over their resolutions. “We must take a decision now, it is our responsibility to take a decision in this chamber and make it binding on the government”,

UNILAG 80-83 law graduates reunite



Gaya said. The Senate in its usual manner observed a minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives in the blast.

Judge refuses Okah’s application on irregularity of trial


USTICE Neels Claaseen of the South Gauteng High Court, in Johannesburg on Wednesday, refused to grant the application filed by Henry Okah to declare that proceedings at his ongoing trial were irregular. Claaseen, while ruling on the three grounds of the application, said it was absurd and frivolous. On March 18, the defence counsel urged the court to declare the trial as irregular on three grounds. “Three grounds have been raised for the purpose of the irregularity. The first ground is on the unlawful presence of an official of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr Cliford Osagie, who is an investigative officer in the 2010 Abuja car bombing. “That his presence intimidates

the witnesses. In the affidavit by Mr Osagie, he says he is a legal official with the SSS and that he knew the accused since 2007 when he was part of the Federal Government delegation to Angola to seek for the release of the accused who was arrested in Angola. “It is common knowledge that he was involved in investigating and prosecution of the accused and the other conspirators. “The accused having known Mr Osagie as an official of the SSS since 2007 and failed to mention it to his lawyer is a failure that cannot be laid at the feet of the judge. However, the judge said the presence of Mr Osagie seating by the side of the prosecutor was regular, adding that the ground of the first irregularity cannot

succeed. Claaseen said the second ground of the application which said the accused was not warned of his right in term of International Criminal Cooperation Treaty was frivolous. “The accused was arrested in South Africa on Oct. 2, 2010, and at the time of his arrest, he had accepted South African residence, though he did not accept the citizenship of South Africa. So he is a citizen of Nigeria. “The evidence on record was that he was persona non-grata in Nigeria. He was arrested in South Africa and Nigeria still have death penalty in place for the offence the accused was arrested for. South Africa does not have death penalty in its justice system. So, the accused cannot be extradited to Nigeria,’’ Claaseen said.

He said no injustice had been done to the accused on his right in term of the international criminal cooperation treaty which South Africa and Nigeria were signatories. Claaseen said: “The third application was the most absurd to me because I have bent more than backward to assist the accused to have his witnesses. “The accused indicated that he did not need the two other witnesses to testify. More so, if the accused had wanted the witnesses who were in Kuje Prison to come to South Africa and give evidence, his lawyer should have applied for their release from prison,’’ Claaseen said. He dismissed all the three applications without cost. The submissions on the mitigation of sentence will continue on March 26.

HE sixth annual reunion of the Class of 8083, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos will be held at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, between tomorrow and Sunday. A statement by Chief Edwards Ayo Odugbesan, the class’ Socials/ Publicity Secretary, said the events will kick off with cocktails on Friday while there will be a business session on Saturday. There will be an Interdenominational Service on Sunday. Lecturers who taught the class between 1980 and 1983 are expected to reunite with the Class whose current Pres-

ident is Justice Adedotun Onibokun of Osun State Judiciary. Expected to grace the occasion are Justice A.G Karibi Whyte CFR, JSC rtd as Chairman., Hon Justice Iche N Ndu OFR Chief Judge Rivers State, Wogu Boms Esq, Attorney General, Rivers State and Okey Wali SAN President, Nigeria Bar Association. Others are R N Godwin, Solicitor General and Lawrence Oko Jaja Esq, Chairman NBA Port Harcourt, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi is the Special Guest while Senator Bob Effiong is the Chairman, Board of Trustees.

Tinubu backs amnesty Continued from page 2

Progressives Congress (APC), the baby of the merger of political parties, cannot be killed. At the Emir’s palace, Tinubu condemned the attack on the royal father, describing it as “unfortunate”, adding that it portends a dangerous trend. “We came to Kano to pay a courtesy call on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, over the most unfortunate attack and the incident that happened to an institution like him, and a great father with wisdom, who has spent many years on the traditional throne as a leader, being exposed to such an attack is very dangerous for our country and is making things seem hopeless.” The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, thanked Tinubu

for the visit, describing him as a visionary and purposeful leader showing good example for the ordinary people. He urged politicians to be less aggressive in their approach, because, according to him, the unity and peaceful co-existence of the people are most important. Politics, said the Emir, should be devoid of criminality and violence, so that a peaceful atmosphere will prevail for the country’s progress. In Tinubu’s entourage are ACN National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, the former presidential candidate of the party, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Minister of Labour and Productivity Musa Gwadabe and the former All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) National Chairman, Alhaji Yusuf Ali.

NEWS Crisis looms over cut in Reps Committees’ allowance

David-West warns Jonathan on fuel subsidy


ORMER Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Tam David-West, yesterday warned President Goodluck Jonathan against increasing the pump price of petroleum products under any guise. David-West’s warning came on the heels of President Jonathan’s promise to remove the entire fuel subsidy after consultation with the public. Reacting to the development in a telephone chat with The Nation yesterday, the former minister said the idea of fuel susbsidy is a fraud, stressing that investigations conducted by the Federal Government last year also confirmed his assertion. David-West expressed disappointment at Jonathan’s new promise, saying he (Jonathan) was only planning to inflict more pains on the suffering Nigerian masses. According to him, government has given 10 different figures on the so-called subsidy to lend credence to the alleged deceit.

•NUPENG calls for minister’s resignation From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan and Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

He said he expected the President to have been converted to the side of the public by now, given the quantum of facts and figures confirming that fuel subsidy is a scam in Nigeria. He said: “I expected the President to have been converted by now that there is no subsidy and that it is all a fraud. He should be converted to save the poor people from suffering. Even the government investigation has confirmed that there is no subsidy. The government has also given the public 10 different figures. It is like an amoeba; the subsidy has no fixed shape. As amoeba changes shape, so does President Jonathan’s fuel subsidy change. This shows that they are not sure.” David-West gave the President words of caution. He urged him to remember that “Nigeria

is no Liliput with nitwits. In fact, a lot of Nigerians are more knowledgeable than him. He cannot take Nigerians for a ride.” He added: “President Jonathan should remember the old Latin aphorism that whom the gods want to destroy, they first make mad. He should never add more burden to the already-suffering people. It will be the last straw for the suffering masses.” Oil workers and civil servants yesterday resisted the Federal Government’s proposed fuel price increase. In telephone conversations with The Nation, the oil workers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), called for the Finance Minister’s resignation, saying that was the only way out of the subsidy crisis. NUPENG President Comrade Igwe Achese said the minister has failed nation, as she has

told Nigerians the contradicting stories on subsidy. He said she should resign if things must be done properly. He recalled the Farouk Lawan committee, other failed committees, and how government said some oil marketers would be prosecuted, but to date, nothing had happened. The senior civil servants, under the umbrella of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), said they would resist a new increase in petroleum product prices “with everything humanly possible.” The Secretary-General, Comrade Lawal, said: “We are preparing to meet government for an upward review of salaries. Now that they are proposing fuel price increase, it’s like they are telling the workers to go and commit suicide. We are not going to accept that.”

Falae, Suleiman, Izuogu urge Nigerians to rise against PDP govt


ROGRESSIVE politicians yesterday in Abuja urged Nigerians to rise up against what they described as the reactionary government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Leading the vanguard for a change were a former leader of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd), former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, leader of the Southeast Forum, Dr. Ezekiel

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

Izuogu and Dr. Bala Takaya. They enjoined progressive elements, irrespective of differences in religion and ethnic background, to identify with a strong party that would champion their cause. Speaking on the platform of the Progressive Movement of Nigeria (PMN) , they noted that progressive elements could be assembled from the existing political parties, including the PDP.

They stressed the need for progressive elements to close ranks to achieve victory in future elections. Dr. Izuogu, who convened the meeting, said previous attempts by progressive elements to wrest power, including attempts by the late Chief Moshood Abiola and Falae were frustrated, thereby denying the country the opportunity to be transformed. Izuogu said: “One day, the progressives in this country will wrest power. We will not

give up the struggle, just like the former South African President, Nelson Mandela, who fought till power was taken over by the people. “Our efforts are for the progressives to stay together and fight the reactionary government of the PDP. We believe the best thing that can happen to Nigeria is for the progressives to stay together.” Falae said change was inevitable and until Nigeria achieved that change, things would continue to get worse.

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


UNCTIONS of the committees of the House of Representatives may grind to a halt soon for lack of finance, The Nation has learnt. This is because the committees’ quarterly allowance of N1million has been reduced to N500, 000, it was gathered yesterday. The fund is used as committees’ imprest. Besides being used for administrative purposes, such as sending letters to MDAs and oversight issues, it is also used for the purchase of provisions for committees’ meetings. Committees’ clerks yesterday came out of a meeting convened by the Clerk of Committees, Edi Iguodala, with grim faces. At the meeting, held in the Hearing Room 1 of the White House at the National Assembly, the committees’ clerks expressed their disenchantment that the functions of the Reps committees would grind to a halt. They wondered why their imprest was being reduced when that of the Senate committees had just been increased from N5million to N6million per quarter, leaving a gap of over N5million between the two.

Court orders remand of three Bolivians, two Nigerians By Eric Ikhilae


USTICE Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered that three Bolivians and two Nigerians be remanded in prison upon their arraignment for alleged complicity in an illicit drug deal. Reuben Jorge, Yhugo Moreno and Yerko Dorado (Bolivians) were arraigned yesterday with Solomon Uzoka and Basil Ikechukwu (Nigerians), on a three-count charge of unlawful production, possession and distribution of Methaphetamine, a narcotic similar to Cocaine. Prosecution lawyer Femi Oloruntoba told the court that the Bolivians were arrested by officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) following a tip off. He told the court that the accused were arrested in their home at 38, Daily Times Estate, Satelite Town, Lagos. Oloruntoba alleged that the foreigners conspired with the Nigerians to engage in illegal production of Methaphetamine. He said the foreigners allegedly aided by the Nigerians, used their home as a “platform and hideout” for producing and dealing in the narcotic drug. The accused pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them. Justice Buba ordered that they be remanded in prison custody pending the commencement of their trial, and adjourned till March 22 for trial.



FOREIGN NEWS Al-Qaeda: we killed French national in Mali


L-QAEDA’s North Africa branch says it has killed a French national captured in Mali in 2011, Mauritania’s ANI news agency reports. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) told ANI that it killed Philippe Verdon on 10 March, in retaliation for France’s intervention in Mali. Mr Verdon and another Frenchman were seized in the northern town of Hombori. France sent troops to Mali in January saying al-Qaedalinked militants could over-run the capital, Bamako. In recent weeks French-led forces have been fighting militants in the remote Ifoghas mountains of northern Mali. Early on Wednesday the French foreign ministry said it was trying to verify the report by Agence Nouakchott d’Information (ANI).

Bangladesh president dies


HE president of Bangladesh, Zillur Rahman, has died after a long illness, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office in Dhaka has announced. The president, 84, had been undergoing treatment for kidney and respiratory problems at a hospital in Singapore. President Rahman was elected by parliament to the largely ceremonial role in February 2009. Mr Rahman was a stalwart of the Awami League - now in power in Bangladesh - and a close friend of the country’s first president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Mujib was the father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Rahman was sentenced to 20 years in jail during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation from Pakistan and was again imprisoned for four years after Sheikh Mujib’s assassination in 1975. He also briefly went to jail after elections in 1986 while he was an Awami League MP.

German court to hear Afghan tanker attack lawsuit

Obama: US proud to be Israel’s ally


ARACK Obama has arrived in Israel for his first trip there as president, saying the US was proud to stand by Israel as its strongest ally. After landing in Tel Aviv, Mr Obama also referred to the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying “peace must come to the Holy Land”. United States officials have tried to lower expectations of any significant headway on restarting the peace process. Syria, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions are expected to loom large in talks. Observers say Israelis are more preoccupied with instability in the wider Middle East region than with breathing new life into the peace process, which broke down in 2010 amid a dispute over continued Israeli settlement construction. Mr Obama was welcomed at Ben Gurion airport by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. He was introduced to Israeli ministers and leaders

of religious communities and later shown a missile battery that forms part of Israel’s Iron Dome defence system against rocket attacks. “Even as we are clear eyed about the difficulties, we will never lose sight of the vision of an Israel at peace with its neighbours,” he said in brief comments. He added: “The United States stands with Israel because it is in our fundamental security interests to stand with Israel. Our alliance is eternal. It is forever.” Mr Netanyahu said: “Thank you for unequivocally affirming Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself by itself against any threat.” Mr Obama is due to hold talks with Mr Netanyahu later on Wednesday, and visit the West Bank on Thursday to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. At home Mr Obama has been criticised for not having visited Israel in his first term as president, with some saying it shows he is not close enough to the country.

Obama flanked on the left by President Shimon Peres and Nentanyahu at Ben Gurion International Airport... yesterday PHOTO:AFP

The state of the economy and social issues dominated Israel’s last election, and the president has said he is not going to the region bearing any grand peace plan. Commentary in Yedioth Ahronoth says the president views “‘the two-state model’ as the only viable and realistic model” for peace with the Palestinians and will say so in lengthy talks with Israeli officials. But with warnings that time is running out for a twostate solution, some still think he will try to lay the ground

for some greater effort to restart talks, BBC North America editor Mark Mardell reports from Jerusalem. The president’s relationship with Mr Netanyahu has been notoriously frosty and one recent opinion poll suggested a mere 10% of the Israeli public had a favourable opinion of the US president. The main event of this trip is a speech to the Israeli people - his main task is to build bridges and improve his image, which could give him more leverage over the new Israeli government.


GERMAN court is to hear a case from 79 Afghan families seeking damages for the deaths of dozens of civilians killed in a 2009 air strike. The families represent victims who died when a German commander ordered the attack on two fuel tankers stolen by insurgents. The families are seeking 3.3m euros (about 667M Naira) from the German government.

LENTEN TALK Rev. Henry O. Adelegan

Theme: Your location and your allocation Text: James 2:13b


HE Resource control agitation of the Delta region is not only justifiable, legal, appropriate but has spiritual backing. Solomon in his wisdom said that when you cast your bread upon the waters, it is your inalienable right to find it floating after many days. He continued further that when the heaven is loaded, rain comes down. Suffice to say that it is a right to get back whatever you have sent up. Beloved, the determinant of your altitude is your attitude. An attitude of giving like a Delta region is assured of a great harvest of rainfall, particularly during this season. While the Delta region has legal right of downpour however, the Desert region will experience little or no rainfall at all because it has sent up same- where you are located is a determinant of your allocation! What this presupposes is that nothing is forgotten in life. There is a reward for whatever one does in this world. The initial reward will come during this lifetime and the eternal one will surely come in the world hereafter. Jesus Christ said that “ He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be (Revelation 22:11-12). When the little boy gave his breakfast, he got a reward of 12 baskets ( Mk. 5:35-44). The same went for the widow of Zarephath and her only son during a time of severe famine. The only hope of survival for her family was a last meal that they wanted to cook, eat and die. Suddenly, a man of God came to the scene and requested her to give him that last meal. When she obliged, her heaven of blessings opened. During the time of famine when people were crying and dying, she was laughing and rejoicing. She was not only blessed during the time of famine but the angel of death that wanted to take her only child from her was rebuked (1Kgs. 17:8-23) Brethren, during this season of lent, make it a habit to eschew evil, do good, be compassionate to the less privileged, show love to everybody and do unto others only what you want them to do unto you. You must always be conscious of the fact that whatever you do unto others shall surely return to you, either good or bad (Eccl. 12:13-14; 2Cor. 9:6-7;Lk. 6:38). I pray that the Almighty God will respond to your attitude of giving and showing love during this auspicious time and forever. As you do these, God will make your case different during this severe global economic climate and rebuke the angel of death for your family in the name of Jesus Prayer: Father, give me a heart of love, bless the works of my hands and rebuke the angel of death for my sake in the name of Jesus.

•A U.S. flag flies in front of the Chancellery building inside the compound of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Built in 2009 the compound is the largest and most expensive of any embassy in the world. At 440,000 square meters it is nearly as large as the Vatican City. It also employs 15,000 people and cost $750 million (about 116 billion naira) to build. Located in Baghdad’s Green Zone, it will be the home for thousands of American citizens left after the U.S. military completes its withdrawal this month. PHOTO: REUTERS

Outrage over Malian editor’s sentence


Malian newspaper editor charged and jailed for inciting violence on Monday should be immediately released, a global media watchdog and Mali’s press association has said. Le Republicain editor Boukary Daou was detained nearly two weeks ago. The paper had published a letter signed by a captain criticising the former junta leader’s new salary and said frontline soldiers lacked equipment. Reporters Without Borders said it was outraged by the latest developments. The soldiers are part of the army fighting Islamist militants in the north of the country. “We urge the relevant authorities to demonstrate their commitment to freedom of information by immediately releasing Boukary Daou and dropping the charges against him,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. “The Malian press must be given assurances that it will be protected by the institutions of the state, instead of having to see them as a new source of threats.”

After being held without charge for nearly two weeks, Mr Daou was charged with inciting violence and publishing false news on Monday and was transferred to the main prison in the capital, Bamako. As a result of the editor’s detention, Mali’s private media went on strike for four days last week. Mankan Kone, president of Mali’s press association, told the BBC French service on Tuesday that the media would not cover official government business in news reports until Mr Daou was freed. At the time of the newspaper editor’s arrest, Communications Minister Manga Dembele said Mr Daou acted irresponsibly and unpatriotically by publishing the soldiers’ open letter to the president. Capt Amadou Sanogo, who headed a coup in March 2012, was recently named as the head of a committee for the interim government to oversee reforms in the military and is believed to be paid about $7,800 (about 1.2M Naira) a month. He led the coup saying the army was ill-equipped to fight a rebellion led by Tuareg separatist fighters in the north.

IMF chief Lagarde’s apartment searched


RENCH police have searched the Paris apartment of International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, as they investigate her role in awarding financial compensation to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008. As finance minister, she referred his long-running dispute with bank Credit

Lyonnais to an arbitration panel, which awarded him 400m euros (about 105 billion Naira) damages. Mr Tapie was a supporter of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy. Critics say she abused her authority but Ms Lagarde denies any wrongdoing. “This search will help uncover the truth, which will contribute to exonerating my

client from any criminal wrongdoing,” Ms Lagarde’s lawyer, Yves Repiquet, told the Reuters news agency. The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris says investigators suspect Mr Tapie was granted a deal in return for his support of President Sarkozy in the 2007 election. There is speculation in France that Ms Lagarde could

yet be placed under formal investigation in this case, he adds. The origins of the case date back 20 years. Mr Tapie, who has long been active in French business, sporting and political circles, sued Credit Lyonnais over its handling of the sale in 1993 of sportswear brand Adidas, in which he was a majority stakeholder.





Heitinga eyes European places



Terry: Lampard is Chelsea’s greatest


OHN TERRY has hailed Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard as the greatest player in the club’s history. The midfielder scored a header in Sunday’s 2-0 win over West Ham United to reach 200 goals for the club, and is now only two behind Bobby Tambling’s record.

Speaking in the Evening Standard, Terry said Lampard has already surpassed the likes of Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, while likening him to Ryan Giggs at Manchester United. “You talk about Zola and the best players to have played at the club but, for me, he

[Lampard] is certainly the best,” Terry said. “It’s incredible the number of goals he has scored at a high level, the Champions League and Premier League. It’s his hunger as well. “You can only single out two players to play consistently

Szczesny: I don’t want to leave


RSENAL goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny maintains he has no thoughts of leaving The Emirates “as long as they want me here”. The Poland international was dropped for the Champions League game against Bayern Munich last week as manager Arsene Wenger felt the 22-year-old had been “mentally affected” by the number of games played, and again took him out of the firing line for Saturday’s trip to Swansea where Lukasz Fabianski kept a second consecutive clean sheet. Despite maintaining he could offer no players a guarantee of a place in his side - not even captain Thomas Vermaelen, who also sat out the last two Gunners matches - Wenger insists Szczesny remains part of his long-term plans, having taken a chance on the young Pole who came through Arsenal’s youth ranks after joining the club’s academy from hometown side Legia Warsaw in 2006. Speaking to Poland daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza in an interview conducted before the Swansea game, Szczesny said: “I am too happy to go somewhere else. I believe in the philosophy of the club and that Arsenal will start to win again. “I have a debt to pay here for the club, I owe them. I just do not want to go anywhere else. “As long as they want me here, there is no ‘somewhere else’, and I have a contract until June 2015.” Arsenal beat Swansea 2-0 away on Saturday as they battled back into contention for a top-four finish, with Tottenham’s 1-0 home defeat by Fulham leaving them four points behind their local

rivals, with a match in hand and a superior goal difference. Szczesny feels it is unthinkable for Wenger’s men to miss out on playing in the Champions League next season. “It is halfway through March and we have lost everything. There are still 10

matches left to save the club against the humiliation of all times,” he added. “It would be disaster not to be in the top four and without Champions League next year. “We have the 10 most important games in our careers. We are going through the most difficult time since I came here.”

well and to score goals over the course of the last 10-15 years and that is him and Ryan Giggs. The willingness he has shown to improve and try to reach these records is fantastic. He is an example to all the players here and we’re all hoping he does it.” Despite widespread expectation that Lampard will leave Chelsea in the summer, former boss Avram Grant feels the England international will stay at the club for another year. “Frank is good for Chelsea,” Grant said on talkSPORT. “He is like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs for Manchester United. He is good in the dressing room. He is ambitious to win titles, which I think all the young players at Chelsea need. There is some good talent that needs that winning mentality Frank can bring. I have a feeling that Frank will stay at Chelsea for one more year at least.”

VERTON defender John Heitinga believes his side can finish the season strongly and qualify for Europe. After a superb 2-0 victory over Manchester City, Everton lie in sixth place in the Premier League, two points behind Arsenal, with nine league games remaining. Everton suffered a shock 30 defeat at home to lowly Wigan in the FA Cup quarter-finals, but Heitinga is confident that the squad has the ability to finish in the European places come the end of the season. “The way I see it now is that we have to play nine finals,” Heitinga told the Liverpool Echo. “Before (the Man City game), I told myself we had 10 finals, and now we have nine left. I want to go and play with Everton in Europe. “We have nine finals, and we must see it game by game. The squad is really strong, and the focus must only be on the next game.” Heitinga went on to discuss how disappointing the FA Cup defeat to Wigan


ORMER Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton has urged the club’s fans not to let Michael Owen’s time at fierce rivals Manchester United tarnish his Reds legacy. Owen announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the 2012-13 season, and Houghton believes the 33-year-old was at his best with the Reds, notching 158 of his 220 career goals to date for the club. “Michael might live to regret going to United in



Vaughan: Players are to blame


UNDERLAND midfielder David Vaughan admits the team are to blame for their recent run of poor form. The Black Cats have gone seven games without a win and are now just four points above 18th-place Wigan with the Latics boasting a game in hand. The alarming sequence culminated in a disappointing draw with 10man Norwich at the weekend and Vaughan acknowledges the players only have themselves to blame. “It is our fault we’re down there, nobody else’s, and it’s up to us to get ourselves out of it,” said Vaughan. “When we got in at halftime on Sunday, we all thought we’d go on and get

three points but it wasn’t to be. “We put in a massive effort but ran out of ideas by the end. We needed more imagination, something we’ve been missing.



Houghton: Owen’s Reds legacy intact

Vidic: International break is good for me ANCHESTER United defender Nemanja Vidic believes the international break comes at a good time for him, and says he will be working hard to improve while others are representing their countries. The defender retired from international football after Serbia failed to qualify for Euro 2012 and as a result will train with a small number of noninternationals at Carrington over the next two weeks. But the 31-year-old is looking forward to the quiet period because he can work on his game on the training ground without having to worry about preparing his body for matches. “The international break is good for me,” he told MUTV. “During the 10 days, I can work on my individual stuff like fitness and other technical things. “It is also always good to have a few days for yourself. When you have lots of games, like we have recently, you just manage yourself until the next one and you don’t work on yourself that much.

was for the squad. “Everybody was frustrated after the game,” he said. “Normally you don’t bring defeats home with you, but it stayed a little bit longer than normal last week.”

2009 but it was a decision he had every right to make if he thought it would better his career,” Houghton told “You only have one career and footballers cannot afford to have the same emotional attachments that fans have for clubs. “He would have weighed up the pros and cons of going to United and I’m sure it would have been difficult to make that choice knowing how it would go down with Liverpool fans. “United are known as ‘the enemy’ by Liverpool fans and I understand where [they] are coming from, but Michael’s loyalties are to his family and he would also have seen it as the best opportunity to win more silverware. “Michael is not accepted as much as a Reds legend as his goals might suggest even before he moved to United and that is probably because he wasn’t a die-in-the-wool fan of the club, unlike, say, John Aldridge, who is still adored at Liverpool despite only being there for a couple of seasons.

Fracture will not stop Taylor


EST HAM winger Matt Taylor has revealed he has been playing with a fractured jaw in recent weeks. The 31-year-old suffered the injury after receiving a boot in the face from Stoke’s Peter Crouch earlier this month but still played against Chelsea the following week. Taylor admits the injury is still causing him problems but insists he is happy to play on through the pain. “I have a small fracture in my jaw and it is a bit sore now,” said Taylor, quoted in the Daily Express. “But it is just one of those things that will heal and I was given the choice

whether I was happy to continue playing with it and I was.” The former Portsmouth man has played 21 Premier League games for the Hammers this season, scoring one goal.






UPER Eagles’ and Dynamo Kiev forward, Brown Aide Ideye is looking forward to be among the goals scorers in Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Kenya’s Harambee Stars. The former Ocean Boys’ and Sochaux ace told NationSport at the team’s Transcorp Hotel base in Calabar on Wednesday that he was battle ready to face the East Africans come match day after failing to add to his 13-goal haul in the Ukraine Premier league last weekend. "I will do my best against Kenya if called to action by the technical crew and by the grace of God I will be back scoring for my country again. The training here has been


Glo pays NPFL Management Committee N550m

Ideye dreams goals T against Harambee Stars From Uchenna Ajah, Calabar good. I played a game on Sunday and for my fitness level, I’m very much okay," he said. Speaking further, 'Eshin' as he is fondly called by fans and admirers is hopeful that the Stephen Keshi tutored-side will give the fans a good brand of football come

Saturday. "I believe if we play well as a team by giving over 110

percent during the match, it will show the fans the stuff we are made of.


Warri 2013: Nigerian team gather momentum IGERIAN juniors for the maiden Africa Athletics Youth Championships are rounding off training as DDay (March 27) approaches, when the meet begins in Warri, Delta State. The athletes have been training in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and according to Athletics Federation of Nigeria medical/ doping committee chairman, Ken Anugueje the team is taking shape and the athletes have scaled down their training to once a day to avoid injuries ahead of the championships meant for Under-17 athletes. “Most of the athletes we invited are in camp. Some of them were busy writing their examinations, but now they are done with it we have a full camp. “We are now training once in a day since the day of the competition is around the corner,” said Dr. Anugueje. He added that the coaches are working hard with athletes with a view of producing a positive result at the championships. The AFN penciled down 80 athletes to represent Nigeria, but it was learnt that only 60 were in



From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja Irabor also told NationSport that another N100 million cheque was received from Globacom to pay Total Promotion Limited as compensation for settling out of court the title NPFL title sponsors. saga. Irabor also revealed that his LMC has concluded plans to fix player's salary at N150,000 per month. "We want our league to be very attractive so we are going to make sure that thelowestmonthlysalaryforplayers in the NPFL is N150,000. "We want to discourage our players from going to places like Al Hilal and Iran just because the pay is better there. So we will do all we can to ensure that our league ranks as ome of the best in Africa", Irabor vowed.

Principal's Cup gets underway in Lagos


By Stella Bamawo camp. Meanwhile, the AFN yesterday conducted a clinic for Nigerian technical officials who will officiate in the Championships. “This is to bring them up to speed with modern trends. We don't want the rest of Africa to come here and see our technical officials doing the wrong things,” said former sprinter Gabriel Okon.


...former stars on parade

HE city of Warri was a sight to behold yesterday as far as track and field is concerned in Nigeria. Many of those who had a hand in building the sport and raised it to the level that placed Nigeria on the world map were there. A two-day refresher course for technical officials who will officiate during the March 27 -31 Africa Youth Athletics Championships had brought them to Warri. Commodore Matseye Nesiama, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Technical Director who is also a member

HE trying days of Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL)are over as Globacom on Wednesday paid the League Management Company (LMC) cheque of N550 million as Nigeria Professional Football League title sponsorship fee for the 2012/2013 league season. The LMC Chairman Honourable Nduka Irabor disclosed this in Abuja while briefing the Press on the work done so far by his 13-Man League Management Company. "We have made impressive progress so far. One of my members Shehu Diko just came with the good news and had received a cheque of N550 million naira from Globacom as Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title sponsorship fee", Irabor disclosed.

of Local Organsing Committee for the AYAC 2013 is the facilitator of the event that will continue today. Professor Lucas Ogunjimi, Alex Onyewenwa who are IAAF lecturers were there. And so were big names like Elias Gora, Rotimi Obajimi, Emelia Edet, Henry Amike, Tina Iheagwam, Jide Josiah, Akin Folarin, Mary Onyali, Gabriel Okon, Yusuf Ali, Solomon Agbari, Eric Mayuku, Ben Majekodunmi, Beatrice Molokwu and others. They were more than 100. They gathered at the Warri Township Stadium for the course. Onyali is in charge of

ceremonials for the event. ''It's an international championships and we are here to support Delta,'' Henry Amike said with excitement. ''We are here to get everybody up the stage,'' Okon said. They were once the star athletes who gave Nigeria name before the plunge that Mary Onyali hopes events like the AYAC Warri 2013 will help the country recover from. In her time, the stadium stood to watch a 100m final that had her and the likes of Tina Iheagwam, Falilat Ogunkoya, Faith Idehen and Beatrice Utondu on the tracks.

HE fourth edition of the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) sponsored Lagos State Principal Cup will kick off today,the organisers have said in Lagos. Briefing newsmen at the Teslim Balogun stadium where the draws for the competition was held, the organisers noted that 40 teams from six educational zones in the state will be jostling for honour in this year's edition. The schools, comprise of 24 teams for the male and 16 for the female teams and were potted into eight and four groups respectivily during the draws. The current champions of the age-long school competition, Dairy Farm Agege(for the male team) and Kuje Senior Secondary School (for the female team) led by their principals at the parley, returned their winning trophies to the organisers. The Honourable Minister of Sport Lagos State, Enitan Oshodi who used the forum to enjoin the students and their sport officials to compete in the spirit of good sportmanship while reiterating Gov. Babatunde Fashola's commitment to develop sport in the state. "The state government is very pasionate about grassroots sport

•As GTB reaffirms support By Paul Oluwakoya and the Principal Cup is a good sports avenue for development. Sport officials from the various schools need to organise their teams to achieve an hitch-free competition like previous events, " he added. Commissioner for Education Mrs.Olayinka Oladunjoye noted that the competiton will be run alongside schools programme, assuring that participating students will not miss their academic program. "Academics is very vital for the ruture of this pupils so also is sport with the trend of things so we are ensuring that the two are going on without any hitch,' she said "For this year’s competion, 120 leather balls, 24 corner flags and 24 goal-post nets will be used in the competition and like previous year there are fabulous prizes for all the participating teams. We want to enjoy the students to be of good behaviour in their games." AFRICAN YOUTHCHAMPIONSHIP


Gabon 0 - 1 Nigeria Mali 2 - 1 DR Congo

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


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DEN HAZARD can be the next superstar. The next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. But not in the same way that many youngsters are slapped with these tags before they sign their first professional deal or pick up their first pair of hi-viz nameembroidered boots. It’s a different matter entirely because Hazard is halfway there already. And maybe more than that. He is at a club that has been crying out for a player in his mould since Arjen Robben left for Real Madrid. A player as fast as he is smart. Thus the Belgian has been guaranteed a starting berth in the side and the Premier League can and should become his playground. It certainly seemed like it was on Sunday afternoon, with Hazard running riot against West Ham. Admittedly Sam Allardyce’s team seem to have lost their focus and are drifting along in mid-table, but they were truly terrorised by Hazard. Had Ronaldo been wearing the No 17 and turned in the same performance - bar the fact that Hazard is more nimble and less strong - he would be praised for a display of typical metronomic quality. His goal was superb. Juan Mata, on the same wavelength as Hazard, laid on a gentle lofted pass over a defender to find his teammate on the edge of the box. Hazard controlled the ball on his chest and then like lightning had passed two defenders before shooting with his left foot inside the near post, giving Jussi Jaaskelainen no chance. Earlier in the game he had electrified Stamford Bridge by turning superbly despite the attentions of several West Ham players, nutmegging an opponent and then racing down to the penalty area. His rabona cross towards Demba Ba drew gasps, even though it didn’t find its target. And it was Hazard’s careful, delicious ball in to the box that found Frank Lampard in space to head home his 200th goal for Chelsea. That so much talk after the game was about Hazard rather than Lampard’s astonishing milestone is credit to his performance. Lampard himself said after the game: ‘Eden is 22. He has got the world at his feet and he can handle the pressure because he is that good. ‘His ability and speed off the mark and the way he is able to turn on a sixpence is what all great attacking players have and he’s got it in abundance. ‘(Gianfranco) Zola did it throughout his career while Eden’s at a relatively early part of his career but what he is showing now are

Eden Hazard: the next Ronaldo or Messi glimpses that he can be in that bracket and be one of the top players in the world. ‘He is very laid back, a great character and not too much bothers him by the look of it. That’s the way he plays and it reflects in his game. ‘I hope he carries on doing it because he’s an absolute pleasure to play with.’ Hazard’s versatility - he can play on the left, right, behind the striker or upfront - is similar to that of Ronaldo and Messi and his style of play falls somewhere between the two great footballing rivals of our age. The Portuguese and the Argentine have developed from playing in wider positions to being the focal point of their team. Their goalscoring potential was unlocked after they were allowed to play how they wanted, although Hazard still needs to score more frequently to prove he should be allowed to roam free. In other areas he is more than a match for the La Liga duo, his control, touch, balance are perfect and his ability to turn so quickly and sharply is breathtaking. The more he plays with Mata and Oscar the better he will become, because their ability and vision will encourage him to take more chances, make more daring runs, play trickier balls. He even seems to be taking on more

responsibility defensively, with Pat Nevin pointing out his off-the-ball work on Match of the Day 2. So far so good. So if he’s got all that, why isn’t he as good as Messi or Ronaldo? What are his failings? In November, in the aftermath of Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking, Hazard was a target in the Chelsea dressing room for his contribution, or lack of it. His team-mates were unhappy with his workrate and although he started with a blitz of goals and assists after his summer move from Lille, his form quickly dropped off and he went on a barren run. His first games under Rafa Benitez were a struggle. Hazard was not alone, the whole team played badly. But it is extremely rare that Messi or Ronaldo are dampened, even if their team’s overall display lacks spark. They drag their teams out of the mire when required. Of course, you could point to Hazard’s recent last-minute strike against Sparta Prague in the Europa League home leg as an example of this. But if Hazard is to match Messi or Ronaldo, we need to be surprised when he doesn’t provide a winning contribution. Goals are the big difference between the three. Hazard has more assists than either,

I hope he carries on doing it because he’s an absolute pleasure to play with. He can play on the left, right, behind the striker or upfront - is similar to that of Ronaldo and Messi and his style of play falls somewhere between the two great footballing rivals of our age.”

15 in all competitions (excluding Club World Cup) compared with Messi’s 12 or Ronaldo’s six. This might not be a surprise, given that Hazard has been fielded in a supporting role on the flanks - also contributing to their disproportionate goal tallies. Ronaldo has 40 and Messi has 51. Hazard, by comparison has 12. What he needs is consistency. As recently as Chelsea’s game away against Steaua Bucharest, he was silenced by the overpowering atmosphere and desire of the opposition. He seemed weak when harried, he was negated, anonymous. Again you can point to the team being subdued as a whole, but he is a key part of it and therefore should be held accountable, despite his age. Eight of his 12 goals have come at home and he certainly has the adulation of the Matthew Harding Stand, who sing his song more frequently with each passing month. Perhaps he needs to toughen up. The problems he seemed to be suffering back at the start of winter have dispersed. Lampard’s kind words were mirrored in spirit by the celebration of his team-mates at Hazard’s strike, chasing him in to the corner to embrace him. Mata is marvellous, the heartbeat of this Chelsea side and their best player this term, but Hazard has the rare blockbuster factor that could propel him to the stars. Who else has it? Neymar, arguably. Not many others. His temperament was questioned during the transfer saga, with accusations of arrogance and petulance blazing a trail before him on the way to England. However, bar one bizarre incident with THAT Swansea ballboy, he has been well behaved. Many argue that for £32million, Chelsea have got nothing more than they should expect. And if Hazard has hit the ceiling of his ability, they would be correct. But should he continue along this trajectory, he is destined to shatter the shackles that bind mere mortals and join the elite duo.





Ibrahimovic hails Beckham’s age-defying qualities D


Villa: I’m at my physical best BARCELONA attacker David Villa has insisted he has left his recent injury problems behind him and is feeling in top shape again after a difficult period. The Spain international broke his leg at the Club World Cup in December 2011, and had since been struggling to rediscover his old form. Nevertheless, Villa has put in a number of impressive displays in recent weeks, and he is happy to have overcome his difficulties at last. “Physically, I’m at my best – I’ve got over all those little problems that were bothering me and I’m happy to be feeling fine again,” the attacker told Barca TV. “I’ve been working hard for quite a while to overcome my difficulties and I’m pleased to get to this stage of the season scoring goals and getting plenty of game time.” The 31-year-old has netted eight goals in 20 La Liga appearances so far this term.


Buffon: Totti could make Italy comeback GIANLUIGI BUFFON believes Francesco Totti could still have an international future with Italy. The Roma forward, who has 58 caps to his name, retired from Azzurri duty after their World Cup triumph in 2006, but boss Cesare Prandelli admitted on Monday that the door would be open for him to return. And his former teammate, Buffon, has issued a glowing appraisal of the 36year-old and says he is still more than capable of playing for Italy once again. “You cannot rule anything out with a player who can win matches by himself. He continues to write history in Italian football and not only has a past. He may still have a future as he is showing,” he said at a press conference.

AVID BECKHAM has defied his critics and his age at Paris Saint-Germain, and is playing like a 25-year-old, according to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish forward has been astonished that Beckham, 37, can still perform to such a high standard. The former England captain completed a full 90 minutes in PSG’s 2-2 draw at St Etienne on Sunday evening - his fourth appearance since moving to France. Ibrahimovic told The Sun: ‘I think anybody who thought David was past his best when he signed for us is now very quiet. ‘That man on the pitch for us looked 25. ‘Central midfield is the position where you need the most energy. He showed he is not only one of the best passers in the world but that he can still be tough in the tackle and run for 90 minutes.’

Beckham put in an energetic performance in the same venue where he was sent off for England against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, though PSG surrendered a two-goal advantage to only take a point. Having snatched set-piece duties from Ibrahimovic, Beckham came close with a trademark free-kick late in the game. His manager, Carlo Ancelotti, added: ‘I think David is very important for us, especially at the beginning when he was sitting deep. He played very well.’ The former Chelsea boss will consider starting Beckham in the forthcoming Champions League quarterfinal with Barcelona on April 2 and his experience of 116 European nights could come in handy. Ibrahimovic added: ‘David will be so important for us in the Champions League.

‘Not just on the pitch - but also off it. He has so much experience of playing in big Champions League games.’ PSG, five points clear at the

top of Ligue 1, resume their title challenge after the international break with a home match with Montpellier.


Kuyt: Sneijder is best Dutch captain


IRK KUYT says Wesley Sneijder is the Netherlands’ undisputed skipper. The attacking midfielder’s return to the Oranje squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Estonia and Romania has confirmed his leadership qualities, Kuyt said. Sneijder has not featured for the national team since the 4-1 win over Hungary on September 11 last year, with Kuyt and Kevin Strootman wearing the captain’s armband during his absence. Nevertheless, the Fenerbahce attacker has made it clear there is no doubt about Sneijder’s position as first-choice skipper. “Sneijder is our undisputed captain. I’m deputy skipper and Kevin Strootman is the third man in line,” Kuyt told “Wesley has not been part of the team for a while, but he’s back again now. Everybody can expect Wes to be wearing the armband in the months to come. The captain always plays, unless he’s injured. “He’s a great player and personifies Dutch football. It’s a shame that his time at Inter came to such an end,

but he continues to be a fantastic player. “We don’t even have to discuss his football qualities. He’s very valuable for the team both on and off the pitch. “He’s a real leader with a lot of experience, and has played at several major tournaments. He leads younger players the way and is very committed.” Sneijder has made 90 international appearances so far for the Netherlands, scoring 24 goals.

Lewandowski eyes Bundesliga top-scorer gong


OBERT Lewandowski has set his sights on becoming the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga


at the end of the season. The Poland international is currently leading the tally charts in Germany with 19 strikes in just 23 appearances and is on course to become the first BVB player since Marcio Amoroso in 2002 to be presented with the gong. Lewandowski also scored for the eighth game running against Freiburg on Saturday to set a new club record, and the striker is confident about his chances of matching the Brazilian who needed just 18 goals. “Bundesliga top scorer? Why not! Of course, the

team comes first, but I’m really happy about my goal count this season and I wouldn’t mind bringing it up further,” he told Bild. The 24-year-old became the most prolific Dortmund scorer in a single league campaign in the last 30 years last term when he netted 22 goals. His Dortmund team-mate Mario Gotze added: “Robert is just world class! He can do anything. Just the way he makes his goals is testament to his quality. I am really happy to play with him.”

Ramos: I want to be in Spain’s history books


EAL MADRID defender Sergio Ramos will fulfil a major personal goal if he becomes the latest player to make 100 appearances for Spain in the coming days. Ramos currently has 99 caps but looks certain to reach triple figures in the next week, with La Roja facing Finland on Friday and France the following Tuesday in a key 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifiers.


If he does feature in one of those games, Ramos will become the eighth Spanish player to achieve the milestone, joining a rapidly growing group that includes five of his contemporaries Iker Casillas, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Carles Puyol - and the 26-year-old admits it will be a proud moment for him. He told AS: “It will be something to enjoy on a personal level. I hope I can enter into the history books

of Spanish football. For me it’s something to be proud of and a very big personal challenge. “I’ve been in the national team for a long time and I’m proud of that. Hopefully I can say in the future that I’ve played many more games than 100.” Reigning world and European champions Spain head into the latest round of Brazil 2014 qualifiers lying level on seven points with France at the top of Group I.

Next Tuesday’s clash between the two European superpowers in Paris could go a long way to deciding which nation finishes in first place, but Ramos has pointed out that this week’s encounter with last-placed Finland is a crucial fixture as well. He said: “We’re very aware that they are two games that have a lot riding on them. We are playing to get through to the World Cup and we want to do things well.

Hulk: I’ve no relationship with Zenit fans ZENIT ST PETERSBURG striker Hulk has revealed he has no relationship with fans of the club as a result of the language barrier that has hampered his stay in Russia to date. The 26-year-old moved to Zenit in a •55 million switch from Porto back in September, but has endured a mixed first season at the club, with rumours of a strained relationship with coach Luciano Spalletti following his premature withdrawal from a Champions League fixture. Reports also claimed several of the Brazilian’s teammates were unhappy with his wages in comparison with the rest of the side, and he has now moved to set the record straight on several of those issues. “I admit that at that time I did not accept [Luciano Spalletti’s] decision [to substitute me],” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport “With Spalletti, I still have good relations. Even though he does not talk much with the players, he is like me in that he’s very prepared. “When I play, I do not think [about my •55m price-tag]. I win, have fun and give my all. With my team-mates I had no problem, we talked over and clarified certain things. “Neither did I have any problems with the fans, I have no relationship with them and I don’t understand their chants in Russian, nor do I read the newspapers. “Russian football is more tactical and defensive [than Portuguese], but the biggest difficulty is the cold. I live in the middle of St Petersburg. It’s a beautiful city and I like to visit all the attractions with the whole family.” Hulk, who has been named in the Brazil squad to face Italy later this week, then revealed his admiration for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as two of Europe’s top divisions. “I love the Premier League and La Liga, I follow them on TV when I can. In England, there are some great teams, the style of play is great and so is the competition.” “Then there is Spain which has impressive quality. I’m passionate about the ability of [Andres] Iniesta and obviously [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo, both of whom are phenomenal. “AC Milan and Inter also have great players, tradition and history. I happen to see them every now and then. “Serie A is a beautiful league in which my friends and former team-mates [Fredy] Guarin and Alvaro Pereira play.”



‘A Yoruba adage says “you ask a thief to run and he runs, you ask a thief to drop what he is holding and he drops it, what are you chasing him for again?’ THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013



O event has been this tendentious in recent history. Not even the President’s handling of the deadly Boko Haram insurgency. Nor the reckless fuel subsidy removal of last year and the criminal negligence of our roads and hospitals; the novelty of governors just taking off on “well deserved” holidays and the emotional sight of old men and women protesting their unpaid pensions. None. The presidential pardon handed DSP Alamieyeseigha, a chief, former governor of Bayelsa State, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, ex-convict and – thanks to his munificence – governor-general of the Ijaw nation – has put the Presidency under fire since it was packaged and delivered eight days ago. No doubt, President Goodluck Jonathan must have reviewed the situation with his friends, aides and associates. What was his conclusion? Regrets? Triumph? Who said what behind the scene? Are more pardons coming? Who are the VIP ex-convicts clamouring for pardon? Editorial Notebook’s reportorial skills have been pressed into action to resolve these and many other questions to which readers are seeking answers. Thankfully, I ran into an uncle of mine in Sangotedo - the tiny beach town on the outskirts of Lekki, the Lagos home of the rich – whose friend’s brother claimed to have met a senior official of the Presidency who swore that he attended one of those post-mortem sessions. The source, I was told, pleaded not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, and the fact that he is not authorised to speak to the press. Here is his unconfirmed report of the aftermath of what has been described by some critics of the presidential action as the alarming pardon: Dr Jonathan sits down on a sofa, the national flag resting behind him. He is surrounded by some aides, friends and associates. He whips out a handkerchief to rub his face, smiles and adjusts his position. They all greet him. Thank you, gentlemen. You’re all welcome. And, if I may ask: How do you people see this pardon for those they called coup plotters and the other people? The aides keep quiet. But before the President could go on, a leading businessman, who is a regular visitor to the Villa, cuts in. My President, you know I won’t deceive you. That was a great decision. The critics have not been fair to you. They say your chief target was your former boss, DSP, and that you only used the others to pad the list and make it look national and sincere. Don’t bother yourself about busybodies. A great leader must take decisions – popular or unpopular – but history will not be kind to any leader who refuses to take bold decisions.

VOL. 8, NO. 2,434



EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK •Winner, DAME Award for Informed Commentary

Post-mortem of a pardon

• Alamieyeseigha Thank you, chief. You see, I don’t give a damn. The question is: don’t I have the right to pardon anybody that I wish to pardon? Doesn’t the Bible say ‘I will have mercy on who I will?’ Here is a man who has helped me; no; a man who has been so helpful to this country. The creeks are quiet, oil production is rising; do they think it’s their noise? Honestly, I don’t give a damn! You’re right sir. There has been so much jubilation in Bayelsa. Big celebration. I saw it with my two eyes on television. I saw Alams on an open roof vehicle, waving to the cheering crowd. In fact, as I was coming here, somebody called me to tell me how this boy, em…em… James Ibori, received the news. He said the guy was lamenting, saying: “Shoo! See Alams o. E don free. Dem say he fit contest again to be senator or whatever. Why



me I run comot? Even Lucky dey enjoy now, after coming back from court. Ha…I don yab. I fall my people hand.” Really? You see, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. As far as I’m concerned, I have taken a decision, approved by the Council of State, a body of our most experienced people, including elders and giants in law. So, what are they talking about? I’m here to take decisions and I have taken a decision. If you’re not pleased with my decision, you’re free to go to court. I agree with you sir. You see, a decision that is not popular with some people is being celebrated by others. It’s all politics. A friend of mine has just told me that you’ll soon be getting applications for such pardon. I understand Tafa Balogun is interested and I said, ‘why not?’ He was a damn good police officer; only the money problem. They said he stole, but his friends are saying he got no fair trial. This is a government of rule and law. And it must be seen to be so. Then, one crazy fellow was crying that Abdulrasheed Maina should come out of hiding. Another, who claims to be an economist and financial expert, said he heard from a reliable source that Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi would not seek another term. You know who he suggested as Sanusi’s successor? Shettima Bulama, the former Bank of the North chief and beneficiary of the pardon. Thank you bo. If the only thing I can do to help the man is what I have done, I have no apology. God used him to draw me into politics. The man has gone to jail. He has lost weight. He has lost property. What else do they want; make he quench? They say his pardon will undermine the war against corruption. But I ask, how? Just one man? Did he not serve? Abeg make I hear word. And somebody was saying Baba ,the one



OR once, Hardball is prepared to believe that President Goodluck Jonathan is capable of more altruism, patriotism and logic than he has been credited with since he assumed the presidency. For exercising such a great faith in the president, this columnist will absolutely not believe that he said all the things the newspapers attributed to him yesterday. The president was reported to have said in Lagos on Tuesday that the complete removal of fuel subsidy was inevitable. “We cannot continue to waste resources meant for a greater number of Nigerians to subsidise the affluent middle class, who are the main beneficiaries of fuel subsidy,” he sneered. “We believe that as we progress, government is going to continue to enlighten Nigerians on the need to remove fuel subsidy.” It is impossible to imagine that Jonathan made this highly derogatory and incredulous statement. It is true he did not indicate he would be removing the subsidy next month or even next year, but the timing of the removal is the least of the problems the troubling statement is capable of creating. The problem is also not really the unfavourable socio-political climate in which Jonathan would want to throw the subsidy crisis, especially in view of the already com-


in Ota, that he was scorning the whole thing, that when he saw it in the newspapers, he screamed: “Alams pardoned…I dey laugh o!” When his boys asked him, “Baba, what’s the matter?” He started grumbling: “A man I sent to jail kulee and he came out jeje. Now, he’s pardoned. If that is what they want to be doing now, dat na dem toro. Alaremu has done his own. I started the EFCC. They said I was using it to grab my enemies. I wonder who I should have been using it to catch; my kids? Now they are free to be using it for their former ogas. Me I don do my own. (The President, pointing to one of his aides, a suppressed smile on his dry lips).What is all this talk about clemency, amnesty, pardon and all those gymnastics. Sir (an aide springs up to his feet, adjusts his jacket and straightens his bent tie). Mr President sir…em…emm. I don’t see the point they are trying to make. It’s all grammatical gymnastics, as you have rightly observed. In fact, there is so much ignorance about this matter and I have told them that the critics are suffering from sophisticated ignorance, which has heightened their anger. And they need some remedial tranquilisers for mollification of the situation. Hmm…I trust you! When people are ignorant and they see politics in everything, they won’t learn. As for us, we must refuse to lose focus. We must. (Another aide is struggling to rise onto his feet, the leather seat screeching, as if it’s crying to be freed of the weight that has been dumped on it. He eventually stands up, a file in his hand).Mr Presden sir. I went on television the very next day after the Council decision. And I told all those armchair critics to stop it. You ask a thief to run; he runs. You ask him to drop what he has stolen; he drops it. What else do you want? (The room burst into laughter, sparked by the strange allegory of the aide. In this lighter mood, another aide stands up to talk). Sir, the joke in town now is playing on the word “Alams”. They say: “Latest entries in Nigerian Urban Dictionary”: 1. Alams (noun). (i) An oga at the top who is much higher than a mere political godfather; he is generally believed to have the swagger of a tribal deity. (ii) Anyone who is intimate with oga at the top 2. Alam: verb. To pardon someone of corruption e.g: “ Our accountant has been sacked for embezzlement of company funds but the board has alamed him.” Everybody was seized by laughter. The session closes as the President turns to the staircase, saying: “Good night, gentlemen.” •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

No, Jonathan couldn’t have said that bustible revolutionary situation the country is immersed in from the Northeast to the other parts of the country. Nor is the problem the violent protests that would greet further increases in fuel products prices. This column thinks the president was probably misquoted for the following reasons. First, the few papers that published the story relied on the same two-paragraphed quotation, with hardly any elaboration on the matter. This is unusual, except of course the papers relied on the same source. Second, and more damagingly, the statement is annoyingly contemptuous of an important economic stratum, the middle class. If indeed the middle class is the leading beneficiary of fuel subsidy, has the president tried to analyse the role of the middle class and its humongous contributions to the economy, particularly in terms of employment and production? How could any president take any of the classes, whether lower, middle or upper, and dismiss it so casually, so frivolously, so contemptibly, so antagonistically? Third, what curious school of economics

would inspire a president to conclude so bewilderingly that fuel subsidy benefited mainly the middle class, a class the president was said to have described as affluent? Who relies most on the already expensive private sector-run transportation system? Is it not the lower class, especially the urban poor? Whose agricultural products would be moved to the markets more expensively if fuel subsidy were to be removed? Is it not the small-scale subsistence farmer? The statement attributed to the president should never be made by a college graduate, let alone a president, for the reasons underlying the statement are so slipshod that it is impossible for anyone to offer them as rational economic arguments. Though Hardball is aware that during last year’s fuel subsidy revolt, the president made utterances not too different from the one attributed to him yesterday, it is still hard to imagine he truly made that indefensible statement on the middle class. But if indeed he actually made the offending statement, well, it is a pity he could not be impeached for poor reasoning, for that would have been the least we could do to redeem him from his excesses.

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: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation March 21, 2013  

The Nation March 21, 2013

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