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VOL. 7, NO. 2072 THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH

N150.00

N40m bribe: House, SEC allege documents forgery Commission: panel sent us list Reps reject stamp on list of items

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HERE seems to be no let-up in the battle of integrity between the House of Representatives and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC yesterday denied embattled lawmaker Herman Hembe’s claim that it initiated moves to give the House Committee on Capital Market and Institution N30.4 million. It claimed that it was the committee under Hembe’s leadership that approached the SEC on February 29 through Messrs Note Worth Consultants for financial assistance. There were indications yesterday that the SEC board may be invited for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the N30.4 million ‘donation’ to the committee. Hembe and members of the committee were dropped on Tuesday over the claim of Ms Aruma Oteh, the SEC Director-General, that they demanded N44million bribe from her. In an unsigned document circulated in Abuja, SEC al-

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

leged that the “consultant visited the SEC in the company of Mr Olufemi Ogunsanya, clerk of the committee with a ‘shopping list’ detailing a large number of ‘specific areas’ for which the SEC’s help was being sought”. The document added: “Given that the SEC believed that the hearing was indeed in the interest of the public and investors as expressed in a letter through which the commission was formally informed of the hearing, the request was subjected to SEC’s decision making procedure, which culminated in the Board’s consideration for N30m. “What raised suspicion in the commission was when, on March 14, 2012, barely one day to commencement of proceedings, this same Olufemi Ogunsanya, Clerk to the House Committee on Capital Markets and other Institutions, visited the SEC under the instruction of Hon. Herman Hembe to demand the sum of N5million in cash, being part payment of the erstwhile N39.844million ‘sup-

port’ which Hembe had earlier sought. “The SEC smelt a rat that rather than wait for the payment to be made through electronic transfer, in line with extant public service policy, to an institutional account, the man was seeking undocumented payment by cash. This was why the transfer was suspended.” It noted: “In tendering the SEC memo, which was stolen after dark, like most other documents from the SEC’s records, the memo’s accompaniments, which included the Hembe ‘list of requirements for the public hearing’, was carefully detached. Even the least cursory look at the memo will see stapler marks on the top left hand corner of its cover page, evidence that its accompaniments had been detached!” The statement said Hembe avoided direct formal communication with the SEC on the subject, adding that he forgot, however, that the “list of requirements” for which he solicited support from the SEC was formally received. Continued on page 2

•112-year-old Alhaji Akinsanya Daodu Akanni with officials of the Lagos State Government – Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions Mrs Florence Oguntuase flanked on the right by Mr Adekunle Hussain and Mrs Folashade Adesoye during the flagoff of Year 2012 Pensioners Biometric Verification at the Secretariat, Alausa ... yesterday. PHOTO: MOSES OMOSEHIN

JTF kills nine Boko Haram men in Kano

A •Globacom’s Director of Sales, Patrick Awotwi (right), Glo ambassadors Ini Edo and Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha presenting a cheque of N1 million to a winner in the Glo SIM registration promo, Nwankwo Kingsley (middle) during a prize presentation ceremony held at Globacom’s corporate headquarters in Lagos ... yesterday. PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA

BOUT 100 kilometres from the commercial city of Kano, a fivehour gun battle in which nine suspected Boko Haram members were killed raged yesterday. They succumbed to the superior firepower of the Joint Task Force – the special military team fighting the sect’s in-

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

surgency. Two members of the fundamentalist sect were arrested by the JTF men, who recovered containers of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), a large cache of arms and Continued on page 2

•OGBEMUDIA ENDORSES OSHIOMHOLE P58 •15 INJURED IN EKITI RIOT P8


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

NEWS

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (middle), member of the British Parliament, Mr Strephen O’Brien and members of the Department for International Development (DFID), when they visited the PHOTO: MOSES OMOSEHIN governor at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos ... yesterday. With them are members of the Lagos Executive Council.

‘Govt spends N184.4b on varsities annually’

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T costs the government about N184.4 billion yearly to run the 32 federal universities, an audit has discovered. Of the cash, N167.4 billion is spent on personnel; N12.172 billion goes to capital projects. The government has introduced the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) for all the 32 Federal universities to force down the bill. It was gathered that the IPPIS will enable the government to detect ghost workers and monitor the universities’ spending. The government suspects that the personnel cost is inflated by most universities. To verify the data and bills of universities, it decided to introduce IPPS, which is being managed by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation. A breakdown of the annual expenditure on the universities is as follows: Personnel Cost (N167, 416, 027, 193.00); Overhead Cost (N4, 836, 634, 955.00); and Capital (N12, 172, 530, 420).

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

Although the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technology (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) are opposed to IPPIS, the government may push ahead with the scheme. A top government official, who pleaded not to be named, said: “By implication, the government spends more on personnel than physical infrastructure in universities. The figure on personnel is actually disputable, going by recent experience in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). “For instance, when IPPIS was put in place in 16 MDA’s as a pilot project in 2010, the government was saving in excess of N12 billion on personnel cost. “The university system cannot be isolated from this startling discovery. The government is determined to block all sources of finance leakages in payment system.

UNIVERSITIES

PERSONNEL

OVERHEAD CAPITAL

•Federal University Wukari •Federal University Kashere •Federal University Lokoja •University of Abuja •University of Agriculture, Abeokuta •University of Agriculture, Makurdi •Michael Opara University of Agric., Umudike •University of Port-Harcourt •Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi •University of Benin •University of Jos •Obafemi Awolowo University •University of Calabar •University of Ilorin •Federal University Oye Ekiti •Federal University Otuoke •Federal University Dutse •University of Technology, Yola •University of Uyo •University of Maiduguri •Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa •Bayero University , Kano •Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto •University of Technology , Owerri •University of Technology , Akure •University of Technology , Minna •Federal University Ndufu Alike •Federal University Lafia •Federal University Dutsin – Ma •University of Lagos •University of Nigeria , Nsukka •University of Ibadan

781,751,941 781,771,038 727,884,484 3,921,243,421 5,002,602,325 4,605,656,325 3,249,401,224 8,592,310,653 3,082,925,736 12,305,944,751 6,894,482,868 9,730,274,723 9,218,684,891 5,856,316,713 687,671,071 694,864,221 629,080,814 3,398,086,818 8,158,129,878 9,287,627,943 6,794,065,595 6,889,161,309 5,551,618,862 6,383,051,884 3,965,274,334 4,270,556,737 689,465,452 737,640,699 768,491,800 9,809,262,940 11,225,201,427 12,725,524,326

111,111,111 111,111,111 111,111,111 129,582,397 154,139,160 89,673,398 84,426,679 150,536,499 97,428,188 188,636,467 189,774,837 199,604,463 232,090,145 128,162,282 111,111,111 111,111,111 111,111,111 89,019,874 157,939,034 249,525,587 107,548,409 180,805,717 140,152,647 200,024,178 178,848,878 142,097,238 111,111,111 111,111,111 111,111,111 192,135,388 254,145,312 300,339,688

“With IPPIS, the universities will be placed under a central payroll system or financial system.” Another source said: “The reports of various visitation panels to the universities have shown that the government must have more than a passing interest in the finances of universities.

“In some universities, dead staff, retired workers and unknown personnel are drawing salaries. This practice cannot continue. “We have got to a level that we need to capture the biometrics of all staff and lecturers in the 32 universities so that we can use savings to develop these institutions.”

277,777,778 277,777,778 277,777,778 500,000,000 334,502,998 334,502,998 334,502,998 400,342,466 450,891,816 400,609,633 450,342,466 400,609,633 456,026,918 400,342,466 277,777,778 277,777,778 277,777,778 408,891,816 429,342,465 429,342,466 429,342,466 400,342,466 500,000,000 400,891,816 400,891,816 408,891,816 277,777,778 277,777,778 277,777,778 450,609,633 500,609,633 450,609,633

On the opposition of ASUU and others to IPPIS, the source added: “The government will still engage these unions on why they should support this scheme. “Nobody is happy with the decrepit nature of our universities at all. We need to save cost for sustainable infrastructure in these institutions.”

House, SEC allege forgery Continued from page 1

“He also forgot that the letter of introduction for Messrs. Note Worth Consultants in which the SEC had been asked to ‘kindly avail him all necessary assistance ...’ was signed by one Abama Thomas, Asst. Committee Clerk on behalf of the Chairman.” Hon. Hembe also excised the fact that he collected estacode and a first class ticket for a trip to the Dominican Republic to attend a regulators’ conference for emerging markets from the SEC in October 2011. He has tendered ‘evidence’ of travel to somewhere other than the Dominican Republic! The implication is that he diverted public resources to personal ends to the detriment of capacity building in the capital market.” Also yesterday, it was learnt yesterday that the House of Representatives is crying foul over what it described as the “sudden appearance” of SEC’s official stamp on the list of items requested from the commission by the committee. Continued on page 62

JTF kills nine Boko Haram suspects in Kano gun battle Continued from page 1

ammunition at Tudun Wada Local Government Area, 100 kilometers away from the Kano metropolis. The gunmen, suspected to be non-Nigerians, were aged between 16 and 20 years. Members of the sect bombed the residence of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Tudun Wada Police Station, before bombing the station, where they carted away AK 47 rifles as well as other arms and ammunition from the armoury. The assailants also had a botched attacked on a branch of Unity Bank, which is adjacent to the bombed police station. “But they did not succeed in breaking into the vault stocked with about N2 million,” Brig-Gen Illyasu Abbah, the officer in charge of 3 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Kano told reporters after the wee-hour gun battle. He said: “Within the hours of 2am and 7 a.m. on

We don’t take sides, says Red Cross

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HE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) yesterday said it is not siding with the Federal Government in the battle against Boko Haram. The attacks by the sect are believed to have caused the death of more than 1000 people in some Northern states. Speaking in Abuja during a seminar for the Nigeria Defence College (NDC) Course 20 participants, Head of the ICRC Mission to Nigeria, Mr. Zoran Jovanovic, said ICRC members were neutral on Boko Haram issues, adding that they are not interested in the political business but only in the displaced and injured people. He said: “Our aim is to protect people who are already protected by the International Humanitarian Law. We are not here to take sides. We are

Wednesday (yesterday), hoodlums went to Tudun Wada, which is about 100 kilometers from Kano. They used explosives to blow the police station in the area. “They destroyed the DPO’s house; they went to the police station and did the same.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

not here to support one group or the other. We are not here to take the responsibilities of the authorities. “We want to work in a transparent and confident manner. We do not talk about political business. We only talk about human beings. Our approach is a very confidential one. We are not here to embarrass anyone. We are not here to blame anyone. What we want to do is to strive to protect the people who are being affected by the events. “There is no internal conflict in Nigeria. The definition of internal conflict has not been reached in Nigeria. So, what is happening in Nigeria is what is called other situational violence, which means there is no conflict but there is a situation of vio-

They also used explosives and blew up the Unity Bank adjacent to the police station.” The army chief said the sect members carted away rifles from the bombed police station. According to him, un-

lence, which will provoke casualties, displacement, and make people suffer because of what is happening. “When there is violence, we want to be able to react immediately in order to provide water, food and non-food items to the displaced people, and medicines to the hospitals that will be in charge of taking care of the people that have been wounded. And then it is left to the authorities to fulfil their obligations and their commitments to the population.” The Commandant of the College, Rear Admiral Thomas Lokoson, said: “The importance of this seminar is for them to know that they are guided by some international laws. “They will be held responsible for any misconduct during international and non-international armed conflicts.”

known to the attackers, who were suspected to have come in from Kano metropolis, “they never knew that the JTF were there for them”. Gen. Illyasu said: “On getting the information, at about 1:30 a.m. security operatives mobilised, blocked Falgore,

Jos and Kano axis because, definitely, they came from Kano to operate and move back. “During the gun-duel, the JTF over-powered members of the sect who came with three cars, and recovered the arms and ammunition stolen

from the destroyed police station. “Only God knows what these weapons would be used for, if they had succeeded in carting them away. These hoodlums lack arms and they have been in desperate mood to get these items. That is why their best place of attack is police stations.” Gen. Illyasu said the DPO and his family were not injured, just as the attackers failed in their bid to break into the bank’s vault, “which they had targeted; and no member of the JTF was injured.” Items recovered from the suspects include, 600 rounds of 5.6 mm bullets, 176 cartridges of pump action gun, 147 rounds of 9mm bullets, two AK 47 rifles, three pistols, two assorted rifles, two smoke guns, 21 magazines, two den guns, one pump action gun, six containers of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), 70 canisters of tear gas, one laptop, police uniforms and helmets.

ADVERT HOTLINES: 01-280668, 08070591302, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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NEWS Lawmakers salute ‘giant’ Tinubu at 60

Court orders service on Alison-Madueke, others over Petroleum task force committee

By Emmanuel Oladesu Deputy Political Editor

By Eric Ikhilae

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CTION Congress of Nigeria (ACN) House of Representatives members Dr. Samuel Adejare (Agege Constituency), Deji Jakande (Somolu) and Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (Ikorodu) yesterday felicitated with the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who is celebrating his 60th birthday this month. Adejare, who was a twotime member of Lagos State House of Assembly, described the Third Republic Senator as a consummate politician and believer in the power of ideas. The legislator told reporters in Lagos that “Tinubu’s greatness finds expression in the way he had politically raised up a generation of progressive leaders capable of sustaining the cherished values of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo”. He added: “We felicitate with our leader and role model, a giant and father. His religion is service to mankind, the upliftment of the oppressed. He is a believer in a true cause of humanity and he has a large followers because of his selfless disposition”. Adejare, a medical doctor, however, advised the leader to cultivate the habit of rest and recreation, stressing that they are ingredients of long life. Jakande, who had worked with the former governor of Lagos State as an aide, congratulated “the great benefactor, philanthropist, humanist, democrat, visionary, and friend of the poor”. He said: “Asiwaju has paid his dues in the vineyard of leadership. Future generations would be taught in our schools how he administered Lagos efficiently and how he fought and won the liberation battle in the Southwest along with other compatriots. I wish him God’s guidance and many more years of services to the fatherland”. Broadcaster-turned politician Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa recounted the political exploits of Tinubu, saying that the grassroots development that has accompanied the creation of additional 37 councils in Lagos State are worthy of commendation.

•Ribadu

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FEDERAL High Court in Lagos has ordered that court documents in respect of a suit challenging the powers of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke to transfer her duties and responsibilities to committees, be served on the minister and other defendants in the case. Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola gave the order on Tuesday. The judge also ordered that an ex-parte application for injunctive reliefs filed by the plaintiff, be converted to a motion on notice and served on the defendants. The court consequently adjourned to May 3 for the hearing of all applications including the originating motion. The plaintiff is expected to have served the defendants before the next date. The suit filed by a Lagos-

based lawyer, Gabriel Amalu of the firm of Udegbunam Amalu and Co,is challenging the legitimacy of the minister’s decision to set up the Ministerial Committee on Governance and Control Task Force (MCGCTF), Ministerial Committee on Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (MCPRSTF) and the Ministerial Committee on National Refineries Special Task Force (MCNRSTF), to which she has allegedly transferred her duties and responsibilities under the Constitution and the Petroleum Act. Defendants in the suit include the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, Mrs Alison-Madueke, Dotun Suleman(representing the MCGCTF), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (representing the MCPRSTF) and Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu (representing the MCNRSTF). The plaintiff raised three questions for the court’s determination, and sought a declaration and a restraining order. The plaintiff wants the court to decide whether the Petroleum Minister, subject to the provisions of Section

5(1) of the Constitution and Section 12 of the Petroleum Act (PA) 2004 has the powers to set up and confer on an ad hoc committee, the extant powers delegated to her by the Constitution, the PA and other laws. He also urged the court to decide whether the minister has not infringed on the “Sacred legal maxim of ‘delegatus non potest delegare’ by her conduct in setting up quasi ad hoc commissions with powers to exercise the duties, responsibilities and functions of a Minister of Petroleum, the statutory agencies and parastatals of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.” Amalu further urged the court to decide whether the committee recently inaugurated by Mrs Alison Madueke: the Ministerial Committee on Governance and Control Task Force (MCGCTF); Ministerial Committee on Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (MCPRSTF)and Ministerial Committee on National Refineries Special Task Force (MCNRSTF). The plaintiff prayed the court for an order restraining the said committees from exercising the functions of the Petroleum Minister as provided for in Section 5(1) of the Constitution and Section 12 of the PA, Cap P10, Laws of Nigeria 2004 and

that of other agencies and parastatals of the Petroleum Ministry. He also wants the court to declare that committees set up by the Minister to deal with “fundamental issues” and make “sweeping reforms” in the Ministry constitute an infringement of the Ministerial powers of the Petroleum Minister by virtue of the provisions of Sections 5(1) of the Constitution and 12 of the Petroleum Act. Amalu, in a supporting affidavit, said the suit was informed by the need to seek the court’s intervention to stem the conducts and acts of the Petroleum Minister, which infringed on the provisions of the Constitution and the Petroleum Act. He claimed that the Minister, by creating the Governance and Control Task Force, violated the provisions of the Constitution and Section 12 of the PA, which forbids her from delegating to any other person, the powers “to make orders and regulations.” The plaintiff further argued that the creation of the other two committees violated the Constitution, the PA, the statutes creating the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), among other laws.

He contended that the creation of these committees amounted to a duplication of the responsibilities of the Petroleum Ministry and other agencies and bodies under it, and a waste of public funds in view of the fact that members of the committees are not serving civil servants. Amalu filed, along with the originating summons, motion on notice for interlocutory reliefs pending the determination of the substantive suit and a motion ex-parte, in which he is seeking ex-parte interim orders pending the determination of the motion on notice. In the motion for interlocutory injunction, the plaintiff seeks an order restraining the said committees from performing the functions and responsibilities of the Petroleum Minister; an order restraining the Minister or any person representing her, from delegating the Ministerial powers to make orders and regulations and an order restraining the Petroleum Minister from violating the provisions of Sections 5(1) of the Constitution and 12 of the PA.

COAS, Fashola, others for Army pull-out THE Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. A. O. Ihejirika and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) will be among the guests of honour at the pulling-out ceremony of the Nigerian Army Education Corps (NAEC) in Lagos. A statement by Col. B. M Clement on behalf of the Acting Corps Commander, Education, said the event is in honour of its immediate past commander Maj Gen BB Aindigh and eight other retired senior NAEC officers. The event will hold at the headquaters of the NAEC parade ground, An barracks, Yaba, on March 30 by 9am. It will be preceded by a gala night at Command Day Secondary School, Ikeja, on March 27 by 7pm. Others to be honoured are W. Oki, P. Atere, O. Omede, F. Amuche, F. Oyeneyin, G. Ringim, Y. Bomoi and M. Tsiga, all retired brigadier generals.

•Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Science and Techonology and celebrator, Abiodun Akinlade (middle) being assisted by his colleagues, Dr Samuel Adejare(left) Hon. Jumoke Okoya Thomas, Hon James Faleke(right) and Hon Adeola Solomon during Akinlade’s 45th birthday in Abuja ...yesterday PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

Tukur: Jonathan, top PDP chieftains return to drawing board

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan last night returned to the drawing board with some of his strategists ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s National Convention billed for Saturday. This followed “some resistance” to his preferred aspirant, ex-Governor Bamanga Tukur, by the Northeast governors. The North-East Caucus of the party yesterday unanimously endorsed Dr Musa Babayo (Bauchi State) for the party’s National Chairmanship slot. Babayo, the Acting National Secretary was endorsed through a consensus in compliance with the PDP Constitution announced at zonal Congress held at the Multipurpose Indoor Sports Hall, Bauchi. His endorsement was however after a night-long of horse trading that also saw the caucus of the party in the zone or-

Ojo Maduekwe heads convention committee

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ORMER Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe has been named as chairman of a 75-member National Congress and Convention Planning Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The convention is billed to hold in Abuja on Saturday. The committee, which was inaugurated by the party’s Acting National Chairman , Alhaji Kawu Baraje is charged with the responsibility of conducting elections into the various positions. Inaugurating the committee at the party’s national secretariat, Baraje urged the members to ensure elections are conFrom Yusuf Alli, Abuja

ganising a secret ballot where he polled 14 votes to beat his co-contestants among whom were former Bauchi State Governor, Ahmadu Adamu Muazu, Senator Abba Aji, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Bunu Shirff and Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

ducted into all available offices, adding that the world would want to see the party conduct free, fair and credible elections at the convention. He urged the members to ensure that the process is conducted on the principle of one man, one vote to guarantee unity during and after the convention. Other members of the committee include Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); former Kwara State Governor, Senator

But Governors Forum is meeting in Abuja tonight to reinforce its endorsement of the President’s candidates, including Tukur. Besides, a source said last night: “Going by Article 12.58 of the PDP Constitution, the functions of the Zonal Congress has no provision for caucus voting for National Chairmanship.

Bukola Saraki; former President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani; and former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro. Others include Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed; Minister of the Niger Delta Ministry, Godsdey Orubebe; Leader of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Adeola Akande; former Senator Iyiola Omisore and former Deputy chairman of the party, Chief Bode George among others. National Youth Leader, Dr. Akilu Indabawa is the secretary.

“The Article says the functions of the zonal congress shall be to (a) approve the budget of the party in the zone; (b) elect officers of the Zonal Working Committee; (c), receive the reports of officers of the party in the zone; and (d) receive the Auditor’s Report. “So, the decision taken at the Northeast Zonal Congress was a mere expression of the wish

of a few people because Zonal PDP members were not allowed to vote.” The source claimed that the President and his strategists are still pushing ahead with Tukur . He added: “Out of the six zones in the country, the President has secured support for Tukur from the Southsouth; Southeast; Southwest and

Northcentral. “So, even if the Northeast governors are insisting on voting at the convention, the President’s loyalists are ready. In a swift reaction, the former Education Minister, Dauda Birma, who spoke on behalf of Tukur, said: “We are not in agreement with the said caucus’ candidate. Members of the delegates are supposed to do the election of the chairman and not the caucus’’. Mu’azu, one of the contestants for the national chairmanship who visibly looked unhappy at the development declined comments over what one of his loyalists described as ‘’a farce of a congress’’. According to him, “the election of PDP national chairman is a national issue and not what few people will sit in their common room in the name of caucus and come out to say we have endorsed this ,man or that.”


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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NEWS

EFCC moves OSOPADEC chair to Abuja

•Oni, ACN, others hail agency

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HE Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Mr. Debo Ajimuda, who was arrested on Tuesday by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N61.63 billion fraud, has been moved from Lagos to Abuja for further drilling . When EFCC officials stormed his Alagbaka home in Akure, the state capital, Ajimuda was arrested at a neighbour's compound, dressed in his underwear. He was taken to the agency’s Lagos office, but was moved to the headquarters in Abuja yesterday. Reactions have continued to trail Ajimuda’s arrest. The state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the former state Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Dr. Olaiya Oni, described the arrest as "a welcome development". Oni urged the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, to help the state recover the allegedly stolen funds. The former minister and ACN chieftain spoke with reporters in Akure yesterday. Oni said he had earlier cried out over Governor Olusegun Mimiko's "financial recklessness, profligacy and financial rascality", which he said led to "monumental fraud in all departments of the administration". He said the 2009 and 2010 Auditor-General's Reports, which were presented to the House of Assembly, revealed how the state's treasury had been looted. Oni said: "The events of Tuesday, where the EFCC

•Some of the exotic vehicles found in Ajimuda’s home...on Tuesday. From Damisi Ojo and Leke Akeredolu, Akure

swooped on one of the biggest outlets of Mimiko's fraudulent enterprise, OSOPADEC, has proved to the ordinary man on the street that Mimiko has been working for himself. "The home of the OSOPADEC chairman paraded 25 state-of-the-art cars of the latest models. This is pure psychosis, which of course took a cue from what Mr. Governor has been doing with our resources. "Let me remind you that the Auditor-General stated that in spite of repeated demands through writing, OSOPADEC could not produce any contract documents of authorisation to support an expenditure of about N13.7 billion in year 2010 alone. "How can documents be available, when the practice is that funds are moved from the Treasury after the Commissioner for Special Duties' oneman ministry packages projects, submits them to himself as Chairman of the Tenders Board for approval, collects the cash and asks the Budget Department to distribute the money into the record of various expenditures as if it has been spent for those purposes.

Aspirant laments poverty in rural areas From Damisi Ojo, Akure

A

GOVERNORSHIP aspirant of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Dr. Segun Abraham, yesterday decried the poverty level at the grassroots. Abraham, who is on a tour of the three senatorial districts, spoke with reporters in Akure, the state capital. He said: “I was moved to tears when I met citizens, who have been deprived of their rights to enjoy the dividends of democracy. “It is annoying that the focus of the present administration is on planting flowers and building fountains at roundabouts, when many citizens are living in abject poverty. “I am not strange to Ondo politics. I was appointed commissioner during the administration of the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, but I rejected it, because of pressing national and international assignments at the World Bank.” He described the mega schools built by the state government as “another form of apartheid with no economic value”. Abraham alleged that children from poor backgrounds are left unattended to at the mega schools. The aspirant, who hails from Ikare Akoko in Akoko Northeast Local Government Area, said it took over 12 months before he accepted to contest the election on the platform of the ACN. He said running for governorship is a sacrifice and pledged to develop the state, if elected. The water expert said he would increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), create industries, provide potable water and train people on how to build roads that would be easy to maintain at little cost. The philanthropist, who has been awarding scholarships to Akoko North East indigenes in the last 10 years, said whoever emerges the ACN’s candidate would liberate the state within four years. In Ese-Odo and Irele local government areas, Abraham pledged to provide interest-free loans for traders and unemployed youths. The aspirant said he has concluded plans to set up skill acquisition centres in the state. He decried the neglect of industries built by the administrations of the late Chiefs Adekunle Ajasin and Adebayo Adefarati.

D

THE MAN AJIMUDA

EBO Ajimuda, a prince, is from Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State. He was a caretaker chairman of the council and later special assistant to former Governor Adebayo Adefarati. He was appointed Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) three years ago by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.

•Ajimuda

"The Auditor-General lamented that the AccountantGeneral's figures did not synchronise with the Daily Vouched Expenditure Analysis Ledger kept by the Ministry of Finance to show authorisation of expenditure given to the Accountant-General to move money from the Treasury. "Since Mimiko took over power in 2009, I have been quarrelling with him over the management of state funds. We all know that OSOPADEC is a mini government, and it must be headed by an intelligent person to allow the people in the oil region feel the impact of the government. "When the time came to appoint the chairman of the board, several names were

nominated and Ajimuda was the least qualified for the job, but Mimiko picked him without consulting the party secretariat. How can you expect a secondary school certificate holder to manage that office effectively? "I would have resigned from LP in 2010, but the party's House of Assembly candidates pleaded with me to remain, so that their ambitions would not be affected. "Mimiko has been in charge of the selection of his aides without consulting the leadership of his party and that is why he has been operating freely without anybody to question him, including the Assembly members." The former minister alleged that the N27 billion bond has already been spent by the state government. He said: "The controversial N27 billion bond, over which

the ACN went to court, has already been utilised. The state government had spent about N10 billion out of it before the funds got transferred from the United Bank of Africa (UBA) to Access Bank." Oni said Assembly members have failed to perform their oversight functions. He said: "If the Assembly members have been functioning well, they should have known that the billions budgeted for OSOPADEC had not been properly utilised." In a statement by its Director of Publicity, Gbenga Akinmoyo, ACN said Ajumuda's arrest has confirmed its position that the resources of the state have been stashed in the purse of a few cabals in the Mimiko government. It alleged that members of the executive council have acquired property worth mil-

lions of naira with money stolen from the state. ACN said: "We salute the courage of the people in the oil producing areas for raising the alarm, despite the governor's insistence on retaining the commission's boss. "It is regrettable that despite the evidence gathered from Ajimuda's home and the fleet of exotic cars recovered from him, the LP government still disparages EFCC's reputation. "We know the Information Commissioner, Kayode Akinmade, must work for his pay, but not at the detriment of the citizenry. "We shall continue to demand fiscal discipline, openness and genuine accountability from the government. We urge the government to publish the account of the state and the cost of all its projects for fiscal scrutiny." When The Nation visited the commission's head office in Oba-Ile, Akure North, yesterday, many workers were jubilating over Ajimuda's arrest. They, workers, who complained of poor working conditions, said the chairman has been evasive since he assumed office in 2009.

Group alleges N900m fraud at Ondo Assembly

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•House: it’s mischievous

N anti-corruption group, Group Against Corruption in Nigeria (GACN), yesterday alleged that there is a N900 million fraud at the Ondo State House of Assembly. GACN said it demands an explanation within 15 days from Speaker Samuel Adesina on what happened to the money. It said it would invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), if the Speaker fails to comply. The group’s National Coordinator, Mr. Morakinyo Ogele, alleged that the Speaker has been inflating contracts to satisfy his political godfathers. Ogele showed the alleged documents of some awarded contracts to The Nation in Akure, the state capital. The documents read: “Twenty-five million naira, being amount approved for the printing of the 2012 Calendar and with teller No: 00560029; publication of personality profile brochure for ODHA with N12 million and teller No: 0056122. “Twenty-four million naira, being amount approved for fumigation of the House of Assembly External and Internal and teller No: 00560016. “Eighteen million naira, being amount approved for a fiveday retreat at MIC-COM Golf Resort, Ada, Osun State, and the purchase of spare parts for Mechanical Workshop with N1 million.

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

“Forty-six mllion naira, being amount approved for the supply and installation of wireless intercom system with 200-capacity extension, teller No: 00560099; and N36 million for the purchase of 500 KVA sound-proof back-up Perkins Generator and the supply and installation of 80 units of 60 watts/20VZ security light, teller No: 00560096.” The human rights activist alleged that the above contracts were inflated. He said: “The Assembly is not functioning. The lawmakers are not performing their primary assignments as legislators. They prefer travelling abroad, even though the state’s finances are in a sorry state.” Chairman of the House Committee on Information Oyebo Aladetan debunked the allegation. He said the authors of the documents were mischievous. Aladetan said all the contracts went through due process and were handled by the tenders’ committee. He said the contracts were not inflated and the tenders were competitive. Aladetan, who represents Ilaje Constituency I, warned those behind the “fake documents” to desist before the law catches up with them.

Osun sends bill on building materials to Assembly

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HE Osun State Government has sent the State Building and Civil Engineering Material Quality Control Laboratory Bill to the House of Assembly. The bill states that no person or company shall produce blocks, bricks and laterite without obtaining quality control test certificates. Speaking with reporters yesterday, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere, said the pro-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo posed law would prevent building collapse. Akere said the laboratory will perform uniform control tests on construction materials in line with the requirements of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON). He said: “The laboratory will issue certificates for tests carried out on material samples. It will register independent material

testing laboratories and manufacturers of civil engineering materials, and monitor the performance of the laboratories.” Akere said that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport will head the laboratory technical committee. He said the members will include a director of the ministry, who must be a civil engineer; a representative of the Nigerian Society of Engineers;

a town planner from the Ministry of Lands, Physical Planning and urban Development (not below GL 16); and representatives of the Nigerian Institute of Builders and the Nigerian Institute of Architects. Akere said the Monitoring and Enforcement Unit of the laboratory will inspect all construction materials on site, ensure the suitability of the foundation materials and conduct regular control tests on construction materials.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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NEWS Oni, three others are PDP vice-chairmen • Obasanjo frowns at indiscipline in party By Onyeadi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor, Emmanuel Oladesu, (Lagos), Adesoji Adeniyi (Osogbo), Chris orji (Enugu), Bisi Olaniyi (Port-Harcourt), and Tony Collins (Maiduguri).

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EOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday elected six National Vice Chairmen across the six geo-political zones at its zonal congresses, preparatory to the national convention scheduled for Abuja on Saturday, where their selection would be ratified. The new vice chairmen, who emerged through consensus, are Mr. Segun Oni (Southwest), Mr. Steven Oru (Southsouth), Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure (Northwest), Col. Austin Akobundu (Southeast), Senator Girgir Lawal (Northeast) and Alhaji Yusuf Ayitogo (Northcentral). However, controversy trailed the consensus option, with some chieftains threatening not to abide by the outcome of the process. President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was present at the Southwest zonal Congress in Osogbo, Osun State capital, chided some party chieftains for gross indiscipline, charging the new leadership to restore the party to the path of honour in the region. The former President, who is the party’s Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman, advised aggrieved party chieftains to channel their complaints through the constitutional process, instead of creating problems for the party. The Osun State capital, where Oni emerged as the zonal leader, protest marred the exercise. The zonal congress was polarised. While some chieftains, including Prof. Taoheed Adedoja and Chief Abiola Ogundokun said the congress was peaceful, former zonal secretary and aspirant for the zonal vice chairmanship, Mr. Ropo Adesanya stormed out of the meeting, saying that the process was not transparent. He told reporters that he grudgingly accepted the verdict as a loyal party man, adding that he was not allowed to contribute to the process. Following complaints from delegates, the election for the position of zonal Legal Adviser was deferred by the Congress Committee chairman, Alhaji Tunde Muhammed. Also, a PDP chieftain from Lagos State, Mr. Deji Doherty, who was elected Organising Secretary, declined the offer, in protest against the election of Mrs. Fatima Balogun, also from Lagos, as an ex-officio member. In the Northwest, apart from Kazaure, who emerged as vice chairman, other officers elected at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Indoor Sports Hall, Katsina, include Alhaji Bashir Tanimu (Secretary), Ali Yako (Organising Secretary), Umaru Maude (Financial Secretary) and Alhaji yakubu Abdulahi (Youth Leader). Vice President Namadi Sambo and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal witnessed the zonal congress. The Vice President hailed the peaceful exercise and charged the new leaders to promote the ideals of the party. Vice President Sambo also reiterated federal government’s determination to halt the trend of insecurity in the country, which he described as a threat to economic development. The Speaker of House of Representatives noted that the zone is the melting point of Nigerian politics, judging by the number of eminent Nigerians from the region. He charged the new leaders to provide purposeful leadership and maintain transparency in their dealings. At Enugu, the Southeast zonal congress ratified the election of five members of the party’s National Working Committee from the zone. The congress insisted that the decision by the zone to present consensus candidates for the top party positions was final. The ratification was made in a voice vote by over 2000 delegates from the five states of the zone. Those elected were Col. Austin Akobundu,( National Vice Chairman), Chief Olisa Metuh, (National Publicity Secretary), Ambassador Mrs. Kema Chikwe, (National Women Leader), Mr. Onwe Solomon Onwe, (Deputy National Secretary), and Okechukwu Nnaedozie, (Deputy National Organizing Secretary). New Zonal Working Committee members were also elected, amid protest by the former Zonal Woman leader, Mrs. Ify Ozoani from Enugu State, who alleged that she was forced to drop her ambition to run for the position. She pointed accusing finger at the state commissioner for culture, Mr. Joe Mmamel, saying that he was responsible for her ordeal. At the congress were Deputy Senate President Sen Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, governors of Enugu and Abia states, Board of Trustees members from the zone, members of National Assembly and ministers, who were part of the 688 delegates in attendance. Moving the motion for the ratification, Senator Ayogu Eze (Enugu North) said, in view of the decision by the party leaders to adopt five candidates for the NWC positions zoned to the Southeast, the congress should formally ratify the decision. The motion was seconded by the House of Representatives member from Anambra State,Mr. Ben Nwankwo, through a voice vote. The Acting National Vice Chairman in the zone, Ali Odefa, had earlier said that the issue of candidates for the NWC position from the zone had been settled through consensus, adding that the congress formally ratified the candidates for onward presentation to the national convention holding this weekend. The Chairman of the Congress Committee, Alhaji Adamu Mustapha, said the job of the committee was made simple by the adoption of candidates by consensus. He commended members of the party for their peaceful conduct at the party congress.

You’ll win, Ogbemudia tells Oshiomhole

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ORMER Governor of the old Bendel State Samuel Ogbemudia has assured Governor Adams Oshiomhole of victory in the July 14 governorship election. Ogbemudia, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) Board of Trustees (BOT), spoke when Oshiomhole visited him while inspecting projects in the area. According to Ogbemudia, “Benin people have already spoken. Your Excellency, I salute your dedication, vision and loyalty which is all that you need to be sworn in in July. “You go there, win and leave the rest for us. Your job is to go and win and come back to Osadebey Avenue.” The former governor also recalled what he told PDP members in the state when they visited him. His words: “Those PDP people who came to see me, I asked them how did you come? “They said they came through a brand new good road. And I said don’t you think you should say thank you to Governor Adams Oshiomhole who built it. “They said their appreciation will not go to the governor but to the contractors who built it. And I told them that we should learn to give

PDP kicks as Labour holds mass rally

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HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State yesterday kicked against today’s planned mass rally by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in solidarity for Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s re-election. It accused the governor of using state’s fund to mobilise support from labour, saying it is a violation of labour law. The party’s Publicity Secretary, Matthew Urhoghide, said this at a briefing yesterday. He said Labour and Oshiomhole should explain the source of funds. “We are aware of what labour has planned to do today. They are going to spend hundreds of millions of naira. “It is unlawful for organised labour to organise this activity. It is the first time in the history of this country that organised labour will engage itself in partisan activities to endorse a governor for a second term.” Urhoghide also frowned at the 40 per cent tax reduction announced by Oshiomhole, saying it was a calculated attempt to settle political scores ahead of the governorship election. From Osagie Otabor, Benin

credit to whom credit is due. Ogbemudia said it was time he reciprocated the good relationship he had with Oshiomhole when he (Ogbemudia) was the Minister of Labour and Productivity. The governor said he was only building on where people like Ogbemudia stopped. “We are following your foot steps,”he said.

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

He called for the return of the total percentage of tax the government has collected in the past as a show of genuine commitment to good governance. But, the NLC said the rally must hold and that it supports Oshiomhole’s second term. NLC said the rally would cost N3 million and denied insinuations that it was funded by the government. Its Chairman, Emmanuel Ademokun, said the rally has the blessing of the National Working Committee of the Congress. He said: “It is a workers’ affair and not that of government. “There is nothing in the labour law that stops our action once majority of our members support it. “We did not collect a dime from the government, what we are using is donation from members and not more than N3 million so I don’t know where PDP got the N100 million they are claiming from. “The governor is from our constituency, should we vote for a military man?”

The state Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) described Oshiomhole as a living legend of the labour movement. Its Chairman, Emmanuel Ademokun, spoke when Chairmen and Secretaries of the NLC in the 18 local governments visited the governor in Benin. Ademokun said Oshiomhole’s unparalleled achievements as President of the NLC and as a governor has made him a living leg-

end of the NLC. “We have come to recognise your monumental achievements which has made you the living legend of the labour movement,” he said. The governor hailed the NLC for being able to organise themselves at the local governments. The NLC will organise a rally today in honour of the governor in Benin City.

Visit Niger Delta, says Amaechi

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IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has said representatives of foreign governments, missions and oil multi-nationals should assess the Niger Delta only from the region. He said this is so as not to get a distorted picture of the oil-rich zone. Amaechi spoke when the United States Ambassador, Terence McCulley, visited him yesterday. Amaechi said: “At the binational conference in America, I said America cannot assess Niger Delta from afar. “You cannot assess the Niger Delta from Washington DC, or even Abuja and Lagos, you will be getting a wrong report, a distorted picture. “If you want to assess the Niger Delta, you must be

•Amaechi presenting a gift to McCulley...yesterday

present in the Niger Delta, you must be able to visit. “And if you take a tour of Rivers State, you will see contractors on site working and they are not just Nigerians, they are also from dif-

ferent countries.” McCulley said:“The purpose of our visit is to become better acquainted with Port Harcourt and the challenges and goals that you have for the state, to talk

about the environment and developmental challenges that you face and to see how we as an important friend of Nigeria might be able to add to the work that you are doing here.”

Gunmen abduct Lebanese in Edo

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LEBANESE businessman, whose name was given as Sarkis, has been kidnapped in Edo State. Sarkis, who is the Managing Director of Reality Nigeria and a petrol dealer, was said to have been abducted on Tuesday night at his house close to Arafat Mosque in Auchi, Estako West Local Government. Sources said the abductors scaled the fence of the house and took Sarkis away at gun point. The source said the kidnappers were yet to contact the family or the community leadership. It was gathered that the

•Kidnap suspect arrested in Rivers From Osagie Otabor, Benin and Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

Auchi vigilance group is searching the forests in the area for the abducted Lebanese. A 28-year-old woman, Esther Peter, is almost going blind, following an attack by unknown assailants who bathed her with a liquid substance believed to be acid. The substance affected her body down to her knees. Her father, Peter Alighe, said his daughter was attacked on Sunday at about 8pm after someone called

her out of the house. The caller is being held by the police. Police spokesman Etim Bassey could not be reached for comments. In Rivers State, a notorious kidnap and robbery suspect, known as Prince, has been arrested by the police . Police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam yesterday in Port Harcourt said following investigations, a combined team of the operatives of the command’s Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU) and Egbeda Police Division, stormed the hoodlums’ hideout.

The suspect, who had been terrorising commuters on Egbeda/Omoku Road, with other members of his gang, was arrested. Ugwuegbulam said Prince had been on the run, following his involvement in the November 21 kidnap of Mrs. Eunice. The spokesman said: “Mrs. Eunice was rescued on November 25, while the gang leader, Okememe, was arrested and the N500,000 ransom was recovered. “One locally made single barrel pistol was recovered from him. The suspect is making useful statements. Investigation is in progress.”


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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NEWS Fayemi opens transformation office

Uba wins Anambra South rerun

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

•Nzeribe, APGA kick

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From Nwanosike Onu, Awka and Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

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HE Independent National Electoral Com-

mission (INEC) has declared Dr. Andy Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of Tuesday’s rerun in Anambra South Senatorial District. The Returning Officer, Prof. Eugene Aniah, yesterday announced that Uba scored 42,804 votes. Mr. Chuma Nzeribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) had 40,678 votes. PDP won in four of the seven local government areas - Aguata, Orumba North and South and Nnewi South -, while APGA won in Ekwusigo, Nnewi North and Ihiala councils. Uba said: I thank God and my good people for this great honor of giving me their mandate. I feel honored and humbled by this great gesture. This is a victory for justice and democracy. My victory has deepened democracy in Anambra State and Nigeria. I thank my constituency for staying steadfast. “Despite threats, intimidation and attempts to compromise them, they stood their ground and God has made their dream a reality. This is a new dawn and the people’s will has prevailed. “This victory has strengthened my faith in democracy and made me more resolute to serve my people. I assure my people that the dividends of democracy would not elude them. This is the beginning of many good things to come.” Uba said his victory has laid to rest claims that the last election, which he won, was flawed in some wards. PUBLIC NOTICE I formally known and addressed as MISS OGUNTOYE AMINAT ABIODUN now wish to be KNOWN AND ADDRESS AS Mrs Adebanjo Aminat Abiodun.All formal Documents remain the same. Chevron and General public take note.

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This is to inform the general public of the loss of original title document of the Lagos State Certificate Of Occupancy Registered as NO14/14/ 2009D dated 23 rd Feb.2009 of the property located along ikotun/idimu Road,Idimu Town, Lagos State belonging to MR.SUNDAY AROWELE OF 25 ADEBOLA AROWELE STREET,IDUMU. LAGOS STATE. All effort made to trace it prove abortive. If found please contact to MR.SUNDAY AROWELE of the above address or call 080231331970 or the nearest Police Station.

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•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (middle); Chairman, Ecobank Plc, Olorogun Sunny Kuku (left); and Managing Director, Ecobank, Jubrol Aku during the presentation of N75 million cheque to the Ogun Security Trust Fund at the Governor’s Office, Abeokuta...yesterday

Police arrest Oyo union leader •Govt: we had nothing to do with it •Four suspected pipeline vandals seized

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HE Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Oyo State, Mr. Bayo Akande, was yesterday arrested by the police. Akande, a teacher at Ikolaba Grammar School, was arrested on the school premises after he was invited by the head teacher to come and answer a query issued by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education. He was allegedly handcuffed and taken to Eleyele Police Command. Akande was later transferred to the Iyaganku Police Station, where he was asked to write a statement and was detained. Police Commissioner

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

Tambari Yabo Mohammed said the union leader was arrested because his activities might constitute a breach of public peace. Mohammed said Akande’s action of invading schools and forcing teachers and students out of classrooms amounts to a breach of public peace. The state government yesterday said it had nothing to do with Akande’s arrest. In a statement, Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s Media aide, Festus Adedayo, said: “I am not aware of his arrest. The government has nothing to do with it. We are already on the negotiation table with the un-

ion and it has given the government a seven-day ultimatum to meet its demands.” However, the workers converged on their secretariat and resolved to continue with the strike until their demands are met. They are seeking the implementation of the minimum wage. A member of the union said a new caretaker committee has been put in place to continue from where Akande stopped. The member said: “We are fighting for our rights. You must fight for your freedom, else, it will be taken away from you. We do not want Ajimobi’s table; we want the standardised N18,000 mini-

mum wage implemented across board. Even if a kobo is not added to it, we are okay.” Also yesterday, the police arrested four suspected vandals of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at OmiGbopa, near Ajanla in Oluyole Local Governments. They are Saheed Omotosho (33), Abdulrahman Ali (30), Babaye Garba (28) and Johnson Oloyede (36). Mohammed said: “The Acting ASP in charge of Operations, Mr. Olushola Akinyele, received information that a group of vandals broke into the right of way of NNPC at Omi-Gbopa via Ajanla, tampering with the NNPC pipeline.”

KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday said his administration is commitment to transforming the state. He spoke at the opening of the Office of Transformation, Strategy and Delivery (OTSD) building. Dr. Fayemi said the establishment was to ensure that government programmes and policies are implemented “in an efficient and time-bound manner,” and according to global standards. He said: “This is to get things done properly according to global standard ands, in an efficient and time-bound manner. “This was put together in less than three months and it has been top quality work. “It is a demonstration of this government’s commitment to quality, professionalism and efficiency.” The Governor, on December 19, last year, inaugurated the Office of Transformation, Strategy and Delivery, to monitor projects executed by ministries. Fayemi said with the creation of OTSD, ministries have been compartmentalised into four working groups: governance, infrastructure, economic development and social services; and are to serve as work groups under OTSD, which would report back to the State Executive Council developments in the four sectors.

15 injured in Ekiti clash over motorcycle levy From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

BOUT 15 persons were injured yesterday in a clash between some youths and members of the Hausa community at Atikankan, a locality in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital. Sources said the clash occurred when some local government officials tried to collect the balance of a levy of N500 from a commercial motorcyclist, who had earlier paid N500. Others, however, said a commercial motorcylist from the Hausa community in the locality allegedly re-

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PUBLIC NOTICE LOSE OF C of O This is to notify the general public that the Certificate of Occupancy no. 37/37/272 Owerri Imo state dated 20/7/1990 for plot 3 Arugo layout, Owerri, belonging to Professor S. O, Igwe was misplaced and a Certified True Copy of same has been issued to him [owner] by the Lands Registry Owerri. The general public should take note.

•Scene of the clash...yesterday fused to pay a fee of N20, which is mandatory for all commercial motorcylists. It was learnt that about 200 local youths attacked members of the Hausa community. In the ensuing clash, dangerous weapons were said to have been used. Eyewitnesses said some youths were infuriated by the alleged refusal of the Hausa motorcyclist to pay the N20 levy. Sanity was later restored by a combined team of regular and mobile Police, State Security Service (SSS) and

PHOTO:SULAIMAN SALAWUDEEN

the Civil Defence Corps. Although no one reportedly died, sources said about 15 persons, mostly members of the Hausa community, were inured. They have been taken to the State University Teaching Hospital (EkSUTH). School children from a nearby nursery school were evacuated to the police headquarters. Parents learnt of this development when they went to pick up their children. Commercial activities were halted as banks and

other traders hurriedly closed during the eight-hour violence. The popular Erekesan Market facing the Ewi’s Palace was deserted. The situation remained tense yesterday as members of the Hausa community refused all entreaties from the security agents to relocate from the area temporarily. They vowed not to leave despite appeals from their state Chairman, Mr Adamu Liman, who insisted that they should obey the authorities.

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This fuelled speculations that the crisis may not be over.But it was learnt they were later moved to a nearby mosque. The Commissioner of Police, Mr Ibrahim Maishanu, said no one had been arrested. He said he instructed his men not to arrest anyone so as not to worsen the violence. Maishanu said he would meet with the leadership of the Okada Riders’ Association and others to find out other causes behind the clash to prevent a reccurence.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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CITYBEATS

E-mail:- ynotcitybeats@gmail.com

Alleged murder: Five policemen arrested T

• Bob Ruffey

Bob Ruffey returns with Overdose SEVERAL years after quitting the Nigerian music to focus on other things, Bob Ruffey, who says he was inspired into music basically by Bob Marley and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has returned with an album, Overdose. The artiste launched the album last Sunday during the 77th birthday of Ambassador Olusegun Olusola, at Ostra Hall, Ikeja, Lagos. "If not for Chief Olusola, I might never have returned to music, but Chief kept encouraging me to return, saying that he had grown old and left the arts field to younger ones like us," he said. Speaking after his performance at the birthday cum album launch, Ruffey said, "I'll like to advise all my fellow musicians that they should stop focusing on making money as the reason for doing music. Rather, they should focus on making good music and then the money will surely come."

Lagos screens man 112-year old, others for pension By Miriam Ndikanwu

A 112-YEAR old Abimbola Asaye, Lagos State’s oldest pensioner was among many others screened yesterday at the biometric verification exercise organised by the government. Also at the verification at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium were two other elderly pensioners, Onilude Sumonu (87) and Oduyela Victoria (79). State Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension, Mrs Florence Oguntuase, said the verification was meant to ensure transparency, remove loopholes and reduce stress in collection of pension by retirees in the state. She said the state governor had taken a special interest in the pensioners and was committed to their welfare. According to her: "No effort would be spared on all matter affecting pensioners so as to ease the burden of retirement and ensure your comfort at old age. You have served and contributed to the development of state while in service, now the state is ready to reciprocate."

HE Lagos Police Command is investigating the killing of a man, identified as Karonwi Doyin, around Indomie Road Eric Moore, Surulere, last Friday by some policemen. Doyin was allegedly killed at about 11am on February 16, following a disagreement between the policemen and some street urchins at the motor park area. It was gathered that the policemen were arrested immediately by the Commander of Area ‘C’, Mr Ari Mohammed, who transferred the case to State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti Yaba. According to a police source, the

By Jude Isiguzo

policemen were on foot patrol when a trailer driver blocked their way around the area. CityBeats learnt that as they made to clear the road, there was a disagreement and they were attacked by miscreants. It was in the ensuing confusion that, one Sergeant Solomon Udoh, opened fire and killed Doyin. The policemen were said to have fled to Area 'C' for safety but were promptly arrested by the Commander. It was learnt that all the five policemen were arrested. They are currently undergoing introggation at the SCID.

However, the said sergeant has allegedly admitted to the shooting but maintained that it was in self defence. Command spokesman, Mr Joseph Jaiyeoba, a Superintendent confirmed the arrest and said: " on February 16, Sergent Solomon Udoh with Force Number 173077 attached to Area 'C' Command Surulere, while on patrol at Orile, somewhere around Doyin Bus Stop, under Bode Thomas Division, saw a truck that was causing obstruction. They asked the driver to move his truck out of the road and he refused. As they tried to arrest him, he alerted other drivers and they attacked the policemen.

"Four of them escaped while Udoh was caught and matcheted by the drivers. It was in the process that he shot to escape being killed. "Udoh is still being treated of the cut he sustained at the Police Hospital in Falomo, Ikoyi", he said.

Lagos socialite Otunba Gadaffi is dead CNN man’s encounter with the ‘shit man’

“L •The late Durojaiye

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MAN the Lagos social scene will surely miss has passed on. Socialite and Executive Vice Chairman of DMT Mobile and Portable toilet Ltd., Isaac Durojaiye (also known as Otunba Gadaffi), who died at the age of 47, on Tuesday has been described as a truly indigenous entrepreneur. Durojaiye died on Tuesday after a brief illness. A statement from the Chairman of the board, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi and Company Secretary Fes Eze, said the leading industrialist died at a Lagos hospital. It, however, assured its customers that the company would continue to function as effectively as before. The statement reads: “Arrangements are afoot to accord him a befitting burial after broad consultation had been made with his family and numerous friends at home and abroad. “DMT wishes to assure all our clients, customers and frinds that the company as an ongoingncompany/business, will continue to function as effectively as before.” At his corporate head office in Isheri-Berger on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, yesterday, workers and top management wore mournful looks. His mobile toilet initiative, has become a household name within and outside the state. From the security post to the managing director's office, workers were seen discussing in hushed voices the sudden death of Otunba Gadaffi. They were shocked that the man they saw in

ONG, long, long, long time ago, African man we no dey carry shit, We dey shit inside big big hole For Yoruba-land na “Shalanga.” Isaac Durojaiye was sure that his business would succeed. “Years back those who evacuated human wastes in Nigeria were ashamed to do the job -they covered their faces so nobody could recognise them. “But all that is changing now,” says Isaac Durojaiye - also known as Otunba Gadaffi - who runs a mobile toilet business called Dignified Mobile Toilets (DMT). “I named it dignified to show the world that there is dignity in the business,” says the former bodyguard whose code name while working in government security circles was Gadaffi. “There is nothing to be ashamed about human waste, it is a reality -

we all have to answer the call of nature.” Confident of success He started the business in 1992 after observing that there were only about 500 functional public toilets in Nigeria, a country with a population of more than 130m. The toilets are becoming a familiar sight in Nigeria ‘s major cities “Even then most of the public toilets were poorly maintained,” he says. Mr Durojaiye says his mobile toilets which are made of high quality plastic materials are available for sale, rent and for leasing. DMT maintains the toilets and its specialised trucks evacuate the human waste twice a week from each toilet. He recalls that when he set up the business he was confident of success given that with a population of Nigeria’s size, there is a huge demand for public toilets.

Social service The toilets are becoming a familiar sight at densely populated public places like bus stops and motor parks in major Nigerian cities. “We are performing a major social service as we are eliminating the need for people to defecate in public places,” he says. Each toilet according to him typically serves about 100 people each day for a fee of N20 per usage. A typical day’s proceeds works out at about $15 which is a fairly good income by Nigerian standards. And for a fee, businesses can advertise their products on the toilet doors. To date, about 25% of DMT’s revenue comes from advertising. The company is also working on plans to recycle the waste collected to generate bio-gas, electricity and fertiliser for farmers. •Christain Purefoy is a CNN Correspondent

By Seyi Odewale

Bemil Morgue, a privately owned morgue in Lagos. Talking about the deceased's health, Oleforo noted that the late Gadaffi had been diabetic for about three years. "He was managing it and was given a clean bill, until it suddenly turned worse on Monday and we rushed him to the hospital. Prior to that time, he was okay, but it relapsed on Monday only to die on Tuesday at 3pm," he said. The managing director said the late Gadaffi's immediate family was hurt at the loss of their son and brother. "Naturally, everyone is hurt; none the least his mother. What can we do?" Oleforo asked. The DMT's chairman said he got the news in Bayelsa State at a meeting with Governor Seriake Dickson. He said he had to cancel his appointment and return to Lagos yesterday to see what has transpired. He said: "Otunba was a remarkable young man. Even those of us older than him realised his worth. When he first came to me many years ago that I should be the chairman of his company, I had

no problem in agreeing to do so. I was inspired by the kind of vision and commitment that he had. “Remember, Otunba pulled himself from nowhere to build what we now see as his achievements. The World Bank, Switzerland, Germany and several international bodies were trying to buy into what he was doing. "We were in the process of ending the final stages of negotiation on the building of a bio-gas facility from human wastes. You can imagine the shock I had, hearing about his death. All I can say to all our friends and well-wishers is that we will ensure that Otunba's dreams and visions do not die with him. DMT as an on-going concern would continue to work and serve our customers wherever they are. "I speak as the chairman of the company that the company would function as Otunba Ghadaffi would have wanted it to be. We are taking delivery of new VIP toilets, we are talking to our banks who obviously would be worried about his death; we want to assure them that nothing would affect the business." Ogunbiyi recalled how he met the late Otunba Gadaffi. "I met him when we were working for the late MKO Abiola. I was one of Abiola's media consultants during the 1993 presidential election (Hope 93). He was one of Abiola's bodyguards. At that time, Kola Abiola was getting married and the ceremony was at Ikeja Airport Hotel field, MKO wanted toilets for guests that would be coming. He thought of how to cope with toilet facilities considering the number of guests expected.

the office on Monday morning, with no sign of ill health, had suddenly taken ill, only to die the following day. Though, they picked their calls and attended to customers, their grief was evident. Tosin, the youngest of his siblings who works in the company, fought a big battle with his emotions. He was intermittently heaving sighs as he runs his fingers on the laptop computer placed on his desk. At the left side corner of the office leading to the managing director's office was the condolence register for sympathisers. As at 10 am yesterday, a few callers had registered their condolences just as the managing director, Mr Caje Oleforo, the chairman, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi and another management staff were engrossed in a meeting. Oleforo, who spoke to CityBeats, said the business man died on Tuesday afternoon at 3pm at a private hospital in River Valley Estate, Berger-Ojodu. His remains, he said, has been deposited at the

LAGOS EMERGENCY LINES STATE AGENCIES 4. KAI Brigade Phone Nos: 080-23036632; 0805-5284914 Head office Phone Nos: 3. LASTMA Emergency Numbers: 01-4703325; 01-7743026 080-75005411; 080-60152462 5. Rapid Response Squad (RRS) 080-23111742; 080-29728371 Phone Nos: 070-55350249; 080-23909364; 080-77551000 070-35068242 01-7904983 080-79279349; 080-63299264

1. Fire and Safety Services Control Room Phone Nos: 01-7944929; 080-33235892; 080-33235890; 080-23321770; 080-56374036. 2. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Lagos Zonal Command Phone No:080-33706639; 01-7742771 Sector Commander Phone No: 080-34346168; 01-2881304

• Police Commissioner, Umaru Manko

070-55462708; 080-65154338 767 or email: rapidresponsesquad@yahoo.com 6. Health Services – LASAMBUS Ambulance Services Phone Nos: 01-4979844; 01-4979866; 01-4979899; 01-4979888; 01-2637853-4; 080-33057916; 080-33051918-9; 080-29000003-5.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

We are very pleased with the Swedish companies. They are leading manufacturers of some of the major mining equipment like drilling rigs. - Mohammed Sada, Minister of Mines and Steel Development

Fed Govt sells N50b bonds in 2019, 2022 •Yields fall

Demand from Nigeria, China supports Asian rice prices

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IELDS on the country’s most liquid three-year government bond fell yesterday, after a surprise decline in inflation and a move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to hold rates steady for a third time in a row. Financial markets were already shut on Tuesday when the CBN rate decision was announced, but yesterday the three-year note, which had almost two years to maturity, traded at 15.1 per cent, from Tuesday’s close of 15.4 per cent. The five-year bond, which had three years to maturity, traded flat at 15.4 per cent. Three-year bond yields according to Reuters had already fallen to 15.45 per cent on Monday, from 15.75 per cent, after the statistics bureau announced a surprise slow down in inflation to 11.9 per cent year-on-year last month from 12.6 per cent in January. The apex bank kept its base rate on hold at 12 per cent, as analysts had expected, saying that while it was concerned about core inflation in Africa’s second-biggest economy, the government had tightened fiscal policy. “Fixed income instruments across the yield curve rallied earlier this week in the aftermath of the February CPI figure release, but also in anticipation of the neutral-to-moredovish MPC direction,” Samir Gadio, emerging market strategist at Standard Bank, wrote in a note to investors. The main all-share index traded flat yesterday, while the local naira currency was stable at N157.50 to the dollar after the neutral rate decision. Demand for bonds was on the increase, dealers said, because investors were taking the position that inflation could moderate further and government revenues disbursed last week would provide liquidity support to markets.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$123.6/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 -N6.503 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -12.6% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -14.18% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $34.6b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 245 $ 156.4 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 241 RIYAL 40.472

• From left: Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Ms. Evelyn Oputu; Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga and President, Eletrobas, Mr Jose da Costa Cravalho Neto, during an investor meeting at Eletrobas, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ... on Wednesday.

NSE Presidency: Court reserves judgment in two appeals by Dangote

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HE Court of Appeal in Lagos yesterday re served judgment in an appeal filed by renowned businessman, Aliko Dangote, against the 2010 judgment of a Federal High Court voiding his election as the President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The court presided over by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, also reserved judgment in another appeal he filed challenging the bench warrant issued against him in a contempt proceedings initiated against him over his alleged continued occupation of the office of President of the NSE despite the annulment of his election. The court elected to reserve its decisions in both appeals after entertaining arguments from parties, whose lawyers adopted their written briefs yesterday. Justice Lambo Akanbi of

By Eric Ikhilae

the Federal High Court, Lagos, had on March 12, 2010 removed Dangote as the NSE President on the ground that the election that brought him to office was conducted in violation of a subsisting order of court. Justice Akanbi’s ruling was upon an application filed by some aggrieved shareholders of African Petroleum, who had challenged the candidacy of Dangote, Femi Otedola and others named in a share scam involving the Company. The shareholders had in the application challenged the propriety of the election that produced Dangote as NSE president, an election held in disobedience of the order of court made on August 4, 2009 restraining parties from taking any

further steps pending the determination of some pending applications. Dangote, in his appeal, argued that the lower court erred in voiding his election and consequently ordering his arrest. He asked the appellate court to set aside the decisions of the lower court and allow his appeals. Lawyer to the shareholders, Onyebuchi Aniakor, urged the appellate court to dismiss Dangote’s appeals on the ground that they were not only incompetent, but also frivolous as the leave of the lower court was neither sought nor obtained before the notice of appeals were filed. He recalled that after the substantive suit was filed at the lower court, the then judge handling the matter, Justice Mohammed Liman ordered parties to maintain

status quo pending the hearing of applications in the matter, but that two days after, Dangote was purportedly elected as NSE president in defiance of the order. Aniakor added that upon the sad development, he was constrained then to file a motion to nullify the election, and that after several delays, which included a petition against Justice Liman, the matter was transferred to Justice Akanbi, who later nullified the said election. He said the only question that arose for determination was whether in the circumstances of the matter, Justice Akanbi was right in nullifying Dangote’s election as NSE president on the ground that he allegedly assumed office in an attempt to ridicule the court.

Delay of equipment at ports threatens stable power

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NDUE delay of power equipment imported for the construction of power facilities at the ports is threatening the Federal Government’s aspiration to achieve stable power supply in the country. The members of Electricity Power Foundation, a coalition of firms handling the several projects under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), have cried out over the development. The group said if the current development is left unchecked, the efforts of the Federal Government to achieve stable power supply in the nearest future may remain a mirage. They said the equipment imported for power projects cannot easily be cleared at ports. Chairman of Electricity Power Foundation, Mr Otis Anyaeji, who spoke in Lagos, said the major hurdle to the completion of the

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

NIPP projects include the delay in clearing power equipment at the ports. Anyaeji, who is also the Chairman/Chief executive Officer, O.T. Otis Engineering, said several government agencies were working at cross purpose at the ports to the detriment of the government’s efforts to see power projects completed on schedule. He urged immediate intervention by the appropriate authorities. “Government should intervene to get these agencies to work as one. They should be made to see that the projects belong to all Nigerians with government only acting as a facilitator. “They should realise that if the work is well completed, the equipment bought with public fund will benefit all,” he said. Another hurdle to the realisation of stable power

supply according to Anyaeji, who said he would present the contractors’ position at the WorldStage electricity power conference on 29th of this month, is inadequate gas supply to power stations. He said the issue of gas had to do with not having appropriate commercial price and gas producers not ready to invest. For instance, he said while the country is experiencing acute power shortage, some projects are ready but cannot come on stream because of lack of gas. He said the 500MW Olorunsogo phase two, 450MW Sapele and 561MW Calabar projects are ready, but there no gas to run them, while some that are also at the stage of commissioning would face gas supply challenge. He said government should step up discussion with gas producers to realise the aspirations of the

gas master plan agenda. Anyaeji noted that the inability of some transmission and distribution systems to receive available power supply also constitute major obstacle to the achieving stable power supply. He said: “The Ministry of Power should step into transmission and distribution challenges, get them ready in project locations to receive power generated. Despite the challenges, Anyaeji said he expects remarkable improvement in power supply this year through NIPP projects, with the commissioning of 120MVA sub-station at Oworonsoki and additional 120MVA at Ojo, both in Lagos, at well as others to come. On the implications of the planned privatisation of the power sector, Anyaeji said the lethargy of un-businesslike in the electricity sector will be a thing of the past.

SIAN rice prices stayed firm this week, supported by larger than expected purchases from Nigeria and China, which are likely to continue in the next few months, traders said yesterday. Asian producers Thailand and Vietnam are the world’s top rice exporters. Shipping delays of Indian rice to Nigeria, according to Reuters prompted buyers there to turn to Thailand, increasing prices of Thai parboiled rice one per cent to $620 per tonne from last week’s $612 a tonne. The gains helped keep the benchmark 100 per cent B grade Thai white rice steady at $560 per tonne despite thin demand. “We expect Thai rice prices to stay firm for a few months as it seems like Nigeria will continue to buy more,” said trader Kiattisak Kalayasirivat of Novel Agritrade. “Demand for loading to Nigeria could last for a few months and after that prices could ease again,” said another Bangkok-based trader. Nigeria is Thailand’s biggest buyer of parboiled rice, importing some one million to 1.5 million tonnes yearly, but purchases have tailed off since last September when India resumed exports of the grain.

Workers urge Fed Govt to commercialise PHCN By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

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LECTRICITY workers yesterday appealed to the Federal Government to commercialise rather than privatise the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Comrade Joe Ajaero, made the appeal in Abuja, at a workshop for female members of the union. He cited the United States, where the central government generates “250,000 mega watts, while state and municipal governments generate a certain quantity to make up the country’s one million mega watts’’. He also noted that Manitoba, Canada’s highest power generating company, is owned by a municipal government. He said the Federal Government should rethink its decision to privatise PHCN. Dr Joe Okei–Odumakin of the Campaign for Democracy, said women should be supported since they had special role to play in the nation’s economic and democratic development.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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BUSINESS NEWS

IPMAN gets import licence, N20b loan

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HE Independent Petro leum Marketers Asso ciation of Nigeria (IPMAN) has received a nod from the Federal Government to import petroleum products. The association has also been granted a credit facility of N20 billion by FirstBank of Nigeria Plc. The National Deputy President of the association, Mr Chinedu Okoronwo, disclosed this to members at their general meeting at the IPMAN’s secretariat at Eleme in Rivers State. He said the licence would enable their members to im-

By Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

port a total of 120 metric tonnes of petroleum products, which is equivalent to four ship loads in second quarter. Okoronkwo further noted that the importation will begin soon and would be done in the name of the association’s already existing affiliate company PMAN Marketing and Refining Company - and that discussions have gone far between them and the foreign refining company that would sell the products to them.

He said apart from discussion on importation, IPMAN is also talking to them on the establishment of a refinery in the country to ensure constant supply. On the facility from FirstBank, Okoronkwo said it would assist in reducing the cost of the business because the terms are good and it will subsequently bring down the cost of the pump price at the petrol stations when the products arrive. He attributed the achievements so far recorded by the association in the recent times to the peace that has been brokered between the

factions that existed in the group and appealed to members to ensure that the peace is sustained for more results. The Rivers State branch Chairman of the association, Mr Samuel Osaro Ejor, while fielding questions from reporters disclosed plans of the Port Harcourt unit to build a tank farm for easy access of products by members. He said the tank farm has become necessary in view of the growing number of marketers in the unit and the challenges of accessing products from private storage fa-

cilities by members. He exonerated his members from being responsible for the fuel scarcity and the current selling of petrol products beyond the government approved N97 per litre. He explained that the situation was triggered by the inability of the Products and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC) to have sufficient supply of products, which led to marketers accessing products from private importers at prices above the N97 regime. He said IPMAN members buy products from private farms at the rate of N110 per

litre and appealed to PPMC to further increase Rivers’ allocation, considering that they play host to the refineries. He, however, admitted that preference is given to the state in the distribution of products by PPMC than other states, by way of higher allocation. He also explained that all the marketers in the country including Rivers State get a total allocation of 10 trucks of petrol, five trucks of kerosene, and five trucks of diesel monthly depending on the availability of the product from PPMC.

‘Nigeria slow in tackling money laundering’

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HE Director-General, Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, (GIABA), Dr Abdulahi Shehu, yesterday said Nigeria is slow in tackling money laundering and terrorism financing. Speaking at the Committee of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria,( CCCOBIN), Second International Conference on Customer Due Diligence, in Lagos, Shehu said the inability of the country to tackle money laundering and its predicate offences has become a stigma to her. He said Nigeria is lagging behind in eradicating the menace, despite the huge resources which GIABA has invested on her among other member states. He said only

By Akinola Ajibade

two member states — Ghana and Guinea Bissau — have approved the necessary strategies to combat it. He explained the essence of the anti-money laundering strategies is to ensure that the actions of member states, on financial transactions are well guided, to allow for effective verification of all processes of checking trans-border crimes He said the aim of the strategy is to ensure that the actions are guided, adding that a national strategy framework has been developed in principle, but is yet to be adopted by the Federal Government. “It has to be adopted by the government, in which case, either the executive council

will approve it or the appropriate minister will have to assent to it for it to become a policy,” he stated. The GIABA boss further stated that the agency has undertaken the revision of the FATF Standards which place enormous obligations on financial institutions and designated non-financial business and professions. For Nigeria to be seen to be effectively tackle the issues of money laundering and terrorism financing, he said the country must review its Anti-Money Laundering/ Control of Financial Terrorism laws to ensure that all the 21 designated predicate offences are adequately criminalised in accordance with the revised Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.

• From left: Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Morrison Fiddi; Flag Officer, Commanding, Western Naval Command, Ameen Ikioda and Vice-Chairman, Dorman Long Engineering Limited, Chukwuma Henry Okolo, during the Sail-Away ceremony of NNPC/Mobil Producing Nigeria OYOT wellhead platform built by Dorman Long in Lagos.

Maina: I’ll accept PENCOM job if PENCOM, Pius Akubueze HE Chairman of the offered and his counterpart in InPension Reform Task

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Force, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday said he would accept the offer of the next DirectorGeneral, National Pension Commission (PENCOM), if picked by the Presidency. Reacting to a media report in a national daily that he was among those being considered by the Federal Government as the next PENCOM

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

helmsman, the task force chief told The Nation that “he is not and will not lobby for the top job.” The report also stated that besides Maina, others being considered for the plum job include the commissioner for Finance and Investment in

spectorate, Dr. Musa Ibrahim. Maina said: “I was surprised when I saw the report on the front page of last week Saturday Punch with the headline: FG considers Maina, Police pension task force boss, for PENCOM job. Well, I want to tell you that I did not and I am not lobbying for the job in question.

Honeywell Group stops trade name ONEYWELL Group from opening its office as has stopped the in infringement advertised in the media.

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fringement of its trade name by Honeywell Automation And Control Solution West Africa Limited. In a statement by the solicitors to Honeywell Group, Chief G. O. Sodipo & Co, the company said it was not related in any way with Honeywell Automation And Control Solution West Africa Limited. It said anyone who deals with Honeywell Automation and Control Solution West Africa Limited does so at his own peril, adding

that any action taken by them using the name “Honeywell” is deceptive, illegal, a nullity and a violation of a court order. Citing a court order granted by Justice I. M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos, the solicitors to Honeywell Group said Honeywell Automation and Control Solution West Africa Limited has been restrained from using the name “Honeywell” as part of its company name and has also been restrained

Similarly, the solicitors to Honeywell Group cited a letter written by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to Honeywell Automation and Control Solution West Africa Limited on the January 20, this year directing it to change its name by expunging the word “Honeywell” in six weeks due to the existence of the trade name ‘Honeywell Group” registered prior to that of Honeywell Automation And Control Solution West Africa Limited.

Lagos summit to focus on energy, participation has not HE forthcoming sum agric, others Sachs’ however, been confirmed. mit in Lagos State will

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focus on four key sectors - power, agriculture and agro allied, transportation and housing and urban renewal. Tagged Ehingbeti 2012, the summit kicks off from April 23 - 25. Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze, disclosed this at a press conference in

Lagos. Akabueze, who is also the chair of the summit, listed key business leaders expected to include Chief Executive Officer,Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Lloyd C. Blankfein and Bill Richardson – a respected American politician, who served as the 30th Governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. Goldman

He noted that although the Nigerian constitution does not categorise the state as the nation’s economic capital but the reality on ground has conferred that status on the state. Akabueze said the Lagos State government is determined to work with the private sector to fully maximise the economic potential of the state.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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BUSINESS NEWS

World Bank president: Jonathan backs Okonjo-Iweala

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has consented to Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the World Bank, whose incumbent president Robert Zoellick, plans to step down when his term expires at the end of June. According to Reuters, two sources said that Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy had the blessings of President Jonathan, who convinced her to join his cabinet last year to lend more weight to his reform agenda. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo are set to be nominated to lead the World Bank, sources with knowledge of emerging market efforts to find candidates told Reuters yesterday. The candidacies of Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo, who have credentials as both economists and diplomats and according to sources the respective backing of Brazil and South Africa, pose a challenge to the United States, whose hold on the top post has never been contested. But with its majority of votes and the expected support of European countries, the

United States is still likely to ensure that another American will succeed Zoellick, who plans to step down when his term expires at the end of June. Washington has held the presidency since the Bank’s founding after World War Two, while a European has always led the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It has yet to publicly identify a nominee to succeed Zoellick. The deadline for submitting nominations is tomorrow, and the Obama administration has said it will name a candidate by then. All of the World Bank’s 187 member-nations have committed to a merit-based process to select Zoellick’s successor. Emerging and developing economies have long talked up their desire to break US and European dominance of the Bretton Woods Institutions, but have until now failed to build a coalition large enough to change the status quo. Three sources said Ocampo, a professor at Columbia University in New York, would be nominated by Brazil. One source said Okonjo-Iweala could be nominated yesterday, while two other

sources said it would be today. Nominations will be submitted to the 25member World Bank board, which has said it will decide on the next president within the next month. The decision to nominate Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo followed weeks of discussions among emerging and developing countries at the World Bank board including China and India. Two sources said South Africa’s director at the World Bank board, Renosi Mokate, who also represents Nigeria and other Englishspeaking African countries, personally flew to Abuja to consult with Okonjo-Iweala about her nomination. “The impressive credentials of both Ocampo and Okonjo-Iweala puts tremendous pressure on the White House to come up with a candidate of at least equivalent standing,” said Domenico Lombardi, a former World Bank board official at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “This signals a big shift and really reflects a game change,” Lombardi added. “This is the first time in history we have a truly contested election.”

Okonjo-Iweala, who left the World Bank as managing director last year to become Nigeria’s finance minister, and Ocampo, a former UN under-secretary for Economic and SocialAffairs, will join American economist Jeffrey Sachs, who has the backing of a handful of small countries, on the nomination list. Sources with knowledge of the administration’s thinking say Washington has focused on convincing a woman to enter the race, which could go some way to address calls by emerging market nations for change. A woman has never led the bank. Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, was a leading contender. However, it is not clear she wants the job, sources have said. Former adviser to President Barack Obama, Lawrence Summers, has also been short-listed for the job. He has declined to comment. US Senator John Kerry and PepsiCo’s Indian-born Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi also made an Obama administration shortlist, according to a source, although Kerry has publicly ruled out the job and Nooyi is no longer in contention, according to another source.


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

16

INDUSTRY

Fed Govt targets growth through SMEs T

HE Federal Government has pledged to strengthen the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by formulating policies that would promote small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). A data from the Ministry of Trade and Investment revealed that 11 million SMEs are registered in the country. The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said in Abuja while receiving members of the governing council of National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) that the fastest way to grow an economy was through SMEs, adding that the government is relying on SMEs to grow the GDP. “From our data, we have close to 11 million SMEs. So, when you are talking about job creation anywhere in the world, SMEs are the biggest employers of labour. So, even if one SME employs one person in a year, that is 11 million

Stories by Toba Agboola

jobs a year,” he noted. He lamented that the SMEs sector’s contributions to the GDP has continued to depreciate despite their growing numbers but assured that the government was focusing on that area of the economy. Speaking earlier, President of NASME, Alhaji Garba Ibrahim, said the purpose of the visit was to put MSMEs in the front burner of economic development. He said for this to be achieved, NASME is asking for a review of conditionalities for accessing credit facilities from development finance institutions to accommodate small business practitioners that find it extremely difficult to access funds from the institutions. He said CBN intervention funds such as the N500 billion infrastructure/SME intervention fund are

•From left: Aganga chatting with Chairman of Trade Policy Review Committee, Prof Ademola Oyejide and Director of Trade, Mr David Adejuwon

mostly not available but exhausted when SMEs approach the deposit money banks for it. “NASME proposes that certain amount of such intervention funds should be domiciled with regional development finance institutions such as the New Nigeria Devel-

opment Company (NNDC) and Odua Investment Company as well as a development institution for the eastern part of the country for easy accessibility to MSMEs spread across the country. He also wanted a second look at the issue of multiple taxation

as it affects small businesses as well as appointment of NASME members into the boards of relevant parastatals/agencies of government where they will make relevant policy inputs that will affect the development of the MSME sector.

Low intra-regional trade worries ECOWAS

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•From left: Erelu Abiola Dosumu, Deputy Governor of Lagos State Mrs Adejoke Orelope Adefulire and Mrs Kehinde Kamson at the African Achievers Award in the United Kingdom

Lagos to play key role in economy

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OR Nigeria to join the group of countries with the leading economic power, Lagos State which is the centre of economic activities has a key role to play. The state is prepared to play this role. This was the submission at a forum in preparation for the forthcoming sixth Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti 2012) The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Lagos State, Mr Ben Akabueze, who is also the Chairman , Ehingbeti 2012 Planning Committee, said Nigeria cannot attain her economic aspirations without Lagos unlocking its much greater potentials for economic activities and growth which will propel the growth of Nigeria and drive her to the aspired position in the world. He said Nigeria needs to join the

group of countries that affect the human development indices of their people lifting them out of poverty. His words: “The key objective is to identify the significant action that need to be taken for us to make that much desired transition to be among the top leading economies of the world and this is about ideas, relationship and investment. “We identified that Nigeria has a progressive growth but largely a jobless growth. As the economy is pressing impressive GDP growth, unemployment is also growing alongside and Nigeria needs to be delivered from this jobless growth. “We believe Lagos can drive this economic aspiration because the state consumes about 45 per cent of petroleum products, about 40 per cent of bank branches are located in Lagos,

we have over 40 per cent subscribers base of telephone networks, the two ports in the state account for about 70 per cent of trade, 80 per cent of international air travels and 50 per cent of domestic flights arrive in Lagos, among other activities.” “The summit will be focusing on four key sectors which are power, agriculture and agro-allied, transportation and housing and urban renewal with the acronym ‘PATH’. These sectors we have identified are sectors that will not only generate growth in themselves but growth that creates jobs and also a chain and multiplier effects which will definitely affect various industries and identify the path that will take Nigeria to her desired goal.” The theme for the programme is ‘From BRICS to BRINCS: Lagos holds the key’.

Stakeholders to revamp textile sector

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EY government ministries, agencies and parastatals have, in an apparent display of patriotic zeal, agreed to team up with the private sector to revamp the ailing textile industry. In line with the Federal Government and the Ministry of Trade and Investment’s push in this direction, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has been chosen as the chief host of the First Fash-

ion and Textile Industry Stakeholders’ Forum, scheduled to hold in the first week of April in Lagos. According to a statement by the organiser, the forum’s leading promoter, Aganga, who gave an indication of his interest to revive the sector during a visit to his office by stakeholders in the textiles and fashion business, will deliver a keynote address on, Government Intervention Plans.

The Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, as the Chairman of the occasion, has also been scheduled to deliver a keynote address on Public Private Partnerships & Inter-ministerial Synergy in Nigeria’s Fashion & Textile Sector, while the Minister of State for Agriculture, Alhaji Bukar Tijani, would speak on, The Cotton Value Chain, the Textile & Fashion Industry and the Country’s Economic Growth.

EMBERS of the ECOWAS Parliament have deplored the low intra-regional trade profile of West Africa member states. This, they said, was having adverse effects on the sub-region’s economy and the financial autonomy of its institutions. This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a seminar on: The Role of the ECOWAS Parliament in the West African Integration Process, held in Accra, Ghana, for members of the community’s parliament. In the communiqué read by the Parliament’s Secretary-General, Mr Muhamed Diakete, the ECOWAS parliamentarians noted that the consolidation of peace and good governance was the major challenge facing the sub-region. They also expressed concerns over the persistence of several obstacles to the progress of integration process and the lacklustre implementation of community programmes and projects as well as in the application of the

ECOWAS Revised Treaty and related protocols, especially those relating to the establishment of single currency and the free movement of persons, goods and services. They raised alarm over the worsening security situation in the SahelSahara and the foreseeable consequences of the Libyan crisis on the West African sub-region. The parliamentarians praised the ECOWAS position on the skirmishes in the Sahel-Sahara zone, especially on the rebel activities in northern Mali. In a closing remark, Speaker of the Parliament and Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said members of the community’s parliament were fully inspired by the inferences they drew from other regional parliaments and were now better motivated to emulate their good examples. He also reiterated the resolve of the community’s parliamentarians to play greater roles in freeing the peoples of the West African sub-region from poverty, ignorance, corruption, and insecurity.

NESG partners states, foreign investors on agric

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HE Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in partnership with the United States Corporate Council for Africa, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Nigerian Embassy in the US have concluded plans to partner with the 36 states on investment in agriculture. At a meeting with Commissioners for Agriculture and Commerce from the 36 states with NESG and US Corporate Council for Africa, Director General of the NESG, Frank Nweke said the efforts of the NESG in promoting investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector is in consideration of its important contribution (42 per cent of GDP) to the economy and its potential to become a leading source of foreign exchange and employment generation. The one-day agribusiness investment meeting tagged: “Nigeria-focused Agribusiness Forum” is a prelude to Nigeria’s participation at the US-Africa Agribusiness Forum, which is taking place in Wash-

ington D.C from April 10 to 11, 2012. Nweke said the objective of the meeting is to ensure that state governments and businesses that wish to participate at the forum come well prepared with adequate information to address investment concerns that may be raised by US Agribusinesses with respect to land administration, fiscal regimes and incentives in the respective states. Speaking at the dialogue, the Chairman of the NESG’s Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission, Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere stressed the importance of Nigeria weaning itself off food importation. He said there is an urgent need for the country to develop existing local capacity for food production, especially during this period of global economic recession and in view of recent adverse global weather conditions in regions from which Nigeria has traditionally imported staples such as rice.


2, 2012

THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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INDUSTRY

NACCIMA demands revival of ministerial quarterly meeting

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HE Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture, NACCIMA has demanded the restoration of the ministerial quarterly meeting between the Minister of Trade and Investment and the Organised Private Sector (OPS). According to the Director General, NACCIMA, Mr John Isemede, “The ministerial quarterly meeting with the OPS should be kept alive. Aganga has capable hands; he has directors and he has a deputy which is Dr Samuel Ortom. Even if he is not available, Ortom can cover up for him.” Answering questions on the performance of the Trade and Investment ministry, he said: “Aganga is performing. We met with him on July 27 last year at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and he made a lot of promises. First and foremost, I have to tell you Aganga is delivering on

Stories by Toba Agboola

his promises. “He came from the Ministry of Finance as the Finance Minister. And while he was there, we cried out and the first thing he did was he supported the bailout for SMEs and all that and the money that was given, N200 billion here and N500 billion there, under two weeks, this money was accessed by members of the OPS. “One thing I can assure you is that the money that was given to the SMEs and agriculture is not money for importation of goods and services, it is money for the revival of our own industrial base and if you now look at the industrial sector, it is not just buying and selling. So what Dr. Aganga had done in the Ministry of Finance is what he is building on in the Trade and Investment Ministry. “And if you look at it, Dr Aganga’s Ministry has

18 parastatals. Corporate Affairs Commission, Bank of Industry is under that ministry, so is NIPC, NEPC, etc. But how much is the budget given to the ministry vis-à-vis other ministries that don’t have much parastatals under them. Look at the manpower and the equipment in that ministry you would know that Dr Aganga is doing a good job.” It will be recalled that more than eight months ago, Aganga met with the leaders of the OPS in Lagos promised to be having regular interactive sessions with the OPS quarterly, to actively involve them on official foreign trips and other initiatives aimed at attracting investments. He also told the OPS that his administration will focus on attracting local and foreign investment, deepening trade and aggressive growth of SMEs.

Marketing & Media appoints new head

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HE Board of Directors of Marketing and Media has announced the appointment of a new head. He is Mr Ayodele Oyebade, AGM, Marketing and Operations. Oyebade was educated at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State and has been an Associate Member of APCON since 2004 and a fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing. He is a trained professional with marketing skills. During his long marketing and advertising career, he was at various

times General Manager of Stardon Marketing Services, Operations Manager and Business Development Manager of Triple A Outdoor Limited. He also authored business and inspirations books such as David’s War Strategies for Business Mangers, Change Agents and The Secret of Great & Beautiful Ladies, which he coauthored with Abiola Ayo-Oyebade) He was a consultant to Project Dance Africa, a dance training project company and entertainment café, a popular T.V series programme in the country.

Firm launches product

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ISTELL Limited,makers of Amarula and other brands has introduced Knight Whisky into the Nigerian market. Knight Whisky,according to the global Marketing Manager,Eliska Botha, is one of the fastest growing brands in Africa due to the excellent quality it offers, coupled with its taste profile. Botha said the whisky can be taken without adding anything or be mixed with water, which does not affect the quality. Commenting, the General Manager, Jacques Mulder, said the whisky is a blend of the finest matured South African whiskies,100 per cent guaranteed and matured for three years,which is the minimum years for whisky, and is in the Nigerian market to grow their business. On viability of sales, Marketing

By Ajose Sehindemi

Manager for North Africa, Leith Whitesman, said positive feedback is assured, as it's introduction was as a result of the reserach done by the company two years ago into the wine and spirit segment of the market,which shows there is a large market for it. “Knight is 43 per cent alcohol content whisky, which is the standard strength in Nigeria,but others have changed it to 40 per cent without recourse to the consumers”, said Botha. Distell is in partnership with Next International, the local partner in Nigeria and is banking on the global strength of the brand to make inroads into the market, hence the use of the catch phrase,'Own the Night, with Knight Whisky'.

Dulux unveils colour of the year S part of efforts to inspire customers and stakeholders, CAP Plc, a subsidiary of UACN Plc and the Dulux technological licensee of AkzoNobel (World’s largest paint and coatings manufacturer), has unveiled Tea Dance as the Dulux colour of the year. Speaking at the unveiling, Managing Director of CAP Plc, Mrs Omolara Elemide, said the power of colour and its effects on our disposition is the inspiration for the colour. “We understand the power of colour and the positive effect it has on our moods; hence, we will not relent in educating and inspiring our customers and stakeholders anytime such an opportunity arises. Dulux colour of the year is, undoubtably, one of the veritable platforms that provide such an ample opportunity to drive home our deep knowledge of the colour business,” she said. She added that “As usual,

A •From left: Marketing Manager Africa For Distell, Makers Of Knights Whisky, Leith Whitesman, Marketing Manager, Nigeria, Lizzy Iroha, Global Marketing Manager (Spirit), Eliska Botha, National Sales Manager, Sunny Ukpaka and General Manager, Jacques Mulder at the Launch of Distell’s Knights Whisky in Lagos.

Privatisation made steel sector stagnant

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HE privatisation of public enterprises by the Federal Government has brought seven years of stagnation to the steel sector, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Musa Sada, has said. Sada, who said this in a keynote address delivered at the Second National Steel Summit in Abuja, added that any nation that was serious about growth must develop its steel sector because it provides the base for industrial takeoff. He said: “The objectives of

privatisation were to encourage the private sector to own and run the enterprises, while the government would only play the role of a regulator. But the privatised enterprises have not shown any sign of visible growth since the last five to seven years due to various factors such as inadequate infrastructural facilities such as power supply, scarcity of raw materials and indiscriminate importation of metal products. “The privatisation in the steel sector began in 2000. By the middle of

2005, the three inland rolling mills, Delta Steel Company and Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria were successfully privatised, while the Ajaokuta Steel plant and the National Iron Ore Mining Company were given out on concession to core investors.” “The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), which carried out the privatisation of these enterprises, for several reasons, has not been able to achieve the objectives of the privatisation programme in this sector,” the minister added.

Sweet Sensation promises improved service delivery

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WEET Sensation, has promised its teeming customers of improve service delivery to remain the recognized leader in the confectionery sector, just as it also introduced two new products. Speaking with the media at a parley, the Executive Director, Sweet Sensation, Mrs. Mr Tunji Kamson, stated that the outlet is a proudly Nigeria firm with interest in hospitality and well being having a particular focus on promoting family values and creating the environment needed for the development of individual self esteem. According to him, the firm is driven by excellence in customer service, service delivery, health and hygiene standards, industry best practices and value for our people. He noted that over the years, the outlet through its strings of innova-

tion in product development, service delivery and work culture has laid a feat that has become a tradition in the QSR industry, saying it is the first to offer a combination of continental and local delicacies presented in style and comfort on any Nigerian QSR floor. Also speaking at the event, the Marketing Manager Sweet Sensation, Mr. Olayemi Yusuf, disclosed that the company does not take quality lightly and that is why, according to him, there is continuous training and retraining programmes for its staff to imbibe them into the vision of the company. “We are embarking on an internal training workshop for all our staff to be handled by our quality control unit. The essence simply is to let them know that quality and hygiene cannot be compromised,” Yusuf declared.

Yusuf reiterated that Sweet Sensation will continue to work with the National Agency for Food Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC) in its drive to ensure that there is sanity in the fast food industry. “As a leader in this business, it is on us to set the pace for others to follow.We have been friends of NAFDAC and we will continue to work with the agency and other relevant regulatory bodies to ensure that standard operating procedures are strictly adhere to while serving our numerous consumers better,” he added. Sweet Sensation, which started operation in Nigeria over 15 years ago, has grown to be a force to reckon with in the Quick Service Restaurants (OSR) industry with 22 outlets spread across the country.

Akzonobel, through its Global Aesthetic Centre, has predicted the key colour trends for 2012. This has been achieved through painstaking efforts of creative experts from the fields of design, architecture and fashion. They come from different parts of the world and draw on a variety of cultural sources and influences. Their views, insights and findings on trends are translated into colour palettes. With this information, the colour that will be most visible and influential for the year is predicted.” The Chairman, CAP Plc, Mr Larry Ettah, said the possibilities of colour is driving the innovation of CAP Plc to predict the key colour trends for 2012. He noted that the 2012 colour epitomizes colourful possibilities, since consumers are now so knowledgeable and sophisticated. This in essence reflects the dominant attribute of the 2012 Dulux colour of the year

Jakande, Johnson, Tinubu, others to be honoured

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AST governors of Lagos State, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Bola Tinubu, will among others be honoured for their contribution to the development of the small and medium enterprises (SME), at the award ceremony of the Yaba Industrial estate association. This was disclosed by the president of Premier Industrial Estate Co-operative Multi-Purpose Society Limited, Alhaji Olayiwola Jaji,who said those to be honoured will include entrepreneurs who have spent over 30 years in the SME sector in the state. Jaji said this at a briefing on the upcoming trade fair and exhibition of the estate coming up from April 11 to 12. The Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr Paul Orhil,

By Ajose Sehindemi

representative from Bank of Industry (BoI), and other organisations have indicated their readiness to be present at the fair He said the fair is aimed at refocusing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and boost its jobcreating capacity, while also providing an avenue for outsiders to identify with the business activities in the estate.. Jaji urged the government to build industrial estates in all the local governments of the federation to create massive jobs that can reduce unemployment to the barest minimum. He noted that SMEs need better funding to create more jobs arguing that a sector that engages about 70 per cent of the labour force deserves more attention.


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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EDITORIAL/OPINION Comments

EDITORIAL FROM OTHER LAND

House takes after Senate •Okays jumbo quarterly allowances for its members in so insensitive a manner

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ARELY three months after Nigerians protested the imposition of a fuel price hike disguised as removal of fuel subsidy, House of Representatives members have increased each member’s quarterly allowance from N15milion to N27million. This is about 80 per cent increase and it translates to about N9.72bilion that Nigerians have to cough up quarterly, or N38.88billion per year to pay the lawmakers the new rate. Government had predicated its decision to remove fuel subsidy in January on the need to cut cost in order to free some resources for infrastructural development. The fuel price hike protests also brought to the fore the oft repeated need for government to prune recurrent expenditure in the public sector. Even the President and his cabinet decided to reduce their earnings by about 25 per cent, although

‘There can never be an end to bitter struggles for political appointments or elections as long as there is so much to lose financially. But our lawmakers have to be careful so that Nigerians do not see the National Assembly as the Nigerian version of the Bastille. They should realise that we had lawmakers in the First Republic and they never exposed themselves to the kind of corruption now passing off as legitimate rewards for lawmakers’

Nigerians felt that the real sacrifice is in the bogus amounts in the budget for meals, contracts and other goods and services in the Presidency. It is almost certain that the lawmakers would see their new quarterly allowances as enough sacrifice given that their immediate predecessors received N42million per quarter for the same purpose. Moreover, their counterparts in the upper legislative chamber, the Senate, still earn N45million each for the purpose. We can only imagine what the Speaker would have gone through during the series of pressure mounted to have the allowance jacked up. And to think that this is just one of the lawmakers’ many entitlements. The other benefits that National Assembly members enjoy as approved by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) include vehicle maintenance and fuelling allowance, house maintenance, entertainment, utilities, constituency allowance, hardship allowance, vehicle loan, duty tour and estacode, where applicable, among others. No doubt, our legislators are some of the highest paid in the world. In this current instance, we are not even sure if the RMAFC is aware of the development and whether it approved of it. We doubt though, because the increase was reportedly done surreptitiously. It is unfortunate that Nigeria has, right from the beginning of this democratic dispensation, been unfortunate to have legislators who have almost always put self first when it mattered most. The nation comes second. This insensitive disposition started with the jumbo furniture allowance that the

first set of lawmakers awarded themselves not long after we returned to democratic rule in 1999. We wonder what the lawmakers need all the money for. And these are people on part-time duty. We wonder too how much they will demand from the country if they were to be on full-time employment. The excuse that they need an enhanced quarterly allowance to insulate them from temptation from the ministries, departments and agencies that they carry out oversight functions on is untenable. In the first place, there is no amount of money that is paid to someone with itchy palms that will dissuade him or her from collecting gratification. Secondly, lawmakers elsewhere see their positions as a privilege and as public service. It is not about money. Even in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States that are developed and the standard of living is far better than ours, their lawmakers do not receive fat-cat salaries and allowances. Yet, they get the job done. Citizens of those countries get value for the barely adequate pay they give their lawmakers. There can never be an end to bitter struggles for political appointments or elections as long as there is so much to lose financially. But our lawmakers have to be careful so that Nigerians do not see the National Assembly as the Nigerian version of the Bastille. They should realise that we had lawmakers in the First Republic and they never exposed themselves to the kind of corruption now passing off as legitimate rewards for lawmakers.

Exit officer and gentleman • Major-Gen. Henry Adefope (15 March 1926 - 11 March 2012) IS was the era when the military had not lost its innocence. He joined the military as a gentleman doctor. He exited as a gentleman general. And now, he just exited life as a gentleman citizen, without any speck of odium. That is the story of Major-Gen. Henry Edmund Olufemi Adefope, the Nigerian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who died on March 11. Gen. Adefope read medicine at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and graduated in 1953. He practiced as a doctor from 1953 to 1963, before joining the Nigerian Army, numbering among the pioneering members of the army’s medical corps, and rising to be the army director of medical services. The twin tale of two army medics, Gen. Henry Adefope and Brig. Austen Peters,

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‘The most striking thing perhaps about Gen. Adefope was not an elite professional joining the army, when he had the world virtually at his feet to practise medicine. Hundreds of others did and, like Gen. Adefope, distinguished themselves, though Gen. Adefope, before joining the army, had the singular honour to have medically examined Gen. Yakubu Gowon, prelude to Gowon’s entry into the army’

are instructive. Before the ruinous era where even well-connected captains and majors in the army retired into obscene opulence but with absolutely no name, Austen Peters built a monument to himself in Austen’s Place, a relaxation spot in the then newly developed Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Complex in Lagos. So, a retired brigadier-general could proudly be linked with running a pub like other lesser mortals? Those were the days before the Nigerian Army lost its innocence! For Gen. Adefope, it was public service till his creator called him. After serving as director of medical services in the Nigerian Army, he tasted some political appointments. He was Federal Commissioner (now called minister) for Labour (1975-1978) and Federal Commissioner for External Affairs (19781979), after which he retired from the army. Running parallel to his army and political postings, he was logging an impressive record in sports administration. From 1967 to 1976, he was in the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC), of which he later became president. It was during this period that Nigeria hosted its first All Africa Games, the 2nd All Africa Games in Lagos in 1973. He was also vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Federation from 1974 to 1982. His sports tour of duty reached the climax when in 1985 he replaced the late Sir Adetokunbo Ademola as the Nigerian member in IOC. Ironically, it was during his IOC membership that his integrity faced its stiffest test. But he

passed the muster. As IOC member, he was a member of the commission that picked host cities for the 2000 and 2004 summer Olympic Games, as well as the 2002 winter games. The 2002 games generated a bid scandal, for which Gen. Adefope, with others, was investigated. But he was exonerated and cleared of any wrongdoing, thus retaining his good name. The most striking thing perhaps about Gen. Adefope was not an elite professional joining the army, when he had the world virtually at his feet to practise medicine. Hundreds of others did and, like Gen. Adefope, distinguished themselves, though Gen. Adefope, before joining the army, had the singular honour to have medically examined Gen. Yakubu Gowon, prelude to Gowon’s entry into the army. It was rather that he shaped his career in the army in his own gentlemanly image and refused to be shaped by the rather gruff and rough temper that many associate with the military. That meant that in and out of uniform, Gen. Adefope was his genteel, unassuming, polite and urbane self, the quintessential citizen officer. Of course, he belonged to the saner generation of the Nigerian military, a generation that took rather seriously the dictum of officer and gentleman. He lived that credo till he breathed his last. And the present military have a model to emulate, as they continue the rebuilding process, after the years of the locust, climaxed by the Sani Abacha era. Adieu, citizen officer and gentleman. May your soul find perfect peace!

Smartphones don’t cry

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T’S easy to imagine that there’s something more than just microchips and wires inside today’s smart gadgets. But there isn’t. Staring at a face reflected in the gleaming surface of a new iPad, or hearing Siri’s synthesized voice answer questions on an iPhone, it’s easy to imagine that there’s something more than just microchips and wires inside those smart machines. There isn’t. But scientists envision a day when computing devices and their software will not only be as smart as the humans who designed them but also be able to upgrade themselves. Then what happens? At a recent and somewhat whimsical panel discussion in Austin, Texas, a trio of robotics experts disagreed on whether events are leading inexorably to a Hollywood-style battle between robots and their creators. But they raised an issue to grapple with today: whether humans should treat their increasingly lifelike machines humanely. The relentless advance of technology is driven largely by the steadily increasing power of microprocessors. As that power increases, so do the capabilities of the researchers who are pushing the limits of artificial intelligence. It’s just a matter of time before the awesome, “Jeopardy!”-dominating capabilities ofIBM’s Watson supercomputer are a routine feature of cheap PCs; at that point, panelist William Hertling said, hobbyists and scientists together will develop machines that rewrite their own software and eliminate their own shortcomings. It’s impossible to predict where that sort of “technological singularity” might lead. But even though Hertling and fellow panelist Daniel Wilson have both written apocalyptic novels about the future of artificial intelligence, both argued that we will have plenty of time to avert a global robot rebellion. Panelist Chris Robson, a mathematician who once worked forHewlettPackardon self-modifying hardware, wasn’t so sure, saying the era of machines that improve themselves has already arrived. In the meantime, all three agreed, smart machines pose moral quandaries that earlier gadgets didn’t. It’s not that machines have rights that must be respected. It’s that there’s something corrosive about abusing a device that mimics a living creature. As Wilson put it, society might consider it OK to smash a toaster but not an interactive toy with a synthetic personality, even if it doesn’t really have feelings. To do otherwise risks raising a generation of people inured to cruelty. The downside is that the more we treat machines as our friends, the easier it will be for them to enslave us. But then, smartphones appear to have done that already. – Los Angeles Times

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

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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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EDITORIAL/OPINION

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IR: About 10.00 a.m on Monday, March 19, about 10 men, including four armed policemen, invaded my private residence at Edepie-Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The men introduced themselves as members of a taskforce set up by the state governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson to recover vehicles belonging to the government of Bayelsa State. My aides told the task force team that there were no such vehicles in the compound. Nor was there any in my possession anywhere. They then inquired about my whereabouts, insisting that they needed to meet me in person. Now there were three cars parked

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Agents of Bayelsa govt after me at the residence. Since my aides refused to disclose my whereabouts, the team insisted on leaving with two of the vehicles. My aides refused, and the invading team threatened to remove the cars forcefully. After a shouting bout, my House Manager then brought out the keys of one of the cars and the

documentation showing the name of the owner, who is a serving member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. The House Manager explained that he did not have any other key apart from the one he brought. The team left with the car and my house manager, with a threat to

come back to tow another car. They were taken to Government House, Yenagoa, and detained illegally for about three hours. The Honourable member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly has gone to Government House to retrieve the car and my house manager has since returned to the

Tackling Apapa-Oshodi expressway gridlock

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IR: The Apapa-Oshodi expressway is one road that is very strategic as a major gateway to the country’s sea ports. More than 75 per cent of the goods that are imported into the country come through the ports in Lagos and the major ports in the country are based in Apapa. That Apapa is key to the prosperity of Nigeria is an understatement. Unfortunately, in recent time, motorists and commuters plying the expressway have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by perennial traffic gridlock that has become a recurring decimal along the everbusy road. The issues involved on the road are multi-faceted. For one, it is in a real bad shape. Second, the nuisance of trailer drivers on the road is alarming. Not only that they drive recklessly, but they park their trailers indiscriminately along the road. Third, incessant cases of abandoned vehicles equally constitute a major hindrance to motorists on the highway. Also, the unprecedented upsurge of petrol tankers on the road is closely tied to the continuous importation of locally consumed fuel in the country. There are more than 50 depots in Lagos, which means there are between 50 and 400 trucks that load in one day. Over 80 per cent of fuel supplies in the country are from Lagos, hence, tanker drivers come from all over

the country to source the products. To tackle the threat posed by the road to the nation’s economy, the federal government recently awarded contract for the rehabilitation of the road to Julius Berger Plc. On its part, the Lagos State Government built a tanker terminal with a capacity to take between 500 and 2000 trucks along the axis. However, it is sad to note that the tanker drivers have failed to patronize the park but prefer to create nuisance on the highway while waiting to load fuel. There is now an urgent need for relevant agencies to put in place a more institutionalized framework

to traffic control on the expressway. For instance, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) should stop issuing loading ticket for tanker drivers when adequate preparation has not been made for them. It is important that more tank farms are constructed along this axis to contain the over 3,000 tankers that come into Lagos on a daily basis. Presently, only two tank farms owned by Capital Oil and MRS are in operation along the axis and their capacity is not enough to accommodate the numerous tankers. It is hoped that tankers and trailers’ Park being built by the Federal Government

at the Tin Can end of the expressway is completed in time to ameliorate the situation. More importantly, there is an urgent need for the construction of more refineries across the country. A greater proportion of the petroleum product is consumed in Lagos because the refineries outside Lagos are not working. Continuous importation of fuel, no doubt, will continue to put more pressure on Lagos and its infrastructure. • Tayo Ogunbiyi Min. of Information Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

and

residence. I find the invasion of my private residence by agents of Governor Dickson completely preposterous, unwarranted and illegal. I do not have any vehicle belonging to the Government of Bayelsa State in my possession. A day after the Supreme Court ruling removing Chief Timipre Sylva as Governor of Bayelsa State, I returned to Yenagoa and handed over all government property, including identity card, in my possession as Chief Press Secretary to the Governor. Even if Hon. Dickson and his agents want to recover government property, as the invading team claims, it needs to be done properly, with proper notification. I have neither been notified nor accused of being in possession of any property belonging to the Bayelsa State government. I bring this incident to the public domain because I do not know what further steps are being contemplated by agents of the state govenment. If they think that by invading my residence I will abandon my principal and the pursuit of justice, they are gravely mistaken. Before I was invited by former Governor Sylva to work with him, I earned my living and moved freely in Nigeria and the world, including Yenagoa. I intend to continue in that regard as a free Nigerian citizen from Bayelsa State. • Doifie Ola Yenagoa, Bayelsa State

My grouse with Ajayi Crowther University

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IR: Last month, the students of Ajayi Crowther University Oyo, protested the death of their colleague in school clinic due to lackadaisical attitude of the clinic’s staff and the ill-equipped nature of the school clinic. In the process, properties were damaged and some building reportedly burnt and the school was eventually closed down. Before this ugly incident, there has never be a case of violence reported from the students because they are known to be peaceful, serious, focused and God fearing. I was not happy when I saw the conditions that were given before

the students can be allowed back on campus and to sit for their examination. Each student was required to pay a reparation of N15,000 into the university account for damages. Students were also required to submit a copy of sworn affidavit of good behavior for the rest of his/her period of studentship in the university in addition to a letter from his/her Vica/Pastor or other reputable members of the public giving assurance that the student will be of good behavior. Ajayi Crowther University Oyo is a private University owned by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion with exhorbitant

fees like other private universities. Parents are paying through their noses for sending their wards to these private universities in order to give them qualitative and uninterrupted education lacking in public universities. That is why students were enraged when one of them died in the school’s ill-equipped clinic and now they are to pay for damages. Then who pays for the life of the student that was lost? What steps has the school authority taken to upgrade the facilities in school to justify high fees the students are paying? Is the school authority ready to sign an

undertaking assuring the parents that their wards’ welfare will be well taken care of in school? These are the questions I want the school authority to answer as the students go back. Though I am not supporting the unruly behavior of the students, my point is, to whom much is given, much is expected. I therefore call on the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion to meet the management of the school on how to improve the standard of the facilities of the school according to their vision and mission. • Ajiboye John Tosin Osogbo Osun State


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

21

EDITORIAL/OPINION

The Nigeria-South Africa diplomatic tiff

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IGERIA was right in sending the right message based strictly on the Principle of Reciprocity to South Africa. It is not just South Africa that treats us badly with regards to visa. Most African countries do the same thing. Kenya is particularly notorious for this. The basis of hostility to Nigerians is the apparent non-conformity of our citizens with the Mores and Traditions of the foreign societies where they live. Nigerians also have a reputation for carrying drugs across frontiers, for indulging in advance fee frauds and for human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and for exploiting the spiritual needs of their host and for general loud behavior including wild parties and loud music. Our so called Nollywood has also not helped by presenting Nigerian society ridiculed with black magic, and all sorts of mumbo jumbo, and witchcraft. All these tend to build a negative image of an otherwise goal getting and can do people. Nigerians are the only people that I know who would forge travelling documents and when confronted by host immigration officials would aggressively demand that their fundamental human rights be respected. I remember an incident in which a Nigerian was arrested in Vienna, Austria in 1994 with several forged passports of some European countries and when he was queried, he demanded that he would like to speak to his country’s ambassador in Austria and when he couldn’t get through, I was called in Germany where I was then Nigeria’s ambassador about a citizen of my country in trouble; needless to say that this particular person was not even remorseful. Yes it is necessary on the Principles of Reciprocity to adopt a tit-for-tat policy and I commend our Foreign Minister,

‘Our people need to be told that they have a responsibility to this country. They should be told that they are the public face of Nigeria abroad and that they are unpaid ambassadors of this country and that whatever they do has a repercussion on our relations with their host countries. It would be impossible for Nigeria to defend the indefensible when they misbehave or go against the laws of their host countries’

Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru and his officials in our Foreign Ministry, for their stance in the case of the recent NigeriaSouth African diplomatic row. Critics of our Santa Claus foreign policy in relation to our sister African countries over the years as shown in our spending $10 Billion in making peace in Liberia and Sierra Leone and more than $10 billion in the struggle for decolonization of South Africa and dismantling of the Apartheid regime and in granting concessions on crude oil sales to Ghana and Ivory Coast in particular and other West African states in general; have always accused us of having no post-conflict or dividends. My reply to such critics is that when a black man suffer anywhere in the world on account of his race, all black men suffers a little. This was the basis of the policy enunciated by the Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who for some time in 1960 doubled as Foreign Minister as well when he stated that Nigeria would defend the rights of all black men, particularly on the African continent or wherever they may be in the world. This was why in 1961, Nigeria broke diplomatic ties with France over the testing of atomic bombs in the Sahara, an event which would have exposed the entire black people in Africa to increased incidence of cancers, if Nigeria had not done anything. Nigeria alone bore the brunt of French anger because no other African country followed the Nigerian example. The point needs to be made that Nigeria has paid its dues and that we are now in a new era where respect must beget respect. We know of course that Nigeria has problems at home, problems of rampant corruption, government inefficiency, nepotism, tribalism, and ethnic conflicts and now climaxing in religious fundamentalism occasioning in the Boko Haram terrorism. Our problems are in the public domain, the whole world knows about them and sometimes we are ridiculed as a nation because of these problems. These problems have also led to massive migration of our youth to other countries in search of employment and the good life. There are millions of Nigerians in the USA, Europe, in Asia, in Latin America, and in Austrailiasia. If we are to count people of Nigerian descent in the Sudan, the Nigerian Diaspora would actually double. Wherever our people are, they carry with them, our culture, particularly our music, dress and culinary habits. Sometimes this brings to us compliments or odium depending on the local perception in those countries. Many of our people outside Nigeria contribute positively to our economy, sending anything from $5 billion and $10 billion dollars back to the country annually. If only because of this, their interests need to be protected and defended. At the same time, our people need to be told that they have a responsibility to this country. They should be told that they

are the public face of Nigeria abroad and that they are unpaid ambassadors of this country and that whatever they do has a repercussion on our relations with their host countries. It would be impossible for Nigeria to defend the indefensible when they misbehave or go against the laws of their host countries. They should avoid everything that would contribute to the image of the ugly Nigeria. Jide They should realize Osuntokun that as a big African country, Nigeria is an object of envy and natural resentment for a big brother. They should pursue their business transparently without cutting corners and they should do everything to destroy the image of Nigerians as sharp and unscrupulous business people who are ready to kill their own mothers for a fast buck. Finally, it is not in every case that reciprocity would pay, but in the existing situation of our relations with South Africa and other African and non-African countries. We must make sure that the language is clear and that unless in a criminal case, Nigeria would adopt a policy of “our tit for their tat”, but certainly not indiscriminately. In the specific case of the Yellow Fever cards, as far as I know, South Africa must be one of the few countries still demanding them. I go all over the world and nobody demands a Yellow Fever certificate and as far as I know, Nigeria is not a Yellow Fever endemic area. Whatever negotiations we have to carry out with South Africa that point would have to be made strongly. If Nigeria wants to be difficult we could also demand from South African visitors to our country, AIDS free certificate, after all South Africa has the unenviable record of every one in five of their people having AIDS. South Africa also needs to be told of the danger of xenophobia of which she can justly be accused of but as previously stated, the onus of bad behaviour is not only on South Africa alone, but on our nationals who instead of staying at home to make a living, troop to other countries, In search of Eldorado. The point must be made that streets abroad are not paved with gold.

Hell and a woman’s fury

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T one time or the other, you may have heard of the phrase: ‘’you never know with women’’. This does not mean that we should have nothing to do with the fairer sex, but a call to be on our guard when dealing with them. Women are fragile and at the same time delicate. They can make or mar a man. We all know what Eve did to Adam in the Garden of Eden. As it was then, so it is now and so it will be forever . A woman is at peace with herself and the world when things are going on well between her and her male companion. This is the time to see the best side of a woman as she will go out of her way to satisfy her man. But woe betide that man once the woman feels her place is being threatened. She will become a changed person within the twinkling of an eye, leaving people wondering is this the same caring and loving woman? Women are like serpent when they are offended. They throw caution to the wind as they fight with everything at their disposal to regain their pride and salve their wound. In such a moment, they are dangerous, even more dangerous than a lion. Men who know how to handle women don’t play with their emotions because to do so is to court trouble. This is why Shakespeare wrote long ago that ‘’hell has no fury like a woman scorned’’. But this is not about love nor is it aimed

at running down women. How can I do that when we have many of them who are good? But women no matter how good and godfearing they are will always act true to type once in a while. What happened at the public sitting of the House Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, last week, showed the risk we all run when we tangle with women. Unlike a man, a woman’s word carries weight not necesssarily because she is more honest and sincere than the man but for the reason of her sex. It is an unwritten rule that women like lawyers don’t lie. But can you show me a lawyer that doesn’t lie? If you cannot, then forget about women not given to lying. When the House Committee embarked on the probe of ‘’the manifest causes of the near collapse of the capital market’’, it probably did so with the best of intentions. The probe was borne out of the House of Representatives’ concern for the capital market which has remained prostate since the 2009 global recession. While some stock exchanges are said to have started picking up, the Nigerian Stock Exchange has not shown any sign of improvement. Investors keep running away from the market, as there is no sign of a rescue in sight. What could be the reason for this? This is the poser the committee was mandated to unravel. The House might have become worried

‘Whether ‘’stolen’’ or not, the question is : are the contents of the memo true? ... A bribe dressed as ‘’donation’’ is nothing but a bribe, and the giver and taker must go in for it’

that two years after the emergence of a new management at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) , which regulates the market, investment in stocks, shares and equities is still at a low ebb. The fault may not be that of the regulator or its management, but the House like many Nigerians might have felt that it was necessary to hear those in charge so as to identify the problems. After all, if there are no problems the market may not be where it is today. When SEC Director-General Ms Arunma Oteh appeared before the Herman Hembe- led committe last Tuesday she probably never knew that certain tricky questions will be asked. Albeit, she was looking forward to taking ‘’a bow and go’’, but she was rattled when the questions started coming down like torrents. Ms Oteh would have thought ‘’but this is not what we bargained for after footing the bill for this probe.’’ What irked Ms Oteh was what she considered the audacity of the lawmakers in asking her sensitive questions after a ‘’gentleman’s agreement’’ probably reached after SEC gave the committee N30.4 million for the probe. hy did SEC deem it nec essary to ‘’donate’’ N30.4 million to the committee? Did the cimmittee ask for the ‘’donation’’? Were there other ‘’donations’’ from other players in the capital market? How much did they ‘’donate’’? Who are the donors? Is it right for the committee to receive ‘’donations’’? Won’t it be compromised in the discharge of its duties by such ‘’donations’’? Is money not budgeted for by the House for its committees’ sittings? How much is the budget? What should be the rela-

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tionship between a committee and an agency over which it exercises oversight functions? Should it receive gifts or donations from such agencies? These, I believe, are some of the questions the security agencies should find answers to in their investigation of this case. Ms Oteh spilled the beans because the panel felt that the bills she incurred on feeding and accommodation were too high. Hembe alleged that she spent N850,000 and N85,000 on hotel accommodation and feeding in one day! Where did she sleep and what did she eat? Hembe accused SEC of negligence and compromise,. saying the agency turned a blind eye to the plight of investors during the capital market crisis. He wondered why SEC hired two Access Bank workers, asking: ‘’How can you allow Access Bank which is one of the financial institutions that SEC regulates to second its staff to your office? ‘’This can compromise the operations of SEC and further kill the confidence members of the public have in the capital market’’. What probably shook Ms Oteh most was the questioning of her integrity by Hembe, who told her to prove her competence and qualification for the job. As if stung by a bee, Ms Oteh fired from all cylinders. Accusing Hembe of demanding bribe from SEC, she said : ‘’In asking SEC to contribute N39 million for this public hearing, don’t you think you are undermining your capacity to carry out your duties? ‘’. She said Hembe was not fit to sit in judgement over her, accusing him of ‘’bias’’. With this matter now in the public domain, the people are waiting to see how it will end. Will it be properly investigated or will it be

Lawal Ogienagbon

lawal.ogienagbon@thenationonlineng.net

swept under the carpet like the elRufai vs Mantu saga? We have heard from both parties and the issues appear straight forward. Hembe has released documents purporting that SEC initiated the move to ‘’donate’’ N30 million to the panel, but Ms Oteh is claiming that he asked the commission for the money. Who is lying between the duo? The Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which were at the public sitting, should be able to unearth the truth through diligent investigation. SEC has even admitted the existence of the memoranda released by Hembe on Tuesday, purportedly approving the N30 million ‘’donation’’ to the panel. But the memo, it claimed, were ‘’stolen’’. Whether ‘’stolen’’ or not, the question is : are the contents true? If they are, Ms Oteh and her board has some questions to answer. A bribe dressed as ‘’donation’’ is nothing but a bribe, and the giver and taker must go in for it. That is what the law says. SMS ONLY: 08056504763


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

22

EDITORIAL/OPINION

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OR those who may still be wondering why President Goodluck Jonathan reserves strategic positions in his administration for women, the superlative performance of Ms Arunma Oteh, DirectorGeneral of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the ongoing capital market probe should be persuasive enough. Arunma was a marvel to watch as she clinically dusted Herman Hembe, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market. Hembe had a day earlier spoke of his messianic mission to “work assiduously to get the capital market back to its desirable heights” and boasted of loads of incriminating petitions from stakeholders to prove under hand dealings in the acquisition and merger of banks with subtle support of the capital market regulators. It was also the day the inquisition of Oscar Onyema, the Director- General Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), accused of “alleged contempt of parliament” got underway. Suddenly his academic qualification and evidence of participation in NYSC scheme became an issue. But as Hembe discovered albeit too late, unlike Onyema, Oteh was not an easy prey. She carried no intimidating weapon in her arsenals beyond her ravishing beauty and coy smiles. Indeed the questions with which she rattled Hembe were innocuous, simple and on the surface appeared insipid .Some of such inoffensive questions are: “In asking the SEC to contribute N39 million for this public hearing, don’t you think that you are undermining your capacity to carry out your duties?” “You think that if Hon Emeka Ihedioha, the Deputy Speaker of this House, being the nephew to Prof. Ndi-Okereke Onyuike, and having his wife work in the Abuja office of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, don’t you think it will be compromising his capacity to carry out his duties?” And with a mischievous coy smile in her bewitching eyes, she made a simple statement of fact but with a devastating effect: “you did not travel and you never returned the money”, an allusion to Hembe’s request from her organisation some money and a Business Class ticket to travel to the Dominican Republic for a conference. (Hembe has since admitted to the charge but insisted that he made another trip up to Texas, USA). And finally with a sense of modesty that belies her victory, she gave her verdict: “This has been a Kangaroo court. Not even in Idi Amin’s Uganda did we have this type of public

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HE federal government put up a contraption called “Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme” (SURE). It had also said the SURE was no longer sure after it had successfully deceived the unsuspecting Labour unions into foolishly abandoning the most successful mass protests in history. Now fuel scarcity is back and it is being rumoured that it is a ploy to increase once again the pump price of fuel from N97 to N141. By this deception, the federal government has demonstrated its preference for the first alternative decision, i.e. remove fuel subsidy by all means. It is even fraudulent for the government to have increased the price of fuel to N97 and then inaugurated SURE without waiting for the report of the House of Representatives’ probe on the contentious issue of oil subsidy. Corruption as defined by Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, is decay like corruption of the body. I see corruption, in and outside government, as the putrid odour fouling the Nigerian atmosphere and its social, political and economic systems, and from which we must all run away. Be assured that nothing would come out of the oil subsidy probe by the House of Representatives, as the counter probe by the federal government is meant to kill the authentic probe by representatives of the people. If big people, in and outside government are involved and indicted, we may never know them; we may also never know if some people in government are being paid five to 10 kobo per litre of expended kerosene or fuel to secretly grease their private accounts. Corruption, I say, is the real cause of the removal of subsidy that is gradually killing all of us, without noticeable remedy now or in the nearest future. For now the NLC (not the civil society groups) has been beaten flat for its lack of wisdom and foresight by calling off the protests that would have solved the problems of oil subsidy probably for ever and a day! Now, the same NLC is shedding crocodile tears by yelling at President Jonathan who has outwitted them beyond redemption. It is very unlikely they would get the kind of support they got from the civil societies again unless they make a serious atonement for their last unimaginable blunder and

Arunma Oteh Vs Herman Hembe hearing.” By the time she was through with flustered Herman, “the falcon had become the falconer.” Looking for the support of the public, an exasperated Herman said: “Strong issues of corruption have been made against me and the committee”. But unsure of sympathy of the public that has increasingly come to see the legislators as national looters, Herman turned to EFCC and ICPC, the two anti corruption bodies he had invited to rein in Miss Arunmah Oteh, but now for his own protection. Hembe had in November last year brought a motion under matter of urgent national importance claiming anticipated economic gain from Capital Market cannot be achieved when the capital market remained comatose. He told his colleagues that it was imperative they work assiduously to get the capital market back to its desirable heights. His colleagues were persuaded and in December 2011 gave his committee a mandate to probe the capital market and the activities of the market regulators, But now Ms Oteh is insinuating, Hembe was motivated not by desire to serve the nation but self. And Hembe’s case is not helped by the fact that there is an ongoing court case between the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) and The Nigerian Stock Exchange. While the outcome of the court case was still being awaited, Hembe committee embarked on an endeavour Ms Oteh strongly believes was conceived to line the pocket of some legislators

Unfortunately if the public, whose opinion, President Jonathan recently claimed counts for little, were to choose between Hembe and Oteh on this issue, the latter will in all probability, carry the day. And this will not be on account of the wiles of women, but on account of unwholesome revelations coming from other committees set up by the National Assembly. Increasingly, these revelations seem to validate Ms Arunnma’s thesis that probes by NAAS are self-serving. And I think this is why it will be of interest to know why Herman Hembe thought it was the responsibility of Security Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide funds to defray cost of its own probe and the motive of SEC for initiating the move as it has now been claimed by the dissolved Hembe’s committee. Could this be the standard practice among the various National Assembly committees? These are issues for the ethics committee of the House and EFCC that have already waded in to resolve in the interest of the health of the nation. Oteh might have secured public sympathy through her pyrrhic victory that has now led to the dissolution of Hembe’s committee, but this in my opinion does not make her a saint. She was during her outing more interested in discrediting the Hembe’s committee that she forgot to address the weighty issue of squandering of N30 million taxpayers money as hotel bills in eight months. She similarly ignored the allegation she overstayed or in the hotel beyond the statutory 28 days. Could such recklessness be the rule rather than the

Palliative nonsense revisited By Moses Akin Makinde hypocritical behaviour. As for now and the future, events may just take its natural course. Hungry people, people say, are angry people, and if a goat is driven to the wall, it does the hitherto impossible: bite its pursuer (although we know that goats do not bite). I hinge my position on the removal of oil subsidy, and meaninglessness of the so-called palliatives, even if it had not been willfully and recklessly abandoned or modified. On the vehicle palliative, I make bold to say that no amount of vehicles provided (not even free of charge) to transporters would make the required impact on transportation costs. The government is talking as if its palliatives would bring money, food and succour to the generality of Nigerians, and especially the jobless and the retirees who are more sinned against than sinning! Please note that the majority of roads that are used daily by Nigerians are very bad roads that are not worth courting. The government is thinking erroneously that by loaning vehicles to transporters, all would be well. The federal government is also talking as if the vehicle palliatives and the sharing of expected savings from removal of oil subsidy among the three tiers of governments would actually put extra money into people’s pockets in order to pay for the increases in the costs of food, transportation, sundry bills etc. Surely, the savings from the removal of the disputed oil subsidy and its distribution to the tiers of government would be spent on mundane things that would not put food on the table of the common man or improve his general condition so as to remove him/her from the pitiable ranks of celebrated wretched of the earth! We should also know the effect of removal of fuel subsidy on practically everything we buy daily, and the rent we pay on yearly or monthly basis. In this connection, workers and residents in the cities of Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and other expensive cities are

the greatest victims. Landlords have increased their rents while you spend heavily on food and fuel for transportation daily. Because the federal government does not do anything for its citizens by way of electricity generation and potable water supply and other necessities of life, we have to buy generators and inverters, power these generators with fuel that is becoming out of reach of the common man, dig wells or boreholes in order to get water and survive. Yet the government of an oil rich country has not, and cannot, do any of these things for its citizens although it can do anything and everything for people in and around government, like free (subsidized) fleet of vehicles, free fuel, free accommodation, free food, free this and free that. Perhaps our leaders have no conscience or believe there is God, the omnipotent witness, to be feared. Finally, Nigerians also pay for their security by erecting huge fences around their homes, employing private security men (watch nights or maiguards) and securing their vehicles with heavy security gadgets while government officials are heavily subsidized through unspecified security votes (unknown and unknowable security votes) apart from a good number of security personnels provided for them. But those of us who go abroad do not see houses heavily fenced, if fenced at all, as we do here. You go to No 10 Downing Street in London, England, and you see the Prime Minister’s official residence by the road side without a fence. The same is true of White House (the official residence of the most powerful man on earth) which you can easily see on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., USA. You may wish to compare these to our own Aso Rock, a massive fortress that looks like an outlandishly fortified and impregnable prison. As we often said, the people who are over pampered with incredible subsidies today are the people in government who are heavily

exception among government appointees? Have we not been recently assailed with allegation of how the chairman of the Pensions Reform Task Force, Abdulrasheed Maina allegedly frittered away millions of naira and embarked on indiscriminate opening of banks accounts without reference to the extant financial rules and approval from Accountant General of the Federation and the Minister of Finance? It will therefore appear federal appointees are laws unto themselves. Besides, Oteh’s case should be of interest to the public for other reasons. Women are increasingly being used by Jonathan presidency to pass off sordid deals of PDP buccaneers as family affairs. It was not too long ago, Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Minister for Finance, adopting what was at best could only have been the logic of a World Bank expert, insisted we must pay the fuel subsidy-seeking oil marketers that had invested their money. Her only proof was that the ‘cartel’ presented papers as evidence that fuel was supplied. The sordid revelation that has since followed was evidence enough that the minister was used by PDP buccaneers stealing the country blind or that she chose to serve PDP rather than Nigeria. Diezani Allison-Madueke can also be said to have been a very resourceful PDP minister for oil deals. Between her and the President, the list of fuel importers jumped from less than a dozen to over 140, consisting in the main, of PDP buccaneers and their friends. The minister remains untouchable in spite of massive looting in the oil sector as revealed by the various committees set up by government.

‘Oteh might have secured public sympathy through her pyrrhic victory that has now led to the dissolution of Hembe’s committee, but this in my opinion does not make her a saint. She was during her outing more interested in discrediting the Hembe’s committee that she forgot to address the weighty issue of squandering of N30 million taxpayers money as hotel bills in eight months’ subsidized in everything including housing, fuel consumption, transportation, Medicare within Nigeria and overseas, periodicals, food, name it. After all, for food alone, the Presidency has a vote of 1 billion Naira that translate to N2.739.73m daily on feeding alone while many Nigerians who do not enjoy food subsidy and are undernourished cannot afford N100 to feed themselves and their families in one day! It appears, therefore, that Nigeria exists only for some special people and not for all of us. This is a pity and ungodly. Now that the chicken has come to roost and the palliative nonsense has shown its true and shaky colours, the federal government has once again demonstrated its art of deception by telling us publicly that the palliative nonsense was just a ruse, perhaps designed to ward off the impending doom that was in the waiting if the removal of subsidy protests had persisted beyond the time the government cleverly tricked the Labour Unions to betray the civil societies and other Nigerians to call off the most popular, best organized, most effective, most celebrated, most successful and potentially most dangerous strike ever seen in Nigeria. Yet, Government actions since then, including its reneging on its promises to pay salaries on the 20th of every month, have shown that its palliative nonsense and its “unsure” SURE are nothing but a phantasmagoria of deceit! • Professor Makinde is of Dept. of Philosophy, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. mssmakinde@yahoo,com

‘As we often said, the people who are over pampered with incredible subsidies today are the people in government who are heavily subsidized in everything including housing, fuel consumption, transportation, Medicare within Nigeria and overseas, periodicals, food, name it.’


LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS

Doreen Amata targets gold Pg. 41

Akpala scoops Belgian League award Pg. 41

Nation

•Amata

PAGE 23

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Keanhails

YAK’S Pg. 24

•Aiyegbeni

strike force

KESHI

on the right path

Pg. 41

—Utaka

•Utaka


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41

NATIONSPORT THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

NATION SPORT

NATION SPORT

SONE ALUKO: •Aluko

Muamba's plight put football into perspective

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ANGERS winger Sone Aluko admits the plight of former Birmingham team-mate Fabrice Muamba has put football into perspective for him. Aluko was shocked to hear of Bolton midfielder Muamba’s cardiac arrest and then the death of Jack Kelly, who collapsed with a suspected heart attack moments after son Liam had helped Kilmarnock win the League Cup final. Aluko and his team-mates took pay cuts of up to 75 per cent earlier this month in order to prevent redundancies at Rangers but the weekend’s events made him reflect. The 23-year-old told repoters “These moments really put the game, and life, in perspective. “What we do is a blessing and even at the low points you can’t forget that it isn’t as bad as what could happen. “I was with Fabrice for a couple of seasons at Birmingham and he’s a top boy. I’m happy to hear that he’s talking and starting to move so hopefully he recovers fully soon. “For his partner and his family, his health is the most important thing. “For football in general it’s good news because nobody wants to see a player that ill. “Even though we have rivalries and competitiveness in the game, everyone has pulled together and thought ‘this is more important than who you support’.”

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ABRICE MUAMBA's father has revealed that the one of the first things his stricken son said to him as he regained consciousness in hospital was "did we lose the game?" Fabrice Muamba asked his father And when told the FA Cup quarterfinal against Tottenham had been abandoned, the Bolton midfielder asked "why?", to which his dad replied "because of you". The condition of the 23 year-old has improved significantly following his sudden heart attack, to the point where he has been able to speak some words, in both French and English. Family friend Aime Esalo told The Sun: "He was told the match was called off while the two teams were drawing 1-1. Fabrice asked why they had stopped it and his father said, 'Because of you'." Muamba also asked about his threeyear-old son Joshua in his first words after coming round from a coma, it has been claimed. The player is still in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital but has amazed his manager, Owen Coyle, with the speed of his recovery. Cardiologists say the long-term outlook will remain unclear for some time, though. A cousin, who did not want to be named, told the Evening Standard: "His eyes are open and he’s recognising people. I spoke to him yesterday, he’s

Ogunkoya-Omotayo wants long-term deal for Egbunike

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FRICAN record holder in the women's 400m,Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo has hailed the decision of the supervising Minister of Sports and Chairman of National Sports Commission (NSC) Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi to employ former African men's 400m record holder,Innocent Ifeanyi Egbunike as National Athletics Coach as the best in recent times. Ogunkoya-Omotayo is also thrilled by the Minister's decision to open a camp for track and field athletes in Atlanta,USA noting that that singular act will save Nigeria from the embarrassment of finishing without a medal like it happened at the last six editions of the IAAF World Championships. With Egbunike tinkering the Nigeria track and field team to the Olympics in London,OgunkoyaOmotayo believes Nigerians should expect about three or four medals at the Games. At the last six editions of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in E d m o n t o n , C a n a d a

( 2 0 0 1 ) , P a r i s , F r a n c e (2003),Helsinki,Finland (2005),Osaka,Japan (2007),Berlin, Germany (2009) and Deagu, South Korea last year,Team Nigerian athletes failed to win any medal. Like the World Championships, the Olympic Games will witness the gathering of elite athletes in track and field. Ogunkoya-Omotayo who won two medals at the Atlanta’ 96 Olympics and also set an African record of 49.10 sec in 400m at the Games revealed that with Egbunike’s workout, our athletes will win medals in London. “The Minister took a wise decision by appointing Egbunike to handle our athletics team. He is a very good coach with very tough workout. His tough workout will bring out the best in our athletes. He is also a disciplinarian who leads by example, which is what our athletes need. We have one of the most talented set of athletes in the world, but the problem has always been inadequate preparation, indiscipline, and lack of concentration by our athletes. But with the

Minister’s decision and Egbunike working with the athletes for three to four months before the games, they will be at their best by the time the games begin, baring injuries; I foresee three or four medals from track and field”. Ogunkoya-Omotayo, however, wants the minister to go a step further by bringing Egbunike home to start a developmental programme after the Olympics. “I can recall that during the golden age of track and field in Nigeria, our athletes were either products of the American Collegiate system or local developmental programmes, but now nobody wants to go to America, everybody wants to run in Europe and make money,I am therefore imploring the Minister to bring Egbunike home. He has expressed his readiness to come home. He has all it takes to drive the revival of track and field. We need coaches like Egbunike who can draw up four or five year programme for athletes,I am appealing to the Minister to complete what he started by giving Egbunike a long time contract”’ said Ogunkoya-

QPR eyes Nigerian Premier League •Brings kits to academies

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NGLISH Premiership side, Queens Park Rangers, is planning a long term project with the Nigeria Premier League to foster relationship that will improve the round leather game in the country. They have also concluded plans to partner with some soccer academies in Nigeria in areas of supplying used and new kits to a number of academies. The project which is the brainchild of top UKbased Nigerian player's agent, Sola Orelaja, under the auspices of his foundation Used Kits Foundation, www.usedkitsfoundation.com will also be extended to Ghana where QPR will also help some academies with the used kits. QPR assistant coach Nick Jones also confirmed entering into such relationships with soccer academies in Nigeria, maintaining

By Stella Bamawo that the idea mooted by Orelaja was borne out of the need to encourage young talents in Nigeria. Jones also believes that the academies that are deprived of materials to train and groom talents, will have enough kits to train. "I formed the foundation and went into partnership with QPR because I had the vision of improving the lot of soccer academies in Nigeria that have over the years lacked kits to train and play matches," Orelaja isaid. "That’s why I have got premiership sides to support this project and I am beginning with QPR first then later Chelsea and Liverpool will also come in. We are also in talks with some Spanish and Portuguese clubs. "We are also

looking at getting the top clubs in the world to support this project in the long run. To this effect, we have set up a committee comprising of some English Premiership clubs' coaches and FIFA-Licensed players' agents. "The foundation have found out that there are lots of less privileged players playing in the ill-equipped academies in Nigeria and Ghana and hence the partnership with these clubs to help. "We have right now secured kits for these academies worth 10 000 pounds and plans have reached advanced stage for the academies to takethe second delivery of these kits in January." The academies, according to Orelaja and QPR assistant coach, to enjoy these largesse for a start, include Kwara State Soccer Academy and Crystal Soccer Academy, Lagos, owned by former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dosu Joseph.

AFTER HE REGAINED CONSCIOUSNESS

Ikhana's son screened S

Fabrice Muamba asked dad if Bolton lost the game •Muamba

able to speak. Everything is fine. We thank God for that. He will be back home." Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor

has revealed Muamba is "acting normal" in his hospital bed as he continues to recover from the cardiac arrest.

Adebayor, who saw Muamba on Tuesday evening, is hopeful the positive signs will lead to a full recovery.

"He's a strong guy and I think he has been through a lot of things in the last two days but he's back to normal and he's trying to talk normal and he's acting normal which is very important," Adebayor said. "At the moment it's looking good. As a brother, as a friend, it's a big relief." Like others, Adebayor is waiting to see how Muamba copes when he is allowed to leave his bed in the intensive care unit. Adebayor added: "We are very happy the medics from Bolton and Tottenham did a great job - and we have to thank the almighty God as well. "Hopefully he'll recover very quickly. Now we have to see how, when they put him on his feet, he reacts as well. That's another test.”

Keanhails

Blackb urn, who were for several weeks at the foot of the EPL, are now in 16th place on the table with 28 points from 29 matches, six points clear of the drop zone. They are due to take on Bolton at the weekend, but Kean said they will be prepared for a shift of the game on the back of the unfortunate Fabrice Muamba episode. Kean has promised that once they can secure their safety in the English top flight, they would offer Yakubu’s strike partner, Hoilett, a new deal. "Junior’s out of contract and week in, week out, more teams are going to be interested in him. Let’s get to safety and make him an offer,” assured Rovers boss Kean.

screened for the national team, but whether he was able to meet the standard set by the technical crew, that l cannot say," said an official. "Do not forget that Emeka Amadi had lamented the dearth of quality keepers in the country which was widely reported by the media. So for him to have voiced his opinions in the public suggests that none of the keepers that were in camp satisfied him. But that is not to say that out of the 35 keepers some would not be giving a second chance," added the official. Close to 300 players were officially invited by the team handlers led by Mamnu Garba •Ikhana but at the end of the exercise, about 3,000 boys were screened. "Everyday new faces kept surfacing at our camp so we decided to give all of them the opportunity just to satisfy our conscience even though you will agree with me that drilling such a number could be tedious," said the official. Nigeria are poised to play Niger in September in the qualifying series ahead of the 2013 championship billed for Morocco. IGERIA forward, Joseph

Akpala scoops Belgian League award

Doreen Amata targets gold

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IGERIA’s leading high- jumper, Doreen Amata has expressed her desire to win a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics. In an exclusive chat with NationSport yesterday, the All African Games (AAG) gold medalist said considering the fact that the Olympics is a different ball game, she will need to do more than her current best performance of 1.95 miters to win a medal at the biennial games. “I am working very hard in training at the moment and doing my best to ensure that I excel at the Olympics. I intend to improve on my current performance of 1.95 miters. I realize that this record can only qualify me for the finals,” he said.

strike force B

From Ejiro Femi-Babafemi, Abuja

LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS

YAK’S LACKBURN manager Steve Kean has saluted his strike force led by Yakubu Aiyegbeni as they beat Sunderland 2-0 to ease EPL relegation fears. Nigeria international Yakubu notched his 14th goal in the English Premier League this season Tuesday night with strike partner Junior Hoilett also get ting among the goals. Yakubu hit target four minutes from time with a firm header and afterwards celebrated by revealing an undershirt displaying ‘pray for Muamba’ in tribute to the ill Bolton Wanderers star. "Yakubu and Hoilett have been causing all sorts of problems for centre-backs," said an impressed Kean. "Junior likes playing wide, especially on the left so he can cut in on his right. He’s got good feet, good movement and provides service for Yakubu."

ON of Super Falcons chief coach designate, Kadiri Ikhana, Abdul was among the players that participated in the screening exercise which ended last week to pick players for the U-17 national team. Abdul, a goalkeeper by training is attached to the Kwara Football Academy, was among the 35 goalkeepers drilled by exinternational and the team's goalkeeper trainer, Emeka Amadi at the synthetic pitch of the FIFA Goal Project Centre, Abuja. The keeper was initially with the Pepsi Football Academy. A member of the technical crew revealed to NationSport that the youngster was excited at the opportunity of displaying his reflexes during the one-month programme and remains optimistic that he would be recalled for the second phase. Invitation for the next round which may likely be in July would be determined by the coaches. 'It is true that Ikhana's son was among the keepers

By Innocent Amomoh She said though the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) has not revealed the general plans for Team Nigeria, she intends to travel to Italy soonest to perfect strategies for the games. “I realize that with the Olympics I need to do more to if I intend to make an impact at the Olympics. Yes I will be traveling to Italy where I am based and from there to the United States of America to train ahead of the competition. “I must agree with me that it is one thing to attend a competition and another thing to win a medal. My target is to win a gold medal at the next games by the grace of God,” She declared.

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Akpala was voted the Most Valuable Player after netting twice to help Club Brugge to the scalp of Cercle Bruges 2-1 in last weekend’s Belgian Jupiler Bruges derby Despite the accolades trailing his performance on the night, the 25year-old, who took his season’s tally to 11, regrets missing a scoring opportunity that would have enabled him bag a hat-trick in the ill-tempered encounter. He said on his club website, “It’s always nice to score, especially if you know those goals gave us victory against Cercle. I’m obviously pleased with my own performance, but it’s more important that we got the three points today. “It could have been even better, as I could have made it a hat-trick. Unfortunately I wasn’t coldblooded enough to get it over the line. It’s never easy to score, and that situation goes to show (laughs). “That would have been the easiest of the three… Fortunately we didn’t lose points because of it. The fact that I scored twice in the rebound is no coincidence. Together with Kenneth, we have been working on these kinds of situations in the past weeks.

Keshi on the right path—Utaka

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•Aiyegbeni

UPER EAGLES’ and Montpellier striker, John Utaka has thrown weight behind the Super Eagles’ Coach Stephen Keshi most especially the way he has been working on fusion of the home players with the foreign based which he tagged “doing something different”. “We have to do something different so with what the new Coach Stephen Keshi is doing with the blend of the foreign based with the home guys now; I think he is doing something different which is good for the team. This is commendable by the end we will see that Nigeria will bounce back to reckoning. “We are happy that all court issues have been resolved and this will help in fast tracking the development of the game in the country and the speedy return of the Eagles to where it rightly belongs. No meaningful progress can be made in crisis so everybody attached to football should be

From SEGUN OGUNJIMI, Abuja happy that there is peace in Nigerian football now. “On current form I think I am enjoying my game with my club Montpellier, and I believe if the coach wants me he will invite me. The Coach is in charge and he decides who plays for him. I am happy that I am enjoying my game in Montpellier. I am a patriotic Nigerian who has served this nation to the best of my knowledge and if called upon again I won’t reject the call”. On John Utaka Foundation, the former Portsmouth FC right wing attacker said he founded the foundation just to give back to the society that has done much for him. I am trying in my little way to help the less privileged and put smiles into some faces in my own little way. I won’t say I have done much but will continue to try my best to help people in my own little way as God has given me the grace to do so”, Utaka disclosed.


25

THE NATION

EDUCATION

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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

email:- education@thenationonlineng.com

There appears to be daggers drawn among the unions, management and Governing Council of the University of Benin (UNIBEN). While the unions are kicking against the rumoured reappointment of its immediate past ProChancellor/Chairman of Governing Council Sir Gabriel Toby over sundry allegations, the council chair is also suspecting the Vice-Chancellor as the architect behind the development. This is vis-a-vis Toby's rumoured support for the former Bursar Dr. May Nwoye's reappointment bid, writes OSAGIE OTABOR from Benin.

Crisis looms in UNIBEN • Unions threaten to go on strike if pro-chancellor is reappointed

• UNIBEN, will another crisis erupt soon?

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LL is not well at the University of Benin, despite the seeming peaceful atmosphere of the institution. Beside President Goodluck Jonathan’s views on the report of the Visitation Panel, which looked into the affairs of the university between 2004 and 2010, there is a raging battle over who becomes the bursar and the protest against the re-appointment of former Chairman of the Governing Council, Sir Gabriel Toby. Sources at the university said a new Governing Council would soon be constituted and that there were indications that Sir Toby would be reappointed as the chairman. The sources also said the current developments are tied to who emerges the next Bursar. The position of the Bursar was advertised in December, last year, following the expiration of the tenure of Dr May Nwoye on January 30, this year. Meanwhile, an Acting Bursar has been appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Osayuki Oshodin , but the Governing Council is responsible for the screening and appointment of a Bursar in line with the rules and regulations of universities. However, the new panel, which was given a ten-point terms of reference, carried out its functions, despite the protests. The report of the panel and the subsequent views of Presi-

‘I don't even understand how I can turn a university into a business centre. What kind of business would I be doing now that I have not done in 30 or 40 years in top management position?’ dent Jonathan were of praises and indictments, deepening the crisis between supporters of the former Bursar and those of the VC. Areas in the report that further intensified the rift are on federal character and ethnicity, appointments and promotions and posting of cash books, among others. Though rumours are rife that Sir Toby might be in firm support of Dr Nwoye's reappointment, the former has denied it, describing it as the handiwork of some mischief makers. It was also rumoured that the incumbent Vice-Chancellor is determined to ensure that Dr Nwoye is not reappointed, a claim the

VC also denied. However, the UNIBEN chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last week threatened industrial action should Sir Toby be reappointed for a second term. Other unions have also joined the fray echoing the same position. At a briefing last week, ASUU-UNIBEN chairman Dr Anthony Monye-Emina said, ideally, a Pro-Chancellor of a university should be an individual of proven integrity who also facilitates more funding. Monye-Emina alleged that Sir Toby was a major contractor to the university who "turned the University of Benin into a business centre to enrich himself."

• Prof. Oshodin • Continued on page 26

INSIDE •FED GOVT BEGINS SCHOOLS CENSUS NEXT MONTH - Page 28 • EBONYI STOPS PAYMENT OF TSS TO TEACHERS - Page 39


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

26

EDUCATION

Uneasy calm at EACOED • College COEASU gets new exco

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HERE is uneasy calm at the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education (EACOED), Oyo. Reason: The White Paper on the report of the Visitation Panel to the college is being awaited. The panel was set up by the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, to unearth challenges facing the college, with a view to addressing the anomalies identified. Though the panel was given due support and co-operation during its sittings, workers were skeptical and uncomfortable with what they referred to as "strange happenings in the academic settings", which they said were not given adequate attention. They included the tax policy, cancellation of accumulated annual leave without payment, cancellation of new salary arrears, cancellation of promotion arrears, forcing new staff to sign Memorandum of Understanding, and non-payment of 20 months new salary arrears. All the anomalies, according to the aggrieved workers, were introduced by the immediate past Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala. In an interview, the newly elected

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

Chairman, College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Dr Olugbenga Ayena, noted that the struggle against the tax policy led to the sack of some COEASU members by the last administration, and subsequent reinstatement by the Ajimobi-led government. Ayena said: "Since the inauguration of the present government in the state, the killer tax issue remains unresolved to the extent that workers are wondering the rationale behind the reinstatement of the sacked lecturers when the issue of obnoxious tax policy still subsists. The issue must be urgently addressed, in order not to create continued hardship for the workers." Questioning the rationale for the

tax policy when there are gross shortages of lecturers' offices, and lecture halls for students, Ayena called for urgent and holistic resolution of the anomalies, to move the college forward. "We expect that proceeds from the killer tax ought to have been used to provide adequate infrastructure in the college, thus providing an enabling environment for learning and teaching. "Accumulated annual leave must be restored with payment. No new staff must be allowed to sign any MOU, and both annual leave and promotion arrears must also be restored as well. We view this present administration as a people-oriented government that will not borrow anti-people programmes from the Federal Government. This college, which won first to third and fifth positions in Mathematics competitions nationwide in 2011 and this

‘We expect that proceeds from the killer tax ought to have been used to provide adequate infrastructure in the college, thus providing an enabling environment for learning and teaching’

year, cannot be allowed to drift," the COEASU chairman said. Supporting the government for its prudence, Ayena cautioned against the trend of making profits from the education sector, saying education should continue to remain a social service. However, The Nation's investigations revealed that the college community seems to be in the dark, on the type of administration being run, as the institution appears to have no leaders. According to the workers: "at present, there are two provosts, deputy provosts, librarians, bursars, and three registrars. While one is standing in, the other is on leave. In the case of the three registrars, two are on leave, while one is standing in. We gathered that government wants to appoint new management team; this would further compound the problems, without solving the ones on ground. The college at present is like a canoe ready to capsize due to unavailability of a leader." Meanwhile, the College COEASU has elected its new executives. They are Dr. Oladapo Ayena (chairman); O. Gbadamosi (vice); C. Ojelabi (general secretary); O. Fawole (his assistant); F. Lasisi (financial secretary); M. Kilani (treasurer); Yemi Adedapo (internal auditor); E. Fagbile (PRO); Wole Akinlabi (social director); and O. Ojo (exofficio).

CRESCENT FILE

Sixth Founder's Day holds today CRESCENT University, Abeokuta, will mark its Sixth Founder's Day today at the Bola Ajibola Auditorium of the university. In a statement by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Hassan Kehinde Okeleye, two lectures entitled "Justice and Peace in Islam" and "Law and Morals in Islam" will be delivered by the National Missioner, AnsarDeen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Ahmad and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwwal. Okeleye added that there would also be a book presentation entitled: "The legal Colossus Judge Bola Ajibola at 78" to mark the 78th birthday of the former World Court Judge, Prince Bola Ajibola, while the Chancellor of the institution, Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland, will also grace the occasion with his royal entourage. He said Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, will be the chief host of the occasion, adding that a friendly football match will also come up at the new university stadium.

IDB, varsity sign MOU

• Sir Toby

•Continued from page 25 He said: "Sir Toby succeeded with all these because he insisted and made himself the chairman of the university's Tenders Board as well as procurement board against all extant rules while living on the university's lean resources with supplies of food, fruits and water to him in Port Harcourt." Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) Comrade John Osaretin Alile said Sir Toby disregarded the unions during his first tenure. According to him: "The man is a politician and a businessman. He has nothing to do with the university community. His method of operation is different from what obtains in other universities. The smooth administration we have should not be disrupted. "We will lock the university against him. Let them look for another job for him and not in UNIBEN. He is not fit to head any university." Alile denied speculations that their agitation was sponsored by the management, saying they were not concerned about who became Bursar. On his part, the Chairman of Non Academic Staff Union, Comrade Joe Idonige, said Sir Toby saw himself as a tin-god. He said members celebrated when the Governing Council which Sir Toby headed was dissolved. His words: "His coming will bring unrest to the university. NASU and other sister unions have written a joint statement which we will present to the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Minister of Education."

•Dr. Monye-Emina

•Comrade Alile

Crisis looms in UNIBEN Oshodin debunked allegations of sponsoring unions’protest against the re-appointment of Sir Gabriel Toby. Oshodin, who spoke through the Public Relations Officer, Harris Osarenren, a lawyer, said he had a good working relationship with Sir Toby. His words: "The working relationship between the VC and Council Chairman was cordial. There was no way the VC could sponsor the unions against Sir Toby. Is it possible for the VC to work hand-inhand with the unions? They are only threatening?" On the Bursar's reappointment, the VC said: "The Bursar's tenure ended in January and when a tenure ends, we advertise as directed by the Minister of Education. Let the Bursar go and reapply. I don't have anything against her. There is a panel responsible for the appointment. Rumour mongers should go and read what the law says." Dr Nwoye fingered the VC as being responsible for her ordeal. She said: "In my work in the Bursary of the University of Benin over the last 27 years, I have spent a considerable time in the Budget Department as well as the Expenditure Control Department. My duty as Bursar is to ensure that the Budget of the University as approved by Council must be respected and that all expenditures must follow the financial regulations approved by Council. "In doing my job, as effectively as possible, I believe that I am protecting the Vice-Chancellor and

Council for which I should be commended. It is, therefore, disappointing that those who should appreciate my efforts are maligning my reputation so that they can have the opportunity of appointing a puppet Bursar whom they can control. I will not say much at this stage because, as I said before, the university has due process of channelling grievances; there is a governing body which is the Council." However, in an interview, Sir Toby denied the allegations, saying he has no company doing any contract in the university. He said: "It is unfortunate that such kind of frivolous allegations are being made. There is procurement act of awarding contract and everything starts and ends with the Vice- Chancellor and his team.Most of the contracts we did were Education Trust Fund (ETF) contracts; and there is a procedure because ETF representative is on the Tenders Board, the Federal Ministry of Education officials are also there and after that it goes to the Council." "I don't even understand how I can turn a university into a business centre. What kind of business would I be doing now that I have not done in 30 or 40 years in top management position? In 1972, when I was appointed the general manager of Rivers State Marketing Board, I was 33 years old and earning the highest salary in public service, earning more than a permanent secretary,"Sir Toby said. He said the university had to bring in a company to wade into

• Comrade Idonige

what he described as irreconcilable figures of the students' population between the Registry and the Bursary units. "When we came into the university, we asked for the number of students the Bursary gave us a different figure and the Registry another. Bursary said, well, 'those who paid are what we get' which meant they didn't know the figure they were having and even the VC confirmed it at the time he took over. So, we invited a company, Sinforest, because it has history of performing. They made their proposals before the Council members who okayed them." he said.

THE Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Crescent University, Abeokuta as part of its social responsibility of regional integration and co-operation. The signed documents were presented to the university team led by its Vice Chancellor, Prof. Hassan Kehinde Okeleye at the IDB Group-Nigeria Business Forum held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. In his remarks, Prof. Okeleye said: "the technical assistance from the bank would go some way in helping us build our technical needs, equipment and manpower in the area of natural and applied sciences as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT)". Okeleye emphasised that Crescent University had done its best to be transparent, open, honest with the bank in its efforts to obtain needed information about the institution and that he (Okeleye) was happy that all efforts to partner with the bank had come to fruition.

“Okay ... if we avoid neglect and poor funding first!”


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

EDUCATION ACE FILE

Students exco to take oaths ALL is set for the newly elected members of the Students Union Central Executive Council of the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo to take the oath of office. The ceremony, which holds at the Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium, will be attended by the college management, deans and directors, chairmen of other unions in the college as well as the Chairman, Parent Staff Alumni Forum, Rev. B.F. Adeniji. The new executives are: Akintola Abiodun (president); Okorefe Deborah (vice); Morakinyo Tosin, (general secretary); Akinubi Oluwafemi (assistant general secretary); Lijadu Hosannah, (director of welfare) and Adetola Olabode as (his deputy) (director of welfare). Others are Bamidele Olabode, (treasurer); Olabode Bolaji, (director of finance); Alade Oyindamola, (director of social and culture); Bamisayo Ayokunle, (director of sports) and Ajayi Ademola (public relations officer.)

Matriculation holds March 27

• Gov Fayemi (fifth left), Ekiti State Deputy, Mrs Funmi Olayinka and some of the beneficiaries

Fayemi to restore Ekiti’s lost glory in education •Free laptops, school bags for pupils

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N fulfilment of its promise to make the state the 'ICT capital of Nigeria" by ensuring that all teachers and pupils in public schools are computer-literate and ICT-compliant, the Ekiti State government on Wednesday last week donated 11,000 laptops and school bags to teachers and pupils. This is the first phase of the project. Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi assured that the outstanding 51,000 laptops for teachers and pupils would be distributed before the end of August for teachers and December for pupils. Teachers are to pay for the Samsung 300E5A-AE1 laptops given to them. The cost will be deducted over 12 months from their salaries while the solar panel laptops Samsung NC 215-A03 were given free to pupils. However, physically challenged pupils had an edge that day. They shook hands with Fayemi as they collected their laptops and instructional materials. The beneficiary teachers and pupils jubilated at the Compro Hall of African Church Comprehensive High School, Ikere Ekiti, venue of the event. The SolarNet book laptops, according to Fayemi, were in fulfilment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by his administration in 2011, to achieve the One-laptop-a-child initiative. The initiative, which Fayemi described as the first in the nation's history, is to restore the pride of place the 'Land of Honour' once enjoyed in education. Said Fayemi: "The country has degenerated a lot and standards are no longer maintained. We are very clear about our priorities in this state; we don't waste resources and we understand the needs of the people. We don't have anything in Ekiti, the only thing we have is human capital that is why we have to train them to the level that they will become productive to the state."

By Medinat Kanabe

He recounted how some pundits described the initiative as unfathomable given the paltry resources of the state, noting that its realisation was a result of careful planning, singlemindedness and unquenchable optimism. He said: “Our government has gone this far to ensure that everything is done to make us stand shoulder higher above other states by recreating our feat of academic excellence that our land was in time past identified with." He also said the target of his administration was to ensure that graduates at all levels of education are worthy to be so addressed with proven ability to defend their scholarship. The free laptops, Fayemi added, have led to mass exodus of pupils from private to public schools. Notwhistanding, the development, Fayemi stressed, will not discourage the government which believes pupils in public schools deserve the best. The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Eniola Ajayi, said the gesture was in fulfilment of Fayemi's campaign promise to the people and students under Agenda Four - Education and human capital development. Ajayi said the laptops have trackers and once reported stolen, would be tracked within hours. She said to build a computer laboratory in schools is no mean feat by all standards, so putting a laptop on every pupil's desk is a phenomenal achievement. "The other thing to note is that Ekiti State will be the first in Nigeria to procure Braille computers and instructional materials for those in the school of the blind. The Director in the schools department confirmed that they had been making this request annually since 2004," she added. According to her, the initiative tallies with the Central Bank’s directive to go cashless since most

transactions would, henceforth, be done online. Microsoft West, East, and Central Africa representative Mr Dele Akinsade encouraged the students to make good use of the facility. Akinsade said Microsoft experts are training about 150,000 teachers across the state at a train-the-trainers programme. Accounts Manager, Samsung West Africa, Mr Fauno Nadah, said with the gesture, the Ekiti State government is building future youths who will be developers of software.

"If we do not do this now, we shall lose the war that is called Information Communication Technology (ICT), and we must build a new generation of people that will take over from us. We are, indeed, proud to be a part of this, he said." Mr Olanrewaju Emmanuel, a teacher at MAMBA Grammar School, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the state for the development. He said: "We are happy also because we know now that all pupils will have computer knowledge. This will enlarge their scope of learning. They will get ideas that ordinarily their teachers won't mention in the classrooms."

THE college will hold its matriculation for degree, NCE and Diploma in Computer Studies on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday March 28 at the Babatunde Ipaye Hall. Ahead of the event, Provost of the College, Prof Adeyemi Idowu, has charged all the new students of the college to emulate the old students who have achieved greatness in their chosen fields. The Provost, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Olufemi Olajuyigbe, congratulated them on scaling the admission hurdles, noting that they are on the part of greatness as students of the college. He, however, warned that to achieve greatness, they must work towards it and not look down on themselves as the teaching profession is for the courageous and the qualified.

CAANU urges govt to fund varsities By Adegunle Olugbamila

• Prof Ruqqayatu Rufai’ Minister of Education

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HE Federal Government has been urged not starve public universities of funds. The Alumni Associations of Nigerian Universities (CAANU) gave the advice during its quarterly conference at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo. It praised the government for its intervention in the education sector, which it said, has led to the resumption of many public universities after many months of strike embarked upon by varsities’ teachers. It advised the government to keep to the agreement it signed with the teachers’ unions to avert crisis in future. The group also asked proprietors of private institutions to provide enough funds for the running of private universities. In a communiqué after the

conference, the body said: "The Federal and state governments as well as proprietors of private universities are advised to adequately fund the universities so as to achieve best practices and standard in teaching and learning and research to attain global best practices and competitiveness.” The communiqué was signed by the CAANU's Chairman, Chief Richard Ahonarugbo; Secretary, Malam Chuks Agoha and Public relations Officer, Pastor Adebowae Adelakun. The conference also thanked the Secretary to the Federal Government Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and the Minister of Labor and Productivity Chief Emeka Nwogu, which met with the association in January and agreed to some of the latter's demands, including the review of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and the reinstatement of the Governing Council for 12 federal universities. It, however, urged the government reinstate the Governing Council of the other federal universities. The body also recommended that president of each alumni association should be made a

member of the Governing Council. It hailed the ongoing efforts of the Ogun State government at reforming education sector in the state through the planned conversion of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) to an Institute of Education under the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye. CAANU. It, however, suggested the retention of TASUED as a full- fledged university, "being the first of its kind in Nigeria and given its track record, particularly in the areas of the provision of entrepreneurship and vocational training as part of its curriculum. Over 18 universities attended the conference. They were TASUED, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Imo State University, Owerri; National Defence College, Abuja; University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin and University of Uyo. Others were Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Benue State University, Makurdi; University of Benin; Nasarawa State University and LASU. The participants paid courtesy call on LASU Vice-Chancellor Prof John Oladapo Obafunwa, and Aholu-Menu-Toyi of Badagry, Oba Akran.


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

EDUCATION Provost counsels against cultism From Damisi Ojo, Akure

THE Provost, Federal College of Agriculture (FCA), Akure, Ondo State, Dr. Mary Ogunkoya, has warned new students against cultism and other social menace. At the 2011/2012 matriculation held at the college campus in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the Provost reminded the matriculants that the FCA is known as a cultfree institution appealing to them not to do anything that could tarnish the record. Her words: "You should toe the path of productive engagement, instead of joining cult groups there are a lot of other very useful groups on the campus in which you can invest part of your time. "Here, we have religious, social, humanitarian, literary and debating as well as musical groups. You should also shun examination malpractices and face your studies squarely.” The Provost informed the new students that the college had recruited some of the best brains in different areas of agriculture to teach them. According to her, "The Institution is one of the leading colleges of Agriculture with highest number of Ph.D holders on its staff list; please utilise this opportunity to mint yourself into competent hands for the Nigerian and international Labour market. Dr. Ogunkoya assured them of full enjoyment of their rights and privileges as recognised by the college authority. The institution's Registrar, Dr.Pius Adebisi, said 200 students matriculated at the ceremony.

Fed Govt begins schools census next month

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O gather reliable data on the population of pupils in basic and post basic education levels across the country, the Federal Government has concluded arrangement to conduct this year’s annual school census nationwide. Minister of Education, Professor Ruqqayatu Ahmed Rufai, who disclosed this in Abuja, stated that the printing of 2011/2012 annual school census questionnaire would be completed next week. While speaking at the meeting

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

of commissioners of Education forum in her office, Rufai remarked that the government's ability to move education sector forward is independent on the availability of reliable and verifiable data. She directed all the 36 commissioners of education and secretary of education in the FCT to start necessary arrangements to ensure that the annual school census is completed by April 20. The minister reiterated that the

unit in charge of the census in her ministry would be in touch with states to monitor their progress on the preparation and the conduct of the census, adding that the ministr y w o u l d a l s o continually be in touch with the states to assess progress in the development of effective Education Information System (EIS) in their domains. On adult and non-formal education, Rufai urged the commissioners to be prepared for the challenges of non-formal education as a way of improving

• From right: Mrs Odedina (second right), Dr Lamikanra, Dr Sutton, Mrs Akande, Dr Deola Fayemi, Dr Camalyn Gaines, Mr Frank Glover, Mrs Christine Sheffey, and Ms Kristen Volosky. Behind: Mrs Taramoni Clark and Mr Terrence Sheffey

Experts seek inclusion of autism checks in curriculum

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DUCATORS, parents, care givers and other people who work with children in Nigeria can register for an online certificate course to learn more about identifying children with autism, a developmental disability. The programme is being run by United States-based Paine College to improve awareness about the disability with the hope of starting early intervention programmes that would help autistic persons to be functional members of the society. The programme was unveiled on Tuesday and Wednesday last week during the Orange Ribbon Initiative 2012, a conference sponsored by GTBank Plc to familiarise parents, educators, healthcare practitioners and policy makers with the need to put in place timely diagnosis/intervention mechanism as an estimated 15 per cent of children will be autistic by 2020. Autism is a lifelong developmental spectrum disorder characterised by difficulty in social interaction, repetitive behavior and impaired communication. The eight-week course called Global Autism Technology Education Programme will cover the basics about autism and practical aspects of identifying sufferers. It is

the lots of the masses in the country. The National Commission for Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC), according to her, is working on a plan, which will need the involvement of states for full implementation. The meeting, which was attended by all the commissioners of education in the 36 states and education secretary in the FCT, was conveyed to review resolutions made at the 58th National Council on Education (NCE) which held recently.

•US College offers online autism course By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

designed for people who work with children but are not necessarily professionals. By the end of the programme, they will be able to provide accurate information to families of autistic children. Dr Anna Lamikanra, Executive Director of Blazing Trails International Centre, who led an 11-man team to Nigeria from the United States for the conference, said during a briefing on Monday last week that identifying children at risk for autism would go a long way to make life easier for them. She also spoke of the need to include MChart , a diagnostic tool, as part of the medical school curriculum. "The thing we can do is to identify which children are at risk for autism. That would make their lives easier. I will like health practitioners and medical schools to include in the curriculum the MChart to help identify which children could have autism," she said. Child psychologist and a member of Dr Lamikanra's team, Dr Lawrence Sutton, said with more than 1.5 million Nigerians with autism, the country cannot afford to ignore its impact as it affects any

class of the socio-economic strata. "Autism has no face, no class. It affects everyone regardless of race, religion, class or creed. And unfortunately, by Year 2020, 15 per cent of children will have autism. In Nigeria, over 1.5 million have autism. Many adults have autism and we don't know because they were misdiagnosed," he said. Also speaking, Mrs Dotun Akande, through whom the experts came to Nigeria with collaborations with GTBank, said Nigerians have to ditch the stigma syndrome

attached to autism. The Director of Patrick Speech and Languages Centre, Ikeja, Lagos, who has an autistic son, said demystifying the disability would correct a lot of wrongs against such children. "We have a stigma factor which is drawing us back. Parents don't want an official diagnosis. We need to demystify autism in Nigeria. We need to let people know it is not a death sentence so we can have functional children," she said. On GTBank's involvement, Mrs

Lola Odedina, General Manager and Group Head, Corporate Communication and Exeternal Affairs, said Dr Lamikanra's maiden visit last year was an eye opener for many. She added that this year's programme is to build on the gains of the last edition and train more people in the art and science of early intervention. "Last year, Dr Anna and her team came to Nigeria and the impact is still being felt. You touched so many lives and we say thank you. The idea is to train trainers. It is all about knowledge, sharing information and early intervention. If people are aware that it is not about hiding the children but seeking knowledge, we will fare better," she said.

Let's come back to the roundtable, OOU appeals to workers

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HE management of the Olabisi Onabanjo University(OOU), AgoIwoye Ogun State has appealed to the four unions in the universityASUU, SSANU, NASU and NAATto sheathe their swords and return to the roundtable to continue negotiations. The management also denied claims as reported in certain media that it deployed thugs to disrupt protest by unions of the institution. It said: "We also say that it is untrue, contrary to reports in some news papers that thugs were employed by management to disrupt the unions' protest which we consider to be the option thought best by them to speak their mind." The OOU management made this appeal in view of the ongoing industrial dispute by the unions. The management claims were contained in a statement made available to The Nation tagged: Position on current industrial action by

By Adegunle Olugbamila and Medinat Kanabe

the three unions of the university. The statement signed by the university's Public Relations Officer (PRO), Sam Oyeleye, the statement described the strike as 'unfortunate', adding that it has started a positive step by ensuring that backlog of students' results for years has been cleared. It said: "It is of note to state at this point that the backlog of results, spreading over a period of years, have now been cleared just as other responsibilities of the university to the students are statutorily being met through the conscious collective efforts of all, including the unions." It, however, lamented that despite its positive moves, some elements are still bent on destroying the good works hitherto recorded. The statement said management acknowledges the indispensability of the unions as a fulcrum for

the growth of the university, adding that the latter should also reciprocate same for a mutual relationship. The statement added: "The management makes bold to say that, conscious of the fact that three and half month arrears of salaries for 2010 is yet to be paid, it has been making efforts to pay before this time but for the vagaries in the financial status of the university. “The internally generated revenue, largely through payment of school fees, has been at paucity and this situation has affected the payment of the arrears even as management has continued to look inward to pay." In its efforts to certify the yearnings of the unions, the university recalled the meeting it held with all the unions on Tuesday, March 13, this year where the former revealed the financial status of the university and handed same in print to the latter for deliberations on the way forward.


29

Protest over poor facilities

NASU shuts OOU

*CAMPUSES *NEWS *PEOPLE *KUDOS& KNOCKS *GRANTS

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THE NATION

CAMPUS LIFE 0805-450-3104 email: ladycampus@yahoo.com THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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

email:- campuslife@thenationonlineng.net

•A bike set on fire by irate Christian youths after the bombing of St Finbarr’s Catholic Church

Due to proximity, many students and staff of the NTA Television College were affected by the bombing of St Finbarr’s Catholic Church, Jos. They told JOHNPAUL NNAMDI (400-Level TV Journalism) the gory tales.

“A

FTER the priest said the opening prayer, the choir took over. They were singing Lord have mercy and we (church members) were responding. They sang for the first time and before we could respond, we heard a very loud ‘boom!’ The ceiling fell on us; the window glasses and doors were shattered and there was chaos. Everyone struggled to run out of the church. I managed to get out. I had bruises on my legs but I saw burning parishioners as well as the lifeless body of a Boy Scout burnt beyond recognition. The bodies of the suicide bombers lay there too. The scene of the blast was gory. I could not believe my eyes. I thank God I am alive.” That was Christabel Pwakim, a 300-Level student of TV Journalism at the NTA TV College, Jos, Plateau State. She was one of several lucky students who escaped death at the St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church Jos. St. Finbarr’s Church is about 700 metres

Black day in Jos from NTA TV College; many students and staff worship there. Some others live in the neighbourhood. Mrs. Chinelo Eze is a lecturer in the college; her house shares a fence with the church. According to her, she was at home but felt the impact of the bomb as if she was in the church. She said: “I am not an eyewitness. Though I was in my house, I felt more of the impact. As the bomb exploded, it also shattered my windows, doors, ceiling, etc. The vibration was something else. My children and I are still trying to get over the shock.”

Judith Ohini was also in the church at the time of the blast. The 300-Level student said: “I was confused. I was very, very confused. I could remember the priest had just started the mass and then I heard a sound and everything was just falling down. The person close to me dragged me out of the church. Though I was not unconscious, but I was not aware of what was happening around. “It affected my ears and I could not hear for some time. Up till now, I can’t even eat meat or fish because of the parts of people’s bodies I saw. I also take drugs to enable me

sleep because the incident has made me afraid of darkness.” There were some who were not within the church premises but who still see their survival as miraculous. One of them is Egobi Ofuogu, a 400-Level student. He said: “After the second mass, I was waiting for a cab to go home. After a while, I got a lift from a friend. It was not up to five minutes after I left when I heard the explosion. I could not hold back tears. I feel very bad because that was where I was just coming from.” Ntol Ngbadois is a 300-Level student. She said she felt “very blessed” to have escaped from the blast. After the 7:45 am mass, according to her, she had stayed back for a meeting. Immediately she left the church, the bomb exploded. •Continued on page 31

•Students support Rector for second term- P32•Corp members cry over non-payment allowances- P33


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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CAMPUS LIFE

For the mothers

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OR every time I get a reaction to my write-ups, there is always this sense of gratitude. This is because there are many distractions out there, thus for someone to sit and read me, then go to the trouble of responding, takes commitment. And that I appreciate. One response, from a mother, more than caught my attention. It made me think. Here it is: “May God bless you for (Thursday’s) article ‘Customised sense of hypocrisy’ of which I am also guilty. It pricks the heart. But it is a pity that most of us have seared our hearts with hot iron. May God revive our consciences because they are dead. But now, I’ve taken a decision to stop and say ‘No’ to hypocrisy and double standards. I’m now your member. I have also sworn to (teach) the right values to my children no matter what it takes. I have cut out the page, photocopied and laminated it for each of them, with an enlarged copy placed on the wall. May God help us to accept the truth even if painful and bitter. It is really a heartbreaking situation. How I wish all mothers will have a national day of prayers to seek God’s intervention in our children’s lives before it becomes like the incurable virus. Is there anything you can do in that regard? We can be in our various homes but on a united date. Thanks” - Mrs. V Ndubuisi I told Mrs. Ndubuisi that we should start by doing the little we can. I consider her resolve and what she has already done quite remarkable. In my opinion, that is what is most important – the resolve, the determination, the will to do the right thing. Once we get that right, everything else will fall into place. According to the Bible in Genesis 11:6, even God will not stop us because it is a rule He set up and we know He is just and will never

photo of dancing mothers at the Aso Rock chapel, Abuja. In this paper and at least three others, it was used as the cover photo. The previous day was Mothers’ Sunday, as marked by most churches (I learnt the Catholic Church is marking hers next Sunday; I have never ceased to be exasperated with at the different dates!), thus the photo use was right-on-track. But as I watched the obviously happy women, it was clear that they 08054503104 were clearly satisfied with (SMS only) themselves. Perhaps they even •campuslife@thenationonlineng.net consider themselves “lucky” to be “Aso Rock mothers”. Perhaps, also, •ladycampus@yahoo.com many others who equally saw the picture would have wished it was them who contradict Himself. I have nothing against had the privilege to sit near Dr and Dame praying on a uniform day, but prayer Goodluck Jonathan every Sunday. I thought (which I call faith) without works (which is of a lot of things, but I couldn���t help dwelling the resolve and corresponding action) is on the incongruity between the seemingly useless, as we see again in the Bible (James proud mothers and the rot emanating from 2:20). This is why I said that the decision to past and ongoing probes of the conduct of do the right thing is key. government officials (sons, daughters, For the umpteenth time, I reiterate that husbands and wives). The same sense of our mothers – and that include me – have hypocrisy which we have customised for failed this nation. I say so because I am one ourselves permeates every facet of our lives. of those who firmly believe that a woman’s How sad indeed. primary assignment is to nurture. One does That Monday, I was having a discussion not have to have biological children to be a with a colleague, also a mother. I can’t nurturer; it comes with our DNA. If we have remember what started it but I shared my produced systemically corrupt leaders - men worry with her about mothers and how many and women who think nothing of spending have all but abandoned their primary role of N850,000 (even if N85,000 “only”) of raising sound individuals. government money on meals per day, who In her defense of the women, she used a dip into pensioners’ life savings and blow term I find interesting. According to her, we billions of that, who divert billions meant are living in the “era of the woman”. The women for improving/building power generation were in charge; they make more money than and supply, monies meant for renovating they have ever made in history; they oversee roads/classrooms, building and equipping large corporations and manage hundreds of hospitals – then something is wrong with people – male and female – more than at any the process of raising them. other time in the past. Thus, she continued, it The law of sowing and reaping is constant. was not out of place that something should be It is exactly like the law of gravity; being sacrificed for this “golden ‘era of the woman’”. one of the areas where the Bible, Greek These days, it is very common to see mothers philosophers and science agree on. Thus, we who travel out of their base every other week, are fooling ourselves with the hundreds of for days at a time. They dispatch the children to thousands of women awarded the Ezinne expensive boarding schools in and outside the (good mother) title by Catholic and country. Even when the children are home on Anglican bishops when their children sit holiday, they spend their time with the drivers, atop important but monumentally corrupt the nannies and of course at the cinemas and public and private establishments. other fun places. On Monday, many newspapers ran the

Pushing Out Ngozi Agbo

‘We ‘ll hold Suswam to his word’

‘Know where you are going’ Bolaji Akinde is the president of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, Ogun State. MUIBAT SALAM (NDII Mass Communication) spoke with him.

•Bolaji

I

T has been three months since your election. What are your achievements? We have been able to prevail on the government and the management to remove almost N9,000 from the high school fees that were initially announced. Also, I discovered that fun activities on campus were always in the second semester. This administration has been able to change things. It invited Etisalat to liven up the Valentine’s Day. It was the first of its kind in the polytechnic; several gifts were distributed to students including a Hyundai car won by an NDII student. During your campaign, you promised stu-

dents efficient transportation, yet they still go through stress before getting to school. What do you have to say about it? Of course, we did; and we are trying our best to reduce the stress of transportation by reviving three of the school’s luxurybuses, with the help of the Rector. But, because the school is densely populated, the buses are still not enough. We’ve met with the Ogun State Commissioner of Education and the ministry has promised to do something about it. What have been your challenges? The challenges are quite much; but the painful one was the day we went to the State House to see Governor Ibikunle Amosun, over a reduction in our school fees, because we felt that as a product of the school he would understand our plight. But all efforts to see him proved abortive. So, we decided to go to the House of Assembly to see the Speaker but the table turned around as we were accused of trying to kidnap him. We got the beating of our lives - three members of the SUG executive, a representative of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and I. But we thank God that, at last, we were able to achieve our aim and got some reduction. What is your take on the controversy over who is better between an HND and a B.SC holder? The polytechnic student is practical-oriented, while the university student is theoryoriented. It is not because I am a polytechnic student, but I think the polytechnic is the best because the practicals expose the student, enlightens and prepares him or her better for the labour market. What is your advice for the students? We are here for a purpose which is to learn, so we should face it squarely. Our parents are spending a lot to get us educated; for this reason we should not be disappointed because if one does not know where one is going, other people will take one to where they are going.

Call me old-fashioned and you will not be wrong; call me a prude and you are right; even call me archaic and you have not missed the mark. I have been called those and worse. But I remain convinced that every woman who has children must give them her first and best attention until they are old enough to make their own decisions. Career demand that does not make room for the children must be suspended. We cannot eat our cake and have it; the cost of chasing solely after career has already proven to be too high. If present fathers who had mothers that even had some time for them are this corrupt, what do you think we are going to have in the next 20 or so years when what we are raising now comes to full maturation? Most of our mothers then were small time traders and teachers who thought sending us to school and feeding us was all that was needed. We cannot continue to make that mistake. Mothering is much more than that. Mothers must have curriculum for their children. A 21st century mother or nurturer must be a teacher, a psychologist, a counselor, a pastor, a homemaker and a role model (integrity is vital). Mothers must learn to, first and foremost, teach their children how to respect and honour the human person. In my view, lack of this respect is mainly responsible for the obscene thievery and destruction we see all around us. Remember that the devil’s primary assignment is “to steal, kill and destroy?” Look around Nigeria today and tell me if those three are not the reason why we are where we are, the insecurity included. In other words then, the lying/double standard (which is also satan’s exclusive preserve) coupled with the thievery and all that combine to make many satan’s avowed children. Shouting “it is not my portion” or “I reject it” does not exclude you and your children. What does is making the resolve to do the right thing and then following through. Ciao CORRECTION On page 33 of last Thursday’s edition, in the story “UNICAL graduates 8,422”, we mistakenly referred to Prof Bassey Asuquo, instead of Prof James Epoke, as the ViceChancellor of the University of Calabar.

•Innocent

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated the Teaching Hospital. Do you think the end of your struggle is in sight? Well, in a way, yes. But I wouldn’t want to jump to conclusion, given previous experiences. In 2005 when we awaited the inauguration of the college by President Olusegun Obasanjo, we had high hopes when we learnt he was coming. We thought the answers to our problems had arrived, but we soon realised it was the beginning of a higher level of frustration. The project was commissioned, but here we are, seven years after. What has delayed your medical programme? As President of the medical students and after nine years of stagnation, I can say the delay is not hinged on one factor. I say so because becoming a doctor needs an interplay of many factors. First, the medical programme is divided into two parts: the clinical and the preclinical, with different requirements as far as structures, facilities, personnel and funding are concerned. The delay is due to the non-accreditation of the programmes in the preclinical and clinical parts. Preclinical consists of 200 and 300-Levels which are supposed to take two years, requiring a single accreditation which the college could not secure for five years (2003–December 2008). Now, obviously, the first set of students spent five years from 200-to 300-Level before we got the accreditation. Exams were conducted and they were promoted to 400-Level. Another accreditation is required to cross from 400- to 500Level and this is the stage we are right now. We

Innocent Abah is the president of Benue State University Medical Students Association (BESUMSA). The students have been in the news over the non-accreditation of the University Teaching Hospital which was inaugurated last week by President Goodluck Jonathan. MSONTER ANZAA (200-Level Medicine) met him. are crying and pleading; begging the government and others concerned because a functional teaching hospital is a sine qua non for securing this accreditation. We have been taken to the Federal Medical Centre as a palliative. We have remained in this stage for five years now. Even when we cross this stage, we still require at least two more non-interrupted years to be able to graduate, so that is why I say the delay cuts across the whole medical programme. What message do you have for the President as he just inaugurated the hospital? We have just one message. No matter how many ways it is put, we want a functional teaching hospital. And it is our hope that this wish will not take too long, looking at what we have gone through. Do you believe the Teaching Hospital is actually ready for commissioning? The Teaching Hospital is divided into three •Continued on page 31


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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CAMPUS LIFE

NASU shuts OOU They came to write exams as well as carry out other businesses, but students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, were barred from entering the mini campus by protesting members of the staff. MODESTUS DIKO (400-Level Microbiology) reports.

•An official carrying a placard during the demonstration

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AST week Tuesday, students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, went to school as usual, at the mini campus. Some even had examinations to write. However, on getting to school, they met locked gates and classrooms. It was not until 10am that news filtered in that some members of the staff, under the banner of the Non Academic Staff of University (NASU), were on strike. Soon, the striking workers converged at the front of the school gate (mini campus), carrying placards and singing solidarity songs. From there, they marched to the Permanent Site. Speaking with CAMPUSLIFE, one of them from the Registry Unit, Mr O. Olarotimi, said the impromptu

.Students locked out at the mini campus gate

action was to press home demands for payment of our arrears. He said: “We have not been paid our salary increase arrears since 2010. We have shown commitment by working but it has gone on for long and is really

affecting us. Many of us have children to cater for, house rent to pay, and families to look after. It is our sweat; it is our right and we need to fight for what is ours. We have given them time; we also inti•Continued from page 30

•TV College gate

Black day in Jos •Continued from page 29

She added: “I feel very sorry for the members of the Boy Scout because they were at the gate when we left and that was where the blast occurred.” Terdoo Robert, in 400 Level, considers himself a devoted Catholic, but “for some unusual reason”, he didn’t go for mass that Sunday. “I do not miss the 10:00am mass, but, that day, I didn’t feel like going to church. I had no particular reason, but my instinct stopped me from attending mass. It was just miraculous,” he said. Many were confused by the uproar and reprisal attack that followed the blast at the Rayfield/Mai Adiko area. Many houses and properties were

destroyed. Maryam Turakah, a 400-Level student, said her property was spared but the house in which she lived was destroyed by irate Christian youths. She added: “My landlord is a Muslim, but all the tenants are Christians. The youths carefully brought out our property and destroyed the building. Right now, I am staying with a friend.” Lengshak Gotodok is in 400-Level. Hear him: “I had to claim a house and a car in order to prevent the angry youths from setting them on fire. The house where I’m residing is owned by a Muslim. I had to plead and claim possession of the house before the youths agreed to back off. It was not easy convincing them; I was almost lynched. But I had to lie to save the house and car.”

phases. Phase one is ready and this is the basic we need to make progress. Its functionality is enough for us to begin to move once more. Being ready and functionality are two different things. It is not functional now because it is yet to be handed over to the teaching hospital management board. You have led the students to the Government House twice in less than two weeks. Governor Gabriel Suswam pleaded for two weeks to make the hospital functional. What would you do if he fails? Our governor is a gentleman. We believe he will keep his word and we will hold him by it. We want to believe the governor has a Plan A and B for his students. We believe he can figure out another way for us. Do you have confidence in the

mated them two weeks ago before embarking on the strike, but to no avail. So, what we need is for the management and the government to pay us what is ours. It is unfair to work without being paid.”

Another NASU member who pleaded anonymity said: “The management has been owing us since last year, and we have seen no effort on its part to pay us. There was a meeting and they are still insisting that they are not ready to pay. But things cannot remain like that; a worker deserves his wages; hence the need for this demonstration.” While the protest was going on, members of the Student Union Government (SUG) came around, and expressing shocked on seeing students stranded outside the gates, ordered that it be opened. According to the President, Comrade O. Joel, as the union was not initially informed of the action “so we could mediate and also ask our students not to bother wasting their money and time coming to school, we should be allowed to enter the campus. “The Olabisi Onabanjo University is a community of different people and groups. Thus, it is necessary that other groups, as legitimate stakeholders, intimate every group, especially students when they are carrying out actions that will affect us. It is not right to do otherwise, as that could bring about instability. I believe due consultations must be made to ensure that these things do not affect students more than they should. Just look at the way students were stranded outside the school gate like animals; we are not prisoners. “If not that one of our students called to tell me of the situation, I would not have known. If we had been informed, fine, they (NASU) could do their things and we would have made our own arrangements, it would not have affected us like that. We are not against their cause; yes, it is their right, but there are things that should be done first. We as a responsible SUG cannot just sit and watch our students treated like prisoners,” he said. Many students who spoke to CAMPUSLIFE praised Joel and his officials for the prompt and effective intervention.

‘We’ll hold Suswam to his word’ latest date given by the government, given that all previous dates have failed to materialise? Looking at what we have gone through, it is very natural for anybody to want to take new dates with a pinch of salt. But a second look at what has been done and the plans on ground, and the committed resolve that we see in our governor, we believe very much in this date. All the same, one had wished that the accreditation had come before this commissioning. How real is the threat by the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council to close the college? It is very real because it has hap-

pened to other colleges like those at the universities of Benin and Abuja. We would have suffered this fate before now, but it was averted by our Provost, Prof J. Gyoh. But we might not be lucky this time if nothing is done. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement and how do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered as someone who led people into a promised land like Joshua in the Bible did, and my greatest achievement is making the stagnated and depressed medical students of the Benue State University College of Health Sciences see hope again.

•Senator Olugbenga Ashafa of Lagos East (middle) flanked by the graduands of free ICT training at Senator Gbenga Ashafa Training Centre. From left: the beneficiaries Ijede Local Government District Area, Bonojo Jamiu; AgboyiKetu LCDA, Saka Tairat; Ikorodu West LCDA, Amusa Morenike; Ikosi Ketu LCDA, Oyinloye Adegoke; and Ikosi Ejirin LCDA, Aberegidi Samson at the sixth convocation.


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

CAMPUS LIFE Hostel row: VC begs students

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•SUG leaders taking the oath of office

SUG sworn in, three months after election ORE than three months after their election, officials of the Student Union Government (SUG) at Adekunle Ajasin University, AkungbaAkoko (AAUA) were sworn in, penultimate week, in a ceremony attended by the Vice- Chancellor of the institution, Prof Femi Mimiko. The elections that brought the students into office were held on November 16 last year. The swearing in ceremony took place at the Olusegun Obasanjo Multipurpose Hall. The administration of oath was conducted by the Registrar, Mr Bamidele Olotu. In his speech entitled “My covenant with AAUAITES”, the SUG president, Waliu Ismaila, described his victory as a humble one, imploring his contenders to see the contest as a game of sportsmanship and a triumph of logic. He listed his demands from the management to include the immediate completion of the health centre on campus, provision of ad-

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From Babatunde Alao and Michael Oluwaniyi AAUA

equate lecture theartres and provision of necessary equipment that will enhance the entrepreneurship programmes among others. He said: “We will strive to actualise our programmes without any form of compromise, fear of intimidation or victimisation or succumb to undue signing of undertaking as our interests are not negotiable.” Congratulating the SUG leaders, Prof Mimiko expressed happiness on the success of the SUG election without crisis. He charged the leaders to broaden their exposure and the need for them to see themselves as partners in progress with the school administration, saying “you don’t have to be at war with the administration to get few things done. Be part of the team that will transform this university of ours into a 21st century university.” Other members of the SUG sworn

in sworn in included the Vice President, Damilola Shaba; General Secretary, Motilola Olola; Treasurer, Ayodele Imole; Financial Secretary, Gbenga Ayala; Welfare Director, Ayodele Salami; Social Director, Opekitan Orimolade; Sports Director, Isaiah Aderemi; Assistant General Secretary, Damilola Olonilua; Public Relations Officer, Temitope Omoyeni and members of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC). After the swearing in, Abiodun Akomolafe, Olusheye Omosuyi, John Ofojebu were elected Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Chief Whip of the legislative house respectively. Motilola thanked God for her success at the poll, saying “this is a dream come true for the womenfolk.” Akinola Adekunle, a 400-Level Political Science, student said: “We voted for Waliu because of his antecedent being a former SRC member. So, we expect him to perform.”

HE Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Prof Ishaq Oloyede, has held a “village meeting” with the students residing in the varsity’s hostels over the controversy generated by the circular requesting students to vacate the dormitories on or before March 23, 2012. The university had given March 23 to April 7 as mid-semester break instead of February 20, when the Harmattan semester ended. The VC said the vacation was necessary because of the forthcoming West African University Games (WAUG) coming up between March 27 and April 6. Oloyede enlightened the students that whenever there was a break, students were expected to vacate the hostels but said the institution never enforced it since it was unnecessary. He pleaded with the students to cooperate with the management. “Even if it is your right, it is our culture to entertain and accommodate visitors

Fellowship holds orientation for members •Mass Comm gets new executive

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HE Christians Communicators’ Fellowship (CCF), a fellowship in Lagos State University (LASU), last Friday, held an orientation programme for freshers. The programme, entitled “Maximizing your stay on campus”, was to enlighten the new students on how to maximise their potentials effectively. Samuel Ogunaike, a public speaker, who spoke at the occasion, discussed “The reason why you are here”. Ogunaike told the students that they were in school to gain experience, strength and become skilled in their chosen fields. He said: “If you focus to get First Class, which is not bad, at the expense of discovering your purpose, when you come out of the univer-

From Michael Adebayo UNILORIN

even if it will be inconvenient for us. We expended much on this game and we should not allow a trivial accommodation issue to disturb it,” Oloyede said. He told the students that adequate measures were in place to protect the property of the students left in the hostel. He also assured the students that the management would not use force to dislodge them as he believed they were well-behaved. He also encouraged them to sacrifice their time and resources in coming around to cheer the university team to victory. The Students’ Union President, Surajudeen Musa, pleaded with the VC that March 23 should be declared lecture free so that students will be relieved of any impending queue at the car park and traffic hold-up in town. The management consented to his request. From Olasunkanmi Arowolo LASU

sity, you will experience first class frustration.” He encouraged the students to make positive impact on their lives and the lives of other people. Femi Ayodeji, another speaker, told the fresh students that the road to success was rough, saying “there are many challenges you need to overcome.” In another development, Communication Students Parliamentary Council (CSPC), last Friday, held inaugural sitting, where oaths were administered on the new Communication Students’ Association (COSA) executives and parliamentarians. The elected speaker, Ahmed Salawu, congratulated his colleagues for their election and urged them to be service-oriented. Oluwasegun Alaka was elected the deputy speaker. During the sitting, the house set up a constitutional review committee, whose chairman and secretary, Rapheal Ogidan and Adeyinka Mayowa respectively, were given four weeks ultimatum to submit the report. Fomer president of the association, Emmanuel Olaotan, advised the new leaders, saying “service to humanity” should be their watchword.

Yoruba students orientate freshers From Olayinka Olatunbosun IBBU

HE Nigerian Association of Southwest Students (NASS), Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai chapter, has orientated the new students of Yoruba extraction admitted into the school. In his address, the president of the association, Kassim Adewale, congratulated the students on their successful matriculation and welcomed them to the association. A patron of the association, Dr Ebenezer Ogungbe, a lecturer at the department of English, said Yoruba students admitted into the institution were more than other tribes, while urging the students to shun cultism and vices that could tarnish the im-

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•Students displaying placards in solidarity march to support Dr Idogho

Students support Rector for second term

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HE president of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi (AUCHI POLY), Louis Osaro, has debunked the rumour making the rounds that the students were not in support of the second term bid of the Rector, Dr Philipa Idogho. Louis, who spoke to reporters, described the reappointment of Idogho as a welcome development because, according to him, her achievements have brought glory to the institution. He said the Rector had done more than the past administration, especially with

From Tosin Ajuwon AUCHIPOLY RUGIPO

massive development that was ongoing on campus. “Let me make it clear today that the students are in support of the Rector to go for another four years. We need her to continue the good work she has started,” Louis said. Meanwhile, some of the students who spoke to our correspondent expressed confidence in the Rector, saying the institution has gained back her lost glory. They condemned some youths who allegedly protested the reappointment

of Idogho. They described them as the “enemies of progress”. “I see no reason why some innocent youth in Auchi will be used by politicians to ferment trouble when we can all see the visible work this woman is doing. Dr Idogho is a great woman who has proven more than a mother to us. She has impacted many peoples’ life and built destiny to those who believe that it is over on this earth. For the first time in this school, graduating students received their results just after the 19th convocation ceremony,” one of the students said.

age of Yoruba in the school. He also charged them to be focused and responsible. Dr M.D. Oladipupo, head of Physics department, admonished the freshers to work hard and dress decently to “promote and protect the name of Omo Oduduwa. Mr Adewale Ebene, another lecturer, who invoked Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream, encouraged new and returning students to set their goals and follow them to the letter. Lekan Salimon, 400-Level Mathematics and Computer Science, gave the closing remark and taught the students on how to calculate their Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

33

CAMPUS LIFE Niger State students hold convention

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•Some of the matriculating students

‘Our institution does not tolerate cultism’

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TUDENTS have been advised to shun cultism and indiscipline of any form in the pursuance of academic excellence. This appeal was made by the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Prof Godwin Onu, during the 28th matriculation ceremony held at the institution’s convocation arena last week. Onu admonished them to take their studies serious as time wasted can ever be regained. He said: “We have created the right ambience for gainful study. You have at your disposal a well equipped library, Internet services, spacious classrooms, dedi-

From Geraldine Abumchi OKO POLY RUGIPO

cated lecturers and staff, sports facilities for your recreation as well as decent clubs and societies for your socialisation.” Describing the polytechnic as a cult-free school, the Rector said the institution had zero tolerance for certificate forgery, exam malpractice and the negative vices, stressing that ivory tower was a place where one must get oriented to drop his or her excesses, imbibe tolerance for other people’s opinion and world views. Jane Nwike, ND 1 Engineering,

expressed joy, saying: “I am excited because I am now one of the bonafide students of this school. I have been dreaming of becoming an engineer since my childhood and I believe my entering into this institution will enable me to actualise my dream.” Madubuko Arinze, ND 1 Quantity Surveying, also could not hide his happiness. He said: “Now that I am a student of this school, I will make sure I abstain from bad company and every other thing that will distract me so that I will be distinguished among my friends.”

AST weekend, more than 60 students from 32 tertiary institutions came together in Niger State under the banner of National Association of Niger State Students (NANISS) to hold the 2012 national convention for the association. The convention was held at Gidan Matasa Hall, Minna, Niger State. The conference, which theme bordered on national integration of students across the country, was attended by representatives of each local chapter of the association in the institutions present at the event. Elections into various positions was equally held as candidates purchased nomination forms and canvassed for delegates’ votes. Participating schools included among others the Federal University of Technology Minna (FUT MINNA), Federal University of Technology, Yola (FUTY), Nassarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai , Federal Polytechnic, Bida (BIDA POLY), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi College of Education, Minna, and College of Education, Zuba, Abuja. There were two main contenders for the position of the president. They are Dahiru Dauda, 300Level Library Information Tech-

From Faith Olaniran FUT MINNA

nology, FUT MINNA, and Ibrahim Aliyu, 400-Level Quantity Surveying, ATBU. At the end of the election, Ibrahim won with 32 votes against 24 garnered by Dahiru. Other national officers of the association were also elected. Musa Mohammed, the national Senate President and a student of IBBU, Lapai, said the election was free and fair. He advised the elected students to carry all members of the association along in everything they do without leaving out the secondary school pupils of Niger State. Ibrahim sought unity and harmony in the association, saying “belief in God is my watchword.” Dahiru congratulated the president, pledging his loyalty to the cause of the association. Muhammed Saba, who was elected the Academic Secretary, thanked his supporters that stood behind him throughout the electoral processes. Aminu Goro, the chairman Convention Planning Committee from NSUK, said: “I am so happy because the convention was the most peaceful convention in recent time. I want to give thanks to Allah for the success and advise all newly elected officers to carry out their duties in the best interest of all students of Niger State.

•Students on queue to register at the ICT building

Varsity begins registration for new session

T •Prof Sofoluwe during the commissioning of the power plant

World Bank donates power plant to dept

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HE Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos (UNILAG) is now being run on 24-hours power supply. This was made possible by Step-B Project of the World Bank. Speaking at the inauguration of the power project, the UNILAG Vice-Chancellor, Prof Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, praised the World Bank for making funds available.

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From Tosin Adesile UNILAG

He said the department was ready for transformation. “You can see that as we continue to provide necessary materials for our students, they have continued to perform better on the field. All these are as a result of functional facilities that have been made available to the students,” the VC

said. Personalities at the ceremony included Prof Ralph Akinfeleye, Prof A. Bello, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management), and Mr John Momoh, Chairman of Channels Television. Step-B Project has been helping institutions in Nigeria to develop and transform universities in the area of Science, Arts and Medicine.

Corp members cry over non-payment of allowances

T is no longer news again that a new governor, Seriake Dickson, is in charge in Bayelsa State. But four weeks after the February 11 governorship election in the state, corps members who were contracted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to act as ad hoc staff are yet to be paid their allowances. Some of the corps members were posted to riverine areas, while others got posted to volatile cities to conduct the election. The serving youths

From Abiola Salau NYSC YENAGOA

said they could not understand why they were yet to be paid their allowances after the governor-elect had been sworn in. One of the concerned corps members, Anthony Akpos, told CAMPUSLIFE that he spent hours on the ocean before he could get to his unit where he conducted the election. Another corps member, who craved

anonymity, said: “Many of us risked our lives to participate in the conduct of the election because Bayelsa State is volatile due to militants’ activities. Having conducted the election over a month ago, why would anyone spite us with non-payment of our allowances?” It was sketchy as to who delayed the payment between INEC and the directorate of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). But CAMPUSLIFE gathered that the delay would have been caused by the banker of the scheme in the state.

HE students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) have commenced registration for the 2011/ 2012 academic session. The fresh students started the registration in February but registration for freshers and returning students are expected to end this month. The exercise was different this session as the school moved away from the manual system to electronic registration. This is the first time students of the institution register online, thereby reducing the stress they encountered when the registration was manual. Some students were yet to come to terms with the new method. They preferred to go through the hardship synonymous with the

From Mubarak Ibrahim UDUS

manual registration as CAMPUSLIFE saw a long queue of students at the ICT building trying to use limited facilities in the building to register. Management said students who do not have laptop could go online in any cyber café to do their registration. However, students reacted normally to the increment in the school fee. It should be recalled that last semester, the local branch chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr Lawali Abubakar, held a meeting with the leaders of students’ associations, informing them that the school would increase school fees in the coming session.


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

CAMPUS LIFE Underdevelopment and poor synergy between researchers and the private sector are interwoven. So said a group of science experts at a conference hosted by the University of Benin (UNIBEN). NOSAKHARE UWADIAE and GILBERT ALASA (300-Level Foreign Languages).

Research for development

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CIENCE remains the most potent instrument for development in any society. It is the lifeblood of every developed nation. This was the message last week by the Nigeria Society for Experimental Biology (NISEB) during its 12th annual conference with the theme: Science as a Tool for National Transformation and Development. The event was held at the Main Auditorium of the University of Benin (UNIBEN). NISEB was formed in April, 1989, at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) by Prof C.O. Bewaji, Dr. O.B. Oloyede and Dr. M.A. Akanji. The group was expanded to 19 on December 12, 1994. The metamorphosis to NISEB occured on June 6, 2000, when the society took the first step to make the body a truly national body with Bewaji as president. The goal of the society, CAMPUSLIFE learnt, is the development of life sciences in Africa. The two-day conference was opened by a recipient of the Nigerian National Order of Merit in Science, 2010, Prof Andrew Nok, with a paper on Trypanosome Transsialidases: In Search of Roles. Other speakers included Ayotunde Adeagbo, professor of Pharmacology and Physiology in the United States, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwurili, who spoke on Enhancing Postgraduate Training in Nigerian Universities. In his address, the president of the body, Prof Oyebamiji Fafioye, said the event was an opportunity for members to show their research prowess in the various areas of experimental biology with the aim of forging common opinion on nation building. Speaking for the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Okon Ewa, a Director-General in the Ministry, Dr. Willie Siyanbola, praised the NISEB initiative, stating that “it was very timely considering various economic initiatives and strategies of the Federal Government in the last decade.” He added that the transformation agenda and indeed the Vision 20-2020 cannot be achieved without the deployment of science and technology. “This is because science and technology are now perceived as Siamese twins that propels steady and sustainable development,” he stated. Lamenting the poor pace of development made so far in the fields in

•Some of the paticipants after the conference

•Lecturers at the conference

Nigeria, Ewa said except drastic transformation in building capacity and capabilities in science and technology are taken, no significant success will be recorded. However, the Local Organising Committee Chairman, Prof Chris Osunbor, reacting to the minister’s speech, said academics have the willpower and the desire to improve on science and technology, “but we’ve been hindered by poor funding.” “The various scientific breakthroughs in the society today stem

from our efforts to make the world better. But the problem is that there exists a missing link between research experts and the private sector. In most advanced economies, there is usually a synergy between universities and the private sector and this fosters development. The private sector needs to key into this opportunity by taking advantage of the research efforts from the academia. This, in turn, would address the infrastructural problems we have in the country today and create employ-

ment. Governments at all levels should therefore, provide adequate research grants that would fuel development.” During the conference, awards were conferred on some individuals including the UNIBEN Vice-Chancellor, Prof Osayuki Oshodin. Others were Prof Onwuliri; the VC, National Open University, Prof V. A. Tenabe; the Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University, Archbishop Margret Idahosa; the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health, Mr Ndudi

Elumelu; Dean, Postgraduate School, UNILORIN, Prof Bewaji; the former VC, Igbinedion University, Prof Anthony Osagie; the Chief Executive Officer, Olutee Engineering Limited, Mr Olu Shawana. Prof Osunbor, speaking on the choice of honourees, said it was because of their contribution to the development of the group. According to him, “these men and women have made their mark in the science world; it is pertinent to recognise their achievements.”

Protest over poor facilities Students of the Ondo State School of Nursing and Midwifery, Akure are unhappy over what they call poor living conditions. Last week Wednesday, some of them held a peaceful protest. TOSIN AJUWON (HND, Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo State) visited the school.

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AST Wednesday, students of the Ondo State School of Nursing and Midwifery, Akure, staged a peaceful demonstration to press home their demand “for better living conditions and welfare, especially in the hostels”. The students locked themselves up

in their hostels, boycotting classes and other activities. They also denied the Principal, Mrs. Adebimpe Fatile, and some management officers access to the hostels. Our correspondent who visited the institution said academic activities were put on hold and the school pre-

•Untidy kitchen where students cook

mises was like a ghost town. The students alleged that some government

officials, especially the Special Adviser to the state on Youth Matters,

Mr Olamide George, visited “after several complaints from us but has •Continued on page 36


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22 , 2012

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CAMPUS LIFE

As Abati finally gets transformed T was on a Monday in August 2009. A group of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) student journalists, among whom was this writer, visited Rutam House, the headquarters of The Guardian, to see Dr. Reuben Abati, the then Chairman of the paper’s Editorial Board. The visit was informed by the publication of a book in honour of Abati, who was chosen by the students as the bastion of principled journalism in a profession populated by people solely pushed by stomach rather than ethics. By training, media practitioners are expected to be on the side of the people, that is to uphold the people’s interest. This is the principle through which the trade derived its ontology. And, in loyalty to this precept, Abati truly exuded uncommon passion by drawing the attention of the government to the poor conditions Nigerians are subjected through his writings. A First Class graduate of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), he justified his brilliance by his twice-a-week columns in The Guardian on Friday and on Sunday, where readers enjoyed his incisive analyses of events shaping our common destiny as Nigerians. In fact, I religiously followed these debates with a medical doc-

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tor friend before Abati crossed to the other flank of the divide. Vintage Abati would make mockery of the state apparatus of coercion and the ruling elite, who could not fix electricity and roads after more than ten years of democracy. In his satirical best, Abati would paint a grim picture of maladministration and subversion of democratic norms by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), especially during the protracted feud between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his estranged deputy, Atiku Abubakar. However, having gone to the other side, Abati, within a year, has begun to see issues not from the prism through which he always saw it when he was here. Of course, he is now there and we, the common men, are novices who could not have known the “workings of the government”. But then, we are talking about the same PDP and its faithful Abati delighted in criticising for Nigeria’s backwardness, despite billions of petro dollars. Overnight, alas, these same PDP politicians have magically turned to saints and democratic puritans, at least, according to the scholarly presidential spokesman, who has betrayed the principle that qualified him for the coveted post

in the Presidency. This is a plain duplicity! One of the underlying tenets of any democratic government, it must be emphasised, is openmindedness and tolerance of the opposition’s views. This ‘Jonathan democracy’ presently happening in Nigeria cannot be different. The belligerent Olusegun Obasanjo, whose regime halted on the altar of third term gambit, laboured in vain to muzzle the opposition and the Constitution but he was rendered powerless by the same opposition he tried to banish. The Umaru Yar’Adua administration understood the essence of opposition politics and contribution. The present administration is a government constituted by people who are well educated – if you like, the government of Ph.D holders and professors. Having been a former chief executive of a state and now the president, Dr. Jonathan should be more informed about democracy even if he did not have his doctorate degree in Political Science. But the Presidency has displayed ignorance on the necessity of opposition. If it is not, how else could one describe the categorisation of opposition parties and Abati’s colleagues in the media as “presi-

dential attackers” by Dr. Reuben Abati? In his “Much ado about stone” published in The Nation on February 16, 2012, Abati did not stop short of accusing The Nation columnist, Sam Omatseye and a senior editor of TELL magazine, Ayo Akinkuotu, of showing shallow understanding and playing to the gallery “by those who seem to believe that belittling the Jonathan Presidency will make them popular, no matter how unfair their conclusions may be.” The latest one is the attack on the spokesman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who Abati accused of “denigrating and attacking the personality of the president and the office.” Pray, when did it become an offence to criticise the president or his programmes? If criticism of the president is unhealthy in a supposedly democratic government, as Abati made us to realise, then the first guilty verdict should be passed on him. Abati’s acidic diatribe against the Obasanjo and Yar’Adua governments should be revisited. I’m not trying to disrespect the presidential spokesperson or his paymasters in the PDP. It is suffice to add that Abati has passed the Rubicon and has swum into the murky ocean of Nigerian

By Wale Ajetunmobi ridwane_4@yahoo.com

politics. He has been bought by the power that be and is being used as hireling by same to inform us why we should not blame the leadership for our woes. Indeed, this is one of the ‘Transformation Agenda’ of President Jonathan. Abati has been transformed! But will he come back to our fold, after 2015, to tell us why we should hold public officers responsible for Nigeria’s backwardness? Wale has just finished Youth Service, NYSC in Abeokuta

Fuel subsidy removal: Genesis, consequences

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HE issue of fuel subsidy dates back to the Gowon era, that is, the second military administration when the cost of fuel per litre was raised from six to 9.5k. Successive governments had increased fuel price at will, promising to use the money realised for infrastructural and public service developmental projects. By and large, it has always been promises never kept. There are basically two reasons people are annoyed with the fuel price subsidy. Firstly, the more the increase, the more they subsidise. Yet, the people see those in government buying bullet proof cars that guzzle fuel. The life of people in government improves tremendously and cost of governance increases. Secondly, even with the slightest increase in fuel price, the cost of basic necessities of life shoot up disproportionately, leaving the people poorer as they have to look for more cash to feed them-

From Oladoyin Famutimi ugo4now@yahoo.com RUGIPO

selves and their families, exorbitant school fees in private institutions since no one wants to send his or her ward to dilapidated public schools. The reason being that price of petrol dictates price of everything in Nigeria. In addition, with every price increase, the poverty band keeps expanding and stands at 72 per cent of the total population having less than two dollars to spend for one day. Ordinarily, nobody wants to die, so this brings about the issue of nobody wanting to demonstrate. For this reason, Nigeria as a country has turned to sheep and goat whereby the government comes and goes without considering the plight of the people. However, when a goat is pushed to the wall, it bites. Hence, the recent massive demonstration against “fuel subsidy” removal which President

Jonathan presented to the people as his new year’s gift. For the first time, people united against dictatorship and took to the streets to protest this devastating but spurious fuel subsidy. Also, the protest was not just against the subsidy but against corruption, bad governance and lavish lifestyle of politicians. I congratulate Nigerians because of the achievements of the one week protest which include reduction of petrol price from N141 to N97 per litre which the Minister of Finance initially said was impossible; 25 per cent reduction in salaries of political office holders; setting of EFCC after the subsidy cabal; fast forwarding of the Petroleum Industry Bill at the National Assembly; setting up of a task force to review the KPMG audit report of Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC); government’s realisation that Nigerians can no longer be taken for

granted. The Lawan committee in the House of Representatives discovered that 59 million litres of petrol had been charged to the subsidy expenditure every day. Whereas NNPC claims Nigerians use only 35 million litres per day, that is, 40 per cent of the money charged to subsidy is false as the excess is smuggled out of Nigeria. Also, $150 million is expended on turn around refineries every year, whereas, no maintenance is ever carried out. In addition, Nigeria produces 2.2 million barrels of oil per day while 1.9 million is exported leaving 300,000 barrels for domestic consumption, but which is charged to Nigerian consumers as if they were imported. Curiously, NNPC claims Nigerians consume 445,000 barrels per day. The Lawan committee also discovered that crude oil is imported by NNPC for refining in Nigeria,

despite the fact that Nigeria has what is called sweet crude because it has no sulphur content and cost of refining locally is minimal. Two well known and authoritative former ministers have debunked claims that there is ever subsidy. Professor Sam Aluko had proclaimed that cost of refined petroleum in Nigeria is N33 per litre. Professor Tam David–West, placed advertorials in national newspapers claiming petrol should cost N34 per litre. Imported fuel must definitely cost significantly much more than locally refined fuel. That is why Nigerians pay through their noses to buy refined petrol as local refineries are comatose giving room for corruption and over invoicing of imported products. Oladoyin, 100-Level Biological Science, Wesley University of Science and Technology, Ondo (WUSTO)

A generation and slave mentality

By Gilbert Alasa humble_gilby@yahoo.com

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ISTORY shapes the future. But, sometimes, it distorts it. It reminds a nation how it has fared. History brings fond memories when the past is pleasant. But it stirs fury in the mind when the past is terrible. No wonder the late British poet, Lord Byron, reminded us that “history is the devil’s scripture.” For the average Nigerian youth, our past continues to be a scary scripture, cast-

ing a gloomy shadow on our cultural values as a people. Slavery in Africa dates back to the 14th and 15th century. I understand our forefathers saw hell while the trade was going on. They encountered the devil in full human garb. They worked in sugar plantations and were separated from their families. They washed the whiteman’s underwears and endured the foul stench oozing from the panties. They were brainwashed to believe that black was the devil, and that white is the colour of the heavens, beauty, royalty and virtue. But sadly, years after the abolition of slave trade, their children are still neck-deep in those chains. History made me understand that tattoo was never a sign of being fashionable. In many ancient civilisations, tattoo portends something ominous. Around 1000BC, tattoo was associated with thugs, gangsters, convicts and slaves in the Zhou and Qing Dynasty. During colonisation in Africa, slave masters reportedly pierced the skin

of our forefathers with a hot iron so as to ascertain slave ownership. I can barely imagine the magnitude of the pain. But today, their children pay through their nose to have those marks on their body. They have termed this “fashion”. The “low-waist” culture – otherwise known in local parlance as sagging - arguably originated from American penitentiary. American prisoners were usually given over-sized uniforms with no belt to hold the trousers. This was to avoid instances of self-strangulation or suicide. Later, American gangster musicians hijacked the trend and musical channels fanned the embers. Today, it has become a fad. Nigerian boys now wear trousers that appear as if it is about to fall off. For the ladies, the pair of trousers stoops so low that innocent men are left to drool lasciviously. They call it “sagging with swags.” What about music? Nigerian artistes are still having a hard time getting a fair crack of the whip. No matter how hard they try, we con-

tinue to dismiss their efforts with the wave of the hand. Like someone said, slavery makes you undervalue your most valuable jewel. Have you ever wondered why we value on a 2Pac’s motherfucking lyrics than a Dagrin’s “Pon, Pon Pon” lines. We burn up millions of naira annually to bring Lil Wayne to Nigeria but pay only peanuts for a D’Banj or MI. Until their recent foray into the American music industry, we had never taken them seriously. Fashion gurus had advised that we dress with what makes us comfortable. But we prefer to practice what is preached on Fashion TV and Hip Hop music videos. From indecency, fashion has metamorphosed into near-nakedness. This culture of nudity speaks louder in our campuses. For the girls, the underlying motive is to seduce students and randy lecturers for selfish ends. Many institutions had enacted regulations to curtail provocative dressing among students but the practice still persists. Slave mentality has graduated from a mere social problem to a psy-

chological crisis. This is informed by an irrational attachment of importance to everything that “comes from abroad”. This is why our politicians fly to Germany to swallow Panadol Extra to ‘cure’ the slightest headache. We rather attend a mushroom university in London because Nigerian universities are considered amusement parks. The fundamental essence of Nigeria is endangered by the current crop of identity-bankrupt generation. The West remains a model for excellence and there is so much to learn from their innovations, enterprise and sheer magic. But when sanity is thrown to the dogs under the guise of “westernisation”, it foretells big trouble. My lecturer, Prof. Edebiri, once told me that assimilation was perhaps the most dangerous phase of colonisation due to its serious implications on culture. Pound Ezra said: “A slave is one who waits for someone to free him.” There is no better time to set ourselves free. Gilbert, 300-Level Foreign Languages, UNIBEN


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

36

CAMPUS LIFE Students of Law from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, have just resumed from a three-month chamber attachment. It was facilitated by their student body, reports CALEB ADEBAYO (300-Level Law).

Ife Law students become interns

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TUDENTS of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, have resumed for a new session. However, it was not all holidaying for members of the Law Students’ Society (LSS). They spent the three months on chamber attachment. The essence was to inculcate into them the practical aspects of Law. CAMPUSLIFE met some of them, who shared their experiences. Samson Akinboyowa, in 300-Level, observed his attachment with Layi Ayinde Chambers in Ogbalufon, Ile-Ife. He was there between December and February. He said: “Almost every day, we went to court; although that was usually in the mornings. All the appearances I was part of were at the High Court. We also did a lot of paperwork, especially on taxation, torts and chieftaincy issues.” According to him, the challenges he faced, at first, had to do with the change in his timetable. “It took a while to get used to having to wake up early to resume at work, the tedious court assignments as well as filing of paperwork. However, I enjoyed the feeling of professionalism and having to act like a full-fledged lawyer,” he said. For Samson, the experience is an “invaluable preparation for what to expect in the Nigerian Law School”. For this, he added, he would remain grateful to the leadership of the LSS. In his opinion, the programme should be made a basic part of the legal education “because of its many benefits”. Paul Oyeboade, also in 300-Level, did his chambers attachment at Babatunde Oni and co. in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. He said: “When I initially started, everything seemed boring; this was mainly because the principal was not around and while waiting for him to come back from his trip, there was no work for me. However, as soon as he resumed, the principal, Dr. Babatunde Oni who is also a Vice-Dean at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), made everything so exciting as his style was a combination of his knowledge as a lecturer and a lawyer. It was very educating.” Among the skills he acquired, Paul said, was how to prepare a statement of claim. He concluded thus: “I was really motivated by the character of our principal; his simplicity

On and Off Campus

•OAU Law faculty

and dedication. He also taught us a lot of things like telling us that we had to first of all ‘pay our dues’ in the profession. By this he meant that we should be first of all hardworking and diligent and that in time we will reap its rewards.” On his challenges, he said it included the distance between the chambers and his house which meant he had to wake early on weekdays. “But this was helped at the end of the day when our principal gave us some meaningful allowance,” he stated. CAMPUSLIFE also spoke with Fisayo Oke, who did her internship at The Law Hub (Olujimi and Akeredolu), also in Ibadan. Fisayo told CAMPUSLIFE that the first challenge she had was the resumption for 8am and closing time for 7pm; “though with time,

By Solomon Izekor 08061522600

I got used to that”. According to her, there were court sessions every weekday, where the interns had to follow the junior counsel to court. On coming back, there was lots of work - motions to file and work to type. She said: “We were also taught how to search for law reports and I especially learnt how to type better. We did almost everything a lawyer does. I also learnt how to use index to search for law reports, how to prepare motion exparte, applications, drafting, make submission and move motions. In all, there were eight of us who were doing the chambers attachment at the chambers at the time. Although it was tough, I can’t say I didn’t expect it. Besides, the counsel and everybody at the chambers all made it worth-

while, being willing to help. There was also this feeling we got when a case is won. It further motivated me to take my course seriously. The only court I didn’t go to was the Supreme Court.” Another student, Opeyemi Adekunle, who did his attachment at Abiye Chambers, Oke-fia, Osogbo, Osun State, recommended the internship for every Law student saying it exposed him to substantive and procedural law. “The chambers resumed at 7am and closed at 8pm. That presented the challenge of waking up early enough to prepare. There was what I called excessive reading, and moving from one place to another sometimes to neighbouring communities. I came to understand that the legal profession is a battle in which each counsel must strive to win. Cases are won and lost at the lawyer’s table. I learnt that in the law profession, there is no room for indolence. One of the things I left with is knowledge of ‘frontloading system’ in courts as well as how to prepare statement of claims and statement of defense and to reply civil procedure amendment rules. I learnt also how to prepare for court sessions as well as a lot of practical aspects of law”. He said the exposure helped him decide to specialise in land law and evidence in the future. CAMPUSLIFE also met the President and Vice-President of the LSS, Dayi Ogunyemi and Rosemary Nwankwo. In different chats, they said they considered the chambers attachment a very important aspect of the study of Law and that it should be made a priority. Iseoluwa Akintunde, a student and chairman of the faculty Moot and Mock Committee, spoke also. “Due to the inability of many faculties of law in Nigeria to introduce clinical legal education in their curriculum, students have found the need to quench their thirst for the knowledge of procedural law by pursuing profitable leads such as attaching themselves to reputable chambers. We know there is considerable lacuna in our curriculum which does not accommodate internship unlike students in other countries that have to undergo compulsory internship programme by which they are graded. That is why I praise this administration for its resolve to make this intellectual pursuit a reality. I am glad for the knowledge that our students have been able to gather from it. Not only does it encourage the lecturers, it helps the students in their understanding of law and prepares them for Law School,” he said.

Protest over poor facilities Continued from page 34

not been able to help us.” The students said they decided not to allow anybody in “until the governor comes around and addresses us or something drastic is done”. According to them, their fees were raised from N24,000 to N123,000. This was “in spite of the fact that nothing has been done to justify the increase.” The students further alleged that because of the congested hostels, some sleep on desks in classrooms, go to the hostels in the morning to take their bath and dress for lectures. “This is the only state-owned medical tertiary institution. Look at our toilet. We have only one functioning (pointing at the toilet) without any facilities and we are paying hostel accommodation fee. We have paid development fees for years but we have not seen anything the money is spent on. The kitchen is a write-off too,” a 300-Level student said. On electricity, the students were very aggrieved and described the school as an enemy to power supply as the school generator was not in a proper condition. “Our generator is either not functioning or there is always no fuel once PHCN is off. We paid electricity bills several times but still they won’t bring the light. Most of the time the PHCN workers will come and cut off our electricity for two months, claiming the institution was owing.” A female student, who equally didn’t want to be named, said the situation was “worrisome considering that this is a medical school where healthy and hygienic environment should be a must.”

•A toilet turned to store

She added: “If we are educating others about good health and our lives are not being guaranteed as a result of dirt and decaying facilities, what is the essence of what we are being taught. We do the clearing of the bushes around the hostels ourselves and yet we still pay for maintenance.” When CAMPUSLIFE sought the view of the management over the allegations, Mrs. Fatile declined comments. Also, a call to the Special Adviser on Youth Affairs, Mr George, proved abortive as his two mobile lines were switched off. A text message sent to his phone was yet to be answered as at the time of filing this report. Mrs. Fatile refused to speak to this correspondent on October 15, 2010, when she was contacted to comment on a robbery that took place inside the same hostel. She had always directed all enquiries to the Ministry of Health or the Governor’s Office.


37

THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

EDUCATION

Students urge Amosun to release blueprint on varsities’ merger

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HE National Association of Ogun Students (NAOS) has urged the state Governor Ibikunle Amosun to release the blueprint on the rationalisation of tertiary institutions in the state. It said it would "enhance quality, standards and enough admission space for youths desiring higher education" by the year." NAOS President, Mr Olatunbosun Nurain, said such blueprint, if made known to the people, and

By Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

implemented in the affected institutions, would convince students and those opposed to it that the policy was not designed to hurt anybody or interest. Nurain, who is a 400-Level student of Industrial Chemistry, at the University of Abuja, said the group as an umbrella body of Ogun State indigenes in tertiary institutions, shared in the government's "vision to

restore qualitative and affordable education at all levels in Ogun." The NAOS' head, who spoke with reporters in Abeokuta, however, appealed to the state government to ensure that the merger policy "enhances admission space for youths desiring higher education in the stateowned tertiary institutions." He appealed to the government to improve on the welfare of students in increment in bursary and scholarship grants to indigent students.

IBBUL FILE Programme gets accreditation

•Amosun

Saraki calls for quality education From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

• Saraki

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UALITY education of its citizens is the lubricant that can oil the wheel of Nigeria’s quest of becoming one of the greatest economies in the world, former governor of Kwara State Dr Bukola Saraki has said. Saraki, who is representing Kwara Central Senatorial District in the Senate, added that functional education is the fillip for socio-

economic, cultural and political advancement of any country. The lawmaker spoke in Ilorin, the state capital, during the flag-off of a coaching centre for candidates of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations. Saraki, represented by the former deputy speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Abubakar Sukababa, said he had expended over N10 million on the purchase of the UTME forms as well as in the provision of instructional materials and payment of extra mural teachers. “When you have education, it means that every sector of the economy will be transformed. There will be knowledge-driven economy and human capital will be developed and people will be willing to diversify into many areas of technology including medicine.

“It is only when we have human capacity that the Nigerian economy can grow. Quality education is the foundation of any development. Quality education is the strategy of all developed nations of the world. We must have quality education for us to meet the nation’s goal of becoming one of the greatest economies in the world.” About 1,223 UTME candidates in the state are beneficiaries of the legislator’s largesse. The Nation gathered that the criterion for accessing the form is possession of five credits including English and Mathematics in either the National Examinations Council (NECO) or West African Examinations Council (WAEC). The Chairman Screening committee of the Bukola Saraki Foundation, Dr. Yahaya Alabi, said the gesture was in line with the commitment of Saraki’s quest to ensure quality education for the

people of Ilorin Emirate that is, his senatorial district. He said Saraki is a leader that believes in the welfare and growth of individuals, adding that this has prompted him to put up the foundation capable of accelerating the socio-economic and educational advancement of the people of Ilorin Emirate. Alabi added that any of the candidates that finally gains admission would also be given scholarship award so as to assist their parents and guardians. He also said that the foundation had recruited quality teachers that would be ready at all times to impact knowledge on the candidates in order to make them excel during the examination. He urged the beneficiaries to settle down for serious academic work, adding that this would go a long way to assist them to pass the forthcoming UTME.

Pupils identify corruption as setback to national development

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OME pupils of Fountain Heights Secondary School, Surulere, Lagos have indicated their intention to fight corruption and make the education sector better if given the chance. They spoke to The Nation, ahead of their scheduled visit to the

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

United States for a conference on governance with youths from other countries in September. The nine pupils spoke of their desire to rid Nigeria of corruption and poor quality education, which

Corps members to undergo training LL the 2012 Batch A corps members are to undertake skills acquisition training during their service year. The move is aimed at equipping them to be self-employed after their service year and to curb the high level of unemployment in the country. The Director-General of the National Youth service Corps (NYSC) Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okoreaffia said this while addressing corps members deployed to Abia, Ebonyi, Edo and Ondo states. He emphasised that the corps members must avail themselves of the opportunity to be productive life after service. He stressed that the labour market is saturated, making it necessary for the scheme to embark on the new drive to assist corps members and move the NYSC to the next level. He added: '' In addition to the skill acquisition, martial art training is introduced to prepare them for selfdefence, especially the female ones. He encouraged the corps members to be security conscious in view of the priority attached to their security and safety. He said in response to the dwindling security challenges facing corps members in their respective places of assignment, the NYSC management has established a Distress Call Centre (DCC) at the National Directorate Headquarters in Abuja to receive and respond to calls from corps members under security distress for immediate

A

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

intervention. He urged the corps members to make use of the centre only during distress, noting that payment of allowance was not the reason for setting up the centre. He used the forum to urge corps members to integrate with their host communities to leave the communities better than they met it.

they said have led to underdevelopment. One of them, Oluwadamilola Olufon, an SS3 pupil, said: "I will change the political culture because there is corruption in Nigeria. Our education system is not also standard.They should put people who have passion to be in charge of education." Laolu Akinyosoye, another pupil, also spoke of the failings of political leaders to live up to their campaign promises. "Our country isn't moving forward because of corrupt leaders. During their campaigns, they promise so many things but fail to do anything. I feel if corruption is removed from our system, Nigeria will move forward," he said. On education, Akinyosoye seeks improvement of public schools. "Our education sector is very poor. In developed countries like the US, parents can send their wards to public schools. Government

should develop the public schools and make sure education is free and teachers are paid promptly," he said. Speaking on the upcoming trip, Mrs Olabimpe Delanor, Principal of the 11-year-old school founded by her mother, Mrs Funlayo Olaiitan, 39 years after starting the primary arm, The Fountain School, said this is the seventh year pupils of Fountain Heights have been nominated for the US leadership programme that holds in Washington D.C. She added that its impact on building the leadership skills of the pupils is in line with the school's philosophy of grooming them to be disciplined, reliable and hard working - in addition to offering them quality education. "Our children are disciplined, not because we are harsh but because we have high expectations of them. We expect them to work hard and be assets wherever they go," she said.

• The pupils travelling for the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. with the Head Teacher of Fountain Schools (left), Mr Adekunle Olaitan, and Vice Principal of Fountain Heights, Mrs Oluwaseni Ogunduye

THE Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB) programme of the School of Preliminary Studies (SPS), Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai (IBBUL), has received full accreditation by the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the only university co-ordinating the programmes in the north. Making the disclosure at the oath-taking and orientation series for the new students admitted into the 2011/2012 IJMB programme of the institution, the Co-ordinating Director of SPS Dr. Joseph Mangut, explained that with the accreditation, the products of IJMB programme stand better chances of being offered admission into 200-Level of any university of their choice. In her address, Dr Amina Susaade Ahmed, commended the efforts of the management to providing state-of-the-art learning facilities at the school which, he said, has helped in the successful accreditation of its IJMB programme.

Igbo is first female professor IBBUL has appointed Rosemary Ogochukwu Adaobi Igbo as the first female professor of the university. Igbo has 20 years experience in education research and teaching. Her area of specialisation is educational foundation, the involvement of people and communities in education and research and the place of value education in community development where she uses participatory research methods and contemporary social theories, which centre on introducing and maintaining innovation in education. “Our country needs high quality evidence base about value education and these have to be generated in our various education settings so that what we do in our universities meet our national growth needs. My focus is on ensuring that education service users have a ‘voice’ in generating that evidence base,” she said.

Students inducted PROFESSOR Eddieflyod Igbo, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Science, has advised new intakes of the school to obey the rules of the university. The Dean, who addressed the new students during their orientation, commended the two heads of departments for organising the event. He urged the duo to continue to initiate students-inclined research and academics to nurture students that would be relevant in the global market. In their speeches, the Head of Department, Public Administration, Dr. Aidelokhan Dennis Idonije and Political Science counterpart, Dr. Victor Egwemi, urged the students to conduct themselves in the manner that would place IBBUL on the best world rankings. Dr. Aidelohkan Dennis Idonije, Dr. Boniface Onoja and Mr. Timothy Nmadu of the Public Administration Department also presented papers at the event.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

38

EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP

FUNAAB FILE Agency lauds training in energy THE Director-General, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Prof Abubakar Sambo, has said the training of youths in renewable energy resources is essential for the nation's economic empowerment, self-employment and rural development. Sambo stated this at the joint ECN and National Youth Service Corps' Renewable Energy Training, at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Sambo,who was represented by Prof E.J. Bala, said the programme was aimed at providing young men and women with the requisite knowledge on renewable energy as impetus for self-employment. He described renewable energy resources as "those amenities that when they are consumed, their rates of regeneration through natural processes ensure that what is consumed is generated back within a relatively short time”.

Prayers for VC

APPROACHING DEADLINES 2012-2013 African Fellowship at Royal Agricultural College, UK Royal Agricultural College announce African Fellowship foe Students from Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Cameroon, 2012, UK Study Subject(s):Agriculture Course Level:Fellowship Scholarship Provider: Royal Agricultural College Scholarship can be taken at: UK Eligibility: Fellowships are offered to Africans mainly from Southern and East Africa who have experience in agriculture, food or natural resource exploitation and management; an interest in land reform; and a desire to make a strategic and sustainable contribution to Africa's development. In short, tomorrow's innovators and leaders. Scholarship Open for International Students: Yes Scholarship Open for Students of Following Countries: Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Cameroon to date. Scholarship Description: Since the fellowship programme was launched in 2005, over a million pounds has now been generously provided by donors in support of the programme. This funding has provided for leadership training; the development of professional networks and supporting work experience, together with study opportunities on the master's programme in International Rural Development at the Royal Agricultural College. All of the Fellows subsequently return to Africa and many are now making significant leadership contributions through their various occupations to managing change in food supply and security, farming, agribusiness, agricultural education and government. How to Apply: By email Scholarship Application Deadline: March 31, 2012 2012-2013 Africa LLM/MSc Tercentenary Scholarship at University

of Edinburgh, UK University of Edinburgh offers Africa LLM/MSc Tercentenary Scholarship is open to all African students who have applied to an oncampus LLM or the on-campus MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Edinburgh Law School, UK Study Subject(s):Law Course Level:Postgraduate Scholarship Provider: University of Edinburgh, UK Scholarship can be taken at: UK Eligibility: Applications for postgraduate programmes must be made in parallel through the normal University application route. Scholarship Open for International Students: Yes Scholarship Open for Students of Following Countries: Africa Scholarship Description: The Africa LLM/MSc Tercentenary Scholarship is open to all African students who have applied to an oncampus LLM or the on-campus MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Edinburgh Law School. One scholarship will be available each academic year until 2013/2014. The award is open to all suitably qualified African applicants; however, the 2012/2013 scholarship is particularly aimed at applicants who are citizens of (and normally resident in) West Africa. If no suitable application is received from these countries, the scholarship will pass to the next most suitable applicant. The award will be made solely on academic merit. The scholarship will cover the costs of postgraduate tuition fees for one academic year. The successful applicant will also be given a partial maintenance grant (£6,500) to help fund their studies at the University of Edinburgh. The maintenance grant will not cover the full costs of studying at the University and applicants should ensure they have sufficient financial support to complete their studies. How to Apply: By email Scholarship Application Deadline: April 30, 2012

THE Vice Chacellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, has prayed for a successful ending for the tenure of the FUNAAB Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwafemi Balogun. Sofoluwe, who expressed the optimism during his visit to FUNAAB as a supervisor for a doctoral candidate congratulated the management and staff of the university for a smooth transmutation from its former University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, to FUNAAB. Expressing appreciation, Balogun, represented by his deputy (Development), Prof. Felix Salako, thanked the UNILAG VC for making out time to come to FUNAAB, for the assignment sdespite his busy schedule.

•Afe Babalola

Varsity to sell bulls, others THE FEDERAL University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) is to start the commercial sales of cattle. According to the Chairman, Cattle Production Venture, Prof. Daisy Eruvbetine, the operations of the firm would involve taking animals for safekeeping until they are ready for collection or for sale. Prospective customers for the venture, include members of the university community, community leaders, corporate organisations and the public.

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• One of the awards on display

ABUAD: A harvest of awards

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ESPITE being a young institution, the Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, (ABUAD) is proving itself a force to reckon with in the education sector through the laurels it has won. The management of the institution announced some of these awards during the Third Founder's Day of the university last month. The event was celebrated amid pomp and pageantry to recognise the

By Adegunle Olugbamila

university’s academic achievements, growth in students' enrolment, and state-of the-art infrastructure. The awards had come in torrents. The International Corporation of Social Partnership, Oxford, United Kingdom presented ABUAD with the European Quality Award. The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) was not left out. In its award, NUJ

described the university’s founder, • Chief Afe Babalola as a philanthropist par excellence. Similarly, the European Business Assembly put Babalola's name in the World Register for Outstanding Scientists of 21st Century. The European Business Assembly London presented the Best Enterprise Award to ABUAD. Students’organisations also present their awards. From the

Church plans 100 ICT labs for Lagos schools

Y the end of 2014, the Rock Foundation of the Rock Church, Lagos, would have handed over 100 ICT laboratories to public secondary schools in Lagos State. Already, 16 of the laboratories have been inaugurated in junior and senior secondary schools in Lagos Island, Surulere, Bariga, Yaba, Ojuelegba, Mushin, Oshodi and Isolo. At the inauguration of the laboratories at Iponri Junior High School, Iponri, Pastor of the church, Paul Adefarasin said each was equipped with 17 computers, furniture, generator, UPS, air conditioner, printer, one-year internet service courtesy of

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

Mobitel, among others. Adefarasin, represented by the church's Director of Missions, Pastor Goke Coker, added that the foundation is in talks with Microsoft Nigeria to convert the laboratories into IT academies where pupils and teachers can get training for world-class certifications like IC3, Microsoft office and others. He urged the beneficiaries to put the facilities to good use. "The Rock Foundation expects that these laboratories will be properly and adequately utilised,

maximally and well maintained by the schools," he said. In her speech, Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, thanked the church for the initiative, but urged the foundation to consider other areas apart from ICT. "Government cannot do it alone. On daily basis we have people flocking into Lagos State and we cannot turn them back. I often feel depressed when I go round schools and see pupils not sitting properly. But there are so many other needs. We need more than ICT," she said. Principal of the host school, Mrs Obioma Ikube, assured the donors that the laboratory in her school would be put to good use and not

• Mrs Oladunjoye

locked up. "It does not happen again. This is the era of making use of the computer. Teachers use it to teach," she said.

National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the students' umbrella body gave ABUAD ‘the most dynamic, progressive and fastest growing private University in Africa.’ There was one from the Students' Union Government of the University of Jos. It described Babalola's effort to build the varsity as a selfless contribution to the growth of education in Nigeria. The National Association of Nigerian Law Students decorated ABUAD as the Best Private University in Nigeria while the African Man of the Year Award in Education was presented to the university by the All African Students' Union Aside these accolades, ABUAD's astronomical growth has been commended by some distinguished Nigerians. Justice of the Supreme Court Kayode Eso (rtd) said of ABUAD: "This is the fastest growing university in Nigeria. ABUAD compares with great universities, such as Harvard, Yale and Oxford. I have not seen anything like this in Nigeria. Afe Babalola deserves the highest honour in this country " And yet another came from Dr. Tahir Mamman, Director-General, Nigerian Law School. he said: "Afe Babalola University has set a standard for other institutions. The clean environment, wholesome facilities are inspiring." Prof Wil Goodheer, President, European Business Assembly and President, Rectors of Europe, who was also the guest lecturer at the institution's Founder's Day was, nonetheless, overwhelmed at the sights of the university 's amazing facilities. He said: "I'm tremendously impressed about Afe Babalola University. I heard about it, and researched it on the internet. I have now experienced it. It is something you cannot share or understand by reading. It has something that you have to appreciate. It is an outstanding university without comparison.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

39

EDUCATION

Ebonyi stops payment of TSS to teachers HE Ebonyi State government has stopped the payment of the new Teachers' Salary Structure (TSS) to teachers in the state. According to the government, the decision was taken because teachers decided to join the last industrial action, which took place in the state without minding the important role they play in the training of children in the society. Commissioner for Education, Mr Ndubuisi Chibueze-Agbo, who confirmed this during a gettogether to mark his 40th birthday at Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area, blamed the decision of Government on teachers for deciding to embark on strike supporting the National Minimum wage implementation. "The government is not paying Teachers' Salary Structure, TSS. When there was industrial action in the state, the teachers joined and that is why government said, if you want to join other government workers, they should know that the role of training our children is quite different and vital and so that is why we now say, if you don't want the TSS, take the minimum wage. They made the choice by joining the strike." Agbo stressed that the state

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government was not reneging on its policy of ridding the state of illegal and substandard schools, adding that all the substandard schools identified so far had been given six months to upgrade their operational facilities or risk immediate closure. "We are not going back. No substandard or illegal school will exist in the state. EXCO has taken decision on that and that decision stands. We have a committee already going round now and immediately they identify those who have failed to meet up with the required standard, according to our regulation, such school will be fished out. "Those that have been identified as substandard were given six months for them to be upgraded or risk complete closure. As I'm talking to you now, the committee is on the field doing their job. But those that have been closed down will still be reopened if they meet the required standard for running of schools in the state. What the government is doing is not to victimise any proprietor but to have a standard and we are not going back on that." The state Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Comrade Okechukwu Okoroafor confirmed

‘They should know that the role of training our children is quite different and vital and so that is why we now say, if you don't want the TSS, take the minimum wage. They made the choice by joining thestrike’

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HE pupils of Kosofe Secondary School, Ketu in Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area, Lagos State have described the senator representing Lagos East senatorial district in the National Assembly, Olugbenga Bareehu Ashafa, as a responsive leader. It was during the inauguration of a treatment facility donated by the senator for the use of the pupils of the school. Ashafa was welcomed to the ceremony by the pupils, who formed two-column lines of boys and girls, and carried different placards describing the law maker as an "approachable daddy". On hand to receive Ashafa were the Principal of the school, Mrs. Olanireti Fawole; Tutor-General of District II, Mr Ezebode Ojeh; Chairman of Parents' Forum, Prince Ademola Adeyanju and Agboyi-Ketu LCDA Chairman of

the removal of some allowances by the state government describing it as unfortunate. According to Okoroafor, the government was misconceived to equate such allowance with TSS, saying that it was not TSS but 27.5 per cent of the teachers' salary paid them as professional/ occupational/ hazard allowance. He explained that NUT negotiated with the Governor's Forum for the payment of the allowance and that Governor Martin Elechi in 2009 approved the payment for teachers in the state.

He said after the marginal increase in teachers' salary owing to the MinimumWage implementation, the state government unilaterally removed the allowance in the name of TSS. He said this was a demotivating measure, that was capable of dampening the morale of teachers. Some of the teachers, who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity, preferred the TSS, rather than the "so called Ebonyi State Government minimum wage, which is far below the salary we were enjoying before."

•The Press Club of Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Ogun State after a workshop on Photo Journalism at the school premises.

Ashafa donates sickbay to school By Wale Ajetunmobi

Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Adefolarin Abiodun. Ashafa said: "There is a concrete causal relationship between a healthy student and an excellent academic performance. As a token for education enhancement in secondary schools, which is one of my four cardinal agenda for Lagos East senatorial district, I strongly believe that the sick bay will improve learning ability of the students of this great school." He praised Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola for delivering qualitative education in Lagos public schools, adding that the responsibility should not be left with the government

• Governor Martin Elechi

‘This should serve as an example for others representing us at every level of government. We appreciate the senator for choosing this school for this commendable project’ alone. "All stakeholders must be involved whether you are in government or not," Ashafa said, adding: "We must consolidate the efforts of the state government to ensure that Lagos public schools remain the center of excellence." Praising Ashafa, Mrs Fawole

described the gesture as a right step in the right direction, stating: "This should serve as an example for others representing us at every level of government. We appreciate the senator for choosing this school for this commendable project."

Ijeoma Nkemjika, a SSS 3 pupil, thanked Ashafa on behalf of the students. Reading from a prepared speech, Ijeoma said: "The pupils of this great secondary school appreciate you, daddy, for coming to our aid when we needed you most. We don't know what we did to you for making our school the destination of your largesse just as you hav e d o n e l a s t y e a r when you donated various laboratory equipments to our school. We all say thank you daddy." Responding, Ashafa said more educational facilities were coming and they would b e d i s t r i b u t e d a c r o s s the schools in the senatorial district. He gave N50,000 to the secondary school to stock the sickbay with medical materials and promised to give the school N50,000 quarterly to run the health facility.

Lagos school wins JETS contest

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• Ashafa (right) cutting the ribbon to open the sickbay. With him are Mrs Fawole (middle) and Alhaji Abiodun

ITJOY Schools, Agege, Lagos have been adjudged the best school at the 18th National Junior Engineers Technicians and Scientists (JETS) competition. The school, which was one of the four schools that represented Lagos State at the national final in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, scored 75 per cent, dusting schools from 34 states of the federation in the private schools category the event was attended by dignitaries, including Commissioner for Education in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Nseabasi Akpan; National Co-ordinator JETS, Mr Adedibu and Director of Education, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr Bayo Ibiyeye. With the victory at the national finals, Fitjoy Schools will represent Nigeria at an international science competition coming up later in the year. The project supervisors of the

school, Mr. Bamgbola Torha and Mr. Subair Bamidele said the feats recorded by Fitjoy were made possible by the visionary drive and the support of the Principal, Mrs. Funmi Oyeyinka. "The journey looked tough from the beginning because we did not expect a school from Agege to weather the storm among high profile schools which competed right from the local government, the state and the national level," said Torha. "I have to give kudos to the students who made good presentation, composed and not intimidated," said Bamidele. "We are going to make Nigeria proud at the international competition," Torha said. Mrs. Olayinka Lahan of Education District 1, Lagos State Ministry of Education presented the awards to the school in Lagos.


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

40

EDUCATION EDUTALK

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Can they pass? I WAS invited to address SS3 pupils attending public secondary schools in Ikorodu during a programme organised by Standard Mandate International (SMI) on Tuesday but could not make it. The SMI CEO, Pastor Nelson Ayodele, came up with the Kofoworola programme to help SS3 pupils prepare for their external examinations. His premise was based on the fact that most of the Kofosagie@yahoo.com poor results in the Senior School 08054503077 (SMS only) Certificate Examinations (SSCE) conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) come from the public schools. He wrote to all the six education districts in Lagos State but got response from only one, Education District II which covers Ikorodu, Kosofe and Somolu Local Government Areas, and the district was especially concerned about the performance of Ikorodu schools. He printed manuals for the 5,500 pupils expected to attend the event held at the Ikorodu Town Hall to learn the secret of success in examinations. Despite the short notice, I looked forward to speaking at the programme because of recent findings I had made. Unfortunately, I could not make it. That notwithstanding, this column serves as another platform to address candidates sitting for the SSCE in public schools. If I were at the programme on Tuesday, I would have told the pupils the sad truth that not many of them would pass if they did not invest extra personal effort. It is not about pessimism or wishing them bad luck, but about facts. Some days back, I visited a public school teacher while she was busy grading scripts of the mock SSCE conducted for SS3 pupils ahead of the actual examination. The examination scripts were from a secondary school different from the one where she teaches English Language. The maximum grade for the paper was 60 marks and the first question on a letter advising a friend to stop associating with miscreants carried 50 marks. Of all the scripts she had marked, the highest score was 28 out of 60 less than half. I read some of the letters and was appalled that SS3 pupils could not express themselves well enough to earn up to 40 or more marks from such a simple question. I remember writing many letters and essays in my secondary school days and know the ease with which I wrote and earned good grades. Such questions were the easiest part of any English Language examination for me. Regrettably, it is not the case for many of the pupils we have in our public schools today. And it is down to a poor foundation at primary school level. When I asked my teacher-friend's niece, an SS2 pupil in one of the public schools whether things were that bad in her school, she told of a classmate who survives by copying from others. "Even if you tell her what to write, she cannot. She has to look at your work." That is what happens when there is a poor foundation. The pupils can only copy. If these pupils cannot pass the mock examination in their schools, then how can they perform well in the real thing? If what I read is what they present to any WAEC/NECO examiner, then there is no hope for good grades. Actually, I think governments paying SSCE fees for public school candidates should ditch the politics and focus more on interventions that will improve performance. There is no point announcing they are spending millions on examination fees when the return on investment is always far less than 20 per cent. Just last week, the Kwara State Commissioner for Education announced that most of the SS3 candidates would not benefit from the state's sponsorship of their NECO SSCE fees because they failed to make up to three credits in their mock examination. Good. But three credits as a standard is too poor. We know the minimum O Level requirement for admission into higher institutions is five credits, including English and Mathematics. States should place their benchmark above that. The Lagos State Ministry of Education has been threatening to do same for two years now but has not got around implementing it. It jettisoned using the screening examination conducted during the first term to determine those candidates that would enjoy state sponsorship this year because performance was too poor. In one school close to me, I learnt that not even one pupil passed. Now, performance in the mock examination - at least from the scripts I saw - may be no better. What will the real thing be like? If I had addressed the pupils, I would have told them that given the gap in their education, they need to take their future in their hands by going the extra mile to study and make up for lost time with the hope that their efforts would be rewarded with good grades.

Belo-Osagie

• From left: Gov Aregebsola, Chairman of the event, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Adebayo Akinoye (rtd) and Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi during the presentation

Aregbesola canvasses commitment to arts

OR the liberal arts to remain relevant at both the secondary and tertiary levels, stakeholders will have to redouble their commitment in the projection of their study. Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, made the call at Osogbo during a book launch in honour of the Dean, College of Arts and Social Science, Osun State University (UNIOSUN), Prof Siyan Oyeweso. The books are: Philosophy, Islamic Culture, and Society in Nigeria; Critical Perspective on Peace, Conflicts and Warfare in Africa; and Critical Perspectives on Language, Literature and Communications Studies. Aregbesola likened liberal arts as one of the anchors for knowledge which could not be undermined in the education curriculum, and if society must develop and produce the needed manpower for transformation. He said: “The liberal arts education will ensure the provision of general knowledge needed for development; it is equally capable of bringing forward those with the intellectual ability who can easily read between the lines what is good for the society.” The governor, who stressed the need for increased funding for arts,

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By Adegunle Olugbamila and Musa Odoshimokhe

lamented that stakeholders are not doing enough to give arts its deserved status. He added that the enormous impact in arts has contributed to the development of societies. He cited the examples of Europe, Asian and the American continents whose huge investment in the projection of liberal arts is yielding the desired results. He said: “It is a known fact that the arts gives human free rein to development and the encouragement to contribute at every level to the development of human resource. There is a correlation between Europe, Asia and the liberal arts in the development of those societies.” He stated that the freedom which people enjoyed today was a product of liberal thinking, noting that those who canvassed for a free society had the privileges going through liberal studies which they have bequeathed to posterity. “Many liberal arts leaders have been acknowledged for their impact in the development. I want to note despite that, far little attention has been accorded the liberal arts even

with the vigorous liberal arts scholars like the 1986 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Prof Wole Soyinka and multiple award winner and author of Things Fall Apart Prof Chinua Achebe.” He noted that institutions of learning were gradually undermining the tremendous impact which the arts contribute to development in preference to some courses; this had dampened the morale and attention of the arts students in the pursuit scholarship and knowledge in the arts. “The annoying thing, however, is that since that landmark achievement we are yet to produce another acclaimed world prize winner. We cannot confidently say we will get another arts winner in the nears future. This is a challenge to Prof Oyeweso and other academics in the country.” He further challenged government at all levels to commit significant resources in the study of arts if it must meet the growing need of quality leadership in the country. “Our country is in dire need new leaders with capacity for structured thinking and minds who can really put across board and comprehend every piece of information generated at every level for the transformation of society,” he said.

Youths admonished on national development

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PERMANENT Secretary in Lagos State, Mrs Bola Shadipe Mojirola, has urged youths to contribute their share to the development of the country. She said as tomorrow’s leaders, much is required of them. She spoke on Monday at the celebration of this year’s Commonwealth Day at Ipaja, Lagos. Mojirola, who represented the state Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke OrelopeAdefilure, said the Fashola’s administration is working hard to put education in the front burner to ensure that youths have a bright future. ‘’We are doing our best. But you should wake up to your responsibilities. I believe you have much to contribute in view of your potential,” she said. She continued: ‘’The administration of Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), the Governor of Lagos State, is committed to the improvement of the quality and standard of education at all levels in the state. This has become inevita-

By Joseph Eshanokpe

ble realising that education is the bedrock of the socio-economic and political development of a nation. Mrs Mojirola later launched the project on Do something positive for Nigeria, urging Nigerians to support it. Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer, Emcoy Favoured Schools, Ipaja, Lagos, Emmanuel Oyewole, who sponsored the event, said children are supposed to be trained so that they would turn out to be better citizens. “Train the child to be a better youth and adult tomorrow. He needs to be helped so that he can get to where he should get to - a nation builder. He needs to be encouraged and taught,” he said. Bosol College, Ipaja, Lagos Chief Executive, Pastor Isaac Badmus, said although over 50 per cent of the population of the Commonwealth is made up of youths, they are rarely represented in decision making and politi-

cal processes. ‘’By stimulating, encouraging and enabling young people to engage in activities, civil societies and political process, they will be empowered to give voice to their concerns and be heard by becoming actively involved in local communities, issues and activities, a sense of encouragement not only at regional level, but also in a national and international context,” he said. National Co-ordinator, Commonwealth Youth Organisation Nigeria, Mr Blackson Bayewumi, urged the youth to rely less on the government by contributing to its development, saying the government alone cannot meet the needs of the people. ‘’From our findings, many Nigerians are always relying on government at local, state and federal levels for the provision of social amenities, infrastructural development and general well-being. However, all these expectations are always met by the government at all levels,” he said.

Crawford varsity inaugurates library, shopping mall

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HE management of Crawford University Igbesa, Ogun State has launched a modern library during the parents' forum. The idea of the library was brought about for many reasons chief of which is to reduce the number of staff and students who go outside the school to source for materials. The library was unveiled by the District Superintendent of the Apostolic Faith West Africa and proprietor,

By Nneka Nwaneri

Crawford University, Rev Emmanuel Adebayo Adeniran. The two expansive floored library consists of 14 offices with seven on each floor. The university Librarian, T.A.Adigun said: "The ground floor houses books in all knowledge including those in the Natural and Applied Sciences, Business and Social Sciences discipline. Also, it has a special section

for Nigerian/African materials." At full capacity, the figures were given that over two million volumes of books will sit on 152 bays of standard library shelves. Occupying the first floor will be the referencesectionconstitutingencyclopedias, handbooks, journals and as well as the elibrary unit with over 40 computer units. The library will also house Christian literatures, open to pastors, reverends and researchers on Christianity.

From My Inbox PS: Readers interested in featuring their opinion articles on issues in the education sector can send their pieces to the above email. The essay should not be more than 900 words. Re: Should parents send thugs to school? (Thursday, March 08, 2012 Re: Thugs in Schools. Obviously, it is not an acceptable norm. it is also totally condemnable to see one in school. As teachers, we should design other means of punishment. We should correct them in love. I started enjoying teaching and myself (medically) the day I reduced the use of cane to almost 10 per cent. Students come to me more now for academic/domestic assistance. I now know them more. They are wonderful children. Kofo, keep the torch burning. Odunmorayo, Mainland.


SLIDING TACKLE "We have an advantage over Barca which means a lot and does not mean that much at the same time. We know that Barca are very strong and that they have great players, so we will have to be very alert until we have mathematically won the title.I am improving and trying to be at a good level again. Madrid are a new step in my career, I want to make history here and win a lot of things.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

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Real Madrid midfielder, Ricardo Kaka, warning his teammates not to lose sight of victory in the Spanish La Liga campaign.

BATTLE FOR LA LIGA:

WE MUST KEEP UP THE

MOMENTUM —Kaka

Neymar set to join Barca after 2014 World Cup

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RAZILIAN football prodigy Neymar has reportedly signed a deal to move to Barcelona from Santos in 2014, which will see him join the brightest star in the world football, his Argentinean nemesis Lionel Messi. Spanish media claim the Catalan giants will pay 58 million Euros to bring the Brazilian to Europe. Spanish radio station Cadena SER says the Catalans have sealed a deal, which would see the talented young Brazilian striker join the Spanish club after the 2014 World Cup. Barcelona has already shelled out 14.5 million Euros to the 20year-old's Brazilian club Santos. The decision to strike the deal was allegedly taken by the player and his father – against the will of his agent Wagner Ribeiro. Neymar is widely considered the rising star o f Brazilian foot ball, with sev e r a l Eur opean clubs, incl uding Barc elon a ' s riv a l s Real Madri d, taking part in the hunt for the striker.

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eal Madrid midfielder Kaka has warned his team-mates against complacency as Los Blancos look to win their first league title since the 2007-08 campaign. The Santiago Bernabeu outfit can move eight points clear at the top of the Primera Division table with a win over Villarreal at El Madrigal. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has indicated that the Liga title is Madrid's to lose, given the distance between the two clubs, but Kaka is refusing to get carried away. "We have an advantage over Barca which means a lot and does not mean that much at the same time," he told AS. "We know that Barca are very strong and that they have great players, so we will have to be

very alert until we have mathematically won the title." Kaka then expressed relief at putting his fitness problems behind him and said that he was over the moon when he signed for Madrid. "I am improving and trying to be at a good level again," he added. "Madrid are a new step in my career, I want to make history here and win a lot of things. "It was a great emotion [when I joined Madrid]. This is one of the biggest clubs in the world. "Many great players have played here. Now I am here and it is always a big challenge to play at this club."

MUAMBA'S DAD TO BOLTON:

Go play for my boy B

OLTON boss Owen Coyle is ready to get on with the show - after Fabrice Muamba's father told the club to carry on playing. Coyle has left London for the first time since the horrific events of Saturday's FA Cup tie to go home to his family - and to see his players at training on Wednesday. And the Scot left Muamba's bedside in the London Chest Hospital with a message from the midfielder's dad Marcel to 'get back out there for Fabrice.' Coyle and Muamba senior talked through the immediate future as the club wanted to consider the wishes of the family, and was left in no doubt as to what they want. The Bolton boss will have that thought in mind as he looks at his shaken players close-up and talks to them about what lies ahead. Coyle gave his squad and staff a couple of days off to recover from the gruelling experience that had left so many emotionally shattered and fearing for their team-mate and friend. Many were in London on Tuesday to say hello to Muamba,

with club captan Kevin Davies,Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Davies and Darren Pratley among the visitors. Some went to the training ground on Monday, but training was cancelled on Tuesday. The initial reaction of senior club officials was to walk away from the FA Cup and pull out of any quarter-final rematch with Tottenham next week, but that may now change. Coyle wants to look into the eyes of his squad and see whether they are up to resuming their season as quickly as possible. Saturday's relegation six-pointer derby against Blackburn is likely to go ahead - barring any setback news on Muamba. Coyle is prepared to play the Tottenham game out of respect for Muamba but will be guided by the wishes and the reactions of his players. Bolton chairman Phil Gartside has kept the FA in the loop about developments and there is no pressure from any party to make a quick decisionThe mood around the Lancashire club has lifted and

changed beyond recognition since the dark hours after Muamba collapsed on the White Hart Lane pitch.

• Messi

Messi breaks Barcelona's scoring record

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IONEL MESSI has been hailed as the king of football after breaking Barcelona's scoring record. The Argentine star grabbed a hattrick in the 5-3 La Liga win over Granada at the Nou Camp. Messi's treble took his club tally to 234 to move clear of previous record holder Cesar Rodriguez, who set the mark 57 years ago. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said that Messi now dominates the sport. "I am sorry for those who want to occupy his throne but this lad is simply the best," he said. "He is capable of everything that a football player must do and he does it every three days. "Michael Jordan dominated his sport, Messi does the same in football. There's nothing more to say." Barca keeper Victor Valdez said of his teammate: "He is defining an era. He is the best."

Uncertain future for Robben

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HE Netherlands international, who is contracted to the Bavarian giants until June 2013, hinted earlier this month that coach Jupp Heynckes does not have faith in him following his omission fro m starting line-ups back in Febr uary.Robben felt the attack on his performances was "personal warfare" and has bounced back with five goals in his last two matches, including a hat-trick in Saturday's 6-0 demolition of Hertha Berlin. Bayern have, meanwhile, moved to allay fears he could leave the Allianz Arena, with the club's sporting director Christian Nerlinger insisting on Monday they wanted to retain the services of the 28-year-old forward.But the Dutch ace is in no rush to sign on with the Munich outfit and is instead concentrating on maintaining his current form - leaving the door open for a possible exit.

• Robben


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THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

POLITICS THE NATION

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

• Tukur

• Shettima

• Alkali

• Nkpubre

• Babatope

•Daramola

• Adeniran

• Chikwe

Rumpus in PDP ahead of convention Forth-eight hours to the Peoples Democratic Party’s national convention, the six zones have been holding tepid meetings with a view to streamlining the election. Correspondents TONY AKOWE and CHRIS OJI from the regions report the behind-the-scenes moves that boosted the chances of some aspirants and left others empty handed, even before the convention. Northwest sneezes, cold grips PDP chieftains

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S the race for the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gathers momentum, one region that cannot be ignored by political actors in the country is the North. This zone that has produced the Vice President has been allocated the National Treasurer and National Organising Secretary of the party. The contest for the office is throwing up agitations for equal distribution of positions to other states. Investigations revealed that the Kaduna state is putting forward a former Head of Service in the state, Abubakar Mustapha as the National Organising Secretary of the party. But this is being resisted by other states who felt that having produced the Vice President of the country, that state should allow others take the position. It was gathered that there was still a controversy over who occupy the slot of the National Organising Secretary. Attempts by senior party members from the zone to take the seat to others may hit the rock as the candidate being presented by Kaduna appear to enjoy the backing of the Vice President who is the leader of the party in the zone. It was gathered that Bala Kaoje, former Minister of Sports who was being penciled down for the position is being pressured to take the position of National Treasurer. As at the time of this report, a meeting of the party in the zone was going on at the General Hassan Katsina House, in Kaduna to anoint party leaders for the zone and endorse national officers. It was not immediately clear what the outcome of the meeting was, but it was gathered that officials to pilot the affairs of the party in the zone were adopted through consensus. The Nation gathered that the Kaduna meeting took far reaching decisions and may have also adopted candidates for the various offices. Sources said that the people of Southern Kaduna had wanted to the position of the National Organising Secretary zoned to them. But the emergence of Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga as the state Chairman of the party changed the equation. A source close to the party said in southern Kaduna said “we were afraid that the

northern part of the state will take everything and leave us with nothing. That was why we were lobbying for the national position. Now that we have the state chairman of the party, I guess the slot should now go to the northern part of the state. Already, the former Head of Service is the favourite choice of the state for the position and we hope that he will sail through”. Details of the Kaduna meeting was still being kept as top secret as at press time with nobody prepared to volunteer any information. “Don’t be too much in a hurry. You will get the details as soon as possible. We will let you have them. But for now, we are still working on going to convention with one voice from this zone”.

Delegates shock Tukur in Northeast Two zones deemed disadvantaged in the distribution of offices following the 2011 general elections are the Northeast and the Southwest. In a bid to give the people a sense of belonging, the biggest party posts have been reserved for both. While the national chairman can only come from the Northeast, the head of the secretariat, national secretary, is the exclusive preserve of the Southwest. At the close of nomination, 11 men had indicated interest in the post. They are Alhaji Gambo Lawan, Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Senator Abba Aji, Alhaji Ibrahim Bunu and Alhaji Ibrahim Birma., all from Borno State. All attempts by elders in the state, including the party’s governorship candidate in the last election, to present a united front, failed as the four men insisted on slugging it out in Abuja.Bauchi State has two contestants, Dr. Musa Babayo who is the acting national secretary and former Governor Adamu Muazu. They are both formidable contenders, but could not close ranks as a strategy to win the prize for Bauchi State. The spokesman for the party, Prof. Rufai Alkali from Gombe State is also in the race. Despite pressures to make him step down for the anointed candidate, he has continued to shoulder on, believing that his membership of the National Executive Committee and the National Working

Committee would stand him in good stead. Ambassador Adamu Waziri is also the sole aspirant from taraba. This may, however not count for much in the race. All eyes are focused on Adamawa State where the President of the African Roundtable, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur appears to be the front runner. He, however, has Alhaji Adamu Bello, a former Agriculture Minister to beat at the home front. Bello has been campaigning, pointing out the qualities that make him the best choice.

Babatope, Pedro, Daramola, eight others for national secretary The 11 men in the bid for national scribe role are adamant that they would only be separated by votes of delegates. But, the zonal congress yesterday was expected to offer a chance to narrow the choice. Apart from the national secretary, the office of national auditor was also reserved for the Southwest. The less fancied position is being contested by three aspirants from Lagos and one from Ogun. A veteran governorship candidate, Mrs. Oluremi Adiukwu Bakare, Kacheef Oyedele and Adeyemo Adetunji are flying the Lagos flag, while the sole aspirant from Ogun is Bode Mustapha.

Southsouth, North central

not left out The President’s zone, the Southsouth has two posts, the National Financial secretary and Deputy National Chairman allotted it. For the Financial Secretary, Akwa Ibom and Cross River are slugging it out. From Akwa Ibom, Grace Ekong is the only aspirant. There are two from Cross River Anani Akpan and Odu Ade Obi. There are six Niger Delta contenders for Deputy Chairman. They are Stella Omu, a former senator, from Delta; Edet Nkpubre, a former National Vice Chairman from Akwa Ibom and Aniete Okon, also from Akwa Ibom. Others are Bassey Ethothi from Cross River,, while sam jaja and the immediate past national Organising secretary, Uche Secondus are also angling for the largely honorific post. The Northcentral has the National Legal Adviser zoned to it. Usman Kabir is the only candidate being returned unopposed.

Consensus prevails in Southeast The South East caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last weekend met in Enugu and as usual handpicked those to occupy the national positions of the party allotted the states of the zone. Although

the national convention is still days away, the zone had already filled the available positions. The positions zoned to the Southeast include deputy national secretary which is going to Ebonyi State, national publicity secretary which is going to Anambra state, women leader which is going to Imo state and national vice chairman, South East which goes to Abia state. At last Saturday’s caucus meeting, a retired colonel in the Nigerian Army, Austin Akobundu was endorsed by the caucus to occupy the position of national vice chairman, South East zone. Not much is known about Akobundu except that he served the army for 23 years and also, unsuccessfully ran for the governorship nomination of the party in Abia State. The 56-year old retired army officer has his posters scattered all over the South East states. In the actual sense, he has no serious contender to that position and it is well speculated that he is being sponsored by Governor Theodore Orji. He is as good as being in the position already. For the position of national publicity secretary, the former vice chairman, South East zone, Olisa Metuh, was endorsed by the caucus. He defeated seven others, six of whom are from Anambra. Only Chief Chyna Iwuanyanwu is from •Continued on page 44

•From left: Governors Sule Lamido, Patrick Yakowa, Vice Chairman PDP Northwest Zone Amb. Ibrahim Kazauwuri;, Vice President Namadi Sambo and Governor Musa Kwankwaso during the zonal executive committee meeting at Banquet Hall Usman Katsina House in Kaduna State. PHOTO: STATE HOUSE


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

44

POLITICS

‘Experience paramount in PDP chair race’

How APGA lost Anambra South to Uba From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

As the race for PDP national chairman intensifies, Malam Adamu Bello, former Agriculture Minister, says he will uphold the motto of the party if elected at the national convention. Bello who spoke with journalists in Abuja gave reasons why he wants to lead the party. Assistant Editor GBADE OGUNWALE was there.

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OING by past experience, the chairmanship of the PDP is usually occupied by someone with a strong backing of some blocs within the party. Which bloc are you counting on to actualise your aspiration? Let me put it this way; I have been discussing with interest groups within the party and I have received positive responses in my campaign. I wouldn’t say that I have been adopted by any particular group but I am happy with the responses I have received. Part of my campaign is this visitation to your office. Many people do not know the antecedents of Adamu Bello; many people do not know that Adamu Bello brought farmers in Nigeria together under one roof. Many people do not know that I was one of the nine members of the committee that transformed the Lagos Stock Exchange into Nigeria Stock Exchange. So this visitation here is to further enhance my chances. If your co-contestants challenge you on how much you know about party politics and administration, what will you tell them? I was a technocrat who came and served in Obasanjo’s administration as a minister where I excelled. Though I was a major player in the private sector, I was a member of the PDP right from its inception and I never left the party. I have always been a PDP member. I have played politics for a very long time. If you look at the history of the PDP, it was the amalgamation of various groups including General Shehu Musa Yar’adua’s group, the Peoples Front (PF), which I was part of. In fact I wrote the economic policy of the PF which became part of the PDP today. I was an active party man but was not in the field; I never mounted the rostrum. Then at the partisan level, in 2007, I was the only member of the executive arm that served on the PDP Campaign Council which was headed by President Obasanjo, with Col. Ahmadu Ali as then PDP chairman. So politically speaking, I served on the most sensitive arm of the party; the Presidential Campaign Council. Nobody will say he is a born politician. The PDP national chairmanship is zoned to the North-East but is fairly crowded by many contenders. Are you not thinking of forming alliances to reach a consensus? You are right that the chairmanship race is filled with people of timber and calibre. I would rather be counted among the calibre than the timber. Actually, this thing about consensus is nice; I think people should be encouraged to sit down and discuss how to prune down the number. But democracy demands that we all go to

• Bello

the field for the votes to be counted. But if you want to reduce the number, it will be better so that there is more harmony in the party. Don’t you think that the party has been inconsistent with regard to the application of the inconsistency with zoning principle in the party? I don’t think it is a matter of inconsistency. The PDP has identified six offices in the zoning and sharing of political offices: the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Chairman (PDP) and Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF). When we came to the issue of the President you referred to, the circumstance was difficult- Jonathan taking over from Yar’adua under the circumstance death. Jonathan was constitutionally qualified to contest for another term and the PDP Constitution had this issue of zoning. It was a difficult position but the leadership of the party in the final process allowed Jonathan to emerge as the candidate of the party. Now he selected his running mate from the North-West, the Senate President came from the North-Central and the North-East has been given this national chairmanship which I am vying for. Why do you want to become the next national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party? I look at myself as someone who has experience in various sectors and having served as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, I feel that I know the people of Nigeria and can serve in whatever capacity. This is because over 60 percent of Nigerians are in the field of agriculture. I have also served in the private sector and

worked very closely with prominent executives. Worth mentioning are people like Mallam Hamza Zayyad, General Shehu Musa Yar’adua, Malam Musa Bello, Dr. Babatunde Jose, Chief MKO Abiola, Jerome Udoji, Ibrahim Damcida, among others. In the private sector, I had the kind of exposure that only few people have in this country. I interacted with the young and the old. So I feel it is rare for somebody to come up with this kind of experience. I know, for instance, that the most famous accountant in Nigeria is Akintola Williams. About 30 years ago, I served with him on the same board; he was my chairman and I was a director. With this kind of deep experience in the private sector, coupled with my years in government as a minister, I believe I am fully qualified to lead the PDP. The two terms I served under Obasanjo, the turnover of ministers was such that I had the opportunity of interacting with about 150 people; people like General T.Y. Danjuma, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Chief Tony Anenih, and Chief Bola Ige. I also remember I hosted the late Libyan leader, Gadaffi on behalf of President Obasanjo for four days. In 2006, I visited President Obasanjo in his office and he said to me: “Minister, your colleagues came here and said you are the best person to succeed me.” I asked him who were those colleagues of mine but he said he would not tell me. But when I persuaded him further, he said: “Your colleagues led by Liyel Imoke and Bayo Ojo came to me and said you are the best person to succeed me as President.” I really felt proud of that vote of confidence Why do you want to serve Nigeria at party level rather than elective position the elected level, especially considering the number of years you had put in as cabinet minister? For now, all the elected offices are occupied and I would have to wait for 2015. Meanwhile, the PDP chairmanship is available. My philosophy is that you should serve the society in whatever capacity you find yourself. The available position now is the national chairmanship of the party and I feel I can serve the country in that position. I feel the national chairmanship is a very important position which should help guide those elected on the party’s platform to execute the manifesto of the party to the satisfaction of the electorate. The chairmanship of the party is as strong as the leadership of any arm of government.

•Uba

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HE day started as if nothing would happen. But things changed later. The hype that the Anambra South Senatorial re-run election generated can only be compared to the conflict that arose from the Chris Ngige versus Prof. Dora Akunyili contest. Former Governor of Anambra State, though for only 17 days, Dr. Andy Uba’s chances for the senatorial re-run was hanging in the balance as his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has not been in Unity in Anambra. Besides, his opponent, Hon Chuma Nzeribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was enjoying the benevolence of the state government apparatus, led by the state Governor Mr. Peter Obi and the National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh. The only handicap the party had was that its candidate was not considered marketable and this is believed to have weighed down the enthusiasm and support of party faithful in the state. Since the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu ordered the re-run on December 22, last year, neither the candidates nor their parties had rested. However, the re-run election brought Mr. Mike Igini from Cross River State to serve as the supervisory Resident Electoral Commissioner, thus replacing Prof Chukwuemeka Onukaogu. Onukaogu, was accused of all manner of things during the last general elections in the state in 2011 and the people of the state, including INEC, had to take note of the reservation. Apart from Igini, RECs from Ondo, Yobe, Nasarrawa and Kogi stormed the state to witness the re-run election. They were led by the South East National Commissioner of INEC, and former Minister, Lawrence Nwuruku. Before the election, Igini warned trouble makers and election riggers to beware while announcing restriction of movement of movement of persons including traditional rulers and government officials. The election held on Tuesday in the seven local government areas that make up the senatorial district namely, Ekwusigo, Aguata, Ihiala, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Orumba North and Orumba South. Anambra South senatorial zone is

Rumpus in PDP ahead of convention •Continued from page 43

• Metuh

Imo. The micro zoning to Anambra knocked out Iwuanyanwu.. Among those interested in the position include a former member of the Anambra state House of Assembly , Okey Aroh, former secretary of the party in Anambra state, Chike Udenze and Ezeobi Okpala. What will be the reaction of these people on the decision to day remains unknown. But Metuh who has been a party official for 13 years now is enjoying the confidence of the caucus which incudes Dr. Alex Ekwueme.

The most controversial of them all is the endorsement of Mrs. Kema Chikwe as women leader. Some members of the party in Imo state are not disposed to her endorsement. But, she has support from other states in the zone and the centre. Those who moved for her adoption at the zonal level pointed at her intimidating credentials. They argued that having such a person in the national organs would be to the benefit of the party. Those rooting for former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development in Anam-

bra State, Genevieve Ekwochi, have refused to give up. But, the balance of opinion is that it should go to Imo State, especially with the decision that Metuh, from Anambra, should be installed party spokesman. For the position of national deputy secretary, Solomon Onwe is as good as winning the position. He is the preferred candidate of not only the governor of the state but the entire Ebonyi PDP members. Onwe is from a family with long history of political activism. His youthfulness is an added advantage. The aspirants still have one hurdle

made up of 118 wards with 1,699 pooling booths. When the results were declared in the early hours of Wednesday, by the returning officer Prof Eugene Aniah, from the University of Calabar, Dr. Andy Uba of the PDP polled 42,804 votes while his opponent Hon Chuma Nzeribe scored 40,678 votes. In Aguata area where Uba hails from, PDP polled a total of 8,304 votes while APGA scored 4, 826 votes. And in Ekwusigo PDP scored 2,741 while APGA had 4,659 votes. Also, PDP got 5,064 votes while APGA scored 4,333 votes in Orumba South Council area, but in Orumba North, PDP got 7,217 with APGA’s 4,297. While PDP scored 9,062 in Nnewi South, APGA had 3,363 votes, Nnewi North PDP 3,466, APGA 3,812 while in Ihiala Nzeribe’s domain, PDP scored 6,950 while APGA pulled 15,388 votes. The re-run election witnessed serious apathy because of the day it was conducted as civil servants and traders stayed away from the exercise. INEC worked in liaison with all the security outfits including Para military in making sure it had a smooth sail election, though few incidents of violence were recorded at Ihiala and Mbosi communities during the exercise. Despite the celebration by INEC for what it said was a successful rerun election, most people in the state believe that some of the results declared in some areas were concocted. Some of them who spoke with The Nation in confidence, doubted the figures for Ihiala, Aguata, Nnewi South and Orumba North. However, the winner of the election, Dr. Andy Uba gave thanks to God for making it possible for him to win. According to him, it had shown that INEC has really improved while assuring his zone of quality representation. Nkwuruku gave kudos to INEC, describing it as an improvement on what it used to be. He said the re-run election was a dress rehearsal for what would happen in 2015, urging the people to have confidence in INEC. Meanwhile, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) state chairman, Chief Mike Kwentoh has warned that it is not yet Uhuru for Uba. Though, he said it was still early for the party to make any pronouncement, the implication is that the party may head to the election petitions tribunal to challenge the PDP victory. Elections in Anambra have always been heavily contested. The state has the record of the highest number of election disputes in the country. to scale. Tomorrow, they have to face a screening panel to defend their suitability for the posts. Senior officials say the party reserves the right to decide who is qualified for what post. He said: “This is politics, it is not civil service positions that they are contesting for. So, politics will play a large role in determining who is suitable. If you failed the test in your zone, you are unlikely to find favour at the centre. One thing that I can assure you is that we will not allow anybody to come and waste our time at Eagle Square. We are in control?” Are they really in charge of all the factors? With legal action being taken so close to the election, the drama will keep unfolding until the big meet on Saturday.


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

NATURAL HEALTH

Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?

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ISCOVER the real difference between organic foods and their traditionally grown counterparts when it comes to nutrition, safety and price. Once found only in health food stores, organic food is now a regular feature at most supermarkets. And that’s created a bit of a dilemma in the produce aisle. On one hand, you have a conventionally grown apple. On the other, you have one that’s organic. Both apples are firm, shiny and red. Both provide vitamins and fiber, and both are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. Which should you choose? Conventionally grown produce generally costs less, but is organic food safer or more nutritious? Get the facts before you shop. Conventional vs. organic farming The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, rather than using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers may conduct more sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay. Do ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ mean the same thing? No, “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. You may see “natural” and other terms such as “all natural,” “free-range” or

•Organic food

“hormone-free” on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don’t confuse them with the term “organic.” Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic. The answer isn’t yet clear. A recent study examined the past 50 years’ worth of scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods. The researchers concluded that organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs are comparable in their nutrient content. Research in this area is ongoing. Organic food: Other considerations Many factors influence the decision to choose organic food. Some people choose organic food because they prefer the taste. Yet others opt for organic because of concerns such as: Pesticides. Conventional growers use pesticides to pro-

tect their crops from molds, insects and diseases. When farmers spray pesticides, this can leave residue on produce. Some people buy organic food to limit their exposure to these residues. According to the USDA, organic produce carries significantly fewer pesticide residues than does conventional produce. However, residues on most products — both organic and nonorganic — don’t exceed government safety thresholds.Food additives. Organic regulations ban or severely restrict the use of food additives, processing aids (substances used during processing, but not added directly to food) and fortifying agents commonly used in nonorganic foods, including preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavorings, and monosodium glutamate.Environment. Some people buy organic food for environmental reasons. Organic farming practices are designed to benefit

the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality.Are there downsides to buying organic? One common concern with organic food is cost. Organic

Organic •Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.

Conventional • Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.

• Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.

• Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease.

•Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.

• Use herbicides to manage weeds.

• Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimise dis-

• Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.

foods typically cost more than do their conventional counterparts. Higher prices are due, in part, to more expensive farming practices. Because organic fruits and vegetables aren’t treated with waxes or preservatives, they may spoil faster. Also, some organic produce may look

less than perfect — odd shapes, varying colors or smaller sizes. However, organic foods must meet the same quality and safety standards as those of conventional foods. •Culled from www.mayoclinic.com

Board restates commitment to training

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O reduce under-five mortality and improve maternal health, the Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board (LSTMB), has restated its commitment to capacity building in Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), among others. According to its Chairman, Dr Bunmi Omoseindemi, the training of the practitioners will help the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five. Omoseindemi, who spoke at the presentation of certificates to the attendants in Ikeja, said the country lacks

By Wale Adepoju

the capacity in the health sector to meet the yearnings of patients. This, he said, was why the board made the training of TBAs, among others, a priority, to strengthen the sector. So far, the board has trained 1,264 TBAs, he added. “We are in a country where there are very low resources for health care. The country has about 30 doctors to 100, 000 patients and one nurse to 100 patients. There are also three laboratory scientists to 100, 000 patients, and less than 20 pharmacists to 100, 000 patients. With these statistics, you will realise

that we have inadequate resources for health care,” he added. He said the practitioners were useful because in the country, most births took place at home, saying it underscored the need for safe motherhood and family planning programmes. They promote health and prevent ill-health of mother, unborn baby and newborn, Omoseindemi added. He praised the Lagos State Government for the passage and implementation of the Lagos State Health Sector Reform Law (LSHSRL) 2006 which, he added, created room for traditional medicine to operate.


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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

NATURAL HEALTH

Anti-oxidant Jobelyn adds natural killer cell feather

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ELCOME back home, Otunba Olajuwon Okubena, a.k.a. Mr Jobelyn. Welcome, too, surgeon AbiaOkon, indefatigable doctor spokesman for this Nigerian antioxidant, immune boosting and fast blood building herbal formula. And Professor Alex Acholonu, OON? Many thanks for pointing the way to your fatherland with the right hand, as the Yoruba would say of a patriotic lad.

What is going on? Well, I better start with Prof. Acholonu, the Igbo chief who is a professor of biology and Faculty Senate President at Alcorn State University in Alcorn, Mississippi, United States. His education spanned Christ the King College, Onitsha, Nigeria (1948,52), Howard University (1961) and Colorado State University (1964) where he earned the doctorate degree in phraseology. Since then, he has taught in many universities, including Alcorn State University College of Medicine, University of Lagos (1977-91), Howard University (1988), State University of New York, Catholic University of Puerto Rico (1972-3), and Southern University Banton Rouge, Lousiana (1964-69). A recipient of many international awards for scholarship, Prof. Acholonu is ranked among 200 “outstanding intellectuals of the 21st country” United Kingdom, and GREAT MINDS of the 21st century, also in 2002, in the United States and the UNIVERSAL AWARD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT, again in the United States, that year. Prof. Acholonu discovered Jobelyn during one of his visits to Nigeria and invited the producers, Forever Health Products Limited, for a presentation at the Alcorn State University, where he was Professor of Biology and Faculty Senate President. He had come to Nigeria to make a scientific presentation in Abuja a few years ago. Mr. Okubena’s daughter, Mrs. Olalade Otitoloju, a medical doctor, was part of the Events Management Team of that presentation. Impressed with her assistance for his presentation, Prof. Acholonu sought more information about the organisation she represented. In the end, he learned about Jobelyn and Health Forever Limited. He was intrigued by the claim that “Jobelyn is the most powerful antioxidant worldwide, and took some samples back with him for a study. About one year after, he contacted the Nigerian company to say he had done preliminary work on the product. Said Otunba Okubena this week: “We were impressed that he could volunteer to do any study on our product without attaching any strings to such a big favour. This was about the upcoming Mississippi Academy of Science event slated for November 22-24, 2011, and he promised to invite us formally. What could have impressed Prof Acholonu about Jobelyn? Said Okubena: “He was impressed that an indigenous company had done so much research on a natural product and was impressed that the product has been accepted in Nigeria by even orthodox medical practitioners” One of the findings of the Alcorn’s study was that total flavonoids in Jobelyn, 870 mic/ml compared with thyme (318) and basil (205). This led to the conclusion, that, as a source of flavonoids, Jobelyn’s flavonoids almost trebled those most orchestrated flavonoids-rich Euro American herbs. Flavonoids, crystalline substances found in plants, were discovered in 1936 by Nobel Prize winner Szent Gyorgy, a scientist who named this group of compounds Vitamin P, of which many people know so little. More than 4,000 flavonoids have been isolated by scientists since 1936. There are prospects that still more will be discovered. They give the plants their various deep colours often described as the WATER COLOUR OF NATURE. They are present in deep green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. As a matter of fact, most medicinal plants are said to owe their health powers to their flavonoids. That’s why

•Prof. Alex D. W. Acholonu you’ll find on a health store shelf such proprietary products as FLAVONOIDS COMPLEX or ACTIVATED FLAVONOIDS. Sometimes, they are called BIOFLAVONOIDS, to describe bioactivity. Flavonoids have properties which make them antiviral, anti-carcinogenic, that is, anti-cancer, anti-inflamatory, antihistamine and antioxidant. That’s why they have a range of uses in natural medicine such as in histamine induced asthma, arthritis

•From left: Ademola Okubena, Alcorn University staff, Otunba Olajuwon Okubena, Prof Alex Acholonu, Dr. David AbiaOkon and two Alcorn University staff, at the presentation ceremony. e-mail: www.olufemikusa@yahoo.com

and chromic degenerative disease with free radical damage origins. It is in their use as antioxidants that bioflavonoids appear most well-known today. In this area, many of them, such Grape Seed Extract, are said to be more potent than traditional antioxidant Vitamins C and‘ E put together. They protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, for example, thereby prevent cholesterol health damage. They sometimes lower total cholesterol count. That’s why nature doctors often advise inclusion of generous amounts of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Of the thousands of flavonoids well studied, the names which often ring familiar bells are Quercitin. Rutin Naringm, Hesperidin, Genistein, Pycogenol. Dr. Chitan Kandaswami and Dr Elliot Middeton are reported in flavoid literature to have experimentally demonstrated “effectiveness of a variety of flavonoids in the prevention and treatment of various cancers resistant to chemotherapy”. using both cell lines and living organisms. While Rutin is good for firming weak and leaky blood vessels, especially in eye troubles such as glaucoma, the flavonoids proanthocyanidin, plentiful in Jobelyn is receiving serious scientific attention. Pine tree or Christmas tree has lots of it, too. Studies suggest pronathocyonidins may prevent peripherial bleeding in humans as well as swelling of the legs due to water retention, a condition which also responds to Dandelion root or any good kidney stimulant. Research has proven bioflanoids good for diabetic retinopathy, a condition in which high blood sugar levels damage nerves of the eye and the retina, impairing vision. They also help varicose veins, to improve blood flow and heal leg cramps. As antiviral agents, flavonoids have been reported to inhibit viruses which cause polio, influenza, hepatitis A and B, herpes simplex, luekemia virus type I and HIV. In the test tube, baicalin and quercitin reportedly inhibited replication of HIV virus “by 100 per cent” At Forever Health, Jobelyn has always been seen as helpful in cancer therapy. But no study proved this until the Alcorn experiment suggested how. Definitely, no direct effect on cancer cells had been observed. But the Prof. Acholonu study provided a key. Jobelyn remarkably improved the number and a activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, whose job it is to kill any cancerous cell. Dr. Abia Okon, an old Jobelyn reliable, made the Jobelyn presentation at Alcorn State University. Titled Haematological, Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant properties of a sorghum-based commercial herbal preparation, Jobelyn, it was the work of Patrick Erah, Moses Okubena, David Abia Okon, Ololade Otitoloju and Alex D. W. Acholonu. They worked at the department of chemical pharmacy, and pharmacy practice, University of Benin (Erah) Health Forever Products Limited (Okubena), Lindabel Medical Center Lagos, Nigeria (Okon) and Alcorn State University (Acholonu). The summary, which is amplified in the presentation, is that: Jobelyn® is a herbal preparation whose primary active ingredient is from the leaves of Sorghum bicolor. It contains 3-deoxyanthocyanidins (Apigeninidin and Luteolinidin) and other bioflavonoids including Luteolin, Naringenin, 7-methoxyflavone Apigeninidin and Flavoneapigeninidin adducts. Animal and in vitro studies, supplemented by epidemiological evidence and human studies, indicate numerous health benefits (including protection from various ailments) associated with the antioxidant effects. In animals with trypanosome-induced anaemia, Jobelyn® rapidly increases haemoglobin and PCV levels. Jobelyn® has extremely high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC, 37,622 ìmoleTE/g) and is effective against the most important five predominant reactive species found in the body (peroxyl radicals, hydroxyl radicals, peroxynitrite, super oxide anion, and singlet oxygen). In humans, Jobelyn has been shown to increase CD4 counts in people living with HIV either alone or in combination with antiretroviral drugs making it a possible good alternative and/or supplement to antiretroviral drugs in the management of HIV/AIDS patients. Studies on the effects on lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine and PGE2 release in human monocytes of healthy human blood donors indicate that it significantly inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced release of cytokines (IL-1beta, TNFalpha, IL-6, IL-8) and PGE2. Its selective effect on COX2 activity makes it a very promising anti-inflammatory medicine with minimal side effects. In laboratory animals, the oral and intraperitoneal routes LD50 values are 215.1mg/kg and 193.4mg/kg, respectively. It is concluded that Jobelyn® is safe and useful for the management of anaemia and HIV/AIDS, and is a promising medicine for inflammatory diseases and protection against many other diseases. Partnership between Market America and Health Forever. May I have your permission to work with Ademola in a joint marketing venture?”. Congratulations, Nigeria. Here’s one more reason the natural health sector should wake up. After all, after Information Technology, as predicted in America, it’s the next economy booster of: Acholonu was glad to present a successful herbal product from his country on the day he was given the highest award of his university for his contributions to Science. The Nigerian team was introduced to leading members of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, and Prof. Acholonu’s younger brother was to tell Mr Okubena: “I like to ask for your permission to meet your son Ademola, and introduce him to the Market America Business Plan. I am confident of a win-win outcome for a relation.”

Tel: 08034004247, 07025077303


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

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e-Business Stakeholders are clamouring for a robust and all-encompassing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy which they say should have meaningful impact on every Nigerian. ADLINE ATILI reports

Wanted: Robust ICT policy A

BARRAGE of criticisms, albeit constructive, has trailed the draft Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy released early this year by the Ministry of Communications Technology. At a forum held last week, stakeholders said the policy did not holistically address critical issues, such as: consumer protection; youth empowerment; deeper penetration of ICT products and services, including promotion of local content. Also included are classification of ICT infrastructure as critical national infrastructure; multiple taxation and regulation, as well as private investments to grow the sector. President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr Deolu Ogunbanjo berated the draft policy for not addressing multiple taxation in the sector. He noted that the policy focused only on multiple regulation.“That paragraph which deals with multiple regulation, should be taken further to include multiple taxation,” he said. He stated that the policy should also recognise ICT infrastructure as critical national infrastructure that must be given adequate protection by the Federal Government. “PHCN masts that carry ionising radiation are not billed. This should not be the case with telecoms infrastructure. This is affecting Quality of Service and discourages investments,” he said, while advocating protection of consumers of ICT products and services. For long, operators have been crying out against multiple taxation, arguing that closure of a transmission hub as a result of non-payment of multiple and sometimes illegal taxes, leads to significant deterioration in service quality. According to them, because of the interconnectivity and co-location of telecoms services among operators, service provision on other networks are affected whenever a telecoms facility is sealed or shut down. Chairman, Education and Manpower of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Dr Vincent Asor, worried that the policy did not set a target for broadband penetration in the country. He urged the government to set a target of 50 per cent broadband penetration within a stated time line in the draft policy. President of the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Mrs Florence Seriki, called for investment incentives and empowerment initiatives through the ICT policy statement. She lamented that the zero duty rate enjoyed by completely knocked-down ICT products during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo had been removed. She advocated a return to ‘zero import duty’ on locally-manufactured products. The ITAN boss advised the Federal Government, via the ICT policy, to put in place, right policies and environment conducive to growth of Small and Me-

• Mrs Johnson

• Ahmed-Rufai

dium Enterprises, entrepreneurship, manufacturing in order to ensure the survival of businesses and penetration of Information Technology in the country. She said: “Government, through the ICT policy, must focus on developing the manufacturing sector and SMEs as a major factor in creating employment and empowering our youths. “Across the world, every country promotes its own; they don’t allow you to buy any other. We should stop deceiving ourselves. We all use mobile phones but do we manufacture them? “The Asians declared local policies to promote local patronage and enforced all citizens and government parastatals to buy locally-made products. Several incentives were created to promote the locally-produced products. “Duty gaps between foreign and local Personal Computer and products are required to give incentive to locally-made products. This was in force during former President Obasanjo’s administration but now disregarded.” She noted that promoting local SMEs and manufacturing in the ICT sector would create employment for many Nigerian youths, promote technology transfer and enhance Research and Development prospects. Mrs Seriki, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Omatek Computers, said the move will also facilitate new technology know-how, as well as contribute to driving the economy. She appealed to the National Information Technology Development Agency

(NITDA), to partner with the Ministry to bring back those policies that made the nation’s ICT sector thrive, in addition to performance monitoring of existing policies for overall development of the sector. Speaking in the same vein, Chief Executive Officer, Brian Technologies, Mr Tunji Balogun, lamented the near extinction of local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and other ICT professionals in the country because “not much is done to support them.” He called for revival of the local content policy in the draft ICT policy to ensure Nigeria grows its IT industry to competitive level. He said: “The Computer Village at Ikeja, has the largest concentration of ICT professionals in Africa but what are we doing to support its growth? Rather, the race is foreign ICT products. “If you open a Brian, Omatek or Zinox computer, you’ll find the same thing you find in Dell, HP or Samsung. Local content is very important. The ministry should do everything to support local manufacturing sector in the draft policy to enable growth of the economy.” The Civil Society Organisation (CSO) was not left out in moves to correct seeming inadequacies in the ICT policy. Executive Director, Development Information Network, Mr Bankole Olubamise, on behalf of the CSO, pointed out that the draft policy failed to make provision for women and children despite mentioning them in the opening paragraphs. Besides, he said the policy “lacks any sub-

‘Across the world, every country promotes its own; they don’t allow you to buy any other. We should stop deceiving ourselves. We all use mobile phones but do we manufacture them?’

stantial provision for the role of the youths as key players in the future of the Information Society.” The association charged the Federal Government, to make universal access to ICT as a fundamental human right of Nigerians. A Commissioner at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs Biodun Olujinmi, noted that the policy was too broad and drew attention to the fact that itdid not address cybercrime and exploitation of ingenuity of Nigerian cyber criminals to drive the policy. However, a software expert and Vice President of ITAN, Mr Amos Emmanuel, in a slight departure from stakeholders’ call for inadequacies in the ICT policy to be addressed, recommended IT industry impact study on Nigeria. “By this, we’ll be able to identify the problems which even the policy cannot address.” According to him, an impact study will make known how the IT industry will impact other sectors of the economy. He said the study would provide evidentiary and pragmatic basis to develop, advocate, support and enable public policies creating a business environment that encourages development, use and application of ICT around the globe. Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Mr Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, expressed satisfaction with what he described as “constructive criticisms” of the draft ICT policy by the stakeholders. He said: “The contributions were fantastic. What happened here today were constructive criticisms aimed at making the policy work. If somebody says don’t go there; there is a pit there. Don’t go that way; there is danger there, it is not criticism, it is advice. “The ministry presented itself for this because it wants to get all issues addressed. At the end of the day, the policy document that will be released will be an all-embracing and comprehensive one that will reflect where we want the ICT industry to be.” Responding, Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, said the draft ICT policy, when finalised, would be one Nigerians would be proud of. According to her, the policy would engender growth in the ICT industry. She said the Department of Policy and Impact Monitoring at the Ministry would be very active in the next four years at ensuring full implementation of the policy document. Mrs Johnson stated that the ministry was resolute on how to industrialise and develop the industry, stressing that critical areas would be given adequate attention. “In the next couple of weeks, we’ll see documents of the outcome of this process and how we’ll be moving to achieve our objectives. Additionally, in the next six months when we meet, we’ll discuss the areas that we have implemented to stimulate and grow the economy,” she said.


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EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 21-3-12

Equities rally as investors stake N1.5b on Zenith

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HE Nigerian stock market witnessed a broad rally yesterday as equities rode on the back of improved demand to increase market capitalisation by 0.29 per cent. Compared with the slight decline recorded in the previous trading session, all key indices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed a widespread, though modest, upward trend. With two gainers for every loser, aggregate market capitalisation of all quoted companies increased by N19 billion to N6.681 trillion as against its opening value of N6.662 trillion. The All Share IndexNSE and Nigeria’s benchmark return index that tracks changes in prices of all quoted equities, inched up to 21,067.90 points compared with its indexon-board of 21,006.30 points. The modest gain nudged the year-to-date return at the stock market to 1.63 per cent. Most sectoral indices showed positive outlook with the NSE 30 Indexwhich tracks 30 most capi-

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

talised companies, rising from 960.31 points to 964.70 points. NSE Consumer Good Index appreciated to 1,735.71 points as against its opening index of 1,730.89 points. NSE Banking Index improved from 294.49 points to 296.30 points. NSE Insurance Index inched up from 122.33 points to 122.53 points while the NSE Oil and Gas Index improved slightly from 215.39 points to 215.44 points. Unilever Nigeria led the advancers with a gain of N1.45 to close at N31. UAC of Nigeria followed with a gain of N1.22 to close at N33.19. Okomu Oil Palm added N1.15 to close at N24.20. Guinness Nigeria rose by 81 kobo to N231. Forte Oil and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria gained 50 kobo each to close at N11 and N20.50 respectively. First Bank of Nigeria gathered 49 kobo to close at N10.46. Presco added 47 kobo to close at N10.28. Ashaka Cement appreciated by 45 kobo to N10.55 while International Brew-

eries chalked up 22 kobo to close at N5.90 per share. On the other hand, Julius Berger Nigeria led the decliners with a loss of N1.21 to close at N30.52. Stanbic IBTC Bank followed with a loss of 31 kobo to close at N7.40. Access Bank dropped by 23 kobo to N6.20. Union Bank of Nigeria lost 20 kobo to close at N3.85. Nigerian Bag Manufacturing Company and Sterling Bank Plc dropped by 6.0 kobo each to close at N1.56 and N1.23 respectively. Vitafoam Nigeria lost 5.0 kobo to close at N3.25 per share. The price rally came on the back of significant transactions in the shares of Zenith Bank Plc, which had about 0.4 per cent with its 31.4 billion outstanding shares traded within the five-hour trading session. Zenith Bank recorded a turnover of 113.58 million shares valued at N1.48 billion in 379 deals, representing 37 per cent of aggregate turnover for the day. Total turnover stood at 306.96 million shares valued at N3.05 billion in 3,751 deals. Transactions on Zenith Bank pushed banking sub-sector’s turnover to 189.04 million shares worth N1.87 billion in 1,984 deals. Insurance subgroup accounted for 62.86 million shares valued at N36.54 million in 141 deals.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 21-3-12


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

57

MONEY LINK

Licensed firms begin cash evacuation from June L

ICENCED cash in transit (CIT) companies will take over cash management services in the country from June this year, Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Niyi Ajao has said. Speaking yesterday at the Financial Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) Bi-monthly discourse sponsored by Zenith Bank Pl c, he said that that merchant, supermarkets, churches and other businesses will have to rely on the licenced CITs to evacuate their cash from that date because unlicenced players will cease to render cash evacuation services. NIBSS is owned by all Licensed Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria and

By Collins Nweze and Tonia Osundolire

the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and is a key player in interbank clearing and settlements in the country. CITs licenced by the CBN to carry out this function include Messrs Bankers Warehouse Limited and Integrated Cash Management System Limited among others. Ajao, who canvassed the need for all to embrace the cash-less policy, said an efficient Payments System will depend less on cash, and has great potential to grow the national economy. Such policy will also assist in increasing sales and commercial activities, as more convenient payment options other than cash are now

to more citizens. He said that over N200 billion was spent on cash management in 2011 and noting that embracing the policy will save this cost, which will translate to lower cost of banking operations, and decreased cost of lending. Ajao said that NIBSS is at a point of fully implementing cheque truncation system in the country. The practice will phase out physical clearing

available to buyers. He said that cash-less banking has multiplier effect on profitability, higher wages, higher employment, higher GDP for the economy. He explained that alternatives to cash payment include cheque, bank transfer, Same-Day Inter-Bank Transfer (NEFT), NIBSS Instant Payments (NIP), Standing Orders, Direct Debits, Payment Cards, Automatic Teller Machines (ATM), Point of Sale (POS) Payments, Mobile Payments (micropayments among others. The NIBSS boss added that e-payment ensures security and convenience for payer and payee as well as reduces the overall cost of banking and payments, bank charges and brings the benefit of banking services

Skye Bank upgrades Internet services

S

KYE Bank Plc has launched its new and improved internet banking platform. According to a statement from the bank, the new internet banking platform has been developed to address the end-to-end payment needs of its different customer segments. In a statement, the bank’s Head of Information Technology, Mr. Richard Amanfoye, said the new internet banking platform would enable the bank offer its custom-

Access to sell Intercontinental UK unit

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Imokhuede said. Access Bank’s net income in the year through to December jumped 51 per cent to N16.7 billion ($106 million), the bank said. Revenue

CCESS Bank Plc is planning to sell its entire stake in Intercontinental Bank United Kingdom (UK), Chief Executive Officer Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede has said. The bank CEO said the bank is discussing with two potential buyers. “The bank has commenced discussions with two potential buyers and will ensure that the transaction is concluded soon and at no loss to us,” he told Bloomberg. Access Bank had last year, acquired Intercontinental Bank Plc, one of eight lenders bailed out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2009 after a debt crisis caused in part by loans to speculators in equities. Five banks, including Intercontinental, were taken over by investors and three were nationalised. “The units of both banks in Ghana will merge by mid-year,” Aig-

advanced to N138.9 billion, up from N91.1 billion a year earlier. The bank’s shares fell 3.8 per cent to N6.20 by the close in Lagos, the lowest since February 15.

Unity Bank launches savings promo

U

NITY Bank Plc has launched a savings account promotion targeting small savers across the country. Addressing journalists at the launch of the promo in Abuja, the Managing Director of Unity Bank Alhaji Ado Wanka said the promotion tagged: “Aim, Save and Win” is designed to reward and create wealth for the bank’s customers. According to Wanka, “the Aim, Save and Win promo is to reward and create wealth for customers, since unity bank is retail focused and grass roots oriented with the desire to encourage savings.”

existing customers but will include those who just opened accounts and those with dormant account but interested in reactivating their accounts.” The Aim, Save and Win promo targets savings account holders with products to drive savings account opening such as target savings for specific purposes; unity kids for children to help them start life afresh; better account to support customers interested in skills acquisition, religious account to address spiritual needs of customers. All account holders in these categories are eligible to participate and win regardless of their location.

By Nduka Chiejina Assistant Editor

The promo he said, will cost the bank N90 million to execute for the first six months and this amount does not cover staff cost and other expenses. The promo he added will “be accessed through business offices throughout the country. Unity bank is stepping out to reward customers in five zones that the bank has branches so that all customers are given equal opportunity to win. The promo draws will run simultaneously in all zones and is open not only to

FGN BONDS Amount N

Rate %

M/Date

3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount

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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

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 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011

OKOMUOIL FIRSTBANK FCMB UNILEVER PRESCO FO MAYBAKER ASHAKACEM REDSTAREX PAINTCOM

Current Before

O/PRICE

C/PRICE

CHANGE

23.05 9.97 3.87 29.55 9.81 10.50 2.12 10.10 2.28 0.75

24.20 10.46 4.06 31.00 10.28 11.00 2.22 10.55 2.38 0.78

1.15 0.49 0.19 1.45 0.47 0.50 0.10 0.45 0.10 0.03

UBN 7UP PRESTIGE STERLINBANK JAPAULOIL CONTINSURE IBTC JBERGER BAGGO ACCESS

O/PRICE

4.05 43.90 0.64 1.29 0.72 0.96 7.71 31.73 1.62 6.43

C/PRICE

3.85 41.75 0.61 1.23 0.69 0.92 7.40 30.52 1.56 6.20

150m

150m

150m

155.8

29-2-12

138m 113m

138m 113m

155.8 155.7

27-2-12 22-2-12

147.6000

149.7100

150.7100

-2.11

NGN GBP

239.4810

244.0123

245.6422

-2.57

NGN EUR

212.4997

207.9023

209.2910

-1.51

149.7450

154.0000

154.3000

-3.04

(S/N) Bureau de Change 152.0000

153.0000

155.5000

-2.30

154.0000

156.0000

-1.96

NSE CAP Index

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%

NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N)

MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name

153.0000

DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11

July ’11

Dec ’11

MPR

6.50%

6.50%

12%

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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 12.6%

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 1,177.37 99.76 0.76 1.04 0.88 1,666.70 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,137.57 193.00 1.67

9.08 1.00 1,160.06 99.49 0.73 1.04 0.87 1,663.73 7.84 1.33 1.80 6,953.84 191.08 1.62

ARM AGGRESSIVE KAKAWA GUARANTEED STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND THE LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL BGL SAPPHIRE FUND BGL NUBIAN FUND NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY THE DISCOVERY FUND FIDELITY NIGFUND • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE

CHANGE

0.20 2.15 0.03 0.06 0.03 0.04 0.31 1.21 0.06 0.23

Date

138m 113m

LOSERS AS AT 21-3-12 SYMBOL

Rate (N)

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

NGN USD

Parallel Market SYMBOL

Exchange

Sold ($)

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer

(S/N)

GAINERS AS AT 21-3-12

Amount

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES

Amount

Offered ($) Demanded ($)

MANAGED FUNDS

OBB Rate Call Rate

ers a quick, easy to use and robust platform to perform a number of their banking transactions that before now required physical visit or instructions to the bank to effect those transactions. Amanfoye said the new platform offers a wide range of services and it can be customised to meet the individual needs of our customers. According to him, Skye MultiPay, one of the new internet banking offerings, is an online, real time multi account, multi bank payment system that can be used for processing payments such as salaries and wages, remittances, contractor payments, among others. Some of the other features and functions of the new platform are quick transfers-transfers between linked accounts, third party payments-inter and intra bank, chedule payments (one time or recurring), and multiple authorisation levels. On security, Amanfoye said the bank’s online banking customers are now protected by innovative Adaptive Authentication systems for online security.

DATA BANK

Tenor

NIDF NESF

of cheques and reduce the clearing days for banks by at least one day. He said the CBN cheque clearing rule is expected to provide for the regulation and management of cheque truncation in Nigeria with a view to reducing cost and days of clearing instruments. It was also meant to articulate the rights and responsibilities of presenting and paying banks in the Cheque Truncation System.

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

• AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND

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

Movement

OPEN BUY BACK Previous

Current

04 July, 2011

07, Aug, 2011

Bank

8.5000

8.5000

P/Court

8.0833

8.0833

Movement


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NEWS Fulani/Tiv crisis: Suntai deploys soldiers in crisis zone

Don’t foreclose dialogue, Borno appeals to Boko Haram

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ISTURBED by the foreclosure of further dialogue with the Federal Government by the militant Boko Haram sect, the Borno State Government yesterday appealed to the group to have a rethink. Commissioner for Information, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, made the appeal while reacting to the decision of Boko Haram not to return to the negotiating table with the government. He urged the sect to see its earlier acceptance of overture for dialogue made to it through the Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad-led Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria (SCSN) as the beginning of better things ahead, describing the sect’s former efforts as

From Joseph Abiodun, Maiduguri

noble. He, however, said the state government would remain favourably disposed to the dialogue proposal. He said: “We may not be able to say much of whatever might have transpired between the sect and the Federal Government, which led to the collapse of the mediation because we have not been involved as such in the negotiation. That is not to say we are not also pursuing our own separate negotiation from our end, but essentially, whatever that may have caused the breakdown of that dialogue may have to be looked into again.” The commissioner said

the process of starting the dialogue itself is a dialogue, even as he noted that the sect has to be convinced that government is honest about the proposal. Bwala said: “Essentially, they may not be satisfied with the way the starting of the dialogue was handled and that is the leakage of certain aspect of the dialogue to the media. “But since they are just starting, there is still room to sit down; for them to understand with the people they have been dialoguing with. “At our end, our fingers are still crossed to the effect that the day they find it convenient to dialogue with us; we will be ready and honest about whatever we want to discuss with them.”

From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

•Suntai

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ARABA State Governor Danbaba Suntai yesterday deployed armed soldiers in

Fire razes Ekiti School of Nursing

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HE administative section of the Ekiti State School of Nursing on Adebayo Road was yesterday gutted by fire. The men of the Ekiti State Fire Service who were joined by workers and students

87 fake NYSC members arrested

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IGHTY-seven fake youth corps members were yesterday paraded in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital. They were arrested by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) at an illegal orientation camp in Lafia following intelligence surveillance. The part-time graduates, some of whom were in the khaki uniform of the National Youth Service Corps, were paraded at the NSCDC Headquarters, Abuja. Spokesman of the NSCDC Emmanuel Okeh said a manhunt has been launched for some fake corps members who escaped. He said the NSCDC has also begun investigation to unmask the operators of the illegal NYSC camp. The Deputy Commandant of the NSCDC in Nasarawa, Walter Akubiro, who led the raid, said the arrests were made possible by an opera-

•Illegal orientation camp discovered in Lafia From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

tive who applied to the coordinator of the camp as a military instructor. He said the suspects, who paid between N80,000 to N150, 000 to the fake NYSC operators, had earlier been lodged at the Tip Top Hotel, Nyanya, Nasarawa State be-

fore they were moved to a camp inside a bush. Akubiro said: “The coordinators convinced their victims that they would take them to the NYSC orientation camp in Kubwa, Abuja and collected money from them.” Chinedu Ebelechukwu, the camp coordinator, said

he was running the camp for one Mr. John, who allegedly registered 96 ‘corps members’. Ebelechukwu, who claimed to be a Bio-Chemistry graduate of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, said he was not paid any money by the said John.

Robbers attack three banks in Kwara

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IGHTEEN armed robbers yesterday attacked three banks in Offa Local Government of Kwara State. During the operation, which started about 2.30pm, the robbers allegedly stole undisclosed amount of money. An eyewitness said the robbery caused panic in the area as customers in neigh-

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

bouring banks fled when they received information about the attack. Banks at Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government were said to have closed on hearing of the Offa robbery. Late last year, armed robbers stormed some banks in the town, killing three persons. Among the deceased was a student in one of the tertiary institutions in the town. He was reportedly shot dead while attempting to withdraw money from an ATM

Takum Local Government to stop the fight between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers. Takum shares boundary with Katsina-Ala in Benue State. The governor’s action followed the latest attack on eight Tiv villages, including Gboko-Kpaake (the New Gboko) by Fulani militants. Fifteen persons were killed and several houses torched. A mobile policeman was killed and another sus-

tained severe gun injuries. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Ibiang Mbasike said they received an information that Fulani militants were attacking Gboko-Kpaake, adding that on getting there, they discovered that the settlement had been set ablaze by the Fulani. Mbasike said the Fulani militants, dressed in military uniforms, overpowered the police with their sophisticated weapons. A source said hundreds of Tiv have been displaced and most of their farmlands destroyed.

machine. The two other victims were identified as an aged woman and a middleaged man. Confirming the incident, the Police Command Public Relations Officer Dabo Ezekiel said the robbers came in a Hummer bus, adding that the police repelled their attack. He said the robbers escaped and abandoned the bus. His words: “When the police searched the vehicle, they found eight magazines containing 162 rounds of live ammunition. There is no casualty.”

From sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado Ekiti alongside passers-by fought the fire as it razed down the entire structure. The fire, which was said to have started about 6am was caused by an “electric spark in the office of the School Principal”. According to some of the students, there was no electricity supply at the time which forced the authorities to switch to a generating set. One of them who prefered anonymity said: “I think it was the effect of the power changeover that triggered the spark in the principal’s office. We heard a spark from the office and that is where the fire started from.” She went on: “Immediately we noticed the fire, we alerted the vice principal who was around and we believed that

he must have called the fire service station. We did all we could before the arrival of the fire fighters whose water ran out with the fire still raging and spreading. “We resorted to breaking the doors to the offices so as to salvage some of the equipment and all we could do before the fire got out of control was to evacuate the demonstration room and the conference hall,” they said. The Acting Principal, Mrs. Theresa Bamigboye, described the development as unfortunate. Chairman of the EKSUTH Management Board, Dr. Olukayode Akinlade, who also described the disaster as “unfortunate” said he had directed the principal to furnish his office with details of the incident, adding that investigation would be conducted on the disaster.

Imoke defends appointments

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ROSS River State Governor Liyel Imoke yesterday defended his choice of commissioners and special advisers. He said those he has recommended for screening are to help him enhance service delivery to the people. In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary and Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Christian Ita, Imoke said the appointees were carefully chosen to assist in reviving the engine of governance. The governor also dismissed claims that there is disquiet in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the appointment. Besides consulting the leadership of the party before the appointments were announced, Imoke said there could not have been rumpus over the appointments since all the appointees are indigenes of the state.

He therefore urged the people to look at their track records in their various fields of endeavours rather than party affiliations. Re-affirming his respect for his party, the governor said the next three years will be critical in the state’s drive for development, hence the need to appoint competent persons to key positions in the administration. He said he was certain that given the calibre of the appointees, the state would witness development. Imoke commiserated with his Enugu State counterpart, Mr. Sullivan Chime, over the death of his mother, Theresa Ekpehichi. Imoke said Mama Chime, who died at 87, lived a worthy life and prayed God to grant the governor, his family and the entire people of the state, the fortitude to bear the loss.

Heavy gunfire in Mali after army EAVY gunfire has protest taken place in the

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centre of Mali’s capital after armoured vehicles sealed off the presidential palace. The BBC’s Alou Diawara, in Bamako, says state TV is off air and troops are in and around the station’s headquarters. It follows growing discontent among government troops as the Malian army struggles to contain advancing Tuareg rebels in the north of the country. Earlier, soldiers were protesting about the lack of arms in their campaign. AFP news agency has

reported that troops have stormed the headquarters of the state broadcasting company. Earlier in the day, soldiers fired in the air as the country’s defence minister started a tour of military barracks, just north of the capital Bamako. The protest prompted an immediate strengthening of security around the presidential palace, with armoured vehicles sealing off the building. Troops are also reportedly opposed to any potential talks with the rebels.


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NEWS el-Rufai allocated land to himself, family, N Abuja High Court Manager, AGIS. They are says witness alyesterday heard how a facing an eight-count charge of

A

former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el- Rufai and two of his officials unilaterally revoked some choice plots of land and allocated same to themselves, their relatives and their companies. A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) Mr. Sunday Id-

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja owu, made this known at the on-going trial of el-Rufai and two others. The two other accused are: Atine Jubrin, former DirectorGeneral, Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and Ismail Iro, former Gener-

abuse of office brought against them by the EFCC. Led-in-Evidence by the Prosecution Counsel, Alhaji Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), the witness who was an operative of the EFCC gave detailed steps taken by his investigative team in unravelling facts behind the accusations against the accused.

I

Nigeria among most corrupt nations, says CJN

S Nigeria incurably corrupt? Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Dahiru Musdapher feels so. According to him, corrupt practices have been undermining every attempt at reforming this country. He decried unethical practices in the judiciary, which he said has made court registries a cesspool of corruption for judicial officers. In fact, the CJN yesterday rated Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption, he said, permeates all facets of the country’s life. Musdapher spoke in Ilorin,

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

the Kwara State capital, at the 5th Mohammed Mustapha Akanbi (MMA) Faculty of Law Annual Lecture. In his lecture entitled: “The challenges of judicial reform in the 21st century: The Nigerian experience”, the CJN said: “Nigeria is adjudged to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption permeates every facet of the Nigerian society and judiciary is not immune from it. The bane of corruption and unethical practices within the

judiciary is a particular problem which agitates me. “In the course of examining this most unfortunate set of circumstances and suggesting a way through which the practices could be curtailed and indeed eradicated, one must not underestimate its depth within our profession. “It is a sad fact that not only are the registries of courts becoming a cesspool of corruption, but judicial officers are increasingly being seen as corrupt. This has undermined public confidence in our judiciary in recent times.

N40m bribe: House, SEC allege documents forgery

Continued from page 2 While SEC claimed that the committee forwarded the list of items to it, the lawmakers are arguing that there was no official correspondence to that effect. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the EFCC and the Committee on Ethics and Privileges may interact with the Board members. The interaction, sources said, became imperative since the Board described the N30.4 million as ‘donation’. A source said: “We are studying all memos, issues and meetings that have to do with the problem between SEC and the committee. “We will invite all stakeholders. So far, it appears that the decision on the N30million was taken by many people. We will be fair in hearing from all of them. “What we have heard so far is that the money was a donation from SEC to the House Committee. Just give us time to investigate all claims.” A March 13 memo from the SEC Secretary, E.K. Aigbekaen, to the Executive Commissioner (Finance and Administration), which confirmed that the Board approved the money for the Committee, may have conformed the planned interaction

with EFCC. The memo reads in part: “The Board of SEC at its 63rd meeting held on Monday 12th March, 2012 considered a proposal by management for the commission to financially support a public hearing on the Nigerian Capital Market by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, scheduled to take place from 13th-30th March, 2012. “After due deliberations, the Board approved a maximum of N30million as donation by the Commission to the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions to enable it undertake a public hearing to identify the manifest causes of the near collapse of the Capital Market with a view to finding lasting solution. “The Board further directed that Management should work out the details of the areas of sponsorship with the House Committee.” On the appointment of a consultant for the public hearing and the list of items, a source in SEC said: “Going by what we have on record, the House Committee sent the list of items to us on February 29, 2012.

“You can see the stamp on the document accordingly.” But a highly-placed source in the House, said: “In the list of the memos which the House released to the public on Tuesday, the list of items required for the public hearing was not stamped. “We are suspecting an emergency stamping of the list by SEC. That in itself is forgery. We hope the anti-graft agencies will take note of this trend.” The SEC source, however, disputed the claim. He said: “Did we not meet with the House Committee to get the list of items required for public hearing? Could we have just compiled the list on our own? “After agreeing to the list, they also wrote a memo to the DG of SEC on the appointment of a consultant, Note Worth Consultant for the public hearing. A March 14 letter to the DG of SEC, signed by the Assistant Committee Clerk, Abama Thomas, reads: “The committee has appointed Messrs Note Worth Consultant as a consultant to the Committee on the public hearing. Kindly avail him all the necessary assistance please. Accept the Committee’s warm regards.”


THE NATION THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

63


TOMORROW IN THE NATION

www.thenationonlineng.net

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

VOL. 7, NO. 2072

‘I contemplated the Nigerian morass… why people steal so much money they never need… people don’t even know why they are stealing so much…why do people charged with sacred public trust behave like lunatics?… or how did we arrive at having lunatics in charge of public STEVE OSUJI property? ’

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

I

’M sick of it all. I have tried my all to keep my eyes off them, but they just won’t stop coming up. First a deep, short frown. Then a wink. A glow. And then a quick closure of my eyes in a show of temporary resignation. Yet, they just won’t go away. Damn figures! I have been battling to avoid them since I realised the psychological blow they deliver and the emotional impact they convey. But, can a serious reporter keep his eyes off these figures, considering the place of details in this trade? They hit my eyes recklessly, like a blow in the nose, leaving a strong feeling of excitement or devastation or disgust or disenchantment. It was bad last week. How? Come with me to the House probe of the Capital Market. The mission seemed clear when it began – to find out why the market, which its ardent players sensationally referred to as the fastest growing in the world, collapsed, defying all remedies and failing to win back investors’ confidence – but became a Tower of Babel, with people howling down one another. The honourable panel of honourables accused Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Director-General Arunma Oteh of blowing N850,000 on a meal and living like a movie star in a hotel where she racked up a N30million bill in eight months. After seeing the figures, a glint of curiousity seized my eyes. What manner of culinary contract would have attracted an N850,000 bill in just one day? What are the details? Was the chef flown in on a chartered flight from Acapulco or Buenos Aires or Barbados on that day just to cater for the rare sophistication of Ms Oteh’s palates? Did she use a 24-carat gold toothpick to expel some of the meal’s stubborn residue hanging on her teeth? Sheer gluttony? Thankfully, it emerged on Tuesday that the bill was N83,400, which was incurred when some international experts came to help revive the Capital Market. They agreed to have a taste of our renowned hospitality. What a bargain they got! But trust Ms Oteh. She took the punch in the chin and proved that she could give as much as she could take. She lobbed her own missile, charging that Committee Chair Herman Hembe demanded N44million bribe. It was a bombshell. The committee vowed to carry on with the task at hand, but it was clear to all that it lacked the moral muscle to do so. The EFCC has moved in, even as secret documents have surfaced, indicating that SEC had, indeed, offered to bankroll its own probe. Was there no request before the SEC offer? Who gave SEC the shopping list from which it chose the N30.4million items to sponsor? Are all these probes mere jokes, some theatrics about our collective disdain for altruistic actions that can help our nation? Recall the power sector probe; the aviation probe; the fuel subsidy probe and all the others. All probes; no probity and more problems. Hembe and his team have thrown in the towel to face a probe of their avowed integrity. Good. Since The Nation on Sunday broke the story of a jumbo N38.8billion allowance for our honourables, many, including those who can’t work out the arithmetics of how much the

GBENGA OMOTOSO

EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK

gbenga.omotoso@thenationonlineng.net

Of facts and crazy figures

•Inuwa climbing down the mast

cash is per day, have been grumbling. Each Rep is to earn N27million special pay per quarter. If my memory serves me right – I trust it does – this is the first major increase in months for these men and women of honour who toil day and night to see that we all get our dues. Oversight functions in strange places, the risk of flying up and down day after day, neglected family (and personal businesses) and an army of constituents stricken by discontentment. What compensation is too much for such discomfort; all because one wants to serve his or her people. Go on, our dear honourables, take more; we are not disappointed. In a “you ain’ seen nothing yet” manner, the news broke at the weekend that the EFCC was holding an unnamed Permanent Secretary and two directors who actually confessed to looting N14.3billion pension cash. One of the suspects was said to have divulged where

RIPPLES

HARDBALL

RELIEF AS KAINJI POWER STATION IS BACK ON STREAM -News

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•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Boko Haram: The trouble with peacemaking

I

Which stream? I beg give us LIGHT

he kept his loot. Why are they not named, even after they have confessed? When will they face the law? Why is the pension cash so easy to steal? Are the funds idle? Why do our officials steal this blood money (apology to Senate President David Mark)? No conscience? No fear of God? The budget was eventually approved last week. But the N4.8trillion package meant little to so many to whom the show is a yearly ritual of nothing. Soon, we will be told why the budget couldn’t be implemented and how “budget is different from actual release”. The roads will remain bad; many will continue to share stream water with cows and goats and hospitals will just be so in name. Electricity will dominate discussions in boardrooms and beer rooms. Who benefits? The tiny group of super rich and their heartless collaborators in politics. So much for budgets that badger us into anger. After a long lull, drivers grabbed the headlines last week. Save your breath, dear reader; there was no bloody encounter in Ibadan – the scene of many battles between loyalists of Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (alias Tokyo) and Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi (alias Auxillary), the successor of the late Alhaji Lateef Salako (alias Eleweomo), who died violently last year in the heat of the fatal struggle for the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). University of Benin (UNIBEN) Vice-Chancellor Prof Osayuki Oshodin spoke of a driver who earned N1million monthly. The don wasn’t fair to the fellow; he failed to see the redeeming feature in the matter. A N1million per month driver; isn’t that a record that should send compilers of The Guinness Book of Records, encyclopaedists and human resource experts and researchers rushing to the university? How did the driver pull off such a feat? What manner of vehicle was he driving? A bulldozer? A Rolls? Who really is this super driver? The VC didn’t name him. He should. The man deserves his accolades. Even pilots must be jealous. Do you need to fly 35,000 metres above sea level to make it? Hundreds of kilometers away from Benin, another driver was desperate to drive himself out of poverty into instant wealth in Abuja, Nigeria’s gorgeous political capital city where every stinking thing happens. He drove his principal, a senator, to the airport for a trip to Benin. Then Senator Ehigie Uzamere

decided to take his passport from his briefcase. He asked Mohammed Ibrahim to park the vehicle. Uzamere opened his briefcase to discover that his N1million was missing. He had N4million and $25,000 in the car. The Senator asked the driver to abort the trip to the airport, but on the way back home, Ibrahim parked the car, walked towards the senator’s door, opened it and put the gun on his head and asked his boss to get off the car or pay with his life. Uzamere chose his life. He jumped out of the car and Ibrahim sped off. Uzamere began to cry for help. Ibrahim is yet to be found. The Central Bank is said to have sold $85billion forex in February. Fine. But where is the effect on the economy? Our sea of jobless youths can’t feel it. The North and the Southsouth are quarrelling over the 13% Derivation. That’s wrong. Shouldn’t they be fighting the Federal Government that takes 52.8% and does nothing, even as it holds on to everything? In Zamfara State, 500 students have been withdrawn from schools for non-payment of fees, according to the coordinator of the Concerned Students, Comrade Mujibu Aliyu Killiya. This is difficult to understand when leaders of the North say they are desperate to bridge the educational gap between the North and the South. What is going on? Where are these 500 former students now; fresh recruits for Almajeri or Boko Haram? The Zamfara former pupils simply walked out of school; not so the 37 Kwara police recruits who were discovered to be carrying fake certificates. What manner of policemen would these guys have been? Don’t we have more of such fake men in uniform, considering the way many of our officers behave? In beleaguered Borno State, Governor Kassim Shettima has just appointed 77 assistants. There is an 11-man Feeding Committee with 15 zonal supervisors, five from each of the senatorial districts. Is His Excellency trying to outdo his Imo counterpart, Owelle Rochas Okorocha? Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was jolted out of what some of his critics have called political hibernation when an unknown man, Musa Inuwa, stormed the High Court in Abuja to lodge a verbal complaint that the Turaki was owing him N15million. When he had nobody’s ears, the fellow climbed a mast and threatened to commit suicide. He was tricked out of his fiendish plan. Atiku has since said he never owed the fellow a dime. Why will a man want to die because he is being owed? Insanity? Frustration? Fame? The police are yet to tell us what they found out in this matter. As usual, investigation continues. I wish to keep my eyes open, with an occasional twinkle of joy here and a glint of curiosity there – all for my job – even as I wish the figures won’t come up to make me feel squeamish. But, when will those who have turned Nigeria into a huge casino spare a thought for the poor?

T is no longer news that the Federal Government clandestinely entered into dialogue with the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, whose violent activities have led to an intolerable number of deaths and near-paralysis of the economies of some northern states. The dialogue, however, ended as dramatically as it started, with a promise by Boko Haram leaders that they were unlikely to enter into any dialogue again with a government they were not inclined to trust in the first instance. It will be recalled that sometime early this month, Dr Datti Ahmed and Mallam Nafiu Baba-Ahmed of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), offered to represent the sect in talks with the government. By their admission, they sought out a reporter with ‘professional contacts’ with the sect to help secure the approval of Boko

Haram leaders for negotiation. But things soon went wrong, according to SCSN. Not only did details of what they thought were secret talks published in newspapers, they wailed, it even appeared there was neither sincerity nor commitment on the part of the government for a peace deal. In addition, they said, the reporter who facilitated the contact between SCSN and Boko Haram recently cried out that his life was being threatened from quarters he could not tell. Consequently, the SCSN has withdrawn from the talks, while the sect itself has forsworn further negotiations, reiterated its desire for the enthronement of Sharia, and promised there would be no let up on its campaign for Sharia until victory was achieved. Against the backdrop of the controversy

over whether to negotiate with the sect or not, it is significant that even after secret talks began, the go-betweens are themselves enveloped in fresh anxieties. The SCSN, without openly saying so, seems to suggest that not everyone is interested in peace. And the reporter who helped establish contact with the sect is unsure who wants him dead. Now, dialogue, assuming it was the wise thing to do, will be harder to re-establish. The sect, which was earlier said to be amenable to a three-month truce on the condition that its detained leaders would be released, has promised to fight on relentlessly and viciously. The result is that the situation is much worse today than when there was no dialogue, with peacemakers losing sleep and facing an uncertain future, and unloved by the government and apparently ignored by Boko Haram.

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The Nation March 22, 2012