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VOL. 7, NO. 2116 MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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ACN governors demand security system reforms Police offer N10m reward on Oshiomhole’s aide’s killers From Osagie Otabor, Benin

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ITH heavy hearts, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governors yesterday called for a review of the security system. The governors noted that the entire security agencies – the military, the police and the State Security Services (SSS) – are under the command of the Federal Government. Governors Babatunde Fashola, Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) spoke in Benin City, the Edo State capital, during a condolence visit to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole whose private secretary Olaitan Oyerinde was murdered on Friday. The yet unknown gunmen, who hid under the darkness of night, shot Oyerinde dead in the presence of his wife and children. The logic of the governors, who are leading advocates of state police, is that if state chief executives were in direct control of the police, crimes, such as murder, armed robbery, assassination and kidnapping, would, to a large extent, be nipped in the bud. Aregbesola said the killings would not have taken place, if Oshiomhole was in full control of the security machine. He said the killing confirmed what has been witnessed in the country generally Continued on page 2

•Oshiomhole welcoming Fashola (left) ... yesterday. With them are (from left) Dr. Fayemi, Senator Amosun and Senator Ajimobi.

If you were the Chief Security Officer of this state, in full control of the security apparatus, this would not have happened, no matter how reckless the perpetrators of this heinous crime will want to be. The security situation in our land calls for a reform – Aregbesola

I like to fight electoral battles, but not to shed the blood of innocent people. I do not want to play the game their way; otherwise, they will brand us the same. I have told the police that if it becomes so clear that we cannot rely on them ... we have to look at other options. – Oshiomhole

Hollande is French President-elect

NSA, Service Chiefs disagree From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo and Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

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ELIEF is on the way for residents of some cities where the army has mounted stop-and-search to check would-be terrorists from striking. An electronic method, which will eliminate the present traffic jam and its pains, is on the way. Sources close to the top hierarchy of the security agents said the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoye Azazi, had, at several meetings with the Service Chiefs, queried the method, arguing that any suicide bomber could use the opporContinued on page 2

•Aregbesola ... yesterday.

•Chairman, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu speaking during the 6th Annual General Meeting of the Company held in Abuja ... at the weekend. Listening are President/CEO, Transcorp Plc, Mr. Obinna Ufudo (left) and Company Secretary, Christopher Ezeafulukwe (right).

RENCH socialist Francois Hollande yesterday won a clear victory in the presidential elec-

tion. Mr Hollande - who got an estimated 52 per cent of votes in the runoff - said the French had chosen “change”. Admitting defeat, centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy wished “good luck” to Mr Hollande. Analysts say the vote has wide implications for the eurozone. Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal Continued on page 60

•CITYBEATS P8 •SPORTS P23 •CEO P32 •JOBS P37 •POLITICS P43


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

NEWS

NSA, Service Chiefs disagree Continued from page 1

tunity provided by the long vehicular traffic to strike. Gen. Azazi, it was learnt, had suggested that the intelligence units of the various forces should be deployed while physical checking should be minimised, pending the arrival of the state-ofart gadgets that would be used at such points. But the security chiefs were said to have been uncomfortable with Gen. Azazi’s suggestions, stating that they would only withdraw their men when the gadgets arrive and when those to man them have been trained. The source said some of the gadgets are already being used in some strategic government buildings and the success rate has been impressive. He said part of the discussion at a high level security meeting holding in Jos, the Plateau State capital, tomorrow would be on the deployment of the gadgets and how best to combat terrorism at minimal risk to the populace. The need to expedite action on the purchase of the gadgets, which have the capacity to detect explosives or any dangerous weapons from a far distance, was propelled by a rumour in Abuja yesterday that a suicide bomber had rammed into some vehicles at a checkpoint Kaduna/Abuja road. The news turned out to be

a hoax as it was later learnt that a petrol tanker that developed brake failure was the source of the fire near the checkpoint mounted by the soldiers. Said the source: “I can tell you that the NSA has complained against these roadblocks as they remain potential danger points. Any suicide bomber may just decide to take out as many people as he can by driving into the traffic logjam caused by the soldiers. “Initially, the Service Chiefs disagreed with the NSA, but I think things are changing now as they recently met to expedite action on the purchase of modern equipment that would take care of this. “It is expected that this would form part of the meeting in Jos. But I know that we are already using the gadgets at strategic government buildings in Abuja and elsewhere. “We know Nigerians are becoming impatient and some are already saying that we are overwhelmed. Soon. They will see that we have not been sleeping and we are doing our best to ensure national security. “I am not in a situation to tell you the cost of the gadgets. It is enough for you to know that approval has been given for the purchase of the multi-billion naira equipment,” the source said. The House of Representatives has invited Gen. Azazi

to appear before it on Wednesday on issues bordering on security. A member of the House, Hon. Ajibola Famurewa, from Osun State, stated this yesterday in Osogbo. He said Gen. Azazi has been invited to explain how the Federal Government plans to curb the incessant killings and wanton destruction of property by the Boko Haram. Famurewa, a member of the House Committee on the Airforce, said as representatives of the people, they are worried about the activities of the sect and general insecurity in the country. He said: “The attack in Potiskum in Yobe State, where more than 60 people tragically lost their lives and valuable property were damaged, is worrisome. The House wants to know the Federal Government’s plan on how it will tackle this menace.” Today in Jos, the NSA, Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin and the service chiefs will meet in Jos on national security. Defence Minister Bello Haliru Mohammed is also expected at the parley. A statement by Lt. Col. Andrew Idachaba said the security chiefs will converge on the Rhino Officer’s Mess of the 3 Armoured Division of the Nigeria Army, Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Rukuba for the two-day seminar.

•Socialist Party (PS) newly elected president Francois Hollande waves as his companion Valerie PHOTO: AFP Trierweiler looks on after he was declared winnner yesterday

Sambo to Boko Haram: embrace dialogue

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ICE President Namadi Sambo has asked Boko Haram members to come to the dialogue table with the federal government. Sambo spoke with reporters shortly after he inaugurated the Almajiri Model Boarding Primary School at Maraban Gwarda in SabonGari, Kaduna State, at the weekend. Sambo observed that dialogue remained the best option for solving the lingering crises in the country. He appealed to all Nigerians to embrace peace because it is the bedrock for development. “I want to use this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians, especially members of Boko Haram to embrace peace. “Let them come and sit down and dialogue with the Federal Government so that peace can reign in our country.” The Boko Haram sect has claimed responsibility for most of the suicide bombings in the

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

country. In Kano yesterday, operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF) gunned down four terrorists, suspected to be Boko Haram members in Hotoro quarters during a raid on their hideout. The raid was reportedly carried out at about 9.30a.m following the alleged shooting of a soldier on the thigh on Saturday night by Boko Haram members. JTF Spokesman Lt. Ikedichi Iweha said: “Four terrorists were gunned down when JTF operatives raided the terrorists hide out in Hotoro, while some arrests were also made.” The JTF operation, which he described as successful would be continuous, adding that whenever the task force receives an intelligence report of the activities of the terrorists, they will respond swiftly, so as to demobilise them. It was gathered that the leader of the sect, including a woman, who allegedly assists the sect members were arrested during the raid.

ACN governors demand security system reforms Continued from page 1

which, in his view, is an indication of failure of governance. “If you were the Chief Security Officer of this state, in full control of the security apparatus, this would not have happened, no matter how reckless the perpetrators of this heinous crime will want to be. The security situation in our land calls for a reform and reorganisation,” Aregbesola said, adding: “But the situation we find ourselves in this country is that governors are merely called chief security officers of their various states, while the federal government is in direct control.” Aregbesola expressed dismay that politics, which Nigeria’s founding fathers based on issues had been reduced “to miserable factional and base materialism by those who have nothing else to offer than their own greed”. Oshiomhole described the late Oyerinde as a man with a passion for public service and a good sense of humour. He said: “He knows the way my mind work. When I want to write a concrete letter, he knows how to do it even though he wasn’t my secretary. When I was leaving NLC, I looked around and said ‘I need someone who understands me’. I said, ‘you (Olaitan) join me for us to know this thing they call governance; if how we see outside is how it is still going to be’. That was how I brought him in.” Oshiomhole, who regretted that no member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been invited for questioning over the killings, said he has to look for other options to protect the people of the state be-

Police offer N10m reward on Oshiomhole’s aide’s killers

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HE police have offered a N10 million reward to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of the killers of Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary of Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Oyerinde was killed last Friday by unknown gunmen. Announcing the reward in Benin yesterday, the Deputy Inspector-General

cause he cannot rely on the security apparatus. Oshiomhole also warned that if after 12 days the police failed to find the killers, he would find them and deal with them even though he does not believe in blood for blood. “We have the capacity to cage the godfather and return blood for blood. We won’t just go and sleep. We have to resolve how we want to run it and I am not ready to be looking as if my tenure is at the mercy of anybody. Only the people of Edo State can determine that,” he said. Oshiomhole also disclosed that “the godfather – he did not name him – “had been using President Goodluck Jonathan’s name to campaign, telling the people that he has the President’s backing to use any means to win the governorship election. Oshiomhole said he had enough security report indicting the “godfather” for the killings and attempted killings in the last two weeks. He called on “the Abuja Judge’’ to call “the godfather” to order “or we will call him to order”. Fashola, who described Oyerinde’s murder as “shocking” and “cruel”, ex-

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

(DIG) of Police (Investigations), Force Headquarters, Abuja, Peter Gana, said no stone would be left unturned to get the killers. The DIG said he was in Benin to complement the efforts of the state police command. “We have opened three telephone lines to assist in the investigations. Governor Adams Oshiomhole has

pressed sadness that though elections were meant to be about developmental issues and a contest of ideas, some politicians have turned it into a mindless orgy of violence. He said: “We have come to sympathise with you and the people of Edo State over this very sad and unfortunate incident. We have come to express our solidarity and also to condemn the spate of violence that is manifesting in the run up to the election in this state. “We have come to commiserate with you and to urge you to continue with the good work that you’ve been doing in this state since you took office. We also wish to convey our sympathy to the family of your aide who was the victim of this incident.” Praying that God would comfort the people of Edo State, especially the family of the deceased, Fashola said: “We are saddened by what we see but we urge you to remain focused; be a man of peace; continue to be a man of ideas.” He enjoined Oshiomhole “to keep to the track of peace, a track of democracy and a track of service to the people of Edo State which you have been known to tread”. Although the period could be very challenging “but

offered a N10 million reward to anyone who can lead to the arrest of those responsible for the death of the governor’s aide,” he added. The numbers are 080178624253, 08158823049, 0814177026. Gana said the lines will be active from 3pm today. He assured the people that the police would do its best to guarantee the safety of lives of the citizenry.

we believe that if you remain focused, the challenges will create opportunities for the people of Edo State”, Fashola said. The Governors also visited the widow and children of the late Oyerinde. Fayemi expressed shock at the murder, saying the late Oyerinde was a link between him and Oshiomhole. Anytime he could not reach his Edo State counterpart, he would get in touch with the late Oyerinde for any information he needed, he said. He described the late Oyerinde as a very articulate and hardworking person, pointing out that while working in Edo State, he was also monitoring events in other ACN states “just to ensure that the developments which have become the watchword of our various administrations are not being compromised”. “We know we cannot query God, but we have the right to ask ourselves why bad things happen to good people. Olaitan was a principled fighter; I have known him since our days in the Labour movement and I have related with him just as all of our colleagues have in one way or the other related with him,” the governor said. Condoling the late Oyerinde’s

wife, Fayemi said: “We will not be deterred. What I want to say to our sister and the children and the rest of the family members is that God, in his infinite mercy, will give her the courage, the fortitude in these difficult times, to trudge on as father and mother now to the children.” Assuring Oshiomhole of the support of the ACN governors for the family of the late Oyerinde, Fayemi said: “But, like in our own way, we know Olaitan was like a son to you and among ourselves, as your colleagues in this struggle for freedom and justice and democracy for our people, we have also collectively decided that we will do our own quota in supporting the family of our fallen comrade and we want to reassure them that Comrade Olaitan did not and will not die in vain. “For those who think they have the licence and the freedom to destroy life, let us assure them that they will not get away with this particular murder because we are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that this is not mere armed robbery attack.” Oshiomhole thanked his colleagues for the visit, saying it had further strengthened him to continue in his avowed service to the people of Edo State know-

ing that he is not alone. Throwing more light on the death of his aide, Oshiomhole said the incident was part of a well articulated plan by the opposition who, according to him, met in the house of a leading politician with their candidate and two others in attendance. According to him, the meeting reviewed the situation in the state and, knowing that the coming election would not be in their favour, decided to cause confusion through accidents and assassinations of his close aides that would look like armed robbery. He said they also planned to kidnap people. Oshiomhole, who said he invited the Commissioner of Police and gave him a letter detailing the plan, noted that Oyerinde’s murder came 48 hours after his meeting with the Police Commissioner, adding: “So, there is no doubt that Olaitan was assassinated.” Describing the deceased as an intelligent and committed man with a passion for public service, Oshiomhole said although people were eager to react to the murder, he advised them to keep calm, adding: “I like to fight electoral battle but not to shed the blood of innocent people. I do not want to play the game their way; otherwise, they will brand us the same.” “I have told the Police that if it becomes so clear that we cannot rely on them for maintaining adequate security in the state, we have to look at other options because we have to protect ourselves. “We are giving the police time. We will not just go to sleep. If they do not find the killers, we will find them and when we do, we will have to deal with them. We will not leave them like that.”

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


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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Churches in the N

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• From left: Former Chief Medical Director, National Hospital Dr Segun Ajuwon congratulating the Deputy Director, Fiscal Planning Department, National University Commission Mr Bankole Ayo during the ninth Aso Table Tennis Club Open Championship in Abuja ...yesterday

HROUGHOUT northern Nigeria, Christian churches are ramping up security as a militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, targets places of worship. At a church in Kaduna, Christians are refusing to let the near-constant threat of attack keep them away from Sunday services. The bellman’s call to the faithful at this Assemblies of God church in the Kakuri have been joined by another now-familiar Sunday morning sound. A metal detector pings intermittently as volunteer security guards check inside the trunks and glove boxes of cars entering the compound. Near-daily violence in northern Nigeria is increasingly targeting churches. Bombings and other attacks have killed dozens of Christians in recent months. Inside this church, parishioners clench their eyes shut and lift their hands skyward as their lips move in prayer during the service. Three armed policemen sit outside, their guns propped in front of them as they keep watch.

The head minister, Reverend Emmanuel Daudu, says trust in God does not mean letting down your guard. “We don’t fear but we are security-conscious, because we don’t have to be relaxing and our enemies to take us unawares,” said Reverend Daudu. “We have to be alert always, because we don’t know their plans against us or against the church.” All vehicles are checked for weapons and explosives before they enter the compound. A dozen volunteer security guards, led by chief security officer Aminu Timothy Babah, patrol the grounds. “We are feeling that, let’s try and do what we are able to do, to do the best we can, to make sure that the tension that is rising in the minds of people at least is being cooled down or being reduced,” said Babah. A car bomb that exploded in Kaduna on Easter Sunday killed 40 people and wounded others. Many suspect the intended target was a nearby church compound. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has repeatedly pledged to

Azazi‘s statement diversionary, says Falana

L • Vice-Chancellor Rivers State University of Science and Technology Prof Barineme Fakae, Rivers State Governor and Visitor to the University Rotimi Amaechi, Pro-Chancellor of the University, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte and former Foreign Affairs Minister Odein Ajumogobia at the 24th convocation ceremony of the university in Port Harcourt.

AGOS Lawyer and human rights activist Mr. Femi Falana has described the National Security Adviser (NSA) Gen. Owoeye Azazi’s position on the Boko Haram challenge as diversionary. Falana told The Nation that “it is extremely dangerous and unacceptable to begin to hold disgruntled poiticians responsible for the terrorist attacks in the country with the information available and at the disposal of the security agents that the Boko Haram sect has link with the Al-Queada group.” He added: “Nigerians should therefore reject in its entirety, the diversionary and reductionist explanation by the security adviser that terrorism is borne out of frustration of disgruntled politicians. It is a very dangerous approach.” The activist identified corruption and lack of political will on the part of Nigerian neo-colonial state as the reasons why “these criminals and their sponsors are never brought to book”. He told The Nation that the government has the responsibility to guarantee the lives, security and property of the people.

By Adebisi Onanuga

“We must insist that the government has a duty to guarantee lives and security in the country. But beyond verbal assurance, beyond presidential assurance, there must be concrete measures put in place to stop the growing wave of mindless killings of innocent people in our country. As at today, the government and security forces are overwhelmed by the Boko Haram menance and there can be no excuse for this. “The primary purpose of government according to the Nigerian constitution is to guarantee the welfare and the security of the people. Once the government cannot discharge that civic responsibility, it is no longer fit to be there” he said. Falana argued that the bombing of some media houses by the Boko Haram sect might be to blackmail Nigerian journalists into promoting their activities stressing that he does not share the view that their action was to scare them. He said that it is very imperative that the media act in unison, dismiss such blackmail and reiterated the fact that they are not going to be scared by their activities.

Media’ ll not be cowed, says NPAN

T •Governor Peter Obi (middle), being presented with the Business Hallmark’s Governor of the Year Award (2011) by Senator Ben Obi (left). On his right is the former Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Emeka Onwuka ...yesterday.

•From left: President, Association, Project Development Practitioners Mr Micheal Ale, Director, Project Development and Implementation, University Of Ibadan Dr Femi Omololu, Vice President of the association, Mr Thomas Omofaye and Professor Of Industrial/Project Engineering, Prof Oliver Charles-Owaba at a seminar on Project Development and Implementation in Ibadan ...yesterday

HE Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) yesterday said the media would not be cowed by Boko Haram attacks and threats. The executive committee of the association, in a statement after a meeting at the weekend, condemned the attacks on ThisDay, The Sun and The Moment. The statement reads: “The Executive Committee of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria at its emergency meeting held in Abuja on Saturday, May 5, 2012 deliberated on the bombing of ThisDay, Sun and The Moment newspapers on Thursday, April 26, 2012, and the threat to other media houses and resolved as follows: “ That the NPAN condemns in the strongest terms the attacks on ThisDay newspapers in Abuja; and ThisDay, Sun and The Moment newspapers in Kaduna in attacks claimed by a group often referred to as Boko Haram and its threat of more attacks on the media. “ That the NPAN expresses its solidarity with the affected media houses and extends its most profound condolences to the families of the victims “ That the NPAN views the attacks and the threats of more attacks as an assault on the freedom of expression and free speech and resolves that the press will not be intimidated or cowed in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility. “ That the NPAN is seriously concerned about the worsening state of insecurity in the country and urges the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take every necessary action to give meaning and expression to its basic constitutional responsibility of protecting life and property. “ That in the light of the deteriorating security situation in the country, the NPAN has resolved to engage with the leadership of the security agencies to find solutions and to explore new ideas for resolving the challenges of insecurity facing all of us. “ That the media and all well-meaning Nigerians should continue to do all they can to pull the nation back from the brink by promoting national healing, understanding, accountability and justice. “ Finally, we thank the people of Nigeria and the international community for their solidarity, support and fortitude.”


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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he North tighten security over Boko Haram OPC leader cautions sect

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HE National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, has advised the Boko Haram insurgent group against extending its bombing campaigns to the Southwest. He urged the members of the sect to embrace peace and come out to state their grievances. Adams, who spoke to reporters at the ceremony organised to celebrate his 42nd birthday, said he did not believe Boko Haram could attack Yoruba people in the Southwest, saying it was impossible for the sect members to carry out the attack because, according to him, no Yoruba person would harbour criminals to massacre innocent people. He said: “We believe in secularity of Nigeria in the “purify” northern Nigeria of Christians. Though the vast majority of Boko Haram’s hundreds of victims were Muslims, the sect has targeted churches in particular for several attacks. The most recent, at a university in Kano, killed 15 people. Witnesses said gunmen threw explosives and then fired at those trying to flee.

Southwest. We have Christians and Muslims and people that believe in traditional religions in Yoruba land. No group disturbs the other and definitely, I don’t see a situation where we will have a religious violence in the Southwest. It will take an external aggression from the groups like Boko Haram to come and cause havoc in the Yoruba land. “We don’t have any issue with them and I don’t see any reason why they will come and plant bombs in Yoruba land. If they do so, that can trigger a lot of crises in Nigeria because there can be a reprisal to that.” He urged the government to protect life and property of Nigerians and ensure justice in the handling of the Boko Haram challenge.

There are fears that attacks against Christians in this already volatile region could aggravate tensions and even spark unrest or reprisal attacks against Muslims. Just days after the Kano attack, the head of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, said it is getting increasingly difficult to restrain what he said are millions of frustrated Nigerians.

“We have tried to talk to them, advise them and stop them from doing anything that will not help matters,” said Pastor Oritsejafor. “We have tried to stop them from retaliating, and it has worked thus far. But what we are saying is we don’t know if we can still hold them back if this kind of thing continues.” At the Assemblies of God Church in Kaduna, mother of two, Amako

•Security in front of the Good News Church in Kaduna

Laraba, says nothing can keep her from church. “When you send your children to school, you are little bit afraid what might happen in the town, but in the church we are safe,” said Laraba. “he Bible teach me that we should have faith in God. This is our town. This is our home. This is where we

should worship so we feel very free.” The two-hour service is a cathartic experience. Joyous bursts of singing break up bouts of fiery preaching and concentrated prayer. Church members say they continue to pray for redemption and peace. •Source: VOA

Jonathan mismanaged sect, says ACN •Ijaw youth condemn attack on media houses •Why Christians are attacked, by Anglican Primate From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan and Damisi Ojo, Akure and Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

•Dr. Jonathan

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HE National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has blamed President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the Boko Haram menace to escalate. Mohammed spoke with reporters during the presentation of relief materials to the Oyo State government by Afro Media PLC over the August 26, last year floods. He

was a member of the company’s team. He identified dialogue with the sect as a major panacea, stressing that those opposed to negotiations do not want peace. He said the proposed dialogue should involve stakeholders, such as traditional rulers, representatives of security agencies, aggrieved militia groups and politicians. His words: “We have been telling the president long time ago that there is no alternative to education. We don’t share the views of those around the President that tend to look at the Boko Haram either from the viewpoint of ethnicity or from the viewpoint of religion. On the contrary, it started as a local dispute. It was a way of people who felt marginalised and reacting against the local situation. But because it was badly managed , it has now completely gone out of hands while the people close to the President keep telling him that there is

no point for meeting with terrorists. I think this is wrong. “Even in the UK, after several decades of war with the IRA, until the Good Friday peace negotiation, there was absolutely no solution to the IRA problem. I think it has come to the stage that the government needs to ensure that it calls a roundtable conference of all major stakeholders – traditional rulers, militia groups, security agencies, politicians – all of us must sit together and find an enduring solution to the problems in the country.” The Ijaw Youth Development Association (IYDA) yesterday flayed the bombing of media houses and tertiary institutions by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency group. The IYDA, in a statement by its President, Daniel Amassoma and Publicity Secretary Mr. Fiyebo Eperetei, said the Boko Haram attacked innocent citizens who were not responsible for the crisis in the area. It described the recent threat to media houses as uncalled for.

The group said: “It is not good to make the country seem to be void of leadership ideas for reasons yet to be known. “We hereby urge the President and Security Agencies to intensify their effort to restructure and empower security services in the country to enhance the protection of lives and properties of its citizenry. “We are using this medium to say that those calling for the sack of the NSA are people that are in one way or the other linked with the Boko Haram. “They wanted to manipulate their likes into the office of the NSA to complicate the security situation and get rid of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the long run.” The Primate of Anglican Communion, Rev. Nicholas Okoh, yesterday blamed the unrighteousness of many Christians for the constant attacks on the church by Boko Haram. The cleric said there was need for Christians to repent and seek divine assistance. The Primate spoke at the Angli-

can Communion Cathedral Church of the Advent when delegates of the Nigerian Red Cross visited the church. Rev. Okoh said: “Our unrighteousness is why God is allowing the church to be so attacked and lives of Christians are being lost. While we were examining the national aspect of it, we need to look inward to see whether our hands are dirty. If our hands are dirty, then we should repent so that God can have mercy on us and take away the reproach upon us.” He urged the government to be committed to protecting the lives and properties of the people. Rev. Okoh said: “We should continue to pray and look forward to God and let government do its own part of the contract. It is a social contract. We have surrendered our power through the election to the government. “It is wrong for individuals to carry arms. Therefore, the government that has the authority to carry arms should protect the people so that the righteous does not stretch his hand to do evil.” In his message entitled: “Back to Life”, the clergy said Christians have compromised their faith in so many ways in the pursuit of fame, material things and power.

‘Boko Haram must not succeed in intimidating journalists’

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UNIVERSITY don, Dr. Sunny Mbazie, has declared that if the Boko Haram suicide bombers succeed in intimidating media houses, the society is finished. He said journalism is not a profession for the lily-livered, who just want to make a living, but for people who must be determined, bold, courageous and ready to make sacrifice for the society. To Mbazie, who is of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) in Rivers State, any society without media freedom is no society. He spoke at the weekend as a guest speaker at an event organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers Council. The event was attended by Dr. Desmond Osueke, who also presented a paper, as well as a former President of the NUJ, Mr. Ndagene Akwu, and the Rivers Chairman of the union, Mr. Opaka Dokubo.

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

Mbazie said: “Intimidation of media houses and journalists by Boko Haram suicide bombers must not be allowed to succeed. Once they succeed, the society is finished. Journalists must not be intimidated and should do away with bread and butter journalism. “Journalists are like soldiers who can die at the battlefront. Journalists must always publish the truth and damn the consequences. They (journalists) must never disclose the sources of their information, even with arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation. “Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers journalists to hold government officials accountable and they must play the role effectively, as watchdogs of the society, thereby preventing corruption. With corruption, there cannot be development.

‘Intimidation of media houses and journalists by Boko Haram suicide bombers must not be allowed to succeed. Once they succeed, the society is finished. Journalists must not be intimidated and should do away with bread and butter journalism’

“Journalists must ensure transparency. Without press freedom, there cannot be respect for human rights, justice, democracy and transformation. Press freedom ensures freer society.” The don also called for a special salary structure for journalists.

He enjoined reporters to always apply what he called the sixth sense. Osueke, who is also the Editor, Research and Training of The Tide, said transformation must be for positive development. He urged journalists to always take up opportunities for training and re-

training, in order to be more effective in the discharge of their duties. The former NUJ president wondered why journalists promote the interests of others, but neglect their own welfare. Akwu said the society has assigned responsibilities to journalists and they must live up to the challenges by being knowledgeable in all things. Besides, they must acquire further education, noting that the profession is risky. He said the practitioners must not be afraid. The Rivers chairman of NUJ described freedom of the press as a barometer for freedom in the society. Dokubo added that suicide bombings by Boko Haram and threats to attack more media houses called for deep reflections. He urged journalists to continue to be courageous, resolute and more professional in their duties.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

6

NEWS

Doctor in trouble for trying to buy scorpion venom with Nigerian husband

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GP has been banned from working for the NHS after trying to buy deadly venom from the black widow spider and death stalker scorpion. Dr Rapinder Adekola and her husband James planned to research the use of the poisons to develop a new form of pain relief. The couple, who share an interest in ancient remedies, intended to set up a laboratory at their home, storing the venoms in containers of liquid nitrogen. Medical regulators barred Dr Adekola, 42, amid concerns that her patients and two young children could have been at risk if she had tried home-made cures on them. An investigation found that the couple had been researching ways to relieve pain using “tinctures” and “suppositories” containing venom. The pair were arrested after they contacted a supplier to purchase the two types of venom, which are both fatal to humans in small doses, and the company called the police. Officers who went to their home in Brackley, Northants, found “extensive material” on the potential effects of venom and claimed Dr Adekola was “highly aggressive”. She was barred from working following an investigation by her NHS trust. A tribunal later upheld the decision, ruling: “The potential risks to patients were potentially serious if Dr Adekola had obtained the venom and used it in unlicensed research. “Further, although the quantities of venom requested were insufficient to be given in a lethal dose, the venom was not sterile or licensed for clinical use and could have had health effects if administered.” Concerns were also raised about the GP’s behaviour, with a colleague telling investigators that she had “problems working within the practice team”. The tribunal found that Dr Adekola had failed to respond to telephone calls, letters and emails

‘ We did not have

any venom and still don’t have any. Any internet research interest was my husband’s and neither is venom an illegal or licensed product. I wouldn’t have a clue how to use it for arthritis to be honest

from NHS officials and tribunal clerks. However, she has not been struck off by the General Medical Council, meaning she could still work in private practice. A GMC panel last week agreed to let her carry on working under strict conditions. The couple, pictured right, have moved to Dereel, a remote town of just a few hundred people in Australia, 90 miles from Melbourne. Speaking from her new home, Dr Adekola denied that she had intended to research the use of venom. She said: “We did not have any venom and still don’t have any. Any internet research interest was my husband’s and neither is venom an illegal or licensed product. I wouldn’t have a clue how to use it for arthritis to be honest.” She said she felt “violated” by investigations by the General Medical Council and the NHS trust, adding: “Every aspect of my life has been placed under a microscope and then judged.” She has applied to work as a GP in Australia but is waiting to be registered.

Dr Adekola, who was born and brought up in Britain, graduated from medical school at the University of Edinburgh in 1993. She worked at two practices in the Highlands, but fell out with her bosses and left after being suspended. She joined Brackley Health Centre in 2005. Last year she and her husband, 46, tried to buy scorpion and spider venom from Venomtech, a Kent-based company that produces and sells reptile and invertebrate venoms as well as spider silk. The couple gave the supplier the name of Orphiuchus Research and Management Ltd, a company they had set up in 2008 but was dissolved the following year. Orphiuchus, or Ophiuchus, is the name of a constellation that comes from the Greek for serpentbearer. According to the Companies House register, it had only two directors: Dr Adekola, with a home address in Banbury, Oxon, and her husband, recorded as living in Lagos, Nigeria. Dr Adekola denies she tried to buy the venom and says her husband used her email account and her name when ordering it online. Steve Trim, Venomtech’s director, said its products are normally bought by pharmaceutical companies and universities for medical testing. Dr Adekola was arrested with her husband when police visited their home to investigate after being contacted by the supplier. They were released without charge, but her employers dismissed her for gross misconduct. In February this year, a Health, Education and Social Care tribunal banned her from working for the NHS anywhere in the country. The GMC initially suspended Dr Adekola from working as a doctor but three months ago it lifted the suspension, enabling her to work in private practice subject to strict conditions. These include that she must notify the GMC of any new medical posts she accepts, and if she applies for a medical post outside

Yobe State Governor Ibarahim Gaidam and his deputy, Abubakar Aliyu, at the Potiskum General Hospital during a visit to victims of the Potiskum Cattle Market attack ...yesterday

• Dr Rapinder Adekola (right) and her husband

the UK. Last week’s GMC hearing ruled that the conditions should remain in place. Prof Gordon McPhate, chairman of the panel, said “issues relating to Dr Adekola’s probity, lack of cooperation and her failure to engage with a range of regulators and authorities” may impair her fitness to practise.

The doctor is still under investigation by the GMC and could face a fitness to practise hearing. A spokesman for Northamptonshire PCT said: “Unfortunately we are unable to comment on an individual case when it is part of an ongoing GMC investigation.” •Culled from telegraph.co.uk

Foreign airlines dare Senate, NCAA over N230bn refund

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HE tax evasion controversy involving some foreign airlines may have deepened as the airlines are unwilling to refund N230 billion to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The airlines were asked to refund the money to NCAA for failure to remit five percent charge on every flight ticket sold. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Emirate and eight other airlines were allegedly found culpable in the payment default by the Senate Committee on Aviation that investigated the matter. British Airways was asked to refund $235million. Virgin Atlantic is to pay $100million. Apart from tax evasion, the airliners were also accused of arbitrary fixing of fares and collusion with dubious aviation officials to shortchange Nigerian air travelers. Some of the airlines agreed earlier to make the refund after the Senate Public Hearing on the alleged disparity on air fares charged being perpetrated by foreign airlines. The Senate Aviation Committee established that Nigerian travelers pay more than their counterparts in neighboring countries on the same rout. A competent source told our correspondent that BA, which was described as the most culpable in the alleged discriminatory air fare and tax evasion has vowed not to make any refunds. The source said that they discov-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor

ered that other airlines may have been asked to ignore the Senate order to refund the tax. The Senator Hope Uzodinma led Aviation Committee mandated the airlines to make the refunds or risk necessary sanction. The committee also directed the NCAA to review the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with British Airways. The committee is said to be angry with the foreign airlines and may summon them for another round of talks this week. The airlines are also alleged to have ganged up to challenge an earlier agreement between them and the NCAA to refund the excess charge on Nigerian travellers. Uzodinma insisted that the discriminatory air charge against Nigerians was unacceptable. He blamed some aviation regulatory authorities for the anomaly. According to him, “first class Lagos-London return fare is $10, 816, Abuja-London return flight is $10,144, whereas the same booking for passenger on the Accra-London route is $4, 798. While business class Lagos-London return fare is $7, 370. On Accra-London route, it is $4, 098. “Return economy ticket from London - New York is $625, London-Dallas is $787, London to Florida is $730, and London-Atlanta is $772. These routes are nine hours flight minimum.”


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

7

NEWS

Oil subsidy probe: SNG demands prosecution of those indicted

Fayemi eulogises Omoboriowo at funeral HE remains of the

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Second Republic Deputy Governor of the Old Ondo State, Chief Akinwole Michael Omoboriowo, were interred, over the weekend, at his Ijero-Ekiti country home. His family, led by his widow, Christiana, watched as his body, enclosed in a brown casket, was buried about 1pm, after a brief sermon by Pastor Enoch Onyebuoha. Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; members of his Executive Council; former Governor of Old Ondo State Evang. Bamidele Olumilua; former Ekiti State Governor Niyi Adebayo; ousted Ekiti State Governor Segun Oni; Ondo State Deputy Governor Alli Olanusi and Chairman of Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Prof. Dupe Adelabu were at the funeral. Also in attendance were the Publisher of Ovation Mr. Dele Momodu; State Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chief Jide Awe; Group Managing Director, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr. Ladi Balogun; wife of former Ekiti State governor Mrs. Feyisetan Fayose; and State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Makanjuola Ogundipe, among others. Pastor Joseph Tokpo, who came from the Republic of Togo, described the late Omoboriowo as “a selfless democrat, who was devoted to truth and humanity”. He urged the people to learn from the deceased’s “exemplary life”. Fayemi said he had known the late elder statesman since his secondary school days, because he attended Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, with one of the deceased’s sons. He recalled meeting the late politician at the funeral of Prof. Sam Aluko, saying “he was his usual lively self”. Fayemi said: “When I met chief barely a month after I assumed office, he gave me admonitions, exhortations and prayerful guides. He did not use the opportunity to demand money or material things as is typical of politicians. “Although he belonged to the other camp politically, I am a beneficiary of his undeniable leadership qualities. He was a father and a great supporter of mine. “We will continue to regard him as an exemplar and a great teacher.”

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CIVIL society organisation, the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), has called for the prosecution of those indicted in the oil subsidy probe. It condemned a statement by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, that Nigerians should be patient as regards the prosecution of those “found wanting” in the probe. In a statement yesterday, SNG said: “The AGF’s statement, requesting patience because of the need for further investigations, confirmed our suspicion of his unwillingness or inability to timely prosecute those indicted by the report. “As a lawyer, the AGF ought to know that immediate prosecution is appropriate where probable cause of wrongdoing has been established. The report of the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee was not frivolous. It was based on verifiable facts, documents and sworn testimonies of

•Slams Adoke over comments witnesses. “The veracity of some of the sworn testimonies and documents has been admitted, even against their own interests, by some of the indicted parties. “For instance, the former Accountant-General has admitted that cheques amounting to N999 million were issued by his office 128 times within 24 hours as an attempt to bypass the regulations against writing cheques of over a billion Naira or more. “It has also been admitted that money were disbursed from the Federation Account in violation of constitutional provisions. “What clearer evidence of wrongdoing does the AGF intend to reveal by a protracted investigation? We hereby restate our call for the appointment of an independent prosecutor, because as suspected, the AGF and the law enforcement agencies are too enmeshed in apparent

political conflict of interest to be able to prosecute those indicted by the committee’s report. “It is not lost on us how the AGF, with his public statement, may influence the antigraft agencies. We request that the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) should recommend several reputable lawyers, out of which the President may choose one or more to lead the prosecution, and the person or persons chosen must be armed with the power of subpoena in order to have access to witnesses and documents. “We request that the civil society and other interested groups must be allowed to appoint their own counsel as certified observers in the process. “It is clear that most of those indicted are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and top officials of the Federal Government. The political conflict of inter-

est is enough justification for the appointment of an independent prosecutor, if the President is sincere about his intention to prosecute those ‘found wanting in the fuel subsidy probe’. “Where political conflict of interest is indicated in any proceeding, the appointment of an independent prosecutor is the acceptable standard in any credible democracy world over. “The president should follow those examples, especially in the United States (US), whose democratic system we pretend to copy. Among several examples of this in the US is the historical appointment of Mr. Kenneth Star and Mr. Robert Ray and independent counsel in 1994 for the Whitewater scandal, exposing attempts to hide information on travel expenses of the White House, which eventually led to the Lewinsky scandal that got President Bill Clinton impeached.”

ACN aspirant decries political violence in Edo, Ondo From Damisi Ojo,Akure

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ORMER Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State Sola Iji has condemned the rising political violence in Ondo and Edo states. The governorship aspirant and former labour leader said the “sad development” can lead to anarchy. He spoke, over the weekend, during a familiarisation tour of Ondo South Senatorial District. Iji said: “It is highly regrettable that the opposition parties in Ondo and Edo states are intolerant. The campaign vehicles of some governorship aspirants in Ondo State have been vandalised, while the Fifth Adebayo Adefarati Memorial Lecture was disrupted by the opposition.” Iji decried the assassination of the Special Adviser on Special Duties and Private Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde. Oyerinde was murdered in his Benin, Edo State home last Fridayin the presence of his family. Iji described the late Oyerinde as “a hardworking, committed and trusted ally of Oshiomhole” and urged the Federal Government to tackle the rising insecurity in the country. The aspirant visited Ile-Oluji, Oke-Igbo, Odigbo, Okitipupa, Irele, Ilaje and Ese-Odo, where he urged ACN members to mobilise the people to vote for the party in the October 20 election. He discribed ACN as the only party that can facilitate growth in the state and bring succour to the people. ACN chairmen in Odigbo and Ese-Odo local government areas Mr. Rafiu Gbadeyan and Chief Festus Omolaja said Iji has contributed immensely to the growth of the party and urged the ACN leadership to pick him as the party’s standard bearer.

Lead City University lecture

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HE 2012 Lecture of the Faculty of Social Science and Entrepreneurial Studies, Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State, will be delivered by Prof. Toyin Falola of the University of Texas, United State (US). The lecture will hold on Wednesday at the institution’s International Conference Centre by 2pm. Prof. Falola is the Vice-President, International Scientific Committee, UNESCO Slave Route Project and the Nwalimu Julius Nyerere Chair of African Studies-At-Large. The lecture, entitled: “From Sokoto to the Niger Delta: Social movements and alternative imaginations of the Nigerian nation”, hopes to track the emergence of social movements and the origin of violence in Nigeria, through the case studies of the Sokoto Caliphate and the Niger Delta. The lecture is one of the series that has been held in fulfilment of the university’s mandate to expand research and improve knowledge. The lecture will be attended by academics, students, politicians, civil society groups, the military, police, government agencies and the public.

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; flanked by his deputy, Prince Segun Adesegun (left); and the Transition Chairman of Yewa South Local Government, Elder Kayode Sangolade; during the governor’s working visit to the council...on Friday.

‘Boroffice is best candidate for Ondo’

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HE member representing Ondo North District in the Senate, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, has been rated high among the governorship aspirants in Ondo State. Boroffice is seeking the governorship ticket of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). At the weekend, a group, the Akoko Elite Forum (AEF), said Boroffice’s experience and international contacts would facilitate the state’s development. In a statement by its President, Yomi Arodu, Vice President Prince Boye Ologbese and Secretary Richard Dauda, AEF said: “We have assessed all the governorship aspirants. In the course of our research, carried out through monitoring groups, the public’s support is for Boroffice. “This acceptability is because the senator is a principled man, who is wellknown among his kinsmen. He contributed to the Space Technology project, which made Nigeria the first Afri-

•LP, PDP members join ACN in Akoko Southeast From Damisi Ojo, Akure

can country to launch a satellite, and this gave him the honour to address the British Parliament on Space Technology in Africa.” The group said it believes Boroffice’s leadership, managerial and innovative skills would be beneficial to the

state. Also at the weekend, members of the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joined the ACN in Akoko Southeast. The LP defectors were led by a former Special Assistant to the Governor, Mr. Olakunle Oyegoke. Those from the PDP were

led by Mrs. Bola Ajibola. They were welcomed into ACN by Boroffice, who was represented by the head of his campaign group and a former commissioner, Mr. Solagbade Amodeni. Boroffice urged them to be ready to make sacrifices for the party’s success.

Ondo group backs Abraham

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PRO-DEMOCRACY group in Ondo State, the Ondo New Initiative Group (ONIG), yesterday endorsed a businessman, Dr. Segun Abraham, as its candidate for the October 20 governorship election. Abraham is aspiring to contest the election on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). At a gala night held in Abuja, the group said Abraham is “the most suitable” candidate for the position. It described him as “a man of integrity, with an impressive record of transparency in the private sector, where he has clearly distinguished himself overtime”. ONIG Secretary Ade Akerele said: “Of all the aspirants, Abraham stands out. In the

realm of business in the country today, where stakeholders hardly come out untainted, it is worthy of commendation that this man has proved himself to be a reliable investor with a knack for probity and public good. “He has developed a record of integrity with a focus good enough to steer the ship of a state begging for true leadership like Ondo State. With him at the helm of affairs, we can say that the best is in the offing for the state. “We commend the good people of the state for tolerating the kleptocracy that is going on currently in the name of governance. We urge them to remain peaceful and patient till October, when the opportunity to vote in a progressive administration will present itself.”


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

8

CITYBEATS Govt begins housing scheme By Miriam Ndikanwu

THE Lagos State Government has begun the construction of 29 blocks of 348 units of one, two and three-bedroom apartments at Igbogbo Housing Estate Phase 2B in Ikorodu. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mr Jimoh Ajao, who led officials and contractors to the estate’s inauguration, said the scheme was under the Lagos HOMES project, and geared towards ensuring development in rural areas. Ajao said the government’s desire to make the houses affordable, a rent-to-own mortgage scheme was introduced to make them easy and affordable to acquire. “The Igbogbo Phase 2B that we are embarking upon, consists of 29 blocks and 348 units of one, two and three bedroom apartments and provision of relevant infrastructure,” Ajao said. He urged the community and the contractors to work together to ensure the success of the project because such would pave the way for more projects. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing, Taiwo Adedeji, advised the contractors to deliver on schedule without compromising quality. The Baale of Igbogbo, Chief F. Tijani, said the estate’s location would stimulate rapid development in the area. He appealed to the government to replicate the scheme across the state.

Creative business By Ahmed Boulor

THE stress of securing the needed fund for creative projects would soon become a thing of the past if the resolutions reached at the recently held forum for financing creative business sees the light of the day. The forum organised by Enterprise Creative- a social enterprise focused on building capacity in the Nigerian creative business, was sponsored by Asset and Resource Management Company Limited. The theme of the forum was Towards greater understanding, better dialogue and new business. The forum also offered participants the opportunity of a better understanding of the peculiarities of creative business; and forged stronger links between the creative and financial sectors, and the development of new businesses. A key note presentation was delivered by Mr. Deji Alli, Chief Executive Officer of ARM Investment Managers, while discussants were drawn from different walks of life such as advertising, design, film, TV, music, visual arts, web, mobile, interactive media, radio, arts, publishing, fashion and marketing. Storm 360’s CEO Obi Asika, and one of the discussants at the forum centred his discussion on the challenges and opportunities in different creative fields.

08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:- ynotcitybeats@gmail.com

Soldiers beat up driver, vandalise bus

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COMMERCIAL bus driver yesterday drew the ire of soldiers for allegedly blocking their car. The soldiers, who were in company of an unidentified woman, alighted from their car, and vandalised the bus in anger. They also attacked other commercial vehicles in sight. Commuters and passersby watched in awe as one of the soldiers drew out a dagger and used it to slash the bus’ tyres and shattered its windscreen. It all happened less than 100 metres from the Alade Police Station in Somolu, Lagos. But no policeman came out to intervene. Sources said while the soldiers were chasing the driver he lost control of the bus and hit a grey stationary Honda car. The driver jumped out of the

By Jude Isiguzo

bus and fled. Sources said the soldiers were in a red Toyota Corolla car with Lagos registration number FY 334 LSR, when suddenly the commercial bus parked in their front to pick passengers. One of the soldiers was said to have come down and given the driver a blow, making him drive off in fear. A witness, who identified himself as Tunde, said the soldiers vandalised the vehicle and deflated its tyres. He said: “Around 7:48am on Market Street near Okesuna Bus Stop, the two soldiers and the lady felt the danfo was blocking their way. The soldier in front came down and punched the danfo driver who sped off in fear, but the soldiers went back into their car and chased

•One of the Soldiers deflating the bus tyre, behind is his is red car. PHOTO: JUDE ISIGUZO

the driver. “Passengers at this point had become panicky and were begging the driver to stop, lest they be involved in an accident. The soldiers chased him to Adekoga Street where the driver hit a grey stationary Honda car popularly known as End of Discus-

sion with registration number 661 AE EPE, and the driver immediately escaped. “The two soldiers brought out a dagger and used it to deflate the tyres and vandalised the windscreen. They also removed inner fittings of the danfo before leaving,”he explained.

NMA stays away from Lagos doctors strike

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HE Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has shelved its planned solidarity strike with Lagos doctors. The planned strike, it said, will no longer hold. It said it has set up a negotiating team with the government to find solution to the on going strike. Lagos NMA Chairman Dr Edamisan Temiye said the assoication’s decision followed a meeting the NMA had with its parent body in Abuja, between last Tuesday and Friday. He said: “We wish the team concludes with the state within the shortest possible time so that doctors can go back to their duty posts.” While the dialogue is going on, Temiye said, the strike in the state would continue. Chairman, Medical Guild Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote said the striking doctors met the House of Assembly on Saturday in a bid to find solution to the problem. The meeting was deadlocked. He said the parties have slated another meeting for today. Patients are still not been admitted in most of the government-owned hospitals while those on admission have either been discharged or re-

•Patients seek care in federal facilities By Wale Adepoju

ferred to Federal Government owned hospitals or private health facilities to seek care. At the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), patients were advised to access treatment in other facilities. Some of the in-pa-

tients have been discharged while some are being attended to by nurses. Those in critical care have been referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and some top private hospitals. The Surgical and Medical Emergency Units have discharged patients to

the wards. It was gathered that no major emergency was being attended to in the hospital in the last two weeks. The situation is the same at the General Hospital, Lagos, where patients have been advised to try other hospitals for medicare. The Primary Health Care (PHC) centres, however, were attending to patients with minor ailments.

Only valid law can ban Okada operation, court tells govt

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LANS by the Lagos State government to ban commercial motorcycle operations in the metropolis have suffered a setback. A Federal High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, stopped the government from banning or imposing restrictions on the operations of the cyclists on any road within the state. Justice Steven Adah gave the order while ruling on an application filed by the motorcyclists (aka okada riders). He held that there was no valid law enacted by the House of Assembly empowering the government to ban or restrict okada riders. Such ban or restriction is null and void, until a law is enacted by the House, the judge said

By Adebisi Onanuga

Justice Adah said : “The Constitution guarantees freedom of movement, though such right is not absolute.” He said the government could only restrict freedom of movement for reasonably justifiable reasons, such as public defence, public order, public safety, public morality and public health. Such restriction, he said, must be backed by a valid law passed by the House of Assembly or the National Assembly. The Okada riders had prayed the court to declare, among others, that the proposed ban and restriction of their operations constitutes a violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of movement.

Justice Adah said for the ban to have any effect, the government should go to the legislature to enact a relevant law. He added that the government could not be dictatorial by resorting to an arbitrary imposition of restrictions on the operations of okada. The judge said law enforcement agents could arrest okada riders who break traffic regulations, but emphasised that “bikers should not be harassed or arrested until there is a law.” Justice Adah however dismissed the application of the okada riders in which they prayed the court to hold that they were being discriminated against by the state government since the operations of vehicles were not restricted.

NURTW: Elders pass confidence vote in management committee

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HE Elders Forum of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has demanded the confirmation of the Tajudeen Agbede-led management committee as its authentic representative in the state. It also appealed to the national leadership to extend the committee’s tenure. In a statement issued by its chairman, Alhaji Mojeed

By Eric Ikhilae

Aderibigbe Bakare, the forum said this has become imperative to cement peace and industrial harmony. According to him, since the Agbede-led committee took charge of the crisis-ridden union, it has worked hard to deliver on the mandate given to it. “The hitherto chaos, thuggery and lawlessness which were the order of the day before the ad-

vent of the committee is now a thing of the past as sanity has returned to the state chapter,” he said. Bakare called on the Najeem Yasin-led administration to ensure that NURTW national leadership keeps to the consensus agreement of bringing the factions within Lagos NURTW together and be guided by the spirit and letter of the union’s constitution.

LAGOS EMERGENCY LINES STATE AGENCIES 1. Fire and Safety Services Control Room Phone Nos: 01-7944929; 080-33235892; 4. KAI Brigade Phone Nos: 080-33235890; 080-23321770; 080-56374036. 080-23036632; 0805-5284914 Head office Phone Nos: 3. LASTMA Emergency Numbers: 2. Federal Road Safety Corps 01-4703325; 01-7743026 080-75005411; 080-60152462 (FRSC) 5. Rapid Response Squad (RRS) 080-23111742; 080-29728371 Lagos Zonal Command Phone Phone Nos: 070-55350249; 080-23909364; 080-77551000 No:080-33706639; 01-7742771 070-35068242 01-7904983 Sector Commander Phone No: 080-79279349; 080-63299264 080-34346168; 01-2881304

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.

This, he said, was fundamental in the union’s quest to ensure that Lagos NURTW comes together once again as one big united family. Bakare advised the union leadership to recall those allegedly illegally displaced from office by the previous leadership in the state. This, he said, would heal old wound, as the victims would see the union as a firm believer in equity, justice and fair play. He said such will equally further boost the commitment of members in the union’s affairs in the state. While acknowledging the support of the NURTW national president, Najeem Yasin , he praised the government for assisting the committee in ensuring peace in the state and also for its interest in the growth and development of the union.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

CITYBEATS

08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:- ynotcitybeats@gmail.com

9

Police arraign ex-Sun worker By Precious Igbonwelundu

•From left: Otunba Fatai Olukoga, Mr Jide Taiwo, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Amb. Segun Olusola and Dr. Fredrick Fasehun at the induction of PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID Asiwaju Tinubu into the Senior Citizen’s Club at his Burdillon home...yesterday

LASEMA acquires tools to tackle disaster

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HE Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has acquired modern search-and-rescue equipment worth over N25 million. The Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, who unveiled the equipment at Alausa, Ikeja, said they would be used in securing lives during building collapse, motor accidents and other emergencies/ disasters. Ahmed said the equipment, such as the Delsa, could be used to detect anyone tucked under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

By Miriam Ndikanwu

The Weber Hydraulics Power Unit can be used to remove victims from crushed vehicles during motor accidents, he added. The commissioner said government would continue to improve the human capacity of its emergency responders and those using the equipment to ensure minimum number of casualties and mortalities during disasters and emergencies. Ahmed said: ”It is pertinent to stress that the government will no longer pardon house owners whose properties have

been marked for demolition and contractors who fail to put in place standard safety measures during construction; or construction engineers who fail to carry out proper soil test and anyone using substandard materials for construction. All these problems contribute to issues associated with building collapse.” The General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the acquisition of the equipment is a demonstration of its commitment to the safety of lives and property. ”Emergencies and disasters,

by nature, are unforeseen and sudden and this explains why the blows inflicted by them are usually deadly and diverse. But the procurement of these equipment would assist the agency to mitigate these effects,” he said. Oke-Osanyintolu said the agency had performed well in the discharge of its mandate, adding that its impact was felt during incidents of flooding, building collapse, fire outbreaks and road accidents. He said the agency would extend the tentacles of its work to every nook and crannies of the state.

The Police have arraigned a former sales executive of The Sun for allegedly stealing N1.7 million belonging to the company. Samuel Unegbu, 37, was arraigned before a Lagos Magistrate’s Court, Kirikiri, Apapa, on a one-count charge of misappropriation. The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge. Unegbu was alleged to have misappropriated the said sum from October 9 to November 1, last year, while in the company’s service. Prosecuting Superintendent Pascal Maduka said the money was sales proceeds for Unegbu’s former employer. He said the offence is punishable under Section 285 (8) of the Criminal Code Cap 11 Volume 44 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011. Defence counsel S. Shittu prayed the court for bail for his client. Though he didn’t object to the bail request, Maduka urged the court to grant Unegbu bail with stringent conditions. Magistrate Fadahunsi Adefioye granted Unegbu N1 million bail with two sureties. He said one of the sureties must own landed property and present evidence of payment of land use tax for the past two years. The sureties, the Magistrate added, must be gainfully employed and swear an affidavit of means. The matter was adjourned to May 30.

Youth advocate climate change mitigation By Adeola Ogunlade

•Chairman Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, Comrade Ayodele Adewale delivering his keynote address at the World Climate Impacts Day Tagged: Get your School Connecting the DOTS...over the weekend

Lagos will attain efficient power supply, says lawmaker

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HE Lagos State House of Assembly will work with the executive to ensure power sufficiency, Chairman of the Committee on Energy, Mineral Resources and Waterfront Infrastructure, Mr Lanre Ogunyemi, has said. Speaking with reporters in Lagos, Ogunyemi said: “As Lagos has always led the way in all spheres of governance, it is the intention of the legislative arm

By Oziegbe Okoeki

to back the government up with the necessary framework and impetus to achieve power efficiency and sufficiency. “As the commercial nerve centre, the nation’s economic heartbeat and the financial hub of the West African sub-region, Lagos State must aggressively pursue a power policy that would drive its enormous economic opportunities and potentials and cre-

ate a boom in activities for small, medium and large-scale enterprises. The desire to fulfil this dream, he said, led some members of the House, to attend the Universal Energy Conference in Stafford City, Houston, Texas, in USA, and the Ehingbeti 2012 Economic Summit. “Experience from the conference and summit, and expertise available therein are expected to

be catalyst for enhanced power revolution in Lagos to the utmost benefit of our people,” he said. About two weeks ago, the House passed a resolution calling on the state government to take advantage of the new Federal Government’s policy on power transmission to further empower the energy ministry to devote a substantial part of this year’s budget to energy.

NIGERIAN youth have been challenged to put more pressure on the government to embark on aggressive mitigation strategies to combact climate change in the rural areas. The Director of Programmes, Community Conservation and Development Initiatives (CCDI), Mrs Kofo Adeleke, throw the challenge at a twoday Youth Forum on climate change, organised by Policy Advocacy Partnership Project (PAPP), on climate change in Lagos State, in collaboration with the State Accountability & Voice Initiatives, (SAVIDFID) at Ikeja, the state’s capital. The programme brought together over 42 youth groups drawn from representatives of youth groups, schools, mosques, churches, people living with disability and the media. It had sessions on understanding climate change, climate change & vulnerable groups: PWD, Women & Youth, effect of climate change on Lagos State, climate change response: the place of youth and investing in youth: climate change and the green economy. According to her, the need for young people to put pressure on government at all levels is part of effort aimed at cushioning the growing effect of climate change in rural communities. Mrs Adeleke said: “It is not an understatement that young people will inherit more problems in the future, if proper mechanism and strategy is not put in place to make the world safe and secured for tomorrow’s world.”


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

NEWS Aregbesola receives reports on gold deposit From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

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SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has received reports on the discovery of gold in primary form in the state. The governor spoke in Osogbo, the state capital, at the presentation of the reports on the exploration of mineral licences in the state by the Director-General of the Geological Survey Agency in Abuja. He assured the residents of prosperity. Aregbesola noted that the result of what the agency has done on the discovery of gold in its primary form would not only benefit the present generation in the state but also the people in the Southwest and the country. He said: “Aside from several other mineral resources that we have in the state, we have a huge deposit of primary gold. With gold in its primary form, I am very happy to tell our people that we are moving towards a period of prosperity, which I believe will launch us into another sphere, combined with the present discipline and attribute we have given to ourselves as Omoluabi (the thoroughbred). The sky indeed will be the starting point for us. “The result of what Prof. Siyan Malomo and his team have done will not only benefit the generation that we have now but also generations yet unborn, not only in Osun and the Southwest but the whole of Nigeria will benefit more from the tremendous work of the agency.” Aregbesola urged the agency to support the state for the commercial exploration of the primary gold deposit. He said the job of the agency is not fully done until the mineral is accessed and appropriated. Prof. Malomo noted that the work by the agency at the laboratory during the analysis and interpretation of the discovery can compete with any other anywhere in the world. “We have a laboratory that can do analyses and interpretation of results. The work we have done can compete favourably with anyone that we have in any part of the world. The result is what can stand with others in Europe or anywhere else in the world,” he said.

ACN hails governor as O-YES celebrates one year •Condoles with Rashidi Yekinni’s family From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

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HE Osun State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has praised the government on the first year anniversary of its youth empowerment programme, tagged the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O-YES). It hailed Governor Rauf Aregbesola for providing jobs for 20,000 youths in the state. In a statement yesterday in Osogbo, the state capital, by its Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy Kunle Oyatomi the party described the scheme as a fulfilled promise, which has reduced the suffering of the masses in the state. ACN said: “When the O-YES project started, evil people vilified it and tried to diminish its value. But the farther they tried to condemn the project, the more it got international and responsible local acclamation. “One year on, the O-YES project is not only gaining strength, at least three or more other states of the federation have bought into it and have it replicated in their areas. “This is a credit to the foresight of Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and his imaginative team, which is doing everything to make life meaningful for the youths and other citizens of Osun State.” The party has condoled with the family and friends of Rashidi Yekini, a football legend, who passed on at the weekend after a protracted illness. The Osun State ACN said it was grieving over the death of the late soccer exponent, adding: “Our leader, Governor Aregbesola, who is passionate about youth and their progress, played a pivotal role in rescuing Rashidi at a time of need, when it seemed the world had abandoned him.”

Amosun’s wife calls for support for the poor

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IFE of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, at the weekend urged philanthropists and other stakeholders in the education sector to cooperate with the government for community development services to the less privileged. She said doing so will ensure the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing poverty by 2015 in the country. The governor’s wife spoke at the inauguration of a modern toilet constructed by Day Waterman College and donated to Zion African Primary School, Akia, in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area. She said it is only through collective efforts Nigerians can build a virile and strong nation. Mrs. Amosun hailed the college for its community development projects, saying this would improve the lives of the less privileged in the society. According to her, Day Waterman College’s donation of pipeborne water to Magbagbe-Odun Village, toilet packs, mosquitotreated nets and de-worming tablets to pupils of Zion Primary School shows the college’s commitment to addressing pressing social issues in the community and the state. “I am highly impressed that a school can take up such a challenge to do a fundraising for the needy and I hope other wealthy schools will emulate this action,” she said. The Principal, Day Waterman College Dr. Tassos Anastasiades said the mission of the college is to provide quality and unparalleled education to the pupils as well as impact on them positively.

•Osun State pupils displaying computer tablets, tagged: Opon Imo (Knowledge Slate), in the teachers’ corps group, one of the six new Cadet of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O-YES), at the scheme’s first year anniversary parade/inauguration of six new cadet corps with the theme: Still Marching On, at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp, Ede, Osun State...at the weekend.

Osun to build N300m hydro power station

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HE Osun State Government has begun the construction of a N300 million hydro power station, called O’POWER, at Ikeji-Ile in Oriade Local Government Area. The Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Mr. Bashiru Ajibola, who broke the news in Osogbo, the state capital, spoke on the essence of project to the state’s development. He noted that when it is completed, O’POWER would generate enough electricity for the Ijesa axis. The commissioner said N180 million of the cost had been paid, adding that work has begun on the project. According to him, the project is linked with the establishment of an international modern market at Owena-Ijesa. He said Owena, being the bounder town between Osun and Ondo states and the traditional market for food

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

produce, caught the attention of the Rauf Aregbesola administration. Ajibola noted that the project would enhance the marketability of agricultural produce in the state. He said: “Part of what will complement the market is the establishment of an agro-allied industry, particularly a food processing company. Facilities, such as medical centres, schools and many others, would also be upgraded. “To that effect, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has been saddled with the responsibility of coming up with a structural plan for the upgrade of the town, while the team, led by the Office of Economic Development and Partnership, is working on the drawings and the bill of quantity for the market.”

On Ayegbaju Modern Market, he said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)) would be signed today and investors would immediately move to the site. According to him, when the market is completed, traders from all the markets in Osogbo axis would be moved to the area. The commissioner said the government would compensate those who will be affected by the facility upgrade in Osogbo, especially at the railway station and MDS. He added that efforts were being made to relocate the affected people to the trade fair complex on Iwo Road. Ajibola said the facilities would be completed in the next two or three months to ensure that there is an alternative market. He said: “The Executive Council (Exco) wants to assure the farmers that farm inputs such as fertilizers and

improved seedlings are in abundance and they should contact the extension officers and officials in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security for inputs. “Also, the Ministry of Commerce, Cooperative and Industry is already at full gear to give micro-credit support to farmers for the planting season. And the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is also providing a lot of assistance in terms of land preparation, among others. “On O’Beef production, we were briefed that the team from Zimbabwe has come in. The land has been cleared and the necessary facilities, such as boreholes, access roads, among others, are being worked upon. We are working towards ensuring that before Eid-el-Kabir period. We will be able to have rams that will be reared to be used during the festive period.”

State to sponsor 98 UNIOSUN medical students abroad

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HE Rauf Aregbesola administration will sponsor 98 clinical students of the College of Medicine of the Osun State University (UNIOSUN) to complete their medical studies in the Karazin University in Ukraine. Governor Rauf Aregbesola broke the news in Osogbo, the state capital, at the weekend at a meeting with Concerned Parents of Medical Students of the university. He said the two-year programme would cost the state government about N146 million. The governor added that his administration would foot the bills for the programme. Aregbesola said the government was offering the scholarships to the third, fourth and fifth year students, because there is no accredited teaching hospital in UNIOSUN, where they could be trained to become qualified medical practitioners. Aregbesola’s deputy, Mrs

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori said the state government has contacted the university in Ukraine to absorb the students into the fourth year of their study. They will spend only two years to become qualified doctors, she added. She said the state would pay $3,500 tuition fees, air tickets of about $1,700, procurement of visa and invitation fees, accommodation, immigration services, medical tests and insurance as well as the cost for language training. Mrs Laoye-Tomori said: “The cost for each student for the training is about $7,000. But the only cost that the parent would cater for is the money for feeding and upkeep of the students. It means the government will be parting with not less than N146 million for the two-year programme. “The major problem for the students was the completion

of their medical programmes as regards the issue of their clinical years. This is because for UNIOSUN to graduate the students as doctors, the students must have a teaching hospital that is accredited by the Nigerian Medical Council (NMC). Presently, that is not in place. “The original suggestion from the university authority was for us to upgrade Asubiaro State Hospital into a teaching hospital. But to do that, it would cost over N1billion for us to graduate medical students, which we cannot afford now, considering other pressing programmes of the government. “We also tried to use the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), but we also ran into a problem, because LAUTECH lost its accreditation. We tried some other Nigerian universities, specifically the University of Ibadan (UI) and the Obafemi Awolowo Univer-

sity (OAU). But the problem they are facing is the problem of accreditation. This is because they can’t exceed the quota they are supposed to take for the clinical years. “Having tried locally, we spread the tentacles outside Nigeria - to the United State (US), United Kingdom (UK), Belarus and Cuba. The costs of tuition for the training in those countries are astronomical. “Subsequently, we got a favourable consideration from the Karazin University of Ukraine and to the glory of God, the government will be sponsoring those 98 students to Ukraine on scholarship.” The Coordinator of the UNIOSUN Concerned Parents, Dr. Moses Adetumbi, hailed the government for the initiative. He expressed the gratitude of the parents and students to Aregbesola and the state executive council (Exco).


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

NEWS FIRS to grow non-oil revenue collection

Gray’s mentorship strategy excites entrepreneurs, youths

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

THE Acting Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Kanir Mashi, has said the agency would grow the non-oil revenue collection this year to 10 per cent of the non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He decried the dangers of “not growing the non–oil tax revenue to expectation“ as we have a target in 2012 to grow the non-oil revenue collection significantly and get it to 10 per cent of the non-oil GDP.” Mashi added: “We need to ponder this issue and determine which way forward.” The FIRS chief spoke over the weekend in Asaba, the Delta State capital. He said the agency generated N12.637 trillion in four years from tax operations and other charges as the overall revenue collections from the oil and non-oil sectors. Mashi said the amount represented taxes, levies and other charges collected between 2008 and 2011. Giving a breakdown of the period under review, he said the FIRS exceeded its target by over N1 trillion. According to him, the petroleum profit tax contributed about 72 per cent of the revenue, compared to the target the service set. Mashi said: “In 2008, our total target was N2.27trillion and we collected N2.97 trillion, a difference of about N70 trillion, or 31 per cent over above set target. In 2009, the set target was N1.91 trillion while the actual collection was N2.20 trillion...”

‘Cashless society impossible without national data base’ From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

Director-General of the National Population Commission (NPC) Mr. Jamin Dora Zubema has said the introduction of a cashless society depends on a strong national data base. Avoidance of estimation or guess work in the management of resources and imminent integrated consumer credit scheme among other data-based projects, Zubema said, would depend on a physically powerful national data base. Speaking in Abuja when the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, visited him, Zubema said lack of funds hinders the activities of the commission. He said the commission conducted a national population and housing census in 2006 out of which more than 75,000 priority tables have been generated. He said: “With more funding, we are hoping to generate more tables.” Zubema said the NPC has huge data which it obtained through censuses and sample surveys.

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•The National Coordinator, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams (third right) and his wife, Moji, (second left) PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU with guests at his 42nd birthday in Lagos...at the weekend.

Disillusionment among Nigerians fuelling 2015 debate, says ACN

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HE glaring mediocre performance of the Goodluck Jonathan administration and its policy inconsistencies are responsible for the ongoing debate on whether or not the President will seek re-election in 2015, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said yesterday. The party was reacting to a Presidency statement on the "growing furore in political circles and the media" over the Dr Goodluck Jonathn's alleged second term ambition for 2015. In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, ACN said a government that failed to perform has created a conducive atmosphere for rumours that would overheat the polity. The statement reads: "Mr. President, we in the ACN are not bothered about whether or not you plan to run in 2015. What concerns us now is how to alleviate the collective suf-

•Party blames PDP for maladministration By Olamilekan Andu

fering of the Nigerian people, who have experienced more pains than gains in one year of your administration. They have yet to reap the fruits of democracy, almost 15 years of the country's return to constitutional order under your party's watch. "If we must be frank, this past one year has been like four for Nigerians who have been subjected to untold hardship and the effects of a catalogue of bad and inconsistent policies. As governance takes the back seat and meaningless politicking becomes the order of the day, many wish the four years of your administration will just pass by fast to give them the opportunity to make a better choice of leadership. This is what is driving the 2015 debate." ACN reminded the President that his administration started off on a wobbly note,

when it flew a satanic kite on tenure elongation that backfired and quickly eroded what many called the goodwill that ushered him into Aso Rock. "This was followed by the illadvised fuel subsidy removal that has now turned into a fiasco; the poorly-managed aftermath in which peaceful protesters were crushed by gun-totting soldiers, even in a democracy; the unprecedented corruption revealed by the fuel subsidy probe, and an equally horrendous looting of the public treasury in all sectors. "Add this to what is arguably an all-time low supply of electricity, which has thrown a vast swath of the nation's landscape into darkness, the rising unemployment, worsening state of infrastructure and monumental insecurity of lives and property, and you have a ready mix of ingredients that will easily overheat a polity," ACN said.

According to the party, the situation is compounded by the discordant tunes from those who are close to the President. "While some said he will surely run in 2015, others said he has not yet made up his mind. This is reminiscent of the situation in other spheres. Top government officials attribute the Boko Haram crisis to different causes, and conflicting signals are being sent out now on whether those indicted in the fuel subsidy probe will be prosecuted or not. These are the causes of the growing disillusionment in the polity," it said. The party urged the President to shun those it described as "palace jesters masquerading as his advisers" and restore hope to Nigerians. ACN added that three years is enough period to make a difference, even if the first year has all but been frittered away.

Agency dismisses 15 officials for alleged bribery

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HE Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has dismissed 15 of its enforcement squad officials for allegedly “compromising the laws of the board”. A director of the board, Mallam Isa Shuaibu, spoke in Abuja before an environmental sanitation at Kado-Kuchi. He said the dismissal followed allegations of bribery from traders at Wuse Market against the members of a team

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

comprising the 15 workers. The cat was let out of the bag when the same traders were rearrested by another team for the same offence after which the traders complained that “after settling your people, you are still arresting us”. The officials, who were immediately stripped of their uniforms could not deny the allegation.

Shuaibu urged members of the squad to keep the city clean. The AEPB chief noted that the enforcement squad has performed below expectation in controlling hawking in the city. He said: “Hawkers are still everywhere on Abuja roads. If you can combat commercial sex workers in the night, there is no reason why you can’t stop and arrest hawk-

ers on Abuja roads.” The director said the board has some incentives in the pipeline for members of the squad. The founder of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Volunteering Nigeria, Mr Mark Eke, said the partnership with the AEPB would rid the country of litters. The next exercise is expected to hold at Mpape and Jabi.

ICPC launches system review in govt offices

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HE Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has dispatched its operatives to states, ministries and parastatals to conduct a system review of their activities. In a statement by its Media Consultant, Mr Folu Olamiti, the anti-corruption agency said the review would enable it gather correct information about the management of government offices and prevent corruption. It said government officials caught in corrupt practices, including running unregistered non-government organisations (NGOs), would be sanctioned by ICPC. ICPC Acting Chairman Ekpo Nta broke the news over the weekend in Uyo, the

Akwa Ibom State capital, at a special retreat organised by the commission to reposition it in the anti-corruption crusade. Nta said ICPC would promote best practices in governance in Nigeria, especially in budgeting. The ICPC chief said budgeting more for capital projects, rather than recurrent projects, would help the government to overcome the temptations of committing more infractions that could result in corrupt practices. He said: “Petitions are normal in life. But how they are handled makes a difference. If you create infractions, we have mechanisms to check such.” Nta said repositioning ICPC is not by accident but a deliberate decision that would

enable the agency check corruption proactively. He said the commission would combine a system review and enforcement of principles which would amount to giving corrective advice rather than stopping public office holders from stealing. Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio said the ICPC’s special programme was a reawakening and synergy between the Federal Government and his state. He urged ICPC to tackle corruption, saying it is not only found in government but also in relationships, banking, fuel subsidy and pension administration. The governor described corruption in Nigeria as a cancer that needs surgical operation.

RGANISERS have drawn the curtains on the week-long expedition of Dr Farrah Gray to Nigeria for the 2012 MTN Leadership Seminar. The event’s grand finale was held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) auditorium last Friday. Nigerian entrepreneurs and youths hailed the mentorship strategy and teachings of the American business whiz kid. Drawing from his entrepreneurial and success story during the programme, which held in two cities, Dr Gray delivered lectures on entrepreneurship, integrity, mentoring, motivation, leadership and strategy. At a breakfast meeting with top Nigerian chief executive officers (CEOs), the inspirational speaker harped on the need to help build generational wealth through young entrepreneurs’ mentorship and leadership programme. At Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, where he had an interactive session with top media managers and executives, he urged the media to focus more on positive projections of the country’s image rather than on the negatives. According to him, the destiny of Nigeria is in the hands of the media and other Nigerians.

Akeredolu decries political killings By Olamilekan Andu

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GOVERNORSHIP aspirant on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, yesterday decried the spate of political killings in the country. In a statement, he expressed worry that Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the private secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, was killed last Friday by unknown gunmen. He noted that the killing was on the heels of a tragic accident involving the governor’s convoy in which three journalists died. Akeredolu said what is happening is reminiscent of the days of “do-or-die” politics. The statement reads: “It is deplorable to observe that our brand of democracy seeks to kill its best materials to settle political or personal scores. “Many eminent citizens have spoken to condemn this barbaric act unequivocally. I want to join other well-meaning Nigerians not only in deprecating this vile expression of bestial propensity by those who regard politics as a tool for the subjugation and elimination of their fellow beings, but also to forewarn members of the political class, whose criminal activities have set in motion a chain of events the end of which foretells grim consequences. “The spate of state-sponsored assassinations was unsettling during the tenure of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo as civilian Head of State. It was during his regime that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Chief Bola Ige (SAN), was murdered in his bedroom...”


MOTIVATION

JOBS

CAMPAIGN

Council chief rallies staff at budget presentation

Amosun’s wife empower 1,200 youths

Experts make case for safety at workplace

Lagos

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Email: news_extra@yahoo.com

Ogun Deputy Governor inaugurates job tools GUN State Deputy Governor Prince Segun Adesegun has inaugurated a set of job tools provided by the Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Israel Jolaoso. The lawmaker donated sewing machines, hairs-dryers, clippers, motorcycles and electricity generators for barbers, among others, to members of his Ewekoro constituency. The

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•Prince Adesegun

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

tools were valued at N6m. He also built an Information Communication Technology Centre (ICT) to train over 100 persons. Jolaoso, a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said he wanted “to give back to the society by empowering the

people to be independent.” The lawmaker added that the victory of the party in April 2011 polls also spurred him to launch the empowerment scheme to complement Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s efforts at making life better for the people of the state. Commissioning the empowerment project as well as the supervision of the distribution of working tools in Itori in

Ewekoro Local Government of the state, Prince Adesegun urged beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items to boost their families’ income through self-employment. Adesegun said if beneficiaries made good use of the facility, it would go a long way in reducing poverty in the state and boost Amosun’s five-point agenda to rebuild Ogun State.”

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WELL thought-out job scheme has taken off in Lagos State. Under it young school leavers and graduates of tertiary institutions are trained on vocational skills. It aims at providing self-employment as well as keeping the mega-city free of criminal activity. The programme is split in two. One, tagged “School Leavers Modern Apprenticeship (SL-MATP)”, is dedicated to secondary school leavers; the other, christened “Graduate Vocational Employability Skills (GV-ESTP), dwells on graduates of tertiary institutions. Deputy Governor Mrs. Adejoke Orelope–Adefulire flagged off the scheme on behalf of Governor Babatunde Fashola. Under the programme, youths will be tutored in welding, carpentry and joinery, auto mechanics, refrigeration and industrial air-conditioning, domestic and industrial plumbing, caregiving and housekeeping, hair dressing and beauty therapy, clothing and dress making, block-laying, concreting and tiling, software applications design and development, computer animation and modelling, electronics and appliances repair, electrical maintenance repair and services as well as industrial instrumentation and automation. The scheme launched at a skill centre attracted a huge audience which included captains of industry, instructors and top government functionaries, among others. The Deputy Governor explained that the centre, apart from providing a base for young school leavers to acquire more skills, would also train miscreants free of charge to fit into the society. Adefilure specifically reflected on how the menace of social vices evolved, pointing out lack of parental attention, grave economic situation and poor policy response as defining factors. The deputy governor, who spoke passionately about the prevailing situation in the country, lamented that a number of

•Tailoring trainees at work

Lagos tackles jobs crisis with skills scheme By Miriam Ndikanwu

young people have been pushed to the streets while those who managed to obtain higher degrees could not get jobs. She said: “The trend became a threat for the innocent residents with the rate of crime soaring before this administration came on board. It has also become a real challenge to which this administration is responding accordingly. This trend attracts our attention because we have a responsibility to prevent crime and protect lives. One way

School leavers’ apprenticeship begins out is to engage the idle hands and pull unemployed youths from the street. “This is why this administration has put the programmes in place to breathe life into those who are not gainfully unemployed”. Adefilure also explained how the state government arrived at the programme, which Executive Sec-

retary of the State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Mr. Olawumi Gasper said, was designed to address some socio-economic issues in the state. She said the state government “is trying to channel part of the state security allocation into developing •Continued on Page 50

•Mrs Orelope-Adefulire


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Council provides land for growing biofuel seedlings

Amosun’s wife empowers A 1,200 youths

•Mrs Amosun

S part of her efforts to promote selfemployment in the state, the wife of Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, has empowered 1,200 youths with start-off materials. The event coincided with her 46th birthday anniversary. The youths were the candidates who successfully completed a two-week vocational skills acquisition and business start-up workshop in small chops/pastry, manicure/ pedicure/acrylic nails, make-up/gele, necklace beading, hall decoration, adire/ fabric beading, millinery (hat-making), shoe-making and barbing sponsored by Mrs Olufunso Amosun. She said the initiative was to complement the efforts of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration to reduce unemployment, alleviate poverty and curb crime. Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Mrs Evelyn Oputu,

Community seeks infrastructure

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COMMUNITY in Ogun State,ImodiIjebu, has called on the government at the three levels to help transform the fast growing community. The community made this call at its maiden conference organised by Imodi Community Development Association (ICDA). The conference, according to the chairman of the association Chief Olumide Olufowobi, was meant to address issues of community development. “The meaning of this conference is the need for a synergy of professionals to come together to salvage this town from cynics,” he said. Chief Olufowobi seized the opportunity infrastructure. He said the roads leading to the community are in bad shape. “There is no gainsaying the fact that our roads are not motorable even motorcycle riders charge excess money to convey people and goods for lack of good roads.

By Aminat Adesina

Federal, state and local government presence had never been felt for years back,” he said. He called for urgent repair of ImodiAgoro Road, Imodi-Igunran and ImodiAgo- Iwoye roads among others. The community leader stated that the transformer installed in the community since 1976 needs replacement and new poles should be brought to aid rewiring of the areas where electricity has not yet gotten to. “Imodi is fast transforming into a modern settlement with non indigenes fast building homes in our domain. These new homes need transformers and electric poles to lighten up these areas to ward off burglars while the old ones installed since 1976 need replacement,” he said. Also speaking, former Ogun State Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Isiaka Sanni said other things the community demands from the government include

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HE Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State has provided five acres of land for growing Jatropha seedlings to aid use of biofuel as an alternative source of energy. The Project Coordinator, Jatropha BioDiesel Development Centre in Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State,Mr Titilayo Dunsin, at the launch of biotechnology in the council area, further disclosed that growing of the seedling through a public-private partnership will come as a pilot project. He said the project would engage the youths in the council area and afford them the opportunity to contribute to the economic growth of Osun State.

Ogun praised the initiative of Mrs Olufunso Amosun, adding that such a huge gesture was worthy of emulation. Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, restated the determination of his administration to improve the standard of living of the residents of the state through provision of security, employment and promotion of entrepreneurship. He said his government would continue to provide an enabling environment for investors and for all residents to maximise their potential. pipe borne water, good and effective hospital and federal presence in social amenities development. “Pipe borne water is sine qua non and essential commodity for the good health of the community but is lacking in the town, state hospital annex is desirable here in Imodi –Ijebu in view of the population explosion which is imminent,” Alhaji Sanni noted.

•Mrs Titi-Laoye

Police affairs ministry to partner NICO on security T

HE Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Omoniyi Caleb Olubolade (rtd.), has said the Ministry of Police Affairs is ready to partner with the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), on the forthcoming National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers and Local

Foundation marks Asthma Day

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S part of this year celebration of Asthma day, the convener and the founder of Elias Nelson Oyedokun Foundation has organised a day workshop to sensitise the people living with Asthma on the best way to manage the disease in the country. The convener of the foundation, Mrs Lola Ilaka, said the group is ready to partner with different sectors such as education, public health sector, pharmaceutical, healthcare providers, children and adult living with asthma among others to make the common man on the street understand how to deal with the deadly disease. She said the death of her asthmatic 13-yearold boy motivated her to set up the foundation to let the people understand the danger of the disease and the way out of it so as not to lose other children living with asthma. According to her “On the death of my son, I went through lot of pain and I wouldn’t want another child to die prematurely as a result of asthma. That is why it is important to create awareness about how to prevent and control asthma in children and adults” During the workshop, Prof James Renner Head of Respiratory Clinic at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) spoke

By Jeremiah Oke

on how to easily recognise and treat asthma. Prof Renner said the common symptom of the disease include normal cough, difficult breathing, chest pain, noisy breathing, and wheezing which may later result to asthma. He maintained that many factors may trigger the attack of asthma which normally occurs at night, these include cold respiratory, physical activities, cold water, house dust, out door and indoor pollution, cigarette smog, food items, and extreme emotion. He urged parents to watch over their asthmatic children to save them from avoidable and untimely death. He added that asthma is not an hereditary and transmitting disease which has made some parents separated some of their children from one another but urged them to avoid things that may cause the disease. Another speaker who spoke on the respiratory aid, Mrs. Bukky Goerge, the CEO of the Health plus Pharmacies, admonished parents to monitor their children especially those with the disease.

•From left: The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs, the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Olubolade (rtd.), the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Ayakoroma and Senior Assistant to ES, NICO, Nelson Campbell on their visit to the Minister of Police Affairs in his office in Abuja

Lawmaker inaugurates ICT centre, cassava hub F

EDERAL House of Representatives member, Hon. Abiodun Akinlade from Yewa South/Ipokia Constituency, has urged governments at all levels to make agriculture attractive to youths through mechanisation , saying that this is the fastest way the sector can create jobs. Speaking at the official foundation laying ceremony of the International Cassava Processing Centre, Ilashe, Ipokia Local Government Area, Ogun State, the legislator affirmed that his decision to facilitate the multi-million naira project was borne out of the conviction that the constituency and the state could create wealth and achieve its food security

New NGO launched

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• From left: Mrs Bukky George, Mr Ilaka, Prof. James Renner and the convener of the ENOF Mrs. Lola Ilaka.

HE Orange Family Initiative, a nongovernmental organisation has been launched. It was put together by Ondo State indigenes in Nigeria and in the Diaspora to propagate and encourage socio-political and economic development as well as good governance. The venue was the Sunview Hotel Hall, in Akure, the Ondo State capital. The event was attended by wellmeaning indigenes who share in the vision of building a state that will be a model to other states in the nation. “Our mandate is to protect the core values of the state and sustain the unprecedented trend of development in the Sunshine State”. Since the Orange Family Initiative was launched peolpe have been making calls for membership forms to be part of our vision.

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By Musa Odoshimokhe

objective. “At the completion of this cassava processing centre, standard processing plant would be put in place such that this centre would put our local farmers and their products in the limelight and through this massive employment would be generated and the economy of our state will become more robust.” In his welcome address, the Onipokia of Ipokia, Oba Rauf Adeole, praised the legislator and appealed to all stakeholders and those with interest in cassava production and processing to support the project so as to enhance the effort of small and medium farmers in the state. Earlier, the legislator had commissioned a fully equipped Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre in Ilaro, Yewa South, urging youths in the zone to take up the challenges being thrown by the present day reality on research and knowledge, which according to him, can be found in the center. The 35-seater ICT centre which was facilitated by the legislator, was inaugurated by the Paramount Ruler of Yewa Land and Olu of Yewa, Oba Olugbenle Gbadebo •Hon Akinlade Kehinde.

Osun From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

According to him, tests have been carried out on all kinds of feedstock that can be used but among them all, Jatropha, a non-feed stock came out as the most suitable. He noted that Jatropha as a non-food crop and its dedication to the energy sector will not affect food supply. Also, speaking at the programme, Acting Rector, Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke, Dr. Augustus Oke, said unlike coal, oil and natural gas, which takes millions of years to form, biomass can be considered a renewable energy source because plant life renews and add to itself every year. He said: “It can be considered a form of solar energy as the latter is used indirectly to grow these plants by photosynthesis.”

By Evelyn Osagie

Government Chairmen. Maintenance of law and order, according to the Minister, is the major concern of the police, noting that partnership of key-players including the traditional rulers, local government chairmen and NICO are key to ameliorate the security challenges in Nigeria. He said the partnership was important because the ministry needs the institute more than the institute needs the ministry. He made the statement when the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, paid him a visit in his office. The Minister, who commended NICO’s choice of theme said: “The conference is very important. The role of traditional rulers and local government chairmen is very important to our national security. They will help to bring the menace of bombing and criminality in the country under control.” He pledged his support for the cultural institute, saying: “Security is our concern and we are happy when it is being given support. So, we will support you financially. We will surely look at your requests and give you the deserved support. We will surely work together with NICO to face the security challenges in Nigeria.” Dr. Ayakoroma highlighted NICO’s mandate along with importance of its forthcoming conference billed for May 7 and 8 in Abuja with former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as its chairman. He said: “It is in line with our mandate that we are organizing this programme with concern to peace and security, and we see the need to bring the traditional rulers and local government chairmen to let them know their roles, hence the theme Culture, Peace and National Security in Nigeria:

Briefly

Free medicare OYO East Local Government has promised not to relent in its efforts to bring health to the doorstep of the people of the local government area. Reiterating this pledge was the chairman of the council, Mutahir Adegboye Adekunle during the free health programme of Governor Ajimobi at Oba Adeyemi health centre Oyo. Giving kudos to Ajimobi for his efforts to provide quality services for the people of state, Adekunle observed that the state governor had been able to emulate the good qualities of the late Sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Hon. Adekunle, who promised to replicate the state free health programme in his local government area in the area of eye treatment, disclosed that his regime had performed wonders in health sector. According to him, no fewer than 94,000 children had been immunised against polio during the first round of immunisation exercise while eradication of guinea worm and onchosiasis has reached an advance stage. In the area of environmental sanitation, regular clearing of refuse is ensured and more than 300 wells had been sunk. he disclosed more than 2000 patients were treated in the state free health programme.

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Gambia lauds Lagos Fadama projects

FFICIALS of The Gambia Agency for the Management of Public Works (GAMWORK) have praised the Lagos State government for ensuring the success of Fadama projects. Speaking during a study tour of some of the projects carried out by the State Coordinating Office of Fadama 111 Project, leader of the 10-man Gambia delegation who is also the Director-General of GAMWORK, Mr Ebrima Cham, said: “We are here in Lagos State to understudy and learn from the success story recorded so far. We also want to start a similar project in Gambia and we thought it is necessary to learn a lot from this country particularly Lagos. We have seen a lot of interesting and useful projects that we can replicate in our country.” The team visited the information communication technology centre of the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Fadama Community Associations’ (FCAs) agro-allied projects and farmers’ centre at the Ojokoro Local Council Development Area. While receiving the team, State Project Coordinator of Fadama 111, Mr Foluso Ajijola, said:” We feel highly honoured that our state and projects had been chosen as part of those to be visited by the Gambian team. This has shown that we have indeed become a role model for other African countries to copy in terms of the success of the story in Lagos State. The Advisor to the Gambian government

T was another dividends of democracy day last Thursday when Mushin Local Government Area freely distributed poverty alleviating items to residents of the council. Primary school pupils were the focal point. Items distributed include mathematical sets, pouches, sewing machines and a vulcanizer compressor. The Chairman, Hon Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan, welcomed the guest, describing the event as “one of the ingredients designed to keep pupils particularly those in the public primary schools in their classrooms.” To this end, 10,000 branded mathematical sets have been provided for children in the 49 primary schools in the council. Adepitan emphasised the need for government to give attention to teachers’ welfare, noting that it is when they are happy that they can give their best. He said the council has also provided 1000 branded pieces of pouches for market men and women to keep their money neatly and safely . The council chair said poverty eradication remains one of the cardinal programmes of the administration. Therefore, a vulcanizing compressor was donated to one lucky vulcanizer. Also three sewing machines and three industrial machines were distributed to fashion designers, promising that other professions will enjoy a similar attention in due course. He mentioned the activities of the council in his first tenure to include free exercise books to pupils in all the 49 primary schools, free GCE and JAMB forms, and coaching classes. Some of the schools present were Estate

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` • The country Director of the DFID, Richard Montgomery (left), after his recent meeting with Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State at Abuja.

By Kunle Akinrinade

on the project, Dr Sidi Jammeh, praised the Lagos State government for ensuring the success of the agricultural initiative. He said:” As the advisor to The Gambian government on GAMWORK project and having served as the former Task Team leader of

Fadama 11 Project in Nigeria, I wanted them to be exposed to the experience of their Nigerian colleagues,so that they would know what to do to make the project successful and what to avoid in order to stave off failure because of the similarities shared by the GAMWORK project and that of Fadama .”

` •From left: Ajijola, Mariah Dacosta, Chami Jammeh and a Fadama facilitator, Akeem Owokoniran during and inspection of an agro-spot at Ojokoro LCDA secretariat.

Council gives free educational materials,sewing machines, others Primary School, Papa-Ajao Primary School, Odo-Abose Primary School, Eleja Primary School, St Jude Primary School and Baruwa Primary School. Some officials that graced the occasion

included the Secretary to the Local Government Mr Ismail Yaya, Hon. Williams, Hon Gbenga Sanda, Hon Suleiman Fatai Abayomi, Mr Kayode Alabi (JP), and Mr Benson Olanipekun.

•Hon. Adepitan presenting free mathematical set to a pupil of Baruwa Primary School


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

LABOUR Lagos trains 120 LASTMA officials

Police College sacks 234 recruits

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HE Police College, Kaduna has discharged 234 recruits for failure to meet the basic entry requirements to the institution. Commandant of the college, Sunusi Rufai, a Commissioner of Police, said the college had discovered that some of the students were “lepers; some had sight problems,” while others had no basic entry requirements for the 15-month training. He said 234 of the 5,000 recruits were expelled as they had challenges ranging from leprosy, partially blindnss, falsification of credentials and other acts inimical to the tenets of the profession. “Someone that you will train

Stories by Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

to become a police officer and to entrust with a gun, you catch him with a knife stabbing his fellow trainees; it shows he is not fit to be a policeman. “We found some of them stealing their fellow trainees’ luggage and we caught them, but we did not take them to court. We just allowed them to go,” he said. He said some of the recruits absconded and returned and “we said no, training school is not like conventional university. “Some of them were caught smoking indian hemp, while some others were found too short in terms of height.” He said their expulsion is in ac-

cordance with Section 116 of the Police Act and Regulations, which empowers a commandant to discharge unfit trainees. Rufai said a committee has been set up to investigate officials, who handled their recruitment. “We are investigating those behind this and our committee is working and some of them will lose their jobs. “We say no to illegalities in police, and in the ongoing reforms; these people should be flushed out. “Let us get those who are qualified so that we will have a better police force. There is nothing surprising in our action; it is a new directive of the IGP to reposition the police.”

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• IG of Police Muhammed Abubakar

Fashola, minister urge labour to shun strike

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AGOS State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, (SAN), has urged the organised labour to shun strikes and protests and think more on how to build a strong nation. The Labour Minister, Chief Emeka Wogu, also asked the Lagos striking doctors to return to work. Speaking through the Head, Lagos Office, Federal Ministry of Labour, Alhaja Nofisat Arogundade, Wogu said, strike and protests would hinder the progress of industrial relations and the nation. Fashola recalled that there are nations in the world where labour leaders took over leadership of the country through a democratic process and have been able to lead the nation out of the woods. He made the statement in Lagos at the 2012 May Day rally. He said government at all levels cannot do it alone, hence all hands must be on deck to ensure that things are done the right way. Fashola gave an instance with Brazil where a labour leader was democratically elected and within a very short period of time, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country rose higher than that of Britain. His words: “I know we have labour leaders that are intelligent

• Wogu

in this country. I do not want to mention names, but I know there are many of them, both at the national and state levels that have a lot to contribute to the development of the country.” He reiterated that his major concern remains how to move the state forward and provide infrastructure to meet the people’s needs. “That is why we may not be able to meet all the demands of

labour all the time. If we do, we may not be able to provide these basic amenities.” On the issue of the N18, 000 national minimum wage, Fashola said Lagos State was among the first to implement it, but added that the state will henceforth, not be compelled under any guise to implement an agreement it was not involved in its negotiation. “We can only pay if provision was made for it by the government.” The governor said frantic efforts are being made to address the power and employment challenges in the state. “No doubt the insecurity challenge in the country can be attributed to unemployment. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The adage still stands. The state is trying to fulfill the promise made during our campaign for second term,” the Governor added. He said Nigerians must be bold to confront these challenges, adding that challenges are meant to be overcome. On his part, Chairman, Lagos Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Akeem Kazeem, urged the government to fund the education sector, saying that one of the ways to liberate a people is to get the people educated. “Ignorance is expensive. When people are educated they are

proactive. They are pregnant with ideas. Government has to fund education and give it the required attention if the country must move forward,” said Kazeem. He encouraged the federating units to look inward and explore the natural resources available in the country. “We cannot continue to rush down to Abuja at the end of every month for allocation. If we can tap the resources in our states, Nigeria will transform within a very short time. It has happened in some economies in the world. It can happen here too,” he said. The plight of the pensioner and insecurity must be addressed once and for all, said Lagos Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Idowu Adelakun. He said the plight of retirees has become worrisome, especially when some people by reason of their position are stealing monies meant for pensioners and jobs creation for the youths. “I want the government to take the issue of the welfare of the workers very seriously. There is no reason whatsoever why Nigerian workers will not smile home at the end of the month.” Highlight of the Lagos celebration was the award of excellence given to Governor Fashola for exemplary governance.

Subsidy report: NUPENG calls for sanction of erring marketers T HE Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) has called for proper handling of the subsidy report as submitted by the ad Hoc Committee on Petrol Subsidy, saying there should be no sacred cows. The union threatened to drag the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to court, should the report be swept under the carpet. President of the union, Comrade Igwe Achese, said the union is watching the PPPRA Board with keen interest, and that it would not allow the perpetrators of fraud in the subsidy issue get away with it. The union also said it would go on strike if the report is handled with kid gloves. He lamented the inconclusiveness of some past investigated cases by people in authority which were swept under the carpet. “In its usual manner as a country, good reports would be made in Nigeria, before you know it, the report would be swept under the carpet. This time around, we hope and believe the government would sit up and take up the challenges of corruption in the oil subsidy.” The union appreciated the House for its effort, but said it has not done a thorough job of the in-

• Achese and General-Secretary,NUPENG, Elijah Okougbo

vestigation. He urged the committee to continue digging until they get more facts. “While appreciating the lower chamber of the National Assembly for the bold step taken to prove and investigate oil subsidy issues, we will still want to go fur-

ther by letting them know that they are yet to do a thorough job for us. “We are so much interested in this issue that they have to do a thorough job, we have also read from the media that there are various counter claims and reactions

from some of the companies mentioned to make refunds to the Federal Government on illegal payment of subsidy to them. “The truth remains, if NNPC claims that it did not make any double standard withdrawal, then who collected such money. Who went behind collecting money, using the name of NNPC. In what name did they go for it? How was this money being disbursed? These are the key questions we must find out. It must get to the root of this issue of subsidy fraud.” Achese, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to ensure proper handling of the Committee Report. While the House of Representatives has done its own part, it behoves on the government to ensure that its various agencies will take up the issue, that is the EFCC, ICPC, the various agencies in charge. “Two auditing firms were being fired over the subsidy fraud. Where was the auditor general when the frauds were being perpetrated? If we must find the root of this fraud, we must find the perpetrators of this act. It is only in this country that corrupt people claim not to be guilty and when they are later tried for the same offence outside Nigeria, they admit they are guilty.” He also charged the judiciary to redeem its image because it is part of Nigeria’s corruption problem.

HE Lagos State government has trained 120 officials of the Lagos State Traffic management Authority (LASTMA) on news reporting. They were trained at a two-day seminar held at Eko FM/ Radio Lagos Multipurpose Hall, Ikeja. Declaring the training open, Commissioner for Transportation Kayode Opeifa, said it is to ensure that officials become conversant with news writing in preparation for the take off of Lagos Traffic Radio (LTR). Opeifa said when the LTR commences operation, motorists would have the opportunity to have first hand information on transportation and traffic news, traffic alerts and diversions, while they drive or before leaving their homes. He said in cases of accidents, information which would enable motorists avoid such routes would be broadcast and information on alternative routes given. The commissioner advised the officials to concentrate during the training and be of good conduct so that at the end of the training, they would be part of the pioneer staff of the station. Opeifa commended the officials for the laudable achievements which LASTMA had recorded and urged them not to relent in the discharge of duties, especially as other states were establishing similar agencies. He advised them to take the training back to the road by giving a helping hand to motorists, who were in serious need of assistance.

Delta to train engineers

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EWLY recruited engineers and technical officers in the Delta Directorate of Transport are to undergo a two-year mandatory training. A commissioner in the directorate, Mr Benson Igbakpa, announced the plan in Asaba last Thursday while flagging off an orientation programme for the new employees. Igbakpa said the orientation and pupilage were to fully orientate the new members of staff on the functions of the directorate. He said the functions of the directorate included formulation, regulation and implementation of government policies in the transport sector. Igbakpa said the directorate was saddled with providing safe, effective, efficient and integrated transport operations and infrastructure that would best meet the needs of passengers and freight services. He said the directorate was the pool for mechanical engineers in the state civil service and there was a need for them to be abreast of modern mechanical and technological ideas.

World Bank donates 800 books to NUJ

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HE World Bank has donated over 800 books and other publications worth over N2 million to the National Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). A statement from the bank released in Abuja said the donation, including journals, project documents and other literature, were part of its access to information and knowledge decentralisation initiatives. The statement indicated that the books were received by the union’s National Vice President, Mr Gbenga Onayiga and its National Secretary, Mr Shuaibu Leman. It quoted the World Bank Country Director, Marie Marie-Nelly, as extolling the Nigerian media for being long time partners in development.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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EDITORIAL/OPINION EDITORIAL FROM OTHER LAND

COMMENT

Auditors and corruption •Now that ICAN and ANAN have settled rift, they should both ensure professionalism

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FTER more than three decades of playing cat-and-mouse, the two rival accounting bodies in Nigeria – the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), and the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) were reported to have decided to bury the hatchet. ANAN President, Maryam LadiIbrahim, at the body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Jos said that ANAN leadership made a scheduled visit to ICAN – which in the past would have been “unthinkable, considering the bitter rivalry between the two bodies”. The purpose of the visit, she said was to “foster better relations with a senior professional colleague for the interest of the accountancy profession in particular and the nation at large”. ICAN, the older accounting body had existed as sole accounting body since its

‘A false sense of professional unity is far from what the nation needs from the two bodies at this time. Rather, what is needed is a thorough soulsearching by the leaders of the accounting bodies, on the way out of the crisis of confidence rocking their profession. It goes beyond merely restating the commitment to global best practices; they must see as their onerous duty, their members’ strict adherence to them’

creation by an Act of Parliament in 1965. That monopoly was challenged with the coming of ANAN in 1993. Attempts by the former to force the return to status quo – the climax of which was the unsuccessful attempt by ICAN in 2007 to void the ANAN Act – further widened the chasm. The Federal High Court had dismissed the suit as lacking in merit. Of course, the idea of a monopoly in today’s world would seem somewhat anachronistic. That was what apparently took time to sink into members of the old guard. However, in the context of disturbing revelations of the complicity of leading lights of the accounting profession in corporate financial misstatements and outright fraud – at both public and private sectors, any notion of professional Puritanism would appear the least of their headache at this time. Instead, the two bodies – together – have to contend with the gradual erosion of their professional authority in the event that something as fundamental as their professional judgements are increasingly being called to question. To put it rather mildly, it must come as disturbing that in all the corporate frauds that have been reported recently, all, without exception, have had their books certified and passed by auditors. We recall the infamous case of CadburySchweppes Nigeria Plc, whose executive management was dismissed for falsifying the company’s financial statements. What happened to the external auditors who passed their books? Didn’t the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indict the auditors for their “inability to thoroughly scrutinise the accounts before

approving them for adoption by shareholders”? Compare, for instance, with the equally infamous Enron Corporation case in the United States in 2005 whose dramatis personae were punished – not excluding Arthur Anderson LLP, their external auditors. Is it any coincidence that external auditors involved in the financial sector crisis of 2009 have not been sanctioned? We refer here to the auditors responsible for passing off eight ailing banks as “healthy” before the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) later certified them terminally distressed. We are not aware that any of the certifying auditors was hauled before their professional bodies let alone SEC, to answer questions on their negligence. Again, it has also emerged that auditors are at the centre of the latest scam involving the administration of the fuel subsidy funds. Indeed, the Federal Government has since sacked two of the accounting firms responsible for verifying the claims of fuel importers for dereliction of duty. A false sense of professional unity is far from what the nation needs from the two bodies at this time. Rather, what is needed is a thorough soul-searching by the leaders of the accounting bodies, on the way out of the crisis of confidence rocking their profession. It goes beyond merely restating the commitment to global best practices; they must see as their onerous duty, their members’ strict adherence to them. Naturally, we expect them to bare their professional fangs on those found to have contributed to the nation’s economic adversity, if only to demonstrate that criminal negligence – or collusion, comes with heavy price.

Security budget •How much have we spent so far? Why are we still insecure despite the huge allocation?

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HE budget allocation for security this fiscal year is quite intimidating. A huge sum of N921. 91 billion out of N4.749 trillion, amounting to about 19.4 per cent of the total federal budget for the year was allocated for security purposes. Comparatively, the allocation is more than the combined allocation to education, power and health. With the increasing threat to national security, many would be tempted to equate this massive allocation of resources to a guarantee for the needed peace of mind. Unfortunately, despite taking the greatest chunk of the resources, national security has never been more parlous. Nearly every day now, several lives are wasted and billions of naira worth of property also destroyed. Predominately in the northern part of Nigeria, a sectarian organisation known as the Boko Haram has effectively put a challenge to the capacity of the national security agencies to protect Nigeria. As the conditions escalate, more resources are poured into the debacle. From within and outside the country, extra-budgetary allocations in form of grants and sundry resources are being thrown into the ring in the context to arrest this national malaise. So we ask, how much is the country spending on its national security and by who or what agency? Are there chances that the bedlam in our national security at this point in time may have turned into a conduit for massive expropriation of our common wealth by those in positions of authority? Has the country’s institutionalised checks and balances been sacrificed in the uncoordinated at-

tempt to rein in the perpetrators of the mayhem? Is Nigeria bleeding from the activities of the Boko Haram and from those who have been assigned the responsibility to stop it? These and similar questions require the attention of the Federal Government. An enquiry, even if discreet, may be needed to know how much we are spending; how much really is needed to improve the situation and whether there has been avoidable waste from the lack of coordination among the various agencies? Such enquiry should offer a wholesome suggestion on how to improve our national security. It will seek expertise opinion on how the lack of national data may be impacting on the security lapses, and even proffer an opinion as to whether there are complementary measures that would help resolve the security problems. For instance, should Nigerians, instead of fighting as seemingly implacable enemies, sit down to deliberate on the national question? Are there chances that a full discussion on the current challenges in an atmosphere of conviviality may restore the peace that has eluded Nigeria in the past few months? Too many questions, many would argue, but in the circumstance of what appears to be eating down the national resilience of a people, shouldn’t all hands be on deck to stem what is by reasonable standard a descent into anarchy? In the meantime, those entrusted with a gigantic share of our national budget must act to justify the resources allocated to them. They must be ready to render to

Nigerians an account of their stewardship. They must also show the capacity to confront the present security challenges facing the country. Where it has become glaring that those having the responsibility to manage these challenges are incapable, they should be asked to resign, otherwise they should be sacked. A situation where the coercive power of the state is now shared with others who should not possess such powers calls for introspection. Without equivocation, we think more than the needed national resources have been allocated to security matters with minimal result. A more balanced approach to induce national growth may be needed to get the productive sectors of the economy running. With a buoyant economy, many of those now available to perpetrate crime would be better engaged in productive endeavours.

‘Without equivocation, we think more than the needed national resources have been allocated to security matters with minimal result. A more balanced approach to induce national growth may be needed to get the productive sectors of the economy running. With a buoyant economy, many of those now available to perpetrate crime would be better engaged in productive endeavours’

A clear warning from the jobs numbers

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HIS week’s economic news was mixed, but the employment report on Friday was unmistakably weak. The economy added only 115,000 jobs in April, versus 154,000 in March and 200,000-plus in each of the three months before that. Even taking into account that unusually warm winter weather probably distorted the recent results, the underlying trend shows an economy that has been creating about 175,000 jobs a month — enough to keep the recovery crawling along, but too weak to appreciably raise hiring or wages. Nor is it clear where more growth will come from. Manufacturing picked up last month, but activity in the larger service sector slowed. Recent auto sales were up, and home sales have been slowly, if fitfully, improving, but home prices continue to fall. Consumer spending, in general, rose in the first quarter, but it appears to be driven by people who are profiting from a rising stock market. Increased market volatility, like Friday’s 168-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average, would make them nervous and less inclined to spend. Election-year politics are bound to further confuse the economic picture and the way forward. On Friday, Mitt Romney blamed President Obama for the April jobs figures, saying that in a normal recovery “we should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month.” The truth is that the economy has not seen job growth like that in nearly 30 years. More to the point, the policies Mr. Romney espouses — notably deregulation and tax cuts for the rich — were the favored policies under President George W. Bush, years when job growth and wage gains were, at best, anemic. And then the economy barreled into the Great Recession. More deregulation and high-end tax cuts — along with the deep spending cuts Mr. Romney has endorsed in the House Republican budget — would mean less economic stability, greater inequality and fewer jobs. Mr. Obama has called for sensible policies that would create more jobs, including infrastructure spending and aid to states to prevent layoffs and boost hiring among teachers and other public employees, but Congressional Republicans have blocked him at every turn. On Friday, Mr. Obama said that he would urge Congress “to take some actions on common-sense ideas” to boost jobs. There is no sign that Republicans are ready to see the light — especially when they see the weak economy as an election-year advantage. The jobless rate dropped in April, from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent, but the decline was caused by 342,000 people dropping out of the work force. A smaller work force means even slower growth. Without further government help — especially more aggressive spending to boost demand — the economy simply does not have the momentum to heal itself any time soon. Millions of today’s unemployed and underemployed Americans will pay the price for the rest of their lives, in lost earnings, lost homes and shattered retirement hopes. This is no time for political game-playing or ideological posturing. Americans need help now. - New York Times

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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

20

EDITORIAL/OPINION

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IR: The Yorubas are vast when it comes to consoling themselves when struck with disappointment. When you hear a Yoruba man saying that it’s only a fool that falls for same deceit twice, don’t bother asking what the matter is; be sure that there is element of disappointment from the angle such expression is coming. That is the feeling today in Ondo State – although things are being twisted to look as if all is well by some sections of the media. It was like yesterday when Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the Iroko of Ondo politics (as called by his admirers) went to every nook and cranny of the state with his bag of electoral promises. The medical doctor turned politician spoke of plans to revitalise the moribund industries, establish new ones, rejuvenate agriculture by introducing mechanized farming, urbanise Akure, the state capital and other major towns in the state to reduce rural-urban drift. He also spoke of his vision to expand the scope of local councils, re-engineer the educational system away from sorry state to the modern day status with the promise of robust scholarship scheme as against the shambolic one operated by the then administration; the health sector and others weren’t left out in this harvest of promises. How time flies. It’s no more news that majority of people including myself fell for the Iroko rhetoric. Here we are after three years. The complaints are just too many to number. None of

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Are we going to fall twice in Ondo State? the comatose industries established by previous administrations have been touched and it isn’t that the new ones are being established except those existing in the state government imaginative mind e.g, Okeluse Cement factory and the Tomato Paste factory elsewhere. With the sorry state of our industries, job creation is at zero level and by implication, what the LP government is saying is that

youths aren’t part of their first term in Alagbaka except the lucky SAs and PAs. The few road projects in the state are all on-going; we don’t have any water project even at ongoing stage despite the promise that we won’t drink water from television as it was during last administration. Despite the lack of meaningful developmental project in the state riverine areas, the chairman of the

Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) is being accused of defrauding the commission to the tune of naira in whooping ten digits. My wakeup call goes to my fellow youths especially the students. Let us shun partisanship and tell the governor who his loyalists are fond of praising for performing the functions of a Local

Boko Haram : stop those gory images in newspapers IR: I am appalled by the emerging trend of publishing gruesome images of dead bodies by our newspapers, the latest being the gory images published May 1 in the aftermath of the bombing in Jalingo, Taraba state. Yes, it is often said that it is good to report the story as it is, but the last thing we would want presently is to see a front page with a picture that makes the evil perpetrators clink glasses. Remember, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. But to those who lost their dear ones in a senseless killing, the words are endless!

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Where is the respect for the victims and their family? Many media houses and journalists, especially tabloids, are guilty of unfortunately buying into the philosophy of people like the late essayist Susan Sontag who said photographs, were some sort of moral anesthesia deadening our responses to pain by reproducing images of suffering and death until they become banalities. An undesirable rule of thumb for many journalists is: “If it bleeds, it leads”. But the danger is that we will be cultivating individuals who are lacking in emotion and pathos; and what do you have? A

cruel, nasty and inhumane society. Sensationalism has often been used to attract readers to increase sells especially by tabloids. It is called the yellow or “Front Page” style journalism. Visual images play a crucial role in it. Frank Mott, who wrote on the history of journalism, noted that the reporting of crime news and disasters with the”lavish use of pictures” was a factor that helped define the yellow journalism period. The thinking then was that potential newspaper buyers, who sort visual amusement, would be lured by pages filled with photographs.

Telecoms masts: the problem with operators IR: I read with consternation the statements by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and National Association of Telecommunication Subscribers (NATCOMS) on the recent rift between the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, (NESREA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the sealing off of a base station located in Efab Estate, Mbora district, Abuja. From newspaper reports, I gathered that NESREA had sealed off the base station because according to the agency, it fell short of the required 10 meters set back from the residential building. Few days after the station was sealed, NCC went ahead to unseal the base station insisting that

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Council Chairman to leave us now if he can’t do anything to better our lots. It’s only this present government that has refused to employ since 1999 but very soon, employment forms into the civil service will be flying all over the state. Students’ bursary and scholarship are now paid at Mr. Governor convenience; the payment for 2010/2011 academic session was skipped but now that our smart governor is seeking for re-election, students were quickly cajoled by a deceitful online application form all in the bid to secure our vote and later tell us to go to hell. Ondo State youths, let’s shine our eyes, this present administration is treacherous. • Ope Omoriwo, Ibaka Quarters, Oka-Akoko

the distance between the base station and the nearest building was up to the metres setback stipulated in its guideline. Perhaps angered by the action of the NCC, NESREA went back to reseal the base station and slammed a five million naira fine on MTN, the owner of the facility. I watched the Channels Television account of the issue and saw that the MTN base station in question was just 1.2 metres away from the fence of the nearest residential building. That is not even up to the five metres stipulated in the NCC guidelines. Now, will MTN ever dream of citing a base station 1.2 metre away from a residential building in South Africa? It is only in Nigeria that these operators get a free hand to operate in any manner they like. I believe the 10 metre setback is

intended to shield residents from the harmful effects of these base stations. I came across a website (http:// www.mast-victims.org/) where people report the negative effects telecom masts have on them. Their experiences are quite informative. For long, Nigerians have borne the brunt of lots of insults and abuses, not just on the environment but virtually in all sectors . Indeed, we are tired of the machinations and gimmicks of the numerous foreigners who engage in unwholesome practices in their operations in the country and their Nigerian conspirators like NATCOMS who aid and abate them. Enough is enough ! All operators must learn to play by the books or be booked! While not taking sides with any of the agencies, I would advise NCC to

conduct some investigation on its officers who went back to unseal the base station. I salute the courage and resilience exhibited by NESREA in going back to reseal that base station. I sincerely hope that the agency will continue in that stride to correct all the ills inflicted on the Nigerian environment. At least we have to start from somewhere. I would also like to use this opportunity to encourage the agency to look into the problem of waste control which is a sore point in our national life. Lastly I call upon the National Assembly to look into this overlap of functions between NESREA and NCC and find an amicable solution to the embarrassing situation. • Ifunanya Amadi Aba, Abia State

Nigerian media have done enough on reporting terror and they have not been able to turn the corner. It is now time for pragmatism. Nigerians have heard enough of the deafening noise of bombs and we have read enough. Thank you! What is needed now from the media is for them to come together as one body and fight back equally with the ‘Weapon of mass silence’. No matter what happens the media should boycott reporting any news on bomb explosions, not even a snippet, not even a brief. And the Foreign Affairs Ministry should advise the foreign media to do likewise on such stories from Nigeria. Borrowing Simon and Garfunkel’s song title, ‘The Sounds of Silence’will ‘shake’ the foundations of the evil doers more than their bombs could ever dare try. Paraphrasing the song, let it be about hearing without listening, let it be about talking without speaking. Silence is golden, and stately, and in this case it could be mightier than the pen! In landing finally on a thoughtful approach to photojournalism, especially in a terror era, as Lester says “photographers should be mindful of those they see in the viewfinders and those they seldom see, their readers.” The war on terror will not be won by shocking the reader, and “glorifying” the perpetrators. In the quest to find more novel ways to fight terror, we can only hope that there be a more thoughtful, humane and reflective approach in practicing photojournalism, and indeed journalism. • Dr Cosmas Odoemena Lagos


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

EDITORIAL/OPINION

Kleptocracy Unlimited: Why Nigeria isn’t working

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ORRUPTION has become overwhelming this country called Nigeria. Virtually every sector is now stinking badly and being weighed down. The most distressing mania is that the more revelations of sleaze are oozing out, the less the efforts being made to bring the wrongdoers to judgment. Believe it or not, with the current trend, Nigeria’s integrity is sinking deeper and the people’s future getting dimmer. At every level, it is now an extreme anxiety for riches. The land is now overflowing with cons. 419 has been decisively integrated into the culture of a society that was once on the verge of greatness. Artisans have seen what is happening in public service and they too have become more desperate for money. Many would do anything to swindle and defraud others. The summary of the matter is that the few privileged individuals who have access to the commonwealth are looting to fill their pockets while the country is left to drown in penury and under-development. All around are headline stories of revealed corruption – perpetuated either by individuals or institutions. By the same measure are frantic counter efforts to shut down the disclosures. From ongoing revelations on the fuel subsidy scam to capital market and pensions rip-offs, it has become evident that the fight against corruption has been mere sweet talks meant to distract. With the deluge of public fraud encamping the land, many Nigerians are not trusting the government to deal with the unrighteous circumstances as desired for the interest of the nation. People’s confidence on the earnestness and sincerity of the oncefeared anti-corruption agencies to deal with the nation’s financial unpleasantness keeps diminishing by the day. As it were, EFCC appears to be on the path of being re-tagged Economic and Financial Crimes Compromise with the new boss Ibrahim Lamorde himself confessing that the supposed anti-fraud agency is filled with financially polluted and counterfeit minds. This is a trend Dr. Tive Igbuzor attributed to the “disconnect between the posturing of leaders and their conduct, and the failure to utilize universally-accepted and tested strategies and the culture of impunity.” And also this is why the indictment of an evidently fraudulent former Delta State governor stalled in a Nigerian court would become reality in a far away United Kingdom court. The inability and failure to stand upright has become the bane of the nation’s progress. The House of Representatives’ investigation into the nearcollapse of the Nigerian Capital Market has become dilly-dally. Last week, the sitting was again abruptly postponed on the raked

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Y recent experience with my children reveals to me that it is of necessity that we make time out of our busy schedules to respond to their inquisitive spirits otherwise, we would either loose them permanently and or do much damage to their understanding of current affairs of our immediate environment and Nigeria as a collective. My beloved BB has in recent times enlightened me about the attitudes of his peer group. He informed me that their own generation from 35 years downward has no adequate or exciting information on Nigerian’s socio-political and economic status. For example, he told me that most of them have no knowledge as to the establishment and working of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO and its campaign for restoration of M.K.O. Abiola Presidential June 12 1993 victory and the convocation of a sovereign National Congress, SNC for the purposes of discussion and resolution of the Nigerian National Question. So when we write or recount the exploits of NADECO in the face of a most violent military jackboot under Gen. Abacha, they seem to be unusually bewildered. Our conversation went beyond my expectation. Question: Is Nigeria a country or a nation? Answer: First, Nigeria at 51yrs plus regrettably remains a country. The country has had opportune occasions to make Nigeria a nation, but such opportunities were wasted. For example, our founding fathers and their political parties namely, the Northern Peoples Congress, NPC and the National Council of Nigerian Citizen, NCNC respectively preferred the celebration of October 1, 1960 promise of Independence than the implementation of the Henry Willinks Commission’s recommendations on the just agitations of the minorities. Against the Action Group’s desire for the creation of Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers and Middle Belt States/Regions, all that was done was the insertion of the human rights provisions in the 1960 constitution of Nigeria. Second, when the military struck on January 15, 1966, the execution of the military insurrection exposed the bias of some of the coupists when the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Nigeria’s First Prime Minister, from the Northern Region and Chief S. L. Akintola from the Western Region were killed in the uprising but surprisingly the premiers of both the Eastern and the Mid-Western Regions were spared. All patronizing excuses to lay the blame on individual failures in the execution of the coup have failed to convince critical minds till date. Third, Nigerians again wasted another important occasion when the military strongmen annulled a pan-Nigerian mandate and victory given by Nigerians to Bashorun Abiola in the June 12, 1993 presidential election where he trounced the NRC candidate, Alhaji Bashir Tofa. Rather than appreciate and consolidate the import of Abiola’s victory which was rightly regarded as a pan-Nigeria rejection of the national

up excuse of inability to secure live television coverage. The probe had earlier been interrupted and deferred twice since March 20 when a new panel was reconstituted by the House to replace the morally-discredited Hon. Herman Hembe led-House Committee on Capital Market. For now, it is the accused that is still smiling. The report of the fuel subsidy probe by the legislature was most revealing. But unless the emerging counter-inclination is arrested, the whole fiddle might soon turn around to become a non-issue. Of course, the gluttonous beneficiaries of the massive loot, aware of the public resentment have been rising to tackle the outcome of the legislative probe. Already, there are indications that EFCC may disregard the House’s ad hoc committee report on the administration of fuel subsidy. It might just be worked out for the Commission to ignore the report of the committee as some of those indicted are said to be waiting for EFCC’s independent investigation that could be manipulated. In its report submitted on April 18, the house committee had affirmed that the subsidy administration was compromised. It went ahead to recommend a total refund of N1.7 trillion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, the Office of the AccountantGeneral of the Federation and 72 firms. It censured Dr. Ahmadu Alli, a former PDP National Chairman who was the Chairman of the Board of the PPPRA from 2009 to 2011 and other members of the board during the period for allegedly opening “the floodgate of the (subsidy) bazaar.” At the debate on the report on the floor of the House, it was agreed that Dr. Alli should be prosecuted – a seemingly righteous decision that might end up as mere suggestion. Indeed, the fight against corruption in this beleaguered Nigeria is a fight to secure the soul of the nation for the future generations. As Igbuzor puts it, “it is a fight not just for the court of law, but a case that would better be settled in the court of public opinion.” Yet, amidst the multitude of unrighteousness are still those committed to cleaning up the nation of the filth of corruption. Recently, Pastor Tunde Bakare, the convener of Save Nigeria Group addressed a press conference under the theme “Kleptocracy Unlimited.” There he declared: “Now is the time to save our country from the grip of corruption. Our message to our country men and women is that they must be strong hearted and determined to take back our country.” Pastor Bakare said if our people realize what N3trillion can do in the life of a nation, it would not be difficult to understand why we must kill corruption lest it kills us all as it is systematically doing already. Indeed, to save the nation, and make things to begin to work for authentic and unadulterated transformation, there must be faithful and painstaking discharge of the rule against corrupt elements, notwithstanding their status. It is significant the SNG has now

given the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to prosecute all those indicted in the fuel subsidy probe or face a protest march. Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka in backing up the street protest said having studied the undisputed figures emanating from the subsidy scam, he has asked himself after every paragraph if he was living in the real world or a kind of fantasy world. He is therefore insisting that the populace must be ready for another determined march on corruption. “Nigerians must be prepared to march and come out en masse and demand a termination to the insolence against the ordinary people.” To him, “we are being treated not even like second class or third class citizens; we are dehumanized.” And Bakare concurred: “We have nothing to lose but our chains as we embark on this patriotic and just resistance against the destroyers of our nation. All we must be ready to do is to assert our collective dignity and let our leaders know that we are better than their animals.” But must the government ignore the right calls and allow the already angry citizens show their angers on the street in this dark season of Boko Haram overwhelming menace? The upshot of the uncured looting of the public treasury is apparently manifesting in every facet of the society. Nigeria is getting more indebted whereas there is hardly anything to show for the enormous annual budgetary allocations. One always wondered at what often became the multi-billion naira allocated to the Ministry of Works and yet the federal roads linking the states remain deplorable. It does not matter the cover-ups through refutation and denunciation, the nation’s external debt keeps rising – negating the FG’s position in 2005 when it paid $12 billion to get a debt relief of $18billion. The information is that the nation’s external debt has again catapulted to $5.9billion without any tangible improvement on the dilapidated social and economic infrastructures. The question remains: what are those debts secured for? The argument that Nigeria was still one of the least indebted countries among competitive growing economies with a debt/ GDP ratio of 17.45% as at 2011 is another of the political cajoles. Nations that are indebted but have things working for the people are the ones to lift up their heads – not those whose collective resources are in the unproductive pockets of few. Today, power sector is operating at the ebb. Education is in tatters. Millions of youths are jobless. More millions are homeless and hungry. Again the question: Should the government concede to the pressure of looters and allow the masses to march out in protest? Or will wisdom permit government to allow the overall interest of the people to prevail over the self-interest of the privileged few? The response will determine whether or not the administration is sincerely interested in making Nigeria work.

Exposing my family conversation -1 By Ayo Opadokun dubious divides, like Muslim/Muslim ticket, North/South dichotomy, etc the military strongmen rejected the free will and choice of the majority of Nigerians as expressed in the ballot and foisted a totally unpopular Gen. Obasanjo on Nigeria and the General lived to his bidding by betraying them as usual. WHY IS THE RENEWED CAMPAIGN FOR SOVEREIGN NATIONAL CONFERENCE? First, the renewed campaign has now intensified nationally because the state of the nation has exposed the underbelly of Nigerian fractured security and unity as we race to the precipice. For example, the BOKO HARAM phenomenon has finally admitted Nigeria into the Islamic fundamentalists’ outposts. The terrorist group makes no pretence as to its objectives-rejection of western civilization, its culture, its politics, its education and its value system. Also, the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOP) remains committed to the liberation of Igbo from the suffocating Nigeria. The South-south remains in pursuant of the goal of resource control while the Odua People Congress, OPC, Odua Liberation Movement, (OLM) COSEG are all committed to the goal of self determination for the West. Second, there are reasons why many people are not happy with the Nigerian project. Nigeria from 1960 has been welded together by the force of arms. Incidentally, the world has found out that multi-cultural, multi-religious and multilinguistic nations that were hitherto forced to collaborate had collapsed and fragmented by the contradiction of centrifugal forces. For example, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republic, USSR, the old President Tito’s Yugoslavia had broken into autonomous nations after the demise of their leader, Tito. Great Britain has been forced to make concessions to Ireland, Scotland etc. The reality today is that self determination is the global anthem for the 21st millennium. Third, the realistic option for the survival of this geographical expression is that the political operators should give Nigerians the opportunity to democratically sit together to decide how they want to be governed henceforth for the first time. It is clear from the strong views emanating from across Nigeria that the survival of Nigeria lies in national resolutions and conclusions of the National Question. Questions determining whether or not we want to remain together and what would be the guiding rules of engagement/ and or on what terms must be democratically resolved and concluded for the greater good of the country.

Four, Nigeria needs to determine whether or not our country can continue to practice the Presidential system of government as opposed to the Westminster Parliamentary system, bi-camera rather than a single legislature and whether or not that we should choose part-time rather than full-time legislature. While the Presidential system remains very expensive in its structures and operations, the parliamentary system is reasonably less expensive and the fact that the ministers are from the parliament keep the executive closer to the representatives of the people for beneficial interaction between government and people. Fifth, except for want of description, how can a society invest about 80% of its total earning on recurrent expenditures? Ambassador Emeka Anyaoku at the 2012 Tinubu’s annual colloquium said that that Nigeria is currently spending 74% of its total income on running the government. In a situation whereby many states cannot pay the meagre N18,000 Minimum wage, how can our political operators continue to earn grossly disproportional wages and allowances? Our top leaders in both the executive and legislatures earn higher pay than President Barack Obama, the President of the biggest economy and the most powerful nation on earth.

‘ The realistic option for the

survival of this geographical expression is that the political operators should give Nigerians the opportunity to democratically sit together to decide how they want to be governed henceforth for the first time. It is clear from the strong views emanating from across Nigeria that the survival of Nigeria lies in national resolutions and conclusions of the National Question.’


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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EDITORIAL/OPINION

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AGING concerns on the statement by the National Security Adviser, (NSA) Gen. Owoye Azazi (retd) linking the Peoples Democratic Party PDP to the spate of violence in the country is to be expected. He had said at a summit of the South-south: “how come that the extent of violence did not increase in Nigeria until the public declaration of the people that were going to contest election in the PDP? “And I would also like to say this, although the PDP people will not agree with me, they would like to attack me, but I hope they do it in private” First, Owoye in his current capacity as the NSA is expected to have very privileged information on key security matters in the country. Thus, when he speaks on issues that fall within his official purview, we are wont to take him very seriously. Coming from him in that plain manner, he should know exactly what he is saying. Secondly, his remarks constitute a serious indictment on the PDP which is the ruling party. Its logical corollary is that, it is the PDP that should find the solution to the spate of bombings that has almost reduced this country to a verity of the Hobbesian state of nature. No doubt, the statement has serious repercussions for the PDP and that was why its leadership did not waste time to join issues with Azazi no matter how superfluous the issues raised were. Again, Azazi’s statement is very weighty both from the point of view of the issue raised and those accused of complicity in the spate of bombings and destruction that have left this nation on the brink of collapse. Nobody in his right senses would therefore expect that this singular allegation would be treated with kid gloves. Nobody expects that there will be underground attempts to cover up the matter to save the face of the party; not with the mess the country is currently entangled. Not with the seeming helplessness and hopelessness of the government in getting a handle to these senseless destructions. If Azazi has divulged vital security information, it is now in the public domain. There does not seem to be much anybody can do about that. The general feeling is that the NSA has hit the head of the matter. The issue he raised could not have come as a surprise as it tallies with the suspicions we have always had on the source of the heightened insecurity in the country. This writer had in this column severally posited that Boko

Emeka OMEIHE 08121971199 email: EmekaOmeihe@yahoo.com

Azazi, PDP and Boko Haram Haram is nothing but political grievances masquerading under a religious garb. And solutions to Boko Haram can only be found as soon as its political dimension is addressed. It is however, a different kettle of fish if that political grievance is enough to warrant the suicide bombings and all manner of guerilla attacks. There is no doubt that the bombing and maiming of innocent citizens have their root mainly in the manner the issue of zoning was handled by the party. Given the way elections are conducted in this country and the fact that the PDP as the ruling party, boasted it will be in power in perpetuity, those who felt shut out of the political recruitment process, have not hidden their grief since then. The so-called “well entrenched rotation and zoning principle in the constitution of the party” which the PDP made references to in its reaction to Azazi is the main source of this feeling of injustice in the north. It does not make any sense for the party to run around the matter. The question that needed to be answered is whether that principle was complied with in the last presidential election? We also needed to be told whether the north is satisfied that the presidency did not remain in that zone after the death of Yar’Adua? We want northerners in the PDP to speak up in the matter. That is the only way to put a lie to the searing issue raised by the NSA. This is more so because the situation may even get worse as soon as Jonathan comes out clearly on whether he intends to run in 2015. That is why even with less than one year in office, he is being pushed around to come out openly on the matter. Given the foregoing, it will be counter productive for any body including Jonathan

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REAMS are better recalled than the vanishing visualization of the boisterous Edo State Government Press crew that ended tragically midday, after it arose militantly the early hours of 6 am on April 28. Like every day engagement, since Governor Adams Oshiomhole assumed office, the Press crew arise exorbitantly, and dutifully, too, to cover all the assignment of the state as scheduled and dictated by the minders of the energetic governor’s protocols. The crew as early as 6 am had accompanied the governor on town-storming tour of the Benin City centre, otherwise known as walk-to-fit exercise, organized by the state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC. The purpose perhaps is to boost both the mental and physical alertness of those in positions of authority to be alive to their contractual obligation to the electorate as well as the general public that exercising is a metaphor of human longevity, as envisaged by psychotherapy. My understanding of the draw on is that the organized labour which has been out of sync in recent times with modern day usefulness of labour activism and now essentially entrapped by governmental patronages is simply seeking an escape route in a clumsy road. The episode has hardly ended around the King’s Square when the governor hopped on his car for onward journey to Owan East Local Government to kick-start the flag off of his campaign for his re-election bid on July 14. As steadily, storming and briskly as the journey was, one was but certain that like the days gone by, the journey would end resplendently as ever since I joined Governor Oshiomhole government on January 1, 2009, with dazzles and relish. Alas, it ended with cadavers! As we departed the historical Pa Imoudu College of Physical Education, Afuze – a college now robustly transformed by Governor Oshiomhole administration – with a ground swell of teaming defectors from the People Democratic Party, PDP to Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN– the Governor sauntered into his car en-route Afuze through Auchi, to meet other scheduled engagement at Auchi before heading for Benin for another 3 pm flag-off in Edo South Senatorial District. Meanwhile, the party stalwarts in Owan East were still feting themselves with banters over the newly harvested members

‘‘These young men were among the finest journalistic talents I have ever known. Had they lived longer, they would undoubtedly have come to be recognized as some of the greatest journalists and documentary makers of their generation’

to do anything to suppress this vital lead by the NSA on this nagging national debacle. Rather, let discussions on the matter flourish. The subtle warning by Azazi to the PDP not to engage him in public on the matter is very instructive. And it appears the party got the message. That was perhaps why PDP did not demand that he substantiates his statement. We would have expected the party, given the gravity of the accusation to have taken the NSA to task. But all we got was that he should steer clear of political matters so as not to make enemies for Jonathan. We needed to be told clearly that non-respect for zoning was the leitmotif for the heightened insecurity in the country. We also needed to be told that the Jonathan presidency is the problem and Jonathan the enemy. What enemy is the party fearing again in the face of the hi-tech conspiracy to render Jonathan’s regime prostrate? What the party should be demanding given the revelations, is for those enemies behind the orgy of violence and destruction; those who have levied war against innocent souls in the guise of religious extremism; those who shoot and kill on grounds of religion and ethnicity to be unmasked now. But the PDP evaded all this. The impression one gets is that Azazi should have been more circumspect in going public on the matter. I beg to disagree. Jonathan gave the impression that he is not happy with the statement. He had said he would not comment on the matter until he had read the script Azazi delivered and listened to him. Hear him: “Probably people need to ask the NSA to explain what he really

means”. The most we can deduce from this is that the President is not comfortable with the revelation. He may be rooting to sweep it under the carpet. He could as well drop Azazi if the negative side of the comment is too hot for him to bear since his presidency is at the heart of the problem. But he would be doing the greatest disservice to the country if he does not allow the public hear more of the matter. We have a desperate security problem in this country. And solutions to it require equally desperate and unconventional approaches. It would seem Azazi has got close to the matter and we cannot afford to miss this golden opportunity. It may as well be the basis for the curious agitations from the north that the government should negotiate with the terror group. Who knows what the sponsors of the terror group will table on the negotiation table. But whatever it is, those behind these killings, if they are politicians do not deserve to rule this country. It is a mark of the same desperation for power for self-serving ends that people will seek the destruction of the country in this way. We need to get to the root of the matter to understand the dynamics of power in this country and why we have been held down these years. The NSA should be put to test to demonstrate the positive correlation which he saw between the emergence of candidates in the last PDP primaries and the escalation of violence.

‘What the party should be demanding given the revelations, is for those enemies behind the orgy of violence and destruction; those who have levied war against innocent souls in the guise of religious extremism; those who shoot and kill on grounds of religion and ethnicity to be unmasked now. But the PDP evaded all this’

Farewell to Edo Press Crew members By Erasmus Ikhide of the PDP in the locality who joined the party on the auspices of Hon. Pally Iriase, the former Secretary to the State Government and a member of Federal House of Representative to further enhance and secure the victory of ACN in the coming election. They too did not have the slightest premonition that the unusual was going to happen. A tipper truck had emerged from the pit of Hell between Warrake and Auchi and from the opposite direction and rammed heavily into the flag vehicle of the governor before crashing into several other vehicles in the convoy, leaving three people dead and several others in critical condition. The governor’s back-up car was badly affected as well as three others vehicles conveying security officers and members of the governor’s Press crew; and the governor’s vehicle escape by the whiskers. In the mix of the seemingly arranged accident and pandemonium, the homicidal truck driver attempted to escape before he was apprehended by sympathizers. Instantly, I felt silence and cold twilight dropping in awful desolation over the motionless bodies; I felt despair, dejection and death. I realized once again that a dying man is more of the survivor’s affairs than his own. It becomes vividly clear to me that we all have a limited time on earth whose period is unknown to anyone. It is not better we constantly look forward to death more than we do? That way, we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had to, with a clear admonished that man should not leave this earth with unfinished business; rather he should live each day as if it was a pre-flight check and should ask each morning, am I prepared to lift-off? On this occasion, of course, death didn’t change its tactic; it sneaked up like a silent kitten, surprising all with its cold touch! The three of them were my journalist comrades, brothers and friends, and were true explorers who did extraordinary things and went places with the governor more than anyone else has done. I’m not so sure anyone of them had the least of inclinations that the sun was going to set on their lives in so short a time and in a horrid tragic manner; particularly that they are in their earliest prime of 30s’. It is somewhat pathetic that the crew had to be gruesomely depleted by a murderous mendicant who treats human being on his daily hubris along the road like the debris he conveys in his distended truck. This is, indeed a supreme price that was once too many. Everyone who came across the three of them has attested to their sense of duty, dexterity, brilliance, talent, fabulous sense of industry and professionalism that they brought to bear on

their job. No wonder that the grave is often referred to as a place that is richly endowed and inhabited by the best and the brightest minds. Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, in the Northern Exposure, Lost and Found has this to say of death: ‘‘it’s no accident that the church and the graveyard stand side by side. The city of the dead sleeps encircled by the city of the living’’. Again, the incident has re-established one thing we often shy away from: that of a true, man’s existence and its boastful grandstanding are just the fluff of which pillows and the dreams of the powerless are made. We are simply in captives of our lives than we are captains of it. Man is absolutely nothing of his own but what is eternally designed for him by his maker. We are largely consoled by the immortal words of Thomas Moore that addresses the issue of immortality based on the legendary impact made by individual creative gaiety and contribution towards humanity: ‘‘from my rotting body”, Thomas said, “flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity’’. This, of course, is in profound recognition of diligence, ingenuity and devotion to noble course. Governor Oshiomhole has mourned Olatunji Jacob, a reporter with the Independent Television, ITV, Africa Independent Television, AIT, camera man, Fidelis Okhani and George Okosun, Independent Television, ITV camera man with the deepest sense of regret over the passing of these dutiful, dedicated and far-sighted journalists who were at the forefront of correcting the rots that was visited on the state by the previous administrations. ‘‘These young men were among the finest journalistic talents I have ever known. Had they lived longer, they would undoubtedly have come to be recognized as some of the greatest journalists and documentary makers of their generation. As it is they leave a journalistic legacy of immense worth’’, Oshiomhole said. It is unfortunate to mention that their death occurred at a time their employers, Edo State government, the good people of Edo and their young families needed them most. We can only hope and wish that the mercies and blessings of God Almighty remain permanently with those who benefited directly or indirectly from their professional and fatherly care. May the soul of these diligent, devoted and hybridized professional colleagues rest in perfect peace and, may the earth rests gently on their mortal body. • Ikhide is Senior Special Assistant (Media Affairs) to Edo State Governor


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

25

BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

ISSUES

How to stop pension looters, by experts - P. 27 News Briefing

Insurers eye dollar denominated risks WORRIED by delays in payment of premium by organisations and brokers, underwriters are focusing on special risks which are denominated in the United States dollar, The Nation has learnt

- Page 26

New bill on insurance ready THE Federal Government will soon send the proposed Insurance bill to the National Assembly, the Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel has said.

The cost of housing development in Nigeria is too high, which significantly limits the number of Nigerians who can afford a home. - Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Minister of Finance -

T HE CEO ‘We want farmers to fill the Retirement Saving Account (RSA) registration by sector

import gap‘

- P. 32

AMCON mulls listing of bridged banks •20 bodies show interest T HE Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may list shares of the bridge banks – Keystone, Enterprise and Mainstreet on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Its Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mustapha Chike Obi, disclosed this on the sidelines at the AMCON Road Show, in Lagos weekend, however, said this was one of the options available to the corporation. He, however, said the corporation was not in a hurry to sell these institutions because certain procedures, among which are the selection of advisers and valuation of the banks, are yet to be followed.

By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor

“One of the options available to AMCON is to take these institutions public, so that the Nigerian public can have a chance to invest in them. So, we want to look at all the options before we start thinking of who the ultimate investors would be. It is only on the basis of that advice and examination that we come to the best way of selling these banks. “In the expression of interest on these banks, I think over 20 different bodies – banks and other investors – have expressed interest. We have not got to the stage when we can consider those expressions of interest yet. The process to get

there requires: AMCON appointing an adviser that will evaluate and determine the value of the banks, evaluate all the options available to AMCON,” he said. Keystone, Enterprise and Mainstreet banks were the defunct BankPHB, Springbank and Afribank, which were among the intervened banks. Their shareholders had refused to allow new investors to recapitalise them – culminating in their liquidation. The AMCON boss, nonetheless, assured that the process for sale of the bridged banks would be very transparent. “We will make sure that there is a transparent process that every Nigerian will look

at and say we have done fairly. We don’t want anybody to think that these banks were taken over and handed over to special interests. It must be a very transparent process. “Secondly, AMCON must get the best returns on its investments. We are not a charity organisation; we want the best returns on investment. Thirdly, it must be done in the interest of the financial system. And that is where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) comes in. We must make sure that whoever takes over these banks, ultimately, is fit and proper to run a bank. We must know where their money is coming from and we must know that the management is going to be sound. So, those are

S&P: oil prices to sustain Nigeria’s account surpluses

- Page 39

Police College sacks 234 recruits

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THE Police College, Kaduna has discharged 234 recruits for failure to meet the basic entry requirements to the institution. - Page 40 DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.5% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $35.8b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 242.1 $ 156 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 238 RIYAL 40.472

the three things that we want to consider. So, until we get there, we are not in the position to seriously look at any investor interest,” he said. On the process for selecting the advisers for the bridged banks, Chike-Obi said the 11 shortlisted parties will soon receive detailed Request for Proposal (RFP). “In that proposal, we will specify what we want them to do and we will ask them to give us their fees. It is based on the RFP results that we can pick the advisers. So, hopefully, between four and six weeks, we will announce the advisers,” he said. On the health of the bridged banks and why it is taking so long to sell them, the AMCON boss acknowledged that process of selling a bank is not easy.

•From left: Executive Director, Finance and Operations, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mrs. Mofoluke Dosumu; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umar Ibrahim; and Managing Director, AMCON Mr Mustafa Chike-Obi, during AMCON’s Roadshow meeting, at Eko Hotel and Suite in Lagos... on Friday.

Zoom Mobile sacks staff, shops for funds

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S part of ongoing re structuring of the dis tressed Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) telco, Zoom Mobile at the weekend laid off 50 per cent of its staff. A top official of the company, who confirmed the development, described the job cuts as “a workforce reduction, which is part of requirements of the telco’s equity investors.” While it is unclear the number of casualties, the source, who asked not to be named, said majority of the workers were affected, with only the management staff members left. The source added that the job cuts became necessary because the company’s equity investors, FutureView Group and Primera Africa, mandated to help raise operational funds

By Adline Atili

for for it as well as work with some of its major creditors to restructure its financial obligations, insisted on beginning talks on a clean slate. Asked the percentage share the investors would hold in the telco, the source said revealing the figure may botch the deal, adding that talks had, however, reached an advanced stage. He said: “I can confirm to you that a major equity restructuring is going on and has, unfortunately, consumed a substantial number of workers at Zoom Mobile, because the investors did not want to meet heavy obligations on ground. “We are, however, optimistic that the telco would bounce

back after injection of fresh funds by the equity investors. Let me also add that contrary to speculations, the business has not been liquidated. Rather, we are in advanced negotiations with some equity investors. We are still up and running; our base stations and switches are still functioning.” In March, the company announced a re-entry into the telecoms market in a grand style after disappearance from the scene for a long time. The telco had been facing substantial challenge to its bottom line, plagued by decreasing subscriber base, economic uncertainty, huge interconnectivity debts and loss of confidence in the op-

erator, among other challenges. Its Chief Executive Officer , Mr Edwin Momife, speaking at the re-launch of the brand in Lagos, said the company would focus primarily on data services because “in the telecommunications business, the voice business has become saturated, affecting revenue of operators and making data services next growth opportunity for telcos.” He said the company would start its transformation based on its internal change programmes, codenamed The 4Rs – ‘Re-Finance, Re-Connect, Re-Engineer and Re-Invigorate’ - with over 200 organisational change initiatives driven by its new management team.

HE economies of rated sub-Saharan African (SSA) sovereigns should continue to grow in the coming two years, with countries such as Nigeria and Angola sustaining solid current-account surpluses, the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said. “We anticipate that continuing high oil prices should help to sustain solid current-account surpluses of some of the rated oil-exporting sovereigns in 2012, such as Nigeria and Angola,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Christian Esters in the new report card entitled: “High commodity prices and infrastructure spending are fueling growth among sub-Saharan African Sovereigns”. She, however, said the fiscal benefit of oil revenues has in some cases been offset by spending increasing faster than revenues. This is often owing to subsidies on imported refined oil products, such as diesel. “ For the rated non-oil exporting sovereigns, we expect continued high oil prices will keep up the pressure on fiscal balances as governments attempt to maintain subsidies or reduce taxes on fuel products. Sovereigns with a high dependence on a few commodities, such as Botswana (diamonds), Zambia (copper), Benin (cotton), and Burkina Faso (cotton and gold) are likely to remain, similarly, exposed to volatile commodity prices,” the report said. For the region, a drop in global risk appetite could also erode the confidence that foreign investors have shown in SSA markets since 2009.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

26

BUSINESS NEWS Flight Schedule

Money laundering: insurers to pay N1m daily on infraction

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

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

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

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

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

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40 08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20 12.15 12.45 09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

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

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

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

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

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

08.50 09.45 09.40 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – UYO 10.35

11.35

1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik 1. Dana

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15

08.00

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

By Chuks Udo Okonta

I

•Head, Research and Corporate Strategy Department, PENCOM, Umaru Farouk Aminu; Chairman, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Dave Uduanu and Managing Partner, Brandzone Consulting LLC, Chizor Malize, at the media parley on the new pension scheme in Lagos.

Insurers eye dollar denominated risks

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ORRIED by delays in payment of premium by organisations and brokers, underwriters are focusing on special risks which are denominated in the United States dollar, The Nation has learnt. It was gathered that the special risks keenly bidded according to international best practices are from aviation, oil and gas, maritime, and special projects. The President Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and Managing Director Lasaco Assurance Plc Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi said most insurers are positioning to play in the international markrt, adding that most of the challenges hindering insurance growth in the country are not observed in special risks underwriting. He said in special risks, underwriters are empowered, and have the chance to meet their obligations, adding that most of the problems of insurance companies, such as not being able to pay claims emanate from the fact that the premiums are not paid on time. He noted that in special risks, premiums are paid quickly, he added. He noted that Lasaco is repositioning to remain top in special risks,

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products, adding that people are yet to understand the main purpose of insurance.“Once they do that, we can do a lot of innovations. The main products we are talking about are really not new products, they are repackaging because the basic principle of insurance is either you are talking of property, life, or legal liability.” “We will only consider products that are relevant to the market. These are the three main areas that you can repackage,” he added. President, Lagos Area Committee of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) Tunde Oguntade, said most of the special risks in oil and gas are still underwritten by foreign firms. He insurers are building their capacity to enable them compete in international rated businesses. He said the Nigerian Content Act has really challenged the operators to take their place in the scheme of things. “The fact is that they give us the non-oil aspect of it 100 per cent. But the real oil aspect of it still does not stay in Nigeria. Because they will tell you that the total capacity of the industry is not up to 10 per cent of the risk capacity required and what is the recapitalisation required? It runs into billions of Dollars,” he said.

Cash-less: CBN activates 60,000 PoS terminals

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has deployed and activated a total of 60,003 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in Lagos State, exceeding the initial target of 40,000 by over 50 per cent, The Nation has learnt. Besides, the volume of transactions carried out daily on the terminals as at April 29, 2012, has hit 7,420, valued at N78million daily or N2.4billion monthly. Head of Shared Service Office at the CBN Mr Chidi Umeano disclosed these on the sidelines of a CBN cash-less policy forum in Lagos, organised by the Nigeria Computer Society. Umeano, who was represented by the Deputy Project Lead, Shared Services Office, Mr Eme Eleonu, said

F

By Chuks Udo Okonta

adding that company led a consortium to underwriter Nigerian satellite last year, a feat which was uncommon in time past. He said: “What we are trying to do is to carve a niche for ourselves in special risks, without losing sight of the everyday insurance. Special risks are the type of risks that are denominated in dollars. They are international business; they give you a window into the international realm of insurance. You have an idea of best international practices. The major problems that Nigerian insurers face do not exist in special risks and that is prompt ensures payment of premium. In special risks, underwriters are empowered and have the enabling environment to meet their obligations. Most of the problems of insurance companies of not being able to pay claims in Nigeria emanates from the fact that the premiums are not paid on time. But when you go to the realms of special risks, premiums are paid quickly; every obligation is met quickly, so when it is your turn, there is no excuse for you to drag your feet.” He said a major problem the industry faces is that of appreciation of its

NSURANCE firms that fail to report financial transactions above the amount stipulated by the Nigerian Finance Intelligence Unit (NFIU) would pay a N1 million daily penalty, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has said. Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/ CFT) Compliance Institutions in Nigeria Act, NAICOM said companies are to make a report in writing to the agency in seven and 30 days, on a transaction in excess of N5million or its equivalent for an individual, or N10 million for a corporate body. It said: “This provision is somewhat confusing in terms of which, as between seven and 30 days should count. The view adopted by NFIU and the NAICOM is that the report should be rendered within seven days. “Initially, it was thought that the reporting is about inward cash transactions only, but it is now understood in the context of currency transaction, and it includes inward and outward transactions in which the company is involved. Accordingly, all receiving and payouts, including foreign remittances must be reported. “Non-compliance with this provision is an offence for which the company is liable to a fine in the sum between N250, 000 and N1 million for each day the contravention continues.” NAICOM said the AntiMoneyLaundering Act imposes a duty on companies to report to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or NFIU, adding that transfers to or from a foreign country of funds or securities by a person or firms, including money service business of any amount exceeding $10,000 or its equivalent, should be disclosed. It noted that the report should indicate the nature and amount of the transfer, the names and addresses of the sender and the receiver of the funds or securities.

By Adline Atili

further increase in transactions on the terminals was expected given the increase in the number of devices so far deployed in the country. He noted that the number had increased from 5,300 units as at June 2011 to 60,003 units as at April 29, 2012; adding that a total of 110,729 merchants have so far, been registered to accept payments from customers through the terminals. Corroborating him, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), Mr Niyi Ajao, said: “Daily PoS transactions in Nigeria are now 7,420 and the value of this is esti-

mated at N78m.” He noted that with increased uptake of electronic transactions in the country, the over 80 per cent of cash in circulation still resident in the informal sector of the economy would flow into the formal sector. He said: “Bringing more cash into the formal financial system of the economy, through electronic payment platforms such as PoS and others, would be useful in the overall economic planning and development of the nation.” Meanwhile, to engender confidence in the cash-less policy and drive further adoption of electronic payment channels, the apex bank has disclosed that arrangements are in place to establish an ‘Ombudsman Office’ for financial services, to func-

tion alongside its recently-created Consumer Protection Division. “Adoption of electronic payments is usually inhibited by poor dispute resolution and lax consumer protection regime. This can be more debilitating to the objective of financial inclusion for low income earners. “This realisation made CBN to step up actions towards ensuring that users of payments services get adequate attention from providers. “Additionally, banks have been directed to publicise their complaint desk contacts as we lead the way in equally informing the public to contact our desks when there are deviations from the guidelines in the resolutions of their issues as promptly as stipulated,” Umeano said.

FMBN to clear N364m pension arrears

EDERAL Mortgage Bank of Ni geria (FMBN) is set to pay up the pension arrears of its pensioners totalling N363,585,854.28. This amount, according to a statement, was arrived at after a pensioners’ verification conducted in April by the FMBN Management and series of consultations between the bank and its pensioners as well as with National Pension Commission (PENCOM) of-

ficials and independent pension consultants. FMBN Managing Director, Mr Gimba Ya’u Kumo, who disclosed this, said the bank had paid N145,434,341.71 in April, last year while the balance of N218,151,512.57 would be paid in two installments of N109,075,756.28 in May this year and N109,075,756.28 in August this

year. The FMBN had on February 20 advertised in two national newspapers (Daily Trust and ThisDay), a verification for its pensioners, to ascertain the actual number of its pensioners and how much the pensioners were being owed. The exercise lasted for eight days starting from March 5 to 12, at FMBN head office, Abuja and its state of-

fices. After the exercise and consultations with the pensioners and their stakeholders, the N363,585,854.28 was arrived at. The FMBN Management as well increased the pensioners’ monthly pay by 25 per cent, and this became effective since April last year when the first batch of pension arrears of N145,434,341.71 was paid.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

27

ISSUES

Retirement Saving Account (RSA) registration by sector • Source: PenCom

How to stop pension looters, by experts The revelations were startling. A shocked nation listened as earthshaking stories of the looting of pension funds running into billions of naira emanated from the National Assembly. Who will reverse this trend? Experts tell CHUKS UDO OKONTA the way out

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OW safe are pension funds? This question is pertinent in the face of recent revelations about the stealing of the funds by those charged with managing the cash. With over N30 billion looted, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and stakeholders are battling to ensure confidence of the new contributory pension scheme (CPS). Nigeria hitherto operated, particularly in the public sector, a Defined Benefit (DB) pension scheme, which was largely, unfunded and non-contributory. The scheme led to massive accumulation of pension debts largely because of lack of adequate and timely budgetary provisions, and hike increases in salaries and pensions. The administration of the scheme was weak, not transparent, and prone to corrupt practices. Because of unreliable records of pensioners, huge amounts of resources went into what became a yearly charade of verification without verifiable results. This informed the Federal Government’s decision, in June 2004, to introduce a sys-

tem that is sustainable and can provide a stable, predictable and adequate source of income for retired workers. The Pension Reform Act of 2004 gave birth to the CPS, which is fully funded, privately managed and based on individual accounts for the public and private sector employees. The Act established PenCom as the sole regulator and supervisor of all pension matters. According to PenCom, as at the end of March 6, 2012, over five million employees were registered under the CPS. A breakdown showed that the public sector, comprising the Federal and state governments has 54 per cent and the private sector, 46 per cent. PenCom said the total value of the pension industry assets under the CPS stood at N2.45 trillion as at December, last year, with a monthly contribution of N20 billion, which is 30 per cent annual growth rate. The Federal Government is consistent in the remittance of the monthly pension contributions of its workers. As at December, last year, N604.27 billion had been cred-

ited into the Contributory Pension Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), out of which N449.35 billion was remitted into the Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) of Federal Government employees domiciled with the various Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).

Regulators’ perspective Pencom Director-General Mohammad Ahmad said the commission would push for an amendment of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 to protect contributors’ fund. He said Section 69 of the Act, would be amended to provide for the establishment of a “Pension Protection Fund”, adding that the fund would, among others, guarantee minimum pension to retirees as well as take care of retirees with low balances in their RSAs at retirement. Ahmad said a detailed proposal by the commission on the matter would soon be presented to the Federal Government. He said: “Section 173(3) of the 1999 Constitution provides for pension review

every five years or together with salary increases whichever is earlier, as inflationary adjustment. However, the CPS was not designed to incorporate increases in pension as inflationary adjustments are reflected in the investment yields of accumulated pension assets, while monthly contributions do increase whenever salaries are reviewed. There is, however, the need to adjust the pension element of the accrued benefits of retirees in accordance with the provisions of Section 173(3) of the 1999 Constitution. “In order to protect participants in the CPS in case there is shortfall or financial losses arising from the investment activities of the PFA Section 69 of the Act, may need to be amended to provide for the establishment of a “Pension Protection Fund”. The fund would, among others, guarantee minimum pension to retirees as well as take care of retirees with low balances in their RSAs at retirement. A detailed proposal by the Com• Continued on page 28


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

28

ISSUES

How to stop pension looters, by experts • Continued from page 27

mission would soon be presented to the Federal Government.” He said the pool of pension funds and assets generated by the CPS have aided the deepening of the financial sector and provided a platform for attaining the government’s transformation agenda in the provision of infrastructure, energy, employment generation and the development of the real sector. He added that the proportion of the pension assets to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 1.4 per cent in 2006 to seven per cent in 2010. The PENCOM boss said the PCS has simplified the process of payment of retirement benefits through the issuance and implementation of effective regulations and guidelines. Ahmad said the regulation requires employees to begin the process of accessing their benefits six months before their retirement and provides for necessary documentation and the procedure for payment of benefits. This arrangement, he said, is to ensure smooth transition to retirement life. He said the payment of retirement benefits in the private sector has been regular and timely , adding that the payment of such benefits and death claims to bereaved families of Federal Government employees has been challenging because of funding problem. Ahmad said the administration of pension has no doubt been enhanced with the passage of the PRA 2004, stressing that not only has the Act provided a platform for a more effective, efficient and transparent administration of pensions it also generated a pool of long term investible funds that has a positive impact on the growth of the economy.

Operators’ perspective Pension consultant and publisher, Pensionscope Magazine, Peter Adediji, urged PenCom to open up the industry to enable individuals proffer solutions on the safety of the fund. He said the regulator is carrying a burden that should be equitably shared with the people. For a healthy pension industry, there is need to have balanced information from PenCom, individuals and organisations whereby all stakeholders would know what is happening, he said. Adediji said it was thought that the coming of PRA would be the almighty formula for solving the problems bedevilling the pension industry, adding that in just under a decade of the Act’s existence there are revelations which are now eroding confidence in the reformed system. Adediji said it is worrisome that pension fraud has graduated from millions to billions of naira. He noted that after a thorough research on the scheme, there is need to have a truly independent organ for the dissemination of reliable information on the operation and running of the CPS, and getting feedback from the stakeholders for the development of the industry. Adediji said there is a dearth of knowledge in the industry, stressing that changing from DB to CPS is not the solution to the problems of fraud and corruption in the industry. Chairman, Pension Operators Association of Nigeria Dave Uduanu urged PenCom to open the transfer window to give contributors

A

R

E

the option of changing their PFAs, increase supervision and regulatory vigilance to weed out weak operators, improve the institutional framework of the industry by encouraging consolidation, among marginal players. He called for constant review of the investment guideline to enable PFAs invest in secure instruments that are impactful and profitable. He also called for the decentralisation of activities by creating regional offices in each of the six geo-political zones. He stressed the need to collaborate with other regulators such as the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that regulatory goal congruence is achieved, especially in the areas of policy formulation and implementation. “Most importantly, there is the need to work closely with NAICOM to ensure full compliance in group life insurance which is one of the strong pillars of the PRA 2004. The risk management techniques of insurance firms that provide retirement annuities should also be closely monitored with such standard practices as biannual actuarial valuations, strict investment guidelines similar to what is applicable to PFAs and the separation of the annuity funds from other insurance funds to ensure that pension assets are well-protected. “It is also important, to ensure that assets are not co-mingled. Any deficit in valuation must be met immediately. In addition, since insurance companies, unlike pension fund administrators bear the investment risk in annuities, it is important to tie the size of their annuity funds to the shareholders fund of the parent company. It will, therefore, not make sense to have an insurance company with N2 billion in equity manage an annuity fund of N20 billion. It must have adequate capital to underwrite potential investment losses,” he said. Uduanu urged pension operators (PFAs, PFCs and Closed Pension Fund Administrators (CPFAs) to continually improve their service delivery, adding that this is necessary to retain the confidence of not only the contributors, but other stakeholders. This, he said, would reduce the pressure from dissatisfied segment of the contributing public to exit from the scheme. “As a means of sustaining the benefits of the scheme, the operators need to have physical presence in all parts of the country. The retail nature of the pension business calls for close contact with contributors. There is a need for significant investments in information technology and other operating infrastructure so as to deliver good services and, therefore, retain the confidence of the scheme’s subscribers. “Operators must have relationship managers to liaise with contributors and their employers to ensure issues and conflicts are

• Ahmad

• Adediji

Pension Assets as Proportion of GDP resolved promptly. The amount of un-credited contributions in the industry must be reduced significantly from what it is now to an acceptable level,” he said. He called on operators to ensure reduction in the turn-around time for paying retirees and the estate of deceased contributors, ensure remittances received from contributors are promptly credited to their RSAs, ensure investment returns are competitive and consistently above inflation on an annualised basis, capacity building to train their staff in best standards

of customer service, others include investing in brand building, communication and advertisements to project the image of their organisations and the industry in the estimation of the public and carry out customer education in the areas of pension investments and retirement planning to ensure that contributors are better informed of the scheme. “Operators must also run highly ethical organisations and be prepared to compete on the basis of service quality rather than cut corners to achieve short term gains.

‘Operators must have relationship managers to liaise with contributors and their employers to ensure issues and conflicts are resolved promptly. The amount of un-credited contributions in the industry must be reduced significantly from what it is now to an acceptable level

In addition, operators must come together through the umbrella of PENOP to advance the industry, find collective solution to problem and form a common front against any emerging threat to the survival of the scheme. “Unnecessary bottlenecks between the operators and the regulators that serve as blockages for services being offered to the customer must be avoided. The plan by PenCom to establish regional offices in each of the geopolitical zones will lead to a quick resolution of issues, especially those requesting minor approvals. This will impact greatly on service delivery standards in the industry,” he added. He urged contributors to update their knowledge of the scheme and its guidelines to enable them make informed choices regarding the PFA to use, issue of transfer or change of PFA, the fund to buy when the multi-fund regime comes into place and the withdrawal option between programme withdrawal and annuities.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

29

PERSONAL FINANCE

Corporate Actions & AGM Notices Company Presco Unilever Nig Nahco UACN CAP UPDC Courteville Stanbic IBTC Julius Berger Lafarge Wapco Mobil Oil Nig First Alum. Continental Re GSK Beta Glass Nigerian Brew Okomu Oil Paints & Coatings Capital Hotel

AGM Date 25-06-12 10-05-12 07-06-12 20-06-12 09-05-12 15-05-12 17-07-12 To be Advised 21-06-12 23-05-12 30-05-12 07-06-12 18-07-12 22-05-12 30-05-12 16-05-12 13-06-12 15-05-12 31-06-12

AGM Venue Dura Club, Benin, Edo State Civic Centre, VI, Lagos NA Golden Tulip, Lagos To be Advised To be Advised To be Advised To be Advised Yar’adua Centre, Abuja To be Advised Muson Centre, Lagos Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja To be Advised Muson Centre, Lagos Mainland Hotel, Oyingbo Muson Centre, Lagos To be Advised To be Advised To be Advised

Time 11am 11am NA 11am NA NA NA NA 11.00am 11am 11.00am NA 11.00am 11am 11.00am NA

Dividend (kobo) 100 140 25 (1 for 5) 150 160 65 5.0 10 240 75 500 (1 for 5) Nil 8.0 120 40 300 400 8.0 7.0

Closure 16-07-12 10-04-12 14-05-12 21-05-12 24-04-12 17-04-12 05-06-12 20-04-12 04-06-12 07-05-12 02-05-12 28-05-12 09-07-12 24-04-12 30-04-12 21-03-12 15-05-12 29-03-12 04-06-12

FCMB Cadbury Nig AG Leventis Total Nig MRS Oil Tantalizers Dangote Cement Transnationwide Berger Paints Portland Paints Sterling Bank

21-05-12 09-05-12 05-07-12 13-06-12 11-07-12 28-07-12 24-05-12 19-07-12 03-07-12 08-06-12 15-05-12

Muson Centre, Lagos Muson Centre, Lagos Mainland Hotel, Oyingbo Muson Centre, Lagos Federal Palace Hotel, VI To be Advised Civic Centre, VI, Lagos Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja Federal Palace Hotel, VI Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja Lagoon Restaurant, VI

11.00am 11am 11am 11am 11am NA 11am 11am 11am 11am 11am

3 for 20 shares NA 14 700 75 2.0 125 (1 for 10) 5.0 70 20 10

23-04-12 NA 30-04-12 23-04-12 18-06-12 28-05-12 14-05-12 09-07-12 NA 28-05-12 30-04-12

Making appropriate order to stockbrokers (1)

A

SIGNIFICANT proportion of complaints from investors against stockbrokers relates to nonpurchase of shares. Both complaints of non-remittance of share sales proceeds and complaints bordering on non-purchase of shares accounted for nearly half of complaints against stockbrokers. With an average of 882 new complaints every year, dispute resolution in the capital market now requires not only adjudication but proactive enlightenment to enable all operators; especially investors understand the imports of certain decisions and requirements. As agents of investors, who are the principals in all transactions, stockbrokers are duty bound to actualize the mandates or orders of investors. However, there are generally two broad reasons why a stockbroker may not effect the order of an investor. The first main reason, which may account for the larger percentage of complaints, borders on unrealizable orderdue to market conditions and investors’ restrictions. The

A

By Taofik Salako

second reason for delay relates to fraud and undue use of investors’ monies to manage corporate cash flow. It will however be easier for investors to hold stockbrokers accountable if they understand how to effectively communicate their investment decisions and orders to the stockbrokers. The importance of understanding and making appropriate orders cannot be overemphasized. For instance, an investor that instructed a stockbroker to “help me sell the stock today” might thought he has given a market order to the stockbroker to sell the stock within the week whereas his instruction fell in the category of a “day order” and the stockbroker is not obliged to revisit such order if he cannot actualize it on the mandate day. It’s also possible for the stockbroker, because of familiarity to misconstrue such “day order” to imply sale mandate for some days, whereas the investor may be categorical in his specification.

•To be Continued

Ask a Broker What is arbitrage?

RBITRAGE simply refers to the practice of simultaneous purchase of identical or similar securities in different markets in order to take advantage of price difference between the markets. An arbitrageur, someone who engages in arbitrage,

capitalises on market inefficiencies and exploits price differences, thereby creating a profit margin on the basis of the price differential. Arbitrage however can serve correctional purpose by ensuring that prices do not deviate substantially from fair value for long periods of time.

World class market: how far can SEC go? T

HE ongoing public hearing by the House of Representatives on the Capital Market has thrown up a lot of drama. However, it is important that we take advantage of the opportunity presented by this public trial to uncover the root causes of the crash, examine the effectiveness of the regulatory response and assess how the ongoing reforms of the sector will lead to the emergence of a world class capital market in Nigeria.

Market at a crossroads The capital market witnessed a decade of tremendous growth prior to the downturn of 2008. This was partly driven by the consolidation of the banking sector, which saw the market capitalisation of banks jump from N400 billion in 2004 to N1.12 trillion in 2005. The exercise triggered a string of public offers, mergers and new listings, with new issues by corporate organisations rising from N412.7 billion in 2005 to N1.34 trillion in 2007. The market capitalisation, which stood at N2.5 trillion in 2005, rose to N12.1 trillion by March 2008, with some subscribers increasing from 4,200 in 2002 to 99,000 in 2007. This period also witnessed a significant increase in the number of stock brokers, asset managers, and issuing houses. This unprecedented growth in the capital market, however, did not result in a corresponding strengthening of the risk management and corporate governance architecture. Regu-

By Dr. Tochukwu Nwachukwu

lators were also not well-prepared and positioned to monitor and sustain this growth. This encouraged banks to use their newly acquired capital for speculative lending to the oil and gas sector and unregulated margin market, thus, fuelling an asset bubble. Banks also manipulated the market by orchestrating an over valuation of their stocks prior to accessing the market for capital. They achieved this by financing the purchase of their shares to give the impression that there was significant investor appetite for such shares. These shares were thereafter sold at a premium at the peak of their valuation. When, therefore, the global financial crisis triggered large portfolio outflows as international investors exited the capital market, stock prices plummeted, prompting margin calls. Investors, who were not used to large and prolonged declines panicked, fuelling more sell orders, which further depressed prices and eroded investor confidence. The situation was exacerbated by the huge borrowing and margin finance exposure of individual investors, brokers and banks. Between 2007 and 2009, the market lost over 70 per cent of its value, with new issues dropping to a paltry N85.9 billion from the peak of N1.3 trillion in 2007.

What was the response of regulators? Although the impact of the

global financial crisis and the subsequent capital market crash devastated the capital market, it provided the regulators a golden opportunity to reposition it. As a first step to reform the market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) constituted a committee of experts to undertake a diagnostic review of it. In addition, it engaged Accenture to assist it with a review of its systems and processes to enhance operational efficiency. It also invited the Unites States Securities and Exchange Commission (USSEC) to conduct a peer review of the Commission. The recommendations made by these bodies became the cornerstone for the regulator’s reform agenda of strengthening capital market institutions, regulatory oversight and enforcement, deepening the market and investor education. As a result of the governance lapses, which were undermining the integrity of the capital market, SEC intervened in August 2010 by removing the chief executive officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and appointing an interim Administrator. A substantive helmsman and a new Executive Director have since been appointed and the new management team has articulated its five-year plan and vision for the Exchange. This includes 21st century technology strategies, target-based business development efforts, strong regulation and supporting regulatory programmes, first rate investor protection strategies, growth-enabling

market structure and $1 trillion market capitalisation. It is also introducing positive changes to the process, technology, regulation and governance of the NSE. To ensure that corporate governance practices in public companies are in line with international standards, SEC introduced a new corporate governance code in April last year. It is extensive and covers all aspects of corporate governance practices. The apex regulator has taken various enforcement actions against operators and publicly quoted companies. For instance, between 2010 and 2011, 52 firms were suspended for various capital market violations, while 30 others were referred to law enforcement agencies for further action. It has also instituted legal proceedings at the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) against about 260 individuals and firms who are suspected of involvement in market abuse including insider dealing and share price manipulation. The regulators are, similarly, working with market operators to fast-track their seamless migration to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) following the Federal Government’s directive that publicly quoted companies and public interest entities convert to IFRS by 2012. This has resulted in an improvement in the timeliness and quality of disclosure of financial information. In the last three years, SEC has sanctioned 187 companies for non-compliance with financial disclosure requirements, while the NSE delisted about 10 firms

last year for non-compliance with its listing rules. Both regulators also recently designed a comprehensive complaint management framework for effective, efficient and transparent management of complaints in the capital market. The goal is to streamline complaint management and reduce the duplication of resources on complaints. Realising that regulators cannot be absolved of some blame for the market crash, SEC embarked on an internal reform in key areas including leveraging technology to improve its processes, building its human capacity and improving work culture and governance. With respect to technology, the apex regulator has built a shared technology system for common services and capacities, procured work tools and operating software for staff, inaugurated a fully equipped network centre, upgraded its data storage with the acquisition of a network file server, and started the development of application software for electronic registration and return analysis. This retooling has since increased the regulator’s cost efficiency, minimised its turn-around-time, automated some of its process, and enhanced its communication channels. On human capital, the apex regulator appears committed to attract well-trained, aggressive professional talents, a departure from hiring by patronage, which obtained in the past. After a rigorous and transparent recruitment, SEC in December last year engaged 52 young pro-

fessionals comprising lawyers, economists and accountants to strengthen its personnel and add vigour to its activities. The regulator is also leveraging on its strategic partnerships with the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and US SEC to name a few to deliver relevant capacity development in its critical mandate areas, while growing the capacity of staff to enhance market efficiency, oversight and professionalism. The SEC has a policy of zero tolerance for market infractions and, indeed, any act which could undermine the integrity of the market. This is due to its belief that its greatest strength is in its ability to take enforcement actions without fear or favor and without regard for whose ox is gored. The regulator hopes that this will bring back investor confidence and public trust, while building a strong market. The market crisis of 2008 exposed the weaknesses of market operators in risk management. The regulators, therefore, require market operators to employ efficient and effective risk management frameworks that will enable them to identify and manage risks effectively. SEC has also adopted a risk-based approach to supervision of regulated entities, which is the best practice in the regulation of financial intermediaries. In collaboration with the CBN, it has also issued guidelines on Margin transactions to forestall excessive margin lending which contributed to the financial crisis in the country. • Dr. Nwachukwu, an economist, writes from Abuja


30

THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

MONEY LINK

CBN sets N15b clearing benchmark for banks

T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated each commercial bank to keep at least N15 billion worth of treasury bills as clearing collateral in Settlement Account before it can participate in clearing activities. The benchmark was contained in a circular on Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Guideline released by the CBN. The apex bank said the fund entitles a bank to engage in clearing and settlement operations. According to the circular, the

By Akinola Ajibade fund provides the platform for such a bank to offer agency facilities to other banks and settle on their behalf, adding that the banks should equally have branch networks in all the CBN locations. The apex bank said the guidelines will be reviewed from time to time. It said the banks that meet the specified criteria will continue to be designated as “Settlement Banks”. This implies that non-settlement banks, called “Clearing Banks” will continue to

carry out clearing operations through the settlement banks under agency arrangement. The regulator said terms of agency arrangements will be mutually agreed between the Settlement Banks and the Clearing Banks, but but both institutions will continue to maintain Current Account, Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS)-Settlement Account, and Cash Reserve Retio (CRR) Account, with the regulator until directed otherwise. It advised banks to limit financial system risk by encouraging the use of

electronic based transactions. The CBN said it has retained the maximum limit on cheque payments at N10 million per transaction, and payments in excess of that value will be consummated only through the epayment mode, stating that banks should continue to limit financial system risk by encouraging the use of electronic based transactions. The apex bank said it would continue to fine tune policies and ensure implementation of the guidelines issued for the promotion of government supplier payments, person-to-person (P2P) payments, salary and pension payments, tax payments, consumer

… re-appoints pre-shipment agents for oil, gas export

T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has re-appointed three pre-shipment agents for oil and gas exports under the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme (NESS). In a circular dated May 4, and addressed to all authorised dealers, Nigeria customers and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, and titled: “Appointment of Pre-shipment Inspection Agents for Oil and Gas Under the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme, NESS,” the CBN named, Globalscan Systems Technology Limited; JBIS Integrated Resources Limited and Robinson International Energy Limited as the new appointees.

The firms were last appointed in February 11, 2011. The circular, which was signed by CBN Director, Trade and Exchange, Batari Musa, for the information of all authorised dealers, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and all oil and gas companies and the general public, urged those concerned to take note. The firms are expected to function for 10 months effective April 4, 2012. Globalscan Systems Technology Limited was assigned Qua Iboe, Bonny Oil, Forcados, Pennington, Okoro and

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tronic payment methods. The event which begins on Wednesday to Friday this week will have CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as Special Guest while Professor Anya O Anya will function as Chairman of the occasion. The event holding in Lagos will be attended by numerous visitors who would want to have first hand drill from bankers and Information,

F

IDELITY Bank’s earnings should improve after dropping by eight per cent to N5.5 billion in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), has said. The bank recorded gross loan growth of 30 per cent, mainly in areas such as mining and quarrying, agriculture, power, education and public utilities. Deposits grew stronger at 72 per cent year-on-year, with the growth happening across all areas of the bank’s results, as the mix stayed flat at 71 per cent for cheap funds and 29 per cent for term. The bank’s fee and commission income, show the fastest growth at 56 per cent, but cost exceeded forecast by 13.3 per cent resulting in a deterioration in the cost cum income ratio to 76 per cent from 74 per cent and 71 per cent in the third quarter of 2011 and fiscal year 2010, respectively. RenCap said Fidelity’s returns

Communication and Technology (ICT) experts. Friday , the last day of the event has been tagged schools day and has been fully booked by many schools. This will bring Nigeria to international standard of electronic banking and other financial transactions and will also help to reduce the incidence of fraud and physical heist of cash associated with carrying large amounts of cash around.

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 Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 150m 150m 138m 138m

MANAGED FUNDS

NIDF NESF

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

GAINERS AS AT 4-5-12 SYMBOL

WAPCO FIRSTBANK NAHCO UBA ZENITHBANK DANGFLOUR ACCESS DIAMONDBNK OANDO PAINTCOM

O/PRICE

39.80 10.47 8.10 3.66 14.86 4.31 6.16 2.55 16.12 0.92

C/PRICE

41.79 10.99 8.50 3.84 15.59 4.52 6.46 2.67 16.87 0.96

113m

NGN USD NGN GBP NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N) Bureau de Change (S/N) Parallel Market

Current Before

O/PRICE 3.60 3.42 0.81 5.70 5.98 4.15 1.90 34.50 1.18 11.69

C/PRICE 3.42 3.25 0.77 5.42 5.69 3.95 1.81 33.01 1.13 11.20

CHANGE 0.18 0.17 0.04 0.28 0.29 0.20 0.09 1.49 0.05 0.49

29-2-12 27-2-12

113m

155.7

22-2-12

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51

149.7450

154.0000

154.3000

-3.04

152.0000

153.0000

155.5000

-2.30

153.0000

154.0000

156.0000

-1.96

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%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

NSE CAP Index

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

Date

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%

MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name

LOSERS AS AT 4-5-12

SYMBOL UPL ETERNAOIL NEIMETH FCMB INTBREW SKYEBANK MAYBAKER OKOMUOIL IKEJAHOTEL ETI

Exchange Rate (N) 155.8 155.8

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer

CHANGE

1.99 0.52 0.40 0.18 0.73 0.21 0.30 0.12 0.75 0.04

113m

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES OBB Rate Call Rate

were depressed once again, coming in at four per cent and 0.9 per cent for Return on Equity (RoE) and Return on Asset (RoA), respectively. Returns have been rather weak since the 2009 crisis, with RoE and RoA dropping to 1.4 per cent and 0.4 per cent in year-end June, from 15.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively, the previous year. “We liked the good control over the cost of funds in a rising rate environment, as well as the strong growth in non-interest revenue. More importantly, we were impressed with the non-performing loans clean-up that happened in 2011. “We think the NPL clean-up is a key positive for Fidelity Bank, as impairment charges and suspended interest have weighed significantly on its earnings over the past few years. The book is much cleaner, though we have some concerns around the low coverage ratio,” it said.

DATA BANK

Tenor

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

bill payments, stored value and prepaid cards, among others.

Analysts forecast good outing for Fidelity Bank

Usan. JBIS Integrated Resources Limited - Escravos, Akpo, Bonga oil fields among others to manage while and Robinson International Energy Limited got Bras River, Okono, Yoho among others. The banking watchdog has also directed authorised dealers to note that the NESS fee payable on all Oil and Gas exports has been reviewed to 0.20 per cent of Free On Board (FOB) value of the export to 0.12 per cent with effect from May 4, 2012. It has also appointed Messers Arlington Securitas Limited as monitoring agent for oil and gas export for contract tenor of 10 months, with effect from April 4, 2012.

Banks, IT firms prepare for Cashless Lagos Fair CTIVITIES are in high gear for the Cash-less Lagos Fair being organised by BusinessWorld Newspaper in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The cash-less banking initiative which has been the talk of the country in the last several months is aimed at reducing the level of cash transactions in the economy and encouraging the migration towards alternative elec-

•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

Offer Price

Bid Price

ARM AGGRESSIVE 9.17 KAKAWA GUARANTEED 1.00 STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE 122.59 AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 103.35 THE LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL 0.74 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.08 BGL NUBIAN FUND 0.89 NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. 1,702.66 PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND 8.13 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST 1.87 STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY 7,259.48 THE DISCOVERY FUND 193.00 FIDELITY NIGFUND 1.67 • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND

9.08 1.00 122.48 103.00 0.72 1.08 0.88 1,696.26 7.74 1.33 1.80 7,071.36 191.08 1.62

Movement

OPEN BUY BACK Previous 04 July, 2011

Current 07, Aug, 2011

Bank

8.5000

8.5000

P/Court

8.0833

8.0833

Movement


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

31

MONEY MARKET REPORT

Nigeria - Foreign Reserves, US$bn

Sources: Federal Ministry of Finance, OECD

Foreign Reserves advance, naira stabilises

T

HE figures are looking good for both the foreign reserves and the naira as the impact of the partial removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government became visible. The subsidy dip partly explains why there is a boost of $4.3 billion in reserves to $36.7 billion. This also accounts for the naira’s stability compared with 2011’s depreciation trend. Previously, shady practices in petroleum imports and bloated subsidy payments by its managers had exerted pressure on foreign reserves, simultaneously weakening the local currency. Same trends led to 40 per cent decline on petroleum import bill after subsidy cut in January. As the reserves build-up ensued, naira stability returned. Analysts expressed shock that despite the issuance of permits to 42 marketers by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to import 4.8 billion litres of fuel this quarter, which substantially raised dollar demand at the Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS), reserves still pushed through to one year high. Gregory Kronsten of Macro & Fixed Income, FBN Capital had predicted a volatile forex market this quarter, as oil importers begin to implement their import quotas. But he said a reduction in subsidy, though a retreat from the proposed deregulation, should bring lasting gains in terms of reserves savings, as the wide gap between fuel imports and domestic consumption narrows. Renaissance Capital (RenCap), an investment and research firm, said an increase in petroleum import demand may slow the build-up of reserves in the short term, but lacked momentum to reverse gains. It expects interest rates to remain high for longer, as a pre-emptive policy to sustain stable naira to stimulate the upper band of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) N150 to N160 to a dollar target rate, towards year end 2012. The apex bank has acknowledged the modest increase in the reserves in recent months. It, however, noted that inflow was not consistent with the high oil prices and, this underscored the need for tighter fiscal controls around oil revenues as well as first line charges including Joint Venture Company (JVC) deductions and subsidies. The official reserves amounted to $35.6 billion by March ending, compared with $34.7 billion one month earlier and $33.3 billion one year earlier. It, however, hit $36.7 billion on May 2, but the progress is seen as slow and at odds with trends in international oil prices in the last one year.

Naira/Interbank On Friday, the Inter-bank Market opened with the naira trading at N157.38 to a dollar, but strengthened to N157.30 at the close of trading. Also, the interbank lending rates jumped last week to an average of 13.91 per cent, from 11.83 per cent recorded the previous week, after the CBN issued about N90 billion treasury bills to mop up excess liquidity. Dealers said the market opened with a cash balance of about N131 billion, compared with N331.81 billion the previous week.

By Collins Nweze

However, on Wednesday, the naira stabilised on both the interbank market and the official window as sales of about $194 million by International Oil Companies (IOCs) to banks helped counter rising demand for dollars among oil importers. It had closed at N157.40 to the dollar on the interbank market, the same level as Monday’s close, after rising to around N157.18 to the dollar as the IOCs sold more dollars. The naira had firmed on Monday, from 157.80 to 157.40 per dollar, gaining 40 Kobo, on expected dollar sales by some IOCs. “We see the market remaining unchanged from the present level or slightly appreciating if there are further dollar flows from other oil companies,” one dealer said. At WDAS, the CBN sold $150 million at N155.70 to the dollar, compared with $120 million sold at N155.70 to the dollar on Monday and with $110.50 million at N155.65 to the dollar sold last Wednesday. The local currency had on Monday, firmed against the dollar at the interbank market, supported by speculation of planned dollar sales by IOCs and some banks selling down their position in anticipation of large monthend dollar flows. Traders said the local currency strengthened to N157.40 to the dollar, 0.25 per cent firmer than the 157.80 to the dollar at Friday’s close.

T-Bills The CBN, will this week, issue N145.05 billion in treasury bills (TBs) ranging from three-month to one year maturities at its regular monthly debt auction. The bank said it would issue N32.05 billion in 91-day paper, N53 billion n 182-day bills and N60 billion in 364-day bills on Thursday. It is regular practice for the government to issue TBs to reduce money supply, curb inflation and help lenders manage their liquidity. Yields at the previous auction fell across the board, driven by strong demand from offshore and local institutional investors, traders said. The Nation last week reported that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is considering a fairer tax system on banks’ foreign exchange transactions that will enable it to earn over $40 billion yearly for development projects across the globe. The tax would be assessed on large banks, investment funds and corporations participating in wholesale foreign exchange system with a

minimal rate of 0.005 per cent and without any additional cost. Regional Co-ordinator, West and Central Africa,United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), Nelson Muffuh, said Nigeria, like other countries, need much more than what is available for aid and has to be supported to mobilise its share of these funds locally. Speaking at the UNMC national workshop in Nasarawa State, tagged Media and the acceleration of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said: “In Nigeria, a lot of energy has been deployed in reshaping the financial structure and tax system to ensure that taxes are mobilised and used in-country for development purposes.”

FDI

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Nigeria, South Africa and Angola are forecast to average $40.6 billion per year over the next five years, a report by Ernst & Young, a global accounting firm said. It polled 505 global executives, and 60 per cent said their perception of Africa as a business destination had improved in the past three years. Nearly three quarters said they believed Africa would become more attractive to potential investors over the next three years.

Credit to private sector

Banks’ Credit to Private Sector (CPS) rose by N200 billion to N14.2 trillion in March. The rise was linked to increased credit card issuance by commercial banks, The Nation learnt. The CPS, which stood at N14 trillion in February, inched as banks gradually increased their lending to the sector, data obtained from the CBN website said. Investigations show that as Nigerians embrace the cash-less banking initiative, more debit cards are being issued by banks, and regular use of these channels has led to issuance of more credit cards.

Forex Audit The CBN is examining the use of foreign exchange (forex) by both foreign airline operators and fuel importers. The apex bank has, in the last three months, conducted several audit on the use of forex by oil importers and has shifted same to foreign airlines, where it is conducting a 13-year forex remittances audit. In a circular, the regulator instructed authorised dealers to submit data on remittances from January 1999 to December

‘The CBN, will this week, issue N145.05 billion in treasury bills (TBs) ranging from three-month to one year maturities at its regular monthly debt auction. The bank said it would issue N32.05 billion in 91-day paper, N53 billion n 182-day bills and N60 billion in 364-day bills on Thursday’

last year for the foreign airlines. The circular entitled: Request for Information on Foreign Airlines Remittances for the Period 1999 to 2011, was signed by Director, Trade and Exchange Department CBN Batari Musa.

IFRS

Banks first quarter results have shown a full compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in tandem with regulatory requirements. The Nation learnt that the standards were adopted in the preparation of the banks’first quarter unaudited accounts already being submitted to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The IFRS are a set of internationally applicable accounting standards designed to make financial statements from different jurisdictions uniform and comparable. Banks and quoted companies are required to migrate to IFRS reporting from January 1, this year.

Cheque Truncation Banks are keying into the CBN policy on cheque truncation. The Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) Niyi Ajao said banks are already implementing a roadmap on cheque truncation. The NIBSS boss disclosed this in a chat with reporters during a stakeholders’ forum on cheque truncation by CBN in Lagos. He said the road map would bring about the best clearing system in the country. He explained that cheque truncation means that the paper cheques will be cleared electronically.

Bank to bank report

Fidelity Bank’s earning should improve after dropping by eight per cent to N5.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended on December 31, 2011, RenCap said. The bank recorded gross loan growth of 30 per cent, mainly in areas such as mining and quarrying, agriculture, power, education and public utilities. Unity Bank’s first quarter financial statements has shown a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N2.3 billion as against a forecast of N1.6 billion earlier released to the NSE. This represents an annualised PBT of N9.2 billion compared with the N7.1 billion for the full year to December 2011. Chairman of Enterprise Bank Limited (EBL), Emeka Onwuka, reassured customers of the bank that the Board and Management will continually deliver quality service to all stakeholders. Onwuka, who spoke at the first Customer Forum with the Board and Management of the bank in Lagos, said the leadership of the bank has every reason to listen to every customer’s complaint, advice or suggestion because these will help to make the bank improve on its service delivery. FirstBank unveiled FirstPay, a web-based payment platform designed to allow customers directly give payment instructions from their offices anytime in a very secure and efficient manner. In a statement, the bank said with the product, payments and authorisations can be done regardless of location, as long as there is internet connectivity.


32

THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

THE CEO

• Steetskamp

‘We want farmers to fill the import gap‘

The Managing Director of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Bob Steetskamp, spoke on a wide range of issues during an interview with journalists at its 39th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos. He said the company is refocusing the sources of its raw materials’ supply base to the local environment as well as grooming small scale farmers to fill the imports supply gap. Deputy Business Editor SIMEON EBULU was there. Excerpts: • STORY ON PAGE 33


33

THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

THE CEO

‘We want farmers to fill the import gap‘

W

HAT determines how you access raw materials? In general, it is the policy of WAMCO to increase local content, and the reason of course, is to get more balance between import and local sourcing for reason of the exchange rate and global market prices. We all know that the naira-dollar exchange rate is vulnerable. If we import too much and we have to pay in dollars, the naira rate could translate to a very big influence on our resources; therefore we’d rather buy locally in naira. The second reason is, if we have to import our raw materials, then we’re depending on the global market prices, which are set or determined by the balance of supply and demand. The dilemma, is, I cannot explain to our Nigerian consumers that the prices of our products are going up because of the prices of raw materials outside our shores, or

control, therefore, we want to be less dependent on imports and increase our local sourcing. How far have you gone on this? As a matter of fact, we are doing a lot of sourcing already. All the packaging materials, the ingredients, the palm oil and the cocoa powder, are already being sourced locally. The only thing we cannot source locally yet, to the extent that we want, is dairy raw material, therefore we have started a dairy development programme, which means that we bind ourselves to take all the local milk that is available, and also provide all the knowledge we have, both locally and in Europe to develop dairy farming, and of course we have a lot of experience on this in developing countries. But our focus is on small scale farming, because if we go for large scale farming, the financial risk will be too high.

‘If we have to import our raw materials, then we’re depending on the global market prices, which are set or determined by the balance of supply and demand. The dilemma, is, I cannot explain to our Nigerian consumers that the prices of our products are going up because of the prices of raw materials outside our shores, or control, therefore, we want to be less dependent on imports and increase our local sourcing’

• Steetskamp

Why are you not expanding your catchment area up north? The Northern part is very far from our coverage. You cannot afford to drive for too long with milk; ideally, you should not drive more than 100km with milk as it will add more to cost. We cannot afford to add more costs to the ones we are having already. You have the cost issue and again, you have to sterilise the milk, after the long journey, which is a costly process. We cannot afford the cost of doing that. We limited our coverage area to avoid additional costs. What are the challenges confronting you at the moment? Unstable power supply is one of the major challenges facing us. We also had the problem of food inflation; which hovers around 20 per cent and 25 percent.. A Nigerian consumer spends 20 to 25 per cent of his income on food and if you have only N200 to spend in a day on food, then you will prioritise it and unfortunately, you may not chose to buy milk. Milk is the highest food with nutrient density. If you take milk, you have taken a high nutrient. Recently, we launched Drink More Milk campaign to encourage Nigerian consumers to drink milk every day. It is very good for our health. What’s the extent of your Corporate Social responsibility? Apart from our dairy developments, we also have School Adoption programmes, where we assist students in educational programmes. We have also donated ICT centres to public schoolos. We have also built Solar Water projects across the needy communities in the country. We use this to solve waterrelated problems. Apart from that, we also have a Nutrition Foundation, where we disseminate information on nutrition and we do that to all the mothers in Nigeria. We also carry this campaign to hospitals and public places where we teach them on how to cook for their little babies and how little babies can also avoid sicknesses. We equally support endowment funds in tertiary institutions, especially those that offer sciences. Let me tell you that over the years, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, has proven itself to be an excellent corporate citizen. At WAMCO, we believe CSR is an efficient strategy for a successful human and societal development, especially for developing countries like Nigeria. Our CSR programme is not only structured to address the developmental needs of communities, but also to promote corporate governance, employee relations and business relations among others, hence we embark on structured programmes that improve nutrition, as well as uplift and enhance the lives of many Nigerians. Can you give us the background of how the company started? Our company was incorporated in April 1973 as West African Milk Company Nigeria Plc (WAMCO), and commenced operations in 1975. It is an affiliate of Royal FrieslandCampina of Netherlands, the largest dairy cooperation in the world. The company has continued to play a leading role in the production, processing, packaging, marketing and distribution of various

• Steetskamp

‘The Northern part is very far from our coverage. You cannot afford to drive for too long with milk; ideally, you should not drive more than 100km with milk as it will add more to cost. We cannot afford to add more costs to the ones we are having already. You have the cost issue and again, you have to sterilise the milk after the long journey, which is a costly process. We cannot afford the cost of doing that’ milk products in Nigeria. With an annual turnover of over N104.9 billion and a dominant market share, driven by her key brands. It pioneered the manufacturing of evaporated milk and is the market leader in the introduction of fortified-based milk products in Nigeria. It is ISO: 2,200 certified and first dairy company in Nigeria to be HACCP certified. FrieslandCampine WAMCO Nigeria, is also deeply committed to improving lives and welfare of its consumers and communities across the country. Over the years, the company has proven itself as an excellent corporate citizen by supporting schools, charities and communities across the country. In its effort to meet identified social needs and contribute to the welfare and development of Nigerians, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc launched its corporate citizenship projects in 2004. The projects include, water project, school adoption and tertiary endowments. The company has since commissioned 33 boreholes of which 17 are solar powered, equipped 18 public secondary schools with learning material like: IT facilities, government

approved text books, school desks and seats, among others. We also support research and academic excellence in six tertiary institutions through annual endowment funds. These benefits are spread across the sixgeopolitical zones of Nigeria. In addition to our corporate citizenship projects, WAMCO supports 26 charities spread out across Nigeria annually, by donating cash and products to these charities, WAMCO has contributed in ameliorating the difficulties of the less privileged in Nigeria. In November 2005, the company commissioned the Olu Akinkugbe Child Nutrition Centre to provide information on child nutrition to mothers in particular and the public in general. The centre has continued to implement key initiatives like the annual nutrition seminar, enlightenment advocacy, like Vitamin A campaign in Nigeria. In 2010, the centre was renamed Olu Akinkugbe WAMCO Nutrition Centre. Our company will maintain its number one position as the nation’s leading milk manufacturing company by investing in its people, capacity expansion project and by being an excellent corporate citizen.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

34

EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE

First Bank assures investors of superior returns

DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 4-5-12

F

IRST BANK of Nigeria (FBN) Plc is set to deliver superior shareholder value through aggressive focus on growth and profit maximisation as the bank consolidates its leadership position in the banking industry. Group Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc, Mr Bisi Onasanya, said the bank would continue to optimise the potential of its assets while ensuring it extends its leadership further in the areas of customer satisfaction, shareholder value, employee desirability and capital efficiency. Speaking during the presentation of underlying facts behind the performance of the bank to the investing public at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the weekend, Onasanya said the bank has maintained a conservative balance sheet that gave due considerations to efficient risk management as well as significant revenue growth. First quarter report of First Bank for the period ended March 31, 2012 showed that gross earnings rose by 42.5 per cent to N92.3 billion as against N64.8 billion in comparable period of 2011. Operating income increased to N74.2 billion compared with

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

N49.4 billion in 2011. Profit before tax stood at N28.9 billion in first quarter 2012 as against N14.3 billion in 2011, an increase of 101.6 per cent. Customers’ deposits also rose by 31.1 per cent from N1.6 trillion in 2011 to N2.1 trillion in 2012. Audited report and accounts of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2011 had shown that gross earnings rose from N232.1 billion in 2010 to N296.33 billion in 2011. Profit before tax jumped to N50.1 billion as against N33.77 billion in 2010 while net profit after tax rose from N29.18 billion to N44.78 billion. First Bank’s shareholders’ funds increased from N339.2 billion in 2010 to N365.48 billion in 2011. The bank had declared a dividend per share of 80 kobo for the 2011 business year. Onasanya said First Bank’s growth was underpinned by good quality assets and performing accounts, which are closely monitored by independent control units to ensure the bank remains nimble while sustaining its heritage as the iconic banker. The FirstBank boss, who said that the bank plans to se-

cure the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approval to implement non-banking businesses, stressed that the management will position the bank for sustained dominance in a complex and rapidly evolving market. He noted that the bank’s non-performing loan has reduced to 2.6 per cent of gross loans portfolio as against a ratio of six per cent in previous year. He said the bank would restructure its business segments in a way to maximise values for shareholders. According to Onasanya, in deference to Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy that banks should divest from their noncore banking operations, First Bank will off load First Registrars and some other subsidiaries, while a holding company will be formed and all the existing subsidiaries, including First Bank, will become a subsidiary of that company. He added that the new structure will give shareholders the opportunity to own stakes in a bigger company, having a number of subsidiaries. “This will present a better deal for our shareholders, especially as they will get equal proportion of their shares in the new holding company. First Bank will continue to focus on the core banking business and will retain FBN UK, FBN Bureau de Change, First Pension Custodian, and Banque Internationale de Credit (BIC) as its subsidiaries,” Onasanya said.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 4-5-12


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

35

EQUITIES WATCH

Email: taofad2000@yahoo.co.uk

Access Bank opens today with a year-to-day return of more than 41 per cent, some 32 percentage points above the average capital appreciation at the stock market. With the recent distribution of about N9 billion to shareholders as cash dividends, TAOFIK SALAKO reports on the prospects of these returns.

A

VERAGE year-to-date return at the Nigerian stock market has grown substantially. Riding on the back of impressive full-year corporate earnings reports for 2011 and interim report for the first quarter of 2012, average return opens today at 9.34 per cent as against a marginal negative return of 0.38 per cent by the end of the first quarter. The benchmark return at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has particularly sustained an impressive rally so far this month, rising from 6.65 per cent by the close of April to 9.34 per cent by the first week of May. The All Share Index (ASI)-the benchmark country equity index for the stock market opens today at its recent highest index point at 22,665.99 points as against its year's opening index and first quarter position of 20,730.63 points and 20,650.47 points respectively. This implies impressive gain of some N695 billion by investors in the past four months and a week, with the largest part of the capital gain accruing from the bullish rally in the past five weeks. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities opens today at N7.228 trillion as against its year's opening value of N6.533 trillion and first quarter closing value of N6.550 trillion. It had closed April by N7.031 trillion, indicating that N197 billion accrued to investors in the first four trading days of May. With most companies that had presented audited reports declaring cash dividends, appreciable interim reports have further enhanced the attractiveness of equities, most of which are currently regarded as undervalued. Banks have particularly been major recovery drivers for the stock market. Within the select group of market-driving stocks, Access Bank has shown greater resilience. At the price-on-board of N6.78 per share today, Access Bank carries a year-to-date return of 41.25 per cent on its 2011's opening price of N4.80. From a low of N4.70 per share this year, Access Bank's share price is trending towards its high of N7.63, with many analysts estimating a new twoyear high above the 2011 highest market consideration of N11.10 per share.

Facts of the bullish rally Many analysts have estimated that Access Bank has strong earnings potential to sustain the trend of generous reward to shareholders, which may put it ahead of

Will Access Bank's two-way high returns continue? its peers. Analysts at Vetiva Capital Management said Access Bank has delivered strong results that entrenched it amongst Nigeria's tier 1 banks. The analysis showed that Access Bank's pricing was driven by its impressive earnings capacity. The analysis which focused on the 2011 financial scorecards of leading banks revealed that Access Bank earned N11.2 on every N100 interest earning asset booked on its balance sheet, which represented a distant gap many other banks. The report showed that beyond the core income source, Access Bank is renowned for its treasury operations, whilst refocusing its commercial banking business to build a sustainable annuity income base, which is expected to impact its profitability. Further on the performance of the banks and future prospects, the analysts submitted that Access Bank's enlarged balance sheet and increased customer base as a resulted of its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank would further strengthen its treasury business. Similarly, in the crosssectional review of the banking sector and the two rounds of reforms in 2005 and 2009, which resulted in consolidation and mergers & acquisitions, Access Bank has demonstrated agility and resilience to shocks. Access Bank has not only survived the 2009 cyclone, it has waxed stronger and; given its resilience and flexibility, it would not be out of place to conclude that the bank is built to last as it possesses the key attributes- right people, focus on unique goals and discipline to keep it consistently ahead of the industry. Besides, this view is further strengthened by the fact that the capital buffer of Access Bank should take it through any downturn in the market. With risk weighted Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 25 per cent, Access Bank can comfortably grow its risk assets by 20 per cent under a base case scenario over the next couple of years, without seasoned equity.

Beyond Nigeria Interestingly, Access Bank is rapidly growing its brand outside Nigeria thus lending credence to the postulations that its brand essence would soon become a major brand in the top echelon of Africa's banking institutions over the next decade. It has been posited also that Access Bank might dwarf regional peers to rank in the top-10 percentile of African Banks as it grows its regional footprints by replicating its success story in Ghana across other impact economies on the continent. Beyond superior financial performance, Access Bank not only has dedicated management team and innovative employees, it has the unique edge in the deployment of a sustainable business approach and an operational model that situates stakeholders at the heart of its business strategy. Access Bank has understood this early and quickly re-articulated its corporate philosophy to signal the future direction of its operations and intent to lead the pack by becoming 'Africa's Most Respected Bank'.

Fundamental outlook A review of Access Bank's 2011 financial performance and operational indices shows that profit after tax grew by 51 per cent from N11.068 billion in 2010 to N16.708 billion 2011. Gross earnings went up by 52.5 per cent to N138.949 billion in 2011 compared with N91.142 billion in 2010. Access Bank returned a total asset and contingency position of N2.02 trillion, up from N804.8billion in 2010, representing an increase of 151.24 per cent. Total deposit increased by 300 per cent from N379billion in 2010 to N1.2trillion in 2011 just as branch network quadrupled from 103 branches to 310 branches including offshore branches. Analysis of other key indices revealed that its customer base

•MD, Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede

jumped by 500 per cent from 1.2 million customers to 5.7 million customers with its Automated Teller Machines (ATM) network deployment gaining 870 per cent from 165 ATMs to 1600 ATM locations across the country. Access Bank's latest dividend per share of 50 kobo represented a 67 per cent increase on the 30 kobo per share distributed for the 2010 business year. Access Bank had paid interim dividend per share of 20 kobo for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011 and added 30 kobo by the end of the year, ensuring good cash flow for shareholders during the down period of the stock market. With strong fundamentals, many analysts expect Access Bank to further unlock many growth opportunities from its recent business combination exercise while sustaining its intrinsic aggressive internal growth strategy. It's this outlook that is driving the equally aggressive positioning by farsighted investors in the equities of the bank.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

36

DUE DILIGENCE

Sterling Bank: Quality growth, better returns

S

TERLING Bank Plc achieved a generally positive performance outlook as the bank's sustained focus on quality growth and gains from successful merger and divestments impacted positively on profit and loss accounts as well as balance sheet positions. Audited report and accounts of Sterling Bank for the year ended December 31, 2011 showed a larger, nimbler, and healthier and more efficient bank. With almost a double in total size and 61 per cent increase in loans and advances, the bank more than halved the proportion of non-performing loans to surpass the 5.0 per cent industry target. Sterling Bank witnessed appreciable growths across income lines with 110 per cent increase in non-interest incomes and 23 per cent rise in the larger interest income resulting in 49 per cent growth in gross earnings. Significant increase in net earnings enabled the board to declare cash dividend per share of 10 kobo, which translated into double digit yields at current market consideration. Besides, stronger earnings reassure on the sustainability of the bank's upwardly dividend payout. Lower margin occasioned by industry-wide tight liquidity however impinged on underlying profitability of the core banking business and overall average profit.

Capital adequacy Sterling Bank's paid up share capital increased by 25 per cent from N6.28 billion in 2010 to N7.85 billion in 2011. The increase was due entirely to the shares exchange that resulted from the merger with Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) Limited during the year. Shareholders' funds grew by 56 per cent to N40.95 billion as against N26.32 billion. Total balance sheet size nearly doubled at N504.43 billion compared with N259.58 billion. Total deposits doubled by 104 per cent from N199.27 billion in 2010 to N406.52 billion in 2011. Consequently, total liabilities also doubled from N233.26 billion to N463.5 billion. Shareholders' funds amounted to 8.1 per cent of total assets in 2011 as against 10.1 per cent in 2010. The proportion of equity funds to loans and advances stood at 25.6 per cent in 2011 compared with 26.5 per cent in 2010. Permanent assets/equity funds ratio

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

•MD Sterling Bank, Mr Yemi Adeola By Taofik Salako

stood at 22 per cent as against 16 per cent in previous year.

Assets quality Sterling Bank improved further on its assets quality in 2011 sustaining an effective credit risks assessment framework that ensured that the bank surpassed assets quality target while achieving a robust loan growth. While gross loans and advances grew by 53 per cent in 2011 non-performing loans dropped by 29 per cent indicating a bad loans/gross loans ratio of 4.9 per cent in 2011 as against 10.7 per cent in 2010. With the ratio of 4.9 per cent in 2011, Sterling Bank has surpassed Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)'s industry target of 5.0 per cent. Probable threat from non-performing loans to equity funds halved from 44 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent in 2011.

Profitability Sterling Bank witnessed appreciable growths in the top-line and bottom-line, with a 60 per cent increase in net earnings enabling the bank to earmark about N1.6 billion for distribution to shareholders as cash dividends while retaining N5.11 billion to work for further growth. Gross earnings grew by 49 per cent from N30.39 billion to N45.17 billion. Interest incomes had grown by 23 per cent from N24.47 billion to N30.17 billion while non interest income doubled by 110 per cent to N12.41 billion compared with N5.92 billion in 2010. However, with interest ex-

Fiscal Year Ended December 31

penses rising by 56 per cent from N10 billion to N15.6 billion, net interest rose marginally from N14.47 billion to N14.56 billion. Operating expenses stood at N20.44 billion in 2011 as against N15.16 billion in 2010. With exceptional income of N554 million and tax write-back of N1.18 billion, profit after tax and exceptional item rose from N4.18 billion in 2010 to N4.64 billion in 2011. The bank also realised N2.04 billion from the sale of some subsidiaries as it started the divestment from non-core banking businesses to focus on core banking operations. It should be recalled that the CBN had requested banks to either divest from their non-core banking businesses or restructure them into a holding company. Sterling Bank had chosen to divest and focus on core commercial banking operations. With the gain from discontinued operations, net profit accruable to shareholders rose from N4.18 billion in 2010 to N6.69 billion in 2011. Key underlying profitability ratios showed mixed performance. The proportion of operating expenses to total revenue reduced from about 50 per cent to 45 per cent, showing a better cost efficiency and productivity. Non-interest income improved to 27.5 per cent of total earnings in 2011 compared with 19.5 per cent in 2010. However, with lower lending rate, net interest margin dropped from 59 per cent to 48 per cent. This also reflected on average pre-tax profit margin, which slipped from 12 per cent in 2010 to 7.7 per cent in 2011. Earnings per share stood at 51 kobo

2011 %

2010 %

Asset Quality Gross Loans and Advances (Nm) Classified loans (Nm) % of classified loans Loan Loss Reserves/Classified Loans Classified Loans/Equity Stock

166,886 8,227 4.9 55.1 20.1

108,993 11,640 10.7 62.9 44.2

Capital Adequacy Equity/Total Assets Equity/Loans and Advances Permanent Assets/Equity

8.1 25.6 21.8

10.1 26.5 16.2

Liquidity Ratios Loans & Advances/Total Assets Cash & Bank Balances/Total Liabilities Loans & Advances/Total deposits

31.7 19.9 39.3

38.3 12.2 49.8

Profitability ratios Pre-tax Profit Margin Return on Total Assets Return on Equity Net Interest Margin Interest Income/Loans & Advances Interest Paid/Total Deposits Operating Expense/Total Revenue Non-Interest Income/Total Revenue Pre-tax Profit Per Employee (Nm) Staff Costs per Employee (Nm) Staff Costs/Gross Revenue Earnings per share (basic)(kobo) Dividend per share (kobo) Dividend cover (times)

7.7 0.7 16.3 48.3 10.7 3.8 45.3 27.5 1.1 2.2 14.7 51 10 5.10

12.1 1.4 15.9 59.1 12.4 5.0 49.9 19.5 2.4 2.9 14.6 33 Nil Nil

in 2011 as against 33 kobo in 2010. The board of the bank has recommended a dividend per share of 10 kobo for the 2011 business year, indicating a dividend cover of 5.10 times. This reassures that the 10 kobo payout may serve as the base for future dividend growth, underlining significant headroom for dividend yield in future. Return on equity improved from 15.9 per cent in 2010 to 16.3 per cent in 2011. Return on total assets however slipped marginally from 1.4 per cent to 0.7 per cent.

Liquidity The liquidity position of the bank improved in the immediate past year with more cash back-up against liabilities. The proportion of cash and bank balances to total liabilities improved from 12 per cent coverage in 2010 to about 20 per cent in 2011. Loans and advances/total assets ratio stood at 32 per cent in 2011 as against more than 38 per cent in 2010 while loans and advances/ total deposits ratio closed 2011 at 39.3 per cent compared with 49.8 per cent in 2010.

Governance and structures Sterling Bank is owned by highly diversified group of individual and institutional Nigerian and foreign shareholders. With almost a quarter of equities held by foreign shareholders, State Bank of India has the largest single equity stake. At the last count, the bank had some 100,000 shareholders. The board and management of

Fiscal Year Ended December 31 12 months Nm Profit and Loss Statement Gross earnings Interest income Interest expense Net interest income Total non-interest income Total non-interest expense Profit before tax (loss) Profit after tax (loss)

the bank is stable. Alhaji Sulaimon Adegunwa still chairs the board while Mr Yemi Adeola leads the executive management as group managing director. The bank has robust corporate governance structures including succession plan, whistle blowing channel, code of ethics and requisite board and management committees. The lender has broadly complied with codes of governance issued by financial services regulators.

Analyst's opinion The performance of Sterling Bank underscores the feasibility of its organic and inorganic growth strategies and reaffirms the steady growth outlook of the bank. With the ongoing streamlining of its operations into core-banking operations and sustained drive to achieve working balance between assets growth and quality, Sterling Bank's 2011 performance signposted a commendable growth trajectory that holds out significant promises in terms of returns and steadiness. With the gains from the merger with ETB becoming more evident in the current business year and a stronger and healthier balance sheet, Sterling Bank appears to be in good stead to significantly improve performance in the years ahead. Overall, there is a reasonable basis to assume that the bank would further consolidate its upwardly performance in the period ahead.

2011 12 months Nm

2010 % change

45,173 30171 15612 14,559 12,406 20,442 3,460

30,387 24472 10,003 14,469 5,915 15,163 3688 4178

48.7 23.3 56.1 0.6 109.7 34.8 -6.2 6,686 60.0

Balance Sheet Assets: Cash and balances with other banks 92,062 Short-term investments 20,219 Loans and advances (net) 159,735 Total earning assets 495,497 Fixed assets 8,931 Total assets 504,428 Liabilities and Capital: Total deposit liabilities 406,516 Total liabilities 463,475 Paid-up share capital 7,852 Shareholders’ funds 40,953 Liabilities and equity 504,428

223.1 235.6 60.8 94.1 108.9 94.3

28,493 6,024 99,312 255,304 4,276 259,580

104.0 98.7 25.0 55.6 94.3

199,274 233,259 6,282 26,320 259,580

THE


JOBS THE NATION

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

THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

37

Unemployment is a challenge worldwide. To secure the few available jobs, some applicants use various tricks. This has prompted organisations to hire experts to verify their resumes, among other claims. CHUKS UDO OKONTA reports.

A watchdog to the rescue M

ANY applicants have a way of polishing their credentials to convince their would-be employ-ers. But at times, they make bogus claims in their desperation to get a job. Employers too have wisened up to applicants’ tricks. They no longer engage in direct employment of workers. They use recruitment agencies whose task is to verify applicants’ claim and clear any grey area before their employment.

These firms investigate prospective applicants after an interview. Background Check International (BCI) Limited has helped many firms in this regard. In a report, the firm said about 10 per cent of most companies’ workforce has tainted backgrounds or such tendencies. It blamed 70 per cent of lost revenue on theft by employees, internal fraud and collusion. About 33 per cent of applicants, it said, forge credentials, submit fabricated, exaggerated and mis-

leading resume, adding that chances are that up to 66 per cent of company’s hiring decisions will prove to be mistakes in the first 12 months. BCI Managing Director Kola Olugbodi said job seekers find the prevailing global unemployment challenging and the competition for the few jobs is so fierce that only the fittest survive. Hence, many applicants see the distortion of their profiles or even lying as necessary to scale employment

hurldes. He said a background check can confirm whether a candidate is qualified for a position and trustworthy. He said to verify applicants’ claims, the company goes to their schools, former employers and homes. He said BCI, in collaboration with the employing firm, gets the consent of the applicant before embarking on the claims verification. In the course of its verification, BCI, he said, discovered that most

employers engage individuals who do not possess what they claimed; adding that background check helps confirm whether a candidate is qualified for a position and trustworthy by exposing any discrepancies in his curriculum or interview claims. He said: “What BCI does is to take care of such claims. We • Continued on page 38


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

JOBS

A watchdog to the rescue • Continued from page 37

verify claims, the certificates submitted by applicants, their professional certifications, their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificates and places where they had worked in the past. We help our clients in confirming one or two things from past employers of applicants. “We want to help find out why that person left where he or she was working before taking on this new job. We want to help them find out if he left in the proper way. We want to help them find out more about his personality, his conduct, his character and issues of integrity before crossing over to where he is now. Basically, those are the background screening we do. “We work for quite a number of banks in the areas of them knowing more about their staff, which we call, Know Your Employees (KYE) and even more in the areas of ‘Know Your Customers (KYC). We believe all these go a long way in taking care of all aspects of risk management and non- performing loans and not even being able to locate the customer completely. It is all about due diligence, making sure we have facts before we start talking about figures, relating with people and trusting blindly. We need to be sure of who we are relating with,” Olugbodi said.

He said the company was established to create understanding between employers and their employees, adding that the company came out of the discovery that recruitment either conducted by agencies or directly by organisations is not complete without confirming the claims made by applicants during interview or in their curriculum vitae (CV). He said it was observed that the more unemployment kept rising, the more people got wiser to make sure they survive. The company, he added, also checks the information people download from the Internet and how information on the Internet can be effectively accessed. “This is a major area in what we do at BCI. We have the flair for always looking for what is missing in our society and then trying to proffer solutions to them. Yes, it is true that we started the first full service background screening company in Nigeria. We also started another first private cyber crime service in Nigeria. Of course, the world over, one of the problems had always been the issue of cyber crime. Problems such as “Yahoo Yahoo” and things like that. “The way debit cards, credit cards and other ATM cards pin numbers are hijacked through fake websites of banks, and card switching companies is a clear demonstration of cybercrime in our society. I have

• Minister of Labour, Chukwemeka Wogu

received several e-mails that Interswitch is upgrading its system and I needed to upgrade my record so I should disclose my pin number and other information which is fraudulent. Unfortunately, many Nigerians fall prey to it, thinking it is authentic and which many are still falling for because these guys have succeeded in cloning the websites of companies like Interswitch, MTN and a lot of them keep coming up. This is why when you visit websites of any of the banks you see scam disclaimers and scam alerts. This is the reason BCI started a cyber crime unit which checks the background of the

• Olugbodi

information you download from the Internet and the way you access some things,” he added. He said many people are naïve including corporate organisations, adding that what the BCI cyber crime unit does is to assist organisations to secure their networks. “Yes, we know that organisations have their internal network arrangement but technology keeps developing daily. We have a lot of software being generated daily. That is why we are proposing to corporate organisations to make sure they embrace our services, which entail helping them check

any infiltration from external approach to their websites. Everybody is now talking about e-business and e-commerce and most organisations carry out almost all their transactions online. They need to be sure their network is secured,” Olugbodi said. Organisations, he said, must be sure their network is not vulnerable to hackers who can cause havoc to their businesses. He said the company services centre on cyber fencing and cyber policing and helps organisations to find out if they are prone to hackers and how vulnerable their networks are.

CAREER MANAGEMENT

Fishing out your dream job: Techniques C and strategies (III)

OLD-CALLING, the art of uninvited job-hunting, is possibly the most powerful, yet difficult strategy to get your foot in the career door of your choice. A lot of people consider it demeaning. It should not be so. That was the last item we considered last week. We go on this week Be warned that this strategy has some pitfalls. “Cold-calling” or calling employers directly, is often a very difficult task for most people unless you’re born with a sales talent and a “thick skin”. Cold calling means making contact with people whom you have not had any previous contact and selling yourself in such a way that you set up an interview for yourself or convince them to keep you at the top of their minds should a position come up in future. Some people say it’s like a radio ad: Concise, to the point, focused at meeting the employer’s needs, charismatic and informative about yourself. The key to cold calling is to be prepared for anything. At any point in the process, you could find yourself dealing directly with the person who is responsible for hiring. You must always be ready to sell yourself and your skills.

So how do I jump – start this? There are several parts of the coldcalling process, each part has some similarities to what professional telemarketer do when preparing to market their product:

Make a list of potential employers

By Olu Oyeniran

Get your pitch down pat

The first step in this process is compiling at list of all companies that you would be interested to work with. The more, the merrier; the longer the list, the better your odds at success. You can source for this list via your personal network, the yellow pages, corporate websites, newspaper adverts business listings from industry publications and even your local Chamber of Commerce directory. You could create this list of companies by focusing on a specific geographic area, a particular industry, corporate rankings, or the like. Do some research into the career opportunities in your field of profession with each company as far as possible before progressing further. This ensures that you don’t waste your time with organisations that won’t be able to match your career goals. Once they pass this test, narrow your search to an address, contact name and number/e-mail of the hiring manager or supervisor in the department of your choice. If these are not indicated on directories or websites, make a call to the general line and ask for this contact from the receptionist so that you get direct connection with the person responsible for hiring. (Often, this means by-passing Human Resources and going directly to the source of the vacancy.)

Your pitch is your personal introduction. To ensure you’re not tongue-tied at the crucial point of a telephone conversation, prepare a short script to guide you on your self-introduction to the prospective employer. A simple outline includes an introduction, an explanation of your purpose, summarising three top skills you possess pertinent to the type of job you are inquiring about, finding about immediate or potential vacancies, asking if you might send them a copy of your Resume or arrange an interview date. A pitch allows you to relax and focus on what you need to say and how to say it prior to calling an employer. Be sure to relate your previous professional experience with what this flew company needs. You may have more than one pitch that you refer to depending on the type of job that you are applying for.

Practice makes perfect Telephone etiquette is extremely important in cold calling as this is your first point of contact with the prospective employer. So don’t get sloppy! Here are some tips to help you get it right: • Practice your script either with a friend or another job seeker, making him/her work through different scenarios as the secretary or employer;

• Tape record yourself to ensure you come off as calm, deal and confident; identify yourself. Don’t assume the person you are calling will recognise your voice or that the secretary has passed on your name. If you were referred by someone else, mention their name; • Talk to the right person (the hiring authority) at the right time. Be aware that businesses have busy or inconvenient times when they would not appreciate a phone call: for example, 12:00 noon just before lunch or at the end of the mouth for accounting firms; • Keep control of the conversation, if the person you want is not in, never leave a number and passively wait for your call to be returned, inquire about another time to call and promise to call again later; • Put on your good phone voice. Don’t mumble or shout. Talk at a moderate pace. Be friendly and precise; Get down to business, People don’t have time for small talk, so get to the point briefly; • Take control of your anxiety to be heard, don’t forget to listen - it’s a two-way thing. Remember, you need to motivate your listener to pave the way for you, so listen when they are speaking. Take notes if that will help you! if you can’t provide answers to questions asked spontaneously, tell them you’ll get the answers and call them back when you say you will; • Ask for a meeting (interview) at a definite time, yet do it as ‘lightly’

as possible. Give them alternative options, for example: “Would Wednesday morning or Thursday afternoon be more suitable for you, Mr. ________?‘ if the employer informs you that there are no positions available, ask for an informational meeting to find out more about the company. That will help you get to know more people within the company and make connections for future use. • Get it down on paper. Write brief notes while on the phone to record what was discussed and agreed upon between you and the contact and when it took place. Memory is a fleeting thing. Don’t rely solely on your memory. Transfer this to your job cracking sheet so that you are always on the right page should a contact call back.

Prepare your cold call toolkit Before you picks up the telephone, make sure you have the following in hand; your pitch, company research notes, a copy of your relevant Resume, a calendar, pen and paper, your “contact tracking sheet formatted for notes on the date, time, person, company, address, telephone, reason in calling, followup date, interview date/time, and comments.

Olu Oyeniran is the Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Associates. Website: www.jobsearchhow.com E-mail: oluoyeniran@yahoo.com Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

39

INSURANCE

New bill on insurance ready for National Assembly

T

HE Federal Government will soon send the proposed Insurance bill to the National Assembly the Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel has said. He told The Nation that the proposed law will support the efforts of the commission, adding that the insurance regulatory framework is weak and difficult to enforce. He said the bill is tailored to correct the ills in the industry and aid quick development of the sector, stressing that National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) believes that unless the industry is revitalised, the regulator would become idle. He said: “In the last three to four years, the industry has adopted development strategy rather than regulatory. We believe that unless the industry is developed and becomes vibrant, the regulator will become idle as there will be nothing to regulate. “So, we have focused more on developing the industry and that was why we introduced the MDRI

Stories by Chuks Udo Okonta

programme. The focus has been on development and that is where we are going. The law that is in the offing will support our development efforts.” Daniel said the regulatory framework is based on compliance unlike what obtains in most advanced jurisdictions. He said a major condition for the development of insurance business is a healthy legal regime, adding that the industry may likely get a new insurance regulatory regime before the end of next year. “The legislations are not only weak but sometimes difficult to enforce. The regulatory framework is ‘compliance-based’ rather than ‘development’ as is the case with most advanced jurisdictions. This arrangement hardly gives the commission the capacity to take regulatory initiatives in urgent and critical situations. “It is, therefore, desirable that the various pieces of legislations

constituting the existing legal framework should be consolidated. The Insurance Law Review Committee appointed by the Federal Government to review insurance laws completed its assignment since 2010. The draft revised Consolidated Insurance Bill is ready for passage to the Legislature by the Executive. Depending on the agenda of the National Assembly, the country may expect a new insurance regulatory regime before the end of 2013,” he added. Daniel stated that despite of the limitations on the regulatory legislations, the commission continued to provide leadership and roadmap for the industry in the relevant areas through the issuance of regulatory guidelines, circulars and letters. He noted that as part of commission’s efforts at achieving a measure of efficiency, it has since 2011 ceased issuance of operational guidelines. Instead, guidelines exist under the following heads: oil and gas, anti-money

• From left:Director-General, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Mr Adegboyegba Adepegba; President Dr Wole Adetimehin and Deputy President Mr Fatai Lawal at a press conference in Lagos.

T

HE President Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Dr Wole Adetimehin has said the state of insecurity in the country portends danger to insurers because it leads to increased claims. Adetimehin, who spoke at a media parley in Lagos, said the environmental and security hazards are of concern to insurers because they constitute threats to the insured. He called on the government to adopt better strategies in tackling the security challenges. He said if this is not done, businesses would continue to suffer due to loss of lives and properties, adding that the menace of Boko Haram should not be fought only as an army of dissent or rebellion,but also as a phenomenon that has roots in injustice, social inequalities and vagaries of our time. He urged the government not to tackle youth restiveness with arms only, but rather through the creation of jobs and wealth generation, saying the government should fashion out policies aimed at helping the youth. He said: “The institute commends the efforts of government in tackling the menace of terrorism. There is, however, room for more effective policing of the country against terrorism, kidnapping and armed robbery. With success in these areas, it is guaranteed that political and economic development will be enhanced. “The issue of Boko Haram should not be fought only as an army of dissent or rebellion, but also as a phenomenon that has its roots in injustice, social inequalities and vagaries of our time.”

laundering/combating financing of terrorism, risk management, claims management, micro insurance and takaful insurance. He said another major challenge facing the industry is poor corporate governance, adding that although this may be considered as a general problem for companies in Nigeria and elsewhere, however there has been renewed interest in the corporate governance practices of modern corporations since 2001. “To stem the poor corporate governance practice in the insurance industry, and in line with international best practice, the commission in 2009 introduced a code of good corporate governance for the industry. It is aware that corporate governance issues are at

the core of regulation and supervision hence will continue to ensure that good corporate governance is restored to the companies,” he said. He stressed that with a population of between 140 and 150 million, the sector has capacity to become the biggest market in Africa and among the biggest in the world, adding that though the sector failed in the past to record any real growth in 35 years after making allowance for inflation, and consistently made only about one per cent contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as against, for example, South Africa’s 16 have confirmed that the sector has begun to, and will continue to grow and make contribution to the economy.

STI, others pay N750m claims in Q1

S

OVEREIGN Trust Insurance (STI) Plc and some underwriting firms have settled about N750 million claims in the first quarter of this year. In a statement STI said it paid N228, 448,658.18 in the first quarter. The breakdown of the claims, showed that the N57 million was paid on claims in January, N95 million in February and N75 million in March, putting the total claims paid at N228.49 million. A further breakdown of the classes of business on which claims were made and settled in the review period, showed that motor insurance recorded the highest figure of N98. 54 million followed by general accident with N49. 3 million. Claims paid on fire and allied perils amounted to N38.08 million while N27.19 million was paid on marine and aviation insurance; N13.82 million was paid on claims for engineering insurance. Claims on energy stood at N1.38 million. Head, Technical Division STI Tajudeen Rufai, said the company’s reffirmed the firm’s commit-

ment to claims settlement. He said the continuous existence of any underwriting firm depends on its ability to fulfil its obligation to its customers . He said: “Prompt Claims settlement is not just an attribute but an imbibed culture that permeates our operation as an underwriting firm.” He stressed that Nigerians should cultivate the habit of making insurance a priority in their homes and businesses. He said though the government has put some regulation in place on safeguarding lives and properties of Nigerians, the victory for the insurance industry would be when Nigerians would take up insurance policies without coercion. Also, a group of insurers led by Capital Express Assurance Plc with Leverage Insurance Brokers Ltd as the co-ordinating broker have paid N523. 65 million to the Head of Service of the Federation for claims settlement of 188 dead federal workers.

‘How insecurity affects our operations’ Adetimehin expressed misgivings over the pension and oil subsidy scams, adding that such acts would never make the nation go forward. “The institute has been following with keen interest, but dismayed by the outcome of the probe of the oil subsidy as submitted by the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives. Equally disturbing is the revelation of the fraud perpetrated by some top officials in the matter of the police pensions and wishes to categorically condemn all these shame acts by public officials, who should be above board in all their dealings,” he said. He said insurance practitioners are joining force with all other

stakeholders within the economy to get government to build infrastructure that will propel the growth of the economy, noting that as the economy grows, all other sectors will grow simultaneously and that this probably accounted for the slow pace of growth in insurance. “When the economy is growing, all other sectors will grow simultaneously. This probably accounted for the slow pace of growth in insurance.This is because the economy is not growing. It is the function of the growth in the economy that would determine what should be the living wage, how are people been paid, what level of deposable income they have, from which they can

buy insurance. So, we are joining stakeholders such as Manufacturers Association Nigeria (MAN), financial services sector, real sector and others to impress it on the government that it is high time something drastic was done in the development of infrastructure that would propel the growth of our economy. “More importantly, I am an advocate of improved lifestyle for the working populace of this nation. Where people could be seen to be earning a living wage that would leave enough disposable income for them to buy insurance. Let us be frank to ourselves, we need to do quite more in developing our economy. “When more people are em-

ployed, the demand for goods and services would increase. The general belief is that Nigeria is one of the countries where people are poorly paid. Look at the extent we went on the minimum wage which translates to N600 a day. What can somebody do with that amount of money? And you want them to buy insurance from that. We need to address the fundamentals. Nigerians are industrious; they are not indolent. When things begin to work as expected, we would rival the Japan of this world,” he added. He said insurers are also working hard to reposition the industry through training, awareness, adding that efforts are in place to educate people at the grassroots on the need for insurance.

PenCom offers 50% interest on recovered contributions to employees

F

IFTY per cent of the interest penalty from outstanding contributions recovered through agents will be given to employees with Retirement Savings Account, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has said. In a statement, PenCom said the balance would be paid to agents to defray the cost of recovery. It noted that Pension Fund Administrators would not be allowed to charge administration fee on retirement savings accounts that benefited from the recovery in the arrears. It said each agent’s performance would be monitored based on set

performance standards which would be documented in a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to be executed with the agents. It said the agents would be required to submit monthly reports of recoveries from employers, adding that these would be reviewed to determine their performances. The commission said: “The Commission would hold quarterly meeting with the recovery agents and PFAs to discuss remuneration of recovery agents would be performance based. ‘’The remuneration would be met from the interest penalty charged on the contributions recovered through the efforts of the

agents and administration fees charged by PFAs. In that regard, 50 per cent of the interest penalty would be used to defray the cost of recovery while the balance of 50 per cent would be for the benefit of the RSA holder. In addition, PFAs would not be allowed to charge administration fee on RSAs that benefited from the recovery in the arrears or in retrospect. “Recovery Agents would be required to submit monthly progress report with respect to recoveries from employers assigned to them. The reports would be reviewed to determine if the performance of the agent is

satisfactory or otherwise. Challenges encountered and ways forward. The compliance and enforcement department would be responsible for the implementation of the framework in conjunction with other relevant departments in the commission. “The Commission would provide a secretariat and basic resources such as telephone and internet access for use of the recovery agents. The secretariat would be located in the Commission office. The framework is subject to a periodic review to ensure speedy recovery of un-remitted pension contributions by employers.”


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012


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MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

POLITICS THE NATION

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

Former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation Senator Iyiola Omisore had an interactive session with journalists at his Ile-Ife country home, Osun State on April 21. Correspondent ADESOJI ADENIYI was there.

‘Regional integration will not solve our problem’

S

INCE your exit from the Sen ate, not much has been heard from you, why? I started a Ph.D programme in Belgium University. For the past five years, I have been off and on because of national assignment. Immediately I left the Senate, I have been on fulltime. Now, I am on my thesis and I will finish my Thesis end of April by the grace of God. Normally, I should defend it by end of the year. During my leisure time, I meet people like we are doing now. At the state, local and ward level, I get friendly to be aware of what is happening and of course to watch the ACN government in Osun State and see what they are doing so far. What is your assessment of the government so far? I have said in so many newspapers it is just a government of propaganda. That is all. There is nothing on ground. I challenge anybody to show something. Nothing particularly. Over one year now, you want to do welfare project; you want to do this and want to do that. There is nothing to show for it and it is over one year. And he collected over N72 billion from Federal Allocation account. All we hear is mega roads, mega buildings without nothing, busy grinding the state. All they are doing is owo eyo, (cowry) State of Osun, causing trouble, causing crisis everywhere, the governor fighting the Ondo State governor, causing trouble in Kogi State, just across the land generally. This shows his level of incompetence. When we came in this morning, we noticed that you have some people around you. It is like you are warming up for the next governorship election? What you met this morning is just a zonal meeting. We meet regularly here; it is not about any election. We meet regularly at the zone. So, when you come next time, you will meet us again. That has been our practice. It is not about any election. Of course, when election comes we will face election. It is too early for election things now. We are busy building our party, trying to compare the two governments. You have seen PDP for almost seven years. You now see the newly imposed ACN government. What is your position on the allegation against Governor Aregbesola? It is not an allegation of such; it is a thing that you can see yourself. I was deputy governor 13 years ago. There are components of security – SSS, police, CIB following them but he decides to go around with thugs. When you see a governor going about with thugs, that means he is harbouring thugs and that he has his killing squad. I was told that he was training 600 people in Egypt, who are going to cause trouble in the next election. The former election, he used the OYES to rig the election in the state. I told people we are going to go to court. We must not see any O-YES, any O-anything in the next election. We are going to mark them. We are going to see only the police officers, the INEC officials, not all these crooks, who he calls O-YES, OGUARD. They are using them for election rigging. We are going to stop him in that election. He has O-YES and OGUARD, another O-THUG is coming soon. He maintains a killer squad. That is why he doesn’t want the SSS

or police to have anything to do with him. I have been there before, because the, will be writing report daily about you. In the bid of doing that, he is hiding under the Muslim aegis of TAWUN. A governor must be decent. Why does a governor need a bodyguard or thugs to surround him? It is unethical; I’m ashamed for the state. It is not an allegation; he has not answered the question up till today. It is now being said that the PDP is behind that security reports. How can the PDP be behind the report? So you have not seen Aregbesola with his thugs at public functions? It’s an obvious thing now, even at Bola Tinubu’s celebration, he came with them. So, what is PDP in that one? A governor must go to public function with SSS, police or CIB. He goes with bodyguards. These are obvious things. It is just a way out of it. Let him explain why he keeps thugs. During the last election, he was going around at night, dropping thugs at every local government. We thought it was a government’s movement, putting ammunition and thugs in ambulances, maiming our people, killing our people, causing trouble. We are going to stop it. Any attempt by ACN to cause crisis or use thug during elections, we are going to stop them. We are just informing the public now that we won’t allow the last mess up to happen again. Are you not a Nigerian? Is he the only governor? We have 36 governors now. Is he the only ACN governor we have in Nigeria? Bola Tinubu was governor for eight years. What has he done? He is an offshoot of Bola Tinubu. Who is Aregbesola for God sake if not that Salami forced him on the state. Who is Aregbesola? A bloody mechanic somewhere, a radio technician, radio repairer, he is an embarrassment to us in this country. If he doesn’t want to use SSS or police, let him resign. How can you be going around with thugs, putting ammunition inside ambulances and causing problems everywhere under the cover of government? We will stop the convoy. We would attack the convoy and stop him and sack all the thugs he is going about with. We expect to see SSS and the police, that’s all. If he doesn’t want that, let him drop the governor (sic). There are 36 governors in the country, why is it that he is the only one causing problem? Who is Aregbesola? There are better governors at the Governors’ Forum, who are more intelligent and more experience. Bola Tinubu was governor for eight years; he was guarded by SSS and police, not by thugs and killer squads. Those things are not acceptable to us at all. He is a public officer; he is accountable to all of us. He can’t be using our public money to fund thugs. It is being alleged that your hand is behind all these allegations? Quite interestingly, I came back from the US yesterday. So, I read all these things on-line. All these things happened about two weeks ago. So, as to make good news, people would want to tie issues with a prominent person; they will say it is Omisore. It is an escapist excuse. Let the man answer the question before him that is all. I can’t be talking to Aregbesola now. What is my business with Aregbesola? We were all in Alliance for Democracy (AD), we know our

‘We will stop the convoy. We would attack the convoy and stop him and sack all the thugs he is going about with. We expect to see SSS and the police, that’s all. If he doesn’t want that, let him drop the governor (sic)’ • Omisore

levels. He was nowhere to be found when we were in AD; he was one of those boys, who used to shout outside when we were holding meetings. If it is not because of Salami that he became governor. How best do you think the government can curb the spate of corruption in the country in view of the disclosure by House of Representatives probe? Honestly, I was surprise because when I was the Appropriation Committee Chairman for more than four years, we were spending between N1.1 to N3 trillion or N4 trillion for four years. So when it becames N2 trillion something, I became confused, I was not sure, but I don’t know the details, I know that there is some hanky-panky along the line but I wouldn’t know the details, I can’t just speak about it because I do not know the details, I am not into it at all. If they want to know, let them go through the normal channel. It’s unfortunate; I don’t want to comment on it at all. Do you see Governor Aregbesola as a person who is ready for the development of the state? It’s unfortunate sha, you people will

judge with time. It’s not for me to be judging anybody now. I don’t want to condemn anybody; let their work condemn them or praise anybody. But I know that God Almighty, who gives power, gives for a purpose and takes for a purpose. If you are spending people’s money and you are enjoying it today, you will meet your own in the future. Let us compare and contrast the issue of governance on ground basically. What is your comment on the rationalisation of Federal Government agencies? It’s the recommendation that was rationalised. What happened was that with my experience in the National Assembly, there are some agencies that do the same job. So, at the end of the day, it increases our personnel and overhead cost. So, I believe that those who will come out of service will appreciate this position as well. That is why I think that it is better to reduce the overhead cost and increase the expenditure and capital project and genuinely to moderate the existing agencies and avoid duplication. Look at NPC, NIPC and EPZ; they all look alike. The only way for us to bring down our overhead cost depends on moderate civil service if we

are to meet the yearnings and aspirations of our people. The bulk of the money can now go to the capital projects. But unfortunately, immediately after the capital project, they will not do anything. We want to show a leadership by example. As a Yoruba political leader, how would you describe the clamour for South West regional integration being championed by ACN? In federalism, everybody looks up to the centre for so many things. Regional integration will not solve our problem here because every month, everybody goes to the national government to collect oil money. I was listening to the TV yesterday I saw Amosun who recently donated armoured vehicles to the state police and he was thanking the Federal Government that they did a waiver for him, over N1 billion. So where did he get that N1 billion from? The agitation for regional government indicates that either the agitators are myopic or selfish. That is it, because by staying out of the national government, we know what we have gone through. I have been in the AD and PDP and I know the difference, I know it is better for us to be in the mainstream of Nigerian politics; than be a sectional sect that will not pay us at the end of the day. Amosun was saying that he spent about N500 million on waivers alone at least, that would have bought four to five armoured vehicles as well. In a regional government, you cannot afford some things. It is lack of exposure of those people championing the regional integration that is the problem. I can’t really understand their problem and I won’t blame them because they lack exposure. I would have reasoned like them 12 years ago, but now I won’t reason that way because I am exposed to the national government. So, I do not blame them because it is lack of exposure. How has your party handled the reconciliation of its members over the outcome of the last congress of the party, given that some chairmanship aspirants who endorsed Kayode Idowu have continue to boycott the party’s activities? I don’t know what you mean by •Continued on page 40

•Second right: Vice President Mohammed Sambo; Chairman NASFAT Symposium Committee Alhaji Remi Babalola; Deputy Chief Missioner Alhaji Azeez Onike; President of NASFAT Alhaji Sheriff Yusuff and Alhaji Shehudeen Giwa during a visit to the State House.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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POLITICS Keep faith with Aregbesola’s administration’

Kogi: Court hears suits against Wada May 9

By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor

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ESIDENTS of Osun State have been admonished not to be taken in by the mischievous criticisms of the opposition politicians who are bent on destabilising the good-intentioned programmes of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration in the state. In different statements issued in reaction to the “unfounded” allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently levelled against the governor and the threat by Senator Iyiola Omisore, House of Representatives aspirant on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Kayode Omiyale, and son of the former Afenifere leader, Pa Abraham Adesanya, urged the people to be cautious. Omiyale said: “It is sad that when democratic governance is being propelled to the highway, some elements of retrogression are hell-bent on dragging it back to the service lane out of sheer ignorance of the sublime leadership ideas of Governor Aregbesola. How can somebody in his right senses link Aregbesola with attempted seccession among other things? Pull-him-down syndrome? Besides, a man of the people in his ilk does not need water-tight security network being insinuated by his frustrated critics. “While his enemies –and inded, the people’s enemies - should go and lick their wounds without throwing spanners in the works of the governor, one would want Osun people not to take such criticisms seriously. The people must keep faith with the ACN government in his uncommon bid to see to the rebirth of the state which had long been injured by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Today, Aregbesola is the light; no agent of darkness can put it out.” Adesanya said that there is no grain of truth in all the allegations, saying: “Aregbesola, unknown to his critics, is different from most of his peers around in view of his unalloyed commitment to public good. He has no reason to set up a separate security squad. The current head of the state’s security outfit is from Ijebu-Igbo, my home-town. Like the governor, he is a gentleman. These critics must find something else doing and stop embarrassing the people with puerile claims.” Omiyale and Adesanya agreed that to genuinely move the state out of the woods, Aregbesola must be deaf to such baseless rumours and renew his commitment to giving the people the genuine leadership they had long been hungry for.

Governor charges PDP executive on council poll

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OVERNOR Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has charged the new state Executive Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to work towards a hundred per cent victory for the party in the forthcoming local government election. Speaking through his deputy, Mr. Nsima Ekere, at the inauguration of the new executive, the governor urged the party leaders to ensure the party wins all the 31 local government chairmanship and 329 councillorship seats. He reasoned that the PDP needed to win the election as such a victory was the first step in the march towards the party’s success in the 2015. Akpabio said the successful conduct of the primaries for the nomination of chairmanship and councillorship candidates barely two weeks after its election and assumption of office was commendable. He admonished the executive to carry everyone along and be consultative in the running of the party affairs. performed the inauguration, advised the new executive to be prepared for the task and challenges at hand and to be guided by the party’s constitution. “Preach what you do and do what you preach,” he said.

‘Regional integration will not solve our problem’ •Continued from page 39

that, because Kayode Idowu that you mentioned is already working with me. And you can’t be Catholic more than the Pope. Kayode Idowu was here yesterday, but politically on an expansive thought it is possible. It takes time to come around after losing election. It’s a matter of time, we will come together and resolve all these issues and we are talking to ourselves as a family. Election is not an end in itself but a means to an end. The end is winning the government and we are all working together as one. You seem to support mainstream politics than agitating for regional integration? What happened was that when we were in AD, as the deputy governor of the state within the confine of our party, it was a good idea. Having been exposed to national politics for more than four years, I discovered that we were all jokers here. There is little we can do as a regional government because there are federal roads and state roads and all these things have to work together. When I was the Chairman Appropriation Committee, in the area of water, electricity, road and power supply, I know

we committed more than N250 billion to start work alone and no government has done that much. ACN is a dictatorial party, a one-way party. So, I can’t blame them. Watch the change of government in 2014. It will come gradually, peacefully and democratically but if the ACN wants to cause trouble and use their killer squad, we will match them, but we would not propagate the use of thugs in the state. We are going to court to stop O-YES, O-GUARD, O-THIS, OTHUG that was what caused the damage for us in the last election, and we never suspected that they were agents of fraud and riggers. What is your advice on Boko Haram? When I was abroad, I learnt that the Senate discussed it at length and they came out with a resolution. The government must do something appropriately on this matter. It’s a security issue and the government must take the security report from every state of the world. The government should take a decisive step no matter whose ox is gored and stop this Boko Haram problem for the sake of our fellow Nigerians, particularly in the Northern part of the country because we do not have Boko Haram here.

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USTICE Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja is set to hear the two suits against Kogi State Governor Idris Wada on February 9. The winner of the January 2011 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, Jibrin Isah and a governorship aspirant, Oyebode Makinde, are challenging the swearing-in of Wada as governor. A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, presided over by Justice Zainab Bukalchuwa remitted the case back to the trial court following amicable settlement reached by the parties in the suit. Wada had gone to the appellate court to challenge the consolidation of the two suits against him by Justice Donatus Okorowo. On the hearing date, the Appellant’s counsel, Chris Uche (SAN) and the Respondents counsel agreed after initial disagreement that the casefile be returned to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta. On the request of Uche, the panel ordered that the case be re-assigned to another Judge other than Justice Donatus Okorowo who was hearing the case. Adopting the agreement as the judgement in line with Order 6 rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011, Justice Bukalchuwa granted the order deconsolidating the two suits. Although Isah’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Makinde’s counsel, Ade OkeayaInneh (SAN) initially opposed the request to transfer the case to another Justice granted order for accelerated hearing by the new Judge that will hear the case. The respondents had argued that transferring the case to a new Judge is an indictment of Justice Okorowo, who they believed had not exhibited any bias in the case. Olanipekun said: “If we agree to that suggestion that the matter be transferred, it will be an indictment of the court; I will not be a party to that because I have a name to protect”. Before conceding to the agreement, Olanipekun had maintained that there was no proper appeal before the Court of Appeal by Wada. Okeaya-Inneh also said the Appellant must withdraw the motion for stay before he could amend his notice of appeal. But Uche insisted that a new Judge must hear the matter at the high court if he was to concede to amicable settlement because Justice Okorowo had made a pronouncement in the consolidated cases that they are pre-election matter.

•Wada

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

Justice Okorowo had while hearing the case accused the governor of antics to frustrate the case by adopting delay tactics. Refusing motion to stay proceedings filed by Wada, the Judge said it was evident from the conduct of the applicant that he wanted to control the proceedings. The Judge observed that since the case started, all adjournments had been at the instance of the Applicant. Justice Okorowo who recalled granting accelerated hearing in the suit with no objection from the parties held that when time is of essence, granting stay delays trials unnecessarily. Isah had won the PDP guber primary before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed elections in five states including Kogi. The action followed an Abuja Federal High Court’s verdict which held that the tenure of the five governors is beyond May 29, 2011 having won re-run elections. When the commission released a new date for the election, Kogi PDP conducted another primary election in September in which Wada emerged as the winner. Wada eventually won the governorship election defeating the candidate of the Action Congres of Nigeria (ACN), former governor Abubakar Audu. Echocho is asking for an order setting aside Wada’s swearing in and for an order directing INEC to conduct a fresh election pursuant to the January 27 judgment of the Supreme Court. He also wants a declaration that

INEC which is an institution established by the Constitution is under a duty to obey and comply with decision of the Supreme Court delivered on January 27, 2012. He is asking the court to declare that INEC being the appellant in Appeal No: SC/357/2011 between INEC(as appellant) V Alhaji Ibrahim Idris (as respondent) which prayed the Supreme court to decree and declare that the term of office of the last holder of the office of Governor of Kogi state constitutionally lapsed on May 28, 2011 by the virtue of Section 180(2) of the Constitution and which appeal/reliefs the Supreme court allowed cannot rightly and in good conscience be heard and allowed to jettison or misinterprete in any way the said judgement of the Supreme court to again defeat the clear wordings of Section 180(2) and (2A) of the same Constitution. He also wants the court to declare that purported election to the office of Governor of Kogi State held by the defendant during the pendency of its appeal to the Supreme court in Appeal SC/357/2011 and which purportedly produced the 2nd defendant as Governor-elect of Kogi state was unconsciable, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever. He is praying the court to declare that the election that brought Wada in was done in violation of the mandatory provisions of Section 178(2) of the Constitution, Section 25(8) and 31(1) of the Electoral Act. He is also praying the court to declare that the letter issued by the INEC on January 30,2012 directing Wada to be sworn in based on the December 3,2012 is contemptuous, null and void and of no effect. Makinde is seeking a declaration that the 1st Defendant Order/directive that the 3rd Defendant be sworn in as Governor of Kogi State is unconstitutional, null, void and ultra vires. •..that the 1st Defendant Order/ directive that 3rd Defendant be sworn in as Governor of Kogi State when the 4th Defendant is discharging same function pursuant to section 191(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is unconstitutional, null, void and ultra vires. •That the 3rd Defendant cannot hold himself out/or parade himself as the Governor of Kogi State and that the 1st Defendant is bound to conduct a fresh election into the gubernatorial seat for Kogi State based on fresh primary by the political parties.

•Ekiti State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi inspecting the construction work on Fajuyi-Basiri Road in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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NEWS

•Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi (right) being welcomed by the General Overseer, The Redeemed Christian •Former Chairman, Sports Writers Association (SWAN), Federal Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye to the Silver Jubilee and Convention of Gethsemane Prayer Ministries Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, Mr Victor Iroele (right) handing over to his succesor, Mr Kayode Adeniyi in Abuja…yesterday International, Eleyele, Ibadan...yesterday. With them is former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon

•Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor Nsima Ekere (second left), Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Paul Ekpo (left); National Vice-Chairman (South-South Zone), Dr. Stephen Oru (second right) and House of Assembly Speaker Elder Samuel Ikon, during the inauguration of the State Executive Committee of the PDP in Uyo...at the weekend

•From left: Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama (SAN), daughter of the Olu of Warri and the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II at a thanksgiving service to mark the 25th coronation anniversary of the monarch in Warri...yesterday

•Ogun State Governor’s wife Mrs. Olufunso Amosun cutting the tape to inaugurate a water system donated by Day Waterman College, Abeokuta to Nawa-ru-een Primary School, MagbagbeOdun in Obafemi Owode Local Government area of Ogun State...at the weekend

•From left: President, Association of Project Development Practitioners (APRODEP), Mr Micheal Ale; Director, Project Development and Implementation, University of Ibadan, Dr Femi Omololu; Vice-President, APRODEP, Mr Thomas Omofaye and a Professor of Industrial/ Project Engineering, Oliver Charles-Owaba, at a seminar on project development and implementation in Ibadan…yesterday

•From left: Lt.-Gen. Joshua Dongoyaro (rtd), his wife, Esther and the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe at the Ilum O Tarok annual cultural festival in Langtang, Plateau State…yesterday

•Managing Director, BD Consult, Mr. Tola Bademosi (left), Manging Director/CEO Dufil Prima Foods, Mrs Deepak Singhal, Public Relations Manager Dufil Prima Foods, Mr. Tope Asiwaju and General Manager, Pasta Division, Pure Flour Mills Limited, Mr. Karan Checker at the PHOTOS: NAN AND BOLA OMILABU launch of Power Pasta in Lagos…at the weekend.


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012 SPECIAL FOCUS ON INTELLECTUALS IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (SERIES 1)

I Envision the Medical Lab Council to Be a First Class, Global Regulatory Agency – Prof. Anthony Emeribe, Registrar /CEO Prof Anthony Emeribe, an erudite scholar, prodigious researcher and distinguished academic is the Registrar/ CEO of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), a body charged with the responsibility of regulating medical laboratory services, supervising the training, licensing and registration of medical lab scientists in Nigeria as well as the overall regulation of medical lab practice in the country. A visionary leader and administrator, Emeribe has since assuming office been repositioning the agency for improved efficiency to ensure better medical lab services in Nigeria. It was for this and his impressive pedigree of exemplary performance in leadership that he was recently voted as one of the 20 intellectuals in National Development. He shares with Ken Omovevah some of the things he has done so far as well as speaks of his vision for the Council among other things in an interview at his Abuja office. Excerpts: How has it been so far as Registrar / CEO of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN)? It’s been really challenging trying to expose the vision of the Council in line with the mandate given to it by the people of Nigeria. Commencing from the building blocks laid by my predecessor my job was to ensure that all aspects of the mandate given to Council are not only being implemented but also seen to be implemented as a regulatory agency, to stimulate improved quality of medical lab services in the country. We realized that many Nigerians travel out of the country because of poor medical laboratory diagnoses. As you know, medical lab diagnosis is at the base of modern healthcare delivery and once the laboratory results are wrong, the outcome of the whole healthcare service will be severely compromised no matter the amount of money put into it as over 70% of health diagnostic indices commonly used in managing health disorders emanate from the medical laboratory. And where ever there is a chaotic medical laboratory service with all sorts of charlatans coming to work therein without being properly trained or certified, without the right environmental ambience, without the right equipment/instruments, without the right quality of reagents, kits and chemicals, these pose grave danger to public health. There is obviously a big challenge trying to get the public to realize that there is need for a new order, a better way to get things done for the health of Nigerians. The dual core mandates of Council comprises regulation of medical laboratory services through registration of medical laboratories, mandatory inspection, mentoring for quality improvement, accreditation, monitoring and evaluation as well as certification of test kits/reagents on one hand (i.e. National Medical Laboratory Accreditation Agency) and regulation of training and practice of medical laboratory scientists, technicians and assistants on the other hand. We have to therefore continually ensure that standards are properly defined and adhered to. We needed to streamline and harmonize the standards as there were quite a number of differences in the various universities’ Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science degree curricula for example to ensure that the human resources being produced and who are being registered and licensed are competent. Because it doesn’t matter what infrastructure and equipment you put in place, if the human resources are not well trained, the right results will not be obtained; ditto if the infrastructure is not adequate and if the reagents and chemicals are sub-standard, faked or expired. These are some of the challenges that were compounded by the fact that Council was based in Lagos where we had serious space constraints. Therefore, we needed to quickly commence resolving some of these starting by moving from Lagos to Abuja. As a government parastatal, relocating to Abuja has helped a lot in getting the job to be better done being at the nation’s capital city. Secondly, Council now has bigger working space and thirdly it’s easier to reach out to other core stakeholders-government ministries, agencies, international partners and other clients. Having said that, we however realize that the place we now occupy is a rented premises and the Board decided it was important to have a permanent premises the building of which had commenced in Abuja courtesy of the goodwill of President Jonathan’s administration. Basically, how did you crack the challenges that confronted you on assumption of office? To solve the space constraints, we needed to move from Lagos to Abuja with the approval of the Governing Board. Then we had to restructure the institutional accreditation checklist and guidelines for medical laboratories as well as that for training programmes in the universities and colleges of health technology. Previously, what •PROF. EMERIBE was done was essentially subjective assessment (qualitative). But now we undertake objective assessments (quantitative). We are also encouraging the upgrading of facilities for the training of medical laboratory scientists in the universities from departments to full-fledged faculties as medical laboratory science degree is a composite multi-disciplinary professional degree rather than a single honors degree. For effective medical lab services delivery, it is important that every medical laboratory be registered with Council. There are actually about 5,349 medical labs in the country as at the last count. We have been able to inspect only about half that number with a view to registering them. In the process we found that about 50% of those visited are not worthy to be called medical laboratories as they lacked the right infrastructure, equipment and manpower. The inadequacy of any of these could result in the medical laboratory being closed down by Council. But, we provide such facilities with a window to re-open after remediation of the observed lapses. At any rate, it doesn’t end with registering with the MLSCN as we are also encouraging medical laboratories to seek for accreditation to authenticate their processes. Whereas laboratory registration and periodic inspection are mandatory, accreditation is optional. Why is it optional? What do you mean by optional? Registration is to ensure that the minimum requirements to operate as a medical laboratory facility have been met. On the other hand, accreditation entails certification of the laboratory’s processes, to ensure that the results from the laboratory are genuine, accurate, reproducible and comparable with results from laboratories elsewhere. An accredited medical laboratory acts as a mentor to other laboratories, more easily attracts clientele including for health insurance purposes and collaboration for research or clinical trials etc. It is generally capital intensive to achieve and sustain quite alright, but once a medical laboratory is accredited, it can be sure that its clientele will improve tremendously and the invested resources recouped in a relatively short time with resultant enhanced quality of laboratory care for the good health of the public. To accomplish accreditation requires hard work over several months and years and it’s a continuing process that never ends. Even when a laboratory is up there it still has to continue to work hard to remain up there or else slumps down the quality ladder. To support the medical laboratory accreditation process in Nigeria, Council recently entered into a 5-year Cooperative Agreement with USA Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agreement entails Council partnering with health institutions’ medical laboratories being supported by PEPFAR to mentor them to attain accreditation using the adopted World Health Organization - African Regional Office laboratory assessment checklist based on International Standards Organization (ISO) standards and Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines. Lab results and reports are expected to be universal. This means that laboratory results from Nigeria should be comparable to that from elsewhere using the same patient samples. If the result is wrong then the doctor will not be well guided and the patient’s management is compromised which could be fatal in some cases. We had a national stakeholders meeting last January with Federal and State Ministries of Health, WHO, CDC, USAID, various health institutions etc in attendance on the way forward to improving the quality of medical laboratory services in Nigeria. We are currently on advocacy visits nationwide after which pre-qualified medical laboratories shall be enrolled for mentoring towards national accreditation. In the past one year, Council had audited about 40 medical laboratories for purposes of national accreditation. Only one was found to be at the level of 5-star. WHO/AFRO accreditation has six levels i.e. O, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 stars. A 5-star rated medical laboratory facility in Nigeria such as the 445 Air Force Medical Laboratories in Ikeja, is readily as good as any laboratory anywhere in the world for the same services rendered and hence can merit international accreditation. About half of the 40 public, faith based and private medical laboratories audited scored zero stars. A lot needs therefore to be done to significantly improve on medical laboratory services in the country. This explains why Council is trying to expand with opening of new offices in the states/zones, restructuring, recruiting new hands and instituting a functional organogram in place to fasttrack its regulatory activities. What is your vision for the Council under your watch? It is to be a first class, world acclaimed regulatory Council for medical laboratory services and training of medical laboratory manpower and practice, not just for Nigeria but for the West African sub-region and beyond. Some of the smaller African countries look up to us for training and improving the quality of their medical laboratory services. As you know, whatever we do here in Nigeria trickles down the rest of Africa. You were quoted recently as saying that 50% of labs in the country were manned by quacks. Knowing your penchant for excellence, you must be very disturbed by this development… (Cuts in). This is very worrisome indeed! Even when you have the best of professionals, mistakes could still happen occasionally; what we call professional malpractice for which such persons are liable to sanctions. Where charlatans who are not well trained or registered or licensed to practice man medical laboratories, it becomes a much bigger problem/hazard. To make matters worse, some institutions that should know better and ensure they recruit only qualified persons for whatever reason or ignorance are regrettably not doing so! That is why it is taking a lot of efforts on our part to sensitize people to realize the need for them to patronize only duly registered medical laboratory facilities where they can get appropriate services. We have lost a lot of resources in this country as a result of people flying out for treatment, most times for ailments that can be managed in-country.

SPECIAL FOCUS ON PROFESSIONALS OF EXCELLENCE (PART 1)

“GLANDVILL WILL BE THE UNDISPUTED LEADER IN INSURANCE BROKERAGE AND RISK MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA” – Tunji Oluyemi, MD/CEO Most nations of the world are blessed with eminent professionals in various fields of human endeavour. Nigeria is no exception. But how many of these professionals are consistently committed to excellence and tenaciously striving to distinguished themselves in selfless service to humanity? In this special report we pay tribute to some professionals who have been quite exceptional in their assignments and contribution to national development. One of them is Mr Patrick Olatunji Olufemi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Glanvill Enthoven and Company Nigerio Limited. Physically and structurally the man is transforming the foremost insurance brokerage and risk management firm into a model establishment. In an interview with Ken Omovevah and Emma Aboma, the Glanvill boss speaks about his motivation, his strategies and dreams, revealing some inspiring nuggets for leaders who want to succeed in their tasks.

What is all of these intended to achieve, these innovations and transformation going on in the company? Well; I think the physical outlook of an organization is a product. But what is the process that comes before the product? All you are seeing is motivated by the mission of what we want to achieve here and by the values which are we trying to imbibe into the company. So shortly, what is the mission? We intend to reclaim once again the leadership position of the company in insurance risk management services, in Nigeria today. In doing this, you have to be out to look at a lot of things. You have to look at your processes, the human profile of your staff, your systems, your organogram has to be perfect and so on. So vision drives a number of these important things. But more importantly, even more than the vision, is the value. What are the ethics? Is there integrity? The process; is everybody ready to work? Is every body trying to be selfless?, to develop what they meant; to leave behind a legacy to people who are coming after them or they just what to serve their time and do whatever they can and go away. We are trying to ensure that in running the company, the values are right and the mission is right. And I think what is driving us really is the passion for services. So that at the end of the day you leave a legacy and to believe you have impacted something on the people and to see that you have something to show at your own time. What are these values you want to impact on the people? In Glanvill, there are five of them. and the acronym for it is “PETIT”. Professionalism, Excellence, Transparency, Integrity and Team Work. Now these were not dictated by the Managing Director as such. We agreed as a board and as a management. We went into retreat and asked ourselves, what are the values that would drive us to achieve a complete turnover of this company. We broke into syndicates; groups, we discussed for days, and we came up with this five. And by God grace we are trying to live by those five. At the end of the day, I have to tell you that the specific values, that were picked were five but the specific values were reduced to three. For example you may have godliness, as your own value, but what is so important is not the specific value, it is the belief in them and the living of the values. We are trying to live this five, the PETIT. Also we are trying to live it. We are not just trying to put something on the wall or on a letterhead but living on the values. So the idea is that with the correct value in places, you will take the correct decision to limit what you can do and what is not necessary. Who is the Managing Director of Glanvill Enthoven? My name is Patrick Olatunji Oluyemi. I’m about 50 years old. I believe I’m well educated. My first degree is in Economics, I have Fellowship of Insurance in the Institute of Nigeria, and Chartered Institute London. I also hold a degree in Theology. Post graduate degree in Theology, Master in Business Administration. And I’m about rounding up a master degree in Finance. But apart from the degrees, I think my life has been quite interesting. I have worked in an insurance brokerage firms, I have also worked in an insurance company and I was a consultant for a brief period. These three aspects have helped in moulding my image in life. I think it’s important to note that the values I have live with has been difficult. Sometimes in my career I have been placed in situation where, people have asked me to join them to do evil. At least once I have paid the prize for not joining evil. But looking back I appreciate it that I did not do that at a stage in my career when I was not too comfortable as I am now. And that is probably while you are here today. Kindly give us a bit of the story of Glanvill Enthoven. Glanvill Enthoven & Company (Nig.) Limited was established in 1957, it’s a firm of incorporated Insurance & Reinsurance Brokers licenses by National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Glanvills is a member of Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB). It has an authorized share capital of N325 Million and paid up share capital of N115 million. It has a reputation for high level of professionalism and efficient services. It has a management services agreement with Lockton Companies LLC, USA. Glanvills is a member of the Odu’a Group of Companies. Also it has gone through a lot of revolution and at the moment the majority share owners are the Odua Investment Company Limited, U.I..B. Nig. Ltd and the staff hold a small percentage of it. It’s a living brand and at a time it was number 1 leading company in the industry. But like a number of other companies in the industry, at a time, I believe it suffered the disease of success. You get successful, you get bloated and you forget the importance of good corporate governance, the ethics of values. I personally was in this company from 1987-1993 and I left as a very senior executive. I think at the close of 2008, 15 years later, I met a radical different company, so to say. But we thank God that the change process which we started some years ago, i.e the 3Rs – Restructure, Reposition and Rebrand is yielding results that we can see. Now what is it that drives you? The services itself is driven by the values. You must have the right values. If you don’t have the right values and you entered into public services, then all you are looking for is means of looting, or getting money. You must have the right values. People are making mistakes of running after money. I think the Bible is right by saying that the love of money is the root of all evils. If you excel in your own line, as a pure water seller, even as a vulcanizer, money would come to you eventually. You can be a hair dresser, and if you have the right values, and you excel, your excellence, your values, your services and your products will draw people to you. People make the mistakes of wanting money without the process of the values and the provision of goods and services. That is why we have problem. Not only in this country, is it a big problem really. So I think service drives me. Can you give us an insight of the service profile of the company? Our service profile is guided by our procedure of manner and secondly by our customer service manner. Our orientation procedure, takes over new employee through this important document that set out what the customers services modes and needs are. How do we deliver service on each department? In details, and the procedure manner is on how we run through the day to day operations of the company? As we continue to imbibe these things, in our staff, we expect to be at the head in customer service very soon. I think it is more than environment of encouragement. It is not just manner. We are encouraging that environment where there is ownership. Ownership in the sense on the part of the employee where he feels he is a part of the company. And so one of the things we have done is to initiate this year’s is ‘performance valued profiteering scheme’ for all staff of Glanvill. I think this is rather to spur them to deliver goods and services at all times. Our values whose acronyms stands ‘PETIT’ depicts our Professionalism, Efficiency, Transparency, Integrity and Teamwork. Our services include: Fire, Burglary, Money, Fidelity Guarantee, Householders Comprehensive, House owners/householder, Professional Indemnity, Goods-in-Transit, Private Motor, Commercial Vehicles, Workmen’s Compensation, Personal Accident Bonds, Marine (Cargo and hull), Computer All Risks, Contractors All Risks, Public Liability, Plant All Risks, Consequential Loss, Industrial All Risks, Group Life, Endowment, Annuity, Oil & Gas and Health Insurance. The division is composed of the understated Department for ease of operations and high quality of service delivery to our large clientele: • Commercial & General Department: Handles all classes of insurance relating to Manufacturing, Banking, Trading and Multi-national companies. • Construction & Special Risk Department: Handles construction risks including civil & engineering works, marine, bonds, oil & gas, aviation, etc. • Business Development Department: The Department is responsible for growing the customer base. • Glanvill Enthoven Life & Pension Consultants Ltd: Handles life businesses such as Group Life, Endowment, Annuity, Deposit Administration and Health & Related Benefits Insurances. • Glanvill Enthoven Reinsurance Brokers Ltd: A leading Treaty & Facultative Reinsurance Brokers both in the domestic and international markets. In the next five years, where do you hope to take the company under your watch to? In the next 5 years, Glanvill should be an undisputed leader of insurance broking and risk management in Nigeria with considerable presence in the West Coast of Africa. That is how I see it. I see a company that is run ethically, efficiently and to meet the needs of his workers and the needs of the customers and to give adequate returns to the owners of the shareholders.

Tunji Oluyemi, MD/CEO


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Monarch confers chieftaincy titles

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HE traditional ruler of Epe, Oba Kamoru Ishola Animasaun has honoured some of his subjects as well deserving individuals from outside his kingdom with chieftaincy titles to mark the conclusion of the Eebi festival. The monarch urged the title holders to be good ambassadors of the town. Among those honoured were Professor Olu Akeusola, Otunba Lai Oriowo, Chief Adefowope Olorode, Chief Bola Matanmi, Otunba Tenii Taiwo Zacheus, Justice G. Oguntade and many others. Speaking on the honorary titles, a traditional chief in the palace of the Oba and also a recipient of the award, Otunba Tani Zacheaus, spoke on the awards. He said the award was chieftaincy titles was to celebrate Epe land and let more people come to Epe. He continued: “We are looking to expand the scope of Epe and make more people come to Epe land. We want to de-

By Okorie Uguru

velop Epe and we can’t do it alone we want to bring others to come and join us. “You see, for example, if you are chief of Epe and an indigene of Epe needs help anywhere, something will strike you, you would say ‘I am a chief in your town, what do you want?’ we are trying to reach out, we are trying to pull in people to Epe. “For the indigenes of Epe, they are people who have contributed in different ways to the development of the town. We have retired civil servants, private business men who have at one thing done one thing or the other for the progress of Epe. These are the people the king is honouring. It is a way of telling these people thank you for what they have done and also urge them to do a lot more for the town. For the noe indigenes, it is to draw them to Epe”.

•From left: Chief Tolu Oguntade, his wife and Otunba Teni Zacheaus at the event

NGO urges Amosun to act on child rights law

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•Governor Amosun

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HE chairman of Ikeja Local Government Area, Lagos, Hon. Wale Ogunlami has urged his cabinet and staff of the council to work harder in order to realise the goals set for the year. Presenting the year’s budget to

HE Save The African Child Initiative (STAC), a community-based non-governmental organisation, has urged Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun to incorporate the child rights law into the policies of his administration. STAC said the child right law, if incorporated in the the state policies, would help in supporting as well as protecting children living with disabilities in rural settings. State Coordinator of STAC, Mr Olowookere Opeyemi said chil-

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

dren living with disabilities in rural areas of the state are often targets and victims of abuse by those who ought to protect and show them love. Opeyemi made the call in Abeokuta at an event tagged: “Stakeholders’ Meeting to Initiate Inclusive Policies in Ogun State” as part of activities marking the NGO’s Day for Children with Disability. He also said STAC would part-

ner with organisations which protect the rights and welfare of disabled children. According to him, the challenges faced by persons with disabilities are in multiples, requiring intervention such as giving them access to employment and essential amenities in the state. The State Secretary, Joint Association of Persons Living with Disabilities, Ogun State Chapter, Michael Ebonhor, stated that people with disabilities are denied access to education, employment, medical services, and

transportation, among others, which pose a threat to them. He noted that the present administration’s promise to employ 107 people with disabilities in its first phase of employment generation in the state is yet to be fully met and appealed Governor Amosun to employ the remaining unemployed members. Mr. Adeyemi Omotola, a lawyer representing Ogun State Ministry of Justice, stated the law was first domesticated in Ogun State, contending that life issues upon which it was hinged were omitted, thereby making it faulty.

Council chief rallies staff at budget presentation By Adejo David

the Legislative Arm of the council, Ogunlami told members of his cabinet as well as the entire staff

that the council’s obligations this year should be approached with a different mindset. The council chief said there is no time or cash to waste and that everyone should put in more ef-

•Hon. Wale Odunlami (left) presenting the budget to the Leader of the House, Hon. Edward Arangbonfoh

fort in order to achieve set target and meet the expectations of the people. Odunlami called it a budget of reality, whose sum is put at N938,116, 276, 60. “The budget is so tagged, owing to the fact that this season actually calls for a degree of belttightening, prudence, modesty and truly hitting the nail on the head, rather than counting our chicks before they are hatched,” he said. The council boss spoke on his areas of focus. He said: “Our areas of emphasis in the execution of the budget would be in the aspects of road maintenance, environmental sanitation, education, health care services, and poverty alleviation, to mention a few. As such, it is expected that, all hands must be on deck in these areas specifically and other areas generally.” Odunlami appreciated the support of members of his cabinet, the

Legislative Arm, council committees as well as every stakeholder in the council but he called for support and hard work. He also rallied all residents of the council, urging them to help in the realisation of “our collective dream as a local government”. His words: “It is required of all of us to be up and doing, by living up to our responsibilities, as we pay our rates and dues at the appropriate time. We all should be law-abiding and obedient citizens in respect of the given laws of the state and the local government, especially in the areas of environmental laws and street trading. This will always reduce the unnecessary spending of government in these areas.” Odunlami said he and his team have taken steps to ensure that the budget is judiciously implemented for the benefit of the people.


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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Jobs scheme to the rescue •Continued from Page 13 our young people and make them responsible. “Failing to respond is grave: the young people go into crime, drugs and social vices when they are on the streets. We have created these opportunities to arrest the trend. It is therefore our divine call to develop our children. It is our constitutional duty to respond to their needs accordingly. If we fail to develop the young people today, they will definitely be irresponsible tomorrow. We must act fast,” she explained. In his contribution, the Chairman of Odu’a Educational Trust Fund, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye commended the effort of the state government to put together such an innovative programme aimed at developing human capacity and manpower in the state. He said the initiative, if well-implemented, would indeed address the dearth of artisans and technicians, which he said, has been facing Nigeria in the past decades. Durojaiye expressed hope in the programme, which he believed, “will definitely help the state develop technical skills in relevant areas of specialty, reduce crime rate further and stem the trend of unemployment in the country. “We can save N960 billion from nationals of Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin Republic and West African countries, who are currently working in Nigeria as artisans and technicians. “This programme is the first of its kind in the country. It was designed to create synergy between industries and educational institutions. The benefits will not be for Lagos State alone. Other states of the federation and West African countries will benefit from it profound. This deserves our support,

and we all need to team up with the state government to ensure that the programme succeeds,” he explained. Earlier in his opening remark, Gasper said the programme was primarily initiated to create new opportunities for two categories of people first for the school leavers and also for the graduates, especially those who are not gainfully employed. “to develop manpower and respond to our socio-economic needs”. He said the programme became necessary considering the ever increasing population of the state which grows exponentially and currently put at 18 million. “About 70 per cent are below 35 years and in danger of harbouring most misdirected, unskilled and angry youths ready to engage in criminal activities. This calls for alternatives to be examined in taking the graduates into these schemes.” He said the first scheme tailored to engage the school leavers, who could not secure admission into tertiary institutions. “is designed to provide both work-based on the job training in industries and accredited workshops and college-based instructions in the state technical colleges so that the Lagos youths can have the full range of skills and knowledge for a highly skilled occupation. “The programme is primarily designed to attract the very large school leavers JAMB casualties by providing technical training towards producing self-reliant, competent skilled young boys and girls early in life, dedicated to becoming self-employed and entrepreneurs. This initiative has therefore identified apprenticeship as a desirable alternative route with academic and career paths for young school leavers. “SL-MATP is a work-based

This programme is the first of its kind in the country. It was designed to create synergy between industries and educational institutions but the benefits will not be for Lagos State alone

•A hat-making unit shows off its products scheme structured around the needs of employers leading a nationally recognised qualification such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVOs) and Key Skills and Knowledge-Based Qualifications. The school leavers will learn on the job, building up knowledge and skill as well as gain qualifications at the same time from the State Government Technical College and accredited training providers”. Gasper also x-rayed the rationale behind the second scheme, which he said, was basically designed “to provide employability and vocational trainings for graduate apprentices with interest in the schemes, create employment opportunities, produce competent young people to support the local content act, conserve the country’s foreign exchange and actualise the ten-point agenda of the state government”. The graduate scheme, according to the executive secretary, is also

designed to place a premium on business and enterprise skills spiced with competence-based vocational training and proposed to offer a direct and specific re-training and re-orientation interventions required to assist our current generation of graduates after completing their formal education to compete globally in today’s world of work. Gasper said the duration of the training schemes ultimately “differs and depend on the choice of vocation”. He added that the school leavers enrolled for SL-MATP “will spend between nine months and two years depending on desired trade and occupation while the graduates that enrolled for GVESTP combining vocational trainings with employability skills will successfully complete the programme in 9 months”. He also explained the strategies the state government has put in place to ensure successful implementation of the schemes through

partnership and collaboration, industry partners and training providers. He listed the partners to include Highbury College as a strategic partner and Department for International Development (DFID) under the Growth & Employment in States (GEMS) providing support to and capacity development for a planning, monitoring and quality assurance (PMQA) system for SLMATP amongst others. State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, described the development as the government effort to secure the future of the youth. “What government is doing today is to secure our future. If we fail to do it today, we may have challenges building our houses or doing some technical works in our offices and departments. So, these schemes are tailored to address critical socio-economic issues that may arise in the future”.

Oyo council chiefs seek increased funding

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OCAL government chairmen in Oyo State have called for increased allocation to the third tier of government. The Chairmen, Transition Committees in the state made the call in Ibadan while receiving members of the Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters of the state House of Assembly at their various councils.

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

According to a statement by the Press Officer to the House of Assembly, Mr Lekan Kolade, the council chairmen insisted that allocations to councils have become so meager that they are unable to meet projects that address developmental needs of the local governments again. They further explained that as the tier of government closest to the grassroots, the local government needs higher allocation to meet the developmental needs of local communities. They, however, lauded Governor

Abiola Ajimobi for prompt approval and release of project funds to them, stressing that a different posture by the governor would have striffled development at the grassroots completely. The chairman of the committee, Hon. Femi Adelakun, explained that members of the committee were going round to monitor projects being undertaken by the councils with a view to ensuring that quality jobs are delivered. He urged them to promote peace and cordial relationship at the grassroots, saying dvelopment can only be accomplished in an atmosphere of peace.

Allocations to councils have become so meager that they are unable to meet projects that address developmental needs of the local governments again

•Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Kehinde Bamigbetan receiving a plaque as Patron of Jakande Estate Lawn Tennis Club from immediate past president of the club, Otunba Abiola Ojeyomi. With them are Alhaji Lanre Aminu, current president of the club and Ejigbo LCDA secretary, Mr. Remi Gbadegesin


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MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

From the rural areas in Taraba State to the ones in Abia, then to Bayelsa’s creeks and to rural communities in the Southwest, we want to bring health safety awareness to the people to prevent loss of lives through preventable illness and injuries

Experts make case for safety at workplace

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IGERIAN safety experts have urged governments across the board to prioritise the safety of workers in the country. The experst said statistics of casualties occuring at the workplace in the country are alarming, and asked that more precautionary measures be taken to prevent avoidable deaths. This was the issue that dominated discussions at the maiden workshop on Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) organised by Safety Leadership and Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation. The workshop was held at Tom Associate, Anthony, Lagos. The seminar, which was tagged “Achieving a sustainable QHSE management in Nigeria”, was part of the programmes rolled out by the Foundation to commemorate the 2012 World Day for Safety, coming up on April 28, 2012. In his brief speech, Dapo Omolade, a safety professional with the foundation, said: “As far as I am aware, safety bodies in the United Kingdom have been trying to re-

•Mr Murphy

By Wale Ajetunmobi

duce the number of work-place deaths from 10 to a very low single digit, but nobody needs a soothsayer to tell us the figure will be more in Nigeria where the culture of safety is partially put into practice.” Mr. Jamiu Badmos, who is the Executive Director of the Foundation, stressed the need to have a safer Nigeria where work-place injury is reduced to the acceptable minimum. Badmos, who lauded Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola for being the first state governor to establish a safety regulatory body, Lagos State Safety Commission, in the federation, said health and safety are means freedom from hazards that are inherent in all areas of human endeavour including, schools, roads, events, industries, aviation and marine among other. He added that safety culture was gradually becoming popular in companies in Lagos through the commission. He lamented the failure of health organisations to reach rural communities, saying the Foundation has mapped out strategy to penetrate into communities in Nigeria. “From the rural areas in Taraba State to the ones in Abia, then to Bayelsa’s creeks and to rural communities in the Southwest, we want to bring health safety awareness to the people to prevent loss of lives through preventable illness and injuries,” Badmos averred. He added that the Foundation has put strategy in place to achieve its objectives, which will complement the collaborative efforts of stakeholders in industries and the government to make Nigeria a safe nation for workers and general populace. One of the guest speakers and General Manager (Safety Department) in Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Rabiu Sulaiman, called on federal

•Some of the participants at the programme lawmakers to enact the bill sent to the National Assembly by safety practitioners to protect Nigerian employees from work-place injury. While bemoaning lack of safety awareness among companies in Nigeria, Engr. Rabiu quipped that the profession was yet to reach its desired level and will not get there because, according to him, safety is a continuous process. “Journey to safety and excellence is a continuous journey that has no final destination but we will continue to improve on the process to challenges come up,” he said. He also commended Gov. Fashola for being the first governor to identify with QHSE in Nigeria. He said: “Not everybody is moving with speed with which the government of Lagos State is moving but I am sure all governors in Nigeria have the same focus. However, one will

get there before another because it is just like a race. My advice to all governors is for them to set up commission that will drive safety in their respective state. “If government and companies in Nigeria are safety-conscious, because anywhere there is safety consciousness, shareholders will make more money because there will be no accidents, nobody will destroy property and litigation will reduce. Safety is the area where all officials should focus and put in place commissions to ensure safety in all endeavours of our national life.”

Lanre Okulaja, a participant from Honeywell Superfine Foods Limited, said the programme was timely because of the rise in the number of accidents on Nigerian workers. Other speakers at the programme include Mr. Mark Murphy, a QHSE professional from Republic of Ireland, Mr. Audu Williams, General Manager, SafetyPlus Engineering Services, Mr. Akin Morakinyo, a Human Development Specialist, and Mr. Ibitayo Edunfunke, Company HSE Manager, Nigerian Breweries among others.

‘Why water shortage persists’

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VAILABILITY of water to homes and communities will continue to be a problem in Nigeria until the government develops moribund dams and construct new ones. A borehole expert, Mr Michael Ale, stated this while addressing reporters in Ibadan on the problem of water in Nigeria. Ale, who is the Managing Director of MALE Integrated Science Nigeria Limited, a borehole drilling and water engineering firm, explained that government must shift focus from drilling boreholes in communities and focus on making ailing dams work. He said such approach and that of individuals sinking boreholes in their homes will never solve problem of access to clean water by Nigerians. This advice was given in Ibadan, Oyo state capital by a development practitioner and hydro engineering expert, Michael Ale of the “Male Integrated Science Nigeria Limited”.

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

He cited water dams in Oyo State such as those in Eleyele, Adegbayi, (in Ibadan), Erelu (in Oyo) and Okerete (in Saki) as examples of those that have the potential to solve water problems in the country if well utilized. “Instead of sinking about four boreholes within a community, while many individuals also dig theirs in their private residences, an efficient and well-managed dam can serve more people than the boreholes will. “Government intervention is therefore very necessary in this direction for better living condition and healthier existence for the masses of Nigeria, particularly those who could not afford boreholes”, Ale said. Ale insisted that the amount of money being spent on healthcare by the government would reduce drastically if citizens had access to clean, potable water.

Instead of sinking about four boreholes within a community, while many individuals also dig theirs in their private residences, an efficient and well-managed dam can serve more people than the boreholes will •Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, commissioning the newly constructed Ode Remo Market, during his working visit


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NEWS

Research workers begin nationwide strike over retirement age

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HE Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) began a one-week nationwide warning strike today. The union is protesting the failure of the Ministry of Mines and Steel to implement the 65year retirement age. Speaking with reporters yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the union’s SecretaryGeneral, Mr. T.C. Ndubuaku, said: “We are going on a nationwide strike declared by the National Executive Council of ASURI on Monday (today), because of the case of the National Meteorological Training Institute (NMTI) , Onitsha. “The Ministry of Mines and Steel asked the academic staff of the institute and the Chief Execu-

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

tive Officer to retire at age 60, instead of the approved 65 years. “The academic staff in any research institute or tertiary institution in the country should retire at 65. “This matter has been on for over a year. The Head of Service of the Federation has also written the ministry to comply with the 65 years retirement age.” It was learnt that the 65-year retirement age law was made in 2004. Ndubuaku said: “One year ago, they allowed some academic staff of NMTI to continue to stay beyond age 60, like their counterparts in other research institutes, because of the intervention of the Head of Service.

‘There is the argument by the ministry that NMTI does not have an act, and as such cannot enjoy the same condition as other research institutes. But it is not the fault of the staff that the institute, which has been in existence for over 30 years, does not have an act. The act is before the National Assembly.’ “But about a month ago, they disregarded the directive and asked the affected academic staff and the director of NMTI, who were 60 in March, to go. “We reminded them of the Head of Service’s directive and advised the ministry to consult him, but they shunned the advise.”

The Ministry of Labour and Productivity, which is responsible for industrial relations and labour, on January 19, wrote a letter to the ministry, stating that ASURI has the right to fight for the rights of its members at NMTI. Ndubuaku said: “But the ministry disregarded the letter.

That is the reason for this strike. “There is the argument by the ministry that NMTI does not have an act, and as such cannot enjoy the same condition as other research institutes. “But it is not the fault of the staff that the institute, which has been in existence for over 30 years, does not have an act. The act is before the National Assembly. “How can NMTI have thesame salary with the academic staff of other research institutions and not share thesame conditions of service? “We think this whole thing is targeted at the leadership of the institute. “We do not understand why a ministry will disregard the directive of the Head of Service.”

Isabella emerges Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria

Obi gets award From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

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NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi at the weekend received the 2011 Governor of the Year award of the Business Hallmark publications. The organisation’s 2011 People of the Year awards ceremony was held on Saturday at the Golden Gate Restaurant in Lagos. Publisher of the newspaper Prince Emeka Obasi lauded Obi’s “transformational, visionary and peopleoriented leadership”, which he said has set a standard for governance in the country. He said the Obi administration has redefined governance through the promotion of fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability. Obasi said: “With what he is doing in Anambra, the state is now one of the most progressive and celebrated in the country.” Chairman of the occasion Chief Abdulaziz Udeh said Obi’s performance has restored the people’s confidence in the government. Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Relations Senator Ben Obi said the award is proof of Obi’s achievements and leadership qualities. The Anglican Bishop of Mbamili, Rev. Henry Okeke, said the governor has impacted positively on the life of the masses. Obi said the award is a challenge for him to do more for humanity.

By Victor Akande

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•Chairman, Island Club of Lagos, Gbolahan Awe (left) presenting a plaque to a governorship aspirant of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Mr. Akinola Awodeyi-Akinsehinwa, a.k.a. Apata, at the club’s Award/Gala night...yesterday. PHOTO:ADEJO DAVID

SON seals four warehouses in Onitsha

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HE Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) yesterday sealed four warehouses at the Bridgehead Market in Onitsha, Anambra State. The warehouses allegedly belong to Chief James Umezurike (56) and Mr. Cosmos Nwoye.

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

The warehouses, worth over N250 million, were sealed for the alleged production and distribution of substandard products. Nwoye was allegedly caught coupling counterfeit products as Carlton chain

saws and selling them at two of the warehouses situated at No. 9, Tony Umeh Street, Awada. He was arrested and taken to Awada Police Station, but he refused to make a statement. The case was later transferred to the Police Headquarters in Awka. Vice-Chairman, Tools and

Allied Products Dealers Association (TAPDA) of the Bridgehead Market, Sylvester Ahanonu advised traders dealing in substandard products to desist. Last month, SON sealed a warehouse in the town for allegedly producing counterfeit Carlton chain saws.

Ekiti Speaker urges Fed Govt on security

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KITI State House of Assembly Speaker Dr. Adewale Omirin has said until corruption, insecurity and other vices are checked, Nigeria will not develop. Omirin spoke at the weekend at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, after his inauguration as the National Vice-Chairman (Southwest) of the Nigerian Conference of Speakers. In a statement by his media aide, Wole Olujobi, Omirin said the country can only explore its human and natural resources in a peaceful and secure atmosphere. He urged the Federal Government to curb the ac-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

tivities of the Boko Haram sect. Omirin said: “No one will invest in an economy bedeviled by insecurity associated with ethnic and religious tension. The present situation in the country calls for concern, if we are to make any headway as a nation. The authorities need to act decisively to end this national tragedy.” He called for a good working relationship between the executive and the legislature. Omirin said: “I urge the executive and legislature to

‘To ensure a true presidential system of government, the parliament must secure its autonomy to fast-track administrative procedures associated with lawmaking processes.’ work together for the good of the nation. “As representatives of the people, our actions in the Assembly must reflect the wishes of the majority. It is in doing this that we can be

said to be representing their interests and justify our campaign promises to them. “As the voice of the people, the Assembly should not be seen as an appendage of the executive. “To ensure a true presidential system of government, the parliament must secure its autonomy to fasttrack administrative procedures associated with lawmaking processes. “In most parliaments today, some issues that should ordinarily take few days to address often drag into months because of logistic challenges associated with dependence on the executive for finance.”

The speaker stressed the need for the parliament to ensure accountability in government and check the executive. On the proposed integration by Southwest states, Omirin urged lawmakers in the concerned states to ensure that partisan politics does not frustrate the collective development strategy. He said: “We must sit down with the executive on a non-partisan platform to work in the best interest of our people, so that we can successfully create a conducive atmosphere for the productivity that will lead to economic growth.”

ISS Isabella Ayuk (25) has emerged the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN), 2012. Isabella beat 31 contestants on Saturday night at the 25th edition of the pageant organised by the Silverbird Group. The event was held at the Best Western Homeville Hotel in Benin, the Edo State capital. The new queen, who succeeds Sylvia Nduka, went home with a Toyota Corolla car donated by the Edo State Government; N3 million and a Cartier wrist watch worth N1 million. Isabella will represent Nigeria at the Miss World pageant in August. The 1st runner up, Miss Damiete Charles Grandville, went home with N1.5 million. She will represent Nigeria at the Miss Universe pageant. The second runner-up, who got a N1 million prize, will represent Nigeria at the Miss Tourism International pageant. The event was attended by the Edo State Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Ms Elizabeth Jemitola, and other officials of the state government. Guests were entertained by music artistes Tuface Idibia, Banky W and Chudy K. In her valedictory speech, Sylvia said she will never forget her trip to the Miss World pageant in London. She said: “It made me appreciate the value of being a woman more.” Sylvia described her tenure as “a year of fulfillment, not just as a beauty queen, but as a woman who has been a role model to other women”. She said: “I was involved in some charitable works, one of which afforded me the opportunity to visit and contribute to the well being of children at an orphanage in Jalingo, Taraba State, and the home for the physically in Anambra State.”


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NEWS

PDP: no sacred cow in subsidy probe

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NY member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) indicted in the probe Report of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on the management of the Petroleum Subsidy Funds (PSF) will not be shielded, the party has said. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the party said: “The party is determined not to shield anybody who has a case to answer in the mismanagement of the petroleum subsidy. “This in line with the cardinal agenda of the party‘s new leadership.” It called on the coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to shelve its planned civil action over the issue, adding that their demand is in agreement with the stand of the party. “The demand of the civil society groups is already re-

•Party to punish indicted members Edo PDP woos Osunbor From Osagie Otabor, Benin and Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

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ORMER Edo State Governor Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor has decried the conduct of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary in the state. He spoke yesterday at his Iruekpen residence when leaders of the party called him to woo him to join the campaign for the July 14 governorship election. Osunbor said the visit would not have been necessary, if a level playing field was provided for all aspirants . “I want us to be honest with ourselves. It is not that I want to be difficult but I want the truth on record. The party promised us a level playing field but for me, I didn’t experience it.” State Chairman Dan Orbih appealed to Osunbor to be part of the campaign train. The PDP in Rivers State will inaugurate a 29-member State Executive Committee tomorrow. A statement issued yesterday in Port Harcourt yesterday by the Publicity Secretary, George Ukwuoma-Nwogba, said the exercise would take place at 10 am at the party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt.

flected in the resolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of our great party.

“As the party in power, and the one controlling the executive and the legislative arms of government, our position

is that those culpable should face the full weight of the law. “This must, however, be in compliance with due process to make sure that only the guilty suffers.” It said that the party would continue to uphold transparency and the rule of law in its determination to lead by example. The statement describes the party‘s position as “the ultimate ingredients for the realisation of the transformation programme of the Federal Government.” It called on the civil rights groups to give enough time for the law to take its full course. “We must allow government to articulate the findings of the House of Representatives and engender necessary legal actions through the appropriate agencies of government.’’

Two held for alleged rape From Osagie Otabor, Benin

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DOCTOR and a pharmacist working at the Federal Specialist Teaching Hospital in Irrua, Edo State, have been arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court at Ekpoma for allegedly raping a 25-year-old girl. Ndukwe Kalu (pharmacist) and Eriyo Omoregie allegedly committed the offence at Ebhokhuala, Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area. Police prosecutor Nicholas Ogbadu told Magistrate M. Iluobe that the accused raped and assaulted the complainant, breaching Section 355 of the Criminal Code of the defunct Bendel State, applicable in Edo State. The victim said Omoregie invited her to his house on February 29, promising to help her get a job at the hospital. She said in the process of handing him her application letter, Kalu emerged from a room, held her hand while Omoregie injected her. They both raped her, the victim alleged. The victim said she left the place in her wet cloths, which had been soaked in water by the suspects. The accused, who were granted bail on self recognition, pleaded not guilty. The case was adjourned till May 30.

Bayelsa cancels two projects

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HE Bayelsa State Executive Council has terminated two contracts, the Etegwe-Tombia road and the Ogbia-Nembe road. Commissioner for Information Markson Fefagha said the cancellation was to fast-track the quick completion of the projects. Flanked by his Works and Infrastructure counterpart, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Fefagha said the Seriake Dick-

From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

son-led administration is committed to improving the state. A contractor, Moreno, handling the Ogbia-Nembeproject had reportedly collected N6.8 billion from the past administration. Fefagha said the administration “will do away with any briefcase-carrying contractor as it is in a hurry to develop the state.”

Uduaghan defends airport expansion From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

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•From left: Emir of Dass, Alhaji Usman Othman with Chairman, Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Turberculosis/ Leprosy and Malaria (BACATMA), Dr. Mohammed Liman, testing Amina Sadiq, during the World Malaria Day in Kagadama Village in Dass Local Government, Bauchi.

Kidnappers abduct OOU woman lecturer

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UNMEN, suspected to be kidnappers, have abducted a lecturer of the Olabisi Onabanjo University(OOU), AgoIwoye, Dr Olusola Otulana. Mrs Otulana, an Opthalmologist with the Department of Surgery, College of Health Sciences, Sagamu campus, was kidnapped last Friday between Imota and IjebuOde while returning from Ikorudu in Lagos State. The kidnappers, it was gathered, trailed her from

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•Demand N100m ransom From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Ikorodu road and waited until they got to the relatively lonely Imota stretch of the Ikorodu-Ijebu-Ode road, before over taking her car and blocking the access way with their vehicle. After firing several gunshots into the air to scare her, the female teacher was forcefully seized and taken away by the abductors in

another vehicle. Dr Agboola Deji of the Morbid Anatomy and Pathology Department, said Dr Otulana’s abductors have contacted her family twice since Friday and were initially “demanding N100 million ransom”. Deji, however, said the abductors who communicated with the victim’s family yesterday had now reduced the ransom to “minimum of N50

million,” adding that the matter had been reported to State Security Service(SSS), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the varsity authority. In a telephone interview, the Chairman of the OOU chapter of ASUU, Dr Adesola Nassir, confirmed the incident. He said the lecturers are “fear stricken” and that work may “grind to a halt” at the College of Health Sciences until the abducted lecturer is rescued alive.

Ashipa of Oyo describes govt order as illegal

wo days after he was asked to vacate the Ashipa palace, the Baale of Ago Oja, Ganiyu Ajiboye Busari, has rejected the order. The Oyo State Government at the weekend ordered him to vacate the palace in Oyo Town . Busari said the directive of the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Peter Odetomi, was a misplaced one , because no court had given any such order. The government order followed a petition by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. Busari’s counsel Biodun Abdul-Raheem said: “As of

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

12pm yesterday, no letter bearing the description of the one referred to in the newspaper publication has been served on my client or in anyway brought to his attention.” Justice Olu Akinola (rtd) had on July 31, 2007 ruled that the title of Ago Oja never existed, ordering Busari to stop parading himself as such. Dissatisfied, Busari appealed and Judge Akinteye on May 7, 2008 ordered that, “accordingly, interlocutory injunction is hereby granted restraining both parties from setting any machinery in motion for the

‘Our client is a law abiding citizen and would approach this issue within the confines of the law’ selection, nomination, appointment, recognition or for any person to hold himself out as a candidate or holder of Ashipa of Oyo chieftaincy title, pending the

final determination of this case.” Abdul-Raheem appealed to Governor Abiola Ajimobi not to interfer. “Our client is a law abiding citizen and would approach this issue within the confines of the law,” he said. Arguing that the Ashipa palace is the abode of Baale Busari, the counsel wondered what the basis of the ejection would be to either the Alaafin or the Ajimobi government, “when a member of a family is occupying a residence belonging to the family? Fortunately, what operates in Nigeria is rule of law as opposed to despotic power.”

ELTA State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has told critics of the Asaba International Airport Runway Extension to seek clarification on the project before commenting. He said the topography in the area requires levelling of a hill as well as filling up of a valley to achieve the prescribed standard for big aircraft operations by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority( NCAA). Uduaghan said the contract was awarded last year and not necessarily for the Southsouth Summit hosted in the state. He urged critics to see how the airport could accelerate the development of the state, even as he described the airport as an infrastructure that could stimulate foreign investments. Uduaghan has advised that recommendations made on study tours by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) be made available to the government for improved developmental policies. The governor who gave the advice in Asaba, the state capital, said such recommendations would give the government better developmental strategies.

Amaechi promises quality education

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IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has reaffirmed his administration’s readiness to support all state-owned academic institutions to provide quality education. Amaechi spoke at the 24th convocation of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt at the weekend. He said his administration would continue to strive to provide a conducive atmosphere that will enhance academic excellence. “Let me reiterate government’s commitment to providing a conducive teaching and learning environment in the face of competing needs,

but in return, government would expect the highest teaching standards and vigorous research that are the hallmarks of great institutions. “We reassure you of our determination to sanitise our educational sector and make our institutions of learning world class and envy of all,” he said. A total of 3,541 graduands received certificates, postgraduate diplomas and higher degrees in various specialisations. Also, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) received an honorary doctorate degree (honoris causa) in law.

‘HIV not a death sentence’ From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

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IFE of the Cross River State Governor Mrs. Obioma Imoke has said Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) should not be regarded as a death sentence. She said: “Indeed thanks to medical research and health care programmes, we have realised that this disease can be prevented and curbed. I choose to liken it to a person who has high blood pressure.” Mrs. Imoke spoke at a three-day workshop on capacity building for wives of Local Government Chairmen and Local Action Committee on AIDS (LACA) organised by the Partnership Opportunities for Women Empowerment and Realisation (POWER) and the State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) in Calabar. She said the state believes in the “three zeros” which are zero transmission, zero stigmatisation and zero HIV/AIDS related deaths.


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NEWS Commercial motorcyclists leave Jos as govt bans operation From Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos •From Left: Chairman, Bauchi State House Committee On Women Affairs and Child Development, Rifkatu Danna, representative of wife of Bauchi State Governor, Hajiya Talatu Barwa and Chairman, Giade Local Government Area Caretaker Committee, Alhaji Musa Mainari, at an Integrated Grassroots Empowerment and Skill Acquisition Support Programme For Women in the local government... at the weekend.

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Potiskum attack: Fulani herdsmen give Jonathan ultimatum •Gaidam tasks security operatives F

ULANI under the aegis of the MIYETTI Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and Cattle Sellers Association of Nigeria have given a-three day ultimatum to President Goodluck Jonathan to visit Potiskum and sympathise with the victims of the cattle market that was attacked last Wednesday, failing which they threatened to deny the entire country livestock supply. A communiqué issued to reporters jointly signed by Khalil Bello, Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria (Yobe chapter) and Alhaji Musa Mairago, Chairman of the Cattle Sellers Association of Nigeria,

From Duku Joel, Damaturu

shortly after a meeting in Potiskum, read in part: “We have given President Jonathan three days with effect from May 7 to visit Potiskum or send a delegation to come and see what has happened and sympathise with the people. He should compensate the families of the victims. If not, we will stop the sale and supply of livestock across the nation from Friday, May 11 to 21.” The statement also called on the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, to send a delegation to see the Potiskum massacre. The statement hailed Gov-

ernor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State for his timely intervention by visiting the scene of the incident and victims in the hospital. Gaidam has urged security operatives to be more proactive in dealing with the insecurity facing the nation. He condemned the attack on the Potiskum International Cattle Market by unknown gunmen, describing it as “heinous and despicable.” “I call on our security and intelligence personnel to do more by carrying out operations to fish out criminals and stop them before they carry out their activities,” the governor said. He was at the market to

sympathise with the victims. He announced the establishment of a committee made up of senior government officials and officials of the cattle market association to assess the damage done to the market with a view to getting it rebuilt by the state government. Gaidam said free medical treatment would be given to the 34 victims admitted at the Potiskum General Hospital and the families of the deceased would be supported. He prayed that God should grant the victims quick recovery and give the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Assailants attack journalist in Minna

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HE Niger State correspondent of the B l u e p r i n t newspapers, Mr. Aideloje Ojo, has survived an attack by three people in his Minna home. The assailants, who were reportedly armed with dangerous weapons, stormed Ojo’s Tunga, Minna home about 6.40pm on Friday. He said yesterday that the hoodlums, on arriving at his home, stayed outside his compound and sent his son to call him out. He said when he met them, their leader told him that they have been hired to deal with him because of the negative reports he has been writing “about our brother, Governor Babangida Aliyu and the Niger State Government.” Ojo said his ordeal began last Wednesday when his house was allegedly marked

•Niger dissociates self from attack From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

for demolition by the Niger State Urban Development Board without prior notice, adding that he was attacked two days later. He alleged that the leader of the gang identified as Abubakar, but popularly called Danskeri, assaulted him by holding his neck, adding that his neighbours rescued him. He said the assailants fled when a neighbour identified Denskeri. It was also learnt that a call by the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Niger State Council, Mr. Iliya Garba, prompted immediate response by the police. Ojo alleged he has been re-

ceiving threats through the phone before the Friday attack. It was gathered that the police have arrested the prime suspect and leader of the gang, Abubakar, who has made useful statement. The NUJ chief urged the police to arrest the sponsors of the attack, describing it as callous and uncivilised. Niger State Government has dissociated itself and Governor Babangida Aliyu from the attack on Mr. Ojo, the correspondent of the Blueprint newspapers. A statement yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, said Governor Aliyu’s democratic credentials would make him the least likely to encourage acts

that would deny Nigerians access to news and information. It condemned the attack on the Blueprint correspondent, adding that nothing in the world could justify such attack. The statement noted: “Governor Aliyu understands that free speech is the lifeblood of any society and a necessary ingredient for a successful democracy, thus he cannot be the one behind any move to curtail it.” It said there was no truth in the insinuation that the government was the sponsor of Mr. Ojo’s attackers, adding: “Government will ensure that the culprits face the full wrath of the law.” The state government urged journalists to continue to carry out their duties without fear of being attacked.

Northern Christians want regional govt

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HRISTIAN elders in the North under the auspices of the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NORCEF) have advocated a return to regional government, with a weak centre, to solve the country’s problems. They blamed the government for the attacks on

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

churches and Christians in the North. In a communiqué at the end of their national executive council meeting in Kaduna, the Christian elders said they have given the government time to re-

train security forces on how to handle terrorists’ attacks, adding that they are now becoming impatient. The communiqué, which was signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye and Iliya Yusuf, asked the National Assembly members to support the clamour for

a national conference to restructure Nigeria. The group said: “We are hereby calling for a national conference. We need to restructure Nigeria. We want the six geopolitical zones to become regions with a little alteration here and there according to the wishes of the people.

OMMERCIAL motorcyclists have started leaving Jos the Plateau State capital in droves following last Friday’s ban on their operation. They told The Nation that they have decided to relocate to other states. A commercial motorcyclist, Abubakar Idrissu, who spoke in Hausa language, decried the ban, saying he is a peaceful person trying to eke out a living, but the recent criminality has forced the government to ban commercial motorcyclists. Idrissu said he is left with no choice but to relocate. Another commercial motorcyclist, Musa Inuwa, who condemned the government decision, warned his colleagues not to take the law into their hands as “one man cannot be above the government.” He appealed to the government to provide an alternative for commuters to alleviate the difficulties they would face. A Jos resident, Mrs. Esther Gondina, said she supported the ban, but enjoined the government to ensure there were alternatives to alleviate the hardship commuters would go through as witnessed last year when the ban was first announced. Her words: “Commercial motorcyclists have aided a lot of criminal acts and increased insecurity in the state. The ban is a welcome development, but adequate measures must be taken to ensure that people who do not have cars do not suffer the negative effects of the ban.” The Plateau Government last Friday announced an immediate ban on the operations of commercial motorcyclists in Jos and Bukuru metropolis due to the prevailing insecurity in the state. Commissioner for Information, Mr. Abraham Yiljap, alleged that some attacks in the metropolis were carried out or aided with the use of motorcycles.

Suspicious men storm Daily Trust’s publisher’s home HREE suspicious men last Friday stormed the Abuja home of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust titles, Malam Kabiru Yusuf, threatening the security guard to open the gates for them. This occurred a few days after a video clips purportedly from the Boko Haram, showing live footages of ThisDay bomb attack, threatened to attack more media organisations and their workers including the Daily Trust. The Chief Security Officer (CSO) of Media Trust, Col. Muktari Garba (rtd), said the men went to the home of the publisher at about 10am, trying to confirm from the security guard on duty, Mr. Agada, “whether this house belongs to the chief executive of one of the newspaper organisations in Abuja. “When the guard said no, the men, who came in an ash posh Honda Civic coupe, with registration number BL 927 RBC, changed their story.”

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He said they told the guard that the house was for sale and they were potential buyers who were there to inspect it; therefore he should open the gates for them to get into the compound. He said when the guard refused to open the gates for them, an argument ensued. “One of them said, ‘it is the house, so let us just go.’ The other one said, ‘let us stay and see if we can inspect the compound.’” Garba said the men went to the house when there was nobody around “except the unarmed private guard, cleaners and housemaids.” He said the motives of the people became suspicious because “there is nothing to indicate that the property is for sale. Also, the men were not accompanied by any of the purported estate agents.” He said: “When the chairman later contacted the landlord to find out whether he actually put the property for sale, he was embarrassed.” He said the matter has been reported to the relevant authorities.

Alleged certificate forgery: Court adjourns for adoption of witness’ address HE Federal High

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Court, Makurdi, Benue State, has fixed June 15 for the adoption of witness’ address in the alleged certificate forgery case brought against Governor Gabriel Suswam by Terver Kakih. Kakih contested the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries against Suswam, but lost. He later sued the governor for alleged certificate forgery and irregularities in the primary election. At the resumed hearing last Friday, Suswam, the 4th defendant, opened his defence and closed it after calling one witness, the state secretary of the PDP, who adopted his statement on oath as evidence in the case.

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

He also tendered two documents (result of the ward congress, which produced three delegates each and result sheet of the governorship primaries of the PDP in Benue State, which was duly signed by the two agents of the aspirants(Suswam \Kakih). Under cross-examination by counsel to Kakih, Sam Korgba, a witness, Bem Dzoho, said he did not know whether Suswam tendered his certificate because the screening of aspirants was carried out by the PDP national secretariat, though he admitted it was mandatory for aspirants to present their certificates.


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NEWS OSHIOMHOLE’S AIDE’S MURDER

JAF condemns incident

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HE Joint Action Front (JAF) has condemned the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. In a statement, the JAF said: “We commiserate with his family, the Edo State Government, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the labour movement. “Until his politically motivated assassination, Oyerinde, who was on leave of absence, was the NLC Deputy General Secretary. “Oyerinde lived a life of struggle for the emancipation of the masses right from his days at the University of Lagos and in the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). “Before joining the NLC, he was an Assistant General Secretary of the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN) and he participated in several popular struggle under the platform of

Carrington mourns

Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO). “JAF strongly holds that Oyerinde’s murder is a case of political assassination, which all those who cherish a humane society must condemn. “ We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government should find the murderers. “The descent into a state of barbarism and anarchy in Edo State is a product of insatiable greed and absolute lack of democratic values. “Nigerians should reject exploiters masquerading as democrats. They don’t respect the wishes of workers and the citizens and can only force themselves on the people. “The only way to end political barbarism is for the people to organise and lead the struggle to end oppression and exploitation in Nigeria. “This is the best way to sustain Oyerinde’s memory and other victims of political barbarism perpetrated by Nigeria’s ruling class.”

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•Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole with Adam, the late Oyerinde’ s son ...yesterday.

FORMER United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Walter Carrington, has expressed shock and sadness over the killing of Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Olaitan Oyerinde at his home in Benin. In a letter to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, which was jointly signed by his wife, Arese, the Carringtons said: “We are greatly saddened and shocked to learn of the assassination of your trusted Private Secretary, Olaitan Oyerinde. Whenever we interacted with him we found him to be most helpful and kind.” The former US diplomat said by his murder, Oyerinde has been denied the most basic of human rights. “The most important basic of human rights are those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Olaitan has been cruelly deprived of all three. “We send our deepest condolences to you, his family, colleagues and friends,” the statement said.

Oshiomhole urges fair media reporting

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DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has appealed to the media to be fair in its reporting by giving equal opportunity to all parties, irrespective of ownership affiliations. The governor made the appeal during the commissioning of the African Independent Television (AIT) ultramodern station in Benin. He expressed worry over the non-regulation of the op-

erations of governmentowned broadcast stations by the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). Oshiomhole called on the Federal Government to provide adequate security for media houses, saying that security must be enhanced and “Nigerians cannot get the much desired development if the media fails to appraise the excesses of government.”

The Chairman, Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT, Ray Power, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, hailed the governor for his developmental transformation. A minute silence was observed in honour of the three reporters, who died in an auto crash, involving the governor’s convoy as well as Olaitan Oyerinde, who was murdered on Friday.

CD to govt: find his killers

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HE Campaign for Democracy (CD) has urged the Federal Government to find the killers of Olaitan Oyerinde, who was Private Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Oyerinde was murdered at his home in Benin on Friday. In a statement, the CD President, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said: “Olaitan in his eventful life was a committed patriot as a student leader, pro-democracy campaigner, labour activist and public servant. “He was chairman of Lagos CD between 1992 and 1994. “His gruesome murder has opened another chapter in the book of assassination in a country that has slipped into the Hobbesian state of nature where life is ‘short, nasty and brutish’. “We demand a thorough probe of the killing so that the perpetrators can be brought before the temple of justice. “The reason why the merchants of death continue to take prey upon prey in our country is that our justice administrator has a near-nil rate of tracking perpetrators down. “Meanwhile, our condolence goes to Oyerinde’s family, the Edo State Government and all his associates across Nigeria in this grievous time. “May his fighting spirit torment his killers until they are brought to account for their crime.”

Tension in Akwa Ibom over title From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

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HERE is crisis in the Igbo community in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, over who becomes the next Eze Ndigbo. According to the President/Leader of Igbo Community in Uyo, Barth Okpala, CYC Umeakuka has been parading himself as the Eze Ndigbo, Uyo despite a court order restraining him. Okpala explained that Umeakuka’s persistent attitude in installing himself as Eze Ndigbo had generated alot of tension among the Igbo community . He stated that the community had written to the Commissioner of Police seeking his intervention to prevent a total breakdown of law and order. His words: “Umeakuka broke away from the Igbo Community and formed a rival association which he named Igbo Union Federated. “He ignored the traditional injunction by the Uyo Traditional Rulers Council headed by the then Nsobom M.U. Eka. He went to court under the Fundamental but his case was dismissed.” “Umeakuka’s persistence in parading himself as Eze Ndigbo of Uyo forced the Igbo Community to file a suit at Uyo High Court .” Okpala warned the public and government officials to desist from getting in contact with Umeakuka on behalf of Ndigbo. Umeakuka could not be reached for comments.

Olu of Warri ends celebrations From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

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HE 25th coronation anniversary celebrations of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II, ended yesterday with a thanksgiving service at the parish of Foursquare Gospel Church, Olu Palace ,Warri, Delta State. The service had as its theme “Rejoicing in God Our Help” It was presided over by the General Overseer, Foursquare Gospel Church of Nigeria, Rev Felix Meduoye. Meduoye reminded the congregation that “we are all gathered here today to celebrate with our monarch as he marks the silver jubilee of his ascension to the exalted throne of Iweer kingdom. “We are here to celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of God over these past 25 years, not only to our royal father, but as well as Iwere Kingdom as an entity”. The cleric said Itsekiri kingdom has witnessed unity, peace and progressive development in many areas since the ascension of the monarch. He appealed to government to tackle the problem of security, power and the economy, adding that this will bring about the desired peace, growth and development for the nation. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan was represented by his Deputy, ProfAmos Utuama.


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THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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NEWS

CNPP to Fed Govt: tackle corruption or face mass action

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HE Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has urged the Federal Government to make changes in the police as well as other anti-corruption agencies and punish those indicted in cases of malfeasance. The umbrella body of opposition parties said there would be a mass action against the government, if it fails to make the changes. The CNPP alleged that the anti-graft agencies have compromised their traditional roles in the fight against corruption. In a statement by its Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the CNPP decried what it described as “the apparent inaction on the part of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), weeks after the National Assembly exposed corruption in the administration of fuel subsidy, pension administration and the capital market. It expressed worry that EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde is still in office after he was allegedly fingered as one of the beneficiaries of the pension scam fund. According to him, the ICPC has not explored avenues that would enable it rescue the country, where its sister agency, the EFCC, has failed. The statement reads: “The EFCC has sold Nigerians lies

to cover up for its compromised situation. How else can one explain the fact that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Niger Delta, Abubakar Kigo, is the highest ranking person to have gone on trial for the rot exposed in the sector while the man that was exposed as the mastermind, Abdularasheed Maina, Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, is walking free and is even reported to be calling the shots at the EFCC? Why have Nigerians been denied a documentary evidence of the N2 billion allegedly recovered at Kigo’s residence? And why has that money not been tendered as an exhibit in court plus where is the money now?” Ezugwu asked.

Gringory buried amid tears, laughter

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HE body of the late comedy actor, Mr Jams Akwari Iroha, aka Gringory Akabogu in the rested television soap, the New Masquerade, was at the weekend buried in his home in Amokwe Item, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. Many jesters entertained guests at the ceremony. The family of the late comedian threatened to sue media houses which reported that Iroha died in penury and lived in a rented apartment at Item, if they do not retract their stories. The Iroha family said the

From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia

stories were false and portrayed him in bad light. The head of the Iroha family, Elder Nwokeocha Okpa Iroha said his brother never lived in a rented apartment at Amokwe Item. He said the late comedian lived in his house, which he built in the 1980s. The family spokesman added that the late Iroha did not die at Item but at a private hospital at Onitsha, the Anambra State capital. Iroha said: “Let me take this

advantage to correct the erroneous, negative and offensive comments made in some sections of the media about James, and by extension about my family. First, that James lived and died in a rented apartment at his home town is a blatant lie. “It is true that he lived in a rented apartment in Umuahia, as a civil servant, like other civil servants of his type. There is nothing wrong in that. For your information, James built a modest bungalow at Amokwe Item in the 1980s, which he called ‘Bush House’.”


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NEWS Daboh for burial May 19 From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain Dr. Godwin Dabo’Adzuana, is to be buried on May 19 in his village, Tse-Mker, in Vandeikya Local Government of Benue State. He died on March 15. He was 70. According to a statement by his family in Abuja, the funeral of the former PDP chief would begin on May 17 with a service of songs at 6pm at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja. The statement reads: “On Friday, May 18, the body of Dr. Daboh will depart Abuja for Benue State, where there will be a stopover in Makurdi before proceeding to his Tse Mker home on Koti Yough Road in Vandeikya Local Government Area for a Christian wake at 8pm. “Interment is scheduled to take place at Dr. Godwin Dabo’Adzuana compound in Tse-Mker on Saturday, May 19 at 10am’’.

Appeal Court urged to dismiss ANPP candidate’s suit MEMBER representing Idah federal constituency of Kogi State, Hon Ismail Husseini Inah has asked an Abuja Court of Appeal to dismiss the appeal of an All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Sam Adejoh Okedi. Okedi is asking the appellate court to review its judgment which struck out his election petition appeal. He is urging the court to declare him the winner of the April 9 election. But in a 19-paragraph counter affidavit, Inah said the appeal was borne out of frustration and desperation because the judgment now sought to be varied has run its full course. ‘’The judgement of this court which ordered the retrial does not contain any

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From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

accidental slip or accidental mistake and the said judgement fully expressed the intention of this court. ‘’There is no power in this court to alter or vary its judgment with a view to giving a completely different judgment as sought by the applicants. ‘’I conscientiously believe that the applicants have brought this application out of frustration and desperation seeking by all means to deprive me of the mandate that was freely given to me by the electorate. ‘’That it is in the interest of justice to refuse this application’’. Besides, Inah is claiming that the judgment the appli-

cant is seeking to review is a nullity because the reason for the judgment was given outside 60 days. ‘’The failure to give the reasons for the judgement within the 60 days in line with Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution renders the entire judgment a nullity’’. Consequently, he asked the appeal court to restore the judgement of the National Assembly election tribunal sitting in Lokoja that upheld his election. No date has been fixed for the commence the hearing of the appeal. The National Assembly Election Tribunal had affirmed the election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Inah. Dissatisfied, Okedi ap-

pealed against the judgement at the Court of Appeal in Abuja which ordered a re-trial by another tribunal panel. The new tribunal panel however declined jurisdiction on the grounds that the 180 days and even the 60 days for election petition appeal has lapsed. Besides, the decisions of the Su-

Nigerians should talk, says Gowon

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ORMER Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon said last night that Nigerians should discuss contentious issues of nationhood. He is, however, opposed to the tag of sovereignty being attached to a national conference by some of its advocates. Gen. Gowon spoke at the presentation of the Silverbird Man of the Year Award. Business Mogul Aliko Dangote and Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio were honoured. Among the dignitaries at the event were Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma and Pastor Tunde Bakare.

Total drills two wells in Rivers

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Wamakko hails Fidelity on CSR Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko at the weekend praised Fidelity Bank Plc for its commitment to the less-privileged through what it called robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes Wamakko was speaking at the inauguration of two classroom blocks at the Abdul Rashid Raji Special School Sokoto which were renovated by the officials of the Sokoto branch of the Fidelity Bank. The school has a population of about 2,500 pupils comprising the physicallychallenged, as well as ablebodied pupils. The school is said to be the only one in the country with an admixture curriculum that integrates the physicallychallenged and able-bodied pupils in a symbiotic learning environment. Wamakko expressed happiness that people and organisations in the private sector had begun to recognise that the burden of the provision of education should not be left to the government alone to carry. He praised the officials and management for being good members of the community. In the address of its Managing Director, Mr Reginald Ihejiahi, which was read by the Executive Director, North Directorate , Mr Balarabe Mohammed, he expressed happiness that the bank is touching the lives of people through the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme. “Our joy is not only that we have once again made a difference in the lives of the people of this community, but also that to a large extent the vision of the Helping Hands Programme is being realised in the sense that the moment our staff began to work on the two classroom blocks, two other organisations took interest and began to work on the other needs of the school”, he said.

preme Court on such cases are enough for the tribunal to exercise restraint and decline jurisdiction. The petitioner appealed against the re-trial tribunal panel decision at the appeal court and at the hearing stage he withdrew his appeal which was consequently struck out by the appellate court.

•Niger State Governor Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (left) presenting keys to the National President, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Usman Yasin, during the inauguration of 283 palliative vehicles, at the Trade Fair Complex, Minna.

Why civil servants’ April pay is delayed, by AGF

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HE Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) has explained why some civil servants have not been paid their last month’s salaries. A statement from the AGF’s spokesman, Hassan Dodo attributed the delay to “the late holding of the Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting (FAAC) and the introduction of a new software which is meant

From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor)

to facilitate easy payment.” To ensure that the affected civil servants are paid soon, Dodo said: “All role players in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have started collecting details of civil servants concerned and retaining same for immediate assistance and follow up with their respective banks.”

Though the statement did not specify when the affected civil servants will be paid, Dodo told The Nation on telephone that the affected civil servants will soon get their April salaries and the OAGF was working towards that. In recent times, the delay in holding the monthly FAAC meetings has led to delay in the payment of workers’ salaries in all tiers of government especially at

the local government councils. The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was adopted in 2007 as a centralised and automated payroll system that minimises fraud, facilitates the payment of salaries with minimal wastage, ensure easy storage and retrieval of personnel records as well as help to determine actual government spending on payroll and emoluments.

RENCH oil company Total has begun drilling two relief wells at a gas plant in Rivers State that was shut down last month because of a leak caused by a technical incident, it said yesterday. The leak occurred on a block that also contains crude oil in Rivers State, one of the three states that make up the Niger Delta, a vast oil-rich wetlands region in the Southeast. “Total E&P Nigeria Limited’s (TEPNG) teams continue to actively focus on the well control operations of the IBW 16 on the Ibewa gas field in Rivers State ... which was affected during the incident of March 20,” a statement from the oil major said. “Simultaneously, as a precautionary measure, relief wells are proceeding on two selected locations,” it added. Block OML 58 also produced around 76,000 barrels per day of oil a day in 2004 and this increased in 2008, the company says on its website. Total Nigeria spokesman Fred Ohwahwa told Reuters by phone that oil production at the site had not been affected by the leak, only associated gas. “No crude oil is leaking, only gas, mixed with water, which has a muddy consistency,” he said.

Ogun PDP criticises party’s position on court orders

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HE Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised a statement credited to its national leadership that it will abide by all competent court decisions only after it has exercised its rights of appeal. It said the position negates the basic principles of the rule of law that all court orders and judgments must be obeyed. The party said the right to appeal does not render an order or judgment inactive until an appeal is decided. Counsel to Ogun State PDP, Mr. R.A Oluyede said in a statement: “It is elementary law that a court order/judgment is valid until it is set aside and that exercise of a right to appeal does not give

By Joseph Jibueze

anyone the right to disobey or disregard a valid subsisting judgment of the court. “In respect of its Ogun State affairs, the PDP has continued to disregard and even disobey the order of the Federal High court including the following: “The order of the Federal High Court Lagos of 21st September 2010 which required that the Soremi-led Harmonised State executive be recognised as the Ogun State exco of the PDP; “The judgment of the Federal High court Abuja which affirmed that the Soremi-led executive is the only valid state exco of the PDP in Ogun State capable of organising the activities of the party in Ogun

State “The Judgment of the Federal High Court Lagos delivered on 27th January , 2012 which confirmed the effect of the two previous decisions of the court; “The order of Federal High Court Lagos requiring that the Southwest Zonal Congress and even the National Convention observe and abide by the status quo established by the above judgments and orders. “The order of the Federal High Court Lagos nullfying the Southwest Zonal Congress of 18th March, 2012. “The judgment of the Federal High Court Lagos further giving effect to previous orders and judgment. “None of these judgments or orders has been set aside or stayed. There has been no ap-

peal against the orders and judgments in 1 and 2 yet the PDP continues to disegard those orders. “In the circumstances, it is highly reprehensible for any political party, especially one which professes to respect the rule of law, to issue a statement to the effect that it will only obey an order of the Supreme Court and not the orders of the Federal High Court. “It is even more so when Ogun State was not among the 11 states that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) faulted their congresses. Yet, the party accepted the result of the congresses from these states. So, what then is the problem with the INEC certified congresses in Ogun State?

“Is there not a sense in the insinuations that all these shenanigans are meant to serve the interest of one man who is peddling his influence and seen to be above the law? Does it not matter to the party leadership that the whole world is watching and that whatever it does or fails to do will rub off on its estimation and integrity in the eyes of right thinking members of the society? “It is clear that the intention is to continue to disregard and disobey valid court orders under whatever guise that can be contrived. It beats imagination that such statement was endorsed by a lawyer (the National Publicity Secretary) who ought to know better as an officer in the temple of justice.”


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

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FOREIGN NEWS

Hollande is French President-elect •Continued from page 1 on government debt in member countries. Shortly after polls closed at 20:00 (18:00), French media published projections based on partial results giving Hollande a lead of almost four points. Exuberant Hollande supporters gathered on Place de la Bastille in Paris - a traditional rallying point of the Left - to celebrate. Hollande - the first socialist to win the French presidency since Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s - gave his victory speech in his stronghold of Tulle in central France. He said he was “proud to have been capable of giving people hope again”. He said he would push ahead with his pledge to refocus EU fiscal efforts from austerity to “growth”. “Europe is watching us, austerity can no longer be the only option,” he said. In his speech Sarkozy appeared to want to confound all the labels that haunted him while he was France’s president. He was said to be arrogant. Last night, he appeared humble. He was said to be president of the elite only. But last night he came across as president of the people, thanking all those who supported him and appealed for unity across France. And another role reversal: swept to power as president five years ago on a popular mandate for change but became the bulldog of French politics and became

•Supporters of Socialist Party (PS) candidate celebrate at the Place de la Bastille in Paris after the announcement of the first official results of the French presidential final round. PHOTO: AFP

the underdog. The question now is what happens to his party. Will there be a fight for the political right in France. The far-right hopes to make huge gains in the June legislative elections thanks to Sarkozy’s defeat. Hollande has called for a renegotiation of a hardwon European treaty on budget discipline championed by German Chancel-

He wants to raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers. In his concession speech, Sarkozy told supporters: “Francois Hollande is the president of France and he must be respected.” The outgoing president said he was “taking responsibility for defeat”.

Hinting about his future, he said: “My place will no longer be the same. My involvement in the life of my country will now be different.” During the campaign, he had said he would leave politics if he lost the election. Sarkozy, who has been in office since 2007, had promised to reduce France’s large budget def-

12 killed in Thai chemical blast

Netanyahu calls for Israeli polls ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for an early general election in four months’ time. The vote is expected to take place in September, a year before he is required by law to seek a new mandate. Netanyahu leads a centreright coalition which includes his own Likud, and the Labour party of Ehud Barak. Netanyahu has been prime minister since 2009. Opinion polls suggest that he is by some distance the most popular politician in Israel. He told a meeting of party workers in Tel Aviv that he didn’t want “a year and a half of political instability accompanied by blackmail and populism”. After listing the accomplishments of his government, he said he would like to lead a broadly based coalition after the election. The BBC’s Wyre Davis in Jerusalem says the timing of the decision may be partly due to a recent souring of relations with a junior coalition partner, Nationalist Israel Beiteinu party, over plans to require ultra religious Jews to do army service. It could also be a move to strengthen his own position if Barack Obama wins another term as US president later this year.

lor Angela Merkel and Sarkozy. The president-elect was due in Paris to join supporters on Place de la Bastille. Hollande capitalised on France’s economic woes and President Sarkozy’s unpopularity. The socialist candidate has promised to raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year.

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T least 12 people have been killed and more than 100 injured as explosions and a fire hit Thailand’s largest petrochemical complex. Hundreds of residents living near the Map Ta Phut plant, in Rayong province, were evacuated and experts are monitoring the area for possible chemical contamination. The cause of the blast is not known. The plant has been at the centre of a long-running dispute by local residents and

environmental campaign groups. The blaze, which sent plumes of acrid black smoke over a wide area, was brought under control after four hours. Rayong Governor Seni Jittakasem said the explosions happened on Saturday when workers were cleaning a chemical tank at a synthetics factory on the site. He said most of the dead were workers at the plant and that all those evacuated had returned home. Lt Col Charoen Vititko-

rnkul, of Map Ta Phut police, said forensic teams were sifting through the debris looking for clues. “We are also looking for any more bodies,” he said. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has set up a committee of experts to examine possible toxic contamination in the wake of the blaze, the Bangkok Post reported. Rayong province, about 140km (90 miles) south-east of the capital Bangkok, is one of Thailand’s largest industrial areas.

The Map Ta Phut complex is one of the biggest petrochemical hubs in the world. Heavy pollution from the complex was first noticed in the 1980s, but it was not until 1997 that villagers began to campaign after children were taken ill and rates of cancer and other illnesses surged. In a long-running legal battle, local residents and environmentalists managed to stall construction of 76 projects there before a court ruling in 2010 said building work could be resumed.

Obama begins official re-election campaign

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NITED States President Barack Obama has kicked off his campaign for re-election in November with rallies in two key battleground states, Ohio and Virginia. He told supporters in Ohio that the US had been fighting back from recession and pledged further efforts on the economy if given a second term. He hit out at his rival Mitt Romney, saying the Republican challenger would “turn back the clock”. But he also acknowledged that the 6 November vote would be tight. He said he understood that many in the country

are dissatisfied with the slow pace of the change he promised when he came to power. On Friday, Obama fended off criticism from Romney over disappointing job figures. The jobless rate in the US has been stuck above 8% since early 2009. Official figures showed that the US economy created 115,000 jobs during April, down on the previous month and fewer than analysts had expected. President Obama strolled on stage in Columbus, Ohio, to cheers and chanting from thousands of supporters already warmed up by glitzy campaign videos

and an introduction from his wife Michelle. Confronting his critics head-on, he reminded the audience that he had inherited the financial crisis. He said he acknowledged that many Americans were still hurting, but urged voters to give him a second term to continue making progress. “This is not just another election, this is a make or break moment for the middle class. We have been through too much to turn back now,” he said to some 14,000 supporters in a sports arena. “That’s the choice in this election and that is why I am running for a second term

as president of the United States,”Obama said. The audience erupted into chants of “four more years”. Obama described Mr Romney as a good family man and businessman, but said he had learned the “wrong lessons” from being a CEO, saying his policies would only benefit the wealthy. “I think he has drawn the wrong lessons from those experiences. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors like him make money the rest of us will automatically prosper as well.”

icit through spending cuts. It is only the second time an incumbent president has failed to win re-election since the start of France’s Fifth Republic in 1958. The last was Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who lost to Mr Mitterrand in 1981. The new president is expected to be inaugurated later this month. A parliamentary election is due in June.

Greek parties record loss at polls ARLY results in Greece’s parliamentary election suggest the two main parties have suffered dramatic losses. With 35% of the vote counted, centre-right New Democracy is in the lead with 20.35%, down from 33.5% in 2009. Centre-left Pasok is in third place with 14.10%, down from 43.9% in the last elections. Left-wing coalition Syriza is in second place with 15.79%. Pasok and New Democracy, in coalition since last November, were expected to lose support to anti-austerity parties. There is widespread anger across Greece to harsh measures imposed by the government in return for international bailouts. Syriza opposes the government’s austerity measures. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party could enter parliament for the first time if the exit poll prediction of it winning 6.5% -7.5% of the vote comes to fruition. New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said he would form a national salvation government to keep the country in the euro. But he said he would seek to “amend” Greece’s controversial EU-IMF bailout agreement in order to boost growth.

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FOREIGN ECOWAS to deploy volunteers in Liberia From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja.

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HE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is set to deploy pioneer volunteers, made of young specialists in various fields of human endeavour to Liberia. They are to strengthen peace-building, national reconstruction and accelerated development under a regional development framework. In a statement yesterday by the Communication Unit of the ECOWAS Commission, the volunteers are billed to start a week-long induction training in Monrovia, Liberia from today. Partners, according to the statement, include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Volunteer Programme (UNVP), UNESCO, the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) and the European Union. It reads in parts: “The opening of the induction of some 23 volunteers will be graced by government ministers, top ECOWAS officials and representatives of partners involved in the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme (EVP) through an agreement signed with the ECOWAS Commission for the pilot phase of the scheme. “In line with its Vision 2020, ECOWAS set up the Volunteer Programme that cuts across all areas/sectors of activities of the ECOWAS Commission and other Community institutions to serve the needs of member states.”

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Egyptian police arrest protesters BOUT 300 people are still being detained after deadly clashes between protesters and security forces in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, military sources said. Violence outside the defence ministry on Friday left one soldier dead and hundreds wounded. The violence comes less than three weeks before presidential polls. Military prosecutors say that the 300 people detained, including a number of journalists, will be held for 15 days while they’re investigated for their part in the clashes. But the authorities have moved to defuse the situation a little by saying they are releasing all the women who were arrested; activists say less than 20 women had been detained. The head of the ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, on Saturday attended the public funeral in Cairo of the soldier killed in the unrest. Friday’s arrests came after protesters tried to break through an army roadblock to reach the ministry, in Cairo’s Abbassiya district, resulting in clashes with the army which lasted several hours. The area is now reported to be calm after a curfew was imposed on Friday night. The protesters had been

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•Egyptian anti-military protesters chant slogans during a demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Cairo to demand for the release of hundreds of detained demonstrators...yesterday PHOTO:AFP

Curfew extended for the third night

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GYPT extended an overnight curfew around the Defence Ministry yesterday to deter a repeat of Friday’s deadly violence, less than three weeks before a presidential vote. A soldier died and almost 400 people were wounded in Friday’s clashes, the second time in a week that protests over the army’s handling of Egypt’s troubled transition from army rule to civilian government have turned violent. The military re-imposed the curfew in the Abbasiya district around the Defence Ministry for the third straight day, the state news agency quoted a military source as saying. Running from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. (2100 GMT to 0400 GMT), it is an hour shorter than on the previous two nights. angry at the generals’ failure to protect a demonstration on Wednesday which came under attack from armed men, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 people. The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo say the mass arrests are a stark contrast to Wednesday’s attack - for which it appears no-one

A presidential election, which starts on May 23-24, will choose a replacement for Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in February last year. Generals have governed since then and their rule has been punctuated by unrest, sometimes violent. Many protesters who gathered near the ministry were ultra-orthodox Salafi Muslims furious that a sheikh they backed for president has been disqualified from the race. Liberals and others were also there, accusing the army of seeking to manipulate or delay the vote. The military has dismissed those allegations, insisting it will stick to its timetable of handing over power to a new president by July 1, or even earlier in the unlikely event of an outright winner in the first round of voting this month.

has been arrested or charged. Nevertheless, he says, many Egyptians will applaud the tough way these clashes have been handled - they are longing, above all, simply for a return to law and order, and to normality. One lawyer, Ragia Omran, told the Associated

Press news agency that the roundup was one of the largest mass arrests to take place under the ruling military council, which took over after Hosni Mubarak was toppled as president last year. Since then, Egypt has seen regular protests against the council, who many say has failed to bring about democratic reform.

al-Bashir calls for warmer Sudans relation

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UDANESE President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said yesterday he would not allow conflict with South Sudan to overshadow “strategic relations” with its people, striking a less confrontational tone over a crisis that has raised fears of war. After South Sudan seized

the contested Heglig oilfield last month, Bashir vowed to free the South’s citizens from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement whom he called “insects”. During a month of conflict, the United Nations condemned Sudan’s air strikes on South Sudan’s territory and

international pressure forced the South to withdraw from Heglig. The fighting prompted the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution threatening sanctions, if they did not follow an African Union roadmap to stop fighting and return to talks.

Malian Islamists destroy UNESCO site

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ALIAN fighters from the Ansar Dine Islamist group attacked and burned the tomb of one of the town’s saints, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, residents and a regional official said on Saturday.

The militants broke off doors, windows and wooden gates from the grave and burned them, they said, in the first reported attack on a shrine in Mali. El Hadj Baba Haidara, an elected member of parliament from Timbuktu told

Reuters some young people were discussing how to react despite being unarmed. “There is a risk the people may revolt because this is something that affects their dignity. This tomb is sacred, it is too difficult to bear,” Haidara said.

Oyo Speaker urges lawmakers to ensure YO State Speaker effective legislation Monsurat Sunmonu

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has said law making process would become vibrant in Nigeria if legislators prioritise their assignments on nation-building. Mrs Sunmonu spoke in Abuja at the inauguration of the new executive comPUBLIC NOTICE AREMU I formerly known and addressed as Miss Naomi Opeyemi Aremu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Naomi Opeyemi Adeleke Emmanuel. All former documents remain valid, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Power Holding Company of Nigeria and the general public take note.

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

mittee members of the Conference of Speakers of States Legislature in Nigeria at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Conference Centre. The Speaker, who was sworn in as the Vice Chairman of the conference, noted that being the only woman in the Oyo House of Assembly and in the new executive committee would spur her to empower women and transform the Assembly.

Sunmonu and other members of the state Assembly wore aso ebi at the swearingin ceremony. She thanked her colleagues for their support and cooperation. Deputy Speaker David Olaniyan described Mrs Sunmonu as a woman with proven capability among her male counterparts from different political parties in Nigeria. He said the Speaker has shown that she is for the development of the state and the nation.


THE NATION MONDAY, MAY 7, 2011

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SPORT EXTRA

Yekini was fun to be with—Dimeji Lawal

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HE late Super Eagles striker, Rashidi Yekini who died on Friday, May 4th, 2011 and was buried according to Muslim rights in his home town, Ira, Kwara State Saturday was a very funny man who liked making people happy with his jovial behaviour. A close associate of the late Eagles point man, Dimeji Lawal who also played for the Eagles revealed this to NationSport when reacting on Yekini’s death. “One unique attribute or rather human quality of Rashidi Yekini was making people laugh and happy through cracking of jokes and funny conversations. If you were close to him, the way and manner he talked, played was enough to make you crack your ribs with laughter. He

• Says no player can beat ‘Yeking’s’ record From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja was a very honest and transparent person who didn’t have time to keep malice with anybody. “He was a big brother to me and I will miss him greatly. Another fact I want people to know is that I was a striker and I am very sure that it will be very difficult to meet Yekini’s goal scoring records as regards club and national team. “This is a man that scored over 30 goals for a Portuguese elite club, he was holding the Nations Cup highest goal scorer up till the time he died and also scored Nigeria’s first

World Cup goal in USA ’94 Mundial, so, what else do you want? His goal scoring record will surely be very hard to equal or surpass. “This man was simply great and we will all miss him. I only

pray that God should grant him eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear his loss,” Lawal a prominent former Flying Eagles and Eagles star,” told NationSport yesterday.

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Dolphins Football club defeated Sharks football club by four goals to one on penalty shoot out to lift the state trophy for the second year running. The encounter started in a very drab manner and yielded nothing spectacular all through the first half as the entire play produced nothing to cheer about. A ball handling incident just a little before the first half break earned Sharks a spot kick which was burnt by Gomo Onduku in the forty-fourth minute. The second half was much more active with skilled and exciting displays. This half also ended goalless taking the encounter

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• Dimeji Lawal in his playing days

Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt

into penalty shoot out. The quartet of Kennedy Chinwo, Chidi Osuchukwu, Festus Austin and Victor Ezuruike all scored their kicks for Dolphins while only Juwon Oshaniwa was the only scorer for Sharks. Kola Anubi and Ousmane Sane had both missed their spot kicks. Dolphins Coach, Stanley Eguma, speaking after the encounter said: “It was a good game. Both teams played well. It was a game that any of the sides could have won. I’m happy we won because to retain the trophy is not easy. "The standard of the game showed that the two teams were prepared for the Federation Cup.”

the second involves athletes competing for honours in the colours of local council and council development areas. Oshodi said the biannual competition aims at getting athletes at younger age, unlike in the past, exposing them to competitions in and outside the state, finding a few more talents for the forthcoming sports festival, which the state is hosting, and hoping to develop the culture of participation in sports, which has dwindled over the years. He also commended Governor Babatunde Fashola, who he described as a former school athlete, for giving his ministry the needed backing to develop sports in the state, just as he disclosed that the governor has approved monthly training al-

lowance for 420 athletes to prevent them from being poached by other states. “I must admit that poaching is a big problem but we are doing everything possible to make our athletes stay with us,” he said. Further, he revealed that 107 coaches have been placed on contracts and that the state produces over 50 per cent of the country’s athletes. To him, it is normal that those who do not make the state team to the National Sports Festival would pit their tent with other states. Fatayi-Williams, has said the second week would witness combat sports, racket sports, traditional sports, while the round robin and knockout stages of the team sports follow in the third week.

side of our football. Governor Amosun, who recalled that the late goal king ended his footballing career with state-owned soccer outfit, Gateway Football Club when he played for the club in the 2005 Nigeria Premier League season, said he showed dedication, commitment and good leadership to the entire team during his one-year stay and praised his contribution to Nigerian successes in various Nations and World Cup campaigns. Amosun therefore prayed to the Almighty Allah to give his immediate family, former Nigeria Internationals and the entire Nigeria football family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and grant the 1993 African Footballer of the year aljana fidau.

'Hosting of Falconets, a plus to Ogun Government'

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Lagos Sports Festival kicks off with zonal preliminaries HE Lagos State Sports Festival tagged “Ibile Games will kick off across the state today with zonal preliminaries for team events. According to the Technical Director of the Games, Babatunde Fatayi-Williams, the preliminaries became necessary considering the huge entries received for the games. Being the first week of the championship, the three venues – Teslim Balogun Stadium, Rowe Park and Yaba College of technology will come alive with teams jostling for places in the knockout stage. For the State Commissioner for Sports, Wahid Oshodi, the games would hold at two levels, the first level involving secondary school students while

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IVERS FA Cup defending champions,

HE Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has commiserated with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the entire Nigeria football family over the demise of Nigeria soccer icon and former African Footballer of the Year, Rashidi Yekini. In a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Gbenga Otenuga, Governor Amosun said he received the death of Yekini with shock and deep sense of loss. Governor Amosun said the death of Alhaji Rashidi Yekini came at a time Nigeria football needs his vast experience in the area of mentoring younger players and promoting the good

•As NPL Match Review C’ttee indicts clubs, officials after the game between Kano Pillars and Rising Stars (Match 220). Also recommended for suspension from all NPL matches for the rest of the season is Kwara United official, Mr. Mumuni for hitting the referee on the head in the Ilorin derby between ABS and Kwara United (Match 42). Referees were not spared by the Match Review Committee’s hammer as the duo of Nwabueze Maurice U. (Abia State) and Assistant Referee (AR II), Jonathan Lar (Kaduna State) were recommended for indefinite suspension from all NPL matches pending the final decision of the Disciplinary Committee of the NFF. Nwabueze was indicted for poor officiating in the match between Ocean Boys and Niger Tornadoes while Lar was indicted for similar offence in the match between Gombe United and 3SC.

Dolphins beat Sharks, retain title

Amosun mournsYekini

Adepoju, Babalade, others face sanctions EAM Manager of Enyimba International, Okey Nwabeke and Shooting Stars of Ibadan trio of Mutiu Adepoju, Ajibade Babalade and goalkeeper, Ajiboye Oladele top the long list of officials, players and clubs indicted by the Match Review Committee of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) after its sitting in Abuja on Thursday last week. The committee recommended two-match suspension for Nwabeke after the Match Report indicted him of delaying (the restart of) the match for about three minutes in the league game between 3SC and Enyimba International, after Enyimba’s Emmanuel Sunday (Jersey No. 28) was red-carded in the 85th minute by insisting that the player must not leave the technical bench of Enyimba Int’l, an act which breaches the NPL Rules and Regulations and capable of bringing the game into disrepute. a. The committee also recommended three-match suspensions for the 3SC trio of Adepoju, Babalade and goalkeeper Oladele after they were, similarly, indicted by the Match Report for harassing the match officials and disrupting play for about three minutes in the league fixture involving Gombe United and 3SC of Ibadan (Match 218). The Committee, however, upheld the fines and other sanctions earlier imposed on Gombe United by the Secretariat of the NPL (N2.7million and playing three home matches behind closed doors). While Coach Sunday Erelesusi and Ayorinde Adubuola of Rising Stars of Akure face two-match suspension, Tope Adebeye, also of Rising Stars, faces suspension for the rest of the season. They were indicted by the Match Report for using abusive words on the match officials

RIVERS STATE FA CUP FINAL

HE Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has described the Falconets’ 4-0 routing of the Leopardess of DR Congo in the first leg, final round of the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifier at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta as another positive sign of his government’s commitment to the growth of women’s football in Nigeria. The governor, who was represented at the match by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Gbenga Otenuga, said that the victories achieved in the previous matches played in Abeokuta gave the Falconets the psychological advantage that it would still be another harvest of goals despite the shaky start the game had. Amosun enthused: “We have always been happy hosting them and yes it is a plus to our government, that I can tell you. We also know that judging by the results of the previous matches, any time we host them and they play any match here they are assured they are going to win. The psychological effect and the grace of God that has always been over them will not depart from them. “I want to thank God for the

By Tunde Liadi number of goals that were scored and also congratulate the coaches of the team for a job well done.” The sports-loving governor however implored them not to rest on their oars as they commence preparation for the return leg match in Kinshasa, warning them of what complacency could do. On the death of the 1993 African Footballer of Year, Rashidi Yekini, which occurred after a brief illness last Friday, the governor eulogised the virtues of the one-time Gateway United striker and prayed that God should give his family the fortitude to bear the loss. Senator Amosun disclosed that Ogun State was still in grief and shocked by the sudden demise of the revered goals father. The state government honoured the memory of the late Yekini by displaying highlights of his illustrious career including Nigeria’s historic first goal in the senior World Cup finals on the scoreboard at the MKO Abiola Stadium. A giant billboard with the inscription ‘Yekini’ was also taken round the field during the interval of the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and DR Congo.


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WHO SAID WHAT

‘ I want us to be honest with ourselves. It is not that

MONDAY, MAY 7 , 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

I want to be difficult but I want the truth on record. The party promised us a level playing field but for me, I didn’t experience it’ OSERHEIMEN OSUNBOR

VOL 7 NO 2,118

C OMMENT & D EB ATE EBA

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O Nigerian city or place concentrates the minds of its citizens more than the city of Lagos. Like London or New York, Lagos is the most beloved and reviled by Nigerians. It is seen, in the words of poet and former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, as the beautiful and damned. It is the brook of hope and the harmattan of despair. It hoists the nation’s blue-blood – the breed of plutocrats manifesting a feathery excess of the rich, extravagant, pompous, vain - with the best of sartorial profanity and architectural splendour. These boasts lie across the humblest of the world - the teeming poor, sweaty with hope but abiding in despair, bundles of vitality, boisterous with cheer and pain. In between are coddled its most resourceful beings - toiling, thinking and unthinking, striving, subversive and accommodating, fierce and fearless, innovating, multiplying the hopes of geniuses, looking both to heaven and earth simultaneously. They abide in the reflected glory of the plutocrats and the seedy gloom of the poor. They live in the delicate line of misery between the rich and poor. They are sometimes mischievously called the middle class but reject all appellations: the subversive hate such pigeon-holing. Yet, when you cut through all these chaos, you note that Lagos is Nigeria’s ultimate rhythm, its quintessential city, its residents Nigeria’s quintessential people. It is our indispensable place. In terms of hard work, no place encases that ethic. Nothing tells the story of development more than this city. But for me, it is Nigeria’s place of hope. Its history alone tells its theme. It battled from its founding with the idea that it can never be a monolith, held by a family, dominated by monarch or even enthralled by an invader. Hence, it is the best place where progress is an ethic today. Remember the story of the Bini kingdom and how it took over the place, but not for long. The city became its own, cosmopolitan, vibrant, fierce like a melting pot. While the Edo met the Awori - the Youbas there - it never became a Bini town, but a town for all who could strive and gain. When Akintoye was ousted as king, by slave trader Kosoko, the wrong subversive fell by the logic of history to the rightful owner. Lagos has thus with a small population absorbed the largest gathering of black people in any one place on earth. Thanks to its fairness and the Yorubas who are the best in accommodating strangers anywhere in Nigeria, every people, every faith, every ideological tendency feels a sense of belonging here more than anywhere in the country. No surprise it has always insisted on the

SAM OMATSEYE

IN TOUCH

intouchsam@yahoo.com 08054501081(sms only) •Winner, Informed Commentary 2009& 2010 (D.A.M.E)

State of example

•Fashola best at its helm. Johnson, Jakande, Marwa, Tinubu, Fashola are examples of the best of breeds. Anytime undistinguished ones were in charge, like Rasaki, Akhigbe, Oyinlola, etc, Lagos sagged. When Lagos sagged, the rest of the country sagged. Today, Lagos is a state of example, showing the path to the others in all parameters. In an age of oil, it is the richest without a single drop of black gold. Without a farm, it is the biggest agricultural market. Without many raw materials, it is the industrial mecca. It hosts the best actors, musicians, technocrats, students. It is the city of the breast milk, where others must suckle or faint. That was my sense when I attended the La-

gos Economic Summit recently, where Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola reeled out indices and the way forward for Lagos. Lagos has become the city of example. Other governors have looked and want to show similar flair in their places. But Lagos has shown one important thing about the capacity to develop in Nigeria. We can make money where it seems the sea is dry. Lagos in the military era thought it was impossible to make more than N600 million a month in internally generated revenue (IGR), thus dooming the state to a snail of progress. Between 1999 and the end of Tinubu tenure it rose to about N9 billion and under Fashola to about N15 billion. This is the show of prowess in governance. Other governors today concede in public that Fashola is the first among equals. Some other states like Edo, Ekiti, Rivers, Sokoto and Osun are doing a good job of boosting their IGRs, which is a good sign. State of Osun Governor Aregbesola recently announced how, through ingenuity, he has turned the state from red to black in less than two years with over N30 billion for development. Lagos is attracting more people here than anywhere, including Abuja. The burden on infrastructure, schools, housing and environment is enormous, and that means that one governor is carrying the burdens of others. Hence, it is necessary to see the challenges of Lagos as those of Nigerians. If Lagos, first under Tinubu and now under Fashola, did not up its revenue and show doggedness in vision and development, Lagos would have worsened in many areas: environment with the mountain of refuse, infrastructure stifling the majority, hunger on a high scale, and the many homeless. Its allocation cannot pay its wage bills, so Lagos would have been like many states that

cannot afford its minimum wage burden. The doctors have the temerity of strike for quite the reason that Lagos is a rich state as though the state resources are for them alone. Like President Bush Snr. called for a special status for China, whose evidence we see today, so too do I call for a special status for Lagos in the federation. It is Nigeria’s indispensable city. It has been the nation’s lightening rod, taking the burdens of others. Lagos does not develop only for itself but for Nigeria. That is the logic of New York as well as London. Lagos ought to develop with a lot more federal money so it can build into a powerful business and infrastructure hub. It can be like our New York and London with enormous influence on the surrounding states up to Kwara State. When a senator, now vice president, Joe Biden travelled in a train from Delaware to Washington daily. A scenario like that will ease the traffic in Lagos, expand businesses and real estate potential in states like Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, Ekiti, Ondo and Edo. A friend once said that on a clear road, he can reach Benin city in less than four hours. We need an infrastructure state of being as policy. Lagos has begun this. Infrastructure is a development. It is about innovation and promise. Fashola is constructing a number of such roads and has done quite a few of them. But it takes money and collaboration to do this. During Obasanjo’s tenure, Tinubu developed the idea of a train from Lagos to Abuja, and that could take commuters a couple of hours. But it was scuttled. Obasanjo resisted and almost scuttled the IPP, which has become a song today though rendered like a dirge. Lagos is the state of example. From New York, many surrounding states, including New Jersey, derive their prosperity. Ditto London. We need that today for Lagos. We have seen Governor Rotimi Amaechi do quite an outstanding job with infrastructure, education and environment, and he has unveiled the vision of a greater Port Harcourt to ease the burden of the city. Soyinka recently praised Godswill Akpabio’s work in education, but the Akwa Ibom Governor has received plaudits too for outstanding infrastructure work. We cannot downplay the influence of Lagos and we must not let it slide to London of the era of poet William Blake when he saw only “marks of weakness, marks of woe… in every voice, in every ban/mindforged manacles I hear.” Lagosians say “Eko oni baje” meaning “Lagos will not rot.” Fashola is seeing to that. But the progress of Lagos is all Nigeria’s.

RIPPLES

HARDBALL

BLACKOUT: FED GOVT BLAMES WATER LEVEL-News

Mr President, how does one heat up the polity?

I

Even if there’s NOAH’s FLOOD, LIGHT is not GUARANTEED

T is hard to understand why President Goodluck Jonathan is having headache over widespread speculations about his 2015 presidential ambitions. He seems to think the speculations are diversionary, pointless, distracting and irritating. Having said before in a court that he had not adverted his mind to the issue, he appears unhappy that the wild talk of his 2015 plans still continues. His spokesman even quoted at least two newspaper headlines, which he said typified the “increasingly disturbing” trend. These distractions, the spokesman continued, had the capacity to heat up the polity. As far as he knew, said the president of himself, he was preoccupied with looking forward to marking his first anniversary in office with “purposeful and effective leadership that would steer Nigeria towards overcoming its immediate security and developmental challenges.” The impression the president has tried to create is that it is too early to think of reelection politics, since he was just about to mark his first year in office. He has stoutly refused to be drawn into saying whether he would be interested in running again in 2015 or not. But by refusing to clear the air

on 2015, he leaves room for continuing speculations. This is, however, a democracy, and the sooner he recognises that free speech, which is guaranteed by the same constitution from which he derives his legitimacy, allows his friends and opponents alike to talk about 2015, the better for him. There is little he can do about the distractions. He can’t charge anyone with treason or jail the rumourmongers, and he can’t even harass them with the secret service or with the police. But he has the absolute right to be irritated that barely one year into his first term he is being buffeted by distracting talks of his future ambitions. More, he has the right to refuse to be drawn into showing his hand, for to disclose his plans now is to expose himself to unnecessary attacks by all sorts of political adventurers, most of them, it seems, eager to unhorse him. The president is, however, naïve to think his opponents would not want to distract him. He must appreciate that they would be devoted to heckling him whenever they can, distracting him when it would serve their purpose, and irritating him into making gaffes and taking unconstitutional and counterproductive actions against the republic.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

The president thinks the tactics of his opponents are capable of heating up the polity. He is the only one who thinks so. His opponents see no heat anywhere; instead they see political excitement, boisterousness, and healthily legal plans to snatch power from him either within his party or outside his party. Now that they know he is easily irritated, and sure that they are not doing anything against the law, they will buffet him even more. After all, they see even much more that in many parts of the country, the president is heartily despised, and lawfully too. If we had scientific opinion polling in Nigeria, Jonathan would have been shown to enjoy low rating. He should expect his opponents to pile on the agony. If he wants to solve the irritation, the president can tell Nigeria whether he will or will not contest in 2015. Most Nigerians think that at the moment Jonathan nurses the interest. But since it would be tactless of him to confirm or deny the speculations, let him endure what he describes as idle national talk with straight face. Or else let him look for some hypothetical glacier to cool the heating of the polity he says his opponents are obsessed with.

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The nation, May 7, 2012