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VOL. 7, NO. 2124 TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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ORISM: Soldiers and Civil Defence Corps members during their graduation from Basic Counter Terrorism Course 3/12, at the Nigerian Army Base, Kachia, Kaduna State…yesterday •DO DOWN TERRORISM: DO WN TERR PHOTO: NAN

Nigerian troops for Guinea Bissau, Mali

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IGERIA will deploy troops in the West African country of Guinea Bissau on or before May 18 as part of its commitment to restoring constitutional order in that country, Minister of Defence Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed said yesterday. But he did not give details

Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

of the deployment, the other countries involved and the duration of the operation. Mohammed spoke at the 30th Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff in Abuja and at the Presidential Villa when he accompanied

the military chiefs on a visit to President Goodluck Jonathan. “You know our sub-region is faced with challenges of insecurity and also instability in some of the countries. The CDS are here to discuss how the intervention of ECOWAS will help to bring security and to stabilise the country

where instability is rearing its head. This is on the instruction of the Head of States of the ECOWAS. “On Guinea Bissau, a decision is already made that a military contingent from the ECOWAS will be sent to assist the government in maintaining law and order. Nigeria, as a leading member of

ECOWAS, will participate when invited Mohammed said that the troops for Mali, which is in a political turmoil, are also ready, but that the country is awaiting signal from the ECOWAS for its deployment. The minister restated Nigeria’s commitment to the res-

toration of peace and order in those countries, as well as the promotion of socioeconomic and political development of the region. He said internal conflicts in some member states within the region was affecting its desire to achieve Continued on page 2

Legal giants plan to tell Jonathan: restore Salami

Ex-CJNs, ex-PCAs to intervene in crisis

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•Justice Salami

HERE was still no word yesterday from the President on the reinstatement of Appeal Court President Isa Ayo Salami – four days after the National Judicial Council (NJC) said he should have his seat back. President Goodluck Jonathan is yet to get the legal advice on Justice Salami’s fate, The Nation learnt. But some former Chief Justices of Nigeria (CJN) are to intervene in the seeming stand-off, sources said.

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Abuja

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), who is expected to advise the President, is

The Salami saga: End in sight Page 27 away in Geneva . Adoke was being expected last night

but, according to a source, some forces in government and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are pushing for Justice Salami’s compulsory or voluntary retirement. The fears of backlash if Justice Salami returns to office account for the growing gang-up, it was learnt. Some former Chief Justices of Nigeria and ex-Presidents of the Court of Appeal (PCAs) plan to intervene in the crisis to re-direct the judiciary. It was gathered that besides appeal-

ing to all aggrieved parties, the judicial chiefs are seeking a meeting with President Jonathan on the way out of the impasse. Although the ex-CJNs and past PCAs are divided over the crisis, it was learnt that most of them appear to be reaching a consensus on the need to tackle the matter with sincerity. The CJNs and PCAs are Justices Muhammadu Uwais, Alfa Belgore, Idris Kutigi, Aloysius Katsina-Alu, MamContinued on page 2

•POLITICS P15 •CITYBEATSP8 •SPORTS P23 •PROPERTYP25 •ENERGYP43


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

NEWS

•Members of the Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council with President Goodluck Jonathan (centre) and Vice President Namadi Sambo (to the president’s right), after their inauguration of PHOTO AKIN OLADOKUN the council at the State House in Abuja...yesterday.

Nigerian troops for Guinea Bissau, Mali, says minister Continued from page 1

political and economic development. “The situation in Mali and Guinea Bissau is giving the region cause for concern in its quest for long-term survival of democracy. “Apart from this, the situation in Mali, especially the rebellion in the Northern part of the country, portends grave danger to our sub-region due to the assemblage of desperate armed groups.” He said the group’s outreach extended far beyond the subregion, adding that “if not decisively tackled, the development could destabilise the entire region”. Mohammed also urged the chiefs of defence staff to address threats in the Sahel region and the Gulf of Guinea, which he described as the gateways to the socio-economic development of the region.

“You must not relent in your efforts to ensure that the threats in these areas are decisively dealt with in order to provide a secured environment for our collective development,” he said. Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, described the development in Mali and Guinea Bissau in the last two months as hectic. Petinrin said the development had given the military in the region cause for concern in the role they were expected to play in defence of democratic governance and constitutional order. He pledged the military’s zero-tolerance to the unconditional takeover of government in any part of the region. Air Chief Marshall Petinrrin said:“Right now, we have Constitutional order, the two countries are no longer been headed by military people be-

cause they were told in certain terms that it will not be accepted and they have stepped down in both countries,’’ “The challenges that fate has entrusted on the sub-region are enormous but not insurmountable, and we cannot afford to fail. “I believe that we, as a body, are in a good position to assist our governments to proffer workable solutions to our common problems so that they can provide for our people an environment that is conducive.’’ He urged the member states to fulfil their pledges of personnel and equipment deployment to Mali and Guinea Bissau, to restore peace and order in those countries. Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of ECOWAS Mrs Salamat Suleiman, said there was urgent need for member countries to deploy troops to Guinea Bissau.

She said that deploying troops to Guinea Bissau would facilitate the withdrawal of Angolan troops from that country. According to Suleiman, the Angolan troops are scheduled to leave Guinea Bissau on May 20 President Jonathan challenged ECOWAS Defence Chiefs to ensure security in the sub-region. He commended them for their role in ensuring the current relative stability in the sub-region and enjoined them not to relent. “Though there are challenges in some areas, the stability of countries in the ECOWAS sub-region is commendable. We have progressed significantly compared with where we were 20 years ago,” the President said, adding that “we have to continue to ensure peace, security and stability.”President Jonathan who noted that the entire sub-

region has embraced democratic governance, expressed appreciation to the military chiefs for joining hands with civilian authorities to address the challenges in a few countries such as Mali and Guinea Bissau. He implored the defence chiefs to talk to their colleagues in these countries “to embrace democratic governance.”The President expressed optimism that with the support and cooperation of the defence chiefs, “we would collectively resolve the issues in Guinea Bissau and Mali.”The President pledged the continued support of the Nigerian Government to enable the military leaders to succeed, hoping that at the end of their meeting, they would have come up with resolutions that would further guarantee peace and stability in the West African subregion.

Senator, activist urge Jonathan to approve NJC’s recommendation From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

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MEMBER of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Olufemi Lanlehin, yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that Justice Ayo Salami be reinstated as the President of the Court of Appeal. The lawmaker, who represents Oyo South on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said the President’s approval of the NJC recommendation has become imperative to save the nation’s democracy and rule of law. In a statement in Ibadan by his media aide, Olawale Sadare, the senator said the Continued on page 62

Legal giants plan to tell Jonathan: restore Salami Group demands NJC’s reform

Continued from page 1

man Nasir, Mustapha Akanbi and Abdullahi Umar. A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some former CJNs and PCAs are trying to mediate in the crisis. Even though their ranks have been divided on this issue, the reality of the danger of a split Judiciary is giving them concern. “As a matter of fact, one of the respected former Chief Justices began an initiative on Saturday on how to resolve the logjam.” “The said ex-CJN met with some of the parties to the crisis last weekend, but details of his moves were not known yesterday.” Responding to a question, the source added: “These past CJNs and PCAs are likely to meet and prevail on some stakeholders in the Judiciary who are neck-deep in the crisis. “They are also planning to discuss in confidence with the President if the situation degenerates further.” On the President’s stand, a source said the Attorney-General’s trip may have been of the Federation delaying it. “But, in the next few days, the government’s position will be clearer. There are divergent opinions, on doubt. I am sure that the President may stick to the rule of law on

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HE rights group, Access to Justice (AJ), yesterday spoke of the need for constitutional reforms in the National Judicial Council (NJC) to avoid a repeat of what led to the suspension of the Court of Appeal President, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. The group said it was the politicisation of the NJC as well as its “inertness, numbness and lack of proactivity” which “sadly” led to the series of events that culminated in Justice Salami’s suspension. In a statement by its Director, Mr Joseph Otteh, the group noted that the development “has been creating space and opportunity for judicial impunity across Nigeria”. Describing Justice Salami’s reinstatement as expedient, AJ noted that the raging tension triggered by what many see as a politically motivated suspension would be reduced, if President Goodluck Jonathan lifts the suspension. The statement reads: “The NJC has indeed squandered a chunk of its moral and ethical capital and needs to be completethis matter. “The challenge at hand is that political sentiments have crept into a purely judicial issue. Some forces are blindly calling for Salami’s retirement or pushing for his voluntary retirement,” the source said. It was gathered that the legal advice is necessary because Justice Salami has scaled a major hurdle for either his removal or retire-

By Joseph Jibueze ly reformed, re-programmed, reinvigorated and de-politicised, going forward. “The present development makes it self-evident that constitutional reforms are needed to ensure that we do not again fall into this situation in the near future. “As presently structured and constituted, the integrity of NJC’s oversight functions will, in the main, rest on the integrity of an individual, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), who has the powers to appoint about 60 per cent of the membership of the council. “This needs to change, for this power can be abused by a sitting CJN. If this happens, it can undercut the utility and effectiveness of judicial oversight in Nigeria. AJ also called for revisit of the propriety of keeping an incumbent CJN as the Chairman of NJC. “The present system gives the CJN too much power over what grievances are brought to the Council, how the Coun-

ment. The Court of Appeal President can be removed or retired by the President based on two conditions: the recommendation of the NJC and a decision of two-thirds of the Senate. There were suspicions that the government might have been boxed into a corner on what to do with Justice Salami since the NJC has ap-

cil reacts to them and when the council reacts to them. These powers can be abused by a sitting chairman. “The recall of Justice Salami to office meets the requirements of equal and procedural justice and helps assuage the indignance felt by many at the unfairness of the treatment meted to him. “However, having reverted to the status quo before the suspension, the substantive question concerning whether Justice Salami has acted faithfully with the Code of Conduct for judicial officers should, if we deeply care about integrity and reform, be left open until such a time we can reach informed judgment! “So much is going on at the moment that may have important implications for this question. In conclusion, AJ urged that fundamental and deep-cutting structural reforms be undertaken towards making the Nigerian judiciary a more accountable, more productive and less politicised institution in the anticipated constitutional reforms underway.”

proved his recall – nine months after he was suspended. The President is empowered to determine Justice Salami’s fate in line with the process outlined by Part I, Paragraph I, Section 21(b) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 292(1)( a)(i) Part I, Paragraph I, Section 21(b) of the Third Schedule to

the Constitution reads: “For the avoidance of doubt, the said Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph I, Section 21(b) of the Constitution provides that “the NJC shall have power to recommend to the President the removal from office of (the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Justices of the Supreme Court, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, and the Chief Judge and Judges of the

Federal High Court) and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers” Section 292(1)( a)(i) says: “A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement, except in the following circumstances (a) in the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President( of Nigeria), acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate, praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.” A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. John Bayeshea (SAN), said last night that the NJC’s advice or recommendation was sufficient for the President to reinstate Justice Salami. Bayeshea said: “The decision of the NJC is the best it Continued on page 62

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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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NEWS Sofoluwe’s death loss to Nigeria’s intellectual community, says Atiku

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ORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has described the death of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Babatunde Sofoluwe, as “a great loss to Nigeria’s intellectual community”. A statement by his media office in Abuja said the Sofoluwe’s death has further depleted the country’s intellectual powerhouse. He said his death has created a vacuum that would be difficult to fill in a short time. The statement reads: “It was a shocking development to hear about the death of Prof Sofoluwe, even when no one had an inkling of any notice of his ill-health. “As a stickler to academic excellence, I share in the grief of the country’s intellectual community and the nation. We can only take solace in the fact that the late professor had made his mark in his field of scholarship. “No doubt, his death will leave a very large hole in the gamut of intellectual powerhouse in the country, which will not be easy to fill in a short period of time. “But I have an unwavering confidence in the capacity of the intellectuals in the country to step into the shoes left behind by Prof Sofoluwe.” Atiku consoled the family, friends and relations of the deceased. He urged them to take Sofoluwe’s death as an act of God; an inevitability.

Soyinka mourns

•Soyinka

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OBEL Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka yesterday mourned the ViceChancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, who died last Friday. In a statement, entitled: An untimely death, Soyinka said: “Babatunde Sofoluwe, late Vice-Chancellor, was our most gracious host for the Nigerian National Merit Award Lecture just this last Thursday, May 3. It seems difficult to believe that the man who stepped twice onto the podium to deliver a witty welcome address, then wound up the occasion with perhaps the briefest, but no less humorous Vote of Thanks of any college event, has taken such an abrupt leave of us. I mourn with the University of

Lagos community and send my deepest condolences to his friends and family. “May 3 will remain memorable for me since, on the afternoon of that day, I was finally able to deliver my inaugural address, glad especially that UNILAG was the venue mutually agreed upon by the Merit Award Committee and myself. It was most gratifying to sense the rapport that Sofoluwe had built up with both faculty and students, the latter manifesting their affection with enthusiastic applause each time he stepped up to the lectern, punctuating his remarks with infectious cheers. His easy manner lightened the formal occasion and created a truly collegial atmosphere in which we all basked throughout the wellordered event. “His passing casts a pall on my recollection of the exhilarating reception at a university of which I was a pioneer lecturer, and which still imparts a glow of nostalgic pleasure whenever I have cause to re-visit. On the personal level, but especially at a time when sister institutions of UNILAG are under siege in many parts of the nation, it is a loss that touches one and all, a loss that the nation can ill afford.”

•Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church (aka Winners’ Chapel) (right) and businessman Mr Jimoh Ibrahim on arrival from PHOTO: ISAAC AYODELE Egypt by an Air Nigeria aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos...yesterday.

Fed Govt is biggest Boko Haram, says Buhari

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ORMER Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in last year’s presidential election, General Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday described the Goodluck Jonathan administration as the biggest Boko Haram in the country. Buhari said he would make up his mind on the 2015 presidential election when his party reorganises. Addressing Niger State CPC members, who visited him in Kaduna, the former military leader noted that “since the leaders do not listen to anybody but does whatever they wish, there is nothing the North can do”. He added: “I will like to quote Prof. Ango Abdullahi, who said there are three Boko Harams, including the original one, led by Muhammed Yusufu, who

was killed and his supporters tried to take revenge in attacking the law enforcement agencies and politicians. “There is another developed Boko Haram of criminals, who steal and kill. The biggest Boko Haram is the Federal Government.” On his political future, Buhari said: “God willing, something will happen in 2015.” Buhari said the government has two options to conduct free and fair elections in 2015 or face humiliation from the people. He said: “If what happens in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon will all be soaked in blood.” The former Head of State said whether or not he con-

tests the presidential election in 2015, the party should be well organised while he reconsiders his stand. Buhari said: “That’s what I told those who have visited me in the past, but the press wrote that I said I have changed my mind about recontesting.” The former Head of State noted that the Jonathan administration has destroyed the petroleum industry, saying what is happening in the industry can only happen under the type of the leadership Nigeria has now. He said: “There’s nowhere in the world where such things happen. There’s nowhere in the world where a government can increase the cost of petroleum product by more than 120 per cent. It is most insensitive. Besides the air people breathe, the next important thing to them is

petroleum. “Unfortunately, I know more about the petroleum industry than others in the government, because I was there for over three years as a leader. We started with Port Harcourt refinery producing 60,000 barrels per day. It was upgraded to 100,000 barrels per day. Another one was built there, also in Port Harcourt, producing over 150,000 barrels, making a total of 250,000 barrels per day. These were slated purely on Nigeria’s crude oil. “I personally asked the owner to sign the contract for Warri and Kaduna refineries, 100,000 barrels each. There were more than 20 depots, more than 3,200 pipelines and there was even a time we were exporting 100,000 barrels per day of refined products. But the current leadership has destroyed the industry.”

EX-FinBank MD Nwosu’s trial stalled •Three directors opt for out-of-court settlement By Adebisi Onanuga

Biafran war veterans demand N1.5b compensation •Congratulate Bianca Ojukwu From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

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HE Federal Government has been urged to pay the N1.5billion it promised veterans of the 1967-1970 Civil War. The Biafran war was led by the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu in the quest by the East to secede from Nigeria. Speaking at the Ojukwu family compound in Nnewi, Anambra State, the Commander of the Biafran war veterans, Ogbaru Division, Col. Bernard Ndu (rtd.), urged Bianca, wife of the late Ojukwu, to make the Federal Government release the money. Ndu, who addressed reporters with the Commander of the Sector Commanders, Lt. Nelson Ekenwa, and other veteran executives, said they were at Ojukwu’s home to congratulate Mrs Ojukwu on her appointment as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain. He said: “We, the Biafran veterans of Ogbaru Division, wish to congratulate Mrs Bianca Ojukwu, the Anyanwu-ututu of Igboland, on her appointment as the Ambassador to Spain. We want to tell her that she has our continued support wherever she goes. We will never allow the vision and aspirations of the late Ikemba to go in vain. We will move on, until his dreams are achieved. “We also plead with her to remind the Federal Government of the N1.5 billion payment promised Biafran war veterans, before Dim Gburugburu took ill. Likewise, we are waiting for her summons to Enugu. We hope this will happen soon before she leaves the country for her national assignment.”

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

•Nwosu

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HE trial of the former Managing Director of FinBank Plc, Mr. Okey Nwosu, was stalled yesterday. Three other directors of the bank, charged with alleged theft of N16.2 billion with him,

have opted for out-of-court settlement. The trio told Justice Lateefat Okunnu of the Lagos High Court that they were discussing with the prosecution on how to settle the matter. Mr Lanre Ogunlesi, counsel to Danjuma Ocholi, the third defendant, canvassed this position yesterday. His move affected the beginning of the trial. Nwosu is on trial with Dayo Famoroti, Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike on a 26-count charge of alleged stealing and illegal conversion of N16.2 billion belonging to FinBank. The Economic and Finan-

cial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the accused on the charges. Counsel to Famoroti and Ebubedike (the second and fourth defendants), Mr Yemi Sowemimo and Ayodeji Adedipe, said they aligned with the third defendant. They said they were pursuing out-of-court settlement, pleading for a chance to work things out. EFCC counsel Mr. Rotimi Jacobs confirmed the proposed settlement. He said his hands were tied because he could not produce his witnesses before the court. Jacobs said: “It’s my inability to produce witnesses that has put me in a tight corner. I

confirm that we met on issues of settlement. I plead with the court to give us the rest of this week to conclude on settlement so that if it fails, the trial will commence next week.” Ogunlesi opposed the prosecution’s application to get a week of adjournment because the settlement could not be resolved within a week. He premised his position on the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan is out of the country. Ogunlesi told the court that a week might be too short for the settlement because Jacobs is a busy person. Justice Okunnu adjourned the matter till May 22 for continuation of the trial.

Varsity workers due for salary increase in July, says SSANU

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HE Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) yesterday said the union is due for salary increase. A statement by its National President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke, said the pay rise has become necessary because of the current economic reality in Nigeria. He recalled that a 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and the varsity workers, under the auspices of Joint Action Committee (JAC), would be reviewed in July. Ugwoke spoke at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union held at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) and a three-day training programme held at the

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, for its members. The theme of the programme is: Trade Union Leadership and the Challenges of Personal Income Tax in Nigeria. The SSANU National President said the unions, under the JAC, are the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU); the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT); and the SSANU. According to him, they separately signed the agreement, following a protracted national strike in 2009.


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NEWS

Amnesty Internati human record: S

•Senate President David Mark (second left), House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha (right), House Leader Mulikat Akande-Adeola with the Chairman, Public Complaints Commission, Justice George Uloku (rtd), during the inauguration of the Commission’s Board at the National Assembly in Abuja...yesterday

Barring the unforeseen, the 2012 report of Amnesty International on the state of the World’s Human Rights will be launched on May 24. The 400-page document containing reports in 155 countries, has given a damning verdict on Nigeria’s record.

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HE police continued to commit human rights violations, including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances. The justice system was under-resourced and riddled with delays. Prisons were overcrowded; the majority of inmates were pre-trial detainees, some held for many years. Approximately 920 people were on death row, many sentenced after unfair trials. No executions were reported. The security situation in the Niger Delta deteriorated during the year. Human rights defenders and journalists continued to face intimidation and harassment. Violence against women remained widespread and the government failed to protect the rights of children. Forced evictions continued across the country.

Background

•Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola (middle) with Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos branch, Mrs. Tolani Edu-Adeola (third left), Chairman, Law Week Committee, Mr. Hannibal Uwaisor (third right) and others members of the association when the NBA visited the governor on its forthcoming Annual Law Week at the Government House, Alausa Ikeja...yesterday

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in May following a long illness, and was succeeded by Goodluck Jonathan, his deputy, who had been acting President since February. The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu was removed in April and replaced in June with Prof Attahiru Jega. Elections were scheduled for January 2011, then postponed to April 2011. Widespread political violence linked to the 2011 elections led to the deaths of dozens of people. Among those killed were candidates, their family members, and supporters. On December 31, at least 13 people were killed and many more injured when a bomb exploded inside the Sani Abacha military barracks in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Plateau State

•Etisalat’s Chief Commercial Officer Mr. Wael Ammar (left), Head High Value Segment. Mr. Bidemi Ladipo, Chief Executive Offer Mr. Steven Evans, Director, Marketing Segment and Strategy Mr. Wole Rawa and Chief Information Officer Mr. John Murray during the launch of Etisalat Easy Business at Four Point Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos...yesterday PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

•(Left to right) Senior Special Assistant to Lagos Governor on HIV/AIDS Dr. Tokunbo Dabiri; representative of Omole Senior Grammar School Miss Grace Oluwagboun; President, Strategy of Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE), Mrs. Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins and Director, Private Education and Special Programme Department, Ministry of Education Mrs. Sewanu Amosu, at a Leadership and Health Mentoring Programme organised for Lagos secondary schools... at the weekend

Between January 17 and 20, more than 300 people were killed in religious and ethnic violence in and around the Tin City of Jos, the Plateau State capital; over 10,000 people were displaced and thousands of shops and homes were destroyed. On March 7, more than 200 people, including women and children were killed by armed men when the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot, and Ratsat were attacked. Homes and properties were razed, and thousands displaced. At least three bombs exploded in and around Jos on December 24 , killing 80 and injuring many. The bombings triggered further violence in and around the city, leaving dozens dead and many injured. Several buildings were also torched. A Presidential Advisory Committee established in February to investigate the violence reported to President Jonathan in August. He pledged to implement the Committee’s recommendations, but the report was not made public. The findings of earlier investigations into violence in 2008 had not been published by the end of 2010.

Boko Haram

Between July and December, more

than 30 people were killed in Borno State by people believed to be members of the sect commonly known as Boko Haram. Many of the attacks targeted the police. Six people were killed on December 24 when suspected Boko Haram members attacked two churches in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. Hundreds of soldiers were deployed to Borno in October. On November 22, a police spokesperson announced that more than 170 people had been arrested by the police in the preceding six weeks. Many were transferred to Abuja; by the end of the year most remained in police detention and had yet to be produced in court. On December 31, the police announced they had arrested additional 92 suspected members of the sect. Members of Boko Haram also carried out attacks in Bauchi and Yobe states, killing at least five policemen. In September, a group of suspected Boko Haram members attacked Bauchi Federal Prison and freed over 700 inmates. At least 123 of the inmates were said to be mebers of the dreaded sect. A committee set up in August 2009 to investigate the Boko Haram crisis of July 2009 in which over 700 people died did not make their findings public throughout 2010. In April, the High Court, Borno state ordered the police to pay compensation in the case of Alhaji Baba Fugu, who was extrajudicially executed in police custody during the 2009 crisis. An appeal by the police against the decision had not been heard by the end of the year.

Abia State

Criminal gangs kidnapped scores of people, including children, in Abia state, sometimes for a ransom as little as N10,000 ( about $65). According to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), 21 doctors were kidnapped. On September 29, the army was deployed to Abia state. On October 12, the Joint Task Force (JTF), made up of troops from the army, navy, air force and the mobile police, announced that they had killed 172 suspected members of kidnapping gangs in shoot-outs, and arrested 237. Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) estimated that hundreds of people were killed by security forces in Abia state in 2010.

Unlawful killings and enforced disappearances.

In February, senior government ministers called for reform of the Nigeria Police and an improved complaints mechanism. However, no further action was taken. Widespread disregard for human rights and due process within the police force continued. Hundreds of people were killed by the police in 2010. Many were unlawfully killed before or during arrest in the street or at roadblocks, or subsequently in police detention. Many other people disappeared after arrest. A large proportion of these unlawful killings


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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NEWS

ernation’s verdict on Nigeria’s rights d: Situation deteriorating, worrisome

•Jonathan

appeared to be extra-judicial executions. Most perpetrators remained unpunished. In May, an NGO- th Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) estimated that in 2009, at least 1,049 people had been killed by the police. Police officers at a checkpoint in Ilorin, Kwara state, shot and killed a nursing mother and her eightmonth-old baby in January. Four police officers were arrested. In April, police opened fire at protesters in Ajegunle, Lagos, killing four people. They had been protesting at the death of one Charles Okafor, who died after police beat him during a raid on a viewing centre where he had been watching a football match. In June, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Boniface Ukwa, was shot dead by policemen at a roadblock in Enugu. He was off duty and not in uniform. The police subsequently claimed that he was killed in a shoot-out with kidnappers. The police were ordered to pay compensation in some cases, including that of Kausarat Saliu, a threeyear-old-girl shot dead in April 2009 at a roadblock in Lagos, while travelling with her parents in a commercial bus.

Torture and other ill-treatment.

Police routinely tortured suspects, including children. In March, the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation formally accepted the draft National Anti-Torture Policy. No further action was taken. Detainees were regularly held by the police for longer than the constitutionally guaranteed 48 hours before being brought before a judge, often for weeks and even months. Shete Obusoh and Chijioke Olemeforo were arrested by police officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on October 4 and spent 17 days in police detention before being taken to court and remanded in prison on October 21. They alleged being hung from the ceiling

•The late Yar’Adua

in the police station and beaten with gun butts and machetes while in cutody.

Justice system

Seventy per cent of Nigeria’s nearly 48,000 prison inmates were pre-trial detainees. Many had been held for years awaiting trial in appalling conditions. Few could afford a lawyer and the governmentfunded Legal Aid Council had only 122 lawyers for the whole country. At the end of 2010, most justice sector reform bills were still pending before the National Assembly. A Bill strengthening the National Human Rights Commission made progress but had not been sent for Presidential assent by the end of the year.

The courts continued to be riddled with delays.

In August, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt ordered the police to produce Chika Ibeku, declaring his detention without charge or bail unlawful. It took three months before the court issued the order and began serving the named police officials. The habeas corpus application had been filed by the Nigeria Bar Association Human Rights Institute in May 2009.

Death penalty

No fewer than 920 people were on death row, including eight women, 10 prisoners over the age of 70, and more than 20 who were under 18 at the time of the offence. No executions were reported. Many death row inmates were sentenced to death following blatantly unfair trials or after spending more than a decade in prison awaiting trial. Following meetings of the National Council of States (NCS) and the National Economic Council (NEC) in April and June, chaired by the President and his deputy respectively, state governors announced their intention to review all cases of death row inmates and to sign execution warrants in order to reduce prison congestion.

Niger Delta

The improved security situation

•Plateau Governor Jonah Jang

brought about by the presidential amnesty granted to members of armed groups in 2009 had deteriorated by the end of 2010. Armed groups and gangs kidnapped dozens of oil workers and their relatives, including children, and attacked several oil installations. The security forces, including the military, continued to commit human rights violations in the Niger Delta, including extra-judicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, and destruction of homes. On December 1, following clashes between the JTF and an armed group in Delta state, the JTF razed the nearby community of Ayokoromo. At least 120 homes were destroyed. The JTF claimed nine villagers were killed but community leaders and NGOs put the death toll at 51, including women and children. In January, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) called off its ceasefire, which had been in place since October 2009. In March, two bombs exploded in Warri, Delta state, killing at least one person. In October, three car bombs exploded at the Eagle Square, Abuja, disrupting Nigeria’s Independence Day anniversary celebrations and killing 12 people. MEND claimed responsibility. In January, two workers at Chevron’s gas plant, Escravos, in Delta state, were shot dead. Members of the JTF, who had been guarding the facility, allegedly drove past and opened fire as the workers were leaving the plant. Chevron paid the families of the two men compensation, but did not accept any responsibility for the killings. Pollution and environmental damage caused by the oil firms continued to have a serious impact on the people living in the Niger Delta. Laws and regulations to protect the environment were poorly enforced. Government agencies responsible for enforcement were ineffective and, in some cases, compromised by conflicts of interest. Communities in the Niger Delta frequently had no access to vital information about the

•IGP Mohammed Abubakar

impact of the oil industry on their lives. •On May 1, crude oil from a leaking pipe from an offshore platform of ExxonMobil’s Qua Iboe oilfield reached the shores of the Ibeno community, Akwa Ibom state.

Violence against women

Violence against women remained pervasive, including domestic violence, rape and other forms of sexual violence by state officials and private individuals. The authorities consistently failed to exercise due diligence in preventing and addressing sexual violence by both state and non-state actors, leading to an entrenched culture of impunity. Maryam Mohammed Bello and Halima Abdu were presented in court in February and remanded in prison after spending one year in police detention in Maiduguri, where they said they were repeatedly raped. Both women became pregnant while in police custody. The women were eventually bailed in October.

Children’s rights

By the end of the year, 12 of the 36 states still had not passed the Child Rights Act. Children were routinely detained with adults in police and prison cells. Only one of the country’s three remand homes was functioning. It was overcrowded, with approximately 600 children held in facilities designed for 200. Government provision for homeless and vulnerable children remained inadequate with over one million street children across the country. By the end of 2010, no investigation had been carried out into the violent clash involving the KalaKato Islamic sect on December 29, 2009 in Bauchi, which left at least 38 people dead, 22 of them were children. Many were reportedly shot by the police.

Freedom of expression

Human rights defenders and journalists continued to face intimidation and harassment. Several human

rights defenders and journalists were threatened and beaten by police and security forces, and at least two were killed in suspicious circumstances. By the end of 2010, the Freedom of Information (FoI) Bill first presented in 1999, had not been passed by the National Assembly. In March, the Shari’a Court in Magajin Gari, Kaduna, ordered the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) to stop its online forum from debating the amputation of the right hand of Mallam Bello Jangebe 10 years earlier. On April 24, Edo Sule Ugbagwu, a senior judiciary correspondent with The Nation newspaper, was killed in Lagos by unknown gunmen. By the end of the year, no one had been brought to justice for his killing. On December 29, human rights activist Chidi Nwosu was shot dead by unknown gunmen in his house in Abia State. He was President of the Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation and was known for his work against corruption and human rights abuses.

Forced evictions

Forced evictions continued throughout country. They were carried out without genuine consultation, adequate notice and compensation or alternative accommodation. More than 200,000 people remained at risk of forced eviction in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as a result of the state government’s plans to demolish the city’s Waterfront communities. On December 23, at least one person died and several others were injured when armed police officers opened fire during a forced eviction in Makoko community in Lagos. The police, attached to the Lagos State’s Environmental Task Force, were accompanying the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) Brigade, to demolish structures in the area. It was the second time in 2010 that Makoko residents faced eviction from their homes. In April, the KAI had forcibly evicted hundreds of people from their homes in Makoko.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

8

CITYBEATS

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Policemen arrested for ‘killing’ two persons

Man arraigned for fraud By Precious Welundu

A YABA Magistrate's Court, yesterday, arraigned an estate agent, Babatunde Aremu, 38, for allegedly defrauding Pascal Olabode of N820,000. Aremu, who is standing trial on a two-count charge of stealing and fraud, pleaded not guilty. Prosecuting Inspector Godwin Anyanwu, said the accused, is a resident of Surulere in Lagos. He said Aremu was contracted by the complainant on March 7, to secure a threebedroom apartment for him. Anyanwu said the accused promised to secure the accommodation in three weeks and collected N820,000 from the complainant being money for the accommodation and agency fee. The prosecutor told the court that Aremu neither secured the accommodation nor did he refund the money. He said all efforts to reach him proved abortive as he was always said to have travelled. Aremu, according to Anyanwu, was later arrested by the police at 10 Shaki Crescent, Aguda, Surulere. His offence, he said, contravened Sections 285 and312 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State. Magistrate, Patrick Adekomaya, granted the accused N500,000 bail with two sureties and adjourned the case till May 28.

Fashola, Obas for Synod THE opening session of the first part of the fifth Synod of the Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, holds on May16, at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Oba Akinjobi Way GRA, Ikeja at 4.00pm. In a statement the Diocesan spokesman, Tunji Oguntuase, the Synod, with the theme: "Godliness with contentment," is expected to be presided over by the President of the Synod and the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Revd. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi. The Synod, will break into Plenary Sessions, where delegates are expected to deliberate on a wide range of issues affecting the Diocese and the Church. There will also be a presentation and launching of the Bishop's Presidential address on May 17, at 11.00am. Dignitaries expected include Governor Babatunde Fashola, his deputy, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, commissioners, traditional rulers, captains of industry, as well as delegates and visitors from within and outside the Diocese. The Synod will end on May 20, with a closing and thanksgiving service.

By Jude Isiguzo

•Manko

T

WO of the four policemen who allegedly killed some persons in Apapa Lagos,

last weekend, have been arrested. The policemen, attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), allegedly invaded a night club and opened fire on the revellers. It was gathered that the police team, made up of two Corporals and two Inspectors, was drunk.

The policemen reportedly shot sporadically on entering the night club. Some of the revellers ran for their lives, while two others hit by bullets, died instantly. It was learnt that the policemen were arrested by SARS and have been handed over to the Apapa Division. The Apapa Divisional Police

Officer (DPO), Mr. Muazu, is said to have begun investigation into the crime. A worker at the night club alleged that the policemen were drunk before they pulled the trigger. The Apapa DPO said two of the police suspects were with them while effort is on to arrest two others still at large.

According to the Imam, the object was opened in the presence of the Chief Imam of Lagos, State, Sheikh Ibrahim Garuba Akinola, the National Missioner of Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Ahmad, the Wali of The Muslim Congress Lagos State, Monsur Adebayo, and the Chief Imam of Ijeshatedo, among other Islamic scholars. Imam Thrimidhi said the mother of the baby, a Christian, and her grand mother accepted Islam after the birth of the boy.

He said the baby's mother was named Sherifat and his grand mother Raliat. The mother of the miracle baby boy is Mrs Kikelomo Ilori and his father is Walim Irawo. The father is a younger brother to the Monarch of OdiOlowo, Mushin, Fatai IrawoOgunsi. After the naming, the palace of the Oba was filled as he hosted people to a lavish reception. Since the baby’s birth, people have been thronging the parent's home to see him.

Miracle baby boy named

H

E was born in a church, seven days ago, clutching a copy of the Quran in his left hand. Yesterday, he was named and circumstances of his birth informed the names he got. The League of Alfas in Mushin, Lagos, named him Wahab Iyanuoluwa Irawo. The ceremony was held at the Solomon Hall on Olateju Street, Mushin, Lagos. The baby was born May 7, in a church at Ijeshatedo, Surulere. The matron, simply called Nurse Victoria, who took the baby’s delivery, was said to have fled on seeing a strange object in the infant’s left hand. But the baby’s grand mother reportedly alerted the community. It was later found out that the object was a Quran. According to the midwife, the mother carried the baby for 11 months. He was said to have been born wrapped with his placenta. Mrs Kikelomo said she took many concortions during the pregnancy. Her grand mother, who was notified of her delivery, was said to have been the first to notice the Quran in the baby’s hands. The woman alerted the community and Alfas in the area. On opening the object, it was found out that the object is a Quran. According to the Chairman of Zakat and Sadaqat Founda-

•Baby Wahab... yesterday By Amidu Arije

tion, Imam Thrimidhi Jamiu, the object contained some chapters from the Quran. It includes Suratu Fathia, Baqarah, Imran and Nissa, among others. "When we got there we opened the object, we saw some inscriptions it was wrapped with a white nylon in his hand. We found out that it was Quran it contained some chapters from the Holy Qu’ran, the chapters are Suratu Fathia, Baqarah, Imran and Nissa among others," he said.

PHOTO: AMIDU ARIJE

Prepare accurate financial report, accountants told AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has implored accountants to give timely and accurate monthly financial statements to facilitate the implementation of Public Finance Management (PFM) Law. Speaking at the sixth Lagos State Accountants' Retreat held at Peninsula Resort, Ajah, Lagos, last weekend Fashola said the theme of the retreat: "Public fi-

L

By Miriam Ndikanwu

nance management reforms in Lagos State: Past/ Present/ Future," was apt because of global transformation going on for improved service delivery. Fashola, represented by the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru, said the PFM Law, which came into being last year, would coordinate

the old laws into a single effective working document to quicken the presentation of government financial statements. He said the retreat was a forum for accountants to network and share experiences to move the state's financial functions forward. Lagos State Accountant-General Mr. Akin Ambode said past retreats had brought advancement

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.

to the state's financial practices. He, however, noted that there was more to do with the emerging trends in accounting standards. Ambode advised participants to improve on their service delivery at various postings to provide world-class financial service to stakeholders. Papers presented were “Annual financial statement preparation and challenges,” “Effect of the new audit law on transparency and accountability;” “Value Orientation in the Public Service and International Public Sector Accounting Standard” (IPSA), among others. The highlights of the plenary session included utilisation of abundance of Directors of Accounts to coordinate ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

CITYBEATS

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Fashola advocates respect for rule of Law

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AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday urged Nigerians to obey existing laws in order to sustain the country’s development. Speaking when he received a delegation of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), led by the Chairman; Mr. Taiwo Taiwo, at the Government House, Ikeja. Fashola said the flagrant violation of laws by citizens was a major impediment to development, saying the attitude was a barrier to the country`s course to greatness. "To sustain our developmental strides, we must act. We must have a common purpose and act in a restrained manner and in accordance with the laws of the country," Fashola said.

By Miriam Ndikanwu

The governor, who noted that Nigerians complied with rules and regulations outside the country, wondered why they seem not to be capable of doing the same in their country. "We have not shown enough love to where we call our home. We have treated what is ours with contempt," he said. Fashola said Lagos owed its success to its population and cosmopolitan status, urging the residents to be law abiding and shun all forms of anti-development acts. The developments being witnessed across the state, he said, could only endure and new frontiers opened, if only the residents adhered strictly to lay down rules and regulations.

The state holds a lot of opportunities for those who want to work, those who want to be professional and most importantly those who want to live according to the laws. "The hospitality that the state offers is subject to compliance with rules and regulations. It is not enough to have nice things happening in the state. We must obey the rules and ensure that our developments are sustained," he said. The governor pledged the government`s support for NBA and legal practitioners, saying they were key to the promotion of law and order. Mr. Taiwo praised Fashola for his administration`s developmental strides. He appealed to the governor to

APBN intervenes in doctors’ strike By Nneka Nwaneri

• Fashola

provide land for the association in a strategic location for its office project, saying the proposed building would enhance capacity to help promote justice in the state.

Lagos lawmakers extol Sofoluwe's virtues EMBERS of the Lagos State House of Assembly at plenary, yesterday, extended condolence messages to the entire management and staff of the University of Lagos (Unilag), as well as family of the late Prof. Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, who died over the weekend. The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Segun Olulade, said members of the House received the sad news of the death of the erudite Professor

M

By Oziegbe Okoeki

with great shock. Olulade commiserated with the family, especially his wife and children and prayed that the Almighty God would grant his family and the Unilag community the fortitude to bear the loss. Olulade said: "The death of Sofoluwe, a Professor of Computer Science, is indeed a colossal loss and has created a big vacuum which would be hard to fill in the nation's academic commu-

nity, given his exceptional academic profile and administrative acumen." Chairman, Committee on Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King described the late Professor as very kind, highly intelligent with a deep sense of humour and humility personified. "He broke protocol during the last convocation of the university by coming out of the academic procession just to recognise and appreciate Senator Oluremi Tinubu, myself and

9

other government officials who were there to witness the ceremony," Alawiye-King said. Alawiye-King said, Sofoluwe personally supervised the distribution of food and drinks at a reception held for the dignitaries. "We discussed important issues there that bordered on the state and Federal Government and from there, I knew him to be a very passionate administrator and lover of Lagos State. He will be remembered for his hard work and dedication to duty", the lawmaker said.

THE Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) has intervened in the face-off between the Lagos State government and the sacked doctors. Its President Mr Segun Ajanlekoko, in a statement, said, the body has held talks with the state's chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and has requested for an appointment with Governor Babatunde Fashola. It described the crises caused by the strike as sad, unfortunate and a cause for worry. "We have stepped in to nip in the bud, the festering dispute and put an end to the feud between the two parties.

Two men arraigned for alleged assault Stories by Precious Welundu

THE police yesterday, arraigned Kayode Oyedele and Ishola Abiola, at a Magistrate’s Court, Mushin, for conspiracy and assault of Yemi Odeyemi. The charge alleged that the accused on May 8, stabbed Odeyemi with a bottle around 7:30pm at Ago-Okota, a suburb of Lagos. It claimed that Oyedele unlawfully stabbed the complainant on his head causing him bodily harm, thereby contravening Sections 409 and 171 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011. The accused pleaded not guilty. Prosecuting Inspector Lucky Efeh told the court that the complainant was in a critical condition. He said Odeyemi's elder brother rushed him to Ogun State for medical attention because of the doctor’s strike in Lagos. The Magistrate Mrs. A.O. Awogboro granted the defendants N50,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum. The sureties, Awogboro insisted, must possess tax clearance, evidence of gainful employment and verifiable addresses. She adjourned the case to June 25.

Escapee suspect caught

• A fuel truck fell across the airport road, Lagos, yesterday evening causing serious trafic snarl

General, Private Medics denounce Lagos striking doctors

S

TRIKE has been denounced as an instrument of bargaining in the present dispensation, especially at the onset and in the face of the impasse between the sacked Lagos State doctors and their employer, the Lagos State Government. The Chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Lagos State branch, Dr Olayinka Oladosu, gave this indication yesterday while addressing the press on the stalemate between the warring par-

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

ties. He said his members as professionals are more concerned about the public, masses and the medical profession. "It is better to lobby and dialogue to achieve vision and mission. Our colleagues should have total rethink of their present strategy as a tool for conflict resolution. We believe further constructive dialogue and consultation will resolve the current crises. "We appeal to the Government

of Lagos State to re-evaluate their present position in the interest of good people of Lagos State. In this wise, we want to appeal to the doctors on strike to sheath their swords." Oladosu added that, "We want the Nigerian citizens to know that should they need our services, they will be attended to as a matter of right, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances. "Our colleagues should have total rethink of their present strategy of using strike as a tool for conflict resolution," he stated.

In the same vein, the National President of the association, Dr Anthony A. Omolola said the health sector is already in chaos, "And all hands should be on deck to salvage it. This is not time for strikes by healthcare givers and all professionals in the sector. There is no point being combative. "With constructive dialogue. Strike is not favourable to Nigerians, government or anybody. We should find midline resolution. Already there are more deaths, and more will be recorded should strikes continue", he said.

A 22-YEAR OLD man, Opeyemi Olayemi, who allegedly escaped from lawful custody, has been rearrested and re-arraigned in court by the police. He was charged before a Mushin Magistrate’s Court with stealing and escaping from lawful custody. Olayemi allegedly stole one Tiger generator valued at N25,000, property of Iheme Ebere, on May 3, around 7am, at 23, Lawanson Road, Surulere. The action contravened Section 279(1) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos 2011. The accused was further alleged to have escaped from police cell on October 15, at about 7pm and committing an offence under Section 106(A) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011. Opeyemi pleaded not guilty. The prosecuting Inspector Lucky Efeh, told the court that the accused was a habitual thief. He said the accused escaped from lawful detention in October last year and has since been on the run. Efeh said words have been sent to Ebere and other complainants that the police will file a suit against the accused. Magistrate A.O. Awogboro, granted the accused N20,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum. The matter was adjourned to June 21.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

10

NEWS

Mimiko has failed the people, says Abraham

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NDO State governorship aspirant Dr. Olusegun Abraham has described the administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko as a colossal failure. Dr. Abraham, an aspirant on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N) spoke during his visit to The Nation headquarters in Lagos yesterday. The aspirant, accompanied by some members of his campaign team was received by the newspaper’s Editorail team. The governorship election in Ondo State is billed for October 20. Abraham said infrastructure in Ondo State had decayed in the last three years making it difficult for the government to prove to the people what it had done. He said: “Mimiko has not completed and inaugurated a single road in the past three years. Instead of building the towns, he has been destroy-

•Abraham...yesterday By Musa Odoshimokhe

ing people’s houses, shops, throwing them into labour market and dispossessing them of their property.” “When you look at the area of water, he has not inaugurated a single waterworks in the last three years and when you come to housing, he has not inaugurated a

•Abraham

single housing unit in the last three years, the man has disappointed the people.” The ACN aspirant maintained that a serious government that is desirous of addressing the challenges of the people could make its impact felt within a short time. This, he stressed would be done through his integrated programme that would lay emphasis on capacity building.

•Abraham

“We are going to train our people on capacity building; they would be trained in the industrialisation exercise. The administration will train people on how to handle road projects. They will be trained in mechanised agriculture which will turn the state into a major contender in food and cash crops production. The housing programme is going to be entrenched on locally

PHOTOS: ISAAC AYODELE

made materials available in quantum in the state.” He wondered why the state could not cater for the need of its people and neighbouring states when it has the capacity to do so. “We are going to develop our cocoa, rubber and other agricultural produce, so whatever will be coming from the crude oil as revenue to the state will be an addition.

“A nation that does not train its people to be productive will be in perpetual need, we must be able to control our environment, enhance its capacity and build the required technology that will enable the state to look inwards instead of importing because through importation capital flight is prevalent.” He said the support that Mimiko enjoyed when he was seeking to govern the state was hinged on his progressive card. He however expressed regret that the governor has reneged and was no longer working in the interest of the people. According to him, the state could not afford politics of exclusion because the regional integration in the Southwest would advance and be of great benefit to the people. The governorship aspirant said Mimiko had lost his confidence given the way the politics of the state is going. “In the last three months the equation has changed and the man is now jittery.” “Some of the things that he had refused to do for civil servants especially on salary, he had done them panic. About two weeks ago, he promoted people to the position of Permanent Secretary without portfolio, they are just sitting down,” he said.

Mark to commissioners: perform or be sacked From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

A

NY member of the Public of Complaints Commission (PCC) found to be corrupt, incompetent or biased would be removed without hesitation, Senate President David Mark said yesterday. It was during the inauguration of the constituted PCC commission in Abuja. He noted that the National Assembly expected the 37member Commission representing 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be bold, courageous, fair and just to all Nigerians in the discharge of their functions. He said: “For some inexplicable reasons, the Public Complaints Commission has never had a full complement since 1999. “The seventh National Assembly decided to take the bull by the horn in constituting the Commission. “We expect the Commission would follow our footsteps by being bold, courageous, fair, and just to everybody regardless of creed, tribe and tongue. “What I am going to tell you now is not a threat but the reality. “I want to make it very clear that we will not hesitate to remove any member of the Commission who is found to be incompetent, partial, takes bribe to do his or her job, biased, compromised or allows himself or herself to be used by anyone or groups. “You are the ombudsman of the nation and therefore, we will not accept laxity or casual approach to work.” The President of the Senate told the Commissioners that “all petitions or complaints must be addressed promptly, fairly and justly.”


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

11

BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

We are going into something big. We are going into mining, petrochemicals, cement and infrastructure. We need to spend $7.5 billion in the next four years. So, definitely, we need a lot of concentration. - Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote Group

World Bank, AfDB to spend $461m on roads

Naira weakens on fuel importers' dollar demand

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HE naira weakened against the United States dollar on the interbank market yesterday, as strong dollar demand for the local currency from fuel importers held down the local unit. The naira closed at the interbank market at N157.95 to the dollar, weaker than the N157.75 it closed on Friday. Traders said some fuel importers were issued fresh import licences, boosting dollar demand. This combined with insufficient dollar supply from oil companies, pilling pressure on the local currency. "Some oil importers have been issued fresh round of licences to import fuel, while outflows to dividend payments by some companies are increasing demand for the dollar and putting pressure on the naira," one dealer said. Dealers said though the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) sold about $500 million to some lenders last week, the impact of the dollar sales on the naira was subdued because the company sold at a rate close to the prevailing market price, leaving too small a margin for lenders. "We see rate crossing the N158 to the dollar mark by tomorrow (Tuesday) unless there is significant dollar flow from multinational oil companies to counter demand," another dealer said. At the official window, the Central Bank sold $150 million at N155.70 to the dollar, compared with $150 million sold at N155.75 to the dollar at last Wednesday's auction.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$123.6/barrel Cocoa-$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N6.503 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -12.6% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -14.18% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $34.6b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 245 $ 156.4 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 241 RIYAL 40.472

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Asst. Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

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•From left: Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr Wael Ammar; Chief Executive Officer, Mr Steven Evans; Director, Marketing Segment and Strategy, Mr Oluwole Rawa and Chief Information Officer, John Murray, during the launch of the firm’s Easybusiness in Lagos ... yesterday.

N1.5tr capital projects: Senate to probe Finance Ministry, others T

HE Senate may have concluded arrangements to probe alleged duplicity of capital projects approved by the National Assembly for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in past Appropriation Acts. The capital expenditure for this fiscal year was pegged at over N1.5 trillion. A reliable source close to the Senate Committee on Appropriation told our correspondent that senators are worried that most MDAs always present and represent the same capital projects yearly to the National Assembly for appropriation. The source said the lawmakers discovered that MDAs hide under the guise of “no cash backing and cash releases” to re-introduce projects that have been appropriated for the previ-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

ous year. Our correspondent gathered that investigation of the alleged sharp practices would likely be handled by the Senate Committee on Appropriation. The source said the Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Budget Office of the Federation are likely to be investigated over the alleged deal. According to the source, “In the course of preparation of the 2012 budget, the Senate Appropriation Committee discovered that almost all the MDAs came back with the same capital projects we had approved in previous budgets. “When we asked them,

some of them said there was no cash backing for the projects, that they do not have choice but to bring projects back in the new budget. “This naturally raises some questions, was there no cash backing for the projects approved by the National Assembly? “Were the MDAs not given money for capital projects as approved by the National Assembly? “We also want to determine why projects approved in the preceding appropriation year are rolled over in a new fiscal year when they should have been given money for such projects in the previous year. “We want to know if the MDAs are given money for capital projects and why such projects are included in new budget proposals?”

On the move by the Senate to compel the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to submit its budget for parliamentary scrutiny the source said the Senate was not ready to back down on its position to ensure that the apex bank complied with the Fiscal Responsibility Act. Apart from compelling CBN to submit its budget to the National Assembly, findings also showed that the Senate may invite the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to explain the source of the funds the apex bank donated to victims of Boko Haram in Kano and Niger states . “Although the extant CBN Act allows the apex bank to spend a percentage of its revenue, the National Assembly has noted with concern that such funds are still public funds.

Jonathan warns agric ‘saboteurs’

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has spoken tough against forces that are trying to frustrate the administration's agricultural transformation programmes. Though he failed to mention names, the President vowed to deal with the forces. The President, who spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council at the State House, Abuja, said the new agriculture policy initiated by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has attracted N450 billion funding credit at a single digit interest rate for farmers. The Council, which will be chaired by President Jonathan with Vice-President Namadi Sambo as alternate chair,

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

would provide oversight for the agric transformation agenda. The President, who hinted of plans to frustrate the efforts to transform the sector, said despite this, agriculture is heading in the right direction. Jonathan said there is still much to be done, hence the need for stakeholders to partner and avail themselves of the boom in the sector. “I am hearing unpleasant stories of some companies working to frustrate our agricultural transformation agenda. Let me state in very clear terms that the Federal Government will deal decisively with such situations. “Nigerian agriculture is

heading in the right direction. There is still much to do, hence the need for all stakeholders to come together and engender the needed synergy to unlock and unleash the huge potential of the sector. He said some aspects of the transformation agenda are meant to reduce excess gains, but lamented that some companies, out of mischief are using that as an excuse and are doing things to frustrate government’s efforts, but Jonathan warned that such actions would be resisted. "But, let me use this opportunity to make it very clear that government will not allow any individual of group of individuals, or any company to frustrate our agricultural transformation agenda", he said. The President also noted

that agriculture remains the most important sector of Nigeria’s economy in terms of contribution to the GDP (44 per cent) and employment (70 per cent), but lamented it has performed poorly over the years because of neglect. He further said the country has huge agricultural potential, with 84 million hectares (ha) of arable land, but hastened to warn that Nigeria may have its food security undermined unless it becomes self-sufficient in food production. "We must unlock the huge potential of the sector and strive to regain our lost glory in agriculture. Second, we need to diversify the economy away from sole reliance on oil. This will secure our economy and reduce foreign exchange volatility", he said.

INISTER of Works, Mike Onolememen yesterday said the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have committed $461million to the construction and rehabilitation of major roads in Nigeria. He spoke at a national workshop on attitudinal change in management and financing of roads in Nigeria. He said a paradigm shift has become inevitable in the development of road infrastructure in the country, “judging by our recent experiences of near collapse of road infrastructure.” He said: “At the Ministry, we have also ramped up our collaboration with multilateral agencies, especially the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) to secure much-needed funding for the road sector. “It is gratifying to note that we have attained a very good working relation with the World Bank and their commitment to the road sector stands at about $300 million devoted to the rehabilitation of 441 kilometres and maintenance of 351 kilometres of roads across our country, where the World Bank contributes 90 per cent and Nigeria is providing 10 per cent counterpart funding.

Chamber’s boss opposes electricity tariff increase From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

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HE President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) Vincent Furo has disagreed with the decision of the Federal Government to increase electricity tariff from next month. President Goodluck Jonathan had at a workshop on power generation in Abuja last week said Nigerians should expect increase in electricity tariff from next month. However, fielding questions from reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday, Furo said “increasing tariff at this time is not right because we have suffered a lot. We have lost businesses and a lot of things have gone wrong which need to be repaired before the increase.” The PHCCIMA chief also said it was unfair of the president to talk of tariff increase “when we have not even seen the stability of electricity. “There should be testrunning to ensure that the light is stable for about three months or more to convince people that they will get their money’s worth before you tell them to pay. It is when you test-run a system that you will know whether it fits into the services you want,” he added.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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

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

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

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

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

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40

of the Power Sector Reforms Programme, which is aimed at providing sustainable uninterrupted power supply to meet domestic and industrial demand. Part of the ongoing reforms is the implementation of a cost-reflective tariff structure that will open up the sector to attract more local and Foreign Direct Investment. “As part of this strategy, we are going to partner the Ministry of Trade and Investment on delivering more power to the country’s industrial areas such as Lagos Kano, Kaduna, Onitsha, Aba, Shagamu and other places. Already, we have mapped out the industrial areas and more power will be delivered to these industrial centres,” Nnaji said. He added: “For example, we have concluded plans to move about 1,000MW power from the two power plants at Olurunsogo to Shagamu. This is because we have identified power as very critical to Nigeria’s Industrial Revolution Plan. Part of the problem militat-

ing against investment in the power sector is that we operate a non-cost reflective tariff structure. Currently, power producers owe gas producers about N24billion due to our non-cost reflective tariff. “While we intend to address this problem, we also have plans to provide adequate incentives to rural dwellers through the new tariff regime. What we want to achieve in this country is to have a power sector that is robust to deliver sustainable uninterrupted power supply to drive the Industrial Revolution that is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade and Investment.” Meanwhile, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, who declared the workshop open, noted that as part of the Industrial Revolution, his Ministry had started brainstorming with the Organised Private Sector and the Ministry of Power to reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria and, ultimately, increase the productivity of the manufacturing sector.

09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

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

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

By Toba Agboola

12.15 12.45

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1. Dana

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AGOS, Aba, Kano are to enjoy stable power from 2013, the Minister of Power Prof. Barth Nnaji assured yesterday. This came on a day the Federal Government kicked off an industrial revolution that will strategically position and empower the nation’s manufacturing sector as the key driver of economic growth through job creation and increased contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Speaking at a two-day workshop on Enhancing the productivity of Nigeria’s industries, organised by the Ministry of Trade and Investment in Lagos, Nnaji said the Federal Government was committed to the successful implementation of its Power Sector Reforms Programme. He added that his ministry would partner the Ministry of Trade and Investment on the provision of dedicated, uninterrupted power supply to key industrial areas across the country to fast-track the country’s Industrial Revolution Plan. “The Federal Government is committed towards the implementation

08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20

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. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik

Minister: Lagos, Aba, Kano to enjoy stable power in 2013

08.00 18.00

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

•From left: Lube Sales Engineer, Oando Marketing Plc, Miss Bisola Lawal-Solarin; Lube Marketing Officer, Olasumbo Olajubu; winner Adeyinka Adeyemi; Corporate Communication Manager, Oando Marketing Plc, Olumide Orojimi and Lube Manager, Dayo Ayandokun, at the Oleum SL Mechanic Village Storm promo at Surulere, Lagos. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

NCC’s fine ‘inappropriate’, says Etisalat

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HE Chief Executive Officer , Etisalat Nigeria, Mr Steven Evans, has described as inappropriate the N360 million fine imposed on the company by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). Evans told reporters at an interactive session on yesterday in Lagos that the telecoms firm had done all it could to offer quality services to its subscribers. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Evans said the company was disappointed by the action of NCC, adding that “we think that the action is inappropriate.” According to him, the sanction is

a wrong way to deal with businesses which are investing in Nigeria to develop world-class telecoms networks. He said the service provider had invested $2 billion (over N310 billion) in the last four years and would be investing $500 million (about N80 billion) this year for its network upgrade. “So, we have to explain to our shareholders why investing $500 million and we are now suddenly fined by NCC,” Evans said. He said Etisalat was going to meet with the other operators to understand what they felt about the fine and the way forward.

Evans said the company had delivered quality services in a more difficult environment in Nigeria when compared to Etisalat’s services in other countries. The NCC sanctioned Etisalat, MTN, Airtel and Globacom. They were fined N1.17 billion for not meeting the key performance indicators. Etisalat and MTN were fined N360 million each, Airtel was fined N270 million, while Globacom was penalised N180 million. They were given up till May 25 to pay the fines or face further sanctions.

IMF cuts sub-Saharan Africa growth forecasts

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UB-SAHARAN Africa‘s economies will expand at a slower rate this year than earlier projected, undermined by global financial distress and a sluggish recovery in South Africa, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on yesterday. Africa’s growth has remained above five per cent in the last eight years, underpinned by strong prices for its natural resources, better governance and growing disposable incomes. In its latest Regional Economic Outlook, the IMF forecast 5.4 per cent

growth this year from 5.1 per cent in 2011. Its previous projections were 5.9 and 5.5 per cent. “The growth outlook for 2012 is somewhat less favourable than outlined in the October 2011 Regional Economic Outlook, with the growth projection for 2012 now cut by almost one-half a percentage point, driven in large part by the weaker economic outlook for South Africa,” the IMF said. Growth in Africa’s economic powerhouse was likely to be a relatively modest 2.7 per cent this year and 3.4 per cent in the next, held back by its

reliance on trade with Europe and close links with western financial markets, the Fund said. However, an upturn in droughthit east Africa, fresh output in new natural resource producers such as Niger and Sierra Leone and recovery in post-conflict nations such as Ivory Coast should help boost the continent’s economic activity in 2012. Sierra Leone and Niger could post outstanding growth of 35.9 and 14 per cent. Big oil-producers Nigeria and Angola will also be major drivers of the expansion.

Jonathan to open $100m brewery in Onitsha From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is expected to inaugurate the $100 million SABMiller brewery located in Onitsha, the Anambra State capital in August, this year. The Business Development Manager of the company, Peter Stuttard, who disclosed this in Onitsha while conducting reporters round the company's premises to assess the level of work done in the on-going brewery project which started late last year, said production would start in September, this year. He said construction on the brewery, has gone up to 90 per cent, adding that out of 22.5 per cent share owned by indigenous entrepreneurs, Anambra State government has only 10 per cent, while other private Nigerian investors have 12.5 per cent. He commended Governor Peter Obi for his initiative in bringing the firm to the state, adding that SABMiller, the world's biggest brewers, have already turned around two ailing breweries in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Ilesha, in Ogun State. Stuttard said the company's decision to site the brewery in Onitsha is as a result of the enormous business opportunities that exist in the city, adding that the firm is not in Onitsha or Anambra State to compete with any body but to give the consumers what they want. Describing Nigeria as a strategic country for any serious minded company that wants to achieve success in their business endeavour, he maintained that any prospective company, which has not come to Nigeria could be said not to have arrived in Africa. “Any company that wants to expand its scope cannot afford to neglect Onitsha where the biggest market in west Africa is in existence,” he stated. "We are in Nigeria to do good business and we are here to generate employment, create wealth and attend to our corporate social responsibilities to the people and to the communities where we operate. All we need is co-operation from the people, as we grow, we grow with them". He said Intafact Beverages is a purely Nigerian company that started as Intafact Properties, a subsidiary of SABMiller Plc which has more than 200 brands of beer world wide and 70,000 employees.

‘FAAN’s MD not arrested by EFCC’ By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

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HE Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said yesterday denied reports that its Managing Director (MD) George Uriesi was arrested by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC). A spokesman of FAAN, Akin Olukunle, said there was no time that officials of the EFCC visited FAAN to arrest Uriesi , describing the rumour as the handiwork of mischief makers. Olukunle urged those who are bent on distracting the efforts of FAAN management to engage themselves constructively, rather than spreading false information that would engender bitterness and disharmony in the system. Meanwhile, darkness yesterday enveloped some sections of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMA), Lagos, a problem which made passengers and airport users to be trapped inside the elevators for about 45 minutes. The attendant screaming of persons trapped inside the elevators, forcedengineers from FAAN to mobilise to the sixth floor of terminal to fix the elevators.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012


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TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

POLITICS THE NATION

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

Text of Governor Osun State Rauf Aregbesola’s speech at the National Symposium on ‘Islam and Peaceful Co-existence in Contemporary Multi-Religious State’ at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

Why North is underdeveloped, by Aregbesola I

T is my greatest pleasure to welcome you all to this symposium. I am particularly delighted that you have honoured the invitation to be here despite the huge and unyielding demand for your time and attention by other matters. We are in a time of great test for Muslims and the Islamic faith. This is within the context of the political and religious ferments in the North. Since the September 11, 2001 suicide bombings in the United States by alQaeda, Islam has been under heightened scrutiny and veiled – sometimes not so veiled – suspicion from non-Muslims. The emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North and the death and destruction in its trail have further fuelled what is now called ‘islamophobia’, this is the tendency to portray Islam in violent and destructive light. To be sure, the history of religion is the history of the contest for the conquest of the human mind. If the mind of man is conquered by a belief system, an ideology or a religion, the environment, with its vast resources, falls in line without lifting a sword. This is the politics by other means. However, this is not the intention of religion; rather, it is the unintended consequence. It is the primary objective of all religions to change man for good and improve his condition in all ramifications. Indeed, every religion aspires to the ideal. It is not religion if in concept, ideals and vision, it is not superior to man. Thus, in spite of its excesses, religion still offers hope to man as a moral anchor and superior moral authority. It is only in religion that moral codes are express commandments and not mere advisory opinions. Even though there is the natural tendency for homicide and forceful appropriation in man, it is only in religion that the commandments: ‘thou shall not kill’ and ‘thou shall not steal’, have binding force even when there is no secular authority to enforce them and detect and punish their infraction. Islam, by definition, is submission to the will of Allah. ‘Al Islam’ in Arabic means at once, submission and peace. For it is in submitting to God’s will that human beings gain peace in their lives in this world and the hereafter. The message of Islam concerns God and it addresses itself to humanity’s most profound nature. It concerns men and women as they were created by God, not as fallen beings. According to Abdul a ‘la Maududi, Islam is ‘an all divine messages in one, which envisages a comprehensive and all embracing way of life, catering for the moral, spiritual, social, cultural, political and economic and all other needs of men’. Central to Islam therefore is relationship. In Islam, mankind is one big family. We all descended from Adam and his wife, Hawaw (Eve). It does not matter that we differ in our ways and choices; Allah (SWT) remains our common God. He is the Lord of the worlds (Rabbul ‘aalameen). The Qur’an attests to this in Surah Al-Nisaai (4:1) thus: “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women.” By Islamic standards, the differences among Allah’s creation are in

•Sultan of Sokoto Abubakar Sa’ad and Aregbesola ... at the event.

accord with His Divine Wisdom which no man can unravel. That this diversity is a source of strength for mankind is not a far-fetched, manmade narrative. Allah, the Creator, Himself averts our thought to this in Surah Al-Hujuraat (49:13): “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know (not despise) one another”. Then, in the face of the unsettling reality in our time, particularly in Nigeria, when living in peace in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society is becoming increasingly difficult, some legitimate questions would readily agitate all minds, fair and otherwise. One may ask: Can Muslims co-exist peacefully with non-Muslims? Is it in the nature of Islam that Muslims must live only in an Islamic society? Were Muslims commanded to impose their way of life on others? Can Muslims survive in multi-religious and multi-cultural environments? Does Islam hate the Ahlul Kitaab (Christians and Jews)? Of what significance is Allah’s clear injunction that “there shall be no compulsion in religion”? Surah AlBaqarah (2:256) Islam, in principle and practice, respects Ahlul-Kitaab (The People of the Book). Allah did not and never command the Prophet to kill the People of the Book. Rather Islam considers them at different points in the Prophetic Mission as allies. The Prophet never raised his sword against Christians and the Jews merely because of their theological choices. Allah did not direct us to impose our way on them. Rather, He, in His wisdom admonished us in Surah Al-Maaidah (5:48) thus: “to each of you (Jews, Christians and Muslims) We prescribed a law and a

method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation (united in religion)” Admittedly, there were moments when the earliest Muslims and the Christians and the Jews had frosty relationship. However, history bears testimony to the fact that such moments of confrontation between the earliest Muslims and the AhlulKitaab in Madinah were essentially those moments when the AhlulKitaab conspired with the unbelievers to wage war against the Prophet and the burgeoning Muslim Ummah. Beyond that, the Prophet maintained a cordial, peaceful relationship with the Christians and Jews in Madinah. They formed part of the cornerstones which the Prophet used to build the first multi-religious and multi-cultural community in Madinah after his Hijrah from Makkah. It is instructive that model community inspired and led by the Prophet was created on the basis of mutual respect and genuine accommodation. We all will recall that when the Christian Byzantine Empire defeated the Zoroastrian Persian Empire, the cheering news was announced to the Muslims who were then in Makkah via Qur’anic verses. Is it not instructive that the first person to confirm the authenticity of Prophet Muhammad’s Prophetic Mission was a Christian priest, Waraqah Ibn Nawfal who was a cousin to Khadeejah, the Prophet’s first wife? What is more, when the Prophet was faced with unimaginable persecution in Makkah, the best option left to him was to encourage some of his companions to seek refuge in Abbysinian (Ethiopia) under a Christian ruler whom he adjudged just and fair in his dealings.

Muslims accord respect to the places of worship of Muslims, Christians and Jews. Mosques, Churches, Synagogues and Monasteries, where the name of Allah is exalted must be protected by all Muslims. Such houses are sacred in the eyes of Islam. The attitude of Islam to these places of worship is better amplified by His counsel in Surah Al-Hajj (22:40) thus: “And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and exalted in might.” In practical terms, Muslims need to learn from the glorious conduct of Khalifah Umar (R.A.) and Salahudeen Al-Ayyubi when they both took control of Jerusalem during their reign as leaders of the Muslim Ummah. They destroyed neither Churches nor Synagogues. Rather Muslims were permitted, if need be, to pray in them. Besides, the Christian and Jewish inhabitants were accorded respect while nobody imposed Islam on them. But what do we see today? With wanton destruction of Churches and Mosques and the thoughtless killing of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, isn’t Islam now a victim in the hands of those who claim to be defending Islam? It is worrisome that some Muslims, through their conduct, have given the impression to the world that Jihad is a weapon in the hands of barbarians and a tool for mob action. Or how else would one describe those who wage a war that is thoughtless in its basis and indis-

‘Addressing poverty is not reducible to giving them handout alone but empowering people in a way that their creative energy will be channelled towards wealth creation and self sustenance. Employment must mean full and equal opportunities for all, irrespective of sex’

criminate in execution? Yet we know from the Prophetic history that Jihad is not a war of hate; it is not a war of destruction; it is not an indiscriminate, random war; it’s not a mandate that can be appropriated by every Tom, Dick and Harry. To those who only believe in imposing Islam on others, Allah (SWT) asks a poignant question: “If it had been your Lord’s will, they would all have believed - all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind, against their will, to believe?” Surah Yunus (10:99) I believe it is incumbent on us Muslims to let the world know the essence of Islam, that it is peace, and that it requires of us good relationship with our neighbours, which way neighbour is defined in spatial, economic, religious, political and social senses. My case is unique. I am from a community and region where people of different faiths have to coexist. I also happen to preside over a state peopled by adherents of different faith. Indeed, this has been the case for the past 200 years. In my own family, there are Christians; as Ijesa, I have a proud heritage of renowned Christian clerics and an epicentre of Pentecostal revival and evangelism in the mid 20th Century. Religion therefore is a no-go-area for me. However, there is still something about the North, the current rampage and violence that is not religious and definitely not Islam, which has to be urgently addressed – the environment of deprivation and hopelessness that fuels the rage manifested in violence and other destructive behaviours that is tearing our nation apart. There is a current travelling round the country that I want to address. All of us – the rest of the country – feel indifferent about the plight of the North. But we should feel concerned. Whether as a nation or individual, we should indeed be concerned about how the people in that troubled region live. That is the main point about good neighbourliness. Whoever says there is no peculiar poverty in the North is certainly uninformed. The Human Development Index (HDI) from the North is frightening. It is so low and has been so for the past 20 to 30 years. One even wonders why it has not influenced specific action from government. If we are really talking about eliminating this scourge as a nation, then we must pay special attention to that horrible situation. There is a current travelling round the country that I want to address. All of us – the rest of the country – feel indifferent about the plight of the North. But we should feel concerned. Whether as a nation or individual, we should indeed be concerned about how the people in that troubled region live. That is the main point about good neighbourliness. The present conflict is just one possible consequence of the continued neglect of the problem in the North. Addressing poverty, unemployment and education are critical. Education does not necessarily imply going to school and acquiring a particular certificate. Education is universal. Irrespective of the type, it must be about cultivating the intel•Continued from page 16


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POLITICS

Akpabio woos electorate ahead of LG poll

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OVERNOR Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has pleaded with the electorate to forgive Chairmanship and councillorship candidates in the state who won the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries and vote for them in the forthcoming local government elections. Akpabio spoke during the presentation of flags to the 31 chairmanship candidates and the inauguration of 31 Akwa Ibom Chapter executive committees in the council area as well and launch of the local government elections campaign at Ibom Hall grounds, Uyo. Akpabio said: “I believe Akwa Ibom people would vote for you, but remember that some of the electorate would vote for you because of the Governor. I want the people to forgive you because some of you won the primaries when you were not supposed to have won. So, I urge us all to forgive and vote for them.” He urged those who lost the

•Akpabio From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

primary to remain steadfast to the party. His words: “For those who lost at the election, don’t worry. Before the campaign is over, we

‘I want the people to forgive you because some of you won the primaries when you were not supposed to have won. So, I urge all to forgive and vote for them’ would name you for one board or the other. This is not a government that can forget its people. So, we are going to carry everybody along. Be rest assured that if you don’t get it at the state level, you would become an emergency

contractor. We are making arrangements to release interminsterial jobs to empower you. You have worked hard to bring about good governance to the state.” The governor congratulated the candidates on their emergence as flag-bearers, saying, “today, we send you forth to go and win. Be rest assured that victory is yours because with the massive crowd gathered here today, we are sure of winning. So, your job is to follow the uncommon transformation agenda of the state. You would have no excuse for that and I believe that Akwa Ibom people would vote for you.” The state PDP chairman, Mr. Paul Ekpo, the gathering showed a new spirit of the party after his emergence as the chairman and lauded the party faithful for embracing hardwork which is the bedrock to success. Ekpo noted that the candidates were tested and proven for the positions and asked the electorate to vote for them during at the polls billed next month.

UK ACN berates Omisore over comments on Amosun

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• Omisore

HE Ogun State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the United Kingdom (UK) has berated Senator Iyiola Omisore over his comments on Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State. Omisore had criticised the proposed Southwest integration and donation of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to the police by the Ogun State government. In a statement by its secretary, Mr Tunde Olayinka, the group Omisore has lost touch with the people and now looking for a cheap way to achieve relevance. The group also stressed that Omisore has lost political relevance. “Omisore is obviously seeking to position himself for relevance come 2015. “In his comments, he clearly

By Adebisi Onanuga

demonstrated a lack of understanding about what the proposed Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) stands for and what its objectives are” the group said. It said DAWN is not a kind of political “unitary” system of government for the west, but “a vehicle for economic, social and commercial collaboration amongst the South West State Governments”. “We can observe that his vision to see the potentials that abound within his local domain and which should be explored for the good of his people is beclouded. “Rather, the embattled Senator and his cohorts are satisfied for having turned each state of the Federation to a beggar of sorts and dependable entities that will be

waiting eternally for the crumbs from the table of the almighty Federal Government instead of looking inwards and taping the economic potentials of their states, the group said.” It promised Amosun on his efforts to curb robbery the state challenging Omisore to tell the people what he used his eight years as Senator to achieve for them. “We can see the effort of a conscientious public officer in Governor Ibikunle Amosun. “What notable landmark achievement can we point at during Omisore’s tenure as a senator representing Osun State?” they asked. “We ACN Ogun State Chapter UK salutes our governor for a giant stride both in social, economic and political lives of the people of Ogun State” the statement said.

Why North is underdeveloped, by Aregbesola •Continued from page 15

lect and equipping people with the capacity to apply mind to existential problems in a rational way and come up with solution. Addressing poverty is not reducible to giving them handout alone but empowering people in a way that their creative energy will be channelled towards wealth creation and self sustenance. Employment must mean full and equal opportunities for all, irrespective of sex. There is no way a society will make women unproductive and be sane or economically viable! This is what is happening in the North. Islam does not support that! Were it so, Iran would not have had the resources it has now. Not even Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. These are Muslim countries which know that half of humanity cannot be unproductive. In the case of the North here, economic disempowerment of women means that about or less than one-third of the adult males sustain that society. There is no way there won’t be problem. Why it is even worse there is that at their infancy and maturing ages, the elite have been socialised into sustaining a lifestyle out of sync with economic productivity. For a long time, this anomaly has been encouraged by the dysfunction of the Nigerian state which places distribution above pro-

duction. However, sustaining this lifestyle wholesale is increasingly becoming difficult after they lost control of the central power. This means that the elite are no longer satisfied, not to talk of the crumbs that come to the masses. This is largely responsible for the boiling and roiling in the North. This must first be engaged at the level of ideas. Their universities and clerics must come to realise that women fought in the war of the Prophet. Therefore, if women participated in the war of expansion, they too should allow their women to work. I must charge their intellectuals, both religious and secular, to make this possible. Women must be empowered to work. There must be specific programmes to empower women in a way that will not harm their faith. The children must be properly equipped to blend into contemporary life. If you do all of these with genuine federalism, I do not see why they will not live the way they ought to live, for as long as the lives of other Nigerians will not be threatened. This is where I will lend my weight on the call for the establishment of a federal ministry to attend specially to these matters. The point has been made that the issues of poverty, unemployment and education are at the heart of governance. If a new ministry is to be created, are

we not indicting the existing governments at the state and local levels and cynically encouraging them to be irresponsible? Other less charitable have argued that setting up another ministry amounts to promoting the culture of blackmail since the standard response to crisis in any part of the country now is to attack it with a bureaucracy. Like I said earlier, the problem of the North is unique. In the West here, we have the advantage of a developed society where there is economic productivity and the proceeds of this is used by the affluent people to bear some responsibilities to their families. Had it been we were left alone with the government, there would be crisis here too! Now, imagine that many of our people are not economically viable to cater for their families, nuclear and extended. Is there any government that can even meet all the needs? Secondly, the problems being encountered in Nigeria are created by the Federal Government and to that extent it must be involved in their resolution. The essence of a central government is that it is there to support the weakest unit. If indeed we want peace for ourselves, we must not leave the unit that will draw us back to itself. If what is going on in the North continues unchecked, honestly, we are doomed! This brings me back

to the point I raised at the beginning about why it is wrong to be indifferent to the plight of the Northern people. Federal scholars are agreed that the major aim of federalism is the sharing of opportunities as well as challenges. This is where the strength of a federation lies – that no part is left alone to its problems. As long as we remain a federation, this rule must apply. The strong must carry the weak until the weak becomes strong. I want to prick the conscience of this nation to awake to the reality that whatever it will take to address the situation in the North must be faithfully done. It must not be viewed as a sectional thing. It is a section that has a great potential to contribute to our national development. True religion cannot be silent in the face of crisis. True religion must be part of the solution to a crisis. Regardless of how it arose, truly religious people must enlist themselves faithfully in the resolution process. I must thank you once again for your esteemed presence and for being part of the solution to a problem capable of rendering the nation asunder if not urgently addressed. I thank you for your kind attention.

‘Constitution amendment ’ll address fiscal federalism’ From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

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ENATOR Heineken Lokpobiri has advised Nigerians to use the current Constitution amendment exercise to install true fiscal Federalism in the country. He also proffered to end the Boko Haram saga. Lokpobiri, representing Bayelsa West Senatorial district, attributed the current problems of the country to the deviation from true federal structure laid by Nigeria’s founding fathers. “We should take advantage of the ongoing constitution amendment to install fiscal federalisms”, advised Lokpobiri who was at his at his constituency to distribute empowerment items worth to more than N200 million. “The reasons for the problems of Nigeria are because we have deviated from the Federal structure. Until we go back to fiscal federalism, the problems will persist. And if we are not careful history will repeat itself. With way things are going Nigeria will be like India where Pakistan broke out” and other courtiers that broke out in similar situations According to him, the menace of Boko Haram will end when the political, financial and spiritual leadership of Boko Haram is identified. We are just chasing shadows. Certainly someone is sponsoring them”. He disagreed with those who likened Boko Haram to Niger Delta struggle. He drew a line between Boko Haram and the struggle of the South-South that had a purpose and leadership to dialogue with. But in the Boko Haram who do you want to dialogue with”. He also disagreed with those saying the President was weak in bringing the Boko Haram issue to an end. He described such people as those without clear understanding of the role of the President. Lokpobiri said: “If there is any failure in security, the blame should be on the security agencies. They have to do more.” He said there was nothing wrong with the recent statement credited to the National Security Adviser (NSA) Patric Owoye Aziza, pointing out that Azazi’z comment could be personal which should not boarder anyone. His words: “But Nigerians should instead, think of how to end the Boko Haram saga. “We shouldn’t waste our time on what the NSA said; we should think of how the issue of Boko Haram should be contained.“ He also flayed those clamouring for the resignation of the President, saying “I will never call for the resignation of Mr President, there is nothing there to make him resign, and he is trying his best to end the Boko Haram issue”. Among the items donated by the senator were: motorcycles, computer sets, coolers, sewing machines, grinding machines, fridges, generating sets, motorsaw, barbing kits and hair dressing equipment. Cash donations were also made to aid the establishment of cottage businesses.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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EDITORIAL/OPINION EDITORIAL FROM OTHER LAND

COMMENT

JPMorgan Chase’s $2 Billion Loss

Not yet there •Nigeria may be among the ‘Top 20’ internet users, there is still a long way to go

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NTERNET World Stat, a global website which features the state of internet usage globally has released its ranking showing Nigeria among the ‘Top 20’ internet users. It gave the population of Nigeria’s internet users as 45.04 million, which, according to the website, places her 11 th in the world, behind France which has an internet population of 50.29 million and, ahead of Mexico with internet population of 42 million. The website puts Nigeria’s internet penetration ratio at 26.5 percent. By comparison, it gave the figures of internet users for China – a nation of 1.34 billion people – as 513 million making her the first – with internet penetration at 38.4 percent. United States and India with 245.2 million and 121 million users, respectively, take the second and third places. India, the third place winner, with a huge population of 1.19 billion is said to have the least internet penetration of 10.2 percent among the ‘Top 20’. Leading the global pack in internet penetration is the United States with 78.3 percent. It is of course a measure of how far Nigeria has moved in the last decade to embrace the digital challenge. A tribute to the Nigerian inventiveness, expressed in the eagerness to adopt and adapt to new technologies, the achievement speaks to Nigerians’ capacity to adopt innovative measures to harvest the fruits of new technologies no matter how daunting the infrastructure challenge

may seem. Of course, if the ranking comes to any achievement, it owes principally to the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2001. Not only did the development spawn the explosion in tele-density, one other derivative was the expansion in bandwidth capacity – which has fostered expansion in internet usage in the country today. Although 26.5 percent internet penetration may seem a long way yet to get Nigerians wired up in a world rapidly going digital, but then this needs to be appreciated in the context that much of what is being harvested as gains are actually products of investments done within the last decade. As it is, a lot more still needs to be done to bridge the digital divide and to deepen internet penetration. We do acknowledge massive boosts in bandwidth capacity as a result of massive investments in backbone infrastructure by different network providers and other investors. The same however, cannot be said of the last mile infrastructure to deliver access to endusers. That is where the next phase of the digital revolution is sorely required. Without the requisite investment, the so-called digital divide will continue to widen. At the moment, that gap is at the heart of why internet services remain almost exclusively an urban phenomenon. It is the reason the quality of services on offer are below par. It also explains the relatively steep cost of internet access. Hence, it’s time for government

to address that aspect of the digital equation. We need to make the important distinction between rapid growth in internet usage and its optimisation. The widespread adoption and use of tools of social networking – a form of catharsis – would seem proof enough of how well Nigerians have done with the former. As for its optimisation for value-creating and employment generating endeavours, there is certainly a long way to go yet, particularly for our youths. That the youths are not tapping into the immense opportunities in the cyber-sphere should be something of a challenge for those in charge of policies. The time has come for government to retool our young ones for the digital revolution.

‘We need to make the important distinction between rapid growth in internet usage and its optimisation. The widespread adoption and use of tools of social networking – a form of catharsis – would seem proof enough of how well Nigerians have done with the former. As for its optimisation for valuecreating and employment generating endeavours, there is certainly a long way to go yet, particularly for our youths’

Death of shame? •Okereke-Onyiuke merely pontificated rather than address the allegations against her F the news that Prof. Ndi OkerekeOnyiuke, former Director-General (DG) of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) spent N186million on 165 Rolex wrist watches purchased as gifts for NSE awardees was ludicrous, her response to the accusation was quite disconcerting. More curious is the expose that only 73 of those Rolex watches were actually presented to the awardees. The remaining 92 watches valued at N99.5million reportedly developed wings. Prof Okereke-Onyiuke’s response came as an aftermath of Ms. Aruma Oteh, DG of Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rendering before the Ibrahim El-Sudi-led House of Representatives ad hoc committee probing the near collapse of the Nigerian Capital Market. The NSE under OkerekeOnyiuke’s leadership was accused of “financial skimming, misappropriation, false accounting, misrepresentation and

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‘If only Prof Okereke-Onyiuke realised the number of lives her actions and inactions at the NSE, leading to the crash of the stock market destroyed, she would bury her face in shame. It is debatable if the NSE, as she said, is a private concern whose activities cannot be looked into, especially as it thrives on public trust which was completely eroded under her leadership. The NSE under her prospered on the misery of the society’

questionable transactions.’’ Rather than clear her name before the ad hoc committee when she was invited, the former NSE boss threw caution to the winds by lecturing the committee members on why nobody should query a private concern on how to spend its money, even when such undisciplined spending could put public investors in trouble. She boasted: “The SEC has no business over how a private company spends its money. We did not collect money from anybody and we have a right to spend our money the way we want. It is not investors’ money or shareholders’ money; it is money that was made legally. NSE is a private company”. This profligacy in the NSE must have contributed to the destruction of the capital market. The questions that OkerekeOnyiuke must answer, among others, are: In what form is a N37million yacht going to enhance the duties of NSE? Why was frivolous purchase described in the books as a gift presented during its 2008 Long Service Award when there are no records of the beneficiaries? What manner of investment drive necessitated the spending of N1.3billion on business travels during her era? What informed the alleged reclassification of the sum of N953million out of the amount under “Software Upgrade”? These were the specific allegations that had been made against the former NSE boss which she somewhat avoided. Even, if some of the amounts said to have been spent by her were ‘doctored’ as she claimed, Prof Okereke-Onyiuke should have given the right figures. Again, even if NSE generated so much money at that time from the fee it charged for its serv-

ices from stock brokers, should such be spent sloppily? Unfortunately, her accuser, Ms. Oteh is to us far from being a saint. As SEC boss, she has not properly acquitted herself, especially in her management of the ‘Project 50’ that is currently causing serious ripples in that sector. However, the issues are very clear for the former NSE boss to address. But we are nauseated by her portentous disposition when she appeared before the House ad hoc committee. She never showed any penitence regarding the alleged profligacy that characterised her tenure as DG of NSE. If only Prof Okereke-Onyiuke realised the number of lives her actions and inactions at the NSE, leading to the crash of the stock market destroyed, she would bury her face in shame. It is debatable if the NSE, as she said, is a private concern whose activities cannot be looked into, especially as it thrives on public trust which was completely eroded under her leadership. The NSE under her prospered on the misery of the society. The former SEC boss betrayed the moral force reposed by the people in the NSE through the leadership style she foisted on it. But for the dearth of outrage in the Nigerian society, actions such as Prof Okereke-Onyiuke’s should have sent people to the streets in protest. It is sad that such culture of revulsion has not gained momentum in this clime while the government has been inept in combating acts of official profligacy, especially in public concerns. Okereke-Onyiuke’s appearance without a formal apology to Nigerians is, to us, outrageous.

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AMIE Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, can be clear as a bell when he denounces financial reform. But on an emergency conference call with analysts on Thursday to announce the bank’s stunning $2 billion trading loss, his message was frustratingly vague. The loss, according to Mr. Dimon, was in the bank’s “synthetic credit portfolio,” which presumably means it involved the same type of complex derivatives that played such a destructive role in the financial crisis. And Mr. Dimon said that sloppiness, bad judgment and stupidity — his own and his colleagues’ — had led to the loss. It was a stunning admission from a man who led JPMorgan through the crisis relatively unscathed, but it doesn’t explain what actually went wrong. What Mr. Dimon did not say is that the loss also occurred because of a continued lack, nearly four years after the crisis, of rules and regulators up to the task of protecting taxpayers and the economy from the excesses of too big to fail banks; and, yes, of protecting the banks from their executives’ and traders’ destructive risk-taking. The fact that JPMorgan’s loss — which Mr. Dimon has warned could “easily get worse” — is not enough to topple the bank, is not the point. What matters is that JPMorgan, like the nation’s other big banks, is still engaged in activities that can provoke catastrophic losses. If policy makers do not strengthen reform, then luck is the only thing preventing another meltdown. Bank regulators should start by adopting a forceful Volcker Rule. Proposed by Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman and included in the Dodd-Frank reform law, the rule would curtail risky and speculative trading with the banks’ own capital. Banks hate the Volcker Rule, because less gambling means lower profits and lower bonuses for executives and traders. Mr. Dimon has been especially contemptuous, saying at one point that “Paul Volcker by his own admission has said he doesn’t understand capital markets. He has proven that to me.” Early versions of the restrictions have been ambiguous and toothless. Dodd-Frank also calls for new rules on derivatives — including transparent trading and requirements for banks to back their trades with collateral and capital. If such rules were in place, JPMorgan’s trades could not have escaped notice by regulators and market participants. In the face of heavy lobbying, the derivatives’ rules have also been delayed or watered down. There are now several bills in the House, with bipartisan support, to weaken the Dodd-Frank law on derivatives. One of those would let the banks avoid Dodd-Frank regulation by conducting derivatives deals through foreign subsidiaries. The JPMorgan loss was incurred in its London office, which doesn’t lessen the effect here. Mitt Romney has called for repealing DoddFrank. That may win him Wall Street cash, but it is profoundly dangerous. President Obama and Congressional Democrats can take credit for Dodd-Frank, but they have not done enough to ensure that the rules are strong enough. The force of Mr. Dimon’s critique of Dodd-Frank has rested on his personal reputation for smarts and on JPMorgan’s sheen of invincibility. His own admitted fallibility and the bank’s shocking stumble are the best argument in favor of strong regulation. Now politicians and regulators need to stand up to the banks. –New York Times

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EDITORIAL/OPINION

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IR: As President Goodluck Jonathan was promising to deal decisively with those indicted in the fuel subsidy racket, one of his most senior aides was singing another tune that the probe report lacked credibility. With comment like this coming from quarters of government, a discerning mind should know that this is another circus orchestra to entertain us. President Jonathan’s lukewarm attitude is understandable. After all, he ran the most expensive political campaign in Nigeria’s history. Where is the source of these funds and people behind it? Those expecting the President to act swiftly on subsidy probe report are only hal-

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Subsidy probe: Who will bell the cat? lucinating. If only the judiciary as the custodian of checks and balances can stand its ground for Nigeria, then we the masses can heave some sigh of relief that this country has bright future and it is worth dying for but I strongly doubt the credibility and integrity of this institution. Its repu-

tation as lubricant for sharp and corrupt practices are well known and documented. The conscience of judges should spur them to save Nigeria from the brink. Nothing is impossible. With Boko-Haram threatening to bomb us into extinction, kidnapping and proliferation of sophisti-

cated weapons by deviants, our elite should spare us the agony and trauma of endless probes. Without sanctioning culprits, all these probes serve nothing but to extinguish patriotic spirits of hardworking and honest citizens. The behavioural pattern of our elite is fueling crime and anti-social behaviour in our so-

If Olaitan Oyerinde had lived

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IR: Ede, the sleepy town in Osun State, may not have witnessed before Thursday last week the kind of tumultuous but emotional welcome for a departed personality such as was accorded the late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the assassinated Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, brutally murdered in his Benin City residence on Friday May 4. Comrade Oyerinde at just 44 years was so many things to many persons and institutions who had the privilege of meeting him either as colleagues or in the course of carrying out his duties. In Oshiomhole’s tribute to his late Principal Private Secretary, he said: ‘’When duty beckoned me to be governor of Edo state on November 12, 2008, I was in need of a companion who operates on the same intellectual frequency to join me on the journey. ‘’History had taught me that power could alienate. So, more crucially, I realised I needed someone who is not afraid to tell me the truth always as I believe only the truth can set us free. I needed a political companion who will constantly remind me of those dreams we shared about not just a new Edo state but a better Nigeria. ‘’I did not have to look too far. Comrade Olaitan with whom I had worked closely as NLC President emerged the natural choice. To me, it was immaterial that Comrade

Olaitan did not hail from Edo state insofar he was most resourceful, creative and could work under severe pressure. And when people acknowledge our modest achievements in the last three and a half years we owe it largely to the tireless toil, the unwavering patriotism, the rugged self-denial, the huge sacrifices made by the likes of Comrade Olaitan. If Olaitan had lived, Funke, his wife, would still have a husband and his four children a father to shower love and kindness on them. If Olaitan had lived, the governors of Osun,

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Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti states would have continued to have an ally to fight for the cause of democracy in Nigeria. Together, the governors are consoled that Comrade Olaitan had ‘’run a good race. Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde was not allowed to live his dreams to fulfilment. He did not live to see his only son, Adam, and three daughters grow to adulthood under his guidance like all loving and caring fathers. Comrade Olaitan would have loved, more than anything else at this time, to witness the Comrade Governor win his governorship re-elec-

tion on July 14, and partake in the celebrations to follow. A fitting tribute can be found in the words of the Governor: ‘’Rather than weaken, Comrade Olaitan’s blood in fact strengthens me to fight even harder. Olaitan may be gone in flesh, but we are comforted by his legacy of selfless service. Like several other revolutionaries whose blood have continued to water the tree of liberty, Comrade Olaitan’s blood will further propel us to even greater heights in Edo state’’. • Comrade Nasamu, Benin City.

ciety. The concept of service to the community for public good, progress and communal survival has been completely eroded by get-richby-all-means syndrome without border. Maybe all probes should be conducted behind closed door to save us the psychological trauma and agony of painful hemorrhage of our commonwealth. They should leave us to think only about how to detect, evade and escape Boko Haram’s bombs, kidnappers and other dangerous deviants. We, the masses are already battered, bruised, alienated and abandoned to our fates. We need to clear our head and breathe some fresh air. After all, without us who will massage the ego of the elite? We are the drugs that give them sense of success and good feeling.They need us too. There is little the President can do. He is only human. Like us, that instinct to exist in natural state is inherently human and genetical. Life without ambition is worthless, the President needs very powerful allies and elements to remain relevant politically now and beyond. It remains to be seen how he intends to deal decisively with his benefactors. We don’t need iron fisted leaders but strong, dynamic, enduring and independent institutions. • Akinola M. A. Verona-Italy

President needs to think away from the noise

IR: I couldn’t help laughing when I read President Goodluck Jonathan’s address to African leaders in Addis Ababa in which he urged them to empower youths in their countries to enable them take up their leadership roles in Africa’s future in the coming decades. What I am not sure about was if Jonathan was also advising himself considering that Nigerian youths have been continually violated. Nigeria is a country where a 30year-old man still lives with his parents, unmarried, clothed and fed by them. He cannot look up to himself for anything because he has lost his self-esteem due to the incapacitating economic conditions of his country. His psyche has been bastardized so much so that at 30 he feels proud being called a mummy’s or daddy’s boy.

Most Nigerian youths are disoriented, with no clear-cut vision of their future. Like their leaders, many hope to stumble and wobble to a muchdesired bright future, only that we know that works one in one hundred. They bow in reverence to those not as brilliant as they are if it would ensure the day’s meal. It is their turn to serve the children of those their fathers have served. Slavery by inheritance imposed by the clueless greedy few. President Jonathan should spare us the agony of hearing his pious admonitions. He should act on the subsidy probe and prove to us that the money was not spent on his re-election in April, 2011. The two-sides-ofthe-mouth talk of his Justice Minister, Adoke, should stop. In a sane society, the government consults the people before taking any

decision on their behalf. Without adequate consultations and the lie that subsidy would not be removed until April, the Jonathan government unilaterally removed subsidy on New Year Day, his trojan horse to Nigerians. As it turned, the greatest daylight robbery has been meted out to Nigerians in the name of subsidy. We now know who was right, Nigerians or the Jonathan administration. When I remember names like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikwe, Tafawa Balewa, I wonder and ponder on what has become of our leaders? Has performance given way to vacillation? Has being remembered for good given way to living good? Apart from using the name of Nigeria’s founding fathers to campaign, don’t Nigerian politicians feel bothered about how they would go down in history? Why was Jonathan

named Azikwe if he has not the zeal of the great Zik? We all know he cannot be a General, but were Azikwe, Awolowo and Balewa Generals? And as for David Mark, the Senate President, he should stop being Jonathan’s defendant. He should know that he is the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, accountable only to Nigerians, and not the President of the Senate of the Federal Government of Nigeria or PDP. Most of his words and actions are filled with nuances that he holds more allegiance to the President than to Nigerians. If truly he wants to take his turn at the presidency come 2015, he should know that despite PDP’s rigging prowess, Nigerians would still be the deciding factor. •‘Dimeji Daniels Ado-Ekiti


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EDITORIAL/OPINION “LET the power cowboys who continue to plot against Justice Salami, just because they cannot have their illicit ways, know Nigeria is no banana republic – and will never be one. The road to Somalia will be resisted by all legitimate means – and the Salami case would be fought to its logical conclusion.” – ‘Devil on the cross’, Republican Ripples, 16 August 2011.

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ing for justice and fair play, even if that meant risking the loss of the CJN office. But the short tenure of Justice Musdapher has been devoted to righting whatever wrongs his perceived earlier role in the Salami odyssey might have caused. He would retire with a clean conOlakunle science. Even more re-assuring, t all started with an uncouth lordbeek@yahoo.com, 08054504169 (Sms only, please) Abimbola the incoming CJN, Justice Aloma advertorial by Iyiola Omisore, over Muktar, the first female to rise to the Osun governorship appeal verthe zenith of Nigeria’s judiciary, dict by the Court of Appeal, sitting in has been part and parcel of the Ibadan. Ironically, it appears ending with current healing efforts. She chaired the final NJC body that another uncouth interview, in which Omisore mocked a jurist recommended that Justice Salami be reinstated. of no mean calibre. It is not unlike the worst of outlawry that would end up ridiculing the court. Wish that could be said of the executive and, by extension, mocking the best of civilised order. Then, of course, there was the little problem of forming a the PDP the federal ruling party, whose officials constitute In an interview he partly denied because his threat to quorum. Though not quite as cavalier, the NJC conduct in its the bulk of the federal executive! waylay the Osun gubernatorial convoy and rid Governor co-called Salami decision somewhat echoed the notoriety of To start with, it is interesting to see if President Jonathan Rauf Aregbesola of alleged thugs bordered on the treasonthe Obasanjo era “simple minority” phoney impeachments to would move with the same speed of light to reinstate Justice able, former Senator Omisore had mocked Justice Isa Ayo get rid of presidential enemies, served to the baying masses as Salami as he had moved to suspend him. Everyone waits. Salami, claiming he was banished from office because he thieving governors. But beyond the formal executive, things have gone promade Aregbesola governor. Of course, what looked like a judicial-executive conspiracy gressively worse on the party and partisan fronts. Olagunsoye But all the Court of Appeal, under Justice Salami’s presiclimaxed with the speed of light with which President Goodluck Oyinlola (Osun) and Olusegun Oni (Ekiti), two judicially condency, did was to reclaim Aregbesola’s mandate which Jonathan honoured the NJC recommendation, though his defirmed and punished gubernatorial usurpers, have powered Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Omisore’s Peoples Democratic Party fence that he moved swiftly to avoid creating a judicial vacuum, back into party offices. (PDP) mate in Osun State, had brazenly stolen. though legalistic was not untenable. While Oyinlola is the PDP national secretary, Oni is the That interview was on Saturday April 21, though newspaWhere intra-judicial resent morphed into executive irritanational vice-chairman for the South West, making him the pers started reporting the alleged threats from Monday April tion was not clear. Or maybe it was a simple case of symbiotic effective South West boss of the party, even if he again has to 23. But by May 10, the National Judicial Council (NJC) had concert for vengeance against a mutual enemy; driven by the contend with the courts, his usual nemesis. The process that written to President Goodluck Jonathan to reinstate Justice theory of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. th threw him up has been voided. Salami. The same NJC had on 18 August 2011, after its 7 But overall, it was clear the powers-that-be, both on the exMeanwhile, Omisore, another political relic fighting irrelemergency meeting, suspended the jurist and also recomecutive and judicial divides, had enough motives to nail Jusevance at all cost, has been indulging in his trademark vulgar mended to President Jonathan that Justice Salami, presitice Salami – not because he had done anything wrong, but verbal diarrhoea, which makes decent and civilised society dent of the Court of Appeal (PCA), be retired. because he had professionally done right, which nonetheless retch. It is not unlike outlawry threatening to overwhelm The controversy that enveloped the NJC suspend-andhad wrong-footed the high and the mighty. decent and civilised society. retire-Salami-at-all-cost drama was, without doubt, the lowThe good thing though, is that with the exit of CJN KatsinaBut no one need bother about that. The PDP has a right to est point of the Nigerian judiciary in recent history. Justice Alu, the judicial arm is slowly and steadily getting itself out of define itself one way or another. What is important is that Salami was at loggerheads with outgoing Chief Justice of a self-created bog. the society does not go down with it. Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, after the PCA CJN Dahiru Musdapher was pivotal to the Salami case; for he was The opening quote of this piece, from Ripple’s contribution had publicly rejected “promotion” to the Supreme Court; the sole witness to the Salami claim that ex-CJN Katsina-Alu allegwhen the anti-Salami grand plot all started remains valid and after the PCA had openly accused the CJN of trying to edly tried to compromise the Court of Appeal on the Sokoto case. now at the approach of its denouement, as at it was then. All illicitly influence the Court of Appeal’s verdict on the His refusal to corroborate that claim was fatal to Justice Salami’s lovers of democracy, justice and fair play must stand firm Sokoto gubernatorial case. case and was the main plank of the so-called suspension and recuntil Justice Salami is fully restored. As the clock ticked towards the CJN’s retirement, so it would ommended early retirement. Many have even gone to accuse the Never again must this polity tolerate the vengeful punishappear, a panic button was pressed to avert the time bomb of current CJN as prizing his rise to that office over and above rallyment of a jurist because he stopped electoral bandits from the CJN retiring with the PCA still on his seat. That would appear a logical explanation for the ugly chain of events. /Never again must this polity tolerate the carting away stolen mandate, even if those bandits are from federal ruling party. To start with, the NJC tried to evade service of court pavengeful punishment of a jurist because he theThat the Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun governorships were stopers, in a cynical disavowal of cherished judicial procestopped electoral bandits from carting len was beyond question. The electoral rascals involved should dure. That was tantamount to the Pope disavowing the cooling their heels in gaol, not strutting about and issuing most cherished ritual of his Catholic faith. Then, in taking away stolen mandate, even if those bandits be threats as if they had a devilish mandate to “Somalia-nise” the its decision, it blissfully lived in denial that the case was are from the federal ruling party’ country, starting with the destruction of the judiciary. sub-judice; and that it should be wary of taking any action

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epublican ipples

Salami: justice at last?

O the credit of the Hon Ibrahim El-Sudi-led committee probing the collapse of the capital market, it seems to have finally got the handle on the virtual economy described as the capital market. Not for the committee the elevation of the trivia over substance as we saw of Herman Hembe and company, or the hug of television cameras as has become customary with similar high profile probes; this time, the committee seems to have got down to the brass tacks in terms of framing the right questions. At this stage in the proceedings, there is of course nothing remotely suggesting that we are any nearer the prospects of extracting contrition from the club whose greed brought on the collapse of the market. Like riotous scene in a market square in which different players seek to outdo themselves, the dramatis personae have just about traded enough blames in the hallowed committee room to ensure every Citizen Danjuma, Ngozi or Bamidele gets a good slice. If it seems a theatre of denials, arrogance and shove-it-down-yourthroat-impunity of yesterday’s players, it seems early yet to suggest that Nigerians had some good laughs. What have we not heard? That the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has done pretty well to humble the so-called club delinquent of bankers in the last three years. Big deal. Are the conniving club within the apex bank less complicit in the regulatory lapses of the era? What about Sanusi’s big bang theory – the story of the foreign portfolio investors and their exit with $15 billion investment at the onset of trouble in their domestic economies? Didn’t those preening fellows at the apex bank and SEC play the ostrich even when the talk on the main street was that share prices were overvalued? As for the bankers – those odd fellows who lived in the illusion that the good times would have gone on forever without the CBN’s regulatory hammer. Theirs have remained the refrain that there were no signs of harmattan let alone the onset of Sanusi’s acclaimed drought. True? What about the story of banks hooked on CBN life support? Or the expanded window which became a permanent prop for the cost of delinquency? We also heard that the apex bank was supposed to be the lender of last resort. In other words, what was supposed to be the big deal about keeping primary lenders on permanent lending support? Shameless fellows – they may well have added that their banks could have survived for as long as there were books to cook! What about the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigeria Stock Exchange? Didn’t we hear how the virtual economy that prided itself as the bastion of savings and investment became a conclave for hatching Ponzi schemes? If a N37 million Yacht whose beneficiaries are unknown or unknowable because it was private money, what about the N1.3 billion expenses on business travels

Policy Sanya Oni sanyaoni@yahoo.co.uk 08051101841

How not to bring about recovery reclassified as “software upgrade or the N186 million used to purchase Rolex watches: the invisible benefits for the bright boys/girls of that virtual economy? And then we heard also of how those drafted to help clean the mess also went on spending binge – helping themselves to all manners of indulgencies even as the market continued to take a hit. In vain did I search for a hint of contrition from the club of complicit players. From what we saw last week, we may well have been talking of a capital market doing a treble in record time as against one whose capitalisation plunged from its Olympian height of N12.6 trillion in March 2008 to barely N3.99 trillion in February 2009 and which has only managed to crawl to N7.2 trillion nearly four years hence. The current probe of the capital market must be seen as revealing in a number of ways. Foremost is exposure of the psychology of the class we refer to as Nigeria’s capitalists. Doubtless, the love of self, defined as greed, may be the common denominator in all brands of capitalism. The Nigerian brand is however exceptional – surpassing all others both in naked crudity and in its abhorrence of ethical pretensions. In an environment lacking in institutional restraints on individual greed, the otherwise famed efficiency of the market simply assumes as grotesque distortion. It is easily reduced to a jungle of different players. Perhaps, only in Nigeria’s capitalist jungle will proceeds of an aborted share offer be privatised by privileged players without the fear of regulatory hammer, and the beneficiaries allowed to move on without fear of retribution. This is one point that those outraged by the contention of the erstwhile Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Stock Exchange that she could do whatever she liked with the operating surplus of the exchange should ponder on. Of course, both derive from

the same organic source – the absence of the ethical roots, the result of which the individual is left to make his own pickings in the treacherously shifty boundaries of delinquent conduct. It is responsible for the lack of shame – the absence of contrition. I move on to the second revelation: the hypocrisy of our socalled reformers. Soon enough, we would have enough time to deal with the irritating Messiah-nism of our so-called reformers. At this point, one common thread that runs across the various interventions – be it in the capital market or the financial services sector – is the charge that the so-called new brooms are hardly any better. More often than not, the socalled new are actually from the same stock. The result is that those brought in to do salvage job have tended to leave the institutions worsted – reducing reforms to one of ensconcing new players on the seat vacated by an out-of-favour player, while retaining the extant culture that produced the rot. Where do we go from here? The committee may have done a good job of availing those who plunged the capital market into the current crisis to let-off steam, it is hard to see prospects of healing from the exercise. Not with the wounds still so fresh; not while those who brought the market into ruin continue to live in denial of their criminal misdeeds. And certainly not with impunity and crime, left unpunished. If it seems superfluous, I dare to say that Nigerians are no fools. As for the wages of the impunity, these would come sooner than later. Having said that – I think there is something Nigerian in the leading lights of the capital market not stepping out to apologise to Nigerians for the lives ruined and the investments led to waste. Is anyone out there still talking about market recovery?

The committee may have done a good job of availing those who plunged the capital market into the current crisis to let-off steam, it is hard to see prospects of healing from the exercise. Not with the wounds still so fresh; not while those who brought the market into ruin continue to live in denial of their criminal misdeeds. And certainly not with impunity and crime, left unpunished.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

22

EDITORIAL/OPINION

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OLITICS is the art of gaining political power persuasively and convincinly so that the citizenry will be quite definite in their minds that they are making individual/collective choices on who to control their affairs through the apparatus of governance. The platform for achieving this goal is the political parties which are voluntary association of citizens of like minds and a common denominator of how governance should be carried out. In this regard, a social contract between those given the political power and those that give it to them is established with the latter having the ultimate inalienable responsibility to renew the contract or terminate it based on individual and collectively persuasion of how those with the political power have met the demands in the social contract. The pivot of this simple analysis of politics, political parties, political power and governance rests on mutuality and universality; and the ability to keep to the norms of the game, determines the level of civilized political behavior of a people. It is therefore clear that practice and behavior and anyone or group of people that get involved in violence or coercion can be described as uncivilized, and therefore unfit to hold political power From practical experience, political violence emanates from two broad perspectives; intolerance and the suppression of popular will. In contemporary history, the most elebrated violence was the one that occurred

‘Thrice the Mimiko administration denied political aspirants the use of Akure City Hall, a public edifice to showcase their political bearings. And yet when Dr. Olusegun Agagu was the sitting Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Mimiko used the same Akure City Hall on many occasions to launch his party, the Labour Party which confronted Dr. Agagu’s government’ Overconfidence is man’s chiefest enemy – Shakespeare F nothing else, the Arab spring which swept away seemingly untouchable, long-serving dictators in the Middle East and North Africa proved beyond reasonable doubt that the invincibility of the ruling elite is a myth when confronted by the tide of change. Overconfidence, like change, is the albatross of dictators. Gadaffi and his ilk never envisaged what hit them, and so never prepared for it. Many key players in government delude themselves into thinking that the peculiarities of the Nigerian political environment make a revolution virtually impossible here. Again, another myth! Our religious differences and ethnic diversities are being bandied as hurdles that make a cohesive national front required for a revolution impossible. But this is mere illusion without historical basis. Change, like natural disasters, may happen without notice, and usually when we least expect. Things could snap just by the minute from an unlikely source. It is often said that nothing can stop a change whose time has come. The Arab spring proved that unpopular leaders may hold out for as long as a generation, it takes just one push, or a bold move by another generation rising up to the challenge, to upturn the status quo. One had thought that our political class would learn from the turmoil in the Arab world and quickly set the country on a path of economic and political reforms that could fast-track development at a frenetic pace to assuage the feelings of general despondency across the nation. Instead, they chose to perpetuate the decadent culture of corruption, managerial ineptitude in government that has put this country in limbo for decades. What is coming out of the National Assembly probes on power, the capital market and the oil sector is sickening. As for the ruling PDP, despite its internal

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Stemming political violence in Ondo By Olaiya Oni in the old Western Region when the federal government based in Lagos at that time decided to overthrow the legitimate government of Western Nigeria under Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s political leadership and install a puppet against the will of the people. It did not only lead to the incarceration of the leaders of the party that produced the best government in Africa, south of the Sahara at that time, a factor which offended the sensibilities of the Yoruba nation, it created a government by force that triggered off the violence which engulfed the whole Yoruba nation and ultimately led to the first coup d’etat in Nigeria in January 1966. Coming home to Ondo State, the 1983 political violence which occurred in the present Ondo and Ekiti states and which was caused by the determination of the federal government to take-over the popular government of Chief Michael Adekule Ajasin using the electoral umpire i.e FEDECO which decided to play on the side of one of the parties and altered the authentic figures which represented the wishes of the people. Chief Akin Omoboriowo was unleashed. But the judiciary, led by that most celebrated legal luminary, a proud son of Akokoland, Justice Olakunle Orojo of blessed memory declared that Governor Ajasin who won at the unit, ward and local government levels should automatically win at the state level where FEDECO conjured its figures. And so Governor Ajasin triumphantly entered his second term in office which was later terminated by the military. No one prays for a repeat performance. Unfortunately the way the Olusegun Mimiko’s administration is conducting itself reminds one of the Bourbon kings who “learnt nothing and forgot nothing”, a factor that led to the French revolution of 1789 which consumed the Bourbon kings and the French nobility to establish an egalitarian society in the French republic – a phenomenon which had far-reaching affects on contemporary Europe. For how could one explain the violence unleashed on topmost Yoruba leaders, a governor and other high-ranking public officials who assembled to give honour to the memory of late Chief Adebayo Adefarati A.K.A ‘Baba Peace’ who gave Dr. Mimiko the

second major political appointment in his political career as Commissioner for Health? That is the height of the level of intolerance which the Mimiko administration has unleashed on the people of the state, a people he swore to work for. And yet the following day Dr. Mimiko sent his aide to take part in a church service in honour of papa peace at Akungba-Akoko! Indeed, I regard Dr. Mimiko as one of the political wonders of our time. He looks innocent, amiable, jovial and unassuming but behind all this is an unlimited capacity to do evil in the name of political exploits. I wish to recollect that the administration in Ondo sent political thugs and the police to recover a six-year old bus which I bought as a scrap paid for and got it repaired at a cost of N1.7million. The Labour Party on the order of Dr. Mimiko forcefully entered my company premises, using the police, to take away a property that rightly belongs to me. And when Dr. Mimiko was confronted by well-meaning family members on why he unleashed violence on someone whom God used to assist him to get to power, he feigned ignorance! Meetings, association and public discussion constituted the milk of civilized political bahaviour and yet Dr. Mimiko denies legitimate aspirations for the opposition parties to declare publicly their intention to seek political power. Thrice the Mimiko administration denied political aspirants the use of Akure City Hall, a public edifice to show-case their political bearings. And yet when Dr. Olusegun Agagu was the sitting Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Mimiko used the same Akure City Hall on many occasions to launch his party, the Labour Party which confronted Dr. Agagu’s government. Nobody disturbed us as I was the chairman of Labour Party at that time. If the Mimiko’s administration can exhibit such level of intolerance and political violence when we are just rehearsing for the main event which will involve daily campaign rallies across the length and breath of Ondo State to convince our people that we constitute an alternative choice to the Mimiko administration, what should we expect when the main event starts? May I remind ourselves about how Mimiko

administration dug a big gorge to prevent movement of people to the Adaba FM Radio Station, a station which Dr. Mimiko’s Labour Party used extensively to convey our political position and which indeed gave us a lot of credit facilities. I hope the radio station will not be bulldozed under the pretext of violating planning regulations when it opens its gates to the opposition to air their views and canvass votes for the October governorship election. Edo state is our next-door neighbor and one is saddened by the level of political violence that has occurred in the state resulting in loss of lives through association. I hope we shall not be faced with the same scenario when we get into the full swing of electioneering. And in this regard, we should appeal to the political umpire INEC and all the law-enforcement agencies not only to create a levelplaying field but to get down to their drawing boards and produce comprehensive strategies to contain any deviant political behavior that might rear its head in Ondo State whose citizens should be allowed to decide voluntarily and without coercion or intimidation whom to hand over political power by October 20. • Dr Oni, chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria writes from Ondo State.

‘We should appeal to the political umpire INEC and all the law-enforcement agencies not only to create a level-playing field but to get down to their drawing boards and produce comprehensive strategies to contain any deviant political behavior that might rear its head in Ondo State whose citizens should be allowed to decide voluntarily and without coercion or intimidation whom to hand over political power by October 20’

A fresh butt on revolution By Yemi Ayodeji contradictions which make it to quake at critical moments, the main concern of its leaders is how to hold on to power at any cost, then corner the nation’s oil wealth and invest peanuts to procure the people’s vote during elections. That has been its modus operandi. So adept is this party at this power game that its leaders often boast about their ability to rule Nigeria for as long as 60 years at a stretch. And they seem to be putting up the structures to achieve this anti-democratic objective. How well they’d succeed in stopping the march of progress remains to be seen. Moreover, these guys play the ethnic and religious card to whip up sentiments whenever they feel threatened by the opposition. So, since its ascension to power in 1999, the PDP has positioned itself as the only national party with tentacles in all nooks and cranny of Nigeria. It has acquired the financial clout to regularly muzzle the other parties, to completely obviate any risk of viable opposition capable of dislodging it from the centre. With a membership spanning the venal rich, retired generals, government contractors, and people of questionable character; the PDP is literally on a roller coaster ride across the political landscape. The opposition seems to have been browbeaten. Some, like prince of Nigeria, Rev Chris Okotie, and chairman of the Fresh Democratic Party FRESH, says his party does not nurse any complex towards the PDP despite its overbearing posture and its policy of politics of exclusion. He insists that FRESH stands its ground against the PDP’s grandstanding, and avowed goal to crowd out other parties from

the political space. While another opposition leader, CPC’s Gen, Muhammadu Buhari has warned against a violent revolution if the PDP resists change, the FRESH chairman believes that we do not need a violent revolution at this point to effect change in governance, pointing to the Asian Tigers –Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, which he frequently uses as a template for Nigeria’s development. The Pastor-politician, who projects the image of the new face of Nigerian politics, rejects any hint at violence as a means of wrestling power from Nigeria’s governing cabal. He thinks that what is needed is adequate education of the masses to know the enormous power they have to effect change in the social order. The problem is how to make people understand that taking peanuts to vote for corrupt leaders is the bane of our politics. It merely impoverishes them, while the politician is helped to power without deserving it. “Politicians recruit poor folks as thugs and deploy them to the front lines when riots break out, but their own children are often kept secured in the comfort of their heavily guarded homes, or are abroad in some Ivy League institution”, Okotie points out recently at a party forum. Voter education is at the core of Okotie’s message for a changing paradigm to give Nigeria a new generation of leaders. The ruling politicians win always, not because they are popular but because the opposition is never united. The PDP, for instance, derives its strength from this obvious opposition weakness. The party’s top shots know that even with their control of government resources, they’d need to rig elections to remain in power. However,

they’re under the illusion that this will continue forever. What you have here is dictatorship without a dictator. Our people are yearning for change but there’s no nationally acceptable agent to drive that change. But that is the scenario in the Arab awakening. No single, charismatic leader or revolutionary fronted the uprising in any of the Arab States where dictators have been toppled. Yet they succeeded with regime change in three countries – Egypt, Libya, Yemen; Syria is already at the brink. Nobody can say what form the revolution will take in Nigeria, but Okotie’s option seems more realistic. A wind of change driven by mass rejection of the governing elite at the polls is a lot easier to attain because the ravages of hunger, unemployment, economic collapse have taken its toll across the country. And no one can deny it. You can’t conceal failure for too long. In Nigeria today, the failure of governance stares everyone in the face everywhere you go. Only time and the tide of events will tell how far we can go before we get it right. • Ayodeji wrote from Lagos

‘The problem is how to make people understand that taking peanuts to vote for corrupt leaders is the bane of our politics. It merely impoverishes them, while the politician is helped to power without deserving it’


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Tuesday May 15, 2012

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PROPERTY

Tuesday, MAY 15, 2012

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

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

email:- property@thenationonlineng.net

The Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Island pull on businesses

•Broad Street, Lagos

Despite being restructured, the Lagos Central Business District (CBD) seems to have lost its attraction to businesses, which are moving in droves to Victoria Island, Lekki and Ikoyi which are considered safer and more business-friendly. OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE reports •CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

•Lagos de-silts 550 storm water drainage channels to check flood - PAGE 26

•Cement option for road construction gets push - PAGE 39

•Fed Govt moves to relocate tanker drivers from Tarfa - PAGE 40


26

THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT

The Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Island pull on businesses •CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

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OR businesses, the new attraction is Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki where they are moving to in droves. The relocation did not just start today. Those who should know said it started 10 years ago when they found when they found the famous Lagos Business District (LBD) of Marina and Broad Street no longer attractive. Why are they moving? Many factors, according to experts, are responsible for the relocation, chief of which are infrastructure and accessibility. There is now pressure on landlords from their tenants to improve on infrastructure provision and enhance access to their offices. To get their heart’s desire, they are ready to pay no matter how high the rent is. National Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Victor Ayeye said the movement of businesses from Lagos Island (Marina and Broad Street) to Victoria Island and Lekki has resulted in many vacant open spaces. Many factors, according to him, are responsible for the movement, especially among corporate offices. Insecurity, he posits, plays a major role, as currently all manner of businesses operate along Broad Street and Marina. He added that street trading and hawking breed touts, who scare corporate businesses and expatriates. He said over population of the central business district, is also another source of concern. “This area is now seriously populated, not by the real office owners, but street traders and there are inadequate parking lots as what served as parking lots have been converted to other uses. Again, most of the office spaces in Lagos Island were built over 80 years ago and, therefore, functionally obsolete to be used for modern day business in this century. “It must be noted that the life cycle of a building in the country is arguably about 60 years and therefore, anything can happen, such as collapse of the building. Also, some of the structures do not meet the standard of today,” he said. According to Ayeye, the life cycle of an estate is in five stages

•Marina, Lagos

- the pre-development, newly developed, middle age, obsolescence and total obsolescence. He said businesses are moving to Lekki and Victoria Island because, they are areas where all the deficiencies observed in the LCBD had been taken care of by the adequate provision of modern day facilities, new structures and proper security measures. On the price differentials, he said though the cost of office space in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki ranks high against those of Marina and Broad Street, it has not deterred pro-

spective clients from patronising them. Recent statistics revealed that office complexes in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki commands higher rent. For instance, the former Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Towers in Ikoyi, now MOLENA Towers, costs $850 per square metre. A building owned by Sterling Capital by Falomo, close to Union Marble House, goes for $900 per square metre and another behind Ikoyi Hotel was let for $1,200 per square metre. On Broad Street and Marina, rent still goes for between $65 to

$195 per square metre as against $445 to $950 square metre in Ikoyi and Victoria Island in naira value. A surveyor, Chudi Ubosi of Eleh Ubosi & Co, said businesses are relocating from the Island because of poor infrastructure and poor finishing, adding that people are asking for efficient facilities and are willing to pay over $100,000 per square metre for an office space in Lekki and Victoria Island. He said: “Marina and Broad Street are looked at as secondary locations as they cannot keep blue chip companies and

‘It must be noted that the life cycle of a building in the country is arguably about 60 years and therefore anything can happen, such as collapse of the building. Also, some of the structures do not meet the standard of today’

generally businesses that are forward looking.” Principal Partner of Laide Oshikoya & Co, Mr Laide Oshikoya, said the move may be informed by the perception that Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Lekki have higher corporate outlook than Marina and Broad Street. One other thing they have going for them is their accessibility to ancillary bodies, like airline offices, embassies and restaurants. Chairman, Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos State chapter, Shola Fotoki, said the movement from Broad Street and Marina for businesses actually started 10 years ago when street urchins were harassing people in broadday light. He said the situation was made worse by the traffic snarl, limited parking space and security challenges. He said although government did a lot to improve the lot of LCBD, by the redevelopment of the area, but when banks and insurance houses started moving out of their offices, the prices of office spaces crashed. He said: “Owners of businesses do not really mind the cost of office space in these places, as their convenience in terms of accessibility and branding far outweigh the additional cost of rentals. This is more so as many of them live in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki. The President, NIESV, Emeka Eleh said when the nuisance value of miscreants and street urchins became unbearable to businesses in the 90s, they started moving to Victoria Island and Lekki, adding that the human issue contributed largely to the movement, especially in terms of security. He said people could not work late without being harassed by the street urchins. “If you want to play in the big league, you must be in Victoria Island. The only businesses left on Broad Street and Marina are stock brokers who prefer to be close to the Stock Exchange. The truth remains that every thriving business must find presence in Victoria Island, Lekki or Ikoyi.” On cost, he said the high rent has not discouraged people from relocating. “If anything, it has separated serious and well run businesses from the rest,” he said.

Lagos de-silts 550 storm water drainage channels to check flood

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O prevent flooding during the rains, the Lagos State government has de-silted 550 storm water drainage channels and constructed 133 concrete secondary storm water drainage works. The Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, said government took the step following the prediction of heavy rainfall in the state by the Nigerian Meterorological Agency (NIMET). The prediction, he said, is a useful tool for planning purposes, adding that the government has embarked on various mitigative strategies to reduce the adverse impacts of flooding. He, however, lamented drainage facilities were often damaged

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

or their capacity reduced in the process of laying power, water and telecommunication cables. “Drainage basins, channels, drain alignments, river creek and lagoon banks, flood plains and other wetland are still being encroached upon by developers and land speculators with impunity and without recourse to regulations,” he said. The commissioner said over 1,000 jobs were created under the state’ beautification programme. “Over 1,000 jobs had been generated for various ongoing beautification projects across the state via supply of granite, sand, weld-

ers, iron benders and laying of interlocking stones by artisans,” he noted. Bello added: “Our aim is to bring back the lost glory and beauty of ‘good old days’ when public facilities not only serve as recreational and relaxation spots for Lagosians but as memorial spots are planted with ornmental trees, shrubs, green, lawns and flowers.” Some of the projects, according to him, include: Oworonshoki Pedestrian under bridge, triangular lay-by at Abule-Egba Roundabout as well as the one located after Apostolic Church up to the Tipper Garage, Ketu. Bello appealed to residents to cooperate with the government

by disposing their refuse properly and engaging in activities that will promote the environment. On Climate Change, he said the ministry made several inroads with the hosting of the now yearly Climate Change Summit which has started achieveing the desired result through increased awareness on what is climate change among the ordinary people of Lagos State. He said: “ Climate Change is an unconventional war and to fight it we need the weapons of knowledge, preparation and adaption.” The commissioner also mentioned the formation of climate change clubs in schools which

•Bello

has raised the awareness of environmental issues among the youths.


TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

27

E-mail:- law@thenationonlineng.net

Many have hailed the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that the suspended President, Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, be recalled. In this report by ERIC IKHILAE and PRECIOUS WELUNDU, lawyers say all eyes are on President Goodluck Jonathan to act swiftly on accepting the recommendation. After all, they argued, he wasted no time in implementing NJC’s recommendation to suspend Justice Salami in August, last year.

Many who hanker after the title of SAN do so now, not necessarily or solely because it is a mark of professional distribution, but because, over the years, by the way it is awarded, treated, accepted and perceived it is now more or less a licence to print money with a background of unregulated fees

• SEE PAGE 29

• Justice Salami

The Salami saga: End in sight J

USTICE Isa Ayo Salami has gone through thick and thin in the past nine months. He was suspended in controversial circumstances in August, last year. Last Thursday, the National Judicial Council (NJC), which recommended his suspension, reversed itself. It recommended his recall. Now, all eyes are on President Goodluck Jonathan to see how swiftly, he will act on the recommendation. The public is interested in how fast he will act because he wasted no time last year in carrying out the recommendation on Justice Salami’s suspension. The NJC’s recommendation on Justice Salami’s recall is, however, attracting praises.

The popular thinking is that Justice Salami should not have been sanctioned. Many lawyers noted that in reversing itself, NJC may have realised that there was no justification for Justice Salami’s continued suspension. All the committees raised cleared Justice Salami of any wrongdoing. His sin, it appeared, was his face-off with then Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Aloysius Katsina-Alu. The acrimony between Justices Katsina-Alu and Justice Salami blew open months after some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) started a campaign of calumny against some Justices of the Court

of Appeal. Senator Iyiola Omisore (PDP, Osun State) opened the smear campaign in an advertorial on January 14, last year which was published in a national newspaper. In the advertisement entitled: “Osun appeal judgment: An elaborate fraud”, he queried the integrity of members of the Appeal Panel that decided the Osun State governorship election petition Some days after, President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu (SAN), reportedly vowed to investigate Omisore’s allegation that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) paid N5 billion for the judgment that sacked the former governor of Osun State,

Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Curiously, NJC on February 2 informed Justice Salami of its plan to “promote” him to the Supreme Court, an “elevation” he rejected via a letter dated February 4. He also accused the former CJN of interference in the Sokoto governorship election petition. As part of efforts to stave-off the pressure to “move him up” at all cost, Justice Salami on February 8 filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging his elevation to the Supreme Court. In a supporting affidavit, he averred that •Continued on page 28

Inside: Group seeks support for Special Peoples’ Law - P.30 Will trial by the media ever end? - P.36


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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LAW COVER CONT’D

The Salami saga: End in sight •Continued from page 27 the plan to promote him was punitive and informed by his refusal to allow the then CJN interfere in the dispute over the Sokoto State governorship election. Stunned by Justice Salami’s revelation, the NJC constituted a committee to investigate what it termed “allegations against the then CJN.” The Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin-led committee, in its report submitted in March, last year queried the CJN’s right to interfere with proceedings in other courts. “The committee finds that Chief Justice of Nigeria, as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) has no power to interfere with any proceedings in any court as was done in this case,” it held in its report. Unsatisfied with the Babalakin-committee’s findings, the NJC constituted a fresh committee it termed “fact-finding committee” to investigate the said Justice Salami’s allegations against Justices Katsina-Alu. Members of the committee headed by Justice Salami’s predecessor, Justice Umaru Abdullahi included Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (rtd), Justice D. Edozie (rtd), Justice M. Akpiroroh (rtd) and Hajiya Rakiya Ibrahim. When it released its report on July 27, the committee merely rebuked both judges without entering any indictment against them, a report many saw as a ploy to save the judiciary from further acts of self-destruction. Many had thought the end had been seen, when on July 28, the NJC stunned all by constituting a fresh panel to review the report of Justice Abdullahi-led panel. As if a predetermined goal was to be attained, the NJC chose a junior judge in hierarchy, to superintend over the fresh panel. It selected Justice Ibrahim Auta, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, to review the activities of his superiors and recommend punishment in a case involving serving Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President, Court of Appeal. Based on the report by the Auta panel, the NJC, on August 10, said it found Justice Salami guilty of professional misconduct. It accused him of breaching Rule 1 Sub-Rule 1 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers. Rule 1 reads: “A Judicial Officer should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities. Sub-Rule 1 reads: “A Judicial Officer should respect and comply with the laws of the land and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” It, consequently, gave Justice Salami a sevenday ultimatum to apologise to it (NJC) and Justice Katsina-Alu, an apology, it insisted must be in writing. Responding to the development, Justice Salami, on August 11 described the NJC’s verdict as laughable. Justice Salami, who was by

•Nwobike (SAN)

• Falana

• Agbaje

then heading for the court to challenge the NJC’s verdict, reportedly said both the CJN and the NJC ought to apologise to him and the country for the embarrassment they had caused the judiciary by their conducts. He pledged to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. In the suit he filed, challenging the NJC’s decision, Justice Salami insited on his allegation against the then CJN over the Sokoto case, arguing that the allegation against the CJN was beyond what NJC could handle. Justice Salami argued that the NJC, as constituted, has no powers under the law to make findings from allegations made under oath before a law court, describing the Council as a mere administrative body. Surprisingly, the NJC deployed all antics to evade service of court processes on it, until it almost got to a point of utmost embarrassment. Despite being aware of the pendency of the suit, the council, on August 18 recommended Justice Salami’s sack for alleged insubordination. He was directed to proceed on compulsory suspension pending when President Goodluck Jonathan would approve the Council’s recommendations. He was also directed to hand-over to the most senior justice of the Court of Appeal. As if working in concert with elements in the NJC bent on ensuring an abrupt end to Justice Salami’s career, President Jonathan approved the recommendation, even on a Sunday, an action which attracted public condemnation. Lawyers, Joseph Nwobike (SAN),

Mohammed Ibrahim, rights activists, Femi Falana and Fred Agbaje were unanimous in commending the NJC for revisiting the Justice Salami issue. Nwobike urged the President Jonathan to be cautious and seek legal opinions before acting on the NJC’s new recommendation, Ibrahim, Falana and Agbaje urged the president not to delay in accepting the recommendation as he did while accepting the recommendation for Justice Salami’s suspension. Nwobike said it is a good development that the Justice Salami’s issue is being revisited by the NJC, but that President Jonathan should exercise caution in deciding to either accept or reject the latest recommendation by the NJC. “He (the President) should consult widely and seek legal opinion on whether he can act on the recommendation. Two wrongs do not make a right. The NJC, in its first recommendation, recommended that Justice Salami be retired because he failed to apologise. But the president asked that he proceed on suspension until all issues surrounding the dispute is resolved. “At that point many criticised the president for acting on the NJC’s recommendation despite the pendency of the case filed by Justice Salami. As at today, Justice Salami has not apologised and he has not also withdrawn his case in court. “So, I believe that if the president goes ahead to act on the new recommendation, those opposed to Justice Salami’s reinstatement will criticise the president on this basis. So, I believe he should seek legal advice and consult

widely before taking any decision on this issue,” he said. Falana and Agbaje urged politicians to distance politics from justice dispensation by allowing judges to carry out their responsibilities without undue aspersions. Falana said Nigerians are waiting for the President’s action on the NJC’s recommendation to restore Salami to office. “The President is yet to act on it and since the suspension was swiftly carried out even on a Sunday, I do hope the President will act in like manner this time around. “The NJC should take every petition sent to it and deal with them in accordance to the rule of law. Am sure lessons have been learnt by all the parties involved in this case”, Falana said. Agbaje said the recommendation is a very good development for the rule of law and commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) for the high level of impartiality. “It shows that those who misled the President into taking the earlier rash decision of suspending Salami must bow their heads in shame for trying to spite the good name and integrity of a high judicial officer like Salami. “The greatest lesson of all is that politicians must learn to distance politics from the mainstream of justice.” They must, therefore, allow judges to do their work without casting undue aspersions on the integrity of our judicial officers.” Agbaje said. According to Agbaje, it is the politicians who have infiltrated the judiciary with corrupt practices that are pointing fingers at judges. “I am not saying there are no bad eggs in the judiciary, but there is a consensus that Salami is of unquestionable integrity just like the late Justice Jibowon and retired Justice Oputa,” he said. Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim said the Judiciary should learn from this. It should realise that it is wrong to politicise the court system and its operations. “The judiciary should distance itself from politicians and be wary of their antics. I commend the NJC for the recommendation. I expect the president to act on it without any further delay,” Ibrahim said.

‘It shows that those who misled the President into taking the earlier rash decision of suspending Salami must bow their heads in shame for trying to spite the good name and integrity of a high judicial officer like Salami ... The greatest lesson of all is that politicians must learn to distance politics from the mainstream of justice’

Ubani wins NBA Ikeja chair

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HE Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch has got a new chairman. He is Mr Monday Onyekachi Ubani. Ubani defeated two others to emerge winner in a keenly contested election held at the Bar Centre, Ikeja. The chairman and other elected members of the executive will be sworn on June 4, after a handing over during the Annual General Meeting(AGM) of the branch. The result of the elections announced by the electoral committee chairman, Mr Oladosu Ogunniyi, showed that Ubani polled 212 votes to beat Yinka Farounbi, 209 votes and Niyi Akinmola, 37 votes. The position of the first Vice-Chairman went to Adeshina Ogunlana who polled 244 votes to defeat two other contestants, Terry Adewale and Bayo Oguntuga who scored 178 and 32 votes. Caroline Ibeh got 250 votes as against

LEGAL DIARY

Workshop on capacity development holds today

By Adebisi Onanuga

Leye Omotola’s 198 votes to become second Vice- Chairman. The position of the General Secretary went to Adesina Adegbite who polled 278 votes against 176 scored by Emmanuel Otobo. The position of Publicity Secretary went to Muna Ezegiene, who scored 268 votes to defeat Ben Arakameh who scored 165 votes. Nelly Ajalaye won the position of the Auditor with 243 votes to defeat her opponent Patricia Umeokechukwu who polled 202 votes while Titi Osagie polled 255 votes to defeat Gbenga Ajayi who scored 175 to clinch the position of the Social Secretary of the branch. Three candidates, Samson Omodara, Carol Ibruanefo and Segun Fatoki were, however, returned unopposed for the

•Ubani

position of Welfare Secretary, Treasurer and Financial Secretary.

A ONE-DAY workshop on capacity development for journalists covering the courts will hold in Lagos today at the state Ministry of Justice Conference Room, Alausa, Ikeja. Organised by office of the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, the workshop is conceived to expose participants to basic principles of law and justice administration for effective reporting as judicial correspondents, A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor (Justice Sector Reforms), Mr Olanrewaju Akinsola, said the workshop will enhance participants‘ reportage, coverage of court proceedings and law-related issues.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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LAW PERSONALITY

‘Nigeria not ripe for plea bargain’ Oladosu Ogunniyi is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Disciplinary Committee and winner of the association’s national merit award for his outstanding contributions to the profession and the NBA. A former chairman of the Constitution Review Committee of the NBA, he is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM); Chartered Institute of Management Consultants and Chartered Secretary and Administrators (ACIS). In this interview with ADEBISI ONANUGA, he speaks on the NBA election and conference in August and other issues.

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HE NBA election is coming up soon and members have been calling for a review of the constitution. What parts would you want reviewed? I think some people are agitating for a regional bar as we have in the United States and Canada. I was the Chairman of NBA Constitution Review Committee between 2004 and 2005, and one of our recommendations was a regional bar. Nigeria is big enough to accommodate this. In certain areas, I think there is the need for amendment, like SANs being automatic delegates. Even when some ignore the meetings of their branches and will not attend, perhaps out of a feeling of selfimportance. That should not be the case. They have to be elected like any other candidate as delegates. So, I think automatic delegation is a provision that should be expunged from the constitution. If a Senior Advocate does not attend bar meetings at the branch and he just becomes an automatic delegate, who determines the fortunes of who becomes President or who become secretary at the national level, I think that is not fair. It is undemocratic. He may not have even participated in any meeting at the branch level or he may not be bothered about his branch and the activities that go on there and at the time of election, he is an automatic delegate to determine the fortunes of the bar, I think it is an obnoxious provision that must be expunged. When I was the Chairman of that constitution review at the NBA national, it was one of the recommendations that we made but it was not adopted for some extraordinary reasons. What are the advantages of a regional bar association? The country is a big entity. It will be possible for the lawyers in a region, to harness their resources, meet and articulate their position and bring it forward to the national bar. It will make decision making quicker. At present, the President of the NBA is a distant person to a lawyer in Umuahia for example. I feel that regional bar has its advantages and they are numerous. I cannot remember all the recommendations now because it has been about seven or eight years that we made them. We marshalled all the advantages to be gained from having regional bar at that time. I still feel very strongly about it. It doesn’t destroy the national bar. It even strengthens it. After all, Nigeria is a federal system. If truly Nigeria is a federation, then there is nothing wrong in having a Regional Bar. For example in Canada, which is a federation like Nigeria, they have Regional Bar, they have Regional Police. You have City Police, then Provincial Police and the National Police. So, I am saying why shouldn’t we have a Regional Bar? They have their advantages. For example, a province in Canada can decide to do certain things which another province may not feel inclined to adopt. For example, the largest in Canada, Ontario, abolished QC (Queens Counsel) which is equivalent of SAN. It is no longer awarded there whereas some provinces in Canada are still awarding QC. It is a federal system. So, Regional Bars are not antithetic to the concept of a federal system of government. What is your take on the Nigeria Law School, the standard of education and quality of its graduates? I think the quality of lawyers that we have today is high. Nigerian lawyers are good. It is only that we have too many generalists. In developed countries, lawyers specialise. A chamber, for example, may take Aviation Law, or specialise on libel, or on Labour and Employment Laws or on Land Law or Maritime Law and things like that. For example, in Canada, you can be given Queen Counsel (QC) based on your specialisation. You can be awarded a QC rank because of your specialisation, the special work you have done, your knowledge of the law in that area. But here, it is general. I am not saying that it is completely bad but it does not recognise specialisation. If you specialise in Aviation Law, for example, on account of your work and your knowledge in that area, you are given the senior rank. Here, it is not so. The regional bar would be independent enough to decide on what to have and what not to have. The award of SAN appears to be politicised. Do you think that is okay? Like all human endeavours, there could be an improvement. People could be recognised for their area of specialisation and for what they have achieved in a particular field of the law. But that is not so here. Many people are not comfortable with the manner SAN is awarded in Nigeria and they find fault with it. But there are modifications from time to time. I feel that the NBA should be given a greater say in the award of SAN than it has at present. Allegations of corruption, influence peddling and obscene lobbying have been made by some senior and respectable lawyers. In fact, some have decided never to apply for it or not to apply for it again. It is a pity that what is supposed to be a mark of professional distribution is the subject of so much criticism and opprobrium which are not totally unjustified. One issue that continues to generate controversy is the appointment of judges. It is said that most of those appointed do not merit it. What do you think should guide such appointments? Professional competence, good conduct and integrity should

•Ogunniyi

‘Many who hanker after the title of SAN do so now, not necessarily or solely because it is a mark of professional distribution, but because, over the years, by the way it is awarded, treated, accepted and perceived it is now more or less a licence to print money with a background of unregulated fees’ be the guide. Somebody who does not display integrity while practising as a lawyer, you don’t expect him to display it on the Bench. The present can be improved upon. Some people believe that the only way to improve upon the present system is to appoint those in the SAN rank as judges. I do not agree. The United States does not have the equivalent of SAN, it is not a highly stratified society like the UK which we ape in having SAN rank as the equivalent of QC. Many who hanker after the title of SAN do so now, not necessarily or solely because it is a mark of professional distribution, but because, over the years, by the way it is awarded, treated, accepted and perceived it is now more or less a licence to print money with a background of unregulated fees. That is the perception of many people including many practicing lawyers and it is one reason why there is but – Throat struggle to get there. I do not necessarily agree with that. I believe that the procedure for the appointment of judges could be improved. There are many good judges but like in any profession, you have bad eggs and the good eggs. The bad eggs are shown the way out. But I think that the proposition that one should attain SAN before being appointed a judge as being mooted in some quarters is of no consequence. The SANs haven’t got a monopoly of legal knowledge. I also believe that the criteria set for the appointment of judges are okay if people put in charge apply the criteria and there is no question of slavish adherence to federal character. People should be appointed solely on merit. Many things we

do in this country, at one time or the other, seem to be bedeviled by the federal character concept. The federal character concept is intended to be a bridge for the unity of the country, not a toll gate. But it could become a toll gate where merit is sacrificed at the expense of federal character, federal representation. Institutions should try to apply the concept in a way that everyone would have a sense of belonging. What is you assessment of the performance of the judiciary? I think our judges are vibrant, they are doing their best under very difficult circumstances. People have said that some judges are corrupt. But I have not seen anybody point to a particular one. It is generalisation. You could say that certain judgments that are given are rather curious and you wonder how they arrived there. This is especially so in recent criminal trials involving some personalities and personages. Those who allege that some judges are corrupt, I have nothing to the contrary, but we haven’t seen anybody being tried. No judge has been brought forward and accused of it. But if there is a corrupt judge, know that there is a corrupt lawyer too because it takes a senior lawyer to bribe a judge. So, if a judge receives money or takes a bribe, there must be a lawyer that serves as the conduit. That is the crux of it. If you have a corrupt judge, a corrupt lawyer is not far away. But at the lower level of the judicial system, I think there is a lot of corruption at the administrative level. I won’t say more than this for now. It is an issue I want to raise at another level. Do you agree with the proposition that we start to apply capital punishment to stem corruption? Human life is important. I believe the taking of human life should not be taken lightly. I believe life jail would be an alternative. I do not like the extermination of an individual. But the proponents are saying that if it is life jail or plea bargain, you could still come back to spend the money but that if you receive money and you know you are not going to be able to spend it if caught, it would stem the tide. I know that in China, they are doing it. But if a law is passed to back it, it is okay. There would be people to implement the law. What do you think of the concept of plea bargain? No, I do not. In fact, I detest it because it is corruption. We know of people who took advantage of plea bargaining and are walking free now and enjoying their loot. I want to say that Nigeria is not yet ripe for it having regard to the stage of development and level of corruption, it should not be applied at this stage in Nigeria. I know it is done in the United States but I think it encourages corruption. There is no plea bargaining in the UK. How do you see the future of the judiciary in Nigeria? I think the judiciary would continue to improve. There is no human organisation that is perfect. But the so called bad eggs that are identified should be shown the way out. They should be tried and if convicted, be shown the way out so that the system is sanitised. A lot of rumour and suspicion abound but you cannot convict on the strength of rumours. Those who are saying it, let them be courageous enough to come forward. But smearing the entire judiciary, covering them with mud, that is not good. There are very good and upright judges and there are judges who may not be upright. The way things are being handled in this country, even the EFCC has not fared better. There have been a lot of reforms in the judiciary. What further reform would you like to see in the system? The civil procedure rules which came into effect some seven or eight years ago are very useful. The front-loading system is very good – it helps in fast tracking legal proceedings and ensures you do not lay ambush for your opponent. However, the pre-trial conference procedure introduced is fast becoming a toll gate rather than a process to accelerate judicial trials. The pretrial conference sometimes drift for too long with the result that the advantage which the process was intended to produce is lost as the trial becomes unduly prolonged. In addition, valuable man powers/hours are wasted by lawyers when they get to court after being in early morning traffic only to be informed that the court will after all, not be sitting. There should be a system of getting lawyers informed whenever the court is not sitting. Afterall, the GSM has revolutionised communication system and it is my view that our courts should take advantage of it by getting the registrars to inform the lawyers in advance when they are not going to sit. There should be a budget for this and the system will help the image of the judiciary. But then lawyers are finding out now that the same old delay is rearing its head again in the process. The civil procedure rule, like in Lagos State, the state high court civil procedure rule introduced pre-trial conference which they should travel 12 to 15 kilometres only to discover, after sitting for two to three hours, that the court would not sit. The judiciary should be able to make a budget and allocate funds for this purpose so that lawyers are informed. It would help the image of the judiciary, it would help the lawyers and it would not result in waste of manpower, waste of man hours. This is not good enough. The use of the GSM would help in informing lawyers and in reducing this loss of man hours.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

LEGAL OPINION Group seeks support for Special Peoples’ Law

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HE Lagos Civil Society Disability Policy Partnership (LCSDPP) has called on the private sector to support the government in implementing the state’s Special People’s Law. The law, which was enacted in 2011, is aimed at safeguarding persons with disabilities (PWD) against all forms of discrimination. LCSDPP noted that for effective implementation of the law, there was need for partnership between the government and the private sector to take advantage of the investment opportunities. In a statement signed by Dr. Adebayo Adebukola, the group listed areas in which the private sector could invest to include employment and economic empowerment; access to products and services, support for accessible public infrastructure, information, communication and technology, as well as support for inclusive education and advocacy. LCSDPP recalled its stance at the last Lagos Economic Summit where it posited that investing in a socially inclusive environment brings direct investment benefits. According to the organisation, the 10 million population of PWD in Lagos and the Southwest of Nigeria was significant for investors to consider. “PWD access to education, health, social development and economic empowerment in Lagos State is rapidly increasing their purchasing power and consumption capacity which creates significant market potential for investors,” LCSDPP said. The group maintained that while the huge PWD population offers investors significant market opportunities, their expanding productive

•Ade Ipaye, Attorney-General, Lagos State By Precious Igbonwelundu

capacities will in no small way contribute to the manpower and human resource potentials in Lagos and its environs. They further noted that asset value on persons with disabilities was steadily on the increase, even as their dependency status was reducing rapidly. “The socio-economic prospects of a PWD were largely driven by aspects of ICT known as Assistive Technology, mobility aids and rehabilitation kits most of which are imported from developed nations.” The group urged investors in the manufacturing, assembling or wholesale and retail of these disability-support appliances to take advantage of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) because investments in these areas were virtually absent

in this part of the world, except for South Africa that was making attempts. ”The fall in the dependency status of persons with disabilities will free-up more investable resources in the public and private sectors.” They maintained that investors who tap into the opportunity will have easy and direct access not only to the Lagos market, but also to the rest of Africa. “The ability of investors to imbibe inclusive and disabilityfriendly practices in designing and organising work places and business environment, design, development, production and delivery of products and services such as: banking, telecoms, transportation, hotel, ICT, education, health, mass media, etc will increase turnovers and profits on investments as no potential consumers are left out,” they said. LCSDPP said a memo has been sent to the Lagos State government to approve and inaugurate the Public Private Partnership (PPP) on the implementation of the state’s Special People’s Law by the end of the second quarter. “That Lagos State government empowers the Office of Disability Affairs (ODA), upon its establishment to coordinate the Public Private Sector Partnership on the implementation of the law and that private sector-supported creation of 15,000 jobs and economic empowerment for same number of PWDs by 2015 at the rate of 5,000 per annum be achieved,” the group said. They added that the private sector should adopt and make provision for various degree of support to at least 15 public inclusive schools at the rate of five per annum with five in each senatorial district by 2015 among others.

REPORTER’S DAIRY

How ignorance promotes media hostility at magistrate’s court

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HE court is constitutionally required to conduct its business in public. This accounts for why its proceedings are held in the presence of litigants and members of the public. This also accounts for why court files are not marked ‘secret and confidential’ as is the case in other government agencies. Since it is impossible for the public to attend every proceeding, the practice has been that the press, by its constitutional responsibility reserves the unfettered right to witness court proceedings and present same to the public. The media, by tradition, serves as the eye, the nose and ear of the public. To this end, it reserves the privilege to attend courts. Listen to proceedings and inform the public in line with its constitutional responsibility. In view of these inter-related responsibilities, the press and the court ought to have woven a mutual bond, sustained by the ready will to assist each other. But with the nation’s courts, the case is different. Even with the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, the hostility of officials of the inferior courts, particularly those at the Magistrate level remains worrisome. The magistrate’s court, by its nature is closer to the people and ought to serve as the ready avenue for the media to portray human angle stories as it affects the ordinary people. But unfortunately, such efforts by reporters are constantly being thwarted by the court officials for reasons best known to them. It has become common practice for registrars and clerks in Ikeja, Yaba, Ebute-Meta and Mushin Magistrate’s Court to treat journal-

By Precious Igbonwelundu

ists like foes or intruders. In some cases, unless reporters are willing to part with cash gifts, they can as well forget about seeing overnight cases. Recalling the ugly incident at an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court where “her Honour” threw gentlemen of the press behind bars, one may not be wrong to assume that these court officials are students in the school of unfriendliness and hostility of their bosses. It appears they have learnt so much from their bosses that they now exhibit same irrespective of their infringement on the rights of the victims as provided by Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, as well as the FOI Act that has further empowered reporters to demand for and be provided facts from public institutions. Norrisson Quakers, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the abuse and disregard of journalists by the lower court results from the court officials ignorance of the law. He maintained that the officials themselves do not know what the law says and stressed the need for regular training. There have been several incidences of unprovoked assaults and embarrassment of journalists by the lower court officials. But for the intervention of a sane and disciplined Magistrate, Mrs. D.T. Olatokun at a Mushin Court, her staff, who without apology, falls among those that prompted this article would have assaulted this reporter some weeks ago. It is laughable but at the same time disturbing that one of the officials that fateful day signaled this reporter to stop writing while the

court was sitting. It goes to show how many Nigerians are harassed unduly by these officials, especially those who do not know their rights as citizens. Without a second glance at her, this reporter continued her exercise and it was so glaring that the registrar was running out of patience and wished the court could rise so that she could vent her anger on her prey. As expected, the court rose and from her desk, she started shouting at this Nigerian, even as she walked up to her and insisted no one has the right to enter the court and take notes during proceedings unless the person is permitted to do so. Surprised? It’s quite a shock because one cannot help but wonder when it became an offence to write while the court was sitting. Without hesitation, this reporter told the registrar to stop embarrassing herself and the court, adding that it was obvious the official does not know her job. This perhaps angered her more at which point she attempted to tear the notes taken by a citizen in court but was rather shocked when she was told it was a “mission impossible”. At this point, this reporter made her identity known after o n l o o k e r s i n c l u d i n g l a wyers revealed that was how she embarrasses a lot of people. The official said: “If you are a reporter and so? Many reporters come here and they don’t take notes, they come to meet us and ask information, so why is yourS different? Another shocker! She was, however, disappointed that this reporter stood her ground and was not willing to apologise for committing no offence.”

LAW AND PUBLIC POWER

with gabriel AMALU email:gabrielamalu1@yahoo.com

Nigeria and the wars within

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ANGER like poverty can only be truly appreciated if you experience it. Neither the trepidations from danger nor the deprivations from poverty can be substituted with a sympathetic mind of enquiry. Last Tuesday, I had a taste of danger, as I was forced to stand with arms raised at the amphitheatre of the Ezza-Ezillo crisis, with several assault rifles aimed at me. Thankfully, my experience lasted for only few minutes; but that was hellish enough. Ever since that encounter, I have been wandering how Nigerians living in the several mini war fronts across the country get by daily. In those few minutes, I was very sorry for the recent infractions I had committed on this page against the chief security officer and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martins Elechi in whose territory I was. In a recent article I had erroneously referred to the Chief as a Doctor, and said that he had worked as a civil servant when he did not. I had also wished I did not audaciously condemned his handling of the crisis for which I was threatened or his declaration of a public holiday just to pray, because I was fervently praying to be rescued myself. Moreover Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has shockingly diminished that initiative of Governor Elechi, by calling for five days holidays to plan for his upcoming achievements in the state. Starting from when I noticed the armed men rushing to surround my car, until I gained my freedom, my mind wandered from the recent threats of Boko Haram to further their ignominious attack on the press and public commentators and the activities of the remnants of the infamous late Kidnapper, Osisikankwu of Abia State and their ilk. Was I about to become a victim for ransom or just wasted by few bullets to seed message to the other meddlesome commentators on national issues. I remembered the two Professors and other victims of the recent shootings at the Bayero University, Kano, who had gathered to worship their God when they were consumed by the war within their country. I remembered the tens of victims of the Potiskum market, Yobe state massacre; I also remembered the perennial battle fronts on the Plateau. How did I venture near the Ezza-Ezillo war front, many would be asking? Well, I was in Enugu to celebrate with now Christian and Cecilia Aneke as they were joined in holy matrimony on the fifth of May, and decided to use the next working week to attend to some personal matters. Cruising back to Enugu in an SUV borrowed from my sister, Mrs Tina Offor, after a visit to Ebonyi State University and the state High Court, I was inattentively within the boundaries of Ezza and Ezzilo when my phone rang and I pulled over to take the call. Engrossed in the conversation, it was very late to drive off by the time I saw several armed men running from several directions to cover my car from any attempt to escape. As they were shouting at me, I wound down to hear them; and they were variously asking, who are you? What are you doing here? Hands up! Don’t move, and myriad other menacing threats. Seeing one of the men in what looked like a police uniform, I asked the two of them now by the car door, whether they are police men and they answered in the affirmative. They ordered that I should disembark as their commander wants to see me. I obeyed and eventually two more men briskly walked up and asked for introduction, which I did. The commander then ordered his men to put down their weapons and retreat back to their base. Pointing to a police Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) packed under a tree nearby, he told me that where I stood is where the Ezza and their Ezzilo brothers battled and killed one another, and that they are camped here to maintain peace. I murmured an apology, wished them well and immediately drove off. As I raced away from the war theatre, it was evident to me that life has become, indeed, very cheap in Nigeria. Increasingly, killing someone or getting killed has assumed certain ordinariness, just like corruption. As I drove, my silent prayer for the rest of the journey was that God should save Nigeria from this dangerous combination of insecurity and corruption.

Happy birthday Osuntokun, Okafor

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HIS is to wish Jide Osuntokun ( OO), Professor emeri tus of History, University of Lagos, and currently of Redeemers University, who celebrated his 70th birthday on April 26, many more years of good health. Prof, no doubt, deserves the torrents of tributes and cheers from very distinguished personalities from all works of life. Ever since I met Prof on the Editorial Board of The Nation, I have seen him as a quintessential model of humility despite his numerous achievements and accolades. So, I join Prof’s well-wishers to wish this model teacher and mentor the abundance of God’s grace and many more years. Also, my best wishes go to Prof Richard C. Okafor, musician, anthropologist and humanist, who celebrated his 74th birthday on the April 30. Prof is now of the Godfrey Okoye University after retiring from Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). A kind-hearted and caring man, Prof Okafor, is married to Dr. Cecilia Okafor and represents a father figure to my siblings and me, and so I join members of the Okafor dynasty and his well-wishers to wish him many happy returns.


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LAW & SOCIETY NEW FRONTIERS LECTURE OF THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED LEGAL STUDIES (NIALS), AT THE MERIT HOUSE, ABUJA

•Commodore Emmanuel Okechukwu (left) and Director-General, NIALS, Prof Epiphany Azinge (SAN)

•From left: Prof Balakrishnan Rajagopa and Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Mary Peter-Odili

•Institute Librarian, Mrs Ufuoma Lamikara and Institute Secretary, James Bathnna

•Prof Obiora Chinedu Okafor (left) and Prof Clement Dakas

•From left: Prof Lanre Fagbohun, Prof Peter Akper (SAN) and Hussaini Aliyu

•Samson Elgege (left) and Damian Dodo (SAN)

•From left Dr. Valerie Azinge, Ozioma Izuora and Ekenem Isichei

•Dr Emmanuel Okon and Mrs Ibe Okegbe Ifeakandu

•NIALS Chief Accountant, Alfred Akingbodere (left) and NIALS Bursar, Augustin Odukoma

•Dr Adebisi Arewa (left) and Prof Emmanuel Esiemokhai

PHOTOS: JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU


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LAW & SOCIETY Forum deplores corruption in magistrate courts GROUP the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has moved to curb cases of corruption in magistrate courts. It held a seminar in Lagos to draw attention to the problem. SERAP urged Nigerians to report cases of bribery levelled against magistrates and their staff to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). Participants at the event included human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana; former member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Babatunde Ogala; Kirk Donahoe of the United States Consulate; Akinbode Olusola of Centre for Human Rights and Empowerment and Adegoke Adewale. They said the problem of corruption at the lower court should not be isolated from the systemic corruption in the polity. They noted that it would be unfair to single out magistrates for blame without mentioning lawyers, support staff, litigants and prosecutors. They decried the poor working con-

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By Precious ‘Welundu

ditions of magistrates, their staff, lack of infrastructure and the unhealthy environment in which magistrates operate and called on the Judicial Service Commission to ensure that these problems are addressed. Falana said it was unfair to isolate magistrates when tackling corruption at the lower courts, adding that lawyers and litigants might also be responsible for the menace. He said: “It takes two to tangle. Many lawyers are involved in corrupting magistrates and lawyers. So, if we are going to attack the root cause of corruption in the judiciary, we should not isolate magistrates. “Corruption at the lower bench cannot be treated in isolation. The magistrates are parts of our society and being a very corrupt society, we cannot deny the fact that there are some corrupt ones among them. “But I can say without any fear of contradiction that we have in Lagos and all over the country, many incor-

•From left: Ogala, Donahoe and Mumuni at the event

ruptible magistrates. So, it will not be fair to lump those who are working in line with their oath of office with those who are destroying the legal profession,” Falana said.

Ogala said there is corruption in the polity and not just at the grassroots of the judiciary, adding that stakeholders at the lower court may also be culpable. According to him, magistrates are

expected to sit in court from 9am-4pm, yet many of them do not have power supply, fans or air conditioners, poor furniture and adequate support staff as well as working tools.

UNILAG Law faculty flags off 50th anniversary celebration LL is now set for the 50th Anniversary of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lagos (UNILAG). It is rolling out the drums for the celebration of academic excellence and delivery of robust legal education. The faculty was among the first established at the inception of the varsity in 1962, which is why its celebration is also coinciding with that of UNILAG. To kick off the events, this Thursday at 9 am, the faculty and the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL) are holding a conference

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•Prof Oyewo

By Joseph Eshanokpe

entitled: Nurturing judicial independence and accountability in African states. It will be delivered by a former Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State Prof Yemi Osibajo (SAN). Expected as guest of honour at the event is the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Dayiru Musdapher while erudite scholar and constitutional lawyer Prof Ben Nwabueze will chair the occasion. Other events including a dinner will follow later. At a press conference on Friday,

Dean, Faculty of Law, UNILAG Prof Oyelowo Oyewo said there was need for the celebration. He said this is because the faculty has made its mark in the delivery of academic excellence and even pointing the way for others to follow. He said in the country and aboard its staff and former students are highly rated and respected, adding it has produced more Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANS) than any varsity and its products are also occupying the upper echelon of government, with the Supreme Court not left out. Going memory lane, he said the faculty, which started with no fewer

than five academic staff and about 30 students now boasts of over 50 academic staff and thousands of students. He praised the first dean of the faulty, Prof L. C. Gower and his indigenous counterpart, Prof Taslim Elias, for laying a solid superstructure on which the faculty is still standing. He listed some of the achievements of the faculty as its ability to garner a global acclaim via partnerships with some universities in the United States , UK and South Africa, adding that the vice chancellor had already given them the nod to sign a memorandum of understanding with them.


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LAW & SOCIETY Whenever high profile persons are invited by anti-corruption agencies for questioning, the media go into a frenzy. The latest of such instances was the invitation of former Kwara State Governor Senator Bukola Saraki by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the police. ADEBISI ONANUGA and JOSEPH JIBUEZE recall similar invitations that seemed more political than legal.

Will trial by the media ever end? A

FTER the recent invitation by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the police of former Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki, what happens next? There had been several such high profile persons invited by the anti-corruption agencies for questioning. Some of them usually allege witch-hunt. Others are believed to have stepped on powerful toes. But in most cases, after the initial media buzz over such invitations, nothing more is heard of them. Those invited are never brought to trial. Analysts said instead of raising public expectation as to the likelihood of trial in a country where corruption is high, security agencies should be more discreet in extending such invitations to avoid trial by the media. Before Saraki was invited, former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Mr Lai Alabi, was invited by the SFU for questioning over the same subject matter. Saraki was first declared wanted in connection with “a case of suspected fraudulent conversion of depositors’ funds through questionable waivers of loans and other facilities of about N9.76billion granted by the management of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc.” The ex-governor reacted swiftly to the police statement and said he was ready to make himself available for questioning. The loans, according to the police, were given to “companies Saraki promoted between 2004 and 2009 when he was the governor of Kwara State. Some of the facilities were allegedly used to buy choice properties.” Saraki later appeared before the SFU at the Force Headquarters, Abuja where he was quizzed by investigators over a N9.7 billion loan. It was alleged that the ex-governor used three of his companies to secure the loan, which was later written off by the management of Intercontinental Bank under Alabi. Some analysts have wondered if Saraki’s interrogation had something to do with the motion he moved for investigation into the management of the fuel subsidy regime. He had pointed out the scheme was enriching a few Nigerians. Questions have been asked as to why no one looked into Saraki’s past until he moved the motion which led to the unraveling of the rot in the oil sector. Besides, said a financial expert, a loan - a normal banking transaction - can never become a criminal matter. “It is, at best,” a civil matter”. “Who is the complainant - the Central Bank, which was aware of the transaction or the bank?” There are also those who think his travails are not unconnected with the possibility that he may want to contest the Presidency in 2015, having nursed the ambition last year. This is not the first time high-profile individuals would be invited by the anti-graft agencies, yet nothing happens afterwards. In August 2009, frontline Ibadan-based businessman, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola and oil magnate Mr Femi Otedola appeared before operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It was in connection with the debts they were said to be owing some banks, whose chief executives were sacked by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Nothing more was heard of the invitations. EFCC arrested five directors of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) over their alleged involvement in the aiding and abetting in the illegal transfer of about $6 million be-

•Abubakar

• EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Larmode

•Saraki

longing to Ogun State government to an overseas private account during the administration of Governor Gbenga Daniel. Although the EFCC is prosecuting the exgovernor for alleged financial crimes, nothing else was heard about the directors’ invitation. Former governor of Bayelsa State Timipre Silva had it good at the inception of his administration. But by the second year, he had been accused of budgetary recklessness and of impunity. Allegations were also rife that as governor, Sylva failed to declare his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau before and after assuming the office of the Personal Assistant to the minister of Energy and later Petroleum. There was also wide spread allegation of fraud and fraudulent conversion of public funds against the governor‘s administration. After he left office, the former governor, like some former governors came, under the searchlight of the EFCC for various allegations of fraud. But as at now, nothing is heard again about the outcome of the EFCC‘ investigation nor was he charged to court. There was also much excitement when principal officers of the House of Representatives, including Mr Dimeji Bankole were quizzed by the EFCC. Although Bankole was charged before a court, nothing was heard of the others quizzed. Usman Nafada, Baba Shehu-Agaie,Tunde Akogun, Suleiman Kawu, Mohammed Bello and Ali Ndume — were quizzed on the N10billion loan scandal that rocked the House in the twilight of its tenure. More recently too, EFCC officials arrested the Ondo State House of Assembly’s accountant, Mr Akin Akinnagbe, and two other principal officers over alleged misappropriation of funds. The anti-graft agency reportedly stormed the Assembly complex and took away Akinnagbe and the two others to their Abuja office for interrogation. It was learnt that EFCC officials were acting on a petition sent to them by a human rights activist, Mr Morakinyo Ogele. Ogele had alleged that Speaker Samuel Adesina mismanaged N900million meant for the execution of projects in the parliament. The commission also interrogated MTN’s Chairman, Dr. Pascal Dozie, and four other directors of the company for questioning in Abuja, on allegations bothering on fraud, as contained in statements by parties to a contract deal to the anti-graft agency. MTN, according to the contractor, was owing it and 56 other Nigerian sub-contractors over N1 billion since 2010. The four MTN directors quizzed alongside Dozie were Gbenga Oyebode, Tunde Folawiyo, Ahmad Faroukh and Colonel Sani Bello. Nothing more was heard about the interrogations. Two weeks since he defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC),

former Minister of Works and Housing, Dr Hassan Muhammad Lawal, was arrested and detained for several hours by the officials of the EFCC. Sources at the EFCC said the former minister had “some questions to answer” in connection with allegations of massive fraud, abuse of office as well as abuse of government’s laid down policy on due process and award of contracts to unregistered companies running into N50billion. Operatives of the anti-graft agency were said to have begun a search for some of his cronies alleged to be involved in the fraud. However, some political associates of the former minister accused the presidency of using the EFCC to witch-hunt Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma’s political opponents. “This is a clear case of witch-hunt. Why are they investigating him now? When Dr Lawal was in PDP, they didn’t deem it necessary to investigate him until now that he is in the CPC,” one of the sources said. Another associate said it was “unfortunate that these things are happening now,” adding that it was against principles of the rule of law for the ruling political party to be using anti-graft agencies to witch-hunt promoters, supporters or candidates of opposition political parties in the name of fighting corruption. EFCC also quizzed at least 25 aides of three embattled governors, including ex-Commissioners of Finance, Accountants-General and Secretaries to state governments under the tenure of Daniel, Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo) and Akwe Doma (Nasarawa). Similarly, EFCC quizzed PDP chieftain and former Minister of Communication Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed. He was invited to explain his alleged role in the 17.5million Euros Siemens bribery scandal. Another former minister of communication Maj. Gen. Olanrewaju was also invited. All three including late Haruna Elewi were Ministers of Communication under different regimes alleged to have received slush sums to facilitate telecom contracts between 1997 to 2007. Olanrewaju served in the regime of late General Sani Abacha; others were part of the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007. Businessman and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mr Wale Babalakin was also a guest of the EFCC. He was invited to explain his role in the money laundering charges against the former Delta State governor Chief James Ibori, who was convicted of corruption by a London court. Babalakin was arrested and briefly detained by the Commission and subsequently granted him administrative bail. EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that the anti-corruption agency arrested Babalakin. He added that the businessman has been subsequently released on administrative bail. A Permanent Secretary in the Federal Civil Service was quizzed by the commission over a fresh N2billion fraud at the Police Pensions

Office. The man, who was arrested with seven directors, had served in the Police Pensions Office. EFCC officials quizzed Ondo State Commissioner for Finance, Yele Ogundipe, and the state Accountant-General, Ibukun Alabi, over alleged N900 million contract scam rocking the State House of Assembly. The anti-graft agency had earlier invaded the Assembly complex and arrested the Clerk of the House, Jaye Dada; Akinnagbe, and Auditor over alleged inflation of some contracts sum awarded by the leadership of House led by the Speaker, Samuel Ajayi Adesina. Saraki’s lawyer, Mr Rafiu Lawal-Rabana (SAN), said Saraki was invited despite a pending application in court. He added: “Saraki is not on the run and he has no cause to run as a distinguished person.” Political observers, however, view the invitations as with-hunt, adding that most of them are never brought for trial before any competent court. But SFU spokewoman Ngozi Isitunme said the invitations do not necessarily mean those invited were guilty. They are part of investigations, she said. “We invited Saraki and he has honoured our invitation. He came and he has given us his own statement. So, the investigation is still ongoing. The outcome of the investigation will decide whether we are prosecuting or not. We’re still investigating. “The former MD of Intercontinental Bank was in SFU too. He came, gave us statement, was detained and was later released. “It is the media that reports these things and they have their reasons. The invitations are part of investigations. When there is a complaint against somebody, what we normally do in SFU is to extend invitation to the person to come and make clarification to help our investigation. “When investigation is concluded, then anyone found culpable can be charged to court,” he said.

LEGAL DIARY NIALS holds summit The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) will hold its Stakeholders’ Summit on May 22 at the Kano Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, by 11am. The theme: Towards enthronement of enduring constitutionalism and good governance.

NBA holds justice reform conference The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will hold its second National Criminal Justice Reform Conference from June 3 to 5 at the Delta Convention Centre, Asaba, Delta State, by 9am. It has the theme: Effective nationwide anticrime and security coverage through the justice system in Nigeria.


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AVIATION

Why bigger aircraft can’t land in Asaba Airport

•Asaba International Airport

With about N17b committed to the construction of the Asaba International Airport in Delta State, expansion is on-going to bring the runway to the required standard set by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). This is to secure approval for bigger aircraft operations, reports, KELVIN OSAOKUNBOR, who visited the airport.

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ESPITE the huge investment in the Asaba International Airport, bigger aircraft in the range of Boeing 747 and Airbus 320 cannot land there yet because of the length of the runway. The runway needs to be expanded beyond its present 3.4 kilometres for it to accommodate such craft, the Chairman, Airport Implementation Committee, Donatus Umukoro, has said. The expansion of the runway is a prerequisite set by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for its approval for bigger aircraft operations. For now, only small aircraft, mainly Hawker Siddley ( HS) 125, Bombardier jets, Embear aircraft , CRJ 900 and Beech craft 1900 D, operate into the airport. Massive reconstruction work is ongoing at the airport. The airport has become the hub of airline operations in the South East, following the closure of the Enugu Airport for remodeling. Giving further insight into the benefits of the airport’s project and the need to expand the length and width of the runway, Umukoro explained that with over fifty heavy duty equipment deployed at the project site, the contractors will soon complete the leveling of the hills near the runway. He described those questioning the project’s cost as merely acting based on insufficient knowledge of the volume of work to be done to bring the runway and other critical facilities at the airport to the prescribed standards. He said the quantum of funds required to level the hills and fill the low areas in line NCAA demand, is much, adding that over N7 billion is required to put the runway to the aviation authority’s acceptable standard. He said the contract is being handled by three contractors, with three heavy duty equipment on site working from morning till evening seven days of the week. “At the moment, we are working on 150 metres to meet the capacity of smaller and medium size aircraft , but to get to the ultimate level of big aircraft, like Boeing 747, we need to get to 200 metres runway. We have barely done some good work , in some sections, the work is very massive, it will require some time, to complete the project. “Obviously, many factors contribute to the speedy completion of this project, weather is a primary con-

sideration, that is why it is difficult to say when the work will be completed. “People who are complaining that over N7billion is required to complete the runway job are embarking on a ridiculous game, because they are ignorant of the volume of work involved. The complaint is ridiculous because people are misinformed. “The volume of earth work involved is very huge, the cutting itself is very huge , apart from the 300 metres on one stretch , we are also cutting another stretch of 500 metres , about one point two kilomtres, we have to protect the area by filling with hard soil and grassing the whole terrain to prevent erosion. I think the whole criticism stems from misinformation .” The defense of the airport project came just as the Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, described the airport as a model which could accelerate, notonly the development of the surrounding states, but that it could stimulate foreign investment. He explained that the runway at the moment could only accommodate small and medium size aircraft, because the engineers are woprking round the clock to meet the required length and width as prescribed by the NCAA, which from time to time sends its officials to inspect the level of work done at the airport for relevant approvals. Uduaghan said : “ The Asaba Airport has a huge role to play in the socio- economic development of the state in many areas.We also considered the cargo activity at the airport, that is why we embarked on the airport. “We wanted to build an airport with a runway length of between 3.4 kilometre and four kilometers , unfortunately, there is no terrain in Asaba area that could give us such stretch of land , the topography here in Asaba is mainly either hills, or low lands , rivers with adjoining

valleys. With all the directions and technical survey that was done, for the airport, we got where we are now which gives us two terrain, the hill on one side and the river on the other side. “We have to make do with what is available with serious heavy engineering work. There is also a bridge on the runway course, we dealt with that, we had a runway which could take smaller planes, convinced that it was good enough, but we are looking at expanding it longer so we could take bigger cargo plane. “In the face of that, we are not the regulatory body, NCAA came and said before approval could be given , the state has to demolish the hills and needed to sand fill the other extreme which is the river side, to move the runway, that involves lowering the hills and sand filling the other end to attain a level line for the runway, that we have started doing. “We have given out the contract combined because of NCAA recommendations, to allow for the present operations.That is why big aircraft at the moment are not flying into Asaba Airport, until that leveling part of the terrain is completed.” He said : “ The contract for the leveling of the hills was not awarded because of the recently concluded South South Summit, hosted in Asaba, it is purely driven by the technical and safety consideration of the NCAA, the contract has since 2011 been awarded. “As the Chief executive of the state, I directed the contractor to get the job done in good time, because we are in a hurry to get the airport up and running, that is our goal, this is driven by the pressure I am under from our sister states in the South East, Anambra, Abia, Enugu to get the airport running.” He explained that more contractors were engaged to facilitate the pace of work and reduce the comple-

‘The volume of cutting of the hills and filling up of the low areas is much in line with the requirements of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA). In terms of costs, we need to spend over seven billion naira to put the runway into the acceptable standard, that will be adequate for the work to be done, we are doing a lot of work’

Union leader canvasses recipe for industrial harmony IF there must be harmony among unions and the management of agencies in the aviation, there is an urgent need for the affected unions to speak with one voice ,the National Secretary, National Association of Aviation Professionals( NAPA), Comrade Abdulrasaq Siedu, has said. Siedu spoke at a two day industrial Relations Workshop organised in conjunction with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) for representatives of Management and Branch Trade Union Leaders in NCAA held at Bezer Hall & Resort, Sango-Ota, Ogun State . He called for unity and industrial democracy among the labour unions so as to ensure harmony and uninimity when bargaining with their various management. Explaining the rationale behind organising the workshop, Seidu said it was to sensitise both the labour leaders and the middle management cadre who are the workhorse of the senior management on the need for collaborative existence between the workers and the management. He praised NCAA management for allowing members of the executives of the in-house unions and middle management staff to attend the workshop’’. He added:’’When you look at the way labour unions fight their cause, you will see that they do not have the same objectives. They only come together when there is crisis and after that they all go their different ways. With this disposition, they are only undoing themselves because they do not have trust in each other and they are not united. That is why employers of labour find it easy to manipulate them and destroy their unity of purpose’’. He noted that a work place without industrial democracy was bound to collapse, adding that people always talk of,:’’ the organised labour but not much is heard of organised employers and or, organised private sector just because of the exploitation for surplus values by employers’’.

How FAAN will recover N22b debt, by GM GENERAL Manager, Public Affairs of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Akin Olukunle yesterday affirmed that FAAN would go as far as using the anti-graft agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission (ICPC) to recover its N22billion debts owe the agency. Olukunle who disclose this pointed out that using the anti-graft agencies to recover its debt was the next line of action that FAAN would embark upon because the matter has degenerated into that of corruption. “We are going to involve some anti-graft agencies because it is a matter of corruption, it is part of the vices that the government is fighting against, you cannot just collect services and enjoy them without paying for it. It is not right. It is not done anywhere in the world” he stressed. Olukunle further noted that such action was coming on the heels of the findings of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies, led by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsanye.

Pilots call for improved air navigation services PILOTS flying the Nigeria airspace have called for improved service in air navigation for seamless flight operations. Giving an assessment of the service delivery by the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency( NAMA), at a breakfast meeting in Lagos, the pilots said though there had been significant improvement with the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, TRACON and other navigational aids, there were still some gray areas that must be given attention. One major concerns of the pilots was the issue of communication, their inability to establish contact with the air traffic controllers in time due to Congestion of the frequency. One of the airline pilots, Captain Chimaba Imediagwu said the facility must be improved on to save the pilots from untold stress in asking the air traffic controllers to repeat their commands during take-off, landing and en-route. He also expressed the inability of NAMA to ward off aircraft that stray into the nation’s airspace through the Maiduguri area of the country. Captain Jide Bakare and Andre Terret Gentil also called for more training in the use of the Performance Based Navigation.

South African Airways announces flights to Mumbai SOUTH African Airways (SAA) has announced the introduction of additional flights between Johannesburg and Mumbai following increased demand on the route. Effective June 16, 2012, the airline would be offering five flights per week between the two cities, which is one flight per week more than currently on offer. The additional flight is subject to government’s approval. In addition, SAA would be introducing a bigger aircraft on selected days in order to accommodate the additional demand. The airline is currently using the A330-200, one of its newest aircraft with 36 business and 186 economy class seats. The airline hopes to add further flights on this route in the near future as travel between South Africa and India has recently shown noticeable growth. “These initiatives demonstrate our commitment to the Indian market, which we will continue to serve and grow in line with customer demand,” says Theunis Potgieter, SAA General Manager, Commercial. South African Airways, is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 20 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa, from its hub, Johannesburg. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance.


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MARITIME Expand deep sea port By Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

THE Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have been urged to encourage deep seaport development. Stakeholders said, at an event organised by the Agenda for Good Governance in Ikeja, Lagos, that the country needed a seaport of draught not less than 40 metres with better facilities that can accommodate bigger marine vessels, adding that the call became necessary as a result of increased cargo traffic. The Managing Director, Tempo Shipping, Mr Seyi Gbadamosi, said global trends in port development had showed that of over 100 seaports projects being executed worldwide, about 75 per cent are deep seaports or terminals. The others are mostly inland waterway ports and jetties. Also, the Managing Director, Maritime Energy Base, Mr Charles Irabor, said maritime transportation is a key sector that needs to be developed by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. He urged Umar to see to the transformation of the sector so that it would impact positively on cargo handling capacity of the seaports and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the end of his tenure. He said the country, as the largest importer and exporter of cargo in West Africa, needs at least one deep seaport as a hub for West and Central Africa based on an increase in its maritime and general trade volumes. The benefits of attaining a regional hub status, Irabor added, included the potential to create directly and indirectly, about four million jobs over a five-year period and a 70 per cent cut in vessel turn-around time as well as guaranteeing increased revenue from berthing to handling charges for the trans-shipment of cargoes.

• A power generating vessel

Power generating vessels coming • To generate between 30 and 250mw electricity

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ARGE floating power plant vessels capable of generating between 30 and 250 MegaWatts of electricity are to be imported to boost energy supply, The Nation has learnt. Sources at the Ministry of Transport and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said the vessels are coming from Turkey. A company Regan Renaissance Limited as said to be bringing in the vessels said the new technology is being embraced abroad. The vessels would need between two and 10-metre draught to perform efficiently, a source said. They would be anchored for power generation and distribution and need about five days servicing and maintenance yearly. The vessels, it was learnt,

By Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

can supply power uninterruptedly for years. When they arrive, it would be the first time most Nigerians would see big floating vessels generating power uninterruptedly. Investigations also revealed that about 200 persons will work on the vessels and most of them would be Nigerians. The involvement of Nigerians is seen as a boost for the local content policy. Contacted, Chairman/ Managing Director, Regan Renaissance Limited, Ochiaga Ufomba, said the vessels would have positive effect on power generation. He said inadequate power supply has brought untold

•Ufomba

hardship to Nigerians. Many companies, he said, have sent their workers home because of inad-

equate power supply. “The plant was designed for Nigeria based on the erratic nature of power supply in the country. The idea is that we can power Nigeria and mostly all the riverine areas from the sea. “Some states have shown interest in the purchase of the vessels because they are cheap and reliable. We have been told that the Federal Government is also willing to key into the project as part of its transformation agenda,” Ufomba said. He promised that adequate security would be provided for the vessels and their personnel. The vessels, investigation revealed, had served some areas tested for their adoption.

Agents lament exclusion from policy making

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GROUP the Indig enous Shipping Agents and Operators Association of Nigeria has lamented its exclusion from the formulation of key policies in the maritime industry. Its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Pam Bot-Mang, said, over the weekend that indigenous shipping agents have not been given enough opportunity to contribute their quota to policy formulation over the years. He said: “The shipping agents face a lot of challenges. One from the vessels’ owners, whose interests they represent, pressures from the consignees, as well as the charterers. So, all these are left for the shipping agents to deal with. “We came together to have a voice so that we have something that can regulate us as shipping agents and being able to say

By Uyoatta Eshiet

that this decision that is being taken is taken in the interest of the people that are doing this job.” He said efficiency could be increased when the operators do things the proper way, Bot-Mang said, adding that indigenous shipping

agents have not had a fair share of business opportunities in the industry. He said the industry, particularly operations at the seaports, would witness tremendous improvements if they are contacted in the formulation of policies for the industry.

He said the association is ready to partner the relevant agencies in the industry to ensure that there is seamless movement of vessels in the country and ensure that the operators get a fair share of the business opportunities in the sector.

Importers decry abuse of scheme

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MPORTERS and clearing agents at the borders have been urged to stop abusing the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) to boost revenue and facilitate trade. Speaking with The Nation at the Seme border, Managing Director, World Cargo Investment, Mr Adesope Aderoju, said ETLS was put in place by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate the integration of trade among citizens of memberstates. He said the scheme was

By Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

also set up to eliminate barriers and promote free trade in the sub-region. ETLS, he said, exempts goods manufactured in ECOWAS member-states to move freely, and without the payment of import/export duties, within the region. The scheme, he added, has been subjected to abuse, especially by unscrupulous importers and Asian businessmen. These people bring in goods from China and other

Asian countries, ship them into the sub-region’s ports of neighbouring countries, such as Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Ghana and even lately Liberia. They changed the labels on these goods and smuggle them through the land borders into the country. He said the implications of the act are grave. Apart from the loss of huge government’s revenue, goods that find their way into the market in this manner gain unfair competitive price advantage over locally made products.

Firm rolls out guidelines on goods TO reduce theft, a terminal operator, Five Star Logistics Limited, has urged government’s agencies charged with cargo examination to register the samples of goods they collect to ensure that they are returned intact. The firm said product samples leaving the terminal will be subjected to proper documentation before they are allowed to leave the port. According to a circular by the management of the company in Lagos and which was sighted by The Nation, sampled products must be accompanied with sampled forms, which would be collected from the terminal, filled and signed by agents. The document reads in part: “Product sample in large quantities must be taken out in government official vehicle and the officer must be in uniform (in the case of SON, the officer must show his identity card)”. Unlike what happened in the past, Five Star Logistics Limited has also warned that any product to be taken out must not be more than one, and that “only agents with original letter of authority with passport affixed are allowed to fill and sign the sample form”.

NPA woos investors By Uyoatta Eshiet

The ports are investment friendly, says Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director, Mr Omar Suleiman. Speaking with reporters in Lagos, Suleiman said there were opportunities for discerning investors in infrastructure and development of Greenfield ports in the industry. He noted that port management is capital intensive and, therefore, the industry needs consistent and friendly fiscal policies to achieve the necessary efficiency of a world class user friendly port. The NPA boss said since the on-going port reform started, safety and security have been enhanced through individual terminal security and reduction of human and vehicular traffic. He said more jobs have been created in the industry during the review, even as there is reduction in the turn around time, waiting time, cargo dwell time, while the system has recorded an appreciable record in procurement of new plants and equipment. Suleiman listed as achievements of the port reform, investment in simplification of documentation and cargo tracking devices, and reduction of theft and damages. The NPA boss said the authority is living up to its responsibility as the landlord/technical regulator of the port, saying the organisation is not resting on its oars to ensure that port users transact their businesses in the ports under a good condition.

Apapa Customs makes N57.9b THE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Apapa Area I Command has declared a revenue of N57.9 billion in the first quarter of this year. The image maker of the command, Timi Bomodi, said the figure was an improvement over the N50.2 billion collected during the same period last year. He said the activities of the command, at the beginning of the year, were affected by strikes caused by the removal of petroleum subsidy. He said this led to a loss of some 14 working days, adding: “We can estimate a duty loss of over N7 billion attributable to the strike alone.’’ Bomodi said efforts were on to ensure that the command achieved its monthly revenue target of N27 billion. He said the Comptroller, Yusuf Garko, has ordered officers to be alive to their responsibilities and redouble efforts in revenue generation by blocking loopholes in the system that can lead to loss of revenue


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT The poor state of our roads has caught the attention of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN). At a one-day conference on Exploring cementbased option for sustainable road construction in Nigeria , held in conjunction with Business Day newspaper, they argued that having exceeded the local cement need, exploring cement based construction may hold the key to good and motorable roads. But experts have called for caution in its implementation to save the housing sector from crisis, reports OKWY IROEGBUCHIKEZIE

Cement option for roads construction gets push • Experts caution on implication for housing

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ITH 200,000 kilometres of roads, Nigeria can be said to be among countries with vast networks of roads. That is where it ends because most of the roads have become impassable. Of these roads, the Federal Government owns 18 per cent, states, 15 per cent and local governments, 67 per cent. To improve the roads, the government is exploring Public Private Partnership (PPP) and collaborating with multilateral agencies. But cement producers believe that the commodity could go a long way in the government’s bid to rehabilitate them. According to them, having met local consumption in cement, the excess could be deployed in road construction. CMAN Chairman, Mr Joseph Makoju said the group has witnessed installed local cement production capacity rise from about 3.0 metric tonnes per annum in 2003 to 28.0 metric tonnes. With this, he said, the nation has moved from being the world’s leading importer of cement in 2006 to that self sufficient today. He added that the nation has the poential of being net based on the exporter of the product based on the government’s 2002 policy on backward integration. He noted that the nation has been constructing roads with asphalt or laterite when cement could do the job better. He said: “The major cause for the collapse of our road network has been identified as our poor maintenance culture. In search for a cost effective solution, it was natural

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

therefore to search for an alternative surfacing material which when compared with asphalt will require minimal maintenance hence our interest in cement concrete roads for Nigeria. Benchmarking against international practice, it is worthy to note that about 40 per cent of the roads in developed countries such as US, Germany etc are made of cement concrete, where as it is only about two per cent in emerging economy countries such as India and less than 0.1 in Nigeria.” He revealed that CMAN is not without an enlightened self interest in promoting the use of cement for concrete road construction but added that the summit is not in any way geared toward a marketing campaign to expand sales of cement but sees the gathering as a serious contribution to finding a cost effective and sustainabe solution to the problem of the nation’s collapsed national road network. In his address ,Ogun State Governor Ibukunle Amosun, while commending the thought behind the summit, advised stakeholders to look critically at the volume of cement being produced in the country to ensure that construction projects in other sectors apart from roads do not suffer a shortfall as a result of this innovation. The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, said as a state involved in massive infrastructure development any technology that will make construction of roads in the state cheaper and better will be fully embraced and supported by the administra-

•Bags of cement

tion. Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolemehen, in his keynote address, said government has identified inadequate planning, poor design, ineffective supervision, lack of strong quality assuarance and inadequate funding as some of the challenges affecting the nation’s road infrastructure. He said though flexible asphaltic pavement and concrete rigid pavement are the most common they all pose different challenges. He said: “ It is well known that while the design life of concrete roads is between 35 and 50 years as against 20 to 25 years for flexible asphalt pavement, the cost of concrete roads is considerably high. However, the concrete pavement requires less frequent maintenance.” In his remarks, Governor Babatunde Fashola noted that extensive importation of cement prior to recent events in the industry has made the option very expensive. He, however, added that availability in right quantity and specification makes cement utilisation option more attractive to government. While stating that technical, environmental and user friendly quantities of pavement roads make

it an interesting option, Fashola said the views of the summit and its recommendations will go a long way in assisting the government to move in this direction. In a swift reaction, National Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr Kunle Awobodu said the nation is yet to feel the impact of the claims of CMAN on meeting local demand of cement needs of the people as a bag still sells for between N1,900 and N2,000 in certain places in Lagos. He said the suggestion to use concrete in road construction can be best described as an acedemic exercise as the group is yet to satisfy the building sector. He said: “We will be happy if the price of cement is reduced considerably and people are able to build their houses then we can support it being used for road construction. Cement no doubt is more durable than asphalt though more expensive. We are where we are today in terms of the quality of our roads because we have failed to exploit the large bitumen deposit and our roads are left to deteriorate with no maintenance culture.” The NIOB boss warned that possible reduction of the price of cement in the coming months should not be mistaken for availability,

rather because of the approach of rainy season which usually dampens construction activity. Awobodu stressed that any analysis during the rainy season on cement will be based on false and spurious judgement which cannot stand the test of time According to him, if the new line of thinking is pursued by the government, the housing sector will suffer because people cannot afford the cement they need to build their houses. A highway engineer, Afolabi Adedeji, said the argument on concrete based option for the nation roads is not out of place as it is in use in advanced countries. On some of the advantages of concrete based options, he said it lasts from 40 years and above while asphalt is for 10 to 15 years making it more durable for construction though more expensive. He said: “Asphlat based road can be used after three to four hours of application while concrete based roads takes about 28 days to develop full strenght which delays road construction except additives are added to make it firm up. In places where they can afford to put the road out of use for a long time its more advisable to use concrete based”.

Architects to discuss vertical housing delivery at summit

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IGERIA Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos State branch, will today discuss the concept of housing space standards, vertical housing delivery and green building under a broad theme: “Urban mass housing and homes in Lagos.’ At a press briefing, the Chairman, Mrs. Abimbola Ajayi, said the summit, which is the fourth in the series, would take an in-debt look into housing challenges and proffer solutions. The idea, she explained, is not just to have a house, but a functional one that meets standards. She said the state’s population, is projected to hit the 25 million mark by the year 2015, and wondered how that will be catered for in terms of affordable and decent housing if nothing urgent is done now. She called for appropriate material pricing and the provision of alternative building materials. The Deputy Chairman, Femi Shodunke, suggested the need for the state to embark on vertical buildings or high-rise structures to check scarcity and urban sprawl in the state, in addition to coming up with minimum space standards for social housing as obtainable in the advanced world. He said buildings all over the world are known to contribute 40

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

per cent to the ozone layer and as experts, the summit will explore the possibility of encouraging ecofriendly, sustainable and green building in the state to deplete the ozone layer. In his contribution, the Assistant Secretary, Fitzgard Umah said the summit will not only be about housing in its strict sense but also delve into accessing of finance and mortgages. In conclusion, the Public Relations Officer of the institute, Mrs Titi Adeleye, said experts will also discuss what a wholesome environment in as far as sustainable housing is concerned. She asked the public to avail themselves the opportunity of the summit as they will only be enriched by the experts who will be in attendance but will also have an opportunity to ask questions at the private sessions. Some of the experts lined up for today’s events are Mr Olamide Banwo, Quality Control Auditor based in the United States, Mr Olumuyiwa Adebayo, Canadian expert in Metroline, Prof. Timothy Nubi of the University of Lagos(UNILAG), Emeka Okoye, a US based resource expert and a host of others.

•From left: Fitzgard, Adeleye, Ajayi and Shodunke at the event.

PHOTO: OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZI


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT Building Issues Due to space constriaint we can only accommodate this reaction on last week’s write-up on “ Why everybody cannot own a house”

How everybody can own a house

HOUSE is a basic need many more cause capital sink. All the imported materials used that shelters people and gives them comfort. It is a in houses cost a lot of money. place where people strategise Some houses have imported walland plan their future, and train ing materials, roofing sheets, electheir offsprings. It also serves as trical and plumbing materials. working and resting place. A The contents are also imported house is a status booster and the because the owners have high notion of owning a house be- taste which can only be satisfied stows confidence on its owners. by imported materials, no matter Non-landlords go through mo- the cost. In some houses in highments of stress, distress and un- brow areas, houses are finished certainties. A house is a com- with marble walls in and out. We mon good that every adult who have golden taps in some houses is working, either as a business in countries where housing proman or paid employment, should vision is not under the control of government. These ideas and othhave. For every qualify Nigerian to ers cause capital flight. There should be an agency that own a home, about 17million housing deficit, according to will be in charge of housing reguWorld Bank estilation. Human bemate of 2011, will are greedy by ‘The contents ings have to be met. The nature and without local contents in control, will exhibit are also imhouse production is their multi-territorelatively small ported because rial character. compared to the imAmongst all anithe owners ported contents. In mals, it is only huthe past, cements have high taste man beings that can were imported for control more than which can only construction in a one abode at the country with high be satisfied by same time. The deposit of lime. housing regulator Gypsum, a raw-ma- imported matelike the Welsh Asterial of cement, is sembly in Wales rials, no matter imported and has and Scottish Housthe cost. In made the price of ing Regulators in locally manufacScotland will be in some houses in tured cement to be charge of ensuring exorbitant. that the housing high-brow arGovernment must of prospective eas, houses are fund see housing as a landlords is intact right of the people and available as at finished with for everybody to when needed. This own a house. In marble walls in organization will housing provision see to smooth cashand out’ in developing counflow of housing detries, money (capivelopment by tal) is lost in three people and discourmajor ways (capital age project-abansink, capital stagnation and capi- donment. tal flight). One, everybody aspires Mortgage is a provision of loanto have a house and most of them facility for the procurement of see it as a long term project. This houses. A mortgage repayment should not be so. A reasonable can only be done by somebody house for residence of a family that has means of income. Also, should be completed within three an individual’s income deterto six months. Time over-flow of mines how much he or she can more than six months for a fam- get as mortgage. Some people’s ily apartment means that capital income is not enough to get adhas been tied down and stag- equate mortgage for the type of nant. This can neither give value, house necessary for their family nor be invested. size. Houses have economic as Houses are over-designed in well as social benefits. Social housterms of space and quality. In ing must be embarked on by govsome cases, because of the level ernments for the poor to have of poverty versus the degree of houses. aspiration to have a house, a lot Adequate data are necessary for of people develop houses with administration of social housing low quality to ‘save cost’. This especially in a highly corrupt has often times resulted into country like Nigeria. Government building-collapse. Some unnec- must carry out housing census, essary features are included in know the number of people withthe houses of the rich just because out a house, know the number of they have access to free funds. people with more than one house Some houses are finished, mostly and formulate policy to address in to branded areas, and are not this inequality. occupied due to outrageous rents being demanded. Some people Olufemi Oyedele , Housing and have more than one house at no Project Management Consultant, extra cost to them. These and wrote from Lagos femoyede@yahoo.com

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•Jean-Lucviatour; first prize winner (Junior category) Master Olamide Adefuje and Mrs Jeboda of Lagos State PHOTO: OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE Senior Model College, Badore, Lagos.

Firm advises on renewable energy, water efficiency

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NVIRONMENT based issues were raised higher last Friday as Nigerite Limited announced the result of its maiden Lagos Green Schools Essay Competition with the theme: Embracing Renewable Energy for All with sub-theme, The three R’s: Reuse, reduce and recycle as a tool for renewable energy” and “Clean water is life. At the event held at Ikeja, Managing Director of Nigerite Limited Jean Luc -Viatour said the competition is targeted at youths who they believe will serve as an effective tool on the quest to protect the earth. He said the idea is to build and encourage the spirit of healthy competition among the youths and make them aware of their environment and how to protect it. Luc -Viatour said the company’s stride in preserving the environment underscores the three R’s of Reduction”, “Recycling” and “Reuse. In this light, he revealed that they recycle 100 per cent of the dry waste from production processes that include sorting waste from offices using labeled bins: blue bins for paper and carton waste; orange bins for plastic and red bins for other waste. The waste paper and cartons generated in our offices are reused in the factory as Waste Paper Kraft (WPK) and the plastic waste is marked for recycling through private initiatives.” Earlier in his welcome address, the Marketing Director of the company, Mr Toyin Gbede said the ob-

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

jective of the competition is geared towards joining forces with the Lagos State government to stimulate the capacity of the youth to analyse the environmental issues, engage in problem solving techniques and thus elicit urgent action by the public and private sectors, including the parents, on the threat to the environment. He said it is in tandem with the theme The Youth, Our Future. According to him, the challenge today is to conserve land, water, reduce, reuse and recycle most things being manufactured or resourced to ensure sustainability. He said the three R’s as a tool for renewable energy” and “clean water is life”, is apt and relevant because African children are some of the worst hit by climate change evidenced by fear of food insecurity and drought even as water supply all over the world shrinks. It is, therefore, important for Nigerian children and youth to acquire knowledge on renewable energy, effect of deforestation and water wastage, among others, he

said. On the coverage of the essay competition, Gbede said they sent notice to all private and public schools in the state but, however, received entries from 31 public and private schools. Governor Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Power and Energy, Mr Fouad Animashaun, praised Nigerite for the initiative and urged other companies to take a cue from them. He said except people learn how to recycle and respect the environment the nation and the state in particular will face a grim future. He noted the numerous environment issues faced by the state, especially in Badagry axis with illegal sand miners which is posing a grave danger to the people. He pledged the state government’s readiness to work with any organisation that is committed to the preservation and sustenance of the environment. Fashola also praised the targeting of the youth as the driver of the environment programme noting that as leaders of tomorrow, the future lies with them.

‘On the coverage of the essay competition, Gbede said they sent notice to all private and public schools in the state but however, received entries from 31 public and private schools’

Govt to relocate tanker drivers from Tarfa

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N ensuring accident free high way, the Federal Government has decided to relocate tanker drivers who park indiscriminately on the highway to safer environment, especially tanker drivers who park indiscriminately at the Tarfa Local Government . The Minister for State, Ministry of Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, urged tanker drivers to move from the road side to a safer environment, stating that the indiscriminate parking has turned the place to a refuse dump, thereby making the whole environment dirty. Yuguda gave the directive during a tour of the local government with members of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Asso-

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

ciation in Kaduna State. He said: “The government intends to go into partnership with Public Private Partnership(PPP) by inviting private investors to provide facilities in the park. The park will have all the basic amenities a park needs. “Presently we have the support of the Kaduna and Niger state governments to build a better befitting park for tanker drivers, especially those that ply the northern route consistently,” he stressed. The National Secretary, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Comrade Dayyabu Garga, said the reason tanker driv-

ers park on Tarfa road is that the government has not provided any parking space yet. “The association has been in partnership with the government for a very long time. The challenge is not only in Tarfa, there is Mararaban Jos, and other places, we need government to give additional land in this areas.” Why the Abuja case is peculiar is that when they are loading trucks, out of 25 trucks, 15 goes into Abuja. 60% of tankers come to Abuja, while priorities are given to bigger cities such as Lagos among other areas. After dropping the fuel there is nowhere to park than to turn back to Tarfa, that is why the place is always choked up.

‘A mortgage repayment can only be done by somebody that has means of income. Also, an individual’s income determines how much he or she can get as mortgage. Some people’s income is not enough to get adequate mortgage for the type of house necessary for their family size’ •Contributions, questions? e-mail: quichi3cities@yahoo.com


OTHER SPORT...OTHER SPORT...OTHER SPORT...OTHER SPORT...OTHER SPORT...


TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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ENERGY THE NATION

E-mail:- energy@thenationonlineng.net

‘Indigenous firms can produce 250,000 bpd by 2015’ Stories by Emeka Ugwuanyi Assistant Editor (Energy)

•Avuru

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HE Managing Director of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, one of the leading Nigerian indigenous exploration and production (E&P) companies, Mr Austin Avuru, said oil production from Nigerian Independents (indigenous E&P companies ) could hit 250,000 barrels per day by 2015. This, he said, will result in a yearly spend of $1.5 bil-

lion by the independents even by 2014. Avuru, who spoke at an event organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) at the just-concluded annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, USA, traced the origin of participation of local players in the exploration and production sector of the oil and gas industry. He said oil production from Nigerian Independents peaked at about 100,000 bopd in 2005 with Conoil and Moni Pulo accounting for 70 per cent of the volume. Avuru, however, noted that things have changed tremendously since January 29, 2010, when SEPLAT pioneered a commercial, operated asset acquisition transaction with the Shell Joint Venture.

Five more transactions have followed thus far, with most of them in different stages of rancorous closure, he added. He said more growth in indigenous participation rests now on six possible Independents poised to seize the moment and these include Seplat, Oando, First Hydrocarbon, Conoil, Niger Delta Petroleum, and Necondo. However, he noted that what would make the achievement of the expected growth possible, is the ability of these new generation of independents to build operational capacity and raise substantial funds to finance their growth. Avuru said these forerunners can build up operational and financial capacity and set the pace for a few others to join but a lot, he said, depends on the disposition of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its E&P arm National Petroleum Development Company

(NNPC/NPDC) He said: “The history of indigenous participation in oil and gas can be traced to the emergence of Dubri Oil, Nigeria’s oldest independent producer, in 1987. But the landmark take-off of the indigenous programme did not occur until 1990/1991 and from that period to 2007, some 52 indigenous companies have been licensed to operate leases in the Niger Delta and Anambra Basin. In 2004 alone, 24 Nigerian companies were licensed to operate 24 marginal fields. “However, production from Nigerian independents peaked at about 100kbopd in 2005 with Conoil and Moni Pulo accounting for 70 per cent of the volume. Seven marginal fields’ operators currently produce about 22,000 bopd with just two of them accounting for 60 percent of this figure.” He explained that in the past 20 years, the average independent production from the period covering 1990 to 2010 has stayed below 80kbopd, often oscillating between 40kbopd and 100kbopd. Besides, apart from Conoil, most Independents’ operations are single block/single field developments with little or no prospects for sustainable growth in reserves and production with average life cycle from first oil to peak production to rapid decline at less than 10 years. He said what emerged is an industry in which the international oil companies (IOCs) such as Shell,

ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total control the deepwater turf while five early comers with deep pockets such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total and Agip sit on some 88 percent of the reserves and production in the traditional onshore/shallow water shelf. Despite the achievements of the six enterprising new generation independents, which may signpost amazing new progress, Avuru noted that it is not all success because over 52 Nigerian companies have been awarded blocks in the past 20 years without any growth in indigenous production. He said apart from NNPC/ NPDC, the key game changer here is the ability of the new generation of independents to build operational capacity and raise substantial funds to finance their growth. “If this is done, production from Nigerian Independents could top 250kbopd by 2015 while annual spend by Independents could top $1.5billion by 2014. If this scenario plays out, the increased activity will precipitate a fullblown exploration/appraisal development campaign focusing on deeper plays, by-passed plays and small fields’ development “The result, will be a new dawn for Nigerian independents underlined by accelerated growth, renewed onshore exploration, appraisal and development campaigns as well as accelerated gas development,” he added.

Ajumogobia, others make case for passage of PIB

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• From right: Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; PDP National Chairman/President, African Business Roundtable, Dr. Bamanga Tukur and Group General Manager Public Affairs (NNPC) Dr. Levi Ajuonuma during the opening ceremony of Nigerian pavilion at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC 2012) in Houston, Texas, United States of America.

ORMER Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Mr Odein Ajumogobia and other operators in the oil and gas industry have stressed the need to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law. They said when bill becomes law, it will serve as catalyst to revolutionising the industry. Speaking at the ESQ Oil and Gas Summit 2012, in Lagos,

Chevron reduces gas flaring by 33%

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HEVRON Corporation said it reduced gas flaring and venting in its operations by 33 per cent between 2003 to date and achieved one of the best safety records in the oil and gas industry. Chevron in its just released 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report (CRR) said it also invested $209 million in communities where it operates, and spent more than $2.1 billion on goods and services from small US businesses and restated commitment to ensuring energy security in the world. The report said Chevron invested over $200 million to support community programmes around the world, with a focus on health, education and economic development. For example, the report said the company pledged $20 million over five years to support a global action plan to eliminate mother-tochild transmission of HIV. It added

that Chevron’s Energy for Learning programme also supported the education of thousands of children and adults in countries such as China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the United Kingdom. On economic development, the report noted that Chevron’s investments in local suppliers and contractors helped foster economic development in countries where it operates. For example, in the United States last year, the company spent $2.1 billion with small businesses and over $800 million for goods and services with women- and minority-owned businesses. The company’s report contains compelling examples of significant initiatives from across the globe. One example is in Nigeria, where Chevron continued to provide jobs

and sustainable economic development while fostering innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships and socioeconomic investment models. Chevron’s Global Memorandum of Understanding programme in the Niger Delta has delivered more than 200 projects in 425 communities, villages and chiefdoms benefiting some 850,000 people. Chevron launched the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative and announced a five-year, $50 million endowment, including a partnership with USAID, to build capacity and promote long-term economic sustainability. Other examples of significant corporate responsibility activity include launching the Green Corridor Initiative in Indonesia to plant 250,000 trees over the next five years, partnering with organisations in Colombia to build health clinics and develop

water wells to supply 100,000 people, and investing nearly $100 million in education across California and the United States between 2009 and 2011. The company also launched the Chevron-Liberia Economic Development Initiative, delivering sustainable benefits to women, children and youths by helping to fund 36 projects in hospitals, vocational training centres, schools and communities. On the Corporate Responsibility Report, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer John Watson, said: “Affordable energy is a cornerstone of human progress and economic prosperity. In producing and delivering energy, our goal is to ensure that our operations and social investments create measureable and enduring value to the communities where we Continued on page 45

Ajumogobia said: “The PIB is an ambitious attempt to revolutionise the oil and gas industry with a single legislation. The PIB when it is passed, will provide guarantee for potential investors who want to invest their money in the sector. Now people are conscious about investing because they feel there is no legislation that offers protection for them.” He said the continued non-passage of the bill has not allowed potential investors, both local and foreign, to make very huge financial commitments in the sector. He said the PIB is a transformative piece of legislation that aims to consolidate 16 different Nigerian petroleum laws into a single document establishing a new legal and regulatory framework, as well as new institutions and regulatory authorities. In his paper entitled: “Structuring Oil and Gas Projects for International Financing,” Mr Jason Kerr, Partner, White & Case, UK, said though the country possesses what it takes to attract offshore financing for various projects in the oil and gas industry, it needs to put in place certain structures. These structures, Kerr said, include strong legal framework, thriving domestic banking sector, compelling need for investment in infrastructure, political reforms, Continued on page 45


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

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ENERGY Since the beginning of this year, the oil and gas industry has known no peace. From January 1, when the government decided to implement the ill-timed removal of fuel subsidy, the consequent nationwide strike and subsequently the subsidy management probe and report, the industry has been in disharmony. There have been accusations and counter-accusations and pressure on the government to remove the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. EMEKA UGWUANYI, Assistant Editor (Energy) sought the opinions of industry stakeholders on this issue at the just-concluded Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, United States, and reports.

‘Call for Petroleum Minister’s removal unfair’

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NDOUBTEDLY, the oil and gas industry, particularly the downstream sector, has not been itself since the beginning of this year. In an attempt to solve a problem bordering on allegations of fraud, sharp practices and unbridled dishonesty on the part of oil marketers, the Federal Government decided to stop fuel subsidy and by extension stop all the uncomplimentary practices that accompany it by announcing the removal of subsidy on New Year’s Day. That decision unveiled the rot in the subsidy programme and threw up more than the government and oil marketers bargained for. Trouble started with a nationwide strike followed by the Hon. Farouk Lawan-led House Committee on Subsidy management probe panel and the report released recently, which has put the downstream sector on the brinks of uncertainty. Owners of the marketing companies indicted in the probe report had dismissed the report as untrue and noted that a few of them (marketers) were handpicked so that their integrity and those of their companies should be tarnished. Some of the marketers threatened to sue the House Committee for unverified accusation and publication of falsehood. However, none of the marketers had taken action in this direction and a member of the committee, who spoke to our correspondent at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, said the indicted marketers should go bury their heads in shame. The lawmaker insisted that all the marketers indicted in the report have questions to answer, noting that if the House Committee was not sure of the job it did, it couldn’t have mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to continue further investigation on the issue. Besides, while the storm raged, from the fuel subsidy removal to

the release of the subsidy report, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke, was in the eye of the storm as a section of the population called on the Presidency to remove her for letting the oil marketers have a field day, through which they were alleged to have stolen public funds in billions of naira. Alison-Madueke was accused of abdicating her duties when she set up some committees and taskforces to address some of the issues including public outcry on corruption and malfeasance in the management of the fuel subsidy and also invited the EFCC to review and investigate transactions made in relation to petroleum products importation and subsidy payments within a given period of time. The Minister, however, noted that her decision to set up the committees and taskforces was in response to public demand of enthroning transparency and involvement of credible Nigerians in private and public sectors in the activities of the ministry and the government. However, a couple of industry operators, who spoke to our correspondent on the issue at the conference in US, absolved the minister of commission of any offence that would warrant her removal from the ministry. The operators, who although players in the upstream sector of the petroleum industry and didn’t want their names mentioned that during the turbulent period, the minister displayed transparency by subjecting the parastatals in the petroleum ministry including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency that were involved in the subsidy business to investigation by the EFCC and other security agencies. The operators said: “The call for her removal as the Minister of Petroleum Resources is not fair. At

Total chief urges govt to boost exploration

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N the face of the fast depleting rate of the hydrocarbon reserves, the government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have been challenged to make plans on building reserves and production beyond 2020. This is geared towards making the country to remain in the business of oil and gas in 2030. The Executive Director, Corporate Geosciences, and Business, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, Dr Kingsley Ojoh, made the call at a conference in Ile Ife,Osun Sate. He urged the country to take a cue from Brazil that is making efforts to become one of the top oil producers in the world through its exploratory effort. He said that while Brazil has discovered 36 billion barrels of liquid from exploration in 10 years and could produce four million barrels of oil per day (bopd) by 2030, the same cannot be said of Nigeria whose exploration and production

the height of the trouble, she exercised transparency by setting up committees to address demands by the Nigerian public on passage of Petroleum Industry Bill into law, bringing to book those involved in subsidy scam as well as tackle corruption in the downstream sector and probe issues around the existing refineries. “She set up the Ministerial Committee on Governance and Control Task Force (MCGCTF), Ministerial Committee on Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (MCPRSTF) and the Ministerial Committee on National Refineries Special Task Force (MCNRSTF). “Members of these committees are Nigerians with integrity and honour such as Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, Senators Udoma Udo Udoma and Tunde Ogbeha, as well as Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and Austen Olorunsola, among others.”

They said Alison-Madueke’s action also flowed from the agreement the government reached with iorganised labour during negotiations over the removal of subsidy. The government promised labour to clamp down on all acts of corruption in the petroleum industry, and ensure that those found culpable face the full wrath of law. Even when fuel subsidy was removed in January, she was accused of being responsible for removing the subsidy until the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati and the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Dr Babangida Aliyu, announced it was not a unilateral decision by the PPPRA, which the minister superintends. Aliyu said the governors under the aegis of the Governors’Forum were responsible for the removal of subsidy because it was a drain on the

•Mrs Alison-Madueke

national treasury and so it is callous for anyone to blame it on the unilateral action of any individual while Abati said to the best of his knowledge, PPPRA is an agency of the government and he doesn’t think it would act unilaterally in violation of its enabling Act. “The President has spoken again and again that there will be deregulation of PMS in 2012. We are in 2012. It is consistent,” he added. “Let’s see the outcome of the House Committee report and action the lawmaker will take and the effect of the works of the ministerial committees and taskforces before seeking who to sack or not to sack,” industry operators said.

•From left: General Manager, Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr Waheed Olagunju; Managing Director, Ms Evelyn Oputu; Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Serieke Dickson; Assistant General Manager, Southern Operations, BOI, Alhaji Shuab Ottan and Deputy Governor, Bayelsa State Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah after the signing of memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a N5 billion micro, small and medium enterprises fund between the Bayelsa and BoI in Yenegoa, the state capital.

By Bidemi Bakare

future is not quite promising. Nigeria is ranked 10th among world oil producers with 37.2 billion barrels of reserves amounting to 2.53 per cent of the world’s total, Brazil is ranked 15th with 12.9 billion barrels of reserves amounting to 0.87 per cent of world’s total. He said that drilling activities have become too low in Nigeria to warrant an urgent need to increase exploration of hydrocarbons for tomorrow’s resources and reserves. Citing example,Ojoh, said between 1965 to 2010, records and statistics have shown that drilling activity plunged from 74 to three while the number of wells both exploration and appraisal completed also declined from 210 to five during the same period. He said the country needs to replace production the same way that Brazil is trying to build up reserves Continued on page 45

‘Taxation of domestic LPG stalls investments’

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OME operators of liquefied petroleum gas business have decried the level of tax paid on locally produced LPG. They said it is much higher than imported LPG, a situation which stifles investment in that sector of the oil and gas industry. They said the discrepancy is created by the fact that while domestic LPG is taxed, imported LPG is not being taxed, thus making it difficult to have fair competition between the two categories. In an interview with The Nation, the Managing Director, Gas Terminalling, Felix Ekundayo, said government’s wrong policy of promoting imported LPG at the expense of local LPG has made investments in LPG quite challenging for investors. He noted that while most LPG operators have been making huge

By Bidemi Bakare

investments in LPG and infrastructure development to boost the market, the government is bent on frustrating the investments with its biased taxation policy. He said: “It is quite sad to know that while we have been striving hard to enhance LPG growth in the country, the government is not doing much to complement our efforts. Rather than providing the needed support for market growth it prefers to come up with policy that would rather scare us out of business. For instance, would you believe that local LPG is taxed while the imported LPG is not? “So, I think what the government is saying is go and buy foreign LPG but don’t buy local LPG. For over seven years, we have been asking for this issue to be addressed but it

gets swept under the carpet each time is brought out for discussion. Therefore, the question to be asked is what the government is doing and not what we are doing as we have been spending money and also losing money in trying to promote this business. We know there are lots of opportunities in the business but the government needs to support the growth strategies by relaxing taxation for local LPG.” He said despite 50 years of LPG business in the country it is unfortunate that the product growth is still at infancy due to low capacity utilisation and consumption. He attributed this to the misplacement of priorities by the government as regards meeting its energy demands and requirements. Rather than investing in cost effective energy product such as LPG, Continued on page 45


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

ENERGY

Ibom Plant yearns for transmission facility The Ibom Power Station has over 100 megawatts (MW) of idle generation. The power plant has the capacity to generate 190MW, but supplies only 60MW because of inadequate transmission facility to wheel the generated electricity into the national grid.EMEKA UGWUANYI Assistant Editor (Energy) reports.

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HE Ibom Power Plant started commercial operation in 2009 but despite its installed capacity of 190 megawatts (MW), which can be accessed almost 100 per cent, the plant wheels only 60MW into the grid. Although the Ibom power project is promoted by the Akwa Ibom State Government, the project is licensed by the Federal Government and empowered the company to only carry out power generation. The company is not licensed to transmit and distribute power. The restriction to generation only is posing a grave constraint to the state as small and medium scale businesses are suffering from lack of power supply. A member of the power station, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence on backdrop of the plight of people that run small businesses, said the problem was not from the state government but as a

result of limited transmission facility that conveys electricity from the plant to the grid. He said plant is fully operational, generating and evacuating 60MW of power to its sole customer, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). “Indeed, since we began generating power commercially in December 2009, our plant has remained active, generating on the average, 60MW of power to the national grid. “Although our generation from the three generators the plant has can give output 190MW, we are technically constrained by transmission and distribution facilities of PHCN and by extension the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).” He said power from the station is conveyed through the 132kv transmission line from Ikot Abasi through substations at Eket, Uyo

Chevron reduces gas flaring by 33% •Continued from page 43

operate.” The company noted that its achievements reflect its long-term commitment to continually reduce and eliminate all incidents and injuries, and implement specific initiatives such as company-wide process safety standards. “Chevron has taken significant steps to conserve energy resources, including commercialising previously flared natural gas and improving energy efficiency of its global operations by 34 per cent since 1992,” the report added. In a recent Fortune Magazine sur-

vey of “The World’s Most Admired Companies,” Chevron ranked among the top 10 in social responsibility and first among peers in the petroleum refining industry. The report said Chevron continued its commitment to respecting global human rights, adding that the company began global implementation of its Human Rights Policy to foster greater awareness of human rights issues throughout the company and enhance capabilities to manage them. The Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index gave Chevron a 100 per cent rating for the seventh consecutive year.

and Itu before it is injected into the national grid. “While transmission line built by Ibom power to the national grid can carry 200MW, the transmission line from Eket to Uyo and from Uyo to Itu can only carry about 60MW restricting power evacuation to the grid at less that one third of the installed capacity. “We at Ibom Power urge the PHCN and TCN to upgrade the Eket, Uyo and Itu line to enable us to optimise use of the plant and until the upgrade is done, the plant will continue to suffer limited output of its generated power. Although we generate and sell power from the plant, we do not have any control over where and how that power is distributed. While we would appreciate that the power we generate is distributed across Akwa Ibom state to meet the needs of the state, we are unable to influence such outcome.” Although our overall generating capacity from the three installed generators is 190MW, we are technically constrained by existing transmission and distribution facilities of PHCN and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), to 60MW. On the development, the Managing Director of Ibom Power, Gareth Wilcox, said: “Ibom Power Company was formed in 2001. It is a private limited liability company. The company is owned by the Akwa Ibom State Government and is run by a board of directors led by a Chairman. Day-to-day management of the company is headed by a managing director and is in

accordance with policies approved by and authorisations of the board. “Our company is licensed to generate electricity. It is not licensed to transmit, or distribute electricity. Furthermore, it is forbidden, with the exception of a possible minor investment, to have any involvement with transmission or distribution companies. This was one of the cornerstone policies of the power sector reform bill which aims to ensure that each part of the power chain has a well-defined accountable role. “The company has installed two General Electric (GE ) Frame 6B and one Frame 9E turbine generators. Their combined output under the climatic conditions in Ikot Abasi is 191MW. The plant also has ancillary systems for compressed air, DC power, raw water, potable water, drainage and effluent. “Phase 1 power is evacuated at 132kV through substations at Eket, Uto and Itu after which it exits the state to either Calabar or Aba. The line from Eket through Uyo to Itu can only carry 50-60MW. The line from Ikot Abasi to Eket was constructed by Ibom Power and can carry 200MW. The upgrade of the line from Eket through Uyo to Itu has been under-developed since 2004. It was taken over by the NIPP projects and it is expected that this work will be completed this year. Ibom Power will then be able to evacuate most of its available power. When President Goodluck Jonathan visited the state last year, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio re-

minded him of the need to provide transmission facility to enable the Ibom power plant optimize its capacity Akpabio said: “In the first phase, the project provides 190 megawatts to the nation. The second phase would develop 550 megawatts capacity of electricity. Interestingly, Akwa Ibom needs only about 70MW for its socio-economic growth. Hence, the project is expected to contribute significantly to national development. “The problem of power in Nigeria seems to be beyond generation. The aspect of transmission and distribution can therefore not be taken for granted. Specifically, the inhibiting factor in the IPP revolves round inadequate transmission infrastructure.” Akpabio reminded Mr President: “It is our prayers that your visit will provide the intervention needed to jumpstart that transmission line project to serve the state and the neighbouring states.” Seven Energy is working with Akwa Ibom State to assist in the creation of a reliable supply of gas for power generation in the region. This gas is required to meet the needs of soaring demand associated with the growth of dependable power production and industrialisation in the region. The first phase of this regional programme was the construction of a 60km pipeline to supply gas from the Uquo Field to the Akwa Ibom State-owned Ibom Power Plant at Ikot, which was completed in 2011.

Ajumogobia, others make case for passage of PIB •Continued from page 44

functional refineries and petrochemical plants, among others. Other areas that were deliberated on at the summit include gas revolution, third world countries in the global oil sector, local content development and financing projects in the industry, Mr. Lere Fashola, Chief Executive Officer, Legal Blitz and ESQ Seminars, organisers of the event, said the event was an illuminating

one, adding that various recommendations emanating from it would be sent to the appropriate government agencies for consideration. Stakeholders that attended the summit include Mr. GbengaOyebode, Chairman, Access Bank, Mr. Omamofe Boyo, Deputy CEO, Oando Plc, Mr. Dayo Okusami, General Counsel, Atlantic Energy and Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Executive Director, ExxonMobil, among others.

‘Taxation of domestic LPG stalls investments’ •Continued from page 44

he explained that the government prefers to spend on more expensive products like kerosene and gasoline for its energy needs. He said it was inconceivable that the country prefers to sell LPG to the foreign market in order to import expensive product despite the fact that it requires 30 times the volume currently being consumed locally. “It is quite disgraceful that for a country that requires 30 times more of the volume of LPG for consumption it still sees the logic in exporting what should have been meant for consumption. We have made several attempts to reverse this trend by engaging the FG but we are yet to hear anything encouraging. Currently we produce somewhere in the region of 3.5- 7 million tonnes of LPG with all the additional capacity. Interestingly, we prefer to sell that 3.5 million tones to the foreign market and import 10 million tones of a very

expensive product .Does that make sense?No, it does not. We also flare gas because we have not grown our domestic market. As a result we flare several millions of the product and cash annually,” he said. Ekundayo said rather than spending huge amount on subsidy for other products to meet our energy demand it would be advisable to provide a level play field for LPG to compete favourably. “It is obvious that for us to make up for the shortfall in energy requirement, we have had to depend on other white products such as gasoline and kerosene. But the truth is that we are spending more than we would have spent if we had developed the LPG market. For instance, we are told the country spent over N2 trillion last year on gasoline and kerosene subsidy. I believe this wouldn’t be so if we had created a level play field for all the products including LPG,” he said.

•Ibom power plant

Total chief urges govt to boost exploration, reserves gas with 40 per cent operatorship replacement •Continued from page 16 and the Egina FPSO project under and production in the next decade. Meanwhile, he cautioned that the rules for rig acquisition for exploration must be dissociated from that of development projects to make the entire exploration and production process successful. In this era of recession, he solicited for long term projections as short term projections of 10 years may be counter productive for most major projects from discovery to the first oil. On the effort by the company to enhance building reserves for the future, Ojoh said Total has always had 100 per cent production growth

in Nigeria as evident in the $2 billion investments made by the company per year. Among the company’ strong portfolio of operated projects include the Akpo FPSO for production of 225,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe/d) in March 2006, with 24 per cent operatorship by Total; the Usan FPSO for production of180,000 bopd with 20 per cent operatorship. Others include the OML 58 upgrade still in development for onshore gas production by 2014 with 40 per cent operatorship, Ofon phase 2 still in development for offshore

study with 24 per cent operatorship. Other projects lined up for the next decade include the Ofon2, Ikike, Nkarika, Etisong deepwater projects. He said as an operator the company operates one onshore block, three shallow water blocks and five deepwater blocks while as partner the company operates 25 onshore and swamp blocks, eight shallow water blocks and eight deepwater blocks. He added that the company is also a partner in NLNG and Brass NLNG projects and also committed to domestic gas supply.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

46

ENERGY

‘Melaiye doesn’t understand new tariff’ T

HE Association of Electricity Consumers of Nigeria (AECN) has accused a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaiye, of demonstrating an insufficient understanding of the new electricity tariff which will come into effect on June 1. By comparing the new tariff to the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products last January which led to a hike in pump prices of petrol and kerosene, said the association, the former legislator “is clearly out of touch with reality.” In a statement in Lagos, the AECN National Co-ordinator, Chief Ganiyu Makanjuola, said Melaiye rong for assuming that the review will automatically translate to an astronomical increase in the

Stories by Emeka Ugwuanyi Assistant Editor (Energy)

amount the Nigerian people, especially the masses, pay for electricity.” Makanjuola, an engineer and chairman of the Lagos state branch of the Nigerian Ports Authority Pensioners Welfare Association, noted that “far from the new tariff making the poor in our midst pay higher for electricity, they will be paying considerably less. “Not only is the electric meter maintenance charge abolished in the new dispensation all over the country, the masses will from next month be paying only four naira for a kilowatt hour, as opposed to the current seven naira per kilowatt hour.” The former legislator, according

to the AECN coordinator, must have been influenced by sensational reports in some media early this year that there would be 88 per cent increase in electricity tariff. “Even the middle class members who consume more than 50kilowatts hour will notice an increase of just 11 per cent,” said Makanjuola who explained that a N60billion subsidy has been provided for in this year’s budget and a N50 billion subsidy will be available in the 2013 budget. “Only the rich and manufacturers will have a significant appreciation in the electricity tariff.” The leader of electricity consumers argued that “Nigerian citizens and businesses are willing to pay a little higher if they are guaranteed quality and regular electricity sup-

ply because it is far cheaper than the cost of self generation which has in recent times led to the deindustrialisation of our country.” Makanjuola differentiated petroleum and electricity subsidies, saying that “while petroleum subsidy is for consumption, that of electricity is to stimulate economic activities like the critical roles performed by welders and other weak members of society.” The AECN boss expressed surprise that “a former National Assembly, let alone a person who was the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Information, does not seem to know that the periodic review of electricity tariff is a legal or statutory requirement. “The Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) is a significant compo-

nent of the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform Act, which Honourable Melaiye and his colleagues in the National Assembly enacted.” The outgoing tariff was introduced some five years ago, noted Makanjuola who observed that a new one would have come into force since January but for the government decision to sufficiently sensitise all stakeholders in the sector, including consumers. He reminded the ex legislator that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which reviews the tariff is headed by Dr Sam Amadi, “a notable human rights campaigner and leader of the civil society and others who can never acquiesce in the exploitation of any people anywhere in the world.”

Total stops gas leak from OML 58 OTAL Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG) said the snubbing intervention, which started on May 9 has been successful and has stopped the subsurface gas flow. In a statement signed by Total’s spokesman, Fred Ohwahwa, the company said it is pleased to report that the snubbing operation undertaken to stop the subsurface gas flow from the affected Ibewa 16 well, has been successful. The snubbing operation, which started on May 9, consisted of introducing small pipes into the well to pump heavy fluids to stop the flow and set cement plugs to isolate the reservoir. Confirmation was received today that the flow of gas stopped. The cement seal of the well is now being finalised.

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TEPNG, the statement said, would continue to monitor and perform analysis of air and water quality as well as engaging and providing updates to the representatives of the neighboring communities, state and local government, regulators and other stakeholders. In an earlier statement at the weekend, the company said its teams have reported significant progress in the efforts to ensure that the incident is brought under control and to stop the subsurface gas flow from the affected well. The company in a statement said the snubbing intervention started on May 9 and if successful could stop the gas flow in the next few days. A snubbing operation consists of introducing small pipes into the well to pump heavy fluid to

stop the flow. It said TEPNG continues to monitor the safety perimeter around the resurgences area including the surveillance of water and gas resurgence points is performed by teams on ground and by daily helicopter flights. “The team continues to perform analysis of air and water quality several times a week. No hydrocarbons or toxic compounds have been detected. As a precaution, two private water wells near the resurgences area have been secured. “Total E&P Nigeria Limited continues to engage and provide updates to the representatives of the neighboring communities, state and local government, regulators and other stakeholders,” the company said.

Siemens develops system that buffers fluctuating ity can be expanded to two megaIEMENS has developed an solar power watt hours at an output of eight energy-storage system that

S •A Buffer

Conoil lubricants get SON’s quality certification HE Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has certified Conoil lubricant brands. The agency issued special certification to three of Conoil’s engine oils for their world-class quality. The lubricants, according to a statement, are Quatro HDX, Okada Golden Super20w50w and Quatro Ultra20w50. SON said the oil firm met the specific requirement of the relevant Nigerian industrial standards after series of rigorous and extensive tests of their content and production procedures. Quatro HDX engine oil is multigrade diesel oil that provides excellent service in medium and turbo-charged heavy duty engines, while Quatro Ultra 20w50w is the most advanced multi-grade lubricant for petrol engines specially formulated to give all-year-round engine protection. Golden Super engine oil on the other hand, is a quality multi-grade lubricant suitable for major light and medium duty vehicles that are fuelled by petrol or compressed natural gas (CNG). Quatro, which also has the American Petroleum Institute (API’s) seal of excellence, has won the “Lubricant of the Year” award for several years running. Apart from its popular brands, Quatro and GSMO, Conoil also produces a wide range of industrial lubricant brands for applications in

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manufacturing, textile, cement, breweries, oil exploration and production companies, including transmission oils for the gear system of vehicles. While thanking SON for its recongnition, Conoil reiterated its commitment to producing high quality lubricants comparable to international standards to achieve optimum customer satisfaction and become the preferred marketer of lubricants in Nigeria and its environs.

can act as a buffer in electrical power grids. The aim is to provide a buffer against short-term fluctuations in output from renewable energy sources. Such fluctuations can last for seconds or several minutes long. A statement issued by Ehabahe Enoh of Siemens Limited, Nigeria, said the modular designed Siestorage battery is based on lithium-ion rechargeable battery technology and fits into a normal shipping container. In its big layout it stores 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s about the average daily power consumption of 50 households. The Italian power company Enel recently switched on the first Siestorage installation, which has a capacity of one megawatt. Enel is using the installation, which is connected to its primary distribu-

tion network, to study how voltage can be stabilised. The statement noted that the electrical output of photovoltaic arrays does not only fluctuate with the seasons or between night and day. It’s also affected by local weather. For example, power production sags for a few seconds (or even minutes) if clouds drift over the modules. Consequently, the grid experiences brief drops in voltage. Energy storage devices deal with these fluctuations within milliseconds in the power grid itself. As a result, there is no need to adjust controls at power stations - a procedure that reduces efficiency and increases costs. “During development, Siemens worked together with one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries. Thanks to the system’s modular design, its capac-

megawatts. The complete solution with the inverter module and the controller that connect the system to the grid are from Siemens. “Enel will also study how well the system can handle a controlled restart of a grid after a complete blackout. To achieve this feat, the system’s inverter has to regulate the right voltage and frequency so that the grid can be powered up in a controlled manner. Such a solution would be very interesting for small independent power grids on islands or in remote areas, which would otherwise have to be connected to neighboring grids. “Energy storage systems form part of Siemens solutions for tomorrow’s smart grid. They are part of Siemens’ environmental portfolio, with which the company generated about •30 billion in sales in 2011,” it added.

Energy prices

Domestic prices of petroleum products

Energy & Oil Prices OIL ($/bbl)

Companies

PMS

AGO

DPK

Conoil

97.00

160.00

140.00

AP

97.00

160.00

140.00

Total

97.00

160.00

140.00

Oando

97.00

160.00

140.00

Mobil

97.00

160.00

140.00

Texaco

97.00

160.00

140.00

Energy

97.00

160.00

140.00

Fagbems

97.00

160.00

140.00

Nipco

97.00

160.00

140.00

INDIGENOUS

PRICE* CHANGE % CHANGE TIME Nymex Crude Future Dated Brent Spot WTI Cushing Spot OIL (¢/gal)

96. 13 112. 05 96 13

-0.95 -0.01 -0.95

-0. 98% 0. 01% -0. 98%

05/11 05/11 05/11

PRICE* CHANGE % CHANGE TIME Nymex Heating Oil Future 296.36 Nymex RBOB Gasoline Future 300.08 NATURAL GAS ($/MMBtu)

-1.98 -0.94

-0. 66% -0. 31%

05/11 05/11

PRICE* CHANGE % CHANGE TIME Nymex Henry Hub Future 2.51 Henry Hub Spot 2.36 New York City Gate Spot 2.43 ELECTRICITY ($/megawatt hour) PRICE*

0.02 -0.00 -0.04

0.88% 0.00% -1.62%

05/11 05/11 05/11

CHANGE % CHANGE TIME

Mid-Columbia, firm on-peak, spot 19.78 5.95 43.02% Palo Verde, firm on-peak, spot 30.78 3.74 13.83% BLOOMBERG, FIRM ON-PEAK, DAY AHEAD SPOT/ERCOT HOUSTON 22.75 -1.25 -5. 21% • Bloomberg Oil Buyers Guide

05/11 05/11 05/10


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EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 14-5-12

NSE adjusts Dangote cement’s price as ASI closes lower

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HE market price of Dangote Cement Plc was yesterday adjusted for twin incentives (dividend of N1.25 and bonus issue of 1 for 10) as recommended by its Board of Directors for the full year earnings of 2011. As such, it closed at N110.22 against opening figure of N121.50. Meanwhile, the market opened the week in the south after accounting for losses posted by handful of large capitalised stocks such as First Bank, Nigerian Breweries, Nestle, Guinness and Zenith Bank. According to market operators, the price movement stayed positive with 24 advancers as against 19 decliners, the impact of losses recorded by the above highlighted large-cap stocks was momentous. Glaxosmith Kline led the gainers list with a gain of

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

N0.95 to close at N19.95 followed by NASCO at N0.30 to close at N6.30. Others are Dangote Flour, UBA, Presco, Berger Paint, Okomuoil, Ashaka Cement, Dangote Sugar and Paint Company. On the losers table, Custodian and Allied Insurance led with a drop of N0.09 to close at N1.71 followed by Eterna Oil with a drop of N0.17 to close at N3.23. Also on the table were Ikeja Hotel, Continental Insurance, UBN, May & Baker, Sterling Bank, Neimeth, Nestle and Guiness. At the end of the day, lead indicator; ASI, shed 69.99 absolute points, representing 0.31 per cent decline to close low at 22,552.46 points. Similarly, the Market Capitalisation of 187 FirstTier listed equities gained N35.44 billion representing

0.49 per cent upshot to close high at N7.21 trillion. However, bearish sentiments held sway in the banking sector today, with more losses than gains at the close of the session. Profit taking shaved off 4.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent from Union Bank and Sterling Bank respectively with closing sentiments likely to lead to more losses today. On the other hand, Skye Bank and Access Bank bagged 4.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively. In the food and beverages sector, robust demand for Dangote Sugar and Dangote Flour at the highest price of the day led to further gains of 4.8 per cent and 5.0 per cent respectively; Nascon also finished the session with a 5.0 per cent gain. The conglomerate sector was upbeat yesterday as sentiments were skewed to the buy side for UACN, leading to a 2.9 per cent mark-up; a crossed deal at N30.00 early in the session set the trend for Unilever as it held steady at N30.00 bagging 3.5 per cent, Transcorp also inched up 3.4 per cent.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 14-5-12


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

51

MONEY LINK SMEs loans: CBN to establish Microfinance Development Fund HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is considering the establishment of a Microfinance Development Fund (MDF) as a further step to deepen the financial market. The Nation learnt that the MDF will be set up as a vehicle to fund Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, including the provision of refinancing, guarantee and wholesale facilities and liquidity support to microfinance banks/microfinance institutions (MFBs/MFIs). This is targeted at enhancing their lending activities to mi-

T

Stories by Collins Nweze

cro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a statement tagged: “The Nigerian Financial System: Regulatory Trends, Opportunities and Challenges,” the apex bank, explained that it is working on deepening the financial markets through the introduction of new products and appropriate control structures. The MDF when established would assist in addressing teething challenges of underfunding for microfinance in-

guidelines. This also includes formation of National Microfinance Development Strategy with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the recent signing of a major agreement with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). To strengthen the microfinance subssector, he said CBN has also instituted new guidelines for their operations. Under the new rule, microfinance banks would operate under three categories, which include Unit, State and National Microfinance banks.

stitutions in the country. It will further complement past and current efforts aimed at strengthening the microfinance sub-sector of the financial system, improve financial inclusion and by implication, improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate significantly, the statement indicated. It said efforts are being made to consolidate on the achievements recorded so far in the development of micro finance banks, by strengthening the regulatory frameworks and other

Fidelity Bank supports underprivileged school

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IDELITY Bank Plc has donated a car, books, toys and other educational materials to Little Acorns School. The school, attended by the underprivileged and children of the poor has a vision of providing quality education with state of the art equipment. Regional Manager, Lagos Mainland Region, Jude Monye said the donation came under the Fidelity Helping Hand, a staff initiative where they give back to the community where it operates. “We decided that wherever we are

operating from, that we must give back to the community especially the less privileged. It is not an initiative that allows the bank to dip hands into its profit and loss account. The staff contribute from their take-home to give back to the community where we carry out our business,” he said. He said that the project has been moving from one region to the other and in Lagos, the bank has decided to support the Acorn Project. “We pick children from the less privileged homes. We are sowing a seed, and will continually water that seed. It is

a trustee of LAEF said the school currently has 18 sponsors who donate N50,000 a term and N150,000 a year. She said sponsors can also donate a classroom with one time contribution of N650, 000. She said that the school started with 20 children, and the number has risen to 34 pupils from 14 states of the federation. She said that the number of pupils are fast increasing, and they will soon outgrow the facilities, hence, the need for more companies and individuals to assist the school in its effort to give qualitative education to the children from less privileged homes.

a project we are committed to and we will always support the project,” he said. Mrs Mariam Onuzo, one of the promoters of Little Acorns Educational Foundation (LAEF) said the management of the school is working on establishing a secondary school with the Four Square Gospel Church, Ikeja where the school has been operating in the last 15 months. During the donation, many of the invited guests expressed interest in supporting the school to achieve its objectives. Mrs Oluwatimilehin Olaoluwa,

Ecobank inaugurates OMNI

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COBANK Nigeria has launched Ecobank OMNI, an integrated electronic banking platform designed to provide cash management solutions for corporate customers. The product was designed in direct response to the newly introduced Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Cash-less policy. Speaking at the occasion, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Jubril Aku said the product offers a comprehensive suite of flexible online cash management solutions, all designed to en-

hance productivity, manage cash flow and maintain efficient management of a company’s working capital cycle. “We carry out your banking transactions at any of the more than 600 Ecobank Nigeria branches across the combined network in Nigeria, making your banking more convenient and more accessible. Customers can now use their debit (ATM) cards free of transaction charges across all 890 Ecobank ATMs as well as use their debit cards free of charge at all POS terminals in the country,” he said.

est addition to making value-added products to cater for the needs of our customers,” he said. “With the introduction of the CBN cash-lit policy, this product will modernize the hand to hand payment of our people. This product ensures the ability to initiate a wide range of payment instructions such as transfers between accounts at Ecobank, domestic inter-bank transfers, cross-border or international transfers, and cheques or drafts in local and foreign currency. “Multiple payments and currencies

The Group Corporate Bank Head, Charles Kie said Ecobank is bringing customers a world of added convenience, better, simpler, faster, and safer banking with OMNI, corporate internet banking platform. He said the product comes as a direct response from feedbacks received from its numerous customers. “We are happy for the continued partnership with Ecobank. In each of our markets in Africa, the Ecobank Group differentiate itself by making customer focused products and services. OMNI is the lat-

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 14-5-12 SYMBOL

GLAXOSMITH NASCON DANGFLOUR UBA PRESCO BERGER OKOMUOIL ASHAKACEM DANGSUGAR PAINTCOM

O/PRICE

19.00 6.00 6.01 3.81 13.65 8.44 36.39 10.49 3.78 1.05

C/PRICE

19.95 6.30 6.31 4.00 14.33 8.86 38.20 11.01 3.96 1.10

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 1.80 3.40 1.21 0.82 4.99 1.49 1.31 0.71 439.95 240.00

C/PRICE 1.71 3.23 1.15 0.78 4.75 1.42 1.25 0.68 430.00 235.00

CHANGE 0.09 0.17 0.06 0.04 0.24 0.07 0.06 0.03 9.95 5.00

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 14-5-12

SYMBOL CUSTODYINS ETERNAOIL IKEJAHOTEL CONTINSURE UBN MAYBAKER STERLNBANK NEIMETH NESTLE GUNNESS

Exchange Rate (N) 155.8 155.8

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer

CHANGE

0.95 0.30 0.30 0.19 0.68 0.42 1.81 0.52 0.18 0.05

113m

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES OBB Rate Call Rate

S

KYE Bank Group has recorded a total gross earnings of N27.8 bil lion during the first quarter ended March 31, 2012. The performance shows an increase of 12.6 per cent over the N24.7 billion grossed during the corresponding period in 2011. Similarly, the group’s total assets during the review period grew moderately to N996.7 billion from N939 recorded in 2011. The deposit portfolio rose from N651.3 at the end of the first quarter in March 2011 to N725 billion at the end of March 2012. However, the group’s profit before tax fell to N4.08 billion as against N4.2 recorded during the same period in 2011. The net interest income after loan impairment charges grew by 18.1 per cent to N12.4 billion as against N10.4 billion recorded in the previous year. The Group Managing Director, Skye Bank Plc, Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, stated that “the bottom line in the first quarter, which stood at N4.1 billion, was partly impeded by the elevated cost in deposits arising from the significant increase in interest rates in the second half of 2011,” he said. Durosinmi-Etti also stated that “the cost of funds have moderated and would soon start trending downwards as the bank continues to re-price and shed existing costly deposits. We also anticipate a reduction in cost to income ratio as the bank continues to pursue its cost containment initiative as well as witness increased contribution from the corporate business.” According to him, “the bank aims to expand its network of electronic solutions with the view to providing increased options of flexible payment and withdrawal systems for our customers, to enable them undertake transactions at their convenience.

DATA BANK

Tenor

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

Skye Bank’s gross earnings hit N27b in Q1

Offer Price

Bid Price

ARM AGGRESSIVE 9.17 KAKAWA GUARANTEED 1.00 STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE 123.90 AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 105.44 THE LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL 0.75 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.08 BGL NUBIAN FUND 0.89 NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. 1,706.44 PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND 9.42 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST 1.87 STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY 7,883.04 THE DISCOVERY FUND 193.00 FIDELITY NIGFUND 1.67 • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND

9.08 1.00 123.77 104.82 0.72 1.08 0.88 1,699.65 8.96 1.33 1.80 7,672.11 191.08 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 TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

52

HEALTH THE NATION

E-mail:- health@thenationonlineng.net

‘8.75 million expectant mothers, children die yearly’ N O fewer than 8.75 million women and children die yearly from childbirth complications, Chairperson, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Mrs. Margaret Akinsola, has said. Speaking at a community outreach at Kabusa Village in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs. Akinsola blamed it on lack of access to trained midwives by expectant mothers. She said, for example, 48 million women give birth every year without the aid of a certified midwife. According to her, 350,000 women die each year from maternal causes, while millions suffer from infection and disability. Also, 800,000 newborn babies die during childbirth every year while 7.6 million children die before the age of five, she added. Stressing that these deaths were preventable, she said midwifery is the key to reducing maternal and infant deaths and an effective way to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five. She said: “Almost all of this is readily preventable with proper midwifery care. That is why we, midwives, are saying today, let every child-bearing woman have access to a midwife’s care. “The evidence shows that it is the most effective way to reach MDGs 4 and 5 targeted at reducing maternal, neonatal and infant deaths worldwide.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

“No mother in Nigeria should risk her life or that of her unborn baby by going through childbirth without expert care.” A midwife at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Osun State, Mrs Foluwake Adedokun, suggested that her colleagues be recognised to reduce the problem. Mrs Adedokun, who delivered a paper entitled: Who are midwives and what are their roles in reducing maternal mortality rate in Nigeria at the International Day of the Midwife, said over 340, 000 women and over three million infants in the world die yearly of preventable pregnancy and childbirth complications. Most of these deaths would have been prevented if there were enough qualified and adequately resourced midwives. Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), she said the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) ratio is 251 per 100, 000 live births (200) while that of Nigeria is between 1,100 per 100, 000 births. She said 25 per cent of this figure arose from severe bleeding during ante-partum intra and post-partum. Others are 15 per cent caused by infections such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, among others, with eclampsia put at 12 per cent. Obstructed labour and unsafe abortion are eight and 13 per cent. Socio-economic factors such as pov-

Exxonmobil to build Trauma Centre at teaching hospital

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KWA Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has said ExxonMobil plans to build a Trauma Centre at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital. The governor, who spoke during the opening of the Diana-Abasi Udo Ekere Orthopaedic Theatre in the hospital, directed its management to write a letter to the company on the matter. He said: ‘’I am happy to announce to you that you should do a letter formally inviting ExxonMobil. They are going to to build a Trauma Centre for you. I took that up and ExxonMobil has agreed to do it. So, you will give me a letter so I can invite the Managing Director to come. You will show him a location you want it so we can commence work on it immediately.’’ Akpabio commended the Ekere Family for donating the theatre to the hospital, saying: ‘’I believe that this patriotic deed by Ekere Family of Edemaya has responded to the call of God and contributed their quota towards a great segment of our society. Let me use this privilege to say that all members of the society should attempt to leave something behind no matter how little.” According to him, ‘’But today, we set a stage for his death and his impact to continue even after his death. Years from now, people look back on this place and thank God that this place was built. His memory will forever live in the hearts of those whose lives were saved as a result of being treated here. In a sense, I am happy because this as a noble and patriotic gesture.” He remarked that the highest form of good one could do was not for his family or spouse or children, but for the society at large, noting: ‘’We must do everything in our power to bring about change in our society. If you recall the work of Jesus Christ, he went about doing miracles but none for Himself.” He recalled: ‘’In 2007, we came face to face with the postulation by William Shakespeare that ‘There comes a tide in

the affaris of men which taken at the helm leads unto victory.’ We took the tide at the helm because we came to the conculsion that we cannot achieve world-wide future for ourselves and our children by power and might. We believed then that it was only through the will of God. Today, five years after, the will of God has been done in our state. You have all contributed to the uncommon transformation that is taking place in Akwa Ibom State.” Akpabio attributed his performance to his love for the state, saying: ‘’It is not a function of money but a function of love. If you don’t love your people the money will find its way to Swiss bank account and South Africa. If you take a buffoon to Buckingham Palace, he will turn the palace to a desert. But, if you take a wise man who believes in God into a desert, he will turn it to Buckingham Palace.” The Chief Medical Director of the hospital Prof Peters hinted that Engr. DianaAbasi Udo Ekere Orthpaedic Theatre project was donated to the hospital by Ekere Family of Edem Aya in Ikot Abasi in memory of the the late younger brother of the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who died on May 9, 2009 in a road accident. Peters explained that the theatre comprises two operating suites, offices, sluice and changing rooms, one of the suites that was furnished by the hospital management, and called on affluent individuals and corporate bodies as part of their corporate social responsibility to assist government in providing health and social facilities to the hospital. He, however, urged the Governor to equip the second Orthopaedic Theatre Suite, provide modern diagnostic facilities including Mammogram, trauma equipment for Trauma Centre, build a new medical ward block extension, take over of General Hospital, Ukpom Abak for the training of medical students and pay compensation to land acquired for the building of the hospital.

erty, unemployment, big family size and teenage pregnancy are responsible for 12 per cent while other direct causes such as diabetes and hypertension, among others, are eight per cent. On how to reduce maternal mortality, she said emphasis must be placed on good nutrition, ante-natal care, and referral of patients when necessary. Others are good counselling, health education, family planning and birth spacing services. Mrs Adedokun added that home visitation, call for help when needed and aseptic delivery techniques will also help to tackle the problem. She said clients should be provided the necessary tools to be efficient.“There must be availability of medical services, essential or routine drug, formulation of policies by the law makers. “There should be availability of referral points in functioning ambulances. There should also be diagnostic materials for malaria, haemoglobin, among others.Also, there should be supply of family planning materials, which should be free at all levels or subsidised at the grassroots for patients,” she said.

For Nigeria to be healthy, she said there should be a healthy womenforce. “Women are the major caregiver to the father, children and family at large. “Therefore, midwives must be given necessary help to make them function as expected. She urged the Federal Government to ensure that midwives are well remunerated and provided conducive environment to function well. Mrs Adedokun said midwives were trained over a period of time and licensed to offer care to expectant mothers before, during or after birth, and during post-partum period. In a related development, no fewer than one million babies die yearly worldwide because of lack of access to exclusive breast-feeding, Country Director, Save the Children Susan Grant, has said. She spoke at the launch of the ‘State of the world’s mothers’ and ‘Born too Soon’report in Abuja. Grant said: “The 2012 State of the World’s Mothers show clearly that this crisis of chronic malnutrition has devastating effects on both mothers and their children. We urgently need global leadership on malnutrition that results

in key nutrition projects being rolled out for mothers and babies to ensure their health and survival.” The new research, she said, showed that the simple measure of supporting mums to breastfeed could save one million children’s lives yearly. The report, she said, revealed that no fewer than 40 per cent of infants in developing countries receive exclusive breastfeeding, which she claimed was partly caused by lack of strong commitment and complementary programmes by the developing countries. “Our report shows that a mother’s breast milk can save a million children’s lives each year.Policies and programmes must be put in place in all countries to ensure that all mothers have the support they need to choose to breastfeed if they want to. Acting now not only saves lives, but saves dollars as well. “In Nigeria only 13 per cent of women exclusively breastfeed. We need to find out why this is so low and do more to promote exclusive breastfeeding and support mothers to do this,” she stated.

Don tasks Fed Govt on asthma

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CHEST physician, Prof Greg Erhabor, has called on the Federal Government to establish well-equipped medical centres for the diagnosis and treatment of asthma. Erhabor, a consultant chest physician at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, Osun State told reporters that no fewer than 50 million Nigerians suffer from asthma. Noting that the disease has not

only become a global problem, he lamented that the government is not doing enough to curb the spread of the disease. Erhabor, who is the President of the Asthma and Chest Care Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, blamed past administrations in the country of only concerning themselves with the eradication of communicable diseases. He counselled patients on the right treatment. He said: “I will advise the patients to ensure that they

have the right diagnosis, know what triggers the ailment and get correct treatment for it. Asthma could either be intrinsic or extrinsic; it could be occupational for those working in cement, paint or chalk factories and others, it could be as a result of wrong exposures to aspirin.” He, however, admonished asthmatic patients to keep a good life style, eat balanced diet, exercise regularly and avoid anything that could trigger it.

•Emir of Dass, Alhaji Bilyaminu Usman (right), administering Oral Polio Vaccine on a child at Anguwa Sarkin PHOTO: NAN Noma, Gamawa, Bauchi State.

Anambra assists voluntary hospitals

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HE Anambra State Government has helped voluntary agency hospitals like Iyi-enu and Borromeo to attain training centre status for house-manship, Commissioner for Health Prof Amobi Illika has said. Speaking in Awka, the state capital, during a meeting with voluntary agency hospitals’proprietors, he said accreditation for government health institutions including the state’s University Teaching Hos-

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

pital had been secured. He said the achievements of the Governor Peter Obi-led administration in all sectors were overwhelming. The commissioner called on mission and other voluntary agency hospitals to join the vanguard in sensitising the people on the usefulness of penta-valent vaccines. He said a penta-valent vaccine is an improved vaccine aimed at protecting children against some dis-

eases, adding that it was introduced to replace DPT vaccine. Illika urged the people to support the Obi administration to bring health care delivery to their door steps. In his response, Rev. Fr. Barnabas Okafor of Catholic Visitation Hospital, Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of the state, praised the government for its achievements in the health sector. He promised that they would spread the gospel of penta-valent vaccine to others.


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

53

NEWS ‘We need reputable ACN candidate to unseat Mimiko’ From Damisi Ojo, Akure

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CHIEFTAIN of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Chief Olufemi Adekanmbi, yesterday urged the national leadership of the party to pick a candidate with sufficient clout to unseat Governor Olusegun Mimiko in the October 20 election. Adekanmbi, who was the House of Representatives candidate for Ose/Owo Federal Constituency in the 2011 National Assembly poll, advised ACN leadership not to base its choice on closeness of some of the aspirants to the party’s hierarchy. He told reporters in Owo that ACN leaders need to select a dependable candidate, who will send the Labour Party (LP) government packing. According to him, if ACN leaders choose a wrong person, there may be a mass exodus of members to other parties. Adekanmbi said: “The national leadership of the ACN should be very careful in choosing the party’s candidate for the October 20 governorship election. The selection of a candidate should not be based on friendship; it should be based on reality on ground. “The party’s candidate should be acceptable and credible. The party cannot afford to field just anybody against Mimiko, who wants to win at all cost. We cannot shy away from the fact that the race is still open because the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the LP are still in contention. “It is true that over 25 aspirants have shown interest in ruling Ondo State on the platform of the ACN. But how many of them are really serious? There is nothing wrong in showing interest; it shows that a party is acceptable. But that should not be abused. “In fact, some of the aspirants are not grassroots politicians. We cannot afford to field any candidate against Mimiko, who is claiming to have performed more than any other.” Adekanmbi called on religious leaders and traditional rulers to pray against serious violence in the forthcoming election. The ACN aspirant urged traditional rulers to caution their subjects on the need to shun violence. He said: “The October 20 governorship election in the state should not be seen as a do-ordie affair. That is the more reason we have to shun violence. Religious leaders and monarchs have major roles to play by ensuring that the peace, currently being enjoyed in the state, is not affected.

Subsidy: SNG alleges illegal withdrawal of N2.5tr by Fed Govt

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HERE seems to be no letup in the petroleum subsidy row, with the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) yesterday filing a suit against the Federal Government for alleged illegal withdrawal of N2.5 trillion to meet payments last year. The SNG was at the vanguard of the public protest against the sudden withdrawal of petrol subsidy on New Year’s Day by President Goodluck Jonathan. Following the protests, which paralysed the country for a week, the government slashed petrol price from N141 per litre to N97 per litre. The SNG filed the suit before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, presided over by Justice Steven Adah. The respondents in the suit are President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation and Minister of Justice. In the suit, filed on behalf of the group by Mr. Tope Adebayo, the SNG asked the court to determine the consti-

•Sues Jonthan

By Emmanuel Oladesu tutionality of the withdrawal of the money, which was not appropriated for by the National Assembly. The SNG Convener Pastor Tunde Bakare told reporters in Lagos yesterday that the Federal Government withdrew N2.587trillion for subsidy payments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund instead of N245billion authourised by the 2011 Appropriation Act. Bakare said Jonathan has not addressed the matter “except through remarks on his behalf by presidential aides.” The SNG Covener said the group would give the government more time to act on the Farouk Lawan-led House of Representatives Subsidy Probe panel’s report. Bakare said: “We are ready to extend the rope to see what comes out of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC’s) prom-

ise to prosecute all the indicted persons. “We hope that action will be taken by the government within reasonable time for us not to react against any delay.” The SNG on April 30 issued a two-week ultimatum to the government to prosecute those indicted in the fuel subsidy probe report. It threatened to organise a mass protest, if the House of Representatives panel’s report is not acted upon. Bakare said the SNG would watch every step the EFCC takes to ensure that the report is not swept under the carpet. “We call on all Nigerians to remain vigilant as they will be hearing from us periodically,” he said. The cleric noted that there was no basis for any delay in the prosecution of those indicted in the report. “If the EFCC could move swiftly to prosecute sitting members of the House of Rep-

resentatives, who were accused of corruption in another panel, it will be outrageous if it cannot do the same for those in the subsidy probe,” Bakare said. The vice-presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in last year’s election urged the EFCC to compel the companies and individuals indicted in the report to refund whatever money they have wrongfully enriched themselves with. He said the report presented to the EFCC revealed a myriad infractions of the Public Procurement Act, the EFCC Act and the Penal Code. The SNG Convener noted that in line with precedence, all the public officers and ministers indicted in the report should step down or be suspended while investigations continue. He said the SNG is seeking “judicial pronouncement” on Sections 80 and 81 of the 1999 Constitution, which deals with “appropriation and spending from the Federal Account”.

•From left: Monday Ubani, chairman-elect, nBar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch; Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Campaign for Democracy (CD); Pastor Tunde Bakare, Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG); and Comrade Yinka Odumakin, spokesman of the SNG at the event...yesterday

‘Jonathan should be serious about fighting insecurity, corruption’ From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

THE Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to be more serious about fighting insecurity and corruption. It urged the President to distance his administration from the plot by some “disgruntled political jobbers” to weaken the Nigeria’s Labour movement. Through its Chairman, Chika Onuegbu, the union advised the President to always consider posterity in his decisions. It said: “The reported plan by the Federal Government to register another labour centre, to weaken the trade union movement, so that fuel subsidy will be removed, is laughable. “The key industrial unions, which cover the most crucial aspects of the Nigerian economy and polity, are still loyal to the TUC and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). “The Federal Government will only end up infuriating the people, who have expressed their opposition to the removal of fuel subsidy. “We plead with President Jonathan to focus on the fight against corruption and insecurity to reassure Nigerians that his Transformation Agenda will bring the much-needed positive change in their lives.” The TUC cautioned the Federal Government against causing an industrial crisis, to avoid overheating the polity, but to always take actions that would move the nation forward.

Oyo promotes reinstated college workers

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HE Oyo State Government said it has approved the promotion and payment of outstanding salaries of four reinstated workers of Emmanuel Alayande College of Education in Oyo town. The reinstated union executives were sacked by the Adebayo Alao-Akala government for opposing the government’s tax policy, which they considered obnoxious. They were reabsorbed about five months ago by Gov-

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

ernor Abiola Ajimobi. Announcing the government approval at the 36th Southwest delegates’ conference of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) held at the college’s conference hall, chairman of the Governing Council, Prof Afolabi Okewole said the approval followed the recommendation of the council after the suspended workers succeeded in the promotional interviews.

Okewole said: “They have since received their letters of promotion… Their outstanding entitlements have also been approved and the letters were ready as well. The reinstated workers should feel free to come for the letters and collect their money in the banks.” The academic decried what he described as “terrible working conditions in the college”. He urged the workers to rededicate themselves to prompt service delivery, saying the Governing Council would address the situation. Okewole said: “I felt very

bad about the office conditions at both Lanlate and Erelu main campuses. Contracts were given out by the past administration but the projects were abandoned and uncompleted. It is indeed sad. It’s an indication of negligence of responsibilities. I cannot imagine any good performance from anyone in this terrible situation…” The workers hailed the government for reinstating their colleagues. They sang the praises of members of the Governing Council. One of the reinstated work-

ers and former General Secretary of the school’s chapter of the COEASU, Mr. Ojo, shed tears of joy. He recalled that Alao-Akala desperately attempted to frustrate him as a union leader. “My appreciation first goes to God Almighty, for his divine intervention. It also goes to Governor Ajimobi, for his passion, exemplary leadership quality, human kindness and wisdom in redressing the wickedness and injustice meted out to me and the other three by the despotic former governor.”

Amosun to Daniel’s men: you can’t think for us From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

•Amosun

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HE Ogun State Government yesterday said neither

former Governor Gbenga Daniel nor members of his outgone administration would be allowed to assume the status of a “think tank” for it on any matter. The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, said Daniel’s administration neglected some of its duties to the people when it was in power. He advised the past administration not to advise the

Ibukunle Amosun’s administration on budget matters or other matters. Olaniyonu was reacting to a comment by Daniel’s former aide, Mr Sina Kawonise, on this year’s budget of the state government. Kawonise, who was the Information and Orientation Commissioner under Daniel, was quoted as saying the budget is not realistic because the indices for achieving its objectives are not well defined. The commissioner said the government’s attention was

drawn to Kawonise’s comment through the publisher of Prestige, Mr Olanipekun Dada, during a media briefing by the Ministry of Budget and Planning at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta. Olaniyonu noted that Kawonise or his group, is an “outsider” and should not pontificate on the practicability or otherwise of the budget. He said: “They can’t think for us. We are opening our eyes to the areas they neglected. Take the case of the

Universal Basic Education (UBE). In the past three years, the funds were not accessed because the state government did not pay the counterpart funding. “But since this administration came on board, it has paid its counterpart funding and got double money from UBE, which are now being used to build and renovate schools in the state.” The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mrs Oluwande Muoyo, assured that this year’s budget would be “realistic”.

She said an internal monitoring mechanism has been put in place to keep the budget on track. Enumerating some of the government’s achievements, Muoyo said the ministry has signed an agreement with two international agencies – the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a N1.3billion intervention fund in child protection, health, education, water, hygiene, social policy, population and development, among others.


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NEWS Bayelsa officials lose bid to stop trial From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

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HREE Bayelsa State officials yesterday lost the bid to stop their ongoing trial before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. They are the Director of Treasury in Government House, Abbot T. Clinton, Director of Finance, Ikobho Anthony Howells and Dr Charles Sylva Opuala. Justice Donatus Okorowo dismissed their no case submission to the six-count charge of unlawful conversion, money laundering and mismanagement of about N2 billion belonging to the state. The accused had asked the court to discharge them of the allegation because there was no prima facie case established against them. Besides, they argued that they were supposed to be tried before a Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State since the alleged offences were committed in Bayelsa and not in Abuja. Ruling on the objections, Justice Okorowo said it was premature to consider the proof against the accused without concluding trial. The Judge held that no-case submission applies only when there is no legally admissible evidence against the accused. According to him, there are some grounds requiring the defence as “the prosecution has made out a prima-facie case against the accused”. Justice Okorowo dismissed claims by the accused that they were wrongly charged under a non-existing law-Money Laundering and Prohibition Act 2004 which had been repealed. He said the Money Laundering and Prohibition Act 2011 which is now in force recognised that of 2004. Since the offences were allegedly committed between 2004 and 2011, the Judge held the new Act is applicable. Justice Okorowo said when offences are alleged to have been committed in different places, the prosecution is at liberty to choose where to prosecute. Besides, he pointed out that the Federal High Court, Abuja has equal jurisdiction with that of Yenagoa, adding that the objection was too late in the day. “All the objections are hereby dismissed. The accused persons are called upon to enter their defence”, he declared. The Defence counsel, Messrs. Chris Uche (SAN) and S.I. Ameh (SAN) had at the last sitting urged the court to discharge and acquit their clients of the alleged offences. Uche said the prosecution has failed woefully to establish a prima-facie case to warrant the accused putting up a defence. But the EFCC counsel, Oghenevo Otemu urged the court to discountenance the motion. He said there are abundant evidence against the accused which they must purge themselves off to prove their innocence. He claimed that the prosecution has led evidence through three witnesses to warrant the accused to give explanation on their role in the alleged embezzlement of the state fund.

Court dismisses suit challenging takeover of Bank PHB A

FEDERAL High Court in Lagos yesterday dismissed the suit filed by some aggrieved investors in the now defunct Platinum Habib bank (Bank PHB), challenging the revocation of the bank’s licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Rules. Justice Charles Achibong held that the CBN, in revoking the bank’s licence, acted within its powers under its establishing Act and the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA). The court upheld argu-

By Eric Ikhilae

ments by the defendants (the Federal Government, CBN and Keystone Bank) to the effect that the suit was not properly instituted, having not been filed with the authority of any of the organs of Bank PHB (Board or shareholders). It upheld the defendants’ argument to the effect that the plaintiff was wrong when it failed to include as

parties in the suit, the National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and Asset management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), agencies to which the CBN handed the bank’s assets, when the plaintiff sought reliefs against them. The court also held that the CBN acted within its powers under the CBN Act, and particularly Section 53 of the Banks and Other Fi-

nancial Institutions Act, 2004. It held that the CBN’s powers, being a creation of an Act of the National Assembly, allows the CBN to intervene where it finds that depositors’ funds were in danger. It held that documentary evidence before it showed that Bank PHB had a non performing loan of N475 billion, with its liquidity ratio below 25 per cent and held that the bank indeed showed a sign of a failing which was in dire need of capital and in contravention of the provi-

sions of the Act. The court held that it cannot find that the CBN acted beyond its powers or did not comply with the provisions of the law on revocation of banking licences of Bank PHB. It discountenanced plaintiff’s argument that the revocation of its licence by the CBN was actuated by malice. The court held that the CBN could not ignore its responsibility once it is shown that depositors’ funds were in danger.

Finbank to withdraw suit against Edo By Eric Ikhilae

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•Governors Martins Elechi (Ebonyi State) left; Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Peter Obi (Anambra); Ekiti State Deputy Governor Mrs Funmi Olayinka and Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja

Supreme Court fixes July 30 for judgment on oil wells T

HE Supreme Court has fixed July 30 for judgment in the suit filed by the Cross River State government over the 14 oil wells ceded to it by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. At the hearing yesterday, counsel to the appellant, Yusuf Ali (SAN) prayed the court to compel both the Federal Government and Akwa Ibom State government to respect the sharing formula put in place by Obasanjo on the 90 oil wells. Cross River State sued the Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom State over some of the oil wells, which it said had been ceded to it by the

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

agreement reached at a meeting called by the former president in 2006 but which were not released to it. Ali claimed that the disputed oil wells were in Cross River but that the former President, through a letter dated October 31, 2006 shared the oil wells between the two states given 76 to Akwa Ibom and 14 to Cross River. He prayed the court to allow the appeal and grant all the reliefs sought for by the applicant.

Counsel to the Akwa Ibom State government, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) said that the issue before the court was whether Cross River is a littoral state or not as at present. He argued that the handing over of the western Bakassi to Cameroun in August 14,2008 made Cross River not to be a litoral state and hence cannot benefit from the oil wells. He argued that by the virtue of handing over that part of Cross River to Cameroun, the state cannot claim to be a beneficiary of any oil well. He urged the court to dis-

miss the appeal in its entirety. Counsel to the Federal Government, Damien Dodo (SAN) argued that the matter was before the court as of the time the former President wrote the letter sharing the oil wells and that the court did not embrace that letter when it sat on the matter in 2005. He argued that the National Boundary Commission and the Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Mobilisation Commission acted ultra vires in all matters that led to the instant suit. He therefore urged the court to dismiss the appeal.

INBANK Plc has begun moves to withdraw the suit it brought against the Edo State Goverrnment over its alleged failure to settle a debt estimated at about N7.611billion. The bank has filed a notice of discontinuance pending before Justice Fatimat Nyako of the Federal High Court, Lagos. It has the state’s Accountant General as sole defendant. The application for discontinuance has been fixed for hearing on June 20. It could not be heard yesterday due to the judge’s absence. The bank had, by the suit brought pursuant to Order 50 Rule 2 of the Federal High Court’s Civil Procedure Rules, sought the court’s order appointing arbitrator to adjudicate on the dispute between parties in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap A18 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2011. In its originating summons, the bank had stated that its decision to sue was informed by parties’ failure to agree on the choice of a sole arbitrator as required under Clause 25 of the agreement between them. The bank averred in its originating application, that the state, through the office of its Accountant General, via letters dated November 13, 2007 and May 5, 2008 applied for a term loan and overdraft facilities to enable it augment the finance of road and other development projects.

Airport revenue: EFCC operatives move to arrest FAAN MD Uriesi

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OME operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday stormed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over the row between the agency and Maevis Nigeria Limited on collection of revenue at the nation’s airports. But the officials of the antigraft agency however could not effect the arrest of the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr. George Uriesi. His whereabouts was unknown as of press time. According to a source, who spoke in confidence, the EFCC team went to FAAN Headquarters following the refusal of Uriesi to appear before the anti-graft agency in connection with the ongoing face-off be-

•’It’s not true’ From Yusuf Alli, and Kelvin Osa- Okunbor

tween FAAN and Maevis. The source said: “We got a petition from the MD of FAAN against Maevis and two banks but since we commenced investigation, he has refused to appear before the EFCC team. “At a point, we sent a letter of invitation to him and he did not honour it again. Yet as the petitioner, he needs to substantiate allegations tabled before the commission. “We also require some documents from FAAN to enable us get to the roots of the matter. But FAAN has not been forthcoming. “Our team then decided to visit FAAN to conduct some

search but we could not locate the MD not to talk of effecting his arrest. We hope he will turn up at our headquarters in Abuja .” When contacted, the acting Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “Our operatives were at the FAAN headquarters on Monday over some issues.” The Federal Government had in March terminated Maevis concession contract which it secured in 2008 FAAN alleged it is disadvantaged in the concession thus had to wield the big stick. It also said Maevis turned down all overtures to renegotiate the agreement. FAAN immediately announced another service pro-

vider, Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA) to take over the revenue collection at $1.40 per passenger processed through airports hitherto managed by Maevis. It was however learnt that it was FAAN that had actually requested the ICPC and EFCC to investigate the activities of two banks used by Maevis Limited. It alleged the diversion of funds belonging to FAAN into the coffers of Maevis Limited during the same period.” The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had some weeks ago quizzed a former Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Richard

Aisuebeogun, a former Director of Finance and Accounts, Mrs Azuka Onyia and other management staff over the same row with MAEVIS on airport revenue. But FAAN has denied the planned arrest of its Managing Director. It said it was a rumour Its spokesman Mr Akin Olukunle, said at no time did officials of the EFCC visit FAAN to arrest Mr Uriesi, describing the rumour as the handiwork of mischief makers. Olukunle urged those who are bent on distracting the efforts of FAAN management to engage themselves constructively, rather than spreading false information that will engender bitterness and disharmony in the system.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

NEWS Health workers suspend strike

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EALTH workers, under the Joint Heath Sector Un-

ions (JOHESU), yesterday suspended their seven-day nationwide strike. The decision was taken at the meeting of the union’s National Executive Council, held at the Oyo State headquarters of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), Agbowo, Ibadan. The workers embarked on an indefinite strike last week Monday over the non-implementation of the CONHESS 10 salary scale; the National Health Bill; the Presidential Committee’s report on harmony in the health sector; the promotion of health professionals from CONHESS 14 to 15; consultancy/specialist allowance and call/shift; and other professional allowances, among others. Others are seeking the implementation of the 2008 Job Evaluation Committee’s report; re-constitution of the management boards of teaching and other tertiary hospitals; the review of the retirement age; and the appointment of ministers of health.

From Bisi Oladele and Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

Speaking with reporters after the meeting, the Acting Union President, Comrade Felix Faniran, said the union will resume negotiation with the government and directed members to return to work. He said JOHESU has given the Federal Government till July 31 to meet its demands. Faniran said: “In view of the above conditions and the need to minimise the sufferings of Nigerians, the leadership of JOHESU, hereby, suspends the strike till July 31 to enable the Federal Ministry of Health and other agencies meet our demands. At the meeting were members of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives; Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRAI); Nigeria Union of Pharmacists, Medical Technologists and Professions Allied to Medicine, (NUPMTPAM); and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions NASU), among others.

Aregbesola reduces land rates From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

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SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has reduced land rates in the state. Commissioner for Lands, Physical and Urban Development Muyiwa Ige made this known yesterday in a statement. Ige said the premium and development levy for commercial leases, as well as the new premium and development rate for residential leases, have been reduced from N2,000 to N600 per square metre. He said the rates reduction will enable average indigenes own lands and attract investors to the state. Ige said: “The governor has again demonstrated his passion for development and the people by making government land affordable to all and sundry. “This gesture will boost the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and attract investors.” He said the former rates, which were introduced by the immediate-past administration, were outrageous and not based on scientific analysis. The commissioner said the government has paid N220 million as compensation to those affected by the proposed East Bye-Pass Road in Osogbo, the state capital.

Adeyemi College shut

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DEYEMI College of Education, Ondo State, was shut yesterday, following a students’ protest. The students were protesting the mysterious deaths of their colleagues. It was learnt that the students went on rampage after the death of three of their colleagues during lectures yesterday. Sources said 15 students have died mysteriously in the last two months, but a source at the college’s Pub-

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

lic Relations Unit denied the report. The protesting students barricaded the Ore-Ondo Road, burnt over 30 vehicles belonging to the college and workers, and destroyed the college’s property. They were later dispersed with live bullets and tear gas by mobile policemen. The students alleged that some officials of the Students’ Union Executive were using their colleagues for rituals.

CNPP urges Jonathan over Labour From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

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HE Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) yesterday expressed worry over the Nigeria Labour Congress’s (NLC’s) claims that the Federal Government has perfected plans to create a Labour Centre and kill the Labour movement in Nigeria. Last Sunday, labour accused the government of plotting to destabilise NLC. CNPP urged President Goodluck Jonathan to “call to order, unpatriotic, undemocratic and anti-labour elements in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the government, whose plan is to factionalise and kill the Labour movement in Nigeria.” In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, CNPP said: “We are outraged by the worrisome news from NLC that the PDP-led Federal Government has perfected an unholy plan to create a Labour Centre, with the intention of killing the Labour Movement in Nigeria.”

•L-R: Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Chris Cooter; Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; Professor, Media and International Affairs, George Washington, University, Steven Livingston; at the New Media and Governance Conference in Abuja... yesterday.

Why I want to join ACN, by Oyo PDP chieftain C

HIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, Mr. Lawrence Morounfolu, has explained the reason he wants to abandon his party for the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He said lack of discipline and the failure of PDP political office holders to deliver good governance are responsible for his decision to leave the party. Morounfolu said the PDP’s ambition to reclaim the Southwest in 2015 is a tall dream. The former chairman of Ibadan Northeast Local Government Area spoke in

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Ibadan, the state capital yesterday. He said: “There is no discipline in the PDP at all. For any individual to make meaningful progress, he must have self discipline. One must be able to discipline his thoughts, diet and conduct. “You can see that there are parallel executives in the party in Oyo State. It is only in the PDP that you hear of parallel primaries. The party cannot have the Southwest

‘You can see that there are parallel executives in the party in Oyo State. It is only in the PDP that you hear of parallel primaries’ back. A lost opportunity is difficult to regain. What was done cannot be undone or changed by saying ‘I am

sorry’. “The PDP has been controlling the centre since 1999. What does it have to show for it? The party misused its opportunity and it may be difficult for it to regain it. “PDP and ACN are in sharp contrast. Look at Lagos State, even President Goodluck Jonathan gave kudos to the governor for performing well.” Morounfolu attributed the progress in Lagos State to the uninterrupted 13 years rule of the ACN. He said: “Lagos State is tending towards the ideal. It does not rely on Federal Allocation.”

19 suspected cultists exposed in Ekiti secondary school

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19-MEMBER gang of teenage cultists has been unmasked in All Souls’ Anglican Grammar School, AdoEkiti, the Ekiti State capital. The gang included six female junior and senior secondary school pupils. The Head teacher, Mrs. Grace Ibikunle, said the students belong to the ‘Eye Confraternity’. Mrs. Ibikunle said the pupils said they were not forced to join the gang. She said although the gang has been in existence for about three years, their activities were exposed by a parent.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Mrs. Ibikunle said: “It was the father of one of the female students, who noticed a strange mark on his daughter’s body and followed her to the school. The girl told her father that she was injured by a male pupil, who had been making advances at her. “The boy was summoned and he confessed. He mentioned the names of other members of the gang and when we investigated the matter, 19 of them were ex-

posed. “The females have inscriptions, such as Lady G, Lady D, Lady Elizabeth and several others, on various parts of their bodies. “Some parents reported the matter at the Divisional Police Station on Iyin Road and the students were detained briefly, but they were released because no weapon was found on them.” The head teacher lamented the school’s closeness to the satellite campus of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, which shares a

boundary with the school. She said: “Things will change, if perimeter fencing is put in place as a barrier between the school and other institutions. We have told parents to be observant and interested in their children’s activities.” Police spokesman Victor Babayemi confirmed the incident. He said: “The students were arrested following complaints from their teachers and parents of their involvement in cultism. “They have been released on bail to their parents after interrogation. No weapon was found on them.”

Fayemi, Fashola mourn Ige, Ojudu’s dad

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KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has commiserated with the Ige family on the death of Sir Dele Ige, the younger brother of the former Attorney-General of the Federation, the late Chief Bola Ige. Fayemi and his Lagos State counterpart, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, also sent their condolences to Senator Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central) on the death of his father, Pa Jimoh Ojudu. In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, Fayemi said the late Sir Ige displayed rare courage after his elder brother’s assassination on December 23, 2001.

‘His age notwithstanding, words can hardly describe the vacuum left by the exit of a man, whose courage, passion for truth and the common good...’ He said the late Sir Ige fought hard to get justice for the family and it is unfortunate that he died without seeing his brother’s killers exposed. The governor prayed that

God would grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss. Fayemi described the late Pa Ojudu as “a devout Muslim and a committed community leader, who touched many lives positively”. He said the late Pa Ojudu was a courageous man, who was always willing to offer good counsel to the younger generation. Fayemi said the deceased taught the senator the virtues of courage and selflessness, which the latter displayed as a fearless journalist in the fight for the enthronement of democracy. He urged the Ojudu family to be consoled that the deceased lived a fulfilled

life. In a statement to Ojudu, Fashola said: “His age notwithstanding, words can hardly describe the vacuum left by the exit of a man, whose courage, passion for truth and the common good can be easily seen in your daring contributions as a journalist, pro-democracy activist and, now, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Pa Ojudu has, indeed, left his foot prints in the sand of time by nurturing you for the service of the nation. May Almighty Allah admit papa’s soul into Al-Janah Firdaus and comfort you and all members of your family.”


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NEWS Bankers in trouble over failed robbery From Osagie Otabor, Benin

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ORKERS of a new generation bank in Igarra, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, are in trouble over last weekend’s attempted robberies. Fifteen armed men attempted to rob two banks after attacking a police station. It was gathered that the robbers were after some money, which was brought to one of the banks on Friday evening. Sources said they attacked a police station with dynamite and chased the officers on duty away. They shot sporadically and made for the banks but they were resisted by policemen and a vigilance group. Two injured robbers ran into a cave but were yet to be captured, despite the use of tear gas by the police. The police, it was learnt, are investigating how the robbers knew about the money. They will also question the officials on why the money was brought to the bank at the weekend. Commissioner of Police Olayinka Balogun said investigations would start with the bank workers. Balogun said: “Huge amount of money came into one of the bank and that night robbers came. We have reasons to question the bank officials. “We invited the bank workers yesterday for questioning. “If not for the effort of the policemen, the money would have gone.” He said the police anti-robbery squad is at Igarra to search for the fleeing robbers. The police chief appealed to health care providers to report any cases of persons with gunshot wounds.

INEC official ‘arrested’ with DDC machine

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N official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State, Aigbe Goddie, was yesterday arrested for allegedly being in possession of a Direct Data Capture (DDC) machine and registration kits. Aigbe was nabbed by youths of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who went to INEC office to protest against the commencement of voters registration. It was learnt that the exercise was scheduled to start today. One of the protesters said they saw the INEC official taking the DDC machine over the fence and when asked he said it was the machine used for orientation the previous day. The protester said the official was handed over to the police after making confessional statement that registration of underage persons and foreigners were going on in Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Area. Governor Adams Oshiomhole and ACN members marched on INEC headquarters to protest the alleged plot to rig the July 14 governorship election. The INEC office was barricaded by the ACN protesters who vowed to occupy the place ,if the planned registration was not cancelled. Oshiomhole urged the protesters to remain at the office until INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega intervened. Oshiomhole told the pro-

One dead, several injured in union clash From Osagie Otabor, Benin

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NE person was killed yesterday and several others injured in a clash between members of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and a faction of the Drivers Welfare Scheme (DWS) in Edo State. The clash took place during a protest by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Benin. A bloody clash between the drivers’ union last year made Governor Adams Oshiomhole suspend the unions’ activities. Oshiomhole also banned the sale of tickets to commercial drivers. One of the warring group later took the body of their colleague, Omosigho Wilfred, through the streets of Benin calling for the arrest of the perpetrators. Their leader, Moses Gbeghene, said they were attacked by the leadership of DWS . He said they were at the INEC office to show solidarity with the governor. Police spokesman Etim Bassey said he was yet to be briefed on the issue.

•Oshiomhole leads protest From Osagie Otabor, Benin

testers that the ACN has discovered a plot to rig the election using the Information Communication Technology (ICT) unit of INEC in the Abuja and Benin offices. He called for the redeployment of two officers heading the ICT units in Abuja and Benin, Mr. Chidi and Mrs. Umeh. The governor said the registration should be postponed. He said the exercise was a ploy by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to register

ghost persons for the election According to Oshiomhole, “President Goodluck Jonathan and Prof. Jega must understand what we are doing here. “Everybody who believes in democracy must understand what we are doing here. “Jonathan must not allow an old man who has no future to destroy Nigeria for him. “We are appealing to Jonathan not to allow anyone rig this election. “They want to rig so that

we would go to court. We will not go to court. We will fight them eyeball to eyeball. “Our youths were vigilant. They caught a young man who wanted to take a DDC machine away. “He has been arrested by the police and confessed that he was paid to register people somewhere. “He also said registration is going on at some other places. We don’t need their blood. It has been compromised. “We will queue at where they will do their underground rigging tomorrow. All those involved in the manipulation of this exercise must be laid off.” The PDP, however, denied that it plans to manipulate the voters’ register. Its Chairman, Dan Orbih, said there was no meeting between its National leader, Chief Tony Anenih and Jega. Orbih said the allegation of importing thugs from neighbouring states were an attempt to avoid facing the party in the election. INEC’s spokeman in the state Mrs. Imoudu Sule said it was not possible for any person to rig for any party. She said the DDC machine used for training of ad-hoc staff cannot be used for registration. Mrs. Sule said the proposed registration has been postponed and that a stakeholders’ meeting would be convened. Police spokesman Etim Bassey said he was yet to be informed about any arrest.

Delta officials on training ELTA State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has said he will sustain transformation in the public service through training and development. Uduaghan spoke at the end of a training between the World Bank team and the state delegation, at the Civil Service College in Singapore. Uduaghan said public officials will be repositioned to fast track development, attract more investors and create employment. He said the training will help enhance collaboration with development partners.

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‘We’ll transform Niger Delta’ From Damisi Ojo,Akure

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HE Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Christian Obor, at the weekend said the agency will transform the Niger Delta. He said the commission is building more roads to ease transportation problems. He spoke at a thanksgiving service for the Ondo State representative on the NDDC board, Dele Omogbemi. The NDDC MD urged traditional rulers in the region to protect the commission’s projects in their communities.

Fashola, Imoke hail Akpabio LAGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola and his Cross River State counterpart, Liyel Imoke, have hailed their Akwa Ibom State colleague, Godswill Akpabio, for his radical transformation of his state. The governors spoke during the third reunion banquet organised by the Akwa Ibom Government for Class 88 of the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, at the weekend. Fashola lauded Akpabio for the provision of good roads, free medical healthcare services to the elderly and free, compulsory education for children, saying that these legacies would make to be remembered. Imoke applauded Akpabio for his vision that has brought infrastructral transformation to the state. Akpabio congratulated Fashola and Imoke on the development strides in their states.

Prices of building materials rise From Okungbowa Aiwerie,Asaba

PRICES of some essential building materials have increased in the last two months in Delta State. Investigations by The Nation revealed that the items include iron rod, sharp sand, granite, cement, and blocks. The survey showed that a single bar of iron rod which sold for N1,800 in Asaba, Ughelli, Warri, Sapele and Issele-Uku in March, now sells for N2,000. Similarly, a tipper load of granite stone which sold for N49,000 in the cities between March and April, has gone up to N50,000 while a load of sharp sand rose to N15,000 from its former price of N14,000. During the period, the price of a six-inch block rose from N120 to N125 in the area. Some traders attributed the increase to high cost of transportation occasioned by the petrol price hike.

NDDC to audit projects From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt •First Lady Mrs Patience Jonathan and Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan greeting supporters at the commissioning of the Tamatare Health and Beauty Shop in Warri...yesterday. Behind them is the wife of the Deputy Governor Mrs Nelly Utuama

Robbers kill five policemen, five JTF soldiers

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OBBERS yesterday killed 10 security operatives after a bank robbery in Ibusa, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State. It was gathered that five of the operatives were killed when men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) ran into an ambush set up by the robbers. The Divisional Police Officer of Abraka Police Station, Ethiope East Local Government, Superintendent Steve Chibukwe, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, a corporal and an unidentified woman dressed in

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

mufti, were also killed, the police said Police spokesman Charles Muka said the dead DPO and his men were on their way to the command headquarters, Asaba, for a meeting when they ran into the ambush. The Nation learnt that about 15 robbers stormed a commercial bank in Ibusa, carting away millions of naira. The robbers, it was gathered, engaged a team of policemen on routine patrol, led by ASP John Danladi, in a

gun battle. Two suspectedrobbers and Danladi, who was attached to the Ogwashi-Uku Police Station, died. Sources said Danladi was ordained as an evangelist at the weekend at The Tree of Life Ministry, Ibusa, where he worshipped. A robbery suspect, who was injured during the gun battle, is being detained in Asaba. During interrogation, the suspect claimed to be the son of a serving police inspector. Sources said the robbers proceeded to the Benin-

Onitsha Expressway and terrorised motorists for about two hours. Men of the Nigeria Customs Service stationed at the Old Agbor/Asaba road junction checkpoint fled. A pick-up van belonging to the NCS was riddled with bullets. The incident caused a major traffic gridlock, which stretched for kilometres. The robbers reportedly abandoned a red Toyota Camry at the scene, fleeing with a Hummer, a Toyota Camry and a 14-seater Toyota bus

THE Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has begun a comprehensive audit of its projects in the region. NDDC’s Managing Director Dr. Christian Oboh said this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC. Oboh said the agency would complete all the projects awarded since its inception. “It may be difficult for us to be at every site, every day or week. So, we expect communities to call us, especially when contractors are not performing.” He said call centres would be set up for faster means of communicating between the commission and the people.


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NEWS $100m brewery for inauguration From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is expected to inaugurate the $100 million SAB Miller Brewery in Onitsha, Anambra State, in August. The company’s Business Development Manager, Mr. Peter Stuttard, said this while showing reporters round the project, which started late last year. He said production would begin in September. Of the 22.5 per cent shares owned by indigenous entrepreneurs, Stuttard said the state government has 10 per cent and private investors have 12.5 per cent.

MASSOB seizes suspected car snatchers in Onitsha

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EMBERS of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) yesterday handed over two suspected car snatchers to the police in Onitsha, Anambra State. MASSOB Director of Information Uchenna Madu and the Administrator for Onitsha Region 3, Osundu Okwaraeke, said two members of the three-man gang were seized while trying to

From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha

sell a Nissan Sunny car marked AH887PR, which was snatched in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. They said the third suspect, simply identified as Chi Boy, escaped. One of the suspects, Chinedu Oya, said: “We trailed the owner of the car to a drinking joint in Port Harcourt and our leader (now

at large) opened the car with a master key. We brought the car to a buyer in Onitsha, but he refused to buy it because we could not produce the original particulars. “We were stranded and needed money to fuel the car. We approached a man we saw by the road side and asked if he could help sell the car at any price. “It was while waiting for him to link us with a buyer that we were surrounded by MASSOB

members. We did not know the man was a MASSOB member.” But Madu said: “They were stranded and asked one of our security men to help them sell their phone, but he declined. They tried to force him into their car, but his shout attracted other MASSOB members, who apprehended them.” The suspects were handed over to policemen attached to Awada Police Station.

Imo gets two commissioners From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

IMO State Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday swore in two commissioners for the Ministry of Economic Planning and the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning. They are Mr. Uche Nwosu (Lands, Survey and Urban Planning) and Mr. Nick Oparandudu (Economic Planning). Okorocha urged them to be committed to their duties, shun corruption and imbibe the spirit of team work. The commissioners thanked the governor and promised to do their best.

Senator urges integration SENATOR Annie Okonkwo has urged Southeast governors to come up with a viable integration plan for the region. In a statement by his media aide and Coordinator of the Congress for Igbo Renaissance, Mr. Collins Ugwu, Okonkwo said: “Our governors should give us a realistic regional blueprint that will facilitate rapid transformation. “Our blueprint should be the best, because our experts in all fields of endeavour are the consultants others seek to hire locally and internationally. “The political will to harness our regional resources is the major key, not the cost. What is needed is creative and honest leadership, which our governors possess. “As our people once again return home in droves from the unjust displacement from the north, our balm of hope for them must be visible in action, since rehearsed lyrics of apologies will certainly not be music to their ears.” Okonkwo said regional integration would boost agriculture, create jobs and curb restiveness.

Man acquitted after two years From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

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A MIDDLE-AGED businessman, Sunday Nwankwo, has been acquitted of kidnapping and armed robbery by a High Court, sitting in Anambra State. Nwankwo was arrested in Nnewi on May 28, 2010, by men of the Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS) following the allegation by Mr. Chigbo Ndiribe that he looked like a kidnapper and robber. He was detained and allegedly tortured by the police until he was granted bail. But Nwankwo sued the police and Ndiribe for his unlawful detention. Justice V. N. Umeh declared Nwankwo’s detention and torture illegal and awarded N100,000 damages in his favour. He said the damages would be paid by Ndiribe, since no policeman’s name was mentioned.

Madam Grace Uduma for burial From Chris Oji, Abia

M •Abia State Governor Theodore Oji (middle) and a delegation of theAfrican Development Bank in Umuahia, the state capital...yesterday.

Windstorm destroys N25m property in Ebonyi

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ROPERTY worth N25 million were recently destroyed by a windstorm in Ukaba and Abaomege, Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. They include primary school buildings, residential houses and the Ukaba Development Center Secretariat Complex. The windstorm rendered

From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki

many residents homeless. Coordinator, Ukaba Development Center, Mrs. Elizabeth Onwe said the cutting down of trees worsened the effect of the windstorm. Mrs. Onwe said the council has started planting trees to prevent a recurrence. She said they have started rebuilding some of the af-

fected structures and called on the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to come to their aid. Mrs. Onwe regretted the continuous destruction of farms and crops by Fulani herdsmen. She said traditional rulers in the council have petitioned the government. A community leader, Mr. Ifeanyi Igwe, said: “Every time

we visit our farms, they would either have been set ablaze by the fire from the herdsmen’s cigarette butt or the crops would have been eaten or stepped upon by cattle. “This is our source of livelihood and we are trying hard to prevent a breakdown of law and order. We can no longer tolerate it. We urge the government to urgently address the issue to forestall any ugly incident.”

ADAM Grace Uduma (69) of Abiriba, Abia State, is dead. She will be buried at her Graceland, Iyiofia Amaogudu home on May 26. Madam Uduma was a church leader and an executive of Etche Road Market Association, Aba. She is survived by her husband; brothers; sisters; children, including telecommunication expert and public affairs analyst John Okiyi Kalu; and grandchildren. Her remains will leave Aba on May 25, after a brief ceremony at Cameron Road by Mosque Street, for Abiriba, where she will be laid-in-state for a Christian wake, which will be conducted by the Assemblies of God Church, Ehere.

Reps to recover defunct City Express Bank’s N12b debt •Summon CBN, NDIC •Request Federation Account records between 2005 and 2009 HE House of Representatives has begun the process of recovering N12 billion from groups and individuals indebted to the defunct City Express Bank. The lawmakers have directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC), Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF) and Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) to appear before them to explain their roles on the debt, as well as other issues. The NDIC was also requested to provide the committee with records of the Federation Account between 2005 and 2009. The position of the House Committee on Public Account was necessitated by the lapses in the consolidation by the CBN and the ambiguity surrounding the status of N586 million trapped in the

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From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

extinct bank. Yesterday at an interactive with the Committee, neither the NDIC nor the Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) could clearly explain the status of the N586 million belonging to the road agency, which was in City Bank between 2004 and 2005. The money was later acquired by NDIC. A document dated and signed in 2008, which was tendered before the committee by FERMA, stated that the road agency waived all rights to the said amount, but the origin of the document was contested and doubted by the committee. Chairman of the committee Solomon Adeola said: “This document is misleading, this letter is fraudulent.” He requested for the full

list of debtors to the defunct bank, after NDIC Director of Insurance Zacheaus Anete said the organisation was yet to recover about N12 billion loans given by City Express Bank. Anete also said most of the 89 banks that existed before the consolidation were insolvent. He said City Express Bank had no physical asset that could be acquired by other banks. Saying that the consolidation exercise has thrown up more questions than required, Adeola directed the NDIC to furnish the committee with details of the status of the 89 banks that were existing before the consolidation and those presently in existence. Addressing NDIC, he said the House will no longer tolerate complaints and complacency by any agency to undermine the Nigerian Constitution.

Adeola said: “After the payment of N70 million in 2008, how much have you recovered till date on behalf of FERMA? “Are we going to assume that every public fund domiciled in how many trillions of public funds have gone down the drain? “I want to know why the N586 million went underneath? CBN must be brought here to show us what part of its statutory books says the public funds should not be insured? “But once Soludo’s administration asked for N25 billion and City Express Bank could not meet up, they recommended liquidation, rather than exploring other options. “The money belonging to FERMA was deliberately or erroneously allowed to go down the drain, but we will make sure it does not.” FERMA was also ques-

tioned for failing to utilise N5.7 million that was not accessed in a Lagos account since 2006 till date. FERMA‘s Executive Director (Treasury Audit) Taiwo Osonuga said the document that contained the waiver originated from NDIC as a verification form, not a waiver of FERMA’s right. He said: “We did not collect the money, the form was for verification.” CBN and NDIC were asked to provide details of the uninsured portion of the private sector fund guarantee by CBN in the 24 banks, as well as the uninsured portion of the public funds involved in black and white within two weeks. The Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) questioned the rationale behind the guarantee provided for private banks, while public funds were deprived of the same guarantee by the CBN.


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NEWS

Lightning sets tree ablaze in Ilorin

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HUNDER accompanied by lightning struck on Sunday evening in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, setting ablaze a coconut tree and making people to run for safety. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the incident occurred at Jooro area on Asa-Dam Road. NAN learnt that the thunder preceded a light shower

Benue varsity students protest non-accreditation of medical school From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

which continued up till the early hours of yesterday. An eyewitness, Mrs. Victoria Sodiq, said when the thunder struck, an object like rocket entered into the tree from the top and set it ablaze. “The incident was strange and unbelievable. We all ran for safety because we have never experienced such in our lives.

“All of us stayed glued, watching the tree with surprise as smoke glowed from it. “The flame burnt the fresh leaves into ashes with several branches falling down as a result of the blaze,” she further said. Another eyewitness, Alhaji Fatai Saliu, said: “The thunder accompanied by lightning struck and some-

thing came from the thunder like a rocket and entered the tree, then the fire started. “I can’t believe it. It is just the power of God. It is divine. I have never seen such incident in my life.” Rainstorm wreaked havoc in the Ilorin metropolis some weeks ago, rendering many homeless while belongings were destroyed.

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ENUE State University (BSU) medical students numbering over 100 hundred yesterday protested against the non- accreditation of their medical school. The students also complained that they have spent over nine years in the Benue State University Teaching Hospital without hope that they would graduate. They took over the main entrance of the Government House, Makurdi from 8am and prevented civil servants from entering office. There was traffic jam from the Government House roundabout to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office. Motorists and motorcyclists were forced to take other routes. Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Dr. Salifu David later addressed the students. He assured them that before the end of the month, equipment meant for clinical services would be put in place, preparatory to accreditation. The students also marched to the Benue State House of Assembly complex in Makurdi where Speaker David Iorhemba assured them that their grievances would be looked into very soon.

Nyako hails Jonathan over Almajiri schools

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•From left: Alhaji Sherif Yusuf, President, NASFAT, Justice Wale Abiru and Alhaji Remi Babalola, Chairman, Planning Committee, at the National Conference on “Islam and Peaceful Co-existence in Contemporary Multi-Religious Society”, organised by NASFAT at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. PHOTO: RAHMAN SANUSI

•Guest speaker at the event, Sheik Essam Ishaq of the Bahrain University.

Nine Plateau local govts desire new state

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INE of the 17 local government areas of Plateau State have sent a request to the National Assembly asking to be carved out of the present Plateau State to form a state to be called Lowland State, with the capital at Tunkus in Mikang Local Government. According to a statement signed by the spokesman for the nine local government areas, Stephen Musa and made available to reporters in Jos yesterday, the demand for the creation of the new state is aimed at bringing development to the areas. Musa said: “The move-

From Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos

ment for the creation of Lowland State out of the present Plateau State has submitted a request to the National Assembly for consideration. “The memorandum titled: Request for the creation of Lowland State with the capital in Tunkus, has been submitted. The submission was acknowledged by the Senate President in a letter dated April 13 and signed by Senator Anthony Manzo, Chief of Staff to the Senate President.” The statement further said

‘The memorandum titled: Request for the creation of Lowland State with the capital in Tunkus, has been submitted’ the proposed state comprises nine local governments namely: Kanam,

Kanke, Langtang North, Langtang South, Mikang, Qua’an-Pan, Shendam, Pankshin and Wase. “The name of the state and capital was arrived at after a wide consultation with the people of the affected areas and the present Plateau State. The memo was signed by prominent people in the local government areas such as councillors, 12 of the 13 members of the Plateau State House of Assembly from the proposed state and two others from the Northern Senatorial District of the state,” the statement concluded.

Kogi prosecutes 30 for environmental offences MAGISTRATE’s court in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, yesterday prosecuted 30 persons for contravening the state government beautification law. They were also prosecuted for erecting illegal structures in the state capital. In his ruling, Magistrate Abdullahi Suleiman fined the accused amount ranging from N1,000 to N5,000 as first offenders, for contravening Law No Hl 03 of 2011

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From Mohammed Bashir Lokoja

and PHC CAP 109 of 1963. The prosecutor, Shaibu Ibrahim, said those arrested were caught selling wares in the streets despite government’s several warnings. A top government official warned that henceforth, dropping refuse on the road would attract sanction. He

enjoined the people to cooperate with the government to ensure a clean environment. The Secretary of the Beautification Committee, Adavi Abraham, urged the people to make use of the neighbourhood market provided by the government. The state government is already pulling down illegal billboards in Lokoja.

FCTA demolishes 3,500 shanties in Abuja

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HE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has demolished 3,500 shanties on the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Expressway (Airport Road), Abuja. It said more shanties would be demolished soon. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, made this known during the FCT Operations Briefing Session in Abuja. He directed the Development Control Department to double its efforts to rid Abuja of illegal structures, warning those occupying such structures to vacate them imme-

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

diately. Mohammed said a task force would be constituted to assist in demolishing shanties and illegal structures. According to him, while his administration is determined to achieve the objective of upholding the sanctity of the Abuja Master Plan, there is difference in approach to dealing with the Abuja indigenes and their original villages on the one hand and squatters who have over the years erected illegal structures. He said efforts to remove illegal structures in the 250

square kilometres of the Federal Capital City would continue as Abuja must serve the purpose it was planned for. Senator Mohammed noted that the Development Control Department must deal with shanties springing up around the city, saying the expansion of the villages is unacceptable. He said: “We cannot afford to continue this way, otherwise we will be faced with all manner of social problems including threat to security in the Federal Capital Territory.” The minister said to reduce pressure on the Development Control Department,

OVERNOR Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State has hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for siting Almajiri schools and a girl-child education school in the state. The governor, who was represented by his deputy, James Ngilari, spoke at the Government House, Yola. The Chairman of Adamawa State Traditional Council and Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Aliyu Barkindo Mustapha, has also lauded President Jonathan for his commitment to the implementation of the transformation agenda. The traditional ruler, who spoke in Yola yesterday while receiving the Minister

of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, said the President has proved himself as a trustworthy leader who keeps to his promises. Mustapha said traditional rulers and people in the North were appreciative of the President’s construction of Almajiri schools to cater for the less privileged in the country. He said: “We have seen several indications to suggest that the President is delivering on the transformation agenda. One key area is his campaign promise on the construction of Almajiri schools, which he is diligently executing.

Pene Da Bwatiye raises alarm over killings in Adamawa From Barnabas Manyam, Yola

EMBERS of the Pene Da Bwatiye, a pressure group for the Bwatiye people of Southern and Central areas of Adamawa State, comprising Bachama and Batta, have raised the alarm over the alleged killing of about 16 people in the villages of Lamurde Local Government by cattle herdsmen. “They have killed many people in our area. We are expecting the government to arrest the culprits,” the president of the Pene Da Bwatiye, Prince Hezron A. Fada, has said. He alleged that the villages that had been attacked by the cattle herdsmen were Bukutu, Luwafuti, Furtu, Wamsa, Suwa Bariki, Suine, Wurki, Bang, Kullani, Murai, Kiza and Ninge. He said the Bwatiye people occupied seven local government areas in Adamawa State, adding that government had failed to stop the attack on them by cattle herdsmen.

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Yobe pays N50m to victims of Potiskum cattle market attack

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OBE State Government has approved the payment of N50 million as compensation to the victims of the Potiskum cattle market attack, which occurred on May 2, resulting in the death of several people and destruction of property. A statement signed by Abdullahi Bego, the Special Adviser on Information and Press Affairs to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said the money would be distributed in various categories. He said: “The families of the 63 people confirmed to have died in the attack will

From Duku JOEL, Damaturu

receive N600, 000.00, bringing the total to N28, 800, 000.00; while the owners of the 15 vehicles and three tricycles set ablaze during the attack will receive N5, 850, 000.00, which represents 60 per cent of the original costs of the burnt items. “Owners of the 49 cattle burnt will receive N3, 433, 250.00. Ten thousand naira will go to each of the owners of the 738 market stalls burnt down during the attack, which totals N7, 380, 000.00.”

Fashola’s aide meets Christian leaders •Mohammed

the FCTA must fast-track the resettlement and compensation processes so that the residents who deserve to be resettled or compensated are attended to without delay.

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HE President of the All Christian Leaders and Minister’s Forum, Rev. Sam Ogedengbe, will today at 10 am meet Christian leaders and members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Ogedengbe, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Religion (Christian), said the meeting “will enable us to discuss how to promote unity among Christians.”


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NEWS

Fed Govt charges principals on rehabilitation of Unity Colleges

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RINCIPALS and tenders boards of Federal Unity Colleges have been directed to adhere strictly to the list of projects approved in the 2012 Budgets on the rehabilitation of the schools. The directive was given yesterday by the Minister of State for Education Ezenwo Nyesom Wike at the Federal Government Girls College, Yola during an unscheduled visit for the launch of the phased rehabilitation of the schools. Wike said the Federal Government will not condone the implementation of projects not captured in the budget. He said the first phase of rehabilitation of Federal Unity Colleges will concentrate on the construction of classrooms, libraries, assembly halls, laboratories and students’ hostels. The minister declared that the Federal Ministry of Finance has initiated the process for the release of funds directly to the principals of the Federal Unity Colleges and their Tenders Boardsfor the rehabilitation. He said: “We are here today to monitor the steps taken by the Federal Unity Colleges to start the rehabilitation of the schools. For us, the rehabilitation must be in line with projects approved in the 2012 budget. “We have noticed that some projects that are not in the budget

. Wike (left), Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Ahmed Modibo Mohammed and Mrs Momodu...yesterday

have been included in the list by this school. The school is hereby directed to do the right thing. This directive goes to all the colleges selected for the first phase of the rehabilitation.” Wike stated that monitoring teams have been sent out to moni-

tor the principals and tenders boards of the colleges to ensure they do not deviate from the projects approved in the budget. “Personally, I will be in these schools to assist the monitoring teams to keep the school administrators in check and ensure that only

approved budgets are executed to specification,” he said. In her response, the Principal of Federal Government Girls College, Yola, Mrs Zulekatu Momodu, assured the school would comply with the directive and stick to the list of approved projects.

Judiciary frustrating rape cases, Minister alleges

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INISTER of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina has blamed the judiciary for the delay usually expreience in decidind cases involving rape. She said most judges are afraid of passing jail term sentences on perpetrators of rape. Hajia Maina, who spoke yesterday while highlighting her ministry’s achievement at the ongoing ministerial platform, said rape cases perpetrators will henceforth be made to serve jail terms instead of going scott-free. She said most of the victims of

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

rape are always scared to give necessary information for fear of stigmatisation, thereby making it difficult for rape cases to be handled. She added that her ministry has stepped up efforts in supporting the efforts of various states in tackling challenges been posed by the prevalence of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) She said: “The ministry has purchased and distributed skill acquisition equipment to VVF rehabilitation centres in some states and the victims of this condition are gener-

she said. Proferring solution on how to curb child abuse in the society, Hajia Maina said recent visit to the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar has brought about a joint battle against rampant cases of rape, violence against women, prostitution, hawking by children and human trafficking. She explained the launch of a national data base for vulnerable children by her ministry was necessitated by the need to have credible data for effective response to challenges.

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

THE General Medical practitioners yesterday denounced the use of strike by Lagos doctor to press, their demand for better welfare. Chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) Dr Olayinka Oladosu started this yesterday. He said his members, as professionals, are more concerned about the public and the medical profession. “It is better to lobby and dialogue to achieve vision and mission. Our colleagues should have total rethink of their present strategy as a tool for conflict resolution. We believe further constructive dialogue and consultation will resolve the current crisis. “We appeal to the government of Lagos State to re-evaluate their present position in the interest of good people of the state. In this wise, we want to appeal to the doctors on strike to sheath their swords. “We want the Nigerian citizens to know that should they need our services, they will be attended to as a matter of right, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances. “Our colleagues should have total rethink of their present strategy of using strike as a tool for conflict resolution.” The National President of the association, Dr Anthony A. Omolola, said the health sector is already in chaos. Omolola said: “And all hands should be on deck to salvage it. This is not time for strikes by healthcare givers and all professionals in the sector. There is no point being combative. “With constructive dialogue, strike is not favourable to Nigerians, government or anybody. We should find a middle-of-the-line resolution. Already, there are more deaths, and more will be recorded should strike continue.”

Why Ekiti council workers have not received April salaries

Corruption, bane of Africa’s development, says EFCC chief

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HAIRMAN of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde has identified corruption as the bane of development in the West African sub-region. He, however, expressed the readiness of his commission to collaborate with civil society groups to rid Nigeria of corruption. Lamorde made the submissions yesterday when the Country Head of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Mrs. Adaora Ikenze, visited him in the office. A statement by the acting Head EFCC spokesman Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, quoted Lamorde as saying: “The greatest problem that has hampered development in Nigeria and in other Africa countries is the issue of corruption. “Corruption has completely made it impossible for most of the sectors in the sub-region to develop. “From your track record, you are one organisation that the EFCC will like to partner with. I think we have a lot of things in common to push forward what you do and what we do.

ally less than 20 years old. Nigeria has over four million cases with Kano, Katsina, Sokoto,Zamfara as the worst hit by the prevalance.” On the issue of empowering women, the minister said N82 million had been disbursed to women entrepreneurs across the six geo-political zones, adding that skills acquisition centres were initiated across the country for the economic empowerment of women. “When completed, the activities of these centres will reduce unemployment at the grassroots as well as increasing income generation through job creation for women,”

General and Private Medics denounce Lagos striking doctors

•Lamorde From Yusuf Alli,

“Your intervention in the area of law, justice and political and economic governance is something we have also been looking at in the EFCC. The mandate of the EFCC is to address some of the issues you are trying to look at from outside of government.” Mrs. Ikenze expressed OSIWA’s willingness to collaborate with the EFCC in its war against all acts of corrupt practices. She said: “OSIWA has the capacity to work with national institutions; organisations and the civil society to ensure good governance and strengthening of institutions.

ROM the Ekiti State government came yesterday why the implementation of the minimum wage has not taken off in its council areas. It said locla government employees would get the old rate until discussions on the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) at the local government level are concluded. The explanation followed the refusal of workers in all the16 local government areas to receive their April salaries. Their umbrella union - the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) is insisting that the state government pay the salaries based on the new minimum of N19,000. It therefore directed its members not to receive the one already paid by the government becaused it was based on the old N13,000 salary regime. But the state government said the workers would soon enjoy a

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

new pay package like their counterparts in other services after the conclusion of ongoing discussions. It said it will be improper and unfair to approve a new salary package for non-health workers while health workers continue on the old structure. The workers had consequently rejected the April pay, saying they had been on talks with the government sincee December 2011. Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development Chief Dayo Fadipe reporters in Ado Ekiti, capital of the state yesterday, that government “would continue to pay the old minimum wage to council workers until the payment of N19,000 minimum wage to all sections of the civil service is harmonised alongside the medical and health workers.

Fadipe spoke in the company of his Informatiion and Civic Orientation colleague, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye. Fadipe appealed to the workers to continue to take the old salary pending the resolution of all problems pertaining to salaries. According to him treasurers of the councils have been directed to “credit the accounts of all the workers” before a communiqué from NULGE reached him “that all the workers should reject the old salary.” He noted the necessity for understanding on the part of the workers to enable government consider all sides and harmonise all positions “so that no group or segment would feel shortchanged.” The commissioner assured medical and health workers that all the matters about CONMESS and CONHESS would be resolved by the state government before long.


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FOREIGN ECOWAS parliament insists on democracy

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HE need for the sustenance of democracy in West Africa took the centre stage at the first 2012 Ordinary Session of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West Africa States, (ECOWAS) Parliament which opened yesterday in Abuja . Speaker of the Parliament Senator Ike Ekweremadu said on no account should the collective will of the people of the sub region to live under democratic governments be subverted. Ekweremadu described the military coup in Mali and Guinea Bissau as “highly con-

From: Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

demnable, obnoxious, unacceptable and regrettable,” and insisted that the military must restrict itself to its constitutional role to avoid a repeat of what he termed “a cancerous growth of military rule” across the region from the 1960s till the recent past. The Speaker who doubles as the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate added “besides, the story of coups and the long years of military dominance of governance in West Africa is the story of poverty, under-

development, conflict and instability. He described coups as a road largely fraught with anguish, tears, sorrow, and blood on which the peoples of West Africa do not wish to travel again. He also called the attention of members of Community Parliament to the threat which the activities of the Boko Haram sect pose to Nigeria and the sub-region, stating that such wave of insecurity and terrorism in parts of the Community hold ominous future for the sub-region if not summarily addressed.

23 soldiers, seven civilians killed in Syria

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T least 30 people - including 23 soldiers have died in heavy overnight clashes in the central Syrian city of Rastan, according to activists. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of others were wounded in the city, in the restive Homs province. Three troop carriers were destroyed in fighting, the UK-

based group said. If confirmed, the attack would be one of the deadliest suffered by security forces in the 14-month-long uprising against President Bashar alAssad. It comes after government forces launched a fresh assault on Rastan at the weekend, despite a UN-backed nominal ceasefire that was supposed to come into

effect just over a month ago. Meanwhile, the EU has imposed another round of sanctions on Syria - the 15th so far in an effort to increase pressure on the government. The Observatory said Rastan, which lies 180km (120 miles) north of Damascus, was subjected to sustained shelling overnight, leaving dozens of people injured.

Obama blasts Romney’s job record

•Obama

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NITED States President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has released an ad seeking to undercut Republican rival Mitt Romney’s record on jobs. The video features former workers of a steel plant that was bought and later shut down by Bain Capital, the private equity firm cofounded by Romney. “It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us,” one former GST Steel employee says. Romney has repeatedly attacked the president for

failing to create jobs. The former Massachusetts governor’s business credentials are seen as a core part of his campaign message. Correspondents say the two minute-long negative ad is set to be broadcast in five battleground states - Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado. The campaign also issued a six-minute online-only version and launched a website specifically aimed at criticising Romney’s record. Obama’s political allies

PUBLIC NOTICE

OGUNBIYI I, formerly known and addressed as MISS OGUNBIYI ABIOLA FARIDAT now wish to be known and address as MRS LAWAL ABIOLA FARIDAT. All former documents remain the same.General public take note.

and surrogates are also expected to denounce Romney’s track record as a private equity executive at a series of campaign events. The new ad echoes a theme used earlier in the year by a group supporting former presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. VACANCCY! VACANCCY!! VACANCCY!!! TEACHERS NEEDED AT F.A.M MONTESSORI SCHOOL AROUND AJAO ESTATE AREA QUALIFICATIONS: NCE B.ED MONTESSORI EXPRIENCE IS AN ADDED ADVENTAGES. CONTANT 08078001929 OR 08023156444. DRIVERS AND CLEANERS TOO.

PUBLIC NOTICE DIVINE CARE FOR THE LESS PRIVILEGED INITIATIVE . This is to inform the general public that the above named association has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission,Abuja for registration under Part “C” of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAP C20 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. THE TRUSTEES ARE 1. Barr. Joseph Chukwudum Okafor 2. Mrs. Ifeoma Joyce Okafor. 3. Mrs. Nkiruka Achu 4. Mr. Chinedu Chijindu Okafor 5. Mrs. Chinwemma Okonkwor. THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES ARE 1. To help the less privileged Any objection to the registration should be forwarded to the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420, Tigris Crescent, off Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja within 28 days from the date of this publication.

Signed: TRUSTEES


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

62

FOREIGN

15 killed in Nepal plane crash

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PLANE carrying 21 people has crashed while trying to land at an airport in the north of Nepal, leaving 15 dead. Police say that six survivors are being treated at a hospital in the city of Pokhara. Many of the dead and injured are Indian nationals. The Agni Air plane hit a hillside as it tried to land at Jomsom airport, a hub for trekkers and religious pilgrims. Aviation accidents involving small aircraft are not uncommon in mountainous Nepal. The Dornier aircraft was carrying 18 passengers and three crew members, and had been travelling to Jomsom from the city of Pokhara. Officials say they are investigating the cause of the crash, which happened soon after the pilot abandoned efforts to land at Jomsom because of strong winds and was about to fly back to Pokhara.

Thirteen Indian passengers and two Nepali pilots were killed in the crash, Jomsom police official Basanta Ranjit said. Officials say that the plane broke into pieces after hitting the ground but did not catch fire. Two Danes on the aircraft Emilie Joergensen and Andreas Rasch - survived the crash. “We were thrown around. The seats were unfastened and we were squeezed between seats and bodies,” Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet quoted Ms Joergensen as saying. “I think it was easy for us to get out because we sat in the back and were closest to the exit,” she said. Rescue workers are at the crash site and police say the six injured being treated at Pokhara’s Manipal hospital include an air stewardess, the two Danes and three Indians, two of them infants.

Aviation officials said helicopters have been despatched to bring the bodies of those killed to mortuaries. The Indian passengers were said to be flying to visit the sacred Muktinath temple, which is close to Jomsom 200km (125 miles) north-west of Kathmandu - and a popular destination for trekkers and Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna both expressed their condolences over the deaths. The plane crashed at about 09:45 local time (04:00 GMT), reportedly as it was turning to land at the airport. “It hit a muddy slope and the plane is now buried in the side of the hill,” police spokesman Binod Singh told the AFP news agency. Nepal’s treacherous mountainous terrain coupled with adverse weather conditions poses a formidable challenge to pilots.

Senate seeks review of EEG, NDCC

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HE Senate yesterday sought the review of the Export Expansion Grants (EEG) to ensure that the scheme enhances the export of non-oil products. The EEG, the only export support incentive scheme currently operational in the country, was introduced in 2005 by the Federal Government. The operation of the scheme has faced a number of challenges. At a stakeholders’ session jointly organised by the Senate Committee on Industry and its counterpart from the House of Representatives, it was agreed that the scheme be reviewed to make it aline with global best practices. At the session were representatives of the federal Min-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

istries of Finance, trade and investment experts, officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and those of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). It was agreed that the scheme be reviewed to make it aline with global best practices. The Senate called for the review of the Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC) so that importers of luxury and non-essential products, such as cars, toothpicks, toilet tissues, among others, would not benefit from the scheme. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Industry, Esther Nenadi Usman who presided over the session asked

the Nigerian Customs Service to honour the NDCC. Usman’s appeal followed the complaints by some beneficiaries of NDCC that some operatives of the Service are not always forthcoming in honouring the NDCC, thus leading to difficulties in import transactions. The Customs on its part raised the issue that NDCC leads to loss of revenue to the Service since it does not count as part of the revenue collectable by the Service. Representative of the Comptroller General of the Customs Service Abdullahi Diko said that salaries and other running cost of the service are derived from seven per cent of duty collection and stated that with NDCC, the service is denied such revenue.

Senator, activist urge Jonathan to approve NJC recommendation

•Senator Lanlehin •Continued from page 2

dare, the senator said the world expects Jonathan to assent to the NJC’s recommendation with the same spirit with which he acted when Justice Salami was suspended. He said with a popular decision to recommend Justice Salami for reinstatement, NJC has been able to correct itself on the controversial suspension of an upright judicial officer, who may have been a victim of power play and bad politicking. The popular decision of the NJC, according to the lawmaker, showed that Nigeria should not be written off at all “as we could still

get it right in every facet of our national life”. In his opinion, the initial suspension of Justice Salami was done in bad faith by those he described as agents of darkness and enemies of democracy. “In the first instance, the PCA ought not have been suspended in view of untenable and concocted allegations, but it happened that politics had to be introduced to infiltrate the judiciary while justice and fairness had to be sacrificed. “Now that the error has been corrected by the appropriate authority, it is imperative for the stakeholders to learn their lessons with a view to guarding the judiciary against the influence of politicians and unpatriotic individuals who place self above the nation,” he said. Lanlehin who praised members of the NJC for ensuring that truth prevailed over falsehoods, remarked that Justice Salami remains one of the finest and responsible judges in the country today. “Such rare breed should

not be maltreated or discouraged, if the desire to fix Nigeria must to be realised. Furthermore, the Judiciary is such a sensitive organ of government that must be shielded from dirty politics and political influence at all times,” Lanlehin said. Also yesterday, an Akurebased lawyer and activist Morakinyo Ogele, described the recommendation of the NJC for the reinstatement of Justice Salami as “a triumphal entry of justice and the rule of law into the judiciary.” He said members of the fact-finding committee and the NJC which recommended the return of Justice Salami “have given credit to our judicial system.” He said Justice Salami should be hailed for his steadfastness and courage to stand with the truth. “He is a courageous judge and we appeal to all judges in this country to emulate the courage of Justice Salami who has suffered for putting lifer and blood into the rule of law in this country,” he said in a statement.

Legal giants plan to tell Jonathan: restore Salami Continued from page 2

has ever made in recent years. And I commend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, for this decision. “Since he came on board, his body language has been how to resolve the unpopular suspension of Salami. His body language has translated into real action, thereby bringing the judiciary out of unnecessary controversy. “The credibility of the NJC and the judiciary has been ful-

ly restored by this very bold and courageous action.” On the way forward, Bayeshea said: “As to what the President should do, it should not be difficult. In the first place, when Justice Salami was suspended, the President, through his spokesman, told the world that it was the NJC that advised him to do so. “Jonathan decried criticism against him as unfair adding that the crisis was within the judiciary to resolve. “Now, the Judiciary, through the NJC, has re-

solved the crisis by recalling Justice Salami and advising the President that it is the appropriate thing to do. He should rely on the advice of the NJC. “The President should accept the recommendation of the NJC, especially when the weight of public opinion and justice of the matter weigh heavily in favour of Justice Salami. “This matter is beyond politics and the President should rise above political sentiments.”


THE NATION TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

63

SPORT EXTRA GTB BANK HERITAGE CUP SEASON 1

College, Anwar’ Saintfiet in visa delay Kings Islam meet in final

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HE resumption of the new technical director of the national teams is suffering a big hitch as the Nigeria Embassy in Belgium

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja is finding it difficult to issue entry visa to new technical boss. Non issuance of entry

visa to Tom Saintfiet is delaying his resumption on duties. According to NFF Technical Director Emmanuel Ikpeme, the former Ethopian national team coach was expected to resume on 1st of May. Speaking further, the former Univeristy of Ibadan don said "actually we had expected Tom Saintfiet to resume on 1st May, but the man is having a lot of problems with Nigerian emabssy in Belgium concerning issuing entry visa and work permit. We have

done all documentations both with our home office here to facilitate the issuance, but as at last week, the issue was still pending. We are optimistic that everything will be sorted out this week to enable the man resume duties immediately". He said that the federation was expecting a lot of cooperation from all Nigerians, to enable the technical man to succeed in his duties, as the NFF is poised to move the country's football forward.

Eaglets' camp 'bubbles' as Manu joins team

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EAD Coach, Manu Garba (MFR), finally teamed up with the Golden Eaglets in Calabar Sunday night following the completion of the mandatory FIFA's 'Win-in-With-Africa' (WIAWA) coaching course which ended in Abuja at the weekend. The course which was at the instance of the NFF for all national team coaches as well as

•Saintfiet

SPECIAL OLYMPICS

Team Nigeria calls for support

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S Team Nigeria intensifies its preparation to participate in the forthcoming Special Olympic Africa billed for October and World Winter Olympic in January 2013 in South Africa, Special Olympic Nigeria has called on well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations for sponsorship. According to the Chairman, Special Olympic Nigeria, Mr. Victor Osibodu who spoke at the Patron's cocktail of Special Olympics Nigeria, an event held at the weekend, in Lagos, to appreciate sponsors, patrons and other stakeholders and celebrates athletes with intellectual disabilities said over N50million will be needed to make team Nigeria participate in the two tourneys apart from national competition for selection. The occasion was an avenue for potential sponsors of Special Olympics Nigeria to get acquainted with its upcoming activities and as well be warmly appreciated for their lovely support overtime said Osibodu who noted financial and kind support from sponsors overtime was not in vain, stating that the Nigeria Team has brought glory to the country from competitions all over the world, despite their disabilities. He said “Just after the national games came to an end in 2010, at the University of Lagos Sport Centre, a random draw saw the emergence of 43 athletes that represented Nigeria at the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. The athletes participated in seven sport which included football, table tennis, badminton, swimming, athletics, and basketball and made headlines as they returned home after a successful outing with 49 medals won on their necks but dear to their heart, 17 gold, 23 silver and 9 bronze medals. "All these achievement was made possible by the wonderful support of First Bank, Union Bank, GTB bank, Stanbic Bank, MTN, Cocacola, Zenon petroleum and Gas, UBA Foundation, Glaxosmith kline and other organization which he described as major corporate contributors". "When Damola Roberts, who

By Paul Oluwakoya has Down syndrome, won Nigeria's first Gold medals in 50metres freestyle swimming division, his mother, Dr Alero Roberts, broke down in tears. It was one of glorious moment she would never, ever forget. She told me, and I was happy for her because she has reasons to be proud of her daughter" he said Similarly, the National Director, Special Olympics Nigeria, Mrs. Folashade Bolumole said preparation is going in five geopolitical zones across the federation for the games. She however called for more volunteers, coaches and care-givers to join the course of putting smile on the special athletes stating that the intellectually challenged person can become physically fit,

productive and respected members of the society through sports training and athletic competitions. Special Olympics Nigeria is a grassroots movement that offers such children and adults with intellectual disability year round training and competition in 26 Olympic -type summer and winter sports.It currently serves more than 10,000 persons with intellectual disability and operates in five geo political zones of the country. “Four or five parents joined us to Athens, before then it has been difficult to enjoy family support for the network. We really want parent support to get the best out of our special children” said Dr. Alero Robert, President, Special Olympics Family Support Network.

MTN Football Scholar gives young players’ exposure, stardom—Atanda-Owo

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ECULIAR People Management (PPM) for the MTN Football Scholar Program Account Executive, Kikelomo Atanda-Owo has revealed that the program was meant to better the life of young players and exposed them to top universities in the United States of America where they could attend schools and still have the chance to play football. “It’s been pretty challenging organising this program (for MTN) and it’s been a yearly event and we did it last year. The program is to give the kids that are not privileged the opportunity to showcase their God given talents. Web want to give them hope and reason to continue to live. We also want to boost their careers. ‘It’s been pretty good because MTN has been having a lot of projects but this one is a massive one because it is as good as giving back to the society. It is as good as giving hope to those people that feel they don’t have the financial and moral support them to exhibits their skills to the world while combining play-

From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja ing football with education. “MTN came in to this to give the less privileged people a life and a reason to live not only in their personal life and career but they also have the chance to exhibit their football skills to the outside world beside the country of their birth, Nigeria”, she noted. Peculiar People Management (PPM) for the MTN Football Scholar Program Director, Yele Adewole also explained the essence of the exercise that kicked off last year. “It is a great program for young boys from the ages of 15 to 18 who are in Senior Secondary School (SSS) two and three and who have finished their School Certificate either this year or last year or are writing their exams this year. “We also accommodate one or two exceptions but that is in the general criteria because the program is designed for students who want to achieve something in life. Our purpose is to help them to get American scholarships, scholarships to American universities”.

the 20 Premier League coaches was conducted by Danish instructor, Poulson Jan Borge, the assistant coach of the famous Danish team that won the European Championship in 1992. Manu arrived the Princeville Hotel Camp of the Golden Eaglets after dinner and was received by his assistants and other technical staffers amidst an atmosphere of conviviality, saying that he was impressed with what had been done in his absence. “It is great to be back to the camp and I'm very happy with what we have done over the last one week despite the fact that I was unavoidably absent because of the coaching course I was attending in Abuja,” Manu said. “Though my mind was here throughout the duration of course, I had full confidence about the competence of my other colleagues since we already had a plan in place for the team. I'm so happy to rejoin the family, so our work continues.” The coach who had earlier taken part in the CAF 'B' Coaching Course immediately after the Golden Eaglets' Screening exercise last March , described the WIAWA coaching course as timely and instructive. He said the instructor was able to share with participants some of the secrets that helped Denmark to win the 1992 European Championship in Sweden despite the fact that they were ranked as an outsiders as well as his knowledge of preparing youth teams having coached his country's Under-20 National Team for over seven years. “I'm not averse to getting knowledge in order to improve myself on the job and without any shade of doubt, the WIAWA Coaching Course organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in conjunction with CAF and FIFA was very refreshing and educative,” Manu said. “In just one week, I learnt so much as we were given appropriate tutorial as well as insightful demonstration on the field. With me also are the technical details of the 32 teams that featured at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and there are so many things we can adapt to help our team, the Golden Eaglets.” As expected, Manu was in charge of the team's training session on Monday where he told players to be dedicated and disciplined because there won't be any favouritism in the final selection as the technical crew would be guided by equity and fair play.'

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NWAR’Islam College and Kings College have emerged as the finalists of the maiden edition of the GTBank Heritage Cup after putting their respective opponents to the sword on Sunday. The final holds on Friday. Anwar’Islam recorded the highest goal margin in a single match in the competition when they thrashed Ansar Udeen College 8-0 in the first semi-final game of the day, while Kings College defeated St. Gregory’s College 4-3 via penalty shootout. The game between Kings and

By Paul Oluwakoya St. Gregory’s had ended 3-3 in regulation time, and when the extra time failed to separate the two sides, they went into the shootout. The two matches, held at the Onikan Stadium, attracted a large spectatorship from the four schools and residents in the neighbourhood, making it a festival-like event. The winners of the competition is expected to clash with the winners of the ongoing GTBank Lagos Principals Cup in a Super Cup clash.

GULDER FIVE-ASIDE TOURNEY

Port Harcourt teams to represent Southsouth

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ort Harcourt City Academy and Network FC of Port Harcourt will fly the Southsouth zone’s flag at the knock-out stage of this year’s Gulder Ultimate Five-A-side Football Competition, scheduled to hold on June 14, in Lagos. Both teams booked their places after emerging joint finalists in the South-South qualifying round of matches that kicked off on Friday May 11 and ended on Sunday, May 13. The two teams will join Gidan Bege FC and Supremes FC both representing the North Central zone, and Ultimate FC and Etienne FC, representing the South-East zone. In the keenly contested final match, Port Harcourt City Academy defeated Network FC by two goals to one at the final match, to be crowned the SouthSouth zone champions. Apart from emerging as the overall winners of the zonal competition, players from Port Harcourt City Academy also clinched two individual awards; The Highest goals scorer award and the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, MVP. While Keston Friday, the captain of the side emerged as the tournament’s leading goal scorer with eight goals, the MVP award went to his teammate Kinsley Sokari , who scored five goals. Victor Wohuruche of Network FC emerged the second highest goal

scorer with seven goals. Before the final match, Port Harcourt City Academy had a swell time in the semi-finals thrashing city rivals, Port Harcourt City Babes, seven goals to nil in what turned out to be a derby match. The first runnersup, Network FC, advanced to the finals after defeating yet another Port Harcourt-based team, Port Harcourt City FC, by two goals to nothing in the semi-finals. The two qualifiers from the zone will be hoping to be at their best at the knock out stages of the competition in Lagos as they battle qualifiers from other zones to vie for the N5m prize money to be awarded to the overall winning team. While the second placed team will get N3m, the third best team will walk away with N1m. After the Southsouth qualifiers in Port Harcourt, the zonal qualifiers will shift to Oleh Township Stadium, Warri, where shortlisted teams from the MidWest zone will slug it out with one another from Friday, May 18 to Sunday May 20, 2012, for the two slots in the knock out stages. The Gulder Five-A-Side tournament, which is in its third year, was introduced with the aim of developing grassroots football, discovering and fishing out talents scattered across the country amongst other objectives.

•Yele Adewole (left) Program Director for PPM-MTN Football Scholar and Kikelomo Atanda-Owo, Account Executive,

Emenike's Spartak grabs Champions League slot

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MMANUEL Emenike's Spartak Moscow beat CSKA Moscow, who parades Ahmed Musa, to a UEFA Champions League ticket for next season on Sunday. Spartak Moscow, who were without banned Emenike on account of a red card in a previous game, beat hosts Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 to leafrog CSKA and claim second spot on the table. Spartak thus finished with 75 points, two points ahead of third-placed CSKA.

CSKA parading Ahmed Musa failed to beat Obafemi Martins Rubin Kazan as they lost 3-1 on the road and will now play in the Europa League next season. Emenike was thrilled by his club's feat. "I wanted to be part of the action but I could not. I'm happy that my mates secured the ticket without me and I am very glad I will play in the Champions League next season,” Emenike told MTNFootball.com “This has been my dream and I happy it has become a reality."


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TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

TOMORROW IN THE NATION

‘Professor (Tokunbo) Sofoluwe’s exemplary leadership will ever remain a benchmark for university administration, not only at the University of Lagos, but also in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria’ VOL. 7

NO.2,126

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

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INDICATION finally came to Justice Ayo Isa Salami last week. It came some nine months after he was suspended from his post as president of the Court of Appeal in circumstances that raised far more questions about the integrity and independence of the machinery of justice in Nigeria than about Justice Salami’s probity. It came when, following a trial of sorts and a review of the report of the proceedings, the National Judicial Council recommended that he be reinstated. At this writing, President Goodluck Jonathan is reported to be “consulting” on the recommendation, meaning that he has passed it on to Justice Minister and Attorney-General of the Federation Bello Adoke (SAN) and the grandees of the ruling PDP, more likely for determination than for advice. Adoke can be counted upon to take refuge behind some abstruse point of law to obfuscate matters. The PDP family, still reeling from being stripped of the governorship of Ekiti and Osun, can be counted upon to seize the occasion to get even with Salami, president of the Court of Appeal that finally divested it of its purloined mandate. But what is at issue is not law and was never law. It is politics – politics in its rawest and most partisan. The Justice Salami saga is yet one more test of the capacity of the Jonathan Presidency to unite and heal the country. Can Dr Jonathan for once rise above the brazen partisanship of the ruling PDP and its embittered candidates who lost out Osun and Ekiti to bring to closure one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the Nigerian judiciary? Or will he continue to dance to the revanchist music of the PDP? Justice Salami’s ordeal began, it is necessary to recall, when he presided over the sitting of the Court of Appeal which voided the purported 2007 election of the PDP candidate, Engineer Segun Oni, in the 2007 Ekiti gubernatorial election and declared Dr Kayode Fayemi of the ACN winner. That election was marred by fraud on a scale almost beyond belief. In a court–ordered partial re-run designed to help ascertain the true voice of the people, the PDP, the election umpire INEC, the complaisant Maurice Iwu presiding, and the police, executed a theft even more brazen. Afraid to look the facts in the face, a 3-2 majority of the election petitions tribunal, conveniently took refuge in transparent sophistry to consecrate the theft. Oni, whom former President Olusegun Obasanjo had foisted on the people of Ekiti after the disastrous tenure of Ayo Fayose, another one of his mainstreaming proxies, held all the aces. He had the money. He controlled the patronage. He disbursed rewards and punishments. He had the Federal might behind him. Former President Umaru Yar’Adua, to whom he had run for solace after the court ordered a partial re-run of the election the PDP had stolen for him in 2007, had assured him that he would be the first Nigerian to enjoy the distinction of serving as a state governor for six straight years. Withal, Oni had the assurance of PDP na-

RIPPLES JONATHAN HAS THE RIGHT TO CONTEST FOR A SECOND TERM-Activist

Yes, BOKO HARAM RULED in his FIRST TERM

OLATUNJI DARE

AT HOME ABROAD olatunji.dare@thenationonlineng.net

Justice Salami: Vindication, at last

•Justice Salami

tional chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, who would later be charged with criminal embezzlement, had assured him that Ekiti would be kept in the PDP family. And he had, from House of Representative Speaker Dimeji Bankole’s, who would himself face corruption charges, a firm promise that military force would be used to keep him in office if the people rejected him. And when the people rejected Oni, the unholy trinity of INEC chair Iwu, Information Minister Dora Akunyil and Police InspectorGeneral Mike Okiro corralled the feckless Resident Electoral Commissioner Ayoka Adebayo into announcing fake voter returns, making it unnecessary for Bankole to send in the troops. This was the travesty, obtained by fraud and sustained by force and pillage and arson and murder, that the Court of Appeal terminated,

Justice Salami presiding. Five weeks later, the Salami Court, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi presiding, vacated the stolen mandate under which yet another mainstreamer, retired Brigadier-General (Prince) Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and the PDP, had held Osun in thrall for three years and seven months. Or seven years and seven months, if you believe, as we now positively must, that Oyinlola and the PDP never really won the 2003 election on the basis of which he had served a four-year term. Following the 2007 poll which was vitiated by massive rigging and by pervasive violence, the ACN candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, petitioned the Election Tribunal for review and redress. The Tribunal gave what it would be courteous to call short shrift to what seemed like compelling evidence and dismissed the petition. Aregbesola then took his case to a higher tribunal, which ruled that the verdict of the court of first instance amounted to a miscarriage of justice, pure and simple, and ordered that the petition be heard de novo. But instead of repairing the injury inflicted on the petitioner and on the integrity of the judicial system by the court of first instance, the new Tribunal repeated the offence. It rejected the petition in a “unanimous” ruling signed by only four of the five justices, the text of which was festooned with alterations and interpolations that called the integrity of the entire process into question. Aregbesola then took his case to the Court of Appeal, the judicature of last resort in matters relating to gubernatorial elections. It would be hard to formulate a more elo-

HARDBALL

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HILE Chief Justice Dahiru Musdapher, with an eye on history, works studiously and sensibly to mitigate the harsh judgement of posterity on all those involved in the Justice Ayo Salami case, it seems more top Nigerians will be driven to their destruction before the case finally expires. Only yesterday, this column, suspecting presidential dithering on the case and perfidy by politicians in some quarters, warned of the need to allow justice prevail in the matter of the suspension meted out last year to Salami, President of the Court of Appeal. Hardball concluded yesterday that “It is left to Jonathan to prove whether he is himself made of good mettle, as he has sometimes tried to give impression, or whether he is shorn of the finer principles and dispassion expected of his exalted office.” Alas, Hardball spoke too soon, if the reports in the Monday edition of some newspapers are to be believed. It was reported that President Goodluck Jonathan, who acted expeditiously when he approved the suspension of Salami in August 2011, had begun the process of consultations to determine whether to lift the suspension placed on Salami, in line with the recommendation made by the National Judicial Council (NJC) after reviewing the case last week. If Jonathan did not consult before approving the suspension, why consult over reinstatement? To answer this peculiarly Nigerian puzzle, Hardball decided to take refuge in classics. The columnist recalls the interesting exchange between Jean Jacques Rousseau and Madam

The President consults again! d’Epinay contained in The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau(1782) in which the matters of duty and friendship were discoursed upon in memorable and exhilarating putdowns. Rousseau, it will be recalled had lived for a considerable length of time on the hospitality and patronage of Madam d’Epinay at a place called Hermitage, but had at a point apparently exhausted his goodwill. Yet he found it difficult to leave, making excuses to avoid the pangs of privation, for he was not a man of means and had suffered habitual impecuniousness. Finally Rousseau wrote his host who had travelled to Geneva thus: HERMITAGE 23d NOV., 1757. “I have not forgotten your goodness to me, and you may, on my part, expect as much gratitude as it is possible to have towards a person I no longer can love. All further explanation would be useless. I have in my favour my own conscience, and I return you your letter. “I wished to quit the Hermitage, and I ought to have done it. My friends pretend I must stay there until spring; and since my friends desire it I will remain there until that season if you will consent to my stay.”

DELE AGEKAMEH

quent summation of the violence the Tribunal did to the facts and to justice than the one formulated by the presiding appellate judge. The Tribunal, Justice Ogunbiyi wrote, was “lackadaisical” in its handling of the matter. Without evaluating it, without inquiring into its probative value, the Tribunal dismissed vital evidence as “mere allegations.” Scorning expertise, it set at nought compelling forensic evidence. It wantonly misrepresented evidence of key witnesses. In sum, said the presiding judge, the Tribunal’s conduct was a “travesty, a caricature, and a mockery” of the judicial process. If the Salami Court had been complaisant like the retinue of kept judges that allowed the PDP to exercise political authority it had not earned at the polls, Justice Salami would be probably be one of the most contented public figures in Nigeria today, but also one of the most ordinary. If he could not be brought into line, he would have to be promoted to the Supreme Court and there neutered. He declined the offer, just as he had declined years earlier to be considered for a seat on that court. Nor would he agree for reasons that had nothing to do with law or justice, to withhold a judgment pending in the dispute over the gubernatorial race in Sokoto State, as demanded, he charged, by Chief Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu. It was his word against that of Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, to be sure. Justice Dahiru Musdapher, whom Justice Salami had cited as a witness to the chief justice’s unseemly importuning, would say with diplomatic tact that he could not recall the occasion. Not that it never happened; merely that he had no recollection of it. Those determined to teach Justice Salami a lesson seized that slender threat, and wove it into a charge of perjury, with Chief Justice Katsina-Alu serving as accuser and prosecutor and witness and judge while in office and even after his retirement. Dr Jonathan and those he is “consulting” may well choose to discount the events and the intrigue that culminated in the political lynching to which Justice Salami has been subjected. But when two eminent figures at opposite ends of the political and juridical spectrum like Justice Kayode Eso and Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), along with the overwhelming majority of members of the National Judicial Council, sign off on the document recommending reinstatement for Justice Salami, they must realise that it is time for politics to yield to justice. •For comments, send SMS to 08057634061

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above To which his host, Madam d’Epinay responded in this fashion: GENEVA, 1st December, 1757. “After having for several years given you every possible mark of friendship all I can now do is to pity you. You are very unhappy. I wish your conscience may be as calm as mine. This may be necessary to the repose of your whole life. “Since you are determined to quit the Hermitage, and are persuaded that you ought to do it, I am astonished your friends have prevailed upon you to stay there. For my part I never consult mine upon my duty, and I have nothing further to say to you upon your own.” Readers will quite easily find in the said letter of Rousseau a reflection of our president’s disingenuous escapism as he relies on the views of others rather than his own judgement, and hopes that his consultations will attenuate the injury he does his office in the Salami case. And in the reply of Madam d’Epinay, readers will find a reflection of themselves as they advise Dr Jonathan to appreciate the weight of his duty as president and not be entangled in partisan trifles. By some accounts, Alexander the Great was said to have learnt the Iliad, Homer’s epic poem, by heart. Had Jonathan himself periodically taken refuge in classics, he would not need us to remind him what inspiration and urbanity classics inculcates in statesmen.

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The Nation May 15, 2012