Issuu on Google+

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Fire guts PHCN station in Lagos

We lost 56 men, say police, SSS NEWS Page 59

•Nasarawa massacre revisited

•Power outage likely

NEWS Page 57

www.thenationonlineng.net

VOL. 8, NO. 2486 WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH

N150.00

Emergency rule begins in Yobe, Borno, Adamawa I want to reassure you all that those who are di‘rectly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state, and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives, whoever they may be, wherever they may go, we will hunt them down, we will fish them out, and we will bring them to justice. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror

Lawmakers, PDP governors, lawyers back action CAN chief killed

T

HE President talked tough last night on the crippling insecurity in the country, especially in some parts of the North. Terrorists, he said, will be hunted down and defeated. Dr Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three Northeast states – Borno, Yobe and Adamawa –where killings, mostly by Boko Haram insurgents,

From Augustine Ehikioya,

INSIDE

Abuja

have persisted. He addressed the nation in a 15-minute broadcast. The President exhibited a tough mien during the speech, saying the activities of insurgents amounted to “a declaration of war” on the country. But he spared the democratic institutions in the states. The executive, the legislature and

•What the law says •CPC, ANPP cautious •The long, winding road to emergency •Western Region, Plateau, Ekiti once felt the hammer •Action sad, says CODER MORE ON •Text of the President’s speech •AND PAGES 2,3,5&64 the judiciary will continue to function. Jonathan said he based his

action on Section 305 (1) of the Constitution. He got support from some eminent lawyers,

lawmakers and political leaders, who said he acted within the law. Minutes after the presidential speech last night, the Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Borno State, Rev. Faye Pama Musa, was shot dead. He was killed inside his Maiduguri home by people suspected to be members of the Boko Haram.

The head pastor of a pentecostal church in Maiduguri was trailed to his GRA residence by two gunmen who shot him at close range at about 7.30pm. House of Representatives spokesman Zakari Mohammed said the lawmakers would back the action “as long as it will guarantee peace and security.” Continued on page 4

Speaker alleges plot to kill Amaechi, others

T

HE Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crisis hit a frightening bend yesterday, with House of Assembly Speaker Otelemaba Dan Amachree alleging a plot to assassinate Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and other officials. He did not name those behind the plot. In an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Speaker said there was a plan to withdraw security personnel attached to the governor, the House, ministries and local government councils. This, he said, is besides indications that the governor, legislators and prominent

By Joseph Jibueze and Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

government officials have been marked for elimination. The Speaker said the plot was hatched at “nocturnal meetings held in a neighboring state and Abuja”. Amachree called for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Police Command, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. He urged President Jonathan “to intervene in the ongoing imbroglio that is about destroying the very fabrics that hold the society (our state) together”. Continued on page 4

•From left: Glo ambassador, Ini Edo, Globacom’s Head of Corporate Sales, Kamaldeen Shonibare and Mrs. Abimbola Umozurike of Glo Customer Care during the launch of Glo’s first-of-its-kind post-paid package, Glo Infinitiser, in Lagos… yesterday.

•SPORTS P23 •LIFE P25 •MONEY P30 •INVESTORS P32 •POLITICS P43


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

2

NEWS STATE OF EMERGENCY •From left: CEO/ GMD Access Bank Mr. Aigboje AigImoukhuede, Friends Africa Board Chair Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and CEO/ founder , Friends Africa Dr. Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba, at the Gift from Africa Corporate Executives Dinner organised by Friends Africa, during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town, South Africa

• From left: Consul General, German Consulate General in Nigeria Mr. Walter Driesch, Deputy President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Alhaji Remi Bello, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Goodie Ibru and Chairman, Trade Promotion Board, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, at the presentation of the Lagos International Trade Fair Prospectus in Lagos...yesterday.

•The Drector, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Mr. Tony Ojobo (left) and the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, at the Consumer Outreach Programme of the commission in Awka, Anambra State.

•Former Chairman, Oshimili South Local Government, Chinedu Okafor (left) presenting the winners trophy to Captain of Team 5Megabites, Tony Agbodo at the Etisalat EasyStarter Football Fiesta in Asaba. With them is the Manager, Mass Market Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Nnamdi Ezeani (right) .

‘Emergency P

ROMINENT lawyers yesterday endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. They said they were impressed he acted within the law. Former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, said the president acted to save the country. Obanikoro said: "Thank God the president has done the right thing politically, morally and religiously. Thousands of innocent lives have been lost unjustly as a result of the madness and recklessness of a few disgruntled elements. They have negatively impacted our values, our ways of lives and our country. They have inflicted untold hardship on all of us psychologically and physically. This is not the time for partisanship but time for patriotism." Speaking to The Nation last night, Constitutional lawyer Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) described it as the “proper” thing to do. He said it was overdue since it has been established that a well armed group of terrorists was bent on holding the country to ransom. “What the President has done is the right and proper thing to do. It is very well established that an armed group of terrorists has been operating with impunity in the areas affected with total disregard for lives and property; it has been operating without regard for our institutions. “If he did not do it, the situation would get out of hand and a terrorist state would be established next to to Nigeria and it would open the door for all sorts of terrorist groups in the world to dwell next to us, and that is unacceptable”. Lagos Lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) said the declaration of the state of emergency was “perfectly in order”. He said Section 305 of the Constitution gives the President the power “to restore law and order where peace and order are being threatened. He however, requires the National Assembly to approve the same. “But I must say, that unlike Obasanjo, he acted within the bounds of constitutionalism and the rule of law. He has left intact the democratic institutions in those states. This is commendable,” he said. Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) said it should have been declared much earlier than now. He said it was the right thing to do. “It is the right thing to do, it should have been declared earlier. Let us stop pretending about it, there is a state of war. That is the way I see it. And if a group has declared war on the country, the president must assert the sovereignty of the country. it is good, it is proper, it is right,” he said. Professor of law, Akin Oyebode, said the declaration was belated, halfhearted and reminiscent of a slightly pregnant woman. "President Jonathan's declaration of emergency is belated, half-hearted and reminiscent of a slightly pregnant woman. "He ought to have gone the whole hog in order to make it meaningful. But I guess he was compelled not to hurt certain vested interests. "It is a non-starter because you cannot declare emergency rule and leave the status quo. An emergency rule warrants extraordinary measures which nullifies the maintenance of the status quo. His declaration should have been accompanied by a military rule for a short time in the states to save the situation.” Former Edo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice,

•Falana By Augustine Avwode and Precious Igbonwelundu

Dr. Osagie Obayuwana said the declaration was long overdue. He said: "Although the declaration of emergency rule is long overdue, I think it is time for people to rally round the president and not allow rascals to continue in their atrocious deeds. "The declaration is better late than never and we should at this point, put politics aside and rally round the president to end this recklessness." Constitutional lawyer Dr. Fred Agbaje said although the emergency rule was long due, the constitutionally recognised emergency rule as enshrined in Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution as amended was for all legislative powers of the state houses of assembly to be suspended automatically. He said: "Throughout the period of an emergency rule, it is the National Assembly that oversees legislative functions of those states. What the president has done is to stand the Nigerian Constitution on its head, by purporting to declare a state of emergency and at the same time allowing the state legislature to function. "His action is constitutionally heretical and anathema. If the President has not got the liver or kidney to declare an outright state of emergency in the affected states, he should not ridicule the concept." Agbaje said state of emergency is always the last resort when law and order has been broken down irretrievably in a state. "Therefore, the only option left for the government to carry out its constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens' lives and properties is to declare same. "The truth is that nobody in his right senses will dispute that law and order has broken down irretrievably in the affected states. Even the Boko Haram members know it and they saw the state of emergency coming. They cannot pretend, particularly with the unhealthy bloodbath and wanton destruction of lives and properties. "My problem is that why is the president just waking up from his slumber? Why is it (emeregency) after he has put in place an amnesty committee, eventhough the Boko Haram elements have consistently said they do not want government's amnesty and are the ones to give the Nigerian people amnesty? "Why is government now declaring emergency rule when so much of tax payers' money has been put into the amnesty committee? What purpose is the emergency going to serve now? "It will amount to a contradiction on the part of the Federal Government to claim that they are pursuing amnesty and at the same time declaring state of emergency. Who is fooling who?”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

3

NEWS STATE OF EMERGENCY

rule in Borno, others in order’

What the President has done is the right and proper thing to do •Ahamba

•Oyebode

•Sagay

•Agbaje

The long, winding road to emergency S

INCE the end of the civil war, no major challenge has threatened to destabilise Nigeria than the menace of Boko Haram. It is a calamity of enormous proportion that has befallen the nation. The horror unleashed by the dreadful sect is confounding. Many lives have been lost. Property worth billions of naira destroyed. Nobody is insulated from attack. Government officials and buildings, traditional rulers, police and military formations and church worshippers are targets. The United Nations (UN) building in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, was bombed. The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, was attacked for deploring the sect’s activities. Elder statesman Alhaji Ali Monguno was kidnapped. The Sheu of Borno, Alhaji el-Kanemi, narrowly escaped being assassinated. Recently, over 30 policemen were killed by the sect members. Daily, there is panic. The fear has become the beginning of wisdom. Fed up with the persistent onslaught, President Goodluck Jonathan cried out that Boko Haram had invaded his cabinet. It is worrisome to the government that the projected demands of the sect are inexplicable. They have called for an end to western education, although they rely on the products

By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor

of technological know-how to wreak havoc. Paradoxically, a sect that has proposed an end to western education in the North is addicted to bombing, which is an invention and legacy of the western world. More worrisome is the fact that, despite the offer of amnesty,which critics have described as a curious reward for senseless killings, the sect is reluctant to lay down its arms. Many have argued that the political undertone of the insurgency may have been inadvertently ignored. Lamentably, the sponsors of these destructive acts cannot also be traced by intelligence agents. Indeed, the failed attempts at curbing the activities of the sect have created a hollow in the record of President Jonathan in the critical area of national security. Few months ago, the sect raised the hope of Nigerians about a likely ceasefire. A leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, announced plans by the members to lay down their weapons and embrace dialogue. There was momentary relief that hostility would be suspended. The assurance later paled into a camouflage surrender as the fighters poignantly demanded the release of their members who are in detention. Barely two

days after, another faction came up to say that Shekau was on his own. Government has not relented in waving the olive branch. Although the President declared that he would not dialogue with faceless people or ghost fighters, he reversed himself. A committe on amnesty was set up. But it has not deterred the sect members from their nefarious activities. Critics who have objected to dialogue with Boko Haram have pointed out that the approach is defeatist. They also submitted that dialogue with similar organisations in many African and Asian countries have never ensured peace. Others canvassed the option of daring the arsonists by tracking them down and bringing them to justice. Their argument is that the nation is in agony and thirsty for justice. So far, the government has exercised caution in resorting to emergency. President Jonathan has refrained from labelling them terrorists. Only few nations confronted with similar security challenges have overcome the hurdle. The strength of the sect lies in its financiers, arms suppliers, links with terrorist organisations and real motivation for the affront. Will the state of emergency resolve these puzzles?

Western Region, Plateau, Ekiti once felt the hammer

H

E appeared on the screen as a distressed leader, whose administration is full of tension. His voiced was coarse. Apparently, the embattled leader appeared rattled by the security challenge that has threatened to overwhelm him and create a deep hollow in his record. In a fit of anger, the President Goodluck Jonathan declared a constitutionally limited state of emergency in the troubled states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa. To analysts, the decision has two implications. The ‘emergency rule’, which will not affect the structures of government in the affected states, pales into the strategic acceptance that Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states are now disaster zones. The governors, who do not have control over the security agencies under the lopsided federal arrangement, are not to blame. However, the second implication is that the insecurity in these states, two of them (Borno and Yobe) are under the control of an opposition party, may be politically exploited to fuel more tensions that could later warrant the declaration of full emergency. The invocation of the power of emergency conveys the impression that all is not well with a section of the country, and indeed, the country. Historically, when the late Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa declared a state of emergency in the defunct Western Region, the late Premier Ladoke Akintola stepped aside for the emergency administrator, Senator Koye Majekodunmi, who ran the affairs of the region for six months. A

Presidency’s action saddening, says CODER

T

HE convener of the Coalition for Democratic Reforms By Amidu Arije (CODER), Mr. Ayo Opadokun, has condemned the declaration of a state of emergency in Adamawa, Yobe the Boko Haram killed more than 100 people last and Borno states. He described it as another sad devel- week. “My honest advice to President Jonathan is that opment. He said: “I condemn the declaration of state of emer- he should summon courage to consult with the gency in the three states of the Northeastern part of Nige- leadership of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria ( the ria. The action is adoption of an easy option in a very ethnic nationalities that were the building blocks dangerous national crisis. I believe that the damage that upon which Lord Lugard constructed this unwill be done to the corporate existence of Nigeria by this workable Nigeria project), for the purposes of declaration will dent the image of Nigeria as an unstable convoking a sovereign national conference to democratic state. Any re-adoption of the use of force to answer the national questions once and for all. “The founding fathers of Nigeria agreed to be whip the people into shape is tenuous and indicative of a part of Nigeria on the basis of true federalism; ruler of a state that has not the capacity to govern. “I, therefore, call on President Goodluck Jonathan to do that is what is missing. Until all nationalities the needful in this circumstance now that Boko Haram sit down in a representative assembly with other has again rejected the offer made to it. The real militant stakeholders, we are likely to have the kind of group in Nasarawa has butchered over 50 policemen and scenario that we are currently experiencing.” By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor

state of emergency became more compelling, following the crisis of leadership that enveloped the region. The ruling Action Group (AG) had split into two camps, which revolved around the party leader and Leader of Federal Opposition, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and his deputy, the late Akintola. Two personalities; Akintola of the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) and Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro of the AG, were laying

claims to the premiership. There was the breakdown of law and order in the Western regional House of Assembly, following the disruption of proceedings by Hon. Oke from Ogbomoso Constituency. After the expiration of the six-month emergency rule, the late Akintola regained his position. Thirty two years later, former President Olusegun Obasanjo declared state of emergency in the crisis-ridden Plateau State for six months. He informed the Senate after the announcement. Governor Joshua Dariye was shoved aside and

an administrator, Maj-Gen. Chris Ali, came on board. The emergency declaration followed the religious crisis that engulfed the state. As the Christians and Muslims clashed, there were bloodshed and reprisal attacks in the neighbouring states. The bloodletting was said to have claimed over 2,000 lives. Obasanjo, who also sacked the House of Asembly, explained that the emergency powers were invoked to stamp out sectarian violence and restore order. He blamed Dariye for being indecisive, stressing that his aloofness had further compounded

the crisis. Following the expiration of the emergency rule, Dariye regained his lost power. Also, On October 19, 2006, Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in Ekiti State. The executive and legislative arms were the casualties. The House of Assembly had impeached the governor, Ayo Fayose, and appointed the Speaker, Sunday Aderemi, as the acting governor, instead of the deputy governor, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi. There was crisis. Fayose claimed that he was illegally removed. Mrs. Olujimi could not take over. Aderemi was parading himself as the acting governor. Tension rose in the agrarian state, following the remarks by the Chief Judge and Attorney-general that the governor was illegally removed. Obasanjo declared the controversial impeachment ridiculous. He said he was alarmed at the presence of three governors in Ekiti State. “We have come to a sad, ridiculous and unacceptable situation in Ekiti State where we have three governors. It is dangerous for democracy to allow this flagrant violation”, he added. An administrator, Gen. Adetunji Olurin (rtd), was appointed for the state. Last year, following the escalation of crisis in Riyom, Jos North, Barkin Ladi and Jos South councils, the Federal Government also declared limited emergency in the local governments.


4

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

NEWS •Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola congratulating the winner of the Lagos State Power Kids Awards 2013, Master Osadara Gideon of Iju Junior Secondary School (middle). With them is the General Manager, Lagos State Electricity Board, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi during the Lagos State Power Kids Awards 2013, a Lagos State Government Energy Conservation Initiative, at the Memorable Gathering, NERDC Road, CBD Alausa, Ikeja…yesterday

Speaker alleges plot to kill Amaechi, others Continued from page 1

The Speaker said all has not been well since April 15 when an Abuja High Court upturned the election of the state Executive Committee of the PDP, led by Chief G. U. Ake. He alleged that “a test run” of the plot to expose the officers to the assassin’s bullet “has been executed, with the withdrawal of police from the Okirika Local Government Council.” According to him, the situation is exacerbated by an alleged plan to release 18 notable robbery and kidnap kingpins from detention. The detainees, he said, would be freed “to carry out this planned mayhem on the government officials, innocent citizens and residents of the state”.

Amachree wrote: “Mr. President Sir, we had on 30 April, 2013 alerted the people of the wanton cunning collapse of security apparatus in the state, intended to orchestrate breakdown of law and order, with the aim of bolstering a State of Emergency, by a group of persons … “On 3 May, 2013, first stage of their plan had commenced with the sealing off and besieging of the Obio/Akpor Local Government council secretariat and the clampdown on the offices of the council by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu through the instrumentality of the Divisional Police Officer, Rumuokoro Police Station, without any valid instrument of law and without any security breach or semblance of same.

“On 6 May, 2013, the Rivers State House of Assembly complex, which is directly adjacent to the Police Headquarters on Moscow Road, witnessed a violent and disruptive takeover by 300 hoodlums under the watchful eyes of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. “Your Excellency Sir, we fear for the survival of our democratic structures and the freedom to carry out our legitimate legislative duties have been greatly hindered and interrupted. “We make bold to say that we now live in uncertain times; security of lives and properties can no longer be guaranteed in Rivers State as a result of these chronicled events in a state that has just regained its peaceful status from the recent past from

being the hotbed of cultism and kidnapping. “Silence over this planned and calculated destabilisation of security apparatus in Rivers State is an ‘evil wind’ that will blow no one no good and is capable of contributing to fostering anarchy on the Nigeria Stateline, especially when those charged with upholding the law, ignore and conspire to undermine it, unmindful of the implications. “Consequently sir, we are left with no other option but to restate our avowed resolve to call for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. “We equally call on Mr. President to intervene in the ongoing imbroglio that is about destroying the very fabrics that hold the society (our state) together.”

Six expectant girls rescued from Enugu ‘baby factory’

T

HE police have uncovered another ‘baby factory’. Six expectant teenage girls kept in a guardian’s home in Enugu were rescued after a raid on the private residence by security operatives. Enugu police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said yester-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

day that the anti-kidnap unit of the police, acting on a tipoff raided No 7, Anyansi Lane, Ogui Enugu, where they rescued the teenagers. The girls, who are said to be 17 years old gave their names as Chioma Eze, Amarachi Okoro, Gloria Okoye, Uzoa-

maka Lawrence, Nneji Faith and Akpan Juliana. Amaraizu told reporters that the teenagers were smuggled out of their guardians’ home and kept in a hideout where they were expected to give birth before the babies sold to bidders. Three persons are said to be

behind the business. Those in custody are Lami Lasu, Isha Musa and Anthony Chigbo, an indigene of Enugu State. Amaraizu said investigations into the incident were going. The rescued girls were still Continued on page 10

Rivers women march for police chief’s removal

S

CORES of women from the 23 local government areas of Rivers State yesterday took over the major roads and streets of Port Harcourt, the state capital, demanding the immediate removal of Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu, for allegedly taking sides in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crisis.The police chief has always insisted that he is neutral. The women, dressed in black, symbolising mourning, were the led by Princess Ure Ejim. They first converged on the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt for prayers, before moving to the gate of the Government House. They were received by Tele Ikuru, deputy governor. The protesters got to the gate of the Government House at 8:35 am and waited till 9:05 am, when Ikuru came to address them. The Chief of Staff, Tony Okocha, and other top Rivers government officials, were with Ikuru, who mounted the back of a white Toyota Hilux van. He rounded off his speech at 9:22 am. The protesting women, armed with placards bearing various anti-Mbu inscriptions, were chanting anti-Federal Government songs. Some of their placards read: “Mbu is a politician”; “Mbu, apologise and go”; “CP Mbu, anti-democracy”; “CP Mbu, do not kill Rivers State”; “CP Mbu must go”; “Go, Mbu go”; “Police Commissioner must go”; “Mbu is a confusionist”; “Leave us in peace; Mbu Joseph”; “Police are partial”; and “Rivers women want peace”. Ikuru, who spoke on behalf of Amaechi, said: “Women are known as the architects of peace. So, when you see women stand up, know that indeed there is problem and any man born of a woman must succumb. “When women stand up, when women ask for peace, every man must succumb. I want to thank you because you have moved this entire thing to another theatre. The theatre you have moved it into is the theatre of religion. “The theatre of seeking the face of God. You are asking God to intervene. That is why you went to pray before undertaking this demonstration. “The Bible states that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt spiritual wickedness in high places. “What you have done now is to move this entire thing to another theatre, where you call upon God to come and take total control. “By reason of the fact that you have called upon God, by reason of the fact that you have knelt down and you have cried to God in heaven, God will hear you. “I ask you, at this moment of challenges, at this moment of difficulties, to be prayerful, because this is time for prayers. It is time for fasting and whatever you ask and pray for, God will do it for you. “Let me urge each and everyone of you to conduct yourself in a most peaceful and orderly manner, because you have shown you are women of peace.” The leader of the protesting women, Princess Ure Ejim, admonished the warriors to give peace a chance, declaring the Rivers women no longer want Mbu as Rivers police commissioner. Princess Ejim said: “Since Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi became governor on October 26, 2007, after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court the previous day, we have been enjoying peace and other goodies in Rivers State. “Police Commissioner Mbu is on a deadly mission in Rivers state. CP Mbu is a politician. Women of Rivers state are requesting that Mbu Joseph Mbu must resign or be moved out of our state now. They used to say police are our friends, but police are no longer our friends in Rivers State. “We are mourning the death of peace in Rivers State. Other Nigerian women should join us to demand the immediate removal of CP Mbu Joseph Mbu.” An elderly woman, Chief Goodness Ukwu, said she and the others were at the Government House to protest the continued retention of Mbu as Rivers police commissioner, adding that the activities of the police boss had aggravated the already tense situation in the state. A new PDP chairman, Obuah was sworn in Abuja, following the declaration of High Court. Obuah in the camp of the Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike. The former chairman. Chief Godspower Ake, who was elected on March 17, last year.

Emergency rule begins in Yobe, Borno, Adamawa Emergency at last

Continued from page 1

Others, however, criticised the presidential action as “half hearted”. It is not likely to end the insurgency which has crippled economic and social activities in the affected states — in their view. Before making the announcement, the President early yesterday met with the governors of Borno and Yobe states at the Presidential Villa. He also hosted the Boko Haram Amnesty Committee members. On Monday, Dr. Jonathan met with security chiefs, led by Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, for the second time in 72 hours, perhaps to perfect the emergency plan. Governors on Monday cautioned the President against declaring a state of emergency in the states, echoing the position of opposition parties –the Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The President warned the terrorists that the government would use all resources at its

I

T did not quite come as the Biblical thief in the night, for it was much speculated. But the declaration of emergency rule in Borno and Yobe, epicentre of the Boko Haram insurrection and Adamawa (with Kano and Kaduna, one of the states that have borne its most heinous after-shock of Boko Haram’s mass murder) still came with its own shock waves, given the concerted campaign by impassioned stakeholders, driven by different motives. Yesterday, however, President Goodluck Jonathan, in a nationwide broadcast, clamped emergency rule on the three states, after a late meeting with state governors, swearing his government would not tolerate subversive elements carving for themselves part of Nigeria’s territory; and hoisting illegal flags. The constitutionality of the declaration is clear, for the objective conditions in the three states conform to Section 305 (3) (a)-

disposal to destroy their activities as they are embarking on a war they cannot win. While giving the military powers to deploy more troops in the affected states and arrest suspects, he said the declaration would not affect the functions of the governors and oth-

ANALYSIS By Olakunle Abimbola

(g) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended: when the federation is at war, in imminent danger of invasion or involvement in war, breakdown of public order and public safety, clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order, any other danger that constitutes a threat to the existence of the federation. The Boko Haram attacks and attendant anxiety on general insecurity have created the situations the Constitution prescribes for imposing emergency rule. But beyond constitutional legalism, it appears not much would change with the emergency. For starters, the vortex of Boko Haram attacks have, for some time now, been heavily militarised, with even the locals complaining about the alleged high-handedness of the Joint Military Task Force, which many a local have come to regard as an army of

er public officers as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. He said details of the Proclamation would be transmitted to the National Assembly, in line with the provisions of the Constitution. He said: “It has become necessary for me to address you

occupation; and have come to resent, if not viscerally hate. Would emergency rule make any difference in the alleged misconduct of the military personnel in the troubled areas? That is doubtful. Still, improved change in military conduct would win over the local population; who could then reward the government with the badly needed intelligence to break the spine of the insurgents. But what if there is no improvement? That would mean a long and hard night, the end result of which no one is sure. That is why it is imperative for the military to strictly stick to their rules of engagement, even in the face of heinous provocation. Just as well this emergency does not affect the organs of government – the executive and the legislature. No part of the constitution – neither Section 11 (Public order and public security) nor Section 305 (Emergency Declaration) gives the president the

on the recent spate of terrorist activities and protracted security challenges in some parts of the country, particularly in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau and, most recently, Bayelsa, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa states.

Continued on page 10

“These unfortunate events have led to needless loss of lives and property of many innocent Nigerians, including members of our security forces. “The recent killing of security operatives by a cult group in Nasarawa State is particu-

•Shettima

larly condemnable. I have directed that no effort or expense be spared in identifying and bringing to justice all those Continued on page 8

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


5

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

NEWS STATE OF EMERGENCY

CPC, ANPP cautious

Senate, Reps back action

T

•PDP backs Jonathan on state of emergency

T

HE Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday faureacted controversy to declaration of State of Emergency. National Publicity Secretary of CPC, Mr Rotimi Fashakin said: “Yes President Goodluck Jonathan has full view of things more than anyone by virtue of his privileged position. He is empowered by the Nigeria constitution to declare a State of Emergency in three states. But it is belated. The fact that the political structures have not been dismantled makes it different from what his predecessor did. The situation in these states is dire and behooves all of us as citizens to rally round the president and ensure that peace is restored to the region. As a party, we hope this latest action will bring the elusive peace. “We hope this is not another means by the President and his political associates to try to weaken the powers of the opposition parties that have just concluded their conventions. We are at alert as situation unfolds.” ANPP’s National Financial Secretary, Ahjia Fatimah Muhammed described President Goodluck Jonathan’s action as a means to destroy the opposition’s plan to takeover government in 2015. She said Jonathan has waited so long to declare State of emergency and

From Gbenga Omokhunu and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

why now, she asked. Her words: “It is a very bad development. In as much as we want peace to reign in the northern states, Jonathan’s action is not the solution. The security of all is the responsibility of the Federal Government but the president has wasted time to declare State of Emergency. Why now when the opposition parties had just concluded their conventions? There is more to this. He has pre-empted the work of the committees he inaugurated. State of Emergency will not solve the problem. He should have allowed the committee to work. He has taken a wrong step. The killing has been going on for more than two years and nothing was done. He has taken this step to destroy the merger process. And he will not succeed in this regard.” The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown its weight behind the declaration of state of emergency in Borno and Yobe States. A statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metu yesterday said the party supports the president on “all actions that will restore stability, peace and progress in the body polity”. We commend him for showing effective leadership. You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. “We are 100% behind the president’s action and we call on all responsible

•Nyako

citizens to rally round the security officials of the nation at these trying times. With President Jonathan, Nigeria will overcome our security challenges”. National Chairman of the Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu yesterday insisted that State of Emergency is needful and that it is the only way to check the crisis in the affected area. “I want to say that President Goodluck Jonathan has done the best by declaring state of emergency in all those states where these mass killing has been very prevalent. I think Mr. President did not shy away from this responsibility and has not allowed people to misadvise him on this,” he said. National Publicity Secretary of CNPP, Osita Okechukwu told The Nation that Jonathan’s action will not achieve the desired results. He said: “The action is too late and may not achieve the intendment. It is only critical planning, funding of the security agencies and strident war against corruption that will stem the insurgency.”

HE National Assembly last night endorsed the emergency declaration in three states. The Senate is ready to stamp the Presidential action, its spokesman Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said yesterday. According to him, the lawmakers will not hesistate to approve the request when it is presented. The House of Representatives gave a conditional support. House spokesman Zakari Mohammed giving the official position of the House said: “As long as it will guarantee peace and security. if you recall, our motions and bulls have always show concern for the state of security in the country. “All our activities if taken in the right direction, were geared towards making the situation better and if taken earlier would have corrected some of this anomalies long before now, but its better late than never. “We invited the President on the issue sometime last year and the Senate also invited Service Chief, on the same issue. “So, as long as it will bring peace and security, the House of Representatives has no problems with that”. The chairman, House Committee on Justice Ali Ahmed said: “The security situation of this country should be of paramount concern to everyone and in my view the country is in clear danger of breakdown of law and order.”

From Victor Olueasegun, Dele Anofi and Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

Lawyers yesterday expressed mixed reactions to the declaration of state of emergency. Niyi Akintola, Yusuf Ali, (SAN) Joseph Nwobike (SAN) and Sebatine Hon (SAN) gave different views yesterday. They were however unanimous that the President was right in not sacking elected officials and dismantling democratic institutions. They described the practice under former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an aberration. Akintola dismissed the measure adopted as being inadequate to curb the rising wave of insecurity in the country. “Certainly not. I have my doubt whether the measure will not aggravate the current security situation,” Akintola said. He however agreed that by not sacking elected officials in the affected states, the President was within the law. He frowned at the tactic adopted by the President, and argued that President Jonathan ought to first seek the approval of the National Assembly. “What he has done is in anticipation of the Na-

•Shettima

tional Assembly’s approval. Of course, he has no power to sack any governor or dissolve the State Assembly without the consent of the Federal Legislature. It is a sign of impunity,” Akintola said. Ali argued that the President was in order in not sacking elected officials of the affected states. He contended that it would have amounted to punishing the wrong people for the failure of security institutions, over which the President alone has control. “What happened under President Obasanjo was an aberration. It was wrong to have sacked governors who were not directly found to be the cause of the crisis.

Yobe okays action

Y

OBE, one of the three states now under emergency declaration, last night welcomed the presidential action. A statement by media adviser to the Governor Mr Abdullahi Bego, quoted Governor Ibrahim Gaidam as saying that the decision is meant to effectively address insecurity. He advised the people to go about their lawful duties

NLC chief decries killings Alleged N107m fraud: Ogbulafor denies involvement

A

GONY and insecurity now walk with two legs in the country, no thanks to the activities of Boko Haram sect, cultism and others, Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Isa Aremu has said. Aremu, who spoke with reporters yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on the state of the nation, decried last week gruesome murder of security personnel in Nassarawa State. His words: “There is so much of agony in some parts of Nigeria. There is agony in Maiduguri, Nasarawa, I want to express our sympathy with the Inspector-General for the callous and wicked killings of policemen. Who ever dare to kill a policeman, a soldier because these are the people trained to protect us, then what about civilians? There is agony virtually in all parts of the country. Kidnapping has become almost a normal thing. The robbers now do not go only for the property; they now kill owners of the property. “The latest one is the kidnap of the wife and daughter of a judge of the Supreme Court. We have also heard of children organizing to

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

kidnap their own father. We have the forces of insecurity at work; the forces of security also should organise. We have the forces that want to destroy Nigeria, the only hope left for Nigeria, is the Nigerian working class. “We have to advise President Goodluck Jonathan that rather than agonizing, he has to organise himself. We must organise our security forces so that they lay more emphasis on intelligence. Prevention is better than cure. President should organiSe his security forces not to just agonise. He must also organise his government to make sure that the resources of Nigeria are channel to save the complete fall of the citizens.” On the recent Edo local government election, the labour leader said “we have seen that if there is a will, there will be a way. It is highly commendable that Edo state government has conducted council election. In some states, they are yet to conduct it. It is far commendable that the election was free and fair. That shows that the Comrade Governor has practiced the principle of one man, one vote which he has been advocating.

A

FORMER Minister for Special Duties, Vincent Ogbulafor, has denied involvement in the award of fictitious contracts when he was in office. He, however, admitted accepting a gift of N2million from one of his kinsmen, following his appointment as Secretary of the National Economic Intelligence Agency (NEIC). Ogbulafor, a former National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke at the resumption of his trial yesterday at an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Ishaq Bello. He is on trial with Emeka Ebilah and Jude Nwokorie on a 17-count charge of alleged conspiracy and award of fictitious contracts to the tune of

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

N107million. The accused are being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). Ogbulafor, who opened his defence yesterday, was led in evidence by his lawyer, Joe Gadzama (SAN). He denied knowledge of all the allegations made against him in the charge. The former PDP chairman, however, admitted that Ebilah is his kinsman because they are from the state and town. Ogbulafor also admitted that Ebilah led a delegation to congratulate him on his (Ogbulafor) appointment as a minister in 1999. He told the court that Ebilah later sought his assis-

tance for nomination into the board of a Federal Government parastatal. Ogbulafor said he assisted Ebilah into the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC), where he was made the Secretary. On how he resigned as a minister, the accused told the court that he wrote a letter of resignation and forwarded same to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, who he said acknowledged the resignation and thanked him for serving the nation dutifully. The former minister averred that he resigned his ministerial portfolio because he wanted to contest for the post of the PDP National Secretary. He denied knowing some of the companies mentioned in the charge, but admitted

that he owns a company known as Basic Services Limited, which he said never got any contract from the NEIC. Ogbulafor admitted that he collected N2million from Ebilah after he had left office as a minister. He said money was a gift to support his campaign for the post of the PDP National Secretary. The former minister denied ever conspiring with Ebilah to collect any money on any contract from the Federal Government. He also denied knowing how the NIEC was managed. According to him, he was not in a position to receive reports from the committee. Justice Bello, at the instance of the prosecution, adjourned the matter till June 6 for cross-examination.

el-Rufai, operators oppose draft lawful interception

F

ORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir elRufai, and all the major telecom operators have opposed the Nigerian Communications Commisision (NCC’s) Draft Lawful Interception of Communications Regulation, arguing that if allowed, it will threaten the pri-

By Lucas Ajanaku

vacy of the citizens and usherin an era of witch-hunting. Rufai, who was guest speaker at a forum organised by the Joint Action Committee on Infromation and Communications Technology Awareness and Development (JACITAD) in Lagos yester-

day, took a swipe at the proposed regulation of the NCC and concluded that the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 which gave birth to the NCC did not give it powers to engage in intercepting communications of citizens. According to him, such a weighty issue that borders on the infringement of the fun-

damental rights of the citizens should not be left to the whims and caprices of government officials but must be submitted, as a bill, to the National Assembly for passage into law. He argued that doing so will allow the representatives of the people to debate it properly before passing it into law.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

6

NEWS ‘How N1.1b subsidy fraud LAGOS High Court was detected’ sitting in Ikeja was

‘Rising violence ‘ll not derail us’ A T

HE Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Security Challenges in the North and Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, yesterday assured that the current rising security challenges in the country would not interfere with the work of the committee. Speaking with State House correspondents after the committee’s meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, he said their desire and intention to get to the root of the crisis had not been affected by the recent events in the country. According to him, the presidential committee is now well positioned to face the rising challenges in the North. While stressing that the committee is yet to establish contact with Jama’a, Turaki said negotiation does not mean that every party will get what it wants as there must be give and take in the process. On whether the current violence will deter the committee, he said: “I would not want to speak on this thing because there is a lot of dimension into it. It is something that the committee has still not considered. But what I can say on that is that the past events have not in any way derailed our programme. They have not derailed our resoluteness, resolution, desire and intention to get to the root of this problem.” The Minister said the fact that there is ongoing dialogue does not mean that there will not be differences. Said he: “So, there is peace not only in the Middle East including even the Far East. What we are saying is that we are convinced that with all the efforts we are making, we will now be able to arrive at the middle course. Of course, dialogue does not mean there would be absence of differ-

yesterday told how the N1.1 billion subsidy fraud allegedly carried out by Abdullai Alao, son of Ibadan businessman, Abdulazeez Alao Arisekola, and his company was detected. A witness in the ongoing trial of the N1.1b subsidy fraud brought against Abdullahi Alao, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Irene Moses, told the court presided over by Justice Lateefat Okunnu that the defendant did not discharge 15,000 metric tonnes as claimed. Explaining how the fraud was detected, the witness, who was led in evidence by EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Francis Usani, said it takes up to three to four days to discharge a 15,000 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). She said they detected that the volume of fuel discharged by the defendant’s company was done within a

• Alhaji Turaki addressing reporters...yesterday. Listening are former Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi and Alhaji Ibrahim Sabo, who are members of the committee. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

ences.” Responding to a question on when he plans to meet Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, he said: “I cannot tell you that now because you will agree with me that it will not be in the committee’s own interest and it will not be in the interest of the processes for us to begin to disclose how, what and when we want to do these things.” He went on: “Similar efforts in the past were said to have had problems here and there because before you reach an appreciable height, you have people running their mouth, saying things they ought not to say. We want to keep things

as secretive as possible not because we do not want the public to know about them, but because we feel that we have not got to the level yet where the public will be given those details of what we are doing.” Besides meeting the President yesterday, Turaki said the committee would meet governors, traditional rulers, clerics and leaders of the frontline states. “We will meet the governors, traditional rulers, leaders of the frontline states, the clergy. We will go and inspect the epicentres of this crisis, see the people that have had casualties, see the victims because do not forget that part of our responsibility and recommendations we will make is for a

Victims Support Programme. So, unless we are able to get to the field and see these stakeholders, discuss and take useful information from them like we have done from this other side also, our work will not be balanced.” On whether the committee will conclude its assignment within the time frame, he said: “What we have been doing now is laying the foundation and unless we lay a strong foundation you may have problems. I am satisfied and convinced that we are still on course and that we are still working within the time frame. What will happen tomorrow I do not know, but for now I know we are on course. We are on target.”

Olanipekun urges abductors to free Rhodes-Vivour’s wife, daughter

S

UPREME Court Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour’s wife and daughter are yet to make contacts with the family –five days after they were snatched on their way to Benin. Justice Rhodes-Vivour confirmed on Monday that no one had contacted the family. He said it was untrue that the hostages had been freed. When our correspondent asked Justice Rhodes-Vivour on the phone whether

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

his family members had been released, he said he was not aware. “I am not aware of that,” he said. On whether there was any development on the incident, he said: “The police are on top of it. If there is any development we hope to hear from them.” Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Wole Olanipekun

(SAN) and rights activist Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, have appealed to the abductors to release the victims. Olanipekun, who described the development as pathetic, urged the police to thread softly. He stressed that it was no time to talk tough, but to be practical and strategic. The former NBA chief pleaded “with the Nigeria Police to effect the release of the wife and daughter of this

very amiable Justice of the Supreme Court. I am talking from the position of a father, a parent and a husband. “We just want to plead. On my own as a Nigerian, I am pleading with the abductors to release them. It is not even a question of meeting force with force. It is a question of pleading with them. “ Adegboruwa said it was unfortunate that kidnappers had descended on the temple of justice.

ACN condoles with families of security agents killed in Nasarawa

T

HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condoled with the families of the security agents killed by a militia group in Nasarawa State. It described the killing as brutal and calamitous. In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party prayed that God should grant the families the fortitude to bear the losses and also grant eternal rest to the victims. It urged the Federal Government to ensure that the wives, children and other dependants of the slain security personnel

are catered for to minimise the impact of their bereavement. ACN decried the rate at which insurgents and militia groups are targetting and killing security agents. It said the development was unacceptable and barbaric. The party enjoined the authorities to declare a zero tolerance for the killing of security agents by ensuring that those who perpetrate such killings are fished out and brought to justice. It also called for continuous training and provision of equipment for the security agents so that they could protect themselves while carrying out their constitutional

responsibilities of protecting lives and property. “A poorly-trained, poorlymotivated and inadequatelykitted security agent is a soft target for the kind of stoneage marauders now rampaging our country,” ACN said. The party hailed the police authorities for assuring that there would be no reprisal against the community where the dastardly killings occurred in Nasarawa State and for opting for negotiation rather than violence to secure the release of the policemen still said to be in the custody of the militia. “By that singular act, the authorities have portrayed the Nigeria Police as a civilised

force, which has respect for its rules of engagement, unlike the medieval groups that have been so quick to take the lives of those saddled by the State with protecting lives and property. “We have always warned the security agencies against descending to the level of the barbarians, who have been unleashing violence against them, and we are glad our gallant men and women in uniform have heeded this warning. That does notmean the perpetrators must be allowed to get away with their heinous crime. It only means that innocent people will not bear the brunt of their actions,” ACN said.

By Adebisi Onanuga

day and some hours. She said there was no way 15,000 metric tonnes of PMS could have been delivered within one day and some hours as claimed by the defendant. The two other oil marketers charged alongside Abdullahi Alao in the subsidy fraud are Opeyemi Ajuyah and Olanrewaju Olalusi and their companies, Majope Investment Limited and Axenergy Limited. Mrs. Irene, an employee of Oando Oil and Gas Plc, said they have a terminal supervisor, who oversees the discharge of the vessel and monitors the quantity of the vessel at the terminal. The witness said the supervisor later told her that 4,700 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was discharged instead of 15,000 metric tonnes as agreed by Mojasope Investment Ltd.

Senate asks Fed Govt to raise $14b to save Lake Chad

T

HE Senate yesterday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to take steps to raise $14 billion to save Lake Chad from drying up. This followed a motion entitled: “Urgent action to save the Lake Chad”, sponsored by Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) and 40 others. Although the lawmakers hailed the Federal Government for its financial and moral support to the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), they underscored the need to raise the fund to undertake Inter Basin Water Transfer (IBWT) from the Ubangi River. The upper chamber also resolved that the National Assembly should provide legislative support to the Federal Government to continue with its leadership role in the LCBC and quest for sustainable resuscitation of the lake, the promotion of peace, stability and security in the region as a foundation for a durable and sustainable development. It urged President Jonathan, in consultation with the LCBC Summit Chairman and other leaders to champion the donor conference and constitute a robust team of eminent citizens drawn from the member-states to embark on a sensitisation programme of potential donors. The Senate asked Presi-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Snni Onogu, Abuja

dent Jonathan to provide financial and logistic support to embark on the sensitisation programme and organise the donor conference. Lawan in his lead debate noted that Lake Chad is the fourth largest lake in Africa, with a surface area of about 25,000 square km in 1960. He recalled that heads of governments of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad came together in 1964 and established via the Fort Lamy Convention, the LCBC with the objective of harmonising the activities of member-countries for the management of the basin’s resources. The lake, Lawan said, is a repository of bio-diversity, playing an important socioeconomic, political and cultural role to over 30 million people in the four countries sharing border and providing habitat for a variety of wildlife, including migratory birds. He noted that due to a combination of natural and human factors, the lake has been drying up over the last 50 years, leading to the reduction of the surface area from 25,000 square km in 1960 to about 2,500 square km. The fear, Lawan said, was that the lake might disappear in the 21st century.

Ex-NBA chair backs Okiro for PSC job

F

ORMER Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Jos, Benson Igbanoi, has backed ex-InspectorGeneral of Police Mike Okiro for the Police Service Commission (PSC) Chairman. In a statement made available to reporters on Monday in Abuja, Igbanoi said Okiro is qualified for the job, judging by his achievements in the police service. He said: “The provisions of sections 153 and 156 of the Constitution are clear and without any ambiguity whatsoever. For the avoidance of doubt, the proviso states as follows: ‘Provided that a mem-

ber of any of these bodies shall not be required to belong to a political party and in the case of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he shall not be a member of a political party. “Simply put, what that proviso is saying is that membership of a political party is not a sine qua non for an appointee to the office of the chairman of the PSC. In other words, the fact that an appointee is not a member of a political party should not be used against him as a point in considering whether or not he is qualified to occupy that office.”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

7

NEWS

•Idris (third left) addressing reporters...yesterday. With him are the Director of the Limb Deformity Corrective Surgery Programme, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe (left); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Femi Olugbile (second left), Chief Medical Director, Prof Wale Oke ((second right) and a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Ladipo Adewole. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

•Mrs. Oyelakin and Mrs. Arowolo.

Lagos sponsors knee replacement surgeries

T

WO women, who have been down with arthritis, can now walk again, following total knee replacement surgeries at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja. For almost a decade, Mrs. Rafat Arowolo and Mrs. Rafat Oyelakin could not afford the surgeries, which cost about a million naira each, until the Lagos State Government came to their rescue through its Limb Deformity programme, which assists people with limb deformities. The surgeries were done by a 10-man team of health workers, led by Dr. Ladipo Adewole, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. Mrs. Arowolo, a 60-year-old petty trader, was all smiles as

•Women walk again after 10 years By Oyeyemi GbengaMustapha

she took her first steps with crutches after a long time. Before the surgery, she could not walk because of pains in her left knee. She had “progressively worsening deformity of the knee”, otherwise called bow leg and knee instability. She had sought treatment in many hospitals without improvement. Mrs. Oyelakin (52) had “progressively worsening deformity of the right knee”, otherwise called k-leg, and could not walk. Her husband, Yisa Oyelakin, a staff of the hospital, told the

hospital’s management about his wife’s condition and she was enrolled as an out patient. She was treated for three years, but did not respond to medications and physiotherapy. Mrs. Oyelakin was told that she needed a total knee replacement surgery, but she could not afford it. Both beneficiaries and their relatives are grateful to the Lagos State government. Speaking with reporters yesterday at the hospital on why the government took up the women’s cases, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said: “The government thought it wise to discourage

people from taking our resources abroad for surgeries that can be done in the country. By starting this exercise, we will build local capacity for surgical procedures like this. “It is also an avenue to train resident doctors aspiring to become certified specialists as well as nurses and physiotherapists, who will be responsible for patients’ nursing and rehabilitation management. “This way, surgeons, nurses and physiotherapists get to manage such cases frequently and become more proficient. Also, Lagosians who cannot afford this treatment will be the ultimate beneficiaries.”

Demolition: Ekiti to compensate owners of HE Ekiti State Governgets to their door steps, he approved buildings ment will compensate said a notice was served on the owners of buildings

T

with approved plans, which have been marked for demolition in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The Commissioner for Housing, Physical Planning and Urban

Development, Remi Olorunleke, spoke yesterday while supervising the demolition of some buildings at Nova. The government is demolishing buildings obstructing the waterways to prevent

flooding. Olorunleke urged the people to always get the government’s approval before building any structure. Urging residents of marked buildings to vacate them before the demolition

landlords over three weeks ago. The commissioner praised landlords that have complied with the directive and assured residents that the government will continue to make life more meaningful for them.

PDP’s claim of defection is deceitful, says Ogun ACN

T

HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ogun State has described the report of mass defection from the party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as “deceitful”. In a statement yesterday by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Sola Lawal, ACN said the report was a “desperate engagement in wishful thinking by the PDP”. At the weekend, the PDP alleged that 2,000 ACN mem-

bers, led by a former chairmanship aspirant, Mr. Yemi Duduyemi, dumped the party in Ijebu Mushin. ACN said Duduyemi went back to his original party, the PDP, with eight of his supporters, with whom he earlier defected to the ACN. It said: “The truth is that Duduyemi embraced ACN with eight of his supporters on the eve of the nomination for the council election with the hope of getting the

party’s ticket. “Having failed to realise an inordinate ambition, he retraced his steps to the PDP with the eight members of his family that he came with. The eight others include Femi Duduyemi, Kole Duduyemi and Olaitan Duduyemi. “In the recently concluded revalidation of the ACN membership register, 523 members were registered in Mushin, which is one of the

10 wards in Ijebu East Local Government. “It is therefore a confounding illogicality that a party would allegedly lose defectors whose number triples the total number of registered members in the locality.” ACN wondered why many buses were deployed to ferry purported defectors to the venue, if genuinely they were from Ijebu Mushin, a small rural community.

Labour chief seeks end to killings

A

GONY and insecurity now walk with two legs in the country, no thanks to the activities of Boko Haram sect, cultism and others, Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Isa Aremu has said. Aremu, who spoke with reporters yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on the state of the nation, decried last week gruesome murder of security personnel in Nassarawa

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

State. His words: “There is so much of agony in some parts of Nigeria. There is agony in Maiduguri, Nasarawa, I want to express our sympathy with the Inspector-General for the callous and wicked killings of policemen. Who ever dare to kill a policeman, a soldier because these are the people trained to protect us, then what about civilians? There is agony virtually in all parts of the coun-

try. Kidnapping has become almost a normal thing. The robbers now do not go only for the property; they now kill owners of the property. “The latest one is the kidnap of the wife and daughter of a judge of the Supreme Court. We have also heard of children organizing to kidnap their own father. We have the forces of insecurity at work; the forces of security also should organise. We have the forces that want to destroy Nigeria, the only hope left for Nigeria, is the

Nigerian working class. “We have to advise President Goodluck Jonathan that rather than agonizing, he has to organise himself. We must organise our security forces so that they lay more emphasis on intelligence. Prevention is better than cure. President should organiSe his security forces not to just agonise. He must also organise his government to make sure that the resources of Nigeria are channel to save the complete fall of the citizens.”

Idris said because the 12 knee replacement surgeries that had been done since the inception of the programme were inadequate for training, provisions have been made for a fixed number of free knee and hip surgeries monthly. He said: “Through this effort, the government will be saving a lot of funds that would have gone to India and other places abroad, aside caring for its people, building human capacity and developing enduring physical and institutional infrastructure.” Idris said the beneficiaries were considered because they had severe osteoarthritis of the knees, a condition characterised by worn-out cartilage at the end of the bones that form a joint.

During the surgery, the worn-out cartilage and some bones are removed and replaced with prostheses. The commissioner said: “The surgical procedures were carried out using INDUS total knee implants made in India. An Indian surgeon, Prof. Nagare, was in attendance to demonstrate the peculiarities of insertion of that particular implant to LASUTH surgeons, exchange personal experiences and give them a few tips and tricks. “The surgeries resulted in the patients being able to walk again without pain and deformity. Both patients had uneventful post-operative periods and were discharged one week after surgery.”

17 states adopt Ekiti’s Unified Drug Revolving Fund

S

EVENTEEN states have understudied and are replicating the Ekiti State’s Unified Drug Revolving Fund (UDRF). The Permanent Secretary of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), Mrs. Folakemi Falore, announced this at a seminar organised by the agency on the “Sustainability of the UDRF”. She said the programme was designed to enhance health care services, adding that it is self-sustaining. Mrs. Falore, who was represented by PHCDA’s Director of Pharmacy, Mr. Ade Kolawole, said the agency regularly checks the extent of compliance with operational guidelines by PHC facilities. She said the programme helps to identify and address areas of need. The General Manager of the Central Medical Stores, Mr. Peter Olajiga, said the government has employed adequate personnel for the programme and trained them to identify fake drugs. He urged the public to report fake drugs distribution channels to the relevant agencies. The Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Olu Aladesuru, said PHCs must develop a good data base for effective planning, implementation and thorough supervision of their activities.

T

Oyo unveils Mega Trade Fair logo tomorrow

HE logo of the forthcoming Oyo Mega Trade Fair will be unveiled tomorrow in Ibadan, the state capital. The ceremony, which will be attended by representatives of stakeholders in the August 9-18 Fair, will kick off major activities towards the fair. The organisers are the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), Dequeue Software and SNX Media. The President of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Mr. Chido Nwakanma; the Publicity Director of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the Southwest, Mr. Ayo Afolabi, who is also the Secretary General of the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), are expected at the ceremony.

Olubadan to honour Ajimobi, wife on Saturday

O

YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his wife, Florence, will on Saturday be conferred with the chieftaincy titles of Aare Atunluse and Yeye Aare Atunluse of Ibadanland (the beautifier and restorer of the dignity of Ibadan) by the Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I. The ceremony will hold at the Olubadan’s palace in Monatan, Ibadan, the state capital. In a statement yesterday, the governor’s media aide, Dr. Festus Adedayo, said the chieftaincy titles were in recognition of Ajimobi’s achievements in two years.


8

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

9

NEWS Oyo gets two polytechnics

Sunny Ade’s ex-guitarist jailed for cocaine trafficking

A

FEDERAL High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday sentenced a veteran guitarist, Abiodun Fatoke (62), to three years imprisonment for drug trafficking. Fatoke, who played the guitar for Juju musician King Sunny Ade for three decades, was arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on January 1 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, while attempting to board an Air France flight to Italy. Two parcels of cocaine, weighing 1.575kg, were found in his luggage. Fatoke, who has three wives and 12 children, pleaded guilty to the charge. Justice S. Seidu sentenced him to three years imprisonment with effect from the date of arrest. Blaming his involvement in trafficking on financial hardship, Fatoke said: “After my primary education, I spent one year in secondary school before I went into music. I can play any kind of guitar but my music career is a sad story. I played for King Sunny Ade for 30 years before I was unceremoniously retired in 2007. “I was unprepared and without severance money, I saw

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

T

HE Oyo State House of Assembly yesterday passed a bill establishing two new polytechnics. They are: The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa and the Okeogun Polytechnic, Saki. The polytechnics had existed as satellite campuses of the Ibadan Polytechnic for over 20 years. Speaker Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu said the institutions would accelerate growth in their host communities and increase the training and availability of technical manpower.

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

the bitter side of life. This is my first time of involving in drug trafficking. I did it out of frustration because at my age, I cannot provide for my family. I am ashamed of myself.” On how he got involved in drug trafficking, Fatoke said: “I live in Ibadan with my family. I got a call from a friend and was invited to Lagos, where I was given N50,000 and they said arrangements would be made for me to travel soon. “They promised to pay me N1 million. If not for my condition, I would have turned down the offer, but it was my last hope to be free from financial difficulty. “I was given the bag and my ticket, but at the airport, NDLEA officials detected the drug. Since then, I have been in deep pains. I feel bad because I have no one to help me.” NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive Ahmadu Giade called for stiffer penalties for drug offenders. Giade said: “Punishment must be commensurate to the crime to deter others. The drug is worth several millions of naira and the damage to humanity cannot be quantified”.

Lagos clears air on restriction of Hijab in public schools

T

Agencies rescue 25 pupils from drowning in Lagos

•Fatoke with his luggage.

Ex-Ondo commissioner’s mum’s abductors demand N50m ransom T

HE abductors of Mrs. Olufunke Olatubora, mother of former Ondo State Commissioner for Education Remi Olatubora, are demanding N50 million ransom for her release, it was learnt yesterday. The octogenarian was kidnapped on Sunday at her

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

home in Iyansan, Irele Local Government, around 1am. Sources said about six gunmen took the woman away into the creeks in a speed

boat. Sources said the family and the kidnappers are negotiating the ransom. Olatubora said he had faith in God that his mother would

be freed soon. He declined comment on whether the family was negotiating with the kidnappers or not. Police spokesman Wole Ogodo assured the family that Mrs. Olatubora would be rescued soon.

Osun ACN urges NLC to intervene in lecturers’ strike

O

SUN State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Elder Adebiyi Adelowo has urged leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to prevail on striking lecturers in the state to resume work. He said NLC’s intervention was necessary in the interest of education and the students, adding that the action is doing more harm than good to

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

everybody, including the lecturers. In a statement by the party’s Director of Publicity, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, Adelowo said the interest of students, the state and the teaching profession is being compromised by the lecturers’ insistence on their demands, which he said the government is not in a position to fulfil at the moment.

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

HE Lagos State Government yesterday said female Muslim pupils will not be allowed to wear hijabs in public schools. Commissioner for Education Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye spoke during a ministerial press briefing marking the sixth anniversary of the Governor Babatunde Fashola administration. Mrs. Oladunjoye said pupils are only allowed to wear conventional uniforms to school, adding that the government will not tolerate the use of religious materials in public schools. She said: “The issue generated a lot of debates. I summoned a stakeholder’s meeting that was chaired by the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Alhaji Oyinlomo Danmole. Muslim pupils and lawyers were represented. We discussed the issue at length and reached an agreement. “We agreed that pupils could use hijabs when they want to go for prayers during school hours; when they want to read the Qur’an and when they are going for Jumat prayer on Fridays. We agreed that no pupil should wear hijab on her uniform, as doing so will cause confusion and a break down of the law. They can put on their berets, when it is not prayer time. “Whoever wants his daughter to wear hijab to school should send her to a Muslim school.” The commissioner said the government is committed to overhauling the education sector, adding that it had spent over seven billion naira on the upgrading of the Lagos State University (LASU). She said the government has initiated various educational programmes, such as the Eko Project, Support Our Schools Initiative, specialised development programmes for teachers and administrators in 20 specialised areas.

He said: “Since labour has a clear understanding of the constraining circumstances under which this government operates, the union can influence the lecturers to moderate their demands in the interest of the students, who are unfairly bearing the brunt of their actions.” Adelowo urged the striking lecturers to consider the government’s financial constraints and resume work.

He said: “Under these circumstances, the lecturers’ insistence that their demands must be met or the system could collapse is self destructive, because if the system collapses, they would not survive. “It is, therefore, in the interest of Osun, students and all stakeholders that labour intervenes and persuades the lecturers to see reason and call off their strike.”

O

By Precious Igbonwelundu

VER 25 pupils were yesterday saved from being swept away by flood by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Response Agency (LASEMA), theNational Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS). The pupils of Ogba Primary School were playing in the rain on their way home after school when the incident ocurred. A LASEMA official said some of the pupils were injured. He said: “We were called that there was a situation around Ogba Prayer School and that over 25 children were drowning. “They said the head teacher asked them to go home while it was still raining and instead of running home, the children were playing in the flood. “When we got the information, we quickly alerted LASAMBUS and got there on time to save the situation. “Officials of NEMA also joined hands with us to ensure that the situation did not get out of control.” NEMA’s Southwest spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye said: “We were called while we were going round the state to check the flood situation and ensure that the people were safe. “The pupils were trapped in the flood. I appeal to schools not to send children home when it is raining, even if it is closing hour. “To ensure their safety, schools can hold back their pupils till 5pm on a rainy day.”

NANS alleges plans to punish EKSU students for protest •Institution debunks claims From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

T

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (middle); Ekiti State Attorney-General Wale Fapounda (left) and former AttorneyGeneral of the Federation Chief Richard Akinjide at a workshop organised by the Rule of Law Action Group of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos...yesterday.

HE National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Ekiti State University (EKSU) chapter, has alleged plans by the institution’s authorities to punish students that participated in a protest two weeks ago. The students peacefully protested the authorities’ decision to enforce a “no fee no lecture” rule. In a statement yesterday, the association’s Chairman, Comrade Damilare Bewaji, said the students would resist the decision through another protest, if it is not reversed. He said: “Is it a crime for students to peacefully agitate for their rights in a democratic government? It is wicked of the authorities to have invited and interrogated a select section of students over a peaceful protest. “They set up a panel to try the coordinators of the protest. They should tell the public when it became a crime for students to embark on a peaceful protest.” The authorities denied any plan to punish the organisers of the protest. The Deputy Registrar, Information, said the “students were cooking up lies to malign the authorities”. He also debunked the rumour that the authorities have allowed the students to pay their fees in installments. He said the “condition for allowing students into the lecture rooms remains full payments of requisite fees.”


10

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

NEWS STATE OF EMERGENCY

What the law says PART II MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS 305. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the President may by instrument published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency in the Federation or any part thereof. (2) The President shall immediately after the publication, transmit copies of the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation containing the proclamation including the details of the emergency to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, each of whom shall forthwith convene or arrange for a meeting of the House of which he is President or Speaker, as the case may be, to consider the situation and decide whether or not to pass a resolution approving the proclamation. (3) The President shall have power to issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency only when (a) the federation is at war; (b) the federation is in

imminent danger of invasion or involvement in a state of war; (c) there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security; (d) there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the federation or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger; (e) there is an occurrence or imminent danger, or the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity, affecting the community or a section of the community in the federation; (f) there is any other public danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of the Federation; or (g) the President receives a request to do so in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4) of this section. (4) The governor of a State may, with the sanction of a resolution supported by twothirds majority of the House of Assembly, request the President to issue a

proclamation of a state of emergency in the state when there is in existence within the State any of the situations specified in sub-section (3) (c), (d) and (e) of this section and such situation does not extend beyond the boundaries of the state. (5) The President shall not issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency in any case to which the provisions of subsection (4) of this section apply unless the governor of the state fails within a reasonable time to make a request to the President to issue such proclamation. (6) A proclamation issued by the President under this section shall cease to have effect (a) if it is revoked by the President by instrument published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation; (b) if it affects the federation or any part thereof and within two days when the National Assembly is in session, or within 10 days when the National Assembly is not in session, after its publication, there is no resolution supported by two-thirds majority of all the

Emergency rule begins in Yobe, Borno, Adamawa Continued from page 4

who had a hand in the killing of the operatives.” “The activities of insurgents and terrorists have been reprehensible, causing fear among our citizens and a near-breakdown of law and order in parts of the country, especially the North. We have taken robust steps to unravel and address the root causes of these crises, but it would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilise the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve.” “Since I returned to the country after cutting short my visit to South Africa and aborting a planned state visit to Namibia, I have received detailed briefings from our security agencies. These briefings indicate that what we are facing is not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity. Already, some northern parts of Borno State have been taken over by groups whose allegiance is to different flags and ideologies. “These terrorists and insurgents seem determined to establish control and authority over parts of our beloved nation and to progressively overwhelm the rest of the country. In many places, they have de-

stroyed the Nigerian flag and other symbols of state authority and in their place, hoisted strange flags suggesting the exercise of alternative sovereignty. “They have attacked government buildings and facilities. They have murdered innocent citizens and state officials. They have set houses ablaze, and taken women and children as hostages. These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten her territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this. “Following recent developments in the affected states, it has become necessary for government to take extraordinary measures to restore normalcy. After wide consultations, and in exercise of the powers conferred on me by the provisions of Section 305, sub-section 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, I hereby declare a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.” Explaining how the emergency will operate, he said: “The troops and other security agencies … have orders to take all necessary action, within the ambit of their rules of engagement, to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists.

“This will include the authority to arrest and detain suspects, the taking of possession and control of any building or structure used for terrorist purposes, the lock-down of any area of terrorist operation, the conduct of searches, and the apprehension of persons in illegal possession of weapons.” Jonathan urged the political leadership in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states to co-operate maximally with the Armed Forces and the Police to ensure that the exercise succeeds. We call on the citizenry to co-operate with our security agencies to ensure a return to normalcy within the shortest possible time,” he said. Sounding tough, the President added: “I want to reassure you all that those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state, and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives, whoever they may be, wherever they may go; we will hunt them down; we will fish them out; and we will bring them to justice. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror. ”I am convinced that with your support and prayers, we shall overcome these challenges and together, we will restore every part of our country to the path of peace, growth and development.”

Six expectant girls rescued from Enugu baby factory Continued from page 4

in the custody of the police as at the time of going to the press. Police were yet to establish contact with the parents and guardians of the girls. According to Amaraizu, the identity of the owner of the building where the girls were hidden was yet to be established. The police spokesman added that investigators were heading to a clue that would lead to the discovery of other enclaves in Enugu. “The suspects have made useful statements to the police investigators and more of such

enclaves housing pregnant teenagers will soon be discovered,” he said. Last week, another ‘baby factory’ was uncovered in Imo State, where 17 teenage girls were rescued. Also yesterday, a man, Marcel Agu and his wife Calista, were arrested by the police for stealing a 12-day old male child from the mother, Chika Nwokolo, after delivery in an

unnamed maternity home on Ebony Paint Road in Awkunanaw. Police spokesman Amaraizu said the arrest of the couple led to the arrest of Mrs Nebo Stella, the supposed proprietor of the maternity home and one Patrick Ugwu in connection with the alleged incident. The stolen child, according to the police, was recovered hale and hearty.

CORRECTION Veteran journalist Mr. Pini Jason hailed from Obizi in Ezinihite Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State and not Aboh Mbaise Local Government as published in our editorial of May 10, The error is regretted.

Emergency at last members of each House of the National Assembly approving the proclamation; (c) after a period of six months has elapsed since it has been in force: Provided that the National Assembly may, before the expiration of the period of six months aforesaid, extend the period for the proclamation of the state of emergency to remain in force from time to time for a further period of six months by resolution passed in like manner; or (d) at any time after the approval referred to in paragraph (b) or the extension referred to in paragraph (c) of this subsection, when each House of the National Assembly revokes the Proclamation by a simple majority of all the members of each House.

Continued from page 4

power to remove a governor. In the emergency scheme of things, however, the governors and legislatures of the three states have been reduced to mere spectators. “That is not necessarily a bad thing, if the federal intervention is able to secure peace and fasttrack return to order and normalcy. So, the states should, as pleaded with by the president in his speech, cooperate with the federal authorities to rid their areas of anarchists and mass murderers. “But even if the constitution had allowed it, it would have been the apex of injustice for the governors to have been removed or state legislatures to have been suspended. This is because, in Nigeria’s skewed federalism, security is a federal monopoly; and this same Federal Government has spectacularly failed to deliv-

er on security, despite its monopoly of the police and the armed forces. “So, even if this emergency rule solves this problem, it has only solved a symptom. The real solution is federalising the security system, so that state governments are fully empowered to tackle security problems at source, before they get out of hand. “That means that the Constitution must be urgently amended to provide for state police, given the hash the federal authorities have made of their monopoly on security. The Jonathan Presidency, from the emergency speech, is gearing to fully go after the Boko Haram insurgents and bring them to full justice. “Only after that should any thought of amnesty be entertained.”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

11


12

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


DONATION

HEALTH

GIFT

Union fetes civil servants

Council immunises 249,858 kids

Chevron’s largesse lifts school

Abuja

51

Kano

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

Delta

14

52

Page 13

Email: news_extra@yahoo.com

Community lends Nasarawa police a hand

A

•Police IG, Abubakar

Mohammed

PARAMOUNT ruler, Dr Kabiru Musa Ibrahim, has teamed up with other public-spirited individuals in Azara, a community in Nasarawa State, to boost police operations in the area. They upgraded a police post to a divisional headquarters. The state Commissioner of Police, Abayomi Aketemale who provided the information, hailed the effort of the traditional ruler and his kinsmen whose contribution is a huge boost to police operations in the area. Nasarawa has been in the news

From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia

lately over the murder of security agents in the state. But the police said effort of Azara community residents will help crime fighting in the state. He said that the large turnout of people of the community at the launch was a testimony of the people’s unity and a demonstration of support to the police to keep the peace of the area. “The concerted effort of the paramount ruler of the area, the

police and the people will help keep the roads linking Azara, Awe and Obi local government areas safe for motorists,” he said. While inaugurating the newly upgraded police divisional headquarters, Aleremale, in company of the traditional ruler, promised to ensure that more men police personnel will be deployed to the new headquarters to help stem crime in the area. According to the statement, Aleremale has also directed the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of

Awe, Mr. Obi and the Officer-inCharge of Operation Nasarawa and Tactical Unit to station patrol vehicles at flash points along Agwatashi-Obi Road on a 24-hour basis. He also directed that the handover and taking-over of duty by officers should be carried out at flash points in the area. This, according to him, is to ensure that no vacuum is created for criminals to take advantage of police absence to unleash terror on motorists.

T

EARS of joy ran down their cheeks. Some who lost their houses got building materials. Some whose businesses were were burnt up got cash to start all over again. The April 26 fire wreaked havoc in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, but thanks to Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, the victims are smiling once more. Even those unaffected by the fire also came in large numbers to rejoice with the victims as help came. All of them were full of praises for theie helper, Senator Lanlehin, the lawmaker representing Oyo South Senatorial District. Lanlehin hails from Ward 08, Ibadan North West Local government of Oyo state where the fire occurred. Many of the onlookers became emotional when they listened to the pathetic stories narrated by some of the victims. Scores of people in the densely populated area lost their belongings to the inferno caused by a tanker laden with fuel which skidded off the road at the Mokola-Inalende-Orita-Merin Road junction. The vehicle caught fire, destroying buildings, shops, vehicles and other valuables in the area. Over 20 buildings and 45 shops were burnt, including three vehicles and a mosque. Hundreds of victims trooped out to receive the relief materials with words of gratitude to the lawmaker who was moved by the plight of the people affected by the incident. The Senator said sending relief became imperative because of the scale of damage caused by the fire and the resultant suffering it brought on the victims. The lawmaker explained that the materials would help the victims to return to their normal lives after the sudden loss they experienced. Various relief materials ranging from roofing sheet, cement, sewing machines, planks, and cash were distributed to the victims including landlords, tenants and shop owners whose properties were consumed by the fire. The relief materials included 20 bundles of corrugated iron roofing sheets, 100 bags of cement, planks of different sizes, 20 Sewing Machines, four units of computer sets, two photocopy machines, eight hairdryers, eight clippers and cash donations of various sums. Addressing the crowd of victims at the scene of fire, Lanlehin who was accompanied by leaders of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the District, said the total cost of the relief materials and cash donation was over N10m. The only mosque among the buildings burnt by the fire, Arowodana Mosque, has virtually all the materials

•Cement provided for the victims

Relief for Ibadan fire victims

From Osheye Okwuofu, Ibadan needed for its resuscitation supplied by the lawmaker. Speaking further, Senator Lanlehin said: “The extent of damage was very large and very painful as well. It destroyed a lot of property but we thank God that no life was lost. I had to come down from Abuja very early in the morning after the incident and what I saw was very shocking. “It saddened me, it pained me. This is part of my constituency and it is an area I am very familiar with. Apart from that, I believe I have a duty to do whatever I can to ameliorate and reduce the pain of what happened. To that extent, I have made arrangement to distribute in my own way to lessen the suffering of my people of Omitowoju affected by the fire incident. There is nothing we can do that will erase the pains and trauma but we are only trying to give as much as possible to contribute towards rebuilding the burnt houses that were damaged. “We also intend to give the victims whose shops and whose means of livelihood were affected some capital.

Lawmaker gives cash, building materials

We intend to get them back to their trade by having some instruments and tools procured and distributed to them together with some start-up capital. “We also intend to take care of tenants there because there were so many tenants who live in those houses, whose properties were lost. We intend to give them some money to at least cushion the effect of the terrible loss. We only hope and pray that it won’t happen again. We can never rule out this kind of incident, we can only pray to Almighty God to make the happening as minimal as possible. “Also, the authorities in charge of attending to these incidents, particularly fire incidents, occuring all over the place that we should as much as possible try to upgrade our fire service equipment. The National Assembly as a federal institution, the third arm of government, the legislature does not have provision for emergency or misfortune like this. At the federal level, the agency that has jurisdiction in respect of such misfortunes or emergencies is the National Emergency Management Agency

(NEMA) which is an arm of the executive. “I have contacted them and I’m confident they will do something. They have promised me that they will certainly do something and I have no doubt whatsoever that they will do something. “It is their duty; it is their responsibility and I believe that they will do all they can to help. What I am doing is my personal effort, out of my own personal resources, my own personal renumeration because all the people in the nine local governments of Oyo South Senatorial District are my brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers and I have a duty to come to their assistance when needed”. One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Olalekan Ayodele, a fashion designer who lost all his sewing machines and embroidery equipment, was given a new set of sewing machine at the event. He said: “We thank God for the life of Senator Lanlehin, and may God continue to grant him long life and good health because he is using his life to assist the needy and we won’t disap-

point him when it is our turn to show appreciation for what he has done in our life today. “ Mrs Victoria Odejayi who lost her two vegetable shops situated along Omitowoju Junction where the fuelladen tanker fell, was also full of praises as she expressed her gratitude to the donor for his generosity and kindness to the people. She narrated how the fire which caught her unawares claimed all her goods including bags of rice and gallons of vegetable oil. Odejayi who recieved the sum of N60,000 as donation, said: “I want to thank Senator Lanlehin, a true representative of his people. May God Almighty guide and protect him in all his ways.” She particularly thanked God for sparing her life in the incident, saying that “once there is life there is hope and we are happy that Senator Lanlehin today gave us hope. He has helped us to know that not all is lost, we still have hope since we are still alive.“


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15 2013

14

Agency spends N690m on community projects

Council immunises 249,858 kids

T

• Governor Kwankwaso

HE Health Coordinator of Fagge Area Council in Kano Municipal, Hajiya Fatima Mohammad has said that more than 249,858 children under five years of age have been immunised against polio and other childhood killer diseases. She disclosed this during an an interview with journalists in Kano. Hajiya Mohammad further said that the exercise would make it possible for more children to be immunised since, she said, the people had accepted the programme which resulted from extensive mass sensitisation by the council. ‘’The large turn out in the previous exercise was the outcome of the state government’s commitment to eradicate the childhood killer diseases in all the area coun-

Institute to train 5,000 engineers

T

HE National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Abuja, has said that the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has directed it to train over 5,000 engineers and craftsmen for the power sector. Mr Reuben Okeke, the Director-General of NAPTIN, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the training programme, which would run for the next five years, would commence immediately. He said that the mandate would enable NAPTIN to remain focused, while improving upon the feats it had achieved so far. Okeke said that the directive would specifically ensure that the institute trained at least 5,000 engineers and almost the same number of craftsmen and artisans within the next five years. He noted that the essence of the training was to prepare the power sector for privatisation as well as the Power Reform

Abuja Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan administration. Okeke stressed that as a result of these factors, the Federal Government had provided training equipment for NAPTIN, while building additional classrooms for the institute to accommodate more students. He said that NAPTIN would soon get approval from the Head of Service to employ about 118 instructors who had five to 10 years’ working experience in the sector, to facilitate the training programme. Okeke also said that the craftsmen that would be trained included electrical fitters, linesmen and cable jointers. Others are those who climb electricity poles, as well as those who rectify electrical faults, maintain equipment and change transformers’ oil.

Kano cils of the state. “Fagge keyed into this objective and got this great result from the last exercise,’’ she said. The coordinator also told newsmen that Fagge council has always collaborated with major stakeholders, such as district and ward heads, parents, health officials as well as other ad hoc staff. She said that issues such as logistics, among others, had been taken care of in conjunction with development partners, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The immunisation exercise was launched at Rigiyan Lemo, Fagge where a case of wild polio virus was detected. The launch of the programme which lasted for three days, was attended by the Deputy Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, health officials and traditional leaders.

D

R Joseph Kigbu, the member representing Lafia/Obi Federal Constituency of Nasarawa State has donated six Jincheng motorcycles to youths of Lafia in a bid to reduce youths’ restivessness. The lawmaker, who made the donation through his Senior Legislative Aide, Mr Musa Magaji in Lafia, said the gesture was also to engage the youth in productive ventures so that they would earn a living. He further said that channelling the energy of the youth toward positive endeavours would go a long way in enhancing the development of the state in general and the country in particular. Kigbu added that the donation was part of

T

• From left: Dr Monica Eimunjeze, Director Registration and Regulatory Affairs, Mr Macdonald Garba, Director, Enforcement and Investigation and Dr Paul Orhil,Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFAC) during the press briefing on the arrest of culprit for importation of counterfeit medicine in Lagos PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAM

Lawmaker battles youth restiveness Nasarawa his commitments to improve the standard of living of youths and to fight poverty in his constituency. “This donation has no political, religious or tribal colourations. That is why the beneficiaries are drawn from across all the nook and cranny of this local government,” he said. He stressed the need for government and the private sector to provide employment for the youth, adding that youth unemployment was one of the causes of insecurity in the coun-

Youths express commitment to security

Y

OUTHS at Orile Iganmu; a Lagos suburb have pledged to support the Nigeria police in its efforts to tackle issues of security in order to make the community safe. They made the pledge at a horse-ride-carnival to celebrate life, peaceful co-existence and tranquillity in the community. The youth reaffirmed their commitment to save life and property in the community. The carnival featured a queen and king superbly decorated. They rode on horse backs. The carnival was tagged: “The Youth New Era Carnival.” Residents in the neighbourhood turned out en masse to receive the youth who were accompanied by a team of the Nigeria police as they moved from one street to the other. The Baale of Sari Iganmu Jonathan Balogun who described the initiative as security consciousness on the part of the youth said it is needed to sustain tranquillity which the community has been enjoying since the carnival was initiated last year. “We all know the prevalence of armed robbery in this community the youth decided to to cooperate with the security agencies to

Church marks 20th anniversary

•From right: Mr Anthony Iguh; Baba Ijo of the United African Methodist Evangelical Church, Abule Ijesha, Lt. Gen Oladipo Diya (rtd); Arch Bishop of Lagos, First African Church Mission Incorporated, Most Rev. Paul Onanuga and others at the dedication service of the United African Methodist Evangelical Church, Abule-Ijesha, Lagos.

‘Don’t use minors as bus conductors’

M

• Participants at the event

try. Kigbu called on youths to engage in meaningful ventures, even as he advised them to shun acts capable of tarnishing their image, that of the state and the country in general. The lawmaker also urged them to embrace peace, unity and love. He also would want them to be law-abiding citizens for the development of the country. Kigbu also advised them to use the motorcycles for the purpose for which they were procured to enable them to take care of their financial commitments and those of members of their families. He assured the people of the state that he would continue to embark on projects that would impact directly on their lives and for the overall development of the country.

By Paul Oluwakoya

bring the situation under control. I think that resulted in new era carnival. “We only want government to help us employ these youths so that they would be useful to both to themselves and the society. If they do this, we can be sure of maximum protection of our lives and properties. And I must say that the percentage of unemployed youths is increasing. ,”he said. In a chat with Newsextra, the leader of the youth Pastor Solomon Otuya who is also the chairman of Iwajowa Community Development Association Iganmu Local Council Development Area, said the youth mobilised to remind their peers about their commitment to contribute to a more peaceful world. He added that community policing in the area has helped in checking crime in the area, even as he said that this was made possible with the cooperation of the youth. “Recall that with the cooperation of these youths, the activities of some boys who labeled themselves the ‘One Million Boys‘ who robbed people of their valuables were curtailed.

R Ajayi Adebola, a representative of the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has advised the Bus Conductors’ Association of Nigeria (BCAN) against the use of persons under the age of 18 years as driver’s mates in Lagos State. Adebola gave this advice while delivering a speech during the inauguration of members of executive of the Lagos State chapter of BCAN recently at the Suites Supremo Hotel in Obadore, Akesan Lagos. He condemned the use of minors as conductors, adding that the 1989 Enterprise Law of Lagos State does not tolerate such practice irrespective of the trade or profession. He said: “Now that your association has been duly inaugurated; and hiving zonal branches in eleven local government areas of Lagos State in accordance with the provision of the 1989 Enterprise Law of Lagos State, I urge all your registered members to desist from taking the laws into their own hands. I also advise them to shun all forms of violence in the course of their duties. “The Lagos State government would not condone the act of using minors as conduc-

51

tors on our roads. You are aware that the new Traffic Law strictly frowns at such practices,” Adebola said. In his address at the occasion, chairman of Lagos State chapter of BCAN, Mr Olufemi Stevens reiterated the call against use of minors as conductors, even as he urged all the conductors in attendance to ensure that they desist from such unlawful act. According to him, the recognition given to the association by the Lagos State government is an opportunity for all their members to prove to government that they are an association that loves peace, saying that government will be proud of them. Also speaking, the National President of the association, Comrade Israel Adeshola, who was represented by the Acting General Secretary Comrade Seun Oluwaseyin, urged members to carry out their duties diligently. He promised that the association will support Lagos State government by paying its taxes and levies. Members of the executive of BCAN were Moses Bobola as the General Secretary, Bakare Muftau as Welfare Secretary, Mrs Felicia Balogun as Supervisor.

ACTIVITIES marking the 20th anniversary of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Miracle Centre, Province 21, Zone 2 begins tomorrow at 6.30pm with an opening ceremony the next day at 10.00pm. The Friday service which is a praise night, will feature such artistes as Lara George, Gideon Okon, Miracle Voices, the Refreshers Tujuka, Ekiti Gospel Music, comedy among others. The church will visit an orphanage, Heritage Home Camp on Saturday, May 19. The grand finale takes place on Sunday at 10.00am. The venue is 19, Bello Falawiyo Crescent, Off Ikosi Road, Ikosi Ketu, Lagos. the theme is: Come Up Higher. The chairman of the Planning Committee, Brother Dele Burton, said the event promises a pleasant experience. Those expected to minister include, the parish Minister, Pastor Abiodun D. Doherty, Pastor Mrs. Oretayo Adetola, Pastor P.I. Egho, among others.

HE Community and Social Development Project in Kebbi State has spent N690.9 million on the execution of 287 projects in rural communities of the state. Alhaji Ahmad Tijjani, the project’s Public Relations Officer said in an interview with newsmen in Birnin Kebbi that 221 of the projects had been completed. He further said the projects which are funded by the World Bank, the state and local governments, were meant to enhance access to social and natural resources as well as key infrastructure by the rural poor. Tijjani said members of poor communities were empowered and assisted to build their own capacity by executing sustainable microprojects that would improve their economic

Kebbi and social well-being. “The project deploys substantial amount of credit to communities as grants, and the beneficiaries identified the micro-projects not exceeding N10 million in water, health, education and environment sectors. “The benefiting communities then contribute 10 per cent of the cost of the project while the remaining 90 per cent was provided by the World Bank and the state govrnment,’’ he said. Tijjani said that strict inspection and supervision was conducted to ensure that the

projects conform to specifications and were environment-friendly.

Rotary holds conference

R

OTARY International Club, District 9110, will from today, begin a threeday annual conference at the Green Legacy Resort (Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex), Presidential Boulevard, Oke-Imosan, Abeokuta,Ogun State. The club, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) rendering humanitarian services across the globe through its over 34,000 branches located in over 200 countries, in a release by the conference organising chairman, Bala Yesufu,has chosen ‘Embrace Peace’ as this year’s theme of the conference with guest speakers such as the former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mallam Nasir el Rufai and the former presidential candidate on the platform of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and a professor

• Governor Dakingari

By Seyi Odewale

of political economy, Prof Pat Utomi among others. The conference, Yesufu said, is “one of the primary ways in the club develops the capacity of its members to better serve their local and global communities, through a rich platform of warm interaction, fellowship and knowledge acquisition.” He said the expected gathering of 2000, will be for business leaders, professionals in various endeavours and the youth wing of the club-Rotact, who will benefit from the lec-

tures to be delivered by the guests speakers. Highlighting the events slated for the threeday programme, Yesufu said the conference will kick off with visitations and a football match between the club and Ogun State team and it will be followed by a welcome cocktail in the evening. The following day, Yesufu said will be for awareness walk tagged: “Walk for life” to take place in the morning. It will be followed by the conference opening ceremony, which will be done by the governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun.

Lagos fire victims get relief By Emmanuel Udodinma

M

EMBER representing Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency Hon. Monsuru Alao Owolabi has distributed relief materials to Lagos fire victims. In his speech, Hon. Owolabi said Mainland has witnessed different fire incidents. OkoBaba Fire victims has been duly taken care of by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). He revealed that other areas that had fire outbreak in the Mainland which include Onituere Street, Iwaya, Amen Street, Abula-Oja would be compensated. The items distributed included bags of rice, blankets, marts, towels, roofing rheets, zinc nails, bags of cement, and detergent, among others He said he promptly reported the incident to NEMA and the items were approved for victims of the inferno .Other affected areas includewhere residents have received compensation include Jones Street and Oto. Hon Aloa thanked the Federal Governmentand officials of NEMA for responding promptly people’s call and in the the distribution of the items. He appealed to all the members of the great party to work together and allow peace to reign in the constituency. He urged them to employ dialogue to settle their grievances.

•Comrade Oladele (right) presenting cartons of Indomie to workers of the Office of Accountant General of the Federation.

Union fetes civil servants

T

HE Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) has donated items to workers in the Accountant General’s Office to improve their living standard. The event was organised by the union led by Comrade Orisamuyiwa Oladele. Apart from providing food and drinks, at least 500 cartons of Indomie were distributed to all workers and the security personnel including commissionaires attached to the OAGF in Abuja. Speaking at the event, Comrade Oladele praised the support from workers to the leadership of the union and management of the

OAGF led by the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, Mr. Jonah Otunla. He noted that the support had fostered a smooth employer/ employee relationship at the OAGF. He enjoined the staff to ensure that the tenet of the OAGF- Accountability, Probity and Transparency- are upheld in their daily activities for service delivery of the economic policy of the Federal Government. While appreciating the support the union has been receiving from the AGF, Comrade Oladele said the peaceful working environment at the office was made possible by the exemplary leadership of Mr. Otunla.

Katsina signs N3b fertiliser deal ATSINA State government has signed a N3 billion contract for the supply of 23,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers for distribution to farmers during the 2013 wet season. The contract was awarded to two compaies, Babados Ventures and Nationwide Group of companies. The Commissioner for Agriculture,Alhaji Musa Adamu who signed the contract on behalf of the state government, said Babados Ventures would supply 15,000 metric tonnes of the commodity at the cost of N2 billion. He said the remaining 8,000 metric tonnes of the fertilisers would be supplied by the Nationwide Group of Companies at N1 billion. “The fertiliser to be supplied is in addi-

K

•Chairman, Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, Hon. Abdlefatai Oyesanya flanked by the Leader of the House, Hon. Taiwo Owolabi (left) and the Vice-Chairman of the council Hon. Bola Bada-Onikosi during the signing of 2013 budget

tion to the consignment the state government has in stock. At present, the state government has two-third of the total fertilisers the farmers in state require for this farming season,” he said. The commissioner said that the gesture was in line with the state government’s policy of distributing the commodity early to farmers in order to facilitate bumper harvest. Adamu urged the companies to supply the fertilisers on time as specified under the contract. Alhaji Maisamari Yakubu and Mohammed Abdullahi, representatives of Babados Venture and Nationwide Group of companies respectively, who signed for their companies, pledged to supply the fertilisers on schedule.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

15


16

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

17


18

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

19

COMMENTARY EDITORIALS

FROM OTHER LANDS

Mohamed Morsi’s betrayal of democracy

Tinted trouble • We need to take another look at our law on vehicles with tinted glasses

F

OR the third time since his appointment, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), has shown unalloyed resolve to abolish or control the use of partial/ shaded or fully tinted glass on vehicles in the country. His decision is ostensibly hinged on the need to checkmate the security challenges facing the nation. According to the police, vehicles with opaque glasses are used mostly to move, unnoticed across the nation, arms, ammunition, explosives and other incriminating materials. The police want tinted glass users to obtain permit after obligatory payment of N30, 000 to their coffers. The pronouncement has created hullabaloo in the public, especially among vehicle users. But the IGP remains adamant, claiming his order is in accordance with Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Tinted Glass) Act, CAP M21 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (formerly Decree No. 6 of 1991) and the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) (1997). The former Act in Section 1 (1) says that except with the permission of the ‘appropriate authority’ and for ‘good cause’, “no person shall cause any glass fitted to a vehicle to be tinted, shaded, coloured lightly or thickly, darkened or treated in any way so as to render obscure or invisible persons or objects inside the car”. The importers/owners of such cars in its section 3 are availed 14 days grace, from the date of the purchase of the car or the date of arrival of the car in Nigeria, within which to either remove the tinted glasses or obtain tinted glass permit. The Act prescribes a fine of N2, 000 or an imprisonment for a term not exceeding

six months, or both fine and imprisonment. However, the NRTR (1997) in regulation 66(2) provides: ‘All glasses fitted to a vehicle shall be clear and transparent to enable persons outside the vehicle see whoever is inside the vehicle and the glasses shall in no way be tinted except as may be approved by the InspectorGeneral of Police for security reasons.’ What is amusing about these laws is why the police find them more convenient to dust from the shelf at this point. After all, highly placed military men, security personnel, politicians, legislators and affluent members of the public including traditional rulers, among others, before now violated with impunity previous bans on use of opaque tinted glass with glee. Yet the police could not do anything to these categories of people. The police ought to realise that contemporary vehicle manufacturers across the world mildly tint practically all cars to protect vehicle upholstery, especially leather seats, and to shield occupants against harsh sun rays, among other salient safety reasons. What should generally concern the police in the discharge of their security functions against acts of terrorism and robberies should be opaque tints and not transparent factory tint. The current generalisation of tints is superfluous, for it shows the motive of the police as more tilted to deploying such to embark on revenue generation spree and not driven by any security imperative. In the United States, the United Kingdom and even India, there are cases of terrorism acts but tinted glass with cer-

tain degree of transparency by car manufacturers is allowed. Why should Nigeria be different when over 80 per cent of cars imported into the country have varying degrees of factory tint? The target of the police should be Nigerian vehicle users that went the extra mile to paste reflective material like cellophane paper to shield their vehicles from prying eyes of the public. For the purpose of clarity, it is this type of opaque glasses that block vision from the outside. There is the need to check arbitrariness in this regard, if only for the sake of genuine security. But if the law must serve its essence of being an instrument of social engineering, the two laws above cannot serve the good of any civilisation. They should be amended to suit contemporary reality in the automobile industry or repealed outright.

‘There is the need to check arbitrariness in this regard, if only for the sake of genuine security. But if the law must serve its essence of being an instrument of social engineering, the two laws above cannot serve the good of any civilisation. They should be amended to suit contemporary reality in the automobile industry or repealed outright’

Probing Baga killings •The United Nations should be allowed to probe the killings and provide the right statistics

T

HERE has been a vociferous argument about the actual number of people massacred in Baga, Borno State, when Boko Haram insurgents and Nigerian military clashed on April 16 and 17. The figures in the media range from 185210, but the Federal Government said it was between 26 and 35. However, the US-based Human Rights Watch has accused the Nigerian military of killing over 185 people in Baga and destroying thousands of houses there, thereby rendering many people homeless. On his own part, the Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof. Ade Adefuye, denied this figure, saying that satellite pictures released by

‘But if we are to unravel the knotty issue, the United Nations is in a better and legitimate position to conduct a probe into the killings in order to determine the actual number of casualties as well as the circumstances surrounding the act. The US government, like Nigeria, is only one sovereign country among the other sovereign countries that make up the United Nations’

human rights organisations were insufficient to determine the number of casualties, and who were responsible for the carnage. He also made it clear to the US team which visited Nigeria that the claims about the casualties have been “excessively exaggerated”. Amidst these confusing scenarios The Empowered Newswire reported that the US officials were in a dilemma over which of the different accounts to believe. It is precisely this dilemma that prompted the US team’s visit to Nigeria for the purpose of “probing” the Baga killings. There is no doubt that, irrespective of the number of casualties in the Baga carnage, Nigerians and the international community have the right to know the correct picture of the killings as well as the circumstances that led to this tragic episode. For instance, who were involved; who gave the order, and for what reasons? We surely have the right to know exactly how many people were killed, especially as human civilisation has gone beyond jungle justice and indiscriminate termination of human lives. Unfortunately, the Nigerian government is yet to determine the exact number of casualties involved in the killings. And once again, it would seem the government has found it difficult to tell the truth

about this notorious massacre. Even very few people have faith in the probe that the government has instituted on the matter. But these do not in any way justify the US intervention in its attempt to “probe” another sovereign country. Although the US may have military agreement with Nigeria on matters of this nature, and may even be sufficiently concerned about what use the country is putting whatever arms and ammunition that Nigeria is getting from America, yet, Nigeria is a sovereign country and, for this reason, the US cannot unilaterally send a team to “probe” the Baga killings in Nigeria. As Nigerians, we feel sufficiently concerned about the unnecessary loss of lives in the tragic incident. Yes, there is no agreement on the number of lives lost there, we should be concerned, as we indeed are, that even if only one innocent person died as a result of the crisis, it should still give cause for worry. But if we are to unravel the knotty issue, the United Nations is in a better and legitimate position to conduct a probe into the killings in order to determine the actual number of casualties as well as the circumstances surrounding the act. The US government, like Nigeria, is only one sovereign country among the other sovereign countries that make up the United Nations.

A

HMED MAHER, one of the leaders of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, supported Islamist Mohamed Morsi in last year’s presidential election because he believed Mr. Morsi’s victory over a military-backed candidate would be more likely to consolidate democracy in their country. But during a visit to Washington last week, Mr. Maher told us that Mr. Morsi had betrayed him and his April 6 Youth Movement. “They lied, they broke promises, they killed members of April 6,” Mr. Maher said. Mr. Morsi’s government, he said, increasingly resembled that of former strongman Hosni Mubarak: “They only seek power.” Mr. Maher’s strong charges soon were substantiated by another transgression: Upon returning to Cairo from the United States on Friday, he was arrested at the airport. The 32-year-old, who founded the April 6 movement in 2008 to organize protests against the Mubarak regime, was charged with inciting a protest in March against Mr. Morsi’s interior minister. His transfer to a highsecurity prison quickly provoked a backlash both in Cairo and in Washington, and on Saturday authorities backed down. Mr. Maher was released, his case was transferred to a lower court and Mr. Morsi’s office and political party repudiated the airport arrest. That retreat still left Mr. Maher facing charges, according to the state news agency, of “resisting the authorities, insulting the police, gathering and obstructing traffic” — counts frequently used by the former dictatorship against public demonstrations. It offered new cause for concern about a government that repeatedly has proclaimed its commitment to both democracy and compromise with its opponents even as it prosecutes critics and prepares repressive new laws. Mr. Maher’s youth movement has resisted the polarization that has overtaken Egyptian politics in the past year. Though its leaders are secular liberal democrats with left-leaning views, they supported Mr. Morsi after obtaining direct assurances from him that he would seek consensus on the terms of a new constitution. The president broke that commitment in November, when he granted himself absolute power in order to force through a constitution favored by the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, a state prosecutor Mr. Morsi appointed in what opponents contend was another illegal maneuver has been bringing charges against critics, including journalists and organizers of demonstrations. A legislative body dominated by the ruling party has given preliminary approval to a law that would eviscerate Egypt’s civil society, shutting down almost all government-watchdog and human rights groups. Mr. Morsi’s spokesmen have asserted that he does not favor the political prosecutions and that the government is preparing a new version of the civil society law. But the president has not removed the prosecutor he appointed nor met other reasonable opposition demands, such as the correction of a gerrymander of electoral districts legislated by his party. Mr. Maher opposes counterproductive strategies embraced by other opposition leaders, including a boycott of future elections or support for a military coup. But he warns that the United States is repeating past mistakes in Egypt by appearing to tolerate Mr. Morsi’s consolidation of power. “If you want to support democracy, say we are here in Egypt to support democracy, not whoever is in office,” Mr. Maher says. That’s advice the Obama administration should heed. – Washington Post

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

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu • Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •Chief Internal Auditor Toke Folorunsho •Senior Manager (sales) Akeem Shoge •Advert Manager Robinson Osirike •IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness •Press Manager Udensi Chikaodi •Manager, Corporate Marketing Hameed Odejayi • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

20

CARTOON & LETTERS

S

IR: Regulatory agencies in Nigeria, apart from a handful have done dismal jobs in regulation and consumer protection. Many are unaware of their responsibilities or are negligent. This leaves the Nigerian consumer in situation where he has no choice and therefore left to the vagaries of the market. The telecommunications revolution was successful due to the efforts of the regulator, in this case, the NCC and its relationship with consumers and telecoms operators. But the electricity reform seems to be taking a direction of its own, one which has little regards for the consumer and sees them as sheep to be sheared. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC, seems intent on taking an unknown route despite the myriad examples of how not to do things, The Policy somersaults of NERC have left a bitter taste in mouths of consumers, the unfulfilled promises and the failures which are fruits of

SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 1000 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. E-mail: views@thenationonlineng.com

NERC: What manner of regulation? inadequate planning. When the NERC came up with the Multi-YearTariff-Order MYTO 2, is was to allow for sustainable generation of electricity and for adequate metering so as to avoid exploitation. Nigerians agreed with them and were expecting to see those promises delivered but the only thing we saw was outrageous bills in the midst of dismal improvement in electricity supply. Most consumers woke up to find out that their electricity charges and risen by about 50% and their consumption rates by the same. This would be no problem if

the figures were correct, but has power generation increased by 50% since June 2012 and where is the extra consumption coming from? The average American home consumes 940 kilowatts hour (KWH) per month, Canada 950, British 500, France 500, Japan 500 according to World Energy Council, with 24 hours electricity. In our case, our electric bills tell us that we Nigerians are consuming 1000 kwh per month on average, Which would be funny if it were not a cruel joke. Looking back at the early days of the telecommunications revolu-

tion, we can remember the consumer councils which were organized and where industry players, consumers and regulators parlayed. There problems experienced by consumers were brought to the fore and the regulator and industry operators took note of them. But in this other revolution, such things are absent. There are so many questions to be asked but no one to talk to. The recent somersaults of NERC are even more menacing. We were promised free prepaid meters alongside MYTO but that turned out to be a failure.

The undeclared revolution

IR: There is a consensus among a broad spectrum of Nigerians including respectable folks that to salvage the country from its pathetic state and set it on the part to real growth and development requires a revolution. Many declare that the country is ripe for one; some say it’s even long overdue. Indeed the conditions that inspire revolution abound in the country. However, a debate has raged on whether Nigerians have what it takes to make revolution. This question particularly came to the fore at the height of the Arab Spring. For some, the answer is no. These base their judgment on the argument that the citizens are so hopelessly divided and lack the pluck so crucial for a revolution. For some others, Nigerians have all it takes to rise up against the unhealhy status quo and could do exactly that once their burden becomes totally unbearable. Another question has been what nature the revolution will take. Is it going to be peaceful or bloody? While most citizens acknowledge the likelihood of revolutions to turn brutal, they, however, make it clear that they would rather have one devoid of violence. Such revolution would have to be properly

S

EDITOR’S MAIL BAG

planned and possibly led by intellectuals or the labour unions. But while Nigerians debate the above questions and ponder who would lead the revolution, when etc., a revolution is going on right under their nose. Yes, a revolution is currently going on in the country but has remained largely unacknowledged because it is neither taking the form majority of the people envisages nor led by personalities they recognize. With the possible exemption of the civil war years, the security challenge currently facing the country is almost unprecedented. Armed groups are unleashing mayhem and overrunning parts of the country, robbers, kidnappers and other felons are on rampage. Security agents are becoming some of the most vulnerable citizens, the authority of the state is being seriously challenged. This is the undeclared revolution. It may seem a strange one, but then, we live in a strange land. While the majority moderates dally, the minority extremists and criminal elements are already engaged in a grim struggle to either mold the state to their grisly taste or seize from it whatever they fancy. Unlike the rest of the people, criminals and extremists across

the country do not need to be united or form committees to begin their revolution. Their goal is not noble, their success therefore will spell disaster; they’ll bring the house down on everyone. The situation is that serious and requires equally serious and urgent measures. Moderates and responsible members of society must recognize that the much talked about revolution is already on but unfortunately is spearheaded by the wrong fellows. They must now take the bull by the horn, they must now launch their own revolution or should I say counterrevolution. The time for fu-

tile talks is long gone, the issues of the moment call for action. Men of goodwill must get ready to reclaim the country from incompetents and forever banish from the polity, individuals who do not mean well for the country and whose deeds led to the present sorry situation. The task of restoring the dignity and integrity of the state is one that cannot wait; the citizen’s confidence in the state must be quickly restored through good governance. This is the most credible means to stem the advance of the dark forces of anarchy. • Nnoli Chidiebere Abia State.

S

should elapse. After sending BCM to 440 to hook up my BB, the exercise failed after several attempts only to receive an SMS that “you still have active service” with accompanying deductions coming via SMS. Miffed by the development, I called 121 (customer care line) and a staff confirmed that some illegal deductions had taken place on my account and as such I can’t be connected on BB since the money left was N665, indicating that N900 had been deducted by the operator for

Now we are being told to pay for meters and get then in 45 days, yet no guidelines on how to pay and collect the meters. Every regulator operates with a carrot and stick policy applicable to consumers and industry operators, but the same cannot be said of the NERC. It would seem NERC gives the carrots to the industry operators only and reserves the stick for consumers. The Distribution Companies, DISCOS were required to provide free meters but due to the corrupt benefits they enjoy declined to do so and the regulator while acknowledging this did nothing. Even the 200 kilowatts hour max consumption rate for estimated billing, which would have reduced the incentive for corruption, went no further than the lips of the NERC chairman. Another disturbing aspect of the NERC is the absence of regulations covering the rights of consumers as regards safety and damages to life and property caused by voltage fluctuation. Numerous people have lost their lives, loved ones, property due to this menace with no reprieve and the regulator turns a blind eye to it. Or is the fault of the consumer that the distribution companies are inefficient and cannot maintain their equipment? Who is liable for the damage done, for the lives and property lost? Or should consumers start taking laws into their hands to solve their problems as is becoming the order of the day? I hope the NERC would borrow a leaf from the NCC and make the industry one that satisfies consumers, Industry operators and others concerned. • Nwachukwu Nnochiri Lagos

Airtel, refund my N900

IR: I have heard several complaints of illegal deductions by telecoms operators in Nigeria and had noticed in passing minimal reduction in my airtime a couple of times in the past, but none shook me to my marrow like the incident of Sunday, May 5. On the said day, I had loaded N1500 worth of airtime on my Airtel line (08127270177) to activate my Black Berry subscription having been disconnected on May 1 as against the May 9 the company originally told me my subscription

no service done me. He thus told me that the complaint had been forwarded to the appropriate unit for redress (refund of my money) and an SMS to authenticate this was sent reading “Your case ID is ANG201305057098376”. Six days later, Airtel responded via SMS again informing me that the case had been resolved, but to my utmost chagrin, my account is yet to be credited with the sum. • Clarkson Eberu Rutam House, Lagos


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

21

COMMENTS

Widows of violence; Police Empowerment in war and peace

I

T is difficult to write anything meaningful with so much deliberate kidnapping, murder of orderlies and the carnage in the rank and Tony file of the police recently Marinho just outside Lafia where, in 1975, I did my NYSC in the General Hospital. It was a pleasant memorable posting and we worked very hard for the people at that time. The recently bereaved police widows receiving a token N1m, or stopping traffic with protest dirges are very real and their pain is excruciating. That pain is no different from the pain of all the other widows of this new vicious violence in the country. Many get no compensation at all except from friends and family if they are lucky. We painfully add these 40+ new widows and their children and the police families to the long list of unsung suffering relations of bomb blast victims and those violently slaughtered on a daily basis in the brutal herdsman’s war against the farmers from many states on the North-South cattle corridor. We add the families of those killed almost like clockwork at the rate of 10 murders a day in the wellengineered bloody Hausa Fulani settler Vs indigene Plateau State crisis. Of course the police are no saints and many will remember the odious events of Odi and numerous other incidents including accidental discharge and checkpoint killings going back to ‘Kill and Go’ days when the citizen was on the receiving end. Recently it has been revealed what the police go through to get into the police service like purchase of the application form with maybe N30,000 and also the extreme hardship in training exposed by the award-winning Channels TV Corporate Social Responsibility Project documentary. We all know what it is like losing a breadwinner in a family when there is no ‘social network’ to provide the daily needs of sickness and education, housing and feeding.

T

HERE seems to be no let-up in the massacre that has taken over a sizeable part of the northern part of Nigeria. It is daily assuming a frightening dimension in spite of efforts by security agents to bring the ugly situation under control. And the casualty figure among the security agents themselves, particularly policemen, is on a fearful ascendancy. In actual fact, at no point in the last three years or more of the orgy of violence, arson and brigandage have we witnessed the type of ‘genocidal’ attacks on security agents as happened last week. First, it was at about 5a.m on Monday, May 6, in Bama, a sleepy border town in Borno State. That day, suspected insurgents popularly called Boko Haram attacked Bama at dawn. Fifty-five people, mostly security personnel – 20 policemen, two soldiers and 13 prison officials – were among the casualties. By the time the dust settled, a number of dangerous weapons, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs), assorted ammunition, rapid propelled grenades (RPG), general purpose machine guns, bombs and others were recovered from the ‘theatre of war’. The whole nation was still gripped in the throes of grief and mourning, when less than 24 hours later, precisely, at 12 midnight the same Monday, tragedy struck again. This time, in Alakyo Village, about 10 kilometres to Lafia, the Nassarawa State capital. A contingent of policemen who were on their way to a notorious shrine at Alakyo to effect arrest were ambushed at a point on their route by

‘The way things are going, we may wake up one day to discover that Aso Rock is under heavy shelling, both aerial and land bombardments, by terrorists’

Almost every Nigerian police station had to sell its soul and start to put up shops along their perimeter fence during the years of the locusts. Of course the police officers women got involved, selling shops to each other and taking years of rent in advance from traders. Now the police is facing an unpredicted security breach as there are thousands of shops right on their doorsteps available for rent by anybody as few security checks are possible in Nigeria where we specialise in ignoring databases like the INEC, Passport, cell-phone SIM card registration, ID card and road safety databases and we destroy computer based systems to allow corruption. And when one dies, truth may just turn out to be a lie, someone must be wrong no matter how his argument is strong. Two groups carrying weapons paid for by Nigeria confronted each other over oil bunkering- Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and the Police. We know the Police well and their track record. NSCDC is also not an unknown quantity. In fact rumour has it as largely incorruptible. Who was right? The police are fond of contradicting the body count and contesting it with NGOs and the mortuary. Hear them say ‘Only 22 died’. Meanwhile 50 families are searching the mortuaries and are fatherless, brotherless, motherless or childless as a result of the ‘Only 22’. The police’s ability to limit casualties is only matched by their spectacular ‘sirening’ around the country in their new vehicles. Recently yet another State Police Fund for a federal force was inaugurated. Does the federal government have no shame? With N884 or so billion/month can it not spare N5 or 10b to quickly equip the police to help fight this escalation unrest in Nigeria before we descend into total anarchy? Already the police are ‘legitimate’ targets of undeclared war in some states. As the police belong to the federal government, does the federal government not have any conscience or responsibility to finance and empower its own frontline security employees? It is shameful for the federal to expect the states to prop-up the police. The security vote in most states is a secret fund, probably illegal, a hangover slush fund from the military. It is time the security vote becomes part of the state budget,

simple! It was pathetic to see the commissioner of police in the state introducing police trust fund again and inviting corporate Nigeria and concerned citizens to contribute. We have been down that road many times and after five or 10 vehicles have been bought the rest of the money always disappears down the malignant hole of corruption. So who is a fool and who is the criminal? Indeed many real criminals are wealthy and will also donate loudly to the fund for protection. Paradoxically we were told that the murdered police in Nasarawa State were wellequipped. The federal government needs to declare some form of police emergency to empower it to bring the police up to international standards starting from the on-going refurbishment of basic training facilities to databases and forensic laboratories. That would help solve unemployment. It is not only Aso Rock, governor’s offices, NASS and State assemblies that need furniture and equipment and transport and electric power. Watch the TV to see what police stations around the world look like, even South Africa with clean painted exterior and interior, good quality furniture, computers, stationery, camera, video camera, communications and internet linkages -all available in Nigeria but unused. As the nation hangs in the vicious balance between war and peace, what is planned role for the police?

‘The federal government needs to declare some form of police emergency to empower it to bring the police up to international standards starting from the on-going refurbishment of basic training facilities to databases and forensic laboratories. That would help solve unemployment’

Under ‘enemy’ fire deadly, blood-thirsty cultists, simply known as the Ombatse – meaning ‘Enough’ - militia group. In the ensuing gunfight, 23 policemen were mowed down. By the last count, the casualty figure of the security agents may have risen to 47. This includes policemen and State Security Service, SSS, officials. Among the dead is an Assistant Commissioner of Police. Shortly after the bloody confrontation, a thoroughly frightened Tanko Al-Makura, the governor of the state, dashed to Aso Rock, the seat of government. There, he held a closed-door meeting with Namadi Sambo, the Vice-President who was holding fort for his principal, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was out on official visit to Southern Africa. He later told State House reporters that, prior to the Alakyo massacre, it was discovered that the militia group was holding arms and carrying out cult activities in the state. “Members of the group usually moved from one place to another, including mosques and churches, to attack helpless citizens, taking people from a particular ethnic group to come and take portions that are meant to empower them to do what they want to do. We took a decision to go to the shrine and pick on the cult leader so that the problem will be solved once and for all. As security operatives were approaching the shrine, unknown to them that ambush had been laid, these people attacked them,” AlMakura said. Al-Makura was not alone. Gabriel Suswan, the governor of Benue State, was also in Abuja to report the clash in Agatu Local Government Area of his state. The clash also claimed the lives of people, including women and children, who were attacked in their sleep. He told State House correspondents: “I came to brief the Vice-President on the security situation in Benue… there are serious altercations between the

Fulanis and the local farmers in Agatu Local Government… and they almost overran the local government. There were a lot of killings, a lot of property destroyed.” The three incidents above are as disturbing and confusing as they are worrisome. Bama to Alakyo is a distance of about 700 kilometres and nothing less than six hours’ drive. Besides, Nassarawa is a contiguous state to Abuja, the seat of government. And there is a common thread that ran through both the Bama and Alakyo attacks – ‘sorrow, tears and blood’ – as scores of security agents were callously hacked down. One disturbing scenario here is that criminals seem to have become more emboldened to confront security agents and slaughter them mercilessly at will. Last week alone, if you add the figure in Alakyo (47), Bama (33) – policemen, soldiers and prison officials – you will get 80. If you add that to the 11 policemen who were posted on guard duties in Bayelsa, but were recently attacked on the high seas, it gives a staggering figure of 91. The bulk of this figure, about 68, are policemen. Considering the rate these killings are going, the numerical strength of the police is being rapidly depleted. And come to think of it, how many policemen does the nation have? About 370,000, and this insufficient number is being further run down in the orgy of massacre that has gripped the nation. I am quite sure that most of the arms and ammunition of the slain security agents may have also found their way to wrong hands. This will certainly enrich the terrorists’ ‘war’ arsenal to the detriment of the nation’s security. A friend and a very senior police officer in Abuja agreed with me that there might have been a possible operational error in the attack in Alakyo. According to him, “I suspect there was either a failure of intelligence or that the movement of

the security agents was leaked to the cultists, or they had a mole within who gave them advance tips. Otherwise, it was a moving force that was mercilessly dealt such a big blow.” When I told him that the police should have deployed helicopters for surveillance or reconnaissance duties before storming the notorious shrine, he agreed. He then emphasised that modern-day crime fighting should evolve the use of hi-tech equipments so as to be far ahead of the criminals. The escalation of violence against security agents may be a fall-out of the kid’s glove approach the nation has been adopting in tackling growing insurgency and banditry across the country. It is high time we rose to the growing challenge and check the rising impunity with which the criminals have been carrying out their deadly exploits. My police officer friend believes that those who attacked Bama were not Boko Haram insurgents, but a certain group of bandits who operate along Birnin-Gwari axis. His argument is that the real Boko Haram agents have somehow gone a bit cold because of effective security coordination in the northern part of the country, especially in recent times. But then the rise of different militias or gangsters all over the place is a sign that things are really snowballing out of control. We have heard about Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, in the South-West; Egbesu Boys and a surfeit of others in the Niger Delta; MASSOB in the East; and now the Ombatse in Nassarawa State. Yet there are more than a thousand and one such criminally-minded groups mushrooming on a daily basis all over the country. Al-Makura said that the Ombatse group had been identified since January this year, when their satanic exploits escalated. But what did he do to immediately clip their wings?

Dele Agekameh That was how Boko Haram grew to become the monster it has assumed. Lack of decisiveness and political will to crush these groups must have been providing the oxygen needed to fester and become a malignant tumour to the nation. A foreign journal captured it succinctly in a headline last week: “From motorcycle fighters to grenade throwers”. Now, those who attacked Bama had RPG and anti-aircraft guns mounted on 4x4 wheel vehicles. Perhaps, we are moving to the era where these terrorists will involve the use of fighter jets for bombing raids. The way things are going, we may wake up one day to discover that Aso Rock is under heavy shelling, both aerial and land bombardments, by terrorists. This is the time for our security agencies to sit down and decisively address this growing insurgency and violence all over the place. There is also the need to create employment and put food on the table of Nigerians. There are far too many idle hands and hungry mouths which are fertile grounds for easy recruitment to all forms of banditry now plaguing the country. God help Nigeria!

Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

22

COMMENTS ‘Tunji, those who live in glass houses should never throw stones. Without the wealth of Niger Delta, Nigeria would be a church rat of a nation. No history of ancient Yoruba nation can produce a pint of petroleum oil for Nigeria today. Niger Delta is larger than Togo, Sierra Leone, and Dahomey. Respect the small man. Human life has equal value. Keep fit. From Prof Agustine’ interest of all is rather shrouded in mystery, the fallible reporter as the watch-dog of the society should be entitled to draw his own conclusions based on the evidence without being liable to prosecution or penalty. Hence, the public is entitled to be informed. From Emmanuel Egwu, Enugu. •Asari Dokubo

For Olatunji Dare Governor Chime is a cat with nine lives. He will outlive his detractors. Dare, keep shooting. Eko oni baje. From Nelson Egere, Owerri If I were Dr. Chime, I would not join issues with those who wished him dead because only God knows best about who will live and those whose time have come to an end. These people do not have political pedigree in the state. Rather, they are political liabilities who always look for the downfall of their leader. Obasanjo had the same experience on many occasions but today he is still waxing stronger and laughing at them. Chime, they can not remove a strand of hair from your head not to talk of killing you. Only God will decide your exit not human. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Docyard Apapa, Lagos Your piece “A morbid obsession” is a master piece . I cannot blame the originator of the rumour. The ball is now in Governor Chime’s court. He should now come out in the open to dispel this rumour. Afterall, a lie frequently told becomes a truth. From Ojo A. Ayodele, Emure Ekiti Re: A morbid obsession. Jokes aside, you now see the freedom of information in action albeit its repercussions. How do we fault such hot news being hourly-specific, death-specific, place-specific, personality-specific and standby-specific! It is not all the persistent rumour. I calls for someone’s death prolongs his/her life; other times, such rumoured death calls the death for that person. For Governor Sullivan Chime, his persistent rumoured death shall quicken his recovery, prolong his life and consequently shame his detractors in God’s name. Amen. From Lanre Oseni It is unfortunate, this is the country where public officers go on four/five months accumulated vacation without any explanation to those paying their bills. Even when all can see the sickness, maybe they think a state burial is more honourable. His five-minute state broadcast will solve all the rumour. Anonymous Chime has enemies in his cabinet because a man from Oyo cannot know his movenment to India. He must be careful and prayerful. From Baba Shola, Okada, Edo State Re: A morbid obsession: Sometimes I wonder which of the sectors ( media, power, oil or aviation) is more sick than the other. I believe there are international ethics for publishing news, though I am not a jounalist. But such unfathomal stories go a long way to tell how decayed our national system of operation is From Pastor John Benson Okpe Whatever one prays for others will surely come back to one. I cannot see the reason some people would be having sleepless night thinking of evil for Chime or trying to set him back for all tthe good things he plans for the people of Enugu. Anonymous From the circumstantial evidence, it is hard to conclude that those media that reported Governor Chime’s death were wrong or right in the first place. For example, what of if Chime had actualy died and was later revived when the news of his death had already gone to town? No nomal person can wish a fellow human being dead, no matter what. But when the death has actually occured, (especialy that of such a public figure), it is still proper the curious public be told of it accordingly. Afterall, death being an inevitable end of all of us comes when it must come. But when what should be ordinarily made public in the

For Segun Gbadegesin Segun, in one sentence, l tell you this in spite of all your indefensible averments that APC can only succeed if PDP stalwarts decamp and take over APC. Yet, APC cannot make them new humans! Anonymous I do not know why Nigerians are joining issues with the likes of Okupe and Dokubo who lack moral ground. Okupe knows that he has no political pedigree in his home town and in Nigeria in general. He promised to change his name or people should stop calling him Okupe if APC did not crumble within one year. He is still living in the past. He worked as an attacked dog for for the former president and later dumped like a remnant food. Dokubo has a very short memory who talk yesterday and forgot what he said. He has reduced himself to a common jester because of his unguarded utterances. He will praise you today and tomorrow he will attack you. Whether the duo like it or not, APC has come to stay. They will swallow their words when the time comes. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Apapa Lagos. Asari thought that his stupid languages will help Jonathan in 2015. We voted him in, we are ready to vote him out. From Joe, Kaduna. I am one of your admirers who, indeed, sees you as a role model, but I am sorry to let you know that Asari is very right on this issue. Anonymous Though your article on ‘scaremonger and APC’ is interesting, I am more concerned about a rejoinder from Mike Adeyinka, who is unhappy about readers’, reaction to the 45jail term for a fraudster. Please tell Adeyinka that people are unappeased for the following reasons: the belief, rightly or wrongly, that most of the victims are themselves not honest. (2) Justice in our country is for the rich and powerful. (3) The amount he duped those victims pales significantly, from what people like Maina have pillaged and for which they have been jailed three months or at most two years. God bless you for publishing my rejoinder to a rejoinder. Anonymous It seems Okupe and his co-travellers still do not understand the politics of this our great nation. He said we should stop calling him his name if after one year APC is not dead. He and Dokubo have forgotten when the youth of Abacha era stood up and said, Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA). When the APC is eventually registered, they will realise that they have been living in fools paradise. The duo are political jobbers who do not have the interest of the nation at heart but theirs. They are still living in the past when people with integrity are compromised. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Apapa Docyard Lagos. Segun, it looks as if you have an exalted opinion of the abilities of the emerging APC. The truth is that some leaders of the merger will hardly give up vested interests without a fight. The pretentious resolute strength in attitudes of these leaders is deceptive for they carry failure on their faces. They do not harbour tempers that win political battles. From Micah J. Gomwen Uncle Sege, l do not think you need to waste your time and energy writing about Okupe and Asari Dokubo who beat drums of war as if they will not be consumed by it. Tell Okupe to get back to his trade before it is too late. Yoruba have never been lazy people and Asari can return to the creek to continue his trade. Anonymous The so called political merger of the three parties is a mere political gambling by a set

of frustrated politicians with inordinate ambition. There is nothin interesting or fasinating about it. It is a mere pursuit of selfish political relevance by Buhari from regional to a national mission of vendetta, when he loses out again. I pity the fatal loss of AD/ACN political identity. From Dr. H. O. Ohuei, Kaduna APC you are ‘too much’, Nigerians are solidly behind you jare. Anonymous. For Gbenga Omotoso Just finished reading your article, sir, I enjoy the piece. God bless you. From Biyi Olanibi, Akure Thank you for your piece. You have not ceased to interest me as a commentator. Isn’t there a Saka in all of us? What a question! Anonymous I was happy with you the way you married a light issue with a topical issue and you still maintain cordiality with your point of view. I plead gratitude for making me laugh after reading. From Folarin Olaniyi Duro, Lagos What a great article I never knew you to be such a humorous /comedic person. Your article reminds me of a great Afro beat musician, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti of blessed memory, who in one of his tracks “surfing and smiling” even amid hardship Nigerians still smile but “an induced smile” that does not last more than a minute. What Nigerians need at this hard time is not all these adverts cum endless promotions but good service whereby calls are not marred by bad networks. Where calls are made without hearing the person at the other end cannot get voicing from the other end but charges made for no fault of the subscribers. Please let us forget all these gimmicks of all the service providers and treat realities. From Kent Agoha, Umuahia Our leaders have been reduced to common jesters, their inability to make Nigerians laugh. All the comedians should try to do what they know best to keep Nigerians laughing. I did not even remember when I laughed last because we are always frowning. I am not expected to be laughing because our country is also not laughing. They say he who laughs last laughs best. May we be the best in this country. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Apapa Docyard, Lagos I just laughed now to answer your question. Why? Because I read Saka ported, Etizalat paid Saka meagre thousands like a clown but Saka ported to MTN for millions, smart ass. I cannot remember how long our political looters have been porting parties to make millions. From Oladimeji Lawal When I collected my admission letter, that was the only time Nigeria made me laugh. From Mr. White, Ondo Only you could beat Saka in life’s real comedy. Thank you for your witty essay that has surplus humour flavoured with your power of huge intellect. Anonymous I try to laugh sometimes, most of the times I only succeed in releasing ‘polluted gas’. I do not know who can make me laugh, until yesterday when I noticed the horrified look on Saka as he turned and screamed I don port o. it seemed he was undergoing some distress, or even terrified. I said, “na by force to port?” First time reading you, now I am hooked. From Count of Monte Cristo For Tunji Adegboyega Re: Jonathan for life! (Your column of Sunday, May 12, 2013 refers). The more rubbish we condone in Nigeria, the more corruption grows; the more unsettled and insecure we become. I have no respect for those who claim to be ethnic activists. Is it Dokubo’s fault? But, if the short is unwise, what of the tall? And Frederick Fasheun as well as Gani Adams are happy partaking and sharing the loot on securing the fuel pipelines

• Chime

instead of kicking against such a leakage! There can’t be a life presidency in Nigeria. Quite unfortunate the drift of Nigeria is multifaceted. None has sent Dokubo, Kuku, Fasheun and Adams those messages. From Lanre Oseni. Asari Dokubo should show Nigerians where it is written in the constitution that the presidency shall be ‘turn-by-turn’ and once elected, the President must be re-elected for a second term, or that he must spend two terms or eight years. Let him do that before we begin to take him serious. From Tunde Adeniji, Old Ife Road, Ibadan, Oyo State. Tunji, your article “Jonathan for ife!” was satirical. It assured educated Nigerians that a serious message can be given on the pages of newspapers and the uninitiated (like Asari Dokubo) may not decode it. We are lucky to have writers like you. Keep it up. From Hassan, Gboko, Benue State. Your piece on” Jonathan for life” explains why our president deserves another term. Dokubo is enjoying, not minding millions of Nigerians in abject poverty. From Biyi Olalemi, Akute, Ogun State. Tunji, those who live in glass houses should never throw stones. Without the wealth of Niger Delta, Nigeria would be a church rat of a nation. No history of ancient Yoruba nation can produce a pint of petroleum oil for Nigeria today. Niger Delta is larger than Togo, Sierra Leone, and Dahomey. Respect the small man. Human life has equal value. Keep fit. From Prof Agustine. Brother, don’t blame those loud speakers, the duo of Kuku and Dokubo, blame the kingmaker that gave us the President now controlling 180million people. Anyway, I support your suggestion ‘Jona oko Dame for life’ (Jonathan, Dame’s husband for life!) 2015 is around the corner. From Pastor Sam Ayo, Oke Aro, Ogun State. Why must the government engage OPC and other groups to monitor the pipelines? Does it mean our security agencies are not up and doing in their job? Why are they paying them since they cannot do their primary assignment of guarding the petroleum pipelines to avoid vandalism? From Gordon Chika Nnorom. I read your inspiring column always. You sound like Steve on Fridays. Keep talking truth; “the walls”, they say, “have ears”. From Mrs. Gift, Port Harcourt. You have almost unveiled greedy Nigerians for us to see. Keep it up and God bless you. From Lanre- Elyon Fagbolagun, Ile-Ife. Your comment and analysis on page 17 of The Nation on Sunday May 12 is food for thought. What is your opinion on similar threats by two Fulani, Muhammadu Buhari and Lawal Kaita? Or is it not necessary, even though Dokubo’s came later? Yoruba ronu (Yoruba, think). Anonymous. Re: Champagne champions (your column of May 5). Perhaps the printer’s devil! Paragraph 5, line 2 ‘taking’ was mistaken for ‘taken’. But if France takes first position as highest consumers of champagne in the world, they are worth that because they would think with it. They will invent with it. They will innovate with it and they would solve problems with it. They have clinched the IMF presidency. They have resolved and stabilised Mali’s instability. They are a world power. Nigeria’s second position in champagne consumption in the globe does not toe the above development indices. Ours portrays underdevelopment, ostentation and bandwagon effect. We copy worse than owners! Unfortunate! From Lanre Oseni.

I refer to your piece ‘Why Baga matters’. As much as I do not sup faild to tak into consideration our horribly slow, biased and corr Instead, many have escaped from jail. It is obvious you have not witnessed at close range the wickedne


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

Life

25

The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

Text only: 08023058761

Protecting the earth – Page 27

‘Autism in children, not death sentence’ – Page 28

A teacher’s political journey •Dame Virgy

BornTroWay sets Obalende agog – Page 37

‘At 70, I should give way; I should stay aside to direct, mentor, correct and show the positive way forward because I remember when I was the governor of Anambra State the people were very happy’ – SEE STORY ON PAGE 26


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

26

The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

Former Anambra State Governor Dame Virgy Etiaba spoke on the state of the nation and why she ‘stepped aside’ as a politician at the 12th Nigeria International Book Fair in Lagos. Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME reports.

F

OR several minutes, the former Governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba held the audience spellbound with her remarks on the state of the nation. She x-rayed education, submitting that the government must invest meaningfully on the sector. Dame Etiaba spoke at an international conference in Lagos attended by Eze Ikelionwu X1, Prof Chukwuemeka Ike; former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Britain Dr Christopher Kolade; Mr Samuel Kolawole and Mr. Gbenro Adegbola among others. She lamented the poor results in the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). She wondered how only 10 of the over one million candidates for the exam, scored above 300, blaming the development on non-involvement of professionals in policy implementation. She spoke at the 12th Nigeria International Book Fair, organised by the Nigerian Book Fair Trust (NBFT) held at the Multipurpose Halls of the University of Lagos (UNILAG). The theme of the conference was, Investment in the knowledge economy as a vehicle for sustainable growth and development. The country’s first female governor said: “I am an educationist, today the quality of education our children are having is nothing to write home about. I still believe the so-called information technology can be used to improve education. It is unfortunate that most of our children glue their eyes to TV, watching movies instead of doing their home work. This shows the children are picking the negative side of it which should not be. Look at the recent UTME results released, only 10 candidates scored 300 marks in a population of over a million candidates. Our educational system is faulty, but the fault is because we have not involved professionals to look into what is happening.” To her, education is the way forward to development. She observed that Nigerians have now realaised the importance of women in the society, which is why women liberators such as the late Funmilayo Ransome Kuti who fought for the liberation must be appreciated for their efforts. She noted that today, Nigerians are enjoying the fruit of their struggles, a motivation she said, led her into championing women education. “Go to House of Assemblies across the federation, you find women legislators. Even we are anticipating that in the next administration, we will have more female governors and in no time we would produce vice president and president. So, I think we are getting it right. As far as women education is concerned, all those areas that were hitherto dreaded, such as engineering, medical, etc you find most of the women are there. So, I tell you we’re getting there. “Apart from the north, you know culture and tradition determine a lot on the way forward for our girl child. But here in the south, especially in the east, we are talking now of male child education. Most of our boys are dropping out of schools to embrace the financial world. Women are taking the upper hand. But in the northern part of the country, as a result of culture they are just getting out . So, I will not say we are not on the way. We are on the way, but it will take time for those in the north to catch up with those in the south,” she said. After her remarks, she went to her booth where she autographed copies of her autobiography, My Life, My Story, for buyers. The book was launched last year. According to her, at 70, she is not directly into politics but mentoring the young ones. “It has always been my policy and everywhere I go I say it let us raise the younger ones, let us mentor them and that is what I am doing I am mentoring. At 70, I should give way; I should stay aside to direct, mentor, correct and show the positive way forward because I remember when I was the governor of Anambra State the people were very happy,” she said of her political career. Dame Etiaba stressed that stepping aside early at 70, engenders positive value for the polity as there would be more time for mentoring of the younger ones. “If we can start at an early time to mentor the younger ones it would pay us than staying back like some of the old ones at the age of 80. For corruption, it needs to be cut at the root so that we can progress,” she added. She went philosophical when asked if given the opportunity whether she would have stayed longer as governor of Anambra State after her 100 days in office in 2006. “If I was allowed to stay longer, my Lord that placed me there know that I was there and he will continue to support me, energise me, encourage me and empower me. However, don’t you know that Anambra State is a very difficult state as far as politics is concerned? There are so many political parties and all of them are just struggling to beat one another in the race for power.” Last April, 52 years after leaving Kwoi, Kaduna state, where she had her first posting as a trainee teacher, Dame Etiaba reflected on her school days in northern

•Dame Virgy

•From left: Dame Virgy, Kolade, Prof Ike and Managing Director Repro India Murkesh Dhrwe at the opening of the International Book Conference at the Mult-Purpose Hall University of Lagos

A teacher’s political journey BOOK FAIR Nigeria as a young Igbo girl. “My heart bleeds whenever I see the destruction by Boko Haram. Lives are wasted and properties are destroyed. What readily comes to mind is late Sunny Okosun’s song in the 90s…”Which way Nigeria? I also ask, is the destruction of life and properties worth it? I plead that all hands should be put on deck to curb this evil that is eating deep into our system,” she said.

On February 26, 2011, she launched the Dame Virgy Etiaba Foundation at the Muson Centre, Lagos as a way to give back to the society. Through this, she sponsored the education of several indigent students through the award of scholarship from primary school to university level. Also, through the foundation, she executed charity programmes aimed at improving the lives of the ordinary citizens of Anambra State and nurturing talents and potentials for self development, culminating in the restoration of hope and faith in the lives of the beneficiaries.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

27

The Midweek Magazine Protecting the earth

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

S

TAKEHOLDERS in conservation and national parks management, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), journalists, students from the University of Agriculture (UNAAB), Abeokuta, and the Federal College of Wild Life Management, New Bussa, converged on Kanji Lake National Park, New Busa, Niger State. Their mission: A three-day workshop to introduce reforms that would turn around the eco-tourism fortunes of national parks to play an active role in the economy. It was held in collaboration with a private company, Travel Bits. They brainstormed on issues, such as how eco-tourism can provide people with recreation, psychological and spiritual enjoyment, and how Nigeria can build national identities around its environmental allure such as national parks. According to them, the potential and resources for eco-tourism are immense, adding that besides beaches and exotic sceneries, there are seven national parks, 30 game reserves, 1129 forest reserves, four game sanctuaries, two strict nature reserves, and one biosphere reserve. Conservator-General, National Park Service, Alhaji Haruna Tanko Abubakar, said the workshop, which was the second held in 10 years, underscored the pivotal role of the media in educating and enlightening the public, not only on contemporary issues, but also on matters that affect their well-being, national cohesion and overall national development. He said a key component of economic development to attract direct foreign investments was the inauguration by the Minister of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Ibrahim Malafiya, of a steering committee on the partial commercialisation of national parks. The essence, Abubakar adedd, is to introduce reforms that would turn around the eco-tourism fortunes of the parks, to play an active role in the economy. ”As the National Parks are about the only remaining viable conservation areas in the country, we face serious pressure from other land users. Of particular concern is the incessant clash between cattle grazers/poachers and Park Rangers, which in most cases resulted either in maiming or killing of Rangers. It is unfortunate that, this year alone, we lost three Rangers in such violent attacks. While the officers died gallantly, we are taking adequate measures to prevent further loss of lives, in addition to the provisions made in the Employees Compensation Act, to cushion the affects of these hazards.” On the relevance of National Parks, Abubakar said they protect national gene pool, water sleds and water catchments areas and ameliorate the effects of climate change. They are also arenas for biotechnology development, and serve as sources of protein field laboratory for nature-based research and education. The parks are national reservoir for plants and animals of economic and medical values, drought and desertification amelioration, purifies air and water, in addition to being spawning ground for aquatic resources, modifying the quality of food, as well as environmental sustainability. On the achievements of the service, Abubakar said it has discovered 10 new plant species, out of which six are new records in Nigeria, and four probably new to science. ”The service has successfully implemented the Local Empowerment and Environmental Management (LEEMP) project with support from the World Bank, which provides support to some parks with interactive livelihood option. Plans are also in top gear to establish a sustainable livelihood, Biodiversity Conserva-

•Entrance to National Park, Kanji

•Tanko presenting a gift to Kitoro. From Bode Durojaiye, Kainji

TOURISM tion, and Outreach fund to consolidate on the gains recorded by the project.” According to him, the construction of over 4,000 square kilometres of jeep tracks, 44 Ranger Posts, 168 culverts, eight bridge, and procurement of 23 patrol vehicles, communication protecting park resources are other measures. ”We also constructed two swimming pools (for adults and children) in Kanji Lake National Park, students’ hostels in the defunct Yaukari and Old Oyo National Parks, as well as chalets for the promotion of recreation and tourism in various National Parks.” He listed the challenges confronting the service to include inadequate infrastructure, capacity building, para-military status, presence of enclave communities, insecurity, poor conditions of highways, and others.

One of the resource persons, Musa Wari, noted that global spending on protected areas is $6.5billion a year, and the amount required to fully support conservation ranges between $12 and $45 billion. ”Less than 12 per cent is spent in developing countries, which often have the greatest biodiversity. In fact, over the past decade many developing countries and governments have cut their budgets for protected areas by more than half. “International aid for biodiversity conservation had also declined. As a result, protected areas receive less than 30 per cent of the funding needed for basic conservation management.” Wari lamented that many National Parks in developing countries exist only on paper, as they lacked enough funds to pay staff salaries, buy patrol vehicles, or run wildlife conservation programmes, thus making the parks vulnerable to poaching, deforestation, and agri-

‘The service has successfully implemented the Local Empowerment and Environmental Management (LEEMP) project with support from the World Bank, which provides support to some parks with interactive livelihood option. Plans are also in top gear to establish a sustainable livelihood, Biodiversity Conservation, and Outreach fund to consolidate on the gains recorded by the project’

cultural use by local communities. He said responsible commercialisation, through public-private partnerships would provide an important solution but that such ventures needed to perform a range of functions requiring a broad set of skills in biodiversity management. Emir of Borgu Kingdom Dr. Haliru Dantor Kitoro II, said a journalist who was not exposed to the diversity of the world by virtue of travels and tours, and who fails to appreciate the critical nexus between the future of mankind and the earth is not a journalist, in the real sense of the word. He pointed out that in this information age prudent use of information is key, and the environment and travel journalist king, adding that he holds the key to attracting tourists, enlightening the military, empowering scientists, promoting investments, stabilising society, and generally advancing a nations strategic interests. ”Certainly, it is in Nigerians’ best interests to encourage, promote and sustain capacity-building among the nations environmental and travel journalists. The benefits of this are legion, and they include sustainable utilisation of the nations’s resources on an environmentally friendly, sustainable and renewable basis, conservation of the flora and fauna resources, promotion of national unity through emphasis on national diversity, and cultural or religious varieties, advancement of good governance best practices through investigative journalism as well as publicising the vast tourist attractions, with a view to developing and promoting them.” He hinted that Borgu Kingdom hosts some notable tourist attractions, which include Kanji Lake National Park (Nigeria ’s first park), Kainji Dam and Hydroelectric Power Station (the country’s first and largest hydro electric power station), the spot of Mungo Park, and Forge Island (reputedly Northern Nigeria’s largest Island ). He, however, lamented the plight of the communities that host hydroelectric power stations across the country, saying: “It is sad to note that ever since the establishment of Kainji Lake in the mid 1960s followed by the commissioning of Jebba Power Station in 1985, and Shirro Power Station in1990, there is yet to be a functional framework to address the unique developmental challenges confronting the host communities. “It is, however, gratifying that the government has established the Hydro Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC)” Dr. Dantor invited journalists to the 2nd International Borgu Gani–Durbar Festival, schedule to hold in April next year at New Bussa. The festival, he said, is a celebration of cultural heritage of Borgu people within Nigeria, and the Diaspora. It is a series of cultural and traditional sport events. Including Great Durbar (Northern Carnival), Regatta, Traditional Wresting, and agricultural show. Speaking on behalf of the seven directors of National Parks, the Conservator and Director of Old Oyo National Park, Ibrahim Goni, said the National Parks Law in Nigeria are perhaps one of the most progressive on the subject in the world today. Goni said: “It is a fact that our National Parks may not compare favourably with East and Southern African Parks with regards to large population of animals particularly antelopes that readily gladden the hears of foreign countries in the vast open savannah setting of those countries. It is however, pertinent to note the fact that what our parks lack in terms of endless open grassy plains and teeming animal population, the shine richness and diversity of our ecosystem can match them dollar for dollar” He, therefore, submitted that with over 80 percent of the nation’s resources “entrapped” in the parks, the role the National Parks service play in protecting these resources cannot be over emphasised.

Third car winner emerges in Loya milk promo

M

ERCY OKIYI, a final year student, has won a Hyundai i10AT car in the Loya Milk ‘It’s What’s Inside That Matters’ promo in Aba, Abia State. Miss Okiyi said she was unaware of the promo until she bought the milk. “I did not hear about the promo from the radio or television. I just bought the Loya

milk and I saw what they wrote on the cover of the milk, ‘look inside’ and when I opened the milk I saw a coupon inside. “When I saw that I won, I didn’t believe it so I called the number on the coupon and they told me the promo is on and that I have won a car. So, I am very excited. I don’t know how to drive yet but I will learn with this car and it’s going to be a family car,” she said.

According to her, she had doubts about the promo. “When I saw the coupon I took it to my sister who said it’s fraudulent. I decided to just try. So I called the customer care and they said: ‘Congratulations’ that they will get back to me. Later my dad went to confirm that it is real. My dad believed immediately he saw it but I didn’t because people are usually fraudulent,” she said.

Speaking at their Lagos office, Commercial Director, Promasidor Nigeria, Mr. Kachi Onubogu, said: “At Promasidor, when we make commitments we keep them that’s why we have been in business for over 20 years. Despite that we do what we say we will do, we also want to remind people that we keep our promises. We know that between now and May, we will give out all the 12 cars.”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

28

The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

•Agbolade, who battled autism

• Akande

Today, many children are suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a condition which is different from Down Syndrome. Parents are waking up to the reality of this strange brain disorder, which is draining them economically, emotionally and psychologically. JOKE KUJENYA reports.

‘Autism in children not death sentence’

W

ITH a promising career, Mrs Elizabeth Ukaigbe, could not have wished for a better life. Things were going well for her family until life took a turn for the worse 13 years ago, with the birth of her third daughter, Rosalyn Ukaigbe. “When I had her, we had no premonition that anything could be wrong with her in any way. She was growing up fine until her second birthday. Prior to that, I had noticed she barely spoke anything audible. So, my first instinct was, could my daughter be ‘deaf’. But I took her to the hospital where they ran series of tests and I was told her hearing mechanisms were quite sound. So, what could be wrong? My heart kept pondering. Rosalyn was just different. At such a tender age, she could play with a particular toy from morning till night, weeks on end. When we try to change the toy for another one, she would get aggressive and kick, but no sound. “I started losing concentration at work. I became so disoriented, it was hard for anyone close to me not to have noticed that. Forget it, my husband practically lost his composure. In fact, I would say I was much stronger. But then, both of us still did not know what the situation we were grappling with was all about. “It was my boss who called me one day and suggested that perhaps my daughter’s problem was a disorder called autism. Auwhat? I could remember my mouth could not form the words. She repeated ‘autism’. When she saw how bewildered I looked, she took my hands calmly and walked me to her office. That was when she told me that she too, had learnt about autism in the United States of America (USA), during one of her trips. I got home, told my husband, and we visited an organisation suggested to me by my boss. Well, Rosalyn is now seven years of age and she has really improved. Though, I must tell you, the battle is still on but quite better that when we started. I have been given assurances time and again that she will outgrow it someday.” For parents of children with autism, life can be a despair. “Raising them is equally financially exasperating. It turns one into a beggar,” said Mrs Amanda Ehi, when her daughter, Katherine, was diagnosed with autism at the age of five. And I thought, what is autism? I was both afraid and devastated to describe it mildly. Since then, Katherine had gotten all the treatment

HUMAN INTEREST and services required, but here we are, still at it,” she told The Nation. As of today, the number is on the rise said Mrs Dotun Akande, Founder, Speech and Language Centre, Ikeja, Lagos. “And while it is unfortunate that like most medical cases, Nigeria does not have reliable statistics, autism affects one in every 88 children. The painful part is that many parents of autistic children are left devastated and exasperated. And where it is not well managed, it could even break the marriages where the couples are left oblivious of how to manage the situation.” Monday and Tuesday, April 8-9, 2013, the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), at its Orange Ribbon Initiative two-day seminar on Autism in Nigeria, at the Muson Centre, Lagos, the bank noted that “world research statistics show that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is on the rise with an incidence of 1 in 88 children being affected. However, reports show Nigeria ranks low in the management of children with autism. And this is what prompted the bank to work in unison with other concerned organisations to initiate a variety of projects towards managing and improving awareness and management of ASDs.” Autism is described as a complex disorder that is not caused by bad parenting or spiritual attacks. Of the one in every 88 children born with autism, 80 of them are said to be boys. The disorder, research says, grows from mild to severe given that every child is different and so, it warned that generalist should be viewed cautiously. Akande said: “For now, there is no cause or cure for autism. But therapeutic intervention such as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), speech, occupational and music therapy as well as dietary intervention has maximised

the potential of the children with autism. “It is still worrisome that in Nigeria, there are no statistics to work with. So parents only rely on the doctor and sometimes, school teachers to confirm their fears. What also gets everyone concerned is that, autism children find communicating with orders and relating with the real world, difficult. They do not understand social etiquette and have few friends. They have restricted or repetitive behaviour. They exhibit abnormal response to sensory issues and sometimes demonstrate aggressive and self-injurious behaviour. In fact, children with autism display odd behaviours. They play in isolation. They lack empathy. When they are with a group of other regular children, the retract and play on their own. And most of them barely talk or listen to any other person at all. Worst of all, they do not answer to their names. “But these features are not enough to jump into conclusion,” she advises. “Children with peculiar traits such as those mentioned above should be taken for thorough medical assessments such as hearing test using the Mchart, to know where his or her strengths and weakness are. This would be used to draw up the plan through which such children can be helped for the hope of a slow but steady recovery. “Autistic children can lead a normal life. They can learn skills such as musical instrument and other forms of arts in six months if well catered for. Autism in children is not a death sentence,” she affirms. “With love and patience, autistic children can be taught any skill in this world. The environment in which they must be helped must be made conducive for the children due to their hypersensitive nature. All their trainers must be child-friendly and display no form of aggression. And this is the point we advise fathers in particular to watch their reactions

‘It is still worrisome that in Nigeria, there are no statistics to work with. So, parents only rely on the doctor and sometimes, school teachers to confirm their fears. What also gets everyone concerned is that, autism children find communicating with orders and relating with the real world, difficult. They do not understand social etiquette and have few friends. They have restricted or repetitive behaviour’

in the presence of these children till they understand what the problem really is.” According to research, not all children with autism will be like that forever. A lot of them record dramatic progress when they get early intervention while some of them totally recover from the disorder. “Akande said: “some of them may even have been speaking for some time and then lose it as the disorder progresses. But when this happens either at home or school, the first reaction is to take them for medical attention. We do this because it is expected that at a particular age, they must have been talking. Then they stick to a particular form of behaviour. Some of them even walk tiptoeing and often, they don’t like being touched. There are some of them who are overly sensitive to sounds and you see them covering their ears or shut their eyes to light. “Yet, the signs are vary, not just one, but a combination. This then means that for the child to gain the much needed help, he or she must have trainers in various aspect of the lapses observed. Some of them display abysmal traits in their speech, hearing, facial expression and in verbal or non-verbal behaviours among others. Some of them even speak so low you have to be really tolerant to hear them. And when you sing their names, it does wonder for them. “Their diet is also very essential in the sense that autism is a neuro-biological disorder which means that there is something in the biological composition of the child that is different. And there is also something in the neuro, that is, the brain, that is not together. So, changing the diet of such children makes parents discover that the child records some level of improvement. For instance, wheats have been found to affect the guts of children with autism. Some of them have leaky guts, that is, they have holes in their intestines. And if you give the right diets, those holes can heal. They often exhibit features such as when you are trying to get the attention of the child, they are not responsive. And when you start a rhyme, their faces light up. We have found out that music is something they really respond to.” Akande, who also shares her first-hand experience with her 9-years old autistic son, Agbolade, now a JSS3 student in a regular school, and doing quite well, said: “Now, he goes to school and does his things like a regular such that if one is not told, you would never have suspected he is an ASD.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

29

BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

NLNG is one of the biggest success stories in our country. From what I am told, the company has invested $13 billion so far since inception, and has become a pacesetter in terms of revenue generation for the government. -Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga

Stock market primed for profit-taking, say experts T

HE stock market may witness pronounced profit-taking transactions in the days ahead as investors seek to cash in on substantial capital gains. The profit-taking transactions may lead to price correction, an inference to possible decline in market benchmark indices. The market opened this week with average year-todate return of 28.25 per cent but several equities carry three-digit returns. Analysts in latest reviews of the market outlook said several market-determining equities garnered substantial capital gains to entice speculative investors to sell their holdings. They, however, remained optimistic about the me-

•Tip banks, building materials as outperformers By Taofik Salako

dium to long-term outlook of the market with most pundits projecting continued rally through the second half. Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited, Mr Bismarck Rewane, said the market outlook suggests stock market correction and may begin with profit-taking transactions. According to him, while portfolio investors remain

long in the equity market, bargain-hunting retail investors have induced price volatility, which may further become pronounced as investors monetise recent capital gains. Analysts at FSDH Merchant Bank also indicated possibility of price correction, citing the prices in the market. Rewane said expected price correction may however, provide entry opportunity for portfolio investors

as the market medium to long-term outlook remains strong. “Our forecast for the market to hit the 38,000 points by end of the year remains intact provided there are no exogenous risks,” Rewane said. He said large-cap stocks would continue to be market drivers as investors prefer the safety offered by the easily predictable sectoral leaders to the extreme volatility of penny and mi-cap stocks. He noted that though there had been echoes of possibility of an asset bubble, the Nigerian equity market still

has substantial intrinsic values, pointing out that average dividend yield of selected listed companies in Nigeria is still higher than frontier market peers at 4.1 per cent. According to him, the first quarter results released so showed that banks and building materials, which have domineering influence on the market, would continue to outperform expectations. He noted that though consumer goods sector may struggle with flat sales and tough operating environment, future earnings power of the companies remain strong.

Gates Foundation votes $.65m for cassava By Daniel Essiet

T

HE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has earmarked $650,000 for the Cassava Transformation Action of the Federal Government. The fund will be disbursed through Cassava Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA), which Nigerian office is domiciled at the Federal University of A g r i c u l t u r e , Abeokuta(FUNAAB). Speaking with The Nation, the Director, Africa Region, C AVA, Dr Kola Adebayo, said out of this amount, $250,000 will be used for training master bakers in the use of cassava for bread production. Overall, he explained that the programme is working to help farmers increase production in a sustainable way. He said CAVA is working with stakeholders to develop cassava with enhanced micronutrients. He explained that this would offer people better nutrition and the opportunity to lead healthier and more productive lives. He said thefund is aimed at the development of cassava component of the Agricultural Transformational Agenda(ATA) of the Federal Government, adding that through the programme, farmers will have increased access to improved cassava varieties that are adapted to local conditions, resist diseases and have higher yields.

CBN sets bidding criteria for Disaster Recovery Solution - P 30

•From left: Acting Managing Director, Crusader Nigeria Plc,Olatoye Odunsi; Executive Director,Marketing Operations Technology, Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE),Mr Ade Bajomo; Managing Director/ CEO, Custodian and Allied Plc, Mr Wole Oshin; Chairman, Crusader Nigeria Plc,Mr Richard Asabia; Executive Director, Business Development, NSE, Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri, at the Bell Ringing Ceremony in commemoration of the successful conclusion of the merger between Custodian and Crusader at the Exchange ... on Monday.

IT body: Indigenous engineers lost in telecoms revolution

M

ANY indigenous engineers lost out in the telecoms revolution that brought over $25 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) to the country. The revolution, which was unlocked by the liberalisation of the sector by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, also saw the provision and installation of massive information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure with security implications for the country being handled by foreigners, the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS), has said. President of the body, Sir Demola Aladekomo, who spoke with The Nation in Lagos, warned that if care is not taken, the body could lose out again in the ongoing banking sector reform revolution that has thrown up a lot of opportunities in the

By Lucas Ajanaku

production of cards, supply of point of sale (PoS) terminals and other fields. “What I mean is that the people that implemented the telecoms revolution in Nigeria were not NCS members. If they were members, they were at the periphery. We did not tackle that industry as a society. I don’t know the number that worked with Airtel, MTN, and these are huge IT infrastrucutre that all have massive security implications for Nigeria. They were largely implemented by foreigners, Nigerians hardly got involved. Yes they may have Nigerains as CTOs (chief technical officers) but look at the people under them. The CTO reports to South Africa, India and only God knows. “The local content did not

AMCON has added value to banks, say experts - P31

benefit and there is always this multiplier effect on technology,” the president said. According to him, there would have been a tremendous job spin-off from the installation of these infrsastructure if they had been undertaken by indigenous engineers. He berated Nigeria’s predilection for importation. He said: “Imagine, we are saying we want to create five million jobs and one million jobs in the next five years. That revolution would have created nothing less than a million jobs for Nigerians. But what did you find? A lot of the technical are done in other countries and imported into the country. They were just downloaded, even servers and switches, they were all done over there and shipped into the country. But if it had been done by a local company, it

would have employed people to do all those implementations. So, our argument is that we cannot keep losing out of these revolutions. He lamented:“The banking revolution, if care is not taken (we may lose out) in the manufacturing and devices. But where are the companies doing it? We are just importing it, we are consumers. How many countries can deploy more than 2000 PoS in six months? Not many counries, I can tell you for free. “In the next three years, we are going to import one million PoS terminals. Those terminals are not being assembled in Nigeria. We say we want to create jobs, how do we create jobs if we keep missing out of revolutions and if keep being an importing nation?”

Shareholders, core investors to recapitalise quoted firms -P 32


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

30

MONEY

CBN sets bidding criteria for Disaster Recovery Solution T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set criteria for bidders for its Information Technology Disaster Recovery Solution (DRS). DRS is meant to enhance CBN’s operations. In a report, the bank said vendors applying for the role must have certified knowledge, verifiable capacity and experience in the data centre industry. CBN said it was retrofitting its data centres in its Head office

Stories by Collins Nweze

and two other locations to achieve “high availability and true disaster recovery capability that will enhance its operations.” It said it was seeking to design, implement and commission an Information Technology disaster recovery solution, adding that it has invited sealed bids for the design, implementation and

inauguration of the project. The bank requested experts to submit tenders for the design, implementation and commissioning of Information Technology DRS for its operations. To fulfil its vision of being the best among the world’s central banks, it said it has deployed Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and enterprise applications to support its core business processes to ensure de-

•From left: Head, Regulation and Monitoring, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mr. Jude Ogaga Ughwujabo; Chief Finance Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman; Grand Prize Winner, Sterling Bank Savers’ Promo, Homa Amadi-Nna and Regional Business Executive, Sterling Bank Plc, Southsouth 2, Mr. Emmanuel Ekpenisi, at the presentation of the grand prize to the winner of Sterling Bank Savers Promo , in Lagos.

Nigeria spends N170b on food imports

N

IGERIA spent N170.2 billion on food imports in six years, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. A report from the bank showed that as growth slowed, output became increasingly inadequate to meet rising food and industrial raw materials demand. The country became food import dependent, with rising import bills, which accelerated from N89.9 million in 1961 o 1970; rose phenomenally to N3.3 billion from 1981 to 1990; N62.7 billion, 1991 to 2000 and N170.2 billion, 2001 to 2006. With many African farmers cut off from the high-yield seeds, and the affordable fertilisers and pesticides needed to expand their crop production, the continent has turned to foreign imports to meet its growing needs in staple foods. About $20 billion will be generated at the African continental level in yearly earnings if its leaders can agree to dismantle trade

barriers that blunt more regional dynamism. “Africa has the ability to grow and deliver good quality food to put on the dinner tables of the continent’s families. However, this potential is not being realised because farmers face more trade barriers in getting their food to market than anywhere else in the world. Too often borders get in the way of getting food to homes and communities, which are struggling with too little to eat,” Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa said. The report urges African leaders to improve trade so that food can move more freely between countries and from fertile areas to those where communities are suffering food shortages. “The World Bank expects demand for food in Africa to double by the year 2020 as people increasingly leave the countryside and move to the continent’s cities,” it said. It said countries south Sahara

could significantly boost their food trade over the next years to manage the deadly impact of worsening drought, rising food prices, rapid population growth, and volatile weather patterns. It said Africa’s production of staple foods is worth at least $50 billion a year. The World Bank report said Africa’s farmers can potentially grow enough food to feed the continent and avert future food crises if countries remove cross-border restrictions on the food trade within the region. The new report suggests that if the continent’s leaders can embrace more dynamic inter-regional trade, Africa’s farmers, the majority of whom are women, could potentially meet the continent’s rising demand and benefit from a major growth opportunity. It would also create more jobs in services such as distribution, while reducing poverty and cutting back on expensive food imports.

FBN Capital is best investment bank

F

BN Capital Limited, the investment banking and asset management subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, has clinched three international awards. It is the EMEAFinance Project Finance award for ‘Best Infrastructure Deal in Nigeria 2012 (Apapa SPM)”, the Achievement Award for “Best Local Currency Bond House in EMEA” and the Global Finance “Best Investment Bank in Nigeria” award. In a statement, the firm said the awards would be received from the organisations at the Charity Dinner coming up in London in June and during the World Bank/

IMF Meetings in Washington DC in October. It highlights FBN Capital’s leading position in Project Finance and Capital Markets in Nigeria. The awards are in recognition of the firm’s excellence in deal making, according to Chris Moore, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Publisher, EMEA Finance Magazine. “FBN Capital’s ability to draw together local and foreign banks to meet clients’ funding needs is a testament to the team’s deep understanding of the market.” In a survey by Global Finance, the international financial pub-

lication based in New York, with input from industry analysts, corporate executives, banking consultants and technology experts in more than 20 countries, FBN Capital emerged the winner in the Country Category. Announcing the award from its New York headquarters, Joseph Giarraputo, Global Finance President and Publisher said: “Investment banks are now operating in a world where returns are expected to be lower than ever. The trust of one’s clients is now the most important quality that an investment bank can have.”

livery of its strategic objectives. Noting that it occupies a central position in the economic and social development of the country, the banking watchdog said it has embarked on a technology refresh project to modernise its information technology infrastructure base. The CBN had earlier disclosed that it secured $510,000 grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for the establishment of a DRC. The centre is expected to assist the apex bank fortify and protect e-payment transactions in the country. It said the grant will be used to finance a qualified US firm to provide expert consulting services in determining the technical requirements, business and operational models for the project. Already, a vendor has been evaluated and selected by the CBN, which has also received a ‘letter of no objection’ from USTDA. Besides, he said the legal unit of the CBN is drafting a contract agreement that will be reviewed and binding on both parties. He also said the banking watchdog is also developing modalities or work plan for implementation of shared tierthree Disaster Recovery Centre infrastructure and services. The apex bank is also working

•CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi

on shared power infrastructure service to the banks and developing the Nigeria Financial services network (NFSN) to effectively achieve these objectives. “The CBN is also setting up IT Standards Board and requisite governance framework to oversee the administration of IT standards in the industry and drive its adoption across the players in the industry. We understand that payment is the key driver of cost distribution in the industry and accounts for almost 60 per cent of the industry cost base,” it said. It said that the CBN having monitored the partial implementation of the cash-less policy and following stakeholder engagement on the effective implementation of the project, decided to reassess its parameters to allow for smooth transition and adoption.

MSMEs’seminar for women

T

HE Foundation for Skills Development (FSD) has called for improved cash flow for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the country. In a statement, the foundation said issues around finance and accessing incentives for MSMEs will be discussed at the ninth series of its MSMEs’ seminar for women in Ikeja, Lagos on May 9. FSD Executive Director, Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde, said the purpose of the seminar is to equip small business owners,

particularly women, with information to grow their businesses, adding that such would help more women connect with available resources in the public and private sectors of the economy. FSD is partnering with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), the United States Embassy, UPS, Field of Skills and Dreams, VTE Academy and other organisations on the seminar. “MSME seminar has impacted several business owners across the country positively with great success stories,” he said.

Banking reforms vital to investment

T

HE reforms introduced by the Central Bank of Ni geria (CBN) will enhance the investment, the Oxford Business Group (OBG) has said. In a report tagged: Nigeria 2013 Report on Economic Reforms’ the firm said the reforms are prompting investors to take a “fresh look” at the country. Also, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, said the government’s privatisation and anti-corruption reforms will create better opportunities for investors. “These ongoing changes will create better opportunities for all Nigerians and for investors from around the world. Canadian businesses are taking a fresh look at Nigeria and the opportunities it presents. They see that the environment is good for business, including a fair and strong regulatory framework to support and protect them,” he said. He said Canada is working with the African state’s government to address issues relating to security as such would would help the Nigerian-Canada Busi-

ness Association in its bid to double the volumes of trade to $6 billion by 2015. “It is important that security threats are addressed, particularly because security and prosperity go hand-in-hand,” Fast said. The minister added that while Nigeria’s extractive industries remain a focal point of interest for Canadian businesses, other sectors, such as information and communications technology (ICT), were playing a growing role in bilateral trade and investment. “While diversified trade and investment are vital to our bilateral relationship, the extractive sector can also be an important driver of sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries, provided that an enabling environment is created,” he said. The report was produced with research assistance from the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Cordros Capital Ltd and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

31

MONEY

AMCON has added value to banks, say experts T

HE intervention of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in banks has impacted positively on their growth and earnings in the equities and fixed-income market, experts have said. According to them, the decision of the corporation to buy more than N5 trillion non-performing loans of banks has helped in cleansing the balance sheets of the lenders, improving their businesses, bottom lines, earnings and that of investors who traded in bonds and shares. They said the huge profit declared by the banks in the 2012 financial year was the lenders are no longer burdened by non-performing loans, which they have to make provisions for. The immediate past Chairman, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr Oluwole Oduyemi, said the growth in profits and earnings recorded by banks could be directly linked to AMCON’s intervention in the industry. He said the corporation’s intervention has also translated to good earnings for investors in equities among other traded instruments. He said: “The successful cleansing of bank’s balance sheets through the sale of non-performing loans to the AMCON gave most banks the wherewithal to refocus their energies on driving growth, engaging in stiff competition for deposit liabilities, and engendering a more competitive environment for all players.” Also, the Managing Director, BGL Securites Limited, Mr Sunday Adebola, said the capital gains in-

•AMCON CEO Mustafa Chike-Obi By Akinola Ajibade

vestors are making are direct consequences of AMCON’s intervention. He said there was spontaneous and positive reactions from investors immediately the banks returned to profitability. This, he said, resulted in increased patronage and earnings from banking stocks. He said investors are focusing on banking stocks because that is where they can get capital appreciation. “Many investors have recorded an average 100 per cent gains from bank stocks in recent times. Few days to the release of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) complaint audited reports of banks, many investors entered the market and exited as the Annual General Meetings (AGM) are approaching. They are making money through capital apprecia-

tion and dividends. This is the period of picking of earnings. Investors would continue to pick earnings from stocks of banks as long as they are free of toxic assets. This could not have been possible if the banks are still weighted down by huge non-performing loans.” He said though extraneous factors, such as interest on domestic and foreign portfolio investors accounted for the growth of the banking subsector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and AMCON-induced reforms played major roles. “Though the banking sector contributes over 50 per cent of market capitalisation, the fact is that investors are looking for safer and highly rewarding investment. The confidence engendered by AMCON made investors to buy banksowned stocks in expectation of good returns,” he added. According to him, corporate bonds especially those issued by banks are embraced by investors because they derive values from them. “The rate of defaults in banks’ bond is zero. Investors know banks are making money and, therefore, cannot default by way of paying them interest on bonds. They are convinced that that they would get returns when they exit at the point of maturity. Had it been that the banks are still facing serious liquidity challenge as evident by the debts sighted in their accounts after the audited test of 2009, nobody would take a look at their products. But the reverse is the case as banks are increasing their deposits and lending to some sectors.

MasterCard defies debt crisis MASTERCARD Inc., which is under pressure from France to cut card payment fees, said European consumers are increasingly using credit and debit cards for purchases, dismissing the region’s sovereign debt crisis, Bloomberg has said. “Our business in Europe has been growing really well. The sovereign debt issue isn’t affecting consumer confidence in the way that it might,” Ann Cairns, president of international markets at the company, said in an interview in Dubai. MasterCard Inc said it is expanding even as Europe’s financial crisis enters unprecedented territory after Euro-area finance ministers on Monday agreed to a tax on Cypriot bank deposits. The Purchase, New York-based company said, it’s benefiting from strong consumer spending in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Germany and Eastern Europe. At the same time, consumers are also turning away from cash in favor of plastic. Mastercard is expanding even as Europe’s crisis enters unprecedented territory after the region’s finance ministers agreed March 16 to a tax on Cypriot bank deposits. Officials unveiled a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) rescue plan for the country, the fifth since the debt crisis broke out in 2009. Gross dollar volume in Europe, or the value of transactions processed by MasterCard, climbed 9.3 per cent to $1.1 trillion on a local currency basis last year, according to the company’s annual statement. Mastercard expects an 11 per cent to 14 per cent net revenue compound annual growth rate this year, Cairns said, without giving more detail on its expectations for Europe. Europe’s 17-nation economy will follow last year’s 0.6 per cent contraction by shrinking 0.3 per cent in 2013, the first back-toback decline since the euro’s debut in 1999, according to forecasts from the European Commission. “Our business isn’t just credit cards,” said Cairns, who manages all markets and customer-related activities outside the US. “We’re consumer payments and despite sovereign debt, consumer payments continue to grow in the economy.”

Firms partner on IFRS training IASEMINARS, a UK-based company which specialises in international accounting seminars and Akintola Williams Deloitte, have announced their collaboration in training on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). “IASeminars is proud to be working with Deloitte to service the IFRS training needs of Nigeria and of the wider African market. Having provided IFRS and other financial training over the last 10 years to many clients in Europe and North America, we look forward to being of service to an African clientele,” said Marc Gardiner, CEO of IASeminars in a statement. Also, Oduware Uwadiae, Partner, IFRS Services, Deloitte West & Central Africa, said his firm was pleased to work with IASeminars to provide a IFRS training. “Our technical IFRS knowledge added to the IASeminars international training expertise represents a premium IFRS education opportunity for the West African market,” he said. Uunder this arrangement, some IFRS courses have been scheduled in some African locations, abroad and online. Topics available include IFRS Immersion, US GAAP to IFRS comparison, IFRS updates, and industry-specific courses, such as oil and gas, financial services, and public sector accounting (IPSAS). IASeminars has established itself in over 10 years as a leading global provider of international accounting seminars. It offers courses yearly on six continents, attracting senior international participants who are taught by important instructors.

CIBN partners Moody’s Investor

• From left: Head of Department, Policy, Strategy and Risk Management, Debt Management Office (DMO), Mr Joe Ugoala; Resource Person, Mr Baba Musa and DMO Director-General, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, at a workshop on Debt Sustainability Analysis in Abuja.

WAUTI urges CITN, ICAN to settle rift

T

HE West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI) has ad vised the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CITN) and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) to settle their disagreement in the interest of nation. The issue of which of the institutes is legally empowered to practise taxation has affected their relationship. Speaking during the WAUTI conference on taxation in Lagos, outgoing WAUTI President, Prince ‘Kunle Quadri, said both institutes will benefit nothing by being at loggerheads. “The recent court judgment had

affirmed CITN as the only professional body saddled with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the taxation profession in Nigeria. While commending the judiciary for the ruling, I urge the CITN Council to extend hand of fellowship to all stakeholders in the process of professionalising the system,” he said. Quadri said the importance of an efficient tax system can be seen in developed regions of the world where taxation is the pivot of their economies. He wants governments across the West African region to introduce tax reforms that will provide the right resources to be used in developing their economies.

“A reformed tax system with good taxation policies, up-to-date and regularly reviewed laws will go a long way to make the region investor friendly,” he said. He said trade within the West African sub-region has been hampered by diverse tax policies being implemented within the region. He said harmonisation of tax systems in the region is seen as not only plausible, but reasonable in order to ensure better business environment in the region. He regretted that corruption, continuous fall in standard of living, inadequate social amenities, have made the burden of taxes unbearable for taxpayers.

THE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has started partnership arrangements with Moody’s Investor, Institute of Financial Services (IFS) and Centre of Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI). The partnership, it said, would increase its global recognition. CIBN Chairman, Segun Aina, said the institute may partner CSFI in syndication of articles and joint authorship with Nigerian-based authors among others. He said the institute was ready to collaborate with Moody’s in some areas of mutual interest. Mr Aina maintained that the institute would follow up on the UK- based organisations until the collaboration was consummated.

Institute holds anti-corruption workshop THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), among other relevant institutions, participated in a workshop on anti-corruption organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). ICAN said the anti-graft agencies discussed the issue of corruption and how to salvage the country from the grip of financial malpractices at the workshop held in Awka, Anambra State. The body said the workshop with the theme: Enhancing Economic growth through anti-corruption measures, was attended by the state Governor, Mr Peter Obi; the institute’s President, Mr Owolabi Adedoyin, the chairmen of the EFFC, and ICPC, among others. The statement reads: “ At the workshop which is divided into three sessions, Ekpo Una Owo Nta, chairman, ICPC, delivered a paper on The global dimension of corruption and Nigeria’s economic growth while Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, Chairman of EFCC, was the the Lead discussant. The session was chaired by Eze Echesi, former Commissioner of Finance, Anambra State. The event attracted professionals from various fields.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

32

THE NATION INVESTORS

A

Shareholders, core investors to recapitalise quoted firms

GAINST the background of the investors’apathy and dormancy at the primary segment of the capital market, shareholders and core investors in several quoted companies have opted to provide additional equity funds to their companies, putting rights issue as nearly the main equity-based means of raising funds. The primary segment of the capital market is the new issue market where companies can raise new equity funds through public offer or other combinations. However, while the secondary market, where quoted shares are traded, has recovered significantly, the primary market has been dormant since the recession in 2008. There has been no initial public offering or public offer in the market since then. The Nation’s check indicated that companies with substantial major investors’ holdings are falling back on the existing shareholders to bridge equity financing gaps and reduce dependence on short-term loans. Not less than four companies have initiated plans to float rights issue in the past three weeks. Shareholders of Diamond Bank and Sterling Bank had earlier this month approved plans by the banks to raise new funds through rights issue. Shareholders of Berger Paints on Monday mandated their board to float a rights issue of one new share for every three shares held. Resort Savings and Loans also secured the approval of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to float a rights issue. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) has opened application list for its rights issue, which is expected to raise about N13 billion. Transcorp is issuing about 12.91 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N1 per share. The right issue is expected to close on May 31, 2013. Both Transcorp and Berger Paints have indicated they intend to use

Rights issue gives the first right of refusal to existing shareholders and thus preserve shareholding structure. As such, rights issue is usually initiated with the prior consent of the majority shareholders, who must have indicated prior interests to pick up their rights. However, new investors can also buy into a rights-issuing company through rights trading on the secondary market. Market analysts said the growing list of rights issues early this year underscores the preparedness of core investors to refinance their companies. According to analysts, rights issue

By Taofik Salako

the net proceeds of their rights issue to finance expansion and modernisation of their businesses. Berger Paints would use the net proceeds of the rights issue, which will be underwritten up to 30 per cent, to further modernise its factory. Transcorp will use the funds to finance its new power business and expand its hotel and agro-allied businesses. Both Sterling Bank and Diamond Bank are to raise equity funds to bolster their balance sheets and support tier Two capital as they seek to energise small and medium business financing.

implies significant financial commitment by the core investors. They said they expected more companies to file for rights issue given the high gearing ratios of several quoted companies, which interest burden could stifle returns to shareholders in the period ahead. Managing Director, GTI Securities, Mr Tunde Oyekunle, said the recourse to rights issue was a sign of confidence of shareholders in the prospects of their company, especially the core investor, which would provide the larger chunk of the required capital. He added that the generally weak state of the primary market has left

core investors with little option then to pick up the gauntlet. Economist and securities advisor, Sterling Capital Markets, Mr. Sewa Wusu, said the market scenario and timing did not favour public offer, particularly given the recent experiences and loss of value by most investors. “We are seeing more of rights issues because the core shareholders are ready to inject more funds to their company and still maintain their current holdings. The rights issue avenue will also give the existing shareholders the right to purchases new shares at a discount to the market price,” Wusu said.

•From left: Director, Berger Paints Nigeria Plc, Chief Raymond Obieri; Chairman, Mr Clement Olowokande; MD, Mr Tor Nygard and President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief Kola Jamodu, at the inauguration of Berger Plaza in Abuja.

Nestle Nigeria holds N2.5b unclaimed dividends

S

HAREHOLDERS of Nestle Nigeria Plc have not claimed N2.5 billion out of the total dividends declared by the company between 2001 and 2012. The company in its latest audited report indicated that it has a total of N2.501 billion unclaimed dividend from 2001 to 2012. The last periodic report by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dated September 2012 indicated that Access Bank had highest level of unclaimed dividends amounting to N3.456 billion followed by First Bank with N3.167 billion, UACN Plc with N1.972 billion and Fidelity Bank with N1.227 billion. Chairman, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, expressed concern over the huge turnout of the unclaimed dividends in its register. He said the huge figure was a concern to the company’s board of directors, listing death and change of address as factors responsible for the situation. He urged shareholders to embrace the electronic means introduced by the commission to help reduce the number of unclaimed dividend just as some companies have done. However, in its latest audited report, Access Bank indicated it has reduced the number of unclaimed dividend to N687.67 million in its 2012 financial year by encouraging its shareholders to embrace the use of e-dividend form which are usually made available on the registrars’ table at the entrance of the AGM venue. The SEC quarterly report for the third quarter of 2012 stated the worth

In 2011 it rose to N50.2 but slightly increased further to N50.7 billion as at September last year. By the end of 2012, SEC put unclaimed dividend at N60 billion. Meanwhile, SEC said it has started the reduction of the out-

By Tonia Osundolire

of unclaimed dividend to have increased sharply in recent time, from about N27.8 billion in 2008 to N41.3 billion in 2009, only to hit N41.7 billion in 2010.

standing unpaid dividends and tasked registrars on a radical solution to the problem. Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh, said the Commission’s target in 2013 was

to reduce the size of outstanding dividend by 50 per cent, noting that the apex regulator aimed to remove operational and regulatory bottlenecks that have led to the accumulation of unpaid dividends.

UBA records N17b Q1 profit

U

NITED Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc started this year on good note wind. the bank consolidated its 2012 full-year performance with a profit before tax of N17.2 billion in the first three months of 2013. Interim report and accounts of UBA for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 showed that profit before tax rose to N17.2 billion as against N15.3 billion recorded in comparable period of 2012. Profit after tax grew by 19.1 per cent to N15.6billion as against N13.1 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2012.

Gross earnings rose by 19.8 per cent, representing N10.4billion additional revenue to the bank. Total deposits also improved by 13.5 per cent from N1.777 trillion by December 2012 to N2.017 trillion by March 2013. Total assets grew by 7.1 per cent to N2.434 trillion compared with N2.272 trillion in December 2012. Total equity increased by 8.8 per cent to N209.4 billion compared with N192.5 billion posted in comparable period of 2012. Commenting on the performance, Group mMnaging Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, said the first quarter was an excellent start to the year

for the bank with record earnings and great growth across its Nigeria and Africa businesses. “We are confident that we are moving in the right direction to deliver on our key financial projections for 2013. Our focus will be maintained throughout 2013 with a goal of maximizing value across our businesses,” Oduoza said. According to him, the bank’s record earnings provide tangible evidence that the course it has charted is the right one as it continues to pursue market share growth in every region of Nigeria and Africa. “We are optimistic that the process of regulatory reform will lead

Chellarams launches product HELLARAMS Plc has introduced a malted food drink Real Activ into the market in Lagos. Its Chief Operating Officer (Brands Division), Mr Sanjay Pradhan, said: “The new Real Activ malted food drink offers a tastier and nutritious alternative to existing brands of malted and chocolate food drinks in the market. “The cutting edge of Real Activ is its inherent superior quality, while remaining comparatively affordable. It is a product specially formulated

C

By Joseph Eshanokpe

in the United Kingdom, combining the goodness of barley and malt extract, cocoa powder, glucose syrup with that of numerous vitamins and minerals, to produce a delicious, delightfully rich and nutritious food drink, which provides instant energy.” He added: “Whether hot or cold, with or without milk and sugar, real active gives a natural taste of malted drink. Moreover, is an instant source

of energy that keeps one active all day long. It is more superior and more economical than any product in the market.” The firm’s Group Chief Information Officer, Dr Harbhajan Batth, noted Chellarams’ ISO 9001:2008 certified hygienic conditions under which Real Activ was produced, saying: “As a major player in the FMCG arena, the manufacturing giant possesses state-of-the-art food packaging equipment and a quality of products such as Real Activ malted food

to a more competitive market for all participants, and in this context, we see emerging opportunities to fundamentally improve our market positioning. We will continue to strategically invest in our businesses, manage our expense and leverage our competitive advantage in service and convenience to win customers and take market share, “ Oduoza said. He added that the bank was encouraged by the early signs of improvement in financial markets and the economy, but remains cautious given the complexity of the risks and challenges that the operating environment presents. drink.” He also said: “We are leveraging on our numerous packaging machines that could be used to package products such as milk powder, coffee, custard, tea, to mention but a few,” adding that the unique design and packaging of Real Activ malted food drink, reflect the good quality barley and malt extract, numerous vitamins and other nutrients and nutrients contained in the food drink. The product comes in various sizes: serve pack of 18gm and value pack of 375gm.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

33

THE NATION INVESTORS Facts to Facts

A

AG Leventis vs Scoa Nigeria: Changing tides

G Leventis (Nigeria) Plc and Scoa Nigeria Plc are two of the oldest surviving and earliest listed companies in Nigeria. Generally regarded as diversified industries, the nature of the two companies as conglomerate implies several business lines. Both AG Leventis and Scoa Nigeria have striking similarities that make them competitive peers. From historical antecedents, ownership structure to business operations, they present the image of being in the same category. Both have large business interests spanning foods and beverages, automobile, general trade, power, appliances and merchandise. With several decades of operations, several subsidiaries, foreign ownership and control and hundreds of thousands of shareholders, they are both household names. With same year-end, their fundamentals are also easily comparable. AG Leventis (Nigeria) has some eight business lines spanning the wide gamut of the economy from foods and beverages to automobile, real estate, hotel, general trade and merchandise. Although it has some 30,000 shareholders but the Leventis family still owns about 88 per cent controlling equity stake. Scoa Nigeria also has some eight business lines. With three subsidiaries, Scoa Nigeria engages in sales, maintenance, distribution and leasing of automobile, manufacturing, power generation, foods and fruit juice production, general merchandise, technical sales and services, furniture and agriculture. In terms of size, AG Leventis’ balance sheet is fundamentally more than twice the size of Scoa Nigeria’s but the relative difference in market capitalisation is smaller. AG Leventis opened this week with a market capitalisation of N4.4 billion while Scoa Nigeria opened with N3.5 billion. Latest audited reports and accounts of the two companies for the year ended December 31, 2012 showed similar highpoint-negative bottom-line, though the route was remarkably different for each company. While Scoa Nigeria showed strong top-line resurgence, operating and financing expenses stifled the recovery, turning the 61 per cent growth in sales to 28 per cent decline in net profit. AG Leventis showed a worse outlook, falling all

Stories by Taofik Salako

through the top-line to the bottomline. It, however, showed a somewhat better cost management than its competitor. Sales Generation AG Leventis suffered a reversal in 2012 as sales dropped by 9.9 per cent. It had grown sales by 35.5 per cent in 2011. Average sales growth over the year thus narrowed down to 12.8 per cent. On the other hand, Scoa Nigeria’s turnover rose by 61 per cent in 2012. Profitability AG Leventis showed negative profit performance in 2012. Both actual and underlying profit measures ended the year on the downside. Gross profit dropped by about 11 per cent in 2012 as against an increase of 36 per cent in 2011. Profit before tax dwindled by about 21 per cent in 2012 compared with increase of about 30 per cent in 2011. While gross margin had steadied at 21.1 per cent in 2012 as against 21.4 per cent in 2011, average pre-tax profit margin dropped from 4.6 per cent to 4.0 per cent. After taxes, net profit further slumped by 13.5 per cent, sustaining a downtrend that had seen a drop of 16.3 per cent in 2011. Strong sales growth and relatively lower cost of sale initially boosted the performance of Scoa Nigeria. Gross profit jumped by 67 per cent in 2012. With significant increase in financing charges and operating expenses, profit before tax recorded a lower growth of 10.8 per cent. This also reflected in the wide gap between the top-line margin and the bottom-line margin. While gross profit margin improved from 22.9

per cent in 2011 to 23.7 per cent, pre-tax profit margin dropped from 3.9 per cent to 2.6 per cent. Net profit after tax ended with a decline of 28 per cent. On the average, the companies appeared tied. AG Leventis has sustained average gross profit margin of 21.25 per cent slightly lower than 23.3 per cent posted by Scoa Nigeria, which has a lower average pre-tax profit margin of 3.25 per cent as against 4.3 per cent made by AG Leventis. Actual Returns The returns outlooks of the two conglomerates showed almost similar outlook, in single digit and declining. Scoa Nigeria returned 2.3 per cent on total assets in 2012 as against 2.4 per cent in previous year. Return on equity also slipped from 3.9 per cent to 2.2 per cent. AG Leventis increased return on total assets from 2.6 per cent to 2.9 per cent. However, return on equity nearly halved at 2.8 per cent in 2012 as against 5.1 per cent in 2011. On the average, AG Leventis maintains a substantial edge, with two-year average returns on equity and total assets of 3.95 per cent and 2.75 per cent as against Scoa Nigeria’s 3.05 per cent and 2.35 per cent. The Bottom-line Across the divides, margins and returns were generally low, indicating the dicey balancing act that often characterizes slow sales growth and high costs of business. The results underlined major challenge facing several companies- suffocating high costs of finance due to dependence on short-term bank loans in the face of the continuing dormancy of the primary market. With businesses strewn across several sectors

of the economy, conglomerates would appear to possess cushions against sectoral dislocation and minor macroeconomic corrections. However, with global fluctuation in primary input costs, high domestic operating costs, huge interest expenses due to exposures to banks and challenges from small niche players, conglomerates are strug-

AG Leventis (Nig)

Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

2012 % -9.9 -10.98 -20.7 21.1 4.0 -13.5 2.9 2.8

2011 % 35.5 35.8 29.8 21.4 4.6 -16.3 2.6 5.1

Average % 12.8 12.41 4.55 21.25 4.3 -14.9 2.75 3.95

Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

gling to maintain their balance. Most conglomerates had trimmed their businesses, but jumpstarting the synergies and unlocking the intrinsic values in the remaining businesses remain a challenge. They may still need to take more pains to look again; where the economy of scale and cross-selling advantages lie and where the drain pipes lie.

Facts to Facts

Scoa Nig

2012 % 61.2 66.9 10.8 23.7 2.6 -28 2.3 2.2

Average % 30.6 33.45 5.4 23.3 3.25 -13.75 2.35 3.05

2011 %

22.9 3.9 2.4 3.9

Stakeholders praise Berger Paints over N650m mall

S

TAKEHOLDERS have commended Berger Paints Nigeria Plc for building an ultramodern building materials and related products shopping complex in the Central Business District of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). They gave the commendation in Abuja during the inauguration of the N650 million complex. President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Chief Kola Jamodu, who inaugurated the complex described it as another first in the paints industry by the leading paint manufacturing company in the country. He advised the company to contract the management of the facility to a professional property management firm so that it would be better managed. Shareholders of the company also lauded the board and management for the diversification strategy which the complex represented. National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny

By Nduka Chiejina Assistant Editor

Nwosu, appreciated the board and management of the company for being proactive about how to enhance the value of their investments in the company. He said the diversification was

in the right direction, because it would bring in huge benefits to the company. Similarly, President, Nigeria Shareholders’ Solidarity Association (NSSA), Chief Timothy Adesiyan, commended the board of the company for the new in-

vestment. Chairman, Berger Paints Plc, Mr. Clement Olowokande, said that Berger Paints Plc undertook the construction of plaza as a diversification strategy and as part of its continuous contribution to the economic development of the

Federal Capital Territory. He said the commissioning of the plaza was historical because it is the first time a paint manufacturing company would be dedicating such a magnificent structure in Abuja.

Investors approve N6b dividend for Dangote Sugar

S

HAREHOLDERS of Dangote Sugar Refinery on Monday approved payment of N6 billion as cash dividend for the immediate past year, representing a dividend per share of 50 kobo. At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, shareholders praised the performance of the company. National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mrs Bisi Bakare, said the prudent method employed by the management of the company led to 25 per cent increase dividend payout from N3.6 billion to N6 billion.

By Tonia Osundolire

According to her, 2012 performance was unique because 60 per cent of the company’s refinery got burnt and the company still made good profit to increase dividend from 30 kobo to 50 kobo. National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr Boniface Okezie, said the 50 kobo dividend was quite impressive, considering the challenges the company faced during the period under review. “We are satisfied because it has not been easy for Nigerian companies. Dangote has done what the

government could not do in terms of job creation. If the government can tackle security issues, companies will perform better,” Okezie said. In his address, chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) Plc, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said that the company would have paid higher dividend but it needs to retain funds for the expansion of its refinery. According to him, the company’s target was to achieve local production of 1.5 million metric tonnes of raw sugar per annum by year 2018 harvest season. He assured that the outlook for the company was promising noting that this year would see better

performance. He outlined that the company would use competitive prices to increase its sales volumes and profitability. He however noted that the new policy by the Federal Government on new sugar master plan, which is expected to take off by the year 2020 stipulates a 60 per cent tariff payment on raw sugar import as against current five per cent rate. He nonetheless assured shareholders that the board and management would continue to do everything within their powers to consolidate on the performance and sustain its leadership position in the industry.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

34

FINANCE

Understanding NDIC’s deposit guarantee T scheme HE advent of bank failures in Nigeria emerged in the 1950s when all the 25 except three banks collapsed with out any form of protection to the affected depositors. However, in furtherance of the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1986, the Federal Government accepted the recommendations of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and considered the need to establish an explicit deposit protection scheme. This move paved the way for the establishment of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). The Corporation was established by NDIC Decree No. 22 of 1988, now repealed and replaced with the NDIC Act, 2006 to implement the Deposit Insurance Scheme in Nigeria. A Deposit Insurance Scheme is a financial guarantee to protect depositors in the event of failure of a deposit-taking financial institution. It also offers a measure of safety and engenders confidence in the banking system by providing financial guarantee up to a maximum limit as provided for in the NDIC Act. It is currently fixed at N500,000 and N200,000 per depositor of deposit money banks (DMBs) as well as microfinance banks (MFBs) and primary mortgage banks (PMBs) respectively.

Deposit guarantee The NDIC has the mandate of deposit guarantee, banking supervision, failure resolution and liquidation. To achieve its mandate, the corporation rolled out a five year strategic plan, which covers the period 2011-2015. The strategic thrusts represented a mark of excellence that targets four main initiatives: operational readiness, culture of continuous performance management, strategic partnering and collaboration with key stakeholders and promoting public awareness on deposit insurance system. Deposit guarantee is the key and distinct function of the Corporation. At inception, the insurance coverage was only limited to DMBs and the maximum insured sum was N50,000 per depositor per bank. In 2006, the coverage level was increased to N200,000 for DMBs while N100,000 was fixed for microfinance banks (MFBs) and primary mortgage banks (PMBs) when the DIS was extended to that category of institutions. By 2010, to demonstrate its commitment to depositor protection, the NDIC Board reviewed upward the insured sum to N500,000 and N200,000 for DMBs, and PMBs and MFBs. That was to conform with global best practice and in line with economic realities of our environment. The Corporation was able to meet its obligation solely from the annual premiums it collected from all the insured deposit-taking financial institutions in Nigeria. The deposit insurance guarantee scheme presently covers 20 deposit money banks (DMBs), 880 microfinance banks (MFBs) and 77 primary mortgage banks (PMIs) operating in Nigeria. The banking supervision task of the Corporation is another mandate that aims at determining the financial condition of the deposit-taking financial institutions in order to facilitate safety, soundness and stability of the financial system. It also aims at reducing the potential risk of failure and ensures that unsafe and unsound banking practices are checked promptly. The supervisory responsibilities of the Corporation are undertaken through the off-site surveillance and on-site examination of the insured institutions from which exception reports are written with recommendations based on observed lapses. This supervisory function is shared with the CBN and over the years the two bodies have developed a comprehensive framework, which had removed any conflict and duplication of efforts in exercising of their functions. On failure resolution, NDIC ensures orderly resolution of failing and failed insured institutions in a timely and most efficient way. Part of this function is the provision of financial and technical assistance to the distressed banks in the interest of depositors in the event of imminent or actual financial difficulties, particularly where suspension of payments is threatened. This is primarily to avoid systemic crisis and damage to public confidence in the banking system. It would be recalled that soon after it commenced operations in 1989, the NDIC provided financial assistance to the tune of N2.3 billion to bail out 10 distressed banks following the withdrawal of public sector deposits in the banking system. The corporation has recorded giant landmark achievements in its liquidation activities despite precarious challenges over the twenty years of its existence some of which are as follows. It is on record that the NDIC had paid a cumulative sum of N90.13 billion to depositors of 48 deposit money banks (DMBs) in-liquidation as at December 31, 2012 as against N80.18 billion paid as at December 31, 2011 representing an increase of about N10 billion. Similarly, N2.50 billion had been paid to depositors of the 103 closed Microfinance Banks (MFBs) as at December 31, 2012 as against the sum of N2.25 billion that was paid as at the end of December 2011. That was not all, the NDIC also paid cumulative liquidation dividend to shareholders of Alpha Merchant Bank, Nigeria Merchant Bank and Pan African Bank (in-liquidation) to the tune of N373.04 million, N620.0 million and N293 million. That was in addition to the settlement of all the depositors and creditors of the three banks (in liquidation). The debt recoveries from closed DMBs was a cumulative sum of N24.68 billion while that of MFBs stood at N42.63 million as at December 31, 2012. In furtherance to its commitment to maximum recovery, the Corporation packaged and offered for sale 11 debts accounts to AMCON for N795 million last year. It is imperative to report that the NDIC had declared full payment of 100 per cent of total deposits to all the depositors of 14 out of 34 banks in-liquidation prior to 2006 and had concluded the purchase and assumption (P&A) transactions

• NDIC Managing Director/CEO Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim By Kingsley Habu

on 11 out of 13 banks in-liquidation for banks closed in 2006 after the banking consolidation exercise. The P & A method was adopted in 2006, after the bank consolidation programme which ended in December 2005 during which some DMBs could not meet the N25 billion recapitalisation requirement set by the CBN. The method reduced the number of DMBs from 89 to 25 well capitalised banks. At the end of the recapitalisation exercise, 13 banks failed to meet the N25 billion requirement and therefore, had their licences revoked by the CBN. Consequently, The NDIC Board approved the adoption of P & A transaction mechanism in resolving the affairs of the affected banks to sustain public confidence in the banking system. The transaction is a process where healthy banks are allowed to assume the deposit liabilities and assume some or all the assets of the failed banks. The approach adopted in Nigeria, allowed private depositors’ full access to their funds. It is instructive to note that two out of the 13 banks, namely Fortune Bank and Triumph Bank Limited contested the revocation of their operating licences in court. As a responsible corporate citizen, the Corporation had to operate within the dictates of the law. The latest resolution option the NDIC adopted in August, 2011 was bridge bank approach which was novel in Africa. It was a situation where regulatory authorities rescued three ailing banks whose failure was deemed to be capable of causing systemic crisis in the banking system. The three DMBs, which were resolved seamlessly without disruption to the financial system were Afribank Plc, Bank PHB Plc and Spring Bank Plc which metamorphosed into bridge banks that were bought over by Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) as Mainstreet Bank Limited, Keystone Bank Limited and Enterprise Bank Plc. The seamless introduction of three bridge banks had also saved over 3.7 million depositors from losing their funds and over 6,600 jobs in the erstwhile Afribank Plc, Bank PHB and Spring Bank in August 2011. The Corporation is also working conscientiously with the CBN to resolve the case of Savannah Bank of Nigeria Plc while it had assisted Societe Generale Bank Limited (now Heritage Bank Limited) to reopen its doors in the interest of the affected depositors who suffered untold hardship over the years.

New supervisory framework Further to its commitment to sanitise other sub-sector of the banking industry, NDIC, in collaboration with CBN set new supervisory framework and guidelines for MFBs and PMBs. The regulatory bodies conducted special examination of all the existing MFBs, the outcome of which led to the revocation of licences by the CBN of 103 MFBs which were immediately handed over to NDIC for liquidation. Similarly, this year, the corporation commenced the liquidation of 25 PMBs to give the mortgage sub sector a renewed vigor in its operations. It is pertinent at this juncture to point out that the deposit insurance coverage of the NDIC has some exceptions which were aimed at reinforcing discipline and guard against moral hazard in the banking system. These exceptions which are

clearly spelt out in the NDIC law, include insider deposits (belonging to staff and directors), counter-claims deposits from persons who maintain both deposit and loan accounts, where the deposits serve as collateral for the loan account and interbank deposits. It would be recalled that some shareholders, who invested during the public offers of the DMBs in-liquidation, clamored for reimbursement from the corporation.They erroneously believed such investments were deposits because they were yet to receive share certificates from the affected banks before the liquidation. It is necessary to point out clearly that such investments are not covered by the mandate of the NDIC. In all its liquidation exercises, the NDIC has been very steadfast in ensuring prompt payment to depositors, which was within 90 days in the past and 48 hours in the case of closure of the three bridge banks. The corporation also appointed agent banks to continue the payment to depositors of the 34 banks closed prior 2006 and for the 103 MFBs liquidated in 2010. Depositors’ reimbursement had also started for seven out of the 25 PMBs closed through the appointed agent banks. Furthermore, the corporation has initiated a pilot scheme referred to as “depositor tracer” to reach out to depositors of liquidated banks who were yet to file their claims to come forward and collect such trapped funds. Under the scheme the Corporation staff traced the depositors to their respective addresses for the payment of their trapped claims. The pilot scheme commenced with depositors of Ivory Merchant Bank in-liquidation which was liquidated in January 1998. As at December 2012, over 30 depositors that were traced successfully to their current addresses were paid N36.303 million representing 84.6 per cent of the N42.89 million outstanding insured deposit against the failed bank. Another batch of 158 depositors with wrong or changed addresses had been referred to the agent banks appointed by the Corporation for payment of their claims under the insured deposits. This scheme was also extended to the depositors and creditors of Continental Merchant Bank in-liquidation which was also liquidated in 1998, out of which N839,523.15 was paid to two creditors. In furtherance of such effort, the corporation is documenting its experience to develop a framework for tracing missing depositors of other liquidated banks. The corporation has continued to embark on vigorous public enlightenment programmes to improve the understanding of its stakeholders about the deposit insurance scheme. This was undertaken in many ways as enumerated below: (i) The corporation created a Help Desk, which is a dedicated toll-free 24-hour telephone line (080063424357), to address depositors and other stakeholders’ enquiries. It also, developed of a user-friendly, robust and interactive Website. (ii) The Corporation has also established Complaint Units in the Bank Examination Department (BED), Claims Resolution Department (CRD), and Special Insured Institutions Department (SIID) to address complaints of customers of the deposit money banks and microfinance banks/primary mortgage banks. It is instructive to note that the Corporation has been receiving a lot of commendations from depositors for this initiative. (iii) The NDIC has published books, pamphlets, and fliers such as Facts about NDIC, Basic Knowledge in Banking, 20 years of Deposit Insurance in addition, among other publications which were distributed to students on educational visits, tertiary institutions and general public free of charge. (iv) The Corporation’s participation at Kaduna, Enugu and Lagos International trade fairs was also aimed at providing an additional platform of sensitising the banking public and other stakeholders on its mandate and activities. (v) Other public awareness initiatives embarked upon by the Corporation included the following: • Periodic press briefings by the corporation’s MD/CEO; • Sensitisation Seminar for relevant Committees of the National Assembly, Judges and other key stakeholders; • Partnership with the mass media through the annual Editors Forum and Annual Workshop for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents under the umbrella of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN); • Production of depositor protection awareness television and radio jingles in three major Nigerian Languages, namely Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba and transmitting same on national and local television and radio stations nationwide; • Production and transmission of a weekly public enlightenment television programmes tagged: “NDIC Calling”; and • Hosting of students of secondary schools, universities and other higher institutions on educational visits. The corporation is also championing a cause for the establishment of an explicit Investor and insurance policy holder Protection Schemes to protect small investors and insurance policy holders in the capital market and conventional insurance sub-sectors of the financial system. The problems of financial inclusion and consumer protection have also been on the front burner of the corporation. The regulatory authorities (CBN and NDIC) have initiated the promotion of financial inclusion through the licensing of agency banking and mobile banking in Nigeria. The exercise was meant to further the economic integration of our rural dwellers that have been excluded from the formal sector. There is no doubt that it is never a case of too little or too late for reimbursement of depositors of liquidated banks in Nigeria. The NDIC has been very proactive and left no one in doubt as to its commitment to protect depositors’ interest. As a matter of fact, unlike what obtains in other jurisdictions, the NDIC allows depositors of liquidated banks to file their claims beyond the statutory time limit of five years as contained in the NDIC Act 2006. • Habu is a Lagos-based finanacial analyst.


35

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

INSURANCE

PENCOM sanctions 1000 firms for failing to open retirement accounts T HE National Pension Commission (PenCom) has sanctioned about 1,105 organisations for failing to open Retirement Savings Account (RSA) for their employees. The Commission, according to a report, issued caution letters to 487 firms for failing to comply with the provisions of the law. In addition, it also imposed penalties on 618 erring firms during the period under review. PenCom said it had been following up the firms to ensure that the organisations complied with the Act. The Pension Operators Association of Nigeria (Penop) said recovery agents were appointed by PenCom to go after companies and organisations registered under the Contributory Pension Scheme, which had failed to remit employees’ contributions to their various Pension Fund Administrators. Its Chairman, Mr Dave Uduanu, said recovery agents have visited about 5,584 firms out of 15,750 firms identified as non-compliant with the law, and have so far made recoveries from 105 of these firms. He said PenCom had recently re-

Stories by Uyoatta Eshiet

leased an exposure draft of the framework for the participation of persons operating in the informal sector in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). “Recovery Agents appointed by PenCom to go after companies and organisations that have failed to remit employee contributions to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) have achieved a lot of progress in recovery of outstanding contributions and interest penalties from defaulting employers. “The Recovery Agents have visited over 5,584 firms out of 15,750 firms identified as non-compliant with the law and the amounts so far recovered are from 105 of these firms”. On efforts so far made by PENCOM to bring in the informal sector into contributory pension scheme structure, Uduanu said the draft guidelines was exposed to operators for comments and was currently being finalised. Several additional incentives, he

added, were being proposed to make the scheme more beneficial to persons working in the informal sector, who account for over 60 per cent of the working population in the country. The chairman said that the framework once released, would ensure the participation of persons working in the informal sector and effectively increase the coverage of the CPS.

Uduanu also said PenCom would soon incorporate a multifund structure for RSA funds into the newly amended investment guidelines. He said PenCom had exposed the proposed multi-fund structure to operators for comments and review as far back as March last year. The decision to introduce the multi-fund structure, he noted,

was to allow enough time for public education and sensitisation by the commission and also to allow operators enough time to be ready to implement the structure. Uduanu said: “The multi-fund will be primarily differentiated by its overall exposure to variable income instruments and a contributor’s choice of funds may be limited based on the age of the contributor. “Also, the multi-fund structure will also likely allow for the introduction of non-interest or ethical funds.”

Consolidated Hallmark, Zenith Bank partner

C

ONSOLIDATED Hallmark Insurance (CHI Plc) is partnering with Zenith Bank Plc to ease the procurement of the compulsory third party motor insurance. The insurance firm said the collaboration would enable those seeking to renew or obtain a new motor insurance cover to pay for it across the bank’s counters nation-wide. With this arrangement, vehicle owners, insurance brokers and fleet operators can walk into the bank, effect payment and obtain the e-pin for processing of the third party motor insurance cover through either the product portal www.motorthirdpartyonline.com or from the company’s website. The company’s Managing Director, Mr. Eddie Efekoha said the company embarked on the arrangement to provide clients with additional options of obtaining their genuine insurance, having pioneered the online web portal payment for the product in 2008. He said that with the Consolidated

Hallmark e-pin from the bank, clients can generate their insurance certificates from the comfort of their homes or offices within a few minutes, print the document for their immediate use or save for future use after completing a few details. Efekoha added that details of the vehicle thus covered are automatically uploaded to the portal of the Nigeria Insurance Industry Vehicle Database, a central registry of all vehicles with valid insurance cover. “Customers also have the option of making payments for the product with their ATM cards, or obtaining this and other classes of insurance through the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) licensed insurance agents across the country. “The Consolidated Hallmark Motor Third Party Insurance cover protects the holder for up to N1 million in property damage liabilities to third parties, and also covers bodily injury and death of third parties arising from the usage of the insured vehicle,” he said.

LASACO adopts new structure

L

ASACO Assurance Plc is set to drop its life insurance arm for a composite underwriter structure. Its Managing Director Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, who made this known, said LASACO Life Assurance Limited will be returned to its parent company, adding that it is better for the underwriting firm to operate as composite company, than operating separately. He said the company is discussing with an insurance company, adding that details would be made public after the approval by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). Ladipo-Ajayi said LASACO set a record by becoming the first insurance firm in the country to get the International ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Certification issued by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON). He said LASACO is getting certified in other areas of their operations, including customer service. “We are struggling to be the industry leader in every area of our operations. We

are trying to do this through the provision of products and services using modern technology and a well motivated workforce,’’ he said.

Guidelines on micro market coming

T

HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) will soon release the guidelines that will help unlock the over N60 billion micro insurance untapped opportunities, The Nation has learnt. It was gathered that the commission is putting finishing touches to ensure the release of the much-anticipated guidelines that would help deepen retail market and take insurance to the grassroots. An industry observer said the guidelines when operational, would strengthen the collaboration between insurers and micro finance banks.Noting that operators are anxiously waiting to leverage on the guidelines.

• Mr Olayiwola (left) receiving the award from Prof Badejo at the event.

Shareholders seek NAICOM’s intervention on fines

S

HAREHOLDERS have called on the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to mandate insurance firms to state the reasons for which they incur fines in their financial accounts. This, they said, is to enable them to reduce unnecessary payments on offences that affect their investments. The shareholders, who were reacting to a statement by NAICOM that what ought to be their dividend were used by companies to pay avoidable fines, called on NAICOM to go beyond just asking firms to state infractions in their accounts and assist shareholders in protecting their investments, by instructing companies to give a breakdown on the penalties for which they are fined. The President, Nigerian Share-

M

UTUAL Benefits Assurance has won the most supportive insurance company to the transport sector award from the Lagos State Government. A former Commissioner for transportation, Lagos State, Prof. Bamidele Badejo, while presenting the award to the firm in Lagos, said the award was in recognition of Mutual Benefits’support and empowerment of transporters in the country. He encouraged the firm to continue the good works they have undertaken to empower the people outside their core business of insurance.

holders’ Renaissance Association, (NSRA) Olufemi Timothy said the documentation of reasons for fines would help shareholders know who is culpable and what should be done to stem such offence. He said: “It is necessary shareholders know why their companies are fined. This will enable the companies’investors to know the kind of offence committed and watch against it in the future. It will also help to determine who is culpable in the company.” He noted that shareholders invest their hard earned income in companies to have return on investment, adding that situations where companies’ mismanage funds entrusted to them and leave the investor to suffer, should be discouraged by government and regulators.

National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Mrs Bis Bakare, called on NAICOM to go beyond reporting of infractions in yearly accounts of firms and ensure that firms state reasons for infractions to enable shareholders query them appropriately. She noted that shareholders had at several fora sought from their organisations reasons for delays in the presentation of their accounts, and that the firms often attribute the delay to NAICOM’s refusal to approve the accounts on time. She said though the law states that companies should send to the shareholders the annual accounts at least one month before the Annual General Meetings (AGM), they only get the accounts at the venue of meetings.

Mutual Benefits wins award The General Manager, Corporate Planning and Investment of Mutual Benefits, Bisi Olayiwola, who received the award on behalf of the company promised that it would continue to create value and empower people with diverse interest i n other sectors of the economy through investments, strategic alliances and partnerships. He said the firm started the Mutual Model Transport Limited (LAG Bus sub operations) in 2009 through the creation of Credit Bond Policy for Bank of Infrastruc-

ture that ensures that transporters have access to the Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund (PMTRF). Olayiwola said apart from the LAG Bus transportation scheme in Lagos, there are others in different parts of the country, including the Retan Bus scheme, Imo State Transport Scheme, Irewolede Scheme and transportation scheme for the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kano, Jigawa and Taraba states as well as Airport Car Hirer’s Association of Nigeria nationwide Scheme, among others.


36

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENUERSHIP

From book vendor to business owner S

UCCESS,they say, has many fathers. And failure, an orphan. The best way to measure success, some believe, is how one bounces back after facing economic hardship. Onoriode Onojaefe, Chief Executive, Onosco Business Enterprise, has experienced ups and downs before emerging as a young entrepreneur. His is a story of an entrepreneur with little money making a breakthrough. His road to entrepreneurship started in 2001 when he finished secondary school. He searched and

He started as a book seller, but today Onoriode Onojaefe has a thriving pesticides business. DANIEL ESSIET met him searched for job without success. He then took to book selling. He started as a hawker of a book entitled: Dream and interpretation, which he sold for N20. At a time, he made N800 and was excited. While selling in the bus, he met Ben Okeke, who told him that he was wasting his talent. Okeke saw a marketing talent in

him and introduced him to herbal products. He gave him the products to sell and Onojaefe proved himself. He was the top performer in the company and made a good living selling the product. Buoyed by his success in the field, the man took it upon himself to train him in herbal products preparation. He did it with

the understanding that he would serve the company for three years. At the end of three years, Onojaefe was allowed to start his own business. With his growing affinity and knowledge of the healthcare sector, he decided to start an herbal products business.The first product he manufatured was successful. Things, however, did not go well. His mother took ill and he spent his earnings on her. Unfortunately, she died. He was down financially and became bankrupt. To enable him return to business, he had to cough out the National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) registration fee for new herbal products. But he could not afford it. He realised that the only way to survive such a regulatory obstacle was to find a new way to operate his business. He saw the pesticides business as a huge and untapped market. Sensing a business opportu-

nity, he started making rat killer. His quick thinking saved the business from heavy regulatory pressure since he was producing not a consumable product. He started with N3,000. Growth has been good along with profitability. Things are moving fine as the business is now worth N300,000. According to him, the pesticides business is a source of untapped market potential. Its potential for expansion is huge. He is doing very well. He keeps his margins low by keeping prices reasonable. This ensured higher volume of sales. He must be present at high street locations to get more visibility and attract eyeballs. Onojaefe has overcome a lot of challenges in life to become a self-made man. He has produced other insectides. His quality of packaging has improved. Evolving and perfecting the business model is the next step – often through testing out various marketing and promotion tactics. A low-cost, off-theshelf infrastructure means a business can scale, retool or refocus quickly and, inexpensively, as new opportunities and markets arise.

‘Strong SMEs key to success’

A • From left: Representative of the Minister of Trade and Investment, Alhaji Dauda Kigbu; Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr David Adulugba and Chief Executive Officer, BIMS Africa Foods Ltd, Mrs Bola Amole, at a conference and exhibition by NEPC in Abuja.

Reduce cost of doing business, Fed Govt urged S OME businessmen and women have called on the Federal Government to reduce the cost of doing business in the country in order to grow the economy. They made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the Nigeria-Turkey Business Summit in Istanbul. They noted that the reduction would aid the growth of small businesses. A Lagos-based business woman, Miss Amaka Udemegue, advised the Federal Government to fast-track its power sector reform by ensuring stable electricity, adding that the country would not achieve business growth without stable electricity supply. She urged the government to provide good road network

across the country as part of measures to facilitate commerce. Udemegue also urged the government to identify markets abroad for locally-made goods, adding that the availability of such markets would encourage businessmen and women to produce more. An Abuja-based businessman, Mr Olayiwola Adeyemi, urged the government to ease the process of accessing credit by businessmen. He said lack of access to credit had been a major constraint to business growth, adding that most small and medium business operators had yet to access the various credit facilities provided by the

Cybercriminals hit small businesses

T

HERE was a 42 per cent increase in targeted attacks, especially on small businesses last year compared with the previous year, a report has said. According to the report by Symantec Corps Internet Security Threat (ISTR), these cyber-espionage attacks are increasingly hitting the manufacturing sector and small businesses, which are the target of 31 per cent of these attacks. Small businesses are attractive targets themselves and a way to, ultimately, reach larger companies via “watering hole” techniques. In addition, consumers re-

main vulnerable to ransom ware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android platform. “This year’s ISTR shows that cyber criminals aren’t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes,” said Justin Doo, Security Practice Director, Middle East, Symantec. “The sophistication of attacks coupled with today’s IT complexities, such as virtualism, mobility and cloud, require organisations to remain proactive and use ‘ defence in depth’ security measures to stay ahead of attacks,” he said.

government. Adeyemi also urged the government to conduct a census of genuine businessmen and women to identify the ones that need financial assistance. “This is the only way to assist genuine businessmen and women in the country,’’ he said. Another businessman, Alhaji Isa Kufai, advised the government to emulate the Turkish business model by investing in other countries. He said Turkey has more than 1,000 schools across the world and was making huge returns from the investment in addition to the employment opportunities provided for its citizens. Kufai said Nigeria could do the same by investing in other countries to generate employment opportunities for her citizens. He urged Nigerian leaders to be more business-conscious to boost the economy. The summit provides opportunities for both countries to explore avenues for generating income and exchanging ideas.

S Nigeria struggles to stay afloat amid economic storms, the President, Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN), Prince Saviour Iche, has urged the government to focus on building stronger small and medium scale enterprises(SMEs). Speaking in Lagos, Iche said unemployment, public finance, growth rates and inflation indicators are not positive for the nation. He said the nation has many highly efficient small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), which need to be supported as they have shown strong growth potential. He said the large, very competitive multinationals, start out as SMEs in their countries, adding that it was their

governments’support, which enable them to exploit global market opportunities. Iche emphasised that promoting SMEs’ growth through entrepreneurship should be done at every opportunity. He said SMES are drivers of future markets, and support policies should be programmed to help them gain and sustain their competitive advantage. He said attention has to be paid to access to finance and profitability. If the government recognises them as the main drivers of wealth and job creation, Iche maintained, it was an opportunity for public authorities to put in place the conditions for businesses to thrive and grow. This includes restructuring funding as to be more effective at satisfying SMEs’ needs.

CEOs’ roundtable holds June 20

T

HE Chief Executive Officers’ (CEOs’) roundtable conference on Corporate Sustaina bility and Responsibility, will take place between June 20 and 21, this year at the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar, Cross River State capital. It is entitled: Driving innovation through transformational leadership and sustainability. In a statement, Ini Onuk, Lead Consultant, ThistlePraxis Consulting, said micro, small and medium-scale enterprises will, for the first time, get special consideration at the conference. Expected at the event are Ashish J. Thakkar, President, Mara Group and Forbes Africa’s youngest billionaire. As keynote speaker, he

• Thakkar

will discuss the theme, Driving innovation through transformational leadership and sustainability.

Entrepreneur’s Quote “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand” - Vince Lombardi


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

37

The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

BornTroWay sets Obalende agog The arts advocacy initiative, BornTroWay, has taken its campaign for social reorientation and cleaner environment to Lagos metropolis where youths got the chance to tell their stories, reports, EVELYN OSAGIE.

C

ROWDY, dirty, noisy, rhythmic, talent, trade centre, Nigeria’s New York and more were words used to describe the Lagos metropolitan area, Obalende, when the advocacy initiative, BornTroWay came to town. Those words were some open reflections of their home they have always known. But the 35 young participants, who were mostly aged 15-25 that were part of the sixth edition of the arts advocacy initiative tagged, BornTroWay Obalende, set out to show, that in spite of the squalor in the ghetto area of Obalende, the place has also got talents. And this was evident during the free training sessions that included four major classes – spoken word, music, dance and acting. They got the opportunity to‘ showcase their talents and leant how to make tie and dye. Not minding the baking heat of that afternoon, the youths sang: “Obalende would be livelier if the bridges were painted in colours, if the dirt were swept off the streets, if a talent centre for jobs could be opened and traffic were reduced…” According to the organisers, the project aims to promote individual self-confidence, self-expression and teamwork among youths in Obalende. The five-day event, which was organised by Music Matters in collaboration with the music maestro, Ade Bantu, also had the founder of Crown Troupe of Africa, Segun Adefila, the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos branch chair, Dagga Tolar, among others as trainers. Co-founder of the project, Ilaria Chessa of Music Matters, said: “We are happy, they got the opportunity to showcase their talents and air their views. As always, this edition’s workshop used spoken word, music, dance and acting to focus on the issue of ‘waste’ — environmental issues and human waste (undiscovered, untapped or underutilised talents). While the first day saw the participants acquainting themselves with many stories on their environment and learning how to use music, spoken words and dance as media of expression, on the second day, they displayed greater self-

•A scene from a performance

ADVOCACY confidence as they created their dance, poetry, song and acting pieces. On the third day, after the physical warm-up exercises, friend of BornTroWay and artiste Abolore Sobayo gave a master class in tie and dye, after which participants created the tshirts that became their uniforms for their grand performance. By this time, the creative pieces have begun to take shape, although participants still displayed challenges with concentration and voice projections. The instructors assisted participants to merge together their pieces and prepare the ground for an all-day rehearsal the following day. The fourth day was a long sweaty one. Participants spent the day weaving together all the creative pieces from the previous three days and rehearsing together. And by this time, they mastered the value of inclusion, concentration and team collaboration. The event climaxed with open-air performance at Girls Model Academy and Obalende Market on the fifth day. After the rehearsals in the morning, the team headed for the

heart of Obalende ,where they staged the performance to the delight of the public made of market traders and buyers, school children heading back home and passers-by. Their message was meant for the public and government. The performance drew attention to the sorry state of the environment, the need to salvage the situation, while calling for cleaner habits, reorientation of the public towards environment and the downtrodden. “Improve education, security; give us electricity; renewed the town; demolish dangerous collapsing buildings and reconstruct them, clean the environment; take the beggars off the street; increase the quality of medical health care; change people’s mindset especially the youth; give good water; resolve prostitution, touts, child abuse, violence and pick pockets; better organised bus stop; roads, play grounds, better leaders; create good market places, bring job opportunities, etc,” they screamed. The funny, engaging and well-coordinated dramatic performance was an amazing testimony of the value of team effort and consistent hard work. The team kept their neighbourhood entertained for over 30 minutes. Singer of the famed song, “I am a born champion”, General Pype ,graced the occasion to encourage the participants.

NGO launches youth empowerment scheme

•Mr Popoola, Mrs Titilayo Oyekunle and Mr Oyekunle, at the launch.

A

NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisation (NGO), Masterpiece Resource Development Centre(MRDC) has launched a youth empowerment programme in two local governments in Lagos State. The programme tagged: Community Driven Entreprise Initiative(CDEI), the or-

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

ganisers said, is targeted at helping youths discover their talents, gifts, potentials and passion in order to live a purposeful life. Chief Executive Officer of MRDC, Mrs. Modupe Oyekunle told reporters that Igando, Eti-Osa and Amuwo Odofin local governments have been enlisted for the first

pilot scheme the CDEI. She said the objective of the CDEI was to ensure that a maximum of 25 youths between the ages of 18 and 35 in each of the 774 local governments in the country starting with the 20 local governments in Lagos. She said the CDEI was inspired by the alarming rate of youth unemployment in the country which has led to the rise in social vices, kidnapping, militancy, cyber fraud and recently terrorism. Oyekunle noted that the task of reducing unemployment could not be left to the government, saying MRDC is poised to contribute its own quota to engaging youths productively. “A recent report shows that if Nigeria is not able to create at least 24 million jobs by 2020, crime rate will triple. We need to proffer solutions, we need to do more than talk about the problems”. She said the CDEI is partnering with the local governments as the grassroots government to “reach out to youths on the streets, help them discover their potentials which can also drive community development to help empower other youths”. She called on well-meaning Nigerians to support the drive by taking up sponsorship of the CDEI in local governments, saying the success of the programme was be for the development and utilisation of human resources for the good of Nigeria. Also, a renowned entrepreneur, Mr. Dapo Adelegan, urged government at all levels to put youth empowerment on the front bunner, saying it is the one-way to address youth restiveness.

•Udoka

Udoka is president of Nigerian Dance Scholars

C

HOREOGRAPHER and Director of Dance of the National Troupe of Nigeria has been elected President of the Dance Scholars Society of Nigerian (DSSN). Udoka’s election followed a unanimous decision reached at the end of a roundtable conference and maiden meeting of the society held at the National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos on April 28. In his post election speech, Udoka stressed the need to be an interface between academicism and practice in Nigeria. ‘’We want to approach dance in a way and manner that it becomes a major factor of the Nigerian cultural sector. We want to take dance beyond its perception of being just singing and shaking the body.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

38

The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

A

KEY feature of this book is its consistent and robust denunciation of the belief in orthodox economic circles that the free market is a self-regulating, autonomously equilibrating system that operates independent of human reason and intervention. The authors hold that government intervention is imperative to correct the deficiencies of the market as had to be done with generous bail out packages by government to prevent the collapse of such ‘too big to fail’ firms as American Insurance Group (AIG), the huge mortgage firms, Fraedie Mae and Fraedy Mac and General Motors among several others. This was in sharp contradiction to the neo-liberal theology of the supposedly free market. The alternative would have been to leave these firms to the dictates of the mythical invisible hand with the inevitability of their collapse and the attendant endangering of thousands of jobs. It was a most humbling experience for President George Bush and his advisers who at every point had hitherto chanted the mantra of the free market, minimal government intervention in the economy and maximum deregulation of various sectors of the economy. At the root of the banking and financial crisis in America, the book posits, was a gross moral bankruptcy characterised by unethical practices motivated by market greed. The lax regulation of the financial system that enabled the sharp practices that eventually brought the entire economy to near ruin is due to what the authors describe as a convergence of pecuniary interests between the financial elite represented by Wall Street and the two sides of the political divide in Washington – The Democrats and Republicans. This point by the authors is reflective of the long held position of Professor Noam Chomsky of the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) that both parties are really opposite sides of the same coin with little to choose between them in terms of commitment to fundamental change. Thus, because they were beholden to Wall Street for campaign finance, the political leaders in Washington treated the financial sector with kid gloves even though the latter was responsible for the ethical abuses that brought about the severe economic crisis in the first place. Thus the political leadership refrained from undertaking the far reaching reforms that would have addressed the root causes

Segun Ayobolu sms to 07032777778 segunayobolu2@yahoo.com

Financialism : Water from an empty well(2) of the crisis and at least limit the possibilities of a recurrence. For instance, the authors point out, such imperative banking reforms such as separating investment from commercial banks or reducing the size of the ‘too big to fail’ banks to minimize their risk to the economy were not undertaken. On the contrary, the banks while largely responsible for the financial meltdown were given huge bail outs “for their own recklessness”. The latter, ironically, turned around to advocate large public sector expenditure cuts to the detriment of government social programmes. Undertaking an incisive diagnosis of the American financial crisis, the authors contend that “things ran aground because the market had been allowed to drive itself according to the logic of its greed”. They argue that the financial sector was decoupled from the productive sector in terms of investment choices pointing out that there was no objective basis for the phenomenal real estate bubble that attracted massive investment from the financial sector for the prospect of ever increasing profit. The unethical practices in the financial sector’s limitless lust for profit in the real estate sector were aimed at padding large scale fraud through loose or outrightly fraudulent standards. Some of the unethical practices in the American financial sector responsible for the crisis include lowering of standards in mort-

gage underwriting and outright fabrication of documentation as regards business creditworthiness; Dishonest ratings by otherwise reputable credit agencies; Accounting gimmicks by banks and other huge institutions to portray a misleading profitability and the deliberate manipulation of information to mislead investors. One of the major contentions of this book and a very unorthodox one is that the economies of the United States and Nigeria are essentially similar. According to the authors, “These otherwise disparate nations are alike in important ways central to the theme of this book. Both possess a sense of national manifest destiny, the articulation of which often strikes outsiders as arrogant, sometimes unintelligent swagger. As part of the physiology of their national characters, both countries possess a keen nose for sharp profit. This peculiar deification of money joined with the creed that long-term prosperity can be had by placing everyone in hot pursuit of short-term advantage, has widespread consequences for the economy”. Thus, the same pursuit of limitless profit at all costs and the attendant moral degeneration that underlay the American economic crisis was also at the root of the Nigerian financial crisis, particularly the banking sector. While the Central Bank Governor during the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Professor Godwin Soludo was receiving both local and external applause for

his banking reforms, particularly the consolidation of banks, little was it known that the sector was really resting on a foundation of sinking sand. It took the emergence of Lamido Sanusi Lamido, the current CBN Governor, to expose the decay of the system such as the creation of artificially large banks and a lax regulatory regime as well as take drastic actions, including the removal of errant banking Chief Executives, to salvage the banking sector. Pointing out the difference between Sanusi and Lamido, the authors point out that “Sanusi made his reputation by focussing on risk. Soludo made his name by ignoring it. Sanusi had been professionally and personally offended by the lax, errant behaviour of the banks. He understood they had built palaces in the clouds, wasting other people’s funds in doing so. He understood the crash was inevitable”. The authors applaud the measures adopted by Sanusi to stem the crisis and save the economy. Just as they did as regards the American economic crisis, the authors look critically at the Nigerian financial crisis, dissect what went wrong and identify the lessons learnt. Some of the factors in the Nigerian economic crisis include the lack of equilibrium between the financial and real sectors of the economy; the phenomenal increase in the size of individual banks beyond the capacity of their personnel to manage the fallout; dramatic and destabilizing systemic swings that is the inevitable fall out of a financial sector based on “investing in investing” rather than investing in real production and the expansion of the financial sector beyond the regulatory capacity of the relevant institutions. According to the authors, “Perhaps the most negative consequences of Nigerian financialism is that its strong concentration of financial resources in the hands of a relatively small number of actors undermines the country’s inchoate democracy”. The key similarity between America and Nigeria, the authors contend, is that financialism has displaced capitalism in both economies. What are the philosophical bases of the authors’ postulations and what are their recommendations for the salvation of capitalism from the strangulating grip of financialism? We will examine these issues in the concluding part of this review.

‘Heaven’s interest in Nigeria’ By Evelyn Osagie

N

•Some members of the Ruach Levites on stage

T

HE Ikorodu Town Hall, in Lagos was filled to capacity. Guests were full of expectations as they awaited the performance of the gospel musicians popularly called Ruach Levites. They are the choir of the Breath of Life Ministry, Lagos. The concert, which featured some of the world’s popular gospel artiste, was attended by musicians mostly youths. The choir sang some popular contemporary gospel songs. I call him G.O.D. by Canton Jones and He’s able by Deitrick Haddon. They translated some foreign gospel songs into the Yoruba language. Brighter day by Kirk Franklin, Never again by James Fortune and I’m not forgotten by Israel Houghton. They sang the songs composed in each artist album, expressing the artistes’ gesture and presenting each instrument and voice just the way it is in the original way. The eight men and five women choir was directed by Mr Franklin Chude, who is a voice

Winning souls with gospel music By Olatunde Odebiyi

CONCERT coach. For hours, the choir held the audience spellbound with presentations from two soprano soloists, two alto soloists and two tenor soloists. There were also two key boardist, one bass player, one guitarist, two drum set player and a talking drummer. Leader of the group was Pastor Samson Jedafe, who is the Senior Pastor Breath of Life Ministry. They sang their heart to the admiration of the of the audience. Many could not contain it. Some stood to their feet, many opened their mouths wide; clapping and screams filled the hall as their performance thrilled the audience. The choir has performed at various events, and is often called the best gospel musician in Nigeria. The group members have performed

both within and outside the country. The group has special interest in developing gospel musicians to international standards. Hence, it showcases quality music at all its performances. The concert was tagged: ‘mega praise summit’. It featured popular artists such as; Big Bob (Reggae Singer), Ohabsy (on the voice), Papii-J (on the drum set), CeeY (a comedian) and Topsticks band (an all female band). Jedafe said the concert was an avenue for musicians to acquire more skills on their musical instruments, voice and dance. The musicians were taught how to play various instruments. They were also taught on sound production and voice. Jedafe said the concert was a combination of the word, the spirit and music. He advised gospel musicians to ensure that their church produces quality music. He said: ‘It is the responsibility of all musicians to convince their pastor on the relevance of good music.”

O doubt, Nigerians are worried over the incessant killings in some parts of the country. Like the title of the classic by the late Prof Chinua Achebe, gradually ‘things are falling apart,’ many have opined. In spite of the chaotic situation experienced across the country, an evangelist, Innocent Ugochukwu, has said that God is still interested in Nigeria. He said: “My nation Nigeria has been subjected to abuse and the citizens humiliated. The people are wandering about in confusion and corruption is worsening. The uncertainty over the nation is alarming. To see Nigerians go through the hordes of life in the midst of riches and wealth is enigmatic. Gross darkness and deadness are all over the land. “Nevertheless, heaven’s attention is on Nigeria. God is speaking expressly of what He wants to; to give the people and the nation sufficiency and rest through the hand of a leader who will emerge, after this present government, in a way the heaven and earth shall bear witness that God has indeed intervened. Irrespective of a constitutional democracy which the country operates, it is important for us to know that, God has supreme control over all things including Nigeria and its constitution, despite her independence which is shallowly limited before God. God clearly spoke to me that He want to have His way in the leadership of the government of Nigeria and it is now, this is the word of the Lord. Finally, divine machinery has been set in motion to return the church back to her original biblical foundational pattern. I see churches cease to be called after their private names, instead, after localities. This will mark the beginning of the revival the body of Christ will witness soon.”


39

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

The Midweek Magazine Two crutches are U S A L V I better than T R A one (I)

I

N certain works of art, the creator may attain high ground by mistake - simply by a deluge of sheer ignorance at the conventional and established order of doing things within that art

form. In some other cases, the creative height is obtained by intellectual arrogance - a desire to chart an iconoclastic route, deliberately upturning all standards and structures prevalent in that occupation. Yet, in some other cases, the creator detours from tried and tested format, and surges on a path of self-mesmerism... an insistent pre-occupation with self; the denial of any sense - common or rarefied - that goes contrary to his or her own estimation of what is true and what is wrong in the society of his or her mind. Such perspectives are endless. My initial dilemma in confronting Femi Onasanya’s Soul Refreshers was how to categorise it. Is this three-part assemblage of 242 pages produced in ignorance couched as soulful refreshment? Is this book a byproduct of arrogance passed off as life-long instruction? Can this book be seen as selfmesmerism of an author obsessed with sharing his private world with the larger society? In my introspection, I decided to dig deeper to add more flesh and sinews to the personality sketch of Femi Onasanya... Nothing I googled or searched added anything enlightening to my confusion. Then I dug further into the book - and this is what I found. Soul Refreshers, as earlier stated, is in three parts. The first part of 78 pages harbours 100 poetic pieces. “Humour” fills up the next 72 pages, while “Riddles & Smart Questions” takes up the last 64 pages. All through the three parts, are good “search engines” to browse in order to define and collate revealing information about the author and his motives; the most intriguing and therefore “revealing” is the collection of poetic pieces. I may be wrong, but the dominant per-

I

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

BOOK REVIEW Title:

Soul Refreshers and Pleasant Dreams,

Author: Femi Onasanya Publishers: Rolufol Publishers, Ibadan Reviewer:

Femi Akintunde-Johnson

Pagination:

242

sona seen through most of the poems reveals the true nature of the young poet; his world view, idiosyncrasies, challenges, passions, philosophy and his relational framework. The poetic pieces are further divided into six sections: Tough Situations, Vices and Virtues, Pleasant People, Optimism and Hope, The Tide Turns and Love, Romance and Marriage. It is obvious to see that the persona of the poet has a great regard for women - which is not to suggest that the author is a Lady’s man. The themes of Love, appreciation of feminine care, an unashamed embrace of untainted romance, pervades 23 poems within the first five sections and virtually all the 12 poems in Love, Romance and Mar-

riage. Without unduly dwelling too much on the poetry, let me quickly run through the emotions that arguably expose the hidden person behind the mask. Many of the pieces in “Tough Situations” are quite simple and straight to the point lamenting voices in “What’s The Matter With Me?”, “Homeless”, “Do I Deserve This?”, “I’m Not Getting Younger”, “When Shall I Reap In Joy?” and “Why Should Money Locate the Wrong People?” simply bemoan the inequalities prevalent in our societies; the devastation secretly lacerating our youth; making it virtually impossible for them to look at the future with any ounce of hope or progress. When it comes to prayers, I’m not a novice. In singing, I’m a nightingale But I can’t understand why men close their eyes When I walk up the aisle. (-What’s The Matter With Me?) Such despondency is carried to the next section, Vices & Virtues. Here, the Sunday school teacher, who obviously had been exposed to relational and emotional issues endemic in fast-growing metropolitan cities, peeps through. We can hear searing echoes of frustrations, inadequacies, conflicts, personal failings and such disruptive influences. The poet’s selections attempt to mollify anguished souls; reassure troubled minds and motivate sagging spirits, with some simple yet graceful interjections. Poems in Pleasant People are bouncy, full of life, love and adventure - exploring the themes of good home building, fatherhood, and reciprocal respect. Then you wonder why it is the shortest section in all - just 10 poems. Optimism & Hope lives up to its nature… as many of the poems are didactic attempting to motivate and rouse tired soldiers of our troubled worlds not to give in... Works like “Inspiration from a Dead Cockroach”, “Peace In A Stormy World”, “Mad Man’s Message”, “Winner’s Mentality” and “When Luck Is Created” are clarion calls to recharge and retake the bulwarks. And The Tide Turns returns us to melancholy - Can we ever avoid that, really? Life is a turning wheel - good and bad are mere spokes in the wheel of life. Usually, a poet sees the colours of the larger world through the tinted glasses of his own private experiences. In this section, you un-

Trapping national dilemma on canvas

T was an exhibition loaded with messages on development in the polity. Last Sunday, an artist, Duke Asidere, flaunted his thickly layered paintings to awaken Nigerians to the unwholesome trends in the country’s socio-political life. It was his 10th solo art exhibition, tagged Encased . It held at the Alexis Galleries (The Homestores), on Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Among the paintings on display were the Black series, the lesson in painting series as well as those that depict issues of emotion. Others were Face booking, Women, Bad government, Mumu banking, and Orelope Street. Apart from presenting many paintings that dwell on the theme of the exhibition, Asidere did not fail to thrill viewers to his stylized figures, near linear arrangement of forms, and balance of colours and content. But in handling his message using stylised forms and figures, the artist encases most of the critical elements within the paintings, thus allowing the viewers to interrogate what is contained in the underbelly of the paintings. The Black series for instance, is a quick reminder of the frequent power outage in the country despite government’s huge funds allocated for the power sector reforms. Other works on display dwell on the social vices such as violence and kidnapping that have become norms in today’s Nigeria. Beyond the Nigeria experience, the artist’s works are search light on the global insecurity spanning the Arab

By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

EXHIBITION spring, to insurgencies in Middle East and other nations in the West where protest against injustice is the order of the day. He described some of the paintings on these issues as protest ‘paintings’ which have few spots of bright colours symbolising hope. For Asidere, painting is a spiritual energy which is determined by inner push. Little wonder most of his paintings are reflective of this burning energy in him. According to him, every work of art contains lots of things as the journey of a painting does not stop at the finished stage. The collections in Encased are loaded with lots of elements. “It is all about the pain of poor leadership, black out, how the state has conceded its power to militants and Boko Haram, and how Nigeria has become where its worst are being celebrated. How did we get here,” he said. Asidere is one of the most vociferous practising artists of his generation who has participated in numerous exhibitions and workshops since graduating with a first class from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1988. He got his MFA in painting in 1990 from the same university and has taught in Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State. Encased will run till May 18 at the Alexis Galleries.

•Mumu banking by Asidere

derstand that it takes the Messiah to die for us properly, simply because He shared our infirmities. The persona here appears to have battled through a turbulent childhood, a challenging track of adolescence and aggravating adulthood. Though one needs not be poor to appreciate the gripping suffocation of poverty, you nonetheless must have passed its doorstep. Some of the pieces in Tide (the longest section with 24 poems) invoke clanging tolls of loss, denials, deprivations, isolation, unkindness, and disappointments in physical and emotional dimensions. However, like a trained teacher or storyteller - most of the painful experiences dovetailed into hopeful conclusions; ‘bitter’ becomes sweet, loses regained, disappointment to appointment. The second part of Soul Refreshers is Humour. A caveat is relevant here: if you expect the variant of humour associated with Ali Baba or Basketmouth, you will be sorely disappointed. The humour in Humour appears to be moderated by the spiritual and spatial background of the author. His humour may provoke chuckles from residents of Britain with whom he shares familiarity of names, locations and landmarks. To a Nigerian cooked in the holloi-poloi of our gruelling existence… only very few of these pieces will sneak a chuckle. You will find wise cracks and ditties that will prick your fancy out of the 100 pieces published. A note to the author though few of the pieces are better tagged as homilies and exhortations… as they may cause the reader to wonder exactly what the author considers “humorous”. The final part of Soul Refreshers is where the author seems most at home. With 100 riddles and smart questions, the author succeeds in arresting the mind of the inquisitive - but also encourages the slothful to flee. As usual, many of the riddles expose the inner workings of the author – whose main audiences are obviously not residents of Nigeria. His apparent awkwardness when sometimes he “mistakenly” uses Nigerian (or African) names and locale, show his peace of mind is guaranteed in a European atmosphere. Yet, in Soul Refreshers, that in itself is not a flaw. It may be argued that the book seeks to expand the exposure and interest of the Nigerian reader and thus internationalize his perception and reasoning.


40

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

The Midweek Magazine

Tributes to Achebe

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

T

HE Rainbow Book Club, in partnership with the British Council held an evening of tributes for the late Prof. Chinua Achebe at the council’s office in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Pa Gabriel Okara, celebrated poet and author, set the tone for the evening with his moving tribute on Achebe who he said was not dead but lives on in his works. The evening also had a session tagged Why we love Things Fall Apart. It began with opening remarks by Ms. Ijeoma Agruba, the Centre Manager of the Council office and followed by a reading of Achebe’s biography by Mrs. Judy Nwanodi, a trustee of the Rainbow Book Club. An open discussion on why the classic novel, Things Fall Apart is held in such high regard was lead by PEN. The session provided people the opportunity to share their favorite characters, scenes and proverbs in a book that is widely believed to have changed the way African literature was viewed by the rest of the world. The beauty and simplicity of the language in Things Fall Apart with its proverbs and vivid imagery, the characters like Okonkwo, who rises above adversity against all odds, the book’s unique title, and its ability to yield itself to different age groups of readers, were all part of the

•Kalango reading at the evening of tributes By Ucheoma Nwabunike

TRIBUTE reasons why TFA has endeared its self to generations . The tributes continued with people coming to share with the audience,

different Achebe’s books and poems they love. The founder of Rainbow Book Club, Mrs. Koko Kalango also delivered a moving tribute on Achebe who was an Honourary member of the club. Mrs Kalango told the audience how Achebe had severally supported the clubs events including what was to be his last outing

Quill Awards makes its debut Saturday

P

ROMASIDOR Nigeria Limited, makers of Cowbell Milk, will hold its Quill Awards on Saturday, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, in Lagos. Head, Legal and Public Relations, Promasidor Nigeria, Mr. Andrew Enahoro, said arrangements have been concluded tfor the event. He said the awards would be graced by notable personalities. The ‘Promasidor Quill Awards’ is a platform in Nigeria to reward journalists for dedicated news reportage on industry, education, corporate social responsibility & nutrition issues all year round. The awards cover five categories among which are the Brand Advocate of the year, Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report of the year, Most Educative Report of the year, Best Report on Nutrition and the Best Photo Story of the year. Enahoro said as part of preparation for the awards the company has appointed five distinguished professionals in their various fields of endeavour as judges to select winners for the different categories of the awards, remarking that the judges were carefully chosen because of the regard the company attached to the awards. Speaking on the reasons the company is organising the awards, Enahoro said, “We decided in partnership with our PR agency,

TPT International Limited on the need to reach out more to journalists and appreciate them. “But more importantly, we are out to challenge them on how they can continue doing their jobs more professionally and exhibit excellence. In the Shakespearean times, the quill was the only mode of writing - ink and feather, so it was only natural that we come up with an award that would be symbolic of that era and we have done a bit of research which informs the categories we have laid out and even the gifts.” He listed the judges as Ambassador Patrick Dele Cole, a veteran journalist who will serve as chairman of the panel; Professor Emevwo Biakolo, Dean School of Media and Communication of the Pan African University (PAU); Mr Jide Ologun, Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Lagos Chapter; Kadaria Ahmed, former editor of 234 Next, and Kelechi Obi Amadi, an international painter and photographer. Ambassador Cole, Special Adviser to The Guardian since 2002 and Delegate to the United Nations and the African Union (1976, 1989, 1989, and 1990) obtained a Masters in History and Political Science from University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand and in 1969 bagged a PhD from

Stephen Berhens Cohen College, Cambridge. Prof. Biakolo was born in 1957 in the Delta State. He graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1978 were he studied Literature, philosophy and classics as a Federal scholar. He completed the M.A. in 1984, graduating at the top of his class and was awarded the Doctorate in 1988. He later joined the Editorial board of The Guardian and wrote a weekly column, which commanded very wide following in Nigeria. Besides social and political questions, he was especially concerned with family issues in his writing. Jide Ologun, a principal solicitor at Jide Ologun & co is the chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). Kadaria, an influential journalist, is a co - founder of Reinvent Media Limited and formerly senior producer with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) between 1996 and 2004. She was also the editor of the now defunct, 234next newspaper in Lagos. Kelech Amadi is a dexterous painter and photographer who studied law and was called to the bar, however, things took a turn when his passion for the arts led him to pursue a career in photography and painting.

in Nigeria, when he delivered the keynote address at the 20II Garden City Literary Festival. A one- minute silence was observed in honour of the late Prof. Chinualumogu Achebe and this was followed by the signing of a condolence register, after which photographs were taken.

Ibadan poetry festival

C

ENTRE for Poets (CFP) will hold Ibadan Poetry Festival (IPOFEST 2013) between June 7 and 8 at the Alliance Francaise, beside Magistrate Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan. Theme of the festival is: Beauty and performing in poetry. According to the President of CFP, Ebika Anthony, the festival will feature poetry performances, music, dance, book exhibition, food, drinks etc. “CFP is an Ibadan-based literary organisation whose main constituency is poetry and the sacred task of its propagation. In view of this we are organising IPOFEST to promote the art of poetry and create poetic entertainment and fun as well as contribute to the development of poetry in the society. To further uplift performance-based poetry, IPOFEST will attract poets and lovers of poetry from all walks of life residing within and outside Oyo State. Aside other highlights, Prof Francis Egbokhare and Mr Ropo Ewenla will deliver keynote addresses at the IPOFEST. CFP has made necessary arrangements to ensure that the event is a success.”

Leadership award holds at Yenagoa

•Alhaji Bashir Bukar Machimana

N

EWSRAY Communication Ventures Limited, the publishers of Newsray News Magazine, will organise its

Leadership Award and Public Lecture at the Banquet Hall of Bayelsa State Government House (Creek Haven), Yenagoa on June 11. The event is designed to honour deserving citizens of Nigeria in recognition of their genuine contributions towards the development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A statement by the editorial adviser, Newsray Magazine, Hon. Nelson Campbell disclosed that 14 eminent Nigerians are a nominated for the award, having considered their positive contributions to the progress of the Nigerian and humanity. The nominees are the Emir, Damaturu Emirate Council, Yobe State, Ibn. Umar Alamin Elkanemi Shehu Hashimi II, His Royal Highness Alhaji Bashir Albashir Bukar Machinama, Emir, Talata-Mafara Emirate Council, Zamfara State; His Royal Highness Dr. Muhamadu Barmo Bello; Honourable Commissioner of Environment, Yobe State,

Hon. Dr. Wakili A. Sarki; Commissioner of Women Affairs, Yobe State, Kabir Kolo Hajja Asmau; the President, Centre for Environmental Preservation and Development, Bayelsa State, Akene Furoebi Freedom Sheba, Director, Finance and Accounts, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Abuja, Mr Ordu Godson Igbo, Chief Gabriel Ilode Ogwo, and Chief Anugbome Promise Onuoha. Others are the Chairman, Gujba Local Government, Yobe State, Batarama Kyari, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Chapter, Mr Akono Solomon Tarinyo, the Executive Secretary, Yenagoa City Development Authority, His Royal Highness. Ige-Edaba Iboro Yilaziba, Special Adviser (Political) to Bayelsa State Governor, Agbedi Fred, Commissioner for Sports Development, Hon. Obordor Mitema, Chairman, Tarmuwa Local Government,

Babangida, Yobe State, Mai-Adamu Ismaila and the Zonal Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), Southsouth Zone, Orugbani Grant Echefula. The occasion will be attended by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seraike Dickson as Special Guest of Honour while former Majority Leader, Federal House of Representatives, Tunde Akogun, will serve as chairman. The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, will deliver the keynote address while the National Secretary, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Shaibu Usman Leman will serve as a resource person. Former ANPP Gubernatorial Candidate, Yobe State, Mohammed Saleh will be the Chief Launcher while HRH. King A. J turner will grace the occasion as Royal Father of the Day.


43

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

THE NATION

POLITICS

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

PLATEAU POLITICS In Plateau State, the three senatorial zones have produced the governor, based on the zoning agreement among politicians in the state. But the state is now under stress as the major ethnic groups are scrambling for the slot. Correspondent YUSUFU IDEGU examines the claims of each zone.

Plateau and politics of zoning A

HEAD of the 2015 general elections, political tension is alrerady brewing in Plataue State. The various ethnic groups are locked in the battle of wits over who should produce the next governor. Since the Second Republic, politicians have always adopted established a zoning formula that has stood the test of time. Based on the agreement, the three zones; Plateau South, Plateau Central and Plateau North; have filled the slot. According to the analysis, between 1979 and 2015, each of the senatorial zones would have ruled the state for eight years. In 1979, Plateau South took the first shot. The zone produced the first civilian governor, Chief Solomon Lar of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP). He is of the Tarohk tribe from Langtang. He ruled the state between 1979 and 1983. Lar was re-elected as the governor, but his second term was truncated by the military intervention of December 31, 1983. During the aborted Third Republic, the South also produced former Governor Fidelis Tapgun. That was in 1990. The zone complained that it was entitled to a second term, recalling that Lar could not make it to the end because of the military coup. The Tapgun Administration was also disrupted. Following the annulment of the 1993 presidential election, there was crisis in the country. The military sacked the civilian authorities, including the second executive governor. In 1999, power shifted to the Plateau Central, with the ascension of Governor Joshua Dariye. he ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Unlike Tapgun, Dariye was re-elected. Thus, between 1999 and 2007, the governor came from the Central. In 2007, it was the turn of the North to produce the governor. Up came the retired soldier from Berom, which is the major tribe in the zone. Air Commodore Jonah Jang (rtd) was re-elected in 2011. In two year’s time, his second term will expire. By the time he leaves the office, all the zones would have occupied the seat for eight years. However, the hitherto gentleman agreement has nowbecome an albatross for the state. Politicians are at a cross road as the 2015 governorship context draws near. Now that all the zones have tasted power, the question is: which zone should produce the next governor? All the three zones are rationalising their claims to the throne. For example, the people of Plateau South, who first produced the governor in 1979, are saying that the zoning should begin from their zone again. But politicians from Plateau Central have disagreed, saying that it is their turn. are saying it is their turn. Also, political leaders from the North are demanding that the zoning should now be implemented in an anticlock wise manner. This disagreement over zoning has thrown the major ethnic groups in the state into political rivalry. The Tarohk and Goemai

• Pwajok

• Dabin

• Map of Pleateau State

• Gov. Jang

tribes from the southern zone; the Angas who dominates the central zone and the Berom tribe, which dominates the northern zone, are the major players. The Berom, who are Jang’s kinsmen,are not ready to relinquish power in 2015. It appears that they are no longer fascinated by zoning. Basking in the euphoria of the incumbency, they are calmouring for a fresh arrangement that would favour power retention. With this in mind, aspirants from the North are lining up to grab the opportunity. Prominent among thye governorship aspirants from the zone are Senator

• Lar

Gyang Pwajok, Mr. Pam Gyang, Chris Giwa and Lumuba Dah Adeh. A Berom elder, Gyang Jacob, said the ethnic group has made sacrifices for the state by adjusting to life outside power for 20 years. He argued that it was only proper and fit for his people to start the ‘second round’. “We know we are currently in power in the state. We had made so much sacrifice to produce the governor in 2007. We waited for almost 20 years while others were ruling. Now, the zoning formula will be completed in 2015. All we are asking for is let us be the first

• Dimka

in the next round because we came last in the last round. Let the last be the first this time and let the first be last; that is all we are asking for. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander”, he said. However, other zones found the Berom position, not only selfish and oppressive, but also untenable. A commuinty leader from the South, Lukman Ponfa, however, faulted the arguument. He said that Berom people are taking undue advantage of the fact that they are in power to oppress other stakeholders in the state. He canvassed the retention of the exist-

‘All the three zones are rationalising their claims to the throne. For example, the people of Plateau South, who first produced the governor in 1979, are saying that the zoning should begin from their zone again. But politicians from Plateau Central have disagreed, saying that it is their turn. are saying it is their turn. Also, political leaders from the North are demanding that the zoning should now be implemented in an anti- clock wise manner’

ing formula for the sake of peace and unity. “To allow peace to reign, the Berom should allow the existing zoning arrangement to continue uninterrupted. It should be turn by turn as it has been. Let no one alter it and make it go anti-clock wise for selfish reason”, he advised. Already, the agitators for power shift to the South are on the increase. Prominent among them are Mrs. Pauline Tallen, Senator Cosmos Niagwan and Senator Victor Lar. They have governorship ambition and the rejection of zoning is likely to further position very far from power. The Angas tribe oin the Central Zone is also not relenting in its claim to power, ahead of 2015. Political leaders from the area are vociferous. When the zone was to produce a governor in 1999, the slot went to a minority tribe, Mushere, which threw up Dariye. The majority tribe, Anga, also seem to have a convincing explanation. According to the political leadwers from the ethnic group, equity, justice and fairness demand that the next governor should come from Anga, pointing out that it is the only major tribe that has not produced the governor. A community leader from Anga, who did not disclose his name, said that the three zones are equally entitled to the governorship. But he addded that, since Tarohk produced Lar in 1979 and Berom produced Jang, Anga should struggle to win the sympathy of the other tribes. He urged prominent leaders from the area, including the former Police Commissioner, Hezekiah Dimka, (rtd) and the PDP Chairman, Dr Haruna Dabin, to brainstorm on the issue and present their trusted sons for the contest. Analysts contend that, if the Berom succeed in their plot to twist the zoning to their favor, Senator Pwajok may be their joker for 2015. To survive the ethnic politics, the Beroms are contemplating a‘ Plan B’ in pursuit of their ethnic agenda. It is is being rumored that the Beroms in government are contemplating supporting the candidates from the other zones so that they supply the running mate. A former legislator from Plateau Central, Bala Gogwim said: “This is no longer rumor. The Berom has their Plan B. It is an open secret. They will not only form a strong alliance with one of the two zones that is ready to make a Berom the running mate. “We learnt that they will come out with their funds and incumbency power to sponsor a governorship candidate from the other zone who will be willing to surrender power to them through impeachment. They are planning to sponsor one of the commissioners from the zone or a House of Representatives member. We would not want to mention the name now. But we know him.”. But can they succeed with the socalled ‘Plan B’? But how they so called plan ‘B’ will work out is left to be seen.


44

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

POLITICS In this piece, ALEX OGBONNIA reviews the political career of Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who clocks 51 this week.

Ekweremadu: On the path of destiny

T

HE grace of God is the most suitable vortex that underpins the life of the Senate President and Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ike Ekweremadu. Ekweremadu was born on May 12, 1962 into the royal family of His Royal Highness,Late Igwe Mathias Ekweremadu, the Okwaa Anekeoji 1 of Mpu, Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State. The birth of every child is an epiphany of hope wrapped in a canvass of diverse possibilities. As hard as the parents may strive for an upward social mobility of the child, it requires the grace of God to twang the transcendental cord that excites the critical elements in the child for self awakening. Thus, while his peers at a very early age floundered, Ekweremadu flourished with a clear vision of his life mission. He pursued the vision with incandescent passion, valour, candour and honour. For instance, Ekweremadu attended and left primary school as the teachers delight. He proceeded to St. Dominic’s Secondary School, Ugiri, Imo State and Boys Secondary School, Umueze Awkunanaw. He obtained a Grade 1 in the West African School Certificate. He studied Law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and earned LLB and LLM; and a BL from Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He also attended the Harvard, USA and the Oxford University for further trainings. Only the initiated will appreciate that to achieve a sustainable success and stability in politics requires a combination of vision, passion, courage, intellect, humility, sagacity, perseverance, godliness and character. It is the consistent application of the above set of variables that incubates grace, which is the summary of virtues. As a little known courageous young adult from a far less known community, Ekweremadu dedicated his life as a change agent that would transform his neglected area to national limelight. Equipped with a frontier spirit and intellectual power, he set out to restructure the psychology and consciousness of his people through the chairmanship of Mpu Town Union. And later, he was elected the Chairman of Aninri Local Government Council. His excellent performance earned him the ‘Best Council Chairman of the year’ in 1997. Based on his pedigree, he was appointed the Chief of Staff, Government House and subsequently, the Secretary to the Government of Enugu State. He ennobled the two offices with remarkable skill, exceptional diligence, elegance and panache. He demonstrated an extraordinary acumen in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In 2003, Ekweremadu was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent Enugu West Senatorial District on the plat-

• Ekweremadu

form of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was re-elected in 2007 and 2011. A peculiar Southeast enigma, each election recorded less resistance than the previous one. In the Senate, he was elected the Deputy President of the Senate in 2007 and also in 2011. He was also elected the First Deputy Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament in 2007 and Honourable Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament in 2011. A prodigy in parliamentary practice, Ekweremadu has several motions and bills to his credit. He is the Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the 1999 Constitution Review. The widely acknowledged free and fair election of 2011 owes its credibility to the Electoral Reform facilitated by the Constitution Review Committees of the National Assembly. He is a detribalieed patriot whose love, dedication, sacrifice and passion for Nigeria are legendary. A man who canvasses the centrality of morals in the dynamics of power. A classic public speaker whose incisive contributions in the Senate engender responsibility, nation building and hope. At the ECOWAS Parliament, Ekweremadu savours with deep emotional attachment that he was unanimously elected as the Speaker, hence the unprecedented unity of purpose in the Parliament. He presides over the Parliament with finesse, statesmanlike verve, diplomatic élan and consummate consensus. He embodies the aspirations of the members. For instance, he has pursued the enhancement of the powers of the Community Parliament; rehabilitation of the Parliament building; provision of office accommodation to all members of the Parliament; institution of the ‘Award for Good Governance’; protocol for punishment of coup plotters in the sub-region even after office; capacity building for both the parliamentarians and staff etc. To the parliamentarians it is a major paradigm shift. Ekweremadu’s quality representa-

tion resonates resoundingly with his constituency. He has parlayed his cognate experience into monumental achievements in Enugu West Senatorial District and beyond. He has transformed his constituency beyond the rust and tarnish of even the least charitable. He has converted his Senatorial District into a huge construction site with road rehabilitation and construction, rural electrification, solar lights, water supply schemes, health care service delivery, libraries, computer centres, youth development centres etc. In human resource and capacity building, the Ikeoha Foundation which he founded in 1997 as a council chairman, complements his constituency outreach through scholarships to indigent students, micro-credit and widowhood support schemes, adult literacy centres, quiz and Ikeoha Football Cup competitions among others. As an ‘’Ambassador of Christ,’ he has strived to mainstream the youth in his community to God through the All Saints Anglican Covenant Church, Mpu. A church he built and donated to the Anglican Communion. To his constituents, Ike Ekweremadu is simply a colossus, purveyor of morals, the angel of history that has been so anxiously awaited, the peoples Prometheus, jinx-breaker, visionary, reflective scholar and a soldier of democracy. He is the exponent of the popular Enugu sentiment who has enlarged the Ikeoha Sanctuary to accommodate persons of diverse needs from all parts of the state. To any unbiased observer, Ikeoha’s trajectory is a tribute to courage, service, humility, loyalty, integrity, generosity, resilience, diligence and spirituality. Senator Ike Ekweremadu has to his credit several awards, honours and traditional titles. He was inducted as a Knight of the Order of the Good Shepherd, Diocese of Enugu (Anglican Communion); Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Africa Leadership Award; Doctor of Laws, LLD,(Honoris Causa), University of Uyo, etc. Traditionally, he has been conferred with the Ochiagha Ndigbo (Generalissimo of Igboland) by Eze Nri, the custodian of Igbo culture and tradition; and the Ikeoha Ndigbo (pride and strength of Ndigbo) by the Southeast Council of Traditional Rulers. Ekweremadu holds the national honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). He is happily married to Mrs. Nwanneka Ekweremadu and the marriage is blessed with four lovely children. Ekweremadu has demonstrated physical prowess, social renown, political mastery, friendly finesse, character comeliness, marital exemplariness, and dispositional humility. As we solemnly mark his 51th birthday, we join all men and women of goodwill to wish Ikeoha many more years of fruitful service to the nation. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia Special Adviser (Public Affairs) to Deputy President of the Senate

House of Representatives member Hon. Abiodun Awoleye (Ibadan North Constituency) spoke with MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE on the security situation in the country and other issues.

‘Amnesty ‘ll end insurgency’

W

HAT is your view on the proposed amnesty by the Federal Government to the members of the Boko Haram? Amnesty programme was used to bring peace to the Niger Delta when the militants were terrorising the Southsouth. But Boko Haram is a new dimension. The people are aware that it is politically motivated. Therefore, I’ll like the federal government to grant them amnesty so that the North and other parts of the country can have peace and sleep with their two eyes closed because it has been spreading to the other parts of the country. So, amnesty will make them to come out physically for negotiation. You said the amnesty was given to the Niger Delta militants. But the militants are back on the street. Do you think amnesty is the solution? To a very large extent, the amnesty programme really works, most especially under the regime of the former Late President Umaru Yar ‘ Adua that actually initiated the programme, until this visionless present government came on board. To me, this administration does not have direction and that is what is really affecting the programme today. What is you assessment of the Jonathan Administration? Jonathan Administration is a total failure. All the promises made two years ago have not been fulfilled. Nigerians are not enjoying the dividends of democracy. Nothing works in Nigeria. Jonathan promised constant power supply, but what we have is worse than that. He promised good health care system, but is yet to fulfill it. He promised reforms in the education system, but education is getting bankrupt on the daily basis. Does APC has prospect? APC has come to stay. It is an intellectual property of the merging parties. I can authoritatively tell you that APC is the way out of the crises Nigerians are facing today. The All Patriotic Citizen is a fake. It will fail.Merger process has its procedure, which we have to follow. It will now be difficult for some sets of people to come out and frustrate the merger when we are still following the due process. We all know that the ruling PDP is behind all the hurdles. They cannot succeed because Nigerians know that the coming together of these three major parties is to salvage and rescue this collapsing nation from the PDP. I want to tell you that, with the kind of programmes we have, we will

• Awoleye

Seriki flays Okupe for comments on Tinubu

F

•Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan (left) presenting a souvoir to the Political / Economic Officer to the United States Consulate General while the US Consulate General Mr. Jeff Hawkins (middle) looks on during a visit by the Consulate General and his team to Government House, Asaba... yesterday.

dislodge the PDO in 2015. What are the achievements of Governor Abiola Ajimobi that will make them vote for your party in 2015? We have done a lot of good works in the state. Let me start with the urban renewal programme. We have constructed many roads across the state. The beautification programme is also going on in the state. We can see massive construction of bridges and roads and the fly-overs will soon be commissioned. You can see the numbers of schools being renovated and equipped with new furniture so that the students can be comfortable. Extra-moral classes are organised for the students so that we can produce the best brains in Oyo State. We are tackling security through the ‘Operation Burst’. We have employed many youths in the civil service and TESCOM. We have employed 20,000 youths through ‘YesO Scheme’. What are your achievements as a legislator? The people of my constituency are enjoying my dynamic representation. A number of boreholes have been drilled for them. I have donated and installed a numbers of transformers for them. This is the second time I will beinfluencing the budget to favour of constituency and I have included many things in the budget. In my primary duty as a legislator, I have moved a number of motions, including the renovating and upgrading of the Ibadan Airport, which to the best of my knowledge, is going to be done because the fund has been earmarked for it.

ORMER Minister of State for Defence Chief Demola Seriki has chided the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the President, Dr. Doyin Okupe, over his comments on the defunct Tinubu Administration in Lagos State. He said: “Our leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is an asset and not a political liability, contrary to Okupe’s statement. Nigerians know those who are political liabilities”. Seriki described Okupe as a garrulous spokesman and job monger, adding that he has become an expert in falacy and wrong judgment. The former minister, who spoke with our correspondent in Lagos, said that Okupe was suffering from mouth diarrhoea for describing Tinubu and former military Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as liabilities. He added: “The man jhas a mouth diarrhoea. Buhari is a great leader. He has his flaws. But he is a great leader. Why did Obasanjo drop Okupe as his spokesman? Now that he has been dusted up by President Goodluck Jonathan, he thinks he can malign the personality of great me. “asiwaju cannot join issue with him. When he alluded to what Asiwaju has done in Lagos State, I was disturbed. Tinubu is thye architect of the progress of Lagos State. Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) is the actualiser. Tinubu was the pacesetter and great achiever. Okupe is not versatile. “Buhari rejected the IMF loan in 1984. That put Nigeria in good stead. Leaders like that cannot be rubbished by Okupe. He is a job monger. Posterity will not judge him right. He is a member of Any Government In Power (AGIP).


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

45


46

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

47


48

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

49


50

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

52

The Chevron Employee Volunteering Programme was an initiative by the company to encourage employees “to contribute to the socio-economic development of communities through voluntary donation of employees’ time, talents and finances

C

HEVRON Nigeria Limited and some of its employees have donated textbooks, electronic teaching aids and a power generating set to Unity School Agbarho in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State as part of their efforts to enhance the quality of education in the state. The General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr. Deji Haastrup, who made the donation, said it was to “renew our commitment to contribute to the development of the education sector in Delta State.” Mr. Haastrup, who was represented by Mr. Dan Agbofode, Coordinator Offshore Memorandum of Understanding, noted that the Chevron Employee Volunteering Programme was an initiative by the company to encourage employees “to contribute to the socio-economic development of communities through voluntary donation of employees’ time, talents and finances.” Mrs. Liade Adesanya, who represented the Managing Director of New Nigeria Foundation, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) that facilitated the project, explained that the donation included a set of 20 textbooks for eight key subjects, model answers to past questions in the subjects, a School-to-Air programme developed around the curricula of the subjects; and an e-tutor element which resulted in the training of teachers in the school. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education in Ughelli North Local Government Area, Mr. Marcus Ovie said that the minis-

T

O regain the values which once earned the Rivers State capital its Garden City appellation, a group known as Old Port Harcourt City Association of Friends (OPCAF) has been formed. Speaking in the city during the inauguration of the Board of Trustees of OPCAF, its President, Mr Ikay Thomas Amadi explained that the members came

•The Chevron team at the school

Chevron’s largesse lifts school From Shola O’Neil, Warri

try deeply appreciated the initiative of the company and her employees as government alone could not cope with provision of infrastructural facilities in schools.

The President of the Old Students’ Association, Mr. Emmanuel Abulu, said old students of the school were desirous to raise the standard in Unity School Agbarho back to the level where it was when they were students in the school. He said that old students were

proud of the role the school had played in their upbringing. The donation was a follow-up to the donation of a science laboratory to the school in November 2012 by Texaco Nigeria Outer Shelf Limited, a Chevron Company in collaboration with the Unity School Old Students’ As-

sociation (USAOSA) and the Parent-Teacher Association of the school. The Principal of the school, Sir Reuben Onoriose, noted that the collaboration between the Old Students’ Association and the Parent-Teacher Association with the support of government was very productive. He promised to achieve reasonable improvement in the performance of students of the school.

Association to restore Port Harcourt’s values From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

together to bring back the city to what it used to be in the 70s. Such values, Amadi said, include its serenity, camaraderie

where ethnicity did not matter. He added that the will equally help government and its members through networking. To achieve these objectives, Amadi said the association would undertake some projects like tree-planting and teaching

•OPCAF Board of Trustees members taking their oath of office in Port Harcourt

their children right values as they were thought by their own parents as well as through the Boys Scout and Girls Guide to which they belonged. On the possibility of achieving the camaraderie which the old Port Harcourt was noted for, the

President of OPCAF said that it must be brought back “because when we were growing up, nobody asked you where you were from.” While stressing that the association is not a political one, he called on everyone who has lived in Port Harcourt in the 70s, was born and schooled in the city during the period and has attained a minimum of 40 years of age to come and join OPCAF “so that we can put heads together to see how we can get Port Harcourt to what it used to be.” Speaking on behalf of other members of the Board of Trustees of OPCAF, its Chairman, Mr. OCJ Okocha, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said that the responsibility being thrust on him and others calls for “honesty, transparency, integrity and...decorum.” Okocha who is a former National President of Nigerian Bar Association said that the board of trustees would take the assignment seriously by looking into the aims and objectives of the association, the qualifications and ensuring that it is run strictly in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.” Seizing the opportunity of the convivial mood that pervaded the occasion, Okocha recalled with nostalgia the warmth relationships they had in those days as youths and the “tricks and truancies” they played then, when they knew neither creed nor clan.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

53


54

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 15-05-13

Berger Paints’ shareholders approve rights issue, 70 kobo dividend

S

HAREHOLDERS of Berger Paints Nigeria Plc yesterday committed to provision of additional equity capital to the company to finance expansion and modernisation of its manufacturing plant and distribution channels. At the annual general meeting (AGM) of the paints and allied products manufacturing company in Abuja, shareholders mandated their board of directors to undertake a rights issue to raise new equity funds. The rights issue will be pre-allotted on the basis of one new share for every three shares already held. The board of directors is expected to work out the details of the rights issue including time, size, price and professional parties. However, with the one-forthree pre-allotment ratio already decided, the company may issue about 72.5 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. At current market consideration and given that it is a rights issue, which is usually discounted from the market price, it may be able to raise some N500 million. Berger Paints currently has outstanding shares of 217.37 million ordinary shares. It closed yesterday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at N8.25 per share. According to the board, about 30 per cent of the rights issue will be underwritten, which further provides assurance in addition to

-SEC to inaugurate new adjudicatory panel By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

commitments from shareholders. Shareholders also approved a dividend of 70 kobo per share. In his address to the shareholders, chairman, Berger Paints Plc, Mr. Clement Olowokande, said the net proceeds from the rights issue would be used to finance massive investments in the modernisation of the company’s factory. According to him, in order to maximise the full benefits of the anticipated improvement in the company’s product offering, it would also need to commit substantial investment towards a major improvement in its present distributing channels in order to serve customers better. “We have also concluded plans to embark on a major modernisation of our ageing manufacturing infrastructure in order to secure efficient gains that will positively impact our turnover and profitability. The total funding requirement for this Capital Development Plan has been estimated at N850 million,” Olowokande said. He said the company has entered into partnership agreement with KCC Corporation of South Korea in a bid to enhance its product offering in the Nigerian paint and coating market in the next few months.

KCC Corporation is one of the largest paints and chemical manufacturing companies in the world. In spite of the difficult operating environment that pervaded the 2012 fiscal year, audited report and accounts of Berger Paints for the year ended December 31 2012 showed a profit after tax of N179.9 million on a turnover of N2.5 billion as against N227.8 million recorded on a turnover of N2.6 billion in 2011. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will today in Lagos inaugurate its reconstituted Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC). SEC stated that the reconstituted APC was in line with the pledge made to the market by the new chairman of SEC, Dr. Suleyman Ndanusa, to elevate the culture of integrity in the market through a strict regime of rule enforcement. The new APC included Director General of SEC, Arunma Oteh as chairperson, two executive commissioners and two n o n - e x e c u t i v e commissioners of SEC and three other members that were drawn strategically from the judiciary, academia and the global market place. The other non-SEC members are Hon. Justice Ibrahim Umar (rtd.), a former Chief Judge of Kebbi State, Prof. Esosa Bob – Osaze, a Professor of Finance and capital markets, who is the current Dean of Post – Graduate Studies at the University of Benin and Dr. Ike Michaels Odenigwe, a global capital market expert.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 15-05-13


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

55

MONEY LINK

Return on Equity: GTBank is industry’s leader, says RenCap G

UARANTY Trust Bank led Zenith Bank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Limited on delivering returns to investors in 2012, a report released yesterday by Renaissance Capital (RenCap), has revealed. GTBank outperformed its peers delivering Return on Equity (RoE) of 34 per cent against Zenith’s 24 per cent and FirstBank’s 18 per cent. In an e-mailed report obtained by The Nation, the investment and research firm, said that GTBank created N41 billion of value in 2012 against Zenith’s N25 billion and FirstBank’s N1.4 billion. The report also showed that that although all the three lenders showed improvement in operational performance from previous year’s levels, the underlying earnings drivers varied, significantly, with GTBank having the most favourable mix. RenCap said GTBank’s superior

N

Stories by Collins Nweze

returns were driven by better gross yields, a lower-than-peers impairment charge and a lower cost base. “We calculate that all three banks created value in 2012, although FirstBank only marginally so. We analysed last year’s result to estimate the absolute naira value creation by each bank. We measure value created as the excess return over the Cost on Equity as a percentage of the average equity for the bank. GTBank produced the highest excess return – at 16 per cent against Zenith at six per cent and FirstBank at a marginal 0.3 per cent,” it said. RenCap noted that in some years back, the banks created no value, and in fact destroyed value. In 2009, GTBank had negative value cre-

Moody’s faults Nigeria’s reform progress

IGERIA’S slow implementa tion of structural economic reforms is limiting its chances of a credit-rating upgrade, Moody’s Investors Service told Bloomberg. It said while economic growth is “resilient,” any chance of an update from its Ba3 rating, three levels below investment grade, is hindered by corruption, weak institutions and its vulnerability to oil price drops, Edward Al-Hussainy and Dietmar Hornung, credit analysts at Moody’s said. Nigeria’s economy expanded an estimated 6.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year, compared with

6.9 per cent in the previous three months, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed. Oil contributes as much as 70 per cent of the government’s fiscal revenue, leaving it sensitive to a downturn in global prices, Moody’s said. “Momentum for addressing challenging structural reforms has slowed. Most critically, legislation to revise the fiscal regime in the petroleum industry and to deregulate the downstream oil and gas sector has stalled, holding up significant foreign investment while the sector’s productivity declines,” Al-Hussainy and Hornung said.

by First and Zenith in some years have more than offset the gains achieved in other years. That said, Zenith has fared better than First. GTB’s premium rating justified: Our analysis backs our view that GTB is a better business that has created tangible cumulative value over a period of time. For long-term investors seeking the best-in-class in terms of delivery, we believe GTB is still the best entry point into the Nigerian market. We believe its superior value creation justifies the premium rating,” it said. RenCap lowered FirstBank’s 2013 Profit After Tax (PAT) forecast to N92 billion from N97 billion on the back of lower Net Interest Margins. This implies growth of 21 per cent Year on Year. It also reduced target price marginally to N20.5 per share from previous N20.7 per share. It however raised its 2013 PAT

ation when its RoE fell to 13 per cent about five per cent below its Cost on Equity (CoE). Aside from that year, GTB generated value each year. Zenith Bank and FirstBank fared worse. For four of the nine years, the two banks delivered negative value creation. Zenith Bank delivered its worst performance in 2009 with a RoE of six per cent, hence a negative excess return of 12 per cent. The year 2009 was also FirstBank’s worst year as it delivered a negative excess return of 16 per cent but on a cumulative basis, it noted that only GTBank has delivered a positive total over the past nine years. “The negative returns delivered

H

OPES of impressive return on investment and the expecta tions of lower prices to consumers touted in the Wal-Mart and Massmart merger and acquisition transactions appear to have fizzled out 12 months after, in the face of current market realities. The R16.5 billion deal regarded as the largest merger and acquisition transaction in Africa showed that Massmart operating profit for 26 weeks up to December 2012, declined by 17.7 per cent while headline earnings also fell by 21.2 per cent, creating anxiety in the Nigeria Capital. Capital Market Analyst, Joshua Omokeinde confirmed the anxiety in the Nigerian investment community. He said: “A huge array of investors in Nigeria, mesmerised by

the Wal-Mart brand were angling to have a stake in the world renowned retail outlet directly or through Massmart and or its Nigerian affiliate, Game,” he said. He said the WalMart took the bold initiative to venture into Africa through the merger deal with Massmart. Massmart, Africa’s third largest retailer, while briefing its shareholders on the lackluster performance, said that for the first 14 weeks of year 2013, total sales were up by just 10.3 per cent and comparable sales increased by 10.3 per cent, indicating a slower sales trend in South Africa. The disappointing performance impacted negatively on the share price of Massmart, which suffered a decline by 3.3 per cent, regarded as its biggest one day loss since June 2011.

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 ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m

MANAGED FUNDS Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 14-05-13

SYMBOL IPWA ETERNA RTBRISCOE AFRIPRUD DNMEYER UAC-PROP MAYBAKER LEARNAFRCA COURTVILLE IKEJAHOTEL

O/PRICE 0.60 2.70 1.80 1.71 1.51 15.95 1.77 1.80 0.67 0.76

C/PRICE 0.66 2.97 1.98 1.88 1.66 17.49 1.94 1.97 0.73 0.82

CHANGE 0.06 0.27 0.18 0.17 0.15 1.54 0.17 0.17 0.06 0.06

O/PRICE

DEAPCAP BOCGAS LIVESTOCK SKYBANK UBN IHS GUINNESS WEMABANK ACCESS NAHCO

1.48 9.35 2.90 5.45 9.80 1.87 280.00 1.27 10.88 6.60

C/PRICE 1.34 8.50 2.70 5.19 9.42 1.80 270.22 1.24 10.65 6.48

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

Current Before

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

Feb. ’11

July ’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% 11.8%

July ’12

CHANGE NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

NSE CAP Index

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

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12

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

DISCOUNT WINDOW

0.14 0.85 0.20 0.26 0.38 0.07 9.78 0.03 0.23 0.12

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer

LOSERS AS AT 14-05-13

SYMBOL

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

Market analysts have attributed the poor performance to disconnect between Wal-Mart’s promises and what it has delivered. Wal-Mart, the Arkansas-based retailer on its entry into the South African market had promised to introduce low prices as some kind of relief for squeezed consumers. However, faced by grim market reality, the world renowned retailer was quoted as saying “if current sales trends continue”, it would be difficult to meet the objectives of growing trading profit. South Africa based First Avenue Asset Management portfolio manager, Mathew Warren gave a hint that some background changes were being made, which are yet to translate to improved sales.

DATA BANK

Tenor

NIDF NESF

forecast marginally to N97 billion from N96 billion, implying growth of 12 per cent year on year. Also, target price was increased slightly to N29.1 per share from previous N28.7 per share. For Zenith, it lowered the 2013 PAT forecast to N97 billion from N100 billion on the back of higher cost growth.

Anxiety over Wal-Mart, Massmart merger

FGN BONDS

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

•GTBank CEO, Segun Agbaje

Offer Price

Bid Price

ARM AGGRESSIVE GROWTH 9.17 9.08 KAKAWA GUARANTEED 1.00 1.00 STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE 141.23 140.73 AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 150.53 149.64 LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL 0.80 0.78 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.15 1.15 BGL NUBIAN FUND 1.08 1.07 FBN MONEY MARKET FUND 100.00 100.00 FBN FIXED INCOME FUND 1,000.00 1,000.00 NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. 1,819.09 1,811.97 PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND 14.91 14.18 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 1.33 CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST 1.87 1.80 STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY 11,479.78 11,138.42 • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUNDARM AGGRESSIVE

Movement

OPEN BUY BACK

Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833

Movement


56

CITYBEATS Monarch gets Staff of Office

EKITI State Government has presented Staff of Office to the Onipere of Ipere-Ekiti, Oba James Olufemi Omiyale, the Ajagungbade I. Presenting the Staff of Office, the Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu charged the new monarch to be accommodating and maintain peace in his domain. Adelabu explained that the selection was done in accordance with the statutory laws guiding the selection of traditional rulers in the state. She urged the Ipere people to cooperate with the monarch to make his reign successful. In his remarks, the Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Remi Ajayi, enjoined other contestants to the stool to support the new monarch. He also congratulated Oba Omiyale, urging him to ensure that peace reigns in his domain.

• Prof. Adelabu

Ade-Ojo, Igbinedion, others for launch FOREMOST industrialist, Chief (Dr.) Michael Ade-Ojo and the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, are expected as chief launcher and special chief launcher respectively at the launch of "Adventures in Courage: An autobiography of the late Pa John Ayanfe Ajayi holding on Saturday. The launch/public presentation of the book is billed for the MultiPurpose Hall, Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, by 10.00 am. The distinguished Professor of Law, University of Lagos, Prof Taiwo Oshipitan (SAN) will chair the event, while the Director-General, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Otunba Femi Ajayi, will review the book. In a release by the Ajayi family, Chief Reuben Fasoranti will be special guest of honour while Oba Adebamigbe Oluwagbemigun, the Olujare of Ijare, is the royal father of the day. Co-launchers expected at the event include: Mr. Olutoye Ariye, Mr. John Obayuwana, while the Alara of Ilara-Mokin, Oba Abiodun Adefehinti is Chief Host. The late Ajayi died in 2003 at the age of 73. Among his children is the astute banker and former Managing Director, Equity Bank Plc, Mr. Akin Ajayi.

Imams’ award ceremony THE League of Chief Imams and Ulamau, Kosofe Local Government area, Lagos State chapter will on Saturday, hold its turbaning and awards presentation ceremony. The event is scheduled to hold at the Agape Event Centre, 24/26 Diya Street, Gbagada at 10.00 am. Among guests expected to grace the occasion, according to Hon Sikuralah Orinowo, include: Governor Babarunde Raji Fashola (SAN) and Speaker, Lagos State House of

Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013 CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Five held for 'stealing' N120m gold •'We operated with prayers and charms'

T

HEY stole N120million worth of gold from some shops five months ago. Since then, they have been living big. But the end came for five of the nine-member gang last Saturday, when their prayers and charms failed them. They fell into police net. The suspects, Ali Mohammed (24), Adekunle Moruf (37), Victor Ifeanyi Ugwueze (30), Linus Onyeoha (55) and Friday Ochim (39), were arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Command Headquarters, Ikeja, between January and last Saturday. The police are searching for buyers of the stolen gold and the remaining four suspects. One of the suspects, Mohammed told The Nation: "I am not a Nigerian. I am from Size Village, Yameh (capital of Niger Republic). I did not need to see the Immigration officers for checks before I entered or crossed over to Nigeria. I came to Nigeria in 2004. I did not come with any document because there was no need for it. I came in through Kebbi State by road. I have one of my brothers working in Obalende, Lagos as a goldsmith and I joined him when I arrived. They were feeding me and taking care of me till I settled down. Later, they told me that they would find a handiwork for me. First, they took me to a place to learn tailoring which I did for three months. But because I found it difficult to feed, I joined my other relatives who were load carriers in Balogun market to survive. I later traveled back to my country. "When I returned to in 2005 I started learning goldsmith work. I used to melt original gold and silver and used it to make ring, necklace, hand bangle, ear rings. Sometimes I get like N3, 000 a day. I was doing well in goldsmith work until I met one Idrisa a fellow Niger Republic citizen at Yaba market. He was in Niger Republic when the market got burnt and he lost his shop and all he had in it. After some weeks he opened his own shop in the same Yaba market. In January, he told me that he knew where his former employer kept gold and money; that we should go and steal them".

Jude Isiguzo and Ebele Boniface

Mohammed said he recruited his cohorts and with the help of a gas cylinder and other house-breaking implements, they broke into the shop and carted away the gold and money. He said five safes were inside the shop, adding, "We carried only the small one because others were too heavy for us to carry. We carried it from Yaba plaza to Tejuosho market, at the back of the First Bank. "We used hammer to open it and when we did, we saw gold chains, rings, hand chains and raw gold. We put them inside a polythene bag and later shared them. The eightieth person is Idrisa's friend, a native doctor, who did charms for us before we went for the operation. We did not go there with any gun. He further said: "We operated with prayers and charms. We have a pastor who prayed for us and a native doctor who gave us bullet-proof charms. I sold my own share for N750, 000. We melted the stolen gold so that the owner would not recognise it again. Idrisa and I sold it to get money for transport to Niger Republic. As we used to do, we were about traveling when information got to the police and we were arrested." Moruf, who used the gas cylinder to break into the shop, said: "I told Fatai that I was looking for a house to rent. Fatai is a native doctor. After several incantations, he told me that I would succeed in the robbery operation, but that I should be careful because the sign he saw was not good. The native doctor warned that we must come back and pay homage. I kept his share because he was not around when we were shared the money. I sold Babalawo's own N800, 000. I sold my own N1.3milion. We

• The suspects ... yesterday

‘We went into a warehouse and carried everything. When the security men there saw us, we identified ourselves as operatives from Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to check substandard goods. We carried 180 pieces of generators’ sold all the gold in Ghana. When I came back to the country in January, I went to the native doctor and gave him my own share of the money. I went to Stephen's house in Yaba but I did not know he had been arrested until I got to SARS, where he had asked me to come and collect some money that the police recovered for us." The third suspect, Ifeanyi, said: "I joined them to get money to travel to the East last December. I met Tochukwu and asked him for help. He agreed and told me there was a job. I followed them. I was given seven million Sefa. Friday took me to Cotonou to sell the gold. I got N750, 000, returned to Nigeria and travelled to the East. When I came back to Lagos

on February 2, I called Tochukwu, but his mobile phone did not ring until a friend, Chijioke called me and said the person owing me had given him part of the money. He said I should come for it. When I came to collect it I was arrested. I gave my own money to my friend in China to import goods for me. This would have been my last operation but I was arrested". Onuoha said: "We have not built a church. We are still holding services in an uncompleted building; my General Overseer is one Pastor Mike. I was a trader before I became an Assistant Pastor. It was Tochukwu, our gang leader, who connected Moruf for the job and it was my friend, Kaka, who invited me. On whether he had participated in any other "job," he replied: "Yes, that one was

Pastor 'rapes' General Overseer's daughter •As 12-year-old girl is defiled From Osagie Otabor, Benin

A

N Assistant Pastor of a Benin-based Pentecostal church, identified as Fidelis Ejoke, has been remanded in prison custody for allegedly abducting and defiling a 13-year-old daughter of the General Overseer of his church. Fidelis, who pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge of abduction and indecent assault, was arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, yesterday. The offence, according to the charge, contravenes Sections 360 and 362 of the Criminal Code. The victim told the court that Fidelis started sleeping with her in November, last year and also took her to Obiaruku in Delta State. She said Fidelis asked her to bring money from her mother's safe which was later confirmed to be N145,000. Magistrate Peter Edo-Asemota remanded the accused in prison custody and adjourned the case till June 23.

• Officials of the Rotary Club District 9110 with Chief Akorede Bisade-Philips, Onipeju of Ilupeju, (middle) and Alhaji Alarape Alimi, Chairman,Majolate LCDA (1st from right ) at the Rotary Family Heath Days testing centre at the Indian Cultural Centre, Palmgrove Estate, Lagos, recently.

‘He grabbed me from the back and closed my mouth. He hit me on my neck and I could not shout. He lay on top of me. I got up later and managed to run away’ Also, a 12-year-old girl who was "raped", was yesterday found along the Ekpenede Street in Benin, writhing in pains as blood was flowing from her private part. She struggled to speak where she was laid and could not stand to walk. Residents in the street said they woke up to see her lying on the ground. The victim who claimed to have lost her parents said she was raped inside a primary school by a man who promised to assist her with a job.

She claimed to be staying in a church and was looking for a place to work as a house help. She said: "I went out with my cousin and we saw a man. We told him we were looking for a place to sleep and he told us to go to the police station, but we ran away. "Another man told us her sister would help us. He took us to his house and after, he took us to one school and I said I wanted to sleep. He grabbed me from the back and closed my

mouth. He hit me on my neck and I could not shout. He lay on top of me. I got up later and managed to run away." She was taken to the Benin Central Hospital by the Association of Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Child Protection Network. A member of the group, Lucy Bello, said the act was committed at Ogbe Primary School and that the victim was severely injured in her private organ. She said doctors had stitched the wound. Grandmother of the victim, who gave her name as Rose, said she left home on Sunday when they returned from church, adding that her father was dead, while her mother is in the village. She said she had searched for the victim and concluded that she might have gone to see her mother. She urged the police to apprehend the rapists. The matter was reported at the Juvenile Section of the Esigie Police Station.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

57

CITYBEATS

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Fire guts Ipaja power transmission station By Seun Akioye

A

generator looting. We went into a warehouse and carried everything. When the security men there saw us, we identified ourselves as operatives from Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to check substandard goods. We carried 180 pieces of generators. I sold my own N1.4milion in Ikotun and Okota areas of Lagos. I later rented a three-bedroom flat and lived there with my son. I used N870,000 to revamp my company. I went home with N120,000 and when I came back from village, I noticed that everyone hard disappeared. On February 17, SARS operatives came to my house and arrested me." Ochim, who hails from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, said he got N800,000 from the sale of his share in Cotonou. He added: "I sell men's wears at Ladipo market. It was Tochukwu that lured me into this gang. I knew him through his brother. He asked me to follow him to rob and I did. My sick mother has heart problem in the village and I did not have money to take her to hospital. When I sought Tochukwu's assistance, he obliged. The day he asked me to come and collect the money, he told me that the best way to get money to help my mother was to go and rob; otherwise, my mother might die." Lagos Police Spokesperson, Ngozi Braide, confirmed their arrest yesterday, adding that efforts were ongoing to get other members of the gang, including Tochukwu, to face the law.

N early morning fire yesterday razed a power transmission station based in Ipaja, a Lagos suburb, causing fears of likely blackout in Ikeja and its environs. Eyewitnesses said the cause of the fire which began around 11: am was unknown. The fire consumed a massive transmission station belonging to Transisco Power Company. "We don't know the cause of the fire but it started shortly before the rains began. The fire was so massive that even the fire services were unable to bring it under control," an eyewitness said. It was also gathered that efforts of the Lagos State Fire Service (LSFC) at bringing the fire under control failed and the team withdrew after 30 minutes. The heavy rain yesterday could not also stop the inferno which eventually ended around 3: pm. The eyewitness added: "I think there may be oil or some fuel in

•The transmission station ... during the fire yesterday

the transformer, because it continued to burn despite the efforts of the fire service men and it didn't stop also in the rain until whatever was burning inside had been exhausted." Meanwhile, a source at the Pow-

T

•Aregbesola

O

SUN State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola will today unveil the Hassan Olajoku Park, a rest station, at the Gbongan Junction along the Ibadan-Ife Ex-

pressway. In a statement, the coordinator of the project, also the Special Adviser to Osun Governor on Environment and Sanitation, Hon. Bola Ilori said: "This is not the usual commissioning, but a celebration to honour our heroes and signpost the ethos of a new era of peace and development, devoid of violence and political mischief." "The very place where this park stands today is the spot where, eight years ago, the blood of an innocent man was brutally shed by those who, in the name of politics, thought they could stop the wind of revolution, change and progress, which the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola represents, from blowing," Ilori said.

By Emmanuel Oladesu

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. The Lagos State Election Petitions Appeal Tribunal, last week, affirmed Jimoh's election as Chairman of Yaba LCDA on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The tribunal upturned the judgment of the state election tribunal which ordered that a fresh chairmanship election be held in the council area. In a unanimous decision, the fiveman panel headed by Justice Opeyemi Oke held that all the proceedings that led to the judgment of the lower tribunal were conducted

without jurisdiction. The Appeal Tribunal, in its lead judgment delivered by Justice Mojisola Dada, held that the lower tribunal lacked jurisdiction to conduct proceedings without any application for extension of time and without any order made extending the proceedings of the tribunal beyond 30 days as provided by Section 14 and 54 of the Tribunal Law. Among others, the tribunal further held that the lower tribunal erred in law when it held in it judgment delivered on November 22, 2012 that Section 14 of the State Election Tribunal Law is unconstitutional on the ground that it offends Section 36 of the Constitution.

NURTW bans alcohol sale at parks

T

HE National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has constituted a committee that will enforce the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages at motor parks, its Lagos State chairman, Mr. Tajudeen Agbede, said yesterday. Addressing members at the inauguration, Agbede said: "We have had series of campaigns to discourage the sales and drinking of liquor and other intoxicants at parks." He stated that violators of the law would be penalised and urged people to comply in order to save lives, adding: "It is an offence in Lagos State to drink alcohol and drive as our union is doing

briefing on the extent of damage and how much it will affect power distribution in Ikeja and environs. But take this from me, it will definitely affect power distribution, but we just don't know the extent," the source said.

Aregbesola unveils Olajoku Park

Council chief hails judgment HE Chairman, Yaba Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon. Olajide Jimoh, has expressed joy over the verdict of the appeal tribunal that affirmed his election. Addressing reporters at the council secretariat, he said: "With the latest justice delivered based on principles, we have come to the end of this case which was initiated by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), asking for nullification of the chairmanship election held on October 22, 2011. PDP was merely banking on some technicalities which they failed to establish. We commend the Lord Justices for doing a painstaking job." He praised those who stood by him, especially Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and

er Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Ikeja District, said the fire might likely disrupt allocation of power in Ikeja and environs. "The fire happened at a transmission station; we at the distribution end of it are waiting for proper

By Musa Odoshimokhe

everything to discourage it. I appeal to members of the travelling public to cooperate with our men." Agbede maintained that the body was doing everything possible to make the parks convenient for travellers, stating: "We are using this opportunity to inform the public that all our motor parks in Lagos are now equipped with toilets." Expressing government commitment to sanitising the parks, he noted that the union would distribute waste baskets which must be placed at vantage positions.

"All commercial vehicles in Lagos State are now to fix waste baskets. Passengers are advised to make use of them. We should stop the habit of throwing wastes from the moving vehicles," he said. He said it was now compulsory for drivers in the state to attend Drivers' Institute "to train and re-train drivers on the latest driving techniques to reduce road accidents." He further introduced security devices which would be made available to members of the task force to frisk luggage and passengers before boarding vehicles. This, he remarked, would improve security at parks.

By Augustine Avwode

He described the late Olajoku as "a pillar in the original Oranmiyan group, a prominent and proud son of Ilobu land." It was in the course of efforts to get Aregbesola elected that he met his brutal death by unknown gunmen on May 15, 2005, at the Gbongan Junction at the age of 58 years. The statement added: "The celebration of peace will begin at 8am with a march from Government House Annex, Osogbo, to Ilobu Palace with members of the Olajoku family lead-

ing. It will be followed by a peace march from Morakinyo Junction, Gbongan, through Gbongan Town to Olajoku Park. It will be led by Ogbeni Aregbesola, Chief Bisi Akande, Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; his Ekiti counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; traditional rulers and other dignitaries. There will be the unveiling upon arrival, and a tour of the facilities, at the park. Guest will later be entertained by musicians including Wande Coal, Terry-G, Wasiu Alabi (Pasuma), Kamaru Ayeloyun and Lanre Teriba (Atorise).

NARTO seeks traffic sanity

T

HE Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), yesterday sought urgent re-orientation for all agencies concerned with ensuring sanity on roads in Lagos State. Its Executive Secretary, Emmanuel Gowon, a lawyer, in a chat with reporters yesterday, decried the current situation whereby traffic-enforcement personnel in the state embrace punitive measures rather that corrective approaches. "Men of the Lagos State Traffic Monitoring Agency (LASTMA), in particular, need to be re-orientated with a view to changing their disposition to traffic offenders in the state. They should be there to correct misdeeds and not to be overly concerned with making money through ridiculous extortions from the motoring public. "We have seen situations where LASTMA officials hid somewhere and suddenly emerged; swooped on unsuspecting motorists, impounded their vehicles, drove them to their yards and eventually made the vehicles' owners part with strange towing costs, which did not even occur because they personally drove such vehicles. Today, we daily watch LASTMA men wrestle the steering wheels with drivers, all for money. All these among suchlike attitudes should not happen," Gowon explained. He was profuse in commendation for officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), especially in the state for their "exemplary professional and polite approach" to ensuring safety

•Gowon By Tunde Awe

on the roads. The NARTO chief expressed deep concern over the unabating plight of truck drivers in the state owing to lack of enough parking space, saying: "It is time we join other stakeholders to hold a meeting with the state government to solve these problems once and for all. The parking lot at Orile which has even been reduced by road expansion is not enough to contain even 10 per cent of the trucks moving in and out of the city daily." Gowon added: "Like the government, we in NARTO are worried over the traffic gridlock often caused by tankers in some areas, including Ogere on the LagosIbadan Expressway. We have written to the Ogun State governor and we have been trying to meet with serviceable Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, who, we are convinced, is genuinely committed to creating a saner environment. If we can meet to cross-fertilise ideas, all these problems will give way in the interest of all."


58

THE NATION WEDNESDAY MAY 15, 2013

NEWS $250m fertiliser plant in Edo

U

NITED States Consul-General Jeffry Hawkins has said the United States Government will establish a $250 million fertiliser plant in Edo State. Hawkins, who described Governor Adams Oshiomhole as one of the most effective governors, spoke when he visited the state yesterday. The Consul-General said the plant is being planned by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United State Government. He said: “We are here because we are proud that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the US government is involved with the Green Petrochemical Company, which is making a $250 million investment. “We are happy that this important plant will have the support of the United States Government. It will create about 1,500 jobs. “We are happy that people think highly of you and your reelection is what we Americans call a landslide. You are someone many people point to when answering the question who is the most effective governor in Nigeria, often the answer is Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.”

10, 000 buildings to be demolished in Akwa Ibom

W

ORRIED by the increasing rate of building collapse in the country, the Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) yesterday said it would soon demolish over 10,000 buildings within Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. The demolition, according to UCCDA’s Chairman, Ignatius Edet, is part of the moves to sanitise Uyo. Edet spoke with reporters during the demolition of a one-storey building at 97, Oron road. He said: “We don’t want to see any building that will collapse and kill people. The building is not fit for people to live in.” The chairman explained that occupants of the dilapidated building have been given one week to leave. His words: “Yesterday was the expiration date for all illegal structures that have defaced UCCDA. We gave

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

one week ultimatum for residents to remove such. “The essence is to sanitise Uyo and make it clean because of the uncommon transformation agenda of Governor Godswill Akpabio. Uyo capital city has become a destination for both residents and outsiders. So we must make it clean. “There are so many more buildings to be demolished in Uyo. It is over 10,000. Like in the University of Uyo, we have over 2,900 buildings that have encroached into the university main campus.” When the UCCDA team arrived at 97 Oron Road for the demolition, occupants were seen evacuating their property. Some of them blamed their continued stay in the structure on poverty.

Odi: Court dismisses motion HE Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has dismissed a motion seeking a stay of execution of the judgment ordering the Federal Government to compensate the people of Odi for theNovember 20, 1999 invasion of the community in Bayelsa State. The Federal Government was ordered to pay N37.6 billion compensation to the people in the N100 billion suit filed. Justices Ejembi Eko, Iheme Nwosu and J. T. A Adda yesterday unanimously dismissed the motion for being

T

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

incompetent. The lead counsel to Odi people, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said his clients were willing to accept an out-ofcourt settlement. The people of Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government sued the Federal Government over the military invasion, which led to the death of many people. The Odi invasion took place during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

•The building after it was demolished ...yesterday. PHOTO: KAZEEM IBRAHYM

Edo sacks casual workers From Osagie Otabor, Benin

O

VER 100 casual workers in the Edo State owned media outfits, the Nigerian Observer and the State Broadcasting Service, have been laid off.

Also affected were contract staff in the media organisations. Many of the affected workers have been working in the service for over eight years. Casual workers of the Nigerian Observer were informed of the sackat a meeting they held with the management yesterday. They were reportedly told to continue working as free lancers.

Oduah denies knowledge of Rivers’ aircraft M EMBERS of the House of Representatives joint committee investigating the grounding of Rivers State Government’s plane were surprised yesterday when the Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, declared that aviation regulatory authorities have no knowledge of the existence of the aircraft. But the government accused aviation regulatory authorities of intimidating a party in the matter, Caverton Helicopters, by threats of revocation of its licence, if it failed to deny knowledge of some transactions concerning the aircraft. In addition, the lawmakers also expressed reservation on the inability of the ministry and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to convince the committee on accusation of document falsification levied against the government. Committees on Justice and Aviation were mandated to investigate the matter. Joint committee chairman Ali Ahmad said this was aimed at discovering if any of the sector’s rules and regulations have been breached as well as identifying gaps in the laws that require further scrutiny and amendment to meet current realities. Ahmad requested to know whether or not NCAA notified the government of any notice of violation before grounding the aircraft. Nasir Ahmed (CPC, Kano) wondered how aviation dues and levies were received by the regulatory bodies in the name of the

•Govt alleges intimidation

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

Rivers State Government that they claimed not to be aware of. Furthermore, the committee questioned the effectiveness of the regulatory bodies, if aircraft with no identities could fly in and out of the country without notice. Ahmad, who is also the Chairman of Justice Committee, said: “Why did it take so long for the NCAA to detect a foreign aircraft carrying Nigerian coat of arms? “What does that say about our regulators, how do we know how many aircraft are operating in this country with falsified documents?” The committee agreed with Jerry Manwe (PDP, Taraba) who requested the ministry to compile and submit the list of all private aircraft in the country. In her presentation, the minister said the aircraft was delayed in Akure due to insufficient and improper documentation. She said the pilot failed to file proper passenger manifest declaring full identity of all passengers, as well as mandatory flight clearance. Ms Oduah said the aircraft was permitted to start up after complying with the standard requirements but later grounded in Port Harcourt after discovery of the infractions. She, however, said several parts of the extant civil avia-

tion regulations were violated by the aircraft, which include using the name of Caverton Helicopters for several flight clearance. “Failure to make available pilot record and check aircraft logs, flight manifest, weather, operating without airworthiness or legal certificate as well as aircraft not having any evidence whatsoever of Rivers State Government ownership or registration of the aircraft. “Institution of criminal procedure is not foreclosed because some infractions in the provisions in civil aviation laws tilt towards such decision,” she said. The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, George Feyii, who led other state officials, denied allegations of infractions. Feyii said the aircraft belonged to the government. He regretted that the ministry seemed to have misunderstood ownership with trustee. According to him, the aircraft was registered in the United States through Bank of Utah and in trust agreement. Contrary to the minister’s earlier submission that the ministry was not aware of the importation of the aircraft, Feyii said due application was sent to the ministry. “Even before the registration of the aircraft in US, Rivers State Government duly applied to the Minister of Aviation to import, operate, for private use, the Bombar-

dier aircraft. “Caverton Helicopters made this application on its behalf and the same was received by the Ministry of Aviation on September 4, last year,” he added. The SSG said: “The Rivers State Government did not receive any notice of information, formal or informal, as to any breach or noncompliance with regulatory or administrative issues concerning the aircraft .”. Ade Adeogun, who works in the Governor’s Office, said they were aware of the threat to Caverton Helicopters because the news of grounding the aircraft was known before they got to Akure. According to him, Caverton Helicopters was threatened to deny knowledge of certain transactions concerning the aircraft well before the grounding. The pilot, Capt Tosin Odulaja, also faulted allegation of non-submission of passenger manifest and flight clearance, saying that should not be an issue because he filed same in Abuja and Owerri before coming to Akure where he did same. Representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) implored the joint committee to ascertain the influence of politics in the saga. Joint Chairman Ms Nkiruka Onyejeocha, who is also the Chairman, Committee on Aviation, said the committee has no readymade agenda prior to the investigation, which was why the hearing was held in the open. According to her, the essence of the investigation was to strengthen the sector and make it secure for the benefit of all.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

59

NEWS MASSOB begins sensitisation From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

T

•Rivers State Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru addressing protesting women in Port Harcourt... yesterday

Achebe’s local govt cleans up for his funeral From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

NINE days to the funeral of the literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe, the Idemili North Local Government has started cleaning, repairing and painting of roads and streets leading to Achebe’s compound in Ogidi. Transition Committee Chairman Raphael Nnabuife spoke to reporters in his office at the council secretariat, Ogidi yesterday. Nnabuife mentioned such roads as Building materials market to Ugwu Nwasike Roundabout, council secretariat to Ugwu Nwasike, Abatete to Ugwu Nwasike road. He added that both the rehabilitation and clean-up are going on simultaneously. The chairman said the council is considering rebuilding and repainting Achebe’s compound. The council boss, however, said they are waiting for the central burial committee to come up with its own arrangements. Nnabuife pledged adequate security during the funeral but urged the federal and state governments to deploy security apparatus to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

We lost 56 men in Nasarawa, say police, SSS

S

ECURITY operatives yesterday announced what they suffered in the ill-fated raid on the hideout of Ombatse cult group in Nasarawa State. The police lost 46 men while the State Security Service (SSS) lost all the 10 men deployed in the joint operation that went awry last Thusday. The details were given in a statement jointly signed by defence and security information managers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, SSS and the police. Their clarification came even as they gave those calling for the arrest and investigation of ex-Niger Delta militant, Mujaheed Asari-Dokubo and Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kinsley Kuku, a disappointing response. The information managers said the duo and several others issuing sectional threats over the 2015 presidency were merely exercising their freedom of speech. They said such rights enjoy constitutional backing and that clamping down on them would amount to gagging them and infringing on their human rights, saying that such a development might pit the government against the media and the human rights

PUBLIC NOTICE THE CHRISTIAN WAY OF LIFE CHURCH, NIGERIA. This is to inform the general public that the above-named religious organization has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission for registration in accordance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap C20 LFN 2004. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Bishop Doye Agama (Primate/Chairman) 2. Pastor Maurice Elias (Senior Resident Pastor/General Secretary) 3. Pastor Benjamin Nsikak (Treasurer) 4. Pastor Moggaji Ajibola (Trustee) THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES ARE: a). Spreading the Christian Religion and doing charitable work. b). That all may know God and his Christ Jesus. c). That all might have life. d). To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in all parts of the world, for the total salvation of all souls through Jesus Christ our Lord alone. e). To promote the popularity of Holiness as the Christian Way of Life. f). To evangelize and promote the knowledge of God and adherence to the teachings and examples of Jesus Christ. g). To promote Christian education, bible-based values and morals. h). To assist in the care and welfare of the poor, aged and needy. Any objection thereto should be addressed to the Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420, Tigris Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja, within 28 days of this publication. SECRETARY Pastor Maurice Elias

•’Why Kuku, Asari-Dokubo, others can’t be arrested’ From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

community. The Director of Navy Information, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu said: “We are in democracy and so, it is not easy to gag members of the public. If we do so, the media and the human rights community will complain about infringing on the fundamental rights of the citizenry.” Dokubo and Kuku were reported to have stated penultimate week that the Niger Delta region would take up arms if President Goodluck Jonathan failed to get re-election in 2015. He went further to challenge the nation’s security agencies to arrest him if they could, threatening national economic havoc in the oil producing areas. The Defence and Security Information Managers is made up of the Director of Defence Information, spokespersons of the Army, Air Force, Navy, State Security Service (SSS) and the police. The Duputy Force spokesman, Mr. Frank Mba, who represented the police, said out of the 47 police officers sent to Nasarawa State in the operation to dislodge members of an ethnic militia cult, 46 of them were killed. SSS spokesperson, Ms. Marilyn Ogar said all the 10 officers of the Service who went on the mission were also killed by the ethnic militia group. Mba added that 32 bodies

had been released for burial; while Ogar said the SSS had only recovered bodies of four of its 10 officers killed. Mba and Ms Ogar attributed the high security casualties to what they described as the decision of the police and the SSS to exercise restraint by applying minimum force during the operation. According to them, it was a low profile civil operation that should be deployed while dealing with unarmed members of the public, stressing that it was not a security onslaught as being seen by a section of the public. The spokespersons dismissed reports that 10 local government areas in Borno State had been taken over by Boko Haram insurgents, insisting that the state has not lost any of its council areas to the sect members. Defence spokesman, Brigadier Chris Olukolade, who chaired the briefing, said troops were deployed in flash points across the nation, including oil installation facilities. He added that security surveillance was also ongoing, covering the land, air space and water ways. The statement jointly signed by the information managers said: “Accordingly, the operational designs for restoring peace, law and order have involved the deployment of the assets of Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police, Department of State Security and other security agencies in

the country. “Internal security operations in the form of vigilance and patrols on land, sea, and air are being conducted regularly in order to deny militants and criminal gangs any freedom of action as they desire. “Troops and operatives have been physically deployed in various flash points all over the country and on critical oil and gas facilities to protect them from attack. Cordon and search operations are also regularly undertaken to check the capacity of the gangs and checkmate their activities. “Jointly, the Services have been conducting anti-kidnapping operations cordon and search, destruction of militant camps, security for oil and gas facilities, anti illegal oil bunkering patrols as well as anti banditry, anti piracy operations and arrest of terrorists of all shad among others.” They, however, admitted the frightening dimension in the nation’s security challenges, saying it is a clear threat to safety and national security. They pleaded for cooperation from members of the public in terms of providing useful security information that could aid the operations of their men in the fight against terrorism and other criminal acts. Present at the briefing were spokespersons for Defence (Olukolade); Navy (Aliyu); Air Force (Yusuf Anas); Police (Mba); and SSS (Ms Ogar).

2,000 join APC in Anambra

F

OLLOWING the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) into the All Progressives Congress (APC), more than 2,000 people have joined the party in Anambra State. ACN Chairman Amechi Obidike yesterday said more people are still expected. It was gathered that those who joined the party were from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). An APGA chieftain, who pleaded for anonymity, said he joined the mega party because his future was no longer guaranteed in APGA. “Nobody knows where the party is headed, even with the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Appeal Court that Victor Umeh is the recognised national chairman.

HOUSANDS of people believed to be members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) yesterday marched on the Onitsha Main Market in Anambra State. According to them, they were on a sensitisation tour of their planned sit- at-home order on June 8. Led by the Onitsha Region 4 Administrator, Arinze Igbani, members went to five local governments to create an awareness on the need to observe the June 8 sit-at –home order. They converged on Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area, from where they moved to Awada, Idemili North, Onitsha North and Onitsha South and finally ended the march at Ogbaru, Ogbaru Local Government. Addressing reporters at the General Post Office, Igbani said the need to create awareness become necessary in view of the “I don’t care” attitude of people. He warned that whoever flouts the order would be seen as a prodigal son. The MASSOB chieftain urged those getting married on the date to postpone it. “We are here today to spread the news that on June 8 all should be at home in memory of the six Igbo traders killed by the police at Apo village in Abuja.”

Obi gives N10m to police From Nwanosike Onu, Awka and Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

A

NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi yesterday handed over a cheque of N10 million for the construction of fence in police formations. He promised to look into their other demands for the police to continue to serve the people better. Obi said the government will soon provide patrol vehicles in all the towns. He said the government would continue to support all the recognised security agencies in the state. The governor spoke yesterday when he visited some security formations –the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Awkuzu in Oyi Local Government Area and the State Police Command at Amawbia.

Imo to confiscate equipment abandoned by contractor

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

“To be on the safe side, over 2,000 of us, including those from the PDP, decided to team up where the action is. The state Chairman of ANPP, Pat Orjiakor, said four governorship aspirants had already shown interest in APC. “My brother, it is going to be a political war in Anambra State during the forth coming governorship election and this merger will cause commotion for other parties. This is the only time to bid APGA and PDP goodbye in the state. “What we are praying for is that God guides us to make a good choice, a person who will be accepted by all and a person who has the interest of others at heart and that is why we are going to be thorough in our selection,” Orjiakor said.

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

I

MO State Governor Rochas Okorocha has said the equipment abandoned at several construction sites by J-Pros Int’l Nigeria Ltd will be confiscated as part of measures to recover the money paid to the erring contractor. The firm was paid N1.2billion by the government for the construction of the Sam Mbakwe road, which it abandoned after allegedly paying gratification of N458 million to former Deputy Governor Jude Agbaso.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

60

NEWS Robbers kill three in Kwara community

S

•Hajia Halima Hayatu, Adamawa Commissioner for Women Affairs (right) presenting a sewing machine to Madam Jummai Maina, one of the graduates of Adamawa Local Apprenticeship Scheme in Mubi, during the graduation...yesterday.

Gunmen kill 11 in Kaduna village attack

G

UNMEN on Monday night killed 11 people in Zangang village of Attakar chiefdom in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Several others were injured. This is the second time in less than two months that villages in the chiefdom, which lies on the boundary with Plateau State, have been attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Last month, gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, attacked three Attakar villages, killing 28 people and occupying the villages for several days. The injured have been taken to the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), in the Plateau State capital, for treatment. Several others were yesterday said to be missing.

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

The gunmen reportedly burnt houses, including the homes of the district head, during the attack that was said to have started on Sunday and continued till Monday. The Kaduna State Government has condemned the attacks. It said measures were being taken to ensure lasting peace in the area. The district head of Zangang, Mr Yohanna Daniel, narrowly escaped from the attackers and was initially declared missing. He said the attack started on Sunday, adding that the Monday invasion was deadlier, with more casualties. The district head alleged that the gunmen, who he identified as Fulani herdsmen, stormed the village in

large numbers, shouting “Allah Akbar (Allah is Great)“ and shooting sporadically at residents. Daniel said the attackers, who wore black dresses and red bandana, wielded AK 47 rifles, chased the residents about as if they were chickens. According to him, security agents deployed to the area were not present when the gunmen arrived and even when they came after the attack, they complained that they were hungry and left soon after. He said: “On Saturday, the Fulani herdsmen came to our premises with their cows. One of the boys in the community asked them why they were bringing their cows into our homes. They opened fire on him, but the boy was lucky as the bullet

Fulani/Agatu war: Displaced Benue residents take refuge in Kogi

H

UNDREDS of people, who were displaced in the face-off between Fulani herdsmen and Agatu indigenes of Benue State, are taking refuge in some communities in Kogi State. Kogi State Governor Idris Wada spoke on the development yesterday in Lokoja, the state capital, at a meeting with the chairmen of the 21 local governments. He said the displaced persons, including women and children, took refuge in Bagana, Abejukolo and six other communities in Omala Local Government.

According to him, the influx of people from Benue to Kogi is an indication that the government and the council chairmen must be on red alert. The governor told the council chairmen to take “full control” of the security in their local governments and report any untoward development to his office. Wada said the police and the State Security Service (SSS) had been alerted on the dangers posed by the development and had directed them to take appropriate security measures. The governor later held a

closed-door meeting with the council chairmen on security and other matters. The Chairman of Omala Local Government, Alhaji Labaran Oigebe, expressed concerns over the influx of Agatus from Benue into his local government. He urged the Federal Government to respond to the humanitarian challenge posed by the development. Oigebe, who explained that the number of refugees had been on the increase, also expressed concerns over the outbreak of diseases, such as cholera and Lassa fever.

missed him and he escaped. “On Sunday, we did not go to church because they attacked us again. Two of our boys were shot and were rushed to the JUTH. We sat down and discussed the incident. We concluded that there was need for us to find a solution to the problem, because the attackers were carrying sophisticated guns. “They entered our farms and when we talked to

Shema: I’m not interested in becoming president

•Shema

K

ATSINA State Governor Ibrahim Shema has said he is not interested in running the presidential race in 2015. The governor was reacting to reports that his presidential campaign posters had been pasted in Lagos and Abuja.

terms in the United Kingdom (UK) has significantly dropped from 900 to 540, Dr Dalhatu Tafida, the Nigerian High Commissioner to that country, has said. Tafida spoke yesterday against the backdrop of the Nigeria-UK Prisoners Transfer Agreement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in London. The high commissioner said the figure had reduced from 900 in 2008 to 540 currently, because some of the prisoners had completed their sentences and were released by the authorities.

He said both countries were working on the modalities for prisoner’s transfer following the review of the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Migration Return Partnership. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that under the agreement, prisoners do not have an option of where they want to serve their terms because the transfer is mandatory by law. When the transfer begins, 200 Nigerian prisoners in the UK would be in the first batch of those to be sent home to complete their jail terms.

Tafida also said a similar scheme, under the auspices of the Nigeria-Commonwealth Prisoners Transfer agreement, has seen the return of only one prisoner since it came into force. NAN reports that the Commonwealth scheme allows for voluntary transfer based on the prisoner’s wish. However, many prisoners prefer to serve out their terms in the UK, where the prison condition in their opinion is better. Nigerians repatriated from the UK on a monthly basis are between 40 to 50 persons.

In a statement yesterday by his Press Secretary, Alhaji Lawan Matazzu, the governor expressed shock over the development. The statement reads: “I am shocked by reports that posters indicating my interest in the 2015 presidential race have flooded Lagos and Abuja when I did not print the posters or commissioned anybody to do so. “This is obviously the handiwork of mischief makers. I have since directed the removal of the posters. “It is absolutely important

for all men and women of goodwill in Nigeria, at this point in our country, to support the Federal Government and Mr President’s efforts at addressing the current security challenges, instead of mischief creation and unnecessarily heating the polity. “I urge Nigerians to ignore the posters or any activity the mischief makers may engage in about me concerning the 2015 race because it is a needless distraction. I still have over two years to serve dividends of democracy to the good people of Katsina State.”

FCT CJ quits to become Emir

T

HE Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Lawal Hassan Gummi, yesterday quit office to become the Emir of Gummi. It was learnt that the CJ has written the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam AloomaMukhtar, on his decision to step aside. A source said: “The CJ has decided to resign from office to be the Emir of Gummi. He has

540 Nigerians in UK prisons, says High Oyo monarch THE number of NigeriCommissioner passes on ans serving various jail

T

them, they opened fire on us. We felt this would not help us; we thought there is need for us to address the issue. “Soldiers from Jos (the Joint Task Force) in Plateau and Kaduna states gave order that we should not use the dane guns we normally use for hunting again. Today, they were armed with AK 47. This is not an assumption; this is what they are using…”

USPECTED armed robbers yesterday shot dead three persons in OmuAran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, during three bank raids. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the robbers killed the people as they raided the three banks in the town and escaped with an unspecified amount of money. NAN reports that sporadic gun shots and sounds of dynamite rented the air at about 6pm in an operation that lasted over an hour in the town. The robbers reportedly invaded the banks, located on Aperan Way, using grenades and dynamites to break the doors and the vaults. The body of an unidentified worker of one of the banks and a driver were seen in the pool of their blood. Also, a member of a vigilance group in the town was reportedly shot dead by the robbers. A police patrol vehicle was set ablaze by the angry youths while the police had to respond with tear gas to disperse the protesters. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Omu-Aran, Mr Razak Adebayo confirmed the incident and the death. He told NAN that the police had started taking stock of the attack on the banks.

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

forwarded his resignation letter to CJN. “The stool is a second class type in Zamfara State, but he said he has chosen to be the Emir, having paid his dues. He was turbaned in the early hours of Tuesday.” Born on March 25, 1950, in Talatan Mafara, Gummi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, the Chief Judge was called

Police warn vehicle owner

T

T

HE Eleyinpo of Ipapo in Itesiwaju Local Government Area of Oyo State, Oba (Deacon) Samuel Olaitan Awujoola, J.P., is dead. He was 78. The monarch joined his ancestors on May 6 after spending 22 years on the throne. He has since been buried. The late monarch was an educationist before he ascended the throne. He was respected amongst his colleagues for his oratory skill and persuasive speeches. Ipapo witnessed peace and development during his reign. The late monarch was the

to Bar in 1976 in Lagos. The highpoint of his career was the investigation of an allegation by Barrister Andrew Oru that James Onanefe Ibori was an ex-convict. Ibori had forwarded a petition to former President Olusegun Obasanjo to probe Oru’s allegation. Obasanjo later asked a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Justice Muhammadu Uwais, to look into Ibori’s petition.

•The late Oba Olaitan

Chairman of the Traditional Council of the local government. A statement by the Chairman of Ipapo Council of Traditional Chiefs, Chief F. A. Babalola, said the final funeral ceremony will hold on June 15. Oba Awujoola is survived by a wife and children.

HE Lagos State Police Command have warned owners of accidented and abandoned vehicles parked Area ‘G’ Ogba, Ikeja, to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction after 14 days. They are Nissan Jeep registration number MG73AAA; Nissan Salon Car AA409YEK; Toyota RAV4 KU353AAA; Mazda Salon Car RF433KJA; Nissan Primera Salon Car DQ318LSD; Peugeot 406 Car unregietsred; BMW Car BX542KTU and Mazda Bus (commercial colour) XA864EKY.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

61

FOREIGN NEWS

Russia to expel ‘CIA agent’ in spy recruitment scandal

R

USSIA says it will expel a United States diplomat briefly detained in Moscow for allegedly trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer as a spy. The diplomat, named as CIA agent Ryan Fogle, was held overnight after he was apparently arrested wearing blond wig. He has been declared “persona non grata” for “provocative actions in the spirit of the Cold War”, the Russian foreign ministry said on its website. The US ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul,

Police identify suspect in New Orleans shooting

had been summoned, it added. Mr Fogle is said to have worked as third political secretary at the US embassy in Moscow. A state department spokesperson said: “We can confirm that an officer at our US embassy in Moscow was briefly detained and was released. We have seen the Russian foreign ministry announcement and have no further comment at this time.” The diplomat was reportedly arrested with a large sum of money, technical devices and written instructions for the Russian agent he had tried to recruit. This is a sensitive time for US-Russian relations. The

two countries are currently involved in delicate diplomacy over Syria. At the same time, Moscow and Washington have been taking cautious steps towards defrosting relations. Photos purporting to show Mr Fogle’s detention have been widely circulated in the Russian media. The foreign ministry said it had ordered Mr Fogle to leave the country, in a statement posted online yesterday afternoon. Wearing a blue checked shirt and a plain baseball cap, he was shown being held on the ground with his hands bound, then being escorted away. Another photo showed

N

EW Orleans police yesterday identified a suspect in connection with a shooting at a Mother’s Day parade that injured 19 people, including two children, as residents expressed outrage over the violence. Police said the suspect, 19year-old Akein Scott, remained at large but had been identified by multiple people. “The time has come for him to turn himself in,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said. Serpas said Scott was last arrested in March and has a criminal history that includes charges for possessing narcotics and a firearm and resisting arrest. Police investigated three addresses linked to Scott but could not find him, Serpas said. Earlier on Monday police released photos that they said showed a suspect in the shooting, which led to tips that helped with the identification. “People today chose to be on the side of young, innocent children who were shot, and not on the side of a coward who shot into a crowd,” Serpas said. The image singling out the suspect did not clearly show a face, and police, who released the photographs on YouTube, asked for the public’s help in identifying and finding the person. A $10,000 reward was offered for information that might help find the shooter. The photographs, taken from a surveillance video, first show crowds of people in a street, and then the crowd is seen scattering and ducking. The final image focuses on what appears to be a man in a white shirt leaving the scene on foot as other people are lying on the pavement.

him sitting at desk, his hat removed. Possessions said to be Mr Fogle’s are laid out on a table. They include a sum of money in 500-euro banknotes and two wigs, one of which he was apparently wearing at the time of his detention. Also on the table are a compass, map, knife, dark glasses and small mobile phone. “FSB counter-intelligence agents detained a CIA staff member who had been working under the cover of third political secretary of the US embassy in Moscow,” the FSB said. “At the moment of detention, special technical equipment was discovered, written instructions for the Rus-

•Russian President Vladimir Putin (right), listens to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting on Syrian crisis at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia… yesterday. PHOTO: AP

sian citizen being recruited, as well as a large sum of money and means for altering appearance.” Still of the items said to have been in Mr Fogle’s possession (14 May 2013) Russian officials said they had confiscated a large sum of money, wigs and technical equipment. Russian state TV has displayed a piece of paper, which it said was Mr Fogle’s letter to the Russian officer. Addressing the recipient as “Dear friend”, the letter offers $100,000 (£65,400) “to discuss your experience, expertise and co-operation”. It goes on to say: “We can offer up to $1m a year for long-term co-operation, with extra bonuses if we receive some helpful information. “This is a down payment from someone who is very impressed with your professionalism and who would greatly appreciate your cooperation in the future.” The letter is simply signed “Your friends”. The last major espionage case involving the two countries took place in 2010, when 10 people pleaded guilty to spying on the US for Russia. The alleged agents were deported from the US in exchange for four people the Russians claimed had been spying for the West, in the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.

Two men arrested in Malcolm Shabazz murder

A

UTHORITIES in Mexico City have arrested two men on suspicion of the fatal beating of the grandson of U.S. civil rights activist Malcolm X in a bar last week and are looking for at least two more people, Mexico City Attorney General Rodolfo Rios said yesterday. Malcolm Shabazz, who police have said was 29, died last Thursday at a bar just

steps away from Mexico City’s popular Plaza Garibaldi, where mariachis serenade tourists. Police have arrested two men who are waiters at the bar, David Hernandez and Manuel Perez, and are looking for at least two more suspects, Rios said. Shabazz was with Manuel Suarez, a labor rights activist who had recently been deported from the United

States, when they were confronted by two women aged between 20 and 25 in the rough neighborhood of Tepito, said Rios. The unidentified women, who police still want to question, took the two men to the Palace nightclub, said Rios. Shabazz and Suarez were then presented with a more than $1,200 bill, which they disputed. Police have described the Palace as a place

of low repute. “The aggrieved did not agree with the bill and couldn’t come to an agreement,” Rios said. Shabazz “was hit while his companion was threatened and had his belongings taken from him inside the building.” Shabazz, who had alcohol in his blood, died from blows to his head, ribs and jaw, Rios said.

Japanese mayor: Wartime sex slaves were necessary

A

N outspoken nationalist mayor said the Japanese military’s forced prostitution of Asian women before and during World War II was necessary to “maintain discipline” in the ranks and provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle. The comments made Monday are already raising ire in neighboring countries that bore the brunt of Japan’s wartime aggression and have long complained that Japan has failed to fully atone for wartime atrocities.

Toru Hashimoto, the young, brash mayor of Osaka who is co-leader of an emerging conservative political party, also said that U.S. troops currently based in southern Japan should patronize the local sex industry more to help reduce rapes and other assaults. Hashimoto told reporters on Monday that there wasn’t clear evidence that the Japanese military had coerced women to become what are euphemistically called “comfort women” before and during World War II.

“To maintain discipline in the military, it must have been necessary at that time,” Hashimoto said. “For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That’s clear to anyone.” Historians say up to 200,000 women, mainly from the Korean Peninsula and China, were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels.

China’s Foreign Ministry criticized the mayor’s comments and saw them as further evidence of a rightward drift in Japanese politics under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry expressed disappointment over what it called a senior Japanese official’s serious lack of historical understanding and respect for women’s rights. It asked Japan’s leaders to reflect on their country’s imperial past, including grave human rights violations, and correct anachronistic historical views.

Fed Govt to open consular office in Guangzhou

T

HE Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mathew Nwagwu, has assured Nigerians living in the Guangzhou Province in China that a consular office will soon be established in that part of the country to address the challenges of documentation they are currently facing. He said the matter has already been debated at the floor of the senate, adding that the problem is not peculiar to those in China alone but also to Nigerians resident in Texas, USA. Nwagwu disclosed that his committee sent a delegation

By Jude Isiguzo

to Guangzhou and Texas on oversight function to ascertain how the ministry of External Affairs can establish consular offices in those places. He however blamed the delay on the cost implication. “The process of establishing a Consular in Guangzhou and Texas is in progress, the only thing delaying it is the cost implication but I assure you that as soon as funds are available it would be done”, Nwagwu said. Nigerians in Guangdong province in the Peoples Republic of China has been pleading with the federal

government on the need to open consular office to ease the stress of travelling 24 hours by speed train and three hours by air to Beijin to process their documents. A resident in Guangzhou, Festus Mbisiogu, said the appeal has been on for over a decade and urged government to speed up the process in the interest of its citizens in that part of China, adding that because it is the commercial hub of the country; over 30,000 Nigerians are resident there. Mbisiogu, who is the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of a Chinese based company Blue Diamond Logistics, said the

establishment of consular office in that providence will boost economic ties with Chinese investors since 80percent of Nigerians are resident in that part. He described Nigerians in Guangzhou as sheep without shepherd, adding that other small countries have their embassies in Guangzhou, while that is not the case for Nigeria. Mbisiogu pleaded with government to urgently establish a consular office in Guangzhou as it reduces the risk of travelling such long distance to get assistance from the embassy in Beijin, adding that the efforts of

•Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru

Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wail to ensure that this is achieved is commendable.

Nigeria-Soviet group advocates ecological standards

T

HE Chairman CareTaker Committee of SOYUZNIK-NIGERIA, an alumni organisation of Nigerian graduates from the former Soviet Union and Commonwealth Independent States (CIS), Dr. Funsho Makanju, has advocated better standards in addressing ecological challenges in Nigeria’s oil producing areas. Speaking in Lagos at a reception for the President of the Nigerian Students Community in Russia and the CIS, Mr. Joshua Orabiyi and his delegates who are on a working visit to Nigeria, the chairman reiterates the urgent need to encourage diversified economic cooperation between Nigeria and Russia to reposition Nigeria’s industrial take-off of Vision 20:2020.

Syria wants details about US-Russian initiative

T

HE Syrian government wants more details before deciding whether to take part in a proposed U.S.-Russian initiative to negotiate a peaceful end to Syria’s crisis, the country’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said, staking out a similar position to the main opposition group. Washington and Moscow called last week for an international conference to bring representatives of the Syrian regime and opposition to the negotiating table with the aim of setting up a transitional government and cease-fire. The U.S. and Russia back opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, and the diplomatic push marks the countries’ first serious joint attempt to resolve the crisis in a year. al-Zoubi said in an interview late Monday with Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV, excerpts of which were published Tuesday by the Syrian state news agency, the government’s participation in the proposed talks “depends on knowing the details and developments.”

Kenyan police tear gas protesters

K

ENYAN police in riot gear fired teargas and water cannon yesterday to disperse about 200 protesters gathered outside parliament to demonstrate against lawmakers’ salary demands. Civil rights groups organized the protest, drumming up support through social media, to highlight Kenyans’ anger that politicians are demanding higher pay so soon after a broadly peaceful election on March 4. The organizers said the “Occupy Parliament” march, was meant to help expose the political class in East Africa’s largest economy widely regarded as greedy and corrupt. Protesters gave live pigs pig blood to feed on at the gates of parliament in the capital Nairobi to symbolize legislators who they dubbed “MPigs”. “We have spilled the blood of the pigs to show that the MPs are greedy like pigs,” said Boniface Mwangi before he and other organizers were arrested by police.


62

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

63

SPORT EXTRA

Arsenal’s victory sends Wigan to relegation A RSENAL moved back into the top four of the Premier League thanks to a 4-1 victory over Wigan at The Emirates - a result which relegates the recently-crowned FA Cup winners to the Championship. Arsenal are a point ahead of bitter North London rivals Tottenham as the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot spices up. Spurs had put the pressure on Arsenal on Sunday with a late

victory at Stoke, and now they are relying on the Gunners to slip up at Newcastle on the final day of the season if they are to stand any chance of playing in Europe's elite club competition next season. The Premier League stay for Wigan comes to an end after eight years, and from lifting the FA Cup on Saturday now face the task of trying to get back into the top flight next season - and face a fight to keep hold of manager Roberto Martinez. Aston

Villa, Sunderland, Fulham and Southampton's safety has been confirmed as well. Podolski was on hand to give Arsenal the lead in the 11th minute as the unmarked German from a few yards out headed into the back of the net from a corner. Laurent Koscielny denied Arouna Kone the opportunity to equalise when the France international stretched to the maximum to get a foot onto a looped ball over the Arsenal defence.

Ogba wins Athletics Federation election

I

NCUMBENT President of Athletics Federation, Solomon Ogba had to fight the fight of his life to win the Federation’s elections after his challenger, Honourable Ibrahim Gusau forced a re-run after votes tied at five (5) votes apiece. The second election, however, ended 7-3 votes in Ogba’s favour, while there was a wild jubilation among his supporters. Ogba, however, attributed the initial scare to communication gap between him and the Federation’s Board members. He said that some of the Board members alleged that he came to the venue of the election without even talking to them and trying to woo them to his side a reason why some of them refused to vote for him in the first round of the elections that ended 5-5 votes apiece. He also told his programmes and aspirations for his second year in office having been elected for another four years.

From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja Justice Danladi Sanchi, a Federal High Court Abuja Judge emerged the President of the Badminton Federation. Farouk Orbih emerged the Vice President. Lagos State Commissioner of Sports, Waheed Oshodi Enitan emerged Table Tennis President, while Edem Orok won the Vice President position. “Onyeama Emeka also emerged as the new President of Cricket Federation, while Abubakar Haruna won the Darts Federation election as the President. Usman Nahuche emerged Deaf Federation President, while George Ashiru emerged the new Taekwondo Federation President. Former Minister of Sports Sani Ndanusa retained his seat as the President of Tennis Federation. Others are: Prince Timothy Nsirim- Judo President, Agu Ejidike- Karate, Daniel Igali-

Wrestling Federation President, Yussuf DaudaHandball Federation President, the President of Para-soccer Federation is Lawal Didi, Squash President is Adamu Ahmed Erena, Traditional sports President is Abdullahi Mohammed Baba. Engineer Abu Gumel again for the record time emerged the President of Volleyball Federation. Former Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Chibudum Nwuche also emerged as the President of the Weightlifting Federation, while Tijani Umar retained his position as the President of Basketball Federation. Others are Chess Federation’s President, Olalekan Adeyemi, Darts Federation A.G Haruna, Deaf Sports Federation, Usman Nahuche, Fiese Federation President is Sani Badamosi, and Gymnastics Federation President is Foluso Adefemi. Former World Champion, Daniel Igali emerged as the new President of Wrestling Federation.

Toriola, others hail NTTF boss Oshodi

T

HE election of Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi as president of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has been hailed by players and coaches. From Germany, France and Portugal, players have continued to react to Oshodi’s election, describing it as a new beginning for the sport. Six-time Olympian and former African champion, Segun Toriola expressed his happiness over the outcome of the election, saying, “It is now that the right person for the job has been elected.” Toriola who was furious over the late change of the name of the athletes’ representative, Nosiru Sule by the former board of NTTF prior to the election, said that efforts to uphold mediocrity has been thwarted with the result of the election. “I was surprised when I heard that the athlete selected by all the players home and abroad as players’ representative in the election was changed by the former board of the NTTF. Even with all their arrangement to reinstall themselves, they have been defeated. I am the happiest person today because the election has given us a good hope that table tennis will rise again. The future of the game is now on the right hand and I am indeed joyful that Oshodi, who has supported the game even before he became the commissioner has been elected as the president of NTTF,” the France-based Toriola said.

From Hamburg, Germany, Funke Oshonaike could not hide her joy as she specifically described the election of Oshodi as a new dawn for table tennis. “I am happy that a man that knows the game and ready to support the game has now been elected because what we had in the last four years were people who did not understand the game and were not also passionate about it. So for me, this is a great day for table tennis and I am excited that God uphold merit in this election. There is no gain-saying that Oshodi is the best candidate around that can take the game forward and this has become a reality. I want to tell you that all players home and abroad are now celebrating this because this is what we want and it has

happened,” the former African queen said. Portugal-based Aruna Quadri, who is currently featuring in the ongoing World Championship in Paris, France, was so happy that the right hand has been elected at NTTF boss. “This is what we have been clamouring for and thank God it has come to pass. It is high time we started upholding integrity when it comes to election. I am happy that things will now take shape for the better in the country,” he said. Also, Italy-based coach, Michael Oyebode expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the election, saying, “We are now on the right path to greatness in table tennis again in Nigeria.”

Eagles to camp in Namibia

N

IGERIA Football Federatin (NFF) General Secretary Musa Amadu has confirmed to NationSport that the Super Eagles will camp for three days in Windhoek , Namibia before the all important World Cup qualifying match against Namibia on June 12. According to him, the team will fly into the Namibia capital city immediately after their match against the Harambee stars of Kenya on June 5. Amadu said that the Super Eagles will not face the acclimatisation problem in Namibia, since the area is not a high altitude zone "we would not have that

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja problem there, the team will train at least three days in Namibia before the match. That is unlike what we are expecting in Kenya, a high altitude zone, where you need at least 14 days to become acclimatised to the weather. In Kenya, the team will fly in, and play the next day before leaving. We are on top of the situation, and God willing, we would come out with good results in all the matches" he said. Amadu remain optimistic that the Super Eagles will surely qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

VOL.8 NO.2,486

TODAY IN THE NATION ‘‘The federal government needs to declare some form of police emergency to empower it to bring the police up to international standards starting from the on-going refurbishment of basic training facilities to databases and forensic laboratories. That would help solve unemployment’ ’ TONY MARINHO

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

M

Y petition last week to the DirectorGeneral of the National Youths Corps Service (NYSC) over the harsh punishment of Abubakar Idris Usman for his article in The Nation last November elicited fifty eight texts and several emails. Only six of the texts and none of the emails defended the action of the NYSC authorities. In the light of the somewhat surprising – to me at least - controversy the case has stirred, I have decided to devote today’s column to the texts. The constraint of space could not, of course, allow me to publish all but I’ve included all six that were critical of my petition. So far there has been no response from the NYSC authorities on the petition. Sir,When has it become a crime for someone to say the truth? The young man only shared his problem and that of his fellow corps members. For Christ’s sake, why is he being punished? This is wickedness in its highest order. John +2347037737577

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA ndajika@yahoo.com

Still on the case of Abubakar Idris Usman

Sir,Abubakar Idris Usman is a young Nigerian with courage. I salute him for this. I don’t see any need for this scheme, when graduates are subjected to live in camps not even fit for animals. Government should do an independent investigation on this matter. I can assure you that Abubakar will be vindicated. Omale Omale +2348022220978 Sir,I cherished your article on the travails of the corps member. Of course, he is not right to write such but the most important thing was that it was not malicious and I think they should forgive him now. Apalowo Thalis, Ogbagi Akoko, Ondo State. +2347066403102 Sir,Well done for your open letter addressed to the NYSC DG. It’s however my view that your son, Abubakar, lacks respect for the authorities and might have been emboldened to do what he did because of you, a father or “oga at the top” that’s ever prepared to use his position to protect his child, even for ill. Given the fact that you write for The Nation which Abubakar patronised indeed gives you out as an accomplice in this matter. It was, therefore, wrong of you to have dissuaded him from retracting the article. If Abubakar didn’t learn some decency and respect while in school please let him learn it now. After all the condition at the university he attended was not perfect and yet I am not sure he ever wrote about it. Rather than therefore positioning him for appointment at The Nation after his service year, I am sure there’s a more decent way of doing so than encouraging him to disrespect his bosses. Daniel +2347038533474 Sir, Your last week’s article was very disturbing. Kindly do me a favour - if you will spare time to do it! - by letting me know how the issue of Abubakar Idris Usman will be treated by NYSC. Abdullahi Dodo Maijama’a. 2348033143372

•NYSC DG Brig-Gen Nnamdi Okorie-Affiah Sir,Thank you very much for telling Nigerians the plight of Corps member Abubakar. His case has once again brought to the fore one of the many injustices plaguing this nation. I believe he should not be made to suffer unjustly for speaking the truth. It is those women without conscience who should search their minds and right the wrongs they have done the gentleman. Ojo A Ayodele, Emure Ekiti +2347033168889 Sir,It is a pity that the NYSC is good and quick at punishing corps members. There are corps members who redeployed to Ondo State officially and have not gotten any monthly allowance for the past ten months. They will pass out next month. They have been suffering in silence. I have a sister among them. I’ve tried to use my influence to help her but without success. Our prayer is that God should courtmartial those wicked NYSC officials one day. Adebisi P.A. Akure. +2348034703653 Sir,It is important to observe the BYE-LAWS of any organisation you find yourself in. If you are new to that organisation like Usman was to NYSC, study the rules that guide it. Usman has committed an offence punishable by NYSC Bye-Laws. A corps member is not permitted to make a publication in a national media or talk to the press without the permission of the NYSC D.G. They have laid down channel of communication in camp and outside camp. I don’t

L

Sir,In an ideal country the issues raised by Abubakar would have been addressed by NYSC authority instead of going for the young man’s jugular. This is similar to the President’s visit to the Police College. Indeed there was a country. Elvis Ebanehita. 2348057201481 Sir,Idris is not foolish. It is our system (that is the problem). Please encourage him. His time will surely come. Wole Eniayewun, Lagos 2348185768334

Sir,This God-fatherism role you seem to play for your son Abubakar has not helped in our youths’ disciplinary effort. It’s good you blamed him for doing what he did but you must not interfere in the job of his boss. All camps all over the world are never places of luxury and your son is privileged to be there not as a spy think Usman had good training. that washes his house dirty in public. Let his E. Z. Dia +2348037789957 bosses do their jobs. Chief Bashiomele, Auchi, Edo State. Sir,Thank you for the letter to NYSC DG. Indeed the state directors pre-warn corps mem- +2348059956056 bers never to narrate their experiences or ask Sir,You are a good father, but how many unthe DG questions. +2348022900875 fortunate corps members have been punished Sir,What exactly is this? A young man is be- for telling the authority the truth? God save ing punished needlessly for writing the truth! Nigeria +2348023463851 What manner of people are these who have been placed in positions to guide the young? Sir, You see, what’s happening to this young They are, in my mind, the wrong crowd to do this! This young man need not beg to get his man exemplifies the hypocrisy that is a major part of Nigeria’s problem. You say it as it is, right. Let him seek justice! What a country! and they say you’re criticising the government. Dokun Adedeji, Ikeja Lagos. +2348033023620 Is government infallible? Why should saying Sir,I honestly felt disappointed today with what’s wrong be construed as an offence? It’s all your submission. One of the most informed part of Jonathan (PDP) legacy to Nigeria. Recolumns in the land became a platform for member the President’s anger when Channel’s personal agitation. Bad for a nation literarily TV did an expose on Police College, Ikeja? Fish at war within. And you have access to the rots from the head, my brother. Gab A. Uche, Umuahia, Abia State, agency! Please for a long time reader of People and Politics like me, the dregs of the earth +2348051481333 and the locusts in the palace, deserve focus. Sir,My advice is that this case should be taken Please not about your daughter next week! to higher authority. There should not be anyTunde Esan +2348033109878 thing like plea or appeal as young man has done Sir,Can someone help me tell this old gen- nothing wrong. Instead of intimidating him, eration to allow us grow. We the young gen- he should be commended. Elder F.Ogorry. +2348023529722 eration can’t rule, can’t talk, and we are not even allowed to complain on ills they daily Sir,I’m glad you drew the attention of NYSC pour on us. God save us. Director- General to this ugly incident. There Chichi, Port Harcourt, +2348091140815 are many other Abubakars out there whose creaSir,Your article on the corps member tive talents are being stultified by leaders withbrought tears to my eyes. Why should anyone out vision. BA Ikeagwu, Owerri. 2348035664612 be victimised for writing an article? But then, what is The Nation doing about it since the paSir, Methinks your ‘son’ should report to Delta. per published the article? This is really sad. Did you as a northerner serve in the North? I +2348023255224 think the SSS should watch your son very Sir,That report on the travail of corps mem- closely. I don’t like his guts and obstinacy. John, Zaria +2348028721705 ber Usman is fair and convincing. I am sure your ward did not put his case clearly. He Sir,Thank you for highlighting this injustice. breached the channels of communication. None the less he should write the DG, NYSC for a The Senator representing the young man should review and pardon. The NYSC family is not take it up. +2348091906116 stone hearted Dr. Abhuere, former Director, Corps Welfare, •For comments, send SMS to 08059100107

HARDBALL AST week, rumours were rife that President Goodluck Jonathan would declare a state of emergency in either a part or the whole of the Northeast. But presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, responded that no decision had been reached on the matter, even though media reports strongly suggested the decision had all but been reached and was only awaiting the president’s proclamation. Dr Abati was careful not to dismiss the speculations in their entirety. Finally, yesterday, the president issued the proclamation and declared a state of emergency in three Northeast states, instead of the five earlier speculated. The affected states are Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, which have all suffered varying degrees of Boko Haram extremism. The inclusion of Adamawa surprised many. The president justified his emergency declaration on the grounds that the scale of killings, not only of innocent civilians, but also of security agents, made his “extraordinary measures to restore normality” inevitable. In addition, he reasoned, a large swath of Borno State in

NYSC HQ Abuja +2348037017956

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

State of emergency: Jonathan bites the bullet (1) particular had been overrun by terrorists and insurgents. No self-respecting president would allow the territorial integrity of his country to be violated at will, nor stand idly by as citizens were taken hostage by terror groups, he concluded. But the easiest part of a state of emergency is declaring it. The government will hope that merely declaring state of emergency will be a sufficient deterrent to lawlessness. However, as Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and even Turkey have shown at various times in their histories, declaring a state of emergency has proved to be virtually nugatory without a corresponding attempt to grapple with the fundamental problems causing the crisis. Unlike Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Jonathan stressed that the governors and the political institutions of the three states would continue to function during the emergency period. That is of course unrealistic. By insisting that he expects all and sundry, including

the political leadership of the affected states, to cooperate “maximally” with the security forces, the implication is that the military commanders in those states will become the de facto rulers of the three states. As everyone knows, when de facto meets de jure, the latter is often left shamefaced. But it is not only the executive, legislative and judicial arms that would be hamstrung by a state of emergency, even the ordinary citizen will discover that the powers of detention granted the security forces have effectively suspended habeas corpus. The president explains the powers granted the security forces thus: “This will include the authority to arrest and detain suspects, the taking of possession and control of any building or structure used for terrorist purposes, the lockdown of any area of terrorist operation, the conduct of searches, and the apprehension of persons in illegal possession of weapons.”

The challenge will be how to deploy these enormous powers without suffocating those states and further alienating and humiliating their people. For, already, the scale of alienation in those places has reached impossible levels. By succumbing to the option of state of emergency, Dr Jonathan is in effect saying the insurgency in those states and all other terrorist acts perpetrated there will respond to military solution or strong-arm tactics. It is true the president was expected to take firm measures to halt the slide to chaos, but it is doubtful whether more troops, more force and further abridgment of the democratic processes in those beleaguered state are the panaceas required to re-establish peace and normality. The problems have become too deep-seated to respond to shock and awe. •To be concluded tomorrow

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


The Nation May 15, 2013