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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Turai Yar’Adua wins Abuja land battle NEWS

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•Dame Patience: I wasn’t involved

Lagos Special Status Bill coming NEWS

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•Solomon, Tinubu, Ashafa are sponsors

VOL. 8, NO. 2474 FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013



•GETTING SET FOR CRIMIN ALS CRIMINALS ALS:: Some members of the special military force, Quick Response Group, created to check the influx of suspected terrorists and other criminals into the Niger Delta PHOTO: SHOLA O’NEIL at their inauguartion in Warri...yesterday

Baga bloody day: US may stop military aid to Nigeria Activists demand action Boko Haram responsible for bloodshed, says NSA


HE United States may suspend military assistance to Nigeria if there is sufficient evidence of human rights violations by the armed forces in Baga and other flashpoints, it was learnt yesterday. The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence P. McCulley, dropped the hint at a session with human rights activists in Abuja.

America is not obliged to assist a country whose military is notorious for human rights violations. I have already told the Nigerian government —US envoy From Yusuf Alli and Vincent Ikuomola Abuja

But the stakeholders asked the US to go beyond the withdrawal or suspension of mili-

tary assistance to prevent violation of human rights and corruption in the country. They urged the US government to stop President Goodluck Jonathan and leaders of

The cache of arms seized and displayed by JTF clearly shows that Boko Haram carried out these heinous attacks —NSA nations where corruption is pronounced from attending the G-8 Summit in Britain next month. They also implored the US to prevent Nigerian political of-

fice holders from buying assets in the US. The Defence Headquarters and the Presidency have said the Baga casualty figure was exaggerated. Besides, the Na-

tional Security Adviser (NSA) said yesterday that the arson in Baga was the handiwork of Boko Haram. He said the cache of arms seized and displayed by JTF clearly shows that Boko Haram carried out these heinous attacks According to a source at the closed-door session, the alleged violation of human rights in Baga by the miliContinued on page 2

Six-year single tenure likely for President, others From Yusuf Alli, Abuja


HE Senate Constitution Review Committee has recommended that President Goodluck Jonathan and returning governors should be disallowed from seeking another term in office if single-term tenure of six years is adopted as an amendment to the 1999 Constitution on or before 2015. Besides Jonathan, the Vice-President, 16 governors and deputy governors may end their tenure by 2015. Governors recently elected for second term may also end their tenure in 2015. But the recommendation has led to a protest by Niger Delta senators, who see it as another ploy by the North to stop Jonathan. Continued on page 2

•From left: Group Managing Director/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc., Mr. Yemi Adeola discussing with the Chairman, Dr. Suleiman Adegunwa and the Company’s Secretary, Justina Lewa, at the 51st Annual General Meeting held at Eko Hotel, Lagos…yesterday




NEWS Abuja land dispute: Court rules in favour of Turai


N Abuja High Court in Jabi has resolved the dispute between First Lady Patience Jonathan and her predecessor, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, over a parcel of land in Abuja in the latter’s favour. Justice Peter Affen, in a judgment yesterday, set aside the purported revocation of the right of occupancy of the land measuring about 1.84 hectares earlier allocated to Turai’s nongovernmental organisation Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYEF) - by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). The disputed land, plot no.


From Eric Ikhilae and Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

1347 Cadastral Zone AOO, Central Business District, allocated to Mrs. Yar’Adua’s WAYEF was on November 2, 2011 revoked by FCT Minister Bala Mohammed for “overriding public interest”. The Minister re-allocated the parcel of land to Mrs. Jonathan for the construction of the African First Lady Peace Mission Headquarters. Mrs Yar’Adua on behalf of WAYEF, went to court. Defendants in the suit included the FCT Minister, Abuja GeoContinued on page 62

US may stop military aid to Nigeria •Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola (fourth right) with the Lord Mayor of the City of London, The Rt. Hon Alderman Roger Gifford (fourth left); Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule (third right); Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze (third left), his Finance and Science and Technology counterparts, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru (right); Mr. Adebiyi Mabadeje (right), other members of the business delegation and members of the State Executive Council when the Lord mayor led a business delegation seeking to collaborate and invest in Lagos State on a courtesy call on the Governor at the Lagos House, Ikeja…yesterday

Chime’s death rumour: Detectives go after facebook story authors


ECURITY operatives are looking for the purveyor of the false news that Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime passed on yesterday. An on-line publication posted on facebook the purported death of the governor in an Indian hospital. The story caused anxiety in Enugu State and among Nigerians. But yesterday, Chime had a busy day. Among other activities, he approved the appointment of 57 administrators for the 57 development areas of the state. A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Amaechi Okolo, said the gov-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

ernor will inaugurate the administrators on May 8 at the Okpara Square, Enugu. Security sources close to the Government House, Enugu told The Nation that the particulars of the person who posted the false information had been obtained. The source said security agents were on the trail of the “satanic” author. Chime, who was seen in Enugu on Wednesday, was said to have travelled to Abuja same day on an undisclosed mission. Although he was not at the Workers’ Day ceremony, Chime hosted participants of

the Senior Executive Course No. 35 of 2013 of the National Institute of for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State. Led by Mallam Kuru Adamu, the NIPSS scholars were hosted on Wednesday by Chime at the Government House, Enugu. Information Commissioner Chuks Ugwuoke described the news as unfounded, saying the “governor is hale and hearty”. A member of the opposition Save Enugu Group (SEG), Ray Nnaji, urged the public to ignore the rumour, which he said was posted by mischief makers. Nnaji, who was a commis-

sioner in the former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani administration, regretted that those behind the rumour were toying with the life of the governor, adding that Enugu people would not be decieved again by such wicked rumours. He said: “It is a taboo among the Igbo for people to wish one dead, even if the person is your enemy. These ugly rumours always peddled about our governor by mischief makers must stop. You cannot call that opposition, but mischief.” Nnaji urged the governor not to be distracted by such mischevious insinuations and concentrate in his delivery of democracy dividends to the people.

Anti-Amaechi plot: Five lawmakers go into hiding


IVE members of the Rivers State House of Assembly believed to be enjoying the backing of Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike, disappeared from public glare yesterday. The Assemblymen allegedly went underground to perfect their plot to impeach Governor Rotimi Amaechi. They went into hiding a day after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman in the state, Felix Obuah, refuted the purported plot to unseat the

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

governor. The pro-Wike lawmakers Michael Chinda (Obio/Akpor II); Kelechi Godspower Nwogu (Omuma); Evans Bipi (Ogu/ Bolo); Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor I); and Victor Ihunwo (Port Harcourt III) - are reportedly restrategising. Their whereabouts remained unknown last night. Their mobile telephone lines were also not available, when attempts were made to get their reactions

to developments in the state. It was learnt in Port Harcourt, the state capital, that the plot of the lawmakers was to catch unaware House Speaker Otelemaba Dan Amachree, the other 26 lawmakers and Amaechi. Amachree, on Tuesday, raised the alarm over the “plot” to impeach him and Amaechi. In a statement, the speaker alleged that a fake mace had been smuggled into the state to perfect their act, thereby provoking anarchy and paving the

way for the declaration of a state of emergency. Activist-lawyer Femi Falana and Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), cautioned against the move to use the minority to impeach Amaechi. Besides, the duo said there was no justification for the plot against the governor. On April 29, the 27 proAmaechi lawmakers, including the speaker, were suspended by the Obuah-led state execuContinued on page 62

Continued from page 1

tary was extensively discussed.

The source said the satellite images of abuses in Baga released by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the testimony of a woman human rights activist from Borno assisted in drawing conclusions at the session. The source said: “The female activist and others spoke about the attitude of the military to the civilian population in Baga. “The human rights activists agreed that the conduct of the military was not in line with the international rules of engagement.” The source quoted McCulley as saying: “There is a Congressional law preventing the US from funding training activities or technical partnership with the military of any country that is violating human rights. If evidence abounds in Nigeria, we will do that. “In America, when the military violates the law, they are punished but in Nigeria they are allowed to go. “America is not obliged to assist a country whose military is notorious for human rights violations. I have already told the Nigerian government.” On the US position on corruption, the source quoted the Ambassador as saying: “We are standing by our findings on corruption in Nigeria. Corruption is one of the reasons why there is insurgency in Nigeria because it breeds poverty and underdevelopment.” Another activist at the session reportedly said: “The meeting was called to seek our advice on human rights, democracy and good governance. They sought to know if there are areas the US Government can assist. “Some of us raised objection to

the US attitude to corrupt political office holders who are allowed to buy assets in the US. We said they cannot be talking against corruption and be allowing the laundering of looted funds to the US. “The Ambassador said American institutions are very strict when it comes to money laundering. McCulley said: ‘We won’t allow that to happen. If you have contrary information, send it to us.” A third source at the meeting said most stakeholders asked the US to stop President Jonathan and other leaders, whose nations are perpetrating human rights violations and corruption, from attending the G-8 Summit in the UK in June. The source quoted the Ambassador as saying: “I will relate your observation to the American Government.” Asked if there was any commitment from the Ambassador, the fourth source at the meeting added: “McCulley said the US is determined to deepen democracy and good governance in Nigeria. The US wants peace and development in Nigeria because of its enormous potential.” Some of the activists at the meeting include the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, Mr. Clement Nwankwo; the National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria(HURIWA), Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko; Dr. T Kole Shettima of the MacArthur Foundation; Executive Director at Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Rafsanjani; a political scientist and Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Dr. Jibo Ibrahim; Advocacy Officer of OSIWA, Mr. Ilo Jude Udo; and Hajiya Saadatu of Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA).

Senate committee okays six-year single tenure for President, others System will be counterproductive, says ACF

Continued from page 1

Also, the Senate Committee has resolved to separate the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from the Office of the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice will be a political office holder, but the AGF will be a lawyer, who will have a seven-year tenure. The AGF will outlive the administration that appointed him or her. Other highlights of the resolutions of the committee are abolition of Joint Account; First Line funding of local governments; withholding of statutory allocations of states without democratically elected governments in local government areas; rejection of rotational presidency and six geopolitical zones; and placing State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) on First Line charge. According to sources, the Senate Committee has opted for


HE Pro-North socio-political organization - Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday kicked against the report of the Senate Committee on constitution review, which recommended a sixyear single term for the president and governors. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, the Forum said: “The attention of Arewa Consultative Forum has been drawn to the reported recommendations for provision in the constitution for single tenure of six years for president and governors by the senate. “Such a provision is counter-productive because it cannot further the cause of good governance that comes with purposeful leadership, especially when regard is paid to the fact that it lacks the basic elements of

a single six-year term in office for President, Vice-President, governors and deputy governors. A source in the committee, who spoke on the recommendations, said: “We approved a single term of six years, with a proviso that all incumbents that

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

motivation and incentives needed in any management of human affairs. “In the single-tenure system, there are no incentives, motivation and reward for excellent performance. And this is because the good, the not-so-good and the feckless are grouped together without any distinction. “Such practice cannot deliver on good management. And that may explain why most countries in the world practise multiple tenure systems which enable leaders to aspire for excellence in the hope of reward by way of re-election. “Those countries which put limit on their multiple tenure, like America, do so for propose of deliberate allowance of ingress of fresh hands into leadership and governance. That is to say there is allowance for motiva-

are entitled to second term will not be allowed to run or enjoy it. “By implication, the President, the Vice-President, governors and their deputies are banned from contesting for their offices in 2015 or their tenure will end the day the amend-

tion and incentives that inspire excellent performance and for fresh blood into governance in multiple tenure. “As to the fear of abuse of incumbency prevalent in our clime, it is to be noted that countries device their own ways of curtailing such abuses. While developed democracies have mobilized their citizens to make judicious use of their democratic rights and ensure their votes count, some developing countries have sand bags placed on the path of abuse of incumbency. “For example, Chile has multiple tenure which are not consecutive. That is to say, no candidate is allowed to conduct elections in which he is a candidate. And that was why the extremely popular President in the person of Madam Michel could not contest the last presidential elections in Chile.”

ment to the Constitution takes effect. “We took cognisance of the fact that there was a similar amendment in the US to a twoterm tenure system, the then President was banned from benefiting.” But it was gathered that the

Senators from Niger Delta protested against the proviso by alleging that it is a ploy to stop the President from benefiting. The source added: “The Senators from Niger Delta took it personal by alleging that it is targeted at frustrating Continued on page 62

•Senate President Mark

CORRECTION The headline of one of the letters written to the editor on page 20 of yesterday’s edition should have read ‘Diamond Bank and my ATM woes’. The letter has nothing to do with Mainstreet Bank.

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






Witness ac concerns o •Vice-President Namadi Sambo (third left), Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwabo (left), Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio (right) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Olugbenga Ashiru (second left), leaving the Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada after a meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister...yesterday.

Who is lying? The Army said only 36 were killed in Baga and few houses were destroyed, but satellite images analysed by Human Rights Watch said no fewer than 2,275 buildings were destroyed and agreed with residents that 183 people were killed, writes Reuters.


•House of Representatives’ Speaker Aminu Tambuwal (middle), Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha (right) and Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, during a retreat for the House Ad-Hoc Committee on Review of 1999 Constitution in Abuja…on Wednesday.

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi presenting an award to Mrs. Jumoke Adamolekun, during the flag-off of the 2013 Advocacy Meetings wth Environmental Stakeholders in AdoEkiti...yesterday. With them are Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Omobolanle Fakunle (second left) and Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. (Mrs) Eniola(Ajayi right)

•From left: Chief Executive Officer, MDS Computer Group, Mr. Roger Kabila, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft, Mr. Steve Ballmer and Managing Director, ATB Technology Solutions Limited, Mr. Abiodun Atobatele, at the Technology Trend Conference in U.S.

ATELLITE images reveal massive destruction of civilian property from a military raid on April 16 and 17, 2013, in the northern Nigerian town of Baga, undermining the military's claim that only 30 houses were destroyed, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday. It urged the government to thoroughly and impartially investigate allegations that soldiers carried out widespread destruction and killing in the town. Baga residents told Human Rights Watch that soldiers ransacked the town after the Boko Haram militant Islamist group attacked a military patrol, killing a soldier. Community leaders said immediately after the attack they counted 2,000 burned homes and 183 bodies. Satellite images of the town analysed by Human Rights Watch corroborate these accounts and identify 2,275 destroyed buildings, the vast majority likely residences, with another 125 severely damaged. "The Nigerian military has a duty to protect itself and the population from Boko Haram attacks, but the evidence indicates that it engaged more in destruction than in protection," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The glaring discrepancies between the facts on the ground and statements by senior military officials raise concerns that they tried to cover up military abuses." Since the attack, the military has restricted journalists' access to Baga, a remote fishing community on the shores of Lake Chad, 200 kilometers northeast of the city of Maiduguri. Boko Haram has destroyed mobile telephone towers in the area, claiming that security services used mobile phones to track down its members, making communication particularly difficult for survivors of the attack. Human Rights Watch interviewed seven residents of Baga who fled the town on the night of the devastation. Many survivors spent several nights hiding in the bush and expressed fear in describing what they saw, fearing military retaliation. Military officials publicly said that on the evening of April 16, Boko Haram attacked a military patrol in Baga, killing a soldier and wounding five others. Military reinforcements responded by engaging Boko Haram militants, whom the military said were armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices. There were running gun battles through the town, the military said. In a statement released the week

•Fleeing residents heading home on April 30, 2013 after

following the attack, Brig. Gen. Austin Edokpaye, the commander of the troops in Baga, asserted that "(c)ontrary to media speculation that hundreds of houses were burnt down, instead, it was the explosions from Boko Haram terrorists'" weapons that "triggered fire to about 30 thatched houses." Residents recalled hearing some explosions as well as gunfire on the night of the attack. Many fled the town. One resident, a 42-year-old-fisherman, told Human Rights Watch that while he was fleeing he saw two men in civilian clothes, whom he assumed were Boko Haram members because they were not in uniform, running while firing assault rifles. Residents said that, as they were fleeing the heavy gunfire, they saw bodies in the streets and in front of houses. Some residents said they saw soldiers in uniform kill residents and burn houses. A 27-year-old woman, who stayed in her house after the gunfire erupted, described to Human Rights Watch how soldiers went door-to-door looking for any men that remained in her neighborhood. "I saw the soldiers drag a man out of another house. They started beating him with their guns. They were beating him severely and he was crying," she said. "The man then ran, and I saw the soldiers shoot him. I heard the gunshots and saw him fall. On the other side of the road the soldiers were beating other people." Another resident, a 32-year-old fisherman, believes soldiers killed his uncle, whose bad leg kept him from fleeing the town. He discovered his uncle's badly beaten body after the attack. "We had heard the soldiers say before [the attack] that since you people are not cooperating with us and are hiding your brothers, we will treat you as one of them," the fisherman told Human Rights Watch. "I heard the soldiers say this. Everyone heard them say this. They were saying this in the open." The area where the attacks took place, Borno State, is Boko Haram's stronghold. Military officials have accused Borno State residents of harboring Boko Haram members. Boko Haram has killed numerous Borno State residents, including community leaders whom it accuses of helping authorities identify group members, which has created a climate of fear in the area. There are conflicting accounts as to how many people were killed in the attack. A community leader who participated in the burial of victims told Human Rights Watch that 183 people were buried on April 18 in individual graves within two cemeteries. Other victims were also later buried, he said. The mili-




ss accounts, satellite images fuel rns of alleged cover-up in Baga

me on April 30, 2013 after Islamist clash with soldiers

•Soldiers patrolling the streets of Baga. PHOTOS: AFP

Baga attack perpetrated by Boko Haram, says NSA


HE office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) is backing the Defence Headquarters’ (DHQ’s) report on the bloodshed in Baga, the Bornu State border town where soldiers and Boko Haram insurgents clashed. The town is open to Nigerians and the international community for assessment the NSA said. In a statement given to reporters in Kano yesterday, signed by its spokesman, Mr. Karounwi Adekunle, the NSA’s office insisted that the attack on Baga was perpetrated by the Boko Haram fighters. According to the statement, the attack has the imprint of Boko Haram. “Boko Haram members are in the habit of bombing and setting houses and schools ablaze each time they suffer a loss,” the statement said. This pattern of arson, which has been established by Boko Haram,is also the “modus operandi” of terrorist organisations, it added. The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to some purported satel-

tary called these figures "terribly inflated," and in an April 22 statement, Edokpaye claimed that only 37 people were killed - 30 of them Boko Haram members. He said that only one soldier and six civilians died. Senator Maina Lawan, the federal senator representing Baga, told Human Rights Watch, based on a two-day site visit on April 25 and 26, that some 220 people had been buried in three cemeteries, while six others had been buried in separate locations. None of the residents interviewed by Human Rights Watch saw how the fires were started on the night of April 16, but they all described seeing parts of the town alight. Two residents who returned to the town the following morning, April 17, said they saw soldiers in military vehicles setting fire to houses. "I saw a group of soldiers throw explosive devices into houses," one of the residents, a farmer, recalled. "They would throw [the explosive] and then fire would come out of it. I saw them do this to about 10 houses." Satellite images analyzed by Human Rights Watch indicate that damaged structures were likely caused by intense and widespread fires. Additional satellite data detected the presence of active fires in the southern part of the town on the night of April 16 and during the day of April 17, consistent with witness accounts and the location of identified building damages. Because of the number of buildings destroyed by fire as well as their distribution across large sections of the town, Human Rights Watch believes that such fires were intentionally set and not inadvertently sparked by the detonation of rocket-propelled grenades or improvised explosive devices. Such weapons could not ignite fires on such a wide scale, nor could they set fire to non-attached structures. Small arms and light weapons do not contain the amount of

explosive or incendiary material to produce such a scale of damage, Human Rights Watch said. "The destruction and killings by soldiers in Baga are serious human rights violations," Bekele said. "The government needs to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, regardless of rank." As reports of the Baga attack filtered out, President Goodluck Jonathan ordered a "full-scale investigation into reports of high civilian casualties." The Defence Headquarters in Abuja sent a military team to investigate the incident. Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, the director of defence information, and a member of the military team sent to Baga to investigate, told Human Rights Watch after his visit that reports of civilian casualties and homes destroyed were "grossly exaggerated." He said that "the atrocities, if any, were carried out by the insurgents in an attempt to cause destruction and attack people not sympathetic to their cause." The military team said they visited two graveyards in Baga but could only identify 32 fresh graves. Community leaders, including a senior politician interviewed by Human Rights Watch, allege that the military is trying to cover up evidence of what happened. In the past, Nigerian military authorities have repeatedly denied or even covered up reports of security force abuses, Human Rights Watch said. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which in 2010 opened a "preliminary examination" of the situation in Nigeria, has indicated that crimes committed by Boko Haram members might constitute crimes against humanity, and members of the Nigerian security forces might also have committed se-

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

lite images of Baga town in some newspapers concerning the attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram members on soldiers and innocent citizens on the 16th of April, 2013. “This is not the first time that Boko Haram members have launched attack on Baga; they did so in December 2012, which led to the death of several innocent people and their houses set on fire. “It is pertinent for the public to know that Boko Haram has concessioned its media relations to Al-Qaeda, hence the heavy propaganda. “The cache of arms seized and displayed by JTF clearly shows that Boko Haram carried out these heinous attacks. “We are in league with the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) report. Baga, is opened to all Nigerians and the international community.” rious human rights violations in their operations against Boko Haram. This incident in Baga should be added to the prosecutor's preliminary examination of Nigeria, Human Rights Watch said. "There's a tragic lack of accountability for atrocities with high body counts in Nigeria," said Bekele. "The government needs to end this murderous cycle of violence by bringing all those responsible to justice."

Witness Accounts

A 27-year-old woman who lived in the "Hausa Quarters" of Baga told Human Rights Watch that on the night of April 16, soldiers dragged a man out of a house in her neighborhood and shot him: "I was in my house at night, after prayers, when we heard gunshots. Everybody was in a panic and people were running. My husband wasn't home, so I was very disturbed. I asked my neighbors what am I going to do because my husband isn't around? My neighbors ran, but I couldn't carry my two children, so I stayed inside the house. "I saw soldiers come into the community. They came in military vehicles. The soldiers were shouting "Come out! Come out!" They asked me if there any men in the house. I said there were none. One of the soldiers came inside and searched the house. He then told us to go outside. When we were outside I saw the soldiers drag a man out of another house. They started beating him with their guns. They were beating him severely and he was crying. The man then ran, and I saw the soldiers shoot him. I heard the gunshots and saw him fall. On the other side of the road the soldiers were beating other people.

"The soldiers told me to leave the place, pushing me to go. I held one of my children in my arms and the other one I dragged. I was with two other women. We heard gunshots everywhere, so we did not know who was who. When we were running we saw dead bodies on the road and some outside houses. Some [of the bodies] were women and children, but the children were fewer. Army vehicles were passing from here to there, and we saw things with the lights of the vehicles. We were trying to run to save our lives. "We went into the bush and were moving without knowing where we were going. There were a lot of people inside the bush. When we went about half a kilometer, we saw fire everywhere [back] in the town. Almost at midnight we reached one place and slept there. The following day we woke up and found our way toward [name of location withheld]. "Later we heard that all the houses around where we lived were burned…. We lost two people among our family: my brother and my cousin. I was told some people saw their dead bodies in the river. Even my neighbors lost family members both men and women. I have not gone back to Baga." A farmer described to Human Rights Watch how soldiers set fire to houses in the "Kampala Ward" of Baga on the morning of April 17: "On Tuesday [April 16] around 8 p.m. we heard gunshots in the town. I was in the house. Our house is in the northern part of Baga. I heard gunshots and explosions in the southern part of the town. I also saw fire. I stayed in our house for about two hours. The gunshots started to increase rapidly and we saw that a large part of the town was on fire. When we saw this, I ran

to the bush with my family. We spent the night in the bush. "The following morning, I came back to the town. I saw about six military vehicles and groups of soldiers in Kampala Ward. The soldiers were putting fire on the houses. It was about 9:30 a.m. I saw a group of soldiers throw explosive devices into houses. It was a military device which as a layman I would not know. They would throw it and then fire would come out of it. I saw them do this to about 10 houses. I was about 100 meters away. I snuck out of the place and ran back to the bush…. I [haven't gone] back to my house, but my older brother said that that our area wasn't affected. None of my family members were killed." A 42-year-old fisherman described how he and his family fled their home in "Kalumbu Quarters" of Baga after gunfire erupted on the evening of April 16: "It was on Tuesday, around 7 p.m. we heard gunshots and all of us ran into the house. I live in Kalumbu Quarters. It is in the middle of the town. The gunshots were getting too much and were getting closer to our quarters. We came out and ran helter-skelter everywhere. I was with my family - my wife and two children - and some neighbors. We heard gunshots everywhere. We also heard a lot of explosions. Two of my friends I work with were shot. We were running together with them. They were behind us and we saw them fall. We couldn't do anything about it. We just ran to escape the bullets. "I don't know whether it was military or Boko Haram [who shot them]. We saw two people with Kalashnikovs [AK assault rifles]. They were not wearing army uniforms. I think they were Boko Haram members. They were running and shooting. We saw some [other] dead bodies by the side of the road. A neighbor of mine and his two children were also killed in the incident. We ran together with them - they were behind us. When we looked back we didn't see them. The other people who came from that side told us that they were killed. We ran toward [name of location withheld], because it would be safer there. "After we left the town, we saw some fires in the town…. I heard that my house has been burned and the houses of most of my neighbors were burned. We were told that 45 percent of the town has been burned. I will never go back there. What will I do there?"



NEWS Lagos special status bill underway

ACN rejects reports on Baga


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has rejected the prelimiLANS are underway to nary report on the send a bill on the special status for Lagos to destruction of Baga, a border community about 180 the National Assembly, it was kilometre north of learnt yesterday. Maiduguri, Borno State. The bill is being sponsored The report was submitted to by the three senators the President on Tuesday representing Lagos State– by the Defence HeadquarGaniyu Solomon (West), Oluremi Tinubu (Central) and ters and the National EmerSegun Ashafa (East). gency Management Agency For 14 years, prominent (NEMA). Lagosians, including the former ACN said available verifigovernor, Senator Bola Tinubu, able evidence has shown his successor, Mr. Babatunde that the investigation that Fashola (SAN), former Federal produced the reports was Commissioner for Works, everything but thorough. Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN), the In a statement in Lagos Olowo-Eko of Lagos, Oba yesterday by its National Rilwan Akiolu frontline Publicity Secretary, Alhaji businessman, Sir Molade Lai Mohammed, the party Okoya-Thomas and other called for an urgent and inleaders have been agitating for dependent investigation a special status for the into the incidents of April 16 metropolis. at Baga to establish the truth, National Assembly sources instead of an apparently said that the three senators are shoddy investigation that seeking support for the bill could only have produced a among other senators, with a convoluted report. view to making the clamour ‘’Those who carried out for special status to have a that investigation apparently national outlook. The sources said that the three senators had discountenanced the fact that been sensitising and reminding in today’s world, nothing is hidden. Thanks to the sateltheir colleagues about the historic position of Lagos as the nation’s former federal capital and commercial nerve centre. One of the sources said: “The bill that is coming to the Senate is timely because the National Assembly is set to review the Constitution. All Nigerians believe that Lagos is home to all of us and there is hardly any family in Nigeria that does not have a member in Lagos. “Many National Assembly members also have connections-educational, work and professional-with the state. It is the melting point and rallying point”. By Emmanuel Oladesu


•Demands independent investigation lite imagery released by Human Rights Watch on Wednesday, the world is now aware of the massive devastation that occurred in Baga. It is actually worse than what has been reported! ‘’The satellite images support the conclusion by the rights group that 2,275 buildings were destroyed in the clashes. They also seem to support the statements credited to the Senator representing the area, Lawan Maina, who put the death toll at 220. ‘’Contrast this to NEMA’s conclusion that far less than 1,000 homes were destroyed, or the military high command’s finding that only 36 people were killed, and it becomes glaring that something is wrong somewhere. ‘’The Nigerian media, now the favourite whipping boy of an increasingly edgy administration, has come under fire for reporting the massive killings and devastation. But those criticising the Nigerian media should

endeavour to follow the international media’s reportage of the events in Baga to see that the local media is not just crying wolf,’’ it said. ACN said Nigeria would have been spared the global opprobrium resulting from the Baga tragedy, had the government and the military carried out a more diligent investigation of the incidents instead of acting in a defensive manner and trivialising the destruction wrought in Baga by saying most of the destroyed houses were made of thatched roofs anyway, as if it was a sin to live in such structures. The party went on: ‘’In case the government has not seen the report of Human Rights Watch on the Baga tragedy, here is a quote from it: ‘The Nigerian military has a duty to protect itself and the population from Boko Haram attacks, but the evidence indicates that it engaged more in destruction than in protection...The glar-

ing discrepancies between the facts on the ground and statements by senior military officials raise concerns that they tried to cover up military abuses’,’’ The party said while the party will not conclude that all the destruction and the killings in Baga were carried out by soldiers, the truth is that the military, an embodiment of state power, bears more responsibility anytime it is involved in a situation similar to that of Baga, or Odi and Zaki Biam before it. ‘’There is no doubt that Boko Haram, with its scorched earth tactics, may have engaged in actions that put the lives of civilians in jeopardy in Baga. But these insurgents have no rules of engagement like the military, and definitely do not value human lives. Therefore, the military, in engaging the insurgents in built-up areas, must strictly adhere to its rules of engagement to avoid or mini-

Nigeria, Canada sign investment pact in Ottawa From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

TO boost investments, Nigeria and Canada yesterday signed a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) in Ottawa, Canada. A statement by Umar Sani, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, said the ceremony was witnessed by Vice President Namadi Sambo. Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and his Canadian counterpart, Hon. Ed Fast signed the agreement.

Literary Day holds May 8 By Nneka Nwaneri

BOOK publishing giant Macmillan is set to hold this year’s Youth Literary Day with the theme: Nigeria, my years, my Hopes. The seventh of its annual series will hold on May 8 at the Muson Centre, Lagos. The company’s ViceChairman, Mrs Francesca Emmanuel said the event will feature poetry, prose, drama and storytelling. “This is a synergy of the education sector, so we are filling the gap by making them pay cognizance to arts”. Mrs Emmanuel said.

•L-R: The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, ‘Gbenga Ashafa, Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Public Health, Mrs Yewande Adeshina, Special Guest of Honour and Lagos State Governor’s wife , Dame Abimbola Fashola and Conmissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, at the Lagos East Senatorial Town Hall Meeting on Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction Programme in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos...yesterday

•Alhaji Mohammed

mize the death of innocent civilians or destruction of their property,’’ the party said. It restated its earlier statement that the killings in Baga may constitute crimes against humanity, hence the International Criminal Court (ICC), which opened a preliminary investigation of the Boko Haram crisis last year, must include the Baga tragedy in its investigation.

‘Only 266 officers are intelligent’ From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Of 5000 police officers that were assessed for intelligence gathering, only 266 qualified for the job, Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Force Intelligence Bureau Solomon Arase has said. Arase spoke in Benin City yesterday at the inauguration of Zone ‘5’ Intelligence Bureau Ultra modern office complex built by W/ASP Patience Omokaro and her men through community assistance. According to the AIG, ‘not every police officer can be an intelligent officer. After we carried out assessment test on the officers on ground, we discovered that a lot of them have to go”. “Intelligence is knowledge-based. If you don’t have the knowledge, you can’t be an intelligent officer”, he added.

Court upholds National Assembly’s powers to legislate on candidates’ nomination by parties


FEDERAL High Court, Lagos, yesterday upheld the powers of the National Assembly to legislate on how political parties should nominate candidates for elections. It refused the plaintiff’s prayer to invalidate Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). The section lays down the procedure for the conduct of primaries by political parties seeking to nominate candidates. The court held that the exercise of the National Assembly’s regulatory powers as contained in Section 228 of the 1999 Constitution gave rise to the enactment of the Electoral Act. It added that all the sections/provisions of the Electoral Act apply to all political parties equally and without any discrimination. Justice Okechukwu Okeke delivered the judg-

By Joseph Jibueze, Legal Reporter

ment in a suit by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), represented by its National Legal Adviser, Dr Muiz Banire. The party sued the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The second defendant was represented by Mr Adindu Ugwuzor. ACN sought a declaration that the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) are inconsistent with the provisions of Section four and 228 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Being inconsistent, it is therefore “ultra vires (beyond the powers of) the National Assembly, null and void to the extent of their inconsistency,” the plaintiff said.

The party prayed the court to declare the section unconstitutional and void for mandating the conduct of and the manner of conducting primary elections by political parties for elections into the offices of the President, Vice-President, Governor, National Assembly and State House of Assembly. It sought a declaration that the procedure adopted by a political party for the conduct of primaries for nomination of its candidates in an election is outside the National Assembly’s legislative domain. The party formulated four issues for determination, including whether the National Assembly has the power to legislate on the procedure for nomination of candidates by political parties, having regard to the supremacy of the Constitution and the clear enumeration of the lawmakers’ powers with

respect to political parties. In a supporting affidavit, the deponent, Aketu Eromosele, said: “I was informed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the National Publicity Secretary of the plaintiff while instructing our law firm on the 26th day of July, 2012 in out office…and I verily believe that the said Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) has affected the right of the plaintiff to determine its political fortunes in accordance with its principles contained in its Constitution and other relevant documents. “As a matter of fact, the members of the plaintiff feel aggrieved that they cannot further their common goal of freely choosing their ambassadors.” But INEC, in its counter affidavit, argued that Section 87 applies not only to ACN, but all other politi-

cal parties in Nigeria, without any exemption. It said the Act did not put the plaintiff in any position of disadvantage and is not in any way prejudicial to it. “Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 has not infringed on the right of the plaintiff at all but is intended to make it abide by democratic tenets and principles of equality and fairness,” INEC said. Justice Okeke held that the conduct of election into political offices is INEC’s exclusive duty. “In doing so, there must be order,” the judge said, adding: “Section 87 is to ensure that there is a levelplaying ground for all Nigerians. It is not targeted at the plaintiff only. “There is no merit in this application and it is hereby dismissed. There shall be no order as to cost.”



NEWS Fed Govt withdraws charges against Leadership journalists

Tinubu: Nigeria should do more on health information, others T

CTION Congress Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday said the country has a lot to catch up with in health information, care and delivery, to reinvigorate the health sector. The frontline politician said the poor state of health services in Nigeria must be halted to avoid losing some of the nation’s best minds to sudden and preventable deaths. Tinubu spoke in Lagos at the Nigerian Medical Association’s (NMA’s) 53rd annual general conference and delegates’ meeting, tagged: Eko 2013 with the theme: Potentials for Improving Health Care Delivery in Nigeria. Represented by former Lagos State Health Commissioner Dr Leke Pitan, the ACN National Leader stressed that the consequences for not keeping in tandem with the latest techniques, procedures and research are affecting the sec-


By Wale Adepoju

tor. He advised Federal and state governments to scale up their performance, adding: “We must key into the global trend in the medical field and seize the opportunities the new digital platforms offer.” Tinubu, who was the chairman of the event, said to have e-Health or health information is highly desirable, especially since the world has become a global village. “With health informatics in place, the funds expended on medical tourism can be reduced and even curtailed,” he said. The former Lagos State governor reiterated his support for the ACN and the All Progressives Congress (APC) towards achieving a society where qualitative and affordable health care can be guaranteed for everybody. Tinubu said it had always been his desire to promote

‘We put in place, under my administration, blindness prevention programme, free open heart surgeries, free limb deformity surgical corrections and free emergency and ambulance services, among others’

any system that alleviates the suffering of the people. He said: “We put in place, under my administration, blindness prevention programme, free open heart surgeries, free limb deformity surgical corrections and free emergency and ambulance services, among others.” The frontline politician said e-Health is the only way to reach out to the people in large numbers. “Patients can relate directly and promptly to their

personal physicians and get emergency assistance, if necessary, and have access to laboratory and other medical reports on-line,” Tinubu said. NMA President Dr Osahon Enabulele said Nigeria does not yet have a strategic policy for sustained utilisation of eHealth that can maximise its alluring and undeniable benefits to strengthen the health system and improve access to health care in the face of limited resources and acute shortage of manpower. He said the NMA was willing to collaborate with the government, through the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Communication and Technology, to put in place an effective strategy for implementing e-Health across the country. Enabulele urged Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola to end casualisation of doctors and implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

HE trial of two journalists with the Leadership Newspapers ended dramatically yesterday as the Federal Government indicated its intention to withdraw the six-count charge it filed against the duo. Group News Editor Tony Amokeodo, and Political Correspondent Chibuzor Ukaibe were arraigned on April 30 before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for alleged forgery and publication of false information. Upon their not guilty plea, the judge admitted them to N500,000 bail and one surety each. Both sureties, the judge held, must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court and also have legitimate means of livelihood. The government’s withdrawal is coming as the defence lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the charge and the court’s jurisdiction to hear and determine the charge. The government’s notice of withdrawal/discontinuance of charges, dated April 30, 2013 was filed yesterday. It reads: “Take notice that the complainant, the Hon. Attorney general of the federation intends that the criminal proceedings consisting 6-counts charge against the accused persons, Tony Amokeodo, Chibuzor Ukaibe, Leadership group ltd, be discontinued and the 6-counts against them are hereby withdrawn.” Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), private prosecutor engaged by the government, signed the notice for the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN). Falana argued that the court lacked “the requisite jurisdiction to entertain and determine this complaint as presently constituted”. He urged the court “to strike out and or dismissing the instant complaint for want of jurisdiction”. The lawyer hinged his application on the ground that the charge brought against the accused was on forgery and not on any loss of revenue by the Federal Government. This, he averred, robbed the Federal High Court of the jurisdiction to hear the case. “In the instant case, the charge brought against the accused discloses no loss of revenue by the Federal Government to cloth the Federal High Court with the jurisdiction to entertain same. The instant complaint is limited only to forgery. For the Federal High Court to have jurisdiction over same, it must also involve or relate to loss of revenue by the government. “That statement of offence does not bring the instant matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.”

Stakeholders disagree on Bill From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


TAKEHOLDERS yesterday disagreed during a public hearing on a Bill to make environmental health officers more effective through an amendment to the principal Act and add to their functions the responsibility of monitoring sanitation infrastructure. The public hearing of the Bill, entitled: A Bill for An Act to Amend the Environmental Health Officers (Registration, etc) Act, 2002 And For Other Related Matters, was at the instance of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment, headed by Uche Ekwunife.

ASUP to continue strike •A container on a trailer fell down at Salolo, on the Abeokuta-Lagos Expressway.

How to sustain press freedom, by Editors HE Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) yesterday said the line between press freedom and repression is thin. It said eternal vigilance is, therefore, needed at all times so that freedom of expression is not suppressed. The Guild, reflecting on the World Press Freedom Day, observed every May 3, noted that the celebration affords journalists the opportunity to reflect on the state of the media. In a statement by its President, Mr Femi Adesina, NGE said the media should be partners in development and worthy allies in nurtur-


By Our Reporter

ing Nigeria’s democracy and the quest for a great country. It regretted that rather curiously, successive administrations in Nigeria have always treated the media with suspicion, if not as an adversary. “This is a regrettable mindset, which a day like today can help to correct,” the NGE said. The statement added: “Nigeria’s robust and vibrant media has a worthy history of commitment to noble causes, and played key roles in the struggle for independence, democratic rule, social justice, freedom of speech,

human rights, and the like. “Today, the media is still in the vanguard of upholding all that is noble, just, fair, and, indeed, all that would redound to the progress and development of our country. “Recent developments in the country have, however, reinforced the uneasy relationship that often exists between government and the media. “But we urge the government to stoutly resist anything that might bear the slightest semblance to a curtailment of the freedom of the press, either overtly or covertly. “The media parades pro-

Reps seek interest-free loans for students HE House of Representatives is set to resuscitate an interest-free loan for students of higher learning following the second reading of a Bill for an Act to Provide Easy Access to Higher Education for Nigerians, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila. The lawmaker explained that the growth of a country depends on the level of education of its citizens. He said education should not be seen as a privilege but a right. The House Minority Leader regretted that school fees have become major impediments for many parents wishing to give their chil-


From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

dren higher education. He said: “Needless to say that there is no way we can talk about nation-building without sound education. Access to higher education should be opened up and not to those that can afford it only. “Many have lost admission to schools of higher learning due to their inability to pay school fees. As legislators, what we can do is to take this as our constituency project to advance the plights of the people we represent.

fessionals who are passionate and committed to the growth and development of the country on all fronts, and they do not deserve to be hounded, repressed or harassed in any form. “If there are inadvertent infractions of the rules, we expect nothing but the strictest conformity to due process and the rule of law in addressing such. “There are certain approaches that are incompatible with democratic norms. We do not expect that our governments at various levels will still resort to such, 14 years into unbroken democratic rule. “The media industry today groans under high cost of production inputs. Let the government use the occasion of World Press Freedom Day today to appraise how it can make life easier for the press. “An industry that operates under near-economic strangulation, due to unfriendly policies from government, cannot be said to be really free. “Nigerian editors will always give their best to engender cohesion and harmony in the polity. It is our sacred duty and calling.”


ITH one voice, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) yesterday voted for the continuation of the ongoing indefinite strike it started on April 22. The Federal Government, it was learnt, has failed to meet its demands. ASUP President Chibuzo Asomugha read the communique of the committee’s meeting in Abuja.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

He said: “All polytechnics shall remain closed and no form of services shall be rendered by our members throughout the period of the strike.” The union leader explained that within the period of the one-week warning strike to the declaration of the indefinite strike, the government had opportunity to tackle the problems which led to the strike and normalcy.

How to reduce visa application headache, by US Embassy By Olukorede Yishau

HE United States (US) Mission in Nigeria yesterday released a guideline on how visa applicants can ensure their applications are not refused. The statement issued by the Public Affairs Section of the American Consulate General in Lagos, said most refusals were as a result of non-adherence to the rules. The statement said applicants wishing to travel to the U.S. during Summer 2013 must start the documentation immediately. The mission said prospective Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) applicants’ passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of travel. It said: “If your passport is due to expire within six months of your planned dates of travel, please renew your passport before you make an appointment. “The NIV appointment system for the U.S. Mission in Nigeria is managed by a third-party provider through the US Travel Docs website. All NIV appointments must be made through the US Travel Docs website directly. Visit http:// for detailed instructions on how to book a visa appointment in Lagos or Abuja and for detailed information on the required costs and documentation.”




NEWS Prosecute Ayo Jeje’s killers now, family cries From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


HE family of the late Mr. Ayo Jeje (38), who was killed by gunmen on March 30 in Erijiyan-Ekiti, has urged the police to expose his killers. Jeje’s remains were interred yesterday at Aba Medi (Medi village) on the outskirts of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital. He is survived by a wife, Ronke and four children. Speaking with reporters at the funeral, Jeje’s elder brother, Michael Oladunjoye, said “justice must be done in the case”. Describing Jeje’s murder as “painful and uncalled for”, he urged the government to support the widow financially. Oladunjoye said: “This is a clear case of murder. The family has left the matter in the hands of God and the government to do the needful by bringing the perpetrators to book. “There is no point killing one another for any reason. It is not the person that was killed that will suffer; it is the immediate dependant of the dead that will live in eternal agony. People should realise these collateral implications and think twice before killing human beings like them. People should desist from do-or-die politics.”

Lagos Task Force arrests 183 ‘hoodlum’ in Oshodi By Miriam Ekene-Okoro


HE Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit has arrested 183 suspected hoodlums in Oshodi and Mafoluku. Thirteen of them were arrested at an abandoned pit toilet in Mafoluku and 170 in Oshodi. Nineteen of those arrested in Oshodi were women, including two expectant under-aged girls and three nursing mothers. Fully-armed officials of the task force stormed Oshodi at 1am on Wednesday and arrested the suspected hoodlums, who were taken to the task force’s office at Alausa in a Black Maria. Chairman of the task force Bayo Sulaiman, a Chief Superintendent of Police, said 46 of the suspected hoodlums weres exconvicts. He said 20 under-aged boys and eight under-aged girls were among those arrested. Sulaiman said the minors would be taken to the Lagos State Remand Home. He said two of those held at Mafoluku, who were found to be innocent, have been freed. Sulaiman said his men demolished the abandoned toilet, which had become a hide-out for criminals. He said the task force would continue to raid the hideouts of suspected hoodlums. The suspects will be charged to court today.

EKSU students protest varsity’s directive on fees S TUDENTS of the Ekiti State University yesterday protested the “illogical no-fee-no-lecture rule” by the school’s management. As early as 6:30am, the students gathered at the university’s gate in their hundreds, singing solidarity songs. They said the management was being inconsiderate by enforcing the payment of school fees five weeks into a new semester. The students prevented lecturers from going into the university, halting vehicular movement for almost five hours. This caused a gridlock on the road leading to Iworoko. Although the protest was peaceful, scores of policemen and officials of the Nigeria Se-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

curity and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who came in over 10 Hilux vans, were deployed in strategic positions around the institution to forestall a breakdown of law and order. One of the students, simply identified as Ifeoluwa, said the university has been “using alternative means to hike the fees above the officially-announced N50,000”. He said in some departments, students pay as much as N150,000. Ifeoluwa said: “Apart from

the fee, which is killing us, the authorities have made a rule that students must wear uniforms. Some of the faculties now insist that their students must wear a particular colour combination on certain days. What kind of high-handedness is that? “The authorities have also banned student union activities. We will resume here every morning until the fees are reduced and the decision on uniforms is changed.” It was gathered that the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dipo Aina, and a few principal officers of the institution, who arrived at their offices earlier,

Hoodlums disrupt Accord’s rally in Ibadan


OODLUMS yesterday disrupted a rally organised by the Accord in Olomi, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The rally was organised to receive new members into the party. Chairs, tables and canopies were destroyed and cars vandalised. The vehicle of a reporter with the Newswatch Daily, Laide Oyelude, was also vandalised. The hoodlums threw stones at the security agents, who intervened, but the situation was

were sneaked out in a Toyota Hilux ambulance. But the VC denied the report. He said only 1,227 of the 14,000 students had paid their fees. Describing the protest as illegal and unjustifiable, Aina said the insistence on the “nofee-no-lecture rule” was justifiable in view of the management’s past experiences. He said the gates would remain shut to students, who fail to pay their fees. Aina said there has been a continuous dialogue between student leaders and the institution on how to restore the Students Union Government (SUG). He said EKSU’s fees are the lowest compared with other state-owned institutions.

Ekiti to demolish 78 houses

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

eventually brought under control. The Accord alleged that the hoodlums were supporters of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Ibrahim Olaifa (Oluyole Federal Constituency) alleged that the hoodlums were members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). But the ACN’s Publicity Secretary Dauda Kolawole said the party had nothing to do with the clash, adding that the ACN is against violence. Addressing the defectors, the leader of the Accord in the state, former Governor Rashidi Ladoja, deplored the violence.

casts by some television stations, he said the government has approved the establishment of a meteorological station as well as the conduct of hydro-geophysical investigation for ground water pollution in Ado-Ekiti. He said this would keep the people abreast of heavy rainfall and prepare them for it. Fayemi said the government has approved the construction of six public toilets in Ado and other local government headquarters. He said the bus stops to be built in the state capital before the end of the year would also have toilets. Commissioner for Environment Dr. Eniola Ajayi said the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has started channelisation in floodprone areas.



HE Ekiti State Government has marked 78 houses built on the waterways in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, for demolition. Governor Kayode Fayemi announced this yesterday during an advocacy meeting with stakeholders on Environment. He said the marked structures were a threat to other buildings in the areas. Fayemi said they were marked for demolition after an assessment by the Ministry of Environment. Lamenting the exclusion of the state from weather fore-

Rights group cautions Falae, Fasehun, Adams


HUMAN rights group, the National Progressive Movement of Nigeria, has warned the former presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party (APP), Chief Olu Falae and leaders of the Odua Peoples Congress, Dr. Frederick Fasehun and Gani Adams, against activities that are inimical to the Yoruba nation. In a statement yesterday by its National Chairman, Alhaji Misbaaudeen Adekojo, and Coordinator Akin Omokin, the group alleged that the trio had been compromised. It said: “We observe the re-

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

cent activities of Falae, Fasehun and Adams with trepidation. Falae’s recent merger plan is aimed at undermining the intention of the merger talks among the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). “Falae is the harbinger of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) used by the ruling cabal in 1986 as the Secretary to the Federal Government. In

1999, he was the agent of the cabal, who thwarted the aspiration of the late Chief Bola Ige to obtain the presidential ticket. “Now that the progressives are organising a merger to wrest power from the ruling cabal, Falae is aspiring to organise Yorubaland against the merger in a fake progressive garb, indirectly assisting the corrupt cabal. “Fasehun and Adams, who are now on the trail of being used through the award of dubious pipeline contracts, are employing familiar tactics to bamboozle the people while lining up against them.”

Oyo Assembly set to resolve boundary dispute


HE Oyo State House of Assembly has resolved to settle the boundary dispute among Ijio in Iwajowa Local Government of the state and Moriwi and Iwoye in Imeko-Afon council in Ogun State. The resolution was reached yesterday at plenary, shortly after the report of the Chairman of the House Committee on Lands, Housing and Survey, Wahab Oladejo, who visited


From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

the disputed areas earlier in the week. Oladejo said: “The border areas of Ijio, Moriwi and Iwoye had never been disputed areas in terms of boundary identification. This is because the Oha River has clearly demarcated the boundary of the two states” He recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture, Natu-

ral Resources and Rural Department be mandated to stop the environmental degradation in Ijio and its environs through intensive tree planting campaign and enlightenment programmes. Oladejo said there was an urgent need for Ogun and Oyo states’ boundary committees and the National Boundary Commission to dialogue and address grey areas.

‘Babcock hasn’t increased fees’ HE Vice-Chancellor of Babcock University, Prof. Kayode Makinde, yesterday said the institution has not increased its

fees. He urged the public to ignore an advert on the Internet, which claims that the fees had been increased. Makinde said the fees had not been in-

By Medinat Kanabe

creased in the last three years and the institution had no plan to increase it this year. He said: “Tuition fee remains N380,000 for 100 and 200-level students; N310,000 for 400 and 500-level students and the average school fees in Babcock is N630,000 per session, which includes tuition, boarding, feeding and others.




Osun saves N8.6b through Opon Imo


SUN State has saved N8.6 billion through the introduction of its unique learning tablet, Opon Imo, to pupils. Deputy Governor Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, who is also the Commissioner for Education, spoke yesterday at the Best Western Hotel, Lagos, while presenting the tablet to the media. She said the initiative would boost the performance of pupils in both internal and external examinations. Mrs. Laoye-Tomori said: “The Opon Imo, an initiative of the Osun State Government, was produced in partnership with a Chinese firm. It has been uploaded with 63 e-textbooks (56 core texts and seven extracurricular texts) tailored to the Nigerian curriculum for use by

•’Tablet ’ll reverse decline in education’ From Lucas Ajanaku, Assistant Editor, Business and Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

the three senior secondary level classes (SS1-SS3). It contains lesson notes for 17 subjects tested in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), which were prepared by seasoned tutors, as well as 40,000 past questions of WASSCE, the National Examination Council (NECO) and the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), written in the past 10 years. It also contains Yoruba proverbs and the English dictionary.” She said an average textbook for secondary school

pupils cost a minimum of N1,000 and explained that the state government would have spent N8.6 billion on the purchase of textbooks, if it had not come up with the tablet. Mrs. Laoye-Tomori said: “We will be saving the state a lot of money because of the ebooks. The average textbook costs N1,000. If we assume there are 56 textbooks in the e-library, it would cost the state N8.6 billion if we were to buy the books for 150,000 pupils. It only cost us N200 million to produce 56 core e-textbooks. “We have been running this on the internet. Some countries outside Nigeria have contacted us about it. We will produce the tablets and other states can get

them from us. We will create jobs for our youths with the Opon Imo. We told the Chinese we would not do business with them except they set up a factory in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, to assemble the tablets.” The deputy governor said when the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration assumed office, the education sector was in comatose and infrastructure in schools were at various levels of decadence. She said the governor came up with various initiatives to turn the situation around, adding that Opon Imo is one of them. Mrs. Laoye-Tomori said: “Pupils can test themselves after reading. There are guided tips on how to answer exami-

nation questions in the integrated test zone. We pride ourselves as the innovators of this unique initiative. It is unique because it has been designed to tackle the menace of lack of text books. We are happy to be the first government anywhere in the world to develop a tool that will democratise education. It will make learning and teaching easy and stop the low enrolment of pupils in science subjects. It is designed for pupils in Nigeria and other West African countries who write WAEC.” To avoid abuse, she said the government deactivated the tablet from the Internet, but left games on it to help the pupils relax. The tablet also contains the Bible, Quran and Ifa verses.

•Mrs. Laoye-Tomori (middle); representative of the Opon Imo Project Coordinator, Phillips Consulting Limited, Oluwaseun Ngonnase (left); Permanent Secretary, Osun State Ministry of Education, Femi Fawole (second left); Opon Imo Planning Commitee member, Bola Ilori (second right) and Special Adviser to the Governor on Youths, Sports & Special Needs, Mr. Biyi Odunlande, at the presentation...yesterday. PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID.

Ondo tribunal rules today


HE Ondo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Akure, the state capital, will today rule on the petitions of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); its candidate, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Olusola Oke. Yesterday, Akeredolu urged the Commissioner of Police, Patrick Dokumor, to tighten security at the tribunal and in Owo, his hometown. In a petition signed by his counsel, Mr. Titiloye Charles, Akeredolu alleged plans by thugs loyal to the Labour Party (LP) to attack him and his supporters at the tribunal and

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

the spirit of sportsmanship. The command said it would deal ruthlessly with anybody, who tries to foment trouble. The atmosphere was calm in Akure yesterday and security men were not in the streets. Politicians gathered in various places speculating about what the tribunal’s judgment would be. It was gathered that some groups have bought the clothes they would wear to celebrate, if their candidate and party emerges victorious. Though security agencies have not made any announce-



ment on the traffic arrangement, it is expected that traffic would be diverted from the ever busy Hospital Road as was done during the hearing of the petitions.

HE Lagos State House of Assembly has urged the Minister of the Interior; the Nigeria Immigration Service and other agencies to stop giving jobs meant for Nigerians to foreigners. The Assembly passed the resolution at plenary on Tuesday after a motion on the subject was moved by the Chief Whip, Mr. Abdulrazaq Balogun. The motion, titled: Foreigners taking up limited employment opportunities in Nigeria, was cosponsored by Deputy Speaker Kolawole Taiwo; Mr. Ipoola Omisore (Ifako/Ijaiye 11); Mr. Moshood Oshun (Lagos Main-

Lagos to prosecute suspected kidnappers


HE trial of the first set of suspected kidnappers arrested in Lagos will begin on May 16. The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, announced this yesterday during the ministry’s monthly media briefing. He said the state government was determined to keep Lagos kidnap-free and urged residents to be careful of who they associate with. Ipaye said: “I assure the

We are giving the police and other security agencies full support and this is yielding results. In the next few days, you will see me in court with the first set of persons accused of kidnapping and this will be a continuous exercise. By Adebisi Onanuga

public that Lagos State is one place where kidnappers are actually being arrested. We are giving the police and oth-

er security agencies full support and this is yielding result. In the next few days, you will see me in court with the first set of persons accused of

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

Dr. Ayobami Adesina, the eldest son of a former Oyo State Governor, the late Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, has said the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) will win more states in 2015. He said the progress witnessed in ACN-governed states would give the party an advantage. Adesina spoke with reporters yesterday at his late father’s home in Felele, Ibadan, the state capital. He said the voters are wise and they know which party is performing. Adesina said: “People from other parts of the country can see the rapid development recorded by the ACN administrations in the Southwest. Sometimes I wonder how far the region would have gone, if ACN had been in power since 1999. There would have been a great transformation. “When people see other parts of the country progressing drastically, they will want the same to happen in their respective states. So in the 2015 elections, I see the ACN winning more states in the Southsouth, Southeast and the North.” On the need for local government autonomy, the doctor said the federal and state governments are too far from the grassroots. He said tremendous growth would occur at the grassroots, if financial autonomy is granted to councils.

Lagos Assembly warns against employing foreigners

•Akeredolu alleges plot to attack his supporters •Police assure residents of security in Owo. He urged the commissioner to take “pre-emptive steps to protect the life and property of residents, during and after the tribunal’s sitting”. Also yesterday, the police assured residents of security during and after the tribunal’s sitting. It said it has adequate manpower to maintain peace in the state. In a statement by its spokesman, Wole Ogodo, the police urged the politicians to accept the tribunal’s judgment with

‘ACN’ll win more states in 2015’

kidnapping and this will be a continuous exercise.” He said the government was sustaining its effort to decongest prisons by avoiding the delay of trials, which he said was often caused by the delay in issuing legal advice and deciding whether or not there was enough evidence to prosecute. Ipaye said the government aims to decongestion prisons through the monitoring of its community service unit, add-

ing that 202 community service cases were completed last month. This brings the number of completed community service cases to 1,356. The commissioner said the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), Directorate for Citizens’ Rights (DCR) and Public Advice Centre (PAC) have continued to offer free and qualitative legal services to the people.

By Oziegbe Okoeki

land 11); Mr. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) and Mr. Yishawu Gbolahan (Eti-Osa 2). The House urged agencies to “curb this unwholesome practice, which is a direct assault on the Nigerian workforce, and employ only foreigners who are permitted to work in the country”. It also urged the National Assembly to “strengthen the Labour and Immigration Acts to protect jobs from management to junior levels, where skills and expertise are available locally, for the exclusive preserve of unemployed Nigerians”. The Assembly noted with dismay the increasing unemployment rate, which the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put at 23.9 per cent in 2011. The lawmakers said: “The scarcity of jobs is compounded by epileptic power supply, which has stifled manufacturing industry, and unfriendly lending interest rates, which have crippled the entire business environment. “It is only reasonable that the few existing jobs should be for the exclusive preserve of Nigerians, as is done globally.”



NEWS Three drown in Rivers

Ibori loses appeal in Britain

From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt


OUR passengers were flung yesterday into the Mbiama River from the Orashi-Mbiama Bridge, in Rivers State when a black Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a bus collided. The bus was said to be coming from Port Harcourt to Bayelsa State. The SUV was on its way to Port Harcourt. A diver, Peter Atama, said: “The accident took place yesterday morning. When we got to the scene, the victims had spent 10 minutes in the water. We were able to rescue one woman. “We also recovered the bodies of the remaining three; we rushed them to a nearby hospital at Ahoada, where doctors confirmed them dead.” “Some of the youths, who came around, set the SUV on fire, because they said it was speeding. “That shouldn’t have been their problem but how to rescue the victims. Because I believe that if any diver was around when the incident took place the three persons would have been rescued.”

UNIBEN sacks 30 workers From Osagie Otabor, Benin


UTHORITIES of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) have sacked 30 workers, including lecturers, for alleged extortion, forgery and admission racketeering. It was gathered that one of the lecturers was sacked after it was discovered that a female student bought him a Blackberry for award of marks but the student failed the course. Sources said four lecturers were sacked in the Department of Microbiology, two were sacked for selling examination questions in the Department of Chemistry and three fired for falsifying discharge certificates. Two workers at the Bursary Department were also fired. The sack of the lecturers, according to sources, was sequel to on-going investigation by the management to weed out substandard lecturers. A source confirmed the sacking of the lecturers. The university’s spokesman, Harris Osarenren, said he was in a meeting. He promised to respond to inquiries later, but he never did.


ONVICTED former Delta State Governor James Ibori’s battle for freedom collapsed yesterday. He lost his appeal against a 13-year prison sentence for embezzling £50 million (about $78 million) while he was governor between 1999 and 2007. The trial at Southwark Crown Court, London, was seen as one of Britain’s biggest money-laundering cases. Ibori approached the appellate court to have his sentence reduced. His lawyers argued that the original judge had indicated the term would be

shorter. But Judge Antony Edwards-Stuart rejected that argument at the appeal hearing, saying money laundering should attract close to the maximum 14-year sentence. Ibori, who pleaded guilty to a 10-count charge of fraud and money laundering in February last year, is the most prominent politician to have been successfully prosecuted for corruption. His counterpart, Lucky Igbinedion, who was Edo State Governor between 1999 and 2007, escaped being sent to jail after he entered into a plea bargain with the Economic and Fi-

nancial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Igbinedion, whose 191count charge had been rolled into one, got a N3.5 million fine from an Enugu High Court. The Ibori case was heard in London after prosecutors argued that although much of the activity in question took place in Nigeria, some money passed through Britain and British banks. During his trial, the court heard how the stolen fortune was used to buy six foreign property and a fleet of cars, although the judge said the total amount stolen may be “in excess of £200 million”. The biggest single fraud in-

volved misappropriating $37 million, when Delta State sold its stake in the mobile telecoms company, V-Mobile (now Airtel). The Ibori case was heralded as a major success for London’s police, with Britain long seen as a destination of choice for corrupt Nigerian politicians to spend their illgotten wealth. Eligible for parole halfway through his jail term, he is likely to be out of prison in three and a half years, having served a year since the trial, a year beforehand awaiting trial in London and a year in Dubai from where he was extradited to Britain.

Three robbery suspects killed From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt


HE police in Rivers State have killed three robbery suspects. Police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam said the suspects were killed by the anti-robbery patrol team in Eleme. The incident, Ugwuegbulam said, took place at 2am yesterday at Ebubu in Eleme, where the suspects attacked a residential building. “On receiving a distress call, the men of the anti-robbery team rushed to the scene and the suspects were intercepted on a motorcycle leaving the building. “When they were searched, a locally-made revolver pistol with three rounds of live .9mm ammunition and one expended shell were recovered from them.” The spokesman also said while taking the suspects to the station, they jumped down from the vehicle and the policemen chased them. “When it was impossible to re-arrest them, the police shot at them. Consequently, they were fatally wounded in the process and were immediately rushed to the General Hospital in Eleme.”

Kidnap suspects’ homes demolished From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba


HE police in Delta State have demolished five homes belonging to kidnap suspects. The police paraded eight suspects for crimes ranging from kidnapping, robbery and gun-running. Commissioner of Police Ikechukwu Aduba, at a briefing yesterday in Asaba, said the houses were located in Orogun, Ughelli North; Ozoro, Isoko North; Kokori, Ethiope East and Warri, Warri South local governments. Aduba said two houses belonging to Kelvin Oniarah, the alleged mastermind of the ambush on prison warders, were destroyed. He said 30 incidents of kidnap/robbery were allegedly carried out by Oniarah and his gang. Aduba said the houses demolished were used as operational bases and cells of kidnappers. The commissioner said the special anti- robbery squad, acting on a tip-off, swooped on a four-man gun-running gang, including a soldier. He identified the suspect as Corporal Okulugbo Anthony attached to 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Imo State. Items recovered include two prohibited pump action rifles and 25 rounds of live cartridges.

Edo reclaims barracks From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


HE Edo State Government has taken possession of its landed property at Oregbeni Community, formerly called Army Barracks. This is coming 35 years after its occupation by the army. The event took place at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja. The Commissioner of Lands and Survey, Osikhena-Boih Donald, who led the government delegation, lauded the civility and maturity displayed by the army in handing over the property to its owner. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Aliyu Ismaila, thanked the government for the magnanimity exhibited during the period they occupied the property. The government in the mid-1960s, then as Midwestern Region, gave the property to the military temporarily to enable the army prosecute the Civil War.

Macaulay (right) with Brig-Gen Akem (left), Col Ifeanyi Otu (behind Macaulay) and Capt Mohammed Abdulahi (behind Gen Akem). INSET:The vehicles. PHOTOS: SHOLA O’NEIL

Army launches squad to tackle Boko Haram, militants


HE Army yesterday in Warri, Delta State, inaugurated a special military force, tagged: Quick Response Group (QRG), aimed at checking the influx of Boko Haram insurgents into the Niger Delta. The QRG will also combat militant groups, illegal bunkering, kidnapping and other criminal activities, which are threatening the fragile peace in the region. The Commander of the 4 Brigade, Brig-Gen Pat Akem, who inaugurated the force, said it was part of the ‘Iron Fence’ security mechanism being deployed by the Federal Government to tackle insecurity in the country.

From Shola O’Neil, Warri

He said: “After analysing the security situation in the state, we decided that we need to do something to stem the tide. “This is part of the Iron Fence deployed to prevent Boko Haram from infiltrating this area. “Let me warn that the Federal Government has signaled that it will not tolerate development of militant camps in the Niger Delta,” he added. The new group is made up of troops from the 3, 222 and 19 battalions, who are expected to man strategic routes, such as the Eku-

Orerokpe-Osubi-Effurun Road, Obiaruku-AbrakaAmukpe and Warri-UghelliPatani Road. Gen Akem, who received 12 Toyota Hilux vans donated by the Delta State Government, said the QRG would mount checkpoints to prevent the movement of criminals, arms and ammunition into the area. He appealed to traditional rulers, community chiefs and clan heads to ensure that their communities are not used as criminal hide-outs. “Henceforth, if we come to community where illegal bunkering is thriving, we will arrest elders of that community.

“ So if any community head notices criminal activities in his area they should notify us,” he said. The Secretary to the State Government, Ovouzorie Macaulay, who represented Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, said the donation was to combat crimes. He said the government has permitted security operatives to demolish any house that is used for criminal activities. Macaulay warned landlords to ensure that they keep tabs on their tenants. “No home should be used to harbour criminals and kidnap victims, because if we find out we shall demolish the building.”

Book launched to eulogise Amaechi •Governor: we’re rebuilding Rivers From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt


BOOK chronicling the achievements of Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi was yesterday unveiled in Port Harcourt amid eulogies from speakers, who described the governor’s performance as unprecedented. Titled: “The Chronology of a Successful Administrator: Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi”, the book by Peter Nekabari Stephen, chronicles the governor’s performance as Speaker from 1999 to 2007, and his legal fight to become gov-


ernor. Senator Magnus Abe, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), who chaired the event, said Amaechi has left an enduring legacy through good governance. He praised the author for finding time to document the governor’s legacy. The senator, who was represented by Innocent Barrikor, noted that the book is factual and succeeded in highlighting the steps Amaechi has taken in the state. “We should begin to challenge the forces of darkness that want to send us million

years backward. “Amaechi’s government is unprecedented; the enemies of good governance are uncomfortable with the governor’s actions.” The book reviewer, Dr. Sunny Mbazie, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, said Amaechi epitomises the fight for justice by fighting for his right to become governor. Amaechi said his administration is rebuilding the state's infrastructure to complement the efforts of its founding fathers. "We are only going back to where our parents left us. There is nothing we are doing now that King Diette-Spiff did not do, but they have all deterio-

rated. So we are going back to where King Diette-Spiff left the state. He built over 200 primary and secondary schools. We even had fish farms but they have all been vandalised. And we are building the monorail project. We have a target of next January to complete the monorail that will be the first in Africa," Amaechi said. He assured that his administration will make good its promise of ensuring 24 hours steady power supply. "We believe that by the time all the power stations have been completed, we should be able to have 715 megawatts. So, for the next four to five years, whoever becomes the next governor will not concentrate in building new infrastructure.





At the moment there is an average of about 18 hours per day of constant power supply to different parts of the country. This feat was brought about by the implementation of the integrated power sector reform programme anchored on the power roadmap. - Minister of Information, Labaran Maku

IFAD commits $88.5m to agric

‘Permits for aircraft should not be politicised’

From Olugbenga Adanikin and Jane Maha, Abuja


HE International Fund for Agricultural De velopment (IFAD) said it has spent about $88.5 million to support the Federal Government Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). IFAD President, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday during a visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. He said the amount would also include financing of a new project in the country’s agricultural sector, which will be between 2013 and 2015. He said: “I am very delighted with reassurances of progress in the transformation agenda, value-chain development programme that IFAD had already committed some funds and the possibility of developing a new programme in the current cycle of 2013 to 2015 where IFAD has committed $88.5 million to support the Ministry’s agricultural transformation agenda.” Nwanze added that the upcoming project would be designed and developed in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry which would suit the strategies and priorities of the Federal Government. Speaking on poverty eradication, he said IFAD is planning to move 80 million people out of poverty circle, adding that the institution would continue to assist the nation’s agriculture development.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa-$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N10.6 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion

RATES Inflation -9% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending -22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $48b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja


• From left: Director-General, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema; Lord Mayor, City of London, Michael Roger Gifford; ringing the trading opening bell and Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc Mr Agboje Aig-Imuokhuede, on the floor of the NSE after a Breakfast Meeting with the Lord Mayor at NSE office in Lagos...yesterday.

Nigeria spends N1b daily on rice


HE Minister of Agri culture and Rural De velopment, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said Nigeria spends N1 billion daily on rice importation. Adesina, who disclosed this in Kebbi State yesterday after inspecting rice farms in Kebbi and Zamfara states, said the Federal Government plans to ban rice importation in 2015. He said: “We spend a billion naira every day importing rice. We import it from Thailand, we import from India. We keep all the farmers of those countries working, fully employed while our farmers are not employed. And we have a lot of unemployment in this country. “That was why Mr President approved the Agricultural Transformation Agenda. The goal of that agenda is to add 20 million metric tons food to our domestic food supply by 2015. We have picked rice and by the grace of God, we will be self-sufficient in rice by 2015. To drive that, the Federal Government is working very closely with the state governments.” The minister said the Federal Government was driving cultivation and process-

• Importation stops in 2015 From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor, Abuja

ing of rice so that the country could be self-sufficient in rice production by 2015. Nigeria, he said, should be an exporter of rice instead of importer of the product, insisting that there was no reason Thailand and India farmers should be smiling to their banks while their counterparts in the country languish in poverty. “Mr President was very clear, by 2015 we will be selfsufficient in rice production. That is why we are driving cultivation of rice so massively. I believe that by 2015 and 2016, when the mills will be fully in operation, Nigeria will have no business importing rice. Nigeria should be an exporter of rice,” he said. According to him, the government is addressing three major issues to acheive self-sufficiency in rice production. “Already, we are addressing three issues simultaneously. First is that we can produce a lot of rice as can be seen in the field and we are going to do even more. We are increasing yield and we are

increasing production. For this year’s dry season alone we did about 264,000 hectres and we are expecting one million metric tons of paddy rice. As we go into the main season, we are going to do much more. I believe that we are doing so well in terms of production. The other one is mills. We are doubling our efforts to be able to do the mills. Once the mills are in operation, we will do even better in terms of finished rice,” Adesina said, adding that buying what other countries are producing and not supporting local famers are serious issues that must be addressed. “So, we are exporting jobs and we are creating poverty and unemployment at home; it doesn’t make any sense. So when all the mills are ready, we will begin to see changes. When that policy was put in place by Mr President, we have 14 large scale integrated rice mills that are working (and) owned by the private sector and their total capacity is 240,000 metric tons. That is why we

have decided that we are going to get those world class integrated rice mills, 100 of them,” he added. “When I say we, it is not government. Government will get funds at a very low interest rate, guarantee moratorium of 10 years repayment. We are working closely with all the states’ government across all political lines so that we will have all these mills. We are facilitating rice mills and we are also facilitating low interest financing to acquire large scale integrated cassava processing plant. We want everybody to see that there is more than enough of rice in the country,” he said further. He said that the governor of Kebbi State has assured that he will guarantee price of rice between N6,000 to N6,500 while his Zamfara State counterpart assured that he will guarantee price of rice between N6,5000 to N7,000 to ensure that farmers are assured of market for their products. On the part of the Federal Government, Adeshina said that it will subsidise the cost of transport for the millers to buy paddy rice from the states.

HE Director-General (DG) designate of the Ni gerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Folayele Akinkuotu, has said permits for aircraft to operate in the country should be based on professionalism and not on political consideration. Akinkuotu spoke at a screening by the Senate Committee on Aviation in Abuja. He said: “Permits for aircraft should not be for political reasons. They must be based on professionalism.” He noted that if safety must be guaranteed in the nation’s airspace, aviation regulators must ensure that everyone plays according to the rules and in line with international standards. The DG nominee condemned the use of private airplanes for commercial purposes. He said the use of private aircraft for commerce was fraudulent and advocated sanctions for defaulters. To get things right in the industry, Akinkuotu said right persons must be recruited as instructors. He stated that 60 per cent of air crashes result from human error. He noted that the most critical aspect of air safety was that relevant government agencies must insist on qualified technical personnel, surveillance, compliance and enforcement. On revenue generation for NCAA, he suggested that there must be a system in place where money was taken at source on behalf of the agency and not left in the hands of third parties. He said he was informed that NCAA was being owed N11 billion, noting that if money is taken at source, the problem would then be solved. He said: “We should capture the money at source as airlines pay electronically.” Akinkuotu promised to improve on the achievements of his predeccessor, Dr. Harold Demuren, if cleared. He said he would do his best to ensure that things work in the agency. He added: “If we take care of little things, big things will not happen.”

National Assembly to establish Budget office


HE National Assem bly is planning to es tablish a Budget and Research Office. A bill sponsored by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, to that effect has already scaled first reading on the floor of the upper chamber. According to a copy of the bill, which was obtained by The Nation in Abuja, the National Assembly Budget and Research Office shall exist to “provide independent and continuous review of the Federal Government budgets including monitoring of existing and proposed

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

programmes. (It shall also) Provide independent unbiased analysis of the budget of the National Assembly and assist all the committees of the National Assembly in developing their annual budgets.” Other functions of the proposed budget office include providing assistance to all committees in both chambers of the National Assembly including information with respect to budget and all bills relating to new budget heads. The office is also expected to furnish information with re-

gards to estimated future revenue and changing revenue conditions. Other functions of the bill include to “provide analysis of the economic implication on the private sector, the budgetary and financial implication on states and local government of any proposed legislation when so required by any committee of the National Assembly.” The Budget Office would also be expected to prepare and present to the National Assembly, periodic forecasts of economic trends and alternative fiscal policies.

It would also avail the Legislature of cost estimates including an analysis of the inflammatory impact of any proposed legislation. In addition, the office will report yearly to both chambers of the National Assembly all items funded in the preceding financial year for which no appropriation was made by the National Assembly and items contained in the Appropriation Act in the preceding financial year, but which were not funded by the Federal Government. According to the bill, the office will be managed by a gov-

erning board which will comprise a chairman and six members representing each of the six geo-political zones and a director-general and three exofficio members. Chairman and members of the board will be appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Moreover, the chairman and members of the board, excluding the director-general and ex-officio members could be removed from office by simple majority votes of each house of the National Assembly.



BUSINESS NEWS World Bank earmarks $1b for agric


HE World Bank Coun try Director for Ni geria, Marie-Francoise Marie Nelly, said the global lender will support the agriculture sector with $1 billion to be spent between three and five years. Nelly spoke during a Technical Dialogue on Gender and Agriculture organised by the bank yesterday in Abuja. She said the bank will not support the Federal Government’s irrigation schemes, arguing that the World Bank had planned to rehabilitate some of the irrigation systems, but was denied access to lands and other forms of support to complement the Federal Government Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). She said: “The World Bank is strongly engaging agriculture. We are planning to commit almost $1 billion in the next three to five years in agriculture. Not only on the aspect of transforming the capacity of women, but also in transforming the tools to improve on productivity. “One area that is on the line is irrigation.We intend to rehabilitate a number of these irrigation schemes, but cannot be allowed to have large land irrigated for farmers and we hope that in doing so, we certainly will not be able to do so anymore.” She described the ATA as a major tool to drive rural-urban growth, achieving food and nutritional security, generate employment as well as position the country among world players in the global food market. According to her, the strategy is to improve on the value chains in a few commodity areas, stressing that women were involved in some programme. Speaking on the rationale for supporting the agriculture, she said the sector employs 70 per cent of labour and contributes about 40 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “We are practically supporting this programme for two specific reasons. First is the role agriculture plays in Nigeria’s economy where

From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

agriculture employs about 70 per cent of the labour force and also represents 40 per cent of Nigerian GDP,” she said. Referring to a report titled: Manifestation of gender inequality in agriculture, Nelly said many people involved in agriculture are women. While applauding Federal Government’s policy on the liberalisation of access to fertiliser input, she expressed concerns on the yield of female farmers compared to their male counterparts. According to her, women would rather spend more of their farm harvest on their children to access quality education, adding that this has made it more imperative to support women farmers in the country by transforming poor households and in doing so, transforming the nation’s economy. She said: “In a study we will be presenting, the team has worked on junior allowance survey panel of 75, 000 households and out of that, almost 60 per cent of them are agricultural households and we think it is a good representation of the structure of Nigerian society and economy. “Looking at females, we see that globally, as part of the national distribution, 35 per cent are females, but if we focus on rural areas, we will see that 50 per cent of people involved in agriculture are women, which are a significant involvement of women in agriculture and we need to see the implication particularly in the peers.” “My question will be, do we make sure women have access to fertilisers? So, in the context of high importance of agriculture in Nigeria, we want to understand how women are participating in agriculture, which is quite significant but the policy proposed, is it adaptive to their specific concerns?” In his presentation on: Who produces more? Men or women?, Markus Goldstein of Africa Region Gender Practice, identified difference in skills, education and extension as major contributing factors.

Reps bicker over N59tr oil deal


ICKERING over which Committee will in vestigate the alleged N59 trillion oil deal involving the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and others, nearly truncated the House of Representatives’decision to continue with the probe. The intervention of the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, who stamped his authority saved the day after Robinson Uwak (PDP, Akwa Ibom) had raised objection over the resolution of the motion that the investigation be undertaken by the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream). Victor Ogene (APGA, Anambra), who moved the motion, had urged the House to constitute an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the alleged shady deal involving the

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

farm-out or allocation of Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 4, 26, 30, 34, 38, 41 and 42; and to report to the House in four weeks. But before the conclusion of his argument, Uwak raised a point of order, citing a section of the House rule that empowers House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate such matters. The presiding officer noted Uwak’s point, but when he was about to rule in the motion, Uwak protested for the second time that his observation has not been ruled on. Another member immediately raised a point of order citing another House rule that forbids members making comments more than once on the same subject. When it became obvious that the proceeding might be jeopardised, the Deputy Speaker exercised his authority and

ruled Uwak out of order after, which the majority of the lawmakers voted in support of the motion. In his argument, Ogene observed that representatives of oil producing ethnic nationalities in Delta State protested the alleged fraudulent allocations of some marginal oil fields at the premises of the National Assembly on Thursday, April 25, 2013. He said: “The protesters complained of the secret and arbitrary farm-out of the Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 4, 26, 30, 34, 38, 41 and 42 to both Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Septa Energy Limited, without regard to the law and due process. “We are, however, aware that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited, compromised officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Petroleum De-

velopment (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which were allegedly accused of impropriety, abuse of due process and fraud in the transactions leading to the farm out of the said oil blocks. “In addition, it was also alleged that a colossal sum of $380 billion or about N59 trillion and $15.72 trillion worth of gas asset were at stake in the shady deal. “It was alleged that there was a deliberate exclusion of indigenous operators from exercising their rights of first consideration or refusal in the deal in violation of sections 3(1), (2) and 5 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act (No 2), 2010, which action obviated the need for an open and competitive bidding in favour of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, which neither tendered nor bidded for the blocks allocated to it.

• Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Mrs Olusola Owuro (2nd right) addressing the press during this year’s Ministerial Press briefing to commemorate the second year of the second term administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) at Alausa, Ikeja ... yesterday. With her is Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr Aderemi Ibirogba (right); Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce and Industry Mr Oluseye Oladejo (2nd left) and Chairman House Committee on PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES Transport Commerce and Industry, Adebisi Yusuf (left).

‘Nigeria’s refineries produce 10.2m litres daily’


HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corpora tion (NNPC) has said Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt refineries produce a total of 10.23 million litres of premium motor spirit (petrol) per day from about eight million litres. The acting spokesperson of the corporation, Tumini Green, in a statement, said the Group Executive Director, Refining and Petrochemicals (NNPC), Anthony Ogbuigwe, made this known yesterday in Abuja. He said the Kaduna Refinery operates at 65 per cent, Warri Refinery at 63 per

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

cent and Port Harcourt Refinery 66 per cent of their installed capacities. Green said the refineries also process 5.53 million litres of dual purpose kerosene daily and 8.016 million litres of automotive gas oil (diesel) daily. According to the statement, Ogbuigwe said: “I can tell you with every sense of responsibility that contrary to the news making the round, all our refineries are doing very well. The major components and various units of Fluid Catalytic Cracking

Units, (FCCU), Crude Distillation Unit (VDU) and Vacuum Distillation Unit (DDU) of all the refineries are working well. In fact, these refineries have been running consistently for over three months.” He explained that the stability in supply of petroleum products is attributed to the performance of the refineries, adding that the scheduled turn around maintenance (TAM) of the refineries is on course. He said the Port Harcourt Refinery has taken delivery of some of the components for its rehabilitation. “I can tell you that five shipments

for the TAM of Port Harcourt Refining and Petrochemical Company have arrived,” he added. He decried the incessant pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft, stressing that the menace is a threat to the nation’s oil and gas industry. He called on stakeholders in the industry and Nigerians to team up with the NNPC to find a lasting solution to the menace to enable the refineries to run without shutting. The Federal Government allocates 445,000 barrels of crude daily to the three refineries.

Court orders NICON Insurance to pay FIRS N200m


FEDERAL High Court sitting in Abuja has awarded more than N200 million against NICON Insurance and National Insurance Commission (NIC) in favour of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The Presiding Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, also granted the claims of the FIRS of 10 per cent interest from February 2008 to date and 10 per cent post judgment sum. According to the Deputy Director, Communication and Liaison Department, the Judge also awarded the cost of N50,000 each against NICON Insurance and NIC.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

The FIRS had through a Writ of Summons, signed by Idrissa Kogo of the Legal and Prosecution Department supported by 33-paragraph Affidavit deposed to by Omofoyewa Taofeek Laide, claimed N99, 917,061.80 against the defendants as a balance of its claims under the Staff Welfare Insurance Scheme with the NICON Insurance. The Service sought a 10 per cent interest per annum from February 2008 till judgment is entered and 60 per cent interest on the judgment sum until it is liquidated.

Also, FIRS sought N100 million as general damages against the defendants for wrongfully holding onto the Service’s N99.9 million despite repeated demands for the said amount. The dispute between FIRS and NICON Insurance arose when FIRS noted that NICON was unable to meet its financial commitments to FIRS beginning from about 2007/ 2008. FIRS told the court it contributed a total of N220 million to the scheme— from staff entitlements and benefits, designed to mortgage the funds of the scheme for the benefit

of FIRS contributing workforce. The scheme kicked off in 1997, when FIRS paid N10 million to NICON. At a reconciliation meeting between FIRS and NICON on February 27, N155, 417,061.80 million was established as NICON’s indebtedness to FIRS. NICON paid an installment of N23 million in March 2008 and another N15 million in May 2008. Between 2008 and December 2010, a total of N17. 5million was paid to FIRS, leaving a balance of N99, 917,061.80, that led to FIRS’ suit.






How to tackle food, nutrition challenges, by experts With food insecurity persisting as the greatest challenge facing humanity in the coming decades, a conference of experts has pushed for programmes to boost food production, address malnutrition and improve livelihoods of farmers. DANIEL ESSIET, who was there, reports.


S Nigeria gears up to provide food security for 70 per cent of its population, participants at a multistakeholders’ workshop organised by the Lagos Business School and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition(GAIN) in Lagos have stressed the need to give priority to investment in agriculture and rural livelihoods. A faculty member, Lagos Business School, Dr Larry Osa-Afiana, said the need to expand the scope for private sector participation across the agriculture value chain, such as pre-production; production; harvesting; processing and packaging; storage; distribution and supporting technology. Managing Director, Uwa Farms, Lady Uwa Osubor, said the government should encourage small scale producers to participate in market. She urged the government to establish a school feeding programme to improve the education and nutrition of children. Noting that good quality nutrition is critical to physical and intellectual development, she said that schools with feeding programmes have had increases in school attendance rates. The President, Nutrition Society, Prof Ngozi Nnam, expressed concerns over the high levels of child malnutrition in the country. She urged the government to take steps to reposition agriculture to reduce the level of chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition, she said, puts children at greater risk of medical complications from illness, infections and micronutrient deficiencies within a short time. The link between micronutrient deficiency and food security, the don explained illustrates the challenges in using food properly. She stressed that addressing food insufficiency is not just about giving hungry people more food but improving the quality of food that they eat. According to her, the focus of farmers is about increasing yields and incomes and not so much what goes to make up the daily food intake. Making the crucial step from quantity to quality, she noted, is key to making real improvements in people’s health and nutrition. Mrs Nnam highlighted the importance of education in positively influencing young people’s eating habits and called on the government to support promotional measures to increase the impact of the school meal scheme. The Executive Director, AACE Foods, Mrs Ndidi Nwuneli, said poor and ill-informed decisions would have adverse consequences on child health, nutrition status and a high risk of transmission of chronic malnutrition to future generations.

• Nwuneli

• Osa-Afiana

•From left: Ameringen; Lawal and Nnam at the workshop.

• From left: Naidoo; Umunna and David-West at the workshop

With increasing dependence on imported foods, Nwuneli said the challenges in the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition are enormous. Technical Expert, Agric–Nutrition, Dr Omo Ohiokpehai, said children are vulnerable to the consequences of food insecurity and malnutrition because of their physiology and high calorie needs for growth and development. She said considerable progress had been made in addressing micronutrient deficiency diseases. These solutions include salt iodisation, fortification of commonly consumed commercial foods, and supplemental doses of vitamin A and iron for women and children. The Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Mr Van Ameringen , said Nigeria has not fared better with a higher level of malnutrition. He said 40 per cent of the nation’s population is undernourished, adding that child malnutri-

tion is high. Describing malnutrition as a major threat to social and economic development, he stressed the need to modify the existing policies and programmes to tackle the problem. He said malnutrition is a major threat to social and economic development as it is the most serious obstacle in maintaining children’s health. He noted that Nigeria was one of the countries that has shown interest in integrating malnutrition in agricultural production. GAIN, he noted, was ready to highlight best practices and lessons learned on adding essential micronutrients, such as vitamin A, iron, iodine and folic acid, to staple foods and condiments. He said GAIN aims to strengthen global nutrition programmes so that they can have the most impact possible, including women and children who suffer the most from the debilitating effects of malnutrition. He said the goal of AIM

• Osunbor

• Ohiokpehai

is share proven innovations from the private and public sector to address food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty. The Chairperson, GAIN, Jay Naidoo, said the group intends to bring the high levels of infant malnutrition to the forefront. He urged Nigerians to joined hands to form pressure groups to drive the cause. He said the campaign against malnutrition should become a national movement. Lagos Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolohan Lawal, said the state government is working to increase the productivity and production of farmers through improving local market systems, and other actions being implemented to give a strong push to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition. He said the state is ready to increase its assistance to develop agriculture, improve food security and increase the income of farming families. He noted that terrorism is increasing and could be linked to malnutrition in women and children there. Lawal said Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola‘s administration is committed to promoting Lagos as a centre of excellence and destination of choice for investors and entrepreneurs. The government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, he explained, is taking this commitment to business a big step further by seeking to increase investment in agriculture to improve domestic agricultural productivity and output while at the

same time making food affordable for its residents. To achieve this, Lawal said the ministry has developed a road map policy document called the Strategic Programme for Accelerated Agricultural Growth (SPAAG), which relates the key agric sub-sectors with the objective of improving agricultural output and productivity. He said the government has established Eko Farmers’Mart to help farmers sell fresh farm produce. The commissioner said the marts sell fresh farm produce from locations across the state at the most affordable prices under a franchise arrangement. Lawal said the government is establishing a 1000 metric tonne high quality cassava flour factory. He said the venture is in line with the Federal Government’s plan to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imported wheat. The Dean, Lagos Business School, Dr Erase Okonedo, said the partnership of the school and GAIN seeks to improve agricultural productivity, strengthen agricultural value chains, and support market institutions. Speaking through Dr Yinka David-West, Faculty Director, Lagos Business School, Okonedo said financial investment in agriculture research and development should focus on improving the nutritional value of rice crops. She highlighted the importance of addressing agriculture, food security and malnutrition together in a coherent and coordinated manner. Okonedo said the workshop was intended to discuss ways to support increasing food security and sustainable agricultural production. She said the school is determined to improve skills in agro business management. To this end, she said the Association of African Business Schools (AABS) will launch the Agribusiness Management Programme (AgMP) at Lagos Business School next week.The Ag MP is developed by AABS to provide high quality, business, management and leadership education to a range of stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Africa, especially senior executives of agro-allied, food and beverage and financial institutions. The keynote speaker at the launch is the Managing Director, Doreo Partners, Mr Kola Masha, who will speak on: Building the future of agribusiness in Africa: The Role of management education. The AgMP will begin in LBS in October. The Country Director, GAIN, Mr Larry Umunna, said food insecurity and malnutrition have given rise to many consequences for health and development, with mothers and children most vulnerable to the devastating effects. Umunna stressed the importance of agriculture and its potential for addressing problems of micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies.

Fadama III to provide fertiliser, input for farmers


HE Fadama III Programme will provide two trucks of fertiliser, improved seeds, chemicals and soft loans to farmers in Plateau State as part of measures to boost farming activities in the state this year, the Project Coordinator of the programme, Mr Gideon Dandam, has said. During an interview in Jos, Dandam said the measure would address the peculiar needs of the

Fadama farmers in the state, adding that the gesture would be enjoyed by farmers who had submitted proposals on the implementation of their subprojects sites. He said: “First and foremost, we consider farmers who are under crop production and because of the peculiar nature of their needs, which include improve seeds, chemicals and fertiliser, we have in mind to provide two trucks of fertiliser to

those who have made proposal to implement their sub-project sites.”We also have plans to provide enough improve seeds that will cater for the needs of these farmers particularly rice seeds, maize seeds and soya beans. We have put everything on ground to service all those who have submitted proposal to implement their sub-projects activities. The coordinator said the programme also planned to work

with grand cereals to provide farmers with maize seeds and soya beans seeds. He said the programme would also work with some commercial banks to provide the farmers with soft loans. “We have a plan to work with grand cereals, particularly, to provide farmers with maize seeds and soya beans. Farmers that are involved in this programme have already been properly linked up with the grand cereals. We also

have a plan to liaise with a bank that will also partner with Fadama to provide some soft loans to our farmers to reduce their financial challenges. “I think we have gone very far in terms of making arrangement to service our Fadama farmers, especially to help them get some small loan from commercial banks that can assist them to get out of their poverty level,” he said.






•From left: Mr Polet; A. B. Mohammed; Mr Welsh, an official of NCAN, Ayeka Olarotimi; Mrs. Ebegbulem; Mr Anga; Rev. Nwade; Faseru; Mr Sunkanmi and Mr Abel Ajala; Vice Presidents, NCAN, Mr Saliu Alasa and Mr John Olota at the event.

Fed Govt to boost cashew production T

HE cashew industry is to receive a major boost with technical and financial support from the government to increase production levels by 2015. President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Mr Tola Faseru, stated this at a seminar in Lagos by the group and Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM). He said Nigeria produces two million metric tons of cashew yearly. With funding expected from the bank, the President, said the association is working to increase production at least by 50,000 tonnes per year. He said the association has adopted a plan which details ways to increase the production and processing of cashew nuts. He said the plan is meant to revitalise the cashew industry and increase its contribution to exports. Faseru said the plan would support small farmers to enable them to increase their pro-

Stories by Daniel Essiet, Agric Correspondent

duction levels to meet the target set and this support will come for them to start immediately this year.” He said it was long overdue for the country to benefit from the cashew potential in the country and expressed the hope that, “an increase in production will bring about more employment while the exports will also bring about additional foreign exchange”. He said the potential in the cashew business was huge, noting: “There is a lot of land available to produce the crop and the market too is there but we need the funds to be able to produce to meet the high demand.” Managing Director of NEXIM, Mr Robert Orya, said Nigeria, the world’s sixth largest producer of cashew, with yearly production of about 120,000 tonnes, will be a good employer of labour if properly harnessed.

Edo trains 350 graduates on extension services


HE Commissioner for Agriculture in Edo, Mr Abdul Oroh, said 350 graduates in the state has been trained in agriculture extension services under the Edo State Youth Employment Services (EDOYES). Oroh, who said this in an interview in Benin, said the programme was aimed at creating employment for youths and boosting food production in the state. He said the youths had been trained in various farm techniques and were expected to train farmers in the state on the techniques. He explained that the programme was also conceived as a platform for assisting farmers to know the right thing to do and the right time to do so. The commissioner also disclosed that the state government had concluded plans to put most of its farm settlements into useful purposes. He said the plan included preparation of farmlands, which would be given to youths for cultivation of various crops. “We believe that this programme will help in taking some youths out of the labour market. The youths that will benefit from the scheme will be given incentives such as loans and farm inputs to assist them; they will also be trained on farming systems. ”We want to be able to put every land that is lying fallow into productive use and also create employment opportunity as well as boost food production in the state,” he said. Oroh, who has been commissioner in the ministry since the inception of Mr Adams

Oshiomhole’s government, reiterated the government’s resolve to improve the fortunes of agriculture in the state. “Our cardinal objective is to enhance the capacity of our farmers to produce enough food to guarantee food security in the state. “It is also intended as contribution to national food security and to attract more investment to the agro sector in the state. “We are also poised to increase the development of the agricultural value chain, create jobs and increase the state tax net,” he said.

Represented by Rev. Ifeanyi C. Nwade, he said his bank, NEXIM, has disbursed a total of $50 million to the cashew sector from 2002 till date, adding that they spent not less than N1 billion on cashew and promised that they were willing to spend more on the commodity. The cashew industry, according to the NEXIM boss, also provides about 600,000 jobs and a total yearly trade worth N24 billion, making the sector a major contributor to Nigeria’s non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Orya said the cashew industry has continued to operate below its potentials, explaining that the industry is challenged with a myriad of problems ranging from old/low yielding plantations to inadequate processing facilities and low level of access to finance. He said the inability of local producers to process their products has meant that about 95 per cent of the yearly production is exported as raw commodities with attendant low prices and inabil-

ity of producers and exporters to receive commensurate reward for their efforts, he said. This also, according to the NEXIM boss, has economy-wide implications for increased export revenue, development of the industry and increased job creation in line with the transformation agenda of the Federal Government. To address some of these challenges, NEXIM and the African Cashew Alliance, and the USAID West African Trade Hub launched the Nigerian Cashew Cluster Finance Scheme last year, through which NEXIM disbursed about N150 million under the pilot scheme and has cumulatively disbursed about N1billion to date to the sub-sector. He challenged the stakeholders to present quality applications supported by good business plans and off-take arrangements to facilitate increased funding intervention to the sector, especially towards enhancing value-


‘30% hike in prices of vegetables, foodstuff in Kaduna’

A bag of 45 kilogramme of rice in the market had gone up from N8, 300 in March to N11, 000 in April. A retailer, Abubakar Maishinkafa, said a measure of rice has also gone up from N280 to N350. At the Yam Section of the market, traders complained of low patronage due to recent increase in the cost of yam. One of the traders, Bashiru Maidoya said a heap of yam which used to cost

between N15, 000 and N20, 000 in January now cost between N35, 000 and N40, 000. NAN reports that the price of garri has also gone up by about 20 per cent. Mr Umunna Solomon, a trader, said a bag of garri had risen from N10, 000 in January to N12, 000 now, and attributed the increase to last year’s flooding and rise in fare. At the fruits market, NAN reports that only watermelon was in abundance and goes for as low as N100 each. Malam Dahiru Musa, a fruit seller, said the prices of fruits

RICES of foodstuff and vegetable have gone up by about 30 per cent in Kaduna in the last one month. An investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Chechenia market showed that items mostly affected were rice, garri, onions, yam, tomatoes and fruits.

Varsity plans 10,000 oil palm seedlings, starts tractor hiring


MBROSE Alli University, (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo,has embarked on the planting of more than 10,000 oil palm seedlings as part of its contribution to agricultural development in Nigeria. The institution has also established a poultry farm and commenced a tractor hiring service at a low cost to farmers in its host community. The Acting Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Cordelia Agbebaku, said these in Ekpoma while fielding questions from reporters. She said the projects were the initiative of the institution’s Faculty of Agriculture, aimed at boosting agriculture in the state and generating internal revenue. Agbebaku said the university had so far planted 1,400 oil palm seedlings, which were inter-cropped

with cassava pending full maturity. She said that the faculty would plant some 2,000 seedlings per annum till the 5,000 hectares allocated to the university at its main campus was fully utilised. She said:` “The Faculty of Agriculture has embarked on the planting of oil palm seedlings in the 5,000 hectares allocated to it at the main campus. “The faculty has so far planted 1,400 oil palm seedlings intercropped with cassava until full maturity of the oil palm seedlings.” On the poultry farm project, she said the faculty intended to produce some 5,000 birds, including layers and broilers. Agbebaku said the tractor hiring services was aimed at assisting farmers in Ekpoma and the state to access tractors, adding that farmers would be able to plough and harrow their farms at minimum cost.

added processing, reiterating the commitment of the bank to the growth and development of the cashew industry. To teach stakeholders in the 1cashew industry ways to garner funds for the growth of the sector, the NCAN and the NEXIM Bank and other power brokers to shed more light on avenues to aid the growth of the sector. Top staff of various financial institutions gave advice on the best ways to source for credit and finance for the cashew business. Speakers at the seminar included Olowo Sukanmi of Ecobank, Edida Nwolisa of FirstBank and Adaeze Ebegbulem of NEXIM Bank. Others who spoke at the event were the President of NCAN, Tope Faseru; Chairman, Local Organising Committee NEXIM and NCAN Cashew Finance Forum, Sotonye Anga; Charles Polet and Judson Welsh, both of AIMS Ltd. The latter were invited from Ghana for the seminar.

were usually determined by its season, adding that only watermelon is now readily available. Also, a trader, Mama Grace, who sells spinach, said the price of a bunch of the vegetable had risen from N300 to N500, as their cultivation season had since elapsed. NAN, however, reports that the cost of tomatoes and onion, have, however, gone down by 10 per cent. Mallam Yusuf Danasabe, who sells tomatoes and onions in the market, said the prices had reduced to N3, 500 from 4, 500 for onions and from N5, 500 to N4, 500 for tomatoes.

‘Govt has improved fisheries sector’


HE fisheries and aquaculture sector is moving towards a sustainable future that will allow it to have an impact on regional markets, a don, Prof Martins Antekhai, has said. Speaking with The Nation, Antekhai, who is of Department of Fisheries, Lagos said the Federal Department of Fisheries is working to beat the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices that have been damaging to the industry over the years. By ensuring that IUU practices are executed and instituting sustainable accredited systems of fishing and aquaculture, he said the fishery sector is looking to expand and develop its lucrative export business. He said the government is working to support small scale fisheries that allows the fish population to breed and spawn.

According to him, the government licenses the fishing gear to ensure that methods of fishing such as trawl fishing are restricted and by licensing the fishing vessels. He said the government can also restrict the numbers to help with stock conservation. The restrictions to clamp down on IUU fishing practices apply right along the chain to forage fish and by-products for fish feed for shrimp in the aquaculture farms. The government along with the industry is also applying strict standards and regulations to control the sustainability and safety of the seafood products produced and caught. He said the government has made efforts to maintain record of fishing vessels. He said the register for all vessels involved in fishing will provide a powerful tool in the war against IUU fishing.






Govt urged to create jobs

‘Why we’re empowering youths’

The physically challenged benefit from airport renewal




FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013




Page 17


NAFDAC laments sale of fake drugs

T •Governor Dakingari

HE National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has expressed worry over the hawking of drugs, and sale of fake and narcotic drugs in Kebbi State. The state Director-General of the agency, Mr. Bitrus Fradel, while fielding questions from reporters in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital, said the development was dangerous. Mr. Fradel, who said hawking of

From Khadijat Saidu, Birnin-Kebbi

drugs was more prevalent in Jega Local Government Area, also revealed that their exposure to harsh weather is also not in the interest of users as such drugs could be ineffective and harmful to health. The Director-General who said that the agency was grappling with the sale of fake and narcotic drugs in the state advised members of the

public to be careful about what they buy and consume. He said drugs like tramol which are sold in almost every chemist’s store and which are used by many youths in the state should be used only when prescribed by a physician. “Tramol is supposed to be a prescribed drug but you can see that the youth are fond of using it indiscriminately,” he said. Mr. Fradel added that the regis-

tered milligram of Tramol as a product is 50mg. He said it is surprising that 200mg of the drug is available at various chemists’ shops and is being sold to and used by people, especially the youth. He said: “We have established a NAFDAC office in Kamba which is a border community with the Niger Republic to avoid the importation of fake Tramol and other drugs into Kebbi State.


OR their excellence, four students of the Department of Geology Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) Awka, Anambra State have lifted the spirits of everyone in the state. The quartet, Chibuzo Ahaneku, Chinelo Ezidiegwu, Nnaemeka Okoli and Vivian Oguadinma won this year’s American Association of Petroleum Geologist Imperial Barrel Award (AAPGIBA). Traders, children and the elderly trooped out to join the student population in celebration. The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Boniface Egboka, went into a dance. The governor, Mr Peter Obi, praised the youth. Others poured encomiums on the victorious four. It was pointed out that their excellence reflected the state government’s efforts in raising education standard. The students participated in an annual competition for geosciences students. The competition requires that university teams analyse and interpret multiple data sets from selected basins around the world known as seismic data, well logs, formation taps, well reports and literatures. The competition which was held at the Peninsula Hotel Lagos had six university teams from different countries in Africa. Soon, universities from all the continents of the world will gather at the United States of America to compete for the prestigious global award, including scholarship funds. Following their exploits, the institution, the people and the state government rolled out drums to celebrate the all-conquering student team. Their mentor, Dr Bernard Odoh who is also the faculty advisor and Ms. Nkechi Egboka were equally celebrated. Speaker after speaker, including the state Commissioner for Economic Planning Prof. Stella Okunna and Governor Peter Obi’s Chief of Staff poured encomiums on the students. Prof. Okunna said the students’ feat is an indication that Governor Obi’s efforts in lifting the

•From left: Chinelo, Vivian, Okoli and Ahaneku

Four youths thrill Anambra Obi, others hail winning UNIZIK students From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

standard of education in the state are not in vain, adding that the fatherly role played by Prof. Egboka and his management team inspired the students. Universities from Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria and other countries in Africa participated in the two-day competition. The leader of the team and Faculty Advisor, Dr. Bernard Odoh said what the laurel means is that avenue for employment has been opened for the students not only in Nigeria or Africa, but globally.

Odoh further recalled that three years ago, the university took the fourth position while in 2012, it came third and capped it up with the first position in 2013. The Vice-Chancellor of the institution Prof. Boniface Egboka threw caution to the wind and danced to the admiration of the crowd who joined him. Sweating profusely, Egboka declared that the award will be presented to President Goodluck Jonathan in due course through the Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC). Maintaining that standard of

education is not falling, he said it is the people that are falling, adding that soon one of the students will travel to Germany for further studies. “UNIZIK is doing well, and we are proud of the people here. I feel like a baby. We know why we are here right now and we know where we are going. “Though we have shortfalls in funding, students are still excelling. We should provide resources for the schools. This feat should be celebrated in Aso Rock. We are going to write a letter to Mr. President. “This has shown that UNIZIK has really arrived in the academic

world. We are proud of being members of this school. We will continue to mesmerize the entire world. Our late hero Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe will be proud wherever he is today,” Egboka said. However, he warned some politicians to stop misleading and misusing his students by distracting them from their studies, adding that they should allow them to concentrate on their studies to attract further laurels to the state and country. Prof. Joseph Ahaneku told Newsextra that what the students had done was part of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government. •Continued on Page 45



‘Why we ‘re empowering youths’

Bayelsa spends N15b on schools rehabilitation

OVERNOR Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State said the state government had spent N15 billion in upgrading dilapidated schools it inherited on assumption of office one year ago. Dickson, who spoke at a ceremony to launch the distribution of free educational materials to pupils and students in Yenagoa, explained that the exercise was done in two phases. He said 200 schools received a facelift with remodelled buildings, Information Communication Technology facilities, library and laboratories in the first phase at a cost of N7 billion. He said the government was compelled to commit additional N8 billion in massive construction of school buildings across



Lawmaker canvasses immunity for legislative heads Edo


HAIRMAN, Committee on Environment of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Abiodun Tobun, has canvassed immunity for the leadership of both National and State Assemblies. Tobun stated this while fielding questions from journalists at the celebration of his 50th birthday at Martinos Event Centre at Ikeja last week. The lawmaker said:”Let there be immunity for the leadership of legislative Houses at both the National, State and even Local Government, because there are some people who want to use court processes to scuttle or stop people from doing what they ought to do”. This, he said, is capable deterring principal officers from performing lawful duty and hindering them unnecessarily and unjustly. Tobun also frowned at the attitude of Lagosians to developmental policies, saying it is slowing down the attainment of a megacity status for Lagos. According to the lawmaker who is doing his first term in the House, “Lagos State government is striving harder to meet-up with

By Oziegbe Okoeki

the required standard of a mega city but the densely populated city and the non-conformist attitude of the people is slowing down the whole process. “The problem is not the government but the people who are non-conformist; all the efforts of the government are not been reciprocated in a positive way by the people. But we shall get there, we are on the way”, Tobun assured. He also praised the state government for its developmental strides especially in the area of infrastructure. “Compared to other states in the country, Lagos is doing wonderfully well in the area of infrastructural development, but looking at it internationally, which is our target, we still have one or two more things to do”, Tobun said. To commemorate his 50th birthday, Tobun, who represents Epe 1 constituency provided free eye surgery for 500 of his constituents and 1000 medicated eyes glasses for the visually impaired.

•From left: Secretary Ikorodu Local Government, Japhet Odesanya, Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Olori Ayangbunrin of Ikorodu during the presentation of youth award to the governor by Factor Media at Ikorodu Town Hall, Ikorodu, Lagos State. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA

Dualisation of Eket-Etinam road begins


KWA Ibom State government has announced its readiness to begin the dualisation of the 23-kilometre EketEtinan road from this month to link it with Federal East-West Road. Governor Godswill Akpabio, who stated this when 14 participants cutting across both public and private sectors of the 2013 Senior Ex-

Senator Tinubu hailed at Spelling Bee Competition T HE Chairman of Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Hon. Abdlefatai Oyesanya has praised mended the wife of the former governor of Lagos State, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, for her initiative to recognise students in the governance of Lagos State during her time as the first lady in the state. He said parents and other major stake holders need to appreciate the originator of the spelling bee because many students had secured their future as a result of their brilliant and excellent performance at the competition. Oyesanya, who spoke during this year’s spelling bee competition organised by the council to choose the representative of the council at the state level of the competition, slated for June 28 this year, praised the students representing the council in the past, saying the council came first in 2011 and urged them to bring back the glory. He urged the students who lost at the preliminary stage to buckle up and see it as a challenge which they need to battle with. According to him, “Today we should all ap-

•Chief Joseph Alake, the Erungbua of Obalu Quarters, Efon Alaye, Ekiti State and his children at the fifth anniversary of his inauguration.

Akwa Ibom ecutive Course No.35 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, led by Professor Olu Obafemi paid him a courtesy visit at Governor’s Office, Uyo, explained that construction of the road was to open the state for more development. Akpabio remarked: “The transformation agenda of Akwa Ibom State presents a reliable roadmap to the transformation of Nigeria. Already, we would soon commence the dualisation of Eket-Etinan Road from May this year to link to East-West Road. He thanked them for their study tour to the state and noted that there was no better place to start a tour on transformation and development than Akwa Ibom State, saying the state tends to take more development projects than money could carry. ‘’Akwa Ibom House of Assembly is assisting us in getting more approvals for expenditure. In six years, we have managed to main-

tain a ratio of 80 per cent for Capital Expenditure and 20 per cent for Recurrent Expenditure. The budgetary process alone is transformation in itself’’, he remarked. On the Esit Eket Gas Project, the Governor noted “We have also put in $33 million upfront to Septa Energy, a private company for the supply of gas, a project soon to be commissioned by President Jonathan next month. The gas company would supply gas through pipeline from Aluminum Smelter Company in the state to the national electricity project in Calabar.

Abia From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

state as many will also be employed from the exercise, as those who have received items will help others. He said: “With this youth empowerment scheme which will be replicated in all the local government areas of the state, many people will be empowered and those who have been empowered will also employ others like conductors and others in their different areas”. The CPS said that the vision of the state governor, Chief Theodore Orji, is to make Abia youths self reliant and self confident to build on the legacies of the current administration which is to make them stand on their own and employ others. Emezue said: “We want our youths to be celebrated like others in the transport industry, which is why we have given them vehicles to help them start their own transport [parks like other before them in that industry and in future they will say we started with Abia youth empowerment programme”.

• From right: Chairman, Ikeja Local Government Area, Hon. Wale Odunlami, Iyaloja of Alade market, Ikeja, Alhaja Adijat Apena, and CDC Chairman, Ikeja, Oloye Gunwa Oshinubi, during the chairman’s visit to Alade market gutted by fire

Institute condemns terrorism


HILE amnesty has become an issue for Boko Haram insurgents in the country, the Institute of Chartered Secretaries Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN)has condemned all acts of terrorim. The institute saddled with responsiblity of good governance in public and private sectors,observed that the activities of the sect had made the country unattractive for investment,industrial, as well as intellectual growth. “Terrorism also hinders professionalism as some parts of the country had already been designated as a no go area by professionals”, the body also revealed while speaking through its President, Tunde Busari, during the 12th Induction ceremony of new members of ICSAN in Lagos. He listed Gross Domestic Product {GDP} and National Income as some of other aspects of the economy their action has negatively affected. He urged the Federal Government to identify and bring to book every individual involved in the perpetration of violence and acts of terrorism under the guise of religion. In a related statement, he frowned at corruption in both public and private sectors of the economy, stressing that war against corruption in the country was the collective responsibility of every Nigerian and not that of government alone. “Everybody has a role to play in combating the menace, as there could not be a taker without a giver”, he added. He urged the Federal Government to strengthen and equip anti-graft agencies to enable them fight a successful anti-corruption war. While the ceremony lasted,the ICSAN Presi-

By Biodun-Thomas Davids

dent admonished the Inductees to adhere strictly to the principles of good Corporate Governance, which he listed to include: honesty, ethics, trust, integrity, openness performance,orientation, responsibility, accountability, mutual respect, commitment to the organisation and the boldness to speak the truth always.

THE Chairman, Ikotun/Igando Local Council Development Area, Mrs Morenike Adeshina-Williams, has presented a budget of N1.600,235,000 to the legislative arm. Tagged Budget of Fulfillment, the council chair said the proposal would target infrastructural development and empowerment. She appealed to residents to pay taxes, rates and fines promptly to support the developmental strides of the council. Reviewing 2012 budget, she said successes were recorded in education, health, environment and waste management and agriculture.

•From right: Chairman, Coker-Aguda Local Council Development Area, Hon Omobolanle Akinyemi Obe being assisted by the Council Manager, Mr Ige Onala (left) while presenting a laptop to Secretary to the Local Government, Mr Abraham Aina at the council secretariat, Aguda, Lagos

•Governor Orji He appealed to them not to waste the opportunity offered by the youth scheme to improve their living standard and help contribute to the economic development of the state through paying their taxes and reducing the unemployment level.

Council chief boosts healthcare


HE CHAIRMAN of Estako West Local Government, Hassan Kadiri has donated N1 million into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The donation was made through the Auchi Allied Association Mutual Health Scheme to help strengthen healthcare services at the grassroots. Kadiri, who made the donation at the flag-off ceremony of the health scheme, said his administration would complement develop-

Council presents budget

By Jeremiah Oke

preciate the originator of this competition who is the wife of the former governor of the state Senator Oluremi Tinubu for involving our junior students in a day governance of the state. Many of our children now have life-long benefits from Spelling Bee competition and that is commendable. Scholarship has been given to many of them to study abroad because of the fact that they are good and brilliant, but I’ll urge those who are going from this council to do us proud and bring the glory of 2011 back to the council. “Most of us would remember that this administration has done a lot to complement the effort of the state by distributing uniforms, text book and note book, new white board, and renovation of the classrooms for students. We also procured General Certificate of Examination (GCE) forms for some of our students who are brilliant but have no financial strength to further their education”.

HE Abia State government has said that it is committed to empowering youths in the state to secure their future,even as it added that they remain the hope of the state. The government said that the youth have done a lot in ensuring that the peace and security that government fought hard to get is sustained after kidnappers and armed robbers nearly over ran the state. Speaking with Newsextra in Umuahia, the Chief Press Secretary [CPS] to the governor, Ugochukwu Emezue, said that the youth who have been empowered are from the state, adding that the state government is determined to empower every youth irrespective of his or her party affiliation. Emezue was speaking against the backdrop of the success of Abia Youth Empowerment Programme where 200 vehicles, 700 tricycles and other items were given to youths in the 4th phase of the scheme done in Umuahia North Council Area. The CPS noted that the empowerment will have multiplier effect on the economy of the


Bayelsa the state to complement existing ones. The governor launched the distribution of educational materials to public primary and secondary schools by presenting school uniforms, bags, shoes, textbooks and exercise books to selected pupils. The governor said that the state declared a state of emergency on education on assumption of office and was poised to make it totally free. He said the government had paid the examination fees of Senior School Certificate Examination and Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examination candidates in the state. He also said the government had outlawed all forms of sundry fees in public schools in Bayelsa. He announced the award of N500 million contract for additional supply of textbooks for secondary schools. The state Commissioner for Education, Chief Salo Adikumo, said the government bought 100,000 pairs of school uniforms, 1,860,000 textbooks, 512,000 notebooks and 980 school bags for distribution. He said the other items were 101,600 pairs of socks and 483,000 pairs of school shoes for distribution to school children.


Edo From Osagie Otabor, Benin

mental strides of the state government especially those that have to do with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to him, “The donation is part of the council’s contributions to the provision and making healthcare services affordable to our people at the grassroots. The fund is part of our little way of subsidising the health need of our people. It will go a long way of having about one million people key into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). “We will also ensure that all the people-orientated and infrastructural developmental programmes of the comrade governor are replicated in all nooks and crannies in the locality,” he said. Chairman of the association, Alhaji AbdulWahab Salihu said the health scheme was aimed at ensuring universal coverage for the entire people of Edo North senatorial districts to have access to good quality and affordable healthcare healthcare under the NHIS. Salihu said that the Federal Government and other tiers of government could only achieve universal health coverage through the social health insurance scheme that is tied to community ownership of healthcare.


Briefly • Hon. Saka Fafunmi (left) with Hon. Rajh Label at the event .

Youths hold stakeholders’ meeting MEMBER of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Dayo Saka Fafunmi has lauded the efforts of the youth to make their representatives account for their tenure. Fafunmi said this during an interactive session between the National Youth Council, Ifako Ijaiye Chapter and the Council Chairman as well as as representatives of Ifako Ijaiye at the Federal House of Representatives and Lagos State House of Assembly. During the Stakeholders summit held at Ifako recently, Fafunmi, representing Ifako Ijaiye constituency noted that people’s representatives in government will want to do more knowing full well that they will give account of their stewardship. At the session, youths bore out their mind on various issues bothering them such as poor electricity, unemployment, poor infrastructure, empowerment programmes, the need for a youth secretariat and many others. Responding to their request, Fafunmi revealed that the issue of fluctuating power supply will soon become history as six 500 KVA transformers were recently installed in strategic locations in the local government. He highlighted his achievements and stressed that they, at the government level, work to benefit the masses and not just members of their political party as speculated by a


Group laments youth unemployment

By Risikat Ramoni By Tajudeen Adebanjo

youth. Bus ride for students, free UTME forms, building infrastructure, were some of the achievements he highlighted. Speaking on behalf of the council chairman, Hon. Oloruntoba Oke, the Vice Chairman, Hon. Babatunde Rajh Label assured the youth that thecouncil will make provisions for an administrative office for the youth council at its permanent site under construction. He hinted of the plans of the council to finish the construction of a skilled acquisition centre for the youths. Earlier in his speech, the Ifako Youth Council Chairman, Hon. Olaibi Emmanuel, stated that the session was organised to provide a forum for youths to ask local, state and national representatives questions about their contribution to the development of Ifako Ijaiye. “We aim for high sense of civic responsibility, welfare, peaceful co-existence and healthier environment.” He further said though the programme was the first of its kind, it will be held on quarterly basis to assist the local government towards great development projects in the area. “I believe they will work on the things they promised,” Olaibi said.

AN Islamic group, Zumratul Islamiyyah Nigeria has decried the alarming rate of youth unemployment. The group urged the Federal Government to seriously find ways of creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youth population. A statement signed by Secretary, Conference Committee, Alhaji Moshood Atangiri at the end of its 5th Triennial Conference at Zumratul Islamiyyah Primary School, Ilesha, Osun State,urged the Federal Governmentand other tiers of government, to do more to ensure security of lives and property. The group said Federal Governmentshould take a cue from Osun State government’s policy to empower the youth through job creation. “The conference urged the Federal Government to seriously find ways of creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youth population. We equally urged the three tiers of government to take definite action to improve provision of infrastructure to push the economic development northwards,” the statement reads.





Funsho Williams • It is sad that solution to murder riddle is still not in sight, six years after


IX years after the high-profile murder of Mr. Funsho Williams, a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Lagos State, there are perturbing signs that a solution is not in sight to the riddle. Rather, developments in the trial of the suspects held for the crime have introduced counter-productive complications. Williams, an engineer and a hopeful in the political campaign leading to the 2007 governorship election in Lagos, was stabbed to death in mysterious circumstances on July 27, 2006, at his residence, 34A, Corporation Drive, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos. The news of the damage to crucial exhibits in the case provided by the pathologist who conducted a post-mortem on the victim sounds unbelievably absurd. A prosecution witness, Ovie Oyokomino, a deputy commissioner of police in charge of forensics at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, reportedly told Justice Adeniyi Adebajo of a Lagos High Court, Igbosere : “The perishable evidence such as blood samples as well as the vitreous humour of the eye went bad due to interrupted power supply in the course of refrigerating.” This is inexcusable, and betrays a lack of seriousness on the part of the investigators. Given the gravity of the crime, it was expected that the force would take adequate measures to prevent the loss of such vital evidence, including the employment of a generator where necessary. It goes without saying that power failure, blamed for the destruction of proof, regrettably mirrors the country’s infrastructural inadequacies. Also, the nature of the evidence, described as “per-

ishable”, ought to have prompted an expeditious approach to the investigation. Another major setback in the case is the alleged inconclusive DNA analysis carried out on blood samples from the six male suspects arraigned before Justice Adebajo in March. During a court hearing this week, the prosecuting counsel, Mrs. O.A. Akin-Adesomoju, made a request that is likely to further delay the conclusion of the case. She sought a court order to collect fresh DNA samples from the suspects in order to determine whether they matched blood stains found on a shirt at the crime scene. Intriguingly, she argued that another round of tests was required to confirm the culpability or innocence of the suspects. It is quite disappointing that this homicide matter is still at an early stage, to go by the prosecution’s position. There is a puzzling tardiness in the investigation. It is noteworthy that the suspects, three of whom are policemen – Bulama Kolo, Musa Maina, David Cassidy, Tunani Sonani, Mustapha Kayode and Okponwasa Imariable – standing trial on a two-count charge of conspiracy and murder, have been in detention for some years, yet the case against them has not even been established. Interestingly, by way of defence, the prosecution supplied information meant to clarify why fresh blood samples could not be obtained earlier, stating that the High Court judge who granted the request at the time died without signing the order she made. It is not clear how and when this happened, but the reality is that the case has not progressed to the important stage of establishing the criminal involvement of the suspects.

It is certainly laudable that efforts are ongoing to solve the Williams’ murder, particularly against the background of several unresolved high-profile murders across the country. But the suspects deserve to be treated fairly, for they are theoretically innocent until their guilt is established beyond doubt in a court of law. The longer it takes to justify their detention, the longer they will suffer, perhaps baselessly. There is no doubt that the prosecution’s argument for fresh blood tests, if it succeeds, will lead to yet another wait for results while the accused remain caged. However, since it is obvious that this evidence will be helpful in proving their guilt or innocence, a new round of tests would be in their best interest, if they are not blameworthy. In the final analysis, it is desirable to expedite the investigative process and ensure that justice is done.

‘It is certainly laudable that efforts are ongoing to solve the Williams’ murder, particularly against the background of several unresolved high-profile murders across the country. But the suspects deserve to be treated fairly, for they are theoretically innocent until their guilt is established beyond doubt in a court of law. The longer it takes to justify their detention, the longer they will suffer, perhaps baselessly’

Champagne country •·Nigeria must benefit from the indulgences of its wealthy citizens


OR a nation whose basic development indicators leave much to be desired, Nigeria apparently has no difficulty in drinking its way into global prominence. The recent declaration that the country is the world’s second-largest consumer of the costly sparkling French white wine known as champagne is an interesting reflection of the country’s social structure, its consumption patterns and the way it is administered. According to Euromonitor, an international research firm, Nigeria consumed U.S. $59 million (N9.4 billion) worth of champagne in 2011, making it second only to France, where the wine originated. The country’s consumption of 593,000 bottles of champagne in 2010 was the

‘Although this exclusive club of tipplers is obviously free to enjoy itself to its hearts’ content, it is worrying that the Federal Government is not taking proper advantage of its citizens’ lavish tastes. A thinking administration would have made certain that some of that wealth came to it by ensuring that the importation and consumption of this kind of luxury is adequately taxed. There is absolutely no reason why a developing country should not fully exploit the indulgences of its wealthier citizens’

highest in Africa for that year. Between 2006 and 2011, the growth in consumption of the beverage rose by 22 per cent. The consumption of champagne has apparently been driven by increasing ostentation in the lifestyles of the Nigerian elite, especially the newly-rich comprising musical celebrities, political officeholders, entrepreneurs and businessmen who seem determined to let the world know that they have arrived. Champagnedrinking is an expensive indulgence: a bottle can cost anywhere between N77,000 and N275,000. Nigeria’s ranking as a top-ranked champagne-drinker is the latest manifestation of a culture of conspicuous consumption which it first demonstrated during the oil boom of the mid-seventies. The stupendous increase in the wealth of its social elite has seen a flood of luxury brands descend upon the country. Home to the continent’s largest collection of millionaires, biggest buyers of private jets in the world, Nigeria has once again forced itself on global consciousness as a nation that has money and is prepared to spend it. Although this exclusive club of tipplers is obviously free to enjoy itself to its hearts’ content, it is worrying that the Federal Government is not taking proper advantage of its citizens’ lavish tastes. A thinking administration would have made certain that some of that wealth came to it by ensuring that the importation and consumption of this kind of luxury is adequately taxed. There is absolutely no reason why a developing country should

not fully exploit the indulgences of its wealthier citizens. In addition, instead of simply confining itself to being a consumer of what others produce, Nigeria’s entrepreneurs should seek to get a piece of the champagne action. If the country cannot grow the grapes, it could serve as a hub for distribution in Africa, at the very least. At a more fundamental level, however, Nigeria’s industrial-scale drinking habits should give it cause for pause. If expensive champagne is being consumed in such large quantities, what is to be said of far cheaper and more popular staples like beer and gin? The consumption of alcoholic beverages needs to be carefully monitored by the authorities, given the obvious implications for society as a whole. Greater efforts must be made to ensure that social drinking takes place within the appropriate context, and steps taken to ensure that it does not facilitate drunk driving, drug use, prostitution and other vices. A champagne-popping country in which nearly 70 per cent of the population live on less than one dollar a day is a nation of enormous social discrepancies. Nigeria cannot hope to tackle widespread poverty and unemployment or overcome the epidemic of kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism without dealing with the ever-widening gap between its rich and poor citizens. A country that is wealthy enough to drink champagne like a developed nation should be able to afford to provide social welfare and infrastructure like one.

Zambia’s tax losses • Africans should join forces to combat transfer pricing


AMBIA’S government estimates that it is losing $2bn annually as a result of tax avoidance and transfer pricing by foreign companies on its turf – equivalent to 10 per cent of gross domestic product. It is not surprising that it is taking action to staunch such losses. Nor is it likely to be alone in doing so. African governments are facing growing public pressure as foreign and local investors profit from their booming economies while resentment mounts at the unequal dividends of growth. Zambia’s case is typical. Recent gross domestic product growth has consistently been more than 6 per cent a year. The country has achieved lower-middleincome status. Yet 60 per cent of Zambians live in poverty and the number of poor has risen since 1991. Much of the foreign investment in Zambia has gone into mining. Yet although copper provides about 20 per cent of export earnings, state revenues are worth less than 0.5 per cent of GDP. Zambian officials blame this discrepancy on tax avoidance. The government says that some foreign companies are expatriating profits by invoicing for loans and consultancy from parent groups at inflated rates. However, the foreign exchange controls planned in response are unlikely to help. New regulations will compel companies to repatriate export earnings to Zambia. All residents, including nationals, will be obliged to justify transfers abroad above $10,000. These controls risk dissuading investment and tying legitimate traders up in knots while targeted offenders find ways to circumvent them. As more investors are drawn to Africa’s resources it is inevitable governments will drive a harder bargain to ensure tax revenues stay at home. But the battle Zambia faces is a global one that it is unlikely to win alone. Much of the developing world is struggling to tax globally mobile profits and capital. African countries are haemorrhaging tens of billions of dollars in potential revenues each year. They will be far more effective in harnessing these if they take joint action. They could do this by creating a continentwide mining code, and a continental standard to cap the deductibility of payments to foreign affiliates. This would make it harder for companies to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions. Africa-wide rules would greatly enhance the bargaining power of individual countries. Some might call this resource nationalism. But when the losses are as great as Zambia’s, it might equally be described as a fairer deal. • Financial Times

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IR: In 2008, the same year America’s first black president got elected into office, Global Language Monitor proclaimed change the number one word around the globe. It certainly was no co-incidence as Barack Obama went on to win the US presidential election, riding on his gospel of change. The world and not just America had seen him as a refreshing departure from the norm. An epitome of what change stood for, when considering that a black man had never directed the affairs of the world’s most powerful nation. The concept of change is timeless. Simple as it comes across, the idea of change continues to drive the exploits of visionaries in the fields of politics, economy, science and business. By preaching change, and themselves being changed, the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Isaac Newton, Richard Branson, and Steve Jobs have led successful revolutions and birthed life-transforming inventions. Yet change as a theme remains exploited for all the wrong reasons in an environment like ours. Since military rule made way for democracy, the music of change has taken a different rhythm. Today, change is only a promise – most of the time a half-fulfilled promise. It is what the politician and his allies promise the electorate until they get to power. Under the current dispensation, change has gone from being a sincere claim to being a glossy, flowery expression. Many had been swept off their feet by promises of transformation, breath of fresh air,


2015: When change becomes inevitable and more business-like ones like the 7 – point agenda. Essentially, change has become the politician’s manifesto, though it does not always translate into promise delivered when he gets into office. That is why for many neutrals, the coming of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is good news. And Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was right in some sense to describe the coalition as a positive storm. But this development only represents a portion of the change we all want to see. A more competitive political cli-

mate is sure to put our leaders on their toes. Nigeria has been rated closely behind emerging economic powers like China, Russia, India and South Africa only for our potentials; what the world knows we can become. We need purposeful leadership to live up to this potential. As the wrangling and political realignments gradually lead up to 2015, we must realise that the power to make the change they seek lies in their hands. Contrary to popular belief that a mega opposition party is all that is needed; this change, if

we must find it, will require a proactive, well-informed, dedicated army of patriots consistently fighting in unison the cause of transparency and good governance. There is so much idle talk in the traditional and fast rising new media. These discussions involving the young, private citizens and former occupants of government positions have so far yielded no positive results. There is a need for all that energy we expend on idle rants to be channelled into positive action. There should be a coming together of


• Oshagbemi Oluwatosin Lagos, Nigeria

Calling Ecobank Ilorin


‘Two heads are better than one’, so the age-long axiom goes. This saying is usually meant to denote that the coming together of two or more persons or organisations in partnership over a particular venture produce better results than when the venture is managed by only an individual or organisation. The story seems to be the other way round for Ecobank as its merger with the defunct Oceanic bank is far from being the case. When the present Ecobank

emerged from the merger with Oceanic Bank, customers of the new bank looked forward to enjoying better banking services. However, it seems that the hope of customers of the new Ecobank to enjoy a good banking service delivery is gradually being dashed. The situation seems to be getting out of hand in Ecobank branches in Ilorin in Kwara State. The branches are those in Ibrahim Taiwo Road and Challenge, close to Unity roundabout in Ilorin. A visit to any of these branches

would reveal the decline that has visited the standards of their banking practice. The norm in those branches is for customers to come into the banking hall and wait endlessly to be attended to. It takes an average of two to three hours to get the simplest transaction done in any of these branches; it is unthinkable for a customer to believe that he can quickly make a transaction before, for example, proceeding to work in the morning. The worst part is that their banking hall are not equipped

MTN should attend to problem of poor services IR: That MTN is one of the fastest growing telecommunications in the world. But what is of concern to its Nigerian subscribers is how its network has plummeted down the quality line in recent months. The heart-ache and disappointment caused by its erroneous network service to Nigerians in recent months is in no small measure, particularly during the yuletide. The importance of communication and information to life and business cannot be overemphasised and MTN being one of the service providers has failed Nigerians. One can no longer rely on get-

those who love this country genuinely. Not those who seek to pursue selfish desires. We need to develop non-partisan forums where young people can hold leaders to their word, and do that constructively too. We should be engaging in meaningful brainstorms on how to chart a new course for the country. We need beacons, youthful, vivacious people who are passionate about change to lead the way. According to Martin Luther King Jr., “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. We must straighten our backs and work for our freedom for a man cannot ride you unless your back is bent.” We can set a positive revolution in motion. But 2015 will only mark the beginning of the change we seek if we begin the struggle now.

ting a call through at a particular point in time; even the so called MTN Fastlink is a slowlink in disguise because the web surfs at snail’s pace. Acknowledged, MTN announced in the media, pleading for the patience of its customers on the grounds that it was carrying-out some maintenance work on its facilities; but how long do we wait for an improved network quality? A lot of Nigerians trying to tieup some end-of-the-year deals were let down by the network. The fact that MTN having reached the 100million-mark subscriber milestone in the world telecommunica-

tions market ‘owes’ part of that population to Nigerians and as such, Nigerians, as all others, deserve the best telecommunication service possible. While MTN’s sound financial investment, strong corporate governance and corporate social responsibility is relatively commendable, those can be said to be of little significance as it affects directly only on a few. I must say it is high time MTN took appropriate measures in improving the all-round quality of their network in earnest so as to regain the satisfaction and quench the displeasure of its Nigerian sub-

scribers. I do not need to remind the authorities of this telecom company that every product or service must be different and better in some unique ways to succeed in a competitive marketplace. More so, it is known that successful businesses have an obsession with customer service and MTN should not be an exception. Notably, the 19 year-old company has been successful partly as a result of this; nonetheless, an improvement is vital. Every good business is in the business of customer satisfaction, and the customer is always right. • Ajayi Bright (Brightsy) Lagos

with enough seats, people are left to wait endlessly on static queues for services that are not forthcoming. The practice is for a sum of N100 to be charged on a customer’s account when an amount below N40,000 is withdrawn across the counter. While one may not fault this practice as it is geared towards decongesting the banking hall, at the same time, one would expect that adequate provisions to ensure that customers access the services of the bank without having to visit the counter are made. Unfortunately, this is not the case, ATM cards are not issued to time when applied for and still, amounts are deducted for withdrawals made across the counter, it is like customers are made to pay for the ineptitude of the bank itself. The aim of this piece is to urge the authorities of Ecobank both within and outside Ilorin to find an urgent solution to the situation. It is suggested that more hands should be injected into the system; it appears that the bank is finding it difficult to cope with the vast customer base that its merger with Oceanic bank has provided it. Ecobank should employ more workers. • Vincent Adodo, Esq. Ilorin.




Useful idiots (1)


N Ivy League education without ethics makes a trust fund ‘baby’ an expensive toy without batteries. Substandard education makes the middling youth even worse; it moulds him into a broken toy without appeal. They are both disposable but they enjoy patronage anyway – by the ones Wole Soyinka eloquently described as the wasted generation. The Nigerian youth is a breed with all the personality of a paper cup. Thus like paper cups, we are used and disposed by men and women unfit to be elders. Yet whatever callousness we are forced to endure, our elders are not to blame. They shall not be blamed, for we made ourselves unbidden offering on the altar of vultures. It is the malady of this age that the youth are too busy preaching that they have no time left to learn. In Nigeria, we are too busy dumbing down that we barely have time left to grow. It is a sad manifestation of stunted growth that we evolve into foetal adults and spend the rest of our lives seeking the comfort of debilitating “life boats.” It is even more disheartening to see us adopt as a favourite past time, the pillorying of our elders and the

rapacious ruling class. Many a Nigerian youth love to prophesy the worst about our fatherland thus it is never surprising to hear the average Nigerian youth pronounce with emphatic pessimism and relish that “This country is doomed,” and “Nigeria is finished.” The Igbo youth laments his persistent marginalization from the scheme of things/bounties. He believes Nigeria is skewed to work against him and fellow Igbo because his peers from other ethnic groups are wary of his towering acumen, industry, courage and political savvy. The Hausa youth believes he has inalienable right to statutorily and heavenly accorded rights to reign supreme and lord it over his peers irrespective of merit. And the Yoruba youth, goaded by sentiments of his higher wisdom, towering depth in diplomacy, culture and politics believes that he is entitled to the best the country has to offer, on a platter of gold. Every youth desperately perpetuates his sense of victimhood and entitlement. The idea is to keep whining until he gets lucky and corners an immense portion of the proverbial national cake – with minimal exertion and at no cost.

We used to be regarded as the promising youth, the gifted generation that would rescue Nigeria from the brink of irredeemable ruin. But that spell of hopefulness has dissipated now. Our “wasted” elders have seen through the swollen belly of our pride. They know we are increasingly handicapped by greed and lack of creed. By creed, I mean a coherent and specific set of goals, a consistent series of norms according to which society is to be remade. Since we have learnt to blame the ruling class for everything, what is it that we want from the ruling class? We don’t need their permission to make something of the world where they have failed but we still live our lives seeking their permission to evolve positively and mature. It takes courage and an enormous reserve of decency to evolve a humane ideology and establish it. We haven’t the courage and will, and this interferes with our ability to accomplish progressive change. More worrisome are our violent attempts to be radical; eventually they resonate too feebly as a kind of rudderless activism. We identify all that is wrong with our society but we are never specific about what must be done to correct them. It is relatively easy to join a picket line and tirelessly castigate our elders and ruling class for everything that is wrong with our lives but these actions, while they demonstrate frustration, in some instances even heroism, deal

‘A broad wave of disillusionment and darkness persists above the silver linings we desperately wish to succeed our darksome clouds. Yet with precision and unfaltering devotion, we work ourselves up into such a state that we can only see the volcanic flare of our destructive acts as glitters of grandeur. We have perfected the art of standing on barrelheads to spout and be seen, while we engage in pursuit and acquisition of mostly unearned wealth and greatness. Eventually, we luxuriate and spread out like a green forest with sour fruits and severed roots’


ND they said unto Moses, because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” “And the people murmured against Moses..... and the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger”. The above explained the burden and challenge of leadership Moses faced in the course of leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. It wasn’t an easy task. I am sure Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is presently in this quagmire. Like Moses, Oshiomhole is on my mind. A misunderstood activist, he is almost becoming a victim of his own creation – One Man, One Vote. A champion of the democratic struggles in Nigeria, a selfless labour leader who sacrificed personal comfort for the common good, he is now being derided over the recent local government election in Edo State. Like Moses led the children of Israel from bondage, so did Oshiomhole Edo people. He, with others struggled for a democracy that would guarantee Nigerians access to quality education, healthcare and good physical infrastructure. These heroes struggled for a country where every Nigerian would have legitimate means of livelihood. They fought for a country that would enhance the productive capacities of every Nigerian. They fought for a country where every Nigerian will live in dignity. Oshiomhole is one patriotic Nigerian struggling for a united Nigeria and a society where every vote will count. As a Governor, just as in labour unionism, he is still in the struggle for a society where the will of the people, not godfathers, would be the basis of governance. This is the nature of the society Oshiomhole is fighting for. And he hasn’t betrayed this trust. Beside Moses, Jesus Christ on my mind. He saved the world but the world rejected him. The world preferred Barabas. Needless to remind us of those miracles God wrought through Moses yet, they complained. Remember the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

generally with symptoms of· our problems and not the solutions. All the picket lines in the world will not resolve ills of fraudulent and impatient youth, perverted values, greed, racism, disillusionment with study and substandard education. A broad wave of disillusionment and darkness persists above the silver linings we desperately wish to succeed our darksome clouds. Yet with precision and unfaltering devotion, we work ourselves up into such a state that we can only see the volcanic flare of our destructive acts as glitters of grandeur. We have perfected the art of standing on barrel-heads to spout and be seen, while we engage in pursuit and acquisition of mostly unearned wealth and greatness. Eventually, we luxuriate and spread out like a green forest with sour fruits and severed roots. Apparently, we suffer a throwback to the 70s – the era that launched a trend in which Nigerians became preoccupied with themselves more than the survival of the nation. Self preservation has become an inexorable obsession of many youths seeking to escape the slow, steady path with its craters of mishap and socio-economic vagaries. What Joshua Lubin identifies as the “Me” decade has indeed, recoiled inward rather than concern itself with crucial national issues, like national progress and ethical rebirth. Therefore, popular culture attracts dubious labels such as “narcissistic” and “decadent” from critics and the “wasted”older generation. The Nigerian youth has become so self-involved that almost every action and train of thought perpetuated by him serves as an instrumental resource to situate this generation in historical context, as perfect illustration of the much-hackneyed and over-exploited “Lost Generation.” Our inordinate quest for selffulfillment further establishes us as the worst that could possibly hap-

pen to a heavily endowed nation like Nigeria. But we aren’t actually so bad. If we could look inwards to summon latent will and channel it towards the rejuvenation of outdated mores of morality and simple decencies, our lot might yet change, for better. It shouldn’t hurt to evolve faith and be steadfast in it. If we could discard our sentiments about the lifestyle of Tuface Idibia, we would find in the musician some worthy anecdote about the quality of faith. Tuface Idibia believed in his dream of stardom. And he relentlessly pursued it through the stark streets of Festac, the wilderness of hunger spasms and institutional adversities to become whoever he is and whatever he is today. If I had used Soyinka, or Late Babatunde Jose, many would claim they grew up when Nigeria neither smothered dreams nor murdered hope. Hence my choice of Idibia, the minion who managed to become a poster icon for generations of Nigeria’s music hopeful. Yet many would read this and consider it “Pollyannaish.” To this lot, any hearty lunge at hope or belief in a brighter tomorrow manifest as blind optimism and a pathetic attempt to be patriotic even while it’s absolutely idiotic to do so. They would love to see the nation ruin in order to justify their inordinate cynicism and yearnings about the pointlessness of the Nigerian dream. They continually affirm their ill will and prayers of doom for the nation by tirelessly projecting separation and insurmountable bleakness on the Nigerian state. Individually, their contribution towards nation building is virtually non-existent or abysmally low, they are amazingly adept at sowing seeds of doubt and disillusionment amongst their peer and younger generation. But they love to be seen as heroes of truth and the new world.

Oshiomhole and burden of leadership By Oserheimen Abulimen Isn’t this a resemblance of how Oshiomhole came to Edo politics to rescue us from the political bondage we found ourselves since 1999? And we believed him? And we thanked God? Can we deny this fact? There is no doubt he meant well for Edo people. He preached One Man, One Vote like a puritan politician. He cannot be governor and the same time be commissioner. He cannot be EDSIEC chairman neither can he pretend to be. He cannot sit in Osadebey Avenue and at the same time in Uromi for the election. He has told us time without number that he cannot rig election for anybody; what shall it profit him? And so, during and just after the local government elections, some elements best described as criminals, hijacked the political space. Edo State was in their hands before Oshiomhole came in. It was a state where poverty, inequality, under- and unemployment were on the increase. The majority of our youths and graduates were unemployed. But the situation, since Oshiomhole came on board, has since changed. They would be foolish, if they don’t fight back. And so, the opportunity presented itself; late arrival of electoral materials by EDSIEC- they seized it, cashed on it and politicized it. However, let me quickly remind us that we must not forget the general acknowledgement of the decline of education system in the state before Oshiomhole came. We also know that this decline was partly due to the neglect of the education sector by successive governments at the state and local government levels. And that these politicians who shouted hoax masterminded the coup against Edo people in the past. We must not forget so easily. Be it in terms of road infrastructure, Oshiomhole opened our eyes. We were in a parlous state but today, there is no local government that has not benefited from Oshiomhole’s road gesture. Some will argue, ‘it’s our collective patrimony’ but don’t forget that some diverted same to private pockets in the past and heavens didn’t fall. We now see extra lanes being constructed along Uselu, Ugbowo, New Benin, Airport Road, and Akpakpava road. We now see street lights in Ring Road, Sapele Road, Sokponba Road, Siloko Road and the magnificent glittering sight to behold in Five junction. We now see red roofs in our public schools across the 18 local government areas, water in

difficult terrains and employment of jobless youths. We’ve not had it so good before and we must do everything possible to sustain this tempo. In Oshiomhole’s enlightened self interest, he freed the political space and brought governance down from its Olympian height to the ordinary people. Today, anybody can go to Edo State Government House, access the governor, the commissioners and even lead one man protest to Osadebey Avenue. Even Oshiomhole’s worst critics attest to the fact that we now have a purposeful and visionary leadership in the state. The governor is not oblivious of this fact that except good leadership, the political and economic leaders will be consumed by the rot they have created in the country. In effect, good governance and improved social and physical infrastructure as well as inclusive political participation, wealth creation and distribution and retooling of our educational facilities as well as conducting a free and fair local government elections are not only needed by Edo people, but some appreciating and encouraging minds can yield more of democratic dividends. Or else, our political Pharaohs will say of us, “they are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in”. Lest we forget that it was also in this wilderness that the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. This is the burden of leadership and that’s why I sympathise with Oshiomhole. • Dr. Deacon Abulimen writes from Uromi, Edo State

‘Today, anybody can go to Edo State Government House, access the governor, the commissioners and even lead one man protest to Osadebey Avenue. Even Oshiomhole’s worst critics attest to the fact that we now have a purposeful and visionary leadership in the state’



COMMENTS ‘Water is the driving force in nature’ – Leonardo da Vinci


HIS week, I have found it irresistible to shun the lure of political discourse in preference for an area we have often ignored - happenings in our environment at our collective peril. There is hardly any pointer to the fact that most governments are deeply concerned about our environment despite significant admonition signals from environmental disasters that have become a recurring decimal in countries around the world. In Japan, China, India, Afghanistan and others, earth tremors/quakes and other related disasters have become routine. While one is not praying for such misfortunes in the country, it is pertinent for our government at the federal and state levels to take proactive steps to prevent such catastrophes from happening in their domains in future. My fears for the country’s environment are not misplaced, and have indeed been reinforced by Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe, Minister of Water Resources. She raised the alarm last weekend on the peril posed by indiscriminate drilling of boreholes in the country. And in reiterating the obvious, she said such a habit could have shattering effects on our environment if not checked. The negative impacts of such a trend according to her, could result, now or in the foreseeable future, in over abstraction of ground water-which effects include salt intrusion, aquifer depletion and water quality degradation amongst other environmental hazards. The minister seems to know the panaceas when she said: “The need for proper and effective regulation of groundwater abstraction is of utmost importance. The public needs to be sensitised on this.” But it is doubtful if the federal government is doing anything to stop the habit in form of regulation or awareness campaigns. Obviously, this reality would not have officially become a public issue if not for the courtesy visit on the minister by members of the Association of Water Well Drilling Ring Owners and Practitioners in Abuja. It would not be inconsiderate to say that the states, and especially the federal government, are the worst culprits in this increasing land degrading attitude because of their tongue-in-cheek approach to environmental and water issues in the country. The truth is that the impact of the Ministry of Water Resources and even water corporations of most states in the nation, unlike in the past, is not being felt by inhabitants of this country de-


T was the late M.K.O Abiola, (may his soul find peace) who popularized the Yoruba saying about taking cover behind a solitary finger. Of course this saying exemplifies self-deceit of the most confounding type. There you are ducking behind one finger, knowing that the whole world can see you and the follies you indulge in yet you revel in the pretence that we cannot see you. The whole watching world cringes and suffer painful embarrassment on your behalf, yet you simply stoop there, behind one finger, perhaps stark-assed just doing your thing. It is a state of mind that must have severe psychological underpinnings. This is the picture that comes to mind as we watch the unfolding drama between the presidency and Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. It is without doubt, all about 2015 presidential election, it is all so obvious and apparent that even babies in diapers can see it. But the Presidency insists it is not, it lives in denial and tries to convince the rest of us that the new-found Amaechi-hounding is an aspect of its so-called Transition Agenda. And in what is clearly becoming a most undignified motor park brawl, is a zerosum game. The Presidency seems to be stuck with the mindset that so long as this fellow, Amaechi remains standing, it cannot rise or achieve its desired objectives therefore Amaechi must fall. However, for fear of sounding like Amaechi’s advocate-in-chief, the Rivers State governor, it must be said, is not the problem of the Presidency; not by a long shot. True, the governor is not particularly an easy to like fellow. He is given to being brash and selfassured to the point of cockiness. He is not your diplomatic kind and over the years, he has proven to be a man with a mind of his

‘If, therefore, a dozen Amaechi’s are brought to their knees or even put down, the president will not stand taller than he is. In fact, in the midst of all this, the president seems to grow smaller while Amaechi grows larger’

Nigeria’s quest for drinkable water

•Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe, Minister of Water Resources

spite the billions of naira officially budgeted and claimed to have been spent on potable water provisions. Where is free flow of drinkable water in most parts of Nigeria? The tradition of public water supply that used to be enjoyed by the citizenry until the mid-80s in major towns and cities has suddenly disappeared in states across the federation. It is, to say the least, unsettling and ridiculous, seeing states, and even federal government, sink boreholes and go ahead to shamelessly celebrate such with disturbing pomp and ceremony. And it is worrisome that no one seems perturbed by these curious happenings! Yet, water is so important to human existence. It remains a key component in determining the quality of lives of citizens of any

nation. Those in the corridors of power could not claim ignorance of the fact that water is one of nature’s most important gifts from God to mankind. Human survival depends on drinkable water which is why people, anywhere, are concerned about the quality of water they drink. Water remains the most essential elements of good health because it is necessary for the digestion and absorption of food; it rids the body of wastes, it possibly remains one of the most noteworthy factors in weight loss; water can serve as appetite suppressant since it contains no calorie and thereby could help the body metabolize stored fat. It also serves as a natural air conditioning system. Water supplies oxygen and nutrients to body cells and helps to maintain proper muscle tone among other important functions. Why will serious governments that are genuinely interested in protecting lives of the citizenry, anywhere, not be committed to providing or fail to provide drinkable water in nooks and crannies of its corporate jurisdictions? Perhaps, it is sad to note that virtually all governments across the country have abandoned this responsibility of providing, in abundance, drinkable water for the citizens to enjoy for a healthy living. It has been scientifically proved that water covers over 70 per cent of the earth’s surface, but despite the fact that only one per cent of the earth’s water is available for drinking by human being, governments in responsible countries take provision of portable water as a serious matter. Why can’t Nigeria’s government?


SMS O8181624757,

Presidency, Amaechi and the zero-sum game own who can also stand his ground. Remember his public tiff with the wife of the president, Dame Goodluck Jonathan a few years back during his first term. During an inspection of the Port Harcourt dingy Waterside which Amaechi had proposed to bring down, Mrs. Jonathan had practically wrenched the microphone from the governor and reprimanded him to tread softly about demolishing the shanties right there before the television cameras, all and sundry. Of course Amaechi had gone on with his outlined programme as the elected governor of the state and naturally, to the chagrin of the Presidency. Since then, close watchers had noticed that there has not been love lost between the first family of Nigeria and the first family of Rivers State. The dam however bust when the first signals emerged that Governor Amaechi who is on his last term as governor, had presidential ambition. To drive home the message, soon enough, posters of Amaechi, appearing as presidential running mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State. Lamido, considered one of the up-and-doing governors from the north combining with Amaechi, a much touted champion performer would unsettle any sitting president who still has an ambition to continue in the top job. Though Amaechi has denied that he had no such ambition but the fact of his denial can be said to be true to type for the Nigerian politi-

cian (they keep denying until “after a farreaching consultation with their families, associates and the good people of their constituency who would insist that they are God-sent for the job.”) Since then, the line was drawn, so to speak, between Amaechi and the presidency. Amaechi also sat atop the all-powerful Nigerian Governor Forum (NGF) which could swing not a few important national decisions especially on the political realm. When Amaechi’s first term of two years as NGF chairman ended early in the year, the Presidency made its first decisive move against ‘enemy’ Amaechi by making sure he never returns. The move remains stalemated till date. Even the hurried formation of the ruling party’s own governors’ forum (which makes up the majority of governors in Nigeria) has not won the Presidency any silverware yet in the ‘war’ to oust Amaechi and claim the soul of Rivers State. As the day draws by, the Presidency gets frantic if not desperate, getting itself deeper and deeper into an affray most murky. Today the States party executive instigated to turn against the governor and its leader in the State and render him ineffectual and impotent. It has never happened before; it is just like the ruling party sidetracking the president, its very heart and leader at the centre. Can the tail wag the dog? As this move did not seem to work, another day breaks and the Task force

Government’s failure in this regard has compelled Nigerians to take the bull by the horns by forging ahead to provide water for their domestic needs. Ab initio, most households dig wells for their water needs but now, boreholes digging, perceived to be better that well’s water are in vogue. In the street where yours sincerely lives with less than 100 houses, close to a third of the houses there have boreholes dug for their personal domestic uses. Yet, a single standard borehole would have served the entire street or even more. This trend has become the norm in different parts of the country simply because governments are not doing enough to make public water system to work. Even if they failed to provide water, they ought to see the danger of indiscriminate digging of boreholes by every Tom, Dick and Harry and should have come up with legislations to moderate such menace. The chaotic boreholes are proved to be capable of causing earth tremor/quake. Also, since underground water is linked through percolation, the contamination in one borehole could lead to contamination of others in a particular area thereby causing devastating effects on the health of people within the vicinity. This would have defeated the purpose of providing drinkable water that is odourless and tasteless by individual households. Also, very few of borehole water are treated with chlorine that is meant to destroy disease-producing contaminants that are likely present in the water through contact with many different substances, including organic and inorganic matter and chemicals. Even the supposed public water system that is expected to provide clean, refreshing and healthier water wherever they exist could not be trusted in this regard. The continuing indiscriminate digging of boreholes does not guarantee clean and healthy water for the populace anymore. There should be preconditions and condition subsequent to be spelt out by government for digging of boreholes. The public are not aware of these conditions because our governments are not alert to their responsibilities. At any rate, if water is indeed considered by government as vital to human existence, quality water treatment solutions and facilities should be provided for free. The government should stop treating them as a luxury under the guise of scarcity of funds when corruption in corridors of power and other high places loom large. The president, through his minister of Water Resources, and state governors in the country, need a wake-up call in this regard and this piece should serve that essence! (one wants to wager that there must be a Task Force to Rein in Amaechi sequestered somewhere ‘working’ frantically on this important national ‘project’) throws up the Rivers State government jet shenanigan. All of a sudden the big men’s private jets have become a matter for due process and all that jazz. I want to wager again that no big man’s jet in Nigeria can stand any thorough due process check: yes, from the Presidency to the men of God; hardly any of them craft can stand a serious scrutiny. Yet another gambit seems to corral the State House of Assembly to ‘putsch’ the governor out of office. When that one too collapsed around their bumbling ears, they seek to ostracise the pro-Amaechi honorable members which happen to be in the majority. Left with remnants that cannot constitute a majority, who can tell what the next move would be. Make a note of it, this fight will be like the fight of the eunuchs: long, bloody and sustained. The Jonathan’s Presidency has continued to pinion itself as unforgiving especially at the president’s home-front – ask Ibori, ask Timipreye Silva and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to some extent. How this particular sword fight will play out is uncertain but let us remind also that Amaechi is hard-headed, a dogged fighter, along distance runner and somewhat cerebral to boot. He has also not done badly in running the affairs of the state even though this column thinks he has not adopted the right template like most other Nigerian governors of today, but on a scale, he has been outstanding. While this fight simmers, Nigerian are the ones caught in the cross fire, picking up the stray bullets. Need it be repeated that Amaechi is not the problem of the Presidency. The presidency is simply a victim of its own inefficiency and inability to deliver on its election promises. We think that the Presidency can simple choose to ignore Amaechi and Rivers State to ‘death’, pull a few strategic triggers and have the entire citizenry campaigning for it. I think Nigerians wish for a Presidency that will simply see Amaechi as the distraction he truly is and face the crucial job at hand. Nigeria is in crisis, very deep crisis. If, therefore, a dozen Amaechi’s are brought to their knees or even put down, the president will not stand taller than he is. In fact, in the midst of all this, the president seems to grow smaller while Amaechi grows larger.





It was a dignifying funeral, attended by dignitaries from far and near. The remains of the Ekiti State Deputy Governor Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka were buried last Friday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO AND SULAIMAN SALAWUDEEN were there.

•From left: Arc Olayinka;Yeside; Olamide and Ololade

Dignitaries bid Moremi Ekiti solemn farewell A

MAN emerged from a road popularly called Basiri, dressed in a black tail coat suit, a black top hat, a purple shirt and a pair of black shoes. He held a stick. Shortly after, seven men appeared, three in front, one in the middle and three others in the rear; clad in the same outfit – black suits, purple shirts, tie and matching shoes. They were all playing trumpets - with the first man acting as conductor. Trailing them were two policewomen in mufti and police cap marching in front of a red Mercedes Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) hearse bearing the remains of the late Ekiti State Deputy Governor Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka. It carried Moremi Ekiti R350 on its number plate, with the Ekiti State emblem on its hood. The hearse had two flags on its sides and flowers on its top. The hearse was followed by no fewer than 25 cars including two ambulances and a Land

•Navy Capt Olubolade, representative of President Jonathan

•Governor Fayemi and his wife, Erelu Bisi

‘She was a distinguished woman who had accomplished academically, professionally and politically. Hers is a sad testimony that everyone will die somewhere, someday, somehow; in fact, not many of us will have the opportunity of being in the coffin. The corpses of some of us may not even be seen, we may probably die in the sea’ Cruiser with number-plate EKGH 02. They formed a long row on the road leading to the Governor’s office and the church, its destina-

tion. At a point, some of the people inside some of


the cars behind the hearse alighted and started walking behind it. Sympathisers lined the route to bid the late Mrs Olayinka farewell. Many of them took pictures of the procession with their cell phones. This was the scenario last Friday during the funeral of Mrs Olayinka, who died on April 6 after a long battle with cancer. She was 52. Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, was shut down for its illustrious daughter. Her posters, hung everywhere from Basiri to Fajuyi, Okesa Ajilosun and Ejigbo. The posters, banners and billboards contained messages extolling her virtues and bidding her painful farewell. The streets were bare of vehicles and other human activities. The late Mrs Olayinka’s ancestral home in Ado-Ekiti wore a new look. •Continued on page 26-27




Dignitaries bid Moremi Ekiti... •Continued from page 25

About 9.30am, the funeral train rode into view from the Fajuyi end of the town, heading towards Okesa. At the roundabout adjacent to the church, the cars turned; the children of the late Mrs Olayinka – Yeside, Olamide, Ololade and their father, Lanre, an architect alighted and walked behind the hearse to the expansive church compound. Accompanied by family members who danced to the rhythm of the trumpeters, the train entered the church few minutes after 11am. Horde of clerics at the Cathedral Church of Emmanuel, Okesa, AdoEkiti, came out to receive the family and the body. Except for dignitaries, no one entered the church auditorium without a tag. Even the Famuaguns, the late Mrs Olayinka’s family had their own special tag. Despite that, they still faced hurdles from security officials before they could gain entry. Many of the dignitaries were in white. The family members were also in their appearances. They hid their grief behind a stoic calm as Mrs Olayinka remains were now borne in an ash grey casket draped with the flags of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the front, Nigeria in the middle and Ekitis at the rear. The widower, Olayinka, an architect, appeared in flowing blue Agbada with a glasses, his children, Yeside, Ololade and Olamide wore French lace purple iro and lilac buba. About 11am, the funeral service began with a brief homily performed by the Bishop of Ekiti, Revd. Felix Femi Ajakaye, followed by songs from the choir; one of which was My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. (Human: A/M 614). In his sermon, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, represented by Archbishop Ecclesiastical, Province of Ondo and Ekiti States, Bishop George Latunde Laosebikan commiserated with the bereaved family, the government and people of Ekiti State over the irreparable lost. The death of our sister, Bishop Laosebikan said, is sad and painful considering her age and many things people expect from her. “She was a distinguished woman who had accomplished academically, professionally and politically. Hers is a sad testimony that everyone will die somewhere, someday, somehow; in fact, not many of us will have the opportunity of being in the coffin. The corpses of some of us may not even be seen, we may probably die in the sea,” he said. He added: “I am happy today because politicians here cut across all parties and they know all the happenings in the nation, particularly the issue of insecurity, political problems and others. I want you to learn from the death of Mrs Olayinka that nobody is too big to die. “So, the political class has a lot to do in ensuring that the lifestyles of Nigerians are changed for better, if truly they love this nation. Their bad lifestyles have permeated every stratum of the society. So, the leaders must continue to show good examples to the citizens”. For the late Mrs Olayinka, the cleric said: “Even if her life was delayed for 100 years, the end will surely come for her. Like a flower, we (human beings) blossomed in the morning and weathered in the evening. Power will come and go; so, no reason fighting and killing one another for political gain especially in this zone (South-

•Hon Tambuwal

•Governor Amaechi

•Ogbeni Aregbesola (left) and Governor Amosun

•Governor Ajimobi (right) and Aremo Osoba

•Otunba Laoye-Tomori (left) and Mrs Orelope-Adefulire

•Chief Akande (right) and Asiwaju Tinubu

•Dame Fashola (left) and Mrs Ajimobi

•Alhaja Aregbesola (left) and Mrs Amosun

•Alhaji Olanusi (left) and Mr Cobham

•Otunba Adebayo and his wife, Erelu Angela PHOTOS: DAYO ADEWUNMI

•Otunba Adeyemo

•Evangelist Olumilua

west). Mrs Olayinka’s passing away is very proverbial. If you were to die today, where will you spend your eternity? Check your life; all the type of stupid, hopeless life that is a norm in Nigeria cannot be acceptable over there (heaven). Heaven is real, hell is real also; the choice is yours. For our sister, the end has come,” he said.

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi thanked God for all things He has done for them, because “in all things, we must thank Him.” He said: “Though short, it was eventful, impactful and positive. We should celebrate her because it is a life of service and commitment for the good of the people. She was a class act, a strong

pillar of my government and a co-pilot. We pray our own end time will also be peaceful.” President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by Minister of Police Affairs Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade described Mrs Olayinka’s death as “unfortunate and premature,” adding that she died when her full potentials had not been fully tapped.

“With the history of the late Ekiti Deputy Governor I read, her life represented that of simplicity, diligence and brilliance, which stood her among her peers,” he said. A recessional hymn halleluiah was sang as guests filed out behind the body for the interment. •Continued on page 27




Dignitaries bid Moremi Ekiti... •Continued from page 26

At 1:14 pm, the remains of Mrs Olayinka were lowered into the grave at The Heroes Park, behind Enterprise Bank, Fajuyi area. In attendance were Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal; Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; Mr Lekan Ogungbe represented Governor AbdulFatai Ahmed (Kwara); Governor Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Governor Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); ACN National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande; National leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba; former Governor of Ekiti State Mr Segun Oni; former Military Administrator of Ekiti, Commodore Atanda Yusuf and former Governor of Ondo State, Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua. The list of deputy governors included Rear Admiral John Jonah of Bayelsa State; Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori (Osun); Alhaji Alli Olanusi (Ondo); Prince Segun Adesegun (Ogun); Mr Efiok Cobham (Cross River); Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (Lagos); Dameshi Luka (Nasarawa); Otunba Moses Adeyemo (Oyo) and Tunde Lemo, Deputy Governor, (Central Bank of Nigeria). Wives of governors include Mrs Abimbola Fashola (Lagos); Mrs Florence Ajimobi (Oyo); Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola (Osun); Mrs Olufunso Amosun (Ogun) and Mrs Kemi Mimiko (Ondo). Others were Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora; Senator Babafemi Ojudu; Mr Gbenga Oyebode; Senator James Kolawole; Senator Bode Ola; Justice Oyebisi Omoleye; Mr. Odia Ofeimun; former Deputy Governor, Ekiti State, Mr Bisi Omoyeni; Senator Gbenga Aluko, Osun State Chief of Staff Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; Hon Bimbo Daramola; Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Prof Bolaji Aluko; Prof Sharafadeen Amuwo; Prof Akin Oyebode; Mr Segun Abraham; Hon Sirajudeen Adekunbi; Hon Tola Banjo; Mrs Kemi Nelson; Mr Soji Omotunde; Editor, The Nation Mr Gbenga Omotoso; Wale Adebanwi; Kunle Ajibade; Mrs Chioma Ominrin; Hon Wale Ominrin; Bunmi Famosanya; Ms Lunga Hogan; Hon Uhuru Moiloa; Hon Taiwo Orisalade; Nancy Ondi; Mr Salihu Lukman; Dr Moji Oyarekua; Mr Tunji Olowolafe among others.

•From left: Prof Amuwo; Alhaji Mohammed and Hon Daramola

•Mrs Adebisi Sosan and Mr Yomi Awoniyi

•Femi Ifaturoti (left) and Ofeimun

•Prof Francisca Aladejana (left) and Prof Modupe Adelabu

•From left: Capt Dele Falusi; Chief Jide Awe and Chief Ayo Afolabi

•Mr Yemi Adaramodu and his wife

•Sen Femi Ojudu and his wife, Tola

•Dr Tunde Lemo and his wife

•Senator Mamora

•Hon Omirin

•Ms Aruma Otteh

•Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN)

•Dr Tunde Sodade (left) and Prof Bolaji Aluko





The remains of the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chinwike Asadu, have been interred in his country home in Enugu. Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their last respects to the slain officer, reports CHRIS OJI.

A gallant officer goes home


HE funeral of the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Chinweike Asadu, has been held in his home town, Nsukka, Enugu State. A mass was held in his honour at St. Victor’s Catholic Church, Onuiyi, Nsukka Local Government Area of the state. Over 50 Catholic priests and clergymen from other Christian denominations officiated at the funeral. Deputy Governor Sunday Onyebuchi led a government delegation to the ceremony. Anambra State Deputy Governor Emeka Sibedu represented Governor Peter Obi. In the homily, Rev. Fr. Joseph Obodo decried what he called the rate of assassination, kidnapping and robbery in the country, noting that the problem was scaring Nigerians in the Diaspora from returning home. The cleric described Asadu’s death as “an overwhelming tragedy”, emphasising that the family should take solace in the litany of tributes that had poured in since his demise. Fr Obodo, who said he returned from abroad to participate in the funeral, recalled how he was discouraged from coming because of the high rate of crime. Obodo said the late police commissioner carried his financial responsibilities during his days in the seminary school. The cleric recounted how the late Asadu lived in a two bed-room apartment and whenever he was teased, the deceased would ask: “Do you want me to go and steal?’. “He went to Nike, Enugu, where land is sold at N250,000; he didn’t go to other choice areas in the state capital where land goes for N50 million. Besides, he started building his house by erecting a boys quarter first while he worked on the main building. This attests to his humility and simplicity,” Fr Obodo said. The Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tonye Ebitibituwa, said Asadu’s death had remained a huge blow to him and to the Nigeria Police. Eulogising his late colleague, he described him as “a dedicated and honest officer who gave all to the service of humanity”. A special Kwara State delegation to the ceremony was led by Mr Leke Ogungbe, the Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Ahmed Abdul Fatah. The Kwara Police Command, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Adewale Olatunji, also had many good things to say about the late commissioner. Also in a special tribute to the late commissioner, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, said the police would leave no stone unturned in tracking down his killers. He said although Asadu had been buried, investigations on the circumstances that led to his death would not be buried until his killers were brought to book. The IGP, who was represented by Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kachi Udorji, warned the late Asadu’s killers not to re-

•Deceased family and children

•Hon Odo and his wife, Adaobi

•From right: Mr Leke Ogunebe; Mrs Chinwe Sibeudu; Mr Emeka Sibeudu and Mr. Chike Sibeudu

•Cross-section of the officiating priests during the burial

•Senior police officers: (from left) Joe Anejoh; Ordiah Monday; Johnson Woke and Wordu Benjamin

joice as “they had murdered sleep and would never sleep. Sleep shall forever elude you.” Describing the late commissioner as “a fine officer and a gentleman,” who discharged his duty with characteristic efficiency and speed, the IGP assured Nigerians that his office would keep working hard to find his killers. “I want to restate the resoklve of

the Nigeria Police that no stone will be left unturned in our quest to unmask the perpetrators of this crime.” Senator Ayogu Eze, representing Enugu North Senatorial Zone, expressed grief over the death, stressing that every effort should be put in place to apprehend Asadu’s killers. “We condemn this act very strongly; we are urging the police to continue with the investigations and get at the

•Ibitibituwa (right) and Mark Idakwo PHOTOS: OBI CLETUS

perpetrators of this heinous act,” Senator Eze said. The Chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area, Hon. Tony Ugwu, said the council was grieved to lose the highest ranked police officer from the area in such a manner. In attendance were Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly Eugine Udo, Hon. Ifeanyi

Ugwuanyi, representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu in the House of Representatives; former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo; former Information Minister Nnia Nwodo; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Uganda Chief Fidel Ayogu; and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Malachy Okwueze, among others

29 FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013

Vol 4. No. 1797

His movement from Etisalat to MTN shook the advertising and telecommunications worlds. Hafiz Oyetoro popuparly known as Saka was a known face on Etisalat adverts until the coming of Mobile Number Potability (MNP) last week and he ‘ported’ to MTN. What are the implications of his ‘porting’? RAJI ROTIMI SOLOMON traces the story of Saka’s road to fame and fortune.


HEY call him Saka, but his real name is Hafiz Oyetoro. He is more popular as Saka because of the humorous nature. He is at his beat cracking jokes and acting funny on stage. When Saka was used by Etisalat to provide its brand the network became an instant hit with subscribers. Many migrated to the network. Now Saka has “ported” under the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) introduced last week by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) from Etisalat to MTN. In simple term, Saka has dumped Etisalat for MTN. Why? With his ‘porting’, its likely that many will also ‘port’ with him. A recharge card dealer, Esther Akim said: “I had to go searching for my long hidden MTN sim card just for me to port along with Saka. I really don’t like MTN because of their network and tariff, but Saka is someone I just love so much and would move anywhere he moves to, even if he begins to advertise for a relaxer, I am ready to take that risk and change my long trusted hair relaxer, (laughing) I just like the man.” “I bought this Etisalat sim card after I saw one of Saka’s adverts and it appealed to me seriously as in seriously. The appeal wasn’t for the network per se, but for the character Saka, he has a way of making things look real and even though I don’t believe in all these telecom tariff bonuses and slashes, I find it difficult to ignore Saka’s call or appeal, it is something I had for him a long time ago even before he started out as an ad person,” Oludare Shadare said. “I think Etisalat should sue Saka for dumping them and porting to MTN unannounced, I feel dumped as well because I started using

The politics of ‘porting’ Etisalat in the first place because of him, and now I feel foolish for dumping my MTN for Etisalat, am I going to dump Etisalat again for MTN now? I feel the porting process of Saka is faulty and questionable.” Saka’s ‘porting’ is generating reactions and counter-reactions. His ‘porting’ has led to what some call a “brand war.” Many are wondering why Saka abandoned them; those on the MTN network are rejoicing on the Etisalat network, that they now ‘port’ together with Saka on their network. This was how it began; Hafiz Oyetoro is a versatile comic actor, who features in both Yoruba and English movies. His sojourn with Etisalat started when Centerspread advertising came up with a character for Etisalat’s TV commercial, Hafiz went for the casting and he was picked to play the role. In a statement, Kenny Brandmuse, the creative director that created the Saka character

for Etisalat said.“ Saka was not a celebrity used for Etisalat. “Saka was a character we at Centerspread designed for an ad campaign that has come to take up a life of its own. When we created the character bible we needed a talent that could act up the role and he came in for the casting like every other person. “Looking at the screen test later on, we had no doubt that Saka was the man we were looking for. You must give credit to Etisalat for approving our direction and choice. It really was not their type of advertising. So it was not a case of celebrity endorsement, it was a case of characterisation. The Saka character got more applause and recognition from people, many consumers didn’t see him as mere but as believable and interesting too, these obvious reasons were enough to make Saka a brand ambassador for Etisalat, if not for anything, at least for planting positive perception of the brand in

‘Saka was a character we at centerspread designed for an ad campaign that has come to take up a life of its own. When we created the character bible we needed a talent that could act up the role and he came in for the casting like every other person’

the mind of its consumers.” Brandmuse attests to the potency of human branding saying: “There is nothing as powerful as that cultural connection and that humane factor we display as brands. As I watch from a distance the recent Sakaphenomenon, I can only bow to this timeless advertising principle. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Hats off.” He and Saka didn’t fit Etisalat’s typical advertising line. According to him, Etisalat is the hip, classy and swag brand and that was Etisalat’s reason for not making Saka its brand ambassador. MTN was said to have cashed in on this to make Saka its brand ambassador for a handsome fee of N20 million. Reviewing Saka’s ‘porting’ to MTN, Brandmuse said: “Advertising people must realise that people don’t really go all out to watch and listen to what we have to say. People don’t like ads. However, people love characters. Characterisation is the holy grail of great storytelling. And if you are lucky to find one that is working for your brand, you’d better recognise and keep it like gold. My friend Udeme; Mama na boy, The Marlboro man; The Michelin man; The Morton salt girl, some of these are animated devices, some are real cast. Whatever it is, it is the job of brand managers to treat such characters as assets for brand equity. In Africa, our type of storytelling is rarely animated. Hence it gives room for human character.”




La Casera unveils campaign I N demonstration of its belief in the popular axiom that Life itself is a collection of stories, the La Casera Company, makers of La Casera Apple Flavour carbonated soft drinks has unveiled a new thematic campaign, ‘Share your Story, Be a Star’, to further delight and engage its teeming consumers. Contrary to most thematic campaigns which are usually one way communication, the new thematic campaign is designed in a way that engenders interaction with the target audience and encourages them to participate in the conversation. Speaking on the campaign, the Group Brand Manager of the company, Mr Mani Siddartha, said the new theme campaign was designed to increase the bond be-

Stories by Raji Rotimi Solomon

tween the brand and the target consumers in an exciting way. He also stated that the campaign is pivoted on excitement, energy and fun, the three major intrinsic brand offerings of the drink. “The campaign promises to exude a lot of fun and excitement while engaging our consumers. The campaign is an entirely captivating one with a new twist to it. This is so because at the end of the campaign, the winner gets to star in a television commercial.” General Marketing Manager, CBTI, Mr Gary Carlton, described the campaign as thrilling and expandable platform that would build an emotional connection

with consumers by encouraging them to share personal and exciting stories for a chance to win prizes, with the final winner starring in a TV commercial. “Consumers would have the chance to participate in special radio hypes on the campaign in selected popular radio phone-in programmes on leading radio stations in key cities in Nigeria for a duration of two months. Consumers are expected to call into the programme to share their story for a chance to be a star. The La Casera Apple Story commenced last year as part of activities lined up to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the La Casera Apple Drink, which also served as the theme campaign for 2012.

• From left: Marketing Manager, Classic Beverage Total Impact, Mr. Obarotimi Bayo; Carlton and Siddhartha, during the launch of the La Casera New Theme Campaign in Lagos.

Firms collaborate to honour African technology brands


FRICAN financial technology service brands that have consistently delivered value to customers in the sector will now be acknowledged on a global scale. AITEC, organisers of the annual Banking and Mobile Money (ABMM) conferences and other African technology events for over 25 years, and e-Maginations, publishers of Financialtechnology magazine with a presence in over 14 African countries, are collaborating to host The African Financial Technology Awards. The awards will be co-located with one of AITEC’s ABMM conferences each year, starting with its conference for the COMESA region, to be held in Nairobi betweem September 11 and 12.

eMaginations hosted the Nigerian Financial Technology Awards in 2012 in Lagos with over 25 awards categories, which was attended by switching, software, mobile money operators and financial institutions in Nigeria. At the agreement signing ceremony in Lagos last week, AITEC Chairman, Sean Moroney and eMaginations’ MD, Sola Fanawopo announced the partnership as “a combined effort to reward and encourage excellence in technology and service.” Moroney expressed optimism about working with eMaginations’ team, adding that its previous accomplishments and solid track record in industry awards had made hosting the African version of the awards a compelling propo-

sition. He said the parties have mutually agreed to work together to add value to leading African financial technology service brands, while creating a credible competition platform that would compete favourably with other similar global platforms. Fanawopo said the awards would provide a platform to encourage and reward professional excellence and dedicated service and achievement in financial technology services sector, project AITEC and e-Maginations’ leadership roles in Africa’s financial services sector and enhance the role of the ABMM Conference series to gather Africa’s banking and payments sector on an annual basis.

ADVAN to launch magazine


N continuation with its objectives to constantly provide its members and industry wide professionals with latest research reports, trending marketing reports and analyses, the Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) has partnered with World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) to launch a quarterly marketing journal in Nigeria tagged ‘Advertisers’ Quarterly. The journal is billed for launch in mid-May this year.

The ADVAN magazine will bring to its readers articles, insights analyses, and best practices on the latest topics and trends to transforming the marketing community, as well as profiles on today’s leading-edge marketers globally. The all gloss journal is in print format and will be published four times a year. President of ADVAN, Mr Kola Oyeyemi said: “I am particularly excited over the prospects and values this initiative will add to

the marketing firmament in Nigeria. Partnering with WFA to serialise some of their best research efforts particularly free is one of the best things to happen to the industry and even to the media. It is a laudable project and we urge everyone to embrace it,” he said. The magazine will be circulated throughout the marketing community in Nigeria, and will serve as the leading journal for marketing information.

More jury for Cannes Lions THE Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which this year celebrates 60 years of creative excellence in advertising and communications, completes the jury line-up by naming the members of the Design, Film Craft, Media, Promo & Activation, and Radio Lions categories. The remaining five juries will be led by Jack Klues, Chairman, Vivaki (Media Lions); Joe Pytka, Director, Joseph Pytka Productions, USA (Film Craft Lions); Mary Lewis, Creative Director, Lewis Moberley, United Kingdom (Design Lions); Ralph van Dijk, Founding Creative Director, Eardrum, Australia (Radio

Lions); and Rob Schwartz, Global Creative President, TBWA Worldwide, USA (Promo & Activation Lions). Philip Thomas, CEO of Lions Festivals says: “It is a privilege to have an assembly of such esteemed industry professionals in Cannes to judge and award the best work. And we are particularly delighted to count on 11 past Cannes Lions jury presidents amongst the total 308 jury members taking part in this year’s 16 different juries. The time, commitment and integrity applied to their task ahead will have a profound effect on moving the industry forward at a global scale.”

Proximity wins award PROXIMITY Communications, a leading innovative marketing consortium, has been acclaimed the fastest growing marketing communications company in Nigeria. The accolade was bestowed on the company at the Tony Elumelu Foundation-sponsored “Nigeria Fast Growth 50” awards held in Lagos. The “Nigeria Fast Growth 50”, also known as the “Nigeria 50”, identifies and celebrates the 50 fastest growing Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Nigeria. Criteria for selection of the 50 companies includedannual growth rate, revenue generated, quality of products and services, and the number of employees. Coming in 23rd amongst the 50 fastest growing SME’s in Nigeria, Proximity led in the marketing communications industry sector. It was sited for its growing innovative contributions, the impact on the clients it serves, and its growth rate. In his message, the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, CON, described the awards as an opportunity to “shine a unique spotlight on the pipeline of the fast-growing busi-

nesses that are driving Nigeria’s economic transformation” and enjoined the winners to continue to drive future prosperity for the country. Managing Director of Proximity, Mr Rotimi Olaniyan, expressed his delight at the recognition accorded the company. He said: “Coming on the cusp of our fifth anniversary, the awards is a welcome testament to our determination to change the game of marketing communications in Nigeria by focusing on the provision of innovative services that fascinate brands and consumers.” He thanked the company’s clients who have made the success possible and promised that the company will continue to be driven by the desire to provide best-in-class services in the Nigerian marketing communications space. Nigeria 50 is organised by AllWorldNetwork, an organisation chaired by Prof Michael Porter, the Havard Business School academic. Its mission is to identify and scale all the growth entrepreneurs of the emerging world. Variants of the same award include the Africa 500, Asia 500 and Arabia 500.

Winner emerges in Loya Milk promo Promasidor Nigeria Limited, makers of Loya Milk, has rewarded another winner with a brand new Hyundai i10 car in the on-going Loya Milk ‘It’s What’s Inside That Matters’ promo. The promo was launched in February and will end on May 31, 2003. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company Keith Richards, made the presentation to Mr Tochukwu Oranu, a businessman at the company’s head office in Lagos recently. Richards was accompanied by Mr Kachi Onubogu, Commercial Director of the company and Don Jazzy, the brand Ambassador of Loya Milk. In an interview with our correspondent, Mr Oranu said: “I feel so happy. I never thought I would win because I do not believe in things like this. I have never participated in any promo

because I do not believe in it but with this I am very excited I won. I bought the milk at Onitsha for my mom because she said she likes its taste. I didn’t want to take it at first but the shop attendant pressured me to take the milk and jokingly said that I may win from it, just truly I won a car.” Richards said that Promasidor is a company that lives up to its promises and will continue to reward its loyal consumers. His words: “It is with great pleasure that I formally welcome you all to the presentation of a brand new car to one of our lucky consumers who from now will never have to take public transport again. This is about Promasidor keeping our promise of fulfilling what we say we will do, we will do. Not just because we have regulators but because we are touching the lives of our consumers.”

CSI: LCC takes campaign to school Lekki Concession Company Limited (LCC), has intensified its Children’s Road Safety Campaign among school children in the Lekki-Ajah axis in Lagos State, . The campaign, a Corporate Social Investment by LCC, according to the company, was aimed at arming children with the basic safety precautions they need to take in order to protect them against accidents while on their way to and from school. It is also aimed at making them well informed of the risks which pedestrians generally are exposed to, in an event of wrong use of highways.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), nearly 250,000 children are reportedly injured every year in car accidents. This means that on any given day nearly 700 children are harmed due to accidents on our roadways. Of the 250,000 kids injured each year, approximately 2,000 die from their injuries. Thus, in a renewed bid to reverse the trend, LCC again carried out its road safety initiative a few days ago at Ikota Primary School during which pupils of the school were taught basic safety rules by officials of the company.




FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013



It is that time of the year when parents shop for school items, preparatory to their children’s resumption. With traders offering a broad range of quality items, parents have a lot to choose from. TONIA ‘DIYAN reports.

Shopping for a new school term

• Balogun Market


‘Shoppers are crazy about fairly used clothes’

Tips on buying fans Page 33

Page 33




Shopping for a new school term P

UPILS are poised to return to school as a new academic session begins soon. It is time for parents and guardians to go shopping. Gone are the days when, perhaps, for economic reasons, pupils returned to school with items used by their older siblings. This is another era. Departmental, online stores and major markets of school items are brimming with shoppers out to get easy bargains and good value for their money. With the beginning of a new school term, retailers get busy promoting back-toschool sales and stocking their stores with school items, such as calculators, school uniforms, sandals, lunch boxes and what have you! No doubt, it’s time for serious business for parents, guardians and sellers. Major markets and retail stores in Lagos are selling school items in various categories at cheap rates. An example is the Balogun Market on Lagos Island. It was jam-packed at the weekend with women who went to buy school items. “Give me a strong item that will last long” was on their lips, despite knowing that they would still need to buy new ones at the start of another term. However, buying school items for each new term has become an infectious syndrome among parents today. At the market, a woman was seen carrying a ‘Ghana must go’ bag on her head, filled with school items. One would have thought she visited the market to buy and resell school items. She had eight pairs of each item in the bag. The shopper, Mrs Afusat Karim, has nine children. Five of them are in secondary school; three in primary school and the last child is yet to be enrolled. According to the retailer who sells to her at the start of each term, Mr Agu Alozie: “Mrs Afusat is my very good customer; she places her order on phone at the close of each term and pays money into my account. I do not hesitate to stock her bag as she sometimes buys school supplies worth N85,000 per term. Her children live with her mother outside Lagos, which is why she prefers to buy in bulk to last the whole term and save her mother the rigours of going to the market.” As major markets and stores continue to play a vital role in shoppers’ spending

• Shoppers in a book store.

‘Balogun Market on Lagos Island was jam-packed over the weekend as women trooped to buy school items. “Give me a strong item that will last long” was on their lips, despite knowing the fact that they would still need to buy new ones at the start of another term. However, it has become an infectious syndrome among enlightened mothers’ today’ decisions, retailers offer good bargains to save money in their stores and on their websites, to attract value-focused back-toschool shoppers. Hoping to spread spending, more parents have begun shopping earlier than they did last term. The budget-conscious consumer has not forgotten about price, quality or value; she has become more practical in her shopping; and with school purchases considered a necessity, parents have been saving to be able to fully afford all their children’s needs . Parents determine what item their wards need each term. As a result, academic

needs seem to be shifting towards products that provide the latest features. In recent times, secondary students consider a laptop a necessity, believing it will lift their grades. If only parents buy what is necessary during holidays, it is much cheaper and they won’t be overwhelmed with the prices later. Therefore, they need to go through their bill line by line, for unnecessary add-ons. ‘When’ to buy school items should often be given priority. According to a money expert, “the best


time to buy school supplies is during the holidays when there will be enough time to do little research and comparison, thereby saving money.” The process can be challenging for parents, particularly, the busy ones who are expected to create the environment and materials that provide the necessary items to transform their children’s learning experience. “When it comes to children, there’s nothing more important to a parent than making sure they have everything they need, even in a tough economy - and especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping,” said the National Retail Federation President and CEO, Matthew Shay. On the other hand, secondary school pupils and their parents are much more likely to look for ways to cut corners as much of their costs come in the form of tuition and living arrangements. According to the marketing manager of Jumia online store, Mr Afam Anyika, “we stock a variety of back-to-school items and they are quite affordable. We advise shoppers to check our website and take advantage of these items.”




‘Shoppers are crazy about fairly used clothes’ These days, second hand items (Okrika) are found almost on every street of Lagos. They are displayed even in boutiques and commercial stores. They are referred to as ‘bend-down select’ and bend-down boutique. TONIA ‘DIYAN writes.


VER the years, new clothes have become expensive. As a result, many workers and other individuals now go to second-hand clothing markets where they source their wears at cheaper prices, thus leading to a boost in the sale of such clothings. In the past, second-hand clothes were synonymous with poverty; the energetic and optimistic middle class bought their new ready-made clothes from high brow markets or large retail stores. But, today, the downward twist in the Nigerian economy, since the early 1990s, has led to a practical alteration of spending and consumption trend, especially among the working class. The sale of second-hand clothes is now a very lucrative business, as many has deserted boutiques which sell new clothes because of the costs. Second-hand clothes can be sourced from virtually every place in Lagos and other towns. According to traders, the business is very profitable and enjoyable. “There is money in Okrika business,” said Mr Francis Okonkwo, who has been in the business for 12 years. “I make a lot from it. The business does not require an enormous capital to start; you can start picking from traders that open bales, depending on the start-up capital you have or how much you can deposit; the balance is paid after sales,” he said. There are people who cannot do without fairly used clothes, as well as those who would never want to have anything to do with it. It is a matter of choice. However, second hand clothes are more popular with most Nigerians and have continued to boom inspite of the challenges faced by the traders. Mr Okonkwo explained that the items are brought into the country from Benin Republic. “We go to Coutonou to buy these items. Usually, Tuesdays and Thursdays are market days in Coutonou. On these days, we are sure of getting new arrivals. There is the first grade Okrika which could pass for new ones, that is why some influential people also patronize us”. Another trader, Mrs Nwanfor Kalu said as an okirika trader, the newer and finer your goods are the more money you are going to make, because people prefer to buy those

• Second hand section that could pass for new. “You know, in this Okrika business you must understand that Okrika pass Okrika.” He said. Second hand items that could be gotten for as low as N200 or N250 now go for N600 to N1000, yet people still go for them as if they are going out of fashion. As lucrative as the business is to traders who practice it, importation and sale is a risky one in which you gain all or lose all said Mr Poly Maduka, also an okirika trader. “It is not easy at all getting our market into the country. After buying so much, you have custom officers to contend with. For every stop we make at any checkpoint, we pay huge amounts of money so that our goods will not be seized. At the end of the day, you realize you paid almost as much as you used in buying to get your goods home”. He lamented. Second hand clothes have continued to find their ways into the ever-growing bend-down boutiques. According to Okirika traders, these clothes are smuggled into the country through the Nigeria-Benin border.

• Second hand clothes

Fans come in various sizes, brands and prices. There are also different types for different places. There are wall, ceiling and standing fans, writes TAIBAT IDOWU

Tips on buying fans


ANS are simple interior appliances used to create a cooling effect in the summer. In Nigeria, fans are used more during the dry season or when the weather is hot. Are you the type who has been worried over the choice of fan? You need not worry again. Fans are of three types. There are some meant for the ceiling, and there are the standing ones. The third is the wall fan. Brands like O.R.L has various products with different prices. Its Giant 60 costs N4000; Deluxe, N3,500; Max, around N3000; Executive and Zurge go for N3,500; Mega, N4,800; Golden, N3,800. They come in white and brown colours. STC also has different products. Its Super goes for N3000; Super Power, N2, 800; and President (N3, 800). SMC has model KL which costs N5, 800; and model KN which stands at N8000. This pair happens to be the oldest. They are from Asia. Usher ceiling fan has white and brown colours. The former goes for N6, 800; and the latter, N7000. The Binatone brand has brown, white, cream, and chocolate colours. Each has three or four blades depending on the taste of a potential buyer. The threeblade type costs N3, 500, four blade, N4, 800. The standing fan comes in 16 and 18 inches. Standing fans of 16” come in plastic blade, the 18” iron blade. This rule doesn’t

apply to certain brands like Fanafrik which produces both inches in iron blades. Fanafrik also has a model for recognition of the inches such as S.O. 6 which is its highest model. It is an 18 inch fan valued at N5, 500. Model S.O.7 16 inch costs N4000. Century produces both inches but makes the former with iron blades put at N4, 800, while the 16 inch made in plastic blade costs N3,300. STC has only 18 inches at N4000. , ditto for Jumyrich but with an additional N500 raise. Astros is also in the same bracket with its price put at N3, 300. Like the standing fan, wall fans equally come in 16 and 18 inches, but the latter seems to enjoy more patronage than the former. Century has 16 inches fans which cost N3,600 and N4,500 respectively. Others like TMT, have only the 16 inch valued at TMT N5, 800. Evernal, Occenic, and Super Master have 16 inch each which goes for N3, 500, N3, 000, and N3, 500 respectively. For prospective buyers, the aforementioned fans can be obtained from makeshift stalls in areas such as Adebayo Onipanu Bus/stop, Elpina Creek Road, Apapa; Yaya Abatan street, Ijaye Road, Ogba; and Alaba International Market, Ojo;. Other places are: 38, Adedeji Street, Itire, along Ijesha Road; 126/130, Lawanson Road, Itire, Surulere; and 126, Isolo Road, Mushin, among many others. Perhaps individual tastes might differ; buyers must take into cognizance certain factors.

Your ceiling height: Knowing the ceiling height where your new ceiling fan will be installed will determine whether you choose a hugger ceiling fan or the variety with a down rod. National Electric Code (NEC) requires that fan blades should not hang lower than seven feet from the floor. For ceiling heights less than 7’63 , a hugger or a regular ceiling fan with a low ceiling adapter, might be preferable. Sloped or angled ceiling: A hugger ceiling fan is not ideal for a slope ceiling. Ceiling fan blades should always be in the horizontal position where gravity finds them,

else, the fan motor will incur too much strain and eventually burnt out. A sloped ceiling adapter will enable the ceiling fan to hang from 29 degrees to 52 degrees. Determine blade span based on room size: Ceiling fans come in different blade span sizes. Knowing the estimated blade span size will greatly narrow your search when it is time you want the right ceiling fan. Below should give you a good idea of what ceiling fan blade span you will need based on the square footage of your room. Square Footage and Room Length x Room Width: 16 – 40 sq. feet = 243 to 323 blade span40 – 75 sq. feet = 343 to 403 blade span; 75 – 100 sq. feet = 403 to 423 blade span; 100 – 140 sq. feet = 423 to 483 blade span, 140 – 200 sq. feet = 483 to 523 blade span.



Sensodyne for Rapid Action


HE oral cavity(mouth) is a medium for activities of different micro-organisms which interact with food. The end product of these interactions between the microbes and food is offensive odour. In order to combat or at least manage this odour effectively, there are a wide range of toothpastes in the market. Most of these brands of toothpastes are even strengthened with supplementary elements. But then, mouth odour is just one of the problems confronting most people. Another nagging problem facing the average toothpaste user is hypersensitivity of teeth. For those with sensitive teeth, daily tooth-brushing is like going to war. And this is because a mere brush on their teeth leads to bleeding, with blood gushing out of their mouth as if they are in a boxing ring. This kind of condition, according to dentists is known as ‘Dentine hypersensitivity.’ According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one out of three people have hypersensitive teeth. To most of these people especially in Nigeria, living with hypersensitive teeth is nature’s burden, a cross they have to bear throughout their lifetime. This need not be so. As a leading healthcare and beverage manufacturing firm has offered succour to them with the introduction of a new toothpaste product for hypersensitive teeth into the Nigerian market. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc., a world class research driven organization, has launched a new variant of its Sensodyne Toothpaste – Sensodyne Rapid Action. The fastacting 60 seconds Sensodyne Rapid Action was unveiled to dentists at an expert launch held in Lagos recently. Sensodyne Rapid Action is formulated to offer relief within 60 seconds to consumers who are experiencing sensitive teeth. With more fluoride, more mint and less abrasion, the new variant provides rapid relief from the discomfort of sensitive teeth. For individuals with dentine sensitivity who desire quick and easy solution, the new Sensodyne Rapid Action offers relief when massage directly onto the exposed sensitive dentine. It also provides the benefits of ordinary daily toothpaste including all-round protection, cleaning and freshness. Speaking at the unveiling, the Managing Director, GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc., Mr Chidi

Okoro said: “So many people are not aware of the available treatment options and are also under the perception that treating sensitive teeth can be a time consuming process. “However, with this Sensodyne rapid action variant’, many will immediately experience quick and effective teeth sensitivity relief in the most practical way.” Dentine hypersensitivity is a common problem affecting one out of three people, yet many do not actively address it. People develop sensitive teeth when the soft, inner core of the teeth, becomes exposed. This can happen due to factors such as abrasion from tooth-brushing, acid erosion which dissolves the enamel or tooth grinding that causes the enamel to worn away leading to sensitivity. On the authenticity of the claim, Global Clinical Director for Sensitivity and Acid Erosion, GSK, Dr. Steve Mason said “Sensodyne toothpaste has been clinically proven to relief the pain of teeth sensitivity with continuous use. Sensodyne should be used as regular daily toothpaste for people with dentine sensitivity. It also contains fluoride which protects against cavity formation.” Expatiating on symptoms associated with dentine sensitivity, Mason explained that “sensitive teeth may be experienced by people for the ages of 20 and above and if left untreated, it can infringe the enjoyment of certain food and drinks. That is why people adopt all sorts of methods to avoid the pain of sensitivity, but the simplest solution is to use a brand of toothpaste such as Sensodyne Rapid Action that is specially designed for sensitive teeth.” Sensodyne was first marketed in 1961 as the first desensitising toothpaste based on a strontium chloride formulation. In addition to being a global brand, with over 52 years of proven pain relief heritage, Sensodyne is the first brand with its core equity built on dentist’s recommendation and it is the most frequently recommended in the desensitizing toothpaste category. Presently other variants of Sensodyne toothpaste available in Nigeria includes: Sensodyne Extra Fresh, Sensodyne Total Care F and Sensodyne Gentle Whitening. GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc. is one of the world’s leading research-based consumer healthcare companies committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

• From left: Medical Director, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Anglophone West Africa, Dr. Bode Adesoji; Dean, Faculty of Dental Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof Godwin Arotiba; Managing Director; GSK Consumer Healthcare Nigeria, Mr Chidi Okoro and Sales Director, GSK, Vaibhav Bhanchawat at the unveiling of Sensodyne Rapid Action in Lagos.

LG stirs smart phones segment


HE global demand for smartphones, which boast web connectivity, high resolution touch-screen displays and access to application stores is at an all time high. In Nigeria the case is not different as it is highly sought after by individuals ranging from corporate executives to housewives who feel the need to be at the top of their game. This is what informed the introduction of the L series II smartphones by LG Electronics, a global leader in mobile communications. The L series II consists of the L7 II, L5 II and the L3 II. These uniquely designed mobile devices redefine elegance and performance in an amazing number of ways. All aimed at the budget-conscious consumer, the new Android Jelly Bean phones offer significant improvements on the previous models, including new, rounded and friendly design aesthetics. Overall, they are irresistibly beautiful as well as undeniably brilliant. Speaking on this landmark achievement, General Manager, Mobile Communications, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Mr. JS Yoo, said: “LG has a history of pushing the envelope when it comes to style and L Series II builds on this heritage of design innovation. By evolving the sophisticated style and premium features of the original L Series, its sequel is expected to continue the popularity of the L Series around the world.” Key features that are present in the L series II phones include the Quickmemo which allows users to use their fingertips to take down and then share handwritten ideas on their phone; Quick Button enable users customize the quick launch of apps like the camera, browser or music player, using a hot key. Safety Care lets users programme 3 optionsemergency call forwarding, phone non-usage notice, and my location notice- in the event of an emergency; and the Dual SIM function will benefit those that use their phones for both business and personal reasons, in order to ensure both worlds are kept separate. The True IPS (In-Plane Switching) display reveals colors that are true to nature. This occurs because the pixels are aligned so densely, images remain crisp and clear, even when zoomed in. Without over-saturation or eyestrain, you can enjoy accurate colors, sharp text, and dazzling images. All three L Series phones are designed in ways that make users feel as incredible as they look. The striking layouts are progressive, timeless, and inlaid with life-enriching innovations. The most-classy in the line-up - the L7 II has a 1GHz dual-core processor, 4.3-inch touch screen, 8 Mega Pixel (MP) cameras on the rear with an LED flash; and a 2,460mAh battery which is one of its major strengths, as it is expected to last at least two days without needing a recharge. A sharp improvement from the 5-megapixel camera

By Jimi David

and 1700mAh battery that existed in the previous version from last year The L5 II which comes with a refined designed is a bit bigger, with a 4-inch 800 x 480 display and 1,700mAh battery. It has the same 1GHz dual-core processor as the L7 II, but is still compact and bijou. L5II’s 4.0" display provides superior readability and a spacious viewing experience. It transforms typing and operating the user interface into an easy and enjoyable process with a larger keyboard and expansive screen. In terms of style it is opulently styled with a smart lighting with home button LED and an IPS (In-Plane-Switching) display for optimal viewing; it has a strong resolution that guarantees reproduction of true to nature colours. The L5 II contains a battery capacity of 1,700mAh with SIO+ technology, which makes it a high-density battery, maximizing consumer usage time while contributing no additional bulk. The smallest of the pack is the LG L3 II. It has a 3.2-inch 320 x 240 display, 1GHz Single-core; HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink packet Access) 7.2. Regarding camera, it has a 3.MP FF 0 and a 1,540mAh battery, and is pretty per functionary to be fair. It has a screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixel. With the introduction of the LG L series II phones, LG Mobile has once more indicated its readiness to maintain its proven reputation for producing innovative mobile devices with ultimate speed and functionality that will empower consumers in ways they have never thought possible.

*Editor - Wale Alabi *Consulting Editors - Rarzack Olaegbe, Sola Fanawopo * Correspondent-Jimi David * Business Development - Kenny Hussain * Legal Adviser - Olasupo Osewa & Co Brandweek is powered by Brandz Republic Consulting and published every Friday in THE NATION newspaper. All correspondence to the editor - 0808.247.7806, 0805.618.0040, e-mail: © All rights reserved.





ESPECTED members of Amnesty Panel, You were chosen to serve on this panel not only as trusted patriots who can save Nigeria at a precarious time like this but also as men and women perceived to be of integrity. You cannot afford to toy with both qualities for posterity sake. Remember that there many more qualified Nigerians for the same service. In an article related to Boko Haram published by yours sincerely in this column early last year, some cogent references were made to certain fundamental facts that may be of help to your panel during deliberations. Here is the article: In the life of every nation, like that of every individual human being, there must be a time of tribulation. Such a tribulation may be a test of faith or a cause for steadfastness. For an individual, passing or failing it may depend very much on the strength of his/her faith. And for a nation, the competence or otherwise of the leadership at the helm of affairs is a determinant. Nigeria as a country is not and cannot be an exception in this. For the past six years or thereabout, Nigerians have been forced to grapple with the intensity of an unprecedented insecurity culminating in bomb blasts which has been continually but devastatingly killing and maiming human beings in their scores. This carnage which first began in 2006 with a major threat to the existence of Nigeria by some war mongering Southsouth youths has come to climax the decades of crises in the country as engendered by economic, political, ethnic and religious motivations. And since the crises have constantly been engineered by government’s insensitive policies, it is instructive that the attitude of the same government towards those crises can hardly be suggestive of any serious readiness to proffer a permanent and sincere solution. The language that rents the air this time is ‘Boko Haram’. That language which sounds very loud with reverberating effect has virtually become a spectre putting both the government and the people on the run and giving them a fierce chase of their lives. Yet, the problem of insecurity in the country is not limited to Boko Haram alone. There are other known groups of no less militant intensity. Granted that Boko Haram was inherited by the current regime just as the Southsouth militants’ menace was inherited by Yar’Adua regime that preceded this, nevertheless, the late President Yar’Adua did not allow it to overwhelm Nigerians before finding a solution to it. Because of the way it is handled, Boko Haram has become like a huge elephant surrounded by thousands of blind men. One can only describe the part he is able to touch on the body of the mammoth animal and not the whole of it. Without diagnosis, only a quack doctor will proceed to treat an ailment in a patient. And that is what the federal government is currently doing in respect of Boko Haram’s carnage. However, some serious-minded, foresighted and sincere individuals who are convinced that the problem posed by Boko Haram is beyond mere surface scratching have begun to dig deep into the tap roots of that obnoxious body. One of such individuals is Jean Herskovits a female Professor of History at the State University of New York, USA. She has been writing on Nigerian politics since 1970. The other is a well known and highly respected Nigerian Catholic Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto Diocese. But since both of them hold similar opinions on the issue, ‘The Message’ decided to publish the latter’s own opinion because of Nigerians’ familiarity with his venerable personality. Below is the verbatim excerpt from his public address on Boko Haram which was entitled ‘AN APPEAL TO NIGERIANS’ and delivered to a Christian congregation in January 2012. It went thus: “On the occasion of the Carol of Nine Lessons organised by NTA and Radio Nigeria on December 10th last year, I was invited to deliver the message. I chose to speak on the theme, Do Not Be Afraid as a means of encouraging our people against the backdrop of fear and frustration that was mounting at the

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•Bishop Kukah

‘Although the freedom and growth promised by democracy are not here yet, we must remind ourselves that a better tomorrow is possible, a more united and peaceful Nigeria is possible.... The government must strive to earn the trust of our people’

time. Since then, it would seem that things have gotten progressively worse in our country. In the course of my reflections, I sought to encourage my fellow citizens not to be frightened by the events of the time. I insisted that despite these tragic and sad events and the situation of our country, we needed to conquer fear. I argued that the message of Christmas was a message about the good news of the birth of the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, (God-with us) and the Saviour of the world. Against the backdrop of other developments in the country at that time, I concluded by calling on the Federal Government not to carry through its plans for the removal of fuel subsidy. Since then, things have gradually snowballed well beyond what one had either feared or hoped. On Christmas day, a bomb exploded at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, in Niger State, killing over thirty people and wounding a significant number of other innocent citizens who had come to worship their God as the first part of their Christmas celebrations. Barely two days later, we heard of the tragic and mindless killings within a community in Ebonyi State in which over sixty people lost their lives with properties worth millions of naira destroyed and hundreds of families displaced. In the midst of all this, on New Year’s Day, the President announced the withdrawal of fuel subsidy and threw an already angry and frustrated nation into convulsion.... Right now, no one can claim a full understanding of the state we are in. However, even if we cannot understand the issues of the moment, our faith compels us to understand that God’s hand is in all this. The challenge is for us to have the patience to let His will be done. The tragedy in Madalla was seen as a direct attack on Christians. When Boko Haram claimed responsibility, this line of argument seemed persuasive to those who believed that these merchants of death could be linked to the religion of Islam. Happily, prominent Muslims rose in unison to condemn this evil act and denounced both the perpetrators and their acts as being un-Islamic. All of this should cause us to pause and ponder about the nature of the force of evil that is in our midst and to appreciate the fact that con-

trary to popular thinking, we are not faced with a crisis or conflict between Christians and Muslims.....In the last few years, with the deepening crises in parts of Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, and Plateau states, thanks to the international and national media, it has become fanciful to argue that we have crises between Christians and Muslims.... Sadly, the kneejerk reaction of some very uninformed religious leaders has lent credence to this false belief. To complicate matters, some of these religious leaders have continued to rally their members to defend themselves in a religious war. This has fed the propaganda of the notorious Boko Haram and hides the fact that this evil has crossed religious barriers. Let us take a few examples which, though still under investigation across the country, should call for restraint on our part. Some time last year (2011), a Christian woman went to her own parish Church in Bauchi and tried to set it ablaze. Again, recently, a man alleged to be a Christian, dressed as a Muslim, went to burn down a Church in Bayelsa. In Plateau State, a man purported to be a Christian was arrested while trying to bomb a Church. Armed men gunned down a group of Christians meeting in a Church and now it turned out that those who have been arrested and are under interrogation are in fact not Muslims and that the story is more of an internal crisis. In Zamfara State, 19 Muslims were killed. After investigation it was discovered that those who killed them were not Christians. Other similar incidents have occurred across the country. Clearly, these are very troubled times for our country. But they are also very promising times. I say so because amidst this confusing debris of hate, anger and frustration, we have had some very interesting dimensions. Nigeria is changing because Nigerians are taking back their country from the grip of marauders. These stories, few as they may be, are the beginning of our song of freedom. Christians are now publicly crossing the artificial lines created by falsehood and bigotry. Let us take a few examples of events in the last week alone (January 2012): In Kano, amidst fears and threats of further attacks on Christians, a group of Muslims gathered round to protect Christians

as they worshipped. In Minna and recently, in Lagos, the same thing repeated itself as Christians joined hands to protect Muslims as they prayed. In the last week, Christians and Muslims together in solidarity were protesting against bad governance and corruption beyond the falsehood of religion. Once freed from the grip of these dark forces, religion will be able to play its role as a force for harmony, truth and the common good. Clearly, drawing from our experiences as Christians, we must note that God has a message for us in all this. To elicit what I consider to be the message, I will make reference to three lessons and I know there are far more. First, these times call for prayer. At the height of our confusion during the Abacha years, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria composed two sets of prayers; one, Against Bribery and Corruption and second, for Nigeria in Distress..... We know that our Muslim brethren and millions of other non-Christians feel the same and are also praying in a similar way for our country. Two, these times call for solidarity of all people of faith. We are a nation of very strong believers and despite what anyone else may say millions of our Christians and Muslims do take their religion very seriously. However, you might ask, if that is true, why do we have so many killings in the name of God and of religion? My answer is that we have such killings because we live in an environment of a severely weak architecture of state which allows evil to triumph. It is this poverty that produces jealousy and hatred which leads to violence. We live in a state of ineffective law enforcement and tragic social conditions. Corruption has destroyed the fabric of our society. Its corrosive effect can be seen in the ruination of our lives and the decay in our society. The inability of the state to punish criminals as criminals have created the illusion that there is a conflict between Christians and Muslims. In fact, it would seem that many elements today are going to great extremes to pitch Christians against Muslims, and vice versa, so that our attention is taken away from the true source of our woes: corruption. As Nigerians, Christians and Muslims, we must stand together to ensure that our resources are well utilized for the common good. This is why, despite the hardships we must endure as a result of the strike, the Fuel Subsidy debate must be seen as the real dividend of democracy. Three, religious leaders across the faiths must indeed stand up together and face the challenge of the times by offering a leadership that focuses on our common humanity and common good rather than the insignificant issues that divide us. We therefore condemn in very strong terms the tendency by some religious leaders to play politics with the issues of our collective survival. Rather than rallying our people, some of our religious leaders have resorted to divisive utterances, wild allegations and insinuations against fellow adherents of other religions.... These are difficult times but they are also times of promise. Our country has turned its back on all forms of dictatorships. Our hands are on the plough and we are resolutely committed to democracy. Like a Catholic marriage, we may not be happy but we cannot contemplate a divorce. God does not make mistakes. Although the freedom and growth promised by democracy are not here yet, we must remind ourselves that a better tomorrow is possible, a more united and peaceful Nigeria is possible.... The government must strive to earn the trust of our people. All sides must take lessons from the demonstrations (against fuel price hike) and resolve to build a better and stronger nation..... There are too many scandals and injustices, too much corruption and greed, too many errors and lies, too much violence. All that the people desire to understand the political and economic choices made in their name is to participate in good governance. No economic regime is ideal and no economic choice is neutral. But these must always serve the common good”. •The address above by Rev. Father Mathew Hassah Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, is nothing but the truth which only men of conscience need to thrive.




With ekpoita / 08077706130

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

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

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

SANDS OF TIME Venus Williams’ gorgeous rose dress pop eyes at U.S. Open

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


-Jessica R. Dillinger

Success The road to success is not straight There is a curve called Failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies, and caution lights called Family But if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, insurance called Faith, and a driver called Jesus, you will make it to a place called Success!! Niderah



HUMOUR Sense of Responsibility. Venus Williams was a vision in rose recently wearing a beautiful self-designed dress during a first-round rout of Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the U.S. Open The dress is beautiful from afar, but hardly an impressionist painting up close. It’s designed with red and black roses with background stem lines and “love” written all over in script. To say it’s the best looking of Venus’ self-designed eleVen dresses could be damning it with faint praise. She’s dressed like a can-can dancer and fireworks display in recent years, so it’s not as if it’s a high bar to clear. This is a step in a different direction. It’s not the best Venus has looked in years; it’s the best anyone has looked. “It’s pretty fun for me to design this and actually wear it,” she told reporters after the match. “So it’s great.” For once, Venus didn’t have the most interesting outfit on the court. Her opponent, American Bethanie MattekSands, had her typical tight tank top, wrist bands, high compression socks and eye black. This time, she added red hightops to the kit.

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


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



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

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

3 5



2 2







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

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




Memories are forever Old students of AworiAjeromi Grammar School, Agboju, Lagos, held a reunion to commemorate the school’s 50th anniversary. NNEKA NWANERI reports


HE Awori-Ajeromi Grammar School in Agboju, a Lagos suburb, has over the years churned out men and women who now hold enviable positions in the public and private sectors. Many of them are politicians, heads of government establishments and captains of commerce. They are proud of the school which made them. The school took off in 1962 in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State with 32 students. On turning 50, the staff, old students, pupils and principals gathered to make the golden anniversary a grand one. They held series of events during the week among which was a health talk and debate. Last Saturday was the grand finale of the activities. The climax was the gala and award night held at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, Lagos. It was a memorable reunion for old boys of the school. Many who had not seen each other since they left school years ago wowed at what they had become. They hugged and shook hands and relived old memories of their school days. It was nostalgic, and there was no doubting their love for their school. They had a uniform - purple and golden Ankara fabric made for the occasion. The men and women sewed theirs in various styles. Former Lagos State Deputy Governor Princess Sarah Sosan, who was the chief host, said the day was one they had longed for. She praised the executives for bringing the body back to life. Princess Sosan recalled having passed out of high school in 1972, even though she ought to have left in 1971. For her, repeating a class didn’t stop her accomplishment. “I was very playful. I will always climb a cashew tree and eat up all the ripe cashews which would end up staining my white uniform so badly. Thinking of secondary school days, I remember experi-

•Princess Sosan (second left) displaying her plaque. With her are (from left); Chief Bola Oshinowo; Otunba Ojora and Mrs Bolaji Pearse

•Hon Tunde Ibrahim (right) and Oba Abideen Durosinmi

•Alhaji Lateef Quadri (left) and Mr Daniel Alabrah

ences I don’t ever want to forget; and because school days are days we don’t ever want to forget, days like this should be encouraged so we keep the memories alive,” she said. She urged those who are doing well to help renovate the school which is in bad shape and others should be able to contribute their quota to their Alma Mata. Chairman, Central Working Committee (CWC), Chief Bola Oshinowo of the 77 set, said the day was to reunite Aworians and renew the old friendship and the love that existed among them while in school. Awards were given to members for their contribution to the development of the school. Those who bagged awards were: Princess Sosan; Chief

of Staff to the Lagos State Governor, Mr Olanrewaju Babalola; a Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs who is also of the 73 set, Otunba Adedeji Ojora; the schools’ first Senior Prefect Alhaji R.A Ayilara; former Deputy Clerk of the Lagos State House of Assembly Mr Ibisola Ogayemi; Chairman, Baron Group of Companies, Mr Gabriel Essien-Akpan; the first Bursar of the school Alhaji Lateef Quadri and the Osoolu of Osolu Kingdom Oba Abideen Durosinmi. Others were: Judge of the Federal High Court Justice Aseimo Adumein; Mr Ambrose Okpara; Prince Rabiu Oluwa; Chiarman, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government, Comrade Ayodele Adewale.


•Wife of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Governorship candidate in Ondo State Mrs Mercy Anyanwu-Akeredolu (right) presenting award of Overall Best Chairman to Chairman, Ojo Local Government Prince Yinka Durosinmi assisted by his wife, Alhaja Olajumoke during the Lagos State Local Government Conference and Award in Lagos

•Mr Omoniyi (left) and Alhaji Shakiru Oyekan



•From left: The widow Princess Christianah Ojo; Mr Ayodele Ojo; Miss Funmilayo Ojo and Dr Kemi Okwuegbun during the funeral service of Prince David Ojo at Wesley Methodist Church, Omuo-Ekiti, Ekiti State




•Bishop Victor Taiwo and his wife

•The celebrator Pastor Olusanya assisted by his wife Oludolapo to cut the cake

•Mr Odunewu (left) and Arc Debo Aina

•Alhaji Oreoluwa Salako (left) and Mr Bola Ajibola

OR Pastor Folu Olusanya, the Managing Director of Celmeng Group of Companies in Europe, US, Nigeria and Ghana, last Saturday is a day to remember as he joined the sexagenarian club. He left no stone unturned to mark his 60th birthday. He hosted his family members and friends to a treat at the Central Business District (CBD) Alausa, Lagos. The scenery was beautiful. The hall was ornately decorated in wine and gold; scintillating local and international gospel music wafted, from the four ends of the arena. The birthday also served as a reunion forum for colleagues and former classmates of the celebrator. The event took off with the hymn Great is thy Faithfulness. Olutola Tade emceed the event. The Sunny Jay Music Band dished out gospel praise and worship songs. A brief sermon was given by Bishop Victor Taiwo Adelakun, titled: ‘The Mystery of Life’. Describing the celebrator as a man after God’s heart, an embodiment of maturity and humility, he noted that Olusanya has always been close to his maker. The cleric urged the guests to measure their life by how much they have donated to the needy and not by how long they live, adding that everyone has a special duty for everyman on earth. The children of the celebrator presented their father with an award. Guests ap-


•Pastor Tony Egbe and his wife

60 garlands for an achiever Family members and friends of Pastor Folu Olusanya gathered at the NECA Events Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, to celebrate with him on his joining the sexagenarian club. ABIKE ADEGBULEHIN writes. plauded their gesture. Other friends and well-wishers of the celebrator came out in turns to eulogise him. They all had many good things to say of Pastor Olusanya as they took turns to describe him in superlative terms. Wife of the celebrator, Oludolapo said her husband is one in a million having been ever caring and loving husband in all their years of marriage. One of the celebrator’s daughters said she learnt the art of marriage from her father, having put his family above all things. Mr Dele Fajiyi, a high school mate and colleague of the celebrator, described him as a kind-hearted, hardworking and courageous man. “I have known him to be a man who carries everyone along in all he does,” he said. He also thanked his wife for being a wor-

thy assistant and supporter for his friend. To Pastor Olusanya’s sister, Mrs Yemisi Kalesanwo, her brother has been a mentor to her and her siblings, who also doubles his family work as a husband to being more than a father to them. Fun was brought into the celebration as some friends and well wishers were called upon to play a game of passing round a basket which contained wrapped questions. Any guest who had the basket on him by the time the music paused had to pick a paper from the basket. At some time, one of his classmates was caught in the middle of the game and had to tell what the nickname of the celebrator was in school. It was Cacul. The celebrator and his lovely wife mounted the stage to cut the beautifully designed three-step cake amid fire works, after which he had a special dance with his


wife and children. The proud sexagenarian was full of thanks for the love shown him. He prayed for the younger ones to live worthy and longer lives.



SOCIETY Theatre arts guru Chief Jimoh Aliu has held a stage peformance in Offa, Kwara State to reenact the good old days of theatre. DUPE OLAOYEOSINKOLU reports.


Ways to speak to be effective


• Oba Gbadamosi and wife cheering the performance

Revival of stage performance


HE palace of Olofa of Offa turned a temporary amphi theatre where some actors and actresses performed live recently. The ocassion made it a special day in Offa, Kwara State, as Chief Jimoh Aliu (Aworo), Pa Lere Paimo, Alhaji Abdulkareem Adepoju, a.k.a Baba Wande, Musiliu Dasofunjo (Jogunomi), Iya Ninwe, Sade Aliu and Bola Aliu, among others, staged a show tagged Ogbon Ju Agbara to appreciate the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, Esuwoye II, for his contributions to the development of the ancient town. Aliu, who is set to mark his 55th year on stage, said he would do everything possible to revive the long-forgotten stage performance. He said the advent of home videos pushed stage performance off the scene. He recalled that fathers of the profession, such as the late Hubert Ogunde, the late Oyin Adejobi, Moses Olaiya (Baba Sala) cut their tooth with stage performance and also attained heights through the Alarinjo theatre. Olofa’s Media and Publicity Officer Mr Yusuf Babatunde said Kabiyesi always appreciated creativivity hence his handsome reward for the artistes. The Olofa blessed his subjects in the

spirit of the celebration. He prayed for peace and progress for Offa community. Aliu appreciated the King for his numerous contributions to the development of Offa kingdom. “Your Majesty Sir! Some people are born great while others work themselves into greatness. When a boy is born, his destiny lies in the hand of the creator and little is known about him but he continues to strive despite all odds. When it is time for his star to shine, God will single him out and uplift him. God who has raised you up, for the benefit of your people will never let you down. “For Chief Jimoh Aliu to celebrate you today is a living example of your greatness. My name has been written in Gold across the globe, because I have, through the theatre arts taught people lessons of life. I have performed in this palace on several occasions, as a musician and dancer. For this community to have Kabiyesi on the throne is a blessing for the good people of Offa. The community has started noticing a very high degree of greatness even in this short time that you have ascended your father’s throne. Kabiyesi, the dividend of royalty is manifesting in Offa where you have turned farmland

•Chief Aliu

to streets, bushes into markets” Aliu started the make belief business 55 years ago, after his stewardship in Hubert Ogunde and Akin Ogungbe’s theatre groups. He has carved a niche for himself through performances that told Nigeria’s story, especially during the civil war, when the Nigeria Army employed him to perform in its various formations as a way of comic relief in the war situation. Other royal fathers, and High Chiefs at the fun fair include Olusan of Osan Ekiti; Afaji of Faaji, Osun State; Alaho of Ahoo Igbada and Onidun of Igboidun Kwara State. The national president of Offa Descendant Union Alhaji Hamzat Adedeji, his General Secretary Mrs A.W Macarthy; Chief Tayo Shittu; Alhaji Mustapha Olowogada as well as former council boss Alhaji Saheed Lekan Popoola.


•From left: Acting Registrar of Caleb University, Lagos, Mrs Rolake Okor; Head of department of Mass Communication, Professor Nosa Owens-Ibie; Vice Chancellor Professor Ayodeji Olukoju and Mrs Owens- Ibie at the first Inaugural lecture of the institution delivered by Professor Owens-Ibie. PHOTO: RAHMAN SANUSI

OMETIME ago, I attended a programme in which someone made a presentation. After that presentation, other people were asked to contribute and they did. Among the contributors was a particular individual who spent a while talking, but I did not understand a single word he said. I looked around me and saw several blank faces belonging to AMODU LANRE OLAOLU people who were also trying to (Ph.D) understand what was being said. 07034737394 After the contribution, some people clapped and so did I. A friend sitting next to me asked me about what the contributor said and I replied, "Actually I didn't hear what he said, but it must have been interesting for people to have clapped." This is a clear case of an ineffective communication, at least for the majority of the audience. A similar case occurred in another programme I attended. An important personality was celebrating his birthday and a public lecture was held in his honour. After the keynote address presenter had delivered his outstanding speech, one of the dignitaries was invited to present a summary of the keynote address. Of course, it presupposed that if the speech lasted about 45 minutes, the summary should not be more than 10 minutes. Well, the summary kicked off well by focusing on the salient points of the lecture…then, it veered into the personal contribution of the dignitary. Five minutes went by, then ten, fifteen, twenty… until the summary was almost as long as the speech itself. Unlike the first case above, I understood what the dignitary said, only that the longer he spoke, the lesser the effect it had on me. If effectiveness is your intention, then you must learn that there are different speeches for different events. You must also learn that speeches must vary in lengths depending on the occasion. Inappropriate speeches distract the audience and produce contrary results to what the speaker expects. Appropriateness is the key in public speaking. What may be suitable for one event may not be suitable for another. A speaker was invited to speak at an event and he was given one hour for his presentation. He, however, concluded his speech after 20 minutes. Think of that! Imagine what the organizers would have to do to fill up the remaining time if they are working strictly by schedule! Also imagine what they would do if they actually paid the speaker for the entire hour! True, people would rather have a shorter-thannecessary speech any day than a longer-than-necessary one, but sometimes, the length of a presentation can give you an idea of how much value is contained therein. For instance, how much are you willing to pay to learn to fly a plane in 30 minutes? Do you suppose a 30 minutes lecture (if we can call it that) would do justice to the subject matter? That is exactly my point. Some speeches are designed to be long while some others are designed to be short. Talking of short speeches, what will you do if you attend a wedding reception and the chairman of the event produces a 10 page document to present his opening remark? The event should determine the purpose of the speech and the purpose should determine the nature of the speech. What I mean is this, if the event is an academic public lecture, then we know that the purpose of the speech is to inform or teach. That being the case, the speech should be long enough to allow the speaker to pass across the message and also allow the audience to receive the information. A major problem will arise if a speaker does not understand this basic principle. I am of the strong opinion that the success of any speech depends solely on the perception of the audience. Perception can be simply described as the way people see things. We all know that perception is subjective because people tend to change their minds. Hence, their perception is open to external influence. When people are in a relaxed environment, their minds will be relaxed and they will not be receptive to any serious lecture. On the other hand, if they are in a formal or serious environment, they may consider too much jokes by the speaker as unnecessary. There are five major types of speeches and they are informative speech, entertaining speech, persuasive speech, technical speech and brief remarks. These are the broad categories for majority of the speeches you will encounter. Each of these speeches has its unique audience, duration and technique. Informative speech is a speech that aims at enlightening the audience on a particular subject; it is educative in nature. Entertaining speech is structured to amuse the audience. Persuasive speech is used to convince the audience to see an issue from the speaker's point of view and brief remark is a short speech presented when much has already been said and done. It is very important to note that a single speech may make use of any combination of the above. This means that an informative speech may still be persuasive. Nevertheless, each of these speeches will require proper treatment. Hence, we shall dedicate the next few weeks to exploring them and learning how they can be used to achieve maximum communication results. Dr. Amodu teaches at the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State.



SOCIETY The Jericho Businessmen Club (JBC) has honoured some of its members, who were elevated in their places of work, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. AMIDU ARIJE was there.

Honoured by their own T

HE Jericho Businessmen Club (JBC) is only for men and Ibadan indigenes. Its primary aim is to bring development to Ibadan and it always works towards achieving this. The members are big men in their lines of business. Some head companies; others have business abroad. The club members gathered on April 9, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, to honour five of their colleagues elevated. They were led by their President, Alhaji Remi Bello, a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA). The occasion was chaired by the former Minister of Commerce and Industries, Mrs Nike Akande. Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi was the special guest of honour; the President, Centre Council for Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Bayo Oyero, was the father of the day. The citations of the awardees were read by some members of the club. After that, the honorees were presented with plaques. They are the Director, Business Development, UACN Property Development, Mr Yemi Ejidiran; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Registrars Limited, Mr Bayo Olugbemi; Executive Director and Group Chief Financial Officer, Finance, FirstBank Plc, Mr Bayo Adelabu; Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority, Mr Oyesola Oyekunle, and Director, Finance, Regional Municipality of Wood Buaffalo, Albert Canada, Mr Kola Oladimeji. Only Oladimeji was absent. They couldn’t hide their joy as they received the plaques. Mrs Akande urged JBC not to relent in its efforts to promote professionalism in Ibadan and the country at large. Oyero congratulated the club for its achievements and praised the members for their contribution to Ibadan and its citizens. “I congratulate you for honouring eminent Ibadan citizens. I am delighted to be here to celebrate excellence in Ibadanland. All of you are eminent Ibadan sons with whom we are not just pleased but very proud of; I can say it that of about 19 clubs that form CCII, JBC has contributed more to the town; it has been sponsoring the an-

•Mr Adelabu receiving a plaque Chief Akande

•Governor Ajimobi (right) and Alhaji Bello

•Chief Oyero (right) presenting a plaque to one of the awardees

nual Ibadan Conference and has donated a set of computers to the CCII house and they have also given us a generator to power it”.

JBC President Alhaji Remi congratulated the honourees.

“To reach a top executive position in private and public establishments is not an easy task, you will all agree with me. So also you will agree with me the more that reaching the top is not as difficult as remaining and even sustaining the momentum that took you to the top,” he said. He noted that the gathering was meant to tap from the experience of the elders. “Therefore, in addition to the physical effort of individuals, you need spiritual effort and words of elders. Our gathering tonight is, therefore, not only for wining and dining but to feed ourselves with words of wisdom to sustain our honourees to ensure they remained on top and give those on the way to greatness hints on how to get to the top,” he said. Oyero called on the government to ensure sound and qualitative education for the citizens, pledging the club’s willingness to assist it in actualising sound education in the country. “JBC is a willing tool in achieving the above call and more in the development of our people and our environment, we have men in all spheres of life to support the government efforts if called upon,” he said. Governor Ajimobi said: “My understanding of the club is that it is one that has the noble objective to network people of progressive minds and this club has succeeded in bringing honour, fame and improving the socio-economic development and progress of the state,” he said. Ajimobi said the honorees were a pride to the state and the nation at large. “You are a pride to this club, Oyo State and Nigeria. I believe you deserve this recommendation and I can extend it; you are a pride to the entire human race,” he said. The governor urged the club members to extend their development beyond their scope and participate in active politics. “Do not limit yourself to internal development, extend yourself to socio-political development, begin to promote some of your members to participate in politics, we need good people in politics,” he said. Given the vote of thanks on behalf of the honourees, Ejidiran assured the club that they would not let it down. “We assure you that this is just the beginning; we will continue to make you proud and never let the club down,” he said. Chief Executive Officer, Taimez Nig. Ltd and Artis Ltd, Mr Taiwo Akande, described the honorees as icons of good ambassadors to future generations and Ibadan. “I know what kind of effort goes into earning these feats. You guys are icons of your individual field and that of our generation and good sons of Ibadan. You have just made us to realise that, whatever man can conceive, he can achieve,” he said. Guests were treated to choice food and drinks.

A telecoms engineer, Mr Victor Omelieme and his wife Philomena celebrated their 40th and 50th birthday. NNEKA NWANERI was at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, venue of the event.

Their day of joy L

IFE is full of possibilities and everyone has his own time of greatness, only if you persevere and are consistent. For me, I just want to give praise and glory to God.” Those were the words of Mr Victor Omelieme, one of the foremost telecommunication mast builders, who turned 50 last Saturday. He not only revelled in the day, his wife of many years also celebrated her 40th birthday with him. Love filled the air as the Edo State born couple was celebrated by their friends and family members. Dressed as a typical Edo man with a wrapper slung over his left shoulder, the birthday ‘boy’ entered the topmost hall of the Civic Centre with the birthday ‘girl’ beside him. The celebration, which began at midday,

had an array of Nollywood comedians, artistes and actors in attendance. Baba Nothing Spoil held sway as the MC, till other comedians, led by the don of comedy, Julius Agwu arrived. Other comedians were Kolo and G-Paul. The Awilo group and Francis Agwu, aka Bobo Shakira did the hip and waist dance that left guests asking for more. DJ Ocean dished many memorable old songs. There was never a dull moment. Soon after the couple cut their cake, gospel musician, Benita sang her Osemudiamen hit song, to the delight of the guests. She led other guests to their traditional dance and kept them on the dance floor for some time. Prince Henry Ojobor, a childhood friend of Omelieme, recalled how they began life in a one room apartment in Okokomaiko axis of Lagos. Thanking God for how far they have come, Ojobor proposed the toast and led five other men to pop a massive sized bottle of Moet. Mrs Philomena told The Nation that even in their more than two decades of marriage, she never had reason to fret about the future because she believed in her husband and in God.

She was full of praise to the Almighty for the grace bestowed on them. To the guests, it was the perfect way to spend the weekend as everyone took to the dance floor till late that night. Guests f r o m telecoms companies, MTN and Etisalat, were there in their number to felicitate with them. •The celebrators Victor and Philomena cutting the cake


Friday, May 3, 2013


FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013



The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has polarised the House of Representatives members into the protagonists and antagonists. Correspondent VICTOR OLUWASEGUN, who witnessed the public hearing on the bill, reports that the division in the House mirrors the divided opinion among the various stakeholders in the polity.

Can National Assssembly pass PIB? T

HE House of Representatives is in a fix over the Pe troleum Industry Bill (PIB). The executive bill, which was Presented to the House by President Goodluck Jonathan, has polarised the legislators. The lawmakers from the South have no objection to the bill. But their counterparts from the North are raising eyebrows. According to the Northern legislators, the passsage of the bill will further widen the revenue distribution gap between the North and South, thereby pauperising the North. So far, there is no consensus between the two blocs. When the House organised the public hearings on the contentious 493chaptered bill recently, the views mirrored the antagonistic positions of the legislators. They also reflected the Noth-South dichotomy. The public hearings took place in Lagos (Southwest), Port Harcourt ( Southsouth), Enugu (Southeast), Kaduna (Northwest), Ilorin (Northcentral), and Gombe (Northeast). The bill is meant to establish institutions, regulatory authorities and legal frameworks for the petroleun industry. It is also meant to stipulate rules for the operation of the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors. But the proposed law is also expected to make it mandatory for the giant oil companies and other operators to embark on development projects in the oil-producing areas. Many Nigerians believe that the bill will compel the government to strive at probity, transparency and accountability in the sector. According to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who first mooted the bill, it would revive the industry and avert the attacks on pipeline and constraints on investment. The amalgamated bill is a fusion of the 16 petroleum laws.The House Committee headed by the Chief Whip, Hon. Isiaka Bawa, commenced work after its formal inauguration on March 13, with a retreat with stakeholders in Lagos. But when the Senate beamed a searchlight on the sector, the remark by Senator Ita Enang that 83 percent of the oil blocs are owned by Northerners inflammed passion. In the Lower Chamber, the 10 percent proposed for community development in the oil-producing areas has been the bone of contention. According to northern legislators, them, it amounts to allocating more revenue to the Niger Delta. To douse the tension, Bawa, who addressed reporters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said that the House had no hidden agenda. He explained that the bill is important because oil is the live-wire of the country’s economy. “The bill is still in a raw material form and that is why we are subjecting it to scrutiny. What we are doing is subject it to the overriding interest of Nigerians and what

• Tambuwal

• Ihedioha

PIB GREY AREAS • • • • • •

Fiscal regime Dispute resolution Petroleum Technical Bureau Upstream inspectorate Downstream inspectorate Host community fund

obtains at the end of the day is what Nigerians decide”, he added. The public hearing gave opportunities for the stakeholders from the north, especially the civil society groups, to challenge the sweeping powers of the Petroleum minister. They said that the exercise of these powers could be abused. Kwara State Governor Abdulfata Ahmed said Section 6 of the bill is worrisome. “I am concerned here about the power that has been put together for the Minister because I see the Minister as a politician. We can’t allow the fate of 157 million Nigerians to be tied to the hands of a politician. It would be too dangerous. “Rather, I will suggest that we have an institutional framework that would sustainably be administering that portion of responsi-

bility, that would ensure that on a continuous basis Nigerians would have a source of confidence, a source of belonging, and most importantly, a source of hope driven by persistent optimism in the future. “But it must be based on equity and justice, these two will keep us together as a country”, he submitted. His Kogi State counterpart, Capt. Idris Wada, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Petroleum Matters, Dare Adesina, echoed the same sentiment. “ It is evident from the PIB draft that a lot of power is vested in the Minister of Petroleum. If such powers lack the motive of making the Minister of Petroleum to be more productive, it should not be encouraged. “ We do not want a PIB passed where some roles and functions

that was erstwhile exclusive to the President of the Federal Republic now scrapped off and given to the Minister of Petroleum.” Niger State Governor Aliyu Muazu, also lent its voice. to condemn the section.“ PIB 2012 grants disproportionate powers and authority to the Minister of Petroleum Resources over policy, regulatory and operational issues. “Thus, it is not justifiable to grant such enormous powers to a single functionary of a tier of government, given that the PIB deals with the Federation as a whole. “It is noteworthy to establish that such laws should not be enacted because of the present occupant; it should rather embrace generality and universality.” The grey areas of the bill, which also agitated the stakeholders, include fiscal regime (Section 3c), dispute resolution ( Section 115), unitisation (Section 180) and the establishment of Petroleum Technical Bureau ( Section 9), Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate ( Section 13), and Downstream Petroleum Inspectorate (Section 43), and the contentious host community fund. The Center for Democracy and Development, in a presentation by its Co-ordinator, Comrade Taiwo Otitolaye, also spoke on the power of the Minster.

‘I am concerned here about the power that has been put together for the Minister because I see the Minister as a politician. We can’t allow the fate of 157 million Nigerians to be tied to the hands of a politician. It would be too dangerous’

Otitolaye said: “The powers of the Minister of Petroleum and the discretionary powers of the President as contained in the bill should be unmistakably and distinctively clarified.. “ The bill empowers the Minister to coordinate and supervise all the activities in the petroleum industry, including powers to grant, amend, renew, extend or revoke upstream and downstream petroleum licences and leases. “The draft law stipulates that the Minister of Petroleum Resources only gets the approval of the President. If these sweeping powers are not toned down, they can be abused.” After the public hearings, the question is: what next? Bawa said the final public hearing will hold in Abuja to give the committee for final collation of views. He said that, following the collation, the House willmove to the next stage in law-making. However, sources said that the foreign oil companies are plotting to frustrate the exercise. But Bawa dispelled the rumour, saying that the committee is not under any pressure from the firms. In the past, there were allegations that the Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Addax Petroleum, Agip and Total, who are opposed to the stringent terms of the new legislation, wanted to influence certain aspects of the bill. According to analysts, the proposed fiscal regimes in the bill would not only negatively affect future deep water exploration, but add to the long list of contending issues, including the high risks and costs of security and bunkering. Another source of concern is funding. Since the House has cut down on its spending, members who expected logistics assistance from host states were disappointed. On the appropriateness of the zonal public hearings, the Chairman of the Northcentral Public Hearing, Hon. Bassey Ewa was of the opinion that the exercise was necessary. He decried the poor attendance by the stakeholders. However, it was learnt that poor planning and lack of adequate communication contributed to the poor attendance of the event. Another legislator, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, who is also the Chairperson of the House Committee on Environment, lauded the initiative, saying that it would give credibility to the exercise. She raised points on the environmental issues being considered by the bill. “Environment issues is a global issue and you can’t talk of redeeming the petroleum industry without talking the damage the oil is doing to the communities where the oil is being produced”, Ekwunife said. Can any minority report be ruled out, judging by the division over the bill? A lawmaker, Hon. Osagie, who chaired1 the hearing in Lagos, said that there will be no minority report.



POLITICS Senator Adebayo Salami is a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun State. He spoke with SOJI ADENIYI on the Aregbesola Administration, preparation for next year’s governorship poll and other partisan issues.

‘Why Omisore can’t be governor’ A

FTER you left the National Assembly in 2003, you have been silent on political issues. Why are you silent? I don’t want to believe that I have been so silent. I have been associating with political parties and I have always been playing my part in whatever association that I find myself. I am in a position to thank God that my vision for the State of Osun has materialised at the end of the day. When we went into the National Assembly in 1999, we went with so much hope that it was a new beginning after the Abacha regime. Nigerians had so much hope that we were having a new start and that things will change, but at the end of the day, we discovered that not much had been achieved. How was the hope of Nigerians dashed? Everybody thought we were going to practice true federalism, and when you talk about true federalism, you are talking about optimising individualism in each Nigerians in their respective places. You are talking about moving away from the unitary system of government. The problem with us today is that we are neither practicing federalism nor unitary system of government. What does the centre represent? The centre represents the aggregation of the states. Once a President emerges, he is the President of Nigeria and he is not the President of any political party. If you want to construct a road in Osun, for example, all the federal government needs to do is to agree on the design and other structures and channel down the money to the state concerned, instead of giving it to a consultant from another state. My own belief is that, if anybody is going to make it in this country, you have to work outside the box. If Nigeria continues with the way we are going, we may be far away from achieving what we desire. Few years ago, the federal government denied Lagos State the power to distribute electricity. If you care as government and you want to give everybody electricity, you will not mind who you give it to, provided he gives it to the people optimally. But political consideration is what we always think about. That is some of the reasons why I refocused and pray that Osun will get out of the doldrums and I am now happy for the leader that God has given to this state. If you want to actualise any serious vision, you have to do it outside the box. I call it working outside the box; you call it an unusual government. I believe with the trend that I am seeing in Osun now, we will soon get there. Why did you single out Osun from all other ACN states? I was in Lagos yesterday and I saw something unusual, not even talking about all other ACN states. As I was going, I saw ‘A yes. ’ It took me aback and when I looked at the ‘A yes’, it was Abia Youth Empowerment Scheme. I have seen ‘Yes O’ and I am now seeing ‘A yes’... But the Federal Government too has SURE-P and others...

The Federal Government is not a serious government. There is no need for SURE-P. If you want to create a youth empowerment scheme and you want to create for all the states of the Federation, is it 20,000 that you want to engage in SURE-P programme across the federation? All you need to do is Osun, if you are able to do 20,000 youth empowerment, we will merge it with another 20,000 for you. So, this money for 20,000, the same thing you for Abia and other states in the country. There is the possibility that we wouldn’t have all these insurgence that we have around. Where does this problem rear its head most? In areas where poverty was prevalent, that is where you have the problem. It is no coincidence. When you look at the indices of poverty in Borno and you look at the insurgence, you will know that it is not a coincidence. You cannot solve the problem of poverty, unless you give people education, gainfully employ them. It is not all about beating around the bush. There is a correlation between what is happening in Nigeria and poverty. Solve the problem of poverty and all other things will fall in place. Has Governor Aregbesola fulfilled his promises to the people? What this government has given to the people of Osun is hope. The greatest gift of this administration is hope in all ramification. Our youth now feel that they cannot wake up in the morning and start thinking of what to do. I was amazed by the ‘O-YES ‘ programme. I am sure when they were drawing that scheme, even those drawing that scheme did not know what 20,000 entails. It was when they wanted to implement it that they knew that it was daunting because I know that, by the time they came up with 20,000, they would have thought they would train them before they were deployed. There is no facility in Nigeria that can train 20,000 in a single place. May be, they later toyed with training them in the three senatorial districts and that there is also no facility to train 8,000 in a district. I want to believe it was why they came down to the local government level. They now say let everybody train in their respective local governments. They call what they are given stipend; 20, 000 multiplied by N10,000, that is N200 Million injected directly into the economy of the state. They will still spend the money in the state. The idea of OReap(Rural Agricultural Empowerment Programme). I have seen that the poultry


programmes has kicked off and millionaires had been made. The school system has changed for good, in terms of provision of grant to schools, increasing from what it used to be. An average Osun indigene now knows that to walk is an exercise to healthy living. These are things that has been inculcated into the lives of people and it has become a way of life. I have attended some functions with big wigs of previous administration and someone told me that he didn’t know that when you dredge rivers, there wouldn’t be flooding and that he was amazed. He said he has a poultry farm during the last administration and there was flood and water took away all his birds. But when this government came, it dredged almost all rivers, but he couldn’t ask them to come and dredge his place, but he hired an excavator and that thought him he would no longer experience flood. Osun has been given a new hope in all ramifications by the present administration in the state. Looking at the insecurity in this country, especially the Boko Haram threat and kidnapping, how would you score the Federal Government? I have said it initially that one of the things the government should be concerned about is the security of lives and property. That should be the responsibility of a functional government. All other things come after. But these Boko Haram and militancy you are talking about emanated from poverty. If you have wrong leader at the helms of affairs for eight years in a state, who is not doing anything, the effect will not be during the period of eight years. It will be after. That was what happened in Borno State and the spiral effect is all over the country today. I want you to go and look at Borno State just for 20 years. A government came to Borno for eight years doing nothing and what you have has affected the whole country. It first started in Borno and now Yobe. Yobe

‘Let me just talk about the system and not about personality. We are talking about visionary people coming to Osun. Iyiola Omisore is my friend, but the wherewithal to run this state, quote me, he doesn’t have it. I will not even try to comment on Omisore saying that all the government is doing is propaganda’

was created from Borno. Later it was in Gombe. So long as you have one central police, Nigerians cannot be protected. This is where federalism comes in. In an advance country like the USA, New York Police is different from Maryland Police. There are some areas where they can’t afford police, but they still have Sheriffs. Everybody should police his own community, so long as you are going to have an instruction from the Inspector General of the police in Abuja. People will tell you that when they have local or divisional police in the past, they were misused. The question I asked is, because states are going to misuse the police, should we jeopadise the security of 150 millions of Nigerians? If you have one man at the helms of affairs of one state that is going to misuse the police, the maximum tenure he can have is eight years. We should not personalise government. No matter how Jonathan tries, so long as we continue to do it this way, you cannot achieve. Despite that, you have all these. Aregbesola’s government still procures equipments for the use of police in the state because he can manage the security of the state because they will say security is a federal issue. Unless we do thing the way it should be done, I don’t see a solution to what you are talking about on security. Recently, Senator Iyiola Omisore said all your party is doing in Osun is propaganda and that the present government is frivolous. What is your reaction? Let me just talk about the system and not about personality. We are talking about visionary people coming to Osun. Iyiola Omisore is my friend, but the wherewithal to run this state, quote me, he doesn’t have it. I will not even try to comment on Omisore saying that all the government is doing is propaganda. The O-yes, O-Reap, Oyes-Tech, O-school, O-Meal are propaganda? Not only that, the Walk-To-Live itself is propaganda? This government did something and people never commented about it, which is creating an identity for the state. This is the foremost programme. That’s one legacy he will be living behind than any other thing. He has been able to register it in the minds of people that good virtue matters a lot. “Ipinle Omoluabi”, that is what we are in Osun now. It is possible for another administration to come after 30 years and say this programme I am not doing again, but can he say we should not be “Ipinle Omoluabi´ again? What does he want to call us?. Honestly, and you can quote me, I am not one of the people that will sing the praise of Rauf Aregbesola if he is not doing well. If he is not doing well, I will not only criticise him; I will walk up to him and tell him he has not done well. I met this gentle man in 2005. He came into this compound; that was the first time I thought I was meeting him. He went to Imesi-Ile from Lagos. I sat in the same bus with them, and when we are on the road along Ada, he was now commenting on not seeing business activity along the road. I kept my cool as he was analysing so many things. Few days later, he made me realize that he wanted the mandate of the party for the governor of the state and I ,if all what you are saying in the car is what you can achieve, I will give you my support. That was the first time that thought I met him, but it was later when were discussing that I got to know that he was a corps member in the company that I was working as an accountant in Kaduna. Osun is no more for grabs for anybody who doesn’t have what it takes anymore because the strides we have recorded in this state, no Osun person will want to reverse our trend. Honestly, Rauf is doing well in all ramifications.

Group mobilises for 2015 elections By Musa Odoshimokhe



HE National Co-ordinator of the Nigerian League of Demo crats, Mr. Omoniyi Adebanjo, has said that the group will mobilise the youth for greater participation in democracy. He said they will be encouraged to vote and be voted for in

the 2015 general elections. Adebanjo, who visited the Lagos office of The Nation, disclosed that the group had embarked on a research focusing on the public perception of presidential zoning. He said questionnaires would be distributed to youths across the six geo-political zones to express their views on the rotation of the highest office. Adebanjo said: “Being the watchdog, we must ensure that credible and good leaders mount the saddle of leadership. And when you look at what is going on in the country, most of the people at the lower rung of the ladder don’t even know or understand what is happening.” “We are embarking on an orientation programme, which all the youths will benefit from. The strength of any nation depends on the youth. The coordinators in all the polytechnics and universities will rise to the challenge. They are going to play a paramount

role in the race toward 2015.” “The league will hold seminars as from October. A lot of activities will take place to sensitise Nigerians to their civic responsibilities in 2015, which will be a deciding moment for the country. We want to mount a campaign to ensure that 2015 polls is free and fair. This task squarely lies in the hand of the federal government.” Adebanjo disclosed that over 100 million copies of the questionnaires would be distributed, stressing that Nigerians of eligible ages would have the opportunity to express their positions on critical issues germane to governance. He added: “For the purpose of fair play, there is the need to balance the polity. If you cast your mind back from 1999 to this present time, those who had held sway at Aso Rock are from the South. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo dominated the scene for eight years, but when it shifted to the north, under the leadership of the late Umaru

Yar’Adua it did not last.” He maintained that the Niger Delta people were agitating when they felt that they were not getting enough from the country. This, according him, led to the conceding of power to the minority which leadership fell on President Jonathan. “If you take your mind back when the militants in the Niger Delta were agitating the whole drama was cut short when the presidency was given to the minority. We at this organisation felt that power should shift down to the north to forestall the Boko Haram insurgency.” On whether the presidency should be based on competency, he said: “I have not completely stated that power should be zoned for lack of competence. It very competence is relative and now you saying that if the power must shift it must be based on credibility. Is north not capable of giving us a credible candidate? “I am a Yoruba man but I am not

calling for the power to go to my people but I think for the purpose of fair play, we should allow the north to have the shot at the presidency. And for the unity of this country, we have to come together to achieve peace and progress. “It was based on some form of understanding that people allowed Jonathan to become president and I think we should continue to explore all avenue of comprise to keep this country together. So, Jonathan too can let it go.” He said the threat from the ruling party that it would capture 32 states was undemocratic.” When you see the true democrats they care for the masses. They seldom make undemocratic statements and would always test their popularity at the polls. The democrats are particular about the welfare of the people and the economic development of the country. “The democrat will use God in his infinite mercy as their number one strategy. So, the idea that they would be captured 32 states sounded very undemocratic.



Council boss provides jobs tools for widows, the elderly


HE leadership of Somolu Local Government Area, Lagos State, has cheered up the aged, widows, artisans, market women, among others, in the council. The chairman of the council, Hon. Gbolahan Bago-Stowe provided them with various jobs tools. The event took place during the inauguration of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Recreation Centre in the area. He said: “As a responsible and responsive government, it is our duty to put in place a good, secure and comfortable recreation centre for our citizens. It will also provide a platform for the people to learn indoor games such as scrabble, chess, dart, snooker, ludo, Ayo, etc.” Bago-Stowe stated that the recreation centre will have 24-hour security and floodlight for the comfort and safety of users. He also said: “The economic recession has created more hardship for our people due to an increase in unemployment. In view of this problem, the executives

By Emmanuel Udodinma

have to come up with an empowerement programme so that our people can be self-employed in order to meet up with the present challenges.” The items donated included sewing and grinding machines, generator sets, hair dryers, clippers, among others. Hon. Bago-Stowe advised the beneficiaries to make the best use of their equipment in order to justify the aims of the council. Professor Tunde Samuel who represented former governor of Lagos State Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the ceremony, said that the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was unable to attend the event owing to his busy schedules. Also speaking at the event, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Ademorin Kuye described the ultra-modern recreation centre built by Somolu Local Government as another monument, reflecting the con-

•Hon. Bago-Stowe (third right) assists Professor Tunde Samuel, representing Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in cutting the tape at the inauguration of the recreation centre. In front of them are the tools distributed at the event

scious effort by “our local governments to show that grassroots administration in Lagos State are purpose-driven, peopleoriented and are set out to complement the unparalleled efforts

Edo probes N50m electrification fund


DO State lawmakers have begun a probe into an abandoned N50m electrification project for Akoko-Edo Local Government Area. The probe followed a petition sent to the House by residents of the several communities under the auspices of Ikiran Oke, Ayanran, Ikakumo Electricity Completion Committee. In the petition signed by the chairman and secretary of the committee, Chief John Alaba Obasoro and Hon. Oyewole Samuel, respectively, the communities said the project was awarded during the Obasanjo administration and that the National Assembly approved the project sum in the 2012 fiscal budget. They alleged that only scanty numbers of electricity poles were dumped at the site and accused the Power Holding Company, Benin Zone, of diverting the funds to finance other projects in

He said that the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Areas in Lagos State are in a keen competition in their quest to enhance the standard of life in the state.

Lagos praised on fight against illegal drugs

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

neigbouring states. But the Benin Zone PHCN Executive Director, Effion Umoren, who appeared before the House Committee on Energy and Water Resources said the project in question was handed over to him as a new project and not an on-going one. Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Water Resources, Hon Michael Ohio-Ezomo directed Umoren, an engineer, to provide relevant documents on the said contract. He said the lawmaker would visit the site to assess the level of work done. Hon Peter Akpatason representing Akoko Edo Federal Constituency faulted claims of the PHCN authority that they completed the electrification of the 25 kilometers Unemen-Igarra Road and urged the lawmakers to tour all the projects in the communities.

of the state administration in creating a functional, secure, prosperous and liveable environments for investors and tourists for the attainment of a mega-city status.”



RKED by the increasing rate of illegal activities in the production of sub-standard drugs, the Special Assistant to the Imo State Governor on Lagos Liaison, Hon. Lisa Asugha, has praised the commitment of men of Lagos State Task Force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods towards sanitising the drug market. Asugha, who expressed her joy following report that the

task force team had sealed off some illegal drug shops, as well as impounding fake drugs worth millions of Naira during a raid within Ikorodu Local Government Area of the state, said the action will reduce the spate at which people lose their lives as a result of consumption of fake drugs. The raid, which was conducted in conjunction with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN), National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and officials of the Nigerian Police from the State Command, was in line with the Lagos State government’s effort to check drug adulteration and infiltration of the drug market by sub-standard imported and locally-produced drugs. “We can see the seriousness of the Lagos State government to deliver. That is why we are always partnering and backing their actions. Even at that, the state government’s programme and style of

governance are synonymous with ours. The issue of health concerns lives, and if we don’t implement and enforce laws, we cannot succeed with it,” she said. Meanwhile, Hon. Asugha stated that the sealing off of the shops was based on the information which government received on the dangers which nefarious activities of illegal operators of patent medicine stores posed to the health of the people. “Now that the synergy between Lagos and Imo state governments has become strong, we will make sure that the people are well guided and protected. The action to sanitise drug markets is not aimed at punishing anyone. The sealed shops are owned by some of us who are bent on causing pains to the society,” she said. The liaison officer advised operators of pharmaceutical and patent medicine stores, especially Imo citizens, to ensure that their activities are covered by the law regulating their operations.

Four youths thrill Anambra •Continued from Page 17 He said: “We are propagating the legacy which the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe left for us and we believe he will be happy in the great beyond.” In a chat with Newsextra, Prof. Grey Nwakobi said that the exploits of the students had rubbished the claims from certain quarters that Nigerian graduates are not employable.

•From left: Secretary to the Lagos State government, Dr Oluranti Adebule; Chairman, Mosan-Okunola Local Council Development Area, Hon AbdulRasheed Mafe and his Lagos Island East counterpart, Hon Kamal Salau-Bashua at the ACN national convention, at Onikan, Lagos

He said that it has equally vindicated the lecturers of the institution, adding that it had become a big challenge to other departments in the institution. But for Prof. Paul Orajaka, the students should be given more encouragement by sending them to seminars and international conferences. He added that the institution should imbibe a culture of engaging its best brains instead of allowing others to meal on them.




HE Federal Government has been urged to provide employment opportunities for the youth through the establishment of cottage industries in the country. The Medical Director of Rabban Medical Centre, Mosan Ipaja Lagos Dr Raphew Abayomi Balogun gave the advice as chair of the inauguration of Westland Hotels and Suites Limited, Ijegun in Igando/Ikotun Local Council Development area of Laos State. He said: “It is only when an individual has no genuine work to engage in as a source of livelihood that he has time to think of alternative means to get the necessities of life. Since an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, the individual may be tempted to engage in criminal activities to keep body and soul together.” He urged the government to strengthen its agencies like the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in its efforts to create jobs, even as he said the private sector should also be encouraged to complement government’s efforts in reducing the unemployment rate. This, he’s aid, could be achieved creating the enabling environment that would enable players in the private sector of the economy to establish companies that would employ some of the graduates that are churned out in large numbers from the universities. Dr Balogun stressed that “government’s role in creating a brighter future for the youth is


OU should ensure that plastics makers do their business under an agreeable environment. That was what the Managing Director of Lemmy Plastics Iyana-Ipaja Lagos Mr S. O. Daramola, an engineer, told the Federal Government in Lagos. According to the Indiatrained engineer who spoke to reporters at a press briefing, so many factors have made business in the industry very difficult. Though he acknowledged the efforts being made by the Federal Government to encourage the manufacturing sector, he however, opined that more still needed to be done. He said one of the factors militating against their business is the plethora of tax regimes

Govt urged to create jobs By Chinaka Okoro

very vital. It is pertinent that government’s policies and programmes should be youthfriendly. Certain infrastructural development and establishment of industries should be pursued with vigour so much so that the army of unemployed youths would have jobs provided for them.” Decrying the monolithic nature of the country’s economy and its over-dependence on oil, the medic expressed his fears that if there is no serious and genuine diversification of the country’s economy, there are, he said, tendencies that the economy would experience more retrogression than expected. He stated that one of the sectors of the economy that its po-

tential has not been tapped is the tourism sub-sector under which the hospitality industry falls. On the contributions of the hospitality industry to the wellbeing of the economy, Dr Balogun said that the preponderance of some anti-social behaviours resulted from frustration. He said: “Hospitality industry is meant to take off stress from any individual because one is useless if one has stress. It gives one the opportunity of being home away from home. The hospitality industry ought to be doing well but because of some policies; it is not contributing as it should to overall national economy. “The Ministry of Culture and Tourism should be strengthened so as to develop a good road map for the hospitality industry to thrive. They contribute to the

Government’s role in creating a brighter future for the youth is very vital. It is pertinent that government’s policies and programmes should be youth-friendly

growth of the economy through the patronage of other companies; for they will need drinks, beds, television sets, chairs, tables, foodstuffs, among others. These are products of other different companies. Through this exchange, the different companies would still be in business and would not fold up. Government should focus attention on the hospitality industry,” he said. Also speaking, the proprietor of the hotel, Prince Khalid Oyeniyi Olabisi said he established the hotel as part of his commitments to help in the growth of the economy and to complement government’s efforts in creating jobs for the growing number of unemployed youths. He said one of the ways to improve the nation’s economy is through diversification, even as he called on relevant authorities to encourage the tourism subsector to enable it to play its role as a major revenue earner for the country. He added that tourism should be made one of the vibrant aspects of the economy; and in doing this, you have to put in place facilities to enable tourists have a comfortable home away from home. One of the reasons that propelled me into this is helping government to fight unemploy-

•Prince Olabisi

ment that has become a one of the social problems in the country. “I thought deeply on how to help government in reducing unemployment rate by creating job opportunities. I decided to, in addition to my other existing going concerns, to build this hotel which has given employment to over 25 people for a start. I am satisfied that some hitherto unemployed people have been engaged,” he said. He advised government to provide the necessary infrastructure to boost small-scale enterprises. He specifically urged government to show more commitment to the improvement of the power sector which he said is the main factor that drives the economy.

Plastics makers seek better policies which they experience on regular basis. Investigations indicated that manufacturers in the plastic industry pay five per cent extra duty on importation, five per cent levy and five per cent VAT. Commenting on these facts, Daramola affirmed that the tax regimes have made business very difficult, stressing that if things continue the way they are, some of them may be forced to downsize in order to survive. According to him, there is no business sense in keeping employees and paying their wages when one is not breaking even. Proffering solution to this dilemma, engineer Daramola ad-

vised the Federal Government to make raw materials for the plastic industries duty-free to enable them to make their products affordable to fellow Nigerians. He also observed that making the raw materials dutyfree would encourage more investments in the sector, from which, he said, more employment opportunities would be created. While stressing the need for the Federal Government to encourage more companies that are into the production of raw materials for the plastic industry, Daramola bemoaned the exorbitant rate at which raw materials are procured from Eleme


•Chairman, Ikeja Local Government Area, Hon Wale Odunlami (second left), the Olu of Ikeja, Rauf Adeniyi Amore (third left) and other members of the local government security council after a meeting at the council secretariat

Petro-Chemical Company. According to him, in spite of huge payments made to Eleme Petro-Chemical Company by companies in the sector, the company has not been able to meet up with their demands, hence forcing them into importing the required raw materials. For him, the plastic industry needs at least five more companies like Eleme Petro-Chemical Company to be able to ensure profitability in the sector. In a letter dated January 24, 2013 and entitled SAVE OUR SOUL, Engineer Daramola had appealed to the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) to prevail on the Comptroller-General of Customs to review the heavy tax imposed on them as

well as the activities of smugglers who have made their products unmarketable. In the letter, he noted that the epileptic electricity supply, among other issues, has made cost of production high, thereby giving smugglers from neighbouring Benin Republic the leeway to flood the Nigerian market with cheaper products. Daramola also advised the Federal Government to fix the country’s power problem, observing that it is pathetic that Nigeria is losing her industries to Ghana and Benin Republic. He urged the Federal Government to take steps in making the business climate worthwhile so that many Nigerians will not be thrown out of jobs.

Daramola advised the Federal Government to make raw materials for the plastic industry duty-free to enable them to make their products affordable to fellow Nigerians. He also observed that making the raw materials duty-free would encourage more investments in the sector

FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013


The facility is structured to enhance the movement of the physically challenged after landing, just as their waiting lounge is fitted with custom-made furniture for comfort


HE ongoing infrastructural upgrade at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos has addressed one of the enduring challenges in modern society: the welfare of the physically challenged in public facilities. At the “D” and “E” wings of the airport, provision has been made for people living with disability not just to access the facility with ease but also to rest in comfort after arrival or while waiting for relatives and friends flying in. The facility is structured to enhance their movement after landing, just as their waiting lounge is fitted with custom-made furniture for comfort. Hon. Yakubu Dati, General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) who said great care is taken to ensure the wellbeing of the less privileged, also added that the facility upgrade will remarkably speed up operations. New conveyor belts are being installed, said Mr Sanya Noah, FAAN’s Southwest Head of Engineering. “The beauty of the new conveyor belts is that it will take about three minutes for you to get your luggage,” he said. “Queues will be reduced because luggage movement will be faster,” added Dati. There are other efforts to enhance operations and passengers’ comfort. The terminals are expanded with 40 counters at the D-wing. More immigration and State Security Service personnel will also be posted to the terminals, further speeding up operations and passenger cum luggage movement. At the “D” and “E” wings, workers were busy knocking things into shape. The arrival lobby and the shopping area are equally being expanded. Two 19-room transit hotels are being built, one for each of the wings. One of the wings is a replica of the other, meaning that every facility in one is replicated in the other. There are 10 convenience rooms for women at the arrival terminal and 10 also for men. To decongest the car park and

•The new-look Murtala Muhammed International Airport

The physically challenged benefit from airport renewal By Ogochukwu Ikeje

prevent indiscriminate parking, a six-storey park is being built, with provision for Limousines. But as the new park is shaping up, Dati said, every car coming into the airport will be parked at a temporary site, while sufficient shuttle buses will convey arriving passengers from the terminal to their waiting cars. Dati also revealed that operators of a makeshift bureau de change which was raided by robbers have been removed from the location, while permanent facilities have been built at the new terminal where passengers can conveniently change currencies. There are six 4850 KVA electricity generators, four of which can power the whole airport, while two will be on standby, it was said.

The infrastructural renewal at the airport is part of ongoing upgrade of 22 airports across the country spearheaded by Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Oduah. The ranking of airports across the world has been released in a report in which none in the

United States of America made the first 20. Any hopes that the Nigerian upgrade will produce facilities of reputable standards? Yes, said Dati. “We want to be on the world map of aviation. That is why the minister is spearheading the renewal of 22 airports in the country,” he said.

He explained that the upgrade is meant to equip the airports with quality personnel and facilities, adding that the facilities have been designated into categories to streamline operations. “In no time, I’m sure the world will begin to take us seriously,” he said.

Edo warns pipeline vandals


DO State government has called for collaboration with the management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Benin depot in curbing incidences of pipeline vandalism, even as it threatened to deal with any person caught vandalising oil installations in the state. The Executive Director of the state Petroleum and Gas Monitoring Committee, Chris Okaeben spoke when he paid a familiarisation visit to the NNPC-Benin depot.

•Chairman, Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, Hon Benjamin Olabinjo (left) presenting a copy of the budget to the Leader of the House, Hon Sunday Ajayi

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Okaeben urged pipeline vandals to relocate from the state or face dire consequences. He told the depot manager, Engineer Patrick Akinoloyan that his mandate was to ensure that any act of economic sabotage on oil installations was eliminated. Okaeben said it was Governor

Adams Oshiomhole’s desire that people of the state do not go through pains of sleeping in fuel stations to get the necessary product. Engineer Akinnoloyan expressed his desire to cooperate with the state government, adding that the depot was ready to provide the required petroleum quantity for the people in the state.

Imo to mark Freedom Day


MO State government has disclosed plans to celebrate what it described as ‘Imo Freedom Day’ as well as the second year anniversary of Governor Rochas Okorocha. The planning committee chaired by the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere has lined up several activities that will ensure maximum participation of Imo people in the event which will commence on May 6 and culminate into two-year anniversary celebration of the Okorocha-led rescue mission administration on May 29. Okorocha urged political appointees to ensure that Imo people are well mobilised for the event. The governor noted that much has been achieved in the area of infrastructural development and other critical sectors which will be show-cased to the people during the celebration. In his remarks, the Mayor of Owerri, Dr. Kachi Nwoga used the occasion to intimate the governor with what his committee

•Governor Okorocha

has done so far preparatory to the launching of the New Imo Projects. Those projects, he said, include the physical environment, repainting of structures in identical patterns, relocation of artisans to industrial clusters and reorganising various motor parks.




•President/Chairman of Council Chartered Institute of Administrators (CIA) Dr Goddy Idaminabo (middle) addressing a news conference on the forthcoming AU Administration National Conference slated for next month at the Institute’s National Secretariat or KujeAmuwo, off Badagry Expressway, Lagos...yesterday With him are the institute’s Organising Committee Chairman, Dr. Noble Oguguo (left) and a member of the CIA Governing Council, Chief Joseph Chuka Okeke. PHOTO: ADEGUNLE OLUGBAMILA

•Senior Brand Manager, Grand Cereals, Mr. Tope Banjo (middle) with CEO, Bailiff Africa and Guest Speaker, Miss Oluwafunmilayo Oyatogun at a workshop organised by Grand Cereals in Lagos...last weekend. With them is chairman of the occasion, Miss Bukola Akinfaderin.

•Host Pastor, Ambassadors of Christ, International Ministries, Akinola Ajayi (left); Guest Minister, Bishop Olabisi Bankole; his wife, Rev Lola and Rev Folasade Ajayi, at the church’s PHOTO: DAYO ADEWUNMI sixth convention/thanksgiving service...last Sunday.

•Corporate Media and Brand Manager, Nigeria Breweries (NB) Plc, Mr. Edem Vindah (left), speaking at the unveiling of Legend Real Deal Promo 2013 at Ikeja, Lagos last weekend. With him are Marketing Director, Mr Walter Drenth and Marketing Manager, Legend and Life, Mr. Emmanuel Agu. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

•Project member, Mr Anthony Akpan (left), Team Leader, Mr Felix Obanubi; Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Mr Peter Carter; Titi Akosa, Mr Vincent Attah, Mr Toyin Oshaniwa and Ayo Faninda - members of Policy Advocacy Partnership Project on Climate change, when they visited the British High Commission in Lagos. PHOTO: DAYO ADEWUNMI

From left: Deputy Comptroller General of Kirikiri Female Prisons, Mrs Isioma Onwuli; Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Ayotunde Phillips; Director, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs Omotola Rotimi and Justice Olabisi Akinlade, when 96 prison inmates of the Kirikiri Male and Female Prisons were released... on Tuesday

•Chairman, Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area, Mr Babatunde Oke, addresing the gathering at the Kids to Fame public primary schools draw for 17 primary schools in the council. The draw was organised by the council in conjunction with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at Oregun factory studio, Alausa, Ikeja









NEWS Edo lawmaker remanded From Osagie Otabor, Benin


LAWMAKER in the Edo State House of Assembly, Abdulrazaq Momoh, has been remanded in police custody on health grounds. Momoh was arrested on April 20 during the local government elections allegedly with a pump action gun. He was initially arraigned at an Auchi Magistrate’s Court for unlawful possession of firearms but an amended charge of robbery was added yesterday. His counsel, Olayiwola Afolabi, objected to the additional charge, which included a request for the case to be tried at the High Court. Afolabi argued that electoral offences are tried at the magistrate’s court and that his client has never robbed before. Police Prosecutor Sgt Daniel Matto said it was a coincidence that the robbery was committed on election day. The Magistrate, Caroline Mwoha, adjourned till May 7 to rule on whether or not to accept the amended charges . She remanded the lawmaker in police custody based on health grounds. Four others, who were arrested alongside the lawmaker, were granted bail of N20,000 and a surety, who must live within the magisterial area.

Youths lock out Auchi Poly rector OUTHS under the aegis of Auchi Youths for Initiative (AYI) yesterday locked out the Rector of Auchi Polytechnic, Dr. Phillipa Idogho, for what they termed “marginalisation in employment and admission opportunities.” The youths called for 80 slots from the 200 employment opportunities in the polytechnic. They said the 15 slots allocated to the host community were not acceptable. The youths alleged that there is a grand design to edge out many candidates from the host community from the employment process. They stormed the polytechnic at 6am, locked the central administrative building, preventing the rector and other


From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

key officers from entering their offices. Armed with sleeping mats, clothes and food items, they vowed not to leave, until their demands were met. Their spokesman, Mathias Braimah, alleged that the Dr. Idogho-led administration has continually marginalised the host community. “We have been enslaved by the rector. We are being marginalised; the ongoing employment process is a charade. “The polytechnic management told us there are only 100 positions available but we have it on good authority that 200 positions are available. “What we are saying now is that we want 80 slots and

not the 15 slot promised us by the management. “This time, we are ready to face any consequences for these problems to be addressed,” Braimah said. Police officers, led by the Divisional Police Officer, Mohammed Abdullahi, were on ground to prevent any possible break down of law and order. The polytechnic management has described the protesters as ignorant. The Dean of Students’ Affairs, Ikhado Imakhu, said the youths ought to know that there are procedures for employment and admission in the institution. Imakhu denied that slots were allotted to anyone. “This is a Federal Government-owned institution,

while we follow procedures; we also acknowledge the fact that federal character exists when carrying out employment. “For one to work here he has to be qualified, we have no individual or interest group to satisfy. “To ensure equity and fairness, we engaged the services of an independent body to run the employment process; they are still on it and why cry foul when the process is yet to be completed. “In any case, if they (youths) have anything grievances, they know where to channel the problem.. “All we want here is peace and not any group of individuals under the guise of protest to hold the polytechnic to ransom.”


HE family of the late Vice-Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Chudi Nwike, has said he would be buried on June 7. The family took a swipe at a report which said the late Nwike would be buried on May 7. The former Anambra State Deputy Governor was murdered on April 6 in Delta State by gunmen, who allegedly kidnapped him on March 19. Speaking yesterday in Ogbunike, Oyi Local Government, Nwike’s brother, Bufo, said the report was a misrepresentation.

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

•From left: Representative of the Senate President, Senator Alkali Fajere; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega and representative of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Simon Arabo at the INEC national retreat on the review of constituencies in Enugu…yesterday. PHOTO:NAN

Retired Bayelsa CP refuses to quit office HERE is confusion in the Bayelsa State Police Command as the Commissioner of Police, Kingsley Omire, who retired from service on April 21, has refused to hand over. It was gathered that both the Force Secretary and office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Benin Zonal Command, have sent signals to Omire, directing


By Ayo Aminu

him to hand over to the next in command, and proceed on retirement. A source said: “It is a fact that he has been directed through signals from the Force Headquarters, Abuja and the Benin Zonal Command for him to proceed on his retirement and hand over to the next in command.

“But what is not clear to us here is why he has continued to resume in the office since he has retired on April 21.” According to the source, Omire was quoted as saying that he will not leave office until a substantive commissioner is posted to the state. It was gathered that Omire joined the Force 32 years ago but has attained the mandatory retirement age.

Anenih reassures Cross River on oil wells, Bakassi HE Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tony Anenih, yesterday told reporters that President Goodluck Jonathan has taken actions on Bakassi and the disputed 76 oil wells that would leave Cross River “a very happy state.” Speaking after a meeting with Governor Liyel Imoke and other members of the board in Calabar, he said: “The President has taken actions that will satisfy the governor


From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

and I am sure that when the President finishes with these issues, Cross River would be very happy. “We are going home with the goodwill message that we should thank Mr President for the actions that he has taken now. “The governor has had cause to thank the President for the action he has taken on the Bakassi and oil well issues.”

Though Anenih was cagey on details he said they also dwelt on the government, the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) and development of the Southsouth. On the crisis within the NGF, he said: “The governor (Imoke) is here. He is the chairman of the Southsouth governors’ forum and he is a strong member of the PDP governors’ forum. And as such the issues that we discussed with him on who would become the chairman of the NGF

are not for the press. “The issue is that we discussed it and that is what the press should know for now. When the elections are held the press would be told of the result. Until we reach that stage, we don’t want to tell you that this is what was said and wasn’t said.” Imoke praised President Goodluck Jonathan for measures put in place to ameliorate the impact of loss of Bakassi and the 76 oil wells on the state.

Obi of Onitsha denies collecting money from colleagues


HE Chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council and the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, yesterday denied collecting money from traditional rulers, who attended Ifeanyi Ubah’s sister’s wedding. Ubah is the Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas, Lagos.

THE Bayelsa State Government has begun the distribution of free uniforms, text books and other materials valued at N776million to primary and secondary school pupils. Governor Seriake Dickson announced the award of a contract for the supply of additional text books to secondary schools worth N500million. He also approved an additional N50million to local governments for the provision of school uniforms. At the distribution ceremony held inside the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Yenagoa, the governor said the distribution of the materials was in line with the cardinal objectives of his administration. The distribution of free education materials, according to the governor, started with the provision of school materials, including uniforms to 100,000 pupils.

Five killed in road crash

ACN chieftain for burial June 7 From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Free uniforms, books in Bayelsa

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

Achebe said the monarchs agreed to give the money collected from Ubah to a charity to avoid political colouration. He said: “To remove any suspicion of partisan political inducement during the wedding of Ubah’s sister, those who attended and received monetary gifts

agreed to donate the money to a charity. Achebe denied that Governor Peter Obi directed him to query or threaten any traditional ruler for attending the wedding in Lagos. In a statement by his Palace Secretary, Nwolisa Agusiobo, the monarch said he didn’t attend the wedding neither did he collect mon-

ey from anyone. Achebe said the Lagos visit was discussed at the second annual traditional rulers’ seminar at the instance of a fellow traditional ruler but they resolved it. “We resolved that there was nothing wrong with a traditional ruler accepting a personal invitation to attend a wedding.

But, the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mbah, said it is true that Omire had retired on April 21 but there were a few administrative issues which were yet to be sorted out at the Headquarters and Zonal Command. “Yes Omire has retired from the Force but a few administrative issues are being sorted out and I can assure you that in the next couple of weeks to come, all these will be over,” he said.

CORRECTION The name of the first lady of Ogun State governor was wrongly spelt in the advert on page 13, Thursday May 2nd, 2013 edition as Mrs Olufusho Amosun instead of Mrs Olufunsho Amosun. And “Programme for the ages” instead of “the aged”. The error is regretted.

FIVE persons were killed in a crash involving an L300 Bus with registration number AWK 276 XB and a Mack Trailer XB 379 KPE at Odumodu junction, Nteje on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway. Eyewitnesses said five people died and 12 others were injured. The accident was reportedly caused by brake failure of the trailer, which was carrying palm kernel oil. Police spokesperson Emeka Chukwuemeka said the accident was caused by over speeding and brake failure. “Yes, we heard it and our men are on it. We have it on record that five people were killed and 12 people injured. But the Sector Commander Federal Road Safety Commission, Hyginus Omeje, said nobody died. He, however, said 12 people were injured. “Yes, my people were on ground and I can confirm that nobody died but 12 people were injured. “Six women and six men and they were taken to Beatrice Hospital, Umunya and Chira Hospital, Awkuzu. Nobody died and we were on ground not speculating.”

PUBLIC NOTICE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Onwudinjo Chelse Perpertua now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Onyebuchi Chelse Perpertua. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This is to inform the general public that the C of O. Registered as Number 72,at page. 72 in volume 1993N of a property at plot 1,Block 56,Lekki. Peninsula. Scheme 1,Lagos Island Area of Lagos state belonging to The administrator oF the estate of late kareemat Ayotunde missing and all effort to trace proved abortive.General public pleas take note Signed: 1. Olatunde. Kasim 2. Abdul Rasak O. Kasim




Sterling Bank’s shareholders approve HAREHOLDERS of N12b rights issue Sterling Bank Plc yes


terday empowered its board of directors to undertake supplementary shares issue, praising the bank’s performance in the 2012 financial year. At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, shareholders, in what appeared as a show of confidence, indicated interests to subscribe to move shares in the bank with the approval of rights issue of up to six billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Although the offer details are yet to be finalised, the board indicated it plans to raise N12 billion through rights issue. Shareholders said the 100 per cent increase in cash dividend was very “impressive. Shareholders’ activist, Nonah Awoh, said the performance” of the bank overtime would ensure success of any shares issuance to existing shareholders. He advised the directors to consider increasing the quantum of shares on offer as the shareholder base and general feeling about the bank’s performance would support enlarged shares issue. National coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, commended the staff and management of the bank for what he described as “imp r e s s i v e p e r f o r m a n c e ”, inspiring other shareholders to give a rapturous standing ovation to the bank’s staff. He urged the bank to continue exploring ways to consolidate its perfor-

•Praise impressive performance

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

mance, assuring the directors of the shareholders’ support. President, Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr Farouk Umar said the increase in dividend per share from 10 kobo to 20 kobo and the growth rates of key indices surpassed expectations of shareholders and analysts. According to him, the 2012 underlined investors’ optimism that the bank was on the right track. In his address to the shareholders, chairman, Sterling Bank Plc,Alhaji Suleiman Adegunwa said the strong performance of the bank was a reflection of the resilience of the bank’s business strategy and the commitment of the leadership team to the vision. He said the bank would continue to focus on improving efficiency across the board, drive synergies, pursue customer fulfillment, accelerate business momentum, maximise return on assets and strengthen integrated risk and capital management systems with a view to continuing creating sustainable value for shareholders. He outlined that the new capital issues were aimed at supporting the bank in the implementation of its medium to long term strategic plans. According to him, the bank plans to raise N12 billion or $75 million through rights issue and N19.2 bil-

lion or $120 million through private placement to shore up its tier one capital while it would raise tier two capital of N25 billion or 156 million to further supplement its balance sheet. Key extracts of the audited report and accounts for 2012 showed that the bank consolidated its growth and seamlessly harnessed the synergies from its recent acquisition with both outward and underlying performance indicators indicating marked improvements. Gross earnings grew by 51 per cent, pre-tax profit doubled by 108 per cent while the proportion of non-performing loans to total loans portfolio improved considerably to negligible 3.8 per cent as against 4.8 per cent in previous year. Net interest margin improved from 5.0 per cent to 5.2 per cent underlying increasing profitability of the bank’s core banking operations in spite of the tough operating environment. Gross earnings stood at N68.9 billion in 2012 as against N45.7 billion in 2011. The top-line was driven substantially by increasing core banking operations and larger market share as net interest income rose by 43 per cent from N16.7 billion to N23.9 billion. Non-interest income increased to N15.3 billion as against N13.4 billion in previous year. Net operating income after impairment loss rose by 51 per cent to N39.5 billion as against N26.1 billion. Adjusted for income from discontinued operations, profit before tax grew by 108 per cent to N7.5 billion in 2012 as against N3.6 billion in 2011. With net profit after tax of N6.95 billion in 2012, the bank doubled cash dividend to 20 kobo per share.





African firms raise £4.2b from London Exchange


FRICAN companies that are quoted on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) raised 4.2 billion Pounds Sterling from the Exchange in the last five years, the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Roger Gifford has said. Speaking yesterday during the United Kingdom-Nigeria Investment Partnership Forum organised by Guaranty Trust Bank in Lagos, he said the listings are from 2008 till date. He said there are a total of 600 non-United Kingdom companies currently quoted in LSE adding that the Exchange gives opportunity to interested firms to be listed with minimal requirements.

Stories by Collins Nweze

He said such listings must however comply with ethical and regulatory requirements, adding that Nigerian firms are encouraged to list on the LSE. He said the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) remains a gateway to African market, adding that there is however, need to build more confidence in the market. Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar Onyema said the Exchange is looking inward and boosting local participation. The NSE CEO said the capital market appreciated by 35 per cent last year, and has so far achieved 19 per cent increase this year . He said the management

MasterCard extends online solution to SMEs


ASTERCARD has intro duced a new addition to its existing internet payment gateway solution names SME Online. Targeted at Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the firm said the product demonstrates its commitment to building a cashless ecosystem in the country. It said the MasterCard Internet Gateway Service (MiGS) according to a statement made available to the The Nation, provides a comprehensive internet payments solution, which banks can offer to their merchant customers who seek to accept payments on their websites from cardholders of all major card schemes wherever they are. It described SME Online as the newest edition of MiGS, saying it is valueadded services that works seamlessly and extends the benefits of online card acceptance to a broader merchant segment. The product features include in-

voice payments, batch payments, reoccurring scheduled payments, virtual terminal and web shop. “A key benefit for merchants is that the system can be self-managed. It is designed to enable SME merchants to establish an internet presence for their businesses, including website design and processing of batch and individual card payments,” it said. Country Manager, MasterCard West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide said: “With the likes of, Nigeria’s No.1 Online Retailer, and, Nigeria’s No.1 Online Travel Website, already signed on to MIGS payment gateway solution, shoppers in Nigeria are already enjoying the benefits of convenient and seamless 24x7 online shopping”. She said SME Online will extend these benefits to thousands of smaller merchants and open the world of online shopping to millions of Nigerians.

CITN confab to attract 2,000 participants


of the Exchange is committed to developing framework for the market operation. He urged Gifford to continue in his efforts at promoting further collaboration between both Exchanges. Deputy Group Managing Director, GT Bank, Mrs Cathy Echeozo said trade and investments play a vital role in promoting economic prosperity and are vital stimuli for economic growth, development and productivity at personal, institutional and national levels. She said, Nigeria has strong historic, language and constitutional ties with the United Kingdom and is currently UK’s second largest export market in Sub Saharan Africa. UK exports of goods and services to Nigeria were worth about four billion Pounds in 2012, with British investment in the country worth over


one billion Pounds. She said there are various, ongoing investment projects aimed at developing infrastructure in Nigeria with capital sourced from the United Kingdom through its debt and equity capital markets. Nigeria presents a serious business proposition and continues to be a vital investment destination in Africa, she added.

Stanbic IBTC deepens service offerings


ones money and time “At Stanbic IBTC Bank, we realise that people have different banking and financial needs and that the busy professional needs a specialised banking service that is safe, secure and convenient during and after office hours,” he said. He said the Executive Banking service provides the busy executive with convenient banking locally and internationally, with an array of products and services to satisfy diverse needs for clients and their families. He assured that as an end-to-end financial solutions provider backed by the vast experience of the Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC belongs, clients are guaranteed a safe, secure, and speedy financial services experience.

TANBIC IBTC Bank has launched its Executive Bank ing services to cater to the banking and other financial needs of high networth individuals and busy professionals. Executive Banking is a personalized banking service that allows clients to be served 24 hours on a oneon-one basis by a bank executive, who helps to evaluate the client’s specific banking needs and then assists him in a timely and professional manner. At the launch in Lagos, Executive Director, Personal and Business Banking, Obinnia Abajue, said the service offers considerable benefits to customers, adding that it was designed to save clients and their loved




Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m

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


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 02-05-13





2.00 1.40 162.00 3.00 1.50 42.57 1.18 0.67 32.21 0.51

2.20 1.54 178.20 3.30 1.65 46.80 1.29 0.73 34.98 0.55

CHANGE 0.20 0.14 16.20 0.30 0.15 4.23 0.11 0.06 2.77 0.04


O/PRICE 2.60 2.00 1.55 0.63 1.17 2.98 0.68 0.69 1.20 49.00



2.34 1.80 1.40 0.57 1.06 2.70 0.63 0.65 1.14 47.25

0.26 0.20 0.15 0.06 0.11 0.28 0.05 0.04 0.06 1.75

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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


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

Year Start Offer

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














July ’11





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

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

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%


LOSERS AS AT 02-05-13


Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

HE Chartered Institute of Taxa tion of Nigeria (CITN) is organising a tax conference, which is expected attract over 2,000 tax practitioners, state governors and other policy makers within and outside the country. Speaking ahead of the conference to be hosted at the TINAPA Lakeside Hotel in Calabar, Cross River State from May 7 to 11, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mr. Kelly Ayamba, assured the President, Council and members of the Institute that the confab will be one of the best to be organised by the Institute. Ayamba, who spoke when the LOC and members of the conference committee met to assess the level of preparedness, said that the theme of the conference: ‘Global Stability, Revenue Generation and Economic Growth’ is apt and will be educative. He described the choice of Calabar as a unique and well-thought out decision, adding that Cross River State remains the preferred destination for business and leisure. The Chairman, Cross River State Board of Internal Revenue and also Chairman of the Contact and Mobilisation Sub-Committee of the LOC, Mr. Manuel Chris Ogar, said adequate arrangements had been made to ensure that participants enjoy the rich culture and hospitality, which the State is known for. CITN Chairman, Annual Tax Conference Committee, Ms. Gladys Olajumoke Simplice, expressed satisfaction with the arrangements on the ground for the conference. She said her initial concerns about the preparedness of the state to host the conference has been addressed with the level of preparation she saw.

Offer Price

Bid Price


Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Orphan loses leg to driver's recklessness


HE ambition of 16-year-old Opemipo Ogunseye, a Senior Secondary School (SS3) pupil of Progress College, Oloke Ogundiran Street, Oja-Oba, a Lagos surbub, is to become a journalist. To achieve her aim, she has been unwavering in her academic pursuit. But her dream is being threatened by an auto accident that recently claimed her leg. Opemipo, an orphan, who lives with her elder sibling at 11, Alani Obadina Street, Abule-Egba, a Lagos surbub, on April 8, hurriedly left home for school at 7.00 am. She got to a major road, and while waiting for the traffic light to clear the way, she stood inside a traffic control stand. All of a sudden, a bus driver on top speed lost control and rammed into her. The bus crushed the pupil's leg. She was rushed to a nearby health clinic for first-aid treatment by sympathisers, but she had lost much blood. She was later referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja. After spending a week at the hospital, her 30-year-old sibling, Adeola Adeyemo, was told that because of the extent of the injury, Opemipo's leg would be amputated. Adeola, a job-seeking graduate of Banking and Finance, could not hold back tears on hearing this. Following suggestions, she was taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, where she was admitted on April 14. But after four days in the Bola Ajibola Orthopeadic and Trauma Ward, the doctors, after an intensive investigation and treatment, said there was only one way out - amputation. Adeola signed an agreement and Opemipo's right leg was amputated on April 17. The hospital prescribed an artificial leg for her. But there is a hurdle: How to raise money for the improvised leg, which The Nation learnt, will cost about N500, 000. In agony, she recounted: "I stood in the police traffic box, waiting for the green light traffic signal before I could cross; suddenly, a high-speeding commercial bus overtook a tipper lorry, lost control and crushed my leg in


HE Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in Delta State has described as a sham, the suspension of its leaders over the party's decision to join the All Progressives Congress (APC). Those 'suspended' by a faction of the party include the only Senator and highest political office holder in the party, Senator Akpor Pius Ewherido; Acting National Chairman, Chief Olisaemeka Akamukali, among others. At a press briefing by Chairman, DPP, Delta Central and State Vice-Chairman, Chief Henry Olori; State Auditor, Chief Chris Ezeuko and Legal Adviser, Mr E. U Opukri, the party said the purported suspension is a nullity as events already overtaken the actions of "these inconsequential elements within our great party."

I was rushed to the hospital, heavily soaked in blood and it was at the hospital that I was told that my leg had damaged beyond repair. They said it must be amputated, and it was eventually done ... Now, I am begging Nigerians to come to my aid because I am convinced I will still become somebody in life.

Joke Kujenya, Assistant Editor (Investigations)

the process. "I can recall that I was rushed to the hospital, heavily soaked in blood and it was at the hospital that I was told that my leg had damaged beyond repair. They said it must be amputated, and it was eventually done. I was told I could still work with an artificial leg. Now, I am begging Nigerians to come to my aid because I am convinced I will still become somebody in life. Though I am an orphan, I want to be a journalist." “My only sister is still looking for job; she is the only one that has been running up and down. Please help me, so that I won't become a burden to this society. I have a good dream and I want it to become a reality in my life," the amputee said. Her sibling also appealed to individuals, organisations and the state government to come to her aid.

• Opemipo ... yesterday

"We have nobody in the family to help; this is why I passionately appeal to the public to help, so that this girl will not waste away with

Suspension of chieftains a sham, says Delta DPP By Joseph Jibueze

It stated: "We make bold to state without equivocation that the purported suspension is a ruse, a nullity, a complete sham and an action lacking in tenable locus standi. "By reason of the outcome of the Special Convention, we have joined the merger. No faction of the party in a state has the power to suspend our National leaders or upturn the resolution of the National Executives. "For instance, when one of the governors,

Rochas Okorocha elected on the platform of APGA decided to join the merger with his followers, Peter Obi and his followers remained in APGA and the heavens did not fall.” "In our case however, the sweeping effect of our move into APC may have caused serious jitters in the camp of those opposed to the change. But we are not bothered. We make bold to state, therefore, that nobody has been suspended from our great party, " it added.

her talent. The leg is already amputated and the only hope is to get her an artificial leg," Adeola said.

96 prison inmates freed By Adebisi Onanuga


HE Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Philips, has released 96 awaiting-trial inmates, including a nursing mother, from the female and male sections of the Medium Security Prisons, Kirikiri, Apapa. The Chief Judge had earlier released 279 inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum and Medium Security Prisons and Ikoyi Prisons, last year. Justice Philips their release was aimed at decongesting the prisons and in exercise of her powers under Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act CAP C40, 2007, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. Justice Philips admonished the freed inmates to be of good behaviour.

NIS to dismiss top officer over 50 stolen blank passport booklets


SENIOR officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja will be dismissed when investigation is concluded on his alleged stealing of 50 blank passport booklets, NIS Acting Comptroller-General Rilwan Bala Musa said yesterday. The culprit is said to work at the passport Production Section and gave the stolen passport booklets to another officer to hide. Musa spoke yesterday at the headquarters of the service when he was addressing junior and senior officers after he mounted a checkpoint at 9am to check lateness to work. He warned that those coming to the office with the notion of making money through the passport section should think twice. The NIS chief advised those already doing it to desist or be caught. He vowed to deal with those who have form the habit of coming late to office and those that will go against the law of the service. Musa expressed disappointment over the issue of stolen passport, adding: "Some officers have made it mandatory that they are coming to look for money here. There is no place to look for money here. People working in the passport production section, I am giving you the last warning today, be

‘When he stole the passports, he gave some other officers to hide them for him. So, if you cannot discipline yourselves, then, I will discipline you’ From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

you a senior officer or junior officer. If I catch anybody in the production, then the Officer in Charge (OC) of production will face the consequences. "It is a disgrace that an immigration officer in the Production Section was caught with stolen blank 50 passport booklets. For heaven’s sake, you are being paid by government; you are being given everything by government and yet, you went and steal blank passport booklets. What are you going to do with them? Is this not a shame on the entire service? We arrested and detained him and he is going through inter-

rogation. And in the cause of the interrogation, we have discovered so many things. We are para-military, hence he goes through room trial. "The orderly room trial has just concluded investigations. The report will be coming to me, but obviously and definitely, it is going to be a dismissal case, because he has no reason whatsoever to steal. You can never know everybody's mind. He has been there for years. The Nigerian passport is the best you can think of and there is no way he would have succeeded in using the stolen passports. He might want to go and sell them outside, which will be of no use to him. We caught other officers alongside him. When he stole the passports, he gave some other officers to hide them for him. So, if you cannot discipline yourselves, then, I will discipline you. Definitely, I am going to that. Nobody wants to fail and definitely, I do not want to fail. He siad further: "When I assumed office, I told you officers that we would not condone indiscipline. We would not embrace late coming, nor condone truancy. But after four months, I realised that people did not take me seriously. They think it is business a usual. I just want you to know that it is no longer business as usual. Enough is enough. We have promised the Federal

Government that we are going to transform the service in conformity with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan." On the disparity between Higher National Diploma (HND) and Degree holders, Musa said: "We have just finished the promotion interviews. There were so many things on this Diploma, HND and Degree matter. We are taking our case beyond the board. I have to go to the Head of Service and I believe in the shortest time, we will achieve our aim. There is no difference between what we do and what the Police do. If the police use only one rank, I see no reason why Immigration should not use only one rank. The minister is more serious about it." The NIS boss also disclosed during an interactive session with newsmen that: "Recently, ten people came down from an aircraft and we arrested all of them with fake passports in Lagos. The machines the United State of America (USA) helped us with will be installed at the borders. And that is part of securing the nation. People are trying their best to defeat us, but we are equal to their antics. "Within a month, we have refused 11,000 Nigerians from departing Nigeria. We understand that they are going to destroy the image of Nigeria abroad. We also rejected 10,000 aliens who wanted to come into Nigeria."




CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Civil Defence man held for mistress’ nude picture From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


SENIOR Inspector in the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Bayo Oni fade of the Oyo State Command, has been arrested by the police for posting a nude picture of his mistress on the facebook after their relationship collapsed. It was gathered that Onifade and the married woman started their private love affair in December, last year in Saki, a town in the northern part of Oyo State. Onifade was said to have taken his lover to a location in the town where he took her nude photograph with his mobile phone. But crisis broke out when the woman decided to stop the relationship in March. The decision did not go down well with the NSCDC man. He was said to have pleaded with her to continue with the secret affair but the 27-yearold mother of two declined. It was learnt that Onifade allegedly posted her nude picture on the facebook as a means of taking his pound of flesh from her. Facebook users who are close to the woman's husband were said to have drawn his attention to it, a development that made him send the woman packing.

Police chief, Fashola parley on kidnapping


IDNAPPING topped the agenda yesterday when the Lagos State Security Council (LSSC), chaired by Governor Babatunde Fashola, met with Commissioner of Police Umaru Manko. The Council urged the rich to be vigilant and cautious, when recruiting domestic staff like cooks, drivers and house helps, to avoid being kidnapped. Manko, who fielded questions from reporters after the meeting at the State House, Marina, said Lagosians must also exercise caution while discussing businesses or talking to business partners. “We have had these things whereby relatives of victims organised these crimes trying to make money out of them. So, people must be wary of their business environment, and partners and domestic staffs, including their relations”, the police chief explained. Saying that the state “is still very safe”, he noted that kidnapping, which had been tackled headlong by the government and security agencies, was resorted to when robbery was made unattractive. Manko said: “We have noticed that in cases where we have quick information, those kidnapped were rescued without the fami-


PEAKER, Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji; daughter of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Mrs. Shade Tinubu-Ojo; Chairman, Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government, Oloruntoba Oke; Mr. Tunde Sobulo, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Lagos Command, are among others slated to receive the Nigeria Youth Movement Award (NIYOMA) Leadership Award of Excellence on May 5 in Lagos. One of the organisers, Olowe Oluwatayo, said: "The award is to appreciate and recognise the few individuals in the public and private sectors, who have contributed enormously to the growth and development of the youth, their communities and the nation," he said.


HE Chairman of Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government, Lagos State, Mr. Kamal Bayewu, has urged residents of the area to be vigilant, saying that they must be mindful of the activities of their neighbours in order to beef up security around them. Speaking at a stakeholders' meeting, he said it was important the residents know their neighbours and report strange people to the police, given the recent foiled attempt by the Boko Haram insurgents to carry out their dastardly act in Lagos. He said: "I must say that the Boko Haram sect's attempt in Lagos is a wake-up call to everybody to be on the alert. We must be vigilant and know those we hire as guards and house-helps. We must keep a tab on foreigners because they do not have a stake in our society." He stated that the council would embark on the collation of inventory of abandoned vehicles and derelict buildings because they are mostly used as hideout by criminals. He warned those who had abandoned their vehicles in streets to remove them because the council could not afford to keep them any longer. Bayewu expressed the belief that if all hands were on the deck to checkmate cases of insecurity, Ajegunle and the neighbouring communities would be safe for all. He commended the police and other security agencies for their efforts in making the council area crime-free. Some of the people who spoke at the meeting called on government to prevail of landlords to stop converting residential houses to brothels for the sake of money, as according to them, it had fuelled increase of crimes in the neighbourhood. One of the residents, Mr. Hakeem Ishola, said: "Some of the landlords are very greedy; they are now converting their buildings into brothels to make money. They are not bothered about the conditions of the tenants; all they care for is making money." Responding to the questions posed by stakeholders at the meeting, the council chief

• Manko Mirian Ekene-Okoro

ly paying anything. Of recent, the 16- year -old boy who was picked up from American International School was rescued in Il-

aro, Ogun State, without the family paying anything. We want citizens to know that the security agents here have the capability to checkmate these crimes; we should not fall by paying ransom.” On what should be the first step by the families of those kidnapped, he said they should contact security agencies as soon as possible, adding that the phone numbers of security chiefs had been made public and should be called in addition to the emergency numbers of 767 and 112.

Akwa Ibom community launches fund

Ikuforiji, Tinubu-Ojo, others bag award By Yinka Aderibigbe

People must be wary of their business environment, and partners and domestic staffs, including their relations


OMORROW, Lagos State branch of the Akwa Ibom State Community (AKISCOM) will launch an endowment fund aimed helping indigent but intelligent undergraduates in the state through scholarships. The initiative, tagged: Vision 21-21, is aimed at raising an initial N6.2 million which will be shared among beneficiaries drawn from the 21 local governments council areas in the Akwa Ibom at the rate of N200.000 each. The group's president in Lagos State, Prince Elijah Ifot, told reporters that the event, which will hold at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers by 12pm, will attract distinguished sons and daughters of the state. The gesture, according to Ifot, was informed by the association's readiness to complement the free education policy of Governor Godswill Akpabio.

Adegunle Olugbamila

Besides the endowment fund and career talk, Ifot said the event would also feature the inauguration of the board distinguished AkwaIbomites that will manage the fund. The Chairman AKISCOM Education Committee, Elder Samuel Bassey, said two lectures - "Creating a first-class state from a third world country; and free and compulsory education in Akwa Ibom State: Matters arising," will be delivered by the State Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Effiong Abia, a lawyer, and the CEO, Accensure, Mr Usen Udor, respectively. Bassey said while the former is to brainstorm on its theme; the latter is to appraise Akpabio's the free education drive, looking at the pros and cons as well as the ways to move forward.

• Akpabio

Council goes tough on abandoned vehicles, derelict buildings By Musa Odoshimokhe

implored the people to see the challenge on ground as everybody's business. He

noted that the council alone could not address their problems and reiterated the need for them to obey the laws of the land. "We are resolute in protecting the peo-

•L-R Council Manager, Bashir Kaffo, Bayewu and Hon. Obinna Nwbueze ... at the event

ple of the council area, but you have to obey the law first. You must not contravene traffic laws and must not dump waste into canals," Bayewu said.



NEWS EFCC arraigns Kebbi official for alleged N64m fraud By Adebisi Onanuga


HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a director with the Kebbi State Ministry of Finance, Yahyah Saidu Andarai, and Farouk Abubakar Uduli before an Ikeja High Court for allegedly stealing N64million belonging to Coscharis Motors Limited. The suspects were arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. Some of the suspects are said to be on the run. The EFCC arraigned Andarai on a 27-count charge of conspiracy, fraud and stealing; the second defendant was arraigned on a two-count charge. The second defendant, who does not understand English, had the charges preferred against him translated by a Law student. Counsel to the EFCC Mrs Oluwabumi Abosede said the defendants committed the offence between August 26, 2009, and August 2, last year, at Maza-Maza, Lagos. She said in August 2010, the first defendant allegedly stole 20 units of Ax motorcycle valued at N2.2million

‘Taraba PDP Exco must be dissolved’ From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo


HE senator representing Taraba North, Aisha Jumai Alhassan, has urged the leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to dissolve the party’s Exco for new congresses to hold. Alhassan addressed reporters at a function in her home near the Presidential Lodge, Jalingo, the state capital. She noted that the present Exco, led by Mr. Victor Bala, was not democratically elected, as enshrined in the party’s constitution. The lawmaker added that the Exco was handpicked and imposed on the people by ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai. Suntai, who was injured in a plane crash last year near the Yola Airport, Adamawa State, is still receiving treatment in an American hospital. The Nation learnt that the state chapter of the PDP was already in crisis before the governor crashed with the aircraft he piloted. The squabbles in the party have continued to deepen, with Acting Governor Garba Umar holding the fort for Suntai.


How Boko Haram amnesty can succeed, by senator

HE Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, yesterday listed some conditions which he said the Presidential Committee on Amnesty for Boko Haram should pursue to ensure the success of the amnesty. Ibrahim spoke in Abuja after receiving an award from the National Association of Niger Delta Students (NANDS). He said stakeholders from the Northeast have met to articulate how the zone would contribute to the success of the amnesty programme. The former Yobe State governor said he was convinced that members of the Boko Haram sect would lay down their arms, if the Federal Government releases members of the sect from custody and promise to pay

From Onyedi Ojiabor (Assistant Editor), Abuja

compensation, rebuild damaged structures and take care of the widows of dead sect members. Ibrahim, who represents Yobe East in the National Assembly, said he believes the amnesty initiative was laudable though it should have been done a long time ago. He appealed to Dr. Shehu Sani and Datti Ahmed to have a rethink and join the amnesty committee because of the role the duo was expected to play in the success of the initiative. He said: “I strongly believe that Datti Ahmed and Shehu Sani will contribute a lot to the success of the committee because they are trusted by members of Boko

Haram even though Boko Haram is no longer one. “We now hear of different versions of Boko Haram. But both of them should have a rethink and join the committee.” The lawmaker said he had lost eight members of his family to Boko Haram onslaught while his wife’s school was burnt down. He said people from the Northeast were prepared to contribute to the success of the presidential committee. “My genuine and sincere advice to members of Boko Haram is that they should accept amnesty and work with the amnesty committee to ensure peace. In the name of Allah, they should accept amnesty,” Ibrahim said. The former governor de-

scribed the award as “very important to me because it came when I least expected it”. Ibrahim said he had visited Niger Delta region and, therefore, considered himself as part of the region. The senator also urged the Federal Government to be serious in the fight against desert encroachment by planting trees in 11 northern states affected by the natural phenomenon. He advised the government to ensure that education is not only compulsory but also free. NANDS National President, Comrade Lucky Emonefe, who presented the award on behalf of his colleagues, said the association gave Ibrahim the award of “Niger Delta symbol of legislative excellence” because he had always been a friend of the region.

Panel on Taraba crises inaugurated From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo


ARABA State Acting Governor Garba Umar yesterday inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Enquiry into the recent religious crises in Ibi and Wukari local government areas of the state. The seven-man panel is headed by Justice Philibus Andetur. Over 310 persons were feared killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed in the crises. In Ibi, the clash between Muslims and Christians led to the death of 10 residents; in Wukari. What started as a mere football pitch argument between two amateur players degenerated into an orgy of violence that led to the death of over 300 people. Umar gave the panel a month to do its assignment and submit a report. He urged the judicial commission to, among other things, trace the cause of the crises, ascertain the damage and suggest how to compensate the victims, based on what each victim lost. The panel is also to investigate the roles played by some politicians –those who may have directly or indirectly instigated the crises or supplied weapons to the rioters during the crises. It will also probe and ascertain the roles of the leadership of Christians and Muslims as well as recommend appropriate sanctions, where necessary.

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola displaying the plaque presented to him at The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) 2012 Special Presidential Merit Award by NSE President Mustafa Shehu (left). With them are: the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti (right) and others.

Activists to Jonathan: Salami mustn’t be sacrificial lamb A GROUP of activists, under the aegis of Muslim MediaWatch, has called for immediate and unconditional reinstatement of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, as recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC). The group noted that “Salami, who is fighting corruption, must not be sacrificed on the altar of unwarranted litigation by those who are out to revenge on the past judgments of Appeal Court…” In a statement yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

capital, the group’s Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, averred that “the independence of the Judiciary must not be compromised for whatever reason”. Abdullahi, however, described NJC’s suspension of Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, as a welcome development. He said: “We urge the Chairman of the council and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Maryam Aloma Muktar, to expedite action on

the trial of other judges who have petitions ‘hanging on their necks’ to restore the confidence of the people in the Judiciary. “We call for an amendment of the enabling law setting up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to outlaw serving security officer from being the chairman of the commission. “The commission cannot prosecute any war against corruption judiciously and creditably as long as serving police, military or intelligence officer heads it.”

He recommended an outstanding retired InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP) or Chief of Army Staff for the headship of the anti-graft agency. He said: “The appointment of a serving police officer as the head of EFCC is absolutely unacceptable. It will subject such operative to the manipulations of the executive and the legislature. “It is ironical that the weakness of the country’s anti-graft agencies- ICPC and EFCC has emboldened the nation’s youth who now target political office holders for their own share of the ‘cake.’ What a mess?”

Plateau seeks Lagos support on transport management


HE Plateau State Government has sought the assistance of the Lagos State Government for the training of its officials on efficient transportation management. Its Commissioner for Transportation, Ghamzaki Abdul-Hamid, spoke in Lagos when he led a delegation on a familiarisation visit

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

to Lagos State Ministry of Transport and the state Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) Headquarters in Oshodi. Abdul-Hamid said Plateau State is looking beyond party politics to emulate the Lagos State Government in transportation policy implemen-

tation and management to replicate same in Plateau State. According to him, the people of Plateau State are ready to adopt the strategy of the Lagos transportation sector, like Osun, Ogun, Edo and Ekiti states. He said: “Our visit to the Lagos State Ministry of Transport and relevant

agencies is the result of the newly created Ministry of Transport in Plateau State. We are on a fact-finding mission on the template of the Lagos transportation sector, which is worthy of emulation. The Lagos State Government is the only state government that has really performed in term transportation and policy implementation...”





FOREIGN NEWS Israel ‘ll vote on peace plan, says Netanyahu


SRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday he would put any peace deal with the Palestinians to a referendum, raising expectations that direct negotiations might soon resume following a two-year stalemate. It was the second time in just three days that Netanyahu has publicly mentioned the possibility of holding a nationwide vote on an eventual accord and came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Israeli politicians in Washington to discuss talks. “If we get to a peace agreement with the Palestinians, I’d like to bring it to a referendum, and I’d like to talk to you about your experiences with that,” Netanyahu said as he met Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter. Switzerland regularly holds referendum on a broad range of issues. Israel, by contrast, has never held a referendum in its 65-year history, and previous peace treaties with Arab neighbors Egypt and Jordan were approved by parliament. Netanyahu leads a center-right coalition that includes supporters of the settlement movement, many of whom are fiercely opposed to the idea of allowing the Palestinians an independent state on land seized by Israel in the 1967 war. By pledging to put any deal to a referendum, Netanyahu could be hoping to avert any immediate far-right backlash to a decision to talk land-for-peace with the Palestinians, promising that the Israeli people would have the final word.

Activist to face trial for insulting Egypt president AN Egyptian prosecutor says prominent activist Ahmed Douma has been arrested and immediately referred to trial for allegedly insulting the country’s president in comments he made on TV. There are a myriad of complaints against journalists and TV personalities, including satirist Bassem Youssef, for insulting Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. At least two journalists faced trials while others are still questioned. But Douma is the first activist to be quickly referred to trial while in custody. Prosecutor Mohammed elTaneekhi said Thursday that Douma’s trial will begin on Sunday. He was arrested Tuesday after a Muslim Brotherhood member complained that Douma called Morsi a “killer” and a “criminal,” and blamed him for a violent security crackdown on protesters in the coastal city of Port Said that left 40 people dead.

Death toll hits 60 in Darfur gold mine collapse AT least 60 people are feared dead after a well collapsed at a gold mine in Sudan’s Darfur region on Monday, officials say. Rescuers were using traditional tools to try to reach the miners amid fears that more wells may collapse, the officials added. The 40m (131ft) deep well at the Jebel ‘Amer mine in North Darfur caved in on Monday. “The number of people who died is more than 60,” Jebel Amir local commissioner Haroun al-Hassan said, AFP news agency reports. North Darfur State Acting Governor Al Fatieh Abdeaziz told the BBC that 60 people were unaccounted for, but could not confirm that they were dead. Mr Hassan said rescue efforts were hampered because of fears that more wells could cave in, AFP reports. “We cannot use machines because if they came near, the ground will collapse,” he is quoted as saying. “People are using traditional tools and because of this, the rescue is very slow.”

•The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh officially welcomed the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the start of a two-day state visit to the UK…on Wednesday PHOTO:GETTY

Four dead in Chad coup attempt


T least four people were killed in a gunfight in the Chadian capital in what authorities said was a plot against President Idriss Deby’s government, security sources said yesterday. Chad has a long history of political instability and Deby himself led rebel troops into the capital N’Djamena in 1990 to seize power. But the landlocked nation started producing oil a decade ago and Deby, who has won four elections, has become an ally of the West against Islamist militants in the region. “Between four and eight people were killed in fighting at a military barracks in the east of N’Djamena,” said a po-

lice source, asking not to be identified. The clash took place late on Wednesday. A military officer said at least a dozen people had been killed in separate clashes in a residential neighborhood, adding that a list of future government officials had also been discovered there - implying evidence of a coup plot. Chad Communications Minister Hassan Sylla Bakary told state radio there had been “an attempt to destabilize the state”. He said earlier that a small group had been conspiring for months, but gave no details of who was involved. The streets of the capital were calm by midday on Thursday with banks and

shops open. Residents clustered around radio sets on street corners, or watched television in cafes. The sources said security forces had made several arrests within the army and had detained at least one opposition member of parliament, Saleh Maki. Deby sent about 2,000 troops to Mali this year to help drive out Islamist fighters who had seized the northern two-thirds of the country, earning him the gratitude of France which spearheaded the military campaign there. The intervention, as well as a decision not to defend the president of neighboring Central African Republic from a

rebel takeover in March, highlighted Deby’s position as a regional power broker. But he has plenty of enemies at home and abroad. The UFR, a Chadian rebel coalition that laid down its weapons in 2010, warned in March that it would relaunch its rebellion after Deby failed to enter talks with it. Last week Deby accused neighboring Libya of letting Chadian mercenaries set up a training camp on its soil for use in trying to destabilize his country, a charge Tripoli denied. Residents in N’Djamena, where Deby narrowly survived a rebel offensive in 2008, remained in the dark about the latest events.

North Korea sentences American to 15 years


KOREAN American detained for six months in North Korea has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for “hostile acts” against the state, the North’s media said yesterday - a move that could trigger a visit by a high-profile American if history is any guide. Kenneth Bae, 44, a Washington state man described by friends as a devout Christian and a tour operator, is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. The others eventually were deported or released without serving out their terms, some after trips to Pyongyang by prominent Americans, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. With already abysmal U.S.-North Korean ties worsening since a long-range rocket-launch more than a year ago, Pyongyang is

fishing for another such meeting, said Ahn Chan-il, head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies think tank in South Korea. “North Korea is using Bae as bait to make such a visit happen. An American bigwig visiting Pyongyang would also burnish Kim Jong Un’s leadership profile,” Ahn said. Kim took power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in December 2011. In Washington, the U.S. State Department said it was working with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to confirm the report of Bae’s sentencing. The United States lacks formal diplomatic ties with North Korea and relies on Sweden for diplomatic matters involving U.S. citizens there. The Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang, Karl-Olof Andersson, referred queries to the State Department.

India demands justice over ‘spy’s death in Pakistan


NDIAN Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has demanded those responsible for the death in a Pakistani jail of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian man convicted of spying, be brought to justice. Sarabjit Singh died after being attacked with bricks by other inmates in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail last Friday. He had been sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan in 1991. Mr Singh’s body was flown to India from Lahore yesterday. Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin earlier said it was “our primary focus” to ensure that Mr Singh’s body was returned to India and given a proper burial. His body was flown to the city of Amritsar on a specially chartered plane. India’s government has said it will give him a state funeral in Punjab. Before the flight, a sixmember medical panel carried out a post mortem examination at Jinnah Hospital in Lahore. In a statement, Manmohan Singh called Sarabjit Singh “a brave son of India” and said the attack was “barbaric”.

Sept 19 date for Gadhafi’s son

• Seif al-Islam


HE imprisoned son of Libya’s slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi appeared in court on yesterday on charges of harming state security, but the judge adjourned his hearing until September 19 to allow defense lawyers time to study the case. Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the ousted leader’s longtime heir apparent, wore a sky blue safari suit and a pair of sandals. He remained standing throughout the 15-minute hearing in the western Libyan town of Zintan. He smiled at times.

It was his second court appearance since the case opened in January. Seif al-Islam is also facing charges of attempting to escape prison and insulting Libya’s new flag. The charges are linked to his June meeting with an International Criminal Court delegation accused of smuggling documents and a camera to him in his cell. The four-member team was detained by Zintan


rebels but released after the ICC made an apology and pledged to investigate the incident. The charges are separate from those by the International Criminal Court, which indicted Seif al-Islam for the murder and persecution of protesters in the uprising that ultimately toppled his father’s regime in 2011. According to filings by de-

fense lawyers at the ICC, Seif al-Islam said he wants to be tried for alleged war crimes in the Netherlands, claiming that a trial in Libya would be tantamount to murder. “There will certainly be no justice in the case if the prosecution is based on evidence from torture,” he said. “I am not afraid to die but if you execute me after such a trial you should just call it murder,” he added.

Seif al-Islam, the most senior member of the Gadhafi regime to be captured by the rebels, is on trial in Zintan, the hometown of the rebels who captured him. The group was part of a larger force that seized the capital, Tripoli, in August 2011, ending more than 40 years of Gadhafi’s rule. The Libyan leader was killed two months later while trying to escape rebel forces storming

US protests Bolivia’s move to expel USAID

HE US has expressed regret at Bolivia’s decision to expel America’s development agency, rejecting allegations made by President Evo Morales as “baseless”. A US official said the move against the US Agency for International Development (USAID) “harms the Bolivian people”.

In a May Day address, Mr Morales accused USAID of seeking to “conspire against” Bolivia. He linked the expulsion to a recent comment by the US secretary of state. But US state department spokesman Patrick Ventrell defended USAID’s work in Bolivia. “We think the programmes

have been positive for the Bolivian people, and fully coordinated with the Bolivian government and appropriate agencies under their own national development plan,” he said. USAID said it deeply regretted Mr Morales’ decision. “Those who will be most hurt by the Bolivian government’s decision are the

Bolivian citizens who have benefited from our collaborative work on education, agriculture, health, alternative development, and the environment,” it said in a statement. USAID has been working in Bolivia for almost five decades, and had a budget of $52.1m (£33.4m) for the country in 2010, according to its website.



FOREIGN NEWS Peru and Ecuador recall ambassadors after supermarket brawl ECUADOR has recalled its ambassador to Peru, Rodrigo Riofrio, after diplomatic relations between the two countries soured over a supermarket brawl in Lima involving the envoy and female shoppers. The decision, which could defuse tensions between the South American neighbors, came shortly after Peru announced it would bring home its ambassador to Ecuador. Ecuador earlier argued that Riofrio acted in selfdefense and rejected Peru’s request to recall him. Riofrio allegedly hit two Peruvian women and insulted them with racist terms after an argument in a checkout line on April 21. In the supermarket’s security videotape, shown on Peruvian television, he is seen swatting a woman with a magazine after she hit him. Several women are then seen slapping him and pulling his hair. Ecuador’s foreign ministry emphasized in a statement that the two countries were meeting to discuss the incident, which has sparked outrage in Peruvian media and social media sites. “One isolated incident will not affect the excellent relationship between our countries,” said Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino

Benedict XVI returns to Vatican for first time


MERITUS Pope Benedict XVI came home to the Vatican yesterday for the first time since he resigned Feb. 28, beginning an unprecedented era for the Catholic Church of having a retired pontiff living alongside a reigning one. Pope Francis welcomed Benedict outside his new retirement home - a converted monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens - and the two immediately went into the adjoining chapel to pray together, the Vatican said. The Vatican said Benedict, 86, was pleased to be back and

that he would - as he himself has said - “dedicate himself to the service of the church above all with prayer.” Francis, the statement said, welcomed him with “brotherly cordiality.” Benedict chose to leave the Vatican immediately after his resignation to physically remove himself from the process of electing his successor and from Pope Francis’ first weeks as pontiff. His absence also gave workers time to finish up renovations on the monastery tucked behind St. Peter’s Basilica that until last year housed groups of cloistered nuns who were

invited for a few years at a time to live inside the Vatican to pray. When Benedict announced his intention to resign - the first pontiff to do so in 600 years questions immediately swirled about the implications of having two popes living alongside one another inside the Vatican. Benedict fueled those concerns when he chose to be called “emeritus pope” and “Your Holiness” rather than “emeritus bishop of Rome.” He also raised eyebrows when he chose to continue wearing the white cassock of the pa-

Francis went to have lunch with him. It was during that visit that the world saw how weak Benedict had become: Always a man with a purposeful walk, he shuffled tentatively that day, using his cane. Francis, for his part, seems utterly unfazed by the novel situation. He has frequently invoked Benedict’s name and work and has called him on a half-dozen occasions, making clear he has no intention of ignoring the fact that there’s another pope still very much alive and now living on the other side of the garden.

Gun attack in Thailand’s south leaves six dead


Kenya finds two Iranians guilty of planning attacks A KENYAN court yesterday found two Iranian men guilty of possessing 15kg (33 pounds) of explosives and planning to carry out bombings in Kenyan cities. Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi were arrested in Nairobi last June. Investigators said at the time it was unclear whether the pair had ties to al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia or were part of another network. “I must appreciate our Kenyan security personnel for detecting and taking swift action to stop the catastrophe and ensure our country was safe,” Waweru Kiarie, Nairobi’s chief magistrate, said after convicting the two men. Kenya was hit by a spate of bombings and attacks last year, which the Nairobi government mostly blamed on the Somali al Shabaab rebels its forces were hunting down inside Somalia. Mohammed and Mousavi were charged with being in possession of 15 kg of explosives and preparing to commit a felony. They had both pleaded not guilty and will be sentenced on Monday. They face up to 15 years in prison, the prosecution said.

pacy. Given the political intrigues that plague the Vatican, it wasn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to wonder if some cardinals, bishops and monsignors - not to mention ordinary Catholics - might continue making Benedict their point of reference rather than the new pope. But Benedict made clear on his final day as pope that he was renouncing the job and pledged his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to his then-unknown successor. It was a pledge he repeated in person on March 23 when

•Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, left, is welcomed by Pope Francis as he returns to the Vatican … yesterday. In background is archbishop George Gaenswein, prefect of the papal household. PHOTO: AP

IX people, including a young child, have been killed in southern Thailand after a gun attack at a village shop, police say. At least four gunmen fired bullets at the shop in Pattani province before escaping on motorbikes. The attack comes days after a second round of peace talks between Muslim separatists and the Thai government. More than 5,000 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency reignited in the Muslim-majority region in 2004. A toddler was among those killed in the attack on Wednesday night. Another man was also injured, according to reports. All those killed were believed to be Buddhists. A note left at the scene did not identify the group behind the attack, but said it was in retaliation for the deaths of some of their fellow members. That may have been a reference to events nearly three months ago when 16 insurgents were killed during an attempt to overrun a Thai military base, says the BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Bangkok. This attack casts further doubt on the recently started peace process between the Thai government and one separatist rebel group, the BRN, our correspondent adds. Two rounds of talks have been held in Malaysia. At the most recent last week, Thai negotiators urged rebel leaders to demonstrate their credibility by reducing attacks. Thailand is a Buddhist-majority country, but Muslims are the majority in the three southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. Muslim militants, who are fighting for greater autonomy, are believed to carry out the almost daily gun and bomb attacks against civilians and security forces in the area.

Ivory Coast’s ICC-indicted former first lady in hospital


VORY Coast’s former first lady, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, was rushed to hospital on Thursday with an unspecified ailment, her lawyer and an official from her political party said. Simone Gbagbo was a leading figure in her husband Laurent’s FPI party while he was president of Ivory Coast. The pair were arrested in 2011 after months of armed conflict that followed a disputed presidential election the year before. Simone Gbagbo, 63, is being held in Ivory Coast on accusations of genocide but also last year became the first woman

indicted by the ICC. Laurent Gbagbo is already in The Hague awaiting trial on charges linked to the conflict. “The (health) problems were sufficiently serious to require her immediate transfer to a facility with the sufficient means to treat her,” her lawyer Habiba Toure told Reuters, declining to elaborate. Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to accept defeat to Alassane Ouattara in the 2010 election kindled violence that killed 3,000 people in the world’s top cocoa-growing state before French and U.N.-backed proOuattara fighters captured the Gbagbos. The ICC warrant against Simone alleges she was “crimi-

nally responsible for murder, rape, other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution” during the conflict. Ouattara’s government has yet to announce whether it will hand over Simone, who has been held in the isolated town of Odienne since her arrest.


US urges N/Korea to grant amnesty to Kenneth Bae THE US has called on North Korea to immediately release an American citizen sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for anti-government crimes. Pae Jun-ho, known in the US as Kenneth Bae, was detained last year after entering North Korea as a tourist. “We urge the DPRK [North Korea] to grant Mr Bae amnesty,” a US State Department spokesman said. Mr Bae’s sentence came amid high tension between the US and North Korea, after Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.

condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that Brahimi wanted to resign from the joint U.N.-Arab League role because he is frustrated with international deadlock over how to end Syria’s two-year war that has killed 70,000. The envoys from the permanent five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council declined to comment after meeting with the secretary-general. A dispute between Russia and the United States over Syria has left the council paralyzed. Brahimi, appointed last year after former U.N. SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan resigned as Syria mediator, also wants to distance himself from the Arab League, envoys said, because of its decision to recognize Syria’s

time she gets a cold you can’t go and say it’s linked to her detention conditions,” Kone said. None of Ouattara’s own supporters have yet been arrested for crimes during the post-election violence, although rights groups say there is evidence they too committed atrocities.

April: Iraq’s deadliest month in five years – UN


PRIL 2013 was Iraq’s deadliest month since June 2008, the United Nations mission in Iraq says. It said a total of 712 people were killed, including 595 civilians, in “acts of terrorism and acts of violence” last

U.N. head, envoys discuss Syria as mediator wants out .N. chief Ban Ki-moon and ambassadors from the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China discussed on Thursday “possible diplomatic moves to end” the Syria conflict after U.N. diplomats said mediator Lakhdar Brahimi was determined to quit. Diplomats, speaking on the

Toure said “a total lack of medical attention” during her confinement had damaged her health. Information Minister and government spokesman Bruno Kone said there was nothing abnormal about her detention. “When you are in custody, it’s not a five-star hotel... Every

opposition. Brahimi felt that move undermined his neutrality. He could quit the joint mediator role and possibly be reappointed as an U.N. adviser to Ban an Syria, diplomats said. Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said of Ban’s meeting with the council envoys: “(They) discussed possible diplomatic moves to end the crisis. He briefed them on the latest developments relating to the chemical weapons investigation mission.” Syria has blocked unfettered access by the U.N. mission, which was created by Ban nearly six weeks ago and has an advance team in Cyprus ready to deploy to Syria. Diplomats say it is unlikely it will gain access any time soon.

month. Iraq’s Interior Ministry puts the total death toll for April at 245 people. An army raid on a Sunni anti-government protest camp in northern Iraq last week has triggered a sharp increase in attacks. Baghdad was the worst affected governorate with a total of 211 killed and 486 injured, the United Nations Assistance Mission For Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement released on Thursday. The mission says Diyala, Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Anbar were the next most affected provinces. A spate of bombing attacks in the last two weeks has left more than 200 people dead and scores injured. Fourteen members of a Sunni militia opposed to al-Qaeda were killed in two attacks by militants near the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on 1 May. At least 18 people were killed and dozens injured by five car bombs in Shia-majority provinces of southern Iraq on 29 April.

The latest figures come at a time when tensions are high between Iraq’s Sunni and Shia, amid claims by the majority Sunni Muslim communities that they are being marginalised by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s Shia-led government. More than 20 people were killed in clashes between security forces and Sunni Arab protesters in northern Iraq on 23 April. The violence erupted when security forces raided an antigovernment protest camp in Hawija, near Kirkuk. There was also widespread violence before the 20 April provincial elections - the first elections since the last US troops withdrew at the end of December 2011. Dozens were killed in bombings targeting mainly Shia areas, and 14 candidates, most of them Sunnis, were murdered. Although levels of violence in Iraq have dropped since the heights of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007, current unrest is more widespread than at any time since the US military withdrawal.



NEWS Abuja land dispute: Court rules in favour of Turai Continued from page 2

graphic Information System (AGIS) and the Attorney-General of the Federation, (AGF). Justice Affen, particularly, faulted the minister’s exercise of his powers in revoking the plot of land on the ground that the revocation was not in accordance with the provision of Section 28 (1) of the Land Use Act. The section says: “It shall be lawful for the governor to revoke a right of occupancy for overriding public interest.” The judge held that the defendants failed to produce evidence to support their claims that the allocation of the land was revoked for overriding public interest. He said: “There is no overriding public interest in this issue. The allocation made to the plaintiff who is a vocational training centre, was in public interest and in line with Section 28 (1) of the Land Use Act. “To revoke a land title, the letters and wordings of the laws must be strictly adhered to the letter. There is no evidence before this court to show that the defendants validly revoked the right of occupancy of the title on the land in dispute.” Justice Affen declared the revocation invalid and set it aside. The judge refrained from granting the monetary reliefs sought by the plaintiffs on the ground that they were not entitled to it. He observed that the judgment was delayed thrice to enable parties resolve the dispute amicably, but they failed to utilise the opportunities. The plaintiffs had prayed for N1.5 billion as general damages, N100 million as exemplary damages and N100 million as

aggravated damages, in addition to N261 million already paid for Certificate of Occupancy as well as N454m paid for building designs. FCT’s general counsel Ima Okpongete said his clients would appeal the decision. Dame Patience Jonathan spoke yesterday about the case, stressing that she was not joined in the matter. She explained that the land, which was allocated to the African First Ladies Peace Mission, was erroneously allocated to WAYEF. In a statement issued by her Special Assistant (Media), Ayo Osinlu, the First Lady said the matter had been taken out of context to give the impression that she wanted to take over the land previously allocated to Hajia Turai. The statement entitled: “Turai versus FCT Minister: Putting the records straight”, reads: “We wish to say for the umpteenth time that the land matter had been taken out of context in the public domain, to create an impression that Dame Patience tried to take over a land previ-

ously allocated to Hajia Turai. “The fact of the matter is that this was not the case, as we have consistently explained. The land, as clarified by former FCT Minister, Aliyu Moddibo Umar, in the Daily Trust edition of Thursday, August 2, 2012, was originally allocated to the African First Ladies Peace Mission during the tenure of Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, as President of the Peace Mission in 2008. “By some curious circumstances, which have been explained by the FCT Administration, the piece of land was re-allocated to Hajia Turai Yar’Adua’s NGO (WAYEF), under another plot number. It is this anomaly, considered an administrative error, which the FCT had tried to rectify. “Let it be known that the FCT took what it considered a legitimate course of action to rectify the error, which Hajia Turai challenged in court, having turned down several efforts to get her NGO another piece of land. “Our office had repeatedly stated that the land, which had been subject of litigation, was

between the FCT Administration and Hajia Turai Yar’adua’s NGO, and neither the African First Ladies Peace Mission, even though it is the original allotee of the land, nor Dame Patience Jonathan, who is the sitting President of the continental body, was joined in the suit. “For purposes of emphasis, we wish to reiterate that, the land in question was first allocated to the African First Ladies Peace Mission, according to records available to us, during the tenure of Hajia Turai Yar’Adua as President of the Mission. If in leaving office she had decided to depart with the land, the FCT HAS TAKEN APPROPRIATE LOGICAL ACTION to retrieve the said plot for the ORIGINAL allotee and purpose. “To this extent, we wish to state categorically that the judgment referred to in the media was not against the person of Dame Patience Jonathan, and we will like the public and well meaning Nigerians to put the matter in its proper perspective for the purpose of accurate record and common good,” it stated.

Anti-Amaechi lawmakers go into hiding Continued from page 2

tive committee, which also declared the lawmakers’ seats vacant. The suspension of the lawmakers, who are loyal to the governor, came on the heels of their alleged refusal to reverse the suspension of the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government, Timothy Nsirim; his deputy and the 17 councillors, within the 48-hour ultimatum given to them by Obuah.

It was also gathered that Wike, Obuah, members of his committee and their backers, have not forgiven Amaechi, who doubles as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the 27 legislators, over the “illegal” suspension of Nsirim and others. The Obuah-led committee, according to a source, has insisted that the recall of the suspended Obio/Akpor council officials remained one of the conditions for peace.

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday at the state secretariat of the PDP on Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Obuah said there was no plan to remove Amaechi. But, there are fears that the anti-Amaechi lawmakers could spring a surprise at anytime. They alleged that the refutal by Obuah was a decoy following the leakage of information on the fake mace and the impeachment plot.

Committee okays single tenure Continued from page 2

Jonathan’s second term by the North. “But other Senators took time to explain to their colleagues from Niger Delta that the amendment will affect governors and deputy governors across all parties.” It was also gathered that governors, especially those seeking second term, are uncomfortable with the proviso on the singleterm of six years. The source said: “Since amendment to 1999 Constitution requires the backing of twothirds of the 36 state Houses of Assembly, the governors may not allow the proviso to be passed into law. “The challenge before the Senate Committee is to sell the merits in the proposal to the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).” On other proposed amendments, the source said: “The Senate Committee has decided to separate the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation from the Minister of Justice, who is essentially a political office holder. “The AGF will now be in charge of the protection of the nation’s laws, which is purely a professional calling. The AGF is expected to hold office for seven years beyond the tenure of a sitting President who must have appointed him or her. So, the AGF is now insulated from politics.” Regarding local government autonomy, the source said: “The Committee noted that in all its study tours, there is no where local government system is a tier of government. So, the local gov-

ernment areas will still be under the states. “But because Nigerians complained about how states are diverting local government funds, the Senate Committee has recommended that the 774 local governments should receive their statutory allocations directly. So, the Senate Committee has abolished Joint Account. “Also, any state without democratically elected government at local government level will henceforth have the accruable statutory allocations to local governments in the state withheld.” Responding to a question, the source added: “The Senate Committee has rejected recommendation to create six geopolitical zones and to put rotational clause in the constitution. “The Senate Committee also agreed that there is no need to make law for indigeneship or citizenship because there are enough sections in the 1999 Constitution which guarantee the right to citizenship but Nigerians are mot taking advantage of it. “Some issues are also now on concurrent list. These are railway, environment, road safety, stamp duties, healthcare and others. “The funds for State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) will now be on First Line Charge to make them more independent and conduct free and fair polls.” Asked what the committee agreed on state creation, state police and special status for Lagos, the source said: “These issues have been deferred till next week.”


Moses fires Chelsea to Europa League final • Hip injury stops Mikel •Yobo falls with Fenerbahçe


UPER EAGLES’ striker, Victor Moses continued his scoring form for Chelsea as the Blues beat their visitors Basel 3-1 for a 5-2 aggregate on Thursday to clinch a UEFA Europa League final in Amsterdam on 15 May where they will face SL Benfica. However, While Moses featured for the entire 90 minutes of the game, his Nigerian teammate, Mikel Obi was not listed for the game after picking up a hip injury during training. Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and a stunning David Luiz strike ended the London side’s anxieties after Mohamed Salah had brought FC Basel 1893 level on aggregate on the stroke of half-time. Basel took the lead on the night in first-half injury time when Mohamed Salah broke the offside trap before curling the ball past Petr Cech. However, Chelsea hit back five minutes into the second half as Fernando Torres tapped in the rebound after Yann Sommer had saved Frank Lampard’s initial effort. The home side then went ahead three minutes later when Victor Moses showed persistence to calmly slot in from close range. Their progress was sealed on the hour in exquisite style

•Chief of Army Staff funds tourney


By Akeem Lawal thanks to David Luiz’s strike from 25 yards that found the top corner. In the other semi-final, Super Eagles’ captain, Joseph Yobo could do little as Benfica quickly wiped out the 1-0 first leg defeat to Fenerbahce thanks to Nicolas Gaitan. A controversial Dirk Kuyt penalty levelled the scores on the night and gave the Turks a precious away goal. Oscar Cardozo confirmed his spectacular form this season by bagging a brace to put Benfica 3-2 up on aggregate.

• Moses celebrates after scoring against Basel yesterday

FA CUP: 3SC to face Crown in final


CROWN FC of Ogbomoso will face 3SC of Ibadan in the final of this year’s Oyo State FA Cup final scheduled to hold on Sunday May 5, 2013 by 3 pm, at the Lekan Salami stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan. Victor Ikechukwu’s 63rd min strike ensured the Ajilete Boys beat Afijio United 1-0 in yesterday’s semifinal, while Shooting Stars hammered Ibarapa Soccer Wizards 6-0 to book the final ticket. A brace by former youth international, Gbolahan Salami and a goal each by Tony Edjomariegwe, Talabi

Combat Sports Championship holds in Kaduna May 20

•ABS tackles Kwara United By Akeem Lawal Olumakinde, Moses Ogaga and Olabisi Samuel gave the Oluyole Warriors the deserved victory. Meanwhile, Kwara United will take on fellow NPFL side, ABS in the final of the Kwara State FA Cup at the Kwara State Stadium, on Saturday. ABS came from a goal down to beat Olutayo FC in yesterday’s semifinal, while Kwara United defeated Kwara Football Academy 10 to pick the final ticket.

In Ogun State, Remo Stars made it to the final of the State FA Cup after defeating DG Babes on penalties. The game was tied 2-2 at the end of 90mins and Remo Stars kept their cool & won the penalties by 3 goals to 1. They’ll be facing state rival, Gateway United in the final of the tournament. Bayelsa United will square up against Nembe City in the final of the Bayelsa FA Cup, while Kaduna United will be up against Ranchers Bees FC in the final of the Kaduna FA Cup.

HE Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Azubuike Ihejirika has given full support for the maiden edition of Nigerian Army Combat Sports Championship 2013 to hold in Kaduna between May 20 and 24, 2013. The Chairman Main Organising Committee of Nigerian Combat Sports Championship, Major General Kenneth Minimah disclosed this during a press conference held at the Conference room of the Army Headquarters in Abuja yesterday. Major General Minimah disclosed the main reason for organising the Championship. “The Championship is organised in line with the drive of the Chief of Army Staff to uplift sports in the Nigerian Army and nurture discovered talents into formidable sportsmen who will represent Nigeria at international sporting events”, he disclosed. The tournament boss also mentioned past sports heroes that were discovered from the Nigerian Army and represented the country well in international Championships. “The history of sports especially combat sports in Nigeria cannot be said without mentioning the role of the Nigeeiran Army. Late Major Emmanue l Ifeajuna won the first Nigerian Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1956. “Recently a Nigerian Army female soldier, LCPL Edith Agu reached the quarter-finals at the last Olympics in London. Our prominence has been more in the area of combat sports. In boxing, the Nigerian Army has produced international boxers like Joe

From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja Mensah, Obisia Nwankpa, Tony Andeh, Kayin Armah, Solomon Otoga and of recently, Segun Ajose. In wrestling Godswill Tiebiri was a one time Commonwealth Games Champion”, he went on memory lane. Major General Minimah also revealed that “although 2013 is usually not a sports year in the Nigerian Army Calendar of events, we still intend to conduct the first ever Nigerian Army Combat Sports Championship with the objective of discovering new and young talents in boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling. “The new talents will then be nurtured to prominence and hopefully make Nigeria proudat the next 2016() Olympics Games”, he promised. The competition will hold at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Old site, Kaduna from May 20 to May 24. 2013. The top Army officer also disclosed that the competing formations include 1 Division Kaduna, 2 Division Ibadan, 3 Division Jos, 81 Division Lagos, 82 Division Enugu and Army Headquarters Garrison Abuja. He also specifically mentioned that the Chief of Army Staff is the major sponsor of the Championship while other banks and corporate bodies are also partnering with the COAS for a smooth sail and successful hosting of the competition. Also prizes would be won while the boxing event is strictly for athletes (officers) within the ages of 17 and 22 years.





‘‘If, therefore, a dozen Amaechi’s are brought to their knees or even put down, the president will not stand taller than he is. In fact, in the midst of all this, the president seems to grow smaller while Amaechi grows larger’’ VOL.8 NO.2,477



ESPITE the denial of the Nigerian security forces that laid siege on Baga in mid-April, burned down more than two thousand houses, which they later derogatively referred to as thatched dwellings as if that sign of the poverty of a people justified official arson, and massacred more than 100 innocent civilians, thanks to satellite technology, Human Rights Watch has confirmed the original media reports. It is not beyond the conscience of the agents of government and most assuredly, not a few members of the public with sadistic orientation to dismiss the justified outrage from all corners as misplaced. For such mindsets, what happened in Baga pales significantly in the face of the horror of the Boko Haram initiated assaults on innocent members of the public. I think they are wrong. First, it is morally unjustifiable to respond to the barbarism of Boko Haram with a government authorised act of barbarism, and this is what Baga meant in reality. What is unfortunate about this is that we have seen too much of its kind. Reprisal attack on villages and towns in which some security personnel were harmed has been a regular occurrence since the beginning of this republic. We remember Odi in 1999 with all its rawness and crudity. We cannot forget the attack on militants in villages of Benue State in 2001, an attack that killed more than 200 people, mostly innocent civilians. Nor can anyone forget the 2010 raid in the Niger Delta. In each of these cases, the modus operandi was similar. Set villages on fire, shoot escapees and deny involvement. Whether it is the case of the police avenging an assault on fellow officer, or a group of navy ratings dueling for a pound of flesh in the streets of Lagos, Nigerians have not been protected from official hooliganism run amok. Second, those who would defend the outrageous conduct of security forces in Baga are better reminded of the old-age principle that even in cases of civilian-to-civilian atrocities, two wrongs don’t make a right. This is why, in its wisdom, society came up with a system of justice with the purpose of rational adjudication of inevitable cases of conflict, knowing that one cannot impartially be the aggrieved, the prosecutor and the judge in one’s own case. Therefore even in cases of obvious aggression on the part of an individual or a group, it is expected that an independent arbitrator be allowed to pronounce on the guilt or innocence of the accused. Third, it is also an age-old principle that in the matter of judgment and punishment, the accused must not be lumped together with the innocent. This principle is so ingrained


...a POLICE FORCE that won’t KILL because of TWENTY NAIRA


Why Baga matters

•A house destroyed in Baga

in our pre-colonial cultures that the symbolism of the unity of a hand is invoked to drive home the point. Thus despite that observed unity, and the fact that it is difficult for a hand to operate without the collective involvement of the fingers, our people insist that in the matter of guilt and innocence, we must be scrupulous in the assignment: ika to se lobaa ge (the king orders the cutting of only the offending finger). The reasoning is clear. Even in such a difficult situation of assigning responsibility, it is important to find who the culprit is and he or she alone must be punished. If our traditional cultures could be so sensitive to the fundamental principle of criminal justice, why is our so-called modern sensibility so compromised?

‘If in the currents of the world religions that we claim to embrace, our systems of responding to cases of minority infractions are so morally outrageous, then we have to rethink the foundations of our socalled democracy. The world is watching’ In the Baga case, the consistency of the story across multiple media reports about what happenedcannot be brushed aside no matter what the official report of the government investigation comes up with. With gasoline in hand, soldiers reportedly doused and set thatched-roof houses on fire, then shot residents as they tried to escape. One is reminded of the practice of dry-season hunting when bushes are deliberately torched so bush rats are forced out and shot. Even little children are not given the benefit of probable innocence in a case beyond their understanding. One report suggested that a child was even snatched and thrown back in the flame. In the end, more than two hundred were slaughtered.



The story line from the military is that Boko Haram militants are solely responsible for the Baga tragedy.In that narrative it was the militants, armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and homemade bombs that resisted the military from positions around local people and their homes. In other words, Boko Haram used people as shields. Assume that this was true; the question is what should be the reaction of the military in that regard? If it was determined that the militants were camped around people’s homes, making them hostages in their own homes, should the military retreat and reengage later or should it still go ahead with planned assault paying no attention to the risk to civilians? That question may be answered one way by the military and another way by reasonable people confronted with the irrepressible conscience of humanity. But even that position of the military has been countered and it is unclear why it should be accepted in view of the fact that it has always been the recourse of the Nigerian Armed Forces whether at Odi or the Kalakuta republic. When will it stop? What the military response to Boko Haram in general, and in this instance in particular has done is to provide the group with a favorability rating in eyes of the poor and dispossessed that the government would normally want to get on its side. For the ultimate goal of the response to an insurgency cannot just be to kill it but to make it so unpopular that the citizens would have nothing to do with it. However, when you make no distinction between the insurgents and the civilian populations that are caught in the cross hairs of the battle, then you end up creating more insurgents or at least insurgency sympathisers. In 21st century Nigeria, our official conduct has failed to match the moral sensibilities of the 18 th century village ethics in the matters of dealing with our own. We have not demonstrated the respect for human lives and community integrity that our forebears understood and practiced. If in the currents of the world religions that we claim to embrace, our systems of responding to cases of minority infractions are so morally outrageous, then we have to rethink the foundations of our so-called democracy. The world is watching. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Baga massacre: The ugly story is just beginning


HE Baga, Borno State killings of April 16 and 17 in which an estimated 185 people were allegedly killed extrajudicially and thousands of houses torched by soldiers of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) may yet be the defining moment in the mishandled war against the Islamist sect, Boko Haram. This is not because Nigerians sympathise with the violent sect, or because they fail to appreciate the sacrifice being made by security forces combating terrorism, or because they are unduly emotional about the scale of material and human losses sustained by the sect’s militants. The point sorely missed by the government is that Nigerians expect the country’s security forces to conduct military operations in a manner consistent with the high principles and ethical standards that set the rest of the society apart from the brutal and despicable methods of the militants. In Baga two weeks ago, there is no proof that the security forces acted with decorum. On Tuesday, the military top brass presented their preliminary report on the Baga debacle to President Goodluck Jonathan. Their findings were consistent with the account they tendered a few days after news of the firefight with Boko Haram militants reached the public. Though that account had been questioned in many quarters locally and internationally, and the casualty figures disputed, the military felt no need to alter their conclusions which indicated that fewer than 40 people died in the encounter and not more than 200 houses

were burnt. But a rights group, the Human Rights Watch (HRW), on Wednesday released satellite images of Baga before and after the clash showing that more than 2,000 houses were torched or destroyed. Coming barely a day after the military high command and the National Emergency Management Agency (NAMA) presented their reports indicating that there were fewer than 1000 houses in Baga, this is a potentially devastating embarrassment. Responding to the military’s report, the president had inexplicably failed to distance himself from the controversy and uncertainties. He had suggested that there was a lot of misinformation being peddled about the clash, and added, without proof, that the high death toll released by community leaders could not be substantiated. He spoke too soon. Now, it is expected that the military will have to react to the HRW satellite images, for it is suspected that MJTF is engaged in an unwholesome cover-up of crimes against humanity. By refusing to dissociate themselves from the unlawful killings in Baga, the military top brass may be staking their own reputations and careers on the actions of their subordinates. If independent investigators discover that a massacre did in fact take place, it is hard to see the officers who presented the preliminary report to the president being exculpated. In addition, even the president may end up looking bad in the estimation of the people for appearing to back the report and for casting doubt on independent accounts of the killings. Dr

Jonathan must be reminded that he is president of both the security forces and the murdered innocent civilians of Baga. If it is finally determined that crimes against humanity were actually committed in Baga, many careers will be flushed down the drain. The Jonathan government itself may not go unscathed for failing to appreciate the need to sustain civilised standards in the war against domestic terror. The point must be reiterated at all times that it is wholly unacceptable to sacrifice innocent lives in place of a few escaping terrorists. If more than 180 people were killed in Baga and thousands of houses burnt, that certainly goes beyond collateral damage. The killings would be callous and deliberate, and no amount of desperation in the war against terror could justify that mayhem. In fact, for many years, community leaders in the Northeast had alleged that security forces engaged in extra-judicial killings. Unfortunately, they were ignored and ridiculed. Now, they may have proof. But the country will wait for the National Assembly investigation, the president’s own inquiry, and any other panel set up to look into the Baga killings before drawing conclusions. Investigators must, therefore, be given unfettered access to the town to take a census of the destroyed buildings and interview witnesses. They must not be hindered. The HRW has presented its own scientific proof. Let that proof be undermined by more scientific proofs, if the military can generate any.

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

The Nation May 03, 2013  

The Nation May 03, 2013

The Nation May 03, 2013  

The Nation May 03, 2013