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UN insists on probe of Baga massacre NEWS

Page 5

•‘We’re worried about huge casualties’

Nigerian Air Force plane crashes in Niger NEW S NEWS

Pages 2

•Defence Hqtrs confirms pilots’ death

VOL. 8, NO. 2478 TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013



Tension rises in Rivers

Five anti-Amaechi lawmakers at Assembly Soyinka: stop executive impunity Speaker, commissioner allege emergency rule plot PDP chair calls for calm


HERE was tension yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital where two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are struggling for control. Five lawmakers loyal to the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, were at the House of Assembly, escorted by Commissioner of Police

From Bisi Olaniyi, Precious Dikewoha and Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

Mbu Joseph Mbu. The 27 pro-Governor Rotimi Amaechi lawmakers, including Speaker Otelemaba Dan Amachree, stayed away. Pro-Wike protesters, armed with placards bearing various inscriptions and singing antiAmaechi songs, thronged the Assembly and the secretariat

of Obio/Akpor Local Government in Rumuodomaiya, Port Harcourt. The protesters, from the 23 local government areas, called for the resignation of Amaechi or his impeachment, as well as the removal of the Speaker. To the state government, it was all part of a grand plan to provoke violence and pave the way for emergency rule

and the governor’s removal. The protesters also called for the reinstatement of the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government, Timothy Nsirim, his deputy, Solomon Eke, and the 17 councillors suspended on April 22 by the 27 pro-Amaechi legislators. The Chief Felix Obuah-led executive of the PDP also condemned the speaker’s call for Mbu’s redeployment, accus-

ing Amachree of raising false alarm. But the speaker insisted that the police commissioner should be removed for taking sides and acting the script of “Abuja forces”. The case filed by the 27 suspended lawmakers against the Obuah-led PDP at a Port Harcourt High Court presided over by Justice Henry Aprioku was yesterday ad-

journed till May 23. The five lawmakers — Michael Chinda (Obio/Akpor II Constituency), Kelechi Godspower Nwogu (Omuma), Evans Bipi (Ogu/Bolo), Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor I) and Victor Ihunwo (Port Harcourt III) — said they got information from the Clerk of the Assembly, Continued on page 2

Couple ‘buys’ twins for N1.8m


PERATIVES at the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) in Ikoyi, Lagos, have arrested a couple, who allegedly bought twin babies and attempted to smuggle them out of the country. Adenuga Soyibo and his wife Elizabeth allegedly bought the babies for N1.8million from a woman in Rivers State. The Police said yesterday that they were yet to trace the baby trader’s location. The couple were arrested following a tip-off on April 15 by the American Consulate. The Police said the Consulate reported that the couple applied for American visas and their application was deferred on the suspicion that the babies they claimed to be theirs appeared to have been stolen. It was gathered that the

By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondent

Consulate ordered a DNA test to ascertain the biological relationship of the babies with the suspects. The Commissioner of Police, Tunde Ogunsakin, told reporters: “The Consulate invited them when it received the result of the DNA, which revealed that the babies do not belong to the couple as both lack appropriate genetic marks. “During investigations, detectives travelled to Port Harcourt, Rivers State where the woman claimed she gave birth to the twins in a private small house. On getting to Port Harcourt, the woman claimed she could no longer identify the place; she also stated that she had no antenatal record anywhere as she did not attend any. Continued on page 56

•Soyibo with one of the babies...yesterday

Monguno freed •Governor: no ransom paid


ORNO State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday led an exciting reception for nonagenarian Shettima Ali Monguno. Monguno, 92, was freed by his abductors after almost 72 hours in captivity. The former minister was kidnapped by gunmen on Friday after the jumat in his mosque in Mafoni, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. He was released by his abductors yesterday morning in Kirenowa in Marte Local Government Area, according to Shettima. Shettima, who visited the elder

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

statesman at his Government Reservation Area (GRA) home, said no ransom was paid for his release. He said: “We are all elated and overwhelmed to hear of his release. “I congratulate all of us for his release, hoping that God will give him the good health and strength to continue with his humanitarian gestures.’’ The governor said Monguno’s abductors contacted his family after several appeals from Nigerians for his release. He added that the abductors were Continued on page 2

•Mrs Soyibo with the other baby...yesterday •From left: Chairman, League Management Company, Hon. Nduka Irabor (left) shaking hands with the Director,Mike Adenuga Group, Mr. Niyi Adewunmi after signing the N1.9 billion Glo title sponsorship contract for the Nigeria Professional Football League in Lagos...yesterday. With them is , Globacom’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mohamed Jameel



NEWS ‘No ransom paid on Monguno’ Continued from page 1

•Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (second right), Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and President of Synod, His Grace, The Most Revd. Dr Ephraim Adebola Ademowo (right), Diocesan Chancellors, Hon. Justice Dayo Oyebanji (second left) and Hon. Justice George Oguntade (left) at the opening ceremony of the First Session of the 32nd Synod of the Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at the Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos…yesterday

Stakeholders reject govt’s private jets policy


HERE was outrage yesterday over the new aviation policy rolled out by the Federal Government. Under the new regime, owners of private jets are barred from carrying friends and associates. The Presidency in a statement by Dr. Reuben Abati justified the policy, saying it was introduced in line with international best practice. But concerned stakeholders, including airline operators, said the policy was inimical to the aviation industry. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), in a statement by its spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, faulted the policy, describing it as another hallmark of emerging despotism of the Jonathan Administration. The statement reads: “Aviation is global, yet nowhere in the world has this kind of policy been put in place, and it is simply impracticable. Whoever is still in doubt about the transmogrification of the Jonathan administration should have a second thought.

Presidency: international best practice informed policy


HROUGH the Special adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the Presidency yesterday took an exception to criticism of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on new aviation rules. Dr. Abati, who urged relevant agencies to make more clarification on the new regime of private jet operations, said the policy was introduced in line with international best practice. The President’s spokesman said: “I believe that in this matter, the Ministry of Aviation and the relevant agencies will issue a statement offering necessary clarification. But the truth however is that we are faced once again with the ACN engaging in its usual game of mischief. “ The policy that statement by the ACN appears to be referring to deals essentially with the fact that in the aviation sector, the authorities are insisting on international best practice. “In this regards, what is this international best practice all about? One, that if you own a private jet, it must strictly be a private jet. You By Kelvin Osa-Okubor

This policy could only have been designed to satisfy the yearning for absolute power by a democratically-elected President who will not hesitate to subject his compatri-

cannot use it for kabu kabu and the frequency of the usage of course will determine whether you are using it as kabu kabu or not. If it is a private jet, it is a private jet. “The second point to note is that the government has not said that you cannot carry anybody you like in your aircraft. That is not what the policy says. This is clearly a case of misrepresentation. “What the policy says is that whoever you carry in your private jet, you must submit a manifest,you must declare a manifest. It is important to note that you cannot say because it is your private jet, you will carry people in it and you will not declare a manifest. It is standard international practice that for air travel, a manifest must be made available. “The third point has to do with insurance. Why all of this is important is that when you engage in air travel and you give people a ride or you are using it for private purposes, there must also be insurance. The aircraft itself must be insured and there must also be insurance for the people who are traveling. You cannot violate all these rules and say because it is a private jet. Rules are rules.”

ots to tyrannical rule.’’ The party wondered “how the President’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, who as usual rushed to the blind defence of his boss over whether or not he is fast becoming

an emperor, will rationalise an unprecedented and impracticable policy that could only have been formulated with evil intentions. It said: “The presidential Continued on page 63

touched by the numerous appeals and they decided to release him unconditionally. The governor said: “They sent word that he should be picked in the morning. So, we sent his personal aides with a vehicle to get him home.’’ Shettima insisted that no money was given for the release of the elder statesman as he had no money to give. He said: “Obviously, Monguno, is a philanthropist, who has spent all he had in the cause of humanity. So, the issue of money was out of it because the family had no money to pay. “It is just that the abductors decided to release him after numerous appeals from Nigerians.’’ Monguno was Minister of Internal Affairs, and Minister of Defence in charge of the Air Force at various times. A few hours after the release of the elder statesman, Shettima has restricted access to him. Also, the governor has sent his personal physician to examine his health and give medical advice to the government. But Monguno told family members and relations that he is well. He pleaded with the people not to weep for him. Our correspondent learnt that the governor restricted access to Monguno for 24 hours to enable him rest and have medical examination. A highly-placed source said: “When the governor met with Monguno, he was calm and he prayed. Nothing suggested that he was hurt by his abductors. “But the governor has ordered a round-the-clock re-

striction of access to allow the old man to rest. He needs some rest at his age. “Security detail from the Government House were drafted to Monguno’s house to enforce the restriction. The personal physician to the governor has been mandated to examine Monguno and find out if there is any need for a follow-up medical attention at home or abroad.” Asked of what becomes of the security of Monguno after the 24-hour restriction, the source added: “The ex-minister lives near the Government House, which is well secured. He was abducted at Mafoni in the traditional part of Maiduguri where he went to worship on Friday. He left his GRA residence for jumat service in the traditional area. “Definitely, security agencies will be more vigilant on his movement. Everybody was surprised that the man was abducted because he has made a case for Boko Haram more than any elder in Borno State. After his return home, Monguno told his anxious family and relations that he is okay. He described his travails as part of the challenges of life. “The elder statesman told his family and relations that he was well and dismissed any anxiety about his health. “I see this as part of travails in life; no one is above it. I am fine. I am well. Nothing is wrong with me,” he was quoted as saying. The source said when a woman relation burst into tears upon seeing Monguno, the elder statesman said: “Why should you cry? Don’t cry for me, don’t weep for me. I am alright.”

Nigerian Air Force plane crashes in Niger


WO Nigerian Air Force pilots died yesterday in Niamey, Niger Republic as the Alpha combat jet they were flying crashed at Dargol village, about 60 kilometres west of Niamey. The jet, which crashed at 1.05 pm, was not on combat mission, Director of Defence

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

Information, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement. According to the Defence spokesman, the aircraft was one of the fighter jets deContinued on page 53

CORRECTION In yesterday’s front page photograph, Kaduna State Governor Mukhtar Yero was inadvertently referred to as Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State. The mix-up is regretted.

Tension rises in Rivers as protesters storm council secretariat Soyinka: stop executive impunity in Rivers Continued from page 1

Emmanuel Amaewhule Ogele, that the House would reconvene at 10 am yesterday and they decided to attend. The speaker, who spoke through his Press Secretary, Jim Udede, said the House would have reconvened at 10 am, but decided to postpone the sitting indefinitely when he was hinted of a planned protest, which he claimed could lead to the breakdown of law and order. It was not to allow “enemies of progress” to declare emergency in the state, he said. The five anti-Amaechi lawmakers moved to the Assembly, amid tight security, and stayed in their offices. They were still there as at the time our reporters left the Assembly around 1 pm. They said they were waiting for the 27 pro-Amaechi lawmakers to show up for the sitting, stressing that they were not informed of the postponement. The speaker admitted that they were not informed,


OBEL Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka yesterday for the second time, intervened in the face-off between the Federal Government and the Rivers State government. “Break this spiraling culture of executive impunity”, he said in a statement entitled “Cool it, President Goodluck Jonathan,” yesterday. Soyinka said: “The increasing flash points in the nation have reached an unsustainable level, and responsible governance must accept that it is an urgent duty to diminish, not increase them. “Even the notoriously short Nigerian memory remains traumatised by recollecbecause, according to him, the information that Wike’s supporters would unleash mayhem came very late on Sunday. On April 22, the Chairman of Obio/Akpor council, Prince Timothy Nsirim; his deputy, Solomon Eke; and all the 17 councillors loyal to Wike were suspended. The Obuah-led PDP executive, also on April 29, suspended

tion of the rape of Anambra State that was enabled by the connivance of federal might, and the abandonment of all moral scruples in executive disposition. “The people of Ogun state were humiliated by the antics of a power besotted governor, with their elected legislators locked out of the state Assembly for upwards of a year. “That hideous travesty was again made possible by the abusive use of the police. Even a child in this nation knows that the police derives its enabling and operational authority from the dictates of the Centre, so there can be no disguising whose will is being executed wherever demo-

the 27 pro-Amaechi lawmakers, including the speaker. The five anti-Amaechi lawmakers condemned the suspension of Nsirim and others. Bipi said: “How would the 27 lawmakers have suspended Nsirim and others, without following due process? Where did they get the committee’s report? Nothing like that. The report was forged. No petition against Nsirim and others.”

cratic norms are flouted and the people’s rights ground to mush under dictatorial heels. “Before the irretrievable point of escalation is reached, we have a duty to sound a collective alarm, even without the lessons of past violations of constitutional rights and apportionments of elected representatives of the people, and their consequences. “There is an opportunity in Rivers state to break this spiraling culture of executive impunity - manifested in both subtle and crude ways - that is fast becoming the norm in a post-military dispensation that fitfully aspires to be called a democracy.”

Ihunwo said: “We are supposed to reconvene today, but we cannot see any of them (27 pro-Amaechi lawmakers). We believe in the rule of law. In suspending Nsirim and others, they did not follow Order 22, Rules 1 and 4, which make it mandatory for the petition to be laid before the House by a lawmaker. “What is chasing them could be what they did to

Obio/Akpor Local Government chairman and others. Rivers people should be calm and law-abiding.” Chinda said: “The procedure through which they suspended the Obio/Akpor chairman and others is wrong. They did not follow Order 22, Rules 1 and 4. “There was no petition against Nsirim and others. Continued on page 53


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







• President Goodluck Jonathan (left) greeting Nigerian officals on his arrival in Cape Town, South Africa ...yesterday.

• Coordinating Minister for Economy, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, unveiling the UBA ICT Centre at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja... at the weekend. With her are Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza (left) and President, AUST, Prof. Wole Soboyejo (second left).

An AlJazeera correspondent, who just returned from Baga, Borno State, says the people are picking the pieces of their lives

• Traders and their customers at a fish market in Baga.


• Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede (middle), Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe (left) and Principal Partner, Kunle Ogunba & Associates, Kunle Ogunba SAN, during the bank’s Chief Executives Officer's Awards in Lagos... at the weekend. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

•From left: Minister of State for Education Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Ministry of Education, Chike Uwaezuoke and the Chief Executive, National Mathematical Centre, Mr. Adewale Solarin, at the workshop for Teachers of English Language and Mathematics in Unity Colleges in Abuja...yesterday. Story on page 6

HE reported number of people who died in Baga, Borno State, Nigeria, caught everyone’s attention, in a way that the regular weekend bomb attacks of churches by Boko Haram, do not. As West Africa correspondent for Al Jazeera, based in Nigeria, I had reported nearly every attack by the group since they started fighting in 2009, starting with the killing of the group’s leader Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri where I was present. But the scale of last month’s attack caught my attention in a way that previous attacks had not. I was concerned about the figure of 200 killed that was being reported. Simply because I had reported so many Boko Haram attacks but nothing on this scale. And it had been reported that the military had said only 37 had been killed, 30 of them Boko Haram fighters, one soldier and six civilians. It was important for me to get to

Baga to see for myself, first hand, what had really happened and try to figure out how many people might have been killed. We were escorted to Baga by the Joint Taskforce (JTF), a force consisting of the Nigerian military, State Security Service, police and other agencies, that have been fighting Boko Haram. The JTF had explained that the journey to Baga was extremely dangerous. They explained that Boko Haram fighters might be lying in wait along the road and could attack at any moment. And that was why it was necessary for our team to be escorted by the JTF into Baga and out. ‘Mass grave’ We were escorted around Baga by the

JTF rescues lawmaker’s parents from abductors in Borno


HE Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order (ORO) yesterday said it rescued the parents of Mohammed Sanda, a member of the National Assembly from suspected kidnappers in Borno State. JTF spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, spoke on Monday in a statement in Maiduguri. Musa said Mr Ummara and Mrs Maryam Sanda were rescued after an operation near Maiduguri. “Based on intelligence, the JTF intercepted and rescued two kidnap victims - one Ummara Sanda Sheriff and his wife Mrs Maryam Sanda Sheriff, who are the parents of Hon. Mohammed Sanda, a legislator representing Kaga-Maigumeri – Gubio Constituency at the National Assembly. •Lt.-Colonel-Sagir-Musa “ They were kidnapped last Sunday by terrorists at Ngamdu village at about 10:15 pm, The village is a border town linking Borno and Yobe States.”. Musa said the victims and their abductors were heading for the desert town of Marte before they were intercepted. “The terrorists and the victims were heading toward Marte in Marte Local Government Area in an old model Toyota 4 Wheel Drive when they were intercepted at Zabarmari by the JTF troops on special operation. “The couple were successfully rescued by the JTF and Mr Sanda is 85 years while his wife Maryam is 70 years. They seem to be in good health.” Musa said several items, including one AK 47 Rifle and a magazine with 30 rounds of 7.62 mm Special Ammunition, and seven Assorted Cell phones, six pairs of wrappers were recovered from the suspects. “The JTF wishes to once again alert the public to be wary and security conscious at all times. “Members of the public are advised to be very sensitive to strangers and friends that have not been in contact for long. “Similarly, the public are warned to avoid isolated areas and shun meetings or friendship organised through telephones or social media. “This advice is based on the intelligence available to the task force that Boko Haram Terrorists have resolved to concentrate more on kidnappings than robbery.”




gradually returning to normal ‘

Adamawa govt donates to Baga victims

Baga seemed to be bustling with people, buying and selling household goods and foods. Petrol stations, mosques, churches, schools, seemed to be functioning

U.N. seeks probe of bloodbath


HE United Nations is calling for an independent probe of a mass killing in Baga, Borno State last month. About 200 civilians were reportedly killed when soldiers raided the town. U.N. spokesperson Rupert Colville yesterday said the attack has also left scores wounded and displaced. Colville said: “We are very concerned about the large JTF and allowed to talk to villagers we encountered freely, and film the damage caused by the fighting, mainly burnt out homes and businesses. But what I really wanted was to get to the bottom of reports of a “mass grave” in Baga where the 200 civilians who had

number of casualties, including many civilians, and massive destruction of houses and property, and population displacement that’s taken place in the past few weeks in the northeast of the country. According to various sources, around 200 people were killed, at least 70 others injured, and more than 2,000 houses were damaged during raids conducted by Nigerian military in Baga, in Borno State.”

been reportedly killed had been buried. I asked the JTF to show me the mass grave. They denied such a grave existed. They explained there was only one gravesite where around 20 Boko Haram fighters had been buried. And

the JTF took my crew and I to the gravesite to film. You can see this in our report. I was a little skeptical about the information being given to me by the JTF about the mass grave. The Nigerian army has been ac-


HE Adamawa Government on Monday donated N20 million to victims of last month’s military/ terrorists clash in Baga, Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno. Governor Murtala Nyako made the donation during a courtesy visit on Gov. Kashim Shettima in Maiduguri. Nayko described the incident as “unfortunate”, and said that the people of Adamawa were touched by the high casualty figure. He said the money was aimed at providing succour to the victims through procurement of relief materials. “I am here basically to condole with the government and people of Borno State over last month’s sad incident in Baga. “My deep condolences go to the victims and their families and we pray this kind of thing never happen again,” Nyako said. He commended Shettima on his efforts to implement developmental projects in spite of security challenges in the state. Nyako expressed optimism that the problem of insecurity in the North would soon be over as the Governors Forum was working hard to redress the situation. Shettima thanked Nyako and promised that the money would be used for the purpose intended.

cused by organisations such as Human Rights Watch of killing civilians in their pursuit of Boko Haram fighters. And of pursuing retaliatory attacks on villages where Boko Haram members have been found. So I decided to ask three or four villagers close to where we were filming as to whether they knew anything about a mass grave in Baga. One of them was Fatima Ahmadu who is in our report. Throughout rest of my time in Baga, I did not see any mass grave. Neither were we prevented by the JTF from moving freely around Baga. The JTF, however, only seemed not to understand just how much time we needed in Baga to gather more

information. It would have been helpful to meet more residents than those we encountered. And we were given just an hour to gather elements for our report.After filming the many burnt out homes and businesses, and the grave site, we moved to the market. To my surprise there was a semblance of normality returning. Baga seemed to be bustling with people, buying and selling household goods and foods. Petrol stations, mosques, churches, schools, seemed to be functioning. And every now and then a taxi load of people seemed to be arriving back into the town. We filmed all of this. And then hit the road back to the state capital, Maiduguri.

Nigeria’s corruption exaggerated, says Jonathan P Those ‘ who talk

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said the corruption in the country is exaggerated. The president spoke in Cape Town, South Africa, while addressing the Nigerian community in the town. He is on official visit to South Africa. Jonathan said: “Those who talk about corruption are the most corrupt, we must build strong institutions. Putting heads together along with the heads of the corruption agencies like the EFCC and the ICPC, that what we should do because the perception is so bad and sometimes we also amplify it. “Sometimes when you look at the figures, somebody comes out with a figure and if you don’t confront it, the recent statistics about funds being moved out of the country is so big and we started asking why is it so and we also realised that there if this policy of regulating the movement of money, and business people like Peter Obi will

about corruption are the most corrupt, we must build strong institutions

tell you that the Anambra man will not want to wait; he wants to move his money and go and buy. He did not steal the money. If you ask him to be transferring $10,000 to China,

how long will it take him to do that? And so they will find a way of taking the money out and because it is not the conventional way of transferring the money, it all ends up as if all is for corruption. There is element of corruption; I am not saying there is none. In Nigeria now, anybody who wakes up and does not talk about corruption you have not said anything. If somebody is preaching, you must talk about corruption; if you are in wedding, you have to talk about corruption. “So the perception index is quite high but we all collectively must work to reduce it. I am not saying there is no corruption; there is still some corruption in the country, but we must all work very hard and strengthen the institution to bring the corruption down. And also the issue of security and crime, one of us mentioned the issue of

Boko Haram in some parts of the North. We have kidnapping in the Southsouth and the Southeast. This must stop. We will do everything to bring it to an end. “But for our brothers and sisters in South Africa, we thank you for this beautiful evening and I must thank you for the wonderful work you are doing. We are doing very well and I want to encourage you to continue to do very well. “For those who won scholarships, I just want to inform you that we have different products, not just from the Federal Government, Nigeria is a Federal system, the states are semi-autonomous sub national governments and a number of states are also having some scholarship programmes. Sometimes, the states have bursaries, sometimes scholarships. At the federal level, the population of this country is very high, it will be extremely difficult or im-

possible for you to now declare scholarship for every Nigerian that is schooling; yes we will get to that point, but for now we have selected products and for some of you who are quite good with what is happening in the world, all that we can advise is that always try to get the information and when it comes up, you apply. “We give scholarships but it is not generalised that by this time of the year we are giving scholarships across the whole group. But wherever you are, like the minister was talking about Diaspora students, students’ schools are all over the world and students are always Diaspora population. But I assure you that we will continue to work with you, we have our country at heart, we have the commitment and the political will to improve the fortunes of our country. “

2015: CPC, ANPP urge Nigerians to ignore Asari-Dokubo


HE Congress of Progressive Change (CPC)and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday urged Nigerians to ignore the threat by the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), Mujahhid Asari-Dokubo that there will be war if President Goodkluck Jonathan is not reelected for second term in 2015. The opposition parties said by the time reality dawns on the former militant, he will readjust his position.

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

According to the CPC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, Asari-Dokubo’s statement “has clearly marked our President Jonathan as a regional leader at a time when the country craves for a national leader”. He said: “He will adjust the statement when that time comes. It is

very easy for anyone to say anything when his stomach is full. “This bloke said that to protect the immense benefits flowing his way by reason of the proximate positioning with the ‘powers that be’ (at the expense of the people). When a truly people-oriented regime comes into power, he will adjust to the reality! “Let no man’s heart fail on

account of this. Nigeria belongs to all of us and its well-being is our collective responsibility. President Jonathan is more of a regional leader than a national leader.” The ANPP, in its reaction through the National Publicity Secretary, Emma Eneukwu, said: “If Asari Dokubo really said this then he must be talking from two sides of his month. A couple of months ago, the same man asserted that

President Goodluck Jonathan would not win 2015 elections because he has touch with the grassroots. “Now he wakes up with a war drum to dole Nigerians another propaganda of fear aimed at herding the populace into a proJonathan appeasement mentality. It is now palpable that there is more behind Dokubo’s seasonal tantrums than meets the eyes.”



NEWS Why bad governance thrives, by CJN

Jonathan approves recruitment of teachers for Federal Unity Colleges

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja


ISING violence, abuse of constitutional provisions and disrespect for the rule of law are responsible for bad governance, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, has said. The CJN noted that internal displacement was becoming a common phenomenon nationwide as against what was the practice in the past. She blamed the trend on increasing cases of communal crises, political and religious violence; forced eviction and flooding. The CJN spoke in Abuja yesterday at the opening of a workshop on “Refugee Law” for judges and Khadis, organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI). Justice Mukhtar argued that although it was necessary to address the needs and welfare of victims of social strives and natural disasters - refugees and internally displaced, it was better to avoid situations that produce such vulnerable groups. Her words: “This is an area where the political class must be up and doing. And I hold the view that good governance, respect for fundamental rights of citizenry as stipulated in the Constitution and strict obedience to the rule of law will promote peace rather than internal displacement and refugee crisis.” NJI Administrator Justice Umaru Eri said the workshop, the first of which was held last year, was intended to contribute to the development of Refugee Law in the country. He praised the country’s efforts in the enactment of laws to protect refugees and internally displaced persons. Eri expressed delight that the country has ratified the basic international instruments on the protection of refugees at the international and regional levels. He said: “Nigeria has also gone further by enacting the National Commission for Refugees Act 1989 Cap N21 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 mainly to safeguard the interest and treatment of persons seeking political asylum in Nigeria and other matters thereto. “This has further been complimented by the establishment of a commission to address refugee matters in Nigeria.” States’ Chief Judges; Grand Khadis of Shariah Courts of Appeal and Presidents of Customary Courts of Appeal are participants at thefour-day workshop, which has “Addressing the needs and welfare of refugees and internally displaced persons” as its theme.


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has approved the recruitment of 1000 English and Mathematics teachers for the nation’s 104 Federal Government Colleges. Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike dropped the hint yesterday in Abuja at the openning of the first phase of the continuous professional development programme for Mathematics and English Language Teachers in the Federal Government Colleges. The Federal Ministry of Education is training 144 Mathematics and English Language teachers in inclusive teaching approach. Wike said that the Presi-

dential approval was aimed at improving the quality of education offered by the Federal Government Colleges. He said: “Though, every subject is important, you all know that Mathematics and English Language occupy a special place in the nation’s education system because of their relative importance. “Arguably, across every career and every discipline, the relevance of Mathematics and English Language is self evident and will only continue to grow. This is why as a matter of national policy, these subjects remain compulsory.” He regretted the poor performance of students in the two core subjects, pointing out that the ministry was de-

termined to address the situation. Wike said: “I need not over-emphasise the fact that the quality of the teacher is the most important factor that determines students’ achievements in the school system. “There is no way effective teaching can take place without the teacher having a deeper understanding of the subject matter, the confidence, as well as the aptitude to effectively teach the subject matter to students.” He noted that to achieve the desired result and concentration on the part of teachers, the two-week workshop is residential for all participants. In his remark, the

ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, decried the student-teacher ratio of 1:350 students in Mathematics and English Language. Prof. Adewale Solarin, the Chief Executive of National Mathematical Centre (NMC), attributed the failures in Mathematics and English Language during public examinations to the dearth of qualified teachers. Coordinator of the workshop and director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry. Chike Uwaezuoke said that the approval was the first time in 15years that English Language teachers of Federal Government Colleges have been involved in capacity building.

SSS parades man who claimed Akpabio wanted to kill senator


29-YEAR-OLD graduate of Mechanical Engineering, Adelola Tamunotonye Olaore, has been paraded by the State Security Service (SSS) for alleged impersonation and attempt to obtain money by fraudulent means. SSS spokesperson Ms. Marilyn Ogar alleged the suspect approached Senator Aloysius Etok and told him that he had information about a plot by Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio to assassinate the senator. According to the SSS, Etok played along with the suspect and encouraged him to come to Abuja from his base in Port Harourt,Rivers State. Having informed the SSS about the plot, the Senator lodged the suspect in one of the high-brow hotels in Abuja where he was arrested by security operatives after his interaction with the senator. Ogar said: “The suspect introduced himself to the senator as General Africa, an ex-militant from Bayelsa State. He then told the senator that he had been contracted by three of governor Akpabio’s loyalists to assassinate him. “In order to convince the senator, he offered to furnish him with details of the governor’s purported bank account and energy company in South Africa. That he offered to broker peace between the senator and the governor, which the senator accepted.” Olaore, however, denied telling the senator about any assassination plot against him. He admitted that he had lied to the senator about having the right connections to broker peace between him and the gov-

‘The truth is that I lied to the senator that I am highly connected enough to arrange for the governor and the senator to settle their differences’ From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

ernor. He said: “The truth is that I lied to the senator that I am highly connected enough to arrange for the governor and the senator to settle their differences. “I got the senator’s telephone number when I went to the Port Harcourt office of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) sometime in January. “I stumbled on his complimentary card in one of the NDDC offices when I went there to submit a mail. But when I learnt about the rift between him and the governor, I decided to approach the senator with the aim of obtaining some money from him. “All I needed was about N300, 000 to pursue my master’s degree programme and I thought I could get it from the senator by lying to him about myself and my mission. “I never told the senator that I had information on anyone trying to assassinate him. I only lied to obtain money from him by pretending to be what I am not and I regret my action”. Akpabio and Etok have


been at each other’s throat over the Ikot Ekpene senatorial seat ahead of 2015. Etok currently occupies the office. Akpabio is eyeing the seat. The senator yesterday told

reporters on the telephone that he was at a function and that it was not convenient for him to speak on the matter. The SSS said the suspect will soon be charged to court.

Osun ACN raises alarm over PDP’s plan to rig 2014 election


ELYING on intelligence reports, the Osun State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday alleged of a plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the next year’s governorship election in the state. ACN’s Director of Publicity and Strategy Kunle Oyatomi, who raised the alarm, urged residents to remain at alert and be watchful to frustrate the “evil intention” of some unscrupulous elements,who are planning to plunge the

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

state into crisis. Oyatomi said media reports on the arrest of a PDP female member in Ikirun, in Ifelodun Local Government Area, who was luring people to exchange their voter cards for Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) allocation papers and money, revealed the rigging plan of the PDP. The ACN spokesman said: “This is another strategy the PDP is working with, to rig

next year’s governorship election in the state of Osun. “We in the ACN believe that what the PDP Chairman in Osun, Alhaji Ganiyu Olaoluwa was reported to have said in respect of this story is a confirmation of the fact that the PDP is not only manipulating SURE-P for patronage to party members, it is also attempting to graft the SURE-P into its rigging mechanism for 2014 and 2015 elections.” Oyatomi said that the PDP has distorted and bastardised the Federal Government’s

employment and empowerment programme meant for all Nigerians by converting it into a monster prowling the country and using SURE-P to buy voter cards from unsuspecting citizens. He, therefore, warned the citizens not to surrender their political power by selling the cards to selfish and greedy people, especially the “PDP that brought the state to ruins between 2003 and 2010.” His words: “Your voter card is the ultimate power you have

to reject bad government and install a new one through the ballot box; and this was what you did in 2007. “You should not sell that card for any reason whatsoever because selling it is selling yourself into slavery. Since the PDP has decided to turn SURE-P, into an election rigging apparatus, the PDP should accept the responsibility for the criminal action of people going about in the state buying Voter Cards in exchange for SUREP papers and money.”

Constituency delimitation: INEC to use 2006 census figures By Augustine Avwode


HEAD of the 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to use the 2006 census figures for the delimitation of constituencies. It was one of the major recommendations at the end of a fourday retreat by the electoral umpire with other critical stakeholders on the review of constituencies in Enugu at the weekend. According to a communiqué signed by INEC Chairman Prof Attahiru Jega, one of the major flaws identified with previous efforts to review constituency delimitation was inadequate engagement with critical stakeholders. It also noted that the current delimitation structure, which was done 17 years ago, was carried out by the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) in 1996 under a military regime. The mandate is to conduct a delimitation after 10 years or after a census. The growth in population and demographic shifts warrants a review of constituencies. Expectedly, it has been severely criticised for manifesting features that are at variance with international best practices, including mal-apportionments and other inequalities that challenge, in a fundamental manner, the principle of equal representation. It was, therefore, agreed that to avoid the criticisms that have continued to dog the current delimitation, it would be “wise and prudent to consider such good practices as administrative and traditional boundaries, cultural affinity, natural frontiers and physical features”. Besides, to successfully carry out the exercise, “the commission must continually engage with stakeholders with a view to building confidence and mutual trust and disabusing mindsets likely to be imbibed by key stakeholders, particularly, politicians who have vested interests in the exercise.” Furthermore, INEC would have to ensure that the criteria for the exercise are “rational, transparent, impartial and nonpartisan” while it “continue to carry its stakeholders along through continuous briefings, enlightenment, consultations, and voter education and public hearings”. While acknowledging that the delimitation of constituencies is daunting and is likely to provoke controversy, it was agreed that the commission must give its best shot by refusing to be hostage to its fears or playing the ostrich, non-partisan, selfless and resist political pressure.





SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has urged the Federal Government to declare an emergency on youth unemployment. The governor spoke yesterday in Osogbo, the state capital, at the graduation of participants in the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme Technology, popularly known as O’YES-Tech. He said the scheme is the flagship of his administration’s policy to rescue unemployed youths from chronic idleness. Aregbesola noted that by arming the youths with necessary skills in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), his administration has opened their eyes to an area of limitless possibilities with the wherewithal to explore and exploit the possibilities. He said: “By the same token, we are also preparing our state with the human infrastructure to launch itself into an ICT centre of excellence in Nigeria and with the probability of an ICT reputation that will spread well beyond the shores of this country. “In the largest public sector employment programme in the history of Nigeria, the O’YES took Osun youths out of the unemployment market in their thousands, and put them firmly on a path to economic and financial liberation. But we refused to relent. “The O’YES-Tech is a key branch-out from its O’YES mother into another area of gainful possibilities – the Information and Communications Technology (ICT). “This is an area that holds the promise of consolidating our vision of youth employment and empowerment; with the added advantage that it will give Osun youths the ena-

Aregbesola urges Fed Govt to declare emergency on youth unemployment

•Aregbesola (second right); his deputy, Mrs Titi-Laoye Tomori (third left); Chairman, OYESTECH, Prince Ade Adefioye (right); OYESTECH trainee, Miss Alamu Oluwaseun (left); Rogham Link Group (RLG) Country Director, Mr Ilesanmi Tosin (second left) and others, at the graduation and presentation of certificates to successful OYESTECH trainees at the Government House lawn, Osogbo...yesterday. From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

blement to function in what has become the centre of international commerce.” According to him, the programme was designed with a focus on the empowerment of other members of the Osun public, who may also want to acquire skills in this highly valued area. Aregbesola said the programme has been packaged to

equip participants with an interpreted set of skills that will allow them to develop their professional careers in ICT and help them acquire the latest skills to build future capabilities by using world-class technology. He said: “Within days from now, 150 of the employed technicians are bound to leave for a three-month on-the-job experience at the company’s headquarters in Ghana. “I am also happy to an-

nounce that 750 of the successful trainees have been employed by another company, Chams Plc, for its operations in the State of Osun, while some others have also been taken up on full-time employment by the technical team working on the Opon-Imo.” The spokesperson of the RLG Communication, the company that partners the state in training the youths, Mr. Tosin Ilesanmin, promised that the company will train 20,000 but

rapid infrastructural development in Africa to solve the continent’s development challenges. The governor noted that infrastructural deficiency has hampered the vast opportunities for economic growth on the continent. Fashola spoke in New York, the United States, at a special interactive session of the Goldman Sachs Growth Market Summit anchored by the Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Mr. Jim O’Neil. The theme of the event was: Delivering Nigeria’s Growth

Promise. The governor said there are several opportunities in Africa that have not been accessed because the infrastructure that could enable people, goods and services to move more easily are insufficient. He said: “I know that there are much more opportunities in-locked in Africa that are yet unreachable because the infrastructure that can facilitate easy movement of people, goods and services are still in short supply.” Fashola stressed that most African countries are also bogged down by leadership

challenges. The governor said the continent, with its vast natural resources, including mineral and human resources, has the potential to develop more rapidly than most other economies of the world, if sufficient infrastructure, such as roads and good transportation, were put in place for easy movement of people, goods and services on the continent and beyond. He also blamed the slow pace of development on political instability. According to him, most African countries have suffered underdevelopment because of

By Precious Igbonwelundu

A •Fashola

the level their governments function and the rapidity of change of governments. The latter, Fashola explained, does not allow sufficient time for any appreciable development.

Tukur’s son, others challenge court’s jurisdiction to hear N1.8b subsidy fraud T WO oil marketers, Mahmud Tukur and Alex Ochonogor, with their company, Eterna Oil Plc, yesterday challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, to hear the N1.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Mahmud is the son of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The oil marketers filed their application before the court, presided over by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo. The application, dated May 3, was filed by their counsel, Chief Wole

By Adebisi Onanuga

Olanipekun (SAN). The defendants were arraigned with Abdullahi Alao, son of prominent Ibadan businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arisekola-Alao. At the resumed hearing of the matter, Olanipekun told the court that the application had been served on the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN). The defence counsel said the application was seeking an order to quash or strike out the charge for want of jurisdiction. He said: “The criminal

charge was not instituted in accordance with procedural due process. This charge is a matter relating to the revenue of the federation on which only the Federal High Court has jurisdiction. “The substratum of the charge is within the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.” Olanipekun also said his clients filed the application late because they were still discussing the charge with the Federal Government. “As at now, we are still discussing. I say this from the Bar, even if my learned friend,

self-employed, saying Aregbesola is the first governor he has seen who made promised and fulfilled that promise. Another trainee, Oyelade Omowunmi Balqis, said the programme means a lot to the participants, adding that it would employ as well as empower them for life. The best trainee at the end of the programme, Musbau Akinola, besides his certificate, won N100,000 monetary prize form the governor.

Appeal Court upturns property firm’s winding up

Fashola advocates rapid infrastructural AGOS State Governor development for Africa Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has advocated


cannot absorb all of them. He said the training has equipped the trainees with skills that will make them selfemployed and self-subsisting. One of the trainees, Adeniyi Waheed Adegoke, from Technical College Centre in Osogbo, said the programme exposed him and his colleagues to a lot of computer programmes and mobile phone assembly, maintenance as well as dissemble. The trainee said he is now

Jacobs, claims not to be aware,” he added. Jacobs told the court that he was not aware of the discussion between the Federal Government and the defendants. He, however, urged the court to allow the parties to take the application orally. But the judge declined his request. Justice Onigbanjo adjourned the matter till May 28 for argument on the application. He also directed the parties to file and attach their written addresses to the processes before the next adjournment date.

N Appeal Court in Lagos, yesterday quashed a Federal High Court’s ruling which favoured the winding up of a property firm, WAC Properties Nigeria Limited, by Royal Exchange Assurance Nigeria PLC. WAC Properties had instituted an appeal before the Justice F. O. Akinbami-led panel, after the lower court dismissed its preliminary objection against a winding up petition filed by the insurance company following disparities in the declaration of dividends. Delivering judgment on the matter, Justice Akinbami said the trial judge at the lower court, Justice I. N. Auta, erred by concluding that the issue of preliminary objection amounted to a “demurrer”. He averred that the court should have looked at the preliminary objection. In reply to the appellant’s brief, counsel to Royal Exchange, Val Izah, submitted that Justice Auta was right in saying the appellant’s notice of preliminary objection dated June 12, 2006 was demurrer. He argued that the appellant did not follow the proper procedure in bringing forth its notice of preliminary objection.

‘40m Nigerians needs adult education to achieve MDGs goals’ From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE Vice-Chancellor of the University Of Ibadan (UI), Prof Isaac Adewole, and the Executive Secretary of the National Mass Education Commission (NMEC), Alhaji Jubril Paiko, have said about 40 million Nigerians need to acquire adult education for the nation to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The duo spoke yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, when they addressed participants at an event organised by the UI Department of Adult Education, in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and NMEC. The event was held at Liguori House of Redemptorist, New Ife Road, Ibadan. Adewole noted that adult education provides Nigeria with capacities for people to function in an ever-changing society. The academic stressed that more Nigerians need to acquire various life skills that are essential for century living. He said: “This has brought the rationale to bring those who will help to learn together. Our Department of Adult Education has the reputation to conduct the training because there are tested professionals of international repute, who have the experience and capacity to deliver.



NEWS Ajimobi says Oyo Technical Varsity’ll be best in Africa


YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has said the newly-established Technical University in Ibadan, the state capital, would be the best in Africa. He spoke in his office in Ibadan while receiving a delegation from the Texas Technical University, United States (US), at the weekend. Oyo State and Texas Technical University are in a partnership to develop the new university. Students of the new institution are to spend the last two years of their programmes at the Texas Technical University. Ajimobi said the concept of the new university was developed by some of the best brains in Africa, with inputs from experts at the Texas Technical University. He said the government has employed the services of one of the best architects in the world for the institution’s architectural design. Ajimobi said the visit, which is coming less than three weeks after he visited Texas, shows that the American university is committed to the establishment of the institution. The Associate Vice-Provost of Texas Technical University, Dr. Gary Elbow, said he was impressed by the government’s commitment to the project. Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI) Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, who is handling the new university’s academics, said the school would produce technical experts that would develop the nation’s infrastructure. Speaking with reporters at the university’s temporary site, the Technical Implementation Committee Chairman, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, said the institution would focus on engineering courses. Afolabi said: “The university will be the first of its kind in Africa. It will exemplify the highest level of public-private partnership.”

Retired soldiers protest unpaid pension M in Ibadan, Abeokuta

EMBERS of the Armed Forces Pensioners’ Pressure Group of Nigeria yesterday protested the non-payment of their pension in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. About 80 Army pensioners gathered at the State Secretariat, Agodi, demanding the urgent payment of their pension arrears. The group’s Southsouth Chairman, Mr. Gabriel Oaikhena, accused the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government of being insensitive to their plight. Oaikhena said: “Over 500,000 soldiers died during the civil war and their families were not compensated. Those of us who are fortunate to be alive are living like destitute. Enough is enough. Do not forget what happened in the Animal Kingdom - the characters eventually protested. “The Federal Government has pushed us to the wall. President Goodluck Jonathan is making us hungry. We are fed up. Let the government kill us, if they can. We shall

•’We live like destitute’ From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan and Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

link up with the international community and tell the world how the Federal Government is treating us. “We do not want to pick up arms because we fought for the unity of this country and cannot carry arms against the country we fought for. During former United States (US) President Bill Clinton’s visit to Nigeria, he gave some money to war veterans. Where is the money? “Nigerian Military Pensioners cannot pay house rent; they cannot eat or pay their hospital bills. The 53 per cent pension increase should be implemented with effect from July 2010.” Military pensioners in Ogun State also protested the nonpayment of

their pension arrears. They marched to the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, the state capital, in their hundreds. The pensioners urged Governor Ibikunle Amosun to prevail on Jonathan to pay their pension arrears. They accused the Federal Government of neglecting them. Their spokesman, Sgt. Samuel Awosanya (rtd), said since 2009 when the Federal Government approved a 53 per cent pension increase, it has not been implemented. He said with the present economic realities, what they are paid cannot sustain them. Awosanya said: “Most of us can no longer meet up with our re-

sponsibilities to our families. We live in hunger and most of our children are out of school because we cannot pay their fees. Our members are dying on a daily basis because they cannot afford hospital bills. “This is why we are calling on you as a listening governor to help us take our case to the Federal Government. We have suffered enough for the country.” They hailed the governor’s “rebuilding mission”, which they said is being felt across the state. The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, who represented the governor, said: “Although what you have come for is a Federal Government matter, I assure you on behalf of Mr. Governor that your case would be presented to the appropriate quarters. For us in Ogun State, whatever affects you affects us because you are our people.”

ARG lauds cordial relationship between Aregbesola, labour From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo


HE Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) in Osun State has lauded the cordial relationship between the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration and labour unions. After its monthly meeting in Osogbo, the state capital, at the weekend, ARG said the labour unions’ support for the government showed that the governor was performing. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Olabisi, ARG said with the cordial relationship between labour and the government, the state will continue to witness unprecedented development. The group pledged its support for the Aregbesola administration, adding that it has positively touched all sectors within its short time in office. It said: “While some governors were booed during the May Day celebration, Aregbesola’s popularity soared because of his people-oriented programmes, which transcend the boundaries of partisan politics. “We hail the government for attaining this rare feat in labour relations and urge labour leaders to be wary of disgruntled and selfish politicians, whose stock in trade is to destroy any working arrangement.”

•Retired soldiers protesting in Ibadan...yesterday.


CPC candidate: Ondo tribunal’s judgment vindicates my allegation of bias T

HE candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in last October’s governorship election in Ondo State, Prince Soji Ehinlanwo, yesterday criticised the judgment of the Justice Andova Kaka’n-led Election Petition Tribunal. He said it has vindicated his position that the panel members were biased. Ehinlanwo had petitioned the Appeal Court President seeking dissolution of the panel and the constitution of a fresh one. He said the tribunal’s judgment, which upheld the election of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, does not reflect the aspiration of the people. In a statement, Ehinlanwo said: “It is no wonder that the judgment was greeted with zero enthusiasm, graveyard silence and sober reflection across the state. “Like I mentioned in the interviews I granted shortly before the judgment and in the petition I wrote some weeks ago to the Appeal Court President, the CPC and I had no confidence in the panel, as it clearly appeared to have taken a definite position even before evidence were adduced. “What other conclusion could one reach about the panel, given

•Ehinlanwo urges Akeredolu, Oke to appeal ruling From Damisi Ojo, Akure

the reckless, ludicrous and demeaning conclusions it made about our petition, even before we were allowed to adduce evidence. “As sad as it seems, we conclude that the judgment is a vindication of my earlier position and that of the CPC. Many people have continued to encourage me to keep on with the struggle to ensure that our justice system remains a bastion of hope for the common man, which means that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. “This is based on the unarguable premise that the judiciary is pivotal to building a virile and enduring democracy. In standing against the absurdity that occurred in respect of our matter, I believe we are making our modest contribution to strengthen our judicial institution and enhance its respect by the citizenry. “I believe this is the right path to follow and I thank those who have encouraged us thus far. However, a few people have asked me

whether it was worth the effort, personal sacrifice and risks I have had to take. “To them, I say we cannot hope to build strong institutions and a strong democracy, if we do not demonstrate the courage needed to confront and address the glaring faults and aberrations that we will have to face in the evolution of our democracy. “I remain convinced that our people crave for a change from this rudderless government that has been imposed on them. I also believe that the tribunal’s judgment cannot and should not stand in the face of judicial scrutiny by a superior court. “I urge Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Chief Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to appeal this judgment in the interest of justice and our dear state. “The CPC and I are awaiting the decision of the President of the Court of Appeal on our request for the constitution of a new panel to hear our petition.

“When the decision is made and communicated to us, we will take the next appropriate step. We remain hopeful that the right decisions will be taken, so that we can have the benefit of presenting our case to a panel that will hopefully examine it dispassionately and on its merit. “I assure our supporters and the public that CPC and I remain resolute in our goal to get justice and rid our state of this illegitimate government that has been foisted upon it.” Also yesterday, a group, the Ondo Youth Alliance (OYA), said the judgment was a “mirror of the unjust society we live in”. In a statement by its coordinator, Mr. Olukayode Adeyemi, after the group’s emergency meeting in Akure, the state capital, OYA said: “The illegal injection of names into the electoral register discredited the election. How do you want youths to comprehend this kind of judgment? Some judges have perfected the art of politicising judgments. “The panel has failed to dispense justice in this matter and we will ensure that justice is not only done, but seen to have been done. The late activist lawyer Gani Fawehinmi will be turning in his grave because of this jaundiced judgment.”



NEWS Ladoja eulogises Alalade

Aregbesola’s second term stickers flood Osun Assembly

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan



TICKERS with messages rallying support for Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s reelection yesterday adorned most of the vehicles at the House of Assembly Complex. Virtually all official and private vehicles belonging to the lawmakers had the stickers. Speaking with reporters, the Speaker, Mr. Najeem Salaam, said: “My colleagues have decided to show solidarity with the governor based on personal conviction and because we are proud to be associated with him. We are happy with his performance, but this does not mean we are losing sight of our watchdog position.”

Fashola assures Lagosians of security


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday assured Lagosians of security. He spoke at the opening of the 32nd Synod of the Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). The event was held at the St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Marina, Lagos. Fashola said kidnapping is a new challenge in Nigeria and must be confronted with new strategies. He said insiders were involved in many kidnapping cases and urged residents to be vigilant. Fashola said: “Some of the questions we should be asking ourselves are: How did I get that domestic staff? Does he or she have a referee? Who is the surety? We cannot afford to live in those laissez-faire times anymore, when people just bring house helps for us. Because even if Lagos is safe, it does not mean you should go to bed at night without locking your doors.” He said the crime rate in the state has continued to decline, adding that the government was on top of the situation. Fashola said people should not forget that a few years ago, robberies were the order of the day, but the government tackled it.

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (right) and the Commissioner for Works, Sola Adebayo (left), inspecting on-going work on the Ifaki-Iworoko the weekend. With them are the site engineer of Hajaig Construction Company, Mr. Hameed Jamel (middle) and others.

Residents lament as Ekiti T demolishes slum HE Ekiti State Government yesterday began the demolition of shanties in Atikankan, a slum in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The exercise began around 12 noon. Owners and tenants of the affected structures ran around to salvage their belongings. Some of them accused the government of insensitivity, claiming that they were not given demolition notice. Mrs. Oladejo Roda said she had not been compensated. Alhaji Yakubu Edunmare said: “I received N380,000 for my shop, but I have not been paid for my house, which is also being demolished.” The Commissioner for Land, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Remi Olorunleke, told reporters

•Landlords warned against selling marked buildings From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

that majority of those affected had been compensated. Olorunleke said: “The ministry made several efforts to reach the few, who have not received their cheques, until last December, when the money was returned to the official coffers. The ministry will have to reapply for the fund before they can be paid.” The Permanent Secretary of the Bureau of Lands, Mrs. Falodun Olufunke, read a letter dated last December 22, which was written to those who failed to pick up their cheques.

She said the demolition victims assaulted officials of the bureau, who approached them with the cheques. Olorunleke said he heard that some landlords were trying to sell properties marked for demolition and warned that such landlords would be dealt with. He said over N380 million had been paid as compensation to those whose buildings were demolished in Ado-Ekiti in the last one year. The commissioner said the demolition was to curb crime in Atikankan and upgrade the slum. He said the demolition of

Ekiti ACN chairman, four others arraigned HE Chairman of the for alleged murder Action Congress of


Nigeria (ACN) in Ekiti State, Mr. Jide Awe, and four others were yesterday arraigned before an Ado-Ekiti Magistrate’s Court for alleged murder. The others are Faboro John, Aniramu Basiru, Falayi Busuyi and Owonifari Sefiu. They were accused of murdering Mr. Ayo Jeje on March 30 in Erijiyan-Ekiti. Jeje was killed while preparing to defect from the ACN to the Peoples Demo-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

cratic Party (PDP). They were also accused of attempting to murder Mr. Gbenga Adewumi on the same day and at the same place. The defence counsel, Mr. Adetunji Oso, urged the court to allow the accused to continue to enjoy the bail that was granted them by the police, pending the legal advice of the Department of

Public Prosecution (DPP). The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Femi Falade, opposed the bail application. Chief Magistrate Richard Adeboye ruled that the accused should continue to enjoy the bail and adjourned till May 25. The police arrested two associates of the late Jeje, Segun Adewumi and Adigun Adesanmi, for taking Awe’s pictures in court. It was learnt that they were taken to the command’s headquarters.

Oyo ACN urges IG to probe PDP’s allegation


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo State has urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to investigate the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) allegation that the state’s Joint Security Task Force, called Operation Burst, is being used to witch-hunt perceived political enemies. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Dauda Kolawole, ACN described the allegation as “baseless, puerile and illogical”. It said a probe of the allegation would put an end to the “PDP’s long years of tar-

nishing the image of the opposition for political advantage”. ACN said: “While we have always known the PDP to be a nest of liars, we never knew its operatives had no respect for the sacredness of facts and figures. The people of Oyo State know that the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration is modern and cannot stand thugs and violence. “They also know that but for Operation Burst, the crime rate in Oyo would have quadrupled. How come the PDP is dishing out this

falsehood? The security outfit comprises professional members of all the forces. “Until a few weeks ago, when it was deployed in Ibarapa, Operation Burst, was only in Ibadan. This is a fact that can be cross-checked, so how come the PDP is claiming that it was deployed to harass one of our leaders, Chief Michael Koleoso? We urge the IG to investigate these allegations, so that the public would not be deceived by these cheap lies.” The party alleged that the Accord and PDP were out to tarnish the image of the state

government. ACN said: “We learnt that former Governors Rashidi Ladoja and Adebayo AlaoAkala met in London after Ajimobi sacked Ladoja’s men in his administration. Less than a week after the report, Accord and PDP are in cahoots trying to dismantle our greatest achievement in Oyo State, which is peace. The IG should please investigate this because as the African proverb says, we should not dismiss the unholy connection between the witch that cried overnight and the child that died at dawn.”

the 78 structures obstructing the waterways in Adebayo, Olorunda, Adeparusi and housing estates on Afao road would begin soon. The demolition will affect the Crownbiz Hotel in Adebayo. Olorunleke said landlords with government approved documents of their buildings would be compensated.” He said the demolition would prevent flooding and calamities associated with it.

LEADER of the Accord in Oyo State former Governor Rashidi Ladoja has extolled the virtues of his running mate in the 2011 governorship election, the late Mr. Sunday Alalade. Alalade died on Thursday in his Ogbomoso home after a long illness. A source said the late Alalade rejected Ladoja’s offer to fly him abroad for treatment. The late Alalade was one of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s top opposition in Ogbomoso. Ladoja described the deceased as “a loyal friend and political associate”. The former governor, who led Accord leaders to the late Alalade’s home at the weekend, said the deceased believed in serving the people. He said: “During our days in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I nominated the late Alalade and four others to one of the reconciliation committees set up by the party. “Of the five nominees, he was the only one that came to the Accord with me. This means he believed in what I believe in, which is service to the people. “It took courage for any politician to refuse to join Alao-Akala at the time, particularly because they were both in the PDP. His loyalty to me was a mark of integrity and character. The Accord will miss his political sagacity. The late Alalade contributed immensely to the state’s growth as a council chairman, commissioner and chairman of the Local Government Service Commission.”







MTN seeks talks over dominance report


TN Group Limited. (MTN), Africa’s big gest mobile-phone company, said a report that criticised its market leadership and pricing policy in Nigeria isn’t clear and that it will seek talks with the industry regulator. MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd., a unit of Johannesburg- based MTN, has become “dominant” in Nigeria with a 44 per cent market share of the mobile voice market, the Nigerian Communications Commission said in a review on its website dated April 25. The commission said phone calls between MTN customers cost a third of the price of calls to other networks and amounted to “a calling club” for MTN users. MTN must reform its mobile tariff policy and will face further scrutiny to ensure the competitive landscape is fair for all Nigeria’s operators, the NCC said. The regulator is in the process of an industry shake-up in order to cut mobile phone costs for Africa’s biggest population. “At no time have we dropped prices to below the market, we’ve always followed the market,” MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer Brett Goschen said in a May 2 interview with Blomberg in his offices in Lagos, the commercial capital. “There’s a lot of competition and that’s what we need to discuss: how they’ve arrived at” the conclusion the market isn’t competitive. The NCC isn’t specific on whether MTN needs to raise or cut its tariffs and hasn’t said the company has abused its market position, Goschen said. Prices across Nigeria’s mobile-phone operators have dropped 50 per cent over the past year, showing that the market is competitive, he said.

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

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

Nigeria delisted for concessionary loans from World Bank N

IGERIA has been re moved from the list of countries that enjoy the International Development Agency’s (IDA) concessionary window, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Ms. Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, has said. She said Nigeria was delisted because the country is no more regarded as a poor nation. This implies that Nigeria will not benefit from the 40year moratorium and 10year repayment period on loans taken for developments from the World Bank. Ms. Marie-Nelly explained that Nigeria’s delisting from the beneficiary countries was based on the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistic, which indicated that the poverty rate per capita in the country has gone down to 62.6 per cent from 64.2 per cent. She explained that Nigeria will henceforth access funds

• Bank commits N837b to projects

From Nduka Chiejina, (Asst. Editor)

from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) window under different moratorium and interest payments terms. The new funding arrangement for Nigeria’s projects in the years ahead was occasioned by what the World Bank described as the “reclassification of the country’s status from poor country by per capita to a lower-middle income country by per capita. Lower-middle income countries are those whose per capita are $1,026 to $4,035 based on estimates of gross national income (GNI). Ms. Marie-Nelly revealed that only a few months were left to the end of implementation of the bank’s 2nd

Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) (2010-2013) in Nigeria, to which about N837 billion had been committed so far. She said there are 70 technical activities valued at $183 million which are ongoing, and three regional projects on agriculture, valued at $45 million; air transport, $46.7 million; and water resources, put at $135 million, adding that funding for these programmes was secured through the International Development Agency (IDA) concessionary window. She said despite the introduction of the new funding terms from the bank, old projects and interventions will be continued, based on funds accessed through the International Development Agency (IDA) concessionary

window, stating that Nigeria’s transition from extremely poor to low-middle income category would take between five to six years to be effected. The World Bank Country Director, said that the urban poverty from 2003 to 2009 reduced to 51.2 per cent from 52.2 per cent, just as rural poverty dropped to 69 per cent from 73.4 per cent. Also, poverty rate among adults in Nigeria went down to 46.1 per cent from 48.3 per cent, and urban poverty saw a reduction to 34.3 per cent from 36.8 per cent, ading that Rural poverty also dipped to 52.9 per cent from 57.4 per cent within the same period. She said the implementation of the second CPS has focused mainly on sustainable development; human development; governance

and economic reforms; and private sector development. She said the interventions in the 2nd CPS “had recorded modest achievements in key sectors like education, transportation, water, power, agriculture, good governance and private sector, through support for standardisation of some manufacturing and construction operational processes across the country. She said one of the key challenges that the Bank contended with was inability to meet deadline for some projects’ completion.” She said the Bank would be moving towards resultbased approach and away from input approach, so as to consolidate the Bank’s CPS performance over the years, as well in the third phase slated for impleme next year. “Under the new CPS, our main objective will be to support improved competitiveness foster social inclusion and reduce vulnerability, she added.

NEITI member gets into EITI board From John Ofikhenua, Abuja


• From left: Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa; South African Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs, Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the inauguration of Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation Regional Office in Johannesburg, South Africa ...on Sunday.

CEOs fret over dearth of skilled manpower


HIEF Executives in the financial services sec tor in Africa see lack of skills and over regulation as barriers to business growth, a survey by Price Water house Consulting (PwC), has revealed. The study, which chronicled the views of about 349 Africa’s Chief Executives in the financial services sector, admitted that African CEOs contend with very similar issues as their global counterparts, with the majority viewing over-regulation and a lack of skills as barriers to business growth. A breakdown of the result published by PwC in its 16th Annual Global Survey, involved 149 CEOs from the banking and capital markets in 49 countries; 92 from insurance in 39 countries; and 108 from asset management, in 27 countries. According to PwC report which was issued yesterday,

• Decry over regulation By Simeon Ebulu

the financial services industry is grappling with the severe stresses of a challenging economy, low interest rates, changing regulation, technological developments, and pressure on reducing pay. PwC Financial Services Leader for Southern Africa and Africa, Tom Winterboer, said: “Leaders in the financial services sector are facing some of the most challenging business conditions of their careers as profitable margins come under considerable pressure amidst recent economic uncertainty and businesses’ struggle to come to terms with potentially disruptive changes in regulation and legislation.” The findings form part of PwC’s newly launched ‘Af-

rican Financial Services Journal 2013’, which addressed strategic, operational and technical issues that can potentially affect the sector’s future performance. The journal also addressed, amongst other issues, the future of central banking in Africa and bank restructuring in Nigeria, the results of PwC Ghana’s 2012 Ghana Banking Survey, the changing tax landscape facing the financial services industry in South Africa, a proposed framework for the regulation of the South African hedge fund industry, the basis of the new Solvency Assessment and Management (SAM) regime, amongst others. A partner with PwC Nigeria and a contributor to the African Financial Services Journal, Tony Oputa,

said: “Across Africa, there have been varied responses to the global financial crisis. In Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria scrapped the universal banking model prevalent across Africa and instituted a series of reforms that require financial institutions to specialise and manage capital risk in a prudent manner. It is important to consider the complexity of this process, especially under the International Financial Reporting Sysytem (IFRS).” According to the PwC global CEO survey, CEOs in the banking and capital markets sector remain positive about their growth prospects, despite the recent economic uncertainty of last year with almost 90 per cent anticipating increased revenues in the next 12 months and over the next three years.

MEMBER of the Ni geria Extractive In dustries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), Faith Nwadishi has been nominated as a full member of the International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI International Board, chaired by a former Member of the British House of Commons, Clair Short is the highest policy making organ of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative operating in about 45 countries, including Nigeria. NEITI Director of Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said in a statement yesterday, that Ms. Nwadishi is to represent the Civil Society in the International Board made up of 20 members drawn from member countries across the world. Until her appointment, Faith Nwadishi, was the National Coordinator of Publish What You Pay (PWYP), which is reputed worldwide for championing the campaign for companies to disclose publicly what they pay to government in form of royalties, levies and taxes and for governments to also declare what they receive. Orji said the concept of public disclosure which Ms. Faith Nwadishi and her organisation are associated with, is based on the extractive industries transparency principles that data on extractive industries payment and receipts are fundamental to ensuring that resources from oil, gas and mining from rich countries aid national development reduce poverty through transparent and prudent management.




Ashaka communities may sue Lafarge over merger


OST communities of Ashaka Cement Plc, have threatened to take legal action against Lafarge Group of Companies if it insists on merging Ashaka Cement Plc with West African Cement Company (WAPCO). Chairman of Funakaye Development Forum, Dr. Garba Mohammed Bajoga issued the threat in a press briefing in Gombe to advance its agitation. “We are ready to go to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to press for our demands if Lafarge insists on its intention to go into the merger,” Dr. Garba emphasised.

By Ohonbamu Vincent, Gombe

He said they held a meeting with Lafarge including its country representative in Nigeria where they presented their position, but the meeting ended in a stalemate because Lafarge insisted on the merger. He said all the reasons advanced by Lafarge for the unification were not good enough. He said: We the community will not allow the only living star in the North to be economically subjugated by the South”. He assured that they would not engage in any form of violence to press home their demands, but

rather, will insist on the expansion of AhakaCem in view of the vast available raw material deposit and market. He said merging Ashaka with WAPCO will amount to killing the former, because WAPCO at a point recorded a dwindling loss of almost a-five year stretch, which has never happened in the 35 year history of AshakaCem’s existence. He said Ashaka has been improving annually on its profit after tax, which makes the company a very strong and dependable resource for the state in particular, and the North in general, where many industries have disap-

Chamber decries banks’ reluctance to grant SMEs loans

T • Aganga

peared form in the recent past. “There are many economic, social and political reasons for the rejection of the merger and as representatives of our community, we will not sit down and allow our people to suffer when we can see the way out of our suffering,” he said.

HE Port Harcourt Chambers of Com merce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) has blamed the dwindling fortunes of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on banks’ reluctance to grant loans. President of the chambers, Emeka Unachukwu, said the challenge is the major problem facing the Organised Private Sector (OPS). He spoke at the inaugural quarterly business roundtable by the OPS and the Rivers State Government in Port Harcourt. It had as its theme: Charting a new pathway: Strengthening partnerships between public-private sector.

From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

He lamented that despite the impressive performances of banks, they demonstrate insignificant consideration for lending to the SMEs, adding that they deserve greater attention as the nucleus of a developing economy. He charged the government to desist from entrusting banks with the mandate of implementing government’s policies on SMEs. He prescribed greater involvement of the OPS to ensure that loans are granted to the stakeholders as a step towards speedy development of the country and its economy.

N1b for Bauchi farmers


ARMERS in Bauchi State are to get a N1 billion loan from the Federal Government to boost their farm input this year. The state House of Assembly, Committee on Agriculture Chairman Abdulkadir Ahmed Wahu yesterday expressed confidence that farmers in the state will experience good farming season. He noted: “By the grace of God, and the utility of the loan, if we don’t have flood this year, almost every farmer will be happy with what they planted as the harvest will be good’’. Giving the break-down of the loan, Wahu said N600 million will spent on for the purchase of fertiliser and N200 million for the purchase of ingredients to blend the fertiliser by the state government owned Fertiliser Blending Company. He added: ‘’And a balance of N200million would be used by Bauchi Agricultural Supply Company to procure chemicals, insecticides, farm implements and other allied agricultural input, and repair the grounded tractors will be used by the farmers.” He explained that the fer-

From Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi

tiliser needs of farmers in the state in the cropping season are to be met by the Bauchi Fertiliser Blending Company, adding: ‘’These efforts will be complemented by the Federal Government under its E–Wallet system of fertiliser sale.” According to him, not less than two million farmers are expected to be registered under the E-Wallet system of fertiliser sale, as over 300,000 have already been registered at the beginning of the programme. He noted that Bauchi State has a very high number of registered farmers under the E-Wallet system, and it is also the highest collector of registration forms among 36 states. He attributed the high increase of farmers to the population growth of over 7 million from the 4.6 million people based on 2006 census to the influx of people from Plateau, Borno Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba states to insecurity in these states, saying the influx is a good omen to increase in agricultural produce.

Firm sued for alleged N40 million debt


HE Asset Resources Management Com pany, has been dragged before an Igbosere High Court, Lagos, by the managing director, Flamin Nigeria Limited, Femi Ogunniya, over a N40 million debt. In a Writ of Summons dated March 21, filed by counsel to the claimant, Dapo Omolodun, the claimant also demanded the sum of N10Million as damages for alleged breach of contract between his company, Flamin Nigeria Limited and the defendant. He alleged that his company is being owed the sum of N44,836,875 being fees for pumping 35,869.5 m3 of sand for the defendant. The claimant prayed the court to grant an interest at the rate of 21 percent of the total money till final judgment, as well as interest at the rate of 7.5. percent thereafter. Ogunniya of 7, Adekunle Fajuyi Way, Ikeja, claimed that the defendant owed him and his company in respect of a contract to create a Golf

By Precious Igbonwelundu

Course, inter alia: dredge and pump sand to create a lake and to reclaim or stockpile on their parcel of land situated at Summerville Golf Estate, along Lekki Expressway. According to his statement of claims, Ogunniya, stated that his company had this contract with SGF Nigeria Limited under an agreement dated March 27, 2009, which the Asset Resource Management Company later took over, after the agreement with SGF terminated. He alleged that the defendant, through its authorised staff, Mrs. Yinka Ogunsulire, who was about to disengage from the company, one Mr. Bode Olabisi was orally contracted with the claimants directly to continue working despite the staggered termination of the agreement between the defendant and SGF Nigeria Limited. Ogunniya said several requests have been made to the defendant for the payment of their fees for the pumping of sand on their behalf to no avail.






TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013



The downstream sector of the petroleum industry associated with sharp practices, which led to a probe by the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee last year, is witnessing sanity following on-going reforms, writes EMEKA UGWUANYI Asst Editor (Energy).

‘Sanity returns to downstream sector’ Background


HE probe in downstream sector of the petroleum industry carried out by the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy regime last year unveiled the rot in the sector. Some marketers were indicted and summoned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). While some of the indicted marketers have been cleared, others are still being interrogated by the anti-graft agency. Many marketers were said to have made claims from the petroleum subsidy fund without importing products. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), however, said the situation has changed as the sector operates in line with global best practices, adding that any marketer that doesn’t play by rule will be kicked out.

PPPRA’s initiative The Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Reginald Stanley, told The Nation that the agency has done a lot by making sure that procedures are properly followed to ensure transparency and accountability. He said: “Today, you cannot claim subsidy without proof that you have 80 per cent truck-out of the product out of your facility. This does not involve the importer reporting to us, because we have independent inspectors monitoring that system. There are numerous checks and balances that we have put in place that have actually brought clear sanity to the downstream sector. “Also, you cannot discharge without an international independent inspector, which is among

best practice anywhere in the world. The idea is working and it was introduced when I came in as the Executive Secretary. The Ministry of Finance also changed their auditors. We have Dafinone and Co., handling the final check before they (marketers) are paid, and we have Afemike and Co., at all the terminals also confirming that what our inspectors said came in and what the Navy and Customs confirmed are authenticated by their own inspectors.” He said as a result of the reform and sanitisation, the number of marketers was reduced from 128 in 2011, to 39 by the end of last year. He explained that the number was reduced to 32, but because new filling stations were licensed as new participants were given permits to import fuel, the figure rose to 39. He noted that despite proposals from some quarters that 10 to 15 marketers can serve the country, he was not opposed to many players, but stated that they must abide by the rules of the game. “I am also not averse to the number of players increasing, because people have suggested that we don’t need more than 15 companies to bring in products, but my stand on that is very clear. These are Nigerian entities and we are 100 percent local content. “All those bringing in the products are Nigerian companies and in a country where unemployment is 23 per cent, if anybody decides to do the business, he will not run it alone, he will employ Nigerians. We are ready to welcome new entrants into the business as long as they are willing to play by the rules. The number of players can swell but that should be based on companies that have been verified and it can also go down, because we suffer no fool. Once we catch you on the other side, we take you

out. “The final thing we want to do, which I hope will be done by end of this month, is to publish the list of international suppliers into this market. That is ready, but I have to run it by my boss. Once it is ready, you cannot bring products into this country without those companies. The reason is that they are fully documented. “What we have done here in the downstream, is to make sure that the companies are known accredited suppliers. And that is what we are taking to the international territory. Nigeria is not a place where any and every company can come and bring in product, because if you don’t have international reputation and there is any issue, you go underground. “This initiative is important because before you come in, we bring you into Abuja, take you through the riot act and the rules of the game. We have documented the processes and procedure so that whoever comes after me doesn’t rewrite the genetic code, because if you deviate from it, you are inviting trouble.”

Achievements Stanley said that as a result of the sanitisation of the downstream sector, PPPRA saved N1.09 trillion on fuel subsidies last year. He said that the stringent measures and controls being applied in the petroleum products marketing and distribution arm, helped the agency to contain subsidy payment to N1 trillion as against N2.09 trillion spent in 2011. He said PPPRA as any other industry regulator, is the final arbiter when it comes to any of the sectors that are being regulated. He noted that although regulators are protected by immunity and cannot be sued, they are run by

people with the highest level of integrity knowing that the decision they take are in the best interest of the citizenry. He said: “The regulators have to protect investment and consumers; therefore, we cannot go away from a standard template that ensures transparency and creates a level playing field, which will boost the confidence of investors coming into the business.” He said his appointment was the outcome of a comprehensive reorganisation of the downstream oil and gas sector, which was carried out to ensure greater transparency, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency as well as good governance, consistent with general public’s expectations, adding that companies must stick to these ideals at all times. He said in view of the mandate given him by the government, he has carried out some restructuring in the agency, including staff redeployments and organisational structure realignment, proper tracking of vessels, personnel training in competency building courses and automation of operations, among others. He explained that following the restructuring and strengthening of the rules, there is improved compliance to guidelines and policies by marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). This development, he added, has resulted in the achievement of 67 per cent reduction in the number of participants in the subsidy scheme, from 128 marketers in 2011 to 39 by end of 2012. He said the ultimate goal is to make the sector self-financing and self-sustaining to support a more robust national economy. “The maintenance of product supply stability in the last two years of my administration cannot be divorced from the wide industry networking capacity and expertise of the agency’s chief. The ground rules have been set, if any participant violates it, the person will be sent out. “The refineries are not working as expected due to several problems and challenges. The refineries are not yet there, currently Warri and Port Harcourt refineries are down and Kaduna produces just about 1.2 million litres daily.” On the performance of the refineries, the PPPRA assigned zero per cent to it, just to be on the safe side. “So, whatever the refineries

produce in a day is regarded as a bonus to us. The refineries are still being bedevilled by lack of crude supplies, breakage of lines, equipment breakdown and until we do a thorough overhaul of the refineries, the supply of the refineries into the mix will probably not be more than 10 per cent.” But the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said the Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt refineries produce at not less than 60 per cent each. The Group Executive Director, Refining and Petrochemicals (NNPC) Anthony Ogbuigwe, said Kaduna Refinery operates at 65 per cent, Warri Refinery at 63 per cent and Port Harcourt Refinery at 66 per cent of their installed capacities. He said the three the refineries process 10.23 million litres of premium motor spirit (petrol), 5.53 million litres of dual purpose kerosene and 8.016 million litres of automotive gas oil (diesel) daily. 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 now.” He explained that the stability in supply of petroleum products is attributable to the performance of the refineries, adding that the scheduled turn around maintenance (TAM) of the refineries are 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 big threat to the nation’s oil and gas industry. He called on stakeholders in the petroleum industry and Nigerians to team up with the NNPC in finding a lasting solution to the threat to enable the refineries to run without shutting down. The Federal Government allocates 445,000 barrels of crude daily to the three refineries.

• From left: Vice Chancellor, Abia State University, Prof. Chibuzo Ogbuagu; President, Masters Energy Group, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah; Chancellor, Abia State University, Sir Francis Orji; and Pro Chancellor & Chairman, Governing Council of Abia State University, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, after the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration on Ogah by Abia State University, Uturu.

As a result of the sanitisation of the downstream sector, PPPRA saved N1.09 trillion on fuel subsidies last year. The stringent measures and controls being applied in the petroleum products marketing and distribution arm, helped the agency to contain subsidy payment to N1 trillion as against N2.09 trillion spent in 2011





‘Retailers not liable for off-spec cooking gas’


HE Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers Association of Nigeria (LPGARAN) has absolved its members of responsibility of marketing off-specification liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which the group referred to as Niger gas. They condemned the action of some unidentified persons who used the social media network to accuse their members of being responsible for selling the Niger gas to Nigerian consumers. The National President of LPGARAN, Michael Chika Umudu, and the National Secretary, Ayobami Olalekan Olarinoye said that the dissemination of such malicious information by unscrupulous competitors was aimed at discouraging members of the public from patronising LP Gas, which is also known as cooking gas. The group was accused of selling cheap but dangerous high-propane cooking gas allegedly imported from Niger Republic in their retail shops but absolved owners of LPG refilling plants. “The information is intended to scare members of the public away from gas retailers in order to achieve the selfish ends of its authors who doctored a story by the media and disguised under it. It is untrue and should be disregarded,” the group said. On how the problem started, LPGARAN explained that the two major elements that make up LPG (cooking gas) are propane and butane. Propane, they said, has high pressure but it is about 45 per cent cheaper than butane, which has low pressure but very costly. The group said that at a stakeholders’ meeting held in February this year, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) reached an agreement will all players that the composition of LPG should have more butane than

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

propane. LPGARAN said it members insisted on 20 percent propane and 80 percent butane but SON put a limit of 30 percent propane, which no player should exceed but some continue to import LPG with very high propane content. SON’s prescription of 30-70 percent composition of propane and butane, LPGARAN said, was based on the hot weather and the state of most of the gas cylinders in Nigeria, which are aged and unsuitable for LPG with high propane content. Because propane exerts much pressure on the cylinder, aged cylinders such as the ones used in Nigeria, are very susceptible to explosion. To be on the safe side, SON directed that marketers import LPG with more butane content or at most 30 per cent propane and 70 per cent butane but some marketers disregarded this and continued to import LPG with high proportion of propane, the group said. According to LPGARAN, the former President of National Association of LP Gas Marketer (NALPGAM) had in an interview condemned the continued importation from Niger Republic of LP Gas with very high proportion of propane, highlighting the danger in such products but dishonest competitors chose to accuse retailers. It said: “The Niger gas is a very high pressure LP Gas which is capable of causing incessant explosion of cylinders, pipes, and rubber hose. Indeed, there is increase in reported incidents of explosions since some LP Gas depot operators began to import the gas about two years ago. “LPGARAN for about two years now has been raising the alarm on the danger that Niger Republic gas

NPDC, SEPLAT conduct free eye test in Edo, Delta


S part of its community development programmes, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Limited, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC/SEPLAT) Joint Venture, conducted free eye tests and treatment in some Edo and Delta communities. SEPLAT’s Head, Corporate Communications, Emmanuel Otokhine, said in a statement the joint venture will help the people in Edo and Delta states, who play host to its operation, to enjoy good health. This, he said, necessitated the 2013 edition of the free eye health programme tagged: Seplat Eye can see CSR initiative. He explained that the eye sight correction and restoration programme is an extension of SEPLAT’s corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives and continuing community engagement platforms, which focuses on bringing high quality health care to company’s host and impact communities. The programme comes on the heels of the NPDC/SEPLAT’s maternal health care project, SEPLAT Safe Motherhood, which provided first-rate health services and counselling service to pregnant women including the distribution of pregnancy kit bags and insecticide treated nets to them, he added. Speaking on the initiative, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SEPLAT, Austin Avuru, said the project is part of the company’s yearly CSI programmes and its objective is to make good health accessible to people in Delta and Edo States,

particularly those in the company’s host communities. Avuru said: “Good eye care is crucial to preserving excellent vision and protecting overall health because eyes are the “gateway to your soul, and can influence or reveal common or serious health problems such as diabetes and hypertension, amongst other commonly associated health problems.” During the programme, medical experts, including opticians and ophthalmologists and consultants conduct free eye screening, correction and restoration surgeries (cataract) and counselling. They also distributed free reading glasses and treatment of eye related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension in carefully selected centres across many communities in the two states. The patients are also educated on how to detect cataracts and glaucoma and are provided post-surgery intervention and drugs. The joint venture’s medical consultants are supported by the Delta State branch of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) comprising medical doctors, laboratory attendants, nurses and pharmacists. SEPLAT implements many corporate social investment and community development programmes yearly in the communities where it operates in line with its objectives of building, maintaining and enhancing mutually beneficial relationships with its host communities and partners, Otokhine added. SEPLAT is the operator of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)/SEPLAT Joint venture assets, which include oil mining leases (OMLs) 4, 38 and 41.

poses to members of the public and market operators. The association has reported this to the Nigeria LP Gas Association (NLPGA) led by Alhaji Awalu Ilu. LPGARAN has been calling on LP Gas plant operators to stop patronising the depot owners who import the Niger gas because gas retailers buy their gas only from gas plant operators and not from depots. “Just early this year, February 7th and 8th, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) hosted LP Gas Technical Committee Meeting in Lekki, Lagos State, with priority on issues bordering on quality of LP Gas.

More than any other group or persons present at the meeting, National President of LPGARAN, Michael Chika Umudu, and National Secretary, Ayobami Olalekan Olarinoye, condemned in strong terms the continued importation of the Niger Republic gas and demanded that regulatory agencies only allow for production and importation of LP Gas with lowest possible propane content. We specifically demanded for not more than 20 per cent propane and not less than 80 per cent butane.” Umudu said the debate on this particular issue took more than 50

per cent of the time spent in the two days event. Virtually all major stakeholders including NLPGA, LPGARAN, NALPGAM, SON, DPR, NNPC, PPMC, Local Refinery managements as well as depot owners and representatives of LP Gas engineering companies were present at the meeting. At the end of the meeting, he said that it was generally agreed that only LP Gas with low propane content should be allowed for domestic related consumptions. Regulatory agencies were consequently asked to streamline and enforce the decision.

•From left: Community Relations Officer, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Amaka Umeugo; President, Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Dr. Ejiro Umerri; Senior Special Adviser on Budget to Delta State Governor, Sir Jude Senibe; Community Relations Manager, Seplat Petroleum, Lucky Obiuwevbi; Edo State Commissioner for Special Duties (Oil & Gas), Orobosa Omo-Ojo; and CSR Manager, Seplat Petroleum, Esther Icha, during free eyesight correction and restoration programme.

Experts make case for skills devt centre


HE International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), Nigerian chapter, has called for the establishment of a training centre to enhance the acquisition of skills in the oil and gas industry. The training centre is expected to serve as an avenue where operators and service providers would acquire relevant skills that would help them advance the technology required in the industry and to further harness the local content development initiative. The Nigerian chapter has also set up a committee to exchange ideas on the modalities, location of the institute, people to be involved, the kind of training that would be offered in the place, cost and the expected time to realize the project. The committee is to report back to the management of the IADC Nigeria, which would then bring it to the general body. Speaking with The Nation during the IADC technical session in Lagos, the Operations Manager, Oando Energy Services, Mr. Val-

By Ambrose Nnaji

entine Iheasirim, said establishment of such training centre has become necessary because the current school curriculum does not fully prepare those who are trained to be petroleum, electrical, mechanical engineers and other similar fields of study to deal with the challenges of the drilling industry. He said building such institutions would provide opportunity for the young university graduates to obtain in-depth knowledge that would make them to be relevant in the sector. Mr Iheasirim also said the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) set up in Effurun, Delta State, decades ago, has failed to attain the purpose for which it was established. This, he noted, account for the reason there is huge knowledge gap in the industry. He said as drilling contractors, the training institution will help to foster competency in the individuals to manage key positions in the sector.

He said: “We can set up a training school that would specifically address certain areas such that the young man who comes out of the university can enrol in the training school and maybe within two or three months, get the necessary skills, which can make us use of in the field. It gives him a faster head start.” The expert said membership of IADC is not only for drilling contractors, but also for service companies and operator companies, such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Agip, Total and Addax. Iheasirim said the IADC forum gives members the opportunity to thrash out problems, challenges and brighten ideas on how to resolve them. He called for the cooperation of the operators and regulators, including the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and other relevant agencies in the country.

‘Why marginal fields fail’


ACK of technical competence, knowledge of business, operating environment and financial capacity are causes of the failure of the marginal fields programme of the government, the Managing Director, Treasure Energy Resources Limited, Rivers State-owned oil and gas company, Dr. Eddie Wikina, has said. In statement, he said the success rate of the fields is less than 30 per cent as only seven out of the fields have managed to develop and attain production. The producing marginal fields are owned by Platform Petroleum Resources, Energia Limited, Mid Western Oil and Gas Company, Britannia- U, Walter Smith Petroleum Oil Limited, Niger Delta and Pillar Oil

By Ambrose Nnaji

Limited. Dr. Wikina said the full potential of the programme is not yet achieved. He said the award of the marginal fields was based more on political patronage and considerations rather than on business relevant issues. The Treasure Energy Resources boss stressed the need for the government to shun any interference and allow experts to run the business. He urged the government to ensure that dormant oil fields held by major oil companies are released for development and oil production. “They basically have political patronage and this cannot bring oil from the subsurface. They are not

ready to spend money on technical experts but run on boards that are based on family affiliations with no oil and gas experience,” he said. He said the government must shun political sentiments in the next marginal fields bid round. He said consideration must be given to qualified companies and indigene persons to oil producing states. Treasure Energy Resources chief said the Nigerian content rule must be enforced to ensure that operating companies established functional offices with decision authority within the state hosting the marginal fields or close to the areas of operations. According to him, failure to do this would mean denying the host states and areas of operations economic development.









A minister’s gaffe • Prof Ruqayyatu Rufai’s call on the private sector to expand access to education amounts to abdication of responsibility UQAYYATU Rufai, a professor of education, was, when appointed minister of education in April 2010, considered one of the most prepared for high responsibilities. Besides being a professor, she had served as commissioner for education in Jigawa State and was thus considered conversant with the challenges of the sector. Three years after, it is time to take stock of her stewardship. On April 27, about 1.8 million candidates sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examinations (UTME) conducted nationwide by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). Reviewing activities of the day, the minister expressed concern about the fate of about 1.2 million candidates for whom there would be no space in the tertiary institutions even if they passed. She said: “I watched them taking the examination with all seriousness; I feel the pain that most of them could not gain admission in the long run. “Only 520,000 students may be able to gain admission in all the nation’s tertiary institutions. We are calling on people to understand the situation.” The situation has been brought home by the damning result released by JAMB last week that showed many of the candidates scored below the 200 mark needed by most of the universities to invite them for postJAMB screening. Dejected candidates are confused at the moment on what to do in the next one year. The note of helplessness in the minister’s tone is unbecoming of a technocrat holding such a high office. On assumption of office, she undertook to give hope to the teeming youth in search of sound education.


Nigerians looked forward to a new era with the minister coming up with policies that would turn things round. But, her performance so far, and her utterances indicate that the hope could have been misplaced. Professor Rufai went further to urge the states and private sector to boost access to education, asking and pleading at once, “What are we going to do with 1.2 million candidates in terms of our readiness to the carrying capacity? We will not expand our carrying capacity simply to accommodate these students without expansion of the facilities. We are calling for improvement in access and private partnership. Let us have more private bodies that can come out to have private institutions.” The questions to ask the minister are, how long would it take entrepreneurs to build and equip new tertiary institutions? What happens before then? What is the total carrying capacity of the existing private institutions? What is the state of state universities? We are also concerned that the minister has done very little to lead the campaign to correct the discrimination against polytechnics and Colleges of Education by candidates and the employers. It is surprising that Professor Rufai does not see the failure of planning in the fate that has befallen majority of the students. What has her ministry done to make technical education attractive? Many Nigerian companies and wealthy individuals have resorted to bringing in competent artisans and middle level manpower from other countries, on realising that those produced in Nigeria are inadequately prepared for the task. In other countries where planning is taken

seriously, statistics on those who would be seeking admission in 10 years are collated and studies undertaken on what to do to accommodate them. It is not surprising that the spirit of nationalism and patriotism is lacking in the youth for whom little care is taken. The call for the private sector to move more vigorously into provision of tertiary education is one of the policies that have skewed things in favour of the upper class in the society. Three years may be too short to expect dramatic changes in the education sector, particularly with regard to admission into tertiary institutions. But then, the minister, as chairperson of the National Council on Education and supervisor of the National Universities Commission and examinations bodies can start planning now so that the government would have a better score card to present in a few years from now, instead of the same excuses she is giving today.

‘Three years may be too short to expect dramatic changes in the education sector, particularly with regard to admission into tertiary institutions. But then, the minister, as chairperson of the National Council on Education and supervisor of the National Universities Commission and examinations bodies can start planning now so that the government would have a better score card to present in a few years from now, instead of the same excuses she is giving today.’

Rape epidemic! •There is no other way to define the alarming cases of adults raping minors


APE, the act of engaging in forced sexual intercourse, is bad enough. The defiling of minors, some as young as one year old by men who could be father and grand-father figures is reprehensible and bestial. But this seems to be the growing trend today in Nigeria. Hardly a day passes without reports of such heinous crime in one part of the country or the other. And a more ghoulish dimension has recently been added to a damnable situation, which is the raping of children by the very men who fathered them. A particularly horrific example is the case of one Sylvester Ehijele, who allegedly raped his two minor daughters for years until one of them got pregnant for him. Like a man under a spell, he allegedly defiled the one-year - old granddaughter, whom he fathered as well. Even in the animal kingdom, it is consid-

‘Mothers have been the most troubled by this new scourge, most times caught between the devil and a hard place. This is especially so for the working mothers. The home is not safe, for neighbours and even fathers and uncles are on the prowl; the school is fast becoming a danger zone for the female child while the church is no longer the haven it ought to be’

ered an abomination to see baby animals mating or being mated. But today, the world seems to have gone bonkers, with sexual deviants seemingly on the prowl everywhere. There are numerous cases of teachers storming their kindergarten pupils right in the school toilets, shocking the poor, little souls out of their wits, stripping them, ravaging them and threatening them with death should they make their gruesome ordeal known to anybody. There are reports of neighbours, who are fathers in their own rights serially defiling minors and teenage children of fellow neighbours for years. Even clergymen have not been left out in what could be described as ‘rape epidemic’ spreading across the land. Mothers have been the most troubled by this new scourge, most times caught between the devil and a hard place. This is especially so for the working mothers. The home is not safe, for neighbours and even fathers and uncles are on the prowl; the school is fast becoming a danger zone for the female child while the church is no longer the haven it ought to be. Imagine the pain of a mother who returns from work to find her little baby walking in a funny manner or notices traces of semen or even blood on her under-wears. Consider the torment finding out upon enquiries that her little girl had been subjected to serial abuse by the very people charged with taking care of her. While it has remained debatable whether this horrible new trend is on the

upswing or that it is merely being more exposed these days and better reported, what seems to be certain is that governments have not taken a concerted and holistic action to tackle what is, no doubt, a debilitating crime to humanity. Many states of the federation have not passed a law against this assault on defenceless children and have not adopted the universal Child Right Act. The result is that it is difficult to prosecute offenders, with many becoming serial kid rapists because they get away free all the time. Beyond prosecution and punishment, there is also the need for governments and child rights activists to embark on awareness campaigns to enlighten parents and the children alike on how to live safe and mitigate the dangers of rape. The culprits as well need help; they need education, reorientation and even psychiatric care. It is only a terribly maladjusted personality whose case borders on mental illness that would contemplate carnal knowledge with a minor. Government must work towards special centres and institutions that will develop the capacity to go through the gamut of interventions in other to solve this problem in a comprehensive manner. For instance, the management of defiled minors is a task that is not to be left to parents alone if we are to ensure the longterm psychological well-being of the child. There is certainly need for a specialised and sustained care for the child to return to normalcy again to lead a proper adult life.

Crisis for Iraq — and the Middle East


HE REGIONAL sectarian war that has always been one of the greatest dangers of the crisis in Syria is alarmingly close to erupting. To the west of Damascus, Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia has publicly committed itself to defending the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and Syrian opposition sources say it has been instrumental in the regime’s recent battlefield gains. Apparent Iranian attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah have provoked at least one Israeli airstrike in Syria in recent days. Even more disturbing is what is happening to Syria’s east: the bloodiest confrontation between Iraq’s minority Sunni community and the Shiite regime since the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops nearly two years ago. According to a count by the Associated Press, at least 218 people have been killed in gun battles and bombings since the Iraqi army stormed a Sunni protest encampment near Kirkuk on April 23. The United Nations says 712 people died in political violence during April, the most since 2008. As former ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker wrote on the opposite page last Wednesday, these events “are reminiscent of those that led to a virtual civil war in 2006.” But there are two differences: There are no U.S. troops available to tamp down the violence, as happened during the Iraq “surge”; and the fighting could easily merge with that in Syria and spread to Lebanon. Already, the al-Qaeda organizations in Syria and Iraq have proclaimed a joint “emirate;” the strongholds of the two groups are adjacent to each other along the border. Shiite militiamen from Iraq are believed to be fighting on the side of the regime in Syria, and the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki has been turning a blind eye to shipments of Iranian arms and fighters to Syria, despite repeated demarches from the Obama administration. Much of the trouble in Iraq stems from the enduring failure of the country’s elite to overcome political and economic disputes grounded in sectarianism. The Sunni and Kurdish communities believe that Mr. Maliki and Shiite politicians have failed to deliver on promises to decentralize power and distribute resources fairly. Mr. Maliki has mostly moved in the opposite direction, consolidating his authority and targeting Sunni leaders for arrest and prosecution on often-dubious charges. Though Iraq held local elections last month, the vote in two majority-Sunni provinces was put off until July. Yet Mr. Maliki’s behavior has been driven in large part by Syria. The Shiite leader fears that a victory by the mostly Sunni opposition in Syria, with support from the Sunni regimes of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, would lead to an attempt to restore Sunni dominance in Iraq, as during the era of Saddam Hussein. Iraqi officials point out that groups preparing for war in Iraq’s Sunni areas include not just al-Qaeda but also an organization of former militants of Hussein’s secular Baathist party. The resumption of sectarian war in Iraq alongside that of Syria would be devastating for the Middle East — and for the interests of the United States. The fragile gains of the Iraq war — a nation at peace with its neighbors and a partner of the United States — would be wiped out, and committed U.S. enemies such as al-Qaeda and Hezbollah would surge. The situation demands, as Mr. Crocker put it, “a sustained, high-level diplomatic effort by the United States” in Iraq. But it also makes intervention aimed at ending the war in Syria that much more urgent. – Washington Post

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IR: There have been reactions - most of them misplaced or bordering on sheer sentiments and emotions - to the news of the jail terms handed down to the man who stole Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s phone. Because it involved a governor, many were mistaken in their belief that the governor has a hand in the number of years of imprisonment given to the man. To these set of people, the argument is that 45 years is harsh considering what was stolen. Yours sincerely holds different opinion about this issue. In the first place, people must know that neither morality nor emotion has basis in law. Judges arrive at their verdict based on the preponderance of evidence available to them. In criminal law, once a crime has been established beyond reasonable doubt, judgment must logically follow - sometimes mild, sometimes harsh depending on the mindset and philosophical conviction of the trial judge. Secondly, for every offence, there is a corresponding punishment. Besides, when an offender commits a crime, he may inadvertently have committed other crimes in the process, which might be probable consequences of the initial crime. Thirdly, part of what goes into sentencing includes history of an offender’s criminal record or history. Now to the real issue at hand. The criminal in question, many did not know, is a serial offender. This man started out as a police officer. He was however, dismissed from the force because he was involved in armed robbery. He was subsequently jailed for a number of years (not in the State of Osun) but he was said to have escaped from prison without completing his jail term. He continued plying his obnoxious trade until he stole the phone of the governor and was again caught in the act. Presumed innocent initially, a counsel was procured for his de-


Much ado about 45-years jail term for phone fence. During the period the counsel was taking brief from him, this same man attempted to rape the counsel, a woman! It was later discovered that while in possession of governor’s phone, he criminally made judicious and maximal use of the high profile contacts of the governor. For instance, he fraudulently demanded and got over N200, 000 from a first class monarch, Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, the traditional ruler of the governor’s town, Ilesha. He also duped many friends, human right activists and political associates of the governor of huge amounts of money running into millions before he was arrested. All these put together - an armed robber, a thief, a jail breaker, who

almost added rape to his retinue of crimes - what do you think would go on in the mind of the judge before sentencing this hardened criminal? Differently put, if you are a judge and an offender with the above criminal background and record is brought before your lordship, what will you do? Yours sincerely dwelt more on the background of the offender to bring to the fore facts which were previously unknown to majority of those commenting or reacting to the jail term. One issue left unaddressed or sentimentally talked about is the role or not of the governor in this matter. The fact remains that the governor has no constitutional right to intervene with the judici-

ary. The same also goes for the judiciary. It does not interfere in what the executive is doing. This is an elementary feature of democracy called separation of power. Beyond this, for every offence, there is corresponding punishment. So, the governor could not have connived with the judge to change the law as it relates to punishment either by increasing or reducing the imprisonment term. So wither the fault of the governor? What could he have done in the matter - plead with the judge to tamper justice with mercy? Plead for mercy on behalf and in honour of a criminal! • Abdul Fatah Omo Olofa Abule-Egba, Lagos

No to military invasion of Azuzuama community, Bayelsa


IR: Following the killing of a number of policemen in Azuzuama Community in Bayelsa by armed militants, heavily armed soldiers have been deployed to the locality, where the events took place. According to press reports, houses of suspected militants responsible for the killings have been razed down by invading troops. Residents of the community have fled the town, with the memories of the carnage that the military invasion of Odi, also in Bayelsa state in their minds. This is a deplorable situation of onslaught on the democratic rights of working people and the poor. Instead of tackling the fundamental and underlying basis for restiveness and militancy which are mass unemployment and collapse of education, among others, the Jonathan-led re-

gime has resorted to arm-twisting tactics of employment of brute force to quell the militancy. This is also what played out in Baga, Borno State where another military invasion against suspected Boko Haram elements have left hundreds of innocent civilians dead. The failure of amnesty in the Niger Delta with the renewal of militancy in the region foretells the end result of the current amnesty programme for Boko Haram militants. It also shows the limitations of military solution in resolving crisis thrown up by socio-economic conditions. Proworking people’s organizations including the NLC and TUC in Bayelsa State must demand the withdrawal of the troops from Azuzuama. Mass organizations and Azuzuama residents must organize mass protests

against the military invasion of the community. Above all, in order to end this era of sorrow, blood and tears under capitalism, working people and the poor in Azuzuama community and Bayelsa State needs to join and build the Socialist Party of Nigeria as a pan-Nigerian, genuine working people’s political alternative to bring into power a revolutionary working people’s government. By putting the commanding heights of the economy under democratic working class control, it will galvanize the enormous resources of society to put in place every necessary critical infrastructure and meet the urgent social needs of education, healthcare, etc. in ending the restive wave of kidnapping, militancy and terrorism. • Ayo Ademiluyi, Bayelsa State.

Open letter to Fashola


IR: Lagos is known to be turbulent and aggressive, that is why security needs to be beefed up in every nooks and crannies of the state. We wish to state that about 60 of our members (Keke Napep drivers) were apprehended by policemen for offences they did not know about. They were detained in State CID (Panti) withsome in Area C Police Command in Surulere before being transferred to Special Offences Court (Task Force) in Alausa. This took place between April 22-26. On Friday, April 26, 21 of our members were arraigned before a female magistrate in a special offences court in Alausa and she gave a very stringent bail condition which non of the members could fulfil i.e two surety with landed property in Lagos, 10 years tax clearance of two surety; affidavit of support of means of livelihood and surety; affidavit to means of livelihood of the two surety and other requirements before the bail could be perfected. Sir, this association is now imploring you to use your good office to come to the aid of the drivers who knew nothing about what they are been persecuted for and their bail condition reduced to one surety and three years tax clearance. The drivers are suffering in silence. The 22 members are presently remanded in Badagry Prison and Panti State CID because of the non-fulfillment of the bail condition. • Rapheal Oladipo Secretary, Ojuelega Unit Keke Napep, Lagos.



COMMENTS which gale swept away the ambassador and the 80-plus career diplomats, among the finest in the country’s stock. For his retirement, Dr. Fafowora alleged a triangular E called his memoirs, Lest I foraxis of plotters: two dead, one get: Memoirs of a Nigerian Career still alive, in a chapter which he Diplomat. But the book could well called ‘The Night of the Long Olakunle have been entitled, Lest we forget: This land Knives’. The late Lawal was not always without honour – so trenchRafindadi, director-general of, 08054504169 (Sms only, please) Abimbola antly does his professed ethics rebuke tothe defunct Nigerian Security day’s public service sewers. Organisation (NSO) precursor How many public servants today can to today’s SSS, reportedly passed boast Ambassador Dapo Fafowora’s Fafowora’s name “in pencil” to claim above, made in his book, due for Gen. Buhari, who reportedly public presentation at the Nigerian Instiapproved in error, since the tute of International Affairs (NIIA), Vicname was originally not on the toria Island, Lagos, on Thursday? retirement list. And if you think Dr. Fafowora’s declaBut even with the error, both the late Gen. Joseph Garba (a former foreign minister in the ration was that of a solo holier-than-thou, then consider this allocate land either to himself or members Murtala-Obasanjo military government) and Prof. Ibrahim anecdote of 1959, which the young Dapo Fafowora witnessed, of his family, pleading that the Action Group Gambari (another foreign minister under Buhari) allegedly colas a clerk in the Western Region Treasury. (AG) government frowned at such. luded to ensure the error was done deal. Fortunately, Prof. An accounts clerk going on leave had added 10 miles to the In The Accidental Public Servant, Nasir ElGambari is still alive to shed light on his alleged role in the distance of his home town from Ibadan, hoping to gain five Rufai committed no crime by allotting land exercise. extra shillings to his leave pay. One Mr. Kemp, his boss, drove to his spouse who, as he rightly argued in In Dr. Fafowora’s view, Garba was a serial betrayer whose to his village to investigate the claim, found the distance was 10 his book, was a Nigerian citizen, was quali“perfidy was relentless and without any remorse”; thus echoing miles short, and dismissed the clerk for five shillings fraud. For fied and had paid the requisite fees. But the the Shakespearean quip of the evil men do living after them, shame, that clerk committed suicide! difference between the two ministers, over while their good deeds were interred with their bones. Too good to be true today, when top bureaucrats accused of different generations spanning some 50 Worse: the author also accused Garba of planting, to cover his embezzling pension funds hire the best SANs to protect their years, is the decline in rigour over public allegedly confirmed perfidy, the yarn that Fafowora was wrongly alleged loot, superstar-style? morality. retired because his name bore close similarity to another officAlso consider the case of Ambassador Fafowora’s late father, Still that past was no unanimous moral er’s, listed for the exercise. So successful was that yarn that Prof. Chief Olagunju Fafowora. paradise, where everybody lived happily in Jide Osuntokun quoted it in a tribute to the author! But Dr. Fafowora As private secretary to the late Oba Akran of Badagry, a minprobity. As Ambassador Fafowora would insisted that Magoro, another ranking member of Buhari’s Suister in the Chief Awolowo-led Western Region government, find out, his own personal probity would clash with institutional preme Military Council, confirmed the retirement was the basic the minister had given the senior Fafowora 3,000 pound, to rot, fired by deliberate and systematic subversion of processes. handiwork of Rafindadi and Garba. share among party hacks, without any particular list. Being no That would lead to his sudden retirement at noon, when his Thus, one of the golden boys of Nigerian diplomacy, pressed politician himself, Fafowora could not locate any politician; so career sun was most dazzling; and career halo most golden. into service twice to fix ruptured embassies in Uganda and Turhe returned the money to his principal, reporting the failure of Fafowora and other victims of that retirement gale (which key; and on specific request drafted as brain box as Deputy Perhis Badagry mission. belied all logic), by the new Muhammadu Buhari military govmanent Representative at the United Nations, was shunted aside A bewildered Akran, expecting the man to have somewhat ernment, were victims of ethnic paranoia in the Nigerian public 20 years into service and 17 years before his due retirement – and helped himself, told him he would never be rich! Not a few of services. The North, at independence, could clearly not comat mere 43! his contemporaries also thought he was crazy. But the senior pete with the South, in Western education-driven skills. Yet, the His odyssey symbolised the prodigality, the waste and the Fafowora placed his personal integrity far above a few pounds, British had fed the northern elite with a strange sense of entitlelunatic self-bleeding that have turned the Nigerian bureaucracy a which nevertheless was quite a trove in those days. So, if the ment. shadow of its once vibrant self – no thanks to the senseless purges junior Fafowora felt gratifications repugnant and personally But in fairness, the North’s fear was not unjustified; as the of post-Gowon military barbarians, pioneered by Murtala demeaning, you at least knew where he was coming from. British themselves did not found Nigeria on any deliberate ethos Muhammad and climaxed by the grim Sani Abacha. Then, the case of Pa Christopher Williams, Dr. Fafowora’s of equity. In that crippling paranoia, the northern lobby sucThough Abacha was outside the scope of the work, Buhari maternal uncle. He too was minister of Lands under the Awo ceeded in imposing the domination of the mediocre, which to gave a foretaste of Abacha-era savagery when he railroaded the Western Region government. But he resisted every pressure to survive, needed to eliminate real talents, which automatically late Prof. Ishaya Audu straight from a summon, as Nigeria’s UN became perceived threats. Permanent Representative in New York, into gulag without trial “In Fafowora’s view, Joe Garba was a serial But could southern domination have been of the meritorious? for 18 months; released only after Buhari himself was overthrown. betrayer whose “perfidy was relentless and withNobody knows. But even domination by merit would be How did Nigeria get it wrong? This 549-page book, rich in equally intolerable, even with its surface benefits. Only equitaout any remorse”; thus echoing the Shakespearanecdotes and even richer in sound knowledge of modern hisble access and just treatment across the board would do. That tory to navigate diplomacy, might just offer a rich clue. ean quip of the evil men do living after them.” painful moral must be gleaned from the lunatic retirements,

I have never in my entire public career, spanning nearly 50 years now, either given or received bribes, or any other form of gratification. I find doing so repugnant and personally demeaning – Dapo Fafowora



epublican ipples

Lest we forget: this land was not always without honour


ITH weekend abduction of the 92-year old Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno by elements suspected to be Boko Haram, the nature of the atavistic force unleashed by the Boko Haram should by now be clear to everyone. The signs, clearly, are that the group is neither ready nor willing to engage anyone; if ever it will, it will most certainly be on its own terms. Considering that the military Joint Task Force – rather than the Boko Haram – has understandably been on the spot in the aftermath of the so-called Baga massacre, the prognosis must be seen as truly, chilling. Aside the obvious psychological advantage which the group has since claimed, it seems highly unlikely that those behind the group will let off in their morbid push to wrest unimaginable concessions from the typically timid and rather unimaginative federal government. In the circumstance, a heightened offensive by the group isn’t just a possibility, but one that is predictable. The idea of course is to weary the federal government. Now, the ordeal of the elder statesman is certainly regrettable. The good news is that his abductors have decided to let him go. Even then, the kidnap saga must be seen as nothing more than a footnote in the bloody entrails of the group just as mercy release of the elder statesman does little to alter the group’s bloody records or its contempt both for humanity and the orderly society. The point remains that this would not be the first time that the group will so defiantly throw dart at the very of the highly revered structure of authority in the North. Earlier in January this year, the group had picked on the convoy of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Dr. Ado Bayero. The attack, during which the monarch was wounded, left his driver, orderly and a traditional guard who tried to protect him dead. Two of his sons also in the convoy were wounded. The attack coincidentally came three months after Major General Mamman Shuwa, rtd, one of the nation’s outstanding civil war heroes, was murdered in his Gwange Ward residence in Maiduguri metropolis as he prepared for the Friday congregational prayers. To put things in some perspective, there is something in the latest abduction that stretches the typically malevolent symptoms of the current anomie to new limits. Call it – if you like – the final rite of internment for whatever pretensions about the group being amenable to reasoned dialogue. For a group that started off by taking on the security services, the group has since added style to its brutal methods from decapitations to the most heinous forms of bestiality. Whereas churches and other places of worship once presented as fair game for its squad of bombers, today, just about everything represented by humanity is considered legitimate target

Policy Sanya Oni 08051101841

Appeasing the unappeasable with perhaps the only restraints being those imposed by the JTF. Pregnant women are not spared; children – including those one writing examinations are not excluded. And as the latest abduction has shown, not even the aged are exempted. Of course, there is no such thing as consideration for race and colour just as the methods have since become a study in human regression on the evolutionary ladder – a throwback to the age of savagery. Remember the story of the North Korean medics deployed to minister to the health needs of the people said to have been decapitated in the presence of their loved ones? I am not here referring to the hostages felled in the course of rescue attempt by security forces but the three medics butchered as their spouses watched. This is the foe that Nigerians are up against – the enemy stuff that conventional armies dread. What to do with the group is of course the billion naira question. Let me state quite clearly that I find no useful distinction between the so-called political Boko Haram and those other mutant derivatives. It must be said that those making the distinction have since failed to persuade of the validity of their distinction, since after all, a tree is said to be known by its fruits. The nation has obviously gone past the attempt to draw distinctions between mass killers and the merchants of terror. Let’s look at the option of appeasement possible at this time. Understandably, nearly everyone is looking in the direction of the all-purpose therapy called general amnesty. That seems fine except that it seems another instance in which the word will lose its meaning in application. Now, the problem isn’t so about the amnesty

per se but in the failure to appreciate that amnesty is actually an act of a sovereign. Here, the leadership of the sect would seem miles ahead of most Nigerians hence its rejection of the proposed deal off-hand. And why should it when it has nearly one-score local government out of 774 in the country under its rule – that is more than the population of Tonga, a tiny country in the South Pacific? Now, the reports about those local government councils being under the iron rule of the Nigerian Taliban are yet to be disputed, which in the circumstance, leaves the federal government the only option of exploring either a framework of co-existence or citizen swap as between two sovereigns! Even at that, the prospects, given the declared territorial ambitions of the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), should ordinarily be frightening. So what to do? It seems to me that a certified paedophilia has a higher chance of transmuting to a baby nurse than the Nigerian terrorist would overnight become a model citizen. Now, talk is good, and as they say – cheap. But then, the idea of talk assumes that two parties are in agreement and that there is a minimum basis of understanding. The truth of course is that we are still a long way from the Grand Bargain moment, nowhere near the point where the Nigerian terrorist will be amenable to talks. Let me make the point simple. Today, everyone talks about the relative peace in the Niger Delta and how the visits to the creeks and the backroom deals eventuated in the amnesty. Very few remember the Battle of Gbaramatu which forced the militants to the table. The point here is that those who hunger for omelette haven’t yet told us how to make one without breaking an egg. Either the nation finds the resolve to battle the terrorists or it should get ready to travel the path of slow and systematic disintegration.

‘The leadership of the sect would seem miles ahead of most Nigerians hence its rejection of the proposed deal off-hand. And why should it when it has nearly one-score local government out of 774 in the country under its rule – that is more than the population of Tonga, a tiny country in the South Pacific?





EHIND every successful man there is a woman, we are told, but no one seems ready to openly admit the converse that lurking behind every failed man is a certain woman. The closest I have heard people admitting this negative tendency is the African proverb that says that behind every wicked masquerade there is a wicked commander. History is replete with the manipulative roles wives and/or concubines have played in the making of despotic rulers. Conversely also, some of the most successful leaders the world had produced had wonderful wives, who inspired them to greatness and goodness. No man born of woman, it should be noted though, is immune to the influence, good or bad of a woman. She could either be his wife, concubine, sister or mother. And in rare cases his daughter. However, most often than not, the unseen manipulative hand behind the good or the wicked man (leader) is his wife. As the political temperature in Rivers State rises towards boiling point, Nigerians, especially those from that oil producing state should shine their eyes and use their magnifying glasses to see the wicked commander(s) behind President Goodluck Jonathan’s wicked masquerade. Our dear First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan was reportedly annoyed last Thursday when a crowd of supposed supporters went to Port Harcourt International Airport at Omagwa to welcome her back home after a “hard week’s” work in Abuja, and a certain gentleman in the crowd called Chikaodi Dike, introduced himself as the chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area in Rivers state. Madam, a “daughter of the soil” who expectedly had been following keenly the ongoing face-off between her husband, Jonathan and her state governor Rotimi Amaechi over God knows what, reportedly

‘Unraveling before our eyes is a budding despot and he is being pushed all the way by a Lady Macbeth beside him, in the full glare of a rudderless and toothless ruling party. And Nigerians are watching’


T was a suggestive moment. Power employed the appeal of poetry in a move to seduce the fraternity of the pen. The clever play on words came at the end of a high-profile visit by Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, to the corporate headquarters of The Nation at Matori, Lagos. A member of his team, Dr. Olusanya Awosan, Special Assistant to the President on Public Relations, was asked to close the meeting with senior journalists working for the newspaper. He came up with creative lines inspired by his Public Relations background. “This nation is ours. Let us use The Nation to work for our nation,” he said. These words, which formed the high point of his brief parting speech, drew a wave of laughter from the impressed audience in the company’s board room. It brought about a light-hearted finish to an encounter that often featured intense passions and contentions. From the start, Okupe admitted he had entertained the view that the newspaper was “hostile”, basing his opinion on the identity of its publisher. However, he also confessed that the paper had proved him wrong by its “professionalism” even in its coverage of the presidency, which is of a dissimilar political complexion. Dressed in white native attire, with a black cap and brown shoes, the fleshy physician who is better known as a politician spoke smoothly. He was on familiar turf, having served in a similar capacity in the early years of the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency. His comeback and responsibility in the current administration has been interpreted in some quarters to mean that Jonathan needed a more aggressive voice and greater bite in the handling of the government’s public communications. But, interestingly, the man didn’t growl at anyone on his visit. Rather, he was a picture of civility, and went to great lengths to explain and elaborate on issues that arose.

A Lady Macbeth in the House? asked Chikaodi whether he is the suspended or new chairman of the council, to which the man replied as being the latter. The response got her annoyed and Madam was reported to have described Chikordi “an illegal chairman”. To those familiar with the power speak in Abuja, this was euphemism for trouble and it didn’t take long to arrive as armed policemen invaded Obio/Akpor local government secretariat the following day and sacked the interim administration of Chikaodi put in place by the state House of Assembly following the suspension of the former chairman and his councilors. The council (administration) as I write is under the jackboot of the Nigeria Police deployed by “Madam and Oga at the top”. And since last Friday Obio/Akpor local government area and indeed the whole of Rivers State has been under a state of fear, fear of what trouble could come next (from Abuja), part of which was manifested Monday when thugs opposed to the new administration in the council invaded the premises of the state House of Assembly. The descent to this ugly situation and seeming insecurity in Rivers State did not start last week, it’s been building up for a long time and could be linked to President Goodluck Jonathan’s yet to be declared ambition to run for another presidential term in 2015 and the need to secure the two million or so votes of Rivers State to ensure victory. President Jonathan is well within his rights to want a second term in office while First Lady Patience would be failing in her duty as his wife if she refused to pull all the strings at

her disposal to help her husband realize this ambition. The problem here is not that she is pulling strings, but the kind of strings she is pulling. If the First Lady calls the head of a local council administration lawfully put in place illegal and the police sack that administration the following day, who does not know where the order to the Police came from: Madam. She is exercising a power she does not have; that of the Commander in Chief. This is dangerous for our democracy. Our constitution recognizes one centre of power; the Presidency, headed by Goodluck Jonathan as President and Commander In Chief. If his wife talks or gives directives and we see such manifesting almost immediately, then it is either the man gave the order to support the wife’s position or has ceded part of the power of the C-I-C to the First Lady. And this is not the first time Madam will be acting as such. In fact those close to the corridors of power at the Presidential Villa say even Service Chiefs do sometimes take order from her. Since the police sacking of Obio/Akpor council administration there has been no official word as to who sent the policemen. And with the seeming ease with which thugs invaded the Rivers State House of Assembly without any strong attempt to stop them, this could only mean that “Oga and Madam at the top”, are directing the affairs from Abuja with the connivance of a certain former Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area who currently sits in cabinet with the president as Minister of State for Education. This could only mean one thing; despotism. President Jonathan and wife Patience are

Okupe’s roadshow By Femi Macaulay Perhaps predictably, he defended his boss, arguing that the president was misunderstood and unfairly characterized as “clueless.” His adjectives for Jonathan were: “human,” “sensible,” “intelligent.” However, he offered no convincing proof of Jonathan’s brilliance. The only premise that he supplied for his assessment was that whenever he had an official discussion with Jonathan, the president was usually able to recollect the minutest details of their previous interaction. Jonathan had a patriotic love for the country, Okupe testified. Bad press was a difficult challenge to the administration, he declared, and told the fascinating story of how even his own 87-year-old mother had drawn his attention to the government’s reported poor performance. He was asked: Weren’t the so-called negative media reports faithful in their recreation of reality? Can it be truly said that the government was actually performing to public expectation? Okupe called for understanding, and argued that as the head of a two-year-old administration, Jonathan had done well enough and only required more time to further show the stuff he was made of. To back his claims, he dwelled on an alleged revolution in agriculture and electricity supply. The interviewers rejected the rosy picture he painted. The divergence put a question mark on the integrity of information from government sources. Was the media expected to parrot official statements without professional mediation? Evidently, there should be a meeting point between the reported and the reporter. Governmental openness isn’t quite as it should be, Okupe conceded. However, seeking an excuse, he blamed this democratic aberrancy on long years of military

rule and argued that it would take some time before official secretiveness became a thing of the past. He broke the welcome news that, as a step toward greater directness, his unit planned to launch a regular information forum for public enlightenment. The questions he had to tackle showed a glaring disconnect between public opinion and governmental activities. The range of issues raised included the status of First Lady Patience Jonathan who was controversially promoted to the position of permanent secretary in Bayelsa State; the government’s contentious consideration of amnesty for the Islamist terror group, Boko Haram; Jonathan’s perceived 2015 presidential ambition; the divisive state pardon granted Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa State convicted of high-scale corruption; and the 2012 US report on human rights abuses that alleged the existence of 6,000 kids in Nigerian prisons. At one point, Okupe allowed himself the luxury of self-praise. “I have sense,” he declared to the amused interviewers. If that was intended to get the critical journalists to accept that he knew what he was talking about and should be believed, it was a faulty anticipation. Words were simply not enough on this occasion. Certainly, Okupe’s image as government spokesman necessarily came with a baggage. He couldn’t dodge the suspicion that trailed him. Even at those times that he yielded ground to the interviewers on some issue, that didn’t make him less of a mouthpiece. It is the burden of he who speaks on behalf of another. Indeed, how accurately can he mirror the other? Also, irrespective of his possible accuracy, how can he shake off the partisan badge of defender and advocate? There are times when counter-attack,

using the powers invested in him as Commander In Chief to bully and persecute both real and imaginary enemies. He is unleashing his police on Rivers State now, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is expected next while some lackeys in the state House of Assembly are being propped up for a hatchet job to impeach the governor. We have gone through this path before. If all fail they plan to foment trouble and cause chaos preparatory to a planned declaration of state of emergency in Rivers State all aimed at either getting Governor Amaechi out of the way or make it impossible for him to govern effectively and have a say in his successor. Nothing is new, but the surprise is the enlisting of such technical agencies of government like the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and their parent Ministry of Aviation in this war of persecution against the Rivers |State Government. The more they came out to attempt to nail the state government over the purchase of an executive jet the more they exposed their inefficiencies and made a fool of themselves. If truly the aircraft has been flying illegally in Nigeria since it entered service last October where have all these agencies been since then? Is this how to manage our sky? As for EFCC, the anti graft agency can only go down if it continues to make itself available for use by politicians to settle political scores. The aggregation of all this naked use of state power to bully, persecute and oppress perceived enemies by President Jonathan is that it takes us closer to dictatorship. And if you add the increasing clampdown on freedom of speech/expression/press, you get what I am talking about. Unraveling before our eyes is a budding despot and he is being pushed all the way by a Lady Macbeth beside him, in the full glare of a rudderless and toothless ruling party. And Nigerians are watching. This is the time for the so called Council of State, comprising of sitting and former presidents, former Chief Justices of Nigeria and others to call an emergency meeting in Abuja to deliberate on the Rivers crisis and insecurity in the land and proffer solutions. The National Assembly should not fold its arms either. And where are the elders of Rivers State? Let’s save our democracy.

rather than defence, does the job. Okupe proved this on at least one issue. He did it with admirable skill, and even got everyone laughing. His unexpectedly hilarious response was to a question on the alleged war-like posture of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). One journalist wondered why the PDP was drumming war beats two years to the 2015 general elections. Without a pause, Okupe countered with a rhetorical question: “What do you want them to do, play Owambe music?” The reference to the Yoruba melody of ease was remarkable, and implied that politics was war by other means. Yoruba language coloured Okupe’s words now and again. When he reached for the resources of his native tongue to drive home a point, he relied on proverbs. In one instance, the Yoruba saying he deployed carried the imagery of medicine, his original profession. He said: Biegbo tin da ko lose jina. Translation: An injury doesn’t heal as fast as it was sustained. This was his way of arguing that the Jonathan administration inherited a rot that could not be remedied overnight. Okupe’s visit provided information for two reports published in the newspaper the following day, April 23. Maybe the road show deepened his insight into the pros and cons of political image laundering. Will he come around another time? • Macaulay is on the editorial board of The Nation

‘Weren’t the so-called negative media reports faithful in their recreation of reality? Can it be truly said that the government was actually performing to public expectation?’



TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013

Page 25


Akinjide inaugurates Kwali Micro-finance Bank - Page 26

FCTA sets up emergency centre for hypertension

Shelter relief for Abuja poor

- Page 27

S ‘Abuja Municipal, others top allocation table - Page 27

UCCOUR is on the way for the urban poor and low income earners in the Federal Capital Territory, as the Administration has approved and released 4.6 hectares of land in Mamusa District for the construction of 5,000 low-cost houses in the territory. This is part of the Affordable Housing Programme of the FCT Administration towards addressing the dearth of accommodation in the territory. Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, presented the affordable housing allocation letter for accelerated development of the land to the Millard Fuller Foundation and Federation of the Poor (FEDUP). The historic event was witnessed by the Permanent Secretary in the FCT, Mr. John Obinna Chukwu, an engineer; National

From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

Director of Millard Fuller Foundation, Mr. Sam Odia; President of FEDUP, Mr. James Ugwu and senior officials of the FCT Administration. Akinjide reiterated the commitment of the FCT Administration

in ensuring a dynamic policy of decent and affordable housing for residents of the FCT. She disclosed that the affordable housing programme of the FCTA was being executed through a public private partnership initiative, with the FCT Administration providing the required land as well as primary

Shelter has remained one of human’s basic needs since the inception of the human race. Globally, we are faced with the challenge of providing social housing needs that are affordable to the common man

and secondary infrastructure while the developer will provide the tertiary infrastructure. “Today is a historic day and a day of fulfilment of a promise. The issue of affordable housing programme is very close to the heart of His Excellency, Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), who recently graciously approved the Affordable Housing Programme of the FCT Administration. “Shelter has remained one of human’s basic needs since the inception of the human race. Globally, we are faced with the challenge of providing social housing needs that are affordable to the common man. In the FCT, just like many other cit•Continued on Page 26




Akinjide inaugurates Kwali Micro-Finance Bank Stories from Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

•Oloye Akinjide HE Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, has inaugurated the Kwali Micro-Finance Bank in fulfilment of the Administration’s promise to stimulate growth in micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) with financial services.


The Kwali Micro-Finance Bank, which is located in the Kwali Area Council Secretariat, began operation with a paid-up capital of N120 million. The minister stated that the FCT Administration was committed to ensuring the provision of an enabling environment for residents of rural communities in the area of business support in order to achieve self-reliance and economic emancipation. “There is need to promote financial inclusion services for MSMEs and indeed the culture of microcredits and savings in Nigeria. “Needless to emphasise that lack of access to finance and enthronement of necessary globally-acceptable standards pose serious threats to economic growth and development. “It is on this premise that the FCT Administration set out to encourage the establishment of micro-finance banks in the six area councils

of the FCT with the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) as promoters. “The AEA is the FCT vehicle for wealth creation, employment generation, poverty eradication and value re-orientation; with a mandate to ensure business growth within the territory,” she stated. She advised that the system of financial exclusion and low level of bank penetration in Nigeria should be tackled head on. Besides, the minister canvassed the encouragement of genuine providers of financial services institu-

tions in order for the vast majority of the un-serviced entrepreneurs, particularly rural dwellers, the aged, socially excluded groups and the youth to benefit. “Needless to remind that inadequate funding of MSMEs affects positive economic growth. The FCTA is committed to the expansion of Kwali Micro-Finance Bank to all the area councils of the FCT to ensure easy access to financial services for our business operators. “We are positioned to encourage value addition and linkages and

The establishment of Kwali Micro-Finance Bank is targeted at micro enterprises in underserved communities to promote community development. It aims to deliver friendly, flexible and enduring capital access to credit and other financial services for all

ensure the establishment of business clusters, trade zones and business incubators in the FCT,” Akinjide added. Earlier in her address, the Managing Director of AEA, Ms. Aisha Abubakar explained that the need to promote business growth and economic empowerment in the six area councils informed the establishment of the micro-finance bank. “The establishment of Kwali Micro-Finance Bank is targeted at micro enterprises in underserved communities to promote community development. It aims to deliver friendly, flexible and enduring capital access to credit and other financial services for the benefit of all segments of the population at affordable costs to the customers,” she said. The inauguration of the bank was witnessed by the Permanent Secretary, FCT, John Obinna Chukwu; chairman Kwali Area Council, Hon. Joseph Shazin; Managing Director of Abuja Enterprise Agency, Ms. Aisha Abubakar; Managing Director of Kwali Micro-Finance Bank, Ahmed Oriabure, among other dignitaries.

Shelter relief for Abuja poor •Continued from page 25

ies in Nigeria and the world, provision of housing has continued to pose enormous challenges due to the high increase in population. “The increase in number of people that come into the territory on daily basis has further put pressure not only on our housing facility, but also on other infrastructure and service delivery. The FCT Administration is, however, assiduously working to eliminate housing deficit in the territory,” Akinjide stated. The minister noted that the Millard Fuller Foundation had successfully built low-cost houses for the urban poor and low-income earners in Masaka in Nasarawa State and presently operating in 50 countries. “The FCTA has started the journey towards affordable housing in the FCT and the Administration will be providing the site and services. “We will deliver land that is fully serviced and affordable to the developers. Two Districts – Wasa and Mamusa - have earmarked for the affordable housing programme of the Administration,” she stated. The FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. Chukwu, noted that the affordable housing programme of the Administration would speed up economic growth of FCT and reduce the strain on the present housing stock. “I am encouraged by this laudable project and do pray that the Millard Fuller Foundation fulfills its obligation. We are going to monitor the project and support the developer to realise the objective of the programme,” he said. Responding, the National Director of Millard Fuller Foundation, Mr. Sam Odia, assured that the developer would build 5,000 housing units over the next three years. “The Estate is known as Eyolo Housing Estate in Mamusa District is being developed by the Millard Fuller Foundation. The urban poor and low-income earners are our target,” Odia noted.

•The owner of this land can swap it for cash

Mark hails Abuja land swap


ENATE President David Mark has praised the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, for introducing the Land Swap Initiative designed to help landowners raise cash in exchange for their plots. Mark gave the commendation while chairing a town hall meeting on the swap initiative in Abuja. He said: “I am aware of the Minister’s efforts to open up 10 more districts, a development which was bolstered by the huge interest the Land Swap initiative has generated both within Nigeria and internationally. It deserves our confidence and benefit of doubt, if not our complete trust.” The Senate President, who was represented at the occasion by Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate Committee Chairman on Public Accounts, reiterated that this approach profits from the pitfalls of policies of former administrations where FCT played Father Christmas with land. He emphasised, that past experience led to speculation and stalled development, as some beneficiar-

From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

ies of land allocations were unable to develop their properties due to absence of primary and secondary infrastructure. Senator Mark stated that a careful analysis of the trend of settlement for some time now would reveal that settlement was becoming skewed to only the rich which became clear that without necessary policy intervention Abuja would assuredly become an exclusive play centre for the super rich, far

away from the vision of its founding fathers. “We all are witnesses to the widening gap between the rate of increase in the demand for housing and infrastructure provision,” the Senate President stressed. His words: “It is a welcome development that something positive is being done to make this experience a thing of the past”. According to him, “I therefore, associate myself with all people-centred initiatives designed to stem this gradual slide in the fortunes of the city because dynamic cities all over the world are built on the nec-

We all are witnesses to the widening gap between the rate of increase in the demand for housing and infrastructure provision. It is a welcome development that something positive is being done to make this experience a thing of the past

•Senator Mark essary balance and mix that arise from the interaction of all segments of human population”. On the organisation of the Town Hall Meeting, Senator Mark praised the FCT Minister for providing this platform to publicly discuss and iron out grey areas especially the vex issue of resettlement and compensation. The Senate President remarked “as a democrat and law maker, the FCT Minister understands the value of constant dialogue with the people in the efforts to generate necessary buy-in from the people and support for the Administration’s development initiatives.




FCTA sets up emergency centre for hypertension

•Dr Onakomaiya


HE FCT Administration has provided 12 wellequipped hospitals and state-of-the-art emergency rooms to boost diagnosis and treatment

of hypertension in the Federal Capital Territory. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, made this disclosure during the weeklong 2013 FCT World Health Day celebration. The event had the theme, “Hypertension: Control Your Blood Pressure”. The Minister who was represented by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Ademola Onakomaiya, said that his Administration has also made services available in the Primary Health Care Centre across the six Area Councils of the FCT to fight the silent killer disease in remote areas of the Territory. His words: “In addition, services have been scaled up greatly in the Primary Health Care Cen-

tres of all the six Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory to effectively combat the disease”. Senator Mohammed directed the Health and Human Services Secretariat to create aggressive awareness so that FCT residents will avail themselves of this op-

portunity to live a better and quality life, insisting that all the residents of the Territory must know and control their blood pressure through appropriate means. “As part of the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President, qualitative health care delivery is criti-

Services have been scaled up greatly in the Primary Health Care Centres of all the six Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory to effectively combat the disease

Abuja Yoruba community provides free health care HE Yoruba Community Council (YCC) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has conducted a free medical checkup for residents of the terri-


From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

tory. President of the council, Prince Adewale Adelabu who disclosed

The council decided to go the way of free medical test and free distribution of drugs as well as eyeglasses in order to continue the legacies of the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was popular in his life time for free education scheme and other humanitarian services

this in Abuja at the organisation’s 2013 general meeting, said that the association also handed out some over-the-counter drugs to residents. He added that some residents of Abuja have also benefited from the council’s free distribution of eyeglasses. Prince Adelabu, who noted that the Yoruba community in the FCT has, over the years, not been in the scheme of things, added that some women have also benefited from revolving loan schemes. He said the council decided to go the way of free medical tests and

free distribution of drugs as well as eyeglasses in order to continue the legacies of the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was popular in his lifetime for free education and other humanitarian services he introduced as the Premier of then Western Region. The YCC President said the council has succeeded in sending some youths on computer training in order to equip them with necessary life skills. The council however, announced the suspension of some of its members for non-performance.

cal to bring about economic growth in our great country which the FCTA has substantially keyed into,” the Minister emphasised. Mohammed remarked that hypertension is a silent killer responsible for over 10% of all Nigerian adult death and that over 25% of Nigerian adults suffers from the disease. He stated that the World Health Organisation has identified hypertension as the most important preventable risk factor for premature death. He lamented that most times it remains undiagnosed until lifethreatening complications set in, thereby making it difficult to control. In his keynote address, the Secretary of FCT Health & Human Services Secretariat, Dr. AdemolaOnakomaiya who was also represented at the occasion by Dr. Benjamin Udofia, Director Medical Diagnostics said that non-communicable diseases like hypertension have in the recent years posed great health challenges across the world. According to him, globally, hypertension is responsible for estimated 45% of deaths due to heart diseases and 51% of deaths due to stroke. Dr. Onakomaiya said that according to the 2010 World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global status reports on non-communicable diseases, Africa has the highest prevalence of hypertension, estimated at 46% of adults aged 25 and above.


BUJA Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Gwagwalada Area Council and Bwari Area Councils topped the revenue allocation distributed by the FCT Area Councils Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) for the month of March 2013. Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, who chaired the meeting, confirmed that the sum of N2,021,726,296.86 was received from the Federation Account Allocation Committee for the six Area Councils – Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali. The Committee, according to the minister, distributed N228.44 million of the revenue received for the month of March 2013 to AMAC while N179.23 million and N173.44 million were allocated to Gwagwalada Area Council and Bwari Area Council, respectively. The FCT Area Councils Joint Account Allocation Committee also distributed N157.22 million to Abaji Area Council, N155.12 million to Kuje Area Council and N137.33 million to Kwali Area Council. In the preceding month (February 2013), a net allocation of N319.58 million was paid to AMAC while N233.77 million and N218.94 million were disbursed to Gwagwalada Area Council and Bwari Area Council. Kuje Area Council received N205.91 million; Kwali Area Council, N194.79 million and Abaji Area Council, N193.92 million. The minister gave the breakdown of the N2.021 billion from FAAC as: Statutory Allocation, N810.26 million; Value Added Tax, N932.21 million; Subsidy Reinvestment Programme,

•The FCT gate

Abuja Municipal, two others top allocation table From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

N56.77 million; Refund by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, N25.54 million and Budget Augmentation, N196.92 million. Of the N2.021 billion revenue allocation, she disclosed that the JAAC transferred N875.66 mil-

lion to the FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) for payment of the primary school teachers’ salaries in the area councils; N95.04 million to FCT Area Councils Pension Board (ACPB) being 15 per cent pension fund as statutorily required, and N20.21 million to FCT Area Councils Service Commission being one per cent training fund, also statutorily required.

On SURE-P funds, Abuja Municipal got highest allocation of N16.77 million, followed by Bwari (N9.28 million), Gwagwalada (N8.50 million), Kwali (N7.79 million), Kuje (N7.45 million) and Abaji (N6.96 million). At the JAAC meeting, the minister called for aggressive sensitisation of the public on the Clean and Green Greater Abuja

Initiative. “The Clean and Green Greater Abuja Initiative should be sustained. We need to intensify all efforts in the clearing of drains as we enter into the raining season. “There is need for an audit of the schools and markets in the area councils to ascertain which schools and markets have water •Continued on Page 28




Abuja Municipal, two others top allocation table •Continued from Page 27

and toilets. It is imperative that our schools and markets must have water and toilet facilities,’ Akinjide stated. She directed that a monthly report on the performance of the Area Councils should be presented at the JAAC meeting by the Inspectorate and Monitoring Department of the Area Council Service Secretariat. She commended the four outgoing chairmen of the Area Councils for their cooperation and support to the FCT Administration in realising its programmes for the Area Councils. She enjoined them to continue to offer support to the Administration and the newly elected chairmen of their Area Councils.

Three of the four Area Council Chairmen - Hon. Danladi Etsu Zhin (Kuje), Hon. Zakari Angulu Dobi (Gwagwalada) and Hon. Yahaya Mohammed (Abaji) have served the required two terms in office while the Kwali Area Council Chairman, Hon. Joseph Shazin of

There is need for an audit of the schools and markets in the area councils to ascertain which schools and markets have water and toilets. It is imperative that our schools and markets must have water and toilet facilities

Appointment of 15 District Heads on hold


HE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has ordered the suspension of the appointment of 15 District Heads by Abaji Area Council. Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, in a letter to the Executive Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon. Yahaya Mohammed, stated unequivocally that the 15 District Heads were created without recourse for the approval of the FCT Administration. The minister directed the Abaji Area Council chairman to suspend forthwith the appointment of the District Heads until further notice. A statement by the Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to the Minister of State for FCT, Oluyinka Akintunde said: “The FCT Administration has equally recognised the separation of functions between the Area Councils and the State (in this instance the FCT Administration) on the creation of District Heads and Com-

the All Nigeria Peoples Progressives, lost his position to the Peoples Democratic candidate at the recently held election in the area councils. The JAAC meeting was attended by the new Permanent Secretary, FCT, Engr. John Obinna

From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

munity Leaders vesting such appointments within the jurisdiction of the Area Council as enshrined in their bye laws. “However, in all matters of appointment of District/Community Heads, the FCT Administration’s approval must be sought before such appointments are made by any Area Council. “Consequently, based on this breach of procedure on the appointment of District Heads by the Abaji Area Council, the appointment of the 15 District Heads is hereby suspended henceforth until proper procedure and methods of appointment of the District Heads are thoroughly scrutinized in compliance with the laid down procedures, rules and administrative processes,” Akinjide asserted in the letter. She advised the Abaji Community and leaders to remain law abiding and peaceful until the appropriate procedure is adopted on the matter.


RANZIK Ikull Centre for Social Rehabilitation (BICSR), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has canvassed stiffer penalties for human trafficking and child abuse offenders. At a sensitisation campaign on the dangers of human trafficking and child abuse in Abuja, the President of the group, Mrs. Merit Obua urged Nigerian women to collectively stand up against the twin evil of child trafficking and child abuse. Describing the trend as evil and modern-day slavery, Obua said offenders must be made to face the

Chukwu; Hon. Zakari Angulu Dobi, Hon. Micah Jiba; Chairman Hon. Joseph Shazin, and Hon. Yahaya Muhammad, and Director, Admin & Finance, Area Council Services Secretariat, Alhaji Yusuf Tsaiyabu. Others at the meeting were: Director of Treasury, FCT, Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Bomai; Director of Economic Planning, Research & Statistics, Alhaji Ari Isa Mohammed; Auditor General for FCT Area Councils, Dr. Fred Omaka; acting Director of Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA), Engr. Tony Efediyi; Head of Environment, Mr. Segun Olusa; Special Assistant to the Minister of State on Environment, Mr. Ayo Sotinrin; Special Assistant to the Minister of State on Area Councils, Mr. Peter Fwa, and heads of environment in the six Area Councils, among others.

•Senator Mohammed

‘Human traffickers should get stiff penalty’ From Gbade Ogunwale

full wrath of the law, stressing that some of the trafficked children are often subjected to the worst inhuman treatment while others die unsung. Obua further said that people involved in child trafficking are merchants of death and that anyone caught should be treated as

Hard work, humility and perseverance remain the best approach. To be a mother is a privilege and nothing can ever be more important than to carry that title with honour

such. She cited unemployment, illiteracy and poverty as factors that easily lure women into the dangerous trade, even as she called for the revival of communal lifestyle as a strategy to dissuade women from the inhuman act. Mrs. Obua said: “Hard work, humility and perseverance remain the best approach. To be a mother is a privilege and nothing can ever be more important than to carry that title with honour. “But urbanisation has driven a barrier between brothers and sisters as nobody cared for anyone’s problems. As Nigerians, we need to go back to our African roots where one’s business is everybody’s concern. “While difficulties and challenges may abound, it is necessary for Nigerian women to contribute their quota and aid the government in eliminating the trend as government alone could not do it.”

Fresh guidelines on building plans


•Workers during the May Day celebration at the Eagle Square in Abuja


HE Department of Development Control of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) has again called on all developers and consultants to ensure that all their building plans are submitted alongside other required documents. The Department through its Director, Yahaya Yusuf, made this call while addressing some of the likely causes of delay in obtaining building plan approvals. He emphasised that all building plan submissions must be accompanied by Certificate of Occupancy or a minimum of 50% payment for C-of-O and up-to-date payment of ground rent, as well as every relevant requirement as stipulated in the Development Control Manual. The director noted that compliance on the part of developers will enable the Department process and grant approval on such building plans without much delay. “All such submissions are accepted only at the Department’s Front Office. Henceforth, any building plan that does not meet all the relevant submittal requirements

From Bukola Amusan

will be returned at the point of submission,” the director said. Contrary to many people’s belief that approval is sought only when erecting a structure, there are many other works that cannot be carried out without obtaining approval from the Department. These include but not limited to major renovation, alteration or change of colour on any building, expanding the space in the existing house, branding a house with adverts, changing the design of the roof, among others. Others include converting green areas to parking spaces, erecting any pole that will stand taller than a house as well as erecting any kind of structure in the open space in one’s plot. The director warned that any developer or consultant who carries out any of these works without adequate or relevant approvals will have the law to contend with, even as he reiterated that the Department will not relent in its effort to rid the FCT of illegal structures.


TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013

judicial officer that allows himself to be manipulated is unworthy ‘ Any of his office. We have heard stories that some judges made themselves


INSIDE: Lagos CJ advises lawyers on continuous education -Page 32

Lawyers pledge to restore NBA’s glory -Page 33

‘How to curb judicial corruption’

-Page 34

Court to hear suit seeking NGF's dissolution on June 18 -Page 35

open to some politicians and they are now their agents. Those ones should be flushed out. They are not worthy of being judicial officers. The judiciary must be independent See page 37

NJC: In the eye of a storm • Talba’s suspension stirs row Since the National Judicial Council (NJC), regarded as the police of the judicial sector, suspended Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court for “unreasonable exercise of judicial discretion” last month, the action has been generating reactions. Some support the Council’s position; others fault it, claiming that the action could create apprehension among judicial officers, who are expected to be independent-minded in handling cases. ERIC IKHILAE examines both positions. •SEE story on page 30

• Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Miraim Muhktar

On Workers’ Day, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) told President Goodluck Jonathan that he is not fighting corruption hard. It observed that, over the years, the country has been pilfered by those charged with the mangement of its resources. But Jonathan told workers to advise their colleagues to stop stealing. To some lawyers, Labour is right. The Jonathan administration, they say, has been treating corruption with kid’s gloves. JOSEPH JIBUEZE reports.

Is govt losing anti-graft war? I

Developing free trade zones’ laws -Page 36

S the Federal Government losing the fight against corruption? To the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the answer is yes. Lawyers think so too. The issue of corruption in public service came up last week when, speaking during the Workers’ Day celebration, NLC President Comrade Abdulwahed Omar said the government had not successfully prosecuted those accused of embezzling public fund in the past 10 years. “Corruption remains the most serious factor undermining the realisation of our economic potential. Government must not only make commitments to fighting it, government must demonstrate this commitment by its actions, by its style and by its body language,” Omar said. He added: “We find the pardon granted to a former governor who was convicted of corruptly enriching himself as unfortunate and a major dent on the government’s commitments to fighting corruption. To reclaim lost ground, government needs to reassure Nigerians that it is still committed to fighting corruption by conclusively dealing with pending cases of corruption.” The President-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, condemned the light sentence given to John Yusuf, who pleaded guilty to stealing about N23 billion pension fund, even as he called on the National Assembly to review the laws under which he was tried. He said: “We also prescribe that the provisions of the laws under which he was charged and sentenced be re-

Stakeholders canvass air safety, climate change factors -Page 37

• Jonathan

• Umar

•Continued on page 31



LAW COVER CONT’D • Continued from page 29


IGNS that it would no longer be business as usual, in the Judiciary, were evident on her assumption of office on July 14, last year, as the 14th Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). Justice Aloma Miriam Mukhtar, who assumed office when the Judiciary was was going through a rough patch, observed that the public confidence in the court was losing. She pledged to reverse the trend and also ensure discipline among judicial officers. Between then and now, she has taken some steps in that direction. At the last count, cases of unethical conduct against four judges had been treated. As against the practice in the past when petitions against serving judges were left unattended to by the National Judicial Council (NJC), the judges’ fate was decided within a few months after Mukhtar became CJN and NJC chair. The judges are Justices Charles Archibong (formerly of the Federal High Court, Lagos), Thomas Naron (formerly of the Plateau State High Court), Okechukwu Okeke (of the Federal High Court, Lagos) and Abubakar Talba of the Abuja High Court. Justices Archibong and Naron were sacked following NJC’s recommendations on rising from its meeting of February 20, this year. The NJC said it found that Achibong “lacked appreciable knowledge of the legal process,” as reflected in the manner he decided the criminal case against former Managing Director, Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola. Naron was found guilty of unholy alliance with a party in a case before his court. As the chairman of the electoral tribunal in the case between Rauf Aregbesola and then Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State, the NJC found that the judge had constant telephone interaction with the lead counsel to Oyinlola, Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN). While the NJC under Justice Mukhtar swiftly dealt with the case involving the judge, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which has the power to discipline erring legal practitioners, is yet to act on NJC’s recommendation that Kalejaiye be sanctioned. On April 26, the NJC, again, wielded the big stick. While the council was hailed on the other cases, views have been divided on whether the NJC did not over act in Talba case. Justice Talba had found Yusuf guilty of stealing about N23 billion pension savings. In exercising his discretion, the judge handed him a fine of N750,000. To the NJC, Talba was guilty of “unreasonable exercise of judicial discretion.” Those who support the council on its decision have attempted to rationalise their position. First, it is their contention that the judge was totally oblivious of the prevailing public policy and mood of the society on issues relating to corruption. Although no one has established whether Talba was induced into exercising his discretion in a manner that suggested sympathy for a convict, who stole savings of retired public servants, those in favour of his suspension are of the view that he wa not guided by the general mood of the time. They argued that even when Sections 308 and 309 of the Penal Code, under which Yusuf was charged, afforded the judge the right of exercise of discretion, he should have done so in a way that was punitive. This, they argued, was as a result of the moral and social implications of the judge’s decision. By his option of fine, those in support of Justice Talba’s suspension argue that he merely gave the convict a slap on the wrist, thereby telling the society that one can steal the savings of hardworking and dedicated public officers without being duly penalised. They contended that, such convict would have ended up in the gallows in saner societies. They urged the NJC not to deviate from its current course aimed at reforming the Judiciary and ensuring efficiency, prompt disposal of cases, probity and strict adherence to judicial ethics and code of conduct among officers. To them, although Talba may want to hide under the argument that he was guided strictly by law, he failed to take into account that chaos prevails in an environment where law exists at variance with the society’s definition and understanding of fairness and justice. They argued that where a society is in turmoil, Talba and other judicial officers will not be immune from the resultant danger. Former President of the Court of Appeal Justice Musapha Akanbi was recently

• Justice Akanbi (rtd)

• Aturu

NJC: In the eye of a storm quoted as expressing delight with the ongoing reforms in the judiciary, particularly in the efforts aimed at emphasising discipline among officers. “Nobody should destroy the Judiciary. If you destroy the Judiciary, the nation is finished. In fact, with the state of affairs today, the only hope is the Judiciary. “Anything that will destroy the Judiciary is inimical to the progress and development of this country. Whether politicians or non-politicians, we should not use the Judiciary as an instrument to destroy the unity and existence of this nation. “Judicial workers are supposed to be above board and should not be under the influence of anybody. When they start interfering with the Judiciary, things will go worse. “Any judicial officer that allows himself to be manipulated is unworthy of his office. We have heard stories that some judges made themselves open to some politicians and they are now their agents. Those ones should be flushed out. They are not worthy of being judicial officers. The judiciary must be independent. “We are pleased that the present CJN does not allow anybody, including politicians in his house, to interfere with her work. Once the judiciary comes straight, things will go on well. Once the judiciary does not allow itself to be manipulated, justice, fairness and equity will prevail,” Justice Akanbi said. A rights activist, Joseph Otteh, said the NJC was not only deserving of commendation, Justice Talba should consider a permanent exit from the Bench. To Otteh, who is the Director, Access to Justice, a permanent exit from the Bench is the most honourable way out of the situation the judge now finds himself. “In the case of Hon. Justice Talba, the decision to suspend him from office for a oneyear period without pay is likely without precedent in all of Nigeria’s history. He will be basically without work and pay and stay in enforced hibernation for the entire period. “Hon Justice Talba has a fresh chance to reappraise his own place in the Judiciary; he should resolve the difficult choices placed before him in manner that can be

redemptive for him and the judicial institution and salvage whatever he can from the situation. “To serve out an unprecedented punishment and possibly resume the duties of a judge, if no further sanctions are visited upon him after one year, will hurt the dignity of the judicial office and raise questions of his own moral authority to decide disputes in a dignified, respectable manner. “What has happened has diminished his moral standing and authority and would adversely affect perceptions court users would have of his forthrightness and autonomy. “There is a more honourable path to take in addressing this predicament and we urge Hon. Justice Talba to give due consideration to the most dignified and altruistic options in confronting the circumstances which face him at the moment,” he said. Otteh, in a statement, praised the NJC over its resolve to discipline judges found to have improperly exercised their powers and discretion. “Taken more broadly, this decision means that the Judiciary in Nigeria is getting more serious about the quality, rationality, prudence and justness of substantive decisions reached by courts in Nigeria and shedding the image of an institution that always could afford to bury its head in the sand when important struggles are at stake. “Any Judiciary in a constitutional democracy runs on the strength of its moral capital. For a long time now, that capital, in the case of Nigeria, has suffered persistent excoriation, plundering and squandering by the illicit actions of judges and the virtual sterilisation and inaction of judicial oversight bodies. “Within a short period thereafter, the Judiciary had quickly unravelled and was scrapping the bottom of the barrel in terms of nearly everything. It looked like we had quickly returned to where things had settled at the time of the transition in 1999. “We salute the current CJN, the chairperson of the NJC for stepping up to the plate and taking on the elements that have, for such a long time, undermined the legacy and strength of the Nigerian judici-

ary. “There is so much more that needs to be done to lift up the Judiciary from the doldrums and make the institution relevant for Nigeria’s future. We urge the NJC to do a lot more,” he said. On the reverse, many have also faulted the NJC for what they termed attempting to kill an ant with a sledge hammer. To them, justice was not well served in the NJC’s position on Talba. They argued that the council’s decision was not only harsh but hasty. To them, the NJC would have allowed the appellate courts to review Talba’s judgment since the party not comfortable with the decision had appealed. They argued that the judge merely exercised his discretion as allowed him by law. They contended that rather than blame the judge, the NJC should have blamed the nation’s obsolete laws; queried the decision by the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to charge Yusuf under a weak law on account of a funny plea bargain arrangement and impressed it on the Legislature and Executive that the Criminal Justice system and laws require a total overhaul. NBA President Okwy Wali believe that the NJC ought to have allowed the superior courts to examine Talba’s decision before taking any action. He faulted the judge’s suspension. Wali spoke in Abuja, last week, while hosting to the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Epiphany Azinge (SAN). He argued that there was an urgent need to amend the obsolete laws, with the intention of saving the judges from being intimidated in delivering judgments. “We have always said that there was nothing wrong with the judgment. We are getting to a situation where our judges will be getting intimidated. We learnt that the prosecution had gone on appeal, we had thought that the NJC should have waited for the outcome of that appeal. “Like I said, it was a NEC decision that the fault is that of the laws and not the judge. We can’t throw away the baby with the bath water; the law on which Yusuf was charged was made over a hundred year ago. We must amend these laws so that our judges will regain their confidence. “We are still trying to get the correct position of the NJC on the Justice Talba matter and the NBA will take it up at the next NEC meeting in Yenogoa,” Wali said. Rights activist Bamidele Aturu also believe the NJC was in error. He admitted that the NJC was trying to sanitise the Judiciary by sending a strong signal that it would not condone any act of indiscipline on the part of the judges. Aturu advised that the judicial authorities weigh all the options so that the disciplinary measures they give are not counter-productive. “This is because, in the first place, if we suspend a judge for one year, should such a judge come back to the Judiciary? If he comes back, does he still have the moral attitude to dispense justice? The second point which I think would be debated for a long time is that we need to know exactly why the man was suspended. That is still not clear yet. There is a school of thought that if the reason for which he was suspended was because he exercised his discretion in passing judgement, then I think there is a problem with that decision in the sense that the reason why we have appellate court is because those courts can upturn or overturn pervert exercise of discretion. “Now if you punish a judge simply for pervert exercise of discretion, then it means that every judge whose decision can be said to be perverse can also be liable to disciplinary measure. That, I think is going to create a lot of confusion.”

‘Although no one has established whether Talba was induced into exercising his discretion in a manner that suggested sympathy for a convict, who stole savings of retired public servants, those in favour of his suspension are of the view that he wa not guided by the general mood of the time. They argued that even when Sections 308 and 309 of the Penal Code, under which Yusuf was charged, afforded the judge the right of exercise of discretion, he should have done so in a way that was punitive’




Is govt losing anti-graft war? • Continued from page 29

viewed by the National Assembly with a view to stipulating commensurate punishments for the offences therein. John Yusuf and his likes should not be allowed to loot our collective commonwealth and go scot free.” Responding, Jonathan condemned junior and senior civil servants, whom he described as the perpetrators of corrupt practices. He recommended civil servants for peer review. His words: “Labour has been in the forefront of the demand for good governance and the increase action against corruption and these issues are been vigorously tackled on various fronts. Prosecution is being pursed in matters arising from the fuel subsidy fraud, embezzlement of pension funds and other serious long standing malpractices being demystified by this administration. Even at the core of this perpetration are the senior and junior members of labour unions. Greater attention to peer review action on the part of labour will be much appreciated.” Political corruption is not a recent phenomenon that pervades the state. Nigeria is ranked 139th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. It tied with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal, and Pakistan. Analysts blame greed and ostentatious lifestyle as the cause of corruption. Others attribute it to poverty of the mind. Another major cause of corruption is ethnicity, called tribalism. Friends and kinsmen seeking favour from officials may impose difficult strains on the ethical disposition of the official. Many kinsmen may see a government official as holding necessary avenues for their personal survival or gain. However, the bottom line of the views of many is that corruption is a problem that has to be rooted out. Corruption has an adverse effect on social and economic development and also in building a nation. The effects include diversion of development resources for private gain, misallocation of talent, negative impact on quality of infrastructure and public services and slowing of economic growth. For lawyers, labour has a valid point. They readily point to the state pardon granted former Bayelsa State Governor Dieprieye Alamiesiegha as a demonstration of the fact the government encourages corruption. They also alleged that the government has been selective in those it prosecutes, giving the impression that some are untouchables. They cited the House of Representatives member, Farouk Lawan, who is facing trial for allegedly receiving bribe while the alleged bribe-giver, Femi Otedola, was not charged. Again, to lawyers, not much progress has been made in the prosecution of public officials and former governors charged with graft, with one of them even obtaining a perpetual injunction against his trial. For the analysts, to deal with corruption effectively, Nigerians should emphasise transparency, integrity, and accountability in private and public transactions. It must begin at the level of the individual. There is also the need to enforce the laws without fear and favour. The establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Code of Conduct Bureau and its Tribunal was seen as a laudable start in the war against corruption. Unfortunately, though some successes have been registered, the general impression is that these bodies have gone after the tail of the monster of corruption rather than its head. It is not helpful that some politicians allege that these bodies are being used by the Presidency as instruments of blackmail or vendetta against political opponents. There is, therefore, a need to expand the activities and range of instruments available to the bodies. A social analyst, Oyinola Ayobami, said an effective war on corruption has to be fought from three angles: Prevention, Detection and Sanctions and Restitutions. A human rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects, urged Jonathan to show leadership and end impunity. It said rooting out high-level official corruption, ending impunity of perpetrators, and turning around Nigeria would take more than mere promises and preaching of decency. It requires strong leadership at the highest level of government, the group said.

SERAP said half measures which avoid public scrutiny of the President’s own asset declaration, and effective prosecution of corruption cases when they involve those connected with this government were utterly inadequate and threw the government into disrepute. It added that the lack of accountable leadership and transparency in the management of public finances and spending has continued to exacerbate the growing poverty and underdevelopment. “Ultimately, the responsibility for sorting out Nigeria rests with President Jonathan. The buck stops with him,” SERAP said. It added: “This government should be concerned about the 2012 Failed States Index published by the United States based Foreign Policy Journal which placed Nigeria in the 144th position of its annual ranking of 177 countries; and the 2012 United Nations’ Human Development Index, which rated Nigeria 159th out of the 172 countries polled. “This shows low quality of life across the country brought about by the systemic denial of access to safe water, health and educational infrastructure, among others,” said SERAP. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Deacon Dele Adesina said it is not the government’s responsibility alone to fight corruption. “This issue is not limited to leadership. The followership also has a responsibility to fight corruption in our land. Both the leadership and the followership have a role to play. “We need to look at some of these things, including even our culture, practice, our habit, our behavior. For example, if your neighbor today is appointed a minister in Nigeria, the expectation of everybody around that person changes suddenly. “If he is a person who has been giving N500 to his dependant, that his dependant would no longer expect N500. He would be expecting N1,000 because he is now a minister or member of the parliament. So, we have to change our expectation. We have to change our habit and change our culture.” On Labour’s accusation that Jonathan’s government was corrupt, SERAP’s Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni said: “Yes, of course, the Labour is absolutely right. The government has a lot to do. The President has not even publicly declared his assets, Ribadu’s recommendations have not even been implemented. “Alamieyeseigha’s pardon perhaps is the strongest sign that this administration is not tackling corruption as it should. And on top of this, nobody knows what has happened to recovered stolen wealth. Also, anti-corruption agencies have to be strengthened to be more proactive and efficient in going after the ‘big fish’.” Former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Dave Ajetumobi, agreed that the Labour leaders have a valid point in saying the government has not shown seriousness in the fight against graft. He said: “The President said fuel subsidy scammers and others were being prosecuted, yes, but has there been any result to date? No! The prosecutors have been lackadaisical. Perhaps that was their instruction because government has never complained about the pace of prosecution. “In some cases, the government embarked on plea bargain which tend to rob Peter to pay Paul, thus sending the wrong signal that you can steal and negotiate later. “Lawan Farouk is facing prosecution, but Otedola the alleged giver of the bribe is moving about freely. Does that show seriousness? We should ask ourselves how many cases involving government officials, eg, ex-ministers, governors, National Assembly members have been concluded by due trial from 1999 to date? “For instance, what has happened to the criminal charges against Orji Kalu, Ayo Fayose, Chimaroke Nnamani, Rasheed Ladoja,

• Adesina

• Mumuni

Adolphus Wabara, Mrs. Patricia Etteh and Dimeji Bankole, etc? The criminal case against Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) was withdrawn by the Federal Government so he could be made a minister. Corruption is an official state policy in Nigeria for now,” Ajetumobi added. Activist-lawyer Bamidele Aturu said the President was not fair to Nigerians by trivialising a weighty matter. “There is no doubt that there is no more war going on against corruption in Nigeria. All the matter that we have about prosecuting people have become mere drama. People are not seeing any conviction; people are not seeing any commitment about fighting corruption,” he said. He said those being tried give one flimsy excuse or the other, collect their passport and travel out of the country. “Nobody is really taking the government serious on the war against corruption.” Aturu added: “NLC was right on target when it criticised the government for not doing much on corruption. I agree with the NLC and would even go further to say that I do not see any war going on in this country against corruption. “So, that is why we must be careful not to use some people as scapegoats or to just sacrifice them though they must have done something wrong. I think that if the government must be fair to us, it must admit that we have never had it so bad. “Corruption is really thriving and this culture of impunity has really been promoted in Nigeria. People do what they like, without anybody stopping them. Everywhere you go, it is all about corruption. People believe that the best way to survive is when they steal public money and this is going on every day at all levels and everywhere, all over the federation.” Aturu believes the problem is not with the laws, but with adequate and effective enforcement. “It is not that we don’t have laws to fight it. We have adequate laws and these laws have been there since God knows when. But, the point is that we have a system, a state that elsewhere, I would call a rogue state. “A rogue state is one where people that compose the state, that form the institutions do all possible to promote looting. In such a state, other institutions — the Judiciary, Executive, whatsoever, tend to, one way or the other, do everything possible to promote corrupt practices. It is only those who are corrupt that have a chance of rising in a rogue state. “Nigeria has become a rogue state, not because it produces one resource or the other but in the sense that all the structures, the agencies, the ministries are just there to protect a culture of looting. So, we need to do something politically about it.” Aturu added: “We need a social revolution if we must deal with corruption. In other words, people must be involved. We need the kind of people that must be ready to change Nigeria. So, we must put the question of change on the political agenda and that is not the kind of thing

the existing parties can do. We must be honest with ourselves. “So, how do we stop what is happening now? We need a vanguard political party, a vanguard organisation, with a new attitude of democratic culture to challenge this kind of thing with all means possible.” Lagos lawyer Emeka Nwadioke is of the view that corruption is endemic in Nigeria and that Labour is right. He said: “While Mr. President is at liberty to urge Labour to do a self-appraisal in matters of corruption, it seems to me that Mr. President was merely playing to the gallery by perhaps alluding that the pension scammer was a public servant and therefore an NLC member. Such light-hearted treatment of a very grievous subject is unacceptable. “What most watchers expect Mr. President to do is to outline in a more focused manner how the government is tackling this very serious malaise that is causing so much privation to all. Aside from the fact that the battle against corruption is at best weak, even the government is perceived as either corrupt or hobnobbing with corrupt persons or both. “A Gallup poll published at the height of the petroleum subsidy protests showed that a whopping 94% Nigerians perceived the government as corrupt. More recently, a report by the US State Department towed the same line, stating that ‘Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces.’ “It is also instructive that there is a widespread perception that the Legislature and Judiciary are equally tainted with corruption. One can then see that we are firmly swimming in a cesspool of corruption.” Nwadioke said after doing an indepth, multijurisdictional study on corruption, with EFCC as a case study, he came to the conclusion that several dynamics in the anti-graft fight were patently out of sync. His words: “It was obvious to me that the EFCC lacked the capacity to deal a fatal blow on corruption. What was an EFCC operative doing pursuing oil bunkerers? Does the EFCC have too much on its plate? A prosecutor indeed confessed to me that charges could not be filed due to work fatigue. While capacity may have increased, I am not aware that an optimal level has been achieved. Even routine tools were not in place. “Also, who polices the police? Who is policing the wide discretion given the EFCC on plea bargaining? Or do we merely wait and shout later? Even the National Assembly that the EFCC is required to submit an annual report to has apparently not been rigorous in its oversight role, moreso as it has had its fair share of corruption related scandals. “It is only in Nigeria that an EFCC czar is hunting governors today and hobnobbing with them the next day as their DG! Aside from telling riggers to go and sin no more, who has been convicted for rigging in Nigeria or for thuggery and sundry cases of political corruption? More recently, there is a seeming resurgence in deploying anti-graft machinery for selective hounding of political opponents, even as some persons perceived as having less than stellar reputations hobnob with the power elite. The anti-graft war in Nigeria is one huge macabre dance with neither rhyme nor rhythm. “Combating corruption has never been a tea party. Accordingly, government must pay living wages to dissuade people from pandering to corrupting influences, while a moral rebirth has become urgent. A reform of the anti-graft agencies is imperative; what we need are strong institutions, not strong men or women. Such reform must be extended to the oversight and enforcement mechanisms.”

‘A rogue state is one where people that compose the state, that form the institutions do all possible to promote looting. In such a state, other institutions — the Judiciary, Executive, whatsoever, tend to, one way or the other, do everything possible to promote corrupt practices. It is only those who are corrupt that have a chance of rising in a rogue state’




Lagos CJ Phillips advises lawyers to embrace continuous education


HE Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, has advised lawyers to continue to develop themselves in modern laws in order to become successful practitioners. She said a lawyer could become a useless if he fails to develop himself. She spoke at a two-day workshop entitled, Entrenching versatility in legal practice by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigeria bar association (NBA). It was part of the NBA's Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) programme. Justice Phillips said: "We learn something new every day. As the law evolves, we have to evolve with it. Otherwise you would be left behind and you would become a useless practitioner.” She said there was need for every lawyer to be on top of the laws around them and keep themselves abreast of new developments in law. "We have to be on top of the law and while you are on top of the law, you also have to be on top of what is going on around you in the world", she said. The chief judge noted the inclusion of judges of the state high court as resource persons and that the development was good for cross fertilisation of ideas. "It shows that you have confidence in my judges and in this judiciary", she said, adding that at the end of the workshop, they would have learnt something from each other.” In a welcome address, the Chairman of NBA, Ikeja Branch, Mr Monday Ubani, said it would be difficult for any lawyer to be successful in the practice if he does not keep himself abreast of developments. Ubani said continuous legal education is a requirement for renewal of practice and which every lawyer must comply with to remain relevant in the profession. In her lecture, the Director of the Lagos Multi-door Courthouse, Mrs. Caroline Etuk, said there are challenges facing the implementation of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) under the new Administration of Criminal Laws in Lagos State. She said the ADR framework has been introduced into the rules as a key component for achieving a high level of efficiency in the civil justice process and the effect of this provision, she said, is the mainstreaming of ADR into civil justice administration. Mrs. Etuk said some provisions under the High court Rules and draft practice direction deal with the roles of some functionaries in relation to the ADR and listed them to include the Chief Judge, the ADR Judge, the Pre-Trial judge, the LMDC, the litigant and the counsel. According to her, it is the responsibility of the chief judge, under Order 3 Rule 11, to issue practice direction. The director said the ADR judge, has a significant role to play in dealing with recalcitrant parties who refuse to put up appearance at the proceeding before the High court or at the LMDC. Like the ADR judge, she said the registrar is very useful in relation to preparation of orders made by the court in the the ADR track and litiga-


By Adebisi Onanuga

tion track. According to her, the effectiveness of the AFR track is dependent on the observance of the ADR judges, registrars and timely preparation and service of hearing notices and other court orders. "The effective operations of the rules when fully articulated will achieve its overriding objectives, which are to promote a just determination of every civil proceeding, efficient and speedy dispensation of justice and amicable resolution of disputes by ADR mechanisms", she said, adding that these laudable objectives of the ADR are achieved with the effective interplay of roles and responsibilities of the High court rules. Justice M. B. Idris of the Federal High Court, who spoke on the laws guiding the aviation industry, said that the Montreal Convention was incorporated into Nigerian law by Section 48 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006. Idris said from the commencement of the Civil Aviation Act, the convention has become part of our national laws and is the basis of a carrier’s liability for domestic and international carriage. The judge said a carrier is liable for damage sustained in the event of death or wounding of a passenger or any bodily injury suffered by a passenger. For liability to arise. He said the accident, which caused the damage sustained, must have taken place on board the aircraft or during the operation of embarking and disembarking. He said it is generally accepted that the liability of a carrier actually begins when the passenger puts himself in the hands of an employee of the carrier and ends when the passenger enters the arrival hall at the point of destination. According to him, a carrier is not liable if he proves that he and his employees have taken the steps to avoid damage or that it was impossible for them to take such measures, adding that the determination of what acts constitute ‘necessary measures are left to the discretion of the court. In his paper, Bamidele Aturu, explained that the controversy concerning the status of the National Industrial Court(NIC) has been brought to an end with the recent alteration to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vide the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Third Alteration) Act 2010. According to him, by this amendment, the NIC has been include in the constitution as a superior court of records. Aturu said there is no issue that arise in the workplace that the court would not have exclusive jurisdiction to entertain. He pointed out that the court has undoubted jurisdiction to adjudicate on individual and collective labour matters. He said, however, that the court has insisted that its jurisdiction is subject matter-based and that parties cannot expand it beyond the scope of Section 254C(1) of the constitution. Aturu said until recently, actions are filed in the court by complainants.

Ex-NBA secretary loses brother

ORMER Secretary of the Lagos branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Sunday Bassey Onu, has lost his elder brother, Mr Innocent Akpa Onu. A retired staff member of the Nigerian Railway corporation, the elder Onu, was assassinated in his village, Umunaga- Enuegu, Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on April 28, 2013. Many described the death as a premeditated and unprovoked act of wickedness.

• Justice Phillips

However by virtue of practice direction issued by the President of the court June 2012, he said Originating Summons are being used by a person who claims to be interested under an enactment, constitution, agreement or any other written instrument for the determination of any question or construction arising under the instrument. He explained that the rationale for using complainant for cases before the court was to prevent a situation in which objections are taken to actions on the ground of mere form. Aturu, who is also a labour enthusiast, pointed out that it is obligatory for an originating process to be signed by a litigant or counsel. ”Where the process is signed by a law firm or a person signs for the litigant or the counsel, the process will be struck out. But where the court’s copy is signed and the process served on the defendant is not the matter, it will not be struck out”. He explained the rule of the court as to service of originating and other processes differ significantly from those of other courts in the originating processes are not expressly required to be served personally. The court, he said, has an obligation in any proceedings to adopt any procedure that will do substantial justice where no provision is made in its rule as to practice and procedure or where the provisions are inadequate. According to Aturu, Order 19 Rule 18(1)(e) of the rules of the court empowers it to review any order made

• Ubani

by it if it is in the interest of justice to do so and if the application for review made within the specified time of 14 days. Mr. Kemi Pinheiro(SAN) in his lecture entitled: “Objection to admissibility of extra-judicial confessional statement not video recorded or made in presence of defendant’s counsel section 9(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice law Lagos State 2011 and Section 29 not the Evidence Act 2011 x-rayed,” said Section 29(2)(a) and (b) makes a confession inadmissible where it was obtained by oppression or in consequence of anything said or done which was likely in the circumstances existing at the time to render such confession unreliable. According to him, the burden is on the accused person who ought to lead evidence to establish that the statement was obtained involuntarily adding that once evidence has been led in this regard, the burden shifts to the prosecution. He said: “Where more persons than one are charged jointly with an offence and a confession made by one of such persons in the presence of one or more of the other persons so charged is given in evidence, the court shall not take such statement into consideration as against any of such other persons in whose presence it was made unless he adopted the said statement by words or conduct,” he said. Pinheiro pointed out that the appropriate time to raise an objection to the admissibility of a confessional state-

ment is during tendering. He argued that where issue of involuntariness is raised, the court ought to conduct what is known as Voir Dire or as ‘trial within a trial’. He said this process will only be conducted where the voluntariness of the statement is challenged and that a court needs not conduct a trial in a trial when the objection is based on the fact that the accused person did not make the statement. Citing several authorities abroad, he recommended the immediate amendment of Section 9(3) of the Act to read: “Where any person, who is arrested with or without a warrant volunteers to make a confessional statement, the police officer shall ensure that the making and taking of such statement is recorded on video and the said copies of it may be produced at the trial pursuant to an objection as to the voluntariness or otherwise of the said statement. In the absence of a video facility, the said statement shall be in writing in the presence of a legal practitioner of his choice or such other person as the person arrested shall desire.“ “Until an amendment is effected, the judiciary, on its part, should take cognizance of the Nigerian reality in interpreting the sections. The rejection of a confessional statement for failure to comply with provisions of section 9(3) of the ACJL will do greater injustice to our criminal jurisprudence and endanger public confidence in the criminal justice system,” he added.

Akwa Ibom partners FIDA on women’s rights


KWA Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has pledged to work with the Federation of In ternational Women Lawyers (FIDA) to ensure the protection of the rights of women and the less privileged. Speaking when the group’s National President, Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau, visited him, Akpabio condemned the age-long practice in some societies in which bereaved families disposses widows of the property of their late husbands. He said a bill before the House of Assembly would enable widows to enjoy all rights and privileges of their deceased husbands. Akpabio said the state government has long stopped the stigmatisation of children on allegations of witchcraft, saying that based on the law anyone caught doing so faces 10 years of imprisonment. The Governor said the introduction of free, compulsory education for every child of school age has led to the intake of about 1.7 million children in the state, both at primary and secondary school levels. This, he said, has drastically reduced child mortality and abuse. The governor, who donated N10 million to the national body and a bus to the state chapter of the organisation, urged FIDA to work with the state and federal governments to guarantee justice for all in the country. Shekarau said FIDA is non-political, non-religious and non- governmental body and was inaugurated in 1988 to protect and intercede for women and children who cannot afford the services of lawyers, saying the body has brought succour to women and children in the federation. She praised Akpabio’s wife for caring for widows, •

twins and orphans in the state and praised the governor for the provision of free health-care delivery services for the pregnant and the elderly. The FIDA boss was also happy with the appointment of women into key positions, granting of soft loans to women for small-scale and agricultural businesses as well as passage of the Child’s Rights Bill into law. She pledged FIDA’s support to the state government in the improvement of lives for women and children.

Gov Akpabio presenting a plaque to Mrs Shekarau




with gabriel AMALU

• From left: Asst. Secretary, J. I. Daramola; Welfare Secretary, L. Ogunkeye; Publicity Secretary, M. E. Akolodi; Treasurer, N. O. Ojo; Secretary, Yinka Sokoya; Vice Chairman, Femi Fafowora and Chairman, Oluwaseun Ajoba.

The Jonathan–Amaechi saga

T Lawyers pledge to restore NBA’s glory T

HE newly elected officers of the Ilesa branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have promised to restore the branch back to its former glory as the cradle branch of legal profession in Nigeria. The branch executives led by its new Chairman, Mr Oluwaseun Ajoba, spoke during their inauguration at the branch High Court premises in Ilesa last week. The first Nigerian lawyer, Sir Christopher Sapara Williams, is of Ilesa origin. Ajoba said the branch has produced many legal giants, including the late Justice Kayode Eso. Ajoba said: “Today, we are gathered here to celebrate with Ilesa Bar as we are fondly called by our people in and around here. Ilesa is the cradle of legal profession in Nigeria as the first indigenous Nigerian to study and practise is from here – in person Sir Christopher Alexander Sapara Williams – now late. Aside this Ijesa remains the only people with largest chunk of giants in the profession and the Bench, up to the highest level. Our Kayode Eso, Olayinka Ayoola, Funmi Adekeye all of Supreme Courts and many others at lower bench with several silk among who are: Pa Bandele Aiku, Felix Fagbohungbe, Aluko Olokun and host of others with several attorneys – general, Bola Ige (SAN) the Cicero. He said “However, as beautiful as that may sound to the ear, the said cradle has not enjoyed the profession in terms of the practitioners therein and the umbrella branch. This relates to patronage and privileges in the profession. If Nigeria had been America, Ilesa would have been most patronised bar. With either the national government or the national bar being at the forefront of patronizing this bar for being the origin alone. But

By John Austin Unachukwu

where we are is where we operate. This is not so in Nigeria and since wishes are not horses we will confine ourselves to operate on the soil we find ourselves. This is the basis of my thinking and I make bold to say our thinking in Ilesabar – that we must move forward. Ajoba said: “In our quest to move forward, this administration is bent on lifting Ilesabar to the next level so that within a short time, we may rank as primus inter pares, God being with us. Chief and core among the promises are: Welfare of our members. Repositioning Ilesa Bar in the national relevance. Building the bar centre. Improved Practice. Towards achieving these, this administration intends to execute the following programmes: “Floating and sustaining a cooperative scheme for members.Approach financial institutions to assist our members in property acquisition – ranging from as little as laptop, Ipod etc. to automobiles. We are already talking with corporate bodies to help in various stages of this project. “Hosting Ilesa Bar website with profile of each member with electronic library. This is targeted to simplify research while also reaching the world.Starting within 60 days the foundation of bar centre and it is also intended to have what is called “D BAR” – where lawyers can relax after each day’s work, meet with clients in a befitting environment in the cool of the day. “Engaging in judicial monitoring and advocacy with Law making body and insistence on law enforcement agencies to operate within the law and be more civil in their dealings. Of particular worry is the situation of the bench humiliating lawyers this is humiliation of the bar and

since we will not encourage any individual lawyer or the bar to engage in any affront to the bench, it will only be apposite that the bar is given its due respect. It is intended to have monitored happenings ranging from as little as time of sitting of a court to other unusual events to the temperament of a judge or magistrate being exhibited in and to corrupt ones also, by publishing monthly or bimonthly a newsletter which will also be sending to NJC and freely distributed among legal practitioners, judges, magistrates and other stakeholders for their attention and per adventure their action. The bar is the parent of the bench. “Despite the above, this administration has a high penchant for harmonious coexistence and intends to work assiduously to achieve this by having a functioning and functional bar/bench forum.It is our further intention to make Ilesabar more relevant and its impact felt by operating a high level and more responsive human right activities in and around the branch. “In the light of the above, we shall be seeking your support in terms of advise, grants, donations and gifts in whatever form. It may interest you that we are not allergic to cheques and transfer cash since cashless policy is still only in Lagos “Towards actualising these lofty goals and have an association that is truly welfaristic, various committees had been constituted to assist the executive council. And within the few days of the administration, we have been able to have a draft bye laws which had had the first 5 Articles approved with likelihood of completing its passage in very few days time so as send same to NEC for its approval and our use”


Lagos NBA gets Electoral Committee


HE Lagos branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has constituted Electoral Committee to hold an election for the executive committee for the branch. The tenure of the incumbent Taiwo O. Taiwo led executive will expire in July, hence the need for the election of new officers for the branch. Members of the electoral committee are: Mr. Lanre Oyetunji, chairman. Others are Ayo Akintunde, E. A. Otokhina, Cosmas Chukwuocha and Geff Eze.

Umuahia branch election holds May 15


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is set to organise election for Umuahia branch on May 15 at the State High Court No 6 in Umuahia.The branch has faced some challenges in electing new executives to take over from the John Ihe Amajuoyi-led exco whose tenure had since expired. However, following the intervention of the NBA President, Okey Wali (SAN), who directed the Third VicePresident of the association, Mr Francis Ekwere, to go to Umuahia and ensure that elections are held at the branch soonest. Mr Ekwere is the election Committee Chairman while Chief C. O. A. Ahanonu and Mr Okezie Ohajuruaku will support him in the assignment.

Rule of law workshop begins May 13


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Rule of Law Action Group will hold a two-day workshop. Venue: City Hall, Lagos Island, Lagos State. Date: May 13 to 14. Time: 9:00 am daily. The theme of the workshop is: The Rule of Law- the bedrock for sustainable democracy and development in Nigeria. It will not only set the agenda for the development and entrenchment of Rule of Law as a necessary pre-condition for civilised society, but also trigger a speedy dispensation of justice. The theme and thrust of the workshop is to further explore and assess the progress made in upholding the Rule of Law and to re-evaluate all matters in relation to the stakeholders’ role in this process.

HOSE who made the uncanny connection between the seat of our presidency, Aso Rock, and untimely deaths when Dame Patience Jonathan ‘died for seven days’ sometime ago, may have overlooked a more potent harmful force operating from that coveted locus of power. While death at Aso Rock of a President, or of even an obtrusive first lady, is ungainly and distracting as it has proved to be for our political transitions, what should really give every one of us a nightmare is the perennial gross abuse of presidential powers, particularly the type that scorns our constitution. More than death, a strain of abuse of power has become standardised and customised in Aso Rock. In the past week, a stranger that fiction type of story in a real democracy has been making the rounds. Like in the past under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, several accusing fingers are pointing at the current occupant of Aso Rock, President Goodluck Jonathan. According to the reports, Governor Chibuike Amaechi may be impeached by 5 members of the state House of Assembly, made up of 32 members. The preamble to that report was that 27 members of the state assembly loyal to Governor Amaechi have been suspended as party members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), by the newly court installed National Executive Committee of the start branch of the party. Now in a classical case of passing off, the suspension of the legislators from their party has been strangely elevated to a suspension from the House of Assembly; and the five members allegedly sold on this illegal plot are working to execute the plans. Now it is an open secret that Governor Chibuike Amaechi has been accused of nursing presidential ambition, to the chagrin of the presidency and their party hierarchy. While he denies the ambition, his body language is showing otherwise. In reaction, the presidency has been openly and covertly putting all manner of stumbling blocks on Amaechi’s part, to kill the ambition in infancy. Some of the high jumps put in Amaechis’ part include the ‘discovery’ that he bought a private jet with the state money in the name of a foreign company; and that the papers for the operation of the aircraft has expired. The presidency has also allegedly recruited Governor Godswill Akpabio, the Niger Delta Minister, Orubebe, and Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, to clubber Amaechi to submission. While Akpabio is heading the anti-Ameachi group to stop his re-election as Chairman of the obtrusive Governor’s forum, Wike allegedly aided the sacking of the state party executive by an Abuja High Court; which led to the emergence of the new executive that sacked the 27 lawmakers. While all the above developments may be excused as real politicking by Amaechi’s opponents; the allegation that the Presidency is aiding five legislators out of 32 to impeach Governor Amaechi if indeed true should be condemned and resisted by every democrat. Such development is not just an abuse of power, but a gross violation of the constitution, which Mr. President, the Governors and the Ministers swore to uphold. Indeed any person lending support to such a mission must note that he or she has joined a disreputable assembly bent on pulling the democratic rug from our feet. For the avoidance of doubt, the planners should read the whole of section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. That section provides the tedious process for the removal of a Governor or a Deputy Governor from office. The five members under any guise do not even qualify as one-third of members necessary to sign a notice of allegation as required in subsection 2. Furthermore, subsection 4 provides that two-third of all members of the Assembly must approve, before an investigation into the allegation can be conducted; and same number of Legislators is needed to adopt the findings of the panel, confirming that a Governor is guilty of gross misconduct before he can be removed from office. Regardless of these very clear provisions of the constitution, there is a palpable fear within Rivers state, if the speaker of the state House of Assembly is to be believed, that five of his colleagues are planning to ride roughshod over the constitution, and declare Amaechi removed from office. According to the speaker, Hon. Amachree, the idea is to precipitate crisis in the state to enable President Goodluck Jonathan declare a state of emergency in the state pursuant to Section 305 of the constitution. To confirm the potency of the allegation, the state House of Assembly has adjourned indefinitely and has accused the group of five of planning to use a fake mace to achieve their unconstitutional plans. While the presidency has denied these allegations, there is serious malcontent across the state as most proAmaechi public officials from the state are shouting that the presidency has plans to induce crisis in the state. If truly President Jonathan is planning to use Aso Rock’s unconstitutional templates, patented by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across Plateau, Oyo, and Bayelsa states against the governors that act against his interest; then he must remember that driving in a reverse gear in a busy road will lead to an accident. No doubt our political terrain is getting busier. As many have sensibly argued, an abuse of presidential powers that an Obasanjo could get away with in his time, a President Jonathan may not get away with. Moreover our politics is supposed to be maturing, and President Jonathan should not seek as alleged to diminish it. It is also important to remind Governor Chibuike Amaechi and his fellow Governors, that they should also stop abusing the constitution by arbitrarily sacking elected local government council officials, in the overall interest of our democracy.



LAW PERSONALITY Mr Alex Mouka is the secretary of the Lagos branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He has been in commercial law practice since 1992. In this interview with Legal Editor JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU, Mouka speaks on legal education, law practice, amendment of NBA constitution, corruption in the judiciary and other issues.

‘How to curb judicial corruption’ W

HAT are your contributions to the politics of Lagos branch of the Ni gerian Bar Association (NBA) I have been active in the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for many years. I am the Secretary of the Branch and a Member of the NBA National Executive Committee ( NEC) . I am also a member of the Steering Committee of the Lagos Court of Arbitration and Treasurer of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Nigeria. I have held several earlier positions in the Lagos Branch of the NBA, including Secretary of the Branch Building Committee from November 2006 to July 2009, Member of the 2007 NBA-Lagos Branch Law Week Committee, Member of the 2006 NBA-Lagos Branch Law Week Committee, and Ex-Officio Member of the Branch Executive Committee from December 2005 to July 2007. How would you compare and contrast law practice in your early days at the Bar and what we have in the profession right now? I would say things are different now, standards have fallen, integrity and corruption have become serious issues. More lawyers tend to be concerned with expedient results rather than doing the right thing, discipline and ethical considerations appear to have taken a back seat. At the same time, organisation of law firms and the way we work has changed tremendously. There are more structured firms and partnerships now. More lawyers specialise in different areas of the law and automation and technology now drive the delivery of legal services. When I started out, not many law firms had computers, but now almost every lawyer uses a laptop and a blackberry phone and can even work on the go. How do you feel about the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in law practice? I am pleased with the pace of technological advancements in the practice of law. I think the pace can be accelerated a bit more, and that some of the tools and knowledge can be made more accessible to every lawyer. I also consider that the Bar should do more about discipline in the profession. Is it lawful, to organise joint military action and apply the rules and techniques of international peace keeping operation against innocent citizens in an attempt to quell domestic insurgency? There is a culture of impunity in Nigeria and there is really no respect for human life. Let us start with ourselves. The average Nigerian has become indifferent to the sight of a dead person by the roadside. Regular people like you and I are involved in everyday lynching which we justify as instant justice for people caught in the act of crime. Remember there was a huge outcry a few months ago about the ‘Alu lynching’ but nothing has come out of it. This disregard for the sanctity of human life is then escalated at the level of government. There are allegations of routine executions by the Police of suspected crimi-

nals in their custody. The government is also quick to give ‘shoot at sight’ instructions to the military and police forces engaged in quelling insurrections and civil disorder. It is clear that deploying armed military personnel against innocent citizens and in peacetime is unlawful. Over the last few years, a number of former heads of state have faced trial at international courts for ordering or condoning similar actions. I think our government should really be more circumspect in ordering the military in to quell domestic insurgency. How did we get to this point and how best can we resolve this Boko Haram insurgency without wasting innocent civilian lives and what is your view about seeking remedy for victims of this unfortunate joint military action? Years of neglect in several aspects of our economic and political life have contributed to leading us to this point and it is now difficult to say how we can resolve the Boko Haram insurgency. As a member of the NBA and an elected officer of the Lagos Branch, I must defer to the official position of the Bar as put forward by the NBA President in endorsing the proposed amnesty deal for members of Boko Haram. My personal opinion, however, is that the answer does not lie in amnesty. Amnesty is at best a very temporary palliative and an expensive one at that. I think part of the answer lies in our collective attitude towards terrorism and a determination of what we will or will not accept as a nation. Our security forces need to step up the level of ‘human intelligence’ being employed in the fight against terrorism. They need to be more proactive, rather than reactionary. It is amazing that within days of the Boston bombing in the United States, the security forces had identified, traced and apprehended the suspects. Of course, this was due to the widespread use of close circuit cameras (probably every built-up land surface in the United States is covered by close circuit cameras). With our infrastructural and power challenges, we are a long way away from such a solution, but we can start somewhere. I do not see why citywide CCTV coverage was not integrated into the development plans for Abuja. Meanwhile, our security forces can step-up their game. If the same effort that the EFCC puts into investigating white-collar crime is put into crime detection by the Police, we would have fewer unsolved cases. The reality is that, beyond the platitudes that our leaders love to express after every fresh incident, there appears to be neither political will nor focused moral

• Mouka

outrage to really catch the perpetrators. The constitution of the NBA is undergoing review, which sections would you like to be amended so that we can have a vibrant and strong Bar that will meet the needs of the 21st century lawyer? There have been calls for the amendment of Section 7 of the NBA Constitution (dealing with the Delegates Conference). The thinking is that whilst a Delegates Conference may be adopted for dealing with matters of constitutional amendment, there is no reason why the NBA cannot adopt universal suffrage for the election of national officers. Every lawyer should have a say in deciding who leads the Association. Modern technology has made the election of officers for associations and clubs very easy. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) Nigeria Branch recently conducted an election of a new Executive Committee using an online voting platform. It was inexpensive, transparent, non-manipulative and demonstrably accurate. Corruption has been blamed as a major challenge retarding the development of the country. Do you think the Federal Government has done enough to combat this scourge and what is the way out? I think the answer to that question is fairly obvious. I doubt that there is any living Nigerian who actually considers that the Federal Government is really serious about combating corruption. The United States Department of State recently issued a damning report on Nigeria indicting the Federal Government of ‘massive and widespread corruption’ and accusing ‘government

‘Nigerians as a people must come to a determination that enough is enough and we cannot continue this way. At that point, the people must elect leaders who regard corruption as anathema and who would take concrete steps to combat it by prosecuting corrupt persons, and ensuring convictions and sentences that would really be a deterrent’

officials and agencies of frequently engaging in corrupt practices with impunity’. Of course, the Federal Government quickly refuted the report as being skewed and based on faulty parameters. I do not have a magic wand answer. But I think two things must happen, Nigerians as a people must come to a determination that enough is enough and we cannot continue this way. At that point, the people must elect leaders who regard corruption as anathema and who would take concrete steps to combat it by prosecuting corrupt persons, and ensuring convictions and sentences that would really be a deterrent. The new crop of leaders would also ensure that processes and systems are transparent so that the urge and opportunity for corruption are eradicated. I think this would be a good start. The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) is trying to fight corruption in the judiciary, how do you appraise her efforts and how do you think we rid the sector of corruption? I think Justice Aloma Maryam Mukhtar has started well. Change can start from the top (the leader) or the bottom (the people). It is of course easier, immediately visible and more pervasive when it starts from the top, and a powerful message is sent all the way down. This is what she has started with – the message that judicial corruption would not be tolerated under her watch. I wish her well. We are of course waiting for more cleansing because the reality is that a few bad eggs in the judiciary are tarnishing the collective name. The bad ones make it difficult for people to appreciate that there are actually a lot of very hard-working, intelligent and upright judges in various courts across the country. It is widely believed that the NJC has not done enough to curb corruption in the Judiciary, what is your view about this? The NJC has been revitalised under the leadership of the CJN and we can expect more from it in the fight to curb and eradicate corruption in the judiciary. We also need to be honest enough to admit that it takes two to tango. Whilst lawyers (and members of the public) are crying about corrupt judges and expecting them to be publicly sanctioned, we must remember that for every corrupt judge there are lawyers who induce them and the clients on whose behest (and with whose money) the lawyers suborn the judges. The NJC is trying to deal with the judges, who will deal with the lawyers and clients? Some people have called for the legalisation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta area of the country. What is your reaction to this? I think the issue of the Niger Delta is very knotty. My understanding of the illegal refineries in that region is that they are clandestine operations using very rudimentary (and unsafe) techniques of refining crude oil. To that extent, it is difficult to advocate legalisation of such operations. Bad leadership has been blamed for the woes of this country. What is your reaction to this? It is the challenge to be the change we want to see. Rather than wait for some messiah to come one day and bring revolutionary change, we should be the change agent and begin to impact our homes, offices and communities positively. We should step-up to the plate and seek out leadership roles rather than warm the seat and expect someone else to do the work of leading us. And whilst we cannot all be leaders, we can be credible followers questioning and calling our leaders to account, whilst holding them up in prayer.

Akwa Ibom sets up judicial enquiry on murder of three brothers


HE Akwa Ibom State govern ment has set up a six-man Ju dicial Commission of Enquiry on the Ini Local Government Area crises, with a mandate to unravel the murderers of three brothers. The three, who are brothers of the founder of The Liberty Gospel Church, Evangelist Helen Ukpabio – Emmanuel, Charles and Joseph, who hailed from Nkari Clan in Iniwere allegedly killed a year ago. The panel has six weeks to submit its report. Governor Godswill Akpabio urged the members to identify the causes of the perennial crisis in Nkari Clan, identify instigators and those responsible for the crisis and recommend appropriate pun-

ishment. “They shall generally recommend appropriate measures or actions to be taken by any person, institution or authority to guard against future occurrence, investigate any other matter which may appear to the Commission to be incidental or contributory to the matter stated in the paragraph above. “They shall also recommend measures to stop the re-occurrence of the incidence and crisis and make such other recommendations as the commission may be required,’’ Akpabio said. On members of the commission, the governor said: “We want to know those behind this act and I believe strongly that until they are

behind bars, we cannot rest. We want to know who instigated them in the first instance; we want to know what measures we need to put in place because we have had perennial issues of disputes in this entire clan. ‘’We have collaborated with law enforcement and security agencies in our state and in the land to ensure that all Akwa Ibom persons sleep well at night and go about their normal business without fear or hindrance. “This commitment has been tested several times and on each occasion, this administration rose to the challenge. But the murder of three brothers, for me and for any human being remains havoc, an assault on our sensibility and values

and we will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of this. “I am pleading with the people of Ini Local Government Area this is an opportunity for you to help to unravel the killers, to unravel the perpetrators. “You can never say that you are living in a peaceful society when these men are still alive. I just want to plead with you in Ini Local Government Area, particularly members of Nkari Clan not to feign ignorance because I know you know them. Every society knows a bad person,” he said. Akpabio sympathised with the Ukpabio family on the gruesome murder of their sons. “My heart goes out to the family that lost the three brothers, and my prayer is

that God should console them. As a government, we have taken the right step.” Responding, the commission Chairman, Hon. Justice John U. Bassey thanked the governor for the confidence in appointing them to undertake the task and assured that the Commission would not fail to accomplish its terms of preference, hoping that the final report would engender peace and development in Nkari clan. The Commission, which derives its power from Akwa Ibom State Commission of Inquiry Law 2000 has Barr. Augusta Bassey of the Ministry of Justice as its secretary while Dr. Mfonobong Ndarake Itek, Barr. Nse Ekanem and Mrs. Bernadette Inyang are members.



LAW & SOCIETY Panel indicts firm over worker’s death


HE Lagos State government has released the report of the three-man panel set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a worker , Mike Aghaenu at a furniture factory, Alibert Products Nigeria Limited, Ikotun, Lagos. The summary of the report of the panel indicted the company for its “complacent attitude to safe means of operations”. The panel, which was inaugurated on June 11, 2012 by the Justice Commissioner, was mandated to determine the cause of the accident, the adequacy or otherwise of the safety measures in place at the factory, the adequacy or otherwise of compensation to workers in case of accidents, recommend compensation as may be necessary and any other matter as may be considered relevant to industrial safety. The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye said the report was part of discussion at the meeting of the State Security Council held last Tuesday at the State secretariat Alausa, Ikeja. Aghaenu, a machine operator at the factory, died as a result of injury sustained from a fibre machine accident while cleaning it at the factory after work on April 10, 2012. The panel, which was inaugurated by the Attorney General, following workers’ protest and public outcry, commenced investigation into the incident on June 20, 2012 and completed it on July 27, 2012 during which it carried out visitation to the factory, inspected the machine and held interviews with the doctor that treated the deceased and the deceased’s family. Ipaye said the investigation revealed that Aghaenu died as a result of complications that arose after his right limb was crushed by the machine. The report stated that “the incident was further com-


• Attorney-General Ade Ipaye By Adebisi Onanuga

pounded by the extensive delays during the attempt that was made to free the deceased from the trapped position and the failure to dispense any first responder emergency treatment. “These were indicative of the absence of effective policies and procedures in place, staff incompetence and complacent attitude to safe means of operations”. The commissioner said the panel, in line with its terms of reference came up with some recommendations which included the need for factories to employ skilled workers and operators and ensure continuous training of staff on any equipment in use. It stated further that the company’s clinic be upgraded and properly equipped and that adequate number of medical personnel with enough competence to attend trauma cases in line with the provisions of the Factories Act 1990 are at factories at all times.

A love for material goods A lawyer was driving his big BMW down the highway, singing to himself, “I love my BMW, I love my BMW.” Focusing on his car, not his driving, he smashed into a tree. He miraculously survived, but his car was totaled. “My BMW! My BMW!” he sobbed. A good Samaritan drove by and cried out, “Sir, sir, you’re bleeding! And my god, your left arm is gone!” The lawyer, horrified, screamed “My Rolex! My Rolex!” An honest lawyer An independent woman started her own business. She was shrewd and diligent, so business kept coming in. Pretty soon she realized she needed an in-house counsel, and so she began interviewing young lawyers. “As I’m sure you can understand,” she started off with one of the first applicants, “in a business like this, our personal integrity must be beyond question.” She leaned forward. “Mr. Peterson, are you an ‘honest’ lawyer?” “Honest?” replied the job prospect. “Let me tell you something about honest. Why, I’m so hon-

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I just managed to settle an account! A young attorney who had taken over his father’s practice rushed home elated one night. “Dad, listen,” he shouted, “I’ve finally settled that old McKinney suit.” “Settled it!” cried his astonished father. “Why, you idiot! We have been living off of that money for five years!”

Court to hear suit seeking NGF's dissolution on June 18

est that my dad lent me fifteen thousand dollars for my education and I paid back every penny the minute I tried my very first case.” “Impressive. And what sort of case was that?” He squirmed in his seat and admitted, “My dad sued me for the money.” An attorney passed on and found himself in Heaven, but not at all happy with his accommodations. He complained to St. Peter, who told him that his only recourse was to appeal his assignment. The attorney immediately advised that he intended to appeal, but was then told that he would be waiting at least three years before his appeal could be heard. The attorney protested that a three-year wait was unconscionable, but his words fell on deaf ears. The lawyer was then approached by the devil, who told him that he would be able to arrange an appeal to be heard in a few days, if the attorney was willing to change venue to Hell. When the attorney asked why appeals could be heard so much sooner in Hell, he was told, “We have all of the judges.” A man went into the Chamber of Commerce of a small town, obviously desperate. He asked the man at the counter, “Is there a criminal attorney in town?” The man replied, “Yes, but we can’t prove it yet.” Question: How do you get an attorney out of a tree? Answer: Cut the rope.

FEDERAL High Court in Abuja has slated hearing for next month in a suit challenging the propriety of the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF). Justice Ademola Adeniyi chose June 18 for hearing after the case was first mentioned before his court last week. The long date is to enable parties file and exchange necessary processes. Named with NGF, in the suit filed by Tijani Ali Danjuma, is the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 165/13 was filed by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Tubotamuno Dick. The suit is seeking, among others, an order de-registering the NGF on the ground that it was "erroneously registered by the CAC." The plaintiff, who argued that the NGF was an illegal body, formulated four questions for the court's determination; seeks three declarative reliefs and an order. Danjuma, the Northern Coordinator, Network for Defence of Democracy and Good Governance (NDDGG) wants the court to determine whether, by virtue of the provision of Section5 sub-sections 2, 3, 176, 183, 185, 187, 306 and 308; and the Oath of Office of Governor of a state, as set out in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the term "governor" refers to an "office" or a " person." •Whether an "office" can have fundamental human rights as provided under Chapter Four of the Constitution, particularly in relation to the right to freedom of association as provided under Section 40 for it (the office of governor) to qualify as Trustee under Section 592 of the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2004 and for it to be registered as an Association under Part C of CAMA? •Whether, assuming that the office of the governor of a state is the person occupying it, can he constitutionally or legally form an association under Section 40 of the Constitution, using the office whilst he holds it? •Whether the 2nd defendant (CAC) was not in error when it misdirected itself and registered the 1st defendant as an association in 1999? The plaintiff is also praying the court to declare that "governor," as established by Section 178 of the Costitution, is an office and not a person as to have fundamental human rights as established under Chapter Four of the Constitution, and

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

enjoy the right to freedom of association as provided under Section 40 of the Constitution, to qualify it as trustee under Section 592 of CAMA, to register an association under Part C of CAMA. He wants the court to declare that assuming he office of governor of a state is the person occupying the office, he can still not constitutionally or legally use the office to form an association while he holds it. Dajuma is also seeking a declaration that CAC should de-register or dissolve the NGF in accordance with the provision of Section 608 of CAMA. Danjuma, in a supporting affidavit, argued that it was wrong for governors, who had swore to serve their states diligently, to be devoting part of the time and resources meant for their states to the running of NGF and its affairs. He contended that it was not only unlawful for the governors to contribute their states' resources to the running of NGF, the governors' devotion of the time meant for the service of their states to the forum's activities negated the oath of office they took. Danjuma said the suit was necessitated by the need to ensure that the governors give undivided attention to the affairs of their states and utilise the states' funds for their development needs. The defendants have objected to the suit and prayed the court to dismiss it for, among others, being incompetent. In a motion on notice filed for it by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the NGF argued that the plaintiff's claim is not justiciable and that the court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate on it. NGF further contended that Danjuma lacks the locus standi to file the suit; it is an abuse of court process, it discloses no reasonable cause of action against it; that the claim is hypothetical, academic and speculative; and that it is status barred by virtue of the Public Officers Protection Act. It also argued that the suit is caught by the doctrine of estopel and the principle of waiver andvacquiescence. The NGF argued, in a supporting affidavit, that since April 1999 when the forum was registered, a period of more than three months, under the Public Officers Protection Act, has lapsed and a pe-

riod of over 13 months has also lasped. The forum also argued that, having failed to challenge its legitimacy, when it advertised its aims and objectives, preparatory to its registration, the plaintiff having failed to object within the rquired 28 days can no longer do so now. "Having failed to object to the registration of the association as stipulated by the relevant statute, the plaintiff has waived the right to do so and is estopped from doing so now. "The plaintiff has acquiesced and waived his right, if any, to object to the registration and continued existence of the NGF. The plaintiff's claim, challenging the legality of the 1st defendant (NGF) is coming after almost 14 years since its inception.The suit is statute barred by virtue of the Public Officers Protection Act," NGF argued. In its notice of preliminary objection, the CAC raised similar issues argued by NGF and prayed the court to decline jurisdiction. The first defendant equally filed a counter-affidavit to the plaintiff's originating summons. It denied that its members have abdicated their primary responsibilities by virtue of their membership of the forum. It also denied that its members divert states' resources to finance its activities. NGF argued that instead, its existence has contributed to the attainment of good governance in the country. Responding to issues raised by the defendants, the plaintiff filed a further affidavit in response to the NGF's counter-affidavit and a reply to the CAC's objection. Danjuma argued among others, that the suit can not be statute barred because he was not challenging the forum's registration, but its "constitutionality and legality." On the argument that he lacked the locus standi to institute the action, Danjuma stated that as a citizen of Kaduna State, who participated in the last election as an electorate, and his state governor being a member of the NGF, he was qualified to sue and challenge the legality of a forum, whose activities are sustained by resources the state and attention of the governor, both meant solely for his state.

Police absolve Adebajo, two others HE Police have absolved Justhe relevant columns of docuof allegations inments tice Adeniyi Adebajo of a Lamarked ‘A’ and ‘A1’ is dif-


gos High Court, Igbosere and two of his siblings, Gboyega and Wemimo, of the allegations made against him in several petitions allegedly signed by his mother, Mrs Irene Alake Adebajo and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for want of evidence. The Police said “it perceived the petitions to be frivolous and would not be taken serious for want of evidence”. The report of the examination of the document signed by the Forensic document Examiner, Assistant Superintendent of Police(ASP) R.A. Onwuzuligbo dated April 16, 2013, sources said, indicated that the petitions purportedly signed by the mother of Justice Adebajo may have been written two persons. The petitions have alleged that Justice Adebajo and two of his siblings, Gboyega and Wemimo, assaulted, brutalised and threatened the life of their mother, Mrs Irene Adebajo, with intent to cause her bodily harm among others. In all, about nine petitions dated between November 2, 2011 and March 20, 2013, against Justice Adebajo were examined by the Forensic Science Laboratory, D’

By Adebisi Onanuga

department(Force C.I.D.), Nigeria Police Force, Ikoyi ,Lagos. They were marked “A, A1, B,C,D,E,F,G, and H” and examined and compared on whether they were signed by one signatory. All the petitions were referred to the X-Squad section for discreet investigation. According to the report, the “scientific examination and comparison via video spectral comparator (VSC-5000) and other distinguished apparatus carried out on the written signatures in the relevant columns of the documents marked ‘A,B,C,D,E,F,G and H’ revealed inherent features of disparity between signatures on documents marked ‘A-A1’ and signatures on documents marked ‘B-H’”. The Police said “the written signatures in the columns of ‘Irene Alake Adebajo (Mrs.) and deponent on documents marked ‘A’ and ‘A1’ were written by one writer. “Written signatures in the columns of ‘Mrs Irene alake Adebajo’ and Olori Irene Alake Adebajo’ on documents marked “B,C,D,E,F,G and H’ were written by one writer. “The writer of written signatures

ferent to the writer of written signatures in the relevant columns of document marked ‘B,C,d,E,F,G and H’, the police forensic examiner stated. Another report signed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (Admininstration), Ngozi Ilo, on behalf of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, according to sources, stated that investigations conducted further revealed that the issues involved was a family matter. “Besides, the allegations made could not be substantiated with proofs as the petitioner refused to turn up on invitation to buttress her claim. “From the foregoing, it can be established from the available findings that it is more of a family issue as the petitioner is of age and her only daughter, one Princess Gloria Adebajo-Fraser took custody of her because of her state of health due to old age, though without the consent of her brothers or other members of the family and this development caused disharmony in the relationship between them which resulted in the allegations,” it added.




Developing free trade zones’ laws


EGAL Regime of Free Trade Zones by the Nige rian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) examines Free trade regime in Nigeria. In Chapter One entitled: Free Trade Zone: Policies, Principles and Problems by Emmanuel E Okon, the writer examines the legal framework of free trade zones in Nigeria; he notes that statutorily, the term “Free Trade Zone” has no standard definition in all the statutory instruments/laws that establish free trade zones in Nigeria. He defines and distinguishes between policies and principles in unadorned English as well as the legal status of the terms ‘principles and policy’. The writer analyses the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Act CAP 107 LFN 2004 and goes further to discuss specific domestic laws on custom issues while discussing perceived issues with various free zone laws in Nigeria, the Kano, Onne/Ikpokiri and Calabar free trade zones are his major focus. The writer discusses the synergy of the policies and principles of free trade zones and its effectiveness including the need to simplify the process for authorization of investments in a free trade zone. The writer concluded and recommended that the policies and principle of the free zone laws contain core investment and international trade principles that will motivate and encourage investors and that to facilitate the success of a free trade zone there is a need to have its policies and principles contain provisions to compel for qualitative and efficient infrastructures alongside incentives aimed at attracting foreign direct investment. In Chapter Two entitled: Historical Development of Free Trade Zones by Stella-Maris Omo, the writer traces the development of free trade zones and establishes that the first free trade zone was established in Shannon, Clare Ireland in 1930, with about 1735 free zones in 133 countries as at the time of this publication. She goes ahead to give a fairly exhaustive list of some free trade zones across continents, while discussing in brief details the history of the free zones in the United States, Nigeria and China. The writer has given examples of various tax regimes as incentives from a range of countries in Africa and Asia and concludes by suggesting that the government be fully sentient on the costs, benefits or otherwise of the incentives offered to export processing zones, suggesting that it be in tune with the World Trade Organisations rules and timelines on export promotion instruments. Osatohanmwen Eruaga, in Chapter Three entitled: Free Zone Legislations in Nigeria: An Appraisal has made efforts to examine the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Act (NEPZA) and the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act (OGEFZA), comparing similar legislations in other jurisdiction to verify whether the Nigerian legislations are sufficient to drive and regulate the free trade zones successfully. She goes further to give a general idea of prominent legislations on free trade zones in Nigeria pointing out the various similarities in the NEPZA Act and OGEFZA Act whilst emphasizing the dearth of infrastructure and maintenance of existing free trade zones. The writer has made comparisons of the United States Free Trade Zones Act with the Chinese in analysing similar provisions with the Nigerian legislation as regards raw materials and customs territory. She has pointed out that both Nigerian Legislations allow for full foreign ownerships of enterprise within the zones, prohibits industrial actions for a period of 10 years and easing tax burdens as forms incentive in the Nigerian free trade zones, comparing

BOOK REVIEW Title: Azinge, E. & Omo S. (ed.) Legal Regime of Free Trade Zones (The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies: 2012) Number of Pages: 371 Number of Chapters: 15 Reviewer : Okike Ajanwachuku the provisions with that of Dubai and Ghana. The writer concludes by suggesting that there is a need to amend the relevant provisions of the NEPZA and the OGEFZA to aid the proper functioning of the zones, though particular sections were not stated as recommended for amendments. She has also mentioned bills to repeal the legislations which are pending before the National Assembly. In Chapter Four: Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority: A Critique by Enuma Muoneke, the writer relates the reasons for the establishment of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) in 1991, states its functions and a brief overview of free zones in Nigeria, such as the Calabar Free Trade Zone, Snake Island Free Trade Zone, Tinapa Free Trade Zone and Business Resort. She goes ahead to give a schedule list of free zones in Nigeria and their locations ownership and functionality thus: of the 25 free zones in the country, 11 are functional, nine are under construction and five have been declared. The writer talked about the permissible activities in the zones and investment incentives, she went further to assess the achievements of NEPZA in line with its mission such as job creation, revenue generation, and developments of some infrastructure as a plus to the free zone scheme, she focused on the Calabar and Lekki free trade zones in providing facts and figures. The writer identified technical know-how, inefficiency in implementation, corruption, lack of funding among others as the challenges faced by the NEPZA. She has suggested some ways forward and concludes by insisting on implementation of NEPZAs proposals and the need for all stakeholders to drive the agency to its desired end. The writer, Nkechi QuintineAmiator in Chapter Five entitled: Free Trade Zone Incentives: An Analysis, assesses the concept of incentives in free zones and states that the purpose of incentives in free trade zones is to remove barriers and red tapes for foreign investors. She listed tax exemptions, land allocation, remittance of profits, and grants amongst others as various incentives in free trade zones in general and listed some more peculiar to Nigeria. The writer states that the rationale for incentives is based on economic principles for the enhancement of growth and development of a particular sector in an economy. Case studies were carried out on china and Singapore, and some arguments made for and against establishment of free trade zones. In conclusion, she has suggested that existing legislations be tailor made to suit each free trade zone as no two zones are the same and different incentives would apply to them. In Chapter Six: Free Trade Zones and Investment by Paul Obo Idornigie, the writer starts by discussing the barriers to free flow of goods and services, which include quota, tariff and non-tariff barriers. He has discussed the benefits of a free trade zone and the Nigerian Export Processing Zones, noting that the regulatory regime in the Export Processing Zones in Nigeria is liberal and provides a conducive environment for profitable operations. The writer discussed the investment opportunities in Nigeria and con-

cluded by suggesting that domestic investors be encouraged to invest in free trade zones alongside the foreign investors to provide for a level playing field, this way the foreign investors would not suffocate the domestic investors. Suzie Onyeka Ofuani in her chapter: Free Trade Zones and Corporate Governance in Nigeria discusses corporate governance in the light of the free trade zones, the need to increase shareholder value and meeting the expectations of other stakeholders because it is in the interest of the stakeholders of an organisation to maximise profit in line with standard best corporate practices. She discussed the application of the corporate governance codes in free trade zones, citing banking operations in the zones and customs territory as being governed by the CBN Code with no distinction as examples. She lists and discussed several principles of corporate governance, and concluded by encouraging companies in the free zones to adopt corporate governance principles so as to ensure that the aims and objectives of the zones in promoting trade and development are achieved. In Chapter Eight: Legislative Framework of Export Processing Zones written by Uchechukwu Ngwaba, the writer started with a brief history of export processing zones and its development, he analyzed the free trade zone legislations and the legal frame work of the zones in Nigeria. The writers examined the legal framework of the export processing zones in Nigeria. In Chapter Nine entitled: Free Trade Zone and Industrialisation, Ona Osanakpo discussed briefly the industrialization and trade policy in Nigeria, trade liberalisation, the protectionist theory and free trade. She went further to discuss the structure, operation and impact of free trade zones. She noted that a free trade zone cannot by itself facilitate the desired industrialisation of any state, but with other forms of trade liberalisation a state can achieve industrialisation. Adejoke Adediran in Export Free Zone and National Transformation gives a brief history of export free zones and the features, she discusses and analyses duty - free import of goods and tax exemption and flexibility of labour laws and compared the laws of various countries. The writer has given a description of national transformation in Nigeria and traced the various national transformation policies in at one point or the other in Nigeria’s history.

She also discusses the economic effects and the benefits of an export processing zone. In Chapter 11: A Critical Appraisal of the Monitoring and Regulation of Export Processing Zones in Nigeria, by Anele Kalu Kingsley, the writer gives a brief background and importance of the export processing zones. He further examines the enforcement of the Export Processing Zones Legislations as regards monitoring and regulation. The writer has critically evaluated the Export Processing Zones Act 2004 and has noted that there is an implied legislative restriction on unionisation, which makes regulation and monitoring of activities non-existent. In his recommendations he suggested that there is a need to review the existing legislations and reassess the policy strategy of the zones. Ogochukwu Mgbakogu in her chapter entitled: Free Trade Zones in Nigeria and Employment Generation, defined and gave various characteristics of free trade zones. She analysed foreign direct investment and its impact on employment and noted that employment generation is a major means of poverty alleviation. The writer did not discuss and provide the reader with information of the figures on job creations and the attendant effects on the Nigerian economy. In Chapter 13 entitled: Fund of Free Trade Zones by Emeka Odum, the writer gives a brief history of the free zones, and discusses various grants available to businesses in free trade zones such as small business grants and foreign and export promotion market development grants. He notes the sources of funds available for free trade zones to access and public-private partnerships. He went further to discuss foreign direct invest-

ments and local input. He uses America as a focal point and noted that funding in Nigeria is nowhere compared to that of developed countries. He suggestes the development of more public private partnerships in other to fund and boost free trade zones in Nigeria Also in Chapter 14: Territoriality and Legal Regime of Free Zones by Chukwuemeka Castro Nwabuzor, the writer gives a history and concept of regulatory legislations in Nigeria; he noted that a free trade zone is conferred with ex-territorial status and discussed job creation, increase in foreign currency earnings among others, as reasons for the status. He further discusses arguments against the ex-territorial concept of free zones. He further discusses right of entry into Nigerian free zones and adoption of best practices in free zones. T.I. Iber in Labour Relations and Trade Disputes in Free Trade Zones defines labour standards and labour relations. The writer establishes that there are three actors in labour relations, usually the state, employers and workers’ representatives such as trade unions and labour federations. He further states that labour laws applicable to the zones would depend on if the laws allow for the domestic laws to apply to the free trade zones. He discusses the Labour Laws of various countries, such as Singapore, Mauritius, countries in the Caribbean; Saint Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Jamaica, among others, crossing over to the Philippines, Sri Lanka, countries in the Americas and Nigeria. He concludes by suggesting that peace and stability are necessary to attract the expected foreign investments in Free Trade Zones.

• From left: Chairman Eastern Bar Forum (EBF), Mr Kemasuode Wodu, in a handshake with NBA President Okey Wali (SAN) at the EBF meeting in Port Harcourt ... last week. With them are Dr. Ipeze Ogugua and Alabo Glanville Williams.




Stakeholders canvass air safety, climate change factors


TAKEHOLDERS and participants in a training workshop on Aviation and Space Law, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), have called for capacity building, focus on climate change issues as it relates to the aviation sector and improved adjudication processes. The Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN) said: “ Aviation and Space law is emerging in Nigeria, that does not mean it is new globally but it could appear that we are not taking the appropriate interest that we ought to take over a period of time, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife is obviously leading capacity building in that direction at the Master of Laws (LL.M) level and we feel it is only those who are privileged to secure admission to do a LL.M degree programme find themselves availing that opportunity to themselves and to other people, but here at the institute, we feel that it is more important that we open up the door for people to come in with the rudiments and the technicalities of the aviation and space industry operation and that is exactly what we are doing now. We have just finished a roundtable on the subject just last week and we are now mounting this workshop. We are happy that we have an array of experts from diverse areas of the industry who are here to internalise some of the technicalities and the necessary rudiments for appreciating the problems in the aviation industry, the issue of compensation for victims of aviation crash, the issue of loss of luggage, delay in flight operations, over boarding and other technicalities that affect safety in aviation and the issue of space development. “Basically, we feel this is the right time and we are happy that government seems to be doing well at this same time in trying to build up infrastructure at our various airports. That will obviously work in tandem with what we are doing, so that it will form the basis for the transformation agenda, so that lawyers in the various sectors will come to terms with the capacity building that we have introduced and will benefit from it immeasurably,” he said. “The workshop will also impact positively, one thing is to develop the airports, another is for people to also understand the limits of the use of the airports, who can come into the airports and who cannot and what are the terms and conditions for you to utilise the airports. If you are a passenger, what are your rights and privileges and what are the obligations involved in this, there are so many other challenges involved in this. Again it is important that because we have remodelled the airports and the airports stand up to compete with some other international airports, it is possible for people to now aggregate their rights in the sense that you can now know where you are moving in from, where you are checking in, where you are coming out from, the issue of the Carsol, where your luggages will come out from, where you are flying to, is there anything published to that effect, if you fail to know that your flight is boarding, is there anything you can do about it and so on. “Obviously, the remodelling of the airports will have a lot to do with the rights, duties and obligations of the passengers and viceversa. To that extent, I believe it is time for us to understand some of the issues of liability, the issue of compensation and the issue of exactly knowing that it may not necessarily be the fault of the airline operators that certain things have

• Mr. Paully Okoronkwo, representing the D-G (NCAA), Mr Joyce D. Nkemakolam, Prof. Fagbohun and Prof. Azinge (SAN)

• Institute Secretary, James Bathnna (left) and former Director of Research, NIALS, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye By John Austin Unachukwu

transpired. All together, there seems to be a lot that seems to be emerging, we are talking of practical realities that are with us, it is not just a matter of academic proposition and conjecturing. So, on the whole, a lot can be garnered from this workshop and more importantly, the people who are stakeholders in the field are also being educated to build up their own capacity so that they will be in a better position to offer genuine and informed advice to government and to their various agencies In his keynote address, the Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCSS) canvassed eight critical elements of aviation safety as follows: •Primary Aviation Legislation involves the provision of a comprehensive and effective aviation law consistent with the environment and complexity of the State’s aviation activity and compliant with the requirements contained in the Chicago Convention of 1945 on International Civil Aviation. The Nigeria Civil Aviation Act 2006 meets this element. •Specific Operating Regulations is the provision of adequate Regulations, orders, rules or advisory circulars to address, at the minimum, national requirements emanating from the primary legislation and providing for standardized operational procedures, equipment and infrastructure{including safety management and training systems), in conformance with the Standards And Recommended Practices (SARPs) contained in the Annexes to the Chicago Convention. Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations Vol. I (2009) and Vol. II (2012) are models. •State Civil Aviation System/ Safety Oversight functions is the establishment of a safety oversight responsible entity e.g. a Civil aviation Authority (CAA) headed by a CEO, supported by appropriate and

adequate technical and non-technical staff and provided with adequate financial resources. The state must have stated safety regulatory functions, objectives and safety policies. See Sections 2, 8, 12, 30 etc of CAA 2006. •Technical Personnel Qualification and Training involves the establishment of minimum knowledge and experience requirement for the technical personnel performing safety oversight functions and the provision of appropriate training to maintain and enhance their competence at the desired level. The training should include initial and recurrent training. •Technical Guidance, Tools and the provision of Safety critical information. The provision of TG (including processes and procedures), tools {including facilities and equipments) and safety critical information as applicable to the technical personnel to enable them to perform their safety oversight functions in accordance with established requirement and in a standardize., manner. It also includes the provision of technical guidance by the CAA to the aviation industry on the implementation of applicable regulations and instructions. •Licensing, Certification, Authorization and Approval Obligations is the implementation of processes and procedures to ensure the personnel and organizations performing an aviation activity meet the established requirements before they are allowed to exercise the privileges of a license, certificate, authorization and/or approval to conduct the relevant aviation activity. •Surveillance Obligations is the implementation of process, such as inspection and audits, to proactively ensure that aviation license, certificate, authorization and/or approval holders continue to meet the established requirements and function at the level of competency and safety required by the state to undertake an aviation related activity for which they have been licensed, certified, au-

thorized and/or approved to perform. This includes the surveillance of designated personnel who perform safety oversight functions on behalf of CAA. •Resolution of Safety Concerns is the implementation of processes and procedures to resolve identified deficiencies impacting aviation safety, which may have been residing in the aviation system and have been detected by the regulatory authority. This would include the ability to analyze safety deficiencies, forward recommendations, support the resolution of identified deficiencies, as well as take enforcement action when appropriate. ICAO Universal Safety Audit, FAA Category 1 Certification and ICAO Security Audit are some of the evaluation the Nigerian Aviation Industry had successfully undergone by strict compliance with the CE. It is important to state here that the primary responsibility for the conduct of safe flight operations rest on the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holder. The Federal Government through the NCAA has put in place layers of processes to ensure that the AOC holder conduct its operation in line with extant civil aviation laws and regulations Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, a professor of Environmental Law said: “ There are three critical areas that we can look at when we are looking at the environment and aviation. The emphasis will come in the area of air quality, noise pollution and climate change. When you look at air pollution and noise pollution, you will find out that to a very large extent, because it has been on the front burner in the last 20 to 25 years, that has been taken care of and a lot has gone into the design of aircrafts such that it has reduced the pollution in terms of noise, in terms of the way the exhaust pollutes the airspace. But in the area of climate change, you still see that there is a lot to be done because that has not been in the mind of those who are working on various regulations until of recent, when climate

change issues came to the fore and you are looking specifically at the problems of green gases and when you say green house gases in terms of climate change, you are not just looking of the aircraft, your also looking at the various infrastructure that they use on ground because their fuel depots on ground, their other service equipment that they use on ground, they emit a lot in terms of green house gases. This is the area where regulation is going into now and you will find out that there is a critical element that is used in area of climate change at the moment and that is economic instrument, there is a problem when you are talking about economic instrument and the aviation industry. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is looking at an environment like that of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), it is a free environment for people to transact their business whereas you will find out that what the UNFCC Convention is looking at is in terms of the different responsibilities of developing countries vis-avis- developed countries, so you see a difference in the way they are looking at charges and the way they are looking at taxes. Taxes is just something that can effectively be used in the aviation industry for fuel, for such other things like equipment, but charges is one way in which they are now coming in to say how do we continue to maintain our environment in terms of the charges that are placed on the aircraft. So, the area where Nigeria could be keeping its focus now is in the area of climate change and the contribution of the aviation industry to climate change issues. Fielding questions on the role of the courts in adjudicating and resolution of aviation disputes and cases, Dr. Chinyere Ani said: “ Really, the courts involved in the adjudication of aviation disputes is the Federal High Court, that is the Court , Section 251 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vests the jurisdiction in any matter concerning aviation, maritime and so on on the Federal High Court. Also, the Federal High Court Act, also vests that jurisdiction on the Federal High Court. Invariably, that Court has a lot of roles to play as far as aviation is concerned. “However, the Court cannot act suo motu, aggrieved parties and agencies have to approach the court for desired reliefs through their motions and required processes. When the matter gets to the Court, it is left for the court to dispense with it and provide adequate compensation for the parties based on our extant laws and the other international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory. Such international conventions includes: The Warsaw Convention, the Montreal Convention, the Chicago Convention and a host of other such other Conventions that Nigeria is privy to and down here in Nigeria, we have a lot of domestic laws on aviation and terrorism, it is the duty of the court to administer those laws and ensure that they are complied with and when they are breached, the court should give adequate sentences,” she said.

• Dr Ani






• From left: Chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers, Igwe Osisi Itodo Agu, President Goodluck Jonathan, Chairman, Southeast Traditional Rulers, Chief Cletus Ilomuanya and Chairman, Abia State Traditional Rulers, Eze Nwata Mbakwe during a courtesy visit to the PHOTOS: AKIN OLADOKUN State House Abuja

•From left: Pastor Matthew Sule, his wife, Pastor Foluso; Pastor Folu Oluyombo; Pastor Olawale Oluyombo; Pastor Taiwo Omolaja and Pastor Modupe Omolaja cutting the ninth anniversary cake of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Wisdom of God Parish, FCT 2, Abuja PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

•From left: Chairman, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chairman, Fort Oil, Femi Otedola and Minister of State, Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawal Ngama during the National Economic Management Team meeting at the Presidential Villa

•From left: Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings, Bello Maccido, Managing Director, Compumentrics Solutions Ltd., Dr, Evans Woherem and FCT Minister representative, Isa Mohammed Ari at the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition at Nicon Luxury, Abuja

•The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mrs Nkechi Ejele (second left) opening the exhibition to mark the International Day of Sites and Monuments in Abuja. With her are Director of Heritage, Monument and Sites, Funso Adedayo (left), Director of Culture Ministry of Culture and Tourism, George Ufot (right) and Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abdallah Yusuf Usman PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

•From left: Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, President Goodluck Jonathan and Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar at the launch of Police Equipment and Police Week celebration at the Eagle Square, Abuja PHOTOS: AKIN OLADOKUN

•Matron, Abuja Children's Home, Bilikisu Oketokun Ajagbe (right); Programme Manager, • Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide (right) presenting a key of Federal Better World Initiative, Emmanuel Oriche (second left) and other members of the group Capital Territory to Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Glifford, during during its donation of food items to the Home in Karu, Abuja his visit to the Territory




With ekpoita / 08138168825

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 DiCaprio kisses co-star Robbie, with bikini-clad babes for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ reshoots

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 It takes a whole boatload of blonds to keep up with Leonardo DiCaprio.The “Django Unchained” star, 38, was spotted on a yacht with a crew of bikini-clad ladies on Monday, working on reshooting scenes for his upcoming film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”He even stole a kiss from co-star Margot Robbie, who was clad in a racy gold swimsuit. Rumors swirled last year that DiCaprio and Robbie, 22, have been getting cozy off-screen as well.DiCaprio seemed relaxed in a breezy blue buttondown shirt and white slacks, sporting sunglasses and slicked back hair.“The Wolf of Wall Street,” directed by Martin Scorsese, is a crime drama based on the story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort, played by DiCaprio.Belfort was indicted for fraud and money laundering, and led a hard-partying lifestyle before his arrest. The boat that DiCaprio was filming on may have been the movie’s version of Belfort’s ship Nadine, which was originally constructed for Coco Chanel. Earlier this year, DiCaprio was spotted smooching Miss Universe Kosovo finalist Aferdita Dreshaj, who partied with the “Titanic” heart-throb in Miami.DiCaprio told German newspaper Bild in January that he would like to take a break from acting after he completes “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Great Gatsby.”“I would like to improve the world a bit,” the actor said. “I will fly around the world doing good for the environment.”



HUMOUR Sense of Responsibility. 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


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013




CONSTITUTION REVIEW The Senate has recommended a single term of six years for the President, Vice President, governors and deputy governors. EMMANUEL OLADESU and AUGUSTINE AVWODE examine the views of politicians, lawyers, rights activists, and other stakeholders on the proposal.

Is single six-year term the answer? T

HE controversial single tenure debate is back. The Sen ate Committee on Constitution Riview has recom mended a non-renewable single term of six years for the President, Vice President, governors and deputy governors. If the proposal is adopted, it will be a turning point in the country’s history. If it is rejected, the status quo remains. Analysts contend that both have implications for the polity. To the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Dr Ahmed Gulak, said that it is the right step in the right direction. He recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan had suggested it before. “If the proposal becomes a law, the credit should go to the President,” he added. Few weeks after President Jonathan was sworn in, he shocked Nigerians when he proposed a single six-year term. He argued that the option would stabilise the polity and reduce the tension associated with electioneering. “Every four years you conduct elections, you create so much tension in the political environment. As we are talking, some people are busy holding meetings for the 2015 elections.It creates series of confusion in the political environment,” Dr Jonathan observed. Other stakeholders have, however, rejected the proposal. The National Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, said that the constitutional two-term is better. He urged Nigerians to insist on the sanctity of the ballot box, stressing that one man one vote will lead to good governance. “The best option is the two-term; that is a renewable term of four years. If a person knows that he will only spend one term, he knows that he does not need your mandate again. If someobne knows that the people have the power to determine his fate, and that if he performs well, the people will renew his mandate, that will be sufficient motivation to work hard.”, he said. Lagos lawyer Chief Fred Agbaje described the suggestion as a political suicide. He said that the single term years are too long, adding that it could lead to indolence. “The six or seven years is too much for one person. It is too long. Assuming we have a non-performing individual in the office, he will then remain in office for all that time? Four years is enough for a performing individual to make a good mark. In fact, he would not need to ask for re-elelction, the people will call on him to do so. The beauty of democracy is that it allows for a periodical re-engineering”, he added. Renowned legal scholar Prof Itsey Sagay (SAN) has a different view. He observed that the second term battle often created tension, adding that immediately people were inaugurated for the first term, they started the battle for a second term. Urging Nigerians to support the single term proposal, Sagay said it would enable the President, his deputy, the governors and their deputies to focus properly on their mandate within the stipulated one term. A political scientist, Prof. Kimse Okoko, shared this view. The former President of the Ijaw National Council (INC) said a single term would stop the political wrangling associated with the second term politics. “In the context of the reality of Nigeria, we should adopt a single tenure. It will be better. It willl spare this nation the unnecessary wrangling for a second term and reduce the inordinate ambition on the part of politicians,” Okoko said. The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has backed the recommendation with reservations. The group observed that the non-renewable single term would halt the mad race for a second term, moderate the politics of succession and give opportunity to the incumbents to concentrate on their duties without nursing reelecton. The association also said that, since the preparation for the second term commences barely six months into the first tenure, and rages to the second tenure when the politics of finding a worthy succeessor takes the

• From right: President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekeremadu at a meeting in Abuja. Behind is Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba. centre stage, a single term would restore sanity. “ARG is of the opinion that an un-renewable term will encourage our leaders to think of bequeathing a legacy by focusing more on governance than politics”, said the group’s Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo. However, ARG differed on the number of years recommended for a single term, saying that a single term of five years is enough. The group also objected to the proposed denial of the deputies the right to succeed their bosses. “ARG thinks that nothing should stop a good deputy from succeeding their bosses. Denying credible and deserving deputies the right of party sponsorship tramples on the political right of the people to choose their leader”, Famoriyo added. Renowned journalist and former Information Minister Prince Tony Momoh, who described the proposal as another tenure elongation bid, said President Jonathan should tackle the pressing national questions threatening the social, economic and political fabric of the country. Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftain Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora decried the move, saying that it would pale into a licence for corruption for elective office holders. Former Edo State Governor John Odigie-Oyegun called for a national debate on the bill, saying that the proposal is a serious matter. He said the only advantage is that the presidency would move round the geo-political zones in a fast manner. The Third Republic governor of Edo State said: “That is a serious matter. It calls for a national debate. This is my preliminary reaction. It should not be done in a way that affects his (President’s) tenure. That will distort it like the third term. If it is being done for personal benefit, it has no merit. “On the surface, it has a merit. Four years is short. People spend a lot of time on how to have a second term. Given the nature of Nigeria, the Presidency will move round a bit faster. my expectation is that the law will not have retroactive effect. It must be debated. May be, it is worth thinking about. The prons and cons should be debated.”.Momoh, who suspected a tenure elongation agenda in the proposal to the National Assembly, advised the President to face the fundamental issues critical to the survival of the country. The CPC National Chairman asked the President to devote more attention to restructuring of the polity to guarantee true federalism, adding that a return to parliamentary system and regionalism would do Nigeria a lot of good. Momoh stressed: “Tenure elongation is not the immediate problem of Nigeria. The immediate problem of Nigeria is social justice. We have opted for social justice and constitu-

‘The issue is not about tenure. It is about performance. We must work on the system. It is uncalled for, a waste of resources and time. Tenure is not a problem. The people in authority are the problem. What we need is a political education so that those who fail to perform well in office should be voted out. Reviewing the tenure is not a priority. The issue is the delivery of dividends of democracy’

tional democracy. Social justice relates to the welfare package for Nigerians. This is the road taken. But we are putting money on the road more than the destination. We are chasing shadows and not substance. “What we need is true federalism. The centre is too power loaded and power must devolve to the regions. There is need for restructuring. People are sharing a cake they are not part of its baking. There should be true federalism after restructuring and the six geo-political zones of Southwest, Southeast, Southsouth, Northwest, Northeast and Northcentral should be the federating units. There must be democracy before development. There is the need to revert to regionalism and we need part-time legislature in a parliamentary system”. Mamora, a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said that the President was busy chasing shadows. He said a single term of six years is “a veritable instrument for corruption, chop I chop and turn by turn chopping”, adding that it would breed a new culture of “don’t disturb me; wait for your turn; and don’t interfere in my affair”. Mamora said the President should have concentrated on the immediate challenges of economy, security, infrastructural development and unemployment, which are germane to the development of the country.He added: “I have not seen the bill. But that is not what we need at this time. The issues we need to address are not being addressed. It is like leaving leprosy and attending to minor ailments. The single term will turn out to be a way of instituting corruption in the system. “Once the elected executive is not coming back, he or she becomes a law to himself or herself. he is not bothered. It is the surest way of making a dictator. It will breed lawlessness. The person will have the feeling that he is not going back to the electorate to seek re-election. When a person is seeking re-nomination, he will be encouraged to do well and demand for a second term. “The demerits outweigh its merits, if there is any merit at all. A single term does not give you the opportunity of second chance, which means that you have to live with an error or mistake you have committed”. The ACN governorship candidate in Taraba State, Senator Joel Ikenya, said the agitation for a single term was not new, adding that it is a non-issue. He added: “ The issue is not about tenure; it is about performance. We must work on the system. It is uncalled for, a waste of resources and time. Tenure is not a problem. The people in authority are the problem. What we need is a political education so that those who fail to perform well in office should be voted out. Reviewing the tenure is not a priority. The issue is the delivery of dividends of democracy. A leader of Afenifere, the Yoruba pan socio-political group, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, however, hailed the bill, saying that it is desirable. He said: “I think it is a welcome idea. There is the tendency in this part of the world, especially Nigeria, to see elective public office as an avenue for making money. Six years is sufficient for you to do what you think you can do in eight years. Staying longer in office leads to corruption and power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Another Afenifere leader, Chief Rueben Fasoranti, spoke in the same vein, calling for support for the bill. He said: “It is a right step in the right direction. When people seek second term, there is always trouble. A single term of six years is enough. Then, there is a new leaf.”



POLITICS Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity Dr Rueben Abati spoke on the national security and other issues on the Sahara Television on Saturday. Correspondent ADEOLA OLADELE - FAYEHUN monitored the interview in New York.

‘We welcome independent investigation on Baga’


OULD you summarise your report on the Baga incident... The statement that I issued on the matter was based on the submission of reports to the President by the National Emergency Management Agency and the Defense Headquarters or if you like, the Military Command, who had been given strict instructions to go and investigate what happened in Baga; to intervene in terms of rehabilitation of the victims, and to also determine whether rules of engagement of the military authorities had been respected or not, and to make appropriate recommendations. In that report, the military authorities made it very clear, that the incident occurred on April 16 and not the April 19 that was being published by newspapers, and that contrary to the reports, there was no case of over 200 people or 158 persons dying, that also there were no mass graves in Baga, and that the investigations revealed that 30 Boko Haram terrorists died, one soldier and some bodies were found in Lake Chad, a few meters away from the scene of the confrontation. The report also made it clear that arson is a usual method adopted by the Boko Haram terrorists, and that these Boko Haram terrorists, some of the weapons seized from them included rocket grenades, bombs, AK47s, and a lot of sophisticated weapons. And that in the process, many of the buildings around the area of the confrontation were set on fire by the Boko Haram terrorists. It was also made clear that the military command in its investigations was able to establish that there were no mass graves and there was no evidence that so many people died. NEMA pointed out that it has set up its own intervention programme, including units for internally displaced persons. And as at the time that statement was issued, 642 persons had been accommodatedat at the internally displaced persons unit. And also, NEMA made it very clear that the graves that the officials visited, the two major graves in the community, that they could only find a total of just 32 graves. In terms of population, Baga is a very small fishing community on the boarder between Nigeria and Chad. And even in terms of the number of houses in that community, you don’t have up to 1,000 houses. So, where was this information coming from that 3,000 houses were burnt, 4,000 houses were torched. So, NEMA concluded also that there has been a lot of misinformation. Are you saying Red Cross lied and the Senator that visited Baga and said 228 people died, are you saying he lied? The figures that are being around cannot be substantiated, and I’m quoting that line directly from the NEMA report. The NEMA officials were there on the ground, they conducted their investigations, you’re quoting Red Cross, don’t forget that many of the aid workers were claiming that they were not granted access; the same people who said they were not granted access are quoting figures. And NEMA has already debunked that and said that nobody was barred from accessing the community. NEMA was granted access, Red Cross was granted access, and the investigations that NEMA and the defense authority did are the details that I have given you earlier on. What about the Senator? The question we should ask is: “Did the Senator go to there or was he speaking on the basis on hearsay? Then the question is how did he conduct his own investigations? What empirical evidence does he have? Because we should refrain from relying on gossip or hearsay. And I believe that the senator, am sure the authorities may possibly invite him to provide evidence and to assist in the investigations that are still continuing. What about the published satellite image of Baga before and after the incidence. Have you seen the picture? Well, I have seen the satellite images that are being circulated. But you know those satellite images are questionable. You know that satellite imagery is determined by a lot of variables: weather condition, the quality of equipment, the resolution, the distance, and all of that. And the military authority have made it very clear that the Nigerian authority have also carried out their own satellite imagery, using Nigeria’s tools. And the evidence that they have is clearly different from the evidence that the Human Rights Watch is talking about. In that same Human Rights Watch report, it is claimed that certain persons in the community were interviewed. Where were they interviewed? When? These are questions that you

‘This administration has made it very clear that it is committed to good governance, transparency and integrity in all its processes. And many steps are being taken to ensure that these objectives are met, that these objectives are achieved on a sustainable bases. And there has been many cases on a daily basis with clear evidence of the administration dealing with corruption’ • Dr Abati

should ask. I mean the same people said they were not granted access, so how did they conduct their interviews? And if they said they conducted their interviews by phone, the report states that communication satellite mast in that community had been damaged by the Boko Haram terrorists, such that at the moment, it’s very difficult to make phone calls to that community. And then, of course, it is not impossible if at all anyone was interviewed, you ought to realise that there is a lot of politicking involved in this matter, people are beginning to play politics with it, but the military authority and the Nigerian State has the responsibility to ensure the integrity of the Nigerian state, to ensure that the sovereignty of Nigeria is not violated, and to ensure that terrorists are not allowed to create a state within the state. Because what the authorities are faced with is a situation whereby the terrorists are almost creating an enclave inside the Nigerian territory. Are you going to have an independent investigation, apart from the government owned agencies? In the statement that I issued on this matter, I made it clear that President Jonathan, welcomed the decision by the National Human Rights Commission to conduct its own independent investigations. And the council of the National Human Rights Commission has already met, and they issued a statement saying that they would carryout independent investigations. Whoever wants to also carryout independent investigations is welcome. Historically, Nigerian government is known to downplay figures in incidences like this. So you should understand why people are not believing what the government is saying, do you? Well, the government is also concerned that people are playing politics with this Baga incidence, that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and there seems to be a deliberate attempt to give a bad name in order to harm it. Killing of innocent civilians by the Nigerian military is nothing new. Former President OlusegunObasanjo had his Odi massacre. President Yar’Adua actually created the modern day Boko Haram after his security agents massacred over 1000 members of Boko Haram. Is Baga President Jonathan’s own massacre? In this new world order where heads of states face charges of crime against humanity for ordering the killing of his own citizens is the president worried about the possibility of facing charges in the International Criminal Court over the activities of the JTF? One, the position of the government is that there was no massacre in Baga. Two, the reports by investigators also made it clear that the Boko Haram terrorists were the ones who set houses on fire, and the ones who have turned Baga into an enclave within the Nigerian State. And to the extent that that is true means that the terrorists are determined to violate the sovereignty of

Nigeria. The investigations that have been carried out by the Nigerian authority are already public material and there is no reason why anyone should play politics talking about international criminal court. I don’t think that that is what we’re dealing with in this situation. But, of course, the National Human Rights Commission is going to carryout its own investigations, President Jonathan has said that the investigations should continue, and that where it can be established that there has been any misdeed or misconduct, that the administration will do everything to ensure that justice is done. Will the government allow an international agency to come and look into this incident? Yes, whoever wants to come and investigate is welcome. But what we expect is that people will be truthful, and that they will not play politics, or set out to work to a predetermined formula or answer, as seems to be the case at the moment. Do you think this will have an impact on the amnesty talk and the goal to see if Boko Haram could be brought into the administration for any kind of negotiation? If anything, I think what has happened in Baga again, brought attention to the fact that every step must be taken to bring this terrorist challenge that we have in that part of the country to an end. And the situation that we have on our hands now is that a lot of Nigerians are recommending the amnesty option, and government has set the machinery in motion for this to be considered as an option that can be taken along with other measures that are being adopted. So I don’t see it as standing in the way of the measures being taken. Did President Jonathan award $40 million contract to an Israeli company to monitor computer, Internet communication by Nigerians? Will some Israelis soon be reading my emails to my grandmother? Well, the report that I read indicated that the Israeli company that is being talked about never mentioned Nigeria. It only referred to an unnamed African country. It is the people doing the interpretation who are insisting that it must be Nigeria. I think that those making the claim must be certain that it is Nigeria that is being referred to. And in the reports that I have read, there is no clear indication that the Isreali company talked about Nigeria. Are you saying that as far as you know, there was no contract given to this Isrealicompany? Well, I am referring to the report on which your question is based, and am saying that the press release on which the stories are based, that press release by the Isreali company never mentioned Nigeria. However, speaking theoretically, you will note that in an age of terrorism, and with the kind of security challenges we have in the world today, many countries have seen the need in combating terrorism to upscale their intelligence gathering methods. And in many of

‘The report also made it clear that arson is a usual method adopted by the Boko Haram terrorists, and that these Boko Haram terrorists, some of the weapons seized from them, included rocket grenades, bombs, AK47s, and a lot of sophisticated weapons’

the countries that we like to quote, that we like to refer to, you know for a fact that several methods are taken to monitor what happens in cyber space and to prevent cyber crime, and to ensure that nobody abuses an important medium as the internet. But that is speaking theoretically. So, you’re sure that Nigerian government did not give contract to this company? Well, I can find out for you, but you know these are security matters. But I have taken note of your request, I will find out. The Presidency said that the US report on corruption in Nigeria is exaggerated. That same week, the Senate Public Accounts Committee submitted a report that says that N1.5trillion special accounts funds by the Federal Government was misused from 2002-2012. The three special funds accounts are the Stabilization Account, Ecological Fund Account and the Natural Resources Account. How could that happen? Well, that has not been proven, and I don’t know the details of that story. But you know, of course, that often times, some of these things come up, and when they’re properly investigated, they’re found not to be actually accurate. But that story I don’t quite have the details, but I can assure you that allegations of mass corruption, all these are exaggerated. And as we move towards 2015, with which a lot of people seems to be so upset, you’ll keep finding all kinds of stories, which are contrive, and which are being brought forward to public attention just to see if the administration can be discredited. So, there’s a lot of mischief out there. This administration has made it very clear that it is committed to good governance, transparency and integrity in all its processes. And many steps are being taken to ensure that these objectives are met, that these objectives are achieved on a sustainable bases. And there has been many cases on a daily basis with clear evidence of the administration dealing with corruption. And I think that the last time that you and I discussed, you know I gave many examples in this regards, including the fact that the fuel subsidy scam was something that was exposed by this administration. Two, the fact that political corruption is probably the biggest corruption, and this administration has been dealing with that. Today, we live in a country where people praise election conducted by this administration, as being free and fair. Many elections have been held under President Jonathan’s watch, and there has been no evidence, no indication of interference by the center, or any attempt as was the case in the past by anybody at the center to impose his will on the will of Nigerians. This President is committed to free and fair elections, electoral process that is very high in terms of integrity. Look at what the administration is also doing in terms of the ports, you know, getting the ports cleared of all the toll gates that people have erected there. Look at what is being done in terms of even double-checking and making sure that people who are working for the government are properly documented. Look at what has been done in the agric sector, the same agric sector in this country that was defined by sheer scam, fertilizer scam, tractor scam; all of that has changed, and a lot is still changing. But the opposition in Nigeria will like to keep concocting stories trying to embarrass the government and claiming that the government is not fighting corruption. The truth of the matter is that this government is committed to the fight against corruption. What happened to the buses we were promised when the government removed subsidy? You know that after removal of partial subsidy that occurred in 2012, following the protest, government immediately set up the Sure-P Committee. The Sure-P Committee is a body set up to monitor how the savings are spent. I’ve heard a number of people talking about projects by SureP. it is actually an oversight body working with the project implementation units in the various ministries. And what government did was to outline and publish all the activities that Sure-P would oversee. And Dr. Christopher Kolade, who is the head of that committee, has given reports again and again and again. One of the programs under Sure-P has been the, empowerment at the level of maternal and child healthcare. Before December last year, almost about 4,000 health workers were engaged and sent to different parts of the country, focusing specifically on the issue of maternal and child health. On the issue of employment, under Sure-P we have what is called the graduate internship scheme, to which over 13,000 Nigerian companies signed up. And by December last year, over 100,000 Nigerian graduates were already being placed in various companies and that number has even gone up this year.



AVIATION FAAN to support workers THE Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) has promised to fulfil the requirements of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on safety and security of flights and other airport operations. Its Managing Director, George Uriesi, told aerodrome rescue and fire fighting personnel that FAAN would ensure that they get the necessary working tools. Uriesi spoke at the first International Fire Fighters Day in Nigeria held at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos, last weekend. Represented by the Director of Operations, Capt Henry Omeogu, he said FAAN fire fighters have been provided with the state-of-the-art fire tenders to enable them to carry out their duties. On training, he said facilities at the Central Training School, Lagos were being upgraded to meet the demands of the transformation programme in the sector, adding that efforts were on to uplift the personnel’s morale through an upgrade of fire stations and provision of brand new service kits and uniforms for workers. He said fire fighters must break in to save the passengers on board aircraft in about three minutes of any mishap. Uriesi said: “The only way to achieve this supreme feat is to ensure that our fire fighters receive appropriate training, have the right tools, and very importantly, be in the right frame of mind in a right operational environment. Bravery we must agree, starts with the mind start.” In January, this year, FAAN received six fire tenders that were sent to The Netherlands for overhaul. With the additional six tenders, Omeogu said FAAN has fire tenders at the Lagos and Abuja airports. •From right: Governor Godswill Akpabio, Bombadier Inc CEO, Pierre Beaudoin and Semmer Adam during the Gov’s visit to Bombadier plant in Toronto at the weekend.

Policy inimical to aviation’s interest, say airline owners


HY was the aviation policy reviwed last week by the Federal Government? It is because it has become outdated or does it have political undertone? These were some of the posers raised by the public amid reactions to the government’s action. The respondents are: Aviation Roundtable (ART) President, Captain Dele Ore, and Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), SeceretaryGeneral, Captain Mohammed Joji. Ore described the policy as a setback and unnecessary He said the Minster of Aviation Princess Stella Oduah should focus on the challenges of the industry, instead of revising the old 2006 aviation policy that has been adjudged by many international bodies, including the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), as a valid document. Ore said the minister should not pursue shadows, as the implementation of the policy may take the industry over two decades back, because the issues raised in it have been adequately addressed in the 2006 civil aviation policy. He said: “The new policy for some of us is uncalled for. It is the least of the problems the aviation industry is going through. There are myriad of challenges confronting the industry, not a review of the civil aviation policy. There is nothing wrong with the old policy to warrant this urgent review. It will rock the foundation of aviation in Nigeria. What they have done is taking us back to the 1995 era. It will eventually become a setback for the industry. I am convinced that when the implementation fails, the government will have no choice but to call on ex-

Stories by Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent

perts to address the mess the new arrangement will create.” Joji said the new policy would move the industry back in the global aviation community. What the policy has done, he said, is to hijack the responsibility of economic regulation of airlines from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and give it to the body to be established by the Ministry of Aviation. “The Aviation Roundtable will continue to watch developments to see how the implementation will work. I am confident it is going to cause confusion. When we have consistently said nothing is wrong with the old 2006 civil aviation policy,” he added. Joji said: “It is better to move the industry forward than to seek its regression. It is my humble opinion that nothing is wrong with the 2006 civil aviation policy.“ Another industry player, who asked not to be named, described

the new policy as another attempt to reduce the powers of the NCAA, as the sole regulator of civil aviation. He described it as a great disservice to the growth of civil aviation. The policy, which takes effect this week, will address gaps in operations by private jet and charter operators, Princess Oduah, said. Under the revised 2013 Civil Aviation Policy, she said a directorate has been created to take care of specialised operations, including private and charter jets, which she categorised as general aviation. The revised regulation is a follow up to the 2009 edition, which came from the 2006 Civil Aviation Act, which granted autonomy to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). She alleged that operators were exploiting the weaknesses in the previous policy to shortchange the system. The policy is expected to be reviewed in 2018.

‘The new policy for some of us is uncalled for. It is the least of the problems the aviation industry is going through. There are myriad of challenges confronting the industry, not a review of the civil aviation policy. There is nothing wrong with the old policy to warrant this urgent review. It will rock the foundation of aviation in Nigeria’

Unions list conditions for new national carrier T

HE Conference for Aviation Unions and Professional Association (CAUPA) has given the Federal Government conditions for floating a national carrier. It said the airline should not be floated until labour and pensions issues arising from the liquidation of Nigeria Airways are settled. In a statement by the group’s convener, Sheri Kyari and the Secretary, Austyn Njoku, the union said it was worried by the pending labour and related matters affecting the workers of the defunct airline.

The workers, he said, were wallowing in poverty, adding that some of the workers died out of frustration without collecting their severance benefits The body said it was not opposed to the establishment of a national carrier, because it would create jobs and reduce capital flight in the aviation industry. “This will lead to the re-establishment of standard operating procedures and safety consciousness in the aviation industry. This would also lead to the much-talked about job creation for our teeming youths

and redundant professionals in the industry. The drainage the sector has become on the economy would eventually be fixed, and the pride of Nigerians all over the world would also be restored,” the group said. While lauding the idea of new carrier, CAUPA cautioned against the idea of buying and distributing aircraft to ailing airlines. “This should be completely disregarded in the interest of safety, unity, integrity, good governance, prudence and transparency,” it stated.

ECOWAS officials visit Arik Air OFFICIALS of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last week inspected Arik Air’s facilities and operations. The Regional Director, Air Transport, Dr Paul Antoine Marie Ganemtore, led the delegation. He said aim of the visit was to explore opportunities for partnership and explore where ECOWAS regional aircraft maintenance facility proposed for the sub-region could be sited. He said: ”We were invited to visit Arik Air to consider how air transport could foster economic integration in Africa. This visit has afforded the team the opportunity to see the working of the airline and its operating capacity. We are impressed by the high level of competence, we have seen. We have visited the maintenance facility to see what is on ground, in terms of training.” He said the ECOWAS Commission will continue to canvass the creation of a conducive environment through harmonised regulation and policy to fast track the growth of air transport in Africa. He said: ”The role of ECOWAS Commission will simply be to create a conducive environment through policy and harmonised regulation for the growth of air transport and regional integration in Africa. “Our goal is to turn the entire African airspace into a single market through air traffic rights and other measures that will give airlines the edge to enhance their capacities and compete favourably, through the removal of restrictive bottlenecks,” he said. “There is need for airlines in Africa to cooperate in areas of training and capacity building. The main target of the commission is to fast track the integration of the region. We could cooperate with all airlines in Africa to be competitive and profitable. This is key because of the challenge of intra connectivity in Africa.” He further said: “Last year, the commission carried out a feasibility study funded by African Development Bank and World Bank to set up a maintenance facility in Africa.”

Dana Air introduces ‘book on hold ’ DANA Air has introduced the ‘Book on Hold option,’ which gives pasengers the option of booking tickets and paying later at designated bank branches across the country as well as using interswitch-enabled Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Its Head of Commercial, Obi Mbanuzuo, described the introduction of the book as “a good step forward in our effort to make the process of booking travel more accessible to guests throughout Nigeria.” He said passengers can access the option by making reservation either online, or by phone, after which they will take their booking reference number to any of the designated banks or ATMs to make payments not later than 48 hours to confirm the booking, adding that the service reduces inconveniences and eliminates risks of carrying cash around. Since the launch of its commercial operations in Nigeria, Dana air has been at the forefront of introducing innovative and customer friendly products to make air travel a pleasurable experience. Dana Air just recently introduced ‘Mobile Check-In Devices’ which allows guests to be checked-in and presented boarding passes on arrival at the airport by mobile airline staff. Dana Air currently operates 10 daily flights on the Lagos-Abuja route and has just recently re-launched daily flight services to Port Harcourt city, from Lagos and Abuja. The airline is reputed for its efficient customer services, world class in-flight services as well as on-time departures and arrivals, innovative e-airline products and high quality standards.

Emirates SkyCargo wins award EMIRATES SkyCargo has won Cargo Airline of the Year at the Air Cargo News’ Awards evening. The airline was also named Best Middle East Cargo Airline for the 25th consecutive year. Emirates SkyCargo received the accolade at the 30th Cargo Airline of the Year Awards at the Lancaster London Hotel. The event recognises excellence in the cargo, freight and logistics business and is known as the ‘Oscars’ of the industry. “It is a great honour to win these prestigious awards and to be recognised by our customers in this way. These awards are voted for by our industry and this success would not be possible, without their support. We will continue to focus on delivering the highest levels of service to our best ability,” said Ram Menen, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo. The Cargo Airline of the Year awards are organised by trade magazine Air Cargo News and attract votes from freight forwarders around the world. The awards are the only event where the British International Freight Association audits and approves the votes cast. The awards come at a time of continuous growth for SkyCargo. Earlier this year, the freight division of Emirates significantly boosted its cargo capacity with the addition of three new Boeing 777F aircraft, taking its freighter fleet to 10 aircraft and its dedicated freighter network to 13 destinations. These are Taipei, Chittagong, Eldoret, Lilongwe, Kabul, Almaty, Gothenburg, Zaragoza, Viracopos, Tripoli, Djibouti, Hanoi and Liege.



PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT The government and some experts have been canvassing the use of alternative building models to bridge the housing gap. Nigerite Nigeria Limited is offering a cheap, affordable, efficient, maintenance-free and durable housing model known as dry housing construction. With about N3 million, a prospective home owner can own a two-bedroom flat, says Nigerite’s Group Marketing Director Mr Toyin Gbede in this interview with OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE.

‘Dry construction can bridge housing gap’ Bridging the housing gap HOULD the Group Marketing Director of Nigerite Nig Limited, Mr. Toyin Gbede, have his way, dry construction will be used to bridge the housing gap. Dry construction is the use of materials, such as gypsum board, plywood, or wallboard in construction, without the application of plaster or mortar. It is cheaper thus making home ownership affordable to a larger percentage of the population. Gbede said Nigerite has always been at the forefront of innovations, building solutions and processes in the sector. He said what the nation needed to bridge the widening housing gap is an innovative construction method with efficient process and technology. He said Nigerite, leveraging on its multinational structure, has been researching on how emerging economies have successfully used materials, process and technology to resolve housing problem. He said: “We developed Integrated Building Solution using panelised dry construction systems as a viable and modern construction worth considering in our quest to solving housing deficit problem. In addition we have evolved into offering roofing, ceiling, and vertical walling solutions for efficient and cost effective building components.’’


Value chain On value chain, he said construction in Nigeria has been static. It is, therefore, not surprising that Nigerite looks at housing finance issues, such as ineffective mortgage system, high interest rate and the likes as the major impediments. But, there are other variables which need to be urgently addressed. Let us assume that housing finance variables have been resolved, the question thereafter is: Can the conventional wet construction process method fast-track housing delivery with the huge deficit of over 17 million houses? For instance, with 17 million housing deficit if total aggregate housing delivery per annum is one million units with the conventional construction process it will take Nigeria 17 years to meet today’s need. Merits The conventional wet construction process is highly labour intensive and slow in housing delivery. It depletes the environment through extensive use of water, sand, granite and wood. Obviously, there is, therefore, a need to look at the way we build by using alternative processes and technologies that will substantially improve the way we do things. For instance, it takes about one year to build a three-bedroom house but the new technology takes just about two months or less. The technology is about assembling the various components of a building and bringing it to site to put it together into a house. It creates substantial gain in construction time, creating new skills and retooling skilled labour for improved efficiency. The idea is to encourage Nigerians into accepting a non-conventional building process that will help in solving the question of efficient and international best practice in modern building construction. Cost implications Its not so much of price differentials, which is however, evident but what is convenient, affordable and able to withstand the vagaries of nature especially in these days of climate change issues. With conventional wet construction process for example, if you go to the bank to borrow money to build three-bedroom house, it will take an average of six months to one-andhalf years to build and occupy though the bank begins to charge interest on the principal from the day the loan is approved. You are also at the mercy of different workmen who do not feel the pressure from the bank so, for the duration of the construction period, you are not gaining anything, but paying bank interest in addition to rent if you are still a tenant. In contrast with dry construction method the same 3- bedroom takes an average of one or two months to erect while the investor stops paying rent with enough time to repay the bank loan. There is nowhere people think of new ways of doing things and allow initial higher cost as major distractions to resolving an endemic problem. Ultimately, from experience in other leading economies where this method is being


extensively used the cost comes down by 30 per cent. Government’s role We have to be very careful not to repeat mistakes of the past that the government should be responsible for everything. On issues relating to housing delivery, the government should be content with creating enabling environment for private initiatives to drive the industry except may be at the social housing level. The Government should resolve the bottleneck surrounding issue of mortgage; provide sites and service schemes, moderate provision of adequate skill manpower, including retooling of existing pool of available construction workers including artisans. This is already more than enough assignment for the government. All stakeholders in efficient housing delivery have different roles to play, private sector and the government alike. Artisan’s training We are working with the Lagos State Vocational Educational Board (LASVEB) and the Government (Trade) Training College, Ikorodu. The ‘Nigerite Centre for Building Solution Excellency ‘ is under construction. When completed, it will be equipped with modern equipment to aid learning of modern construction method, with special emphasis on dry construction. We are also collaborating with a firm who is an interface with City and Guilds of London to train artisans. The centre will assist in creating pool of required skilled manpower necessary to drive dry construction in Nigeria. Nigerite’s role We are not a property development company and we are not planning to be one. We are basically interested in providing innovative construction solution for property developers and private owners. Our role as major player in real estate sector is to create awareness and drive acceptability of dry construction method by creating an Integrated Building Solution product, which can be purchased off the shelf. We have built models of dry construction buildings in our premises at lkeja, Lagos to enable our consumers experience it firsthand. Nigerite’s mission The driving force is our mission to be number one building component solution provider in Nigeria, one-stop shop for building materials

and solutions. We started out over 50 years ago before independence, as a roofing company but today we manufacture and market international brands in roofing, ceiling, partitioning, cladding, flooring and integrated building solutions. Our believe in the entity called Nigeria is not in doubt, because while majority of companies of our contemporary age have relocated to other countries or shot down altogether because of Nigeria’s various economic challenges, we are still keeping faith with the objective of our founding father to help in the industrialisation of Nigeria. We believe this market needs us as a multinational company to leverage on international best practices in product offerings. We know that Nigeria will soon move from the realm of being a potential economic power into one of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations. Role of mortgage finance The housing sector needs a lot of funding to increase output and improve affordability. Regular commercial banks with high interest rate cannot service this sector under same financial regime applicable to day to day banking. Housing sector all over the world requires long-term funding at reduced interest rate. The government must address as a matter of urgency the need for long-term funding to stimulate housing delivery. Policy makers should as a matter of urgency integrate the pension fund into mass housing.

‘Our role as major player in real estate sector is to create awareness and drive acceptability of dry construction method by creating an integrated building solution product, which can be purchased off the shelf. We have built models of dry construction buildings in our premises in lkeja, Lagos to enable our consumers to experience it first hand. ‘

Experts’ perspective Immediate Past President Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) and former President Association of African quantity Surveyors (AAQS), Mr Segun Ajanlekoko, said the dry construction concept is accepted globally and remains the only way to go if the housing gap must be filled in record time. He said the only challenge is the people’s resistance change. He noted that in the United States over 80 per cent of the houses are based on modular construction, which is dry construction. He said the model can reduce the cost of houses by about 50 per cent if implemented. While calling for a national policy on dry construction, he called on the federal government to adapt the Kigali model where banks are compelled by a deliberate government policy to give loan to every citizen that has a job to build a house. He argued that except that is done, many people will still have challenge in areas of land acquisition, access to finance and mortgage, which he said is almost non-existent. On cost differential of the dry over the wet construction method, Ajanlekoko said that while a conventional and modest two-bedroom house can be built with N3.5 million, with dry construction it can be as low as N1.2million with all the associated convenience. President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr Chucks A. Omeife, said the dry construction technology can reduce the number of site workers involved in building operations as well as increase the industry productivity. He also said the need and desire to bridge the gap in the housing has made it imperative for policy makers to look beyond the traditional methods of construction and its attendant challenges to a new and more convenient way. He listed some of the challenges associated with wet construction as access to land, finance and building material. He called for a national policy and appropriate institutional framework in construction methodology to support the technology. According to him, dry construction offers fast assembling, better quality, cheaper and ushers hope for a successful delivery of mass housing. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lange and Grant Ltd, Mr Tunde Okoya, a dry construction expert, said dry construction is simply building construction without moisture retaining materials such as plaster or mortar while using materials such as galvanised steel, fiber cement, precast concrete and gypsum board. He pointed out that it is only this model that has the capacity to mass produce house within a very short time for people in need of decent accommodation. He argued that with World Bank estimate of N59 trillion to bridge the over 17 million housing stock in the country, conventional methods can no longer solve the problem of inadequate shelter. He listed the benefits of dry construction to include but not limited to sustainability, lower carbon footprint, significantly faster and less messy site and excellent performance in fire protection. In addition, Okoya who has delivered several hundreds of houses through the method, said it also has superior acoustic performance, longer life materials with delivery timeline of between six to eight weeks. He, however, noted that the model can only be a success story if materials are sourced locally through a deliberate government policy. He revealed that depending on the design, one can achieve over 25 per cent reduction in price compared to the traditional brick and mortar method. An architect and Managing Director of Wole Adebayo & Associate lauded the dry housing construction process. He said: “It is the right time for Nigerians to start thinking about a new innovative way of building, Nigerite is championing a good course and I will also encourage some building materials producers in Nigeria to start thinking along same line. This is the way to go if we must bridge the housing gap.” A mortgage banker with City Mortgage, Lagos, Mr Lekan Ajayi, called on Nigerians to embrace dry construction like the developed economies. He said: “We should all support dry construction as an alternative to wet construction. This is what is happening in most developed countries of the world and we should not be left behind.”



PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT Experts differ on toll gates


XPERTS have argued on the propriety or otherwise of tollgates in property development. They spoke at a seminar organised by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) in Lagos. In his paper entitled: Urban infrastructure: Toll gates and its effect on property development, a lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, said the government was expected to facilitate urban infrastructure because of the enormous capital needed to establish them. He said since the government was in control of resources, the responsibility of providing basic infrastructure should fall on it. He said: “Rescuing the government from its major responsibilities of infrastructure development is to just create room for corruption and waste as the resources needed to provide basic infrastructure will then end up in the pockets of government officials and politicians.” Adegboruwa said part of the negative side of tollgates is the abrogation of right of way. According to him, in most toll concessions, the right of way of the toll road is usually conceded to the road developer, leading to denial of road access for property owners and developers, frustrating the business idea behind the property. The activist said this scenario was capable of killing a business as it makes it less attractive and marketable. Another drawback of toll road to property development is the traffic snarl at the toll gate. He said toll road leads to increase in rental property which gives rise to unoccupied flats in such places, such as Lekki Phase One. But President Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers (NIESV) Mr. Emeka Eleh disagreed with his views , stating that there is a strong synergy between infrastructure upgrade as typified by toll road and economic growth, which includes property development. He said rather taking the position that toll road has affected property values in Lekki/Ajah axis, people should look at properties in such places in their enhanced value. He argued that it is almost impossible for the government alone to fund competitive infrastructure without private sector participation. An estate surveyor, Mr Gbenga Ismail, faulted Adegboruwa’s position, insisting that infrastructure upgrade grows real estate. He said: “Somebody may say toll road is expensive, but you can’t compare good road that save time, life and car to the cost you pay for using the road. As estate surveyors we know that good roads and travel time comes handy in business.” For Chief Richard C. Okafor, Principal Partner, R.C.O. Properties, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers, toll roads are desirable and should encouraged, especially when the private sector is concerned as it is with the Lekki/EtiOsa Expressway. He urged the Federal Government to use the model of Lekki Toll Road on Lagos/Ibadan Expressway to save commuters from the harrowing experience they go through daily. He advised that rather than criticise toll roads, they should be encouraged as they help to grow property values and enhance wealth.

•From left: Senator Remi Tinubu; Mrs Abimbola Fashola; Governor Ibikunle Amosun, his wife, Funsho and Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola at the Green Initiative event hosted by Mrs. Amosun in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Invest idle funds in housing, govt told T

HE Federal Government has been advised to fund mass housing schemes using the idle funds in many banks. Such funds are in unclaimed dividends, dormant accounts, and accumulated premiums from pension schemes. These were some of the sources of financing mass housing schemes, recommended by participants at the Third Housing Exhibition and Conference, organised by ASO Savings and Loans Plc, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The event provided a platform for stakeholders to address the political, economic, legal and socio-cultural dimensions of the challenge of delivering affordable houses in the right quantity in Nigeria. The forum was attended by representatives of government, ministries, departments and agencies, the academia, and those in the housing sector from Nigeria and other parts of the world. Governments at all levels, the forum said, should provide an enabling environment for private developers either by providing the basic infrastructure or an opportunity (tax rebates) for the developers to recoup investments in infrastructural development. They said the government should institute appropriate policies and laws to accelerate the provision of mass housing, including policies to reduce the cost of construction. “In this regard, the Land Use Act,


among other relevant legislations, should be reviewed to address the bottlenecks it creates in title registration.” They advocated a speedy passage of the Foreclosure Bill into law to encourage the infusion of capital to the mortgage banking/housing finance sector as well as guarantee free entry and exit for existing and potential investors in the sector. Stakeholders in the sector were urged to explore and invest in research, development and public enlightenment on the use of local materials and innovative architecture (e.g. green construction) in housing, adding that more needed to be done to generate data on the nation’s housing challenges for better planning. Government, they said, should make commitments to train artisans and craftsmen, whose input were required to deliver durable and affordable housing. They want the government to strengthen professional associations and provide relevant practical training, adding that regulatory bodies should be empowered to prevent the tragic effects of constructing substandard building. The participants urged ASO Savings and Loans Plc, in partnership with interested stakeholder organisations, to produce a framework for achieving the objectives of providing 500,000 housing units by this year, which

should set out the time frames, roles of partners and the expected milestones in the run-up to the target year. Earlier, they had observed that it was disheartening that millions of Nigerians were homeless, particularly in urban areas, despite that the Federal Government is implementing a National Housing Programme, and a Presidential Housing Initiative. Also, there are various housing schemes being promoted by state governments and agencies. The participants shared the commitment of ASO Savings and Loans plc to provide 500,000 houses by 2016, noting that an estimated 12-16 million housing units were required to meet the demand for houses in Nigeria and that the country has a huge market for investment in affordable housing. Other observations by participants are that there was serious limitation to the resources available to stakeholders to provide the required number of houses to address the deficit. According to them, the added responsibility given to private developers to provide basic infrastructure, such as roads, water and electricity supply, among others, contributed to high cost of buildings. They said majority of existing housing schemes did not enjoy basic infrastructure; ignored traditional architectural designs and building material; did not take advantage of emerging non-conventional technologies; and disregarded local cli-

How Authority, residents stopped yearly flooding


HAIRMAN, Riverview Estate Residents and Stakeholders Association, Abayomi Akinde, has spoken on the collaboration between the residents and the management of Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority. The collaboration, he said, stopped the yearly flooding in the area. He said before now residents of the estate were apprehensive at the slightest sign of rain when most residents relocate to safer places. He recalled how their estate

UNIDO okays Ogun ‘green initiative’ HE United Nations Industrial De velopment Organisation (UNIDO) has given the thumbs up to the Ogun State government “Going Green Initiative.” Its Representative in Nigeria, Mr Patrick Kormawa, said the organisation was ready to partner with the wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun and the government on the project. The scheme is aimed at increasing environmental protection and ensuring waste-to-wealth scheme through public-private partnership. Kormawa was presenting a paper en-

Stories by Okwy IroegbuChikezie, Asst. Editor

titled: ‘Strategies of regional and international entities to foster and support going green-related PPP, joint ventures and FDIs’ at the Ogun green conference in Abeokuta, the state capital. Awareness, he said, should be created on the use of energy to improve the environment to achieve the going green projects. He said development would not be possible without energy, saying at least 1.3 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity and an additional billion is under-served due to poor supply quality and indeterminacy problems.

hosted President Goodluck Jonathan and the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who came for an assessment in 2011 when there was an unguided release of water from the Oyan Dam. Akinde said prior to the flood, the residents raised the alarm that the dams were not properly managed and that negligence, underfunding, incompetence and carelessness were the bane with lives and properties lost in the process. He revealed that during the course of the flooding challenge they discovered that part of their problem was as a result wrong use of the dam. He said: “We discovered that the dam was designed to generate electricity as part of its functions, and no electricity was generated since 1982, when it was built and, therefore, there was no need to keep water meant to turn the turbine for this purpose. We then asked the management of the dam to lower the operating water level from 63m to 59m, which gave us the respite we are enjoying today.” He called for a regular release of water from the dam to guide against unmonitored water accumulation, which causes flood when it is

suddenly released due to sustained rainfall. The Riverview Estate chief praised the cooperation of the River Basin Authority, which helped to shield the estate and the state from the effects of flooding. He noted that the synergy between his estate and Ogun Osun River Basin Authority was a good example of a good government agency/communities relationship, advising that the template should be adopted and improved upon by other flood affected communities and river basin development authorities. He called on relevant ministries and agencies to improve on the monitoring of the River Basins and other water bodies to provide for their needs, fund and equip them. He asked the government to install checks and balances to guide against corruption and promote government/ community relationships. Besides, Akinde stressed that studies should be improved and enhanced to prevent and predict flooding with structural and environmental devices preemptively installed, especially for communities that live very close to dams.

matic conditions. The mode of implementation of the Land Use Act in the various states of the federation, they said frustrated efforts to build affordable housing for low-income citizens. “For example, issues relating to the significance of certificates of occupancy (C of Os), in relation to other title deeds, some of which are rooted in cultures, remain unsettled.” Another major constraint to building of affordable housing, they said was high cost of construction materials, adding that over 60 per cent of these materials were imported. They said the low income group of people in the country had resorted to building their own homes, neighborhood and cities, which developed as informal communities, because housing developers, had overbuilt upper-end homes that targeted highincome homeowners to the detriment of low-income members of the community. Various panellists discussed the challenges of mass housing. In a paper, Mortgages as a tool in creating 500,000 housing units by 2013, the Executive Secretary, Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Mr. Kayode Omotoso, said housing had always been a programme of all governments since independence “yet 53 years later, numerous challenges still impair Nigeria’s ability to create a vibrant mortgage banking sector for sustained housing delivery.”

Pensioners advised to serve as brokers From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


ETIRED workers of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) have been advised not to sit back after retirement but to become players in the real estate sector as brokers, loan recovery agents and mortgage administrators, among others. The President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Mr Olabode Afolayan, gave the advice while delivering a lecture at the Second Delegates Conference of the pensioners in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday. He said they are positioned to service the housing needs of the citizens in view of their rich experience. He said: “You are ready army of resource persons for housing finance sub-sector. This is apt if you all update your knowledge in tandem with modern dynamics in the housing delivery system. “You are ready tools of enlightenment on the activities of the institution to the teaming populace who are oblivious of the role of FMBN. Many do not know how to access National Housing Fund loan.




Fashola seeks Africa’s ‘rapid’ growth

Osun embarks on tree planting


HE Osun State government plans to raise 2.5 million seedlings for planting of trees on major roads to serve as wind breakers and to improve the aesthetic value of the state. Special Adviser to the governor on Environmental Matters, Hon. Bola Ilori, told reporters in Osogbo, the state capital that students would be used as primary planters to give them a sense of ownership and responsiblity. Ilori said the tree planting would come under the state government’s ‘Igi Iye and School Advocacy’ project. Saying that the Aregbesola administration has the most ambitious environmental agenda in the country, the special adviser disclosed that the state government has started massive integrated waste management that could not be compared with any part of the country. He said: “Our governor is so passionate about environmental issues. Recently, he launched the O’Clean Plus to ensure that private sector also actively participate in waste collection across the state. The government

By Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

is supporting this programme with not less than 100 trucks and many mini vans designed for this purpose. “We have the biggest landscaping project in the country - about 180 kilometres of road from Gbongan to Owena. The outstanding beautification of this road is also supported by a very functional dredging exercise that has prevented loss of lives and property. “The beautification and landscaping of the 1.2 kilometres OlaiyaOkefia road is in progress. This project include creation of walk ways on both sides of the road laid with paving stone and protective bollards. Six compartment toilet blocks and shower rooms are provided along the road for the conviniences and hygiene of the people. “Four boreholes have been drilled to provide portable water for the people and four modern day bus stands are almost ready for use. Adequate drainage system are being provided for the road to checkmate the posibilty of flooding.”



AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has advocated rapid infrastructure development in Africa to solve development challenges. He said infrastructure deficiency had locked in the opportunities on the continent for economic growth. Fashola, was speaking at a special interactive session anchored by the Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Mr Jim O’Neil, with the theme: Delivering Nigeria’s growth promise, at the Goldman Sachs Growth market Summit in New York, said there are much more opportunities in-locked in Africa that are yet unreachable because

the infrastructure that could enable people, goods and services to move more easily are yet insufficient. “I know that there are much more opportunities in-locked in Africa that are yet unreachable because the infrastructures that can facilitate easy movement of people, goods and services are still in short supply”, the Governor said adding that most African countries are also bogged down by leadership challenges. The governor said Africa, with its vast natural resources, including mineral and human resources, has the potential to develop more rapidly than most other economies of the world if sufficient infrastructure, such as roads and good transportation were put in place to enable easy movement of people, goods and services among the countries of the continent and beyond. He blamed the slow pace of development on political instability saying most African countries have suffered underdevelopment due to the level at which their governments function or rapidity of change of government which, according to him, does not allow sufficient time for any appreciable development. “Many citizens of the countries in Africa that are in some kind of difficulties today are here in the US and you will see that it is as a result of either the level of functionality in government or the rapidity of turnover of government without the sufficiency of time to get things done,” the governor said. Stressing the importance of democracy and political stability in the development of any nation, Governor Fashola said while Nigeria suf-

fered unstable polity due to rapid change of government, development was largely stalled while people continued to procreate and take decisions which the government of the day was unable to respond to. According to him, “If you imagine, perhaps, six years in the country, between 1993 and 1999, when the country was under dictatorial Military rule, development did actually stop for six years. But people kept procreating and people kept making decisions, economic decisions and government did not respond to this.” Fashola, who said those times created deficiencies in infrastructure as the nation’s population continued to increase without corresponding infrastructure development, added: “Those were the deficiencies that the restoration of democracy has allowed us to begin to address; addressing infrastructure deficit in a way that it reduces the daily frustrations of citizens.” Fashola said following the restoration of democracy in the country in the last 13 years, there has been increasing restoration of order in the state and there is increasing hope that things could turn around as the citizens’ confidence in the government continues to grow. “There is increasing restoration of order in the state and there is a lot of hope that things can turn around because the citizens are seeing things day by day, metre by metre, inch by inch being constructed,” the governor said, adding that the support by the citizens has been overwhelming.

Makoko floating school for demolition


•The Trinity Mall

N600m shopping mall springs up in Lagos For developers, commercial property is it. They invest more in properties these days because they believe they can recoup their investment in no time, reports OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE


KEJA, the Lagos State capital, is becoming the home of shopping malls. More shopping malls are springing out in the area. The latest is Trinity Mall, which construction started on December 13. The foundation was laid by the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of OMAIS Home Chief Omochiere Aisagbohi. Aisagbohi said the mall is strategically located to provide shoppers and shop-owner with a fresh and ultimate novel experience in shopping. The mall, which will be inaugurated in June, is almost over subscribed by those desirous of taking advantage of its conducive business environment. Chief Aisagbonhi said of the mall: “Much of the space has been bought or leased by discerning shop owners who want to take advantage of the unique advantage that Trinity Mall has, in terms of its location, state-of-the-art facilities and ambience. We still have a few shopping spaces left and we are in the process of allocating to clients on first come, first served basis.” The shops are in large and small sizes. The later is leased at N6million for 10 years or N15million for 10 years or N15million for buying, while the

big ones are sold at N300,00 per square per square metre. The clientele included IT and telecoms companies, clothes and accessories, eatery to mention but a few.There are spaces available for a banking hall, department store, bar or coffee shop, dry cleaners, sports good shop, etc. Chief Aisagbonhi said the reason for the good construction and quality of infrastructre provided to make shopping and other business transactions that will start at the mall in a few months, is to ensure that shopping is not stressful, but rather pleasurable to the people spending their money and satisfactory to the one providing the service. This is why we have committed about N600 million to the completion of this project and we have spared no expense in making sure that the mall meets internationlly acceptable standards, he said. On the design and infrastructure provided, the Omais chief said: The Mall boasts of several worldclass facilities that make for exquisite, breath-taking ambience and care has been taken to ensure that the business are is comparable to any one of its kind world-wide. The design is a mix of rugged Nigerian and fine-honed international structural

details.The shop types are various shapes and sizes, with provisions for lock--up, open plan and seethrough styles and categories. He also said there is a large parking space, an elevator, 24-hour power and water supply, security coverage, including CCTV surveilance round-the-clock coverage to ensure the security and peace for both shoppers and shop owners. On payment plan, he said a major attraction is that subscribers have flexible payment plans spread over a comfortable period to enable them to become part of a new experience in the provision of top-quality service. Chief Aisagbonhi said since the inception of the firm, it has consistently strived to build tastefully furnished home and malls for clients on on ‘ pay-and-move-in’ basis with no need for extra fittings. According to him, the kitchens are state-of-the-art fitted with stainless steel appliances, dish washer, filtered granite sink top, and a cooker. He said each house comes with accompaniment of swimming pools and gyms, washing machine, exquisite furniture, AC, marble floor and POP ceilling.

HE hammer of the Lagos State Government may soon fall on an emerging three-storey school building under construction on the Makoko WaterFront in Yaba, Lagos, Mainland, The Nation has learnt. The school, known as ‘Makoko Floating School’ is a brainchild of an architect and founder, NLE, Kunle Adeyemi, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Adaptation Programme and Hencrich Boll. The idea is to build a school that can withstand the vagaries of nature in the locality and still allow inhabitants to live. During the school’s inauguration, Adeyemi said on completion, about 100 children, who live on the waterfront would be offered admission. But observers noted that the state government was not represented at the launch which received wide coverage in local and international media. The public fears were confirmed by the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, Prince Adesegun Oniru, on the

sideline at a briefing. He insisted that the government would demolish the structure because it has no approval. Oniru said: “It’s an illegal structure. It shouldn’t be there, and we are trying to get rid of structures there. It’s without the knowledge and permit of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development as well as Ministry of Water Front and Infrastructure, so it cannot stand. “It’s been illegal from day one. The promoter of the project seem to have waited till there was legal issue in the Makoko area before he started putting the school up. We were not going to do things against the law which would have been seen as contempt of court, so he carried on and brought in CNN to show the illegal floating school. Once things are sorted out, we would do what we have to do. If he got money to waste, let him continue, we would do what we have to do.” But Adeyemi said he had nothing to say for now on the issue. Calls made to the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Toyin Ayinde, were also not picked.

Water association gets new ED


HE International Wa ter Association (IWA), the leading network of water professionals worldwide, has appointed Ger Bergkamp as its new Executive Director. Ger Bergkamp is taking up the position after former Executive Director Paul Reiter stepped into the role of IWA Strategic Counsel in December last year on a part time basis and relocated to work from the IWA Office in Singapore. The selection by the IWA Board was made after a global search and selection process, during which Ger Bergkamp served as the IWA In-

terim Executive Director. “We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” said President of the IWA Glen Daigger. He said: “Ger will bring leadership and creativity to the IWA along with a deep sense of commitment to the association and the water and waste water sector at large. Ger comes with significant and relevant experience having been a senior executive with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and more recently the Director-General (CEO) of the World Water Council.






Travellers to forfeit undeclared ‘Declare goods honestly’ cash at airports, borders, others T


LL undeclared currencies will, hence forth, be forfeited to the Federal Government by travellers. Before now, the owners only lost 25 per cent of such money when caught. Following an amendment of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (MLPA) 2011, the Customs has been empowered to ‘arrest’ undeclared currencies at sea ports, airports, and land border stations. The Customs, investigation revealed, has directed its officers to enforce the

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

new law so as to meet its N1.5 trillion revenue target for this year. Customs Comptroller-General Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi , sources said, has directed that the law be enforced to sanitise the border posts. Customs, in a March 4 circular signed by Tahir Musa directed all Deputy Comptrollers-General, Assistant Comptrollers-General, Customs Area Controllers (CACs), and Heads of Units,

to seize the cash that is not declared by the people who are travelling. The document entitled: Amendment of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 read in part: “I am directed to inform all officers of the Service that Sect. 2 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, (MLPA) 2011 has been amended. “All officers of the Service are by this circular to note that the previous penalty of ‘forfeiture of nothing less than 25 per cent of the undeclared currency’ at all our

entry/exit points has been changed to outright forfeiture, on conviction, with the deletion of the phrase ‘not less than 25 per cent of undeclared currency. “You are to give this circular the widest circulation.” Sources said anybody who fails to declare all his currency to the Customs while travelling out of the country either through the seaports, airports, and land border stations would be seized as it is against Part 1, Section 2 (3) of Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

HE Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, has urged importers and clearing agents to declare their goods honestly. He said the failure of importers and clearing agents to declare their consignments properly was responsible for some of the delays at the ports. Bello spoke when a delegation of Freight Forwarders Trade Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCC1) led by its President Mrs. Juli Ogboru visited him. While acknowledging the important role of freight forwarders in international trade, Bello urged importers and agents to do the right thing. He said terminal operators and shipping companies were not always responsible for alleged delays and high cost of doing business at the ports.

“It is not only the terminal operators and shipping companies that cause problems, shippers too, in as much as they are our members, are sometimes responsible for certain things that happen and we should not be shy of saying it. “One of the reasons is either false declaration or under-declaration of cargoes. The agents under declare their cargo and cause a lot of delays. NSC has had series of seminar on ethical practice in our trade and that goes to the agents of the shippers who are the freight forwarders. “If you make rightful declaration, then 70 per cent of the problem is solved,” Bello said. Mrs. Ogboru asked Bello to look into the plight of freight forwarders. She said most of their jobs have been taken over by expatriates, thereby making them irrelevant.

Crisis rocks ANLCA’s Seme chapter


HE Association of the Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Seme chapter is facing crisis over its election held in January. Investigation by The Nation revealed that over 40 firms have withdrawn from the association because of the inconclusive election. Those involved are managing directors, accredited representatives of the Customs licensed companies and valid members of the group from the Seme border area. The management of the over 40 firms, investigation revealed, have suspended the payment of practicing fees to

• A ship yard

NIMASA gets nod to build shipyard • Agency denies allegation of compulsory retirement of workers


HE Federal Government has given the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) the green light to establish a shipyard to boost the nation’s capacity building. NIMASA’s Director-General Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, told The Nation that the shipyard would create jobs and arrest capital flight, noting that millions of dollars are lost in procuring vessels outside the country. According to him, the development of a shipyard will now enable cadets graduating from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, to have a place for their practice. To make the shipyard viable, he said the private sector would be involved in its management. “We will not only build ships; there will be a facility for dry docking in the shipyard. We are bringing in the private sector because we want to avoid the pitfall that goes with the government being single-handedly involved in this kind of business. “Our belief is that if it is successfully completed and managed, we will not only create employment opportunities, but also arrest capital flight as many vessels calling in Nigerian ports will have a facility for dry docking instead of going elsewhere to do it,” he said. NIMASA has denied that it asked some of its workers to proceed on compulsory retire-

ment. In a memo signed by its Director of Administration and Personnel Services, Mr Chuks Mgbemena, NIMASA said the scheme was open to workers only on Grade Levels 15 to 17, with less than five years in service prior to attaining the mandatory retirement age of 60 years or 35 years in service and eight years for directors. The Deputy Director, Public Relations, Hajia Lami Tumaka, said the agency only advised interested workers in the above category to write

and seek further clarification from the Administration and Personnel Services Department. She said the scheme was not new to the agency as it is part of the agency’s conditions of service. The image maker said the scheme was put in place to encourage workers who may be willing to retire early to go into some other ventures not to lose out on their outstanding years of service. “In order to encourage early voluntary retirement, staff who have five years or

less to retirement by years of age or years of service may be offered lump sum payment. The payment shall be based on Annual Terminal Base Salary for the remaining active years of service and pro rata. All other entitlements shall also apply. The lump sum payment inducement option shall, however, be subject to management discretion to invoke it as and when it deems necessary,” she said. She said the scheme is not the right of staff as this scheme could only be applied at the discretion of the Executive Management.

Govt urged to ban motorcyclists at ports


HE Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have been urged to stop the operation of commercial motorcyclists at the Tin Can Island because of the danger they pose to security. Over 150 Okada riders, investigation has revealed, do illegal business at the port. Importers, terminal operators and other stakeholders alleged that the Okada riders are responsible for high crime rates at port. Most of the commercial motorcyclists at the port, operators claimed, could be used to attack the port, adding that they always drive against the traffic and move around the port from between 7.00am till about 8.30pm. Importers said they were not happy that the illegal activities of the Okada riders were being perpetrated in the full glare of security agents.

When The Nation visited the port about 11.30am on Friday, and between 6 pm and 6.45pm last Saturday, over 150 of the riders were seen ‘on duty’. Apart from creating a noisy environment within the port, they also endanger the lives of the passengers they carry as they struggle with trailers laden with containers to find their ways. One of the importers, Mr Felix Johnson, said they were not happy over the development because in the past many people were either wounded or lost their valuables. He said most of the Okada riders were among those banned from the highways by the Lagos State Government. Also, a clearing agent, Mr Sunday Ogoegbunam, said: “Few days ago, officials of the Nigeria Customs Service and port police came to harass and detain some of our members that are doing their legal business at the port by calling them

unwanted persons at the port. But why have they not arrested the Okada riders that are doing illegal business at the port? What are they doing here? Who introduced them to the port? Who is covering them up and because of what? These are the questions that need to be answered by those that are embarrassing our members at the ports.” Others bemoaned the activities of the Okada riders at the port, urging the Federal Government to do something about them. Efforts to get the General Manager, Public Affairs, NPA, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubuegbu, to speak on the issue proved abortive as he did not pick calls to him about 7.20pm on Saturday. However, the Public Relations Officer of Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Chris Osunkwo, said efforts were on to solve the problem.

the headquarters of ANCLA ased on the allegation that Western zone election was not accorded the necessary urgency it deserves by the leadership of the association. In a petition dated May 1, sent to the Chairman, Board of Trustee of ANLCA, its National President, Customs, Lagos State Police Headquarters, State Security Services, Seme Border and others, the chapter said it would be conducting its own affairs pending the time the issue would be resolved. The petition was signed by Alhaji Mikky Okunola and over 40 others to press home their demand.

Conspiracy hinders Cabotage Act


ONSPIRACY among Customs agents and importers are sabotaging the implementation of Cabotage Law, the Secretary, Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Capt. Niyi Labinjo, has said. He told The Nation in his office in Lagos that the implementation of the law would have been very easy, but for some form of conspiracy among agents, importers and other operators. He said the law can be easily implemented if the agency saddled with enforcing the law, musters the political will to do so. “This is the time for the government to buckle-up and see to the implementation of the Cabotage law. But we need to understand the problems confronting the agency before we can say yes, maybe some individuals in the government are trying to frustrate the implementation. My thinking is that every ship that calls at our port should first declare arrival to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), NIMASA and the Navy. By doing so, it would

become easy to implement the law,” he said. Labinjo said the implementation should not be a problem. “The agency saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the law does not even need to get to the jetty to arrest a vessel; she can ask a vessel to tell her its point of loading. So, if it is offshore Lagos or offshore Cotonou, the agency can then verify if it is on the list of Cabotage registered vessels. “Therefore, implementation should not be a major issue. From all indications, there must be a kind of conspiracy between the operators and people that grant approval for foreign vessels to come into the country,” he aded. He said ship owners must be supported by the government and banks to buy sufficient vessels to carry out coastal trade and provide employment for the jobless youths. The Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003, he said, is a protectionist law enacted to create exclusive areas of operations in the coastal trade for indigenous operators.

‘Marine services not for concession’


HE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will not concession its marine services, its Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, has said. Speaking at the end of his tour of Rivers and Onne Ports in Port Harcourt, Abdullahi said his administration would assist the ports to ensure that they are attractive for business. The NPA boss said the authority would strengthen its Marine Services Department

and recruit more competent hands into the agency. NPA, he said, has approved some projects for the Eastern Zone. They include the rehabilitation of the Pilot cutter IMO, purchase of a brand new ambulance for the Port Harcourt Clinic and the renovation of the warehouse office. The Port’s Zone’s General Manger Mr Sonny Nwobi told the Managing Director that the Zone needs more tug boats to its operations.







‘Increased awareness will stop autism stigma’ I

N appearance, they can be taken as normal children. But they are living with autism-a condition characterised by aloofness. They are unusually cold and reserved. Head, Clinical Services, Federal NeuroPsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Oluyemi Ogun, said autism is a disease of detachment, which means children living with it don’t interact with people, and about eight children out of 10,000 born could have the disorder. According to her, the disorder has always been in the country but people are just becoming aware of it. She spoke during the World Autism Month in Lagos. Dr. Ogun, Head and Chief Psychiatric Consultant, Child and Adolescent Centre, Oshodi, said children with autism are different from those with other disabilities. She said autistic children usually find learning very difficult unlike those with other disabilities. “Their own training is individualised.

By Wale Adepoju

That disorder is different and each type is unique. The disorder afflicts children in three major areas. They are social deficit, communication deficit and repetitive interest. “By the time you expect to see a three year old child start talking, you will find out that it is regressive because it would have lost what it had gained, a relapse. Some of them may not even talk. They don’t play nor interact with other children at home. When their parents return from work they don’t greet them. They are just in their own world. “They also have communication disorder because there is no speech and when they are communicating there is nothing like conversation to say they are really communicating. They don’t say, ‘sorry daddy’ when there is problem with their father like other children.” Part of their characteristics is repeating words and like sameness. “They may be attached to certain toys. Everything they

Anti-malaria campaign gets boost

do is the same. They may line up toys in a particular way. When they want to refer to themselves as me they may say “you” or “he” or “she” which is known as “pronominal reversal.” The condition, she said, is usually identified before the age of three years, adding that the earlier they are attended to the better the outcome of their treatment. She said: “The condition is a lifelong disorder because people do not get through it. But they do improve. There is a lot of stigmatisation and children are often affected by them. This starts from the home and the parents are burdened by it. Right from home this children are discriminated against. “Most parents don’t take them out because they may be restless on the road. Many of them are odd. They are seemingly odd children. That’s why they don’t take them out because in the society once a child misbehaves it is believed that the parent didn’t train him well. So they are afraid and embarrassed to take them out. “The siblings themselves may create un-

Do you know diet can prevent cancer?


WARD-winning musician and Mortein Brand spokesperson Omawumi Megbele has joined the growing voices against malaria. She is urging governments, institutions and stakeholders, including mothers, to join hands in the ongoing global effort to stamp out malaria in Africa. Omawumi, the ambassador for the Reckitt Benckiser-backed Africa anti-malaria initiative, spoke in Nairobi, the Kenya capital, during her second advocacy campaign for the eradication of malaria in Africa. She expressed concern that although malaria remained one of the common causes of death on the continent, it was preventable if concerned stakeholders could join hands in the initiative aimed at eradicating it. The initiative is facilitated by Reckitt Benckiser’s Mortein insecticide brand. Speaking at various fora where she addressed senior Kenyan government officials, health workers, representatives of multilateral and development partners as well as mothers, Omawunmi said she was in the country to raise awareness among pregnant and nursing mothers on how they could prevent themselves, their babies and members of their families from mosquitoes which are the carriers of malaria parasites. “Protecting Africa against the killer disease is a fight that requires our collective effort. Although malaria-related deaths in Africa have fallen by an estimated 33 per cent since the year 2000, we have a long way to go before we can proudly announce that we have won the fight against malaria,” Omawumi said at a media briefing in Nairobi. On her motivation for leading the cause to eradicate malaria, she said expectant mothers and children under the age of five remained the most vulnerable group, and she was deeply concerned. ‘‘As a mother, I understand that malaria is the number one killer of children and mothers in Africa. I’ve taken it upon myself to educate and empower women who are the pillars of the home to fight malaria by taking necessary measures so that one day, Africa will be

• Omawumi admiring one of the newly born babies at one of the hospitals By Chinaka Okoro

malaria-free,” she said. She said there was need to raise awareness and communicate more to encourage all mothers to take preventive measures so that African countries could meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on malaria. “The proper usage of the insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, everyday use of Mortein Doom insecticide and taking proactive vector control measures by keeping the environment clean and free of stagnant water, are among the measures that mothers need to start implementing now, to prevent more malaria deaths,” she advised. Reckitt benckiser Country Manager, Mr. Richard Pereira, said the initiative demonstrated the company’s commitment to helping people live a healthy and active life thereby empowering them to live a fulfilled life. “Through our flagship brand Mortein Doom, we have been engaging in awareness initiatives in collaboration with the Ministry of Health

Lifeline for private health care providers


HE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has trained private health care providers on business expansion and how to access finance. Chief of Party, Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS), Mrs. Ayodele Iroko, said this was to enhance their management skill through proper documentation, good record keeping and ability to access and manage finance. Mrs. Iroko, who spoke in Lagos, said the project tagged: Strengthening Private Sector Family Planning and Reproductive Health is a USAID/Nigeria funded five-year associate award, under the SHOPS. It would increase access to finance to improve health outcomes and strengthen the private health care system. She said USAID would work with financial institutions to develop products and services targeted at the private health care sector and provide technical back-up for the implementation of its Development Credit Authority (DCA) being implemented by

necessary rivalry with them. When they don’t understand what is happening to them and they feel that the parents are dropping them and it makes them to create sibling rivalry. I have been at church where a child with autism was being pushed away and the mother had to walk out of the church.” Dr Ogun said autism has a socio impact as, “we found out, in our clinic,that many families had separated because of autism. Some fathers would say to the mother- ‘I don’t know where you get this one from, because we don’t have this type of children in our family.’ They will say may be the child is a bastard.” This, she said has caused separation and dysfunctional home in families. She said there must be early identification and increased awareness on the disorder because it would not stop and nobody knows what causes it. This, she said, will stop stigma and discrimination. “We should evolve treatment modalities in our own way so that the quality of life of mother and children can be better for it.

By Wale Adepoju

Diamond Bank and Accion Microfinance Bank. Mrs. Iroko said SHOPS had organised a Private Health Sector Trade Fair in Lagos, themed, Effective Public-Private Partnership: A sure way of promoting health care delivery in Nigeria with the objective, to create and strengthen linkages between financial institutions and private health providers. “It also provided an opportunity for public and private health sector stakeholders to identify new opportunities for partnership. Pharmaceutical companies, banking and financial institutions, health care equipment suppliers, health care professional associations and health maintenance organisations (HMOs) were there as exhibitors,” she stated. Project partners are the Association of General and Private Medical practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Association of General Private Nursing Practitioners (AGPNP) and Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN).

among other stakeholders in the fight against malaria, and we are delighted at the positive impact of this kind of collaboration,” he said. He said: “The campaign which he said is educative was a strategic corporate social investment for the company to help bring down malaria in Africa. Reckitt Benckiser brands are committed to the promotion of wellness and healthy lifestyle among consumers through a number of initiatives that have impacted positively on the people. “We want people to know that malaria is preventable and each of us has a role to play. There is absolute need for all to work together and that is the reason we have initiated partnership with a number of multilateral and development institutions like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), among others,”. During the two-day visit to Kenya, Omawumi visited a number of hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital Maternity wing among other public facilities to interact with mothers, even as she presented them with Mortein products.

Eating well can lower your chance of developing cancer. In fact, nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention are similar to those for preventing other diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Here are some general guidelines to help reduce your cancer risk with diet: Keep a healthy weight Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight. Being overweight or obese is related to as many as one in five cancerrelated deaths. Exactly how weight affects cancer risk is unclear. Weight is most closely connected with cancers of the breast and uterus in postmenopausal women. Other cancers associated with obesity include: • Esophagus • Pancreas • Colon and rectum • Breast (after menopause) • Kidney • Thyroid • Gallbladder Limit Calorie-Dense, Nutrient-Deficient Foods Reduce your intake of foods with added sugars and fats that provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. Calories add up fast with calorie-dense foods, which can lead to weight gain and leaves little room for more healthful, cancer-preventive foods. Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including beans, is linked with a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and colon cancer. At this point, it’s not clear which components in vegetables and fruits are most protective against cancer. So enjoy a variety of whole foods naturally-rich in nutrients. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables and at least half your grains whole grains. Beans and peas may be counted as part of the Protein Foods Group or as a vegetable. Also, eating a diet rich in these plantbased foods can help you stay at a healthy weight. • Culled from




Tension rises in Rivers as protesters storm council secretariat Continued from page 2

They should stop deceiving Rivers people. There should not have been any caretaker committee in Obio/Akpor council.” Nwogu and Amaewhule also corroborated the three others, insisting that there was no petition against the suspended officials. They maintained their suspension was illegal. The anti-Amaechi protesters, in over 100 buses, under the umbrella of Grassroots Democratic Initiative (GDI) and led by Kinikanwo Amadi, stormed the locked gate of the secretariat of Obio/Akpor council at Rumuodomaya around 7:30 am. But battle-ready policemen did not allow the protesters into the expansive secretariat. They later moved to the Rivers House of Assembly on Moscow Road in Port Harcourt. The peaceful protest led to a heavy traffic jam on the everbusy road to the Port Harcourt International Airport and Moscow Road, with the youths declaring that the protest would continue daily, until the caretaker committee members and chairman vacate their offices for Nsirim, his deputy and councillors. Some of their placards read: “Felix Obuah, man of the people”; “Go Round (Felix Obuah), Agwu Zumba”; “GDI is in full support of what policemen are doing”; “Dike David Chikordi (chairman of a seven-member caretaker committee inaugurated on April 23) out, Hon. Timothy Nsirim in”; and “Hon. Timothy Nsirim is our choice. Rivers State House of Assembly, leave him alone.” Speaking for the protesters, ex-Security Adviser of Obio/

Nigerian Air Force plane crashes in Niger Continued from page 2

ployed on the ongoing military operations in the crisisridden Mali. The statement said: “A Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet aircraft on a non-combatant mission crashed today at Dargol Village at about 1305hours (1.05pm), 60Km West of Niamey. “The two pilots on board the fighter jet also died. The Alpha Jet aircraft is one of the four based in Niamey, Niger Republic as part of Africa-led Support Mission in Mali. “Investigation has commenced to unravel the circumstances that led to the accident. Further details on the crash will be made known as soon as the families of the deceased pilots are informed”. Chaibou Massalatchi, the head of Niamey’s airport, said the plane took off to do a reconnaissance mission. The Nigerian military is taking part in the regional effort to support France’s operation in northern Mali. France launched the military operation in January to oust al-Qaida-linked jihadists from power in northern Mali. Some 6,000 troops from neighboring countries including Nigeria and Niger have been taking part, though Chad has said it’s withdrawing its nearly 2,000 soldiers.

Akpor Local Government, Godwin Ikeazor said: “We are condemning the action of Governor Chibuike Amaechi and members of Rivers House of Assembly, who suspended Nsirim, his deputy and 17 councillors. “We are asking the caretaker committee members to leave office and also call on Governor Amaechi to resign from office within 48 hours. Amaechi masterminded the suspension of the performing, focused and hardworking Hon. Nsirim and others. “The leader of Rivers House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, should also resign with immediate effect. Lloyd is the person causing the whole trouble for Amaechi. He is making noise here and there, but he could not win the last election in his constituency, if not through the help of Amaechi, who pleaded with his people. “We will continue with the protest, until the caretaker committee members leave office. We want Hon. Timothy Nsirim to return to the office. The allegations levelled against him are baseless, untrue and frivolous.” The leadership of the PDP also “strongly” condemned the statement credited to the speaker, calling for the redeployment of police commissioner. The Obuah-led PDP said: “The call on the Inspector-

General of Police (Mohammed Abubakar) to redeploy the Rivers State Police Commissioner (Mbu Joseph Mbu) is baseless, malicious, reckless and another demonstration of legislative rascality. “Mr. Mbu is a professional police officer, who has discharged his duties diligently and should not be dragged into partisan politics. “We hereby urge the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly to concentrate on the business of lawmaking, for the good people of Rivers State, rather than blaming his incapacity and ineptitude on some federal institutions in the state. “The PDP leadership in the state is also using this medium to ask the speaker and his cohorts to stop raising false alarm and spreading rumours about impeachment of the governor of Rivers State, arrest of state functionaries and the plan to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State. The PDP in Rivers State is not aware of the said plans. “It is pertinent to state that no reasonable and responsible government is administered on the basis of cheap blackmail. Enough of the unnecessary and unwarranted political tension in the state.” Obuah, while responding to questions from reporters, after reading the five-paragraph statement, in company of the party’s secretary, Walter Ibib-

ia, and other members of his executive, declared that the speaker’s “blackmail” was capable of chasing away investors and heighten tension in the state. The PDP chairman, who is a former chairman of Ogba/ Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, also admonished Rivers people to disregard all the statements credited to the speaker, who he said wanted to cause confusion, insisting that the police commissioner acted fast, to prevent the breakdown of law and order and should be encouraged, rather than being castigated. Obuah noted that no problem had been recorded in Rivers state, since Mbu took over as police commissioner about two months ago, stressing that the speaker and 26 other members disrespected the leadership of PDP in the state, by refusing to reinstate Nsirim and others, within the 48-hour ultimatum given. He added that there was no plan to impeach Amaechi and that no fake mace was smuggled into Port Harcourt to remove the speaker and governor. Obuah, while commenting on yesterday’s protest by proWike supporters, said: “Members of my executive and I are in the state for peace. Rivers people should remain calm. It is not in our character to use thugs. “Thugs were not involved in yesterday’s peaceful protests. The people of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area

protested because of injustice and showed their displeasure to the illegal removal of Prince Nsirim, his deputy and the 17 councillors.” The speaker issued a statement in which he insisted that there was a plan to create violence and declare a state of emergency. Besides, he condemned what he called the plot to make the sitting of the legislature violent. Amachree said: “The overall plan is to introduce gunshots outside the chambers, create pandemonium in the Assembly and its environs. Thus paving the way for the declaration of a state of emergency. “All those who live and do business in Rivers State know that the Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has worked very hard for the return and sustenance of peace in Rivers State since he assumed office in 2007. “The Rivers State House of Assembly, as an active partner, stands with the governor and challenges anyone, who is part of the plot to destabilise Rivers State to do the following, before declaring any emergency in Rivers State: “Declare a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Kano states, where Boko Haram and their collaborators are killing innocent men, women and children on a daily basis. Identify, arrest and prosecute those who carried out the Madalla Christmas killings of December 2011. “In Bayelsa State, 12 policemen were killed in Azuzuama

Creek, followed by another round of killings in Lobia1 last weekend, without a state of emergency declared in the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan. “We state again that Rivers State is peaceful and that the symbol of democracy in the state, the Rivers State House of Assembly, is peaceful and very orderly. Let the law enforcement agencies cooperate with us, not to be tools against the people. “There is a plan to arrest the speaker and other key members of the Rivers House of Assembly before May 7, 2013 and also to arrest the Rivers Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside, as soon as possible, so that a state of emergency can be declared in Rivers State before May 9, 2013. “Rivers people, is this the way to go? Please rise against the plot to abort democracy in Rivers State.” The Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, speaking with reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday, said that some hoodlums were trying to cause disaffection, thereby pretending that there was chaos in the state. Semenitari said: “I know that Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is in full control of the state. There are no matters for concern in Rivers State. “We are certain that there is no chaos in Rivers State and that government is in full conContinued from page 63



EQUITIES First Bank’s FBN Holdings records N31b Q1 profit



BN Holdings Plc, the holding company for First Bank of Nigeria and its subsidiaries, recorded profit before tax of N31.4 billion in the first quarter, according to latest earnings report released by the board of the company. The three-month report for the period ended March 31, 2013 showed that FBN Holdings’ profit before tax rose by 28.9 per cent while gross earnings increased by 13.5 per cent. The company’s total assets firmed up to N3.5 trillion, the largest in the financial services industry. Gross earnings stood at N99.5 billion as against N87.6 billion recorded in comparable period of 2012. Profit before tax rose from N24.4 billion to N31.4 billion. Profit after tax increased by 22 per cent to N24.4 billion in 2013 compared with N20.2 billion recorded in corresponding period of 2012. The balance sheet of the company also showed appreciable improvements with total balance sheet size improving from 2013’s opening value of N3.2 trillion to close the first quarter at N3.5 trillion, representing addition of N200 billion during the three months. Total customer deposits increased by N131.4 billion to N2.5 trillion as against N2.4 trillion recorded as opening value for the year. Chief executive officer, FBN Holdings, Bello Maccido said the first quarter report reflected the resilience of the financial services group, especially the flagship commercial banking business, which accounted for more than 94 per cent of group’s profit before tax. According to him, the group has continued to improve its cost efficiency through reduction of the rate of growth in its expenses and

•Equities open on downside By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

it hopes to consolidate this in the periods ahead as it explores further ways of optimising its revenue. He noted that though the investment banking and asset management business recorded improved performance over the period, it was impacted by slower than anticipated growth in assets under management and weak primary capital market activity. “Overall, we are focused on extracting and unlocking value from the exciting portfolio of businesses within the Group in coming periods,” Maccido said. Commenting on the performance of the flagship commercial banking group, group managing director, First Bank of Nigeria, Bisi Onasanya said the first quarter performance was commendable especially within the context of the economic and regulatory headwinds. He said the bank would continue to pursue a competitive pricing mechanism across products and services to mitigate the negative effect of certain regulatory measures. “We will also continue to explore avenues to optimise our efficiency while using initiatives such as mobile banking and other alternative delivery methods to reduce our cost to serve,” Onasanya said. He noted that some 409,000 new accounts were opened during the first three months of the year, bringing total number of accounts to about 9.1 million. According to him, First Bank has sustained progress in its electronic banking business and is repositioning the

business in response to industry challenges. “To expand business volumes and enhance market penetration, First Bank has continued to drive growth in the value chain of key segments of the economy such as the oil and gas, telecommunications and manufacturing sectors,” Onasanya said. Meanwhile, the Nigerian stock market opened this week with a tinge of bearishness as investors sought to lock in substantial capital gains accumulated during the largely upward market last week. The benchmark index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the All Share Index (ASI), dropped by 0.49 per cent to depress average year-to-date return to 24.42 per cent. ASI slipped from its opening index of 35,109.33 points to 34,935.62 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also dropped from N11.225 trillion to N11.170 trillion. With 28 decliners to 27 gainers, the market balance was tilted by several highly capitalised stocks on the losers’ list. Unilever Nigeria led the losers with a drop of N1.63 to close at N57.02. Stanbic IBTC Holdings and UACN Property Development Company lost 90 kobo each to close at N14 and N14.30 respectively. Berger Paints dropped by 68 kobo to N6.82 while Oando lost 30 kobo to close at N15. On the upside, Total Nigeria led the bullish stocks with a gain of N9 to close at N152. UAC of Nigeria followed with a gain of N5.32 to close at N70. CAP rose by N4.68 to close at N51.48 while Nigerian Breweries added N1.70 to close at N163.20. Turnover was on the average as investors staked N2.52 billion on 233.27 million shares in 4,636 deals. Banking stocks remained the most active with turnover of 105.39 million shares worth N876.12 million in 1,793 deals.




MONEY LINK FirstBank supports Nigeria’s economic growth

CBN reviews anti-money laundering act •To sanction erring financial institutions


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday, reviewed its anti-money laundering /combating the financial terrorism (AML/ CFT) regulation 2009. The policy was also aligned with the money laundering prohibition act, terrorism act and revised financial action task force (FATF) 40 recommendations initially issued in 2012. These were contained in a circular signed by CBN’s Acting Director, Financial Policy and Regulation, I.T. Nwaoha and addressed to all banks and other financial institutions. He said financial institutions are to henceforth, report to the CBN and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) any assets frozen or actions taken in compliance with the prohibition requirements of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their financing including attempted transactions. He said that during the course of establishment of customer relationship, or when conducting occasional transactions, a financial institution

Stories by Collins Nweze

suspects that transactions relate to money laundering , the institution should identify and verify the identity of the customer and the beneficial owner, whether permanent or occasional, and irrespective of any exemption of any designated threshold that might otherwise apply. The bank, he said, can also make suspicious transaction report to the NFIU in accordance with FATF recommendation 20. He said the new release also covers financial institutions dealings with politically exposed persons and financially exposed persons. He described these individuals as persons who are or have been entrusted with a prominent function by an international organization, including members of senior management such as directors, deputy directors and members of the board or equivalent functions other than middle ranking or more junior individuals.


He also set reporting rules for suspicious transactions adding that where transactions involve frequency which is unjustifiable or unreasonable; is surrounded by conditions of unusual or unjustified complexity and appears to have economic justification or lawful objective. The new rule stipulates that being a director or an employee of a financial institution is liable to a fine of N10 million in the case of individual and N25 million in the case of corporate organization. He said financial institutions are required to report to the NFIU in writing within seven days, any single transaction, lodgement or transfer of funds in excess of N5 million or its equivalent in the case of an individual; or N10 million or its equivalent in the case of a body of corporate. Also, he said a person, other than financial institution may voluntarily give information on any trans-

• CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido

action, lodgment or transfer of funds in excess of N1 million or its equivalent in the case of an individual and N5 million or its equivalent in the case of corporate body. He said any financial institution that contravenes the policy shall be liable to a fine of not less than N250,000 and not more than N1 million for each day the contravention continues.

Africa has good economic prospects, says IMF


HE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reviewed economic performance of African countries and concluded that the continent is beginning to deliver on its economic potential, with solid growth and improvements in the lives of its people. In a report Christened: “New Opportunities and New Risks: Prospects for Sub-Saharan Africa” the IMF First Deputy Managing Director, David Speech said despite uncertainties being recorded in many advanced economies, Africa is getting its economic indicators right.

“Africa is changing and the world is noticing. The biggest challenge is to seize that opportunity. The most recent IMF outlook, released a few weeks ago, shows that the global economy is regaining strength. We are forecasting a gradual recovery this year to 3.3 per cent growth and about four per cent in 2014. But that is not enough. Job growth has been anemic, and unemployment in some advanced economies remains at alarming levels,” he said. “We are seeing significant disparities across countries and regions. There is a three-speed recovery, with some

countries doing well, particularly emerging market and developing economies; others such as the United States on the mend; and finally, an important group centered on the euro area and Japan that has work to do. This needs to change if the global economy is to attain a full-speed recovery,” he added. He advised Europe to return to its role as an engine of global growth, particularly for developing economies as possibility of continued European recession this year is still high, with modest growth of about one per cent returning to the euro area only in 2014.

He said the emerging market and developing economies have given life to the global economy, providing estimated three-quarters of growth since the financial crisis hit in 2008. “We are projecting acceleration in these countries from 5.1 per cent growth in 2012 to 5.3 per cent this year. They have benefited from the low global interest rates, high commodities prices, and solid domestic demand,” he said. He said Asia has been at the center of this surge, particularly China and India. Adding that commodities have been exported to Asia, and investment capital and goods have flowed in the other direction.




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



OBB Rate Call Rate

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 06-05-13


O/PRICE 3.30 46.80 0.80 9.05 1.54 0.72 0.62 1.46 64.68 1.53

C/PRICE 3.63 51.48 0.88 9.95 1.69 0.79 0.68 1.60 70.00 1.65

CHANGE 0.33 4.68 0.08 0.90 0.15 0.07 0.06 0.14 5.32 0.12


O/PRICE 0.90 0.60 2.63 1.34 0.55 7.50 1.38 2.97 1.62 0.55

C/PRICE 0.81 0.54 2.37 1.21 0.50 6.82 1.26 2.75 1.50 0.51



Sold ($)

Rate (N)


















Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %


147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57










Bureau de Change 152.0000




(S/N) Parallel Market





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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%





July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%


LOSERS AS AT 06-05-13



Offered ($) Demanded ($)

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

IRST Bank of Nigeria Limited is supporting the 2013 World Economic Conference on Africa. In a statement, the bank said the support is in line with its plans to ensure that Nigeria and Africa finds its feet among the world’s economic power blocks. The three day event, billed to kick off in Cape Town, South Africa on May 08, precedes the World Economic Forum coming up later this year in Davos, Switzerland. The annual event, which is expected to attract leaders in business, finance, civil society groups and policy makers, presents a good platform for African business leaders to brainstorm on ways of addressing factors affecting socio-economic development in the continent. As the Regional Associate partner to WEF, FirstBank was the sponsor of both WEF corporate session in Lagos in 2012 and an active participant at the Addis Ababa conference also in 2012. The bank is expected to, during conference, host exclusive breakfast meeting where critical economic issues bothering on deployment of capital in frontier markets, adapting innovative technologies and services, and fostering a friendly regulatory environment will be discussed. The objective is to come up with strategies that would unlock business and investment opportunities in Nigeria. The bank’s Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney said the lender’s support for the conference is in line with its determination to drive infrastructural development through collaboration with business leaders and institutions across the continent and the world at large.

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 138.34 144.67 0.80 1.15 1.07 100.00 1,000.00 1,819.04 15.86 1.39 1.87 10,855.53

9.08 1.00 137.92 143.83 0.78 1.15 1.05 100.00 1,000.00 1,812.34 15.09 1.33 1.80 10,528.92


CHANGE 0.09 0.06 0.26 0.13 0.05 0.68 0.12 0.22 0.12 0.04


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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%




04 July, 2012

07, Aug, 2012










CITYBEATS Industrial accident kills casual worker's joy A

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

•We're committed to his welfare, says employer

CASUAL worker and his employers are trading words over the chopping off of his finger by a nylon-cutting machine. Chukwudi Adimoha is accusing Bhojraj Industries, Ilupeju, Lagos, of not caring for him despite sustaining the injury in line of duty. The firm denies his claim, saying it is ready to foot his medical bill. For the third time on duty - precisely in January last year - his right thumb was badly damaged by the machine. Since then, he has been griefstricken because, according to him, he has not got the needed attention from his employers. In his search for justice, Adimoha approached the Lagos-based Festus Keyamo Chambers, which promptly took up his case. On February 18, the law firm sent a letter to the managing director of the company. It was entitled: "Demand for the proper treatment and payment of compensation to Mr. Chukwudi Adimoha for damage to his hand". The letter was jointly signed by Chukwudi's counsel, Terfa Mark Anata and Festus Afeiyodion. The letter reads in part: "We act as solicitors to Mr. Chukwudi Adimoha (hereinafter called "our client") and on whose instructions we write: That he is an employee of your company working as an industrial machine operator; that on two occasions in 2012, while he was working on your nyloncutting machines, his right finger was injured, leading to severe damage to one of his finger-nails; that on the second occasion, his left finger was

By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor

chopped off, leading to the permanent damage to his finger. He was not properly treated but was only given first-aid treatment at the company's hospital - Longlife Hospital, Oshodi. The company also wrote a letter to his guardian where they promised to pay him compensation for the injury, but till date, nothing was paid to him. "In January, 2013, while still working on the same industrial machine another accident occurred thereby affecting his right finger. He was taken to the company's clinic for first-aid treatment at Longlife Hospital, where the wound was washed and was given just an injection without further proper treatment. The affected part has now become rotten and he is seriously in need of proper medical care to save his life and the hand from being condemned." "The attention of the management," it further claimed, "was brought to the state of his finger and the need to seek proper treatment of the affected part, but to his utter dismay, he was told that he was personally responsible for his own fate and that nobody told him to cut his hand. "That the incident was further brought to the attention of the vice chairman, where they promised that they would look into the matter, but nothing has been done to give him proper treatment or pay compensation to him." The letter, which averred that the damage to Chukwudi's right thumb "was a direct result of your company's

• Adimoha ... showing the injured finger

... his right thumb was badly damaged by the machine. Since then, he has been grief-stricken because, according to him, he has not got the needed attention from his employers

negligence and non-adherence to safety precautions," described the company's attitude to the victim as "most unfortunate and totally unacceptable." On Adimoha's behalf, the firm demanded full treatment of the affected finger and the payment of N2 million compensation to him by the company. In a March 14 reply, Noel Chambers, told Festus Keyamo Chambers the company's side of the matter. Signed by Gbadebo Ajeigbe, the letter admitted that Chukwudi sustained injuries on three different occasions, adding: "On the first occasion, he was treated at the company's sick bay; on the sec-

ond occasion, he was treated at the company's hospital, Longlife Medical Centre, Oshodi. The injury was healed and he was discharged to work. On December 23, 2012, the injury was reported to the company's insurer, Prestige Insurance Plc. "On the third occasion, he was treated and admitted at the company's hospital for six days; he was later discharged as an out-patient. The medical report received from the hospital indicated that your client will need to undergo plastic surgery operation to join the amputated hand and bone to avoid permanent disability. Our client immediately gave approval for the op-

eration … Our client is ready to pay for all the medical bills incurred by your client. Furthermore, the injury has also been reported to the company's insurer, Prestige Insurance Plc." Absolving the company of alleged negligence in the matter, Noel Chambers said Chukwudi, like his colleagues, had been insured, adding that the company would ensure full treatment of the injury after which he would be moved to another department upon recovery. In another April 17 letter, Noel Chambers said going by reports from the hospital, Chukwudi did not cooperate with the hospital's management, alleging the he eventually "absconded and eloped from the hospital." It said the victim would "be given all the necessary benefit and claim that he is entitled to as a result of the accident." Yesterday, Festus Keyamo Chambers debunked the hospital's claim that Chukwudi ran away from treatment. Contacted again yesterday, Adimoha said: "Well, I remain the way I am."

Three suspected fraudsters held


•From left: Junior Chamber International (JCI) World President, Chiara Melani; Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Comrade Ayodele Adewale; Malaria Resource Person from Sheffield, United Kingdom and a beneficiary of free treated mosquito nets distributed to residents of Sagbokodji, a riverine community in Amuwo Odofin during the 2013 World Malaria Day... recently.

Ladipo market leader gets N5m bail


N Ikeja High Court yesterday granted N5million bail to Jonathan Okoli, President of Aguiyi Ironsi International Market in Ladipo, Lagos. Okoli is standing trial for an alleged N52 million fraud. According to reports by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Justice Olabisi Akinlade also ordered Okoli to produce two sureties in the like sum. Akinlade said the sureties must be resident in Lagos State and must depose to an affidavit of means. One of the sureties, she said, must own a landed property in the state. "Both sureties must produce three years tax clearance payable to the Lagos State Government which should be verified by the Lagos State Internal

Revenue Services (LIRS). The accused must give an undertaking to be of good behaviour and must not go to the market to cause trouble," Akinlade ordered. The judge warned that the court would not hesitate to revoke Okoli's bail if there was concrete evidence that the accused was causing problems at the spares market. She adjourned the matter till July 2 for trial. Okoli was arraigned on April 22 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three-count charge, including obtaining money by false pretence and stealing. The EFCC counsel, Mr Anslem Ozioko, had alleged that the accused had between 2009 and 2010, obtained N52 million from members of Aguiyi Iron-

si International Market Traders Union. Ozioko had said the money was entrusted to Okoli for the payment of Trade Permits and Auto Dealers fees by members of the association. He had alleged that the accused fraudulently diverted the money, instead of making the payments to the Lagos State Government and the Mushin Local Government Council. According to him, Okoli's alleged offences contravened Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006. Ozioko had said it also contravened Section 390(8) (b) and (9) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003. The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

HREE persons who allegedly defrauded travellers by obtaining fake health insurance certificate for them have been arrested by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU). It was gathered that the suspects were arrested following a petition sent by Deputy Consular-General/Head of Visa Operations, Italian Embassy, to the Commissioner of Police (SFU), Tunde Ogunsakin. The police chief detailed operatives to investigate the report, leading to the arrest of some travel agents who specialised in procuring fake health insurance certificate, visa and other vital travel documents for prospective travelers. It was learnt that the petitioner further alleged that with the fake health insurance certificate, Nigerians will apply for visa at the Italian Embassy and this has been a source of worry as it affects the operations of the Embassy. Ogunsakin said: "In the course of investigation, it was discovered that Michael Adeoye, a 38-year-old from Otun, Ekiti State who works at Nuyork Network Services at Mini Shop 2, TBS Lagos as a travel agent is the mas-

By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondent

termind of the whole crime. He usually commits the crime using Elvia Health Insurance Company based in Denmark and Asa Health Insurance Company, Germany. "He confessed that he found the Health Insurance Companies on line and had been defrauding the companies by booking health insurance certificates for travelers without paying any money to the companies. The cost for procuring the certificate is 17Euro but they charge 47Euro which, according to him, is equivalent to N10, 000.00 and this fraud has been going on since 2012. "Ody Chidebe, a 31year-old woman from Nri, Anambra State and a graduate of Federal Polytechnic, Okoh, who claimed to be an insurance agent, corroborated Adeoye. According to her, as an insurance agent, she can obtain an insurance certificate from any source whether genuine or fake and the Elvia Insurance Certificate was given to her by Adeoye and they had been succeeding in using it to procure visa for travelers until their act was discovered." "Another suspect arrested is Moradeyo Olalekan. He is the owner of Nuyork Net-

Police chief dies inside patrol van


HE Divisional Police Officer in charge of Langbasa Police Station along Ajah/Lekki, Lagos, Mr James Wakama, a Chief Superintendent (CSP), is dead. Wakama allegedly slumped in a patrol vehicle while on duty patrol with others early last Friday and died. The late DPO had two years to retire from the force before he met his death. It was gathered that immediately Wakama slumped, his men rushed him to a nearby hospital, but he was confirmed dead on arrival On that day, Wakama had received a distress call around 2am from a woman, that three gunmen were try-

By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondent

ing to force their way into her flat. Wakama and his men were said to have raced to the scene with to save the woman. But on getting there, they discovered it was a false alarm. One of the policemen said that the particular woman had always been in the habit of playing such pranks. “She would make a distress call and whenever we reached her house, it always turned to be false,” the source said. It was learnt that the DPO, angered by the woman’s act, left with his men for the station. As soon as he sat in the vehicle, it was learnt, he slumped.




CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Couple ‘buys’ twins for N1.8m Continued from page 1

"She stated further that the total sum of N1.8million was paid to the woman who administered "Agbo" local herbs on her that eventually produced the babies. Soyibo, the “father” of the twins, stated that he was also given "Agbo" that boosted his sperm count that produced the babies. Both suspects claimed they could no longer trace the woman whom they paid the N1.8million for the "Agbo" and the delivery of the baby. They also could not produce anyone who knew about the conception and the subsequent delivery of the babies". Soyibo, an American citizen and a cab driver, said he and his wife had been childless for 15 years, adding that a woman introduced them to Mrs Helen Okoronkwo, based in Port Harcourt. "We visited her in November 2011 when I came into the country because the woman insisted on seeing my wife and I. When we got there, she gave us some native medicine (Agbo), which was to help us in our quest to get a child. I was in the country until around April 2012. As at that time my wife was already pregnant." He stated further: "On November 24, 2012, my wife was delivered of the twins in Port Harcourt. I was in the country but I did not go with her. I came in on November 19 but was too tired and was also busy with some other things. I was surprised when I went to the Embassy to process their visa to take them with me back to the US and we were asked to go for a DNA to ascertain if we are their biological parents. I could not believe it when the result came out and we were told that the babies are not ours. I know my wife got pregnant, so I do not understand what they mean."

Detectives travelled to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, where the woman claimed she gave birth to the twins in a private small house ... the woman claimed she could no longer identify the place; she also stated that she has no antenatal record anywhere as she did not attend any

By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondent

When asked if any other person apart from his wife was around

•The herbs allegedly used by the couple

when the babies were delivered, he said "no", adding that it was only his wife and the woman that gave them the native medicine. He said a relative of theirs accompanied his wife on that journey, but was not allowed into the house. On why his wife could not recognise the house, where she claimed to have been delivered of her babies when detectives took her to Port Harcourt, the man said it was because they got there at night.

• Olalekan • Adeoye and Chidebe, Inset: The recovered passports

work Services where Adeoye is presently working. The 43 year-old, who hails from Owu in Abeokuta, Ogun State is a travel agent and his office is the place been used to perpetrate the act," Ogunsakin said. Olalekan was said to have confirmed


USTICE Opeyemi Oke of an Ikeja High Court, Ikeja, yesterday, stopped the Lagos State Government from further building houses on the demolished Akanimodo International Market. The order will subsist pending the determination of a suit instituted by the traders against the government. The court also reiterated its earlier order that both parties should maintain the status quo. The traders, represented by their leaders, Alhaji Adekunle Agbalajobi and Mr. Ademola Oyekanmi sued Governor Babatunde Fashola, over the "forceful, unlawful and unconstitutional demolition and destruction" of their market.

that Elvia Health Insurance is one of the listed travel insurance on the list of required and accepted health insurance on the website of the list of travel documents by the Embassy and can be booked on line.

The suspect blamed Adeoye whom he said, is in a better position to explain the health insurance in question. Ogunsakin said international passports belonging to different people for booking of appointments or payment of visa fees in banks were recovered from the suspects, adding that they would soon be charged to court.

Court halts construction on market site By Adebisi Onanuga

They are claiming N3.8 billion damages from the government for allegedly causing them poverty. Other defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and the government. At the resumed hearing of the matter, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Chief Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN), informed the court that the governor, without prior notice unlawfully destroyed shops, stalls and goods at the market in order to build various houses and structures on the land.

The traders said when the market was destroyed, they were left without any means of livelihood. They said the government had started construction on the site of the demolished Akanimodo market in Ajelogo, Mile 12. They are, therefore, claiming N3.9 million for the physical structures and identifiable wares said to be damaged in the market during the demolition. Justice Oke adjourned the matter to May 14 for hearing of the applicants' 'motion on notice' for an order of interlocutory injunction against the government.

Cleric decries alleged plot against his church By Yinka Aderibigbe


OR sometime now, the General Overseer, Evangelical Apostolic Church situated on Mojisola Street, Ifako-Ijaiye, a Lagos suburb, Prophet Olatunji Talabi, has lost his sleep. He is rattled by an alleged threat by the Community Development Association (CDA) in the area, and some Muslim clerics to have his 3,000-member church shut down over alleged noise pollution. Talabi, aka 'Baba Lesekese,' accused the CDA chair, Mr. Oye Balogun and others of taking actions that could cause religious crisis. He urged government to wade into the matter. The cleric who alleged the man had been waging war against the church for long urged the government to protect his church from likely attacks. He said they had threatened to use their contacts to chase him out of the area. Talabi accused the CDA chair of using the police and the Lagos State Environmental protection Agency (LASEPA), to intimidate him. He said: "I have been on this street for the past six years, but since we commenced service here, the church services have always been a headache for Alhaji Balogun and some others. They once ordered us to change our power generator to a sound-proof one to avoid noise pollution, which we did without delay. Apart from other concessions, we were asked to reduce our vigils to once a month, which we did regardless of the fact that we hitherto had numerous vig-

• Talabi

ils in a month." Talabi alleged that the men also reported the church to the police, saying: "Policemen came to investigate the matter. They claimed that we placed our speakers outside, but the police found none of our speakers outside and ruled out the case." Balogun, 81, said all the residents wanted was peace, which had eluded them since the coming of the church. He admitted that he and the leadership of the CDAs had petitioned the Ministry of the Environment and LASEPA over the noise menace. "At a point, LASEPA locked up the church following our petition," Balogun added. He appealed to the agency to tackle the menace. The Nation learnt that LASEPA had directed the church to hold its Sunday services between 8am and 1pm, while evening services including Sundays, should not exceed 8pm. Vigils which hitherto held every week was reduced to once a month without loud speakers and musical instruments.

Police warn abandoned vehicles’ owners The police in Lagos have warned owners of damaged and abandoned vehicles parked at Morogbo and Ojo Police Stations to remove them or risk losing them to the public through auction within three weeks. They affected vehicles are: Blue Volvo 244 GL marked BR 185 KJA; Blue Datsun Van, AT 891 MUS; Mercedes Benz bus, XN 537 FST; damaged Mazda 626 car, AG 49 FGB; Volkswagen bus, XY 531 LND; damaged Mazda 626 (unregistered); damaged Toyota Camry car, LM 578 ABC, and Mazda 626 car, WY 204 EKY




Falana advocates coroner’s law for Edo


CTIVIST lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has urged the Edo State Government to

enact a coroner’s law to investigate causes of unnatural deaths in the state. Falana said there have been so many killings in the country that the citizens can no longer wait for the Federal Government. He said an inquest would enable the state find the killers without relying on the police. Falana said states like Lagos had the law and it is working. He promised to offer free legal services to the state, if it decides to begin investigation of murder cases. The Lagos lawyer spoke in Benin City yesterday at a lecture entitled: “Citizens Rights, Youths Engagement and National Security” to mark the one year memorial service for the late Principal Private Secretary of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Olaitan Oyerinde. Oyerinde was murdered on May 4, last year. Falana described the late Oyerinde as a man who was “committed to the positive transformation of the society.” He said for Nigeria to ensure adequate security, there must be an end to impunity and official granting of amnesty to those who carry out violent activities. The rights activist called for the investigation of extra-judicial killing by the International Criminal

Court orders IG, Adoke to pay N5million


HE Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, to pay N5million into an interest yielding account. The N5million was awarded against them by an Edo State High Court for the unlawful arrest and detention of David Ugolor for the killing of the Principal Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Olaitan Oyerinde. Justice Helen Ogunwumiju gave the order yesterday at the hearing of the appeal filed by counsel to the Inspector General of Police, Police Force and Attorney General of the Federation, Henry Ihonde, against the high court ruling. Ihonde also sought for stay of execution to the decision of the lower court.

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Ugolor’s counsel Olayiwola Afolabi countered the application and described it as “legal virus.” Afolabi said the N5milllion ought to have been paid into an interest yielding account pending the appeal court judgment, according to rules of the court. Ihonde agreed to pay the money into the account and both parties agreed on stay of execution of the lower court judgment. The court ordered the money to be paid into the account within 60 days. Ugolor was arrested and detained for 42 days after Maisamari Garuba said Ugolor paid him N200,000 out of an agreed N20million to kill Oyerinde.

•Calls on minister to apologise •Widow curses killers •Failure to find killers unsettles NLC From Osagie Otabor, Benin and John Ofikhenua, Abuja

Court (ICC). His words: “In marking today, we realise that no one is safe in the country. In a country of over 100 million people, there are only 47,000 police officers. “In a country full of killings, the states which are interested should not be stopped from acquiring modern gadgets to enhance security of their citizens. “The greatest tribute we can pay to him is to build a society of his

dream where security and welfare of citizens can be guaranteed.” Falana called on the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, to publicly apologise to the governor for the misleading statement that his office does not give legal advice to the police. President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Peter Esele said there would be no peace without justice even if amnesty was granted to all. He said Nigerians should look for

who can deliver on promises and not the politics of where one comes from. Governor Adams Oshiomhole described the deceased as the most selfless person he has met. He recanted instances where the late Oyerinde proved to be a trusted ally. The governor said he was yet to find a replacement for him. He said: “When I was the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Olaitan told me one day after a meeting that Comrade one day we will beat you up. Do you think we

are your children? Even if you shout at your children, we will deal with you. “We cannot be perfect. Olaitan is one man who would tell me that he cannot be associated with some things.” The widow, Funke, cursed the killers and urged the police to find them. NLC President Abdulwahed Omar said the Congress was disturbed that the killers have not been prosecuted. In a statement entitled: “Inability to prosecute Olaitan Oyerinde’s killer is threat to right to life”, Omar said there are conflicting claims by the police and the State Security Service (SSS) on the issue. He said: “We urge President Goodluck Jonathan to look at this case and the security system in the nation. Security is a great challenge to his administration. “The security agencies obviously know the truth about what happened to Oyerinde and have information about those who carried out the killing but for reasons Nigerians are yet to be told, they prefer to conceal the truth.” According to the NLC boss, the case has shown that Nigerian leadership is yet to demonstrate enough understanding of democracy and the commitment of all structures of government to ensure its success. He noted that democracy is threatened when the fundamental rights of the citizens are treated with impunity.

Abia NUT suspends strike From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia


HE Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Abia State has suspended its eight-day strike. Speaking with reporters in Umuahia, the NUT Chairman, Enoch Omeoga, said they called off the strike because of the intervention of Governor Theodore Orji. Omeoga said teachers should from resume work today. Teachers in public primary and secondary schools have refused to resume for the third term since schools resumed on April 29. The teachers were protesting the non-implementation of the Teachers’ Enhanced Salary Structure (TSS).

10 filling stations shut From Osagie Otabor, Benin


EN petrol stations have been sealed off by the Edo State Petroleum and Gas Monitoring Task Force for offences ranging from under-dispensing of fuel, adulteration of diesel and diversion of petroleum products. Some of the stations affected included V. Umweni Petroleum on Benin/Sapele, Road, Rick Foster Emuze Petrol Station, Manoba Petrol, Conoil on Sapele Road, Odosa Oil near Ologbo, BIBI Petroleum Limited at Sapele Road, and Kowho Oil Limited. Executive Director of the Task Force Chris Okaeben said the government would not hesitate to sanction dealers who made life difficult for residents.

Rivers dissolves tourism board From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt


HE Rivers State Government has dissolved its Tourism Board. The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Nnabuine Imegwu, announced this yesterday in Port Harcourt. He said the board, which was created under Decree 81 of 1992, duplicates the functions of the State Tourism Development Agency. The commissioner said deserving persons would be absorbed into the agency

•Oshiomhole with Oyerinde’s son, Adams; Deputy Governor Pius Odubu (left) and NLC Vice-President Issa Aremu at the event...yesterday. INSET: Falana (left) and Esele

Man found dead on river bank


MAN, who was identified as Victor Adepoju, has been found dead on the bank of a stream at Okpekpe in Estako East Local Government of Edo State. He was said to be an official of the Ministry of Budget. The cause of his death could not be ascertained but sources said he was last seen at the Okpekpe 10km road race organised by the International Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). It was unclear whether or

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

not the late Adepoju was a participant at the event. A relative of the deceased, who gave his name as Jude, said Victor participated in the race but did not return home until his body was discovered by the river. He said the remains have been deposited at the Lazarus Hospital in Fugar, Etsako Central Local Government. Police spokesman Moses Eguaveon confirmed the incident but said the family has declined to conduct an au-

‘They said they did not suspect any foul play but we asked them to produce a court affidavit to show that they are not interested in the investigation.’ topsy. He said: “He was a contestant in the road race and a tag with number 515 was found on him. His body was recov-

ered from the water. “The parents came and identified the body but they have declined investigation into the cause of the death. “They said they did not suspect any foul play but we asked them to produce a court affidavit to show that they are not interested in the investigation.” Commissioner for Youths and Sports Omorede Osifo said she was not aware of the death of any athlete . She said all the athletes with fractures were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Fake Army corporal recants

A Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi

while others would be drafted into the ministry or redeployed to other

FAKE army corporal, Okolugbo Anthony, has recanted on an earlier claim of serving in the military. The Delta State Police Command had on April 26 arrested the suspect in military camouflage with four others at a hotel in Asaba. He had told the police during interrogation that he was a soldier attached to 34

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

Artillery Regiment, Obinze, Imo State. But police spokesman Lucky Uyabeme, who paraded the suspect for the second time yesterday, said: “After tedious investigation, we discovered that he gave us false information as part of antics of the syndicate to

beat the prying eyes of security agents.” Uyabeme said the command has retracted its earlier comments that the suspect was a soldier. He urged the public to be wary of hoodlums parading themselves as security agents. The suspect said he was not in any military formation but maintained he was

successful in a military recruitment exercise in Zaria. “But there was problem along the line. I was injured.” The suspect, who hails from Ejeme in Aniocha South Local Government, said he was arrested along with four others in a hotel when they attempted to sell arms –two pump action guns- to a senator.



NEWS Chime, Ajimobi mourn Jason From Chris Oji, Enugu

ENUGU State Governor Sullivan Chime has described the late ace columnist and social critic, Pini Jason, as a true patriot who devoted his career to the pursuit of national development and protection of the rights of ordinary citizens. Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi condoled with the management of Vanguard Newspapers and the family of Pini Jason. Chime, in a message by his Chief Press Secretary, Chukwudi Achife, said the late Jason was an exemplary journalist who contributed to the nation’s socio-political and economic advancement. He called on journalists to emulate the professional practice of the deceased left behind. Ajimobi, in a statement in Ibadan by his Special Adviser on Media, Festus Adedayo, described the late columnist as one of the few consciences of the nation. “Jason was a fearless writer who never for once hesitated to present issues as they were. He was always on the side of the truth and he never wavered in defending the course of the ordinary Nigerian,” he said.

Ogun PDP dispels defection report THE Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has refuted the report of the alleged defection of some of its members to Labour Party (LP). In a statement by its Chairman, Adebayo Dayo, the party said the report was “the handiwork of some discredited politicians who are looking for credible people to associate with.” “In spite of being in office and control of government machinery, they failed woefully with their Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) experiment the last time. They will fail again. PDP is on ground in Ogun State. A good number of the people are with us”, it said. The party noted that “rather than some of its members defecting, it is waxing stronger with more and more people coming into the fold daily, especially now that all the issues relating to the leadership of the party in the state have been resolved.” It said it was not aware of any of its “so-called financier in Remo Division” who has defected. The party urged its members to remain focused and continue to work for its success “especially now that respectable leaders of the party and our father, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and erstwhile Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sen. Jubril Martins-Kuye (JMK), have resolved to remain in PDP and work for it.” It advised its members not to allow themselves to be hoodwinked by the “ziggy masters”, who are adept at deception, into joining some “mushroom parties”, adding “we should not fail to learn from recent history where those who defected or caused people to defect realised their mistakes too late in the day and did everything possible to return to the fold. PDP is the only national party that can accommodate all of us.”

•Sitting: Lagos State Police Commissioner Abubakar Manko (middle); members of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS)- Prof. Yemi Olatunji-Bello (fourth right); Mr. Victor Banjo (fourth left), and some senior officers of the Lagos Police Command, when members of NIPSS visited the Command in Lagos.

Ebonyi doctors on strike over colleague’s kidnap


HE Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Ebonyi State yesterday said its members have withdrawn their services in all government and private hospitals. The NMA Chairman, Chidi Esike, said at a briefing in Abakaliki that the withdrawal was due to the kidnap of a consultant paediatrician, Dr Pius Maiyike. Maiyike, who works with the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, was kidnapped on Sunday at the entrance of his hospital, Saint Mark’s Specialist Hospital. Eyewitnesses said the doctor drove to the hospital in his car and was waylaid by the kidnappers who waited for

him on their motorcycle. They said: “The kidnappers abducted the doctor, shot the guard and fled in the doctor’s car. Confirming the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), police spokesman Sylvester Igbo said the doctor was kidnapped on Sunday as he approached his private clinic at 15A, Owerri Street, Abakaliki. Igbo said Mauyike, who is the owner of St. Marks Specialist Clinic, Abakaliki, was abducted with his vehicle, a black BMW, by two men armed with AK-47 rifles. “His guard, who was identified as Peter, was shot dead as five shells of bullets were picked at the scene of the incident.

“The body has been deposited at a mortuary, and the command has intensified efforts to trace the perpetrators of the dastardly act. “As at this morning, the kidnappers are yet to contact the family, though the family is yet to make any formal report to the police. Good spirited individuals informed the police about the kidnap and we are monitoring the movement of the kidnappers. “We are still investigating the matter and our man has been detailed to ensure stopand-search of vehicles. We are trailing the movement of the hoodlums and we want to assure the public that we would not relent until the doctor is rescued and returned

to his family safe.” A doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, decried the spate of attacks on doctors in recent times. “Early this year, one of our doctors was nearly blinded by an Assistant Superintendent of Police for attending to his sick wife. “Last week, another doctor was brutalised by relatives of a patient that died in the hospital over alleged complicity that turned out to be false. “Efforts should be made by relevant authorities to ensure the safety of doctors to enable them to concentrate on discharging their duties,’’ he said. Esike said the doctors could not continue to operate in an

unsafe and insecure environment. “We shall, however, resume our services immediately our colleague is released by the kidnappers. “The kidnappers should know that doctors do humanitarian work and are not wealthy. “During this period, there will be no skeletal services by the doctors. It is a pity that doctors now work under siege,” he said. It was gathered that doctors just resumed work after a strike to protest an alleged assault on their colleague by a retired permanent secretary. Esike wondered why doctors should be made to face such criminality in the discharge of their duties.

ACN, Lagos Assembly condemn PDP’s call to probe Fashola B ARELY 24 hours after it urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to look into the books of the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola, the Peoples Democratic Party has drawn the ire of the state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the House of Assembly. The PDP state chairman Tunji Shelle on Sunday called on the anti-graft agency to look into the books of the state government for alleged massive corruption. Shelle reportedly made the call after a church service to mark his birthday. But the ACN and the House berated the PDP chair over his comment, describing the call as uncalled for and ridiculous. In a statement by its spokesman Joe Igbokwe, the ACN accused the rival party of approaching the commission in

By Oziegbe Okoeki

frustration. He said the PDP was green with envy at the feat attained by the ACN in the Centre of Excellence. Igbokwe wondered why a party with notoriety for corruption and incompetence would rush to report a performing government to a crime-fighting agency. The statement reads: “When a party notorious makes a life business of forging and marketing lies so as to further its political interests, it can only detain itself to wolf crying and raising the kind of wild hoaxes Lagos PDP has made its primary business since it found out that it has no electoral value in Lagos. “The Lagos PDP is advised to wake up to the fact that it has no base in the state and

therefore should perish the thought of ever ruling Lagos. “For us at Lagos ACN, the Lagos State chapter of the PDP has become a regular nuisance with one petty gossip or the other to spread with each passing day. “We know that Lagos PDP does not exist beyond this trade in fickleness and we respond to them in that regard. Their wild concoctions and insensate forgeries have become the most remarkable features of their wild fantasy that, by whatever means, they will get a chance of adding Lagos to their looting empire. We assure them that the PDP will continue to meet worse electoral fates in the state in future elections. Is it not ironical that a party that is notorious for corruption is the one raising corrup-

tion allegation or the other against a government noted for compliance with due process and best practice in Nigeria? The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Segun Olulade berated Shelle’s call and urged Lagosians to shun the PDP. Olulade told reporters in a chat: “Massive corruption alleged by the PDP against Fashola is the only way the Lagos PDP could express its frustration and desperation to rule the state, having failed to win the hearts of Lagosians against the highly performing governor and his party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).” The lawmaker maintained that there was no occasion when the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji addressed the media or instructed stand-


ing gommittees of the House to begin the probe of ministries in the state. He said: “The Lagos PDP knows too well that the ratrace to capture Lagos is a lost battle from inception. This is the more reason the PDP is trying to fabricate lies to create disaffection between Governor Fashola, Lagos State House of Assembly and ACN leaders.

Alleged N100m fraud: Ex-Provost, bursar remanded in prison


HE Federal High Court in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, yesterday remanded a former Provost of the Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Dr. Paul Ajah Onu, and Bursar, Samuel Atoi in prison. The accused were arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N100million fraud. A statement by the EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity,

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspects were arraigned before Justice Maureen Onyetenu on a four-count charge of conspiracy, abuse of office, fraudulent diversion and misappropriation of public funds. The statement said: “The accused allegedly misappropriated over N100milion of the school’s funds. “Their arrest, investigation

and subsequent arraignment followed a petition by members of the institution’s Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institute and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIA). “The union had alleged that the provost, with the help of some workers of the College, transferred excess funds from the staff personnel emolument account to other illegal accounts. “The provost was also alleged to have illegally

awarded salaries and other fraudulent advances to himself; employed his wife and placed her on a level far above her qualification and experience. “Investigations by the EFCC revealed how over N100million was illegally transferred from the personnel emolument account on recommendation of the Bursar to other accounts between 2009 and 2012 with the approval of the Provost, contrary to the provisions of the Financial

Regulation. “For instance, N100, 000,000 meant for the construction of a farm guest house was paid into the account of FECAI Ventures (a business unit of the college under the control of the provost). The fund was progressively depleted without the money being used for what it was intended. “When the charges were read to the accused persons, they pleaded not guilty.




Kwara ACN, PDP quarrel over alleged defection


HE Kwara State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday disagreed over the report by the ruling party that 2,500 members of the opposition had defected to the state PDP. ACN chieftain, Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN), described as a show of shame and admission of failure the PDP’s and its government’s claims that the ACN members defected because “Belgore failed to give them employment”. Belgore, who has denied the defection story, asked whether it was the duty of the opposition to provide jobs for the people, or the government which controls the machinery of the state and is charged with welfare of the citizens. The government and the ruling PDP have repeatedly taunted the opposition on the defection, which the ACN insisted was another lie from the PDP and its government. Belgore, in a statement by his media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye, said: “Our initial reaction is that nothing, however shameful and debasing, is beyond a government now notorious for its lies and chicanery and whose every claim now faces integrity test even from little kids.” But Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed urged the state ACN to come up with viable alternatives to its policies instead of downplaying his administration’s achievements.

•Opposion: stop your dance of shame •ACN downplaying our achievement, says govt From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

In a statement in Ilorin, the state capital, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communications Dr Muideen Akorede said: “For once, Belgore should suspend politicking and acknowledge the Ahmed administration’s triumphs, which are obvious to all but the embattled opposition. “These achievements include rural/urban road construction and rehabilitation, supply of laboratory equipment to schools, rehabilitation of basic and senior secondary school classrooms, rural and urban electrification, the remodelling of five general hospitals, provision of 220 boreholes and rehabilitation work on 13 waterworks, the on-going construction of a first-class International Vocational Centre and Engineering Complex at KWASU among others. “These strides are obvious to all but the ACN is daily haemorrhaging disillusioned members, who are then trooping en masse to the high-performing PDP.” Belgore said the celebrations of the alleged defection raised questions about the seriousness, competence and the

thought of the initiators of such self-defeating claims. The statement reads: “We have been watching with amusement how the Kwara State Government, which claims to be performing and is popular, is wasting public funds in celebrating in the newspapers and on television the sponsored and contrived defection of some fictitious members of the opposition party. “They even went to the ridiculous extent of sponsoring a statement that Belgore (SAN) promised the defectors employment but has reneged on that promise and that was the reason for their defection... “Indeed, the celebration of the so-called defection is a pitiable show by the PDP-led government and it raises a number of questions. If the so-called defectors’ grouse is that they remain unemployed, contrary to a promise that had been made to them, how and from where do such unemployed people get funds to sponsor the so-called defection ceremony and the various television and newspaper coverage it has received? “Does this not suggest that they were sponsored? Certainly, the sponsorship would not have come from the party that they were defecting from.

Whose responsibility is it – government or the opposition - to create jobs? Is it not only a shameless government that would be celebrating its own failure by saying someone else should have done what it is constitutionally charged to do? “If the opposition does not exist in Kwara, as the government has repeatedly stated over the years, where did the socalled defectors, numbering 2,500 from one single local council, come from? “Assuming even that there was in fact a real decampment, now that unemployment has been cited as the reason for it, what is the government doing to address that? “Is the government going to create or offer jobs to the alleged 2,500 unemployed defectors or improve their lot in any meaningful and sustainable way beyond the hand-outs it has given to them to create the false media show of the decampment? “The truth of the matter is that the PDP-led government in Kwara State has failed miserably and it continues to exhibit its failure and incompetence in embarrassing ways and this is one of such ways. Beyond the usual window-dressings and Memorandum of Understand-

ing (MoU) signings with bogus entities like the so-called Vasolar Consortium about which nothing verifiable exists other than media publications from the MOU signing ceremony with KWSG, it has no meaningful achievement on record to date. “Rather, it is fond of making false claims on its performance, from blatantly lying that it has constructed over 600 kilometres of road in the state, the embarrassing falsehood/contradictory statements on the socalled Shonga award, to claims that it has employed thousands of youths and is sharing prosperity even when youth restiveness, armed robbery, rampant killings have hit a record high in the state while poverty now walks on all four in the state so much that people are queuing in front of the Government House to beg for foods and shelter! “Meanwhile, there are numerous allegations of financial scandals by the past and current PDP-led government being (or are yet to be) investigated; the list continues to grow by the day. The government should keep itself busy in improving the lives of the people and in running an open and clean government. It should stop chasing shadows and wasting public funds by bringing itself into further ridicule and odium by self-defeating and embarrassing media displays.”

Kaduna ACN asks Yero to resign over N7b loan, others

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ENATOR Bello Hayatu Gwarzo, representing Kano North, yesterday distributed empowerment items worth over N80 million to scores of beneficiaries in the 13 local government areas under his constituency. Gwarzo also used the occasion to announce his plans to establish N400 million Girls’ Science Secondary School in Gwarzo town. According to him, contacts have already been made to begin the project. The senator said the Kano State Government has given its consent to the gesture to complement Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s revolution in the education sector. Gwarzo also said the establishment of the proposed Girls’ Science Secondary School was dream come true, adding that he has been on the vanguard of promoting girl-child education. He said the school, upon completion, will have two science laboratories, two hostels, a library, a twin three-bedroom flats for the principal and his vice as well as four other structures to serve as the staff quarters.

NSCIA to pick Adegbite’s successor today By Tajudeen Adebanjo

•From left: Medical Director, Malumfashi General Hospital, Katsina State, Dr Ayinla Abdulrauf; Director, Hinache Microfinance Bank, Alhaji Nasiru Tabako; the hospital’s Friends’ Committee Chairman, Alhaji Shawai Alhassan and an official of the bank, Alhaji Abdulrazak Abdulwahab, at the presentation of N200,000 drugs donated by the bank to patients in the hospital’s maternity ward in Katsina...yesterday

•Govt: no loan taken From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


HE Kaduna State branch of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday asked Governor Mukthar Ramalan Yero to resign, if he cannot manage the state’s resources prudently. ACN Chairman Mohammed Musa Soba accused the governor of trying to plunge the state into debts by taking about N7 billion loan from the Islamic Development Bank for equipping the yet-to-be-completed a 300bed hospital his administration is building. But Commissioner for Information Saidu Adamu said the governor has not taken any foreign loan. The commissioner explained that the process for the Islamic bank’s loan began in 2009 when Vice-President Namadi Sambo was governor of the state. Adamu said it was recently approved by the National Assembly and the National Executive Council (NEC). The ACN said it was disturbed by the government’s penchant for foreign loans, adding that these have continued to oil the machinery of corruption by successive administrations in the state. The statement reads: “Recently, Kaduna State Governor Yero made a startling disclosure that his administration had secured a loan of $43 million (about N7billion) from Islamic Development Bank for the procurement of beds and other facilities for the yet-to-becompleted Kaduna Specialist Hospital at the yet-to-materialise Millennium City.

Senator empowers constituents with N80m

Ex-police chief Tsav faults Jonathan’s war against Boko Haram


FORMER Lagos State Police Commissioner Abubakar Tsav has criticised President Goodluck Jonathan’s fight against Boko Haram insurgents. He alleged that the President is not honest with the process. The retired police commissioner noted that Dr Jonathan’s anti-terror crusade poses more questions than answers. According to him, there are doubts on who were responsible for the kidnap of elder statesman, Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno. Tsav questioned the possibility of Boko Haram insurgents kidnapping the former Petroleum Minister when the area was swarming with security operatives.

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

The former police chief also decried the spate of violence occasioned by frequent clashes between the insurgents and the Joint Task Force (JTF) operatives. He said: “...Borno and Yobe states have been turned into war zones. About 350 streets in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, are blocked by the JTF. These apart, mosques and churches are normally provided with armed security during Friday prayers and Sunday church services. So, how was it possible for Boko Haram to kidnap Alhaji Monguno after the Jumat prayers and in broad daylight without any reaction from the JTF? Or, were they withdrawn from the mosque?”


EADERS of Nigeria’s Muslim Ummah are expected to pick the successor of the former SecretaryGeneral of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the late Dr Lateef Adegbite. Two candidates from the Southwest - Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, a former University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) ViceChancellor and currently the Executive Secretary of the National Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) as well as Prof Tajudeen Gbadamosi, the Chairman, Joint Technical Committee of the Lagos State Muslim Council, have emerged. A meeting will hold today at the headquarters of the Jamatul Nasril Islam in Kaduna to pick the successor. The position became vacant following the demise of the Dr Adegbite on September 28, last year. The issue of who succeeds the late Adegbite has pitched Muslims in the Southwest, where the seat is zone to, against one another. While leaders of the NSCIA in the zone settled for Prof Gbadamosi, a professor of History, the Muslim Ummah in South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) preferred Prof Oloyede, who was Dr Adegbite’s assistant, to step into the late lawyer’s shoes.

Court rejects Kabiru Sokoto’s prayer to quash charges


HE suspected mastermind of the 2011 Christmas Day bombing at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Mandalla, Niger State, Kabiru Umar (aka Kabiru Sokoto), yesterday lost the bid to quash the charge against him. Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court, Abu-

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

ja, dismissed Umar’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court. His lawyer, Adamu Ibrahim, argued that the court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to try the charge against his client on the grounds that, based on the constituent ele-

ments of the charge, the court in Abuja is not the proper trial venue. Relying on the Appeal Court’s decision in the case of Ibori and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ibrahim contended that since the bombing, for which his client was charged, took place in Sokoto and Ni-

ger states, the Federal High Court in Abuja is not the appropriate trial venue. He also urged the court to quash the charge against his client on the grounds that no prima facie case was made against him. But prosecution lawyer, Mrs Chioma Onuegbu, argued that the Court of Appeal, in its deci-

sion in the Ibori case, did not remove the powers of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court (FHC) to assign cases. The judge, who took arguments from parties on the accused’s bail application, fixed May 9 for ruling. Umar was arraigned on April 19 on a two-count charge bordering on acts of terrorism.



FOREIGN NEWS Alleged Auschwitz death camp guard arrested A 93-YEAR-old man who was deported from the U.S. for lying about his Nazi past was arrested by German authorities yesterday on allegations he served as an Auschwitz death camp guard, Stuttgart prosecutors said. Hans Lipschis was taken into custody after authorities concluded there was “compelling evidence” he was involved in crimes at Auschwitz while there from 1941 to 1945, prosecutor Claudia Krauth said. Lipschis has acknowledged being assigned to an SS guard unit at Auschwitz but maintains he only served as a cook and was not involved in any war crimes. Lipschis was deported from the U.S. in 1983 for lying about his Nazi past when he immigrated to Chicago in the 1950s after the war. With no evidence linking him to specific war crimes, however, it was impossible under previous German law to bring charges against him in Germany. But the case is now being pursued on the same legal theory used to prosecute former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died last year while appealing his 2011 conviction in Germany for accessory to murder on the grounds that he served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp.

Harvard Prof apologises for comments NIALL Ferguson, a Harvard history professor and author, is apologizing for saying economist John Maynard Keynes didn’t care about the future because he was gay and had no children. According to The Associated Press, Ferguson made the remarks on Thursday during a question-andanswer session after a prepared speech at the Altegris Strategic Investment conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Asked to comment about Keynes, he suggested that the British economist’s philosophy was shaped by being homosexual and therefore childless. The remarks were reported by the website of Financial Advisor magazine and other online publications. On Saturday Ferguson acknowledged the remarks and said he never should have suggested Keynes’ economic philosophy was inspired by his personal life. He said he deeply apologized.

ECOWAS expresses concern over Togo, Guinea Bissau


HE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed worries over the turn of events in Guinea Bissau and Togo. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Desire Ouedraogo Monday in Abuja said the body has been disturbed by the political and security situation in the last few month. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, who

•Mali security situation ‘under control’ From Vincent Ikuomola and Nike Adebowale, Abuja

spoke on Monday at the opening of the 2013 first ordinary session of the Third Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, said, “The political and security situation in the region in the last few months has been a source of concern. The situation in Guinea Bissau and Togo ahead of elections is

disturbing, we appeal to all parties to engage in dialogue for peaceful conduct of the polls.” While also noting that the crisis in Mali is under control, Ouedraogo assured that the sub-regional body will do everything possible to promote the values and principle of democracy among member nations. He also noted that the role

played by the sub- regional body in quelling the insecurity in Mali has raised its stock before its development partners. Ouedraogo also commended the Republic of Chad, France and other states that contributed troops to. Africa led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). ECOWAS Commission

A general view of a damaged military and scientific research center near the Syrian capital destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. .. on Sunday. PHOTO : AP

president also paid tribute to all troops that lost their lives in the intervention efforts. On ECOWAS Parliament, Oudraogo promised to recommend to the ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments (HoSG) the need to enhance the powers of the parliament to empower it to continue to assist in the integration process. The President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator David Mark was full of praises for ECOWAS, saying that the regional body has lived up to expectations in upholding stability and peace in the region. Mark, who was represented by the Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ningi Ahmed Abdul, also commended the regional body for standing up against undemocratic practices in the region. He further noted that Nigeria took the crucial decision to send a high number of troops to Mali because of the realisation that terror threat in any part of the subregion is a threat to the continent and the world. Speaking on the enhance power sought by the regional parliament, the Speaker of the Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who expressed hope that the enhanced power for the parliament sought come to fruition, however said it wa not meant to diminish the relevance of the other organs of the community. Stressing that the essence of the power is to ensure the organ take the lead in the emergence of a stronger, more result oriented and more people responsive community.

Italy’s ex-premier Giulio ‘the Godfather’ Andreotti dies at 94


IULIO Andreotti was one of postwar Italy’s most powerful men: He helped draft the country’s constitution after World War II, served as its premier seven times and spent 60 years in parliament. But the Christian Democrat who was friends with popes and cardinals was also a controversial figure who survived corruption scandals and allegations of aiding the Mafia: Andreotti was accused of exchanging a “kiss of honor” with the mob’s longtime No. 1 boss and indicted in what was called “the trial of the century” in Palermo. He was eventually cleared. Still a senator-for-life, Andreotti died yesterday at age 94 after being in poor health recently. The condolences that flowed in underscored Italy’s uncertain judgment of a man who for many personified both the good and bad of the postwar Italy. In announcing the death, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno called Andreotti

“the most representative politician” Italy had known in its recent history. Pier Ferdinando Casini, a centrist political leader, said he was certain that “history will give this statesman a more sober and serious opinion than his detractors made during his life.” Silvio Berlusconi, a former three-time premier who himself has been the target of prosecutors’ probes, called Andreotti an “icon” against whom Italy’s leftists fought battles “based on demonizing their adversary and judicial persecution, a trial Andreotti overcame with dignity and composure — and won.” Andreotti’s political career was as varied as it was long, with posts covering everything from cinema to sports. Born in 1919, he once noted that he had outlived two other Italian phenomena that emerged that year: Fascism and the precursor of his Christian Democrats, the Italian Popular Party. “Of all three, only I remain,” he said. Andreotti was well-known for his political acumen, subtle humor and witty allu-

sions. With sharp eyes, thin lips and a stooped figure, he was immediately recognizable to generations of Italians. Friends and foes alike admired his intellectual agility and his grasp of the issues. Andreotti’s rise in the Italian political scene mirrored the rise of Italy, which was emerging from two decades of Fascist dictatorship under Benito Mussolini. He joined the conservative Christian Democrats, was part of the Constituent Assembly that wrote the constitution and was elected to parliament in 1948. He remained there ever since. He held a series of Cabinet positions after World War II until he became premier for the first time in 1972. Twenty years later, he finished his last stint as premier. Although staunchly proAmerican and a firm supporter of Italy’s NATO membership, Andreotti was the first Christian Democrat to accept Communist support, even if indirect, in one of his governments. The Cabinet that was formed after big Communist gains in the 1976 election needed the

•The late Andreotti Communists and other leftists to abstain — rather than cast “no” votes — during parliamentary votes. By the early 1990s, a vast corruption drive led by Italian prosecutors — the “Clean Hands” probe — swept through parliament and hobbled most political parties. Andreotti’s Christian Democrats were among them, but the scandal did not touch him personally and he managed to stay on as premier until an election in 1992. The one political prize he never achieved was to become president of the republic, a largely ceremonial but highly regarded office. He came closest in 1992, but his

efforts failed amid the “Clean Hands” corruption scandals. A probing portrait of him in the film “Il Divo” was honored with the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. He even made a guest appearance as himself in the movie, “Il Tassinaro” (“The Taxi Driver”) with the late comedian Alberto Sordi. The Italian Olympic Committee CONI said a moment of silence would be held at all sporting events this week to honor his service as president of the organizing committee of the 1960 Rome Olympics. Andreotti was married to Livia Danese. He is survived by his wife, their four children and grandchildren.

Tuareg leaders form new group in northern Mali for dialogue


UAREG leaders in northern Mali have formed a new group which they say will aim to negotiate with the Malian government, as questions linger over the future of the Kidal region. In a statement announcing the launch of the High Council for the Azawad, organisers said they are not seeking in-

dependence from Mali and instead want dialogue. But the new body appears to be led by several of the same Tuareg dignitaries who earlier backed the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, or NMLA, a rebel group which invaded northern Mali last year and declared independence. They claimed they wanted to

create a homeland for the Tuareg people known as Azawad, a word in the local language referring to northern Mali and for a few weeks the multicolored NMLA flag fluttered from administrative buildings in the north. But by June of last year, the secular Tuaregs were pushed out by a mixture of al-Qaidalinked Islamic extremist groups

who controlled a France-sized territory until January, when French soldiers invaded to oust the jihadists. The French have since succeeded in liberating all three provincial capitals in the north from the grips of the extremists. However, they were only able to hand back control to the Malian army of two of the three — the cities

of Timbuktu and Gao. Kidal is now ruled by the Tuaregs, who have refused to allow Mali’s military to return, accusing the army of systematically targeting the lighter-skinned ethnic groups in the north. Mohamed Ag Intalla, the president of the newly-created council, said: “For too long, we hung back with our arms crossed, wait-

ing for a solution to our problem to come from one direction or another. But instead the fire just keeps on growing stronger in our region. It’s for this reason that we created the High Council for the Azawad in order to reunite all the sons of the Azawad in order to find a way out of this crisis,” he said by telephone yesterday.




Israeli air strikes: A warning to Syria’s Assad


ACK in January of this year, Israel struck a weapons convoy that intelligence sources suggest was carrying SA-17 advanced surface-to-air missiles that were to be transferred from Syria to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. That strike was a warning, an effort to dissuade the regime of President Bashar alAssad from contemplating any similar transfers to his allies in Lebanon. These latest strikes suggest that this hoped-for deterrent effect has not been achieved. They demonstrate the Israeli Air Force’s ability to hit targets well inside Syria, but they could be the first of many - a regular pattern of attacks that at any moment could risk provoking Syria, along with Hezbollah, into a regional war. The nightmare of a major spill-over of the Syria crisis would have become a reality. So what is Israel’s concern? While a good share of Israel’s and indeed Washington’s attention is taken up by fears about Syria’s chemical arsenal falling into the wrong hands, these latest air strikes underscore Israel’s equal worry about sophisticated conventional weapons being passed to Hezbollah. This includes sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, anti-shipping missiles, or accurate longrange ground-to-ground missiles. Such concerns are longstanding. Some four years ago, the then Israeli government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that it would not tolerate what it called “gamechanging” weapons being transferred to Hezbollah. According to U.S. intelligence sources, the target of the first of these latest Israeli attacks which took place

Rage, alarm trail recent strikes


USSIA and China expressed alarm yesterday over the regional repercussions of two Israeli air raids on Syria, while Israel played down strikes which its officials said targeted Iranian missiles bound for Lebanese Hezbollah militants. Oil prices spiked above $105 a barrel, their highest in nearly a month, on Monday morning as the air strikes on Friday and Sunday prompted fears of a wider spillover of Syria’s two-year-old civil war that could affect Middle East oil exports. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 42 soldiers were killed and 100 more were missing, while other opposition sources put the death toll at 300 soldiers. Russia said it was concerned the chances of foreign military intervention in Syria were growing, suggesting its worry stemmed in part from media reports about the alleged use of chemical weapons in the conflict that has

ANALYSIS By Jonathan Marcus

overnight on Thursday was a shipment of ground-toground missiles at a warehouse at Damascus airport. The missiles, which had been shipped from Iran, according to the sources, were Fateh-110s - a mobile, highly accurate solid-fuelled missiles with the capability of hitting Israel’s main population centres, like Tel Aviv, from southern Lebanon. What’s not clear, American officials admit, is exactly who the missiles were intended for - the Syrian army or Hezbollah. But the airport warehouse is said to have been under the control of personnel from Hezbollah and Iran’s paramilitary Quds Force. This episode highlights once again the strong trian-

•Toll now over 42 killed 70,000 people. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the reported air strikes “caused particular alarm”. Assad’s government accused Israel of effectively helping al Qaeda Islamist “terrorists” and said the strikes “open the door to all possibilities”. It said many civilians had died. Tehran, which has long backed Assad, whose Alawite minority has religious ties to Shi’ite Islam, denied Israel’s attack was on arms. Shi’ite Hezbollah did not comment. China, hosting Netanyahu, urged restraint and the respect of sovereignty, without mentioning Israel by name. Moscow and Beijing, allies of Assad, have blocked Western-backed measures against Assad at the United Nations Se-

curity Council. A U.S. official said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin today to see if he could persuade Moscow to support U.S. peace efforts. Following the air strikes, the United Nations said •Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides “to act with a sense of responsibility to prevent an escalation of what is already a devastating and highly dangerous conflict”.

But the Syrian crisis is entering new territory here. No wonder that experienced Israeli military analysts are already warning of the danger of war, as what promises to be a long hot summer fast approaches. Details remain sketchy, but Israel’s air strikes against Syrian targets over the past few days are designed to send a powerful signal. gular relationship between Tehran, Damascus and Hezbollah. Indeed, recent reports hint at Hezbollah’s growing involvement in Syria’s civil war with - according to some sources hundreds of Hezbollah fighters supporting President Assad on the ground. Iran, seeing its Syrian ally on the ropes, is clearly eager to bolster Hezbollah’s defences in Lebanon. For his

part, President Assad may feel obliged to transfer weaponry to Hezbollah in return for its active assistance. Indeed, the faster the Syrian regime crumbles, the faster the pace of weapons transfers may become. Such transfers have advantages for Mr Assad as well. He may well be playing a longer game. Should his regime lose ground, he might be forced back into the

Alawite heartland on the coast, and Hezbollah’s military infrastructure in Lebanon would become an even more important ally, with much of Syria lost to him. On the other hand, if Mr Assad survives in Damascus, then a strengthened Hezbollah retains a constant threat of escalating the crisis into a regional conflict - something the US and its allies are desperate to avoid. Given the scarcity of hard facts, it is difficult to come to definitive conclusions. Some Israeli reports, for example, suggest that the missiles struck at the Damascus warehouse were not Iranian Fateh-110s but the similar, Syrian-manufactured M-600. What’s even more intriguing is the second of the two Israeli air strikes in the early hours of Sunday morning. The target here was a military complex around

Jamraya - an area with headquarters, research facilities and so on. We still do not know the specific target or targets hit, though the flames and explosions would have been visible to many people in Damascus itself. It is perhaps the nature of the target here that contains the real Israeli message to the Syrian president. This now leaves Mr Assad and his Hezbollah allies in a difficult position. Should they respond in some way? Both see themselves as champions of the resistance against Israel. In the past, Hezbollah has sought to attack Israeli or Jewish targets overseas. Certainly any direct military response from Syria or southern Lebanon risks a much larger confrontation, which both President Assad and the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah would wish to avoid. But it’s hard to imagine the weapons shipments being halted. Too much is at stake. Depending upon the weather and Israel’s intelligence capabilities, some may still get through. But the Syrian crisis is entering new territory here. No wonder that experienced Israeli military analysts are already warning of the danger of war, as what promises to be a long hot summer fast approaches. Details remain sketchy, but Israel’s air strikes against Syrian targets over the past few days are designed to send a powerful signal. While President Barack Obama may be hesitant in acting to implement his “redline” warning to Damascus over the potential use of chemical weapons, Israel is determined to enforce its own “red-line” relating to the transfer of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah. •Culled from

Your Sexual Health & You: Novelty Tips, Questions & Answers


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SPORT Tension rises in Rivers

Continued from page 6

trol of the situation. “As far back as about two weeks ago, we heard of rumours that a few miscreants were making an attempt to foist something that is totally undemocratic on the people of Rivers State. “We are aware that people were imagining that it would be possible to attempt a Dariye treatment in Rivers state, where they would take just five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, out of 32 members and attempt an impeachment of the governor of Rivers State. “This is Rivers State, this is not Plateau State and Nigerians are lot more aware now, than they were at that time. This democracy must stand and the people of Rivers State will defend every vote that they have cast for Governor Chibuike Amaechi. “There is no way it is going to happen, that a very tiny insignificant minority in the Rivers State House of Assembly will be able to oust Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. “As at yesterday, the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government council issued a statement saying that it had come to his notice that some

disgruntled elements and certain politicians had been going around local government councils across Rivers State to see if they could mobilise a crowd. “I was told that they went as far as Khana and Emohua to try and get a group of boys to join them to come to protest the removal of Obio/Akpor council chairman, his deputy and 17 councillors. I found it a little curious, but I believe that because the council chairman is the Chief Security Officer of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, that he certainly knew what he was talking about. “He went ahead and notified the relevant security agencies about this threat. I believe he was on top of the situation. As at this (yesterday) morning, I heard that a group of people were at the Rivers State House of Assembly.” As the Obuah-led executive of PDP was suspending the 27 Assembly members on April 29, a Port Harcourt High Court, presided over by Justice Henry Aprioku, was granting an order of interim injunction, restraining the PDP from suspending the pro-Amaechi lawmakers. The court directed that the order should stand, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

The case was adjourned till May 23. Rivers Progressive yesterday condemned the take over of the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex. In a statement by Owei Lawson, the group said: “Today, 6 May, 2013, over two dozens armed men converged on Rivers State House of Assembly in a desperate attempt to disrupt activities in the Assembly and circumvent the wishes of the people. “All over the world, the legislature is sacred and remains a critical arm of government because of its representative nature. Therefore, Rivers Progressives condemn this invasion in its entirety. “As a people, we must be vigilant and continually remind ourselves that these are perilous times. Therefore, the interest of a few politicians in Abuja must not be allowed to triumph over the aspirations of our people. “We are not unmindful of this orchestrated act, which is geared towards engendering disaffection and mayhem, all in an attempt to provide sufficient reason for the Presidency to declare a state of emergency in our peaceful state. We must not fold our arms and watch this act of lawlessness.

Stakeholders reject govt’s private jets policy Continued from page 3

spokesman describes his boss as ‘a democratically elected leader who is running a people-oriented, inclusive and progressive government. Under his watch, Nigeria’s democracy has been consolidated; the scope for human freedoms has been further expanded and there is respect for due process and the rule of law’. ‘’Words are cheap! We will like to know how the kind of controversial and oppressive aviation policy put in place by the Jonathan administration will expand the scope of human freedoms, when, in fact, it has stifled such! We will also like to know how such a policy signifies respect for due process and the rule of law, when all it does is to negate the best practices in

the global industry.’’ It called on aviation experts to speak out on the new policy, with a view to educating the administration and those it has put in charge of the country’s aviation sector on the implication of such a policy, before Nigeria is made an object of ridicule in the critical global aviation sector. ‘’In the meantime, we wager that in the not-too-distant future, the real reason for the policy will become clear to all, and it will be anything but in the national interest,’’ the party said. Aviation Roundtable (ART) President Captain Dele Ore described the policy as not only a setback but unnecessary. Captain Ore counselled Aviation Minister Princess Stella Oduah to focus on the challenges of the industry

rather that dissipating energy on how to review a 2006 aviation policy which, according to him, enjoyed international acceptance. The ART chief said the 2006 policy has not been faulted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The Secretary-General of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Mohammed Joji, said there was nothing wrong with the existing policy. Joji said the new policy would move the industry back in the global aviation community. His words: “It is better to move the industry forward than to seek its regression. It is my humble opinion that nothing is wrong with the 2006 civil aviation policy.”

Fashola, entertainers eulogise lawyer


NCOMIUMS, yesterday, appeared inexhaustible at the Service of Songs for late entertainment industry lawyer, Efere Ozako, who died on April 18, 2013, of a stress related ailment. The Shell Hall, MUSON Center, venue of the tributary event, was full to capacity, as friends, family members, entertainers and Barrister colleagues of the deceased, including Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and his wife, Dame Abimbola, gathered at the ceremony that got the crowd laughing amidst tears. Given the various tributes that came in for the deceased, it appeared difficult to summaries what Ozako stood for while on earth. His life, as it were was filled with the valuable impacts he had on everyone who crossed his path. Like a mother hen, Ozako was said to have lived his life, fighting for everyone’s right as a lawyer, friend and acquaintant. Governor Fashola, who revealed how close he was to the deceased, said they not only attended the

By Victor Akande, Entertainment Editor

University of Benin (UNIBEN) together, but that they were also neighbours in Surulere, before he became governor. Fashola said that while dealing with the physical separation, the memories of his times with the deceased will put a smile on his face always.“This morning when the storm for the rains began to gather, I said to myself, this man is not going to go away quietly... And I am sure that in his own unique way, he has connected with every one of us. You know what; if there is life after death, Efere will live it - that I am sure. And he probably has started to live it. All the lawyers he would meet there, he would probably have started to publish a magazine for them to read. This was a prince of the Niger Delta who made Lagos his home. He was my friend and my brother. Efere was my next door neighbor in Surulere and we were at UNIBEN together. And I remember that I was always running off somewhere and wouldn’t come back until 1am

or 2am; from one club to another. And the day I became governor, Efere said: “You see, I told you to let me go out at night; this man has become governor.” The crowd roared with laughed. “I am sure my wife has a lot of stories to tell; the long hours she spent with Efere; it was about people who are faithful to their wives. This was the community in which we lived in Surulere.” The governor said, paused and changed his mood slightly.“I know this is a very difficult situation to deal with. I think that we are dealing with the physical separation… Efere is not dead. He has just moved on to fulfill a covenant that all of us will fulfill. Yes, we would struggle with this physical separation, but I will remember the very funny times and memories I shared with him, and he will keep a smile on my face. And I know he will on the face of Ann too, who was really his soul mate. She would understand it better and so are his children. Well done my brother. Warri no dey carry last. Move on. God bless you.”

Nosa Igiebor injured •Sustains major cramp level hamstring against Barca •To undergo special programme till Thursday


I G E R I A international and Real Betis midfielder, Nosa Igiebor has been added to the list of injured Super Eagles players as Nigeria prepares for a busy schedule in June that will see the team play two World Cup qualifiers as well as feature in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. Already, Spartak Moscow of Russia striker, Emmanuel Emenike has been ruled out of the June matches, and this injury to Igiebor will definitely be a worry for Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi. Igiebor was injured in the 69th minute during Real Betis’ game against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Sunday. He was impressive during the game and his assist, which was converted by Ruben Perez, ensured that Los Beticos had a 2-1 lead at the half-time break of the League encounter. After the injury he was replaced by Joel Campbell. World Footballer of the Year, Lionel Messi emerged from the bench to score two goals as Barcelona came from behind to beat Real Betis 4-2.

Sunderland, Stoke share spoils


EN-MAN Sunderland came from behind to draw 1-1 with Stoke City at the Stadium of Light, but the point will do Paolo Di Canio's men no favours as they sit three points above the relegation zone with two games remaining. Jonathan Walters fired Stoke into the lead after nine minutes when he rifled in his effort from a few yards out, and Sunderland were dealt a double blow in the opening period when Craig Gardner was dismissed for a lunge on Charlie Adam. Sunderland battled and were on level terms ten minutes into the second half. John O'Shea tapped in from a similar range to Walters, but despite playing with ten men the home side could not find a vital winner to haul themselves away from the relegation places.

By Akeem Lawal Head of medical services of Real Betis, Tomas Calero confirmed on Monday that Igiebor sustained a major cramp level hamstring during the match and will undergo special programme until Thursday ahead of their game against Celta de Vigo on Sunday. “Nosa really had a cramp because of the intensity of last night’s game against Barcelona. He had a major cramp level hamstring and quadriceps. He will continue special

programming until Thursday and we will then re-examine him to know how far he has improved before deciding if he will be fit for our home match on Sunday,” Calero disclosed. Igiebor was a major doubt for the Barcelona tie, but manager Pepe Mel kept faith with the Nigeria international by handing him a starter’s shirt in Sunday’s game. Igiebor has a bone complaint but the club is following the instructions of Calero to postpone surgery until the end of the season.

ABS players cheat death in Bauchi


HAT could have been a national tragedy was divinely averted as players of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side ABS FC narrowly escaped death on Monday night after they were involved in an accident on their way to Bauchi. ABS were on their way to face El kanemi Warriors in Week 10 of the NPFL fixtures on Wednesday when the accident occurred at Riyom near Jos en route Maiduguri. Media Officer of the club, Jimoh Bashir informed NationSport that it was indeed through divine intervention that they were able to survive the accident without any casualty. “Itwasaseriousonebutwethank God for his mercies; nobody sustained any injury. Because we are going to Maiduguri and the warning given to us by the league organising body is that any team travelling should ensure that they go with vehicles with inscriptions, that is why we didn’t carry that of

By Akeem Lawal the officials. All of us, both players and officials were in that bus. “It wasn’t over speeding, had it been over speeding, it would have affected those sitting in the front. We just left a roundabout and there was no way we could have been speeding. It was immediately after we left the place that the brake failed. The driver just used a trailer infrontofusasstoppage.Wecannot continue our journey with the bus; we are looking for a towing vehicle to take the bus back to Ilorin. Giwa FC in Bauchi are coming with their bus to help us with the traveling.” Bashir said the team will continue the journey to Maiduguri for Wednesday’s game. “We are still going to play the match because it is on Wednesday and today is Monday. So, we have tomorrow to sort everything out then play on Wednesday because we have another crucial match against Sunshine in Akure.”

Malta Guinness thrills at Okpekpe Marathon


ALTA Guinness Low Sugar, the no. 1 malt drink from the stables of Guinness Nigeria Plc last Saturday ensured athletes and spectators were adequately refreshed as they participated in the first edition of the Okpekpe International Marathon held in Okpekpe, Edo State, Nigeria. Congratulating the organizers and the participating athletes, the Marketing and Innovation Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Austin Ufomba said the company is proud to be associated with the race. “Our partnership on the

mini marathon is a demonstration of our commitment to inspire active, healthy lifestyle among all Nigerians. The event was a great success and Malta Guinness Low Sugar is proud to be the official malt drink for the race. The turnout by the athletes and spectators was massive and Malta Guinness Low Sugar was there to refresh them at every point while they felt the great taste” Ufomba said. Further explaining the idea behind the sponsorship, Ufomba said, “Regular exercise keeps you fit and healthy. Malta Guinness Low Sugar is a great tasting malt

drink for individuals who care about their health but still want the refreshment and top of the world goodness. So, it is all about active and healthy lifestyle”. Winner of the marathon in the male category, Moses Masai who won the race in 29.39 minutes could not hide his joy at winning and he appreciates the brand for providing the needed refreshment. “I was really refreshed with the drink after the race. I appreciate the organizers of this race in Nigeria. I look forward to coming back to Nigeria to compete again” Masai said.


In Fafowora’s view, Joe Garba was a serial betrayer whose ‘perfidy was relentless and without any remorse’ TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

VOL. 8

OLAKUNLE ABIMBOLA on Dapo Fafowora’s new book for launch on Thursday




HY do they so desperately want Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime dead? He defied their morbid expectations just three months ago, returning to Nigeria “hale and hearty” even if wordless, after spending three months of “accumulated vacation” in the UK undergoing treatment for what was described as “nose cancer”. While he was away, rumours of his death figured so frequently in the newspapers, on radio, and on the Internet that it required a huge leap of faith to believe that he was alive. His dramatic return dispelled rumours of his death, but his disdaining to address the throng that had converged on Enugu Airport to receive him only fueled speculations that he was gravely ill. No political leader would forego a chance like that unless he or she faced the direst odds. Scarcely three months later, the rumours have resurfaced with renewed virulence. Sullivan Chime, even the more respectable newspapers have been saying, had died again, this time in India, where he had gone surreptitiously to receive medical treatment These headlines, taken from various newspapers and Internet sites, tell the story in their own different ways: Gov. Sullivan Chime dead in India – Rumour? Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, dies in India. Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime might be dead. Gov. Sullivan Chime dead? Chime feared dead Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu allegedly dies in India Is Sullivan Chime dead? Practically all the platforms on which these headlines appeared attributed their stories to, the web address for Codewit World News (CWN), which qualifies itself rather exorbitantly as “an outstanding, groundbreaking website that encourages citizen journalists to report ongoing corruption and government malfeasance in Africa.” The portal, its sponsors claim, “is among the world’s leaders in online news and information delivery. The project is engineered by the new sound (sic) of Nigerians, creatively declaring the uniqueness and greatness of the African People” As for its “vision,” it is nothing less than “to inspire the entire African people, starting with Nigerians, by employing credible mediadriven platforms through which Nigerians can engage themselves, as well as the rest of the world.” The emphasis is mine. It purports to accept as a challenge the highminded task of effectively debunking “the persistent effort of the western media to consistently and erroneously portray us as the Dark Continent, characterised by the 5D’s: Disease, Despair, Destruction, Disaster, Destitution and Deceit.” This project, the web site discloses, was conceived by Mr. Anthony Claret Onwutalobi,


We knew all along it was APRIL FOOL



A morbid obsession


the founder of Codewit Global Network. Onwutalobi, the web site volunteers, is an author and educator who has developed a system of “philosophical thought” called “codewism,” in which he “clarified that the solutions to African problems lie in eight key principles.” Here is the story on Chime in its essence: “A heavy cloak of mourning falls on the nation once more today as news of Governor Sullivan Chime’s death filters in. “A reliable source who confirmed his death

to said he gave up the ghost an hour ago in India (9 pm Nigerian Time). “His Excellency, the late Governor Sullivan Chime had battled an undisclosed illness for months. When citizens began questioning his prolonged absence from Enugu, the official story was that he was on a long vacation accrued over a period of 5 years. . . “Efforts to get across to some commissioners in the state were not successful as their phones were switched off. “May his soul rest in peace. “More details shortly.” The promised details never followed. Given Anthony Onwutalobi’s antecedents and the provenance of the story alleging that Chime had died in India, one would have thought that the news media, actual and virtual, would handle the matter with a nice sense of discrimination. For, as news stories go, his is threadbare. But it quickly went viral. Many media outlets simply reproduced the story verbatim, though with proper attribution. Those that didn’t reproduce it verbatim entered perfunctory reservations that raised no questions about the substance of the story. Then, there were those who sought to pre-empt criticism or liability by qualifying the whole thing as rumour. But why give wings to rumour in the first place? “A reliable source,” combined with the precise time of death – not last night or yesterday, but an hour ago” – must have made

HARDBALL T is not known whether President Goodluck Jonathan appreciates the unusual and fanatical commitment of both Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, and Mujahid AsariDokubo, leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), to his cause, especially his masqueraded interest in seeking re-election in 2015. But since he has not publicly denounced the two gentlemen’s remarks, it makes sense to say that he probably connived at their extreme, almost ethnocentric, and quite provocative remarks. The president could do with brilliant advisers. If he had a few around him, they would have counselled him to distance himself from the ethnopolitical zanies that surround him, men who specialise in waving red rag to a bull, and who are adept at instigating ethnic and political animosities. On April 25, Hon. Kuku aimed for the country’s jugular when he made a thoughtless and inflammable statement in the United States suggesting that Nigeria’s peace and security depended on Dr Jonathan continuing in office. With his characteristic speciousness and exaggeration he declared: “It is true that the Presidential Amnesty Programme has engendered peace, safety and security in the sensitive and strategic Niger Delta. Permit me to add that the peace that currently prevails in the zone is largely because Jonathan, who is from that same place, is the President of Nigeria. That is the truth. It is only a Jonathan presidency that can guarantee continued peace and energy security in the Niger Delta...I hope the US is aware that with peace and stability in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s economy will remain buoyant enough to empower the Federal Government to con-


some editors rest easy. Isn’t that what many of them have been taught or have come to regard as the stuff of good reporting? When went on to explain that “an hour ago” in that context translated into 9 p.m. Nigerian time, and to add that “some commissioners” who could have confirmed or denied the report had switched off their phones, it was engaging in parody. But the parody seemed only to have conferred a patina of plausibility on the rogue story in some newsrooms. Spirited denials issued by the authorities in Enugu gained far less traction than the report that had been republished in the newspapers and many other online outlets. Since news signalises a rupture or disjuncture, Chime dead has greater journalistic salience and resonance than Chime alive. That is the morbid calculus of tabloid journalism. Nor did it help matters when the officials said Chime was alive and well but could not say precisely where he was nor how he might be reached. Chime himself could have ended all the morbid speculation by showing up dramatically in his office or at some event in Enugu and confounding his tormentors once again. Perhaps he is taking consolation in the belief of our people that person falsely and maliciously reported dead is sure to live long. It must follow from this that the more frequently a person is falsely reported dead, the more assured that person is of longevity. Still, enough is already too much. This is “dem-say, dem say” journalism taken too far. It is more than enough to drive even the most accommodating official to elevate rumour-mongering to a penal crime and set up an entire bureaucracy, backed by a new law, to deal with this vexatious obsession. If Chime does not want to adopt Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dickson’s strategy for dealing with the issue, he can, crackerjack lawyer that he is, find a remedy in civil law. Falsely reporting a person’s death meets the legal definition of “wanton infliction of mental and distress.” And it is actionable. If there is no Nigerian precedent, Chime could write himself into legal history by initiating a lawsuit to establish one. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Jonathan and his ethnopolitical zanies tend with terrorism and other forms of insecurity in other parts of the country. However, if we allow anything to hurt the peace in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s economy will be endangered and energy security in Nigeria and even America will not be guaranteed. The attention and interest of the US in Nigeria must remain the stability of the Niger Delta and the easiest way to ensure this is to encourage President Jonathan to complete an eight-year term.” Absolute, disgusting piffle. Hon Kuku made these ludicrous remarks at an interactive session with senior officials of the US State Department led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (Bureau of African Affairs), Ambassador Donald Teitelbaum. It is of course not anybody’s fault that Hon Kuku’s befuddled mind elevates the Jonathan factor as a component of regional peace above the humongous and pacifying payouts to individuals in the name of pipeline security contracts and amnesty projects. Irrespective of what anybody thinks, the special adviser has made up his mind what to believe, and no one, no matter how sensible and logical, can dissuade him. But as he prated along like a schoolboy, he unwittingly gave his bewildered American hosts a disturbing impression of the hollowness and spuriousness of the Nigerian mind. It never rains but it pours. Just when commentators thought no one associated with Aso Villa could make a more nonsensical comment than it was the dishonour of Hon Kuku to make, another hysterical entertainer stepped out. Alhaji Asari-Dokubo, a security

contractor for Jonathan’s government, boastfully threatened Nigeria with venomous statements suggesting that Nigeria could disintegrate if Dr Jonathan was not given a second term. Of course, the NDPVF leader does not set great store by performance or competence. Hear the grandiloquent closet militant: “Recently, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsely Kuku, made a statement in the United States of America that the peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta would not be guaranteed if President Goodluck Jonathan was not returned in 2015… I want to go on to say that there will be no peace, not only in the Niger Delta, but everywhere if Goodluck Jonathan is not president again by 2015, except God takes his life, which we don’t pray for…We must have our uninterrupted eight years of two terms…For a very long time, our resources from the Niger Delta had been used to feed and fund Nigeria...” Hardball believes that the fulmination by Dr. Jonathan’s supporters does not represent the opinion of the Niger Delta, for there are many in the oil region who have their heads screwed on right. It must indeed be a misfortune of immense proportions that a region which produced eminent thinkers like Professors Tekena Tamuno and E.J. Alagoa also managed in the same breath to concoct human vacuums like Hon. Kuku and Alhaji Asari-Dokubo and inflict them upon the nation. Scientists explain this ‘miracle’ as genetic mutation, indicating that the sensible must ineluctably co-exist with the hallucinative. They are right.

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: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation May 07, 2013