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Osinbajo: Nigeria to Make FX More Flexible, Conclude Eurobond End of Q1 Obinna Chima with agency report Nigeria hopes to conclude the sale of a $1 billion Eurobond by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and will seek to make its foreign exchange market

more flexible, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said yesterday. Nigeria is in its deepest recession in 25 years and needs to raise money to make up for shortfall in its budget. Its revenues from oil have plunged due to

low international prices and militant attacks in its crude-producing heartland, the Niger Delta, have cut its output. The government began the process of appointing banks for the sale of the Eurobond

in September and had said it wanted to issue the bond by the end of the year. It has yet to announce a lender to lead the sale, however. “At the very latest, between the end of the year and the first quarter of next year we

will begin to see all that process concluded,” Osinbajo told Reuters in an interview. The vice-president said the severe loss of petro-dollars had caused “serious” foreign exchange shortages and had been worsened by attacks on

its oil pipelines and export terminals. The government had wanted to issue the Eurobond to help plug a gap in its record N6.06 trillion ($19.9 Continued on page 6

Senate Increases N180bn Virement by N33bn…

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AGF: I Authorised DSS Raid on Judges, NJC Refused to Co-operate 55 Nigerians stole N1.35tn in seven years, presidential panel alleges Damilola Oyedele in Abuja and Eromosele Abiodun in Lagos The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has disclosed that he authorised the raid on the homes of judges and their

subsequent arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS), following the refusal of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to act on the petitions sent to it on allegations of corrupt practices by the affected judges. Continued on page 6

PDP Crisis: Makarfi, Sheriff Factions Threaten Each Other with Jail Terms Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja The two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were again at each other's throats yesterday, when the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee warned Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the former national chairman of the party, to desist from parading himself in that

capacity or be ready to go to jail. But the former national vice chairman of the party who is now Sheriff’s deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, in response, said it is the members of the caretaker committee of the PDP that actually risk jail terms because they are Continued on page 6

Crude Oil Prices Tank 3% over LAGOS PRESENTS BIGGEST BUDGET BY NIGERIAN STATE Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), handing over the 2017 budget estimates of the Lagos State Disagreement on Output Cuts… Page 10 Government to the Speaker, State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, during the presentation of the N813 billion budget to the House at the assembly complex, Alausa, Ikeja… yesterday










WEDNESDAY, november 30, 2016 • T H I S D AY

PAGE SIX AGF: I AUTHORISED DSS RAID ON JUDGES, NJC REFUSED TO CO-OPERATE Malami equally disclosed that the decision to arrest and invade residences of the judicial officers was premised on allegations of economic crimes, terrorism and narcotic crimes, adding that he was simply complying with Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which vests the state with the obligation to deploy all of its powers to abolish corruption. The AGF made the revelation yesterday when he finally appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the invasion of property and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS. The DSS last month raided the homes of eight judges and arrested seven of them for alleged corruption. One of the judges, Supreme Court Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja, last week on multiple-counts of corruption, money laundering and fraud. Malami appeared before the committee after it threatened to issue a warrant of arrest, following his failure to appear or send a representative to two previous sittings. Malami told the committee that the action of the DSS, including the midnight raid on the homes of the judges, was within the confines of the law, as there was reasonable evidence. He further explained that the operation could have been conducted at any hour any moment and without restriction. He also maintained that investigating matters of economic crime was not the exclusive preserve of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), because he as the AGF could also decide which agency to deploy to tackle any matter of corruption.

EFCC last week informed the committee that the DSS had overreached itself by delving into matters of corruption, insisting that it was the exclusive preserve of the commission and ICPC by virtue of the Acts establishing both agencies. But Malami said: “The state was in receipt of multiple petitions of corrupt practices by the judicial officers and there was further apprehension that if immediate steps were not taken, the possibility of dissipating existing evidence that were believed to have been kept within their respective domains will eventually be tampered with. “Arising from the responsibility created and established by Section 15 of the constitution, the state had to act. “I had no objection that the operation would be carried out at night because I have taken time to go through the administration of Criminal Justice Act and I was convinced that this operation could be conducted at any hour, any moment without restriction. “To the question of which agency has the responsibility of executing it, my response to that derives from the fact that multiple petitions were written to the Office of the AGF, DSS, EFCC and a lot of other agencies of government, and to my mind, I have a discretion to look, weigh the situation and decide which agency against the background of the petition will act for the purpose of ensuring that the obligation of the provisions of Section 15(5) of the constitution are carried out.” He added: “I asked EFCC and DSS and another agency to investigate because they were in receipt of several petitions on the same subject and I was informed by the DSS before the search and arrest and I did not object. “The DSS presented a formal report to me before and after effecting the search and arrest, they informed me that the operation

will be done at any hour without restriction.” The AGF also explained that the raid was carried out because the NJC refused to act on the petitions sent by his office and to other agencies accusing the judges of corruption, revealing further that the NJC said it could only act on petitions that were backed by sworn affidavits. I felt there was no reason the petitions could not be looked into on their own merit, he added. Malami said he also advised the DSS to write the NJC to look into the petitions it (DSS) also received against the judges, and got the same response for supporting affidavits. “So we had a situation where there were reasonable grounds for suspicion for commission of corruption and we had a body saddled with the primary administrative responsibility of looking at such things first, but seemed not to be cooperating in that respect. “Meanwhile, when the issue of commission of corruption practice is established, the executive has the responsibility of investigation without recourse to the judiciary,” Malami said.

55 Nigerians Stole N1.35tn Malami’s testimony on the arrest of the judges came just as the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, yesterday in Lagos revealed that 55 Nigerians allegedly looted N1.35 trillion from the country in seven years. Speaking during an interactive session with the media and civil society organisations (CSOs) to mark the committee’s first anniversary, he said corruption has been one of the most damaging obstacles to the development of Nigeria.

According to him, “Using the World Bank’s rates and costs, onethird of this stolen amount could have provided 635.18 kilometres of roads, built 36 ultra modern hospitals (one per state), built and furnished 183 schools, educated 3,974 children from primary level all the way to tertiary education (at N25.2 million per child) and also built 20,062 units of two-bedroom houses. “Corruption is Nigeria’s greatest challenge and is directly associated with the current economic decline, high poverty rate, reduced life expectancy, mortality and the deteriorating living standards experienced by citizens. “Beyond its developmental implications, the promotion and strengthening of democratic institutions and values are diminished; corruption is the enemy of development and good governance.” He added that the crusade against corruption on the side of the federal government went comatose from 2007 largely due to a leadership deficit. “In fairness to President Umaru Yar’Adua, his health challenges prevented him from defining his stance against corruption, although it must be acknowledged that he publicly declared his assets. “President Goodluck Jonathan fared far worse than his predecessors in tackling corruption. His tolerance for corruption was reflected in the sunset of the activities of the anti-corruption agencies under his watch and other exponential increase of other vices no doubt fuelled by corruption. “For example, it is widely believed that insecurity escalated because of the embezzlement of $2 billion through the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) under the leadership of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), who allegedly diverted the money appropriated to fight the insurgency. “The problem of the downstream

PDP CRISIS: MAKARFI, SHERIFF FACTIONS THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH JAIL TERMS in contempt of a Federal High Court order. A statement issued by the PDP spokesman, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, said the caretaker committee had been confirmed several times by the court as the authentic body saddled with the task of providing leadership for the party, pending an elective convention for new leaders of the party. “Our attention has been drawn to another set of garbage and tissue of lies put together by the discredited loyalists of Sheriff in the name of a press statement on November 28, 2016, wherein the group tried to sustain its illegal claim to the leadership of our party,” he said. Adeyeye pointed out that the caretaker committee was confirmed

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on several occasions by the court as the authentic body saddled with the task of providing leadership for the party, pending the elective convention. “The courts have spoken and their pronouncements are binding. However, those who wish to spend the rest of their lives behind prison bars may continue to utter heresy against the court. We hope their children would be proud to bear the family names of convicts,” he said. The PDP spokesman said the party would have ignored Sheriff’s group but that leaving them to continue deceiving Nigerians would not be in the interest of democracy. “First and foremost, we wish to state categorically that in consonance with judgment of various courts, which Sheriff and his team of confused travellers have not bothered to appeal, the former Borno State governor is not the chairman of our party. “His consistent claim to the office is a continuation of their plans to sustain mayhem in our party, but nature and fair justice have taken care of his desperation. “We wish to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the judgment delivered by Justice Valentine Ashi of the Abuja High Court, which states clearly that Sheriff was never and is not the PDP national chairman. “It is instructive to note that Sheriff and his team of circus performers have not deemed it fit to appeal the court’s judgment. It is trite in law that a judgment

not appealled is binding on the defendant. “It is also morally wrong to accuse the caretaker committee of being the reason the party is facing challenges in terms of unfavourable election results, especially in Edo and Ondo States. Everyone knows who the real enemies of PDP are. “We won’t also forget in a hurry the ignoble role Jimoh Ibrahim played in scuttling our campaign in the Ondo State election. We also know those who pushed him forward for the hatchet job. “We are amused that the agents of darkness used by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to cause confusion and frustrate our campaign in the Ondo State election can accuse the caretaker committee of impunity. “However, we simply want them to define what impunity is using their acts of betrayal as a case study. What they are doing is the worst form of impunity, lawlessness, greed and avarice. “Their call on the caretaker committee to disband itself is uncharitable and unconstitutional. If they have any shame, they are the ones that should quietly disband. But honour cannot be expected from impostors. “No matter what they say, we are determined as a political party to forge ahead and put our house in order even without their input,” Adeyeye said. The party spokesman further noted that “the caretaker committee has not called for their expulsion

against the claims they are making; the time for that has not come. But the rain of vengeance will not hang forever in the clouds”. He added that the caretaker committee was appreciative of all loyal party members and urged them to keep the faith as the appellate court will do justice to the various appeals pending before it at the appropriate time to “bring an end to the antics of these enemies of progress masquerading as members of our party”. However, the number two man on Sheriff’s side, Ojougboh, immediately reacted to Adeyeye’s statement, stating that it was the leadership of the caretaker committee that risked jail for contempt of court. He insisted that Sheriff still remains the only and authentic national chairman of the PDP. Ojougboh, in a statement yesterday, said the judgment Adeyeye was referring to has nothing to do with Sheriff. “It is the caretaker committee that is actually playing with a jail term because there are Forms 48 and 49 already issued against them from the Federal High Court that are waiting for them. The effort to serve and arrest them was aborted because they evaded the law. “Justice Mohammed J of the Abuja High Court ruled that the tenure of the NWC (National Working Committee) expires in 2018 and therefore, Sheriff remains the only and authentic national chairman of the PDP,” he said.

sector of the petroleum industry reached a zenith with multi-billion dollar subsidy scams while President Goodluck Jonathan looked the other way. “At the same time, other vices spread like cancer — kidnapping, import duty waivers, financial recklessness, a profligate legislature, corrupt judiciary, etc. There was no single high profile conviction for corruption under his watch yet there were allegations of high profile corruption within the cabinet. “Jonathan’s legendary comment that stealing is not corruption underscores his perspective on corruption and remains a watershed in the history of the anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria. Under his watch, corruption brought Nigeria to its knees,” Owasanoye said. He observed that if judges strictly complied with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, high profile cases would be quickly determined. According to him, rather than being firm, some judges indulge lawyers who go out of their way to delay cases for their clients by abusing court processes. Owasanoye said: “If you do a thorough analysis of the all the high profile cases that are hanging in the courts, they are not hanging because investigations were poor. It is because the suspects are manipulating the court system. “If you accuse me of corruption and I have a good defence, why should I want the case to go on for 10 years? I should be the one insisting on no adjournment. I would want my case quickly dispensed with so I can clear my name, but that’s not what you get. “So while there’s need for thorough investigation, we should understand that the reason the corruption fight is slow is because of the high tolerance of the courts of the shenanigans of lawyers.

“Once the judges stamp their feet and say: ‘We’ll not entertain adjournments, these cases must proceed,’ you will see a change. We’ve seen these situations in this country before. We need to get the narrative right.” Owasanoye noted that corruption was thriving because Nigerians had become tolerant of it, adding that the government cannot fight corruption without the public’s support. “For as long as we tolerate corruption, it’ll continue to thrive. We need to show our revulsion for corruption,” he said. Owasanoye said banks were part of the problem also, as they now help some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to hide funds which ought to be in the Treasury Single Account (TSA). “They do this in the name of private banking. It is a violation of the law and attack on the government,” he said. Similarly, the Chairman of PACAC, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) blamed judges for the delay of high profile corruption cases in court. Prof Sagay said those who complain of rights violation when they are arrested on corruption allegations ignore the fact that the rights of millions of Nigerians have been violated through graft. “There are social, economic and cultural rights. Each time billions of naira is looted, people’s rights to education, health and social services are violated,” he said. Sagay urged Nigerians to join the fight against corruption, as the consequences affect everyone. He also asked CSOs to do more to help rid the country of corruption. “CSOs of today have gone to sleep. For this fight to be effective, we need their support,” he said. He also urged labour leaders to join the battle and avoid getting compromised.

OSINBAJO: NIGERIA TO MAKE FX MORE FLEXIBLE, CONCLUDE EUROBOND END OF Q1 billion) budget this year, in addition to tapping concessionary loans from the World Bank and China as its oil revenues fell. So far only the African Development Bank (AfDB) has come to its aid, approving a $600 million loan, the first tranche of a total $1 billion package. Osinbajo also said his office was working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make the foreign exchange market more flexible and more reflective of actual demand and supply. The regulator had in June officially ended its policy of pegging, or fixing, the naira’s exchange rate at N197 per dollar to let the currency float freely. But despite the devaluation of the naira, the central bank has continued to manipulate the exchange rate, which has discouraged investors and created a crippling shortage of dollars for businesses that need to import, while on the black market the naira is changing hands at N475 per dollar. To keep down the street price of dollars, the central bank sanctioned the arrest of FX dealers in Lagos, Abuja and Kano, but the crackdown turned out to be futile. Nigeria’s crude production, which was 2.1 million bpd at the start of 2016, fell by around a third in the summer following a series of attacks by Delta militants who want a greater share of the country’s energy wealth to go to the impoverished southern oil-producing region.

“At one point we were losing almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) which translated to 60 percent of oil revenues ... and that affects the availability of dollars,” Osinbajo said. The militants, after saying in August they would halt hostilities to pursue talks with the government, said this month they had resumed attacks because of the continued presence of the army in the region. Osinbajo said that the government was prepared to talk with the militants but that maintaining security was essential for law enforcement. Ratings agency Moody’s forecast that Nigeria's economy could expand by 2.5 percent next year if it could produce 2.2 million barrels of oil per day - the level at which the government made its budget calculations. To help cover its budget shortfalls, the government is keen to ensure it is collecting taxes efficiently, Osinbajo said. “We will continue to consider the issue of raising taxes and raising VAT. But at the moment we are more concerned with ensuring that we really improve our coverage,” he said, referring to tax collection. On the missing Chibok schoolgirls, the vice-president said the release of 21 of the girls in October was as a result of government engagement with Boko Haram. He did not provide any update on the remaining missing girls, but said the government was continuing to engage with Boko Haram.




WEDNESDAY, november 30, 2016 • T H I S D AY


The Driving School that Prepares Drivers for Nigeria’s Crazy Roads

Two-Minute Briefing NEWS Senate Increases N180bn

Virement by N33bn The Senate yesterday jacked up the request by Buhari for the virement of N180 billion with an additional N33 billion, bringing the total figure approvedbytheupperchamberinthe National Assembly to N213 billion. Page 9

EDITORIAL The Resurgence of Boko

Haram If any proof is ever needed that the war against Boko Haram is far from being over, it is in the fact that on a daily basis, Nigerians are now witnessing consistent and intensifying enemy action in the theatre of conflict… Page 15

POLITICS Ondo Election: The Winners, A car used by a driving school in Nigeria

It’s a driving school like no other, with myriad obstacles and moving hazards that also happen to be alive. There are the bicycle boys, wobbling along, finding their balance in the same vacant stretch of red dirt where drivers learn to shift and motorcyclists learn to ride. Balls sail at multiple informal soccer matches, while dogs scuttle and children meander. The driving school is flanked by a busy road. Avoid that. Steer well clear of the huge oily pond, gray with trash, on the other side. And watch for the ruts left after the rains have eaten away at the ground. It all seems a bit much for Bilyaminu Saminu, who sits behind the wheel of a black Honda Civic sedan for the first time as instructor Muhammad Sabiu takes five minutes in a calm, almost hypnotic voice to explain the basics. Ignition. Clutch. Gas. Brake. Then he tells Saminu to start it up. The car jolts forward, shimmying over the undulating ground. Driving slowly, Saminu avoids a soccer player, a bicycle and three boys walking by. Good thing Sabiu, the instructor, isn’t an impatient man. He coaches his student in a muted drone, occasionally correcting the wheel when his pupil goes astray. He started instructing at 17, shortly after he learned to drive. A fellow driving teacher began at 14. The instructors are all from a nearby neighborhood in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city, and saw the entrepreneurial potential to turn a vacant block popular with footballers into an informal driving school. Nigerian traffic is not for the faint of heart. Pounding on the horn and shouting at traffic is de rigueur. Yellow auto rickshaws buzz thickly, changing lanes abruptly, dodging trucks and cars. Beggars and hawkers on foot weave between the traffic. Trucks burp black smoke like impolite drunks before lurching without warning into your lane. Outside the cities, goats and cows amble across highways, and trucks, loaded perilously high, bear signs warning drivers to “Horn before passing.” Drivers catapult through villages at high speed, horns blaring, operating on the logic that the faster you drive, the more gasoline you save. Saminu, a 22-year-old student, seems slightly nervous. He keeps taking his eyes off the scene in front, and turns

his head toward Sabiu. The teacher constantly gestures with his hand, as though bouncing an invisible ball, telling Saminu to slow down. Before we could stop, we just ran over his leg and broke his leg. — Driving instructor Muhammad Sabiu Saminu is studying Mass Communications but knows many unemployed graduates, and his uncle promised to give him a car to become an “inter-city driver”, sort of a taxi driver here, if he learned to drive. Kano does have formal driving schools, but they are expensive. For Saminu, and for him, the open, red field was the cheapest option. He changes gear and the car jerks forward. “Why is it jerking?” asks Saminu, eyes fixed intently on Sabiu. “Because you lifted your foot off all at once.” Two footballers dash in front of the car. The car jerks again. Suddenly a soccer match seems to have exploded around the car, with players dashing everywhere. “Just go on at this slow pace. Second gear is OK. When you’re turning, put on the indicator,” Sabiu says blithely. Over the years, Sabiu has found that the timid are hard to teach, and his remarks about women drivers reflect this city’s sexist culture. “They have this phobia of the car,” he says of female driving students. “They think it’s something like rocket science. The tension makes them slam their foot on the gas or the brake and they lose control of the car.” “Of course, we do have some crashes,” he continues. “Our pupils crash into another car or hit a footballer or someone learning to ride a bicycle. Even this afternoon a boy was hit by a motorcycle here. He just got some bruises.” Two years ago, a footballer ecstatic that his team had won threw himself exuberantly to the ground in front of Sabiu’s car during a lesson. “Before we could stop, we just ran over his leg and broke his leg,” Sabiu recalls. Women drivers are increasingly taking to the roads, but strict cultural mores can make student-teacher relations difficult. “Some instructors find it difficult to just touch her hand if they have to or grab the steering and be a bit rough and just pull her foot off the accelerator

if she’s going too fast. You need to break through that barrier, even if you shout at her,” he says. Once, a man sent his wife with his personal driver to the field to learn, with her baby in the back seat. But the personal driver refused to entrust her to the driving school, and took on the task himself. “She slammed her foot on the gas pedal. She plunged into that pond. The car went to the bottom,” Sabiu said, gesturing to the murky trash-filled water. Onlookers dived into the pond to save the baby, the woman and the would-be driving instructor. But Sabiu’s worst driver ever turned up a few months back: the guy overflowing with confidence. “He had too much ego,” Sabiu says. “He would not listen to my commands. He just took the wheel and wanted to drive at high speed. “The guy was rough and reckless. He went into the ruts. He would not slow down when someone was crossing in front of the car. He was swerving everywhere. He just couldn’t control the car; I was even afraid he’d go into the pond. “I’d rather teach a drunk. At one point I had to say, ‘Just look for another instructor.’” But drivers too timid or reckless are not the only hazard. After Sabiu saved up for six years to buy a Honda Civic 2000, he took on a student who offered him a biscuit that turned out to be laced with drugs. The student drove him out of town, dumped him and stole the car. There is no such drama today as Sabiu continues to calmly guide his latest pupil. Saminu trundles safely by the pond, clearly thrilled to have mastered driving so easily. Driving will mean being able to cruise the city and hang out with his friends. Independence. He turns to Sabiu, his eyes bright with exhilaration. “How do you reverse?” “No, no, no, not now,” admonishes Sabiu. “Next time. Just take it easy.” Saminu comes around the final curve as Sabiu explains how to stop. He lurches to a halt, behind three cars. “How do you reverse?” he repeats, eagerly. “When do you shift into fifth gear?” He couldn’t wait for his next lesson. • Culled from LA Times

the Losers Like every such exercise, last Saturday’s election recorded its victors and casualties, write shola Oyeyipo and segun James Page 18

FEATURES Karimo: Where Toilets are a

Luxury On the occasion of theWorld Toilet Day 2016, Chineme Okafor spent time in Karimo, an urban suburb in the Federal Capital City, where getting a toilet for defecation is a luxury for many of its inhabitants Page 20

BUSINESS CBN Mulls Stiffer Punishment for Fraudsters, Unethical Practices in Banks The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working on a policy that would ensure that bank customers or officials that engage in fraud, forgeries and other unethical practices are severely punished. Page 23

CITYSTRINGS Anambra's First Lady Makes a

Difference Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, wife of the Anambra State governor, has been using her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, to touch the lives of indigent women in Anambra in diverse ways Page 36

INTERNATIONAL Cuba: Leftist Allies Fly in to Pay Tribute to Castro Leaders of Cuba’s leftist allies and other developing countries arrive in Havana yesterday for a mass rally commemorating Fidel Castro. Page 40

SPORTS Saraki: Poor Sports Funding

Unacceptable Bukola Saraki yesterday described as totally unacceptable and embarrassing the situation where teams travelling out of Nigeria to represent the country in global sports competitions beg for funds. Page 52




News Editor Davidson Iriekpen Email, 08111813081

Senate Increases N180bn Virement by N33bn

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Senate yesterday jacked up the request by President Muhammadu Buhari for the virement of N180 billion with an additional N33 billion, bringing the total figure approved by the upper chamber in the National Assembly to N213 billion. In contrast, the House of Representatives increased the president’s request for the N180 billion virement to N208 billion. The difference would subsequently have to be harmonised by both chambers of the National Assemply before final approval. While presenting the report of the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance on the virement yesterday, its chairman, Senator Danjuma Goje, said the total amount was sourced from the recurrent and capital components of the Special Intervention Programme of the 2016 budget. He also said the agencies to which the funds would be vired gave enough justification for the request, explaining that some of the agencies told the committee that the amounts proposed by the president were inadequate to meet the shortfalls of their financial obligations. The committee further reported that in view of its discovery on the needs of the affected agencies, it resolved to raise the request from N180 billion to 208.8 billion. Beneficiaries of the hike, according to Goje, are the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), which had its original request raised from N1.2 billion to N2.5 billion and

another N25 billion approved for the payment of local contractors’ debts. In summary, the committee approved N169.6 billion as recurrent expenditure and N39.2 billion as capital intervention fund. But during consideration of the report, the Senate further raised the N208 billion recommended by the committee by another N5 billion which it approved for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) projects in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, thus bringing the total approval to N213 billion. But during consideration of the report yesterday, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu drew the attention of his colleagues to Section 81(4) of the 1999 Constitution, which provides for the presentation of a supplementary budget before the National Assembly. According to him, there is no provision for virement in the constitution, describing it as a “military terminology” that is not backed by law and therefore implies a breach of the constitution. Ekweremadu therefore warned against a repeat of the request for virement. “Your Excellency, distinguished colleagues, we have been going through the issue of virement which is not known in our constitution. It is a military terminology and it is certainly not in our constitution. “What is in our constitution, because when they present this virement, nobody makes any reference to any law authorising it, what we do is in respect of the constitution. We swore to an oath

NLNG Presents $100,000 to Winner of 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) yesterday at an elaborate public unveiling ceremony in Abuja, made a $100,000 cheque (about N46 million) presentation to the winner of the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. The entry by Abubakar, a blogger and a journalist, was last month adjudged by the jury headed by Prof Dan Izevbaye as the best of the 172 entries received for the award touted as Nigeria’s version of the Nobel Laureate in Literature. His novel, ‘Season of Crimson Blossoms’ was ironically his first and only published novel. The author’s cash was copresented to him by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, John Arkwright, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Managing Director, NLNG, Tony Attah and Prof Izevbaye. He joins the growing list of past winners of the annual literary award since 2004, including Mabel Segun, Gabriel Okara, Ahmed Yerima, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Ezenwa Ohaeto, Esiaba Irobi, Chika Unigwe, Tade Ipadeola, Adeleke Adeyemi, Sam Ukala

and Kaine Agary. Abubakar’s book was a narrative inspired by the ethnic-religious conflicts in Jos, placed within the context of contemporary Nigerian history with its complex and sometimes violent intertwining of politics, religion and culture. His debut short story collection, The Whispering Trees was long listed for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014. The title story for that collection was later shortlisted for Caine Prize for African Writing. Mohammed lauded NLNG for investing in the country’s human resources, particularly those in the creative industry. The minister, however, lamented the collective failure to protect the intellectual property of the great writers, adding that on no account should any Nigerian author die penniless. He called for all hands to be on deck in the fight against piracy, which he singled out as one the causes of the creative industry to transit to creative economy. Attah congratulated Abubakar on his great feat and enjoined him to remain a worthy ambassador and role model to millions of Nigerian youths and writers who look up him for inspiration.

to abide by the provisions of this constitution. “Regarding appropriation, we have either the Appropriation Act or the Supplementary Act. There is nothing like virement. For our guidance and the guidance of the executive, I propose that going forward, if there is any shortfall or there is need to cover any grounds that has not been covered, the appropriate thing is a supplementary appropriation, not a virement because virement is not known to the constitution,” Ekweremadu said.

Senate President Bukola Saraki backed Ekweremadu’s observation and advised the executive to abide by the provisions of the constitution, pointing out that the request should have come as a supplementary budget and not virement. “I think your observation as far as the constitution is concerned is well noted. I think we are all fully aware of that and that is why I cannot continue to thank my colleagues so much in the way we have been addressing the issue of the economy and we are not looking at it from whichever party

we belong to or whatever side. “If we stick to the constitution, you are very right and it’s part of our support and cooperation with the executive and Nigerians to move things forward. As you rightly said, this should come as a supplementary budget but in an attempt to make this move and incorporate it and ensure that we give the support, the executive should also take note,” Saraki said. But Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) differed on the positions of the two presiding officers, saying even though the

constitution does not provide for virement, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 does so and hence remains a valid action. He said: “Nobody in his senses will doubt or contest the very clear provisions of the constitution. However, there is a Fiscal Responsibility Act. Section 24 provides for virement. While we accept the intervention, we don’t want to create the impression that it meant a wrong thing in totality because there is a Fiscal Responsibility Act which is recognised by the constitution.”


R-L: President Muhammmadu Buhari, being presented with a certificate making him the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Academy of Engineers (NAE), by the President of the body, Mrs. Joanna Maduka, and Technical Secretary of NAE, Mr. I.K. Inuwa, at the investiture held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja… yesterday Godwin omoigui

APC Places Senator Sani on Indefinite Suspension John Shiklam in Kaduna The senator representing Kaduna central senatorial district and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, has been suspended infinitely from the All Progressives Congress (APC). Sani’s suspension was announced in a letter addressed to him, a copy of which was circulated among journalists yesterday evening in Kaduna. The letter was signed by the Secretary of the APC in his Ward

6, Tudun Wada ward, Kaduna, Mallam Awal Abdulhamid Garba. Sani was earlier suspension from the party for 11 months and the suspension elapsed yesterday. According to the letter, the earlier suspension was to enable the senator defend himself against the allegations levelled against him, noting that throughout the eleven month period of suspension, he failed to defend himself against the allegations. The letter read:As you are aware, your suspension from the party for

a period of eleven months elapsed today, being November 29, 2016. “The suspension which was in line with the constitution of our great party, was to enable you to defend yourself against illegalities committed by you against the party as well as breach of its constitution. “We expected the period of your suspension to give you the grace of being remorseful, but you rather choose to play otherwise, and this made our party to be vulnerable to disunity, disharmony and further shattering the existing

peace mechanism within our ward and the state at large. “Therefore, in consideration of the constitutional provisions as contained in Article 21 (A) i, ii, iii, v, vi, and vii of the constitution of the APC, you are hereby suspended indefinitely from active participation of APC activities. “This is in conformity with article 21 (D) i-(F) which provides punishment for any erring member of the party. “With this letter, you are hereby warned to abide by the party’s decision.”

Ofili-Ajumogobia: Be Professional inYour Conduct, Judge Blasts EFCC A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the manner in which it carried out its probe of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia. Delivering judgment in a N50 million fundamental rights suit filed by Ofili-Ajumogobia against the EFCC, the trial judge, Muslim Hassan, urged the anti-graft commission to be professional in the discharge of its duties. Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, is seeking among other things, an order of the court declaring her continued detention

by the EFCC as illegal. While noting that the EFCC was vested with powers to arrest and detain any citizen suspected to have committed an offence, Hassan said such powers must be exercised with caution. The judge questioned the rationale behind the revocation of the administrative bail granted to Ofili-Ajumogobia by the EFCC on October 22, when she did not pose a flight risk. He said: “The respondent should have exercised restraints in revoking the bail earlier granted the applicant; there was no evidence that the applicant is a

flight risk. “The respondent is hereby counselled to be professional and to always exercise caution and restraints in the exercise of its powers.” The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Justice Hassan however, disagreed with Ofili-Ajumogobia that the remand order obtained by the EFCC from a magistrates court on November 10 was unlawful, illegal and a violation of her fundamental human rights. According to Justice Hassan, the remand order was issued by the Magistrates Court

pursuant to Section 264(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2011. The judge also refused to make any order as to the applicant’s request for bail from the EFCC’s custody, following her arraignment on November 28 before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court. “The issue of the applicant’s bail from EFCC’s custody has already been overtaken by the event of her arraignment at the Lagos High Court and her subsequent release on bail by the court.”




Crude Oil Prices Tank 3% over Disagreement on Output Cuts Ejiofor Alike with agency report Crude oil prices yesterday fell by over three per cent ahead of today’s meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as the oil market was not convinced that the cartel will reach a deal to cut production following the disagreement within the group and among non-members. While some OPEC members have been singing discordant tunes, Russia, which is not a member, had indicated that it was only interested in holding production at 11.2 million barrels a day. A freeze, Russia reportedly said, was essentially a reduction because it plans to increase output next year. OPEC members – Indonesia and Iran – yesterday expressed some reluctance to commit to a production cut at today’s meeting. Analysts have predicted that if today’s meeting ends inconclusively, oil prices could fall to as low as $35 per barrel. The initial optimism that OPEC could limit production at today’s meeting, resulting in a price rally in recent weeks, was said to have been dampened by comments from the cartel’s officials, thus sowing doubts over its ability to reach an agreement. Light Sweet Crude futures for January delivery yesterday declined $1.66, or 3.5 per cent to $45.42 a barrel on the New York

Mercantile Exchange, on track to close at a two-week low. Brent, the global benchmark, was also down $1.73, or 3.6 per cent, at $46.51 a barrel. The Wall Street Journal reported that oil ministers from Indonesia and Iran expressed some reluctance yesterday to commit to a production cut, sparking concerns over a contentious meeting and a potential deadlock. Indonesia’s oil minister said his country had not decided yet whether to join production cuts or not and that he had “a mixed feeling” about the gathering’s outcome. Iran’s oil minister said he intended to follow production plans previously set that would make the country exempt from output cuts. Germany’s Commerzbank said the main hurdle for the meeting will be Saudi Arabia’s insistence that Iran caps production at 3.7 million barrels a day, while Tehran is insisting on a cap of around 3.97 million barrels a day. In September, OPEC agreed on targets that would have translated into production cuts of 200,000 to 700,000 barrels a day. Russian and the Iranian president reportedly made public that they held a phone conversation to discuss the OPEC meeting. One of the key hurdles to the production accord is Russia, which is not a member of OPEC. OPEC will also struggle to

Ondo Govt Denies Collecting N82bn from FG, Warns APC against Official Lies The Ondo State Government has denied a statement credited the All progressive Congress in the state that it has collected N82billion from the federal government being money owed it on the Paris Club deductions. Putting a lie to the report in a statement issued in Akure yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, said it was most unfortunate that such falsehood was coming from the people that want to form government in the state. He said the statement credited to a failed gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Hon. Victor Olabimtan, was a deliberate falsehood to incite the people against the government, adding that such falsehood could only have come from a corrupt and hallucinating mind looking for where to offload its frustrations. He said Olabimtan, being an APC member, should be conversant with the activities of the federal government hence, should be able to report accurately, activities of the same government without misleading the public. Setting the records straight, the commissioner said though the federal government promised to refund part of the over deductions it made on some states regarding the Paris Club’s

payment, he added however that till date, money has not been released to any state on the basis of Paris Club deduction’s refund. Insisting on the need to have value for the “truth in our day to day dealings” the Commissioner said campaign period is over, adding that it will not be fair on the people to be hoodwinked to submission with lies and continue to be fed with more lies all in the bid to paint the government black. Cautioning that attempts to rule the people with lies had always failed, the commissioner said it was time the APC prepared to face the task of governance that would confront it in the state from next year with the reality on ground. “Feeding the people with lies won’t do it, but sincerity of purpose and genuine desire to make an impact on the lives of the people. “The task is more herculean for the APC because of the unprecedented high standard of governance it will inherit from the incumbent government,” the statement said, adding that the only way to sustain the standard, “even if it wont be able to build on it, is to be transparent and shed its traditional tag of a liar, only then can the APC be fair to the people of the state,” the statement also read in part.

nail down production quotas for member nations as several countries—such as Nigeria and Libya—have requested exemptions because their oil production and exports have been hurt by militant attacks. In addition, OPEC does not have the authority to make members

comply with their production assignments. It is anticipated that if OPEC decides to abandon its pledge to cut output, oil prices will be hit hard in the short term. In the US where many oil producers were forced out of the market when prices dropped

below $40 a barrel, there are signs of resilience. The latest report from the US Energy Department showed domestic crude production is likely to hit 8.7 million barrels a day in 2017, which is 100,000 barrels a day higher than the previous estimate.

Production elsewhere is also climbing as North Sea producers, who have been troubled by rising costs and high taxes, recently increased output to a three-year high, thus indicating that any OPEC agreement would have a limited impact on the global crude glut.


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (third right); with the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan (second left); some governors wives during the launch of Campaign to End Child Marriage in Abuja ....yesterday Godwin Omoigui.

Court Grants Former FCT Minister Bail, Orders EFCC to Release Him Tobi Soniyi in Abuja An Abuja High Court has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release detained former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Bala Mohammed, after granting him bail pending the determination of the case he filed for the enforcement of his fundamental rights. The former minister, who was arrested and detained since October 24, 2016, when he went to honour an invitation by the commission, filed a suit to enforce his rights to freedom. He also sought damages of N100 million against the antigraft agency over his continued detention. However, before the determination of the substantive suit, his counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), also filed an application praying the court to release him on bail pending the hearing and determination of the suit. Ruling on the bail application yesterday, Justice Baba Yusuf, agreed with submissions of counsel that Mohammed deserved to be released on bail so as to enable him enjoy his constitutional right to his liberty. The judge, who cited relevant constitutional provisions and case laws held that bail was the basic constitutional rights of a citizen arrested on non-capital offences. Consequently, the judge frowned at the attitude of

the EFCC opposing the bail application after it had earlier granted him administrative bail. He further condemned the counter-affidavit filed by the commission, saying it contained no prima facie evidence and full of contradictions. The court admitted the former minister to bail on conditions earlier attached to his administrative bail by the EFCC. Reviewing the relevant provisions of the law, Justice Yusuf relied on the provisions of Section 158 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, which provides that, “When a person who is suspected to have committed an offence or is accused of an offence is arrested or detained, or appears or is brought before a court, he shall subject to the provisions of this Act, be entitled to bail.” The judge also quoted Section 165 (1) of ACJA which provides that “The conditions for bail in any case shall be at the discretion of the court with due regard to the circumstances of the case and shall not be excessive. The Judge also relied on section 168 of ACJA which provides that “A judge of a High court may direct the defendant in custody in a state or in the FCT be admitted to bail. Justice Yusuf also cited section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution to the effect that “Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty.”

After quoting all relevant provisions, the judge held thus: “From the foregoing constitutional provisions, it is clear that the right to bail and fair hearing are interwoven and are aimed at allowing the defendant easy access to his counsel so as to prepare for his defence. “Moreover, the presumption of innocence will lose its meaning if an accused in a non-capital offence is denied bail. “The respondent appears to have taken cognisance of these facts when the granted administrative bail to the applicant on October 25, 2016. I am therefore surprised when the respondent opposed his bail application by filling a copious counter affidavit. “However, a clear look at the said counter affidavit revealed that it is self defeatist as many of the paragraphs are false and contradictory. “In addition, there is no prima facie evidence as the exhibits annexed to the counter affidavit are not certified and do not support the averments. For instance, the respondent alleged that the applicant was arrested and detained following a number of petitions written against him. However, they only attached a single petition as evidence. “When all these contradictions in the counter affidavit are analysed, the only conclusion is that they have no evidence against the bail application of the applicant. “It is also on record that the on October 25, 2016, the respondent

granted administrative bail to the applicant with the conditions that he must provide two Directors in the federal government establishments, who must provide certificate of landed properties in Abuja and deposit copies of their international passports. “Now, the simple question is whether he provided those sureties. It was averred that he although provided sureties, the respondents refused to verify them. I have considered the circumstances and it is my view that the right to bail is constitutional. “It is my view therefore to invoke the provisions of section 168 (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, to direct that the applicant is admitted to bail in the same condition that was attached to his administrative bail that was given to him by the respondent. “I have decided not to tamper with the bail conditions because the applicant has not complained that he would not be able to meet them. The bail conditions shall be processed by this court as provided under section 170 of ACJA.” Mohammed had asked to release on him bail from the custody of EFCC pending his arraignment. In suit marked FCT/ CV/220/2016, he prayed the court for an order compelling and directing the EFCC to release him on bail forthwith or immediately arraign him for trial.




Senate Probes Fraudulent Diversion of Funds by Revenue Generating Agencies Saraki recalls diversion of N1.5tn in 2015

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja The Senate yesterday set up a six-member ad hoc committee to investigate revenue generating agencies over allegations of abuse, misuse, under remittance/nonremittance of revenues and other fraudulent practices from 2012 to 2016. Moving a motion on the matter yesterday, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West) said whereas all revenues and monies raised or received by the agencies ought to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in accordance with provisions of extant laws, the agencies have been violating

the letters of the 1999 Constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007. He recalled that FRA 2007 was enacted to guarantee transparency, accountability and also prevent corrupt practices in relation to public revenues and expenditure, lamenting that the agencies have cultivated the acts of mismanaging the nation’s funds. “The various audit queries against these agencies over the years further indicates possible mismanagement of public funds against the spirit of the Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act. “In view of federal government’s dwindling revenues from the traditional crude oil sector

and the on-going recession, these government bodies are continuing in short-changing government of needed revenue through various illegal practices,” Adeola noted. In his contribution, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, called for the review of laws setting up the agencies, pointing out that if the revenues being generated by the agencies are carefully monitored, there may not be any need to borrow money to fund the budget. Also speaking, Senator Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) backed Ekweremadu’s comment that the laws should be reviewed. He also suggested the need to

reduce the number of existing agencies to enhance their efficiencies. He said: “Some of these agencies have their acts supported by law. We have to amend these laws. Another thing we can do is to intensify our oversight. We need to know how these agencies utilise the funds. Many of these agencies are just there. We should be looking at reducing these agencies so that those that will be left to collect revenues will be thoroughly supervised.” The motion lent credence to the accusation by federal government a fortnight ago that revenue generating agencies were siphoning money.

Earlier, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had accused revenue generating agencies of diverting revenues they generate. In his remark, Senate President Bukola Saraki who named Adeola as chairman of the ad hoc committee, lamented how revenue agencies generated over N1.5 trillion last year only to deliver less than N500 billion. Saraki said: “As I keep on hammering, independent revenue and non-oil revenue are very important areas of our budget. This independent revenue is 37 per cent. You remember that last year it was almost N1.5 trillion and I’m being told now that this year is likely to come down to

N500 billion because they could not meet the target. “The inability to meet the target is not that they do not have the capacity to meet the target. The problem is that there is too much abuse on this operating surpluses where people spend up to the last naira in all. I think the best way forward is for us to address this issue in blocking these leakages and I believe that in constituting the ad hoc committee, we would just take the best hands and still bring people from Finance and Public Accounts Committees.” The committee has six weeks to conclude its assignment and report findings back to the Senate.

Law School Records Highest Number of Students with First Class Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The Nigerian Law School has recorded 24 students graduating with first class from its August/ September 2016 Bar final examinations results. The highest since the school was established. Among those who graduated with first class, is Mosimiloluwa Somuyiwa, the son of THISDAY’s former Executive Director, Corporate Services, Mr. Gbade Somuyiwa. In his address to the new lawyers, The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Samuel Nkanu Walter Onnoghen, advised them to perform their roles as legal practitioners with integrity and competence. Justice Onnoghen told the new wigs who have just completed their legal trainings from the various campuses of the Nigerian Law School to put into consideration the interest of their clients and the larger society while carrying out their judicial duties. He warned the new wigs that the Body of Benchers would not hesitate to throw out any erring lawyer from the legal profession. While reminding the new wigs of the rules of professional conduct, Justice Onnoghen urged them to shun any act that would bring the profession into disrepute. He said: “As ministers in the temple of justice, it is never enough to solely protect the interest of your client. You must strive to attain justice above all and not derail its course even if it may not favour your client and avoid ‘sharp practices.’ “The role of lawyers are multifaceted; it cuts across virtually every strata of the society. In all this, you are expected to maintain the highest profession standard of integrity and competence at all times. This should be your watch word.” He further charged the new lawyers on professional development so as to keep themselves abreast of latest legal developments in the country and across the globe. “Read widely and continue

to update your knowledge of the law in Nigeria and other comparable jurisdictions and also imbibe good understanding of the cultural and social setting which you practice because the law is a living phenomenon,” Justice Onnoghen said. Earlier, the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Mr. Olanrewaju Onadeko (SAN), while presenting the new wigs to the Body of Benchers, deplored what he termed the “continuing challenge of violation of admission quotas” by some universities. Onadeko noted that the allocated figures to faculties of law were a product of empirical evaluation of available resources that could cater for the academic needs of law students. While presenting a total of 4,225 candidates for the callto-bar, Onadeko called for the mandatory period of pupilage for young lawyers. “The current absence of any form of structured pupilage for new entrants into the legal profession, has been cause for concern. As things are, a new wig may on enrollment set up his practice and function as a full-fledged legal practitioner. The reality, however, is that the new wig requires additional and invaluable work experience, under the supervision of a senior colleague. “The basis of the insistence on good character for eligibility for admission to the legal profession, is to shield it from those with propensity to act at variance with the interest of their clients, the profession itself and the justice system,” he explained. Giving a breakdown of the performance of the candidates in the examinations, Onadeko disclosed that “of their numbers, 24 candidates attained the First Class grade, while 567 candidates obtained the Second Class Upper Division,” adding that the number of first class candidates that were presented was the largest since the inception of the Nigerian Law School.


Managing Director/CEO Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Tony Attah; Deputy Managing Director, Sadeeq Mai-Bornu; 2016 winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and member Literature Prize Advisory Board, Professor Jerry Agada, at the public presentation of the 2016 winner in Abuja .....yesterday.

CBN: No Magic Wand to Fix FXVolatility Except Exports James Emejo in Abuja The Director, Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Moses Tule, yesterday said it would be wrong to expect the apex bank to singlehandedly address the depreciating naira without complementary efforts by the fiscal authorities and Nigerians in general. He said the value of the local currency will probably continue to fall in the short term until there are significant efforts to produce and export in order to earn foreign exchange as well as reduce undue pressure on the naira. He said: “When you don’t export, then expect a fall in the value of the naira,” adding that there’s nothing the CBN can do about it. Speaking in Abuja at the 12th business managers’ round-table themed, “The Realities of the Nigerian Economy: Recession and the Way Forward,” which was organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the CBN Director also said the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank had issued early signals indicating that the economy was

nearing a recession unless drastic efforts were taken by the fiscal authorities. He noted that even when interest rate was relatively low in commercial banks as a result of the CBN intervention, the fiscal authorities failed to complement the efforts. He, however, praised the resilience of the informal sector of the economy in holding through the current recession and moderating its harsh impact on Nigerians. He said a quick fix to the present economic predicament was unlikely largely because past governments had not done the right thing to diversify from oil. Tule told journalists: “As you saw in the presentation we made, from September 2015 on consistent basis, the MPC had made allusions that imperatives for coordinating fiscal and monetary policy couldn’t be overemphasised. “I think especially in a recession and we have desperate policies: every policy angle is going in a different direction: there’s no way the country could get out of recession.” Notwithstanding, he said there had been remarkable improvements on the part of

the fiscal authorities to quicken an early exit from recession. He said: “I wouldn’t agree that there’s no improvements in fiscal policy, there’s so much happening but I think the onus is on the fiscal authority to publicise what they’re doing. “They are doing a lot already. But perhaps in a recession like this, you really need to blow your trumpet because what you need is building confidence. The louder the trumpet, the greater the number of people the sound reaches.” He also said the current situation called for an array of interventions from the fiscal side. According to him, “There’s no way out because fiscal policy management provides the leadership for macroeconomic management in any country. Monetary policy only comes as complementary policy. “In all climes, fiscal policy provides the leadership and when monetary policy has reached its ends, and it could no longer stimulate output growth, fiscal policy must step in with huge injection and this is not a new recommendation, the fiscal authorities are aware of this but as you are aware, government is looking for external funding

to do exactly this.” However, an associate Professor of Finance and Head, Banking & Finance, Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Dr. Uche Uwaleke, said the CBN has the responsibility of channelling excess funds in the system to the real sector to help jump start growth instead of resorting to monetary tightening at all times. In an interview with THISDAY at the round-table, he said the CBN could help “ease monetary policy a bit to see how it can help to restart growth in the economy”. He said: “I don’t agree that monetary policy is completely handicapped as far as exiting recession is concerned. Now, look at the monetary tightening policy the CBN had been adopting since January- they had an MPC meeting in March where they increased policy rate from 11 percent to 12 percent and in July the MPR was again increased to 14 percent. “Now, in spite of these sustained Increases in MPR, inflation rate has not come down and what does that tell tells you monetary policy tightening should be revisited.”




Ambode Presents N813bn Budget for 2017 Fiscal Year Expects 13% derivation from oil and gas

Gboyega Akinsanmi Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday presented a budget proposal of N812.998 billion to the state House of Assembly for 2017 fiscal year compared to N662.588 billion he proposed for 2016. With the budget size that represents an 18.5 per cent over 2016 proposal, Ambode said the state had embarked on extensive revenue collection reforms that would lead to more effective multi-pay channels and improved administration of revenue collection. He presented the budget proposal to critical stakeholders including former governors, former deputy-governors, traditional rulers, political leaders from different wings, civil society actors and captains of industry at the chambers of the state assembly, Alausa. Breaking down the budget he tagged: ‘The Golden Jubilee Budget,’ Ambode put capital expenditure at N512.464 billion while recurrent expenditure was placed at N300.535, representing a ratio of 63:37 (capital to recurrent). He also gave a review of 2016 budget, noting that its overall performance of the budget “was 71 per cent. Total revenue stood

at N350 billion or 77.5 per cent while capital expenditure closed at N200 billion or 62 per cent and the recurrent expenditure performed at N180 billion or 82 per cent.” Contingent on the country’s prevailing economic condition, Ambode said the state maintained a conservative approach in estimating its federal allocation due to falling oil prices that was about $41.98 per barrel at the time the budget was finalised. Ambode, however, noted that the state expected an increase in federal allocation through 13 per cent derivation from oil and gas in 2017, though the state had experienced revenue growth all through the 2016 fiscal year. He added that the state “will sustain deficit financing in the short-to-medium term; enhance revenue growth throughout the year on several initiatives including automation and efficient revenue administration. “We will explore more collaborations with local and international investors through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) especially in the areas of road network expansion, transport; housing, and the environment.” Despite its economic prospect, the governor acknowledged that the state “is constrained

Dickson Halts State Sponsorship of Pilgrims Emmanuel Addeh inYenagoa Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State yesterday cancelled the state sponsorship of pilgrims who intend to fulfill the religious obligation of visiting Mecca and Jerusalem annually. The governor, who made the assertion while inaugurating a 10-member Pilgrims Welfare Board at the Government House in Yenagoa, explained that the decision was necessitated by the current economic realities. He urged the board to reach out to other stakeholders, such as corporate citizens, churches, government officials and wealthy individuals for sponsorship, as well as sensitise intending pilgrims on the need for them to take responsibility of the spiritual assignment. Dickson, however, said the administration would continue to maintain the prevailing enabling environment for adherents of Christianity, Islam and other religions to practice their faiths without any hindrance. “But let me make it clear that the circumstances of our national economy and the realities of our state economy do not support the practice of the state sponsorship anymore. But, we are going to encourage pilgrims from all faiths to be alive to their responsibilities, who may want to visit the Holy Land to do so,” he said. Those inaugurated were the Chairman, ArchBishop Israel Ige, Aputu John Dan, Vice Chairman, Bishop Ebi Belepeigha , Secretary and Mrs Pere-ere Koroye, Dame

Atonye Barigha as well as Rev John Lewis to serve as members. Mr. MacDonald Osarebie, Alhaji Yakubu Boleigha, Alhaji Kassim Oru, Pastor Dimaro Ayaebi Are to serve as members. Meanwhile, Dickson yesterday re-emphasised the need for Ijaw leaders and the people of the Niger Delta to work with the government in making the region stable and peaceful. The governor made the assertion, when the new Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman paid him a visit at the Government House, Yenagoa. ‘’I want to use this opportunity to assure you that the success of Operation Delta Safe is the success of our state and our government. The reason is that this government abhors piracy, we condemn criminality and in all forms that it rears its ugly head,” he said. He urged the security outfit to be impartial and highly professional in the conduct of their mandate in the region, assuring that a security summit would soon be convened on the need to curb sea piracy, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and other forms of criminal acts. Earlier in his remarks, the new Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Suleiman, had intimated Governor Dickson of the mandate of his command, which include, protection of oil and gas infrastructure and the prevention of crime in the Niger Delta.

by rising inflation as well as limited financial resources. We have presented an all-inclusive budget. “We seek the cooperation and understanding of all residents in prompt payment of taxes and for the information of our citizens, the state government has embarked on extensive revenue collection reforms. “We will soon introduce more effective multi-pay channels to improve the administration and collection of revenue. Our central billing system and efforts to fully automate revenue collection for ease of payment have reached an advanced stage.” The governor reeled out some of the projects the budget would be used to execute, noting that the state would continue “to

implement the ease of doing business reforms – starting a business, property registration, tax payment, e-GIS/ Smart City project, continue to encourage investments in Lekki Free Trade Zone (FTZ), Badagry Deep Sea port and the Eko Atlantic project. “We will remain steadfast in our responsibility to make the state safe and secure for all our citizens. We will continue to invest in security. The Neighbourhood Safety Agency will become fully operational by 2017 with presence in all 20 local government areas and local council development areas.” He added that a key focus of the budget for the 2017 “is road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance,” noting that the state government would

focus on roads, which he said, would open up the hinterlands, improve connectivity in the state and reduce travel time. He mentioned some of the projects that would benefit from the budget to include Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road from Oshodi, Agric-IsawoOwotu-Arepo Road in Ikorodu and Igbe-Igbogbo Phase II- Bola Tinubu Way in Ikorodu and Ijegun Imore Phase II Amuwo in Ojo axis. The governor named OkeOso-Araga-Poka in Epe, EpePoka-Mojoda in the Epe axis, Ijegun Imore Phase II Amuwo in Ojo axis and completion of the Abule-Egba, Ajah and Pen Cinema flyovers. He said his administration would take advantage of

public private partnership (PPP) to execute Oke OsoItoikin dualisation Project in Epe, Okokomaiko-Seme Road Project in Badagry and IkoroduAgbowa-Itoikin-Ijebu Ode Road Project in Ikorodu. According to him, we will commence the Phase II of the 114 local government roads project and the Fourth Mainland Bridge in 2017. We shall carry out fundamental reforms on all our modes of transportation. He thus said the successful implementation of this budget “depends on all Lagos residents. We all have a huge responsibility to ensure that it succeeds as we cannot just afford to fail even at this critical period of economic recession.”

Udoma: Why FG is Focusing on Infrastructure Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja The federal government has explained that it decided to make investment in infrastructure a priority because it holds the key to freeing the economy from recession. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who stated this, noted that massive investment in infrastructure is the surest way to get the country out of recession. According to him, “There is no doubt that government-led investment in public infrastructure is one of the fastest ways to get an economy out of recession.” He spoke in Abuja yesterday at the nineth Award Winners Lecture of the forum of laureates, Nigerian National Order of Merit. Udoma said the federal government was looking at various strategic ways of restoring revenue and getting the economy back on the path of sustainable growth. A statement issued by his Media Adviser, Akpandem James said the minister pointed out that in spite of the revenue shortfalls experienced during the 2016 budget year, N753.6 billion has so far been released for capital expenditure, targeted principally at the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, as well as the Ministry of Transportation. “This, in fact, exceeds the aggregate capital expenditure budget for 2015.” He told the gathering that government has been having difficulties funding the budget because of the disruptions of oil production in the Niger Delta, adding that notwithstanding current challenges, government must find ways to increase the level of its spending. “At one time, almost half our production was shut in because of pipeline vandalism. This compounded our economic situation and pushed us into the current recession we are experiencing in the country. We are looking at ways to restore our revenues and get the economy out of recession and back on the path

of sustainable growth,” he said. Udoma explained that the resultant epileptic income stream also affected exchange rate stability, another issue which has to be addressed if the country is to succeed in its development drive. According to him, exchange rate stability has been a major issue

which the federal government has been grappling with as a result of the reduction in foreign exchange earnings caused by the fall in crude oil exports. The federal government, he said, would welcome every genuine idea from experts on how to address these

economic challenges, stressing that it is looking forward to receiving the various papers and recommendations from the lecture, some of which might be directly integrated into the National Recovery and Growth Plan, currently being tidied up.






Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email



The Internet is filled with dangerous junks that compromise state security, argues Sonnie Ekwowusi

igeria remains one of the few countries in the world whose soil serves as a dumping ground for all sorts of hazardous things. The Nigerian market is littered with adulterated drugs, pesticides, obsolete computers, used mobile phones, fake batteries, fake tyres, fake biros, fake building materials, fake “pure” water and so forth. There is this popular joke that one can buy a human head at the “Oluwole” market, Lagos. Unfortunately, the Nigerian regulatory agencies and institutions entrusted with the task of regulating, controlling and censoring the quality of products sold in the Nigerian market in order to protect the Nigerian consumers are weak and inefficient. As a NAFDAC chieftain, the late Prof. Dora Akunyili constantly wielded the sledgehammer to rid Nigeria of fake drugs. But since her exit it seems we have gone back to our vomit. The truth of the matter is that at the moment the Nigerian consumers are at the mercy of cheats and exploiters. For example, my friends trading on vehicle tyres tell me that most vehicle tyres sold in Nigeria are prone to burst under minimum load or pressure. Why? Because the tyres are fake. Taking advantage of the inefficiency of the Nigerian regulatory agencies and many loopholes in our system, some foreigners (names withheld) doing business in Nigeria are getting away with many shady business deals. Therefore it is high time the Nigerian regulatory authorities woke up to tackle the corporate criminality and blatant violation of the principle of the duty of care in the Nigerian market. Apart from the fake products in the larger Nigeria market, the Nigerian internet is filled with dangerous and life-threatening junks that compromise state security. For example, you can browse how to join the ISIS on the Nigerian internet. If you want to change your profession and become instead a “professional” armed robber or a kidnapper, or a suicide bomber or anything under the sun you can access all of them on the Nigerian internet today. The Nigerian Internet is now used to promote economic and financial fraud and corruption. On the Nigerian internet, you can find all sorts of character-damaging pornography websites, obscenity sites, prostitution trafficking websites, human trafficking websites, False Pretence (“419”) websites, baby-selling websites, juju-worshipping websites, devil-worshipping website, voodooist websites, human ritual websites, occultist websites, and so forth. The other day a colleague drew our attention to the wicked househelp on the internet using her urine to cook for her employer-madam who apparently had offended her. Besides, there are lots of online lies, online false representation, picture tricks, face-swapping, and online manipulation. We are losing our humanity thanks to the internet. We are losing the control of our privacy. We are experiencing online terrorism. Young people


are the worst hit. The increase in suicide and self-destruction among young people today is attributable to the explosion in internet porn addiction. With their eyes glued to their smart phones, many young people today can hardly tell the difference between truth and illusion. They can hardly tell the difference between the real world and imaginary world of the internet. Internet adult pornography is commonplace. A report recently released in the US says that adult pornography contributes to sexual exploitation of children. The report also shows that men act out with child prostitutes what they view in internet adult pornography, and pimps use internet adult pornography to instruct child prostitutes. The high incidence of rape and child sexual molestation in Nigeria could be traced to internet adult pornography. The report also confirms that addiction to internet adult pornography destroys marriages and proper upbringing of children. Therefore the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should, in line with the Internet censorship practices in the United Kingdom, Russia, India, China and other countries, commence Internet Protocol (IP) blocking, Domain Name Servers (DNS) filtering and redirection, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) filtering, Packet filtering in Nigeria, Man-in-the middle attack, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) reset. Mobile operators should automatically install adult content filters on their network, such that Wi-Fi networks would not be able to avoid these measures. All Nigerian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must rewire their technology so that once their filters are installed, it will cover any device connected to home internet accounts. Search engines should be instructed to block illegal contents. NCC should get all Internet domain services and websites in Nigeria to commence content labeling or content rating. As done abroad, the NCC should create censorship watchdogs. Such watchdogs shall be responsible for alerting the NCC when objectionable content is intercepted. It should also prepare a comprehensive list of IP addresses to be blocked or blacklisted for non-compliance with NCC directives. As practiced in most countries now, the NCC should get the ISPs to filter away from the internet information justifying unlawful conduct such as economic fraud; encouraging children to commit suicide or acts endangering their lives; incitement of ethnic violence; incitement of political secession; promotion of drug addiction; promotion of bestiality; promotion of prostitution; promotion of homosexual and lesbian lifestyles; promotion of crimes of terrorism and extremism; promotion of child and adult pornography. The citizens should be encouraged to send grievances and complaints about bad online contents.



mmediately after the swearing in of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, Mr. Barnabas Gemade became a constant face at the Aso Rock residence of Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.The plot to kick out Solomon Lar who led the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to a resounding victory in the general elections had started in earnest. Long before Obasanjo’s swearing in, Lar, the apostle of emancipation, had been sentenced to death. His “real crime”, opposed to the “public lie”, was that Obasanjo wanted absolute control of the party. The “public lie” was Lar’s lack of capacity to lead the PDP. So to date, the PDP has had Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Ahmadu Ali, Vincent Ogubulafor, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Bamanga Tukur, Muazu Adamu, Mohammed Bello and Senator Ahmed Makarfi, as chairmen. Of all the chairmen, only Ali served out his tenure, without the usual “PDP” treatment. A feat which was made possible by the willingness of Ali to do Obasanjo’s dirty biddings. From the orchestrated campaign against John Odigie-Oyegun, it is obvious that the All Progressives Congress (APC) that prides itself as agent of change wants to travel the same PDP road, with the same obvious implication for itself and the polity. How can Nigerians ever trust again, if the APC that held out so much hope, dashes it so wilfully? Will this not be the confirmation that they are all the same? And that the people hardly ever matter? If Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Timi Frank had their way, John Odigie-Oyegun during the recent visit of Mr. President to Edo State, would have been addressed in the past tense and as “your excellency” in obvious reference to his ambassadorial position, which they had proposed to Mr. President as part of the plot to ease him out. Sources claimed they already

Emmanuel Ado argues that the chairman has done no wrong

bought Odigie-Oyegun a one way ticket to Sweden, where he will be far removed from the politics of Nigeria. Odigie- Oyegun’s crime, according to Bola Tinubu and Timi Frank, is his lack of leadership, as evidenced by his “failure to resolve the internal crisis of the party”. The other allegation as articulated by Tinubu is that Odigie-Oyegun lacks integrity. Atiku on his part hasn’t really been as clear as Tinubu and Frank, as to his grievances,with Odigie-Oyegun.He is obviously fishing in troubled waters,to help push out an obstacle to his presidential ambition. The charges against Odigie-Oyegun are weighty. But unfortunately the events don’t support the allegations.Take the specific case of Kogi and Ondo States.But for the death of Alhaji Audu Abubakar, the then governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), OdigieOyegun would not have crossed paths with James Faleke and his main sponsor Bola Tinubu. Tinubu holds Odigie-Oyegun responsible for his failure to gain a foothold in the North. The other man equally as guilty as Odigie-Oyegun in the “travails” of Tinubu is Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation. And he has been throughly thrashed by the famed Lion of Bourdilion. Malami’s crime was that his legal advice denied James Faleke from becoming the Governor of Kogi State. But while all kinds of conspiracy theories are being bandied about, not many people have bothered to read the position of the law. Thankfully, the law courts from the tribunal to the Supreme Court have spoken eloquently in support of the tricky road the party and the National Independent Electoral Commission adopted in resolving a unique situation.Again as in the Kogi State case,Tinubu had preference for Abraham as the standard-bearer of the APC for Ondo State.He had every right to.But his

candidate was trounced by Rotimi Akeredolu,a man that Tinubu had in 2012 “awarded” the Action Congress of Nigeria ticket. In the murky world of politics,only God knows Akeredolu’s crime, the man eventually won the governorship election. In his widely publicised statement,Tinubu claimed the National Working Committee(NWC) voted for fresh primaries. A claim the party strongly refuted. The two critical issues remain that to date,nobody has showed proof of those who ought to vote, who didn’t vote or of those who shouldn’t have voted,but voted. It is not about money that was freely spent. On September 22, 2016, the day the NWC was meeting was also the final day for submission of candidates by political parties. The implication was that if for any reason a fresh primary was indeed needed, and was in fact conducted, the APC would have automatically shot itself in the foot,as the party would have technically knocked itself out of the race.Was that a preferable course of option to Tinubu?There was need for political brinkmanship. But this word is absent from the lexicon of the average Nigerian politician. The question that continues to agitate Nigerians is the lack of political skills by politicians. Why is it so difficult to resolve political issues politically? How can Odigie-Oyegun be solely blamed for all the problems of the APC? Is he to be blamed for the continued quarrel between Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ganduji? Even after sending fact finding teams to Kano State to “resolve” the issues? Is Odigie-Oyegun also to be held responsible for the brewing crisis in Adamawa State, where a governor has said it is either Atiku for 2019 or nobody? Politics ís the act of agreeing to disagree, but in Nigeria it is agreeing to destroy. Today, the national legal officer of the PDP has lost track of the cases in

various courts. That is the part that those angling for Odigie-Oyegun’s removal are pushing the party to. Those opposed to Odigie-Oyegun want President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the crisis of confidence rocking the party. They want him to become like Obasanjo.They say that the only reason they want to hijack the party is to save it from collapse before 2019. That if the party is left in the hands of Odigie-Oyegun, it would be bye-bye to APC in 2019. The signs are there that by 2019,the APC would have been factionalised beyond recognition. But it won’t be because of Odigie-Oyegun.The fate of the APC is not in the hands of Odigie-Oyegun alone. Yes, as party leader he has the moral duty of providing direction - a wealth of experience that he possess in quantum. But what do you do with party members that insist the party must be run on their dictates? The greatest undoing of the PDP was its impunity and the APC is beginning to manifest those tendencies that sent the PDP to the intensive care unit.The governors from their meeting with the president, henceforth want to determine who gets what and on what terms. Their next move will be to “impose” a national chairman. And like the irrepressible Fela would say everything “go scatter”. Let’s admit that APC is in crisis, but without conceding. The question is what led to the crisis? Has it got to do with implementation of party policies?The crisis is about the next election. The APC is surely facing trying times - an economy in recession, and failure of the federal government to dispense patronage to those who “laboured “ for the party hasn’t helped. All stakeholders must join hands to build a strong APC. We need a strong party, disciplined and focused. Ado wrote from Kaduna



EDITORIAL THE RESURGENCE OF BOKO HARAM The insurgents have been largely contained, but not vanquished


f any proof is ever needed that the war against Boko Haram is far from being over, it is in the fact that on a daily basis, Nigerians are now witnessing consistent and intensifying enemy action in the theatre of conflict, namely, the North-east of the country. Two commanding officers and a number of troops have been killed in enemy ambush in the last one month alone. Suicide bombers have either detonated bombs or been narrowly prevented from carrying out attacks on civilian centres. All these incidents do not indicate an insurgency that has been defeated. Instead, they imply that Boko Haram still has active guerrilla cells and staging posts in the North-east from where they launch these attacks. Unfortunately, the military and defence authorities still insist that Boko Haram has been defeated. Yet just last week, they declared wanted the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau that had been pronounced dead on several occasions. To worsen maters, the United States Embassy, in an emergency message to its citizens who reside or do business in WE MUST COMMEND OUR Abuja, has warned MILITARY FOR THE VIGOUR of an imminent WITH WHICH THEY HAVE Boko Haram attack RECENTLY TAKEN THE within the FCT. BATTLE TO BOKO HARAM It is possible AND THE VICTORIES that the defence authorities may RECORDED. BUT THERE IS want to reassure a STILL A LOT TO BE DONE frightened public that they are equal to the task. But the reality is that reports of these ever so frequent attacks erode the credibility of alternative claims. The task on hand therefore is to actually win the war so that the work of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas can proceed. And that will take not only concerted efforts but also admitting that the challenges ahead remain huge. For sure, the military authorities have whittled down the striking powers of the violent insurgent

Letters to the Editor

group that has, over the years, been responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Nigerians. The military has recaptured much of the territory Boko Haram once controlled and the insurgents no longer operate as freely as they used to. Yet the brutal militant group cannot be said to have been tamed.





ndeed, the group still poses a grave danger and has been inflicting mortal wounds on members of the armed forces as well as civilians. In the past few weeks, there have been increasing reports of soldiers either missing or killed by suspected rebels. Besides the spate of fatal attacks in the thick of battle, the series of brazen and suicide attacks and gruesome killings by the militant group in recent weeks have shown that the insurgents are still very much in business. Although security agencies have managed to foil some of these attacks, it is all the same somewhat bogus to hawk the impression that the war against the insurgents is “technically” over. It is not. Even if we admit that the extremist group must have by now banished the idea of carving for itself a caliphate, because it cannot hold on to any ground for long, it still constitutes mortal danger to their immediate and outlying communities and indeed, to members of the armed forces. The authorities must therefore admit that the insurgents have returned fully to their largely asymmetrical warfare that was once their hallmark. The military pressure has made them to shift tactics to what is now a hit-and-run approach. But the increasing spate of suicide attacks is stoking unease in many communities and indeed hampering the return of some of the two million internally displaced persons living in the poorest of conditions in the camps. We must commend our military for the vigour with which they have recently taken the battle to Boko Haram and the victories recorded. But there is still a lot to be done. And nobody should gloss over that fact.

TO OUR READERS Letters in response to specific publications in THISDAY should be brief (150-200 words) and straight to the point. Interested readers may send such letters along with their contact details to We also welcome comments and opinions on topical local, national and international issues provided they are well-written and should also not be longer than (9501000 words). They should be sent to along with the email address and phone numbers of the writer.


I can say matter-of-factly that in all my years as a Nigerian, social infrastructure has been treated with a cavalier sense of responsibility by especially the first two tiers of government. Ironically, social infrastructure oftentimes is the motif of many a gubernatorial and municipal candidate’s manifesto aptly drafted to win the franchise of the electorate. But aspirant proposes reality disposes. Soon enough they find out that due to extraneous and immanent factors, they are able to achieve little or nothing and so the cycle continues. For decades, this extant infrastructural decay has brought about our being labelled with different retrogressing prefixes in a comity of nations. Federalism in the Nigerian space is unique in its own ingenious way, particularly in the regard of revenue generation. We have states and local government areas that are tied to the apron strings of the federal government for revenue. Put in another way, states and LGAs generate their revenues mainly from allocations. And sad enough, large slices of these allocations are expended on recurrent expenses and on their thieving lusts leaving little or no room for social projects. I’m not an economist neither have I expertise in public service. I simply opine through my writings. Albeit, through the gifting of common sense, it is my opinion that this trend needs to be revisited consciously. The tale of many states is that of a backlog of unpaid salaries. I find this very stupefying in a country that seemingly knows its onions. We are eager to list our many natural resources at the very least prompting forgetting that resources nowadays don’t necessarily guarantee wealth. Or maybe the reason we are poor is that we

don’t actually have as much recourses as we claim; maybe we’ve all these years been fed with lies. The danger of dependence on allocation is that it puts the recipient at the mercy of fate. Fate, we know cowers to the gale of vicissitudes. Fate is capricious and whimsical. Today all is good and dandy and the next you’re in dire straits. Then, one cannot but be perspicacious in life without having necessarily to possess some clairvoyant powers because life always has in the offing a dramatic twist in its narrative. Always! For Nigeria, the good days are in the parchments of history. Our fall in hindsight was well deserved because we collectively – particularly at the state and LGA levels - lacked foresight and sadly today, this blindness is extant. I plied the Ife-Oshogbo road recently and during the journey, we constantly ran into amorphous potholes. I gathered from a co-passenger that Ife-Oshogbo is the most plied road in Osun and that the governor plies it constantly himself. Before we got to Oshogbo, there were many poles of streetlights either with spoilt filaments or totally disconnected from the power grid just standing unlit in the night. The climax of it was when the bus lurched into a pothole and developed a fault in the process. It happened in the middle of nowhere. The driver’s diagnosis was that the ‘racing body’ of the bus was broken. It took the expertise of some good willed drivers who out of empathy stopped to lend a helping hand in improvising a palliative to the ‘racing body’. I cite this instance not because it’s the first time I saw unlit streetlamps or a tarred road heavily patched with dirt potholes due to lent of time,

but because it is symptomatic of the larger decay in the nation. It mirrors the foolery of the culture of dependence on stipends from the federal government with no appreciable means of revenue generation. That’s bad for governance. If the obligations in our concurrent and residual lists are to be met, revenue generation is non-negotiable. Might I interject that the Nigerian failure is a fault occasioned by the actions and inertia of every stakeholder from the aristocratic class to the academic class; the political to the proletarian; the sacerdotal to the secular; but I hesitate not to say that the government’s constant accusatory inquisition by groused Nigerians is deserving, to say the least. I’ll like to think of Nigeria as a slum. My idea of slum is not restricted to impoverished places like the creeks in Niger Delta which Tanure Ojaide bemoaned in his poem “Delta Blues.” My idea of slum is anywhere where the populace fends for basic amenities themselves. I’ve yet to see or hear of any place then in Nigeria that doesn’t fit the bill of slum; not in touted places like Lagos, Abuja, or anywhere. So long the people electrify their houses with vociferous generators or bore the earth with contraptions to disinter water or patrol their communities with machete-wielding night watchers, Nigeria remains a country slum. The sorry state of things has made our federalism threadbare with agitations of different ilk threatening our coexistence on a daily basis. I don’t align with many of them. I rather proffer that a conscientious cobbling of the tear between allocation and revenue is a good start. Olaniyi Olayemi Luke, Obafemi Awolowo University, Lagos








Group Politics Editor Olawale Olaleye Email 08116759819 SMS ONLY


Ondo Election: The Winners, the Losers

Like every such exercise, last Saturday’s election recorded its victors and casualties, write Shola Oyeyipo and Segun James

Buhari raising the hand of Akeredolu at the party’s grand finale rally in Akure, Ondo State capital, recently


he ‘trumping’ of extrapolations and projections in the just concluded governorship election in Ondo State has left behind a more complicated power equation in the days ahead. Crucial in the new thinking is the place of 2019 and the active players. Politics and power are shifting grounds and the uncertainty about what is obtainable in the foreseeable future is gathering thick cloud. But whilst the emerging complex political chess game stares everyone in the face with its inherent uncertainty, the recently concluded governorship election in Ondo State remains the talk of the town for now. This is for no other reason than the manner the election turned out, leaving in its wake jubilation, disappointment, pain, anguish and a total alteration of the hitherto subsisting power centre. Thus, inevitably, the Saturday election has produced its own winners and losers, the outcome of which will determine some of the expectations in the subsequent struggle for power, moving forward. Below are some of the winners and losers in the Ondo election as they stood.


Muhammadu Buhari Ultimately, President Muhammadu Buhari is a major gainer in the Ondo electoral victory. First, he is the leader of the party and would be happy that a traditionally opposition state finally became APC state, after several attempts by the progressives since the 2003 tsunamic take over. Second, though it is still unclear whether or not he is interested in a second term, where he does, his career is tied to Ondo’s success. Even his succession plan is largely dependent on it. Above all, he is confident now that a total takeover of the APC structure as president and leader of the party is possible. A test run

with Ondo proved him right. He is a winner.

John Odigie-Oyegun

For APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, winning two successive elections for the APC in a space of a month is an added feather to his leadership cap. This is more so that he had become a subject of attack by a former Lagos State governor and one of the national leaders of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu as well as a section of the party over the alleged irregularities in the primary that produced Akeredolu. But the Edo and Ondo States successes of the APC would attest to his ability to pilot the party to more successes in the future. And what more, he woukld no longer be tied to the apron string of anyone any longer. He won big in Ondo.

Kayode Fayemi

When the former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was defeated by Governor Ayodele Fayose in 2014, the impression was

grounds and the uncertainty about what is obtainable in the foreseeable future is gathering thick cloud… Thus, inevitably, the Saturday election has produced its own winners and losers, the outcome of which will determine some of the expectations in the subsequent struggle for power

that he lost because he was not politically savvy and not more than an intellectual with zero political relevance. But the just concluded Ondo election provided Fayemi, who is now the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, an opportunity to prove the point he had wanted to prove all along. Initially being treated as a no-factor in the political equation of the APC, but his efforts in driving the success of the APC in a PDP state has shown that he was not who they thought he was. Indeed, he has come of age in political strategy. He also won big.

Babatunde Fashola

Those who should know said he was not part of the team that worked against Tinubu, his political benefactor, the former Lagos State governor and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) did not also play anti-party by not identifying with the APC candidate and Governor-elect, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu. Although the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, Mr. Olusola Oke, had through his media aide, Bola Ilori, who also doubles as a Special Assistant to the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, once fingered Fashola and many others as some of those working to pave the way for Akeredolu’s emergence, insiders have since disputed the claim that Fashola sided against Tinubu. He was said to have busied himself with the demands of his office and refused to be caught in politics. He is therefore not much of a big winner if at all he won.

Nasir El-rufai

There is no hiding the fact that the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai does not like Tinubu and this much dislike he exhibits at every given opportunity. Considered as one of the arrow-head of the group bent on decimating Tinubu, he would be happy

that the South-west state did not go the way of Tinubu. El-Rufai is said to have told some people long before the election that Tinubu would be placed appropriately immediately after the election. This may explain why he has never sided with Tinubu on anything even though he struggled to manage him in the days preceding the 2015 elections. He is a key winner in the election.

Ibikunle Amosun

The Ogun State Governor, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun had a more strategic involvement in the Ondo election. He is a very good friend of President Buhari and a critical political ally of Tinubu. He was literally caught between the devil and deep blue sea. But he made his choice carefully. For him, it was not about decimating Tinubu but reenacting the alliance that existed between the North and the South in the days leading up to the 2015 elections. He saw that the president’s budding political career was on the line if the party lost in Ondo and stood on the side of the party. Besides, Amosun, who had seen that the party stood a good chance in Ondo was said to have appealed to Tinubu to have a rethink on his stand but his interventions failed to yield. He ran with the president and the party and won. He won very big.

Rotimi Akeredolu

Governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu as the principal beneficiary of the election is equally the biggest winner. During a recent interview with journalists in Akure, Akeredolu, who contested the governorship in 2012 and lost, had said the Saturday election would be his last shot at governorship. Thus, winning the election was surely a sweet victory. He had invested time and money hugely into the campaigns and had assured the people that he had done enough to win. Now that he has won, he also has the opportunity to



MIDWEEKPOLITICS Whilst the emerging complex political chess game stares everyone in the face with its inherent uncertainty, the recently concluded governorship election in Ondo State remains the talk of the town for now. This is for no other reason than the manner the election turned out, leaving in its wake jubilation, disappointment, pain, anguish and a total alteration of the hitherto subsisting power centre Ayodele Fayose

Jegede raises his flag when he was formally recognised as PDP candidate.

implement his laudable campaign promises, for which he struggled to be governor.

The Ondo People

The people of Ondo State are another set of winners. They wanted change and they got it at last. The state had switched between the Labour Party (LP) and the PDP in the last 16 years. It would be expected that by voting the progressive party into power, the state would begin to tap its latent potential for the betterment of the people.


It is trite to say that the ruling APC and their supporters share tremendously in the party’s victory in Ondo State. This, for them, means an expansion of their territory and by implication, an improvement in their living condition. They are certainly another set of joyous winners.

Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, despite his alleged persecution and witchhunt by a government he helped to install, supported and identified with Akeredolu. He stood by the party when it mattered the most and therefore, deserves to be a winner.

Jimoh Ibrahim

Talk of someone who really has an axe to grind with outgoing Governor Olusegun Mimiko, the name Jimoh Ibrahim will easily come to mind. For whatever reason, there has been a no-love-lost between the two and for him, therefore, the sweetest revenge was to ensure that the governor did not succeed at installing his successor. For many watchers, it had been clear that Ibrahim’s overall agenda was not actually to win but to rely on the factionalisation of the party and hijack the structure. He succeeded at it and contributed immensely to Jegede’s defeat in the race. Hear Ibrahim after the Court of Appeal verdict that removed him as the PDP candidate: “I decided deliberately to lock him (Mimiko) up and waste his time for three weeks…took him out the state; destabilised him. Now, I have released him…two days to the election. He is dancing naked,” Ibrahim said, mocking Mimiko.

Modu Sheriff

Like Ibrahim, another individual who was poised to get his pound of flesh from the PDP leadership by working with the opposition party is the factional chairman of PDP, Senator Modu Sheriff. He became a pawn that checkmated Mimiko, Jegede and the PDP in Ondo State.

PDP’s losing the election could not have been a loss to Sheriff. In fact, if the PDP had won, the duo of Sheriff and Ibrahim would have intensified their leadership challenge and proceeded to the Supreme Court.

Buruji Kashamu

Governor Mimiko has been in a quiet Southwest PDP leadership tussle with a National Assembly member representing Ogun East senatorial district, Senator Buruji Kashamu. Thus, whatever it is worth, Mimiko’s electoral failure will only signify that he would be unable to lead the PDP to electoral success subsequently. Soon after the election, Buruji had pointed finger at Mimiko for losing the election to the APC. According to him, his error was forcing Jegede who was from his (Mimiko) senatorial area on the PDP and on the people of the state.


Bola Ahmed Tinubu

He is the greatest casualty of the election. He went into the Ondo election as a political behemoth but came out Lilliputian. His was a great fall given the aura that surrounds him and his name. His biggest mistake was that he miscalculated the political scenario and took the elemental factors for granted. This is believed to have affected his political rating both in the region and nationally. He is the greatest loser in the equation. His larger than life personality and influence whether in the party, region and the nation has been greatly eroded. He lost big.

Rauf Aregbsola

He is the governor of Osun state and an unrepentant lackey of Tinubu. He came out like his boss to oppose the candidate of his party without properly analysing the implications. He literally led the opposition to against his party’s candidate, because he practically sponsored the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, Mr. Olusola Oke. He defied the party and the president and went for the broke in the bid to protect the interest of his boss. But he lost it all. He is next to his boss as another great loser in the election.

Abiola Ajimobi

In the Nigerian political caucusing, there is no sitting on the wall. You either belong here or there. But Ajimobi in the events leading to the Ondo election would rather play the ostrich. Although he refused to take a stand on the political manoeuvrings that took place ahead of the election, but like the ostrich, he had his sympathy for the camp of Tinubu

even though he did not come out outright to take sides. He is loser too but a mild one because he had not much at stake.

Akinwunmi Ambode

Generally, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is one governor who has no choice or voice of his own in matters of politics as it was in the Ondo political equation. Wherever his political godfather, Tinubu goes so does Ambobe. Together they lost. As one alleged to have shouldered a lot of financial burden in the power game that ended abysmally, he lost monumentally too.

Segun Mimiko

On the political level, Mimiko has been mightily hit by the loss of the state. He had the unenviable position of having to contend with problems within his party and the federal might as the opposition to his candidate. On a personal level, he gave his all, but it was not good enough as he had too many battles to contend with at the same time, but he was consumed in the process. He is one of the major losers because he failed to install a successor of choice and what e v e r i s b e i n g c e l e b r a t e d a s his legacy is on the line.

Eyitayo Jegede

Candidate of the PDP in the election, Eyitayo Jegede is the principal loser. He was a member of Governor Mimiko’s cabinet in the capacity as Commissioner fo r Jus tic e and Attor n ey- G en er al of the s tate . But s urpr isin gly, h e did no t us e his p o s itio n in gover nmen t to create a political structure for himself, which would have taken him through the election. He lost regardless of the positions he held in government. Although he still has a career ahead of him, he was basically an unknown political quantity and of course, a major loser.

Olusola Oke

If there is one politician who has traversed nearly all the major political parties in the country in order to actualise his life-long ambition to govern his state, it is Oke. He has hopped from the PDP to the APC and during this election, he was the AD candidate. From all calculations, Oke has finally reached his limit. This may actually be his last call as far as his governorship ambition is concerned. He put his all in the election in the hope that all would turn out well. But he failed and woefully too, having come the third position. He was a major loser.

In this election, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has in fact cried more than the bereaved. But he was driving somewhere. An election is coming up in his state too in 2018 and whatever happened now could be telling on what might happen in his state. Unfortunately, the outcome of the election has now left him as the lone PDP governor in the South-west. Fayose has described the outcome of the election as one rigged in advance in favour of the APC. His cries would have been taken seriously but for the fact that it has some ulterior motives. With the situation in neighbouring Ondo, Fayose’s fear is that it may be an indication of the thing to come in his Ekiti State come 2018. He lost too.

Ahmed Makarfi

The factional caretaker chairman of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi is another great loser in Ondo. A couple of days earlier, the courts have clearly affirmed his leadership of the PDP by recognising Jegede as the party’s candidate in the election. Had Jegede won, this would have confirmed his position as the leader of the opposition. But the loss might have diminished his status further. He is yet another loser.

Segun Abraham

He was Tinubu’s original candidate for the governorship. But since he was defeated in the primaries that produced Akeredolu, he has since withdrawn to his cocoon. He didn’t see the loss coming especially that he had the backing of Tinubu. But Akeredolu and his team trumped them at the primaries and his ambition was subsequently rested. It is not certain if he would dare again to contest. But as far as last Saturday’s election was concerned, he was just another loser.

Bola Ilori

He is Governor Aregbesola’s man Friday. As the governor’s Special Assistant, he was the one used by the Tinubu camp to prep Oke as the AD candidate for the election. He went all out, throwing caution to the wind as if it was a battle of his life. He made many unsubstantiated allegations against the other camp without as much a caution. He had seen the fight to retain Tinubu’s control of the party as a personal one, more so the Ondo governorship in which he had a stake. But in their loss is his undoing.

Peoples Democratic Party

The party is another big loser in the Ondo election, the outcome of which is going to affect it regionally and nationally. Before the election, the party has been engulfed in crisis, but had the election gone the party’s way, it would have given the leadership an opportunity to re-invent itself. Unfortunately, the party is back into the abyss. It lost big.

Alliance for Democracy

This is a party that was practically dead until it was resurrected by Tinubu for the sole aim of prospecting Oke’s ambition. Had the election gone the AD way, this would have given the party another opportunity to return into reckoning. But this was not to be. Oke lost and the party was just another loser.



FEATURES Karimo: Where Toilets are a Luxury

Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email

On the occasion of the World Toilet Day 2016, Chineme Okafor spent time in Karimo, an urban suburb in the Federal Capital City, where getting a toilet for defecation is a luxury for many of its inhabitants

Mary Rufus standing in front of a public toilet in Karimo


efore we had a toilet in this compound, we often pooed in plastic bags. All of us use these bags to pooh, including our children, they also pooh in plastic bags. “We put them in our dustbin and ‘mai bola’ (paid trash collectors) take them to the dumpsite. Some people go to the ‘gidan wanka’ (tolled public toilet and bathrooms). Anybody that cannot use the plastic bags go to the ‘gidan wanka’ and pay money like our husbands to use the facility because they cannot use plastic bags. “Some also go to the ‘bola’ (the refuse dump) or ‘gidan wanka’,” Mary Rufus told THISDAY in Pidgin English language which was paraphrased. The 42 years old and a mother of six children, Rufus migrated to live with her husband in Abuja in 1996. And With her family, has since then lived in Karimo, a poorly planned suburb in Abuja. Going by a 2011 population projection, residents of Karimo are part of the 2,238,800 people that make up the population of Abuja, but their homes largely do not have toilets, thus making community health quite a challenge. As discovered by THISDAY during its investigative and advocacy visits, they either rely on paid public toilets, open defecation at dumpsites or pooh in plastic bags as confirmed by Rufus. Even government schools in Karimo appear

to have been built without toilet facilities. One of such, a primary school was in 2015 gifted a toilet by a church – The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) to protect the health of its pupils. Prior to the donation, pupils had no toilets to use during study hours, and often went home or did open defecation. It was on the basis of this and the global commemoration of the importance of clean and functional toilets to healthy livelihoods and human productivity as represented in

Going by a 2011 population projection, residents of Karimo are part of the 2,238,800 people that make up the population of Abuja, but their homes largely do not have toilets, thus making community health quite a challenge

the World Toilets Day which is often marked annually on November 19 that THISDAY and the Media Information and Narrative Development (MIND) - a participatory media NGO, spent time with folks in Karimo and other semi-urban communities on the fringes of Abuja, documenting their livelihood challenges. Rufus spoke fluent Pidgin English, and was very comfortable conversing with THISDAY and other development journalists who partnered with MIND to amplify the voices of poor urban residents – majorly women and girls, in Nigeria’s federal capital city. “It has been a while since we built the toilet,” she said, pointing to a ramshackle structure which serves as the family’s toilet. In it, the family defecates, but it was not there until less than a year ago when the landlord granted the approval for its construction using funds from the family’s rents. “Our landlord asked us to take from our house rent to build the toilet, and so we took from it to build,” Rufus buttressed. The kernel of Rufus’s answers as she presented them in Pidgin English is that, before the ‘toilet’ was built, the family relied on open defecation using plastic bags which are then left for the local trash collectors to pick up for disposal. She also noted that the grown men within her suburb often used the public toilets which they pay N30 for a session, or go off to the dumpsites, some few minutes’ walk away from

her home, to defecate. “To use the toilet, if it is to have your bath and defecate, you will have to pay N50 but if it is only to use the toilet alone then it is N30. The ‘gidan wanka’ is clean, the boys there clean the place well enough,” she added. Karimo’s challenges with healthy and functional toilets further lends credence to the findings of a recent study by WaterAid - an international organisation whose mission is to transform the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. In the WaterAid report titled ‘Overflowing Cities: The State of the World’s Toilet 2016’, Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy was said to have largely remained behind in responding to the needs of urban dwellers for toilets. The report noted that since 2000, only one in three urban residents in Nigeria have had access to toilets, and that defecating in the open is most common in Nigeria as it is in South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Eritrea, Liberia, Benin, Namibia, Kiribati, Togo, and Madagascar. Women and girls in the four urban poor communities around the FCT who are participating in the implementation of MIND’s urban poverty project, the Women’s Advancement Through Cinema and Human exchange (WATCH) largely corroborate WaterAid’s findings as they all identified and prioritised lack of functional toilets within households as a key life challenge they




Commercial public toilets in Karmo

Typical back street in Karmo

face as women and girls. While the problem affects the entire community, it possess a lot more challenges for women and girls as quite a number of them shared that they are often open to rape and other forms of sexual attacks when they dare to go far from their immediate living vicinities to defecate in the open. Similarly, the WaterAid report stated that: “Although Nigeria is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economies, the country is failing when it comes to progress on delivering sanitation to its citizens.” It explained in clear terms that: “It (Nigeria) is the third most regressive country in the world on sanitation and only one of a handful of

The percentage of Nigeria’s population without access to safe, private toilets is currently at a staggering 71 per cent (that is over 130 million people) with 25 per cent (over 46 million) practicing open defecation

FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello...should urgent steps to improve the quality of life in the deprived urban suburbs in the Federal Capital City

countries around the world where access to basic sanitation is falling rather than rising.”

“The percentage of Nigeria’s population without access to safe, private toilets is currently

at a staggering 71 per cent (that is over 130 million people) with 25 per cent (over 46 million) practicing open defecation,” added the report. Describing the development as ‘Nigeria’s sanitation crisis’ the report also stated: “The size, density and poverty of the urban population in Nigeria, combined with chronic governmental failure to provide sanitation services to slums, forces over 13 million of these urban dwellers to find anywhere they can to relieve themselves.” THISDAY working closely with MIND on the media advocacy component of WATCH has found this to be true of urban poor communities around Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. A rise in population of people seeking the greener grasses in and around the ever expanding city of Abuja has been met with little or no expansion in the provision of public utilities such as toilets. Clearly, private property developers in urban poor communities like Karimo don’t factor toilets into their building design and construction and there seem to be no government regulation compelling them to do so at the moment. In the face of the ever growing concerns about the human right implication of urban poverty and the negative feedback this can potentially have on the development of Abuja as a model capital city housed by Africa’s largest democracy; there is a need for stakeholders across board to step back and ask if the appalling toilet situation exemplified by Karimo and the life experience of Mary Rufus is a luxury that Nigeria can continue to afford? As stated by WaterAid and buttressed by MIND, Nigeria and indeed Abuja need to step up its policy drive on health to achieve increased access to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) for all her citizens and residents everywhere and every time.



L-R: Former Miss Nigeria International, 2015, Mercy Atang; Hip Hop Star, Runtown, and Glo subscriber, Bright Atang, during the Glo Campus Storm at the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka,..recentlly


Photo Editor Abiodun Ajala Email

L-R: General Manager, Large Enterprises, Bank of Industry, Mr Joseph Babatunde; Executive Director, Micro Enterprises, Bank of Industry, Mrs Toyin Adeniji;MD/CEO, Laurel School of Mines, Mr Tope Adebanjo; Acting Managing Director,BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju,and Executive Director, Corporate Services,BoI,Mr.J onathan Tobin, during the signing of MOU between BoI and Laurel School of Mines in Lagos.....recently

L-R: MD/CEO, Brandville, Mr. Bola Akingbade; Corporate Relations/HR Executive, MTN, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola; Authour, “Future is Shared” and C-Level Executive, MTN, Olubayo Adekanmbi, wife, Toyin; and CEO, Africa Context Consulting, Mr. Michael Ikpoki at the unveiling of the book “Future is Shared” Lagos......recently

L-R; Account Director, Carriers, Mr. Bound Abbe; Special Adviser to the Senate President on Legal Matter representing the Senate President, Mr. Rotimi Oke; Managing Director/CEO, Concept Group, Mr. Chukwuma Ochonogor; Group Head, Strategy and Marketing, Concept Group, Chidinma Helen Onyeokoro; and Director, Bankers Ware House Plc. Mr. Brian Hammond, at the Concept Group Cobalt Tie dinner, in Lagos…. recently sunday adigun

L-R: Chairman of the Occasion/ CEO, Protection Plus Service Ltd, Mr. Ubang King; Royal Father of the Day, Olowu of Owu Land, Osun State, HRH Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akande; Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Lagos/Ogun, Kayode Aderonti and Guest Speaker/MD, Strict Guard Security Ltd, Dr Bone Efoziem, during the Launch of Private Eye Magazine, in Lagos... recently. kolawole alli

L-R;: CEO, Ebony TV, Mo Abudu, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nollywood Stars, Sola Shobowale and Eyinna Nwigwe, at the Movie Premiere of The Wedding Party in Lagos....recently

L-R: Senior Manager, Government Relations, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Austin Iyashere; Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Ms. Nonny Ugboma; Representative of the Obong of Calabar and Chairman, Etuboms Traditional Council, HRH. Etubom Bassey and the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, during the commissioning of a brand new maternal wards donated by MTN Foundation, at Calabar General Hospital, Calabar.....recently

L-R: HR Manager, P&G Ibadan Plant, Segun Olujimi; HR Department Manager, P&G Ibadan Plant, Oyeyemi Roseline; Brand Manager Oral B, P&G, Iphie Chuks-Adizue, and Oral B Dentist, Dr. Remi Aliu, at the Oral B Community Outreach in Ibadan... recently







NIBOR 13.4583% 16.7688%


20.8342% 22.6257%


11.9531% 16.1824%

Group Business Editor Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

Email 08033294157

2 5 , 3-MONTH 6-MONTH

2 0 1 6

17.7696% 18.7556%


Quick Takes Adeola to Lead Sanitisation Exercise

The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Yemi Adeola and star actress, Funke Akindele will this Saturday take part in the bank’s quarterly national cleaning exercise. They will be joined by members of the executive management and other staff of the bank to clean Oyingbo market as part of its nationwide environmental cleaning exercise under the “Sterling Environmental Makeover” series. The purpose of the exercise is to promote clean environment and good health among Nigerians. The exercise, which is in partnership with the officials of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) will hold simultaneously in Oyo, Delta, Enugu, Rivers, Ekiti, Kaduna, Abia, Ogun, Osun, Sokoto, Kano, Kwara and Plateau in collaboration with the relevant regulatory agencies on environmental management. The bank’s Executive Director, Finance & Strategy, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman in a statement, said the financial institution came up with the exercise as part of its contribution to the promotion of healthy environment adding that Sterling Bank would continually engage in initiatives that will protect the environment especially those that are connected to the protection of lives through its renowned partnership with relevant government agencies. He added: “What we are doing this weekend in Lagos and 14 other states in the country is all about making impact that positively alters our environment for good.

Heritage Bank Unveils Promo


L-R: President/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Prof. Segun Ajibola, and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, during a courtesy visit on the Governor by the institute in Lagos...recently

CBN Mulls Stiffer Punishment for Fraudsters, Unethical Practices in Banks Obinna Chima The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working on a policy that would ensure that bank customers or officials that engage in fraud, forgeries and other unethical practices are severely punished. To this end, the central bank in a draft document on the Framework on Local Watch-list for the Nigerian banking system was also to engender the public confidence that will ensure a safe and sound financial system. As part of the proposed punishment when the draft document is approved, the CBN stated that in a situation where there is confirmed successful and unsuccessful fraud attempts

ECONOMY within the amount range, the person (s) involved would be made to be fined between N1 - N250,000. Also, while for confirmed successful and unsuccessful fraud attempts within the amount range, the customer is expected to be fined N250,001.00 - N1,000,000; confirmed successful and unsuccessful fraud attempts within the amount range - N1,000,001N50,000,000; while confirmed successful and unsuccessful fraud attempts within the amount range would also attract a fine of N50,000,001 and above, when the policy becomes operational. The CBN which stated this in

a letter addressed to all banks and a copy of which was posted on its website added: “The Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) has come up with the draft framework on local Watchlist for the Nigerian banking system in order to address the increasing incidence of fraud/ forgeries and other unethical practices with a view to engendering the needed public confidence that will ensure a safe and sound financial system. “The Watch-list is a database of bank customers identified by their Bank Verification Number (BVNs) who have been involved in confirmed fraudulent activities. The database will

be hosted by NIBSS. In this regard, the draft framework has been developed to provide guideline for the operation of the Watch-List to manage fraud in the system.” Stakeholders were asked to review and comment on the proposed framework. “If a potential fraud is found in the operation of your account or you are reported, you agree that we have the right to apply restrictions to your account and report to appropriate law enforcement agencies,” the CBN stated. Also, the document stated that NIBSS shall maintain the Watch-list database on behalf Continued on page 24

Bear Run Unlocks Entry Opportunity in Banking Stocks Goddy Egene The current low prices of banking stocks are providing entry opportunity for investors, capital market operators have said. Persistent bear run has driven the prices of most equities to record lows due to weak demand. Although the weak demand stemmed from investors’ reaction to the poor financial performance of most companies as a result of challenging operating environment, opera-

CAPITAL MARKET tors said the banking sector would still do well at the end of the year. They therefore said rather than staying away from banking stocks, they should capitalise on the current prices and increase their investment in the sector. According to a stockbroker, Mr. Ayo Oguntayo, some of the banks are trading at very low prices despite recording

impressive performance for the nine months ended. He cited Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, FCMB Group Plc and Wema Bank Plc, that are trading 37 per cent, 38 per cent and 48 per cent respectively below their year’s opening prices despite posting improved bottom-lines in their nine months results. “Even some of the banks that witnessed decline in profits for nine months still have the potential to improve on their performance at the

end of the year. But investors are still discouraged to invest in banking stocks because of the headwinds. However, this is an opportunity for any discerning long-term investor to buy these stocks,” Oguntayo said. Analysts at FSDH Research recently said Nigerian banks are trading at huge discounts relative to their emerging counterparts. ”Our analysis of the NigeContinued on page 24

Heritage Bank Plc said it is set to introduce a promo tagged ‘Happy Days Promo’ to empower and reward its teeming loyal customers. The promo, which is additionally designed to encourage savings, is expected to see the emergence of a winner of a brand new car and a handful of millionaires from across the country when it kicks off on December 1, 2016. On a monthly basis, 12 lucky customers will be rewarded monthly with 42-inch flat screen LED television sets in the 6-month life of the promo, strategically meant to also deepen financial inclusion in the country. According to a statement from the bank, customers who save up to N100, 000 will qualify for a draw to win N1million from each of the six geo-political zones of the country at the end of the fifth month while a customer that saves up to N500, 000 by May 2017 will stand a chance to win a brand new saloon car. To participate in the promo, accounts must be opened or reactivated with a minimum balance of N20, 000 to attract a gift and a raffle ticket with an additional monthly N20,000 giving the account holder more chances of winning the prizes. The statement further said that the draws would be done at the end of every month from December 2016 to May 2017 in the six geo-political zones with two customers winning TV sets in the six geo-political zones. Altogether, customers will win 48 TV sets.

Firm Launches Housing Competition

Pan-African housing development finance institution Shelter Afrique has announced the launch of a competition that will boost affordable housing in Africa and see winners take home USD100,000. The competition dubbed ‘5,000 For 5,000 Home Competition’, is aimed at stimulating innovative thinking on how a livable and sustainable home can be designed and produced at a capital cost of no more than USD5,000 to the end user. Speaking to journalists in Nairobi, Kenya, Shelter Afrique’s Managing Director, James Mugerwa, was quoted in a statement to have said: “Evidence of a rising middle class abound in Sub-Sahara Africa’s largest cities. However, there is another story of uncomfortable and increasingly often less told story of Africa’s urban poor.” “This competition aims to spur discussion and bring out affordable housing concepts that might be out there for the rising urban population,” he added. Shelter Afrique (and partners) have undertaken to support the financing for the development and completion of 5,000 units with the winning entry in agreed locations across Africa. The Competition will be open for entries on 25th November 2016 and close on January 31st, 2017.

As a result of the current challenges being faced in the global economy, all agents in the financial system are facing tremendous risks

CBN Governor

Mr. Godwin Emefiele






CPC Moves against Fake Insurance Policies

of stakeholders and shall be responsible for the following: use the watch-list report submitted by banks to add reported fraudulent individuals to the watch-list database; use the watch-list report submitted by banks duly endorsed by the MD/CEO of the bank with the clearance from Law Enforcement Agency to delist individual from the watch-list database; provide banks with a portal for the verification of watch-list individuals indicating the categories of fraud; provide Application Programme Interface (API) for banks to integrate their systems to the watch- list database for online verification of watch-listed individual at transaction time; and keep audit trail of all user activities on the watch-list database to be able to determine the addition of an earlier delisted individual from the database. In addition, the NIBSS is expected shall put in place a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with relevant stakeholders.

As consumers of insurance products and services complain over sale of fake policies and delay in payment of claims, among others, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has taken strategic steps towards addressing their complaints. The CPC is collaborating with key stakeholders in the insurance sector in order to proffer solutions to the various challenges confronting insurance consumers in Nigeria. The Council, together with Pastures Consult Limited and Congress International Limited-publishers of DIVIDEND- the magazine for local government- as well as some stakeholders in the insurance sector, has concluded plans for the convocation of a consumers’ colloquium. The colloquium, which is scheduled to hold from December 8-9, 2016 at the Airport Hotel in Lagos, has as its theme: “100 Years After: Can Insurance Work in Nigeria?” Coordinator of the project, Mr. Johnson Adedapo, said in a statement that the objective of the consumer colloquium was to proffer solutions to issues confronting consumers in the nation’s insurance sector. According to Adedapo, “The colloquium seeks to bring together stakeholders from the insurance industry, regulatory environment, and policy making institutions, including

BEAR RUN UNLOCKS ENTRY OPPORTUNITY IN BANKING STOCKS rian banks listed on the floors of the NSE shows that they are trading at huge discount relative to their emerging market counterparts. We analysed 13 banks based on their latest audited financial results as at December 2015 and adjusted for half year, 2016. Our valuation results show that 10 banks have upside potential for equity investors. We placed a hold rating on one bank and sell ratings on two banks,” they said. The experts said despite the recent challenges, there are huge banking opportunities in the Nigerian economy. “Nigerian banks need to develop more constructive strategies to increase their share of the non-oil sector in their loan portfolios. We recognise that the current foreign exchange shortage in the country is a major problem facing the manufacturing and trading, sectors. However, lending to sectors that have local and export contents may be viable alternatives,” they said.

Group Business Editor

Chika Amanze-Nwachuku AgriBusiness/Industry Editor

Crusoe Osagie

Comms/e-Business Editor

Emma Okonji

Capital Market Editor

Goddy Egene

Senior Correspondent

Raheem Akingbolu (Advertising) Correspondents

Chinedu Eze (Aviation) Linda Eroke (Labour) Eromosele Abiodun (Cap Mkt) Ejiofor Alike (Energy) James Emejo (Nation’s Capital) Obinna Chima (Money Mkt) Reporters

Nume Ekeghe (Money Market) Nosa Alekhuogie (Maritime)

consumers and the media, to identify the challenges facing consumers in the industry, proffer the way forward and inspire commitment from all stakeholders. “These issues or challenges some of which stare us glaringly in the face include the sale of fake insurance policies, delay in payments of insurance claims and reputation of claims, among others. “The colloquium promises to foster

a close interaction with various insurance products and allied solutions as well as a highly informative capacity building to raise the standard of insurance practice in Nigeria. “The colloquium will set a new agenda for the insurance industry as well as set a platform for empowerment of citizens. “This is very relevant and timely, especially as it will enable the society at large to

understand the workings of insurance and trigger fresh waves of empowerment of the citizens and raise public awareness about the industry.” Adedapo added that the project would ensure the creation of a synergy and common inspiration in the insurance sector for actions to deal with identified challenges. “The colloquium seeks to bring stakeholders together to identify the problems militating

against the deepening of insurance practice in Nigeria close to 100 years after its advent, and put issues on the front burner to find a way forward,” he added. He said that the two-day colloquium (December 8-9, 2016) would be the first of its kind in the country, pointing out that the CPC and its collaborators were hopeful that the event would facilitate in-depth discussions on the strategies for repositioning the industry.


L-R : Executive Director Operations, UnityKapital Assurance Plc, Tunde Oshadiya; Managing Director, Olatunji Oluyemi and AGM Technical, UnityKapital Assurance Plc, Samuel Ojo at a recent press briefing by the company in Lagos… recently

APCON Reads Riot Act to Illegal Advertising Practitioners Raheem Akingbolu The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, (APCON) has begun enforcement of illegal practitioners and unlicensed organisations infiltrating the outdoor advertising industry in Nigeria. The enforcement, which, commenced couple of months ago has moved to military cantonments and police barracks across the Nigeria. Sources said the military establishments have demanded a month for those who own advertising hoardings within their barracks to secure all the necessary documentations from their sectoral body that is Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria. It is on record that Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, (LASAA) does not regulate out-of-home (OOH) with these military and police establishments. It is believed

that the illegal practitioners and unlicensed organisations have taken advantage of this to operate within these areas unchecked. But this could not have happened without the connivance of Media Independent Practitioners of Nigeria (MIPAN) member-organisations’ support hence the APCON decision to write the body. Therefore, MIPAN has been cautioned to desist from patronising unlicensed organisations as well as non-practitioners. In a letter titled-Practice of Non Licenced Persons and Companies and duly signed by the APCON Registrar/ Chief Executive Officer , Alhaji Garba Bello Kankarofi with reference number (CLD/03/ Vol.1/080/2016 dated 12th October 2016 was sent to the MIPAN President, Dr. Ken Onyeali-Ikpe. The strong worded cor-

respondence said “We wish to bring to your attention the practice by some of your member-companies who engage the services of non-registered/ licenced persons and organisations and the purchase of advertising media space/airtime from such unregistered/unlicensed persons and organisations.” APCON reminded MIPAN of its responsibility as a key stakeholder in promoting growth within the Nigeria’s integrated marketing communications industry by supporting true and registered practitioners and organisation. According to the letter: “It is a violation of Nigeria Advertising Law and Regulation for persons not registered as advertising practitioners and organisations not licensed as advertising firms to practice advertising for gain and undertake the business of advertising.”

The Advertising Practitioners (Registration, etc) CAP and Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 , Part IV, Section 17 and 18 refers. Kankarofi further said that while the Council is doing its best to stem out the nefarious activities of and/or sanction these unlicensed organisations as well as non-practitioners, MIPAN member-organisations should hence stop patronising them. “While we are doing our best to identify and sanction persons/organisations that practice/undertake the business of advertising illegally, we wish to request your cooperation by impressing it on your memberorganisations to desist from dealing with non-practitioners/ unlicensed organisations in their media purchase transaction,” Kankarofi warned Onyeali-Ikpe. To achieve this, APCON advised MIPAN members

to ensure recourse is made to verifying the registration/ licence status of persons/ organisations that approach them for advertising business transaction. Sources at APCON said, APCON wants all practitioners to register with the Council and all organisations to join different sectoral groups such as Outdoor Advertising Agencies of Nigereia (OAAN), Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and MIPAN etc. Investigations have revealed that the out-ofhome industry has been on the receiving end of this MIPAN member-organisations romance with these unlicensed organisations and non-practitioners. Besides practicing illegally, most of these people have gone ahead to set up sites where they are not registered.

Wike Promises to Make Rivers State Investor Friendly Ejiofor Alike and Ugo Aliogo The River State Governor, Nyesom Wike has restated the commitment of his administration to make the state an investor-friendly environment, adding that since the inception of his administration, the state government has been supporting oil and gas investment as part of efforts to attract interested companies. Speaking at the official inauguration of Solewant Pipe Coating Plant and the unveiling of the New Logo at the Factory Headquarters in Rivers

State at the weekend, Wike noted that the administration is committed to pursuing with great vigour, concerted efforts aimed at improving the lives of the people and create jobs. Wike who was represented by the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Chukwu Shedrack, explained the state is peaceful and safe for investments, and called on youth of Alode-Eleme-Onne community to shun violence and embrace peace. Speaking on the newly inaugurated facility, Wike expressed confidence that the

project was conceptualised to save pipeline owners and provide jobs for the youth that are unemployed in the state, adding that the investment is an assurance that private investors can invest in the state. In his address, the Chairman of the Solewant Nigeria Limited, Prof. Sylvanus Ebohon, identified backward integration as one of the solutions to the challenges facing the nation in the oil and gas sector, stressing that if the nation aspires to drive excellence, there is need to prove value addition in gas project. He explained that the inaugu-

ration is a crystallisation of the immense support of the Minister of state for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, who encouraged the company to be a key player in the oil and gas sector with its latest technology in pipe coating engineering. Ebohon further stressed that the desire of the company to take a leadership role in the critical aspect of high-grade pipe coating of international standard which it started in 2004, adding that the concept was given life with technical collaboration with Kema Coating of Canada; therefore the drive for

excellence has been deliberate. “This plant is the product of the Local content philosophy of the federal government and the new driving principle in the Oil and Gas Sector. We intend to prove that value – addition in the well-being of our economy is a task that must be done through this world – class project. We, therefore, invite the international oil companies and other construction firms to take advantage of the unique and world-class technology that Solewant Pipe Coating Plant offers the Nigerian industrial environment,” he explained.





Odu’a Investment Absolves Nigerite of Complicity in Contraband Importation Eromosele Abiodun Odu’a Investment Company Limited has absolved the foremost roofing sheet manufacturer, Nigerite of complicity in the alleged importation of contraband into the country. The conglomerate in a statement over the weekend, described the allegation as an attempt to tarnish the hard earned reputation of the building solutions manufacturing company. Vouching for Nigerite as a company that would not engage in importation of any illegal or contraband goods, Odu’a said it has been associated with the company for over 50 years and it can unequivocally state that the action of importing illegal items is completely inconsistent with the character of the building solutions manufacturing giant. Odu’a, who is a significant shareholder in Nigerite, posited that the building solutions provider is a compliant and respected company that has been operating in Nigeria since 1959 and during this period, has complied strictly with Nigerian laws and regulations. Odu’a further stated that Nigerite, which has done and is still doing legitimate busi-

ness in the construction and manufacturing sectors of the Nigerian economy with annual volume worth several billions of Naira, offer jobs and business opportunities to many Nigerians and its operations also span to other parts of West Africa. According to the statement, “We believe in Odu’a that it is illogical to say that the same company which is doing so well in its legitimate business will also engage in such act and tarnish its well-earned reputation as a leading company in the building and construction sector of the Nigerian economy. While expressing confidence that Nigerite would be exonerated, the company called on the law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the matter with a view to apprehending the culprits and bring them to justice. The Nigerian Custom Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Port command had recently arrested some officials of Nigerite Nigeria Limited over alleged undeclared goods suspected to be narcotics shipped into Nigeria. The consignment, the NCS said, was imported alongside Virgin Cellulose Tasman, which is a raw material for a manufacturing

giant, Nigerite Nigeria Limited. The customs said there were eight bags with each bag carrying 25 of the substances, and none was manifested. The substance, which came from New Zealand in container number CMAU 045195/0, is known to be highly condensed. The container, which belongs to the Nigerite is among other 17x 20 foot containers. NDLEA officers said that a proper test would be carried out in the laboratory to ascertain what the substance is. The Controller of the Tin Can Island Customs Command, Mr. Yusuf Bashar had told journalists that the customs picked interest in that particular container because of the intelligence that was attached to it. Bashar said the intelligence report indicated there were substances that were not manifested in the container. Following the discovery, NDLEA officers were invited to the port to make necessary, examination, analysis and investigation and give feedback on the consignment. The idea is to confirm from the agency if the substances were injurious to this nation or not, he said.

Stanbic IBTC, Google Train SMEs Operators on Digital Skills John Shiklam in Kaduna Stanbic IBTC Bank and technology company, Google has trained operators of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Kaduna state on digital skills that will transform their businesses. The training, according to the Head, SME Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Obinnia Ukachukwu, in a statement in Kaduna, is part of the continuation of the collaboration which the bank and Google sealed earlier. He said the training was designed to empower the youths and operators in the SME segment in Nigeria. The training, which held at the Kaduna Business School exposed participants to such areas as ePayment and online banking, digital marketing and the use of digital platforms for sustainable

business growth as well as hiring and retaining third parties. Ukachukwu added that the objectives of the partnership between the bank and Google is to organise capacity building sessions across the country with the aimed of building a critical mass of businesses through increased adoption of digital technology. This, he stressed, will subsequently enhance the contribution of small business operators to economic development. According to him, participants will derive game-changing benefits by adopting new approaches to business, especially as the deployment of technological innovation has the capacity to boost efficiency and reduce costs, enhance better understanding of customers and their needs as well as increase

revenue and even create an entirely new customer base or market. “The SME segment is pivotal to the economic growth and development of any nation. Our commitment to the growth of the SME segment has over the years been demonstrated through the various digital banking products and support from Stanbic IBTC Bank’s stable. “We have launched an internet banking offering specifically for SMEs as well as SME BizDirect, a personalized digital banking platform,” he stated. Also, Head of Digital Education, Google Africa, Bunmi Banjo, said the capacity building session aims to digitally empower about 1000 SMEs in Nigeria in one year. It also entails further trainings focused on general digital skills for proprietors of SMEs who are between 18 and 35 years of age.

CWG Restates Commitment to Support SMEs Growth Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Plc has restated its determination to continue to provide cutting edge technology solutions that are helping the Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria to grow. The company said the SMEs segment is the backbone of the Nigerian economy, as it accounts for about 50 per cent of employment drive in the country, and so there is need to build technology platforms that enable them manage their business operations efficiently and ultimately, create more jobs. Business Director for Telco, CWG, Mr. Adewale Adewipo said: “At CWG, we are passionate about the progress of the SMEs segment. That is why we provide solutions that can boost their operations. We have solutions that we are using to contribute to SME inclusiveness and the growth of the economy.”

Adewipo explained that what is more instructive is that CWG has a cloud e-commerce product, tagged ‘SMERP’, which can support SMEs with online sales with integrated logistics and payment systems. “The idea is that with this empowerment, if the over 34 million SMEs in the country, according to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, grow to the extent where they employ one more person each, that translates to 34 million additional jobs,” he said. The CWG director noted that the challenge for the majority of the SMEs in Nigeria is that they don’t have the book keeping records / data, which the banks will request for to support their credit-worthiness. “But with CWG’s ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software in the cloud that tracks their inventory, sales and balances their books at the end of every

day, the SMEs can easily boast of the required data and statistics that the banks can use to advance them capital for further growth,” he said. Adewipo added that if for instance, any of the SMEs has five shops, the proprietor can monitor these five shops from a mobile device, without having to physically visit each shop to know how they are doing. He said for Nigeria to reach its full potential in terms of economic and social development, it cannot afford to ignore the importance of its indigenous SMEs and the contributions that they make to the country’s overall economic growth. He stressed that CWG understands the role technology plays in being an enabler for growth and thus there is no better time for SMEs to leverage on solutions like SMERP, which the company has put out for free at this time.


Time to Brand Nigeria SomethingIamverypassionateabout is the fact that we need to urgently brand Nigeria and change the narrative about the country. The majority of us know the bad perception Nigeria connotes in the minds of foreigners. We have heard of the security flags that go up when expatriates are billed to come into the country. Many of them have to go through stringent measures to be given clearance by the security personnel within their organisations. One country I admire in the way they have rebranded their image is South Africa. We see their adverts on CNN always ending with “Proudly South African”. Those of us who have travelled on South Africa Airways hear the welcome on board in a local South African language and good bye message, in the same language. Though also translated into English, but the first message is in a local dialect. This portrays pride and nationalism, critical to country branding. The question I have been asking for some time now is why we do not have a message to the world that brands Nigeria positively? Why can we not change the negative or indifference to the perception of the country’s brand with our messaging? It is possible it’s been done and I missed it? If I missed it, in my view, it means the messaging was not impactful. Branding is all about perception and Nigeria’s is not where it should be by a long stretch. We can no longer afford to leave Nigeria’s branding in the hands of anybody with an opinion on the country. Is it that the government does not know we should brand the country? Do we not know that it has been proven that having a strong country brand, will enhance our respect in the political arena, give us more clout globally, give us a seat at the table to express our opinion on matters we feel strongly about and can enable us influence the implementation of these issues? Economically, branding the country will attract tourism, foreign direct investments and grow our economy now in the doldrums. I know the country is currently looking at overhauling the Enabling Business Environment Indices across various enabling business touch points, which should improve its brand perception. Especially, as Nigeria is rated 169 out of 189 in theWorld Bank Enabling Business Environment ranking. The country is behindcountrieslikeRwanda,Botswana, Kenya and others, which is worrying in view of the fact that some were war torn in recent times. We really need to see improvements in the country’s position

For us to continue to be able to attract investments, tourism, events and skills to drive exports in an increasingly competitive world we need to upgrade our ranking

compared to other countries in Africa, because some of these ratings are perception driven. Today, Nigeria’s ranking in the Country Brand Index 2014-2016 by FutureBrand ranks us as 75 out of 118 countries, which some will say is not bad, but why can’t it be good or excellent. You know as a people we like to “manage.” We have to stop accepting mediocrity and change this perception and ranking. We must start to manage Nigeria’s brand with the best branding tools and put in the same amount of focus on the country the same way organisations manage their branding and messaging. A good example by an organisation, is Union Bank’s brand story. Its story is not new to many of us. My father banked with the bank throughout his career in the Army and started the relationship with the bank when it was known as Barclays. The bank went through a metamorphosis that in the last few years, I could not identify any individual in my generation with an account in the bank or wishing to open one, except those who wanted to tap into real estate opportunities in Union Homes or Youth Corpers, who compulsorily had to use the bank for their stipends. But when the new management took over, this reality and apathy to the brand changed and many of us noticed this change when the new brand was rolled out. The First time I saw the refreshed brand image, I felt a connection to the message and contemporary images, which was very pleasant. The management succeeded in making the old new and fresh. You could relate to its history of being bold and strong with the new visual image. The bank has also succeeded in branding its customer touch points. These can be seen from the branding of their branches, channels and social media platforms. In fact their social media engagement is one I am actively following and can see how their followership is growing. A few weeks ago, they returned a profit, which shows how branding can also have an impact on the bottom line. This was a bank that did not have many professionals saying they would open an account in the bank but has managed to change its story through its brand messaging and positioning. Nigeria’s story can change positively too. We need to take a lesson from countries that have succeeded in transforming their brands positively. Many countries in Africa are more socially, economically and security challenged but nobody remembers these issues when they talk about the countries because of their branding. For us to continue to be able to attract investments, tourism, events and skills to drive exports in an increasingly competitive world we need to upgrade our ranking. To do this, it must be done through consistent and coordinated effort, communication and reputation management locally and globally. Australia was able to transform itself from a penal country to the most popular property market with a successful economy. South Korea, a poor rural society before World War II, emerged as a rich economy and became identified with efficiency and quality. The same has happened with Rwanda, Kenya, Botswana and many other African countries. Why can it not happen in Nigeria? It is imperative that as a nation we all work togetherandworkwiththevariousstakeholders to determine a visionary strategy to upgrade and improve Nigeria’s brand perception everywhere. - Marie-Therese Phido is Sales & Market Strategist and Business Coach Email: tweeter handle @osat2012 TeL: 08090158156 (text only)





FCMB Group Sustains Growth

FCMB Group last week announced its audited nine months results ended September 30, 2016, showing growth despite the economic headwinds, writes Goddy Egene Some stakeholders who had expressed concerns that FCMB Group, comprising First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited, FCMB Capital Markets Limited, CSL Stockbrokers Limited and CSL Trustees Limited, delayed the release of its 2016 nine months results were delighted last week when the Group released the audited results, which showed improved performance. Other banks had announced their results showing mixed performance. While some recorded improved bottom-lines, some witnessed declined in profitability. However, FCMB Group, in its audited results for nine months made available last week, posted improved results, thereby raising hopes of shareholders to smile home at the end of the current financial year. Nine months financial performance FCMB Group Plc recorded gross earnings of N140.7 billion up by 28 per cent from N109 billion in the corresponding period of 2015. Interest income fell marginally by 1.2 per cent to N93.2 billion from N94.4 billion in 2015, while Interest expenses also fell by 9.8 per cent to N40 billion, from N44 billion. FCMB ended the period with net interest income of N53.2 billion in 2016, showing an increase of 6.3 per cent from N50 billion in 2015. Net fee and commission income rose by 2.6 per cent from N10.4 billion to N10.6 billion, while total net non-Net interest income rose by 9.2 per cent from N48.7 billion to N53.2 billion. Total net non-interest income rose by 128 per cent from N19.6 billion to N44.8 billion resulting from a 612 per cent increase in foreign exchange (FX) income, from N5.0 billion in 2015, to N35.3 billion in 2016. Net impairment loss on financial assets soared by 125 per cent to N34.4 billion, from N15.2 billion in 2015. The group reported a profit before tax (PBT) of N14.2billion, showing a jump of 453 per cent from N2.563 billion recorded in the comparative period of 2015, while profit after tax (PAT) recorded higher growth of 595 per cent to N12.9 billion from N1.866 billion. FCMB Group grew its total assets to N1.241 trillion, from N1.159 trillion in 2015. Management’s comments Commenting on the results, Managing Director of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Peter Obaseki, said: “The audited nine months results for the period ended September 2016, reflects our focus on key soundness ratios and the need to maintain buffers against a sustained adverse operating environment. Accordingly, capital adequacy and liquidity ratios have held up at 17.6 per cent and 36.8 per cent, respectively. Overall, PBT came in at N14.2 billion, a 453 per cent growth, translating to earnings per share (EPS) of 87 kobo, up 30.6 underlying revenue momentum remains strong while cost optimisation programme led to a two per cent drop in operating expenses, despite inflationary spiral respectively. The macro economic conditions in the final quarter remain challenging; we will keep up a conservative stance.” Also speaking on the performance, Group Managing Director of FCMB Limited, Mr. Ladi Balogun said: “The audited results of the bank reveal that the extraordinary performance of Q2 2016 offset the loss recorded in Q3 of N2.4 billion, thereby resulting in strong year-on-year profit growth of 913 per cent. In order to avoid an unsustainable, non-cash, spike in earnings from further revaluation gains in Q3, the bank also significantly stepped up its loan loss provisions.” He added that the macroeconomic climate is taking a significant toll on the bank’s borrowing customers across all segments. “Accordingly, the bank will maintain high provision coverage ratios (currently 131 per cent), continue to strengthen our capital adequacy ratio (currently 16.9 per cent) and our liquidity ratio (currently 36.8 per cent),” he said. Balogun said while the bank’s prudential ratios should continue to strengthen into Q4 (modestly buoyed by a tier 2 capital injection of N7.5bn in November), the bank does not anticipate improvement in the fourth quarter

rebound in core earnings in the medium term,” he said. The CEO assured that FCMB would to continue to distinguish itself by delivering exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of its customers and all stakeholders.


earnings. “Nonetheless, we are pleased with the gains we continue to record in growing our business in areas such as retail banking (with a 315 per cent growth in profitability) and increasing our

share of banking activities in the agricultural sector. In spite of the fact that we have seen several revenue lines diminish due to external factors - as we build a more resilient balance sheet, we will be well positioned for a strong


SEPT 2016 SEPT 2015 N140.7bn N109.3bn

100 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60

SEPT 2016 N53.2bn SEPT 2015 N48.7bn

55 50 45

SEPT 2016 N44.8bn


SEPT 2016 N34bn

35 30 25

SEPT 2015 N19.6bn

20 15

SEPT 2015 N15.2bn SEPT 2016 N12.9bn


SEPT 2015 N1.9bn

05 0






Analysts’ Assessment Assessing the results, analysts at FBN Quest, said although profit before provisions grew by a healthy 57 per cent year on year( y/y), the expansion in loan impairment charges proved more significant. “To put the magnitude of the impairments taken in Q3 into context, it is around 212 per cent higher than the average quarterly provision run rate of N6.7 billion for H1 2016. Returning to pre-provision profits, the other income line which grew by 168 per cent y/y to N18.8 billion (on the back of fx gains) was the key driver. Although funding income also grew, its impact was modest. Sequentially, the pre-tax and after tax losses compare with PBT and PAT of N14.1 billion and N16.6 billion respectively in Q2 2016. The earnings also surprised negatively relative to our PBT and PAT forecasts of N8.6 billion and N7.3 billion. Similar to the y/y trends, the wide variance between our PBT forecast and actual was due to the negative surprise in loan loss provisions which came in around 218 per cent higher than what we were modelling. Above the provisions line, profit-before-provisions beat our forecast by 10 per cent because of the positive surprise in other income,” they said. FBN Quest explained that the spike in impairments was primarily due to oil & gas exposures (particularly downstream) which already accounted for around 22.3 per cent of non-performing loans (NPL’s) in Q2 2016. “Since most of these loans are denominated in foreign currency, the prevailing exchange rate of N315 per United States dollar versus around N200 previously most likely necessitated the marked increase in impairments. State governments’ loans, which accounted for around 25 per cent of the bank’s loan book, may also have contributed. The impairment charge for nine months 2016 implies a cost-of risk of 7.5 per cent. Management had stated on its Q2 2016 conference call that it expects to restructure around 25 per cent of its loan book, resulting in tenor extensions of between 1-2 years,” the analysts said. They said they believe that restructurings and write-off of NPLs most likely explain the improvement in the NPL ratio to 3.4 per cent (4.7 per cent as at Q2 2016).





Abegunde: The Economy Needs Low Interest Funds to Grow Managing Director/CEO of Meristem Securities Limited, one of the leading investment banking firms in Nigeria, Mr. WoleAbegunde, said in this interview that one of the critical ways to revitalise the Nigerian economy is to have a lower interest rate regime. He spoke to Goddy Egene. Excerpts: Some firms have reduced activities while others have folded up. What do you think is the staying power for surviving firms? Well like I have said, there are realignments in the market. Some operators have reduced their level of activities or category of business they can do. Some have reclassified into sub-broker, some reclassified from broker dealer to either only broker or dealer. However, basically, their staying power has been the structures they have put in place before now. They have proper structures in place to run the organisation, efficiency in the running of the organisation. They have also kept cost low as much as possible. Many of them have also reverted to their reserves in order to survive. Like I said earlier on, recession will always be there but there will be a time that you will get out of recession. These are some of the things that operators have done for now that has helped them to remain. But the principal among them is the desire to want to give what it takes diligently to remain in business and focusing on recovery beyond recovery.

What are your comments on the current economic recession? A lot has been said about the economic recession. Of course you expect that economic recession will attract many negative comments. But it is a part of the life of any country. There will always be a period of boom and there will always be a period of recession and it goes on and on like that. There is what we call business cycle, it follows the same pattern. Even in individual lives, there are periods of ups and there are period of downs. So there is nothing unusual about the economic recession. What the government needs to do at the moment is to put heads together and see how we can come out of it. In doing that we have to look at the past. We have to look at how we got into the recession and we have to work on the variables so that we can come out of the recession. But I do believe that the major cause of the recession in Nigeria is the oil price. Not only did the price drop but the quantity that we are able to sell also dropped and the demand for our type of crude oil also dropped. All these worked together to reduce the amount of dollars that we are able to earn as a country. And given the dominance of oil on our economy, you can then understand why we are in recession this time. The government has realised we are in a recession and is making efforts to ensure the situation is addressed. Are you confident that the measures will take us out of the recession very soon? I believe that coming out of recession is not just a one bullet point action. The solution is a series of well-coordinated action. It is not just a one day action or reaction that will take us out of the recession. Do not forget that we did not get into the recession in just one day. And we will not get out it in one day. The most important thing for us now is to see how we will be able to generate more income as a country and how we can diversify the economy away from oil. Hitherto our source of income has been coming from one commodity. But one of the things that government is trying to do now is to have more income generating commodities asides oil so that in future, if there is a drop in one, then the others can generate revenue. The more the number of items you have in the portfolio, the lower the portfolio risk. So the government wants to increase the number of products in our portfolio and reduce the risks. So I want to believe that the government is taking the necessary action. There are many technocrats in the government of President MuhammaduBuhari, and a lot of decisions are being taken. Do not forget, many of the decisions may not be obvious to the public. I know that the Minister in charge of solid minerals, KayodeFayemi has been working on that area. Same goes for the Minister of Agriculture, AuduOgbeh who is working assiduously on the agriculture sector. Farmers are being motivated. All the concerted efforts that the government is making at the moment, I believe will take us out of the recession. As a key player in the Nigerian capital markets, is there any way the capital market can play a role in the recovery of the Nigerian economy? One of the variables that are used across the world to push an economy out of recession is the availability of funds. And interest rate is very important in this regard. Interest rate has to be low to help production. With low interest rate, production will increase because producers will have access to funds to increase production. That is on the debt aspect. The capital market is able to help in raising cheap funds by selling financial instruments to be able to generate funds for production. But there is a difficulty here at this time. In a time of production, people have little access to funds. Savings is being depleted and when you have insignificant amount of savings then you can’t


invest in financial instruments of the capital market. However, the capital market will still make all efforts possible to mobilise funds to jump start the economy. But it is better done with low cost debt instruments. In other jurisdiction, you will see a situation where the United States government is brining interest rates to almost nothing for people to lend and do business so as to provide cheap liquidity. I believe that is one area that we really need to look at now. Still talking about the capital market, despite the huge population, the market still records low participation. How can investor participation be deepened and more new listings attracted too? Let me put the Nigerian population in proper perspective. I think the figures being bandied about are 150 million to 180 million Nigerians. But the question is that of this 180 million for instance, how many people have the economic power. I want to believe that in terms of economic

I believe that coming out of recession is not just a one bullet point action. The solution is a series of wellcoordinated action. It is not just a one day action or reaction that will take us out of the recession. Do not forget that we did not get into the recession in just one day. And we will not get out it in one day. The most important thing for us now is to see how we will be able to generate more income as a country and how we can diversify the economy away from oil

power, people that are living above $1 per day is not up 40 per cent of the population. And therefore, when you are talking about the capital market and raising fund from each Nigerian, you have to look at people who can put money in the market. The estimated number of accounts with the Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) today is about 5 million, compared to 180 million Nigerians. So there is a high level of restriction in the number of people who can put money in the market now. That has been helped by assets management and pension funds. Pension funds have not been putting money in the market because of what they lost in the past. If the appropriate financial instruments are developed, with very good yield or return and hedge against foreign exchange rate, I believe we will be able to attract funds through the capital market. Because today, if people are looking for high returns, inflation is high so that they won’t have negative return, any capital market must provide that. Secondly, the rate of the depreciation of the naira is very high and any financial instrument that is sold through the capital market must be able to hedge against the depreciation of the naira. I believe that we can still raise significant amount of money through the capital market if all of these are taken into consideration. But I am aware that the capital market is looking at derivative products and derivative products are able to take care of some of the concerns of potential investors in the market. The economic headwinds have affected all facets of the economy, how will you describe the situation of operators in the capital market given the tough economic situation? The fortune of operators is dependent on the economy. We normally say that the capital market is the barometer for the economy. If the economy is down the market is also down and the operators in the market are also down. So I must say that the situation with operators in the market is challenging at the moment. Many operators are struggling to survive because there are no activities in the capital market as it used to be and I believe that the regulators have recognized this and some actions they had planned to take in the past in regulatory arena have softened their stance because the operating environment is difficult for everybody. But this is the time that innovation and creativity come to play. In any environment you find yourself, if you are creative, you set yourself apart.

To be specific, Meristem Securities Limited, is one of the firms that have maintained a top position despite not being a subsidiary of a bank. How have you able to do this over the years? Well, as a company. The fact that we have been able to survive without the support of a bank shows that we have the proper structure and strategy in place. We are determined to remain a top player and have put the resources in place to be a top player. We have high quality personnel that run the organisation. We have high level of capital to run the organisation and more importantly, we have diversified within the capital market into five fully independent companies. We have an asset management company, stockbroking company, registrar, a trustee and an advisory company. All of these come together to help us to stand as a strong company. We are also very innovative. In a period like this, innovation sets you apart and innovation helps prevent your legs from buckling. Innovation helps you to become a monopolist because when you create or develop a product, you render those products and services, it will make you a monopolist and be able to help you to generate income in the period of recession. So as a company embraces high level of corporate governance and comply with regulations in the market, it helps you to stay as a company. In terms of structure, we have Meristem Securities Limited as the holding company and the company through which we render our corporate finance and financial advisory business. We have Meristem Wealth Management Limited, which is a subsidiary that renders wealth and asset management services. We have Meristem Trustees Limited, which is another subsidiary rendering trusteeship services. Meristem Registrars Limited is our subsidiary offering registrars services and we have Meristem Stockbrokers Limited, that renders stockbroking services. Each of these subsidiaries has its own managing director and there is a group managing director who oversees all of them. So, you can see we have a sturdy structure in place. What are your future plans for existing and potential clients of Meristem? We as a company are focusing on the recovery of the economy. We have put recession behind us. We are looking at what will happen at recovery and how we give better value to our customers who have lost value in terms of their assets. We are focusing on how they can recover some of the value they have lost. We are focusing on how they can make more money. We are focusing on the services that we would render to them that will make them better off. We will help monitor their portfolio and help them achieve their investment objectives. There will be new products and services to achieve this. We will up our game in our customer service delivery where we have always held the ace cards over the years.





Muktari: Insurance Industry’s Performance Looks Better in 2016 Alhaji Auwalu Muktari, is the Group Managing Director of Royal Exchange Plc. In this interview with Ebere Nwoji, he spoke on the impact of the recession on the insurance industry and other financial services institutions, among other issues. Excerpts: Looking at Nigeria economically, one can see that Nigeria is not in its best state especially with the prevailing economic recession and weak value of the Naira to dollar, businesses are not in their best shape, various sectors of the economy will no doubt record abysmal performance at the end of this fiscal year. As economy operator, how will you assess the performance of the insurance sector in the past one year? Honestly speaking, it is not easy to do business in Nigeria today. But we are hopeful that it will get better. A lot of issues and challenges have come up between January to date. A lot of organisations and businesses are being hampered due to crisis in exchange rates. Inability of aviation fuel to hover around affordable price as well as income generation power of most organisations has reasonably dropped because of inability of government to release the budget on time because Nigeria is an economy that relies on government and a lot of activities will start when government starts spending. The president has been doing very well trying to put structures right. As it is today, a lot of activities have started picking up and we have seen the signs that it is going to be better and all Nigerians will be happy at the end of the day. It is said that after hardship, there is going to be enjoyment and we have confidence in the ability of the federal government and the strategies they are putting in place to ensure that the common man and all the businesses become successful. So I want to assure you that it is going to be better from now to the year 2017. Let’s come down to insurance, how has it been all these while, how has the industry fared in the face of the economic recession? Well, insurance is not in isolation. It has been part of the economy and what affects the economy affects the industry. If I am to talk particularly for my company, Royal Exchange, I will say that we are doing very well business wise. In fact, I can even tell you I am doing better than I did in 2015 despite the challenges and economic crisis in the country. But still we can do better if situations were normal and things were in the right position. We can do better if everything is going well from other sectors of the economy. Like inability to close most of government insurances has also impacted negatively on insurance activities today. But I want to assure you that at Royal Exchange, we are doing almost 34 percent above our income last year. But the challenges of insurance industry today are that in the year 2016, we envisaged a lot of claims coming our way due to climatic changes. There has been a lot of rain from the northern part of the country. Before now, it has not been like that. With the climate change, there is heavy rain in the north this year .We have not seen that before in the north we only see it in the south so the northerners are not prepared for it. So many houses have been affected, the terrorists’ activities have caused a lot of pipeline vandalisation, with the terrorists activities in the north, in form of Boko Haram, many police, soldiers were killed, and these have group life cover, houses were damaged, all these brought a lot of claims to the industry in the current year. There are a lot of factors that have affected claims rate in this 2016. Let us still come down to Royal Exchange Assurance plc, what is your experience like in these things? Well, as I said, we are not isolated from the industry and the economy. But at Royal Exchange, we have been doing very well. We did better this year than 2015. So basically the impact of the economy is significant in terms of premium income generation. In fact, we

willing to sell their shares because of benefits they are getting from the industry and so whoever comes, by the time he begins to enjoy those benefits of being a member of the share holders, may not want to sell their shares. So a lot of insurance shares are not readily available at the stock exchange for people to buy. That has greatly affected the pricing .But in terms of value addition, increase in the value of your money, and at the same time, dividend pay out, a lot of insurance companies are paying dividend. It was only in 2015, when there were a lot of challenges and so many companies could not pay dividend and that came up because of regulation for those doing Annuity business because a lot of provisions were provided in their books because of annuity businesses they were writing off, but that has been taken care of in 2015 accounts and I believe subsequently, they will start to pay dividend.


have about 34 percent increase over what we did last year. The only thing we are looking at Royal Exchange is how we can reduce the cost of doing business so that we can maximum return to our shareholders. So what has been your secret? Aggressive marketing. We have been on our toes to make sure we bring insurance to the common man. There are a lot of unique things we do which I cannot disclose to our competitors, but I want to tell you that product development and innovation is one, looking into the channels and the way we do our businesses is two, then the determination of all the employees to ensure that we exceed the expectation of our shareholders is also a factor. Also we have loyal and committed workforce that are ready to drive the business. You are an operator in the financial services sector which obviously feels the heat of the current recession in the economy more, what will be your suggestions on how Nigeria can come out of the recession? Well, it is not my responsibility alone as a single operator to give the suggestion because we have an umbrella body which is the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA). There is also the regulator of the industry which is the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) .These bodies have seen the challenges that the industry is facing and a lot of strategic meetings are being conducted and they are looking into areas of ensuring that the industry wax stronger year in year out. But the most important aspect of that is increasing the capacity of doing businesses so that the industry will have larger capacity to ensure that we accommodate more risks instead of ceding more risks outside the local market. Achieving larger capacity will enable us focus and reposition the industry so that we can retain more risk in the local market and with retention of more businesses locally, there will be creation of more jobs for the teeming population of Nigerian youths. There will also be growth of Nigerian insurance industry, there will also be a lot of funds for our share holders to enjoy and then we will become one of the greatest industry in Africa and part of the world in general. Talking about building capacity, at the last insurance industry’s mega conference held few months back in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, spoke about increase in capital base

of insurance firms for the same purpose of building capacity, how prepared is Royal Exchange? Royal Exchange has been looking at investors for the past two years. But because of the conservative nature of our company, it is not every investor we want to bring into Royal Exchange. One, we have a tradition of maintaining the brand as it is. Being in existence for the past ninety- five years, we are looking for investors who will come into Royal Exchange, bring in money and at the same time bring in value addition to the way we do our business. So that there can be additional value to our share holders. So Royal Exchange is looking definitely on the side of increasing our capitalisation to ensure that the capacity has increased. At the same time, we want people to come in with value addition in the area of improved information technology, in the area of product development, in the area of coming up with partnership for channels that can be added into our existing channels of distribution so that we can have a better way of doing insurance business and become second to none in Nigeria as well as compete in the international market. The trend in the industry now is partnership with foreign investors. International investors are chasing Nigerian insurance firms for investment. Is Royal Exchange in talks with any of the international investors? Yes, we are talking to about three foreign investors but I don’t want to mention names, we are talking to about three international investors and two local investors. That is also going to be concluded between now and end of this last quarter. We are also working towards listing a bond in Nigeria Stock Exchange and all the documents, process and approval from the Securities and Exchange commission is being tidied up. We hope to list bond of about N3 billion with the Nigeria Securities and Exchange commission in the next two months. Insurance stock is not performing excellently well in the stock market and we saw this year that many insurance companies that have done their Annual General Meetings did not pay dividends and investors are not happy. How do you hope to market the bond? Well, the issue is that insurance industry in Nigeria has its conservative way of having their ownership structure .That is constituted towards a specific number of groups and they are not

Insurance penetration is still very low, what is your suggestion on how to increase penetration of insurance in Nigeria? One is the capacity building, which is what the industry is going through now. Nigeria is a country of over 170 million people but I cannot tell you that more than three million people buy insurance as at today .So once the capacity improves, there are a lot of investments coming in because the regulators have put structures right for the industry to thrive and for investments to come in. The industry will work towards getting to the common man buying insurance. So that instead of the existing three million buyers of insurance today, there will be about one hundred million Nigerians buying insurance. That situation will turn around. The government has also regulated a lot of products that are made compulsory but compliance is being pursued both from the NIA side and from the regulator’s side. This gradually is being achieved, I am happy to see that penetration rate is improving in recent times, in the last five years, the penetration was much lower. That shows there is sign of movement, and that insurance awareness is being created and people are embracing it. I want to tell you it is going to come to pass, even if ten percent of the population take insurance, we are going to see a situation whereby we will surpass Kenya, South Africa and all the market leaders in terms of insurance penetration in the country. However, there are still some beliefs in some parts of Nigeria where some people believe insurance is against their religious beliefs .But the industry is being proactive, regulators have come up with the approval of micro insurance licences which they will issue to willing underwriters as well as the Takafu Insurance businesses which will enable players to effectively get the licences from regulators , a lot of people are going into that and I want to assure you that by the time four or five players are given licences on Takafu insurance,I want to believe that the penetration will improve, more people will buy insurance and the situation we are looking at will definitely improve and Nigeria will be better placed as a proper insurance driven country. In what area will you want government to come in, regarding expansion of the industry to make it contribute significantly to the GDP? Government has done a lot and regulators are doing a lot, so let’s allow the regulator to finish the programme it has and insurance will be a better place in Nigeria. I applaud the intention of the present commissioner for insurance and the speed at which he is putting sanity, integrity and acceptability into Continued on page 29





MUKTARI: INSURANCE INDUSTRY’S PERFORMANCE LOOKS BETTER IN 2016 years to get things right and turn Nigeria as a country of choice.

the insurance industry. He has the support of the government, so let’s give them another two to three years and insurance in Nigeria will be good. In terms of enforcement, are you satisfied with what government is doing in the industry? The government has done the laws but the enforcement is not there. That is as a result of the way things are in this country. Like I said, the laws are there but enforcement will have to come from so many different angles. The regulators are doing their best to ensure that enforcement is done but it may be difficult to change so many chains of activities within few years. So gradually, you have to put one thing or the other in its proper place. Look, prior to three years back, we were doing businesses on credit but the regulator came up with the ‘no premium no cover’ and this has got positive impact on our industry today. There is liquidity. Premiums are paid as and when due and people are happy with that. Now, they came up with Takafu insurance in order to capture those people who are not willing to buy insurance. If all these people aggressively bought into the idea, licences issued, people doing Takafu insurance will get more money to their system and a lot of people will drive insurance. You don’t need to enforce, once policies are there, put the structures right for the willing people to come in. When we started mobile telecommunications in Nigeria, not many people keyed into it but today, there is no person in Nigerian that does not have minimum of one line. We are getting to that in insurance industry. In no distant time, there will be no Nigerian without at least one insurance policy. Either you get it directly or indirectly by your employers as a result of you working with such organisation, by regulation, by enforcement and what have you. What position will you assign Royal Exchange in today’s insurance industry in Nigeria? Well, going by 2015 accounts, Royal Exchange is about number six. But you know most of the companies between number one to five in terms of premium income are composite companies but in my own company, we have placed general business separate and life business separate. So if am to talk about my general business which is bigger and stronger in terms of income, we are number six and my life company is number eleven. By industry’s ranking in terms of income, However, if I merge the two companies together, in terms of the percentage of those at the top with composite companies, I will still remain at either number six or five. As I took over this January 2016, we are working hard to see that we turn around things, improve our service delivery, restructure the way we do things. Have a robust technology that will drive the business, so that we can compete with the top three. Am hoping in the next two, three years of my appointment as the group Managing Director of Royal Exchange to turn Royal Exchange as one of the top players in the country in terms of premium income generation, in terms of profitability, in terms of social responsibility activities to the Nigerian populace and assisting the government. How long have you been with Royal Exchange? Well, I was in Royal Exchange first in 1995 as branch manager in Kano and I worked up to 2007 when I resigned from Royal Exchange having left as Assistant general Manager to become the Managing Director of Yankari Insurance which later become FinInsurance. I left Fin insurance in 2010, and still came back to Royal Exchange as the group Executive Director in charge of marketing and as at 2016 January, I took over as acting group Managing Director and I was confirmed in June as substantive Group Managing Director so if you add the two spheres of my career in Royal Exchange, the first sphere, I spent about 12 years, before I came back and I have spent about seven years so if you add them together you see that I have spent about 19 years. Royal Exchange has micro finance institution and other subsidiaries, and you are the one overseeing all of them as the Group Managing Director, how has it been, how


has the micro finance bank been coping with competition? Well, at the initial stage when we set up the micro finance bank, we set it up as a unit, micro finance with a little capital. Along the line, we appear to be doing very well, after three years of operation, we turned into profit and returned profit to the group, in 2015, we applied for state licence so that we can have branches within Lagos and increase the current capital from N20 million to N120 million so that we can get the licence, Central Bank inspected our books and gradually granted us approval to operate as a state micro finance bank as am talking to you now, we have two branches in Lagos and they are all doing very well adding value to the bottom line of the group and we are hoping that in the next one or two years, we should apply for licence to become national micro finance bank if it is going to be available because of the way we do our business so that wherever we have a branch of the general , life and health insurance, our micro finance bank will be there so that we can be transacting businesses to the lower income people and that is part of our vision of taking insurance to the grass root. Clientele base-wise, in the micro finance bank, there are internal and external clients, most of the staff of Royal Exchange are clients to the micro finance bank, their salaries are paid there and they collect various loans to solve their immediate and personal problems which is an avenue that staff are being assisted. When they need money to pay their school fees, it is readily available to them they collect the loans and solve their problems and later, it is deducted from their salaries at the end of the month. Some of the subsidiaries also operate with the bank so there is great value addition and synergy between the group and the bank. There are also a lot of external customers that is a lot of market women associations, traders’ associations and direct customers. I can tell you we have in our accounts over six thousand customers and we have affiliation with two strong banks in Nigeria, Fidelity bank and First Bank. If you open account with our micro finance bank, wherever you deposit your money you receive an alert, and wherever you withdraw, you receive an alert and have ATM that you can use nationwide in any ATM machine. So we are doing very well with our bank you can operate your micro finance bank even in your village but not outside the country. How is your Health Management Organisation scheme (HMO) doing? Well, HMO is a growing business because there has been a regulation for health insurance. A lot of state governments have not taken up that but in terms of corporate penetration, we are second to none, however, being in government business, we are still struggling to get there, by the time we set up the health insurance, the government clients have already been distributed but we know sates are coming into it and we are discussing with some state governments and we are getting some positive response and I can assure you that in the next

two three years, it is going to be a good business. Many Nigerians don’t still understand how the health insurance scheme of government works, can you use this medium to educate them on that and the benefits awaiting for them there? Health insurance is an insurance that came into being following an enactment of an act under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which is an agency under the federal government ministry of health. It is meant to be an avenue through which employers of labour take care of health challenges of their employees and their immediate families. A lot of organisations have workforce but lack policy to take care of their health. So federal government, through the National Health Insurance Scheme,(NHIS), came up with the idea of setting up these HMOs and ensuring that all employers of labour key into that through payment of a token sum as premium to the listed number of staff by selecting the level of benefit and health requirement of an employee and his family relations to be part of the scheme and any time the employee falls sick and need medical attention he will just use the certificate issued to him to go to the designated clinic to show that he has this type of insurance with the particular HMO and the clinic will treat his health requirement challenge and will automatically send the bill to the HMO for them to look at it and settle the bill as an insured person. It is like claims payment when they arise. So I am calling on all Nigerians, even if you are not earning salary to walk up to any HMO office, take up health insurance policy for you and members of your family. That will take off the burden of medical bills that you will pay when any member of your family falls sick. Looking at Nigeria today as a country, with the present economic challenges here and there, how will you analyse the country? Well, Nigeria is a great country and it is going to remain a great country. It is going to grow to become greater and greater by the day. I was reading some writings that said Nigeria is no longer the giant of Africa and I disagree with that. Nigeria is still the giant of Africa and will continue to be. All sectors wise. If it is the people we are there, if it is education system, we have it economically, we have the resources, it is just the ability to do things right. I think the present administration is taking us to the right direction and Nigeria will come back to be a greater country. There is nowhere in this world where there has not been challenge and issues but the way and manner you tackle those challenges is what makes you what you will be tomorrow and Nigeria is on the path of becoming a greater nation. I am not looking at Africa, I am looking at Nigeria competing with tough countries of the world. America is not what it is today overnight. It has been in great crisis but called itself to order to get to where it is today. For Nigeria, looking at what the present administration is doing, I can tell you that it may not take hundreds of

With the way our economy is performing, will you categorise Nigeria as a developing or developed country or third world? You cannot say Nigeria is a third world country. We are still developing because there are a lot of technological and economical things we need to do to belong to the club of developed countries. But with the vision of government, we are fast getting there. For instance, the issue of railway, which has been easy way for the common man to move around which is not here in Nigeria but it has started. There is railway line from Abuja to Kaduna, government is working to make it Abuja to Kano and come back and create Abuja to Lagos rail. Gradually, the country will be linked, Lagos is now working on metro rail which you see in Dubai, London and other places and the governor has planned to complete the project in 2017.So you don’t need to enter motor, all these traffic you are seeing when that metro line starts working, you will not see them again. So we are going there and we are almost reaching there. It is just to get the quality of people in government that will take us there and they are there now. We only pray God will give them good health to finish the work. I was telling somebody that you don’t need to have a house in Lagos or stay in Lagos if your family is in Abuja. If we have a good and effective rail system that will take you from Lagos to Abuja in three hours, you don’t need to move your family about .You close work by 5 pm, by 8 pm you are in Abuja. Because you are sure the system is there to take you to your destination at the appointed time. That is what is happening in Europe and other developed world. Saudi Arabian country is one of the third world countries in Asia but they have train services from Jirga to Medina, which is about 500km journey on road but with fast moving train, you can cover the distance within one hour. So, all the taxes and motors that ply the roads will be reduced. The quality of their roads will remain solid they don’t need to be maintaining roads because few people will make use of roads .So there are a lot of economic sense in coming up with all these kind of projects. It will help the government. Now, we cannot even maintain the Oshodi Apapa road, but by the time the rail system starts working, you will see less pressure on the road and roads constructed will last longer. Technically, intellectually, just look at Nigeria as a country and as a people, do you think we have the right people to put these facilities in place. I asked this because talking about railway, past administrations have spent a lot in the hands of Chinese, thinking they will help up fix our rail system but year in year out the situation worsens and that is why our rail system has remained in its poor state. do you think we have what it takes to put things right in this country? The whole thing we are talking about is attitude, culture, the way we do things. Go to the United States, the best doctors we have are Nigerians, go to London, the best nurses you have there are Nigerians. Even in Europe, so many businesses you see doing great things have link with Nigerians. Once you are ready to change the attitude and the way we do things, everybody will come back home and we will enjoy our country. Somebody left Nigeria because he cannot afford to stay without light 24 hours. If you can provide light, he may not want to leave. Some left because they cannot afford to be flying all the time and leave their families to live in other parts of the country where they got job. But if I can leave Abuja and get to Lagos in two hours, I can stay with my family and work in any part of the country. I don’t need to move around paying N5 million house rent. These are what they enjoy in countries like Europe. People live in France and work in Switzerland. Here I can leave in Kano under 30 minutes I am in Abuja if the rail system I am talking about is working. The same thing goes to other areas of life .So many of the best brains we have in this country are living outside the country because the right attitude and right way of doing things are not in place. But we are on track of putting things right in Nigeria and we will soon get there.





Exploring Alternative Dispute Resolution over Port Charges Francis Ugwoke writes on maritime industry’s stakeholders’ views that an out of court settlement remains an option for the resolution of the legal tussle between between the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and ports’ service providers over disputed port charges

Executive Secretary of Shippers Council, Hassan Bello

For about two years now, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC and two major groups of service providers in the ports have locked horns in court over dispute in port charges. The two service providers are the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN and the Association Shipping Lines Agencies, ASLA. As the Ports Economic Regulator, the NSC had moved to exercise some of its powers by reversing the storage charges collected by the terminal operators and equally increased the free storage at the ports from three to seven days. The Council claimed the idea was to position the ports in line with what obtains within the West and African sub-region. The Council had equally descended on the shipping lines and reduced their shipping line agency charges (SLAC) and made them to refund container deposits within a space of 10 days. But the service providers moved swiftly to stop the regulator by taking the matter to court. The service providers had questioned the powers of the Council to carry out such action. The matter came up in the Federal High Court Ikoyi in 2014 and by December 17 of the same year, the court delivered judgment in favour of the ports regulator. Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Ikoyi had upheld the appointment of the NSC as the ports economic regulator for the ports industry and equally affirmed its decision on the charges. Not satisfied with the judgment, the two aggrieved parties, STOAN and ASLA had proceeded to the Appeal Court where the case is being decided. Alternative Dispute Resolution In the next few weeks, it would be over two years that the matter has been in court. Incidentally, no one knows how long the case may last as the Court will take time to study and treat cases of such economic matters. However, industry stakeholders are of the view that the two

Chairman, STOAN, Vicky Haastrup

aggrieved parties should consider out of court settlement in the case. Those who hold this view said it will be better for the industry to move forward. They argued that at such a critical time of economic recession, settling out of court will save the parties the time and cost of prolonged legal battle in the court. Besides, they argued that when there is commercial dispute in any industry involving the service providers and the apex regulatory agency, it does not create room for smooth working relationship. They therefore argued that the best option would be for alternative dispute resolution. Maritime industry stakeholders made up of lawyers, freight forwarders and customs

Maritime industry stakeholders made up of lawyers, freight forwarders and customs brokers who are affected by the court case believe that there cannot be a better option than alternative resolution. They said out of court settlement in commercial disputes has been recognised globally as the fastest method of settling two parties on any commercial interest

brokers who are affected by the court case believe that there cannot be a better option than alternative resolution. They said out of court settlement in commercial disputes has been recognised globally as the fastest method of settling two parties on any commercial interest. A maritime expert and former President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Dr. Eugene Nweke, who said alternative dispute resolution or out of court settlement was better for the industry and the national economy opined that it was time for the two parties to work on the option. Nweke who noted that court settlement would have been good as a precedent, he however added that this would take time to achieve as the court would need time to study the case before justice can be expected. He said the time it takes to achieve settlement is of very importance not just to the parties in the case but also for all stakeholders, explaining that this was as a result of the economic interest not just for the industry stakeholders but for all Nigerians. He called on the NSC as the ports economic regulator, STOAN and ASLA, to consider embracing out of court settlement as a global practice. Nweke advised that in doing this, the two parties ought to bear in mind that there was the need to reach a compromise as part of the out of court settlement. He said: “Out of court settlement is always desirable in any case more so in the one bordering on international trade as it affects Nigerians. This requires that the parties need to shift positions, make compromises for peace to reign. There cannot be a better time than now considering the fact of the economic recession on the industry.” Similarly, a maritime lawyer, Mr. Emma Ofomata called on the parties to see alternative dispute resolution as necessary for the interest of the industry and the

nation’s economy. Ofomata added that no court frowns at out of court settlement as far as it will serve the interest of the parties in resolving the material issue that made them to proceed to the court in the first place. He said that the court is ever willing to grant such request as it will save its time studying and treating the matter along other numerous cases of national concern. Ofomata said: “Out of court settlement is encouraged because the court is always willing to address issues between parties, not necessarily to punish a particular person but to achieve amicable resolution of issues. That is the essence of court. In modern day, the court always encourages alternative dispute resolution because the primary objective of the law is for all parties to have their cases resolved”, Ofomata said. He said that quick resolution of the case will be of immense benefit to the ports industry and the economy. He added: “The main problem between them is the issue of cost, they can sit down and settle the matter. What I expect the parties to do is to sit down to determine the actual cost of doing business in Nigeria. If the cost is too high, government could be approached to create an enabling environment to reduce it”. Another customs broker, maritime expert, Alhaji Olu Okesanmi also while appealing for out of court settlement among the parties pointed out that it will bring early and amicable settlement of the issues at stake. Okesanmi said that out of court settlement has always been better than court because the parties would look at issues holistically and agree on areas to compromise in order to allow peace to reign. •Ugwoke, journalist wrote from Apapa, Lagos





NCC Woos Singaporean Investors to Boost Nigeria’s Broadband Infrastructure Dele Ogbodo in Abuja The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Communication (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has invited the Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) to invest in the country’s broadband infrastructure. Addressing the investors, who were in the country to understudy Nigeria’s investment policies, with the aim of investing in the telecoms sector, Danbatta said that investing in

the country’s broadband sector has high prospects for quick return on investment. Represented by the Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Mr. Abdullahi Maikano, the EVC said the country, through its regulatory and legal framework, would offer conducive environment for foreign investors. Danbatta, explained that investing in Nigeria’s telecommunications broadband infrastructure is the next frontier needed to push service delivery to the

consumers, stressing that two InfraCos have been licensed to deploy broadband infrastructure in Lagos and North-central zones of the country. According to him, “Right now, these two companies are mobilising to commence their deployment. The subsidy that we shall be given to them will be on milestone basis, depending on what they are able to deploy. The subsidy will be made available only after the project has been verified by the commission.” While calling on the inves-

QMB Builders Mart Unveils New Outlet in Lagos Sunday Okobi One of Nigeria`s leading building materials’ vendors, QMB Builders’ Mart, has unveiled its new outlet on the Lagos Mainland at Gbagada to showcase its quality products to its numerous customers in the zone. According to the firm, the facility was designed as a premium outlet for the urban, medium and high-end customers on the mainland. The company, which recently concluded its annual continuous professional development seminar with its technical partners and manufacturers from across Europe and Asia to highlight trending cost- effective innovations in the building industry, also stated that the Gbagada outlet would reduce the stress of importation of materials for residential and industrial building projects. At the launch ceremony recently, the President of QMB Builders Mart, Ayo Biobaku who disclosed that the company was founded about nine years ago

at their flagship office in Lekki, said the seminar was grace by exceptional Nigerian professionals from past and current heads of all the major associations namely NIA, ACEN, ACAN, NAQS, NIB, business moguls, bankers, friends and family among numerous customers. According to the president, “QMB have survived several stormy waters to celebrate the opening of this new showroom. My expectations are that you shall take ownership of all business platforms including online viewing recommendations and purchases of our products to compliments your designs,” adding that the company is known for quality products, competitive pricing (affordability) and reliable consumer service. He also said: “Gbagada outlet was set up as a result of the increasing yearnings by customers on the Mainland for quality and affordable materials, and today, it is a reality, and we are happy that we have brought the quality building wares to our esteemed customers.

Kwara Begins Construction of Multi Million Naira Computer Village in Ilorin Hammed Shittu in Ilorin Kwara state government has commenced the construction of multi million naira Information Communication Technology (ICT) village in Ilorin with a commitment to making the state a fore-runner in technology and digital economy in the northcentral zone of the country. The project, which will be completed within twelve months is being embarked on by the state owned company, Harmony Holdings Limited. Speaking at the official laying foundation ceremony of the project in Ilorin, the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed said that “The computer village is 2-storey, elegant and sophisticated edifice, aesthetically designed and strategically situated here in the commercial nerve center of Ilorin.” According to him, “The project will stand on 4,600 square meters of land and has a completion period of eleven months. “The Computer Village, which is estimated to cost N500m, will

be funded through contractor financing as well as pre-sales/ off-taker arrangements”. The governor also said that,”the facility demonstrates our administration’s determination to be a forerunner in the technology and digital economy.”, Ahmed stressed that,”The project also announces Kwara State as the potential largest technology hub in Nigeria, outside Lagos State.” He added that: “Through projects such as this Computer Village, and the International Vocational and Technical Centre, Ajase Ipo, therefore, we are establishing platforms for the skills and entrepreneurship necessary for productively engaging our youths.” The governor also expressed excitement that “ this Computer Village will directly employ about 600 youths when fully operational apart from the hundreds of indirect jobs that will be created in the process on its construction.”

tors to consider investing in the remaining five zones, he said the commission is in the process of licensing the remaining five zones. “We are hoping that good companies will come onboard so that we can achieve that broadband vision for the country,” Danbatta said. He further explained that the process of licensing the remaining five InfraCos would be concluded in the early part of 2017, since the deadline for the submission of application of interest is November ending.

The leader of delegation, Mr. Ang Eng Seng, explained that his company is ready to invest minority stake in telecoms outfits with the intent to grow and expand their capital base with time. “We are financial investors, we are not operators so the investment style is much more that of minority stakes. We provide growth capital to the companies that have good business plan that we believe in and so we will not be bidding on new project on our own. Our focus is to

find the right local companies with good business model that have minority investment, and invest in them.” Speaking on the investment opportunities in Nigeria’s telecoms sector, he said the country’s huge demographic statistics makes it an investment destination on the continent. If you look at all the other countries in Africa, Nigeria given its size and its demographics, ranks very high in terms of the list of target countries that we are focusing on, Seng said.

Group Expresses Desire to Promote Standardisation in Tech Usage amongst Companies


L-R: Group Managing Director, Genesis Group, Dr. Nnaeto> Orazulike, receiving an award of Excellence in the Hospitality Industry from the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, at the Nigerian Entrepreneurship Summit and Honours Awards, held in Lagos...recently

NAICOM Highlights Benefits of Relocating Inspectorate Directorate

Oluyemi: UnityKapital Assurance in Excellent Health Condition

Ebere Nwoji

Ebere Nwoji

The National Insurance Commission ( NAICOM), has highlighted the benefits of relocating its Inspectorate Directorate from Abuja to Lagos. The commission, in a statement signed by its Head Corporate Affairs, Rasaaq Salami, said the relocation of the inspectorate directorate to Lagos will create room for effective supervision and quick service delivery to the industry. The commission’s latest explanation on the above action, was sequel to the recent industrial action by its workforce over the directorate’s relocation. In its bid to convince the protesting workforce and the general public on the need for the relocation, the commission in a statement made available to THISDAY, highlighted the benefits as enhancing regular inspection of insurance entities to nip any failure on board. It said the relocation has cost effective reason arguing that over 95 percent of insurance operators it supervises reside in Lagos. NAICOM also said it will give room for quick and better service delivery, adding that proximity wise, the action will allow quicker response time among others. The Commission argued that after all that the CBN has its department of banking

supervision in Lagos because the banks it inspects and supervises are in Lagos adding that the commission similarly wishes to situate its inspectorate in Lagos for easy supervision of insurance operators most of who have their corporate head offices in Lagos. According to the commission, the relocation is part of an ongoing restructuring exercise aimed at improving efficiency of the workforce and bringing the commission closer to the regulated entities for effective insurance industry supervision. “For the records, the Directorate is saddled with the responsibility of conducting on-site inspection of insurance entities for the Commission. It is imperative to note that over 90% of insurance operators are headquartered in Lagos being the hub of commercial and economic activities in the country. Thus, this exercise will ensure prompt and regular inspection of these insurance firms – Insurance Companies and Brokers”, the commission stated. But in a swift reaction to this, few days later, the commission’s workforce, under the aegis of the NAICOM branch of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), took to the streets with play cards protesting the relocation of the directorate and demanded that it be brought back to Abuja.

The New Managing Director, UnityKapital Assurance Plc, Mr. Olatunji Oluyemi, has said that his company is in excellent health condition as certified by the Director of Accounts National Insurance Commission(NAICOM). Oluyemi, however said his mandate as the new helmsman of the company is to take it to a position of bigger financial strength. He stated this in Lagos at a press briefing organised by the company. According to him, the Abuja- based UnityKapital Assurance, maintains N10,728,219,00 total assets with only N1,344,359,00 liabilities and N9,383,860,000shareholders’ fund. The company’s 2015 audited financial statement showed that gross premium income for the period stood at N2,684,534,000,while its gross premium written stood at N2,651,717,000. UnityKapital, between January and mid November this year paid a total of 597 million claims. To expand its clientele base and deepen insurance penetration using its robust capital, Oluyemi, said UnityKapital Assurance is working out plans to employ the use of electronic sales initiative is its product

distributions. According to him, the company is currently acquiring skills to use the electronic sales technique to go into direct product distributions. He also said the underwriting firm is currently upgrading its online IT set and is also searching out plans on how to grow from small to medium size firm and remain stronger. He said currently, UnityKapital Assurance is a strong company with national presence and is aspiring to be prominently visible in both corporate and micro market levels. The company currently maintains 16 operational locations round the country. He said though insurance industry like every other sector of the economy in 2016 business year waded through very rough terrain, UnityKapital like one of the successful firms has kept its head above the waters. He said the company is entering the year 2017 with readiness as he assured clients and brokers that good customer service delivery is topmost in the company’s business agenda. According to Oluyemi, Unitykapital Assurance is currently reviewing its processes, operations and systems to deliver speedy and efficient service while ensuring that all promises of the company contained in the insurance policies it issues are fulfilled.



EDUCATION 2016 NNMA: ‘Few Recipients Reflect True Intellectual Excellence’ The 2016 Nigerian National Order of Merit produced only two recipients who distinguished themselves in the fields of science and humanities. One would expect the development to generate concerns considering the number of academics Nigeria has at home and in the diaspora, but the Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Awards, Prof. Etim Essien thinks otherwise. Kuni Tyessi reports The Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) was established by the federal military government by Act 53 of 1979 and was amended by Act 96 of 1992 and it serves as a separate order of dignity in the highest category in the fields of science, humanities, including arts and culture, medicine and engineering/technology. For 2016, after a thorough and open scrutiny, Prof. Tanure Ojaide, a unique theorist of African Literature and Prof. Omowunmi Sadik with their research and innovation outputs in the areas of biosensors and electronics, clinched the prizes for their exceptional contributions in arts and science respectively. While Ojaide has used his knowledge of oral poetry to argue for the need for the Nigerian and African writer to draw upon and weave his/her creative work around the ethos of African culture, which will invariably assert his/her cultural identity in a globalising world, Sadik has remotely operated a sensitive device which is a breakthrough in simple bioanalytical science instrumentation and has been published in some of the highest impact journals in the field. The question that Nigerians have continued to ask is why there are only two recipients in the face of millions of intellectuals, and based on the resources that have been channelled in the quest for knowledge. Could it be that most Nigerian academics are not engaging in research or are not involved in proper learning? The Governing Board Chairman of the Nigerian National Merit Awards (NNMA), Prof. Etim Essien in his response said having several recipients would give a false impression of intellectual excellence as proper scrutiny must be adhered to in the selection process which reveals that some are more talented than others. “No, not at all; in fact it would have been the opposite if we had up to 20 or 30 eligible candidates. I would have wondered if it reflects the true intellectual excellence prevalent in this country. It is not only in this country, it is worldwide. I have found that in every country, this level of prize of intellectual activity is severely restricted. Restricted in the sense that it is the number that is able to scale through the system that has been put in place to select the real best; when you say real best, it means the real best.” In the face of the awards, Nigerian universities ranking with other universities in the world comes to play as they are yet to find a space in the top 1,000 globally. Are Nigerians in anyway responsible for the gap or have some international politics which are anti the Nigerian university system found their way in the ranking order? When also did Nigeria lose its educational prowess? Essien responded thus: “The honest answer in my opinion is that I do not think so. But then you would immediately ask did they do so in the past when the system was not that bad? We usually had maybe just one or two. Whatever the level of performance, the highly talented are not all over the place, they are just few. “It is historical. It is a long time since it started. I think it’s around 1989 when I was at the University of Ibadan and gave my inaugural lecture. I did make comment then that we should watch that the system appeared to be sleeping and there was the need to watch. Ibadan at that time was one of the foremost universities in the commonwealth and the topmost in the continent. So it is a long time. There is need to identify the exact cause or causes. There is the need to identify and the need to take action. The time to take action


is now because this is long overdue. “There are some systems that will suppress even the few that are sprouting. Some suppressive regimes will not allow for intellectual freedom; for the intellectual to express himself. Such systems will suppress the few, while other systems will allow them to sprout.” Essien added that the award was not set up specifically to monitor the tertiary educational system. “It is set up to identify the very best

In fact it would have been the opposite if we had up to 20 or 30 eligible candidates. I would have wondered if it reflects the true intellectual excellence prevalent in this country. It is not only in this country, it is worldwide. I have found that in every country, this level of prize of intellectual activity is severely restricted

in an efficiently functional education system anywhere in the world. For Nigeria, it is limited to Nigerians. Other people have similar institutions that have been set up to encourage their own citizens. We can say naturally, we have the character of the distribution of talents, top talents. “It is not available for everybody in the market place. It is simply highly selective. What the environment does or should do is to encourage that which is present to find itself and come out, stand up and stand out of the system. Our system encourages such talents to sprout and stand out and grow.” It is expected that the annual exercise, which has attracted N10 million to each recipient in 2016 will encourage the entire system to pull itself up. With this, Essien further stated: “We expect that the system should identify this situation and ask the sort of question such as: ‘Is everyone who is eligible given a chance’? The answer is yes. We advertise and it is made available to everybody and it is up to the persons to assess themselves or their relations. “We accept that there are better talented people than others, but what we are worrying about is that the system should be such that should allow every talent its roots. It should promote every talent to germinate and sprout and spread out. The result of the growth will be for the benefit of the society itself. Part of our function is to stimulate and challenge people towards making them know that this

exist. It is a recognition system. If you have a talent, use it to the best of your advantage to develop yourself and by extension, use it to develop the society. That is the essence of our existence.” Concerning the challenges faced, if any, in the selection process, the NNMA boss revealed that the board has never expressed fears on account of the possibility that there might not be winners. “We don’t in fact worry whether or not there will be recipients. We did worry for a while when Prof. Wole Soyinka did not apply. I wasn’t the chairman then, but the system was concerned. “Soyinka is outstanding by world standard in recognition of his talent as a writer, poet and dramatist. That is what the world recognises him for. So he is an outstanding world citizen. He is a world citizen from where he originated and so should be acknowledged and recognised. The award may not be all gold, but it is your best bet. When he finally acknowledged it, his works went through the system. He submitted his works and it went through the various steps. “The steps are really stringent. We do worry more than ever because of the concern of the standard of education and the products that emanate from the system and whether or not it will continue to produce the very best in the years to come. That does raise concern.” It is hoped that the jinx of few recipients in the NNMA will be broken as soon as education is given its proper place in Nigeria as the case may be in other developed countries.




TETFund Spends N122bn on Tertiary Institutions in 2016 Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) said it has spent N122 billion as part of its intervention in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education from the N156.3 billion allocated this year. The Executive Secretary, Abdullahi Baffa, who stated this

during an oversight function by the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund led by its Chairman, Sen. Jibrin Barau in Abuja, said the agency still had about N34 billion as outstanding disbursements in its 2016 budgetary allocation. He said the agency has so far disbursed N57 billion to universities from the N74

billion allocated, while N17 billion is left as balance. He gave a breakdown of the figures showing that N31 billion has been disbursed to polytechnics from the allocated N40 billion with N8.4 billion as outstanding disbursements. Baffa said the agency has spent N32.8 billion from the N45 billion allocated to

colleges of education with an outstanding N8.6 billion. “For the universities, we have allocated about N74 billion and we have disbursed about N57.7 billion and there is a balance of N16 billion. For the polytechnics, N40 billion was allocated, N31 billion disbursed and about N8.6 billion balance. For the colleges of education,

N41.5 billion was allocated, N32.8 billion disbursed and about N8.6 billion outstanding. In total, we have allocated N156.3 billion.” The executive secretary added that 50 per cent of registered companies in Nigeria are evading the payment of two per cent education tax to the Federal Inland Revenue

Services (FIRS). In his remarks, Barau urged the agency to ensure that Nigerian universities return to global competitive heights. He urged Baffa to come up with suggestions in the amendment of the TETFund Act that would allow the agency to achieve its mandate.

Minister Backs JAMB on Cut-off Marks Kuni Tyessi in Abuja The Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, has thrown his weight behind the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s (JAMB) decision to abolish the uniform cut-off marks for admission into all tertiary institutions in the country, maintaining that the current policy lacks fairness, equity and logic. He said he is in support of the board’s decision to introduce discriminatory cut-off marks for admissions into Nigerian universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. The minister therefore directed JAMB to consult widely with relevant stakeholders to come up with new and separate cut-off marks for university admission, polytechnics and colleges of education which will take effect from the 2017/2018 academic session. He also restated that the responsibility for admission into tertiary institutions rests solely on the senate or the academic board of such institutions. In the case of universities, Anwukah said “senate admits, senate graduates, full stop.” Meanwhile, the minister has ordered JAMB to publish in full, the list of unutilised admission slots into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education on a course-by-course basis at the end of the first leg of the admission process to enable students and or parents take advantage of existing admission

vacancies in institutions where they exist. This he said will prevent a situation where some institutions have more than the number of students they need, while others can hardly fill their quota. He also advised parents not to keep their wards at home because they have not gained admission into an institution or course of their choice, explaining that it is better to have their children in school while they await admission into their schools and courses of choice. Making his presentation earlier at the meeting between Anwukah and chief executives of agencies under the ministry, the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyode, said the notion generally being held that the carrying capacity of Nigerian universities is far below the number of candidates that qualify for admission is wrong. Oloyode said the fact that 1.5 million candidates have sat for JAMB does not translate to 1.5 million qualifying for admission. He explained that only those with the requisite 180 cut-off marks can be considered for admission, adding that even out of those who make 180, a significant number may not have five credits required for admission. He decried the situation where candidates are required to produce credits in mathematics to be admitted to read Law, English or French Languages, describing such requirements as unnecessary bottlenecks.


L-R: A student of Oregun Senior Secondary School, Ebuka Asogwa; Uche David of Eric Moore Senior High School; Pelumi Fabiyi of Oregun Senior High School; the Project Champion, Beyond the School initiative, Mrs. Clemetine Vervelde; Godwin Daniel of Eric Moore Senior High School; and Lateef Sule of Oregun Senior Secondary School, displaying their prizes at the end of the Monopoly contest as part of the Beyond the School initiative in Lagos... recently

NB, Others Task Students on Talents, Career Devt Uchechukwu Nnaike Some of the pieces of advice that facilitators of the recent ‘Beyond the School’ programme emphasised on were that students should look beyond their current circumstances and dream big; poverty is not an excuse for failure; students should read wide and develop their talents amidst their academic pursuits. Beyond the School, the career counselling initiative, sponsored by the Nigerian Breweries/ Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, is designed for senior secondary school students in

public schools to expose them to career options and factors they need to consider before making a career choice. The participating students and teachers were from Oregun Senior Secondary School; Vetland Senior Secondary School, Agege; Government Senior Secondary School, Ikoyi; Baptist Senior High School, Obanikoro; and Eric Moore Senior High School, Surulere. Addressing the students at the event, held at the Eko Hotels, Lagos, the Project Champion, Mrs. Clementine Vervelde, urged them to believe in themselves and stand up boldly to chal-

lenges they might encounter in their career pathways. “The knowledge you now have will help you find disciplines that you are passionate about. You also have to develop the skills needed to succeed in those disciplines. This programme is about enlightenment for your career and your future. After all you have learnt today, you should be able to sit down and think of where you want to be in the next few years. The power lies in your hands.” While describing a career as a combination of hobby, skill,

passion and job, Vervelde urged the students to have a proper understanding of their chosen career by conducting thorough research, exercise self-discipline, as well as to be bold enough to approach a role model that would mentor them. The Corporate Affairs Adviser of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Kufre Ekanem, said the programme was introduced to complement other initiatives of the company targeted at the education sector. He advised the students to work hard at their academics in spite of the economic challenges confronting them and the nation at large.

Loral Inducts New Academic Champions Girl Guides to Partner Lagos on Teacher into Platinum Club Training Peace Obi Determined to stir the competitive spirit of its students towards attaining greater heights in their academics, the management of Loral International Secondary School, FESTAC, Lagos recently inducted some students with outstanding academic records into the Platinum Club for the 2016/2017 academic session. Subject to a yearly review by the school, a student’s membership of the club is said to be guaranteed only through sustained brilliant performance in all subjects. According to the VicePrincipal (Academics), Mr. Clement Ogunseye, the introduction of academic clubs, is a shift from the traditional

grading and ranking of first, second and third positions to creating a range where more than one student occupies the first position. He said the adopted grading system enables the school to discover the excellent ones among its students; know where each child belongs academically and be able to design the most suitable teaching and learning approaches that will bring out the best in every child. Ogunseye added that while grading the students into academic clubs helps the school to handle lock ties in positions, it also challenges the students to pay adequate attention to all their subjects. “It is possible to have a student as the best in mathematics, but we know that there are other

subjects that are very important in the curriculum, so we try to look at the performance of students across the subjects.” While urging the achievers to always strive for excellence in their studies, he said, “do not see your achievement thus far as the limit, we beckon on you today not to rest on your oars. You should realise that that there is no permanent sit in any of the clubs, some other students are also aspiring to be part of this winning team. So, be consistent and work harder to retain your membership.” He also challenged those that are not part of the club this year to work harder, as there is always room for those who wish to join the achievers next year.

The Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA) has announced plans to partner the Lagos State Government to train it teachers. The Coordinator of the association’s pet project `Voice against Violence’, Mrs. Lilian Damie, who disclosed this in Lagos, said the essence of the collaboration is to impart knowledge with best practices on ways to educate children on various forms of violence. She said the association would be happy if the state government could come up with a non-formal co-educational initiative that would educate children on the dangers of violence among children in its curriculum. Such a development she said would empower and sensitise

young people, especially girls and young women to know their rights, as well as support them to find the voice to generate a national action to end violence. “Right now we are planning an advocacy visit to the Lagos State commissioner for education to seek partnership to train not less than 90 teachers. These teachers would be drawn from the six education districts spread across the state. “These 90 teachers are then expected to go back to their various districts and schools and retrain others in order to achieve maximum effect or effect. This training if approved would commence between January and April 2017 in Lagos. This will serve as a pilot programme. The next

phase of this training will also be carried out in Abuja, Anambra and Delta States in August 2017.” Damie noted that with such advocacy and trainings spread across the country, national development would be accelerated based on a violent- free society. She said the NGGA has the capacity and an approved Child Protection Policy to ensure that rights of children, especially the girl child is conserved. Meanwhile she has called on the federal government to expedite action in ensuring that the remaining Chibok girls who were still in captivity are freed. She said such violence is among some of the societal ills that the association is fighting against to its various advocacy programmes.




NTI Staff Petition Minister over Alleged Suspension of Employment

John Shiklam in Kaduna

A total of 150 newly employed staff of the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) Kaduna, have petitioned the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu following the alleged suspension of their appointments by the management of the institute. In the petition dated October 18, 2016 and signed on their behalf by Tanimu Aliyu Magaji, they said the minister of education gave approval for their employment and all due processes were followed. They were employed in April 2016 by the former Director General of the institute, Dr. Ladan Sharehu. However, they alleged that just when their data were being captured in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) at the office of the Accountant General in Abuja, the new Director General, Prof. Garba Azare on assumption of office, allegedly suspended their appointments. In the petition titled ‘Letter of Complaint’, the 150 staff said the Federal Character Commission (FCC) was represented during the interview

for the recruitment on March 23 and 24, 2016, after which the commission issued certificates of compliance to the institute, attesting that due process was followed in the exercise. They said the NTI secured approval for their appointments from the FCC after series of communications between the two organisations. According to the petition, it was after the FCC had issued certificates of compliance to the institute that they were issued letters of appointment. “For the purpose of setting the records straight, the newly employed staff were employed sequel to the approval of the minister of education for staff replacement exercise in a letter dated March 9, 2016 and with reference number NTI/ HMSE/315/127.” The aggrieved staff sent copies of the petition to the presidency; the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF); the head of civil service, the chairman of FCC; the National Human Rights Commission; Public Complaints Commission; and president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The petition added that individual files

were opened for each new staff and file numbers issued thereafter, (both open and secured file) and staff numbers issued to them. “Account details were collected and registration with various insurance companies duly perfected, the new staff were requested to go to the Treasury House (office of the Accountant General, Abuja) for IPPIS exercise between August 4 and 8, 2016. “The exercise had already started with biometric capturing of some of us. To our utter dismay, the exercise was abruptly suspended on August 5, 2016 for no reason and since then we were left to continue wallowing in financial turmoil and economic quagmire.” They appealed to the minister to intervene in the matter as many of them have families to cater for, having earlier resigned from their former places of work and had been without means of livelihood. “Our hue and cries are voiced to your notice bearing in mind that you will use your endowed wisdom and kindness to come to our succour and ensure that we are fairly treated and given due entitlements as workers under your stewardship.”


L-R: The Managing Director SystemSpecs, John Obaro; the Alumni Director, Lagos Business School (LBS), Bunmi Afolabi; Vice-President, LBS Alumni Association, Dr. Clare Omatseye; and the Academic Director, LBS, Olayinka David West, during the LBS 25th anniversary walk for education in Lagos… recently

Firm Empowers Students for Purposeful Leadership Funmi Ogundare The Standard Mandate International (SMI) recently held its 2016 school prefects and leadership summit for primary and secondary school students to help them develop their leadership potential and set them on the path to purposeful and impactful living. The programme with theme ‘Driving Change: Today and in the Future’, which held at the Multipurpose Hall of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) for private school students, featured lectures by experts on related topics. In his remarks, the convener, Dr. Nelson Ayodele, harped on leadership qualities for the prefects, saying that since they play an important role in helping with the smooth running of their schools, they have to lead by example by maintaining exemplary standards of personal conduct. “The prefects are responsible for embodying the schools’ expectation of all students thus leading by example. A leader

is expected to change things positively, learn to set goals and communicate to followers regularly. Leaders are always optimistic and must ensure that things don’t remain the same.” Ayodele also stressed the need for followers to be patient with the leaders, as change cannot happen overnight. “Leaders must dive change within their school and society in future. Change will come whether you want it or not. Change is good; it is growth and expansion. Change is an opportunity and it is getting ahead of your competitors. We must realise that change requires time. As young people, we must learn to pray for the leaders as we all need to be part of the change we want.” The Head Teacher of Pauline Johnson Children School, Obanikoro, Dr. Pauline Johnson, advised the students to be change agents and stand out in all they do, saying that leadership is something that must be valued. “I am happy that change is taking place and there are different ways of doing

things,” she said and urged the students to support their schools and put what they have learnt at the summit into practice and live lives worthy of emulation. The Head Teacher of University of Lagos Women Society Schools, Mrs. Abimbola Afolabi, who spoke on ‘Character Development and Academic Excellence for Prefects and Young Leaders’, said they must have good character to drive the change they want. “Having a good character must go hand-in-hand with your academic excellence. You must be humble and hospitable; you must be trustworthy and treat others with respect.” To drive change, she said a leader must learn to put others in his/her shoes and must care about others, adding that to achieve academic excellence, the leader must strive to study when others are playing. “Leadership without good character will not take you far; you have to marry the two as it will help you move on in life. A leader must stand out academically, socially and morally.”

It All Applies to Us! Yes, it all applies to us. “What?” you might ask is “all”? Permit me to first do a little rambling and I’d certainly come to “all.” When I look at the extent to which a qualified teacher functions, I realise that most of us haven’t even touched the “tip of the iceberg”. A teacher’s scope of subject matter is endless, whilst learning on the other hand, can occur at any time or place. The other day, on shift, an older colleague mentioned that she was coming to Nigeria. She seemed very elated to be visiting home after having been away for many years. She however expressed concerns that she must have run off her immunity to BCG. “What is BCG?” the domestic staff who was within earshot asked. Isn’t it that vaccine given to children around their birth or is it infancy? “Tuberculosis!” my older colleague screeched. “Tuberculosis is rife in Nigeria and we all seem to fold our hands and look!” She got up and paced the floor for a while then stopped and flatly stated, “it all applies to us!” Then melodramatically on her fingers, she began to count out the factors that cause tuberculosis. “One, living in crowded conditions. Two, living in, coming from or having spent time in a country or area that has high levels of TB. Three prolonged contact (which could only be several hours) with somebody who is infected with tuberculosis. Four, having a condition that weakens your immune system, and of course we have poorly treated HIV patients. Five, having treatments that could weaken the immune system, and of course we have loads of people on chemotherapy. Six, having loads of young and loads of old people whose immune systems are weak by virtue of their life stages. Seven, poverty, which makes it impossible for people to eat healthily, live in healthier conditions and practice healthy lifestyles. Eight, having a society full of druggies (drug users), alcohol misuse and homelessness”… “Really?” I countered, never wanting anyone to speak ill of my Nigeria. “Yes!” my older colleague hissed. I sunk deeper into my chair face down now reliving the throes of tuberculosis, having once lost someone dear to me to tuberculosis. I remembered with hot tears stinging my eyes, the symptoms this individual experienced as the disease travelled from their lungs and spread to other vital organs of their body. I stood up and went dazedly to stand by my older colleague. Like her, I began to pelt out the Symptoms of Tuberculosis: “A persistent cough lasting for more than three weeks” “Producing phlegmy sputum” “Coughing up blood” “Weight loss” “Night sweat” “High temperature (fever and chills)” “Persistent tiredness and fatigue” “Loss of appetite” “Swelling in the neck”… “Adie, I mouthed to the one I lost some years ago, to tuberculosis in Nigeria, “another Yuletide without you is yet another painful experience!” If you have any of the symptoms described above, please consult the doctor immediately. Tuberculosis (that is, pulmonary tuberculosis) is highly contagious but curable. Delay to get treatment could however be fatal... Omoru writes from the UK

Senator Converts Home to Community School in Bauchi

Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

A senator representing Bauchi South, Malam Ali Wakili, has converted his house in Lere Village, Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state to a primary school for the benefit of children of the community. The lawmaker, who disclosed this recently during the graduation ceremony of 37 pupils of ‘Tarbiyatul Islam’ Nursery and Primary School, Lere, explained that he dedicated his house located near the school in order to expand it and provide more classrooms that would accommodate many children. He regretted that the local government still has few schools built by the government hence his decision to hand over his plot and the empty house to the community for conversion into a school to complement the existing ones and encourage parents to enroll their

children. Wakili, who donated N90,000 to the school, a sewing machine to the overall best male pupil, Mansur Musa and a grinding machine to his female counterpart, Hussaina Munkaila, also promised to sponsor all the 37 graduands in junior secondary schools. This was just as he revealed that he recently built a special lodge for corps members in the area and called on school authority to request for deployment of the youths from the ‘National Youths Service Corps’ (NYSC) to the school to assist in inculcating knowledge in the pupils. In his remarks, the Headmaster, Alhaji Yusuf Dandada explained that the school started with less than 100 children in nursery and primary sections, but it currently has almost 500 pupils which according to him was an indication that parents in the village are now interested in sending their offsprings to school.




Jega Cautions ASUU over Unrealistic Demands Kuni Tyessi in Abuja The Pro-Chancellor of Plateau State University, Bokkos, and former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has warned the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over making demands that might not be met by the government. He stated this in Abuja during the 2016 Nigeria higher education summit with the theme ‘Exploiting Diversity, Differentiation and Quality

Assurance in Revitalising the Nigerian Higher Education System’. According to him, while demands by unions should be realistic, the federal government as an employer of labour should do more in its funding responsibilities, as this has become the major crisis bedeviling the Nigerian university system and putting it in such dire situation where some universities produce and sell bread and pure water. These he said are not the business of universities but the production

of prototypes for industries to manufacture. “Stopping strikes is very important and it is a function of dialogue and discussions of agreements and respecting those agreements. Nothing is impossible to solve if there is dialogue and discussions. It is important for government as an employer of labour to be done over with backwardness. It is also important for unions to be realistic with demands made and to be accommodating for realistic solutions for university system. “The crisis of funding in

Nigerian universities is acute and whereas it is important for universities to generate funding and also for all stakeholders to contribute, the primary responsibility of funding universities is that of government. Putting universities in such a dire situation where they have to be doing things like selling of pure water is frankly not the business of universities. “We want young unemployed youth to be involved in such entrepreneurial activities and to generate income for themselves. Universities are

in the business of giving out knowledge. It will be good if our universities can have the capacity to produce prototypes which they can engage Nigerian industries to manufacture. But for a university to become so dire in its desperate need for money in baking and selling bread or selling pure water is frankly unwholesome and should be discouraged.” Jega added: “Government needs to provide sufficient funding for the universities and it is not that government has no money. It is just that government needs to re-arrange its

priorities so that it recognises education as important and provide commensurate funding for the universities.” “There are many challenges in the university system and I have mentioned that of leadership crisis. Obviously when government is afraid that the money it gives to universities will be stolen or misused is a serious concern, Nigerian university leaders and management need to have an inclusive transparent process of governance in the universities for the management of resources.”

Benue SUBEB Trains 1,000 Teachers on Jolly Phonics George Okoh in Makurdi The fight against illiteracy in Benue State has received a boost with the State Universal Basic Education Board training 1,000 teachers in the Jolly Phonics programme. Jolly Phonics is one of the world’s leading synthetic phonics programme, widely used in schools in the UK, among other countries. It teaches the 42 sounds of the English Language in a fun and fast way, enabling students to read and write with confidence. Free materials from the UK publisher, Jolly Learning worth N105,326,000 were also donated to teachers, students and classrooms across the state by Universal Learning Solutions (ULS), which manages the project across Nigeria. ULS is a not-for -profit organisation whose vision is of a world where all children can read and write with confidence and enjoy their right to learn, thus helping to release a child’s infinite potential. The Jolly Phonics training held in Otukpo, Makurdi and Adikpo, where primary one and two teachers, head teachers and officials received three-day intensive training from a team of expert trainers. They were

exposed to the Jolly Phonics methodology and equipped with skills needed for effective mentoring, monitoring, assessing literacy skills and evaluating the implementation of the method. The Chairman of SUBEB, Reverend Philip Tachin and the Director, Academic Services, Dr. Emmanuel Shima were on hand to ensure the success of the Jolly Phonics project in the state, as they, accompanied by the commissioner for education and the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu visited the venues to assess the impact of the training. In his remarks, Tachin said he was delighted to show the government’s commitment towards improving the literacy rate in the state with the Jolly Phonics. “This is one of the most effective tools available internationally to help our pupils to read and write. I am committed to ensuring that this project makes the maximum impact possible.” The CEO of Universal Learning Solutions, Mr. Gary Foxcroft, who was also optimistic said, “we are delighted to be expanding our work into Benue State and wish to thank the state government for providing such a wonderful enabling environment for this project.

Umunze College Awaits Renovation of Dilapidated Road Staff and students of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State currently await the commencement of rehabilitation work on the dilapidated Nsogwu Road that leads to the institution. Governor Willie Obiano had during his visit to the college recently promised the rehabilitation of the road within two weeks. Addressing journalists at the permanent site of the college, the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sam Otti, said the agony experienced by staff and students on the road would soon be over, as the state government has promised to reconstruct the link road. He said the busy road serves staff and students of the college, as well as residents of

Nsogwu and other adjoining areas within the locality, adding that the road had become a death trap for users following its neglect by past administrations in the state. Otti announced that the college management renamed the link road Chief Willie Obiano Boulevard during the governor’s visit, where he donated a 32-seater Toyota bus to the college. According to him, the road was renamed after Obiano in recognition of his laudable infrastructure development and improvement in the state’s education sector. It was said that the neglect of the road turned it to a death trap, with bumps, potholes, failed spots and gully. To alleviate the suffering of the


From Left: Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Emeritus Prof. Francis Fajemirokun, with the National President, Nigeria Association of Geodesy (NAG), Prof. Francis Okeke, at the 2016 assembly/national conference of the association at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus… recently

‘Devt of Arts, Culture will Earn Nigeria Huge Revenue’ Funmi Ogundare The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr. Adesina Odeyemi, has called for more emphasis on the development of arts and culture in the country, saying that the move will generate huge revenue in local and foreign currencies and attract tourists. Odeyemi, who made this known at the 2016 celebration of arts and culture with the theme ‘Bringing the Past into the Present and the Future’, said the programme was intended “to remind us of our culture as a people and to sustain and grow same to international standard and generate revenue from it just as it is done in other climes.” He said the theme of the celebration shows that arts and culture are the bridges connecting the past to the present and if sustained and nurtured, will be preserved for the younger generation to meet and savour. “Every action we take today must be such that we don’t put the survival of the future generation in jeopardy in an ever competitive world,” he said, while describing art as a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks) and expressing the author’s imaginative or

technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. “Culture is a way of life of a group of people. The behaviours, belief, values and symbols that they accept generally without thinking about them and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. Arts and culture are like inseparable Siamese twins, they co-habit and co-exist and influence on another greatly. The arts represent an outlet of expression that is usually influenced by culture and which in turn helps to change culture. As such, the arts are a physical manifestation of the internal creative impulse.” Odeyemi advised the students to use their artistry talents positively for the growth of the culture, just as he told them to introduce new initiatives that will result in rebranding and attracting patronage of local and foreign tourism. He charged them to develop their talents beyond the raw knowledge they have now and exploit it to be self-sufficient and become employers of labour rather than seeking jobs that are not available. “Your passion for arts should not becloud your quest for academic excellence because education will come handy in everything that you do.”

Strive for Relevance through Continuous Learning, Students Told The Managing Consultant, Life Imprints, Mr. Kelechi Anyalechi, has advised Nigerian students to regularly update their knowledge base to be relevant, adding that new knowledge is needed to excel in today’s dynamic world. Anyalechi, who was the Chairman of the 2016 speech and prize-giving ceremony of Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Lagos with the theme ‘Consolidating on Excellence’, stressed that the right information is needed for one to channel one’s energy appropriately. “Students must be ready to excel in all they do; also, new action become necessary after acquiring new information/new knowledge in order to excel to highest level of their lives because yesterday’s excellence may possibly not be relevant today.” He urged the students not to be complacent for continuous success and development to manifest always. In her address titled ‘Consolidating Excellence in the Light of Yesterday’s Successes’, the Principal, Mrs. Adeyoyin Adeshina, commended every member of the school whose rigorous efforts helped to ensure the successes recorded in the past school year. According to her, “continuous effort -not strength or intelligence - is key to unlocking your potential. These are my

words of encouragement to all the students today. May your resolve be never dampened and your zeal never lost.” While commending parents, she said “the work we do as parents and educators shape the future. We must guide them on that precarious path to self-discovery.” She also expressed satisfaction with the performance of its students in the May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), saying that with measures put in place, there was a substantial improvement on previous performances.“Worthy to note is the fact that two of our students, Precious Enahoro and Maryam Nuru obtained A1s in all nine subjects they registered for. Many students obtained enviable results in the examination and many have since moved on to top-ranking schools. “In our internal examinations, there was an appreciable improvement in students’ performance across year groups and in all subjects. We believe that measures such as more closely monitored study hours strictly enforced weekly essay-writing, consolidated technology deployment in teaching-learning, and an embracing of value education helped in no small measures to bring about the successes we celebrate today.”




Acting Features Editor: Charles Ajunwa Email

Anambra's First Lady Makes a Difference

Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, wife of the Anambra State governor, has been using her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, to touch the lives of indigent women in Anambra in diverse ways, writes David-Chyddy Eleke

Mrs. Obiano (2nd left), presenting keys to one of the beneficiaries of CAFE's housing for indigent widows


n Anambra State, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano has become synonymous with philanthropy. Using her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement (CAFE), the governor’s wife has touched lives of indigent people in the state. From providing walking aids to crippled persons, to hearing aids for the deaf, donating food items to motherless babies’ homes, she has moved into bigger projects like organising skills acquisition for women and youths without sources of livelihood, and also providing stipends for them to set up something to practice what they learnt. Not done, the governor’s wife has also been organising healthcare screening and treatments, talking to rural women on health issues and encouraging immunisation for children, among others. Some of CAFE’s achievements include; skills and empowerment training for over 2,000 women, prosthetic limbs and wheel chairs for 800 persons; free cleft lip/cleft palate surgeries, the rescue and care for mentally challenged and the building of toilets in rural markets amongst other programmes. Recently, the governor’s wife achieved a new feat when 27 inmates who had been undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at the Home for Mentally Challenged at Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State were certified fit and discharged to reunite with their families, with all bills settled by her. What is new is that the governor’s wife who has come to be known as the new 'Mother Teresa' in the state has made good her resolve to build as many houses as the donations to her NGO can carry to ensure that indigent people have roofs over their heads. Her targets here are widows, whose husbands left them behind with children, but no houses for them to live in. So far, 10 of such houses, all two bedroom apartments have been handed over to beneficiaries. CAFE housing for indigent widows, the governor’s wife said was a programme conceived

It is true, the governor’s wife, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano built a house for me. Everyday I sleep and wake up in that house, it still seems to me like a dream. She did it and handed to me, without asking that I pay her back, or any other condition. I pray everyday that God will bless her and her family

Mrs. Obiano...Anambra's 'Mother Teresa'

to assist indigent widows and the projects are strategically spread across the three senatorial zones of the state with beneficiaries selected on the basis of those adjudged to be most in need in their communities. Some of the beneficiaries who have been handed the keys of their houses include; late Mrs. Chidili Igboamalu at Isioye Village Umunya, Oyi Local Government Area, Mrs. Nneuwa Nwajideofor at Enugwu Otu Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area as well as Mrs. Maureen Ekesiobi in Ogbunike, Oyi Local Government Area. Other beneficiaries were Mrs. Chinyeaka Okeke in Amichi, Nnewi South, and Mrs. Margaret Anoyou of Amorka, Ihiala Local Government Area among others. THISDAY recently went in search some of the beneficiaries, to feel their pulse. At Nri, Anaocha Local Government Area, the very beautiful two

bedroom bungalow built for Mrs. Catherine Ibekwe, a poor widow, whose husband left her homeless years back. Once inside the compound which was fenced, this reporter was greeted with an unusual quietness, which suggested that there was no one at home. Just when the reporter was about to beat a retreat after calling out to the occupant of the building, the gate opened and a lady walked in. On enquiry, she introduced herself as Cordelia, a sister to Mrs. Ibekwe’s late husband, who came to check on her. When it became obvious that Mrs. Ibekwe was not at home, Cordelia offered to take this reporter to Uruofor Village, where Mrs. Ibekwe works as a domestic staff of a certain family, Nnalue Family. The visibly elated widow told THISDAY that, “It is true, the governor’s wife, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano built a house for me. Everyday I sleep and wake up

in that house, it still seems to me like a dream. She did it and handed to me, without asking that I pay her back, or any other condition. I pray everyday that God will bless her and her family.” She said she resides in the house with her only daughter, and that before the house was built for her, she was living in a dilapidated mud house with leaking thatch roof. In Amatutu Village in Agulu, same Anaocha Local Government, another beneficiary, Mrs. Felicia Okafor, a frail looking widow said, “I was very critically ill when they were building this house, I was away for treatment, but when I returned, I was shown this beautiful house and told that this is where I will be living. I enquired how it happened and I was told that the governor’s wife built it for me. It still does not look like truth to me, and I have been living in this house since that time.” She showed THISDAY the makeshift house she was living in before she was built the house. According to her, before then, she had sent two of her older children to her sister in another village to be staying, as the makeshift house was too small to contain them. On why she has not




Mrs. Catherine Ibekwe, a beneficiary of Mrs Obiano's housing for indigent widows

Front view of the house built by Mrs. Obiano and donated to Mrs. Catherine Ibekwe

Mrs. Helen Felicia Okafor, a widow and beneficiary of Mrs. Obiano's housing for indigent widows

demolished the makeshift house since after the new one was built, Mrs. Okafor laughed and said she does not want to. “Since this house was built for me, people have been coming here to find out if it is true that the governor’s wife built a house for me. I tell them it is true, and I also show them the house I was living before. That is why I left this one. I use it to remember my condition then. Today, I live like a queen. You can come into the house and see how beautiful it is. I have said when I have money, I will buy something, even if it is a small goat and take it to Awka and give to the governor’s wife to thank her.” When THISDAY enquired to know how the governor’s wife came to the place, which was not motorable, and was tucked right inside the bush, she said she was sure the governor’s wife trekked the long distance to her house as she was sure she could not have come in her car. The visibly over excited widow who mistook this reporter as coming from the governor’s wife pleaded for time to rush to her backyard to get some vegetable to be sent to her. When THISDAY visited another beneficiary, Mrs. Chidili Igboamalu at Isioye Village Umunya, Oyi Local Government Area, it was learnt that the First Lady had promised to build her a two bedroom bungalow in October 2015, after she was told of her condition, but Igboamalu later died before the completion of the house, but the governor’s wife resolved to finish and hand the keys of the house to her daughter, Miss blessing Igboamalu as a fulfillment of her promise. Miss Igboamalu, who THISDAY learnt is still a student was not available for interview when the reporter visited.

One of the houses built by Anambra First Lady for indigent widows

What is even more unique about the houses built by the First Lady was that they all had boreholes drilled and attached to them. Explaining the unique idea of building a house and a borehole, the governor’s wife had during the presentation said that whereas the beneficiary widow takes possession of the house, she is able to access water from the borehole but the water source is extended to serve members of the community. According to the governor’s wife, a woman leader is charged with the task of managing and maintaining each borehole for a period of two months after which the management

Since this house was built for me, people have been coming here to find out if it is true that the governor’s wife built a house for me…Today, I live like a queen. You can come into the house and see how beautiful it is. I have said when I have money, I will buy something, even if it is a small goat and take it to Awka and give to the governor’s wife to thank her

is transferred to another woman thus serving as a source of empowerment. Speaking on how she sources funds to carry out all the projects, the First Lady told THISDAY through Hon. Emeka Ozumba, a Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Communications that, “Caring Family Enhancement (CAFE) initiative, was founded by the wife of the governor, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano and managed with the husband’s salary, self and donors’ support. The clarification becomes necessary to douse insinuations and suggestions in certain quarters.” Ozumba said, “Ndi Anambra and discerning members of the public deserve to be adequately informed on the sources of funding for the laudable programmes of the charity. Most of you know that the governor started supporting CAFE with his salary long before other public spirited donors added their contributions. Anambra does not have a First Lady and there is no statutory budget or allocation for such an office by the legislature. Thus being conscious of the provisions of the law and the need to ensure that his wife continues with charitable works she is known for all her life, the governor staked his monthly salary which hitherto had gone to churches as contributions. “The governor and the wife had clear understanding of the importance of ensuring that the welfare of the average Anambra woman is not neglected, and that the governor’s wife is playing her role in the effective mobilisation of the women folk for participation in governance. Thus as a well-honed technocrat and auditor of repute Obiano set the parametres for private

funding of CAFE before the formal launch in 2014. Ozumba listed Chief Engr. Arthur Eze, a billionaire philanthropist and chairman of Oranto Oil, Ernest Azudialu (Obijackson), another wealthy son of the state and many corporate firms and groups as some of those who have been supporting Mrs. Obiano with her charity works in the state to women. He said, normally names of such donors are clearly engraved on the plaques of CAFE projects such as toilets built in some rural market toilet across. It is for works like these that the governor’s wife strides have not gone unnoticed. Recently Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH) supported by the European Union (EU) and the (UNICEF) had named her a WASH ambassador. A joint delegation from the EU and the UNICEF announced this when they visited Governor Obiano at the Governor's Lodge, Amawbia. The award was later conferred on her in a more elaborate function that saw her shinning like a million stars. A visibly elated governor’s wife told the crowd after receiving her award that she was only into philanthropy to help the needy, and touch lives positively and never intended to do so for recognition. She said she has been into it, long before her husband became governor, and that her husband’s position only gave her the leverage to do more than she had done as an individual. THISDAY also gathered that another round of two bedroom bungalow are currently under construction in several communities across Anambra, which will be donated to widows who have been certified not to have decent places to live in by community leaders.








Cuba: Leftist Allies Fly in to Pay Tribute to Castro Leaders of Cuba’s leftist allies and other developing countries arrive in Havana yesterday for a mass rally commemorating Fidel Castro. Castro, who ceded control to his younger brother Raul Castro a decade ago due to poor health, died on Friday at the age of 90. For many, especially in Latin America and Africa, he was a symbol of resistance to imperialism, having ousted a U.S.-backed dictator, and a champion of the poor. Others condemned him as a tyrant whose socialism ran the island’s economy to ruin. Cuba announced nine days of mourning, including the rally on Tuesday evening in Havana’s Revolution Square - the same massive space where Castro once delivered rousing, marathon speeches. On Tuesday morning, thousands lined up in the square for a second day to file past Castro’s favourite portrait of himself, dressed in military fatigues and carrying a rifle. “He has left us physically, but from now on will multiply in the millions, because we shall follow his ideas,” said customs worker Hipolito Rodriguez, 67, dressed in khaki military fatigues as he waited for his turn to pay homage.

“He was the father of the nation. It is like losing a beloved relative. He has left us a legacy we must continue.” Many leaders of Latin America’s left, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Bolivian President Evo Morales, flew in to attend the ceremony. Maduro, speaking on Monday night, paid tribute to Castro’s “immortal force.” Also expected are several African leaders such as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma. Nelson Mandela, while he was still alive, repeatedly thanked Castro for his efforts in helping overturn apartheid in South Africa. China has sent Vice President Li Yuanchao, and on Tuesday in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Cuban embassy to pay his condolences, saying China had lost a “close comrade and real friend”, China’s foreign ministry said. Yet few leaders from the world’s major powers are heading to the Caribbean island, with many sending second tier officials instead to pay their respects to a man who built a Communist state on the doorstep of the United States. Russian President Valdimir

Putin has skipped the ceremony to focus on preparing a major speech. However the Kremlin stressed that Putin, who described Castro as a “true friend of Russia,” held a different viewon his legacy to that of Donald Trump. The u.S. president-elect has called the Cuban leader “a brutal dictator.” Raul Castro has undertaken some economic reforms in recent years, but the one-party system remains in place and his government has signalled clearly that the death of

Fidel Castro should not be taken as a sign that the revolution he launched is over. Cubans have been urged to sign condolence books and pledges of loyalty to Castro’s socialist ideology at 1,060 tribute sites throughout the country. “I signed because he was a good man, we loved him a lot, and I wanted to reaffirm my loyalty to him and his ideas,” said Arcide Ge, 56, a security guard. “He was good to everyone, he sent doctors abroad and helped the poor here.”

All schools and government offices will be closed on Tuesday so that Cubans can more easily join the rally and other activities to pay homage to Castro, authorities said. Tens of thousands of people paid tribute in the square on Monday, some in tears and others wrapped in the red, white and blue national flag. Many state employees and school children came together in groups.

Raul Castro, 85, and top government officials held a separate, private ceremony on Monday, laying  white flowers  in front of Fidel Castro’s portrait and a box containing his ashes. On Wednesday, a procession taking Castro’s ashes will begin a slow journey east to Santiago de Cuba, where he launched the revolution. They will be laid to rest on Sunday, Dec. 4, in the city’s Santa Ifigenia cemetery, also the resting place of independence hero Jose Marti.

Libyan Commander Visits Russia Libyan military commander, Khalifa Haftar, the dominant figure in the divided country’s east, met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday and said he was seeking Moscow’s help in his fight against Islamist militants at home. Haftar, on his second visit to Moscow since the summer, requested military support from the Kremlin in September, according to Russian media. It was unclear on Tuesday if such help would be forthcoming. “Our relations are crucial, our goal today is to give life to these relations,” the TASS news agency quoted Haftar as saying at the start of talks with Lavrov. “We hope we will eliminate terrorism with your help in the nearest future.” Libya splintered into rival political and armed groupings after the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and remains deeply divided between factions based in the east and west that back rival governments and parliaments. Haftar, who is aligned with the eastern parliament and government, has been fighting a two-year military campaign with his Libyan National Army against Islamists and other opponents in Benghazi and elsewhere in the east. Many suspect he seeks national power. Donning a Russian fur hat as he entered the snow-lashed foreign ministry, Haftar told Lavrov he had met Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday to tell him about his military needs. Haftar has received public backing from Egypt and the

United Arab Emirates, and France sent special forces to work alongside Haftar’s Libyan National Army earlier this year. Recent military advances by Haftar’s forces have boosted his popularity at home. A U.N. arms embargo in place since 2011 prohibits the transfer of weapons into Libya. Only the country’s U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, which Haftar opposes, can bring in weapons and related materiel with the approval of a U.N. Security Council committee. When asked, the Kremlin did not say whether it might offer Haftar any military support, describing the talks with him as business as usual. “Moscow is in touch with various Libyan representatives and contacts with Haftar take place as part of this process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday. Haftar’s allies have previously cultivated ties with Russia, which printed banknotes for an eastern breakaway branch of Libya’s central bank. “We spoke in general,” Haftar told reporters after the talks with Lavrov. “We explained our position with regards to arms supplies. As a great country, Russia respects the arms embargo until it indicates it is an unjust verdict.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed the West for pursuing policies that he said led to civil wars in Libya and Syria. Russia launched a military operation to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last year.


President-Elect, Donald Trump tweeted that burning United States flag should be a crime

Korea to Launch Rice Processing Centre in Bida, December Says annual trade volume exceeds $4.4bn Alex Enumah in Abuja As part of efforts at contributing its quota to the development of Nigeria’s agriculture and indeed the economic development of the country, the Republic of Korea is set to launch a rice processing centew in Bida to boost rice production in Nigeria. The gesture is among the numerous assistance Korea has been given to Nigeria, through her agency; Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The Korean Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Noh Kyu-duk, made the revelation during an interaction with journalists in Abuja, on the celebration of this year’s South Korea’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) day – the day the Republic of Korea transformed itself from an aid-recipient country to a donor country by joining the inter-governmental economic organisation – Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He disclosed that the Korean Government has provided Nigeria with ODA since 1991,

mostly in the form of project aid in the areas of ICT, agriculture, education and vocational training. “To name a few large scale projects, my Embassy is building primary and junior secondary model school in Abuja and is implementing a project to strengthen the electronicgovernment system for the federal government. “The rice processing complex in Bida is almost completed awaiting official handover in coming December,” he said. The ambassador revealed further that his country will continue to make efforts to provide more grant aid to Nigeria in the years to come, especially to the Northeast region which has suffered by the terrorist insurgency. Speaking on development in Nigeria, Kyu-duk remarked that the most memorable moment for the country was the inauguration of President Buhari after the peaceful elections which resulted in the power transfer between different political parties last year.

He also commended the relentless efforts the administration has made in the fight against terrorism, restoration of transparency in governance and diversification of the economy. “I sincerely believe Nigeria will successfully achieve massive economic growth in the near future on the basis of its unlimited growth potentials. “For the development of a nation, I think the dedication and contribution of the people is the most important factor among everything. “You have the largest population in Africa and your population is young and full of potentials. And they have very resilient, perseverant and peace-loving character. With this very patriotic 170 million people, I believe, this country will become a great and prosperous nation,” the ambassador stated. While stating that there are several Korean big companies working in Nigeria’s key business sectors such as oil and gas, electricity, electronics and

automobiles and they are hiring thousands of Nigerians, he said, “Our annual trade volume exceeded $4.4 billion in 2014, making Nigeria Korea’s 26th biggest import market and the 52nd largest export market”. He disclosed that in the 1950s, Korean government’s budget depended heavily on foreign aid but with great determination the country was able to transform from aid recipient to donor and now wants to help Nigeria and other developing countries achieve similar feat. He said: “With the assistance from the international community, Korea was able to do the restoration works right after the Korean War. Korea wants to return this development assistance to our friends in the developing world. They say “If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you should go together.” “Korea wants to go together with Nigeria as a development cooperation partner in your journey towards national development.




Assad, Allies Aim to Seize Aleppo The Syrian army and its allies aim to seize all eastern Aleppo from rebels by the time U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, sticking by a Russian-backed timeline for the operation after big gains in recent days, a senior official in the military alliance fighting in support of Damascus said. The official who declined to be identified in order to speak freely indicated however that the next phase of the Aleppo campaign could be more difficult as the army and its allies seek to capture more densely populated areas of the city. The rebels have lost more than a third of the area they held in eastern Aleppo in the last few days of a government assault that has killed hundreds of people and uprooted thousands more. For the rebels, it is one of the gravest moments of the war. Rebels meanwhile fought fiercely to stop government forces advancing deeper into the opposition-held enclave on Tuesday, confronting proAssad militias who sought to move into the area from the southeast, a rebel official said. The attack on eastern Aleppo threatens to snuff out the most important urban centre of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, who has been firmly on the offensive for more than a year thanks to Russian and Iranian military support.

Capturing rebel-held eastern Aleppo would be the biggest victory to date for Assad in the conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people since it arose out of protests against his rule nearly six years ago. As Russia and Iran have stuck steadfastly by Assad, the rebels say their foreign backers including the United States have left them to their fate in their besieged enclave of eastern Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the civil war. Government forces backed by Shi’ite militias from Iran, Lebanon and Iraq punched into the rebel-held area from the northeast last week. The senior, pro-Assad official said the rebel lines had collapsed more quickly than expected. “The Russians want to complete the operation before Trump takes power,” said the official, repeating a previous timetable which pro-Damascus sources had said was drawn up to mitigate the risks of any shift in U.S. policy towards the war in Syria. Trump has indicated that he may abandon support for Syrian rebels who have received military aid from states including the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and could even cooperate with Russia against Islamic State in the country. He will be inaugurated as

president on January 20. The United States has offered aid including military support to some rebel groups under President Barack Obama, though the rebels have always said this backing has fallen well short of what they need against better armed government forces. The rebel official said the outgoing U.S. administration was paying little attention to Syria. Assad and his allies were “trying to exploit the current circumstances, unfortunately, and the Western states can’t do anything”, he

said. France, another backer of the opposition, called for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss Aleppo. “More than ever before, we need to urgently put in place means to end the hostilities and to allow humanitarian aid to get through unhindered,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement. Russia has consistently blocked attempts by Western states to take action in the Security Council against Damascus. Accounts from eastern

Aleppo, where the United Nations says at least 250,000 civilians are trapped with no access to the outside world, point to a dire humanitarian situation. People have been forced to scavenge in the garbage for  food  as aid supplies have run out, and all the hospitals in eastern Aleppo have been repeatedly bombed. The civil defence rescue service that operates in eastern Aleppo said on Monday it had nearly run out fuel to power the equipment it has been using to pull people from the rubble of bombed-out

buildings. Pummelled by air strikes, artillery and ground attacks, the rebels were forced on Monday to withdraw to more defensible lines along a highway that runs through Aleppo, hoping that it would be harder for the government side to make further gains. The rebel official with one of the main Aleppo rebel groups said the opposition fighters had managed to stabilise new frontlines, but were fighting to stop pro-government militias that sought to advance from the south.

ANC Backs Zuma after Calls for Him to Quit South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said yesterday that its executive committee had stood by President Jacob Zuma in a debate called after media reported that four ministers had demanded his resgination. The ANC denied media reports that there had been a formal no-confidence vote in the debate which ended on Monday night. The rand fell by as much as 2.5 percent against the dollar and bonds weakened as traders had hoped for a resolution to months of political uncertainty in Africa’s most industrialised economy. Since taking office in 2009, Zuma, 74, has survived several corruption scandals with the backing of senior ANC officials. “The NEC did not support the call for the president to step down,” ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told a news conference. “This issue was debated openly, robustly and, as we said, sometimes it was very difficult for members themselves.” In the run-up to the debate there had been speculation that the ANC would take a no-confidence vote. “There was no vote of no confidence in that meeting  ... There was a call for the president to step down, and that call ultimately was not acceded to after persuasion among comrades in the meeting,” Mantashe said. “The fact that we have not

forced a president of the ANC to step down means that we affirm him as the president of the ANC and president of the republic.” Mantashe said officials of the ANC’s national executive committee who called for Zuma to step down would not be punished. South African media reported on Tuesday, without naming sources, that Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom had proposed holding the vote to oust Zuma, Beeld, an Afrikaans-language daily had reported. Hanekom was unavailable to comment. Political analysts said Zuma’s leadership would be weakened by the challenge even though he had survived the vote, other media said at least four ministers had turned against him. Zuma’s presidency has been plagued by accusations of corruption, which the president has repeatedly denied. The nation’s anti-graft watchdog this month asked for a judge to investigate alleged influencepeddling by a wealthy family Zuma has called his friends. The report by the Public Protector watchdog, released on Nov. 2, focused on allegations that businessman brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta had influenced the appointment of ministers. Zuma and the Gupta brothers have denied any wrongdoing.


Military families arrived to the White House yesterday to see the Christmas decorations and were greeted by the first lady, Michelle Obama


A young boy mourns Chapecoense plane crash victims (football team) at their stadium in Chapeco




Ogbeh: Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Will Transform Nigeria’s Agriculture Obinna Chima The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh has described the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) introduced by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele as revolutionary. According to Ogbeh, with the ABP, rice revolution has started in the country. The minister said this recently, in company of Ebonyi and Kebbi States Governors, Dave Umahi and Alhaji Abubakar Baguda, during an inspection tour by the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat production to several farms in Ebonyi State. According to a statement, Ogbe noted that the ABP on rice and wheat remains one of the greatest achievement by the CBN in the last 50 years. The minister disclosed that there had been tremendous

pressure on the government to import rice in order to meet the demand for the commodity, which was an indication that those mounting such pressure never believed that the ABP was working. Ogbeh said that it does not make any economic sense to continue to spend scare foreign exchange resources on rice importation, when the country has huge potential to grow rice in commercial quantity, noting that each ship load of rice imported into the country displaces 12, 000 farmers from employment. The minister also stated that the money coming to Ebonyi state from other states that have placed order for Ebonyi rice will have significant impact on the wellbeing of the farmers and boost the economy of the state. He said time will come when Ebonyi State will generate between N6 to N7 billion from

local supply of rice, noting that successive governments were unable to to create wealth among rural dwellers until now. According to him, the CBN ABP initiative is making rural dwellers rich. The Ebonyi State Governor also commended the CBN Governor. “Events like the global recession is not only peculiar to Nigeria and you (Emefiele) have done well to manage the state of the nation’s economy” he added. Governor Umahi said people that want to pull Nigeria down were those criticising the central bank. Emefiele said with the dwindling foreign reserve, the country could not continue to import rice, hence the President Buhari’s directive to focus on Agriculture especially rice production.

Paga to Expand Agent Network to 40,000 Nigeria-based Paga has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to expand its network of local entrepreneur agents to 40,000 across the country. The move is to enable the technology firm serve 22 million customers by 2018. By that same year, the company aims to extend its savings and credit products to 5 million people across Nigeria. Launched in 2008, the BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$8 per day

in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organisations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria is a huge potential market for financial services, yet inequality, internal strife and economic instability have hampered access to these services – especially in rural areas. Despite the country’s oil resources, nearly nine in ten Nigerians live below the poverty line, with income, education and the urban-rural divide the biggest barriers to financial inclusion.

According to a statement yesterday, Paga is seeking to harness innovation in order to deliver universal access to financial services in Nigeria and beyond. Paga’s Founder and CEO, Tayo Oviosu said: “A critical factor to inclusive growth is access to finance and convenient payment systems. What we are doing at Paga is changing the delivery of financial services and making it much more accessible to everyone. In so doing we are also creating an army of entrepreneurs and jobs across Nigeria. It is very exciting. While we have started in Nigeria, our vision is pan-African.

Lagos Pledges Support for CIBN As part of activities lined up for celebrating the 50 years anniversary of the creation of Lagos, the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has expressed his readiness and willing to partner with the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CBIN) in hosting the 22nd edition of the World Conference of Banking Institute (WCBI). Ambode said the conference would be a veritable vehicle for promoting investment potentials in the state. A statement from the institute quoted Ambode to have said: “Lagos is going to be 50 next year and the President and chairman of Council of CIBN, Professor Segun Ajibola, has talked so much about the hosting right of the conference.

As a government, we are also trying to brand Lagos as a world class city to live in, and so we will partner and support the conference and list it as part of the events to celebrate Lagos at 50 and use it as a platform to promote financial tourism for the State.” The conference, which is scheduled for April 24 – 28, 2017, in Lagos, is a biennial global forum that brings together professionals from the financial services sector and other stakeholders engaged in banking operation, education and training. Since its inception in the United Kingdom in 1975, the major objective of the conference has been to provide a global platform for the review of achievements and

emerging challenges concerning the functioning of Banking and Finance Institutes and their role in effectively supporting the Financial Sector’s Performance and Profitability. This will be the first time Nigeria is hosting the global conference. Speaking while receiving members of the Governing Council of CIBN, ably led by Ajibola, the Lagos governor noted that the story of the growth and development of Lagos could not have been completed without the huge contribution of the financial service industry, adding that the sector remained a veritable vehicle that has been able to drive professionals to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.

UBA Deputy GMD Receives Award As a mark of recognition for hard work, the Deputy Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), and Chairman of UBA Pensions Custodians Limited, Mr. Victor Osadolor, has been awarded by the Edo College Old Boys Association (ECOBA), Lagos Chapter, for distinguishing himself in the banking profession. The recognition was conferred on him by ECOBA, Lagos Chapter during the 2016 annual dinner organised by the association in Lagos recently.

Receiving the award, Osadolor commended the association for the recognition and promised to work harder than before in ensuring a more robust banking sector and effective service for the development of UBA. On the other hand, he stated that his status in life and his profession was made possible through the discipline he had as a student in his alma mater. Other recipients of the awards include Rev. (Dr.) John U. Aire, who received a life achievement award and Mr. Obichukwu

Olloh, who received the old boy of the year award. Osadolor attended Edo College, Benin City between 1977 and 1982, and holds a second class (Upper Division) BSc (Hons.) degree in Accounting from the University of Benin. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme, and an honorary life member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Rice farm



MARCH 2016 Broad Money (M2)


-- Narrow Money (M1)


---- Currency Outside Banks


---- Demand Deposits


-- Quasi Money


Net Foreign Assets (NFA)


Net Domestic Assets(NDA)


-- Net Domestic Credit (NDC)


---- Credit to Government (Net)


---- Memo: Credit to Govt. (Net) less FMA


---- Memo: Fed. and Mirror Accounts (FMA)


---- Credit to Private Sector (CPS)


--Other Assets Net


Reserve Money (Base Money)


--Currency in Circulation


--Banks Reserves

3,685,473.98 • Source - CBN

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Price (N) Stanbic Balanced Fund

Buying Price(N)

Selling Price



Stanbic IBTC NEF




Stanbic SIBond




Stanbic IBTC Ethical




Stanbic IBTC GIF



UBA Balanced Fund



UBA Bond Fund



UBA Equity Fund



UBA Money Market Fund



ARM Aggressive Growth Fund



ARM Discovery Fund



ARM Ethical Fund



ARM Money Market Fund

13.1030 (Yield % ) • Monetary Policy Rate - 13%

OPEC DAILY BASKET PRICE AS AT, MONDAY, 28 NOV 2016 The price of OPEC basket of fourteen crudes stood at $43.84 a barrel on Monday, compared with $44.88 the previous Friday, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Rabi Light (Gabon), Minas (Indonesia), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). SOURCE: OPEC headquarters, Vienna



Nigeria’s top 50 stocks based on market fundamentals



% Change





Div. Yld

Price/ Book Value

01 Dangote Cement Plc










02 Nigerian Breweries Plc










03 Nestle Nigeria Plc










04 Guaranty Trust Bank Plc










05 Zenith Bank Plc










06 Lafarge Africa Plc













189,730,106,327.70 -44.58































11 United Bank for Africa Plc










12 Access Bank Plc










13 Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc










14 Guinness Nig Plc










15 FBN Holdings Plc










16 Mobil Oil Nig Plc










17 Total Nigeria Plc










18 7-Up Bottling Comp. Plc


















20 Forte Oil Plc.










21 International Breweries Plc










22 Flour Mills Nig. Plc










23 Julius Berger Nig. Plc



















25 Okomu Oil Palm Plc










26 U A C N Plc




























29 Fidelity Bank Plc










30 Custodian And Allied Insurance Plc










31 Diamond Bank Plc










32 FCMB Group Plc










33 Sterling Bank Plc










34 Wema Bank Plc










35 Mansard Insurance Plc




























38 Glaxo Smithkline Consumer Nig. Plc










39 PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc










40 Continental Reinsurance Plc










41 Honeywell Flour Mill Plc










42 Skye Bank Plc










43 Wapic Insurance Plc










44 Unity Bank Plc










45 Resort Savings & Loans Plc










46 Cement Co. Of North.Nig. Plc










47 UACN Property Development Co. Limited










48 AIICO Insurance Plc










49 Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc










50 Fidson Healthcare Plc










07 Seplat Petroleum Dev. Co. Ltd 08 Unilever Nigeria Plc 09 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated 10 Presco Plc

19 Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc

24 Oando Plc

27 Transnational Corporation Of Nigeria Plc 28 Cap Plc

36 Cadbury Nigeria Plc 37 National Salt Co. Nig. Plc





% OF MARKET CAP Annotation - MA* = Simple Moving Average


Table 1 Market Statistics Mkt Indicators NSE All Share Index NSE Market Cap (N'Trillion)

Open 28-Nov-16

Close 29-Nov-16

Change %

25,318.41 8.72

25,233.42 8.69

-0.34% -0.34%

105.06 8.18

104.72 8.15

-0.32% -0.32%

Thisday BGL 50 Index Thisday BGL 50 Market Cap (N'Trillion)

Table 3 Top 5 Gainers Stock

Open Close Change 28-Nov-16 29-Nov-16 %

Mobil Oil Nig Plc UACN Property Development Co. Limited Total Nigeria Plc AIICO Insurance Plc International Breweries Plc

219.41 2.35

241.89 10.25% 2.46 4.68%

245.45 0.57 18.70

254.85 0.59 18.99

3.83% 3.51% 1.55%

Table 4 Top 5 Losers Stock

Open Close Change 28-Nov-16 29-Nov-16 %

Forte Oil Plc. Oando Plc Fidelity Bank Plc Honeywell Flour Mill Plc Unity Bank Plc

59.66 3.80 0.82 1.07 0.57

53.85 3.61 0.78 1.02 0.55

-9.74% -5.00% -4.88% -4.67% -3.51%

NSE ASI further drops by 0.34%, Forte Oil leads losers table Market pulse on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) today – Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 ends again on a bearish note as stock market close red. This was further highlighted by negative performance from the NSE Sub sector: Banking, while other sectors: Insurance, Consumer Goods and Oil & Gas recorded growth. Trading activities increased in volume as 511.58 million shares worth of N1.70 billion in 2,342 deals exchanged hands today. This is an increase from the 202.43 million shares worth of N1.62 billion in 2,558 deals which exchanged hands on Monday. Topping in volume terms were Wema Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc and FCMB Group Plc, while Seplat Petroleum Dev. Co. Ltd and Dangote Cement Plc ended trading as the most active stocks in value terms. The All Share Index (NSEASI) closed negative with 0.34% (-84.99) decrease to close at 25,233.42 from 25,318.41 the previous trading day. Market Capitalization depreciated in tandem to N8.69 trillion from N8.72 trillion of prior trading day. Similarly, the Thisday BGL 50 Index followed suit with a decrease of 0.32% to close at 104.72 from 105.06 recorded at the end of the previous trading day, while its market capitalization stood at 8.15 trillion from 8.18 trillion of the previous trading day. A total number of 13 stocks gained on the bourse today while 20 stocks declined, 66 leaving stocks unchanged. Mobil Oil Nig. Plc re-emerged as the day’s toast of investors as it topped the Thisday BGL 50 Index gainers’ list with a gain of 10.25% to close at N241.89 per share. It was followed by UACN Property Development Co. Limited with a gain of 4.68% to close at N1.46 per share. Others on the gainers list include: Total Nigeria Plc, AIICO Insurance Plc and International Breweries Plc; while on the decliners’ list, Forte Oil Plc re-emerge with a loss of 9.74% to close at N53.85 per share. It was followed by Oando Plc with a loss of 5.00% to close at N3.61 per share. Others on the decliners list include: Fidelity Bank Plc, Honeywell Flour Mill Plc and Unity Bank Plc.

REQUIRED DISCLOSURE This report has been prepared by BGL Plc. BGL Plc does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should use this report as one of many other factors in making their investment decisions.

For more details go to




Nipco to Pay N91.8bn for 60% Stake in Mobil Oil Nigeria

Goddy Egene and Nosa Alekhuogie

Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc yesterday said Nipco Plc will pay $301 million (about N91.805 billion) for the acquisition of the 60 per cent shares of ExxonMobil in the company. Nipco, an indigenous Nigerian downstream oil and gas company, had executed a Sales and Purchase Agreement with ExxonMobil on Monday 17th

October, 2016 for the acquisition of the 216,357,157 shares. But the financial consideration was not disclosed. However, the Chairman/Managing Director of Mobil Oil Nigeria, Adetunji Oyebanji said in a notification to the NSE, made available yesterday that Nipco is acquiring those shares for a consideration of $301 million subject to price adjustments for dividends and other factors. The shares of Mobil Oil rose




by 10.2 per cent yesterday to close at N241.89. Considering the market capitalisation of the N87 billion, which is the value of all the listed shares of the company at current market price, Nipco is acquiring the 60 per cent at a very high premium. The Managing Director of Nipco, Mr. Venkataraman Venkatapathy had said the company considered this acquisition an important




Daily Summary as of 22/02/2016 Printed 22/02/2016 14:36:10.010


synergy. “It is part of our strategic move to support Nipco’s continuous growth and expansion of its Nigerian retail footprint. We are confident of adding tremendous value to Mobil Oil Nigeria and likewise Mobil Oil will add a huge value to Nipco. In furtherance of this value addition, Nipco will continue to maintain the Mobil brand on its retail outlets as well as continue to blend and sell

6 6 12

30.00 34.00

12,629 11,640 24,269

374,530.15 421,345.20 795,875.35

19 19 31


1,078,511 1,078,511 1,102,780

1,358,964.30 1,358,964.30 2,154,839.65

5 68 13 86 86

0.77 1.13 20.47

33,500 6,740,423 65,995 6,839,918 6,839,918

25,070.00 7,635,453.96 1,344,425.15 9,004,949.11 9,004,949.11

13 13


31,970 31,970

1,409,214.78 1,409,214.78

5 5 18


28,901 28,901 60,871

154,716.48 154,716.48 1,563,931.26

6 24 7 98 135

2.85 118.85 20.00 99.00

190,900 53,000 15,200 429,541 688,641

528,079.00 6,201,924.95 293,757.00 42,728,789.84 49,752,550.79

9 9


166,476 166,476

28,285,937.95 28,285,937.95

54 38 6 12 1 29 140

5.61 19.00 1.37 6.86 6.65 1.27

2,120,306 314,421 40,000 119,863 433 3,285,739,119 3,288,334,142

11,610,520.13 5,953,792.96 55,716.00 842,442.48 2,736.56 4,074,348,894.07 4,092,814,102.20

11 54 65

17.86 700.00

18,825 98,360 117,185

329,518.50 68,567,962.00 68,897,480.50

11 11


99,050 99,050

420,455.00 420,455.00

13 21 34 394

21.90 28.00

36,887 133,117 170,004 3,289,575,498

820,034.75 3,737,067.92 4,557,102.67 4,244,727,629.11

82 51 21 25 200 41 16 147 11 15 67 676

4.10 1.49 15.60 1.21 16.70 1.07 1.76 2.95 5.30 0.63 0.98

3,962,506 2,163,396 278,470 790,900 4,847,312 1,969,858 1,204,932 8,586,418 39,752 501,617 5,920,564 30,265,725

16,210,255.82 3,314,106.88 4,136,459.40 958,864.34 80,963,793.44 2,115,552.11 2,087,767.85 25,302,954.71 205,645.40 316,018.71 5,813,502.17 141,424,920.83

14 8 2 3 7 10 1 1 46

0.80 0.90 0.50 0.50 2.06 0.76 0.50 0.50

200,107 276,500 5,004,000 1,000,000 351,540 327,285 37,708,135 10 44,867,577

160,838.67 251,350.00 2,502,000.00 500,000.00 720,728.80 245,325.31 18,854,067.50 5.00 23,234,315.28

1 1


4,760 4,760

4,950.40 4,950.40

31 7 105 7 20 170 893

2.46 4.00 0.85 14.15 1.31

1,149,464 27,041 31,257,120 38,035 708,255 33,179,915 108,317,977

2,830,722.84 104,002.06 26,613,309.20 537,985.34 931,556.31 31,017,575.75 195,681,762.26





the Mobil brand of lubricants under Branding Licence(s) from ExxonMobil,” he said. According to him, Mobil Oil will continue to run as a separate, distinct and independent company ,from Nipco Plc, each with its own CEO who will report to its board of directors . “In furtherance of this transition, Mobil Oil will continue to maintain the Mobil brand at its retail outlets as well as

blending and selling Mobil brand of lubricants under branding licensee [s] from ExxonMobil. In essence Mobil Oil will continue as usual and therefore the change should be smooth and seamless,” he added. Venkatapathy expressed profound gratitude and appreciation of Nipco to ExxonMobil for selecting the company as the preferred bidder for the acquisition of the shares.


MAIN BOARD GLAXO SMITHKLINE CONSUMER NIG. PLC. MAY & BAKER NIGERIA PLC. NEIMETH INTERNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICALS PLC Pharmaceuticals Totals HEALTHCARE Totals ICT IT Services TRIPPLE GEE AND COMPANY PLC. IT Services Totals ICT Totals INDUSTRIAL GOODS Building Materials ASHAKA CEM PLC BERGER PAINTS PLC CAP PLC CEMENT CO. OF NORTH.NIG. PLC PORTLAND PAINTS & PRODUCTS NIGERIA PLC LAFARGE AFRICA PLC. Building Materials Totals Electronic and Electrical Products CUTIX PLC. Electronic and Electrical Products Totals Packaging/Containers BETA GLASS CO PLC. Packaging/Containers Totals INDUSTRIAL GOODS Totals OIL AND GAS Energy Equipment and Services JAPAUL OIL & MARITIME SERVICES PLC Energy Equipment and Services Totals Integrated Oil and Gas Services OANDO PLC Integrated Oil and Gas Services Totals Petroleum and Petroleum Products Distributors CONOIL PLC ETERNA PLC. FORTE OIL PLC. MOBIL OIL NIG PLC. TOTAL NIGERIA PLC. Petroleum and Petroleum Products Distributors Totals Exploration and Production SEPLAT PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD Exploration and Production Totals OIL AND GAS Totals SERVICES Automobile/Auto Part Retailers R T BRISCOE PLC. Automobile/Auto Part Retailers Totals Courier/Freight/Delivery RED STAR EXPRESS PLC Courier/Freight/Delivery Totals Printing/Publishing LEARN AFRICA PLC Printing/Publishing Totals Transport-Related Services AIRLINE SERVICES AND LOGISTICS PLC NIGERIAN AVIATION HANDLING COMPANY PLC Transport-Related Services Totals Support and Logistics CAVERTON OFFSHORE SUPPORT GRP PLC Support and Logistics Totals SERVICES Totals EQTY Board Totals Daily Summary (Equities) Activity Summary on Board ASeM CONSUMER GOODS Food Products MCNICHOLS PLC Food Products Totals CONSUMER GOODS Totals ASeM Board Totals Daily Summary (Equities) Activity Summary on Board PREMIUM FINANCIAL SERVICES Banking ZENITH INTERNATIONAL BANK PLC Banking Totals Other Financial Institutions FBN HOLDINGS PLC Other Financial Institutions Totals FINANCIAL SERVICES Totals INDUSTRIAL GOODS Building Materials DANGOTE CEMENT PLC Building Materials Totals INDUSTRIAL GOODS Totals PREMIUM Board Totals Equity Activity Totals





32 4 6 69 69

25.33 0.94 0.69

551,998 16,020 597,000 1,779,083 1,779,083

13,903,164.18 15,299.40 412,110.00 15,902,796.63 15,902,796.63

1 1 1


500 500 500

805.00 805.00 805.00

16 9 4 6 10 31 76

24.00 9.30 35.78 8.62 3.36 80.50

110,727 40,229 26,700 142,300 299,900 14,373,223 14,993,079

2,707,053.97 362,501.29 992,680.00 1,227,076.00 966,480.00 1,157,057,077.16 1,163,312,868.42

6 6


134,500 134,500

204,240.00 204,240.00

5 5 87


24,529 24,529 15,152,108

1,165,135.50 1,165,135.50 1,164,682,243.92

2 2


24,262 24,262

12,131.00 12,131.00

90 90


3,827,573 3,827,573

13,288,632.05 13,288,632.05

21 7 8 21 7 64

18.34 1.84 342.00 150.00 145.00

81,125 100,300 20,300 16,295 13,699 231,719

1,505,034.50 182,832.00 6,595,470.00 2,396,080.60 1,959,692.96 12,639,110.06

33 33 189


389,934 389,934 4,473,488

124,037,602.56 124,037,602.56 149,977,475.67

1 1


941 941

470.50 470.50

5 5


32,870 32,870

127,756.40 127,756.40

13 13


624,500 624,500

538,430.00 538,430.00

1 22 23

2.29 4.00

4,588 251,094 255,682

10,001.84 1,001,583.80 1,011,585.64

1 1 43 1,811


10,000 10,000 923,993 3,428,226,216

16,000.00 16,000.00 1,694,242.54 5,785,390,675.15

2 2 2 2


270,464 270,464 270,464 270,464

327,261.44 327,261.44 327,261.44 327,261.44

306 306


13,929,679 13,929,679

159,605,439.23 159,605,439.23

278 278 584


10,438,552 10,438,552 24,368,231

39,515,087.18 39,515,087.18 199,120,526.41

35 35 35 619 2,432


38,770 38,770 38,770 24,407,001 3,452,903,681

5,304,666.00 5,304,666.00 5,304,666.00 204,425,192.41 5,990,143,129.00

2 2 2 2 2 10 10 10

2,330.00 2.33 6.02 11.09 18.07

3,000 20 20 20 15 3,075 3,075 3,075

6,986,000.00 46.70 120.20 221.80 270.65 6,986,659.35 6,986,659.35 6,986,659.35





Fund Managers Association of Nigeria Meets Tomorrow Goddy Egene All is now  set for the general meeting of the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) tomorrow in Lagos. FMAN is a body tasked with the responsibility of developing the fund management industry and representing its members on issues on both national and international fronts. The meeting will take place at SEC Lagos zonal office, Idejo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos at 9.00 a.m.

The association said in a statement that  Mr. Bismark Rewane, a member of the FMAN Board of Trustees, a nd Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited,  will be discussing an issue topical to the Industry. “The meeting would also serve as an opportunity for the Association to relay to her members all what it has been doing to move the industry forward and present programmes planned for 2017. Given the importance

A Mutual fund (Unit Trust) is an investment vehicle managed by a SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) registered Fund Manager. Investors with similar objectives buy units of the Fund so that the Fund Manager can buy securities that willl generate their desired return. An ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) is a type of fund which owns the assets (shares of stock, bonds, oil futures, gold bars, foreign currency, etc.) and divides ownership of those assets into shares. Investors can buy these ‘shares’ on the

in conveying this vital information, the Association has decided to extend this invitation to all SEC registered Fund/Portfolio Managers, Private Equity Managers and Venture Capital Fund Managers (members and non-members alike),” the statement said. The aim of FMAN is   to address all the issues affecting the industry’s development and represent its members at national and international levels in on-going discussion

floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is an investment vehicle that allows both small and large investors to part-own real estate ventures (eg. Offices, Houses, Hospitals) in proportion to their investments. The assets are divided into shares that are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. GUIDE TO DATA: Date: All fund prices are quoted in Naira as at 28-Nov-2016, unless otherwise stated.

about the future regulatory framework for the industry. Members of the FMAN are actively involved in managing collective investment schemes (CIS). Market regulators have, over the years, advised investors to invest through managed funds, using FMAN members who have the expertise to deliver value on clients’ investments. Investing through managed funds will avoid disappointment or reduce risks associated with direct

investment. It is believed that managed funds held to reduce risks. The best way of managing risk in investment is to spread it by diversifying the portfolio. Investment in unit trust scheme leads to instant diversification to achieve market-wide coverage.   Since a mutual fund is a collection of stocks, bonds and money market securities held in a pool but then sliced into units sold to individual investors, any unit of the fund receives the diversification

benefit of this large collection of different types of securities in the portfolio. Also, investing through mutual funds gives an investor access to professional skills employed to invest and manage the funds. Small investors or beginners and even some high net-worth investors do not have the skills to analyse the prospects for individual companies and make a good choice present the best investment options.

Offer price: The price at which units of a trust or ETF are bought by investors. Bid Price: The price at which Investors redeem (sell) units of a trust or ETF. Yield/Total Return: Denotes the total return an investor would have earned on his investment. Money Market Funds report Yield while others report Year- to-date Total Return. NAV: Is value per share of the real estate assets held by a REIT on a specific date.

DAILY PRICE LIST FOR MUTUAL FUNDS, REITS and ETFS MUTUAL FUNDS / UNIT TRUSTS AFRINVEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 270 1680 Fund Name Bid Price Afrinvest Equity Fund 120.13 Nigeria International Debt Fund 220.07 ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD Web:, Tel: +234 1 291 2406, +234 1 291 2868 Fund Name Bid Price ACAP Canary Growth Fund 0.67 AIICO CAPITAL LTD Web:, Tel: +234-1-2792974 Fund Name Bid Price AIICO Money Market Fund ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name ARM Aggressive Growth Fund ARM Discovery Fund ARM Ethical Fund ARM Money Market Fund AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED Web:; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund AXA Mansard Money Market Fund CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD Web:, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Nigeria Global Investment Fund Paramount Equity Fund Women's Investment Fund FBN CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name FBN Fixed Income Fund FBN Heritage Fund FBN Money Market Fund FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund FIRST CITY ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Legacy Equity Fund Legacy Short Maturity (NGN) Fund FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: 01-270 4884-5; 01-280 9740-1 Fund Name Coral Growth Fund

100.00 Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn 121.05 10.26% 221.32 9.97% Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn 0.68 9.38% Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn


16.72% Bid Price 11.77 278.25 21.68

Offer Price 12.13 285.64 22.33

Yield / T-Rtn -3.41% -0.62% -1.66%



16.00% Bid Price 102.92

Offer Price 103.56

Yield / T-Rtn 3.24%

1.00 1.00 15.26% Bid Price 2.13 9.00

Offer Price 2.18 9.23

Yield / T-Rtn 4.61% -8.67%



2.56% Bid Price 1,075.37 108.55 100.00 $101.94 $101.24

Offer Price 1,076.56 109.10 100.00 $102.15 $101.46

Yield / T-Rtn 4.95% 2.99% 14.37% 5.49% 4.79%



7.66% Bid Price 0.90 2.54

Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn 0.91 -0.55% 2.54 9.13%

Bid Price 2,161.36

Offer Price 2,185.73

Coral Income Fund 2,081.14 INVESTMENT ONE FUNDS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 812 992 1045,+234 1 448 8888 Fund Name Bid Price

Yield / T-Rtn -0.65%

2,081.14 10.00% Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund




Vantage Balanced Fund




LOTUS CAPITAL LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-291 4626 / +234 1-291 4624 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Lotus Halal Investment Fund 0.99 1.01 11.50% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 998.39 998.39 -0.16% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD Web: ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 9.16 9.24 -6.35% Meristem Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 14.36% PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.04 1.05 5.35% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 10.38 10.45 4.19% SCM CAPITAL LIMITED Web:; Tel: +234 1-280 2226,+234 1- 280 2227 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SCM Capital Frontier Fund 107.22 107.91 5.22% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD Web:, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.23 1.23 9.22% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 280 1266; 0700 MUTUALFUNDS Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Stanbic IBTC Balanced Fund 1,789.99 1,799.71 6.57% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 152.06 152.06 3.39% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 0.74 0.75 -0.67% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 183.98 183.98 8.42% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 128.36 129.94 -5.15% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 16.61% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 7,279.20 7,373.93 1.26% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.14 1.16 8.85% United Capital Bond Fund 1.24 1.24 15.25% United Capital Equity Fund 0.67 0.68 -0.03% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.00% ZENITH ASSETS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 9.40 9.56 -1.45% Zenith Ethical Fund 10.99 11.09 -4.01% Zenith Income Fund 16.91 16.91 5.37%


NAV Per Share

Yield / T-Rtn

11.58 122.98

3.99% 6.15%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

8.54 72.30

8.64 73.66

-10.80% -13.13%

Fund Name FSDH UPDC Real Estate Investment Fund SFS Skye Shelter Fund


Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund Stanbic IBTC ETF 30 Fund

VETIVA FUND MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 453 0697

Fund Name Vetiva Banking Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Consumer Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Industrial Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Exchange Traded Fund Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

2.47 7.09 11.62 15.36 127.48

2.51 7.17 11.62 15.56 129.48

8.15% 10.89% -6.59% -19.94% -

The value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise. Past performance is a guide and not an indication of future returns. Fund prices published in this edition are also available on each fund manager’s website and FMAN’s website at Fund prices are supplied by the operator of the relevant fund and are published for information purposes only.




Osinbajo: FG Spent over $1bn on Kerosene Subsidy in 2015 Petrol can retail at N70.04 per litre, says House

Damilola Oyedele and Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the federal government spent more than $1 billion in 2015 to subsidise kerosene consumption in Nigeria. This came as the House of Representatives said a realistic template for petroleum products pricing can reduce the price of petrol from the current N145 to N70.04 per litre without affecting the profit margin of importers and marketers. Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum where strategies for the implementation of the government’s plan to increase the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Nigerian homes were discussed in Abuja, Osinbajo said steps were being taken by the government to make LPG the most preferred domestic fuel in Nigeria. The government had though in early 2016 discontinued subsidy on kerosene, Osinbajo however said its practice then was a huge drain in the country’s foreign exchange. He stated that an interministerial committee headed by him had been set up by the government to drive the improved LPG deployment process, adding that within the next 15 years, the government plans to get 21 million new homes to convert to LPG as their domestic fuel. The vice president explained that Nigeria’s low LPG consumption ratio had led to kerosene and firewood becoming the primary cooking fuel in many homes, noting that these fuel sources have been confirmed to be unhealthy and costly. “Many opportunities abound in unlocking the potential of our gas reserves. In the gas policy, LPG has been identified as a

viable source for stimulating the socio-economic health of our nation. “Nigeria’s LPG consumption had been declining until NLNG intervened and since then, our LPG consumption has grown from 50 metric ton per annum (MTPA) to 400MTPA. Though this signifies some improvement in domestic LPG consumption, it translates to a per capita consumption of less than 2.5 kilogramme compared to the per capita consumption of some other African countries,” Osinbajo said. He added that “about 40 per cent of our domestic LPG consumption in 2015 was imported, and this impacts on our foreign exchange. “The low LPG consumption in Nigeria has resulted in heavy dependence on kerosene and firewood as primary domestic cooking fuels. The government has undertaken huge subsidy of over $1 billion spent in 2015 on kerosene subsidy.” According to him, the interministerial committee on LPG would be saddled with the responsibility of creating an enabling business environment for improved deployment of LPG to homes. He said within the first two years, the government would target to get four million new homes to switch to LPG, and another 10 million within five years, while 21 million would be expected to have switched in 15 years. Similarly, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, Mr. Tony Attah, in his remarks at the meeting, said a recent study conducted by the NLNG showed that if the country adopts a well-coordinated LPG market expansion strategy, it would have an annual growth rate

of 32 per cent from the current 400,000MTPA to over 3MMTPA in five years. He also stated that such growth would lead to about 12 kilogrammes increase in the country’s LPG per capita consumption rate. Attah however identified some of the bottlenecks to this plan, which he said included the dearth of investments in LPG reception facilities and supply infrastructure, throughput challenges as well as difficult fiscal and regulatory regime such as the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on locally produced LPG as against VAT waivers for imported LPG. Meanwhile, the House has said a realistic template for petroleum products pricing can reduce the price of petrol from the current N145 to N70.04 per litre without affecting the profit margin of importers and marketers. The lawmakers said unnecessary charges among other charges which can be avoided if government agencies carry out their functions effectively, have been passed to the consumers, thereby keeping the price of petrol high. The downward review, the House noted, would arrest the spiraling rate of inflation and

reduce hardship on Nigerians. It therefore called on the Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources to review the current template with a view to reducing the price of the product. The resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata (Jigawa APC) who noted that the current template amounts to N137.81. He listed the current template as: cost of insurance/freight N109.01; lightering expenses N4.56; Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) charges N0.84; NIMASA charges N0.22; financing N2.51; Jetty through put charges N0.60; storage charge N2.00; retailers margin N6.00; transport allowance N3.36; dealers margin N2.36; bridging fund N6.20 and marine transport average N0.15. Fulata pointed out that over 90 percent of current price of petrol is accounted for by transport related charges with N124.34 out of the N138. “The only reason foreign vessels charge higher for lifting petrol is that the nation’s carriers which are supposed to lift 50 per cent of the products do not have the capacity to do so, as a result of which the Nigerian National

Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) often resorts to chartering vessels at higher costs,” he said. The lawmaker added that the provision of N4.56 in the price template for lightering services is unnecessary, as in line with international practices, all ships are supposed to dock at the harbour. “This is however not possible in Nigeria, as the water in all the harbour is shallow due to siltation, and therefore needs urgent dredging. “Although the NPA is paid N0.84 for every liter of petrol, it has failed to dredge the various docking areas; as a result of which ships wait at the high sea, and discharge their cargos in smaller vessels, and for this inefficiency of the NPA, Nigerians are asked to pay N4.56 for every litre of petrol, which would not have been necessary if all the docking areas had been dredged,” Fulata added. The lawmaker also noted that bridging is supposed to be an annual event, only when refineries are carrying out their turnaround maintenance which does not exceed three months. “However, due to the fact that the pipelines linking the various depots have been vandalised or are in a state of

disrepair, bridging has remained a permanent feature in the oil industry in Nigeria, and if the pipelines linking the various depots and refineries could be fixed and secured, the bridging fund could be reduced to N2.00 per litre instead of the current N6.20,” he added. According to him, “The provision of N2.00 per litre in the template for the maintenance of storage facilities does not benefit government facilities located at the over 21 fuel depots in the country, rather, the fund goes to enrich an ever growing number of private depot owners whose facilities have now become the official storage facilities for government products, while government facilities are allowed to decay.” With the prayers passed unanimously through voice vote presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the House urged the NPA to dredge all harbour within a period of one year to enable ships dock. The House also resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to interface with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the review of the price of petrol and other related matters, and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.

Senate Asks FG to Suspend Trade Liberalisation Scheme with ECOWAS Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja The Senate yesterday advised the federal government to suspend its trade liberalisation scheme and common external tariffs with the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). The resolution was the aftermath of a motion by Senator Hope Uzodimma in which he alleged the abuse of customs, tariffs and indiscriminate issuance of fiscal policies which he said had negative effects on the nation’s economy. The Senate also urged the federal government to review the process of enacting “tariff handbook” to identify all forms of abuse and revenue leakage. According to Uzodimma, ECOWAS was empowered in 2000 to ratify common external tariffs (CET) and ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme (ETLS). He argued that ECOWAS integration package should not have been signed in the

first place because “Nigeria was not and is still not at the same economic level with other West African countries as Nigeria had made a huge industrial advancement and was ready for a giant leap into the league of developed countries.” He added: “These protocols on economic integration of the West African sub-region were predicated on free movement of goods and services as well as strategic economic convergence criteria of member nations.” He said the country’s economy especially the manufacturing sector had been negatively affected by ECOWAS protocols, which he said further drove the real sector into economic crisis and consequently forced most manufacturing firms out of the country. Uzodimma insisted that the ratification of the two protocols were not done in accordance with Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which he said authorised the National Assembly to ratify all treaties.


R-L: Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, DFID’s Laura Brannelly; and Roisin Whille, after a meeting on the promotion of girl-child education in Sokoto...yesterday

Failure to Resettle IDPs will Result in Social Crisis, Buhari Warns Tobi Soniyi in Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday warned that the two million displaced Nigerians in refugee camps must be properly resettled for the country to avert a relapse into another social crisis. This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu. The statement said Buhari at a meeting with Sheikh Sharif Mohammed Kabir Ibn Mohammad, the world leader

of Tijjaniya Islamic Movement at the State House. The president lamented the destruction of public institutions in the North-east by Boko Haram terrorists. “Government is faced with the problem of repairing schools, health centres and whole towns. We must repair their schools and recruit teachers otherwise they will become tomorrow’s Boko Haram,” he warned. Buhari reiterated the importance of justice in the affairs of governance, emphasising that men and women in authority

must show kindness and justice to all the people under them. In commending the religious group for the profuse prayers they had rendered for three days in Yola, Adamawa State for the recovery of the economy and peace in the country, the president said that the problem oil production was currently experiencing in the countryandintheglobalmarketshad forced the imperative of agriculture on Nigerians. “We are learning the hard way. The mistake we made was to abandon agriculture. We came at a time of difficulty the country

has never experienced since the civil war,” he said. Buhari also requested the religious leaders to persuade Nigerians to embrace hard work, endurance and patience,assuringthattheadministration will not relent in the effort to achieve self-reliance and security for the nation. In his remarks, Sheikh Sharif Mohammad, commended the president’ssenseofjusticeandconcern for the people of Nigeria. He assured the president that the Tijjaniya movement was in full support of the administration and would continue to pray for its success.




Falana: I Never Said Buhari is Worse than Jonathan Insists Buhari’s plan to borrow $29.6bn will mortgage Nigeria’s future Gboyega Akinsanmi A human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, yesterday said at no time did he ever say that President Muhammadu Buhari was worse than his immediate predecessor, Dr, Goodluck Jonathan. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), however insisted that Buhari’s proposal to borrow $29.6 billion would mortgage the future of Nigeria and her citizens if allowed to sail through. He clarified his position in a statement he issued yesterday, urging the Buhari administration “not to further plunge the country into debt by taking a fresh loan of $29.6 billion.” He had delivered the 2016 Convocation Lecture of Oduduwa University at Ipetumodu, Osun State where he opposed the federal government’s proposal to borrow a whopping sum of $29.6 billion. However, the senior advocate claimed that some news media misrepresented his position in different reports published the day after with headline: “Falana Says Buhari is worse than Jonathan.” He said he could not have said Buhari was worse than Jonathan, who according to him, presided over a rogue regime, though defended his position that Buhari’s regime should not take fresh loans. He, therefore, explained how he had strenuously opposed the recolonisation of the country though questionable loans with unfavourable conditionalities procured by successive regimes. Convinced that there are alternative economic policies, Falana said he “will oppose the mortgaging of the future of the nation. Therefore, let those who are desperately looking for credibility to justify the call for a return to the era of official prodigality count me out of their

ill-fated agenda.” Rather than taking fresh loans, Falana urged the federal government “to muster the political will to recover the several billions of dollars withheld from the Federation Account or criminally diverted by the parasitic ruling class that has mismanaged the economy of Nigeria since 1999.” He explained how he fought the Jonathan administration on securing domestic and external loans, citing a letter he wrote to the National Assembly on November 10, 2012, urged it to throw out Jonathan’s proposal for borrowing He said he asked the national assembly “to jettison the loan option and recover the billions of dollars which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and a number of oil companies have refused to remit to the Federation Account. But the national assembly approved the request for the loan. “A year later, I pleaded again with the federal legislators to reject the request for another loan of $1billion for procurement of arms and ammunition for counter insurgency operations. “On that occasion I asked the legislators to demand an account of the over N3 trillion appropriated for the nation’s defence from 2010-2013. Once again, the loan request was approved by the National Assembly. “In the course of defending 58 out of the 70 soldiers who were charged with mutiny for legitimately demanding for weapons to fight the wellequipped Boko Haram terrorists I confirmed that the $1 billion loan had been diverted. In fact, one of the reasons the trial was held in camera was that our defence was anchored on the criminal diversion of the

Ex-Polytechnic Rector Dies During Sex Romp with Teenager in Hotel Sylvester Idowu in Warri There was pandemonium at a hotel in Ughelli, Ughelli South local Government Area of Delta State yesterday as the former Acting Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, Bayelsa State, slumped and died during an alleged love session with an unidentified female teenager. The ex-Rector, Chief Udele Emuhohwo was said to have slumped in his room at the hotel located at Onoharigho Street, Ughelli and was rushed to a private clinic, a few kilometers from the hotel where he was confirmed dead on arrival. Sources at Ughelli Police Area Command told THISDAY: “He had gone to the hotel in company of a female teenager and booked a room for an hour of love session with the girl.” Speaking further, the source

said: “The girl raised an alarm when the chief slumped but absconded following reports that the victim was confirmed dead. Though no arrest was made in connection with the incident, a female manager of the hotel was said to have been arrested for questioning but had since been released. Suspecting foul play over the incident, a family member who spoke to journalists at the ex-Rector’s Upper Agbarho residence said: “We are having a meeting with elders of the family if an autopsy would be conducted after which we would take a stand on the matter.” The state Police Public Relations Officer, Celestina Kalu, could not be reached for confirmation as she refused to pick her calls or respond to the text messages sent to her mobile phone.

huge fund. In a bid to justify the looting of the defence fund, the young men were convicted and sentenced to death. “In justifying the fraudulent death sentences passed on the soldiers, Marshal Alex Barde (rtd), the then Chief of Defence Staff said the boys deserved to die for

having the temerity to demand for weapons when they could have fought the terrorists with their bare hands! “My plea for a presidential pardon for the convicted soldiers was ignored by President Jonathan. Even though Buhari has granted our prayer and has since

commuted the death sentences to 10 years imprisonment, I believe that the convicts ought to be granted unconditional pardon and freed from further incarceration in prison custody,” he argued. He said the Presidential Panel on Arms Procurement “confirmed

$15 billion earmarked for the procurement of arms and ammunition from 2007 to 2015 was diverted and cornered by a coterie of military officers. Some of the suspects are currently facing trial for fraud, money laundering and other allied offences.”


Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (left), presenting a souvenir to the National President of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr. Honour Sirawoo, when the latter led the leadership of the association on a visit to the Senate President in Abuja ..... yesterday.

Buhari: Militants Blowing up Pipelines are Highly Skilled Tobi Soniyi in Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari has said the sophistication with which pipelines are blown up in the Niger Delta shows that those involved are highly skilled Nigerians. Buhari spoke yesterday at an investiture ceremony by the Nigerian Academy of Engineers (NAE) at the State House, Abuja. The president was decorated as the Grand Patron of NAE at the ceremony, He observed that going into the depths of the sea of almost 70 kilometres to blow pipelines with ease, suggests that some professional associations with high competencies need to talk to their members to ensure they were not deploying their skills in a negative way to the detriment of the country. The President said: “How can ordinary Nigerians go into the deep sea almost 70 kilometres to blow installations, they are not ordinary Nigerians. So you have to talk to your members.” Buhari said his administration would utilise talents and skills of local engineers to rebuild ailing infrastructure across the country, describing the engineers as “competent and cost effective.” According to him, well-trained and highly experienced engineers

had contributed immensely to infrastructure development in the country, and they remained indispensable. He said both military and civilian administrations over the years were dependent on Nigerian engineers for designs and construction across the country. “By insisting that we must be cost effective in building infrastructure, we will utilise Nigerian engineers. I respect them a lot, and I know it takes time to be trained as an engineer,” he said. The president noted that local engineers contributed more than 90 per cent to the design and realisation of two refineries, 2,500 pipelines and 20 depots in the country during his tenure as Minister of Petroleum in the mid-1970s, adding that the success of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) was largely hinged on their skills. “Somehow, every time and anywhere I have served in this country, we found it cost effective to use Nigerian engineers, and we relied on their capacity to understudy, learn and deliver. “It will be wrong to fault Nigerian engineers for the failure of the refineries. You should blame the political leadership. How can you build

and not know how to maintain an asset?” the president asked. Buhari said individual political leaders should be blamed for Nigeria’s ailing infrastructure, not the engineers who had always been willing to contribute to national development. In her remarks, the President of NAE, Mrs. Joanna Maduka, said science, technology and innovation were the key drivers of growth across the globe, urging the federal government to explore and engage the multiple engineering talents in the country for more purposeful results. “For the country to attain sustainable growth, Nigerian engineers need to be adequately engaged in planning, policy formulation, consultancy and construction as well as in the industrial process of production and manufacturing,” she noted. Maduka commended the anti-corruption fight of the federal government, saying it would turn around the fortunes of the economy. She also expressed the academy’s delight at the desire of the Buhari administration to reduce the infrastructure deficit in the country. The president of NAE added: “This effort is very germane to

the development of our nation. For this to be done effectively and efficiently, inputs are required from all cadres of engineering disciplines. “The physical indices of development of any country are engineering based like roads, railways, water supply, power, housing and other infrastructure. However, Nigerian engineers are underutilised for the tasks and challenges of nation building. “Furthermore, the fact is that Nigeria is grossly under-engineered as there are insufficient engineering professionals on a per capita basis. For example, in China, between 2000 and 2013, all the nine members of the Standing Committee (ministers) of the Politburo were trained engineers. Currently, about half of the cabinet ministers in Singapore are engineers and in China, 70 per cent of the cabinet are engineers.” Maduka said the NAE was made up of 140 fellows. In attendance were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, both of whom are engineers, as well as other senior government officials and presidential aides.




CBN: Nigeria Imports Rice Produced Nine Years Ago Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday disclosed that most of the rice presently being brought into the country for consumption were produced close to 10 years ago. Specifically, a representative of the apex bank, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, who spoke during a sensitisation programme for farmers in Bayelsa on CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, said the imported rice was preserved with chemicals and had been stored in the countries of origin for nine years. Okorafor, who is the acting Director, Corporate Communications of the bank, noted that rice imports from

Thailand, India and Vietnam were less heathy than those produced in Ebonyi, Kebbi and Jigawa. “You need to taste Nigerian rice, it is fresh. Not the nine year old rice from Vietnam, Thailand and India. Let us feed ourselves. Our rice is healthier, it is not preserved with chemicals”, he said. Despite the rising cost of the staple food, which has had an increase of over 100 per cent since this year, the central bank promised that before the end of 2017, Nigeria would begin to export the product to other countries. It disclosed that from statistics available to it, rice production this year has exceeded projections, noting that if the tempo was sustained, by the end of 2017, Nigeria would not only meet

its national demand but would export to other countries. “We started a pilot programme in Kebbi State with 78,000 farmers, cultivating an average of one hectare and that was when President Muhammadu Buhari launched the programme in March last year. “The programme was to enable farmers to plant three times in year – two dry seasons cropping and one rainy season cropping. I am telling you now that Kebbi State has exceeded one million tonnes of rice. “Not only Kebbi, Ebonyi State has keyed into it. We were there last week and Ebonyi is to give

us over 1.2million tonnes of rice in one year. They are harvesting now, they are bagging and they are milling. Nigerians are booking their Christmas rice in Abakaliki”, the CBN said. It noted that other states had started embracing farming, explaining that Nigerians would be fully served by the time all the states start harvesting. “Abia State has ordered rice from Ebonyi State Government. Other states are keying in. In Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Cross River, rice is coming up. Nigerians are planting rice, producing rice. “We have been to Anambra, Niger, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto,

Cross River and Ebonyi just to ensure that this is not another talk show. We have seen harvest of rice which brought me to say that the harvest in rice for this year has so far outstripped our projections. “By the end of 2017, Nigeria will not only meet our national demands which is between six and seven tonnes per year, but we will exceed it that we will have rice to export to other countries”, the apex bank added. The representative of the bank urged the people of Bayelsa to look beyond oil saying that the state was capable of feeding the country.

He said the CBN’s team came down to the state to educate the people and ensure their full participation in the programmes of CBN. According to him, the naira weakened against foreign currencies due to over-dependence on oil and importation, adding that the only way to protect the local currency was for the country to produce and export. In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Doode Week, said the state was also working hard to become a leading producer of fish in the country.

INEC Lists Approved Candidates for FCT By-election Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the list of candidates contesting the December 3, Garki Ward councillorship of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and the Ifako Ijaiye Federal Constituency of Lagos State by-elections. A statement issued by the Secretary to the commission, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, said four political parties and their candidates will slug it out for the Garki Ward councillorship election, while six political parties and their candidates would be contest he Ifako Ijaiye Federal

Constituency election. The candidates and political parties contesting the Garki Ward councillorship election are: Hamza Muktar Lima (APC); Ikechukwu Nwabuaja (APGA); Sidiku Emmanuel (NCP) and Danladi Budebo Jezhi (PDP). Those contesting the Ifako Ijaiye Federal Constituency election are: Yusuf Olawale Fatai (AA); Adebayo Michael Akanbi (AD); Olugbenga Olusegun Owolabi (ADC); Akinwunmi Nurudeen Olaitan (APC); Babatope Babatunde Akinyele (PDP) and Ajiboye Femi Olorunnisomo (SDP).

Niger Delta Peace Plan: CPC Backs Military, Danjuma C’ttee, Chides Militants Sunday Okobi Concerned Professionals Congress (CPC) yesterday endorsed the federal government’s multipronged approach in solving the Niger Delta crises, saying the ongoing Ogoniland oil spillage clean-up, the Nigerian military Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PNDF) and the newly-inaugurated Niger Delta Riverine Protection Programme (NDRPP) headed by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) would ultimately bring lasting peace to the oil-rich region. CPC expressed confidence that the multi-sector efforts, if faithfully pursued, would immensely help change the narrative in the region particularly in ridding it of the indiscriminate militancy, pipeline vandalism, oil theft, illegal bunkering and all other forms of violence, crime and criminality. According to the group Coordinator, Tukur Musa Tilde and its Chief Media Strategist, Emeka Nwapa, in a statement made available to THISDAY by CPC Deputy Head, Strategy and Communication, Desmond

Odiwrri, in Lagos, lovers of peace and friends of the Niger Delta within and outside the country should support the ongoing efforts by the federal government and stakeholders to quickly address the issues that led to the crisis in the Niger Delta region before they spiral out of control. The pro-good governance advocacy group, in the statement, alleged that elite greed and lack of sincerity by past governments and interventionist regimes in the region were responsible for “the criminal neglect resulting in sporadic agitations by militant groups that are now more interested in their selfish agendas often rooted in criminality for official largesse than in a genuine advocacy for redressing the region’s neglect and under-development.” It argued that the continued bombing of oil and gas installations by some militants in the region even after the commencement of the government’s dialogue initiative with Niger Delta leaders on November 1, makes a mockery of the genuine efforts by wellmeaning persons and institutions for the entire people of the region especially its toiling masses.


L-R: Director, Laboratory Services Directorate, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mrs. Nike Owoyele; Director, Compliance, Mr. Bede Obayi; Director-General, Mr. Osita Anthony Aboloma; presenting standard documents to the leader of army delegation, BrigadierGeneral Patrick E. Eze, and Brigadier-General Ben Oniyenko, during the Nigerian Army Ordinance Corps’ courtesy visit to SON in Lagos... recently

Okowa Inaugurates Asaba Mall, Commends South Africa Investors Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday inaugurated the multi-million naira Asaba Mall with an assurance that serious investors would be welcomed in the state with the government commitment to providing the enabling environment for investment. Okowa commended the Resilient Africa Group of South Africa, the core investors and developer of the Asaba shopping mall, for its commitment to partnering local stakeholders and the state government to foster economic development of the state. The governor expressed high hopes that the opening of the Asaba Mall, with the popular Shoprite as one of its occupants, would greatly stimulate the local economy in and around the state capital, saying it would complement the job and wealth creation policy of his administration. He said the fact that the shopping complex was speedily constructed and made ready for

business barely 16 months after he performed the foundation laying of the centre last year, testified to the seriousness of the South African investment company. He said the establishment of the Asaba Mall by the firm, two years after the inauguration of the Delta Mall in Warri, also amounted to a vote-of-confidence on the state as “an investment haven.” Okowa also expressed appreciation to the Asaba monarch, Ahaba of Asaba, Prof Chike Edozien, and the local community for providing a peaceful atmosphere that enhanced the development of the mall in record time. He revealed that state government would cede 20 per cent of its small shares in the Asaba Mall to the Asaba community apparently as an encouragement to communities across the state to promote peace in order to attract more developmentl projects to their area. According to Okowa, “Delta State is a good place to invest as the peaceful environment is here. Sixteen months after I laid the foundation stone of this place,

the place has been transformed. Deltans are very excited by what they see here today. “We must continue to provide the enabling environment in this state for investments to thrive for the creation of jobs for the youths, communities and generation of revenue for the state. Like I promised at the foundation stone laying ceremony, 20 per cent of the state share of this project will be ceded to the community, and I am pleased to note that Asaba as host community encouraged the execution of the project without any sign of disruption.” The governor stressed that ongoing talks between the state government and several key private sector players would begin to yield desired fruits in the coming year, saying one of the his investors had already acquired 10,000 hectares of land for cultivation of cassava as the state prepare to host the largest cassava processing firms in Nigeria. Speaking with journalists during the event, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Resilient Africa Group, Mr. Eddy McDonald, described

the company’s experience in Nigeria as both “amazing and very challenging.” The Asaba Mall was built at a cost of about $45 million he disclosed, even as he expressed willingness to work with more Nigerian investors and stakeholders. He said the company maintains a policy of adhering to the Nigerian or local content requirement as it does everything to add value to the local products. Earlier, the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. David Edevbie, described the Asaba Mall as a visible evidence of what a peaceful environment look like, saying it was served as a tonic for “increased revenue and creation of jobs.” The facilitator of the project, Mr. Olumide Akintanya, described the state as an outstanding state which encourages investment to thrive in a peculiar way. “Delta State should be every investor’s destination because the ease of doing business here can be described as 95 per cent and the people are business-minded,” Akintanya said.




Court Adjourns Odili’s N6bn Libel Suit against Peterside to Jan 17 Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt A Port Harcourt High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyayi-Laminkara, yesterday adjourned to January 17, 2017, hearing on a N6 billion libel suit brought against the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, by former Governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili. Odili had in the N6 billion suit said Peterside, who was the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the 2015 general election in the state, defamed his character at a press conference he held after Governor Nyesom Wike’s Supreme Court victory. He insisted that the NIMASA boss had alleged in the press conference that Wike, during his victory thanksgiving service, allegedly stated that Odili helped him to secure the

Supreme Court victory. Odili stated that Peterside had alleged in the press conference, that Wike, during his victory thanksgiving service, allegedly stated that he (Odili) helped him to secure the Supreme Court victory. He stated that what Peterside said was false and malicious, as Wike never made such inference, but that Peterside twisted and misrepresented what the governor said. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the presiding judge, Laminkanra, said she was granting the adjournment to enable Odili’s counsel file responses to the preliminary objection, motion of notice and statement of performance filed by the Peterside’s team of lawyers. The Odili’s counsel, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), had pleaded with the court for an adjournment, saying they were only served the previous day. Speaking with journalists shortly after the session, the lead counsel to Peterside, Rowland

Boko Haram: House Wants Relief Materials for Residents Affected by Relocation Order Damilola Oyedele in Abuja The House of Representatives has called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials for residents of Monguno, Marte and Nganzai towns in Borno State, who are affected by the relocation order of the Nigerian Army to move to the headquarters of Monguno Local Government Area. The military recently directed residents of the communities to relocate to allow it flush out members of the Boko Haram sect who are hiding in the towns. Hon. Mohammed Tahir

Monguno (Borno APC) in a motion of urgent public importance yesterday, said the essence of the relocation order is to declare any persons found in those areas thereafter, a member of Boko Haram, and deal with them. He however noted that the mass movement has affected and over-stretched social amenities of Monguno town, with threats to health, food availability and security. Monguno called on the military to urgently deal with the matter that necessitated the relocation order to allow the residents return to their villages.

Iwuamadi Unveils Five Motivational Books Pushed by the desire to reduce avoidable suffering, poverty and ignorance, Mr Emeka Iwuamadi, a lawyer, pastor and counsellor will today by 2p.m. at the International Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja, unveil five out of the 16 books he has written to the public. The series is part of his Hope Agenda

on love, motherhood, marriage, relationship and youths as leaders of tomorrow. A veteran journalist and publisher Comfort Obi, will chair the occasion while Mr. Okey Ikpe, President of Dozie Oweri and CEO of Office Machines and Dr. Sam Amadi will review the books

Fubara-Manuel Elected New CCN National President The Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) has elected Rev. Benebo Fubara-Manuel as its new National President. He replaced Most Rev Emmanuel J. Udofia whose tenure expired on November 15, 2016. Fubara-Manuel is a reformed pastor, theologian, lecturer, astute administrator and a church leader with the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. He was elected at the 29th

General Assembly of the CCN, held at the First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja. Rev. Fubara-Manuel brings his vast training and experience into the leadership of the CCN (founded in 1929) at a time when the foremost ecumenical body of the Christian Church in Nigeria seeks to re-position itself for greater engagement and impact in ecumenism and national affairs.

Otaro (SAN), said they want the matter struck out. Otaro said: “We just filed our

statement of defence under the rules, we filed within time and we filed a notice of preliminary

objection that this suit be struck out because our client was not duly served with the Writ of

Summons. So the counsel to the claimant asked for an adjournment.”


L-R: MD/CEO, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, Bola Onadele Koko; Head, Efficiency Unit, Ministry of Finance, Patience Oniha; DirectorGeneral, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo; CEO, Chapel Hill Denham Group, Bolaji Balogun; and Head, Investment Supervision Department, National Pension Commission, Ehimeme Ohioma, at the launch of the DCMD Project at SEC’s third quarter Capital Market Committee meeting in Lagos....yesterday .Sunday Adigun

Council Workers Flee as Rampaging Youths Protest Indiscriminate Police Arrest Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu Government activities were yesterday halted for several hours at the Headquarters of Udi Local Government Council of Enugu State as hundreds of youths from Umuavulu Abor Community staged a protest over alleged indiscriminate arrests in their community by men of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from Oji River Area Command of Enugu State Police Command. The angry protesters had invaded the local government secretariat in Udi on trucks, cars and motorcycles, chanting war songs and demanding the release of 10 Umuavulu Abor youths who were arrested by SARS men on Monday while they were relaxing at a popular eatery in the town. The invasion of the secretariat forced workers to take to their heels as it was initially thought that the war-like protesters were going to possibly destroy council

properties. Some of the inscriptions in the placards read, ‘Police, Stop Extorting Money from Us’, ‘We Are No Longer Happy With Police Indiscriminate Arrest’, ‘Police Leave Us Alone’, ‘Stop Intimidating Our People’, ‘We Are Not Cultists’, amongst others. The aggrieved youths threatened to take their protest to SARS office at Oji River but for the intervention of the Transition Council Vice Chairman of Udi local government area, Hon. Ikechukwu Ozo, who drove in amidst the commotion and invited leaders of the protesters and all the security chiefs in the local government to his office for a meeting. Speaking at the Vice Chairman’s office, a prominent indigene of Umuavulu Abor, Charles Ugwu said policemen from SARS in Oji River came to their town last Thursday, arrested six persons and locked them up indiscriminately. Ugwu said those arrested

last Thursday were granted bail the next day after they paid undisclosed amount of money to the police to regain their freedom. “Just on Monday night, the SARS men from Oji River came again around in the night. Some of our youth were in an eatery taking indomie and the police arrested ten of them for no just cause. “When we woke in the morning, we were angry and we reported the matter to our Igwe (traditional ruler). We said we were angry were going on a protest to SARS in Oji River. Igwe told us he was attending a meeting with the Governor at Government House but we should be law abiding and peaceful in our protest. We assured him that we are going to be peaceful. “Our plan is to go to SARS at Oji River but we resolved to come to the local government first and see the chairman who is the Chief Security Officer of

Udi local government. From here, we proceed to Oji River. We can no longer fold our hands and allow our people suffer this kind of harassment from the police” Ugwu said. The Vice Chairman condemned the action of the police, but pleaded with the protesters to remain calm and not to take their protest to SARS office at Oji River. Ozo who noted that “violence does not beget violence,” said even though the police might have acted ultra vires, taking the protest to SARS office could escalate the situation and lead to loss of lives. “As soon as the Chairman comes, we will contact the Commissioner of Police and Chief Security Officer to the Governor. I am appealing to you to go home. Before the end of the day, we will make sure your children return home. They must be released. You do not arrest people like that in a civilized society” Ozo said. Ends

Ugwuanyi Seeks Deployment of Technology for Economic Growth Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has said a sustained investment in science and technology would eventually result in development. The governor spoke while formally inaugurating an engineering laboratory built by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) for the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Addressing the students, the governor pledged to remain committed to the growth of science and technology by expanding capacity in the sector

and deploying same for the rapid growth of the state’s economy. The governor who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, added that the establishment of the laboratory would enhance the school’s capacity to solve the nation’s quest for self-sufficiency in science and technology. “Apart from boosting the intellectual, scientific and technological capacity of the University of Nigeria, a facility of this sophistication and magnitude

also complements our current efforts to upgrade and modernize Nsukka,” he said, urging the university authority to make judicious use of the facility. Speaking, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, represented by the Director-General of Projects and Development Agency (PRODA), Enugu, Dr. Charles Agulanna, paid glowing tribute to Ugwuanyi’s creative management of the state’s resources and canvassed more support for his administration.

In a speech, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba, said the institution’s collaboration with the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas has been worthwhile. He also thanked Governor Ugwuanyi’s remarkable support towards the growth of the university. For the visibly elated managing director and chief executive officer of the NLNG, Mr. Tony Atta, the facility is a fulfillment of the company’s corporate social responsibility.




PFN Heads to Court over Kaduna Religious Bill

John Shiklam in Kaduna The Kaduna State chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has dragged the state government before a state High Court over an executive

bill before the stateHouse of Assembly which seeks to regulate religious preaching in the state. PFN, in the suit against the state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, prayed the court to

NDLEA Prosecutes Two Suspects for Unlawful Possession of Cocaine Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) yesterday said it was currently prosecuting two suspects for unlawful possession of cocaine. The state Commander of the agency, Mr. Misbahu Idris, made the disclosure in Sokoto at a oneday sensitisation meeting with relevant stakeholders organised by Conflict Mitigation and Management Regional Council and NDLEA. According to him, the suspects were being prosecuted at the Federal High Court in Sokoto, He stated that some of the drugs commonly abused include narcotics, stimulants, alcohol, tobacco, depressants/sedative, cannabis sativa and inhalants, among others. “Our society is associated with myriad of problems caused by drug abuse and illicit trafficking. ‘’This has resulted to negative impact on our ethics and values as an entity. The drug problem has led to the increase of crimes in the society,armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, rape and stealing, among others,” he said. In a remark, Mr. Sanusi Baba-Ahmed of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital,

Kware, lamented that over 60 per cent of the 500 patients recorded weekly at the hospital were drugs-related ailments. Ahmed decried the revolving of patients at the hospital, saying, some of them were usually brought back by security agents. Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who spoke through the District Head of Gagi, Alhaji Sani Umar, called for drastic actions to, redress the ugly trend. The Speaker, Sokoto State House of Assembly, Alhaji Salihu Maidaji, represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Usman Arzika, pledged the support of the assembly to make laws to curb the drugs menace. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, announced the immediate formation of a Taskforce on Counterfeit drugs and drugs abuse. In a remark, the Chairman of the council, Prof. Isa Maishanu, lamented that the drugs problem was a menace eating deep into the fabrics of the society. ‘’It is a problem that needs to be addressed globally and some evil forces are behind it,’’ he stressed.

Court Arraigns Businessman for Allegedly Duping Obasanjo’s Company Sheriff Balogun in Abeokuta A Magistrate Court at Isabo, Abeokuta, Ogun State, last Monday arraigned a businessman, Salimon Abiodun Ajayi, for allegedly swindling a company, Alarab Properties, a subsidiary of Obasanjo Holdings Limited, to the tune of N105million on a three-count charge bordering on forgery, fraud and stealing. While reading out the charges in suit number MA\606\c\2016), the police prosecutor, Sunday Eigbejiale, said the accused had fraudulently forged Sidipon Community Power of Attorney and obtained the sum of N105million from the above company in the sales of 67 acres of land at the Sidipon village. According to the charge, “That you Salimon Abiodun Ajayi on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magistrate district with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N105million property of Alarab, a subsidiary of Obasanjo Holdings Limited, with the pretext that you are in position to sell 67 acres of land

to Alarab Properties, a subsidiary of Obasanjo Holdings Limited, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 419 revised law of Ogun State 2004.” Moving motion for bail application, the counsel to the accused, Akolade Afolabi, urged the court to admit his client to bail in line with constitutional provision. Citing section 36 sub(5) of Nigerian constitution as amended, Ajayi who argued that an accused is presumed innocent until proven contrary, further contended that the purpose of bail is to secure the presence of the accused in court to face trial and not to punish him. He, however, assured the court that Ajayi would not abuse the bail if granted. Ruling on the bail motion, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Oriyomi Sofowora, admitted the accused to bail of N250, 000. 00 with two sureties in like sum. The magistrate thereafter adjourned the case to December 20, 2016.

declare as null and void the controversial executive bill before state assembly. The two others joined in the suit instituted by the President of PFN, Prof. Femi Ehinmidu, are the state House of Assembly and the Attorney General of the state. The PFN and all its churches in Nigeria, through its counsel, Mr. Sunny A. Akanni of S.A Akanni and Co, asked the court for the enforcement of its fundamental rights as guaranteed under sections 38(1), 39(1), 40(1), and 42(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and under the African Charter

of Human and Peoples Rights. PFN, in the suit which came up for mention yesterday, wants the court to declare that “the bill for a law to substitute the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law 1984 sent to the state House of Assembly by the governor of the state is a violation of the Applicant’s Fundamental Rights of freedom of religion, Association and discriminatory as guaranteed by s.38,39,40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.” PFN also wants the court to declare that “the Regulation of Religious Preaching law cap 130

of the state law of July 17, 1984 is a violation of the Applicant’s Right to Religious Freedom as guaranteed by s.38, 39, 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. “An order setting aside the said Regulations of Religious Preaching Law of July 17, 1984, as a violation of the constitutional rights of the applicant. “An order prohibiting the state House of Assembly from passing into law the said bill as it offends the United Nations and the African Union agreement and protocol of which Nigeria is a signatory to particularly Article 8 of the

African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.” Counsel to the defendants and Director of Civil Litigations, Mr. Sanusi Usman, yesterday submitted his defence before the court. Akanni told the court that he would study the submission of the defendant, and promised to respond to the court by next week. Some religious leaders, especially Christian leaders, had expressed strong opposition to the bill which according to the governor, is aimed at curtailing hate speech and to promote peace and harmony among religious groups in the state.


L-R: National Secretary, Association of Royal Traditional Rulers of Nigeria and Dallatun Kauran Katsina, Ambassador Abubakar Lawal; Sarkin Malamai, FCT, Abuja, Dr. Muhammed Muhammed Alkwadawi; and Commandant General, Global Initiative for Harmony in Nigeria, Ambassador Elizabeth Omini, at the first G9 Peace and Security Summit in Abuja...yesterday Enock Reuben

EFCC Operative Admits Making Conflicting Statements in Akpobolokemi’s Case Sunday Okobi An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Orji Chukwuma, yesterday informed a Federal High Court in Lagos that he made conflicting statements in the ongoing trial of embattled former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Patrick Akopobolokemi, alongside five others. Chukwuma had earlier in his testimony told the court presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba that Akpolobokemi paid the sum of N40 million for two years rent in his Banana Island, Ikoyi home, Lagos, and bought a bullet-proof Toyota Land cruiser Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) from the funds made available for the implementation of the International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS) Code. However, at the resumed hearing of matter yesterday,

the anti- graft agency operative admitted that the payments for the house on Banana Island and for the bulletproof SUV were made before the disbursement of funds for the ISPS Code. While he was being crossexamined by Akopolokemi’s lawyer, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), the witness was asked to look at the receipts for payments of the bulletproof Toyota SUV as well as the tenancy agreement which dated November 14, 2011, to November 14, 2013, while funds for the ISPS code was released on January 3, 2014. Nnwobike asked the witness to look at the receipts for the car, which of the payments were made after January 3, 2014, Orji responded that none for the car. He was also asked if all the payments for the car were made before the disbursement of the funds from NIMASA to ISPS code, the witness said yes. Nwobike, further showed the witness Exhibit P64, which

is the tenancy agreement and two receipts for rents that were made between November 14, 2011 to November 14, 2013, Orji said yes. He, how much did he pay, Orji, said N12 million Continuing Nwobike asked the witness that if after the first payment, Akpobolokeme made payment for the third year Orji said yes, that the payment was 14 million. Nnwobike, do you agree that the first and third payments were made before the disbursement of money from NIMASA to ISPS Code? Orji said based on the record, this is what the document is talking about. Akpobolokemi alongside, Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited, were first arraigned before Justice Buba on December 4, 2015, for allegedly defrauding NIMASA to the tune of N2.6 billion between March and June 2014. However, the matter has been

adjourned till January 9 to 13, 2017 for continuation of trial. In the charge, the EFCC alleged that Akpobolokemi and others converted for their personal use the sum of N2.6 billion belonging to NIMASA. The prosecution had alleged that on or about February 2014 in Lagos, the accused persons conspired among themselves to convert the sum of N437, 726, 666.60 belonging to NIMASA. They were alleged to have on January 9, 2014 and April and August, 2014, converted to their own use, the sum of N21, 802, 000 million and additional N53,749, 000.00 million and N66,800.000 million property of NIMASA. The offences, according to the EFCC, are contrary to and punishable under Section 18 (a) and 15 (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition/ Amendment) Act of 2012. All the accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the offences, and admitted to bail.




Navy Intensifies Clampdown on Crude Oil Thieves in Niger Delta Destroys 12 illegal refineries

Paul Obi in Abuja In a move to combat oil theft in the Niger Delta, Nigerian Navy yesterday said it had intensified its clampdown on crude oil thieves, operators of illegal oil refinery and other related crimes in the Niger Delta. According to officials, this is in consonance with its revolve to rid the oil region of all forms of criminalities and illegalities within the area. A report by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) during the week indicated that Nigeria lose s about 130 million barrels of crude oil to 32 militant groups

in 2016 alone. Director of Information, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, promised that the navy’s strong resolve to continue the ongoing clampdown in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff’s zero tolerance for crude oil theft and other crimes in the maritime zone. He maintained that the force “would continue its onslaught against perpetrators of illegal activities in the area, the Nigerian Navy said it remained steadfast in the ongoing clampdown on illegalities in the Niger Delta. Ezekobe said the patrol team deployed by NNS Pathfinder destroyed a wooden boat laden

with suspected illegally refined diesel around Wakama Village in Onne. “Similarly, FOB Escravos raided an illegal refinery site at Tipo Village in Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State. “During the raid, are illegal

refinery site and 2 large Cotonou boats laden with unspecified quantity of suspected stolen crude oil as well as 100 Jerry cans of illegally refined AGO were destroyed. “In a related development, a patrol team from FOB BONNY

raided Bolo and adjoining creeks. During the raid, the team destroyed 12 illegal refinery sites, six Cotonou boats carrying suspected crude oil and 20 tanks laden with suspected illegally refined diesel as well as three barges laden with suspected

stolen crude oil. “Other items destroyed include six tanks laden with crude oil as well as one speedboat laden with diesel, including ten dug out wells used for storage of suspected crude oil,” Ezekobe added.

Benue Commisioner Remanded in Prison George Okoh in Makurdi The Benue State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Sekav Iortyom, is to spend time in the Makurdi prison following the order of Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court over an allegation of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide. Among the charges brought against Mr. Iortyom in court was failure to attend in obedience to an order from public servant. The Commissioner was arrested following his alleged involvement in the murder of a university don and lecturer in the department of political science, Mkar University Gboko, Dr. Wilfred Tondo, who was murdered in cold blood last August. According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed before the court by the prosecuting officer, Gabriel Agadu, the police ‘B’ Division in Gboko had last August received information that some gunmen numbering about three broke into the official residence of the lecturer in Gboko and shot him dead. Part of the FIR read, “during Police investigation, Kosovenyi Kungwa, Emmanuel Nyajo and

David Yiman were arrested and charged to the Chief Magistrate Court 1 Makurdi. “However, Sekav Iortyom who was given administrative bail and appointed to report to the police on October 25, 2016 but failed, was later arrested for conspiring with the above named and others now at large to commit the crime.” At the mention of the case, no plea was taken for want of jurisdiction, but the defence counsel, Mr. Christian Teeve, entered an oral plea for the bail of the accused. However, the prosecuting officer opposed the plea on the grounds that investigation into the matter was ongoing. In her ruling, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Felicia Ikyegh, who directed that the bail plea be put down in writing and made formally, ordered that the accused be remanded at the Makurdi Medium Prison and adjourned the matter to February 9, 2017 for further mention. An adviser to the state governor and a local government sole administrator were also remanded in prison over allegation of murder earlier in the year.

Officials of the National Agency for Food Drug andAdministration and Control (NAFDAC) yesterday arrested three persons in connection with the sale of fake cosmetic products, including Ozone hair relaxer. The officials stormed the popular Ochanja Market in company of security operatives, where they raided a shop in the market, which they claimed was reported as the source of the suspected fake cosmetic products and arrested three persons. According to the leader of the NAFDAC group, Uche Chidi, who is a Chief Regulatory Enforcement Officer, their action followed an intelligence reports

L-R: Wife of the Governor of Oyo State, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi; her counterparts in Lagos State/Founder, Hope for Women Initiative in Nigeria (HOFOWEM), Mrs. Bolanle Ambode; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris; Special Adviser on Primary Healthcare, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga; and Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, during the high-level meeting on Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation” tagged #zerotolerance4FGM, by HOFOWEM in Alausa.....yesterday

16 Get Life Sentences for Adulterating Diesel Bassey Inyang in Calabar

Sixteen people were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment, without an option of fine, by the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar for adulterating 100 tonnes of diesel. The convicts, Egbayelo Charles, Lawrence Sosoo, Iboho Allen, Obiora Sunday, Akpan Wisdom, Isaac Esien, Kingsley Anighoro, Simeon Ohinomado, Ime Ubong, Joseph Thomas, Nseh Obot, Second Philip, Undubiri Prebai, Emmanuel Abel, Edmund Okoye and Baba Mathew after a similar raid in Naka, were charged to court by the Benue State, where a suspect federal government through was arrested and confessed the Bayelsa State Command he sourced the illicit product in Onitsha. Uche maintained that their primary mission was to get to the source of the faking of the particular product whether the suspects were producing or Importing it and punish those Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti behind it. Meanwhile, a consultant The Ekiti State Police Command to the owners of the brand on Monday arrested two robbers being faked who pleaded who stole a Toyota Camry anonymity said that any belonging to their employer at product seen to be in high a section of Ado Ekiti capital demand in the market is city recently. The robbers and their gang, usually a target of fakers He regretted the numbering four, according to penchant of people to the Commissioner of Police, ride on the back of established Mr. Wilson Inalegwu, had on names to claim what they do November 16, 2016 invaded a not produce.

NAFDAC Raids Onitsha Shop David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka


of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Delivering judgment in suit number FHC/PH/129c/2014, Justice Inyang Ekwo found the accused guilty and sentenced each of them to 10 years on count one, 10 years on count three, life imprisonment on count two, and another life imprisonment on count four. Ekwo ordered that their sentences are to run concurrently from July 7, 2014 with no option of fine. The judge declared that all asset recovered from their arrest would be handed over to the federal government. In the charge sheet signed

by O A. Adebolu, on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the 16 accused persons, and others at large, on July 7, 2014 conspired to adulterate and deal, as well as adulterated and dealt in about 100 tonnes petroleum product suspected to be Automotive Gas Oil. The prosecution council alleged that the accused were conveying the product along the Brass River heading to sea on a vessel named MV ALEZZA LILAH. Commenting on the judgment, Deputy Commandant, Bayelsa State Command, Aniekan Udoeyop said: “Illegality in all business is criminal. This

sentence of life imprisonment should send a strong signal to all that think that they can make fast money. I think it is high time they stay away. Such imprisonment to a breadwinner of a family, a husband and father is not comfortable. People should think of a good means of livelihood instead of involving themselves in criminality.” Mr. Kingsley Nwachukwu, who represented the federal government in court also spoke about the conviction, saying: “It pays no one and is capable of destroying the economy of the country.” The defence counsel, Richard Oyiwona, said the convicts will appeal the judgment.

Ekiti Police Arrest Two Suspected Bandits after Robbing Employer house located at Ureje, along Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti and dispossessed the inhabitants of valuable effects. He said upon receiving distressed calls from the residents of the area, the police immediately dispatched men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad to the scene of the incident to rescue the people. Valuable assets stolen during the operation include: A black

Toyota Camry with Registration number LND 118 EA valued N1.5 million and one Infinix phone worth N50,000. The police commissioner explained that the SARS operatives had trailed the suspected bandits, namely: Ganiu Issa and Jamiu Idris to Isua Akoko in Ondo State, where they were tracked down. “Having received the

distressed calls, my men went after these robbers as far as to Isua Akoko where two of them, who are now in our custody were arrested. “The suspects admitted knowing the complainant having worked for him in his house . This shows that the two were employees of the man. “I wish to use this medium to advise the public to be careful of the type of workers they employ.


WEDNESDAY, november 30, 2016 • T H I S D AY

WEDNESDAYSPORTS Saraki: Poor Sports Funding Unacceptable

Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email

Appointed National SWAN Patron Duro Ikhazuagbe Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday described as totally unacceptable and embarrassing the situation where teams travelling out of Nigeria to represent the country in global sports competitions beg for funds. Speaking when he received the National Executive Committee of the Sportswriters Association of Nigeria (SWAN) at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday, the Senate President insisted that sports as a tool for national unity, cohesion and social development deserves to be treated better. “We are committed to make the needed change in sports in the country with the NFF and National Sports Commission bills before the Senate,” stressed Dr Bukola who was supported in receiving the sportswriters by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba. He also hinted that with the amendments to the National Lottery Trust Fund bill, sportsmen and women in the country were going to get better funding when fully operational. The Senate President said Nigerians who opted to compete for other countries are doing so because of the better funding and welfare packages offered by those countries. “We must do everything to encourage and keep them at Nigerian athletes.” Earlier, SWAN National President, Honour Sirawoo, announced the appointment of Saraki as National Patron of the body for his contributions to sports development when he was Governor of Kwara state. “What you did for sports

development in Kwara State where you set up football academy and brought former Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Clemens Westerhof as coordinator, what you did to put the Kwara stadium to the beautiful edifice it is now, shows your passion for sports and youth development and your commitment to sports development in the country. The NEC has approved your award as national patron of SWAN. We would pick a date for your investiture,” Sirawoo said. The SWAN President, who commended the Senate for commencing amendment of the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) and the National Sports Commission (NSC) bills, however tasked the Senate President and the National Assembly to make laws that would move sports forward in the country, while calling for a bill that would create national sports university in the country. “SWAN was established in 1964 to coordinate and manage activities of sports writers and promote sports growth in the country. Sports play unique role in the development of any society through unity and wealth creation. We are blessed in Nigeria with huge potential and population but we have not build on the potential to take sports where it should be. “Nigeria faces several challenges in sports development, the NFA bill when amended would help government to provide enabling environment and allow private sector to run it. The NSC bill would enable the commission to be managed by professionals and technocrats. Nigeria needs a sports university to help promote sports,” concludes the SWAN president.


Oparanozie Shoots Nigeria into Final Nigeria’s Super Falcons remain on course for a 10th women’s AFCON final after they beat South Africa 1-0 to now face hosts Cameroon in the championship game on Friday. Top scorer at the last edition of the competition in Namibia, Desire Oparanozie scored her second of the tournament with a bullet shot from a free kick at the edge of the box, to send the Super Falcons into the final for the eighth time in the history of the competition. South Africa had a goal chalked off in the first half for offside, otherwise Nigeria dominated with the magical

Ngozi Okobi and skipper Rita Chikwelu pulling the strings in midfield. Late in the game, Ugo Njoku almost caused an own goal but goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan was alert to keep out the danger, before Faith Ikidi made two goal line clearances in quick succession as Banyana Banyana poured forward in a bid to draw level. Saturday’s final will be a repeat of the 2014 championship game in Namibia which Nigeria won 2-0 at the expense of the Cameroonians. Ghana and South Africa will play the third-place game on Friday.

Jubilant Falcons after the match yesterday

NSA 2016: Dalong to Grace Award Ceremony Ahead of the 2016 Nigeria Sports Awards ceremony, the Honorable Minister of Youth & Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalong has confirmed attendance for the 5th edition of the award ceremony taking place on Friday, December 2, 2016. The Chairman of the award committee, Mr. Ikeddy Isiguzo disclosed this at a press conference held on Monday, November 28, 2016 to round-up all nominations

and preparations for the 5th Anniversary Award ceremony. “I am indeed delighted to announce that the Honorable Minister of Youth & Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalong has confirmed attendance and would be our special guest of honour at the event on Friday” he said.  Isiguzo noted that the members of the panel and organizers of the award are delighted about the Minister’s

decision to honour their invitation for the second time in a row following his appointment to the office last year. He also revealed that several dignitaries in the country including Captains of Industries, Past and Present athletes as well as Nigeria’s Top Sport Personalities would be around for the event. “This year’s award will be attended by well-known Captains of Industries, notable

and respected dignitaries in the Nigerian Sports industry” he stated. The event is organisedto celebrate excellent performance in Nigerian athletes and to encourage hard work and commitment among the athletes. The 2016 Nigerian Sports Award event is scheduled to hold on Friday, December 2, 2016 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Fijabi, Edo Boy, Joseph, Skoro Headline GOtv Boxing Season 10 The quartet of Olaide Fijabi, Stanley Eribo, Oto Joseph and Waidi Usman will be the leading names at the 10th edition of GOtv Boxing Night scheduled to hold on December 26, at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos. This was announced yesterday at a conference addressed by the organisers in Lagos. GOtv Boxing Night 10, explained the organisers, is a milestone edition, being

the tenth of the event. Seven bouts, including the African Boxing Union (ABU) welterweight title bout and the West African Boxing Union light welterweight title duel, have been scheduled. The ABU title will see Nigeria’s national champion, Eribo, takes on Tanzania’s national champion, Meshack Mwankemwa, for the vacant title. The sub-regional title bout pairs Fijabi and Ghana’s Raphael Kwabena in a greatly

anticipated rematch. Both boxers clashed at GOtv Boxing Night 9, a close-fought challenge contest that the Nigerian won via a split decision. Similarly scheduled is the rematch between eternal rivals, reigning national lightweight champion, Oto Joseph, and his predecessor, Nurudeen Fatai. The line-up also includes Waidi “Skoro” Usman, West African featherweight champion, fighting Dare Oyewole in a challenge bout, while Kabiru

Towolawi takes on Felix Igwe in a light heavyweight challenge duel. Two other potentially cracking fights will have Rilwan Oladosu clash with Prince Nwoye in the lightweight division, while Rilwan Oladosu will test his credentials as a budding light welterweight star against Sikiru Shogbesan. The best boxer at the event will go home with a cash prize of N1.5million and the Mojisola Ogunsanya Memorial Trophy.




Mourinho Set to Lure Mikel to Man Utd Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho is set to make a shock move to bring his former midfielder, Mikel John Obi to Old Trafford from Chelsea. Super Eagles captain, Mikel, has not played under new Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte and there are no plans to renew his contract which runs out this season. The Sun reports that Mourinho is ready to take advantage of the situation with a cut-price New Year offer for the Nigeria international midfielder the Red Devils thought they had signed 10 years ago. Mikel had just turned 19 when the Old Trafford outfit announced on their website that they had signed him on a four-year contract from Norwegian club FC Lyn-Oslo. The £4 million transfer was done directly with the player and his club — bypassing his agents and he was even pictured in a United shirt.

But Chelsea angrily claimed they had an agreement with the agents to buy him. Things turned nasty when it was reported Mikel started to get threatening phone calls and ended up having to take refuge in a safe hotel with a security guard. He then went missing from Lyn amid stories he had been kidnapped. Mikel had actually travelled to London where he went on Sky Sports TV to claim that he had been pressured into signing for United, something they denied, and he wanted to join the Blues. The matter was resolved when Chelsea paid United £12 million and FC Lyn-Oslo £4 million. If a deal happens then it will be the second time Mourinho will sign Mikel, who he believes can play in a defensive midfield role in front of the back four. He needs that type of player to give £89 million Paul Pogba freedom to roam.

Chelsea to Reward Moses with New Deal


Rangers Can Retain NPFL Title, Says Nwobodo

Ahead of the new NPFL season, Rangers International Football Club midfield maestro, Obinna Nwobodo, has said that his team can retain the league title they won last season after a 32year jinx. Speaking yesterday at the team’s pre-season camp in Benin City, Nwobodo said he has his sights set on new strides for the Flying Antelopes in the three competitions the team will be participating in, the CAF Champions League, the NPFL and the Federation Cup. Obinna, who has been

likened to great midfielders like former Spanish international, Xavi and Argentine playmaker, Juan Roman Riquelme by Rangers’ faithful, said preparations were on top gear as the team looks to improve on its performance from last season. “We’re preparing very well and I believe I’ll put up an improved performance in the coming season. The competition in the team will be intense as no one is sure of a starter’s shirt and that’s why everyone in the team will need to work hard”, Obinna told On the recruitment system of the champions ahead of

the new season, the former FC Inter midfielder hailed the management and expressed optimism that the Nigerian champions can retain their title and of course, do well on the continent. “Yes, I think we can do it; we can retain the title. Most of the players have been together and with the new ones the management is recruiting, I think we can only get stronger,” he said. Most keen followers of the beautiful game of football can testify to the brilliant display and dexterity Obinna Nwobodo put up last season in the Nigeria Professional

Football League. Scoring seven important goals (three of which were match winners) and six assists, pundits argued that his impact was instrumental to the breaking of the 32-yearold jinx Rangers International suffered from. He was remarkably influential in Imama Amapakabo’s team and that saw him start 29 times for the champions and he started as a substitute just once. Nwobodo celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday and is currently with the team at the Benin camp seriously preparing for the new season.

Team Peak 456 Emerges Champions of 2016 FCWAMCO Games Moses English Premier League club, Chelsea will hand Super Eagles winger, Victor Moses with a new contract and will hold talks in 2017 according to the London Evening Standard. The Stamford Bridge will open talks with the Nigerian in the coming days with a view to rewarding him for his impressive displays this season. Moses agreed a four-year deal worth £45,000 a week in 2015 but Chelsea are already willing to negotiate another one and offer the 25-year old a significant pay-rise. The Nigerian international has been one of the surprises in the Premier League this season after becoming a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge. He has netted three league goals for Chelsea this season

and his powerful displays have helped Chelsea to the summit of the league standings. Moses joined Chelsea from Wigan for £9 million in 2012 but has been loaned to Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham respectively in the previous three seasons. However, coach Antonio Conte has given him a chance to impress since arriving in the summer and is a huge admirer of the skilful star. Moses has made 14 appearances this season and has started the past seven League games as a right wing back in the new 3-4-3 formation. The 25-year-old scored his fourth goal of the season in the 2-1 win over Tottenham on Saturday and was also named man-of-the-match for a second week in a row.

Team Peak 456 at the weekend emerged champions of the 11th edition of FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s annual sports tournament with a lone goal victory over Team Three Crowns at the Agege Stadium in Lagos. According to the Managing Director and Grand Patron of FCWAMCO Games 2016, Mr. Rahul Colaco, it was pleasing to witness the grand finale of a competition which involved intense work and dedication by cross-functional stakeholders. In his words, “My dream as you know, is for us to emerge champions at the next FMCG Games, having put in so much effort.” Earlier on, Team Peak Milk won the third place match in a 4-2 penalty decider against Team Peak Choco, after an initial draw of 1-1 at full time. Formerly known as “MD’s Cup” the tournament was renamed ‘FCWAMCO Games’ having evolved from being just a football competition to a bouquet of sports and

Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Mr. Rahul Colaco (right), receiving a trophy as Grand Patron, FCWAMCO Games from the Compensation & Benefitting Manager, Mr. Kenneth Omeni during the closing ceremony of the 11th edition of the annual games held at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, at the weekend indoor games, which include table tennis, chess, scrabble and virtual soccer. Colaco further explained, “FCWAMCO Games is in line with the objectives of encouraging employees to

take ownership of the corporate values of FrieslandCampina WAMCO through the tournament. Team spirit and hard work are the core drivers of this initiative, and the results have clearly shown that together,

we can achieve more.” A novelty match was played in Colaco’s honour and it featured both male and female staff of FrieslandCampina WAMCO as Team WAMCO vs. Team LOC.


WEDNESDAY, november 30, 2016 • T H I S D AY


Football Community Unites Behind Chapecoense The football community has rallied around Chapecoense following the tragic events of Monday night. A plane carrying the Brazilian club to Colombia for their Copa Sudamericana final first leg against Atletico Nacional crashed en route. The Serie A side were scheduled to play at Medellin’s Estadio Atanasio Girardot on Wednesday but the plane, carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed on its way to Medellin from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, leaving only five surivvors. Authorities reported that the plane declared an emergency at 22.00 local time (03.00GMT) with an electrical failure. The plane is understood to have come down in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union. Figures across the football world have since taken to social media to show their support for Chapecoense. In a related development, Colombian club Atletico Nacional called on football authorities yesterday to hand the Copa Sudamericana title to their opponents, Brazilian side Chapecoense, as a tribute to the team’s players killed in a plane crash. The Colombian side made the request to regional football confederation Conmebol in a statement. It asked of Conmebol “that the Copa Sudamericana title be handed to Chapecoense Football Association as an honorary trophy for its great loss, and as a posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal accident that has put our sport in mourning.” Chapecoense and Atletico Nacional were supposed to have faced off today in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the second most prestigious club football tournament in South America after the Copa Libertadores. Conmebol said in a statement earlier that the match was suspended until further notice. “We are in contact with the authorities and are waiting for official reports.”

Chapecoense before a recent match A source close to Conmebol told AFP it was “very unlikely” that the final would ever be played. Nine members of the Brazilian team did not travel to Colombia. Chapecoense Real had risen from obscurity to reach the Copa Sudamericana finals. The LAMIA airlines charter declared an emergency at around 10:00 pm (0300 GMT Tuesday), reporting it had suffered “electrical failures,” and crashed a short time later near the city of Medellin, officials said. Authorities said just six of the 81 people on board were thought to have survived.

LIST OF TRAGEDIES INVOLVING SPORTS TEAMS Torino (Italy), 1949 After playing a friendly match against Benfica in Lisbon, Torino flew back home in a Fiat F.212. Just prior to landing, the aircraft

Brazil Football Giants Offer to Loan Players Three of Brazil’s leading clubs have said they will offer players to Chapecoense, after the majority of their squad died in a plane crash. Chapecoense players and officials died when their plane crashed on its approach to Medellin, Colombia. They were travelling to play in the Copa Sudamericana final first leg, and opponents Atletico Nacional have asked for Chapecoense to be awarded the cup. Flamengo, Palmeiras and Sao Paulo are the clubs to have offered help. Sao Paulo, who have won six national titles, also said Chapecoense should be exempt from relegation to Brazilian football’s second tier for the next

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona players observed a minute silent before their respective training session this morning

three seasons as they attempt to rebuild the club. Colombia’s civil aviation body says only six of the 81 people aboard the plane survived the crash, which was blamed on an electrical fault. At least two of the survivors are footballers. They were confirmed to be defender Alan Ruschel and reserve goalkeeper Jackson Follman. A statement by Fox Sports Latin America said that six employees from its Brazil operation died in the crash. In the aftermath of the 1958 Munich air disaster, both Liverpool and Nottingham Forest offered to loan players to Manchester United, and players from non-league Bishop Auckland featured for the Red Devils.

crashed against the Superga Basilica. A total of 31 people died – including 18 players and five members of the coaching staff. The following year Italy avoided flying to Brazil for the 1950 World Cup, and took boats instead.

Manchester United (England), 1958 Manchester United was flying back home after playing Red Star for Europe’s Cup. Twenty passengers died, including eight players.

Denmark Olympic Team, 1960 A jet chartered by the Danish Football Association crashed after taking off in Copenhagen. Only the pilot survived. Eight players died.

Green Cross (Chile), 1961 Chilean team Green Cross was flying to Santiago when it crashed in the Andes. Twentyfour people died – including eight players, the head coach, and a physical therapist. Chilean

authorities discovered the site of the accident only in 2015.

The Strongest (Bolivia), 1969 The team was flying from Santa Cruz de La Sierra to Bolivian capital La Paz when their plane just vanished from the radars. Authorities found the plane on the next day, with all 74 people onboard dead.

Marshall University (United States), 1970 A chartered jet carrying most of the Marshall University football team crashed into a hillside. The team was returning from a game against East Carolina University (a 17-14 loss). Thirty-seven Marshall football players were onboard, along with most of the coaching staff and doctors. In 2006, the film We Are Marshall, starring Matthew McConaughey depicted the aftermath of the tragedy.

Uruguayan Rugby Team, 1972 A chartered flight carrying 45 people, including a rugby union

team, their friends, family, and associates, crashed in the Andes. Over one-quarter of the team died in the accident; other succumbed to the cold and injuries. The last 16 survivors were rescued two months later. With little food and no source of heat, they fed on the bodies of dead passengers preserved in the snow. In 1993, a feature film called Alive was based on the story.

Pakhtakor Tashkent (Uzbekistan), 1979 The Pakhtakor Tashkent delegation was going to play at Minsk. While flying over Ukraine, the aircraft crashed into an Aeroflot plane. All 178 passengers died, including 14 players and three members of the coaching staff.

Alianza Lima (Peru), 1987 The Peruvian team was flying from Pucallpa to Lima when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Sixteen players and all of the team’s staff died.

Colorful 11 (Suriname), 1989 A




Surinamese players who played in the Netherlands formed a team, Colorful 11, to play in a friendly match at Paramaribo. The plane crash during landing. Out of the 178 people on board, only 11 survived – including three players. Another 15 players died. Stars like Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard didn’t have permission from their teams to play, and had avoided the trip.

Zambia’s National Team, 1993 The national team flew to Senegal for a World Cup qualifier match. The plane, however, crashed over the Gabonese coast, killing all 30 people on board – 18 players and staff members.

Chapecoense (Brazil), 2016 The plane carrying Chapecoense crashed when approaching Medellín. At least 75 people died. Twenty-two players were in the flight by Bolivian company Lamia. Twenty-two journalists from Fox TV, Globo, and local stations were among the passengers.




Hamilton: Rosberg Says Debate over Rival’s Tactics is ‘Pointless’ Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg has said the debate around Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton’s tactics in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is “pointless”. Hamilton ignored team orders and drove deliberately slowly in an attempt to back Rosberg into rivals. Mercedes could take action against Hamilton, but Rosberg said he “understood” the Briton’s tactics. “It’s done, it’s a thing of the past and it’s fine,” said the German, 31. Hamilton, 31, went into the

race 12 points behind Rosberg and needed to win - with the German finishing lower than third - to take the title. Mercedes repeatedly ordered Hamilton to speed up during the race, but he ignored their commands and told his team to “let us race”. Rosberg still finished second to secure his first F1 world title. Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, Rosberg refused to be drawn on the subject, saying he “respected” Hamilton because they were “really good friends back in the day”.

Barca Captain, Iniesta, Fit for ElClasico

Nico Rosberg finished second in Abu Dhabi to secure

Former Coach Charged with Child Abuse Iniesta Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta is available to play against Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season on Saturday at the Nou Camp, coach Luis Enrique said yesterday. The 32-year-old midfielder damaged knee ligaments last month and returned to training on Friday. “Andres is waiting to be given the all clear by the doctors but this is just a formality. He is fit and he has been training with us,” Luis Enrique told a news conference. The Spain international missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad, a result that left Barca six points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who are unbeaten in 31 games in all competitions. Iniesta will not travel to Alicante for Barca’s King’s Cup round of 32 first-leg match against Hercules tonight. “Andres is not playing

tomorrow because he is banned but had he been available, he would have had minutes,” Luis Enrique said. Sunday’s result in San Sebastian was Barca’s second successive draw in La Liga. “It’s obvious that we need to improve, that we need more consistent but I don’t see any signs to worry me too much,” Luis Enrique said. “The team is well and we got a point at La Real. We are still favourites to win all the titles but it’s clear that we have to improve. “We, the players and I, are aware of that and are the first to admit that. We’ve had good games but we’ve lacked consistency as the results show. But I wouldn’t exaggerate. “Remember that in my first year (2014-15) the press also exaggerated with our results and we went on to win the treble (La Liga, King’s Cup and the Champions League).”

Former coach Barry Bennell, who is at the centre of a scandal rocking English football, was yesterday charged with eight counts of child abuse, prosecutors said. Bennell, who has already served three jail terms for previous child sex offences, has faced a slew of new allegations by at least 20 former footballers spanning three decades beginning in the 1970s when he was working for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City. “Following a review of the evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, Mr Bennell, 62, has today been charged with eight offences of sexual assault against a boy under the age of 14,” said a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Bennell, who it was revealed on Monday had to be hospitalised when he was found unconscious in a hotel near London, will appear in court on December 14. The latest charges stem from Cheshire Police but six other police forces are investigating

accusations made against Bennell in a scandal Football Association Chairman Greg Clarke has called “the greatest crisis” in English football he could recall. The FA has also launched its own internal review appointing leading lawyer Kate Gallafent, an expert in child protection, to head it up. The British Government announced yesterday they will bring the police and the FA together for a meeting on the developing scandal. Clarke took over as FA chairman in August and has already had to deal with the removal of Sam Allardyce as England coach over comments he made in a newspaper sting and the ‘poppygate’ row with FIFA He told Sky News it was time to finally deal with the issues after they had been ignored. “It’s certainly the biggest (crisis) I can remember,” said Clarke. “I think the moral consequences of failing to deal with some of these issues in the past we must get to the

bottom of.” Clarke doesn’t know if the FA at the time deliberately turned a blind eye to the goings on although a reporter who made a documentary about sex abuse in football for Channel Four in 1997 has claimed there is a FA report from 2005 detailing 250 victims and spread over a number of clubs. “I don’t know if there was a cover-up or not, I really don’t know,” said Clarke. “I suspect like many big problems, people aren’t drawn towards them. My methodology is, if there’s a problem, run towards it, embrace it, fix it, disclose everything that happened. “I think institutionally, all organisations in the old days used to protect themselves by keeping quiet and closing ranks. “That’s completely inappropriate and unacceptable today.” Clarke told the BBC the FA review would not seek to speak to alleged victims nor would he confer with his predecessors as chairman. “We’ve agreed with the police

that we won’t talk to any of the victims formally, because they have to talk to them, they have to take statements and we’re not allowed to interfere in that process,” said Clarke, who added he thought criticism of the present FA was misplaced and they had acted speedily to look into the claims. Another of Bennell’s alleged victims came forward on Tuesday, former Wales Under-18 captain Matthew Monaghan, whose revelations in the Daily Mail were the first his 20-yearold son had heard of them. He said his dream move to Manchester United aged just 14 from Crewe never succeeded and left legendary manager Alex Ferguson perplexed and infuriated. Ferguson thought he was drinking too much because he had been led astray by some of the other players but Monaghan insists it was because of Bennell who began to abuse him when he was just 10 and he says raped him at least four times. “He has good weeks and bad weeks but he suffers every day,” says his girlfriend Denise.

Wednesday November 30, 2016



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PDP to INEC “In view of the fact that the election was blatantly manipulated from the beginning to the end to favour the APC, we vehemently reject the results of the November 26, 2016 gubernatorial election in Ondo State. The election and all actions leading to it fall short of laid down principles guiding conduct of elections in Nigeria. We have instructed our candidate and the Ondo State chapter of our party to proceed to the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election.” – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejecting the result of the just concluded gubernatorial election in Ondo State, in which the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).


0805 500 1974

History Will Absolve Castro H

istory will certainly absolve Fidel Castro because the verdict of history will not be at the discretion of the right wing cynics and reactionary enemies of the Cuban revolution. All lovers of human progress in mourning at the exit of this giant exemplar of humanity should take solace in this logic of history at this period that compels deep and critical reflection. To be sure, the legacy of Comrade Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz has eloquently offered its own self-defence. Way back on October 16, 1953 Castro himself had declared prophetically that “History Will Absolve Me” while on trial for his leadership role in the revolutionary grand assault on the Moncada Barracks. So a posthumous defence of Castro as a historical figure might seem unnecessary. There is a point often lost on the Castro haters who talk as if they wield the prerogative on how posterity would look back on the Castro era: all historical figures had their strengths and weaknesses. It is left for history to dispense its justice on the balance of evidence provided by the legacy of the individual. As Karl Marx put in the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, “men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” This is why it is important in an African perspective to refute ideologically the imperialist demonisation which some of our public intellectuals unfortunately parrot in assessing the Castro’s legacy. To start with, it was Donald Trump of America who led the assault saying Castro died “a brutal dictator.” This has been orchestrated by the community of Cuban exiles in Miami, just 91 miles away from Havana. To this group of assessors, Castro’s life and times could be summarised as denial of human freedom. But a sickening hypocrisy is hidden in this claim. Today the only Gulag that exists on the Cuban soil, the Guantanamo Bay, is owned and controlled by the United States of America. The detention camp was established former President George H. W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on America. It is because of the egregious violation of the human rights of the detainees that the Bush administration put them in the military base outside American soil. What goes on inside the camp in Guantanamo Bay constitutes a crime under the American laws. Human rights organisations have decried in vain the torture, dehumanisation and detention without trial reported in the camp. President Barack Obama pledged two days after his assumption of office in 2009 to close the camp, but few weeks to the end of his tenure that promise remains unfulfilled. By the way, America got Cuba to cede that part of its territory for the support the powerful neighbour gave the tiny island during the Spanish- America war of the late 19th Century. Now, will the tenures of Bush and Obama be defined by the atrocities perpetrated at the Guantanamo Bay? Is it democracy that the United States is practising in Guantanamo Bay? The neo-conservatives in the United States have defended the situation in Guantanamo Bay on the grounds that the detainees are held as “combatants” in the war against terror. In other words, it is a state of emergency. Has Cuba been in a less emergency with the 55-year old blockade imposed by the United States, hundreds of assassination attempts backed by the CIA and an unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion? Similarly, the opposition mounted by

Fidel Castro the Cuban exiles is not only a civil agitation for a change in Cuba. There are violent tendencies in the opposition who wanted the leadership of the Cuban revolution especially Castro dead. Some elements in the opposition have acted like “combatants” working towards overthrow of the Cuban government. Strictly speaking, with the most powerful nation bent on asphyxiating the revolution, Cuba could be said to have been in a state of war in the last 57 years. Symbolically, that was probably why Castro wore the combat fatigue all his days in office as the Commadante of the revolution. Yes, whether it comes from the Right or Left human rights abuse should be condemned. But the matter should be historically situated for the purpose of clarity. Beyond that, one of the greatest issues of democracy in the 20th century was colonialism with its untold inhumanity especially in Africa. Cuban troops with Castro as the Commander-Chief shed their blood fighting for freedom and the dignity of human person in Southern Africa. The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale was one of the fiercest ever fought on the African soil. At issue was freedom – the independence of Namibia and sovereignty of post-colonial Angola. At the end of the battle, South Africa withdrew its troops from the Angolan territory and the process for Namibian independence was hastened. Cuba under the leadership of Castro supported the struggle of the South African people against apartheid. From across the Atlantic, almost 5,000 miles away, Cuban soldiers came to Africa to defend genuine freedom. About 36, 000 soldiers of the Cuban Revolutionary

History will certainly absolve Castro because the verdict of history will not be at the discretion of the right wing cynics and reactionary enemies of the Cuban revolution

Armed Forces (FAR) fought in the war out of which 4, 300 died. While Castro provided leadership in this direction, the democratisers in the West could not be counted on the side freedom and human rights. The powers now demonising Castro were either the colonisers or supporters of the colonisers of African people. As at the time the Cuban troops fought for freedom in Southern Africa Ronald Reagan was engaged in “constructive engagement” with the apartheid South Africa and Margaret Thatcher was busy calling the African National Congress (ANC) a “terrorist organisation.” Yes, the ANC was once branded terrorist in the West for fighting for freedom. Yet the United Nations declared apartheid “a crime against humanity.” Reagan and Thatcher opposed even economic sanctions against the odious apartheid regime, much less supporting military action. That was the moral point Nelson Mandela made when on his release from prison he went to Cuba to say thank you to Castro and the Cuban people. On that occasion, Mandela described Castro as a “source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.” The democratisers in the West especially America never liked Mandela’s gesture; but the sage had a deeper understanding of freedom and human rights than the hypocrites. So who should be lecturing the other on genuine human freedom? The hypocrisy of the West in assessing Castro could be further situated historically. While America studiously imposed blockade against Cuba for nationalising American enterprises as part of the revolution, the super power embraced some of the worst dictators of the 20th Century. For instance, under maximum ruler Agustino Pinochet, over 3, 000 people “disappeared” in Chile on the allegation of being communist. Washington never brutally sanctioned Chile. That was no surprise. After all, the CIA backed the September 11, 1973 military coup of Pinochet against the democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende. America was never hard on other Latin American military regimes because they took dictation from Washington on the capitalist mode of development. The point being made is that history will not only judge Castro on the human rights of those who wanted him dead. History will also assess him based on the stupendous gains of the Cuban revolution under his able leadership. The massive investments of the revolution in the social sector have yielded good returns for the Cuban people. Education and health services are free in Cuba. These socio-economic needs are human rights in Cuba. That is the social democratic content of the revolution. The revolution has produced an educated people. The literacy rate in poor Cuba is higher than those of many developed countries including the United States, the richest country in the world. Even an unyielding critic of the Cuban experiment, The Economist of London, has described the health sector of Cuba as “first-world.” Life expectancy figures in Cuba match those of America. Thousands of Cuban doctors are saving lives in different parts of the world especially rural Africa. Cuba has long banished polio, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus and measles. Infant mortality rate at six in 100, 000 births is one of the lowest in Cuba. Under Castro, Cuba established the Latin America School of Medicine where poor students from Latin America, Africa and Asia are trained free as doctors. Cuban doctors have exuded the humanity imbued

in them by the revolution when other countries found themselves in crisis situations. Cuban health workers have been put on their mettle during hurricanes and earthquake in Haiti. Two years ago, Cuban doctors were on ground to combat Ebola in Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Guinea. Later, in an October 14, 2014 editorial entitled “Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola,” the New York Times had this to say about Cuba’s achievement in the health sector : “The global panic over Ebola has not brought forth an adequate response from the nations with the most to offer. While the United States and several other wealthy countries have been happy to pledge funds, only Cuba and a few nongovernmental organizations are offering what is most needed: medical professionals in the field.” The newspaper called on the United States to swiftly restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Castro was not only a commander of guerrilla struggles; he also led a battle of ideas. Castro spoke against the debt trap of the poor countries in the 1980s saying that the debt were ‘neither payable nor collectable.” He has been proved prophetic. He warned against the ecological consequences of the reckless capitalist development of the industrialised countries. It is a fitting tribute that before his demise the world saw the wisdom in the climate change agreement. He was unyielding till the end in pointing out the enormous human costs of neo-liberalism, the idea dominating a world in which of 1% owns more than the 99% out of the global wealth. Today, global capitalism (euphemistically called globalisation) is being assailed from the Left and the Right for different reasons. Neo-liberalism has no answer to the wave of populism rising in the West. The beasts in liberal democracy are becoming manifest. Yet, some public intellectuals dare say Castro lost the argument! Castro was principled and disciplined till the end and provided a model of leadership. For example he dropped his signature Havana cigar when the World Health Organisation appointed him an ambassador in the campaign against smoking even when tobacco was a major export of his country under the yoke of American blockade. An intangible gain of the revolution under Castro’s leadership is the development of a people with enviable national pride and human dignity. The revolution is rooted not just in socialism, but also in the Cuban nationalism. This is one of the reasons for the exceptional durability of the revolution. A typical Cuban revolutionary is likely to tell you that he is more inspired by the story of Jose Marti, the Cuban nationalist hero, than the theory of Karl Marx or Lenin. Doubtless, the Cuban revolution is a human experiment with its inherent contradictions. The Cuban revolutionaries are by no means utopians. Armed with historical materialism, the leadership of the Cuban revolution is more aware of the contradictions than the cynics. The people live with the shortages of consumer goods, the deprivations and the grave human issues. They are confronting the socio-economic and political costs of the revolution. The momentum for greater economic opportunity and widening of the popular democratic space will continue after Castro. But the resolution of these contradictions will certainly not be dictated by Trump’s America, for that matter. The gains of the Cuba people’s experiment with the creation of a just, humane and popular- democratic society will surely outlive Castro. May his dreams of a socialist world come true!

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Wednesday 30th November 2016  
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