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Nigerian Novelist: How I was Banned from Speaking Igbo In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani recalls how she was banned from speaking her mother tongue My parents forbade my local language, Igbo, from being spoken in our home when I was a child. Unlike the majority of their contemporaries in our hometown of Umuahia in south-east Nigeria, my parents chose to speak only English to their children. They also conversed between themselves in English, even though they had each grown up speaking Igbo with their own parents and siblings. On the rare occasion my father and mother spoke Igbo with each other, it was a clear sign that they were conducting a conversation in which the children were not expected to participate. Guests in our home adjusted to the fact that we were an English-speaking household and conformed, with varying degrees of success. Our live-in domestic staff were equally compelled to speak English. Many arrived from their villages unable to utter a single word of the foreign tongue, but as the weeks rolled by, they began to string complete sentences together with less contortion of their faces. Over the years, I endured people teasing my parents, usually behind their backs, for this decision. “They are trying to be like white people,” they said. Similar accusations were levelled against Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's former prime minister, when he replaced Chinese with English as the official medium of instruction in schools. But, as he explained in his autobiography, From Third World to First, “With English, no race would have an advantage... English as our working language has... given us a competitive advantage because it is the international language of business and diplomacy, of science and technology.” My parents seemed to share these convictions. Each time it was my turn

to stand and read to my primary school class from our recommended Igbo textbook, the pupils burst into a giggling session at my placement of the wrong tones on the wrong syllables. Again and again, the teacher made me repeat the words. Each time, the class’ laughter was louder. My off-key pronunciations tickled them no end. But while the other pupils were busy giggling away, I went on to get the highest scores in Igbo tests. Always. Because the tests were written - they did not require the ability to pronounce words accurately. The rest of the class may have been relaxed in their knowledge of the language and so treated it casually, probably the same way a reckless Briton might treat his or her study of English. I, on the other hand, considered Igbo foreign and so approached the subject studiously. I also read Igbo literature and watched Igbo programmes on TV. My favourite was a comedy titled Mmadu O Bu Ewu?, which featured a live goat dressed in human clothing. Speaking Igbo was also banned in the boarding school I attended. The Federal Government Girls’ College, Owerri, was one of the country’s “Unity Schools” founded after the Nigerian civil war to promote integration among ethnic groups and to discourage divisions and tribalism. Local languages were part of the curriculum, but speaking them beyond the classroom was a punishable offence. And so, under the tutelage of some of the country’s best teachers, I continued my ardent study of Igbo, despite not having the opportunity to practise how to speak. By the conclusion of secondary school, I was confident enough in my knowledge of Igbo to register it as one of my subjects of choice for the university entrance exam. Everyone thought I was insane. Taking a major local language exam as a prerequisite for university admission was not child’s play.

Adaobi I was treading where expert speakers themselves feared to tread. I still meet many Igbos who have been speaking the language all their lives, but are unable to read and write it fluently. On the appointed day, presided over by supervisors in premises outside my school, less than six of us sat in the large hall, never mind that the exams were taking place in an Igbo town. When the results were eventually released, my score turned out to be good enough, when combined with my scores in the two other subjects I chose, to land me a place to study psychology at Nigeria’s prestigious University of Ibadan. In Ibadan, south-west Nigeria, home to the Yoruba ethnic group, I was free to speak Igbo at last.

Far away from home, from the giggling voices, and from those who did not allow me to speak Igbo, I was finally free to express the words that had been bottled up inside my head for so many years the words I had heard people in the market speak, read in books and heard on TV. Speaking Igbo in university was particularly essential if I was to socialise comfortably with the Igbo community there, as most of the “foreigners” in the Yorubadominated school considered it essential to be seen talking their language. “Suo n’asusu anyi! Speak in our language!” they often admonished when I launched a conversation with them in English. “Don’t you hear the Yorubas speaking their own language?” Thus, in a strange land, I finally became fluent

in a mother tongue that I had hardly uttered my entire life. Today, few people can tell from my pronunciations that I grew up not speaking Igbo. “Your wit is even sharper in Igbo than in English,” my mother insists. These days, she enjoys it when I gossip with her in Igbo, although I still can’t get myself to speak the local tongue with my father who, despite being a typical Igbo man in many ways and a titled chief, has never regretted choosing English over Igbo. And, for some strange reason, my eloquence in Igbo often regresses whenever I am in the presence of anyone who was privy to my days as a non-speaker. Maybe it is the memory of their mockery that ties up my tongue.

Eager to show off my hard-earned skill, whenever I come across publishers of African publications, especially those who make a big deal about propagating “African culture”, I ask if I can write something for them in Igbo. They always say no. Despite all the “promoting our culture” fanfare, they understand that local language submissions could limit the reach of their publications. Now comes the BBC with its announcement that it will broadcast in Igbo, as part of the World Service’s biggest expansion since the 1940s. At last, the next generation of Igbo experts have an international platform on which to display their skills.

era high, was acceptable. Speaking on Bloomberg television yesterday morning before the decision was announced by OPEC on the new output cut, Kachikwu said Nigeria would be quite comfortable with the price of crude oil in the mid-$50s. He also said he was not sure when the militancy affecting oil and gas production in the Niger Delta would end, even though the federal government was reportedly making some progress at stemming the destruction of oil and gas infrastructure in the region. Kachikwu said Nigeria would welcome oil prices at between $54 and $56 per barrel, adding that if prices got to $60 a barrel, he would consider it a favour to the country. “Mid-$50s will be fine, but

if we have a Santa Clause day, then $60 per barrel. But frankly, we are looking at mid-$50s,” Kachikwu said in response to a question on what price level Nigeria would consider comfortable. He also said the issues in the Niger Delta could remain a potential challenge to the success of the government’s recently launched policy reforms for the oil and gas sector. According to him, other potential challenges were fairly within the control of the government but not the Niger Delta issue. The minister said despite the progress made so far in attempts to address the Niger Delta militancy, he could not predict an end to the attacks. “I think the Niger Delta issue is a major problem because you simply can’t

get a final handle on it until it is resolved and you will never know when it will be resolved,” he stated. He further explained: “We have made a lot of progress on that, production is up 1.9mbpd to 1.95mbpd, from the lows of 1.4mbpd. Militancy attacks are less, an average of one every month, as opposed to five to six every week when they first started early in the year. “We still have sporadic attacks which simply means that we still have not sufficiently addressed all the issues that need to be addressed not just by myself but also the Minister of the Niger Delta and other ministers that are working feverishly to try and get the convergence on some of the models that we are trying to deploy in the Niger Delta.”

• Culled from the

OIL PRICES SURGE AS OPEC OKAYS FIRST OUTPUT CUT IN EIGHT YEARS OPEC’s cut would represent a reduction of about 1 per cent of global output. The breakthrough comes after months of on-andoff-again negotiations that made many traders doubt an agreement could be reached. The agreement was a stark reversal in strategy from their last big change in November 2014, when the group essentially lifted all output quotas so that its members could compete with a global boom in oil production. That decision led OPEC to record-high production, adding more supply to an already flooded market and eventually dropping prices below $30 a barrel, so low that many worried it could fuel a global recession. A deal to cut more than 1mbpd could keep prices

steadily above $60 a barrel by the first quarter of 2017, and accelerate the end of a glut that has been slow to come for more than two years after the development of shale drilling and oil-sands production in North America. However, countries outside OPEC now account for about 58 per cent of the world’s total output, and producers around the world have increased output in recent months. Global production rose 800,000 barrels a day in October, to 97.8 million barrels, according to the IEA. Russian oil production has increased by 500,000 barrels a day in September and October, so even if it agrees to freeze output it would do so at record high levels. In September, OPEC reached a provisional accord

in Algiers to bring its total production down to between 32.5mbpd and 33mbpd from a near record 33.8mbpd at the moment. Saudi Arabia is expected to shoulder the bulk of any production cuts along with its Gulf allies, and Falih yesterday said its oil output would take “a big hit”. In return, the kingdom has asked Iran to curb output at close to 3.7mbpd. Before OPEC reached the deal, Falih said he expected Russia and other countries outside the cartel to cut about 600,000bpd of production. The kingdom believes the co-operation of big producers outside the cartel is necessary for any deal to be effective. But he also criticised Russia’s public stance that freezing its production, which has climbed to a post Soviet-




News Editor Davidson Iriekpen Email, 08111813081

Nigeria Faces Severe Nutrition Problems, According to New Index Nigeria’s population faces significant nutritional

shortfalls, according to the 2016 Food Sustainability

N’Central APC Stakeholders Meet to Pick Party’s Spokesman Ex-minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, favoured for the job Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja Indications have emerged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) may hold a meeting of its North-central zone stakeholders to consider the replacement of the National Publicity Secretary today. THISDAY gathered from sources that the leadership of the party had concluded the plans to select another spokesman from the North-central zone, particularly from Kwara State. The former National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was last November last year appointed the Minister of Information and Culture. Mr. Timi Frank who is the Deputy National Publicity Secretary was denied the position due his frosty relationship with senior members of the party. Added to his predicament, he was recently suspended from

the party, throwing the position open. The sources said a former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, is set to emerge the new spokesman of the party at a mini-convention slated to hold at the New Chelsea Hotel, Abuja at 11a.m. It was also confirmed that delegates from only the six states of the North-central zone are expected at the convention, while the Senate President, members of the National Working Committee (NWC) as well as governors from the states are billed to attend the convention. “Because it is a miniconvention, not all the stats of the federation are expected to attend. The mini-convention will only ratify the choice of the National Publicity Secretary and Mallam Bolaji Abdullahii is set to get the nod as the new spokesman of the party,” a source said.

Our Members Lack the Skill Set to Blow up Oil Pipelines, NSE Tells Buhari Chineme Okafor and Peace Ewere in Abuja The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) yesterday said its members across the country do not have the skill set to blow up petroleum pipelines, thus refuting a recent claim by President Muhammadu Buhari that professionals with engineering skills and not ordinary Nigerians were involved in the blowing up of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region. Buhari reportedly made the observation during his investiture as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) at the State House in Abuja. He said: “If I will go in the negative side, how can an ordinary Nigerian go into the sea, 70 kilometres or more, go down two metres and blow up oil installations? That cannot be an ordinary Nigerian. “So, I hope you will appeal to your colleagues to make sure that what we have built, they should safeguard it; whether they are working with multi-nationals or the government.” But speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on the outcome of the African Engineering Conference on Energy which was held recently in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the President of

NSE, Otis Anyaeji stated that the society was sure none of its registered members had engaged in pipelines vandalism in the country. Anyaeji said Buhari might have made such remarks in passing, maintaining that no member of the NSE had even been found guilty of contributing to the incessant collapse of houses in the country. “Engineers bombing pipeline is impossible. Our registered members don’t even get involved in building collapses that are happening all over the country not to talk of engineers using dynamites to bomb pipelines,” Anyaeji said. He further stated: “That is not part of the skillset of our members and engineers.” Anyaeji also spoke on the state of Nigeria’s refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt, saying they have been left to rot for too long by incompetent government policies and not bad engineering practices at the refineries. He said it was not true that the refineries were old and may not be able to work optimally again as often stated. According to him: “I am an engineer. It is not only new refineries that work. The refineries can be rehabilitated, retrofitted and made new again and it does not matter how old they are.

Indexpublished yesterday by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Nigeria is ranked second last out of 25 countries, below Ethiopia and Indonesia, for the nutritional health of its population. One-third of Nigerian children under five are “stunted”, meaning they suffer reduced physical growth due to inadequate nutrition. “Hidden hunger”—a deficiency of micronutrients—is also a problem. Nigeria ranks 23rd out of 25 countries surveyed

for vitamin A deficiency, with a prevalence of 29.5per cent. Nutrient deficiencies delay mental development in infants, reducing their ability to learn in later life, with a knock on-effect on school performance. Nutritional problems are particularly acute in the North-east, where over three million Nigerians are in urgent food crisis due to the conflict between Boko Haram insurgents and the army. Nigeria scores more positively for its agricultural

sector, with high scores for water management and for investment in transport infrastructure, which can reduce food losses. “Despite major nutrition challenges, Nigeria has huge potential for improving health outcomes of its population through policies and nutritional programmes. There is also room for improvement in terms of agricultural sustainability, especially ensuring that land ownership for smallholders is respected and enforced,

which would incentivise farmers to invest in more sustainable farming practices that would safeguard soil quality and preserve water resources,” the index research manager, Maria-Luiza Apostolescu, said. “Addressing these challenges will make a major contribution to Nigeria’s efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since nutrition and agriculture influence so many social, environmental and economic factors.”


L-R; Representative of the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Eniola Eriasho; Managing Director, Huawei Nigeria, Mr. Frank Li; Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wgwe; and CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, Dr. Muntayo Umar- Sadiq; at the media briefing on Malaria to zero initiative by Access Bank , Huawei and Private Health Sector Alliance of Nigeria in Lagos .....yesterday ETOP UKUTT

Fayose’s Bombshell: I May Dump PDP Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti In a bid to sidestep the crisis that has engulfed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leading to its defeat in the Ondo State governorship election, Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, a stalwart of the party and one of the most virulent critics of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, has revealed that he may use another platform to prosecute his succession battle during the 2018 governorship poll. Fayose also declared that the victory of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Ondo State election, does not in any way threaten the supremacy of the PDP in Ekiti. The governor added that Akeredolu’s emergence does not confer legitimacy on the poll or lend credence to the

fact that the Ondo electorate had voted rightly. Fayose, who spoke in Ikere Ekiti yesterday, while meeting with the members of the Suppliers’ Association of Nigeria, Ikere chapter, said: “I don’t know the platform I will use for the 2018 election yet and at the appropriate time, I will tell you.” He added: “We are still studying the situation. We have to play the game left, right and centre and whoever we are going to use and the platform, you will all be part of the process because party politics is about the people. “You all saw how people sold their votes in Ondo State. I am confident that that will not happen in Ekiti. I am close to the people, you are the source of my strength. “Even if it requires just 48 hours to any election, if I tell you where to go,

you will surely follow me there.” At a separate meeting with the junior staff of the state civil service, Fayose boasted that he would repeat the 16-0 win he meted out to former Governor Kayode Fayemi in 2014, when he defeated the incumbent in all the 16 local governments in the state. He promised that he would continue to do his best with the payment of salaries by carrying the workers along and letting them know what accrues to the state from the Federation Account, adding that there would not be any communication gap in so far as his government doesn’t operate in secrecy. “APC will be fooling itself if it thinks it will conquer Ekiti like it did in Ondo. Ekiti is a peculiar place and I am the man on the ground here. I want to assure my supporters and

Nigerians that APC won’t win a local government here in 2018, even if President Muhammadu Buhari moves down all the money in federal government’s TSA. “Governor Olusegun Mimiko and Eyitayo Jegede may have lost in Ondo State, but that does not mean the people had voted rightly. In 2015, people clamoured for change and what have we got now? Nigerians are becoming poorer than ever. “Today, I am the only one among the APC governors in the South-west. I am now like the nation of Israel surrounded by enemies, but I shall defeat and triumph over them. “APC has never defeated me in any battle, either political or legal. Whether they like it or not, I will win in Ekiti no matter the animosity because I have the people behind me,” Fayose declared.








Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email


Olusola Sanni pays tribute to Atiku Abubakar, former vice president and Turakin Adamawa Ajanaku koja mo ri nkan firi; ti a ba ri eerin, ki a’gba wipe a ri eerin - Yoruba proverb


rust the Africans. Their wealth of rich philosophical proverbs should easily pass for the eighth wonder of the world. And in that category, the Yorubas are simply exceptional. For indeed, the Yoruba believes that there are moments when words are lost; and at such moments, proverbs are the pathfinders for the missing words. The former vice-president of Nigeria and the Turakin Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar is 70 years old. And like the proverbial elephant which has no hiding place in the vast African savannah, Atiku has lived the past seven decades of his lifetime to become a giant in politics, education, business and philanthropy. His traditional title of Turakin Adamawa simply translates as the custodian of the tradition of the land of Adamawa, and to realise that Atiku bagged this title at the young age of 36 clearly tells a story of character that had been formed for big responsibilities. I was a visitor to the North-east on a book project sometimes in the middle of 2015 and that was the time that the humanitarian crisis resulting from the Boko Haram terror was at its crescendo. I was stunned to hear about the several interventions made by Atiku to ensure that the people of Adamawa don’t feel the brunt of the humanitarian crisis. I was even told that he personally employed the services of local vigilantes to ensure that Boko Haram’s territorial expansion agenda doesn’t spill into the city of Yola. No doubt, the name Atiku means different things to different classes of people. For the hundreds of indigent students who receive scholarship to have world-class education at his private educational institutions, to the thousands of people he provides employments for in his businesses spread all over the country, Atiku is a mercy from God. In Adamawa State where he hails, Atiku has proven to the world that charity indeed must begin at home. Against the lures of Lagos, Kano or Onitsha, Atiku has a bold signature on the business landscape of Yola, the capital of Adamawa State and his tentacles spread across all the states in the North-east. For him, the simple explanation to that is that if the people of the North-east are the most backward in terms of human capital development indices, then it is trite logic that business investment in the region is also an investment in the minds and manpower development of the people of the North-east. The notable American University of Nigeria (AUN), Adamawa Beverage Limited, and Rico Gado Animal Nutrition are all blue chip business ventures sited in Yola, providing direct and indirect employments for the people and also adding a major


boost to the revenue of the Adamawa State government. The AUN, for example according to research adds $100 million to the GDP of Adamawa State! It will therefore not be an exaggerated argument to say that Atiku Abubakar is a classic model of how development can be home grown. While Atiku has emerged from grass to grace to become a towering influencer in Nigeria, nay West Africa’s business landscape, he, in no mean measure is also a colossal figure in the politics and political development of Nigeria. In playing his politics, Atiku often gets criticised for his swinging allegiance to political parties, and it is without any fear of contradiction that I dare say such criticism don’t take full appreciation of the nature of politics in a third world country like ours. It is more politically convenient to remain in one party in a politically developed country than it is in a third world country. For instance, the anti-democratic Third Term agenda for President Olusegun Obasanjo is a peculiarity to Third World politics. And even beyond that, Atiku’s credential is second to none in recent history as a class act in Nigeria’s social engineering. Right from day one of his foray into politics, Atiku didn’t confuse anyone about his stance as a pro-democracy advocate. Unlike many of his traducers who are later day democrats, Atiku didn’t wine and dine with any military dictatorship through the period that military rule lasted in the country - a stance he shares with the late former governor of old Oyo State, Chief Bola Ige. His advocacy for two-party system is age-long and ditto for his advocacy for restructuring. Today, our democracy is firmly rooted on judicial interpretations because Atiku chose the option of the judiciary when anti-democratic forces plotted to illegally remove him from office as a sitting vice-president; and at another time plotted to disenfranchise him on account of phantom corruption allegations. The forth and back between Atiku and the forces against him during the Obasanjo presidency laid the foundation for the strength our democracy has today; and if that dispensation was to be likened to a football match, Atiku will evidently emerge the star player of the match. Atiku might have changed membership of political parties at some points, but nobody can accuse him of being irresolute to the principle of politics that he believes in. As this shining star from the savannah enters the septuagenarian age, the story of his life refreshes the hope that with hard work and a good heart, it is possible to overcome every obstacle.

Sanni is Deputy Director at Atiku Media Office

TINUBU AND THE BURDEN OF LEADERSHIP Bola Tinubu should sink his political differences with others for the overall good of all, writes Bayo Osiyemi

“Nwon nbuu; Nwon nbu Falolu ni’Ga o; nwon nbu Falolu ni’Ga, nwon tun b’Erelu Eko; Agba t’o w’aiye; Agba to w’aiye t’omode o bu, aiye asan lo wa o; E je kan ma bu wa, e je kan ma bu wa, Ebu i ma e so laaraa ....”


first heard this song rendered by the inimitable and immortal Iyaloja-General of Nigeria and Asiwaju Tinubu’s mother, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji in 1978 at a Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) campaign rally at Isale-Gangan on Lagos Island where Alhaji Lateef Jakande went to market his governorship candidacy to the people of the area. That song was Iyaloja’s response to the aggressive and provocative campaign strategy of the younger elements of the opposition National Party of Nigeria (NPN). It was a song that had a restraining and salutary effect on the UPN leadership and followership, not to allow themselves to be ‘done in’ by the provocative pranks of the NPN men and women on the hustings, who at that point were panicky of imminent defeat at the polls. LKJ and all the Assembly candidates from Lagos Division then - Prince Yaya Dosunmu, Lateef B. Odunsi, R.A. Balogun, R.O. Balogun, Ojekunle Pereira and the senatorial candidate, Alhaji Sikiru “Jabita”

Shitta-Bey - bought into the moral of the song, kept their heads while their opponents were losing theirs to intemperate behaviour; the very main reason why the UPN swept all those seats, as in the other constituencies in the state, at the general elections. I made that short excursion into history to advance my point that the “Jagaban Borgu”, Nigeria’s most successful and living politician (after President Muhammad Buhari who’s on record to be the only Nigerian politician - dead or alive - who made conscious and determined effort to be president and succeeded); has invested so much into the Nigeria project that he cannot and must not allow himself to destroy the edifice he helped build and which I know has been publicly acknowledged in very high places. If he thought he had been undermined by people God used him to nurture politically, he won’t be the first to be so affected. Awo had similar experience, although at some cost but succeeded in the end, though he ended up as ‘the best president Nigeria never had’, courtesy of the now late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu in a tribute on the passing of Pa Awo in the 1980s. “Inu bibi dakun ma ya l’odo mi o, aibinu laa jeere; inu bibi dakun ma ya lodo mi, suru lo n se ongbogbo ...”, was rendered by Fuji exponent, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister to empha-

sise the virtue in patience and endurance. Your enemy or detractor yesterday can be your friend today and vice-versa; were it not so, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, who was reported to have held his predecessor, Niyi Adebayo and Asiwaju Tinubu himself on house arrest in Iyin Ekiti in Fayose’s first coming, will not be standing up for Asiwaju today in the political space. I don’t know Ekiti’s Dr. Kayode Fayemi intimately, but I know much of Dr. Muiz Banire and a little of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola in Lagos; these guys used to be reliable assets to Asiwaju when he nurtured them in government. They must not be done away with at this time because what lies ahead is far more than what lay behind. Some people may find this as bad music to the ear, but I stand by it because whoever has seen thunder strike before, will never join in abusing his wife, Oya. If these matters are delved deep into, Asiwaju and his enstranged men will be found wanting in some areas, it is just the degree of guilt that will vary. There should be give and take on either side, in the larger interest; and there should be no problem in making concessions, where necessary. The situation on ground is not one that permits of pontification or the beating of chests. I’m even pressured to ask where are the elders of our party in Yorubaland? They should please step in before it is late and

avert what may be costly to the Yoruba in the medium and long run. If all these don’t work out, can’t Asiwaju, being a crack political tactician that he’s reputed to be, come on top of the situation and play the mature and older combatant among the lot? This is the time for Senator Bola Tinubu to prove himself the true Asiwaju of Yorubaland by meeting with all politicians of worth in the land, whatever differences he might have had with them in the recent past and rally them to the end of having a solid, united front that can be a crucial bloc of a national political arrangement. If he does this, his rating can only soar, not dip. Or, didn’t the Yorubas say the elder that has a broad and forgiving mind has the chance of his coast becoming wider and larger? Agba ti o binu, l’omo e npo joojo”, I so submit and whoever calls for my head for this position must belong in the rank of those Yorubas call ‘arije-ninu-madaru’; and these are the spoilers we must not allow to continue their business as usual. Those who goaded Chief Ladoke Akintola into defiance at that time were the first to flee into exile when trouble started and I’m not too sure that if Pa Awolowo were to rethink his method in those heady years, he wouldn’t have acted differently.

Prince Osiyemi is a public affairs analyst





The security agencies could do more to contain the violence Earlier in the month, some 36 people were gunned down when a band of bandits attacked a mining site in Bindin in Maru local council. The bandits were evidently after the miners. Last week, Governor Yari pressed home the weight of the security challenge in a statewide broadcast. The governor said that though the federal government launched a military operation to rout the bandits last July, the criminals regrouped and returned with vendetta, killing and kidnapping innocent people and demanding large sums of money as ransom. “The brandits launched attack after the military withdrawal. They know the military will not be there forever,” he said.

r. Shaba Alkali, the Police Commissioner in Zamfara State, last week announced the rescue of 41 persons, including a police officer abducted by armed bandits in Manu Local Government Area of the state. According to Alkali, all the kidnapped persons “were returned in good health and without ransom paid.” But an earlier report said the abductors pointedly told Governor Abdulaziz Yari that they would release the victims on the condition that some 400 cows recovered from them by security forces were returned. Armed bandits are on the rampage in Zamfara State. Indeed, the state has long been a fertile ground for all kinds of crime. In less than one month, the bandits have slaughtered about 155 persons and kidnapped more than 50 others. In the last few weeks, their activities were concentrated in four local government areas of the state – Shinkafi, Maru, Maradun IN LESS THAN ONE MONTH, and Zurmi counTHE BANDITS HAVE cils. Besides, cattle SLAUGHTERED ABOUT 155 rustlers had been PERSONS AND KIDNAPPED carrying out series MORE THAN 50 OTHERS of deadly raids on farming and herding villages in the state, forcing the dwellers of those communities to abandon their farms and flee for their lives. As things stand, some 250,000 hectares of land reportedly may go uncultivated in the state during the farming season because of the growing menace of cattle rustlers and sundry criminals. Secretary of All Farmers Association of Nigeria in the state, Alhaji Sa’idu Tanko Kura said that small holder farmers who constitute the majority of the farming population in the state depend on animal traction to till their lands. But this farming method is at risk owing to the unending cattle thefts in the farming and herding communities.

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ndeed, President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier sent a special military unit to fight the armed bandits based in the forests of Zamfara. And in a follow up official visit to the state, President Buhari said: “Part of the reasons I am personally here in Zamfara State is to flag-off the military operations aimed at rooting out the menace of cattle rustlers and armed bandits not only in Zamfara State but the entire axis of North-west. I also wish to reiterate to the people of Zamfara State and to Nigerians in general the commitment of my administration to restoring sanity in governance.” The recent killings and kidnappings of innocent people in the state are dark testimony that the security services have more work to do to rout the criminals who are increasingly making parts of the state inhabitable. The state government has set up a crisis management committee charged with the responsibility of assessing the damage caused by the activities of the hoodlums and to enable the government to come to the aid of the victims. As good as that may sound, it carries no promise that more violence will not be visited on the people in future. What is perhaps urgently needed is the deployment of more security agencies to contain the activities of the brutal bandits. That will enable many of the outraged and frustrated rural populace, driven out of their settlements and farms, to return.

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he death penultimate week of the strongman of Cuban politics Fidel Castro, no doubt, shook the world appropriately. Though he had taken out time to greet Cubans concerning his ‘imminent death’, the announcement still had all the trappings an obituary of its magnitude should command. All the same, it was not surprising that while many mourned, many celebrated in tandem – like is wont at the demise of a warrior of his height and might. But like the mortals we all are, the final say resides very far from us and here. I can even venture to as much as adjudge that Castro – in spite of all his trademark cigars and boisterousness – knew as much. Otherwise, while did he, donning his habitual fatigues on the second anniversary of the Cuban revolution address the nation thus: ‘A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.’ Thus, it only adds up that it is only now that his days on earth are over and out that Cubans – and the entire world – can look forward with trepidation at what the future of their revolution would bring. A thought that somehow uncannily recalls China after Chairman Mao, I dare risk. Many there were who had written off the Cultural Revolution in China as an experiment in reflexive hatred. Yet it holds that had the Chinese not passed through that historic phase, they could never have risen to become an economic behemoth against

all odds. They world should wait for Cuba; and when that does come to pass, let nobody forget that Fidel was here. Be that as it might, tagging his passage with their future achievement will only surprise those who do not appreciate the enigma that the man was. For a man who gave his all – and more – to salvage his people from what he saw as an undiluted bondage, it can only be surmised that the fate that befell him only came to pass because he had succeeded. The same, for instance, cannot be said for his comrade-at-arms Che Guevera who died fighting and never lived to bear the flak of politics. All going to signify the mystery of all revolutions: their goals are often unattainable. It can be argued this far, that all through history ‘successful’ revolutions end up making a laughing stock of themselves. And this for no other reasons than that the goals they set out to achieve are mostly attainable only in the mind. Without venturing too far, we have a living example in Christianity. Though today that unique faith bequeathed by Jesus of Nazareth is in vogue all over, it remains to be disproved that its ideal has ever been attained at any time or place ever since the crucifixion of Christ. Yet day in day out new converts are won over to an ineffectual version of his preachments mostly sustained because it puts food on the table of the preachers. And much more than edibles, some of them have ended up purchasing private jets while their followers

perish emulating Jesus – a vagrant. Christianity apart, all the other world religions are there to be vetted. Where they are not – one and all – bogged down by perennial battles for orthodoxy, they are often beheld preaching tenets from either side of their mouths. So much so that, more often than not, it is their extremist versions that end up ruling the day; rendering their kernels mostly useless, to be practised by an ignoble few living at the periphery of the rat race. Otherwise, why – for goodness’ sake – is the world in such turmoil when they all avowedly preach peace and tolerance shaken down to their brass tacks? Your answer, in the circumstance, can only be as good as mine. But suffice it to note that it is for that selfsame reason that the Castro phenomenon cannot be rapidly swept under the carpet. Even with the equivocal éclat to the announcement of his earthly demise. Very much like he told the court trying him and his colleagues at the failure of their July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada military fortress: ‘Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.’ Truth told, in spite of the later success of the Cuban revolution after the plotters were afforded amnesty, that condemnation still held sway till now. With Fidel dead and cremated, what is now left is the absolving. And like the revolution he prophesied, it will be another struggle between the future and the past. Isidore Emeka Uzoatu, Lagos






Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email

Stanbic IBTC: Rekindling Interest in Agriculture Understanding and tapping from the potential in the agricultural sector, which is viewed as the game-changer for the economy, was rekindled at the Stanbic IBTC Business Leadership seminar held in Lagos recently, reports Peter Uzoho

The panel discussants at the Stanbic IBTC 2016 Business Leadership Series in Lagos...recently


he economic recession going on in the country is really having adverse effects on the nation. The national economy is shrinking by the day and government both at federal and state levels are sweating out their mental and physical energies, trying to get a quick fix to the problem. Paying workers their monthly salaries and executing capital projects have become a tall order. The naira has maintained a continuous decline against the dollar and other major foreign currencies, and this has led to persistent rise in prices of goods and services in the country, both local and foreign made, forcing the citizens to buy in pains and sorrow. Crude oil, the mainstay of the country’s economy has lost its monetary value in the international market. An option-take discount and buy has even been adopted to increase the supply of the product, in order to increase revenue generation. The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has not been anything to write home about in recent times. In Nigeria, hunger and starvation have become the birth right of the ordinary citizens. There is no money to cook and no food to eat. Death rate is increasing by the day as many citizens barely have money for their healthcare. Parents and guardians are withdrawing their children and wards from schools due to inability to foot the educational bills. Jobs are being lost on a daily basis, which adds to the already existing unemployment rate in the country, resulting to increase in vices such as kidnapping, armed robbery, thuggery, restiveness and prostitution by the youth.

However, amidst these challenges, different suggestions on the way out have been proffered and will continue to be proffered until the battle is over. Government both at federal and state levels have been churning out remedial measures. Corporate organisations, civil society organisations, technocrats, professional and religious

At the Business Leadership Seminar organised by the Stanbic IBTC Holdings, recently in Lagos, entitled ‘Gems in the Field’ young and old farmers were brought together and mentored by experts on new trends in agribusiness, and the abundant opportunities in the sector which they could tap from

bodies, have in their different fora come up with their own solutions. Among the suggestions rendered was the urgent need to diversify the country’s economy so that other sectors would be given the needed attention. Like a consensus, many Nigerians, both individual and corporates suggested and supported the reviving of the agricultural sector which used to be the chief source of the economy before the crude oil boom. At the Business Leadership Seminar organised by the Stanbic IBTC Holdings, recently in Lagos, entitled ‘Gems in the Field’ young and old farmers were brought together and mentored by experts on new trends in agribusiness, and the abundant opportunities in the sector which they could tap from. Presenting the welcome speech, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, described agriculture as the game-changer for the country. “We are facing a recession, negative growth, and agriculture is the sector in queue to do the process 4.5 per cent. And we all know the story about the enabling effect of agriculture on our economy; the fact that it creates millions of jobs across the entire value chain; it can drive exports, and the much needed foreign exchange. “So for me I think the real challenge for us is actually unlocking the opportunities in agriculture. The execution of it- making everything that we all talk about a reality so that agriculture is really firing on all cylinders. “And for us in Stanbic IBTC, we consider agriculture to be a key sector, and we play across the entire value chain by financing, advisory, machinery. Agriculture is not for

the faint-hearted. I’m sure we agree with that. I used to think that agriculture was one of the potential sources of deposit for the banks until I was corrected that agriculture is not about deposit, but it’s about providing the right type of financing across the value chain, and other things come along with it... It does require patient capital. It does require dedication and commitment to see it through, but the rewards are huge. She further said, “The reality is that agriculture in Nigeria today is high risk. But, what the bank and the Central Bank together with the state governments have been able to do is come together and under the Nigerian incentive risk-based sharing model, share the risks associated with agriculture so that hundred per cent of the risk is not on one party like the banks. When you share the risks it is easier for banks to then lend to agriculture. And since this model has been put in place the amount of bank lending to the agricultural sector has increased and continues to increase. So the key is sharing the risk. In the past, banks were expected to bear hundred per cent of the risks, but that is not the case, and that has enabled banks to be able to provide more support to the agricultural sector.” Contributing, Managing Director, Babban Gona, Mr. Kola Masha, in his optimism, said that Nigeria would be the next Brazil in agriculture, stressing that only four things made Brazil popular as one of the major producers of agricultural products in the world. “We believe this because what made Brazil to be Brazil is really four key things - they have tremendous mass land, they have tremendous access to water, they have access



FEATURES to labour, and they really have very large internal markets that enabled them to build up their economy and skills internally to dominate global exports. “So if you look at Nigeria, land: 85 million hectares of arable land, water: 220 billion cubic metres of underground water reserve; we have three of the eight major river systems in Africa, and from south to north, we get minimum of 800 to 1200 millimetres of rain per year- plenty to grow almost anything. When we look at labour, we have 19 million people today, between the ages of 15 and 45 that are contributing. And the most important is internal market: 180 million people, five new people per annum, and by 2030, nine million people among the middle class will have tremendous opportunities. “What are the key trends we’re going to see in Nigeria? What we’re going to see in land over the next 15 years is that the reality is that with farming and land policies, there is this constant debate whether you want to be a big farmer or you want to be a small farmer, which one is better, and so on. And the reality is that there is argument on both sides. But the reality is that whether you are a large farmer or a small farmer, you can be a highly competitive productive farmer. Take for instance, Thailand today exports 35 billion dollars in agricultural produce, average farm size is three and half hectares, small farmers, but highly competitive, highly productive, and able to compete at the global stage. “Now in Nigeria what we’re going to see is a trend in shrinking average farm sizes. In 1961, Nigeria had 2.1 hectares for rural inhabitants. Today, that number has dropped down to 0.9. By 2030, that’s going to drop to 0.6 to 0.5 hectares per inhabitant. This is because population is growing; land is actually not a finite resource, and actually reduces over time due to erosion, desertification, and organisation. So the reality is that unlike traditional ideas that people have about Western model of farming, that it’s a vast big farm, Nigeria is going to follow a more Eastern approach. “Vietnam where you have small farmers and small plots of land but highly productive like their friends in Thailand. For market, what is going to be the key market that will drive the agricultural sector in the next 15 years? It’s going to come down to feeding one group of people and that’s the imagined middle class. As the imagined middle class increase their disposable income, their diets are going to change, and as those diets change, that is going to be the key engine for growth in the agricultural sector. “The value chain that we’re going to

L-R: Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Mrs. Sola David-Borha; Eco-entrepreneur and Managing Director, AgriProtein, Jason Drew; Lagos State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Funmilola Olusanya; Chief Executive Officer, John Deere Financials, Jason Brantley; and Managing Director, Doreo Partners, Kola Masha; at the Stanbic IBTC 2016 Business Leadership Series in Lagos…recently

A cross section of participants at the Stanbic IBTC 2016 Business Leadership Series in Lagos

The reality is that agriculture in Nigeria today is high risk. But, what the bank and the Central Bank together with the state governments have been able to do is come together and under the Nigerian incentive risk-based sharing model, share the risks associated with agriculture so that hundred per cent of the risk is not on one party like the banks. When you share the risks it is easier for banks to then lend to agriculture

see dominate the agricultural value chain over the next 15 years are the meat valuechain, poultry agriculture and social feeds value-chain, refined grains, rice, and then potato, starch, cassava, sugar from both cassava as well as traditional source of sugar-sugar refineries. And then, edible oil to fry that chicken, fish and plantain. Now the opportunities in these value-chains are quite enormous. Water, Nigeria today has a lot of untapped reserve in water- 220 billion cubic metres of underground water reserves. We haven’t even started to tap into our opportunity for irrigation in this country.” Masha noted that in striving to drive the agricultural sector, security was going to be a major problem. “The Niger Delta crisis in the South, Jos crisis in the Middle belt or Boko Haram in the North-east. We have a dramatic rise of insecurity and this is driven by the fact that 20 million youths entered our workforce in the last 20 years; entering a highly over-saturated workforce, causing risks. And the reality is that today we have a median age of 18. With a median age of 18, in the next 20 years, 80 million youths are entering Nigerian workforce, which is the population of Germany; that’s the number of jobs we have to create in the next 20 years, because it’s four times

the number that entered the workforce in last 20 years. “ According to him, the solution to the problem was agriculture. “It is massive-22 per cent of GDP, tremendous potential, labour intensive and it requires relatively negative skills.” He also said that one of the factors that make farmers succeed in their farm business is farm cooperatives. Lending his voice, Founder and CEO, AgriProtein, Mr. Jason Drew, said the industrial revolution was over while the sustainability revolution had begun, noting that having managed the transition, “we define the outcome for the 21stcentury, and in fact, for all of humanity. The problem is the future is not what it used to be. The future has always been rough and stressful in the past, but entering this revolution everything is changing completely from the mechanics. More businesses, more agriculture will be raked up with more model as we’re starting again. In the new world, the pillars of the future are around five things: sharability, preparability, durability, upgradability and closeability”. He stated that fish farming was the most rapidly growing business in agriculture globally with a growth rate of 15 to 17 per cent per year. Drew whose company specialises in

breeding flies to produce maggots, which he then sells as livestock feeds, noted that AgriProtein would fundamentally change the protein food cycle in developing and developed world. Pointing out more economic importance of larvae, which is the source of his company’s product, he said, “Larvae have over the years developed world’s most up-to-date antibiotics. Flies are used to breakdown wastes-it is used to disinfect wastes. It is used during war to treat wounds of soldiers that refuse to heal by medicine.” Explaining the role of Stanbic IBTC in the value chain of agriculture, Head of Agric Banking of Stanbic IBTC Plc, Mr. Jerry Gushop said, “We in Stanbic IBTC see the importance of the entire value chain. The entire value chain has a lot of opportunities and options. So somebody can come in for input supply financing alone. Another person can also come for marketing financing. Another can come in for finance for his trading; someone may also come for equipment, while others can come in to seek for warehousing facility. And so because of that we looked at the entire value chain from production up to capacity and that is the essence of what we are doing at Stanbic IBTC. We don’t want to restrict our support to one area.”



L-R MD/CEO, ASTEVEN GROUP, Dr Sunday Akpoyibo, Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru,and the ministry’s permanent secretary, Engr Jonathan Onajobi, during the facility tour of the company along Lagos-Ibadan express way....recently,


Photo Editor Abiodun Ajala Email

L-R:, Representative of the Director, OFIDS, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Kola Durojaiye; Director, SIID, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr. James Joshua Etoppidiok; and Executive Director, NDIC, Mrs Omoloa Abiola-Edewor, during a One-day Sentization Workshop on Differencial Premiun Assessment System (DPAS) FOR Operators of Primary Mortgate Banks (PMBs) in Lagos....reccently YOMI AKINYELE

L-R; Mr Lekan Oluponno, repreenting Yinka Ayefele; Guest Speaker Dipo Famakinwa; Dr Lekan Are; Asiwaju Solomon Kayode Onafowokan and Otunba John Olumide Osunsina displaying their awards of enterprise at the Oodua Business Ambassador Awards 2016 ceremony in Lagos....recently ABIODUN AJALA

L-R , General Manager; Operations, Oando Energy Resources, Mr. Anthony Sawyerr; Division Manager, Stakeholder Management and Community Development,(NAOC); Dr. Engr John Mpi, Social Project (NAOC), Chief Emeka Okoromah; Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and Chairman NAOC Umberto Carrara taking a tour of the village farm at the NAOC/AGIP/ OANDO Green River Project/20th Farmers Day held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa

L-R: Anambra State Governor Chief Willie Obiano; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; and Executive Director, Dozzy Oil, Group, Lady Ada Chukwudozie, during V.P’s visit to Harbour Industrial Layout in Onisha.... recently

L-R: Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatization, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce; Vice-Chairman, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi and Chief Executive Officer, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), Lagos, Captain Jari Olubunmi Williams, during a tour of MMA2 facilities by the committee in Lagos...recently . KOLAWOLE ALL

L-R; General Manager, Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency, Mr. Lateef Sholebo; Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal; Managing Dirctor, CDS global Ttd. Stephanie Scot-Emuakpor; and the Managing Director, UACN Property Development Company, Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran, during the official commissioning of UPDC residence apartment at Amuwo Odofin, Lagos...recently SUNDAY ADIGUN



BUSINESSWORLD SPECTRUM TRADING: STAKEHOLDERS CALL FOR SUBTLE REGULATION presented a paper on Global Trend/Spectrum Trading in Developing Economies, described spectrum trading as the deliberate process of selling and buying spectrum licences among telecoms operators. He said although spectrum trading comes with some forms of regulation, but advised that NCC should make such regulation simple and attractive enough to encourage spectrum trading among willing sellers and willing buyers among telecoms operators. Presenting the advantages of spectrum trading, Graham said it would help promote market competition, create opportunities for fresh investments from foreign and local investors, drive innovation and enhance fast business growth among others. He gave instances of countries like US, UK, India and Australia that have successfully implemented it, while pointing out some of the challenges they encountered in the implementation process, which he said, Nigeria must learn from in order to avoid the pitfalls.

GAS PRICING: NGA FAULTS PROVISIONS OF DRAFT NATIONAL GAS POLICY support bankable transactions because it introduces an undue layer of uncertainty to the income stream of projects. “While we support the allocation of Domestic Supply Obligation (DSO) to producing companies, we believe that the national objective of guaranteeing sufficient gas volumes to the domestic market can be better achieved if such DSO policy is implemented on a willing buyer, willing seller basis”, NGA said. On the issue of gas pricing, the association argued that the 2008 Domestic Gas Supply Pricing and Regulation had contemplated a fiveyear transition period from 2008 to 2013. The association faulted the rolling out of a new policy with an indeterminate transition period eight years after, saying it would not encourage producers.

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Comms/e-Business Editor

Emma Okonji

Capital Market Editor

Goddy Egene

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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 (Maritme)


Chevron Supports Nigeria Local Barite Miners with $1.28m Equipment George Okoh in Makurdi Local miners of Barites in Benue State recently got a boost in their activities as Chevron Nigeria Limited handed over barite earth moving equipment worth $1.284 million in line with the company’s efforts to increase Nigeria capability and provide a strategic framework for increasing the Nigerian content component of good and services that are needed to support operations and capital projects in Nigeria. The equipment according to General Manager Nigerian Content Development (NCD), Chevron, Mr. Olusoga Oduselu was to ensure value creation and sustainable economic growth that align with the federal government’s aspiration in Nigerian content development. He said as part of the commitment of Chevron to capacity development initiative obligation on local barite production and patronage of local industry, the company has purchased local Barites directly from Association of Miners and Producers of Barite (AMAPOB) members including a 700MT purchase orders awarded to Qualchem Nigeria Limited and the procurement of equipment worth $1.2 million to support local miners” In his speech, First Vice President of AMAPOD, Mr. Mike Mku who urged government to ban the importation of barite into the country said “the event is a culmination of over two years of struggle for the emancipation of barite in the oil and gas industry.” Governor Samuel Ortom who was represented by his Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr. Emmanuel

Manger, commended Chevron for the gesture, and urged investors to take advantage of the abundant natural resources in the state Among the items donated to AMAPOB were complete barite testing kit, a Toyota Corolla and Hilux van, Komatsu Dozer, Excavator, pay loader and Wheel loader, two Sinotruk dump Trucks and a compressor. Local miners of Barites in Benue State yesterday got a boost in their activities as Chevron Nigeria Limited handed over barite earth moving equipment worth $1.284 million in line with the company’s efforts

to increase Nigeria capability and provide a strategic framework for increasing the Nigerian content component of good and services that are needed to support operations and capital projects in Nigeria. The equipment according to Mr. Olusoga Oduselu, Chevron General Manager Nigerian Content Development (NCD), Chevron action is to ensure value creation and sustainable economic growth that align with the federal government’s aspiration in Nigerian content development. He said as part of the commitment of Chevron to

capacity development initiative obligation on local barite production and patronage of local industry, “The company has purchased local Barites directly from Association of Miners and Producers of Barite (AMAPOB) members including a 700MT purchase orders awarded to Qualchem Nigeria Limited and the procurement of equipment worth $1.2 million to support local miners In his speech,First Vice President of AMAPOD, Mr. Mike Mku who urged government to ban the importation of barite into the country said “the event is a culmination of

over two years of struggle for the emancipation of barite in the oil and gas industry.” Governor Samuel Ortom who was represented by his Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr. Emmanuel Manger, commended Chevron for the gesture, he urged investors to take advantage of the abundant natural resources in the state Among the items donated to AMAPOB were complete barite testing kit, a Toyota Corolla and Hilux van, Komatsu Dozer, Excavator, pay loader and Wheel loader, two Sinotruk dump Trucks and a compressor.


L-R: Chairman, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Prof. Bawuro Barkindo; Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Communication, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Director, Public Affairs, (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, at the ITU Telecom World 2016 conference in Bangkok, Thailand...recently

Ikeja Electric Blames Slow Pace of Metering DPR Registers 560 on Forex Scarcity Stations in Kwara Ejiofor Alike There is no end in sight for the estimated billings being slammed on electricity consumers under the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company as the company has insisted that it cannot continue its metering scheme under the present high cost of foreign exchange. This is coming as the company has said it invested about N11billion on network expansion projects within its franchise area in the last three years. Speaking at a recent roundtable with the media, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Anthony Youdeowei said the company would continue to bill its customers by estimation. According to him, before they takeover the assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) the new owners did not envisage the enormity of the decay of the facilities. He apologised for the shortcomings of the company in turning things around and promised to ensure that the billing system is reasonable. “Metering is a huge problem. Estimated billing is here to stay

for a while but we want it to be reasonable,” he said. “Before privatisation, many projections were made, like metering and all of that were done with good and sincere intentions, but again there is the social component to it. There were things we did not do well, and we didn’t know about some of the labour issues,” he explained. “Today we are a service delivery company unlike NEPA that was an engineering company. As at 2013 the exchange rate was about N216 per dollar, 20 months later things have changed and today we are faced with recession,” he added. Youdeowei said it would be a disservice to continue to defend what is not realisable. Speaking further on metering, he said the company had set out to meter all trading points from the Feeder to distribution transformers and down to consumers. According to him, the idea is to determine the power supplied to a particular area and then bill customers along such consideration. “We have problem of FOREX but we are still ordering meter but the pace is slow, single phase meter landing cost is about N100,000 and maximum

return is 10 percent and this takes about 7 years to recover cost of a meter,” he said. Speaking in the same way, the company’s general manager in charge of commercial, Folake Soetan defended the company’s billing system, explaining that the estimated billing is not illegal, stressing that the firm has come up with an acceptable billing formula for non-metered customers. According to Soetan, from energy supplied to the distribution transformer, the company calculates the recharging limit of metered customers within the period and bill unmetered customers about 30 per cent of such consumption. She said the formula had been submitted to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). In a related development, the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the company, Mr Aigbe Olotu has said the company has invested N11 billion in network expansion projects within the last three years. Olotu said that funding was one of the main challenges due to the fact that gas is priced based on international gas pricing denominated in dollars.

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin The Comptroller of the Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR), in Kwara State, Mr. Philip Salvation, has disclosed that about 560 filling stations are duly registered in the state. He also pledged that, the agency is committed towards quality service delivery to the people of the state. Salvation disclosed this in Ilorin while featuring on the Kwara State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists personality programme tagged: “Media Parliament “held at the Late Olusola Saraki NUJ Pen Center, Ilorin. He noted that Nigerians deserve the best service, adding DPR under his close watch will not compromise in ensuring that the entire populace and given the rightful position of access to consumable products at appropriate price at all times. In an address titled: “Consumer Rights and Protection; Implication For Service Delivery in Nigeria”, he said: “A consumer being the link in the production chain has vested legal rights from producers of goods services being offered in the market.


“These legal rights by implication are what the laws deemed as the “Rights of Consumers”. While lamenting the numerous challenges facing the agency, Salvation emphasised on, “high level of ignorance among Nigerians, bureaucratic bottlenecks, poor legal framework, predominance of conflict of interest, corruption and ineptitude within the law enforcement apparatus. “Sadly, the socio-economic cum political and political and security challenges confronting the country at the moment has relegated such issues as “Consumer Right” to the back burner on the priority list of law enforcement institution.” He further stated: “Government has a duty to educate citizenry on their Rights, how to seek redress via existing laws and institutions, how to reach and report service failures to the appropriate authorities. “There is need for training for both manufacturers and public officials to help them understand better quality standard better quality standards for goods and services expected.”





Ojobo: Inadequate ICT Infrastructure Presents Investment Opportunities The Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Tony Ojobo, spoke with Emma Okonji on how foreign investors could turn around Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure deficit to opportunities, among other sundry issues. Excerpts: take telecommunications in Nigeria from the backwaters to where it is today in the digital age and we dedicate all NCC awards to them.

NCC has been at the forefront of wooing foreign investors to invest in Nigeria, and NCC did same at the ITU Telecom World 2016 that was held in Bangkok, Thailand last month. How do you relate this move with the country’s inadequate infrastructure that could discourage investors? It is true that we have challenges in the area of telecoms infrastructure in the country, but such challenges present opportunities for investors who can create opportunities out of challenges. The dearth of Information and Communications Technology ICT) infrastructure means that there are opportunities for investments. Inadequate infrastructure is a challenge for Nigeria, but for the investors, it is an opportunity to plug in to meet that demand for infrastructure development. So our campaign for broadband investment in Nigeria is strategic because we need to showcase the opportunities that abound in the Nigeria telecoms sector, to foreign investors who are looking for where to invest their money, and the campaign is already yielding results. Apart from wooing investors, what has NCC done to address telecoms infrastructural deficit in the country? In addressing the broadband and power infrastructure, for instance, NCC came up with an open access model that will create a level play ground for all operators in the industry. What the open access model means is that an investor will provide the infrastructure and make it available for operators to have easy access to. In order to achieve this, we considered the country’s six geopolitical zones: South east, South west, South south, North east, North west, North central, and created a seventh zone, Lagos, which is the commercial nerve of the country. So we had to map out strategies to licence infrastructure companies (InfraCos) in each of the seven zones for the purpose of providing telecoms infrastructure in the zones and make the infrastructure accessible to operators. So far we have licensed two InfraCos, MainOne and IHS for Lagos and North Central zones respectively, and we are in the process of licensing five other InfraCos in the remaining five zones. NCC has advertised for Expression of Interest to bid for the remaining five zones, and the application closes December 15, 2016. So our plan is to license InfraCos in the remaining five zones and ensure that the InfraCos provide the required telecoms infrastructure in the various zones and make them accessible to telecoms operators. What value will the InfraCos add to telecoms development in country? By the time all zones in the country have their licensed InfraCos, there will be fast rollout of telecoms infrastructure across the country and we will begin to experience deeper penetration of broadband services across the country and this will bring about rapid growth in digital inclusion for all the regions in the country. In this era of Internet of Things (IoTs), Nigeria needs to develop with the rest of the world and we need ubiquitous broadband across the country to achieve this. How will you rate telecoms growth and development in Nigeria? Telecoms growth in Nigeria has been very remarkable. At the ITU Telecom World 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand, the Secretary General of the International Telecoms Union (ITU), Mr. Houlin Zhao, said Nigeria maintained the position of the fastest growing telecoms market in Africa and the entire world for five consecutive years. He further said that while the European telecoms market was considering deploying 4G services, Nigeria was already using 4G services. This shows that Nigeria is not really behind in telecoms development as most people erroneously think. But if we as a country are able to meet our


telecoms infrastructure needs, then there will be a telecoms revolution that has never been experienced since the inception of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) in Nigeria. As of today, mobile penetration is about 107 per cent and 21 per cent for broadband penetration. Now, the National Broadband Policy projected 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, and if by 2016 we already had 21 per cent broadband penetration, and we are in the process of licensing more InfraCos to provide more broadband infrastructure, it then means that we are sure of meeting and surpassing the 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, as projected by the National Broadband Plan. In all of these, Nigeria needs content development. What is NCC doing about it? You are quite correct on the issue of content development. Just as we are determined to grow the country’s broadband infrastructure, there is also need to begin to sensitise the operators and service providers, including Value Added Service (VAS) providers, on the need for content development that will further drive broadband development. To justify the huge investment in broadband, we need enough content for people who will be utilising the broadband services. The federal government is keen at diversifying the Nigerian economy through information and communications technology (ICT). As telecoms regulator, how will NCC help government in achieving this? The government is right in its approach to diversify the Nigerian economy in the area of ICT, because the global price of oil has continued to depreciate and we as a country, can no longer be sustained with the revenue from oil, so the best place to look at is the direction of ICT and agriculture sectors, which the federal government has already identified. A major sector that will help government in diversifying the economy is the ICT sector, whose technology tools, cut across education, health, eCommerce, banking, telecommunications, agriculture, insurance, sports and lots more. There is no sector that ICT cannot transform and as a regulator, we are keen at developing the telecoms infrastructure that will drive development in the sector, hence our strategic measures to woo foreign investors to come to Nigeria and invest in our broadband infrastructure. Imagine how ICT has transformed the banking sector and more banking applications are coming up that have made banking a lot easier and better. Today a lot of people do not go to the banking hall before they carry out financial transactions. They do so from the

comfort of their homes and offices, and even on the streets, using the internet, mobile phones and other technology devices and apps. That is the beauty of technology, and banks and their customers, including governments, are saving huge money in the process. So our mandate as telecoms regulator, is to ensure that all Nigerians have access to telecommunications. Nigeria is still ranked low by the international communities in the area of ease of doing business in Nigeria. Do you see this affecting the efforts of NCC in building a robust telecoms system for Nigeria? Yes, Nigeria has been ranked low in the area of ease of doing business and the country is not happy about it, but I know that there are agencies of governments that are looking into that. There is Ministry of Commerce and we have the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), which is the major arm of government that oversees those who wants to come and invest in Nigeria, and they are all working towards improving the ease of doing business in the country. The low ranking of Nigeria, no doubt, will affect the efforts of every agency of government, not just the NCC, and for us at NCC, we have always made our licensing processes very transparent for both foreign and local investors, and this is one of the ways we ensure ease of doing business in the country. At NCC, we have developed a template that has structured our activities as an organisation in such a way that foreigners and indigenous operators can easily flow with us. At NCC, we have robust consultative fora with stakeholders, where we take feedbacks from stakeholders and we use the feedbacks to restructure our operations. NCC has proved itself to be a role model and template for other government agencies to follow. So there is need for government to improve on its automation process and policies and create better enabling business environment for foreign and local investors. NCC has been recognised with various awards, for its unique role in regulating the telecoms industry. How do you feel about these awards? As a staff of NCC, I feel good that institutions recognise our passionate efforts in regulating the telecoms industry, and that goes to show that a lot of developments are taking place in the industry under our watch. Again, the awards are coming as a result of the dedication to duty by out backend staff, who are working tirelessly to ensure that everything is in its right position. They have been able to

How is NCC addressing the challenges of poor service quality across networks? There is no sector that does not have operational challenges because challenges are bound to occur, and it is the ability to address the challenges that matters most. For NCC, the challenges in the telecoms sector are there, but the challenges are work in progress because we are addressing the challenges for the growth of the telecoms industry. One thing people should know about telecommunication is that it is dynamic in nature and technology itself, which drives telecommunication, is in itself dynamic. What the NCC has done to address poor service quality, is to engage state governors on issues of right of way, telecoms levies and taxes and on issues of incessant attacks of telecoms facilities by social miscreants. The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made a presentation to the Governor’s Forum, some months ago, where about 26 Governors attended. He spoke on the activities of telecoms in the country, especially with regards to how the state can collaborate with NCC to take broadband to the next frontiers. He highlighted the challenges of the industry operators before the governors, as they relate to telecoms infrastructure and right of ways. He pleaded with the governors to remove some of those bottlenecks that were hindering fast deployment of telecoms services in some states. He also pleaded with them not to shut down base stations for reasons of none payment of levies and taxes. The truth is that most actions of government like shutting down of base stations of telecoms operators in their states, contributes to poor telecoms service delivery in the affected areas. Most times, some of the base stations that were shut down in the past, were hubs that serves communities and neighbouring states. Of course the governors appreciated it and amicable resolutions have been reached since then, even though it is an ongoing process. Why are states and the federal government keen at tasking telecoms operators. Well it is the duty of government to generate money to fund different projects and one of the ways of generating money is through taxes and levies, more so that the proceeds from oil revenue have been cut down drastically because of the massive fall of oil prices at the international market. But we are talking with governments not to over task the telecoms industry, to enable it grow the way it should grow. If the governments allow pervasive broadband penetration in the country, it will attract more businesses, jobs will be created and government will generate more money from the sector. How will you describe the contributions of mobile network operators to telecoms growth? Currently we have five Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), which include: Airtel Nigeria Limited, Etisalat Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria Limited, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and NATCOM Consortium, trading as ntel. The Fixed/Fixed Wireless Operators include IPNX, 21st Century Nigeria Limited, Glo Wired and MTN Wired, and they have all contributed to the growth of the sector meaningfully, including Smile Communications that provides Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services among others. In fact the MNOs control about 99 per cent market share while 0.2 per cent is reserved for other operators. Internet subscriptions have risen from 31.1million in 2012 to 93.6 million as at September 2016, representing about 200 per cent growth rate, and all these are as a result of the mobile network operators who are also providing data services, aside voice services.





Jegede:DespiteChallenges,NigeriaCanStill Attract FDIs The Chief Executive of Phase3 Telecoms, Mr. Stanley Jegede, spoke with Emma Okonji in Bangkok, Thailand, recently about Nigeria’s participation at the ITU Telecom World Conference and how the country could continue to attract foreign direct investment. Excerpts: Nigeria’s active participation at ITU Telecom World 2016 conference in Bangkok, Thailand has received commendations from global investors. What are the indices that could attract more foreign investors to Nigeria? Global investors have continued to commend Nigeria’s active participation at the ITU Telecom World conference, which attracted over 25,000 participants and telecoms regulators from over 120 countries. The fact is that there are existing investors in Nigeria and they have been in the country for a long period of time. What has attracted them and has kept them in Nigeria over these years, is the returns on their investments and the returns on investments will continue to keep them and also attract more investors, despite the challenges we face as a nation. But one thing that is clear is that no country is immune to challenges, what matters is how the country manages the challenges, using technology. Nigeria has its own unique challenges such as lack of infrastructure, corruption, insecurity among others and government is doing everything within its powers to address the challenges. So investors should see more of the positive side of the country than the negative side. I encourage foreign and local investors to invest in Nigeria because there are lots of opportunities and the opportunities still exist. One of the challenges doing telecoms business in Nigeria is the access gap to telecoms infrastructure. How can it be addressed to attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs)? Yes, there are some clusters that exist where infrastructure is not available and I see it as an opportunity for investors to tap into and invest in such areas. There are some areas in the country that people do not have access to telecoms infrastructure and there is need to bridge the access gap by investing in telecoms infrastructure in such identified areas. Now the gap still exists because operators are not willing to go to such areas to invest because it does not make economic sense to invest in such areas. What government should do to address the situation, is to continue to give incentives to operators to build infrastructure in such areas and once those areas have enough infrastructure, other operators will be willing to invest there and do profitable business there. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),

along our power lines and that has helped us a lot in protecting the cables from willful destruction by social miscreants. How much of investments have gone into this? We have invested millions of dollars in this and we are still investing. We see the need to connect Nigeria to other West African countries and we are building infrastructure from Nigeria to Niger and that infrastructure will be completed soon. Already, we have connected Benin Republic and Togo on the same power utility. Nigerians and the NCC have been insisting on collaboration among network operators, in order to reduce operational cost and to deepen network expansion. What is your take on this? Yes, there is need for partnership with other operators that have presence where we do not have presence, but where we cannot find trusted partners, then we will go ahead to do the investment all alone, even though such investment is capital intensive. Jegede

the telecoms industry regulator in Nigeria is giving such incentives, through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF). What are such incentives that could bridge access gap in telecoms infrastructure? Incentives could be in the form of offering the operators, certain percentage of the total cost of what it will take the operators to build infrastructure in rural areas. It is to encourage and enable them to invest in rural communities. Tax holidays is another form of incentive that should be encouraged. Phase3 Telecoms was part of Nigeria’s delegation to this year’s ITU Telecom World conference. What is the contribution of your company to telecoms development in Nigeria? We have been in existence since 2003 and we have built out unique infrastructure that leverages on power utility and our goal is to continue to build broadband infrastructure to remote parts and unserved parts of the country. We operate open network system and our infrastructure is used by all telecoms operators.

Pan African Tower Company Debuts in Africa Stories by Emma Okonji A new company called Pan African Tower Company Limited, has made its debut on the African continent with initial operations from West Africa and Nigeria and spreading to all parts of Africa. The tower company will serve over 70 per cent of mobile network operators in Africa and help to accelerate African strong appetite for broadband penetration, which is a major focus of most African governments to accelerate growth and improve GDP. The African continent will need over one 100,000 additional towers in the next five years to bridge current gap in service quality and roll out of 4G LTE and 5G broadband technology services. The Pan African Tower company plans to have up to 35,000 mobile towers within the next five years to bridge this gap. This

will be achieved through both creative, not traditional sale; leaseback of tower sites and modern build to suite with Green technology at a very low cost taking advantage of current advancement in technology and alternative energy solutions. The Executive Director, Pan African Tower Company Limited, Mr. Sohail Haider, said: “The initiative is expected to offer unparalleled value to mobile operators in terms of low lease rate which are index in local currency to hedge against African currency volatility against dollar and match most Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) revenue currency which is mostly local and by extension value to telecoms consumers.” With a projected portfolio of about 35,000 towers, Pan African Tower Limited will be the biggest tower company on the African continent with a

holding company in Seychelles. This will be a relief to Mobile Network Operators who are currently operating under high operating cost due to dollar-based lease payment for mobile towers across Africa, from the existing independent tower companies with old technologies and outdated business models, Haider said. This is a welcome development to help Africa accelerate the much needed growth, create healthy competition and deliver value for stake holders most especially telecoms consumers for education, health, agriculture and businesses which is an essential factor in real economic development, poverty reduction and GDP growth. The company with innovative business model will be supported majorly by FDIs and institutional investors from Asian Pacific region, Europe and Africa, Haider added.

Going forward, we see the need for converged services, where not only telecoms operators leverage on our infrastructure, but also associated sectors that see the importance of convergence with telecoms. What makes your service offering different from your competitors? We are unique in the sense that our operations are different from the operations of our competitors in the area of underground fibre laying, where our competitors have to escalate the earth to lay fibre cables. But what we do is to suspend our fibre cables on the high voltage of 132 and 330 KVA lines and we deploy them using choppers and most times we use power line engineers that are well trained in deploying such infrastructure. So it offers us the reliability that others do not have. Do you consider the risk of vandals destroying your cables that are exposed and accessible? Yes, we are aware of the risk of damage by vandals, like it used happen in the past, but we have put high level security checks in place

Phase3 Telecoms has been involved in telecoms infrastructural development. How will this development transcends economic growth and job creation? Building out infrastructure has benefits in terms of economic growth for job creation, efficiency, better security and we think it is our responsibility as Nigerians to ensure that the infrastructure is built to serve our people. We are collaborating with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on a number of programmes to facilitate relationships that will further enhance telecoms infrastructural development in the country and we will continue to build our infrastructure to enable us have a fully connected Nigeria. So what is the expansion plan of Phase3 Telecoms, in relation to telecoms infrastructural development? We are based in Abuja, but we have expanded our services across the 36 states of the country. We are long haul operator, but we drop our cables at some points and build out metro capacity in areas where our customers exist. So we have both long haul infrastructure and metro infrastructure, and we are able to cover all the 36 states of the country.

Cloud Energy Offers to Light Up 5,000 Homes with Solar Promo Cloud Energy, the energy solutions provider, is offering Nigerians the perfect Christmas gift as it begins the lighting up of 5,000 homes and businesses with solar harvest promo. According to the company, its warehouses are filled with solar products and marketers, resellers, engineers and installers are being trained and retrained, while partnerships for micro financing have been perfected, with logistics streamlined to ensure that at least 5,000 homes and businesses, nationwide, begin to enjoy 24/7 electricity during the Christmas season. Running from October 1, 2016, to January 31, 2017, the Solar Harvest Promo is designed to make solar products available and affordable to complement the genuine efforts of governments to address the shortfall in power supply, by the Discos using off grid solar

installation. Speaking at the in-house training session in Lagos recently for resellers and installers, the Managing Director/CEO of Cloud Energy Photoelectric Limited, Theophilus Nweke, observed that the difficult times faced by the Nigerian economy demand that indigenous alternative energy solutions companies must find innovative ways to provide the constant electricity required to increase productivity in Nigeria. Availability of power, he said, must be the core approach in the task to pull the country out of recession. To this end, he said the solar harvest promo, provides the quality and discounted solar technology products that enable uninterrupted work and play. Nigerians must complement the efforts of government by changing their attitude to the

use of available power, Nweke said, noting that Nigerians have a culture of waste when it comes to energy consumption. He explained that the solar harvest promo aims at making consumers energy-self-sufficient. Every consumer must have an energy bank because energy saving is the key to unlock the energy frustrations of Nigeria. There are solar bundles and inverter bundles that save electricity automatically. He urged Nigerians and governments at all levels to take advantage of the solar harvest promo to make the Christmas and New Year memorable events. This will be a perfect Christmas gift to give to your friends and family. Nweke revealed that the promo is the beginning of a series of themes and schemes to provide Nigerians with full electricity, install a solar system in every office and home in Nigeria.





Revive Dying Businesses with Palliative Measures, ATCON Tells FG Stories by Emma Okonji Worried about the continuous depreciation of the value of naira, which has further weakened to N470 to a dollar, coupled with the scarcity of dollar, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola has said that unless government introduces shortterm palliative measures to address the situation, more businesses are likely going to collapse within a short period of time. Teniola, who raised the alarm while addressing journalists at the weekend in Lagos, on the deplorable state of businesses in the telecoms sector, listed several challenges that telecommunications companies are facing in doing business in Nigeria, while calling on government to expedite action in proffering long-lasting solutions to the issues. According to him, several businesses in the telecoms sector and across other sectors of the Nigerian economy, are shrinking because of the non-availability of dollar to import telecoms equipment, which he said, are usually transacted in dollars. “Aside scarcity of dollar, the rate at

which dollar is converted to naira is so high that it has made nonsense of legitimate transactions that are carried out in dollar denomination. Business owners can no longer make importations because of the scarcity and the high rate of dollar, and businesses are shrinking,” Teniola said. While listing some of the challenges in the telecoms sector, Teniola said most telecoms companies could no longer participate in the auction process of spectrum licences and that those that have already been awarded spectrum licences could not rollout services across the country as a result of the difficult business environment of the country. Responding to questions relating to the licensing of MainOne and IHS as Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) for Lagos and North Central respectively, by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Teniola said their inability to rollout commercial services with the InfraCo licences, was not unconnected with difficult businesses situation in the country, occasioned by forex. He said the current difficult business situation in the country, would continue to discourage foreign investors

from investing in the country, if nothing was done about it. He therefore called on government to introduce short-term palliative measures like tax rebates and tax concession for businesses, especially telecoms businesses that are operational in the country. Addressing the current move by the National Assembly members to increase telecommunications tax bill by 9 per cent, which has passed the first and second readings at the floor of the National Assembly, Teniola said although

government needs money to fund national projects and that such monies are generated through taxes, he however advised government to thread with caution in order not to further shrink telecoms business in the country. According to him, the telecoms operators were already over-burdened with government taxes and levies, insisting that further tax on telecommunications, will exclude about 10 per cent of the population of telecoms subscribers, which is over 20 million, from getting access to

telecommunication services. However, since government needs tax revenue to execute projects, it should consider reducing the proposed introduction of 9 per cent telecommunications tax bill to 1 per cent, which could easily be absorbed by the telecoms operators, Teniola said. “As an advocacy body, ATCON will continue to appeal to government to amend some of its decisions in order to encourage the ease of doing business in the country,” Teniola added.

He welcomed the recent move by the federal government to diversify the Nigerian economy in the area of information and communications technology (ICT) and agriculture, but stressed the need for government to provide the necessary ICT infrastructure that would help to boost development across the country. He said government must deal with the fundamentals in the ICT sector, in order to fully diversify and grow the Nigerian economy.

iSON Restates Commitment to Technology Skills Transfer iSON Technologies, an arm of iSON Group, Africa’s largest IT and ITeS company, with presence in over 25 countries in Africa, has restated its commitment to enhance technology skills transfer in Nigeria, through intensive training. The company has therefore called for greater public –private partnership in IT training, in order to further boost growth and transfer of technology skills in Nigeria. Chief Growth Officer at iSON Technologies, Mr. Akshay Grover, who restated the companies commitment at a press briefing in Lagos recently, said iSON would constantly make itself available to be part of the industry bodies that would develop IT in Nigeria through intensive training that will impact ICT skills in Nigerians, having successfully sponsored a lot of training courses in the county, in line with our business models. According to him, companies, which are supported by iSON in Nigeria, develop their core technologies, while ISON, as a core systems integrator, will load bundle of services on the core technology developed by the various companies and deliver them as services to the clients. Speaking on iSON Technologies investment in Africa, which includes IT training, Grover said the company has invested between $25 million and $50 million across its African business, with plans to increase its investment to $100 million in the next three months, since it is about concluding its business deal to get private equity investment

to grow its business in Africa. He said iSON has currently created over 12,000 jobs across sub Saharan Africa, where it operates, with plans to increases it to 100,000 within the next five years. “At iSON Technologies, we are passionate about deploying tech services to our customers. Over the years, we have become the go-to technology provider for different verticals spanning Telecom and ISP, BFSI, government, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Direct to Home (DTH) and Entertainment, Education and Healthcare,” says, the Chief Operating Officer of iSON Technologies, Mr. Rahul Srivastava. As a systems integrator, iSON provides end-to-end IT services and solutions across Africa. The company’s strong service offerings include consulting, systems integration, managed services and off-shore/on-shore services and cloud services. It has strong links with leading pan-African partners for major companies such as AVAYA, Oracle, Huawei, IBM, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Juniper and Fortinet, among others. “We are extremely excited about the future of technology, especially in a country like Nigeria, where technology inclusion is quite promising and of course we are firmly set to lead the revolution in this market,” Srivastava said. iSON’s clients, according to him, include MTN, Airtel, Etisalat, Standard Chartered Bank, AIICO, AXA Mansard, GT Bank, Chase Bank, UNICAF, Zuku, Toyota Kenya, among others.


L-R: Director, Consumer Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Adeola Dairo; Managing Director, Samsung West Africa, Paul Lee and Vice President, Marketing, Etisalat Nigeria, Adebisi Idowu, at the launch of the Samsung Experience Zone in the Etisalat Experience Centre in Lagos... recently

NESREA: Telecoms Firms Now Next Economy Begins Start-up Comply with Environmental Talent Hunt in Nigeria Next Economy, an initiative of empower African youth in Regulations Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), has said that telecommunication companies no longer flout environmental rules and regulations in the country. Its Director General, Dr. Lawrence Anukam disclosed this in Abuja at the 7th national dialogue on the implementation of national environmental regulations. The DG stated that the telecommunication operators have also realised the need to cooperate with the agency especially on the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) before erecting their base stations. According to him, “Initially, we were a little bit not getting it right but in recent times, most telecom companies are beginning to follow the rules in terms of making sure they conduct the environmental studies, the EIA even before erecting their masts. But we still notice one or two infractions and when we do, we try to follow up appropriate actions.” Ankam added that there have been a lot of improvements better than it was years ago. The DG stated categori-

cally that except the Federal Ministry of Environment, no other institution in the country, including State governments has the mandate to issue the EIA certificate, noting that the agency was established to ensure strict compliance with all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in the country. Earlier, the Environment Minister, Ms. Amina Mohammed said the regulatory dialogue was to discuss information on how best stakeholders could ensure compliance with environment safety programmes. She stressed:”Nesrea is an enforcement arm of the federal ministry of environment and is mandated to enforce all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in Nigeria and to prohibit processes and the use of equipment or technology that undermine environmental quality. “It has responsibility to enforce compliance with provisions of international agreements, protocols, conventions and treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory. But Nesrea cannot carry out these functions effectively without the collaboration and cooperation of other sector players.”

the Dutch Foreign Ministry via the 1% Club, is in Nigeria, in search of talented technology start-ups with valuable ideas and solutions that could address specific societal challenges. Next Economy, which has been in Nigeria for the past three months, mentoring technology start-ups and entrepreneurs, at the weekend, in Lagos, partnered Co-Creation Hub (CC-Hub), a Lagos based technology incubation centre, to organise a Crowdfunding Bootcamp, for the selection of start-ups with commercially viable solutions. Selected start-ups will be linked with international investors that will invest in their solutions and transform their business ideas into multi-million naira business with global recognition. The Bootcamp was divided into sessions and they were considered for pitching & storytelling, social media strategy, the intricacies of creative campaigning, crowdfunding canvas and business modelling. The most successful campaign of the day and the most favourite campaign of the day, is expected to win €500. After the campaign period of 30 days, a jury will reward the top seven startups with extra funding ranging from €5000, €3000, €2000 and €1000. Next Economy aims to

developing the talents and skills required to compete in the 21st century and create a future for themselves. The Next Economy believes in the ability of African youth to dream and bring their concepts to reality thereby changing their lives, and the lives of the people around them. The Next Economy carries out its objectives by promoting three schemes aimed at encouraging employability, entrepreneurship and business skills essential for a successful career and life as an entrepreneur. The schemes are tagged ‘Make It Work’, ‘Get It Started’ and ‘Grow Your Business’ respectively. Currently operating in three African countries including Nigeria, Next Economy collaborates with facilitators already on ground individual countries to carry out its prerogative. For example, in Nigeria The Next Economy partners with CoCreation Hub, Fate Foundation and SOS Village among others. The Next Economy is currently running its programmes in Lagos and Abuja, which admits participants on a quarterly basis. Also in conjunction with Cocreation hub, The Next Economy also has a running partnership programme that mentors and guides early stage start-ups operational for the next three years.





Pharmaceutical Industry and National Devt Olu Akanmu contends that the current foreign exchange squeeze in Nigeria makes it imperative to develop a local pharmaceutical industry that is less import-dependent For the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry that is virtually import-dependent from raw materials to finished products, the quantum of negative exchange rate movement over the last one year has meant skyrocketing prices for pharmaceutical products for those who could source forex. It has also meant reduced capacity utilization for the pharmaceutical companies who are unable to source foreign exchange for their raw materials. The current situation however calls for a deeper reflection on how we would build and develop a pharmaceutical industry that is increasingly less import dependent, and by so doing can absorb the shocks of foreign exchange volatility, which is inevitable in the boom and bursts of global economic cycles. How do we build a pharmaceutical industry that is competitive, at least in some areas of the pharmaceutical industry value chain; and become a critical local player in addressing the health needs of our people while also dominating the exports market in West Africa? Professor Charles Soludo in his lecture titled “Can Nigeria Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical Industry Compete” at the Nigeria Association of Industrial Pharmacists Conference six years ago, in September 2001 x-rayed these issues. The summary of Professor Soludo’s argument, which I extend further, is that the competiveness of the pharmaceutical industry cannot be divorced from the competitiveness of the overall manufacturing sector and the Nigerian economy. Nigeria has consistently ranked near the bottom on international competitiveness ratings such as the recent World Bank’s Ease Doing Business (released last month) where Nigeria ranked 169th out of 190 countries, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) also released last month where Nigeria dropped 3 places to 127th out of 138 countries and was only better than countries like Sierra Leone and Malawi, Mo Ibrahim’s Africa governance index (36th out of 54 countries), Transparency International’s corruption perception index (136th) , UN’s Human Development Index , Failed State Index where Nigeria is in the top 15 of the most fragile states in the world. The competitiveness issues where Nigeria has consistently scored low include infrastructure, access to finance, security, corruption and governance, quality of education, skilled manpower and labour productivity. This low competitiveness prevents Nigeria from benefiting from the “flying geese” economic theory model that says that when labour cost increases in developed markets, old technologies, factories and production moves from developed countries to lesser-developed countries with cheaper labour cost. China and Japan benefitted from these model as factories moved production from the US and Europe to China. You will recall that this is one the electoral campaign issues of Mr. Donald Trump in the American elections. It should normally have been expected that as China gets more prosperous with wages and labour cost increasing, that global factories and production will then also move to Africa especially Nigeria, given our huge population. This is however unlikely to happen as we do not have the basics in place, like infrastructure, governance, transparency and regulation, skilled and vocational workforce to harness this economic dynamic. The extension of this argument is that while we have seen global pharmaceuticals in a flying geese from Europe (Beechams and Glaxos in the UK) to Asia (in the Ranbaxys in India), unless we deploy the right economic and governance actions, we may not see the pharmaceutical geese flying from Asia to Africa or Nigeria. The geese may be stuck in Asia, in India and China for a long time to come. This is essentially what we have today with the Nigeria pharmaceutical industry with Western multi-nationals dominating advance medicines category and the Indian and Chinese companies dominating the manufacturing of basic generic medicines, leaving our local players to be largely importers of finished products or raw materials.

Minster of Trade, Investment and Industry, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah What must we do to make the pharmaceutical industry geese fly to Nigeria in Africa from India and China in Asia? Nigeria must develop and adopt a formal comprehensive “National Strategy and Plan of Action for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing”. While researching this paper, I was shocked to see that right under our eyes, some smart African countries like Ethiopia have developed such framework and implementing such , essentially leaving Nigeria behind. The following recommendations on the issues, which the National Strategy and Plan of Action for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing must address, are largely adapted from the Ethiopian framework. Firstly, we must have improvement of access to medicines through quality local production and implementation of the Good Manufacturing Plan Road Map. Nigeria now has four local companies certified as compliant with WHO Good Manufacturing Standard. We congratulate them on the achievement. We however need to make such standards the norm and not the exception. A formal public and private, inter-sectorial partnership, involving the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry, NAFDAC, PGMAN, PSNand the multilateral agencies need to be deployed to make this happen. This is indeed the model that has been deployed in Ethiopian Plan of Action. Secondly, we must strengthen the National Medicine Regulatory System. We must continue to strengthen efforts and capacity to eradicate fake drugs and medicine in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Thirdly, we must create incentives to move our local companies progressively along the pharmaceutical industry value chain from importation of finished products to local manufacturing. We must drive import substitution more aggressively. Government must deploy incentives that moves local players increasingly from importation and distribution of finished pharmaceutical products (Level 1 of the pharmaceutical value chain) to packaging and labeling of imported bulk finished products (Level 2) and then to real product manufacturing which is the manufacturing of finished products from imported active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) LEVEL 3, and then to local Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient manufacturing in Nigeria at Level 4) and ultimately Research and Development of new chemical or biological entities( Level 5) . An audit of the distribution of local players in the pharmaceutical industry value chain suggests that most of our local play is largely between Levels 1 and 3 with about 90% of local players largely in the importation and distribution of finished pharmaceutical

products in Level 1 and just about 10% of local players in packaging and labeling and product manufacturing according UNIDO Pharmaceutical Sector report on Nigeria in 2011. To encourage local manufacturing, government must deploy incentives that encourage importers to become local producers through the right discriminatory tariffs and tax policies. The current ECOWAS unified tariff model where tariffs on imported finished pharmaceutical products are lower than pharmaceutical raw materials for local manufacturing therefore needs to be reviewed. It delivers exactly the opposite of this policy objective. It dis-incentivize local manufacturing while encouraging importation of finished products. It kills local jobs in the Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturing industry while creating jobs in in China and India. Other incentives will include the encouragement of pooled procurement of raw materials to get scale and cost benefits for local manufacturers, a firm formal policy to patronize local players and local products by government, where there are local manufacturing capacities, where prices are competitive and there is adequate compliance to Good Manufacturing Standards. Similar policies are being implemented called “Local Content” policy in the oil industry to encourage local players. Federal, States and local governments should implement such “local content” policy in their procurement of drugs and medicaments. Fourthly, we must develop our human resources and local technical capacity through relevant education and training. We must build a stronger university-industry partnership to promote technology innovation, entrepreneurship, supply chain and regulatory management to support the progressive movement of the local pharmaceutical industry to higher levels of the value chain. Fifthly, we must develop geographic clusters for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). In locations around Lagos, Onitsha and Kano where the pharmaceutical forward supply chain is well-developed, deliberate pharmaceutical industry clusters or industrial parks could be developed that bring local players and their value chain suppliers together with adequate and shared infrastructure for good pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution. Industrial clusters development in a country with constrained resources allows resources to be concentrated in fewer geographic locations at levels above the minimum effective threshold, that support industrial development rather than scattering them uncoordinatedly and ineffectively across the country. Can we for example plan a pharmaceutical cluster at the Lekki Free

Zone around the petrochemical refineries coming on stream and build geographic, and value chain complementarities to support the manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients? (Igwillo, 2016). Lastly, we must develop a national system to coordinate health technology research across our universities and research institutes working closely with industry. While addressing the above issues, we must continue to put pressure on government to deal with all the issues constraining our broader national development, such as infrastructure, ease of doing business, quality of education, labour productivity and skilled work force, security, governance and the cankerworm of corruption. These issues, as earlier discussed provide the macro context to support the implementation of the National Strategy and Plan of Action for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing”. They are the macro level issues that have made the manufacturing geese unable to fly to Africa from Asia as it flew earlier from Europe to Asia. We should therefore commend the government for its latest move to deal with corruption in the Nigerian judiciary even if by extra-ordinary means. A corrupt judiciary is dangerous for business. A corrupt judiciary means contracts cannot be enforced. A corrupt judiciary means there will be no remedies for the breach of business contracts. It means a rule of the jungle, a state of anarchy, a business market in which there are no rights, rules or remedies. In such situations, business and markets will malfunction or absolutely collapse to the detriment of national development. Lessons from India and Brazil: Ensuring a non-stunted development of the Nigerian local pharmaceutical manufacturing base. The evolution of the pharmaceutical industries in Brazil and India can teach us important lessons in how to ensure that the growth of the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry does not become stunted. Today, the world recognise India as an emerging power in the manufacture and export of generic medicines but little is heard of the Brazilian pharmaceutical industry. This is despite the fact that both countries had similar growth ambition and similar opportunities of the relaxed intellectual property right protection environment in the pre-TRIPS era of the international pharmaceutical market. TRIPS is the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) which sets the minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property, including patents for pharmaceuticals. Guennif and Ramani (2010) in their seminal work titled “Catching up in pharmaceuticals: a comparative study of India and Brazil have identified the following factors for the strong growth trajectory of the local Indian pharmaceutical industry compared to the stunted growth of the pharmaceutical industry in Brazil. a) A consistent, long commitment and execution by the Indian government of an import substitution model, relative discriminatory tariffs that incentivize local production compared to a vacillating commitment of generations of Brazilian governments to import substitution policy. Guennif and Ramani identified the presence of two powerful opposing lobbies in Brazil of local manufacturers pushing import substitution agenda and a counter powerful lobby that pushed for open and unrestrained market for drug importation, actively supported by the multi-national companies (MNC) and the Washington multi-lateral agencies with the argument that unrestrained market will attract more Foreign Direct Investments. India put up a more united front and selectively implemented the advice of the Washington consensus and the MNCs. Guerniff and Ramani (2010) and Nassif (2007) concluded that the vacillating commitment and the poor implementation of import substitution policy by the Brazilian governments had been disastrous for the Brazilian pharmaceutical industry.





Ribena’s Back-to-School Promo as a Lifeline for Consumers Despite the huge investments in marketing and distribution, business owners are taking it up a notch through innovative relationship strategies with consumers of their brands. This was demonstrated in August, when Suntory Beverages and Foods Nigeria Limited, initiated the Back-to-School Promo to reward patrons of Ribena. Raheem Akingbolu reports The last quarter of the year is always a reward moment for consumers. It is a period when all the media become sensational and the Nigerian consumers of products are sucked into the frenzies of reward programmes and promotional offers by producers of goods and services in the country. While some offer mouth-watering cash rewards to lucky consumers for their loyal patronage, others creatively skew the pricing of their goods and services to attract more patronage or retain loyal customers. Yet others offer below-the-line shows and activations coupled with raffle draws designed to both create fun and reward customers who had stayed with their brands through the year. Properly implemented, a promotional activation can be blended with a reward program to create and retain loyal customer base for a brand. The benefits of such a blend are multifarious for the rewarding company and diverse for the consumers. Back-to-school promo To deepened its penetration of the market, promoters of Ribena in September rolled out the Back-to-School Promo to reward patrons of their brand among pupils in various schools. Specially designed to reward kids, who buy Vitamin C enriched drink, the promo, allowed consumers to participate, with children as the key beneficiaries. The promo, which kicked off in August offered 250 children the opportunity to win N100,000 worth of scholarships.. The Ribena ‘Back-to-School Scholarship’ promo allows everyone to participate with children remaining as its key beneficiaries nationwide. To enjoy the offer, new and existing consumers were expected to buy a carton of Ribena 150ml, search the carton for a Smarty Berry Sticker with the winning code. They were therefore required to send the code behind the scratch panel to 65432 for verification, which made them win the scholarship, if lucky. The promo is expected to end by the end of this month. According to the Marketing Director, Suntory Beverages and Foods Nigeria Limited, manufacturers of the product, Rosemary Akpo, the Ribena Back-to-School Scholarship’ promo was borne out of the company’s desire to support kids to resume school with utmost excitement. She specifically pointed out that the promo was specially designed to reward loyal children who have kept with faith with Ribena.“The promo was conceived as a result of our determination to demonstrate our concern for our core target, which are the school children. We believe the cash scholarship will go a long way in ensuring they are fully ready for the new academic session. The promo also aims at thrilling these young consumers as Ribena continues to enrich the children with its bursting goodness,’’ she said. Winners and redemption Few months after the promo was initiated, the company promptly fulfill its promise as cash prizes were awarded to participants who were lucky to have won in the exercise. As at the time of writing this story about 50 winners have emerged. Though the core target were the children, many parents, who saw it as a relief were quick to commend the company for the modalities and transparency employed while it lasted. As more and more winners emerge daily in the promo, increased accolades have begun to trail the brand from many fathers, mothers and guardians who expressed their gratitude after being rewarded with N100,000 cash scholarship for their children. So far, winners have emerged at the various market activations in Oyo, Kaduna, Lagos, Abia

Lami Yanshen Shunom (Kaduna), the mother of 6 year old Josiah Shunom shared : ‘On that fateful day, I asked Josiah to escort me to the market in order to buy Ribena 150ml because he really likes taking it to school and fortunately he picked up the carton that has the smarty berry sticker.’ And she further said : ‘Suntory has really touched our lives especially during this trying times, We are indeed grateful ’.

and Port Harcourt with joy and excitement as Ribena alleviated their financial burden of sending their children back to school. Other state where winners have emerged are; Ogun, Abuja, EdoNiger, Ondo, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi. Testimonials Apparently excited by the cash scholarship for her child, one of the winners in Abuja, Mrs. Grace Ogilegulu, a teacher spoke on how the exercise would go a long way in helping her daughter,Abigail. Six year old Abigail, attends Old Destiny Education School at kubwa, Abuja. The woman, who said she didn’t know of any Ribena Promo, until she bought a pack and saw the advert on the pack and later checked and saw the card which and sent the code. “Seriously, I thought is one of their usual deceptive promotions that this companies use to do. My husband even told me not to border myself that is not real. If not until this hour, I thought is fake. Now that we have won, I will invest it back in her academics. Thanks to Ribina company for touching the lives of my family,” One of the parents, Mrs Yetunde Bajegbo, a teacher with the Lagos State Government narrated her story on how she bought a pack of Ribena for her child Barakah Enitan Bajegbo, “At first I thought it was a joke and one of those 419 tricks till I got here and received my alert, I can confirm that the Ribena promo is real. I am grateful and wish the Ribena promo continues in other to support other parents like me. God bless the Ribena team” Another inspiring testimony from Mr, Kehinde Babatunde who told a story of

how he gave a thousand naira to his wife to buy Ribena for their daughter and the wife was lucky enough to have bought the pack with the winning smarty berry sticker. At the redemption, he said “I am grateful to Ribena because I was going to pay my daughter’s school fees in instalments but now I can pay at once and buy her all she needs for school.” Another winner, Mr. Chukwuemeka Tony Ubani, who won with his son, Master Chukwuemeka Ubani could not hide his feeling as he commended the company for bringing succor to his family in the face of harsh economic situation the country is currently undergoing. Ubani, a magistrate at Abuja FCT Court, said his nine year old boy attends Arwa Basic Schools Abuja. “Smile, I have being buying Ribena 150ml packs for my children and my wife insisted I must buy to increase the stock at Home, I didn’t know of any Ribena Promo, not until the merchandiser informed me and saw the advert on one the cartons, so I bought fortunately I opened one of the packs and saw the smarty berry card and send the code,” Speaking on how he intended will you use the scholarship money, Ubani disclosed that he had account already opened for all his children and that the reward from the promo will be deposited in the same account to sponsor his children. With close to 50 winners cut across almost all the six geo-political zones of the country, handlers of the brand have no doubt chosen a right time to prove to their patrons that they care about them. However, children being the major influencer in various homes may in return make the brand the favourite of other kids and families nationwide.

“The promo, which kicked off in August offered 250 children the opportunity to win N100,000 worth of scholarships.. The Ribena ‘Back-toSchool Scholarship’ promo allows everyone to participate with children remaining as its key beneficiaries nationwide. To enjoy the offer, new and existing consumers were expected to buy a carton of Ribena 150ml, search the carton for a Smarty Berry Sticker with the winning code Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.”





How Telecoms Sector Topped Advertisers’ 10year List in Nigeria Raheem Akingbolu reviews the latest edition of mediafacts Nigeria: 10-Year Trend Review, noting that players in the telecommunications sector were the highest spenders in the years under review The Communications & Telecommunications sector has been declared as the consistent highest advertising spender in Nigeria in the last 10 years. The declaration was made by mediaReach OMD in its publication, mediafacts Nigeria: 10-Year Trend Review (2006-2005). The compendium contains a longitudinal review and trend analyses of year-on-year mediafacts, with key insights into the annual statistics performance and dynamics of key players on critical indices of the media, advertising and marketing industry in Nigeria. In 2015, the sector spent N16.7bn on advertising to lead the pack. The report placed the Personal Paid Advertisers, having spent N12.2bn, second behind Communications & Telecommunications. Between 2006 and 2009, Banking & Finance was consistent in taking the second position after the Communications and Telecoms sector. However, the trend changed in 2010 when the former had N3.5bn ad spend while Personal Paid Advertisers spent N7.8bn. Similarly, Lager (Beer) had oscillated between the third and fourth position. While it spent N4.8bn on advertising in 2014; the figure dropped to N4.6bn in 2015. Paid Advertisers had experienced a higher growth rate in the past 10 years, with a compound annual growth rate of about 26% followed by Educational Imparting Knowledge & Skills category with a CAGR of 21%.


Ad income for newspapers Advertising income for newspapers in Nigeria during the review period hit N143.1bn between 2006 and December 2015, revealing a wavy pattern that reached its peak in 2014 with N25bn; and declined to 23.7bn at the end of 2015. According to a special edition of mediafacts, the N4.4bn advert income in 2006 moved up to N4.8bn and N4.9bn in 2007 and 2008; respectively. The newspapers got N15.8bn in 2009 and N16.5bn in 2010. The figure declined to N15.4bn in 2011 and slipped further to N9.0bn in 2012. The downward slope however changed in 2013 with an advert income of N18.5bn and rose to its peak in 2014, hitting N25.8bn. The figure went down by N2.1bn in 2015 when the newspapers earned N23.7bn.


ATL Ad Expenditure MediaReach OMD explained that the newspapers mostly attracted their highest advert patronage in the second and third quarters, with the exception of 2013 and 2014 which had their highest spending in the fourth quarters

Source: Media Monitoring Services Ltd (MMSL)

In terms of regional spending in the last ten years, the split is between Lagos and North, with Lagos constantly attracting the dominant share of advert spending year-after-year. The product analysis however shows that Glo has consistently dominated the list of press advertisers, rising steadily in the last three years to tie with Guaranty Trust Bank ahead of others while MTN currently occupies the third position

Product Category












Commu. & Telecoms 4.6











Personal Paid












Lager (Beer)












Banking & Finance












Corporate Commu













of the year. In terms of regional spending in the last ten years, the split is between Lagos and North, with Lagos constantly attracting the dominant share of advert spending year-after-year. The product analysis however shows that Glo has consistently dominated the list of press advertisers, rising steadily in the last three years to tie with Guaranty Trust Bank ahead of others while MTN currently occupies the third position. In terms of advertising expenditure across board, the TV medium consistently enjoyed the lion share of advert budget over the years. It was followed by the Out-of-Home (OOH) medium except for 2014 and 2015, when the print medium followed the leading TV medium. The newspapers had however experienced the highest growth rate in terms of advert spends especially in the last three years. For total advertising expenditure, the year 2013 enjoyed the highest spending with N103.8bn, representing a marginal increase over year 2011 spending of N102.8bn. There was a decline in 2014 as compared to the high spending in 2013. Television Trends Historically, TV spends in the last 10 years rose gradually from N15bn in 2006, it reached its peak in 2012 (N49.4bn) and has currently dropped to N39bn in 2015. In terms of TV spend in the last decade, Communications and Telecommunications towered above others with occasional interruption by Gaming and Entertainment which

mostly occupied the second position in the relative trend review. In TV Advertising spend, there was a considerable level of growth in the categories section, topping the list on growth basis was the Noodles/Pasta category as it recorded a CAGR of 28% and was followed closely by the Skin Cleansing category with a CAGR of 24% and then jointly following was the Nutritional Drink, Milk and Dairy products and Dental Care products with each having a CAGR of 20%. From its modest figure of N5.7bn in 2006, Radio spends increased haphazardly in the last 10 years reaching its peak in 2012 and wobbled through the years to settle at N15.1bn currently. In the last 10 years, Radio attracted the highest media spend in the second and third quarters of the year mostly. Lagos grew and sustained its lead position on Radio spend in the last decade. FMCG influence Among the top 20 spender categories on Radio, Communications and Telecommunications consistently dominated other categories. However, in terms of the compound annual growth rate, cocoa beverage topped the chart list at 23% followed by Noodles/Pasta and soft drinks at 21% and 20% respectively over the last 10 years. Three telecom radio advertisers, MTN, Airtel and Etisalat, competed interchangeably for the top 3 positions above others during the period under review. As regards growth over time for radio advertisers, Cadbury topped the list of

growing advertisers with 20% with DeUnited Foods and Etisalat following closely with each having 17% CAGR. The Outdoor media spend enjoyed its peak between 2010 and 2011 but declined slightly from N20.5bn in 2014 to N20.1bn in 2015 apparently due to increasing strict government regulations and tariff restrictions. The trend analysis revealed that the OOH maintained its peak patronage in the second and third quarters like the other media. Lagos consistently attracted the bulk of the Outdoor spend while West struggles in the second position with other regions. Among the Top 15 product categories, Communication & Telecoms consistently led the pack beating Lager Beer which began its growth trend in 2010 to second position currently. The top spenders that have shown positive growth over the last 10 years are Dental Care 28%, Cocoa Beverages 25% and Lager (beer) 22%. Globacom competed fiercely with MTN ahead of others to dominate the scene for most of the period. However, it was outstripped by MTN in 2010 and 2013; while Airtel currently strives in a close tie with MTN. With a positive CAGR of 38%, Etisalat topped the list of growing spenders, with Nigerian Breweries and Cadbury following with 37% and 24% respectively. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, mediaReach OMD, Mr. Tolu Ogunkoya, said: “Nigeria’s media is one of the most dynamic in Africa. Each of the 36 states has at least a TV station and one radio. There are hundreds of radio stations and terrestrial TV stations, as well as cable and direct-to-home satellite offerings..





Ikpeazu and the Industrialisation of Abia Wale Suleiman examines the efforts of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State to reposition the state

Ikpeazu Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is not a man given to flattery. It’s far easier for him to find faults than to give credit. And there are good reasons for that. His pessimism about politicians has a lot to do with his experience about the affairs of this country. He knows what politicians are capable of doing, and what they mean and not mean whenever they speak. But when such a man commends you, then someone has better start watching you because you may be on your way to the sky. That was exactly how it must have felt for the Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu when Obasanjo came to commission some of his road projects recently. After inspecting some of Ikpeazu’s signature projects, especially the road construction under his urban renewal programme, Obasanjo was lavish in praise. He called Ikpeazu the “visionary performer” and said his people were lucky to have such a committed chief executive. For those familiar with Abia since Ikpeazu came on board, Obasanjo’s remarks were not flatteries. The man simply spoke the minds of the people. And Obasanjo spoke after seeing and commissioning some of the early projects of the Ikpeazu administration. Not only was Obasanjo impressed by the service delivery ethos of the governor, but the former president saw quality jobs done at the lowest affordable cost to the state. Within a few months of coming into office, he delivered seven quality metropolitan roads, a feat that has never been recorded in the history of the state. While some governors work very hard in their first year in office and go to sleep for the remainder of their tenure, Governor Ikpeazu’s legs have remained on the pedal since his first day in office. He has constructed 47 major roads across the state, but with particular emphasis on Aba, the commercial nerve-centre of the state. Ikpeazu’s economic transformation plan for the state is centred on Aba being an industrial and

commercial hub of not just the state but the entire region. And for a governor with a deep intellectual bent, this is quite understandable. Ikpeazu has repeatedly said every state should know where it has comparative advantage over others and leverage on that. For years, Aba town has fed traders from huge commercial centres like Lagos, Onitsha, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna and several others, giving the town and the state a commercial pedigree that is unrivalled in the region. Building on this advantage and supporting the town with incentives such as infrastructure, security and a pool of trained low and middle technical personnel as Ikpeazu is doing is the fastest way of turning around the economy of the state. The governor introduced a novelty in road construction by insisting on the use of cement technology, otherwise known as rigid pavement technology in road construction. The technology entails casting the road with concrete over a mass of iron before asphalting it. It is an innovative engineering technique aimed at extending the durability of the roads. It is also cost-effective. To fully realise his economic agenda for the state, governor Ikpeazu has also put machinery in motion for the launch of the Abia Industrial Clusters project, which will be kick-started from Aba. Efforts are on to procure the appropriate equipment that can match the standard of technological development needed for the clusters. The aim, as the governor has stated, is to mechanise and automate the process of leathermaking and other artisan works since Abia is a leading state for technological innovation in Nigeria. The Aba Industrial Cluster would involve 40,000 shoemakers, who are capable of producing more than 1000 shoes daily. This will be complemented with the establishment of trade centres for the revival of old professions such as craft works, carpentry, masonry and so on. Supervisors for

the programmes have been brought in from Mexico and the Philippines. The goal is to teach young Abians the rudiments of the old craft works so that the state can produce its household items, instead of the recourse to importation. “To teach such handiwork as carpentry, plumbing, electrical, tiling etc is to help the artisans add some professionalism and education to their trade and we expect that the trade centres will create jobs and empower people with skills,” Governor Ikpeazu said at the launch of the scheme. Unlike most of his colleagues, he believes in the role of the governor as a leader, and not a ruler. His vision for the state is demonstrated through the diverse physical projects of his administration, and more importantly, through the force of personal example-something that cannot be said of many state chief executives. Ikpeazu has been leading the state by showing the way, not by some empty, populist rhetoric. Not only does he patronise Aba-made goods and urges his cabinet to do same. Ikpeazu’s intervention in the education sector is also novel. He chose the occasion of his 51st birthday to launch a scheme to salvage primary education in the state. He launched ‘Friends of Abia Schools Adoption Initiative (FASAI)’ with a focus on mobilising funds from well-meaning Abians to renovate dilapidated primary schools in the 17 local government areas of the state. Ikpeazu urged his friends to give a facelift to dilapidated primary schools to turn around their fortunes and give the pupils a conducive learning environment and a sense of belonging. It was a brilliant initiative at a time of national economic recession for one of the poorest states in the country. When people talk about the Ikpeazu phenomenon, it is this uncommon, patriotic zeal for service delivery and a knack for thinking outside of the box. Any perceptive observer of governance in this country, especially at

the state levels, will agree that these are qualities in short supply. Politicians in the state, used to self-serving criticism of political leaders, have found a way to deny Ikpeazu the credit he truly deserves. They attributed his success to a desire to win the support of the people in view of the challenge to his victory by the opposition All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA. Since the victory of Ikpeazu is still a subject of litigation in the court, professional critics say he is eager to get the people on his side, and that once the case is over and he gets a final victory, he will go to sleep. These are just speculations, perhaps borne out of experience with previous administrations in the state. But the argument is actually in his favour. No matter how much you ingratiate yourself with the people, they cannot save you if the court overturns your election victory. Secondly, when an election victory is being challenged in court, it is a major distraction whether the person is a governor or legislator of local government chairman. Thus, for a governor battling such distraction to be so focused on delivering dividends of good governance, is not only an inspiring story of leadership, but a phenomenal asset for his people.Ikpeazu has found a connection with his people through his vision and the people-centred policies and programmes of his administration. This will explain the outrage felt by people of the state when the Appeal Court overturned his election. His people have keyed in to his vision of growth and their joy will be boundless whenever the Supreme Court affirms him as the duly elected governor of the state. The desperation of the opposition to rubbish his victory and derail the transformation going on in the state is what many hope will fail woefully. If not for anything else, for the sake of the state and its long suffering people. - Suleiman wrote from Lagos





Temporary effects of climate change in Mushin, Lago


Don Proffers Bio-fibre Waste as Source for Alternative Revenue, Wealth in Nigeria Abimbola Akosile Biofibre waste has been identified as a viable source for generating alternative revenue and promoting wealth creation in Nigeria, in a bid to ensure sustainable development in a recessionary economy. Faced with dwindling fortunes of crude oil prices at the global market and the concomitant scarcity of foreign exchange which has affected manufacturing and other industrial developments, the federal government has turned its searchlight on economic diversification with a view to establishing a new revenue earner for the nation. Against this background and other social economic factors the theme of the recent 77th inaugural lecture delivered at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, which was titled, ‘Adding Value to Bio-fibre Wastes: A Lesson from Creation’, was timely and very apt. The lecture, delivered by a renowned scholar and don in the department of Forestry and Wood Technology, FUTA, Prof. Babatunde Ajayi, was intellectually and economically relevant as a panacea to the nation’s current economic debacle. Ajayi, who distinguished himself in the industry before venturing into the world of academics, observed that Nigeria’s richness in agricultural produce should be leveraged upon to attain requisite height in wealth creation. He opined that “the adequate use of agricultural by-products will lead to the reduction in exploitation of dwindling timber resources and forest biodiversity, increase efficiency in wood


resources utilisation, prevention of environmental degradation, alleviation of poverty or wealth creation, mitigation of climate change and increase raw materials base for provision of construction works, as well as affordable building materials for core and low cost houses. The don described bio-fibre wastes as materials considered to be valueless, not priced and of no economic importance or value which are derived from the processing of fibrous materials such as wood, wood climbers, shrubs, bio- composite panel products, any agricultural farm produce and assorted weeds. He posited that manufacturing processes of new products using the numerous bio-fibre wastes prevalent will create opportunities for job creation, new products development, healthier environment,

commerce and sustainable development, and new orientation in industrial movement. Ajayi highlighted benefits of the use of agricultural residues to include: reduced pressure on forest resources biodiversity, increased innovations in products manufacturing, processing and utilisation, poverty alleviation and increase in farmers income, increase in raw materials supplies to construction industries. Increase food production, and develop innovative science and technology in engineering, architectural designs and building mega structures to mention a few. The Professor of Wood Products and Biomaterials Technology lamented that the mismanagement of forest resources has given rise to enormous wood wastes generated in forest and wood industries. This is caused by factors of over exploitation of timber resources without skillful exploitation and harvest techniques, inadequate modern technology in wood wastes management, processing and utilisation, use of obsolete equipment and machinery, high rate of wood products consumption, large quantities of assorted wood wastes generation, encroachment and illegal activities, the high level of poverty in forest communities, and inadequate knowledge of mitigation strategies. The research effort was inspired by the desire to apply simple, innovative and adaptable technologies in manufacturing; predicated on the suitability of raw materials, desire to increase wood resources utilisation, acceptability of the new products in the markets, desire to protect forest biodiversity, the passion to use valueless agricultural byproducts for value

added panels production. On the way forward, he emphasised the need for government and all stakeholders to bridge the technological gap in intensive commercialisation of research products particularly in tertiary institutions rather than inviting other nations to assist Nigeria in industrial development with their indigenous technology which may not be adaptable, adoptable and incongruity to the country’s collective interests. He added that there is a viable technological nucleus to propagate the use of 80-90 per cent of forest resources of Ondo State and Nigeria into numerous value-added panel products capable of sustaining the economy and meeting the deficiency in wood products and bio-fibre composites’ demands in construction industries. He proposed that more advocacy and extension services should be established to motivate public awareness in the production of and use of valueadded panel products, noting that several nations had benefited from his research work through participation, presentation and exhibition at various conferences in North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. The don advocated that research products in Nigerian Universities should be harvested and properly funded through government and public private partnership in raw material sourcing, processing, manufacturing and products utilisation for industrial growth, using local ingenious, innovative and adaptable technology. NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on

Germany Provides Support for Climate Adaptation in Nigeria Kunle Abikoye The Federal Republic of Germany, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs is providing funding support for two workshops on Climate Risk Insurance and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. This is to ensure the transition to a green economy in Nigeria, to be facilitated by a non-governmental organisation, Community Conservation and Development Initiatives (CCDI), in Lagos, according to a release issued by Mrs. Kofo Adeleke of CCDI. In 2015 CCDI organised a project under the Environmental Governance Programme of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Nige-

ria, tagged Finance for Climate Resilience. The project was to generate knowledge on suitable financial tools to be used by the insurance and finance industry to ensure environmentally responsible investments by the private sector and to disseminate information to targeted stakeholders. The aims and objectives included finding out how far banks and insurance companies can include into their corporate strategies environmental sustainability commitments, responsibilities and initiatives that can contribute to climate resilience. A research analysis of sustainability initiatives available to guide the Nigerian financial

sector was undertaken along with other activities with the insurance and banking sector. The study was not able to identify any green insurance products being offered by Nigerian companies. SubSaharan Africa has a small share of the global insurance market but huge potentials and wide ranging opportunities for positive impacts exist. The Bali Action Plan, which was agreed by Parties to the UNFCCC in Bali, Indonesia, 2007 as the basis for developing a new international agreement on climate change, states that adaptation requires consideration of “risk management and risk reduction strategies,

including risk sharing and transfer mechanisms such as insurance”, as well as “disaster reduction strategies”. At a workshop on Climate Risk Insurance, held recently in Ikoyi, Lagos, the German Consul-General in Lagos, HE Ingo Herbert, cited the good relations between Nigeria and Germany, and the willingness of his government to facilitate knowledge sharing in the area of climate change and ancillary sustainable development. In Nigeria, the development of agriculture, forestry and fisheries sits within a system affected both by climate and the political economy, mostly because the farming system is rain-fed. A priority could be

finding ways to develop climate information to improve farming practices. Nigeria can build up its resilience from early warning systems, but equally through development of better crop varieties adaptable to extreme climate variability. The second workshop supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs was on Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in Nigeria. Since becoming a sovereign nation in 1960, Nigeria has acceded to a series of multilateral environmental agreements, with little local commitment to translating conference paper-work and signatures into practicalities on the ground at home. According

to the FAO, Nigeria had the highest rate of deforestation in the world in 2005. The country is presently among the lowest power generation countries in the world, and surprisingly far lower than many African countries, despite a status as one of the world’s largest oil producers. President Buhari’s signing of the Paris Agreement recently, on 22nd September, 2016, and his declaration that the impacts of climate change would be reversed in Nigeria suggest that the nation’s economic growth must henceforth be driven by a suite of policies and governance mechanisms targeted at reducing carbon and ecological footprints.





“The National Assembly is working with the presidency on the budget and the MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper had been presented and the Senate had committed it to the Committees on Finance and National Planning and the committees are working on it. There is no feud between the presidency and the National Assembly. Everybody is doing its job. We have respect and honour for the legislature” - SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT ON NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MATTERS, SENATOR ITA ENANG, SPEAKING ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE 2017 BUDGET

‘20m Nigerians Carry Hepatitis Virus’ Moriam Yusuf

Leave No One Behind in Attaining the SDGs, Experts Urge Govt Abimbola Akosile Experts have called on the Nigerian government to do more to ensure all groups of people are included in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), at the end of a Leave No one Behind (LNB) national dialogue held in Lagos recently. The LNB dialogue, which was attended by 110 experts from 16 States in Nigeria, including representatives from Government, Private Sector, NGOs, Academia, Trade Groups, Media and People with Disability sought to galvanise stakeholders to deliver key commitment of the SDGs to be inclusive and transformative in a way that respects indivisibility, universality and equity. Speaking at the event, National Coordinator of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGOs) Mr. Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, said he was impressed by the level of debate during the meeting, which ended with participants listing several groups of people often left behind, among them women, children, people with disability, aged, people living in rural communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs). “We have learnt the implications of the leave no one behind mantra of the sustainable development goals to the work of all stakeholders in the field of development and human rights. As we make sense of our discussions we will ensure that all your thoughts are well captured and that it shapes the work of the LNB coalition that has been formed from this meeting”, Oyebisi told participants. The one-day meeting hosted by Civicus, Development Initiative, Project Everyone and the NNNGOs identified key elements and

The elderly must not be left behind! issues, based on local as well as international experience that the Nigerian government, along with the private and civil society sector can take in ensuring that no one is left behind. “The developmental challenges the world face knows no religion, nationality, border, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue to fight with determination discrimination in all its forms in accordance with national and international laws, purposes and principles of the UN Charter”, participants agreed in a communiqué issued at the end of the event . “Women, children, people with disability, aged, people living in rural communities and

internally displaced persons are the most left behind in our country and they confront a wide range of developmental challenges that pose direct threats to the lives and the stability of their environment. In response we call on all stakeholders to prioritise this group of people within their strategies, plans, projects and programmes. “Government at all levels bears significant responsibility in this regard. We call on the civil society and private sector to use its considerable influence over the Government to meet their SDGs commitments in full to all population groups without leaving anyone behind”, participants added.

Experts have said about 20 million Nigerians are carriers of the Hepatitis virus and described the disease as a silent killer, adding that eliminating it is capable of increasing economic growth and saving 7.1 million lives by 2030. Senior Research Fellow and Consultant Pediatrician at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. Damien Nwaneri disclosed this at the flag-off of a three-day Hepatitis-B Awareness and Prevention Campaign, organised by Development Africa (DA), which held in Lagos recently. Nwaneri described Hepatitis-B as inflammation of the liver tissues and noted that it carries high morbidity, adding that emphasis should be on prevention because treatment is not always complete. While noting that some per cent of infected persons carry the virus for life, he advised every adult Nigerian to go for testing to ascertain their Hepatitis status, and urged infected persons to go for vaccination. The three-day event was sponsored by Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Sapetro, Petrobras, and CNOOC. DA is a charity and international non-governmental organisation with a mission to build sustainable and accessible solutions to promote healthcare and education. “There are different types of Hepatitis; Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E .Approximately 20 per cent of Nigerians have Hepatitis. There are different types of Hepatitis, Hepatitis-B is an inflammation of the liver tissues and it carries high morbidity rate. “It is advised that all adult Nigerians should go for testing to ascertain their Hepatitis status and to go treatment if infected. However; emphasis should be on awareness and preventive because the treatment is not always complete as some carriers of the virus carry it for life”, Nwaneri, who is also the Senior Medical Consultant to Development Africa stated. The External General Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria, Vincent Nnadi also disclosed that while Hepatitis kills 1.4 million annually, tackling it successfully would boost economic growth and save 1.7 million lives by 2030. “Total is committed to impacting lives of all people of Nigeria. As part of our CSR, we partner governmental, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other relevant agencies and stakeholders to fight Hepatitis-B in Nigeria. This year’s campaign dedicated to creating and increasing awareness and combat Hepatitis infection. “Globally, Hepatitis-B claims the lives of 1.4 million people annually. The Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria also confirmed that 20 million Nigerians are at risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the liver, which are possible complications of Hepatitis-B infection. This therefore explains why our organisation is determined to partner all stakeholders to wipe out the disease from our environment. “Unlike many other illnesses, the solution exists. With the prevalence of highly effective preventive vaccine and treatment available for Hepatitis-B, the elimination of this cancer-causing disease can be achieved. Eliminating viral hepatitis can increase economic growth and save 7.1 million lives by 2030,” Nnadi stated.




Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email:

HIV/AIDS and the Cost of Stigma As Nigeria, today, joins the rest of the world to commemorate World AIDS Day, Martins Ifijeh writes on the pain and frustration of people living with the virus due to stigmatisation and discrimination from the society despite the laws criminalising discrimination against persons afflicted by the disease in the country “Please, don’t use my son’s first or last name in your interview. Try also not to describe him at all so that his school won’t suspect he is living with Human Immuno Virus (HIV), because it took us almost two months after schools resumed in September 2015 before we could secure a school for him in this area.” These were the exact words of the mother of 12-year-old Caleb (not real name), who believed her child and the entire family have had their fair share of stigmatisation and discrimination due to their status as persons living with HIV in Lagos State. She said when Caleb, who is presently in JSS 2 finished his primary school last year, they tried to get him into a good private secondary school within their area, but were at each occasion subjected to medical examinations which gave the schools idea of what he was living with, and then the subsequent rejection. “The two good secondary schools around rejected him because of his status. While one outrightly told us he would not be admitted based on that, the other simply used a subtle tactics by telling us that the slots for the year were filled up, and that was after we were already given list of resumption materials to buy and how much to pay. They even admitted other children after they had told us their slots for the year were occupied.” This led Caleb’s parents to seek for a school where medical examination was not a criteria for admission. However, they have continued to keep his status as a top secret from his current school, believing that if the school eventually finds out he was living with Nigeria’s most feared virus, he may be asked to stop coming to classes. The school scenario is not the only battle the family has had to fight for societal acceptance. They moved from their previous house because, somehow, a neighbour who was a laboratory technician with Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) mistakenly saw the family’s Anti Retroviral Drugs, and then leaked it to other neigbhours in the compound. “We really never felt the pressure of living with the virus since doctors had told us that with the appropriate use of the ARD, myself, my husband and our three children would lead normal lives, but the stigmatisation, the shaming and discrimination from our neigbhours became our greatest torment. In the compound, we quickly became outcasts. “We had to hastily look for another apartment where we currently stay now, and it is outside our former vicinity, because we reasoned that as our neigbhours were increasingly discussing about it, other members of the community might just get to know, which in turn would mean we may not be able to walk around in the area,” she explained. According to her, where they stay now is a different community entirely and no one knows if they are living with HIV or not. “Our children are very much aware of the society we live in, so they know how much they must keep their status as secrets,” she said, adding that, most people who lose their lives or become frustrated due to their status do so chiefly because of how the society view them, not because they believe the drugs won’t sustain them. Caleb’s family is not the only one suffering from stigmatisation and discrimination due to their status. Rasheed, an unemployed graduate of Engineering, who otherwise should have been working in an oil and gas company at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, if not for his HIV status, is experiencing the worst form of discrimination due to the virus. Rasheed was very close to clinching the oil and gas job haven gone through all the phases of interview with good outcomes, but was

remains the ugliest aspect of being a HIV/AIDS patient. It is the main reason many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine their status. It made AIDS a silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace attached to it. For this reason, AIDS epidemic has continued to devastate societies around the world.” While Nigeria and other countries across the globe continue to make progress in the reduction of its incidence level, as well as death rates from the scourge, it is believed that stigmatisation and discrimination are chief factors militating against several interventions, especially from developing countries like Nigeria where stringent measures are not put in place to address the societal nuisance.

Stigmatising PLWHA is a crime

asked to go to a certain hospital, (probably the Health Management Organisation of the firm) for medicals. That was the end. His mates resumed the next Monday, while he never got a favourable response from the company after his results were sent from the hospital, directly to the company. “After over 50 of us had done the written test, about 20 of us were later called back for oral interview. Before I left the airport that day, I was told I passed the oral test and that I should come back the next day for another round of the recruitment process.

There exist an antistigma law criminalising stigmatisation and discrimination of persons living with HIV/AIDS. Persons or organisations caught are ideally meant to face the full rot of the law which could involve imprisonment

“We were only eight that eventually made it to that phase. We were then asked to provide our drivers license, then were taken to an open field, where we were all tried on how to drive bowsers (Big tankers built specifically for fueling aircraft or supplying water). They needed only eight people, and I was told I did well during the test,” Rasheed explained. He said when they were told to report at a certain hospital for medical examination, he feared the worse might happen as all his successes during the recruitment process might just be futile after all. His fear was confirmed as other seven engineers resumed the Monday after, except him. It has been one year six months since the interview. Rasheed is still home looking for another job. This time he is hoping his next recruitment process would not involve undergoing medical examination. “In a country where jobs are scarce, will I ever get a near-close opportunity like the one I got at the airport, not to talk of getting a job that would be better than that?” Rasheed queried. Caleb’s family and Rasheed are just two out of millions of HIV positive Nigerians who are going through the deprivation, torment and societal rejection occasioned by discrimination due to their HIV status. The over four million Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS are at one point or the other going through societal rejection, stigmatisation and discrimination, which experts have continuously stressed was the main killer of people living with HIV in Nigeria, and not the disease itself. The narratives by the two accounts resonate the true picture of a statement made years ago by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, when he said; “Stigma

What the law says about stigmatising people living with HIV/AIDS Shockingly, in an interview with THISDAY, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), Dr. Oluseyi Temowo, said there exist an anti-stigma law criminalising stigmatisation and discrimination of persons living with HIV/AIDS, adding that persons or organisations caught were ideally meant to face the full rot of the law which could involve imprisonment. He said LSACA has carved out a group which goes out daily to interact with persons living with HIV/AIDS and if during the cause of their job they come across persons living with the virus who are being stigmatised or discriminated upon, the agency takes it up to bring offenders to book by prosecuting them. “There is a case recently of a young boy who was thrown out of the house by his step-mother because he is living with HIV. Even though we have provided shelter and other palliatives for him, we have instituted action against the said step-mother for discriminating against him. “Another case is that of a student who after finishing his primary school, was rejected by the secondary school he sorted admission because they eventually discovered he was positively living with HIV. We went to the school, took it up with them, and the principal eventually apologised, while denying that he didn’t know the boy was rejected based on his status,” Temowo said. Way forward While frowning at the low general implementation of the anti-stigma law, Temowo called on Nigerians and persons living with HIV/AIDS to be fully abreast with the consequences of stigmatising people based on their status. While reading the riot act to people still flouting the law, he said, “We need to scale up implementation of the law so that those who are caught and prosecuted will serve as a deterrent to other persons and organisations who are still stigmatising persons living with the virus. “Going forward, I believe the media will be of great assistance in educating Nigerians on the fact that HIV is not a death sentence, and that PLWH can live normal lives, and must not be stigmatised against. They deserved to attend the schools other children attend. They deserved to work and live normal lives,” he stressed. The CEO said HIV/AIDS prevalence was drastically reducing in the country, adding that the last national survey shows in 2014 that Lagos State HIV/AIDS prevalence has dropped to 4.0 per cent. “However, the state has been doing its pockets of survey lately, and the good news is that by our records, the prevalence has further dropped to about two per cent,” Temowo said. He called on Lagosians to do their HIV screening, while engaging in lifestyles that would not put them at risk of the disease.




Rwanda Probes Role of French Officials in Genocide

Rwanda has launched an inquiry into the possible role of at least 20 French military and other officials in the 1994 genocide, the prosecutor general said on Wednesday, a move that will deepen already strained relations with Paris. Rwanda has frequently had diplomaticrows with France since the genocide,

when about 800,000 mostly ethnic minority Tutsis and moderates from the Hutu majority population were killed. Rwandan officials have long accused France of supporting the former government of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu whose death when his plane was shot down in 1994 sparked the bloodbath.

Kigali temporarily broke diplomatic ties in 2006 with France when a French judge called for the trial of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi whose rebels halted the genocide in 1994, over the death of Habyarimana. Kagame denies any role and has accused France of training soldiers who led the massacre. “What we announced is the beginning of an inquiry into the role that some of the French officials could have played in the events that took place here in 1994 in the genocide,”Rwanda’s prosecutor general Richard Muhumuza government prepare to retake the told Reuters. northern port town of Qandala He said the inquiry would from a group that has splintered from al Shabaab and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.  Qandala is about 70 km to the east of Bosasso and has been under the control of Abdiqadir Mumin, a Somali insurgent leader, for about a month. “We are also evaluating the situation and we shall attack the IS as soon as possible,”Jamac Mohamed Khurshe, the mayor of Qandala told Reuters on Tuesday. Hundreds of pro-government militia began moving towards Qandala on Monday. Somalia has been riven by civil war for more than 25 years. Al Shabaab, which has ties to al Qaeda, is fighting the government to impose their own strict version of Islamic law but has lost much of the territory they used to control.  Mumin’s group, which renounced al Shabaab in favour of Islamic State, is not thought to number more than a couple of hundred fighters. It has no publicly known operational links to Islamic State in the Middle East.

Bomb Kills Four Somali Soldiers Islamist insurgents killed four progovernment Somali soldiers and injured 11 others when a roadside bomb destroyed a military pickup in the north of the country on Tuesday, the military said. Al Shabaab claimed  responsibility for the attack in the Galgala hills, an insurgent stronghold about 30 km (20 miles) to the southwest of Bosasso, the largest city in the region. “A roadside bomb destroyed our pickup as we drove from Galgala hills today. We lost four soldiers, including a female soldier, and 11 men from our forces were injured,” Major Mohamed Ibrahim, a military officer in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, told Reuters. Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman told Reuters by telephone: “We completely destroyed the military pickup outside Bosasso - none escaped - all 17 soldiers on board perished.”The insurgency routinely exaggerates the number of casualties killed in its attacks. The deaths come as hundreds of forces allied to the Western-backed

examine the possible role of 20 military and other officials, but he did not name them.“Up to now, we cannot say that we already have something sufficient to make charges on those people. This is why we need to talk to them and hear their version of the story,” he said, adding he hoped those named would agree to be questioned. He said he had been in contact with the French government in the past two or three weeks, but did not give details. French officials had no comment on Wednesday, but referred to remarks made on Nov. 16 by Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, when he

criticised a possible Rwandan probe into French officers. “To affirm that the French army took part in genocide is a despicable lie that I will not tolerate,” the minister said then. In a document dated Oct. 31, Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide listed 22 French officers it accused of having a role in the build-up to and during the genocide, including top advisers to France’s thenpresident, Francois Mitterrand. The commission also said cases being pursued by the French judiciary into whether Kagame’s rebel force had a role in bringing down Habyarimana’s plane in April 1994

were motivated by a desire to mask the role French officials played. “The refusal to end the judicial investigation (into downing the plane) and pronounce a dismissal against Rwandan leaders who ended the genocide is an attempt (at) concealing their responsibilities,” the commission said. Rwanda, a former German and Belgian colony, had strong ties with France until 1994. Under Kagame, the government has forged close lnks with the United States and Britain. In 2009 Rwanda joined the Commonwealth which mostly groups former British colonies. It has also switched the official.

Trump Picks Loyalists DESPERATE MOMENT Korea to Launch Rice Processing Center for Economic Posts in Bida People fight while they assail a truck to try to get food after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti…recently

President-elect Donald Trump yesterday chose a former Goldman Sachs banker and a billionaire investor to steer economic policy in his administration and a fierce Obamacare critic to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare program. Trump, a Republican, is expected to name Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner and Hollywood financier, as his nominee for Treasury secretary, a source said, putting a Wall Street veteran in the top U.S. economic Cabinet post. Mnuchin, who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs before leaving in 2002 to launch a hedge fund, served as Trump’s campaign finance chairman. Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, known for his investments in distressed industries, is expected to be named commerce secretary, a source said. The announcements could come as early as Wednesday. The flurry of picks showed Trump, a real estate tycoon with no governing experience, rewarding loyalists and established Washington veterans as he rounds out his circle of top advisers. Republican U.S. Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon

from Georgia, will be Trump’s health and human services secretary, and SeemaVerma, the founder of a health policy consulting company, will lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is part of Health and Human Services and oversees government  health programsfor the poor and the elderly and insurance standards. Trump also announced his choice of Elaine Chao, labor secretary under President George W. Bush, to serve as secretary of transportation, saying in a statement that her expertise would be an asset“in our mission to rebuild our infrastructure.” While Trump made decisions on his economic team, he continued to mull over who should serve as his top diplomat. He dined with former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a one-time critic, at a French restaurant in New York on Tuesday night. Trump cast Price and Verma as a “dream team” to help him once he takes office on Jan. 20 with his campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare, the health law formally known as theAffordable CareAct.Since its enactment in 2010, it has been a target of Republican attacks.

Says annual trade volume exceeds $4.4bn

Alex Enumah in Abuja As parts of efforts at contributing its quota to the development of Nigeria’s agriculture and the economic development of the country, the Republic of Korea is set to launch a rice processing center in Bida to boost rice production. The gesture is among the numerous assistance that South Korea has been rendering 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 newsmen 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 been an aid recipient country to a donor country by joining the inter-governmental Economic Organization – 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 electronic-Government 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 would 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 companies working in Nigeria’s key business sectors such as oil and gas, electricity, electronics and automobiles he said, “Our annual trade volume exceeded 4.4 billion USD 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.”








Defection: PDP Senators Walk out over Saraki’s Refusal to Declare Omogunwa’s Seat Vacant PDP will cry more, says APC

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja The prevalent peace in the Senate and hitherto cordial relationship between the majority All Progressives Congress (APC) senators and their minority counterparts in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was shattered yesterday when the latter staged a walkout from the plenary. Trouble started when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, read a letter by Senator Yele Omogunwa (Ondo South) announcing his defection form

a personal explanation on any further provoked by the constitutional provisions with become a commissioner or submission of Senator Dino a claim that as lawmakers, special assistant or special given subject. Against this background, Melaye (Kogi West), who cited they must not be seeing to adviser. Senator Dino went further to support our case... Akpabio asked Saraki to Section 68 (g and h) of the be “lawbreakers.” Akpabio insisted that We must protect the sanctity declare the seat of Omogunwa 1999 Constitution (as amended) vacant, insisting that the to explain that Omogunwa’s Omogunwa’s defection was of the chamber,” Akpabio said. Asked if the PDP caucus was only reason allowed by the defection was justifiable in view misplaced because there was no division in the PDP following not suffering from its failure to constitution for defection is a of the division in PDP. But Senator Peter Nwaboshi the decision of the apex court provide virile opposition as had crisis in the party which has polarised the party into two (Delta North) raised another which he said had recognised been done by the opposition point of order, stating that the Makarfi’s caretaker committee in the chamber since 1999, fault lines. According to him, there is intervention of Melaye was as the authentic PDP body and Akpabio claimed that what no leadership crisis any longer a breach of procedure as he hence, their decision to call on was provided then was not in PDP, following a recent further argued that after the Saraki to “do the needful” by opposition but “in-fighting.” Supreme Court judgment Senate President had ruled declaring Omogunwa’s seat According to him, opposition is not about shouting but rather which he said acknowledged Akpabio out of order, it was vacant at the plenary. “We don’s support political about correcting anomalies. the Senator Ahmed Markarfi’s wrong of Melaye to speak on Meanwhile, the APC has rascality. This is not the time caretaker committee as the the same subject matter. Realising that they were to cross-carpet. If you choose said the PDP will continue authentic leadership of the PDP. Hence, he said there was not having the listening ears to cross-carpet, you have to to cry and cry more. This was made in a tweet no division in the party that of the president, the PDP leave your seat. You can’t sit could provide any justification senators therefore opted to there any longer...The reason he on the official twitter handle stage a walk-out after which gave for the defection was not of the APC @APCNigeria for Omogunwa’s defection. The APC also invited But Saraki, not impressed by they briefed the press on the on the basis of division but to go and support the governor- other PDP senators to join the claim of Akpabio, ruled him reason for their action. At the briefing, Akpabio elect, (Rotimi) Akeredolu. The the APC. out of order, an action which “We are calling on other The memo was  titled: further exacerbated the depth said they had opted to stage seat belongs to us. He should ‘Notification of de-secondment of the anger of PDP senators. a walk-out because the action hand over the seat to us and PDP senators to join us in The PDP senators were of Omogunwa was a breach of go there (Ondo State) and the APC” from NTDC. It read: “I refer to the attached letter, Ref. No. SGF.6/S.23/1/568 of 8th October 2013 in respect of your secondment from the Keystone Bank Limited to serve as Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) for a period of two years with effect from  May 6, 2013. “You may note from the foregoing that the period of your secondment at the corporation had since lapsed on  May 5, 2016. “Consequently, you are to handover the affairs of the corporation to the most senior officer on or before Wednesday, November 30, 2016.” Mbanefo was appointed on May 13, 2013 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, following the removal of Olusegun Runsewe, who occupied the seat for about six year. But her tenure was marred by occasional L-R: Former Executive Director, NTA, Mr. Peter Igho; Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief, Sun Newspapers, Mr. Eric Osagie; running disputes with Chairman, Board of Directors, New Telegraph Newspapers, Alhaji Idi Farouk; former Minister of Finance, Dr. Kalu Idika workers of the agency over Kalu; Anambra State Deputy Governor, Mr. Nkem Okeke; and Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief, New Telegraph, Mrs. staff welfare package and Funke Egbemode, at an evening of recognition with Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano. in Lagos…yesterday.  unpaid benefits.

PDP to the APC. Omogunwa who had written the letter before last Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, stated there-in that he was defecting from the PDP to support the governorship candidate of the APC in the just concluded election. This perceived flimsy reason for his defection infuriated the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who immediately raised a point of order, citing Order 43 in Senate Standing Rules, which empowers a senator to make

Buhari Relieves Sally Mbanefo of NTDC DG’s Post Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Mrs. Sally Mbanefo has been sacked as the Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC). Her removal was transmitted via a memo signed on November 27 by the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) , David Babachir Lawal. Mbanefo had on Tuesday presided over her last official engagement, when she addressed tourism stakeholders at the Nigerian Tourism Investment Forum and Exhibition, held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja. The forum was attended by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Ethiopian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Samia Zekaria, among other dignitaries. The theme  of the forum was: “Tourism: A tool for Economic Recovery and Development.” Her disengagement letter which Lawal signed, directed Mbanefo to hand over the running of the corporation to the most senior officer by yesterday.  


Acting BoI Boss Loses Father

James Emejo in Abuja

The acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Waheed Olagunju, has lost his father, Alhaji Sanusi Olagunju, at 85. Pa Olagunju, according to a statement from the family, died on November 27, 2016 after a brief illness. During his lifetime, the deceased was said to be a veteran broadcaster as well as an accomplished public relations practitioner.  Trained with the English and Hausa Services of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London in the mid and late 50s, the senior Olagunju, worked with the defunct Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS)

in Kaduna and the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation(NBC) in Lagos between 1955 and 1965.   He was appointed by Nigeria’s late Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in 1965 as the pioneer Public Relations Officer of the Niger Dams Authority, one of the two precursor institutions of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) that handled the construction of the Kainji Dam between 1964 and 1969. The statement said he retired in 1983 as the Public Relations Manager of the defunct NEPA after working meritoriously for almost three decades in the nation’s public service.  The late Olagunju is survived by seven children and many grand children.

Power Supply Drops Below 3,000MW over Shortage of Gas Ejiofor Alike Power allocation to the 11 distribution companies, which had averaged 4,000 megawatts in recent months has further dropped to below 3,000MW following the inadequate supply of gas to the power stations as a result of the impact of the militant attacks on oil and gas facilities, THISDAY has learnt. THISDAY gathered from the “Daily Hourly Demand Records” obtained from one of the generation companies that actual supply averaged 2,924.51 megawatts last Monday. According to the records, the 11 distribution were allocated 2,984 megawatts for one hour las Monday before the allocation dropped further to 2,921.92MW, which lasted for several hours. It was however learnt that

the actual generation was a bit higher than what was actually allocated to the Discos. Also, the operational report of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) that highlights the “Spotlights on Grid Operations” showed that generation as at 6a.m. yesterday was 2,961.6MW The report showed that on Tuesday, peak generation was 3,421.5MW while the lowest generation was 2,762.9MW, averaging 2,924.51MW. The 2,924.51MW average generation was far below the projected National Peak Demand Forecast of 17,720MW, according to TCN. Currently, the country has installed capacity of 11,165.40MW, but only 7,492.40MW is available. Out of the 7,492.40MW that is available, the TCN has an installed capacity to wheel

7,000MW but the network operational capability is only 5,500MW. Sustained attacks on oil and gas facilities by militants in the Niger Delta have affected the flow of gas to some power plants, leading to a loss of over 2,000MW from the grid. Before the militants resumed attacks on gas pipelines, generation had hit 5,074MW on February 2. The recent attack on the Chevron’s Escravos export pipeline at Escravos offshore by the Niger Delta Avengers, which wiped off about 500MW from the grid was the latest attack that impacted power supply. THISDAY gathered that many power stations are experiencing acute shortage of gas supply with 1,320MW-capacity Egbin Power Station being the worst hit.

It was also learnt that Egbin, which had achieved over 1,000MW before gas supply to the power stations worsened, was generating less than 300MW yesterday, according to TCN. While several units of Egbin - ST3, 4 and 5 were impacted by gas constraints;  Units ST1 and  ST2 had other challenges. Also many other power stations were not producing electricity yesterday as a result of gas shortages and technical challenges. These include: Olorunsogo II, Ibom Power, Afam IV and V, Rivers IPP, Trans-Amadi, and Gbarain Ubie in Bayelsa State. While Olorunsogo’s Units GT1, 2, 3, 4 and ST2 were not generating as a result of gas constraints, Unit ST1 was not producing due to technical issues.




Falana Asks FG to Investigate Alleged Killing of IPOB, Shiite Members Deplores NBA for failing to respond to alleged killing Asks ministers to declare their assets like president, VP

Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka A human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, yesterday asked the federal government to investigate murder of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members and scores of the Shiites who were allegedly killed by the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), lamented the impassive posture of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and any of its 109 branches for failing to condemn crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the army and the police. He made the demand in a

statement by the Secretary to Falana & Falana Chambers, Tayo Soyemi yesterday, calling the President Muhammadu Buhari administration “to set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the killing of IPOB members as well as the scores of Shiites by security agents.” He cited a report the Amnesty International released last week, which he said, revealed that officers of the Nigerian Army “brutally killed 150 members of the IPOB. Unsurprisingly, the army has denied the report.” He buttressed the report of the Amnesty International with a statement the Nigerian Army issued on May 31 in which it said many of own troops sustained varying degrees of injury in the aftermath of the

Shehu Sani Blasts el-Rufai over Suspension from APC You have no shame, party tells senator

The senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has said his suspension by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not increase the “physical height” of the state Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, whom he has identified as the mastermind. Sani had earlier been handed a 11-month suspension that elapsed on Tuesday. In a letter addressed to him, Tudun Wada, secretary of the party in Kaduna, said the earlier suspension was to enable the senator defend himself against allegations levelled against him. Wada said since Sani failed to do so, he had been suspended indefinitely. In his reaction, the lawmaker accused the APC in Kaduna of acting on the orders of el-Rufai. According to The Cable, Sani said: “My ‘indefinite suspension’ by Governor Nasiru el-Rufaicontrolled, self-acclaimed APC excos is as worthless and as useless as the paper it was written upon,” he said in a statement. “I wish to fully assure them the new suspension will not give them the public support they couldn’t gather with the first one. “For a man who has been unable to address the pervasive insecurity and genocide in southern Kaduna, for a man who has been unable to stem the tide of rampant kidnapping and abductions in Kaduna, suspending Sani cannot be counted as an achievement. “Mr. Governor, my suspension will not increase your physical height nor give you the flesh or muscle of a macho.” Sani added that el-Rufai “remains a typical establishment man, who was brought to limelight by the PDP, nurtured by the PDP, and no broom or deodorant of change can give him a new identity.”

He vowed to continue working for the masses and to always defend their interest. However, the state chapter of the APC has described Sani as a man without any “sense of shame.” Salisu Wusono, acting Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, said this in response to Sani’s earlier statement on his suspension. Wusono accused Sani of representing the politics of “fraud and deceit.” “As if determined to prove that he is beyond redemption, Sani penned a pathetic response to his continued suspension from our party that testifies that he is a denizen of the gutter,” he said. “Anyone that harboured any doubt about the morass in his mind and the decadence of his conduct would now have those uncertainties wiped away. Crassness of language is a twin to crass of conduct. “His outburst is a confirmation, that he has no sense of shame. “He is a man full of tantrums, a busker who simultaneously entertains and distresses people with his shameless antics. “He has since lost focus and why he was elected to the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the good people of Kaduna central under the banner of the APC. “He represents fraud, deceit in the name of Nigeria’s masses. We suspended him indefinitely following his various anti-party activities and utterances aimed at tearing the party to pieces. “The masses of Kaduna central have since unravelled his deceit. His heart and mind are in the PDP whose agent he has been in our party. We wonder when he would gather the courage to publicly move to the party he hobnobs with in private.”

fire fight that ensued. He added that the injured troops “are currently receiving treatment at own medical centre. Similarly, five members of IPOB were killed, eight wounded while nine were arrested for due legal actions. The rights lawyer lamented that the armed soldiers, who have engaged in the killings, “have not been charged to any criminal court whatsoever, thereby demanding that the president should constitute a panel of inquiry that would investigate the killing of IPOB members and Shiites. However, he pointed out that the NBA reacted “to the nocturnal raid of the homes of seven judges who were arrested for alleged corrupt practices last month by the Department Statey Services (DSS) operatives.” He said he did not support the harassment of the judges, though did not hesitate in condemning the NBA for

engaging in hypocrisy by limiting the defence of human rights “to the senior members of the legal profession. He also observed that the ruling class “is highly corrupt, but the ruling classes in Western countries are more corrupt,” thus demanding that all ministers and public officials should declare their assets. The rights activist argued that since President Buhari and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, declared their assets, all ministers and public officers “should be made to follow suit.” He noted that it was not sufficient for the president “to deny the allegation that he was receiving double salaries. He should proceed to issue an Executive Order to prohibit ministers and legislators from earning double salaries and allowances because it is illegal and immoral Meanwhile, IPOB has called on their members to accept

whatever the outcome of today’s Abuja Federal High Court judgment is on its leader’s freedom, saying the federal government has already given orders to Justice Binta Nyako on what judgment to give. A statement sent to THISDAY and signed by the media and publicity secratry of IPOB, Emma Powerful, also banned any form of jubilation in the case that its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is released. Powerful said the members of the group will not also protest if the judgment turned against them as doing so will give military personnel already stationed in all parts of the south east to have reason to carry out their plan of killing its members. Part of the release read:, “IPOB is not expecting anything good from Nigeria court because the president of Nigeria, General Buhari has ordered the judiciary

not release i Nnamdi Kanu for any reason in the world. “However, we are not expecting anything positive from the court tomorrow(today), after all Buhari have made it very clear that no court will grant Nnamdi Kanu and others bail and since then the order has been effective.” IPOB said it was surprised that some justices who had in previous judgments granted bail to the freedom fighter have either been tagged corrupt or been posted out of Abuja, so that they will never preside on the matter, while those who gave conflicting judgment on the matter have rather been compensated. It also stated that the newly launched ‘operation Python Dance in the South-east, which saw soldiers taking over the zone was part of the plot to silence Biafrans and ensure that its members were wiped out if they ventured to protest today’s judgment.


R-L: Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole; Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung; and Minister of State Steel and Mining, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari, asat the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Council Chamber Presidential Villa...yesterday STATE HOUSE.

Decomposed Stowaway Found on Arik Plane at Johannesburg Airport Chinedu Eze The decomposing body of about a 30-year-old man was yesterday found in the wheel-well of Arik Air flight, A330-200 at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa. According to statement from the airline, the aircraft operated the scheduled Lagos-Johannesburg flight that departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 3:55p.m. on November 29, 2016 and arrived Johannesburg shortly before 11p.m.  Arik said it was engineers of South African Airways

Technical facility at the airport where the aircraft was scheduled for a routine maintenance check that discovered the body of the stowaway during inspection. THISDAY authoritatively learnt that the body had decomposed to a third degree before it was discovered and inside source disclosed that the deceased might have hidden himself in the aircraft on Sunday when the aircraft departed from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to JFK Airport in New York and died of cold when the aircraft gained altitude to a freezing level. “So the body might have

been there for about four days because the aircraft returned from the US on Tuesday morning and departed to Johannesburg in the afternoon. So for the fact the body has already decomposed shows that it had been there for days. The aircraft was on ground for five to six hours before it left for South Africa, so the deceased died on Sunday,” an insider told THISDAY. The South African police, report disclosed, had already taken hold of the body for investigation to know how the body boarded the aircraft. It was when the aircraft taxied to a maintenance facility

for A Check, expected to last for 48 hours that the body was discovered by engineers who had already started stripping the aircraft for maintenance. This is the third time dead stowaway would be found in Arik aircraft. Industry observers attribute the easy access to the aircraft in the tarmac of any of the nation’s airports to laxity in the security apparatus and urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to sensitise the public that nobody survives in aircraft wheel-well.




UNICEF: Nigeria Has World’s Highest Number of Child Brides Kasim Sumaina in Abuja The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that Nigeria has the world’s highest number of child brides with 49 per cent of Nigerian women married under the age

of 18, according to latest figures. UNICEF stated that early marriage and childbirth can be extremely harmful for girls. It added that girls under 18 are more likely to suffer from fistula, to die in childbirth and to give birth to stillborn babies.

NAAPE Grounds Operations of Bristow Helicopters Chinedu Eze The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, (NAAPE) has grounded the operations of Bristow Helicopters in Nigeria. The National President of the association, Balami Isaac, who confirmed the closure of the rotary wing giant yesterday, said: “Their operations are currently grounded and nothing will be happening there today.” Bristow in a statement confirmed the grounding of the company’s operations but noted that the action related to a dispute between Bristow and NAAPE about the release of national pilots and engineers previously employed by Bristow. “This matter is currently the subject of a mediation led by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment between NAAPE and Bristow. In disregard of the ongoing mediation process, NAAPE has decided to commence this action,” Bristow said. A letter addressed to the state Controller of Labour, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Lagos State Office and signed by the association’s General Secretary, Ocheme Aba, stated that labour closed down the Bristow Helicopters for allegedly not complying with expatriate quota law inthe Nigerian oil and gas industry content development. NAAPE added that Bristow‘s declaration of 13 Nigerian engineers and 10 pilots redundant is totally unjustifiable

because the current Nigerian expatriate ration grossly in contravention of Nigeria laws governing quota and local content. NAAPE stated that the redundancy exercise in contention was Bristow’s management angry reaction to the association’s successful struggle to establish pay parity between the expatriate and nationals, adding that the exercise was targeted at victimising the branch for its roles in the union’s activities that brought about the pay parity. But Bristow noted that NAAPE’s action was coming at a time when the global oil and gas industry is facing severe challenges and the Nigerian economy is undergoing serious disruptions with a number of clients reducing aviation logistics support services in the country. “As a result of our clients’ reduced operations and demand for aviation services, Bristow has reduced the number of its workforce. It has reduced the number of its expatriate pilots and engineers in Nigeria. We have also reached an amicable agreement with the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) representing our Junior and Senior staff. Over the downturn in the industry (12-18 months), Bristow has released 118 expatriates (pilots and engineers) and 21 Nigerian nationals (pilots and engineers),” Bristow said.

Fire Razes Lagos CJ’s Chambers There was pandemonium yesterday at the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere as fire gutted the chambers of the Chief Judge, Justice Funmilayo Atilade. The CJ’s courtroom which is on the top floor of the old building, was razed by fire at about 8.15a.m. following a spark from one of the air-conditioning unit in the chambers. An unconfirmed report said the fire started when one of the cleaners switched on the faulty air-conditioner and left the courtroom. But another report said the fire was noticed by a security woman popularly called Alhaja who raised the alarm. The security woman was said to have been hurriedly taken to the hospital as a result

of the smoke she allegedly inhaled before the arrival of the firefighters. The courtroom which is hardly used by the Chief Judge, is reserved for her anytime she comes to the Lagos division of the court. The entire building was saved from being razed down following a quick intervention of the state fire service which prevented the fire from spreading to other courtrooms. However, it took the firefighter about one hour to put off the fire a result of heavy smoke emitting from the court room. Although the fire was quickly put out by the fire fighters, the inferno disrupted activities as litigants were evacuated from the premises and the gates locked.

Children born to child mothers are more likely to suffer from stunting and wasting. This was disclosed on Tuesday by UNICEF Country Representative on behalf of the United Nations in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, at the official launch of the nation-wide campaign to end child marriage at a ceremony in Abuja making Nigeria the 16th country to join the African Union. According to Fall, “With 49 per cent of Nigerian women married under the age of 18, according to latest figures from 2013, Nigeria has the world’s highest number of child brides.” He stated that the campaign launched is a call to action. “It is an attempt to save the lives of adolescent girls pressed into marriage too early, many

of whom become pregnant and are at a higher risk of complications in pregnancy or childbirth. “These complications are a leading cause of death among adolescents girls in countries like Nigeria; a cause of death that is unnecessary and unacceptable,” he added. Speaking in similar vein, Minister of Women and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Jummai Alhassan, said that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, together with partners UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF and Save the Children, developed the campaign in line with the Sustainable Development Goals that Nigeria has committed to achieve by 2030.

She added that one of the targets in these goals calls for the elimination of all forms of harmful practices, including child marriage. Mumbai explained that, child marriage threatens girls’ lives and health, and it limits their full potential. “This event, held during the globally-marked 16 days of Activism against Gender-based violence, is an attempt to provide a better future for our girls”. According to her, “Child marriage varies with a girl’s education and the economic status of her family. Adolescent girls with no education tend to marry at an average of about 15 years, while age of marriage increase to 18 for girls with primary education. “Average age of marriage

for women with secondary education rises to about 21, when women are physically and emotionally better equipped for marriage and childbirth. Likewise, girls from the poorest households on average marry at age of 15, while girls from the wealthiest households marry at an average age of 23. She however hinted that the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development launched the national strategy to end child marriage, developed as a guideline to raise awareness about and address the harmful impact of child marriage. The report advocates for policies and actions that protect girls’ human rights and remove barriers to law enforcement.


Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Guest Speaker, Mr. Tony Elumelu, delivering a speech at the international investment conference tagged: ‘Tunisia 2020,’ organised by the Tunisian Government in Tunis, Tunisi....Tuesday. With him are President of Tunisian Parliament, Mr. Mohammed Nidaa Tounes(right); President of Tunisia, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi

Rampaging Enugu Youths Demand Defreezing of Patience Jonathan’s Accounts Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu Business activities were temporarily halted within Enugu metropolis yesterday as hundreds of youths took over the streets to protest the ongoing probe of immediate past First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) culminating in the freezing of accounts linked to her. Led by their coordinator, Victor Ezenagu, the youths who operated under the aegis of Concerned Igbo Youths (CIY), claimed that the probe of Mrs. Jonathan’s accounts was a prelude to the eventual probe of former President Goodluck Jonathan, alleging that the present administration was determined to humiliate the former president “at all cost. While declaring that they were not opposed to the fight against corruption, the youths however insisted that any action not done within the ambits of the law would be vehemently opposed by them. After marching through major streets within the capital city, the rampaging youths later moved to

the South-east Zonal Office of the EFCC located in Enugu where they submitted a petition to the Zonal Head of the commission, Mr. Johnson Babalola. In the petition titled: ‘Unjust Prosecution and Desperate Plan to Humiliate Former President Goodluck Jonathan,’ the groups demanded un-freezing of Jonathan’s account. “While we salute the commitment of the present administration towards fighting corruption in the country, we, however, express our disaffection to the manner the war is being prosecuted by the commission under your watch. Some of the actions of the commission in recent time leaves no one in doubt that certain persons have clearly being singled out to be humiliated. “A case in point is that of Mrs Jonathan, who is currently being prosecuted by the EFCC. We see the freezing of her personal account and on-going prosecution as an attempt to discredit former President Jonathan. “It is quite condemnable that having sacrificed his ambition for the sake of Nigeria’s future,

Jonathan’s family is being visited with such cruelty from the commission. We say this because Mrs. Jonathan is not the first person to have occupied the office of first lady in Nigeria. Yet, none of the other former occupants of that office is under probe, let alone trial. “Following from the above, it is also not out of place to state that the current administration is indirectly prosecuting and persecuting Jonathan. But to unleash such an action on a man who willingly conceded defeat, even when he was being urged to fight on, has grave implications,” the petition read in part. The group further noted that while they were not against the anti-graft war, “it should be done within the ambit of the law. It is not proper for the anti-graft agency to unleash itself on the family of former president Jonathan and freeze their account over mere allegations. “We are sending a clear message that this unjust persecution, under whatever guise, will not be tolerated against a family that sacrificed so much for this country.

“We demand that the right thing should be done to avoid creating unnecessary tension in the Southern region over this situation. “Already some militant groups have been placing this as one of their key demands. As such, we believe that the commission would do the needful and stop this seeming well orchestrated campaign against Jonathan. “May we also state that this idea of always treating Ndigbo as second fiddle should stop. Mrs. Jonathan is our own and we are not ready to allow her being dragged to the mud just for coming from this part of the world. It is very clear that she is being victimized simply because she is one of us. “The Igbo youths are, therefore, demanding that every action against her should be suspended as we are ready to take this mass action higher if our demands are not met. We say unequivocally that ‘Enough is Enough’. Babalola in his response said the matter was already before the court and charged the youths to redirect their protest to the appropriate quarters.




Lagos Plans to Generate 3,000 Megawatts off Grid Ugo Aliogo The Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, has expressed the commitment

of the Lagos State Government to generate 3,000 megawatts off the grid, stating that they are working with regulators and stakeholders in the power sector to actualise this vision

Dasuki: Group Urges FG to Obey Court Orders, Seeks Release of Former NSA Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto

is no law or counter order so far that justifies his current A group, Media Forum for detention,” he said. Development, yesterday called He maintained that Dasuki on the federal government to served the nation with best obey court orders by releasing of intentions and ensured the former National Security procurement of arms and Adviser,  Col. Sambo Dasuki ammunition as approved (rtd). by the immediate past Addressing journalists administration. in Sokoto yesterday,  its El-Kurebe posited that Protem National Coordinator,  Dasuki ensured the recovery of Abdallah El-Kurebe,  said the more than 24 towns from Boko call became necessary as three Haram before May 2015 and courts in Abuja including the ensured maximum training of ECOWAS Court had ordered the troops including late Lt. Col.  his release. Abu Ali,  who manned some He maintained that the of the armoured cars acquired forum was in support of during the past administration.  President Muhammad Buhari’s He therefore,  urged the fight against corruption but in federal government to deploy doing so,  rule of law should rule of law as an ingredient for be observed by the three arms democracy. of government.  “While the Forum is not According to him,  no nation against the trial of any Nigerian develops in the absence of including Dasuki,  the rule rule of law in which case its of law should be seen to be laws and judicial structures are observed in all ramification.  No respected devoid of impunity. meaningful development takes “While we are not in any place without commitment to position to exonerate Dasuki the rule of law. of any allegation against him, “The judiciary should be our belief in the judicial allowed to exercise its powers system and the rule of law without undue interference by has forced us to call on the the executive arm of government. federal government to obey It is only by doing so that the court orders in respect of his country will be respected in the release. international arena,” El-Kurebe “To our knowledge,  there added.  

and ensure that they provide sufficient energy for Lagosians. Oluwo who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos at the Price Water Cooper (PWC) annual power and utilities roundtable, noted that the administration is highly focused on ensuring that between the next five to seven years, the state would be in a position to generate enough power for Lagosians without depending on Niger-Delta gas. He explained that in actualising the 3,000 megawatts, they are looking at bringing the conventional fossil fuel energy, while also focusing on renewable energy, “but not all the renewable particularly for solar, because we don’t have the space for extensive solar installation. Therefore we must go for those that will optimise the land size that we have.” Oluwo stated that they are also considering the wind option with the embed power plants, adding that the regulators are aware that the pricing available for power is not cost reflective, therefore they may be willing to increase the tariff at this time,

however they have to accept the willing buyer and seller option. In his remarks, the Chief Financial Officer, Ikeja Electric, Mr. Aigbe Olotu, stated that embed power is required, because of the current energy deficit the country is facing, stressing that in the citing of the power plant, measures must be taken to ensure that they are at close proximity to the potential users of that energy, and avoid transmission losses. He further stated that with reference to metering, most Distribution Companies (Discos) have a three to five year plan to cover the existing metering gap of their customer base, adding that what this implies is that during the period they have offered to meter their customers, “the implication is that some persons will not be metered until the end of the programme, so such customers will remain on estimated billing.” He added: “Most Discos are ready because they have the distribution capacity that are quite in excess of the amount

of power they get from the national grid, so they already have the installed capacity to generate any amount of power that is provided by embed power generators. “Embed power generation is not the long term solution to deal with the power deficit particularly, in urban environment such as Lagos. Embed power generation can only be required for remote location that cannot be effectively served from the grid. “In Lagos, presently, whatever power generation that the grid can provide will depend on two factors: The location and the potential customers, because they have to identify the clusters of the areas where embed power plan can be located and they can be transmitted comfortably to the ultimate consumers. “Though we have a metering programme, but it is not a plan that allows all customers to be metered the same day, customers will be metered over a period of time. So during that

period, customers that are yet to be metered, will be billed based on estimated technology as recommended by NEC. “There are different models in dealing with the funding gaps that are been considered, it is not shifting the funding responsibility to customers, but trying to create a model that will bring about a win-win situation for both the Discos and the consumers. The ultimatum solution is one which will allow a willing customer to decide to invest in buying his own computer and refund at a reasonable interest rate will be made to him through energy discounts over time. “But it is for willing customers, if that happens it will accelerate the rate of metering which the distribution companies will focus on customers who are unwilling or unable to fund the immediate supply of their metering. Most of the discos have a metering plan, the network can be structured into different blocks, and there is an existing timetable for each block to be metered.”

School Registrar Agrees to Divorce, Says Half Salary ROYAL VISITORS L-R: Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II; Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, and Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Affecting His Family Victor Kiladejo,during a visit by the Emir to the governor’s office in Akure...yesterday

Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo

A Customary court sitting in Iwara-Ijesa, Osun State has dissolved a marriage of 15 years as the husband declared that half salary that the government is paying was responsible for poor performance in his marriage life. The applicant, Mrs. Oluitan Folashade, had approached the court for divorce, saying her husband, Oluitan Abraham Adelusi, had neglected her for almost four years. The applicant alleged that they were frequently fighting and there was lack of care on the part of her husband, urging the court to desperate them. She said her husband had been staying with his first wife, neglecting her and their 13 and 9-year-old children. She explained that her husband had also refused to pay her dowry because she moved into his house without legal marriage. When Adelusi was asked if he would agree to the divorce,

he explained that he had been discharging his duty until 2015 when the government started paying half salary. Adelusi who said he is a Senior Registrar in one of the state’s institutions, noted that he had never attempted to beat his wife since they met in the last 15 years. He, however, urged the court to separate them, noting that his wife was obviously tired of the marriage. The president of the court, O. K. Sulaeman, asked Adelusi if he still loves his children and how much would he afford to give them. However, Adelusi agreed to be paying N10,000 every month till the economy improves and the government begins to pay full salary. The court thereby dissolved the marriage, saying the two children should be in custody of the applicant while the respondent ensures the payment of N10,000 every month for the maintenance of the children.

Okun Leaders Vow to Resist Forces of Division among Their People Leaders of the Okun people in the six Yoruba-speaking local government areas in Kogi State rose from their first national summit in Kabba with a resolve to henceforth resist political, religious and other mechanisms fashioned to create divisions among their people. In a 21-point communiqué issued at the end of the three day summit organised by the Okun Development Initiative (ODI) in collaboration with the Okun Development Association (ODA), the leaders said the unity of their people was not negotiable and pledged to work together to check the exploitation of the divisions among them by external forces to deny the people of their rights. They also called on voters in the area to insist on the best leadership qualities among those seeking election into office to

ensure that such persons, when they assume office would truly serve Okun people and promote the ethics and values that reflected their heritage. Politics in Okunland, they stressed, must enhance growth and development as well as be in furtherance of their values, hopes and aspirations. The Okun leaders said leadership should emerge through the people’s free choice as against being driven by the personal ambition of political actors and enjoined leaders to subject themselves to the counsel and decisions of the people in pursuing their political aspirations. The communiqué decried the erosion of the age-long respect for age and traditional authority among the youths and called for urgent cultural re-orientation among the people to restore the

lost values and norms of the people. The leaders called for the articulation of a well thought out Integration and Development Agenda for Okunland (IDAFO) and directed that a high-powered committee be set up immediately to develop the blueprint of the agenda. They also called for the establishment of an Okun Educational Endowment Foundation to promote the educational advancement of Okunland and appealed to the state government to relocate the College of Medicine of the Kogi State University to the area in line with the multi-campus system proposed for the institution by the government. On the serious security challenges facing the area, the communiqué called for the strengthening of community

policing and neighbourhood watch capacity in Okunland as well as the establishment of an Okun Neighbourhood Watch Organisation (ONWO) in all the communities to support the police and the other security agencies. It also called for the convening of the Okun National Congress next month to elect new executives to run the affairs of the Okun Development Association (ODA). To hasten the realisation of the potential of women and youths in the area, the communiqué said the leaders had resolved to encourage the establishment of information and communication technology (ICT) solution centres across Okunland in order to build an army of skilled women and youths determined to face the challenges of the 21st century and to also curb poverty and unemployment.




N’Delta Youth Leaders Meet in Bayelsa, Demand Setting up of FG Negotiating Team Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa Several youth leaders from the Niger Delta yesterday met in Bayelsa State, demanding the immediate setting up of a federal governments team to negotiate with leaders from the region on the 16-point demand presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Pan-Niger Delta Forum on November 1. The youth presidents from most of the ethnic nationalities in the region wondered why a

month after the meeting of the region’s elders and leaders with the president, not a word has come from the presidency on what it intended to do with the request, going forward. Led by Mr. Udengs Eradiri, President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Worldwide (IYC), the youths also called on President Buhari to muster the political will to deal with the crisis, which they argued had claimed several casualties in the region. In a communiqué released

AAA Initiative Brings Agriculture to the Forefront of Climate Negotiations at COP22 Crusoe Osagie Discussions around the provisions of the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) to Climate Change Initiative was the focal point of discussions at the ongoing 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) hold in Marrakech, Morocco. Pitched as a major challenge for the COP22, agriculture was for the first time in the history of the COP brought to the forefront of climate discussions. This session of the conference had visitors and participants discover the Initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture to climate change (AAA) in a dedicated exhibition space, and immerse themselves in a reality that is already under way, through the agricultural projects supported by the initiative. A coalition of 27 African countries at a meeting held in September 2016 adopted and gave their backing and commitment to placing the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) at the heart of COP22 negotiations by adopting the AAA Initiative Marrakesh Declaration. Launched in April 2016, the triple A initiative declaration (Adaptation for African Agriculture Initiative) seeks to reduce Africa’s agriculture vulnerability to climate change. The initiative which was launched in Morocco aims at promoting and fostering the implementation of concrete projects that will help improve land and agricultural water management, food security as well as the management of the effects of climate change on

agriculture and food production. The initiative seeks to consciously place the Adaptation of the African Agriculture at the center of all debates and negotiations on climate and to obtain a substantial part of the climate funds for Africa. COP22 is the 22nd session of The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1994, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Conference of the Parties (COP) was designated as the supreme governing body of the Convention. By virtue of this Convention, all the Parties have common but differentiated responsibilities. In addition, they take into account the specific nature of their national and regional development priorities, goals and circumstances. Confirming the continent’s commitment to pushing through the initiative, His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco stated that, “Africa, long neglected, can no longer be ignored. On his part, the President of the Scientific Committee of the AAA, Mohamed Badraoui noted that, “At the space dedicated to the AAA Initiative, visitors can discover the challenges of the Adaptation of African Agriculture and the projects supported by the initiative through an immersive, pedagogical journey. During COP22, the general public can give form to its support for the initiative through a digital campaign using #WEAAARE on social media. 

Harvest of Goodnews of Total Restoration The Assemblies of God Church, Gbagada (Kings Parish) of the Bariga Section of the Mainland District, will on December 4, 2016 hold her 2016 annual harvest thanksgiving service. In a statement signed by the Chairman, Harvest/ Thanksgiving Committee, Dr. Nzeribe Okegbue and the Secretary of the committee, Bro. Kelvin Omoke, respectively stated that the special service with a theme; ‘Harvest of Goodnews of Total Restoration,’

will hold at the church premises at No. 9 Ora-Ekpen Crescent, Roundabout Bus Stop, Gbagada, Lagos State by 8a.m. prompt. Quoting Psalms 92: 1, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to the Most High,” the thanksgiving/ harvest committee has urged the members and the general public to avail themselves the opportunity to be part of the unique service that will be conducted by the host pastor, Rev. Connel Idem.

after the meeting which held at the Ijaw House, Yenagoa, the youth leaders urged the federal government to activate the sea ports in the region, resolve all the legal issues surrounding the Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State and release funding for all interventionist agencies in the region. Aside Eradiri, who presided over the deliberations, some other youth leaders present were Mr. Anthony Ovie,  President General, Urhobo Progress Union Youth wing;  Esimaje Awani, President,  Itsekiri National Youth Council; Terry Obieh, Urhobo Youth Council President and  Eric Oluwole, Yoruba Youth Council. Others were Capt Bassey Henshaw , Efik National Youth President; Matthew Dighi, National Youth Council of Ogoni People; Okoduwa Aluya, National President, Edo Youth leaders Council, Imoh Okiko, Ibibio Youth Council and Benjamin Onwubolu, Ndokwa

National Youth President. Also present were Okey Churchill, President Ikwere Youth Council, Damige Harry (Kalabari Youth Foundation, among others. Eradiri, who read the communique on behalf of his colleagues, further called on the federal government to immediately halt the invasion of the Niger Delta by the military. “Today, we are meeting because of issues that border on the welfare of the Niger Delta people. Uppermost is the political dimension to what is happening in the region, which led us to an eight point agenda. “Arising from the meeting on the first of November between the federal government and Niger Delta leaders, we urge the federal government to quickly set up its negotiating team to quickly resolve the crisis in the region. “The whole world is waiting for the President to do the needful. As it stands, the knife and the yam are with

the federal government and we urge President Buhari to cut the yam accordingly. Let him set up the team so that the crisis can be resolved,” the youth leaders resolved. They added:, “We urge the President to stop the invasion of Niger Delta communities. There are better ways of resolving criminal activities in the region. The intelligence apparatus has even recorded more success than the military that has been invading communities. “If you find out, the casualties in Delta State, they are women, children and the very old, but above it all, the political will and approach of government will better resolve these issues.” Eradiri said the conference also, “ resolved that government should quickly resolve all the legal issues surrounding the maritime university so that we can stop excuses of youths vandalising facilities on the excuse that it is because of the issues over the school,” The youth leaders also berated

governors from the Niger Delta for not doing enough to lift the people of the region out of poverty, noting that there was currently no plan for the youths by the governors. According to the leaders, “The condition in the Niger Delta is getting out of hand. Our youths are unemployed,” adding that “It is time for the governors to show leadership: economic, political and in terms of development so that we start from there.” They called for the revamping of the Export Processing Zone in Delta, the Brass Fertiliser Project in Bayelsa, the Bonny train seven project in Rivers and the Quantum project in Akwa Ibom State. “Seaports in the Niger Delta must be activated. Ports in the Niger Delta are fallow and there are over 5,000 vessels waiting for berthing in Lagos. If a vessel gets to a port thousands of jobs are created,” the youths argued.


R-L: Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); and Chairman, Board of Tristate Heart Foundation, Chief Bisi Akande, during the first annual black tie gala and fundraising for cardiovascular care in Nigeria by Tristate Heart Foundation in Lagos...Tuesday

PDP Chieftains Raise the Alarm over Composition of Edo Election Tribunal Ogeheneuwvede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

According to the statement, ‘’Information at our disposal indicates that Justice As the Edo State Governorship Adesodun was given clear Election Petitions Tribunal instruction by Kayode Fayemi begins its full sitting in to see to the dismissal of Benin City, some chieftains the all petitions against the of the Peoples Democratic election of Governor Godwin Party (PDP) have alleged that Obaseki.’’ one of the tribunal members, “Justice Adesodun was part Justice Emmanuel Adesodun, of the Anambra State National was included in the tribunal Assembly Elections petition by a serving minister from tribunal last year, prompting the South-west geo-political questions as to the rationale zone to help ‘“sustain the behind his inclusion in the fraud perpetrated’’ during Edo State Tribunal in spite of the governorship election the directive of the immediate in the state. past Chief Justice of Nigeria In a statement signed by (CJN), Justice Mahmud Jacob Aliyu, on behalf of Mohammed, that all judges ‘Concerned Leaders of PDP that participated in election in Edo State and released tribunal should give room in Abuja yesterday, he said for others who have never Justice Adesodun was been nominated for such allegedly nominated into assignment, and prevent them the tribunal at the instance from being manipulated.’’ of the minister. The PDP chieftains added

that the CJN position then was because some judges were discovered to have lobbied to be included in election tribunals so as to execute their pay-masters job. They said question is also being raised as to the propriety of Justice Adesodun’s inclusion in the tribunal since it was the Vice Chancellor of Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Professor Kayode Soremekun that served as INEC Returning officer in the election. The statement added, “How can the INEC Returning Officer come from an Ekiti State based university and one of the three members of the Tribunal will also come from Ekiti State? “Even if a judge must be nominated from Ekiti State to be part of the tribunal, is Justice Adesodun, who joined

the bench in 2012, the only judge from Ekiti, such that he will take part in two election tribunals within 15 months? “Definitely, he is part of the Edo tribunal to do Fayemi’s hatchet job and if the interest of justice must be served, he should be excused from the tribunal forthwith.” The statement recalled that in March, 2012, when Dr. Kayode Fayemi was the governor of Ekiti State, the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended Adesodun, Bamidele Omotoso and Kayode Ogundana for appointment as a judge, but Fayemi only sworn in Adesodun. It added that it took pressure from critical stakeholders for Ogundana to be sworn in later while Omotoso was sworn in by Governor Ayo Fayose.




Appeal Court Orders Retrial of Lagos Ex-Speaker, Ikuforiji Davidson Iriekpen The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal has set aside the ruling of a Federal High Court that cleared a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his Personal Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi of allegations of money laundering. The appellate court in a unanimous judgment set aside the verdict of the trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, holding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had established a prima facie case against the former Speaker to require him to enter a defence to the charge brought against him.

The court, in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Biobela Georgewill, also ordered that the trial should start afresh before another judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos other than Justice Buba in the light of the far-reaching findings already made by him. Other members of the three-man panel are: Justice Side Dauda Bage and Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu. Justice Buba on September 26, 2014, discharged Ikuforiji, Atoyebi of a 56 count charge of conspiracy and laundering the sum of N500 million belonging to the assembly, offences which according to the EFCC, contravened sections 15 (1d) and

Female Corps Member Bleeds to Death in Bayelsa

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Miss Chiyerum Elechi, a newly deployed female member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has died at the orientation camp in Kaiama, Kolokuma-Opokoma, Bayelsa State, after bleeding profusely from her orifices. The deceased was confirmed dead in a hospital in Yenagoa yesterday after she reported to the camp with an ailment that made her to bleed and vomit blood from the openings in her body. Miss Elechi, 27, who hailed from Rivers State and studied at the Ignatius Azuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was reportedly found vomiting at her lodge after arriving the camp sick and could not participate in most activities lined up for the day’s session of the orientation. Some NYSC officials who spoke in confidence, described the incident as a case of nondisclosure of an ailment by the corps member as a  search carried out on her hostel showed sanitary pads and her dresses

soaked in blood. A source at the camp said the corps member was found vomiting and bleeding and was immediately rushed to the camp’s clinic, where the doctors said her case was too severe to be treated there. “She was driven to a hospital in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. Unfortunately before getting to the hospital she died. She was only five days old at the camp. “The news of her death shocked everybody. We have not recovered from it because it is painful to die that way after going through higher institutions,” the source said. “The doctor at the NYSC camp clinic had immediately referred her to the State owned Diette-Koki Memorial Hospital in Opolo area of the state capital where she was confirmed dead,” it added. The state Coordinator, NYSC, Anthony Ekeocha, confirmed the incident describing it as unfortunate. He advised corps members to always disclose their health conditions to authorities at the camp.

Electricity Transformer Vandal Electrocuted in Kano Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano A 35-year-old man identified as Jamilu Adamu, was yesterday electrocuted at Kawon Maigari, Hotoro Area in Kano, while trying to vandalise a fenced public transformer. In a statement by the spokesperson of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), Mohammed Kandi, and made available to THISDAY in Kano, he said the deceased was found dead with some tools including sizes 17 and 20 ring and flat spanner in his possession. Kandi also quoted the firm’s Head of Health Safety and Environment (HSE), Aminu Abubakar, as saying, “At the time the police evacuated the corpse, one of the HV Bushings

of the transformer was loosened from the base, indicating the intention to vandalise the transformer by removing the bushings, and possibly the armoured cable as well.” According to Abubakar, “Judging by the whitish burn on his palm and a huge open gash on his left arm, it is highly likely that power was restored while he was operating, resulting in electric shock, and the ceramic insulator of the bushing shattering to cause the wound on his arm.” However, an eyewitness account disclosed that the deceased was seen loitering around the substation area three days earlier, saying “when he was approached, he told residents that he was there to visit his relative.”

16(1d) of Money Laundry Act, MLA, 2004 and 2011. The judge, who discharged the Speaker and Atoyebi, while ruling on a no-case submission filed by the duo, held that the EFCC failed to establish a primafacie case against the accused persons and also failed to prove any of the ingredients of the crime of money laundering. But dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC through its counsel, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), in the notice of appeal dated September 30, 2014 asked the Court of Appeal to hold that Justice Buba erred in law, when he held and concluded that counts 2-48 are incompetent, because they were filed pursuant to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 which said law was repealed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

The EFCC further argued that the lower court erred in law, when it held that the provision of Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and 2011 only applies to natural persons and corporate bodies other than government; like the office of the Speaker of the state assembly. The commission also submitted that the trial judge erred in law when it held and concluded that the case of the prosecution witnesses supported the innocence of the respondent. Justice Georgewill in his lead judgment held that the offences created by Section 1 of the MLA 2004 and 2011 respectively are strict liability offences and that their proof does not depend on the approval and purposes the money was used for, once the amount is above the threshold amount and was not paid or

received through a financial institution either by an individual or a body corporate. He said: “Regrettably, the court below went on a voyage of its own, discussing cash payment of million made to the Super Eagles in Brazil, even without any scintilla of evidence before it, instead of remaining focused on the issue at hand. “Does the fact that all persons likely to have committed a particular alleged offence had not been prosecuted a reason for the court to decline jurisdiction of one of them being prosecuted? Certainly not. “I consider many of the issues raised so randomly by the court below as irrelevant and inconsequential to the just determination of the question before it, which is, whether the appellant made out a prima facie case against the respondents or

not. “Very worrisome to me, is the attitude of the court below, considering between the decision of this court and its own decision on which one to follow, even when its attention was called to the decision of this court. “I find this attitude quite bizarre and not in sync with judicial attitude toward the time honoured doctrine of stare decisis. It is pure rascality, impertinence and disregard for judicial hierarchy in this country. “In the light of my finding above, I have no difficulty resolving the sole issue for determination in the negative against the respondents in favour of the appellant and I hold firmly therefore, that the appeal has merit and ought to be allowed . The ruling of the lower court is hereby set aside,” Justice Georgewill held.


L-R: Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi; Minority Whip, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha; Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio; and Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Phillip Aduda, addressing the press to protest the defection of the senator representing Ondo South, Senator Yele Omogunwa in Abuja... yesterday JULIUS ATOI

Police Arrest Teacher for Raping Two-year-old Baby Chiemelie Ezeobi

the girl. However, the suspect who Detectives of the Lagos State denied the allegation, said he Police Command have arrested got a phone call from the pupil’s a 42-year-old teacher, Adenekan mother just last week Friday, Adegboyega, for allegedly raping accusing him of defiling her a two-year-old nursery pupil daughter. (name withheld). He said: “Immediately I The suspect, who is a teacher picked the phone call, she with Chrisland School, Lagos identified herself as the mother and also doubles as a pastor of one of the students in our of an undisclosed church  school and accused me that I committed the alleged offence sexually abused her daughter. while teaching the little girl sex “I asked her where it education. happened and after much The state Commissioner talking, the mother of the pupil of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, told me that she wants to know who paraded the suspect at the what transpired between me command headquarters, Ikeja and her daughter. yesterday, said the pastor is a “She said she doesn’t want supervising teacher in Chrisland any other person to hear about School. the incident, that even the girl’s Owoseni said the man was father was not aware. later arrested after the mother of “When the mother of the pupil the two year-old pupil lodged dropped her call, I was disturbed an official complaint at Ikeja in my spirit and asked myself Police Division for defiling where this devil is coming from. her daughter. “Before God Almighty, I know He also said preliminary nothing about the allegation investigations had revealed levelled against me by the that the teacher actually defiled mother of the minor. I want

to implore the Nigerian Police to do a thorough investigation because I am ready to surrender myself. “But I know the God Almighty that I serve will vindicate me because this a serious challenge for me. Even the class teacher of the girl denied such incident, claiming that the victim never left her custody that fateful day. “I am married with children; I cannot do such a thing to a minor like that when I have my own children. The allegation that I teach the girl sex education is not true, because I have never taught in the school. I only supervise and walk round to make sure everything went well.” The mother of the allegedly abused girl who spoke on condition of anonymity said, when she took her daughter to the toilet the little girl then told her someone inserted into her. She said: “After we were done from the toilet, I asked

her who the person is and she mentioned Adenekan’s name. Although she is  two but she could described things vividly.   “After my daughter explained everything to me, I got the teacher’s phone number from the school and called him, initially I don’t want the issue to go out because of stigma against my daughter in the school. “Thereafter I confronted the teacher and it was then he said I can go to anywhere and nobody would believe me, that even if I told the management of the school they wouldn’t believe me.” The girl’s mother added that Adenekan had no reason to be at the nursery section of the school, because he only supervises the primary section. She said: “When I took my daughter to Mirabel centre (a center for rape and sexual abuse victims), it was revealed that she had been abused.




Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email

AW C O N 2 0 1 6

Buhari Salutes S’Falcons for Reaching Final Omagbemi says players’ nerves almost let them down Femi Solaja President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday commended the Super Falcons for their hard earned win against South Africa on Tuesday to seal a place in Saturday’s African Women’s Championship final in Cameroon. Desire Oparanozie settled the match with a long strike in the 54th minute and the feat assured the nine-time champions, Nigeria, another opportunity to win the cup again and this time against host, Cameroon. Nigeria won the last edition two years ago in Namibia. The President in spite of socio-economic problems facing the country, took time out with his twitter handle and expressed his delight with the ladies’ performances as he look forward to another remarkable outing on Saturday. “Our Super Falcons have made Nigeria proud again. The entire country looks forward to the #AWCON2016 Final on Saturday,” President Buhari tweeted yesterday. Meanwhile, Super Falcons Coach, Florence Omagbemi, has revealed that some of her players were overcome by nerves in Tuesday’s semi-final against South Africa at the ongoing 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Omagbemi was the first to admit that her charges did not hit high notes in the contest decided at the Stade Municipal de Limbe and blamed nervousness for the

underwhelming showing. “First of all, I want to give credit to the players again. Our approach in the first half was different from the second. “We had a game plan but some of the players were carried away by the emotions of the occasion. “There was some nervousness noticed even among some of the key players of my team. “I was surprised to see them get overwhelmed by the occasion,” Omagbemi said at the post match press conference. The Falcons improved after the break and Omagbemi revealed that her team talk worked wonders for the players. “In the second half, we asked them to try to relax. “They all wanted to play in the final but to do that, they had to be relaxed. “In such games, if you try to do too much, you will make mistakes. “We are an attacking team and did not try to play defensively after we scored. “The game against South Africa was not was one of our best games but I give credit to the players for winning despite not playing very well,” she added. Meanwhile, Head coach of South Africa’s Women’s national team, Desiree Ellis has explained that her game plan was to stifle Nigeria’s Super Falcons in the second semi-final.

2 0 0 8 B E I J I N G O LY M P I C S

IOC Upgrades Team Nigeria’s Relay Bronze to Silver The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has formally written to inform Team Nigeria through the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) that it has upgraded Nigeria’s bronze medal won in the women’s 4x100-metre relay at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to silver. The IOC stripped Russia of the gold medal the country won in the women’s sprint relay at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, after a widespread, government-sponsored doping scandal wreaked havoc for the Russian athletes. The IOC disqualified Yulia Chermoshanskaya, 30, after a reanalysis of the retired runner’s samples from Beijing found traces of two banned substances in her system — stanozolol and turinabol. Chermoshanskaya was also disqualified from the 200 metres, in which she finished eighth.

In a letter from the IOC addressed to President of NOC, Habu Gumel and signed by Pere Miro, the IOC wrote; “it is our pleasure to inform you that your relay team is now placed second in this same event”. Belgium has been upgraded to the relay gold, with Nigeria moving up to silver and Brazil to bronze. And in order to proceed to the reallocation according to the new classification, the IOC asked the NOC to send back the bronze medals and third place diplomas and pins of Ms Franca Idoko, Ms Gloria Kemasuode, Ms Halimat Ismalia and Ms Oludamola Osayomi who were Team Nigeria’s flag bearers in the women sprint relay team.

Super Falcon player, Ngozi Okobi, challenged by South African Bambanani Mbane during the match on Tuesday Ellis saluted the quality of Oparanozie’s strike but hailed her charges for a ‘magnificent display’. “Congratulations to Nigeria for a hard-earned victory. “I think our plan worked

for most of the time; we stifled Nigeria and it took a moment of madness (to beat us). “I am not sure whether it was a free kick or not, but what a fantastic strike by Oparanozie.

“We had our chances but did not convert them. “However, I think all of South Africa can be extremely proud of Banyana Banyana because we fought hard and the game could have gone

either way,” Ellis submitted at the post-match press conference. South Africa will now meet Ghana in the third place game on December 2 at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaoundé.

Golf: Dibua Wins, Okene Returns as PH Captain Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja Emmanuel Dibua shot 70 nett to emerge the overall winner of the 2016 edition of the Port Harcourt Club Captain’s Cup. Dibua, who plays off handicap-18, blitzed the field of 250 golfers that turned up at the Port Harcourt 1928 golf course on his way to clinching the coveted prize. Single- digit player, Henry Nwuzi, settled for first runner up overall nett position following an impressive round of 71 nett. The 3-handicapper edged

Butler Osubu on the count-back after they both tied at the end of the 18-hole contest. Kenneth Kwasu returned four over par 74 to win the best Gross for men. Ibrahim Yahaya secured the men’s division 1 nett title following an effort of 72, a score matched by Anthony Elie and K. Raju, to win the division 2 and 3 titles respectively. Eze G.N. Amadi carded 74 to claim the senior category prize, beating Lawrence Owho by two strokes. The evergreen Susan ColeKotas lived to reputation when

she came in with a 69 to pluck the Ladies Nett. Cole-Kotas, who also annexed the Longest Drive Ladies Prize, beat Joyce Nule by three strokes. Prof S.J.S Cookey won the Men 9-hole contest with 44 nett on the card, while the corresponding lady version was won by Georgina Nger-Nwagha who carded a 45. Kenneth Kwasu won the nearest to the pin prize for men while Kate Unaeze won the ladies prize. Rear Admiral Benjamin Acholonu from IBB Golf Club,

Abuja did the ceremonial tee off in honour of Sir Emmanuel Okene, whose tenure was extended by another year by the club at its AGM. Okene cited some of his committee’s achievements this year to include, the play ability of the golf course all year round, aggressive tournaments drive, enhanced inter-club relationship, structured golf clinics for adults and kids to drive and sustain membership drive and the engaging management style of the committee which ensured there was no disciplinary case or sanction within the year.

3,000 Seating Arena for Lagos 2016 Africa Beach Soccer Nations Cup As part of effort to ensure convenience for participants in the 2016 Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the tournament is constructing a 3,000 capacity seating Arena. The Beach Soccer Nations Cup, a championship of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), will hold in Lagos at the Eko Atlantic City from 13-18 December. Chairman, Sub Committee on Facilities for the competition, Mr

Bolaji Yusuf said the organizers identified the Eko Atlantic City, which is closed to the Palace of Oniru on Victoria Island, as a situable site for the event, adding that for the convenience of players, officials and fans, a 3,000 seating Arena comprises 120 VVIP seats, 500 VIP seats and 1,400 regular seats with rooms for referee’s lounge, players, dressing room, medical points, doping control centre, CAF/LOC centre, media centre, training pitch and fans zone for entertainment will be

constructed before the kickoff date of the championship. Yusuf, who is the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on sports Facilities to the Governor of Lagos State said: “Special security has been inculcated into the building plan to ensure adequate security for the tournament. “The site has been cleared and floodlights are expected to arrive the country in the next couple of days as they had been pre-ordered. “The Arena will be ready

to host the eight nations and give residents and visitors an experience to savour for a very long time,” he said. Nigeria will face Egypt, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in Group A of the competition, while defending champions Madagascar will battle Libya, Morocco and Senegal in Group B. The tournament will serves as Africa’s qualifying event for the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup taking place in The Bahamas.





Thousands of Fans Hold Vigil for Team

Passionate club fans at the stadium yesterday to mourn the departed heroes, while the other picture is the graphic description of the ill-fated flight on Monday Thousands of people in Chapeco in Brazil have held a vigil for the victims of a plane crash, who included most of the city’s football team. Fans of the Chapecoense team walked from the city centre to the stadium where they prayed and sang. A service was also held in the city’s cathedral. The team were flying to Colombia for the biggest match in their history when their plane went down shortly before landing in Medellin, late on Monday. Six of the 77 people on board survived. It is not clear what brought down the chartered aircraft, but some unconfirmed reports have suggested there was an electrical fault, while others say the plane was low on fuel. Both flight recorders

have been recovered. Crew member Ximena Suarez, who survived the flight, said “the lights went out and I don’t remember anything after that”. Some 10,000 people including family members of the players - gathered in Chapeco’s Arena Conda stadium on Tuesday evening, still stunned by the extent of their loss. Fans wearing the club’s green and white colours sang the names of the players and shouted “champions”. Families of the players hugged each other on the pitch. “It is really hard to speak. We always come to the games. We’d come to the stadium and sit right in the same spot,” said fan Daniel Marline. “And we came here today, we sat here, but we know that

this weekend, next week, our fighting team won’t be here any more in this stadium. It’s tough. It’s really tough.” Brazil has begun three days of official mourning, while minute silences have been held at football grounds around the world. Brazilians doctors have already flown to Colombia in order to identify the bodies, and arrange for them to be brought home. This could happen in the coming days, as the lack of a fire at the crash site has made retrieving and identifying the bodies of the 71 victims relatively easy, emergency workers say. The team were due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana against the Colombian team Atletico Nacional later on Wednesday. Atletico Nacional has asked

fans instead to come to the stadium dressed in white for a candelit vigil. They have also offered to concede the game to ensure Chapecoense are declared the champions. In other tributes, Brazilian first division football teams have offered to lend players to Chapecoense free of charge for the 2017 season, and asked the league to protect the club from relegation for the next three years. Leading footballers, from Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Neymar, to Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, have also paid tribute to the players. Alongside the football team, there were also 21 journalists on board the doomed flight - including well-known Brazilian commentator and ex-footballer Mario Sergio

Pontes de Paiva. As well as Ms Suarez, flight technician Erwin Tumiri and journalist Rafael Henzel also survived. Mr Tumiri said he had “followed the safety guidelines”. “Many stood up and started shouting. I put the suitcases between my legs and assumed the brace position”. Chapeco’s mayor and the manager’s son were among four people who had been on the passenger manifest but did not make the flight. “Only God knows why I ended up staying behind,” Mayor Luciano Buligon told Brazil’s TV Globo. Hailing from a small city of less than 200,000 inhabitants, Chapecoense football club had become an unlikely success stories in recent

years, reaching Brazil’s Serie A in 2014 and beating more established teams. Last week, it became the first Brazilian team in three years to make it to the final of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second most important club competition, after beating Argentine side San Lorenzo. Shortly before boarding the flight in Sao Paulo, Chapecoense manager Cadu Gaucho, 36, appeared in a video posted on the team’s Facebook site [in Portuguese] describing the trip to Medellin as “the club’s most important to date”. One of the founders of the club, Alvadir Pelisser, told BBC Brasil the tragedy had put an “end to everyone’s dream”. “We were a family, I’m shocked,” he added.

Wheelchair Tennis National Ranking Tourney Serves off Wikki Tourists, FC IfeanyiUbah to Open 2016 NPFL Super4 Wikki Tourists and FC IfeanyiUbah have been drawn to play the opening game of the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) which flags off on December 7 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu. According to fixtures released by the League Management Company (LMC), the opening match will kick-off at 5pm with the second fixture between League champions, Rangers International and runners-up, Rivers United starting at 7pm. Abubakar said “on Match Day 2, Rangers International will play Wikki Tourists in the first match starting at 5pm while Rivers United and FC IfeanyiUbah will take to the pitch for the second game of the day”. The final match day will have the fixtures between Rivers United and Wikki Tourists at 5pm while FC IfeanyiUbah and Rangers International will play the closing game at 7pm. Abubakar also noted that all the matches will be played

under flood light. “We are continuing with the growing popularity of night games in Enugu and essentially, we are also considering a fans-friendly time when businesses would have closed to encourage huge turnout for the matches”. The NPFL Super4 is an annual pre-season tournament organized by the LMC for clubs participating in Confederation of African Football (CAF) Club competitions in the coming season. It enables the clubs condition their players for the competition as the tournament provides a platform for integration of new and retained players of the clubs as well as enable the Managers put to competitive test their pre-season trainings. Rangers International and Rivers United that finished first and second in the NPFL will represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League while third placed Wikki Tourists and Federation Cup champions, FC IfeanyiUbah will play in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The 2016 National Wheelchair Ranking Tournament will serve off today at the National Stadium, Lagos with no fewer than 40 players participating. Nigeria’s wheelchair tennis Head Coach, Frank Tarmena, disclosed that the players that have already registered will represent about 20 states. He expressed optimism that more players will register for the tournament before it gets underway. “Registration so far has been average because we are expecting a large number

of participants due to the importance of the tournament. Some few more states have notify us that they are on their way to Lagos and because of this we have decided not to extend registration till Thursday morning after which we will commence the draws,” he stated. Tarmena, who is an ITF Instructor on wheelchair tennis, stated that the players enthusiastic about the tournament as they hope to get a better ranking which will automatically earned

them places into the main draw of big tournaments like the Central Bank of Nigeria Open which guarantees them monetary prizes. He revealed that the duo of Alex Adewale and Kafayat Omisore will be the top seeds for the men and women chart which will be competed for in round of 32. The quad division, he added, will feature about 10-12 players. Adewale who represented Nigeria at the London 2012 Paralympics is the reigning CBN Open champion while

Omisore, who was a finalist in the women’s singles, will head the women’s chart due to the absence of Foluke Shittu, who is currently abroad. The likes of Wasiu Yusuf, who represented Nigeria at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Jude Uwaize, Lateef Shodipo are also among the favourites to shoot into the top of the ranking for the men’s division while Tosin Dawodu and Remi Basanya also look good to push their way to the top of the ladder board.

Abuja Agog for GTCF ‘s Football Tourney The charity train of the Greater Tomorrow Children’s Fund (GTCF) hits Abuja tomorrow for a two-day celebration with kids of the Internally Displaced Persons Camp, with the organisation of a football tournament and free oral health screening. After the successes attained at its last two events in Jos and Ogume in Delta State, where kids were treated to a once in a lifetime experience, which the kids are still savoring, the foundation run by AFCON 1984 silver medal winner,

Paul Okoku, has concluded preparations for the mother of all events, sanctioned by the National House of Assembly Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps. Since the GTCF was launched in a glamorous ceremony, in the Federal Capital Territory in 2014, it has amassed a string of hits and this weekend will see the upping of the ante, as the body draws a stellar cast of dignitaries in politics, business and sports sectors to an end of year rendezvous

on the practice pitch of the Abuja National Stadium. Speaking to reporters, Okoku said the oral health screening will be conducted by a team of specialist doctors led by Dr. Seidu Bello, who is partnering GTCF to improve the quality of health for Internally Displaced Persons. According to Okoku, “these children are victims of the Boko Haram, the terrorist organization in the North-East of Nigeria. Dr. Bello is an oral surgeon based in Abuja. I recall that

during the launch of GTCF, after his video presentation of the medical challenges faced by downtrodden, the late Stephen Keshi turned to Dr. Bello and said, “God bless you for providing free surgery to the less privileged in our society.” Okoku said that sports wears for the tournament were donated by three ex-internationals, Godwin Odiye, Chigozie Offor, Attorney and Dr. Femi Olukanni, adding that Odiye is one of the board members, alongside Gladys Dark.

Thursday 1st December 2016