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Amina Mohammed: I’m Torn Between Working for Nigeria and UN Says IOCs are duty bound to clean up Niger Delta Chineme Okafor in Abuja The former Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, has opened up on why she took the job of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), saying she was convinced by

the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to join him to continue to strengthen the ideals of the global body. Speaking yesterday in an interview with Arise Network,

a sister company of THISDAY in Abuja, Mohammed also stated that while she will miss serving Nigeria as a cabinet minister in President Muhammadu Buhari’s

government. She, however, added that the wider responsibility of serving humanity in the UN, to which Nigeria belongs, contributed to her decision.

“It is a very conflicting decision I have to say. It is an incredible privilege and I am humbled to have been selected to be the deputy secretary-general, but this is

AMCON: We Intend to Quit Arik After Six Months... Page 12

home and we have masses of challenges. “So it has been very difficult and you know, I’ve got withdrawal symptoms, but it’s a calling now that is global and that includes Continued on page 10

Thursday 16 February, 2017 Vol 22. No 7973. Price: N250 TR


& RE A S O


Inflation Rises Further to 18.72% on Higher Food, Energy, Transportation Costs...

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Saraki: The President We Met was Witty and Healthy White House releases details of Trump’s call to Buhari Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja As the National Assembly prepares to resume from recess next Tuesday, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, met with President

Muhammadu Buhari in London yesterday, with Saraki assuring Nigerians that he was witty and healthy, and there was no cause for alarm. Saraki and Dogara left Abuja yesterday morning in the Continued on page 10

Ben Enwonwu’s Bronze Sculpture, Anyanwu, Auctions for Record £353,000 at Bonhams

Dinner held in London to commemorate artist’s centenary Agha Ibiam in London A full-size cast of the bronze sculpture, Anyanwu, by iconic Nigerian painter and sculptor, the late Prof. Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu, was auctioned for a record £353,000 (N138.4 million)

at Bonhams, the renowned international auction house, in London yesterday. The auction was the culmination of the commemoration of Enwonwu’s birth 100 years ago, which Continued on page 9

Fayose Storms Finance Ministry, Demands Release of State's Federal Allocation... Page 48

NIGERIAN LAWMAKERS VISIT BUHARI IN LONDON... President Muhammadu Buhari (second right), welcoming Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; and Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan (shaking the president's hand), when the principal officers of the National Assembly visited him in London....yesterday


















South African Investor Laps up Zenith, Access Bank Shares Goddy Egene with agency report Allan Gray Ltd., the largest manager of non-government investment funds in Africa, has increased its stake in Zenith and Access Banks. The South African investor, based in Cape Town, is betting on Nigeria’s banking industry despite poor performances by the oil companies it depends on and widespread calls for the naira to be further devalued, reported Bloomberg yesterday. Allan Gray’s Chief Investment Officer, Andrew Lapping disclosed the investment move in a February 10 interview in Cape Town. He didn’t say how big the holdings are or how many shares his company had bought in each of the banks. “We see a lot of value in Nigerian banks,” Lapping said. “Most people think they’re all going to zero because of the bad debts. We think they will survive”

because high interest rates make the banks profitable and they have less debts to equity compared with European lenders, he said. Trading data for the month of January showed that 232.210 million shares of Zenith Bank valued at N3.605 billion were traded. Last December, 224.007 million shares worth N3.234 billion were traded. In the case of Access Bank, 264.230 million units of the bank’s shares valued at N1.789 billion exchanged ownership in January while 171.570 million shares valued at N953.045 million were traded in December. Access Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe said last month that the bank’s non-performing loans were expected to climb to “slightly below 3 per cent of total loans by the end of 2017”. That compares with 2.1 per cent for the nine months through September. The banking industry is under stress in Nigeria,

where the economy was in a recession during 2016. Non-performing loans escalated to almost three times the regulatory maximum and foreign investors are calling for authorities to boost flexible trading of the naira before putting more money into the country. An oil price at half its 2014 levels, combined with sabotage and attacks on oil installations that have cut output, has limited dollar supplies in the country, which vies with Angola as Africa’s largest crude-oil producer. The bad-debt ratio at Nigerian banks rose to 13.4 per cent last year. The naira was devalued in June and traded at 315.50 to the dollar by 6.53 a.m. in Lagos yesterday, while the unofficial, black-market rate was 507 naira to the dollar. The official exchange rate should fall to 370 by the end of the year, Craig Metherell, an analyst at Avior Capital Markets Ltd. in Cape Town,

said in a February note to investors. Investors are frustrated by central bank policies, he said. “Dollar illiquidity and the inability to predict the central bank’s decisions remains a constant deterrent to dollar-based investors,” Metherell said. “While we argue that valuations look cheap, we find it difficult to justify investing new money given the current status quo.” But Allan Gray isn’t the only investor that’s interested in Nigerian lenders. Laurie Dippenaar, chairman of Johannesburgbased FirstRand Ltd., Africa’s largest bank by market value, said last month that it’s looking to buy a mid-sized bank. Diamond Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and Wema Bank Plc were among mid-sized Nigerian lenders that plummeted more than 40 per cent last year as the domestic economy performed the worst since the 1980s. “Everyone thinks the naira is going to weaken, but I’m

not so sure,” Lapping said. “The bad-debt problem can cure itself over time.” Nigerian banks are also attractive because of their small size — in an economy that vies with South Africa as the continent’s largest — adds to their growth potential, while lending as a proportion of equity remains low at 3.5 times, Lapping said. Still, the industry’s exposure to oil remains a concern, he said. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Nigeria’s biggest bank by value, has a market capitalization of N715 billion ($2.3 billion), Access Bank is valued at about N194 billion and Zenith at about N475 billion. FirstRand, on the other hand, has a market value of 293 billion rand ($22 billion). The Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking 10 Index has climbed 0.7 per cent this year as gains by Access Bank, Zenith, United Bank for Africa Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc helped compensate for losses in the other six

members of the gauge. “Maybe we’ve dug ourselves into a hole” by investing in Nigerian banks, Lapping said. “Even if it’s 50-50, going bust or going up, the upside is so much that it’s worth the risk.”

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BEN ENWONWU’S BRONZE SCULPTURE, ANYANWU, AUCTIONS FOR RECORD £353,000 AT BONHAMS started with a dinner held Monday night at Bonhams’ headquarters in Mayfair, London. The dinner was hosted by the Chairman/Founder of Coronation Capital Nigeria, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and his wife, Ofovwe, in conjunction with Bonhams. Other VIPs in attendance at the dinner covered by THISDAY were the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador, Simon Ogah; wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki; Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, Baroness Amos; Mr. Christopher Spring of the British Museum; another celebrated Nigerian artist, Mr. Yinka Shonibare, MBE; Ms. Kerryn Greenberg from the Tate Gallery; and Dr. Johnetta Cole from the Smithsonian Institute Bonhams’ Director of African Art, Giles Peppiatt, said at the dinner: “Ben Enwonwu was the first important Nigerian artist to reflect the sculptural traditions of his people in his work. “It was a great privilege for Bonhams to join with Mr. and Mrs. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede to celebrate the centenary of the birth of this remarkable man.” Peppiatt noted that Enwonwu was the most important modern Nigerian artist of his time and was very talented in paintings and drawing at a very early age. “At that time, opportunities were not there. He came to study in Cambridge and Oxford and he learnt a lot and went out there to develop and foster his own work in a very massive way and in his own manner and language,” he said. He recalled that a version of Enwonwu’s Anyanwu was chosen by the people of Nigeria and was given to the United Nations (UN) when the country was commemorating her independence. “What a better commendation can you give

to a man like Ben Enwonwu,” he asked rhetorically. Peppiatt described Enwonwu as very critical to the art scene and was the reason he was commissioned to sculpt a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the country in 1956. In his remarks, AigImoukhuede said Enwonwu was unarguably the most renowned and respected African artist and sculptor in the history of modern African art. “I grew up knowing and admiring Uncle Ben for the outstanding beauty of his works. One of the very first paintings I came to own was the print of the famous ‘Tutu’. “Beyond family connections, my wife and I have become avid collectors of his works. We are indeed privileged and honoured to hold along with Bonhams, the first of many events to celebrate this great African master. “He is indeed the pride of Nigeria and Africa. His artworks are proudly on display in Nigeria and important galleries around the world. “His works of art command premium prices in international arts market and set the standard for African contemporary art,” he added. Information made available on Bonhams’ website after Anyanwu’s auction showed that the sculpture measuring 236 x 71 x 45cm (6ft 10 inches high) was placed on the block at an estimated price of £150,000 - £200,000, but was auctioned to a new owner for £353,000. Anyanwu is widely considered an Enwonwu masterpiece. Several smaller versions of the sculpture have passed through Bonhams’ salerooms, most recently in Africa Now: Modern Africa, May 2016. Another version once sold as the best selling work of Enwonwu at an Arthouse auction in Lagos for a record N21 million. The current lot auctioned

R-L: Chairman/Founder Coronation Capital Nigeria, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, and Chairman/Owner, Bonhams, Mr. Robert Brooks, at the centenary dinner in London celebrating the life and works of Prof. Ben Enwonwu, MBE, Monday night. The fullsize cast of the bronze sculpture, Anyanwu, which was auctioned for £353,000 yesterday in London, can be seen behind them by Bonhams is the first fullsize cast to come to market. At 6ft10 high, the sculpture dwarfs the later editions. Enwonwu sculpted and cast the work in 1956 at the London studios of the acclaimed British sculptor, Sir William Reed Dick. The previous year, Enwonwu had received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II, raising his international profile to an all-time high. He sculpted a portrait of the British monarch in the same year the present lot was cast. The first full-size Anyanwu was commissioned in 1954 by the colonial government of Nigeria to celebrate the establishment of the National Museum at Onikan in Lagos by the acclaimed artist and archaeologist, Kenneth Crosthwaite Murray. Enwonwu had been one of Murray’s first students in the 1930s and shared his

commitment to reviving Nigerian art and craft traditions. Inspired by the shrine carvings of his sculptor father, Enwonwu’s work represented a return to traditional Igbo aesthetics. Titled after the Igbo word for ‘the sun’, Anyanwu references the traditional practice of venerating ChiUkwu (the Great Spirit) by saluting the rising sun. Enwonwu depicts the female deity rising up out of the ground, her lithe body arching towards the sky. This upward trajectory was intended to symbolise the aspirations of the soon-to-be independent nation. Her noble bearing is underlined by her ‘chickenbeak’ headdress and coral jewellery: the royal regalia of the Bini people. Such was the symbolic potency of the sculpture that

the Nigerian ambassador, Chief Adebo, presented an almost identical cast to the United Nations headquarters on October 5th 1966, a few days after Nigeria’s sixth independence anniversary. Having studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, Enwonwu was highly aware of the debt European Modernism owed to Africa’s artistic traditions. Anyanwu’s dynamic, semi-abstract form was a clear reminder, and affirmed Nigeria’s position as a leading independent nation, ready to take its place on the world stage. Cast an entire decade before the version gifted to the United Nations, the present lot is Enwonwu’s second edition of his magnum opus. It was purchased in London by a close friend of the artist in the 1970s, and was in a private collection until

yesterday’s auction. Enwonwu described his vision for the sculpture thus: “My aim was to symbolise our rising nation. I have tried to combine material, crafts and traditions, to express a conception that is based on womanhood – woman, the mother and nourisher of man. “In our rising nation, I see the forces embodied in womanhood; the beginning, and then, the development and flowering into the fullest stature of a nation – a people! “This sculpture is spiritual in conception, rhythmical in movement and three dimensional in its architectural setting – these qualities are characteristic of the sculptures of my ancestors.” The artist’s words clearly expressed his belief that Anyanwu was a visual manifestation of the new Nigeria, culturally-confident and proud of her heritage.


     ˾  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Nigerian Returnees from Libya Narrate Tales of Rape, Abuse, Violence Some Nigerian returnees from Libya have narrated their experiences in the hands of Libyan officials. Scores of Nigerians travel to Libya daily with the hope of landing in Europe by boat through the Mediterranean. An average of 109 Nigerians arrived in Italy daily in 2016 travelling the risky route. A lot more are, however, still trapped in Libya. Some of the returnees appealed to federal and state governments to provide job opportunities for Nigerian youths to prevent them from endangering their lives looking for greener pasture abroad. They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos that they decided to leave Nigeria because they were jobless. They said they travelled to Libya with the hope of crossing to Europe through the Mediterranean in search of jobs. The returnees were among the 161 Nigerians who returned voluntarily from Libya on February 14. They were assisted back home by the International Organisation for Migration

(IOM) after being detained for several months in Libyan detention facilities. They arrived in Lagos singing songs of praise and beaming with smiles, thanking their creator for bringing them safely home. One of the returnees, Bridget Akeama, an indigene of Anambra, said her parents decided to send her to Italy when all hope of securing a job after her school proved abortive. Ms. Akeama, who said she left Nigeria in August last year, returned with a four months pregnancy. She said she was arrested while trying to cross to Italy from Libya by immigration officials. Ms. Akeama said: “Ever since, I have been moved from one prison to another until I was taken to a detention camp in Tripoli. “We were subjected to inhuman treatment while in prison, from the food we eat to the water we drink. “Most of the young ladies in detention camp were raped by Libyan officials and if you refused their advances, it will be hell for you.

“Thank God I am back in Nigeria, I know all hope is not lost but it is painful that I will begin from scratch again with my unborn child.” Stanley Iduh, a 34-year-old indigene of Delta, said that he was tricked by an agent popularly known as “Burger” that he would facilitate his journey to Spain through Libya. He said when his hope of crossing into Spain was dashed in Libya, he decided to stay back and work in the Arab country. “I worked in a tile producing company and their salary was good but unfortunately I could not save my money in the bank. “I lived with other Nigerians. I dug a hole in the ground to save my money. “Unfortunately, one day, some Libyans came, kidnapped us and inflicted punishment on us. “They asked us to call our relations back in Nigeria and tell them to send N300,000 as our ransom. “The $200,000 dollars that I saved, disappeared; they moved us to another place until we got to the detention camp.

“Nigerians should be discouraged from travelling to Libya because they are not treating us like human beings. “Our ladies were dehumanised by Libyan officials, it is very painful,” he said. Mr. Iduh, who said he sold the house left by his late father before travelling to Libya, urged the federal and state governments as well as wealthy Nigerians to create jobs for the youths. “It was because I was jobless for three years that I was cajoled to travel abroad to look for greener pastures. “I am back in the country after eight months, devastated and humiliated. “I had gone to look for greener pastures but here I am today; I have brought nothing green back home,” he said with tears running down in his cheek. Paul and Marvellous Isikhuemhen are twin brothers who travelled to Libya in March and May 2016 respectively in search for greener pastures. Marvellous told NAN that they regretted travelling out of the country because of the bitter encounter they had in

Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau Libya. He said that though they secured a good job in a publishing house in Libya, “it was suffering and smiling’’ until they were given the opportunity to return home through the IOM. Mr. Isikhuemhen urged the Nigerian government to stop young ladies from travelling to Libya, saying they were molested by Libyan immigration officials.

He said that most Nigerian ladies bribe Nigerian immigration officers to secure travel documents to travel to Libya. Mr. Isikhuemhen added that most of the children brought back home by these ladies had no fathers. “I can boldly tell you that the children you are seeing in their hands and those pregnant ladies are products of Libya immigration officers,” he said.

the country to also show the same commitment on the clean up efforts. Mohammed said the degree of damage in the Niger Delta was immense, and that Shell’s pledge will unlikely go anywhere. On this, she said the government was challenged by the work ahead of it. “I look at the wider Niger Delta and its clean up in the long term. I think it is going to be incredibly difficult because what we have seen over the last couple of years is an increased amount of pollution that has come from illegal and third party activities and I am not sure we have assessed the damage to know how much or how long that is going to take, if at all, but it is tragic,” said Mohammed. On expected commitment to funding and operational ethics by the IOCs, the former minister added: “I don’t think it is too late, it is never too late to start to rebuild the lives of the people in Ogoniland and

any other place. “Is it enough? Unlikely, and so I think as we start now, we will look at the UNEP report and try to update it so we can see what is ahead of us. “Ogoni is a small island among others polluted in the Niger Delta; we are absolutely challenged by what we have ahead of us, and there has to be better partnership between the tiers of government. “Our regulatory agencies have also not done the job they have to do and other multinationals have to do something about the environmental pollution in the Niger Delta.” Speaking on past efforts of governments to clean up the region and what was needed for the success of the renewed effort, Mohammed said a peaceful Niger Delta could guarantee sustained commitment to the clean up exercise. According to her, “The struggle to get to where we need to be has taken many decades.

“In the last administration, they tried to put something in place but it didn’t work, and so we didn’t have much happening then. “The president, however, made a political commitment as he came into power and that is what we tried to execute and we did it in a way that it has taken time, because we needed governance structures in place that will allow for sustainability of the programmes over 25 to 30 years – five years for remediation, and another 25 years to restore. “Now that is also on the condition that it doesn’t get worse. So there are many issues that have not been addressed holistically overtime. “But peace is necessary for that and I have to say that the communities and their representatives that we have being working with since last year have been incredibly supportive and patient. It is a conversation and we have to do this together.”

penchant for working very late into the night. Dogara said his conversation with the president focused on Buhari’s concern over the plights of hapless citizens of Nigeria last year and how he was determined not to let the economic downturn continue this year. The visit of the principal officers of the National Assembly to Buhari in London would be the second of such visits in the last one week by prominent Nigerians. The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu and erstwhile interim Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande visited the president last week and took photographs with him at Abuja House, London. In the letter informing the National Assembly of the extension of his vacation, Buhari said: “I am extending my leave until the doctors are satisfied that certain factors

are ruled out.” He added: “In the course of the routine examinations, certain tests indicated a course of medications and further appointments have been scheduled for next week (this week). “I am therefore notifying the Distinguished Senate that I am extending my leave until my doctors are satisfied that certain factors are ruled out. In the circumstances, the Vice President will continue to act on my behalf.” Meanwhile, the White House in Washington D.C. has finally released the readout of President Donald Trump’s phone call to Buhari on Monday. The readout, which was published on the White House’s website, was however silent on Trump’s invitation to Buhari to Washington D.C. It said: “President Donald J. Trump spoke this week with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to discuss the

strong cooperation between the United States and Nigeria, including on shared security, economic, and governance priorities. “President Trump underscored the importance the United States places on its relationship with Nigeria, and he expressed interest in working with President Buhari to expand the strong partnership. “The leaders agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and worldwide. “President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram. “President Trump thanked President Buhari for the leadership he has exercised in the region and emphasised the importance of a strong, secure, and prosperous Nigeria that continues to lead in the region and in international forums.”

AMINA MOHAMMED: I’M TORN BETWEEN WORKING FOR NIGERIA AND UN Nigeria,” she said. Asked if she was looking forward to her new assignment, she said: “Yes, I am, I think the secretary-general of the United Nations is an amazing person. “I asked him: ‘So why did you go after a job like this in such a complicated time,’ and his answer was more imperative and I think that is something that gets us engaged because it is about our humanity, it is about the core values of the UN and the ability to be on that platform that engages everyone as contentious as they may be. “You have from one side to the other – from your seat to the G70, the United States – everyone is a member of the United Nations and to try to keep that together, to fix our social fabric, to really bring back those core values and not to complicate the conversations.” She said she would be resuming at the UN with Nigeria on her mind, adding that she would continue to work for Nigeria and the world.

Prior to her appointment to the Nigerian cabinet in November 2015, Mrs. Mohammed was a key player in the Post-2015 development process, serving as the Special Adviser to UN SecretaryGeneral, Ban Ki-Moon on Post2015 development planning. On who would fill the position she will be leaving behind, Mohammed said she was convinced the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril will continue to drive the policies of the government, adding that Jibril has the pedigree to continue with the job they started together at the ministry. “I often wonder how this whole thing will happen but in his wisdom, the president had two of us as his ministers in the environment ministry and we have worked very closely. “We are two sides of the same coin and he will continue that work – the Minister of State, Ibrahim Usman will do that. “He is dedicated, really

dedicated and experienced. He has been around for a very long time at all levels of government and so I am confident he will carry on very well.” Mohammed also said international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta will have to show reasonable acts of responsibility in the clean up of the oil polluted region, stating that the volume of work required to restore the environment was enormous. She disclosed that the federal government will update the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on the devastation of the environment in Ogoniland, which was released in 2011, to enable it do a detailed clean up of the environment. According to her, the government welcomed the $1 billion pledged by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) for the clean up of Ogoniland, but was expecting other IOCs in

SARAKI: THE PRESIDENT WE MET WAS WITTY AND HEALTHY company of the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, to meet with the president who is on an extended medical vacation in London. The lawmakers were said to have left Abuja yesterday morning and arrived London in the afternoon. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu was obviously left out of the trip, because he is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Also, Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yusuf Lasun and Majority Leader in the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who were supposed to have been on the trip, could not make it. THISDAY learnt that the visit was at the instance of Buhari who was said to have called Saraki and asked him to come over to London. Although the reason for the invitation was shrouded in secrecy, Saraki was said to have been favourably disposed to embarking on

the trip in the company of Dogara and Lawan. However, it was gathered that the trip was necessitated by fact that the National Assembly will be resuming from its recess next Tuesday, during which opposition lawmakers might demand to know the true status of the health of the president. According to sources in the National Assembly, Saraki, Dogara and Lawan’s visit to Buhari in London was set up to douse any concerns over the president’s health. This, according to sources, informed the release of several photographs of the lawmakers visit to Buhari in London yesterday night. Also, a statement issued by the senate president last night said: “Myself, Rt. Honorable Yakubu Dogara and Leader of Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan paid a visit to President Buhari in Abuja House in London. “We were delighted to

see that President Buhari is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits. “The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself. “The president’s absence and imminent return shows that there is no vacuum in government and our system of democracy is working with all organs of government fulfilling their mandate. “And let me use the time tested cliché, there is no cause for alarm!” Both Saraki and Dogara last Wednesday disclosed that they had held phone conversations with Buhari amid speculations about his health. While Saraki said he called Buhari, Dogara said the president had called him and discussed issues affecting the welfare of Nigerians. Saraki, in a tweet, said he spoke with the president and he was not only in good spirits, but also cracked a joke with him about his (Saraki’s)




News Editor Davidson Iriekpen Email, 08111813081

FG Yet to Decide How Much to Borrow from World Bank FEC approves N126bn for roads

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The federal government has said it is yet to decide the amount it would borrow from the World Bank. The Minister for Budget and National Planning, Chief Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this yesterday while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council

(FEC) meeting at which Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo presided. The meeting, which lasted till about 6pm was the longest in the history of this administration. The World Bank loan is to be partly used to finance the 2017 budget. When asked how much would the country be asking for from the World Bank, Udoma said: “The figure will depend on the (2017)

Inflation Rises Further to 18.72% on Higher Food, Energy, Transportation Costs Kerosene price rises by 87.12%, cooking gas 35.28% James Emejo in Abuja The Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation increased to 18.72 percent (year-on-year) in January 2017 compared to 18.55 percent in the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). It attributed the 0.17 percentage month-on-month increase to increases recorded in all the divisions, which contribute to the Headline index. According to the CPI report for the month in review, the faster pace of growth in inflation during the period under review was in bread and cereals, meat, fish, oils and fats, potatoes, yams and other tubers. Increases were further recorded in wine and spirits, clothing materials and accessories, electricity, cooking gas, liquid and solid fuels, motor cars and maintenance, vehicle spare parts and fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment and passenger transport by road. Specifically, the Food Sub-Index rose to 17.82 per cent year-on-year in January from 17.39 per cent in December and 1.29 per cent monthon-month from 1.33 per cent the previous month. The Core Sub-Index also rose by 0.68 per cent in January compared to 0.62 per cent in the previous month. The Composite Food Index rose by 17.82 per cent in January. The rise in the index was mainly driven by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Meat, Oil and Fats, and Fish, according to the statistical agency. The Urban inflation rose by 20.31 per cent (year-on-year) in January from 20.12 per cent in December, while the Rural index increased by 17.34 per cent in January from 17.20 per cent in December. On month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.03 per cent in January from 1.08 per cent recorded in December, while the rural index rose by 1.00 per cent in January from 1.04 percent in December, the NBS stated. However, communication and restaurants and hotels again recorded the slowest pace of growth in January, growing at 5.1 per cent and 8.4 per cent (year-on-year) respectively.

Meanwhile, the average price per litre of household kerosene paid by Nigerians increased by 87.12 per cent to N433.84 in January from N231.85 in December 2016. According to the NBS, states with the highest average price per litre of kerosene include Sokoto (N647.62), Niger (N625.00) and Edo (560.19). While the lowest average price per litre of kerosene were recorded in Ogun (N324.44), Zamfara (N300.00) and Plateau (N270.00). Similarly, average price per gallon paid by consumers of kerosene increased by 38.92 per cent year-on-year and 101.80 per cent month-on-month to N1,434.44 in January to from N1,032.59 in December 2016. States with the highest average price per gallon of kerosene were Sokoto (N1,814.00), Taraba (N1,787.50) and Oyo & Niger (1,700.00) while States with the lowest average price per litre of kerosene included Ogun (N1,182.14), Zamfara (N1,211.11) and Plateau (N1,232.35). Similarly, the average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) increased by 35.28 per cent to N5,508.16 in January from N4,071.63 in December 2016. States with the highest average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for liquefied petroleum gas (Cooking Gas) included Borno (N5,950.00), Delta (N5,933.33) and Katsina (5,972.22) while states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for liquefied petroleum gas (Cooking Gas) were Benue (N5,083.33), Ogun (N5,030.00) and Kaduna & Kogi (N5,000.00). Also, the average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder for liquefied petroleum gas (Cooking Gas) increased by 28.24 percent to N2,567.56 in January from N2,002.16 in December 2016. The NBS stated that states with the highest average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder of cooking gas were Abuja (N2,800), Kano (N2,750) & Oyo (2,700) while states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder for cooking gas included Borno (N2,511.11), Akwa Ibom (N2,520) and Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Osun, Yobe and Zamfara- all at (N2,500).

budget approved by the National Assembly.” Udoma’s response was a departure from the $2.5 billion the federal government had earmarked for borrowing from the World Bank under the three-year $30 billion foreign borrowing plan, which is still awaiting approval at the National Assembly. The budget minister, however, admitted that funding constraints had made it difficult to release funds for capital projects. However, he said due to the peace in the Niger Delta, revenue was beginning to improve. He said: “Because of the funding constraints, the budget has a deficit, I travelled with the Minister of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor to market the Eurobond. “As you can see, the Eurobond was oversubscribed by about eight times, so the funds are coming in, there is more stability in the Niger Delta, so more monies are

coming in.” Udoma also said the council yesterday spent hours fine-tuning the Economy Recovery Growth Plan. He also said the council had extension discussion on the plan. According to him, the growth plan is still being fine-tuned. The minister said: “But a lot of inputs were made by council members and it is virtually ready for the president to launch. However, we are doing some fine-tuning and during this period we also do some final consultation before the president launches the plan.” He said the plan, when approved, is expected to drive economic recovery and lay the foundation for longer term growth as well as improve the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy. The minister stated that jobs and social inclusion were also key focused areas of the plan.

He gave the immediate execution priorities of the plans as: agriculture and food security, energy-particularly power and petroleum product sufficiency, industrialisationfocusing on small and medium size enterprising, transportation which is very, very important as an infrastructure requirement to get the economy really moving, and stabilisation of the microeconomy environment. The minister also said the council spent a lot of time looking at implementation. Udoma said that one of the means of ensuring implementation was to have a delivery unit which he said would be in the presidency. He gave the key principles of the plan as: Tackling constraints to growth, leveraging the power of the private sector. This is very important. This is why we have been having extensive consultations and discussions with the private

sector, promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, allowing market to function, approving the core value for which this country stands. Udoma, however, insisted that the plan was still being fine-tunined. Also yesterday, FEC approved N126 billion for the construction of twelve roads mostly in the northern part of the country. Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who announced the approval for the roads said the projects are located in Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Adamawa, Kwara, Gombe, Adamawa, Enugu States. Fashola said awarding the contacts would help to reflate the economy. He said: “The headline figures are in the region of N126 billion but I think that Is not the story, the story really is what the award of those contracts will do to the economy. It will restore confidence to the construction industry.”


L-R: President Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Sokoto State Governor, AminuWaziriTambuwal; and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, attheflagoffceremonyoftheDangoteRiceOutgrowersSchemeinGoronyoLocalGovernmentAreaofSokotoState...yesterday

Kachikwu: Oil Production Has Risen to 2mbpd House c’ttee threatens arrest of oil firms’ CEOs Damilola Oyedele in Abuja The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has disclosed that the country is currently producing about two million barrels of crude oil per day, following the reduction in militant activities in the Niger Delta region. The increase in output puts Nigeria closer to its budget projection of 2.2m bpd, a figure which Kachikwu said would soon be attained and exceeded when ongoing repairs are completed at the Forcados Terminal, in a couple of weeks. The 2017 N7.3 trillion budget is projected on the production of 2.2 million bpd at $44.5pb. Kachikwu, while speaking when he appeared before the House of

Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) for the ministry’s budget defence session yesterday, elaborated plans to increase revenue for the government in the sector. “We experienced a lot of militancy in 2016 with production dropping at some point to 1.2million bpd, but by December, we were up to 1.8 million bpd. Right now, we are doing 2 million,” he said. The sum of N69 billion is proposed for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, out of which N61 billion is proposed for personnel costs, N7 billion for capital projects, and N1.1 billion as overhead expenditure. He added that the ministry is focused on the downstream sector, to rehabilitate deteriorating

infrastructure, and reconstruct oil distribution platforms which are aging. The ministry would also enhance transparency in the oil sector, with improved tracking of crude oilto curb oil theft, and periodic briefings on the sector to Nigerians and the world, the minister added. He also disclosed that the government is working on plans to return the responsibility of protecting their oil assets, back to the oil companies, who would engage security firms and also work in collaboration with their host communities. Speaking on the proposed modular refineries, Kachikwu said the model is capable of producing 5,000 barrels per day of kerosene, and diesel.

In another development, the ad hoc committee investigating alleged huge debts and criminal acts of sabotage by oil companies has threatened to issue warrants of arrests for the chief executive officers of some of the firms. The committee was miffed that the CEOs of the invited oil firms chose to send representatives, mostly lawyers, instead of appearing in person. Some of the affected oil companies include Total, Mobil, NIPCO, Forte, Oando Nigeria, and MRS. The committee, at the hearing, walked out the representatives of the firms. The hearing was at the instance of a motion sponsored by Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (Cross River PDP).




AMCON: We Intend to Quit Arik after Six Months Rules out making airline national carrier Senate: Take over was belated Omololu Ogunmade and Damilola Oyedele in Abuja Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) yesterday disclosed that it would quit Arik Airline after six months. Making the disclosure while appearing before the Senate Committee on Banks, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions in the National Assembly the Managing Director of AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, said the entire take over arrangement of the airline would last for six months. He said the federal government had to move into Arik because it would have been unfortunate if the airline had folded up. Kuru revealed how Arik squandered its goodwill and several efforts it made to save it from going into extinction or forestall its takeover which eventually occurred last Thursday. He listed Arik’s many sins to include: failure to comply with terms of restructuring of its debt twice; failure to provide a-three year record of remittances to the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), diversion of N21.38 billion Bank of Industry (BoI) loan obtained for the airline by AMCON, as well as well as its refusal to co-operate with monitoring manager appointed by AMCON, among others. “In September 2011, AMCON restructured Arik’s debt from N85 billion to N70 billion as a nine-year term loan running at 12 per cent per annum. Other terms of the restructure included the following: “AMCON to appoint a resident monitoring manager who shall have the authority to call for any of Arik’s records for examination;

Arik to provide three-year record of its remittances to () FAAN. Arik defaulted on the term of the restructure and failed to make the monthly repayment as agreed. In May 2013, AMCON sourced N26billion of the CBN fund through BoI on behalf of Arik. “AMCON disbursed N21.38billion of the BoI loan to Arik as working capital. Out this amount, N2.4billion was meant for reconfiguration of two aircraft from passenger to cargo carriers. This was never done as the funds were diverted by Arik management and is now the subject of EFCC investigation. Both aircraft were abandoned in the United Kingdom. In December 2015, due to accrued interest and unpaid principal, a second restructuring was proposed for Arik debt to reduce the debt from N138billion to N90billion. The proposal is awaiting CBN approval. “This was proposed based on Arik’s plan to do a private placement and subsequently do an IPO within a period of six months. Based on that, they were expecting N44billion from Afrexim as a bridge. None of this happened as Arik could not comply with any conditions given to them. In spite of the leniency and good faith demonstrated by AMCON throughout the negotiations, Arik refused or neglected to adhere to the terms of settlement,” he said. Kuru who lamented how despite AMCON’s sustained efforts to bear Arik’s burden by paying N9.05 billion of its debt, the airline was indifferent to this gesture as it refused to cooperate with the AMCON’s resident monitoring manager and equally failed to disclose information on its financial

status. Kuru who put Arik’s indebtedness to AMCON at N146 billion, added that the agency also acquired three other non-performing loans obtained by companies in which its Chairman, Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, has interests at N264 billion. He said this amount was besides another N165 billion Arik owes commercial banks such as Standard Chartered, Zenith, Ecobank and Access. He also said the airline was owing federal aviation agencies N26billion; $11million owed European aviation agencies and service providers and $20million owed to Lufthansa Technique. Kuru further said AMCON could only recover N4.6 billion, representing 3.2 per cent of its total debt, stating that the airline only voluntarily paid N50 million in the last he year. He also disclosed that Arik’s airline was a profitable venture with N7 billion earnings every month, an amount he said was enough to successfully run its operations but for its attitude of failing to service debts which he said led to accumulation. He added that Arik had about 30 aircraft, the largest fleet in Nigeria, out of which he said only 10 are operational at the moment, pointing out that the airline holds

approximately 55-60 per cent of the air transport market in Nigeria and served 18 domestic and 11 international destinations, including Johannesburg, London, Dubai, and New York City. He, however, ruled out the possibility of converting the airline to a national carrier, saying it will not be a viable option but will rather complicate the situation and promised his agency’s commitment to keep the 2,000 staff of Arik whom he said were being owed salary arrears of five to seven months, depending on the department where they work. He narrated how Ethiopian Airline had been invited to stabilise Arik after the takeover but upon its arrival, declined because of Arik’s bad state. He also disclosed that upon its takeover, its foreign flights had been suspended because it is far more expensive, noting that the cost of aviation flight on a trip to New York for instance is N1.4 billion. He also disclosed that N10 billion had been pumped into the airline to get it stabilised as he disclosed that the value of its assets is paltry N40 billion, explaining that selling its assets would not be a viable option but rather to ensure smooth running of its operations, saying with N7 billion income every month, it will begin to pay back its debt in the next three months. “In the next 30

days, Arik will regain its lost glory in the last three years,” he added. He disclosed that KPMG had been engaged to conduct a detailed forensic audit of Arik He also added that a South African company had also been employed to work out AMCON’s exit plan from Arik. He said in the last one week, flights delays and cancellations had become a thing of the past in Arik. In its reaction, the committee hailed the takeover of Arik but observed in view of its deteriorating state that the take over was long over due. The committee Chairman, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, pledged the committee’s support for its action. Also, while speaking when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation yesterday, Kuru said AMCON was currently in talks with international airline operators, that would manage and ensure the revival of the airline. He, however, did not reveal the names of the international operators. Justifying the takeover before the Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeochaled committee, Kuru said Arik management had woven a web of debt around itself from which it could not extricate itself, and would have collapsed in about eight weeks, if the federal government did not intervene. He cited several reasons why

the government had to seize the company, to include poor corporate governance, a demotivated workforce due to non payment of salaries, defaulting on payments to their contractors, including caterers and fuel suppliers. He also noted that Arik management did not remit passenger charges to regulators, failed to fulfill their financial obligations to regulatory agencies such as Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), and was known for constant flight delays, cancellations and luggage pilfering or outright luggage loss. Onyejeocha however queried if Arik would not go the way of Aero Contractors, which still went under despite the takeover by AMCON. She also sought clarifications into allegations that Arik was taken over, as part of a ploy by the Federal Government to convert it into a national carrier. Kuru told the committee that there are no plans to convert the airline into a national carrier, even though the initial design of Arik Airlines, was for it to be a private sector national carrier. He also allayed fears that the airline company would collapse like Aero Contractors, noting that the circumstances are different.

Power Generation Increases to 4,043MW as Gas Supply Improves The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said the nation’s power generation rose from 3,528 megawatts (MW) to 4,043 MW between February 1 and February 15. TCN said the 515MW increase in generation as of February 15 was due to slight increase in gas supply to some power generating companies (Gencos). “The total output of 4,043 megawatts from all the Gencos on Wednesday has been transferred to the 11 distribution companies across the country,” read a statement on the company’s website. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), an official of Egbin Power Station in Lagos, said gas supply to the station had increased slightly in the last seven days. The source said the station, which has capacity to generate 1,320MW, now generates 420 megawatts as against former generation of 160 megawatts. The official called for more gas supply to the station to enable it to “fire” all its five turbines. “The 420MW generated by

the station has been linked to the national grid by 5.35a.m. yesterday,’’ the source told The Cable. The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) had announced drop in the power supply on January 22 to 2,662.20 MW due to low water levels and the challenge of accessing gas by GENCOs. Also, The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had said he would like consumers to be more resistant to the payment of electricity bills, if there was no supply. Fashola spoke at the 12th monthly power sector and stakeholders’ meeting hosted by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) in Ibadan, last Monday. He said vandalism of gas pipelines had “decommissioned power plants and their ability to provide up to 3,000 megawatts of power.” “The 3,500MW to 3,800MW that we have been able to keep on the grid over the last few months will be assisted greatly by about 3,000MW if we have the gas pipelines back,” he said.


Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir David, during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa,Abuja ...yesterday Godwin Omoigui

NGF Hosts Oshiomhole, Mimiko to Dinner at Aso Rock Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) yesterday night held a farewell dinner in honour of two of their colleagues, former Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and the outgoing Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The event held at the State House Conference Centre shortly after the NGF meeting. Speaking at the dinner, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo said both

Mimiko and Oshiomhole made great impact in their respective states. Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Chief Victor Attah, were among dignitaries who spoke at the event. Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State also poured encomiums on the governors. The event was attended by all governors including past ones. Governors who did not come

were represented by their deputies. Oshiomhole in his remarks, thanked the forum and said the gathering must remain to represent the diverse nature of the country. He said the NGF should be seen as an organisation that would unite the country and deliver dividends of democracy to the people. He commended Osinbajo for the leadership he has always provided for the National Economic Council (NEC) which he was a member. In his remarks, Mimiko said it was a thing of pride for the NGF

for the first time to celebrate their own who were leaving office. He said there was a need to find ways to empower governors for them to deliver more in the states. He said: “We have to recreate the image of the governor in Nigeria. There is a level of perception between the governor from the people and what they are delivering in the states. “I think we need to rethink the image of the governor. Africa can not come of age if Nigeria does not come of age.”






Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email


Bashir Ibrahim Hassan argues that the takeover of Arik Air by AMCON is the interest of the public


t was Jawaharlal Nehru who once said: “Failure comes only when we forget our ideals and objectives and principles.” Last year, 2016, marked the 10th anniversary of Arik Airline. The airline rose from the ashes of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways and efforts to create another one in partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic. When Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide saw this vacuum, he thought he could fill it. According to information on Arik’s website, he bought a Hawker jet aircraft. “Colleagues and contacts in the gas and oil industry started using the Hawker jet to fly themselves around Nigeria,” continues the report. “So, another jet was acquired and, before long, a corporate jet business was launched. The next step was to find the right people and the right aircraft to build an airline that would set new standards and change the face of aviation in Africa. Arik Air was born -- an airline with whom “Nigeria and the rest of Africa would be proud to fly.” The company’s growth was rapid. By the end of 2012, Arik Air had successfully flown over 10 million passengers in less than six years of operation across a network of 41 domestic and international routes. It was operating an average of 120 flights daily from its two hubs at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria. At the peak, Arik was the darling of many Nigerians. It commanded 55% of the airline load in the country. However, it is said that success breeds complacency and complacency often leads to failure. Soon, the airline’s management took the wrong turn, somehow. And the centre could not hold any longer. Delays in flight departure and outright cancellation soon became the hallmark of the airline. One after the other, all the core values of the airline were gradually compromised; safety and reliability; honesty and integrity; and respect for the dignity of our customers, fellow colleagues and our communities became hollowed and mere rhetoric. Last Thursday, the Federal government of Nigeria, through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), announced a takeover of Arik Air to prevent it going bust. Akin to the euphemism “too big to fail” that gained currency from the act of government bailout of US and European banks in the years following the subprime loans bust of 2008, Nigeria’s biggest national carrier, Arik Air, is being forced into receivership because it will be too costly to allow it to fail with a whopping N300 billion debt overhang. Like other similar interventions by AMCON, especially in the banking sector, this one too is aimed to “instil sanity” in the country’s aviation sector and to prevent a major catastrophe. Before now, AMCON intervened to save Aero Contractors, another airline on the verge of total collapse, with greater relief to the aviation industry. Similar interventions by AMCON in the banking industry have helped brought stability in the financial sector of the country. Since its establishment in 2010 AMCON has acquired about 13,774 Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) worth N3.6 trillion from 22 commercial banks, in the process saving our banking system, while its provision of financial accommodation of N2.2 billion protected about N4.7trillion of depositors’ funds and interbank takings as well as saved approximately 14,000 jobs. AMCON has, through these interventions in the past, helped a lot of businesses bounce back and hit the path of recovery. In one of his numerous interactions with the media, the Managing Director of AMCON, Mr.


Ahmed Kuru, has underscored the raison d’être of his organisation’s interventions thus: “We don’t want any business to suffer because of their debts. We are not out to kill businesses but to encourage them to grow by following the global best practices in debt reconciliations and settlements. Our desire is to recover the money for the nation through painless processes.” News reports have it that the beleaguered airline was indebted to the tune of over N300bn, with AMCON alone owed N135bn; while its obligations to aviation fuel suppliers, insurance firms, aircraft maintenance organisations, the federal government and the various aviation agencies, as well as food vendors, made up the balance. This was a clearly precarious situation that pointed to the fast deterioration of the Arik Air services on both its domestic and international routes. A BBC reporter in Nigeria, Martin Patience, reported his experience with Arik services in the following words: “To fly Arik often means never getting off the ground. I was at Enugu airport when I was told my flight was cancelled. The man beside me at the check-in desk just shook his head - all his flights had been cancelled for the past two days. “Customer service at Arik Air is at times non-existent. When the airline cancels a flight, most of the time its ground staff flee rather than deal with the fallout from irate passengers. As the company’s troubles mounted at the end of last year, 70% of its international flights were delayed “The firm’s staff bears the brunt for an airline that even by Nigerian standards is a byword for utter dysfunction. Last month the company was forced to issue a plea for passengers not to attack its employees.” This writer, too, has had his own share of this experience. Indeed, hardly will you find a frequent flyer of domestic flights in Nigeria without a bitter and hard-to-forget experience of flying on Arik. Nothing explains this recurrent unfortunate experience by Arik customers better than lack of strict adherence to the tenets of corporate governance by its management. Its poor services became a far cry from the airline’s sublime objective “to operate above and beyond the highest standards of safety and security and to offer a superior level of customer service and to deliver on all promises made to our guests.” Early this year the patience of Arik passengers was pushed to its limit. A video that went viral on the Internet on January 5 depicted the customer liaison manager of Arik being assaulted by a group of aggrieved passengers whose flight to Johannesburg was cancelled three times. The management of the airline was quick to blame frequent flight cancellation on aviation fuel shortages in the country. Although that could be true to some extent, there are other failings from the management of the airlines that became noticeable -- such as the strikes embarked by its staffs or the shutting down of the airline offices throughout the country by a couple of unions that brought untold hardship on its passengers last December. Many other serious failings of the management of Arik were reeled out by AMCON in the wake of the takeover of the airline by the corporation. They include, among others, poor corporate governance, demotivated pilots, poor safety measures, which is unacceptable in aviation business and the Airline inability to meet its financial obligations.

Hassan wrote from Abuja

ANAMBRA 2017: IT IS NOT BY HUMAN MIGHT Even with the obstacles on his path, Governor Willie Obiano will be re-elected, writes Ifeanyi Afuba


ow will Anambra State’s 2017 governorship process play out? The predictions are gradually coming and expectedly, some are profound, some pedestrian. In this regard, one observes that a highly, if not, absolute materialistic conception of Nigeria’s politics is widely shared by ordinary citizens and politicians alike. But it is my submission that this interpretation is stunted and misguided to the extent of seeking to divinise man, mortalise God as well as ousting his jurisdiction in the temporal affairs of man. In the face of Governor Willie Obiano’s laudable exploits in leadership, governance, the economy and infrastructure, many have no problem tipping him to comprehensively win the forthcoming state governorship election. Reservations have however been expressed in the context of the All Progressives Congress – led federal government abusing the incumbency power in favour of the APC in the said election. Doubts have been expressed as to the capacity of the people of Anambra State in general and the Obiano regime in particular to resist attempts by powerful interests to manipulate the coming election. In one sense only the above viewpoint is right. It is correct about the forces probably ranged against free and fair elections but severely limited in the solution. Yes, even the blind can see the stampede by Nigeria’s rice and stew politicians, mostly from the once ‘largest party in Africa’, Peoples Democratic Party to join Africa’s new bulldozing party, the APC. The exodus which erupted with the declaration of APC’s victory in the 2015 presidential election has

not abated with the party’s serial repudiation and or devaluation of its campaign promises. By a wonder of Nigeria’s somersaulting democracy, the scramble for APC membership by defecting PDP politicians is gathering momentum even as the APC – led federal government wobbles in governance. Yes, as illogical as it sounds, the appeal of the APC for Nigerian politicians continues to mount right in the face of its government’s failures and disregard of sensibilities of the population. But it is not an experience peculiar to the APC. It is about the stomach factor in Nigeria’s power game. The APC’s predecessor in government, the PDP also pulled off the same spectacle of reverse result in its heydays. It led the country to a new squandering of its riches, the wealth of the oil boom of the second millennium. Yet, as this misgovernance progressed, career politicians flocked to the PDP with flourish and funfare. Bastions of opposition parties in the Southwest and Northwest soon caved in to the tsunami of PDP imperialism. Common sense tells us that this attachment to the ruling party is founded on the perceived might of incumbency rather than on the merits of what the party stands for. There is indeed an unregistered political movement known as the association of any - government – in –power. And there is reason to believe that these itinerant politicians are in search of refuge from the dragnet of anti-corruption bodies. To date, no notable APC politician, except the odd one or two who defied the Presidency on the matter of legislative leadership, is facing charges for corruption and those indicted by other organs of state have been empowered with appointments.

But the truth and reality, which many tend to lose sight of, is that the power of incumbency, even in typically repressive African environment, may not confer the anticipated advantage to the ruling party in elections. And this outcome does not have to depend on a ‘subversion’ of the system by the opposing competitors. Neither the power of the ruling party nor the militancy of the opposition is supreme or absolute. Power is situational, but more importantly, human power is limited in time, space and scope. Supreme power resides only with divine authority. And it is unhelpful to deny the existence of God or to argue that God has no role in political matters or to gloss over the divine dimension in the study and appreciation of phenomena. At a time some would have loved to hold tenaciously to advances in science and technology as creating the self sufficiency of man and diminishing the concept of God, renowned mathematician, Gabriel Oyibo, rattled such confidence with his acclaimed God Almighty Grand Unified Theorem which establishes God as the source and summit of knowledge – and by extension, power. There is a lesson too in the resort by writers to the tool of deux ex machina for the resolution of complicated story plots. A classical instance of divine supremacy in human affairs is seen in the instantaneous rescue of the Israelites trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. History is replete with the heroic struggle of oppressed people who overcame assault rifles and mechanised tanks with the inner strength of moral conviction. Under the inspirational leadership of

Saint John Paul 11, the unarmed people of Poland dealt a mortal blow to communism in 1984 from which chain effect the atheistic institution collapsed worldwide. At the hour of engagement, the much vaunted apartheid war machine could not save the racist system from dissolution by the superior logic of civilisation. When the people of Philippines rose as one to call the bluff of Ferdinand Marcos’ veto of presidential election result, the strength of people’s solidarity forced him to flee. Armed only with prayers, Nigerians secured their freedom as divine authority stopped a rampaging Sani Abacha in his tracks. Against the wishes and plots of the ruling establishment, Peter Obi’s 2003 stolen mandate was retrieved without resort to a single act of violence. Let it be emphasised that the hand of divine intervention which has brought Anambra to its present point of promise and renewal is still very much at work in the State. Beyond the over – zealous and unhealthy calls for militarisation of the Anambra 2017 governorship process; we recognise that intimidation is part of the tactics for seeking to gain political advantage. It is in the interest of those who know that Obiano’s phenomenal achievements will dwarf them in the eyes of the Anambra electorate to play up the propaganda of might is right. It is a scare campaign that has to contend with the counterpoise of Nigeria’s role in enforcement of the electoral defeat of Gambia’s Yahaya Jammeh. Anambra has come a long way from the siege of fascists. Its non – violent revolution is set to win again because only God has the last say in the affairs of men. Afuba wrote from Nimo, Anambra State



EDITORIAL TARDINESS IN MAKING APPOINTMENTS President Buhari does not have the luxury of time anymore. He should speed up the system


n about two weeks’ time, it will be exactly one year that Mr. James Ocholi, SAN, Minister of State for Labour, died in an accident in March 2016. He is yet to be replaced thus denying Kogi State representation at the highest decision making organ of government. “This is wrong and unconstitutional,” said Daniel Makolo, a lawyer. “It is the duty and responsibility of all authorities and persons exercising executive, legislative or judicial powers in Nigeria to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of the constitution strictly.” Unfortunately, that has been the story of the Buhari administration. Midway into its four–year tenure it is confounding that the direction of the administration remains unclear, since it still appears, like its early days, to do with little or no assistance from aides. Despite being overlooked, the refusal to fill critical positions in government could constitute a significant destabilising factor with ripple effect on the polity. Indeed, the failure to replace sacked heads of the boards, ministries and departments, is tearing the ruling party apart and adding to the prevailTHE PRESIDENT SHOULD ing tension. SIT UP AND LAY OUT THE The federal governCONCRETE MEASURES ment had, on October HE INTENDS TO TAKE TO 26, 2015, inaugurated REVIVE THE ECONOMY an eight-man comAND END THE SUFFERINGS mittee headed by the Secretary to the OF NIGERIANS Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal for the reconstitution of the boards of federal agencies, parastatals and commissions. The terms of reference were clear: to determine and recommend to the president the governing boards of federal government agencies and commissions to be reconstituted immediately. Almost two years later, the vacancies exist. These include some critical and strategic boards. But perhaps nothing could describe the perverse state of governance than the length of time it is taking to clear ambassadors to represent the country abroad.

Letters to the Editor

We agree with President Buhari on the need to exercise the greatest circumspection in choosing his aides and other key government officials. It is also to be expected that he pays close attention to the need for geo-political balancing in critical positions, as enshrined in the constitution. But none of these can still stand as acceptable excuse for the long delay in giving character and direction to the government.




nd if issues that are constitutionally regulated are treated with laxity, others that are not restricted could wait forever. Indeed the administration’s policy inertia is compounding the ills of the economy. For instance, even with all the anticipated positive impacts of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on the oil and gas sector of the economy, it has remained mired in inexplicable stalemate, unable to find its way back to the legislature from the executive to which it was returned in 2014. The PIB aims to re-position the oil and gas industry for greater efficiency, openness and competition. Hopes that the advent of a new government would bring a sense of urgency to the review, presentation and passage of the all-important piece of legislation would appear to be misplaced. Almost two years after ascending power, the Buhari administration does not seem to have a grip on the way forward. While the executive deterred, the uncertainties created by the stalemate has confused investors and weakened their confidence, leading to massive divestment in the sector. President Buhari does not have the luxury of time. He should sit up and lay out the concrete measures he intends to take to revive the economy and end the sufferings of Nigerians who have been short-changed for far too long. The critical challenge in the economy and governance generally includes hiring men with ideas that will add value and improve performance. The administration will not get these by keeping its doors shut, leaving many of the boards and parastatals vacant. Government is a system. It functions at optimum level when everyone plays his or her parts.

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



s the anniversary of Lagos’ golden jubilee draws nearer, reminiscence over the state’s socio-political and economic development from inception till date is quite natural. In particular, efforts of the various pathfinders who worked to ensure that Lagos remains a true ‘Centre of Excellence’ is worth bringing into focus. Lagos, though in existence prior to 1967, became a state on May 27, 1967 when Nigeria was divided into 12 states under General Yakubu Gowon. In the past 50 years, Lagos has passed through varied social-economic and political phases and obviously a proper golden jubilee should serve as one that ushers in golden opportunities to showcase Lagos achievements and huge potential. That Lagos State holds a unique place in the socio-economic setting of the country is never in doubt. It has the largest economy, and attracts the most tourists. The state was the most important host of the nationalists’ struggles and many of the fight for social justice in the country, and full of edifices that was put in place to immortalise Nigeria’s heroes. Without reservation, one could look back to the time Lagos was grappling with challenges of being a federal capital to how it is now coping with the status of a mega city and appreciate the level of progress that has been attained since the state came into being. Prior to the Nigeria’s Second Republic, Lagos State was ruled by four military administrators with the first and longest serving being Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson who was the governor from May, 1967 to July, 1975.

The first three years of Johnson’s administration was the period Nigeria fought a bloody civil war resulting into massive wave of migration to Lagos. On the positive side, it is interesting to narrate that it was during the civil war that massive post-civil war development that changed the skyline of Lagos, especially the Lagos Marina, began. The wave of migration coupled with rapid industrial growth, thanks to the oil boom of the 1970s, led to the enlargement of build-up areas through government and private initiatives. Mobolaji Johnson has on his score sheet construction of the 60.7 kilometre international express road (Lagos- Badagry Expressway) that link Nigeria with the neighbouring countries of Benin, Ghana and Togo. His administration was also responsible for the construction of Eko Bridge and several networks of roads and bridges in the state and likewise the evolution of Lagos State civil service. On the negative side, before Alhaji Lateef Jakande came on board when Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1979, the state had gradually become a city with reverse development with population putting heavy pressure on its delicate infrastructure. So much pressure was on the state infrastructure that schools were being run on three shift system. Thus came to an end, the era of old Lagos where kids could play “hide and seek’’ without the fear of being knocked down by vehicles. ‘Eko for show’ had given way to ‘Eko gbole, o gbole’ (Lagos takes anything). However, all this was to really change during the Second Republic with the coming of the administration of Alhaji Lateef Jakande which was very effective and creative in the implementation of the

cardinal policies of his party, the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). He introduced housing and educational programmes targeting the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools and providing free primary and secondary education. He established the Lagos State University (LASU) and constructed over 30,000 housing units. He also started a metro line project to facilitate mass transit. The project was halted when his tenure as governor ended with the Buhari-Idiagbon military coup of December 31, 1983. From the period of military misrule until the enigmatic pathfinder of modern Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed came on board in 1999; Lagos had become Nigeria’s nemesis. Soon after he took over, Tinubu stamped both his vision and authority on the state, positively changing the face and reputation of Lagos. He broke away from development stereo types and against all odds, in spite of detractions and an acrimonious political climate, he was able to initiate and implement policies, programmes and projects that had enduring legacies.. With Tinubu’s exit came the eight years of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola(SAN) administration, during which the state moved from one level of advancement to another till the acclaimed ‘Actualiser’ handed over to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on May 29, 2015. Today, the doggedness and passion of Ambode for advancing the progress of Lagos has endeared him to diverse people. His passion for Lagos’s advancement is reflected in his agenda to turn the metropolis into 24-hour economy. Rasak Musbau, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos








Group Politics Editor Olawale Olaleye Email 08116759819 SMS ONLY


Masari: Shema’s Ordeal is a Lesson in Leadership Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari recently spoke to journalists in his office on the journey so far as well as the predicament of his predecessor, Ibrahim Shema, who is currently standing on corruption allegations, describing it as a huge lesson in leadership. Ibrahim Shuaibu presents the excerpts: How much success have you recorded in containing cattle rustling in the state and the entire North West? Well, you see, the process started way back in 2015, when we came on board. When we came in, it was at the highest point of insecurity, especially affecting nine of our local government that borders the forest areas up to Zamfara. First of all, we realised that the forest extended to Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna and Niger on this side, and we realised also that no one state can deal with the situation decisively except with the cooperation of other bordering states, because if we operate against the cattle rustlers in Katsina State on this side, they will just run into Kaduna, Kebbi or Niger State. So, we the five states – that is Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger – decided initially to meet in a common approach, because all the military formations are under Kaduna State. So, we all agreed among ourselves to sit with the military, the Air force, the customs (because they have helicopters they use for air surveillance), over the roles they play to combat smuggling, including the civil defence in order to identify and point out where the cattle rustlers are in the forests. So, after that meeting, we informed the president, who also directed the service chief, including the Chief of Defence Staff and the Head of Service. We sat with them and we agreed and Kaduna operation started last year. After that, we now decided that every state should come together and re-enforce all our security outfits. The joint security outfits were now mandated to start patrolling the trouble spots. So, after reaching a certain level, we now realised that we cannot permanently station the army and the police in the forests. The only thing was for us to negotiate. Lucky enough for us, the person that emerged as the chairman of the task force was the leader of Miyeti-Allah in Kaduna State (a Fulani man), an enlightened and educated person, who speaks the language and knows the culture.

What is happening to the former governor (Ibrahim Shehu Shema) today is a lesson to us all that are in office today. The same people who were clearing ways and road for him to pass are the same people who are blocking his way to freedom. I think this is a real lesson for our leaders. It is a lesson to leadership. It is not something that one should laugh at. But certainly, we as Nigerians, we have to draw a line – there is a certain level that we cannot descend

Masari...leaders must act right in office

He facilitated the meetings between us and the cattle rustlers. From the initial meetings, we learnt a lot. We learnt that over 95% of those in the forests are the criminals. They took up arms to defend themselves. Because when we came in, no Fulani man could cross the road, no Fulani woman could come to the market because they will be killed or slaughtered like chicken or animals. So, they ran into the forest, took up arms to also defend themselves. So the criminal elements among them capitalized on that. But there are some of them that have been in the forest for a very long time and they’ve never come out, though they are not criminals; they are not part of those that are raiding villages, killing and maiming. We now came up with the confidence-building. Though it took some time, as some of them took the courage, came out up to Katsina. We agreed that there is no better way than peace, because they are living in bondage in the forest. They have no access to school, no access to hospital, no access to market, the watering pumps, the dams and bridges in the forest have broken down. As for them, it was an opportunity to come out. If you go to those communities now, you will observe that life has returned there – people are going about their normal businesses; and normal cordial relationship has been re-established among the warring communities and the economic life of the communities has changed for the better. So, right now what we are working for is maintaining and sustaining the peace in those communities and I believe that we will be able to tackle the issue of herdsmen and farmers conflict. Going forward, which other area of concern do you intend to tackle as a state with almost equal zeal? I think education is one of the cornerstones of our agenda. You know, lack of education is partly responsible for what has happened between the herdsmen and the vigilante, who are protecting the community. You see, if there is sufficient and qualitative education, even if it is up to secondary school level, we wouldn’t have the escalation that we experience today. I remember there was a day former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was in Katsina, and there was an incident of herdsmen and community clash in Faskari which claimed the lives of over 200 people. I think if we address the issue of education

seriously, we would have done a lot. Apart from education, there must be access to health facilities. There should also be access to potable water. Another critical issue is agriculture. You know, the beauty of agriculture is that whatever the farmer sells goes to his pocket; whatever the livestock holder has goes to his pocket. So, if you want to empower the rural community, empower them on agriculture. That is the major difference between money from agriculture and money from oil because if say okay produce oil and sell it to ourselves, you find out that it is not possible and the oil money doesn’t go to that ordinary person, it goes to the multi-national oil companies and we end up with royalties. So, if you want to address the problem of Nigeria, you have to start with education. The consequence of insurgency is lack of education. In the North East, we have Boko Haram because there is lack of education, which contributed to the failure of the institutions. Ninety-nine per cent of Boko Haram insurgents were neither literate in Islamic or Western education, because if they were, they will know that that type of Jihad is not normal. The same thing with the Fulani herdsmen, where you have hundreds of thousands of children in the forest, and these children don’t go to school. They are stark illiterate and they begin to behave like the cattle in the forest and in return, they unleash their anger on the population. What do you reckon as solution to the leadership crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress in the North West? You see, I think you watch this wildlife documentary. You know, when Lion or Tigers are chasing a prey, everybody will see it; when the prey is down or is being killed, then, in terms of eating the meat, there will be serious quarrel among them and even those who are not participants like the Hyenas and the wild dogs that are not participants in the killing will come. So, the bigger ones among them, will always carry the meat and run away. If it is Leopard, it will take part of his own and climb the tree. But if that meat is not available, you will not see any of them fighting. They fight is because there is something to fight for, and that is why they are fighting. And again, there are two things that you have to accept. One, the fact that there are some problems that are historical and two, I think there is a jinx in Kano, which we are hoping the current leadership will break in the future,

because they were together since 1999 and I don’t think Kwankwaso or Ganduje can build any political alliance that will last to the time they have lasted. 1999 to 2015 is not a joke, and I seriously doubt if they can build such political alliance that can last for over 16 years with anybody. So, their political lives and careers are inter-twined. So, we thought with this political marriage and deep understanding between Kwankwaso and Ganduje, the political jinx in Kano would have been broken, because Malam Aminu Kano fell out with the late Abubakar Rimi, from then on, that of Sabo Barkinzuwo didn’t last more than three months. During the NRC and SDP, Kabiru Gaya parted ways with his people like Abba Dabo, his former SSG. The crack was visible. Kwankwaso came in 1999 and parted ways with Musa Gwadebe and others. So, when Shekarau came, with all what General Muhammadu Buhari did for him, they fell apart in ANPP. Kwankwaso in PDP and he fell out with the PDP again and joined the new PDP, later APC. So, we thought that at least this time, having been together for a long time, the jinx would have been broken. But we are working behind the scene to see how we can bring the two of them together so that they can stop what they are doing to themselves because the energy the government is spending, the energy Kwankwaso is spending, that energy could have been used for the development of Kano better than what is happening presently. The same goes for Kaduna. Kaduna you know is an amalgamation of various political groups that formed APC and these are the groups that are not really united. The groups are not united and the groups are the ones that produced the current governor (Nasir El-Rufai), which foundation has been the CPC and those in more of the opposition and new entrants from the new PDP, and those of the ACN and those of the ANPP. I think the inter-play in the political circle in Kaduna is more between these groups. So, really, you can see there is a slight difference between that of Kano and Kaduna. Looking at travails of your predecessor who has been facing charges by the EFCC for misappropriation of state funds, what have you done to bring back sanity and transparency in the finance of the state? You see, what is happening to the former governor (Ibrahim Shehu Shema) today is a lesson to us all that are in office today. The same people who were clearing ways and road for him to pass are the same people who are blocking his way to freedom. I think this is a real lesson for our leaders. It is a lesson to leadership. It is not something that one should laugh at. But certainly, we as Nigerians, we have to draw a line – there is a certain level that we cannot descend. We should listen to the voice of wisdom, especially those outside the government, because those working directly with you or under you may not have the courage to tell you the truth. They will hardly look you in the face and tell you the truth. For me, I like the truth no matter how bitter it is. Truth itself doesn’t hide, but the way it is said because there is a way which my messenger can come and advise me, and there are ways which if he comes and talk to me, I will consider it. So, it is the ways and means of how you tell the truth that matters. I always say this: it is not truth that is the problem but how it is said. As leaders, we should try to answer that word leader, because a leader means one that is in the front and others are following – whether in character or conduct or behavior or attitude – that is a leader. The problem we have today is that there are so many rulers, not leaders. Rulers are all over the place, but leaders are difficult to find.




A Growing Threat to Nigeria’s Unity Nigeria’s leadership must pay critical attention to growing ethno-religious sentiments, which pose a grave danger to the nation’s unity, writes Femi Fani-Kayode

We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism and we will not allow it to take root in our country... we will wipe it off the face of the earth”. - President Donald J. Trump. Now, that is a real President talking! Sadly our president does not possess such a mindset and neither does he share such a disposition. Unlike Trump, he does not have an aversion to such. Consequently he has refused to apprehend, caution, arrest or prosecute even one member of the radical Islamist Fulani supremacists and terrorists since he came to power in just two years, even though they have butchered thousands of innocent people, mostly Christians, burnt their homes and occupied their land. A few days ago, in a letter inviting President Goodluck Jonathan to make a presentation about the plight of Christians in Nigeria, the Chairman of the United States Congress Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International Organisations, Christopher Smith, wrote the following: “My subcommittee has broadly investigated the crises facing Christians in Nigeria today. My staff director, Greg Simpkins and I have made several visits to Nigeria, speaking with Christians and Muslim religious leaders across the country and visiting fire-bombed churches, such as in Jos. Unfortunately, Nigeria has been cited as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world and impunity for those responsible for the killing of Christians seems to be widespread”. When one considers the sheer horror that the Christians of northern Nigeria have been subjected over the last 56 years, can anyone dispute Smith’s assertion? Yet, it did not stop there. Mr. Douglas Murray, an influential and respected columnist in the United Kingdom’s Spectator Newspaper painted a graphic picture of what has become the norm in northern Nigeria rather well in a widely read essay titled: ‘Who Will Protect Nigeria’s Northern Christians?’ With contributions and interventions like this from our friends in the international community, it appears that the world is finally waking up and recognising the fact that northern Nigeria is in the grip of a great, blood-craving and blood-lusting evil. The frightful events that took place in Southern Kaduna over the Christmas holidays are still fresh in our minds and neither will we EVER forget them. Yet, sadly, the carnage did

This is evil. This is unacceptable. This is barbaric. This is condemnable. And whether anyone likes to admit it or not, this is Nigeria today. The only thing left to say is to pray that the souls of those that were slaughtered in cold blood rest in peace

Buhari...silence isn’t golden

not stop there. It continues on a regular and systematic basis. For example, 40 more Christians were killed and many of their houses were burnt to the ground by Islamist Fulani militias on February 1 in a town called Mummuye in the Lau Local Government Area of Taraba State. Little girls were raped and chopped up like barbecued spare ribs. Young boys were sodomised and beheaded. Grown men were castrated and hacked to pieces. Old men were gutted and sliced up like spring onions. And women, both young and old, were slowly tortured and violently violated in the presence of their husbands, children and grandchildren after which their throats were slit open and their blood drained into fly-infested gutters and the dark night soil. This is the work of heartless vampires and demons in human flesh. This is carnage and butchery in its rawest and most primitive form. This is a festival of horror and a frightful testimony of man’s inhumanity to man. This is evil. This is unacceptable. This is barbaric. This is condemnable. And whether anyone likes to admit it or not, this is Nigeria today. T he only thing left to say is to pray that the souls of those that were slaughtered in cold blood rest in peace. The Holy Bible says “fear not those that can kill the body but fear the one that can throw the soul into hell”. The Fulani jihadists and Janjaweed militias may be able to kill our bodies and take away all that is dear to us but, because we are believers and we are rooted in Christ, they cannot take our precious and eternal souls. The Holy Bible says “He who watches over Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers”. It says “many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him of them all”. These words bring life. They stir the spirit and they re-ignite soul. They are our strength, our hope and our salvation. They are the only redeeming factor in this entire ugly episode and unholy mess. They are the consolation that we have whilst the evil and the horror of Christian genocide and mass murder continuous to ravage and afflict our beleaguered people and plague our blood-soaked land. The truth is that I speak for millions when I say that we have had enough. And let me take this opportunity to let those that care to know, friend and foe alike, precisely what my mindset is and how this mindless slaughter and ethnic and religious genocide has shaped my thinking.

My politics and views are unapologetically right wing. They have always been and they always will be. I am proud to say that I belong to the far right when it comes to the political spectrum. I am an evangelical Christian and I am an ethnic nationalist. I believe in the right of the Yoruba people of south western Nigeria to have Oduduwa Republic if that is their wish. I believe in the right of the Igbo people of south eastern Nigeria to have Biafra if that is their wish. And I believe in the right of every ethnic nationality to exercise their right of self-determination if that is their wish. I believe that anything less than that is an assault on their freedom and an eloquent testimony to servitude and slavery. I believe that the sheer volume of innocent blood that has been spilled and shed on Nigerian soil has made the nation, as it is presently constituted, irredeemable and repugnant to God. It must be rededicated to the Lord and restructured and, failing that, it must be broken into two or more pieces. When it comes to the international plain, I support the strong men and women of our day: the visionaries and the nationalists whom I believe put the interests of THEIR countries first before anything else. For example, I love President Donald Trump of the United States of America and I admire President Vladimer Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel. I agree with most of their views and I support most of their right wing nationalist policies. I am also thrilled at the fact that they are all men of passion and conviction and that they are all men of strong faith. That is very important to me and I have a similar disposition. I respect Mr. Nigel Farage MEP of the United Kingdom’s UKIP, Madame Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front, Mr. Geert Wilders of Holland’s Freedom Party and virtually every other right wing European politician and leader. I believe that they are saying and doing what is best for their respective countries and people and I am constrained to say and do what is best for mine. Like them I believe that the greatest threat to humanity, the nation-state, the freedoms that we cherish and world peace today is the rising power of radical Islam and Islamist terror. In the Nigerian context, I believe that the greatest threat to the peaceful co-existence of our people today is the barbarity of the Islamic fundamentalists that are in our midst and the evil and sheer wickedness of the genocidal maniacs and murderous barbarians that are known as the Fulani militias and herdsmen. Any person that places the value of a cow higher than the life of a human being is not fit to be described as human. And that is the demonic disposition of those herdsmen that kill innocent men and women at the drop of a hat and that I have come to despise. They prey on the defenceless, the weak and the vulnerable and they drink and bathe in the blood of innocents and infants. I despise the concept of a hybrid mongrel state, where integration with ethnic and religious incompatibles is the norm and where I am expected to sacrifice my ethnicity and religious beliefs and faith on the altar of an artificial, iniquitous and cruel man-made mega-nation. Given what the Christian community in northern Nigeria has been subjected to for the last one year and seven months, I despise and have nothing but contempt for that concept and I pray every day for the restructuring or redefinition of Nigeria. This is because, in my view, the rest of us have nothing in common with the core

northern Fulani herdsmen and militias and their friends and sponsors in high places. We come from a different world and espouse a different tradition. Keeping us together in one nation is like putting two big lions together in a small cage. One may be dominant for a while but when the second one comes of age and has had enough, all hell will break loose and they will fight to the death. At the end of that struggle, only one of them will be left standing. That is where we have got to in Nigeria today. It is time to open the cage and let us go before we kill each other. A so-called nation where 808 people are killed by Islamist Fulani militias on the eve of Christmas and Christmas day in Southern Kaduna simply because they are non-Fulanis and they are Christians is not a nation: it is an abattoir. It is instructive to note that President Goodluck Jonathan is the only former President of Nigeria that has had the courage to speak out against the killing of Christians in the north. He analysed the matter in a comprehensive and extensive manner and he proffered solutions to the problem in a presentation to the United States House Sub-Committee on Africa, in Washington D.C. on February 1st 2017. He said, inter alia: “Your invitation letter profusely highlighted the issues of the killing of Christians in Nigeria, the last major incident being the recent killings in Southern Kaduna in Kaduna State. The challenge is how do we stop that from recurring? “How do we ensure that Christians and Muslims cohabit peacefully in Nigeria and practice their religions freely without discrimination, molestation and killings? One school of thought believes that these killings re-occur because of impunity. Security and law enforcement bodies unfortunately have a history of failing to apprehend the culprits of previous killings and disturbances and punishing according to the law. Such impunity has emboldened and encouraged persons with such tendencies... If, as a nation, we do not kill religious persecution and extremism, then religious persecution and extremism will kill Nigeria. “The potential danger associated with the level of conflicts going on across the country is so glaring that no sane mind can ignore it...The Boko Haram Islamic terrorist sect has been classified as the most deadly terror group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index. Herdsmen operating in and around Nigeria are listed as the fourth most deadly terror group... My belief is that the day the U.S. government and the Russian government decide to work together, that will surely mark the beginning of the end of global terror”. President Jonathan’s intervention and counsel is gratifying and it gives us hope. I commend him for his courage. As for the other so-called leaders, including former Heads of States and Presidents, that have refused to condemn, show concern or proffer solutions to the nefarious and abominable activities of the Fulani militias and the religious genocide that is taking place in the north, one thing remains clear: the blood of those that were slaughtered is on their hands as much as it is on the hands of those that are doing the killing. Why? Because they have joined hands with this government and decided to turn a blind eye to what is fast turning into the greatest and most comprehensive catalogue of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and mass murder in African history. I wonder how they can sleep well at night? God is watching! -Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation




Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email

Reinventing Waste Management in Lagos In this report, Joseph Ushigiale examines the attempt by the Akinwunmi Ambode administration to revolutionise and create a win-win situation in waste management


here is an ongoing race among cities globally today and the main objective or target of the race is for the cities: to transform from their present small time status to megacities. Historically, there are several success stories and well documented remarkable accounts across continents of slums that weathered the storms to transform to megacities. Thus cities that readily come to mind and are tangible testimonies of this transformation are New York in the United States of America, Tokyo in Japan, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, London in the United Kingdom and Lagos in Nigeria. Lagos is indeed a classic case because even former governor and current leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu acknowledged that “we met Lagos as a slum in 1999 when we took.” History of Megacities… In the words of The World Population History “The urban shift over time has led to the emergence of the megacity – a city with a population of 10 million or more. New York City and Tokyo were the first known megacities, both reaching an urban conglomeration of over 10 million by the 1950s. But today they are far from alone in their size. In 2014 there were 28 megacities across the planet – from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Lagos, Nigeria and London, England to Shanghai, China – and all major global regions except Oceania are marked with megacities.” So what then qualifies a city to be named a megacity? According to Wikipedia’s definition, a megacity is usually defined as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of 10 million people. A megacity can be a single metropolitan area or two or more metropolitan areas that converge. The terms conurbation, metropolis and metroplex are also applied to the latter. Industrial revolution which swept across Europe and Americas forced urban migration and population upsurge in unlikely places which hitherto were slums but through providence became sources of raw material of production bases. According to the World Population History urban population was three per cent in 1800 when compared to the 2008 figures which grossed over 50 per cent. Throughout history, cities have attracted people as centers of culture, religion, learning, and economics. Looking back, the first wave of urban migration took place in what are today’s more developed countries, especially in Europe and North America. But looking ahead, 90 per cent of the future urban increase is expected to take place in Asia and Africa, and it is projected that close to two-thirds of all people will be calling cities home by 2050. Ambode’s 3rd Largest City Ambition It is this race against time that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is currently engaged in the most ambitious city transformation in the entire country. In almost two years since he assumed office, Ambode has sectorally allocated resources to bring about the change that will in no time crown Lagos as a truly mega city. At the 14th annual lecture of Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) held at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos with a theme: ‘Living Well Together, Tomorrow: The Challenge of Africa’s Future Cities’. He announced that the prime goal of his administration is to grow the state from fifth to third largest economy in Africa by 2020. Specifically, the governor noted that the main objective of his administration remained the growth of Lagos from fifth to third largest economy in Africa, which he said formed the heart of his government. Ambode explained the significance of infrastructure projects his administration had been executing in strategic sectors of Lagos economy, noting that it was directed at up scaling the status of

A LAWMA official collecting waste from the streets

the state. He explained that the establishment of massive lay-bys, rehabilitation of innercity roads and the construction of flyovers in different parts of the state were designed to end the challenges of urbanisation.

Having set the legal groundwork, we adopted a holistic approach to addressing the unique problems of this mega city of 22 million people and designing a sustainable waste management system. In collaboration with the Ministries of the Environment, Justice, Urban and Physical planning we have developed strategies for regulation, enforcement and most importantly financing to support the initiatives. Over the past 10 months, these efforts have been shaped into The Cleaner Lagos Initiative

To realise this prime goal, Ambode insisted that yellow buses would be removed from Lagos roads for a more efficient, well-structured and world class mass transportation system that would facilitate ease of movement within the city. He said the present connectivity mode in the state was not acceptable and befitting for a mega city, and as such, a well-structured transportation mode would soon be put in place to address the challenge. Ambode said: “When I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses, commercial motorcycles and all kinds of tricycles, and we claim we are a mega city, that is not true. We must first acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running. New Waste Management Policy Another area the governor said the state government was also looking at was its desire to embark on massive reform in waste management system, expressing optimism that the plan “will be actualised by July this year.” From a global perspective, cities across the world produce 1.3 billion tons of waste annually all of which place huge demand on resources and logistics and the dire consequences of an epidemic of these waste are left unattended to and poison both water and environment. Nigeria, on the other hand generates more than 32 million tons of solid waste annually and according to the Managing Director of Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), Engr. Abdul Wahab Ogunbiyi, the rate of waste generated by residents has hit 13,000 metric tonnes on a daily basis and therefore becomes imperative for the formulation of a holistic approach to tackle the accompanied challenges. Ambode said “We are also embarking on massive reform in the waste and sanitation management system. I don’t like the way the city is and the Private Sector Participants (PSP) collectors are not having enough capacity to do it but again should I

tax people to death, the answer is no. “I do not want to tax people, and so we need this partnership with the private sector so that it can invest in the sanitation management of the city and in no time, maybe by July, the city will change forever.” The State Government last year, proactively signed a $135 million (N85 billion) agreement with a foreign firm as part of its new waste management policy, a partnership under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative expected to last for four years. To walk the talk, Ambode has directed the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), to stop the collection of waste bills, while instructing that all payments should be remitted to the coffers of Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators, just as the government also canceled the monthly environmental sanitation exercise. The State’s Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, in a recent interview with a national daily said the investment, which will kick off soon involved the deployment of over 600 Mercedes Benz compactors and the engagement of street sweepers in all wards in the state, while private sector operators would be restricted to handle commercial waste. Adejare also stated that the new policy would involve closure of existing landfill sites, creation of transfer loading stations in local councils and deployment of over one million ultra-modern waste bins with censors to monitor their movement against theft. He said this was aimed at introducing new technology into waste management in the state. He stressed that the decision to contract waste management under a Public Private Participation (PPP) arrangement was because of the high cost which he said the state could not afford because of limited resources. Under the reform, Adejare said three colour coded waste bags would be distributed to homes for different kinds of waste.



FEATURES “The result of this new arrangement is that waste disposal will no longer be a challenge as efficient system will be on ground for effective management which will eventually eradicate cart pushers in the process,” he said. Angst against New Policy But as the state government gets set to drive its new waste management initiative, the current waste managers are up in arms and may likely head to court to challenge the new policy which they say will short change and put them out of work. According to a policy document made available to THISDAY, it was gathered that the administration did a scoping study that thoroughly assessed the current situation of the waste management infrastructure in Lagos, the state government acknowledged “systemic failures and hence started revising the legislative framework to harmonise the various laws on environment into a single law to allow for a more convenient administration of the law and management of the environment. There has also been an emphasis on putting in place an elaborate and standardized regulation of the environment of Lagos. “Having set the legal groundwork, we adopted a holistic approach to addressing the unique problems of this mega city of 22 million people and designing a sustainable waste management system. In collaboration with the Ministries of the Environment, Justice, Urban and Physical planning we have developed strategies for regulation, enforcement and most importantly financing to support the initiatives. Over the past 10 months, these efforts have been shaped into The Cleaner Lagos Initiative,” it stated. It defined the role of the PSPs in the restructuring of the waste management system in Lagos going forward to be to serve the commercial sector of the state; adding that “the positive impact that PSPs efforts have had over the years on the Lagos landscape is undeniable. However, we cannot deny that we need a comprehensive waste management system that is world standard. Currently, we do not have an existing structure in place to support those endeavours. “The restructuring will benefit PSPs because the state plans to introduce new environmental policies and laws that not only protect the citizens and the environment but all waste management operators who painstakingly invest the resources into helping with the clean-up of Lagos.” It was gathered that the investment in the waste management will address the major challenge being faced by operators by ensuring that sanitary landfills are constructed across the state. Furthermore, “the proposed environmental law requires all commercial entities to have a valid contract with a registered operator, these contracts will prove to be a valuable component for any serious-minded operator with sustainable plans for growth.” Allaying the fears of the current PSPs, the document detailed that “The restructuring creates new operational parameters, which will see the existing PSPs (private sector participants) working in the commercial and public sectors. The law makes new provisions that protect the interests of existing investments by requiring all commercial entities to have a valid and enforceable contract with a registered operator. There are over 10,000 registered commercial businesses in Lagos so the PSPs are still very much relevant in waste stream management in Lagos State.” It recognised that the dynamic opportunities in the waste industry has made the currently ineffective and mismanaged industry rife with profitable opportunities. Businesses with the adept capabilities will be able to make significant impact on Lagos’s waste problem and establish a viable business. It therefore recommended that sustainable long-term funding is needed at both the state and local levels to support the efforts needed to reach the state’s goals. Therefore, “systematic planning is critical to the long-term success of this comprehensive plan we have for Lagos State. We have worked to improve safety and security by boosting the security forces, the emergency response capabilities and by improving lighting,” it stated On the likelihood of pressing ahead with reforms in the waste management system, the Ambode’s administration says “We are now turning our focus to sanitation and the environment- there is no denial that the system is flawed. This administration has chosen to

Heap of refuse at Coconut bus-stop on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway

Ambode...wants a cleaner Lagos

take the bull by the horns and address the challenges within waste management that are affecting our health, our economy and the very livelihoods of future generations to come in a phased, strategic and successful

We are now turning our focus to sanitation and the environmentthere is no denial that the system is flawed. This administration has chosen to take the bull by the horns and address the challenges within waste management that are affecting our health, our economy and the very livelihoods of future generations to come in a phased, strategic and successful manner

Typical Lagos street sweepers

manner.” According to the administration, the new policy will help address the current arrangement with LAWMA/PSP operators which it said was not working because collection service levels are low and lack of effective waste management practices. For instance, it pointed at improper disposal of medical waste instead of incineration, sporadic collection; causing accumulation of refuse dumps in public areas which are a health hazard. It disclosed that the state’s Ministry of Environment spends a large proportion of operational budget on the collection, transportation and disposal of waste; yet it floods when it rains due to disposal of plastic bags and bottles in canals and drainage system; it also accounts for major traffic gridlock especially during rainy season. Environmental problems such as air and water pollution, diseases, and deterioration of the environment because of poor practices have adverse socio-economic consequences. Going forward, the administration said its new policy would establish strict, secure regulatory framework which will designate LAWMA to acts as policy-making and regulatory arm and KAI will be rebranded as THE Lagos State Environmental Corps Agency and will act as an enforcement unit. In appealing for understanding and for the citizenry to embrace the new reforms, the administration rationalised that “Lagos State is at critical levels of pollution and we must change course because our children’s lives and future depend on it. The environmental burden of disease- the biggest childhood killers- pandemics such as cholera, diarrheal diseases and malaria are due to preventable environmental causes.”

The Win-win Scenario It said when fully implemented, the new policy will create 27,500 new jobs for Community Sanitation Workers (CSWs) who will be responsible for street cleaning and sweeping, drainage management; adding that salaries are already fixed at N18,500 per month which are above the federally approve minimum wage. Other benefits that have been lined up for the CSWs are tax relief which will ensure that the CSWs’ salaries are tax free in addition to the provision of insurance benefits with cover for health and life, accident and injury for all sanitation workers as well as pension scheme for all sanitation workers who will only be allowed to work in their immediate communities hereby eliminating transportation costs. Clean Lagos Initiative Goals With the new reforms, the goals of the CLI will be to improve the quality of water, address treatment of waste water and sewage which are currently being dumped into the waterways without treatment first and to engage in environmental remediation projects to address degradation due to poor environmental practices; it is also expected to reduce the accumulation of solid waste by promoting reduce, reuse, recycle; improve air quality by reducing greenhouse emissions and air pollutants by enacting legislation so vehicles, machinery and generators meet safe emission standards. Other goals are to ensure that in public areas, that people stop littering and engage in improper disposal of waste in drainage systems; clean up markets and ensure food vendors maintain health standards and lower crime rate with the job creation scheme.



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L-R: The Executive Secretary, Federal Government staff Housing loans Board, Dr. (Mrs) Hannatu Adamu; Director General Bureau Of Public Service Reform (BPSR), Dr. Joe Abbah and Director Reform Coordination, BPSR, Mr. Aloysious Tsado, during the lunch time seminar organized by the BPSR in Abuja... recently ENOCK REUBEN

L-R: Representative, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ifunanya Ike; Etisalat Nest Egg Promo winner, Abdurshir Abdukadir; Head, Digital Media, Bolanle Afuye; and Manager, Digital Media, Etisalat Nigeria, Chimezie Okonkwo during the presentation of gifts to winners of Etisalat Nest Egg Promo in Lagos... recently

FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Belo (left) and Chairman, National Implementation Committee on Curtailment of Cattle Rustling in Nigeria, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Charles Ugumuoh, during tne visiit of the committee members to the Minister in AbujaÖrecently.

L-R;Retail Head, Lagos & South-west Region of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Funmilola Paseda; some of the winners at the draws of the FCMB Flexx Account Promo, Albert Adeyemi and Gbenga Ojuri, and Deputy Manager, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mr. Francis Afam, during the draws of the Flexx Account Promo in Lagos...recently

L-R- Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Director of Finance, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Sani Garba and Managing Director/CEO, SystemSpecs Mr. John Obaro during a two-day Retreat on the one year anniversary of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in Abuja ...recently

L-R, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Mustpha Bala; National Chairman Association of Polio Survivors of Nigeria, Misbahu Lawal Didi; Director General Budget office, Mr. Ben Akabueze; Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Danjuma Goji; Wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Bukola Saraki and Country Representatives of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mairo Mandara during the ongoing National Assembly joint committee on Appropriations on 2017 Budget hearing iin Abuja...recently

L-R;Governor Emeritus Rotary International, Dr. Mike Omotosho; his wife. Misi; a widow, Mrs. Victoria Ishaya and President, Cultural Ambassadors Foundation, Mrs. Paula Achichie, during the presentation of monetary giifts to some widows by the Cultural Ambassador Foundation to celebrates 2017 Valentine in Abuja...recently




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Quick Takes US Consulate Holds Google Hangout


L-R: Director, Unity Bank Plc, Richard Gboyega Asabia, MD/CEO, Unity Bank, Mrs. Tomi Somefun; President, Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN), Sir Steve Omojafor and a former Vice President of BDAN & member of Council, Mrs. Foluke Abdulrazak during a courtesy visit to Unity Bank Head OďŹƒce, Lagos ... recently

NBCC: Nigeria Must Look Inwards to Address Critical Challenges Stories by Emma Okonji In full support for the policies of the US President, Donald Trump, which seeks to close borders against migrants and focus on how to liberate the US economy, the President of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Adedapo Adelegan has called on the federal government to begin to look inwards and close her borders to other African countries, in other to address the decay in the country’s infrastructure and educational system. Adelegan gave the advice in Lagos at a press conference to announce the activities marking the chamber’s 40th anniversary, which will include a trade mission to the United Kingdom,

ECONOMY to promote made-in -Nigeria goods. According to him, the emergence of Donald Trump as US President, “means a new world order�, which he said, has both the positive and negative side of governance. He said Nigeria must emulate the positive side, which has brought about end of globalisation, as against the promotion of globalisation in the last 20 years where advocacy on countries without borders was on the front burner. “Countries including America were initially trying to create a borderless society where there will be free movement of commodities and persons,

encouraging people to work in any country of choice, and that helped the growth of global economy. Globalisation helped in two ways: It helped in increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, such that the beneficiaries of globalisation are the rich countries. The gap has so much widened that except something like this happened, there will be global explosion,� Adelegan said. He said Trump’s first step approach to bridge that gap, by putting the people first, and making them the centre of government is in the right direction, because it will help America to address immigration challenges, since the migrants will always go to where the

economy is already established, rather than developing their own economies. With Trump’s policy, we will likely see a world in 10 years time, that will begin to look inwards and borders will be closed as against globalisation. What he is doing presently by shutting the American borders is as a result of the consequences and realities of globalisation, and Nigeria must take a cue from that, Adelegan said. According to him, Nigeria must do the same and close its borders to other African countries, in order to grow the Nigerian economy in the right direction, because Nigeria has been ‘Father Christmas’ to many Continued on page 24

Telecoms VAS Operators Raise the Alarm over Market Decline Value Added Service (VAS) operators, who are responsible for content generation in the telecoms business, have expressed concern over sharp market decline in content generation, which they attributed to market monopoly. They are therefore calling on the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to quickly intervene in order to save the telecoms market from total collapse. According to the operators, Nigerian government, along with other African countries, has been lauded for its information and communications technology (ICT) liberilisation policy and for creating competitive environment for the players in the telecommunications sector.

TELECOMS They attributed the tremendous growth of mobile telephony in Nigeria, to the investment drive and collaboration of private mobile operators in the country, especially the contribution of VAS operators in providing relevant content for the growth of the telecoms industry. Citing a recent paper delivered by the Managing Director of GTS-Infotel Nigeria, Dr. Ing Pierre-François, which observed that in spite of the high growth of mobile subscribers in the country, the specific market of mobile VAS services is not still well structured for a sustainable development of the market segment, as it is still running under a ‘tolerance regime’, the

VAS operators have called on the NCC, to take a closer look at some of its policies that are still not favourable to VAS operators in Nigeria. From our own market analysis, we observe that despite the increasing number of licenced VAS/Shortcodes providers, the market is on perpetual decline. This is mainly due to the fact that the premium SMS shortcodes business which is mainly dedicated for the commercialisation of mobile content, is completely under control of mobile network operators (MNOs), who impose their technical and commercial terms to licenced VAS/SMS shortcode providers, and especially with regard to the unfair revenue share for the service provision, the VAS operators said.

According to them “moreover, we also noticed an increasing demand for longcodes from various kinds of businesses especially in the domain of the cloud unified communication and multichannel call centre, to mention a few. While about six companies have been licensed to provide special numbering services in the past two years, none has been allocated with a range of VAS long numbers except the first licensee who is operating the 0700 and 0800 ranges since 2005 under a monopoly situation.� This undue delay of NCC to allocate VAS long numbers to new licencees have serious negative impact on their business and leave them bewildered Continued on page 24




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MD, Background Check International Mr. Kola Olugbodi



   NBCC: NIGERIA MUST LOOK INWARDS TO ADDRESS CRITICAL CHALLENGES African countries, yet there are lots of rots inside. It is time the government of Nigeria begins to look inwards and address internal issues affecting the country. “Nigeria claims to be the giant of Africa, solving the challenges of other African countries, yet we do not have a functional railway system to address our transportation system. Our infrastructure has decayed yet government is busy supporting the sustainability of other African countries. Government needs to focus on issues affecting the country and the masses. We need housing schemes that will shelter Nigerians who do not have money to rent houses, and all these must be addressed by government.� Our education system is in disarray, universities are not graduating students with technical skills and we do not have artisans to do maintenance jobs, like vehicle maintenance, electrical maintenance in homes and offices, welding jobs among others, and these challenges can only be fixed if the federal government looks inward, Adelegan said. TELECOMS VAS OPERATORS RAISE THE ALARM OVER MARKET DECLINE as to what to do with their licenses in addition to the loss of investors confidence already being experienced. In addition, these unnecessary delays further create the fear of a deliberate creation of a monopoly without giving any room for competitiveness and creativity. The questions in the mind of many are: What is actually causing the delay in the allocation of the numbering plan to these licensees? If there are grey areas to sought out why are the Licensees kept in the dark, instead of seeking their opinion on resolving any of such issues whether apparent or real. Will the License duration be extended to cover these periods that have elapsed, and when actually will the numbers be made available to the Licensees? These are some of the questions that VAS operators are asking the NCC, while seeking clarification on the matter.

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Funding, Infrastructure Threaten DSO Target Stories by Emma Okonji The Managing Director of Integrated Television Services (ITS), Rotimi Salami, has expressed concern over possible threat that may derail Nigeria’s Digital Switchover (DSO), slated to hold June 20, 2017. According to him, one of the signal distributors licensed for the digital switch over in Nigeria, has highlighted funding and adequate infrastructure as very crucial to achieving the DSO deadline, adding, without these and other necessary logistics, the process may run into brick-walls. The ITS boss made the remarks during the recent visit of the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, led by its Chairman, Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi, to ITS office in Jos, Plateau State. “Generally, the challenge we are having is funding and government money is not just spent anyhow you want, there is a process and this process is guided by principles. For example, we inherited infrastructure from the NTA but we need to replace analogue equipment. We have to install infrastructure and we need N45 billion to put effective infrastructure that will cover Nigeria, we need support to realise our goal.� Salami said, while commending the House Committee for the visit, stating that “The coming of the House Committee on Information on oversight visit is a welcome development because the migration process will be smoother than it presently is.� During the visit, the committee members also expressed concerns about how the new deadline would be met with almost all relevant parties to the project having one complaint or the other. They also declared the whole process illegal as it lacks legislation and National

Assembly approvals for funds already spent. The Odebunmi-led committee, which visited the zonal offices of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and ITS in Jos, said it discovered among other challenges that there is no law backing the DSO as the International Telecoms Union (ITU) treaty signed by Nigeria as a member country has not been domesticated in the National Assembly. Similarly, it also discovered lack of funds as an impediment, considering that there has been no appropriation for the DSO since inception of the process and even the 2017 budget makes no provision for such activity. According to Odebunmi,

“With the ongoing recession and subsidy paid per set-top box for the 30 million projected beneficiaries, one wonders how N45 billion required to put effective infrastructure which will cover the entire country and give good signals would be realised. Odebunmi and his colleagues frowned at the process saying, “the National Assemblies in other African countries are being carried along but that is not the case in Nigeria.� According to them, operating based solely on executive policy or order will make the programme difficult to sustain. “There are lots of work to do, what are the plans to cover the entire country as the National Assembly is not informed about the issue of set top boxes

and a bill has not even been introduced to enable its passage for us to switch-over.� Since there has been no legal backing for the entire process, the lawmakers wondered where the money so far spent on the process was coming from saying, “this process is not backed by law hence there is no budget for it, there is a lacuna. For the lawmakers, this means the money spent on subsidising the set-top boxes are funds released illegally. If it is legal, it ought to have been accommodated in the budget proposal.� He further noted that the visit was not to witch-hunt anyone but “our coming to Jos means we mean business.� What we met here are challenges upon challenges and we are trying to

see how we can work together with the executive arm of government, especially with the Information and Culture Minister to see how we can solve the problem of digital switchover. We are sure that working together with the executive arm, we are going to overcome the challenges. “Another part of the challenge which we are looking at is how NTA can meet up with the deadline of June 20, 2017 with these challenges on ground? But that will not stop us from moving on, the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari is that we must meet the deadline but as long as we are moving, many others will be joining as we look for ways to meet up, Odebunmi said.


L-R: Director, Infrastructure Business Unit Inlaks, Tope Dare; Principal Solutions Engineer, DCIM Solutions, Middle East and Africa (MEA), Vertiv, Gary Harris; Team Lead, Enterprise Systems, Union Bank Nigeria, Charles Arabome; Sales Manager, DCIM Solutions (MEA), Vertiv, Ian Paul, and Director, Value Added Services, Inlaks, Koyejo Oladimeji, during the Inlaks/Vertiv forum on Data Centre Ecosystem in Lagos... recently

Minister Laments Low Access NBC: Radio Communication Will Unite Agric to Loans By Cooperatives Communities The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Is’haq Modibbo Kawu has encouraged Nigerians, especially those in small communities to adopt the habit of listening to radio communication, insisting that it will help unite the Nigerian communities. Kawu, who gave the advice during the world radio day celebration in Abuja this week, stated that the Commission recognises radio as uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audience and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face in our country today. The DG NBC said: “As we journey towards digital terrestrial television broadcasting the Commission wishes to emphasise that radio remains a powerful instrument for peace, empowerment, development and

social inclusion for people of diverse backgrounds, orientation and social status such as ours; and deserves to be used responsibly for the benefit of our country�. Kawu therefore urged radio broadcasters to recognise that the freedom of expression must be exercised with great responsibility and sensitivity, high professional ethics and self-regulatory principles. He emphasised that they must focus on programmes that address issues concerning peace and patriotism,while they use their programmes to proffer solutions to the problems of corruption, religious intolerance and ethnic crisis which are being used by unscrupulous elements to divide the unity of the country. Nigerian broadcasters are also enjoined to see themselves as positive agents of change who have the responsibility to foster the progress and peace of our country, Nigeria. They should therefore place patriotism and love for country above all

other and show same in their programming. The world radio day is celebrated every February 13, to foster freedom of expression. It is a day set aside by the United Nations and recognised worldwide as a global day to celebrate radio broadcast, improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters and encourage decision makers to create and provide access to information through radio including community radios. It is an occasion for countries to draw attention to the uniqueness of radio, which remains the most readily available medium that can disseminate information in times of need and emergencies to the widest and most diverse audience within the shortest period of time. UNESCO on the World Radio Day celebration for 2017, focused on freedom of expression as an inalienable human right set down in Article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights.

Minister of Agriculture Chief Audi Ogbeh has expressed worry over the low access to credit facilities by cooperative societies in the country despite the various windows provided by government. Ogbeh made the observation when he addressed the 6th meeting of the National Council on Cooperative Affairs which opened at the Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre Minna Niger State on Tuesday. “It is pertinent to note at this point that one major problem bedeviling the cooperative sector is low access to credit for agricultural activities from financial service providers despite the several agricultural credit windows provided by government through commercial agricultural credit schemes, micro small and medium enterprise development fund, fund for agricultural financing.� He noted that cooperative societies are the instruments for driving the nation’s agricultural and cottage industries, and urged that deliberate measures

should be taken to “make the requirements in accessing these funds more friendly to the illiterate and semi literate rural poor who are the actual targets of these funds.� The minister, who was represented at the event by a Director in the Ministry Mrs. Janet Jiya, challenged cooperative societies “to see their activities first and foremost as a business, the very same way agriculture is seen today.� “Cooperative is thus expected to work hard along diverse value chain, to justify the recommendation of the United Nations and other international agencies as the major alternative and fastest growing business model, to empower and transform the rural communities�, he stressed. Ogbeh said the ministry in order to achieve the desired Cooperative Reforms would vigorously pursue the release and passage of the reviewed Cooperative Societies Acts, and Subsidiary legislation by the Ministry of Justice and the National Assembly


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Stimulating Interest in Satellite Technology The emergence of a Nigerian as regional winner in the poster category for the DStv Eutelsat satellite competition, underscores Nigerian’s desire for satellite technology, writes Emma Okonji and well known writer, columnist and lawyer from Tanzania.

For six years running, Eutelsat and MultiChoice Africa have been championing the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards across Africa, which seeks to create awareness and interest among African students in the areas of science and satellite technology. Although it has been an annual competition among students within the age bracket of 14 and 19 years, Nigerian students have always entered for the competition, but have never won, until the 6th edition in 2016, when Emmanuel Ochenjele, from CDM Academy, Gboko, Benue State, emerged the overall winner at the regional level in the poster category of the awards. Students from other African countries won in the essay competition as well as runner-ups in both essay and poster categories. The winners were announced in Lagos, Nigeria in the presence of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Mr. Sunny Echono, who represented the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu. Nigeria did not only win at the regional level for the first time in six years since the competition started, the announcement of winners was also done in Nigeria for the first time. Pleased with Emmanuel Ochenjele for making Nigeria proud, Echono commended students, who submitted entries in both categories from over 200 schools across Nigeria, for their interests in satellite technology. According to him, the competition has succeeded in stimulating the interests of Nigerians and other African students in the areas of sciences and satellite technology, which he said remained relevant in today’s new technological age. Echono commended Eutelsat and MultiChoice for the initiate and urged Nigerian students to be challenged by the competition and go all out to win at the regional and national levels of the satellite technology competition. How winners emerged According to the organisers of the competition, it is an annual event designed to stimulate the interests of young students in the areas of science and satellite technology. For last year’s competition, over 200 schools across Nigeria sent in entries, that were adjudged by local jury drawn from professional bodies, academia and the media, who are science and technology inclined. The students were asked to imagine themselves as satellite engineers and to design a satellite, stating its functions and abilities to address African challenges in the new age of technology. Entries received were adjudged by the selected local jury and students from Zamani College in Kaduna and CDM Academy, Gboko, Benue State, emerged winners. The winning entries were later subjected to another round of competition at the regional level, which comprises winners

“Nigeria did not only win at the regional level for the first time in six years since the DStv Eutelsat satellite technology competition started, the announcement of winners at the sixth edition of the competition, which was held last year, was also done in Nigeria for the first time in six years”

Determining winning factors According to Haigneré, all members of the jury looked at in-depth innovation and the fresh value that their satellite in discussion could add to satellite design and functionality. All members of the jury had to agree on the best performance, even though it was quite tasking to come to a consensus. When the winning poster was eventually selected, we did not know it was from Nigeria, until after the final selection. We were thorough in our judgement based on the criteria for selection, which cuts across innovativeness, creativity, knowledge about satellite technology, accuracy, and referencing. Haigneré said Africans should be keen in designing and building their own satellite and that awareness creation like the satellite competition, could help achieve the goal. “In the next five years, we want to see Africans who have desire and the technical skills to design and build satellite for Africa. Africans need to develop the confidence and skills to develop satellite and we are ready to support the initiative”, Haigneré added. Discussing the criteria for selection, Director, Corporate Communications Eutelsat Violaine du Boucher, said although there were criteria for selection, but those who made it to the top five, where those that had their research beyond Google search. What most of them did was to go to Google to copy the functions of a satellite. But we were looking beyond that. As judges, we were looking the new things that satellite could do for communities in the new age of digital technology. The students that won, went beyond Google and looked at what their satellite could do to help communities in addressing their needs, and they were able to identify those needs, as they relate to new age digital technology. Some of them looked at what scientist are currently working on for future satellite and those are some of the criteria that we used in judging them and in selecting winners.

Communications satellite, beaming its rays on planet earth

and runner-ups from various Africa countries. In Nigeria, Zumia Abdulkari, from Zamani College, Kaduna, emerged as the runner-up for the poster category, while two other students from Zamani College, Kaduna, emerged winner and runner up in the essay category of the competition. At the regional competition, Ochenjele, from CDM Academy, Gboko, Benue State, who also won at the local level, emerged the overall winner in the poster category, while Aobakwe Letamo from Botswana was the runner-up in the same category. For the essay competition, Leoul Mesfin from Ethiopia won, while Davids Bwana from Tanzania, was the runner-up in the same category. Announcing the winners in Nigeria last week, the organisers said in the essay category, Leoul Mesfin from Ethiopia, impressed the judges as the entry considered continental and country specific needs and closely aligns to the topic. Ochenjele from Nigeria was selected at the regional level, for his depiction of diverse satellites all contributing towards the advancement of solutions to challenges such as global warming, conservation of biodiversity, as well as stable energy supply. The prizes As part of the winning prizes, Mesfin will join a trip to Paris and onwards to a launch site to witness a rocket blast into space to place a satellite into orbit. The runner-up, Bwana from Tanzania will join a trip for two to visit MultiChoice facilities and the South African National Space Agency near Johannesburg. Ochenjele will visit Eutelsat in Paris to

understand how satellites are operated as well as a satellite factory. Letamo from Botswana will also have an opportunity to visit satellite launch. The four winning schools attended by the overall award winners and runners-up were also rewarded with a DStv installation, including dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Bouquet. The Jury Europe’s leading female astronaut and now Special Advisor to the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Claudie Haigneré, chaired the jury of the awards for the first time at the regional level. According to her, “Taking part in the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards for the first time has been quite simply a mind-changing experience, especially as the sixth edition topic was particularly challenging. The visionary ideas on Africa’s future satellite landscape developed in essays and posters underscore how Africa’s youth expect technology to drive positive change for their continent. The Jury engaged in intense discussions to award the most realistic and creative proposals that deserve to stand out on the African stage. Our congratulations go to all the finalists for their work and to the winners for their brilliant ideas.” Other judges included, CEO at Innovative Technology Literacy Services Ltd, Ronke Bello, (Nigeria); Elizabeth Ohene, journalist and former Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (Ghana) Prof. Stephen Simukanga; Former University of Zambia Chancellor and now Director General of the Higher Education Authority, Jenerali Ulimwengu,

Satellite cost According to Boucher, a standard satellite cost between $450 million and $500 million, with a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years. Satellite comes with insurance cover and insurance companies are liable to pay for damages, if within 10 mins of launch, the satellite develops fault, and insurance company can pay for damages as mush as $500 million, and the failure rate is minimal, Boucher said. Why satellites fail Using the failed NigComSat 1, the Nigerian geostationary satellite that was de-orbited in 2008 for technical reasons, after it was successfully launched in 2007 from China, Boucher said several factors could be responsible for failed satellites, after successfully launched into space. “I do not know what exactly happened to NigComSat 1 because it was not launched by my company Eutelsat. It was built by a Chinese company and launched from China. It could be possible that some technical faults occurred as a result of lack of satellite experience by the builders. Satellite launched from European airspace have had high success rate of launch,” Boucher said. According to him, several factors could also be responsible for malfunctioning of satellite. It could be that the satellite does not have enough capacity to monitor what it is supposed to monitor. So after the successful, launch it can only give results based on the capacity it has. Financial constraints could make a satellite builder to provide limited capacities for the satellite. After its successful launch, the satellite will not be able to monitor as much areas it is supposed to monitor, based on its limited capacities. Both Haigneré and Boucher were of the opinion that the DStv Eutelsat satellite competition would create necessary awareness that would motivate interest in satellite technology among African students.





Bagdadioglu: Our Online Payment Platform Will Guarantee Transaction Safety Recently, one of the online platforms in the Jumia group embarked on a rebranding campaign. In this interview with Ugo Aliogo, the Managing Director, Jumia Marketing West Africa, Sefik Bagdadioglu spoke on plans to improve the safety of online transaction on the platform and sundry issues in the sector. Excerpts: What is the Jumia Group all about? Jumia is the leading internet platform in Africa and our goal is to improve people’s lives through use of technology, therefore we have a lot of different platforms. We have Jumia which is the online retail platform, we have the jumia market which is the leading small-medium scale enterprise and individual online market community where buyers and sellers can engage in transactions in a safe environment, we have Jumia house, and Jumia car, these are online platforms where you can buy your house and car. We have Jumia food where you can order food and it is delivered to your door step. We have the Jumia travel; it is an online travel agency. So what we do is that we take advantage of the internet to improve people’s lives across the Africa and we are the leading platform for that.

ment collection, requirement stage, testing, and staging. It takes several weeks.

What is your customer reach. How many countries in Africa is Jumia group located? We have our footprints in more than 25 countries in Africa only. We don’t have in Europe and Asia.

In terms of Corporate Social Responsibility, how far has Jumia Market gone? What we are doing is to assist small-medium scale enterprise establish their footprints. We have many people visiting the site. We provide the exposure, necessary trainings and tools for these individuals to expand their businesses. We have sellers who started selling on the site because they were unemployed, or what wanted to supplement their incomes. They quit other activities which was keeping them occupied so that they can sell online sales because they are making enough money to sustain themselves and their families. For me, helping people to expand their business could be the best CSR.

What is Jumia Market all about? As I mentioned earlier, the Jumia market is an online shopping community. Our goal is to provide a platform for sellers who are individual or medium scale enterprises to come and showcase a wide variety of products at very competitive prices to buyers who wants to purchase. We take pride in having the widest instalment and the most affordable prices. We also take pride in almost treasury hunt; you can come on the site and take a look at different products. You can follow different sellers chat with the sellers and you find unique products. What we do while we are creating this community is to allow communication between buyers and sellers. It allows the buyers to answer sellers’ different questions about the products they are buying. It is completely transparent and promotes smooth transaction between buyers and sellers, while having the widest and most affordable products. The third value proposition we have is safety of the platform. Here, we allow cash on delivery. For sellers, we provide conveniences such as logistics. In 2017, what are we looking at for Jumia Market? Recently we changed our colour and also the appearance. We are also strengthening the main pillars which are safety, transparency, large product reach and affordability. We are going to bring an online payment platform to the site to add safety to the transaction. We want to focus more on expanding our seller base to provide more visibility to small-sellers. Why did Jumia Market decide to change its colour? It basically represents freshness and a news start for us in many ways. We want to signify the community feeling that we have on the site, as well as the commitment to showcasing smaller sellers. We have not changed the brand, we are still Jumia Market. We need to keep improving; the change in the service can be on the positive side. How does Jumia tend to stand stiff competition from Jiji, and other online platforms? There is a bit of overlap, we are not in competition with Jiji. We focus more on interactions between sellers, buyers and so we are a little bit more of one stop. The competition is a not against other platforms. The competition should be with the offline

What efforts are you making to ensure that people know about the other branches of the Jumia Group? It is quite rare that you take part in online transaction and you don’t know about the Jumia group. As part of efforts to create awareness, we do cross-promotion with our sister companies. We ran a campaign with Jumia food in the past where customers received vouchers from us. We also did campaign for Jumia travels. During black Fridays we provided links to buyers on our other services. We do a lot of post-promotion so that someone who comes onboard and has a positive experience with the Jumia Company gets to know about some of the service offerings that we have.


market. If there are people who chose to buy their goods in conventional platforms either through a market or shopping mall or at roadside, this means that we are not doing something right. Online shopping is about convenience and safety. When people are still deciding whether to buy online or the conventional market, it means we still have a long way to go and that is the real competition. In the Jumia Market you have the customer service unit, and market unit. In 2016, you did a lot of sales, were there challenges of customers been displeased with the service

Recently we changed our colour and also the appearance. We are also strengthening the main pillars which are safety, transparency, large product reach and affordability. We are going to bring an online payment platform to the site to add safety to the transaction. We want to focus more on expanding our seller base to provide more visibility to smallsellers

they rendered or products? In 2017, how do you intend to consolidate by ensuring that these challenges are addressed and customers are served better? At the moment, we have return guarantee for any buyer who wants to shops at our site; they have to pledge a three-day minimum return guarantee. Therefore, as a buyer if you don’t like the product, you can contact the seller. The seller can accept it, refund for the cost of the purchase or offer an exchange. This is a very strong value proposition for buyers because they can confidently purchase and if they are not happy, they can return it. If a seller refuses to accept it, we have an internal process where we examine what are the reasons for it. If it turns that the seller doesn’t want to comply with this requirement, the seller cannot sell on the site anymore. We are quite strict about it because we want to make sure that buyers are satisfied with their purchase.

What is traffic on the Jumia Market site? We don’t share exact tracking data because technically we are a start-up and we don’t share those types of data.

How do you manage interaction between Jumia market and your sellers? We have a seller management team and each individual in our officer is responsible for a number of sellers, depending on the nature of the interaction, it could be by email or phone. We also organise training sessions for our sellers. We train them on our systems, online marketing, customer service, and other things. Also, when a new seller goes online, we take them through what is known as an incubation process in order to empower them for customer service.

How do you retain customer loyalty over the years, because Nigerians are scared of online platforms as a result of fraud? The best way to do it is to ensure that they have a good experience. There are a few things in our site that enables buyers to examine the product before they purchase it. One of such is ratings, the site allows our customers to carry out due diligence before they purchase the product. If you go to the website to purchase a product, you will find out that there are many people who have purchased that product before you did. Then you will be able to review the ratings and comments about the product quality or interact with the sellers by previous buyers. This kind of information allows you to filter quality products. Also, we have a return policy, so if you don’t like the product you can return it to the seller. Sellers who don’t abide by these rules cannot buy on the site. Thirdly, we do cash on the delivery, you look at the product, if it is what you ordered, then you pay the money. These approaches are designed to make sure that people are comfortable in making these transactions.

Going green signifies sustainable energy and social cause in so many quarters; does the green website also signify a shift to supporting green projects for Jumia Market? It doesn’t signify a shift that is a core value. It is not a company strategy. As human beings we have a duty to make sure our lives are sustainable. Who developed the upgrade. Was it done in-house or outsourced to specialist? It was done in-house. We have a development team. Developing involves going through different phases such as the business require-

How do you manage cases of conflicts if it arises? The buyers knows that when they purchase the product, they are not buying it from Jumia Market, but it is just a platform which allows them to buy it from thousands of sellers we have on the platform. Therefore any issue relating to quality about the product, they deal with the seller. We just make sure that sellers are responsive to buyers. We ensure that the buyers are treated well in their purchase of products. We have a conflict resolution process where we determine who is right and wrong.



   MainOne Partners Signal Alliance to Deliver Microsoft 365 MainOne and Signal Alliance have announced a service partnership to provide Microsoft 365 to corporate subscribers in Nigeria with the best professional in-country installation and support for their support subscription. The partnership is as a result of the expansion of MainOne’s enterprise offerings with cloud-based Microsoft business solutions last year. Signal Alliance is currently Microsoft leading Office 365 enterprise partner in Nigeria with over 50 per cent account under their management and support. Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud service solution that includes Microsoft Office and other services, such as email and collaboration, from Microsoft’s cloud server. It provides desktop functionalities and is available by subscription. Microsoft Office 365 provides a comprehensive set of software tools and services that facilitate office documentation, communication and management tasks. No upfront installation or integration is required, other than an Internet connection and supporting Web browser. The Office 365 suite of applications includes several different online services, including Office Professional Plus, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Skype Online and a lighter version of Office Suite, presented as Office Web Apps. Speaking during the joint product launch recently, the Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke noted that it would provide productivity tools for businesses and would give them the enablement to scale. “As a preferred Microsoft

Cloud Solutions Partner (CSP), MainOne is committed to driving sales for Microsoft Office 365, Azure and other complementary products in Nigeria, by assisting enterprises to integrate core solutions and helping them bring cloud offerings quickly to market at a lower cost. Our partnership with Signal Alliance, another leading Microsoft partner could not have come at a better time. With current foreign exchange challenges, this solution allows enterprises to purchase a suite of Microsoft Office productivity tools, pay in Naira, and be assured of world-class local technical support,� Opeke said. The Chief Executive Officer of Signal Alliance, Adanma Onuegbu, said: “More businesses are adopting Office 365 because of its sophisticated collaboration and communications benefits, which saves time, money, and also frees valued staff resources. Moreover, Office 365 offers the powerfully-integrated capabilities of SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype, in addition to Office Professional Plus and Office Web Apps, without the operational burden of on-premise server software. “The CSP programme delivers a platform that enables MainOne to own the end-toend customer engagement for Microsoft Azure and O365 customers. They can directly provision, bill, and support Microsoft Cloud Services for their customers. The partnership between MainOne and Signal Alliance allows Signal Alliance to leverage on MainOne’s Microsoft CSP Status to deliver and support Microsoft O365 services to their customers,� Onuegbu said.

FPG Technologies Harps on Business Agility FPG Technologies and Solutions Limited, one of the Nigeria’s foremost information technology (IT) company known for providing mobile, cloud and IT security solutions, along-side its partners, Check Point Software Technologies Limited, has stressed the need for business agility and confidence at every level of business. Both companies gave the advise at a recently held IT Connect event organised by FPG Technologies in Abuja. The event focused on the government sector and IT decision makers and stakeholders across various governments parastatals and agencies in Abuja. The IT Connect event theme was ‘Delivering Extreme Business Agility with Confidence’. Check Point’s security Consultant, Raphael Adaka, emphasised the importance of organisations investing in mobile threat defence solutions in today’s business environment, using mobile devices as a business requirement and an employee expectation. “Most companies allow personal devices to connect to corporate networks. Employees use these devices to download personal apps and email – these pose security challenges and expose business networks to

phishing scams and malware infections. One compromised device can let cyber criminals steal sensitive information, or even spy on closed-door meetings using device microphones or cameras. Breaches are detrimental to organisations and corrode brand reputation and competitive advantage. Remediation is costly and some loss may be irreversible,� the security companies said. According to CEO of FPG Technologies and Solutions Limited, Rex Mafiana, the design allows for more comprehensive protection from known and unknown threats, and shifts resource-intensive analysis to the cloud to minimise any impact on user experience and device performance. “Organisations are also adopting techniques such as encryption and digital signing—or shifting from software-based encryption and digital signing to high assurance hardwarebased solutions. Cryptography protects data effectively only if keys are secure and well managed. Cryptographic keys are a critical component of an organization’s ability to protect data from malicious attack while ensuring that the data is ready for use when needed.


Ericsson, IBM Announce Research Breakthrough for 5G Networks Stories by Emma Okonji IBM and Ericsson have announced a research breakthrough that could accelerate the launch of 5G communications networks and support new mobile enterprise and user experiences enabled by very high data rates, including Internet of Things (IoT), connected vehicles, and immersive virtual reality. The companies have created a compact silicon-based millimeterWave (mmWave) phased array integrated circuit operating at 28GHz that has been demonstrated in a phased array antenna module designed for use in future 5G base stations. The year 2017 has been described as a defining year for 5G. More countries and governments are opening up

new frequency portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, including portions known as millimeter wave bands, which are more than 10 times higher than the frequencies currently used for mobile devices, offering a new source of bandwidth for cellular networks that are being made available for 5G networks. Scientists at IBM Research and Ericsson reached their breakthrough as a result of a two-year collaboration that set out to develop phased array antenna designs for 5G. IBM’s expertise in highly integrated phased array mmWave IC and antenna-in-package solutions, together with Ericsson’s expertise in circuit and system design for mobile communications, helped the team reach several new technological milestones.

Senior Advisor, Business Unit Network Products, Ericsson, Thomas Noren, said: “There has been a lot of encouraging progress in 5G standardisation last year including the beginning of live field trials. Big efforts in research and development are key to this and our collaboration with IBM research on phased array antennas can help operators to effectively deploy radio access infrastructure necessary to support a 5G future. New use cases and applications that span human machine interaction, virtual reality, smart home devices and connected cars will depend on innovative technologies that can bring the promises of faster data rates, broader bandwidth and longer battery life to reality.� Vice President of Science and Solutions, IBM Research, Dr.

Dario Gil, said: “The development of this 5G millimeterWave phased array is an important breakthrough, not just because of its compact size and low cost, which make it a very commercially attractive solution for network equipment companies and operators, but its potential to unleash and inspire brand new ideas and innovations we haven’t yet imagined, thanks to a fully networked society.� The first release of the 3GPP 5G specification is targeted to be ready by 2017/2018, but there has already been much progress in the industry with field tests and demonstrations of new user experiences and capabilities made possible by the higher bandwidth, lower latency, greater density and lower energy requirements of 5G networks.


L-R: MD, Compaq Communications, Mr. Chuddy Oduenyi; Senior Special Adviser to Gov Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Social Media, Mr. Ifeanyi Aniagoh; founder/CEO, Cihan Group, Mr. Celestine Achi; Vice President, Public Relations Consultant Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Mr. Muyiwa Akintunde and Lead Director, Reliks Media Ltd., Mr. Ikem Okuhu, at the media launch of DigitalPRWire in Lagos...recently

KairoswebTV Unveils Online PR, Social Media Platform KairoswebTV, the proprietary and sole online-TV network in Nigeria, has launched its online PR and social media communication platform, DigitalPR-Wire (, specifically designed for online press release distribution, monitoring, analytics and social media communication enterprise solutions. DigitalPR-Wire is a webbased, hosted media intelligence solution designed to distribute, socially amplify and push press releases and news stories across 250+ online media outlets and influencers with a potential reach of 80 million within 24 hours. It enables users monitor all news story, media and influencer pick-ups and gives detailed visibility report with links to stories. Media outlets include Yahoo news, CNET, Reuters, CNN, Tech Crunch, CNBC and Brandish. DigitalPR-Wire was developed by Cihan Group, in cooperation with its award-winning providers of global media intelligence and content publishing partners which include PRNewswire, Sendible, Votigo, Folcon and Agility. Tailored to meet the requirements of DigitalPRWire’s clients, DigitalPR-Wire

incorporates elements of its developers’ partners’ technology and KairoswebTV proprietary social media communication solution. Vice President, Public Relations Consultant Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Mr. Muyiwa Akintunde, who attended the launch with the President of PRCAN, congratulated the debut of the platform, explaining it will help to simplify the job of the association as well as corporate organisatons and brands who want mileage in the distribution and management of their contents. Senior Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Social Media and special guest at the occasion, Mr. Ifeanyi Aniagoh, congratulated Cihan Group for the innovative platform. Aniagoh said that the platform was capable of generating digital jobs for teeming young Nigerians, adding that the state is ready to partner the firm on leveraging the DigitalPR-Wire tools to reach citizens of the state. “I was highly elated to hear that such innovative platform now exists in Nigeria. We are used to the foreign tools, but today we have this which we

can proudly say is made in Nigeria. I urge our people to partner the brains behind this platform. The most interesting

part is that you need not spend dollars to get your job done and delivered. It is such a tool needed now,� Aniagoh said.

Nokia 3310, ‘the World’s Most Reliable Phone’, to Be Relaunched at MWC 2017 Nokia will re-launch the 3310, perhaps the best-loved and most resilient phone in history, according to the London-based Independent Newspaper The phone, originally released in 2000 and in many ways beginning the modern age of mobiles, will be sold as a way of getting lots of battery life in a nearly indestructible body. The new incarnation of the old 3310 will be sold for just â‚Ź59, and so likely be pitched as a reliable second phone to people who fondly remember it the first time around. It will be revealed at Mobile World Congress later this month, according to leaker Evan Blass who first revealed the details. It’s still possible to buy the 3310 on Amazon, though only through its marketplace and not directly from the company itself.

The Amazon listing describes a range of features, including a clock, calculator, the ability to store up to ten reminders and four games: Snake II, Pairs II, Space Impact, and Bantumi. Nokia struggled to bring its brand into the smartphone era and ended up being sold to Microsoft. But since then it has targeted success by making new versions of old phones, including the Nokia 215, which costs $29 and lasts for 29 days. Phones made under the Nokia brand are now sold by HMD Global, a Finnish company that bought the rights to the name. HMD will reveal other new mobiles – the Nokia 3, 5 and 6 – at the same MWC event. Those other new phones wll be more like smartphones, but will retain much of the same low price.





As Saraki Champions Made in Nigeria Campaign SamuelT. Adakole writes that the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki’s passionate advocacy for made in Nigeria goods is laudable and deserving of public support Dr. Bukola Saraki’s hands-on leadership style has brought a refreshingly populist beat to the upper chamber of the National Assembly. He is deliberately shaping the senate’s agenda to reflect the tough economic challenges. He is also according priority to passage of laws which have the capacity to support government’s efforts to fix the biting economic recession. Perhaps most importantly, he is using the power of his office to lead a nationalist economic advocacy. His development based focus is recasting the image of the National Assembly as a distant and insensitive institution into that of a patriotic, involved and active partner in the country’s search for practical answers to pressing economic problems. This focus is evident in the Made in Nigeria Campaign which the Senate President has been pushing so passionately using the power of his office. This initiative which started early this year is unique and relevant at two key levels. In the first place, it is helping to raise national consciousness about the danger that is inherent in our unrestrained appetite and taste for all things that are foreign. A lot of Nigerians still do not realise that the everyday decisions that are made concerning the type of clothes, shoes, toiletries, foodstuffs, tyres and just about anything that we buy in the end collectively contributes either positively or negatively to the growth or deterioration of the local economy. it is strengthening the knowledge that when we buy things that are made abroad instead of those made locally, we are indeed killing making other economies stronger, creating jobs for foreigners while on the other hand weakening our economy, denying the millions of unemployed youths job opportunities that would otherwise have been created by local companies. The story of the textile industry is a good example of the danger that uncontrolled imports poses to our economy. According to the Director General, Textile Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (TMAN), Mr. Hamma Kwajaffa, Nigeria currently spends over $4billion annually on imported textiles and ready-made clothing. This is a huge paradox because our textile

The evidence that the Senate President has become a leading champion of the Made in Nigeria initiative is increasing by the day. For instance, in February this year, he was at the Annual Made in Aba Trade Fair, which held in Abuja to promote and project the industry of manufacturers in Aba. His presence was both symbolic and encouraging as it showed that the Senate is deeply committed to supporting local manufacturers


sector has the potential to produce textiles for the local market as well as for export to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Textiles from Nigeria can also be exported to the United States of America (USA), under the AGOA platform and to the European Union (EU), under its GSP scheme. While smaller African countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Madagascar are already taking advantage of these opportunities to strengthen their local economies, create jobs for their youths, Nigeria is still stuck on this crazy imports of textiles. Again the danger is pressure on foreign exchange which is driving the value of the naira down, loss of jobs and the death of the local textile industry. The advocacy campaign is therefore very important to reverse this negative trend and foster economic growth because when a critical mass of Nigerians fully recognise that everyone is a stakeholder and that every purchase decision that we make as individuals matters, imports will drastically reduce and local companies will witness increased demand for their goods. And of course, the increase in demand for local goods will lead to all kinds of positive developments. Existing businesses that produce local substitutes for imported goods will see the need for a dramatic expansion of the size of their operations in order to meet the new demand. Already a lot of companies are taking advantage of this high level focus on promoting local industry to invest in the local textile industry – some for satisfying the local demand and others for exports of Nigerian textiles and designs to western countries like the United States. The evidence that the Senate President has become a leading champion of the Made in Nigeria initiative is increasing by the day. For instance, in February this year, he was at the Annual Made in Aba Trade Fair, which held in Abuja to promote and project the industry of manufacturers in Aba. His presence was both symbolic and encouraging as it showed that the Senate is deeply committed to supporting local manufacturers. While at the event, he assured the local business community that he will lobby the army, the police, the navy, customs and other security agencies to stop importation

of foot wears and kits that can be produced locally in order to boost their businesses and instead patronise them. In addition, he has also turned his twitter handle @BukolaSaraki, which has close to 600,000 followers into a free platform to advocate, advertise and promote locally manufactured products. He is successfully using this platform to engage and motive youth enterpreneurs. The latest plan of the Senate President is the Made in Nigeria Challenge scheduled which was launched early this year. The plan requires entrepreneurs to send videos of their products and services which are good substitutes for imported goods to an online portal. Those shortlisted after a rigorous assessment process are to be invited to a roundtable with investors and government agencies such as Bank of Industry (BoI), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). The key objective of the challenge is to identify local manufacturers that produce alternatives to imported products and help them get financing to expand their operations. This deserves the commendation and support of all well-meaning Nigerians. The Made in Nigeria advocacy initiative is therefore a practical, timely, and patriotic intervention that will not only help to drive the birth of a stronger local economy but also help to restore national pride. At a time that Nigerians are suffering the consequences of their huge appetite for all things imported and a strong dislike for goods produced locally, the campaign will hopefully help to turn things around for good. Furthermore, to support and provide a legislative stimulus to this campaign, Saraki has led the Senate to the historic amendment of the Public Procurement Act. The new legislation makes it mandatory for all government agencies, ministries and parastatals to give top priority to goods manufactured locally in all their procurement processes. This law tilts the balance in government procurement patronage which has always been in the favor of imported goods to those produced locally. When implemented it will also boost existing businesses and encourage

more youths to get into local production. The Procurement bill is only one of the 11 economic bills that are receiving accelerated consideration by the Senate. It is estimated that when passed into law and implemented, these bills will help to create 7.5million jobs and reduce poverty by 16.4 percent. Some of these bills include the National Development Bank of Nigeria Bill which is intended to provide short, medium and long term financing to participating financial institutions for loans to small scale, medium and industrial enterprises in agro allied businesses, manufacturing, mining and the National Road Fund Act to fund the rehabilitation and maintenance of the national road system. Another very important economic bill to be fast tracked is the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). This long awaited legislation will establish a framework for the creation of commercially oriented and profit driven petroleum entities that ensures value addition and the internationalisation of the petroleum industry. Also significant is the Federal Roads Authority Act which is to manage the federal roads network so that it is safe and efficient, with a view toward meeting the socio-economic demands of the country. In addition, the Customs and Excise Reform Act is also on the list as it seeks to reform the administration and management of the Customs Service for greater accountability and revenue generation. Saraki’s solution-based approach to the process of law making, his focus on concrete results and urgency that he brings to bear on the process of law making is very inspiring. Before now, not many people could see clearly the link between laws and the economy. His approach is bringing home a clearer picture of how important laws are to the growth of businesses, encouraging local and international investments. Nigerians should support the efforts of the Saraki-led Senate to make laws to catalyse overall economic development in order to reduce who desire economic renaissance should support the efforts of the Senate President and the Senate to pass legislations that will catalyse economic development in the country. - Adakole is a public analyst based in Lagos.





Towards a Cleaner Lagos Raheem Akingbolu writes on the recent positioning strategy put in place by the Lagos State Government to create a cleaner environment and sustain its mega city status In the last few years, promoters of the Lagos brand have been involved in many repositioning exercises to carve a special niche for the state. Among other areas, the state has redefined the transportation, outdoor advertising and health sectors to give the city a facelift. However, despite several attempts that have been made in the past to create a cleaner environment, not much has been achieved in this direction. But stakeholders have consistently advocated for a cleaner megacity that is not only environmentally clean but a commercial hub that offers prosperity to everyone. That is the Lagos of their dream and they have not looked back on achieving it. Consequently, the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) was established as an extensive and sustainable waste management system for Lagos. Cleaner Lagos Initiative Designed to maximise the state’s potential in solid waste management, the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) was recently conceptualised to provide permanent solution to waste recycling, recovery and waste reduction challenges that have dimmed the shine of the state for decades. It is also designed to offer innovative approach to liquid waste management, drainage management and waste water treatment in the State. As a revolutionary effort designed to reposition the state, the Cleaner Lagos Initiative seeks to fully develop sufficient infrastructure for waste collection, efficient waste processing and disposal mechanism to in line with the state’s environmental objectives. Additionally, the scheme is geared towards creating an enabling environment for non-governmental agencies, the private sector and the state government to harness opportunities presented by the adoption of international best practices in this vital area of infrastructure development. Basic objective of CLI According to the information available on the website of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, the cardinal aims of the initiative are to create value for stakeholders and empower those at the bottom of the value chain. Part of the objective is that it would allow citizens to become a part of the solution by taking responsibility for their immediate environment by solving the challenge of poor waste management in their communities. One area that has continued to generate interesting feedback is the fact that the enactment of this scheme would create employment for 27,500 Community Sanitation Workers. By this, many analysts have stated that CLI qualifies as a mass employment scheme that contributes to improving the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the citizens and residents of Lagos State. To them, this is an unprecedented employment creation strategy when tied back to the Lagos State Government’s for sustainability agenda and developmental goals. Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, also shares this feeling. He stated in a statement that; “While these jobs are important, the induced effect of higher spending power is where we hope to create about 400,000500,000 jobs. These jobs are those generated as a result of the increased expenditures in the supply and distribution chains from the new employees spending power which is evident by their capacity to spend more money in the general economy�, Multiplier effect Since the hint about the initiative was dropped, it has been argued in some quarters that the local multiplier effect of a progressive policy that pays above the federally mandated minimum wage in distributional terms is immeasurable. To those who share this belief, its impact on low-income households is particularly beneficial, not only to the direct beneficiaries within the household, but also to the local economy as higher spending by workers typically results in increased demand for goods and services within their local communities. Speaking on this, Adejare stated that; “The

‘Proposed New Oshodi’

Existing Oshodi

relentless effort of this administration on providing employment for out-of-work youths who make up almost 50% of the entire Lagos population is commendable. The state government hopes to ultimately drive meaningful job growth and create opportunities in entirely new industries,� He also argued that wage increase as a result of the injection of thousands of locally established jobs into the state’s economy will also translate to overall improvement in public finances, thereby acting as a catalyst for the delivery of social and economic values across the State. PSPs in a Cleaner Lagos THISDAY findings have revealed that after a scoping study that thoroughly assessed the current situation of the waste management infrastructure in Lagos, the state government acknowledged systemic failures, and immediately commenced revision of the legislative framework to harmonise the various laws on environment into a single one for a more convenient administration of the law and management of the environment. It has also been discovered that there has also been an emphasis on putting in place an elaborate and standardised regulation on the Lagos environment management. Having set the legal groundwork, the state government adopted a holistic approach to addressing the unique problems of facing the megacity of 22 million people and designing a sustainable waste management system. In collaboration with the Ministries of the Environment, Justice, Urban and Physical planning, the State developed strategies for

regulation, enforcement and most importantly; financing to support the initiatives. Over the past 10 months, these efforts have been shaped into The Cleaner Lagos Initiative. So far, it has been stated that the role of the PSPs in the restructuring of the waste management system in Lagos going forward would be to serve the commercial sector of the State. “The positive impact that PSPs efforts have had over the years on the Lagos landscape is undeniable. However, we cannot deny that the state needs a comprehensive waste management system similar to what obtained in more advanced nations of the world and other megacities. Currently, we do not have an existing structure in place to support such endeavors. The restructuring will benefit PSPs because the State plans to introduce new environmental policies and laws that will not only protect the citizens and the environment, but all waste management operators who painstakingly invest their resources into helping with the cleanup of Lagos,� Adejare said. He also stated that the investment in the waste management would address the major challenge being faced by operators by ensuring that sanitary landfills are constructed across the state. Meanwhile, it has been stated in an earlier statement issued that the proposed environmental law will require all commercial entities to have a valid contract with a registered operator; these contracts will prove to be a valuable component for any serious-minded operator with sustainable plans for growth. If all the promises are kept, the restructuring will create new operational parameters, which will

see the existing PSPs (private sector participants) working in the commercial and public sectors. The law will make new provisions that protect the interests of existing investments by requiring all commercial entities to have a valid and enforceable contract with a registered operator Speaking on what happen to over 10,000 registered commercial businesses in Lagos, a source in the ministry disclose to this reporter that they the PSPs are still very much relevant in the waste stream management in Lagos State. “The dynamic opportunities in the waste industry make the currently ineffective and mismanaged industry rife with profitable opportunities. Businesses with adept capabilities will be able to make significant impact on Lagos’s waste problem and establish a viable business,� the source stated Considering the fact that sustainable long-term funding is needed at both the state and local levels to support the efforts needed to attain the State’s goals, systematic planning is critical to the long-term success of this comprehensive plan, which the state has come up with. Currently, the state government is working to improve safety and security by boosting the security forces, enhancing the emergency response capabilities and by lighting-up the state. Lagos State appears to be turning its focus to sanitation and the environment because there is no denial that the system is flawed.This administration has chosen to take the bull by the horns and address the challenges within waste management that are affecting people’s health in the state the state economy and the very livelihoods of future generations to come in a phased, strategic and successful manner.




Bournvita Makes It into the Guinness Book of Records The profile of the Cadbury brand got a boost recently when its world’s largest inflatable jar attracted global attention that earned it a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Raheem Akingbolu reports To make it into Guinness World Records, people do extraordinary things that would make them stand out. The reason is simple; GWR is the global authority on record-breaking achievement. First published in 1955, the iconic annual Guinness World Records books have sold over 136 million copies in over 20 languages and in more than 100 countries. Additionally, the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition, first published in 2007, has sold more than 4 million copies to date. One can then imagine what happens when a brand finds its way into such record. This captures the feelings of the management of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, producers of household cocoa beverage Bournvita, that recently broken the Guinness World Record for inventing the World Largest Inflatable Jar. With the achievement, the company has not only broken a new ground but has successfully put Nigeria on the world map. The certificate of recognition was presented to the company’s management at the Cadbury Head Office in Lagos. The World Largest Inflatable Jar is 30.33 tall. Presenting the certificate, the Managing Director, Alexander Forbes Consulting Actuaries Nigeria Limited, Mr. Sa’ad Jijji referred to the achievement as another giant stride from Cadbury Nigeria to promote the brand. “Innovations like these are worthwhile as it helps to create healthy competition that produces amazing value. The world’s largest inflatable jar from Cadbury is one of such amazing innovations and certainly deserves recognition� Jijji said. While receiving the certificate Managing Director, Cadbury Nigeria, Plc, Mr Roy Naaman described the recognition as a confirmation of the company’s innovation driven progress and assured that the company is committed to delivering value, motivated by ground breaking innovations to satisfy its consumers. “We are truly happy at this recognition as a validation of our innovation driven evolution. At Cadbury Nigeria Plc, we pride ourselves as being responsible and accountable to our consumer, and as their needs for nourishment evolve, we are determined to stay true to meeting such needs� Naaman said. He added that “upon the rebranding of our flagship brand Bournvita, we decided to go all out and ensure our consumers get a feel of what they will continue to enjoy whenever they enjoy their nourishing Bournvita. The World Largest Inflatable Jar represents that unending satisfaction our consumers are assured for trusting a brand that has transcended several generations. Cadbury

Innovations like these are worthwhile as they help to create healthy competition that produces amazing value. The world’s largest inflatable jar from Cadbury is one of such amazing innovations and certainly deserves recognition

The award winning jar

Bournvita is, infused with the right amount of vitamins and minerals that provides the best in nutrition and vitality for the development of the mind and body�. How it all began The journey into what became a global success started last year, when the company unveiled a new Cadbury Bournvita and what was described as the world’s largest inflatable jar. The event, which was witnessed by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, also attracted head of regulatory bodies like the Director General of The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mrs. Yetunde Oni, the president Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Ngozi Nnam and the Director General Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Dupe Atoki. While commending Cadbury for the landmark achievement and its various CSR projects, Mrs. Ambode noted that Nigerians including her children consumed most of the company’s products, which attested to the company’s good quality products. Beyond the unveiling, the company also demonstrated its poise to delivering value, driven by ground breaking innovation to satisfy its valued consumers. As the needs of consumers evolve, the management stated that it had evolved and provided them with a better and improved experience, adding that the innovation was one of such amazing experiences. Looking back, it can be argued that the certificate is no doubt a strong validation of the achievement because the innovation itself was awesome enough to generate com-

mendation from many quarters from day one. Beyond the commendation by stakeholders in the beverage and manufacturing industry on the day of the unveiling, the certificate is simply one of the strongest confirmations of the recognition from the Guinness world records. Innovation as a driven force Speaking during the unveiling of the jar, the managing director of the company, Roy Naaman, had stated that Cadbury was attempting to set a world record by unveiling the jar measuring 30m tall. He also said the company had a great commitment to growing the Nigeria food industry and remaining steadfast despite the very challenging environment. Above all, Naaman pointed out that innovation was a major tool in the company’s toolkit and that it informed the new development. With the latest development, it is difficult to dismiss the position of the chief executive officer because it appears Bournvita has changed the trend of competition and set to take the market to another level. In many ways, it can be concluded that the company’s recent achievement in the area of innovation was as a result of its commitment to business sustainability in the country. Looking back, one can also establish that innovation has always been a strong element of development at Cadbury Nigeria Plc. From time to time, the company has stated that it believes in delivering value driven by ground breaking innovation to create a strong connection between the brand and the consumers and also cater to their need for value and

quality. This has driven its activity and has helped the promoters sustain a heritage that has brought them this far. As a brand, Bournvita is a leading Cocoa beverage that now comes in a revolutionary new pack, fortified to deliver the essential vitamins and minerals needed for the growth and nourishment of both children and adults for non-stop vitality. The new pack fulfils the company’s desire to provide a contemporary and innovative appeal to customers while retaining its quality that makes it a number one beverage choice. Leadership position As a household name in several countries across the globe, the new development is believed to be timely as it will help Bournvita reclaims its market territories in some markets. Among other tools, the brand has in recent years engaged in repacking, re-branding and sponsorship to connect Nigerians. As a customer focused company, with a brand essence that focuses on satisfying the taste needs of its patrons, the leading beverage is appeared to be more than ever poised to deliver on its promise to consolidate its leadership position. At a recent event to refreshed the identity of the brand, its promoters declared that they wanted their numerous customers and all Nigerians to know that their Bournvita brand is alive, exciting and always improving. Among other objectives of the rebranding project, the handlers reinforced the leadership position of Bournvita and recreated a new excitement around the brand to further connect with the brand’s primary target.




SON Promises Total Compliance to Quality, Standard Products Hammed Shittu, in Ilorin The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has vowed to ensure total compliance with quality of goods and services being imported into the country and those being produced locally in order to improve the economic development of the country. The Kwara State Coordinator of SON, Mr. Sunday Yashim, who spoke with journalists in Ilorin shortly after presenting Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) to Forgo Battery Ltd. Ilorin said: “The agency is poised to make life save for Nigerians by ensuring that quality goods and services are produced for people’s consumption and usage without any adverse effect on their socio well being.� Forgo Battery Company being an innovative establishment is an emerging major player in the automotive battery sector. He said: “SON had identified that most substandard products were imported from China, adding that the organisation was ready to ensure that foreign companies complied with its Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP).

“We have found out that most of the substandard products in Nigeria are from China, and we have our people in place over there to make sure that they produce to our standards. We are ready to make sure substandard goods are taken out of the Nigerian markets.� Yashim, who represented the Director General of SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma at the event, however, presented the MANCAP certificate to the Managing Director of Forgo Batteries, Ilorin, Mr. Offorjama Joseph. Yashim however warned that the certification, which had a unique number, could not be transferred and the MANCAP logo could be used only on the awardees products. “In view of the above, the organization attaches conditions to the certificate and use of the logo, this includes that the certificate is valid for a period of three years. “The certificate may be revalidated at the end of the third year and MANCAP certification number and logo cannot be shared or transferred. “The certificate will be withdrawn if the number is shared in addition to lack of

conformance of the product to minimum requirement of the standard,� he added. Yashim therefore appealed to the staff and management of the company to ensure the sustainability of quality products. In his remark, the Managing Director of the Forgo Battery Limited, Ilorin, Mr. Mrs. Offorjama Joseph expressed his appreciated to SON for its guidance and encouragement in the process leading to the certificate. According to him, “We ap-

preciate the objectives and role of SON in ensuring products manufactured in Nigeria competes in quality with best brands anywhere in the world. “At this juncture, I want to commend the efforts of the director general of SON in his resolve toward ensuring that manufacturers adopt best practices and their products comply with Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS) “The presentation of MANCAP certificate to Forgo today for us is a starting point and we will like to sincerely thank

the head of SON in the state, and his team in ensuring that today is a success and reality.� Offorjama however identified lack of adequate power supply and sourcing foreign exchange as major challenges facing the Nigerian industries. He said that some raw materials and spare parts for the production of batteries were still being imported. He therefore urged the Federal Government to help industries in the areas of foreign exchange and improved power supply.

Also speaking at the event, the state commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Alhaji Muhammed Riffin said that, the state government would continue to support local manufacturing companies in the bid to add values to the economic development of the state. The commissioner who was represented by the Director of Commerce, Alhaja Aishat Abubakar, urged the company to continue to produce quality goods adding that, this would assist the company to move forward

Nigerian Breweries Rewards Trade Partners After a fulfilling and rewarding business relationship in 2016, brewing giant, Nigerian Breweries Plc last Friday in Lagos, rewarded its distributors and trade partners spread across the country. The award ceremony, which took place in Lagos recently was in honour of distributors and key transporters of the company who excelled in the course of their business partnerships with Nigerian Breweries Plc last year. Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde thanked the distributors for the longstanding relationship and the value added to the business last year. He restated the commitment and sustained support of the company in the years ahead despite the continuing challenges in the economy. “As partners for greatness, we need you now more than ever before to win. The environment is more intense and the competitive landscape continues to change every day locally and globally, “he said. He disclosed that as the company looks forward to 2017 and is prepared for the challenges, the years ahead will be more profitable, since the fundamentals of the Nigerian market is very positive. Vervelde lauded the partners for 70 years of support and affirmed that the company looks forward to sustaining its partnership with them in the years ahead. The company’s Sales Director, Hubert Eze thanked the company’s customers for the unrelenting support throughout 2016 and explained that the annual award was conceived to be a celebration of their excellent performance in the preceding year.He added that despite the challenges in the operating environment, the company did well in 2016

and achieved many milestones as a result of the partnership with them. He challenged the customers to resilient as they set out to achieve their mutual business objectives in 2017. During the event, several awards were presented to winners including the CFAO Award for Non-alcohol Distributors; Growth Award and Isuzu Direct Depletion to Road Award. Others were Regional Key Transporters Award; Brand Champions; National Key Transporter; Regional Champions and National Champions. In the climax of the event, last year’s winner, Ken Maduakor Group Limited from Nnewi in Onitsha marketing zone beat two others to emerge National Champion and the company’s best distributor for 2016. Nathan Ofoma and Sons Limited, Nkpor, Anambra State came second and beat IfeomaChukwuka Nigeria Limited, the winner in 2013 and 2014, to the third position Maduakor who set an African record last year by selling more than five million cases of beer in 2015, broke his own record by selling more than six million cases in 2016. He thanked the company for the gesture and advised that the momentum be sustained so that the company and its partners will remain on top. For their efforts, Maduakor got a ten-pallet Isuzu Truckand an award trophy while Nathan Ofoma and IfeomaChukwuka each got a six-pallet Isuzu NMRand an award trophy. Ancaps Global Investment Limited from Kaduna won the National Key Transporter Award and got a plaque, an award trophy and a Mitsubishi L200 double cabin 4x4 DC Van. Pauline Chimex who won the raffle draw for the night got a Mitsubishi L200 Van.


L-R: Representative of the Lagos OďŹƒce of the Consumer Protection Council, Mr. Abideen Onifade; Deputy Manager, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lagos Zonal OďŹƒce, Mr. Horace Abolo; Senior Legal OďŹƒcer, Lagos State Lotteries Board, Ms. Seyi Oreagba; Social Media Admin., Expoze Media, Ms. Motosinoluwa Afolaranmi and Marketing Manager, Lenovo Technologies West Africa, Mr. Bolade Oyekanmi, at the 2017 Lenovo National Promo rae draw in Lagos...recently

CSR: SOS Calls for Improved Child Care Framework in Nigeria A global child care organisation, SOS Children’s Village has urged the Nigerian government and private individuals to help improve the framework of child care in Nigeria. According to SOS, unrest in the North eastern part of the country has placed Nigeria with over 17 million orphans and vulnerable children; the highest number in Africa. With presence in 34 countries across the globe, SOS said it runs with a vision to ensure that no child grows up alone, and has touched over 220 million children around the world, including over 6,000 in Nigeria. The organisation said it has been working in Nigeria for over 43 years and now needs assistance locally to further expand its reach in the country. Addressing journalist during the weekend in Lagos, SOS Children’s Village President, Siddhartha Kaul said the call for help is part of the organisation’s resolve to intensify its advocacy on the need for government to uphold their obligations with regards to child rights. Kaul said, “A democratic government is responsible for its citizens. We are therefore calling on the government to uphold their obligations by partnering organisations to

reach the children who need support. He further explained that “SOS has reached over 6000 children in Nigeria. We operate in Abuja, Ogun, Ibadan, Lagos and Plateau State. We have testimonies of Nigerian children who came in at the age of five and are now married. We have those who have gained scholarship to study abroad while some are into vocational jobs in Nigeria. To expand our reach to other parts of the country, we need help from both government and private individuals. “We are getting support locally, but we need more to meet the needs of these children. Currently, we get less than 10% or our resources form government. Government can help by creating programmes to support these children. They can also support our organisation financially and with other resources.� He concluded by stating SOS is a transparent organisation that runs an open book, and donors can be sure that all their contributions to the organisation will be accounted for. Kaul added that SOS has a sponsorship programme and fund raising scheme through which people can assist the children.





Ngom: Investing in Youth Should be Africa’s Devt Priority As the African Union and member states move to improve overall development, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Mr. Mabingue Ngom shares his views with Abimbola Akosile on the need for States to prioritise investment in youth to achieve rapid development across the region and the continent, among other issues What major challenges have you experienced in your work as the Regional Director of UNFPA in the West and Central Africa region? West and Central Africa’s (WCA) population is predominantly young. More than 64 per cent are under the age of 24. Young people are a tremendous resource for the region – but their potential will only be realised when the right investments in their education, health, skills and empowerment are made. Young people comprise a significant percentage of the population and while many countries have already made progress in investing in young people, they must do much more if they want to harness the demographic dividend (DD) in this region. Young people in this region face considerable challenges. This region has some of the world’s highest levels of child marriage, adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality rates (especially among adolescents), unemployment and underemployment. This is indeed the region most left behind. Harnessing a demographic transition is at the core of what UNFPA is striving for in West and Central Africa. What useful lessons and commitments did you learn and obtain from the 28th Session of the African Union summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recently? AU collectively endorsing a policy instrument is an important step but much more is needed to bring about concrete effects on the lives of the people. Translating the political commitment into concrete, sound and scaled-up programmatic interventions building on best practices/ successful pilot initiatives should be the next steps and this cannot be done if there is no follow through. Equally important is to move forward with getting things done with a new spirit: openness, partnership, focusing on what is to be achieved and putting all the necessary efforts, including fiscal efforts, in to such a vital endeavour. African countries alone will not be able to do it, thus the need for institutions like UNFPA which play a vital role in engaging AU member states through policy dialogue to adopt the DD as their own development policy, and to engage state and non-state actors to build strong coalitions for the next steps.Efforts must be made to enable behaviour change, not only at community and individual levels, but also at institutional level. Institutions supporting Africa and other developing countries must change to make this new initiative a real success for the people of Africa so Africa can finally end poverty, roll back misery and enter in the era of peace and prosperity. There will be no Africa We Want if we do not #PutYoungPeopleFirst and the demographic dividend is the way to go! Africa has an increasing youth population; are there any useful tips for heads of governments on how to effectively harness this population size to help ensure a better development process this year? There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift. African Governments must match national needs to a sequence of short and medium term investments that will ultimately protect and realise the rights of young people to plan their lives, be free of violence and trauma, have access to quality education and mentoring, and be assured of essential freedoms and reproductive rights. There needs to be simultaneous investments in decent job creation, good governance, infrastructure, and a functioning business climate. This is crucial to deter youth from taking the dangerous and perilous journey of crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in search of greener pastures. We play a strategic convening role to bring together partners from Governments, Regional Bodies, UN agencies, CSOs, and young people to support multi-sectoral interventions and increase investments in young people, particularly adolescent girls, in order to realise the demographic


dividend in the region. Under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there are so many development challenges facing Africa; which ones should have priority attention, in your view? The 17 Global Goals are all crucial to the development of Africa and its’ people. However, in the face of scarce resources, there is a need for prioritisation to reap the maximum benefits. In my view and in the context of development, I think the priority focus should be ending poverty in all its forms (goal 1), ensuring health populations (goal 3), promoting inclusive and quality education (goal 4) and gender equality and women’s empowerment (goal 5). It is important to note that all the goals are inter-related but focusing on these goals for Africa will ensure a window of rapid economic growth leading to the Demographic Dividend arising from the bulging youth population of Africa. Addressing unemployment especially among young people is key to ending poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Youth unemployment has remained at twice the adult rate and whilst young people aged 15-24 make up about 37 per cent of the working age population, they sadly account for 60 per cent of all unemployed people in Africa.

The African Union has targeted harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in the youth in 2017; how best can this be achieved in all the regions? Putting youth at the centre of our engagements and our development priorities is critical. We must put young people first if we are to harness the demographic dividend, build resilience and transform the continent to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Africa We Want. Governments must make strategic investments and policy interventions that will allow parents to plan families better and to improve education; that will ensure skills development and strengthened health systems; ultimately leading to sound fiscal and macro-economic reforms, job creation, good governance and accountability. Investing in youth should not be lip service but a key national development priority. UNFPA also plays a critical role in supporting governments and other partners to prioritise, strategise and invest in policies and programmes that will improve the lives of young people and result in the harnessing of the demographic dividend. What are the windows of hope for the African girl-child and the youth in the present context

of development for all? Child marriage and FGM are severe violations of human rights. Approximately 15 million girls are married every year before the age of 18, with 39 per cent of them in sub-Saharan Africa. 30 out of the 41 countries with a child marriage prevalence rate of 30 per cent or more are located in Africa. Demographics also show that if the current trends continue, nearly half of all child brides will be African in 2050. The region of West and Central Africa has the highest prevalence rate of child marriage in Africa and the world’s second highest prevalence rate (after South Asia), with five out of six highest prevalence rate countries worldwide: Niger (76.3%), the Central African Republic (68%), Chad (68%), Mali (55%) and Guinea (52%). There has been a growing momentum and recognition to end child marriage. At the regional level, the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa has been launched in 18 countries across the continent to date, including in 12 countries in the West and Central Africa region. In June 2015, all AU Member States endorsed an African Common Position to End Child Marriage. The political momentum is also building at the national level as shown by the development of national strategies or action plans on child marriage – including in Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Nigeria, with more countries in the process of developing similar initiatives. UNFPA is the co-lead of the Global Joint Programme on Child Marriage, along with UNICEF. The Global Programme covers five countries in this region: Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana. What development outcomes have emerged from UNFPA’s collaboration with other state and non-state actors in West and Central Africa? In 2016, the team at the UNFPA West and Central Africa Regional Office and in our country offices prepared and actively engaged constituencies so that in 2017 we can focus on securing resources and moving forward actions to harness the demographic dividend in Africa. Thanks to sustained advocacy, parliamentarians are also fully onboard to pass and implement laws that will provide a safe environment for our young people to reach their full potential. By cooperating, collaborating and communicating with our partners, we have seen improved results. In 2017, we will consolidate these partnerships and continue to drive their work forward. NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on

RANDOM THOTS Worrying Trend It is not just the economy or the poverty situation that is changing in Nigeria. The subtle changes are all around and if care Ă“Ă?Ă˜Ă™ĂžÞËÕĂ?Ă˜ËœĂ“Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă‹Ă˜Ă?ĂĄĂ“Ă–Ă–ĂĄĂ‹Ă•Ă?Ă&#x;ĂšĂ™Ă˜Ă? day to discover that they are strangers Ă“Ă˜ÞÒĂ?Ă“ĂœĂ™ĂĄĂ˜Ă?Ă™Ă&#x;Ă˜ĂžĂœĂŁË› The issue here is the educational preferences of young citizens and the various levels of pressure they face in their career options. Ă’Ă“Ă?ĂœĂ?ĂšĂ™ĂœĂžĂ?ĂœĂĄĂ‹Ă?Ă“Ă˜Ă Ă“ĂžĂ?ĂŽÞÙĂ‘Ă“Ă Ă?Ă‹Ă?Ă‹reer talk on journalism at a young professionals’ day at his children’s school recently and he learnt some sobering Ă–Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă™Ă˜Ă?Ă‹ĂžÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă Ă?Ă˜ĂžË›Ă–Ă–ÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă?ÒÙÙÖ̋Ă?Ă’Ă“Ă–ĂŽĂœĂ?Ă˜Ëœ Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă— ĂœĂ?Ă?Ă?ĂšĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜ ÞÙ Ă‹Ă?Ă“Ă? Í—Ëœ ĂĄĂ?ĂœĂ?

asked to dress to reect their career choices. Ă˜ĂŽĂ—Ă™Ă?ÞÙĂ?ÞÒĂ?Ă—ĂšĂœĂ™Ă—ĂšĂžĂ–ĂŁĂ?ÒÙåĂ?ĂŽ Ă&#x;ĂšĂ“Ă˜Ă–Ă‹ĂŒĂ™ĂœĂ‹ĂžĂ™ĂœĂŁĂ?ÙËÞĂ?Ă?Ă™ĂœĂŽĂ™Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœĂ?ËœåÓÞÒĂ‹ Ă?Ă—Ă‹ĘľĂ?ĂœĂ“Ă˜Ă‘Ă™Ă?Ă–Ă‹ĂĄĂŁĂ?ĂœĂ?ËŞĂĄĂ“Ă‘Ă?Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ‘Ă™ĂĄĂ˜Ă?Ëœ Ă?Ă’Ă?Ă?Ă•Ă?Ă’Ă“ĂœĂžĂ?Ă?Ă™ĂœĂ?Ă˜Ă‘Ă“Ă˜Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ?ËœĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?Ă‹Ă—Ă™Ă&#x;age for soldiers. No one dressed like a farmer or a trader. Ę°Ă?Ăœ ÞÒĂ? ĂŽĂ“ĘĽĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă˜Ăž Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă?Ăœ ÞËÖÕĂ? ĂŒĂŁ ĂšĂœĂ™Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–ĂšĂ‹ĂœĂ?Ă˜ĂžĂ?Ă“Ă˜Ă?Ă–Ă&#x;ĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă‘Ă‹Ă–Ă‹ĂĄĂŁĂ?ĂœËœ Ă‹Ă˜ Ă?Ă˜Ă‘Ă“Ă˜Ă?Ă?ĂœËœ Ă‹Ă˜ Ă—Ă—Ă“Ă‘ĂœĂ‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜ ÙʊĂ?Ă?ĂœËœ Ă‹ Ă˜Ă&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă?ËœĂ‹ÔÙĂ&#x;ĂœĂ˜Ă‹Ă–Ă“Ă?ĂžËœĂ‹ĂŒĂ‹Ă˜Ă•Ă?ĂœĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹ĂŽĂ™Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœËœÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă’Ă“Ă–ĂŽĂœĂ?Ă˜ĂĄĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă‹Ă?Ă•Ă?ĂŽĂĄĂ’Ă‹ĂžÞÒĂ?ĂŁ ĂĄĂ‹Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂŽÞÙĂŒĂ?Ë› Ă™ĂœĂ? ĂžĂ’Ă‹Ă˜ Í—Í‘ ĂšĂ?Ăœ Ă?Ă?Ă˜Ăž ĂĄĂ‹Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂŽ ÞÙ ĂŒĂ? ĂŽĂ™Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœĂ?Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ˜Ă™Ă™Ă˜Ă?ĂĄĂ‹Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂŽÞÙĂŒĂ?Ă‹ÔÙĂ&#x;Ăœ-

Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă“Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœĂ‹Ă˜Ă“Ă—Ă—Ă“Ă‘ĂœĂ‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜ÙʊĂ?Ă?ĂœË›Ă’Ă?ĂšĂ‹Ăœent-doctor made a cogent observation in his talk: he said children should be alÖÙåĂ?ĂŽÞÙĂ?ÒÙÙĂ?Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă“ĂœĂ™ĂĄĂ˜Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă?ĂœÚËÞÒĂ? and not forced by parents. This reporter couldn’t agree more åÓÞÒĂ’Ă“Ă—Ë› Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă–ÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă’Ă“Ă–ĂŽĂœĂ?Ă˜ĂĄĂ‹Ă˜ĂžÞÙĂŒĂ?Ă?Ù×Ă?ĂŽĂ™Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœĂ?Ă™ĂœĂ–Ă‹ĂĄĂŁĂ?ĂœĂ?ËœĂĄĂ’Ă?ĂœĂ?ĂĄĂ“Ă–Ă–ÞÒĂ? Ă?Ă&#x;ĂžĂ&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ—Ă?ĂœĂ?ËœĂ?Ă™Ă?Ă“Ă‹Ă–ĂĄĂ™ĂœĂ•Ă?ĂœĂ?ËœÔÙĂ&#x;ĂœĂ˜Ă‹Ă–Ă“Ă?ĂžĂ?ËœÚÓÖÙÞĂ?Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂžĂœĂ‹ĂŽĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă?Ù×Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă—ËŁĂ‹Ăœents must help their children develop to ÞÒĂ?Ă“ĂœĂ™ĂĄĂ˜Ă?ĂžĂœĂ?Ă˜Ă‘ĂžĂ’Ă?ËœĂœĂ‹ĂžĂ’Ă?ĂœĂžĂ’Ă‹Ă˜Ó×ÚÙĂ?Ă? careers on them. That is not too much to Ă‹Ă?Ă•Ă?Ă™ĂœË›Ë›Ë›Ë›Ë›Ë›Ă“Ă?ÓÞˣ -Abimbola Akosile


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Keeping Lagos streets clean; a task that must be done


FG Pledges Partnership with CSOs on Implementation of SDGs Abimbola Akosile The Federal Government is moving to explore areas of strategic partnership and collaboration with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, (SSAP-SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire disclosed this while speaking at the side event on achieving 2030 Agenda for sustainable development during the recent 55th Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development, CSocD55 in New York, USA. In her presentation titled: “The Strategies for innovative partnership between Govern-

ment and Civil Society Organisations in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria”, the presidential aide noted that government recognises the multiple functions the CSOs play in addressing the main challenges of poverty and environmental degradation, conflict and disaster, the HIV/ AIDS pandemic and governance at all levels, from the local to the global levels. “CSOs play an increasingly influential role in setting and complementing Development Agendas throughout the world. Many have been in the forefront of advocating principles of social justice and equity. OSSAP-SDGs actively encourages engagement with a wide range of organisations and associations whose goals, values and development philosophies

are in accord with its mandate.” She maintained that in order to ensure that partnerships effectively contribute to attainment of the SDGs, governments would need to: forge partnerships that are need-based and aligned with country priorities as well as the priorities for SDGs, promote multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional partnerships. The senior aide also stated that governments need to simplify the rules of engagement for partnerships, while managing risks, encourage public-private partnership, and evolve ways and means of leveraging Private Sector Resources/Expertise as well as that of the Development Partners. Government would also need to enhance effectiveness and ensure accountability for results, she noted. Princess Orelope-Adefulire

added that OSSAP-SDGs had and has continued to build and forge strategic partnerships with all critical stakeholders, inclusive of the CSOs. “The office in collaboration with the Private Sector and partners has held strategy sessions aimed at developing a framework for OSSAPSDGs engagement with the Private Sector and the CSOs. Consequently, a Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) is to be instituted that would serve as think-thank for partnerships and private sector engagement.” “The growing strength and sophistication of CSOs as actors in the development arena presents us with new challenges in building multifaceted and creative alliances with the CSOs. To design and sustain genuine partnerships

with CSOs, it is essential to understand the civil society sector, assess its capacities and weaknesses, and develop appropriate and effective tools and instruments to engage with,” she added. Organised by Women in Development & Environment WorldWide Network Nigeria, the side event was aimed at seeking effective strategies and promoting multi-stakeholders’ partnership, if the implementation of the SDGs must leave no one behind. The SDGs, which came into effect in January 2016, are a new universal set of 17 economic, social and environmental goals, with 169 targets and 231 indicators which United Nations-member states are expected to achieve by 2030. The SDGs build and expand

on the 8 goals of the MDGs by focusing on critical dimensions of sustainable development including human rights obligation, good governance, social justice, equity within & between countries, sustainability, vulnerability and the inclusion of marginal populations and the poorest of the poor. These universal goals are expected to create a benchmark that ensures the balancing of economic development and global environmental goal with poverty reduction objective. Nigeria, in a powerful delegation led by President Muhammadu Buhari, was one of the over 190 member-countries which endorsed and adopted the SDGs at the landmark 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, which took place in New York in September 2015.

House C’ttee Seeks Stiffer Sanctions against Illegal Logging Damilola Oyedele in Abuja As the country continues to battle with the effects of climate change, particularly deforestation, a committee of the House of Representatives, has said it would push for legislation to stipulate stiffer penalties, against persons and organisations involved in illegal logging. The ad hoc committee, saddled with the responsibility of investigating Massive Deforestation and Corruption in the Environment Sector and its effects on Climate Change,

is headed by Hon. Bede Eke. Speaking when he inaugurated a liaison committee on the export of wood, animal skin and endangered animal species in Abuja recently, Eke harped on the need to regularly update forest protection laws, to address contemporary challenges. This, he said, is essential, considering that illegal logging has contributed to rapid deforestation in recent times, with attendant negative consequences on rural dwellers who farm and hunt in the deep forests now threatened by such illegal activities.

“We have been to the sea ports to ascertain the number of containers of wood exported and we have set up a committee that comprises of all the stakeholders, and our committee gave them 10 weeks to come up with a law that will guide this industry,” he said. Eke disclosed further that the committee is pursuing the implementation of relevant international conventions, which would make it mandatory for countries receiving certain kinds of imported wood to check for the signature of approval from the country of export.

“As it is now, what we have is an all-comers affair. Right now, we don’t even know the amount of wood exported out of Nigeria, monthly or in a year. There is so much irregularity and corruption in the sector. Those who should know cannot even account for approvals for duty free export of wood or the foreign exchange that should have been returned to the country, since the wood was exported without duty charged on it”, Eke said. Eke noted that Nigeria cannot afford to continue with the manner of deforestation, and

unbridled export of wood, animal skin and other endangered species, at the current level, which he noted was beyond imagination. He urged the committee members to set out modalities that would restore sanity in the administration of Nigeria’s forests, and ensure that the exports are done in a sustainable manner. The 20-member committee is drawn from the Federal Ministries of Environment, Finance, Trade and Investment, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC),

National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Tropical Wood Exporters Association of Nigeria (TWEAN), Processed Wood Management Association of Nigeria (PROWMAN), members of the National Assembly, and Civil Society Representatives. It is chaired by Deputy Director, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Elizabeth Adewale, while Dr. Chidi Magnus, a consultant to the House committee, would serve as the Secretary. The committee is expected to submit its report in 10 weeks.


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“We must recommit to making the Niger Delta region a vibrant economic zone. Government intends to use small and medium businesses to drive and create employment and stimulate growth in the area. I have made notes, I have listened carefully; this will be a beginning that will change the narrative of the Niger Delta” - ACTING PRESIDENT YEMI OSINBAJO SPEAKING AT A TOWN-HALL MEETING WITH GOVERNORS, FORMER GOVERNORS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS IN PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE

FG, C’River Flagoff Waste to Wealth Programme Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

W’Bank Supports CSDA with $320m to Fight Poverty, Insurgency Hammed Shittu in Ilorin As part of efforts to wipe out poverty and insurgency in the country, a World Bankfunded Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA) in Nigeria has disclosed that the bank has provided about $320 million credit to assist the poor and vulnerable groups in the country. The Task Leader Team of CSDA in Nigeria, Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa disclosed this in Ilorin, Kwara state capital during the recent meeting of all the 36 states’ coordinators of CSDA in the country. The meeting was convened to adopt documents on vulnerable groups’ operational manual programmes of the agency. According to Okunmadewa, “the bank late last year, also approved addition $75 million for the North-east region for resettlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) caused by insurgency in the region”. The CSDA’s team leader said the project has gotten the support and endorsement of almost all the governors in the federation, noting that they “have all put the structures, mechanisms in place to be able to access the funds.” He said, “As at about seven years ago a credit of $200 million was provided by the World Bank to the government of Nigeria and was used up until 2015 by 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). And this was exhausted and the then Federal Government requested for additional financing of $140 million. “It was provided and became effective in 2016. All the 26 states that were in the original project are now active in this new additional financing of $140 million. All the states have established agencies and are moving into the communities to do

Poverty must be eradicated in Nigeria! all the micro projects that the communities have put forward. “I must say that as a result of the insurgency in the North-east and the desire by the federal government and the states in the region to

have some more funds that can help in the resettlement and recovery of livelihood of people back in the rural areas. An additional request of $75 million was made by the federal government to the World Bank to put resources into this kind of project that seems appropriate to be used by these people as they go back. “The $75 million was approved by the World Bank and Federal executive council was provided late last year. It will become effective any moment from now. This additional $75 million is really dedicated to the North-east and it will free more resources for the $140 million for the other states. If the other states were hoping before for instance, that they will have between six and seven million dollars from the $140 million, they can now have more funds.” Okunmadewa added that “the project is one of the flagships of the World Bank in Nigeria. It is one of the projects that have achieved a lot of results and it has helped development in rural areas for poor and vulnerable groups in the country in the last couple of years. “We were thinking that a state like Kwara noted to be very active and effective in the use of this mechanism, will benefit a lot from these resources and even more from this extra window that will be opened. This is a window that will provide resources for the vulnerable groups.” Also in his remark, the National Coordinator of CSDA, Dr. Sam Obaje said the agency had been working round the clock to address the social services in the various communities in the country. This, according to him, was due to the provision of funds through the World Bank. He therefore assured that the agency would not relent in its efforts at adding values to the socio wellbeing of the populace.

The Federal Government and the Cross River State Government have jointly flagged off a natural waste to wealth programme, using environmentally friendly degradable technologies. Speaking at the recent launch at Idundu Industrial layout, Calabar, where the dump site is located, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said the programme, which will be sustainable, will create employment and wealth for the people. The move was contained in a statement signed by the minister’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Take Akinyemi, which said the programme is geared towards using science technology to boost the economy, and to lead the country from a resource based to a knowledge and innovation-driven economy. According to Onu, the programme will enable Nigerians to convert waste to valuable goods and services that will help create wealth, more jobs, reduce poverty, defeat hunger and help stimulate national consciousness in the power of science and technology as an important instrument for national rebirth. In his remark, the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, expressed appreciation at the collaboration between the federal government and his state.He said: “I want to express our excitement that the ministry of science and technology is bringing this laudable project to Calabar, as a pilot state in which the waste-to-wealth programme has been launched. Ayade acknowledged that the programme is desirable and would also serve in producing products such as bio-gas, organic waste and feeds for aquatic culture in Calabar, the state capital. He appealed to the minister to beef up the budget for the waste-to-wealth programme for sustainability and for proper implementation. Also in a related development, Onu, while unveiling the NOTAP / PZ upgraded Chemistry laboratory at the University of Calabar, commended the efforts of PZ Cussons Nigeria Limited in partnering the ministry in upgrading the laboratory. He further stated that the partnership is being strengthened for the purpose of cementing the link between research findings and industries in the country. This, he said, was in line with the government’s resolve to strengthen the role of science and technology innovation to defeat hunger, create jobs, “stimulate growth in our national, and reawaken our national pride”. The minister affirmed his commitment and resolve to work hard to bridge technology gaps and strengthen the role which science and technology should play in the country’s search for a sustainable and diversified economy. The waste-to-wealth programme has also been adopted and employed by the Lagos State government, which seeks to convert different forms of bio-degradable waste into new environmentally-friendly products. This initiative has served to keep the environment clean in the state, and other states are adopting the same technique to boost their internally-generated revenue (IGR) and local economies.




Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email:

Hope for Women with Obstetric Fistula While about 150,000 Nigerian women suffer from uncontrolled urination and defecation, otherwise known as obstetric fistula, there seems to be a ray of hope for them, as those who have successfully been operated upon share their experiences. Martins Ifijeh reports


ver imagined a health condition that makes its victim commit suicide or run away from people because of the humiliation, shame and mystery it brings to them? That was what Mrs. Nworogwu Odo from Oron’a, Amagu community of Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State was suffering for about 50 years before help came her way. It was five decades of loneliness and a lost dignity. She could not sit among members of the community or attend women meetings because of the stench from her body. All Odo did was live a life of isolation and endurance, while wishing the mystery ends soon. She lost her pride to obstetric fistula, a condition where a woman urinates and/or defecates from her vagina uncontrollably. “Immediately after I gave birth to my second child before the civil war, I noticed I could no longer hold urine. It came out uncontrollably, leaving me leaky, smelly and embarrassed. It had been like that until help came my way few years ago. “Before I was taken to the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, NOFIC, Abakaliki, I never thought I could ever live without this shame,” says an elated Odo, who would probably be in her 70s. She could not remember her exact age. The Daughters of Virtue and Empowerment Initiative (DOVENET), with the support of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Fistula Care Plus Project managed by Engender Health, referred her to NOFIC for free fistula repair. “Now am dry and can attend meetings and wear my wrapper gorgeously,” she said. Not adhering to family planning almost destroyed my life For Carolina Ogbuagu, a 41 years old indigene of Ekpaomaka community, also in Ikwo LGA in Ebonyi State, who is a mother of nine children, it was missed feelings. She regrets not taking decision on time on when to stop childbearing, but she is happy the fistula that came down with her ninth childbirth has been fully repaired. “I started leaking immediately after giving birth to my ninth child, and that became a source of sadness for me and the entire family. It reduced my pride and dignity, as I could no longer stay in the midst of people. I didn’t know not adhering to family planning could cause this issue until it happened to me. Fistula almost destroyed my life,” Ogbuagu said. Doctors say one of the predisposing factors for obstetric fistula is the lack of family planning and too frequent childbirth. They say this weakens part of the reproductive system and during childbirth may lead to fistula. Unlike many women suffering from the scourge, who have either been sent packing from their marital home or outrightly ostracised from their communities, the family of Ogbuagu stood by her. The efforts led her to get treatment just one year after the fistula started. “My children told me about the free treatment programme in NOFIC,” she noted. “Today, I am happy people are no more running from me. I am now dry and in control of my health. I have learnt my lesson. I will no longer go through childbirth again, as I am now on one of the family planning commodities,” she said. Many women with obstetric fistula have committed suicide from depression and shame The Chief Medical Director, NOFIC, Prof. Sunday Adeoye, in an exclusive with THISDAY, gave a narrative of how he had mixed feelings of happiness and sadness after the successful obstetric fistula repair of one of his former patients from Ebonyi State, who could not control her emotions after the treatment. “She told me they were seven in her community that came down with obstetric fistula

Odo: Now I am free from the shame and isolation

before the Biafra war, but that some of them committed suicide and the rest died from isolation and depression due to the constant embarrassment they faced from the condition. “They must have lost the love of family members and friends, and then left at the mercy of the embarrassing health condition,” adding that, the ex-patient, who was the only one that survived from the slow killer among her peers, told herself she was not going to take her own life, but was going to see the end of the problem. “And that is exactly how it went. She came here at an advanced age, but we repaired her. She didn’t believe she could stop leaking at any point in her lifetime. She was holding my legs and didn’t know how else to show her gratitude. I was also in tears as well. Money can’t buy the feeling I had that day, as her dignity was restored back. Feeling of richness and satisfaction was exactly how I felt,” the Professor of gynaecology added. The Professor said, about three months ago, there was another woman from Anambra State who, out of ignorance about obstetric fistula treatment, lived with the condition for many years. “Her story was that she was usually the last person to attend Mass (catholic service) and the first person to leave. So her Reverend Father noticed it and took interest in her. That was when he discovered she was leaking urine and faeces, as she was running from people because of the embarrassment it poses to her. “Apparently, she was sent packing from her matrimonial home, but her brother decided to build a small hurt for her in a remote area of the village, where she lived for decades all by herself.” He said it was disheartening that the woman suffered for several decades because of an issue that would only take one hour plus to repair. “After her surgery, I felt bad because she had wasted many years of her life in isolation over something that ordinarily she can get intervention on within hours,” he added. The scary statistics Odo, Ogbuagu and the other two are not the only ones who have suffered from obstetric fistula in Nigeria, but they are among the few who are lucky to find solutions.

Ogbuagu: Fistula almost killed me

A Clinical Associate, Fistula Care Plus, Dr. Suleiman Zakariya says about 12,000 new cases of obstetric fistula are discovered yearly in Nigeria, amounting to an average of 33 women coming down with the disease every year. He said about 150,000 Nigerian women were presently living with the condition in Nigeria, adding that, “what is more worrisome is that many of them are not aware there exist treatment to stop the leakage. Most of them are also not aware the surgical treatment is done in the country free of charge by the Federal Government.” He said despite the new cases yearly, it was unfortunate that only about 5,000 cases were being repaired yearly, leaving behind a backlog of 7,000 victims per year who are either not aware there exist surgical interventions that can correct the health issue or are unaware there were centres for free treatment. What causes obstetric fistula? “A prolonged obstructed labour is the single most causal factor for Obstetric Fistula, but there are other factors, like female genital mutilation, surgeries, among others,” says a Reproductive Health/Family Planning Advisor, Engender Health, Mrs. Jumoke Adekogba. She said a prolonged labour will cause the baby to be pressed or stuck at the birth canal, adding that if this occurs for long hours, it may cause injuries to neighbouring anatomical structures, and in many cases ruptures the rectal and/or vesicular wall, causing the woman to either urinate and/or defecate uncontrollably in her vagina. She notes that other indirect causes of the disease remain poverty, illiteracy, underage pregnancy, among others. Stigmatisation has done more harm With lack of awareness still a major factor fueling the burden, experts believed women with fistula find help quicker if friends, families and their communities show love to them. The wife of Ebonyi State governor, Mrs. Rachel Umahi, during her presentation at a media roundtable for journalists, organised by the Fistula Care Plus managed by Engender Health in Abakaliki, said psychologically, when a woman with fistula is stigmatised, it does

more harm to her condition, adding that the state government has put laws in place to punish those who discriminate against such class of people. The First Lady, who was represented by a Consultant for Family Succour and Upliftment Foundation, Dr. (Mrs.) Uzoma Agwu said; “Also, we should stop the myths that women with obstetric fistula are witches or are punished by gods for promiscuity. The causes are obvious, we should prevent prolonged labour, female genital mutilation, rape, among other,” she added. Interventions and free treatment Adeoye laments that despite the gesture of the federal government to reduce the burden of the health condition through free surgeries for any woman living with obstetric fistula in Nigeria, there was still apathy due to lack of awareness and denials. He said there was need for various state governments to stop claiming their women do not have obstetric fistula, adding that, awareness should be taken to every nook and cranny of the nation to sensitise women with obstetric fistula to access treatment either at NOFIC or any other treatment centre providing free services. “In Abakaliki here, the surgery is totally free. So, women do not need to suffer in silence, as the government has put interventions in place to address it. They should take advantage of this gesture because out there, we hear of fistula tourists (doctors who claim to do fistula repairs) collecting huge amount from victims, when as a matter of fact it is free here with the best experts available in the country.” Adeoye, whose Centre has done 2,287 obstetric fistula repairs with 84 per cent success rate since inception in 2008, said they were ready to do more treatments as long as cases were presented. While Engender Health, the FG and other organisations continue to make interventions towards prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula in the country, it is believed that soon the humiliation, shame and mystery from obstetric fistula will become history through reduced burden, and subsequently, eradication of the disease.




FGM: 17-Year-Old Escapes Being Mutilated Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki It was a battle of her life as a 17-year-old student of Comprehensive Secondary School Achacha 1 Community Igbeagu, in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Miss Confidence Mbam escaped to Calabar, Cross Rive State when over 10 men and elderly women took her hostage, held her bound to enable a traditional birth attendant mutilate her against her wish of being circumcised. In over six hours journey from the state capital, THISDAY visited Achacha 1 community with a team of United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF representatives led by Mrs. Ijeoma Onuoha Ogwe and Mrs. Adline Idike of the Adline Advocacy for the Dignity of the Destitute Foundation to further rescue the minor and counsel the community on the dangers of the practice. The victim said that trouble started when her father informed her that she would be circumcised in a few days time but because of the teaching by her Pastor of the dangers of the circumcision, she had to run to her brother in Calabar for protection. According to her, ‘’on the faithful day, when I was asked to proceed for the circumcision and I objected, about 10 men and women took me hostage, held me bound and forcefully wanted to carry out the circumcision. Fortunately for me, I managed to wriggle

out from them and immediately ran to the Pastor of our church who took me in and haboured me for the night ‘’The next morning and still in a state of confusion, the Pastor came up with an idea that I should leave the village and travel to Cross River State and stay with my elder brother for the mean time. I left the village and went to stay with my elder brother until I was asked to return to the village following the quick intervention of UNICEF and other agencies that were reliably informed of the incident and they quickly intervened.’’ Mbam, a JSS 1 student insisted that any further attempt to force her into circumcision would still force her to escape from their home again adding that before now she has been enlightened in her school and church of dangers of female genital mutilation which prompted her action. Similarly, another 18-year-old student of Comprehensive Secondary School Igbagu, Miss Faith Nkwede, who also hails from Achacha 1 community while also narrating her own ordeal explain that she also had to run away from home and resist the attempt to be forcefully circumcised which has been an aged long tradition in the community having also been informed of the challenges and agony women face during and after the mutilation of the female genital She stated that she would have been mutilated at the age of 18 with all the pains

FG Urged to Redesign National Health Insurance Scheme Hammed Shittu in Ilorin An Ilorin-based Pharmacist, Mustapha Malik, has called on the federal government to redesign a better way of making the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) work in the country. This, he said would assist the government to implement the scheme as it is being implemented in Europe and other parts of the world. Malik who spoke with journalists in Ilorin over the weekend said that, “Despite the fact the government policy on the scheme, which is to reduce the cost of drugs to beneficiaries, is highly commendable,the biggest problem pharmacists are facing in the implementing of the programme has to do with the point of payment from the intermediaries or vendors of the scheme.” He lamented that, most of these vendors of the scheme have defaulted in the payment of the money meant for the scheme or even at worst, absconded at the detriment of the pharmacy who supplied them the drugs. He, therefore, suggested that the federal government should introduce a cooperative bank that will be paying the pharmacy monthly or quarterly so as to ensure full success of the programme. The Pharmacist also appealed to the federal

government to urgently do something about the rising rate of the Dollar against the Naira which he regretted was now affecting and killing the health sector in particular and other areas of the economy. Malik blamed the high rate of death today to the high cost of drugs which most patients cannot afford and have to result to local herbs which in most cases end up destroying their kidney and liver. He also called for the reverse in the appointment of doctors as Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) of hospitals in the country as it was in the past where directors of administration were at the helms of affairs of teaching hospitals and not necessarily a doctor. Malik described the health unit across the world as a circle which involves pharmacist, doctors, nurses, laboratory attendants and even the cleaners and stewards and criticised the belief that the doctors are more superior to others in the medical circle. He explained that the doctors always claim superiority over pharmacists because in the past, early doctors trained early pharmacist who were then referred to as dispensers and were much involved in politics which made them have upper hands over other medical practitioners.

and agony associated with it but for the campaign by UNICEF and other agencies against the harmful practice and urged other young girls in the community to also resist the attempt as that would save the community and end the practice. The father of Miss Confidence, Mr. Bernard Mbam who is the village head of Achacha 1 community said that he had

informed the daughter of plan to have her circumcised at the age of 17 but to his surprise she escaped from the community and ran to Cross River State from where she was mandated to return home after the intervention of UNICEF. Mr. Mbam said that with the enlightenment and advocacy visit of UNICEF to the community, he would henceforth lead the campaign against

female genital mutilation and commended UNICEF and other non-governmental organisations for their efforts. Meanwhile, there was a mild drama at the residence of Mr. Mbam when three women including the grandmother of miss Confidence rained abuses on her and threatened to carry out the circumcision should the UNICEF team leaves leaving her behind which prompted the

founder of Adline Advocacy for the Dignity of the Destitute to forestall the plan had to immediately take custody of the girl. The Founder of the advocacy group, Mrs. Idike said that she decided not to allow the girl stay back in the village as the women were prepared to take laws into their hands by mutilating the girl and face the outcome.


Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu; conducting an HIV Test on Miss Health Nigeria, Queen Rita Chinedu; flanked by a NACA staff, at the Valentine and Condom Day programme held in Abuja ...recent

LUTH Conducts 391 Successful Air Force Provides Medical Surgeries in January Outreach to Lagos IDPs Martins Ifijeh As part of efforts to curb medical tourism in the country, the management of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has stated that it had intensified efforts towards providing world class services to Nigerians needing treatment or diagnosis. It said in January alone, a total of 391 successful surgeries were performed at its theatres, while between February 1st and 9th, 141 operations were done successfully, as well. Stating this recently, the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Christopher Bode, said the January figure was even typically lower than the usual monthly returns, simply because Nigerians loath to spend December and January on admission, which he described as culturally unpalatable. “Of those who surgeries were carried out on, some could not pay and we did not discriminate against that. Twenty-nine cases were postponed in the past five weeks for reasons of being unfit to undergo scheduled operations, patient declining operation at the last minute, other life-threatening emergencies, explosion of a transformer and a sudden generator breakdown. “This is within international acceptable limits for our subregion. Our Intensive Care Unit is full and to the best of our capability, we are providing

our quota to the upliftment of the people’s health,” he added. He said in making sure there are no hassles in the process of giving out surgical services to patients, all consumable items from reagents, stationery, dressings, gloves, cannulae and cleaning materials are bulk-purchased and delivered to end-user departments, adding that, that way, the end-users who now sign for these items in bulk no longer complain of non-supply. Meanwhile, he said LUTH required at least two cancer machines, adding that the only one available has lasted 12 years and was treating over 100 patients everyday. On cancer care, he said LUTH requires the Linear Accelerator machine (LINAC) used to treat cancer. “Ours is probably the only one of its kind still working in Nigeria as of today. Nigeria once has seven such machines but ours is one of the two or possibly the only one working. It is however prone to breakdowns and our engineers strive strenuously to maintain it. Sometimes, we send for assistance from its overseas makers, though they have stopped producing this particular model. In consonance with other affected hospitals, we are in talks with various levels of government to urgently replace this equipment that will cost over $4million,” he added.

Chiemelie Ezeobi As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has provided a comprehensive medical care outreach for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Lagos. According to the air force, the essence of the two-day medical outreach was so that the IDPs can have access to adequate healthcare. Thus, over 500 IDPs from Festac, Satellite and Ajah camps in Lagos were subjected to various medical screenings and treatments conducted by personnel from NAF Medical Services at the United Nations Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs, Ikoyi. Themed ‘we care, we share’, the inauguration was witnessed by the Federal Commissioner, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the Acting Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, Garth Lamsee and NAF’s Director of Humanitarian Services, Air Commodore Harold Onyechi. In her remark, Farouq commended the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar and the Chief of Medical Services, Air Vice Marshal SM Shinkafi, for taking the lead in providing medical care for IDPs across Nigeria. She said: “The NAF is not only living up to its constitutional responsibility of securing our land, airspace and overall territorial integrity, but also engaging in humanitarian assistance to our persons of concern.

“Plans are in earnest to ensure that the IDPs are resettled as soon as possible in their home communities. There are also plans to equip them with self reliant skills so that those of them who may not wish to be voluntarily relocated to their states when it is time, would have a viable means of livelihood.” According to her, the commission was conversant with the current spate of internal displacement in the North-east and the attendant issues being faced by these persons of concern in the areas of health, shelter, food, education, among others. She said: “It is therefore one of the major policy drives of this government, to not only ensure that all persons of concern are properly catered for, but also proffer durable solutions, which encompasses resettlement and return of IDPs to their previous places of abode. “This medical intervention is an important activity in a series being carried out in collaboration with NAF and is expected to be a continuous exercise, involving more IDPs in this zone.” Some of the services rendered to the IDPs include eye test, dental clinic, antenatal, general outpatient services, laboratory services and outpatient pharmacy. Lamsee who donated some consumables to the IDPs on behalf of his country, said he feels a moral responsibility to stand in solidarity with the IDPs in recognition of their horrific humanitarian crisis.




20% Tax on Medicaments and the Incoming Pain While President Muhammadu Buhari have restated his commitment towards providing healthcare for poor Nigerians, the recently released circular by the Ministry of Finance for the increase in tax on imported medicaments to 20 per cent will defeat the purpose. Martins Ifijeh writes


hen early this year President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the Revitalisation of Primary Healthcare centre at the Kuchigoro Community in Abuja, he restated his administration’s commitment towards giving priority to the health of poor and vulnerable Nigerians, especially women, children and the elderly living in rural areas. He said his administration would work towards reducing out of pocket payment for healthcare from 70 per cent to the globally recommended 30 to 40 per cent, adding that, “only less than five per cent of the total population are covered by any kind of health insurance or risk protection mechanism which is against the recommended 90 per cent coverage by the World Health Organisation,” he added. However, the recent directive from the Ministry of Finance on Tax for medicaments, runs contrary to the President’s earlier stand. In a circular released recently from the Federal Ministry of Finance titled ‘Import Adjustment Tax,’ 20 per cent tax on imported medicaments was introduced. This means that for every imported drugs and allied products, a minimum duty of 20 per cent is payable to the coffers of government through the Nigerian Customs Service. The extra payment, analysts insist, will result in more than proportional increases in prices of drugs which subsequently will make drugs and healthcare unaffordable for the poor Nigerians. The policy, however, is also contrary to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) recommendation which the immediate past government of former President Goodluck Jonathan adopted during his tenure. The WTO recommendation was that import duty on medicaments should not be more than five per cent, as this will fast forward the achievement of global vision of affordable universal healthcare and elimination of diseases. Consequently the ECOWAS Committee on Health, having taken cognisance of paucity of drug manufacturing firms in the sub-region, further recommended a waiver on the duty and recommended zero per cent duty on imported medicament. Prior to this, Nigeria implemented a policy of 20 per cent duty on medicament excluding five per cent VAT. In 2013 however, the federal government reviewed its policy and adopted the ECOWAS recommendation. But with the re-introduction of 20 per cent VAT by the Ministry of Finance, and the already high increase of prices for drugs and other healthcare consumables due to the forex rate of naira to dollar, experts say tough times await the health sector. According to the Ministry of Finance, the directive was necessitated by the need to ramp up revenue generation and support local drug manufacturing. However, Nigeria currently has less than 300 drugs manufacturing companies of which less than five per cent are WHO certified.



Statistics show that the 300 companies can only produce 20 per cent of the country’s national drug needs. Recently a non governmental organisation, I CARE, conducted a market survey recently and reported astronomical increases in prices of drugs commonly used in the treatment and/ or management of some of the health challenges of Nigerians, especially in the rural areas. I CARE said it listed some of the drugs to include the following: Co – Dovan, an anti- hypertensive drug, which costs N10,000 per pack against N3,000 before the 20 per cent duty, Meropenem Injection, a lifesaving anti-biotic, normally used for complicated infections, now sells for N18,000 for one injection instead of N4,600. Felene, a non steroidal anti- inflammatory drug, normally used by Arthritis patients through out life, sells for N500 per pack as against N180. Insulin for Diabetics 100iu was about N900, now it is about N3000 in the shops. I CARE , according to its National Coordinator, Toritsheju Aghofofo-Kete, said it carried the survey to highlight the combined negative effects of shortage of forex and the 20 per cent tax on imported medicaments on the federal government’s promise to make drugs available and affordable to most Nigerians. Speaking recently, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, May and Baker Plc, Nnamdi Okafor, said the pharmaceutical sector was in dire need of forex to produce drugs and vaccine for the healthcare system. He said companies in the pharmaceutical business did not benefit from central bank’s forex allocation to the manufacturing sec-

tor. “Unfortunately, over 98 per cent of raw materials used for vaccine production locally are imported into the country. But I can tell you that what is happening to importers of finished products is also happening to us. “You have heard the pronouncement from government that manufacturers got some special forex allocation for importation of raw materials; that did not happen in our sector; I can assure you. We have not been able to bring in our packaging materials into the country for many months because of forex challenges and in fact, that we survived last year was a miracle to most of us in this country. “I can tell you that we cannot survive anymore. It’s not something we can live with any longer. By the first quarter of this year, most factories that are still standing will begin to shut down operations because the situation with forex is getting worse daily. “For the past six months, it has been challenging to cope with manufacturing. It was a bit better in the first half of last year; because you could get forex allocations, maybe 20 per cent of your requirements. But in the past six months, we have not got anything from the banks. So what does this mean? As I speak to you, we have not been able to order for raw materials that normally by now should be in Nigeria for this year.” The pathetic and sad story of Mrs. Mercy Okeke (not real name) a diabetic patient who is on daily insulin injection gives a vivid picture of privation and the dilemma of her life choices. According to her, almost all her income as a petty trader is spent on insulin. Moreover, her medical history a hitherto private matter has become a subject of discussion among

relatives and close friends as she regularly besiege them with requests for financial assistance to supplement her income. She said she now spends close to N65,000 monthly as against the N25,000-N30,000 spent on insulin. In addition, she has to support the education and livelihood of her family of six having lost her husband two years ago. Yet according to the Ministry of Health, the idea of primary healthcare and its establishment in virtually all the 774 local government areas was to drastically reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on health by the masses. Even the Speaker of the House of Representative, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, during a public hearing on the need to avert National Health Crisis through revitalisation and adequate funding of Primary Healthcare System, organised by the House Committee on Healthcare Services in November, 2016 further highlighted the magnitude of what the likes of Mrs. Okeke and others are facing when he said: “the question is who pays for the treatment? Who pays for the drugs the patient is receiving at the hospital or medical centres?” He questioned. On that occasion also, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon. Chike Okafor, said: “Currently, there are 774 LGAs with 9,572 Political Wards in Nigeria. At least, each of the LGAs has one PHC that is not functional. Most of these PHCs lack drug supplies, basic health infrastructure and cannot boast of good number of medical personnel. In fact, patients accessing these PHCs can hardly afford the cost of transportation or cost of subsidised drugs due to the economic hardship facing most rural dwellers.”

Consultant Expresses Concern over Obsolete Cancer Equipment Hammed Shittu in Ilorin A Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital(UITH), Ilorin, Kwara State, Dr. Kike Adesina, has expressed concern over the obsolete situation of cancer equipments in the nation’s tertiary health institutions. She said such development has continued to hinder the com-

mitment of medical personnel at the hospitals to wage war against the deadly disease. Speaking with journalists in Ilorin recently, Dr. Adesina advised the federal government to rise up to the situation so as to reduce the spread of cancer by providing new equipment needed for diagnosis and treatment. She also stressed the need

for proper maintenance of equipment in the tertiary health institutions. She said that, “the cancer equipment had been over used and cannot perform as expected and this hinders the commitment to wage war against the deadly disease.” She emphasised the need for government to invest more in Radiotherapy facilities so as to assist the hospital to meet its

desire results. Adesina added that, cancer preventive measures are available and affordable, calling for better management of the disease especially through proper screening and investigation to detect it at early stage. She called on wealthy individuals to provide financial assistance and foreign aide links to Non- Governmental

Organisations in the country that are specialised in the campaign and treatment of cancer, such as LEAH Charity Foundation and Well Being Foundation to reduce the contact of the disease. Adesina also cautioned people against obesity, consumption of unhealthy food and abnormalities in genetic factor that concerned with development. According to her, both female

and male can contact cancer, saying that the disease has no age barrier, but called for proper health management and medical screening always to avoid the disease. The Gynaecologist urged pregnant women to register for antenatal care to plan for supervised delivery in a facility where there are attendants that could take delivery.




The State of Medicare in the South-east Eddie Onuzuruike The founding fathers and thinkers and others who worked assiduously in the interest of representative governance which has given full definition to democratic practice of the day, took valid steps for the present democratic reforms to survive multiple generations. The feeling of insecurity facing the people and multiple groups in race, ethnicity and religion, most times are confronted with the questions: whom do we run to? Who will go for us? Answering these questions led to the theory of social contract, a veritable line of thought in power dynamics. Even in Bible times, Israelites operated theocracy as a form of government, but unfolding world view, especially with their hostile neighbours and operations forced them to request for a king as reported in 1st Samuel 8: 5. This request infuriated Samuel who was the theocratic head at the time and the people in defence of this agenda argued that ‘we want a king to lead us to war’ and probably, speak for us and be like other nations.’ This came to the fore on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in the National Assembly when the Chief Medical Directors of University Teaching Hospitals in the South-east, after a hot budgetary session with the Senate Committee on Health paid a courtesy call on Senator T. A. Orji (Ochendo), member of the Senate Committee on Health. The short meeting was highly revealing. Health is wealth they say and it may not be an accident that Senator T. A. Orji is a member of the Senate Committee on health having made sweeping innovations in the health sector as Governor of Abia State from 2007 to 2015. From these egg heads who alleged that they have grown grey hairs overnight due to multiple problems, it was shocking to realise that there is no radiography centre for cancer patients in the whole of South-east. Poor appropriations seem to be the biggest hurdle facing these unit heads. Many of them are simply magicians as they took off without starting grants when they moved from old to new sites. Short falls in the overheads, personnel and other horrendous conditions are their daily headaches. UNTH Enugu needs radiotherapy badly, clinical buildings and have realised that waste management without an incinerator could be disastrous. The Nnamdi Azikiwe in Nnewi will do well with a specialty clinic, internal roads and the general outpatient department. The Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, needs an auditorium and adequate finance to operate the completed theatre. Staff welfare ranging from salary, allowances, promotions and accommodation are threatening epidemic satiations for all three. They may not be the only states suffering same situation nationwide but most of these are necessary, like properly equipped theatres, steady power supply and funds for diesels. Issues like surgery,

Orji (3rd left) with Chief Medical Directors of University Teaching Hospitals in the South-east, when the latter paid a courtesy visit on Senator Orji in Abuja...recently

dialysis operations need uninterrupted power supply. While they briefed him, he nodded understandingly. They were not telling him what he did not know having learnt firsthand while on the saddle in Abia. In 2006, when he presented his manifesto as governorship aspirant, a particular aspect of this small book was received with great ovation. “Medicare will be available, accessible and affordable from womb to old age. This did not take long to manifest. Ochendo then as governor took an irrevocable decision in September 2007, few months after his inauguration as the third democratically elected Governor of Abia State. He decided to replicate what he saw at Jon Hopkins, Howard University Teaching Hospital in United States of America, where all units of medical facility were available in one location. This led to the partnership with Me-cure of India which started with the most up to date in diagnostic laboratory. Furthermore he unfolded his health master plan which reengineered, reformed and rejuvenated the state of health in Abia. Before 2007, dialysis machines were strange medical contraptions to the extent that if they were sent free of charge to most hospitals in Nigeria, people will push it aside as there were no skilled manpower and personnel to operate it. As it was, people in the South-east who had renal ailments had to book for sessions in UNTH Enugu or travel abroad at huge costs for attention and comprehensive analysis. Abia Specialist and Diagnostic Complex came of age operating in three locations. The Ochendo administration acquired a total of seven dialysis machines. One serves as standby spare, another set aside for HIV patients, while Hepatitis sufferers have one to themselves. The remaining four are left for normal patients to avoid complications which may result from contamination of blood.

Bio-Chemical and radiological diagnostic investigations are equally offered. As it is well known and established, a good investigation leads to good diagnosis which will give grounds for accurate care or control as the case may be. These consist of mammography which can scan the female breast and detect cancer at the earliest stage. Computed Tomography, CT scan for short, is a medical technology that uses x-ray and computer to gives three dimensional images of the human body. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), medical diagnostic technique that combines strong magnetic fields, radio waves, and computer technology to create images of the body using the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance is there for

total scanning. Amachara Specialist Hospital got better with seven new buildings to cater for different needs including an administrative block, resident doctor’s quarters, a modern chest centre for TB patients. Exceptionally cheering is the accreditation to train house officers by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. There are other things too long to be enumerated like the 100 bed hospitals in nine LGAs and upgrading the Primary Health Centres from 250 to 710. With these development, many came to partner. Ochendo built a state-ofthe-art eye centre along Aba Road, Umuahia. MTN Eye Foundation in synergy with the Abia government issued over 5,000 eyeglasses free of

charge to people and carried out upwards of 2,000 surgeries. This revealed that there were piled-up cases where a lot of people either due to financial inability or lack of confidence on the side of the providers decided to live and die with their ophthalmological ailments. Among other strange cases, filariasis, cataracts, refractive problems and other painful conditions bayed our people like wild dogs. Just like miracle, it happened that too many people, men and women, adults and children, old and young, all benefited to the extent that those who came groping on swagger sticks and leaning on wives and grandchildren as guides, gallantly hopped home thereafter. These fulfilled

his constant avowal to be the governor of healthy people. Among so many awards in all sectors, Ochendo, on Friday, 19, 2013, was honoured by The Nigerian Optometry Association as the Prime Ambassador of Health-care during their 37th annual conference in Abia. The issues presented by the CMDs were painstakingly taken, properly articulated and there is bound to be a massive improvement from this gruesome past. For what we know Ochendo for, especially as a team player, he will rally Southeast legislators to ensure that health should be wealth in the South-east region. Onuzuruike wrote in from Abuja

NEMA to Partner Society for Family Physicians on Health Services Kasim Sumaina in Abuja In a bid to prevent unnecessary deaths amongst victims of disasters and emergencies in the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said it was set to partner with the Society for Family Physicians of Nigeria in providing health services. The Director General, Muhammad Sani Sidi, disclosed this when the President of the society led a delegation to the agency recently in Abuja. The DG, while receiving the team, led by its President, Dr. Akin Moses, commended the line ministries and departments especially Health, Water and Education for taking up their responsibilities in assisting the Internally Displaced Persons in the North-east as opposed to the belief that it was the sole responsibility of NEMA. The DG who was represented by the Director, Relief and Rehabilitation, Kayode Fagbemi disclosed that the

agency has been working with doctors before the insurgency and will continue to work with doctors in reducing the health hazards of all the victims of disasters and IDPs. He stressed that the agency always reached out to victims of disaster in terms of health requirements through Federal or State Ministries of Health, and adding that the agency has been paying for medical referral cases for IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Earlier, the President of the society, Dr. Akin Moses said the purpose of visit was to seek partnership with NEMA in providing health services to victims of disaster and IDPs, as the society is made up of over 1,000 frontline doctors who handle emergency cases across the country. He explained further that “the society has the capacity to conduct health needs assessment for preventive, curative and rehabilitation of the displaced people in the North East and also to

offer medical consultation as well as acting as emergency

doctors in the camps and host communities.”

Pfizer Raises Awareness on Cancer Rebecca Ejifoma Pfizer in partnership with Project Pink Blue has commemorated the 2017 World Cancer Day to raise awareness on its prevention, detection and treatment. The partnership aims to create awareness and then set up Abuja’s first breast cancer support group to join the advocacy on breast cancer. The Executive Director, Project PINK BLUE, Runcie C.W. Chidebe said that cancer has been defined with different pathetic axioms in Nigeria due to the severe pain, death, low survival rate and most painfully metastatic breast cancer. She added: “With the UICC Pfizer SPARC grant, we have been able to start changing

patients’ journey and access to palliative care in Nigeria. As the number of cancer patients grow, we must do everything we can to increase the number of cancer survivors.” Aimed at providing increased awareness on cervical and breast cancers, Chidebe noted that reaching out to the government to take action against the disease is very pivotal to them. Meanwhile, Corporate Affairs Director Pfizer Nigeria, Margaret Oleles, stated that “Pfizer is committed to spreading knowledge and fostering hope in the fight against cervical and breast cancers as early detection can help in reducing the number of deaths.”








Trump Hits Back at US Media Reports on Russia Contacts President Donald Trump has lashed out at the US intelligence community and media after new reports of contacts between members of his team and Russia. Mr Trump accused the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI of giving out information illegally. Some US media say top Trump aides were in constant communication with Russian

officials in the election campaign. Intelligence officials previously said they believed Russia tried to influence the vote in favour of Mr Trump. Moscow has dismissed the claim, describing it as based on unsubstantiated facts. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the latest reports of contacts with Trump aides were “not based on

Russia Tells White House It Will Not Return Crimea To Ukraine Russia said on Wednesday it would not hand back Crimea to Ukraine or discuss the matter with foreign partners after the White House said U.S. President Donald Trump expected the annexed Black Sea peninsula to be returned. Moscow says an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to become part of Russia in a 2014 referendum wanting protection from what the Kremlin cast as an illegal coup in Kiev. Ukraine says the referendum was a sham held at gunpoint after Russian troops illegally annexed the peninsula, that Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by people power, and that Moscow should return Crimea. “We don’t give back our own territory. Crimea is territory belonging to the Russian Federation,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told a news briefing on Wednesday. The 2014 annexation prompted the United States and the European Union to impose sanctions on Russia, plunging Western relations with the Kremlin to their worst level since the Cold War. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that Trump expected and wanted to get along with Russia, but was expecting

Moscow to hand Crimea back. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked about Spicer’s comments, said President Vladimir Putin had already explained why Crimeans had turned to Russia. “The theme of returning Crimea will not be discussed ... Russia does not discuss its territorial integrity with foreign partners,” Peskov told a conference call with reporters. Trump had not raised the Crimean issue in a Jan. 28 phone call with Putin, Peskov noted, saying the Kremlin would try to make contacts with the Trump administration to try to improve ties which he said were in “a lamentable state.” Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, told MPs any talk of Crimea’s status amounted to a challenge to Russia’s territorial integrity. Volodin, a close Putin ally, told the Interfax news agency Trump had promised in his election campaign to work to improve relations with Russia. “Let’s wait for some first-hand words from the U.S. president,” said Volodin. “When people get elected by voters it’s not merely for warm words and the ability to speak, but for concrete promises ... that will be fulfilled.”

Mexican ‘Dreamer’ Nabbed in Immigrant Crackdown U.S. immigration authorities have detained a 23-year-old Mexican man who was brought to the United States illegally as a child and given a work permit during the Obama administration, according to a lawsuit challenging the detention in Seattle federal court. The man’s lawyers say this could be the first time under U.S. President Donald Trump that a person covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has been taken into immigration custody. The program was established in 2012 by Democratic President Barack Obama to allow those brought to the country while young to attend school and work. Ethan Dettmer, a partner in the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and one of the lawyers representing the man, Daniel Ramirez Medina, said he is not aware of any other DACA recipient who has been arrested. “We are hoping this detention was a mistake,” he added. Ramirez was a “self-admitted gang member,” said Rose Richeson, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in a statement.

“ICE officers took Mr Ramirez into custody based on his admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety.” Richeson declined to elaborate further on how ICE established the man was a member of a gang. Dettmer said Ramirez “unequivocally denies” being in a gang. “While in custody, he was repeatedly pressured by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to falsely admit affiliation,” said Dettmer. “The statement issued tonight by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not accurate.” Ramirez, who has no criminal record according to court papers filed in his case, was taken into custody last week at his father’s home in Seattle by ICE officers. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an interview with ABC News last month, Trump said his administration was devising a policy on how to deal with people covered by DACA, without indicating any concrete plans.

any facts”. On Thursday Rex Tillerson is due for his first meeting as US secretary of state with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at a G20 gathering in the German city of Bonn. The latest allegations look set to reignite tensions between the president and his own intelligence services, which flared during the 2016 election campaign, says BBC Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue. They come a day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid a row over reports he discussed US sanctions with Russia before Mr Trump took office.

Leading Republicans have joined calls for a wide investigation into Mr Flynn’s links with Russia. Mr Trump appeared to attack the NSA and the FBI for what he described as leaks to the media about the contacts. “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @ washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?),” he tweeted. But in another tweet he suggested that the reports were “non-sense” produced by his Democratic opponents. “This Russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.”

The tweets came after the New York Times quoted unnamed former and current officials as saying that the communications were intercepted as evidence of Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee was coming to light. Other media have since corroborated the reports. The intercepted communications were said to be between Trump campaign officials and other associates on the one hand, and Russian intelligence and government officials on the other. However, the officials interviewed by the Times said they had seen no evidence of the Trump team colluding in the hacking. Mr Flynn and Mr Trump’s former campaign

manager, Paul Manafort, were said to be among those mentioned by the officials. Mr Manafort told the newspaper: “I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today. “It’snotlikethesepeoplewearbadges that say: ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”As well as an FBI investigation, both the Senate and House intelligence committees are already examining Russian involvement in the election. It is not yet clear whether the latest claims will be included in their scope.

Kim Jong-nam Death: Malaysia Police Hold Female Suspect A female suspect has been arrested in Malaysia in connection with the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother. Local police said that the woman was arrested at the airport in the capital Kuala Lumpur where Kim Jong-nam was targeted in an apparent poisoning on Monday. She was in possession of a Vietnamese travel document. Malaysian police say they are looking for “a few” other suspects. Police said the arrested suspect, who was alone, was identified from CCTV footage taken at the airport. They named her as Doan Thi Huong, 28. South Korean media have widely reported that two women, said to be North Korean agents, were involved and fled the airport in a taxi, though Malaysian police have not confirmed those details. A grainy image broadcast in South Korea and Malaysia shows a woman wearing a white T-shirt with the letters “LOL” written on the front. Malaysia is yet to formally confirm that the dead man is Kim Jong-nam, as he was travelling under a different name - Kim Chol. But the government of South Korea has said it is certain it is him. Its spy agency is said to have

told lawmakers they believe Mr Kim was poisoned. Earlier, Malaysia state news agency Bernama reported that a woman from Myanmar was detained at the airport. It is unclear if that report was referring to the woman now under arrest. If confirmed, it would be the most high-profile death linked to North Korea since Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Chang Song-thaek, was executed in 2013. North Korea has not commented on the death but officials from the country’s Malaysian embassy have been visiting the hospital in Kuala Lumpur where Mr Kim’s body has been taken. What happened? Kim Jong-nam was attacked on Monday morning while waiting at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport for a 10:00 flight to Macau, Malaysian newspaper reports say, quoting police. Exactly how the attack unfolded is still unclear. Officials and witnesses have variously said he was splashed with a chemical or had a cloth placed over his face. Earlier reports spoke of a “spray” being used or a needle. He died on the way to hospital. Who was he?

It was not the first time Mr Kim had travelled under an assumed identity: he was caught trying to enter Japan using a false passport in 2001. He told officials he had been planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland. The Tokyo incident is thought by some analysts to have spoilt Kim Jong-nam’s chances of succeeding his father, Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011. Bypassed in favour of his youngest half-brother for succession, Kim Jongnam kept a low profile, spending most of his time overseas in Macau, mainland China and Singapore. He later spoke out against his family’s dynastic control of North Korea and in a 2012 book was quoted as saying he believed his younger half-brother lacked leadership qualities.

But he had said he was not interested in assuming the leadership himself. Was this an assassination? Unnamed US government sources have said they believe he was poisoned by North Korean agents. South Korean spy chief Lee Byung-ho told South Korean MPs that Pyongyang had wanted to kill Kim Jong-nam for several years, but that he was being protected by China. But some analysts question what motive Kim Jong-un would have to kill his estranged half-brother, given the risk of the operation and possibilities for embarrassment, and the fact that he was not seen as a threat to Mr Kim’s leadership.




T H I S D AY Ëž ËœÍŻÍ´Ëœ 2017


Fitch Revises Nigerian Banks’ Outlook to Negative Obinna ChimaĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽ Nume Ekeghe Fitch Ratings yesterday revised its outlook on four Nigerian banks to negative from stable. The global rating agency also affirmed the long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of 10 banks and financial institutions. The affected institutions were Zenith Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB), Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited (FCMB), Wema Bank Plc and FBN Holdings Plc (FBNH). But the National Ratings of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc (SIBTC), as well as its bank holding company, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc (SIBTCH) were also affirmed. Fitch also revised Bank of Industry Limited’s (BOI) Outlook to Negative from Stable, while affirming the Long-Term Issuer Default Rating of the bank at ‘B+’. According to a statement by Fitch yesterday, the IDR Outlooks on Zenith and GTB (both at B+) was revised to negative following a recent similar action on Nigeria’s (B+) Outlook. The other two banks, whose Outlooks was also revised to Negative were Diamond and FBN/FBNH and the revision reflected their weaker financial profiles. “We have downgraded the Long-and Short-Term National Ratings of FBN/FBNH and Diamond to ‘BB+(nga)’ and ‘B(nga)’ respectively to reflect heightened vulnerability of capital due to downside asset quality risks. A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary. The IDRs of all the banks (except SIBTC/SIBTCH) are driven by Fitch’s assessment of their

standalone creditworthiness as captured in their Viability Ratings (VRs). “The IDRs are all in the ‘B’ range, indicating highly speculative fundamental credit quality, and factor in the banks’ weakened credit profiles due to challenging macro-economic conditions and market volatility. The operating environment continues to be affected by the oil price shock, slow GDP growth, continuing pressure on the naira, scarcity of hard currency in the FX interbank market and policy uncertainty. “The VRs continue to be pressured by tight foreign currency liquidity, asset quality deterioration and limited capital buffers. The sector remains largely profitable, but operating profits in 2016 were inflated by foreign currency revaluation gains (due to the sharp depreciation of the naira in June 2016). “Foreign currency-adjusted ‘normalised’ operating profit, although still healthy, is vulnerable to rising loan impairment charges (LICs). As a consequence, the banks VRs remain in the highly speculative ‘b’ range,� The global rating agency said it is currently monitoring the banks’ ability to meet maturing external obligations given current difficult market conditions and limited supply of foreign currency from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The new foreign-exchange regime provided limited respite in accessing foreign currency in the interbank market. FX forward contracts provided by the CBN since June 2016 have helped the banks access foreign currency to reduce a large backlog of overdue trade finance obligations. These were either extended or refinanced with international correspondent banks. Further depreciation of the naira against the US dollar would negatively impact banks’

regulatory capital ratios due to the translation effect of risk-weighted assets (RWAs). “Some banks have limited buffers over regulatory minimums and further erosion of capital ratios beyond our expectations could be credit-negative. GTB and Zenith are the highest rated banks in Nigeria with LongTerm IDRs and VRs of ‘B+’ and ‘b+’ respectively. These ratings are driven by solid company profiles, management quality and strong through-the-cycle performance. “The Negative Outlooks on their Long-Term IDRs reflect Fitch’s view that they cannot be rated above the sovereign due to the close correlation between the domestic operating environment and their credit profiles, including large holdings of government securities. “ UBA’s VR reflects the bank’s strong franchise and company profile, which includes a broad pan-African footprint, as well as healthy financial metrics, including adequate capital and leverage ratios and resilient earnings. Access’s VR reflects the bank’s expanding franchise and market share as well as a strengthened business model and good track-record of execution. The rating also considers the bank’s healthy financial profile, including strong asset quality and capital ratios. “FBNH’s and FBN’s VRs reflect the group’s traditionally strong franchise and company profile in Nigeria and regionally and a large retail network. The VRs also factor in the bank’s very high non-performing loans (NPL) ratio, large loan concentrations to the oil sector and weak capital position. The Outlook on the Long-Term IDRs is revised to Negative to reflect continued pressure on capital as addressing its substantial asset quality problems will likely take time. Diamond’s VR reflects the bank’s high risk appetite and weaker earnings,� it added.

ABCON Boss Calls for Patriotism as Naira Hits N510/$ on Parallel Mkt



-- Narrow Money (M1)


---- Currency Outside Banks


---- Demand Deposits


-- Quasi Money


Net Foreign Assets (NFA)


Net Domestic Assets(NDA)


-- Net Domestic Credit (NDC)


---- Credit to Government (Net)


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


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


---- Credit to Private Sector (CPS)


--Other Assets Net


Reserve Money (Base Money)


--Currency in Circulation


--Banks Reserves

4,415,126.62 ˞ÙĂ&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă?Ě‹

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Price (N)

Obinna Chima åÓÞÒĂ‹Ă‘Ă?Ă˜Ă?ĂŁĂœĂ?ĂšĂ™ĂœĂž The naira hit a new low on the black market on Wednesday just as the President of the Association of Bureau De Change of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe urged members of the association to help stabilise the currency. The ABCON boss said the continued weakness of had become a “major concernâ€? for the central bank. The fell to N510 to the dollar on the parallel market yesterday, weaker than the N507 to dollar it was the previous day. This is even much weaker than the official naira exchange rate of N305.50, which has been trading at since last August. “The growing spikes in the parallel market to over 500/$ is becoming a major concern to the central bank ... and detrimental to the cordial relationship existing between us and regulators,â€? Reuters quoted Gwadabe to have said. The central bank normally

sells around $8,000 a week each to some 3,000 licensed retail operators, who resell to individuals and small businesses for a marginal profit. While these operators account for less than five per cent of all foreign currency trading in Nigeria, they help drive the currency’s exchange rate due to the scarcity of dollars on the official channel. However, they have tended to buy dollars from private sources and resell at a much higher margin, fuelling the black market but weakening the naira. Gwadabe urged ABCON members to stick to the reference rate of N399 per dollar set last month to stabilise the currency market and reduce the 40 percent gap with the official interbank rate. The naira’s official exchange rate weakened by a third last year, and the currency has continued to hit fresh lows on the black market since last week, crossing the N500 line on the unapproved retail market

as traders tested new levels to lure dollar holders to sell. Gwadabe told his members to comply with the reference rate to enable them to benefit from “more volumes soon to be communicated by the central bank�. The government has been pressing retail operators to narrow what it has described as a damaging gulf between the official and parallel exchange rates. Low prices for oil, Nigeria’s main source of income, have triggered a currency crisis and tipped the economy into its first recession in 25 years. On the official interbank market on Wednesday, lenders traded only $1.95 million by the market close as the central bank, the main supplier of dollars, continued to ration the U.S. currency. Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele had said the bank was looking at ways to boost dollar liquidity on the official market to support the naira. He had also said the bank does not intend to devalue the currency.



Stanbic Balanced Fund

Buying Price(N)

Selling Price



Stanbic IBTC NEF




Stanbic SIBond




Stanbic IBTC Ethical




Stanbic IBTC GIF



UBA Balanced Fund



UBA Bond Fund



UBA Equity Fund



UBA Money Market Fund



ARM Aggressive Growth Fund



ARM Discovery Fund



ARM Ethical Fund



ARM Money Market Fund

13.1030 (Yield % )


OPEC DAILY BASKET PRICE AS AT TUESDAY 14, FEBRUARY 2017 The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $53.31 a barrel on Tuesday , compared with $53.47 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).

SOURCE: OPEC headquarters, Vienna

T H I S D AY ˾ ͯʹ˜Ͱͮͯ͵


Nigeria’s top 50 stocks based on market fundamentals



% Change





Div. Yld

Price/ Book Value

01 Dangote Cement Plc










02 Nigerian Breweries Plc










03 Guaranty Trust Bank Plc































210,257,918,940.00 -44.58





07 Lafarge Africa Plc










08 Access Bank Plc



















10 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated










11 United Bank for Africa Plc










12 Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc










13 Unilever Nigeria Plc










14 FBN Holdings Plc










15 Mobil Oil Nig Plc










16 Guinness Nig Plc










17 Total Nigeria Plc
































-0.05 -2,331.69













22 International Breweries Plc










23 Flour Mills Nig. Plc










24 Julius Berger Nig. Plc










25 Okomu Oil Palm Plc




























28 FCMB Group Plc










29 Fidelity Bank Plc



















31 Sterling Bank Plc










32 Diamond Bank Plc










33 Custodian And Allied Insurance Plc










34 Wema Bank Plc










35 National Salt Co. Nig. Plc



















37 Cadbury Nigeria Plc










38 Mansard Insurance Plc










39 PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc










40 Continental Reinsurance Plc










41 Unity Bank Plc










42 Honeywell Flour Mill Plc










43 Skye Bank Plc










44 Wapic Insurance Plc










45 Resort Savings & Loans Plc










46 Cement Co. Of North.Nig. Plc










47 Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc










48 AIICO Insurance Plc










49 UACN Property Development Co. Limited










50 Fidson Healthcare Plc










04 Nestle Nigeria Plc 05 Zenith Bank Plc 06 Seplat Petroleum Dev. Co. Ltd

09 Presco Plc

18 Forte Oil Plc. 19 Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc 20 7-Up Bottling Comp. Plc 21 Oando Plc

26 Transnational Corporation Of Nigeria Plc 27 U A C N Plc

30 Cap Plc

36 Glaxo Smithkline Consumer Nig. Plc





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


Table 1 Market Statistics Mkt Indicators

NSE All Share Index NSE Market Cap (N'Trillion)

Open 14-Feb-17

Close 15-Feb-17

Change %

25,032.17 8.66

25,130.26 8.70

0.39 0.39

104.73 8.15

104.17 8.11

-0.54 -0.54

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

Table 3 Top 5 Gainers Stock

Open Close Change 14-Feb-17 15-Feb-17 %

Forte Oil Plc. Honeywell Flour Mill Plc Nigerian Breweries Plc UACN Property Development Co. Limited AIICO Insurance Plc

56.70 1.05 112.82 2.07

62.50 1.10 117.50 2.12

10.23 4.76 4.15 2.42




Table 4 Top 5 Losers Stock

Open Close Change 14-Feb-17 15-Feb-17 %

Guinness Nig Plc Continental Reinsurance Plc Fidson Healthcare Plc Cap Plc Guaranty Trust Bank Plc

64.00 1.10 1.05 30.43 24.29

60.92 1.05 1.01 29.60 23.80

-4.81 -4.55 -3.81 -2.73 -2.02

Market appreciates by 0.39% Market pulse on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) today – Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 ended on a positive note as the stock market closed green. This was further highlighted by positive performance from the NSE Subsectors: Banking, Consumer Goods and Oil & Gas (Save Insurance). Furthermore, trading activities increased in volume as 161.94m shares worth of N1.80 billion in 4,216 deals exchanged hands today. This is an increase from the 144.89m shares worth of N1.91 billion in 2,868 deals which exchanged hands on Tuesday. Topping in volume terms are: Zenith Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, while Zenith Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc ended trading as the most active stocks in value terms. Brent crude oil today loss 0.46% to settles at US$55.81 per barrel compared with previous day figure. The All Share Index (NSEASI) closed positive with 0.39% (+98.01) increase to close at 25,130.26 from 25,032.17 the previous trading day. Market capitalization appreciated in tandem to N8.70 trillion from N8.66 trillion of prior trading day. However, the Thisday BGL 50 Index holds position at 104.17 from 104.73 recorded at the end of the previous trading day, while its market capitalization stood at N8.11 trillion from N8.15 trillion of the previous trading day. Market breath closed positive as 10 stocks gained on the bourse today while 14 stocks declined, leaving 66 stocks unchanged. Forte Oil Plc topped the Thisday BGL 50 Index gainers’ list as it emerged as the day’s toast of investors with a gain of 10.23% to close at N62.50 per share. It was followed by Honeywell Flour Mill Plc with a gain of 4.76% to close at N1.10 per share. Others on the gainers list include: Nigerian Breweries Plc, UACN Property Development Co. Limited and AIICO Insurance Plc; while on the decliners’ list, Guinness Nig. Plc lead the pack with a loss of 4.81% to close at N60.92 per share. It was followed closely by Continental Reinsurance Plc with a loss of 4.55% to close at N1.05 per share. Others on the decliners list include: Fidson Healthcare Plc, Cap Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. REQUIRED DISCLOSURE This report has been prepared by BGL Plc. BGL Plc does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should use this report as one of many other factors in making their investment decisions.

For more details go to


T H I S D AY ˾ ˜ͯʹ˜Ͱͮͯ͵


ETI, Afreximbank Sign Pact to Promote Trade and Investment Goddy Egene and Nosa Alekhuogie Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of the Ecobank Group and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote joint corporate objectives through the financing of private sector projects and trade finance

transactions. The focus will be particularly on transactions involving trade and investment in Afreximbank member countries where Ecobank also has a presence. The initiatives envisaged include the creation of a $500 million programme dedicated to financing trade among Afreximbank member countries where Ecobank conducts banking business. In a filing at the Nigerian


Stock Exchange (NSE) made available yesterday, ETI said the cooperation between the two institutions will support efforts at promoting intra African trade, facilitating industrial development and export development, and strengthening African trade finance leadership, with the ultimate goal of transforming the African continent. “Under the agreement, Afreximbank and Ecobank will design joint inno-


vative and tailor-made financial instruments and solutions to support private sector corporate and select strategic public sector institutions, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This will enable the companies to participate effectively in the production of value added goods and services in national, regional and continental value chains. The two institutions will also explore other cooperation


in financing trade operations in the form of exports and imports among African countries where Ecobank is present. Commenting on the development, ETI Chief Executive Officer, Ade Ayeyemi said: “We welcome this win-win collaboration between Ecobank and Afreximbank. It is cooperation that will lead to a more efficient way of channelling trade finance towards supporting growth


of intra-African trade and industrialisation. Inadequate access to trade finance remains one of the greatest obstacles to Africa’s economic development.” Speaking in the same vein, President of Afreximbank, Dr. Benedict Oramah said: “This collaboration with Ecobank opens up more opportunities for African businesses to access much-needed financing for their trading activities.


     ˾  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017


FMDQ Set to List Federal Government of Nigeria $1bn Eurobond Goddy Egene The FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange has said it is getting set to admit the pioneer listing of the $1.00 billion Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Eurobond to its platform. The FGN, on February  9, 2017, announced the pricing of its offering of $1.00 billion Notes (Eurobond) under its $1.00 billion Global Medium-Term Note Programme. The issuance of the $1.00 billion FGN Eurobond is aimed at fostering economic

development and will serve to rejuvenate the vibrancy of the nation’s foreign exchange (FX) market. Remarkably so, this is the first-time the sovereign’s Eurobond will be considered for listing on a domestic exchange, following the nation’s first and second outings to the international capital markets in 2011 and 2013 respectively. According to FMDQ, this most commendable consideration follows the decision of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria, (the authority under

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

which the FGN issues Bonds and Treasury Bills) and the Ministry of Finance to list the Eurobond on an efficient domestic securities exchange such as FMDQ to deepen and support the development of the local DCM. “In streamlining its processes and ensuring an efficient time to market for debt securities, FMDQ, being Nigeria’s foremost debt capital-focused OTC securities exchange has continued to provide a highly resourceful platform for the registration, listing of Bonds (sovereign, agency, sub-national,

floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is an investment vehicle that allows both small and large investors to part-own real estate ventures (eg. Offices, Houses, Hospitals) in proportion to their investments. The assets are divided into shares that are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. GUIDE TO DATA: Date: All fund prices are quoted in Naira as at 14-Feb-2017, unless otherwise stated.

corporate, supranational, as well as Eurobonds and Sukuk), funds and the quotation of c commercial papers, treasury bills and other short-term securities as may arise from time to time, to meet the needs of the market participants,” the exchange said. Whilst currently providing improved transparency, effective price formation and enhanced secondary market liquidity through its dealing members, who are responsible for  99 per cent  of the secondary market trading activity in FGN Bonds

and Nigerian Treasury Bills on the exchange, FMDQ noted in admitting the $1.00 Eurobond for listing and trading,  it will continue to end its itself as a worthy and operationally excellent platform, serving as the point of integration between the domestic and international markets. The OTC exchange, since its debut into the Nigerian financial market landscape,  has already granted permitted trading status for $1.50 billion of the previously issued FGN Eurobonds and $3.15 billion of Eurobonds issued by

Nigerian companies. With its audacious vision to be number one in the fixed income and currencies markets in Africa by 2019, the listing and eventual trading of the FGN Eurobonds on FMDQ, the first of its kind in the nation, will see the securities gain access to the full complement of the FMDQ Listings and Quotations service, which includes efficient clearing and settlement structures, unprecedented transparency, and improved network effects, among others.

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

DAILY PRICE LIST FOR MUTUAL FUNDS, REITS and ETFS MUTUAL FUNDS / UNIT TRUSTS AFRINVEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 270 1680 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Afrinvest Equity Fund 126.41 126.64 -0.57% Nigeria International Debt Fund 216.62 216.96 0.56% ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD Web:, Tel: +234 1 291 2406, +234 1 291 2868 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ACAP Canary Growth Fund 0.70 0.69 -1.48% AIICO CAPITAL LTD Web:, Tel: +234-1-2792974 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AIICO Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 17.71% ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ARM Aggressive Growth Fund 12.05 12.42 -2.37% ARM Discovery Fund 284.01 292.57 -1.10% ARM Ethical Fund 21.83 22.49 -2.29% ARM Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 17.33% AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED Web:; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund 105.63 106.38 0.53% AXA Mansard Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 17.02% CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD Web:, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Nigeria Global Investment Fund 2.18 2.23 0.23% Paramount Equity Fund 9.46 9.70 1.05% Women's Investment Fund 86.25 88.46 1.95% CORDROS ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web:, Tel: 019036947 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Cordros Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 17.59% FBN CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn FBN Fixed Income Fund 1,107.30 1,108.36 1.55% FBN Heritage Fund 108.96 109.68 -2.36% FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 15.86% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional $105.62 $106.43 1.57% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail $105.36 $106.18 2.02% FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund 111.48 112.96 -1.05% FIRST CITY ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Legacy Equity Fund 0.93 0.95 0.00% Legacy Short Maturity (NGN) Fund 2.62 2.62 1.78% FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: 01-270 4884-5; 01-280 9740-1 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coral Growth Fund 2,169.88 2,194.50 -1.80% Coral Income Fund 2,147.72 2,147.72 2.07% GREENWICH ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web: ; Tel: +234 1 4619261-2 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Greenwich Plus Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 9.28% INVESTMENT ONE FUNDS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 812 992 1045,+234 1 448 8888 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Abacus Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 16.62% Vantage Balanced Fund 1.68 1.69 -0.29% Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund 1.00 1.00 15.22%

LOTUS CAPITAL LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-291 4626 / +234 1-291 4624 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Lotus Halal Investment Fund 0.99 1.01 0.33% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 1,015.45 1,015.45 1.26% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD Web: ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 9.64 9.73 -0.21% Meristem Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 14.70% PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.06 1.08 0.93% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 10.41 10.44 0.01% PACAM Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 15.10% SCM CAPITAL LIMITED Web:; Tel: +234 1-280 2226,+234 1- 280 2227 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SCM Capital Frontier Fund 111.00 111.72 8.93% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD Web:, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.26 1.26 1.05% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 280 1266; 0700 MUTUALFUNDS Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Stanbic IBTC Balanced Fund 1,806.48 1,816.09 -1.36% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 151.88 151.88 -1.35% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 0.75 0.76 -1.95% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 189.19 189.19 1.23% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 127.30 128.90 -1.97% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 17.68% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 7,186.84 7,273.15 -5.21% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.13 1.15 9.04% United Capital Bond Fund 1.25 1.25 16.11% United Capital Equity Fund 0.65 0.66 0.14% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.00% ZENITH ASSETS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 9.63 9.80 0.10% Zenith Ethical Fund 11.07 11.18 1.50% Zenith Income Fund 17.04 17.04 3.16%


Yield / T-Rtn

11.41 124.56

1.01% 0.48%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

7.77 69.52

7.87 70.83

-11.44% -8.26%

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

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund Stanbic IBTC ETF 30 Fund

VETIVA FUND MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 453 0697 Fund Name Vetiva Banking Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Consumer Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Industrial Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Exchange Traded Fund Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

2.41 4.83 11.30 14.09 140.19

2.45 4.91 11.40 14.29 142.19

-12.14% -31.12% -5.74% -11.59% 7.88%

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




Fayose Storms Finance Ministry, Demands Release of State’s Federal Allocation PDP, APC bicker over FG’s action Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, yesterday stormed the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance in Abuja to demand the release of the state’s share of December allocation from the Federation Account. The December allocation was shared by the three tiers of government in January during the monthly Federation Account Allocation (FAAC) meeting usually hosted by the Ministry of Finance. The governor arrived the ministry at about 3.15p.m. in a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) unaccompanied. At the gate, he had introduced himself to the security personnel, including mobile policemen requesting to see the Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who was at that time at the State House for the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. But the governor was allowed to see some top ministry officials on the Seventh floor, who assured him that the allocation issue would be resolved soonest. Fayose had complained to the officials that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled federal government had withheld the state’s December allocation. This, he said, was in a bid to ground development activities in the state. On his way out of the ministry, Fayose asked the federal government to avoid anything that would be detrimental to Ekiti people,

adding that if there was anything personal, he should face the consequences rather than allow the innocent people of the state suffer for his perceived sin. “Well, I’m hopeful that the money will be paid. I’m told that there is a mix-up somewhere. I want to believe so. If it is in the realm of mix- up, it’s okay. Ekiti workers are waiting to have this money to be paid with minimum delay. “It’s well over two three weeks since we came for FAAC and I am sure now that the minister has come back, it will not take time. “But I hope this will not repeat itself because these are statutory obligations to my state. It is our right and by no means should politics take away our right. “If the APC government has issues with me, they should face me and not deny the average man on the street their legitimate salaries having worked for 30 days. “But I want to appreciate the minister; I want to thank her because she called me personally and assured me that things would be resolved,” he said. Fayose said he felt like coming “because the people of the state expect me to act on their behalf and that’s exactly what I have done. “I didn’t meet that minister but I met the SA (Special Assistant) who assured me that the minister went to FEC and that when she is back, he would convey my message to her and he assured me that all would be fine in due course,” he added.

Meanwhile, the withholding of the state’s allocation has attracted comments from a cross-section of individuals such as former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and former Deputy Governor of the state and governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal, On his part, Fani-Kayode condemned the federal government’s action, describing the action as petty, vindictive and reprehensible. The former minister in a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, said it was wrong for the federal government to punish the state government and the people of the state because the courageous views of Governor Ayo Fayose whom he described as the rallying point of opposition against the

President Muhammadu Buhari administration. He therefore, called on the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to intervene in the matter expeditiously and release the Ekiti State governnent’s allocation forthwith. “Simply because the courageous Fayose has become the rallying point of opposition against the President Muhammadu Buhari does not mean that the people of Ekiti State should suffer.” Similarly, Lawal called for the immediate release of the allocation, saying the Supreme Court in the case of Lagos State vs the federal government on the contentious withholding of the local government’ allocations by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, had passed an explicit verdict that the states are federating units with full autonomy and that the federal

government has no power whatsoever to deny them of their statutory benefits. In a chat with journalists in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Lawal lampooned the government for what he described as the ‘rascally behaviour of the government calling for immediate reversal of the action to prevent anarchy in the system. Lawal stressed the need for President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to exercise restraint and extricate itself from unnecessary vindictive actions that could trample on the 1999 constitution and plunge Nigerian citizens into underserved hardship due to morbid politicking. The ex-deputy governor described as a brazen undermining of the constituted authority and the Ekiti people for the federal government to have allegedly punished the state owing to

Fayose’s consistent criticism of the Buhari-led government. But the state chapter of the APC has accused Fayose of blackmailing the federal government over his claim. The party said if at all Fayose’s claim was true, what would have been withheld is the special funds approved by the federal government for budget support intervention in the states. It said while not holding brief for the Federal Ministry of Finance, contrary to Fayose’s misinformation and lies to instigate the Ekiti people against President Muhammadu Buhari and blackmail APC-led federal government as responsible for his inability to pay workers, it is the governor that should be blamed for the breach of agreement he signed with the ederal government to enjoy the facility.

Minister Faults Discovery of New Cure for HIV/AIDS FEC approves new National Health Policy Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, yesterday in Abuja dismissed the claims that a drug for the treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS has been discovered. He said the claim made recently by a Nigerian university don, Prof Maduike Ezeibe, had no valid ethical approval by the relevant health authorities. Addressing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, Adewole said: “Nobody is entitled to conduct any experiment or research on human beings without an ethical approval. “At the National Health Research Ethics Committee level there is no evidence that this researcher sought and obtained ethical approval.” The minister also announced the approval by FEC of a new National Health Policy that he said would will re position

the health sector. He explained that the new policy would provide direction necessary to support the achievement of significant progress in terms of improving the performance of the country’s national health system. According to him, the policy also lays emphasis on primary health care as the bedrock of national health system in addition to the provision of financial risk protection to all Nigerians particularly the poor and vulnerable population. He said: ”This administration is reputed for being pro-poor and we are quiet committed to alleviating the problem of the poor Nigerians, the vulnerable the unemployed and the disadvantaged,” he stressed. “The new policy is the third in the history of Nigeria. The first was in 1988, the second in 2004 all geared towards promoting the health of Nigerians and accelerate socio-economic development.”


L-R: Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari; and Ebonyi State Governor, Dr. David Umahi, during the NGF meeting, at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja ....yesterday Godwin Omoigui

Lagos Unveils Plan to Generate 3,000MW by 2022 Adopts embedded power initiative Gboyega Akinsanmi Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday unveiled a comprehensive energy security programme for the state, noting that it would lead to the generation of 3,000 megawatts (MW) by 2022. The governor disclosed that the plan to generate 3,000 MW megawatts in phases would be achieved through embedded power initiative was recommended by the state Embedded Power Technical Committee. He revealed the plan after the presentation of the report of the Embedded Power Technical Committee set in on August 2016 “to actually solve the power security issue in Nigeria and most especially

in Lagos.” The technical committee included representatives from General Electric, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Shell Gas, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Crisps Capital, Gaslink, Falcon Gas, among others. Other stakeholders represented in the committee comprised Eko Distribution Company, Ikeja Electric, Detail Solicitors, Gbolahan Elias & Co, Powertech Limited, Ibile Oil & Gas Corporation, Egbin Power Company, Access Bank, Sparkwest Limited and I-Zap Engineering Services. After receiving the report of the committee, Ambode explained the overall objective behind the state’s power intervention programme, which he said, was designed

to ensure energy security for the state. He added that the energy security programme would be implemented “to generate up to 3,000 megawatts of power in phases through accelerated deployment of various embedded power plants in strategic locations in the state between three and seven years.” The governor explained that the initiative was planned that 350 megawatts of the incremental power “will be delivered by first quarter of 2018, additional 850 megawatts by fourth quarter of 2018.” He said the rest of 1,800mw “will be achieved through the third quarter of 2022. The state government will support the Power Purchase Agreements

that will be signed between the distribution companies and the embedded power providers to enhance bankability of the projects. “The state will distribute the embedded power, off-grid, within Lagos State through the network of Eko and Ikeja distribution companies. We will support the distribution companies in upgrading their distribution infrastructure and installation of smart prepaid meters in the areas where embedded power is deployed.” The governor, therefore, disclosed the plan “to collaborate with operators of oil blocks in Lagos and its environs to accelerate the extraction of gas feedstocks for power generation.”




C’ttee Seeks Extension for Submission of Report on Accidental Bombing of IDP Camp Panel submits report on Donnier crash Paul Obi in Abuja The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) committee entrusted with the

investigation of the accidental bombing of an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Rann, Borno State, has appealed for an extension

FRSC BossVisits El-Rufai over Ban John Shiklam in Kaduna The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, yesterday visited the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, following the state government’s recent ban on the personnel of the commission from operating within urban centres. Speaking during the visit, Oyeyemi, expressed displeasure with the attitude of some of his men in the state, saying that major reorganisation of the Kaduna command of the commission was on the way. “I learnt what some of our boys did, you don’t need to worry, I would carry out major reorganisation in FRSC in the state,” Oyeyemi said. The state government had banned personnel of the FRSC from operating within urban centres across the state following complaints that personnel of the commission were extorting people and causing unnecessary traffic gridlock by erecting road blocks. Oyeyemi said the FRSC is already focusing its attention on highways, adding that the responsibility of traffic control on urban roads were being transferred to state traffic agencies.

He disclosed that 16 states had since set up their traffic management agencies and “we are sharing responsibility by regulating their activities. “I learnt that your state traffic agency started operation in January (2017), they would need proper training so that we can be on the same page and work to remove recalcitrant drivers from the road and save more lives,” the FRSC boss said. He disclosed further that eight additional FRSC outposts were being set up along the KadunaAbuja highway with four on Kaduna side, while two would be sited along the bypass, one at the train station and one at the Kaduna airport. He appealed to the governor to assist in equipping the emergency reception hospital at Doka to serve as a traumatic centre for accident victims. Oyeyemi also lamented the overloading of vehicles by drivers plying the KadunaAbuja road. “I’m worried about overload which I have witnessed along Abuja-Kaduna road up to Kano, putting people in the boot with rams. I’m working on it but can’t leave Abuja always, you need to help us about it,” he said.

in order to thoroughly investigate the incident. The committee headed by the NAF’s Chief of Standard and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Salihu Bala-Ribbah, was inaugurated in January and mandated to submit its report on February 2, 2017. The Chief of the Air Staff, (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, told journalists yesterday in Abuja that “the committee has asked for an extension of its mandate in order to get all the facts.” The air chief added that “the committee has visited the affected area, interviewed all the relevant people and in the process of putting down a report.” Also, NAF revealed that a special trend described “as ‘Special Disorientation’ was responsible for the tragic crash of the Donnier 228 aircraft with tail number NAF 030 which crashed after take-off in Kaduna on August 29, 2015.” The Chairman of a special investigation panel and NAF’s Director of Safety, Air Vice Marshal Sampson Akpasa, added that “detailed investigations by the

manufacturers of the aircraft revealed that there was nothing wrong with the engine. Akpasa stated: “We shipped the engine to the manufacturers, Honeywell Aerospace in Arizona USA, two board members observed the tear down of the engines between October 30 to November 4, 2015. “Also, analysis on the fuel used by the aircraft was done by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and we found that both engines were working well at the time of the accident also, the fuel was found to be safe,” he stressed. The incident resulted in seven occupants of the aircraft sustaining fatal injuries, the aircraft was also damaged. Akpasa also said investigation is ongoing on an F7Ni incident in Yola in 2016, stating that, “unexploded ordinance carried by the aircraft was buried underground and has not been exhume. “On the Augusta 101 helicopter which crashed in Markudi in October 2016, he said parts of

the aircraft have been flown to the United Kingdom and Canada for analysis.” Abubakar speaking on the Donnier aircraft explained that “there was no engine problem, what happened was special disorientation, it is a phenomenon in flying and we are training more safety officers to monitor our flying activities. “On the F7 jet, the pilot died and investigations are ongoing, we will get the necessary support from the manufacturers to get a conclusive investigation. The NAF will continue to build capacity, train and get the best of the equipment in our care.” In another development, participants at the first Nigerian Army Research and Innovation Summit bemoaned the absence of enabling legislation in support of military research and innovation. This was made known at the end of a three-day deliberation which featured members of the armed forces, academia, private security companies and equipment manufacturers and lawmakers

The participants tasked the National Assembly to pass into law, the bill on National Policy on Research, Development and Innovation before the end of the third quarter of 2017. The summit with the theme, ‘Research and Innovation: Developing Synergy with Indigenous Institutions for Enhanced Capacity in the Nigerian Army,’ was geared towards leveraging on government policies and programmes in support of research and innovation. In the communiqué issued at the end of the summit said participants “recognized the need for effective research and innovation towards the enhancement of Nigeria’s military capacity and closing the technology gap through the adoption of reverse engineering and re-engineering methods.” The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who applauded the commitment of participants at the end of the summit, explained that the event addresses the core mandate of the Nigerian Army.

Enugu: Ugwuanyi Floors Ayogu Eze at Appeal Court Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday dismissed the appeal by the former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general election in Enugu State, Senator Ayogu Eze, seeking to upturn the emergence of Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the candidate of the party nominated at the December 4, 2014 primary election in the state. The court in a judgment delivered by Justice Peter Ige, dismissed the appeal for lack of merit as well as lack of locus standi by Eze, whom the court said, admitted in his affidavit, that he did not participate in the primary election conducted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP. The court also held that the high court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit ab initio since Eze did not qualify as an aspirant and was therefore not entitled to challenge the outcome of the primary election as provided in Section 87 (9) of the Electoral Act. He explained that in line with the Electoral Act “the aspirant must be an insider, somebody who participated in the primary authorised by the party. “The appellant admitted he was aware that another primary was conducted by Asara Asara, but

that he did not participate. “The appeal of the appellant lacks merit. The judgment of the lower court is affirmed,” he added. Eze had approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking, among other reliefs, “A declaration that the plaintiff (Ayogu Eze), having been elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the primary election held on December 8, 2014, for the election of a governorship candidate for the 1stdefendant (PDP) where the authentic and authenticated list of delegates for the 1st defendant (primary election) held on November 1, 2014 and sanctioned and recognised by the Federal High Court judgment of November 24, 2014 is the right candidate of the 1st and 2nd defendants (PDP and PDP National Working Committee) whose name must be submitted to the third defendant as their rightful governorship candidate for the general election of 2015.” The lower court dismissed the case of Ayogu Eze as it held that the judgment of Justice Ademola did not compel the party to use any particular list of ad-hoc delegates for the primary election, hence there was no breach of Section 87 (4) (b) of the Electoral Act. Meanwhile, the judgment of the Court of Appeal yesterday, was received with jubilation by supporters of Ugwuanyi who were in court in their numbers.


R-L:RiversStateGovernor,NyesomEzenwoWike;formerPresident, NigerianBarAssociation(NBA),ChiefOnuezeOkocha;andtheNyeweliRumuokoro, EzeAllwellOhwonda, during a thankyou visitofRumuokoroClantoGovernmentHouse,PortHarcourt...yesterday

Tambuwal, Dangote Flag off Rice Outgrowers Scheme in Sokoto Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, along with the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, yesterday flagged off a rice outgrowers’ scheme which would cover 25,000 hectares of farmland across some selected local government areas of the state. Speaking at the site of the event which held in Goronyo Dam, Dangote said the project would within the next three years produce at least one million tonnes of high quality parboiled rice for the Nigerian market. He said to achieve this, his company plans to cultivate 160,000 hectares of irrigated rice farmland in selected states, including Sokoto, which will be cultivated to grow

paddy during two cropping seasons per year. “With this, we hope to achieve a minimum yield of five to six tonnes per hectare. Our plans is to off-take not less that 80 per cent of the paddy produced by the outgrowers. We will also develop our own farm operations to include seed multiplication capabilities,” he added. According to him, Dangote Rice Limited aims to boost the local economy, create jobs along the value and make a significant contribution to the transformation of subsistence farms into marketoriented agribusinesses. In his remarks, Tambuwal commended Dangote for sitting

the project in Sokoto State, saying the renewed efforts of his administration in the sector has started yielding the desired result. The governor said education and agriculture have remained the two top sectors in the priority list in the state in the last two years, revealing that this year, Sokoto has allocated more to agriculture than all states of the federation. “We have had series of visits to different countries and signed various MoUs with many organisations and entities, Dangote inclusive, with a view to uplifting agriculture in the state. “So the Dangote Rice Project in

Sokoto State will not only provide food security and employment to our teeming unemployed youths, it would ensure the overall development of agricultural activities in the state,” he added. Tambuwal promised that all necessary incentives have been put in place to ensure smooth operation of the scheme. In his remarks, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, urged the people to embrace this opportunity to improve their farming technique and standard of living. He said the people of Sokoto are grateful for the opportunity and would mobilise needed resources to ensure its success.




S’Court Reserves Judgment in Abia Governorship Tussle Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The Supreme Court will on May 12, 2017 deliver final judgment that will put to rest the long drawn legal tussle on the Abia State governorship seat. Contenders to the seat are the incumbent Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and his challenger, Dr Samson Okechukwu Ogah, who are both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but locked in a legal battle on who was the qualified candidate for the party in the 2015 governorship election. The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, fixed the appeal for judgment after hearing submissions from parties involved in the matter yesterday. Arguing Ogah’s case, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) urged the court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal which last year upheld the nomination of Ikpeazu. Iziyon submitted that the case of his client was that Ikpeazu was not qualified to have contested the 2015 Abia governorship election on the platform of PDP on the grounds that he supplied false information in the document used to secure clearance for the election. The counsel maintained that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it based its judgment in favour of the governor on the effect that Ogah founded his case on perjury against the defendant and that the perjury

being a criminal matter was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Iziyon insisted that his client never raised any criminal matter against Ikpeazu but only claimed that the respondent submitted false information in his form CF001 which by provision of section 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 made him ineligible to stand for election In his objection to the appeal, Ikpeazu represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit. Olanipekun argued that the trial court miscarried justice in its judgment because the PDP guidelines and its constitution which would have aided the court to arrive at a just conclusion were not before the court. He also argued that the trial judge based his judgment on extraneous considerations and that his judgment was rightly upturned by the Court of Appeal. Olanipekun said the trial court went out of its way when it assumed that Ikpeazu did not pay tax because the tax papers were dated Saturday. He also said it was wrong of the trial court to have persecuted and crucified Ikpeazu for the offence of perjury, adding that being a public servant, his tax was deducted from source and confirmed by the Abia tax officers in their affidavit evidence. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

Italian Senator Demands Inquest on OPL 245

represented by Mr. Alhassan Umar also called for the dismissal of the appeal to allow the judgment of the Appeal Court in the matter to stand. Justice Onnoghen who led four other Justices of the court, after listening to arguments from all parties, announced that the court

case. The conspiracy investigation, according to the Italian media, centres on information from witnesses that several businessmen and former politicians, including several prominent Nigerians conspired to try and topple the Eni leadership and destabilise the company. These Nigerians, according to various Italian press reports, include former National Security Adviser, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau; the Abacha family, former Attorney General, Christopher Bayo Ojo, and Italian-Nigerian businessman Gabriele Volpi. Gusau was mentioned five times in the Italian prosecutor’s December notice of conclusion of the preliminary investigation into OPL 245. Ojo was also repeatedly named. The Abacha family continues to claim to be a 50 per cent shareholder in Malabu Oil, the Nigerian company that owned OPL 245 while Mr. Volpi was named by the United States Senate as a close associate and business partner of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. There is also an Iranian angle to the alleged conspiracy, with the Italian press reporting allegations that Iranian businessman Radwan Khawthani looked to influence former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to change the Eni leadership and have current CEO Claudio Descalzi replaced by an Eni executive called Umberto Vergine. So while the Nigerian and Italian courts continue to investigate the 2011 OPL 245 transactions, questions are starting to be asked in Europe about whether the investigations themselves are serving the vested interests of powerful figures in Nigeria, Italy and elsewhere.

in relation to his tax papers. Justice Okon Abang had in his judgment agreed with Ogah and nullified the nomination of the governor and replaced him with Ogah as the qualified PDP candidate for the 2015 governorship election in Abia. The Appeal Court however, in

its judgment disagreed with Abang and set aside the his judgment The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA, Alex Otti, who was granted permission to join the appeal was however not heard because his lawyer was yet to file processes before the court.


Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State (right), receiving ‘The Man of theYear 2016” award from the Deputy Chairman, Editorial Board of Enugu Local GovernmentAreaNewsMagazine,Rev.Fr.Dr.EmekaNgwoke,attheGovernmentHouse,Enugu....yesterday.

FG, Labour Reach Consensus on Review of Minimum Wage Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The gruelling Malabu Oil deal, otherwise known as OPL 245, now under investigation by a committee of the House of Representatives, has recorded a new development as a veteran Italian senator has called for an official inquiry into the allegation that several businessmen and former politicians, including prominent Nigerians, conspired to topple the leadership of the Italian oil giant, ENI and destabilise the company. The Italian newspaper, Il Giornale, reported last weekend that Senator Lucio Barani asked for an inquiry into allegations that corruption charges around the sale of Nigerian OPL 245 had been used as part of a campaign to overthrow the leadership of the company. The 2011 deal which saw Eni and Shell pay $1.092 billion to the Federal Government of Nigeria is the subject of legal proceedings both in Nigeria and in Italy with the Federal High Court in Abuja recently temporarily removing control of the block from the two international oil companies. Senator Barani has publicly argued that the inquest is necessary because of the company’s strategic importance for the Italian economy and the danger of its being destabilised through foreign interference. The alleged conspiracy to topple the current Eni leadership has been investigated by three regional prosecutors in Italy – in Trani and Syracuse before being moved to Milan, where the prosecutors are already investigating OPL 245. The Italian media reports on allegations that the “conspiracy dossier” is now being hidden by the Milan prosecutors because it could challenge the arguments put forward by them in the OPL 245 matter and benefit Eni’s defence

would give final judgment in the matter on May 12. Ogah who came second in the governorship primary election of the PDP of 2014, had approached the Federal High Court to nullify the nomination and sponsorship of Ikpeazu on the grounds that he, Ikpeazu, supplied false information

The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Ayuba Wabba, has said the federal government and the leaders of labour unions in the country have reached a consensus to review the National Minimum Wage. Wabba disclosed this yesterday, saying the consensus was reached during the sitting of the Technical Committee on Palliative. He said the committee was meant to look into the framework to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians and cushion the effect of the increase in the price of fuel. The MLC leader also noted that the report of the committee, which was also meant to discuss the issue of the minimum wage, was ready for submission.

He said: “I think there is a consensus on the fact that nobody has said that the minimum wage should not be reviewed. The palliative report is ready and it would be submitted before the end of the month. “At the last palliative meeting, labour leaders had requested that they needed to look at the main report of the committee before submission. So, the technical committee will have to submit its report to Mr. President and not to the Minister of Labour and Employment.” The NLC president said after the submission, the presidency would then set up the tripartite committee that would involve the government, private and public sector. He stressed that labour was hopeful that the minimum wage committee would be constituted

soon. Wabba also noted that the organised labour movement has received positive response from the National Assembly, saying that the Senate had promised to pass the bill. The labour unions had submitted a proposal to the government demanding for N56, 000 as minimum wage. The Federal Government has last month agreed to set up a committee for the review of the New Minimum Wage this month. This move was confirmed by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Labour and Employment on Media, Mr. Nwachukwu Obidiwe, who said that the government would set up the tripartite committee for the new Minimum Wage immediately after the submission of the report of the Palliative Committee.

“The Technical Committee on Palliatives will submit their report by next week. The federal government will now set up another committee to review the minimum wage. This one will submit their report next week. “The technical committee established by government will submit its report next week. Once done, the FG will set up a tripartite committee comprising FG, State governments, Labour while public and private sector will be represented by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly,” Obidiwe had said. The federal government had set up a 16-man committee on June 1, 2016, to implement palliatives put in place to cushion the effect of the increase in the fuel pump price from N86 and N86.50k to N145.

NCC Commences Review ofVoice Termination Cost for Telcos Dele Ogbodo inAbuja The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, yesterday said the commission has commenced the process for the review of mobile voice termination cost for all telecommunication companies in the country. Danbatta, who was represented by Ms. Josephine Amuwa, a Director in the commission, made the disclosure at a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, he said the commission appointed Messrs’ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) to carry an impact assessment on the subsisting interconnect regime. According to him, the commission carried out an in depth cost study and made a determination on the

interconnection rates for voice services which took effect in 2013. Danbatta said the result of the cost based stud would make the industry achieve full competition and effective regulation by providing a level playing ground for all participants. He said: “Since the last determination, the Nigerian communication market has witnessed tremendous growth in both subscriber numbers as well as traffic volumes. Changes in available technologies, (2G, 2.5G, 3G and 4G) and other network elements, including global financial markets which have an impact such as the cost of capital. “The scale of changes will inevitably affect the unit cost of providing services including interconnection and may lead

to differences between regulated interconnection rates and underlying costs which in turn may result in differences between on-net and off-net retail tariffs. “It is very important that we ensure that interconnection services are not only fairly priced and nondiscriminative but should reflect the cost of providing such services in the market.” The EVC admitted that’s is in this regard that NCC has decided to review the rates set in 2013 determination in the light of the current market realities He said: “ Consistent with the Commission’s principle of ensuring participatory regulation, this initial Stakeholders Forum is held not only to formally introduce the project consultant to the industry

stakeholders, but also to kick—start the project.” The supply of industry statistical data, the EVC, said is most crucial to the success of determining appropriate interconnection termination rates for the telecommunications industry. According to him, NCC has the obligation to create a level playing field for all operators, noting that “in line with international practices, the commission shall ensure that interconnect rates reflect the cost of termination on the networks. He said PwC terms of reference includes: “To carry out an impact assessment on the subsisting interconnect regime, identify shortfalls on the subsisting interconnection rate regime and provide workable solutions.




Ekwueme Laments Destruction of PDP Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu Former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, yesterday in Enugu said the hijack and conversion of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to a “private estate” by some

individuals who lack knowledge of the underpinning principles behind the formation of the party was the major reason why the party lost the 2015 general election. The second Republic Vice president said he was always moved to tears each time he

Ezeife: South-east People Not Wanted in APC James Sowole in Akure The former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chuckwuemeka Ezeife, yesterday said the people of South-east are not wanted in the All Progressive Congress (APC), saying those that are going to the party want to be governor by stealing the position. Ezeife spoke yesterday in Akure, during an interview with journalists in Akure at the public presentation of an autobiography written in honour of the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. The book entitled: ‘Mimiko’s Odysseys: A Biography of Revelations,’ was written by Professor Olu Obafemi. The presentation of the book attracted people from all walks of life including the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abduazeez Yari of Zamfara State, the Governor of Adamawa State, Bindu Ibrahim Jubril, while the governors of Lagos and Delta States were represented. Ezeife, who spoke on the sideline of the event, said the people of the South-east zone are very consistent, stating that they are not going anywhere. “There is nothing for us to show in this government. Are we the Secretary to the Government of the Federation or do we have any

protocol position? “Okorocha is in APC but we know that we are not wanted. Some people who want to be governor are smuggling themselves in to APC but we will not allow them. “South-eastern people are not going to APC. What is happening is that some people who want to be governor by stealing the position about 12 of them are going to APC and they will discover that they will never win any election after going there,” he said. The former governor said some people, who saw what happened in Edo and Ondo States believed that they could win election only if they belong to APC. “We are consistent with All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Some people saw what happened in Edo and Ondo and they believed that the only way to be governor is to go through APC but we are assuring them that our people will not vote for them,” he said.. The governor, who commended the call by the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, that the South-east should show interest in the presidency, said: “We are going for presidency. I like what Obasanjo said. For that 2019, we are going for presidency.”

Katsina Speaker, Maduru Impeached Abubakar emerges new speaker Ibrahim Shuaibu in Katsina The Speaker of the Katsina State House of Assembly, Hon. Aliyu Sabiu Maduru, has been impeached. Twenty-three out of the 34 members of the assembly voted in favour of the impeachment and removal of the speaker. The House of Assembly Majority Leader, Hanbali Faruk, representing Katsina constituency, moved the motion for the impeachment

which was seconded by a member representing Funtua constituency, Abubakar Total. The lawmakers also elected Alhaji Yahya Abubakar from Kusada Local GovernmentAreaofthestateasthenew Speaker. Abubakar was immediately sworn-in during plenary. The assembly’s Chief Whip, Bishir Mamman Dutsinma, was also removed and replaced by Nasir Yahaya, representing Daura constituency.

Pa Onodjae for Burial PA Jonah Onodjae, a community leader and devout Christian who passed on last December will be buried in his home town, OzuakaOroguninDeltaState,Saturday,February 18, 2017. Astatementsignedbytheheadofthe family, Hon Friday Onodjae, a former member of the Delta State House of Assembly, noted that the burial will be precededbyaChristianwakeonFriday, February17at5p.m.atOnodjae’sfamily compound, and followed, the next day, with a funeral service at the First Baptist Church, Ozuaka-Orogun. Pa Onodjae who passed on at the ripe age of 84, is survived by two wives and several children and grand children He added that while guests

will be held to a reception at the Orhoerha Secondary School, Ozuaka, after the interment rites, there will be a thanksgiving service at the First Baptist Church, Ozuaka, on Sunday, February,19, 2017 at 10a.m.

remembered the story of the PDP, especially how the party which was initially formed to be a mass movement for Nigerians had suddenly become a shadow of its old self. Ekwueme who received members of the party’s Strategy Review and Interparty Relations Committee led by Ambassador Aminu Wali at his Enugu residence who came to hand over a copy of their report to him said the “hijackers who did not understand the principles behind the party’s formation deviated totally as imposition, impunity took centre stage while internal party democracy took flight.” He said: “The story of the PDP makes me sometimes to weep. When our founding fathers said the party will be in charge for 60 years or more, some thought they were just bragging, PDP was packaged to be a mass movement of all Nigerians just like the ANC of south africa, we started that way, the first election in 1998, December 5 council election, we won massively across the country, we took control

of 28 out of 36 states. “In 1999, we ended up with 21 of the 36 governors. All the five states of the South East and six states of the South-south were all PDP; 10 of the 19 governors of the North-east, North-west and Northcentral were PDP, it was a strong showing, we also had control of the National Assembly. With that showing, all we needed to do was to manage the party properly as envisaged by the founding fathers, making it a mass movement and expanding its power base “Unfortunately, some people who did not know how the party was formed or what informed its philosophy, got involved in the party and decided to convert it to a personal estate without regard to the underpinning principles that formed its formation and gradually we started to lose ground. At one stage, in my state, Anambra, they decided to commence the re-registration of members so as to exclude members who they thought were not in their camp, instead of attracting more members, they decided to exclude,

that was the genesis of our present situation, coupled with lack of internal democracy. “I can’t remember how many times I’ve been called to come and spearhead the process of bringing back people to our party, that was what late Yar’Adua invited me to do as soon as he took over as president, we went round all the six zones, met with aggrieved members but unfortunately Yar’Adua passed on and that initiative was not conclusively implemented. I’m happy that after the debacle of 2015, there was been this need for retrospection as evidenced by this strategy committee to try and find out where we went astray and try to bring the party to its original plan,” he noted. He further pledged to read the content of the 12-page report of the committee, positing that he was optimistic that with the calibre of persons in the committee, once the report was fully implemented, the PDP would regain its lost glory. Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to China, Alhaji

Aminu Wali, disclosed that the committee was able to take a closer look at all the problems that faced the party as well as their causes and also proferred the way out, adding that the party’s leadership under the Caretaker chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi was determied to return the party to the true owners. He said by the time the report of the committee was fully implemented, the PDP would be on its way to reclaiming the nation’s presidency by 2019. “The report has addressed the probelms, we’ve done a good job that will help revive the party. Impunity, to party discipline, impositions and intra-party probems were looked into and solutions proferred. We’ve presented the report to the caretaker committee. We’ve learnt our lessons, the indiscipline that bedevilled the party over the years were tackled, we want to rebrand our party and get back to the visions of the founding fathers which made the party, a winning party. We will revive the party and win back power by 2019,” he said.


L-R: Head, Consumer Policy Development and Monitoring, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ephraim Nwokonneya; Bobby Ephraim Nwokonneya (Jnr) of Vodacom Nigeria Limited; and Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria,Emeka Okpara, at the premiere of Airtel Touching Lives Season 3 in Lagos....recently

NEMA Denies Discrimination against Christians in Adamawa Kasim Sumaina in Abuja The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday denied report of discrimination against Christians in the distribution of relief assistance in Adamawa State. The spokesperson of NEMA, Sani Datti, while reacting to the report on some of media outlets where Christians from seven local government areas in the state affected by the insurgency were reported to have accused the agency of bias and discrimination in the rehabilitation of the Northeast geo-political zone ravaged

by the Boko Haram insurgency, said there was nothing like that in their activities in the state. Sani revealed that at no point does NEMA determine who gets what as it is the job of the community leader to work with state governments to ensure that all those that are affected get to benefit from the intervention. According to him, the activities of NEMA centred around providing assistance to distressed persons and communities in the country, not minding if they are Christians or Muslims.

He hinted that “when NEMA engage on humanitarian activities and presentations of relief items, these are handed over to the state governments for distribution to the persons.” Recall that Christians drawn from Gombi, Hong, Madagali, Michika, Maiha, Mubi North and Mubi South local government areas of the state had raised the allegations last Tuesday. They had lamented the systemic discrimination against them by the federal government, particularly, the NEMA in the rehabilitation of

victims affected by the Boko Haram terrorism. According to them, all palliatives and interventions initiated by government through the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNI), NEMA and the state government have tilted their interventions and humanitarian assistance in favour of Muslims to the outright neglect of the Christian communities in the state. Sani however assured Nigerians that the agency would continue to work towards ensuring that no one is short-changed whenever donations are made.

Wike Sacks Health Commissioner Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt


Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has relieved the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Theophilus Odagme, of his

appointment. Briefing journalists after the state Executive Council meeting yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin TamGeorge, noted that the governor

wished the former commissioner well in his future endeavour. He, however, did not give reasons for the sack. The state was awash two weeks with rumours of the dissolution of the state executive council by

the governor. Sources said the governor was not happy with the performance of most members of his cabinet whom THISDAY gathered were not keeping pace with the speed of the governor on project execution.




Onnoghen Asks States to Adopt ACJ Act Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Justice Ishaq Bello, have called on states

to adopt the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. They both spoke in Abuja at a two-day judicial colloquium on Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 organised by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.

PDP Asks Police to Reconsider Fate of Six Dismissed Officers The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Nigeria Police Force to reconsider the fate of the six police officers dismissed over alleged unprofessional conduct during legislative rerun elections in Rivers State. Ahmed Makarfi, the Chairman, PDP National Caretaker Committee, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday. Makarfi described the dismissal of the officers who were hitherto attached to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as “politically motivated.” The Nigeria Police Force in January announced the dismissal of the six officers. It alleged that the officers, all aides of Wike, violated clear

instructions handed down to them during the December 10, 2016, legislative rerun elections in Rivers. According to the police, the officers breached the force’s rules to be of good conduct and desist from escorting politically exposed persons to the polling units throughout the period of the election. The dismissed officers are Eyong Victor, Peter Ekpo, Oguni Goodluck, Orji Nwoke, Okpe Ezekiel and Tanko Akor. They were also accused of misusing the firearms in their possession contrary to the provisions of Force Order 237 while in the convoy of Wike on election day. Makarfi said the decision was biased and should be reconsidered for the sake of justice.

Onnoghen, represented by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Peter-Odili, said it would make for an efficient criminal justice system if all states adopted the law. The ACJ Act, states in its section 1 that the purpose of the law is to promote “efficient management of criminal justice institutions”, ensure “speedy dispensation of justice” as well as for “protection of society from crime and protection of the rights and interests of the suspects, the defendant, and the victim.” The acting CJN, said: “From the above objectives, it is imperative that the Act be domesticated at the state level. “One beautiful features of the ACJ Act is the provision

of a monitoring committee to ensure that the provisions of the Act are effectively complied with by all stakeholders of the criminal justice system - judges, prison staff, police officers, social workers, the victims and defendants,” Onnoghen added. The Chief Judge of the FCT also urged the participants at the event including judges and various Directors of Public Prosecutions from various states to adopt the provisions and modify them to suit their local environment in order to ensure “uniformity of the criminal justice system.” Justice Bello said: “It has an added advantage of making prosecution easy. May be you

are a police, a prosecutor in various states from Ibadan to Ondo or Kaduna, you find out that substantially, the criminal justice system is the same. “It makes it easy for the prosecution and the courts either for the magistrates or the judges.” He also called on stakeholders including magistrates and judges to imbibe the spirit of the ACJA. The President of CSLS, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), said since the ACJA was signed into law in May 2015 and its validation by the Supreme Court in 2016, “the law has been enjoying rapid replication or domestication across the

country.” He said in addition to Lagos State which was the first state to enact the Administration of Criminal Justice Law in 2007 and again in 2011 when it passed the revised edition of the law, at least seven other states (including the FCT) had domesticated it. He said: “At the last count, not less than seven states have enacted the Administration of Criminal Justice Law. A Deputy Director at MacArthur Foundation, one of the development partners, Mr. Dayo Olaide, said called for sustained efforts to ensure the full implementation of the new law. “Having a law is not an end on itself but to get it implemented,” he said.

OsinbajoVisit: Rivers Elders Disown Amaechi’s Divisive Stakeholders’ Meeting Elders in Rivers State under the aegis of Rivers Elders Consultative Council have condemned in its entirety the attempt by former Governor of the state, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, now Minister of Transportation, to introduce divisive tendencies in the state. The elders’ reaction was against the background of the town hall engagement meeting of members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday in Port Harcourt. In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the Rivers Elders Consultative Council, Chief Granville Abiye Georgewill, the elders, who are leaders and custodians of the cultural heritage of the state, expressed dismay that the acting president could be deceived to attending an APC function arranged by Amaechi with the impression that the participants are apolitical Rivers people. The statement read in part: ”Even though party slogans were chanted at the meeting, there are two things Amaechi would have set out to achieved. It may be that he wanted the acting president to have an impression that there exists an APC in the state and therefore paid all sorts of persons, some were made to dress in chieftaincy regalia when they are not, just to make the crowd appreciable to the visiting acting president. “The other reason may be that Amaechi intended to clear the shame he would have received at the airport when he

did not receive the courtesies he perhaps expected from the people of the state,” the statement further maintained. The Rivers Consultative Council said it was disrespectful to the constituted authority, and indeed to the government and people of the state for Amaechi to organise another so-called stakeholders’ meeting 24 hours after a properly attended reception, stakeholders’ meeting and banquet was organised by the government and people of the state in honour of the visiting acting president at the seat of power in the state known as the Brick House. Clarifying that the position of Rivers people were well articulated and presented to Osinbajo by Alabo Graham Douglas, Hon. OCJ Okocha (SAN), Annkio Briggs and others at the stakeholders’ meeting, the elders’ council queried what the second unrepresentative and parallel meeting achieved at the end of the day. The elders wondered what impression Amaechi was creating to the federal government, of a state that in the past one and a half years has been properly managed, united and focused under the leadership of Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike. They warned that they would not tolerate any person or group of persons attempting to cause disaffection, division and hatred and called for unity of purpose, cooperation and understanding so as to advance the cause of development in Rivers State.


Dr. Olaotan Kuku, Group Political Editor, The Nation Newspapers, Dr. Emmanuel Oladesu; and Dr. Ayodeji Olawole during their convocation at the University of Lagos, Akoka....recently

Lagos Lotteries Board Shuts Illegal Gaming Operator The Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) has shut an unlicensed sports betting centre, Totobet24, which was discovered at Ajah area of Lagos State. The board said the clamp down was in exercise of its regulatory functions and continuous surveillance to detect illegal gaming operations in the state. The Lagos State Lottery Law (as amended), established the agency in 2004 to regulate

online lotteries and related gaming activities. The Public Relations Officer, Mr Emmanuel Olaniran, in a statement, said the body had warned promoters of Totobet24 to desist from operating without a valid licence from LSLB, adding that heavy sanctions would be meted in accordance with the lottery law. Olaniran said the operator disregarded LSLB’s notice and continued operating until the

enforcement and closure of its administrative office. “LSLB is the sole government agency responsible for regulating games of chance in Lagos State. Any organisation interested in conducting gaming activities such as public online lottery, sports betting, scratch card and interactive games, casino, gaming machine, pools betting, promotional competitions, charitable lotteries, etc, within Lagos State, must apply to LSLB

for an operating licence prior to commencement of operations”. “LSLB continuously intensifies monitoring and surveillance activities across the state to ensure sanitisation and stability of the industry.” He urged the public to cooperate with the board in achieving the desired objective and vision for the industry by liaising with LSLB on all matters affecting the gaming industry in the state.

The Nation’s Poltical Editor Bags Ph.D The Group Political Editor of The Nation Newspaper, Emmanuel Oladesu, has been conferred with a doctorate in Educational Psychology at the University of Lagos, Akoka. Oladesu was among the 96 graduates during the 2015/2016 convocation ceremony chaired by the Chancellor, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Garba El-Kanemi, last week. His thesis, which was supervised by Dr. Olusola Aletan and Prof. Guy Ilogu, both of the Department of Educational Foundations, Faculty of Education, was titled: ‘The Impact of Pre-retirement

Training on Anxiety and Attitude to Retirement Among Public Primary School Teachers in Ekiti State.’ A native of Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State, Oladesu attended the Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti (OSUA), where he was the best graduating student in the Department of Guidance and Counselling and the best graduating student in the Faculty of Education in 1995. He also holds a Master’s degree in Personnel Psychology (MPP) from the University of Ibadan (2000) and a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology (M.Ed) from the

University of Lagos (2003). Last year, he became an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), a professional body he joined in 2004. Oladesu won the 2014 DAME Political Reporter of the Year. Also, in 2015, he won the NNMA Political Reporter of the Year. Reflecting on the five-year-old struggle for the apex degree, Oladesu thanked God, his wife, Mrs. Vivian Oladesu, his supervisors, the Head of Department, Prof. Ngozi Osarenren, Professor Ayoka

Olusakin, Prof. Monday Ubangha, Dr. Mopelola Alade, other lecturers, the staff of the Post-Graduate School, and his colleagues at the doctoral class for making it possible. He said: “I am happy for the privilege to join the league of those who have been licensed in the Ivory Towers to intellectually rule the world. I thank God for the fulfillment of my dream and destiny. It is now incumbent on me to live up to expectation in post-school years and use the acquired skills and experience to bear on my work as a journalist.”



CRIME&PUNISHMENT Mother of Five Beheaded in Her Farm in Delta Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba Tragedy struck a big blow on efforts to step up local agricultural production in Delta State as a mother of five was brutally killed as unknown assailants beheaded her in her farm in Okwagbe community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The victim, identified as Mrs. Atisin Opviarho, popularly called “Mama” by locals, was allegedly killed in what appeared like ritual murder in the quiet agrarian community. She reportedly went to her farm with her neighbours early on the fateful day but apparently unaware of the fate that would befall her as she never returned alive to her

family and loved ones. Some members of Okwagbe community “went to the farm this morning as usual,” a community source said, “and they got to their respective farms, which are actually located in the common boundaries, everyone was working in their separate farms until it was time to go home.

“They called out to her but there was no response. So, they decided to walk into her farm, only to discover, after some efforts, her lifeless body in the pool of blood. Her throat was cut with a knife. “From what was observed from the corpse, the assailants were about removing some vital parts but maybe because others

were approaching, they quickly abandoned it and took to their heels. We suspect a case of ritual killing,” the source further said. Meanwhile, the corpse of the victim has been deposited at General Hospital mortuary in Otu-Jeremi, the administrative headquarters of Ughelli South

Local Government Area. The state police command spokesman, Mr. Andrew Aniamaka, while confirming the incident to journalists in Asaba, said full investigation into the incident had commenced, urging residents in the community to remain calm and law abiding as detectives attempt to unravel the killing.

Police Arrest Two for CloningVoters’ Cards, Theft Chiemelie Ezeobi The Lagos State Police Command and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), have arrested two suspects for cloning voters’ cards and for phone theft, respectively. The command had arrested the suspect, Remi Adebiyi, a printer, in the early hours of yesterday following an intelligence report. Acting on the tip-off, the police

stormed the location and found the printer, whose printing press was located at Governor’s Road, College bus stop, Ikotun, where he was secretly cloning and printing voters cards. The command’s operatives who were mobilised to the business premises, also discovered some specimens and exhibits. Adeniyi who has since confessed to the crime, said he was contracted

by some people to print the fake voters cards. Confirming the arrest, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police, said the state Commissioner of police, CP Fatai Owoseni has directed that the case be discreetly investigated. She also said efforts are on to arrest other suspects connected with the case.

Rivers AgencyVows to Investigate Tyre Burners, Prosecute Culprits for Air Pollution Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt As concerns continue to mount on the rain of soot in Port Harcourt and its environs, the Sole Administrator of Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), Felix Obuah, has vowed to bring to book those behind burning of tyres in the state. Obuah said this in a statement yesterday evening while reacting to the “illegal burning” of tyres along Nzemanze Street, opposite Rivers State Health Management Board, Mile 1,

Diobu, Port Harcourt. The fire which threatened buildings and lives of residents and those doing businesses in the area started at about 4p.m. yesterday and lasted for several hours before a combined team of fire-fighters from the state Fire Service, oil companies and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) were able to bring it under control. Obuah vowed to investigate the cause of the illegal burning of tyres along Nzemanze Street and other parts of the State, and bring culprits to book. The Sole Administrator urged

Police Arrest Siblings Found with Human Head in Ekiti Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti The Ekiti State Police Command has arrested two brothers of the same parents for allegedly being in possession of a fresh human head. The two suspected ritualists are being detained at the police headquarters in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital. Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Adeyemi Alberto, gave the names of the suspects as David Oluwatosin and Tosin Oluwatosin. Alberto, however, pointed out that David, who was deemed as the elder, ispresently at large. This came barely three weeks two persons were beheaded at different times with one in Orisunmibare in Itaji Ekiti , where the town has been having a running battle with Ayede Ekiti over land tussle. Also, a 26-year old herdsman, who hailed from Kara State, Dele Ahmed, was decapitated in Omu Ekiti in Oye local government area of Ekiti State. Alberto, who confirmed the

gory and nefarious crime , said Tosin was arrested with the fresh head in Ifaki Ekiti, in Ido-Osi Local Government of the state around 3.35p.m. on February 14, following an intelligence report from unnamed source. The PPRO, who decried incessant beheading in the state, said the police would also investigate if the two brothers had hand in the first two beheading. Meanwhile, following suspicion that the Ayede/ Itaji land dispute had stoked the recurrent beheading of people being witnessed in Ekiti, the state government has constituted an eight-man investigative fact-finding committee to intervene in the crisis. The committee, according to Governor Ayodele Fayose, is mandated to look into the boundary between the two towns and interact with all stakeholders for expeditious resolution of the blood crisis. The committee is to be chaired by former Chief Judge of Ekiti State and Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaiye.

Rivers people and those doing businesses in the state to join hands with Governor Nyesom Wike to end the menace of sooth by stopping illegal and indiscriminate burning of tyres in Port Harcourt, the state capital, and other parts of the state. There has been mounting concern over the rain of soot in the state forcing the state government to shut down three companies and threatening to close any company that emits black smoke into the atmosphere. Residents have been noticing black powdery substances in the environment, especially on roof tops, cars, nostrils and soles of their feet following the rain of soot across the state. While some have attributed the incident to illegal refining of crude in the creeks others have said it was a result of emissions by companies in disregard to the state and federal environmental laws and regulation.


Ilegal burning of tyres along Nzemanze Street, opposite Rivers State Health Management Board, Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt....yesterday

Dealer of Adulterated Kerosene Nabbed in Akwa Ibom

N1.162bn Fraud: Judge Adjourns Dariye’s Case to March 2

Okon Bassey in Uyo

Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Gudu has fixed March 2, 2017 for further proceedings in the trial of Joshua Dariye, a former Governor of Plateau State. He is facing a N1.162 billion fraud charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice U.I. Bello, had on January 23, 2017 thrown out Dariye’s letter seeking for transfer of his case to another judge, and ordered him to go and continue with the trial as his allegation of “manifest and undisguised bias” was baseless and unfounded. The said letter dated December 13, 2016, had stalled the last sitting of January 18, 2017 prompting the trial judge to adjourn to February 15, 2017 pending the instruction of the CJ.

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Akwa Ibom State, has arrested the leader of a syndicate specialised in dispensing adulterated kerosene in the state. The Operation Controller, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in the state, Mr. Bassey Nkanga, who disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists, said the suspect, a lady, whose identity was not revealed, was arrested in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of the state. “The ring leader of syndicate selling adulterated kerosene in Akwa Ibom is now in Civil Defense net”, Nkanga stressed, alleging that the suspect had been adulterating kerosene willfully resulting in the death and injuries through kerosene explosions in the state. According to him, the suspect

was trailed and apprehended by the State Security Service and other sister security agencies through intelligent reports. Nkanga said one of the filling stations which the lady had been supplying the adulterated kerosene had been sealed by the DPR. “We asked the owner of the filling station for details of those supplying him the products and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) member gave us her numbers. Nkanga revealed that after series of investigations the suspect was lured to supply another product before she was arrested by security operatives in the state indicating that her being arraigned in the court after investigations. DPR, he said, had stepped up surveillance activities to apprehend any marketer dispensing adulterated petroleum products in its outlets within its domain.

Pwul had also brought before the court two motions, one which was dated December 6, 2016 asking for the “recall of some prosecution witnesses,” and the other dated December 13, 2016 asking the judge to disqualify his lordship from presiding over the case. At today’s sitting, Pwul who was sighted at the court premises was not in the courtroom, but instead sent Dashuwar Nantok to represent the defence. Dariye gave a rather wry smile as he took his place in the dock. But the day’s proceeding could not continue, as Nantok informed the court that “we need time to reply to prosecution’s response to the two motions, which we only received on February 13, 2017.” But the trial judge, noted that since “it has not been withdrawn by the defence, we will be back here on March 2, for adoption of motions and responses.”




Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email

Siasia, Niger Delta to Partner on Amnesty Programme Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja Former national coach, Samson Siasia, has signed a pact with the Niger Delta Affairs on Amnesty programme for youths in the area. The agreement sealed by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd.) and Sia-One Sports Academy, run by the former U23 coach, entails using sports as a vehicle to eradicate unrest, violence and other social vices in the Niger Delta. Siasia remarked yesterday that the youths of the restive region can use sports to better their lives, earn more money and realise that there is no gain in wanton destruction of pipelines and economic sabotage which of recent are the activities that define the Niger Delta. “The talents discovered in the programme will be monitored properly and they will also participate in some overseas tournaments. Also other vocational trainings are in the programme so that the

ones that cannot engage in sports will be trained in business areas that will make them useful to themselves and their families,” Siasia revealed. He also praised the government of Kano State for encouraging the youths of the nation in exhibiting their God-given football talent through the last Ramat Cup organised by the Youths Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON). “I want to thank the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for single handedly sponsoring the Ramat Cup recently. I want to urge him to continue to do more for others to emulate. “I also want to commend the YSFON President, Nasir Garwuna and the YSFON Vice President International Development, Farouk Yabo for their wonderful contributions towards the empowerment of the Nigerian youths through football,” Siasia concluded. Meanwhile, Siasia and former Cameroon coach, Winfried Shaffer are among eight gaffers listed for the vacant Rwanda senior national team job.

Europa: Pogba v Pogba as Man Utd Takes on Saint Etienne Tonight’s UEFA Europa last 32 clash between Manchester United and Saint Etienne of France at Old Trafford is going feature two brothers in opposing teams. The more popular Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba, 23, is going up against his older brother, Florentin Pogba, 26, who stars for Saint-Etienne. However, it is not the fact that the Pogbas will be on parade that is the headache of Manchester United gaffer, Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese coach is angry that United “will be in trouble” in April and May if they continue to progress in the Europa League and the FA Cup.

Mourinho is worried about fixture congestion towards the end of the season. United, who entertain Saint-Etienne in the Europa League this evening will be at Championship side Blackburn in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday. “We cannot choose competitions at Manchester United,” said Mourinho. United have played 38 competitive games this season, including 25 in the Premier League, five in the EFL Cup and two in the FA Cup. They face playing a minimum of 65 games if they reach the FA Cup and the Europa League finals.

Stoness House Wins at Ifako School Sports Meet Stoness house emerged victorious at the Ifako International Nursery and primary School’s 29th Biennial Inter-house Sports Competition sponsored by Chikki Instant Noodles. The fierce competition which took place on February 14, 2017 at the Agege Stadium, Agege, Lagos, saw Red house (Stoness) winning the competition with a total of 15 gold, 10 silver and six bronze medals to beat White house, (Meadow) which had seven gold, ten silver and five bronze medals to second place. Third placed Majekodunmi House, spotting colour Yellow gathered six gold, nine silver and six bronze medals to finish ahead of Greenhouse (Money Boku) which managed to haul six gold, five silver and 11 bronze medals. Meanwhile, Blue House

(Adeliyi) with five gold, four silver and eight bronze medals and Purple House (Crowners) with four gold, six silver and six bronze medals finished fifth and Sixth respectively. Awodola Goodness was decorated as the Overall Best Athlete of the sports meet. Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Kwaghza, in his opening speech stated that “there is need to be a balance between academics and extra-curricular activities. The problems we are having with sports development in Nigeria can be corrected at the grassroots level where children compete and their talents are discovered,” he noted. Chikki Instant Noodles accepted to sponsor the event as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

Real Madrid’s duo of Karim Benzema (left) and James Rodriguez celebrating the 3-1 victory over Napoli in the UEFA Champions League clash at the Santiagos Bernabeu…last night

Oshoala Joins Chinese Club Dalian Quanjian World Player of the Year, Lloyd, joins Man City Ladies Nigeria winger, Asisat Oshoala, has left Women’s Super League One club Arsenal Ladies to join Chinese side Dalian Quanjian. The 22-year-old won the BBC’s Women’s Footballer of the Year Award in 2015 before joining Arsenal from Liverpool. She helped the Gunners win the Women’s FA Cup at Wembley in May 2016 and was recently awarded the African Women’s Player of

the Year Award. Oshoala was part of the Nigerian senior women’s team, the Super Falcons that won the African Women’s Nations Cup in Cameroon late last year. She also played for Falcons at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. Meanwhile, English league champions, Manchester City Women, have signed World Cup-winner and FIFA World Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd, on a short-term deal.

The United States midfielder, 34, has scored 96 goals in 232 international appearances, including a 13-minute hat-trick in the 2015 World Cup final. She joins the Women’s Super League One club for the 2017 Spring Series, which begins in April and ends on 3 June. Her deal also includes City’s Women’s Champions League and FA Cup campaigns.

Nick Cushing’s side face Danish champions Fortuna Hjorring in March’s Champions League quarterfinal, after entering the FA Cup at the fifth-round stage on 19 March. US captain Lloyd becomes the third American player to move to an English club this winter, after winger Crystal Dunn’s move to Chelsea Ladies and midfielder Heather O’Reilly’s switch to Arsenal.

2 0 1 7 N PA L A G O S P O LO

Lagos STL, Kano Manarat Set Pace in Silver Cup Opening Round Tata Alikura opened and closed scoring to spearhead Lagos STL to an emphatic 11-3 win over Ibadan Challenge as the 2017 NPA Lagos International Polo Tournament galloped off Wednesday with matches in the Silver Cup. Kano Manarat also had a day to remember by beating Kano Nakudu 8 - 4 1/2 to also brighten their chances of qualifying to the knock-out stage of the 11-day two-phase tournament which has GTBANK as main sponsor. Ibadan Jericho and Lagos Verdant also bagged 7 - 4 and 5 - 2 1/2 opening day wins respectively over Kano Agad and Lagos Aragon to boost their chances of progression. Alikura, a two-goaler, scored three goals inside five minutes of the first chukka before STL patron, Seyi Tinubu (-1) increased the lead inside the final

seconds of the opening Chukka. Babao Lawal (+1) halved the deficit with two quick-fire goals for the away team but Alikura scored again after he stole the ball from 70 yards to end the second chukka 5-2. Seyi Tinubu who was making his return to competitive polo having quit bachelorhood in August, got another goal, to tighten their grip of the match. “It was a good game; it feels good to return and have a very good game. We played well as a team and I’m looking forward to a memorable tournament,” Seyi, son of the former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, said after the high-tempo match. STL continued their dominance with Ibrahim Musa Dantala (+2) and Alikura scoring a couple of goals to secure an emphatic scoreline for

STL, who will face Manarat in what would likely be a winner-takes-all encounter today. In the second match of the day, Kano Manarat overturned a 1 1/2 handicap goal deficit thanks to Jamilu Umar; the +2 handicap player scoring four of his sides eight goals. Nakudu were still in the lead up till the late part of the third chukka but Umar’s third goal took score to 4 - 3 1/2 to Manatat’s advantage and from then took control of the match which they eventually triumphed 8 - 4 1/2. Ibadan Jericho put smiles on the faces of the Ibadan fans following a 7 - 4 victory over Kano Agad in the third match of the day as Saidu Umar ran the show which was highlighted by the five goals he bagged in the

topsy turvy tie. The Silver Cup still dominates the stage with four matches on the card for Thursday as Lagos Insight Redefini take on Ibadan Challenge while Lagos Adcom face Kano Agad. Lagos A-Plus keep a date with Lagos Leighton Kings and the tie is completed by the crucial clash between STL and Manarat. Other sponsors of the glamorous tournament are Wapic Insurance, Chapel Hill Denham, Metro Capital, Arbico, Elektrint Nigeria Limited, Elper Oilfield Engineering, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Southern Sun, Veuve Clicquot, Bell Oil and Gas, Old Mutual, Balmoral and Majekodunmi family.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Bayern 5-1 Arsenal R’Madrid 3-1 Napoli



Thursday, February 16, 2017



& RE A S O


Price: N250

MISSILE Lai Mohammed to Critics “When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last Administration, some people called us liars. Well, the whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact. It is doubtful if any economy in the world will not feel the impact of such mind-boggling looting of the treasury as was experienced in Nigeria” – Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on loot recovery efforts.


What Are Friends For? I

f the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan claims the billions of Naira found in her bank accounts were gifts from friends and former Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu also says the $9.77 million found in his house were gifts from friends, it’s high time I changed my present circle of friends. I need friends who can offer me cash gifts in Euro, Pounds and Dollars. So, if you don’t hear from me anymore, it is because I have concluded you do not know how to give what true friends give to their friends! ================================= When the late Dele Giwa wrote more than 30 years ago that Nigerians have been shocked to the state of “unshockability”, he was basing his thesis on the fact that there is hardly any public protest after revelations of scandal, no matter how huge. But then, the Yoruba people have a saying that if you face calamity so big that even your tears would not help, you must use humour to deal with the situation. That, I guess, is what many Nigerians have learnt to do over the years though there is another category of Nigerians who take delight in celebrating their oppressors which is a different matter altogether. Meanwhile, the lesson from the joke with which I opened the page is that the surest way of “making” stupendous wealth in Nigeria today is to befriend the right kind of people In the right places but such “friends” must also be subversively generous enough to make you a billionaire. The flip side, however, is that a society with a preponderance of such “beneficial owners” of wealth obtained not from work but rather as “gifts from friends” is doomed. That unfortunately is the story of Nigeria today. It is indeed very telling that at a time the federal government is making a song and dance over the oversubscription of its $1 billion Eurobond, one percent of that sum was retrieved from the residence of just one former career public officer who was not even elected. With the whistle blower policy recently introduced, this may be the season for all ill-treated aides and aggrieved wives to come forward with details of movable and immovable assets got “from their friends” that some fat cats have been hiding from the public. As I once wrote on this page several years ago, there are inherent lessons in Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” published in her 1974 collection, “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters” that will serve us as a nation, especially in such a time as this. The major theme in the interesting story--which teaches profound lessons--is the place of morality and how different people within a given society accept certain norms while others would simply walk away. Using Omelas as a metaphor for Nigeria today, we can examine the different aspects of our society and the rot within but that is a task for another day. On Tuesday, a Federal High Court sitting

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu in Kano presided over by Justice Zainab Abubakar ordered the forfeiture to the federal government of the sum of $9,772,000 and £74,000 recovered from Mr Andrew Yakubu, a former GMD of NNPC. Since the case is already in court, we must wait for Yakubu’s side of the story in this incredible country where even “grass cutters” now attend government-sponsored anti-corruption rallies to talk down on the rest of us! While I commend the Ibrahim Magu-led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for its tenacity and the efforts that led to the discovery in Yakubu’s house, there is one quick issue here that we must not gloss over: our society is what it is today because we have imbibed the ethos that wealth is not related to work. So, the corruption we are talking about is far deeper than mere stealing; it is about looking for “miracles” and all sorts of magic formula for illicit “gifts from friends”; after all, what are friends for? In my presentation titled “Between Waste and Nigerian Work Ethics” at the maiden edition of Pastor Poju Oyemade’s “Platform Nigeria” in Abuja on 1st May 2015, I made allusion to this when I said: “… many of us know the ‘Okada’ rider of yesterday who now owns a fleet of cars simply because he has worked his way to become a pimp for some politicians who conspired to foist him on the rest of the society either as council chairman or a lawmaker. We also know the struggling business man of yesterday who could not even pay his house rent but who is now a subsidy billionaire with Private Jet to boot, just because he is fronting for some unscrupulous powerful political office holders who abuse their public trust. Let us not even talk about the low cadre civil servant who has made it big, after being posted to the Pension office, where he feeds fat on the misery of pensioners…” Considering the damage corruption has done both to our national psyche and socio-economic well-being, some of the

questions I have posed in the past remain: will the sensational stories we read in the media every day lead to the successful prosecution and conviction of some big fish in the pool of corruption to serve as deterrence to others? Are institutional mechanisms being put in place to make it difficult for people to fiddle with public funds and easily get away? What legal/ judicial reforms are ongoing to ensure that public officials who steal billions are not asked to pay peanuts in fines to walk free? When are we going to get to a situation in which being invited to serve in public office would not attract celebrations and all manner of expensive social and religious thanksgivings? It should worry all of us that because of the “gifts from friends”, Nigeria is now defined by majority of the Seven Social Sins identified by Mahatma Gandhi which are: politics without principles; wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; commerce without morality; science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice. However, the real issue for me today is not even the magnitude of the money usually stolen from public treasuries in our country but what the “beneficial owners” do with such money. That is where the double jeopardy that has become the lot of our people comes in. After some crooked officials might have cornered to themselves what belongs to the people, the next thing is to lock up such “gifts from friends” either in some bank accounts (home and abroad)

or convert them to Dollars and store in some silos or/and overhead/underground tanks. That way, the money does not work for them or the society. As I wrote in my 23 June, 2013 piece, “The Craze of Dubai Weddings”, having stored up such illicit treasures, they can afford to have their birthdays in Toronto, keep their mistresses in Alaska, celebrate the weddings of their children in Hong Kong. And when they finish the loot, as they most often do, they then begin to hustle again for contracts or appointments. I saw many of them at the Villa between 2007 and 2010, men and women of yesterday who came to see my late boss for “just anything”. These basically are people who cannot turn N10,000 to N10,010--all they know how to do is spend easy money, “the gifts from friends”! Imagine if Yakubu had taken half of the money he locked up in his safe to Lagos and spread it by investing in many of those young Nigerian serial entrepreneurs who are creating hubs in the growing tech-ecosystem in the country, employing young people like themselves, generating incomes and making profits. With that, he would have added value to the society, helped to put many of our young citizens to work and on top of that, he would have also be earning huge financial rewards by turning black money into white! However, like the others like him (and there are still many out there), he had to bury his “talent”. And now, he must face the consequences!

Akufo-Addo and AIG Simple, unassuming and soft-spoken, Mr Ken Ofori-Attah exhibited his depth of knowledge at the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG), an initiative of Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede where we both sat on the Advisory Panel chaired by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. It is therefore a delight to learn that he has been appointed the Minister of Finance in Ghana by President Akufo-Addo. With a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Columbia University and an MBA from the Yale University School of Management, OforiAttah, who co-founded Databank in Ghana and is also on the boards of commercial banks in Gambia and Liberia, comes highly recommended for his assignment. I wish him all the best as he serves his country in such an important capacity. But it is also strategic for what Aig-Imoukhuede is trying to achieve with his AIG initiative for both Nigeria and Ghana. In June last year, the former Access Bank Managing Director signed a five-year partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) at the University of Oxford to make available on an annual basis five Scholarships and a Fellowship to outstanding Nigerians and Ghanaians to pursue the Master of Public Policy degree.

Former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega who is currently in residence at Oxford was our first pick for the Fellowship while the first set of Scholars will soon be announced. I was privileged to be on the panel that interviewed about 15 brilliant young men and women in December before we eventually shortlisted ten from which Oxford University can admit five, following their own process. The expectation is that such AIG Scholars and Fellows would, on graduation, return to their home country (Nigeria or Ghana) “informed by knowledge and understanding gained through their research into regional and global best practices to help shape and influence policy decisions”. Yet, as laudable as the idea is, the fact that some Nigerian professionals who were equally exposed to good education both at home and abroad are now building silos not to store grains but to keep illicit cash running into billions of Naira is depressing. But that should not deter Aig-Imoukhuede and other public-spirited individuals who may want to deploy their resources to encourage young men and women with passion to serve in the public arena. It is still a noble calling.

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Thursday 16th February 2017