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Nigeria’s $1bn Eurobond Starts Trading on London Stock Exchange Obinna Chima One week after its issue, Nigeria’s $1 billion Eurobond started trading yesterday on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The 15-year government bond, paying a coupon of 7.875 per cent, is the longest ever maturity for

an international Nigerian bond, the first international issuance for the country since 2013. The offer was nearly eight times oversubscribed, with the order book closing at approximately $7.7 billion.

The listing secured high quality investors' support from across the U.S. and Europe and will support Nigeria in financing its long-term infrastructure projects, a statement from the London Stock Exchange

Group (LSEG) said. “Today’s (yesterday) listing builds on the recent pipeline of several high profile sovereign, supranational, municipal and private company bond issuances on London Stock Exchange.

“In January 2017, Israel listed its largest ever Eurobond offering of €2.25 billion in London,” LSEG said. Also commenting, the Head of Middle East, Africa and South Asia, International

NNPC Reports N197bn Loss for 2016… Pa g e 1 1

Markets Unit of the LSE, Ibukun Adebayo, said: “Nigeria’s choice of London Stock Exchange for its first international bond offering since 2013 underlines London Stock Exchange’s position as a leading global venue for debt Continued on page 7

Friday 17 February, 2017 Vol 22. No 7974. Price: N250 TR


& RE A S O


At NEC, Governors Stop Short of Calling for Devaluation Demand urgent review of foreign exchange policy Approve injection of $250m into SWF CBN directs banks to adopt uniform conversion exchange rate Manufacturers, others got $2.83bn in two months Tobi Soniyi in Abuja and Obinna Chima in Lagos The governors of the 36 states of the federation yesterday stopped short of calling for the devaluation of the naira, when they expressed concern over the continued free fall of the local currency against U.S. dollar on the parallel market and called

on the federal government to urgently review the foreign exchange policy, with a view to reducing the gap between the parallel and official market rates. However, the call by the governors can only be achieved by fully floating the currency and allowing it to Continued on page 7

…Await EFCC Probe on Alleged Diversion of Paris Club Refunds

Court orders permanent forfeiture of $153m Davidson Iriekpen in Lagos and Tobi Soniyi in Abuja The state governors have said that they are ready to take on the EFCC, which is investigating them over the alleged diversion of the refunds made to states arising

from the excess charges on Paris Club debt. After a meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja late Thursday night, the governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Continued on page 7

NPC to Include Religion, Ethnicity in 2018 National Census… Page 49

A BEFITTING FAREWELL… L-R: Former Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole; acting President Yemi Osinbajo; and outgoing Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, at the valedictory dinner held in honor of Oshiomhole and Mimiko at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja… yesterday godwin omoigui


















RC 103022


     Ëž  FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017


PWFSUIFDVSSFOUFYDIBOHFSBUF and called for an urgent review PGUIFGPSFYQPMJDZ FTQFDJBMMZ with respect to reducing the gap between interbank and the parallel market rates. “The CBN governor sued for QBUJFODFBOEVOEFSTUBOEJOH  assuring that the situation was being closely managed.� The call by the members PG /&$  DPNQSJTJOH UIF governors and the vice QSFTJEFOU GPSBSFWJFXPGUIF GPSFYQPMJDZUIBUXPVMEDMPTF the gap between the interbank BOEQBSBMMFMNBSLFUT DBOCF achieved by the free float of UIFOBJSB FGGFDUJWFMZMFBEJOHUP the devaluation of the nation’s currency. The alternative is for the

CBN to pump dollars into UIFQBSBMMFMNBSLFU BUISPX back to what obtained under past governors of the central CBOL XIJDIDPVMEMFBEUPBO erosion of foreign reserves that Nigeria is desperately trying to grow. *UJTVODFSUBJOJG/&$XBT introspective in its call for a SFWJFX PG UIF GPSFY QPMJDZ  IPXFWFS  BO NBSLFU BOBMZTU who preferred not to be OBNFE JOGPSNFE5)*4%": yesterday that it would have been more helpful if council had deliberated on the options and proffered measures that could be adopted by the CBN JOJUTNBOBHFNFOUPGUIFGPSFY policy. i/&$ TIPVME IBWF CFFO

more specific. That way we would know if they want the CBN to float the currency and EFWBMVF PSQVNQEPMMBSTJOUP UIFQBSBMMFMNBSLFU uIFTBJE Also briefing journalists BGUFS UIF /&$ NFFUJOH  UIF .JOJTUFS GPS 'JOBODF  .ST Kemi Adeosun said council approved the injection of $250 NJMMJPO JOUP UIF 4PWFSFJHO 8FBMUI'VOE 48'  4IF TBJE UIBU UIF NPOFZ would be moved from the &YDFTT$SVEF"DDPVOU &$"  8JUIZFTUFSEBZTBQQSPWBM  UPUBM JOKFDUJPO JOUP UIF 48' from inception in 2011 stands at $1.55 billion. 4IF TBJE UIBU UIF DPVODJM also adopted the report of the /JHFSJB4PWFSFJHO*OWFTUNFOU


with more than 20 years postRVBMJĂ DBUJPOFYQFSJFODF “Council members unanimously adopted the nominations for onward consideration by the president GPS IJT Ă OBM BQQSPWBM u TIF added. 4IFTUBUFEUIBUUIF.BOBHJOH %JSFDUPS$IJFG &YFDVUJWF 0GĂ DFS PG /4*"  .S 6DIF Orji presented a report to the DPVODJMPOUIF/4*"BOOVBM report and accounts for the year ended 2015 and update POBDUJWJUJFT 4IF TBJE i*O JUT SFQPSU UP /&$ DPVODJMNFNCFSTXFSF informed that the Nigerian 48'IBTUIFIJHIFTUSBOLJOHJO

earlier in 2014 of a unique new cross-border settlement process between the UK and Nigeria. r *O .BSDI   -4&( established an Africa "EWJTPSZ (SPVQ  CSJOHJOH together 12 distinguished CVTJOFTT MFBEFST  policymakers and investors GSPN BDSPTT "GSJDB  UP discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the development of the continent’s capital markets. r*O+VOF -4&(TJHOFE a strategic agreement with


KVEHNFOU u IF TBJE #FGPSF UIF SVMJOH  Adeogun had informed the court of two of his pending motions filed on 'FCSVBSZ   Ă STU TFFLJOH an abridgement of time and secondly for leave to file further affidavits to his counter affidavit. )F IBE JOGPSNFE UIF court that the parties were FYQMPSJOHNFBOTPGSFBDIJOH an amicable settlement in the matter. )F EFTDSJCFE JU BT B common sense approach to SFTPMWJOHUIFNBUUFS BEEJOH that the sum recovered from UIF TFDPOE SFTQPOEFOU  which was being sought GPS Ă OBM GPSGFJUVSF  XBT collected from friends and relatives. )F TBJE UIBU UIF GBDUT were not made available to the court at the last BEKPVSOFE EBUF  CFDBVTF the instruments with which UIFGVOETXFSFQBJE XFSF with the commission. *O SFTQPOTF  DPVOTFM UP UIF &'$$  0ZFEFQP  informed the court that he was not privy to such TFUUMFNFOUPQUJPOT BEEJOH that he was only sent to do the “biddingâ€? of his employers. )FTBJEi*GUIFJOUFOUJPO of the respondent is to keep the application in the DPVSUTGJMFJOBCFZBODF * will then pray the court to strike out the applications relying on the authorities PG4*&$&LJUJ4UBUFWT/$1  Newswatch Communication -UEWT"UUBI BOE.BOVFM vs Briggs. “The application the counsel seeks to put JO BCFZBODF  JO TVN  JT intended to arrest the DPVSUT KVEHNFOU GJYFE

for today. i*OBMMUIFTFBVUIPSJUJFT  the court had held that it is alien for the court to allow its judgment to be arrested once reserved. i*UJTKVTUMJLFBQSFHOBOU woman in the delivery room getting an invitation to attend a wedding DFSFNPOZ JO FTTFODF  the court is carrying a pregnancy and so no party should be allowed to terminate it. “The court had given the parties adequate time for any one to complain of rights infringement and so * VSHF UIF DPVSU UP TUSJLF out the application so that the coast can be clear to deliver judgment.� )PXFWFS UIFUSJBMKVEHF  JOBTIPSUSVMJOH BMMPXFE the second respondent’s counsel to move his application. After Adeogun had NPWFE UIF BQQMJDBUJPO  the court dismissed it and proceeded to deliver its judgment.

Continued on page 10

NIGERIA’S $1BN EUROBOND STARTS TRADING ON LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GVOESBJTJOHBOE-POEPOT enduring status as a market open to the world. “The success of Nigeria’s bond listing is a strong statement of international investors' interest in building FYQPTVSF UP /JHFSJBT FDPOPNZ *U SFJOGPSDFT -POEPO 4UPDL &YDIBOHFT status as a strong partner to Nigeria and the City’s ability to provide a deep additional channel of finance for the development of Nigerian infrastructure and the growth of the economy.�

5IF&DPOPNJD4FDSFUBSZUP UIF#SJUJTI5SFBTVSZ 4JNPO ,JSCZ .1  BEEFE i* BN delighted that the Nigerian government has chosen -POEPO BT UIF MPDBUJPO UP list its $1bn sovereign bond. “This issuance underlines Britain’s position as the world’s leading global financial centre and strengthens our economic and financial relationship with Nigeria.� The statement recalled that UIF-4&(IBTBMPOHIJTUPSZPG supporting the development

of African capital markets and investment in African companies. *UMJTUFEUIFNBTGPMMPXT r 5IFSF BSF DVSSFOUMZ OJOF African sovereign bonds listed JO -POEPO  GSPN (BCPO  (IBOB  /BNJCJB  /JHFSJB and Zambia. r 5IFSF BSF  "GSJDBO companies listed or trading PO-POEPO4UPDL&YDIBOHF – more than on any other JOUFSOBUJPOBMTUPDLFYDIBOHF r 5IFTF DPNQBOJFT IBWF B total market capitalisation of PWFS64CJMMJPO BOEJO

UIFMBTUZFBST IBWFSBJTFE NPSFUIBOCJMMJPOPOPVS markets. r4FQMBUXBTUIFĂ STU/JHFSJBO company to simultaneously dual list equity shares in -POEPO BOE /JHFSJB JO April 2014. r*O/PWFNCFS -POEPO 4UPDL &YDIBOHF (SPVQ BOE 5IF /JHFSJBO 4UPDL &YDIBOHF TJHOFE B DBQJUBM markets agreement to support African companies seeking EVBM MJTUJOHT JO -POEPO BOE -BHPT 5IF BHSFFNFOU followed the implementation

‌AWAIT EFCC PROBE ON ALLEGED DIVERSION OF PARIS CLUB REFUNDS 'PSVN /('  TBJE UIFZ would await the report of UIF &'$$ JOWFTUJHBUJPO 4QFDVMBUJPOIBTCFFOSJGF that some states allegedly diverted the refunds made UPUIFNGSPNUIF1BSJT$MVC EFCUEFEVDUJPOT QSPNQUJOH the investigation by the &'$$ 4PNF TUBUFT XFSF BMTP alleged to have used fictitious consultants to divert some of the money GSPNUIF1BSJT$MVCSFGVOET Worried by the EFWFMPQNFOU UIFQSFTJEFODZ reportedly ordered a fullscale investigation into the disbursement of the funds. But answering questions GSPN 4UBUF )PVTF correspondents after the /(' NFFUJOH  DIBJSNBO of the forum and Zamfara 4UBUFHPWFSOPS "CEVMB[J[ :BSJ  TBJE UIF HPWFSOPST were ready for the probe. )F FYQSFTTFE UIF governors’ support for the present administration’s war BHBJOTUDPSSVQUJPO CVUTBJE that they would wait for UIF PVUDPNF PG UIF &'$$ investigation. )FTBJEi8FEJTDVTTFEUIF JTTVFPGUIF1BSJT$MVCBOE -POEPO$MVCSFGVOET8F PCTFSWFEUIBU&'$$TBJEJUJT conducting an investigation. :FT XFTVQQPSUUIFGFEFSBM government in the fight against corruption. i4P XF BSF XBJUJOH GPS UIF &'$$ UP DPNF VQ with what they say is the investigation and come up with the result.� The presidency had ordered the investigation because it was disappointed that what was meant to be a goodwill gesture was compromised by selfish interests.

Top presidency source said that the federal government was worried that its efforts to ensure the settlement of pension and salaries owed to workers in the states were being sabotaged through the likely diversion of the funds earmarked for the purpose. *U FYQSFTTFE JUT determination to get to the bottom of the matter and consequently ordered the relevant agencies to carry out a full-scale probe to unravel any abuse of the funds. 4JODF UIF EJSFDUJWF  UIF governors have reportedly been spoiling for war with the acting chairman of the &'$$ *CSBIJN.BHV PWFS the investigation of the alleged diversion of the funds. *OBOPUIFSEFWFMPQNFOU  +VTUJDF .VTMJN )BTTBO PG UIF'FEFSBM)JHI$PVSUJO -BHPTZFTUFSEBZPSEFSFEUIF permanent forfeiture of the sum of $153.3 million said to be linked to a former .JOJTUFS PG 1FUSPMFVN 3FTPVSDFT  .ST %JF[BOJ "MJTPO.BEVFLF "MJTPO.BEVFLF IBT since denied any link to the funds. The judge issued the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by UIF&DPOPNJDBOE'JOBODJBM $SJNFT$PNNJTTJPO &'$$  seeking the forfeiture of the GVOET DMBJNJOHUIFZXFSF proceeds of crime. 'PMMPXJOH BO FY QBSUF BQQMJDBUJPO CZ UIF &'$$  +VTUJDF)BTTBOPO+BOVBSZ JTTVFEBOJOUFSJNPSEFS of forfeiture of the funds to the federal government. 5IF&'$$IBEJOJUJBUFE BO FYQBSUF BQQMJDBUJPO seeking an interim order for

the temporary forfeiture of the sum to the government. Also joined in the suit was a bank director as the second respondent in the suit. The court had also issued 14 days to any interested party to appear and prove UIFMFHJUJNBDZPGUIFNPOFZ  failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the government. At the last adjourned EBUF PO +BOVBSZ   .S Rotimi Oyedepo and .S $IBSMFT "EFPHVO  DPVOTFM UP UIF &'$$ BOE UIF TFDPOE SFTQPOEFOU  SFTQFDUJWFMZ  IBE BSHVFE their originating processes before the court. Oyedepo had urged the court to make the interim order absolute and order a final forfeiture of the sum to the federal government. )F IBE BMTP VSHFE UIF court to order the forfeiture of other sums to which no claim had been laid. *O IJT BSHVNFOU  Adeogun urged the court to issue an order directing a refund of the sum of N9.08 CJMMJPO NJMMJPO UPUIF respondent on the grounds that same was obtained by coercion. )F BSHVFE UIBU CFGPSF such forfeiture orders can CF NBEF  UXP FTTFOUJBM FMFNFOUTNVTUCFTBUJTà FE  OBNFMZi5IBUUIFQSPQFSUZ in question is unclaimed and that such property or funds form the proceeds of an unlawful act.� )FIBEVSHFEUIFDPVSUUP order a refund of the sum of N9.08 billion to the second respondent on the grounds that same was obtained by coercion. %FMJWFSJOHIJTKVEHNFOU

ZFTUFSEBZ  +VTUJDF )BTTBO ordered a final forfeiture of the unclaimed sum of N23.4 CJMMJPO NJMMJPO BOE $5 million to the federal government finally. )BTTBO IFME i* IFSFCZ make an order pursuant to 4FDUJPOPGUIF"EWBODFE Fee Fraud and Other Fraud 3FMBUFE 0GGFODFT "DU    GPS Ă OBM GPSGFJUVSF of the unclaimed sum PG /    BOE $5 million to the federal government finally. i*OSFTQFDUPGUIFTFDPOE SFTQPOEFOU MFBSOFEDPVOTFM  .S $IBSMFT "EFPHVO informed the court that he TFDPOESFTQPOEFOU Ă MFE a counter-affidavit on why the sum of N9.08 billion should not be forfeited. i* IBWF DBSFGVMMZ FYBNJOFE UIF BGĂ EBWJU evidence before the DPVSU BOE * Ă OE UIBU the second respondent was duly cautioned in &OHMJTI MBOHVBHF CFGPSF his statement was taken BOE TP  * IPME UIBU TBNF was taken without any evidence of inducement. i0O UIF XIPMF  * BN satisfied that all the DPOEJUJPOTTUBUFEJO4FDUJPO  PG UIF "EWBODFE 'FF Fraud and Other Related 0GGFODF "DU  XFSF EVMZ fulfilled by the applicant. i*BDDPSEJOHMZNBLFUIF GPMMPXJOHPSEFST"OPSEFS for the final forfeiture of UIFTVNPG/    billion being unclaimed property to the Federal (PWFSONFOU PG /JHFSJB “An order of final forfeiture is also made for the sum of N9.08 billion recovered from the second respondent to the federal government. This is my

TOP GAINERS NGN NGN JBERGER 1.74 36.57 NEIMETH 0.03 0.69 FBNHOLDINGS 0.14 3.34 STERLBANK 0.03 0.73 ETERNA 0.10 3.34 TOP LOSERS NGN NGN UACN 0.75 14.35 VITAFOAM 0.10 1.98 JOHNHOLT 0.03 0.63 AXAMANSARD 0.07 1.52 NIGBREW 4.48 113.02 HPE Nestle Nig Plc â‚Ś599.99 Volume: 144.395 million shares Value: N1.535 billion Deals: 2,303 As at 16/2/17 See details on Page 44

% 5.0 4.5 4.3 4.2 3.0 % 4.9 4.8 4.5 4.4 3.8








Tale of Two Currencies: Egypt Sets Itself Apart from Nigeria Back in early November, Egypt and Nigeria were in the same situation, crying out for dollars to revive their sinking economies and trying to curb rampant currency trading on the black market. Egypt’s tactic was to ditch a currency peg, leaving its pound open to market forces. The move helped secure a $12 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Africa’s third-biggest economy. This week, Managing Director Christine Lagarde praised the government for restoring “economic sanity”. Egypt is still short of dollars, but the situation is changing, and investors are gradually returning. Nigeria, in contrast, isn’t letting the naira trade at its market value, insisting that’s the only way to protect the poor from a further surge in inflation, which is already at the highest level since 2005. Traders argue it’s left the currency overvalued and say they’ll avoid Nigerian local markets until it weakens. While the government managed to issue a $1 billion Eurobond last week, its first in almost four years, it is struggling to

VIEW FROM ABROAD raise money from the likes of the World Bank, which first wants to see a more flexible exchange rate in place.

Pound Rebounds Egypt’s pound lost more than half its value against the dollar after officials let it float on November 3. But it has started to rebound, gaining 16 per cent this month, which is the best performance among 154 currencies tracked by Bloomberg. While Nigeria’s naira has fallen almost 40 per cent versus the greenback since it was weakened in June, analysts say the central bank needs to let it drop further and is back to its old ways of holding the exchange rate.

Taming the Black Market The gap between the pound’s black-market and official rates has all but closed since the devaluation as investors' inflows have

eased dollar shortages. In Nigeria, it’s widening. The naira fell to a record 510 against the greenback on the black market this week. That’s 38 per cent weaker than the official rate of 315.

Egyptian Assets Rallying Egypt’s stocks, local currency bonds and dollar debt have all performed better than Nigeria’s this year. The EGX 30 Index has climbed 11 per cent in dollar terms, the best performance in Africa. Nigeria’s benchmark stock index is down 6.2 per cent since the end of 2016. Investors’ optimism about Egyptian stocks has soared and continued to slide in Nigeria. The latter’s equities are the cheapest in Africa, with the price-to-earnings ratio based on estimates for the next 12 months falling to 7.5, below even that of the main gauge in Zimbabwe, where a liquidity squeeze has left some companies and

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

government departments unable to pay their workers. In Egypt, the ratio has risen to 11.3 from 7.8 in June.


in Egypt, with inflation reaching 28.1 percent in January. The pace is now faster than Nigeria’s rate of 18.7 percent. Still, the IMF said on Febuary 15 that Egyptian inflation will start to dip as the effect of the devaluation wears off,

helped by the strengthening pound. In Nigeria, investors say a growing scarcity of foreign exchange in a country that imports most finished goods will only add to price pressures. r$VMMFEGSPN#MPPNCFSH

to them, apart from some observed formatting errors, the concerned banks reported that the returns were sent on the basis which the transactions were conducted. “The transactions concerned were consummated in third currencies such as the Japanese Yen and South African Rand (YEN/ZAR); JPY/NGN, EUR/ USD, USD/ZAR. “As a result, there is no way any deposit money bank (DMB) or the CBN will deal in forex transactions at the rate of 61kobo/USD, N18/US$1 or N3/US$1, as was erroneously reported. “The aforementioned are third currency transactions and when properly translated, will be in line with the prevailing forex rate range on the interbank market. “Consequently, to prevent any such occurrence in the future, the CBN has directed all deposit money banks to render their returns in a uniform format, converting all forex sales and purchases to NGN/USD. “All third currency transactions are also to be converted to NGN/USD,” it said. According to the CBN, the clarification became necessary, following the media report that suggested that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had issued a query to the CBN over issues relating to the sale of forex. “While it is perfectly normal for any agency of government

to seek clarification on any matter from other agencies of government, we wish to state that neither the Governor of the CBN nor the Director, Legal Services Department has received any communications with regard to the issue. “The CBN, as a responsible and responsive arm of government, will always provide clarifications on any matter within its purview for the purpose of educating and enlightening all concerned,” it stated. In addition, the central bank reiterated that it does not deal directly with any bank customer on forex transactions, saying that such transactions are consummated strictly between the customers and their respective banks. “The figures of forex sales published in national dailies, or on the CBN website on which these insinuations are being formed, were transactions consummated between the DMBs and their customers. “Pursuant to our policy of transparency, we publish the reports of purchases and sales of forex between the banks and their customers, as submitted by the banks without editing. “This practice of publishing the figures on our website has been in place since October 2016,” it added. The CBN advised all concerned stakeholders to always verify information on matters relating to the Bank before going public in order not to trigger volatility in the market.

Also, the CBN said it disbursed $2.83 billion for utilisation in the critical sectors of the economy between December 2016 and January 2017. A statement by Okorafor said that the manufacturing, raw materials and agriculture, among others, topped the disbursements targeted at employment generation and wealth creating sectors of the economy. In all, the sums of $609 million and $228 million were released for raw materials in December and January, respectively, while manufacturing got $53 million and $71 million, respectively, during the same period. Also, forex utilisation figures indicated that the sums of $1.839 billion and $0.989 billion, respectively, were extended to critical sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum products and airlines, among others in December 2016 and January 2017. Okorafor stressed the determination of the central bank to continue to ease the forex pressure on critical sectors. The CBN last November supported critical sectors with $1.1 billion. The sectors that got forex allocations were agricultural machinery, industrial raw materials, education and personal travel allowances to source industrial raw materials, and spare parts on the interbank market.

Not All Good for Egypt Prices


AT NEC, GOVERNORS STOP SHORT OF CALLING FOR DEVALUATION Africa in terms of performance and capitalisation.” She said the report highlighted, among others, the following: financial performance from 2014 to Q3 2016; update and investment strategy on the NSIA Future Generation Fund (FGF); NSIA Infrastructure Strategy and Agriculture Fund; and NSIA – Old Mutual Real Estate Co-Investment Vehicle, among others. The minister said the NSIA planned to increase domestic infrastructure investment in 2017 because there are compelling opportunities in the environment. According to her, the NSIA would also focus on “social infrastructure” including investments in the form of affordable housing and healthcare through the development of specialist hospitals. “Council, while adopting the report of the NSIA, decided to inject a fresh $250 million into the SWF sourced from the ECA.” The minister also told NEC that the balance in the ECA stood at $2,458,382,844.03 as of February 15, 2017. On the Budget Support Loan Facility for the states, Adeosun said she informed the council that eight accounting firms had been appointed to start the verification process of the monthly facility, based on the approved Fiscal Sustainability Plan by the states. On the Nigerian Economic Recovery and Growth (NERG)

Plan, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said he assured the council that the federal government has a recovery plan that would take the Nigeria economy out of the woods. According to him, “Consultations on the plan are ongoing to firm up the plan with clear roles for all the stakeholders and the states.” He said he informed the council that the plan will address agriculture and food security; energy sufficiency – power and petroleum availability; improving transportation infrastructure; industrialisation, SMEs, and manufacturing; and stabilisation of the macroeconomic environment. In his briefing to reporters, the Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh said the council was briefed on the massive wheat production in the states of Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi and Zamfara, among others. Ogbeh said that these states have appealed to the federal government to make plans for the purchase of the excess wheat to ensure price stability and sustainable production. “Council agreed to discuss the proposal and make adequate buy-back arrangements in order to support price stability,” Ogbeh added. The council also held a valedictory session for the Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who was

attending the meeting for the last time as his tenure winds up. Council members commended Mimiko’s contributions to NEC and lauded him for facilitating a smooth transition to his successor in the state. Ondo State governor-elect, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) also attended the meeting as an observer. But as NEC expressed concern over the free fall of the naira on the parallel market and called for a revision of the CBN’s forex policy, the central bank yesterday directed commercial banks and other authorised dealers in the interbank forex market to render their forex returns in a uniform format. The directive was issued to prevent formatting errors in banks’ returns on foreign exchange utilisation. The CBN, in reaction to a newspaper report (not THISDAY) that misrepresented third currency transactions as naira/dollar sales, said forex sales and purchases for such transactions should be converted using the naira/ dollar exchange rate In a statement by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, the CBN explained that following observations of different exchange rates after the last publication on its website and thereafter, it called for explanations from the banks concerned. “In response to our queries




Ă?ĂĄĂ?ĂŽĂ“ĂžĂ™ĂœDavidson Iriekpen Ă—Ă‹Ă“Ă–, 08111813081

NNPC Reports N197bn Trading Loss for 2016 Chineme OkaforĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) ended the 2016 fiscal year with a trading loss of N197 billion, its monthly operations and financial report for the month of December 2016 has disclosed. According to the report, which was released by the corporation yesterday in Abuja, the NNPC ended all but one of its monthly trading activities in deficits. The only month it made a profit in the year was May when it posted a profit of N273.74 million. The report indicated that the NNPC operated in a

very challenging environment and that most of the losses it recorded in 2016 were from its subsidiaries which include the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), the Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries as well as from its corporate headquarters, other strategic business units (SBU) and the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC). While the December 2016 loss figure in the report was N17.01 billion, a review of the last 11 months indicated that in January, the NNPC had a N3.55 billion trading deficit, it recorded N24.23 billion in February as

deficit, N18.89 billion in March, N26.51 billion in June, N24.18 billion in July, N11.22 billion in August, N17.18 billion in September, N16.85 billion in October and N18.72 billion in November. It made N273.74 million in May as profit though. NNPC indicated that repeated pipeline breaks and vandalism of oil assets across the country were responsible for most of its losses, and that these limited its desire to return profit on its operations. As regards its December operations, it said: “NNPC has been operating in a challenging environment which limits its aspiration to profitability. Overall, a trading deficit of N17.01 billion was recorded

for the month under review as against the reported November, 2016 trading deficit of N18.72 billion. “This represents a decrease of N1.71 billion in trading deficit as against November, 2016. The marginal decrease is due to improved PPMC coastal sales following completion of reconciliation with other marketers. Other factors that affected the overall NNPC’s performance include force majeure declared by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) as a result of the vandalised 48 inch Forcados export line after the restoration on October 17, 2016, among others.� It stated that on the back

of the federal government’s peace overtures to militants in the Niger Delta, crude oil production in the country rose to 1.92 million barrels a day (mbd) in December, but that the major drag to its performance was the subsisting force majeure at Forcados and Brass terminals. According to it, shutdown of two Nembe Creek Trunk Lines (NCTL) flow stations following pipeline leakages and outcomes from areas much affected by the militant activities at the onshore and shallow water assets, where government’s take was high, also impacted its operations. “Products theft and vandalism have continued to destroy value and put NNPC at disadvantaged competitive

position. A total of 2,560 vandalised points have been recorded between January 2016 and December 2016,� the report added. On statutory remittances within the period, it said: “NNPC transferred the sum of N34.93 billion into Federation Account during the month under review from the net domestic crude oil receipt and N5.11 billion from gas receipts. “Also, the 29th instalment of the refund to federal government (federal government) of N6.33 billion was transferred. In 2016, Federation, JV (Joint Venture), and FG received the sum N653.06 billion, N355.17 billion and N75.96 billion respectively.�

Boko Haram Insurgents Attack NAF Helicopter Conveying Medics Paul ObiĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË Boko Haram terrorists yesterday confronted men of the Nigerian Air Force  (NAF), attacking its helicopter conveying medics on outreach programme in Gwoza area of Borno State. The Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, confirmed the incident, stating that “a NAF helicopter conveying personnel on medical outreach programme at Gwoza yesterday came under attack by members of the Boko Haram terrorist. “The Mi-17 helicopter was shot at severally by the terrorists however there was no casualty except for an airman that sustained bullet wound.â€? Famuyiwa explained: “The helicopter had departed from Maiduguri en route the venue of the two-day medical outreach programme in Gwoza when it came under attack by the

insurgents. “Nevertheless, the pilot was able to fly the helicopter safely to and from its destination to enable the outreach programme continue uninterrupted. “Following the attack, the NAF immediately scrambled a fighter aircraft and helicopter gunship to the location between Bama and Gwoza to neutralise the threat,� he said. According to him, “Intelligent report by ground troops confirmed scores of Boko Haram terrorists were killed, signifying that the air attack on the threat location was successful. “NAF has been conducting medical outreach in the Northeast as part of its humanitarian support to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). “The latest of this effort was in Gwoza. This follows a similar effort undertaken recently for IDPs in Lagos area,� Famuyiwa added.

Style Icons in Focus as Jide Ipaye Features in African Voices Africa’s emerging style icons will be the centre of discussion in this week’s edition of African Voices, the CNN International magazine programme sponsored by telecoms giant, Globacom. The three dazzling trend setters to be featured include Nigeria’s Jide Ipaye, who is the founder of fastrising shoe manufacturing company, Keexs Footwear. Regarded by fashion followers as the first innovative and social-oriented footwear brand in Africa, Keexs has a mission to pioneer innovation in footwear, bring exciting designs to life and empower communities through socialoriented projects. On what inspired the establishment of the company,

Ipaye said: “We the citizens need to take more individual and collective initiatives towards correcting some of our social issues (economy and society) rather than sitting around complaining and waiting for our leaders to solve everything.� Also to be featured in the programme, Globacom said, are super model, Noella Coursaris of Congo, and Mauritian designer, Mario Guillot. Noella Coursaris  is an international model and philanthropist of Congolese, Swiss and Cypriot origin. After receiving a degree in business management, she was chosen to appear in a campaign for  Agent  Provocateur. Modelling took her from the pages of fashion magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair to the global stage.


L-R: Representative of the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Prof. Abiola Sann; Chief Executve Officer, Seplat Nigeria Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru; Executive Director, Finance, Standard Chartered Bank, Yemi Owolabi; Chief Operating Officer, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr. Anders Einarsson; and Partner/ Head Tax Regulatory and People Service, KPMG, Mr. Wole Obayemi, at the KPMG tax breakfast forum on 2017 budget-implications for business and tax /launch of Nigerian journal in Lagos.... yesterday  

DMO: Nigerian Economy Too Strong to Ask for Debt Forgiveness Nigeria’s total debt rises to N17.36tn Omololu OgunmadeĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË The Director-General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, yesterday rejected a suggestion by the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt that the federal government should seek debt forgiveness in the face of Nigeria’s rising debt. Nwankwo, who expressed his opposition to the advice while appearing before the committee to defend the 2017 budget of DMO in the National Assembly, had been advised by the committee to exploit the goodwill and popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari in the international community to ask for debt forgiveness in view of biting economic crisis confronting the nation. But Nwankwo told the committee that Nigeria had no reason to contemplate debt forgiveness at this time because it has remained a

strong economy and hence, had no reason to beg anyone for forgiveness. According to him, even though the economy is facing a myriad of challenges, such challenges are too minute to compel the nation to ask for debt forgiveness. “Nigeria is not in a position to beg for forgiveness. We are still a strong economy. Although there are challenges but we have not got to the stage to ask for debt forgiveness,� Nwankwo insisted. But this submission drew the ire of members of the committee who queried the rational and logic behind Nwankwo’s reasoning, pointing out that Nigerians lived in a more bouyant and robust economy in 2006 when the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo exited the Paris Club by riding on the horse of debt forgiveness. They therefore queried

Nwankwo as to why he felt it was more viable for the country to secure debt forgiveness 11 years ago than now, bearing in mind that Nigeria’s economy was not in recession neither was the rate of inflation or cost of living as high as it is now. But Nwankwo could not give any convincing or justifiable reason for his position as he only muttered some words to defend himself, saying he did not appear before the committee to discuss the solutions to Nigeria’s economic problems. “Beyond that, I don’t think I have the mandate and I don’t want to presume that I have the capability to come here and pontificate on how all the problems of Nigeria can be resolved because that is not my mandate. And I will be very presumptuous to be saying that,� he said. However, he disclosed that Nigeria’s total debt as at December 31, 2016, rose to

$57.39 billion, the equivalent of N17.36 trillion comprising $11.41 billion (N3.48 trillion) foreign debt and $45.98 (N13.88 trillion) domestic debt. The DMO boss said the figures showed that external debt rose by 6.53 per cent in 2016 from $10.71 billion on December 31, 2015 while the domestic debt rose from N8.84 trillion in December 2015 to N11.06 trillion in December, 2016, representing an increase of 25.11 per cent. Nwankwo said the marginal rise in the domestic debt was the offshoot of net issuances of federal government bonds and treasury bills. He further disclosed that Nigeria paid $353.093 million for external debt service in 2016 as against the projected $421.893 million, implying a shortfall of 16.31 per cent difference between the projected debt service estimate and what was actually paid.








Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email


There should be more to the Valentine day than the thrills and frills, contends Tayo Ogunbiyi


n February 14, Nigerians put aside the agony of a crunchy economy to join the rest of the world to celebrate Valentine Day. To those who believe in it, the day affords lovers, family members and friends the opportunity to practically demonstrate their love towards one another. Aside its rich and characteristic romantic content, over the years, exchange of gift items such as cards, letters, flowers, clothes, shoes, bags, jewelries, cars, and others has become an integral part of the Valentine ritual. Romantic meetings where cozy and sumptuous meals are the main item in a homely spot of choice are also top on the Valentine Day’s schedule. To demonstrate its uniqueness, red is the preferred symbol of Valentine’s Day. This is revealed through the fashion sense of diverse Valentine disciples and apostles who adorn assorted red stuff. Hence, to a large extent, Valentine Day could be said to be a red lettered day! Valentine Day has a rich history that dates back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia which was held on February 15. According to the narration, a priest named Valentine disobeyed Emperor Claudius II’s decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. But love drunk Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14. After Valentine’s death, he became a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine’s Day to honour Saint Valentine. Interestingly, Valentine Day celebration has globally assumed a larger than life image. Consequently, there is a huge economic angle to the whole episode. Hospitality and entertainment sectors are mostly affected. Since love and romance are involved, it is only natural that those in the hospitality and related businesses benefit hugely from the smell of love that is in the air. To really catch in on the economic prospect of the day, many restaurants, night clubs, cinemas, relaxation gardens and hotels usually put up special tantalising offers on Valentine Day, all in a bid to attract good business. As a result of the flurry of activities for the day, these spots are often busier than usual as many people go out for a date with their spouse, partner or prospective lover. In Nigeria, younger folks in particular, eagerly look forward to celebrating Valentine. In most major cities across the country, streets, hotels, stores, restaurants are covered in red, pink and white streamers, with big heart- shaped signs wishing people a Happy Valentine Day. Fancy and fast food restaurants are filled with couples eating out for the holiday. Places with very unexciting night life suddenly burst into life on Valentine nite. In major cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, PortHarcourt, Jos and Benin, Valentine Day often extends deep into the wee hours of the night with adventurous lover birds embarking on a mission


to paint the town red. Hence, sales at most popular hang outs, on Valentine Day, are usually on the high side. This implies that for those in the hospitality sector and other related businesses, Valentine Day offers remarkable opportunity to make extraordinary profit. However, as it is with every human endeavour, to some Valentine Day isn’t all about thrills and frills. This is particularly true of those who view it from a strictly pious and moral perspective. They are so disgusted that they dub it ‘a celebration of satanic lies’. They are not sufficiently convinced about the correctness of the modern day principle or philosophy behind Valentine celebration. To the pious school of thought, the real essence of the huge price that St. Valentine paid for love is being recklessly trivialised and immorally derided. The kind of love that is usually celebrated on Valentine Day is being subjected to severe scrutiny by moralists who believe that a young fellow who is still in High school has no business embarking on a ‘meaningless satanic voyage’, all in the name of celebrating Valentine. This line of reasoning is further amplified by the claim, though without any empirical evidence, that the end results of Valentine Day are often unwanted pregnancies, abortions and other such related ungodly acts. One other objection of moralists to the whole Valentine argument is that the celebration of love should not be a one day affair. Choosing a particular day to celebrate love is, thus, viewed as an act of hypocrisy borne out of sheer ignorance. Love should be celebrated and practiced on a daily basis. In order to ensure that the youths, in particular, are not imprudent in this weird understanding of Valentine, some religious leaders and groups now seize the opportunity of the day to organise seminars, workshops, talks, etc., that could help guide the youths from falling into the snare and error of what they termed misguided interpretation of love. It is desired to enlighten them to aptly tutor them on the proper way to celebrate love. The intention is to direct their minds to the actual connotation of St Valentine’s Day. The world is presently in dire need of true love. Unfortunately, true love has become a scarce commodity. Everyone is in search of true love, but quite a few are really prepared to pay the price for it. With separation and divorce now so routine that many see them as inevitable, it seems the very idea of true love has almost become a mirage in this dispensation. There is so much selfishness, greed and evil all across the world that true love seems rare. According to late American human right activist, Martins Luther King Jr. true love heals broken hearts and hurting wounds. In an increasingly wayward, troubled and complicated world, true love remains an essential ingredient for peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and understanding. Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos

UNDERSTANDING THE JAMES IBORI MYTH (1) Magnus Onyibe argues that the former Delta State governor is a victim of circumstances


etween 2002 and 2007, so much was the affliction of Ibori by powerful political foes controlling the levers of power in the presidency using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, State Security Services and police force against him that former Lagos State Governor and All Progressives Congress national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu once nick-named him Akpamaku- a Yoruba term literally translated as the man they have been trying to kill without success. The appellation is apt because, despite being one of the most persecuted and prosecuted politicians in Nigeria, where others have wilted, lbori has been resilient enough not to die politically or physically. As a human, he might have buckled when he was encircled and entrapped by the UK authorities that launched ferocious attacks on his family by jailing his only sister, Christine, his wife Nkoyo, and the mother of his daughter, Udoamaka, hence he was compelled to plead guilty to the crime of money laundering. But he has now done his time and having been unshackled, he is ready and able to fight back by proving his innocence of the crime that he pleaded guilty to simply because he was under duress. Before going further, it is germane that we first go back to ground zero of Ibori travails and triumphs in politics by presenting them in a dramatic format. Act 1, scene 1:: The conspiracy to ‘fix’ Ibori politically dates back to 2002 when he was preparing for his second term as governor and led other governors against former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was also seeking a second term. The decision to stop OBJ was hinged on his undemocratic style of leadership rooted in autocracy which is derived from his military background. And also according to conspiracy theory, to enforce OBJ’s pre-coronation agreement to serve only one term. Scene 2: Leading 26 other Peoples Democratic

Party’s governors to meet with the chairman of PDP, Audu Ogbeh to register the opposition of the governors to the re-election of OBJ, lbori practically belled the cat as was the case of the popular folklore, “Who Will Bell The Cat?” What Ibori did was an equivalent of planning a military coup. And the potential beneficiary of the initiative, then Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar demurred from challenging the president as envisaged, thus OBJ was nominated by PDP and subsequently got re-elected. Scene 3: In the military, anyone who plots a coup that did not succeed, pays the ultimate price and as an ex-soldier, vengeance was rife as Ibori, who literarily led an equivalent of a political coup detat which was not followed through was targeted for destruction. So Ibori’s frame up as ex-convict was a farce designed to halt his re-election bid and to kill him politically. Scene 4: Invariably, OBJ’s attempt to get a third term in office as president without allowing other political office holders like governors and legislators enjoy similar privileges, was his Achilles heels. Alas, OBJ who went after Ibori for standing against his re-election for a second term in 2003, almost got the legislature to review the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to accommodate his third term bid in 2007, but Ken Nnamani , then president of the Senate led the legislators who felt OBJ was being clever by half, to literarily pull the plug on him while he was away in Paris, France deliberating on the infamous Green Tree Agreement that sealed the ceding of Bakasi Peninsula to Cameroun. To underscore how vicious politicians can be, a reprisal action to ensure that Nnamani never made it back to the Senate, was taken. Scene 5: :Recall that Chief Audu Ogbeh, then PDP chairman was also sacked by OBJ a day after

he ate pounded yam with him during a visit to his abode. Apparently, he was sacked for the ‘effrontery’ of delivering the message of the 26 governors against the re-election of OBJ in 2003. Act 2, scene 1: The second time another president betted against Ibori and lost, was when the late head of state, Umaru Yar’Adua suddenly passed away mid-way through his four years tenure in 2010 and then Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan had no mandate to step up as acting president until the Doctrine of Necessity was enacted by the National Assembly. Scene 2: While lbori was of the strong view that in line with the power rotation principle within the PDP that the presidency should remain in the north, which implies that GEJ should serve out Yar’Adua’s final two years and let the next president come from the north to maintain status quo, GEJ and others had contrary views. The acting president who was determined to run for the post of president against the grain of thought in the PDP, saw to it that all stumbling blocks on the path to achieving his ambition like lbori were removed by hook or crook . Scene 3.: Those who wanted to break the PDP unwritten code compelling rotation of power principle, had their way and that culminated in lbori going into exile as corruption allegation leveled against him and already settled in the court was suddenly resurrected in order to incarcerate him. The Curtain Falls For PDP: Regretfully, the new ruling party APC since taking over some 20 months ago, has been bemoaning the calamity that befell our country after six years of what they term visionless leadership resulting in socioeconomic failure. Thus Ibori is vindicated because it is the failure to heed his wise counsel to let power remain in the north as earlier agreed in the PDP, that put leadership in the hands of people considered to be grossly incompetent resulting in the pervading

religious and ethnic polarisation currently ravaging Nigeria. With the principle of rotation of power which was the glue holding the PDP toget her being trampled, the newly energised and rampaging APC rode into town like the legendary knight in shinning amour to claim the trophy that had been trifled by the former holders who did not really appreciate the value of the leadership baton passed on by PDP founding fathers. Even the politicians who dared to bet against lbori by squaring up with him locally in Delta State politics via the attempt to divide his political family, in the run up to the governorship contest in 2015, were given bloody nose, as he triumphed over them. Interestingly, it is not only politicians that betted against lbori and lost. The DFID, the British aid agency also betted against lbori and failed. To put the ignoble role of the British aid agency in perspective, permit me to quote copiously from an article titled “How The UK Conspired To Convict Ibori, Gohil, Others: Govt’s Role”, published by Tony Eluemunor, lbori’s media aid in vanguard newspaper of January 4, 2017 and on several online news platforms. Being in the forefront of anti-money laundering initiative in the UK which it has been funding with millions of tax payers pounds sterling, DFID had to give the impression that it is throwing good money after lots more to be confiscated, hence at first, the agency alleged that lbori laundered $250m, then reduced it to $200m, $50m and finally $18m claimed by Home Secretary, Amber Rudd in the last case hearing held on December 20 , last year whereby the Home Office attempted to prevent the release of lbori after serving his term. Onyibe, a development strategist and futurologist, is a former commissioner in Delta State



EDITORIAL THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IN NIGERIA The country could do much more to improve the business environment


that are also critical to investment decisions such as level of security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, labour skills of the population, underlying quality of institutions and infrastructure, the strength of the ďŹ nancial system and predictability of policies. The focus of the report is primarily on measuring the regulation and red tape relevant to the life cycle of a domestic small to medium-size ďŹ rm.

he World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 which ranked Nigeria 169 out of 189 countries in the overall Ease of Doing Business should spur the authorities to work harder. The report, titled “Equal Opportunities for All�, based the overall ranking on key indicators like: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and getting electricity. In the current assessment, Nigeria made improvement in the area of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and access to credit. But the country also recorded downward slope in key indicators like trading across borders, getting electricity, paying taxes, protecting investors, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. In all, the country improved by one point from its position of 170 last year. We do not believe that is something to rejoice about, especially when we are talking about an assessment involving 189 nations. THE COUNTRY RECORDED According to the DOWNWARD SLOPE World Bank report, IN KEY INDICATORS the marginal improveLIKE TRADING ACROSS ments highlighted BORDERS, GETTING for our country mean ELECTRICITY, PAYING “that in the last year, Nigeria’s business TAXES, PROTECTING regulatory environINVESTORS, ENFORCING ment as captured by CONTRACTS AND RESOLVING INSOLVENCY the Doing Business indicators improved slightly in absolute terms - the country is decreasing the gap with the global regulatory frontier. This is a morale booster for stakeholders involved in the efforts aimed at removing existing bottlenecks in the business environment.� While that small step is good, it still does not tell the complete story of an economy that is in recession. In any case, as we have highlighted in the past, the report is usually narrow as it does not measure some aspects

Letters to the Editor











ith Kenya, for the second consecutive year, among the top 10 global improvers based on reforms undertaken, details of the report revealed that Nigeria ranked 138th position on starting a business, 174th position on getting construction permit and 180th position on getting electricity. Others include 182nd position on registering property, 44th position on getting credit, 32nd position on protecting minority investors, 182nd position on paying taxes, 181st position on trading across borders, 139th position on enforcing contracts, and 140th position on resolving insolvency. “Simple rules that are easy to follow are a sign that a government treats its citizens with respect. They yield direct economic beneďŹ ts – more entrepreneurship; more market opportunities for women; more adherence to the rule of law,â€? said Paul Romer, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President. “But we should also remember that being treated with respect is something that people value for its own sake and that a government that fails to treat its citizens this way will lose its ability to lead.â€? Yes, as the largest economy in the West African sub-region and by most ratings, still the biggest on the continent, it is in our economic interest to facilitate trade across borders, improve the tax system, ease the process of starting a business, improve access to credit, enhance the process of securing construction permits and registering property, initiate regulations that would protect investors, enforce contracts, and resolve insolvency. What is required is the will to pursue these smart and business-friendly reforms. But even at that, there is need to do much more if we must reposition our economy and put our people to work.

TO OUR READERS Letters in response to speciďŹ c 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.



enerally in most climes, the last year for tenured political office holders can be considered as a lameduck one. A time for closing up shop, securing one’s legacy and at times, trying to ensure that they get their own person to replace them. Since he failed to secure his own person to replace him, Governor Olusegun Rahman Mimiko has been preparing his exit in style as the governor of Ondo State. Interestingly, the governor has been busy launching new projects lately. However, the current state of the Mother and Child hospitals which he initiated leaves much to be desired, hence the need for the coming administration to review some of the projects of the outgoing government with a view to improving their service delivery. Looking back, the Mother and Child Hospitals are arguably Mimiko’s greatest achievement in the state; as such it has become expedient to evaluate the project since it was commissioned seven years ago. At inception, the MCH in Akure with five ‘jumbo size’ wards, provided first class special care to the mother and the child from age zero to five, inclusive of surgeries where needed free of charge. According to available records, within a few years of their existence, these hospitals have the highest number of deliveries per year in the whole of the country, with the relative feat of having the least number of maternal deaths within the same period. In spite of their glowing achievements, these hospitals may have become a shadow of their former self. Things are no longer the

same as they were at their commissioning. This lends credence to lack of maintenance culture which has become synonymous with Nigeria and Nigerians. The glory of their former days has paved way for groaning and grumbling. The greatest harm done to the MCH was their free status. It is an established fact that freebies don’t last, and valuable substance don’t come cheap. The free nature of the hospitals attracted patients from Osun, Lagos, Kogi, Oyo and Kwara States, to the extent that there were more patients from other states than the host state. Perhaps this accounts for why the residency card was introduced by the state government. To sustain the value of the standard invested into the Mother and Child hospitals, the men and materials must be significantly valued by all and sundry. If quality must be sustained, the free status must be sacrificed. Patients should be made to pay a token to sustain and maintain the initial standard which was conceptualised. It comes as no surprise that the hospitals are heavily indebted. Not even the staggering internally generated revenue of the state government or the dwindling allocation from the federal account is adequate for the increasing cost of governance, one of which is the delivery of qualitative health to the populace. The quality of drugs and consumables which are administered has over time dropped. Consumables are now rationed. The practice in the hospital is that for every caesarean section, a gynecologist is not expected to use more than one set of materials because of scarce resources. It does

not matter if the patient in question needs more than one. In fact, natural delivery is often preferred because it is cost effective for the hospital. Hence, women are usually encouraged to push. When the situation is almost out of hand, they are then wheeled to the theatre. Less costly methods are now being adopted in delivery; doctors minimise the caesarian sections they carry out by opting for vacuum extraction and other delivery methods which are often to the detriment of mother and child. In such process, due to fetal distress, the baby is born weak, and some have even suffered cerebral palsy and other form of permanent damage. Like a typical Nigerian politician, Governor Mimiko is not a man of his words. At the inauguration of these hospitals, he had specifically said that the hospitals would be established in the three senatorial districts of the state. Some critics are quick to note that the governor was either parochial or just ethnically biased to have situated the only two hospitals within 30 minutes’ drive of each other, whereas there are other parts of the state that are far reaching and equally in dire need of the services of the hospitals. Perhaps, the one sighted in Ondo could have been sighted at Ore which is closer to residents of the southern senatorial district. Or what shall it profit a mother in labour who travels from Ilaje Ese-Odo to Ondo/Akure? No right thinking mother who is experiencing the pangs of labour would undertake such a life threatening move. Yinka Adeosun, Ondo, Ondo State






Group Politics Editor Olawale Olaleye Email 08116759819 SMS ONLY


Babatope’s Diagnosis of the PDP Recently, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party, addressed newsmen on the position of the South-west wing of the party on the drawn out imbroglio in the PDP at the national level. Segun James writes


o call him a political gadfly might seem hash, but that is certainly what Chief Ebenezer Babatope might have become in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Although he belongs to the political camp of Chief Olabode George within the existing power blocks in the party, Babatope is still his own man. In one breath, he insists that he and his associates are not planning to leave the embattled PDP and in another, he bloats to be ready, together with his group to kill and bury the party if pushed to the wall by those he says are bent on pushing the “elders” out. “I want to talk to you today with deliberate forthrightness, with deep sense and consciousness of a concerned elder, who cannot afford to sit down quietly and pretend everything is going on well in my party, the Peoples Democratic Party. In truth and in fact, the PDP is terribly ailing, sick, prostrated by greed, humbled by selfishness, stricken by the absence of equity and maimed by the dark conspiracies of little men, who want to play God. “We lost the last election in 2015 because the highest hierarchy of our party was hijacked and swindled by fly-by-night mercenaries, who virtually shoved aside men and women of character and impeccable merit and moral distinction, who in more enlightened times could have helped us secure a deserved victory. “The very few, the unproven and untested mercenary characters descended heavily on the jugular of our party and virtually wiped out any sense of decency and any inkling of propriety and fairness which were once the critical ingredients that gave us victory consistently for more than 16 years,” he exolains. To him the party is in need of a total rebirth as it is “now in a deep morass. The party is torn asunder. There is no sense of coherence anywhere. There is no contemplative and thoughtful vision to move us ahead. Everywhere, people are scurrying about in selfish scheming and in desperate, blighted vision to corner for them whatever is left of the tattered and wretched fabric of a dying party. “While some of us are ready, willing and capable of rescuing our party from plunging into a destructive abyss and permanent forfeiture, some people who are overwhelmed by inordinate ambition are blindly insisting on a narrow provincial self-elevation to the detriment of the greater good of the party. “Their little and muddled characters have virtually abandoned the guiding equity, the fairness doctrine, the balancing pivot and the sweeping articulation of justice which our founding fathers had long anchored the fundamental principles of our party.” Babatope fumed and made it clear that the Yoruba people would never allow people from other zones to determine their future, while also insisting that the zoning formula in the party is sacrosanct. “The founding fathers insisted that every tribe, that every tongue, that every geo-political zone must have a sense of belonging and a sense of equal participation in the affairs of our party. The PDP zoning principle was to cultivate our common bond and our common brotherhood. “In this rotational platform all major positions in the party hierarchy were to be distributed evenly and appropriately among the zones. For instance, if the chairman comes from the North in a-four-year tenure, the position must shift to the South in the subsequent tenure. All other positions will be equally redistributed

Babatope...PDP must revert to its core values

to accommodate our national plurality. “And even in the zoning along the North and South axis, there is no ambiguity at all. If a particular position is zoned to the South for instance, the specific beneficiary section of the South will be clearly defined and identified. There cannot be any vagueness. There cannot be any confusion or uncertainty. “But now the tables are turning. A deliberate and divisive muddle is now being injected to suit the dubious and the dangerous agenda of some neophytes at the State House, whose purpose and fixity is to commandeer the party into their private pockets, dictating and directing like some primitive overlords. These are the same benighted characters that brought Senator Modu Sheriff to our party only because they

We are ready to fight. We are willing to dig into the trenches to protect and defend what is our right. If they are stubborn and indifferent to our position, we are capable and willing to help them pull down the house. The conspirators are on the path of ruin and perfidy. No injustice can be sustained for long. What is fair is fair. It is either they give us what belongs to us and respect our choice or they will trigger the final burial and the entombment of PDP

thought they could use him to further their own political goals. “Well, we all know the reality. It backfired. Sheriff apparently was not interested in playing the role of a servile puppet. Immediately he grabbed power, he became a fearsome bulldog, menacing, defiant, contemptuous and uncontrollable, mocking those who thought they had found a weakling to manipulate. “You would think that with the misadventure of the Sheriff episode that our governors would learn a lesson and move ahead to rectify their ways. It never happened. Last year, in the new scramble to elect a new National Chairman, the Committee that was empanelled with the responsibility to zone the office naturally chose the South-west zone to bring out their best nominee. It was a fair and just and reasonable decision. That is the way it has always been done. That is the old and proven tradition that our founding fathers implanted on the ground,” he posits. Although he claims not to be speaking for the South-west and the Yoruba people in the party, Babatope says “The collective leadership of the South-west immediately responded by calling a summit of various leaders across our zone to deliberate, to sift carefully among the aspirants and the vote for the most suitable person to adopt as our consensus candidate. “We all met in Akure early August last year. Our two governors, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Mr. Ayodele Fayose presided over the proceedings. All the political heavyweights from Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Lagos were all dutifully present to ensure plural contributions and tidy up the democratic flowering. After an exhaustive debate and passionate submissions, the matter was put to vote. Professor Tunde Adeniran, Dr. Taoheed Adedoja and Chief Olabode George Ibiyinka were presented as the contesting aspirants. “The ultimate decision was smooth and swift. Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George was overwhelmingly voted for and subsequently adopted as the South-west consensus candidate for the position of the National Chairman. A communiqué was equally issued to stamp the full weight of the South-west leadership

on our collective decision. “This has always been the abiding tradition of our party. Once a consensus candidate emerges from a zone, this becomes binding and unalterable at the National Convention. Here, the convention merely approves the unity list through approbation without rancor, without bitterness. Here, no one, no matter how mighty or influential, would dare interfere in the collective decision of any zone. “The August 17 debacle last year flung tradition into the wind. It was an aberration at large. For reasons best known to them, some governors colluded with other conspirators known and unknown and chose to insult and desecrate the collective wisdom of the Yoruba people by conspiring to foist Jimmy Agbaje as their adopted candidate for the position of the National Chairman! “It was a great grievous injury that they inflicted on us. But we responded quickly that no one would discard the judgment of our leaders and impose an absolute greenhorn on our people. Well, we thank God that the dark conspiracy was totally nullified by divine intervention. “I called to sound a serious warning to all those who are bent on diminishing the Yoruba people. Yes, we know that they are back at their old game. We understand they are even concocting a new scenario by merely zoning the National Chairman position to the South without the traditional specificity of the particular place in the South. “This is not acceptable to us. This is blatant treachery and a dubious attempt to rob the South-west of our just deserve. We will not take this lying low. Out of the entire six geographical zones, the South-west is the only zone that has never occupied the position of the National chairman. The closest we got to it was when Chief Olabode George was elected Deputy National Chairman of the party. “Is it then not fit and proper that our consensus candidate, who is the most experienced, well established in party administration, tested, proven, matured, straight-laced professional with integrity should be a natural and the foremost choice for the exalted position? “We are ready to fight. We are willing to dig into the trenches to protect and defend what is our right. If they are stubborn and indifferent to our position, we are capable and willing to help them pull down the house. The conspirators are on the path of ruin and perfidy. No injustice can be sustained for long. What is fair is fair. It is either they give us what belongs to us and respect our choice or they will trigger the final burial and the entombment of PDP. “That is our determined and resolute position. We will never be dictated to by any zone. Let every zone confine its ambition to its zonal boundary. Any intruder or any blatant interloper will be confronted with the collective rage and decisive sanction of our people. The South-west is crucial and critical in swinging victory in a presidential election. The Lagos State alone has 6.5 million registered voters. You can hardly trifle with this significant figure. “What’s more, the South-west contribution to the growth and development of PDP in the last 16 years is immeasurable. We have fought for the truth. We have fought for justice. We have fought for others, who had been unfairly treated. We had fought against inequity and the straying of tyranny. We had fought for national unity and inter-tribal harmony. This time, we are fighting for ourselves. This time we are fighting to protect our dignity and defend a good cause,” he maintains.





Nigerian Youths as Selfenemies The Nigerian youths are their own enemies, writes Bolaji Abdullahi


n the last couple of days, I read two articles by two of Nigeria’s most talented youths, Chude Jideonwo and Ohimai Amaize. The two articles were asking essentially the same question: why are African youths voting for old men? This is a very important question indeed. “It’s odd to see so many engaged, empowered and angry youth turn to symbols of the same old order to make change happen in countries desperate for a turnaround,” Chude wrote, and then gave reasons why it may not be so odd after all. He said when young people are confronted with a choice between a bad candidate and an old candidate, a sense of “responsibility” makes them to overlook age as a factor. “Pragmatism”, “cynicism” and a “ferocious mix of anger and hope” he said, are other reasons young Africans are helping to bring old men to power. For Ohimai, everything boils down to a “conspiracy of the elite class” that has continued to disempower young people, using the potent tools of illiteracy and poverty. In other words, youth participation in politics has been limited largely to playing in the supporters’ club of the same older politicians, who have denied them the means and the opportunity to take to the field themselves. Both writers have offered us valid interpretations. However, I tend to disagree with Chude where he appears to suggest that the political fortune of young people on the continent is changing. Young people, he said, have “only now begun to build the street savvy that can win elections or hijack political systems.” In particular reference to Nigeria, this would appear a little like an overstatement. I have not seen the evidence anywhere that young people are developing the essential capability that could win elections or “hijack political systems.” Worse still, I can’t see even a theoretical movement in that direction. On his part, Ohimai has tried to frame the youth as hapless victims of some elite conspiracy. This may not be completely correct. Young people are victimised by many things and at different levels, but in recent times, they are no longer as passive as Ohimai would want us to believe. And as Chude rightly noted, 2011 was the age of “real” participation in politics for the youths. That was also arguably the golden era of youth enlightenment and participation in social enterprise and entrepreneurship. Interestingly, Ohimai himself is a prime example of this coming-of-age, when he became the youngest Nigerian to manage a presidential candidate at the age of 26! It was the era of “Future Awards”, pioneered by Chude and his irrepressible companion, Debola Williams, which recognise and celebrate exceptional young people. It was the era of “EnoughIs-Enough” and “Occupy Nigeria”. I was Minister of Youth Development at the time. And I experienced quite intimately, the sheer energy and ingenuity of the Nigerian youth at the time. While so many factors combined to make Goodluck Jonathan president in 2011, his “Breath of Fresh Air” arrival was surely a creation of Nigerian youth. It is also clear that the decline of the Jonathan presidency started when he lost the youth population with the fuel subsidy removal of January 2012. If ever there was a time that the youth were going to truly come to own theirs in this country, it was 2011 and 2012. However, if 2011 was the golden age of youth political participation in Nigeria, 2015 would go down as the age of decline. Shortly after the election, I asked my friend, Chetta Nwanze, another

Senate President Bukola Saraki taking a selfie with Nigerian youths in commemoration of International Youth Day recently

incredibly talented young man of that era, what went wrong. Ever perceptive, he pointed out that ‘youth’ is a finite identity. Many of the youths of that era have grown to become men and women with their own families. I think there are bigger issues as well. The Nigerian youth was a powerful force in 2011 because they were able to build a consensus and mobilise around a common political agenda. Even though a 2011 report indicated that being Nigerian was a fourth-level identity to most young people at the time, Nigerian youth were able to subordinate those other primordial identities of tribe, religion and region that mattered to them to an overarching considerations for good governance, rule of law and social equity. This was not the case in 2015. Things, literally, fell apart. Looking back at the 2015 election, one should ordinarily be delighted that youth participation in politics was even more intimate and more clearly defined along political party lines than on the previous

In particular reference to Nigeria, this would appear a little like an overstatement. I have not seen the evidence anywhere that young people are developing the essential capability that could win elections or “hijack political systems.”Worse still, I can’t see even a theoretical movement in that direction

occasion. Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a destructive force, at a level we have not witnessed before. Two years after, the youths are still carrying on as if the election was not over. Those on the losing side are still smarting from defeat and have allowed their pains to determine their reaction to everything. They have proudly adopted the banner of the “wailing wailers” that was thrown at them and appear to constantly be in need to justify the political choice they made two years ago. When they should be sober, they have been gleeful. When they should be reflective, they have been vengeful. Their political affiliation appears to be more important to them than the Nigerian nation itself. On the other hand, those on the winning side have indulged in suicidal triumphalism. They are intolerant of even the slighted criticism and have gone round with annoying sense of entitlement and exaggerated patronship. Meanwhile, the people that really mattered – the political elite class that Ohimai blames for the disempowerment of young people – have responded to new realities. They are now busy working on new relationships and building new alliances. They have forgotten about 2015. The Nigerian youth is however, still there, locked in a fight-to-finish, abusing, cursing, caricaturing, falsifying, and doing everything to win a battle that had long been over. The actual players are busy seeking new opportunities; the Nigerian youth is locked in a mortal combat over who could blow the loudest vuvuzela. It speaks to the weakness of our political parties that a single electoral defeat would lead to the collapse of one of the strongest political parties in Nigerian history, the PDP. However, despite its factionalisation, we could see efforts being made to rebuild the party. One would expect that this presents a good opportunity for the youths to be truly

involved and ensure that whatever comes out in the end reflects their aspirations. But you don’t see them do this. Rather, it is the same “elite class” that Ohimai said is the problem that is now left alone to be the solution. The “PDP youths” appear content to just play their politics on social media. A couple of weeks ago, the APC inaugurated its constitutional review committee. Given the frustrations and grievances that the so many “APC youths” have shared with me in private conversations, one would expect that they would see this as a great opportunity to push for a real youth agenda by actively engaging the committee members. Regrettably, you don’t get a sense that this engagement is happening. Our youths are rather busy returning “fire-for-fire” and tearing at one another on twitter and Facebook. If we are to see the kind of savviness that Chude mentioned in his article, which would bring the youths to the centre of political power, Nigerian youths will have to be guided more by what they can think, rather than what they can feel. They have to rise above sheer egotism and cultivate the social skill that would enable them to understand that a political opponent is not necessarily a personal enemy. Nigeria is in desperate need of a successor generation. This can only emerge through an incredibly talented youth population. However, as long as the youths remain trapped in a culture of hate, cynicism, talkativeness and selfdestructive egotism, young people will continue to see themselves running back to the past to find a solution to the future that belongs to them. -Abdullahi is a former Minister of Youth Development and Sports, and the National Publicity Secretary of APC. This article is a personal opinion and does not represent in any way the opinion of the APC.


T H I S D AY ˾ ˜ͯ͵˜2017


R A T E S 18.5083% 16.6507%





17.7268% 20.3556%

Group Business Editor Chika Amanze-Nwachuku Email 08033294157

D E C E M B E R ,


15.4261% 15.7513% 16.1576%


1 6 , 19.2703% 20.6120% 22.3006%

2 0 1 6


Quick Takes Ethiopian Ranked 11th Most Punctual


L-R: Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment, Senator Fatima Raji-Rasaki; Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello; Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar; representative of the Managing Director of Intels Nigeria Limited, Mr. Patrick Bird and the Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Mr. Umana Okon Umana; at the Oil And Gas Free Zones Stakeholders Forum organised by OGFZA at the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone in Rivers State…recently

Seaport Traffic Declines By 20.6% on Forex Illiquidity Eromosele Abiodun Following the inability of importers and exporters to get the needed foreign exchange (forex) to transact their businesses, coupled with insecurity in Nigeria’s coastal waters, activities at the nation’s seaports have dropped significantly. According to the ship traffic statistics drawn from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), 4,025 vessels berthed at the various ports across the country last year, showing a decline of 20.6 per cent compared to 5071 vessels recorded in 2015. The number of vessels recorded last year represented a year-on-year (y/Y) decline of 20.6 per cent or 1,046 vessels. Analysts posited that the exclusion of 41 items from access to forex from the official window

MARTIME by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also contributed to the decline in import activities. In the same vein, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is also feeling the heat as the data revealed that Nigeria generated N35.6 billion in customs and excise duties in May 2016, compared with N42.1billion recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year. Similarly, outward cargoes from Delta port dropped by 51 per cent to an estimated 1.9 million in 2016 from 2013. The Delta port exports crude oil primarily and, given the recurrent pipeline vandalism, export volumes have plummeted. Meanwhile, at Apapa port, outward cargoes surged by 54 per cent over the same period

to 1.3 million tonnes last year. Analysts at FBN Quest told THISDAY that there is an over-reliance on Lagos ports, stressing that the evacuation of cargoes remains a major challenge, with other transportation links surrounding the port in poor condition. “In an attempt to improve maritime trade as well as reduce the pressure associated with transshipment cargo at Lagos ports, the construction of the Ibom Deep Sea Port (IDSP) located in Akwa Ibom State is underway. Given its proximity to industrial and commercial centers in southern Nigeria, once operations commence, IDSP has the potential of becoming a dominant hub within the region, “said FBN Quest. Commenting on the development, Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of ENL

Consortium Limited, operators of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex and Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Vicky Haastrup described the situation as a very challenging period for the maritime industry. According to her, “As you know, the volume of activities in the ports has reduced and it has been a very drastic reduction. For example, in my company we have a cargo downturn of a least 57 per cent as at two weeks ago. When you compare today with this period two years ago we have a reduction in cargo output of a minimum of 57 per cent which means we are operating 43 per cent capacity. This month is even worse. Now we do only six or seven ships from, for example, 30. That is a Continued on page 20

Nigerian Airlines Spend over N10bn Annually on Taxes Chinedu Eze Nigerian airlines pay over N10 billion on taxes annually, according to recent estimates by airline Operators of Nigeria (AON). The AON said the huge taxes undermine profitability and threaten the ability of the airlines to maintain their aircraft overseas. These taxes are paid by commercial airlines in schedule services, charter airlines and companies that provide services to oil and gas companies, including Bristow, Caverton, Aero and others The Chairman of AON, Captain Nogie Meggison noted that the taxes levied on airlines

AVIATION seem to indicate that government and its agencies do not want air transport to thrive in Nigeria adding this explained why domestic carriers have very short life span of average of 10 years. The operators lamented that with such huge taxes, it has become very challenging for them to source funds and ferry their aircraft overseas for C-check and other checks, which could cost as much as $2 million. The operators therefore urged the federal government to review these charges downwards as a kind of incentive to ensure airlines operate profitably,

considering the pivotal role they play in Nigeria’s economy. AON said due to the huge taxes airlines pay, in the last 25 years about 27 aircraft had gone under. The operators said these taxes are stifling their operations and government’s seeming indifference or inability to take action indicates they don’t care if all the airlines go under, even as they noted that with fair commitment government could ensure that aviation fuel is produced locally and piped directly to the airports. They also stressed the need to have Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in NIgeria, which would not only

save airlines foreign exchange but would also earn the country huge revenue in dollars. “Domestic airlines, on the average, pay about 35 percent to 40 percent of a ticket cost as taxes and charges that come under the guise of statutory levies in addition to other charges, Meggison said. He explained that these taxes and charges amount to double taxation such that any incentive seemingly provided by the government to airlines is taken back by the agencies. Megisson said the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) charges domestic Continued on page 20

Africa’s largest airline group, Ethiopian Airlines, has been ranked 11th worldwide in flight on-time performance for the month of January 2017. According to Flight Stats, the leading provider of real-time global flight data to companies and individuals across the travel ecosystem, of the almost 8000 flights operated by the airline in January, 81% arrived within 15 minutes of the schedule arrival. Not only did Ethiopian rank 11th worldwide, but it ranked number for airlines based in the Middle East and Africa. Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam said, “The Entire Ethiopian Airlines family clearly understands the importance of flight punctuality to our valued customers and every one of us is working very hard to make sure that flights depart on time and arrive on time. Although there are quite many factors, which affect the on-time departure of flights, we will continue to do whatever it takes to please our customers with the best flight punctuality in the industry. To this effect, we are very happy that we have outperformed the industry in the Middle East and Africa and stood number 11th in the world. I take this opportunity to congratulate my 12,000 coworkers for their achievement.” Tewolde added, “It is to the credit of the 12,000 committed men and women at the Ethiopian Airlines family that the airline is fast becoming a global winner.”

MainOne to Host Technology Confab

MainOne, a leading provider of telecom services and network solutions for businesses has concluded plans to host the third edition of its annual Nerds Unite IT conference, Nigeria’s biggest customer event for networking and data center professionals. Themed: “Disruptive Technology: Achieve more with less”, the one-day programme will deliver a wealth of content on best practices and solutions on connectivity, cloud, data centre, managed security, and small and medium enterprises from MainOne and its technology partners. Speaking ahead of the event, MainOne’s Head of Marketing, Tayo Ashiru, said: “This year’s event is special as some of our partners will showcase the latest virtual reality and hologram technologies. We will also have the latest solutions from our partners, the industry’s top vendors including Microsoft, Cisco,Radware, Signal Alliance, SAP, Huawei, and Samsung among several others. Nerds Unite 2017 also provides an opportunity to network with colleagues and experts across the IT industry and share ideas and insights”. Now in its third year, MainOne’s Nerds Unite conference focuses on equipping information technology (IT) managers with knowledge on the latest technologies and trends to sharpen their competitive advantage. In addition, the forum provides attendees with a platform to extend their professional networks by forging new connections with like-minded colleagues.

BT Wades into Google, Android Tussle

British Telecoms (BT) emerged as a surprise ally to Google in an ongoing row between the United States company and European Union antitrust regulators regarding the Android operating system (OS). A BT company representative confirmed its lawyers provided a full statement to the EU defending Google against charges regarding the competitiveness of Android. In its submission to regulators, BT, which owns EE, the United Kingdom’s largest operator by connections, rejected all accusations made against Google and highlighted the operator’s positive experiences working with the Android platform. BT’s company representative said: “We can confirm that our legal team has written to the European Commission regarding their investigation. We told them BT is free to pre-install its own or third party apps on devices alongside pre-loaded Google apps. We also said that, as an app provider, we value the ongoing stability and compatibility of operating systems, whether they are ‘open source’ or ‘closed source’. This is why we welcome anti-fragmentation initiatives such as Google’s.” The EU opened an investigation into Android in 2015 following complaints that Google hindered the development and access of rival apps and services by requiring operators and device manufacturers to pre-install specific Google apps, including the company’s search engine, in order to use the play store.

“We want to ensure that safety, security and facilitation in flight operation are enhanced to ensure there is minimum inconvenience to the passengers at our airports,” Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority

Captain Muhtar Usman



BUSINESSWORLD SEAPORT TRAFFIC DECLINES BY 20.6% ON FOREX ILLIQUIDITY huge challenge. The problem has also affected the container operators in the ports. There’s may not be as bad as ours but they are also experiencing a downturn in their operational activities particularly as it relates to cargo troop out. “Why is it like that? It is because of the inconsistencies in government policies. What we need now is a consistent policy regime to help the economy to grow. This will create confidence in the mind of business owners and importers of cargo. But a situation where you are not sure whether the policy may change or not you cannot do anything reasonable. Policies keep changing; government must look into that area. For example, the policies on the ban of import 42 items. They should also look at the foreign exchange policy.� NIGERIAN AIRLINES SPEND OVER N10BN ANNUALLY ON TAXES airlines different kinds of navigational charges, which they should ordinarily be exempted from in line with global best practices, except Nigeria. “The implemented charges range from Terminal Navigational charges to enroute navigation charges, Over-flight charges, clearance charges, and extension charges. Even foreign airlines don’t pay enroute charges or extension charges, which the local airlines are forced to pay. In spite of all these charges, NAMA still gets 23 percent taken from NCAA 5 percent Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) account. Even with all these charges, many of the airports in the country do not have runway lights and navigational landing aids. This means such airports are only open between 7am and 6pm daily. To this end, airlines can’t fully utilise their airplanes for 24-hours operations. No airplane or factory machine can be profitable only from 7am to 6pm daylight operations. Airplanes and factory machines are supposed to operate for 24-hours.


Intels Highlights Benefits of Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone Eromosele Abiodun The Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Intels Nigeria Limited, Mr. Patrick Bird has declared that the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone offers enormous advantages and incentives to foreign companies to invest in Nigeria. Speaking in Onne on the sidelines of the “Oil And Gas Free Zones Stakeholders Forum� organised by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Bird said the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone creates the environment necessary to support Nigeria’s economic and industrial development. The stakeholders forum was declared open by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar. According to Bird, Intels, along with the Government of Nigeria, developed the zone to provide an oil service centre for onshore and offshore operations while providing the West African and greater subSaharan oil and gas industry easy access and duty-free distribution facilities. The Intels CCO enumerated some of the benefits of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, which houses 170 companies, to include 100 per cent repatriation of capital investment, full remittance of profits and dividends, zero Customs tariffs on exports and non-requirement of import or export licenses. He also said that all goods manufactured in the free zone can be sold in the Nigerian market. “The Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone helps Nigeria maximize

its natural resources to attract foreign investments and create employment, enhance the welfare of the people, aid technology transfer and the overall economic development of the country,� he said. He said the success of the zone has led to the creation of similar zones in Warri and Lagos. Bird also commended OGFZA for hosting the stakeholders forum, which he said will deepen investments in the free zone. Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana said the stakeholders forum provides an opportunity to introduce

the agency’s new leadership to stakeholders, “and show them the way in which we intend to work together to recreate the OGFZA and rebuild prosperity for all in successful partnerships between government and private investors in the Free Zones.� He added, “The path of the new OGFZA is well laid out in our roadmap which we are unveiling today, along with our marketing brochure to guide existing and potential investors to the array of incentives available in our free zones. “The roadmap is a product of our vision to be the premier investment promotion agency

of government by facilitating the establishment of businesses in the Oil and Gas Free Zones with the creation of an enabling environment for investment,� Umana said. He assured that OGFZA will improve the ease of doing business and overall service delivery to investors in line with global best practices. “We will make the free zones the first ports of call for investors who are looking for the best opportunities in Africa, to either expand their existing businesses or start new ventures. We are thus at the threshold of a new future that will take the continuing support of government and the

commitment of stakeholders to build.� Other dignitaries at the event include the Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment, Senator Fatima Raji-Rasaki; the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi represented by the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello; the former Chairman of OGFZA, Chief Chris Asoluka; Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman represented by the Executive Director, Dr. Sokonte Davies and representatives of various government agencies.


L-R: Princess ‘Deun Adedoyin Solarin, Dr. Lanalee Araba Sam based in United States; Representative of Lagos State Government, Chioma Dike; Former First Lady of Cross River State, Mr. Onari Duke; Managing Director/CEO, United Capital Asset Management, Jude Chiemeka; Group CEO, United Capital Plc, Oluwatoyin Sanni; Representative of Wife of Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, Felicity Ukoko, and Wife of former Vice President, Dr.( Mrs). Helen T. Boyo- Ekwueme at the public unveiling of the United Capital Wealth for Women Fund in Lagos‌recently

Moni Pulo Boosts CSR for Akwa Ibom Community Ejiofor Alike An indigenous upstream oil firm, Moni Pulo Limited has pledged massive investments in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for its host community in Akwa Ibom State. The company, usually referred to as the ‘Good Neighbour’, by the people of Mbo and Effiat Local Government Areas of the state, said in a

statement that it increased CSR investments in line with its commitment to improve the lives of more people in its host communities. “In response to the need identified by the people of the Mbo and Effiat Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Moni Pulo Limited recently carried out the 2016 edition of its Community Empowerment Programme providing about 100 business owners from the

community with key business equipment. This is 7th of such empowerment programme carried out by Moni Pulo in Akwa Ibom State,� said the statement. Speaking during the 2016 edition of the company’s Community Empowerment Programme, the Executive Vice Chairman of Moni Pulo Limited, Dr. Seinye OB Lulu-Briggs disclosed that Corporate

Social Responsible is a core corporate value that Moni Pulo cherishes. She further stated that this Community Empowerment Programme aligns with the current global Sustainable Development Goals �as it provides opportunities for the entrepreneurs�. Through this Community Empowerment Initiative, Moni Pulo Limited has aligned with the ‘Dakka Da’

Social Awareness Initiative instituted by the Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration in Akwa Ibom State. Furthermore, motivated by its mission to be a beacon of hope to succeeding generations of indigenous industries, Moni Pulo Limited, through this programme has created a platform for the indigenes of Akwa Ibom State to further unlock their potentials and enhance their livelihoods.

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Independent Survey Rates Glo 4G LTE Best in Lagos

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Emma Okonji The National Independent Wireless Broadband Quality Report (NIWBQR) has rated Globacom the best in terms of 4G LTE services in a recent survey. NIWBQR, an organisation, which specialises in providing national broadband industry report on mobile wireless telecom services explained that the survey took into cognisance the experience of customers and the technical quality of all the 4G LTE networks in Lagos before arriving at Globacom’s

position as the best. Smile and nTel came second and third respectively according to the report. The body said the methodology applied in the survey include the purchase of SIMs with unlimited data and unlimited throughput from the five service providers in the report in order to perform simultaneous FTP data transfers and Pings on all their networks. “The throughputs and other performance measurement indicators recorded are therefore those that any customers with similar subscriptions are likely

to experience,� the survey report revealed. Tools and equipment including mobile phones, scanners, GPS Receiver and loggers were used during the driving tests around Lagos. Among the data collected are latency, continuous uplink file transfer and continuous downlink file transfer. Globacom’s services were outstanding in uplink and downlink application layer throughput when the exercise was completed. Throughput refers to the amount of data moved successfully from one

place to another in a given time period, measured in bits per second (bps), megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbp s ) . NIWBQR revealed that Globacom had excellent RF coverage and quality, without any common R a d i o F re q u e n c y ( R F ) performance issues – R R C C a l l D ro p s , R R C Connection F a i l u re s , Handoff failures, excessive call setup delays and so on. The second in the rating, Smile, had lower uplink and

downlink application layer throughput than most due to an undeclared throughput. The body said Smile was ranked higher than MTN and because it has a higher service accessibility rate than MTN and better coverage than nTel. NIWBQR said that it was observed that MTN lacked contiguous LTE service along the driven route. “As such, some of the application layer throughput recorded for MTN was in 3G�, the body stated. NIWBQR is an offshoot of Enextgen Wireless Limited.





NPA Boss Gives FRSC March 1 Deadline to Enforce MSSRW Stories by Eromosele Abiodun The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman has given March 1, 2017 deadline to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) for the enforcement of Minimum Standard of Safety and Road Worthiness (MSSRW) for all the trucks entering the nation’s six major ports. Speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the FRSC in Lagos, Bala Usman said NPA has the responsibility to protect lives and properties of all stakeholders accessing its services by ensuring that all articulated vehicles and trucks which on daily basis freight containers and assorted bulk

cargoes to different parts of the country from the ports meet the required minimum safety standards. Bala Usman said NPA was collaborating with the FRSC as part of efforts to put lasting solutions to the Oshodi-Apapa expressway gridlock. To ensure full compliance, NPA, she said, is collaborating with the FRSC and other safety enforcement agencies to achieving safety standard for trucks accessing the ports by adopting the Road Traffic Safety Standarisation Scheme ( RTSSS), which include regular inspection and certification of the NPA’ fleet. According to the NPA boss, “Apapa for example, is home to Nigerian’s two foremost ports which are be-

ing managed by nine terminal operators. Between the two ports, more than 65 per cent of dry cargoes and about 90 per cent of the nation’s liquid (petroleum products) are handled.This is because it hosts about 35 tank farms in addition to the numerous other businesses that are located in this port city. “Going by the operational activities highlighted above, there is always heavy vehicular traffic around all port locations and most of these vehicles are not in good state. This debilitating vehicular traffic has assumed a frightening dimension in so many port areas. It has led to serious accidents that have claimed innocent lives and several man hours’ lost in traffic jam.

Bauchi to Revive Moribund Fertiliser Blending Company Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi Bauchi State government will soon revive its fertiliser blending company to provide the commodity to farmers in the state and beyond. Speaking during a tour of the company in Bauchi yesterday, the newly appointed chairman of the company, Bappah Aliyu Musa promised to revive the company and make it profitable. He lamented that despite the huge amount spend by previous government, machineries and raw materials are allowed to be wasting away at the premises of the company for over seven years, saying that the company has been moribund and grossly under utilised due to a deliberate neglect. He said that the governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar

-led administration as a result of its commitment to key into the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural revival effort, has focused on ways to develop the sector in Bauchi State. The new chairman therefore called for the cooperation of the company workers towards achieving the set goal of putting the company back to life,noting that the present condition of the company calls for a concerted effort of all the workers as well as members of the company’s management. He informed that the company when fully functional will provide jobs for about 500 people in its fertiliser blending and Kaolin procession sections. Responding, the General Manager of the company, Danjuma Adamu said that the new chairman came at the right time when it needed a competent management team.

He said that looking at the new chairman’s private sector background who has also ran a successful company, he is confident that he has the ability to turnaround the fortunes of the company. Adamu informed the new chairman that because of the neglect the company suffers in the past, it’s challenges had been growing over the years. He noted that work in the company has almost stopped and lacks money to even pay it’s staff salaries adding that as of the time of the chairman’s arrival, the December salaries of some of its staff has not been paid. Furthermore, he noted that if not for a fund of about seven million given by the state government recently, funds have not been provided for the running of the company by successive government.

Group Kicks against Transfer of Containers to Ikorodu Terminal The Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA) has said that the nation’s seaports are operating below capacity and should not transfer longstanding (overtime) containers to off dock facilities especially the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal (IKLT) in Lagos. Speaking against the backdrop of the clamour by some clearing agents at Ikorodu for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to transfer long-standing containers from the main port to IKLT, the President of NIIA, ), Godwin Onyekazi, said such transfer is unnecessary since there is “ample space in the main ports.” He said: “Congestion in the terminals has always been cited as the reason for transfer of containers but the present economic downturn has resulted in less than 40 per cent yard occupancy for most terminal operators; effectively undermining the reason to transfer overtime

cargo to Ikorodu.” The NIIA president said the maritime sector suffered a huge blow in 2016 with ever increasing foreign exchange rates and a sharp decline in cargo volume. According to him, “Businesses, banks and social institutions surrounding the ports have closed down as an extension of the reduction in business faced by the ports. A recent statement by the Senate in November 2016 highlighted the fact that the containers that have already been transferred to the IKLT have been abandoned with goods worth billions of naira rotting away daily, alluding to the fact that inadequate maintenance measures exist for the containers there. Therefore, moving even more containers will result in a sharper decline in the condition of containers and cargo, and lead to wastage.” He said moving overtime containers can also be seen as

a means to boycott terminal operational procedures as owners of the containers will look to avoid paying their accrued charges but rather intercept or obtain their cargo at reduced or no cost at all, thereby encouraging importers to abandon their cargo at the port with the aim of facilitating movement to Ikorodu in order to avoid charges. This, he argued, “undermines the integrity of terminal operators’ authority and processes leading to complete loss of revenue to terminal operators despite handling costs incurred and fulfilled financial obligations to the government over the years on such containers.” He said the bid to transfer overtime cargo to IKLT will only result in huge additional cost burden to government given that the logistics cost of moving the containers from various terminals to Ikorodu will be borne by the Nigerian Ports Authority.













NAMA Upgrades Kaduna Airport Navigational Aids Chinedu Eze Ahead of the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for the repairs of its runway beginning from March 8, 2017, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has commenced the upgrading of navigational facilities at the Kaduna airport to absorb the increased volume of traffic to be diverted from Abuja. Towards this end, the agency said it would deploy both equipment and personnel to strategic areas of need to ensure a seamless flow of traffic at the airport during the six-week period. Briefing newsmen, the General Manager, Safety Management Systems/ Quality Assurance, Mr. Mathew Lawrence Pwajok

revealed that the agency has commenced the installation of a digital Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Kaduna airport which would undergo flight calibration along with the VOR (Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Radio Range) already installed, to ensure their accuracy. “NAMA is also currently conducting a safety assessment of the entire Kaduna airport to ensure that it conforms to international safety standards, just as new equipment is being procured for the control tower under construction while a mobile control tower is to be deployed to the airport to support the old control tower already in use,� Pwajok said.

He added that while the Abuja radar is also going to be used to provide radar surveillance of traffic moving in and out of Kaduna to provide safety and efficiency of flight operations, new generating sets are to be installed to provide secondary power supply to the navigational aids, even as he said cooling systems are to be installed soon. According to him, other facilities already deployed at the station include a low-level wind shear alerting system and cooling systems even as he stated that Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures for satellite based navigation capability has been published for aircraft that have corresponding equipment to use for approach and landing rather than the ground aids.

NAMA Boss Assures Retirees of Payment of their BeneďŹ ts Chinedu Eze The Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Captain Fola Akinkuotu has pledged to ensure prompt payment of the agency’s retirees’ benefits. Speaking at the sendforth ceremony organised by members of Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) in Lagos, Akinkuotu lamented that in some cases, it was difficult for retirees to get their entitlements after serving their fatherland for 35 years. According to Akinkuotu, the agency would strive to ensure that every retiree was paid at the point of exit, noting that a labourer is entitled to his wages. He also advised the working class to always remember that their labour would not be in vain, and expressed worry that workers suffer after retirement. While commending them for their unblemished record and contributions to the system while in service, Akinkuotu assured them that the agency would always consult them when necessary. “The working class should always remember that their

labour will not be in vain, the labour of the retirees will not be in vain,� he said. In a speech, the president of Aeronautical Information Services Association of Nigeria (AISAN) Babatunde Shittu commended its members who retired from service recently. Shittu said that AIS is able to get to where they are today through dedication, hard work, sense of purpose and firm belief in all and determination of the retirees to promote the growth and development of Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) as a profession of dignity and respect. “Your track record and reputation in the aviation industry speak volumes about your humble disposition and strong passion for professionalism and the attitude of doing things right always. You were a mentor to me and many of my colleagues in the AIS profession whom you helped to inspire in so many ways�, the AISAN President said. Shittu said he was elated to be in their mist for the send forth of the retired members. “I see today as being a part of history and partaking in sharing the experiences of your meritori-

ous services in our esteemed agency. We are here today to show our respect and love to our dear professional elderly colleagues�. Shittu added: “It is true that when someone retires, it is a very special occasion the culmination of ones career in civil service especially in aviation industry where we are saddled with the responsibility to ensure safety, regularity and efficiency of air navigation by the provisions of timely and quality dissemination of aeronautical information. Although, this is a special occasion for them, a number of us, myself inclusive have mixed feelings about it. It is hard for me to be making this speech and saying goodbye to my colleagues, but at the same time we know that you are leaving us in good�. He said that AIS department would miss them, “but we promise to live up to your extraordinarily high standards. Once more, thank you for giving us this memorable opportunity to wish you the best in your future endeavors. I am sure you will find new opportunities and pleasures in your new life�, he said.

AfBAA, NBAC to Co-host West African Business Aviation Symposium The African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) has teamed up with EAN Aviation, organisers of the annual Nigerian Business Aviation Conference (NBAC) to merge the two respected meetings into one powerful event. The two meetings will come together to spearhead discussions about the value of creative business thinking, and how it can stimulate new ideas to help navigate the increasingly challenging world of business aviation in the region. The organisers have designed the programme with the aim of providing a set of pragmatic tools that will support the region’s stakeholders’ future planning and development.

Networking will also form a significant part of the meeting and organisers have introduced a “Meet the Operators� session that will enable suppliers and operators to effectively network in a dedicated environment. We see operators as a lynchpin for the industry and want to facilitate meetings that will be genuinely useful for both parties,� Rady Fahmy, CEO of AfBAA said. EAN said the programme includes discussions about human resources and training; the benefits of purchasing pre-owned as opposed to new aircraft; and look at how to plan for ongoing success, adding that presentations would explore the perception of West African

business aviation and a case study would look at how the closure of Abuja airport, Nigeria’s legislative capital may have affected the sector. “We’ve created a dynamic programme with some fascinating new themes for delegates to debate. We are sure we can provide several tangible take-aways that will contribute to business longevity,� added Segun Demuren, CEO of EAN Aviation and co-host of the event. The event would be chaired by African aviation industry veteran Nick Fadugba who, for more than 30 years, has been supporting aviation development on the continent through his company African Aviation Services.

AIR WATCH Preparing Kaduna Airport for International Flights


he announcement by the federal government that the Nnamdi Azikiwe

Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă– Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžËœ ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË ĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽ ĂŒĂ? Ă?Ă–Ă™Ă?Ă?ĂŽ Ă™Ă˜ Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă’ ΀˜ ͺ͸͚Ϳ Ă?Ă™Ăœ comprehensive repair of its runway ĂĄĂ’Ă“Ă–Ă? Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ă‹Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂŒĂ?Ă&#x;Ă?Ă?ĂŽĂ‹Ă?Ă‹Ă–ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă‹ĂžĂ?Ëœ had elicited a lot of reactions from dierent quarters. Ă“ĂœĂ?ĂžËœÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă˜Ă‹ĂžĂ?Ă’Ă‹ĂŽĂ•Ă“Ă?Ă•Ă?ĂŽĂ‹Ă‘Ă‹Ă“Ă˜Ă?ĂžÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă–Ă™Ă?Ă&#x;ĂœĂ? ĂŒĂ&#x;ÞÖËÞĂ?ĂœĂŒĂ‹Ă?Ă•Ă?ĂŽĂŽĂ™ĂĄĂ˜ËœĂ‹Ę°Ă?ĂœĂœĂ?Ă‹Ă–Ă“Ă?Ă“Ă˜Ă‘ÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă‹Ă?Ă?Þã Ó×ÚÖÓĂ?Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă™Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă™Ă˜ĂžĂ“Ă˜Ă&#x;Ă™Ă&#x;Ă?Ă&#x;Ă?Ă?Ă™Ă?ÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ&#x;Ă˜ĂĄĂ‹ĂŁËœ which is in a deplorable state.   Ă“Ă˜Ă Ă?Ă?ĂžĂ“Ă‘Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă? ĂœĂ?Ă Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă?ĂŽ ÞÒËÞ Ă‹Ă“Ăœ ĂžĂœĂ‹Ă Ă?Ă–Ă–Ă?ĂœĂ?Ëœ Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂ–Ă“Ă˜Ă?Ă? Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽ ÙÞÒĂ?Ăœ Ă“Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă?Ăž Ă‘ĂœĂ™Ă&#x;ĂšĂ? were sceptical about the use of Kaduna airport as alternative owing to security concerns; the facilities at the airport and the distance by road Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă— Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ă‹ÞÙĂŒĂ&#x;Ă”Ă‹ËœĂĄĂ’Ă“Ă?Ă’ÞËÕĂ?Ă?Ă‹ĂŒĂ™Ă&#x;ĂžÞåÙ hours. But since the decision was taken by the federal ÑÙàĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂžËœÞÒĂ?Ă?ĂŽĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ă–Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžĂ?Ă&#x;ĂžĂ’Ă™ĂœĂ“ĂžĂŁĂ™Ă? Ă“Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă‹Ě™ĚšĂ’Ă‹ĂŽĂ‘Ă™Ă˜Ă?ÞÙĂĄĂ™ĂœĂ•ÞÙĂ—Ă‹Ă•Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;ĂœĂ? that the airport meets international standard Ă“Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ—Ă?Ă™Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă?Ă?ĂžĂŁËœĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;ĂœĂ“ĂžĂŁĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?Ù×Ă?Ă™ĂœĂžĂ™Ă?ÞÒĂ? passengers.  Ă–Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ˜ĂžÞÒËÞĂ?Ă Ă?Ă˜ÞÒĂ? Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ă‹ÞËÞĂ? ÙàĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă—Ă?Ă˜Ăž Ă’Ă‹Ă? Ă&#x;Ă˜ĂŽĂ?ĂœĂžĂ‹Ă•Ă?Ă˜ Ă?Ù×Ă? ĂšĂœĂ™Ă”Ă?Ă?ĂžĂ?Ëœ including road rehabilitation and erection of   Ă?Ă‹Ă?ÓÖÓÞã Ă‹Ăž ÞÒĂ? Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžË› Ă’Ă?Ă˜   Ă Ă“Ă?Ă“ĂžĂ?ĂŽ ÞÒĂ? Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂž Ă™Ă˜ Ă™Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹ĂŁËœ Ă—Ă‹Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă Ă? ĂĄĂ™ĂœĂ• was ongoing at dierent parts of the airport; from ÞÒĂ?ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ—Ă“Ă˜Ă‹Ă–ÞÙÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ&#x;Ă˜ĂĄĂ‹ĂŁË›Ă–Ă?Ă™ËœĂ“Ă˜Ă?ĂžĂ‹Ă–Ă–Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă™Ă? Ă?Ă‹Ă?Ă?ÞãĂ?ĂœĂ“ĂžĂ“Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă?Ă›Ă&#x;ÓÚ×Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂĄĂ‹Ă?Ă™Ă˜Ă‘Ă™Ă“Ă˜Ă‘Ë› ĂŽĂ?Ă‹Ă–Ă–ĂŁËœ Kaduna is a Category 8 airport and one of the things that determine the grading of airport is ÞÒĂ?Ă–Ă?Ă Ă?Ă–Ă™Ă?Ę¨ĂœĂ?Ă?ÙàĂ?ĂœË› Ă–Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ˜ĂžÞÒËÞ has improved the ďŹ re cover of the airport and ĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽÞËÕĂ?Ă“ĂžÞÙĂ‹ĂžĂ?Ă‘Ă™ĂœĂŁÎ ËœÞÒĂ&#x;Ă?Ă&#x;ĂšĂ‘ĂœĂ‹ĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă‘ÞÒĂ? airport to international standard. Although many foreign carriers have declined from ying to the Kaduna airport and have arrangement schedules with their passengers for Ă‹Ă–ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă Ă?Ă?ÒÙÓĂ?Ă?Ă?ËœĂŒĂ&#x;ĂžÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă?Ù×Ă?Ă™Ă?ÞÒĂ? regional and international airlines that would still operate from Kaduna. The Kaduna airport manager of the ďŹ re ĂŽĂ?ĂšĂ‹ĂœĂžĂ—Ă?Ă˜ĂžËœ ĂŒĂ&#x;ĂŒĂ‹Ă•Ă‹Ăœ Ă‹Ă˜Ă–Ă‹ĂŽĂ“ Ă’Ă?ĂŒĂ? ÞÙÖÎ  ÞÒËÞÞÒĂ?ĂŽĂ?ĂšĂ‹ĂœĂžĂ—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ“Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;Ă–Ă–ĂŁĂšĂœĂ?ĂšĂ‹ĂœĂ?ĂŽĂ?Ă™Ăœ international services and the heavy ight traďŹƒc that would take place at the airport from March ΀˛ Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă“ĂŽÞÒËÞĂ’Ă‹Ă?ĂŽĂ?ÚÖÙãĂ?ĂŽĂ‹ĂŽĂŽĂ“ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă– ďŹ re tenders to the airport and before the given ĂŽĂ‹ĂžĂ?ÞÒĂ?ĂŽĂ?ĂšĂ‹ĂœĂžĂ—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂ’Ă‹Ă Ă?Ă‹ĂŽĂŽĂ“ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–ͽͿ personnel. “We are preparing to make sure we meet set targets for March 8. We have eective Ă?ÙàĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă™ĂœĂŒĂ“Ă‘Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ‹Ă“ĂœĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ę°ÞÒËÞĂ—Ă‹ĂŁĂ?ĂžĂ‹ĂœĂžĂ‹ĂœĂœĂ“Ă Ă“Ă˜Ă‘ Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă—ÞÒËÞĂŽĂ‹ĂžĂ?ËœËŹĂ’Ă?ĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă‹Ă“ĂŽË› Work is still going on to improve the Instrument Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă‘ĂŁĂ?ĂžĂ?Ă—Ě™ ĚšĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽÞÒĂ?ÙÓĂ?Ă?Ă—Ă˜Ă“ĂŽĂ“ĂœĂ?Ă?ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă‹ĂŽĂ“Ă™ĂœĂ‹Ă˜Ă‘Ă?̙̚ÞÙĂ?Ă˜Ă?Ă&#x;ĂœĂ?ÞÒĂ?ĂŁĂ‹ĂœĂ?Ă“Ă˜ perfect shape for the additional service. The other navigational aids were being worked on and the air traďŹƒc control would expect additional Ă?ÞËʼĂ?ĂœĂ™Ă—ĂŒĂ&#x;Ă”Ă‹ËœĂ‹Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă‘Ă“Ă Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹ĂžĂ?Ă‹ĂšĂšĂœĂ™Ă‹Ă?Ă’Ă?Ă?Ë› Ă‹Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă Ă?ĂĄĂ™ĂœĂ•Ă“Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă?Ă™Ă‘Ă™Ă“Ă˜Ă‘Ă™Ă˜Ă‹ĂžÞÒĂ?ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ—Ă“Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ëœ which was abandoned for over three years. The ʨĂ?Ă–ĂŽĂ—Ă‹Ă˜Ă‹Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ“ Ă˜Ă Ă?Ă?Þ×Ă?Ă˜Ăž Ă“Ă—Ă“ĂžĂ?ĂŽËœÞÒĂ?

Ă?Ă™Ă˜ĂžĂœĂ‹Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœĂ’Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ–Ă“Ă˜Ă‘ÞÒĂ?ĂšĂœĂ™Ă”Ă?Ă?ĂžËœ ËäĂ?Ă?Ă— Ă?ÔÓĂ?Ă‹Ă“ĂŽ ÞÒĂ?Ă–Ă?Ă Ă?Ă–Ă™Ă?ĂĄĂ™ĂœĂ•Ă‹Ă–ĂœĂ?Ă‹ĂŽĂŁĂŽĂ™Ă˜Ă?ĂĄĂ‹Ă?ΠͺÚĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽ assured that the terminal would be ready to service ĂžĂœĂ‹Ă Ă?Ă–Ă?ĂœĂ?ĂŒĂŁĂ?ĂŒĂœĂ&#x;Ă‹ĂœĂŁĂ?Ă˜ĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă‘Ë› “Our target is to complete the work by end of Ă?ĂŒĂœĂ&#x;Ă‹ĂœĂŁË›Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă˜Ă™ĂžĂ–Ă™Ă™Ă•Ă“Ă˜Ă‘Ă‹ĂžĂ‹ĂœĂ?Ă’΀˜ͺ͸͚Ϳ˛Ă™ ĂĄĂ?Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă–Ă™Ă™Ă•Ă“Ă˜Ă‘Ă?Ă™ĂœĂĄĂ‹ĂœĂŽÞÙÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ™Ă?Ă?ĂŒĂœĂ&#x;Ă‹ĂœĂŁË›Ă’Ă? Ă?ĂœĂ“ĂžĂ“Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă”Ă™ĂŒĂ?Ă’Ă‹Ă Ă?ĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ™Ă˜Ă?˞ÓÞÓĂ?Ă™Ă˜Ă–ĂŁÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă–Ă“Ă˜Ă‘ ÞÒËÞĂ“Ă?Ă–Ă?Ę°ËœËŹ Ă’Ă? Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ă‹Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžĂ—Ă‹Ă˜Ă‹Ă‘Ă?ĂœËœĂ—Ă“Ă˜Ă‹äÓ̋Ă‹Ă–Ă‹Ă—Ă“ ÞÙÖÎ ÞÒËÞÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ&#x;Ă˜ĂĄĂ‹ĂŁËœĂĄĂ’Ă“Ă?Ă’Ă“Ă?ÙàĂ?ĂœĂžĂ’ĂœĂ?Ă? kilometers in length is in good condition and the airďŹ eld lighting is being rehabilitated to put it in ĂšĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă?Ă?ĂžĂ?Ă’Ă‹ĂšĂ?Ă?Ă™ĂœĂ–Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă‘Ă™Ă?Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ę°Ă“Ă˜ÞÒĂ?Ă˜Ă“Ă‘Ă’ĂžË› “We are right now on Category 8; we have to be on Category 9 to be able to receive international ĘŽĂ“Ă‘Ă’ĂžĂ?˛ÒÓĂ?ĂĄĂ?ĂĄĂ“Ă–Ă–Ă‹Ă?Ă’Ă“Ă?Ă Ă?ĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă™ĂœĂ?ÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ™Ă?Ă?ĂŒĂœĂ&#x;Ă‹ĂœĂŁË› On security we have held meeting with the host community to keep away from the airport and the state government is working on the perimeter road to prevent any incursion to the airport. “The state government is also working on a road that will connect the airport to the train station. That road would be ready for use before March. The ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ—Ă“Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă’Ă‹Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă?ËÚËĂ?ÓÞãÞÙÞËÕĂ?Ă“Ă˜Ϳͽ͸ÚËĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă˜Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ? at any time. We do not expect any problem with security because government has taken care of that. There would be deployment of security operatives ÞÙĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;ĂœĂ?ÞÒĂ?Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽÞÒĂ?ÚËĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă˜Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ?ËœËŹĂ?Ă’Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă“ĂŽË› The Managing Director of Skypower Express Ă“ĂœĂĄĂ‹ĂŁĂ? Ă“Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă‹ Ă“Ă—Ă“ĂžĂ?ĂŽËœ ËÚÞ ÙÒË××Ă?ĂŽ Ă™Ă”Ă“Ëœ ĂĄĂ’Ă™Ă?Ă?ÙÚĂ?ĂœĂ‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–ĂŒĂ‹Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă? Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ă‹ËœĂšĂœĂ™Ă”Ă?Ă?ĂžĂ?ĂŽÞÒËÞ ĂŽĂ&#x;ĂœĂ“Ă˜Ă‘ ÞÒĂ? Ă?Óâ ĂĄĂ?Ă?Ă•Ă? ĂšĂ?ĂœĂ“Ă™ĂŽ ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂž ĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽ ĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă–Ă™Ă?Ă?ĂŽĂ?Ă™ĂœĂœĂ&#x;Ă˜ĂĄĂ‹ĂŁĂœĂ?Ă’Ă‹ĂŒĂ“Ă–Ă“ĂžĂ‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜ËœÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ?ĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂŒĂ? Î€ËœÍżÍ¸Í¸Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ę°×ÙàĂ?Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂžÞÙĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?ĂœĂ™Ă— Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ă‹Ă‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžËœ åÓÞÒĂ‹Ă˜Ă‹Ă Ă?ĂœĂ‹Ă‘Ă?ĂŽĂ‹Ă“Ă–ĂŁ×ÙàĂ?Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ™Ă?ͺ͸ͿĂ‹Ă“ĂœĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ę°Ë› “The passenger movement during the six weeks ĂšĂ?ĂœĂ“Ă™ĂŽ ĂĄĂ“Ă–Ă– ĂŒĂ? ÍžÍ¸Í˝Ëœ ÍżÍžÎ Ëœ ĂĄĂ’Ă“Ă?Ă’ ĂžĂœĂ‹Ă˜Ă?Ă–Ă‹ĂžĂ? ÞÙ ͚͸͸˜ Π͞ͺÚËĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă˜Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ?ĂĄĂ?Ă?Ă•Ă–ĂŁĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹ĂŽĂ‹Ă“Ă–ĂŁ×ÙàĂ?Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ™Ă? ÍšÍźËœ͟ͺ͝ÚËĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă˜Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ?ËœËŹ ÙÔÓĂ?Ă‹Ă“ĂŽË› Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă“ĂŽÞÒĂ?ĂŒĂ‹Ă?Ă“Ă? Ă?ĂžĂœĂ&#x;Ă?ĂžĂ&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă™Ă?ÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ&#x;Ă˜ĂĄĂ‹ĂŁåÓÞÒĂ‹Ă–Ă?Ă˜Ă‘ĂžĂ’Ă™Ă?͝͸͸͸Ă—Ă?ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ? Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽ͞͸Ă—Ă?ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ?ĂĄĂ“ĂŽĂ?Ă“Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;ĘŠĂ?Ă“Ă?Ă˜ĂžÞÙĂ’Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ–Ă?Ă‹ĂĄĂ“ĂŽĂ? ĂŒĂ™ĂŽĂŁĂ‹Ă“ĂœĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ę°Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ“Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă˜Ă?Ă?ĂŽĂ‹ĂœĂ“Ă?Ă?Ă?ĂŒĂ–Ă‹Ă?ĂžÚËÎĂ™Ă?͝͸͸ meters could be provided to each end of the runway.  ÙÔÓĂ?Ă‹Ă“ĂŽÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă&#x;Ă–Ă–Ă?Ù×ÚÖĂ?Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ™Ă?Ă˜Ă‹Ă Ă“Ă‘Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽ landing aids must be provided to at least Category Íş ËœĂ‹ĂŽĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă‘ÞÒËÞÖÙå̋ÖĂ?Ă Ă?Ă–ĂĄĂ“Ă˜ĂŽĂ?Ă’Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ?Ă›Ă&#x;ÓÚ×Ă?Ă˜Ăž would be provided to determine weather movement in addition to full airďŹ eld lighting. ËŤ Ă?ĂžÍšĚ™Ă‹Ă Ă“Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă?Ă&#x;Ă?Ö̚×Ă&#x;Ă?ĂžĂŒĂ?ĂšĂœĂ™Ă Ă“ĂŽĂ?ĂŽĂœĂ™Ă&#x;Ă˜ĂŽÞÒĂ? clock and the enabling environment to be provided Ă?Ă™ĂœĂ‹ĂŽĂŽĂ“ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă?Ă&#x;Ă?Ă–Ă—Ă‹ĂœĂ•Ă?ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă?Ă™Ă—Ă“Ă˜Ă‘Ă“Ă˜ĂžĂ™ Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜Ă‹ËœËŹ he added. The Kaduna airport manager said most of ÞÒĂ?ĂžĂ’Ă“Ă˜Ă‘Ă?Ă˜Ă™ĂžĂ?ĂŽĂŒĂŁ ÙÔÓĂ’Ă‹Ă Ă?ĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă˜ĂšĂœĂ™Ă Ă“ĂŽĂ?ĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă?Ă–Ă&#x;ĂŽĂ“Ă˜Ă‘ the provision for aviation fuel as Conoil is already at the airport and Cleanserve has also indicated to operate from the airport and other oil marketers may also be at the airport. Mrs. Ozi-Salami said those who may not wish to Ă‘Ă™ÞÙĂŒĂ&#x;ÔËĂŒĂŁĂœĂ™Ă‹ĂŽĂ™ĂœĂžĂœĂ‹Ă“Ă˜ĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂ’Ă‹Ă Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ Ă“Ă?Ă?Ă? Ă™Ă?Ă’Ă?Ă–Ă“Ă?ÙÚÞĂ?ĂœËœĂ‹Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă?ÞÙåĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽÙÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă™Ă—ĂšĂ‹Ă˜Ă“Ă?Ă?Ă’Ă‹Ă Ă? indicated interest to operate from the airport and ÒÙÚÚËĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă˜Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ?ÞÙĂŒĂ&#x;Ă”Ă‹ËœĂ‹ĘŽĂ“Ă‘Ă’ĂžÞÒËÞĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽÞËÕĂ? Ă‹ĂŒĂ™Ă&#x;Ăž͟ͽĂ—Ă“Ă˜Ă&#x;ĂžĂ?Ă?Ë› The six weeks period the Kaduna airport would ĂŒĂ?Ă&#x;Ă?Ă?ĂŽĂ‹Ă?Ă‹Ă–ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă Ă?ÞÙĂŒĂ&#x;ÔËĂ‹Ă“ĂœĂšĂ™ĂœĂžĂĄĂ“Ă–Ă–ĂŒĂ™Ă™Ă?Ăž commercial activities at the airport and environs Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂœĂ?Ă?Ă“ĂŽĂ?Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂĄĂ™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂĄĂ“Ă?Ă’Ă“ĂžĂ?Ă™Ă˜ĂžĂ“Ă˜Ă&#x;Ă?Ă?ÞÒĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă‹Ę°Ă?ĂœË›







Why Nigerian Airlines Fail Last week the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria took over the management of Arik Air in a move aimed at saving the airline from imminent collapse. Chinedu Eze writes on the consequence of the take over and the factors responsible for the short life span of domestic carriers The recent take over of management of Arik Air by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has elicited varying reactions from Nigerians, especially air travellers. To the airline’s passengers, who often complained about delayed flights, cancellations and unruly attitude of some of the airline’s ground staff, the take over by AMCON, is a welcomed development. But to some entrepreneurs, they are pained that a man toiled for years and established a thriving business, only for it to be taken over by another entity years after. The take over of the Nigerian largest carrier has also opened discussions about the attitude in the aviation industry whereby experts with managerial ability are not allowed to manage airlines; rather, the investors insist on running the business themselves. This to an extent has led to the collapse of most airlines and it is readily referred to as owner-manager syndrome. Why the Take Over AMCON, in a statement explained that but for its prompt takeover of the airline, it would have stopped operation this week because of its huge debt burden. AMCON has however promised to revive the airline; pay the debts it owed; bring back the aircraft that were ferried overseas for maintenance and pay the salary arrears owed the airline’s workers. “The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier, to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector,� AMCON said. But many industry observers are apprehensive about the take over of the company by AMCON. This is because no airline in the Nigeria travel market has brought so much hope as Arik Arik did. The airline started its operation with new aircraft and this marked a turning point in the domestic air travel market, which was known for its gerontocracy fleet, known sharply as classics. The airline raised the expectation of Nigerian travellers and made the market more competitive. However, many industry stakeholders are not positively disposed about the take over of the company by AMCON. Many of them feel it has created uncertainty in the industry and a disincentive to investing in the country. The Managing Director of Skypower Express Airways Nigeria Limited, Capt Mohammed Joji spoke to THISDAY in Kaduna on Monday and condemned the take over of Arik Air by AMCON, saying that it would discourage entrepreneurs from investing in Nigeria. “Deloitte of London said Arik Air has a portfolio of about $4.3 billion worth of investment. As you can see, Arik’s aircraft are new aircraft. It is the biggest operator we have here. What AMCON has done is inappropriate and morally and ethically wrong to take the business away from the owner. Now, they are talking about debts and debts; indebtedness is the instrument of business. By taking over Arik, AMCON has taken over assets belonging to foreign investors because most of the funds that established Arik came from abroad. Do you think tomorrow somebody will come to this country to invest again? “You don’t do that for God’s sake. What you will do is to sit down with Arik, call Deloitte, call Afrexim Bank and other stakeholders and ask them: This Arik problem, how do we solve it? But, instead of doing that you take over the company. They owe you, yes, but you have not invested anything. You want to take over a company’s asset with the same management. I do not support that; rather, you sit down and bring in financial experts and those that invested in Arik. It is just like you now; you are staying in your house and one day your landlord said he wants to take

everything you have, including your wife. How will you feel about it? To me, the approach is wrong,� Joji, said. Also industry consultant and CEO of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe has expressed doubt about the effective management of the airline by AMCON. “The AMCON take over of Arik is unjustified and unjustifiable. First they took it, saying they don’t want it to collapse. There is problem with AMCON; all the businesses it took over have collapsed. “AMCON took over Virgin Nigeria and it left the airline’s two brand new Embraer aircraft to rotten. AMCON took over Aero for about five years now. When it took it over Aero had about seven or eight aircraft. The last time there was a review Aero had only two aircraft. “AMCON has taken over Arik. They saw only 10 aircraft. They said they need N10 billion to rescue the airline but Arik owes AMCON about N135 billion and they need to put in N10 billion to revive the airline. With that AMCON would put N145 billion in Arik. “AMCON is a stakeholder in the airline because of the money it owes them. All other people Arik owes have become stakeholders in Arik; therefore, they have an interest in Arik. Arik itself is a major stakeholder because about five years ago the value of Arik assets was put as $4.3 billion. I don’t know what that asset is today but let us assume that the company has lost 50 percent of its value in which case the value would be projected as $2 billion. $2 billion when converted with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) exchange rate is about N640

The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier, to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector

billion, which is more that three times what Arik owes AMCON. The total indebtedness of Arik to all the people they are talking about could be N300 billion. This means that Arik assets are worth two times the total debts,� Aligbe said. Challenges There are factors that are responsible for failure of Nigerian airlines. These include hostile operating environment, unfriendly policies and exploitative taxation. Industry experts and operators have explained that taking over Arik Air may not be the solution to airlines going under in Nigeria. They posited that to ensure airlines operate profitable, government must change some policies and show more commitment to facilitating profitable operation of Nigerian carriers. Reacting to the take over of the management of Arik Air by AMCON, the industry think tank, Aviation Round Table (ART) said Nigerian airlines face a lot of challenges adding, treating the Arik Air case as isolated, would be trivializing the magnitude of the problems Nigerian airlines face. “Treating the Arik case in isolation will be to trivialize the magnitude of the problem. Going back to almost 40 years, government owned airline, Nigeria Airways failed, pioneer private airlines Okada, Kabo, etc failed, third generation airlines, ADC, Bellview, Chachangi, Sosoliso, etc. failed, fourth generation airline, Richard Branson Virgin Nigeria, which later became Air Nigeria, Afrijet and Discovery Air failed. Believe me, given the same Nigeria operating environment the national carrier yet to be born will fail,� President of ART, Gbenga Olowo said. Olowo said the major problem of Nigerian airlines is essentially a Nigerian business environmental factor. “Business and government are permanently at variance. Cost is permanently higher than income. Tax overburden and infrastructural deficit erodes revenue steadily. Gazetted policies that will enhance performance are not implemented. Credit is not in the Nigeria business dictionary. Yet aviation is prone to the most minute situation in the economy, ranging from weather to politics, reckless holidays, etc,� Olowo said. He attributed the cause of these problems to lack of will by government and the airlines to do the right things to improve the industry. MultipleTaxation The Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison, reacting to the take over of Arik on behalf of other operators, said airlines could have contributed in jump- starting the economy out of recession if government had provided the

right policies to grow the industry. Instead of supporting the airlines, Meggison said the system is continuously manipulating, feasting and pushing the financial envelope of airlines by inflicting multiple taxes, charges and levies to the extent that airlines are now groaning under the pressure and some are going bankrupt. “AON has been screaming and complaining about the same issue over the years that have culminated in sending over 27 airlines under in the past 25 years. A case in point is the recent takeover of Arik Air and Aero Contractors by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in the face of huge financial burdens that have shown themselves as fallout of the multiple and sometimes unfair charges, levies and taxes airlines are forced to grapple with on a daily basis. “This is without recourse to the fact that aside from all the multiple charges, levies and fees, airlines still have to pay mandatory statutory corporate taxes to relevant agencies. Ordinarily, airlines meet so many costly foreign exchange components on daily basis that accounts for 70 percent – 80 percent of their direct operational cost, such as Jet fuel, spare parts, insurance and simulator training among several others,� Meggison said. He said it is unfortunate that domestic airlines have become a cheap target for the agencies that are putting additional pains and burden on operators through multiple taxes, charges and levies which they demand from airlines with impunity. “The Civil Aviation Act of 2006 (Part 18.12.3) requires that the NCAA regulates civil aviation and the charges imposed by civil aviation authorities and/or agencies. These charges, in consultation with stakeholders are to be approved and reviewed periodically by both parties. On the contrary however, airlines are saddled with charges without any form of consultation whatsoever. “Domestic airlines, on the average, pay about 35 percent to 40 percent of a ticket cost as taxes and charges that come under the guise of statutory levies in addition to other charges. These include five percent ticket sales charge, five percent cargo sales charge, five percent Value Added Tax (VAT), Passenger Service Charge, charter sales charge, aircraft inspection fees, simulator inspection fees, Landing charges, parking charges, terminal navigational charge, enroute charge, fuel surcharge, airport space rent, electricity charges, and apron pass, ramp access charges, On Duty Card (ODC) and a newly imposed registration fee all of which are paid to government agencies,� Meggison said. He noted that many of these taxes and charges amount to double taxation such that any incentive seemingly provided by government to airlines is taken back by the agencies. According to him, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) charges domestic airlines different kinds of navigational charges which they should ordinarily be exempted from in line with global best practices, except Nigeria. The implemented charges range from terminal navigational charges to enroute navigation charges, Over-flight charges, clearance charges, and extension charges, noting that even foreign airlines don’t pay enroute charges or extension charges which the local airlines are forced to pay. Airline operators and other industry stakeholders said that as long as these multiple taxes are levied on the airlines; as long as there is infrastructural limitations, which forestall maximum use of aircraft; as long as major aircraft maintenance is done overseas; as long as aviation fuel is scarce and costly and as long as government does not have incentive policies for airline operation in Nigeria, it would be difficult to have successful airlines that are profitable with long term existence.





Raging Succession War in Maritime Workers’ Union Eromosele Abiodun writes that the relevant government agencies in the maritime sector should take urgent step to resolve the crisis rocking the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria to forestall the imminent carnage during its forthcoming election Like everything in Nigeria, the upcoming National Delegate Conference (NDC) of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), where a new executive will be elected has assumed a new dimension. There are allegations and counter allegations between the President General of MWUN, Tony Nted and other union members interested in succeeding him as the next leader of the union. There are palpable fears in the industry that the election, if not handled well, will throw up crisis in the maritime industry. With angst and bottled emotions already dictating the direction of delegate conference, the union is divided along ethnic, justice and mercantile lines. Some members are seeking justice, some driven by ethnic considerations, while others want their bread buttered. THISDAY reliably gathered that a faction is allegedly grouping an ethnic militia for attack in event of uprising, while districts and political factions are pitched against the others, with threat of killing and blood-letting in the port. Nted, who is the incumbent PG, is alleged to be the mastermind of the simmering crisis by insisting on foisting his anointed candidate, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju on the union, illegitimately. Nted, who is serving out his two terms of eight years in office by March, 2017, has been accused of denying other aspirants for the position of PG the opportunity to contest. Nted alleges blackmail However, Nted has denied the allegations while accusing some unidentified persons of spreading malicious information against his person over the union’s forthcoming general election. The election is scheduled to hold on March 17 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, the MWUN leader alleged that some disgruntled elements and non-card-carrying members of the union have been spreading malicious insinuations about the union and its leadership. Specifically, he said: “The tenure of this administration will elapse in March and a new leadership will emerge. What is happening in the union is an eyesore. They have written about 15 petitions against me that I want to bring a stooge and I made it clear to them that I have just one vote and I cannot vote for two people at the same time. I am going to vote for just one person. “In some of the petitions, they are calling that the union be dissolved that there is crisis in the union and those who sign this papers are not members of our union. I have never, for one day criticised any of the candidates and I have made it clear that all the candidates are more than qualified and anybody can vote for whoever he decides to vote for.� Nted also described the alleged invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as nothing but a figment of imagination of those idling about and looking for credible members of the society to discredit and malign. He said: “But I would make it clear to them that, I don’t belong in the class. I am a private businessman and I have been in the business of buying and selling for over 20 years now. I don’t need to put my hands in shoddy deal to make it.� Nted added that, already his lawyers have been directed to take legal action against the perpetrators of the unfounded rumours. He said: “I have asked my lawyers to study the matter and prepare to seek redress in the appropriate court of law. The union recognises every card-carrying member’s right, freedom of speech and association as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In view of the above, the union is not taking it lightly, the malicious, libellous petition and publications by these disgruntled elements and their agents.�

Tony Nted

Vote of conďŹ dence Following insinuations about the leadership of the MWUN, members from several chapels of the union last week passed a vote of confidence on MWUN leadership. At a solidarity rally in Lagos over the weekend, the workers who turned out in their numbers, urged disgruntled members to close ranks and work with the leadership to move the union forward. Speaking at the rally, President of the Dockworkers Branch of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, said: “With joy in our hearts, we the entire members of the union wish to commend our PG, Nted for the good work you have done during your tenure. We further wish to appreciate your peaceful honest and transparent leadership style that have moved the union to the next level and ranked as one of the most recognized and well managed unions amongst the affiliates of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and ITF London. “Dialogue which is the modern scientific tool for negotiation as opposed to ‘might’ has been your guide. No wonder then that you have always excelled in almost all the negotiations you held on behalf of the union with the stakeholders. Your achievements are legion. Time will not permit us to say all, but we shall mention few. “Absolute peace in the maritime sector, it is worthy of note that there was no industrial action or disharmony during your tenure. Local and overseas training: under your leadership, local and overseas training was vigorously pursued; not less than 6000 members have enjoyed local training, whilst over 180 members have been trained in overseas countries like South Africa, Dubai and in Maritime Institute of Technology, USA.â€? Under Nted’s leadership, he said, enhanced condition of service and welfare package for MWUN members were negotiated and obtained for the dockworkers. According to him, “We have a befitting secretariat annex at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which was built under your tenure.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba

Negotiated with NPA, the reinstatement of 13 staff members that were erroneously disengaged during the port concession exercise. You have negotiated increase in staff allowances. “You also negotiated the resuscitation of upfront payment of house rent allowance to NPA staff, negotiated approved increase in the payment of Christmas allowance from three per cent to 50 per cent. You also negotiated the upward review of condition of service and financial guild in NPA. You ensured the employment of youths by Agwut International, which led to appreciable reduction in militancy in the ports, negotiated the training of seafarers in line with the STCW ‘95’, managing redundancy in spite of the global economic meltdown.� He added, “Your leadership negotiated ex-gratia payment of Nl.5 million and N1 million in some cases for members who were placed on redundancy due to the prevailing economic recession which is the first of its kind in the industry. Sir, we also want to acknowledge your humane and philanthropic gesture to officers and staff of the union. No wonder then that you were awarded the prestigious award of maritime man of the year 2013. “We are not unaware of the malicious libelous and unfounded publications currently in circulation especially in the social media aimed to malign you by some faceless and mischievous individuals. Please ignore them, continue with the good work you are doing. The entire members of the union are solidly behind you.� A prophecy foretold As if he knew what was coming, Nted had in 2015 described as unacceptable and a shame the leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), following disagreement over the outcome of March 12, 2015 rescheduled election in Abuja. Nted had in a statement said: “It is unfortunate and sad that the desperation of some individuals had reduced the Congress to a laughing stock both locally and internationally.� Nted’s leadership in the statement noted that it had been vindicated; pointing out

that its President-General, on the eve of the rescheduled election withdrew from the race “because the election had been reduced to ethnic, tribal and sectional contest by those who wished the movement no good.� Explaining further, he said: “Today, the movement has been taken over by thugs and individuals who do not under what it means to be addressed as comrades. While we are not going to side either of the factions, we insist that the movement is greater than any individual or groups. We will remain neutral as Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria until this crisis is resolved. “Like we said on March 11, while we were withdrawing from the contest, we said we did not want to be associated with what is happening now because it is a shame. We have been vindicated. There are allegations of manipulation of the election to favour some individuals and we are just going about as if nothing has happened. These are things not associated with labour in general and NLC in particular.� Specifically Nted added, “How did we get to this degrading and shameful state? What are we going to pride ourselves with before politicians and government officials? If we cannot organise an acceptable election in the movement, what moral justification do we have to criticize politicians when they fail in the process? It is a sad story to hear that we now have alleged election manipulators or riggers. “When this shame started in the botched February election, our union demanded for a thorough investigation into the alleged printing of multiple ballot papers with different serial numbers among others so that the culprits would be brought to book. If this was done, we believe the rescheduled election would have been better. We now have thugs, individuals parading themselves as labour leaders and NLC leaders. It is very unfortunate and we call on respectable NLC veterans and other well- meaning stakeholders to wade in and save the Congress from this mess it has found itself.�






& RE A S O


Acting Features Editor: Charles Ajunwa Email:









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Belgore: A Judicial Icon Who Aspired to be a Medical Doctor Justice Saliu Modibo Alfa Belgore, attained the peak of the legal profession by becoming the 11th Chief Justice of the Nigeria but that trajectory would have probably been truncated if the eminent jurist had followed his heart by studying medicine against the advice of his family. He reminisced on this aspect of his life when he joined the octogenarian club recently. Olawale Ajimotokan reports The family is a special vessel in the life of the African child. It is the family that guides and nurtures the child from infantile excesses and ensures that the right morals and set of values are inculcated in him through adolescence and passage of time. Literally the role of the family is espoused in the earthly course of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Saliu Modibo Alfa Belgore. CON, GCON. It was the family that steered his destiny on the path of law away from his childhood ambition of wanting to become a medical doctor. The young Alfa, who was born on January 17, 1937 into the Belgore royal family of Ilorin, Kwara State, exhibited scholarly promises as a student in virtually all aspects of the sciences- mathematics, arithmetic, geometry, physics and algebra. He was raised by the extended family as it was then customary. He grew up in the palace when his great uncle Abdulkadir Dan Bawa, who ruled from 1919-1959 was the Emir of Ilorin. While giving accounts of his growing years during his 80th birthday celebration graced by the crème de la creme of the society at his residence in Abuja, Belgore recalled he only started schooling at the Okesuna School in Ilorin when he was seven years old. The delay was informed by his non-admission into the elementary school at the age of five as his hand was yet to reach his ear. He finished his primary and middle school education in Ilorin and was to go to Kings College, Lagos for his secondary school education. But the Emir objected because two of Belgore’s uncles who schooled there, though did well, but when they got to class four, they were found to be playing polo and were being introduced to drinking. He was admitted to Ilesha Grammar School in 1952 on the advice of the famed educationalist, Reverend Ransome-Kuti. It was after he finished secondary school education and had to decide on career prospect that he ran into collision course with his family. “There arose a dispute after my secondary education because I wanted to be a doctor but the family insisted I must study to be a lawyer. We argued for about two years before a nice old friend of mine interceded and convinced me to study law,” Belgore recalled. The peace happened to be Dr. Abdulkadir Oniyangi, who retired as Secretary to Kwara State Government. The young Belgore and his childhood friend, Umaru Sanda, who was educated at Government College (later Barewa College, Zaria) and was later enthroned as the Etsu Nupe, both wanted to study medicine. “My ambition was not to study law, not that I hated law but I planned to study medicine, but Dr. Oniyangi, the Secretary to Kwara State Government, dissuaded Sanda Umar and me from studying medicine. I did well in all the science subjects in school certificates and maths but they insisted I must study law and their insistence forced me to move to one village called Molete,’’ Belgore recalled. He finally gave in to pressure to study law after further persuasion by the then District Head in Ilorin, who was his cousin in the family chain. The decision then turned up to be a lifechanger as he left for England in 1960, where he enrolled at the University of London for his Law degree. The same year his father, Alkali Yusuf Belgore died. He was called to both the English and Nigerian Bar in 1964 and upon his return home was appointed Chief Register for the whole North before he was elected president

R-L: Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore and his wife, Hayisa, during the former’s 80th birthday celebration in Abuja…recently

of the Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria in 1971 and later an Acting High Court Judge in 1973. Initially he was not too disposed to the idea of being appointed a judge when he was offered. The then Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon signed off his employment letter as a judge in 1974 when he was confirmed as High Court Judge and served in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, before he posted to Jos in 1977.

At a point in Jos when his judicial career was still evolving, Belgore confessed he toyed with resigning and doing something else after he spent more than the stated two months on the bench. Eventually he spent six years on the bench culminating in his appointment as Chief Judge of Plateau State. He was elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal two years later when he was posted

to Enugu. But in 1986 while in Benin, he rose to the pinnacle of his career when he was elevated to the Supreme Court, the country’s apex court in 1987. He was on the bench for the next 21 years until his appointment as the Chief Justice of Nigeria in June 2006 by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo. That position also conferred on him the chairmanship of the National Judicial Council, the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Institute. While he was in the Supreme Court, he was on the judicial panels that delivered many landmark cases including the often cited cases of Savannah Bank Limited vs Pan Atlantic and Transport Agencies Ltd; Savannah Bank vs Ajilo and Tukur vs Gongola. Some of his landmark imprints include Impeachment Procedure Rules, increased conferees of the Silk Robe Procedure, Discipline of Erring Judges, Justice Sector Reforms which include simplification of Rules of Courts and Unification of Criminal Justice Administration and Rules of Evidence. He retired after only six months on January 17, 2007 to make his tenure the shortest for a chief justice of Nigeria and to end his 43 years of meritorious public service. He is a Life Bencher of the Nigerian Body of Benchers as well as the Inner Temple of London. ‘’Ever since I retired I have been living my life quietly. I have my happiness which is the best thing, the best way to have happiness is to fear God and do things correctly,” he said. In a congratulatory message to the jurist to commemorate his milestone, President Muhammadu Buhari noted that the achievements of Belgore while in service and his deeds had culminated in the prestigious national awards of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON). Buhari said Belgore’s passion for jurisprudence would continue to inspire the younger

L-R: Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Uwais, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Justice Alfa Belgore and Senate President,Senator Bukola Saraki



Justice Alfa Belgore (3rd left) with his family members at his 80th birthday celebration

L-R : Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed with Justice Alfa Belgore

L-R: Engr. Jani Ibrahim, FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi and Engr. Lanre Sagaya

L-R: Former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili and his wife, Justice Mary Odili and Mr. Chief Tunde Ajibulu

L-R : General TY Danjuma, Chief Tony Anenih, Alhaji Abdulkadir Orire and the Celebrant, Justice Alfa Belgore

generation of lawyers in making the right choices for nation building. He recalled the octogenarian’s versatility in issues of culture, language and history, plus his penchant for research. President Buhari noted that the former Chief Justice, who was also Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, had already booked an honourable place in the history of Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed described him as a man who has a verse knowledge of Nigeria and an asset to the country. “When you see a man like that who has been privileged to have served Nigeria in many capacities, and who has mentored many people and he is still alive today, we can all tap from his wealth of experience,’’ Mohammed said. A former Minister of Environment and Housing Mrs. Halima Tayo Alao also lauded Belgore, describing him as a man of honour, excellence with a high sense responsibility.

R-L: Mr. Yakubu Belgore and His wife, Yoyosi and Chief Tunde Ajibulu

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It’s Time to Move Anambra from Moneybag Politics to Politics of Ideas, Says Nwibe Peace Obi The governorship aspirant under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State, Engr. Barth Nwibe, has said that Nigeria is too blessed and endowed to allow people lacking in ideas and leadership qualities to continue to pilot the affairs of the country at any level. Speaking during a press briefing in Lagos, Nwibe noted that leadership is at the root of the socio-economic problems confronting the country today. And that it has been the amber fanning ethnicity, tribal sentiment and religious acrimony in the country which he said the political leaders have continued to exploit for their own selfish gain. According to Nwibe, professionals should no longer fold their hands and watch people with little or nothing to offer the people of Anambra to remain in the helm of affairs. Speaking on his dream of becoming the next Anambra State governor, the Oil and Gas guru said he was coming to run the state based on ideas and experience garnered over the years. The boardroom expert said that having successfully managed both local and international companies at management levels, his background has equipped him with the right qualities to change the face of leadership in Anambra State. Sharing his dreams for the state, Nwibe noted that he would make Anambra an oil and gas state. Adding that he would among others strengthen the framework of education towards unlocking the potentials of the people, provide power and an enabling environment for every sector to thrive. Adding that the absence of these amenities in the state have led to the lack of employees opportunities


for the youth as well affected the belief system of the people. "These days some people believe in miracles, the kind that do not seem to believe that we can achieve things through hard work. These are belief systems that are holding us down. And the people in politics today exploit such things to their own advantage. Where I come from – South-east, we have a big failure in leadership which has translated to youth restiveness, tribal sentiment." Nwibe who stated that Anambra State and her indigenes are about to witness a turnaround from the poor leadership that has kept the state on its kneel over the years, said that he would make the state an oil and gas state by harnessing

both human and material resources the state is endowed with. According to him, the country's dwindling oil revenues will make those who want to govern states to think outside of the box to generate revenue for the state. "Fortunately, the money is no more coming as it used to come. Everybody who is going to run a state now must have the ability to think outside the box. It is a blessing to Nigeria because if the oil boom had continued it would have led to a more lazy leadership. Stating that it is time for a paradigm shift from having unprincipled people and those lacking in knowledge, ideas and leadership qualities to continue to lead the state, Nwibe said, "I have better ideas, and my background had further prepared me for leadership. And I believe that professionals like me should get involve in politics so that we can start the process of rebuilding our nation. "I am not running on the basis that I have money to surpass everybody running for the this election. But I believe I have better ideas. I believe my background has prepared me for leadership. I believe you don't need to have billions of Naira to lead a useful life. I think that makes me a bit different from some of the people who are running with me today. I have quietly touched lives in my own little. I have remained steadfast.” Speaking further, he said that it was time to stop those who pollute political parties and processes from infiltrating the political arena with their money, which he said, does not translate to development of the state. Nwibe, who said that new entrants into the party should go through apprenticeship, noted that they are not joining the party because they have superior ideas or leadership but that they have money.

The Bank Club Returns with a Bang Mary Ekah Although speculations had been rife over the temporary closure of The Bank Club in Abuja, as many had believed the management of the club were up to something unfathomable, the officials of the club have now announced that the club will not only return on February 17 but will come with a spectacular outlook that will delight their numerous patrons. It would be recalled that the closure has been the usual tradition of the club as it embarks on renovation every year in order to begin a new year with a fresh and new outlook. Announcing the reopening of the Bank Club, its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Alex Lawal said, “The bank returns on February 17. We have put everything in place and this has been our usual practice.

You will recall that since inception, we renovate after every year.“ Stating why a club of such magnitude should go off for nearly one month in the name of renovation, Alex said, “It is our usual tradition. The aim is to give our patrons the best. Club business is hot business in Abuja; hence we must give patrons the best. They do not deserve anything less.” Dispelling the ongoing rumour that the club was shutting business, Lawal said ‘‘that must have been the figment of the imagination of rumour peddlers. We are still doing our stuff, and competitors can’t move us with their fake news. I think we remain the most reliable, affordable and entertaining club in Abuja. Just like the renovation, everything now looks new, including our operations.’’ The Bank Club's chairman, Yankee

Owerri Rocks as Laugh4Love Comedy Holds Today Ace comedian, MC Acapella will host the first edition of Laugh4Love Valentine Comedy Show in Owerri today, February 17.Organised by Doris Ariole, a Nollywood Filmmaker passionate about Christian and family entertainment, the event will parade the best acts in the region. Comedians Laughing Gas, Yellow Mouth, MC Wem, MC Tall and a number of local brewed acts will be on hand to thrill a multitude of fun seekers at the Pool Side, Heroes Apartment, and New Owerri for an electrifying night. Acapella hit the limelight after winning the third edition of AY’s Open Mic Challenge years ago, and he is reckoned as one of the few comedians that offer loads of refreshing jokes each time he mounts the stage.

Laugh4Love, put together by Hadassah Studios, aims at redefining the essence of Valentine’s Day celebration, which should aim towards true love. According to Doris Ariole of Hadassah Studios, “Laugh4love, is not just a comedy show, it's an experience of premium entertainment for those looking for classy and family friendly entertainment.” She explained that the big picture for Hadassah Studios is to constantly provide Owerri with Christian and family oriented entertainment programmes. Doris Ariole has carved a niche for herself as a Christian Entertainer. Her first Christian movie, Benevolence, was nominated for 'Most Inspirational Feature Film' at the International Christian Film Festival in Orlando, USA, in 2016.

Organiser of Laugh4Love, Doris Ariole

FCBescola Gives Scholarship to 100 Nigerian Children Rebecca Ejifoma FCBescola Football Academy first screening trial to award fully-paid scholarship for 100 skillful children between ages five and 18 recently held at the Onikan Stadium and Campus Square Lagos. The scholarship, which will run until Friday, February 17 at the two venues, is aimed at discovering talented children for the famous Bescola academical training. The Brand Marketing Manager, Yurena Medina, during a media parley in Lagos said, "It's a full scholarship for skillful children. Very talented ones, who are already students of FCBescola, are also going to be part of it. The screening will fish out the best among the best talents." With the Technical Adviser from Spain, Bernat Villa, on ground to help in the screening process, Yurena assured that the selection would be based on merit. "We have come to get the next Lionel Messi and Iniesta. So, the door is open to all who fall within the age bracket." Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Blaubrana Sport International, Mr. Leslie Oghomienor, said all the children should just come to the venues. "Everything the kids will need for the training has been provided. The screening is open to both male and female regardless of status or tribe."

YDP to Groom Young Nigerians for Better Future Godbless Eduviere As part of its vision to illuminate minds, and supporting new hope, new dream, and new direction to strengthen and deepen democracy in Nigeria, Young Democratic Party, (YDP) Lagos State chapter, recently held its first conference tagged ‘Let there be light’ in Lagos. YDP chairman, Ambassador Afamefuna Dickson, who introduced the dynamic party slogan as, ‘The Light has come’, stated that the light here is about the illumination of minds with visions and revelations” He explained that YDP is party “on a mission to deliver our already hijacked democracy and enthrone all inclusive and participatory democratic governance, bring a message of hope to the teeming Nigerian populace by introducing fresh political leadership and orientation, looking away from the past but being inspired by an agenda of national rebirth based on an inclusive and participatory process of true democracy with strict adherence to the rule of law.” He stressed that YDP was set up to destroy tribalism, ethnicity and religious differences, God fatherism in politics, favoritism in offices, marginalisation in government presence, but poised to bring equality to all citizenry with due adherence to constitutional recommendations. “This Party was also set up out of conviction and struggle for a new class of passionate young Nigerians who believe in the possibility of a new Nigeria of our dream where positive innovations and transparent government reigns both in words and deeds. We are set to groom and mentor these passionate young people and bring them into a participatory governance Nigeria because it has always been said that “youths of today are leaders of tomorrow’ but in YDP, we believe that youths should be the leaders of today, taking our destinies in our own hands. “Our strongest mode of operation in YDP is networking and grassrooting which is our biggest asset. As predominantly young people, we will consistently run our party as a team, as a family and as gang without selfishness and partiality. Though not undermining that politics is not a game of Angels, therefore, we are committed to making our structures very strong. YDP is not affiliated to any other political party in Nigeria because as at present, none is operating with the same ideology and vision as ours. However, we are open to accept any group or party who feel convinced, to come into our party and share in our dreams and vision of a new Nigeria. We are not selfish; our hands are wide open provided you are ready to run with our ideology. “This present government has done so well as much as the level of their knowledge and vision, to the extent that both Nigerians and the entire world now see the level of decay in our development, economy, security, human right, unemployment, social unrest and infrastructure to mention but a few. I honestly don’t blame them because you cannot give what you don’t have, but since change is the only constant thing we still need to change to light. We know that it is during our failures that we discover our true desire for success as we see in the consciousness of all Nigerians today.



RCCG Holds Worldwide Marathon Messiah’s Praise for Adeboye at 75 Mary Ekah All is set for this year’s edition of the annual Marathon Messiah’s Praise, the world’s longest annual non-stop gospel musical event to commemorate the 75th birthday anniversary of the General Overseer, Worldwide, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye. Speaking during a press conference to announce this year’s event, the Personal Assistant (PA) to Pastor Adeboye, Mr. Oluwagbemileke Adeboye, said the programme was aimed at, “Expressing our gratitude to God for His mercy upon the life of our father, Pastor E. A. Adeboye and creating a new pattern of praise in this dispensation.” The praise event he said would be holding in eight countries this year as men from all walks of life gather to praise and worship God for 75 hours non-stop across five different continents. The countries participating include Nigeria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, Dubai, UK, and the USA. Adeboye’s PA who said, “This is just a tip of the iceberg compared to where God is taking Marathon

L-R: Personal Assistant to General Overseer, Worldwide, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Oluwagbemileke Adeboye; Music Director, RCCG, Kunle Ajayi; and Project Coordinator, 75Hours Marathon Messiah's Praise, Oluwafemi Oyetunde during the press conference at the Youth Center Redemption Camp, Ogun State

Messiah’s Praise,” explained that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Marathon Messiah’s Praise, which is a programme of the National Young Adults and Youth Affairs of RCCG, was birthed in 2012 and started as 70 Hours Marathon Messiah’s Praise. In the years that followed, God helped to expand our horizons as the programme

grew to 71 Hours, 72 Hours, 73 Hours and last year 74 Hours started the global breakthrough in two other countries outside Nigeria. This year’s edition commencing at 12:00pm prompt on Monday, February 27 to 2:00pm on Thursday, March 2, 2017, he said was tagged ‘The Sovereign God’, adding that the, “The theme is

borne out of the numerous wonderful and amazing testimonies that perfectly describe the life of Pastor E.A. Adeboye as what God and only God alone can do. How a little boy born into out-and-out poverty from a tiny village in the South Western part of Nigeria emerged as one of the world’s 50 most influential people in 2008 (Newsweek), and how a hopeless boy from a historically poor background was used by God to take a church with just 40 branches within Nigeria to over 20,000 branches in over 190 countries making the church one of the fastest growing religious organisations in the world- can only be acts of God that cannot be changed or questioned by God. This Sovereign God deserves our utmost praise.” He revealed further that over 140 worship leaders will be leading millions of worshippers across the globe through the eight stages in the countries where the programme will be taking place. “The main stage will be at the Youth Centre in Redemption Camp, Nigeria while other stages outside Nigeria will be satellite stages while viewers can also log into the to view the schedule of ministration for all the countries.

Valentine: LG’s Way of Creating Great Connection The month of February is a special month of the year when the feast of Saint Valentine a great symbol of love is celebrated all over the world. It is imperative for consumers to take advantage of the opportunities provided by technology to further strengthen the bonds amongst loved ones and to better stay connected. To maintain healthy relationships, there is the need to consciously invest in them and make them a priority. Smart technological connected products offer opportunities for new functionality with greater reliability, higher utilisation and capabilities that go beyond established product limitation. LG smart technologies are readily available to help consumers create connections that will last long in their memories. LG’s uniquely designed technologies rewards consumers with a new method of connecting people across the globe as well as freedom to make new choices. Smart technology has over the years been evolving to become a crucial component of the consumers’ everyday life. Obviously, no two users are the same, at a time when personal relationships are celebrated, the


public should embrace the power of technology to strengthen their bonds with loved ones and feel more connected than ever. Research has shown that by year 2020 the world is likely to have over five billion internet users with half of them having access to the internet through their handheld tablet devices with about 80 billion connected devices worldwide. This connectivity will spread to people’s daily lives bringing the three silos of work, home and surrounding environment into one seamless

experience termed by Frost and Sullivan as “connected living.” This connected living will involve digital assistants that will guide our everyday lives, music that seamlessly move from our homes to cars. A new range of technology enabled services such as smart lighting, mobile working solutions and smart governance will define and shape everyday experiences. However, LG’s advanced robotic vacuum cleaner provides is a good example of how the power of technology is being harnessed to make more time for loved ones without neglecting household responsibilities. Consumers’ emotional connection to products dramatically expands opportunities for proper identification of how consumers actually use the products to further enhance the company’s ability to design user-centric products. The Hom-Bot enables users to monitor their homes from anywhere in the world, which is in addition to tracking cleaning progress and the camera attached to it help to keep an eye on pets and provides a warning signal whenever there is an intruder. Smart connected products also create room for manufacturers to develop

much closer customer relationship. Head of Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Mr. Rajesh Agnihotri said: “the world we live in today is totally driven by technological advancement and LG being a leading brand in terms of innovative products is not resting on its oars to see that consumers have arrays of products that would help them fulfill their dreams by creating stronger connection between them and their loved ones. This is what I call purpose bonding,” adding, “we are poised to encourage sharing culture with richer users experience among consumers.” The LG OLED TV with its breathtaking features helps consumers to connect better creating beautiful ambience of love and tranquility. Also worthy of note is the wide viewing angles the TV provides with the same quality irrespective of the viewers sitting position. There is always joy in the heart of consumers whenever they view their favourite movies from the comfort of their respective homes without having to bother about going to the cinemas to see a movie, as it is always the case during valentine celebrations.

The Estée Lauder Companies Partners with Jumia Online Retailer To provide Clinique, Estée Lauder and Aramis Brands to Nigerian consumers The Estée Lauder Companies Partners with Jumia Online Retailer .To provide Clinique, Estée Lauder and Aramis Brands to Nigerian consumers The Estée Lauder Companies has partnered with Jumia, the leading online retailer in Nigeria to launch for the first time three of the Company’s brands – Clinique, Estée Lauder and Aramis. “With this new partnership on the Jumia platform customers and beauty enthusiasts all over Nigeria can now access the premium products from Clinique, Estée Lauder and Aramis with the assurance of Jumia's buyer protections. Each of our visitors will enjoy country-wide delivery, 7-day free returns, and varied payment options including cash on delivery,” shares Juliet Anammah, Jumia Nigeria CEO.

“The Estée Lauder Companies is excited about this partnership with Jumia in Nigeria. Many of our consumers currently do not have regular access to our products, specifically in Lagos and Abuja. Our fully branded “stores-in-store” on Jumia will provide women and men all over Nigeria with the opportunity to enjoy our brands via an educational and convenient online shopping experience, and with full confidence on our products authenticity,” shares Mario Lazzaroni, Country Manager for The Estée Lauder Companies, Sub Saharan Africa. Clinique is known for its allergy-tested, 100% fragrance-free beauty products, which are created by dermatologists and well suited for sensitive skin. Jumia customers can look forward to shopping a wide range of makeup, fragrance and skin care

products including favorites like the Clinique Even Better Range formulated for hyperpigmentation or dark spots and the Clinique Pop Lipstick. Aramis is a fragrance collection with a rich heritage and designed for the modern man, is known for its iconic and enduring appeal, with well- Adventurer will be featured on the platform. This technologically advanced; innovative brand has gained a worldwide reputation for elegance, luxury and superior quality. Through extensive research and stringent product evaluation, Estée Lauder offers skincare, makeup and fragrance products that are both gentle and highly effective. Infused with a deep understanding of women’s needs and desires will be featuring its fragrances on Jumia, including the best-selling Pleasures and the confidence-inspiring Modern Muse.

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. The Company’s products are sold in over 150 countries and territories under the following brand names: Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Lab Series, Origins, .r"r$ #PCCJ#SPXO 5PNNZ)JMàHFS ,JUPO  La Mer, Donna Karan, Aveda, Jo Malone London, Bumble and bumble, Darphin, Michael Kors, Flirt!, GoodSkin Labs, Tom Ford, Coach, Ojon, Smashbox, Ermenegildo Zegna, Aerin Beauty, Osiao, Marni, Tory Burch, RODIN olio lusso, Le Labo, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle and GLAMGLOW.

Atlantic Hall Encourages Sportsmanship at 23rd Inter -House Sports The 23rd annual inter house sports competition which took place at Atlantic Hall Poka in Epe, Lagos State, did not only encourage sportsmanship in the young ones but also offered opportunity for parents, guests, lovers of sports amongst others to witness spectacular athletics performances of calisthenics, march past, relay races, high jump and other events as the Nigerian Military Band was on ground to add glamour to the march past. The Chairman Atlantic Hall Education Trust Council Ms. Lola Aboderin said the annual inter house sports is a special day for parents to cheer their children who are doing very well in various sports. She noted that sports is about teamwork, trust and responsibilities, getting along with one another to achieve a common goal. Aboderin however urged the parents to go beyond cheering their children by participating in the parents’ race. On his part, the chairman of the occasion Captain

Adedayo Awobokun used the medium to advise parents on the need to encourage sports among their children, noting that sports and education if well balanced will help in the academic and mental development of students. He said diseases such as high blood pressure and other illnesses could be eliminated when one inculcate sports in daily activities. Speaking on sports development, the Principal of Atlantic Hall, Mr. Andrew Jedras, called on government to encourage sports development at both private and public schools in order to breed more talents. Jedras said that investment in sports is not a waste because it provides something tangible for both the youths irrespective of their backgrounds or where they come from, adding, "if they got natural ability in sports and have the opportunity to develop it, they would be successful not only for themselves, families or communities but for the country, Nigeria.”

A cross section of Atlantic Hall students during the inter-house sports competition




Of Reuben Abati and Relativism and Asomilitis Chukwuma Chinwo disagrees with Reuben Abati’s article entitled ‘A Day with the Gay Community’ I must confess I do not remember when last I was as disappointed with an intellectual in Nigeria as on the last day of December, 2016 when I read Reuben Abati’s featured article in THISDAY of Wednesday December 28, 2016 at pages 20-21 entitled A Day with the Gay Community. If anyone wants to know why hope for redemption of Nigeria, especially by its educated and ‘sophisticated’ intellectuals would remain forlorn let him take time to read that article, as discouraging and nauseating as it may be. Everyone who reads Nigerian columnists would readily agree that the First Class Degree holder, Dr. Abati, is one of the most brilliant and most exciting columnists we have had and perhaps still do have in Nigeria even though, having been tested and found wanting, many are still struggling to recognise him as the Reuben Abati they used to know. There are definitely different schools in intellectualism and they serve their different purposes but tome the most dangerous to the society is that group that is so sophisticated, impressive and even convincing but without conviction. They are like the lawyers Dean Swift wrote about and whom columnists like Abati have so very often condemned. Swift spoke of a society of men (and now women) who have been trained by words multiplied to that effect to call black white and white black according as they are paid. When Shakespeare speaks through one of his characters in one of his plays that all lawyers should be killed most people agree with him if the lawyers are the sort Swift spoke about. But it is becoming clear that it is not only lawyers. Columnists, especially many that had won our hearts in Nigeria until they encountered fortune or misfortune and became tested by ‘fire’ to have their true characters revealed, are demonstrating that if lawyers can hit one by chicanery they can slay thousands. Like his successor, Femi Adesina, Reuben Abati, shocked many Nigerians, who were ready to and may have sworn by his words as a columnist, when he was farmed by President Goodluck Jonathan to be his Chief Press Secretary. Unlike the average Nigerian politician who has written nothing to be quoted, speaks extempore, not out of ability but for lack of conviction and unwillingness to be held to his word, a columnist (I am one in a local paper in Port Harcourt) has written enough to be quoted and assessed by. That is why the disappointment of Doyin Okupe is nothing compared to the feeling of disappointment Nigerians had for Reuben Abati and now Femi Adesina. These men held down columns where they regularly pontificated on how Nigeria should be run. They lampooned those who defended governments and their policies, trumpeted isms from east to west and despised authorities for not being up to speed and not measuring up to the impossible utopian standards they set for men in flesh and blood in a society like Nigeria where everything is

attributed to spirits. In the article referred to at the beginning of this response, Abati said something that shocked me and made me realise how much our leaders suffer at the hands of those who sing their praises while they occupy offices. He said, speaking of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, “One fellow stood up and insisted that I should apologise to the LGBTQI (Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Intersex) community for views I had expressed in the past. My response was that when I defended the SSMPA publicly in 2014, I was doing my duty as the Official Presidential Spokesperson. In that capacity, it was part of my responsibility to explain and promote government policies and decisions. A spokesman’s loyalty is to the country, state, government and principal; he is essentially a Vuvuzela. Besides, the SSPMA is not a law about my personal views but the values and the choice of the majority of Nigerians.” He virtually renounced his official position on homosexuality. So much for the beautiful ones we appoint to government offices in Nigeria! Is it not a reason why every Nigerian should first and foremost pity our leaders? President Buhari it was who in France was frank enough to describe his top yet-to-be-appointed, Ministers, ‘noisemakers’. Many mocked him and blamed him for being too frank for a political leader. Has the above quoted statement of Abati not justified that otherwise weird opinion of our President? So Jonathan had as his Official Presidential Spokesperson a brilliant intellectual and famous columnist who had absolutely no conviction on such an important issue that for the first time 98% or more of Nigerians, irrespective of their regions or religions were unanimous? And that was the very reason Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hated him and campaigned openly for his defeat at the polls? Did Jonathan have a bigger mole then? My Ikwerre people have a proverb that what kills the iroko tree is on the root. Let everyone who cares to listen to what I say and who is in a position to appoint persons to offices hear this: Please In The Name Of God, Which I Hold Most Dearly, Do Not Appoint Me To Public Office If I Am Expected To Serve Without My Conviction. Many Nigerians have wondered what is the cause of a disease which this writer has called Asomilitis? It is the disease which makes it almost impossible to recognise most persons when they enter public office when placed sided by side with who they were known to be before they entered it. It is of bigger pain to Nigeria than Ebola, HIV/AIDs, Lassa and corruption combined. It is the reason why Obasanjo who did not have up to N20,000.00 in his bank account before he became President allegedly would leave office as one of the richest Presidents in the world. It is the reason why the man who had no shoes and won our hearts for that appeal may have needed

lorries to take his shoes out of Aso Rock. It is the reason why the ‘incorruptible’ Buhari, who promised us that he would kill corruption before corruption kills us is today allegedly presiding over one of the most corrupt governments ever in Nigeria, notwithstanding the shenanigans of DSS and EFCC... Very clearly and without equivocation this writer supports the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act and all it contains. Deviancy, no matter how explained or rationalised, should not be elevated to a right. At least, not while a preponderant majority of the society is still thinking in a different direction. Rational and democratic society is nothing if it is not governed by the reason and decision of a majority. The minority may consist of Isaac Newtons, Gallileos, Albert Einsteins and all the Nobel Laureates the world has ever known put together. The one duty they owe the world, and perhaps to themselves and those who would follow their paths, is to bring the majority to see by the fruits of their deviancy that they, rather than the majority, are right. If it had taken a minority from the time of Sodom and Gomorrah until now and they have failed to convince the world that they and not the rest of the world are right, they really have little to harass the rest of the world for. Human rights as Abati espoused in part of his article is not a matter of personal preference or proclivity but one that inures to every human being as human and which are essential for their survival as perceived by every or at least most reasonable thinking and responsive members of every society. Human right in my humble view must be right. This is obviously not the right forum to discuss the issues of human right as they ought to be on this subject. It would continue to be an open sore of intellectual discourse on human rights. The line is drawn. One’s opinion may be refused in some learned ‘intellectual’ journals for being ‘extremist’ as it is the tendency of some extremists to label all those who do not share their own extreme views today. Everyone who insists on what is right is labelled conservative, anachronistic, closed-minded, non-liberal, intolerant and such hogwash because he did not join today to call black white or white black in order to be like the emerging Jones or Janes. We know what relativism is leading the world to today. But just as there is base and acid on the PH Scale, there is still light and darkness, black and white, bitter and sweet and truth and lie. As Bob Marley once sang, ‘Don’t let them fool ya or even try to rearrange ya. We have a mind of our own.’ Nigerians have a mind of their own, Dr. Abati. This writer’s concern is the danger people like Abati pose not just to governance in Nigeria but to the idea of right and wrong in Nigeria. It is a pity that a person who could spend as much ink as Abati has spent writing and condemning or commending some standpoints and conducts

as right or wrong would, because he is ‘in the space’ of some category of persons or because such persons have used social media and internet terrorism to demonise him, suddenly begin to speak from both sides of his mouth. Many persons condemn him while he was in office. He defended some things done by the Government he served which many thought he should have condemned or at least not commend. One thought he truly believed the things he was saying and felt he should be allowed to say what he believed and believe what he said. Alas those who criticised Abati were right! Was he not the one that used to write on Cross-roads and such themes? That is actually where the nation is today and with persons like Abati and his successor, Adesina, I am afraid we may as well build tabernacles on the crossroad. Why, if Abati did not believe in the SSMPA, did he not ask to be excused not to comment on it or at best, as persons of honour would do, resign. Yet Abati has been one of the columnists who from his inception have lampooned Nigerian officials who would never resign from public office even when they had become embarrassments to themselves. Is the meal Aso Rock offers so precious and rare that persons as brilliant as Reuben Abati cannot survive without it even when they had acquired fame before the appointment? Did being Presidential Spokesman make Abati a better and more loyal Nigerian than before he was appointed? Our leaders, one believes (I may be naïve and credulous here) appoint intellectuals hoping they would add to the quality of their governance. Do they impose oath on such persons never to leave even when they demonstrate that their true objective is to silence them intellectually and let the ‘man’ in them die? One thought that to persons of integrity to die is gain and to live is the truth? Nigerian medical schools must develop another specialty of medicine that would attend to Asomilitis. Otherwise this nation would be in for a long while in this hospital ward we have made our home. Are not Nigerians who knew them before now not earnestly seeking for Muhamamdu Buhari, Yemi Osinbajo, Babatunde Fashola, Rotimi Amaechi, Lai (yes, Lai) Mohammed and several others who made us to believe that with them on the driving seat Nigeria would start, from the moment they take over the vehicle, to move in the right direction in all sectors? They preached rectitude, restructuring, change, non-abuse of governmental powers and agencies, humility of power, sobriety, etc. Today what are they showing after catching the bug of Aso Rock? I once heard of a State Governor who once confessed that he did not know what used to hit him as soon as he stepped into his state capital and he would forget all the wonderful things he planned to do in his state. Is that thing also in Aso Rock? Intellectuals, beware of Asomilitis. It has disrobed many.



Aba: A City After Everybody's Heart Enyinnaya Appolos You don't need to be an Ukwa/Ngwa or Igbo man to speak glowingly of Aba. Aba, also known as Enyimba City, is the most popular commercial town in Eastern Nigeria. It is a town after everybody's heart. There is hardly any successful man or woman in Nigeria today, that does not have an Aba story to tell. Little wonder, Aba is called the ‘Japan of Africa’ because of its manufacturing prowess, strong entrepreneurial orientation and the "can do" spirit of the people. Sometime last year, I was in Abuja with my principal, the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, for an event that had other governors in attendance. After the event, I decided to introduce my colleague, Malam Imam Imam to my boss, Governor Ikpeazu. Imam is Governor Aminu Tambuwal's Spokesman. "Sir, this is Imam, Governor Tambuwal's media man" I said. "Oh my brother, how are you?" Governor Ikpeazu responded as he shook hands with Imam. "Your Excellency, I've read about the things you're already doing at Aba and your plans to rebuild the city. Please Sir, rebuild Aba for us. When I was a little boy, I used to come to Aba on holidays. My uncles are in Aba. I used to enjoy Aba and I want to come to Aba again," Imam said. Trust Governor Ikpeazu, he promised not to disappoint Imam. Not too long after that meeting, Imam joined his boss, Governor Tambuwal to Aba, when the Number One Citizen of the Caliphate State came to inaugurate roads built by Governor Ikpeazu in Aba. The roads include: Ehere Road, Umule Road, Umuehilegbu Road and Chima Nwafo Road, all in Aba. Governor Tambuwal also flagged off the reconstruction of MCC-Samek Road that leads to Ariaria International Market. All through the events, I spotted my colleague, Imam, beaming with smiles of satisfaction that something positive is indeed happening at his beloved Aba. At various meetings of Governor Ikpeazu with former Governor of Central Bank, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the renowned economist consistently appealed to the Governor to fix Aba, and reminded him that Aba has the capacity and potential to reposition Nigeria's dying economy. In fact, Professor Soludo, knows Aba to the extent that he tells the Governor how goods from Aba are sold in other African counties. To him, Aba holds the key to making Nigeria great and self-reliant Just recently, the Governor was informed of a planned visit of the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to Aba. Initially, the message wasn't clear. "Acting President? Coming to Aba?" Since the Governor didn't invite him, he was taken aback until it was officially communicated to him that the Acting President was indeed coming to Aba, the SME capital of Nigeria, to launch the Federal Government's Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Clinic (MSME Clinic). How did Aba become the first choice for this programme? Governor Ikpeazu wondered, until he was told that it was the Acting President himself that chose Aba for the launch of the event. That choice wasn't fortuitous. Apparently the Acting President knows a lot about Aba and must have fallen in love with the city even before visiting. The recent promotional campaigns for Made-in-Aba-Products which Governor Ikpeazu and Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe are championing must have also reached his intellectual ears. It must have been their efforts that influenced the choice of the Acting President for Aba. It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his 2017 budget speech stated inter alia: "We will buy Made-in-Nigeria goods. We will encourage garment manufacturing and Nigerian designers, tailors and fashion retailers. We will patronise local entrepreneurs. We will promote the manufacturing powerhouses

L-R: Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, during the former's recent visit to Aba to launch the Federal Government's Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Clinic

in Aba..." While at Aba for the MSME Clinic, Professor Osinbajo who was accompanied by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, re-stated that Aba is the "manufacturing power house of Nigeria." He also said that "Aba is important to the country as a place where wonderful things are made." He added that Aba business people exemplify the attributes of natural creativity as Aba remains the manufacturing and business centre of Nigeria, stressing that "made-in-Aba products are not bad as previously thought." A review of Governor Ikpeazu's campaign manifesto for the 2015 election explains why Aba is a city after everybody's heart. Governor Ikpeazu, even before his election, had concrete plans on what to do to get Aba and Abia right. According to him, "Industrialisation has historically been a core driver of modernisation and job creation. The private sector is the platform that drives industrialisation. We will therefore develop the state economy applying the following economic anchors. "Systematic consultation with the organised private sector will promote a private sector-led Abia economy." Governor Ikpeazu stressed the need for the establishment of a functional small and medium enterprises (SMEs) centre to render critical, non-financial business development and support services to aspiring entrepreneurs and existing SMEs business operators. For Governor Ikpeazu, the issue of Aba Re-Development Plan, is an issue that must be dealt with no matter whose ox is gored, because he believes that to get Abia right Aba must be fixed. Constantly he said: "The axiom, "get Aba right, and Abia is right", shall continue to be the pivotal development philosophy and the nexus upon which to hinge development policy for Aba. Aba is home to virtually all Abians, Ndigbo and has a strong attachment to many others. "Re-developing Aba into a modern commercial hub; with functional infrastructure, stable power supply, reliable and decent public transportation system, urban traffic management system, structured and planned industrial layouts, clusters and parks, will release her revenue potential that can be leveraged upon to develop the rest of Abia State. "Aba with its strong entrepreneurial setting, which attracts business operators from across the nation and most ECOWAS countries, has the potential to become a commercial and entrepreneurship hub of West Africa. "We shall enhance international marketing opportunities for made-in-Aba goods and services by ensuring quality control and showcase the made-in-Aba brand in the economic capitals of the world. "As part of the Aba re-development plan, we shall undertake the establishment of Obuaku Industrial Zone. The components shall include, but not limited to, a sea port, housing estate, etc." Governor Ikpeazu said. It would be recalled that recently, Abia

State Government signed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with Crown Realties Plc to build the first Enyimba Free Trade and Industrial zone at Aba. The project is expected to be strategically located within the Aba zone with world class ancillary facilities and infrastructure. Under the arrangement, signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Eme Okoro, on behalf of the State, Crown Realties will conceptualise, design, finance, develop, construct, operate and maintain the industrial economic Free Trade Zone that integrates industrial production, marketing, warehousing, logistics, leisure, residential accommodation, schools, hospitals and entertainment centres among other facilities. Speaking during the agreement signing ceremony at the Government House Umuahia, Governor Ikpeazu, who has repeatedly called on Igbos to come home and invest, said that the economy of South-east states would be better developed when the indigenes themselves contribute towards its development by bringing home their investment. He pledged his administration's commitment to the project and assured that the project, when completed, will serve Abia well. According to the Chief Executive Officer of Crown Realties Plc, Mr. Darl Uzu, the establishment of the industrial zone is in line with the call by the Governor for Abians to come home and invest as well as to key into his administration's pillars of development. He promised to drive the project in the best interest of the state in order to further bring development to Abia state and the South-east. Also, the Abia State Government has opened discussions with the management of Anchoff Strongholds Ltd, led by Chief Emeka Offor, for the establishment of an Inland Container Depot at Aba. Only recently, Governor Ikpeazu, as part of his drive for rapid development of Abia State and Aba in particular, led a powerful team of private sector heavyweights including Prof. Barth Nnaji - the CEO of Geometrics Power, Mr. Darl Uzu , MD Crown Realities Plc, the promoters of the Enyimba Free Trade Zone project and Dr. Pascal Dozie, Chairman of Diamond Bank Plc, to a one-day meeting at the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Cairo, Egypt. The meeting which was at the invitation of the Afreximbank President, Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, discussed partnership opportunities in the development of the Enyimba Free Trade Zone Project and completion of Geometric Power project in Aba, amongst others. The Cairo meeting was a major step towards actualising the Geometric Power Project, Aba, which is 95 per cent completed. At the meeting, Governor Ikpeazu discussed investment opportunities in Abia State and also highlighted the resources his government has put in place to support business growth and expansion in the state. The Governor emphasised that it was

the vision of the Abia State Government to re-ignite the industrial potentials of Aba, leveraging its competitive advantage in trade and commerce with centralised location that makes access to all Southeast and South-south cities easy. According to the Governor, "the planned Aba Industrial Park Project aims to help Aba capture available windows of opportunities through achieving quick wins in the leather, garment, metal fabrication industries and also attract export-oriented light manufacturing firms that will ultimately create a snowballing effect in the re-ignition of the Nigerian economy." In his response, the President of Afreximbank, Dr. Okey Oramah, stated that the development of industrial parks and constant power supply were in line with the bank's strategic investment thrust. He affirmed that good infrastructure is critical to manufacturing and promised that Afreximbank will partner with Abia State Government in the development of industrial parks and electricity infrastructure. Dr. Oramah also stated that Afreximbank is also in support of the emergence of Export Trading Companies and development of standard certification centres to support export promotion. So far, the Ikpeazu administration is doing a lot to reposition Aba infrastructure wise, for the actualisation of plans for Aba as a modern commercial city and SME hub. In just 19 months, the government has fixed 15 roads at Aba alone, namely: Omeni Road Adventist Road, Kamalu Road, Umuocham Road, Umuehilegbu Road, Umule Road, Owerri Road, Weeks Road, Owerenta Road, Umuola Road, Ukaegbu Road, Ehere and Weeks Road. Many others have been reasphalted including Aba-Owerri Road, George's Street, Park Road, East Street, Umuatako Road, Jubilee Road and many others. Meanwhile, massive work is ongoing along Faulks Road, Aba/Owerri Road, Emelogu/Ngwa Road, Ibere Road, Ururuka Road, MCC-Samek Road, Ikonne Street, Aharandu Street, Onyebuchi Street, St. Paul, Umuocham, Umuchichi Road, St. Paul's Street and Ibadan Street. Also, the Governor recently flagged off the construction of the first flyover in Abia at Osisioma junction in Aba. Bearing in mind that all Federal Roads leading into Aba, including Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene Roads were left to deteriorate for many years, Abia State Government is already concluding plans to engage Setraco Construction that is already fixing Faulk Road to also move to Port Harcourt Road, Aba. The state is constructing the Umuobiakwa-Owoahiafo-Onicha Ngwa Road and the Umuaro-Umuanunu-Ekwereazu Ngwa Road as alternative routes to Akwa Ibom State. Work is also ongoing along new Umuahia Road to provide a good alternative route to Umuahia from Aba. However, the Federal Government has promised that it will fix the deplorable Ikot Ekpene Road before the rainy season. The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, made this known when he was joined by Governor Ikpeazu to inspect the road. Indeed, fixing Aba is a collective effort which requires all hands on deck. Governor Ikpeazu has shown his readiness to co-opt everyone, despite political affiliation, to get Aba right. It is only right to call on all and sundry to join him, and make Aba the commercial city of your dream. Already, garment and leather products makers in Aba are experiencing historical boom in patronage as a result of the efforts of the Governor in promoting made-in-Aba goods and services. Hotels and other hospitality homes are recording higher patronage. Things are looking up at our beloved Aba and those who left the city few years ago are returning in droves. Support Governor Ikpeazu to make Aba, the city after everybody's heart, the commercial city of your dreams. t "QQPMPT  JT $IJFG 1SFTT 4FDSFUBSZ UP UIF "CJB 4UBUF (PWFSOPS



‘Ours is a Business of Life Transformation’ As plans move into top gear to mark the 25th anniversary of the Glory Christian Ministries on March 8th, its founder, Dr. Iruofagha Solomon James in this interview with Mary Ekah, reminisces about how it all started, the challenges so far and plans for the future Who is Dr. I.S. James? The full names are Iruofagha Solomon James. I’m a son of a poor fisherman, from a fishing village called Okpoma in Bayelsa State. I grew up going to one fishing pond to the other with my parents until the discovery of oil in Bayelsa wiped off our way of life. So those fishing ponds that used to be the source of our livelihood have been deserted and turned to inhabited areas. I’m one of those people who are living far away from those places because of God’s call to go and fish for souls. What was the turning point in your life when you had to migrate from being a fisherman to fisher of souls? I became a Christian in my final year in the university. I went for my NYSC in Bauchi and later came back to Lagos. That was how the ministry started. It was God’s call that changed all of that and we are here so far. When was that? That was 1985. Can you describe how the call came? I knew God’s call was upon my life very early in my Christian life. Precisely about five months after I gave my life to Christ, I knew that God had called me and that was just before I went for the National Youth Service Corp. So it was during the Youth Corp that the call became so clear and distinct. In those days, the knowledge and the call of God were not like it is today. When we talk about the call of God in those days, it was not something that you want to accept or jump into very lightly. So like everyone called by God then, I struggled with it. I didn’t like it. Having been the only graduate that came from my family, to say you are going to serve God and to be a pastor, was something I could not accept so easily. So it was during my NYSC that God really established it that my call was teaching the Word, which is what I love doing today. Teaching the word of God is the central part of my calling. I am a Bible Teacher by calling before the ‘pastoring’. But for you to tell people that you are now going into ministry was like a curse in those days. It was difficult for me but I knew obviously what God has called me to do and I was willing to do it. I struggled with it for some time. So in the month of August 1985, from the very first day to the last day of that month I really didn’t know what was happening because I kept myself locked up seeking God's face. When I say seeking God’s face, I was literally fighting God for one whole month because I really didn't want to accept the call. But when God has called you to do something, you can't win over God, so that was how I came out from that one-month retreat and then accepted God's call. What was your parents’ reaction when you accepted the call? To say the truth, I didn't have the courage to tell them because it was not easy at that time. It literally took me some months to tell them and it was through my cousin because I didn't have the courage to do so. It was literally going to send my parents to their graves earlier than expected. You can only imagine the disappointment when they were told because my parents had literally sold all their personal goods to ensure that I finished school. So for me to finish my NYSC and now tell them that I was going to become a pastor, which was in those days associated with poverty for all the rest of one’s life, was something that I struggled with. But at the end I had to accept God's will. But to be able to convincingly communicate that to my parents was a really tough one. So it took me sometime before I could do that. What is the significance of celebrating your ministry’s 25th year? The Glory Christian Ministries would be exactly 25 years on March 8th 2017. It was


inaugurated exactly on March 8, 1992, so we would be celebrating our 25th anniversary come Wednesday, March 8 to Sunday, March 12. It is very significant for us because in the course of the years, we have made little stride. Although it is not as much as we would have wanted, we are grateful for what God has been able to do through us. Ours is a business of life transformation. It is not as much as in the building of monuments and cathedrals. The Bible says “what shall a man gain if he owns the whole world and lose his soul”. This means that from God’s perspective, He equates the worth of one soul as far more than all of the riches of this world. So if it is only one soul that we have been able to affect in these 25 years, in God’s and Heaven’s perspective, that is something worth celebrating. And obviously in this period we can look back at many lives in and outside of this country that have been affected as a result of this ministry. The second reason is that it was God who thought it fit. In the book of 1st Samuel 7: 12, God, through His prophet Samuel, called His people to mark a particular place with a stone and that stone was called Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us”, which is God’s way of letting Israel know that they are not there yet but where they are, is how far God has brought them and that they should celebrate the victory they have gotten so far to that point, even though they have not gotten to their destination. So celebrating life, celebrating achievements, celebrating what God has done is one of the ways God teaches His people to stop and acknowledge what He has done in our lives and that is precisely what we want to do during this period of our anniversary holding from March 8-12. There is a lot going on in the country and because we directly minister to the people, we know exactly what is going on. To tell you the truth, for some time we hesitated whether or not we should even go ahead to celebrate but again then we realised that life goes on in every situation and that God wants us to acknowledge and thank Him for what has been achieved, pray for what is coming and be always grateful for every situation and circumstance we find ourselves because for us Christians, we have been taught that ‘all

things work together for good’ and so we really want to take time out to really thank God for what He has done through us and in us in the past 25 years. And so we are for that purpose, designing and fashioning this celebration in a unique way. Unlike any of the anniversaries we have done in the past, this one is going to be about us, we are going to be the ones celebrating. We probably would have just one day for a guest minister to speak to us because even as we celebrate, it would be a time of looking back to say thank you and at the same time looking forward to what, for instance, the next decade would be for our ministry. So it is celebrating the past and looking forward to the future. So we are going to have some time to examine ourselves, ask questions and also through prayers, be able to look forward to what God wants to do. In 25 years what would you consider to be the toughest challenge? There are many that come to mind. For me personally, I don’t know which come first. What is most frightening to me, is having to do the work I was called to do in the way that align with the call that I received, which is like satisfying your boss. You know God calls every one of us to a particular assignment and so for me every single day and every message that I preach and whatever I do, I come back home sometimes happy and other times miserable because I feel I have not done exactly as He wants me to do. So the constant checking of wanting to know whether I have been able to do exactly what I was called to do, has been to me more than everything else, something I have to deal with. I thank God that I have tried to do my best in that area not because I have not failed Him but because I have largely tried to do my best in that area. The second challenge is that some times the frustration of not seeing the lives you labour over being transformed, as you would want to see. I mean coming from where I came from, I can easily identify with the struggles of people, I can easily identify with people who are in need. Sometimes you try your best to minster the Word to them and you are hoping to see a transformation – a change and God’s blessings that will lift them up from that state of need and lack, so if we

have any reason we are celebrating, it is for those lives that we can testify to that have been changed. The truth is, it is not all of them and so when you don’t see that change in some of them, it makes you get frustrated. You speak so passionate about bringing about transformation on people live. Has the Church done enough to bring transformation to people’s lives? I would say that Church generally is trying but we can do more. There is tremendous suffering in the land and if not for the churches, it could have been worse. I can’t speak for all but I also know how much we spend on the welfare of our members alone. So we thank God for the churches but we can also do more. Looking back at the 25 years of your ministry, are there things you would have loved to do differently? I don’t think there is a way you can do a thing for as long as that period and not have regret. I think it is just part of being human. Like they say, there is always the benefit of high insight, and so when you look back, you would always wish you had done certain things differently. That being said, wisdom has thought some of us that it is part of being human. That is the only way we learn moving forward. In all aspects of life, the only way we learn to become better is to learn from our own failures. So yes, there have been some disappointing moments but they have also acted as lessons that you could not have learned in any other way. So in that realm, all have worked together for good. What is that particular leadership quality that has sustained your ministry? I would say plural leadership. In our ministry, our understanding of leadership is plural leadership with singular responsibility. And so we have a set of leaders - leadership is not centered on personalities and so a lot of things go on with my supervision while other people are given the freedom to make decisions. So we allow decision to be taken by a group of people instead of concentrating power only on one single person. I believe that is how church leadership should be and it has worked well in my ministry.



Touching Lives With the testimonies being shared on traditional and social media by beneficiaries of the Social Investment Programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, it is clear that the intervention is achieving some of its set goals, writes Peter Uzoho Comprising the Conditional Cash Transfer, Home Grown School Feeding, N-Power and the General Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, people who had wondered how government would successfully implement the interventions, even in the face of declining revenue, have been pleasantly surprised. Not only has the planning and execution been meticulous, it has also been devoid of partisanship and bias. What’s more, the Federal Government is tapping the knowledge, expertise and experience of global players like the World Bank, DFID, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Imperial College, UK, amongst others, to ensure that planning, execution and monitoring of the programmes meet international best practices. Months after the commencement of the plans which government had appropriated N500 billion for in the 2016 budget with the same amount replicated in the 2017 Appropriation Bill, it is evident that this administration is putting its money where its mouth is - in the hands of common Nigerians.The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) are well thought out economic strategies that seek to empower all societal groups including children, the poor and vulnerable, the elderly, unemployed graduates and budding entrepreneurs. N375 million has been spent just this year on the feeding of about 700,000 primary school pupils in five states of Anambra, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ebonyi in implementing the Home Grown School Feeding plan. The amount is expected to rise significantly by the completion of the first phase target of 5.5 million primary school pupils across the 18 states. In addition, the plan has created a win-win situation for all parties concerned – pupils, food vendors and farmers in the communities. The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, highlighted this in a speech at the commencement of the programme in his state. “This will definitely enhance the production and income capacities of our farmers and the suppliers of our various products. The multiplier effect of all these daily transactions to the farmer as well as market women will be huge.” He added that the 2,969 food vendors who were given cooking utensils at interest-free rates, “will make additional income from taking on catering businesses in their communities on weekends and when schools are off.” Also lauding the initiative long before its take-off, a former minister and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Adeseye Ogunlewe, described it as laudable. “The Federal Government wants to feed Nigerian children; we should allow our children to enjoy it. We should not politicise it at all. The more we politicise it, the more it will be difficult to be implemented,” he said. Comments by the other beneficiaries also reveal the positive impact that the N-Power scheme is having on the lives of unemployed Nigerians. Already, 200,000 out of a projected beneficiary target of half a million unemployed youths have so far been employed and deployed to rural communities as teachers, agricultural extension workers and health support workers in more than 20 states of the federation.The beneficiaries, who have started receiving their monthly stipend of N30, 000 directly, have been generous with their praises. “Every part of this country is facing social problems ranging from unemployment and other critical issues. I think the government should come up with more of this kind of social intervention programme (N-Power) to reduce the level of suffering of her youth. Kudos to PMB (President Muhammadu Buhari) for his bold initiative such as the N-Power Programme,” wrote Dio Edwin on Facebook. Adedayo N. Oladipupo also attested to the authenticity of the scheme: “At last, I have received my alert oooo. N-Power carry on. I got mine 5:15 this morning. I urge other participants to relax, yours is coming.” he

Physical verification of documents of some N-Power beneficiaries

Pupils enjoying the free meal under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme

wrote on January 5. Kata Cyril described the first payment received as ‘My Letter of Happiness from Delta State’. “I've received my N-Power (N-Teach) first stipend from GTB just exactly 9:48 pm yesterday. I doubted before, but now I believe in a New Nigeria to come under Buhari's administration. I doubted The CHANGE slogan, but from now onwards "I STAND FOR CHANGE" Ijezie Okpara echoed the same, admitting, “I couldn't believe it when I saw the alert today, 30th December, 2016. I received N30, 000. No deduction of anything at all. Buhari has done well on this aspect. Glory be to God!” Tweeter savvy beneficiaries of the schemealso attest to the authenticity of the scheme. Akintola Ahmed wrote, “I received my #Npower Dec stipend yesterday. Ibadan north local govt of Oyo State! Thanks @ ProfOsinbajo @MBuhari” AbdulaiBajoga reported “More smiles and jubilation as many start receiving their 30,000 naira alert from #Npower Nigeria. Congratulations...” Awe Olumuyiwa E. exultantly declared “I don get @npower_ngalert God win and devil lose. Ondo State.GTBANK. Npower is real. No problem.” A certain Toluwanikanlopemi also testified: “A friend just got paid today. Ogun State

#NPower” Rona Robert, another beneficiary advised those impatient because they are yet to receive their stipend: “Please let’s try our best to be patient with the organisers of this programme... Fact be told, they are trying their best even if they are not as fast as some of us want them to be. Remember, there are people who want this by all means...Let’s give N-Power time to go about their activities. I know everything will be just fine in no time. Guys, let’s be PATIENT!!” Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in acknowledging some of the hitches being experienced in some states, said : “We are continually reviewing progress of N-Power beneficiaries from verification, deployment and stipends’ payment. Those involved be patient.” The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) currently being implemented in Bauchi, Borno, Cross Rivers, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo sates is also impacting positively on lives of the poor and vulnerable. Like the other plans, the CCT has built-in checks from conception to execution to prevent abuse. The sum of N10, 000 is currently being paid directly to the CCT beneficiaries from funds released to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) for December 2016, and January 2017 while subsequent payments of N10, 000

Alhaja Lola Usman, one of the beneficaries of the Geep programme

would be made six times annually. Artisans, traders, youths, entrepreneurs and market women amongst others are beneficiaries of theGovernment Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) that commenced in November 2016 under the supervision of the Bank of Industry. Under the scheme, soft loans ranging from N10, 000 to N100, 000 are being given to beneficiaries from 15 states, with a plan to touch over 30,000 this month, and well over a million in a year. Beneficiaries of the first phase have so far been selected from Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Lagos, Osun and Ogun. Others are in Oyo, Ondo, Rivers and the FCT. “So far, I will say he has done well in the execution though hitches one learnt are being addressed are being experienced in some states. They are a good way of assisting the people and also fighting the recession whose foundation was laid long before he assumed office and which was worsened by the acts of vandalism in the Niger Delta. I think I will want to congratulate the President for what he has so far done but also urge him not to rest on his oars because there are still lots of Nigerians grappling with poverty and unemployment,” noted Dr. Gbenga Ojo, an educational consultant based in Lagos.





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With Another Bedridden President, Nigeria is Fourth Time Unlucky with its Choice


ometime as a columnist one is dispirited by outré news. That happened to me last week. I was still struggling with the rumour of death created by opportunists who truly wished President Muhammadu Buhari dead, when the bizarre story of the former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, showed up on my phone. Yakubu carefully tucked away in the slum of Kaduna a cash “gift” of $9.8 million and £74,000. It was a whistle blew by someone that opened our eyes to it. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has now received court blessings to seize the money, albeit temporarily. Sadly, Yakubu is a son of a pastor and he also gave his life to Christ. While I’m not discussing the money itself at this time as the EFCC unravels its investigation and the court comes in, the idea that one individual, a “born-again” Christian can keep “raw cash” of million dollars, where poverty is well-written all over the walls of the houses in his community is anti-Christ. In a profile that discussed his religious and social life on his website, www.andrewyakubu. com, “he accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour in 1962 when his father was still in pastor’s school here. During his sojourn within and outside the country he worshiped and was a member of several church assemblies where he served majorly in hospitality work and was part of the building blocks of several church and missionary projects.” What happened to Yakubu’s spiritual life? We’ll soon know. Now, let’s turn to Buhari and co. Although there’s something undeniably wrong about those

President Buhari on vacation in London

wishing the president dead, the fact that Mr. President already spent nearly 30 days in London, United Kingdom, as a patient is unsettling both for his family and the country. Like those who preceded him in office since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, Buhari has not been able to solve some of Nigeria’s persistent problems: epileptic power supply, prostrate health care system and poor quality education. Though he’s assailing the band of corruption that has locked Nigeria down for many years, education has not received a dint of improvement under Buhari. That should scare us. And despite huge amount of money in the budget for health care, Buhari, is embarrassingly spending Nigeria’s taxpayers’ money to foot his medical bill in a foreign country. Buhari’s junior Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, calculated the cost of medical tourism to Nigeria putting it at a conservative figure of $1 billion on a yearly basis. And while encouraging citizens to buy “madein-Nigeria” goods, Buhari’s penchant for going to the United Kingdom for vacation and medical

treatment as a sitting president exposes him as deceitful and manipulative. Of course, that Nigeria has not fared well under any of the four presidents since 1999 remains a moot point, but the problems are not receding. It is safe to say that there’s something common to them all: they are emergency leaders. For instance, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was brought to power as a form of “reconciliatory candidate” or consolation for the South after the death of Moshood Abiola, Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, who won a free and fair election on June 12, 1993, but was allegedly killed during incarceration by a despotic military ruler and Northerner, Sani Abacha. It was the ethnic tension that continued to grow after Abiola died that made Obasanjo a “palliative” president. He was the only one the North could trust from the South. Obasanjo was not ready to lead Nigeria at that time just as his successor, Umaru Yar’Adua, was handpicked by him, after his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) couldn’t present any of its leading candidates, because of tag of corruption. Instead of bequeathing Nigeria with strong health care system, sound education and uninterrupted power supply, Obasanjo wanted third term. He left the image of a brutal president with so much high-handedness in governance that pitched him against the parliamentary arm of government—with threat of impeachment on at least two occasions. It would be hard for citizens in Odi, a town in the Niger-Delta and Zaki-Biam and other remote villages in Benue State to forget his application of jackboot that left many civilians dead with their villages flattened. Obasanjo simply increased the data for human rights abuse in Nigeria.

In fairness to him, he tried to improve the economy with savings and by cutting deals with Paris club, but when calculated against the cost Nigeria bore on his globetrotting, it was a wasted opportunity to turn Nigeria around. More than anything else, Nigerians’ discontent with Yar’Adua’s presidency and his cabals was the single reason that brought in Jonathan, another emergency leader to power. Following the death of Yar'Adua, who spent three years as Nigeria’s president using state money to cure sickness in Saudi Arabia and Germany with no time for state functions, Jonathan came to power promising transformation. But Jonathan upended institutions. His cluelessness made him stood for too long waiting at the door, while his aides, ministers and political associates ferried government money through the windows. Since he left power in May 2015, tons of documents by muckrakers and Nigeria’s agencies dealing with corruption have alleged significant embezzlement of state fund during Jonathan’s regime. For Buhari who rode to power on the strength of amalgamation of opposition parties without serious blueprint to truly “change” things, sickness during the middle of his presidency does not bode well for Nigeria. Poor power supply, poor education system, poor health care system have been the thread in Nigeria’s governance, despite promises by elected leaders and that makes the country unlucky with its choice of leaders. Now, with 2019 upon us it is my offer that a different approach to leadership pick is necessary. Can we truly change the narrative? Follow me on twitter:@adeolaakinremi1 Attachments area



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Making Sense of Special Duties


certainly am not the first to express surprise about the retinue of needless aides with unfathomable designations often paraded by political office holders in Nigeria. Many which I cannot begin to count have expressed similar sentiments. The frenetic fondness for legion of assistants by political leaders right from the president, state governors, lawmakers to the local government chairmen has been a major outlet of huge expenditure from our collective purse. It is therefore not surprising that the call for a total downsizing of the number of these aides is seen as significant in a bid to save money which the government can then deploy to other critical areas for development. Across the country, there are alarming examples of how governance is made uninspiring by the number of individuals that are presented to serve, for instance, a governor in one vague capacity or another. And the justification for arriving at such a massive number is usually as ridiculous as the need itself. When it came to the public's notice that the governor of Niger, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, has 317 aides, apart from 14 commissioners, the response of one of his spokespersons was that the governor appointed that number of aides “to ensure efficient services.” But in the real sense, particularly from close observation, this crowd of favoured political appointees do more in putting strains on government services than ensuring ease. So, it is quite convenient for anyone to live in


constant doubt about any thing good ever coming from the opaque job descriptions that are usually fixed for mostly inexperienced people who are only picked to fulfill some political allegiance. However, further digs into this trend have revealed that while many state executives favour the idea of the army of aides flocking around them without adding any value to governance, and at the expense of the taxpayers’ funds, a very few have deemed it imperative to put moderation into political appointments and ensure that each appointee is saddled with responsibilities which add significant value to government. And this is why Lagos’ example is noteworthy amongst others. Most times, I simply move on whenever I hear the title of “special duties” in some government circles. Because the post and its holders are most often appendages of an

extant and important office ironically endowed with good budget for ambiguous assignments or purposes. But an incisive attention on Lagos State has provided a preferred perspective, and has given a direction that offers more reasonable explanations for the position of special duties unlike the waste that is presented by many top government offices across the country under the same nomenclature. Clearly, the undertakings by the Lagos State government through the office of the Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations headed by Mr. Seye Oladejo are quite vital to support the existence of such portfolio in government. In a country where the statutory emergency services take forever to respond to urgent incidents; and humanitarian support is diverted for self-enrichment, like we see in the case of the fraudulent diversion of materials meant for the IDPs for self purposes by some rapacious public officials, then the need for a truly dedicated and meaningful office for some special assignments will be inevitable and imperative. I have read of how Seye Oladejo, the Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties moved very swiftly to the aid of the family of one Mr. Odiah who unfortunately lost four children to a horrible mudslide in the Magodo area of Lagos. Apart from the exceptionally sympathetic and speedy manner with which Oladejo and his team in the Special Duties Ministry coordinated the arrangement for succour for the bereaved

to reduce their pains, the timelessness of the donation of the sum of N5 million to Odiah’s family by Oladejo on behalf of the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, was rare in all ramifications. This is actually the kind of positive reaction that is expected of any responsible government office regardless of the name given to the position. Under its vision statement the Special Duties Office of Lagos State says it seeks, “to be a an effective interface between the Government and relevant stakeholders, safety/disaster manager based on strategic thinking and planning within a robust research and development environment where safety will be a culture.” This portrays significant clarity of purpose which is further accentuated by the amazing works being delivered by the office across the state in line with its core mandate. Of course, many have continued to wonder why Lagos is not flagging in its pursuit of excellence, and why particularly the present government, in offering a new model in terms of development, continues to be a talking point around the country. The answers are not really far-fetched. They are all there in the focus, and vision of a purpose-driven team and its determination to see through every process of inclusive growth. And this can never be found in the army of feckless aides that walk many corridors of power across the country. Undoubtedly, the paradigm of Lagos is indeed a special one for the entire nation.





Is CBN Unlawfully Distorting the Forex Market? Nduka Ikeyi appraises the CBN’s foreign exchange policy and its effect on the forex market and the economy as a whole The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been consistently criticised for the manner in which it has managed Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) market. One of the complaints is the directive by the CBN to commercial banks to allocate 60% of their forex sales to the manufacturing sector and at the rate advised by the CBN. The second major complaint is that the CBN has refused to allow a complete float of the exchange rate, by dictating to the banks (and bureau de change (BDC) operators) the rates at which they may deal. By these actions, the CBN has been accused of causing distortions in the forex market, and these distortions have either further caused, or have manifested in, the reduced supply of forex to the “official� market, the existence of multiple exchange rates, and the wide gap between the “official� exchange rates and prevailing exchange rates in the “parallel market� and “black market�. I will however quickly add that whilst I understand the concept of a “black market� in which illegal forex transactions are executed, I think that the concept of a “parallel market� is a euphemism adopted in an attempt to legitimise illegal forex transactions conducted by entities that purport to have the licence to carry on such transactions. As far as the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Foreign Exchange Act or the Act) has enacted, there is only one lawful market for the conduct of forex business in Nigeria, namely the authorised foreign exchange market (Afem); and in which transactions are to be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Act (see s. 1(1) of the Act). The Act also warns that nothing therein shall be construed as permitting any unrestrained or general dealing in forex on terms inconsistent with its provisions (see s. 11(a)). Section 7 of the Act further enacts the parties that may conduct transactions in that market. Also, the fact that transactions as between different participants in the Afem may be conducted at different rates does not mean the existence of more than one lawful market for the conduct of forex transactions in Nigeria. Indeed, Section 9 of the Foreign Exchange Act, by permitting parties to a forex transaction to freely determine the rate of exchange for their specific transactions, suggests (clearly in theory) the possibility of a multiplicity of rates in the market. And this takes me back to the two complaints against the CBN. If, as indeed is unarguable, Section 9 of the Act permits parties to an exchange transaction to determine the rates at which they would execute their transactions, then the CBN is entitled to determine the rates at which it would sell the forex that it brings into the market (The CBN also has power under the CBN Act to sell and purchase forex; and it may be that this power exists independently of its right to participate in the Afem under the Foreign Exchange Act.). And given that the CBN is an agency of the government, the independence of the CBN does not preclude it from acting in a manner that would promote the economic policies of the government, including promoting any sector of the economy by preferential forex allocation. This is more so in a context in which there is an acute shortage of forex, and other local exigencies exist, for which it may be argued that the undirected hands of the market (market forces) cannot be trusted to allocate this scarce resource appropriately. However, the CBN should not extend this directive to cover forex that it has not brought into the market. I therefore do not think that the CBN has acted unlawfully by allocating 60% of the forex that it brings into the market to the manufacturing sector and fixing the price at which the forex should be sold. Questions may however arise as to how the 60% is allocated amongst eligible manufacturers: but this concern, though legitimate, is not the thrust of the complaint that I have heard consistently. On the other hand, if we could defend CBN’s action in fixing the rates at which it

EmeďŹ ele

may sell the forex it brings into the Afem by reference to s.9 of the Foreign Exchange Act, then the CBN would be acting in violation of the law by going further to fix (in any manner whatsoever, including moral suasion) the rates at which authorised dealers deal with their customers in regard to forex that is supplied to the Afem by other sources permitted by the Act, not being the CBN (see s.4 of the Act). For the avoidance of doubt, s. 9 of the Act provides that “[t]he rate at which each transaction in the Market

As a government committed to the rule of law, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation would do well to advise the CBN to desist from this breach of the Foreign Exchange Act, which is also causing distortions in the Afem. If this is done, foreign investors and other lawful forex earners would bring in their forex through the banks as provided by the Act and exchange it for the Naira at rates agreed with the banks

shall be executed shall be the rate mutually agreed between the applicant purchaser and the Authorised Dealer or Authorised Buyer concerned�. I had in an earlier article “The Foreign Exchange Act and the “devaluation� debate: Are we suffering the effect of official breach of existing law?� (published in BusinessDay and THISDAY newspapers of 12 May 2016) argued that the debate around whether to devalue the Naira or not may be redundant if the CBN respected and allowed s. 9 of the Act to apply; and that the CBN was acting in breach of the law by fixing the rates at which transactions in the Afem not related to funds brought into the market by the CBN were executed. And we had thought that in its subsequent policy change, which occurred in June that year, the CBN had abandoned the path of unlawfulness. As a government committed to the rule of law, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation would do well to advise the CBN to desist from this breach of the Foreign Exchange Act, which is also causing distortions in the Afem. If this is done, foreign investors and other lawful forex earners would bring in their forex through the banks as provided by the Act and exchange it for the Naira at rates agreed with the banks. What this means also is that at the time of repatriation of capital or earning on the investment, the foreign investor will also go the bank and they will agree a mutually acceptable rate: and in this case, the foreign investor cannot be heard to say that the CBN has not provided enough forex to enable it to repatriate its capital or earning, because the CBN did not intervene in any way at the time it brought in the investment into Nigeria. This would also mean fewer headaches for the CBN. But it also does not mean that the CBN may not provide

additional forex liquidity to the Afem subject to availability and as may be appropriate from time to time. Apart from the complaints addressed above, it would also appear that the CBN is breaking the law in (i) the sale of forex to BDCs, and (ii) permitting BDCs to sell forex to members of the public. And this is another major source or cause of distortion in the market. I’ll deal with this matter in detail in a subsequent article: but it would suffice to say at this time that s. 41 of the Foreign Exchange Act contemplates that BDCs should operate only as “authorised buyers� (not authorised dealers as the CBN would seem to think). This means that the role of BDCs should be limited to “buying� transactions�, not “currency exchange transactions�. To the extent that forex is, unless otherwise determined, commodity in the non-issuing state, BDCs may therefore, as authorised buyers, only buy forex from members of the public as a commodity, and pay for same with Naira (just the way one pays for the purchase of any other commodity in Nigeria with the Naira). A transaction in which a BDC (which is licensed as an authorised buyer as contemplated by the Act) “sells� forex to a member of the public is not a “buying transaction�: it is rather a currency exchange transaction. This is because the Naira, which is what the BDC receives from the member of public in that transaction, is not a commodity that is capable of being bought (with forex) in Nigeria. However, as I said earlier, I will deal with this matter in more detail in a subsequent article. t*LFZJ BGPSNFS"UUPSOFZ(FOFSBMBOE $PNNJTTJPOFSGPS+VTUJDFJO&OVHV4UBUF  JTBQBSUOFSJO*LFZJ"SJGBZBOMBX mSNJO-BHPT




Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email

Taking Free Health Care to the Poor Recently, NASFAT Agency for ZAKAT and SADAQAT, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the Lagos State branch of the Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria, offered free health care to over 800 beneficiaries. Peter Uzoho reports

L-R: Oseni Ibrahim presenting drugs to one of the beneficiaries, Adebayo Abdullahi, during the free medical care sponsored by NASFAT Agency for ZAKAT and SADAQAT (NAZAS) in collaboration with the Nigeria Islamic Association of Nigeria (IMAN) in Lagos…recently


n the past three years, NAZAS slogan has not changed ‘giving succour to the needy in the society’. And for the second year running through its public health initiative, the agency, in collaboration with Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria (IMAN), has continued to provide free medical services to the downtrodden in underserved locations across Lagos State. On January 22, 2017, over 800 beneficiaries drawn from Ikorodu and its environs defied the scorching Sunday sun as they thronged the gigantic NASFAT Mosque located in Ikorodu area of Lagos for a free medical care sponsored by NASFAT Agency for ZAKAT and SADAQAT (NAZAS) in collaboration with the Nigeria Islamic Association of Nigeria (IMAN). Led by the general manager of NAZAS, Alhaji Abibu Ahmed and Dr. Mustapha Alimi, the beneficiaries were provided with screening treatment, health education and distribution of drugs. And on ground to attend to various medical needs of the beneficiaries were streams of experts- pharmacists, physiotherapists, radiotherapists, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, mid-wives, gynecologists, pediatricians and opticians. Throwing more light on the activities of his organisation, Ahmed said the aims and

objectives of NAZAS include collection of Sakat and Sadaquat from wealthy Muslims and also to distribute same to empower the less-privileged. Another aim he noted is collaborating with organisations or individuals of like mind to carry out humanitarian activities that will benefit the masses. “Today, we are providing free healthcare services to the general public who are close to 800. NASFAT is a large organisation and we have about six branches here in

We give them talk on health and social aspect of life. We also educate, enlighten and provide free health services to people. The whole idea is that if we have people who need help we refer them because it is an outreach programme. For me, it has been wonderful touching lives

Ikorodu such as Ogijo, Owutu, Igbogbo, Ijede and others. Since our organisation started operations in 2014, this is the second time we are rolling out free medical health in collaboration with the Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria. The first exercise was carried out during the 21st anniversary of NASFAT which was done in Lagos. Now, we are doing this as a rotational programme from branch to branch.” The influence to embark on such humanitarian gesture by his organisation according to him was borne out of the aims and objectives of taking care of the vulnerable in the society. “We realised that in our society it is not everybody that would be able to afford the medical care in private hospitals or can go through the rigours of our healthcare institutions. The purpose is to bring it to the door steps of the people living in rural areas so that they can benefit. Not only to know and understand their health status and in case a life threatening health issue is discovered, the patients will be given referrals to the doctors in teaching hospitals. Again, as an organisation we also foot the medical bills of those that are beyond the reach of the people. Praising NAZAS for its empowerment vision that cuts across, Ahmed said the organisation at the moment is not restricted to healthcare

alone. Recently, in collaboration with Muslim Public Affairs Centre, it dispatched relief materials of slippers and warm clothing to the IDP camp in Borno. Apart from that, it has also identified those who need urgent assistance such as medical and educational bills. He said those with urgent assistance are identified, they will investigate just to ensure that hard earned money of donors do not get to the wrong hands. Commenting on the recent exercise, Ahmed said he was delighted to be part of it as the turnout was massive just as stream of people has been overwhelming. “It was a whole day affair and so far we have recorded almost 800 beneficiaries. It is going to be a continuous thing as the slogan is to take care of the downtrodden. It has been a wonderful feeling to be able to identify with the downtrodden. The essence of Moslem is service to humanity.” Corroborating Ahmed, one of the conveners of the programme, Dr. Mustapha Alimi said both IMAN and NASFAT are interwoven as the essence is to bring people together for prayers while IMAN mission is to create enlightenment programme for people on how to take care of their health. The whole idea he said was to propagate Islam through health programme. “Let Muslims know that there are medical doctors in Islam and also




Dr. Halima Alimi (right), presenting reading glasses to Hajarat Adeyemo

Matron Durojaiye Muibat attending to Mrs. Adetola Martins

I am more than happy as one of the beneficiaries. I was given medical treatment and was given drugs free of charge. The exercise has helped people like me

to encourage our members to aspire to be medical doctors. We give them talk on health and social aspect of life. We also educate, enlighten and provide free health services to people. The whole idea is that if we have people who need help we refer them because it is an outreach programme. For me, it has been wonderful touching lives,” he said During a brief chat with journalists, one of the health providers, Mrs. Durojaiye Muibat, said the programme couldn’t have come at a better time. According to her, it is an eye opener and a good move because some people don’t know that they have health issues in terms of blood pressure. The programme has been of tremendous help.” Abibat Onikoyi who also came for medical check-up praised and showed appreciation to the organisation for bringing the free health care services to the downtrodden. “I am more than happy as one of the beneficiaries. I was given medical treatment and was given drugs free of charge. The exercise has helped people like me. Health is wealth and early detection they say saves lives as a serious health issue is nip in the bud before it gets out of hand. We are grateful for this kind gesture.” In a rather emotional tone, an elderly woman who identified herself as Hajia Falilat said she was more than happy. “I am more than happy because when I was checked up I was given drugs. I pray that God will continue bless the organisation. And for the donors, God will continue to enlarge their coasts, they shall never lack good things of life.” Incorporated on 31st January 2014, NAZAS commenced operations in May 2014 with the recruitment of the pioneer general and operations manager, and eight board of directors who are specialists in their fields. The agency was formally launched on June 21st 2014 which coincided with the first day of Ramadan. Committed to touching lives, the agency swung into action immediately through empowerment and scholarship programmes. The past 235 beneficiaries impacted by NAZAS range from 86 students on educational scholarship support, which cuts across primary, secondary, tertiary, visually impaired, law school and prison inmates. It also embarked on empowerment and business support for 15 persons/SMEs, debts bail-out for six persons, health related cases/medical support for 15 persons, business and accommodation

L-R: Akeem Olie cheking the BP of Aleshinloye Ibrahim

L-R : GM NAZAS, Alhaji Abibu Ahmed, Alhaji Monsur Ajenifuja, Dr. Mustapha Alimi and Alhaji Utman Animasahun, at the event

support for six converts/reverts to Islam. And currently, 42 students are on regular annual scholarship list. At the commencement of the programme in 2014, the agency doled out over 36 million naira on empowerment programme while in June 2016 during Ramadan, it also gave out six million Naira. Last October, the organisation also carried out its third intervention

empowerment programme where over eight million naira worth of items which included industrial machine, sewing machine, wiping machine, deep freezer and cash donations were given out according to the needs of individuals. The agency’s benevolent act is not limited to individuals alone as it had reached out to the vulnerable within the society. In March

2016, it dispatched the first batch of relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons camps in Borno, Yobe and Gombe states. This was jointly executed by NAZAS and MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Centre). Rounding off the Ikorodu medical exercise, Ahmed reiterated the agency’s commitment of not resting on its oars until poverty is alleviated in the society.

T H I S D AY Ëž ,ÍŻÍľ, 2017



FG Raises N160bn in First Quarter Auction James Emejo in ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔËåÓÞÒ Ă‹Ă‘Ă?Ă˜Ă?ĂŁĂœĂ?ĂšĂ™ĂœĂž The Debt Management Office (DMO) disclosed yesterday it raised a total of N160 billion at its second auction of the year. It said it realised N60 billion from the 14.50 percent coupon maturing July 2021 and N30 billion from the 12.50 percent offer maturing January 2026 as well as N70 billion from the 12.40 percent couple which matures March 2036. According to information posted on the DMO website, though debt instruments worth N110 billion was auctioned. a total of N337.03 billion was subscribed and N160 billion allotted. According to the auction results, respective successful bids were allotted at marginal rates of 16.55 percent, 16.61 percent

and 16.77 percent. However, original coupon rates of 14.50 percent, 12.50 percent and 12.40 percent will be maintained according to the debt management office. Reuters, however reported that yields had been lower than the inflation rate, currently at 18.72 percent in January, its 12th straight monthly rise. The debt office had initially wanted to raise N110 billion at the auction but increased the offer due to demand. The government is also facing funding challenges brought on by the low price of oil. It expects the budget deficit to widen to N2.36 trillion this year as it tries to spend its way of out of the recession. More than half of the deficit will be funded through local borrowings, the government has said.

The debt office said it raised N70 billion of the paper maturing in 2036 at 16.77 per cent, lower than 16.99 per cent same instrument fetched at the previous auction and paid 16.61 per cent for the N30 billion raised in the paper maturing in 2026 compared to 16.99 per cent at the previous auction. It issued N60 billion in the note maturing in 2021 at 16.55 per cent against 16.89 per cent at the previous auction. Nigerian government issues local currency bonds every month to raise funds to support its spending plan, which also goes to help the banking system manage liquidity. DMO’s boss, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo earlier disclosed plan to float a savings bond targeted at small saver with shorter tenor and competitive interest.

Heritage Bank Facilitates Disbursement of N3bn YIEDP Fund Obinna Chima Heritage Bank Plc said as part of its youth empowerment objective, which amongst others, is geared towards creating jobs and distributing wealth across the Nigerian economy, it facilitated the disbursement of the N3billion Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP) fund by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The programme involves active participation of the National Youth Service Corps, with the bank as the sole financial institution and operating vehicle for the

disbursement of funds to approved beneficiaries. The bank in a statement made available by the Group Head, Corporate Communications, Fela Ibidapo, said the major objectives of the scheme was to provide a sustainable mechanism to stimulate employment, contribute to the non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as address the challenge of youth restiveness in the country. According to him, it was pertinent to state that the programme runs in phases and not a one-off arrangement. “Again, because revolving credit is involved, it requires a

painstaking process to ensure that the three institutions and beneficiaries achieve their respective objectives, which converge essentially to making soft credit available to young people and helping them translate their credible business ideas into sustainable wealth creation endeavours that are capable of generating further employment to others.� He explained that the first batch of the 310 successful businesses had been approved by the CBN, as they are expected to benefit from N774million as part of the N3billion earmarked under the YIEDP.

AIG Appoints Ogwo CEO The Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) has announced the appointment of Ms. Chienye Ogwo as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining AIG, Ogwo was a staff of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and was responsible for developing strategies that led to the smooth implementation of the bank’s transformation initiatives, and facilitating buy-in amongst internal and external stakeholders. “After a rigorous search and selection process by the Board of Directors, we are pleased to announce Chienye’s appointment and to welcome her on board AIG,� AIG’s Founder, Mr.

Aigboje AigImoukhuede, said in a statement. “Chienye brings a valuable blend of experience to the organisation and we look forward to working with her as we forge ahead towards the attainment of our goals.� In June 2016, AIG signed a five-year partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) at the University of Oxford. Under this partnership, AIG will, starting 2017, make available five Scholarships yearly to outstanding Nigerians and Ghanaians to pursue the Master of Public Policy degree at BSG, University of Oxford. Upon graduation, AIG

Scholars will be expected to return to their home country and apply their learning experience as change agents in their country’s public sector. Commenting on her appointment, Ogwo said, “These are exciting times for Africa Initiative for Governance and I am very delighted to join the organisation in this role. AIG’s mission is to work with governments, academic institutions and other partners to transform public sector performance and I am excited at the opportunity that we have to work together to revive the virtues of good public service and to make that sector attractive to the brightest minds.�

Fidelity Bank Trains Children on Social Etiquette Fidelity Bank Plc said it is collaborating with JSK Etiquette Consortium to teach contemporary manners and social skills to children in Nigeria. As a result of this, the bank said a training programme was recently held at its Private Banking office, in Ikoyi, Lagos. The initiative, which it said was part of its Mentorship Program for the Younger Generation, also sought to enlighten and equip children with the right values at an early age. Children between the ages of nine to 15 years, were also trained on other soft skills such as communication

and collaboration to prepare them for future endeavours, the bank explained in a statement yesterday. In his welcome address at the one-day Youth Etiquette Class held in Lagos, the bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo said: “at a time when inappropriate behavior and manners are threatening to push our core values as a nation to the background, we need to rekindle hope for tomorrow by teaching children basic etiquette while reinforcing what parents may have thought them.� Okonkwo stated that it

was against this background that Fidelity Private Banking came up with the mentorship programme, as the role of children in national development cannot be over-emphasised. On her part, the training facilitator, Mrs. Janet Adetu, noted that the workshop would not only provide children with requisite social skills to manage difficult situations but also boost their self-confidence. “We want to build their self-confidence and make sure that our children are prepared to take up leadership opportunities in the near future.�

A view of Lagos ďŹ nancial district


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OCTOBER 2016 Broad Money (M2)




---- Currency Outside Banks


---- Demand Deposits


-- Quasi Money


Net Foreign Assets (NFA)


Net Domestic Assets(NDA)












--Other Assets Net


Reserve Money (Base Money)




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4,415,126.62 ˞ÙĂ&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă?Ě‹

MANAGED FUNDS Month Inter-Bank Call Rate

December 2016 10.39

Minimum Rediscount Rate (MRR) Monetary Policy Rate (MPR)


Treasury Bill Rate


Savings Deposit Rate


1 Month Deposit Rate


3 Months Deposit Rate


6 Months Deposit Rate


12 Months Deposit Rate


Prime Lending rate


Maximum Lending Rate

28.55 ËžĂ™Ă˜Ă?ĂžĂ‹ĂœĂŁÙÖÓĂ?ĂŁĂ‹ĂžĂ?Ě‹ͯ͹Ϲ

OPEC DAILY BASKET PRICE AS AT, WEDNESDAY, 15 FEB 2017 The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $53.10 a barrel on Wednesday, compared with $53.31 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 ˾ , FEBURARY 17, 2017



United Capital Grows Profit by 133%, Recommends N3bn Dividend Goddy Egene and Nosa Alekhuogie United Capital Plc yesterday announced an impressive performance for the year ended December 31, 2016, recording a jump of 133 per cent in profit after tax(PAT). Amidst the challenging economic environment and bearish capital markets, United Capital Plc, which is an investment banking firm, recorded a PAT of N6 billion in

2016, up by 133 per cent from N2.57 billion in 2015. In all, the company recorded gross earnings of N9 billion in 2016, showing an increase of 50 per cent from N6 billion posted in 2015. Investment income rose from N3 billion to N4 billion, while fee and commission income grew from N1.612 billion to N1.979 billion. Despite high inflation in 2016, the management of the company was able to reduce




its total expenses by 19 per cent from N3.238 billion to N2.634 billion. Consequently, profit before tax (PBT) grew by 95 per cent from N3.264 billion to N6.366 billion, while PAT soared from N2.57 billion to N6 billion. Based on the performance, the directors have recorded a dividend of N3 billion, which translate to 50 kobo per share, up by 42 per cent from 35 kobo paid in 2015. The Group Chief Executive




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


6 6 12

30.00 34.00

19 19 31

Officer of United Capital Plc, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Sanni had said the company would continue to continue to pursue its clear and consistent strategy, which has delivered a strong performance for shareholders. Sanni said: “We remain positive about our future opportunities within the Nigerian and African market, not-withstanding the challenging macro-economic environment.

12,629 11,640 24,269

374,530.15 421,345.20 795,875.35


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

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

5 68 13 86 86

0.77 1.13 20.47

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

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

13 13


31,970 31,970

1,409,214.78 1,409,214.78

5 5 18


28,901 28,901 60,871

154,716.48 154,716.48 1,563,931.26

6 24 7 98 135

2.85 118.85 20.00 99.00

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

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

9 9


166,476 166,476

28,285,937.95 28,285,937.95

54 38 6 12 1 29 140

5.61 19.00 1.37 6.86 6.65 1.27

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

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

11 54 65

17.86 700.00

18,825 98,360 117,185

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

11 11


99,050 99,050

420,455.00 420,455.00

13 21 34 394

21.90 28.00

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

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

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

4.10 1.49 15.60 1.21 16.70 1.07 1.76 2.95 5.30 0.63 0.98

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

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

14 8 2 3 7 10 1 1 46

0.80 0.90 0.50 0.50 2.06 0.76 0.50 0.50

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

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

1 1


4,760 4,760

4,950.40 4,950.40

31 7 105 7 20 170 893

2.46 4.00 0.85 14.15 1.31

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

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





As we commence 2016, we remain committed to achieving our goal of building Africa’s leading investment and financial services group and to work hard to accomplish our strategic objective set out in 2015 & 2016. Our priorities include: driving effectiveness and efficiency initiatives to improve productivity whilst optimising costs, further improving our brand awareness, corporate image

and brand value to achieve market-wide recognition and appreciation of our corporate identity.” A subsidiary of the company, United Capital Asset Management, recently launched two mutual funds- United Capital Nigerian Eurobond Fund and the United Capital Wealth for Women Fund aimed at meeting the diversified investment portfolio needs of indigenous and global clients.


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





32 4 6 69 69

25.33 0.94 0.69

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

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

1 1 1


500 500 500

805.00 805.00 805.00

16 9 4 6 10 31 76

24.00 9.30 35.78 8.62 3.36 80.50

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

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

6 6


134,500 134,500

204,240.00 204,240.00

5 5 87


24,529 24,529 15,152,108

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

2 2


24,262 24,262

12,131.00 12,131.00

90 90


3,827,573 3,827,573

13,288,632.05 13,288,632.05

21 7 8 21 7 64

18.34 1.84 342.00 150.00 145.00

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

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

33 33 189


389,934 389,934 4,473,488

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

1 1


941 941

470.50 470.50

5 5


32,870 32,870

127,756.40 127,756.40

13 13


624,500 624,500

538,430.00 538,430.00

1 22 23

2.29 4.00

4,588 251,094 255,682

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

1 1 43 1,811


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

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

2 2 2 2


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

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

306 306


13,929,679 13,929,679

159,605,439.23 159,605,439.23

278 278 584


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

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

35 35 35 619 2,432


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

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

2 2 2 2 2 10 10 10

2,330.00 2.33 6.02 11.09 18.07

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

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



     ˾  FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017


African Capital Markets Decline by 28% on Weaker Economic Growth Goddy Egene Activity in African equity capital markets declined 28 per cent in 2016  with regards to number of transactions, compared to 2015, thus   breaking a streak of three years of growth.  According to PWC’s   2016 Africa Capital Markets Watch publication,  it was  a challenging year for African equity markets in the wake of lower economic growth and political upheaval around the globe, largely as a

result of the United States (US) elections cycle and the Brexit vote. In Nigeria, continued lack of clarity around foreign exchange risk further discouraged foreign investment, the report said. PwC , yesterday, issued the publication, which analysed equity and debt capital markets transactions that took place between 2012 and 2016 on exchanges throughout Africa, as well as transactions by African companies on international exchanges. PwC Capital Markets Partner

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

based in Lagos, Darrell McGraw, said: “Many African economies, in particular those dependent on resources suffered in a low growth environment, significantly reducing equity capital market (ECM) activity, and a continued lack of clarity around foreign exchange risk in Nigeria further discouraged foreign investment. Although overall ECM activity decreased in 2016 in terms of both transaction volume and value as compared to 2015, there was a significant increase in ECM activity,

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 15-Feb-2017, unless otherwise stated.

particularly IPOs, in the second half of the year, indicating the cautious optimism of issuers and investors as the year progressed.” According to the report, overall, $1.5 billion was raised in IPO proceeds in 2016, and while 2016 saw a decrease from the prior year, there has been an overall upward trend in IPO activity over the five year period. In 2016, capital raised from IPOs by companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) increased by 25 per cent in United

States dollar terms as compared to 2015. Capital raised from IPOs by companies on exchanges other than the JSE decreased by 22 per cent as compared to 2015, largely driven by relatively smaller Egyptian IPOs in 2016. Debt capital market (DCM) activity, in particular Eurobond, represents only a portion of the total debt raised in Africa. Eurobond activity by African corporates continued to decline in 2016, with investment grade

and high-yield proceeds from Eurobond issuances falling by 21 per cent to $4.5 billion, and the number of issuances by 53 per cent to just seven, including some large issuances by South African telecommunications provider, MTN, and Nigerian telecommunications infrastructure company, IHS, which raised $800 million in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest-ever high-yield bond. Proceeds from all seven of these 2016 issuances were raised in US dollars.

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 125.94 126.18 -0.94% Nigeria International Debt Fund 216.68 217.03 0.59% 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 0.69 0.70 -1.52% 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 17.69% ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ARM Aggressive Growth Fund 11.98 12.34 -2.99% ARM Discovery Fund 282.64 291.16 -1.58% ARM Ethical Fund 21.79 22.45 -2.46% ARM Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 17.36% AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED Web:; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund 105.79 106.54 0.68% AXA Mansard Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 16.25% 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 1,109.27 1,110.34 1.73% FBN Heritage Fund 109.62 108.90 -2.41% FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 15.76% 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 111.44 112.92 -1.08% 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 1.82% 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 2,165.45 2,190.62 -1.98% Coral Income Fund 2,153.21 2,153.21 2.33% 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 17.38% 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 16.48% Vantage Balanced Fund 1.68 1.69 -0.23% Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund 1.00 1.00 15.00%

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 0.29% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 1,015.91 1,015.91 1.30% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD Web: ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 9.62 9.70 -0.45% 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 1.09% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 10.41 10.44 0.02% 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 1,806.90 1,816.51 -1.34% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 152.12 152.12 -1.20% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 0.75 0.76 -1.95% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 189.25 189.25 1.26% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 127.30 128.89 -1.97% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 17.66% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 7,186.05 7,272.24 -5.22% 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 9.57 9.74 -0.46% Zenith Ethical Fund 11.09 11.19 1.60% Zenith Income Fund 17.05 17.05 3.21%


Yield / T-Rtn

11.41 124.56

1.01% 0.48%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

7.84 69.78

7.94 71.10

-10.65% -7.91%

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

2.39 4.66 11.17 14.06 137.79

2.43 4.74 11.27 14.26 139.79

-12.86% -33.52% -6.80% -11.78% 6.04%

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.




The Amazing Quran Kim Jong-Nam: More Arrests Gary Miller/IslamiCity

The Source of the Quran Another example of people’s use of this weak stance can be found in the Makkans’ explanation of the source of Muhammad’s message. They used to say, “The devils bring Muhammad that Quran!” But just as with every suggestion made, the Quran gives the answer. One verse (Surah Al-Qalam 68: 51-52) in particular states: And the Unbelievers would almost trip thee up with their eyes when they hear the Message; and they say: “Surely he is possessed!” But it is nothing less than a Message to all the worlds. Thus it gives an argument in reply to such a theory. In fact, there are many arguments in the Quran in reply to the suggestion that devils brought Muhammad his message. For example, in the 26th chapter Allah clearly affirms: No evil ones have brought down this (Revelation): It would neither suit them nor would they be able (to produce it). Indeed they have been removed far from even (a chance of) hearing it. (Surah ash-Shuara 26:210-212) And in another place (Surah an-Nahl 16:98) in the Quran, Allah instructs us: “So when you recite the Quran seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan, the rejected.” Now is this how Satan writes a book? He tells one, “Before you read my book, ask God to save you from me?” This is very, very tricky. Indeed, a man could write something like this, but would Satan do this? Many people clearly illustrate that they cannot come to one conclusion on this subject. On one hand, they claim that Satan would not do such a thing and that even if he could, God would not allow him to; yet, on the other hand, they also believe that Satan is only that much less than God. In essence they allege that the Devil can probably do whatever God can do. And as a result, when they look at the Quran, even as surprised as they are as to how amazing it is, they still insist, “The Devil did this!” Praise be to Allah, Muslims do not have that attitude. Although Satan may have some abilities, they are a long way separated from the abilities of Allah. And no Muslim is a Muslim unless he believes that. It is common knowledge even among non-Muslims that the Devil can easily make mistakes, and it would be expected that he would contradict himself if and when he wrote a book. For indeed, the Quran states (Surah an-Nisa 4:82): Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.

Mythomania In conjunction with the excuses that non-Muslims advance in futile attempts to justify unexplainable verses in the Quran, there is another attack often rendered which seems to be a combination of the theories that Muhammad (sas) was crazy and a liar. Basically, these people propose that Muhammad was insane, and as a result of his delusion, he lied to and misled people. There is a name for this in psychology. It is referred to as mythomania. It means simply that one tells lies and then believes them. This is what the non-Muslims say Muhammad (sas) suffered from. But the only problem with this proposal is that one suffering from mythomania absolutely cannot deal with any facts, and yet the whole Quran is based entirely upon facts. Everything contained in it can be researched and established as true. Since facts are such a problem for a mythomaniac, when a psychologist tries to treat one suffering from that condition, he continually confronts him with facts. For example, if one is mentally ill and claims, “I am the king of England,” a psychologist does not say to him “No you aren’t. You are crazy!” He just does not do that. Rather, he confronts him with facts and says, “O.K., you say you are the king of England. So tell me where the queen is today. And where is your prime minister? And where are your guards?” Now, when the man has trouble trying to deal with these questions, he tries to make excuses, saying “Uh… the queen… she has gone to her mother’s. Uh… the prime minister… well he died.” And eventually he is cured because he cannot deal with the facts. If the psychologist continues confronting him with enough facts, finally he faces the reality and says, “I guess I am not the king of England.” The Quran approaches everyone who reads it in very much the same way a psychologist treats his mythomania patient. There is a verse in the Quran (Surah Yunus 10:57) which states: O mankind! there hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts,- and for those who believe, a guidance and a Mercy. At first glance, this statement appears vague, but the meaning of this verse is clear when one views it in light of the aforementioned example. Basically, one is healed

of his delusions by reading the Quran. In essence, it is therapy. It literally cures deluded people by confronting them with facts. A prevalent attitude throughout the Quran is one which says, “O mankind, you say such and such about this; but what about such and such? How can you say this when you know that?” And so forth. It forces one to consider what is relevant and what matters while simultaneously healing one of the delusions that facts presented to mankind by Allah can easily be explained away with flimsy theories and excuses.

over Airport Poisoning Two more suspects have been arrested in connection with the death of Kim Jong-nam, the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Malaysia. A female Indonesian suspect and a Malaysian man thought to be her boyfriend were both

New Catholic Encyclopedia It is this very sort of thing – confronting people with facts – that had captured the attention of many non-Muslims. In fact, there exists a very interesting reference concerning this subject in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. In an article under the subject of the Quran, the Catholic Church states: “Over the centuries, many theories have been offered as to the origin of the Quran… Today no sensible man accepts any of these theories!!” Now here is the age-old Catholic Church, which has been around for so many centuries, denying these futile attempts to explain away the Quran. Indeed, the Quran is a problem for the Catholic Church. It states that it is revelation, so they study it. Certainly, they would love to find proof that it is not, but they cannot. They cannot find a viable explanation. But at least they are honest in their research and do not accept the first unsubstantiated interpretation which comes along. The Church states that in fourteen centuries it has not yet been presented a sensible explanation. At least it admits that the Quran is not an easy subject to dismiss. Certainly, other people are much less honest. They quickly say, “Oh, the Quran came from here. The Quran came from there.” And they do not even examine the credibility of what they are stating most of the time. Of course, such a statement by the Catholic Church leaves the everyday Christian in some difficulty. It just may be that he has his own ideas as to the origin of the Quran, but as a single member of the Church, he cannot really act upon his own theory. Such an action would be contrary to the obedience, allegiance and loyalty which the Church demands. By virtue of his membership, he must accept what the Catholic Church declares without question and establish its teachings as part of his everyday routine. So, in essence, if the Catholic Church as a whole is saying, “Do not listen to these unconfirmed reports about the Quran,” then what can be said about the Islamic point of view? If even non-Muslims are admitting that there is something to the Quran – something that has to be acknowledged – then why are people so stubborn and defensive and hostile when Muslims advance the very same theory? This is certainly something for those with a mind to contemplate – something to ponder for those of understanding!

Testimony of an Intellectual Recently, the leading intellectual in the Catholic Church – a man by the name of Hans – studied the Quran and gave his opinion of what he had read. This man has been around for some time, and he is highly respected in the Catholic Church, and after careful scrutiny, he reported his findings, concluding, “God has spoken to man through the man, Muhammad.” Again this is a conclusion arrived at by a non-Muslim source – the very leading intellectual of the Catholic Church himself! I do not think that the Pope agrees with him, but nonetheless, the opinion of such a noted, reputed public figure must carry some weight in defense of the Muslim position. He must be applauded for facing the reality that the Quran is not something which can be easily pushed aside and that, in fact God is the source of these words. As is evident from the aforementioned information, all of the possibilities have been exhausted, so the chance of finding another possibility of dismissing the Quran is nonexistent.

Burden of Proof on the Critic If the book is not a revelation, then it is a deception; and if it is a deception, one must ask, “What is its origin? And where does it deceive us?” Indeed, the true answers to these questions shed light on the Quran’s authenticity and silence the bitter unsubstantiated claims of the unbelievers. Certainly, if people are going to insist that the Quran is a deception, then they must bring forth evidence to support such a claim. The burden of proof is on them, not us! One is never supposed to advance a theory without sufficient corroborating facts; so I say to them, “Show me one deception! Show me where the Quran deceives me! Show me; otherwise don’t say that it is a deception!”

detained on Thursday. A woman travelling on a Vietnamese passport has also been detained. Kim died on Monday after apparently being poisoned while waiting to board a flight in Kuala Lumpur. Police say they have now finished their post-mortem examination, though the results have not yet been made public. The two female suspects have been remanded in custody for seven days. The inspector general of


I formerly known and addressed as ROSEMARY OSOGBUE, now wish to be known and addressed as ROSEMARY OSOGBUE COBBINAH. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note. I formerly known and addressed as MBAYILAN MARGARET TSEAYO, now wish to be known and addressed as MBAYILAN MARGARET AONDOAKAA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note.

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the Royal Malaysia police, Sri Khalid Bin Abu Bakar, said the second woman was detained on Thursday over the death of “a Korean male”. She was identified from airport CCTV footage and had an Indonesian passport. Malaysian Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi formally confirmed on Thursday that the dead man, who was travelling under the name Kim Chol, was Kim Jong-nam, according to state news agency Bernama.


I formerly known and addressed as MISS AKILO OLUBUKOLA MARY, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ADENUGA OLUBUKOLA MARY. All former documents remain valid. UNILAG and general public should take note.

I formerly known and addressed as MISS CHIKA NTAKA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS CHIKA EMEJI. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note. I formerly known and addressed as MISS TAMUNOTONYE GOMA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS dDhEKdKEz   >&Zͳ EGBERIPOU. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note. I formerly known and addressed as DOUTIMIYE TONPREYE EGBERIPOU, now wish to be known and addressed as Khd/D/z  >&Zͳ EGBERIPOU. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note. I formerly known and addressed as MARYAM ABUBAKAR ABDULKADIR, now wish to be known and addressed as MARYAM ABUBAKAR AHMED. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note. I formerly known and addressed as MISS AMADI CHINENYE MARGARET, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS MBAH CHINENYE MARGARET. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note.

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dŚŝƐ ŝƐ ƚŽ ŶŽƟĨLJ ƚŚĞ ŐĞŶĞƌĂů public that OLAYINKA AUGUSTA EDU and OLAYINKA IYABO EDU is one and the same person. All former documents remain valid, First Bank Plc, Skye Bank and the general public should please take note.








NPC to Include Religion, Ethnicity in 2018 National Census Warns lack of presidential proclamation, funding may stop exercise

Paul Obi ÓØÌßÔË The Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Eze Duruiheoma (SAN), has disclosed that religion and ethnicity will be included in the 2018 national census. Speaking with journalists yesterday in Abuja, ahead of the Phase three Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD), Duruiheoma said religion and ethnicity would not be left out in the next census. “When we make commitment on improving on what might have happened in the past, some of these things (ethnicity and religion) are what we mean. We intend to improve on them. I am not saying that anything went terribly bad in the past, because I was not here, so I don’t even know what happened. “But we will make sure that whatever product we produce after this census we contemplate, will be accepted by Nigerians.

That should be the test. “Those things that ought to be there like religion and ethnicity; we want Nigerians to be involved. The assurance I gave out is that those things you mentioned would not be left out in the census we are contemplating,” he added. Duruiheoma also said the lack of the presidential proclamation has continued to prevent full commencement of the exercise. He explained that lack of funding by government has prompted the commission to kickstart the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) in piecemeal.   He said: “Proclamation is very crucial and we have continued to ask for it. It is not an elaborate thing; it’s just a statement of intent by Mr. President. “The issue of proclamation is closely related to so many things; particularly, the issue relating to funding. I will tell

you what proclamation can do for us, proclamation will unlock so many doors. “Usually all over the world, census is not an internal thing, it is not left entirely to the government of that country. Outside donors play very important roles. This proclamation is the key to reaching those donors. As soon as that proclamation is secured, outside donors will indicate interest and tell us what they can do for us.” The NPC boss who said the census which “will cost about N200 billion,” added that funding “will not only

come from Nigeria.” Duruiheoma, accompanied by the NPC Director General, Dr. Ghaji Bello, stated that the EAD exercise would commence on February 20 and end on March 10, 2017. “As you are aware, population census is the enumeration of all persons resident in a country or a well-defined geographic unit at a particular time. “In order to effectively enumerate all these persons within a reasonable period, it becomes imperative to divide the whole land mass of the country into small units that

can be easily covered by a team of enumerators during census enumeration. “The EAD constitutes the foundation on which the entire census architecture stands. It forms the basis for the planning and execution of the census project. “At the end of the EAD Phase 3, the commission would have successfully demarcated 74 local government areas and the remaining 700 local government areas will be covered under the subsequent phases of the EAD. “To us at the commission, the significance of the EAD

exercise goes beyond the conduct of the 2018 Census as we plan to establish and maintain a national frame with the mandate of the commission under Section 24 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution,” Duruiheoma stressed. The chairman maintained that “Personal Digital Assistance (PDA) will be used in capturing spatial data and estimate EAs during demarcation. This scientific approach to demarcation will eliminate human elements as the process is capable of detecting human errors and preventing manipulations.

Presidency Budgets N100m to Purchase Bullet Proof Tyres Owes over N319m electricity bill, N52m for sewage Omololu OgunmadeÓØÌßÔË

has been consistent and indeed conservative in the budget The ongoing budget defence estimates as we are always in the National Assembly mindful of our current challenges yesterday revealed how in in the areas of revenue generation contrast to general beliefs about over the years,” he said. President Muhammadu Buhari’s Jalabi, who however, disclosed perceived frugal lifestyle, the that only paltry sums of the total State House has since last year budget for 2016 was released, said been spending whopping sums the State House only got N46 of money to purchase printed million capital release throughout tyres, otherwise known as bullet the year adding that of N2.4 billion proof tyres. budgeted for State House Clinic in Against this backdrop, the 2016, only 800 million, representing Presidency has planned to 30 per cent of the budget was spend about N100 million for released. the purchase of same tyres as He said the poor releases had contained in 2017 budget. resulted in various hiccups and debt The disclosure which appeared accumulation in the Presidential to be coming to public knowledge Villa including huge indebtedness for the first time, was shocking to electricity providers. According to some watchers at the meeting to him, N319.6 million has been who wondered why presidency budgeted in 2017 to upset officials should be using bullet electricity bills owed by the Villa. proof tyres in the face of biting “A sum of N45.3 million economic recession. only was approved in the Making the disclosure while 2016 budget for this purpose. defending the 2017 budget of the Suffice it to inform that the State State House before the Senate House electricity bill for 2016 Committee on Federal Character alone as forwarded by Abuja and Inter-governmental Affairs, Electricity Distribution Company Permanent Secretary, State House, (AEDC) for state House Abuja Jalal Arabi, said the N100 million was N252 milliom with another budgeted for printed tyres this outstanding liabilities of over year was only 50 per cent lower N300 million for state House, than what was budgeted in 2016.  Lagos facilities.  “Another area of interest Mr. “Clearly the provision in chairman, distinguished senators the 2016 budget could not is the purchase of tyres, a total accommodate this. It may sum of N94.5 million is proposed interest Committee to note in for 2017, representing 50 percent 2016, it took the management of of actual sought for the 2016. the State House the installation This will hope will address of meters to ensure proper the shortfalls and complement billing and that was what the requirements of this sector reduced the bill to a reasonable which are mostly printed tyres figure. However, since these procured at exorbitant prices. Mr. bills are currently subject chairman, some of the tyres being ofreconciliations, we have purchased are bulletproof and made a modest provision hence, constitute the bulk of the for sum of N319.6 million budget cost.  for 2017 to settle current and “Let me re-emphasise Mr. part of outstanding bills,” chairman that the state house he said.


R-L: Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige; Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode; Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed; and Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, at the inauguration ceremony of members of the National Road Safety Advisory Council (NARSAC) during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa Abuja...yesterday

Presidency: No Special Reception Planned for Buhari’s Return Dogara: President was cracking jokes

James Emejo ËØÎ Damilola Oyedele ÓØÌßÔË The presidency has revealed that there will be no special reception for President Muhammadu Buhari’s return from medical vacation in London. Speaking yesterday in Abuja on Arise Television, the sister broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said there would be no special programme being planned for the president’s return. He urged Nigerians to be on the alert as the president might soon arrive the country after a medical leave to London. He, however,  failed to give a definite time frame for Buhari’s return,  despite being severally pressed by the programme anchor. Asked why there had been no video evidence to support claims the president is indeed in good health, he said such was not required, given that Buhari had recently had telephone conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, and the

fact that he had just received the National Assembly officials led by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki in London. According to Adesina: “The fact that the president is receiving visitors, the fact that he has spoken with the American president and the fact that he has asked us to tell the world that he’s fine. I think that’s just enough.” He said: “I wish I could give you a definite date, I really wish but then we just have to hang on to what the president has told us. “In the letter to the National Assembly, he said ‘as soon as his doctors rule out some things. “I will just tell Nigerians to stay on the alert and watch and before they know it the president is back.” He added: “It could be anytime.” On whether there’s been some signs or preparations in Aso Rock to give an impression of the president’s arrival, Adesina said, “You don’t need much preparation; I will yell you what will happen.” According to him: “On the morning of a certain day, we will just receive an alert from protocol

that the president is on the way. And six hours later, they’ll be here. The president is a simple man.” Meanwhile, there are indications that President Buhari may have eventually allowed outgoing Minister for Environment,  Amina Mohammed, out of his cabinet after a tough decision. Mohammed had sought to quit the cabinet following her recent appointment as Deputy UN Secretary General. According to Adesina: “In the cabinet, we are actually sorry to see her go.  It was a tough decision. The president himself had to concede, had to ask her to go. “It was tough for her personally, it was tough for the entire cabinet. I will tell you, Amina Mohammed is one of the poster girls, if I can use that word,  in the administration; sharp and brilliant. “I can imagine the dilemma she’s been in but she’s going to the global stage and it’s good for Nigeria.” He added that despite the president being away, “government runs seamlessly, everything goes on as usual. The only thing is that the president is away on vacation and running

some medical tests: every other thing in the Villa is normal.” Meanwhile, following his visit to Buhari in London, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said the president is fit as a fiddle, and was cracking jokes with his visitors. Dogara, alongside Senate President Bukola Saraki, and the Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, had visited Buhari in London, on Wednesday. Dogara on his twitter handle @YakubDogara yesterday, said: “After burning national issues, it was all PMB’s vintage humorous jokes. I’m so elated he is as fit as a fiddle.” Buhari is on a medical vacation in London, and was expected to resume on February 6, 2017. In a letter to the leadership of the National Assembly however, the president communicated his desire to extend his leave, to conclude a cycle of medical tests. The development has led to speculations about his state of health.




BPE Boss Wants Independence for NERC James EmejoÓØÌßÔË The Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr. Vincent Onome Akpotaire, has said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) must be allowed to perform its mandate without interference for the country’s power privatisation programme to be successful. Specifically, he said NERC

must be allowed to fix tariffs in line with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) without interference from any quarters. He said if the tariffs are considered high, the government could decide to mitigate the effects by taking up a percentage of the tariffs instead of outright cancellation. Speaking in Abuja at a two-

Osinbajo: FG will Pay Attention to Poultry Business Tobi SoniyiÓØÌßÔË Poultry business will be given necessary government attention so as to maximise the potential of the industry, Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said. A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo spoke yesterday while receiving a delegation of Poultry Association of Nigeria which paid him a courtesy visit yesterday in his office at the State House in Abuja. Akande said Osinbajo wondered why poultry business seemed to have been ignored even as agriculture was on resurgent. The acting president

acknowledged the need to address some of the challenges facing the industry because of the significant of its contribution to the country’s economy. The National President of the association, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, told the acting president that poultry business was a trillion naira industry which had the potential to create jobs and provide economic empowerment to Nigerians. He asked government to compensate poultry farmers affected by the avian influenza, reduction of production high cost. He also pleaded with government to make sure that foreign exchange made available for machinery and critical inputs of the industry.

Fashola: FG to Raise Bond for State Claims on Federal Roads To dualise Calabar-Itu-Ikot EkepeneAba road Bassey Inyang ÓØËÖËÌËÜ The federal government has announced that it would raise a bond to pay states governments for verified claims of money spent on rehabilitating and reconstructing federal roads in their states. The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who stated this yesterday, said the federal government was mindful of its obligations and desirous of discharging them. The minister who was in Cross River State to inspect federal roads, however, declined to disclose the amount being owed the state. While on a courtesy call to the deputy governor, Professor Ivara Esu, he said the Ministry has assessed claims by the states for reimbursement and have forwarded them to the presidency. The minister said this was a matter that has agitated the governor’s forum, and they would ensure it is addressed. Fashola said the inspection and eventual reconstruction of roads was in fulfillment of the implementation of the

2016 budget. Federal Controller of Works in Cross River State, Chinwoba Agbana, said the infamous Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekepene-Aba road is under procurement and reconstruction of the road would begin soon. Agbana stated that the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekepene-Aba road would be dualised. Agbana said four project contractors have been mobilised to site across the state for various road projects, particularly, the Calabar-IkomOgoja-Obudu axis. Esu, however, said the state was not aware that there were four contractors working on federal roads in the state. Esu stated that about 80 per cent of roads in the state were federal roads mostly in deplorable conditions. The deputy governor expressed appreciation to the federal government for the rehabilitation done on the Calabar-Itu Road, which he said has alleviated the sufferings of travellers on the road. Esu said a lot more was still required to be done on the federal roads in the state.

day stakeholders interactive dialogue/workshop organised by the joint committees of the National Assembly recently, Akpotaire further cautioned against the blame-game in the power sector and appealed to the executive and the legislative arms of the government as well as other stakeholders to  come together  to find solutions to the sector’s challenges. He further explained that the loss levels at the point of privatisation of the power sector, especially the Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC &C) loss of Nigeria was about 50 per cent on the average which could not be fully passed to consumers immediately to avoid rate shock and consumer rebellion.  This,  according to him, clarified why the federal government is being asked to

subsidise the Nigeria Electric Supply Industry (NESI). On why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave a loan of N213 billion to the privatised power companies, he said, “Multi-Year Tariff Order 2 (2012) that was put in place when investors took over on November 1, 2013, had assumed AT & C loss level of 25 per cent. “The agreements signed with the investors gave NERC and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) one year to determine the true AT & C loss levels which was subsequently found to be about 50 per cent on the average. “Based on the new ATC & C loss levels, a new tariff was issued by NERC with  effect from February 2015 but the shortfall that accumulated because of the wrongly assumed ATC & C of 25 per cent from November 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014 amounted

to N213 billion. According to him: “Consumers were liable to pay the N213 billion immediately but the CBN intervention by way of a loan to the DISCOs, enabled NERC to spread the recovery of the money from the consumers over a ten year period.” In a statement by BPE Head, Public Communications, Mr.. Alex Okoh, which was made available to THISDAY, Akpotaire said though the federal government owns 40 per cent of the DISCOs, it was not part of the management because it was not funding its shares on the boards.” He said: “The Performance Agreement executed with investors has assigned operational risks to investors. The PA provides that a core investor who fails to achieve agreed targets stands the risk

of losing his/her equity at the payment of US$1 by the federal government.” On reasons why the core investors in the DISCOs were not investing heavily in line with the covenants they signed with the government, he said the transaction structure compelled investors to raise money and pay for their 60 per cent equity in DISCOs using their own balance sheet and that upon take over, the investors were expected to leverage on the acquired companies’ clean balance sheets to raise additional funds for investments. However, he pointed out that financial institutions have refused to lend money to the DISCOs until a cost reflective tariff is approved in line with the agreements; and the CBN loan to the industry removed from the books of the DISCOs.


L-R: Regional Manager, Lagos, Premium Pension Limited, Mrs. Maryam L. Mohammed; Acting Head of Service, Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adeboye; Commissioner, Inspectorate, National Pension Commission, Professor Abubakar Kaoje; Chairman, Board of Directors, Premium Pension Limited, Mr. Aliyu Dikko; and Managing Director , Mr. Wilson Ideva, during the inauguration of the Lagos Regional Office of Premium Pension Limited....yesterday

Six Lagos Lawmakers Defect to APC, Cite Leadership Crisis ÌÙãÏÑËÕÓØÝËØ×Ó Six lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), thereby leaving only two lawmakers in the opposition camp. The lawmakers conveyed their decision to defect in a letter addressed to the Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, and read at a plenary by the acting Clerk of the assembly, Mr. Azeez Sanni. Before their defection, the PDP had eight out of the 40 lawmakers in the assembly, representing about 20 per cent. But with the defection of six lawmakers, only two lawmakers are left in the fold of the opposition The letter of defection, which the clerk presented at the plenary yesterday, named the defected lawmakers: Hon. Mosunmola Sangodara from

Surulere II, Hon. Fatai Oluwa from Ajeromi Ifelodun II, Hon. Dayo Famakinwa from Ajeromi Ifelodun I, Hon. Hakeem Sokunle from Oshodi-Isolo II, Hon. Jude Idimogwu from Oshodi-Isolo I and Hon. Akeem Bello. The Minority Leader, Hon. Akeem Bello, spoke on behalf of the defected lawmakers, thereby justifying their decision to dump the PDP on whose platform they won the state legislative election in 2015. He explained that the lawmakers decided to leave the PDP due to what they ascribed to the leadership crisis, which they said, had undermined its power as the country’s frontline opposition party. The minority leader, also, said the lawmakers decided to dump the PDP due to what they described as the outstanding performance of the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, whom they said,

had brought creativity and dynamism to governance and public administration in the state. After the defection of the lawmakers was announced, the speaker and other APC lawmakers in the assembly welcomed them to the fold of the progressive congress with singing and clapping. The speaker commended the defected lawmakers for crossing over to the APC, thereby asking other lawmakers to give them standing ovation and describing their defection as a good decision. The defection of the lawmaker came two weeks after it had been speculated that some PDP lawmakers would cross over to the ruling party. The speculation became reality yesterday when their letter of defection was publicly presented. In an interview he granted THISDAY before their defection, the minority leader

had complained about how the leadership of the PDP in the state managed the campaign fun the National Secretariat released to them in 2015. He alleged that N1billion campaign fund was mismanaged, noting that the sum of N25 million was released to each constituency in the state and we have 40 constituencies. He alleged that he was told that the money was released “to the state chairman that we should meet with the state chairman to get our money. We wrote to two factional chairmen of the state chapter: Captain Tunji Shelle and Mr. Kamaldeen Olorunoje. But nothing came out of our petition.” He alleged that the affected lawmakers petitioned the National Secretariat about the missing campaign fund, which received much attention until the leadership tussle at the national level abruptly stopped the investigation.




FG Denies Withholding Ekiti State’s Statutory Allocation Ndubuisi FrancisÓØÌßÔËËØÎ Victor Ogunje ÓØÎÙÕÓÞÓ The federal government yesterday said it was not withholding statutory allocation to Ekiti State, contrary to the claims by  Governor Ayodele Fayose. The governor had Wednesday stormed the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance in Abuja to demand for the release of the state’s share of the monthly allocation from the Federation Account for December. Fayose had imputed political motives by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government for the non-release. However, in a statement,

the Ministry of Finance denied Fayose’s claim that the ministry withheld statutory allocation due to Ekiti. In the statement released by the Director (Information), Mr. Salish Na’Inna Dambatta,  the ministry categorically denied “state’s the claim as incorrect as the ministry has not withheld any statutory allocation due to Ekiti State, or any other state in the country.” According to the ministry, the fact was that the Ekiti State Government failed to comply with the necessary requirements for participating in the Budget Support Facility (BSF). The BSF, it added, is a Conditional Loan Programme

Ozekhome Asks Court to Vacate Order Freezing His Account Davidson Iriekpen Human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to vacate the order freezing his account. Justice Abdulazeez Anka on February 7, ordered a temporary forfeiture of N75million found in Ozekhome’s Guaranty Trust Bank account. The order followed an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which prayed the court to freeze Ozakhome’s account temporarily on the grounds that the N75 million was suspected to be proceed of crime. Ozekhome is praying for an order discharging and/or vacating forthwith, the interim order made ex-parte, which ordered an interim order of forfeiture to freeze or attach the money for 120 days. He sought an order restraining the federal government and the EFCC, whether by themselves, their operatives, agents, servants, and/or privies howsoever, from dealing in anyway and manner as to the operation or the proprietary rights of the ownership of the account. Ozekhome said the application for an order for interim attachment/forfeiture of his account was done in bad faith by EFCC, which he said did not comply with statutory and judicial authorities in obtaining an interim order vide motion ex parte. According to him, the respondent allegedly suppressed material facts in obtaining the order, therefore, the action is unconstitutional as same offends sections 36, 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution as there was no legal justification for EFCC’s action. “The applicant’s family, staff, dependants, associates, business and livelihood will greatly suffer, and are already suffering and will continue to suffer irreparable damage if this application is not granted, and the blockade or freezing of the account lifted immediately. He argued that the entire

application leading to the grant of the interim order ex-parte amounts to forum shopping and was calculated to overreach him. Ozekhome said the N75million was part-payment of legal fees from Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose. “The issue of whether or not the funds in Fayose’s account from which the N75 million was posted to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers GTBank account is suspected proceed of crime is currently on appeal as filed and entered by the self same counsel to the respondent herein, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa,” Ozekhome said. He also filed an affidavit of urgency deposed to by a lawyer in his firm Chimaobi Onuigbo, praying that that the case be heard urgently. The lawyer said the temporary freezing of  his account has caused Ozekhome “untold embarrassment, public odium, obloquy and mental agony as the respondent gave very wide publicity to the said freezing or attachment in print, electronic and social media, thus giving the wrong impression that he has committed a criminal offence against the laws of the land.” On the materials facts EFCC allegedly suppressed, Ozekhome said EFCC did not disclose to Justice Anka the fact that Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, had defrozen Fayose’s accounts forthwith, thereby allowing the governor to operate them, before Fayose transferred N75 million to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers account. Ozekhome said as at the time Fayose transferred N75million to his chambers account, there was no court processes filed or served on the applicant, indicating that the EFCC was on appeal, or asking the court to stay the execution of the order defreezing Fayose’s account. “Fayose, had himself withdrawn the sum of N5,000,000 in cash before transferring the sum of N75,000,000 to the account of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers,” the lawyer said.

to state governments introduced with the view to enhancing fiscal prudence and designed particularly to enhance transparency, efficiency in public expenditure and payment of salaries. “This is not the first time of non-compliance by the Ekiti State Government. His administration defaulted in meeting the conditions specified and agreed upon by the 35 state governments that are participating in the programme as contained in the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) and the Ekiti State Government was warned formally of its failure to comply with the full requirements vide a letter on August 5, 2016, with reference number HMF/FMF/ ASG/1/2016. “The failure of Ekiti State Government to comply with the requirements and conditions for the Budget Support Facility (BSF) resulted in a letter sent to the Chief of Staff to notify him

of the suspension of BSF for Ekiti State and it was conveyed to Mr. President before payment to the Ekiti State Government was reinstated. The Ekiti State Government and all the other participating states are aware of the consequence of failure to comply with the full conditions and it is not the first time that a state would be stopped from accessing the facility due to non-compliance. “In the course of its normal duties, the Ministry of Finance has the right to query, suspend or withhold funds as part of the conditions of the Budget Support Facility,” the ministry said. It added that “the process is for the commissioner of finance of any state or the governor having issues to contact the Federal Ministry of Finance and resolve the issues without resorting to the media because such issues are of a financial nature and therefore,

confidential; they are routinely resolved amicably by the parties involved.” “The Federal Ministry of Finance wishes to restate very strongly that the Budget Support Facility is a conditional programme and the federal government would not be intimidated or threatened in the discharge of its duties,” the ministry stated. Meanwhile, as Fayose tackles the federal government over the alleged seizure of the allocation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of masterminding the  withholding  of the funds to punish the governor and stifle the state. The party wondered  why the state APC could  assume  the position of the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Finance to explaining the reason behind the action of the federal government.

The APC had in a statement  issued by its Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, claimed that the federal government released a sum of N1.4 billion allocation to Ekiti, describing Fayose’s vituperations as ranting of a beleaguered governor. Also, a member of the seventh House of  Representatives and APC’s governorship aspirant, Hon Bamidele Faparusi, urged the governor to be transparent with the finances of the state, saying the stoppage of the budget-support fund was part of the ways to curb profligacy in government. In a statement by the state Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Jackson Adebayo,  the party explained that it was only in a despotic state where you can think of government playing politics with the welfare of the governs while decorating governance with blind vengeance as it operates now with the APC-led federal government.

Again, Health Workers Set to Embark on National Strike Give FG 30-day ultimatum Martins Ifijeh  The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) has given the federal government 30 days ultimatum to accent to its long standing demands, failure to which it will embark on an indefinite national strike in all health institutions in the country. Stating this during a protest rally in Lagos yesterday to register their grievances, the National President of the union, Mr. Ogbonna Obinna said the federal government has so far refused to implement the collectivelybargained agreements it had with NUAHP and the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) several years ago. According to him, “despite the National Industrial Court’s judgement that the federal government should adhere to skipping of CONHESS 10 and pay outstanding arrears, till date nothing has been done. The government has also refused to adjust the CONHESS salary structure,” adding that, that of medical doctors (CONMESS) has been reviewed since January 3, 2014 with all its arrears paid. He said as part of Federal Ministry of Health’s effort to also whittle down health workers, who are not medical doctors, it introduced a fake promotion exercise where its members were promoted to the same position they were before the exercise.  He said despite the agreement of the unions with the FG on appointment of consultants and special allowances since 2009, the government has refused to implement this.  The Deputy President, North, NUAHP, Isaac Utenoh added that other grievances of the union include, the half hazard implementation of Enhanced Entry Point

(EEP) for medical laboratory scientist and radiographers, government’s second class

treatment for health workers as against medical practitioners; government’s continuous

appointment of University staff to head departments and units of the hospital.




Appeal Court Rules on PDP Leadership Tussle Today Opposition merger talks face challenges Onyebuchi EzigboÓØÌßÔË The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt will today deliver judgment on the leadership crisis that has almost torn the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apart since May last year. After several court rulings on the crisis some of which contradicted each other, the matter was referred to the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt for adjudication. The Appeal Court in Port Harcourt after hearing the submissions in the appeal filed by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff against the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, which sacked him as the party’s National Chairman, reserved judgment till February 17, 2017. Today’s judgment is regarded a major decider which might lead to the resolution of the nine-month crisis.  The Port Harcourt case will also go a long way in deciding where the pendulum would swing in another case before an Appeal Court in Abuja under Justice Ibrahim Saulawa. To pave the way for the make or mar judgment, the Sheriff faction last January

withdrew the petition against the panel over alleged bias in the reinstatement of Eyitayo Jegede as the PDP candidate in the November 2016 Ondo State governorship election. In a letter dated January 31, 2017 addressed to the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, Sheriff faction said: “We humbly apply to withdraw the said petition against the justices and regret any inconvenience same may have occasioned on all affected parties.” The letter was signed by Prof. Wale Oladipo and Bashir Maidugu as PDP factional National Secretary and National Legal Adviser respectively. Before now, both factions in the conflict had expressed optimism that they would get favourable ruling from the Appeal Court. The Deputy  National Chairman of the  faction loyal to Sheriff and former National Vice Chairman, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, had hinged his confidence on the grounds that Sheriff was illegally removed from office after he cancelled a scheduled national convention in obedience to the ruling of Federal High Court in Lagos. However, the leadership of

the PDP National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi has said they have full confidence that the judiciary will not let the party down, adding that from the level of support it has within the ranks of the party membership there is no need to doubt where the soul of the party is. The Makarfi committee had followed up this optimism by embarking on confidence-boosting

visitation to the founding fathers of the party to brief them on the rebuilding process of PDP. It has also started merger discussions with seven political parties, which include the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alliance Democracy (AD), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) among others. But THISDAY gathered yesterday that all might not

entirely be well with the move, as some of the parties mentioned in the merger talk are not comfortable with what PDP is offering on the table. It was learnt that the main opposition, PDP, has said that it would not ready to lose its name and logo while persuading others to lose their identities for the success of the political arrangement. A reliable source who is also

a leading member of one of the parties involved in the talks told THISDAY that some of them might soon pull out of the talk “if the PDP is not ready to change its stand.” The National Publicity Secretary of SDP, Alfa Mohammad, also confirmed that the terms of agreement listed by his party in order to join the merger talk has not been met. 

Wigwe, Terraz, Others Collaborate to Combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria Mary Ekah In response to the urgent need to have a coordinated and sustained response to combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe and Managing Director and Chief Executive of Total, Mr. Nicolas Terrraz, were yesterday inaugurated as the Co-chairs of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA) ) at a dinner held in Lagos. With the inauguration, they would both help pave the way and also assist, as well as give

grants to organisations engaged in activities connected with the furtherance of rehabilitating people with HIV/AIDS-related cases. NiBUCAA believes that such collaboration would hasten intervention and also prevent explosion of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. It also believed that such intervention can only be result driven when there are early government-led efforts that seeks to help coordinate public and private sector activities as well as the arrival of significant international funding.

The inauguration ceremony, which had in attendance former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the guest of honuor, was a timely response to the urgency to address the devastating global impact of HIV/AIDS. How to make high importance and relevance to businesses as well as economic growth, thus, opportunities to make major inroads against the infectious disease, were discussed at the dinner cum inauguration ceremony dedicated exclusively to HIV/AIDS. Organised by Nibucca and

sponsored by Access Bank, NiBUCCA represents the voice of the Nigerian private sector response to HIV and AIDS on the premise that businesses have collective leadership role to play in the wide multi-sectoral response to the pandemic and other related ailments. The dinner also aimed to bring political leaders, advocates, health workers, top notch business men and woman as well as intellects from the civil society organisations to address the policy, scientific, and advocacy components of efforts to expand and speed the global AIDS response.




UN Warns against Arbitrary Closure of IDP Camps Ejected  IDPs live in the open in Maiduguri Michael OlugbodeĂ“Ă˜ Ă‹Ă“ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă‘Ă&#x;ĂœĂ“Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽ Alex Enumah Ă“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË As concerns continue to mount over the proposed plans to close camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the three North-east states, largely affected by insurgency, the United Nations has warned against the forceful return of the IDPs to their communities without the provision of basic amenities and guarantee of safety of lives and property. The world body also advocated the need for a political solution that would engage Boko Haram and other stakeholders, outside the military one currently employed, in order to provide a durable solution to the crisis. The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, who sounded the warning yesterday at a meeting with journalists in Abuja, was of the opinion that the present situation of most communities in the North-east is not yet conducive for a return. He said: “More than one million IDPs have returned to their local government areas of origin (mainly Adamawa and Yobe) since August 2015

and the number continues to increase rapidly. However, many of them are stranded in secondary displacement sites because of ongoing insecurity, destroyed infrastructure and absence of basic services. “I would like to urge the authorities to ensure that all return of people to their homes are safe and voluntary, wellinformed based on up-to-date and accurate information, and respect people’s dignity. “There should be no forced returns, which would include the arbitrary closure of camps without guarantees of safety, access to basic services, critical infrastructure and humanitarian assistance.� The UNDP representative, also emphasised on the need for effective reintegration programmes for women, men, girls and boys previously held by Boko Haram. “Infrastructure rebuilding and livelihood support needs to run in parallel with social and psychosocial reintegration programmes to effectively rebuild communities. It is time to plant a seed of hope in the suffering communities – enough is enough,� he stressed. To this end he disclosed that the UN would be organising an International Conference

on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin in Oslo Norway next week, with the sole objective of raising fund to meet humanitarian needs in the North-east. “This is a great opportunity for the international community to make meaningful commitments towards funding our humanitarian response activities. It is also an opportunity for the government of Nigeria to tell the world the true extent of this crisis. “The Humanitarian Response Plan 2017 for Nigeria seeks more than US$1billion to meet the needs of the 6.9 million people targeted – we are hoping to raise more than this at the end of the conference in Oslo,� he said.  Meanwhile, over 130 households, comprising more than 1,000 IDPs have been

compelled to live in makeshift shanties in an open space in Maiduguri as they were forcefully ejected from rented accommodations due to inability to pay rents. The IDPs made a complaint to the Presidential Committee on North-east Initiatives (PCNI) which paid a visit on them during which they were given relief materials, that they have been living a sub-human life and need to be assisted to relocate to their homelands. They lamented that they were recently ejected by their landlords, as they failed to pay their monthly rents which was as low as N1,000 each in the host community of old Maiduguri. The spokesperson of the group, Ibrahim Imam, said this made the ejected IDPs,

who have mostly lost their husbands and other family members to take refuge in an open space that they have come to name the Shuwari Medinatu resettlement camp within Maiduguri metropolis. He said the IDPs were initially sacked by Boko Haram insurgents from their homes in Konduga, Bama, Alau, Damakulli and Kawuri communities in the state. Imam while thanking the PCNI for the food items, pleaded that they should be assisted to construct mobile toilet and bathroom facilities. He lamented that they have spent 44 days in the open since their ejection even with the cold harmattan and would need to be assisted to relocate back to their homelands. Leading a delegation from

the Presidential Committee on North-east Initiatives (PCNI) on a massive distribution of relief materials to IDPs host communities of Maiduguri, Prof. Hauwa Biu, said over 80 per cent of IDPs live within the host communities other than established camps. She said many took the decision to live within the host communities because they do not enjoy the style of living in camps which is equally hard. She lamented that there is no enjoyment in the life of an IDPs, noting that their living is pathetic and traumatising. At the Shuwari Madinatu resettlement camp, the PCNI distributed 700 bags of rice, millet, beans, 400 cartons of noodles and 60 jerry cans of palm and vegetable cooking oil.

Akwa Ibom Set to Inaugurate First Pencil Factory in Nigeria Ahead of the FG’s 2020 target The Akwa Ibom State Government is set to inaugurate the first ever pencil factory in the country. The factory which is also producing tooth pick, is a wholly-owned by the state government’s company floated in 2015 under the Akwa Ibom Enterprises and Employment Scheme (AKEES). The company is an initiative which is aimed at re-awakening the spirit of enterprise among youths and position them to benefit from the industrialisation programme of the state government. The Administrative and Utility Manager of the factory, Miss. Nsisiong Umoh, said although the factory is currently on a test run with a staff strength of over 60, all drawn from AKEES database, it has been producing for two months now. According to her, the factory produces about 4,000 to 5,000 pencils per day, 25,000 per week, 100,000 per month currently. She said this would increase drastically when the factory is inaugurated later in the year. Umoh added that government’s plan is to also build pen, matches and sagged bag factories within the premises, thereby creating more employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the state.

She said although the factory is yet to start selling its products, so many companies have already indicated interest to act as their marketers/ distributors. While commending Governor Udom Emmanuel for making her and thousands of Akwa Ibom youths selfdependent, she said she was optimistic that in few years from now, Akwa Ibom State would be a major exporter of many products. She said the AKEES Pencils and Toothpicks Factory also produces branded toothpicks for special occasions. Meanwhile, the pencil and tooth pick factory has received orders from the Sokoto State Government to supply 144,000 pencils every three months. The Coordinator of AKEES, Elder Ufot Ebong who also is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, made this known in Uyo while interacting with journalists recently. The federal government had set 2020 as the date for the production of pencils instead of importing same, but Akwa Ibom State through AKEES, the pet project of Governor Udom Emmanuel has taken the bold step to beat that date by producing pencilsand crayons earlier than the set date.


L-R: Oversea Marketing Director, Gionee, Sony Song; Managing Director, Gionee Nigeria, Chukwueze Austine; Gionee Brand Ambassador, Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua (Sheyi Shay); and Marketing Director, Gionee Nigeria, Shomoye Habeeb, during the handover ceremony of Gionee Badge to the new Ambassador in Lagos... yesterday  


Osinbajo Heads Road Safety Council Tobi SoniyiĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has inaugurated the National Road Safety Advisory Council which he also chairs. The council  was inaugurated yesterday at the Council Chamber, State House, Aso Rock, shortly before the commencement of the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC). The committee members included six state governors drawn from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal; and some ministers.  The governors who are members of the council are Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) for the South West; Willie Obiano (Anambra) for South-east; Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) for South-south; Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) for North-central; Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe) for North-east; and Ahmed El-Rufai (Kaduna) for North-west.  The ministers who are members of the council are the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Budget and National Planning

Minister,  Udo Udoma, Finance Minister,   Kemi Adeosun, Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, Minister for the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, Power, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola as well as the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire.  Dankwabo who spoke on behalf of the members said the council would deliver on its mandate.  Speaking to State House correspondents, the FRSC’s Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, said the inauguration was in line with the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 He commended the federal government for equipping the corps with N3 billion worth of vehicles and life-saving ambulances, saying Nigeria’s road safety would be at par with global standards. He said: “The  Decade of Action for Road Safety has five pillars, first is for each member state to set up a road safety management institution and to prepare a strategic document for the country. Why we are

second behind Ghana in Africa is because this document has not been ratified by the government and the present government has deemed it fit to approve it after preparation. “The essence of this is that road safety issues have been taken finally to the highest level in the country with the vice-president presiding over the National Road Safety Advisory Council and the six governors representing the six geo-political zones and all the ministries and agencies that have imputs in road safety and the local government.  “It shows that the government at all levels have really demonstrated openly the commitment towards enhancing the safety of lives and property on the highways. “Since the advent of this administration it has invested over N3 billion alone on logistics for the corps. Last year witnessed the largest procurement of vehicles and ambulances and with this we will start seeing the improvement and personal commitment of top government officials towards enhancing road safety in the country. “Like the name implies, it is to advise the Federal Executive

Council (FEC) and the NEC on ways to improve on road safety management in the country and we commend Mr. President and Mr. Vice President for this open declaration of their support for road safety in Nigeria.� On whether this would reduce road accidents in the country, the Corps Marshal said “Government’s pronouncement gives about 50 per cent result already.   This an ample demonstration that government is fully committed to road safety, safety of lives and property in the country.  “This is also to ensure that the roads, health institutions, all conform to global standard not only crashes but that our hospitals must have drugs, trauma centres must be up and running, advance lifesupport ambulances. It shows that government will be able to inject more funds and this will translate to more discipline on the high ways, inter-agency cooperation will be more enhanced no more barriers and with vice-president giving instructions everyone will comply. We have never had this so good,� he said.

 ˜ͯ͵˜Ͱͮͯ͵˾T H I S D AY


FRIDAYSPORTS Akwa Utd Players Yet to Get Promised Cash, Houses

Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email


Okon Bassey inUyo Two years after winning the Federation Cup, players of the Akwa Ibom State Government owned Akwa United Football Club have expressed worries over the inability of Governor Udom Emmanuel to redeem the pledges he made to them. The governor had in the euphoria of the victory promised to pay each of the players N2 million bonus as well as a gift of a 2-bedroom apartment for winning the 2015 edition of the former FA Cup. The victory was the first time for the state since it was carved out of the former Cross River State in 1987. Regrettably, almost two years after, Governor Emmanuel is yet to fulfill the promise to the players, raising fears in the camp of the team nicknamed the ‘Promise Keepers’ by their legion of supporters that they may never get the reward. Some players who spoke on the condition of anonymity urged the governor to fulfill his pledge to the team. The player alleged that besides not paying them match bonuses, the governor only gave them N50, 000 each after they qualified for the finals. “The governor only gave us N50, 000 when we went to visit him at the Government House to formally inform him that we had entered the finals of the FA (Federation) Cup competition,” alleged the player. Some other players who spoke with THISDAY on condition of anonymity also disclosed that the immediate past Chairman of the club, Mr. Nse Ubeh and some officials of the State Ministry of Sports only took them to show some houses at the 1,000 Housing Units constructed by the state government at Ikot Ekpene and Uruan local government areas. “We were only shown the houses but the keys to the apartments were not given to us. Again, the state government refused to give us the original documents of the houses for us to take legal and full possession of them. “We were only given

photocopies of the house documents and, of course, you know that you can’t claim ownership of a property with photocopied documents. “We also learned that the houses have now been rented out to people who are presently occupying them which goes to show that they were not originally intended for us. “The governor keeps saying that he has redeemed his promises to us but we are shocked that up till this moment, we have not received the gifts. “We think that it is either the gifts have been cornered by some corrupt government officials or the governor has allocated them out to other people,” the players further alleged. “We have also met severally with the state commissioner for sports and the chairman of the club on the matter but they keep pleading with us to continue to exercise patience. For how long are we going to wait before getting the promises made by the governor?” queried the angry players. When asked to throw light on the matter, the Media Officer of Akwa United FC, Mr. Mfon Patrick, admitted that the state government was yet to fulfill its promises to the players who won the 2015 Federation Cup. He attributed the delay in disbursing the N2million and the 2-bedroom houses to the victorious players to the former Chairman of the club, Mr. Nse Ubeh, who he alleged did not submit a comprehensive list of the beneficiaries to the state government for necessary action. The club’s media officer said the current Chairman of the club; Mr. Paul Bassey, has reviewed the list of beneficiaries to include not just the players but other personnel of the club like drivers and backroom staff among others. Patrick pleaded with the players to continue to exercise patience with the state government as Governor Emmanuel would make good his promises possibly when the club plays its next NPFL match with Enyimba FC at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.


Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung (left), welcoming Chairman/CEO, HS Media Group, (owners of the HotSports Brand) Taye Ige, to his office in Abuja for a meeting… yesterday

2 0 1 7 N PA L AG O S P O LO

Lagos Leighton Kings Win in Open Cup STL hits Silver Cup semis Lagos Leighton Kings gallop off to a brilliant start in the Open Cup with a 10 - 6 ½ win over Lagos A-Plus as the GTBank-sponsored 2017 NPA Lagos International Polo Tournament gathers momentum. Argentine pro, Santiago Cernadas (+6) was the architect of Kings’ triumph scoring six of his team’s goals in the five-chukka match. Hassan Fayad (+1), who scored a goal, Bowale Jolaosho (0) and Martin Juaregi, another four-goaler from Argentina

featured for the winning side. Ahmadu Umar (+3) opened scoring for A-Plus but it proved to be that he and his teammates namely Lukman Adebayo (+1), Isa Kwame (+3) and Abdulrahman Mohammed (+3), had bitten more that they can chew as Leighton Kings ran riot from the second to the fourth chukkas scoring eight goals in succession to lead 10 - 2 1/2 heading to the last chukka. The spirited performance of A-Plus got them reduced the

deficit with Adebayo (twice) Kwame and Abdulrahman getting on the score sheets for a final 10 - 6 1/2 score-line. In the Silver Cup, Lagos STL defeated Kano Manarat 7-3 to progress to the semifinal while Ibadan Challenge and Kano Agad both bounced back with wins following defeats in their previous matches in the Silver Cup. Ibrahim Musa Dantala was the star man netting five goals

for STL, who had a convincing 11-3 win over Ibadan Challenge in their first match in League 1. Dantala, a +2 handicap, who won the MVP at the Kaduna International Polo Tournament last May, opened the score in the tough match via a breakaway move. Fellow two-goaler, Tata Alikura missed back-to-back chances - the latter which saw him missed a tap-in shot having been set up by Dantala.

Alaba Continues Bundesliga Glory Chase with Bayern Another weekend of German Bundesliga football is here again, and Nigerians will stay glued to their television for the live matches courtesy of StarTimes and HS Media. The live telecast will come from the studios of HotSports/HS Media Group in Lagos. Bayern Munich featuring David Alaba would want to extend their

lead at the top of the table when they visit Hertha Berlin. The Bavarians, coming from two successive victories (2-0 against Ingolstadt at the Bundesliga, and 5-1 against Arsenal midweek at the UCL), Bayern would love to extend their impressive form over Hertha Berlin, having won 18 of their last 19 meetings. The Munich team last

beat them 3-0 in September. Bayer 04 Leverkusen are looking to build on their emphatic victory over third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, as they visit FC Augsburg for the Match-day 21 opener this evening. Former Super Eagles captain Austin Jay Jay was a star feature for Frankfurt in his days in the Bundesliga.

The mood at Augsburg has taken a turn for the worse following their Match-day 20 game. Going into their game against FSV Mainz 05 last weekend, Die Fuggerstädter were on a two-match winning run for the first time in the season, however, a 2-0 loss quickly dampened their high spirits as well as dropping them to 13th.

The 15th edition of the annual Bankole Olumide Aluko (BOA) Football Tournament for law firms has been scheduled to kick off on Sunday February 26 at the Astroturf 2000 Facility in Ikoyi, Lagos. Already, 16 law firms have indicated their interests to participate in the 2017 edition. According to a statement released yesterday by Seni Deji Omotayo and Abidemi Ogundipe, Corporate Executive and Marketing & Brand Manager of Astroturf respectively, draws for this year’s tournament will be held on Wednesday February 22, 2017 at 3pm inside

Astroturf 2000. “The BOA Football Tournament for law firms is to kick off on Sunday 26th February 2016 @ Astroturf 2000 Ikoyi, at 3pm, with the 16 select law firms confirmed so far,” states the statement from Astroturf. The law firms already divided into four groups include; Streamsower & Kohn & Foundation Chambers, Fides & Fiducia, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Bloomfield Law, Pinheiro, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, Punuka Attorney, Adepetun Caxton Martin Agbor & Segun, Falana & Falana,

Templars, Babalakin & Co, Olisa Agbakoba Legal, Banwo & Ighodalo, Tayo Oyetibo/Bayo Osipitan, Lagos State Ministry of Justice and Aluko & Oyebode. Falana & Falana is the defending champions of the 2016 edition while Olisa Agbakoba Legal is the runners up. Tayo Oyetibo/Bayo Osipitan won the third placed spot of the last edition. The Bankole Olumide Aluko Football Tournament (BOA), or Lawyers’ League is held in memory of the late notable lawyer, Mr. Bankole Olumide Aluko, a founding partner in the law firm

of Aluko & Oyebode (“A & O”). He passed on 15 years ago and ever since, his colleagues and associates have celebrated his life and time. He was reputed as a fine gentleman and obsessively passionate about his football. Over the last nine years, Astro Soccer Nigeria Ltd (ASNL), owners of Astroturf 2000 football facilities, have hosted and managed the tournament, forming a partnership with Aluko & Oyebode to professionalise the planning, features and organisation that a notable tournament involving the top law firms in Nigeria deserves.

Eguma Calls for Fans’ Total Support against Real Bamako 15th BOA Lawyers Football Tournament to Kick off Feb 26 Rivers United Manager, Stanley Eguma, has said that fans of the club have an important role to play in Sunday’s CAF Champions League second leg preliminary round game against Malian club, AS Real Bamako. The tie is evenly poised on a knife edge following a 0-0 draw in the first leg at the Stade Modibo Kéïta, Bamako last Sunday. Eguma is drumming up support ahead of the game and is calling on fans of the club to turn out in their numbers to cheer the side to victory. “We expect our fans and all

Rivers people to come out (in their numbers) to support the team on Sunday. “We are representing not only Rivers state but Nigeria and we are looking to do the country proud. “There was a mammoth crowd in Bamako in the first leg as their fans came out to cheer their side and we will want the same in Port Harcourt,” the trainer told Eguma also dispelled fears over the fitness of striker Lukman Mohammed, who suffered a knock in the first leg.




Friday, February 17, 2017


& RE A S O


Price: N250

MISSILE Nwokoro to AMCON “What a shame! We bring a smaller country like Ethiopia to run a national carrier for Nigeria, the supposed Giant of Africa? If government could run an airline, Nigeria Airways would not have gone under� – Secretary to ACAP, Justin Nwokoro blaming AMCON for forceful takeover of Arik Airways


Of Mansions for Gatemen T wo weeks ago, the Chairman of the Senate Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Dino Melaye, made a startling revelation that shook me and many right thinking Nigerians to our foundation. At a time Nigeria is going through a daunting economic recession, it was revealed that we plan on spending the sum of N250 million to build a gatehouse for the Vice President of Nigeria. Whenever I think of the budgetary provision of N250 million to build a gatehouse for the vice president, I am moved by the inequities and inequalities of Nigeria. There is no urgency or importance in building a new gatehouse for the vice president’s already over priced house, but if even we need to build such a house can we not build it with less than 10% of the cost? At the black market rate (which is the most commonly used rate in Nigeria) N250 million is equivalent to $500,000. At the official rate, it is worth almost a million dollars. With that type of cash you can buy a mansion in Washington DC and a well developed property in London. Isn’t it a pity that all it can buy the Nigerian government is a gatehouse? Now we want to borrow $30 billion from other nations and foreign financial institutions. But why should any other nations or foreign financial institutions lend us money when we have not shown prudence in managing the little that we have? I can assure you that I did my research and not one of the ten richest nations in the world is spending the equivalent of 250 million for something as inconsequential to the well being of a nation as a vice president’s gatehouse. Why should America, Britain or China lend Nigeria any money when the gate man of our Vice President is living in a house that only a millionaire in their own country can afford? Should they lend us $30 billion so we can build more luxurious and befitting gatehouses for our other public officials? Is this the change we promised Nigerians? With a minimum wage of N18,000 the N250 million to be spent on the Vice President’s gatehouse can pay the salaries of 13,888 Nigerians! How many staff are being owed salary by the federal government? How many staff are being owed salary by state governments? How many pensioners are dying while waiting to collect pension that never comes? How many internally displaced persons are dying of hunger while we budget N250 million for a gatehouse? N250 million can feed one million people for a day and 200,000 people for a week. Recently, I was driving on a federal road in the South-east and a portion of that road was so damaged that it was a death trap. I wonder how many people have been killed on that road. Certainly, from my estimation as an entrepreneur who has built several malls and other real estate projects across Nigeria, N250 million will be sufficient to repair that portion of the road, but no! We have to build a gatehouse for a VIP! Nigeria has some of the worst maternal and infant maternity rates in the whole world.

Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

10% of all the women who die in childbirth are Nigerian women according to the UN. Meanwhile Nigeria only has 2% of the world’s population. The main challenge we have in reducing maternal mortality is funding and we are approaching international aid organisations to help us raise funds to help reduce death amongst our pregnant women. Can you imagine how unserious we look to them when they read that we are spending N250 million on a gatehouse while begging them for money? We really must make better use of our scarce resources at this time. We cannot expect others to lend to us from their own hard earned resources when we have demonstrated a propensity to squander the little we have. What we have demonstrated in Nigeria, especially within the last two years, is a strong propensity to major on the minor and minor on the major. With the way we in government treat Nigerians, I sometimes suspect that our people will prefer to go to hell if our leaders are found in heaven! And another thing, for a nation that wants to come out of recession, Nigeria is not spending enough on education. The proposed allocation for education is N50 billion, which is only a third of the proposed allocation for defence. There is a reason why LEARN and EARN rhyme. If a nation wants to earn more she must first learn more. This budget proposal does not take that into account. We are still working with an obsolete Industrial Age thought process that operates under the wrong notion that nations become rich because of what they have under their soil. I have got news for the executive: today’s nations can only grow rich by what is between the ears of its citizens! We are living in the knowledge worker era. Apple, Google, facebook and yahoo are now more valuable than Exxon-Mobil, Shell BP, Chevron and AGIP. The world is changing and we must change with it. I have been studying Anambra State for a while. This used to be one of the most educationally disadvantaged states in the South. But since the era of former Governor Peter

Obi till today, the state made education its priority and allocated the bulk of its budget to education and the more Anambra budgeted for education the more their economy flourished. They do not borrow. They did not participate in the federal government’s bailout to states. They have one of, if not the best subnational economies in Nigeria. Nigeria as a whole is importing food, Anambra as a whole is exporting food. And their secret is education. They have consistently featured as number one in WAEC and NECO results. If we want Nigeria to earn more money, that cannot be achieved by selling more oil. It can only be achieved by learning more to earn more. As a nation, we are spending N49 billion maintaining about a 100 embassies and consulates. What do we get in return? That expense is a drain and not an investment. We can spend only a fraction of that amount. Do we need a consular in every nation to issue visas? Several nations that are richer than Nigeria are doing away with consulars in preference for entry point visas. Turkey has a policy where you pay $40 and you get your visa online. It is reducing their recurrent expenditure because now they maintain only a skeletal staff in their embassies and it is increasing their revenue because without the bottleneck and hassle of getting visas through the traditional means, people are flocking to countries like Turkey, like the UAE and other countries that have online visa policies. Instead of N49 billion, we can spend only 10% of that and use the balance N45 billion to build infrastructure and educate our people. In fact, we can be like the UAE and Turkey that can afford to use the millions they get from online visas to run their embassies. Two months ago, the presidency released a statement announcing that they have recently weeded out 50,000 ghost workers from the pay roll of the federal government. If that is true, then why isn’t that being reflected in the budget for recurrent expenditure? If you have weeded 50,000 ghost workers from the system then there must be a massive drop in our recurrent expenditure. Something is not adding up. Recurrent expenditure in the 2017 budget is N2.98 trillion. Let us just call it N3 trillion. Recurrent expenditure in the 2016 budget was N2.6 trillion. Are we sure that the executive did not make a mistake and instead of weeding 50,000 ghost workers from the system it actually added 50,000 ghost workers because the recurrent expenditure has increased. Has minimum wage increased? No? There are too many ambiguities that need to be cleared up. And on housing, certainly we can do much more than what the 2017 budget proposes to do. The American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, theorised that our most basic human need is for shelter. Let us relate this to Nigeria. Nigeria has a 17 million housing deficit. If Abraham Maslow is correct, it stands to reason that lack of shelter, among others, is

one of the single largest drivers of corruption in Nigeria today. Civil servants and politicians steal largely because they have no hope of ever owning a home and they do not want to be destitute after their retirement. This is why the EFCC seizes a lot of houses from corrupt people. If home ownership represents man’s basic need, then no government has succeeded in meeting this need. After all, what is the essence coming to power if the most basic need of the electorate cannot be addressed? Nigeria needs to solve this challenge because if we do, we will go a long way to improving the human development index of Nigeria and reducing the misery level as well igniting the type of economic activity that will ease our current recession while also fighting corruption. There is no way government can build 17 million houses. At best, the budget of the ministry of housing can build a couple hundred thousand houses annually. If we are to plug this deficit, we have to rely on the private sector just like developed nations. We have over N6 trillion of our pension funds sitting in financial institutions. Let us deploy these funds into productive sectors of our economy. The naira gets devalued and the return from investing pension assets in government treasury bills and bank deposits is less than the rate of inflation. Real estate is one of the few investments that outstrips inflation. The safest investment anywhere in the world is real estate. Why don’t we use these funds to fund our real estate development and end our housing deficit? We can and we should use the pension funds to stimulate the housing market while the government subsidizes the mortgage rate for low income earners so that they can borrow at single digit interest rates. Promoting home ownership will lower corruption and what else could be a safer investment for our pension funds? After all, no one can run away with a house. They can run away with a car or with cash, or with shares, but a house is immovable and best of all it largely continues to appreciate in value. It only makes Commonsense to use pension funds in this way. And I do not even see why government has to sell land to property developers and private housing estate builders in the first place. In my opinion, if you want to build houses for the masses, government should give you land free of charge! Of what use is the land when it has no property or farm on it? At least if you allow people build on it government can charge them property taxes. Our president and governors live in houses paid for by tax payers. It is time we return the favour to the taxpayers and the masses. It is time we begin running Nigeria in a businesslike manner and provide our people the dividends of democracy. It is time we deliver on the promised change. r #FO .VSSBZ#SVDF JT UIF 'PVOEFS PG 4JMWFSCJSE &OUFSUBJONFOU (SPVQ BOE UIF 4FOBUPS SFQSFTFOUJOH #BZFMTB &BTU JO UIF /BUJPOBM"TTFNCMZ

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