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FG Orders Comprehensive Audit of Dana Airlines Says economy has completely exited recession Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja Disturbed by the recent air mishaps involving Dana Airlines, the federal

government rose from a seven-hour Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House, Abuja yesterday, with a resolution ordering a

complete audit of the airline. The airline was within two weeks involved in two near-fatal air incidents. The first was when the door

of one of its aircraft fell off after landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on February 8. Then on February 21,

another aircraft belonging to the airline overshot the runway and ran into the bush at the Port Harcourt airport. Obviously concerned that

the trend was an ominous sign of a looming disaster, FEC resolved that a total audit of Continued on page 10

Northern Leaders Inaugurate C’ttees for Presidential Election, Restructuring… Page 48 Thursday 8 March, 2018 Vol 23. No 8358. Price: N250 TR


& RE A S O


Dogara Queries Unilateral Removal of Sections of NFIU Bill by House C'ttee, Senate Passes Bill… Page 49

IMF Urges Confirmation of MPC Members, Directors of CBN Says Nigeria needs growth-friendly fiscal adjustment Calls for more ambitious tax policy measures Seeks sustained tight monetary policy, increased MPR

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja and Obinna Chima in Lagos The Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged the Nigerian Senate to confirm the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members of the Central

Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as the Bank’s deputy governors and non-executive directors who were nominated for the positions by President Muhammadu Buhari since last year. Continued on page 47

After Seven-Year Trial, Court Sentences Charles Okah to Life Imprisonment Alex Enumah in Abuja After a trial that lasted more than seven years, Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, finally sentenced Charles Okah and his accomplice, Obi Nwabueze, to life imprisonment for their complicity in the October 1, 2010 independence day bombings near the Eagle Square, Abuja, that resulted

in the deaths of 12 persons. The judge handed down the sentences yesterday, having found them guilty in five of the eight charges preferred against them by the federal government. The judgment, which lasted for about six hours, has finally brought to a close the protracted trial over the Continued on page 10

Land Use Charge: Lagos Assembly Admits DOING THEIR COUNTRY PROUD… L-R: Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Bobsled Driver and Team Captain at the just concluded Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Inserting Alpha Beta in Error… Page 48 South Korea, Ms. Seun Adigun; President Muhammadu Buhari; and Nigeria’s Skeleton athlete at the Winter Olympics, Ms. Simidele Adeagbo, when the president received the Winter Olympics team at the State House, Abuja… yesterday

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Court Grants Alleged Husband Killer, Maryam Sanda Bail Alex Enumah in Abuja Justice Yusuf Halilu of an Abuja High Court yesterday granted bail to Maryam Sanda who is standing trial on allegations of killing her husband, the late Bilyaminu Halilu, newphew of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, Dr. Bello Haliru. Justice Halilu granted the defendant bail on health grounds, following a fresh application for bail argued by her counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), having denied her bail on three previous occasions. Justice Haliru had at the last sitting adjourned trial to March 19 for definite hearing after dismissing Maryam’s last bail application of February 6. However, Daudu again approached the court with a fresh bail application and asked for an early date to move it, which was opposed by counsel to the prosecution, CSP James Idachaba. But this time, Justice Halilu said the court was satisfied with the health reasons canvassed for Maryam, who is said to be over three months pregnant and also asthmatic. The judge held that the police were not able to counter the claims that the prisons’ health facilities could not take care of Maryam’s conditions. Part of the conditions attached to the bail included a requirement that the defendant provided two sureties who must deposit their title of landed property ownership in Abuja. Maryam’s father was also required to enter into an undertaking to always provide her in court throughout the trial. Justice Halilu had previously rejected pleas for the defendant, who is also nursing a six-month old baby girl, to be released from the Suleja prison on bail. The court had on November 24, 2017, remanded Maryam in prison after she was arraigned on a two-count charge of culpable homicide, punishable by death under Section 221 of the Penal Code Law. In the charge sheet filed by the police pursuant to Section 109(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act,

Assembly Admits Inserting Alpha Beta in Error The Lagos State House Assembly yesterday admitted that it inserted d Alpha Beta in LUC Law, 2018 in e error, noting that the process of the new legislation “is not complete until the state government‌ Page 48v

As women all over the world mark the InternationalWomen’s Day and celebrate their achievements in the last century, critical stake- holders in Nigeria must also come to terms with the fact that our women and girls deserve a better deal from the society. Page 15

POLITICS As Buhari Visits, Plateau Sanda in court 2015, Maryam was accused of stabbing her husband to death with a broken bottle on November 19 at their Abuja residence. The prosecution told the court that Bilyamin died as a result of several stabs on his chest and neck. The police had maintained that the defendant attacked her husband with the knowledge that her act was likely to cause his death. She was equally charged with the offence of “causing grievous harm�, contrary to Section 247 of the Penal Code Law. Before his alleged murder, the late Bilyaminu was a real estate developer. However, Maryam pleaded not guilty to the charges, even as she begged the court shortly after her arraignment to release her on bail pending the trial, a request that was refused at that time. The police subsequently amended the charged and added Maryam’s mother, Maimuna Aliyu, her brother, Aliyu Sanda

and one Sadiya Aminu, as co-defendants in the matter for attempting to conceal evidence at the scene of the alleged crime. The prosecution alleged that Maryam’s family members attempted to destroy evidence that linked her to the murder. It alleged that upon realising that an offence of culpable homicide was committed, the other defendants “did caused evidence of the offence to disappear�. It said the other defendants had carefully cleaned up the blood from the scene of the crime with the intention of screening the 1st defendant, Maryam from legal punishment. According to the prosecution, the three persons involved in the scrubbing-off of murdered Bilyamin’s blood, by their action, committed an offence punishable under Section 167 of the Penal Code Law. Nevetheless, the court granted Maryam’s co-defendants bail after they produced two sureties each and surrendered all their travelling documents.

country. Unsurprisingly, the Abuja trial judge lamented the tortuous journey that the court went through in ensuing that justice was served. Okah, Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and

Tiemkemfa Francis-Osvwo (aka General Gbokos) were initially arraigned before the court on December 7, 2010, over their alleged involvement in the bombings, Continued on page 47

FG ORDERS COMPREHENSIVE AUDIT OF DANA AIRLINES the airline, whose aircraft crashed in Lagos on June 3, 2012, killing all 153 passengers and crew onboard, should be carried out with a view to ascertaining the true state of the airline, including its capacity to remain in operation. Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the council spent quality time to discuss the matter because it considered it to be of great concern. According to Shehu, though the council noted the suspension of the pilot and engineer of the aircraft involved in the Port Harcourt incident, it ordered the audit of the airline in the areas of manpower, and operational and technical capacity. The outcome of the audit will determine the fate of the airline owned by Indian-owned Dana Group. The group has operated in Nigeria since the 80s with expansive interests in aviation, the automobile sector, pharmaceuticals, shipping and steel. “A lot of quality time was spent discussing air safety. The government of Nigeria is very much concerned about safety and the life of Nigerians. This is following the recent air incidents. “Minor as they were because they were no fatalities, the government did

NEWS Land Use Charge: Lagos

EDITORIAL Fairer Deal For Nigerian Women

AFTER SEVEN-YEAR TRIAL, COURT SENTENCES CHARLES OKAH TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT independence day bombings in Abuja. In contrast, Charles’ brother, Henry, who masterminded the bombings but was apprehended in South Africa where he was resident, was handed a 24-year prison sentence five years ago in that

Two-Minute BrieďŹ ng

feel concerned and the minister presented the report to the council on steps that were taken following the last incident in Port Harcourt when the Dana aircraft overshot the runaway. “As soon as that happened, within a few seconds, a rescue team was there on the ground and a few moments thereafter, every passenger on board was evacuated. “There was no harm to persons and this is something that should be celebrated. “Within 24 hours, an official investigation had commenced because investigators arrived in Port Harcourt and began work. One week after that, a preliminary report was prepared and it was about this that the council was briefed. “Consequently, as announced by the aviation authorities, the engineer and pilot of that particular aircraft got their licences suspended and beyond that, the government has ordered a complete audit of Dana Airlines in terms of personel, operational and technical capacity,� Shehu explained. In his briefing, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said he presented a memo to the council on the report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth figures for the fourth quarter of 2017 and

for the full year 2017, which he said had shown that the economy grew by 1.92 per cent in Q4 2017 and by 0.82 per cent annually last year. According to him, Q4 2017 GDP growth was higher than that of the previous quarter, when the economy grew by 1.40 per cent and by 0.72 per cent in the second quarter 2017, which was indicative that Nigeria had fully exited the recession. “I presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council today on the most recent GDP figures and other related economic performance numbers as released last week by the National Bureau of Statistics. “You will recall that the NBS had indicated that in the last quarter of 2017 the economy had continued its positive growth trajectory growing by 1.92 per cent. This was higher than the previous quarter when it grew by 1.40 per cent and higher still than the second quarter of 2017, when it grew by 0.72 per cent. “The numbers clearly show that the economy has fully exited recession,� he added. Also briefing, the Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Uguru, said the council approved the design of section five of the East-West Road meant to link Oron in Akwa Ibom with Calabar in Cross River State.

Hopes for Lasting Peace Ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Plateau State, many are hoping that his visit will help to deepen the peace initiated by the state governor, Simon Lalong. Page 18

FEATURES The Inside Story of Gold

Mining Raheem Akingbolu who was part of a three-day tour of mineralsbearing communities in Osun State and the training for local miners‌ Page 20

BUSINESS ‘With Collaborative Eorts,

Govt Can Achieve 30% Broadband Penetration’ Contrary to public perception that Nigeria may not achieve its target of 30 per cent broadband penetration n by the end of this year, given that the he country is currently operating‌ Page 23

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE Glaucoma: The Imperative for Frequent Eye Checks As the world commemorates GlaucomaWeek begining today, opthalmologists have advised on the need for frequent eye checks as the disease‌ Page 36

INTERNATIONAL UK Police ‘Know More’ about Substance Involved in Russia Spy Mystery Britain onWednesday said it was closer to identifying the substance used in the suspected poisoning of a for- mer Russian double-agent, as Moscow accused politicians‌ Page 46

SPORTS Mikel, Joel Obi, Omeruo, 25

Others for Poland, Serbia Friendlies After weeks of speculations on players to make Gernot Rohr’s squad for theWorld Cup 2018 build up matches against Poland and Serbia, NFF‌ Page 55




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Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email


Kagame’s report on institutional reform by the AU is refreshingly blunt, writes Okello Oculi


resident Paul Kagame of Rwanda fulfilled a mandate entrusted to him on July 16, 2016 by Heads of State of the African Union by presenting a document titled: ‘’Report on the Proposed Recommendations for the Institutional Reform of the African Union’’ dated 29 January 2017. His advisory team consisted of four men and four women, including Nigeria’s Hon. Amina J. Mohammed (as Minister of Environment) and Ms Christina Duarte (former Minister of Finance of Cape Verde). The report is full of suppressed rage at failures of the African Union because Africa’s Heads of State have failed to implement many of the over 1,500 resolutions they have adopted since the organisation became their platform for pursuing the ‘’dignity and prosperity’’ of their citizens. It is also full of hope and resolution to bring about ‘’dedicated oversight, implementation and change management structures’’ in the affairs of the African Union. There is a refreshing bluntness in apportioning blame. As an example, the group of African ambassadors resident in Addis Ababa and who constitute the ‘’Permanent Representatives Council’’ are blamed for constituting themselves into overlords above officials who run the African Union Commission, thereby, causing both ‘’inefficiencies’’ and, worse still, delaying and even disregarding ‘’some decisions of Heads of State and Government’’. In one of the sessions of the November 2013 summit of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, several voices were raised in disgust about ‘’foreign donors’’ contributing over 97 per cent of funds for running programmes of the African Union. Jean Ping, former Chair of the African Union Commission, directly addressed Mo Ibrahim, urging him and other African millionaires, to assume the lead in funding the pan-African organisation. Foreign donors, it was asserted, tended to dictate the priorities of the organisation, often withholding funds from what did not serve their interests. The grip by Euro-American donors, made them ‘’bad-mouth’’ China’s support. The Kagame Report is angry that in 2016 financial year, only 25 out of a total of 54 African countries paid their contribution in full; 14 paid in part, while 15 countries had ‘’not made any payment’’. Mo Ibrahim had angrily condemned some African countries that pay their membership dues to the United Nations but NOT to the African Union. His Foundation could not be expected to cover up their idiocies. Kagame and his team are most assertive over the matter, telling African leaders that they must ‘’Finance the African Union ourselves and sustainably’’. To bring an end to the humiliating spectacle of African leaders trotting like school children at drills mounted by China, Japan, India, Turkey and the United States – what


the report labels as ‘’External Partners’’ – Africa should be represented by only: the Chairperson of the African Union; the Previous Chairperson of the African Union; the Incoming Chairperson of the African Union (selected one year in advance); the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Chairperson of the Regional Economic Communities. On the home front, attendance of AU Summits by ‘’External Partners’’ should become ‘’exceptional’’ and ‘’for a specific purpose’’ only. This would confer some aura of dignity to their assemblage; and not be depicted as a chattering hole by natives to which any emissary of ‘’modernity’’ can saunter into with arrogance. The concern for relevance of the AU to citizens is evident. In the area of legislation, this could suggest direct election by citizens of members of the Pan-African Parliament; with PAP passing laws binding all across Africa. In the area of administration, it is emphasized that women and youth should receive equitable participation. It is also proposed that there should be established a ‘’Youth Volunteer Corps’’. In the area on ensuring that member states do implement decisions made by the Assembly of Heads of State, there is support for the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to monitor and evaluate compliance by member states. There is, however, no mention of the creative way Ghana has taken the APRM to the local government level with so much success that, by 2012 when I interviewed its officials in Accra, they proudly displayed photographs of APRM delegations from countries as far south as Mozambique, Uganda and Rwanda who had visited them to learn from their innovative ways. There is a plea for less ambitious coverage of areas to be ‘’peer reviewed’’ by the experts who cover a country that voluntarily agreed to be x-rayed. The Report is silent about the role of the African media; a reflection of Kagame’s own unease with journalists. The privately owned media representatives I talked to in Kigali in 2012, complained of being starved of revenues due to government prohibiting carrying advertisements in the private media. Private companies are denied government patronage if they pay for advertisements. The horrendous legacy of the1994 genocide makes officials in Rwanda allergic to encouraging the growth of a private media which can be used to sabotage the policy of jailing people for tagging people either as Tutsi or Hutu. This, however, should not inhibit the revival and growth of the PAN African NEWS AGENCY (PANA). Africa deserves a news agency that is competitive, creative, and vigorous in investigative journalism. During white racist rule in South Africa, their interest in sabotaging support for the ANC propelled the growth of a trans-African SABC. It should pool with NTA, and Ethiopia’s agency.

THE ATTACK AGAINST ARCHBISHOP OBINNA Rochas Okorocha’s thuggish administration is heading in a dangerous direction, writes Ndii Duroha


overnor Ikedi Ohakim lost the reelection in Imo State in 2011 because it was strongly rumoured that some security officers in his convoy manhandled a Catholic priest for not leaving the road early enough for the governor to pass. The state, like the rest of Igboland, sees itself as the Vatican of Nigeria because of the pervasive influence of the Catholic Church which brought modern social services as education and healthcare to the area and also helped to end such evil practices as killing of twins and the caste system. Yet, the greatest beneficiary of the powerful rumour against a Catholic cleric, Owelle Rochas Okorocha who was elected governor because of the rumour against Ohakim, is now up in arms in the open against not a mere priest but the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri, Most Reverend Archbishop Anthony Obinna, a revered academic, author and conscience of the people of Imo State. By the way, Dr Obinna two weeks ago presented a certificate of merit on behalf of the archbishop at the famous Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri, indicating that Chief Ohakim was accused falsely. While preaching at the weekend at the funeral of the mother of a businessman, Alex Mbata, at St Michael’s Church, Ngwoma in Owerri North Local Government Area, Archbishop Obinna took exception to Governor Okorocha’s unilateral decision that his son- in- law, Chief Uche Nwosu, who is currently the Chief of Staff after serving as the Commissioner for Lands, would become the next Imo governor. Okorocha had a few days earlier announced that his deputy, Chief Eze Madumere, would represent the Owerri senatorial zone from next year. He also announced unilaterally that his Commissioner for Information, Professor Nnamdi

Obiaraeri, would represent the Okigwe zone. Not to be forgotten is that the governor has now announced the other persons who would be in the House of Representatives, and the list includes one Deacon Chike Okafor and Ugonna Ozuruike. Though Okorocha’s wife, Nkechi, and her controversial son- in- law, who is married to her first daughter as well as the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chief Acho Chim, were right in the church service, Archbishop Obinna called a spade a spade. He stated fearlessly, as is the hallmark of all those who fight for their people: “The state needs a seasoned administrator, and not a handpicked successor. ..Not the governor, not his deputy, not me can determine who governs Imo State without recourse to the will or votes of the people�. Before he could finish asking the people to go and register for the 2019 general elections, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by an appointee of Governor Okorocha rushed to the archbishop, took over the microphone and began to hurl abuses at Dr Obinna. Fearing the worst, young priests at the service formed a ring at the altar to prevent Okorocha’s people from physically assaulting the archbishop. It is interesting that as the profanity was going on, neither Okorocha’s wife nor her in-law, Uche Nwosu, made any effort to keep the APC members in check, thus fuelling speculations that the state government brought a large number of thugs to the church service to embarrass the man of God who had on February 14 released his Lenten Season message in which he advised the people to bear with philosophical equanimity the enormous pain and suffering the state government has been inflicting on them. Far from showing remorse for the irresponsible behaviour of his men in the holy precincts of the church while the mass was going on during the

special season of lent, Governor Okorocha justified their action, saying “No amount of blackmail or tricks would change the plan of God for the young man (that is, his in- law) to govern the state. Anyone fighting him is fighting God�. It is self-evident that Okorocha sees himself as the God of Imo State, so he regards his own plan for his son- in- law as God’s plan for Imo State. Imo State is in its worst state of anomie ever. Markets are destroyed in these hard times without consideration for the victims who are quite many. Workers are owed, despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s release of two tranches of the Paris Club refunds and Buhari’s granting of bailouts on two occasions, running into humongous amount. Pensions and gratuities are owed for several months, even though Imo is an oil-producing state. Okorocha’s government has compelled starving and old retirees to accept fractions of their entitlements as full and final payments. The hungry men and women accepted because they did not want to continue to die of hunger and malnutrition. State High Court judges were owed for 16 months, but a few days ago got paid for six months following ex -Governor Ikedi Ohakim’s alarm about the plight of these judicial officers, and thus made the nation become aware that judges were owed their entitlements for more than one year on the ground that they were giving unfavourable judgments against the state government. The Owerri Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association has taken the matter before the National Industrial Court. By adding open fight against Archbishop Obinna and the entire Christian Church in Imo State to the endless crisis in the state, Governor Okorocha’s regime is doubling down, as the Americans say. The regime brings to mind the

case of king Rehoboam in the Bible who told the Israelites when they were pleading with him to ameliorate their harrowing condition when he assumed the throne from his father, Solomon: “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I am going to make them even heavier. My father beat you with whips, but I am going to beat you with scorpions. My little finger is bigger than my father’s loins� (I Kings 12: 15). This callous declaration resulted in a popular revolt against the king. Israel became divided, and it was so easy for the Babylonians to conquer it. Okorocha’s government is making history, but in a terrible way. Not even during the General Sani Abacha malevolent dictatorship were men of God of any sect attacked, all the more so during service. If Anthony Cardinal Okogie, Rev Monsignor Obiora Ike, Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah, Archbishop Chukwuma and other religious critics of societal ills had come from Okorocha’s Imo, perhaps they would have long disappeared. Idi Amin of Uganda is the only African leader I remember who went physically after an archbishop. May Okorocha never be found in this company. The Imo governor has taken his circus show of governance from the secular sphere to the sacred space. It is a tragedy of colossal consequence that Okorocha and his acolytes have absolutely no respect for the sacred. More tragic is that the APC has refused to call Okorocha to order. Imolites cannot wait for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to install a clear headed and progressive administration as in Anambra State. An APGA government can never tolerate sacrilege anywhere. Chief Duroha is senior member of the Nigerian Bar Association based in Owerri, Imo State



EDITORIAL FAIRER DEAL FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN Nigerian women deserve a better deal from the society


s women all over the world mark the International Women’s Day and celebrate their achievements in the last century, critical stakeholders in Nigeria must also come to terms with the fact that our women and girls deserve a better deal from the society. Meanwhile, we must also use this occasion to call on the authorities to do all within their powers to ensure the speedy recovery of the more than one hundred girls that were recently abducted from a secondary school in Yobe State by Boko Haram insurgents. Discriminated against at every level, women and girls traditionally have limited access to education in addition to ownership of land and assets in Nigeria. And they are denied equal treatment in inheritance rights, human resources development and sustainable economic growth. It is therefore worrisome that at a time they are seeking equal treatment and participation on issues that concern them and their families, critical institutions of state like the National Assembly would treat WOMEN MAKE UP ABOUT our women almost 50 PER CENT OF THE with contempt. NIGERIAN POPULATION. It is indeed disIT MAKES NO SENSE heartening that the TO EXCLUDE HALF OF National Assembly OUR POPULATION FROM has been found MAXIMISING THEIR wanting in its role to POTENTIAL help achieve the goals of promoting gender equality in the country. In September 2015, a watered down version of the Gender and Equality Bill passed a second reading in the Senate, and was referred to the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. The ďŹ rst bill put forward six months earlier, and which included equal rights for women in marriages, divorce, property ownership and inheritance, was voted down. That bill was rejected because senators said “enacting a law to accord women equal rights with men was un-African and anti-religiousâ€?.

Letters to the Editor

The essence of the Gender Equality Bill, according to women groups, is not to re-invent the wheel but rather to give effect to section 21 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. But because the Nigerian society is patriarchal, women are subordinated while forced marriages, domestic and sexual violence against girls and women and other violations are either condoned or treated with levity.




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otwithstanding these long-established injustices, women in Nigeria have made their mark in the political and economic institutions and excelled. For this, Nigerian women owe a debt of gratitude to pioneering women like the late Mrs Funmilayo Ransome Kuti who, as part of the Women’s International Democratic Foundation (WIDF) in the 1940’s, fought for women’s rights. Representations from the WIDF indeed played pivotal role in the UN declaration of 1975 as International Women’s Year. In modern times, Nigerian women have also played such critical roles in the advancement of gender issues. For instance, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of the United Nations, on which a Nigerian woman, Ms Amina Mohammed, the current Deputy Secretary General, had actively participated in developing, set as one of the goals the undertaking of reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, ďŹ nancial services, inheritance and natural resources. The general notion in our country that women are inferior to men is unsustainable especially because gender equality is not just a human rights issue, it is essential for the achievement of sustainable development and a peaceful and prosperous world. Therefore, circumscribing access to opportunities that ultimately empowers women and girls is counterproductive. Besides, women make up about 50 per cent of the Nigerian population. It makes no sense to exclude half of our population from maximising their potential simply for archaic and oppressive reasons.

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.



wish to commend the FCTA Administration, for the recent immunisation campaign it carried out in both the city centre and the Area Councils to tackle the scourge of measles in the FCT. This campaign couldn’t have come at a better time than now when Nigeria is ranked as the country with the most unvaccinated children against measles, followed by India. According to the United Nations World Health Organisation report, Nigeria tops the list of countries with unvaccinated children from measles with 3.3 million children, followed by India with 2.9 million, Pakistan – 2.0 million, Indonesia – 1.2 million and Ethiopia – 0.9 million which is trailed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This immunisation exercise is therefore very apt because it is the only way to give children of FCT full protection against measles, which is a very deadly disease that could lead to complications, especially considering the unending of influx of people into the FCT. As it happened, the Administration headed by Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, On February 10, 2018 commenced the vaccination of children, between the ages of 9 months and 5 years, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), against measles disease which lasted till February 22, 2018. The campaign had a wide reaching effect, having taken place in all the 62 wards of the territory, with an estimated 620, 000 children targeted for vaccination within the period. It covered schools, housing estates, places of worship and other

places, to ensure that no child was missed out. A total of 3,998 settlements were earmarked, while 1171 vaccination teams and 185 special teams were expected to work in 269 fixed posts and 2078 temporary posts, according to the acting executive secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board (FCT-PHCB), Dr Matthew Ashikeni To quash the misgivings that some parents had in the past against the immunization exercise which made them to withhold their children from health officials, the FCT Administration took time to sensitize, moblise, educate the people of the FCT that the immunization exercise was protective, safe and free. Area Council Chairmen as well as Royal Fathers were also involved to give the exercise the desired credibility and eliminate doubts in the minds of residents. They were personally involved in supporting and supervising the measles vaccination campaign. All of these are attestations that the Muhammad Bello’s FCT Administration places high priority on the goal of measles elimination in Nigeria, particularly in expanding immunisation services to the rural communities. There is however the need for the Area Council chairmen to ensure the release of Area Council counterpart funds, at least two weeks prior to any immunisation campaigns and every three months for routine immunisation. Royal fathers, religious leaders, managers of estates and nursery/primary schools, as well as all stakeholders in the FCT, must also continue to support the administration to provide better

health for all residents. All traditional rulers and parents must join the administration in ensuring the success of immunisation against polio and measles. Traditional rulers and other stakeholders must be on the same page to eradicate these diseases in our society. The councillors, district heads, religious leaders, ward focal persons, market women leaders, youth leaders, National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other Nigerians, residing within the FCT need to put all hands on deck to achieve a measles and polio- free generation. There is dire need for total synergy among all of us in order to join the fight against immunization in the society. Lastly, it is also worthy to commend the FCT Administration for the effective way it handled the recent cases of death of school pupils of the Local Education Authority (LEA) Kubwa II Primary School. Officials of the FCT Health Secretariat in the wake of confusing and misleading speculations, had moved swiftly to dispel rumours that these kids died of food poisoning. Contrary to what was being speculated, the officials were able to examine and confirm that these children actually died of meningitis and not the so-called birthday biscuit. Even parents of the diseased have also attested to this fact through the accounts they gave in the aftermath of these deaths which have been deemed to be consistent with the symptoms of meningitis. Danladi Akilu, Gudu District, Abuja


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Group Politics Editor Tobi Soniyi Email 07054786260 SMS ONLY

As Buhari Visits, Plateau Hopes for Lasting Peace Ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Plateau State, many are hoping that his visit will help to deepen the peace process initiated by the state governor, Simon Lalong, writes Mark Longymen


resident Muhammadu Buhari is today paying a one-day historic working visit to Plateau State. The president’s visit provides, among others, an opportunity to underscore Governor Simon Lalong’s scorecard, in view of the number of projects earmarked for commissioning by the president. Some of the road projects that the president is expected to inaugurate include the Mararaban Jema’a -British America Highway, the Low-Cost Road network, the Rantya-Rafiki Road network, the Rukuba Road network, the State Secretariat Flyover, the Angwan Rogo Road network, the Tudun Wada-Kabong Road network, among many others. These include multibillion naira projects the governor inherited from past administrations and completed for the overall benefit of the entire people of the state, and similar multibillion naira projects he initiated and completed in record time, thus ending the culture and impunity of abandoned projects in the state. Also included in Mr President’s itinerary is the inspection of some of the ongoing rural roads infrastructure projects, which contracts were awarded at the cost of nearly forty billion naira (N40bn) and spread across the nooks and crannies of all the 17 local government areas of the state some of which are near completion. However, due to time constraint, the inspection may be restricted to those within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis. Mr President will inaugurate the Tractor Hiring Scheme, a mechanised farming scheme for massive food production across the state, another pacesetter of the Lalong administration in which dozens of brand new tractors were acquired for hiring to interested farmers and cooperative societies. The scheme which is to take off fully this farming season is in line with the governor’s decision to diversify the state’s economy to agriculture as the driver and mainstay of the state’s economy following the fall in oil revenues. Buhari is also scheduled to hold a historic town hall meeting with the people of the state where issues agitating the minds of the people will be poured out for the president to respond to them. The president is also slated to unveil the Plateau Roadmap to Peace, a model 5-year peace action plan for the state, which is the brainchild of the Plateau Peace Building Agency, (PPBA), created by Lalong on assumption of office to ensure that the state’s hitherto legion of crises are proactively nipped in the bud and peace is perpetually engendered, maintained and sustained in the state. The roadmap is a model peace master-plan for ensuring peace and security over the next five years and was developed through a benchmarking exercise that brought together a wide-range of stakeholders, civil society organisations, security agencies, experts, international donor agencies, international non governmental organisations, the academia and the media. This aspect of the president’s visit is particularly significant, especially considering the avalanche of security challenges the nation faces. This unfortunate scenario accounts for the drafting of the armed forces to no fewer than 32 states of the federation to maintain or restore a seemingly elusive peace that has been disrupted by insurgency, farmersherders clashes, kidnappings, militancy, selfdetermination agitations, occult killings and other forms of violent crimes. Plateau is like an island surrounded by insecurity, especially considering the crises in surrounding states. Many are hoping that the president’s visit will reassure all the ethnic nationalities in Plateau that the peace process enjoys his support.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Joseph Lengmang, Director-General of the PPBA, while recently giving a synopsis of the roadmap said the federal government stands to benefit a lot from the model if it replicated same at the national level. He said, “what we did through all this process was to identify the gaps in the postconflict peace building process on the Plateau and the idea was to see how to develop and design a framework for engaging issues of conflict and ways of resolving them toward promoting a peaceful society in Plateau State”. He said: “The agency has, through the roadmap gone ahead now to develop a 5-year Plan of Action on how to proactively engage issues of conflict and to innovatively transform them as the demonstration of its commitment to delivering peace and security to the vast majority of its citizens,” he added. The establishment of the PPBA has, no

Many are hoping that the president’s visit will reassure all the ethnic nationalities in Plateau that the peace process enjoys his support

doubt, underscored the determination with which Lalong’s administration has taken the issue of peace. The plan among others, aimed at building confidence among the ethnic nationalities living in the state, as this has also culminated in the multiplier effect of rekindling hope and the possibility of having a peaceful state built on the foundation of equity and social justice through deliberate policy of inclusive governance. Patrick Dariem, Special Adviser to the Governor on Finance and Investment, while speaking on Lalong’s efforts at diversifying the state’s economy through agriculture, the reviving of hitherto moribund state-owned Industries, foreign direct investment, tourism, among others, said that investments in the state had tremendously increased with the hope of an unprecedented socio-economic growth. Dariem said: “The importance of the prevailing relative peace in the state since this government came on board cannot be over-emphasised. As you can see, we have become the preferred destination for investors. “Our attention to agriculture is not unconnected with where we feel we have comparative advantage. You know I am an accountant, so we have to bring investments that would benefit us more. The state has purchased tractors and fertilizers for farmers. But most importantly, the administration has showcased willingness by reviving our own Bokkos Fertilizer Blending Plant, which will go a long way in helping the farmers get fertilizer when needed and at affordable rates.” Another critical area of developmental stride

that Lalong has handled with uncommon zeal is women and youth empowerment. Prior to his assumption of office, youths were in a chronic state of despair, disenchantment and disillusionment due to wanton neglect by past administration. The governor keyed into the Federal Government’s Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, SMEDAN. To this end, he immediately sent an executive bill to the state’ house of assembly to establish the Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (PLASMEDA). The agency has employed and empowered thousands of women and youths since its establishment. The governor has impressed even members of the opposition with his uncanny courage and ability to run the affairs of the state like a colossus and getting positive results in the process. For instance, a former Deputy Senate President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Ibrahim Mantu while at a recent consultative stakeholders meeting organized by the governor, said that he initially pitied governor and did not give him a chance to succeed looking at the financial quagmire and other challenges the state was faced with. Mantu said he was marvelled by Lalong’s magic wand which drastically solved the innumerable problems, stressing that the governor’s ability to tame the security challenges of the state alone had earned for him a pass mark. Longyen is he Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State






Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email

The Inside Story of Gold Mining Raheem Akingbolu who was part of a three-day tour of minerals-bearing communities in Osun State and the training for local miners, writes on the importance of the scheme to the economy and the environment

Demonstrative training at a gold mining site


rom Ibodi to Epe, Iyere to Igun, the story was the same; huge presence of hardworking Nigerian youths, who were struggling to earn their living in the most hazardous manners. Through local techniques, with little or no regard for their safety and degradation of the environment, they ply their trade with enthusiasm. Welcome to Osun gold deposit communities, where residents live with mix-feelings; residents are happy for the gift of nature but sad because of the method of exploration. As a team from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development embarked on a three-day tour of gold mines in various communities in Ijesha part of Osun State recently, farmers, hunters and the local miners recounted their challenges in the midst of the abundant wealth. While leaders of various communities spoke on how the activities of local miners have made farming, hunting and other agricultural activities difficult, the miners also painted gory pictures of how many of them were injured or died as a result of their archaic method of exploration. Safer mining project In what looked like a pragmatic approach to end the ugly situation, the ministry, through its Safer Mining Project, was in Osun State recently to inspect, train and reward stakeholders in the gold deposit communities. According to the ministry, the project was aimed at achieving three things; protect individuals, protect the environment as well as encourage local miners to practise safer mining. The coming of the federal government team therefore signified the beginning of another regime. According to a former president of the Artisanal Miners Welfare Association, Chief Friday Israel Mmecha, the decision of the ministry to intervene at this crucial time would further enhance the potential

of the sub sector. “As a stakeholder, who has spent years in mining gold in this part of the country, this intervention programme on safer mining, signifies the beginning of a new dawn. Over time we have complained about the porosity of the system, whereby some opportunists just emerged from the blues and start looking for gold. With federal government now keen on supervising and monitoring, the economic potential of the sector will be better harnessed. I must confess, the country is losing so much because of lack of regulation and poor method of mining,’’ Mmecha said. At a Town Hall meeting held at Ibodi, the federal government team took community leaders and other stakeholders through the

Federal government is aware that small-scale gold miners are exposed to occupational and environmental hazards at work. Government is also aware of the negative impact of some of their activities on the host communities, hence the need to educate the miners on the modern techniques

importance of the project to the economy, environment and individuals who are working in different communities for mining activities. Speaking on behalf of the team, a safety professional, Dr. Adebola Odunsi, charged the small-scale miners to always prevent illegal miners into various reserves as well as protecting the environment. He stated that anybody carrying out mining activities should either get a license or be registered under an agent. “On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, I want to use this opportunity to appeal to our miners to report any illegal miner to the police. Let me give you the good news too that government is set to reward diligent and registered miners, who carried out their jobs in the best manners.’’ Odunsi therefore listed the two types of mining to include; the one that is harmful and another that is harmless. He pointed out that mining is harmful if it endangers the lives of miners or dilapidates the environment, adding that harmless mining leads to safety of miners, sustainability of environment and generation of revenue to economy. “In harmful mining, everybody loses; the miner, the community and the country but in harmless mining, it is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.’’ Earlier, Odunsi had told journalists that the project was informed by the increasing rate of heavy lead and mercury poisoning associated with gold mining, especially in Zamfara State, which led to the death of about 400 children. Even though government had intervened promptly to control the situation and give adequate treatment to people affected, Odunsi stated that the ministry thought of something preventive and struck a deal with Michael H Limited to design the Safe Mining Project, to sensitise and raise the level of awareness among local miners.

“Federal government is aware that small-scale gold miners are exposed to occupational and environmental hazards at work. Government is also aware of the negative impact of some of their activities on the host communities, hence the need to educate the miners on the modern techniques. For instance, Mercury is commonly used for gold mining to remove the gold from the hub and this can be harmful if necessary steps are not taken,’’ he said. The medical expert however admitted that Osun State gold reserve is more sedimentary, with migrant miners and that it poses lower danger compared to places like Northern part, where the gold is attached to rock. This notwithstanding, he urged miners at the various reserves, who are exposed to mercury to take precautions to prevent poisoning themselves and their families. Speaking at the meeting, the Oloja of Ibodi, Oba Omisade Agboluaje, told the government delegation that efforts must be made to always carry along the host communities before major mining activities commence in their environment. He said this would enable the host communities relate very well with miners, adding that this kind of relationship would be beneficial to all the parties involved. “We want to know the number of agents mining in our community and we have asked them to meet with our youths. We are not against the Yoruba and non Yourba people mining here but we want to know all of them so that there will be better relationship between us.” He also told the miners, who were mainly northerners that the community was ready to cooperate with them, adding that they too should try and reciprocate the gesture. Import of the training A fellow and former President of Nigerian




L-R: A health and safety professional, Dr. Adebola Odunsi; a local miner, Aminu Isah and a former President of the Artisanal Miners Welfare Association, Chief Friday Israel Mmecha, after the federal government team kitted Isah with modern protective materials at one of the gold reserves at Ibodi Ijesa

Gold miners at work

Miners at work

Society of Mining Engineers, Mr. Olusegun Oladipo, who retired 10 years ago from the then Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, after 35 years, said the project has been long overdue. He pointed out that over the years; stakeholders in the mining sector have impressed it on successive administrations on the need for training and retraining of local miners to avoid accident and environmental degradation. While taking the small scale gold miners through basic tips that would enhance effective and safe mining, Oladipo emphasised the need for them to carry out their mining activities in a way that it would benefit all stakeholders; the miners, the communities and the government. He tasked the miners to always make sure that they fill their pitch after digging, to prevent accident and environment deprivation. He also advised them to acquaint themselves with modern ways of carrying out the job so as not to expose themselves and families to danger. “As miners, you should naturally love yourself and therefore avoid steps that would expose you to danger, your host community should be your friend, so protect their lands, then be loyal to the government by abiding by the rules that guide mining activities in the country,’’ he said. On basic precaution that must be taken during gold mining activities, the expert said it was necessary for miners to always make sure that work clothes are cleaned very well. He also urged miners to always bathe thoroughly and change into clean clothing before leaving the job site. Oladipo also advised the miners to always

make sure that soiled clothing are stored in containers and must be washed after use as well as avoiding keeping work and street clothing in the same locker. The expert further warned the miners from keeping their food in any place where it can be contaminated with mercury. Setting the pace Beyond the stakeholders’ forum and training, another interesting part of the three-day tour was the visit to various gold reserves where the team led a demonstrative exercise to acquaint the local miners with modern techniques. For instance, in Ibodi, miners on site were assembled and given practical tips on how to carry out their jobs in the safest manner. Also at the site, the team, led by Odunsi and supported by Mmecha kitted Zamfara State-born Aminu Isah with all the necessary gadgets and protective materials for personal safety. A highly elated Isah, who looked like a certified Civil Engineer after the exercise, told THISDAY that it was his first experience since eight years ago when he came to the village for mining. While admitting that such move will help them avoid unnecessary accidents while at work, he appealed to government to make it a regular exercise to further equip miners. “I have been in Ibodi for eight years but this is the first government that would demonstrate that it cares for us. With all these equipment and the overall given to me, it will be easier and safer for me to go about my business. My request therefore, is that government should endeavour to make this a regular exercise to further equip more of our members across

the country,’’ Isah said. Addressing the miners at the reserves, Odunsi stated emphatically that the federal government was determined to end hazardous practices in the bid to boost safer mining, which would help the miners, the communities and the nation’s economy. He advised them against digging without wearing protective clothing, adding that they must stop the use of chemicals such as mercury and cyanide in their mining activities in order not to expose themselves to grave health issues and pollution of the rivers as well as the flora and fauna. The medical expert said poor mining activities could lead to serious health conditions such as infertility, severe cough, itching, and can also damage internal organs like the kidneys and the liver. “So you must do everything to protect yourself and to protect the environment.� He said operating in a safer environment would boost the productivity of the miners, which in turn would lead to better revenue. He said, “We want you to start safer mining from now on, this will guarantee your well-being, it will prevent environmental pollution and the host communities and the nation will be better for it. “Miners should always wear helmet, goggles, face mask, overall, hand gloves, and boots. You must wear these before you start digging and you must not wear them at home. Make sure you remove the protective clothing; take a bathe and wear neat clothes back home after work. This is very important. If you go back home with the dust from the site, you can cause trouble for yourself and the people in the community.

“You must also make sure that you cover up every hole you dug while searching for gold. If you divert a river to another place while digging make sure up you return it back to its normal course after your activities. “Bad mining activities cause breathing problem, cough, itching, infertility and can also damage internal organs like the kidneys and the liver. So you must do everything to protect yourself and to protect the environment.� The highpoint of the event was the presentation of gifts, gadgets and certificates to participants. Aside certificates, miners and their supervisors were given protective items like; helmet, steel toe-boot, rain boots and hand gloves. Other items were; nose mask, reflective jacket and overall. Meanwhile, for effective monitoring and supervision, three persons, including a traditional ruler, Chief Sunday Ogunsiji, the regent of Epe Ijesha; the patron of the Artisanal Miners Welfare Association, Chief Friday Israel Mmecha and one of the oldest miners in the state, Abubakar Aliyu, were presented with brand new motorcycles. Ogunsiji, who spoke on behalf of others applauded the initiative and pointed out that the intervention would go a long way in redefining the sector. He traced the commencement of mining activities in the area to 1980, when government established the Federal Mining Corporation in Igun. “We are happy this is happening now because we have clamoured for government attention for years. The journey, if I may say, began in 1980, when government established a Federal Mining Corporation in Igun, which geared up young men and women within and outside the state on the potential of the area. At the peak of the activities, a Gold Refinery was put up in Osu, beside the local government secretariat. Few years into the activities, with successive administrators and managers, operations at both the corporation and the refinery suddenly stopped and equipment worth millions were left unutilized.’’ Ogunsiji called on the current Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to impress it on government on the need to further open up the communities and the gold reserves to drive the economy. He said: “we can only call on government through Dr. Fayemi to focus on the communities and the activities of the miners. Few years ago, a former Minister Obiageli Ezekwesili, visited Igun and we were excited that government had finally heed our call but that was all we saw. Nothing happened afterwards.’’ The traditional ruler appealed to government to assist the affected communities in the area of infrastructure, especially roads and health facilities. He pointed out that most of the areas are cut off entirely from the rest of the country because of bad roads and that the surge in population has made the existing health facilities inadequate for the residents.




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Chairman, Troyka Holdings, Biodun Shobanjo (middle), receiving the Extraordinary Business Achievement Award, anked by Nigerian Actor and former Mr. Nigeria, Brian Okpara (left), and 2017 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Ugochi Ihueze (right), during the 2017 edition of the Silverbird Man of the Year Awards held in Lagos, recently

L-R: MD/CEO, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya,; Former GM/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria, Olabisi Onasanya and , Former Chairman, Ecobank Nigeria, Chief John Odeyemi during the private sector parley themed ‘Lagos Means Business’ organized by the State government in Lagos on Tuesday, 6/3/2018

R-L: Head Internal Control, Union Bank, Abigail Duopama-Obomanu; Executive Director/ Chief Risk OďŹƒcer Union Bank, Kandolo Kasongo; QualiďŹ ed Security Assessors, Adenike Akinlade and Mobolaji Ishalaiye at the oďŹƒcial presentation ceremony of the Bank’s ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certiďŹ cate in Lagos... recenly YOMI AKINYELE

R-L: Kalabari chieftains: Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill, Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs, Engr Bekinbo Dagogo-Jack and Hon Sokonte Davies at a unity meeting in Rivers State ahead of 2019 elections...recently

L-R; Chief of Sta, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Ajala Gbolahan; PFN Ibafo Province Chairman, Rev. Dr. Fola Oyebade; PFN State Executive Secretary, Rev. Dr. Bunmi Banwo; and General Overseer, Doulos Ministry, Pastor Charles Achonwa, at the 2018 PFN Ibafo Province Liberty Prayer Conference in Iabafo, Ogun State...recently SUNDAY ADIGUN

L-R; Past Council Chairman, SPE Nigeria Mr. George Kalu; Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council,Mr. Chikezie Nwosu and Managing Director NIPCO Plc, Mr. Sanjay Teotia during the 18th Annual Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum organized by Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigeria Council in Abuja... recently

L-R: Major Giving Chairman/Past District Governor (PDG), Rotary International District 9110, Nigeria, Rotarian Richard Giwa-Osagie; District Governor, Rotary International District 9110, Nigeria, Rotarian (Dr). Adewale Ogunbadejo; Deputy Managing Director, Deep Water, Total Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG), Mr. Ahmadu-Kida Musa and Chairman, National Polio Plus Committee, Rotarian Tunji Funsho, during the Conferment and Appointment of Mr. Musa, as Rotary Polio Ambassador in Lagos‌‌ recently

L-R, President Buhari’s son, Yusuf;, Medical Director, Cedarcrest Hospitals, Dr Felix Ogedegbe and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello during Yusuf’s return to the country on Wednesday. Yusuf had been successfully treated in Cedarcrest Hospitals following a power bike accident before proceeding to Germany for rehabilitation








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Group Business Editor ChikaAmanze-Nwachuku Email: 08033294157, 08057161321

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Franchise Investment Forumf Underway


Communication Minister, Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu (right) and Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, during the launch of the ‘Baylesa ICT Ignition Week’ and ‘Innovation Ecosystem’ in Yenagoa...recently

‘With Collaborative Efforts, Govt Can Achieve 30% Broadband Penetration’ Emma Okonji Contrary to public perception that Nigeria may not achieve its target of 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of this year, given that the country is currently operating at 21 per cent broadband penetration, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ntel telecoms company, Mr. Ernest Debo Akinlola has said that with collaborative effort, Nigeria can meet the 30 per cent broadband target. Akinlola, who was optimistic about Nigeria meeting the target, told THISDAY in an exclusive interview that the country has

ICT all it takes to meet the target, in terms of her readiness to boost the nation’s broadband infrastructure. He therefore called on industry stakeholders, especially those in the private sector, to show more commitment in advancing the technology development of the country. “As a county we have a target of 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of 2018, but we are presently at 21 per cent and we have nine months to go. It is an ecosystem objective that could be achieved through collaborative efforts

between the government and the private sector led initiative. All stakeholders and the government in particular, have to play their roles to achieve the target, and it is achievable if the right policies are put in place and the private sector is incentivised to play their roles properly,� Akinlola said. He added: If the right policies are put in place and the right motivation and encouragement are given, I am convinced that by the end of the year, we should as a country, be able to achieve the 30 per cent broadband penetration. The 30 per cent is even an aspirational goal for the industry,

but what the industry really needs is a significant penetration of between 60-70 per cent broadband penetration.� Nigeria had in 2013 came up with a five year National Broadband Plan from 2013 to 2018, targeting 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of 2018. Although the broadband penetration level as at 2013 when the National Broadband Plan was released, was put at 10 per cent, the country was able to increase the penetration by 11 per cent in four years, a situation, which many believed Continued on page 24

House Asks CBN to Accept NIMC Number Slip as Statutory Document James Emejo in Abuja The House of Representatives has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to recognise the National Identification Number (NIN) Slip issued by the National Identity Management Company (NIMC) as a statutory document, which can be used to carry out legitimate financial transactions. It further directed NIMC to quicken the production of the identity cards even as it tasked its Committee on National Population to investigate why it’s taking too long to issue the permanent cards. Also, the lawmakers mandated its Committee on Banking and Currency to interact with the central bank and other

ECONOMY stakeholders on the need to recognise and accept the NIN Slip as a means of Identification and report within four weeks for further legislative action. The resolution of the lower chamber followed a motion by Hon. Ahmed Yerima (APC, Bauchi) on the need for the CBN and other commercial banks to recognise and accept the NIMC National Identification Number (NIN) Slip as a valid means of identification. He said of the NIN is one means of identification as noted on the slip, which is confidential and may only be released for legitimate transactions and also states clearly that the bearer will be notified when the national

identity card is ready and stands in place of the permanent card until it is produced, adding however, that it takes a long time to be produced. Consequently, Yerima expressed worry that the CBN as a statutory body, had refused to recognise the NIN slip as a means of Identification. He expressed concern that the CBN had further directed commercial banks not to recognise the NIN slip which is a proof that the permanent Identification card is in process. Yerima said the development was bound to cause NIN Slip holders waiting their permanent Identification cards to experience untold hardships in their quest to carry out normal banking and other transactions.

But, Hon. Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau) called for caution, arguing that the NIN slip may not have a detailed information needed by banks. He said the motion should be rejected. Also, Hon. Kayode Oladele (APC, Osun) said banks don’t have the obligation to honour slips according to law, stressing that the CBN shouldn’t be asked to direct banks in that regard. However, other lawmakers backed the motion. Hon. Mahjeed Alabi (APC, Osun) said banks are just lawless- pointing out that “they don’t even accept National Continued on page 24



“The only way Nigerians could feel government’s impact on Ease of Doing Business is when MDAs fully adopt and implement technology in their daily operations�

Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah



   ‘WITH COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS, GOVT CAN ACHIEVE 30% BROADBAND PENETRATION’ was too slow to achieve and surpass the targeted 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of 2018. Although the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had earlier assured Nigerians that the set target was attainable, many are still pessimistic about the possibility of achieving the target. The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta who gave the assurance, said the licensing of the additional two InfraCos in December last year, was part of the strategic plans of the commission to meet the country’s broadband target. The additional two InfraCos brought the total number of licensed InfraCos in the country to four. They include MainOne, IHS, Zinox Technologies and Brinks Solution. The InfraCos were licensed to provide broadband infrastructure across the country that will boost broadband penetration. Speaking on telecoms contribution to GDP, Akinlola said: “There is strong correlation between improvement in broadband and GDP growth. So broadband is a major factor for our growth as a nation, if we must catch up with developed countries of the world in the area of technology advancement. Telecoms contribution to the country’s GDP is huge and the business of telecoms is far more than sales of mobile phones. The demand for telecoms services is huge and the growth opportunities are there.� HOUSE ASKS CBN TO ACCEPT NIMC NUMBER SLIP AS STATUTORY DOCUMENT Assembly issued cards. What other institutions can be higher than the National Assembly?� He said the banks should be mandated to accept the slips as means of identification until the permanent cards are ready. In the same vein, Hon. Abubakar Kannike (APC, Kwara) Said given that the slip has number and identification photograph on it, as well as the fact that “If it’s coming from NIMC as a government agency, we must honour it.�

NEPC Boss, Awolowo Resumes, Vows Accelerated Devt of Non-oil Sector Jonathan Eze The Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo has vowed to intensify efforts at improving the contribution of the non-oil exports sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria. Awolowo, who was recently reappointed for a second tenure as the Executive Director/ CEO of NEPC by President Muhammadu Buhari, officially resumed work on Tuesday. He was received on arrival by the management and staff of the organisation, led by the Director, Export Development & Incentives, George Enyieokpon. Awolowo, who expressed happiness to be back in office, said his second coming was an opportunity to intensify efforts at improving the contribution of non-oil exports sector to economy. According to him, “I am thankful to Mr. President as this offers me the opportunity to continue our drive towards a zero oil economy hinged on the accelerated development of our non-oil sector‌This will be enhanced by the implementation of the Zero Oil pillar of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and buoyed by the recently launched National Economic Council Committee on Export Promotionâ€?. He further added: “I appreciate the tremendous support of our parent ministry - the Federal Ministry of Industry,

Trade and Investment (FMITI), the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, International Development Partners, dedicated exporters and other stakeholders for their interest in the development and promotion of the non-oil export sector.� The CEO, shortly after resumption, received the executive members of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) led by its President, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode.

Kayode, who congratulated Awolowo on his re-appointment, noted that it was a clear testimony of the present administration’s determination to drive Nigeria to the path of economic buoyancy through the non-oil sector using the agency as the navigating tool. He announced the establishment of an Export Desk at the Chambers as a liaison platform to enhance collaborative strategies to promote the non-oil export sector.

Kayode also urged Awolowo “to institutionalise a regular consultation with the organised private sector (OPS) in order to fast track activities in the area. “The re-appointment is another opportunity for him to continue to drive Nigeria out of the mono economy and in an accelerated manner sustainably place her on the map of countries whose non-oil exports have accounted for their development. For us in the Chamber, our doors

are wide open and we are always ready to contribute our ideas and expertise in order to achieve a fully diversified non-oil economy for Nigeria�, he added. Awolowo was recently reappointed for a second tenure that will last for four years by President Buhari as the Executive Director/CEO of NEPC -according to a letter signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, dated February 28, 2018.


L-R: Gas Engines Sales Leader, sub-Saharan Africa, General Electric (GE) Mr. Peter Ocheibi; General Manager, Elektron Energy, Mr. Gbenga Ajumo; General Manager, Clarke Energy (Nigeria) Limited, Mr. Patrick Nzekwe; Managing Director of Clarke Energy’s UK, Irish and sub-Saharan Africa operations, Mr. Haydn Rees; Projects Director at Clarke Energy, Mr. John Fletcher, and Market Research/Sales Support Analyst, GE, Mr. Ireoluwa Adegoke, at the unveiling of Clarke Energy’s ultra modern workshop and customer forum in Lagos... recently

Communications Minister Backs Bayelsa State on ICT Human Capital Devt Stories by Emma Okonji The Ministry of Communication has pledged its support for the Bayelsa State government in its plan to develop ICT human capital among its youths. Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, gave the assurance during the recent official launch of the ‘Baylesa ICT Ignition Week’ and ‘Innovation Ecosystem’ in Yenagoa. He promised the state that the ministry would provide it with policy and personnel support, that will enable it create the appropriate framework for development of digital capacity among its young population.

Shittu during his discussion with the Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, said the “digital economy holds huge potential for entrepreneurs and small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs). New digital trends such as cloud computing, mobile web services, Big Data , Artificial Intelligence, smart grids and social media, are radically changing the business landscape, reshaping the nature of work, the boundaries of enterprises and the responsibilities of business leaders. We need no further conviction that we have entered the age of the Digital Economy.�

While expressing happiness for the launch of the ‘Baylesa ICT Ignition Week’ as a startpoint to train young digital entrepreneurs in the state, Shittu said that the ministry would be both a partner and a mentor in achieving the desired objectives of creating digital geeks for the knowledge economy. “ICT is a critical component of the world’s economies today, having permeated all sectors. The importance of ICT innovations cannot be over emphasised as it has shown to be the world highest earning sector as most of the world richest personalities evolved from ICT innovations and en-

trepreneurship, hence the need to build the capacity of our teaming youths in digital skills to enable them compete with their peers across the globe� Shittu said, while commending the state for setting the pace to run initiatives designed for capacity building around ICT in the Niger Delta region. “It is my pleasure and privilege for being with you on the occasion of the Official Launch of the Baylesa ICT Ignition Week & Innovation Ecosystem on the important theme: Human Capital & Youth Development in Bayelsa through ICT For Economic Restoration. It is apt and could not have come at a

better time than this when government is putting all measures in place to leverage ICTs and to reposition our national economy,� said Shittu, while being welcomed by the governor. “This Ignition Programme put together by Young Innovators of Nigeria (YIN) in collaboration with Bayelsa State Government demonstrates Dickson’s commitment to restore Bayelsa State youths with requisite 21st Century skills that will transform the state’s natural wealth to human capital and will further boast the quality of skills by start-ups across the state,� Shittu said.

Stanbic IBTC Harps on Digital Empowerment of NigerianYouths Group Business Editor

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The need to empower Nigerian youths with digital technology tools and skills that will enable them enjoy the full benefits of digital financial transactions without visiting bank branches, was the focus of discussion by the bank at the just concluded Social Media Week in Lagos. In one of the panel session made up of young and talented staff of Stanbic IBTC Bank, during the Social Media Week, the bank stressed the need for Nigerian youths to take advantage of the technology tools and solutions delivered by the bank, designed to enhance easy and

hitch-free financial transactions in today’s digital world. Investment Manager, Stanbic IBTC, Eloho Onwah, one of the panelists, said the bank has made banking a lot easier, geared towards engaging more youths in the financial technology space. She said the future of financial services was already playing out and that the bank is putting the customers first above every other thing in order to redirect the attention of customers towards digital payments and financial transactions. Explaining how equipped the bank is in addressing the

digital needs of technology savvy youths, Events & CSI Manager of the bank, Ame Okwudi, said Stanbic IBTC has infused all necessary technology solutions into its system that would help the bank to keep in touch with customers, especially the youths, adding that the bank has invested in modern technologies that would drive innovation across its entire branches of its financial operations. The bank takes delight in the investment of technology solutions that will empower customers beyond just making profit for the bank. The

essence is to drive technology innovation that will motivate the customers to explore their world in today’s digital era, Okwudi said. Addressing the issue of security, which is the key to financial transactions, the Digital Marketing Manager of the bank, Demola Adesina, said security remained key to the bank, and that the bank has invested so much in security to fortify its network from hackers. He spoke on the bank’s investment portfolio to include health, education and empowerment of its customers,

designed to grow the country’s entrepreneurial zeal. Onwah who advised Nigerians to open account with the bank and enjoy the experience of digital banking, highlighted some of the bank’s products and services in pension administering and management, while explaining the benefits of the offerings of the bank that people can tap into, while still in active service. She said the bank would continue to invest in technology innovation in order to give existing and intending customers the real digital banking experience.





Addressing Broadband Challenges with 60GHz Spectrum Last week’s move by the Nigerian Communications Commission to issue the 60GHz spectrum band will help address the shortfall in the spectrum band, as well as boost the country’s broadband penetration, writes Emma Okonji Shortly after the licensing of 2.3GHz spectrum band in 2014, which Bitflux Communication won, and the licensing of 2.6GHz spectrum in 2016, which MTN won six slots and another six slots sold to Intercellular, NCC had planned to auction yet another spectrum band, the 700MHz spectrum. The move was to cushion the effect of the scarcity of spectrum in a bid to drive broadband infrastructure and penetration. However, the NCC was unable to licence the 700MHZ spectrum because the spectrum was still in use by broadcasting organisations. Their plan however was to release it when Nigeria switches from analogue to digital in the ongoing digital switchover process. The inability of NCC to licence the 700MHz spectrum has further deepened the challenges created by spectrum scarcity in the country, and telecoms operators have since then been calling on the agency to seek new ways of auctioning additional spectrum licences. Therefore, the move by the NCC last week to auction the 60GHz spectrum, brought huge relief to telecoms operators, who explained that it would go a long way in addressing the scarcity of spectrum band and also boost broadband infrastructure rollout by licenced InfraCos and telecoms operators. Spectrum scarcity Spectrum band, no doubt, has become a scarce commodity in the telecoms sector, a situation that was confirmed by the Director of Spectrum Administration at NCC, Mr. Austin Nwaulune. According to him, “Spectrum is scarce and the operators need spectrum to rollout services. It is true that it is the duty of the regulator to seek more spectrum allocation from the International Telecoms Union (ITU) at international fora. The international forum to seek spectrum allocation is the World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC), which are held every three to four years. It is the job of WRC to review, and, if necessary, revise the radio regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits. Revisions are made on the basis of an agenda determined by the ITU Council, which takes into account recommendations made by previous world radio communication conferences.� “We have three ITU regions and if any spectrum is adopted in any region, countries within that region will share it and this will enhance economy of scale within countries in that region, which will lead to reduction in the cost of spectrum. NCC is looking at auctioning the 700MHz spectrum next, but the spectrum is still being used by the broadcast industry and we are hoping that by the time Nigeria fully migrates from analogue to digital broadcasting, the spectrum will be freed and auctioned to mobile operations, to cushion the effect of spectrum scarcity.� , Planned auction of 60GHz spectrum band In line with global best practice, the NCC, last week, said it would licence the 60GHz band designed to open up spectrum licences that have been relatively scarce. Addressing stakeholders at a consultative forum in Lagos to announce the opening of the 60GHz spectrum, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta ,who was represented by the Director, Reseach and Development at NCC, Mrs. Abigail Sholanke, said frequency spectrum is the fundamental resource for the provision of wireless communication services and has increasingly become scarce due to the emergence of new technologies and the growing demand for wireless services. “In order to facilitate strategic collaboration

Broadband cable and partnership with relevant stakeholders, facilitate broadband penetration, optimise spectrum usage and its benefits, as well as ensure regulatory excellence and operational efficiency among others, the Commission has decided to provide an avenue for stakeholders and users of telecommunication resources, to converge and make inputs to be considered in the opening up of the 60GHz spectrum bond,� Danbatta said. “At present, radio spectrum in the 60 GHz band also known as the V-band, is yet to be

Giving detailed presentations of the planned licensing of the 60GHz spectrum band, Nwaulune said it is an unlicensed band, allows operators the opportunity to control it the way they want to in offering various services and in carrying out various operations like backhauling, last mile services, fixed and mobile broadband, among others

opened for deployment of services in Nigeria. The Commission recognises that to boost the eminent advantages that are coming with the 5G abs to also support indoor short range machine to machine communication, there are advantages in the opening of the band for unlicensed applications,�Danbatta added.

benefits through the enhancement of broadband service delivery, such as ease the pressure on currently utilised public spectrum bands used for WiFi, Utilisation of Green Field Spectrum band, its utilisation would bring moderate revenue for the government through equipment type approval.

Features of the 60GHz spectrum Giving detailed presentations of the planned licensing of the 60GHz spectrum band, Nwaulune said it is an unlicensed band, allows operators the opportunity to control it the way they want to in offering various services and in carrying out various operations like backhauling, last mile services, fixed and mobile broadband, among others. He, however, said the use of the spectrum must come under the regulation of NCC. Nwaulune further explained that the 60GHz spectrum would be subject to approval by the National Frequency Management Commission. According to Danbatta, the spectrum would allow operators and enterprise sectors of the telecom Industry to effectively meet their broadband needs. The band also possesses characteristics like the lcense-free 60GHz radios that have unique characteristics that provide operational advantages over other solutions; Narrow beam antennas: associated with 60GHz radios enable multiple radios to operate on the same rooftop or mast, and provide interference immunity from other 60GHz links; Easy to install and align by non-expert installers with the use of a simple visual alignment tool provided with the product; High data transmission security that allows small beam sizes coupled with the oxygen absorption properties of 60GHz spectrum, make the signal highly secure. “The growth in broadband traffic as well as the scarcity of available spectrum to meet this need is eventually leading to a congestion of wireless delivery medium. This could degenerate to a point where it will become highly challenging to entertain new requests for such resources,� Danbatta said.

Overview of the 60GHz band According to Nwaulune, the V-band is ideal for small cell backhaul with high capacity from wide channels and interference reduction from the oxygen attenuation. It has both short range and wide area application! and desirable for applications requiring high transmission bandwidth. It is largely uncongested compared to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz public bands currently used for WiFi, and the band is suitable for point-to-point connection. The application of 60 GHz band comes in Fixed and mobile network backhaul; Fiber extensions/metro networking; High speed indoor short distance machine to machine communications; HD video streaming, wireless Gigabit ethernet; Wireless docking station and desktop point-to-multipoint connections. Nwaulune listed the different models of the 60GHz band to include licensed spectrum, light licensing and license exempt. He described licensed spectrum as operator specific frequency license and that the regulator will be responsible for planning, assigning, coordination, protection and spectrum pricing. He described licence exempt as a model that enables the regulator only to be responsible for providing database for registration of users, while the light licensing requires operator specific frequency licence, and the regulator may or may not be responsible for planning, coordination and protection, but the operator will provide low pricing mechanism and data base for registration of users.

The benefits Speaking on the benefits, Nwaulune said the 60GHz spectrum comes with socio-economic

Operators’ excitement Pleased with the planned licensing of the 60GHz band, telecoms operators said they were thrilled by the commitment of NCC to address the challenges of spectrum scarcity in the telecoms sector, and indicated their interests to participate in the auction process whenever NCC is set to do so.


T H I S D AY ˾   Ͷ˜ͰͮͯͶ





Canon Launches ‘Live for the Story’ Campaign, Photo Competition Stories by Emma Okonji Leading imaging and business solutions firm, Canon Central and North Africa has launched a nationwide ‘Live for the Story’ campaign. Carrying out multiple roadshows and mall activations, the live demonstration of Canon’s consumer products and solutions all follow the ‘Live for the story’ umbrella that incorporates the “Shoot-Remember-Share� ecosystem which is tied to Canon’s consumer- bound

range of products. As part of the campaign, Canon will also be launching a photo competition with top musician and leading photographer/influencer TY Bello. The competition inspires people to celebrate their stories through imagery, ultimately capturing stories that define Nigeria through its people, culture and passion. Running for a duration of one month, participants are required to upload their stories on Instagram and Facebook while adding the hashtags#CanonCNA and

#MyNaija as their captions. After compiling all the submissions, three winners will then be selected and awarded with a trip alongside TY Bello for a chance to create even more resonating stories. European Corporate and Marketing Communications Director at Canon, Mai Youssef said: “Born out of the belief that it’s so often the small occasions in life that bring meaningful memories, Canon wants to make sure it plays a part in the storytelling of all these moments for everyone. This competition

which will commence today, the 28th of February 2018 for a duration of one month is a mere example of how eager we are to promote storytelling.� “ Live for the story� is a call to action inspiring people to capture experiences, save memories and tell their own stories in a unique and memorable way. As pioneers of imaging, one of our major targets is to engage our customers through this campaign to shoot, share, and remember their stories together with Canon,� Mai added.

Speaking at the media launch, the Sales and Marketing Director B2C, Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA), Somesh Adukia, said: “Canon is committed towards investing in Nigeriaand exploring this growing market. Applying a ‘closer to customer’ strategy we have established our local presence via our rep office and appointed a full Nigerian team of channel and business development managers to cater to each segment within the market. Moreover, we have also expanded our service centres and are continuously

supporting film makers with workshops as well as online/ social competitions and challenges.� Commenting on the development, Bello said: “I am extremely excited to be part of this campaign, one which encourages Nigerians to share more stories by capturing the essence of what being Nigeria means to them. #liveforthestoryspeaks to my identity first as a Nigerian and my brand as a professional photographer by bringing untold stories to life through the lens of a camera.�

Coolworld Unveils Energy Saving Electrical Appliances As part of its efforts to protect the environment, help in cutting down on power consumption and saving teeming Nigerian consumers some money on electricity bills, Coolworld Retail Store has introduced a new range of Haier Thermocool refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners into the Nigeria market that saves energy consumption and reduces carbon emission by 97 per cent. According to company, the new Haier Thermocool range of energy saving refrigerators and freezers have the ability to save up to 40 per cent on energy consumption while the energy saving inverter DC technology Air Conditioner, aptly named GENPAL, can save up to 60 per cent on energy consumption. The company said all the products were introduced out of the desire to give consumers the best comfort experience on home appliance usage at a reduced energy charges. Speaking at the launch event in CoolWorld Retail Store in Lagos recently, the Marketing Director of HPZ Limited, Mrs. Bukola Bandele

disclosed that whether the consumer is a trendy young corporate executive or a busy working mother, the desire to minimise electricity bills and save money as well as sustain a comfortable lifestyle remain constant. “This is why we decided to take ownership of this energy saving conversation by championing the provision of quality energy saving home appliances on all models of our Fridges and Freezers and the new GENPAL; to give everyone greater peace of mind, irrespective of the size purchased,� she explained. Bandele added that the new products were made with improved globally-accepted and environmentally friendly refrigerants. “It has no destructive effect to the ozone sphere; thereby preserving the environment for the future generations. She said at least 40 per cent of global refrigeration now employs environmentally friendly refrigerants and as such, “we are delighted to be the leading organisation to employ this technology that reduces our carbon footprint by 97 per cent.�

TECNO Mobile Launches Smartphone Photography Master Class TECNO Mobile has taken its enviable feat to a whole new level as it hosted Nigeria’s biggest smartphone photography master class at this years’ edition of the Social Media Week Lagos. The annual event, which had top executives and experts from different walks of life, discussed issues arising from the smartphone camera craze which have been an important subject matter in the past year. In a bid to educate and empower photography lovers, service providers and mobile phone users, TECNO Mobile partnered Wakafire Photography to host the smartphone photography master class. At the Master class, speakers such as popular freelance journalist, celebrity YouTuber and Founder of DIY Dose – Torera Idowu along with seasoned tourist, documentary and lifestyle photographer – Abdusalam Hamza and Lead Photographer at Wakafire

Smartphone Photography – Obasa Olorunfemi were on hand to spearhead the training sessions along with senior executives from the smartphone brand. For instance, Torera Idowu took attendees through the processes of creating magical videos on their mobile, emphasising on how smartphone adoption has made it easier and affordable to shoot a full documentary. She also told them tales of how she won ‘The Thompson RTE Mobile Journalism’ award for her first documentary which she filmed with a mobile device. “My mind was completely blown, when I won the award despite the fact that more experienced journalists from all around the world competed for the same award. But I won and got to meet mobile enthusiasts who actually used mobile to create TV packages, documentaries among others, �she said.


L-R: Commercial Director CoolWorld West Africa, Olugbenga Kolawole; Director General Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf; State Co-ordinator, Lagos Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Joseph Ugbaja; Marketing Director TEC West Africa, Bukola Bandele; Chairman PZ Group, Chief Kola Jamodu and the Managing Director, TEC Africa, Dimitris Kostianis, at the unveiling of HPZ energy saving home appliances in Lagos...recently

Dell EMC Expands Modern Inlaks CEO Challenges Technology Drivers on Team Protection Storage Portfolio Work DD3300 also provides covDell EMC is expanding its modern protection storage portfolio with Dell EMC Data Domain DD3300, a new platform specifically designed to deliver enterprise-level data protection to small, mid-size organisations and remote/ branch office environments of larger enterprises. According to the company, organisations today face many challenges and conflicting priorities including data growth, supporting an ever-growing number of applications, an increasingly stringent regulatory and compliance environment, and continuously shrinking budgets. For organisations of all sizes, small to large, it is paramount for business success, more than ever before, that their data is protected and that they can easily leverage cloud for flexibility agility and economics. DD3300 offers Dell EMC’s comprehensive data protection capabilities, including inline encryption and DD Boost for faster backups and lower network usage.

erage for a wide application ecosystem, from enterprise to homegrown applications. A 2U appliance that enables you to start small and expand capacity as your needs increase, and with an average data reduction rate in the range of 10-55x, the DD3300 will provide an impressive ROI along with dramatic cost savings, bringing greater scalability and significant reduction in WAN bandwidth use for backups and recovery. To enable smaller IT environments to simply extend to the cloud for long-term retention, DD3300 supports Data Domain Cloud Tier. With DD3300, organizations can natively-tier deduplicated data to the cloud for long-term retention without the need for a separate cloud gateway or a virtual appliance. This new compact Data Domain delivers cost-effective long-term retention on a wide cloud ecosystem including Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) and major public clouds.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Africa Operations at Inlaks, Femi Adeoti, has highlighted the importance of empowering and coaching team members as the key to successful leadership. He spoke recently at the IT Merit Award and Investiture ceremony organised by the Nigeria Computer Society, Ogun State Chapter in Abeokuta. Delivering a keynote address at the event on the theme: “Leadership, Attitude and Success in IT profession,� the ICT chief said that successful leaders have the ability to inspire, motivate and act as mentors to the people they are leading. “The essence of leadership is to have a clear vision, establish goals and provide team members with the knowledge and tools necessary to achieve those goals. “Information technology is at the centre of everything we do in the world today and it is important for leaders to have the right leadership skills to survive in the ever changing

ICT industry,� he said. Adeoti stated that integrity is one of the top attributes of a great leader and this entails consistency of actions and a deep commitment to do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of the circumstance. Integrity, according to him, is what establishes the leader on a solid ground. He cited the law of the lid, law of influence and the law of empowerment by John Maxwell as some of the leadership principles that every leader must embrace to become effective. “I commend the outgoing executives for their service and leadership to the Nigeria Computer Society Ogun State Chapter and urge the incoming executives to consolidate on the efforts of their predecessors. I also congratulate the awardees who have been recognised for their contributions to the ICT industry. We must all play our part as individuals and as a community to ensure that Nigeria becomes the country of our dreams,� Adeoti emphasised.





Panadol Extra’s Marketing Campaign as Wake up Call Raheem Akingbolu reviews Panadol Extra’s new campaign, which was recently unveiled to celebrate ‘Toughies’ Who is a Toughie? ‌which is currently running across various media platforms is woven around individuals, who derive pleasure in helping others. The lead cast; Peter Okon, who plays the role of an emergency responder, is seeing in the television commercial putting all his efforts into saving lives and helping people. Okon appears determined and happy doing what he is doing selflessly, despite the challenges and the hazard involved. He is seeing on the street, especially accident scenes, trying to save lives. ‘’During an emergency, people tend to run away from the scene of danger; my job requires I do the exact opposite, to save people. It is tough but it is the most fulfilling job I could ever have chosen. Of course, this doesn’t go unnoticed as many people wonder how he finds it easy doing what he is doing. This is shown through another member of the cast, Chidi Iheme, who, in appreciation of what Okon does, ponders and wonders what motivates the ‘strongman’. ‘’Peter is passionate, very committed, pushing his body to its limits but he never quits. Sometimes, I see the pains but keeps moving, people wonder how he does it, ’’ Iheme observed. Through his countenance and mood, it is easy to see sincerity and appreciation in Iheme’s voice. He feels concerned about his countryman, who is doing great by helping others. He feels for him, as well as telling other Nigerians the beauty of helping people in need. In what looks like a direct response to Iheme’s concern, the light beams on Okon reviewing his activities and telling the world how passionate he is about what he does. Of course, he admits that it is not easy doing what he does but he is quick to add that he doesn’t mind and that he has no time for pain when he has people in pain. Okon shares the story of a young girl who was involved in an accident and how he felt bad seeing ‘a once lovely face’ in pain. Of course, the video beams at how Okon and others are struggling to save the young girl. To show that the acts are selfless, he adds; ‘’Most of the time, I don’t hear from the victims after they have been taken to the hospital,’’ he said. However, just when he was done for the day’s job, and set to start his motorcycle, he received a visitor. The young girl who was saved from the accident scene had impressed it on her mum that she wanted the man who saved her life to have a share of her birthday cake. On sighting ‘her messiah’, the young girl detaches from her mum and ran forward as she hands the cake over to Okon, who collects it with all enthusiasm. Relating his experience, Okon points out that he could see the appreciation on the face of the mother of the young girl. To connect the campaign with the brand, the TVC is cleverly put together to show that Okon and other people involved in skilful jobs rely on Panadol Extra, to kill their own pains. From time to time, Okon is seeing reaching out to get a pack of Panadol Extra. To further push the brand, Panadol Extra ad is conspicuously shown on the lampposts that lines up on the street where the video was shot. The campaign has a strong PR focus, already shown on television, also spanning across social media and leveraging influencers - a departure from its TV focus. The message Through the TVC, makers of Panadol Extra are calling on Nigerians to be their brothers’ keeper. ‘’Hey! It’s always heart-warming to hear some good news about homeland Nigeria. So, how sacrificial do you think we are as a people? I bet a lot of you don’t know that Nigerians are very sacrificial with their time and resources,’’ a statement issued by the company had stated. In 2017, ‘The World Giving Index’, a global view of giving trends carried out by the Charity

Aids Foundation (CAF) ranked Nigeria 6th amongst 135 other countries as a country of people who help others especially strangers. Nigeria was also in the top 10 as a country of people who volunteer their time to help others. This finding and many indices must have influenced the management of GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), manufacturers of Panadol Extra to focus its currently running campaign on how well to appreciate individuals, who go extra the mile to help others. For a household brand like Panadol Extra, which has existed for about six decades, the campaign can be said to also reflect on how the pain reliever has helped millions of consumers to get over their pains. Across social media, there are conversations about the campaign and an attempt to describe who a toughie is; an everyday character with tough moral fiber who goes the extra mile to help others in their day jobs, never stopping for the many pains they endure as a result of it? Tough people, who would not give up on a task no matter how hard and difficult, just to put a smile on the faces of others even when going through tough pains? The statement goes further to say ‘these set of amazing people will go all out just for the happiness and wellbeing of others. They are selfless and tireless in their pursuit of their day job; at times we wonder where they get their strength, because nothing seems to stop them, not even pain’. ‘’We all know at least one person like that; we have them in our lives, we wonder what keeps them going and at times we aspire to be just like them. Check your circle of friends, check your office, check your family; check the street corner and you would find

them... You know one common thing about these people? They go unappreciated most of the time. They are Toughies! ‘’With the many pressures of life, it is easy to take people and things for granted and never stopping to appreciate them. Panadol Extra wants to celebrate these Toughies. It’s the #Panadol ExtraToughies campaign. Join the conversation on social using the hash tag #Panadol ExtraToughies,’’ the company stated. Looking at the profile of the brand in its 60-year history, it appears in recent time, Panadol Extra campaigns are being used to sermonise the people about doing good. In its core brand campaign launched last year, where the brand features Radio star, Fitzy, it reminds Australians to take time away from their devices and reconnect with friends and families. In the 90-second film, Fitzy and his family enter the Home of Reconnection, which is devoid of all technology and devices. It invites guests to lock away their devices, switch off life’s headaches that are often caused by technology overload and reconnect with family and friends. Setting and message One other thing perhaps that I like is the local content. Unlike many of such television commercials that are recorded in foreign lands, ‘who is a toughie’ is shot in Nigeria. Through the yellow taxis in the video and other local aesthetics, it is easy to establish that the TVC was 100 percent Nigerian. This is a plus for GSK and the creative agency as they align with the local content specification, being clamoured for by Advertising Practitioners

Council of Nigeria. Over the years, regulatory bodies have expressed dissatisfaction with the non-promotion of local content in creative works emanating from local advertising agencies. Proponents of increased local content in creative works meant for exposure in Nigeria media often wonder why the setting, cast and even voice over in some commercials have been entirely foreign - a situation, which they argue, has denied Nigerian talents from being engaged by local practitioners. By extension, it is also believed that highest percentage of what is accruing to ad spending go to foreign hands. On the other hand, ad practitioners have argued that shortage of required technology and at times manpower force agencies to look elsewhere for shooting of commercials. In the last few years, South Africa, Dubai and the United Kingdom are said to be the most visited locations for Nigerian practitioners. Though considered in some quarters to be a belated move, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) through its Committee on Advertising Practice Reforms (ACARP) few years ago, reeled out a new guideline to advertising practice in Nigeria. Top on the new reform was the resolute use of local production of commercial films intended for the Nigerian market. The council based this on the need to ensure stricter professionalism within the advertising industry and practice. To a large, extent, GSK and the creative agency that handled the TVC, appeared to have gotten it right in their choice of cast and setting and this will go a long way in connecting the brand with Nigerians.






CELLCORE Unveils AI Solution Chams Plc Appoints Awosika Board Chairman Designate, targets larger market for Lotto Players Emma Okonji In line with clients’ demands and technology trends, CELLCORE Limited, an IT firm in Ibadan, has unveiled Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution for lottery companies in Nigeria. Celebrating their 10 years in the Nigerian IT industry, the LOTTOBOT which is first of its kind is a ChatBot technology that automates the playing of lotto games via Facebook Messenger. The introduction of LOTTOBOT to the Nigerian gaming industry is timely and presents a wealth of opportunities for businesses looking to up skill their workforce and transform the user experience. Speaking to journalists, the Chief Executive Officer of CELLCORE Limited, Mike Nwaogu, said: “We have made gaming simpler and easy. Facebook’s Messenger and other chat applications launched CHAT BOTS, and it was the cue we needed to integrate the new AI technology buzz into their gaming experience. Instead of having to go back and forth, logging out of their Facebook accounts and websites, and then visiting their gaming portal of choice, they can simply access it via our Facebook’s Messenger CHAT BOT�. He added: “We are at the forefront of deploying artificial intelligence into the gaming industry not only in Nigeria but Africa. We have been in

this industry for almost a decade and we are using this solution to celebrate a landmark.� LOTTOBOT Prime allows gamers to play lotto games by merely chatting with a bot, thereby presenting a convenient, relaxed process and experience of playing lotto without having to leave your zone. With this chatbot, anyone can play lotto games directly via their Facebook Messenger, get direct updates of results and get prize winnings credited directly to their Messenger LOTTOBOT account. Industry stakeholders have lauded the product, noting that with the introduction of LOTTOBOT into the Nigerian gaming industry, it has demonstrated that the gaming industry is maturing. Amongst the industry stakeholders that attested to the solution is De Donkings Lotteries Limited. Key features of LOTTOBOT include the ability for gamers to subscribe to updates, players can subscribe to receive automated updates of results via their Messenger inbox. Known as Cash Out, winners get notified immediately by the Bot when they win. Their LOTTOBOT account is credited with the prize immediately. The players, can also check the balance of their winnings on the Bot or cash out their winnings through a simple process; either by having the cash withdrawn at an ATM or transferred to their bank accounts.

The Board of Chams Plc, a leading provider of identity management and intelligent business solutions has appointed Dr. (Mrs.) Ajoritsedere Josephine Awosika, a NonExecutive Director, as the Chairman elect to steer the affairs of the company for the next five years. Her appointment takes effect after the 2017 annual general meeting (AGM) slated for April 2018. Awosika’s appointment was in line with the company’s corporate governance structure, business optimisation strategies and market repositioning in the years ahead. Awosika, the first woman to assume such a big responsibility in the history of the 33-years-old corporate entity, is a quintessential technocrat whose expertise spans across

the broad spectrum of both public and private sectors of the economy. She is bringing her wealth of experience at executive and board levels in administration, technology, health, power and banking sectors to bear positively on the business of Chams Plc. Prior to her latest appointment, the seasoned administrator and corporate amazon had served as the pioneer National Coordinator/Chief Executive of the National Programme on Immunisation; Director (Parastatals) in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; and Director (Department of Community Relations & Youth Development) in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, thereafter, she rose to the position of Federal Permanent Secretary. In recognition of her

‘Dere Awosika intellectual and professional competences in public administration, Awosika served as Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Interior; Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office, in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. She retired from the Federal

civil service as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power in January 2013. She is currently serving on several boards, including Access Bank Plc, Adekunle Ajasin University, and Capital Insurance Nigeria Ltd. The current Chairman of the board, the Very Rev. Ayo Richards expressed his confidence in Dr. ‘Dere Awosika in taking the company to the next level. He described her as “a firm and success driven leader whose positive contributions in the public and private sector cannot be sidelined. It is my belief that her coming in as the Chairman of Chams Plc is a good omen especially at this time the company is going through a positive transformation and repositioning for growth�.

HMD Global Unveils Five New Nokia Phones Emma Okonji HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has announced four new additions to its portfolio of Android smartphones – Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus, new Nokia 6 and Nokia 1. Delivering all the craftsmanship expected from a Nokia phone, each new smartphone offers durability and reliability as standard, with the range setting new benchmarks in materials and design. Furthering its promise to pure, smart, secure and up-todate Android experience, HMD Global also announced it is to become the first global partner to have a full suite of devices selected into the Android One programme by Google. The unwavering commitment to deliver a pure, secure and upto-date Android experience has ensured Nokia smartphones become the natural fit for the global programme. In addition to these stunning new Android smartphones, the iconic Nokia 8110 is reloaded, delivering 4G connectivity, apps including Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Search, Facebook and Twitter, and the return of the slider phone. The Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus and the new Nokia 6 – join the Android One family, offering a high quality software experience designed by Google. Each phone will stay fresh over time with the latest AI powered innovations to the

highest grade of security from Google. With a pure Android installation, Nokia smartphones come with no unnecessary UI changes or hidden processes that would eat up battery life or slow them down so you can enjoy your new phone for longer. Each of the new phones comes with a limited number of pre-installed apps so that you’ll get more storage space, as well as the latest innovations that help you stay ahead of the game every day. By shipping with Android Oreo™ out of the box, users will be able to enjoy the latest features, including Picture-in-Picture for multitasking, Android Instant Apps to discover and run apps with minimal friction, 60 fantastic new emojis and battery-maximising features like limiting background app use. According to the Chief Executive Officer, HMD Global, Florian Seiche, “this time last year, we started our journey with huge expectations from fans and a massive responsibility to deliver on the legacy of one of the most innovative brands in our space. Since then we have reintroduced well-loved icons, forged partnerships with friends - old and new, and delivered our pure, secure and up-to-date Android experience across our smartphone portfolio. Last year we shipped over 70 million Nokia phones.â€?


L-R: Chief Executive OďŹƒcer, Viathan Funding Plc, Mr. Ladi Sanni; Managing Director/Chief Executive OďŹƒcer, FMDQ, Mr. Bola Onadele Koko; and Chief Executive OďŹƒcer, Renaissance Capital (Nigeria) Limited, Mr. Temi Popoola, during the Listing ceremony of the N10billion Viathan Funding Plc Bond in Lagos ... recently

Union Bank Gets PCI DSS Ensure Insurance’ Cash Back Recertification, ISO 27001 Campaign Produces Winner Certification Raheem Akingbolu Union Bank of Nigeria, UBN, has announced its attainment of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) version 3.2 recertification and the International Organisation for Standardisation ISO/ IEC 27001:2013 certification The bank was awarded by Panacea Infosec, Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) in conjunction with their local partner- Digital Encode, having successfully met the security requirements needed to achieve the PCI DSS version 3.2 certification The PCI DSS is an international data security standard which all organisations must adhere to in order to accept payment cards, and to handle or transmit cardholder data. This standard ensures secure processing of card payments and the reduction of card fraud. The information security

Raheem Akingbolu management system ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is an internationally recognised standard which specifies the requirements for the establishment of an effective information management security system. These certifications enable the bank offer its customers improved data security against card fraud, identity theft, insider threats, cybercrime, hacking and other security exposures. Commenting on the attainment, Executive Director and Head of Service and Technology at Union Bank, NathUde, said: “The bank’s compliance with international best practices, certified by an independent third-party audit, confirms our ability to build, implement and maintain best security practices. We assure our customers of our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of information security as we continue to provide them with simpler, smarter services.�

The Ensure Insurance Cash Back Season campaign, an innovative reward system for safety conscious customers holding motor insurance policies, has produced its first recipient, Mrs. Abimbola Jinadu, after two years of the inception of the campaign. The Ensure Insurance Cash Back is perhaps one of the most innovative and revolutionary incentive package for customers in the industry explained, Managing Director, Ensure Insurance Plc, Sunkanmi Adekeye, who also disclosed that the scheme gives cash back of 15% of the premium paid by the policy holder that has made no claim within 24 months of buying the motor insurance policy. According Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Ensure Insurance, Tonte Ikiriko, the campaign which has been on for two years, is in line with the company’s objective of

delivering innovative insurance products that work for the customer. “Ensure Insurance is changing the way insurance works for Nigerians. Ensure Cash Back is innovatively designed with the meticulous customers in mind. They are rewarded with 15% cash back for their safety consciousness and painstaking efforts to ensure accidents do not occur�. According to the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Comms, the company is elated to have its first winner in the scheme and also “very happy to walk the talk as we presented her with a cheque amounting to 15% of her total premium paid over the last 24 months�. While receiving the cash back reward, Jinadu praised Ensure Insurance Plc for the innovative scheme, which has the potency of further inculcating good driving habits among Nigerian drivers, which would also lead to safety for Nigerians road users.







Ojuolape: Gender Equity’s Crucial for Devt On the sidelines of a family planning programme held in Abuja, Nigeria recently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Ghana, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape shared some insights with Abimbola Akosile on gender equity, among other vital development issues; even as the world marks the International Women Day today Excerpts: man that the man is not involved in, which is the issue of maternal health. A man does not get pregnant; it is only women that are uniquely put together by God to be able to get pregnant. So, from the moment of conception all the way to the moment of delivery and birth, it is only a woman that can experience it and we need to look at all that continuum, to make sure that the pregnancy is safe and that the child is delivered safely without any complication. So we felt there is no way to look after men in this scenario, except to get the men to look after the women.

Can you tell us briefly about yourself? Who is Mr. Niyi Ojuolape? Mr. Niyi Ojuolape is a development worker; he used to work in Nigeria with the AIDS control agency, National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) and thereafter the Federal Ministry of Health in different capacities, and now working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also in a different capacity between 2011 and a couple of months ago. He is the UNFPA Representative in Ghana. What brought you to Nigeria particularly this time around? I came to Nigeria as part of a mission of what we call Family Planning 2020 Reference Group meeting. The meeting takes place once in a year. Last time it was held in Tanzania under the joint leadership of the UNFPA and Bill Gates Foundation, and this time around the meeting was held in Nigeria. It looks at the FP 2020 as we call it; it looks after the issue of family planning in the entire globe and what we do basically is to ensure that everything about family planning, the services the commodities reach more people than it presently does. There was an initiative concerning family planning in Nigeria that was recently launched in Abuja, called the Green Dot initiative. Can you tell us a little about it? Well, it is basically against the background of the fact that in country we have quite a number of challenges with family planning. In order to ensure that family planning gets to everybody that needs it, there are a number of things that needs to be done. Number one, we need to advocate with those who need it, with the gatekeepers of those who need it so that they can be allowed to access it. Number two, there are commodities and services that are required need to be bought with resources; so resources are the second part. Then the third major one is the one that we call, getting it to the last man. It has to do with the supply chains management of getting family planning services or commodities, for example, either from wherever it is manufactured to the ports of the country and all the way to the place where it is required so that the user gets it. The new initiative that you have just talked about is a situation whereby we have it in this particular place so all the problems associated with getting family planning services to the place where it has to be accessed would have been eliminated or would have been overcome so we have that in that place. So whatever you need in terms of family planning services we want everybody to know that we are going to be providing family planning services in particular places and it’s to make it as open as possible, to make it as accessible as possible, and if you may call it, to make it as anonymous as possible because there are some people who

Ojuolape have issues with accessing family planning services openly. Apart from the new initiative, what of the cultural and religious challenges associated with family planning‌how do you intend to find your way around it? All it requires is actually education because there are people who are very well-intentioned people and the challenges that we have with religious leaders and traditional rulers for example is borne out of the genuine interest of the leaders for the people and it is borne out of the good culture that we have and it is borne out of the good religions that we have. But then there are certain misconceptions about family planning which we need to bring to their attention. It has to do at times with messaging and also it has to do with putting it in the appropriate context so that they understand what it is. So it is a question of communication, getting across to those gatekeepers that you have mentioned so that they understand what it is all about. And it will correct the earlier misconception about birth control or population control. We don’t seek to control the population of any country; what we seek is for anybody that will be born to planet earth for us to have enough resources to take that individual, to take that child all the way to the point of maturity without the problem of poverty, without the problem of malnutrition or every problem that is associated with poverty in the lifespan of an individual. UNFPA places a lot of emphasis on women,

on children and on youths, why so, like as if men are being left out of the equation or what? Well, within the UN system; the UN system is a development community that tries to look after the entire essence of a being. And we have found out that over time, this is that we have scientific data and credible evidence which indicate that women experience some injustices. For example, there are scientific evidence that shows that if a woman does a quantum of a particular work vis-a-vis a man, the man gets paid more. A woman that goes to school has the same level of education or is even more brilliant than an individual in class. We have found out that even in developed countries, or in so-called developed countries we have found out that the attrition rate of women in the business world, in leadership, in the corporate world, the attrition rate is more than that of men, while there are certain systemic issues that we have in the society which puts down women, which prevent women from enjoying what they should have, which brings us to the issue of gender equality. For UNFPA as an organisation, one of the major goals that we have, the major mandate that UNFPA has is to try as much as possible to ensure gender equity to get real development, so that a man is putting x amount into a particular place, a woman is putting x amount they get the same or to ensure that a woman is not collectively discriminated against just because she is a woman. So, our goal is to make sure that women get their own fair share and very importantly, there is a part of the show that even if you want to help a

In 2015, I remember Professor Osotimehin (now late) told me something in New York; he said inequality is a global challenge and is very key among the sustainable development goals (SDGs). From that time till now from your own perspective, do you think there has been an improvement in the inequality gap, income, social inequality around the globe and wherever you have worked as a development worker? Yes, because if we say nothing has happened, then it means all the efforts that have been put into this is not achieving anything at all. Because the issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women have been on the front burner of the global development agenda for a while, and work, a lot of work has been put into this, a lot of resources have been put into this. Even from that standpoint alone, I can say that things are getting better, or even if it is to look at it from the standpoint of things are not getting worse, that is something. Particularly, between 2015 and now, I cannot really say I have some credible or scientific data or evidence to prove it but I know there are studies that are already going on. We need to prove it in the course of time. But from what I can see for example in the UNFPA which I work, I can see from the work that we do, I can tell you that things are getting better. In some countries for example, part of the gender agenda is to ensure that women are more involved in politics and that they hold more political power. We have seen it plain in Rwanda for example where about two-thirds of their legislators are women compared to the men. In the same manner across the globe, we can see increase in the participation of women in politics and we can take that back to other issues of poverty, other issues of development and we see that the lots of women are getting better. But we see that we can still look forward to having better results from what is being done now.

NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on

RANDOM THOTS Arrested Development It is never easy to be a primus inter pares (first among equals) and for Lagos, which reportedly generates and contributes over 75 per cent of the total tax revenue in Nigeria on a monthly and annual basis, it is even tougher and lonelier.

All anyone needs to confirm its envied status among the 37 states is for one to visit Lagos and see the ongoing development and infrastructural projects scattered in various stages around the metropolis; from Oshodi to Agege, from Ikeja-along to Lagos-

Badagry Expressway and even trafficinfested Apapa, the country’s maritime gateway. However, if the rumours are found to be true, some of these ongoing projects may be delayed from reaching completion due to funding hitches. This reporter recently overheard a little bird chirping that there is intense pressure by some powerful interests and politicians upon the number one citizen in the state of aquatic splendour to hand over the huge funds

already budgeted for the ongoing development projects in the state. As we were repeatedly told back then in the secondary school days in Federal Government College, Warri, Delta State in the 80s, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so it’s a no-brainer to conclude that any development funds handed over to powerful politicians ahead of 2019 general elections, will surely arrest the ongoing development projects around the metropolis.

Although the governor appears to be between the devil and the deep blue sea in this matter, the onus is on him to continue those projects, which have so far positively helped his almost-certain quest for a second term next term. Giving in to subtle blackmail at the expense of development may be counter-productive to a discerning electorate who will only vote in performing leaders...just saying -Abimbola Akosile





I must blow the whistle on this!

Has Corruption Really Declined in Nigeria? Global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International recently released its Corruption Perception Index 2017, where Nigeria slid 12 places from 136th to 148th out of the 180 countries ranked, although the country scored 28 points out of 100 in 2017; compared to 26 points in 2016. Although the federal government has disputed the negative ranking, analysts believe the current administration’s anti-corruption war has not effectively checked the scourge. To you, has corruption really declined or increased in Nigeria? What can be done? Abimbola Akosile


* Corruption cannot just decline overnight and Nigerians must see the fight against corruption as a collective responsibility. - Mr. Feyisetan Akeeb Kareem, Coordinator, CDHR, Delta State

Yes, it has reduced:


No, it has not reduced:




* Yes, the monster called corruption has declined in Nigeria. The brazen looting of public treasuries we saw in the past no longer exists. The fight should be holistic. I recommend four simple approaches: 1. Spare no one in this fight; 2. Get all public officers from 1960 to date to return whatever they stole; 3. Confiscate properties home and abroad acquired through looted funds; 4. EFCC should learn from Singapore on how to fight corruption. God bless Nigeria. - Mr. Odey Ochicha, Leadership Specialist, Abuja

Radical tip:

Overhaul judiciary!

Total no of respondents:






Highest location:

Lagos & Abuja (5 each)

* To me corruption has declined, but government must intensify efforts on it. - Mr. Yusuf Muh’dBashir Omotayo, Nda-Aliu, Kwara State * Corruption has not declined in Nigeria. To curtail corruption, we must devise an inclusive and conclusive anti-graft policy; we must first build human capacity, empower Nigerians and perpetuate a social security solution that guarantees all law abiding and hard working citizens the dividends of a corrupt-free Nigeria. God bless Nigeria. - Mr. Ekpa Stanley Ekpa, author, Nigerian Law School, Abuja * Just like politics in Nigeria, corruption has only changed its looks to suit the trend, and lip service will continue to do us no good. Rethinking our values and committing to these right from the home front, will set our society straight again no matter how long it takes. - Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State * Not at all; corruption is rather on the increase in Nigeria. What do you say of a president who has all his security heads connected to him in one way or the other? Our leader’s men feed him with lies, creating the impression that the last administration’s leaders were the corrupt ones. This government only fights corruption by mouth and worse is yet to come. - Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* Corruption has increased in Nigeria because government is busy chasing shadows instead of checking and blocking avenues of corruption. They keep antagonising the opposition and former leaders and at the same time posting their cronies to lucrative places to steal while the President himself continues to defend them. - Mr. Umoru Sabo, Lafia, Nasarawa State * There is no political will and the rate of corruption has increased. While government was able to implement the Treasury Single Account, government agencies like the EFCC, the ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, NEITI, Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit are not being empowered. There is need for effective investigation, prevention, education, good governance, transparency, accountability, private and public anti-corruption initiatives. - Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

believed that the President will stamp out corruption from the polity but regrettably his inability to rein in his appointees, ostensibly due to political, ethnic and religious consideration, has bastardised the anti-corruption campaign. Transparency International’s assessment of the corruption situation in Nigeria is on point. - Mr. Paul Jideofor. Dept. of Languages, FCT COE, Zuba, Abuja * Even if the newsmen won’t talk about it again, it is visible to the blind that corruption has not reduced a bit. We can’t keep deceiving ourselves that it has reduced. It’s a blatant lie. How many members of the current cabinet have been prosecuted? Let’s wait till they leave office again; we will then know if it has reduced or not. - Mr. Adewumi Temitope, Agroshowroom, Osun State * Corruption is on the increase. There is uncertainty in the polity and lots of deprivation resulting in increase in poverty level and fear of the future. More importantly the agencies have not been effective and the government officials have not shown good examples to curb the mess. Let every citizen shun corruption starting from our immediate environment. - Mr. Kingsley Oparah, Lagos State * Yes and no. Those who are not in the innermost of government circles feel circumspect about dipping their fingers in the till - they are not sure which way the hammer will swing when it falls. However, there’s a kind of ‘swag’ exuding from those in government circles; they feel Mr. President is too close a family member to do them harm. This administration should be wary of this class of Nigerians. - Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja

* No; this administration has obviously kept a blind eye on corruption e.t.c with high profile cases of corruption driving Nigeria underground while patriotic whistleblowers, glaring evidence, and self confessions e.t.c are ignored. Nigerians are apprehensive of where this anti-graft war is actually heading now. Only the poor masses face jungle justice. The best time to act is now. - Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* No, it hasn’t. Although efforts have been mustered by this administration, saboteurs and elitist thieving collaborators have repeatedly thwarted concerted efforts to kill corruption today. Our judicial system has made it very easy for high profile plunderers to escape justice; hence nobody has been truly convicted or punished yet. It’s apt time to rid our judicial system of bad eggs. We must act now and swiftly. - Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* Before assumption of office, many Nigerians

* Corruption has most certainly reclined in

Nigeria. There is still stealing going on but not at the scale it was before. With TSA and higher remittances from MDAs it’s not as easy as it used to be to get your hands on corrupt money. Prosecution and speedy trials have still not improved much but blocking of leakages has greatly reduced the access to filthy lucre. During the immediate past administration, we had convictions where those accused of embezzling billions of pension funds were sentenced to fines of N500,000 and N750,000 respectively. Unfortunately, stealing is still rampant today but not at the level of unraveling the nation. - Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State * To me, corruption has reduced but it is still very virulent in Nigeria. Across public and private sectors in the country, it was a way of life until the current administration came in and declared war on corruption. However, sadly enough, corruption is fighting back even at the top level of government. To conquer the cankerworm, all citizens must fight it together. - Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

Next Week: Should Local Govts be Granted Autonomy? ÖÞÒÙĂ&#x;Ă‘Ă’ÞÒĂ?Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă—ĂŒĂ–ĂŁĂœĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ–ĂŁ ĂœĂ?Ă?Ù××Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ?ĂŽĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹ĂšĂšĂœĂ™Ă Ă?ĂŽ Ă™Ă?Ă‹Ă–ÙàĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ‹Ă&#x;ĂžĂ™Ă˜Ă™Ă—ĂŁĂ“Ă˜ÞÒĂ?Ă“ĂœĂ‹Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂšĂœĂ™Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă?ËœÞÒĂ?×ÙàĂ?ĂŽĂ™Ă?Ă?Ă˜Ă™ĂžĂ?ÓÞåĂ?Ă–Ă–åÓÞÒÞËÞĂ? ÙàĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă™ĂœĂ?ËœĂĄĂ’Ă™Ă–Ă‹ĂœĂ‘Ă?Ă–ĂŁĂ?Ă™Ă˜ĂžĂœĂ™Ă–ÞÒĂ?Ę¨Ă˜Ă‹Ă˜Ă?Ă?Ă? Ă‹Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ&#x;Ă“Ă˜Ă‘ÞÙÞÒĂ?Ă–Ă™Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă?Ă™Ă&#x;Ă˜Ă?Ă“Ă–Ă?Ë› Ă˜ĂŁĂ™Ă&#x;ĂœĂ™ĂĄĂ˜ Ă Ă“Ă?ĂĄËœĂ?Ă’Ă™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂ–Ă™Ă?Ă‹Ă–ÑÙàĂ?ĂœĂ˜Ă—Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ?Ă“Ă˜Ă“Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă‹ ĂŒĂ?Ă‘ĂœĂ‹Ă˜ĂžĂ?ĂŽĂ?Ă&#x;Ă–Ă–Ă‹Ă&#x;ĂžĂ™Ă˜Ă™Ă—ĂŁÞÙĂŒĂ™Ă™Ă?ÞÎĂ?Ă Ă?ÖÙÚ×Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ‹ĂžÞÒĂ?Ă‘ĂœĂ‹Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă™ĂžĂ?Ă™ĂœĂ˜Ă™ĂžËŁ Ă–Ă?Ă‹Ă?Ă?Ă—Ă‹Ă•Ă?ĂŁĂ™Ă&#x;ĂœĂœĂ?Ă?ĂšĂ™Ă˜Ă?Ă?ĂŽĂ“ĂœĂ?Ă?ĂžËœĂ?Ă’Ă™ĂœĂž Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?Ó×ÚÖĂ?ËœĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?ÞËÞĂ?ĂŁĂ™Ă&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă&#x;Ă–Ă–Ă˜Ă‹Ă—Ă?ËœÞÓÞÖĂ?Ëœ Ă™ĂœĂ‘Ă‹Ă˜Ă“Ă?Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜ËœĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ–Ă™Ă?Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ë›Ă?Ă?ĂšĂ™Ă˜Ă?Ă?Ă? Ă?Ă’Ă™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂŒĂ?ÞåĂ?Ă?Ă˜ÞÙÎËãĚ™Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ò͙ʜ Ă™Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹ĂŁËœĂ‹ĂœĂ?Ă’Í’Í“ĚšÞÙabimbolayi@yahoo. com, greatbimbo@gmail.comËœabimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.comË›Ă?Ă?ĂšĂ™Ă˜ĂŽĂ?Ă˜ĂžĂ?Ă?Ă‹Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă?Ă™Ă?Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹Ă?Ă’Ă™ĂœĂžĂžĂ?âÞĂ—Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă‘Ă? ÞÙ08023117639Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽËšĂ™Ăœ08188361766 Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽËšĂ™Ăœ08114495306.ÙÖÖËÞĂ?ĂŽĂœĂ?Ă?ĂšĂ™Ă˜Ă?Ă?Ă? ĂĄĂ“Ă–Ă–ĂŒĂ?ĂšĂ&#x;ĂŒĂ–Ă“Ă?Ă’Ă?ĂŽĂ™Ă˜Ă’Ă&#x;ĂœĂ?ĂŽĂ‹ĂŁËœĂ‹ĂœĂ?Ă’Í’Í–





One of the environmental challenges that comes with positive initiatives


We’ve Trained over 100,000 Gainfully-employed Nigerians, Says ITF Boss Seriki Adinoyi in Jos The Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joe Ari has revealed that the agency has trained over 100,000 Nigerians in the last year and half, who are now gainfully employed in different fields and sectors. He also handed down a stern warning to staff members of the Fund, urging them to eschew indolence, idleness and gossip, as these are not attributes of an institution desirous of being viewed as leaders in their lines of business. He has also directed Supervisors and Managers to clamp down hard on this

malaise. Ari was speaking at the 2017 End of Year Performance Review meeting with the theme, ‘ITF Vision: The Journey so Far’ held in Jos, Plateau State recently. He said, “One major obstacle to the achievement of our corporate goals and vision, to my mind, is the state of indiscipline, which has refused to change management’s determined and best efforts. In spite of repeated warnings, staff members still stroll to work at their own time and leave whenever they so desire. “These are not attributes that are associated with institutions desirous of being viewed as

leaders in their lines of business. I urge you, therefore, as Supervisors and Managers to clamp down hard on this malaise. I must also stress here that it’s not enough to be punctual to work; we also have to be productive at all times. We must therefore eschew indolence, idleness and gossip, and put all hands on deck in moving the ITF to the next level.� He however noted that the successes of ITF have permeated through the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, “especially through our flagship programme, the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), and also the Students

Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) reimbursement and our direct training services.� While noting that over 20 million Nigerians have been equipped by the ITF with requisite skills to become selfdependent, Ari observed that no organisation with similar mandate has done so well. He said, “Today, anywhere conversations veer to skill acquisition, the ITF heartwarmingly comes to mind. The reason for such recall is not far-fetched; in the last year and half, we have trained over 100,000 Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or are successful entrepreneurs

through our programmes namely; the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Passion to Profession, Training on Wheels Using Mobile Training Unit, the Women Skills empowerment Programme (WOSEP), the Technical Skill Development Project (TSDP), as well as the Vulnerable and Indigent Youth Empowerment Programme (VIYEP) among several others. “This is, indeed, a remarkable achievement when weighed against the currents of our operational environment in the time frame the achievement were recorded.� Ari commended the staff

members for the achievement so far, urging them to do more. He said the event was important because it provided them the opportunity to collectively take stock of activities in the preceding year, “subject our approaches to intense scrutiny while projecting and strategising for optimal result in the succeeding year.� Earlier, Director, Corporate Planning Department, Engr. Peter Agbo, reiterated the need for the meeting to reflect and take stock of performances with a view to critically examine methods and approaches consistent with global best practices and innovation.

Lions Club District 404 Kicks Off National Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC Unveils N50bn Measles Immunisation Campaign Sugar Estate in Niger State Lions Clubs International, Multiple District 404, Nigeria is set to participate in the 2018 National Measles Immunisation programme in Nigeria through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in the Southern part of Nigeria. Having participated in four previous campaigns in the country, Lions in Nigeria will be going into this year’s campaign with a lot of experience garnered over the years in the areas of advocacy and social mobilisation. Lion’s advocacy involves taking the message of measles campaign to stakeholders such as Community Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Local Government Chairpersons, Ministries of Health, State Governors as

well as National Primary Health Care Development agencies at Federal and State levels. In addition, jingles on radio stations as well as appearances on television stations will be undertaken to sensitise members of the public of their roles during the period set aside for immunisation country wide. According to the project chairperson of this year’s campaign committee, Dr. Yinka Griffin, the social mobilisation aims at encouraging mothers and guardians to get their children and wards immunise became imperative to guide against the dreaded measles disease. This exercise, he said, is done by undertaking road shows in major cities and localities using mobilisation tools such as whistles, music bands, flyers,

banners, balloons and exercise books. Funded by Lions Clubs International Foundation, the charity arm of Lions Clubs International, this year, Lions will be actively involved in the campaign when measles vaccination exercise will take place in Kwara state and the 17 states in Southern Nigeria from March 1 to 5, 8 to 12, 15 to 20 and 22 to 27, 2018. Material supports have been made to NPHCDA when the exercise was carried out in the northern part of the country. It is expected that over 4,000 Lions will participate in this year’s campaign. These Lions have been retrained in the rudiments of advocacy and social mobilisation for effective and efficient campaigns.

Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN Group), a market leader in food and agro-allied products in Nigeria, has disclosed that its biggest agricultural investment in Nigeria to date – the Sunti Golden Sugar Estate - will be unveiled on March 15 by Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Located on the banks of River Niger in Mokwa, Niger state, the Sunti Golden Sugar Estate is owned by Sunti Golden Sugar Estates (SGSE) Ltd. a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc. The sugar estate features 17,000 hectares of irrigable farmland and a Sugar mill that process 4,500 metric tonnes of sugarcane per day. At full capacity, the estate is expected to produce one million tonnes of sugarcane, which roughly

translates into 100,000 metric tonnes of sugar yearly. Enclosed within a 35-kilometre dyke, the production facility area is 15,100 hectares, with a cane area that features a maximum output of 10, 000 hectares. The dyke provides flood protection from the River Niger. Over N1 billion was invested in the state-of-theart irrigation system that will ensure the efficient cultivation of sugar cane, with infrastructure that includes drain pumps, pump stations, and a power grid, according to a release. The estate is a pure representation of the Federal Government’s Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) with an ambitious backward integration programme that intends to set Nigeria on the path to self-sufficient sugar production. The farm at peak

production will provide direct employment for about 10,000 people yearly, and impact up to 50,000 people indirectly, including 3,000 small-scale out growers who will be cultivating sugarcane to feed the mill. The estate has brought infrastructure benefits to the surrounding community, with 28 communities in total taking advantage of a new 30-kilometre road, plus expansive road networks that provide a variety of access routes to the homes of the indigenes. Drains, culverts, and flood-protection walls have also been constructed. The project illustrates the desire to reduce sugar importation, save billions in foreign exchange, boost local capacity, and reduce unemployment by putting thousands of Nigerians to work.





“Updateddatarevealsthatsome263million-one-in-five-children,adolescentsandyouthworldwide areoutschool,afigurethathasbarelychangedoverthepastfiveyears.Weneedmuchmore comprehensiveandtargetedapproachestogetherwithmoreresourcestoreachthosechildrenand youthwhoaredeniedtherighttoeducation,withaspecialemphasisongirlsandonimprovingthe qualityofeducationforall� -- - DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE UN EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANISATION (UNESCO), MS. AUDREY AZOULAY

Gender Equality‌The Unfinished Business of Our Time By Antonio Guterres

UN Scribe Guterres

SDGs: Orelope-Adefulire Canvasses for Zero Discrimination, Equality Lawmaker empowers 500 widows, orphans in Ebonyi Abimbola Akosile in Lagos and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, (SSAPSDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has advocated a general stakeholders’ commitment in the quest to ensure zero discrimination across all strata of the society. Orelope-Adefulire in a statement issued by her Media Assistant, Desmond Utomwen, noted that the provision of Goal 16 Target (b) in the SDGs framework enjoins nations to promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development. “As we join the United Nations and other International Organisations to mark the Zero Discrimination Day, it is my honour to encourage everyone to continue to contribute and support the efforts aimed at eradicating all forms of discrimination.� Orelope-Adefulire stated, while calling for the adoption of policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, among other efforts to progressively achieve greater equality. The SSAP-SDGs, while maintaining that the Nigerian government is doing its utmost to tackle the challenges of inequality and discrimination, just as it has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty, further noted that government will continue to address all forms of inequality, disparities noticed in access to health and education services and other assets. She opined that there is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. To reduce discrimination and inequality therefore, she stated that policies should be

Orelope-Adefulire universal in principle, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised populations. The Presidential aide called for support of all stakeholders, including the Private Sector, Civil Society Organisations, (CSOs), Development Partners etc in the entrenchment of mechanisms that would help empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic and other status. Meanwhile, a Member representing Ohaozara/ Onicha/Ivo Federal constituency in Ebonyi state, Hon. Linus Okorie has empowered 500 widows and orphans drawn across the 34 electoral wards of his constituency. The lawmaker distributed 3000 bags of rice, cash gift and other valuable times to the beneficiaries. At the event held at Okorie’s country home, Onicha Igboeze in Ebonyi state recently, Okorie noted that gesture was anchored under his

Caring Heart Foundation Programme. The chairman House Committee of Agricultural Institutions and Colleges also disclosed that the empowerment programme was one of the series of programmes initiated to bring succour to the vulnerable and less privileged ones in the constituency. He said: “this event is very important to me and my wife. We have doing this. Today is with widows and orphans. We imagined that these are series of people that are easily forgotten. We talk about them but we don’t usually have time to sit with them, at least share a meal with them. We are motivated and encouraged by the good works of the governor, David Umahi and his wife, Rachel. We are aware as we speak that she has over 4,000 widows who are in the employ of governor’s payroll.� “It was a gratifying moment for me. Caring Heart foundation is what I am. The moment I joined politics, my major aim was to feel the pains of the next person. I just forwarded the empowerment of 10 graduates from my constituency�. The representative of wife of Ebonyi state governor, Mrs. Rachel Umahi, Mrs. Chinyere Iyioku promised that her office would remain committed towards alleviating the pains and sufferings of widows and the less privileged in Ebonyi state. She noted that widows and orphans are special people in the society that needed to be cared for rather than forgotten as is the case in many societies today, adding that it was for this reason that her foundation, Family Sucour and Upliftment Programme, has special focus on widows and less privileged ones in general. Wife of the lawmaker, Lilian Okorie added that the empowerment programme was a routine programme of the Foundation.

We are at a pivotal moment for women’s rights. The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before. From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds. Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world. The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organisations, including the United Nations. Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage have been outlawed in many countries. But serious obstacles remain if we are to address the historic power imbalances that underpin discrimination and exploitation. More than a billion women around the world lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence. The global gender pay gap is 23 per cent, rising to 40 per cent in rural areas, and the unpaid work done by many women goes unrecognised. Women’s representation in national parliaments stands, on average, at less than one quarter, and in boardrooms it is even lower. Without concerted action, millions more girls will be subjected to genital mutilation over the next decade. Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissed. We now know that sexual harassment and abuse have been thriving in workplaces, public spaces and private homes, in countries that pride themselves on their record of gender equality. The United Nations should set an example for the world. I recognise that this has not always been the case. Since the start of my tenure last year, I have set change in motion at UN headquarters, in our peacekeeping missions and in all our offices worldwide. Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, writes from New York NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on




Acting Features Editor Charles Ajunwa Email:

Glaucoma: The Imperative for Frequent Eye Checks

As the world commemorates Glaucoma Week begining today, opthalmologists have advised on the need for frequent eye checks as the disease, which causes irreversible blindness, can be treated when detected at the early stages. Kuni Tyessi writes

Glaucoma is treatable


laucoma is a leading cause of blindness in adults globally and one estimate claims nearly 68 million persons, out of which seven million become bilaterally blind. Unfortunately, nearly 50 per cent of people with glaucoma may go undetected until they have lost substantial vision. With the increasing risk of glaucoma with age, it is important that the elderly population should see the need to cultivate the habit of routine eye checks. Quite a number of new glaucoma cases are expected to proportionally increase. The importance of obtaining a full medical eye evaluation, including a glaucoma check, is advised for anyone over the age of 40. Many cases of glaucoma may take years to show signs of visual loss. The goal in Ophthalmology is to detect glaucoma at the earliest stage so that appropriate medical and surgical therapy may prevent visual loss. Research shows that in Nigeria alone, no fewer than 1.2 million people above 40 years are living with glaucoma, the chairman, Ophthalmology Society of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Abiola Oyeleye, has said. The expert spoke on the sidelines of an event which made the 2016 World Glaucoma Week (WGW), slated for March 6 to March 12, with the theme: ‘Beat Invincible Glaucoma’. He said the figures were valid statistics from the Nigerian National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey of 2005 to 2007. According to him, up to 90 per cent of those affected with glaucoma are unaware that they have the defect and one in five people, that is, 20 per cent of those with

glaucoma, are blind. “These statistics are staggering. However, early detection by screening and appropriate treatment can prevent blindness,” he said. Oyeleye said that late diagnosis, poor medication compliance, high cost of treatment, and poor access to eye care were some of the challenges facing the management of glaucoma in the country. “In Nigeria, most cases of glaucoma are diagnosed when glaucoma is in its advanced stage, or when vision has been completely lost in one eye. “Glaucoma can be present for several years without being diagnosed, and as we have not developed a culture of having routine eye tests, the early stages go undiscovered. “Only a few states in Nigeria have regular government programmes for eye care and free screening. Programmes like these encourage people to have eye examinations, to reduce poor access to eye care,” he said. He further said that in Nigeria, individuals

Research shows that in Nigeria alone, no fewer than 1.2 million people above 40 years are living with glaucoma

with glaucoma usually paid out of their pockets when it comes to treatment and this could be very challenging, looking at the economic situation of the country. According to him, the treatment of glaucoma is expensive as some individuals may require medication worth up to N15, 000 or N20, 000 monthly, based on today’s costs. “In more developed health systems, health insurance, either government or private, will pay for the medication. “Over the last 10 years, the health insurance system is developing in Nigeria, but too slowly. “Most people covered by health insurance are in the middle income class, except for a few schemes targeted at the lower income groups. “Healthcare financing is a major issue in Nigeria, which must be addressed,” he said. Oyeleye said that glaucoma, when not well managed, could alter the strata of an individual’s life. “Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. “Before glaucoma gets to that stage, vision diminishes progressively and the individual may not be able to maintain the same job to earn a living. “The individual may also be vulnerable to all sorts of accidents, which may cause loss of life. “There can be poor health indices like depression and the need to rely on others for day-to-day things. “In Nigeria, you will see a lot of blind people being led around by children; what is the future for that child, who loses the opportunity to get educated?” Oyeleye asked. Still in the commemoration of the Glaucoma

week, a consultant Ophthalmologist, Garki Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Sewuese Bitto, said that results from the screening which was done for over 30 persons, revealed that most of them were suffering from glaucoma, and other eye diseases diagnosed during the screening were allergic conjunctivitis, blunt ocular trauma to the eye and refractive errors. Bitto underscored the importance of screening in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, saying “we are able to pick cases from doing so and try to manage the condition.” She described glaucoma as a degenerative disorder of the optic nerve, which affects the axons of the optic nerve, causing them to die due to pressure and cannot regenerate as there is no treatment for the nerve and the disease has no cure and can only be managed to reduce the progression of the disease. While one form of glaucoma- primary glaucoma- is associated with old age and genetics, secondary glaucoma is caused by factors such as uncontrolled diabetes, an injury or use of steroidal drugs and ointments applied topically on the skin that are often prescribed in dermatology treatment. “At least one in four cases of secondary glaucoma is because of usage of eye drops that have antibiotic-steroid combinations,” said Dr. Rajul Parikh, ophthalmologist and member, advisory board of the World Glaucoma Association, adding that people should stop using these OTC drugs. Not just eye drops, even steroidal skin creams can be potentially harmful. Parikh explains that it’s not just about the cream coming in contact with the eye; it gets absorbed in the body and finds its way to the eye through the blood vessels.




WHO Calls for Action to Stem Rise in Hearing Loss Olusanya says Nigeria should step up intervention nationwide Martins Ifijeh Some 900 million people could suffer from disabling hearing loss by 2050, according to new estimates released by the World Health Organisation on the occasion of World Hearing Day March 3. Currently 466 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss, 34 million of whom are children. This is up from 360 million people five years ago. The body says the main reasons for this increase is a growing ageing population and the persistence of risks the such as ear and vaccinepreventable infections like measles, mumps and rubella; the use of medicines that can harm hearing such as those used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis and malaria; and exposure to loud sounds through personal audio devices and in entertainment venues and workplaces. “Past trends and future projections predict a vast increase in the number of people with hearing loss,” says Director of the WHO Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, Dr. Etienne Krug. “Unless appropriate action is initiated, nearly one in 10 people could have disabling hearing loss by 2050. This will considerably affect their lives and pose a significant cost to health systems. Governments must act now to prevent this rise and ensure people with hearing loss can access the services and technologies they need,” he said. Reacting to the report, the Medical Director of Phonics Hearing Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos and a member of WHO Expert

Group on Hearing Loss, Dr. Bolajoko Olusanya, said: “This is a unique opportunity to raise local awareness on the importance of hearing healthcare in Nigeria.” According to her, this underscores the urgent need for the National Ear Care Centre under Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health to step up impact nationwide. According to WHO, “disabling hearing loss affects people in many ways. It impacts on a person’s ability to communicate, socialise, learn, work and enjoy life, contributing to poverty, social isolation and feelings of loneliness. In older people in particular, hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline, increasing the risk of depression and dementia. Unaddressed hearing loss costs countries an estimated US$ 750 billion annually in direct health costs and loss of productivity.” The health body says overall, it is suggested that half of all cases of hearing loss can be prevented; in children, this figure is around 60 per cent.“This includes by immunising children against infectious diseases; screening and treating children who suffer from chronic ear infections; promoting safe childbirth to minimise the risk of asphyxia and neonatal infections associated with hearing loss; avoiding the use of particular drugs harmful to hearing; controlling exposure to loud sounds in occupational and recreational settings; and raising awareness about healthy ear care practices through public health campaigns.” It noted that detecting and intervening early when people

Abia Intensifies Effort to Save Children from Measles Attack Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia Abia State Government has concluded plans to commence campaign to save children from measles, a dreaded child killer disease. The campaign which would kick off March 8, 2018 would run till March 20 targeting children from nine months to five years, the age bracket considered to be most vulnerable to measles attack. Abia is partnering the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the campaign. State Health Educator in the Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), Mrs. Meg Onwu said that health teams that would conduct the vaccination exercise had been raised and trained in all the 17 local governments of Abia. She said that each team was composed of seven health workers comprising two vaccinators, two recorders, a house mobiliser, town crier and crowd controller, adding that each team member has defined task to carry out

to ensure success of the antimeasles campaign. She explained that the integrated measles campaign was a follow-up campaign carried out every two years with the last exercise conducted in 2016 hence the need for a fresh campaign in 2018 to protect children. “It is done to provide more security for our children. Measles is a very dangerous disease that can lead to death of children,” she said, adding that the integrated measles campaign was not aimed at eliminating measles but reducing the burden of measles attack. Onwu further explained that, unlike routine immunisation which is a house-to-house exercise, the integrated measles campaign would take place in designated health clinics and temporary health posts created for the vaccination exercise. She said that the teams to carry out the measles vaccination were selected from the localities where they would be assigned for the exercise to avoid the anxieties created in Abia last year when rumours broke out about monkey pox vaccination.

do have hearing loss helps to minimise the consequences, especially for children. Adding that this is achieved through

screening programmes. “In cases where hearing loss is unavoidable, it is vital to ensure access to appropri-

ate and affordable assistive technologies such as hearing aids and surgically implanted electronic cochlear implants,

and communication services like speech therapy, sign language and captioning,” WHO says.

L-R: Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye; Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye; President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAP), Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, Vice President, NAP, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi; and Secretary, NAP, Prof. Fola Tayo, at the Special Reception in honor of two distinguished fellows of NAP, held in Lagos recently

NAFDAC DG: Putting Drugs on Concurrent List will Cause Chaotic Drug Legislation Martins Ifijeh The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Professor Christiana Mojisola Adeyeye has called on the federal government not to put drugs and poisons on Concurrent List, nothing that this will not only cause multiplicity of drug legislation, but will lead to chaotic distribution. In a statement made available to THISDAY, the DG said following the recommendation by the reform panel of the ruling party led by Governor Nasir el-Rufai that proposes to move drug matters from Exclusive List (item 21 of part I of the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution) to the Concurrent List, NAFDAC as an Agency of Government and a major stakeholder in drug regulation in the country, thought it important to lend its voice to this emerging concern, adding that this recommendation portends great danger for the nation. She said: “Removal of drugs and poisons from the exclusive legislative list will lead to lack of uniformity of standards of drug products across the country; chaotic drug legislation that will discourage foreign investment and disruption of existing collaboration with international support partners and donor agencies; and as well defeat the purpose of the federal government’s drive on ease of doing business in the country

as different jurisdictions will have different requirements. “This will lead to proliferation of organised crime and money laundering offences, loss of recognition of the country as a preferred destination for clinical research due to haphazard legislative requirements, lowered product quality standards will further worsen Nigeria’s health indices,” she added. According to her, this will also lead to aggravation of the current menace of misuse and abuse of controlled drugs, infringement on patent and intellectual property rights which will have untoward consequences on the nation being a signatory to the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, as well as lead to proliferation of counterfeiting, falsification of medicines, spuriously labeled pharmaceuticals and allied products, pronounced adverse drug reactions, entropic Pharmacovigilance reporting system, unwholesome and sharp practices to mention a few, among others. She said the nation has over the years put in place several policies and measures to ensure drug security and improved healthcare delivery in the country, adding that some of these measures include a National Drug Policy which is targeted amongst other objectives to make available at all times to the Nigerian populace adequate supplies of drugs that are effective, affordable, safe and of good

quality. “The country is also putting a lot of effort to strengthen administrative, legislative, and regulatory controls of the importation, exportation, manufacture, procurement, storage, distribution, supply, advertisement, sale and use of drugs in tandem with global best practice as obtained all over the world. “The reasons for placing drugs and poisons on the exclusive legislative list by countries are not far-fetched. These include but not limited to the following: Firm control on drugs and drug-related matters by the federal government; prescription and enforcement of grades and minimum standards of quality for drugs and drug products; prevention of drug misuse and abuse by central regulatory control on substances of abuse; and protection of patent rights for innovators of medicines to prevent infringement and promote data exclusivity.” Other reasons, according to her include: entrenchment of a rational and properly structured drug distribution system; enhancement of compliance with Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement; and strengthening of regulatory mechanisms in line with globalisation and medicines regulatory harmonisation. Meanwhile, Prof. Adeyeye, speaking at another forum, Breakfast Meeting with NAFDAC DG’ held in Lagos for stakeholders and the media recently, she said since the past

90 days she resumed as the DG, a lot of thins have changed in the Agency. According to her, NAFDAC staff have been multitasking, as there was no more time to finish one thing at a time before another starts, adding that there were so many things to be done in the Agency. “For instance, when I came on board, I realised there was no active information technology system. We kick started by making sure all NAFDAC staff uses our emailing system for their email correspondents. All 2300 staff of NAFDAC now uses We started other ICT innovations to make our work easier. “When I first came on board, I found it difficult to talk to my directors, but within five weeks, we resolved all that.” She said one of the things she has made sure of was to address the issue of huge expenditure from staff travels. “Prior to my coming, NAFDAC was known to spend a lot of money on travels, then I asked if we could minimise the travels by doing video conferences. We have also achieved that.” She added that a lot of money was been spent by Nigerian manufacturers, hence the least BAFDAC can do is to step up such that there would no longer be undue delays in whatever they processes with the regulatory body. She commended staff of NAFDAC for their tireless efforts since she resumed. “NAFDAC has so many smart people, and I am proud of them,” she added.


T H I S D AY ˾   Ͷ˜ͰͮͯͶ




T H I S D AY Ëž ËœMARCH 8, 2018


Tambuwal: High Interest Rate Hurting Small Businesses Mohammed Aminu Ă“Ă˜ ÙÕÙÞÙ Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday said that the prevailing interest rate charged by banks is hurting small businesses in the country. He also advocated that interest rates should be reviewed downwards to enhance growth and economic stability. Speaking in Sokoto when he received the Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka recently, Tambuwal said another challenge with high interest rate is that it denies many individuals and small-holder entities access to loans, thereby limiting their ability to expand. “I want to urge banks in

the country, and especially the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to look into this problem because many small and medium scale enterprises have gone under due to lack of access to finance. “The ones that have struggled to stay afloat find it hard to expand. So the banks should look inwards and introduce policies that will, at the end, provide a win-win situation for them and their customers. “I am not saying you should give loans that are not sustainable, but within the operating environment, a common ground could be reached that will help to stimulate growth in the economy,� he said. Tambuwal noted that Sokoto

state government has had long standing relationship with UBA Plc, and his administration would continue to explore avenue to enhance it. While commending the bank for its corporate social engagements in the state, the governor urged the UBA boss to do more considering the special relationship between the two entities. In his remarks, Uzoka said his organisation has impacted positively on the lives of many through its intervention in education, environment and empowerment. “All our customers are not just customers, they are members of the UBA family and we value our relationship with them at all times,� he stressed.

Fidelity Bank Pledges to Satisfy Millennials Fidelity Bank Plc has restated its commitment to developing products and platforms to meet the ever-changing needs of its 21 century customers. Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, stated this in Lagos, at the 2018 Social Media Week held in Lagos recently. “I’m very pleased to be here at the Fidelity Digital Takeover as part of the celebration for the 6th edition of the Social Media Week. When I walked in here today, a lot of the millennials were wondering what those of us who are not millennials were doing here. “You see, we provide services; we lead people and most of the population of Nigeria are youths. “So if we have to provide

financial services for this class of people you need to understand their buyer needs; you must understand their customer’s preferences; you must understand what is important to them,� Okonkwo said. He added: “More importantly, a lot of youths actually live on the social media. So if we’re going to engage them, you have to understand what they actually need.� He noted that the bank had over the years proven itself as a youth inclined financial institution, explaining that, that resulted in tremendous growth being witnessed in its digital banking space. The bank chief disclosed that the bank is recruiting about 36 people to man its digital banking segment,

stressing that as a financial institution, it would stay on top of changes and work closely with the millennials. “So it’s just one of the ways we’re responding to the transformation going on in the banking industry driven by needs of millennials.� He said social media has brought people closer, adding, “we can exchange knowledge, we can interact, we can express who we are, we can express our opinions. So indeed, closer together we stay.� Also speaking during the panel session, the Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu, said: “Millennials need to understand there’s a real world outside of social media. They need to go out.

Access Bank’s ‘Womenpreneur’ Supports Female Owned Businesses The ‘Womenpreneur’ business workshop, a flagship training of the ‘W’ Academy, an initiative by Access Bank Plc, has provided skills support to 2,200 women in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. This came on the heels of seasontwo of the workshop, which held recently in Abuja and Port Harcourt for 350 female entrepreneurs. Since its introduction, more than 2,200 business women across six states of the country have benefitted from the workshop with testimonials around increase in their business networks and improved business models in spite of the economic constraints. The women have

also enjoyed hand holding opportunities and access to markets provided by the bank. A statement from the bank quoted its Group Head, Product Sales of Access Bank Plc, Mrs. Ope Wemi-Jones, to have said that Access Bank had continued to drive women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria. “Since 2006, the Bank has continued in its commitment to help women overcome the cultural and financial barriers toward harnessing their potentials both as women and business owners one woman at a time,� she added. According to Wemi-Jones, the Womenpreneur Business Workshop was intended

to educate and enlighten Nigerian women on the fundamentals in business which would eventually help them attain their full potentials. The Womenpreneur business workshop was designed to address the lack of access to entrepreneurial skills, finance, networking and management skills which are the key barriers to women’s economic inclusion. The objective is to provide a discounted and practical capacity building program that would expose female business owners to the nation’s economic reality as well as help them simplify processes and sharpen the requisite skills needed to grow their businesses.

FCMB Unveils‘Millionaire Promo Season 5’ First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to further empower, reward and enhance the experience of its customers through another reward scheme tagged: ‘FCMB Millionaire Promo Season 5’. The bank explained that its decision to introduce another promo was as a result of the impact previous editions of the promo made in the lives of about 20,000 of its customers who won various gifts, including cars, cash (ranging from N1 million to N5million), refrigerators, phones, decoders, television and power generating sets. In a statement, FCMB ex-

plained that the new promo would run from March to October 2018. It is targeted at all segments of the society, especially existing and potential savings account customers of the Bank. This however, excludes salary and domiciliary account holders. It further stated that the promo was designed to provide extra empowerment value to customers of the bank, reward them for their loyalty over the years, while also encouraging financial inclusion, the establishment of small scale businesses as well as the development of a savings culture.

During the promo, various prizes would be won by qualified customers. While four lucky customers of the bank would each win the star prize of N2 million at the grand finale of the promo scheduled for November this year, 12 others will be rewarded with N1 million each at the regional draws that will respectively hold in May, July and September. Other prizes to be won include 160 units of LED television sets, 160 power generating sets, 640 smart phones, 320 tablets and 800 decoders among other consolatory takeaways.




AUGUST 2017 Broad Money (M2)


-- Narrow Money (M1)


---- Currency Outside Banks


---- Demand Deposits


-- Quasi Money


Net Foreign Assets (NFA)


Net Domestic Assets(NDA)


-- Net Domestic Credit (NDC)


---- Credit to Government (Net)


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


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


---- Credit to Private Sector (CPS)


--Other Assets Net


Reserve Money (Base Money)


--Currency in Circulation


--Banks Reserves

3,268,266.17 ˞ÙĂ&#x;ĂœĂ?Ă?Ě‹

Money Market Indicators (in Percentage) Month

August 2017

Inter-Bank Call Rate


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




The price of OPEC basket of fourteen crudes stood at $63.25 a barrel on Tuesday, compared with $62.89 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculationsa. The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), ZaďŹ ro (Equatorial Guinea), 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




United States Firm to Inject $250m into Resort Savings & Loans Plc The future looks bright for Resort Savings & Loans Plc as the mortgage banking firm has executed a $250 million financing facility with Milost Global of United States. In a notification to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Resort Savings & Loans Plc said it has held preliminary discussions with Milost Global as prospective investor in the bank.

“Following the discussions, the bank has executed a $250 million financing facility term sheet and Commitment Letter with Milost Global Inc. The facility comprises $100 million equity and $150 million debt,� the bank said. According to the bank, it had earlier secured the interest of a local investor which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is expected



to give final approval to in due course. Resort Savings had last year expressed its preparedness to play a dominant role in the country’s mortgage banking sector, having overcome the board and management crisis which it faced for over two years. The bank last year appointed a new management team to steer the organisa-





tion. Senator Sunday Fajinmi was appointed the Board Chairman, while Mr. Olayemi Rabiu was appointed the managing director/CEO and two executive directors in the persons of Mr. Kolawole Adesina and Mr. Aliu Oshoke. “The bank is already normalising her relationship with various developers with a view to leveraging on them



in creating good mortgages for her teeming customers in excess of 80,000. “Issues are equally being resolved with appropriate agencies with a view to bringing the bank back to profitable operations within the shortest time possible,� the bad had said. Meanwhile, losses by bellwether stocks halted the bull run at the stock


market yesterday as the NSE All-Share Index fell by 1.5 per cent to close at 42,952.70. Similarly, market capitalisation shed N236.1 billion to close at 15.4 trillion. Losses recorded by Dangote Cement Plc (-3.6 per cent), Nigerian Breweries Plc (-3.4 per cent); Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (-1.9 per cent) were mainly responsible for the bearish trading.

0 7 / 0 3 / 2 0 1 8 DEALS





T H I S D AY ˾   Ͷ˜ͰͮͯͶ


     ˾  THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2018


FMDQ OTC Lists Pioneer Viathan Funding N10bn Power Bond The FMDQ OTC Securities

Exchange has listed the Viathan Funding Plc Series 1 N10 billion 16 per cent 10-year Senior Guaranteed Fixed Rate Bond on its platform. This is another significant contribution inspiring confidence in the Nigerian markets as infrastructure development, slowly, but progressively, takes form. Viathan Group develops and operates off-grid power solutions in Nigeria and the bond will be first corporate infrastructure bond focused on

addressing power generation challenges, amongst others, to be issued in Nigeria and listed on the OTC exchange. Speaking during the listing ceremony, Vice President, Capital Markets Directorate at FMDQ, Tumi Sekoni, expressed pleasure at the pioneer listing of a power bond in Nigeria. She said: “FMDQ, being especially desirous of unlocking capital for infrastructure and economic development in Nigeria, has again demonstrated its unflinching commitment

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

in this regard by providing due diligence and availing its credible and efficient platform for the listing and trading of the Viathan Bond - the first-ever Power Bond to be issued in the Nigerian markets. FMDQ is indeed honoured to be the chosen platform for the listing of this Power Bond.” In his comments, Chief Executive Officer, Viathan Funding Plc, Mr. Ladi Sanni, said: “It is with great pleasure that we celebrate the listing of the Viathan Bond. The success

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 6-Mar-2018, unless otherwise stated.

of the bond is evidence of the increasing appetite of local institutional investors for long term infrastructural debt instruments. The N10 billion bond is the first tranche in a N50 billion bond programme which would essentially help Viathan actualise its aggressive 200megawatts capacity expansion programme by 2021. We are happy about the investors’ confidence and reception to the Viathan bond and look forward to their support in

subsequent bond issues.” Representing the issuing house and sponsor of the bond on FMDQ, Mr. Temi Popoola of Renaissance Capital (Nigeria) Limited said: “It has been a source of tremendous pride working with Viathan on this landmark transaction. Whilst it is the first of its kind in many regards, the most important benefit is perhaps the signalling effect it gives to corporates in Nigeria that other funding sources are available to them. Renaissance Capital, leveraging

on its execution and distribution abilities, ended up with a deal that was over-subscribed and very well received by the local investor community.” Also speaking, Managing Director/CEO of FMDQ, Mr. Bola Onadele. Koko, noted that infrastructure poses a major challenge to the realisation of the potential of the Nigerian economy, one which has not only stagnated economic development, but inhibited improvement in the standard of living of the Nigerian people.

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 196.07 196.63 9.33% Nigeria International Debt Fund 245.58 246.15 5.97% 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 0.86 0.87 5.10% ACAP Income Funds 0.63 0.63 4.21% 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 15.85% ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ARM Aggressive Growth Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Discovery Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Ethical Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED Web:; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund 167.19 168.36 10.21% AXA Mansard Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 15.75% CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD Web:, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Chapelhill Denham Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 14.95% Paramount Equity Fund 13.04 13.37 5.47% Women's Investment Fund 102.45 105.08 1.81% CORDROS ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web:, Tel: 019036947 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Cordros Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 15.21% CORONATION ASSEST MANAGEMENT , Tel: 012366215 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coronation Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 15.35% Coronation Balanced Fund 1.11 1.13 5.39% Coronation Fixed Income Fund 1.09 1.12 5.10% FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn FBN Fixed Income Fund 1,183.65 1,184.81 3.12% FBN Heritage Fund 151.78 153.19 17.47% FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 15.10% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional $114.54 $115.14 1.47% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail $114.52 $115.12 1.55% FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund 197.28 200.30 15.54% FIRST CITY ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Legacy Equity Fund 1.42 1.45 8.74% Legacy Debt Fund 2.95 2.95 2.43% 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 3,166.23 3,207.65 6.20% Coral Income Fund 2,533.94 2,533.94 3.58% 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 19.25% 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 15.00% Vantage Balanced Fund 2.21 2.24 4.81% Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund 1.00 1.00 17.93% Kedari Investment Fund (KIF) 117.48 117.83 2.14%

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 1.17 1.19 1.86% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 1,055.95 1,055.95 2.41% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD Web: ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 16.90 17.07 19.96% Meristem Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 14.21% PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.30 1.32 9.02% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 11.36 11.46 3.09% PACAM Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 17.01% 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 N/A N/A N/A SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD Web:, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.53 1.53 2.92% 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 2,410.17 2,429.89 7.44% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 178.64 178.64 1.24% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 1.12 1.14 11.88% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 228.06 228.16 3.57% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 195.43 197.68 9.14% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 14.90% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 10,668.31 10,816.08 10.34% Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (USD) 1.08 1.08 1.89% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.34 1.36 0.80% United Capital Bond Fund 1.60 1.60 2.35% United Capital Equity Fund 1.01 1.03 9.93% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.87% United Capital Eurobond Fund 104.05 104.05 1.11% United Capital Wealth for Women Fund 1.13 1.13 3.45% ZENITH ASSETS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 13.46 13.67 7.44% Zenith Ethical Fund 14.07 14.24 6.27% Zenith Income Fund 19.55 19.55 3.33% Zenith Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.40%


Yield / T-Rtn

10.00 133.97

-11.35% 1.14%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

12.88 165.45 123.65

12.98 169.02 125.98

6.24% 15.85% 13.19%

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

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund SIAML Pension ETF 40 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

5.72 9.88 19.89 23.58 154.08

5.76 9.96 19.99 23.78 155.78

20.54% 3.19% 11.95% 19.75% 3.58%

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.


T H I S D AY ˾   Ͷ˜ͰͮͯͶ






UK Police ‘Know More’ about Substance Involved in Russia Spy Mystery Britain on Wednesday said it was closer to identifying the substance used in the suspected poisoning of a former Russian double-agent, as

Moscow accused politicians and journalists of whipping up anti-Russian sentiment, AFP reported. Interior minister Amber

‘We’re Not Looking for a Trade War’ – US Commerce Secretary US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday said the United States is not seeking a trade war and the decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was“thought through”, according to AFP. “We’re not looking for a trade war,”Ross told the CNBC cable network, speaking a day after President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned in apparent protest over the controversial tariffs. “We’re going to have sensible relations with our allies,” he added, arguing that a jump in steel prices could be avoided with increased domestic production of the commodity. Trump’s move on tariffs has infuriated US trade partners, but he says he was elected to protect American workers and industries harmed by trade policies. Ross played down the Cohn resignation, insisting“this is not

some sort of a palace coup.”He said the departing economic adviser“has been contemplating some sort of a move for some little while.” The 57-year-old former Goldman Sachs executive lobbied passionately against the tariffs, but lost out to a decidedly more protectionist team that included Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. “This is not going to be a big trade war,”Ross said Wednesday. “The president would not have indicated flexibility on Canada and Mexico if he just wanted to do very extreme things.” “This is an idea that’s been thought through over time.” Trump said Canada and Mexico could be exempted from steel and aluminum tariffs if they showed greater willingness to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to address US interests.

Rudd said police “know more about the substance” after chairing an emergency government meeting to discuss the case of Sergei Skripal, but did not release any details of what progress had been made. She also called for “cool heads” over the suspected poisoning, which is already being linked with Russia by British politicians and media. The 66-year-old Russian, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, is in a critical condition in hospital along with his daughter Yulia after they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre in the southwestern English

city of Salisbury on Sunday. “We need to keep a cool head,” said Rudd, adding that investigators would respond to “evidence, not to rumour”. Police say they are keeping an open mind about what happened, but Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday pointed the finger at Russia. He noted the “echoes” with the 2006 poisoning in London of former Russian spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, which Britain has blamed on Moscow. The Kremlin hit back on Wednesday, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova telling

reporters the story “was straight away used to boost an anti-Russian campaign in the media”. Zakharova earlier said Johnson’s comments were “wild”. National counter-terrorism police have taken control of the case, citing the “unusual circumstances”, and opened a new crime scene on Wednesday in the nearby town of Amesbury. “The focus at this time is to establish what has caused these people to become critically ill,” said the head of the unit, assistant commissioner Mark Rowley.

Skripal and his 33-yearold daughter had lunch at a nearby restaurant before walking to the shopping centre, where witnesses said they appeared “out of it”. Experts said the circumstances appeared to rule out radiation poisoning, as in Litvinenko’s case. “Radiation poisoning tends to take tens of hours to several days to show symptoms after exposure,” said Professor Malcolm Sperrin, a medical physics expert with the state-run National Health Service. “This may have been chemical, but we can’t be sure.”

Sierra Leone Votes for New President Voting is under way in Sierra Leone, where more than three million people are eligible to choose a new president, parliament and local councillor, according to BBC. In the capital, Freetown, long queues could be seen at polling stations even before dawn. President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping down after serving two five-year terms. His chosen successor, Samura Kamara, is being challenged by 15 other candidates - many of them promising to tackle endemic corruption and poverty. Mr Kamara of the All Peoples Congress (APC) is one of three frontrunners - the others are Julius Maada Bio of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and former UN diplomat Kandeh Yumkella of the newly-formed National Grand Coalition (NGC).

One of the greatest challenges for the new leader will be to reconstruct a healthcare system following the huge Ebola outbreak in 2014 that killed nearly 4,000 people. Only 200 doctors serve a country of seven million people. The Commonwealth’s chief election observer, former Ghanaian President John Mahama, told the BBC there were signs it would be peaceful. “People are going about their business. They don’t have that anxiety or fear that there’s going to be any explosion taking place,” he said. He added that if “everybody plays their part” they will be one step closer to “consolidating democracy in Sierra Leone”. Mr Mahama said that candidates had signed a peace pledge in the run-up to the election.

Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, are in a critical condition in hospital


German Govt Condemns Far-right MPs’ Syria Visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman on Wednesday condemned a visit by politicians of the far-right AfD party to the “inhumane” Syrian regime, AFP reported. “People who court this regime disqualify themselves,” said Steffen Seibert on the Damascus trip by six members of the Alternative for Germany party. “The Syrian regime demonstrates on a daily basis how inhumane its actions are,” he said, noting that the suffering of civilians

in Idlib, Aleppo and East Ghouta is “suffering that President (Bashar al) Assad ordered or condones”. The German foreign ministry was not informed about the AfD lawmakers’ trip ahead of time, a spokeswoman said. The group of six, comprised of four members from Germany’s national parliament and two state lawmakers, arrived in Damascus on Monday for talks with pro-regime officials and a tour they said aimed at getting a real idea of the situation

on the ground. They said they were “surprised” at scenes of normal life in Damascus as they push their bid for Berlin to start sending refugees back to the wartorn country. The group is being led by Christian Blex, a member of North Rhine-Westphalia’s regional parliament, who posted pictures on Facebook of his Monday meeting with Syria’s pro-regime Grand Mufti Ahmed Badreddin Hassoun. Hassoun often appears alongside Assad for

religious occasions and has in the past warned against Western interference in his country, threatening terror attacks in Europe. The anti-Islam, antiimmigrant AfD entered the Bundestag for the first time last year, capitalising on anger over an influx of more than a million asylum seekers in Germany since 2015. Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday that parts of the AfD may warrant surveillance by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

UK PM to Raise Human Rights Concerns in Saudi Crown Prince Visit Theresa May says she will be “raising concerns about human rights” in Saudi Arabia when she meets the country’s crown prince later, according to BBC. Mohammed bin Salman is starting a three-day visit to the UK amid protests planned against his country’s role in the war in Yemen. Jeremy Corbyn accused the government of “col-

luding” in war crimes by selling arms to Riyadh. But the PM said ties between the two nations had saved hundreds of lives. The 32-year-old crown prince is seen by some as a modernising force in the Gulf State. In addition to talks with Mrs May, he is having lunch with the Queen and Duke of York, and is due

to have dinner with the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge. The UK hopes to capitalise on the Saudi economy’s opening-up, but demonstrators are expected to protest outside Downing Street against the killing of Yemeni civilians in air strikes by a Saudi-led multinational coalition - backed by the UK and US - that is battling the rebel Houthi

movement. The crown prince, who is regarded as being heir presumptive to the 82-year old King Salman, is making his first visit to the UK since taking up the role last year. He is credited with kickstarting economic and social reforms in the conservative desert kingdom, such as the upcoming lifting of the ban on women driving.


     ˾  THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2018


Ortom Pleads with FG to Stop Further Killings in Benue 10 cattle rustlers arrested in Guma LGA Miyetti Allah leader laments murder of three herders in Plateau George Okoh in Makurdi and Seriki Adinoyi in Jos The Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has for the umpteenth time called on the federal government to stop the killings of innocent citizens in his state by suspected herders of cattle. Ortom made the call yesterday when he met with a group of women under the auspices of the Nigeria National Network for Peace-building in West Africa at the Benue People’s House, Makurdi. His remarks came on the heels of the reaction by the Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Mr. Mohammadu Nuru Abdullah, who decried the fresh attack on his kinsmen in neighbouring Plateau State that claimed three lives on Monday night, describing it as an act of terrorism. Ortom, during his interaction with the women’s group, said despite the heavy presence of security agencies in Benue, including the Nigerian Army, 24 persons were killed in a fresh attack by militia herdsmen in Okpokwu Local Government

Area on Monday. Represented by the Secretary to the Benue State Government, Mr. Tony Ijoho (SAN), the Benue governor said the killings were as a result of the resistance by a group of persons to change. The governor asked the women to pray so that President Muhammadu Buhari would have a change of heart with regards to the killings in Benue and other parts of Nigeria, adding that in addition to the killings, women were being raped while schoolgirls had been kidnapped. He explained that the Open Grazing Prohibition Law was not outside the state’s jurisdiction, insisting that the killings must stop. Earlier, the Nigeria National Network Coordinator for Peacebuilding in West Africa, Bridget Osakwe, had told the governor that the group was interested in the return of peace to Benue. Osakwe said women within and outside the organisation had been mobilised to meet with the governor to commend his efforts aimed at entrenching peace in Benue and declare their support for all the government and nongovernmental organisations that

were working for peace in Benue, Nigeria and the West African region. According to her, the organisation has presence in the 15 West African countries, noting that war traumatises people, especially displaced persons. She also pointed out that incidents of rape become rampant when people are displaced from their homes. Some of the placards displayed by the women, who wore T-shirts and caps bearing the organisation’s name and logo, read: “Do not rape our women and girls,” “Killings and displacement translate to empty food baskets,” and “Say no to proliferation of small arms.” The highlight of the meeting was the signing of one of the placards by the SSG. Also in Benue yesterday, the state Police Command announced that 10 cattle rustlers had been apprehended in Guma Local Government Area of the state, following a tip-off by residents. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni made the disclosure while briefing reporters in Makurdi, the Benue

capital, yesterday. He said that after the arrest of the suspects allegedly involved in the incident, the police quickly put measures in place to avoid a reprisal, adding that the command on the whole has continued to strengthens ties with other security agencies to embark on confidence building measures in communities deserted by the rural dwellers. The police commissioner said that with the ongoing interactions at all levels, the police would be better equipped to enforce the Open Grazing Prohibition Law. The police further revealed that 44 persons had been arrested in different locations in the state for not complying with the Open Grazing Prohibition Law, adding that the suspects were apprehended in the course of the ongoing military operations and handed over to the police. Owoseni said the suspects had been arraigned in court. Meanwhile, the MACBAN chairman, Mr. Mohammadu Nuru Abdullah has lamented the fresh attack on his kinsmen in Plateau State that claimed three lives on Monday night, describing it as an act of terror.

Abdullah, in a press statement yesterday, said he was “overwhelmingly shocked that the Irigwe militias, in an effort to accomplish their mission of terrorising Fulani herdsmen in Bassa Local Government Area in Plateau State, had on Monday re-launched an attack on Fulani cattle herders and mercilessly killed three persons, namely, Abubakar Shehu, Abubakar Gidado and Ishaq Yusuf without any provocation. “It is also disturbing that the Irigwe community always trespasses into other neighboring local government areas, launch their attacks and kill our people for no cause.” He added that on the same Monday when three of his kinsmen were killed, the same militias attacked and killed 38 cows, saying 20 of the cows had belonged to Wada Alh Audu, while 18 belonged to Umaru Ibrahim. “The Irigwe militias usually cross into Riyom, Jos South and part of southern Kaduna to strike. In this particular incident, they operated from Rukwechungu village of Miango district in Bassa LGA into Gero village of Gyel

district in Jos South LGA. “They also beat up and wounded Haruna Zakariya, who is now receiving treatment at a clinic in Rafin Bauna. It is on record that this militia group has been unleashing terror against our innocent cattle headers in the areas,” he alleged. He said in spite of the efforts made by the Plateau State Government, security, communities, and other nongovernmental organisations to restore peace, the militias have continued to kill silently. “It is unfortunate that while efforts are being made to restore peace and order, the silent killings of Fulani herdsmen by Irigwe militia continue unabated,” he said. Abdullah, however, conveyed his appreciation for the efforts of the state government and the security agencies in Plateau State to restore order and called on them to re-intensify efforts at finding a lasting solution to the consistent attacks. He also advised community leaders in the area to work out modalities to compliment the efforts of the state government and the security agencies.

country and as such had to deliver judgments that would serve as deterrent to others. The federal government’s amended eight-count charge was marked FHC/ABJ/ CR/186/2010. In the course of the trial, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) had called 17 witnesses to prove that the defendants actually committed the crime. Following the closure of the prosecution’s case, the defendants however filed a no-case submission, which was dismissed by Justice Kolawole on June 1, 2017.

In dismissing the no-case submission, the court had held that the prosecution had made a prima facie case through the testimonies of witnesses, which linked the defendants to the charges that required them to offer explanations. Consequently, the court ordered the defendants to open their defence on July 5, 2017. On December 15, 2017, the defence team closed their case after calling seven witnesses, including the first defendant. After taking the submissions of their counsel, Justice Kolawole had adjourned till yesterday for ruling.

at end-2016. It added: “However, all these factors have not yet boosted non-oil non-agricultural activities, brought inflation close to the target range, contained banking sector vulnerabilities, or reduced unemployment. “A higher fiscal deficit driven by weak revenue mobilisation amidst still tight domestic financing conditions has raised bond yields, and crowded out private sector credit. “Higher oil prices are supporting the near-term projections, but medium-term projections indicate that growth would remain relatively flat, with continuing declines in per capita real GDP under unchanged policies. “The improved outlook for oil prices is expected to provide welcome relief from pressures on external and fiscal accounts, and growth would pick up to 2.1 percent in 2018, helped by the full year impact of greater foreign exchange availability and recovering oil production. “Renewed import growth would reduce gross reserves despite continued access to international markets. After arrears clearance in 2018, the fiscal deficit would narrow, and public debt levels would remain relatively low, but the interest payments-to-federal government revenue ratio would remain high.” Continuing, it stated: “Risks are balanced. Lower oil prices and tighter external market conditions

are the main downside risks. “Domestic risks include heightened security tensions, delayed fiscal policy response, and weak implementation of structural reforms. “Stress scenarios highlight sensitivity of external and public debt, particularly to oil exports and naira depreciation. Faster than expected implementation of infrastructure projects are an upside risk. “A further uptick in international oil prices would provide positive spillovers into the non-oil economy.” The next Article IV consultation with Nigeria is expected to take place during the standard 12-month cycle.

AFTER SEVEN-YEAR TRIAL, COURT SENTENCES CHARLES OKAH TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT which left 12 persons dead and several others injured during Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations. However, while FrancisOsvwo had died in prison custody, Ebiware, who was tried separately, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Delivering his judgment yesterday, Justice Kolawole held that the prosecution, through the plethora of exhibits tendered and witnesses called during the trial, was able to prove its case against the two defendants beyond reasonable doubt. He said though Charles

Okah had called two witnesses including himself, while the second defendant had called four witnesses while the trial lasted, they were unable to prove their innocence. The judge found Charles Okah guilty on counts one and eight, bordering on terrorism financing and perpetuating acts of terrorism in the October 1 bombings in Abuja, while Nwabueze was convicted on counts five, six and seven for the March 15, 2010 twin bomb blasts at the Delta State secretariat annex in Warri. Having found the defendants guilty of the charges, the court

consequently sentenced them to life imprisonment. “They are accordingly convicted as charged,” held Justice Kolawole. Also ruling on the plea for clemency by Messrs Emeka Okoroafor and Oghenevo Otemu, counsel to the first and second defendants, respectively, Justice Kolawole, said that the court was mindful, in applying the maximum sentence as prescribed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, of the said offences, having earlier handed down a similar sentence on Ebiware in 2013.

The judge also held that to ensure justice was served in the eyes of those who were injured, had died or had lost loved ones, owing to the dastardly act perpetuated by the defendants and dissuade others from similar acts, the maximum punishment as prescribed by the law must be handed down. Also citing the recent abduction of 110 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Dapchi town, Yobe State, Justice Kolawole stressed that the judiciary could not remain aloof to the increasing wave of violent crimes in the

IMF URGES CONFIRMATION OF MPC MEMBERS, DIRECTORS OF CBN The fund’s directors have also emphasised the need for the Nigeria government to pursue growth-friendly fiscal adjustment, saying it would help frontload non-oil revenue mobilisation and rationalise current expenditure in the country. According to them, this was necessary in order to reduce Nigeria’s ratio of interest payments to revenue to a more sustainable level and create space for priority social and infrastructure spending. The fund’s directors proferred the advice in the IMF Article IV Consultation with Nigeria, released by the its executive board yesterday. Owing to a stand-off between the executive and Senate over the retention of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, despite his rejection twice by the Senate, the upper legislative chamber has vowed not to confirm several nominees of the president until Magu is removed from office. The impasse has rendered it impossible for the CBN to form a quorum of the MPC whose past members had retired at various times last year, and compelled the central bank to postpone the first meeting of the committee last January. The IMF, in the Article IV Consultation, also noted ongoing efforts to improve tax administration in the country, just as they underlined the need for more ambitious tax policy

measures, including the reform of value-added tax, increased excise, and rationalising tax incentives. “The implementation of an automatic fuel price-setting mechanism, sound cash and debt management, improved transparency in the oil sector, increased monitoring of the fiscal position of state and local governments, and substantially scaled-up social safety nets should support the adjustment,” the IMF added. The IMF directors welcomed Nigeria’s exit from recession and the strong recovery in foreign exchange reserves, helped by rising oil prices and new foreign exchange measures. They commended the progress in implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), including the start of a convergence in forex windows, tight monetary policy, improvements in tax administration, and significant strides in improving the business environment. The IMF directors noted, however, that important challenges remain, as growth in the non-oil, non-agricultural sectors had not picked up; inflation remains high and sticky, with rising unemployment and poverty. To address these vulnerabilities, they stressed the urgent need for comprehensive and coherent policy actions. They commended the central bank’s tightening bias in 2017,

which according to them, should continue until inflation is within the single digit target range. Furthermore, they recommended continued strengthening of the monetary policy framework and its transparency, with a number of the directors urging consideration of a higher Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), a symmetric application of reserve requirements, and “no direct central bank financing of the economy”. The report added: “A few directors urged confirmation of the appointments of the central bank’s board of directors and members of the Monetary Policy Committee. “Directors commended the recent forex measures and recent efforts to strengthen external buffers to mitigate risks from capital flow reversals. “They welcomed the authorities’ commitment to unify the exchange rate and urged additional actions to remove the remaining restrictions and multiple exchange rate practices. “Directors stressed that rising banking sector risks should be contained. They welcomed the central bank’s commitment to help increase capital buffers by stopping dividend payments by weak banks. “They called for an asset quality review to identify any potential capital needs. They noted that enhanced risk-based banking supervision, strict enforcement of prudential requirements, and a revamped

resolution framework would help contain risks.” In addition, the directors emphasised that structural reform implementation should continue to lay the foundation for a diversified private-sector-led economy. They stated that building on recent improvements in the business environment, implementing the power sector recovery plan, investing in infrastructure, accelerating efforts to strengthen anti-corruption and transparency initiatives, and updating and implementing the financial inclusion and gender strategies, were essential. The fund’s directors further welcomed the continued improvement in the quality and availability of economic statistics in the country and stressed the need to encourage further efforts to address remaining gaps. The IMF reiterated that although the Nigerian economy was exiting recession, it still remained vulnerable. The fund pointed out that the country’s new foreign exchange measures, rising oil prices, attractive yields on government securities, and a tighter monetary policy contributed to better forex availability, increased reserves to a four-year high, and contained inflationary pressures. Nigeria’s economic growth reached 0.8 percent in 2017, driven mainly by recovering oil production. Inflation declined to 15.4 percent year-on-year by end-December, from 18.5 per cent

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Land Use Charge: Lagos Assembly Admits Inserting Alpha Beta in Error Govt debunks outrageous amounts in circulation Extends period for discounted payment invoice toApril 14 NBA gives Ambode seven-day ultimatum to reverse new charge Gboyega AkinsanmiĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽ Akinwale Akintunde The Lagos State House Assembly yesterday admitted that it inserted Alpha Beta in the Land Use Charge (LUC) Law,

2018 in error, noting that the process of the new legislation “is not complete until the state government properly gazettes it.� Specifically, the state government debunked the

Northern Leaders Inaugurate C’ttees for Presidential Election, Restructuring To focus on key, strategic presidential candidates Insist on north maintaining its strategic advantage  Paul Obi Ă“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË In a strategic effort to put up a common front, Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly (NLSA) yesterday inaugurated committees for the 2019 presidential election, restructuring, security and other critical areas.  The committees are expected to streamline critical northern agenda with regards to the 2019 presidential elections and as well reach a consensus on the restructuring  debate which has gathered momentum across the country.  Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, NLSA Chairman and elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, maintained that the need for the North to foster unity among its people has become imminent given the prevailing circumstances facing the region ahead of 2019 general election.  He said: “Let me appeal to all the leadership of the various committees to create the narratives that would make people in our region shun poisonous propaganda and divisive tendencies. “We need to sensitise our people on this. It is our obligation to history. Your work is to assist in providing guidance in areas that would assist the assembly in discharging its onerous duty. “I believe that in addition to other areas of focus, the relevant committees will give insightful recommendations and assessment of the present day political reality of our country.  “Such recommendations will catalyse our dialogue on how we proceed towards achieving efficient and rancour free electioneering activities in the coming 2019 presidential and other elections for the sake of peace and tranquility in our mother land.â€?  Yakasai added that “as elders and stakeholders, we in the NLSA believe in looking for tested and capable individuals with proven record of integrity to deploy in our efforts at creating synergy and consensus in developing our democracy

and nation building. “Therefore, all hands must be on deck to rid our country of its malaise. We believe everybody has a role to play in sensitising our people in pursuing this noble objective. “Given the irrefutable fact that in the history of Nigeria’s development, the North has always been a key strategic partner, it is important that the north maintains its strategic position in the national equation. “The objective of this assembly, therefore, is to principally focus on a strategy towards evolving a brighter future, economically viable, politically stable and united northern Nigeria that we can all be proud of as an integral part of Nigeria.� The group further stated that though the assembly is non-partisan, its objective is to promote political agenda of the north.  Speaking on insecurity, Yakasai explained that “it is the security challenges of Boko Haram, ethnoreligious, communal crises and herders/farmers conflicts in the north that pose a serious challenge to our nation.� He decried the deterioration of the legacies left behind by northern founding fathers, stating that, “all these legacies are now squandered by our succeeding generations of political actors and unfortunate aberration in governance.� Secretary of the assembly, Dr, Umar Ardo, who presented the NLSA vision stressed that the aim of the body is to create a synergy that will “bring together northerners of good standing to arrest the drifts in the region and rebuild confidence among our people.  Dignitaries that attended the ceremony include former Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba, former Peoples Democratic Chairman, Dr Bello Haliru, former Governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, Senator Paul Wampana, among others. 

figures circulating in the media on the rate for the new law, noting that many of the numbers were based on several years of arrears on unpaid levies by affected property owners The Chairman of Assembly Committee on Information, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, and State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, made this clarification at separate sessions with journalists yesterday. Under the Rules Governing the Distribution of the Lagos State Land Use Charge, the law states: “Alpha Beta or any

other designated person(s) or corporate body, which has the responsibility of monitoring the revenues of the state through the collecting banks shall provide a report to the Accountant-General of the state.�        But in reaction yesterday, Braimoh agreed that Alpha Beta was mentioned in error, noting that the process of promulgating the new law “is not complete until gazetting when the official copy will be available and the law properly cited.� Braimoh, therefore, assured the state that the correct position “will be reflected before the

law is gazetted. The process of gazetting itself is being expedited in view of these issues.� At a news conference he addressed at the Bagauda Kaltho Centre, Alausa, he said there was so many misconception and misinformation about the new law. He explained that the law “is a progressive enactment duly made by the House of Assembly and handed over to the executive for implementation in the overall interest of the people.� Braimoh, specifically dismissed the humongous figures being bandied about

on the social media, saying many of the calculations were based on arrears of many years of non-payment. Bamigbetan explained that the law took a long process to be made, noting that it “was initiated as a bill. The bill passed went through the first reading, second reading, public hearing to which all stakeholders were brought together to debate it. “Some concessions we have seen were part of the debate expressed by the stakeholders about the need to protect the

Cont’d on Pg 52


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; State House Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Jalal Arabi; National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Mongonu (rtd); and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Council Chambers State House in Abuja... yesterday

Senate Rejects Bill Making Trousers Optional for Female NYSC Members Damilola OyedeleĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË The Senate yesterday opposed an amendment to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act seeking to make putting on trousers optional, instead of compulsory, for female corps members. The bill, sponsored by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba PDP) ,seeks to allow female corps members to be able to put on skirts as part of their uniform. The bill failed to pass through second reading. Bwacha argued that some of the uniforms and exercise regime violate the religious practices and beliefs of corps members, and violate the right of freedom of religion, thought and conscience guaranteed by the constitution. This, he said, had become a basis for tension and controversy between the NYSC Directorate and corps members and members of the public.

Several lawmakers, however, argued against the bill, warning about the effect on other paramilitary and military agencies. Senator Sam Egwu urged his colleagues not to vote for the bill. “If we allow to this pass, for the sake of argument, we would soon tell the army to start wearing gowns,� he said. Presiding, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said any issue with the NYSC was a constitutional amendment matter, which cannot be done with a bill. He cited Section 9(2) of the constitution and said any such amendment has to go to the states. The bill was defeated when it was put to voice vote. Briefing journalists after plenary, Bwacha said the bill was misunderstood “It has nothing to with Christianity or Islam, we discussed extensively with

Senator Yerima (Sani) of Zamfara, and Senator Aliero Adamu, and myself who is a Christian, and we agreed that a lady can be allowed to put on a skirt even during drills, if it does not inconvenience her,� he said. He disclosed his intention to reach out to the directorate to allow corps members who feel it runs contrary to their beliefs. Bwacha also dispelled the domino effect, saying to join the armed forces is voluntary. “If you feel the military conflicts your faith, you would not join it, she would either work in a bank or elsewhere. The NYSC is mandatory. Even in the military, they are allowed to wear skirts,� he said. He claimed that several female corps members had chosen to drop out of compulsory youth service rather than contradict their faith, which affect their chances of employment. The senator also disagreed

that his bill was ill-timed, when considering the issues of insecurity bedevilling Nigeria. “Everyone knows my position on that: My state (Taraba) is one of the worst hit. Are you saying we should stop discussing other issues, and only discuss insecurity whose solution we have not found? I have not hidden my position, I do not grandstand. “The alternative is for the NYSC to allow corps members who do not want to wear trousers, to sew skirts, to cover the trousers, not expose their feminine physique. They can wear skirts and still go for drills, it can work. “You don’t expose the feminine physique, you know the attitude with lust, if I see a lady with trousers and look at her buttocks standing like this (gesticulates), you begin to lust after her, this is true. So people are saying it is not good,â€? Bwacha argued.Â




Dogara Queries Unilateral Removal of Sections of NFIU Bill by House C’ttee Senate passes NFIU bill unaudited accounts Damilola Oyedele ËØÎJames EmejoÓØÌßÔË The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, yesterday queried a unilateral action by the House Conference Committee to expunge some sections of the report on a bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). This came as the Senate yesterday passed the bill which seeks to separate the unit from the EFCC, and grant her financial and operational autonomy. The lower chamber had last Tuesday adopted the recommendations of the harmonised report. But shortly before the commencement yesterday’s plenary proceedings, Dogara, who would usually approve

the votes and proceedings of the previous legislative day, raised concerns that sections of the report had been expunged by the House Conference Committee, chaired by Hon. Kayode Oladele (APC, Ogun). The Speaker specifically noted that the sections deleted were not subject of disagreement between the House and the Senate, stressing that any removal could have been justified if there was a conflict on any sections and which could not be resolved by both chambers. Furthermore, Dogara, quoting relevant House Rules, said it was not within the purview of conference committee to delete any section of the bill without recourse to the House in plenary where the decision will be agreed upon.  As a result, the Speaker asked the Chairman, Rules

Oyegun’s Tenure Elongation: Lagos APC Leaders to Take Grievances to Buhari

Threatens to withhold budgets of parastatals over and Business, Hon. Emmanuel Oker-jev (APC, Benue), to move a motion that the NFIU report be re-committed for second reading-to allow the general House formally decide on whether or not to overrule the committee on the deleted sections. The motion was seconded and passed.  Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday passed the bill.  Saraki in his remarks after the passage, expressed hope that Nigeria’s suspension from the Egmont Group would be lifted with the passage of the bill. “I hope that with this bill that we have passed today — this Conference Report — that they will have a second view and re-admit us into the process. “I hope on the part of the executive, they quickly assent to this bill and also ensure that the independence of the Financial Unit goes beyond just signing this bill into law. It is important that we see it being practiced — this is very important. I hope on their part, this will be done so that our country stays as part of the

Egmont Group that has a lot of benefits for our fight against corruption,” Saraki said. However, the Senate yesterday threatened to withhold budgetary approval for any government parastatal or agency that has failed to submit the reports of their audited accounts to the Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF) for at least the past two years. This is as the Senate Public Accounts Committee (PAC) disclosed that at least 85 agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Bank of Industry, and Bank of Agriculture, have never submitted their audited account to the AGF since they were established. The Senate therefore issued a deadline of May 2018 to all parastatals to submit their reports as defaulting   contravenes Section 85 of the 1999 Constitution.  The development followed the consideration of PAC report on the status of compliance of parastatals’ submission of audited accounts to the office of the AGF.

Senate President said the failure to submit their audited reports slows down the anticorruption fight. “Imagine that out of 447 parastatals, only 40 have complied with the 2017 audited reports. When they say we are not making much progress in the anti-corruption fight, it is because of the fundamental issues. They are right, the foundation is still very weak,” he said. “If we have 497 parastatals and only 47 have sent their audited reports, there is a serious problem. Now, we find out that the agencies that are even meant to supervise are part of those who have not sent in their audit reports,” Saraki added. “Now, we have taken a resolution here today to say that unless the remaining agencies do that, their budgets for 2018 is withheld. Therefore, let us remember that when we are passing the 2018 budget, the committees that are presenting the reports of the parastatals should please confirm to us whether they have complied with the auditors report. “In the mean time, we

will make sure that we also communicate to the Secretary of the Government of the Federation to ensure that all theses parastatals get their accounts audited and submitted,” the senate president said. He expressed appreciation to the PAC, noting that the report would go a long way to support the government’s anti-corruption fight. PAC Chairman, Senator Matthew Uroghide speaking earlier said the AGF is statutorily required to submit the reports of audited accounts, which he receives from the parastatals, to the National Assembly. The parastatals have the responsibility to ensure their accounts are audited using one of three auditors recommended by the AGF, Uroghide explained “EFCC is of the opinion that once they come for budget defence, it amounts to submitting their audited reports. The EFCC Act itself says they have to submit their audited reports six months into the financial year,” he added. 

It is okay by us, says opposition faction Segun James ËØÎShola Oyeyipo Barely 24 hours after rejecting the tenure elongation handed over to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the Lagos faction has taken its opposition further by petitioning President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue. The leader of the APC in Lagos Central senatorial district, Chief Tajudeen Olusi, hinted that the Lagos State chapter of the party has taken its grievances to appropriate channels in the party. But in surprise move, another faction of the party in the state has denounced the decision of the state chapter, saying that the extension of national chairman’s tenure was in order and in the best interest of the party. The faction also denounced Olusi, saying that he was not in a position to speak for the state chapter of the party as he holds no position. According to a former chieftain of the party who is now in the opposition but pleaded anonymity pending a formal statement today, the decision to reject the extension of tenure was taken by the Governor’s Advisory Committee (GAC), a group of 16 party leaders headed by Senator Bola Tinubu. Quoting relevant sections from the 1999 Constitution and the APC constitution after a consultative forum held in Lagos, the Lagos State APC kicked against the 12 month tenure extension for the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Speaking with THISDAY on the possible next line of action, Olusi said the Lagos State

chapter was prepared to register its displeasure with President Buhari and other appropriate organs of the party. “The option available to us is that we are going to make representations to all organs of the party. We are going to talk with the national leadership, the national executive and President Buhari.” Olusi, who earlier faulted the tenure elongation, quoting Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution as amended which stipulates elections at interval and Article 17 of the APC constitution, which stipulates a four-year tenure for its national and state executives, said it amounts to depriving  other aspirants to the post. “The tenure elongation is against the constitution of Nigeria and the party. It is a means of depriving aspirants who want to aspire. We think we should allow democracy to thrive in the party,” he said. While he maintained that APC leaders in Lagos State unanimously rejected the elongation after receiving reports from the Chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, he said the state was in support of the reconciliatory responsibility assigned to Tinubu. However, the opposition movement in the state insisted that the GAC is a body not recognised by the constitution of the party, hence its decision is void and of no effect.  It disclosed that the man who announced the decision, Olusi, does not hold any position in the party, and as such, cannot speak on such a sensitive decision as that of the tenure elongation of the national chairman and the national working committee of the party.


Former President and leader of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) Observer Mission to the general elections in Sierra Leone Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, setting out to ensure the poll is moving on well in Freetown...yesterday

Saraki: 227 of Buhari’s 240 Nominees Confirmed So Far Says only 13 rejected in two years Damilola OyedeleÓØÌßÔË The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has disclosed that 227 of the 240 nominations sent to the eighth Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari have been confirmed by the upper legislative chamber. He said this yesterday after the senators voted to confirm the nomination of Hon. Ibrahim Rufai Imam as the Grand Khadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Federal Capital Territory. “Let me on behalf of the Senate congratulate the new

Grand Khadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Hon. Ibrahim Rufai Imam, and wish him a successful tenure. I hope that he continues to play his role in the judiciary.” “So far, we have treated about 240 confirmations here in the Senate, of which 227 have been affirmative and only 13 have been negative. Sometimes, we get the impression that this Senate tends to say more ‘No’ than ‘Yes.’ But these numbers today show the level of cooperation that we will continue to give the executive,” the senate president added.

The Senate and the executive are currently in cold war over several pending nominations which the lawmakers have refused to consider, including that of the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), members of the Monetary Policy Committee and Code of Conduct Bureau, Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission among several others. The impasse was as a result of President Buhari’s inaction on the Senate’s non confirmation of the acting

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who was twice rejected by the upper legislative chamber. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had said the EFCC was not listed in the constitution, and that the nomination should not have been sent to the Senate in the first instance. The Senate therefore resolved to suspend confirmation process of the nominees whose agencies are not listed in the constitution, pending the legal clarification, of Osinbajo’s comment. 




Sani: Nigerian Senators Receive N13.5m Monthly, Separate from Salaries The senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as running cost. In an interview with TheNews, Sani said the running cost does not include a N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances which they also receive. “I think what we can say is that the running cost of a senator is N13.5 million every month,” the senator said. He explained that though there is no specification on what the funds was meant for, each lawmaker is mandated to provide receipts to back up their expenses. He added that funds allocated for each senator for their constituency projects are included in the running cost. Sani explained: “But what I am saying is that that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000. “The constituency project itself is given on a zonal basis and almost every senator will go with a constituency fund of about N200 million, but it is not the cash that is given to you. “You will be told that you have N200 million with an agency of government for which you will now submit projects

equivalent to that amount. And it is that agency of government that will go and do those projects for you.” Sani said the process of executing the projects were fraught with fraud. “Now, the corruption comes when the projects are not done and the money is taken. But right now, it is difficult to do that because NGOs and transparency groups have come into it. They track every allocation made to you and where they are being used. “So it’s becoming difficult for what used to happen in the past to happen now. “But I can tell you that I would love a situation where we do away with running costs, constituency projects and leaves senators and members of House of Representatives with salaries. The senator stated that members of the National Assembly ideally shouldn’t be involved in constituency projects. He had earlier favoured this position while speaking at the launch of fact-checking and constituency projects tracking websites organised by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ). “There are issues that we need to understand. First, I don’t believe that members of the National or even state assemblies should be involved

INEC Detects, Delists Ineligible Voters in Taraba Senator IroegbuÓØÌßÔË The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sustained its ongoing clean-up of Voters’ Register for the 2019 general election. To this end, the commission has detected registration of ineligible persons in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration in Taraba State. The Head of Voters Education and Publicity in the state, Mr. Fabian Yema Vwambi, in a statement yesterday, said the name of the affected persons have subsequently been removed from its register. Vwambi described registration

of ineligible voters as not only contrary to the commission’s guidelines for registration, it is also a violation of the Electoral Act. Decided not to condone illegality from its staff, he said both the Electoral Officer and Registration Officer in the affected area would be queried. In addition, Vwambi said apart from informing the national headquarters of the commission, the state INEC office has also drawn the attention of security agencies for further investigation and possible prosecution of all found culpable including INEC staff.

Lalong Beefs up Security Ahead of Buhari’s Visit Seriki AdinoyiÓØ ÙÝ The Plateau State Government has beefed up security ahead of the today’s visit of President Mohammadu Buhari to the state. The entire streets of Jos have all been cordoned of with stern-looking security agents, including soldiers, policemen and civil defence services. This is even as the state government has declared today a work-free day to enable residents come out en masse to welcome the president on a two-day

working visit to the state.   Mr. Izam Azi, Head of Service, who announced this yesterday in Jos after an emergency State Executive Council meeting, added: “The holiday will afford civil servants and other citizens the opportunity to give the president a rousing welcome,” Azi said.  Also, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Hon Yakubu Dati, announced that there would be restriction in movement during the visit, especially around areas the President would inaugurate projects.

in carrying out what is called constituency projects,” he said in the interview. “When people are elected into the National Assembly, they should just be involved in law making, raising motions, bills and also performing oversight functions. But we live in a society where people cannot differentiate between the

legislators and the executive. “When the people come to you, they want you to build roads, dig boreholes, build hospitals, schools, give money, pay school fees for them. Now, if we have a society in which people will stop asking legislators to do those things, then there is no need (for the allowances) But funny enough,

if you are very active in the National Assembly in making laws and you don’t embark on projects in your constituency, you cannot in any way be appreciated by the people you are there to serve because the electorates in United States are different from the electorate in the United States and Africa.” Sani’s revelation is the first

by a lawmaker from the Senate since the clamour by Nigerians for transparency of lawmaker’s earnings. His revelation also puts a doubt to the National Assembly budget for 2017 released last year after public pressure. That budget had no subhead for office running cost, indicating the funds are hidden under a separate subhead.


R-L: Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio; Senator Kabiru Marafa; and Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, exchanging pleasantries at the plenary in Abuja....yesterday

PDP Under Pressure to Change Its Name Urges Buhari to learn from Ghanaian president Tobi SoniyiÓØ ËÑÙÝ Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are mounting pressure on the party to change its name, THISDAY can authoritatively reveal. Two senior members of the party who confided in THISDAY said they preferred to speak anonymously to avoid sanctions from the party. According to them, the fortunes of the party were likely to improve during the next general election if the party adopts a new name. According to them, “It will also enable more people, including those who left the party, the opportunity to join the party.” He cited former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, as one of those who had privately expressed concern about the party’s name. “I don’t know whether this is why he left for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) but I am convinced that his decision to leave must have been influenced by the issues bordering on the party’s name. “It is not only Gana that is seeking a change of name. Many of the members of the party who had left and desirous of coming back to the party also want a change of name,” the source also added.

So far, those who spoke with THISDAY said the leadership of the party had consistently rejected the idea, saying the PDP is a brand that has done well for the country and still has what it takes to do better. When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party welcomes ideas on how the party can succeed in the 2019 elections, stressing however that a change of name is not on the agenda of the PDP. He said: “We seek new ideas on how best to sell our party to the generality of Nigerians. But changing the name of our great party is not in contemplation of the organs of our party. “Why do we need to change our name? Our party is rebranding, repositioning and more than ever ready for the 2019 election. We lost in 2015 not because we were called PDP but because the opposition party then tagged us with unprintable names. “Today, we remain the most viable opposition in our country and we have carried out our duties to the country responsibly. Nigerians are rallying the PDP because they have seen through the All Progressives Congress (APC) lies and propaganda. “For us in the PDP, we will not change our name just because we lost election

in 2015. In the Unites States of America, the Democratic Party has lost elections in its 190 years of existence but it has not changed its name. Also, the Republican Party has existed for 164 years without a change of name. “The PDP has lived for almost 20 years and lost election only once. Our rebranding is not about change of names but adopting democratic culture that meets best practices all over the world. “The PDP is striving to meet these practices on daily basis, and it has become responsive to the demands of members. Our party therefore has no need to change its name.” Meanwhile, the party has called on President Muhammad Buhari to use the benefit of his state visit to Ghana to draw lessons from his Ghanaian counterpart, President Nana Akufo-Addo, on how to run a peaceful, united and economically vibrant country. The party also criticised the president for offering to assist Ghana in her war against corruption when his own administration reeks heavily with corruption as evidenced by the Transparency International report which exposed the fact that corruption has worsened in Nigeria under his watch. The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan,

yesterday said the president and his handlers should have been embarrassed that while the President of Ghana paraded credentials of a robust economy and a peaceful country, Nigeria, under the Buhari presidency is plagued with economic recession and upsurge of violence and daily bloodletting. “When President Buhari was reeling out President AkufoAddo achievements in his one year in office; his ingenious approach to job creation; the farming for job initiative, the senior high school free education, one district-one factory projects and one village-one dam initiatives among others; we hope our dear president reflected on the fact that back home, his inept government had instead, wrecked our once robust economy, the reason he had nothing to present to the world at the ceremony. “We hope President Buhari recollects that unlike his Ghanian counterpart, his administration had nothing to show in its first year in office. Our president recalls that under his own watch, over eight million Nigerians have lost their jobs, 16 million remained unemployed, 18 million more were underemployed while another 27.44 million refused to work for various reasons related to frustrations occasioned by the negative policies of his government.”




FG Encouraging Insurgency by Paying Ransom to Criminals, Says Fayose Ejiofor AlikeÓØ ËÑÙÝËØÎ Victor OgunjeÓØÎÙÕÓÞÓ The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele  Fayose, has accused the federal government of fueling the menace of insurgency in the country with its interest to pay ransom to insurgents rather than killing or arresting them. The governor alleged that the continued insurgents’ activities in the country is  a manifestation of internal aggression and not external one as the people were made to believe. Speaking at a press conference in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Fayose said the government’s alleged failure to tackle the challenge of insecurity over the time and adoption of an option of paying ransom are indications that insecurity challenge has become an internal problem caused by those who are allegedly profiting from it. According to him, “We don’t have external aggression but an internal one. We are calling on the international community to look beyond Boko Haram or herdsmen. The international community should come for a fact finding as well as dig deeper into the killings in Nigeria. “This is beyond what Boko Haram or herdsmen are doing. It is more of what the government has failed

to do on time. Nigerians are becoming helpless. Benue State people need international intervention; they need support. We want to believe that the president has lost it. His approach has been a cosmetic. “How would you want us to believe that the Nigerian army cannot engage herdsmen or Boko Haram? It seems that the reason for the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari to secure Nigeria has been defeated in all areas, including corruption and fight against Boko Haram to secure Nigeria among others. “You can all see the situation, Nigerians are angry and hungry on a daily basis as they are being killed by their own brothers. “I can’t understand why the federal government cannot take a stand to engage the so called herdsmen. They flaunt their weapons on the social media and the government looks away. Currently, the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of President Buhari is paying lip service to the challenges of security of Boko Haram and herdsmen.” Fayose urged Nigerians to challenge the President to act decisively, saying: “Steps must be taken; Nigeria must realise that if we fail to challenge the government on this, it would be a sad story for the coming

generation. “Personally, I am worried as a Nigerian that we are no longer safe in our fatherland. “The president’s visit to Taraba State is simply political. After the president left, Taraba people were also killed. I can’t believe that after three months of the killings, the president only went to the troubled part and spent only one or two hours and left. It is unfortunate.” Asked if the governors’ forum has advised President Buhari on what to do, he said: “The Governors’ Forum is not the Commander in Chief of the country. The present government is not taking advice. How do you explain a situation where our president is saying governors should tell their people not to block cattle route in this 21st century? “When we are faced with

the challenge of people carrying AK 47 in the name of rearing cows, we are talking of cattle routes in the 21st century! The defence for cows has become more important than that of human beings.” Meanwhile, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Mr. Reno Omokri, has faulted the federal government’s negotiation with terrorists, saying that the group cannot be trusted. Omokri said in a statement yesterday that it is a mistake for the country to negotiate with terrorists, adding that any negotiation or ransom payments will only come back to haunt the country as evidenced in a recent video by Shuaibu Moni, a Boko Haram commander. He said he watched a video by Shuaibu Moni, who was reported by the media to have been freed in exchange for some 82 kidnapped Chibok girls in a

deal allegedly brokered by the Swedish government. According to him, the fact that a Boko Haram commander released by the Buhari government can threaten Nigeria proves that the government should not negotiate with terrorists or pay ransoms to them. “By doing so, you become the major financier of terrorism knowingly or unknowingly. In this video, Mr. Moni threatened Nigeria and vowed to show the country that Boko Haram is still fully in control of Sambisa Forest, contrary to claims made by the military and President Buhari. This latest video proves the futility of negotiating with terrorists. Terrorists cannot be trusted and any negotiation or ransom payments will only come back to haunt you as we have seen in Mr. Moni’s latest video,” Omokri added. Omokri alleged that under the

Buhari administration, nearly a thousand so called ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members have been freed. “How many of them were truly repentant? How does a government justify releasing hardened criminals who by the principle of Taqiyya, are permitted by their extremist interpretation of their religion, to deceive their enemies in order to undermine them? Has the Buhari government offered the same liberty to repentant IPOB members, Shiites and other minority/religious activists? What is so special to the Buhari administration about Boko Haram that this government keeps on releasing members of one of the most deadly terrorists in the world?” he queried. Omokri called on the Buhari administration to put a stop to this unusual practice of releasing deadly terrorists.

Indonesia Wants More of Nigeria’s Crude Oil Chineme OkaforÓØÌßÔË The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday said it received a request from Indonesia to supply it more volumes of Nigeria’s crude oil blends to enable it meet the rising demands for oil by its local economy. NNPC in a statement from its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja explained the Head of Economic Affairs of the Indonesian Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Dwiyatna Widinugraha, made this request when he led a delegation from his country on a courtesy call on the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Dr. Baru Maikanti. It said Indonesia said it wanted to buy more oil from Nigeria, and that its population of more than 250 million people needed about 1.6 million barrels of crude oil daily. It also said Indonesia needed more oil to meet its burgeoning energy needs as an emerging economy and would love to have a government-togovernment arrangement with Nigeria in that regard. Widinugraha, according to the NNPC statement, commended the corporation for its support in crude oil supply which he noted has helped Indonesia to achieve energy sufficiency. He added the country needed further assistance in the form of increased crude oil allocation

from Nigeria. The statement also quoted the Vice President of Pertamina, which is the Indonesian national oil company, Mr. Anizar Burlian, to have said they were in Abuja to thank Nigeria for helping them meet their local oil demand and to further explore better arrangements of buying more oil. Burlian, reportedly said: “Over the years, we have bought huge amount of crude oil from Nigeria. We are extremely happy to buy more Nigerian crude oil which is globally rated to be of very high grade and which is very suitable for our refineries.” He said they were also interested in investment opportunities in the Nigerian upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum sectors. According to the statement, the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) of the corporation, Mr. Mele Kyari, who was represented by Mr Adokiye Tombomieye, responded on behalf of the NNPC, and explained it would continue to supply crude oil to Indonesia. He also asked the visiting team to route the request for a government-to-government crude supply arrangement through the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. On investment, the corporation advised the team to articulate its request in a proposal to enable its management review and act accordingly.


All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, during his declaration in Ado-Ekiti.... yesterday

Senate Accuses Kogi Gov of Endangering Democracy Damilola OyedeleÓØÌßÔË The Senate yesterday said several actions of Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahya Bello, geared towards harassing his political opponents are a threat to Nigeria’s democracy. This is as the Red chamber of the National Assembly condemned the recent disruption of the Senator Ahmed Ogembe’s empowerment programme in Okene, Kogi State, allegedly on the orders of the governor with complicity of the state police command. The Senate’s position followed a point of order raised by Ogembe, who alleged that the programme, where seed capital was to be provided for 1,500 women, was disrupted by thugs. Ogembe, who is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator, alleged that the state police Area Commander, who had earlier promised to send 20 policemen to secure the event, refused to send the police personnel. The lawmaker said he could no longer travel to

his constituency without vulnerability to harassment or intimidation, adding that the situation in the state could lead to a breakdown of law and order. According to him, “Further aware that the Nigerian Police Force Area Commander in Okene and the Divisional Police Officer of Okene, Okehi and Adavi council areas are very much aware of the empowerment programme as well as the political violence unleashed on beneficiaries and supporters gathered to witness the event and did nothing. “Worried that indeed, political violence, kidnappings, killings, assassinations of my constituents and political supporters in Kogi Central senatorial district have become the order of the day, and the police have chosen to turn a blind eye. “I am deeply worried that a lot of my constituents and supporters were thoroughly beaten up, badly injured and some of them kidnapped and later dumped in the bushes and uncompleted buildings.

Indeed, as l speak, a lot of my constituents are lying critically injured and traumatised in hospitals across Kogi Central senatorial district.” Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi APC) listed his travails which he alleged are orchestrated by Bello, including his experience last week where men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) laid siege on the Federal High Court in Abuja, where he had been arraigned for false information. Melaye said: “I was arraigned by a government I helped to install,” narrating how he was holed up in the court for hours after he was granted bail, with reports that the squad was searching every car leaving the premises in a bid to arrest him. He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency in Kogi State to restore security and uphold the welfare of the people. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia PDP), while contributing to the debate, lamented that issues of police complicity in

intimidating political opponents are surfacing at a time when Nigerians are clamoring for state police. Abaribe said it is wrong for Bello, who is from the same area as Ogembe but in different parties, to try to stop a programme meant to empower their people. “People have been saying we need youths, the man in Kogi State does not give credence that we should give this country to youths to run,” Abaribe said. The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ibn Na’Allah, said the issue in Kogi State is a serious matter. “It appears we can validly say the governor of the state is a threat to our democracy, and the party that he belongs to should call him to order. He is not representing our party well,” Na’Allah said. The Deputy of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said between 2011 and 2015, he went through a worse experience in the hands of then Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime.




Apapa Gridlock: Truck Drivers Ordered to Vacate Bridge in 48 Hours Stakeholders, including the Nigerian military and the Lagos State Government yesterday gave a 48-hour ultimatum to all tanker drivers to vacate the bridge in national interest and security. The resolution was reached during a stakeholders meeting at the Naval Base in Apapa, comprising the military,

Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), LASG, Nigerian Union Petroleum Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). Others who attended the stakeholders meeting were representatives of the Nigerian Police, Dangote Group, Apapa Residents Association, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Apapa Government

Usman Abubakar Takes over at ICPC The baton of leadership of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been handed over to the Secretary to the commission, Musa Abubakar. In a brief ceremony which was witnessed by the heads of departments and other senior management staff, the former acting Chairman of the commission and two-term board member, Bako Abdullahi, said he was handing over to the secretary as his tenure as a member had come to an end. He expressed his gratitude to the government for having been given the opportunity to serve both as a member and an acting chairman on two different occasions. Abdullahi commended the management and staff of the commission for the support he had received from them saying it was tremendous. He therefore urged them to extend the same level of support to the secretary. The out-gone acting chairman also advised ICPC staff to intensify their efforts in eradicating corruption in Nigeria. He challenged the staff to not let the recent Transparency International’s rating of

the country dampen their enthusiasm, but should rather see it as a shot in the arm for a renewed drive by the commission to combat the evil that corruption represents. In his response after receiving the handing-over documents, the secretary eulogised the out-gone chairman saying the task of running a strategic organisation like ICPC was an onerous one, and that having worked directly with Abdullahi, he could attest to the awesome responsibility it entails and how diligently the out-gone chairman had discharged his duties. Abubakar therefore solicited for staff cooperation saying it was needed if he was to succeed in carrying the heavy burden being placed on his shoulders. He promised to put in his best in order to make the commission better in all ramifications. A new chairman and members nominated by the federal government for ICPC are awaiting confirmation by the Senate as stipulated in the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000. It is expected that until their confirmation, the secretary, Abubakar will oversee the affairs of the commission.

Melaye Urges Senate to Override Buhari on Peace Corps Damilola Oyedele ÓØÌßÔË

Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was also Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi resisted on grounds that there APC) has called on the Senate to was no money, but the outfit has override President Muhammadu now become an important of Buhari’s decision to decline Nigeria’s security infrastructure. assent to the Peace Corp The corps has become very Establishment Bill. useful particularly in protection He, however, called on the of pipelines, Melaye added. Senate to first write a formal “About $5.5 billion was letter to the president to urge borrowed through Eurobonds. him to change his position. No part of this will be used Melaye while citing a matter to uplift the youths. About $1 of personal explanation at the billion will be spent on security. plenary yesterday, said the How does that affect the youths establishment of the outfit of this country?” would provide employment “The PDP in 16 years for hundreds of thousands of borrowed N6 trillion. This unemployed youths. government in three years, has It would also contribute borrowed N11 trillion. There to enhance the security is no specific programme for infrastructure in Nigeria, he said. the youths of this country,” he Melaye told the senators added. that he has been inundated Melaye noted further that with calls from hundreds of his no impact has been felt for constituents who disagree with the N500 billion earmarked the position of the president. for social investments. “They want the president to “If the Peace Corps is allowed withdraw his non-assent to the to exist, hundreds of youths will be Bill,” Melaye said. employed.Itwillfightunemploymentin He recalled that the thiscountry.WearecallingthattheSenate establishment of the  Nigerian will revisit this matter.

Reserved Area Residents Association, among others. The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Adm. Sylvanus Abbah, who was the convener of the meeting, appealed to the tanker drivers to leave the bridge in national interest. According to him, terrorists might take the advantage of the traffic situation to strike in Lagos and this has to be prevented from happening. “Costain is going to be the turning point of the trucks. “After 48 hours, no truck will park on the bridge because of national interest and I hope you will all take the decision of this

meeting,” he said. He said some of the trucks had been parked on the bridge for weeks, adding that the bridge might collapse which would be an additional problem. Abbah said a committee would also be set up which would involve the major stakeholders including NUPENG to further address the traffic situation. “All major stakeholders, most especially the shipping lines will be in the committee and if I have my way, the Apapa Local Government Chairman would spearhead the committee,” he said. The NPA Traffic Manager, Mr. Ogini Victor, who represented

the Port Manager, Mrs Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, said that the Apapa gridlock has become a barber’s chair that is rotating and not moving anywhere. “Synergy is the keyword that can solve the problem of the gridlock. “We have also decided that all empty containers should go to holden bays and we will make sure our men give us report on how many trucks park at the bay daily,” he said. The representative of NUPENG, Adekunle Adelaja, while reacting to the directive, said that the union does not support tankers parking on the bridge. He enjoined all stakeholders

to find a lasting solution to the problem as it was affecting everyone. “We need to have another meeting and call all the farm tankers. Let us see how we can be able to do the programming that trucks will just go to the depot without parking on the bridge,” he said. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Mr Taiwo Salau, said there should be good synergy among security agencies to resolve the traffic situation. “There should be synergy among security agencies so that these areas can be cleaned up and have a check point before the long bridge,” he said


L-R: NYSC Representative; Stakeholder Management and Community Development Division Manager NAOC, Mr. Dennis Masi; General Manager, External Relations, Oando Energy Resources, Mr. Kofo Tunji-Olagunju;  and  Tuomo Community Development Committee  Chairman, Mr. Seaman Ozidi, during the inauguration of an NYSC lodge and water plant built by Oando and its JV Partners in Burutu Local Government of Delta State....Monday

LAND USE CHARGE: LAGOS ASSEMBLY ADMITS INSERTING ALPHA BETA IN ERROR vulnerable segment of the society. Having made the law, the House of Assembly has handed it over to the executive to implement. “The second important part is that a lot of relieves have been built into the law but many people are confusing arrears with the actual figure. If you see those figures, ask whether it is for one year or arrears of several years of non-payment. “The humongous figures that are being bandied around particularly in the social media relate to the arrears of many years of non-payment which are computed together.” Ashade said the state government has extended the period for tax payers to enjoy the 15 per cent discount in the reviewed Land Use Charge Law to April 14 in order to enable the implementation and enforcement of the new law, as well as allow many property owners to benefit from the discount. Under the old law, Ashade

said the Land Use Charge rate was totally inaccurate and retrogressive and was depriving the state of keeping track of all economic activities that relate to land in Lagos State. He said the law, which was reviewed by the state House of Assembly and signed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on February 8 is a merger of all property and land based rates and charges in the state. Ashade? said: “There was an urgent need for the repeal, as the old law had not been reviewed for over 15 years, since 2001. Under the old law, the LUC rate was totally inaccurate and retrogressive which deprived the State of keeping track of all economic activities that relate to land in Lagos State. “The new law is a consolidation of ground rent, tenement rate, and neighbourhood improvement levy. This charge is payable annually in respect of all

real estate properties in the State, which means owners and occupiers holding a lease to a property for ten years or more are now liable to pay the annual LUC invoice charged.” Meanwhile, the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday gave Ambode, a seven-day ultimatum to immediately reverse the new land use charge recently announced by his government or face a mass street protest next week Monday. The NBA Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, made this known yesterday at a press conference held at the secretariat of the association in Ikeja. In his speech titled: ‘Hell Tax Must Go’, Ogunlana said it was clear that if these regimes of tax are allowed, the state would be turned into a “toxic environment and a living hell for Lagosians.” The NBA chairman said the

state government cannot hide under “developing Lagos into a Mega Smart City” to kill Lagosians with Pharaoic taxes.” He said the increase the Land Use Charge would have an adverse effect on all other services and functions in the state as owners of properties and services would automatically transfer other financial burdens to their customers who would have to bear the burden or crumble. Ogunlana explained that it was absurd that the governor is seeking dialogue after its government had deliberately and selfishly created the situation in the first instance. According to him, “We think it is highly absurd for the governor to be seeking dialogue over the issue of the hellish tax regimes after his government deliberately and selfishly created the situation in the first instance.”




Police, NSCDC Strategise to Stop Abduction of Schoolgirls Michael Olugbode ÓØ Maiduguri The Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) are working out modalities together to put an end to incident of abduction of schoolgirls at schools in the North-east. Though there have been numerous abductions by Boko Haram insurgents in the crisis ridden North-east of the country, but the country has only shown interest in both the Chibok and Dapchi abductions. The two paramilitary organisations said yesterday in Maiduguri that new security architectural measures that would put an end to “incessant abductions” of school children in the North-east region would be put in place. The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Habila Joshak, gave out the plan while addressing education commissioners, principals and stakeholders in the education sector at the Education Resource Centre, Maiduguri. He said the two

Commissioners for Education and Higher Education, Principals and stakeholders are to partner security agencies towards the restoration of peace and security in Borno and the entire North-east. According to him, police officers have already been deployed to the entire liberated communities affected by Boko Haram insurgency. He said the deployment is to protect not only people’s lives and property, but all schools in the insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Joshak said: “For operational efficiency, command and control, the Inspector-General of Police and the Force management team have increased the number of area commands from three to six, headed by assistant commissioners of police. “The newly created area commands include Area Commands of Benisheikh, Uba and Monguno, 145 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.” He further disclosed that in addition to two Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadrons and

Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) base eight, situated in the command, 41 visiting PMF units and eight visiting CTU cells. He said the cells are on special duties in the command for deployment to liberated communities by the military. He said the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters has also deployed over 500 members of strike units led by Assistant Commissioner of Police to Operation Lafiya Dole. The deployment, according to him, was to ensure the sustenance of liberated communities in the entire Borno State. He said: “This is in addition to the strengthening of our intelligence corridor and encouraging intelligence sharing in the spirit of partnership and

networking with relevant sister security agencies. “The problem of Boko Haram insurgency, calls for our collective participation towards restoration of laws and order in the state.” He lamented that a transnational organised crime such as insurgency; cannot be successfully fought by a single individual or organisation, and that it was for that reason a meeting to sensitise education commissioners and principals of schools on re-awakening them to contribute their quota to protecting children in schools. He disclosed that the areas in which the security measures are to be reviewed for implementation include: school management input with emphasis on security, assisting security agencies with credible

information. He said others comprise close monitoring of students’ and visitors’ activities, identifications of sympathisers of Boko Haram insurgents and any other relevant recommendations for effective protection of schools. The Borno Commissioner of Higher Education, Ahmed Usman, said the security agencies should be proactive in dealing with abduction such as Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls on April 14, 2014 and February 19, 2018. He, however, warned that there should be no shifts of blames over the abduction of schoolgirls. The Borno Commissioner of Education, Inuwa Kubo, also noted that there should be a synergy among the military, police and civil defense to

protect all the schools and students. The Assistant Commandant General of NSCDC, Zakari Ningi, told the stakeholders that security is a collective responsibility to protect lives and property. He said the deployment of police and civil defense corps to liberated communities, was not for combat operations, but to restore and maintain law and order. He said the people should change their attitudes towards securing schools and liberated communities. The chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers, Borno State chapter, Bulama Abiso, suggested that principals should be prepared to respond to emergencies, while teachers are trained on security tips.

Bamidele: I Have a Strong Pact with Fayemi on Ekiti Guber Poll Victor OgunjeÓØÎÙÕÓÞÓ A member of the seventh House of Representatives, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, has disclosed that he had an agreement with the former Governor Kayode Fayemi, on how All Progressives Congress (APC) can win the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State. Bamidele said he decided to settle rift with Fayemi purposely because the two leaders need to work assiduously to ensure that the party returns to power in Ekiti State. He described the agitations by aspirants from Ekiti South senatorial district that power must shift to the zone as a legitimate one, clarifying that such would not preclude contestants from other districts from exercising their rights in line with the constitution. Bamidele and Fayemi have been seen fraternising with each other in recent time, which some people interpreted to mean an attempt by the minister to persuade the former federal legislator to renounce his ambition for the ex-governor to scheme a return to Ekiti government house. The two parted ways prior to the 2014 governorship poll, forcing Bamidele to contest on the platform of Labour Party for the 2014 gubernatorial election. Speaking in Ado Ekiti yesterday while declaring his governorship intention at the party’s secretariat in Ado Ekiti, Bamidele said the pact between him and Fayemi was not for personal aggrandisement but for the corporate benefit to the party.

“Yes, the minister visited my office in Abuja and the Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, also wrote a goodwill message to me as I declare my intention today. To me, this is a sign of good development. “All these shouldn’t give room for speculation that someone was trying to persuade the other to shelve ambition for the other. All the party leaders must work together, so our working together and their visits to my office was not for selfish interest or about our ambitions alone. “What these signaled was that it is no longer the old story. It showed that the APC is no longer in war. It shows that the party is becoming more united and stronger. It showed that we are giving each other mutual respect. “I have made it clear at every political gathering I attended that I have settled rift with Fayemi. The two of us are frontline party men and we have to work together to rescue our party. We are doing same with Segun Oni, all in the interest of our party”, he said. He said the agitations for zoning won’t preclude him and others from exercising their rights to contest for the governorship seat. “I want to say that zoning is a legitimate issue. It is also legitimate for every district of the state to aspire in line with the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria “The constitution of our party didn’t respect zoning and even the constitution, so we are free to contest irrespective of the legitimacy of the agitations.”


R-L: Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, and Hon. Aliyu Mu’azu, listening with rapt attention to his political associate, Alhaji Ibrahim Little, who was victim of an armed attack recently in Kaduna....yesterday

Lagos Set to Host Safety Conference The Lagos State Safety Commission is set to host a conference tagged: ‘Lagos Vision Zero Conference’ with the theme: ‘A mindset change towards zero harm’. According to the Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Hon Hakeem Dickson, the conference became imperative in light of the spate of incidences in the work place which negatively affects the safety, health and wellbeing of workers. He said the aim of the conference is to develop attitudinal change of employees towards the workers and to safeguard them while at work. Dickson explained that the Lagos State Vision Zero Safety Health and Wellbeing at workplace aims for a paradigm shift of a global vision of prevention of interrelated issues of occupational safety and employees health, which is best managed in a comprehensive and integrated manner. It is to inculcate an attitude that all injuries and ill health arising from workplaces are preventable, while the

commitment of the employees and employers to promote and protect each other’s safety and health across all level in the labour force. He solicited for leadership commitment to the Vision Zero where every accident is preventable and support from employers and other relevant stakeholders towards efforts by the Commission to build an inclusive Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Workplace strategy for the protection and education of the workforce. The Director General added that Lagos State Safety Commission is committed to regulating, policy formulation, advisory, advocacy, set safety standards for all sectors involved in social economic activities; the Commission is also mandated to build reliable statistics to enhance preventive measures in wellbeing / wellness of workplace and have responsibilities to review assessment reports to proactively ensure a safety practice in the State. Dickson revealed that the

Lagos State Safety Commission, being the only Safety Agency in the Country and by extension the Sub Saharan Africa, participated in the twenty first World Congress on Safety and Health at work, which took place for the first time in Southeast Asia, held in September 2017, at Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore, and presented a paper titled “Implementing Integrated Safety and health to employees: Lagos State Experience” which highlighted the need to make the workplace safer and healthier through building global prevention culture. The congress was tailored towards advancing global agenda on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the world. He said death, accident, and injuries in workplaces represent colossal social and economic burden for enterprises, communities and countries coupled with human and financial problems for the workers and their families. He reiterated the need to keep up to date with latest

Occupational safety and Health (OSH) developments and constantly review the existing practices and standards He described workplace accidents as an unfortunate phenomenon that is preventable if systematic measures are put in place and sustained adding that the protection of workers should not be sacrificed for economic gain. The Director General called on employers and workers to work in synergy to cultivate a safe and healthy working environment as it forms the basis for a more productive and engaged workforce. He concluded by saying: “We can only progress on our journey towards vision zero through shared commitment of companies, organisations, governments and workers across the globe.” The Lagos Vision Zero Conference is expected to hold in June while various committees have been set up to ensure a hitch-free conference


T H I S D AY ˾   Ͷ˜ͰͮͯͶ




Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email g y


EUROPA FIXTURES AC Milan - Arsenal Atletico - Lokomotiv Dortmund - Salzburg CSKA Moscow - Lyon Lazio - D’ Kyiv Marseille - A’Bilbao Leipzig - Zenit Sporting CP - Plzen

Juve Knocks out Spurs, City Through to Q’final Tottenham Hotspur was knocked out of the UEFA Champions League last night as Juventus came from behind to move into the quarter-finals. The first leg in Italy ended 2-2 and Son Heung-min put Spurs ahead at Wembley with a scuffed finish from Kieran Trippier’s low cross. But Gonzalo Higuain scored an equaliser when he steered in Sami Khedira’s pass. And less than three minutes later, Paulo Dybala raced on to Higuain’s through ball and slotted past Hugo Lloris to seal a

4-3 aggregate victory. Tottenham came close to scoring an equaliser that would have taken the tie into extra time but the impressive Son shot narrowly wide from 20 yards and Harry Kane headed against the post in the 90th minute. For Spurs, who last reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2010-11, it was a first defeat in 18 matches, while Juventus are unbeaten since 22 November - a run of 20 games. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are the first English team this season to be eliminated from

the Champions League. Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Manchester City lost 2-1 to Basel but gained a 5-2 aggregate win to join Liverpool in the quarter-finals. Manchester United and Chelsea could make it four Premier League teams in the last eight of Europe’s top club competition when they play the second legs of their ties next week. United entertain Sevilla on Tuesday following a goalless first leg in Spain, before Chelsea play at Barcelona on Wednesday after it finished 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Higuain celebrating his winner… last night

Mikel, Joel Obi, Omeruo, 25 Others for Poland, Serbia Friendlies Duro Ikhazuagbe After weeks of speculations on players to make Gernot Rohr’s squad for the World Cup 2018 build up matches against Poland and Serbia, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), yesterday unveiled a 28-man list with Skipper John Mikel Obi as arrowhead. Apart from usual suspects like Victor Moses, Ogenyi Onazi, Williams- Troost Ekong, Leon Balogun, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Elderson Echiejile, the Super Eagles coach also recalled former junior international defender, Kenneth Omeruo and injury prone Joel Obi to strengthen the midfield. Also, home-based goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who stood between the sticks for the very crucial last four World Cup qualifying games (home-and-away

to Cameroon, home to Zambia and away to Algeria), his colleagues in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) squad that finished as runners up to host Morocco, defender Stephen Eze and forward Gabriel Okechukwu, are also handed opportunities. The Franco-German gaffer also extended invites to Deportivo La Coruna’s Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi of Chippa United in the South African topflight. Russia-based Brian Idowu, who scored against Argentina on his debut in a friendly in Krasnodar in November last year, and Al Ahly of Egypt’s Junior Ajayi, who earned an Olympic bronze in Brazil in 2016, are also called. Three-time African champions Nigeria will trade tackles with the Bialo-Czerwoni (White and Red) or Eagles, as the senior national team of Poland is known, at the 43,000-capacity Stadium Wroclaw on Friday, 23rd March 2018.

Four days later, the Eagles will take to the pitch against Serbia at The Hive, London - home ground of Barnet FC and London Bees. These are the first two in a list of six friendly encounters planned for the Super Eagles by the NFF ahead of the 21st FIFA World Cup finals in the Russian this summer.   THE FULL LIST  Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho

(Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa) Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, The Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); William

Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria) Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas, Spain); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege,

Belgium); Joel Obi (Torino FC, Italy) Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Gabriel Okechukwu (Akwa United)  


MFM FC Gains Slim 2-1 Advantage at Home Enyimba beats Energie 2-0, Akwa Utd falls in Libya Femi Solaja MFM FC recorded a slim 2-1 win at home in Agege against MC Alger of Algeria in the CAF Champions League while Nigeria’s representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup, Enyimba went to next door Cotonou to beat Benin Republic’s Energie FC 2-0.  Akwa United lost 1-0 away to Libya’s Al Ittihad. Earlier on Tuesday evening, the country’s second representatives in the CAF Champions League, Plateau United had lost  2-4 to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia in Sousse. Chijoke Akuneto and Monsuru Bashiru scored both goals for MFM, while Amachi was on target for the Algerian team. The hosts came close again two minutes later through the lively Akuneto. The forward turned inside the box following a beautiful pass by Chukwuka Onuwa but his effort was saved by MC Alger’s goalkeeper Chaal. Play was however stopped in the 20th minute after Monsuru appeared to have slumped but he was deemed okay to continue with

the game after he was attended to by a combined team of MFM and MC Alger medics. MC Alger equalised in the 55th minute through Amachi who fired past the on rushing Egbe. Monsuru scored the winner five minutes from time with his surprise shot from outside the box sailing into the net. At the Stade de l’Amite in Cotonou. Enyimba gave their qualification into the second round of the CAF Confederation Cup a huge boost following the 2-0 away win. Akwa United on the other hand fell to a 1-0 at the the Taieb Mhiri Stadium, Sfax. Muad Eisha scored the winning goal for the home team late in the game. The striker headed in a cross from the right to hand his team the slim advantage going into the reverse fixture. The hosts wasted a number of goal scoring chances in the game and fully deserved the win. The Promise Keepers will look to overturn the deficit and book a place in the second round when both teams clash in the return leg on March 18 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.

President Buhari (middle) with CHAN Eagles at the Presidential Villa in Abuja… yesterday

Buhari Receives World Cup Trophy, CHAN Eagles Commends Winter Olympics Reps Karembeu tips Nigeria to go far at the World Cup in Russia Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja received World Cup trophy from FIFA officials ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He also received the Homebased Eagles who finished as runners-up at the last African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco recently without announcing any cash reward for them. The president also received Team Nigeria’s quartet to the Winter Olympics which held in South Korea last month. Seun Adigun and Simi Adeagbo were physically present at the Presidential Villla. The presentation of the FIFA trophy to Buhari was in line with FIFA’s tradition to tour all the countries participating in the tournament with the trophy. Speaking at the event, former World Cup winner with France

who is FIFA’s Representative on the trophy tour, Christian Karembeu, said bringing the trophy to Nigeria ahead of the tournament was meant to rekindle the passion of many young people in football and inspire the Super Eagles to believe in themselves that they can go far in the tournament and bring the trophy back to Nigeria. “Yes, we know there are a number of strong African countries in the game but Nigeria has always been a great footballing nation, and they have an exciting team heading to the FIFA World Cup in Russia. I have played alongside and against so many Nigerian players and I can attest to their strength and ambition. I believe the present Super Eagles squad is capable of great things,” said Karembeu, as he congratulated the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Pinnick on Super Eagles’ qualification for Russia 2018.

In his presentation, representative of Coca Cola, one of the sponsors of the world football body, said 91 cities in over 20 countries are currently being toured by FIFA. According to him, the trophy would spend four days in Abuja and Lagos because of the acknowledgement of Nigeria as not just a football-loving nation but also a high ranking football nation in the world. He also said the event was meant to put Nigeria on the global roadmap adding that it was part of Coca Cola’s commitment to the growth of football. In his remark, the president said he was aware that the global tour by FIFA which started on January 22, 2018 would cover the six continents of the world before the kick off of the World Cup in Russia. Buhari thanked FIFA for involving two cities of Nigeria in the tour, stating that football

is a symbol of unification in the country. The president also commended the Home-based Eagles who represented Nigeria at the 2018 CHAN in Morocco, stressing that he was proud of them. He also commended the young ladies in Diaspora who represented Nigeria in Winter Olympic in South Korea. While thanking Coca Cola for investing in sport development in Nigeria, Buhari said it is Nigeria’s commitment to empower its youths through sports.  The Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, who introduced the CHAN Eagles and the Winter Olympic participants, expressed hope that the trophy would be brought back to Nigeria in July after the World Cup in Russia. The event was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ministers and sport administrators.


Thursday, March 8, 2018


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Demola Olarewaju to Lagos Assembly “How can the House of Assembly which has 40 members say a company was mistakenly inserted into a law and no one detected it? They can say it was an error of judgement, but definitely not a mistake. They didn’t expect that people would read the law and point out the duplicity in it� —on the Lagos Assembly claim that the insertion of Alpha Beta, a private company, as a consultant in the state’s proposed land use law was a mistake


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Of President Buhari and King David


residential spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina is a respected pastor of the Foursquare Gospel Church and that reflects in all his writings. His most popular, albeit controversial, piece to date is the one he wrote last year at a period his principal was in the United Kingdom on medical leave. Titled “President Muhammadu Buhari and the descendants of Shimei’’, Adesina likened the president to King David, easily one of the most important Bible characters; and his critics to “descendants of Shimei’’, a member of the family of the displaced King Saul who once publicly humiliated King David. A famous quote from the piece reads: “President Buhari has tolerated people who have called him all sorts of names in the past two years. If he didn’t move against them directly, he could have allowed many Abishais to move against them, ‘and take off their heads.’ But not our President, a reformed democrat, a pious man, who has resolved to leave the people suffused by hatred unto God.’’ While many were critical of the ‘take off their heads’ allusion which spoke to intolerance, there were also Christians whose exceptions were anchored on the comparison between President Buhari and King David. But examined from a scholarly point of view, there are indeed parallels to draw between the two. One, before ascending power, both had followers who were ready to kill and die for them. For instance, while still in the wilderness, David expressed a longing for the ‘good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem’ and three of his foot soldiers took it upon themselves to risk all to get him his wish. Of course David would not drink the water he knew was obtained at the cost of the blood of others so he poured it out in worship to his God. Coming back home, we can also remember the several lives that were lost in the course of the violent protest that followed Buhari’s defeat at the 2011 presidential poll. Two, and most crucially, both King David and President Buhari also displaced incumbents. The former replaced King Saul while the latter defeated President Goodluck Jonathan. Three, both also became indulgent the moment they came to power. However, that is where the similarities end because President Buhari, to his supporters, is a god who can do no wrong. Meanwhile, King David had people who could call him to order and I am not talking about Shimei. There was Prophet Nathan. And then there was Joab, his no-nonsense military commander. The Biblical account relevant to this intervention is in 2 Samuel Chapter 19 when, following the war with King David’s rebellious son, Absalom, the victorious troops returned home to be confronted by a Commander-in-Chief who was only concerned about the death of his son. I crave the indulgence of my non-Christian readers to take the text of what happened next from the Scriptures: ‌Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your

President Muhammadu Buhari men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.� The pertinent question here is: Was it wrong for a father to grieve over a deceased son? Certainly not! So, the problem was not the mourning but rather that, as the leader, King David was expected to be sensitive to the mood of his people, even in his moment of loss. As one Bible commentator put it, “David’s immoderate grief for his rebellious son was imprudent and Joab’s firm and sensible reproof was necessary to arouse him to a sense of his duty to his people�. The converse is the same. A leader should not be seen rejoicing when his people are in grief. The message Joab was sending to King David is that good leadership entails a keen awareness of the operating environment and the subtle but often unsaid shifts in perception to which those who occupy positions of trust must be sensitive. With that in mind, sending out a picture of a joyous President Buhari receiving his son (returning to the country after medical abroad) at a period more than a hundred parents were going through the trauma of having their own children abducted from school was

most inappropriate. It becomes even more indefensible when someone also added the gratuitous insult that some ministers were on hand at the airport, apparently to carry Yusuf’s bags for him! To compound the problem, a president who would not visit any part of the country where tragedies occur joined a crowd of 22 Governors—described by former Governor (now Senator) Rabiu Kwankwaso as “less busy� people who “abandoned their duties�— to attend a wedding in Kano. Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly, a friend of the president, could not understand such display of obscenity. “If any of them had lost a daughter in that captivity, would they celebrate that way? I know the Bible says rejoice with them that rejoice, but I do not know what the president of Nigeria was doing there,� said Bakare. Following public pressure, President Buhari on Monday visited Taraba State in what is said to be a first stop in his tour of selected states where there has been violence in recent months. That is a positive development which shows that the man can still listen. Unfortunately, the president missed the point when he said that he needed not visit any troubled state to prove that he was taking action. While it is true that such visits do not change the circumstances of those who lost loved ones, his mere presence in such communities can lift the spirits of people who are still hurting. At the heart of what has eroded the credibility of this administration is a certain crisis of mission. Nigerians elected a president to lead them in a republic but Buhari and his handlers have manipulated the presidency into a monarchy. Ordinarily, the president of a republic sees himself in the least of his citizens; their joy is his uplift; their sorrow is his personal anguish. In times of travail, he goes to places where people are hurting and empathises with them. His visit is not ceremonial; it is in the line of active duty. In a monarchy, the leader is king. He is above the people and sees gestures of empathy even in dire circumstances as condescension. Since, as rightly observed by Pastor Bakare, Nigeria is now at “a stage where our president has become a king and a monarch�, the fracture in the polity is somehow traceable to this very disconnect. What President Buhari must therefore understand is that leaders whose first instinct is to ignore their own people in moments of grief cannot be said to care. And without empathy, it is difficult for a leader

The president of a republic sees himself in the least of his citizens; their joy is his uplift; their sorrow is his personal anguish. In times of travail, he goes to places where people are hurting and empathises with them. His visit is not ceremonial; it is in the line of active duty

to build trust in his followers because, as Colleen Kettenhofen argued, “When you’re an empathetic leader, you are aware of how these feelings (whether you agree with them or can relate to them or not) impact the other person’s perception.� It is gratifying that President Buhari finally got the message that Nigerians desire him to be their consoler in times of grief. But that is not enough and he should take a cue from the United States. One week after the recent deadly shooting at a Florida school, President Donald Trump held a “listening session� and, although it was not meant for camera, one could clearly see the talking points in the notepad he held. That means President Trump was prepared on what to say which is what serious leadership demands. So, going to Taraba to say the fatalities there were more than that of some other states, for me, was a wrong message and I hope the president would not commit the same gaffe when he visits other states. Meanwhile, I am in agreement with Adesina that there are indeed many Shimeis who daily taunt his principal for no reason other than that he defeated their man at the 2015 poll. To those people, there is nothing the president can do that will be right. But there are also many Nigerians, including those who voted for Buhari, who now see a certain arrogance of power that is in conflict with what they saw of the man before he got to Aso Rock aside feeling embarrassed by endless own-goals and serial bungling of basic tasks. That exactly is what the sharp rebuke by Pastor Bakare represents. In case the president and his handlers have forgotten, let me remind them. Despite the fact that he proposed no set of values beyond a ‘body language’ that, on the face of recent developments, might have been wrongly interpreted by many Nigerians, Buhari was elected president to serve as a moral compass—a leader who would need no prompting before choosing between right and wrong in the conduct of public affairs. Unfortunately, that is not what has transpired in the past three years under his stewardship. And since moral authority, according to Ken Robinson, is intertwined with legitimacy, “once the confidence and trust in a leader’s moral authority is seriously questioned, once it becomes obvious that their moral compass is off, their ability to lead is undermined and challenged.� Let me return to the story with which I started this piece. While King David may have occasionally dropped the ball as any leader would at some points (a clear example being his wailing over Absalom for which he was harshly reprimanded by an insolent aide), he also had the humility to accept his mistakes and atone for them. And as powerful as he was, King David never considered himself infallible or put himself above the people. Can anybody, in all honesty, say the same of President Buhari today? A word, as the common saying goes, is enough for the wise!

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