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China to US: Your Claims on Our Loans to Africa Ridiculous Cites Lagos-Ibadan rail line, Mambila Dam among visible projects engaged with Chinese loan Senator Iroegbu and Alex Enumah in Abuja China yesterday described as ridiculous the United States advice to African governments to be wary of Chinese loans, saying that such loans are already visible

and speaking for itself. It also emerged yesterday that due to the unorganised nature of gemstone business in Nigeria, the country contributes about 10 per cent of about $12 billion revenue generated annually by Thailand from gemstone.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on his first diplomatic trip to the continent, said on Thursday that African countries should be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China. Tillerson also said that Chinese

investments “do not bring significant job locally” and criticised how Beijing structured loans to African government. But the Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China, Zhao Linxiang, bitterly

criticised the United States at a news briefing in Abuja, citing the Lagos - Ibadan rail line and the Mambila Dam projects among the visible projects engaged with Chinese loan facility. Linxiang said Chinese loans to Africa were aimed at implementing

major China-Africa cooperation projects and promoting sustainable development in the continent. “African people should know the role the Chinese loans play in your economy; that is the most Continued on page 6

CBN Injects $335.43m into Forex Market … Page 6 Saturday 10 March, 2018 Vol 23. No 8360 TR


& RE A S O



Herdsmen Kill 11 in Plateau as Buhari Launches Peace Agency

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

After President Mohammadu Buhari launched Plateau State Peace-Building Agency in Jos

at about 6:30 PM on Thursday, at least 11 persons were again murdered by suspected herdsmen in two separate attacks in the early hours of yesterday.

The dastardly attacks took place even as the president expressed the commitment of the federal government to support and assist the Peace-Building Agency to end

the vicious cycle of violence in the state. The two-night attacks on Ganda village of Daffo district of Bokkos Local Government Area and on

Miango village of Bassa Local Government Area happened in the early hours of yesterday. The National President of Irigwe Development Association (IDA),

Hon. Sunday Abdu,claimed that the casualty figure of the Bassa attack was five, while Evangelist Cosntinued on page 6

Atiku: Abduction of Dapchi Schoolgirls is Carelessness by APC Government Accuses FG of failing to use 150,000 policemen guarding VIPs to protect girls 'The APC was vocal to the point of exploiting the issue of the Chibok girls…. some may even claim that they undermined the then government's efforts at resolving that unfortunate incident' Bayo Akinloye Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that the ruling All Progressives Congress did not do enough to protect the schoolgirls who were kidnapped from their hostel in Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, describing the failure as carelessness. While Nigerians were still clamouring for the rescue of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls held captive by Boko Haram, a rival terrorist group, ISIS West Africa, stormed the Dapchi school and abducted 110 girls. Atiku, who responded to questions from THISDAY via email, expressed disappointment that the government failed to use the 150,000 policemen attached to VIPs to protect vulnerable schoolchildren in the North-East. “Let me paraphrase Oscar Wilde and say that to lose one set of girls to Boko Haram may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose another set, looks like carelessness. As an Cosntinued on page 6

STEPHANIE WEDS SAM JNR... L-R: Father of the groom, Chief Sam Iwuajoku; Senate President Bukola Saraki; the groom, Samuel Jnr and his bride Stephanie; wife of Senate President, Mrs. Toyin; President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and former Ogun State governor, Chief Segun Osoba, at their traditional wedding ceremony... recently

Brace up for Change in 2019, David Mark Charges Nigerians ...Pg. 8


T H I S D AY ˾  ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ




T H I S D AY ˾  ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ




T H I S D AY, T H E S AT U R D AY N E W S PA P E R ˞˜ ͚͸˜ͺ͸͚΀


CBN Injects $335.43m into Forex Market Obinna Chima The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its resolve to guarantee liquidity in the market yesterday injected the sum of $355.43 million into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS). Figures obtained from the CBN

revealed that the intervention was to meet requests in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors. The Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the development.

He reiterated that the CBN's interventions in the market were aimed at sustaining liquidity in the market as well as boosting production and trade. He explained that with increasing accretion to the country’s reserve, the Bank is in a much better position to ensure liquidity in

the inter-bank sector of the market and as such would continue to intervene in order to drive growth in the economy and guarantee stability in the market, particularly now that the economy had gained steam due to an upsurge in the non-oil sector. With the naira closing at

N360/$1 yesterday, Okorafor expressed confidence that the Bank’s forex intervention underscored its determination to maintain the country’s external reserves in order to safeguard the international value of the naira. The CBN had in its last SMIS on February 2018, injected the sum

of $321.4 million in the interbank market, while also intervening in the inter-bank foreign exchange market to the tune of $210,000,000, comprising of $100million for the wholesale segment and $55 million for both the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles segment.

In 90 Days, We Will Transform 9mobile if We Acquire it, Says Smile Emma Okonji Despite the big fall of 9mobile from being the best data and voice telecoms company in Nigeria from 2013 to 2017, occasioned by the $1.2billion debt it incurred through loan financing from 13 local banks in 2013, coupled with its indebtedness to vendors and other telecoms operators, Smile Telecoms Holdings has said it would reposition the company and make it attractive again within a space of 90 days, if given the opportunity to acquire it. Smile Telecoms Holdings who emerged as the reserve bidder in the sale of 9mobile, had expressed its dissatisfaction over the manner in which the sale of 9mobile was handled, through a protest letter it wrote to Barclays Africa, the financial adviser that handled the sale of 9mobile. While calling for the review of the entire sales process that

produced Teleology as the preferred bidder, Smile Telecoms Holdings said 9mobile deserves the best and should be sold to an existing telecoms company with the right technical expertise and financial strength to manage it and turn it around for the highly competitive market within few months. The Executive Director, Operations, Smile Communications, a subsidiary of Smile Telecoms Holdings, Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, who spoke to THISDAY in an exclusive interview in Lagos, said Smile has all it takes to reposition 9mobile and make it attractive and competitive again, within a space of 90 days. According to Farroukh, "We will bring three dimensional values to 9mobile if given the opportunity to acquire it. The first value is that we are Nigerian company already existing in the Nigerian telecoms space. So we will come up with our existing assets to boost

the 9mobile operations. We will seek the permission of NCC to flip our existing 800MHz frequency to 9mobile to enhance its operations. What we are bringing to 9mobile is huge. “The 800MHz frequency, which Smile Communications currently operates on, will be added to that of 9mobile to achieve the best frequency ever that will serve the customers better and help 9mobile to come out of its current challenges. Without exaggerating, we are sure to add additional 600 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, into the operations of 9mobile within a space of 90 days, if given the opportunity to acquire it. “We will from day one, integrate our existing facilities with that of 9mobile to get the company back to its old good days, when it was the best voice and data telecoms company in Nigeria.

9mobile currently has 500 BTS across the country, and by the time we add our 400 existing BTS and combine it with the 600 BTS that we can provide within 90 days, 9mobile will be having approximately 1,500 BTS, which will match the number of BTS that the largest telecoms operator in the country currently has. So should we acquire 9mobile, we will make it competitive from day one with unprecedented speed of service delivery." He added, "The second value that we will bring to 9mobile is the monetary value. We will bring in fresh millions of dollars from foreign financing outside Nigeria, into 9mobile to pay off its indebtedness to the banks and also pay off any other group that the company is indebted to, and we will still have enough to invest in 9mobile and make it competitive. Let me tell you that several countries around the

world still believe in the Nigeria story and we will reach out to them to get fresh funds to invest in 9mobile." The third dimensional value that Smile Telecoms Holdings will bring to 9mobile, according to him, is about the company's long standing experience in telecoms business. "I have handled telecoms business in Nigeria, including being the CEO of MTN Nigeria from 2006 to 2011, before I was appointed as Director to oversee the MTN West African operations, before joining Smile Communications. Nigeria has made me what I am today and I am grateful to God and to Nigeria. In Smile Communications and Smile Telecoms Holdings, we have seasoned telecoms experts and we are bringing that expertise to 9mobile if given the opportunity to acquire it. We are convinced that our three dimensional values will make 9mobile a successful company if we are allowed to

manage it," Farroukh said. Speaking on the company's core competence in Voice over Long Term Evolution (VOLTE) technology service delivery business, the Managing Director of Smile Communications, Mr. Godfrey Efeurhobo, said: "We still play big in the Voice over LTE segment of the telecoms business. We have the capacity to offer full Voice over LTE, which is the VOLTE service, and as the device ecosystem expands, we also intend to expand our VOLTE services and we are currently discussing with various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to expand the device ecosystem. So we have the capability to offer Voice over LTE. The only limitation is the device ecosystem and we are building on our data and device ecosystem in order to connect more subscribers to our network." r4FFGVMMJOUFSWJFXPOQBHF

"This journey started sometimes in August 2016, after I visited the Gem and Jewelry fair in Bangkok, Thailand, at the invitation of the Thai Government. At a conference at that fair, it was pointed out that the gemstone industry in Thailand contributed about $12 billion annually to the GDP. Of that amount, about 10% of the gemstone were said to have come from Nigeria," he said. Quoting Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode put the average value of gemstone export

from Nigeria at $3 billion dollars annually. He said the global jewelry business will hit ÂŁ150 billion by the year 2020, adding that China, India, United States, Hong Kong and Switzerland are major importers of gemstones. He said: "With this high demand in the gemstone sector, Nigeria has the potential to grow her economy through the gemstone sector especially now that the country is returning to the path of sustainable development through the non-oil sector.

CHINA TO US: YOUR CLAIMS ON OUR LOANS TO AFRICA RIDICULOUS important thing. “Except the Chinese Government, which other government provides loans to African countries without critical conditions. No Western country. “How can they say they suspect Chinese loans; it is ridiculous. Without funds how can you develop a country?� He disclosed that China was able to turn around her economy when she opened her doors to the world and accepted loans from other countries. The envoy who noted that the China-Africa relations allowed for win-win benefits for both parties, added that as part of deepening relationship with Africa, it has planned an international expo for November, aimed at addressing balance in trade between China and her major partners. China’s bilateral trade with Nigeria, from Jan. to Nov. 2017,

stood at $12.3bn with more Chinese exports to Nigeria. He said the “Expo Nigeria� would be an opportunity for the country to expand her exports to and share business opportunities with China and other participating countries. “It is believed that this upcoming China International Import Expo will breathe new life into the bilateral trade cooperation and create the biggest opportunity to enhance the bilateral trade position to a new level. “It is believed that this expo will give the Nigerian people and businessmen a great platform to show what Nigeria looks like to China and the rest of the world.� He added that the Chinese Economic Office in Lagos was collaborating with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses interested in participating in the event.

ATIKU: ABDUCTION OF DAPCHI SCHOOLGIRLS IS CARELESSNESS BY APC GOVERNMENT opposition party, the APC was vocal to the point of exploiting the issue of the Chibok girls’ kidnapping. They did not cut the Jonathan administration any slack. “They criticised that government every step of the way and some may even claim that they undermined the then government's efforts at resolving that unfortunate incident. So, it is rather surprising that a set of people who were so unsparing in their critique of the previous government would be in a situation whereby they have allowed these same terrorists to kidnap 110 girls,� Atiku said. When the former APC chieftain, who resigned from the ruling party last November, said he would have acted differently, if he was in charge; “What would I have done differently? Recently, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Mike Okiro, revealed that 150,000 policemen

were guarding various elites and those we know as 'big men'. “If I had my way, I would have recalled all of those 150,000 policemen who are not performing core police duties and send them to provide security for every school in the North-East region. That to me would be a better use of their time and services. “We already know that Boko Haram has an agenda to cripple Western education in Nigeria. So, how could we have left those schools unguarded? Why should the police be guarding VIPs who can afford personal guards and leave vulnerable girls unguarded? “We are spending billions trying to encourage girls to go to school only to allow them be abducted by terrorists. I condemn these abductions and I urge the federal government to take firm action to ensure that it would never reoccur in Nigeria.� 4FFGVMMJOUFSWJFXPOQBHF

Zhao said that China had invited eight other African countries with which the country hoped to improve trade relations, adding that 100 countries were expected to participate at the import expo. Nigeria Contributes 10% to Thailand’s $12bn Gemstone Market, Says ACCI Meanwhile, it has emerged that due to the unorganised nature of gemstone business in Nigeria, the country contributes about 10 per cent of about $12 billion revenue generated annually by Thailand from gemstone.

This disclosure was made on Thursday by the President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode in his opening remark on the occasion of the First Annual General Meeting of the Gemstone Miners and Marketers Association of Nigeria (GMMAN) in Abuja. Kayode tho was represented by the 2nd Deputy President of ACCI, Mr. Emeka Obegolu, said because of the vast deposit of solid mineral in the country, Nigeria should earn the maxim, “the land of gems�.

HERDSMEN KILL 11 IN PLATEAU AS BUHARI LAUNCHES PEACE AGENCY Jerry Datim alleged that six people were killed in Ganda. The names of those killed in Miango are; Emmanuel Joseph, Christopher Joseph, Peace Joseph, Henry Audu and Illa Isa Peter. Abdu said, “Yes, it is true that five people were killed in Miango by Fulani herdsmen in an attack which took place yesterday night and lasted till the early part of this morning. Others were wounded in the unprovoked attack. The bodies of the five slaughtered people have been deposited at the hospital morgue. We are no longer in a hurry to bury our dead. Whenever we are going to bury them, we will let you people know. “The Fulani herdsmen are killing us but they are the ones crying. What kind of pretext is that? I still appeal to the security personnel not to relent, but to step up vigilance and surveillance to stop this pogrom and unwarranted carnage.� Datim said that over 50 houses were burnt at Ganda where several persons were also injured and rushed to the hospital. Mr. Matawal Mangut, who though narrowly escaped, lost five brothers to the attackers in Ganda, lamented that their house was burnt completely, destroying everything they ever worked for. He called for assistance from the Federal and State governments to

help protect them from persistent attacks by Fulani herders in the area. Also confirming the attacks and the killings, the spokesman of the Special Task Force (STF) on Plateau crisis, Major Adam Umar said that when the unfortunate incident happened, the people alerted the STF and that their personnel hastily mobilised to the scene. But that before their men could get there, the attackers had fled. He added that the soldiers of the Command are now fully in charge of the areas, as patrols have been intensified with a view to getting the perpetrators. Umar also appealed to the people to always be vigilant and security conscious by reporting any strange object or movement to the nearest security agency for prompt attention. Bassa Local Government Council has, since September last year, suffered unabated attacks by herdsmen, with hundreds of Irigwe people killed. Meanwhile, the Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Mohammadu Nuru Abdullah, on Wednesday lamented alleged fresh attack on his kinsmen that claimed three lives of Fulani herders, describing it as terrorism. Abdullah, in a press statement, said he was “overwhelmingly

shocked that the Irigwe militias in an effort to accomplish their mission of terrorising Fulani herdsmen in Bassa LGA, have on Monday March 5, 2018 re-attacked Fulani cattle herders and mercilessly killed three persons namely; Abubakar Shehu, Abubakar Gidado and Ishaq Yusuf without provocation. “It is also disturbing that the Irigwe community would always trespass into other neighboring local government areas and launch their attacks and kill our people for no cause. “On the same Monday when three of my kinsmen were killed, the same militias attacked and killed a total of 38 cows; 20 of the cows belonged to Wada Alh Audu, while 18 belonged to Umaru Ibrahim. “The Irigwe militias usually cross into Riyom, Jos South and part of Southern Kuduna 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 in a clinic at Rafin Bauna. It is on record that this militia group has been unleashing terror against our innocent cattle headers in the areas.� He said in spite of efforts made by the government, security,

communities, and other nongovernmental organisations to restore peace, the militia had continued to kill silently. In the meantime, Buhari, who left for Abuja yesterday after the visit to Plateau State, disclosed that the federal government would make use of the money saved from drop in rice importation to improve agricultural infrastructure in the country. The President stated this while launching 400 units of tractors procured by the Plateau State Government to increase food production. He also described the tractors as high quality products, saying it can last for decades, but urged users to ensure adequate maintenance. In his address, the state Governor, Simon Bako Lalong said: “In the pursuit of our commitment to service delivery, the experiences from the economic misfortune occasioned by the fall of oil price in the global market necessitated our thinking out of the box under the new reality. In this regard, the administration identified three new normal or areas that the state has comparative advantages namely, agriculture, mineral resources development and tourism. These have been pursued within the context of strategic policy framework through the relevant MDAs.�








News Editor Ă’Ă‹Ă—Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;Ă–Ă‹Ă‘ĂŒĂ&#x; ͸΀͚͚͞ͿͽΠ΀͚͸Ě™sms only) Email Ă‹Ă’Ă‹Ă—Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;Ă–Ă‹Ë›Ă™Ă‘ĂŒĂ&#x;̜ÞÒÓĂ?ĂŽĂ‹ĂŁĂ–Ă“Ă Ă?Ë›Ă?Ù×

ALL FOR WOMEN ... L – R: Bekeme Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action; Fatima Bello-Ismail, Council Member, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); Oscar N. Onyema OON, CEO, NSE, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Chairman, Learn NGO/Ella Care & former First Lady of Lagos State; Olajobi Makinwa, Chief Africa, United Nations Global Compact; Patience Kunene, Executive Director of the Board of the World Bank Representing Angola, Nigeria & South Africa and Lillian Olubi, during the closing gong ceremony in commemoration of International Women’s Day Celebration at the Exchange on Thursday, 08 March, 2018

Brace up for Change in 2019, David Mark Charges Nigerians George Okoh in Makurdi

Former President of the Senate, David Mark has charged Nigerians to get their voters cards and brace up for change in the 2019 elections. He made the call at Ugbokolo in Okpokwu local government of Benue State during the funeral service of the wife of the former minister of Interior, Abba Moro, Mrs. Lynda yesterday. The former Senate President agreed with the sermon of the officiating priest who called on the people of the state and

Nigerian to heed the advice of the Rev Father. Earlier, President of Catholic Diocesan Priests of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Sylvester Onmoke had lamented the security problem across country occasioned by herdsmen killings and kidnapping, called on Nigerians to get their voters cards and use it wisely in the coming elections. The priest had described Nigeria as a country in mourning following incessant killings being witnessed across the country. He said he was ashamed that

the government had become docile as it watched helplessly while the country bled on a daily basis. The clergy said that President Muhammadu Buhari had made assurances to do something to stop the killings during the visit of Catholic bishops to him at Aso Rock but regretted that instead for the killings to abate, it had continued to increase. He urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the country to overcome the present insecurity situation and advised Catholics to arm themselves with rosaries.

He advised school owners, educators, including Catholics and Methodists to close their schools early enough to enable children return home peacefully. Reverend Onmoke who said the Catholic Church would never be silent about injustice, condemned the killings, especially the one going on in Benue State, particularly the recent one in sleepy Omusu village of Okpokwu local government which claimed about 24 lives. "How would they have driven to Omusu and nobody detected them. It is not enough

to send soldiers...A fellow Fulani man will not allow a Fulani soldier to kill a Fulani man. "We will continue to pray because the God we serve is a warrior and he will never abandon his people. "I’m not a politician but I’m speaking the mind of the people; we should all go out and register because our country is bleeding. "Thank God that the tenure of elected leaders is four years and three years is gone and we are still dangling with kill-

ings and kidnapping without development, we should all go out to register to vote, when you vote remain at polling unit until your vote is counted," he admonished. Immediate past Governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswam also thanked the Rev Father for his timely sermon and called on all eligible voters in the state to get their voters cards to make good change in forth-coming general elections. Chief Mourner Moro appreciated and thanked all Nigerians for coming to mourn with him.

Trailer Crushes Soldier, Scores to Death in Abuja

NUJ Rejects Bill on Hate Speech, wants N’Assembly to throw it Out

Olawale Ajimotokan

Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia

An accident involving a trailer belonging to Zeberced Limited along the Abuja - Keffi Road yesterday, claimed scores of lives. The early morning mishap by Kugbo Hill was caused by brake failure of the articulated vehicle. A soldier was among the victims. According to eyewitnesses, the driver was descending the Kugbo Hill close to Nyanya, when his brake system suddenly failed. The articulated vehicle lost control and rammed into many vehicles ahead of him, killing some occupants and inflicting injuries on others. Nyanya Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Micheal Arinzeagu,

confirmed the incident to newsmen. He said: “There was minor crash earlier between two motorists who were unable to settle themselves peacefully. They parked and were claiming right. In the course of the argument, a soldier on a motorcycle stopped and tried to make peace among them. Before then, the traffic had built up.� He added that while the soldier was trying to make peace, the Zeberced truck that already had brake failure, was descending the Kugbo hill. “It was obvious that he couldn’t control the vehicle anymore and instead of heading to nearby ditch to stop the truck, he took the wrong decision of using people and vehicles as break.

It was catastrophic because innocent lives were lost and vehicles destroyed. “As the driver could not control the vehicle again, he crushed other vehicles along the way. Unfortunately, the soldier that was trying to make peace and many others were crushed by the truck,� he explained. When asked of the number of people that died, the FRSC official said, “We could not give exact number of people that died because we were busy trying to rescue those that were still alive. “We are yet to visit the hospitals where they were taken to. But we counted 19 vehicles including the Abuja high capacity bus (El-Rufai bus) and several other expensive vehicles that were damaged,� he explained.

As the bill proposing death penalty for hate speech continues to rake up controversy, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on the National Assembly to throw away the offensive bill if its sponsor refuses to withdraw it. The call was contained in a nine-point communiquĂŠ issued by the zonal executive committee meeting of Zone C (South East) held in Umuahia during which the zonal leaders engaged in “long deliberationsâ€? on pertinent national and local issues. National Vice-president of NUJ Zone C, Mr. Chris Isiguzo who read the communiquĂŠ at a press conference, said that the hate speech bill should be withdrawn with immediate effect because of its draconian nature. The NUJ said that it was regrettable

that despite all the condemnations and revulsions that have trailed the killings of citizens by herdsmen/ militias across the nation the murderous activities had not abated. It therefore urged all security agencies in the country “to rise up to the challenge� and put a final end to the incessant killings so that Nigerians could live in peace and their lives and properties protected at all times. The Zone C leaders of NUJ took a critical look at the raging debate on local government autonomy and elected to be in favour of granting the third tier of government the needed autonomy to operate effectively without the suffocating arms of state governments. This zonal executive committee urged all the state legislatures in the Southeast geopolitical zone to “vote in favour of local government financial/

administrative autonomy in the ongoing constitutional amendment to strengthen that tier of government for more productivity�. On the non-representation of the Southeast zone in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the NUJ zonal executives said that the federal government should “without further delay� end the delay in appointing INEC commissioner for the zone. The position hitherto held by Lawrence Nwuruku has remained vacant since his tenure ended. The NUJ said that it would not like road users in the Southeast zone to experience another round of distress as this year’s rainy season approaches hence it urged the federal government contractors handling road projects across the zone to expedite action and complete the rehabilitation of the deplorable roads.




In Brief ‘Stop Out-of-Court Settlement on Rape’

WifeofBayelsa StateGovernor,Dr.RachelDickson,yesterdayobjectedtothe risingcasesofsettlementofrapeandassaultcasesoutsidethelegalsystem, insisting that it would spur suspects to continue to violate innocent girls and boys. Specifically, Mrs. Dickson warned parents, guardians and traditional rulers against shielding rapists, pedophiles and other criminal elements and resist the pressure to be paid off with paltry sums when such cases happen. Speaking during the visit of Commonwealth Women in Parliament (African Region),toSt.Jude’sGirlsSecondarySchool,Amarata,Yenagoa,thegovernor’s wife urged members of the public to always shame rapists and violators of children.Duringapaneldiscussion,anchoredbyMissMabelObiriki,aBayelsa scholarshipbeneficiaryandfemalefirst-classstudentoftheLincolnUniversity, UnitedStatesofAmericaonthetheme,'Girl-ChildEducation:APanaceafora StableSociety',theGovernor'swife,auniversitylecturer,alsowarnedparents againstencouragingtheirgirl-childtoindulgeinstreethawkinginsteadofbeing atschool..

‘Amputee Football League Coming’

TRADING IDEAS ... L-R: USA Ambassador to Peru, Krishna Urs; USA under Secretary for Economic Growth, Robert Hormats and Mr. Peter Obi during his recent visit to the USA

The Nigeria Amputee Football Federation is to introduce Amputee Football Leagueinthecountry,PresidentoftheFederationAlhajiSulaimanIsahdisclosed inMinna,NigerStateonFriday.Isahwhowasexchangingviewswithsportswriters saidtheFederationhadalreadyreachedouttotheNigeriaFootballFederation on how to fashion out the amputee league so that it would takeoff smoothly. "WehavepleadedwiththeNFFtotakeacuefromtheEnglishFAwhichmade itmandatoryforallpremierleagueclubstohaveamputeefootballleague.By so doing, the amputee league in the country will start on very sound footing" Isahfurthersaid.ThePresidentsaidverysoontheFederationwouldoffsetits outstandingaffiliationfeestotheinternationalbodyaddingthataffiliationfee thathadbeenoutstandingforfiveyearshasmadeitimpossibleforthecountry toparticipateinamputeeinternationalcompetitions.

NRC Assures on Passengers Safety

‘How Akinjide, Others Received N650m Slush Funds’ Davidson Iriekpen

A Federal High Court in Lagos was yesterday told how former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide, and two others collected N650 million each from the slush funds warehoused at the Ibadan, Oyo State branch of a new generation bank by former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. This was disclosed at the continuation of the trial of Akinjide, Senator Ayo Adeseun, and Yinka Taiwo arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for money laundering before Justice Muslim Hassan. The investigator, Usman Zakari, who appeared as the second prosecution witness in the case, narrated to the court how Akinjide

and others allegedly took delivery of a cash sum of N650million in March 2015. According to him, Akinjide and two others collected the N650million cash at the Dugbe branch of the bank in Ibadan on the standing instruction of Alison-Madueke. Zakari said his investigation revealed that the N650m was part of N23bn which Alison-Madueke warehoused in the bank. He said he found that the N23bn was the naira equivalent of $115.01m, which Alison-Madueke collected from three oil marketers and one Lano Adesanya in the build-up to the 2015 general election. Zakari, who was led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said his investigation followed “a top classified Category A intelligence� about a meeting

convened by Diezani in her house in December 2014. At the meeting, the ex-petroleum minister, according to Zakari, informed the Managing Director of the bank that the oil marketers would be bringing different dollar sums to him, which she instructed the bank chief to help her keep in the bank’s vault until further instructions. The investigator said pursuant to the meeting, one Auctus Integrated Limited took $17.8m to the bank; another company, Northern Belt Oil and Gas, took $60m to the bank; while one Mid-Western Oil Services Limited also paid $9.5m. “An individual, Lano Adesanya, brought the sum of $1.8m; our findings further revealed that the three oil marketers made payment of the sum of $89m and some fractions.

Investigations further revealed that the then petroleum minister’s aides made available $25m and some fractions in suitcases, which were warehoused in the bank’s cash vault,� the investigator narrated. He added that “upon the receipt of the money by the bank, the then petroleum minister instructed it to convert the said amount into naira, precisely on March 26, 2015, the bank complied with the instruction; the said amount was converted into naira to the tune of N23bn and some fractions. “After the conversion, the then petroleum minister Alison-Madueke, instructed the bank to pay the 1st defendant (Akinjide) and the 2nd defendant (Senator Ayo Adeseun) and one Mr. Yinka Taiwo the sum of N650m, through her son, Ogbonna Madueke.

Arik: CPC Calls for Additional Scrutiny, Buhari's visit will give Hope to Benue People, Says Ortom Precaution for Safe Operations Senator Iroegbu in Abuja The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has underscored the need for additional scrutiny and precaution in the aviation sector to ensure safe operations and passenger satisfaction. The Director General of CPC, Babatunde Irukera made the assertion in a statement yesterday following an emergency landing of Arik Air Flight W3304 at Kotoka International Airport, Accra (ACC), Ghana on Tuesday evening. Irukera acknowledged the efforts of the Sector regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in this direction, insisting that the efforts should be reinforced to avoid incidents in the sector and to sustain consumer confidence. According to him, “the CPC again encourages relevant aviation authorities to ensure full compliance with local and other applicable consumer protection laws, regulations and protocols particularly, but not limited to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations Part 19.

“Although there have been reported accidents in world aviation in recent times, and incidents in Nigeria, CPC understands that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is exercising additional scrutiny and precaution to continue to ensure safe operations and passenger satisfaction. CPC welcomes this assurance while underscoring the importance of such efforts to avoid incidents and sustain consumer confidence in the sector,� he added. The director general disclosed that “on Tuesday March 6th, 2018, Arik Air Flight W3304 departed Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos (LOS) for Kotoka International Airport, Accra (ACC) at approximately 19:15hrs for a 55-minute flight. The flight was operated by a Dash 8 Q400 turbo propeller aircraft. “Close to arrival and approximately 81 miles from ACC, passengers reported smoke in the cabin of the aircraft. The captain confirmed that there was smoke in the cabin from an unknown source, but secured the operation of the aircraft".

George Okoh in Makurdi Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has expressed the hope that President Mohammadu Buhari's visit to the State Monday would contribute to permanently solving the security challenges in the state. Ortom expressed the hope at the weekend during the handover of the Abagana Internally Displaced Persons Camp at Agan, by the Presidential Committee on Flood and Rehabilitation to the State Government. Governor Ortom said the sending of two delegations to assess extent of damage caused as a result of herdsmen and farmers conflict ahead of the President's visit was a sign of hope that the IDPs would return to their homes. He stated that the visit might also signal a complete end to the violent attacks on Benue Communities by marauding herdsmen. Ortom thanked the Presidential Committee on Flood and Rehabilitation for making the camp available

for the State Government to house victims of herdsmen attacks, stating that to complement efforts of the federal government, the state sunk three boreholes in the camp in order to address the water need. He also expressed appreciation to public-spirited individuals and organisations who had donated relief materials for the upkeep of the IDPs and prayed that God should reward them abundantly. Representative of the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Flood and Rehabilitation, Mr. John Owoicho, commended the State Government for effectively managing disasters, noting that by the Committee's rating, Benue was leading in that direction. Mr.Owoicho maintained that the cordial working relationship between the Presidential Committee and the State Government had brought about a synergy whereby facilities had been provided to guarantee the welfare of the IDPs, and expressed the Committee's sympathy to the State over the situation.

TheNigeriaRailwayCorporation(NRC),onFridayassureditsteemingpassengers travellingontheAbuja-Kaduna-Abujatrainservicesofuncompromisedsafety whileonboardthetrainsandatrailstations.Thiswascontainedinastatement signedbytheDeputyDirector,PublicRelationsMr.YakubMahmood,theDeputy Director,PublicRelations,NRCandmadeavailabletothemedia,inAbuja.According toit,"ithasbecomeexpedienttoallaythefearsofitsteemingpassengersas being experienced especially by travelers on the roads and highways in the zone.NRCmanagementinordertoallaytheunfoundedfearsofouresteemed passengersafterthereportedincidenceofmiscreantsalongAbuja-Kaduna railway corridor engaged in an unwholesome act of stoning our passengers’ trains,asagainsttheunsubstantiatedandpurportedmediareportofattackby gunmen."Whilethisdoesnotconstitutesecuritythreattotheoperationofthe trainservicewhichtheAbuja-Kaduna-Abujaroute,hehinted,"itisadeliberate attemptonunpatrioticindividualstodamagefederalgovernmentassetand propertywhichisprovidedtoalleviatethetransportationproblemsbeingfaced byNigeriansacrossthecountry,besidesbeingasourceofemploymenttothe peopleresidingintheenvironment."

Oba CursesTraffickers, Cultists

To end the menace of human trafficking in Edo State, the Oba of Benin, Oba EwuareII,inconjunctionwithtraditionalpriestsinthekingdomhaveplacedcurses onthoseaidingandabettingtheillicittradeinthestate.Alsocursedwerethe nativedoctorswhosubjectvictimsofhumantraffickingtooathofsecrecies, violatorsoftheorderbanningCommunityDevelopmentAssociationsandothers whosebusinessistoinitiatethesonsanddaughtersofthelandintovariouscult groups.ThosewhotookpartintheswearingexerciseweretheOhenOkhuae, OhenOvia,Ohennoriyekeogba,OhenAke,OhenNiwuo,NativeDoctors,Ohen Sango, Odionwere,IwuekiandtheEnigies.ObaEwuaresaidthoseaidingand abettinghumantraffickingthroughtheuseofblackmagicandsubjectingthem totheoathofsecreciesshoulddesistfromithenceforthorfacethewrathof thegods.Accordingtothemonarch,"Younativedoctorswhosebusinessare tosubjectpeopletotheoathofsecreciesandencouragingthisevilactonthe land, you have to repent, stop doing it.This is not a joking matter and if you do notrepent,youhavetowaitfortherepercussion".

Osinbajo to Inaugurate Bayelsa New City Project

VicePresident,ProfYemiOsinbajo,isexpectedinthenextfewweeksinBayelsa State, to inaugurate the NewYenagoa City Project, a collaboration between thestategovernmentandtheprivatesector.Whilemakingtheannouncement, theSeriakeDickson-ledadministrationnoted thatarrangementshadreached advanced stage to flag off the project as part of strategies to reposition the stateasaforemosttouristdestinationinthecountry.SecretarytotheState Government,Mr.KemelaOkara,whospokeshortlyafterthe StateExecutive Councilmeeting,saidtheformal launchofthenewcitywouldtakeplaceonthe 3rd of April, 2018. Okara said the area was a large expanse of land bounded onbothsidesbytheEkoleRiver,theEpieCreekandtheRiverNunthatwould accommodate facilities, such as the Castle Hotel, heliport, the new Yenagoa GRA, the Golf Estate, and another new estate springing up. "There is a very comprehensiveteamofvariousarmsofgovernment,involvingtheMinistryof LandsandSurvey,MinistryofSportsDevelopment,MinistryofTrade,Industry andInvestmentandthatofTourisminthislandmarkevent.

Lafarge CEO Drums Support for Women

TheChiefExecutiveOfficerofLafargeAfrica,Mr.MichelPuchercos,hascalled forsupportforwomenespeciallyinleadershippositions.Pucherousdisclosed yesterdaywhileadvocatingforsupportforwomenatthe2018editionofthe InternationalWomen’s Day event at Park Inn by Radisson, Kuto, Ogun State. Deliveringthewelcomeaddressattheevent,Purchercosurgedeveryoneto joinforceswithwomen,sayingthetimeisrighttoraisethebartoachievemore and do more. He noted that Lafarge Africa Plc was already taking the lead to closethegendergapwithitscommitmenttogenderinclusionandparity.“This year,thetheme#PressForProgressencompassesthepushthateverywoman needs to enable her succeed. It is a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleaguesandcommunitiestothink,actandbegenderinclusive.Asawoman, intheworldtoday,withalltheopportunitiesthatexist,youareencouragedto never give up. You are encouraged to continue to press and push to achieve theprogressandoutcomesyoudesire.LafargeAfricaPlchasover33percent womenrepresentationintheExecutivemanagementandBoard.







Because Dapchi Schoolgirls Are Not from Elite Families


have long been convinced that majority of our so-called leaders in third world countries often act contrary to reason, but it is often taken to an embarrassing level in Nigeria. The charade in Kano last weekend, which featured President Muhammadu Buhari, 22 state governors and key leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, is one of such irrational steps. While parents of the 110 girls abducted at Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, by Boko Haram on February 19, were grieving, our leaders were partying in Kano at the wedding of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s daughter and Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s son. This is the peak of man’s inhumanity to man. The wedding ought to have been a modest one. In sane societies, Buhari and his governors would have trooped to the homes of the grieving Dapchi parents. Do they really care that Dapchi girls are still in captivity and being molested by bastards? They don’t give a damn because Dapchi schoolgirls are from poor homes. I am very sure that this wedding would have been a modest one if the daughter of one of the governors is among the abducted girls. In fact, the school would not have been callously unprotected in the first place, if one of their kids is a student of this college. The fact that the Kano wedding took place amid fanfare, just two days after Boko Haram killed four UN aid workers in Rann, makes this scenario even more depressing. A yet to be verified number of soldiers and policemen were also killed in the Rann fiasco. Also, during the days preceding the wedding, 20 people were killed in Gwamba, Demsa Local Government Area of Adamawa State. The point I am making is that this country is in a mourning mood and there should be no room for flamboyant merrymakings. Our leaders should be trooping to Dapchi, Rann and Damsa and not to Kano State for one showy wedding, amid pain in the nation. These so-called leaders elected to be part of an awkward show of opulence, financed with public funds, instead of empathising with Dapchi parents. Do they really care if Dapchi parents are mourning? Do they really care if over 100



Chibok schoolgirls are still in captivity? Do they really care if daily, Boko Haram and herdsmen slaughter scores of innocent Nigerians? We are daily assaulted by gory tales from, Gulak, Malam Fatori, Dikwa, Gashigha, Kala Balge, Magumeri, Rann, Madagali, Dalore and several other towns and villages in the North-east. Most of our current leaders are clearly Godless, wicked, purposeless, inept and morally-bankrupt. We have to vote them out in 2019. Pastor Tunde Bakare’s analysis of the provocative display of opulence in Kano by Ganduje and Ajimobi was fitting. The General Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly said he could not comprehend what Buhari and the 22 state governors were doing at the Kano wedding, while 110 Dapchi schoolgirls are still in captivity. He declared: “Forgive my ill-mannerism, but I could not comprehend why a governor will celebrate the wedding of his daughter, and another governor of his son, on the front pages of newspapers, flashing it before our eyes, when other peoples’ daughters are in captivity. 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. “And somebody came to say ‘let me explain to you, it is Islamic tradition, before this time, about January, they had agreed, that he (Buhari) will be the one to give the bride away and Tinubu will be the one to pay the dowry, and present the son, and they agreed long before now.’ I looked at him and said the president of Nigeria wanted to come to my daughter’s wedding, and I said to him, sir, don’t come. That is beneath your office. Face the work of the state and keep serving. “And 22 governors showed up to mark register, when 110 daughters of citizens of your nation were captured by Boko Haram that you said you have already technically defeated? It just shows how insensitive our leaders are. We have gotten to a stage that our president has become a king and a monarch. That his son who rode his pleasurable bike that almost claimed his life, will be returning from an overseas trip, where he had received special healthcare that Nigerians cannot afford, that it took a whole minister of state to go and welcome him, because he has no job.

A Word for Governor Fayose Students of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, have been roaming the streets for almost four months due to a lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of the university. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so goes a popular saying. Some of the students have become nuisance in their various communities due to this prolonged closure. Students who ought to have graduated, as well as returning and newly-admitted students are roaming on the streets. Some may not return if the school eventually reopens. Children of Ekiti State elites, including those of Governor Ayodele Fayose, don’t attend this school. This is why the crisis has remained for this long. If the closure persists, the students may miss a whole semester. My dear Fayose, I am disappointed that you have allowed this crisis to fester. I care less about your previous intervention because it did not yield fruit. You must intervene pragmatically, by addressing issues bothering on improved staff

welfare and under-funding of the university. These are the problems keeping away the lecturers. Four of them are already dead due to irregular salary. The Chairman of ASUU in the university, Prof. Olufayo Olu, confirmed that the teachers are owed huge backlog of salaries and allowances. Its wage bill of N455 million, in relation to the N260 million monthly subventions from the government is preposterous. As a result, facilities in this university are in a sorry state. The school is often left in darkness. The management can’t even guarantee regular power supply due to inadequate funding. My beloved Fayose, it is clear that your government can no longer fund Ekiti State University properly. This is a reality that you must face. I am sure that you must have read a bit about university autonomy. You must allow this university to run autonomously, and charge fees that would cover its operating cost. Your government can then offer bursaries and scholarship to students from


financially-challenged homes. This is the global standard and the only way forward for this university. Nigeria is miles behind in this regard. Fayose, you must lead this change with Ekiti State University.

“Anyone who knows the true state of things in Nigeria would weep for the country. If you truly know the truth, you will weep, if you know how much we owe as a country, you will weep. For 16 years of PDP, they borrowed N6 trillion, for three years of APC, they borrowed N11 trillion. And they are not going to pay the debt. You and I, and our children, and our children’s children will pay the debt, unless they write them off again.” The most painful aspect of the Dapchi schoolgirls’ debacle is that no single person has been sacked for the security lapses responsible for the abduction. Air Chief, Sadique Abubakar has continued with his unproductive story of flying hundreds of sorties in search of the Dapchi girls. So, what have all these sorties yielded? We have suddenly forgotten that they flew hundreds of sorties in search of the Chibok girls that yielded nothing. They are at it again, telling us the same old story. What a country. The Jama’atu Nasril Islam appropriately stated that an example must be set: “Heads must roll for this negligence. Inquiry is not the only way to go. In fact, a serious government would have by now put in jail and suspended all negligent security and political chiefs who could and should have protected these innocent children, rather than the rigmarole setting up of an investigative panel.’’

A Law against Hate Speech? The bill sponsored by Senate Spokesperson, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi purportedly to curtail so-called hate speech is evidently a planned assault on free speech by people who do not really understand how democracy and the rule of law work. Just imagine a proposal of capital punishment for hate speech offenders? This will be a very good tool in the hands of despots. This Hate Speech Bill is a product of evil. We must all rise against this evil bill. All men of goodwill and lovers of democracy in the National Assembly must kill this bill with a sledge hammer. I share the assessments and worries being expressed by the sponsor of this bill but this is surely not how to go about it in a democracy. Shuaibu Usman Leman, the National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalist puts it pertinently: “It is instructive to note that citizens are entitled to free speech even if they hold offensive and hurtful opinions. We also cannot forget that people have the right to be biased, even offensive in their speech, even if journalism is different, and we have to be aware of this. It is therefore our considered opinion that it is pertinent to avoid such pitfalls in our bid to come up with legislations to curtail the excesses of citizens.” These are words of wisdom and in agreement with global best practice. I believe that the National Assembly is largely composed of distinguished men who would not allow a treacherous bill of this nature to sail through. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, is obviously high on something and needs to purge himself. Only God knows what he took.

Food Shortage in Camps of IDPs Governments at all levels and donor agencies must move very fast to address the starvation and disease in the camps of internally displaced persons across the North-east. Scores die daily due to food shortage in these IDP camps notwithstanding the billions of Naira the federal government, North-east governors and donor agencies claim to spend on the IDPs. An estimated six million people displaced by Boko Haram are battling with starvation. On Wednesday, frustrated IDPs, mostly women and children, at the camps in Fufore and Malkohi (Adamawa

State) staged peaceful protests over lack of food in their camps. Many families in these camps are in critical living conditions due to hunger. Malam Adamu Bukar from Malkohi camp said that he has one wife and three children and they only eat once in a day. “Since early January, when they distributed the normal thirty days food items to us, we never received anything again,’’ he said. Those in government should be ashamed that IDPs are dying of food shortage. Many are feeding fat on their misfortune. There was a time Buhari

instructed the Customs to send all seized smuggled food to DP camps. This was not effectively implemented. I can authoritatively report that thousands of tons of seized food litter Customs warehouses in Lagos and other states. This same government that sent food to victims of mud slide in Sierra Leone with helicopters should do same for our IDPs. Food shortage aside, sometimes, Boko Haram will enter their camps and kill them. Sometimes, our military will drop bombs on them. These displaced Nigerians are evidently going through hell.





A DEBATE THAT WILL PERSIST Is Segun Oni the best candidate for Ekiti Government House? Steve Omolale says yes


t is not all the times that history presents a people with the golden opportunity of having leaders who are not rulers, but who are committed to the communal good. Such leaders are the changes they want to see in the world, in tandem with the words of the great Indian leader, Mahatma Ghandi, who said,“You must be the change you want to see in the world.� Unfortunately, such people are scorned by many while they are still playing their roles on the stage and only appreciated when they are no more there. After all, according to William Shakespeare,“All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players.� However, the people may be lucky, once again, to have another rare opportunity of having such selfless leaders back on stage for a rescue mission. This is the kind of rare opportunity the traumatised Ekiti people, who self-inflicted unimaginable sufferings on themselves, deserves as another governorship election in the state holds on July 14, this year. Of the army of politicians who are jostling to rule the state, just a few actually know what governance is all about. Even among these few are some focus-less people and this will baffle any discerning mind why such characters want to rule a state as complex as the “Fountain of Knowledge� that requires the experience of a tested person, not the trial and error, gambling type. Among the few who appear to be serious; who obviously are not throwing their hats into the ring as bargaining power for other political jobs, Asiwaju Olusegun Oni, an engineer, takes the lead. This is because having ruled the state between May 29, 2007 and October 15, 2010 and garnered wide experience; having come out clean of any corruption allegation; having provided infrastructure in large scale never witnessed before by the people of the state, even till date; having cleared a backlog of pension arrears and having made life worth living for civil servants and other residents of the state, among other achievements of his then administration, it is obvious that Oni is the best man for the job this time. According to the words of Ralp Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead you, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail�. In Ekiti political landscape, Segun Oni went to where there was no path in many communities during his tenure, which was truncated by the Appeal Court judgment of October 15, 2010, and left a trail everywhere he went. The trails are only comparable to those of the sages, who changed the lives of their people forever. Although I am not a politician and I have no sympathy for any political party, I am a critical stakeholder in the Ekiti project. As a community leader, whoever becomes the governor of Ekiti State should be of great interest to me personally. And having known some of the candidates, while others are unknown to me, I can correctly say that many of them are good citizens of our state who are also looking for its good. But, governance is not about trial and error, the reason experience comes in handy here and the reason the most experienced and urbane man with Spartan lifestyle, who will not fritter away the scarce resources of our struggling state, is deserved as our governor. However, I must confess that I was initially indifferent to the


activities of the Segun Oni administration when it came in, in 2007. I only started developing interest after a visit to the state by senior Ekiti people in the media, of which I was among, where his achievements within a short period of time were showcased. I remember vividly his and Deputy, Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal’s interaction with us late in the night on our day of arrival in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, where they went round to greet and talk to each and every one of us individually. I was thrown off balance by the simplicity of the duo. Before then, I had been informed by my townsfolks that for the first time ever, a brand new road, which snakes through a virgin forest, a former footpath used by farmers to access their farms, had been built to connect my community directly with other Ekiti communities by the Oni administration and all the farmers adequately compensated. Hitherto, for us and other visitors to access my community from whichever side, we had to pass through communities in Ondo State, as there was no direct link between us and any Ekiti community. But now, I was told, I can drive straight from Ado-Ekiti to my community and reach there in less than one hour. They even sent the pictures of the new road, complete with drainage and other road infrastructure on both sides, to me. I could not believe my eyes that such a brand new road now leads into my community, something we never dreamed of in our life time because we thought it simply was not imaginable. The road is still very solid till date without a single pothole. Not only that, the Oni administration also reconstructed other roads connecting my community with communities in Ondo State, one of the reasons the succeeding Dr. Kayode Fayemi administration launched a campaign of calumny against Oni, accusing him of using Ekiti money to build roads in Ondo State. Good that both men are today in the same All Progressives Congress (APC). However, I was pleasantly surprised that up until that time, I had never seen any administration in my state build a brand new road through a virgin forest provided with drainage and other road infrastructure. Globally, any keen observer of Ekiti politics will agree with me that Segun Oni displayed a rare fiscal discipline as governor, the reason nobody could accuse him of fraud during his administration and the reason he has never been a guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) till date, unlike many of his contemporaries. In fact, his Spartan lifestyle is legendary and this is what has made me develop an enduring interest and friendship with him. He once told us during another of our visits to Ekiti then that he has nothing to leave for any child except good education, “which nobody can take away from him or her�. He has two children. His houses in Ado and Ifaki, where he hails from, and which he built before becoming a governor, attest to this fact, as they are just simple bungalows. In fact, when he was briefly removed to pave the way for the Election Petitions Tribunal-ordered polls in 11 local government councils out of the 16 in the state, his friends who saw his stellar performance while in office, donated one or two vehicles to him to enable him move out of the Government House. Chief Omolale is the National President, Iro-Ekiti Progressive Union

A CELEBRATION OF BOOKS AND READING Tayo Ogunbiyi writes that Olawunmi’s reading feat is a wake-up call to the youths to look beyond the present gloom


My name is Bayode Treasures Olawunmi. I have just ďŹ nished reading aloud for 120 hours non-stop! I did it for the culture!â€? With this statement, Lagos boy Bayode announced his entry into the global hall of fame as he breaks the existing record in world reading marathon. Before his record breaking exploit, the existing world record for marathon reading was set by Indian born Deepak Sharma Bajaan who set a record of 113 hours 15 minutes in 2008. Bajagain’s book reading began on September 19 and ended on September 24, 2008. Bayode’s latest effort of 120 hours has, however, raised the bar in the annals of marathon reading in the world. In setting this record, Bayode who was educated at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree and Comprehensive High School, Ketu in Lagos, began reading at 1:30pm on Monday, February 26, 2018 and ended it 3:30pm on Saturday, March 3 . The record breaking accomplishment was enthusiastically and proudly announced on the triumphant boy’s Facebook page with the following words: “Hello everybody, something just happened right now!â€? Bayode further revealed that he has always loved to read good materials right from when he was in secondary school. He categorically stated that all he was trying to achieve was to point the way forward to the youth whom he believes must see beyond the present gloom around them and follow their passion. He said: “My passion is read-

ing and I have to show the youth that you can accomplish any feat you want to attain in life irrespective of environmental factors and other obvious hurdles. This is what this is all about. It is about showing the youth that nothing can stop a man who dares to dream lofty dreams�. How apt! Instructively, Bayode record-breaking attainment coincided with the celebration of World Book Day in Nigeria. World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day is a yearly event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, to promote reading, publishing and copyright. It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world. It is noteworthy to affirm that this year’s edition of World Book Day in Nigeria, indeed, attracted the attention of many people, especially with the innovative inclusion of the Guinness World Record for the Longest Marathon Read Aloud contest. In this regards, kudos must be given to GTBank whose ‘You Read Initiative’, which was held at the Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba, Lagos, made it possible for Bayode to achieve his record breaking act. It is equally instructive to state that Bayode made the exploit reading books from Nigerian authors which include Toni

Kan’s ‘The Carnivorous City; Sarah Ladipo’s ‘Manyika’s Independence’; Leye Adenle’s ‘Easy Motion Tourist;’ Elnathan John’s ‘Born on a Tuesday,’ amongst many others. It is also important to stress that this year’s World Book Day celebration as well as Bayode’s accomplishment were witnessed by students from various schools in Lagos and environ. It is particularly thrilling to note that the event was used to promote African literature and reading culture in Nigeria. Without a doubt, there is a sharp decline in reading culture in Nigeria while the publishing sector in the country is almost none existent. The reasons for the decline in reading culture in our land are not far- fetched. For one, reading is a tasking exercise that involves full concentration and present day youth are not really willing to embark on such obviously strenuous exercise which they believe wont yield them much money at the end of the day. This, of course, leads to the second point which is that in our society today, nobody is interested in embarking on any activity that has no corresponding financial gains. Money, money and more money have become the only language everyone in Nigeria seems to understand. Even the nation’s animals have also caught this money bug. Remember the mystery snake that swallowed millions? Third, the socio-economic environment in the country is not really reading-friendly. The daily struggle for economic survival provides little or no time for people, especially those

living in the cities, to cultivate a good reading habit. Also, the decline in the standard of education in the country has seriously affected reading culture in our clime. Equally, high cost of books, particularly imported ones, has contributed in no small measure to a decline in reading culture in the country. Therefore, one of the most enduring ways to properly immortalise Bayode’s record breaking achievement is to revive reading culture in the country. More corporate organisations should emulate GTBank and come on board the train in order to ensure that reading culture is resuscitated in our nation. While one isn’t in any way against the several fortunes being spent by various organisations in promoting diverse entertainment ventures, it is, however, important that such must not be done at the deterrent of other mind development enterprises such as reading and education. A popular maxim says that ‘readers are leaders’ and amongst the things that affect people in life includes the books they read. A good book has a salutary effect on the mind of its reader. It elevates the spirit and thoughts. It augments his store of knowledge. Books help in correcting moral ineptitude, especially in these days of mechanical existence, books remain, perhaps, the best source of acquiring knowledge. Without books, literacy amounts to nothing and numeracy is worthless. Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Lagos




When will our daughters be home?

Implementing the Proposed Minimum Wage


ecently, the federal government proposed that the implementation of the new minimum wage will begin by the third quarter of the year. While this is a laudable development considering the current economic crisis the country is facing occasioned by the fall of oil prices in the international market and the drop in the exchange rate of the naira, there are certain issues that need to be thrashed and tackled for clarity and understanding. Three important questions bother the mind of the writer. The first is knowing the accurate benchmark for a pay rise. The second is knowing the time frame that the current minimum wage will last before it is reviewed, considering our society where civil servants are treated like slaves and housemaids, while the third seeks to question why the government should embark on such an activity at this period when election is just behind the door. Do we as Nigerians conclude that the increase is a reality or just a political strategy the government in power is using to capture the attention of “unsuspecting civil servants� into voting them again into power in the next election? And after voting them, we are back to our formal state? By economical standards and as a tenet of industrial relations, every worker is entitled to pay rise at certain intervals. And if there are changes lacking within the existing system, it will result in lack of motivation and poor attitude to work. This is because the input determines the output. It is not surprising therefore that many organisations especially those belonging to the government at all levels (federal, state and local) are on industrial actions all in a bid for an increase in wages and salaries. The N56,000 being proposed is barely enough to meet the needs of the Nigerian worker considering the fat salaries public workers earn annually. Prices of goods and other essential commodities are skyrocketing almost on a daily basis and the average Nigerian worker is forced to cope with the demands from all quarters with the little pay earned at work. Whereas public servants and other government officials smile to their bank accounts at the end of the month, the average Nigerian civil servant is forced to

live on “peanuts�. Worst hit in this mess are members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who are forced to survive on a monthly stipend of N19,800 monthly all in the name of serving their fatherland. Many workers in a bid to keep their body and soul together are engaging in other activities both profitable and unprofitable. Who do we heap the blame on, the government or the governed? After all, everyone must survive one way or the other. There is the need to review the law regulating the increase of salaries and wages in the country. Nigerian leaders should understand that it’s high time they stopped thinking that Nigerian workers can survive on meagre salaries whereas they earn fat salaries at the end of the month. Issues such as those relating to minimum wages should not be treated with levity. This will ensure fairness, equity and social stability in the long run. Emmanuel Momoh, momohomeiza8@

In Praise of Mahmood Halilu


facebook post by the publisher of Murya Magazine, Jamilu Yusuf, on the desirability and possibility of the candidacy of Dr. Mahmood Halilu Ahmed for Senate in the forthcoming elections, has sent strong ripples to the political permutations and thinking in the Adamawa central senatorial district. Dr. Mahmood Halilu, popularly called Modi, is an accomplished businessman, philanthropist, farmer and a seasoned politician. He is no stranger to the political landscape of Adamawa State. He contested, in 2007, for House of Representatives to represent Yola North, Yola South, and Girei Federal Constituency. Despite not winning on that occasion, he has been actively connecting with the diverse peoples of his constituency and this has further endeared him to them. He has since silently evolved into a people’s man in his constituency making him an epitome of political leadership in the senatorial district. The possibility of his entry into the race for Senate to represent Adamawa central senatorial district will for sure trigger political alignments and realignments; it will displace every other candidate in the race. Mahmood will come to the race armed with array of advantages over every other candidate. Mahmood has massive support from youths, well-established political associates and he has a political structure boasting of a large followership. Mahmood is always approachable and pleasant. He is an adept business



man, spearheading the leadership of a number of business entities. These factors coupled with calls for Yola South to produce the next senator for Adamawa central district give Mahmood the edge over other candidates. Mahmood has proven his mettle as a political force by employing people -friendly strategies to stay afloat and relevant politically after his previous attempt at the polls. Unlike other politicians, who after losing or winning an election, desert their constituents until another round of elections approach, Mahmood got more involved with his constituents up to grassroots level. Being a critical thinker and problem solver, Ahmed will bring pragmatism and strong development ideas to the senate. As an experienced and successful businessman, he is an expert at working with people from various walks of life to achieve results; this he will also show in the Senate to ensure the advancement of his constituency and the nation at large. With his excellent relationship with his people, Mahmood certainly understands the need of his constituents and this will be at the core of his contributions in the Senate. Zayyad I. Muhammad, Jimeta, Adamawa

Insurgeny: A Threat To Girl-Child Education


irl-child education has been globally accepted as the linkage to not only rapid socio-economic development but also a catalyst for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. It is then absurd that this concept is under threat in North-East Nigeria, ďŹ rst with the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls’ in April 2014 by Boko Haram insurgents. Unimaginable is what these youngsters who are tomorrow’s leaders witnessed in the hands of their captors before the eventual release of quite a number of them. Four years later, it is heart-wrenching that 110 girls of the Government Girls’ Science Secondary School Dapchi, Yobe State, who are trying to get an education which would in the long term beneďŹ t their families, communities and the nation are again kidnapped by Boko-Haram insurgents while the security forces trade blame and the government of the day is in a dilemma on how to effectively address the situation. In systematically addressing this menace, the government must set out a comprehensive strategy in putting in place the Safe School Initiative while also ensuring coordinated efforts amongst law enforcement agencies in the protection of the girl-child in schools across Nigeria. The future belongs to the girl-child and every effort must be put in place in securing that future. Oluwatoyin Olabisi Taiwo, Executive Director, Women and Girl-Child Capabilities Enhancement and Empowerment Organisation




SHINA PELLER How I’ll Use My Social Life for Public Good Suave and sensational, Shina Peller, is a popular socialite who runs a thriving night club in Lagos. The Oyo-born business man and the son of late renowned Nigerian magician, Prof. Peller, is moving from the social scene to the political arena. In this interview with Timilehin Ajagunna, the Quilox owner talks about his interest in politics and his brand of public service


hat informed your decision to go into politics?

Someone once said, if you’re not interested in politics, politics is interested in you. Having a private life that is gradually being impacted by the decadence in the political sphere, it gets to a point whereby one must react to the stimuli in the environment.I have embarked on several social projects over the years as an individual and through my foundation but is now clear to me that the only way I can impact the generality of people is if I am part of the policy making and implementation process, It is no longer possible to seat back and bask in comfort while so many are poor, downtrodden and less privileged. This is why I am venturing into politics. You are coming out at a time the country is going through a turbulent political experience. Do you see yourself fitting well into the system? Let me correct a notion, the decay in the political system as we speak, is due to the fact that everybody who ventures into politics wants to fit in well into the system. The clarion call is not for us to fit into the system but to stand out and effect change that will bring development to all and sundry. My use of ‘change’ is not a flagging off a political banner but the reality of the next serious step we need to see as a nation. I personally see the system changing from the norm, from what it used to be to what it should really be. I believe this is the time for young people to play an active role in politics especially successful entrepreneurs and technocrats amongst us. It’s time to put round pegs in round holes. We have to take control of our destinies. So, what are your goals? I may or may not yield to the tremendous pressure to represent my people in an elective position but I will be actively involved in the political process. I will be involved in decisions that affect the people. I don’t want to be a hypocrite shouting from the sidelines. I want to encourage all the young people to get involved in the political process, to join a party; to run for office; support candidates with integrity; to do nothing is no longer an option. My immediate goal is to ensure that all the young people get their voter cards and prepare to for elections. The second step is to ensure that we pick the right candidates and support them; people with integrity and vision must rule us. So if more young people get involved in politics through my influence then I would have achieved a major objective. In the long term, I want to help entrench a system that ensures the right people get into office. It is extremely difficult in Nigeria for intellectuals and technocrats to get into political office today; and this is the root of our political misfortunes. Politics must be about capacity, values, and ideologies – not just cash or religious and tribal considerations.


You’re not as a card-carrying member of any political party. Can you tell us the party you belong to? I recently joined the APC because I can associate with their progressive ideologies.




Are you aspiring for any political office? Like I said there is tremendous pressure from my constituency to represent them but I am weighing my options and consulting with stakeholders at the moment. Lately, you have been involved in a lot of public activities in your hometown, Iseyin. How would you describe the disposition of your people towards you? I must confess. I feel great at home that’s why I have been involved in several developmental projects and charitable causes both in Lagos and Oyo. I also realised that initiating developmental programmes is an ideal way of expressing my love for the grass roots. The reception, I must confess, has always been encouraging. I must say that I have been involved in charitable causes for over two decades because I believe strongly in giving back and immortalising the Peller name. There have been a lot of private businessmen who had ventured into politics in the past. Some of them didn’t find it easy. Do you think your case will be different? First of all, life is easy if you have a clear vision, good intentions, and the passion to execute them. Life is like a business and the correlation between risk and reward is a core factor but even the best forecasts sometimes go wrong. If things don’t go according to plan you simply re-strategise and move on. I am a religious person; my intentions are pure. So, if things don’t work according to plan I will

accept it as the will of God. You are a socialite; how much do you think politics will affect your social life? Socializing can be a refined and converted tool to achieving the general influence in society. Of course, there’s time for everything; a time to be solemn with responsibility. But socialising can also be a subtle means to that end. I will purposefully and creatively regulate my social life. What if the personalities I need to achieve these goals at hand are pitched in some social circle? My experience of social life will make it easier for me to reach out. I see my social life as a tool that can come in handy. What is your assessment of the APC government at the federal level and in Oyo State? Times are hard. Challenges that the government has to deal with are huge but surmountable. At both the state and national level the administrations are doing their best despite limited resources. But obviously more can still be done. If we can focus on what matters in this country, it won’t be hard for us to nip our problems in the bud. What are those things your people stand to gain as you carry on with your new political moves? I would like to call them transformational moves. Political moves have not helped us in this nation, or any nation – I doubt. My people

Let me correct a notion, the decay in the political system as we speak, is due to the fact that everybody who ventures into politics wants to fit in well into the system. The clarion call is not for us to fit into the system but to stand out and effect change that will bring development to all and sundry will benefit greatly from great initiatives where industrial and socio-economic collaborations are deployed to empower the minds and hands of people for national transformation. We will pull it through together – the people and my team.

IHaveSpentTwoDecadesGivingBack toSociety,ImmortalisingPeller’sName


T H I S D AY ˾  ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ



pg. 20 pg. 26 pg. 29 pg. 38 pg. 43 pg. 46

Abimbola Akeredolu

I Thought My Husband Was A Flirt Before We Married




How Yusuf Alli Sent Me Back First Day I Chose to Work With Him She is a distinguished legal practitioner. Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ogun State, and currently a copartner at Banwo & Ighodalo Associates, speaks with Femi Ogbonnikan, about love, marriage, law and how she made a success of her legal career


ell us about your background. I was born Abimbola Adejumo to Alhaji R. A. Adejumo and Adepeju Omolade Karunwi respectively on December 10, 1964. I went to Corona Nursery, Ikoyi, Lagos, Corona Primary School, and subsequently, Holy Child College, Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos. Soon afterwards, I went to Halidon House School, in Slough, in Buckinghamshire, England. And from there, I went to the University of Lagos; I studied French for my first degree. Then, I did National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Later, I went back to the University of Lagos to study Law. Afterward, i went to the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos. While in secondary school what were you noted for? I was very playful. Because I was playful, some teachers would say I was not serious. But the funny thing was that even when I was playing I was always paying attention. So, when the teachers would say, ‘Why are you are playing during classes?’ I would respond, ‘No ma’ and repeat everything the teacher had said. So, some of my teachers knew me as an intelligent rascal. Could you relive a memory of an event you won’t forget in a hurry while in secondary school? One that I remember was in 1976 and that was the year Gen. Murtala Muhammed was killed in a bloody coup. My stepmother came to get me from school in the late morning, which was earlier than usual. Around that time, my father was either a member of the Nigerian Lawn Tennis Association, or the president of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, I cannot remember exactly which one it was. I knew, however, that we had all these tennis stars in Nigeria playing a tournament then. I think it was the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) or World Tennis Championships (WTC) tennis tournament in Lagos. There were tennis stars like Illie Nastase, Arthur Ashe and other great names then. So, it was a very important time for my dad and I

Akeredolu with …

just knew that my dad was under pressure. It was a remarkable time, watching adults handle pressure and such things. It was the first time I had ever seen my father look worried. Now I am older, I am able to appreciate the gravity of the situation at that time. Were you persuaded or mentored toward a particular career choice? Nobody influenced or mentored me while I was in secondary school. In fact, when I was in school in England, I wanted to be a movie star. I wanted to be a great actress like Sophia Loren, Greta Garbo, etc. However, with the passage of time, I quickly recognised that I was not a beauty and as I evolved, I found that as a person, I hated cheating in any form. I lived for fairness. When I see somebody being oppressed, everything in me wants to put an end to that oppression. So, that had always been a part of me. I naturally want to defend or support underdog or the oppressed. So, even

after I studied French, I still knew something was missing. One thing I remembered from secondary school: a friend of ours, his parents lived outside Lagos. Because his parents were outside Lagos, we had a party in his house. We were there, hanging out, dancing and eating. But unknown to him, his father showed up. Many of us, especially the guys jumped over the balcony of the storey building and bolted away, leaving us – the girls. The father then said: “Nobody is going anywhere until my son comes back!’ He locked us up in the flat. About an hour or two later, I said, ‘Daddy, you can’t keep us locked up here. This is an unlawful arrest.’ I hadn’t even dreamt about studying Law at that time. I added, ‘Sir, this is an unlawful arrest. You should know that we didn’t break into your house. It was your son that gave us access. So, you can’t lock us up. It is either you hand us over to the police or not.’ The man didn’t say anything. When his son finally showed up, he

said to his son, ‘You know, if these are the kind of friends (pointing at me) that you keep, then it would be very good. She is likely going to be a good lawyer. She is very brilliant, brave, very articulate and very eloquent.’ He finally let us go and we all had a good laugh. That is all I could remember. So, I have always hated cheating, lawlessness. Sometimes, even my children would tell me: ‘Mummy, I hope you don’t get beaten up one day!’ And I would say, “In this Nigeria? Ah, the person would not try!’ Being a lawyer is from within. I wasn’t influenced by anybody. I think, that was what God created me to be. When were you conferred with the SAN? I was made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in September 2015. Did you have a date while growing up in secondary school? Date in secondary school? No. Though we used to go to the literary and debating society events,




…with Gov. Ibikunle Amosu

I Enjoyed my Time as Ogun Attorney General inter-house sports competitions and luncheons and I had good friends that were boys, there was no dating in secondary school in my father’s house. I had a few crushes. At least, my friends that were boys and girls could come to my house. Were guys not wooing you while at the University of Lagos? No! Guys didn’t run after me at the University of Lagos because I had someone I was dating. Shortly after being called to the Bar, where did you start your legal practice? After I was called to the Bar, in fact, on the last day of the Law School, a gentleman, one of our classmates, Engineer Ademosu – I never knew him but I only met him in the Law School. I would always greet him adding ‘sir’. I was polite and courteous to him. So, on the last day of the examination at the Law School, Engineer Ademosu walked up to me and said, ‘You know, I have watched you and you seem like a well brought up girl. I have a company and I am looking for a company secretary. Will you like to work there?’ I was so surprised because it must have been in September of that year after the Law School examination, and I said: ‘Well, I am getting married in April. I am going to join my husband outside Lagos. But if you don’t mind, it would be nice to keep me busy.’ And that was how I got my first job as a company secretary of Afri-Trust Limited. I worked with Afri-Trust for between about seven months before I got married. I got married

in April 1992. I think I stopped working with Afri-Trust in March 1992. Thereafter, I joined my husband who was rounding off his postgraduate study in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University Teaching Hospital in Ibadan. When I left Lagos to join my husband, I was pregnant. My husband and I had agreed that, since I was pregnant I would stay home and have a baby and look after the baby. After sleeping and watching videos at home for two weeks, it was like I was going to die of boredom. Then, I told my husband: ‘Mr. Man, please find me work!’ He said: ‘But you are pregnant!’ I told him, ‘I don’t want money. I just want to work. Please, find me work. Sleeping and staying at home is not going to work for me.’ So, my husband spoke to one of his colleagues at the hospital and that friend spoke to another friend who was a lawyer and he asked me to come for a chat. That was how I met Mallam Yusuf Alli. Then, he wasn’t a SAN. He is a SAN. I entered the office of Yusuf Alli and sighting my stomach, he said: ‘Madam, you are pregnant. Are you sure you can work?’ And I jumped up and responded: ‘Sir, look at me, I can work.’ If you know Mallam Yusuf Alli, he has a great sense of humour. He said not persuaded by my determination: ‘Ah, so fe boyun je ni?’ (Meaning: ‘Do you want to abort the pregnancy?’) From there, he asked, how much I wanted to be paid. But I told him to just give me work to do. He asked me when I wanted and I said immediately. And this was on a Friday afternoon; he exclaimed and urged me to start on Monday. And that was how I was employed in the office

of Adegboyega Awomolo. At that time, Chief Awomolo wasn’t a SAN when I joined the Chambers but that very year, he became a SAN. That was how I started to practise of Law and I never looked back. Let’s talk about your love life. Was it when you were in university that you met your sweetheart or when called to the Bar? I met him when I was studying Law. When I first met him, the first thing that came to my mind was: ‘This is a nice person to talk to.’ But then, he was a medical doctor and I didn’t know where I got the idea from that medical doctors were flirts or womanisers. This was because I had a friend who had been going out with a doctor and when she would visit the doctor she would come back and say she did not see him all weekends; that she only saw him for just 30 minutes during that period. So, when my husband came knocking to date me I said I could not date him. He asked me how many doctors I knew who were like my friend’s guy. I could not answer. Here we are today happily married to the glory of God with three daughters. Did he suffer to win your heart? He got irritated at a point. He actually said: ‘Ko b’ara e da s’ohun.’ Yes, he got upset after a while. Whenever he wanted to see me, I kept deceiving him. Did your parents approve of him the very first day you introduced him to them? Well, I lost my mother when I

One thing I remembered from secondary school: a friend of ours, his parents lived outside Lagos. Because his parents were outside Lagos, we had a party in his house. We were there, hanging out, dancing and eating. But unknown to him, his father showed up. Many of us, especially the guys jumped over the balcony of the storey building and bolted away, leaving us – the girls. The father then said: “Nobody is going anywhere until my son comes back!’ He locked us up in the flat. About an hour or two later, I said, ‘Daddy, you can’t keep us locked up here. This is an unlawful arrest.’ I hadn’t even dreamt about studying Law at that time. I added, ‘Sir, this is an unlawful arrest. You should know that we didn’t break into your house. It was your son that gave us access. So, you can’t lock us up. It is either you hand us over to the police or not was very young. But my father loved him immediately. And other people – including my siblings – who mattered in my life loved him immediately too. You were once Ogun State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. What was the experience like? It was a wonderful time. It was not without some challenges, but challenges are the spices of life. They are meant to be surmounted and often they turn out to be opportunities. It was as if, over the years, God had prepared me for that job. Because when I look back at the different experiences I went had; the different professional issues that we faced were as if I had been trained to meet them all. It was definitely the hand of God. Professionally, it was a wonderful time and the governor was a delight to work with. Even though he would not take what you say hook, line and sinker, he would want you to defend your position to be sure of what you were saying. And once he confirms that you are sure of your position it would make sense to him. So, it was a great time for me, professionally.



with JOSEPH EDGAR (09095325791)


Pat Utomi

Festus Keyamo – This is not a Joke I heard Mr. Keyamo on the radio the other day. He was having a discussion with Uncle Jimi Disu on the latter’s talk show. You see, the only problem with Uncle Disu is that, ‘the man no dey let the guests talk sef. Na him go ask question and na him go answer everything. The issues raised were quite seminal and Mr. Keyamo was ready to justify his ‘SANSHIP’ but as usual, Uncle Disu didn’t allow him talk with all his usual unnecessary interruptions. So as not to frustrate myself that beautiful warm Sunday afternoon, I immediately placed a call to the great legal luminary but he did not pick it. I am sure he was thinking I wanted to ask him to buy me lunch. Luckily for him, he called back much later and I made the request of spending a whole day with him, watch him closely and have enough time to discuss and interact with him on several issues especially his strong love for Buhari amongst others. He liked the idea and agreed, subject to his schedule. For me, this would afford me a wonderful opportunity to really tap from his brain and unlike Uncle Disu, I will allow him do most of the talking. So my brother, this is not a joke, let’s do this. Femi Gbajabiamila – I Strongly Support As a third force and one who is never shy of taking a position, I want to state here categorically that I stand firmly in this camp. I hear that this gentleman is seeking re-election for the umpteenth time into the House of Representatives where he is the Majority Leader. I am basing my position on two strong counts – his strong intellectual inputs and contributions to the debates on the floor and much more important, his contributions to his immediate constituency. You see, I do not live in Surulere. Being a frequent visitor to the place, as you drive around you see this Oga’s inputs all over the place, from the school buses to the community development initiatives including sports, infrastructure and the like. You can be forgiven if you thought he was the chairman of the local government. I know it is usually not easy for legislators to impact the community that gives them the platform despite the huge allocations given to them for community projects, which has led to so many scandals. In this case, the reverse is the case. From our assessment and through discussions with residents, Mr. Gbajiamila is doing well, hence our support. Keep it up my lord. But



The Duke Meets Professor Pat Utomi It was Sunday night and I was on my way from the Freedom Park when my friend Mudi called me that he was headed towards Prof Utomi’s house. I immediately joined the team. Prof. Utomi has been a recurring decimal in our body politic ever since the Second Republic where he emerged as Special Adviser on something to the then President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He has been quite prominent in the land especially in intellectual discourse. His attempt at party politics has not been quite as successful as his foray into business. Moreover, I heard some slight rumour regarding his perceived aspiration in Delta State and this made this visit very critical. As we walked in, the amiable gentleman came out to welcome us with a warm handshake, leading us into his very expansive living rom. Settling down, we indulged in some very powerful political discussions. You know Utomi is very sound

and deep intellectually and me sef, I am not easy or why do you think they made me the Duke of Shomolu, na only Mudi lose. The discussions went from the emergence of Buhari, to the havoc of Herdsmen and to his ambitions come 2019. We even discussed the intrigues surrounding the Bank PHB where he was Chairman and the travails of its erstwhile Managing Director Francis Atuche. Let’s just say it was a meeting of two intellectual giants which left Mudi with new found respect for me. You dey mind the Warri man before? He was looking at me like him mate in politics. Well, I am sorry I cannot really give you guys the details of this meeting because it was supposed to be a highly confidential one. I’ll wait however for the Prof to release his new book where I am sure he will expand more on the discussions and its effect on the power dynamics as we move towards 2019. Thank you.

can I just ask one small question, why not try Senate? Abi you dey fear?

an opportunity to go lay at his feet for forgiveness. So the opportunity came on Saturday when after a meeting with my alumni lords I heard that Mr. Okumagba was playing squash at the courts just near the meeting venue. Let me even say one line as to what I was doing at the Command’s mess that day. You all know that I had withdrawn from the elections for President of

Squash With Albert Okumagba If you know me very well, you will also know that this gentleman is my lord of lords. My real mentor and my Oga for life. I heard that he was a little bit upset with me and ever since I have been looking for


the alumni’s association of my great school, Command Secondary School Lagos and the election was won by the delectable Taiwo Ajisefini. So as a statesman and leader, I was called in by the Board of Trustees to seek my support for the new administration. After a bottle of Coke, would I say no? Of course, I accepted to work with the new administration in whatever capacity they deemed fit and walked away straight into the courts to pay homage to my lord. He was on the courts playing squash royally with his legendary tummy protruding, making me wonder how he was able to move so swiftly with that big belle. Well, after the game, he promptly ordered pounded yam and vegetable soup. Only Albert will play squash and eat that kind of heavy meal immediately after. We sat to discuss issues afterward, he was still his visionary self with energy. I really do respect this great man for his incurable optimism if for nothing else. For him it is not over until it is over. I really do wish him all the luck in the world as he contemplates rebuilding his empire – he will need it. We can only pray for him. He is a good man. Threesome – The play It was Azuka Ogujiuba, that influential media diva, that called me to come and see what we used to call ‘’American wonder’. It was a play written and directed by a Nigerian Canadian returnee, Jude Idada. My people, I saw a naked woman live on stage o. My mouth was open from the beginning to the end. The play broke all sexual boundaries and how this Jude boy got these actresses to agree to play this risqué roles beats me. The script was deep and the acting was powerful with newcomer, Daniel Effiong playing Dayo the lead role giving a good account of himself. For me, the play ended when the young girl strutted on stage with only body paint and nothing left to the imagination. I just stood there in shock and did not hear anything again for the next one hour that the play continued. I could not comprehend anything and my mind refused to leave that image long after she had left the stage. As I am writing, the thing is still disturbing me and I cannot wait for Sunday to go for deliverance. I have already called my pastor to get some candles ready. He will need to work hard this time around; these children have messed up my mind. It was a wonderful play though and I recommend it for only very emotionally secure adults, that is all I will say. Thank you.


21 by OMOLOLA ITAYEMI 08054699602


Unpretentiously Luxurious‌JW Marriot Marquis Ă‹Ă˜Ă&#x;Ă‹ĂœĂŁĂ“Ă?Ă&#x;ĂŒĂ‹Ă“ËŞĂ?Ă?ÙÙÖĂ?Ă?ĂžĂ—Ă™Ă˜ĂžĂ’Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂĄĂ’Ă‹ĂžĂ?Ă™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽÚËĂ?Ă?Ă?Ă™ĂœĂ‹Ă˜Ă™ĂœĂ—Ă‹Ă–ĂœĂ“ĂžĂ“Ă?Ă’Ă?Ă&#x;Ă—Ă—Ă?ĂœË›Ă’Ă?Ă?ÒÙÚĂ?Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ—Ă‹ĂœĂ•Ă?ĂžĂ?Ă‹ĂœĂ? ÚËĂ?Ă•Ă?ĂŽåÓÞÒÞÙĂ&#x;ĂœĂ“Ă?ĂžĂ?˞ÓÞĂ?ÙÞĂ&#x;ĂœĂ˜Ă?Ă™Ă&#x;ĂžÞÒËÞ Ă&#x;Ă?ĂžĂ“Ă˜Ă“Ă?ĂŒĂ?ĂœĂ’Ă‹ĂŽĂ”Ă&#x;Ă?ÞÖĂ?Ă?ĂžÞÒĂ?Ă—Ă“ĂœĂ‹ĂžĂ?Ă?˛à Ă?Ă˜ÞÒĂ?Ă˜ÞÒĂ?Ă&#x;ĂŒĂ‹Ă“Ă?Ă&#x;Ă–ĂžĂ&#x;ĂœĂ‹Ă–Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă?Ă˜ĂŽĂ‹Ăœ Ă’Ă‹Ă?ĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă˜ÚËĂ?Ă•Ă?ĂŽĚ‹Ă‹Ă–Ă?ĂœĂ“ĂŁĂ?ÖËÎäĂ? Ă“Ă Ă?Ă“Ă˜Ă&#x;ĂŒĂ‹Ă“ËœĂ–Ă‹ĂœĂ•Ă?Ă?Ă•Ă’Ă‹Ă— Ă“Ă Ă?ËœÞÒĂ?Ă&#x;ĂŒĂ‹Ă“Ă‹Ă—Ă?Ă–Ă‹Ă?Ă?Ă?ËœĂ‹ĂœĂ•Ă?Þ̎Ă&#x;ĂŒĂ‹Ă“ Ă’Ă™ĂšĂšĂ“Ă˜Ă‘Ă?Ă?ĂžĂ“Ă Ă‹Ă–Ëœ Ă‹Ă&#x;Ă‘Ă’ĂžĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœĂŁË?ĂŁĂ?Ă?Ă&#x;Ă˜Ă?ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă‹Ă—Ă“Ă–ĂŁĂ?Ù×Ă?ĂŽĂŁĂ˜Ă“Ă‘Ă’ĂžĂ?Ëœ Ă‹Ă—Ă—Ă“Ă˜ËŞĂ‹Ăž Ă?ĂŁĂ?Ă?Þ˛Ă˜Ă?Ă?Ă™Ă&#x;Ă–ĂŽĂ‘Ă™Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽ Ă™Ă˜Ë›Ă&#x;ĂžåÒËÞ˪Ă?Ă‹Ă–Ă–ÞÒËÞĂžĂ’ĂœĂ“Ă–Ă–åÓÞÒÙĂ&#x;ÞËÚÖËĂ?Ă?ÞÙĂ–Ă‹ĂŁĂŁĂ™Ă&#x;ĂœĂ’Ă?Ă‹ĂŽĂ?Ă?ĂšĂ?Ă?Ă“Ă‹Ă–Ă–ĂŁĂ™Ă˜Ă?ÞÒËÞĂ’Ă‹Ă?Ă‹Ă‘ĂœĂ?ËÞÖÙĂ?Ă‹ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă˜ĂšĂœĂ?ĂžĂ?Ă˜ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă&#x;Ă?Ă–ĂŁ Ă–Ă&#x;âĂ&#x;ĂœĂ“Ă™Ă&#x;Ă?Ë›Ă?Ă–Ă?Ù×Ă?ÞÙ Ă‹ĂœĂœĂ“Ă™ĂžĂ‹ĂœĂ›Ă&#x;Ă“Ă?Ă&#x;ĂŒĂ‹Ă“ËœĂ™Ă˜Ă?Ă™Ă?ÞÒĂ?ÞåÙĂ“Ă˜ÞÒĂ?ĂĄĂ™ĂœĂ–ĂŽË›Omolola Itayemi ĂĄĂœĂ“ĂžĂ?Ă?


ut beyond the shows, the feature that will keep tourists coming back is the ever changing skyline. You have probably heard of the Burj Khalifa which sounds like a broken record. Now, there is an even more interesting item. Standing at 355 metres is the JW Marriott Marquis, the tallest five-star hotel in the world, though there’s another hotel slightly taller coming up down the road. It is just 26 metres shorter than the Empire State Building in New York and 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. And it has a great view to the Burj Khalifa! Before one launches into the magnificence of its architectural design, let’s digress a bit. The food. There are 22 fully functional kitchens in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai and the main kitchen is the same size as the ballroom! Combined, the hotel has more than 15 food and beverage outlets which can seat 2,743 people. So think of the cuisine – German, Indonesian, Indian, Thai, Arabian, American, Chinese, Mediterranean, Italian, French, Peruvian, Spanish, Finger food. There’s Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar, the hotel’s Indian award-winning restaurant, is run by the world’s first Michelin starred Indian chef – Atul Kochhar. Then, to reflect the 24 hour, 7 days opening hours of La Farine CafĂŠ and Bakery, there are 247 mirrors on the walls. If you lay out all the knives, forks and crockery in the hotel, it would stretch across the length of 5,000 Rolls Royce limousines. The ultimate hangout for a foodie without cultural bias. So, it’s January and it’s cool, and you can dare to take a dip in the swimming pool and you dive under and you hear the music booming from the underwater speakers. Now, that’s fun. An even more exciting fact is this: Three tonnes of Dead Sea salt have been shipped into the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai in order to service the hotel’s indulgent Saray Spa and its signature Dead Sea Floatation Pool. But chief about the JW Marriott Marquis is its architectural concept. The shape of its two towers was inspired by the date palm tree, an indigenous desert plant. According to the project architect Ashok Korgaonkar, owner and managing director of Archgroup Consultants, the vision for the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai hotel was to reflect the soaring ambitions of Emirates airline, as well as the city of Dubai, by creating an iconic tall structure that serves as a new benchmark and reinforces the image of the city as the frontrunner in the international hospitality scene. The concept of the building and brainchild of Korgaonkar, was done in-house. He said: “We had a great time designing the project, which was challenging. Dubai, an Arab country, has palm and desert as its basic landscape elements. I wanted to reflect the trunk of a palm tree in the shape of the towers. The concept entailed that the protruding sections of the tower should not only be aesthetic elements but also functional on the inside as well.â€? The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai interior concept was developed by lead interior designer Amani Al Lauz, Design Manager for Emirates Facilities Department with over 13 years of experience in the company. As a native of the United Arab Emirates, Amani has infused the central tenets of Arabic hospitality into a contemporary business setting. A landmark of intelligent design and luxurious contemporary comforts, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is where sleek modern fittings meet sensuous furnishings to create an atmosphere of sophisticated tranquillity. Each unique area of the hotel strikes a perfect balance of form and function with a breath-taking blend of sumptuous fabrics, hard woods and subtle lighting. Natural materials, neutral tones and the clean lines serve as an understated backdrop to the many notable design features within the hotel. A myriad of richly textured fabrics and deep pile carpets add

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai CityView Night

softness while accents of colour punctuate each space with an individual personality. True to the Marquis commitment to innovative technology, integrated light and sound systems are incorporated discreetly in the furniture and fittings of the hotel. Distinctive paintings are lit with concealed LED lights, Mood lighting concepts can be selected in the suites and bathrooms and even the pool has RGB lighting and underwater speakers for guests who don’t want to miss a beat. JW Marriott Marquis suites and rooms are modern and elegant in design with an emphasis on space, luxury and comfort. Weaved into every room is the latest stateof-the-art technology including LCD TVs, iPod stations, wireless internet and touch screen room controls. The colour palette used in the suites and rooms is neutral and natural, conveying an inviting atmosphere of warmth and luxuriant comfort. If you’re feeling romantic in the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, or simply want to really relax, switch your bathroom lighting to ‘Spa Mood’. The room will glow with a soft pink haze, and help you switch off from a busy day. The JW and Marquis are stunning suites featuring two levels of impeccably designed spaces. Featuring carved Mashrabia elements in the open hall and a Majlis recreation connecting the two levels, the suites are contemporary with a nod to familiar Arabic design. Technology is integrated into the room design with BOSE speakers, Ipad room controls and a sophisticated selection of mood lighting schemes. The marble bathrooms feature rain-head showers and separate deep baths, while a private spa room is fully equipped for guests who want extra privacy and bespoke treatments. It’s also the only hotel in the Middle East where up to 1,000 people can meet, sleep and dine under one roof, in one location. The JW Marriott Marquis is Dubai’s largest dedicated Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events hotel. With 5155 square metres of meeting space, it can facilitate any event, tailored to personal business requirements and seamlessly executed by highly trained staff. 32 comfortable meeting rooms are available including an additional 9 breakout rooms, each with LCD screens, high speed internet and high quality, luxurious furnishings. So next time you want to spoil yourself silly and you are in Dubai, there’s no blinking an eye. You know where to go.

Prime 68 Private Dining Room

TRAVEL NEWS Tour Nigeria Set to Celebrate Nigerian Flavours Nigerian Flavours will hold in Abuja, a safe family oriented, clean, peaceful and fast growing tourism destination on March 17. It is aimed at showcasing the rich culinary diversity of Nigerian cuisine and delicacies. The event is an initiative of the Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in line with the objectives of the “Tour Nigeria�. “Nigerian Flavours,� according to a release, signed by the Head of Press/Public Relations of NTDC, Mrs. Adamma Afanga, on behalf of the NTDC’s Director-General, Mr. Folorusho Coker, promised to showcase the diverse gastronomy of Nigeria and promote Abuja as a destination for fun, hospitality and relaxation. “Over 60 food and beverage vendors across Nigeria will be in attendance with musical performances and gastrocomedy by Nigerian artists. There will also be merchandizing opportunities for arts, crafts and fashion with consideration for Safety for all especially children with their

Lai Mohammed

own games area. A new twist to this event is the affordable farmers market set to offer organic produce for health conscious Nigerians and people at large,� said a statement from NTDC.


T H I S D AY ˾  ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ






with Eddy Odivwri 08053069356

Premium Steels: Don’t Dash the Hope Again


rowing up in Warri in the early 80’s, the feeling, direct or indirect, of being associated with the Delta Steel Company, Ovwian Aladja, was highly euphoric. Yes, the oil companies— NNPC, Shell and then Gulf (now Chevron) were there, but they never attracted the huge status symbol which the DSC identity conferred. It was such a big deal wearing those DSC-branded overall. Even those working in the Catering Department or Clerks or even Messengers wore a certain kind of swag that bolstered their self-esteem defined their social level. The DSC staff were the city’s Big Boys. What is more, the big luxurious staff buses were unique and exciting. In great gaits, all the staff got into the air-conditioned Blue-coloured buses at appointed times, to the envy of all who watched them. That was DSC! The allure and dazzle was even more arresting for those who lived within the well-paved and planned DSC complex. It was a mini-city of its own: complete with everything modern and functional. From the well-built schools, decent accommodation in various grades, neat streets, manicured lawns, to the stadia, auditorium, theatre, big pitches, hospitals, and all kinds of recreational facilities, living in DSC complex delivered something close to London experience at the time, what with unblinking electricity supply. It was simply the place to be! The company had a near elastic capacity to keep hiring and hiring. The complex was indeed a large expanse of land. Technology controlled everything, almost including the air to breathe. The experience altogether was simply ecstatic. The Warri economy was a witness. All it took was for the month to end. Market women felt the impact of the DSC-effect. The wives of DSC male staff and the female staff had a tradition of once-a-month shopping. And they will literally shut down the market to the pain of non-DSC shoppers. Then gradually but steadily, the notorious Nigerian factor began to creep in. Nepotism, politics, poor maintenance culture etc., began to take their toll on the complex. One-by-one, the company began to fall. Salaries were now being owed. Facilities began to depreciate and rot set in. Some production plants started packing up. Production tonnage began to drop steadily. And the company collapsed. Then hunger and anguish set in. Some of the workforce had moved on to some other things, while some others were literally stranded on the “DSC Island�. And for a long while, the company was on its knees with all the concomitant consequences. Then sometime in 2006, the federal government, under former President Obasanjo’s privatization programme, sold the steel giant to Global Steel Holdings Ltd (GSHL), an Indian company headed by Mr Pramod Mittel. Nigeria however reserved 20 per cent of the company’s holding, with the understanding and agreement that GSHL will pump in money to revamp the fast deteriorating company. But the company failed to inject in the much-needed fund to kick up the revamp of the company. This led to the revocation of the sales agreement under late President Musa Yar’Adua. Ever since then, the fortunes of DSC had remained comatose as nothing, just nothing, was happening, especially as the revocation of the GSHL ownership was trailed with sundry litigations etc. Then an Indian company showed up again. This time it is Premium Steels and Mines, headed by Mr Prasanta Mishra. After all the boardroom processes had been completed, the name of the company was changed from Delta Steel Company to Premium Steels and Mines. The good news is that the penultimate Friday, March 2, 2018, the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa commissioned the company., raising roof-hitting hopes that once again, the steel giant which had

Governor Okowa and Mishra at the commissioning of Delta Steel Company in Asaba...recently laid prostrate for twenty years, is up and about to run again. Under the guidance of the Minister of Steel and Mineral Resources , Dr Kayode Fayemi, it appears that all the pitfalls in past efforts to revamp the company have been taken care of. No doubt, the idea behind the setting up of the DSC as well as the Ajaokuta Steel Company, Kogi State, was to lay a solid foundation for the envisaged industrial growth of Nigeria. For a developing nation, yet baying for growth and economic strength, the steel companies were meant to be the tonic for industrial development quest as well as solidifying its financial powers. But the steel dreams got bungled, what with the case of Ajaokuta steel mills fast turning an endless mirage. But Mr Mishra, the new CEO/MD of Premium Steels and Mines believes that the former DSC yet has the capacity to draw Nigeria out of the wood of underdevelopment. As one of the foremost integrated Steel plants in Africa, Mishra is confident that the company is poised to produce 1.2 million tons of various steel products per annum,, thus meeting about 50 per cent of the domestic needs of Nigeria, which is presently served through importation. When this comes on stream, not only will foreign reserves usually expended on huge importation be conserved, the economic activities that the production will engender and generate are bound to raise the nation’s GDP . With the revamp of the company, there is hope that the industrial development of the country is not yet ruled out, given that the steel production in the country will serve as the industrial backbone of its growth. And this will be manifest in many such areas as the automotive industry, structural engineering, construction, high-rise buildings, bridges, building of malls. Once more, there is a talk about chatting roadmaps that will ensure sustainable growth of the steel company. While other roadmaps failed, many believe that the roadmap by Premium Steels and

Mines has been carefully designed to really revamp the company in phases. While phase one, for instance, is aimed at stabilizing the sector and rebuilding the nation’s market confidence, phase two of the roadmap is targeted at establishing Nigeria as Africa’s competitive market in mining and mineral processing centre; whereas phase three will be to help Nigeria build global competitive mining sector and related processing industry. Although Mr Mishra admitted that there are some challenges in attaining the set goals, he sounded confident that the state-of-the art technology now deployed to replace the obsolete automation systems, as well as the auxiliary engines of the rolling mills, will enable the company to produce the highest grade of steel – BS4449. He seemed to have also factored the need of the communities in his plan as he assured that the company will give remarkable support to education of the people, creation of plenty of jobs, as well as empowering women, and providing health care services. Gov Okowa had charged the company to adhere strictly to local content laws by ensuring that job opportunities are given to the people of the state. Okowa who sounded enthused about the revamp of the company expressed hope that it will grow the economy of the surrounding communities, “put food on their tables�. He was not alone in the hope for a better day for the people of the area. The President General of the Udu Communities, Chief Steve Sokoh, declared that with the commissioning of the company, “The long-awaited day has come�. In the same vein, the Otota (Spokesman) of Udu Kingdom, Chief Sam Odibo as well as President of Aladja Community, believe that “at last the economy of the people of Aladja and environs will take a leap and we are excited to hear this�. The volume of hope generated by the return of the steel industry is such that the people will not entertain any mishap again in the realisation of their dream of benefiting maximally from the presence of the steel giant in their land.

Lagos and the Tax Crunch


et me first acknowledge that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has, thus far, impressed some of us, Many had feared that given how he emerged as governor, that he would merely be an appendage of some other political moguls in the state. And that such moguls will literally be the unseen commanders and drivers of the engine of governance in the state. But Governor Ambode has proven to have his head properly screwed on his shoulders, racing on with his own ideas of rejigging and retooling Lagos. Indeed, the entire state has literally been turned into a huge construction yard with so much mega works taking place in so many locations across the state. And the legitimate worry for some of us is how the governor is going to fund the multiplicity of projects in the state. In fact, many had worried that Gov Ambode was biting more than he could conveniently chew. And so when he came up with a budget of over one trillion Naira, some of us knew that the pregnant snake will certainly give birth to a “long child�. In less than one month after signing the

budget into Law, the Lagos State government is already rolling out “crazy� tax regimes which are expected to fund the ambitious budget. First it was Land Use Charge (LUC), then Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA). Understandably, there has been an outpour of outrage by Lagosians over the tax crunch being visited on them by the state government. The Land Use Charge for instance, is hiked by 200 per cent at a time Nigerians, nay Lagosians are yet feeling the crushing effect of the economic recession. Those who have criticized the “heartless tax slam� have accused Governor Ambode of insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary struggling Lagosian. At a recent forum, Lagos Means Business, Gov Ambode gathered the mega businessmen in the state, people like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia etc., to have a review of the new rates and taxes. Of course, Dangote, Ovia and co lauded the tax initiative of the governor, but the governor must realize that is just one side of the story. The other side is frowning with vexatious disapproval. Some have described the new law as obnoxious and bound to raise the ante of hardship in the state as the tax on Home owners will eventually

be transloaded on tenants by way of increased rents to the same tenants who are already gasping in paying rents. Many may end up becoming homeless, and hit the streets and become nuisances. The governor has explained that the homes of pensioners will be exempted from the tax crunch, just as the focus will be on commercial buildings, but the fact remains that the geometric increase in the tax will produce hardship among many Lagosians. What is worse, in many of these homes, government’s input is still very absent. Many residents still depend on their own boreholes as source of water, they generate largely their own electricity, provide their own security, with many gated streets and estates, and in some cases, residents constructed and continue to maintain the access roads to those same homes, Lagos wants to come and collect 200% LUC. It is as pepperish as it smacks of oppression. Next is the so-called MVAA, which raised rates by over 1000 per cent. Haba! Under the new proposed rates for instance, a taxi seeking registration or renewal of its vehicle particulars will now pay N40,000 as against N3,525 it used to

Ambode pay. The same goes for Kabu-kabu, car hire. In the same vein, mini buses and pick up vans which used to pay N2,500 will now have to pay N20,000. And it goes on and on for all other categories of road users even including Okada riders. Under the new tax regime, Lagos will become verily uncomfortable to the poor.





Speak Volumes



AILY SUN of February 28 welcomes us today with a full-page advertorial by an Akwa Ibom Hon. Commissioner (name withheld!) full of kindergarten blunders: “Governor Emmanuel, a trusted leader, with a focus and purposefulness, have (has) significantly….” “The new direction, guarded (guided) by integrity….” “As such, the conferment of the 2017 Integrity and National Award of the Nigerian Television Authority, (needless comma) speaks volume (volumes) of how much….” “…congratulate His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel in (on/upon) this well deserved (well-deserved) award.” “My Leader (sic), there is a common saying among our people that the hands that lifts (why?) the thatched roof….” “SON cautions on use of sub standard (sub-standard) products” “Your Excellency, Akwa Ibom is awashed (awash) with visible evidence DAILY Sun COMMENT of February 3 circulated five blunders: “We are glad that the police has (have) recognized terrorism as a menace that calls for special training of its (their) officers.” “Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for specialized training on terrorism for officers and men of the security agencies are not turned into avenue (an avenue) to line up (for lining up) the pockets of top officials of the agencies.” The most critical aspect of the foregoing extract: Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for… is (not are)…. Let us visit Vanguard of February 9: “The state, therefore, does not deserve the treatment


being currently meted to it”. Fixed expression: meted out (to). And this: ‘being’ and ‘currently’ cannot co-function. “Chief of Naval Staff advocates for increased productivity via industrialization” What a wordy head! When used as a verb, ‘advocate’ does not admit ‘for’. Let us economize words, especially in headline casting: Naval Chief advocates increased productivity. “For the university to recommend that students should pay for the damages while they have.…” A recurring error: except in legalese, ‘damage’ cannot be pluralized. (Daily Independent, February 9) “… rather than investigating and finding out who were involved and check against future re-occurrence: Beyond recurrence (not reoccurrence), can an event yet to take place happen in the past? “…the university is pointing its accusing fingers in the direction of the lecturers.” Correct expression: point a/the finger. “…the AU summiteers concentrated almost exclusive (sic) on the political independence and liberation of countries in the continent.” (Daily Trust, February 8) In the interest of African Unity: on the continent. “Monday’s action, which started at dawn, was as a result of the break-down of series of negotiations…” An agendum: a series of. “According to the source, the institution has a very high percentage of failure in the last academic year.” Reported speech: the institution had (not has). “…that the authorities of the institution was (were) still waiting the result of the police analysis of the bomb”. “…in the next three years, its per capital income would have….” This way: per capita income. THE GUARDIAN on Sunday of March 4 disseminated dozens of infractions: “The home of the chairman…was vandalized and, 08055001948

most of his properties littered outside. “ No chaos: most of his property. “So how come that (why is it that) Mr…. who was vehemently criticized by our sports writers during his coaching days with our Super Eagles has now warmed his way into the hearts of these same people…” In the spirit of sportsmanship and lexical sanity, let us replace ‘warmed’ with ‘wormed’. THISDAY of February 9 embarrassingly went down with copious solecisms:”But experts have pointed that the inflation rate….” Contextually, the phrasal verb that applies here is ‘pointed out’… and not just the verb ‘pointed’ which means another thing entirely. Additionally, phrasal verbs do not tolerate hyphens. “In his six-page address paying glowing tribute (tributes) and homage to former vice-president late Alex Ekwueme….” The late Alex Ekwueme…. “Nigeria Breweries poise for better future performance” The alcoholic beverage firm is poised (not poise) for …. “Furthermore, the conduct of officials and the general logistical support for the just-concluded voter registration were unprecedented in the annals of our nation’s history.” ‘Annals of history’ is simply tautological. Just employ any of the variants. Both cannot be used in the same context (environment). “Despite the Moslem-Moslem ticket which he and his vice-presidential candidate held, majority of Christians across the country still rallied in their favour.” (Source: as above) No protest in the build-up to the next general election coming up in 2019: a majority of Christians. “In fact, nobody needs to go far in our contemporary world to find such helplessly troubled spots because they abound everywhere, in virtually all parts of the globe.” Morphology in turmoil: trouble spots, please.

“The eventual failure of many of such drugs have not discouraged fresh attempts at inventing more effective ones.” The battle against discord continues: The failure ... of drugs has (not have). “The heavy downpour most of last year has made the price of perishable commodities in the market to come down due to low patronage by consumers.” ‘Downpour’ does not require amplification (heavy) because of inherence. And ‘patronage’ is usually by consumers or their proxies. So, ‘by consumers’ is otiose. This next paragraph is repeated because of the persistent committal of the blunder. This column will not address it again. “Of all the first generation (a hyphen, please) universities, OAU is arguably the one that was able to preserve its known ideology for the longest.” I do not agree with the usage of “arguably” by a majority of Nigerian writers. The explanation I got from one of the country’s frontline editors recently was not convincing: when you have points to justify your claims, it becomes arguable and when there are no justifications, you employ “unarguably.” If you are sure of your statement, make it declarative by jettisoning “arguably.” And if you are unsure, do not make claims. If you do, be ready to argue it elsewhere when confronted (not in your contribution). For the avoidance of doubt, “arguable” (adjective) and its adverb (arguably) mean: ”…for which good, if not necessarily convincing, reasons may be found/open to doubt/not certainly, but reasonably held to be.” (Source: THE NEW LEXICON WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 2016) My grouse about this illogical excerpt is the intrinsic and quite avoidable element of doubt.

Will the President’s Men Also be His Nemesis? (1)


eputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, on Wednesday raised a chilling alarm on Nigeria’s democracy. Speaking in the hallowed chamber, he said Nigeria risks a military incursion if it “jokes” with its “receding” democracy. Such strong warning from a highranking government official and uttered in the very citadel of democracy itself makes a sound bite that should ring through in the minds of those who consider themselves lords of the manor in the current dispensation. Except of course if they care less whether or not democracy collapses in the land even though some of them would not have had the opportunity of being ‘accidental’ governors and senators and what not if not for the grace of civilian rule. But why did Ekweremadu raise such frightening alarm? The Deputy President of the Senate was reacting to a point of order raised by his colleague, Senator Salau Ogembe from Kogi who had brought the travails he suffered recently to the attention of his colleagues. Ogembe claimed that officials of the Kogi State Government allegedly acting on the orders of Governor Yahaya Bello, masterminded and executed the disruption of his constituency empowerment programme the week before. Although the senators eventually referred the matter to a committee for further investigations, Ekweremadu had some stern words for Bello and his ilk whom he accused of being a dangerous cluster to democracy in the country. Hear him: “I am advising the governor again, that road he is travelling will not lead him to anywhere. Ultimately, these people he is seeing here (in the Senate) will be back here and he will leave office; if he doesn’t stop, there is no way he will come back in 2019, never, no he will not. God will show him that he is a God of justice and this is a message to all those people who have caused all kinds of problem in Nigeria at different levels. The problem in Nigeria is that our democracy is receding. Who says [the] army cannot take over? Let us not joke with our democracy.” But that, to a large extent, has been the story of Yahaya Bello, a ‘beloved son’ of President Muhammadu Buhari, who spends more time genuflecting at the presidential villa than he spends on the governance of his state. The other day, he featured prominently but shamelessly in the reception party for Yusuf, the President’s son who returned from medical treatment abroad in the aftermath of a power bike mishap. A chief executive of a state who is in competition for prominence as a jester in Aso Rock while his domain drubs in acute misgovernance is not by any means an asset to the President who is increasingly becoming unpopular ahead of 2019. It is the likes of him clustered around Buhari that invariably add to the unpleasant baggage standing in the way of his undeclared reelection bid. But it would matter less if Bello was simply just


OKE EPIA Telephone (sms only): 07059850016 Email: Twitter: @resourceme


clowning for attention in the Villa without engaging in political shenanigans of negative consequences for 2019 both for himself and the President he ostensibly promotes. The other day, the governor took it upon himself to throw tantrums at the clergy for choosing to speak truth to power. Catholic Bishops had visited President Buhari and took the opportunity to air views about the true state of the nation and how hardship and insecurity has been stalking Nigerians to early graves, among other very obvious ills besetting the land under the watch of the Buhari administration. The men of

God told Buhari the truth and nothing but the truth: that Nigerians were angry at the current state of affairs. The presidency took the ‘rebuke’ rather calmly and kept sealed lips. But not Yahaya Bello, who jumped on the role of an unappointed spokesman to the President, and attacked the Bishops, nay the entire body of Christianity in Nigeria in a most condescending manner. The governor openly denigrated the Church in a vain and vile attempt to please the President. Addressing State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa after Friday’s Juma’at service, the governor accused the Bishops of being the sound board of looters and corrupt elements that had been blocked and frustrated out of business by Buhari’s anti-corruption war. Hear him: “I followed it (the Bishops meting) keenly and one of the key statement there was that Nigerians are angry. Yes, it is very true that Nigerians are angry but the question is who (is) this category of Nigerians who are angry? The category of Nigerians that (are) angry are those who used private jets to cart away Nigeria’s money in dollars out of the country to South Africa. I’m sure you are away that our money is still locked down there; such money if you bring it into the economy, a lot of youths that are unemployed will surely be employed.” If you thought Mr. Bello was done after the veiled dig at a former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who was fingered as owner of a private jet stuffed with cash meant for arms purchase some years back, you were wrong. He jumped unto a more controversial jibe at the Church: “And of course those that have looted the country dry and normally go to the church and mosque to pay tithe are no longing doing so, of course we these are the category of people that are angry,” he bellowed, adding rather magisterially: “If you look at it critically, the farmers, those with real jobs are happy because the economy is improving. In no time we have come out of recession, our foreign reserve is increasing, no more bombing in Sambisa, no more bombing in the country, no more bombing in Embab plaza even as close as Abuja, no more bombing in Suleja and all over the country. I think those that are benefiting from these crimes and criminality will be angry and they are Nigerians. So it is important to define the category of people who are angry. I want to urge Nigerians to continue to appreciate Mr. President, pray for him so that the good work he has started he will complete it, so that Nigeria will be not of the woods.” Although the barrage of rabid rejoinders he received forced him to later apologize for his indiscretion, Governor Bello had firmly established himself in the hall of infamy in Nigeria. With men like his type around the President, the market value of Buhari in 2019 is on a receding bend. ––Epia, Publisher of OrderPaper NG, tweets @ resourceme.



 FG Urged to Stop Importation of Substandard Steel-Body Vehicles


All-New Jaguar E-PACE

Jaguar E-PACE: Now in Sub-Sahara Africa Stories by Bennett Oghifo


he Jaguar E-PACE has been introduced into the market in sub-Sahara Africa with its launch by the media in the region, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, this week. The Jaguar E-PACE is a five-seat compact SUV that packs the design and performance of a Jaguar sports car into a spacious, practical and connected all-wheel-drive vehicle. Trademark Jaguar driving characteristics and stirring design put the brand’s sports car DNAin a practical design packed with advanced technologies. The E-PACE, the newest member of Jaguar’s SUV family following the F-PACE performance SUV and I-PACE Concept all-electric SUV, takes design inspiration from the F-TYPE sports car. The exterior design is characterised by the distinctive Jaguar grille, muscular proportions, short overhangs and powerful haunches while optional 21-inch alloy wheels give the E-PACE a bold and purposeful stance, instantly communicating dynamic agility. Jaguar sports car DNA is also evident in the fast sweep of the roofline and the distinctive side window graphic. Finbar McFall, Global Product Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Demand for SUVs and Crossovers is growing, particularly in China, with the market predicted to increase globally by 23%

by 2020. Jaguar is at the forefront of this demand with our expanding PACE family of SUVs. We are attracting incremental customers – typically couples and young families – who are used to being connected and want practicality and stand-out design. E-PACE delivers on all three counts.� Digital connectivity can be found throughout the cabin, ready for every need of the modern family. There are up to four 12-volt charging points and five USB connections. The E-PACE has exceptional interior space. The compact SUV is 4,395mm long with short front and rear overhangs of 882mm and 832mm respectively. Its 2,681mm wheelbase seats five in absolute comfort and yields a generous rear legroom of 892mm while the large luggage capacity of 577 litres is made possible by the vehicle’s sophisticated Integral Link rear suspension architecture. Under the bonnet, E-PACE is endowed with a range of powerful and efficient Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. The 221kW Ingenium petrol turbo engine powers E-PACE from 0-100km/h in just 6.4 seconds, before reaching an electronicallylimited top speed of 243km/h. E-PACE doesn’t sacrifice performance for efficiency – customers can opt for the 110kW Ingenium diesel engine, which returns economy of just 5.6 litres per 100km. Every E-PACE is equipped with all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission, and

high-output models are also available with Active Driveline – a technological first for Jaguar. This intelligent set-up combines phenomenal traction with Jaguar’s unmistakable rear-wheel-drive character. The system’s torque-biasing capability delivers optimal stability, dynamics and fuel efficiency in all conditions. New chassis hardware, including the Integral Link rear suspension layout, has allowed Jaguar’s engineers to maximise interior space and deliver the responsiveness and agility required without compromising ride comfort. Every E-PACE features the latest generation of Jaguar’s Touch Pro infotainment system as standard. Natural voice control technology, a 10-inch touchscreen interface and a customisable home screen make interactions with the system quick, simple and highly intuitive. An optional 12.3-inch full colour digital TFT instrument panel and choice of two premium audio systems developed with Meridian put the E-PACE on a par with vehicles from the class above when it comes to interior technology. Also available is a next-generation Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) Head-Up Display technology. The E-PACE is also the only vehicle in its segment available with an innovative wearable Activity Key, allowing the driver to lock the main key inside the vehicle when enjoying outdoor pursuits such as running or cycling.

Meet the Ford Engineer Who Wants to Tear Your Car Apart


odern cars are handsome looking things, but there are people in this world who would like to tear them to pieces. People like Rob Carstairs, an aerodynamicist at Ford. “The first thing I’d get rid of is the side mirrors. Off they go, that’d be great.� Rob’s reason for wanting your side mirrors gone is purely scientific: “They are useless for aerodynamics,� he said. It isn’t just mirrors that are a thorn in the side for aerodynamicists. In his pursuit of aero perfection, Rob would scrap and change a lot of the things we take for granted on modern cars in order to create the most fuel efficient vehicle he possibly can by reducing drag. The dream for an aerodynamicist is a vehicle that directs the flow of air smoothly all the way over the vehicle, without any disturbances. That dream happens to look like a teardrop. A teardrop shape allows air to flow smoothly, while the long tail solves the problem of vacuums that are created as air leaves the roof and the trunk. A car this shape would easily be the most fuel efficient on the road. But there are many reasons why these things aren’t solely left up to aerodynamicists, not least because most people don’t want to drive a car that looks like a giant teardrop. Fortunately, the final look of a car is the result of the different demands of a number of Ford teams, including designers, aerodynamicists and safety engineers. Safety, of course, is why Rob’s nemesis the side mirror is a non-negotiable fixture on cars – a fact Rob agrees is only a good thing.

he nation’s steel industry will not grow to support the economy with the importation of substandard steel products into the country, the federal government has been told. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Metal Mate Limited, Toyin Ibrahim stated this while briefing motoring journalists in Lagos on the company’s 25 years of successful operations. According to Ibrahim, the influx of steel bodied vehicles, such as trailers, lorries and others have negatively impacted on the existence of the steel industry in the country. He stated that without steel, no country would survive, as development of any nation revolved round steel production. The government, he said must restrict the importation of trucks, tankers and other steel materials from China through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure the growth of the industry adding that the auto policy was developed as a result of this but remarked that the auto policy did not work. “The body language of the government is like with time they will keep quiet. It’s wrong, this government should be supporting the establishment of industries. All the notable industries are gone but if we have people doing these things, we should support them. “Most of the tankers on our roads are imported and we have a lot of potentials here in Nigeria. We welcome local competitions because our people still rely on going abroad to get these things.� Ibrahim, who has trained over 35 apprentices as automotive/structure engineers since its inception 25 years ago, blamed government for unfavorable polices that hindered the growth of the steel sector and appealed to steel manufacturers to step up their production in order to meet the markets demands. He said there were a lot of potentials in steel business and opportunities to expand but lamented the poor power situation in the country has negatively affected its operations as he relied on generating plants round the clock for its steel works. “Two major areas are the greatest challenges we are facing now, power supply and materials. For over two years we have been running on generating plants. Also the substandard materials for our products is also a challenge.� Ibrahim called on government to intervene by establishing industries in the country to engage jobless youths, explaining that competition would boost productivity in the steel business. “We see competitors as partners, a lot of Nigerian big men are greedy. Nigerian has the capacity to achieve a lot but greed has not allowed us to achieve a lot.� Ibrahim said the company’s 25 anniversary would be used to reward those customers that have been with them since inception in appreciation for their unalloyed support to the company. He said he was able to access the Central Bank of Nigeria intervention fund to boost his business, and that he was looking forward to getting more funds for expansion and assembly plant from the Bank of Industry.

Aerodynamics Ford Mustang Teamwork Compromises like this are a key part of the design development process for Rob and his colleagues at Ford. The designers know what customers want vehicles to look like, but this isn’t always good for aerodynamics. Likewise, Rob can make suggestions based on aerodynamics, but if the vehicle won’t sell then they can’t be used. Because of this, a lot of Rob’s work is done making subtle optimizations,

which can have a surprisingly big effect. “Under the front bumper of the Everest SUV we added wings on the outer parts to direct airflow,� said Rob. “It improved aerodynamics by five percent.� Many Ford vehicles now also have a slight flick in the tail lamps to stop the air flow from wrapping round the vehicle and causing added drag – an ingenious and mostly cost-free improvement in aerodynamics.’




 Lexus Unveils its First Compact Crossover


Maserati stand at Geneva Motor Show 2018

Maserati European Premiere of Ghibli, Quattroporte, Levante Nerissimo at Geneva Show Stories by Bennett Oghifo


aseratiunveilstheGhibli,Quattroporte and Levante in captivating “total black� at the 88th Geneva Motor Show. Black is synonymous with elegance, but also with extreme sportiness, so it perfectly captures the dual personality inherent in the Maserati DNA. From this concept, Nerissimo was born − a special edition of Maserati cars that emphasises their assertive sporting prowess and high-performance capabilities. Designed for the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante − and available in GranSport trims − the Nerissimo

Edition envelops each car in black. The exteriors of the three cars stand out thanks to seductive, deep black body paint. This is combined with a contrasting Black Chrome trim on the upper part of the grille frame and the Trident, the side air vents, the boot, and the iconic Maserati badging on the C-pillars and at the rear. The grille bars, door handles, exhaust tips and window trim, meanwhile, are in an exclusive black finish. For the Ghibli and Quattroporte, a dark finish on the LED headlights and a choice of either 20� Urano or 21� Titano alloy wheels – both in glossy black – complete the picture. The Levante offers additional features such as front and rear underbody protection and black

fog light rings. It is available with a choice of 20� Nereo, 20� Efesto or 21� Anteo alloy wheels – all in dark finishes. As for the interior, the Ghibli sports sedan is fitted out with heated front and rear Sport seats, a heated sport steering wheel and Dark Mirror interior finishing − although Black Piano and Carbon fibre trims are also available. Tinted windows and a power rear sunblind are additional features. The flagship Quattroporte executive sedan can be finished in either Black Piano or Carbon fibre trims. It is equipped with tinted windows and a rear-view camera with dynamic gridlines, and also adds the practicality of a power boot lid, the HomeLink system and Keyless Entry extended to include the rear doors.

exus has revealed the next stage of its development as a luxury lifestyle brand with the world premiere of its first compact urban crossover, the UX. Unveiled at the Geneva international motor show, the Lexus UX features a bold and stylish design, new platform, two new powertrains and an array of imaginative technologies. The new model - due inAustralia early next year - introduces a fourth-generation hybrid system, a new 2.0-litre petrol engine with high thermal efficiency and a new direct-shift continuously variable transmission. The UX will be the fourth addition to the local Lexus range in just 18 months, joining the LC luxury coupe, the RX “L� seven-seat SUV and the upcoming LS flagship sedan. LexusAustralia chief executive Scott Thompson said the UX would be the most important new model for Lexus sales since the NX Line arrived in 2014. “The UX with its all-inclusive luxury will further broaden our range and enable Lexus sales to cross over the 10,000 sales barrier for the first time in our history,� Mr Thompson said. “For the first time, Lexus can compete in the luxury small-SUV segment, growing that category by attracting new, younger customers while offering an aspirational alternative to our long-standing customers,� he said. The UX features powerful bodywork, aggressive rear shoulders and muscular wheel arches that contrast with a sleek, compact cabin profile and a high beltline. Under the distinctive skin, an all-new C-segment platform delivers the lowest centre of gravity in its class, exceptional body rigidity and an agile, hatchback-like driving experience. Inside, the cabin offers a driver-focused cockpit with a commanding view of the road as well as an open, relaxing space for passengers and generous cargo space. The new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, that reaps the performance and fuel-economy benefits of high thermal efficiency, is at the heart of both the UX 200 petrol variants and the UX 250h with its fourth-generation self-charging hybrid system.

InďŹ nity Tyres Opens Kaduna Sales, Service Outlet


nfinity Tyres Limited, one of the foremost and distinctly the industry leader by far in the automotive aftermarket sales and services in Nigeria, proudly inaugurated its retail facility in Kaduna in the august presence of Ms. S.M. Ambisa, Route commander, FRSC, Mr. Dauda Yakubu, fsi, Regional Coordinator, North West, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. Cyril Ogbekene, Executive Director Wheels Plus Limited (KIA Motors) Kaduna, officials of infinity tyres ltd and other distinguished dignitaries on 28th February 2018. This facility is located on Ali Akilu Road, by Lugard roundabout, Kaduna. The Kaduna centre will provide services such


as tyre changing for all kinds of tyres, wheel balancing, wheel alignment, nitrogen air filling etc. Leading global tyre brands such as Pirelli, Goodyear, Ceat, Infinity will be made available to the customers. Batteries from Exide and Nova, Infinity branded spare parts, coolants and battery terminals will also be available for customers to choose from. As an introductory offer at Kaduna Retail outlet, Infinity will be offering 25% discount on services and attractive discounts on products till 31st March 2018. Infinity Tyres Limited now operates multiple company owned tyre retail facilities and Infinity Express franchisee outlets across the country.

L-R: Executive Director Wheels Plus Limited (KIA Motors), Mr. Cyril Ogbekene; Route Commander FRSC, Ms. S.M. Ambisa; Executives of InďŹ nity Tyres, Mr. Jittu sigh; and Mr. Vineet Mathur, and other dignitaries at the inauguration of InďŹ nity Group’s, state of the art service centre at Ali Akilu Road, by Lugard Roundabout, Kaduna‌ recently

Averting The School Bus Tragedies

admire Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo for several reasons. First, he is the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Secondly, he is a Pastor and also a lawyer. Although I have never met him in person, I believe that he is not just God fearing but he is also a simple and humble Nigerian. These qualities I must confess I admire and pray for even as I look forward to meeting him someday and hope he accepts to be my mentor. Although he is the Vice President and a Pastor, he understands the need to seek God’s face through prayer and also to take appropriate action to solve national challenges or any other individual challenges. Like him, I believe we must learn to pray to avert road traffic crashes buy beyond that I also believe in taking preventive measures to curb road traffic crashes involving children and young adults who are the most vulnerable to injury. To borrow from Mr Vice President, we need to pray to curb deaths involving every one especially our future leaders but we must also act through effective preventive measures. Before I dwell on the detailed preventive actions which should involve those of us in the privileged business of saving lives of children described in the Holy Bible as God’s heritage, permit me to state that in all of my career years in the Federal Road Safety Corps, the years between 2009 and 2012 when I had the honor to work in Lagos as Sector Commander, Lagos state was the most interesting and challenging yet tragic for me. Lagos provided me the opportunity to express myself creatively through



amnipr, mcipr,mprsa,arpa (Corps Commander) Corps Public Education OďŹƒcer Federal Road Safety Corps. + 2348033026491

awareness programmes made possible by a retinue of Non -Governmental Organizations and the media which led to the midwifing of twelve weekly radio and television programmes . The print was not left out as weekly columns were run on more than three national dailies. Despite these rare privileges, I will never forget one particular tragedy that occurred while I was in Lagos. Although there were several other tragedies in Lagos under my watch, this particular tragedy is quite touchy and that is why I have chosen to bring it up hoping that we all will wake up and take drastic interventions to stop the maiming, the killings and the trauma. I am talking about the tragedy of Wednesday May 11,2011 on when a road traffic crash occurred at Eko-Akete in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State, after a schoolbus in which some school pupils were being driven reportedly lost control and skidded off its route and crashed with a jeep. Four children died; two out of these four children were of the same parent.

About six vehicles were involved in that crashed caused by speed Those that died were not belted. The two children of the same family who died were the only two the family had. This was the reaction of the father; ‘’ my wife and I stopped child bearing not because we wanted to but because of my wife’s condition. She had the two through Caesarean Section and the doctor warned us not to conceive anymore because of her health. We have been nurturing these children for the past fourteen years and just in a day, the two killed died in an auto crash’’. Like I said earlier, after the tragedy and even before, there were other tragedies that claimed more lives but my focus is on this particular tragedy. I will try to capture some of them as space allows in my attempt to refresh our minds and awake us collectively to preventive actions that should help stop the deaths or better still reduce incidences and deaths. Let me skip Lagos and cite examples from other parts of the country. In March 2010, several persons (students and teachers) from Aricent Nursery and Primary School, Olupitan New Site, Ore in Ondo State, perished in a ghastly road crash on the Ondo-Ore highway. The incident shocked the state and devastated families . Do you still remember the Kano incident involving an 18-seater bus was conveying students and some staff of Government Secondary School, Misau in Bauchi State to Kano on a school excursion when the accident occurred on the Bauchi-Kano highway at Tsaida village in Gaya local government area of Kano State

at about 11a.m. The bus collided with an oncoming DAF truck. Reckless driving and speed were identified as probable causes. Among the 22 dead students were 12 boys and 10 girls. There were others who sustained injuries. I heard and read of the Ikota Primary school in Lagos crash .Four children who were crossing the road after vehicles had been stopped were killed by a truck which rammed into a vehicle. I read that the presence of a footbridge could have saved the children even though in the same Lagos, there are good numbers of footbridges rarely used. Secondly, responsible driving by the truck driver could have averted this tragedy. There was also the crash at Ogolonto on the way to Ikorodu,in Lagos State where a BRT bus crushed a 15year student that was crossing the road .Report says there is also no foot bridge here. Pockets of other crashes were recorded although not as massive as these other ones cited and probably not reported. I do not know if you read or heard of the February 1, 2018 tragedy in Kuje in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory where three pupils aged five, four and two also from the same family lost their lives through a fire disaster on the School bus of Je’nisi Little Drops International Academy, Trademoore Estate Lugbe. Reports claimed that the three pupils were from the same family. Preliminary investigation revealed that the driver was fixing a mechanical fault on the Engine of the bus with the children inside it. This later degenerated into electrical sparks and fire with some children trapped inside the bus. Some pupil were rescued but three (3) were not so lucky as they lost their lives in the Inferno. Also the bus was said to be operating without a fire extinguisher as at the time of the accident.




Arabia Travel Market as Nigeria’s Branding Opportunities


s the global tourism world prepares of 2018 edition of Arabia Travel Market, ATM, which comes up on April 22 to 25 at Dubai Trade Centre, UnitedArab Emirate, what comes to this reporter’s mind who attended the 2017 edition of the annual expo was the amazing nation branding opportunities that were on display at the four-day annual expo at the desert country. Remarkable Rwanda, Magical Kenya, Amazing Thailand, Egypt’s ‘Where It All Began’, Wonder of Asia (Sri Lanka) amongst other nations branding legends were on display at the countries’ pavilions that one could not miss the individual national pride on display. On display were their cultural heritage, products, tourism potentials, investment opportunities and so much more. There were branded memorabilia and souvenir telling their stories and inviting visitors to come and experience. Awesome was the experience. For Rwanda which emerged from the genocide that devastated that country 24 years ago into a globally respected emerging nation brand that

stands tall amongst comity of nations, the country’s mission at the expo was unmistakable. Said Ms. Linda Mutesi of the Tourism and Marketing Department of Rwanda’s Development Board: “We are fast tracking Rwanda’s investment window to promote tourism. As an institution, we are looking at tourism as an emerging market. We want to attract people to Rwanda for holidays and conferences as a destination of choice.� She added that as a small African nation once notorious for the genocide that claimed many lives, Rwanda is rising above its regrettable past to promote and project its tourism potentials hitherto unknown to the rest of the world. She explained that the small East African country has re-emerged with a green, mountainous landscape, safaris (wild life), volcanoes, national parks which are homes to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys with ancient rainforest that’s a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates. But while these nations took prominent stands to tell their stories in varied exciting ways with advanced technology being deployed to showcase their tourism, business and investment potentials

as an alternative income streams for these nations, Nigeria was at the time battling with image problem. However, some of the participants at the fair believed that there was so much for the country to gain by participating in such expo Nigeria. With its rebranding project tagline as ‘Good People, Great Nation, which many have criticised, stakeholders were of the belief that there is huge lesson on branding and tourism for Nigeria to learn at such global events. According to one of the organisers of the expo, Andy Adogan, “Nigeria and other African nations are going to benefit a lot from this expo. The travel industry is innovating; the world is getting smaller. Technology is helping the industry and a lot more cities are coming together thanks to technology.� Besides supporting the view that Africa has so much to gain at such expos, a Business Development Consultant with Global Innovations, a travel company, Sheikh Mohammed Sajid, averred that technology is changing the trend of travel tourism as many travellers and their suppliers want to go online for their travel arrangements.


KASIE ABONE 08057511558 (sms only)

Speaking specifically about Africa and Nigeria in particular, Sajid noted that the ATM provides good potentials for African market. This is more so given the number of Nigerian travellers to that part of the world. His words: “Dubai was full of sand and a lot of aspirations and hope. They have turned this once desert country into the most beautiful and fastest growing city in the world with about 180 nationals living in it. Africa is full of hope, aspirations and enthusiasm. If given the chance with the right technology and government strategy towards tourism, it can generate very good revenue for the continent because the kind of wild life Africa has is nowhere else in the world.� The question now is: will Nigeria rise up to be counted this year at ATM especially given the drop in petro-dollar and the move for alternative income sources to fund government spending? Does Nigeria see a need for lessons on the country’s rebranding.? Does ‘Good People Great Nation’ still tell our stories despite all the nauseating stories that emanate from different parts of the nation’s public lives?

Six Winners Emerge in Malta Guinness Maltavator Challenge


rom thousands of enthusiastic participants and fans who thronged the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos for the final leg of the pan-African Maltavator Challenge International TV show audition, six contestants have emerged winners. The lucky contestants who beat others after a physically and mentally challenging competition were Stanley Babalola, Oge Nwabueze, Evans Edeha-Ideji, Igboecheonwu Jane Fransisca, Opanubi Toyosi and James James. These winners will be joined by zonal winners from Enugu and Benin to slug it out for the ten finalists that would represent Nigeria in the Maltavator Challenge which promises a grand prize of $20, 000. As early as 7am, over 2000 excited consumers had besieged the stadium for registration for a chance to be one of the 10 contestants to represent Nigeria at the Maltavator Challenge International TV show to be hosted in Nigeria. There was so much fun and excitement the contestants engaged in a series of physical and mentally tasking challenges including Maltavator Obstacle Course, the Gladiator Duel, the Ball Pool Treasure Hunt and the Maze contest. Speaking at the event, the Brand Manager, Malta Guinness and Premium Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Ifeoma Agu, said “the Maltavator challenge has been very fulfilling across the different cities we have been to and the turnout in Lagos is really overwhelming.

Chuey Chu with the 6 Finalist from the Lagos edition of the Maltavator Challenge

This proves to us that Nigerians are very passionate Go-Getters and Malta Guinness will continue to be that brand that fuels their can-do spirit to greatness.

The Maltavator challenge TV show is a platform that challenges Africans to unleash their Can do spirit with optimism and reach for greatness.� The Pan-African TV show will have 40

contestants from Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Ethiopia and all the eleven episodes of the TV show will be shot in Nigeria and aired across 52 African TV stations starting from April 2018.

100 Artisans BeneďŹ t from Goldberg Empowerment Scheme


bout 100 artisans have benefitted from Goldberg’s empowerment programme. The beneficiaries, who came from the five South-west states of Nigeria received N300,000 grant each to support their businesses through Isedowo, an empowerment scheme launched last year by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. The empowerment scheme which was activated in Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo and Ogun States received commendations from prominent monarchs and citizens, who eulogised the brand for supporting businesses and thus reducing unem-

ployment and level of poverty in the region. Commenting on Isedowo, Nigerian Breweries Plc Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout Brands, Emmanuel Agu, expressed satisfaction with the thousands of artisans that showed interest in the scheme during its maiden edition adding that such act was a demonstration of willingness and drive of youths to start their own businesses. “With this first edition of Isedowo, artisans and entrepreneurs have experienced the elimination of poverty and unemployment by offering business grants that would help to grow local businesses,� he said. Agu further revealed that the second

edition of the empowerment scheme would start in few months and he charged entrepreneurs and artisans in the region to be alert and ready for the opportunity as more local businesses would spring up in the economy with the N300,000 business grant to each beneficiary. At the last activation in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Gbenga Ogundairo, a cobbler and one of the beneficiaries, commended Goldberg and Nigerian Breweries Plc for making Nigeria a better place to invest in, particularly by helping to promote small-scale businesses. He noted that through its Goldenberg brand, Nigerian Breweries Plc has contributed to growing small

businesses in Nigeria while calling on other corporate bodies to emulate such gestures. Two other beneficiaries, Sesan Ayanlowo and Adegboyega Joseph, also commended the brewing giants for the Isedowo initiative saying that the scheme would encourage not just the “ready-made� business owners, but also prospective businesses through the credible platform of empowerment that Isedowo offers. Azeez Lawal, an auto mechanic, said that Isedowo would make the vision of Nigeria to be reckoned with as an industrial superpower possible as it has supported more businesses in the economy these past few months.



Joel Obi


Eye on Russia 2018






Joel Obi


n 2009, then Inter Milan Manager, Jose Mourinho, noticed Joel Obi’s immense talent and played him occasionally in the first team. In 2010, even if without playing, he was registered for the club's 'A' list of players, who won the UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich. With the arrival of Rafael Benitez in the summer 2010, Obi was kept in the first team and given his Champions League debut for Inter in a group stage game against Werder Bremen where he played the final 10 minutes of the match after coming on as a substitute in the 80th minute. After some cameo appearances in the Italian Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana, injury came knocking and it was not until the 2012-13 season that Obi made another few appearances in the colours of the Nerrazzurri before he was sent on loan to Parma. His return to Inter two seasons later was not impressive, spending just a season before being shipped to Torino. Since then, his career has been nagged by injuries. However, since the beginning of the season, Obi has shown signs of his old self which is what probably convinced the Gernot Rohr to invite him for two friendly matches against Poland and Serbia, perhaps for a first-hand assessment. His invitation will come four years after his last call up to the national team, as his last game for the Super Eagles came in a friendly game in 2014 against Scotland. While admitting that it will be tough breaking into the team with the calibre of players currently in the Super Eagles squad, the former Inter Milan and Parma player believes he has something to offer. “There is good competition there (Super Eagles) and that’s what you want as a player. It’s only normal to have one eye on the World Cup. Every Nigerian player will want to get into that squad, but it’s based on merit. So, you’ll have to play well for your club and I’m doing that. I’ll focus on doing that, and then if I get the opportunity to play, it would be a dream come true,� Obi had said. Nigeria has been drawn in Group D and will face Croatia at the Kaliningrad Stadium in their opening game on June 16th 2018, Iceland at the Volgograd Arena on June 22nd, and finally Argentina in their final group game on the 26th of June at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. Obi believes the three time African champions stand a great chance of qualifying if they win their first game. “We have a good team, but we need to build on our performance. All we need to do is to win our first game and we could be through to the next round.� Former Nigeria international, Friday Ekpo says his invitation is a welcome development as he would be bringing his experience to the team. “He’s a vastly experience player. But for injuries that has punctured obi’s career, he ought to be one of the leading top midfielders in Europe if not in the world by now. This is a world Cup year and everybody should be given a fair chance. “For now, he seems to be injury free and enjoying his game. It is a good opportunity for the national team coaches to have a firsthand assessment of him and decide if he’s good enough or not. One thing I know for sure is that on his good day, and if he’s injury free, he would add value to the team and his vast experience would be a plus,� Ekpo said. The former Inter man, now 26, is presumably at the peak of his physical powers, and has made nine appearances (eight of those starts) in all competitions for Torino this season, scoring three times and assisting twice. Then again, there has never been any uncertainty over his productivity and ability. What is rather less apparent is how consistently his skills can be harnessed. This term, Joel Obi has already missed five weeks due to injury. In 2016/17, that number was 13. In 2015/16, it was 20. This is the tragedy at the very core of a wondrous talent, the thorn in his flesh as it were: to be eternally buffeted by muscular injuries. Yet so great is his talent and range that, when fit, he is impossible to ignore, and this is true both for club and country. Following that initial stumble, the reboot of the national team did eventually happen under the late Stephen Keshi, and when he had secured a ticket to the 2014 World Cup, it was to Joel Obi he turned to, to improve the then African




Tennis Greatest Rivalries From generation to generation the world have witnessed great rivalries in tennis, yet, some would argue that none could be compared to the rivalry between current toptwo players-Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Serena and Venus William

serena william

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

Joel Obi playing his first game for the Super Eagles against Sierra Leone

Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal he rivalry between 10-time French Open champion Nadal and 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer stretches back over 13 years and 38 matches. The dominant Spaniard leads their head-to-head record 23-15 and in their 38th and last meeting to date, it was Swiss maestro Federer who claimed the Shanghai Masters crown. From 2003 to 2014, Nadal and Federer picked up 31 of the available 48 Grand Slam men's singles titles. They are the only pair in the open era to have met nine times in major finals, and they contested every French Open and Wimbledon final from 2006 to 2008. It would be hard to say that Rafa and Roger isn't the greatest men's rivalry...


Obi celebrating with team mates ably though, just on the eve of the final squad announcement, he suffered yet another injury, drawing a long, plaintive sigh from all and sundry. For former Super Eagles defensive midfielder, Waidi Akani, Obi’s condition would determine whether his invitation is not just another stint at the national camp or not. “Of course, Gernot Rohr has not invited him for invitation sake; he must have definitely something in him that many are not seeing. Though Super Eagles midfield is not a department that the team is having much problem with, the German might be thinking using him in other areas. After all, he has been used as a defender for his Italian club at one point or the other. The coach may be thinking of exploring this area,” Akani

said. The former NEPA of Lagos player however emphasised that it was not yet Eldorado for the Torino midfielder; that what would really guarantee a place in the Super Eagles team is how well his body condition was. “His talent has never been in doubt. He is one player I admire so much and sympathise with. The question has always been on his fitness,” he noted. The 26-year-old has played in the Italian Serie A for Inter Milan, Parma and Torino. He has made a total of 15 appearances for the Super Eagles and is yet to register a goal. Obi has made 105 league appearances in his seven years in Italy, since he jogged on to the San Siro pitch to replace Philippe Coutinho.

Bjorn Borg v John McEnroe Whenever these two icons of the game went head to head, there was a strong possibility it could end up a classic. They made wearing headbands fashionable. They also had an utterly compelling rivalry that came to a head in the summer of 1980. At Wimbledon, it was Borg who came out on top in a five-set epic. The fourth-set tie-break was the greatest ever, lasting 20 minutes. McEnroe saved five championship points before eventually taking it 18-16. The near four-hour marathon was eventually won by the ice-cool Swede 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 (16-18) 8-6 for his fifth and final title at the All England Club. It was a shock when 11-time Grand Slam winner Borg called time on his career, aged 26, in early 1983, while the cantankerous 'Johnny Mac' went from strength to strength, winning seven major titles. But together they created a rivalry that changed the game. Overall, Borg and McEnroe met 14 times with seven wins each. They were the untouchables of tennis! Martina Navratilova v Chris Evert After winning Wimbledon and the French Open in 1974, Evert looked set to dominate the women's game for a long time, winning the US Open for four consecutive years. But in 1978, Navratilova defeated the American to win Wimbledon and claim the world No 1 from her opponent, sparking a rivalry that would last another 10 years and see them play each other an incredible 80 times over a 15-year period. Sixty-one of those matches were tournament finals. On the court, the two could not have been more different - Evert controlled matches from the baseline with her powerful two-handed backhand, while Navratilova boasted the ultimate serve-and-volley game - but off court they were the best of friends.

Unlike the male rivalries, there was no name-calling, just an intense desire to improve that meant between them they obliterated the competition. From the 1981 Australian Open to the 1987 US Open, they won 21 of the 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Evert later admitted that Navratilova at her best was superior to than Evert at her best, and their head-to-head record suggested she was right. Navratilova won 10 of their 14 Grand Slam finals and enjoyed a 43-37 advantage in their meetings. Serena Williams v Venus Williams The Williams' rivalry has become a little one-sided, but remains an incredible story. They are the only two women in the open era to play each other in four consecutive Grand Slam finals - from the 2002 French Open to the 2003 Australian Open. This is historic stuff in itself. That they were sisters setting these records is remarkable. Serena won all four. On the court, Serena has emerged as the dominant sibling after Venus' fast start. By the end of 2001 Venus was 5-1 ahead, but the pair met four times in 2002 and Serena won them all. In total, the pair have met 28 times, with injury and illness denying them more opportunities to face each other, particularly between 2009 and 2013. Their most recent meeting was in the 2017 Australian Open final, where Serena secured a record 23rd Grand Slam title. She leads their head-to-head 17-11. Overall, Venus has 49 singles titles, Serena 72.






Young Sprinters and their parents at the 7th Biennial Inter- House Sport Festival of Karis School sponsored by Euro Global's Maltonic drink held in Lagos recently

Joshua v Takam

Joshua Expected to Fight in USA Next Year Anthony Joshua is expected to box in America "in the next 12 months", according to Eddie Hearn. The promoter also expects the IBF and WBA heavyweight world champion to box around the world, providing he gets through Joseph Parker, on March 31. Hearn, who is in Carson, California, for Scott Quigg's world title fight against Oscar Valdez, admits Joshua does not have to fight across the pond but will if he wants to become a global star. "As a heavyweight world

champion and a major star in world boxing, [Joshua] should box over here at some stage," Hearn told Sky Sports. "There's always been that myth really that in boxing you have to crack America, but I don't see why. "Look at what we are doing in the UK, look at the spectacles we are creating, [Joshua] is very happy boxing in the UK. "I just think it's a natural progression to fight in other countries and he wants to break down boundaries as well and part of that should

be boxing in America, Africa, the Middle and Far East, but right now he is very comfortable doing what he's doing. "I am not sure if the US is imminent but I would expect him to box in America in the next 12 months." WBC world champion, Deontay Wilder, who will be heading to Cardiff to be part of the Sky Sports Box Office team, and New York heavyweight Jarrell Miller, are just two big-name Americans who have already been mentioned as opponents for Joshua.

Bayern Youth Cup National Finals Holds Today The National finals of the ongoing FC Bayern Youth cup tournament will hold in Abuja this weekend as eight teams vie for honours at the Aduvie Academy, Jahi District, Abuja. According to the organizers, Ablaze FC (Lagos Island), FC Bethel (Lagos Mainland), Derby Academy (Jos), Early Start Academy (Enugu), All Stars (Port-Harcourt) Kano Stars (Kano), Sporting Dreams (Abuja) and Bityong Academy (Kaduna) have all qualified to compete at

the national final for a chance to represent Nigeria in Germany at the world champions competition of the Youth Cup. Commenting on this development, Qasim Elegbede, the Brand and Marketing Director at StarTimes said that “We are happy to have been able to impact the lives of over 300 young boys positively. Providing them a chance to showcase their talent has given them a boost and I am sure they will go ahead to excel in football.�

He added “StarTimes will continue working with these kids even after the world finals in Germany to ensure that their football passion takes them places.� So far, over 50 games and 150goals have been recorded with 320 players from across 6 states taking part in the competition. The FC Bayern Youth Cup Nigeria, a tournament for the U16 boys and first edition in Africa commenced in January with games played in all six geo-political zones of the country.

Stakeholders Seek Support for Dolphin Swimming Lekki British School hosted week two of the Dolphin Swimming League as the initiative continue to garner momentum with large turnout of stakeholders craving support of corporate organisations and wellmeaning to sustain the league. The Lagos team and five other schools are competing for honours in the inaugural edition of the developmental championships designed to unearth new talents and improve the technical knowhow of coaches. A total of 59 events were decided on the day with participants putting in their best in the pool with the hope to get better as the league progresses. Although, some of the participants represented their schools in an international competition - the world school games in Dubai, United Arab Emirates last month, the dream of the organisers is to produce medal hopefuls for swimming at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Head of School, Lekki British School, Ashish Gill said apart from giving participants opportunity to develop talent, active participation in sports will keep the children away from negative influence and help

them to build functional skills that will useful in the future. "It is a brilliant concept by Dynaspro Sports I congratulate them for bringing the swimming league and getting a lot of international schools and the Lagos state team to compete. It is s great opportunity for children to meet, participate and bring out the real talent in the course of the competition. Of course, sports bring out the real character in the field, sportsmanship, leadership qualities, accepting victory in humility and accepting defeat in a situation that you can do better next time. These are some of the values that are not just building blocks for now but also for the future as well" Gill said. President of the Nigeria Aquatics Federation, Babatunde Fatayi-Williams described the atmosphere at the Lekki British School, excellence for the schools competition. Fatayi-Williams who is also the second Vice President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee expressed optimism that the Dolphin Swimming League will produce world beaters in not too distant future. Fatayi-Williams said "The whole idea of the league is very good be-

cause it provides regular competitions for children if it can be sustained. The children will progress and develop skills, techniques, build stamina and competitive spirit. A lot of schools want to join and that would mean more expenses for the organisers. I appeal to sponsors to support because it is difficult to organise tournament of this magnitude. The organisers need funding so the more sponsors are coming, the better for the competition. The Aquatics Federation is very much behind the league and we will continue to give technical support and in other areas when required". Participating schools are taking turn to host the league with Lagos Preparatory School, Ikoyi already hosted the opening day of competition. According to the Chief Executive Officer of Dynaspro Sports Academy, Oluseyi Oyebode, Children International School, Lekki will stage week three events. The other schools competing in the league are St. Saviour Schools, Ikoyi and Greenville Schools, GRA Ikeja. The Dolphin Swimming League is supported by Elizade University, Skin Beauty, Sofisticat and Sweet Sensation.

Seven Arsenal Fans Win MTN All-expense Paid trip to London The MTN subscribers - Aniekpeno Mkpanang, Ademola Sulaiman, Asemota Ivie, Coker Olabisi, Orimoloye Olateju, Arthur Chuks and Kingsley Chinedu arrived in London last week on an Air France flight. Following the brand’s recent Season of Surprises campaign, a

spokesperson for the brand says the trip is ‘a reward for the Arsenal fans and we’re happy they were excited about the surprises in London.’ One of the fans, Olateju, who is a risk management specialist at the Central Bank of Nigeria, says the trip was ‘a much-needed holiday’. “I’ve always been a big fan of

MTN as I am of Arsenal so this was a big deal for me. Plus, it was a chance to get in a little holiday time. What’s not to love?� You can follow the Seven Nigerians and their activities in London on MTN’s Facebook, twitter and Instagram pages or via the hashtag #MTNArsenal.

Bundesliga Trophy for Open Viewing It’s a trophy fiesta in Nigeria as the Bundesliga trophy arrives just as the FIFA World Cup departed Abuja for Lagos. Football fans in Nigeria, especially supporters of German top side and current Bundesliga tittle holders FC Bayern Munich are in for a show as the Bundesliga trophy goes on display in Abuja courtesy of FC Bayern and StarTimes Nigeria. StarTimes had last week announced plans to entertain subscribers and followers of the Bundesliga with an open viewing of the trophy in Abuja today. The trophy viewing is part of activities scheduled to mark the final ceremony of the ongoing FC Bayern youth cup which commenced in January of which StarTimes is a sponsor. “The trophy will be on display at Aduvie International School in Jahi District, Abuja from 11am till about 3pm during which fans can take pictures, videos and interact with some FC Bayern legends who will be present at the event� said Qasim Elegbede, Brand and Marketing Director at StarTimes. He added that “This is the first time ever the trophy is coming to Nigeria and we are very much excited to be a part of it. Followership of the Bundesliga in Nigeria is improving and this activity is to further engage the fans, partners, sports journalists and every football lover to a nice football moment� he concluded. The trophy departs Nigeria on Sunday, for a similar activity at the finals of the Youth Cup Tournament Singapore.

Woods in Contention after 'Brutal' First Day of Valspar Championship Tiger Woods defied conditions he described as "brutal" as he fired an entertaining one-under 70 to lie just three shots off the lead after the first round of the Valspar Championship. Woods produced several vintage shots, including a remarkable escape from the trees at the 16th followed immediately by a near hole-in-one, and he posted one of only 27 sub-par scores on the opening day as cool, blustery conditions and a tough Copperhead Course at Innisbrook took its toll on the field. Canadian Corey Connors ended the round with the outright lead after he returned a commendable 67, while Scotland's Russell Knox was one of only seven other players to break 70 as the likes of Rory McIlroy (74) and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth (76) face a tough task to make the halfway cut. But Woods provided the story of the day on his debut in the tournament, and he got off to an encouraging start as he almost eagled the par-five first, shaving the hole with a sublime flop-shot from the rough which set up a tap-in for birdie. The 42-year-old paid the price for flying the green at the short fourth as he was unable to get up-and-down for par, and he missed a great chance to get the shot back from six feet at the seventh after he had hit the pin with his approach. Woods atoned with a perfect putt from 12 feet at the next, and he responded to a bogey at the ninth with back-to-back birdies to start the inward nine which got him to within two shots of the leader before mistakes at each of the next two holes saw him slip to level par. His par save at the 16th was undeniably vintage Woods, although he admitted after his round that he had hurt his arm while playing his second shot from next to a tree - catching the trunk on his follow-through and letting go of the club on impact. But he managed to thread his ball through a narrow gap in the woods and chase it up close to the green, from where he pitched to a couple of feet and tapped in to remain level for the day. Woods then almost found the hole with a near-perfect high fade with a five-iron at the 17th to leave another tap-in for birdie, and he two-putted from long range on the final green to stay in a tie for eighth. "It was really brutal out there," said Woods, who is making only the fourth start of his latest comeback from injury after playing only three competitive rounds in 2017. "We as a group got fooled a lot today. Into the wind it felt like you just hit walls and downwind you couldn't pick an angle. "I don't know if these people really understand how hard it was out there trying to pull a club, trying to figure out the wind direction, the gusts. It was just a tough day all around.




We Can Make Nigeria the Most Desirable Place on Earth Fela Durotoye


ood morning distinguished ladies and gentlemen and members of the press. Today is indeed a great day ‌ as we mark yet another critical milestone on our journey to a New Nigeria. Let me start by thanking the National Chairman of the ALLIANCE FOR NEW NIGERIA, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels and all the national Exco members including the Lagos State Chapter of ANN, Mr. Onome Ojigbo and all the State Exco and party members for warmly welcoming us into the ANN family today. Our hearts and prayers are with the 79 girls that have been abducted from their school (Government Girls Secondary School) in Dapchi, Yobe State on Monday, 19th February 2018. We implore the security agencies to work night & day and leave no stones unturned in rescuing each and every one of these precious daughters and sisters of ours and to return them home safely. One day in the New Nigeria, abductions and kidnappings of this nature would only be read about in the dark chapters of our history books. My fellow brothers and sisters, 13 years ago, my heart was infused with a vision of a NEW NIGERIA and I received a mandate to raise a generation of nation builders that will build Nigeria into the most desirable nation to live in & work in a most desirable nation to do business in and do business with, a nation where everything works and everyone is gainfully employed, a nation where everyone is productively and passionately working to make things work, a nation where people live in peace and harmony and are secure in every part of the country regardless of where they are from or where they were born. We accept to be ambassadors of our generation and commit to build our beloved Nigeria into a nation we will be happy to retire into and proud to carry the identity of by Wednesday, December 31st 2025. I dream of this New Nigeria every day and my HEART burns with this dream daily. 13 years ago, the New Nigeria became my life’s top priority. Practically every meeting over the past decade has been FOCUSED on planning projects & programs aimed at actualising this vision. . I pray about it always. I think about it always. I talk about it always. And my HANDS are committed to building that New Nigeria everyday. All the work we’ve done over the past decade has been in recognition of the great potential of our country and the undeniable blessing that have been divinely bestowed upon us in the abundance of natural and mineral resources, but most importantly in the abundance of human resources as we have been blessed to be the largest collection indomitable,

Fela Durotoye

indefatigable, innovative & inventive people ‌ indeed the world’s largest black nation. All of these blessings affirm our potential to be one of the greatest countries in the world, but that potential is also a challenge to our generation to work hard to actualize our potential & to be all that we can be, do all that we can do and possess all that we can have as a truly great nation. However, I have come to the conclusion that Good Governance is critical for any nation to accomplish its full potential. Infact, without good governance every other good work carried out by its citizens would ultimately be like pouring water into a basket and is therefore not sustainable. This is why it became important for us to set up the running for a new Nigeria platform, where we galvanise a critical mass of people who would participate in the governance process either by VOTING or BEING VOTED FOR at the 2019 General Elections & beyond. In line with the Values I hold dear, one of which is to “BE A ROLE MODEL WORTHY OF EMULATIONâ€?, I had to decide to get involved in the political arena rather than staying on the sidelines and only challenging others to go in. It is my hope that as I step unto the political scene, many more of our brightest and best will arise to heed our nation’s clarion call to contest for elective offices, win the elections, and most importantly collectively deliver good governance to our nation. But the real question for every Nation Builder who has a love for their country and heart for the people and who, like me, aspires to serve their nation through elective office in the 2019 General Election is, ‘What kind of party offers us the unfettered access to actualise our aspiration to serve our people?’ Whilst it is true that some of these old known

parties may have formidable grassroots structures, I strongly doubt that these old parties with their old ideology will have the capacity to birth a New Nigeria. I simply cannot see how a New Nigeria with a culture of excellence and meritocracy can emerge from political parties that place higher value on God-fatherism & a selection process that stifles the aspiration of visionary leadership, but promotes the emergence of rulers that subdue and oppress the will of the people and seeks to preserve the special interest of power brokers over the general interest of the populace. This system, produces a brigand of rulers who seek to divide and rule a united people on the basis of our ethnic diversities & our religious beliefs ‌ they impoverish the people so that their votes can be bought with a few hundreds of naira at the general elections with the money stolen from our commonwealth. To these rulers, our generation serves notice, we will no longer be ruled. We have been ruled for the last 57 years, and have not fulfilled our potential as a nation. This generation is determined to choose real leaders that are committed to serve the common interest of our people and protect our common wealth. And I stand here on behalf of this generation of leaders to declare that WE ARE NOW WILLING, ABLE and READY TO SERVE OUR NATION THROUGH ELECTIVE OFFICE and WE ARE NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN, ‌ WE ARE YOUNG, BUT WE ARE STRONG and WE ARE READY TO DELIVER THE QUALITY OF LEADERSHIP and GOVERNANCE REQUIRED TO BUILD A NEW NIGERIA. In my opinion, selectocracy is the root-cause of all the ills of our society from the erratic power supply after spending billions of investment to our pot-hole ridden roads that have become death trap to several members of our families and friends. Selectocracy is at the root of our hospitals without healthcare and schools without education. It is because of selectocracy that we have teachers that cannot pass the examinations they set for the children. Therefore it is clear to me that whatever political structure would deliver the promise of a new nigeria must have a contrary internal democratic culture to those that the existing political structure values. And so, over the last few months, I have researched into several political parties to determine if their ideologies, vision and values resonate with mine. During this search, I looked out for parties with: free and fair internal democratic processes that is open and transparent; where every member (not just delegates) has the right to vote for their candidates amongst the aspirants and a party with a clear ideology, vision for the nation and values system that guides the conduct of its members/executives. I am glad to announce that one party has resonated more with me than any other in sharing common ideology is the ALLI-

ANCE FOR NEW NIGERIA. And today 22nd of February 2018, I have formalized my membership with the ALLIANCE FOR NEW NIGERIA (ANN) & become a member of this great party. I believe it is safe to say that I have found my political home, which I truly believe would be a HOME FOR ALL NATION BUILDERS. ANN is a party founded by Professionals and technocrats with great political insight and wisdom required to build a formidable nationwide grass-root movement within the next 12 months and beyond. It is my desire that each and everyone will like I have done decide to step in the political arena and go beyond just registering to vote but also becoming a member of a Political Party where you WOULD HAVE VOTING RIGHTS, ABILITY TO CHOOSE YOUR OWN CANDIDATES AMONGST THOSE ASPIRING FOR OFFICE AND WHERE YOUR POTENTIAL ASPIRATIONS CANNOT BE STIFLED BY ANY GOD FATHER. I strongly believe that our involvement in the political arena either as a member or aspirant within a political party would strongly enhance our ability to deliver good governance for the New Nigeria. As you thoroughly consider the various political parties, I’ll like to recommend for your favorable consideration the Alliance for a New Nigeria. I want you to join ANN not just because I asked you to, but only if the Party Ideology resonates with yours as it does with mine. You can check out the party & also join online via this link: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just 12 months to the 2019 General Elections and we only have enough time to ACT QUICKLY, so let’s make each day count. Now is the time to get involved. Now is the time to decide the political destiny of our nation. It is time to choose our future over our past‌ Our generation must accept the responsibility to birth a New Nigeria, a nation where everyone has the opportunity to find work has they make things work. A New Nigeria that we would all be proud of and be proud to call home. A New Nigeria that our generation would be glad to retire into & the next generation would be grateful to inherit from us. It is time to forge a formidable alliance for a New Nigeria and I strongly believe ANN is that party that will help our generation facilitate and align our strength, resources and political will. IT IS OUR TIME‌ And together, we will deliver the future. God Bless You all. God Bless our Alliance For New Nigeria. And May God Bless our Federal Republic of Nigeria. –Durotoye delivered this speech when he formally joined the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, recently.

International Food and Drinks Festival Opens in Ibadan Bennett Oghifo


his Easter, Ibadan, West Africa’s largest city, will play host to the International Food and Drinks Festival. The festival, conceived to be a gathering of fun lovers especially families with special interest in food and drinks, will open on Friday, 30th of March till Sunday , 1st of April, 2018 at

the popular Ibadan Recreation Club, Adamasigba, Ibadan. According to the Project Coordinator, Mr Clemence Eki, over 20,000 participants and reputable big brands in the food and drink sector are expected to grace the event which is modeled after successful similar festivals all over the world. “Specifically, we are putting this event together to further create value

for big players (brands) and SMEs in the food and drink sector of our economy by bringing them together under one roof of unlimited sales opportunities. More importantly also is to create a very good ambience for fun loving Nigerians especially families to enjoy the season of Easter which stretches through the duration of the event�. Eki also said, “The International Food

and Drinks festival has been held all over the world to much acclaim. Ibadan, being a major city in Nigeria and with her pride of place in the nation’s history being hosts to the premier university, the first TV station, the first stadium amongst many others, presents us the obvious choice to host the Nigerian version. We guarantee three days of fun, great food and drinks, both local and continental.�




Lagos Government makes ClariďŹ cations on Land Use Charge at Stakeholders Meeting The Lagos State Government today, Thursday, March 9, 2018, further clarified the rates for the newly reviewed Land Use Charge Law of 2018 noting that payers could compute the amount of charges payable on their respective properties themselves. Speaking at a stakeholders' forum organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, the State's Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade said the Land Use Charge law was aimed at entrenching a regime of self-assessment, which would allow property owners to make their own calculation and know their rate with the help of professional valuers. "The Land Use Charge law institutes the regime of self-assessment. The intent of the reviewed Law is for Lagosians to be able to compute the amount payable on their respective property by themselves. "You don't have to wait for demand notices before your pay your charges, you can calculate it yourself, engage us, you can make your payments voluntarily. Do it yourself, let's dialogue and let's get the basis right." The Commissioner further gives examples under three categoriesrecognised by the law. First of which is that, "If you are a landlord and you are the only one living in your house with your family (No tenant), your annual fee is 60% of the value of the house Ă— 0.076%." "For instance, if your house is

valued at N20million, your fee is 0.076% of (60% of N20m) = 0.076% x N12m = N9,120.00 per annum" "Secondly, If you are a landlord living with your tenant in the same building value of N20million, you will pay 0.256% of (60% of N20m =0.256% Ă— N12m= N30,720.00 per annum." "Thirdly, If you rented out the house to tenants only and you don't live there and the house is worth N20million, you will pay 0.76% of (60% of N20m) = 0.76% of N12m = N91,200.00 per annum." "The Law does not tax the market value of properties. It gives a general discount rate of 40% to all property owners in the state. The Land Use Charge Law is holistic and fair to everybody. It is quitediscriminatory. It is not one cap, fit all. Market value of properties in Ikorodu and Ikoyi can never be calculated as the same." According to one of the participants at the stakeholders' meeting, Mr.Shadrack Bayowa, The Managing Director, Hinges Construction and Properties Limited, the meeting had cleared the grey areas on the formulae used in assessing the Land Use charge as well as whose shoulder lies the responsibility of valuation. He could not hold back hisimpression of Mr. Ashade who he described as a thoroughbred professional and a brilliant public officer who was calm and patiently answer questions inspite of the initial hostile dispositions of some participants.

BUILDING INSTITUTIONS ... L-R: Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; pioneer Chancellor, Technical University, Ibadan, Chief Tunde Afolabi; and Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ayobami Salami, during the installation of the chancellor and first matriculation ceremony of the university, at the institution's library hall, Ibadan... on Friday Photo: Governor's Office

"I am more comfortable now with the new law as it is reasonable and progressive", he concluded. In his remarks, the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babatunde

Ruwase noted that one of the key tenets of democracy was inclusiveness, participation and dialogue. He commended the Lagos state government for being receptive to dialogue.

"As business community, we appreciate what the state government has been doing, especially the investment in infrastructure and security. We are therefore willing and ready

to pay our taxes. Indeed, over 90% of the current IGR of over N300bn generated in the state is coming from the private sector. We appreciate the need to even do more."

Security Agencies Destroying Illegal ReďŹ neries APC: Obanikoro,Yayi Supporters Clash at Ambode’s Endorsement Rally Cause of Soot Menace, Alleges Wike Segun James It took the timely intervention of the men of the Nigerian Police to bring sanity to the rally held by the Lagos West Senatorial District of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the premises of the Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation to endorse the second term bid of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as supporters of Senators Musiliu Obanikoro and Solomon Adeola aka Yayi, clashed over the senatorial ticket of the party for the district. Although the event was to showcase the achievements of Ambode in the last three years

and why he deserves a second coming as governor; while leaders of the party insisted his works were exemplary to merit a second term, the event was however marred by the unruly behaviours of the supporters of Obanikoro and Yayi who confronted each other over who between their leaders deserved the senatorial ticket. Trouble started when Yayi entered the venue with his supporter amidst heavy drumming and jubilations. The supporters of Obanikoro who were already at the venue became angry at the audacity of Yayi’s supporters. Before long, there were altercation which

later degenerated into pushing and shoving; but the timely intervention of the police later saved the day. Meanwhile, the district of the party, in a statement by the senatorial leader, Prince Rabiu Oluwa, told the people that the state had been blessed with leaders such as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Governor Raji Fashola whose good works Ambode had been building upon. Oluwa who was visibly angry at the unruly behavior of the supporters of both aspirants said that their action had “meaning,� and that the leadership of the party saw what they had done and had taken note.

Ernest Chinwo in PortHarcourt Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that the "black soot" damaging the state's environment was mainly caused by Federal Security Agencies destroying illegal refineries. Wike stated that the Rivers State Government had formally approached the Federal Government to help resolve the challenge, without any assistance from that quarter. Speaking during a special appearance on Channels Television Sunrise Daily at the Government House Port Harcourt yesterday,

Wike said security agencies must find alternative ways of destroying illegal refineries. He said: "We set up a technical committee to investigate the black soot problem. The committee's report indicated that the black soot was largely a product of the destruction of illegal refineries by security agencies. "It is not within the purview of the state government to control the security agencies. Therefore, we met with them and appealed that they find alternative ways to destroy the illegal refineries. "We also appealed to the Federal Government to intervene,

but so far they are yet to do anything". The governor added: "We have prioritised this issue, but we cannot stop the security agencies. There must be a refined way of stopping the oil criminals, without damaging the environment ". He said politics must be separated from governance in respect of issues that affect the people. "We should separate politics from governance. This issue of environmental challenge posed by the black soot requires the direct intervention of the Federal Government.

Truck Drivers Defy Lagos, Navy Order to Vacate Bridges

NCC Warns Network Operators against Fraudulent Services to Telecom Consumers

Bennett Oghifo

Okon Bassey in Uyo

Truck and tanker drivers have defied a 48-hour ultimatum by the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Navy to vacate all bridges in the state to avoid disasters and economic loss to the nation. The order, which lapsed yesterday, was given on Wednesday, this week at a stakeholders’ meeting, held at Naval Base in Apapa. Convener of the meeting, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Adm. Sylvanus Abbah, appealed to the tanker drivers to leave the

bridge to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the situation, as well as prevent the bridges from collapsing from the dead weight they are not designed to carry. He said, “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.� The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Mr Taiwo Salau, said, “There should be synergy among security agencies so that these areas can be cleaned up and have a check point before the long bridge.�

The meeting was attended by officials of the Lagos state government, the military, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Union Petroleum Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). Also present at the meeting were officers of the Nigerian Police, Dangote Group, Apapa Residents Association, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Apapa Government Reserved Area Residents Association, among others. It is uncertain what the next move of the Military authorities and the Lagos State Government would be, as the ultimatum given the offending truck and tanker

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has again warned Network Operators in the country against fraudulent and dubious services aimed at cheating telecom consumers. The Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mr. Abdullahi Maikano gave the warning at the 92nd edition of the Consumer Outreach Programme held in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State for stakeholders. Maikano who was represented by Alhaji Ismail Adedigba insisted that NCC is determined to

protect the telecom consumers in ensuring that they get good quality of service, value for money spent, timely and fair redress of complaints and protection from unwholesome practices of some Service Providers. The NCC, he stressed would continue to ensure “the protection of telecom consumers from market exploitation and empowering them to make rational and informed decision when making choices of services�. The Consumer Outreach Programme, he said was identified as one of the most cost effective mechanism that provided and guaranteed consumer protection.

“Besides serving as a pro-active way of protecting consumers from making wrong choices, it also serves as a preventive measure that protect consumers from being exploited and against fraud,� he said. In addition, he said the forum also served as a feedback mechanism for the commission in making regulatory intervention for the benefit of the consumers, service providers as well as the industry. The Director of the NCC urged the stakeholders to take advantage of the forum to be well informed so that no one takes undue advantage of them.




WE CELEBRATE YOU ... L-R Conference Lay President, Methodist Church Nigeria, Sir Remi Omotoso; Mrs. Funmi Oluwo; the celebrant, Bro. Aramide Tola Noibi and his wife Titilayo during Noibi's thanksgiving service at the Wesley Cathedral, Olowogbowo, Lagos

NLC to FG: Do Not Sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement Senator Iroegbu in Abuja The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has warned the Federal Government against signing the African free trade agreement, describing it as a neo-liberal policy. The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a statement yesterday, said the policy initiative, for instance, would make it possible for a foreign airline to directly do local scheduled flights without employing Nigerians. "There is a renewed, extremely dangerous and radioactive neo-liberal policy initiative being driven by the Ministry of Trade and Investment that seeks to open our seaports, airports

and other businesses to unbridled foreign interference never before witnessed in the history of the country," Wabba said. He said that owing to the sensitivity of this policy or its possible fall-outs on our economy, those driving it were directed to consult the Nigerian local business community and organised labour. He however, noted that the organised labour were not consulted. He stated: "Information reaching us suggests that the relevant business community has not been consulted. "The drivers of this policy initiative, without consulting the relevant stake holders for possible impact assessment, have perfected a document for the

signature of President Muhammadu Buhari at Kigali on the 21 of March. "We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are shocked by the sheer impunity or blatant lack of consultation in the process that has led to this. "We are more worried by the probable outcome of this policy initiative if it is given life because of its crippling effect on the local businesses and attendant effects on jobs. "We find it confounding that at a time nations, including the United States are resorting to protectionism in defence of their local businesses and protection of jobs, we have the audacity to want to fling open our doors, windows and roof tops.

"We have no doubt this policy initiative will spell the death knell of the Nigerian economy. "Accordingly, we urge Mr. President not to sign this agreement either in Kigali or anywhere. "We believe our national interest is at stake and nothing should be done to compromise this. "The African Continental Free Trade Agreement rather than unite Africa, will only divide it the more; rather than enrich Africa will only pauperise it the more," he added. Wabba said those pulling the strings of what he described as radioactive agreement were somewhere, well concealed and protected in the metropoles of the world.

Only Umahi's Reelection 'll Guarantee Power Back to Abakaliki Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki The National Coordinator of Ebonyi Unity Forum, Hon. Francis Agwu has emphasised that it was only the reelection of Governor David Umahi that would guarantee power shift to Abakaliki bloc which comprises of Ebonyi Central and North senatorial zones in 2023. Briefing newsmen in Abakaliki, the National Coordinator said that only the re-election of the incumbent Governor that would encourage equity and power rotation among the senatorial zones of the State. He warned all aspirants to obey rule of law by ensuring peaceful electioneering activities as the group

would not condone any acts capable of causing mayhem in the state. Agwu, who described the plethora of people publicly endorsing the Governor for another term was a sign that he had performed well so far in his first tenure. He commended all local government areas, clans and communities for coming out to endorse the Governor saying that he holds similar view that the Governor had surpassed expectations of Ebonyi people and had nothing other than lend his Voice to the call for his re-election. Obviously concerned by the high rate of suspicion that electing a fresh candidate may shortchange the bloc,

the group noted that no amount of agreement and assurance would make a new candidate from the South zone relinquish power after his one term. THISDAY gathered that there was already sensitisation and awareness by the people of Abakaliki bloc not to support another candidate other than governor Umahi, so as not to endanger their chances of secession. Already, political gladiators have started scheming on which zone that will succeed Umahi after his second term, with major interest on Ezza nation and Izzi. The National Coordinator said: "It is only in the re-election of Governor

David Umahi that there's hope that power will shift to Abakaliki bloc. Nobody should deceive is with one-term agenda. It has not worked. Only the re-election of the incumbent governor will encourage equity and ensures power rotation among North, central and South zones is not thwarted. "Equity demands that Ebonyi South should be allowed to do a second term as the North and Central Senatorial zones did. Moreso, if we should elect another person from Ebonyi South, such a person will certainly seek re-election at the completion of his first term thereby, truncating power rotation precedence".

VP Leads Government OfďŹ cials, Leaders in Parliament to Book Launch on Banking Reform Chinedu Eze Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibajo, top government officials, leaders in National Assembly, industry stakeholders will on Monday, converge on the International Conference Centre, Abuja to deliberate on banking reform in Nigeria at book launch by Honourable Bode Ayorinde. The public presentation of the book, “Banking Reform in Nigeria: The law, The Prospects and The Challenges,â€? may serve as rendezvous to brainstorm contentious issues on

banking in Nigeria at the unveiling of book meant to chart the way for the revamping of the banking sector in response to the ongoing national quest for sustainable economic development, which has been a highly topical issue and engagement of the current dispensation in Nigeria. The book was written by Eminent Scholar, Lawyer, Chartered Banker and influential member of House of Representatives, Hon Bode Ayorinde. The guests at the historical occasion would be led by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate President, Dr.

Bukola Saraki, Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Other senior government officials expected at the event include the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Godwin Emefiele, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, Honourable Minister of Finance and other Ministers, the Governor of Ondo state, Arakunri Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who is Special Guest of Honour at the event.

The book, “Banking Reform in Nigeria – The Laws, The Prospects and The Challenges traces the historical development of banking business in Nigeria and critically examines all the laws relating to banking since inception. Posited to be an invaluable guide to the transformation of the banking industry, the book goes further to chronicle all attempts to reform and rebrand the banking industry in the past, including the most pronounced consolidation exercise of 2004/2005 that shook the industry to its foundations.

I, formerly known and addressed as IKHELOA JIMOH ORIAFOH NASIRU now wish to be known and addressed as IKHELOA JIMOH KINGSLEY. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as NURUDEEN AFOLABI, now wish to be known and addressed as ISHOLA NURUDEEN. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MUHAMMED SUFIYANU, now wish to be known and addressed as MUHAMMED SUFIYANU BALA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MRS QUEEN NNENNA IBEGBULAM , now wish to be known and addressed as MISS QUEEN NNENNA OSUNDE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS JOY NGOZI IJOMAH JANET, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS JOY NGOZI ANOZIA . All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MOHAM KOLA, now wish to be known and addressed as MODU HAJI BABAGANA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as OGWUCHE EMMANUEL, now wish to be known and addressed as ELAIGWU EDACHE EMMANUEL. All former documents remaivalid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS AMUSA ASHIAT AYOWUNMI, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS HAMZAT AHIAT AYOWUNMI.

All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS ADEBAYO KEMI ENIOLA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ADETUNJI KEMI ENIOLA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as ESIERE OGHENEVWARHE SAMUEL now wish to be known and addressed as CLIFFORD OGHENEVWARHE SAMUEL All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. This is to inform the general public that YAKUBU SAMAILA and YAKUBU SAMAILA ZIDON are one and the same person,and now wish to be known as YAKUBU SAMAILA. However,my DoB is 15 may 1973 and not 15 may 1980. All documents remain valid. General public take note

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS BANKOLE BOSEDE OMOLABAKE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS BANKOLE BOSEDE BIDEMI. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS LAZARUS- EMEM - SAMUEL now wish to be known and addressed as MRS EMEM - ANIEDI -PATRICK. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed OMALE NELSON as ADAKALI now wish to be known and addressed as OGBAJE MARK ABOOJONYENE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take

Technical Education Antidote against Unemployment, Says Okowa Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has advised parents in the state to pay more attention to technical education, and send the children to technical schools as a safeguard against the scourge of unemployment in the country. The governor noted that many technologically advanced countries of the world had been able to keep down unemployment levels because of the importance to pay to technical education as well as vocational studies. Speaking during the resumed town hall meeting series with the people of Ethiope East and Ukwuani local government areas, Okowa stressed that young school leavers and parents could be saved much of the challenges of chasing generally non-existent white-collar jobs. He told the thousands of people of who thronged the Isiokolo and Obiaruku, headquarters of Ethiope East and Ukwuani respectively, for the meeting that his the revamping and facility upgrade of six technical colleges across the state to contemporary global standard was a deliberate step by his administration to promote technical education.

Chapman Happy Hour Builds AfďŹ nity through Refreshment Chapman Happy Hour by Chivita is fast becoming a mainstay in the minds of consumers across Nigeria, who now consider the drink an indispensable feature, as it turns their every moments into special occasions. With a unique taste and distinct refreshment Naija style, it has become a popular drink of choice because of its fruity deliciousness, authentic indigenous flavour, style, and consumer preference for a refreshing drink. Its infusion of Nigerian culture and style in a refreshing mix resonates with what consumers want to complement their authentic Naija experiences, keep them satisfied and coming back for more. Little wonder the drink takes pride in offering ultimate “Refreshment Naija Styleâ€?. Craved for its burst of unrivalled refreshment, Chapman Happy Hour by Chivita comes in handy packs, which make it convenient for consumers with preference for a readily available chapman drink. Being an indigenous drink, it contains a blend of fruits and offers a refreshing way for consumers to enjoy their favourite chapman drink. Yewande Busayo, a boutique owner, stated that she was introduced to Chapman Happy Hour by Chivita by a friend, and since then, it has become her go-to drink for refreshment. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS NNABUO EBONINYE AKUDO GLORY now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OKECHUKWU AKUDO GLORY. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS FOLAKE IBIRINDE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS FOLAKE IBIRINDE OLUWOLE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.




All about the 2018 Slay Festival




he 2018 Slay Festival had talented and ambitious women from all across Africa who gathered to celebrate technology, culture and innovation. The impactful and funfilled event, which is the second edition, took place at the historic Tafawa Balewa Square, and was set up to accommodate the three-themed stages this year; Money & Success, Health & Wellness and Arts & Culture. These stages featured interesting and educational panel sessions that filled their seats, including: Building a global African brand with Bonang Matheba; Bossing up in a male-dominated industry by TRACE Naija with Sam Onyemelukwe, Waje and Feran; Owootomo, moderated by Ariyike Owolagba; Turning content into cash with Ink Eze and Sisi Yemmie moderated by Dolapo Oni Sijuwade; Designing a life you love with Simi Nwogugu, Betty Irabor and Funmi Victor-Okigbo and many more. The festival also offered intimate masterclasses with a smaller attendance cap, to allow for more individualised attention from the industry experts leading them. Focuses ranged from marketing, digital content, law, and technology, and some of the most popular sessions included: Personal Branding for Career Women by Glory Edozien; Secure the Bag: How to save and invest so you never go broke by ARM with Henrietta Bankole-Olusina; Taking Mobile Photography to the Next Level by Samsung and many more. Attendees at the event also got the chance to have one-on-one chats with business and career specialists at the Leaderships Circles and Expert’s Corner. Mentors provided individualised advice in areas like business development, strategy, and even offered resume rewrites and reviews. Different brands brought life to the event with their various interactive activities, which were a big hit. Crowd favorite Maggi was present and offered a delicacy of yam and plantain porridges, as well as their famous Jollof to keep attendees energised. Both Clinique and House of Tara provided free makeup touch- ups and gift bags to all attendees who stopped by their stations, and it was all tribe and culture as attendees got face and body paint courtesy of TRACE. After the sun went down, drinks were poured by Chivas and performances from Show Dem Camp, Funbi, Tomi Thomas, Odusin, BOJ and Ajebutter made for the perfect end to a perfect day. Overall, SLAY Festival 2018 was even bigger and better than promised, and attendees are already counting down to next year’s.

Tonye Cole after his panel session on the money and success stage

Sophia Ike-Ono, Funke Opeke and Feyikemi Abudu

Chin Okeke, Folayemi Agusto and Gozie Coker after speaking on The Arts and Culture Stage

Funmi Victor Okigbo and daughter

Bonang Matheba

Tallulah Doherty

Lagos Innovate Masterclass session

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde

Ore Runsewe at her Stand in the market place

ALAT team




ARISE Fashion Week 2018


ue to popular demand, ARISE Fashion Week (AFW 2018) will make a robust return from March 30th to April 2nd at the Lagos Continental Hotel (formerly known as Intercontinental Hotel). It is destined to be an Easter extravaganza like no other. Eleven years ago, Africa’s fashion industry became truly global with the birth of ARISE, the synonym for “Africa Rising�. ARISE Fashion Week helped to put Nigeria firmly on the global fashion map, showcasing and promoting African designers on the runways of the world, from London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, to Washington DC’s powerful Kennedy Center, to the legendary triple appearance during New York’s iconic Fashion Week, to vivacious Lagos and Abuja, to magnetic Johannesburg and Cape Town and to fabulous Paris. TheAFW runway has seen global fashion icons and leading models, such as Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Liya Kedebe, Oluchi Orlandi and others, showcase the best of Africa. The event has also seen internationally acclaimed designers, such as Gavin Rajah, Ozwald Boateng, David Thale, LaQuan Smith, Lanre DaSilva, DEOLA, Jewel By Lisa, Ituen Basi, Odion Mimonet and more, fly the African flag. From March 30th to April 2nd at the Lagos Continental Hotel, ARISE Fashion Week 2018 will once again showcase the best and brightest fashion designers from around the world. Still the most prominent fashion show inAfrica, ARISE Fashion Week 2018 continues to hold its prestige as the premier event where the global


fashion elite will once again converge: the intersection of the international and the African; where a global audience of buyers, financiers, retailers, the fashionista and the media gather; where authenticity and originality meet innovation and style - where fashion truly matters. The AFW 2018 runway event in Lagos will

feature 45 designers from 15 countries, such as South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal,India,France, Morocco, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Caribbean and Nigeria. In its tradition, the best of these will be selected to showcase during NYFW in September this year.

“We are excited to bring world class fashion back to Lagos in the real sense of it. The bar will definitely be raised once more with strong collaborations, innovation, and creativity,� said Co-Producer, Ruth Osime. The official designers for this year’s fashion showcase will be unveiled this week.

Nigeria Info Brings to Nigeria First-ever Visual Radio


n what looks certain to change the face of radio forever in Nigeria, Nigeria Info 99.3 – the country’s foremost Talk, News and Sports radio station, has become the first FM station to introduce visual radio to the country’s broadcast landscape. Visual Radio affords listeners the opportunity to watch their favorite local FM radio presenters in action on their computers and mobile devices, deploying professional, multi-camera positions and angles with high-quality effects, graphics and multiple ad spaces. It’s a new dimension in radio broadcasting with interactive content and services for mobile radio listeners. With Visual Radio, listeners can enjoy engaging and exciting content: visuals, information, and entertainment of what’s playing over the air. Listeners can also participate in the radio station’s promotions, polls, contests, and interact with the show hosts and their

special guests. In the words of Serge Noujaim, the radio network’s CEO: “We now live in an instant and content-hungry world. Modern radio must compete with multiple attention-grabbing sources to engage, maintain and grow audiences. This must not be at the expense of making great radio. It should be an addition to it. And we are proud to be the first in Nigeria to do so.� Femi Obong-Daniels, the network’s Head of Stations adds: “Visual Radio presents a unique opportunity for advertisers to expand their radio advertising reach to a global audience online beyond the ears to countless eyeballs.� Visual Radio is already a fast-growing game-changing global phenomenon and Nigeria still has much ground to cover in catching up with the West; a quest that has now begun courtesy of Nigeria Info, with sister stations Cool FM and Wazobia FM following closely in leveraging on this new technology. Tatiana Moussalli Nouri (Wazobia FM)

Nollycoin ICO Gets Major Boost with several Celebrity Endorsements


he Founder/CEO of Nollytainment Limited, Dr. Ope Banwo, in his bid to discuss strategies for making Nollycoin and Nollytainment the game changer in Nollywood, as it was intended to be, met with some iconic figures in the African movie industry at the prestigious Oriental Hotel, Lagos; to share the vision of Nollytainment and drum up support for the Nollycoin project. Some of the top movie producers, include Zeb Ejiro; Fred Amata; Chico Ejiro; Emem Isong; Daniel Ademinokan; Simi Opeoluwa; Faithia Williams and Charles Novia; who gave their full backings to the revolutionary development in the filmmaking business. Nollycoin initiates a pocket boosting medium for filmmakers and a stress-free streaming platform for consumers without third party intrusion. Nollycoin is the official currency of NollyTainment’s blockchain powered ecosystem

that include NOLLYTV, a smart contract movie distribution portal; Nolly Cinemas (cinema movies exclusively watched with Nollycoin cryptocurrency); Nolly Mall; Nolly Academy and nolly Crowdfund among others. Some of the challenges Nollytainment plans to solve with its blockchain, include the problem of access to capital by producers to produce qualitative movies, problems of proper copyright documentation, protection and piracy issues, lack of multi-level worldwide distribution to justify investments by stakeholders and structural problems for fair compensation for collaborators and other professionals. For the consumers, there has always been the problem of universal means of exchange for purchase or enjoyment of African movies by people in diaspora. Speaking on how the development would be an earning saviour for filmmakers, CEO of Nollycoin, Dr. Ope Banwo said “Nollytainment is a project to introduce blockchain to

Nollywood, using a platform called NollyTV, like Netflix and Steroids to upload movies to the site, using the Blockchain Smart Contract Technology. Unlike other platforms where filmmakers have to wait for accumulated views before they get paid or get a particular percentage, after which they lose the right to their films, Smart Contract helps the filmmaker get paid directly without any third party intervention�. With the revolutionary flagship NollyTV, movie producers can now upload songs on the blockchain network, execute Smart Contracts to ensure fair payment to all collaborators in the movie production chain, and movie fans can now watch movies with Nollycoins. “We are excited to be the first in Africa. We are creating an ecosystem, which is the NollyTV online streaming, where Nigerians can now use Nollycoin to watch movies in cinemas. It would be kicking off with a blockbuster Nollywood movie in Ozone Cinemas in July, which would be announced soon,� said Banwo.

Dr. Ope Banwo




the magazine for teenagers

Torch Bearer Teenagers Shouldn’t Own Smart Phones – MUDI Africa His name rings a bell and his edifice (the MUDI Africa Complex) speaks volumes about his taste and class. From a one-room apartment in Ketu, Lagos - which doubled as home and office – he rose to become one of the biggest names in the fashion industry in Nigeria and Africa. With an impressive track record of over 25 years, an intimidating list of high-profile octane clientele and branches all over Africa, Clement Mudiaga Enajemo, the man behind MUDI Africa, stands tall as our torchbearer for today. In this interview with Nkechi Ibeneme, he tells the story of his rise from grass to grace


hat was growing up like? I grew up in a town called Ughelli, in Delta State. I was born into a polygamous family. My father, who was a local contractor, married nine wives and had 27 children. My mother, a food vendor, is the fifth wife and she had nine children, with me as the fifth. So, you can imagine how that played out. My mum was somewhat comfortable because, her food business thrived and she did her best to make sure we were okay and that we went to school. But, I made up my mind early enough to seek greener pastures outside Ughelli. So, on completion of my secondary education, I left for Lagos and there has been no looking back ever since. How old were you when you left

Ughelli for Lagos? I was 22. That was in 1990. Were you already making clothes before then? No, I didn’t even think of that. Though I was very fashionable and creative, I didn’t think in that direction. When I arrived in Lagos, I got a job at a factory at Ikosi, Ketu area. But, along the line I was retrenched. It was after I lost the job that I discovered the fashion designing aspect of my life. How did it happen? After I lost my job at the factory, things got very tough that I lived off goodwill. Then, any time my friends wanted to go and buy clothes in the market, they took me along to help them choose what clothes to buy - I was that fashionable. One day, two of my friends asked me, Mudi, why don’t you go and learn sewing? Or don’t you think you’d make a

good fashion designer, with your fashion sense?’ I took that suggestion as a divine directive and quickly went and registered with a tailor where I learnt to cut and sew for nine months. That was the beginning of the journey. How has the journey been so far? Well, I thank God for where he has brought us. It wasn’t easy at the beginning. When I started, I was living in a one room apartment in that house (pointing to a photograph on the wall), at Ketu. That was where I started. I would design clothes, take it to offices to sell. From there, I would get new orders. One day, as I went to an office as usual, Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) saw me and really liked the clothes I was putting on. When he enquired and was told that I was a designer, he wanted to meet me. But I had left. So he left a word with the receptionist that I should see him any time I came around.

I would say that my meeting with RMD was the game-changer. His clout in the movie industry helped the image of my designs and he also helped with my savings by agreeing to hold on to my withdrawal booklet for me so I couldn’t go to the bank to withdraw indiscriminately. I was very frugal with money and I shunned parties. I had zero social life because I saved every kobo I could and worked really hard in order to succeed. Despite that, it took me four years to save enough money to rent a one room shop at Anthony (the same area where his magnificent head office is located). After I got the shop, I didn’t have carpet to put on the floor and I had no fan either. It took me another four months to buy those items. Did you feel like quitting at some point? Never! The drive to succeed was greater than whatever difficulty I encountered. I set my eyes on the goal and never ever thought of quitting. There was a day I got back home demoralised and depressed due to a disappointment I had suffered. My friend who was squatting with me in my one-room apartment then, called me and said; ‘Mudi, this thing wey you dey do, naim you go take buy car?’ He wanted me to dump tailoring and enter the ‘fast lane’. But, I refused to be swayed because I knew that with hard work and dedication, I would succeed someday. How many outlets do you have? Apart from this office (the head office, where the interview held), I have another outlet in Lekki, then, Abuja and Port Harcourt. I also have outlets in: Accra (Ghana) Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Dakar (Senegal), Nairobi (Kenya), and Johannesburg (South Africa). What are your plans for the future? The future belongs to God. I will just keep doing what I do and allow God to work it out, the way He worked out this complex for me. This complex (his head office) came by divine intervention. Having conquered Africa, do you have plans of opening outlets in other continents? Africa is a huge market with limitless potentials. I may eventually launch out but I’m concentrating on the African market for now and it is quite huge.


Teenagers are known to play pranks, could you recall one naughty thing you did as a teen that landed you in trouble? As teenagers, we used to go and help out after school in my mom’s restaurant.. There was this cake they sold in Kingsway stores in Warri then which I liked



Mudi Africa House

so much. So, every now and then, I would steal three naira (N3) from my mum’s drawer and travel to warri to buy the cake for one naira. I would pay one naira to Warri and one naira back to Ughelli. One day, my mum caught me and told my dad. I got the beating of mylife that day. From that day, my cake party ceased. Fear no gree me try am again (general laughter). Do you have any regrets in life? Not at all! I believe that whatever happens in life happens for a reason. Many people think that not getting a university education is a minus. But I don’t think so. Education is good no doubt, but it is a means to a good end, not an end in itself. Many people after graduation roam the streets endlessly in search of jobs. After a while, they get depressed and go into crime or get into trouble in their quest for greener pastures abroad. We are all witnesses to the Libya incidents. What is the use of the education then? Even while in school, I encourage people to identify their talents and pursue them. If given the opportunity, what would you do differently? Nothing! I am grateful that my adventure paid off. What has been your staying power? I would say creativity, passion, discipline, and plenty of hard work. I put in a lot of hard work and it paid off. Even now, I have not slowed down. I am always in my office 7 a.m on the dot everyday and I don’t get to leave until the job is done. If there’s the need to work overnight, I don’t hesitate to do that. If not clothe designing, what else would you be doing? I would be making furniture. I love creating things. Do you see yourself going into furniture making in the future? That is a possibility. Anything is possible. But, for now, I am concentrating on clothes. What advice would you give to a teenager who wants to become a successful clothes designer like you? First, he or she must be creative and must have the passion and drive to push through because it is not easy to succeed in anything with lackluster attitude. The person must be disciplined and

hard-working. All these attributes must go together. When I was building my business, I had no social life and that really helped me. If I had been going to parties, I wouldn’t be able to focus and I wouldn’t have been able to save to grow the business. Even now, my work comes before any other thing and my clients are my priority. As a matter of fact, my work is my first wife. You will turn 50 this year, how are you going to celebrate? I am still thinking of what to do. I really don’t think I should throw a party. I’d rather give back to the society. I am thinking of something that will affect lives positively; something that will put a smile on people’s face. What ďŹ nal word do you have for teenagers? I wish they can minimise their social media involvement and concentrate more on productive things. Honestly, social media is causing a lot of havoc among teenagers. Some of them cannot put down their phones for a second and it is bad. When we were that age, we got up in the morning and made our beds and did other chores. But what do we have these days? Teenagers who don’t want to do anything because they are too busy with their phones. Send them to buy tomatoes in the market, they will be pressing phone and won’t even know when the tomato seller packs rotten ones for them. While cooking, they are pressing phone, and more often than not, the food gets burnt. If I have my way, no teenager should have access to a smartphone, – there is time for everything. What word do you have for parents? Today’s parents pamper their children all in the name of making them ‘ajebo’. You give a child a smartphone and you do not monitor how he or she is using it. You hold a 12-year-old by the hand while crossing the road and you expect him or her to grow up? Parents should be firmer with their children and allow them some space to grow up. They should apply more discipline as well. t5PSDICFBSFSJTBNFOUPSTIJQJOJUJBUJWFPG UIF5FFOT$POOFDU.BHB[JOF*UTIPXDBTFT NFO XPNFOBOEZPVUITXIPIBWFEJTUJOHVJTIFEUIFNTFMWFTJOUIFJSDIPTFODBSFFST BOEUFMMUIFJSTUPSJFTUPJOTQJSFUFFOBHFST 8BUDIPVUGPSNPSFUPSDICFBSFST

Younger Mudi







THE ALTERNATIVE with Reno Omokri Buhari’s Offer to Help Ghana: When Old Age Does Not Equate with Wisdom


hat possessed President Muhammadu Buhari to go to Ghana for the 71st Independence Anniversary and promise them to help fight corruption? Does the President not have sane advisers? My grandmother is Ghanaian and if I wanted to, I could qualify for Ghanaian citizenship. I know my people. They do not suffer fools gladly. You should have seen the way Ghanaians ravaged President Buhari after his faux pas. Ghana is #81 on this year’s Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, while Nigeria is at #148. My question to President Buhari is how can you help a nation that is less corrupt than yours to fight corruption? It is like a demon offering to deliver a pastor! That is how the same Buhari disgraced Nigeria after the 2016 Munich Shooting by promising to help Germany fight terrorism. Imagine Nigeria that is rated as the 4th most terrorized nation in the world, wanting to help Germany, one of the least terrorized nation, to fight terrorism. Who should help who? Buhari should be in a retirement home, not at our Presidential Villa. Would President Nana Akufo-Addo have brought back a notorious fugitive who just happens to be the biggest thief in the civil service? Would he have reinstated him and given him double promotion? Would President Akufo-Addo have retained a Secretary to the Federal Government who was caught red-handed pilfering funds that belonged to Internally Displaced Persons? Would President Akufo-Addo do nothing when a leaked memo revealed that $24 billion worth of contracts had been awarded by the state oil firm without due process? Would the Ghanaian President appoint a minister who was indicted by a panel of inquiry? A former governor who claimed to have spent $500,000 on a one-day dinner for a Nobel laureate? In fact, let me address the Ghanaian President directly. Dear President Nana Akufo-Addo, I gather President Buhari promised to teach Ghana how to fight corruption. Transparency International says corruption has increased in

You should have seen the way Ghanaians ravaged President Buhari after his faux pas. Ghana is #81 on this year’s Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, while Nigeria is at #148. My question to President Buhari is how can you help a nation that is less corrupt than yours to fight corruption? It is like a demon offering to deliver a pastor!

President Buhari at Ghana independence celebrationat 61st Independence Anniversary...recently

Nigeria under Buhari! Is this your teacher? If anyone should be teaching anybody, it would be President Akufo-Addo who should teach President Buhari. Have you ever heard him speak? His diction and elocution would make you proud to be an African. His academic qualifications are intimidating. And his courage is legendary. Look at the way he confidently and politely told off French President Emmanuel Macron when the latter visited Ghana recently and thought he could speak down to African leaders as usual. Perhaps Macron thought that Nana was Buhari! Based on academic record, Buhari won’t even be hired to manage a KFC outlet. Based on business record (his 150 cows that don’t increase) he won’t qualify for a bank loan. He also failed as a military leader, yet, Nigerians expect this man to prosper Nigeria! It is like expecting a man who could not pass mathematics to teach you how to pass additional mathematics. Spin him however you like, the fact remains that you cannot point to one thing in his life that Buhari has run successfully. I apologize in advance to Buharists, but truth is bitter! There is no area in which President Buhari can be in a position to teach Ghana. Is it the economy? He has failed woefully in that regard. Does he want to teach Ghana how to take their economy into recession? The greatest myth of the Buhari era is that he has been a success in the war against terror. Big lie. Turns out that the man has been negotiating with Boko and possibly paying huge ransoms to them to achieve the cosmetic successes he boasts about in the anti-terror war. All those so-called ‘repentant’ Boko Haram fighters were not all released because they had disavowed terror. No! Many of them were released in exchange for hostages taken captive by Boko Haram. It is also strongly suspected that Boko Haram’s resurgence is the result of ransoms paid to them by the Buhari administration. A good example is Shuaibu Moni, a Boko Haram commander captured by the gallant men and women of the Nigerian armed forces and released by the ungallant Commander-in-Chief, President Buhari. Now the man has surfaced in a new video, threatening the Nigerian state. He can

be seen in this video surrounded by wellfed fighters brandishing expensive and sophisticated weapons probably bought with the ransoms allegedly paid to Boko Haram by the Buhari administration. Like Nigeria, Ghana also experienced killings by killer Fulani herdsmen, but unlike Nigeria, Ghana dealt with the issue decisively. President Akufo-Addo famously gave a shoot at sight order on any cattle found grazing on farmlands. Not done, he gave an order to shoot on sight any armed Fulani herdsman. So effective were his orders that in January 2018, Fulani elders in Ghana were shown on television, begging the government to give them a grace period of just two days to evacuate their remaining cattle. The video is still available on YouTube for those who care to watch. Meanwhile in Buhari’s Nigeria, the representatives of herdsmen have the guts to go on television to justify herdsmen killings without fear of being arrested. Prominent members of Buhari’s government have openly made statements showing obvious bias in favour of killer Fulani herdsmen and the killings continue without let even as President Buhari gives empty assurances that he would stop them. One of the upper cuts that President Buhari received from Ghana was from Ghanaian comedian, Afia Schwarzenegger, who asked the President to get a bible and read Mathew 7:3-5. Let me help the President with that verse: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5 King James Version). Perhaps I should have put it in cartoons since the President’s spokesman told us that is what the President prefers

to read. So what then does Buhari have to teach Ghanaians? Thankfully, after frolicking in Kano while his nation is in mourning, President Buhari has decided to visit those frontline states currently struggling with insecurity chiefly caused by killer Fulani herdsmen. I must commend President Buhari for following the example of Governors Wike and Fayose in visiting Taraba, Benue and other states gripped by killer Fulani herdsmen killings. If President Buhari can’t show good leadership, at least he has shown that he can be a good follower! Well done! But it seems that the more Boko Haram kills, bombs and abducts, the more Buhari claims to have defeated them. Is Buhari an ostrich that buries its head in sand? Wake up sir. You run a more corrupt and less secure government than the PDP according to international ratings agencies! Let me end by saying that President Buhari, who is 76 years old this year (his football age), has taught me a lesson about equating old age with wisdom. It is foolish to equate wisdom with age. For most people, age comes alone. Not everyone who is older than you is wiser than you. My advice to President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana in the light of President Buhari’s offer to mentor him is that when seeking a mentor and counsellor, look for someone wise, not someone old. Absalom followed old Ahotophel’s advice and he was destroyed, and David took young Abigail’s counsel and he was saved. At age 30, Joseph gave Pharaoh the advice that saved Egypt. Never confuse age with wisdom! Reno’s Nuggets Courtesy is never wasted. Always be courteous to people of low status. Don’t treat a gateman, a cleaner or a waiter like dirt. Respond when they greet you. Even greet them first. How you treat those who can’t help you is how God will treat you. It was a prisoner that God used to make Joseph the Prime Minister of Egypt. It was Naaman’s house maid that introduced him to Elisha who God used to cure his leprosy. It was how he treated Lazarus that sent the rich man to hell. There is nothing like a high or low man. Only statuses are high or low. But we will leave our status on earth when we die #RenosNuggets.





Collection by Maju




By Azuka Ogujiuba

‘Sisterhood’ Collection by Maju


he season of love is upon us. What better way to celebrate than with the love between sisters! A sister is a best friend from birth and God’s way of proving that he doesn’t want us to walk alone. Known for celebrating womanhood, female fashion brand, MAJU, presents: SISTERHOOD. The campaign highlights the bond shared between sisters and embraces the unique personalities of each sister pair. From clean lines and colour blocking to prints and pastels, there’s a look for you and your sister. In celebrating sisterhood, the campaign features sisters; Taiye and Kehinde Awoniyi, Renée and Nadine Audifferen; Tito Akomolafe and Wendy Akomolafe-Kalu – everyday women excelling in their fields with a strong bond of sisterhood. The collection is available for immediate purchase at www. Credits Photography & Creative Direction: Anny Robert @ anny_robert Muses: Kehinde Awoniyi @keniawoniyi, Taiye Awoniyi @ mtawoniyi, Renée Audifferen @reneeaud, Nadine Audifferen @nadineaa_, Tito Akomolafe @pweetywings & Wendy Akomolafe-Kalu @wendya_ Styling: Oyinade Williams @naddiewilliams Make Up: Honeys Touch @honeystouch & YNK Hair: Good Hair @goodhairltd Hair Styling: Jordan Olu @jordanolucuts




Re: Wither Nigeria: National Or State Police?: My Thoughts Anthony Osas Okungbowa Esq


he write up on the above subject by Sunday Ehindero published in this Newspaper on Thursday, February 22, 2018 made an interesting reading. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Ehindero, who is a former InspectorGeneral of Police had strong arguments against the establishment of State Police and he put them forward powerfully and with the efficacy of a dutiful Police Officer that he once was. The issue of the propriety or necessity of the State Police has been oft-debated. Several arguments have been canvassed for and against with each side struggling to outdo the other. However, Mr. Ehindero introduces into the discourse, a fresh dimension from the standpoint of an informed participant in Police Affairs in this Country at the highest possible level. His arguments are passionately presented and lucidly delivered and, importantly, a sense of patriotism is clearly discernable in the write up. The purpose of this piece is to contribute to the issue, taking the arguments and positions of Mr. Ehindero as the foundation for this contribution. First, Mr. Ehindero posits that the existence of the State Police means the absence of a National Police Force and that accordingly, Sections 214 and 215 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, will have to be amended. In fact, he recommends that the latter subsection has to be deleted from the Constitution. There is no doubt that Section 214(1) which provides for the establishment of one Police Force for the entire Country and prohibits the existence of other Police Forces in the Country requires amendment to allow the States own and maintain their Police Forces. However, I do not agree that the State Police Forces can only exist to the exclusion of the Federal Police. I am of the view that to be effective, a law must be a product of and take cognisance of the sociological peculiarities of the people to whom it applies. The idea of the State Police, in the first place, is a product of this fact. The clamour for it, is, basically, the overall result of a general displeasure about the way and manner the existing single Police Force has been put to use in the past and its failure to respond adequately to the security needs of the people at critical times. Issues come up within a State and the Police is sometimes reluctant to act on the instructions of a State Governor who is said to be the Chief Security Officer of a State, simply because the necessary instruction has not come from “above�. Lives and property have been needlessly endangered and, in many cases, lost to this failure in the past. Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, provides that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government; ...�. In Section 318(1), “Government� is defined to include “the Government of the Federation or of any State, or of a Local Government Council or any person who exercises power or authority on its behalf�. It is therefore beyond polemics that the duty of providing for the security (and welfare) of the people of Nigeria is a shared responsibility among the Federal Government, State and Local Governments. It should actually be a product of partnership among the tiers of Government. But the current situation where the Federal Government owns and controls the Police Force while the States are practically compelled to provide for their needs is unacceptable. In essence, it is practicable to have a mutually inclusive Police System where the Federal Police Force exists side by side with the State Police Force. However, while each Force is constitutionally accorded its distinct area of operation, it is also imperative that provisions are made spelling out areas of co-operation or collaboration or joint operations between the two Police Forces. Indeed, there can be

Ehindero (rtd.) was the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police from 2005 – 2007. nothing wrong with pulling the personnel and other resources of more than one State Police together with that of the Federal Police Force at times of serious security emergencies. To deal with such situations, jurisdictional provisions should be loosely crafted to allow the Police Force of a State engage in joint operations with that of another State and the Federal Police on the invitation of the Police Force of the State in which the emergency occurs or exists. I agree with the former IGP that with a reworked Police Force concept, it is impossible to retain the provisions of S.215(4) as they are. For clarity, the entire subsection provides: “Subject to the provisions of this section, the Governor of a State or such Commissioner of the Government of the State as he may authorise in that behalf, may give to the Commissioner of Police of that State such lawful direction with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public within the State as he may consider necessary and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with these directions or cause them to be complied with; Provided that before carrying out any such directions under the foregoing provisions of this subsection the Commissioner of Police may request that the matter be referred to the President or such Minister of the Government of the Federation as may be authorised in that behalf by the President for his directions�. The intendment behind the subsection, especially the proviso thereto, is inconsistent with and antagonistic to the concept of a reworked Police Force that has as its component, the State Police. One important factor that must be considered in reworking the Police concept in Nigeria is to bear in mind the fact that not all the states in the Federation have the wherewithal, in terms of resources and manpower, to establish their Police Forces. It should be possible for States that do not have the requisite capacity to continue to have resort solely to the Federal Police in their security arrangement. Provisions for the establishment of State Police Forces should therefore be crafted in such a way as to make it optional (not compulsory) for States to establish their Police Forces. In doing so, we can take a cue from provi-

sions of Section 280(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, for the establishment of the Customary Court of Appeal. The Sub-section provides that only States which require such Courts may establish them. So, if there is a State which is not buoyant enough or is not faced with security challenges which the Federal Police cannot handle, such a State should be able to decide not to have its own Police Force. Of course when the dynamics change, the decision of the State can also change. Mr. Ehindero made the strong point that the creation of State Police can be an invitation to secession and disintegration. He added that “the danger in our democracy does not lie in a central Police Force that is too strong but in a Local Police Force that is too weak�. I am afraid I do not agree. There is as much danger to democracy from an overwhelmingly strong central Police Force as from a weak Police Force. In fact, the danger lies more in the former than in the latter. I do not see how the existence of State Police Forces will lead to secession when the power over armed forces remains in the Federal Government. We have never had a Local Police Force in Nigeria. The failed experiment referred to by Mr. Ehindero was never really fully operational. Therefore, at this point in our democratic experience, we cannot pontificate on the consequences of a Local Police Force to our Democracy. On the contrary, we have experienced a strong Central Police Force and are therefore well aware of its ills, inadequacies and failings and I am sure, from this strong vantage point, most Nigerians will agree that our experiences with a strong Central Police Force have not been altogether palatable. This is exactly what has engendered the clamour for change of status quo. It seems to me that the author’s arguments against the State Police actually justify its establishment side by side with the State Police Force so that, the strength of the “strong� Federal Police can complement the “weakness� of the Local Police. However, it cannot be taken for granted that the Local Police will be weak. There are states like Lagos (which today is the 6th largest economy in Africa) that have the capacity to establish a Police Force that

can rival, and perhaps even surpass the Federal Police in terms of quality and personnel. The giveaway point from this write-up is that efforts should be made to ensure that Police Forces are not just set up by State Governments for the fun of it or simply to imitate other States that have the capacity to do so. Perhaps, what can be done is, in addition to providing that only states which actually require a state Police Force should establish it, to set minimum standards for the establishment of State Police Forces in terms of Personnel and resources/ equipment. We can find a way to retain in the National Assembly the power to make laws to set minimum standards for the establishment of State Police Forces which can be reviewed from time to time. This is in view of the fact that policing is a serious security concern that should not be toyed with. It is equally a volatile issue that can have serious multidimensional consequences if mishandled. It is for this reason that everything must be done to ensure that the instrument accorded by the creation of the State Police is not employed to negatively impact on the security system which it is intended to serve and boost. Finally, Mr. Ehindero opines that Police is too expensive to be left in the hands of the States. He also posits that apart from Lagos, Kano, Ogun and some few States, others are unable to even pay salaries of workers and, if I am allowed to conclude it, not to talk of setting up their Police Forces. Let me sound a bit selfish here. I thought Edo State deserves a prominent mention among States in the Federation that are able to pay salaries. I am a civil servant and I am aware that for the past nine years or so, Government in Edo State has, consistently, without fail, paid salaries of civil servants as and when due. Even when things were so bad in the Country recently, Government never failed in this responsibility. The current Administration of Obaseki has continued to make the issue of payment of salaries a top priority, hence, salaries are paid not later than 26th of every month. This is, in spite of so much infrastructural development going on around the nooks and crannies of the State. You need to visit Edo State and see the “miracleâ€? going on. That said, I agree that many States will have difficulty funding their Police Forces. But this fact is not enough to deprive others of the right to do so, if they have the means and their security situations warrant it. Mr. Ehindero concludes that in his opinion, Nigeria is not ripe for State Police. I say No Sir. For me, there is absolutely no problem with the State Police. So long as States are not duty bound to establish them, they have no obligation to deploy resources to do so. In Federalism, every State can develop along its own line and at its own pace according to its leadership and resources. A State is entitled to determine its priorities. If one decides that the State Police is not its concern at the moment, some other may choose otherwise. As long as the Constitution gives this allowance, the hullabaloo about finance/funds with respect to the issue will be a complete non-issue. This piece is not meant to suggest that there are no downsides with respect to the establishment of State Police Forces. Of course, there are. But our experiences with a single highly centralised Police Force, the prevailing security situation in most parts of the Country, the failure of the Police, overtime, to adequately address security issues and its needless partisanship in matters where it should have displayed neutrality and many more, warrant, and, in fact, justify the establishment by States of their Police Forces, that is, for those that can afford and need them. Let’s not forget the capacity of this initiative to generate jobs for the teeming qualified jobless youths all over Nigeria. For me, creating constitutionally, the capacity and enabling environment for States which desire and have the capacity to set up Police Forces to do so is a national imperative. ––Okungbowa is the Permanent Secretary, OfďŹ ce of the Secretary to the Government of Edo State.




If I Were President I Would Disrupt Our Budgeting Process and Get Nigeria Working Again It’s easy to imagine the abstemious politician taking a cursory look at some documents on the shiny, transparent coffee table as he steadied the glasses on the ridge of his nose. A sombre smile on his lips lingers fleetingly as he reminisces about his past, present and future political battles. Atiku Abubakar has walked a chequered path to power. In the build-up to the historical 1993 presidential election, he was edged out as Chief MKO Abiola’s running mate by the Social Democratic Party’s powers that be. By May 29, 1999, he was sworn in as Nigeria’s Vice President – a position he held until 2007. Since that time, he has shown express desire to be Nigeria’s president. His hope is to see a time when Nigerians of different tribes and tongues will see one another as brothers and sisters. As suave as he is, the former Vice President cuts the figure of controversy with some believing that he is more after self-gratification than salvaging a nation said to be undergoing political ravaging. Saying he was forced out of the Peoples Democratic Party, he joined the All Progressives Congress and with just few years spent in that party, he turned in his resignation and returned to the PDP. Just as the public guessed right that he would leave the APC and return to the PDP, not a few feel that he will run for president of Nigeria in 2019. In this interview, Atiku tells Bayo Akinloye what he will do differently if he is the president of the country amidst the country’s current chaos and disruptions. He also talks about the need for the country to be restructured, arguing that restructuring will unite –not dismember –Nigeria


few weeks ago you resigned from the All Progressives Congress and returned to your original party, the Peoples Democratic Party. By doing that you livened up the polity, momentum was in your sprint, that all seems to have ebbed away. What happened? Did you suddenly developed cold feet about your return to the PDP? Cold feet? Not at all. I think what has happened is that some people may have confused an event with a process. Resigning from the All Progressives Congress was an event. Rejoining the Peoples Democratic Party is a process. The law of process is one of the most vital laws of leadership. Worthwhile processes happen over time; they do not happen overnight. You must remember that unlike the APC, the PDP is a party governed by processes. And then on a wider scale, there are other processes that are controlled by the Independent National Electoral Commission. I understand that standards have slipped in the last few years and people expect ad hoc behaviour from the political class. But I come from a tradition of discipline. I had a Facebook live video interface with Nigerians where I announced my resignation from the APC on November 24, 2017. The leadership of the PDP in the North-East geopolitical zone paid a solidarity visit to me on December 3, 2017. I visited the PDP national headquarters on December 5, 2017 where I was received by the party’s caretaker committee including the then caretaker

Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi. I was a participant and major speaker at the December 9, 2017 convention of the PDP. Thereafter, I began national consultations. I was in Ekiti State to confer with the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Ayo Fayose, on January 25, 2018. Between February 1 and 2, 2018, I attended the funeral of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, and was energised by the legacy of that great man and fellow founding father of the PDP. So the issue of cold feet does not arise. If anything, my feet are warm. Let me add that politics is not about delivering activity. It is about having a positive impact and that I have been doing. We are hearing yet again that you are perfecting plans to defect to the Social Democratic Party, the SDP. Can you clarify this once and for all? The SDP? This is news to me. Yes, I was a member of the Social Democratic Party along with Chief MKO Abiola, the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and many other patriots. As a party, we worked with Chief Abiola and helped him win the June 12, 1993 presidential election. However, that party was made defunct by the military on the 17th of November, 1993. I have no plans whatsoever to join any party known as the SDP. I never left the PDP. I was pushed out. I did not go looking to join the APC. It was the APC that came to me at my house on December 19, 2013, appealing to me to join their party because my party, the PDP was factionalised at that time. I am one of the founding fathers of the PDP. I have absolutely no reason to contemplate leaving the PDP as those

As an opposition party, the APC was vocal to the point of exploitation on the issue of the Chibok girls’ kidnapping. They did not cut the Jonathan administration any slack. They criticised that government every step of the way and some may even claim that they undermined the then government’s efforts at resolving that unfortunate incident. So it is rather surprising that a set of people who were so unsparing in their critique of the previous government would be in a situation whereby they have allowed these same terrorists kidnap 110 girls




INTERVIEW Unlike APC, PDP is a Party Governed by Processes... Herdsmen Farmers Crisis Caused by Leadership Failure challenges which caused it to be factionalised have now been fully resolved. You have been at the forefront of calls for restructuring. Do you really believe in it or you merely see it as a vote-getter in 2019? The truth is: many are skeptical about your position on this. How do you convince them that you are serious about it? I have been a consistent advocate for restructuring since 1995 when I was a member of the National Constitutional Conference. My brother in arms in the push for restructuring was the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme. The idea for the six geopolitical zones is a fruit of our restructuring advocacy from that conference. Rotational presidency was another fruit. If I have been consistent about restructuring since 1995, which is 23 years ago, the question cynics should ask is this: Is it possible for a man to pretend for 23 years? I am passionate about restructuring. I believe in it. Restructuring does not mean the dismemberment of Nigeria. Rather, it would lead to a more perfect union for all of us. It does not matter what tribe you come from, you have got the identity of a Nigerian. We must get rid of the unhealthy rivalry that exists amongst our people and create in its place pure harmony. But for this to happen we must build true unity with fidelity to the principles espoused by our founding fathers which were the ground upon which Nigeria was built. The reason we have been having these negative disruptions and periodic chaos is because we have drifted away from those ideals that ensured that between 1957 and 1966, Nigeria was one of the most stable and economically prosperous nations in the world. Harmony does not mean uniformity. This nation is too large and heterogeneous to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather than force all of our ethnic nationalities to have a uniform voice, I believe that the mark of a true leader is the ability to craft a blend of the various voices within Nigeria into a harmonious tune that produces pleasant music that is conducive to unity. Any forced unity that is not founded on justice is a unity of oil and water. They will never mix. But justice is the bonding agent. The glue, if you will, that binds many pages into one book, and if I were to title that book, I would call it ‘Great Nigeria’. This is the only motive behind my consistent call for the restructuring of Nigeria. I vividly remember the healthy rivalry that existed amongst the three regions in early pre-independent Nigeria. Unity founded on justice was the reason for that healthy interplay amongst the three regions. The Western Region was allowed to exploit its resources and they set the pace which was followed and sometimes surpassed by the other regions. Those saying that we should forget our differences and just forge ahead as if they (the differences) do not exist need a reality check from Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Sardauna of Sokoto. The Right Honourable Nnamdi Azikiwe had told the Sardauna thus: ‘Let us forget our differences’ to which Sir Ahmadu Bello responded as follows: ‘No, let us understand our differences. I am a Muslim and a Northerner. You are a Christian, an Easterner. By understanding our differences, we can build unity in our country’. It is this ‘understanding’ that I am championing, using restructuring as the only vehicle that can bring it about. Without this understanding, we will continue taking one step forward and two steps backwards as our very recent history atte sts to. As a Fulani yourself, how do you feel about ongoing security crisis largely caused in many parts of the country by killer herdsmen of Fulani extraction? The herdsmen crisis has arisen because of a failure of leadership. Nations are not

I gave a number of Chibok girls scholarships to school at the American University of Nigeria, Yola. I did this in part because I wanted to reverse the damage done by Boko Haram to girl child education in Nigeria. I condemn these abductions and I urge the Federal Government to take firm action to ensure that it would never reoccur in Nigeria afford personal guards and leave vulnerable girls unguarded? We are spending billions of Naira trying to encourage girls to go to school only to allow them be abducted by terrorists. I gave a number of Chibok girls scholarships to school at the American University of Nigeria, Yola. I did this in part because I wanted to reverse the damage done by Boko Haram to girl child education in Nigeria. I condemn these abductions and I urge the Federal Government to take firm action to ensure that it would never re-occur in Nigeria.


static. They grow and change. Fifty years ago, desertification was not an issue in northern Nigeria. Now it is an issue. The changing environment has placed a great strain on people who live off the land like the herdsmen. Leadership is essentially about anticipating the consequences of these changes. When I gave the keynote speech at this year’s Silverbird Man of the Year ceremony, I addressed this issue. I said Nigeria is caught up in a Malthusian trap where population growth has far exceeded GDP growth. For the specific issue of herdsmen, in my private capacity, I established a company called Rico Gardo that provides animal feeds at very affordable prices to pastoralists so that they do not need to graze their cattle on private lands. This firm has been very successful in reducing herdsmen-farmers clashes in its area of operation. John F. Kennedy said, ‘When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.’ I think our current set of leaders are too focused on the danger side of crisis and are not as focused on the opportunity side of it. Turn this crisis into an opportunity. New challenges require new thinking. If I were to advise the Federal Government, I would counsel them to learn from Rico Gardo. Just as Nigeria has built government and privately owned fertilizer plants, the government should build and encourage the private sector to build animal feeds factories. Sell the feeds to the herdsmen and make money from them. The value chain this industry will create will generate jobs for Nigerians and revenue for the government. But most important, it will end these clashes. I am not telling you of what I have heard. I am telling you of what I am doing. And what I am doing is working in the area where Rico Gardo is operational. My plan for the future is to expand nationwide. However, let me also say that it is a misnomer to use the term ‘killer herdsmen of Fulani extraction’ or ‘killer Fulani herdsmen’. When kidnappers kidnap, we do not identify

them by their ethnicity. We identify them as kidnappers, pure and simple. The vast majority of Fulani people are peaceful and live in harmony with other ethnicities. There may be fringe elements with criminal tendencies. Some may be Fulani. Some may not even be. Let us identify them by their activities and not by their ethnicity. What is your reaction to the kidnap of 110 schoolgirls from Dapchi in Yobe State? Let me paraphrase Oscar Wilde and say that to lose one set of girls to Boko Haram may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose another set, looks like carelessness. As an opposition party, the APC was vocal to the point of exploitating the issue of the Chibok girls’ kidnapping. They did not cut the Jonathan administration any slack. They criticised that government every step of the way and some may even claim that they undermined the then government’s efforts at resolving that unfortunate incident. So it is rather surprising that a set of people who were so unsparing in their critique of the previous government would be in a situation whereby they have allowed these same terrorists to kidnap 110 girls. And not just the girls; I am very sad about the killing of United Nations’ staff and aid workers in Rann. We have also had policewomen abducted by Boko Haram. What would I have done differently? Recently, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Mike Okiro, revealed that 150,000 policemen are guarding various elites and those we know as ‘big men’. If I had my way, I would have recalled all of those 150,000 policemen who are not performing core police duties and send them to provide security for every school in the North-East region. That to me would be a better use of their time and services. We already know that Boko Haram has an agenda to cripple Western education in Nigeria. So how could we have left those schools unguarded? Why should the police be guarding VIPs who can

If elected in 2019 what will be your first action as president? That is a hypothetical question because I have not declared any ambition to run for president in 2019. However, if what you are proposing should happen, my focus would be on jobs. I have ideas on how to make jobs for all a reality and in God’s good timing, I shall make this public. For now, let me just say that I strongly believe that a man who has no hair cannot lend you a comb. It is wishful thinking to expect a man who is unable to create wealth in his private businesses to create wealth for the public. I have been creating jobs in the private sector for over 30 years. Modesty is my nature and is the tradition with which I was brought up. But personally, the employees in my firms number in the tens of thousands. There is no state in Nigeria that is not represented on our payroll. In essence, my first action would be to remove the impediments that militate against job creation. The budgeting process would be disrupted. No more would recurrent expenditure attract the lion’s share. I would reverse this. We would have a budget heavy on capital expenditure. Roads will be built in every state. Mass housing schemes would pop up in every local government area. Railways will be extended to every state capital. Rivers would be dredged to open up the hinterlands of the North. Licences would be given to state governments to begin immediate exploitation of resources in their jurisdictions. I would turn Nigeria into a massive construction project. I will not be doing this for fun. The purpose would be to get Nigerians working again. If our youths are busy building roads, mass housing, power stations, dams and schools, they will not have time to be Boko Haram, kidnappers and militants. Our youths are some of the most intelligent and innovative youths on planet earth. But if we do not give them positive outlets to express their innate intelligence, we can be sure they would express them negatively.



WINTERVIEW Ahmad Farroukh

We Are in Doubt if the Preferred Bidder for 9mobile Sale Met All Conditions Executive Director, Operations, Smile Communications, Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, spoke with Emma Okonji about the sale of 9mobile, expressing doubt whether the preferred bidder actually met all conditions for the sale of the telecoms company. Excerpts:


mile Telecoms Holdings Limited seems to have strong passion for 9mobile. What is your vision and interest to bid for the acquisition of 9mobile? Smile Communications, which is a branch of Smile Telecoms Holdings Limited, is competing strongly in the voice and data space of the telecoms sector and we intend to acquire 9mobile because of the huge potential that the telecoms company has. Although 9mobile is the fourth entrant into the Nigerian GSM space, but the company rolled out strong and became the best among the four GSM companies in terms of the quality of voice and data offering and it was able to maintain that lead position from 2013 to 2017, before it had its financial crisis and it lost that lead position, to become the number two in data and voice quality. So Smile sees that great potential in 9mobile and we want to acquire 9mobile and help its customers to continue to experience the best service quality in voice and data. What we are bringing to the transaction is very simple. Our DNA is in data and we want to combine our DNA, which is in data, with that of the DNA of 9mobile, which is in voice and data, into a single platform from where we will offer customers with rich telecoms experience in terms of quality service delivery. Smile is strong and efficient in data service delivery and we want to bring our strength and put it in 9mobile, in order to reposition the telecoms company to regain its earlier lead position in voice and data services. Your intention to acquire 9mobile could be seen as a collaborative effort. How do you perceive collaboration in the telecoms sector? Collaboration is a global phenomenon and it is key in the telecoms sector. Telecoms operators in other regions are deeply involved in collaboration and consolidation. In Senegal and Ghana for instance, we can see mergers and consolidation among telecoms operators, thereby reducing the number of telecoms operators to about three in each country, and there is need for telecoms operators in Nigeria to also consolidate. NCC should begin to preach consolidation in the Nigerian telecoms industry because it will help operators to become financially stable and innovative. Consolidation is even more important in Nigeria because of the scarcity of spectrum licences that are currently being managed by the NCC. So when there is consolidation, operators can get the best out of the scarce resource in spectrum licences for speedy rollout of telecoms services. Smile Telecoms Holdings Limited recently emerged as the reserve bidder for 9mobile, from among the 16 operators that initially indicated interest to acquire it, but you seem not to be satisďŹ ed with the position of reserve bidder, and you have written a protest letter to challenge the entire bid process. What are the issues? Yes, we wrote the financial adviser handling the sale of 9mobile to express our dissatisfaction in the manner in which the entire bid process was handled, but that is not to say we are


objecting to the bid process. But the truth is that we were shocked to receive a letter on February 21, from Barclays Africa the financial adviser handling the sale of 9mobile, congratulating us that we emerged as reserve bidder in the entire bid process. We were shocked because Barclays had earlier told Teleology Holdings and Smile Telecoms Holdings who were the preferred and reserve bidders respectively, to submit final binding bids on February 26, stating clearly that the preferred bidder should be prepared to make non-refundable cash deposit of $50 million on that same February 26. So we were shocked by the letter dated February 21 that was sent to us by Barclays Africa, congratulating us as the reserve bidder and thanking us for our interest in 9mobile. So we quickly raised a question, asking why Barclays did not wait till February 26 when both the preferred bidder and the reserve bidder must have submitted their final binding bids as preferred and reserve bidders and when the preferred bidder must have paid the non-refundable deposit on that February 26, before sending official letters to the preferred and reserve bidders to announce their positions in the entire bid process. We were also shocked that in the letter sent to the preferred bidder on that same February 21 that we received our letter, Barclays Africa gave the preferred bidder 21-day window from the day the letter was written, to make the $50 million non-refundable deposit, contrary to the initial arrangement that the preferred bidder must show evidence of payment of the non-refundable deposit, that same

day of submitting the final binding bid, which was supposed to be February 26. So we are in doubt whether the preferred bidder met all the conditions before declaring it the preferred bidder, because the conditions as stated by Barclays, were very clear. So what requirements as contained in the document guiding the bid process that the preferred bidder defaulted that makes them ineligible to be awarded the licence for 9mobile? The preferred bidder was supposed to sign the Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA) form after making the non-refundable deposit of $50 million on February 26, but to our greatest surprise, the preferred bidder was announced through a letter dated February 21, even before making the non-refundable deposit and even before the stipulated date of February 26, a situation that gave us room to doubt the transparency surrounding the entire bid process, because for us, the goalpost has been shifted. Again no timeframe was given by Barclays stating the waiting period for paying of the bid money before inviting the reserve bidder to take over the position of the preferred bidder, should the preferred bidder fail to meet up with the stipulated timeframe for payment. What value will Smile Telecoms Holdings bring to 9mobile if it eventually acquires it? We will bring three dimensional values to 9mobile if given the opportunity to acquire it. The first value is that we

The preferred bidder was supposed to sign the Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA) form after making the non-refundable deposit of $50 million on February 26, but to our greatest surprise, the preferred bidder was announced through a letter dated February 21, even before making the non-refundable deposit and even before the stipulated date of February 26, a situation that gave us room to doubt the transparency surrounding the entire bid process, because for us, the goalpost has been shifted are a Nigerian company that is already existing in the Nigerian telecoms space. So we will come with our exiting assets to boost the 9mobile operations. We will seek the permission of NCC to flip our existing 800MHz frequency to 9mobile to enhance its operations. What we are bringing to 9mobile is huge. The 800MHz frequency, which Smile Communications currently operates on, will be added to that of 9mobile to achieve the best frequency ever that will serve the customers better and help 9mobile to come out of its current challenges. Without exaggerating, we are sure to add additional 600 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, into the operations of 9mobile within a space of 90 days, if given the opportunity to acquire it. We will from day one, integrate our existing facilities with that of 9mobile to get the company back to its old good days, when it was the best voice and data telecoms company in Nigeria. 9mobile currently has 500 BTS across the country, and by the time we add our 400 existing BTS and combine it with the 600 BTS that we can provide within 90 days, 9mobile will be having approximately 1,500 BTS, which will match the number of BTS that the largest telecoms operator in the country



INTERVIEW The second value that we will bring to 9mobile is the monetary value. We will bring in fresh millions of dollars from foreign financing outside Nigeria, into 9mobile to pay off its indebtedness to the banks currently has. So should we acquire 9mobile, we will make it competitive from day one with unprecedented speed of service delivery. The second value that we will bring to 9mobile is the monetary value. We will bring in fresh millions of dollars from foreign financing outside Nigeria, into 9mobile to pay off its indebtedness to the banks and also pay off any other group that the company is indebted to, and we will still have enough to invest in 9mobile and make it competitive. Let me tell you that several countries around the world still believe in the Nigeria story and we will reach out to them to get fresh funds to invest in 9mobile. The third dimensional value that we will bring to 9mobile, is about out long standing experience as telecoms experts. I have handled telecoms business in Nigeria, including being the CEO of MTN Nigeria from 2006 to 2011, before I was appointed as Director to oversee the MTN West African operations, before joining Smile Communications. Nigeria has made me what I am today and I am grateful to God and to Nigeria. In Smile Communications and Smile Telecoms Holdings, we have seasoned telecoms experts and we are bringing that expertise to 9mobile if given the opportunity to acquire it. We are convinced that our three dimensional values will make 9mobile a successful company if we are allowed to manage it. The indebtedness of 9mobile is huge. How do you intend to pay the debts and still have money to invest in the telecoms company? Yes we are very much aware of the debt profile of 9mobile and we are capable of handling it. What we intend doing if given the opportunity to manage the telecoms company, is to split the debts and give timeframe to offset them. As for the banks who are the biggest creditors to 9mobile, we will ensure that they do not lose any money. We will enter into agreement with them on the modalities of payment and we will surely pay them. We will come up with debt restructuring for both the banks and the vendors and they will get back their money. With 9mobile, we want to be the best data centric operator in Nigeria and we are sure we can achieve it. It has been observed that when new operators come on board, they come with a lot of promises, but over time their services drop because they will relent in the expansion of their network capacities. What is the assurance that you will maintain a stable network after acquiring 9mobile? We have assuring Nigerians and Nigerian subscribers of a steady growth in the quality of our service delivery at all times. This is true because technology is evolving and we have Radio Access Network (RAN) that allows us to innovate and expand our network. Our 800MHz frequency will also help in adding more capacities to our network to make our service delivery efficient and stable at all times. How many states and cities has Smile Communications covered in its operations currently? We currently have coverage in eight cities and we just reviewed our plans to add additional cities with plans to cover all states and cities in Nigeria in no distant time. There were discrepancies about the actual bid money of $500 million and $300 million that the preferred bidder and the reserve bidder respectively, offered to acquire 9mobile. Could you share what the exact figures are? Honestly I can not share what the pre-


ferred bidder offered to acquire 9mobile, but I can speak about what the reserve bidder offered because that is information about the company where I work. But what was published in newspapers about the bid amount from both the preferred and reserve bidders is not correct. I cannot substantiate the figures but none of the bidders offered up to the amount quoted by most newspapers. If peradventure they offered to pay as much as $500 million and $300 million and after two years they run out of cash to fund the business, what will happen to the business. So, such figures as quoted in the newspapers were unrealistic, because operating a telecoms business in itself is capital intensive, coupled with the huge debt profile that is hanging on 9mobile. Was there a reserve bid price for the auction of 9mobile, as it was with past auctions in the telecoms sector? There was no reserve bid price. Every bidder was given the opportunity to make its offer, based on the prospects and liabilities of 9mobile that were disclosed to all bidders during the bid exercise. You spoke about consolidation among telecoms operators. Would Smile Telecoms Holdings be willing to merge with Teleology in the spirit of consolidation, if Teleology is unable to pay the necessary fees to acquire 9mobile? In terms of market consolidation, I cannot speak for the other party if they will want to consolidate. Again I do not know what their business plan is, so I cannot even speak on whether we will be willing to consolidate with them. In terms of consolidation, it depends


on their business model and the value they will bring, because we are not considering money put on the table before accepting or rejecting consolidation. Money is not everything about the telecommunications business. NCC did financial health checks on all telecoms operators in the country and discovered that 90 per cent of telecoms operators in the country are not financially stable. Is this applicable to Smile Communications? NCC’s finding on the weak financial strength of telecommunications operators in Nigeria is absolutely correct, but the challenge can be traced to what befell the country in 2016, when the country slipped into recession. The effect did not only show on telecoms companies, but on all businesses across all sectors of the Nigerian economy because it was a national issue. After Nigeria came out of recession in 2017, businesses are trying to recover, including telecoms business. I understand the Nigerian market very well and I can speak authoritatively about the market as it relates to telecoms business. NCC should be applauded for carrying out the financial health check, which clearly shows the financial status of every telecoms business operating in the country. NCC recently came up with the idea to license the 60GHz spectrum band. Is Smile prepared to bid for this spectrum, and what value will the spectrum bring to telecoms business? We may not be interested in the 60GHz spectrum, but licensing of spectrum is good for the telecoms industry because it will help to address the scarce resources in spectrum administration. Yes spectrum

We will bring three dimensional values to 9mobile if given the opportunity to acquire it. The first value is that we are Nigerian company that is already existing in the Nigerian telecoms space. So we will come with our exiting assets to boost the 9mobile operations. We will seek the permission of NCC to flip our existing 800MHz frequency to 9mobile to enhance its operations. What we are bringing to 9mobile is huge. The 800MHz frequency, which Smile Communications currently operates on, will be added to that of 9mobile to achieve the best frequency ever that will serve the customers better and help 9mobile to come out of its current challenges auction is good, but the NCC must ensure that the spectrum is not skewed to a particular operator especially the bigger operators who may see it as an opportunity to push the smaller operators out of business. Small operators are key, no matter their sizes. If NCC allows the smaller operators to be wiped out, then the entire telecoms industry will be in big trouble in the future. Subscribers should be given the opportunity to make their choice of networks and it is therefore important to allow several operators of different sizes and capacities to operate in the telecoms market space. How is Smile Communications getting on with its VOLTE service offerings? We still play big in the Voice over LTE segment of the telecoms business. We have the capacity to offer full Voice over LTE which is the VOLTE service, and as the device ecosystem expands, we also intend to expand our VOLTE services and we are discussing with various original equipment manufacturers to expand the device ecosystem. So we have the capability to offer Voice over LTE. The only limitation is the device ecosystem and we are building on our data and device ecosystem in order to connect more subscribers to our network.



INTERVIEW Ayodele Subair

In Two Years Lagos Will Start Having Uninterrupted Power Supply The Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Ayodele Hamzat Subair believes that the only way Lagos can bridge its huge infrastructure gap, in view of the drop in revenue from the Federation Account, is to raise its internally generated revenue. In this interview with Obinna Chima, he defended recent efforts by the government to improve its IGR through the revision of levies such as the Land Use Charge, initiatives by the LIRS to enhance tax administration in the state, and bring more residents into the tax net


ou have been on the saddle for about 18 months. Can you take us through some of the initiatives you have taken to improve revenue generation in Lagos State? Primarily, the initiatives we have taken here since I came on board have centred around leveraging on technology and the key thing has been for us to digitise and make the recording of consumption taxes electronic. In the past, consumption taxes were not remitted on time or under-remitted, so we have started to correct that. Then, we have introduced a contact centre, because we need to carry all tax payers along. So, we have a full-blown contact centre that is in place and it is very interactive. Taxpayers can come in to get better enlightenment and good service delivery. Along with that, we have looked at the introduction of end-to-end tax administration solutions to make operations much more efficient. We have also embarked on a lot of media advocacy and enlightenment. That might not be a new initiative, but we have tried to deepen it though the production of documentaries and short clips which we have sent out through the various social media platforms. There are a lot of social media interactions that are ongoing right now. On many other initiatives, I am not re-inventing the wheel, but I have been trying to improve efficiency. So, in terms of revenue generation, we can say most of the things are basically on auto-pilot and you are carrying on from what your predecessor achieved. A lot of things are on auto-pilot. Unlike other states in the country, the state was able to buck the trend in the sense that despite the recession it still grew its revenue. How was this achieved and what are your revenue targets for this year and next year? In terms of how we have achieved to maintain and even increase revenue generation, it has been a lot of hard work and team effort. Basically, we improved our rate of efficiency through serious re-engineering of our operational processes and that way, we were able to interact more closely with high net worth and key tax payers and that has helped us to move the numbers up a bit. In terms of generation for this year and the previous year, for the previous year, in total, LIRS alone generated about N285 billion. Whilst if you add some of the other revenue generating sources, everything came to about N340 billion to the Lagos State Government. Now, for this year our target for the LIRS alone is N440 billion and for the state, it is about N720 billion. Was that why you introduced the draconian Land Use Charge? et’s look at it historically. Lagos has a huge infrastructure gap and we know we have to reduce that gap and through the workings of the government, the only way you can do that right now is through IGR, especially with the crash of global crude oil prices. There is not much the government can get from FAAC. So, basically, we have to try and raise our taxes within the state. The Land Use Charge is just one of the various types of charges that have been introduced. Now, if we start to catalogue what the state needs to expend in terms of developmental projects, it is huge. And already you can see under the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, he is very eager to try and turn things around in Lagos. There has been a lot of neglect over the past and it has built up for so many years. There is serious under-investment on infrastructural projects. So, to bridge the gap a little bit, we have to diversify the types of taxes and the charges. Unfortunately, a lot of people confuse taxes and levies. Taxes generally are compulsory payments that are made by residents and they don’t have to get a direct benefit from these taxes. On the other hand,


the charges and levies are payments that they make, for which they have direct benefits. But in the long-run, the key issue here is that the old land use charge was a bit defective by the way it was computed. You would see different buildings of similar description having wideranging disparities on the charges. So, there was the need for the increase. Again, the Land Use Charge hasn’t been renewed for about 16 years. So, the government deemed it fit to try and review the law. By between 300 and 400 per cent? Not necessarily. In the past, a lot of property was seriously undercharged. You could see a house on Queens Drive, Ikoyi, that is paying N18,000 and the house is worth probably hundreds of millions of naira or even billions. But now, the formula for computing Land Use Charge has been totally simplified. The only difference is that there is now a market valuation that comes with it. And people are even allowed to carry out self-assessment on the Land Use Charge. The formula is very easy to follow, and market value can be obtained from real estate agents or surveyors. Residents are encouraged to try and work out the Land Use Charge by themselves and pay. Will that be acceptable by the LIRS? It will be acceptable. One can self-assess and pay ahead of the demand notice. And if you have self-assessed, you will qualify for the discount because you paid ahead of time. The good thing about this Land Use Law again, is that everybody has the right to appeal. You can appeal it if you feel that it is an unjust amount. It is very easy. There is a Help Desk at the Lagos State Ministry of Finance and they are willing to listen to everybody. At the same time, there is going to be an appeal tribunal. So, anybody who feels aggrieved can write to the tribunal and get justice. And within that period none of your men will seal off the property? Nobody will seal off your premises within that period. The tribunal almost acts as a court of competent jurisdiction. So, the moment that you file an appeal, everything is put on hold. But still the increment is astonishing? Again, it is not always good to look at percentages because if something had been

very low for many years and then you try to increase it, if you will look at percentage, you might say it is 400 per cent. But if you look at the quantum itself, it might not really be that great. So, let’s not look at it in terms of percentages. Again, the timing is worrisome considering the level of unemployment in the state. From an economics perspective, in an economic downturn, you instead reduce taxes to encourage private sector investment, employment, manufacturing and that way, the state makes more money from the firms and individuals. So, what is the justification for the increase? Like I said earlier, at times we seem to confuse taxes for charges and levies. Now, no new taxes have been introduced. All taxes are legislated at the federal level. The state doesn’t really legislate on taxes. Perhaps, we say industries and individuals are being overtaxed in Lagos. But, it is not entirely true. Generally, if you look at the profiling of our IGR and take it down to what is generated by LIRS, the salaried workers are the ones that are really paying taxes. Seventy to 75 per cent of our numbers come in from Pay-AsYou-Earn (PAYE) and direct assessment. PAYE alone is between 70-75 per cent, while direct assessment which is usually what the high network individuals pay, is about five per cent of our total collection. So, we can see that it is a bit lopsided and really and truly, there has to be other means of this type of taxation. You mentioned that the Land Use Charge. Yes, at the end of the day, the ultimate person who bears the brunt could also be the tenant, but it is really the property owners that we are looking at. But you surely know the property owners would transfer it to the tenants. So, I am wondering if the objective is here to make people homeless or deter investors from establishing businesses in the state? That is not the objective. But like I said, we cannot run away from the fact that we have an infrastructure gap. We are not raising revenue to put up infrastructure, there is also provision for social services. There are all sorts of social services that need to be overhauled. It is a total regeneration as far as the administration is concerned over this issue of infrastructure. Really, if you look at the performance of this administration in

the past two years, there have been a lot of investments in infrastructure. If you go to Lagos East and Lagos West, there is a big impact on the lives of people. If you go to Alimosho, Iju, and several other areas, a lot of roads are being built there, a lot of streets that never saw tar in 20 years are now under construction. This is all about opening up rural and urban areas so as to attract commerce to these areas. Now, in terms of bridges, at Ajah, everybody that lives on the axis can see what happened with the Ajah bridge. It came up in record time in under 18 months and really the traffic time has gone down from between two and three hours, to about 30-35 minutes. There is also the Abule-Egba bridge, there is a Pen Cinema bridge that is coming up. For decades, people who live around Agege, Ogba got home at midnight after closing from work at between 4-5pm. So, by the time that bridge is ready, it is going to free up a lot of the congestion. Then, talking about water, there are a number of water treatment plants that are actually coming up. If you visit the website of the Lagos State Water Corporation, you will see all the good news about what is going on right there. I am sure you have also heard about the embedded power project that is coming up in Lagos. It is estimated at 3,000 megawatts. In under two years, you are going to see the full effect of that. According to all the plans and engagement now, in two years’ time there is going to be uninterrupted power supply in Lagos. That is the promise of the administration and we hope it will be fulfilled. That is because once you can get power, it is going to really transform the whole economic landscape for us. It is going to provide the opportunity for self-employment for welders, vulcanisers, tailors, traders and others to do their work. So, it is not just about generating revenue for Lagos State, it is about creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive and for the Gross Domestic Product of Lagos to grow. Presently, we are the fifth largest economy on the African continent and the target is to try and get to the third largest. Now, these initiatives would always have a multiplier effect all over Lagos and the dividends will abound. In healthcare, there is a lot of work going, the sale with education and security. In many other states, you can’t even go out after 6pm. That is not the case for Lagos. In almost every major street corner, you will see patrol vehicles. All these facilities are provided by the state and it is mainly from the IGR. Also, there is the street lightening project, with street lights all over Lagos. It makes my work easier here when we have a very progressive and active government headed by a very astute administrator. Overall, does this increase and multiplicity of levies not affect the Ease of Doing Business policy in the state? We all know that there is a conscious effort by the federal government on this Ease of Doing Business. In fact, the indices are measured by Lagos and Kano States. And we are very particular about Ease of Doing Business. A lot of the processes have been reviewed and a lot of the processes have been reduced. You talked about multiple taxes, that is under the purview of the Joint Tax Board, of which Lagos State is a member. And there is a serious effort towards the harmonisation of taxes. In terms of duplicity, the real issue here is that Nigeria is a federal state and we have three tiers of government. There is an approved list of taxes and levies which dictates where everybody goes. We at the states cannot overtly influence the work of the local governments. But the state government still dialogues with them all the time, so as to make sure that they are not duplicating the taxes and levies. So, on the part of Lagos, the Ease of Doing Business is very dear to us and we are looking at our processes and some of the charges. Firstly, the government increased the fee at the Lekki toll gate, increased the fee for vehicle



INTERVIEW There is No Hiding Place for Tax Defaulters registration and now the Land Use Charge. Don’t you think the burden is too much for residents in the state? You know why the fee at the Lekki toll gate was increased? Unlike most of the expressways that are tolled, there are a lot of special services that are provided around that Lekki toll gate. If your vehicle breaks down on that Lekki expressway, even at midnight, once you call a number, within 15-20 minutes, you will get help and your car would be towed away at no cost. Then all the street lights must work and there is constant maintenance of the roads. So, somebody must pay for all these.


million was a gross under-valuation. Then, there is the exchange of information agreements that have been signed between a lot of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, and at the end of the day, countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, etc, which are favourite spots for Nigerians to buy property, we are going to get information on all the property owned by Nigerians in all those regions. Also, all the Nigerian contractors that had obtained huge contracts from the federal government and from the states, the data is also being mined. You know, previously, everything was operating in silos. But we are not starting to put everything together and all those big contractors, we are going to see what they have done over the years and we are going to show them what they have declared. And of course, part of the benefits of VAIDS, is that you will get exempted from penalties and interest payments. But after the programme has closed, people would be penalised. Then there is other information that is being mined through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). All the states will also turnout data on key properties to the Ministry of Finance. So, they have records of all the land owners in the states and they are going to look at the income and make a comparison between their income and the tax they pay. So, there is no hiding place for tax defaulters and there would be no sacred cows. Everybody should just be encouraged to complete their VAIDS forms. One can download it from the website of the LIRS.

amnesty programme. But when we got wind of the initiative by the Federal Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, we decided to suspend our own. Now, at the end of the day, we expect that tax culture would grow and Nigerians would see the need to pay tax. It is a social contract. People must pay their tax and expect the government to play its part.

So, who needs a VAIDS form? Any resident of Lagos who has in the past under-declared or not declared income at all should avail themselves of this opportunity by declaring their income in the past six years. Part of the information on the VAIDS form is the information on all properties owned by such persons.

Still on the VAIDS, are you in talks with the federal government on the implementation of the initiative? It is a partnership between the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Inland Revenue Service and all the State Internal Revenue Services. We were all there and we were involved from the inception of the whole process. We are still dialoguing constantly. It is something that we all need to cooperate on because the corporate bodies report to the FIRS and all individuals report to the LIRS or other State Inland Revenue Services. So, we cannot but be part of it. I am urging all taxpayers to take advantage of the VAIDS because it is a time-limited opportunity. It ends on 31st of March and there has been a lot of response from members of the public.

The target under VAIDS was to generate $1 billion by the end of the amnesty period. Do you think this will still be met? Well, feelers from the FIRS show that a lot of money has come in. We are hoping that the target would be met. In the different countries that had embraced the amnesty, their tax system has always been better off. Apart from the target to be collected, it is for us to grow the tax culture which hitherto has been very poor. Our tax to GDP ratio is six per cent, whereas we have neighbouring countries and South Africa with more than 20 per cent. So, we are hoping that through this programme, a lot of people would start to understand that social contract better and see the need to contribute their own quota. Apart from being a civic obligation, it is the law. Everybody is expected to pay taxes. So, the social contract says we should pay our taxes and the government is expected to judiciously expend those taxes so that people get benefits. In Nigeria, we call it dividends of democracy, especially through developmental programmes and the provision of key social services.

Do the massive projects in the state go through the Procurement Bureau? We have a public procurement bureau and every expenditure must go through it. Even our expenditure here goes through it. A few years ago, the Ogun State Government said Lagos was owing it monies said to have been collected by Lagos as PAYE from workers resident in Ogun, but working in Lagos. Has that matter been finally resolved? There is a lot of dialogue going on between the two state governments. If I come down to our own level here at the LIRS, all our staff that work here, but live in Ogun State, the LIRS remits to Ogun State. Now, what you are talking about is that there was an accumulation at some point. But currently, there is a lot of payment that is going to Ogun State. The JTB, which is a body that harmonises disputes between the states has been involved in the whole process. So, a lot of things need to be verified and so we need to be very careful. But it is an ongoing exercise. Lagos is alive to its responsibilities. Can we know the exact amount that is outstanding? Unfortunately, I cannot give you the exact amount that is outstanding. It is outside my purview. It is actually the state treasury office and the Commissioner of Finance that can answer that. But to the best of my knowledge, I know there is ongoing dialogue and I know that a lot of resolutions had been made and I know that a lot of payments have been made. Tell us what you are doing to bring the large percentage of Lagosians that are in the informal sector into the tax net? The management of that informal sector has been very challenging. In fact, in most nations, the informal sector has been very difficult to manage, more so in Nigeria where we don’t have credible data. The key problem with the informal sector is that of data. Secondly, a lot of those in the informal sector are highly mobile. They are here today, and within three months they are off to somewhere else. And we don’t have a national identity card scheme. Take for instance, in South Africa, the moment you are born, you get a Tax Identification Number and you use that for life. If we have such a system here, it would really help us. But we don’t have the necessary data. That notwithstanding, under my administration, we are doing a lot of studies and we are doing a lot of work. We are about to start the implementation of a plan whereby we are also going to leverage on a lot of technology and we are also going to work with some partners. That is, we are also going to work with some private sector professionals so that we can increase our level of enumeration and bring a lot of these hitherto non-taxpayers into the tax net. We have also applied other strategies such as the presumptive tax regime, which is like a penetrative strategy to bring them into the tax net. Under this strategy, we agree for them to pay a fixed amount, let’s say about N4,000 or N5,000, just to bring them into the tax net and subsequently we are supposed to be able to profile and assess them based on their real income. Already, we have started seeing a little bit of results as collections from the informal sector has started to climb up a bit. By the time we bring our full plan to bear this year, we are going to see the numbers really increase. You said earlier that right now PAYE accounts for 75 per cent of total taxes, so what makes up the remaining 25 per cent? PAYE brings in about 70-75 per cent of total LIRS collections. In total, it brings in 55 per cent of the state’s IGR. Direct assessment brings in another five percent which are the high net worth individuals (HNIs). It is not as if the HNIs do not pay taxes, but a lot of them hide under the umbrella of their corporate organisations. They prefer to remit PAYE rather than to be assessed directly. Now, we don’t have a problem with them coming under PAYE, but we expect them to complete our Form ‘A’ and declare all their sources of


income such as rental income and investment income. These are supposed to be captured as part of their income. So, what they tend to do is just to file under PAYE. Going forward this year, we are seriously going to change that. There is going to be a paradigm shift in that regard and we are going to compel every resident in Lagos to complete the Form ‘A’. Part of the initiative which I should have told you earlier is that we are digitising the process of getting the Form ‘A’ so that people can go online, complete the form and they would get an acknowledgement in the form of a receipt. In addition, we also have about five per cent coming in from tax audits. Every year, almost every company operating in Lagos is visited for tax audit and from that we assess the true amount that they ought to have remitted, with penalties imposed on those that appear to have underpaid. So, that makes up five per cent of our collections now. Then we have stamp duties, withholding taxes and the capital gains tax. So, all those again would account for about five per cent or thereabout. So, that makes up the composition. There is always this highhandedness on the part of LIRS officials who are always in the habit of shutting down the companies of tax defaulters. With the current state of the economy, is that the right approach and shouldn’t there be some flexibility? If you look at it historically, Lagos used to be engaged in sealing off defaulting companies. But under administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, he brought a different angle to it, saying because we are trying to build a mega city, we should not be seen to be stifling growth. Quietly, he has advocated against these closures. But we are starting to look at it because all over the world, nobody wants to pay tax, especially within our enclave. So, the state government and my regime brought in a lot of dispute resolution mechanisms. We have been calling people who even in our books are owing the state for five, six and seven years. Even the ones that have cases in court, we have tried to approach them and urge them to try and settle out of court by sitting down with them to reconcile the amounts. Now, in terms of sealing off, it is only the extremely recalcitrant debtors that are affected, and you cannot do that without a court order, so that it is lawful and it is legal. All over the world, enforcement is a major part of tax administration. In America, people go to jail for not paying their taxes. We can’t send everybody to jail, but maybe when we get one or two defaulters, then others would start to sit up. The statistics are woeful. How can PAYE account for almost 75 per cent of collections? Which informed why the federal government and the states initiated the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). It is all about telling all the defaulters: okay, lets go back six years. All those that have under-declared or have not paid their tax before, come in under an amnesty programme. Before the VAIDS programme came up, the LIRS was actually putting together an

A recent report by the Minister of Finance showed that Lagos has the highest number of HNIs in the country, with VAIDS has that number increased? It was about 213 in total, out of which only 20 were not resident in Lagos. The VAIDS programme started very slowly, but from January, there has been a lot more activity going on. For instance, somebody made an application today (Monday) and has openly declared about N270 million underpayment over the years and he has subjected himself to an audit. We are going to look at the application, we are going to review the correctness or the adequacy of his payments and then we would respond to the applicant. So, there are lots of people coming forward. Some are coming to declare N1 million, some are declaring N100 million, some N20 million, so it is going to be a successful programme. But there is more traction now than what we had at the beginning. In the past four months, there were lots of enquiries, but people were a bit undecided and didn’t know which way to go. Definitely, people are not supposed to look at taking their chances because there is a very high possibility of most of the HNIs being caught up in this programme and being penalised at the end of the day. That is because there is a lot of data mining that is going on presently. There is what is called the lighthouse project that is going on, which involves looking at the data at our disposal. For instance, the National Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) has mined all payments of above N10 million and they are to be reported to the NFIU by all the banks. Also, you cannot tell us that your total income for the year is N2 million and when we look at the NFIU report, your turnover is N2 billion. Yes, it might not be a profit and might not be your income, but at least, it gives an indication that that N2

With increased taxes, levies and charges, the people would now hold the government more accountable and they would be certainly more demanding, wouldn’t that be the case? That will be good for the nation, because in the past when the price of crude oil was high, there was a lot of money coming into the purse of the federal government. But before oil came, we had strong taxation programmes and the government was able to get a lot of money to fund the free education, free healthcare services and others in the past. So, it took the drop in global oil price for us to realise that IGR is very key to our development. So, what has been you experience since you assumed this position? Personally, it has been very fulfilling. My background is accounting and I am a Chartered Accountant. When I was a practitioner, I had a lot of arguments against the the tax administration system. But now that I am on the other side, it has become very interesting. All my frustration as a tax practitioner, I am bringing it to bear to ensure that people have seamless services. We have a lot of training here on ethical behaviour and good relationship management, which is very dear to me. We make sure that we have police that monitor the policemen here too, to make sure that all the sharp practices are reduced, if not completely eliminated. So, it has been a very fruitful experience for me and I am enjoying the job tremendously.




Doing Good is Good for Business‌the SO & U Culture Bennett Oghifo


here is value in giving. Apart from admonishing man to love his neighbour as he loves himself, life’s guiding principle and every known faith proclaims that blessed is the hand that gives more than the one that receives. In corporate circles, the practice has become an integral part of best practices for business sustainability and operations through voluntary programmes and support of social impact causes which positively impact the society and in turn enhance the business interests and reputation of organizations. At SO&U Group, a foremost marketing communications group, there is a corporate understanding that volunteering has a direct social impact on the community. The Group affirms that volunteering and cause support endears the necessary goodwill every organization requires for successful business operations from its host community in order to function effectively and optimally for the stakeholders benefits. Importantly, for it to remain a relevant growing concern. Such endeavor surely establishes it as one that loves its neighbours as it loves itself thereby creating all winner status for both the organization and society. Recently, the Group demonstrated the potency of the universal truth in the value of giving on February 14, 2018, when it decided to Give Love within to its host community. This was the first time, it would undertake an activity at giving but was surely the first anchored on free giving with full participation of all staff members, their friends and family who voluntarily and massively donated food, clothes and household items. The exercise no doubt further promoted the value and culture of giving, and was also a practical proof of the Group’s belief in the social impact of volunteering and giving as an integral part of its corporate culture. Just as many may know that SO&U Group in the years has made a name for itself through the very creative concepts and exciting advertising campaigns for some of the biggest local and international brands. The Group also has a reputation for its unreserved involvement and support of several causes and philanthropy in demonstration business is beyond the sole purpose of making profit the activities of its five subsidiaries namely SO&U Limited (advertising); Soulcomms (engagements and perception management); Maximedia Global Limited (media planning and buying); Vyrus (digital marketing) and Lucid (visual and audio-visual production) and its management team. Through these subsidiaries, the Group has remained actively involved in support of causes and encouraging volunteering amongst its staff in a manner that benefits the society. Some notable causes and organizations the group has been supporting over the last 10 years at the least include the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Special Olympics Nigeria, LEAP Africa, Fate Foundation, to mention a few. This is an easy venture for the Group having been known for years within and beyond the industry as a “Lovemark company� as even the Group Managing Director has strongly lead by example and practices what he preaches. For instance, Udeme Ufot MFR, the group managing director who has the multiple identities and associations beyond being the head of one of Nigeria’s most creative and marketing group. He volunteers and supports various causes,

Femi Adefowokan

including LEAP Africa, of which he is currently the board chairman. He is on the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group after relentless years if service for the country. He also serves as a director of Special Olympics Nigeria and a volunteer facilitator at Fate Foundation. Indeed, he wears many caps. Ufot whose passion for volunteering and support of causes, especially through his expertise is second nature, finds fulfillment in mentoring young entrepreneurs to success and also gives hope through practical assistance to the less privileged. He is a source of inspiration to many young people who see him as a role model and has been able to keep the Group focused on its business sustainability practices naturally. A Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), Udeme remains a leading light in the Nigerian advertising industry, having been a chairman of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and the immediate past chairman of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria. He is also a former president of the Lagos Business School Alumni Association. Biodun Adefila, who is the executive director, brands and client management at SO&U Limited volunteers to the motivation of teenagers as a favourite pastime. She encourages young people to imbibe the natural ingredients that can help them create the future they dream of, which includes determination, self-confidence and a mindset that rejects discouragement by temporary setbacks. Adefila who has thus far had a distinguished career in advertising from Rosabel Advertising, where she cut her teeth as a research and planning executive through Sunrise D’Arcy, where she was a relationship marketing manager, to the SO&U Group which she joined as a senior account executive. She joined the board of the SO&U Group in 2014 and, in her position as executive director, is responsible for formulating and implementing the Group’s strategies for the achievement of set objectives. A Bachelor’s degree holder in Linguistics from the University of Ibadan, Adefila holds an MBA (Marketing) from the University of Liverpool, in the United Kingdom, and also did the Advanced Management Programme of the Lagos Business School in 2016. She is a member

Biodun AdeďŹ la

of the Steering Committee of Women in Advertising (a group within AAAN). For Mojisola Saka, chief operating officer of Soulcomms, volunteering is part of the job. Her involvement in volunteering is two-fold – official and private. She ensures the subsidiary remains actively involved in providing strategic communication and media support to the Nigerian Special Olympics and LEAP Africa. On a personal level, she has, in the last four years, been actively involved in the planning of the annual Nigerian Economic Summit, as a member of the Planning Committee. Mojisola owes her effortless involvement in volunteering to her competence in strategic communication, experiential and direct marketing, as well as engagement and messaging. With training received from some of the best communication schools in the United Kingdom, including the London School of Public Relations and Chattered Institute of Public relations, Mojisola has worked with a highly competent and professional team at Soulcomms to deliver successful communication projects on behalf of the business. A holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, as well as a Diploma in Issues and Crisis Management from the London School of Public Relations, Mojisola has an Advanced Certificate in Social Media Management from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, (CIPR) in the United Kingdom. A member of the CIPR and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), she is an alumnus of the International School of Communications, London. Olufemi Adefowokan is the managing director of Maximedia Global Limited. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Lovelyn Clair Foundation. His involvement in volunteering sees him use the platform of the Foundation to work for the restoration of pride and dignity among the less privileged. Adefowokan, who is committed to the welfare of those on the lower socioeconomic ladder, encourages them to believe in themselves and helps them to work their way out of their present situations through mentoring and counselling. His position as managing director of Maximedia thrusts on him the responsibility to develop new businesses and also handle strategic client services. He also

oversees planning and implementation of agency’s budgets. Adefowokan, who joined the SO&U Group in 2001 as a deputy manager, is an expert in media planning and buying. A member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, his over 20 years’ experience in the industry is evident in his dexterity in negotiating across media within and outside the country. The SO&U Group has been able to demonstrate in practical terms that there is, indeed, need for the promotion of volunteering and support of worthy causes, because of the social impact they have on society. Its Give Love initiative will go a long way in reinforcing its commitment to causes that benefit society, with which it has been identified over the years. Ayodeji Atunwa is the chief operating officer of Vyrus Digital Engagement. He has over the years volunteered his expertise to small businesses, offering branding, creative support and communication services, to achieve sustained growth. Atunwa, who began his advertising career in 1999, leads a team of highly dedicated professionals who have seen the successful execution of digital marketing for household brands like Unilever, Globacom and Tsogo Sun Hotels, among others. He has also brought his expertise to bear in the execution of high profile projects for clients in the oil and gas, finance, manufacturing, hospitality and education sectors Atunwa is a member of the Chattered Institute of Marketing and an Adobe certified expert. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine and Applied Arts (Graphic Design Major) from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; a CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing (with accreditation by CIM), and is a member of the Chattered Institute of Marketing. Abiola Williams joined the SO&U Group eight years ago, and is the chief operating officer of Lucid Audio Visuals. An audio-visual expert trained by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), she is the brain behind popular and award-winning television programmes like the Gulder Ultimate Search, Maltina Dance Hall and Star Quest. She believes that attention to details makes all the difference. That belief is evident in the production and post production projects she has handled.




Niger State Achieving Greatness with ‘Money Tree’ Femi Ogbonnikan


n May 29, 2015, Abubakar Sani Bello became the fifth governor of Niger State at a time recession was threatening to tear Nigeria apart. Not long after, recession actually came. Money from the Federation Account was inadequate to run the governments and m,any tates ran into problems. In In Bello’s enclave, however, lies a natural resource, that has been christened the “money tree� and is capable of bailing out the state to achieve its developmental plan to become the third largest state economy in Nigeria by the year 2020. That resource is the Shea tree. Niger State has the largest collection of Shea trees in the world. It controls about 54 per cent of all the trees in Nigeria, and of the vaunted 325,000 MT of Shea nut and butter exported from Nigeria. Niger State is indisputably assumed to be the Shea capital of the world. The Shea tree really has the potential to turn around Niger State, not only drawing in improved agricultural technology and revenues to make it sustainable but at the same time providing an impetus to the development of the eco-compliant agro, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries in the state. “Now highly sought after for a variety of reasons, including WHO accepted stearin and olein products derivable from its kernel, the Shea tree leaves, fruits, nuts, kernel, cakes and butter are of immense value when properly processed and certified,� says the Niger State Shea Sector Development Programme (NSSSDP), coordinator. However, Governor Bello has recognised

the opportunity and knew that for the state to make headway in harvesting the ‘money tree’, the private sector, he averred, has to be involved. In realising its set objective, Niger State Government therefore appointed a consultant, First Heritage Global Investments Limited, leading a team of experts, to come up with its blue print for exploiting the potentials availed by the NSSSDP. First to come on the stream is the assignment to draw up a Master plan for the expansion of the Shea sector value chain and structuring of a Shea sector economy. The consultants insist that this approach requires a new value chain matrix for the Shea sector, which their experts have now produced to guide the development of the Master plan. That new matrix showing all the opportunities available to Nigerians in the Shea sector has been published already in NSSSDP publications, including its “better life from Shea butter� sensitization flyers. It is said that the Master plan is to address a situation where, although Shea products and Shea based products are sold around the world earning billions of dollars; neither the state government nor the neighbouring communities to this valuable resource derive commensurate value or even benefit. Hence, the NSSSDP has developed an advocacy concerning the work that needs to be done and the paradigm shift that it would entail. This advocacy has already been delivered to the local communities around the Shea trees, the women from which constitute the “primary growers� who harvest from the snake-infested forests during the season with nothing but their basins and bare hands. Under current supply chain structures

used by middlemen, traders and some producers, thousands of the women are formed into some cooperative from the secure supply of nuts to butter extraction, refining to fractionating facilities mainly established outside Nigeria. The advocacy, it is noted, has also been shared with International Institutions, NGOs, relevant Civil Society organisations and Government MDAs. Not left out, other stakeholders, including the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have attended stakeholders meetings at the Minna Technology Centre established by First Heritage as the head office of the NSSSDP. The NSSSDP has been on the road around the Shea tree zone since last year, training, educating and sensitizing the local populace. First Heritage got Ecocert, a globally renowned name in conformity assessment certification for fair trade, Global Gap and organic goods to train a team of consultants, inspectors and auditors in compliance assessment and certification under the NOP, EU and ISO standards. Fair trade certification is required for agricultural products by major retail chains and multinationals because of legislation against slave labour and human trafficking, use of underage children for labour etc. Without certification in this regard Nigerian agricultural goods have been missing a berth in the formal international market and those that are taken at all are therefore undervalued. By the way, Global GAP means Global Good Agricultural Practices. This relates to work place, environmental amd social impacts of the agricultural practices that produce certain products. This is demanded

mostly by well structure African economies and in respect mainly of vegetables. These certifications will open up Nigeria’s Shea products to the high-end formal market for Shea products. No less than 38 people were trained. NICERT Limited (Nicert) has been incorporated and set up to act in conjunction with Ecocert Group to bring these services closer to Nigerian farmers. Consultants are now available to guide farmers on how to comply with these important standards that would open the international market to them and Ecocert through Nicert is now able to conduct the inspection and auditing work that certification requires. Nicertis one of the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that the NSSSDP has registered to aggregate capital and technology for the establishment of three important institutions required to implement and sustain the principles of the master plan. The other two are Ecoshea Limited and Nishea Limited. A progress report by NSSSDP said: “We expect to submit the master plan itself latest by the end of March 2018 and to be in a position by that time to announce that its implementation has recorded some success. More importantly, we want to see some of the principles and concepts proposed in the master plan already in operation during the next Shea season, which would commence in April 2018.� Ecoshea Limited is set up to obtain a concession from the Niger State government to manage a block of the forest of wild growing Shea trees and to demonstrate the profitability, productivity and importance of the “money tree�.


L-R: APC Leader Badagry Division, Prince Rabiu Oluwaj; Chairman, APC Lagos State, Chief Henry Oladele Ajomale; and Vice Chairman of the party, Cardinal James Odumbaku, at the Lagos West Senatorial District APC endorsement rally for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for second term, held in Lagos...recently PHOTO: DAN UKANA

L-R: Director, OďŹƒce of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs. Tinu Adetona; Zonal Director, Zone 8 Eti-Osa, OďŹƒce of Education Quality Assurance, Mr. Fatai Hassan; Deputy Director Zone 8 Eti-Osa, OďŹƒce of Education Quality Assurance, Mr. Bankole Olukunle; CEO, Meadow Hall Group, Mrs. Kehinde Nwani; and Deputy Director, OďŹƒce of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs. Adeyinka Adeniyi, during the presentation of congratulatory message to Meadow Hall for being “Outstandingâ€? in oering Quality Education... recently

L-R: PDP Deputy National Women Leader, Hajia Hadisat Umoru; Convener, Media Women Forum, Janet Mba; Special Guest, Remi Adiukwu-Bakare; former Presidential Candidate, KOWA Party, Prof. Remi Sonaiya; and the CEO, WFM 91.7 Radio Station, Toun Okewale Sonaiya at a media forum mobilising Women for Politics, held at WFM 91.7 Radio Station, Arepo, Ogun State ‌.recently PHOTO: SUN-

L-R: Service Engineer, R.T. Briscoe, Yinka Adebayo; Country Director, Carbon Cleaning, Sope Babaniji; MD/CEO, DKK Nigeria, Tope Jemerigbe; Toyota Workshop Manager, R.T. Briscoe, Rauf Iyiola; Ford Workshop Manager, R.T. Briscoe, Kayode Afolabi, during the demo launch of Carbon Cleaning in Lagos...recently PHOTO: Abiodun Ajala



POLITY Abiola Bashorun

We’ll Create 5,000 Jobs with Ondo Waste

Recently, Ondo State Government gave full concessions of the state waste management to a private firm, ZL Global Alliance Nigeria Ltd. Dr. Mrs. Abiola Bashorun, Chief Executive Officer of the company, in this interview with Femi Ogbonnikan, sheds more light on her plan to improve the waste management system and on the number of jobs to be created, among others

Tell us about ZL Global Alliance? lobal Alliance Nigeria Ltd is a private company which primarily deals with waste management and recycling business. We have presence in five locations in Nigeria. Our biggest transaction is in Ondo State, with Ondo State government; which is our second biggest client, followed by the Kaduna State Government. We are also in Abia, Edo and Rivers states. We have a major regional office in Abuja.


Ondo State government has just given your company concession to manage waste in the state, what are your plans in this direction? We will play a private sector role, and our job mainly is to ensure effective waste management system in Ondo State. Our role is to ensure equipment management and introduction of effective equipment into the system. We are to put in place, world class waste management in the state. Part of our job is to inject and invest capital in the state’s waste management system. And we are to train and employ people for effective waste management in the state.

26 years. They have provisions for all our constructions, with allied local contents. So, 60 per cent of our construction will be given to Ashtrom Tel-Aviv, Israel, while 40 per cent will be given to our local architects in Ondo State. How many jobs do you intend to create? Yes, youths are 60 per cent of the Nigerian populace. Our activities are g p p youth-based outh-based and any company that does not ot look after the youths is not looking after fter the future. We don’t employ people older lder than 37 years, and mostly, we will employ mploy graduates up to Masters’ degree levels evels who are jobless. We will start with 3,500 employments and in the next ext two years, we are looking at nothing othing less than 5, 000 jobs. And these hese will get down to secondary ry school leavers and even JSS SS 3 certificate holders in the state. tate. The overall employy ment in this contract is 20,000 youths. ouths.

How many years’ contract ract do you have with the state tate government? Twenty years. During the period, What will the state government the he Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi benefit from the new arrangement? Akeredolu has directed us to inject The state will benefit a lot. Let us start capital apital into the system for effective waste from the most important; there will be management and salary. We must effective waste management from our also lso provide technical homes. The people of Ondo State will know-how. now-how. An enjoy clean, safer and hygienic environverage person in ment which will lead to healthy living. You average can see the outbreak of Lassa fever, Ebola, Ondo State must cholera, malaria; all these are as a result of understand the basic asic prinn junks generated and accumulated from a ciple iple of waste dirty environment. Waste management management, is divided into desilting of gutters and athering drainages, registration and better control. gathering waste and For better control, we must visit our the he consemarkets and rid them of all forms of dirt; uences of that is just our primary job. Our secondary quences his. Also, job is to create wealth out of our waste and this. hrough we have a slogan to it in our company-”No through our ur waste is to be wasted; waste is raw material”. So, under our waste-to-wealth drive, financial partners artners we package waste with which materials and nd subare refurbished. We have one in Akure idiaries, now and we are also building another one sidiaries, we will in Owo and Ondo towns, respectively. ollect What we will be doing there is to separate collect waste plastic from the waste, soft and hard. The revenue evenue hard plastic will be crunched, palletised for or the and moulded into plastic bucket. There governovernn is also sachet water and nylon, which we ment, will crunch and palletise to make smaller so o no nylon. We usually do that for poverty more alleviation scheme, where we work with cash ash widows and women in the villages. Also, beewe will reuse domestic waste like eba, rice, garri and others, as we introduce our biogas from dustbin, which we will change to electric fertilizer, and that fertilizer will be sold to us again, while the gas from that composition will create bio fertilizer. We have demonstration of this in our office abroad. What is your projected capital injection into the system? We are injecting N7 billion. Our financial partners are Access Bank and others in Nigeria. Internationally, we are partnering with Ashtrom Tel-Aviv Isiat, an Israeli partner, and we have served as their subsidiary in Nigeria for the past

cause caus use

cash can get missing. We will collect payment electronically for the government. The money will go to the government’s coffers and government will pay us. So our partnership with the government is to create an enabling environment to thrive. Government will be giving us very good support in the area of enforcement, sanction, monitoring, to create an effective business environment for us to thrive. The Waste Management Authority g y will be supervising and

monitoring us to make sure we perform and to also ensure people pay their dues, because they have legal rights to sanction. How soon will this agreement take effect? It is with immediate effect. We have started our work. We signed the contract in 2015 under the immediate past administration of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, but it was ap period of election, so we could not really y take off. But now that we have a calm government and political environment, we perfected everything. And I want to thank Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for giving us the opportunity to flourish. What should the people of Ondo State expect from you? They should expect hundred per cent loyalty, to care for them and to keep my promises as par terms of contract and everything we signed, to make Ondo State safer, healthier, greener and the cleanest in Nigeria. I also want to solicit their support and cooperation, so that we can collectively achieve the set goals for the betterment of all.




Osinbajo Erred On Magu’s Portfolio in EFCC Ajayi Bamidele


he attention of notable Nigerians has been drawn to a statement credited to the Nigerian vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, describing Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu as the most senior staff of the Economic and Financial crimes commission, which is false. The lies in the position of the vice president who is expected to uphold the true tenets of democratic principles; to represent the desires of the people in the fight against corruption and injustice - being the scourge that is ravaging the nation’s political system, should be exposed in the interest of the citizenry. The much-expected protection of the rule of law and respect for the three arms of government should prevail over the jaundiced comments of the vice president, who has compromised himself with his tenacity to protect the embattled acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Maju. The statement of the vice president was an indication that the present administration was bent on sticking with an individual who the Nigerian Senate declined to confirm as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC. Contrary to what the vice president said, Mr. Magu Mustapha Ibrahim happens to be the most senior police officer posted to serve in the EFCC on secondment, but that does not make him a staff of the commission. Setting the record straight, the EFCC is an establishment of an Act of the National Assembly, and the Commission has 3 internationally recognized and trained serving directors - position that is equivalent to Assistant inspector General of Police (AIG) in the Federal civil service ranking.


Suffice to say as well that the Commission has at least 20 serving deputy directors who are staff of the EFCC, a rank that is equivalent to that of a Commissioner of Police (CP) in the Nigerian police Force. The Commission also has additional 20 Assistant Directors who are equivalent to the rank of a Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Nigerian Police Force, that is the category where the embattled Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu belongs to. Social commentators now wonder why the federal government should leave out over 43 personnel senior to

Magu, according to the federal civil service ranking and appoint a junior rank as the chief executive. Prehaps, to spite his superiors working in the Commission. Another school of thought also argues that why were these people trained with taxpayer’s money without being given the corresponding leadership responsibility to practicalise for the benefit of the country the knowledge acquired from their oversees’ trainings? Doesn’t it mean that the investment in their training was a waist? The EFCC has come of age. I suggest that the 3 internationally respected directors who are at the rank of AIG, and 20 deputy directors and additional 20 assistant directors, should henceforth be allowed to start piloting the affairs of the Commission. I make bold to say that the continuous posting of police officers who are supposed to be assisting their colleagues in the fight against insurgency in the North-east and maintaining law and order - to head the EFCC should stop. They should concentrate on their constitutional responsibility, rather than posting them to the anti-graft agency that has more capable hands to produce the much-needed results in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. I suggest further that the Act of the National Assembly that establishes the EFCC should be reviewed to allow professionalism to prevail so that core technocrats in the field would be allowed to man different positions without prejudice. My advice goes to the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to reconsider his position on Magu. It is high time the Commission’s capable hands were allowed to lead in the executive carder, because I know

the VP is a promoter of due process and someone that would not ordinarily support injustice. In as much that I know it is not a crime to labour and become a senior personnel in an organization, so do we expect the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to allow peace to reign in the EFCC and allow one of the 43 senior personnel to Magu who is even not a staff of the Commission to start piloting the affairs of the anti-graft body. A thought echoed in my mind that what’s so special in the EFCC that Mr. Magu refused to return to his core employer’s duty: the Nigerian police force. I want to suggest if Mr. Magu Mustapha Ibrahim likes the EFCC, he should resign from the Nigerian police force and apply to be a staff of the EFCC. I urged the National Assembly to amend the act that established the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to enable it function effectively whereby the position of the chief executive of the Commission would be ceded to one of the most ranked officers in the Commission. This would bring about dedication and commitment to the cause and reduce grumblings among the staff where a junior officer from another agency would be brought to superintend the operations of a Commission that has internationally acknowledged technocrats in crime fighting and anticorruption. The Presidency and the National Assembly are hereby called upon to act fast and address this injustice meted out to the top officers of the EFCC, who have served and contributed immensely to the growth and development of the Commission.

Enugu Community Endorses Ugwuanyi, Hosts him Saturday


NUGU- It may not be the first time Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi will be treated to a civic reception in Enugu state, but next Saturday, March 17, programme to host the Governor by the entire communities in Ezeagu local government area is distinct and unique because of the passion the reception has generated. Ezeagu, a local government with a conglomeration of autonomous communities but homogenous in affinity in a unanimous resolution agreed that Governor Ugwuanyi desires to be encouraged, not only for the works he has been doing in the council area but also across the 17 local government areas of the state. For the Ezeagu people, Ugwuanyi is like the proverbial akidi bean that the Igbo accuse of knowing no boundary while germinating its seeds. The people however feel that the Governor’s Midas touch in their local government is different in the sense that right from when he was chosen as the Governorship flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu state, he quickly settled to pick his running mate from their area, who today is the first female Deputy Governor in state. She is Lolo Cecilia Ezeilo from Aguobu Owa, the headquarters of Ezeagu local government council. As if that was not enough, Governor Ugwuanyi went ahead to pick his Chief of Staff, CoS, from the local government. The position of Chief of Staff is presumed to be a Governor’s closest confidant and top member of any administration’s kitchen cabinet. Dr. Festus Uzor who is Ugwuanyi’s CoS is regarded highly amongst Ezeagu people, having represented the local government in the state


Cecelia Ezeilo

House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003, where he also became the speaker of the state legislature and later assumed other positions in the state. To the Ezeagu people, therefore, Ugwuanyi’s human capital development started in Ezeagu. Little wonder the traditional rulers, the custodians of the people, the town union presidents, the businessmen, the academia, traders, artisans from the entire communities came today to agree to give honour to whom it was due and chose a Professor of Anatomy, the Dean of

Faculty of Basic Medicine ESUT college of Medicine, Prof. Chike Anibeze to be the chairman of civic reception planning committee. Anibeze in an interview with Saturday vanguard said the March 17 dateline is an appreciation ceremony because of their people’s empowerment and how it has touched their lives. He said such empowerment translated into infrastructure provisions such as roads that have been done and the ones that are on-going as well as the ones they

are anticipating the Governor will further embark upon in the council area. Anibeze said the expectation of the day would be a Monmouth presence of the kings, the kingmakers, the town unions, Nze ‘n Ozors, the politicians, native men and women, people from all walks of life in the council headquarters at Aguobu-Owa that would express appreciation to the Governor. Anibeze said “It is community induced, in other words the entire communities came together to give him the reception based on his outreach, especially as it touches the Ezeagu people. Ezeagu has got its fair share in terms of Ugwuanyi’s development programmes and as Oliver Twist, it will not be wrong to ask for more. And knowing Gburugburu very well he will deliver. There are roads under construction; some are in the 2018 budget. “The Igwes in our communities felt touched by the Governor’s recent grants of N5 million to each community in the state and on that we will tell him what he has done is touching our lives and some areas that still require him to do one or two things. “I want to invite everybody and at the same time tell everybody to collect their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, if you are of voting age, because part of this movement is the Gburugburu project which is like a freedom train and you need that ticket to go in and the ticket is your voter’s card. Clearly, we are endorsing him for a second term and we are not thinking twice about it, whole-heartedly and unanimously we endorse him for a second term.�

Saturday, March 10, 2018



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MISSILE JNI on War against Boko Haram “Any time people provided information on suspected insurgents, the informants are hunted down and many killed within the next 24 hours.’’ – The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) lamenting the growing insurgency by Boko Haram in the North-east.


Ghana’s Independence and Lessons for Nigeria


ellow Nigerians, how are you today and how is our dear beloved country? I’ve spent most of this week in Accra, Ghana. Many Nigerian leaders have also passed through the Republic of Ghana this week. The reason is not far-fetched. Ghana celebrated her 61st Independence anniversary on March 6, 2018, and the country has been in celebratory mood all week and Ghanaians have been upbeat all the way. This state of jollification is well-deserved. Ghana has not done badly at all even if it had suffered her own challenges like most African nations in the past. As with all those who wish others well, Nigerian Leaders, including, President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki came to salute the Ghanaians for the tremendous progress they have achieved since independence. It would be an understatement to say how much I love and appreciate the giant strides of Ghanaians. Ghanaian politics is not different from religion. Majority of Ghanaians are born with political parties. They are brought up on certain ideologies and principles. As with their religious beliefs, which they hold firmly to, and hardly waver from by criss-crossing religions, Buhari it is more difficult for a Ghanaian politician to abscond from one party in order to join another. and unusual because two prominent Nigerians This notwithstanding, democracy thrives because were invited, and they both attended. First, our Ghanaians have learnt and perfected the art of President, Muhammadu Buhari, was the special bringing their political leaders to account. Therefore, guest of honour. Second, the President of the whilst they may be affiliated to a political party Nigerian Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki was from birth or infancy, they are politically astute also invited as a special guest of the Ghanaian enough to vote for another party if and when Parliament. This meant we had both the number their own party is seen to be failing to deliver the one and number three citizens of Nigeria in goods. Hence, electoral results and fortunes of attendance at the ceremonies. Nigeria being the different parties are often quite close. Ghana an acclaimed giant of Africa, the presence of is thus more politically advanced than most other these two lofty personages added grandeur and African nations. I’m always fascinated by the significance to the ceremonies, to say the least. I paid special attention to the speeches, level of political awareness even amongst those in the rural areas. The mass proliferation of radio especially that of President Buhari of Nigeria stations has also helped in the dissemination of and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. One is taciturn and ponderous in his delivery news to every nook and cranny. I have followed Ghanaian politics since my whilst the other is undoubtedly an orator. The secondary school days and I’ve been a passionate Ghanaian President, dealt with and, rolled out his disciple of Kwame Nkrumah whose revolutionary developmental plans and vision for Ghana and zeal and passion fascinated me from the outset, President Buhari also dealt with and, rolled out and, later, President Jerry John Rawlings who his achievements with respect to his pet project, caught the attention and imagination of the world the war against corruption. Indeed, he made by his summary execution of former Ghanaian headlines with his offer and promise to help Presidents and Heads of State, on the basis of their Ghana fight corruption. Many of his listeners perceived corruption, at the time. Nkrumah was wondered how Nigeria can help Ghana in the like our own Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe or Chief Obafemi fight against corruption when Nigeria was already Awolowo, not just because of his dogged fight rated as one of the world’s most corrupt nations for Ghanaian independence but also, because of and Ghana was way behind. For me, I was happy his great intellectual prowess. I read his powerful that President Buhari accepted Ghana’s invitation books and fell in love with ‘Consciencism’ and and witnessed a superb ceremony by a country ‘Africa Must Unite’. In Rawlings, I found a that has done fantastically well against all odds. On a serious note, it is my belief that, Ghana revolutionary soldier, turned politician, who had an idea of what he wanted to do, what he is now far superior to many African countries in needed to do and how he needed to it. His main many areas. In the area of security of lives and goal was to rid Ghana of the cankerworm of properties, Nigeria has become over-militarised corruption and corrupt influences even if violent with more and more reliance on the Armed and tragic means were required to achieve this. He Forces rather than the Police, but in contrast, We made mistakes, as he acknowledged to Ovation Ghana relies more heavily on its police. International magazine, in several interviews, but have succeeded in turning our police into an still did his best to turn Ghana around in a most inferior force of unmotivated, inefficient and dramatic but efficacious fashion. It is to his credit corrupt officers, and our soldiers now appear that those who like him ,and those who do not, more in public as if we are in a military era or jointly rise to applaud his role in the development worse still, state of war. Our police have, as a result become ill-equipped of a modern, accountable Ghana. This year’s Independence celebration in Ghana to deal with the security challenges that face our was very exciting and colourful. It was also special nation. They are unable to fight the rising menace

of armed robbery and kidnappings by a rag-tag, motley crew of undesirable elements, such that, it is painfully obvious that, they cannot fight the dastardlier, highly organised, but cowardly insurgency of the Niger Delta or Boko Haram not to mention control those agitating for secession in the East, all of which are ravaging Nigeria and threatening our corporate existence. I was enthralled and encouraged when the Ghanaian President declared, emphatically, that he would enlarge the size of the Ghanaian police and give them sufficient training and equipment to enable them fulfil their role as the guardian and protector of a civilian populace in peace time. He asserted that the military would only be used in exceptional cases as back up, since indeed that is their role when there is no war. I have said it repeatedly that we must return power, purpose and significance to the Nigeria Police. The only way to do this is to follow the vision of President Akufo-Addo and recognise that the time has come to deal with all the issues which plague the police and make them the sorry and sometimes laughable outfit that they have become. A situation where the police have been turned into little more than escorts and security guards for the rich and famous cannot augur well for the internal security of the nation. I do not object to the police carrying out this role, in part, given the security challenges that our nation faces. However, there is no reason why they cannot and must not fulfil their constitutional role of maintaining and securing public safety and public order, even as they protect the upper echelons of society. The Armed Forces should be restricted to its constitutional role of defending the country from external aggression, maintaining and securing the integrity of our borders and quelling insurrection. They should only be called upon by the President to aid and assist the civil authorities, like the Nigeria Police when there is a real need to do so. Even in such circumstances, the President is required to act only upon conditions laid down by an Act of the National Assembly. It seems clear to me in my layman’s understanding of the law and the relevant constitutional provision of s. 217 of the 1999 Constitution that in the absence of such an Act of the National Assembly, the constant and regular resort to the Armed Forces to deal with simple matters of public order and security is not only wrong but unconstitutional. To enable the Police to fulfil their constitutional role, our governments now need to concentrate on making bigger budgetary provision not only for equipment but also the number of personnel. Their personal welfare must also be improved. For people who constantly and continually lay their lives on the line, improving their welfare should be a no-brainer. Their salaries should be paid as at when due and must be increased. It is common knowledge that the Police earn a pittance, hence their eagerness to work as security detail and escorts because they know that they will not just be paid on time, but they will earn a package much more considerable than that offered by Government. If we complain about the brazen corruption of police officers and their reluctance to perform their duties, we should appreciate that their emoluments make their position a bit understandable, even though a corrupt police officer cannot be justified and must never be condoned.

There should be a comprehensive insurance, medical and pension package for all Police officers, which will see them adequately taken care of, not just when they are in service but even afterwards, upon retirement. In case of their untimely demise in the call of duty, proper provision should be made for their families. I have no doubt that the level of performance of our officers would increase tremendously if their welfare was improved and they knew that the Government really cared for them. Having dealt with their personal welfare, the Government must further make provision for a strong and well-equipped police force. A situation where police officers have to pay for their own uniforms must be anathema to us. It is an absolute disgrace to see police officers wearing bathroom slippers because, the individual officer, or the Police force, cannot afford to kit them out with shoes, not to talk of boots. How can any sane person chase a criminal in such circumstances? To imagine this scenario is comical and farcical, to say the least. Yet this is the state of our police today. For me and my house however, the major area that Government also needs to concentrate upon is equipping the Police Force. There is no reason why the Police should not be as well, and heavily equipped as the Armed Forces. Even though they are a peace time force, it is apparent that the criminals that they sometimes contend with have not just superior fire power, but also superior intelligence gathering techniques. This puts them several steps ahead of the police and sometimes leads us to deride the efficacy of the police when they are not to blame. I see no reason why the Military police should not have armoured combat vehicles like the Army. The air wing of the Police should have sophisticated aircraft including surveillance and assault helicopters. A sea arm of the police should have heavily armed patrol boats that can navigate and take control of our creeks and riverine areas. It seems apparent, that part of the unwillingness of our present leaders to deal with the situation and have an effective, well-equipped, militarised and properly motivated police force is the military background of those leaders. Esprit de corps properly mandates them to ensure that the Nigeria Police is not as strong as the armed Forces, because such a situation would mean that the Armed Forces could be permanently checkmated as a possible alternate force for governance in the country. Our history demonstrates, that army generals would always want to keep this trump card. To protect our nascent democracy, especially at this time, when some of our leaders are making dangerous references to the possibility of a military takeover, it is imperative to have a strong viable police that can curb the excesses of the military since that is part of its duty of maintaining and securing public order. As President Nana Akufo-Addo demonstrated with his vision and plans for the Ghanaian Police, the problem is not with our police force, but with the will of our leaders to empower the police force to take its proper constitutional position as the protector of our security and public order. This can only be done by giving and afforded the Police the necessary resources to carry out their duties. It is not too late to carry out the essential reforms of the Nigeria Police. May God protect and secure us all!

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Saturday 10th March 2018  
Saturday 10th March 2018